Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Beethoven, String quartet op. 59, no. 3

Jean-Luc Godard, Une femme mariée

Che vuole da me?

Chose promise chose due

Jean-Pierre Melville, Le samourai

Monday, January 29, 2007

Don't forget!


Federico Fellini, Il Casanova di Federico Fellini

No! Not the Bore Worms!

Mike Hodges, Flash Gordon

Franz Schubert, Piano trio in E flat major, Op. 100

Stanley Kubrick, Barry Lyndon

The Girl with the Prefabricated Heart

Hans Richter (with Fernand Léger), Dreams that Money Can Buy

Chef's Salad

Wong Kar-Wai, Chungking Express

Tu les trouves jolies mes fesses?

Jean-Luc Godard, Le Mépris


Yasujiro Ozu, Banshun


Rupert Julian, The Phantom of the Opera


Ingmar Bergman, Persona

Saturday, January 27, 2007


The blog has changed to the new format: sign in with our gmail address (klippot). Password is unchanged.

Looks Like, Waddles Like, Quacks Like

Iraqi militants posing as Americans kill 4 U.S. soldiers
Associated press

BAGHDAD — Four American soldiers were abducted during a sophisticated sneak attack last week in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, the U.S. military confirmed Friday. It said three were shot to death and a fourth was mortally wounded with a gunshot to the head when they were found in a neighbouring province, far from the compound where they were captured.

Two of the four were handcuffed together in the back seat of an SUV near the southern Iraqi town of Mahawil. A third dead soldier was on the ground nearby. The fourth soldier died on the way to the hospital, the military said in a statement issued late Friday that confirmed details reported by The Associated Press earlier.

On Jan. 20, the day of the raid on a security meeting in Karbala, the military said five soldiers were killed repelling the attack.

The brazen assault, 80 kilometres south of Baghdad, was conducted by nine to 12 militants posing as an American security team, according to two senior U.S. military officials as well as Iraqi officials. They travelled in black GMC Suburban vehicles — the type used by U.S. government convoys — had American weapons, wore new U.S. military combat fatigues, and spoke English.

None of the American or Iraqi officials would allow use of their names because of the sensitive nature of the information.

The confirmation has emerged after nearly a week of inquiries. The U.S. military in Baghdad initially did not respond to repeated requests for comment on reports that began emerging from Iraqi government and military officials on the abduction and a major breakdown in security at Karbala site.

Within hours of the AP report that four of the five dead soldiers had been abducted and found dead or dying about 40 kilometres to the east of Karbala, the military issued a long account of what took place.

It said, “Two soldiers were found handcuffed together in the back of one of the SUVs. Both had suffered gunshot wounds and were dead. A third soldier was found shot and dead on the ground. Nearby, the fourth soldier was still alive, despite a gunshot wound to the head.”

The mortally wounded soldier was rushed to the hospital by Iraqi police but died on the way, the military said.

The military also said Iraqi police had found “five SUVs, U.S. army-type combat uniforms, boots, radios and a non-U.S. made rifle” near Mahawil, in neighbouring Babil province.

“The precision of the attack, the equipment used and the possible use of explosives to destroy the military vehicles in the compound suggests that the attack was well rehearsed prior to execution,” said Lt.-Col. Scott Bleichwehl, spokesman for Multi-National Division-Baghdad.

“The attackers went straight to where Americans were located in the provincial government facility, bypassing the Iraqi police in the compound,” said Lt.-Col. Bleichwehl. “We are looking at all the evidence to determine who or what was responsible for the breakdown in security at the compound and the perpetration of the assault.”

The Karbala raid, as explained by the Iraqi and American officials, began after nightfall at about 6 p.m. on Jan. 20, while American military officers were meeting with their Iraqi counterparts on the main floor of the Provisional Joint Co-ordination Centre in Karbala.

Iraqi officials said the approaching convoy of black GMC Suburbans was waved through an Iraqi checkpoint at the edge of Karbala. The Iraqi soldiers believed it to be American because of the type of vehicles, the distinctive camouflage American uniforms and the fact that they spoke English. One Iraqi official said the leader of the assault team was blond, but no other official confirmed that.

A top Iraqi security official for Karbala province told the AP that the Iraqi guards at the checkpoint radioed ahead to the compound to alert their compatriots that the convoy was on its way.

Iraqi officials said the attackers' convoy divided upon arrival, with some vehicles parking at the back of the main building where the meeting was taking place, others parked in front.

The attackers threw a grenade and opened fire with automatic rifles as they grabbed two soldiers inside the compound. Then the guerrilla assault team jumped on top of an armoured U.S. Humvee and captured two more soldiers, the U.S. military officials said.

One U.S. soldier was killed in the melee at the compound, and three were wounded.

The attackers captured four soldiers and fled with them and the computer east toward Mahawil, the U.S. military officials said.

The Iraqi officials said the four were captured alive and shot just before the vehicles were abandoned.

Police who became suspicious when the convoy of attackers and their American captives did not stop at a roadblock chased the vehicles and found the bodies, the gear and the abandoned SUVs.

Three days afterward, the U.S. military in Baghdad announced the arrest of four suspects in the attack and said they had been detained on a tip from a Karbala resident. No further information was released about the suspects.

The Defence Department has released the names of troops killed last Saturday but clearly identified only one as being killed because of the sneak attack.

Capt. Brian Freeman, 31, of Temecula, Calif., “died of wounds suffered when his meeting area came under attack by mortar and small arms fire.” Freeman was assigned to the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion, Whitehall, Ohio.

The only other troops killed that day in that region of Iraq were four army soldiers said to have been “ambushed while conducting dismounted operations” in Karbala.

The four were identified as 1st Lt. Jacob Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Neb.; Spc. Johnathan Chism, 22, of Gonzales, La.; Pte. 1st Class Shawn Falter, 25, of Cortland, N.Y., and Pvt. Johnathon Millican, 20, of Trafford, Ala. All were with the 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, of Fort Richardson, Ala.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Attack on Iran draws nigh

The idea is to weaken Iran financially, because 85% of Iran's export income comes from oil and 40% of gasoline used in Iran is imported (even though it is the fourth-largest producer of crude oil) because of a lack of local refining capacity.

Financial-futures analyst Gary Dorsch reports that, contrary to analysis in the press that holds warm weather as the cause of falling oil prices, the real reason is that an excess of 700,000 barrels of oil is being produced by OPEC countries. [2] Only Saudi Arabia has the spare capacity to bring market prices down.

Add to that the growing hue and cry about the rising "Iran threat" that one hears in the Gulf Arab states. The Saudi government, elites and Muslim scholars are issuing increasingly dire predictions about the growth of Iranian power; they are manufacturing hysteria about an "Iran threat". Even Yusuf Qaradawi, the famous Egyptian preacher with a slot on Al-Jazeera, is criticizing Iran for allegedly spreading sectarian strife in Iraq. [3]

During the final stop in US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent trip to the Middle East, in Kuwait City, where Robert Gates, the defense secretary, joined her, Arab foreign ministers from Egypt, Jordan and the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council stood together to produce a united front against Iran.

In related news, Mujahedeen Khalq has released a list of more than 32,000 Iraqis working as agents of the Iranian regime for the Al Quds Brigade.

Oh wait, the U.S. struck a deal with MK very early on after the invasion.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Faint heart never won fair lady

"Gambling is now a diverse, vibrant and innovative industry", says Tessa Jowell, Britain's Culture Secretary. ("Industry"? "Culture"? Well, she can certainly take dictation.)

One vibrant and innovative ad is located above a urinal in London:

- Courtesy of Dougald Hine, who comments:

I am struggling here. I can't seem to find anything beyond the single entendre. Or even much of a connection to poker. Unless the message is: "Gamble on our site and you can win enough to pay for a prostitute."
Are we in Iraq for the oil? No, the oil is just the means to the end. The end is even more diverse and vibrant innovation, forever.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Moths drink the tears of sleeping birds

... in Madagascar.

"Some Sort of Crank" (Conspiracy Praxis, Vol. 74)

NI police colluded with killers

Police colluded with loyalists behind over a dozen murders in north Belfast, a report by the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland has confirmed.

Nuala O'Loan's report said UVF members in the area committed murders and other serious crimes while working as informers for Special Branch.

It said two retired Assistant Chief Constables refused to cooperate with the investigation.Special Branch officers gave the killers immunity, it said. The officers ensured the murderers were not caught and even "baby-sat" them during police interviews to help them avoid incriminating themselves. The Special Branch officers "created false notes" and blocked searches for UVF weapons.

The report, published on Monday, called for a number of murder investigations to be re-opened. But it is unlikely that any of the police officers involved will be prosecuted - the ombudsman said that evidence was deliberately destroyed to ensure there could not be prosecutions.


They also paid almost £80,000 to leading loyalist Mark Haddock, jailed for 10 years last November for an attack on a nightclub doorman. The ombudsman's investigation began more than three years ago when Belfast welder Raymond McCord claimed that his son, also called Raymond, had been killed by a police informer. The former RAF man, 22, was beaten to death and his body dumped in a quarry in 1997. Mr McCord has said he wants those who murdered his son to be put in prison. He said he had received a death threat at the weekend from the UVF.

Mr McCord said that during his campaign of justice for his son he had been made to feel by police that he was "some sort of crank".

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Known Unknowns

Rain and Fire

Andrei Tarkovsky, Zerkalo

The End

Robert Bresson, Mouchette

Low Ceiling

Wong Kar-Wai, Days of Being Wild

Ami chini go chini tomare

Satyajit Ray, Charulata

Blood and Black Lace

Mario Bava, Sei donne per l'assassino


Stan Brakhage, The Dante Quartet

I am Cuba

Mikheil Kalatozishvili, Soy Cuba

Sol la fa sol la mi sol fa mi fa do fa

Jacques Démy, Les demoiselles de Rochefort


Robert Bresson, Pickpocket

Outside the Finland railway station

Sergei Eisenstein, Oktober

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Nicht eilen, bitte

Sinfonia (1968–69), for eight amplified voices and orchestra, was part of a wider pattern of response to the musical crisis of the 1960s, during which avant-garde composers began once again to look to music of the past for material and inspiration – a turn towards so-called "meta music", or music about music. The third movement of Sinfonia is one of the most famous and remarkable examples of this approach: a dense fabric of verbal quotations contained within a musical quotation, the Scherzo from Mahler's Symphony No. 2, which is borrowed virtually wholesale and then used as a kind of musical armature around which Berio concocts a dazzling semantic and musical labyrinth, including further quotations (from Mahler, Ravel and Debussy, among others) and chattering texts drawn from Samuel Beckett's The Unnameable.

The Enemy at Home


"I continue to believe that the nominees of the two major parties will end up raising $500 million apiece in this 2008 race, so it's going to be the first billion-dollar election," Toner predicts.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Iraq? Everything's going swimmingly.

On 'chaos' as policy: two posts by Jeff Wells:

1. January 16th 2007: It was evident even before the invasion that the war's intention included making a failed state of Iraq. That that's not yet conventional wisdom shows just how much too many still want to believe bad policy is made in good faith.

2. May 2nd 2005: Civil War? Let's put it this way: do you believe the idealogues of invasion ever intended to leave Iraq a strong, united country? Its atomization into impotent, submissive bantustans has been on the neoconservative agenda nearly as long as there have been neoconservatives.

Why won't the Democrats impeach Bush and Cheney? Beacuse they're still useful for something. Exactly what that is, we have yet to see. But no doubt we will, sometime before November 4th 2008.


Glenn Greenwald:

When I began writing about the Bush administration's violations of FISA, what confounded me at first was the sheer pointlessness of the lawbreaking. It was not merely that the FISA court has always allowed the President -- all presidents -- to do whatever eavesdropping they wanted, and that bypassing it was therefore unnecessary.

That is true. But more significantly, if the President wanted FISA changed, even radically, to vest him with still greater powers, the unprecedentedly compliant post-9/11 Congress was as eager as could be to grant all of his wishes and to give him whatever new powers he wanted. It did so repeatedly, at exactly the time (October, 2001) when he ordered eavesdropping in violation of the law.


The reason Bush violated the law when eavesdropping is the same reason Lithwick cites to explain his other lawless and extremist measures -- because he wanted purposely not to comply with the law in order to establish the general "principle" that he was not bound by the law, to show that he has the power to break the law, that he is more powerful than the law.

What you gonna do about it?

The Bush Gang is planning some show trials just before the 2008 'election':

Prosecutors could use hearsay evidence or secondhand testimony, but could not use information obtained under torture. Even so, that would mean that virtually any information obtained by the CIA would appear to be admissible because, in the view of Justice Department legal opinions, none of the harsh techniques it used amounted to torture.

Handy, that.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Salted Peanuts


(via - "According to Woodward, Kissinger recently gave a Bush aide a copy of a memo he wrote in 1969 arguing against troop withdrawals from Southeast Asia")

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Saturday, January 06, 2007

"Selective MEMRI"

A few years ago Brian Whitaker of the Guardian wrote what is now a classic expose of the Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri). The article deserves to be reprinted, republished and (re)linked to over and over again.

A couple of recent posts by Angry Arab reminded me of the need to link to it again. In other words, blog it.

Angry Arab:

Now, I know why the Russian, Chines[e], and British ambassadors in Lebanon speak fluent Arabic (the Chinese ambassador has a PhD in Arabic literature and she never uses a translator), while the US ambassador has been practicing the word fa-la-fil for the last two years. Keep trying.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Gould & Menuhin

Schoenberg: Gould & Menuhin

Monday, January 01, 2007