Tuesday, April 18, 2006


(via MaxJulian)


Professor Sami Al Arian, having been acquitted of the government's laughable charges, is to be deported.

For example, the government claims -- they've been reading too many Godfather novels or watched the movie too often -- but they claim that every time one of the defendants mentioned, quote/unquote, “the family” on the phone, that that was code word for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. So when one defendant would call up his mother -- this was Sameeh Hammoudeh -- would call up his mother and say, “How is the family?” the government claimed that he was asking how is the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

So, I mean, the jury saw through that, you know, on the counts that were hung, that the jury couldn't reach a verdict. There was never more than two jurors on any of the counts that voted for guilty. So, you know, and don't forget, the government spent -- I've been told by federal sources that the government spent close to $50 million on this case. They expended thousands of hours of FBI time, prompted by Steve Emerson and the Tampa Tribune. And in the end they came up with nothing. What they did miss with all this time that they spent in Florida is that they missed another guy, Mohamed Atta, who was living in the state, too.

But I think that, you know, this -- what the deal will do, it will allow the government to say, ‘Look, this man, this evil man pled guilty to,’ I believe, ‘the count of conspiracy to assist a terrorist organization.’ But I should also say, as I’ve reported, and after seven years the St. Petersburg Times finally discovered the same story, that the chief criminal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Tampa, a guy named Bob O'Neill, he owns a business that raises money for the Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein. There's no difference between the two, as we know now.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

"It’s a tough decision. But we made it in Japan.”

One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites. One target is Iran’s main centrifuge plant, at Natanz, nearly two hundred miles south of Tehran. Natanz, which is no longer under I.A.E.A. safeguards, reportedly has underground floor space to hold fifty thousand centrifuges, and laboratories and workspaces buried approximately seventy-five feet beneath the surface. That number of centrifuges could provide enough enriched uranium for about twenty nuclear warheads a year. (Iran has acknowledged that it initially kept the existence of its enrichment program hidden from I.A.E.A. inspectors, but claims that none of its current activity is barred by the Non-Proliferation Treaty.) The elimination of Natanz would be a major setback for Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but the conventional weapons in the American arsenal could not insure the destruction of facilities under seventy-five feet of earth and rock, especially if they are reinforced with concrete.


The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran—without success, the former intelligence official said. "The White House said, 'Why are you challenging this? The option came from you.'"

Seymour Hersh, The Iran Plans

Thursday, April 06, 2006

General Remarks

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children....This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

(via MaxJulian)

It seems that 'we have never gone to war for conquest, for exploitation, nor for territory'; we have the word of a president [McKinley] for that. Observe, now, how Providence overrules the intentions of the truly good for their advantage. We went to war with Mexico for peace, humanity and honor, yet emerged from the contest with an extension of territory beyond the dreams of political avarice. We went to war with Spain for relief of an oppressed people [the Cubans], and at the close found ourselves in possession of vast and rich insular dependencies [primarily the Philippines] and with a pretty tight grasp upon the country for relief of whose oppressed people we took up arms. We could hardly have profited more had 'territorial aggrandizement' been the spirit of our purpose and heart of our hope.

—Ambrose Bierce, Warlike America

Monday, April 03, 2006

The See Saw Of Kitsch

Maxims And Reflections:

You know, Grant Morrison predicted all of this around '97 or '98. He said that the turn of the millennium would be marked by a cultural cycle of tight-clothes, violent attitudes and power-worship. He invoked this energy in his comic book Marvel Boy, the ideology of whose eponymous hero is named in the text as “Zen Fascism.” Morrison went on to predict that the next cycle, later in the first decade of the twenty-first century, would be a return to pastoralism. He claimed that the popularity of the Lord of the Rings films was an early indication of this, and I would add that the goddess-centered ethos of The Da Vinci Code as well as any return of Jung-Neumann-Campbell also signals this cycle. I am tempted to become a mage.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Of clergy: old, new, religious, secular

"Again and again they say, "I am right, for it is written," and the interpretation that follows is of such impudent arbitrariness that a philologist is stopped in his tracks, torn between anger and laughter, and keeps asking himself: Is it possible? Is this honest? Is it even decent? What dishonesties of this sort are still perpetrated from Protestant pulpits today, how crudely the preachers exploit the advantage that nobody can interrupt them, how the Bible is pricked and pulled and the art of reading badly formally inculcated upon the people -- all this will be underestimated only by those who go to church either never or always."
- Nietzsche "The Philology of Christianity"