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Monthly Archives: July, 2003

In The Darkness – a poem by Amir Gilboa

If they show me a stone and I say a stone they will say a stone.

If they show me a tree and I say a tree they will say a tree.

But if they show me blood and I say blood they will say paint.

Japanese Reporters In Iraq Say US Troops Roughed Them Up

BAGHDAD — A Japanese reporter was manhandled and temporarily detained by U.S. soldiers Sunday for filming without their permission in an area of Baghdad where they were conducting raids, another reporter who accompanied him said.

Japan Press reporter Kazutaka Sato, 47, was put in a hold, thrown to the ground and kicked, sustaining injuries to his face and hands, according to Mika Yamamoto, 36, a Japan Press reporter who was with Sato at the time of the incident.

She said the two had been in the Mansur district of Baghdad filming the damage caused to civilians by the U.S. military when they had their cameras confiscated.

Must be part of that “democracy-building” that’s going on over there . . .

The usual mangled speech but Bush is let off the hook in rare press conference


US media lets Bush off the hook but Bush is Bush so some interesting moments emerged: “The main lesson to emerge from the 50-minute session, the first since the invasion of Iraq four months ago, was how easily the chief executive evaded any serious damage – and how the reporters made it easy for him to do so.

The Bush on display was familiar: a bit macho, a bit matey and condescending. On occasion he flashed that unappealing smirk, or a spark of temper when a trusted aide was challenged. For a man who does not like being asked to explain himself, he looked relaxed and in command not only of his audience, but also (by his own unexacting standards) of the English language”

There were the usual odd breakdowns in brain-mouth co-ordination. “I will never assume the restraint and goodwill of dangerous enemies when lives of our citizens are at work,” he proclaimed during a chest-beating passage about pursuing the war against terrorism. On occasion he moved his hands silently groping for words. But the ones he finally came up with more or less did the job.

As usual, reporters did not follow up each other’s questions. At one point Mr Bush was pressed on the dodgy pre-war intelligence (and the even dodgier use made of it) about Saddam’s supposed weapons’ programmes. Predictably, he launched into an answer about how much better the world off was without Saddam Hussein.

The reporter pressed him but Mr Bush cut him off, calling the next question – which was about gay marriage. The President, as only to be expected, didn’t think it was a good idea. The chance to pin him down was gone.

From then on it was downhill all the way. We saw the truculent Bush (“Since I’m in charge of the war on terror, we won’t reveal source and methods,” he said of his refusal to declassify 28 pages of the congressional report on the 11 September attacks). Then there was the carelessly dismissive Bush (“I didn’t expect Thomas Jefferson to emerge in Iraq in a 90-day period,” he said of the shambles there).

Why the US needs the Taliban

Back to square one. This article from Asia Times speculates that Karzai, interim governor of Afghanistan is on his way out, because the US would prefer to see a Taliban-friendly government in the country.

Telegraph | News | Palestinian olive trees sold to rich Israelis

The illegal trade in olive trees has flourished as Israeli contractors, supported by armed guards, clear Palestinian agricultural land where an 80-mile electronic fence is being built to seal off the West Bank.

Thousands of olive trees have been dug up to make way for the 150-ft wide barrier and security zone. Its route usually passes inside Palestinian territory, not along the old pre-1967 border, and thousands of Palestinian farmers say their livelihood is being taken away.

The olive tree is one of the main symbols of Palestine, and one of the region’s most enduring and characteristic natural features

Sale of the olive trees emerged after the owner of a contracting company offered two reporters from a popular Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, 100 large olive trees for £150 each.

The reporters found one enormous tree, said to be 600 years old, on sale at an Israeli plant nursery for £3,500. They said the trade was conducted with the complicity of an official in the civil administration, the Israeli military government in the occupied territories.

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