Saturday, September 23, 2006  

Today September 23

Today is Zazou's birthday (thank you, thank you) and Zazou has a wish list to pass on:

* Banned Book week starts today. Consider the following:
"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."—Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

(design by Camden Forgia)

In honor of Banned Book Week, consider reading one of the following:
* “It's Perfectly Normal” for homosexuality, nudity, sex education, religious viewpoint, abortion and being unsuited to age group;
* “Forever” by Judy Blume for sexual content and offensive language;
* “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger for sexual content, offensive language and being unsuited to age group;
* “The Chocolate War” by Robert Cormier for sexual content and offensive language;
* “Whale Talk” by Chris Crutcher for racism and offensive language;
* “Detour for Emmy” by Marilyn Reynolds for sexual content;
* “What My Mother Doesn't Know” by Sonya Sones for sexual content and being unsuited to age group;
* Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey for anti-family content, being unsuited to age group and violence;
* “Crazy Lady!” by Jane Leslie Conly for offensive language; and
* “It's So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families” by Robie H. Harris for sex education and sexual content.

Off the list this year, but on for several years past, are the Alice series of books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain.

For more information on book challenges and censorship, please visit
And that's just in the US.

Amnesty International has another list for you:
The freedom within us is larger than the jails that we're in . . . Syrian poet Faraj Birqdar, a former prisoner of conscience
Aloys Kabura (m)
On trial for exercising his right to freedom of expression.

Shi Tao
prisoner of conscience
poet, journalist
Sentenced to ten years in prison for e-mailing text abroad.

Serkalem Fasil (f)
prisoner of conscience
She is among journalists and opposition leaders on trial for alleged treason.

Arzhang Davoodi (m)
prisoner of conscience
poet, documentary maker
He has been arrested, tortured, and sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

Stanislav Dmitrievskii (m)
on probation
Harassed for publishing articles calling for peaceful resolution of the Chechen conflict.

Mohammed Abbou (m)
prisoner of conscience
internet writer
Imprisoned, after an unfair trial, for critical articles denouncing torture.

Drop me a line and let me know what you read and what you thought of it.

Also, today is the first day of Ramadan and the day of Rosh Hoshana, both observations that include contemplation and conenction with community. Take a moment to wish your fellow Moslem and Jewish community members Ramadan karim and Shana Tovah.
I would like to suggest that you take five minutes to contemplate your connection to your community and the little things that we all can do to imrpove our local and global communities for our brothers and sisters and our children that come after. In keeping with the spirit of "eyes on the prize," I would hope that we look to a community in which faith respects faith, people respect people and that situations such as the starvation of the West Bank, the bombing of Lebanon, the denial of the Holocaust and the destruction of churches, mosques and synagogues are repudiated by all- that this is the "prize" to which we aspire.

And, then, my favorite, as a blogger against torture- please take a few minutes to contemplate how torture done in the name of national security demeans us all. It is a horror that sucks in the innocent, the guilty and those who believe they are committing a lesser evil to prevent a greater one. To paraphrase Shakespeare:

It is twiced cursed
It curses him who tortures
And him who is tortured.

No one survives unscathed, unblemish, or untouched.

If you are American, tell Bush and his Administration that you will not tolerate torture committed in your name.
If you are from somewhere else, if you can, tell your government that you will not tolerate collusion with the Americans on extraordinary rendition, black ops sites maintained on your national soil and torture committed by your government.

Other than that, have a great day!
I, Zazou, least of all, am not exempt from the mudane, and so am off to committ laundry before I raise the roof where we are going this evening.

As I say, You May Not Start The Revolution Without Me!

These are mighty times, people, mighty times.
Time To Make Some Noise!

Friday, September 22, 2006  

Holiday Time

This year Rosh Hoshana and Ramadan fall on September 23.

Shana Tovah

Ramadan Karim, Ramadan Mabrouk

have a wonderful and safe holiday season


Detainee 1009 goes home

Arrested in early 2003, Nasrat - or "detainee 1009" as he was officially known - always insisted he was innocent. But recently his hopes started to slide and he feared dying far from his home in the mountains of easternAfghanistan.

Haji Nasrat Khan, perhaps 78, perhaps 79, he is not sure, has finally been released from Guantanamo. This frail, almost blind, infirm man is one of those BushCO told us were the most dangerous, vicious evil doers on the face of the earth. Some in Guantanamo may be, but this is an example of what happens when paranoia guides a policy that cannot tell friend from for and has no intelligent mechanism in place for understanding the terrain (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq) in which it is operating.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006  

F- Alberto Gonzales, who stoops to snoop

"This is a national problem that requires federal legislation," Gonzales said during a Senate Banking Committee hearing. "We need to figure out a way to have ISPs retain data for a sufficient period of time that would allow us to go back and retrieve it."

I am serious. He needs to be f-ing disbarred.

It isn't about
politicians have been devoting an unprecedented amount of attention to the topic of children, pornography and the Internet: At least three committees are holding hearings on the subject this week alone.

One committee even enlisted an outside-the-Beltway celebrity, basketball icon Shaquille O'Neal. Shaq appeared on videotape before the Senate Commerce Committee, and said: "I've seen images that make me very sad, I've seen images that make me very mad...Yeah, I'm mad, very mad, senator." (O'Neal is a spokesman for the Safe Surfin' Foundation, a federally funded nonprofit group.)
(the rest)

No, no and again. NO.

I'm sorry, Shaq, you seem like such a nice guy, but you have been d-u-p-e-d-

Such a pretty Trojan Horse, too.
Child Pornography. Pedophiles. The perfect boogeyman. Who doesn't want to get rid of them?
Alberto Gonzales and G.W. Bush.
Thaaaast's right.

Why, you should ask, (and do ask) do they want your ISP? Did you do anything wrong? Probably not. Did you look at child porn? I doubt it. Do you know anyone who does? Probably not. Did you read this site? You did? Good for you! Did you read something critical of the government today? Did you buy a book that is banned somewhere on the internet? Did you post something not in English? Do you belong to the ACLU? Did you book a trip that requires a passport? Did you...

This is one more weasly way around the objections to the sneak and peek practices this Adminstration engages in. It's about barely legal ways to track the citzenry, to collect information for a future time.
How long do they want your IPS records to be held?
A long, long time that has no specified end.
Gee, sounds familiar, don't you think?
Kind of like the War on Terror and the detainees in Guantanamo Bay...


File this under

how frigging stupid do you think we are???????
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The United States military said on Wednesday it had found no evidence that the Iraqi government and its police were behind Shi'ite sectarian death squads murdering Sunnis in Baghdad.

This from Time in March:
The grisly discovery was horrible enough, the latest and perhaps most chilling sign that Iraq is descending further into butchery — and quite possibly civil war. But almost as disturbing is the growing evidence that the massacres and others like it are being tolerated and even abetted by Iraq's Shi'ite-dominated police forces, overseen by Iraq's Interior Minister, Bayan Jabr. On his watch, sectarian militias have swelled the ranks of the police units and, Sunnis charge, used their positions to carry out revenge killings against Sunnis. While allowing an Iranian-trained militia to take over the ministry, critics say, Jabr has authorized the targeted assassination of Sunni men and stymied investigations into Interior-run death squads. Despite numerous attempts to contact them, neither Jabr nor Interior Ministry spokesmen responded to requests for comment on this article.

And another report, posted on Green Left Weekly, this month has this to say:
A rare exception was the May 22 NYT, which reported that it was after DynCorp employee Jon Villanova “arrived in Basra last spring to help build a police force in southern Iraq when bodies began piling up. Twenty or more Iraqi civilians were dragged from their homes, shot in the head and dumped in the streets.

In June of 2005, an Iraqi correspondent of Knight Ridder, Yasser Salihee was killed with one bullit to the head, possibly by a US sniper, as he approached a checkpoint near his home. Salihee had made major contributions to an article published by Knight Ridder, alledging that dozens of people had been executed by death squads reminiscent of Operation Phoenix, which turned Vietnam, Nicaragua and other places in Latin America into a bloody abbatoir if you were on the wrong side of the US and the ruling group.

Dahr Jamail examines another player in the death squad scenario: one John Negroponte, whom death follows wherever he goes.

In a March 2006 article Jamail has this to say:
If we briefly review the political history of John Negroponte, we find a man who has had a career bent toward generating civilian death and widespread human rights abuses, and promoting sectarian and ethnic violence.

Remember when Negroponte was the US ambassador to Honduras, from 1981 to 1985? While there he earned the distinction of being accused of widespread human rights violations by the Honduras Commission on Human Rights while he worked as "a tough cold warrior who enthusiastically carried out President Ronald Reagan's strategy," according to cables sent between Negroponte and Washington during his tenure there.

The human rights violations carried out by Negroponte were described as "systematic."

These violations Negroponte oversaw in Honduras were carried out by operatives trained by the CIA. Records document his "special intelligence units," better known as "death squads," comprised of CIA-trained Honduran armed units which kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of people. Victims also included US missionaries (similar to Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq) who happened to witness many of the atrocities.

Negroponte had full knowledge of these activities, while he made sure US military aid to Honduras increased from $4 million to $77.4 million a year during his tenure, and the tiny country became so jammed with US soldiers it was dubbed the "USS Honduras."

It is also important to remember that Negroponte oversaw construction of the air base where Nicaraguan Contras were trained by the US. This air base, El Aguacate, was also used as a secret detention and torture center during his time in Honduras.

While Negroponte was the US ambassador to Honduras, civilian deaths sky-rocketed into the tens of thousands. During his first full year, the local newspapers carried no less than 318 stories of extra-judicial attacks by the military.

He has been described as an "old fashioned imperialist" and got his start during the Vietnam War in the CIA's Phoenix program, which assassinated some 40,000 Vietnamese "subversives."

Negroponte's death squads used electric shock and suffocation devices in interrogations, kept their prisoners naked, and when a prisoner was no longer useful he was brutally executed.

and this:
In the middle of Negroponte's tenure in Iraq, the Pentagon (read Donald Rumsfeld) openly considered using assassination and kidnapping teams there, led by the Special Forces.

Referred to not-so-subtly as "the Salvador option," the January 2005 rhetoric from the Pentagon publicized a proposal that would send Special Forces teams to "advise, support and possibly train" Iraqi "squads." Members of these squads would be hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga militia and Shia Badr militiamen used to target Sunni resistance fighters and their sympathizers.

In October 2005, US Army US Army Col James K Greer was hanging out with the Iraqi police and wrote this for the November-December issue of Military Review:

Operation Knockout demonstrated the necessity for and effectiveness of intelligence-based COIN [counterinsurgency] operations. The MOI Intelligence Office of the Operations Directorate spent several weeks developing the targets that would eventually be raided. Local informants confirmed potential targets, and the Intelligence Office produced one- to three-page papers detailing why each individual was targeted ... Special Police units developed a target folder for each individual. Surreptitious eyes-on provided last-minute updates to target sets.

An interesting assessment of US collusion with death squads is presented in this report from Global Research.

All of which leads one to wonder just whom Major General Joseph Peterson is trying to fool. Himself? Probably not. The US public? The US Congress? The World?

The world is far past believing a word the US military utters, including and, or and hi.

The US/BushCo are suffering from a lack of enthusiastic military personnel willing to redeploy ad infinitum. Reports are surfacing that the troops include white supremacy believers, and a number of soldiers are on trial in Camp Pendleton for murder of Iraqi civilians. The November elections are coming. Lebanon was a nasty mess, and Iran will be a catastrophe of unimaginable magnitude, should the US be so stupid as to a) re-instate the draft and b) take on the Iranians.

The suggestion, nay, bald statement, that the daily death toll has no US component, but is, instead, an inside job, seems to be designed to deflect blame for and investigation about US participation and US-based contractors such as DynCorp (see CorpWatch for their research on DynCorp, including their role in sex slave trafficking in Bosnia). BushCo is desperately trying to play both sides of the fence. On the one hand, they want to enlist the Shia-based government in Iraq as legitimate allies in the war on terror, and on the other, they want to neutralize Al-Sadr, should they decide to take on Iran.

In addition, it seems to me that this is also a bid to maintain a symbiotic presence within the Iraqi "government." If the situation can be painted as being the work of rogue elements, BushCo can try to make a case for "staying the course" and continuing to support the Iraqis currently in place, while the Iraqi police and military keep the country on pins and needles by arresting, torturing and killing foes, activists and, for good measure, ordinary people.

With all this going on, it is difficult for non-Iraqi, and, as we have seen from one of the above links- Iraqi- journalists to verify Peterson's statement, because reporting from Iraq is basically a crap-shoot outside the Green Zone. WHich seems to suit the US just fine for whom the "fog of war" provides adequate cover from which to obfuscate the on-going occupation.

Unfortunately, the smoke, the US military is blowing in conjunction with the on the ground (outside the Green Zone) disintergration in Iraq is hiding an accurate assessment of the situation, but if the pattern of reporting on the School of the Americas, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, etc, is any indication, the bodies are going to come floating up out of the muck soon.



There is never such a thing as too much justice, only too little. Argentine courts did the right thing and condemned Miguel Etchecolatz, 77, to a life sentence for his role in the disappearances, torture and killings in and around Buenos Aires during Argentina's "dirty war" (1976-1983). He was tried and convicted, finally, after Argentina scrapped the amnesty laws first put in place by Alfonsin after the fall of the generals.

Etchecolatz ran some of the most vicious detention centers in Argentina, including the horrific clandestine centers in La Plata, into which disappeared thousands. Etchecolatz is currently serving a life sentence for stealing the children of the disappeared. This was a frequent occurance, one which is discussed in the Argentine film, "The Official Story."

There is a cautionary message for the Bush Administration in the conviction of Etchecolatz, who had committed "crimes against humanity," according to the presiding judge. That messages is that there is no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity. Etchecolatz, in his defense, claims he was acting in a time of war.

The Bush Administration, by declaring the war on terror as endless and without borders, has established a wartime mentality in their minds. Like Etchecolatz, they hope to benefit from immunity, which they are currently trying to set up.

But BushCo needs to take heed.

Justice is not always swift, but eventually it will come, given the right circumstances.

And, if I am lucky, it will come in my lifetime. I never thought I would see someone from the Junta answer for what he had done, but I have.
(read the rest)
Viva Argentina

Tuesday, September 19, 2006  

Thai Coup

I learned of this first thing this morning from a Thai associate:

Tanks and heavily-armed troops -- many wearing yellow scarves to show their allegiance to Thailand's revered king -- surrounded Thaksin's office or stood guard at key points throughout the capital of Bangkok.

The military later announced a nationwide ban on gatherings of more than five people but insisted that it wanted to restore civilian power "as soon as possible."

While my associate regarded the coup as a good thing, and getting quite animated when talking about Thakson's corrupt practices and other behavior, it remains to be seen if:

a) the coup continues to be relatively bloodless
b) the army really has no intention to governe, as it says
c) interim elections can be held
(the rest)


Days of Peace

Notice of events in San Diego


The Declaration of Peace calls on Congress for a concrete and rapid plan for peace in Iraq! If this plan for peace is not created and activated by Congress by September 21, the International Day of Peace, Declaration signers across the U.S. will engage in nonviolent action in Washington, D.C. and in communities throughout the nation. In San Diego, a number of events are taking place. Please forward this information to your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and other lists to which you belong! PLEASE JOIN THESE EVENTS AND BE A PART OF SHOWING CONGRESS THAT THE PEOPLE WANT PEACE! And don't forget to sign the Declaration of Peace at

Wednesday, September 20: San Diego Veterans for Peace Silent Candlelight Vigil for all those killed, wounded or emotionally damaged in the senseless violence created by the Bush administration and US Congress. The vigil will be in front of the NBC TV station, 225 Broadway street in San Diego. The vigil will be from 4AM to 6:00AM. (Yes, A.M.)

Thursday, September 21: U.N. International Day of Peace: Join us in commemorating the

11th annual U.N. International Day of Peace, 7 p.m., Hall of Nations, House of Pacific Relations Balboa Park; Keynote Speaker: SDSU Professor Jonathan Graubart. Dr. Graubart will discuss the peace accord between Israel and Lebanon. The United Nations has dedicated this day to the practice of living in peace. By practice, we can learn to apply it to more days of our lives. The Hall of Nations of the House of Pacific Relations is located between the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and the United Nations Building. There is no charge for this event! Free parking behind the Organ Pavilion. Sponsors: House of Denmark, International Museum of Human Rights at San Diego, and United Nations Association, San Diego Chapter. Questions: Anne at 858.245.1677 or

Friday, September 22: Eveoke Dance Theatre presents Take it to the Table: A DANCE ACTION FOR PEACE: We Demand: • Choose to get war off our children’s bodies and off our earth and onto the diplomatic table where it belongs • Include women and mothers at the table • Treat Nuclear proliferation, war, and Global warming the same-- as equal threats to our children • Let us stand…and dance…together for peace Actions at Noon, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, and 7pm. Come anytime to bring the message of peace to downtown! Eveoke will perform to Ani Difranco’s new album throughout the day! Around Copley Symphony Hall (7th and B) to celebrate the voice and leadership of Ani Difranco, and to bring attention to her message. We are Eveoke Dance Theatre and our weaponry and voice are our bodies. We are working in cooperation with: •Elevate Dance Troupe •O.R.G.A.N.I.C. collective •Radio ACTIVE Radio •Insurgent Rebel Clown Army •Puppet Insurgency Info: Micah, or (619) 238-1153
Saturday, September 23: San Diego Veterans for Peace Arlington West--Balboa Park: Balboa Park - 6th Ave & Laurel St - 2500 6th Ave - 92049; 12 noon to 6 p.m. The number of killed in action in the Bush-Iraq war is fast approaching 2,600. While this nation has yet to establish a memorial of any kind for these patriots, Vets for Peace holds that every life is sacred and should be honored now. It takes over 3 hours to set up the crosses, and Vets for Peace graciously accept any help we can get from those who would like to volunteer to help us. You can send an e-mail to -- -- or you can just show up and introduce yourself to any of us. Our objective is to touch hearts with the terrible cost of war. Sponsored by San Diego Veterans for Peace,

Saturday and Sunday, September 23 & 24: Freeway Blogging: 6 pm: Meet at the ASD Activist Center (4246 Wightman St. SD, 1 block south of University Ave on Van Dyke) for an introduction to Freeway Blogging, and spend an hour or so, producing "freeway ready", easy to read from a speeding auto, pieces to attach to fences, rails, and posts. We will have ready to apply messages, cardboard, and glue-bring some enthusiasm, large nibbed magic markers if you want to make your own messages, and have a little gas in your car. If you have any questions, you may direct them to Jackie, at 619-247-5828.

Sunday, September 25: Bannering in OB: During the Declaration of Peace week, as part of a local and national wave of resistance against the debacle/tragedy of the Iraq war, please join OBGO while we banner (with creative signs & props, which we will provide). Sunset Cliffs at the Dusty Rhodes Park/Nimitz/8 intersection, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Bring yourself, your friends, families, peace flags, your own sign if you want (we'll bring the bagels!) More info: 619.222.1522

Monday, September 25: DEMAND PEACE DEMONSTRATION! The Iraq War will end when people refuse to support it! WE DEMAND PEACE! The Campaign for a Declaration of Peace ( has called on Congress for a concrete and rapid plan for peace in Iraq by September 21, yet the war continues. We call on people to take action, withdraw your consent from this war and support a comprehensive peace process! JOIN US TO DEMAND PEACE AND SAY "NO MORE WAR! OUT OF IRAQ NOW!" with bannering, street theater and a march. 4-7 p.m. (this event will be continuous; comewhen you can!) Horton Plaza (downtown on Broadway between 3rd and 4th Streets) Sponsored by the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice. For more info: 619-263-9301;;

Information about other and ongoing peace events is posted at

sdcpj mailing list

Monday, September 18, 2006  

Listen up

if you can at 9 am or try the web to the Angry Arab, AKA Asaad Abukhalil, who will be on KQED's Forum program (Tuesday). The topic: the Pope and the Muslim reactions. Should be interesting...

Sunday, September 17, 2006  

This is

Constitution Day
Yep, that's right. The documenat that lays out the blueprint for how American Democracy should be practiced.

Read articles I and IV very carefully, and ask yourself how we are doing . And then read Articles of the Constitution, especially Article VI, that makes things like the Geneva Conventions and the Vienna Convention (in particular article 36 on consular notification) "the rule of the land."

And ask yourself, is Bush's position on torture and detention within the scope of the US Constitution and its obligations under these conventions? Is Bush's interest in broad powers of surveillance acceptable under the Constitution and is his anger as the Legislative (ie the Congress) even reasonable since they are part and parcel of the three branches as laid out in the Constitution.

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