Saturday, June 17, 2006  

Sing it, brother!

Came across this little gem after having coffee with a pair of VERY nice folks:
...maybe some day, they tell what the fightins for...
cause that's my son, dying on the distant sand dune....with yours...

Part of a very catchy, very now album called "Happy Songs About the War"
You can hear "Mr. Overseas" (from whence the lyrics) here.
(and if you like it- go to cd baby!)
Thanks Azul and JD!


Day Tripper

So Bush goes to Iraq and doesn't tell the Iraqis in advance because it's so dangerous there?

It's a control issue. It's sort of like when you were young and sometimes your Mom would go through stuff in your room, just to see what was going on with you.

In other words- here's a little newsflash: Iraq is not an independent nation.

No other country would put up with a stunt like that.
Think about it.


ArtStar, this has...

euuuuuuw! (while we peek through our fingers in horrid fascination) written all over it.
ARTSTAR starts off looking like a line at a soup kitchen. Of the hundreds of contestants who showed up in bad weather to audition, many mocked their own desperation. That saves us the trouble, but gallery owner Jeffrey Deitch, the show's impresario, might have overstated the quality of the contestants when he observed that "In the 1970s … no self-respecting artist would have stood in line to try to get on a television show." After watching people cry, bare cleavage, scribble wildly, and even use PowerPoint to vie for a slot on ARTSTAR, it seemed that self-respecting artists might still be declining Deitch's invitation.

read another artist's take on when reality TV and art try to swallow each other.


This is what the voice of the tortured sounds like...

“Many of our fellow Americans wear a blindfold hiding from the truth of what our government is doing. But each of you has eyes to see, ears to hear, and a voice to oppose this crime against humanity.” Sr. Dianna Ortiz.

Listen to her talk here.

Her's is a sad witnessing. She was working in Guatemala with the Mayan peoples in 1989, when she was seized by forces working for the Guatemalan government, tortured and raped by people trained by the US government, and working under the watchful eye of the CIA.

This is what Reagan, George H.W. Bush and the CIA have done in the name of the American people- in your name.

These are the words that they have taught Sister Dianna Ortiz to speak.
It is an insidious vocabulary that shames us all.

After you hear her story, if you think torture is wrong and you have a blog, no matter what your religious or political affiliation, I invite you to click on the Bloggers Against Torture Icon and join us, in this, the month against torture.


From the twisted in translation files...

comes a several times told tale of what the Iranian president actually said about Israel. Since most Westerners can't read Farsi (and that would include me, unfortunately) and most Americans can't seem to learn anything in another language except "voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?" (I cannot tell you how many times someone has said that to me, usually prefaced with ,"oooh, ohhh, I know some French!" Half the time I have no idea what they are saying, and even if they did say that in English, the answer would probably be," oh, hell, no." If I had just a nickle for every time I have heard that (not in France or North Africa), I would not be driving the car I drive today. Really.)

So...a nos moutons...

This is the Farsi:

????? ??? ????? ????? ? ??????? ? ???????????? ?? ??? ?????? ??????? ? ?????????? ??? ????

???? ??? ??? ?????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ? ???? ???? ?? ????????? ?? ????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ????? ???? ??? ?????? ??????? ???? ??????? ??????? ????? ????? ????? ? ?????? ?????? ?? ?? ??????? ? ??????? ??? ???? ????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ???? ??? ? ?? ????? ???? ????? ????? ????? ????? ?????? ? ????? ????? ?????. ?? ???? ???? ?? ?? ???? ???? ??? ?????? ???? ?????????. ??? ??? ???? ??? «???? ???? ????????» ???.
This is where you can find here...

And then there is The Guardian's take on the translation issue.

Bad translations are no joke.

Does anyone remember Carter's trip to Poland? His translator chose the incorrect Polish word for warm relations and ended up saying something like "carnal relations." Now that got the Poles a bit worked up because the last leader to feel that way about Poland was Hitler, and we all know how well that worked out.

Says Johnathan Steele of the Guardian:
Starting with Juan Cole, and going via the New York Times' experts through MEMRI to the BBC's monitors, the consensus is that Ahmadinejad did not talk about any maps. He was, as I insisted in my original piece, offering a vague wish for the future.

A very last point. The fact that he compared his desired option - the elimination of "the regime occupying Jerusalem" - with the fall of the Shah's regime in Iran makes it crystal clear that he is talking about regime change, not the end of Israel. As a schoolboy opponent of the Shah in the 1970's he surely did not favour Iran's removal from the page of time. He just wanted the Shah out.

The same with regard to Israel. The Iranian president is undeniably an opponent of Zionism or, if you prefer the phrase, the Zionist regime. But so are substantial numbers of Israeli citizens, Jews as well as Arabs. The anti-Zionist and non-Zionist traditions in Israel are not insignificant. So we should not demonise Ahmadinejad on those grounds alone.

Does this quibbling over phrases matter? Yes, of course. Within days of the Ahmadinejad speech the then Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, was calling for Iran to be expelled from the United Nations. Other foreign leaders have quoted the map phrase. The United States is piling pressure on its allies to be tough with Iran.

Let me give the last word to Juan Cole, with whom I began. "I am entirely aware that Ahmadinejad is hostile to Israel. The question is whether his intentions and capabilities would lead to a military attack, and whether therefore pre-emptive warfare is prescribed. I am saying no, and the boring philology is part of the reason for the no."
read the rest here

Now, back to the World Cup...



About the graphics: you really need to click on the link, then click on the graphic to get the full effect- they open up and are very detailed.

is starting to make Roshamon look like a cakewalk. Today in the New York Times:
He added: "You've got to do whatever it takes to get home. If it takes clearing by fire where there's civilians, that's it."

Many of the marines in Kilo Company had served on their previous deployment in Falluja, which had largely been cleared of civilians before they entered, and where permissive rules of engagement were in force. But Haditha was a different combat environment, with insurgents intermingled with civilians. In training between the two deployments, marines were taught how to protect civilians, and were instructed on more restrictive combat rules.

The conclusions appear to be leaning towards the belief that the marines deliberately killed these people and then traded upon their fear of the region to create a scenario that included suspected bomber planters and a need to clear the area.

I am beginning to suspect they screwed up and shot a few people, and then took out the potential witnesses.

read the rest here


June 19, time to

make some noise in L.A.! The very funny, very talented, very on it guy Roberto Karimi has taken his show on the road and bringing in to LA (you lucky bums, Roberto, the place to be is SOUTH, man!)

Here's the 411 from Karimi himself:

We are performing the first time in L.A. since we developed the show with TeAda Productions in 2002.

excerpt from self (the remix) THIS MONDAY – JUNE 19th at 8:30 at the Japan America Theater!!!!!

As part of:

A celebration of some of the best in Asian American theatre, performance art
and hip-hop.

Aratani/Japan America Theatre
244 S. San Pedro St
Los Angeles, California 90012

General Admission: $10
Call the East West Players Box Office at (213) 625-7000 to purchase tickets.

kaotic good productions

Friday, June 16, 2006  

In observation of Father's Day...

VALLEJO, CALIF. – Sometimes I feel as if I am not my father's son. In other words, my father is a patriot and an activist, and I am not worthy of being called either.

The rest is here

after magritte

Thursday, June 15, 2006  

I was there..: No, Not My Daughters!

Frightening read...I was there..: No, Not My Daughters!


Grazie, Italia!

IN terms of the desaparacidos of Argentina, justice may be slow, but some seems to be coming this a-way soon.
Angela Maria Aieta was seized in 1976 shortly after her activist daughter was imprisoned, and Giovanni Pegoraro was abducted together with his daughter Susanna in 1977.

It is suspected that Ms Pegoraro, who was pregnant at the time, gave birth to a daughter before being killed and that the infant was one of hundreds of children born to political prisoners and given away to childless military couples. Argentine newspapers say Ms Pegoraro's daughter lives in the city of Mar del Plata.

Italy is trying Jorge Eduardo Acosta, Alfredo Ignacio Astiz, Jorge Raul Vildoza, Antonio Vanek and Hector Antonio Febres, in absentia in Roman court for the kidnapping, torture and murder of the above people with dual Argentine-Italian citizenship during Argentina's "dirty war" against its own people.

read more here.
When a government declares war on its own citizens (or on the citizens of a country it occupies- are you listening, Mr. Bush?), there is no such thing as too much justice.


This is not happening here...

But Happening now campaign from Amnesty International. Very effective, very timely. Learn more about it here.

pass it on...

(thanks elendil!)


Hadji Girl...

is nasty, stupid, sadly revealing,and and an abhorrent flashpoint. I promised myself I would take a walk before going to work, but curiosity got the better of me (might kill this cat after all) and looked up the reaction. Very interesting. I don't have time to do a reaction round-up but needless to say, it appears rather divided into "this is disgusting" and "yeah, man, hoorah!" The both reactions are predictable, with a number of people calling it racist (which I think it is) and others treating it as so much war-time humor.

What is disturbing, is the Anti-Arab sentiment that accompanies the 2nd set of opinions as well as the idea that blowing someone away simply because you're the Marines is not only permissable but preferable.


More importantly than general stupidity and a sense of murderous entitlement, the reaction reveals a very deep sense of superiority and moral suspension. When the Abu Ghraib scandel broke, a number of people (including the news station where I worked - and you know who you are) dismissed the whole thing as a) lockeroom level pranks, and then as things got slightly more graphic, b)well-deserved treatment that got a little of hand, and then, c) confused appalled silence followed by grateful grasping of the bad apple theory.

And these are supposedly educated, somewhat urbane (as much as that is possble in my area of SoCal) people.

And people ask how war crimes, etc, happen in Iraq? It's because people back home don't have a problem with that kind of behavior. Think about it. A lot of people think the song is funny, and a number of the posters have no problem with the actions described there in.

Why is that?

Which brings us to the "lyrics" (such as they are...)
Hadji Girl
I was out in the sands of Iraq
And we were under attack
And I, well, I didn't know where to go.
And the first think I could see was
Everybody's favorite Burger King
So I threw open the door and I hit the floor.
Then suddenly to my surprise
I looked up and I saw her eyes
And I knew it was love at first sight.
And she said

Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
Hadji girl I can't understand what you're saying.
And she said
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
Hadji girl I love you anyway.

Then she said that she wanted me to see.
She wanted me to meet her family
But I, well, I couldn't figure out how to say no.
Cause I don't speak Arabic.
(but how he figures out she wants to take him home is unclear- since he doesn't speak Arabic- but he is willing to go along which is a)stupid and b) suspicious- does he think he is going to get some?)
So, she took me down an old dirt trail.
And she pulled up to a side shanty
And she threw open the door and I hit the floor.
Cause her brother and her father shouted
(and not "shot" as is widely blogged about- nobody shot anybody until our Marine did)
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
They pulled out their AKs so I could see
And they said
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
(notice they did not aim them, shoot, hit him with them, etc. And think about it, with all the house searches, dead civilians because the marines screwed up, why would a home owner NOT react to an armed foreign soldier in his doorway?)
So I grabbed her little sister and pulled her in front of me.
As the bullets began to fly
The blood sprayed from between her eyes
And then I laughed maniacally
(ok, this Marine, who is supposedly supposed to be of a higher caliber, acts like a common thug and uses someone as a human shield, probably knowing this person will be shot, then laughs about it.)
Then I hid behind the TV
And I locked and loaded my M-16
And I blew those little f***ers to eternity.
And I said
(so let me get this straight- he is armed, follows some local girl back to her house,has a confrontation with her father and brother, uses the sister as a human shield and then takes over the family's house and kills them all. He initiates the contact that proves fatal for this family.)
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
They should have known they were f***ing with a Marine

And this is supposed to reflect well on the Marines? How?
Belile says he meant it as a joke. Fine and good, but the problem with the lyrics is that Haditha happened in November, Ishaqi happened in March (the same month this lovely performance was immortalized on tape), more incidents have occured recently and countless others are alleged by Iraqis from the invasion onwards.

So, what kind of a joke, is this?
The racist kind that says you and your life don't count as much as mine?
The kind that says, ha! if you think you're safe in your own country, in your own house, think again, man, I'm a marine!
The kind that says human decency, the general US expectation that our armed forces aren't some kind of legitimized thug gang or government run death squad, are so much civilian delusions?

Just what is so funny here?

See two posts down for the link to the video and listen to it yourself.

I am so disgusted I have to take a walk.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006  

From the Guantanamo/torture files...

It's a little hard to get adequate representation, or even noticed for that matter when the warden won't mail your letters.
Saifullah Paracha is apparently an eternal optimist. In March, after 18 months in Guantánamo, Paracha, 58, decided to write a letter to 98 U.S. senators describing his plight. The senators haven't responded, though it's hard to blame them. They don't know the letters exist. The Department of Defense won't release them for delivery.

"He lived in the United States," says Paracha's lawyer G. T. Hunt. "He's a pro-American person. He believes in American justice. He believes that if he can get a hearing he'll get out."

This from Radio Australia: all 96 Afghan citizens being held in Guantanamo are scheduled to be released. providential.


Get that guy...

a muzzle. What was Cpl. Joshua Belile thinking?
"It's a song that I made up and it was nothing more than something supposed to be funny, based off a catchy line of a movie," he said in Wednesday's Daily News of Jacksonville.

In the four-minute video called "Hadji Girl," a singer who appears to be a Marine tells a cheering audience about gunning down members of an Iraqi woman's family after they confront him with automatic weapons.

And some people can't seem to understand how things like Haditha, Falloujah and Abu Ghraib happen.
This is how. It starts with a widely acceptable attitude, moves into songs and other things that amuse a group and escalates from there.
read more here.

CAIR's website includes some of the lyrics.

Here is the link to the video on the Daily News website. The video loads with difficulty and has already been taken off youtube. It will probably disappear from this sitesoon as well.
This is the disclaimer that is below the video:
Online editor's note: The "Hadji Girl" video contains language and themes which some may find offensive and may be inappropriate for younger viewers. Please view at your own discretion.
An accompanying article calls the video "blackly humorous."

Here is the link for the video on where it loads almost immediately.

Black? yes
Humorous? I don't think so.



one cool writer. Moorish Girl aka Laila Lalami (author of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits and very cool blog) is going to be in the following places (possibly near you!)
Thursday, June 15
7:00 PM
Reading & Signing
Olsson's Books & Records -- Dupont Circle
1307 19th St., NW
Washington, DC 20036

Friday, June 16
9:30 AM
Panel with Khaled Mattawa, Nathalie Handal, and Gregory Orfalea
ADC Convention
Wardman Park Marriott Hotel
2660 Woodley Road, NW
Washington DC

Monday, June 19
1:30 PM
Reading with Duff Brenna and Matt Yurdana
Pacific University
2043 College Way
Forest Grove, Oregon

Thursday, July 6
7 PM
The Caine Prize Readings
Reading with Sefi Atta, Darrel Bristow-Bovey, Muthoni Garland, and Mary Watson
Royal Over-Seas League
London, UK

Tuesday, July 11
8:15 PM
The Caine Prize Readings
Hosted by Jon Snow
Reading with Sefi Atta, Darrel Bristow-Bovey, Muthoni Garland, and Mary Watson
Royal Festival Hall
South Bank Centre
London, UK

To find out where else she is going, check out Moorish Girl.


A letter to the editor...

worth reading. This in the New York Times this morning. I include it in full because I think it is a very thought-provoking letter:
Detainees in Despair

Article Tools Sponsored By
Published: June 14, 2006

Lyon, France
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Matt Rota

I WAS released from the United States military's prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in July 2004. As I was about to board a plane that would take me home to France, the last detainee I saw was a young Yemeni. He was overwhelmed by emotion.

"In your country, Mourad, there are rights, human rights, and they mean something," he said. "In mine they mean nothing, and no one cares. So when you're free, don't forget what you've been through. Tell people that we are here."

I now know that this Yemeni was not among the three prisoners who committed suicide at Guantánamo last weekend, but since then his words have been echoing in my head. Although I'm now a free man, the shared pain endlessly takes me back to the camp.

In the early summer of 2001, when I was 19, I made the mistake of listening to my older brother and going to Afghanistan on what I thought was a dream vacation. His friends, he said, were going to look after me. They did — channeling me to what turned out to be a Qaeda training camp. For two months, I was there, trapped in the middle of the desert by fear and my own stupidity.

As soon as my time was up, I headed home. I was a few miles from the Pakistani border when I learned with horror about the attacks of 9/11. Days later, the border was sealed off, and the only way through to Pakistan and a plane to Europe was across the mountains of the Hindu Kush. I was with a group of people who were all going the same way. No one was armed; most of them, like me, had been lured to Afghanistan by a misguided and mistimed sense of adventure, and were simply trying to make their way home.

I was seized by the Pakistani Army while having tea at a mosque shortly after I managed to cross the border. A few days later I was delivered to the United States Army: although I didn't know it at the time, I was now labeled an "enemy combatant." It did not matter that I was no one's enemy and had never been on a battlefield, let alone fought or aimed a weapon at anyone.

After two weeks in the American military base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, I was sent to Guantánamo, where I spent two and a half years. I cannot describe in just a few lines the suffering and the torture; but the worst aspect of being at the camp was the despair, the feeling that whatever you say, it will never make a difference.

You repeat yourself over and over again to interrogators from the military intelligence, the F.B.I., the C.I.A. The first time you hear "Your case is being processed," your heart, seizing on the hopeful possibilities in those words, skips a beat. After months of disappointment, you try to develop an immunity to hope, but hope is an incurable disease.

I remember once an interrogator warming me up during several sessions for a polygraph test I was going to take, that was, according to him, infallible. After I took the test, I was left alone in the interrogation room; an hour later, the interrogator returned. "Congratulations," he said grimly. "You have passed the test." And he gave me a box of candy.

In the outside world, I thought, the difference between telling the truth and lying, between committing a crime and not committing it, is the difference between being in jail and being free. In Guantánamo, it is a box of candy.

I was eventually released and I will go on trial next month in Paris to face charges that I've never denied, that I spent two months in the Qaeda camp. I have a court date, I'm facing a judge, and I have a lawyer, unimaginable luxuries in Guantánamo. I didn't know the three detainees who died, but it is easy for me to see how this daily despair and uncertainty could lead to suicide.

During my captivity, I saw many acts of individual rebellion, from screaming to hunger strikes and suicide attempts. "They are smart, they are creative, they are committed," said Rear Adm. Harry Harris, who commands the camp. "They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us."

I am a quiet Muslim — I've never waged war, let alone an asymmetrical one. I wasn't anti-American before and, miraculously, I haven't become anti-American since. In Guantánamo, I did see some people for whom jihad is life itself, people whose minds are distorted by extremism and whose souls are full of hatred. But the huge majority of the faces I remember — the ones that haunt my nights — are of desperation, suffering, incomprehension turned into silent madness.

I believe that a small number of the detainees at Guantánamo are guilty of criminal acts, but as analysis of the military's documents on the prisoners has shown, there is no evidence that most of the 465 or so men there have committed hostile acts against the United States or its allies. Even so, what I heard so many times resounding from cage to cage, what I said myself so many times in my moments of complete despondency, was not, "Free us, we are innocent!" but "Judge us for whatever we've done!" There is unlimited cruelty in a system that seems to be unable to free the innocent and unable to punish the guilty.

Mourad Benchellali has written a book about his experience in a Qaeda camp andat Guantánamo Bay, with Antoine Audouard, who assisted in the writing of this article and translated it from the French.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006  

First Nation issues

The great grandson of the Apache leader Geronimo has appealed to the big chief in the White House to help recover the remains of his famous relative - purportedly stolen more than 90 years ago by a group of students - including the President's grandfather.
(read the rest here.)

I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately, thinking about how first nations often suffer unbelievable indignities at the hands of anthropologists, pranksters, etc. It's one thing if the graves are a thousand years old (although some say that doesn't matter, either) and quite another if the remains come within reasonable living memory.

I read the above story and immediately thought of two others. One is that of Ishii, the last Yahi, who ended up living at the museum in Berkeley (early 1900's) among the artifacts of his immediate family, who eventually perished, in part because of the lack of those artifacts (fur cloaks, hunting bows and arrows), and his story has always made me very sad, especially when I think of him looking at the handful of people around him, and realizing, this is all that is left us.

In 2000, I learned of another incredible story through a documentary I saw at the Taiwan Independent Documentary Film Festival where I had gone to show my own documentary, Poets Without Borders.
Niillas Somby comes from a small group of Sami, or Lapps, who inhabit northern Scandinavia. He is fighting an almost Kafka-esque battle against the Norwegian authorities, trying to compel them to release the skull of a rebellious ancestor.

Mons Somby, Niillas' ancestor, and Alask Hetta were executed in 1854 for murder, following a rebellion against the government, which claimed two Norwegian lives. Their bodies were claimed by the State for scientific research, and their skulls are held to this day, part of a collection of 900 skulls at The Anatomical Institute, in Oslo.

Give Us Our Skeletons is a striking film about the struggles of the Sami people of Norway to reclaim the remains of immediate ancestors from the Norwegian authorities. What is also interesting, is the racial coding of two groups who share the same territory- the Lapps and the people who eventually became the Norwegians, and how that coding translates into racist legal and scientific practice designed to prove and promote inferiority.

You can find out more about this interesting documentary here from First Run Icarus Films.

Geronimo's skull is still at Yale. Along with a few other bones. Prescott Bush is buried in the Conneticut. And George W. Bush? Well, he's around.


This is why..

you have problems with "minority"populations...
"I believe the only crime I have committed is being Asian and having a long length beard. He looked at me straight away and shot. As soon as I turned the steps and we both had eye contact he shot me.

"All my life I just wanted to work and feed my family and support my mum and dad. I work over 50 to 60 hours a week and for them to come into my house like that, to shoot me in my chest and to say I am a terrorist - that really hurts."
and you wonder why some people don't trust the police in the UK or the USA.

Brought to you by the same people who shot Jean Charles de Menezes 7 times in the head because they thought he was one of the tube bombers.

Read more here.


A little quiz before...

going to bed, getting up, going about your day.

This from Elandil at blog against torture

It's chillingly charming. Go ahead, take it. Make this a mindful day and please pass it on with the appropriate source recognition.

A poll for philosophers and torture apologists
tick ... tick ... tick
There's a bomb somewhere in New York, and it's about to go off. Unfortunately, you don't know where it is.

Given no other choice, how many saved lives would it take before you would consider the following actions justified?

* Torturing someone.
* Torturing someone who might not be guilty.
* Torturing their wife and child.
* Torturing their wife and child in front of them while we forced them to watch.
* Raping and torturing their wife and child in front of them while we forced them to watch.
* Torturing their wife and child as above, to death.


Another reason why bombing Zarqawi was stupid...

is offered by David Luban writing in the La Times today:
LAST WEEK'S killing of Abu Musab Zarqawi may mark a turning point in the struggle against terrorism and the insurgency in Iraq. But the fact that he was killed by a pair of U.S. bombs, rather than captured and turned over to the Iraqis for trial, does no favors for Iraq in its struggle to establish the rule of law. Nor does it help that the bombing killed five others — maybe terrorists, but maybe innocent civilians

Trying Zarqawi would have been a wonderful idea- unless, of course, what he has to say about you is going to come out.

Read the rest here.

Monday, June 12, 2006  

Spinning Suicide

San Diego-based Marjorie Cohn has a great piece posted on Truthout:
Three men being held in the United States military prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, killed themselves by hanging in their cells on Saturday. The Team Bush spin machine immediately swept into high gear.

Military officials characterized their deaths as a coordinated protest. The commander of the prison, Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., called it "asymmetrical warfare."

Colleen Graffy, the deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy, said taking their lives "certainly is a good PR move."

Meanwhile, George W. Bush expressed "serious concern" about the deaths. "He stressed the importance of treating the bodies in a humane and culturally sensitive manner," said Christie Parell, a White House spokeswoman.

How nice that Bush wants their bodies treated humanely, after treating them like animals for four years while they were alive. Bush has defied the Geneva Conventions' command that all prisoners be treated humanely. He decided that "unlawful combatants" are not entitled to humane treatment because they are not prisoners of war.

Read the rest

And while you are at it, check out Mark Manning's Caught in the Crossfire, about Fallujah- video also on Truthout

Thanks Doris!


Sorry, too busy to talk...

we're too busy back-pedalling at the White House. Someone, anyone needs to muzzle the administration. Or else they need to stand by their statements and basically say, "yeah, so we said that. So, what?"

Now they look like a bunch of spineless (and you thought that was only the Senate...) jackasses who can't be allowed near a mike. On the other hand, this is not entirely a bad thing because what and how they think (or what passes as thinking out there) is becoming clearer and clearer.
From the AP:
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration distanced itself Monday from remarks by a U.S. diplomat that the weekend suicides of three Arab detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison were a "good P.R. move."

"I would just point out in public that we would not say that it was a P.R. stunt," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, using the abbreviation for public relations. "We have serious concerns anytime anybody takes their own life."

(that's right- that's what we're for)

Colleen Graffy, deputy assistant U.S. secretary of state for public diplomacy, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that the deaths at the U.S.-run camp in Cuba were a "good P.R. move to draw attention."

Graffy also told the BBC the deaths were "a tactic to further the jihadi cause.

read more here

Graffy is either an idiot or so brain-washed that she needs to be de-programmed. More Bush spin. Will post an essay by Marjorie Cohn soon.

What did the US do so wrong that we deserve such morally depraved individuals as Graffy and Coulter with her dispicable comments about the 9/11 widows?


Trust is...

a two way street. You hear time and time again, sometimes whispered, sometimes stated outright: I am not sure if we can trust those people. And those people are? Arab Americans.

Hey, I thought you liked Paul Anka, Danny Thomas, Marlo Thomas, Helen Thomas, Wendy Malick, Tony Shaloub. Some of you voted for Ralph Nader and some of you voted for Daryl Issa (come on, don't be shy...)

And news flash for you, being Arab-American is no picnic these days, even though there has been an Arab American presence in the US for over 100 years. How do you think Khalil Gibran Khalil got so popular?

And so today, this from the NYT:
Both Arab-American community leaders and law enforcement officials interviewed in the study said that cooperation between both groups had suffered from a lack of trust.

"It underscores the importance of community policing, of engaging the Arab and Muslim community in a constructive way and bringing them in to be partners," said Farhana Khera, the executive director of Muslim Advocates, a national nonprofit organization of lawyers.

While Muslims represent a spectrum of ethnic and national backgrounds, the study focused on Arab-Americans in order to understand the experience of one group more deeply, said Nicole Henderson, the lead author of the report. An estimated two-thirds of Arab-Americans are Christian.

Arab-Americans reported an increasing sense of victimization, suspicion of government and law enforcement, and concerns about protecting their civil liberties, according to the study, which was paid for by the National Institute of Justice, a research agency of the Justice Department.

A fear of surveillance ranked high among their concerns. During one focus group, a woman told the story of an encyclopedia salesman who came to her door and asked to use the bathroom. She worried that he might have been an agent trying to plant a listening device in her home.

Read the rest here and then get thee to the Arab American Museum which you can read about here

From Naomi Shihab Nye: An Arab-American poet:
Two Countries

Skin remembers how long the years grow
when skin is not touched, a gray tunnel
of singleness, feather lost from the tail
of a bird, swirling onto a step,
swept away by someone who never saw
it was a feather. Skin ate, walked,
slept by itself, knew how to raise a
see-you-later hand. But skin felt
it was never seen, never known as
a land on the map, nose like a city,
hip like a city, gleaming dome of the mosque
and the hundred corridors of cinnamon and rope.

Skin had hope, that's what skin does.
Heals over the scarred place, makes a road.
Love means you breathe in two countries.
And skin remembers--silk, spiny grass,
deep in the pocket that is skin's secret own.
Even now, when skin is not alone,
it remembers being alone and thanks something larger
that there are travelers, that people go places
larger than themselves.

Naomi Shihab Nye


Revisiting Fallujah

David Lindroff, on Counterpunch, compares Haditha and Fallujah and asks why isn't Fallujah seen as a mass massacre:
The official tally of dead in Fallujah at the end of the slaughter is 6000, but that is surely too low of a figure. Buildings were leveled by intense bombing and shelling, and nobody was sifting through the wreckage afterwards counting bodies. In fact, much of the city was bulldozed by American forces immediately after the assault, meaning that many bodies will never be found.

We also were treated to a video, taken by an embedded ABC cameraman, which showed a Marine entering a house where several alleged Iraqi fighters were lying, badly wounded, on the floow. The Marine executed them all with "two clicks" to the head. He was later located and exonerated by military "justice," which accepted his lame excuse that one of the wounded men moved, and might have been hiding a weapon under his shattered body.
(more here.)

Here is Dahr Jamail's interview with a cameraman from LBC who was inside Fallujah during the seige:

He also witnessed something which many refugees from Fallujah have reported.

“I saw civilians trying to swim the Euphrates to escape, and they were all shot by American snipers on the other side of the river.”

The home he was staying in before he was detained was located near the mosque where the NBC cameraman filmed the execution of an older, wounded Iraqi man.

“The mosque where the wounded man was shot that the NBC cameraman filmed — that is in the Jubail Quarter — I was in that quarter. Wounded, unarmed people used that mosque for safety! I can tell you there were no weapons in there of any kind, because I was in that mosque. People only hid there for safety. That is all.”

He personally witnessed another horrible event reported by many of the refugees who reached Baghdad.

“On Tuesday, Nov. 16, I saw tanks roll over the wounded in the streets of the Jumariyah Quarter. There is a public clinic there, so we call that the clinic street. There had been a heavy battle in this street, so there were 20 bodies of dead fighters and some wounded civilians in front of this clinic. I was there at the clinic, and at 11 a.m. on the 16th I watched tanks roll over the wounded and dead there.”

(read the resthere )

And today 06/12/06, they are preparing the seige of Ramadi...

Sunday, June 11, 2006  

I am laughing soooooo hard...

I can't see straight!

I just saw this!
Britain's ports poised to fall into foreign hands

US bank close to sealing agreed bid for AB Ports
Sale to consortium will cause political row

Sound familiar?
read the rest here


Suicide at Gitmo

Sura 4:29 (in the Koran) forbids a believer to take his or her own life. But there is a hadith or saying from Mohammed which presents suicide this way:
Hadith - Muslim #6485

Hammam b. Munabbih said: Abu Huraira narrated to us a hadith from Allah's Messenger and out of these one is that Allah's Messenger said: none amongst you should make a request for death, and do not call for it before it comes, for when any of you dies, he ceases (to do good) deeds and the life of a believer is not prolonged but for goodness.

Hadith - Muslim #6480

Anas (b. Malik) reported Allah's Messenger as saying: None of you should make a request for death because of the trouble in which he is involved, but if there is no other help to it, then say: O Allah, keep me alive as long as there is goodness in life for me and bring death to me when there is goodness in death for me.


Supposedly there is a hadith in which Mohammed refused to pray at the burial of a man who had committed suicide. However, the man's friends prayed for his forgiveness- God heard, and he was forgiven.

I would imagine #6480 is what some of the people in Gitma have in mind, especially the last part in light of on-going torture, detention without end and no hope of ever again seeing their families or their friends.


Why Gitmo is not a resort in Cuba

There has been a lot of talk about the suicides in Gitmo and one of the thoughts on the right is that these three unfortunates did it "to spite us."

Listen here to what Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, a lawyer for Bahraini detainee Jumah al-Dossari, has to say about the conditions of detention and al-Dossari's suicide attempts (yes, you read right, Al-Dossari has tried to commit suicide numerous times).

Al-Dossari survived (and is supposedly not one of the three that succeeded- those are reported to be two Saudis and a Yemeni), but he left this note, declassified last year:
I hope you will always remember that you met and sat with a "human being" called "Jumah" who suffered too much and was abused in his belief, self, in his dignity and also in his humanity. He was imprisoned, tortured and deprived from his homeland, his family and his young daughter who is in the most need for him for four years…with no reason or crime committed. Remember that there are hundreds of detainees in Guantanamo -Cuba - they are in the same situation of suffering and misfortune. They were captured, tortured and detained with no offense or reason. Their lives might end like mine… When you remember me in my last gasps of life before dying, while my soul is leaving my body to rise to its creator, remember that the world let us and let our case down… Remember that our governments let us down… Remember the unreasonable delay of the courts in looking into our case and to side with the victims of injustice…

You can read the rest here.


More stories on Z.'s death

The versions just won't quit, but, interestingly, only the military version has them performing the heroic task of trying to save their arch nemisis. And yet, no one is buying...

Read this new version here


Que Viva!

fun tv!

Check out Lou Chalibre hanging out with cool folks like Astrid Haddad, El Vez, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Endy- bruja and danzante extraordinaire, Berta Jottar, and others.

Orale, mijo/mija! Cliqua here for Aztec Gold TV.


Dumpster diving takes on a whole new meaning...

As does garage saling and haunting thrift stores! Remember all those odd pictures you come across? That weird painting of someone who (we think) is a human being (attrociously) rendered in acrylics?

Well, here's what happened to some of them!
"Hackneyed Portraits: It Looks Just Like Her!" was organized by the Boston-based Museum of Bad Art, which drew from its permanent collection of below-par art. The show features 27 portraits of poor quality, acquired from garage sales, trash bins, thrift shops and other such sites.

You can find out more here.


Hapa power!

Kip Fulbeck has a fabulous new exhibit up as well as a book celebrating Hapa identity (part Asian, part something else). Find his show at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. For more, go here.

And you can access info on the exhibit itself as well as an interview with Fulbeck here.


Good Americans behaving badly...

but this time not in Europe on vacation.

Rosa Brooks has this to say in her column in discussing the "good American" persona:

In response to Haditha, U.S. government officials quickly reverted to the "bad apple" theory.

It's a tempting theory, and not just for the Bush administration. It suggests a vast and reassuring divide between "us" (the virtuous majority, who would never, under any circumstances, commit coldblooded murder) and "them" (the sociopathic, bad-apple minority). It allows us to hold on to our belief in our collective goodness. If we can just toss the few rotten Americans out of the barrel quickly enough, the rot won't spread.

The problem with this theory is that it rests on a false assumption about the relationship between character and deeds. Yes, sociopaths exist, but ordinary, "good" people are also perfectly capable of committing atrocities.
you can read the rest here.


A marine talks

and says some very revealing things.

"It will forever be his position that everything they did that day was following their rules of engagement and to protect the lives of Marines," said Neal A. Puckett, who represents Wuterich in the ongoing investigations into the incident. "He's really upset that people believe that he and his Marines are even capable of intentionally killing innocent civilians."

well, there is just one problem. They did.
Wuterich, based in San Diego, also said this:

Kevin B. McDermott, who is representing Capt. Lucas M. McConnell, the Kilo Company commander, said Wuterich and other Marines informed McConnell on the day of the incident that at least 15 civilians were killed by "a mixture of small-arms fire and shrapnel as a result of grenades" after the Marines responded to an attack from a house.

McConnell was relieved of his command in April for "failure to investigate," according to McDermott. But the lawyer said McConnell told him that he reported the high number of civilian deaths to the 3rd Battalion executive officer that afternoon and that within a few days the battalion's intelligence chief gave a PowerPoint presentation to Marine commanders.

"It wasn't a situation that dawned on him as the captain of Kilo where it was like, 'Okay, guys, we need to conduct a more thorough investigation,' " McDermott said. "Everywhere up the chain, they had ample access to this thing."
And this:

Wuterich told Puckett that no one was emotionally rattled by Terrazas's death because everyone had a job to do, and everyone was concerned about further casualties. As Wuterich began briefing the platoon leader, Puckett said, AK-47 shots rang out from residences on the south side of the road, and the Marines ducked.

So, there goes the we became murderous psychos because the situation made us do it defense.
But what seems to be coming back is the we thought we were in danger defense.

I know the military is examing things, let's hope they have an honest ballistics expert.

read the rest here.


Suicides succeed at Guantanamo

"They are smart, they are creative, they are committed," Admiral Harris said. "They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us."

I believe this could be also said about those who run Gitmo where 10 out of the almost 500 detainees have been accused of anything. The rest are looking at indefinite detention at the hands of patriotic sadists.

Read the article in the NYThere.

Harris is recycling the old rhetoric peddled by Rumsfeld that these are the baddest, worstest folks on the ranch, and by golly we ain't gonna tolerate things like due process, adequate representation, and hearings. Thems for sissies who don't got the whole picture like we does.

Either hold hearings and do it right (which includes things like letting the defense see the evidence) or let them go. And before closing the whole thing down, I would strongly recommend putting Rumsfeld, Harris, Ashcroft, Gonzales, Anne Coulter (you bet!), Bill O'Reilly, Cheney, Condi, Laura Bush, Bush (but in separate cells) and a few others, in for awhile without telling them when they will get out. And to make it even better, engage in a little extraordinary rendition to get them there. They should all look fetching in orange.

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