Monthly Archives: September, 2002

Dyer: Saddam, Like Evil the Cat, Is a Cartoon Villain, No Real Threat

Cartoon villains have no need of complex personalities or even motives; they’re just evil, that’s all. From the Joker in the old Batman comics down to Evil the Cat in ‘Earthworm Jim’, they seek to destroy our hero and conquer the universe simply because evil is their vocation. Saddam Hussein’s image in Western propaganda is a lot like that.

Looking Behind Ha’aretz’s Liberal Image, by Ran HaCohen
A new Israeli web-site, supported by two major settlers’ sites from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, is dedicated to the holy cause of “encouraging and supporting the employment of Jews only”. It is already listing dozens of Israeli firms that do not employ “Gentiles”. In the first months of the Intifada, Israeli racists initiated a boycott of Arab shops and restaurants; now, employment of Arabs is targeted. Let’s keep the inevitable historical analogies for another time; the point I want to make now is, that most of you haven’t heard of this web-site. Right?

The site is neither confidential nor is it my discovery: I simply read about it in the Hebrew Ha’aretz a few days ago (24.9.02). But most of you could not. Why? Because this item was left out of Haaretzdaily.com, the English version of Ha’aretz.

Professors want own names put on Mideast blacklist
The Web site lists “dossiers” for the eight university professors and teachers, including a graduate student instructor from UC Berkeley, and portrays them as preaching dangerous rhetoric to students. The site also calls them “hostile” to America. Run by Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia think tank, the site, www.campus-watch.org, also asks for people to snitch on Middle East lectures, classes and demonstrations.

Will the Iraqis welcome American soldiers?

The Iraqi people will welcome American soldiers and will cheer at the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime, many people who support a war against Iraq contend. After all, the Iraqis are suffering under Saddam’s rule. I suspect however, that the pro-war pundits base this belief on statements from certain elements in the CIA-sponsored Iraqi opposition living in Europe and the US. I guess they didn’t ask Iraqis living in Iraq for their opinion. [...]

[...] The American soldiers will need the Iraqi people to respect them, they will need to be able to communicate, to be able to convince the Iraqi people that they are not there as an occupying army, that they are there to safeguard the transition to a new government. They will need the locals’ respect even more when they want to effectively fight violent opposition from Saddam Hussein’s supporters, a struggle – possibly urban warfare – in which they need help from the locals. If the soldiers want to earn respect, and if they want to be able to communicate, they need brains and some kind of “cultural awareness” training. They won’t be respected by the locals if they don’t respect the locals’ culture. And to be able to respect the locals’ culture, they will have to study it first. And I must say, the current negative and intolerant stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims in the US and many other Western countries doesn’t make me optimistic. [...]

[...] there don’t seem to be enough brains in the US military to successfully overthrow a regime and safeguard the transition to a new and stable government in a culture that significantly differs from the “American culture”.

More…

Triggering abrupt climate change: can global warming cause an ice age?

Global warming could actually lead to a big chill in some parts of the world. If the atmosphere continues to warm, it could soon trigger a dramatic and abrupt cooling throughout the North Atlantic region—where, not incidentally, some 60 percent of the world’s economy is based.

When I say “dramatic,” I mean: Average winter temperatures could drop by 5 degrees Fahrenheit over much of the United States, and by 10 degrees in the northeastern United States and in Europe. That’s enough to send mountain glaciers advancing down from the Alps. To freeze rivers and harbors and bind North Atlantic shipping lanes in ice. To disrupt the operation of ground and air transportation. To cause energy needs to soar exponentially. To force wholesale changes in agricultural practices and fisheries. To change the way we feed our populations. In short, the world, and the world economy, would be drastically different.

U.S. Military Grows in Djibouti:

The five-month-old U.S. base in this former French colony just miles across the Red Sea from Yemen and within striking distance of Iraq is no longer a secret. But finding out what the Americans are up to is another matter.

Djibouti’s acting foreign minister, Mahamoud Ali, said American troops have been conducting large-scale exercises involving ground troops, helicopters, boats and AC-130 planes fitted with air-to-surface missiles.

Giant U.S. Air Force cargo planes swoop in and out of Djibouti’s small airport every day as camouflaged MH-53 helicopters with the word “Marines” barely visible on their shells ferry men and equipment to and from Le Monier.

Djiboutians say terrified sheep and goats tumble into ravines running from the roar of the helicopters sweeping overhead.

The logic of dictatorship: Bush demands workers sacrifice rights to “homeland security”:

According to Bush, collective bargaining rights are an impermissible obstruction to the actions required to defend the American people from the threat of future terrorist attacks. The executive branch—by which he means himself and his immediate coterie, not the hundreds of thousands of workers employed by the federal government—must have a free hand.

Of the 170,000 workers who would be employed by the new department, some 40,000 currently are union members with collective bargaining rights. The Bush administration initially sought the immediate elimination of these rights. It then settled for a provision that would maintain existing contracts for one year, after which the president would be free to impose new conditions on the workers by executive order.

ADL condemns New Jersey poet laureate for 9/11 ‘big lie’:

Baraka, who told the New York Times that reading the Internet had convinced him that Israel knew about Sept. 11 beforehand, said he had no intention of stepping down and defended his message.

“Obviously they knew about it, like Bush knew about,” Baraka told the newspaper, suggesting that letting the attack happen served the White House’s agenda in Afghanistan, Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.

Told he had offended people, Baraka replied: “I know. What can I do? I’m not perfect, alas.”

India planning pre-emptive strikes against Pakistan:

The government has picked up signals that India has begun putting in place a plan to carry out pre-emptive strikes against Pakistan in the eventuality of an American attack on Iraq, well-placed sources revealed to The News on Sunday.

The sources added that the government was taking the signals seriously and had ordered preparations to counter any such eventuality. “There have been several simultaneous developments in the past few days that indicate a sinister game plan by India against Pakistan,” a high-placed official disclosed on the condition of anonymity.

Free Trade Is Mythical Road to Prosperity:

After stinging criticism of the two organizations by Nobel Prize winner and former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz, a new book from a Cambridge University professor challenges the very bedrock of these institutions — that globalization and free trade are a sure-fire path to prosperity.

Embarrassing, perhaps. But not surprising, according to Chang’s recently-published book, “Kicking Away the Ladder,” which examines the economic policies that today’s industrialized countries used during their development.

“The title of the book comes from a passage from German economist Friedrich List,” Chang said, adding that the 19th century economist complained that British calls for free-trade policies were simply attempts to thwart growth and development in poorer nations such as Germany.

The British were trying to kick away the ladder — protectionist economic policies — by which they themselves had climbed up, Chang quotes List as saying. Two centuries later, Chang said List’s complaint can be leveled against the United States.

American officials of the 19th century were deeply skeptical of free trade and Chang argues that U.S. industries were literally the most protected in the world until 1945.

Newly established industries were aggressively coddled and promoted, making the United States an early believer in the “infant industry” argument — the same one many developing countries use today to impose limits on free trade and liberalization.

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