Saturday, December 4, 2004

Christian Killers?

Here's a libertarian Christian's take on the Iraq war: Christian Killers?, by Laurence M. Vance. Something to ponder, regardless of ideology or religious persuasion.

The GOP's values: Virulently racist to the core

Via Atrios this gem by some goon named Samuel Francis

But that wasn’t the point, was it? The point was not just to hurl a pie in the face of morals and good taste but also of white racial and cultural identity. The message of the ad was that white women are eager to have sex with black men, that they should be eager, and that black men should take them up on it.

So far only one voice has mentioned the ad’s racial meaning and denounced its “insensitivity“ (to blacks)—that of black Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy.

Blacks are permitted to notice race. Whites aren’t.

But the ad’s message also was that interracial sex is normal and legitimate, a fairly radical concept for both the dominant media as well as its audience.

Nevertheless, for decades, interracial couples of different sexes have been sneaked into advertising, movies and television series, and almost certainly not because of popular demand from either race. The Owens-Sheridan match is only the most notorious to date.

In the minds of those who produced the ad, race is at least as important as the moral and aesthetic norms their ad subverts.

To them, the race as well as the religion, the morality, and the culture of the host society are all equally hostile and oppressive forces that need to be discredited, debunked and destroyed.

If the destruction can’t happen at the polls or through the courts, they can always use the long march through the culture that control of the mass media allows.

Breaking down the sexual barriers between the races is a major weapon of cultural destruction because it means the dissolution of the cultural boundaries that define breeding and the family and, ultimately, the transmission and survival of the culture itself.

This is the same mentality that drove the Christian Coalition to oppose an Alabama's Initiative 2 that would have repealed parts of Alabama's constitution regarding racial segregation of its public schools. This is the same mentality that wants to bring back Jim Crow, keep all those uppity negroes in their supposed "place" in the back of hte bus, and bring about a return to separate but unequal. Phrases like "law and order" and "family values" are merely code used to keep their racial hatred from the light of truth. Don't be a sucker. I suppose that more of these goons feel emboldened to tell us what they have really believed all along. Sadly, what passes for mainstream media these days is more than willing to help to transmit their hatred.

Photos of Junior Caligula's Visit to Canada

via The Nattering Nabob. The link to the photos comes from The Denver Voice. Some pictorial evidence for your pleasure (there are many more if you click the link):

Why I Blog

What attracted me to blogging was the same thing that attracted me to zines back in the 1980s - the possibility of circumventing mainstream corporate media in order to get a message out. For a while I contributed some poems that fit in with the anarchist vibe of a friend's zine, Pressure; I also began to create and distribute various clip-art flyers and leaflets protesting the presence of ROTC on my college campus. These were all small-circulation efforts that were produced and distributed at irregular intervals. The purpose was basically to keep an idea alive - to let it incubate and spread much as a virus does. I see blogging in much the same way. I'm not particularly concerned about being one of the big names in blogging. I'm definitely not in it for the money, nor do I care to be well-known - in many senses I see an advantage to being just under the radar. I simply dig the possibilities of keeping some ideas alive, to let them spread and incubate, and to do so at my whim. A big advantage for me is the sheer volume of information that I can share electronically that was practically impossible twenty years ago: doing zines and leaflets on the underground tip, one faced practical limits of paper and copy costs, along with postage, etc. I also dig being able to share information on a more immediate basis. In the old days, by the time a zine got put together and distributed, whatever sparked the original writings was usually weeks old; that's no longer a problem.

Like my friend's old zine Pressure, this blog will cost you nothing but time, if you have it. If you find something of use, pass it on and help keep some progressive ideas alive.

Here's an article forwarded to me from Daniel Patrick Welch

originally appearing in The Free Press:

In Ohio 2004, it's the People versus the Party of Hate & Terror and the Party of Duck and Run...but will the Democrats now stand and fight?

by Harvey Wasserman & Bob Fitrakis

December 1, 2004

As the Reverend Jesse Jackson rocked a cheering crowd here in Columbus Sunday, a national movement was born. Shouts of "you got that right!" rang through the hall as Jackson preached that what Karl Rove and George Bush and Kenneth Blackwell are doing to the 2004 vote in Ohio would not fly in Iraq or Ukraine or Afghanistan.

Jackson plans to return to Columbus on Thursday as his organization Rainbow/PUSH files a legal challenge to overturn Ohio's election results. On Saturday, December 4, Jackson will join voter rights advocates for a symposium at Columbus' Africentric School on the near east side. Earlier in the day, demonstrators will gather at the Ohio Statehouse to protest voter suppression and irregularities that occurred on November 2.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has finally joined a legal challenge to the 2004 Ohio vote.

Central Ohio, America's leading test market, the quintessential home of college football and Wendy's hamburgers, has become Ground Zero in the struggle of the century over a vote count that has not yet been certified. More and more commentators are drawing parallels between Ohio and Ukraine where "losing" candidates received 53% and 54% respectively, in exit polls.

Word has spread that the election of 2004 is being stolen, starting here. Withholding of ballots and voting machines, rigging of electronic equipment, harassment, intimidation, official misinformation and a recount stonewall are just some of the GOP dirty tricks and corruption that define the 2004 Ohio vote. When Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell runs an election while co-chairing the Ohio Bush campaign, it's not hard to guess how a vote count will go -- except that it's not yet over.

Apathy was not an issue here. Thousands of activists and ordinary citizens desperate to rid the nation of George W. Bush poured into Ohio with the uniformly expressed intent of saving our democracy. Countless streets throughout the state were canvassed over and over and over again. Phone callers overran their lists. Election day volunteers stood around with nothing to do because there were so many of them.

But the Bush/Rove fix was in. And exactly how it was done is becoming clear thanks to grassroots groups like the Election Protection Coalition, the League of Pissed-Off Voters, CommonCause and many more.

Along with theft and deception, this year's attempted replay of Bush coup 2000 has entrenched the GOP's official credentials as the party of Hate & Terror. As the most catastrophic domestic regime since Herbert Hoover, the Rovian machine had just three cards to play.

First, Karl Rove fired up the GOP hate base with gay marriage. In Ohio, that was the Issue One campaign to amend the state Constitution to outlaw gay marriage and domestic partnerships. Blackwell also co-chaired this campaign.

In 1988 Bush One ran against Willie Horton, a black man freed from prison under Democratic nominee Gov. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts. Choreographed by Lee Atwater, Rove's gutter guru, Bush pushed the race hate button for all it was worth. This year, "Protection of marriage" became the code word for GOP anti-gay bigotry. New target, same game.

Second, Rove used the terror bogey, the bedrock of all totalitarian campaigns. With bin Laden's "October Surprise" GOP campaign pitch the Friday before the vote, Rove and Osama made Bush a cartoon of simple-minded "steady strength." The 9/11 attacks happened on Bush's watch; but Rove made terror this year's Reichstag fire for a violent, authoritarian regime.

Third, Rove made sure there was a war on. Bush attacked Iraq for its oil, his Daddy karma, and more. But Rove is a student of history who knows that no sitting president has been ousted during a war. It could have been Korea or Grenada, Iran or Grand Fenwick. But when Bush mouthed the words "war president" he was playing Rove's trump card.

The GOP's other ace was John Kerry, whose vote for the Iraq war left him open to Rove's flip flop attacks. On Iraq, the economy, the ecology and more, Bush has been merely a flop.

Kerry's tainted Iraq votes polluted his war record and his standing as an alternative to endless war. Yet with stellar debate performances and a decent final month, Kerry may have actually carried the national vote -- if there were a fair count.

But with ballots still being bitterly contested in Ohio, Florida and elsewhere, Kerry conceded too soon. His plea for "national healing" raised gales of laughter at Fox and Rove's White House.

Kerry seemed to be walking away from the tens of millions of good-hearted Democrats and democrats who pinned their hopes on him to end the Bush nightmare.

It was a terrible moment for grassroots organizers who mobilized thousands of inner city and other voters for Kerry, only to see them turned away at the polls or their ballots shredded with every Rovian dirty trick imaginable. In a horrific display of contempt for the democratic process and for people of color, similar things were done in Florida and, to varying degrees, in every other swing state.

In the past weeks, it's become abundantly clear that a fair vote count in Ohio would have given Kerry the presidency. Having pledged to "make every vote count," Kerry had a solemn obligation to guarantee just that.

Tens of thousands of people came out in the rain, stood in line up to eleven hours, and were utterly trashed by the GOP machine. Kerry had a sacred duty to honor those people by not conceding until every one of those cases had been heard and every one of those instances made part of the national record. His concession gave GOP bloviators open season to proclaim victory for a bigot-based theocracy based on endless war, total terror and a terminal assault on American democracy.

But grassroots groups have fought back with citizen hearings to get the stories of disenfranchised voters certified. We've organized, campaigned and publicized until it's become clear that this story will not go away.

Independent citizen groups, including the Green and Libertarian Parties, CommonCause, and others are kicking in to organize and train the hundreds of volunteers it will take to monitor the re-count in Ohio's 88 counties.

By fighting tooth and nail against a fair recount, Ken Blackwell is leading the GOP machine in admitting it has something to hide. It is supremely illogical to scorn "conspiracy theorists" who question the November 2 vote count while desperately stonewalling an open accounting.

We are not backing down. What's at stake here is not just a single presidential election, but the right of all Americans to vote and to have those votes counted in all future elections.

And, finally, attorneys representing the Kerry-Edwards campaign have filed papers in Delaware County, Ohio, to intervene in legal proceedings in defense of Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb, Libertarian Michael Badnarik and their legal counsel, the National Voting Rights Institute, who are seeking a recount of all votes cast for president in the Ohio 2004 general election.

The grassroots will not surrender to the Party of Hate, Terror and Shredded Ballots. As in Ukraine, the whole world is starting to watch.

This election is not over.


Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis are co-authors of the upcoming ANOTHER STOLEN ELECTION: VOICES OF THE DISENFRANCHED, 2004, from, of which they are senior editor and publisher. Wasserman is lead plaintiff in a FOIA lawsuit demanding access to all Ohio voting machines; Dr. Fitrakis, an attorney, convened and moderated central Ohio hearings that took scores of affidavits from Ohioans denied their right to vote.

Daniel Patrick Welch also has a bunch of Illegitimate Son of a Bush bumperstickers that he's wanting to put to good use. Click the link and scroll down to the bottom for more details.

Thursday, December 2, 2004

Whitewashing Blood-Stained Walls

IRAQ: Covering up US war crimes

I am reading William Shirer's Berlin Diary, a journalist's account of Nazi political propaganda during the 1930s, as I watch the US “news” reports of the violent assault on Fallujah.

The US mass media “reports”, the style, content and especially the language, echo their Nazi predecessors of 70 years ago to an uncanny degree. Coincidence? Of course! In both instances we have imperialist armies conquering countries, levelling cities and slaughtering civilians — and the mass media, private in form, state appendages in practice, disseminate the most outrageous lies, in defense and praise of the conquering “storm troopers” — call them SS or marines.

Both in Nazi Germany and contemporary US, we are told by the mass media that the invading armies are “freeing the country” of “foreign fighters” and “armed terrorists”, who are preventing “the people” from going about their everyday lives. Yet we know that of the 1000 prisoners there are only four foreigners (three Iranians and one Arab); Iraqi hospitals report less than 10% of casualties are foreign fighters. In other words, over 90% of the fighters are Iraqis — most of whom were born, educated and raised families in the cities in which they are fighting.

Like the Nazi media, the major US radio and TV networks only report what they call “military casualties” — failing to report the civilians killed since the war started and the thousands of women and children killed and wounded since the assault on Fallujah began.

Like in Nazi Germany, the US mass media feature unconfirmed reports by the US military of the bloody murders, beheadings and kidnappings “by the foreign terrorists”. The unconditional support of Nazi/US mass media for the killing fields is best captured in their reports of the massive bombing of densely populated city districts. For the US network NBC, the dropping of 500-pound bombs in the city of Fallujah is described as targeting an “insurgent tunnel network in the city”. And the houses, markets, stores — the mothers and children above those tunnels — vaporised into “pink mist”, their existence never acknowledged by the leading reporters and broadcasters.


Why do Washington and the mass media resort to gross, systematic lying and euphemisms? Basically to reinforce mass support at home for mass murder in Iraq. The mass media fabricates a web of lies to secure a gloss of legitimacy for totalitarian methods in order that the US armed forces can continue to destroy cities with impunity.

The technique perfected by Goebbels in Germany and practiced in the US is to repeat lies and euphemisms until they become accepted “truths”, and embedded in everyday language. The mass media by effectively routinising a common language implicates the listeners. The tactical concerns of the generals, the commanders directing the slaughter (pacification), and the soldiers murdering civilians are explained (and consumed by the millions listening and watching) by the unchallenged authorities to the compliant journalists and famous news anchors.


...the mass propaganda media practise several techniques, which assuage the “conscience” of US soldiers and civilians. One technique is “role reversal” to attribute the crimes of the invading force to the victims: It is not the soldiers who cause destruction of cities and murder, but the Iraqi families who 'protect the terrorists' and “bring upon themselves the savage bombardment”.

The second technique is to only report US casualties from “terrorist bombs” — to omit any mention of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed by US bombs and artillery. Both Nazi and US propaganda glorify the “heroism”, “success” of their elite forces (the SS and the Marines) — in killing “terrorists” or “insurgents” — every dead civilian is counted as a “suspected terrorist sympathiser”.

The US and German military have declared every civilian building a “storehouse” or “hiding place” for “terrorists'—hence the absolutely total disregard of all the Geneva laws of warfare. The US and Nazi practice of 'total war' in which whole communities, neighbourhoods and entire cities are collectively guilty of shielding 'wanted terrorists'—is of course the standard operating military procedure of the Israeli government.


Sunday morning: November 14. Today Fallujah is being raped and razed, captured. Wounded prisoners are shot in the mosques. In New York, the mega-malls are crowded with shoppers.

Sunday afternoon: the Marines have blocked food, water and medicine from entering Fallujah. Throughout the US millions of men sit in front of the television watching football.

Shirer reported that, while the Nazis invaded and ravaged Belgium and bombed Rotterdam, in Berlin the cafes were full, the symphony played and people walked their dogs in the park on sunny Sunday afternoons.

Yes, there are differences between Shirer's account of Nazi propaganda in defense of the conquest of Europe and the US media's apology for the invasion of Iraq and Israel's slaughter of the Palestinians: One is committed in the name of the Fuehrer and the Fatherland, the other in the name of God and Democracy. Go tell that to the bloated corpses gnawed by dogs in the ruins of Fallujah.

An oral history of the bombing of Guernica

What follows is a passage from Ronald Fraser's excellent oral history of the Spanish Civil War, Blood of Spain: The Experience of Civil War 1936-1939, published in 1979 and released in paperback by Penguin Books. The account of the bombing of Guernica, which became a symbol of fascist terror, appears on pages 398-401:

Amatxu, the church bells are ringing,” Ignacia OZAMIZ’s three-year-old son kept saying as, from the early morning, the bells tolled out warnings of enemy planes in the vicinity. The front was barely 20 km to the east at Marquina as the crow flies. Four months pregnant, she had put her child – the youngest of four – to bed after lunch when her husband, a local blacksmith, sent her a message to go down to the shelter. People had seen a big plane – the abuelo – over the mountains.

Until the past week, she thought, with the exception of food shortages and the dead being brought from the front for burial, the war had hardly affected Guernica. Six months before, José Antonio Aguirre, newly elected head of Euzkadi’s autonomous government, had knelt under its famous oak tree, where in the past Spanish monarchs or their representatives had sworn to respect the Basque fueros (
note: fueros are the rights of self-government in Basque country and Navarro). Guernica, a town of 6,000 inhabitants lying between the hills 30 km to the east of Bilbao, was a symbol of liberty and tradition to the Basques. In a few hours it became the universal symbol of fascist terror.

Monday, 26 April was market day. The livestock market had been suspended for the duration of the war, but the ordinary market, Ignacia OZAMIZ recalled, continued as usual. Father Dionisio AJANGUIZ was on his way to his home town from his parish of Aulestia, halfway to Marquina, to spend the afternoon chatting and playing cards with fellow priests. One of them, whose mother that very morning had offered them a glass of cognac each not to go to Guernica, was accompanying them. They had drunk the cognac and set out. He had taken no heed even of his own brother’s admonitions; Father José AXUNGUIZ had been warning his parishioners at Marquina not to continue the traditional practice of going to Guernica on market day.

It was the outing for the youth; buses brought people from as far away as Lequeito on the coast. The people lacked war training. I blame the Basque authorities. They shouldn’t have allowed the practice to continue and were responsible for a great number of deaths. Those of us who lived virtually on the front, as in Marquina, had learnt the importance of building good shelters. But in Guernica they hadn’t taken adequate precautions; the shelters were rudimentary. I kept telling my mother: “Build a good one.” “Poor child, poor child,” was all she could say…

As Father Dionisio AJANGUIZ walked into Guernica, a solitary Heinkel III flew over and dropped half a dozen bombs. “It was the people’s salvation; they ran from their houses to the shelters.” He was still half a kilometer from the centre when he saw nine planes appear, flying low, from the direction of the sea. He threw himself on the ground as the first bombs fell.

Hearing the explosions, Ignacia OZAMIZ, who had taken her husband’s advice and gone to the shelter next to her house, thought the end had come. So did others.

“Ignacia, where have we come to die?” the church organist from my home village said. “Here ,” I replied. The shelter was packed: 150 people at least between neighbors and people who had come for the market. The bombs had crashed on the near-by hospital, killing twenty-five children and two nuns. Debris fell on the shelter, and we thought it had been hit. It was little more than a roof of sandbags, narrow and short, in the patio next to our house. Soon it was filled with smoke and dust. “Amatxu, take me out,” my son cried in Basque. “I can’t breathe…”

Her eldest daughter, Manolita AGUIRRE, had gone with girlfriends to the plain that began at the edge of the town. There had been no school that day. As they were playing, they saw the planes coming. Workers shouted at them to get into the shelter close by the small-arms factory. As they ran in they heard the tat-tat-tat of the fighters’ machine guns. An old man pulled out a religious medallion and gave it to her to kiss. “Pray, child, pray, the planes are bombing us…”

The fighters dived down and machine-gunned people trying to flee across the plain. The bombers were flying so low you could see the crewmen, recalled Father Dionisio AJANGUIZ. It was a magnificent clear April evening after a showery morning…

Between the waves of bombers, the priest scrambled to look for a safer place than the road. Amidst the crash of bombs, Juana SANGRONIZ hoped she could die without seeing the cause of death. When she ran into the shelter people had shouted, “Don’t let her in.” She was a Carlist (
note: the Carlist movement was an extreme right-wing movement of the period), had been arrested with a number of others and kept in gaol for three weeks in Bilbao. She hadn’t been out of her home, not even to go to mass, since her release, unable to face the indignity of being seen under guard like the other women. But her novio had dragged her into a house near the church of Santa María where people were sheltering. She was sure she was going to die. She heard the bombs whistle, the frightening explosions. People cried that it was dangerous to keep the mouth shut.

One had to put a stick or something between one’s teeth. My novio (
note: boyfriend) tried, but I kept telling him, “Leave me in peace.” He was a strong man, but he was trembling with fear…

The house on one side of the shelter, and then Ignacia OZAMIZ’s house on the other, began to burn. The smoke poured into the shelter. Someone drove a cow in. It started to shriek.

All the smoke came in with it. We had to keep our mouths shut, we could hardly see each other, and the smell was awful, remembered her seven-year-old daughter KONI. I didn’t think of dying, I was too young perhaps. But I thought we were going to suffocate.

People started to panic, recalled Ignacia OZAMIZ. “The house is on fire, we’re going to be burnt alive,” they screamed. Gudaris (
note: Basque Nationalist Soldiers) guarding the shelter let no one leave. One man tried to force his way out with his young child. “I don’t care if they kill me, I can’t stand it here.” He was pushed back. “Keep calm,” the soldiers shouted…

The town was beginning to burn, the wooden rafters catching alight. After the high explosive bombs, successive waves of planes dropped incendiaries.

From the shelter of an iron-ore bore hole about a kilometer from the town, Father Dionisio AJANGUIZ saw the roofs catch alight. Even at that distance he found breathing difficult because of the smoke. He feared that at least half the town’s population must have been killed. “And that’s what would have happened if they had dropped the incendiaries earlier instead of towards the end”…

A pall of smoke rose into the sky. Between waves of bombers, Juan Manuel EPALZA, now serving in the war industries’ chemical section, who by chance was lunching at a factory on the outskirts of town, came out of an air raid shelter to look. Thoughts of Nero crossed his mind. The bombing was of a different intensity to any that he had suffered.

After some three hours it ended. As Ignacia OZAMIZ and her two children emerged from the shelter, she saw the town was alight. “Don’t cry,” her husband consoled her. “We’ve got our hands, we’re unharmed, alive.” But she could think only of her eldest daughter and her mother, neither of whom had been in the shelter with her. Her house in Asilo Calzado was burning from the roof. Her husband rushed in to rescue papers and money.

“Oh, if only you’d managed to save my sewing machine,” I said. He went back in. As he came down with the machine, he found the staircase alight. He threw the machine out of the window, only just managing to jump out himself. “Woman, I got your machine but it nearly cost me my life.” “Why did you go up?” “To do you a pleasure.” The machine broke in its fall on the air raid shelter we’d just left, but I picked up the head, and I’ve got it still…

As her eldest daughter, Manolita, came out of the shelter on the edge of town, where none of the industrial plants, including the small arms factory, had been hit – a wave of heat struck her face. She told a man that she had to join her parents who were in the blazing ruins she could see beyond the railway station. Together, they skirted the town along the railway track to reach the main road. A gudari carried her on his shoulders to reach her burning house, one of the first on the street into the centre.

Everywhere people were fleeing. The water main had been broken in the raid, and there was little to be done to put out the fire. Juana SANGRONIZ was led out of the blaze by her novio. Crying uncontrollably, she refused to look back at the burning town. Ignacia OZAMIZ’s husband ran to rescue his crippled mother; he arrived too late. She and three other old women had been burnt alive. Leaving their house burning, the family made their way out of the town by a path known as El Agua Corriente; the main street through the centre was impassable. As they reached the higher part, they saw the area around the oak tree had not been hit. That night, given shelter outside town at the home of the Count of Arana, one of whose sons her husband had managed earlier to get released from the gaol, she had a miscarriage. Her husband took her to a relative’s farm. She left her four children with her mother. Little did she think it would be three years before she saw them again.

As Fraser footnotes at the end of the passage, Franco's fascist regime would blame the conflagration in Guernica on the Basque militia - a claim that was debunked. The fascists, with the aid of Hitler and Musolini were behind the bombing and burning of Guernica - a fact that even the right-wing in Guernica (such as the Carlists) would acknowledge years later.

I wonder what kind of oral histories we'll get from Fallujah.


Picture via Truthout. Click the pic for the rest of the story.

More on the Guernica-Fallujah Connection

From Guernica to Fallujah

A clip:

The Fallujah offensive has virtually disappeared from the news cycle. But history - if written by Iraqis - may well enshrine it as the new Guernica. Paraphrasing Jean-Paul Sartre memorably writing about the Algerian War (1956-62), after Fallujah no two Americans shall meet without a corpse lying between them: the up to 500,000 victims of the sanctions in the 1990s, according to United Nations experts; the up to 100,000 victims since the beginning of the invasion of Iraq, according to the British medical paper The Lancet; and at least 6,000 victims, and counting, in Fallujah, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent.

The new Guernica

Fallujah is the new Guernica. The residents of the Basque capital in 1937 were resisting the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. Fallujah in 2004 was resisting the dictator Iyad Allawi, the US-installed interim premier. Franco asked Nazi Germany - which supported him - to bomb Guernica, just as Allawi "asked" the Pentagon to bomb Fallujah. Guernica had no air force and no anti-aircraft guns to defend itself - just like Fallujah. In Guernica - as in Fallujah - there was no distinction between civilians and guerrillas: the order was to "kill them all". The Nazis shouted "Viva la muerte!" ("Long live death") along with their fascist Spanish counterparts before bombing Guernica.

Marine commanders said on the record that Fallujah was the house of Satan. Franco denied the Guernica massacre and blamed the local population - just as Allawi and the Pentagon deny any civilian deaths and insist "insurgents" are guilty: after all, they dared to defend their own city, hiding inside their hundreds of formerly intact mosques.

Fallujah has been reduced to rubble, and thousands of civilians have died. But Asia Times Online sources in Baghdad confirm that according to residents, the southern - and larger - part of Fallujah is still controlled by the resistance; the Americans control only the north and some eastern spots. Small groups made up of five to 20 mujahideen still conduct hit-and-run attacks. More than 15,000 refugee families may be living in sordid makeshift shelters around Fallujah - not to mention the upwards of 200,000 residents who escaped the city before it was leveled.

If you voted for Bu$hCo,

you voted for more war casualties and for torture, including the nomination of one of the war criminals to the post of Attorney General. This is your legacy:

I will neither forgive nor forget.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Human Rights American Style - Depleted Uranium

Poisonous Legacy

The US has been using depleted uranium in its war against Iraq. The halflife of depleted uranium is 4.5 billion years. The rate of deformities in newborns has skyrocketed in Iraq. Since the same weapons were also used in Kosovo and the first Gulf War as well, it's no surprise that cancer rates have also gone up not only for veterans but also those who live in the areas affected. Our government is in no position morally to demand that other nations disarm their WMDs - our nation not only has them but uses them. The birds will come home to roost.

Please note that the images in the video are very graphic. Your children probably shouldn't see this. If you were/are a supporter of Bu$hCo's war and find these images to uncomfortable, I say tough - you need your noses rubbed in the stinking mess you and your president have made. I've long ago run out of any sympathy.

Props to Atrios and filkertom.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Psychology Monday Nite

Liar's brain always speaks the truth

Brain scans show that the brains of people who are lying look very different from those of people who are telling the truth, US researchers have said.

The study, using functional magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI, not only sheds light on what goes on when people lie but may also provide new technology for lie-detecting, the researchers said on Monday.

"There may be unique areas in the brain involved in deception that can be measured with fMRI," said Dr Scott Faro, director of the Functional Brain Imaging Centre at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

"There may be unique areas in the brain involved in truth-telling," Faro added at a news conference.

Faro and colleagues tested 10 volunteers. Six of them were asked to shoot a toy gun and then lie and say they didn't do it. Three others who watched told the truth about what happened. One volunteer dropped out of the study.


While giving their "testimony," the volunteers were hooked up both to a conventional polygraph and also had their brain activity imaged using fMRI, which used a strong magnet to provide a real-time picture of brain activity.

There were clear differences between the liars and the truth-tellers, Faro's team told a meeting in Chicago of the Radiological Society of North America.

"We found a total of seven areas of activation in the deception (group)," he said. "We found four areas of activity in the truth-telling arm."

More effort to lie

Overall, it seemed to take more brain effort to tell the lie than to tell the truth, Faro found.

Lying caused activity in the frontal part of the brain - the medial inferior and pre-central areas, as well as the hippocampus and middle temporal regions and the limbic areas. Some of these are involved in emotional responses, Faro said.

During a truthful response, the fMRI showed activation of parts of the brain's frontal lobe, temporal lobe and cingulate gyrus.

Faro said the study was small and limited. Volunteers were not asked to try especially hard to deceive the equipment, he said - noting that it has been documented that some people can fool a polygraph using various techniques.

Using fMRI as a lie detector is expensive, but it may be worthwhile in some cases - such as trying to question a terrorist.

We humans on an everyday face-to-face level are terrible at detecting lies. Fortunately, researchers in the neurosciences are becoming increasingly adept at determining the physiological changes that occur when people lie. Now if we could only hook up our politicians to these fMRIs whenever they campaign, or testify, etc...

For Your Consideration

Branding the GOP As The Party Of Confederate Reactionairies

US Christians Face Judgment by Christ - a sermon

Napalm Death

No...not the band...this, brought to you by Bu$hCo ("Providing all your compassionate conservative mass extermination and torture needs for the Holiday Season.").

US troops are secretly using outlawed napalm gas to wipe out remaining insurgents in and around Fallujah.

News that President George W. Bush has sanctioned the use of napalm, a deadly cocktail of polystyrene and jet fuel banned by the United Nations in 1980, will stun governments around the world.

And last night Tony Blair was dragged into the row as furious Labour MPs demanded he face the Commons over it. Reports claim that innocent civilians have died in napalm attacks, which turn victims into human fireballs as the gel bonds flames to flesh.

Outraged critics have also demanded that Mr Blair threatens to withdraw British troops from Iraq unless the US abandons one of the world's most reviled weapons. Halifax Labour MP Alice Mahon said: "I am calling on Mr Blair to make an emergency statement to the Commons to explain why this is happening. It begs the question: 'Did we know about this hideous weapon's use in Iraq?'"

Since the American assault on Fallujah there have been reports of "melted" corpses, which appeared to have napalm injuries.

Last August the US was forced to admit using the gas in Iraq.

"But, your Honor, ours were compassioniate war crimes."


I've been trying to update my links and blogroll over the last few days, so for those who check out my humble little blog regularly should look and see what's new. I've noticed that Blogger's been, well, clogged a bit recently and sometimes my posts get munged or simply vanish into the ether. So it goes - can't beat the price (free) so I won't complain too much. I get some wonderful news items emailed from Daniel Patrick Welch (someone I'm finally linking to) and from TomPaine (which I still need to link to) that I'll start sharing here as time permits.

Speaking of time, we're heading into a busy period for me, so don't be too surprised if blogging gets a bit light from time to time. Once my vacation starts, we'll pack up the car & head for Southern California for Christmas. I will have some access to a computer and the internets (as Junior Caligula would say) so I'll probably blog sporadically as I did last Christmas vacation. That's a good thing as I need to get away from work, away from computers and clear my head - and what better way to do that than to drive through some absolutely beautiful mountain and desert areas in the American Southwest, take my son to the beach (assuming El Niño cooperates with us during late December & doesn't send too much rain that way), catch up with some old friends & some family.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Fallujah: America's Guernica

Click the pic for the text, which references this article by Saul Landau: Where's the New Picasso? Fallujah, the 21st Century Guernica.

In 1935, Nazi General Erich Luderndorff argued in his "The Total War" that modern war encompasses all of society; thus, the military should spare no one. The Fascist Italian General Giulio Douhet echoed this theme. By targeting civilians, he said, an army could advance more rapidly. "Air-delivered terror" effectively removes civilian obstacles.

That doctrine became practice in late April 1937. Nazi pilots dropped their deadly bombs on Guernica, the ancient Basque capital ­ like what US pilots recently did to Falluja. A year earlier, in 1936, the Spanish Civil War erupted. General Francisco Franco, supported by fascist governments in Italy and Germany, led an armed uprising against the Republic. The residents of Guernica resisted. Franco asked his Nazi partners to punish these stubborn people who had withstood his army's assault.

The people of Guernica had no anti-aircraft guns, much less fighter planes to defend their city. The Nazi pilots knew that at 4:30 in the afternoon of market day, the city's center would be jammed with shoppers from all around the areas.

Before flying on their "heroic mission," the German pilots had drunk a toast with their Spanish counterparts in a language that both could understand: "Viva la muerte," they shouted as their raised their copas de vino. The bombing of Guernica introduced a concept in which the military would make no distinction between civilians and combatants. Death to all!

Almost 1700 people died that day and some 900 lay wounded. Franco denied that the raid ever took place and blamed the destruction of Guernica on those who defended it, much as the US military intimates that the "insurgents' forced the savage attack by daring to defend their city and then hide inside their mosques. Did the public in 1937 face the equivalent of the Peterson case that commanded their attention?

The ending is also worth highlighting:

We need a new Picasso mural, "Falluja," to help citizens focus on the themes of our time, not the travails of the Peterson case. The Bush Administration sensed the danger of such a painting. Shortly before Colin Powell's February 5, 2003 UN Security Council fraudulent, power point presentation, where he made the case for invading Iraq, UN officials, at US request, placed a curtain over a tapestry of Picasso's Guernica, located at the entrance to the Security Council chambers. As a TV backdrop, the anti-war mural would contradict the Secretary of State's case for war in Iraq. Did the dead painter somehow know that his mural would foreshadow another Guernica, called Fallujah?

There is actually an effort to create a Guernica-style mural: Fallujah : America's Guernica. It’s essentially a computer-generated collage piece using photos of civilian casualties from the latest Fallujah massacre to drive home the point. Here are some of the words of the artist of the collage:

"Guernica" is back. This time it is not about the Nazi Luftwaffe dropping bombs on a village in Spain but about the USA dropping bombs and massacring hundreds of civilians that include women and children in the town of Fallujah, Iraq. As Franco in "Guernica", the USA military is denying that it is targeting civilians, but censored reports are filtering out of Iraq that say that over half of the Mosques in the city lie in ruins and that US Marines are utilizing outlawed lethal gasses against the city's defenders which are also causing massive casualties among the civilians that remain in the city. Other reports in the Arab media talk about hundreds of civilian casualties under the rubble of homes that were hit by USA bombs during the initial military "softening" of the city…


Fallujah today is America's Guernica and the USA media is covering up the criminal murderous military operation under way. In addition there is absolutely no outcry from the USA political establishment. This points to a deep spiritual and moral malaise among Americans and decay in the leadership of the USA.

The media is not raising any objections to the war crimes in Fallujah but instead make the savage military operations as if they were normal. The media reports conceal from Americans the true character of the vicious military assault which is to destroy a significant source of opposition to the USA colonialist occupation and its puppet regime.

Like Generalisimo Franco in Guernica, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is lying to the American public about the number of Iraqi civilian casualties in Fallujah. There are about 30,000 civilians left in Fallujah and many of these have already been killed. The rest are "fair" targets in the house to house US Marine assaults. It will take months if not years to determine the extent of the civilian massacre.

Here’s the collage, in case you were curious:

From the "Fun With Wingnuts" Department

Why is that I inevitably have to read news articles from South Africa, the UK, and various other points overseas in order to find out what sort of lunacy is being hatched by my right-wing peers in America? A rhetorical question, perhaps. All the same, scroll about halfway down this post, warding off reality & other wingnut fun for a most delicious tidbit:

‘A rightwing Republican group on Monday has launched a television campaign calling for the United Nations (UN) to be kicked out of the United States (US), alleging the world body is a “safe harbour” for terrorism.

‘California-based Move America Forward wants the world body’s New York headquarters shut down and its officials expelled from the country because it failed to support the US-led war on Iraq…


‘…The advertisement, which Move America Forward officials said would begin airing nationally next week, calls for Americans to sign a petition calling for the United Nations to be booted off US soil.

‘It comes amid resentment from US conservatives over the UN refusal to fully back US President George Bush’s decision to attack Iraq on the grounds that it had weapons of mass destruction, which were never came to light…’

Actually I will agree that the US is a safe harbor for terrorists. I merely disagree with this group as to whom the terrorists happen to be, and who's responsible for harboring them. I'd say look no further than the White House to find your terrorists. Our leaders possess WMDs of all sorts (including them nuk-yoo-ler bombs), have used WMDs against the Iraqi civilians (as we're finding out in Fallujah), and pose a direct threat to civilians of several other sovereign nations by threatening to invade their nations. This same White House aids and abets Zionist terrorists in much the same way as previous White Houses have aided and abetted Islamic extremists during the Cold War era. Quite frankly I am surprised that the UN hasn't booted our sorry asses out of their organization. My guess is they still hold out some hope that they can reason with our leaders. I wish them luck.

Sunday Reading

Stan Goff's There's No There There: Debating a Neocon. The column itself is a couple weeks old, and somehow I must have managed to miss it. Goff tells us what's up with US military actions in the Middle East, and also lets us in on a little secret: the neocons are full of hot air. A clip that cuts to the chase:

The specific crisis in Iraq is not the crisis of military defeat ­ which is not, at any rate, ultimately determined by tactical outcomes, but by political outcomes.

The US crisis in Iraq is that one goal of that occupation was to demonstrate a fictional US military invincibility ­ to shock and awe the world. The crisis is not simply the very real tactical crisis that we can smell emanating from the podium of every Pollyanna briefing from Rumsfeld's War Department. The deeper crisis is that the shock-and-awe bluff is being successfully called, and the rest of the world is now alive to the fact that the great power bleeds.

So we see now, for example, the continental drift of Latin America, from the Chavista popular democracy in Venezuela, to the current Haitian intifada, to the popular rebellions in Bolivia and Ecuador, to the recent election of a leftist government in Uruguay a development that is accelerated by the fact that the US state has gotten itself bogged down in a swamp of military and political contradictions in Southwest Asia. The collapse of imperialism was going to be difficult in any case, but I have to say that it is a good thing in the larger scheme of things, and we should welcome it. That's the good news.

The bad news is that we have not reconstituted a vital, militant left that is clear on its responsibility to seek political power in this country yet. And I'm not talking about Howard Dean, folks. Anyone who considers the Democratic Party as a left party needs to pull their face away from that bottle of spot remover. We need to refound the left in this country that has a fighting spirit and that does not limit its activities to the fetish of elections ­ and one that can forge a program that does not shy away from the difficult but necessary work of incorporating not just class, but gender, oppressed nationality, and environmental justice into that program.

That's the bad news, but that can be corrected, starting now, and starting with the sisters and brothers right here in this room. We cannot afford the luxury of crying about an election. We are in a struggle for the soul of our own society, a struggle against black-shirted reaction on every front, and there can be no rest, no retreat, no compromise, and no surrender. We cannot back down in the face of either their patriot-baiting or their Patriot Act. As Irish revolutionary James Connolly said, "The great only appear great because we are on our knees. Stand up."

Now is our time to stand up.

There's much more.

Fallujah Humanitarian Crisis

Via My Life in the Bush of Ghosts:

BAGHDAD, 26 Nov 2004 (IRIN) - After more than two weeks of conflict inside Fallujah, 60km from the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, the Iraq Red Crescent Society (IRCS) delivered aid to the heart of the city on Thursday.

Thousands of families are said to be in a critical humanitarian situation after the Iraqi government and US forces prohibited NGOs from delivering supplies, due to safety concerns...

..."Bodies can be seen everywhere and people were crying when receiving the food parcels. It is very sad, it is a human disaster," Muhammad al-Nuri, a spokesman for the IRCS, told IRIN in Baghdad.

Al-Nuri added that according to their information, they believe there could be more than 6,000 dead in Fallujah and that it is difficult to move around inside the city due to dead bodies in the streets.

Pretty well speaks for itself.


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