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Monthly Archives: July, 2002

Retired Army intelligence officer Ralph Peters tells The Christian Science Monitor that Bush’s belligerence and planning a sneak attack in plain public view serves a purpose: “You’re getting the Europeans and the Arabs accustomed to the idea” of war.

Mission, sadly, accomplished.

Gabrielle de Montmollin… Miss Milligan and La Belle Lucie, at the Dance. A brilliant new series of 30 photographs by one of our favourite fine art photographers, Gabrielle de Montmollin. From Art Is Hell. Works by Tony Calzetta and Gabrielle de Montmollin.

The United States Ousted the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Mary Robinson, the outgoing United Nations human rights commissioner, discusses the U.S. role in her leaving: “‘I am not somebody to just walk away,’ Robinson, a former president of Ireland, told Reuters in an interview in Geneva. She said she would have agreed to stay if asked, but added, ‘There seems to have been strong resistance from just one country.’

    “Robinson has had sharp differences with the Bush administration on several issues. They include her criticism of U.S. treatment of prisoners from Afghanistan being held at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; the idea of using U.S. military tribunals to try suspects on charges arising from the Sept. 11 attacks, and the lengthy U.S. detention without trial of some suspects.

    ‘I do appreciate that the United States was very traumatized by the attacks of Sept. 11 and geared itself for a situation of being at war,’ she told Reuters. ‘That meant that it did not put the same emphasis on human rights standards, and it was my job to say that human rights standards apply even more at times like that.'”

CIA Expert: Leaks of Classified Information Must Stop: “We’ve got to do whatever it takes – if it takes sending SWAT teams into journalists’ homes – to stop these leaks,” admonished James B. Bruce, vice chairman of the CIA’s Foreign Denial and Deception Committee.

Foreign Denial and Deception Committee? Even the name spooks.

Fundamentally unsound

Left Behind, the bestselling series of paranoid, pro-Israel end-time thrillers, may sound kooky, but America’s right-wing leaders really believe this stuff.

Israel is the key to the theology that dominates Left Behind, the chain of events that lead to the return of Christ depends on the existence of a Holy Land that is under catastrophic assault. No wonder the born-again lobby is obsessed with Israeli self-defense, but opposed to any peace plan.

Words yesterday from our unelected supreme genius on the subject of welfare reform, caught via the boxed brief on the WSJ’s front page. In strict accordance with the new e-business logic, the Journal charges for premium content; crap, such as reptilian James Taranto’s Best of the Web Today [sic], is free:

In other words, they’re [the Senate] saying we’ve got to spend a bunch more money in order to make us feel better and make things work better. We don’t need that.

Earlier in the “speech,” Bush, lifelong recipient of corporate welfare, gentlemen’s Cs, and hand-outs from his family’s plutocratic friends, noted the following:

Under the way they’re kind of writing it right now, out of the Senate Finance Committee, some people could spend their entire five years — there’s a five-year work requirement — on welfare, going to college. Now, that’s not my view of helping people become independent.

Outfitting welfare recipients with a college degree, of course, would be an unpardonable indulgence, what with workfare working so well already.

Powell gives human rights pledge
United States Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday tempered his anti-terrorism message with a pledge on human rights, as he continued a lightning six-nation tour of Southeast Asia in Malaysia.

Mr Powell said that he raised human rights issues in talks with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and senior government ministers.

“We did discuss human rights in each meeting. In the context of our counter-terrorism efforts I made the point to all my interlocutors that we still believe strongly in human rights and that in everything we do we have to be consistent with the universal standards of human rights,” he said.

Gush Shalom

The Renewed Israeli Occupation

2 million Palestinians under curfew for 39 days!



Victims of pre-conceptions

Israel’s political and military commanders want the Palestinians, including the parents of the children killed and wounded in Gaza, to believe that nobody took into account the possibility that a ton of explosives dropped from a plane into a crowded residential neighborhood would harm only the bomb’s target, no matter how deserving he was.

Those same politicians and generals mock those who believe in the possibility that a few hours before the bombing, a Palestinian declaration for a general cease-fire against Israeli civilians had been finalized. No wonder Israel’s propaganda effort is trying so hard to minimize the reports about a dramatic change in the thinking of the Palestinian leadership, the Tanzim, and even the Hamas. If they were to admit the process is serious, in the worst case it would be confirmation of Hosmi Mubarak’s conspiracy theory that the bomb was meant to disrupt the cease-fire. In the best case, it would be a slap in the face to the concept that there’s nobody to talk with on the Palestinian side about “painful concessions.” [more]


If there’s smoke, there’s no cease-fire

Israel’s propaganda machine worked overtime this week and proved its efficacy. The prime minister, the foreign minister, intelligence officers, officials and spokesmen changed overnight from a fight for a cease-fire to a fight against a cease-fire initiative. For many months, they told the entire world that it’s a waste of paper to reach a cease-fire with the Palestinian Authority, explaining that Tanzim and Fatah leaders are in control of the street, along with Hamas. They claimed that with one hand, PA Chairman Yasser Arafat signs condemnations of terror and with the other signs fat checks that he shoves into the pockets of the terrorists. Some backed their claims by saying that even Alistair Crooke, the head of the EU security team in the territories whose integrity and professionalism is unassailable, says that there’s no value to a cease-fire that doesn’t include at least the Tanzim.

But when a unilateral declaration for a cease-fire, an initiative that rose from the deepest of the grassroots of the Tanzim and Fatah, was presented to them, everyone made a mockery of it. They weren’t impressed by Arafat and his associates jumping on the bandwagon driven by Fatah’s Hussein a Sheikh and his associates, because Arafat et al fear being shoved off the road by the young leadership. After we heard, unceasingly, that everything is under Arafat’s thumb, Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer announced to the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the cease-fire was initiated by local leaders, and that they have no influence over the terrorists. [more]

Palace revolt by the Joint Chiefs?

Despite President Bush’s repeated bellicose statements about Iraq, many senior U.S. military officers contend that President Saddam Hussein poses no immediate threat and that the United States should continue its policy of containment rather than invade Iraq to force a change of leadership in Baghdad.

The senior officers’ position — that the risks of dropping a successful containment policy for a more aggressive military campaign are so great that it would be unwise to do so — was made clear in the course of several interviews with officials inside and outside the Pentagon.

For those who ask, what is the about-to-be-forced-out Colin Powell been doing, I would say the above is your answer. When Joint Chiefs are letting it be publicly known they think the White House is deeply stupid, this is serious dissension indeed. Lately, most criticism of Bush is coming from the Right, while mainstream Democratic politicos snooze – or try to out-hawk the White House hawks.

Revolt by the police?

The Fraternal Order of Police point-blank says they oppose a bizarre law passed by the House that makes any attempt to break a Federal law a punishable act, even it was only an attempt and didn’t result in a crime.

Malcolm McMillin, sheriff in Jackson, Miss., said, “I don’t think this country wants us to move closer to a police state. We need to work harder enforcing the laws we have.” The Fraternal Order of Police, a police labor group with 300,000 members, also opposes the change.

“It’s scary and it’s at variance with common sense,” Jim Pasco, the executive director, said. “It creates literally thousands of crimes.”

And where are protests by mainstream Democratic politicians on this grotesque law? When Democrats are apparently silent on huge civil liberty violations while police protest the possibility of us becoming a police state – well, the wheels are coming off the wagon, aren’t they?

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