Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008


Aoua! Aoua! Méfiez-vous des Blancs,
habitants du rivage.
Du temps de nos pères,
des Blancs descendirent dans cette île.
On leur dit: Voilà des terres,
que vos femmes les cultivent;
soyez justes, soyez bons,
et devenez nos frères.
Les Blancs promirent, et cependant
ils faisaient des retranchements.
Un fort menaçant s'éleva;
le tonnerre fut renfermé
dans des bouches d'airain;
leurs prêtres voulurent nous donner
un Dieu que nous ne connaissons pas,
ils parlèrent enfin
d'obéissance et d'esclavage.
Plutôt la mort.
Le carnage fut long et terrible;
mais malgré la foudre qu'ils vormissaient,
et qui écrasait des armées entières,
ils furent tous exterminés.

Aoua! Aoua! Méfiez-vous des Blancs!
Nous avons vu de nouveaux tyrans,
plus forts et plus nombreaux,
planter leur pavillon sur le rivage:
le ciel a combattu pour nous;
il a fiat tomber sur eux les pluies,
les tempêtes et les vents empoisonnes.
Ils ne sont plus, et nous vivons,
et nous vivons libres.
Aoua! Méfiez-vous des Blancs,
habitants du rivage.

Évariste Désiré de Forges
Glenn Greenwald: "More strikingly, not a single one of them appears to have learned the real lesson worth learning from the whole disaster: The U.S. should not -- and has no right to -- invade, bomb and occupy other nations that haven't attacked or even threatened to attack us. None of them say: "Wars that aren't directly in response to an actual or imminent attack shouldn't be commenced because doing so leads to the deaths of hundreds of thousands or millions of human beings for no justifiable reason." Not even the most regretful war advocate seems to have reached that conclusion."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Taxi to the Dark Side

(h/t Rasti
Chomsky: "Once, when I was driving to work, I was listening to NPR. NPR is supposed to be the kind of extreme radical end of the spectrum. I read a statement somewhere, I don't know if it's true, but it was a quote from Obama, who is the hope of the liberal doves, in which he allegedly said that the spectrum of discussion in the United States extends between two crazy extremes, Rush Limbaugh and NPR. The truth, he said, is in the middle and that is where he is going to be, in the middle, between the crazies. NPR then had a discussion -- it was like being at the Harvard faculty club -- serious people, educated, no grammatical errors, who know what they're talking about, usually polite. The discussion was about the so-called missile defense system that the U.S. is trying to place in Czechoslovakia and Poland -- and the Russian reaction. The main issue was, "What is going on with the Russians? Why are they acting so hostile and irrational? Are they trying to start a new Cold War? There is something wrong with those guys. Can we calm them down and make them less paranoid?" The main specialist they called in, I think from the Pentagon or somewhere, pointed out, accurately, that a missile defense system is essentially a first-strike weapon. That is well known by strategic analysts on all sides. If you think about it for a minute, it's obvious why. A missile defense system is never going to stop a first strike, but it could, in principle, if it ever worked, stop a retaliatory strike. If you attack some country with a first strike, and practically wipe it out, if you have a missile defense system, and prevent them from retaliating, then you would be protected, or partially protected. If a country has a functioning missile defense system it will have more options for carrying out a first strike. Okay, obvious, and not a secret. It's known to every strategic analyst. I can explain it to my grandchildren in two minutes and they understand it. So on NPR it is agreed that a missile defense system is a first-strike weapon. But then comes the second part of the discussion. Well, say the pundits, the Russians should not be worried about this. For one thing because it's not enough of a system to stop their retaliation, so therefore it's not yet a first-strike weapon against them. Then they said it is kind of irrelevant anyway because it is directed against Iran, not against Russia. Okay, that was the end of the discussion. So, point one, missile defense is a first-strike weapon; second, it's directed against Iran. Now, you can carry out a small exercise in logic. Does anything follow from those two assumptions? Yes, what follows is it's a first-strike weapon against Iran. Since the U.S. owns the world what could be wrong with having a first-strike weapon against Iran. So the conclusion is not mentioned. It is not necessary. It follows from the fact that we own the world."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

This won't surprise anyone:

Twenty-eight percent of the public is aware that nearly 4,000 U.S. personnel have died in Iraq over the past five years, while nearly half thinks the death tally is 3,000 or fewer and 23 percent think it is higher, according to an opinion survey released yesterday.

The survey, by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, found that public awareness of developments in the Iraq war has dropped precipitously since last summer, as the news media have paid less attention to the conflict. In earlier surveys, about half of those asked about the death tally responded correctly.

Related Pew surveys have found that the number of news stories devoted to the war has sharply declined this year, along with professed public interest. "Coverage of the war has been virtually absent," said Pew survey research director Scott Keeter, totaling about 1 percent of the news hole between Feb. 17 and 23.
This shouldn't surprise anyone:
All education levels in the recent survey were similarly uninformed, Keeter said.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

'There is a world war and everyone is now part of it'

Michel Warschawski:
The rise of European neo-conservatism (French President Nicolas Sarkozy is an example of this phenomenon) is a new challenge for the solidarity movement, and more generally, for the anti-globalization movement throughout the world: the global-war strategy is no longer the monopoly of the US administration (supported by a few other countries, like Great Britain), but of the “international community” as such.

This is definitely a change that the Global Resistance should take into consideration very seriously: there is a world war and everyone is now part of it. Over and against an “international community” aligned with Washington’s global war, a united international anti-war movement is becoming a burning priority.

What does this have to do with Gaza? Because today, Gaza is the frontline of the resistance to that offensive. If Gaza surrenders, Washington and Tel Aviv will feel free to launch a second round in Lebanon and to attack Iran. They know well that Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are different battles in one and the same war, and they are concentrating their forces in order to bring the surrender of Gaza, its people and its elected leadership. That understanding should penetrate the Global movement too, and bring it to one conclusion: the Palestinians of Gaza are fighting not only for their own rights and dignity, but for the freedom of all the peoples of the world; they are resisting the united leaders of Empire and their attempt to transform the peoples of our planet into their slaves, including the working people in the industrialized metropoles.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Krugman: "The financial crisis seems to have entered its third wave. Panic in August, then partial recovery thanks to lots of money thrown at the system by the Fed. Renewed panic late fall, then partial recovery thanks to even more money thrown in, especially the Temporary Auction Facility. And panic has set in yet again. So the Fed is throwing another wave of money in, via the TAF and also additional loans to banks. All this lending is backed by collateral: the banks are setting aside various stuff, but probably mainly mortgage-backed securities. (...) This is now the third time Ben & co. have tried slapping the market in the face — and panic keeps coming back. So maybe the markets aren’t hysterical — maybe they’re just facing reality. And in that case the markets don’t need a slap in the face, they need more fundamental treatment — and maybe triage."

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Judgment at Gitmo

"The Soviet show trials' chief prosecutor was Andrey Vyshinsky. His three main dubious ideas on justice were expressed in his book The Theory of Legal Evidence in Soviet Law. The first idea was that the "confession was the queen of all evidence" (no matter how it was obtained). His next idea was that the rules of justice were flexible depending on the needs of the authorities at the time. The presumption of innocence, he further argued, could only have a demobilizing effect in the fight against crime. The rules of the current military commissions appear to be much the same. Confessions will be used, although it appears that no information about how the confessions were obtained will be entered. Nor will disclosure or discovery be used to determine how the confessions came about. Third-party hearsay evidence may also be allowed, depending on whether it is deemed to be reasonable by the judge."
"I discovered that when I gave interviews to major media on this subject, any time I used the word “torture” with reference to these techniques, the interview passage would not be used. At one point I was informed by a cable news network that “we put this on international, because we can’t use that word on the domestic feed.” (...) In early 2005, I took a bit of time to go through one newspaper—The New York Times—to examine its use of the word “torture”. I found that the word “torture” was regularly used to described a neighbor who played his stereo too loud, or some similar minor nuisance. Also the word “torture” could be used routinely to describe techniques used by foreign powers which were hostile to the United States. But the style rule seemed very clear: it could not be used in reporting associated with anything the Bush Administration was doing."

Gaza Massacre, February 2008

Note: when this was first posted on Youtube, it was removed "due to terms of use violation." If this one is pulled, watch it at Sabbah's Blog here.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Apocalypse now

Rising prices threaten millions with starvation, despite bumper crops

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor

The Independent, Sunday, 2 March 2008

There has never been anything remotely like the food crisis that is now increasingly gripping the world, threatening millions with starvation. For it is happening at a time of bumper crops.

All the familiar signs of impending disaster are here, and in spades. Across the developing world already hungry people are now having to eat even less. Food stocks have plunged to record lows. Food prices have scaled new heights. Food riots are spreading around the globe. Yet the world is still harvesting record amounts of grain.

Three times over the past 60 years prices have soared in the same way. But each was the result of poor harvests, and each was reversed when good crops returned. This crisis is being caused not by shrinking supplies but by skyrocketing demand.

"This is the new face of hunger," said Josette Sheeran, the executive director of the UN's World Food Programme. "There is food on the shelves, but people are priced out of the market." Indeed, so great are the price rises that both her organisation and the US government's Agency for International Development, which buy their supplies on the open market, are having to draw up plans to cut back their aid.

Wheat prices have doubled in a year – and in just one day last week they shot up by 25 per cent. Stocks are lower than at any time since records began.

The chief reason for the escalating demand is the mushrooming middle class in developing countries, especially China and India, now growing by 50 million people a year. As people get better off they demand more meat, which mops up grain supplies, since it takes some 8lbs (3.5kg) of cereals to produce 1lb (450g) of beef.

Now cars, as well as cows, are out-competing hungry people, through the increasing use of corn for biofuels. By next year, predicts Lester Brown, president of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, almost a third of the US corn crop – which has traditionally helped to feed 100 nations – will go for fuel. Mr Brown points out that, in an increasingly fuel-scarce world, the price of corn will henceforth be tied to the mounting price of oil.

Already, 25 million people in India are believed to have cut their meals from two to one a day. The calorie intake from an average meal in El Salvador has fallen by half in less than two years. Riots have broken out from Mexico to Mauritania.

And if this is happening when harvests are good, what can we expect when they next fail? Global warming is making this ever more likely, and climatologists predict big crop reductions in poor countries. A supply crisis on top of a demand one – that is a recipe for catastrophe.

Urgent - Call for International Palestine Tribunals

March 2, 2008

Please print and forward widely!

Below is a concise and direct declaration that calls for holding international tribunals for those guilty of the successive campaigns of terror against the Palestinian people. It is unique in that it is the first international public effort to hold guilty Arab regimes, Palestinians, Israelis, and US officials fully responsible for the ongoing Zionist crimes. By signing this declaration and by passing it through as much as possible worldwide, where all signatories are sought and welcomed, we will be initiating the first real steps to holding war tribunals internationally. This is also a tangible step to returning Palestine to its international position as a flagship for justice and self-determination. We urge you to actively support this declaration wherever you are, on every continent. Take it to your protests, ask your organization to sign on, engage everyone about who is responsible, and help build a momentum that will go well beyond protests and temporary reactions into sustained efforts and full accountability. We look forward to forming international tribunal committees soon after.

Please sign and pass it on. Time is critical!

"We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, regard what is taking place against the Palestinian people, particularly those of the Gaza Strip, not only as a war crime but also as a crime against humanity. While we hold the Zionist Israeli government directly responsible for these murderous campaigns, we also hold guilty Arab regimes, including the Palestinian Authority and the office of Mahmud Abbas, as accessory to these crimes in collaboration with the US administration. Through this declaration, we are taking the first steps to begin the process of holding international tribunals for all those guilty, either directly or as an accessory through their deadly silence, irrespective of who they are. The unbelievable and seemingly unending suffering of the Palestinian people requires that those responsible are forthwith brought to justice under international criminal law."

To sign on to this declaration, please send a message to:

Sunday, March 02, 2008

International experts foresee collapse of U.S. economy

... Harry Koza in the Globe and Mail quotes Bernard Connelly, the global strategist at Banque AIG in London, who claims that the likelihood of a Great Depression is growing by the day.

Martin Wolf, celebrated columnist of the U.K.-based Financial Times, cites Dr. Nouriel Roubini of the New York University's Stern School of Business, who, in 12 steps, outlines how the losses of the American financial system will grow to more than $1 trillion - that's one million times $1 million. That amount is equal to all the assets of all American banks.


The most frightening forecast so far comes from the Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB), available for 200 euros - about $300 - for 16 issues annually. Its prediction is quite specific.

Where my warnings never spelled out an exact date, this think tank has it pegged precisely. Here are its very words:

"The end of the third quarter of 2008 (thus late September, a mere seven months from now) will be marked by a new tipping point in the unfolding of the global systemic crisis.
"At that time indeed, the cumulated impact of the various sequences of the crisis will reach its maximum strength and affect decisively the very heart of the systems concerned, on the front line of which (is) the United States, epicentre of the current crisis.

"In the United States, this new tipping point will translate into - get this - a collapse of the real economy, (the) final socio-economic stage of the serial bursting of the housing and financial bubbles and of the pursuance of the U.S. dollar fall. The collapse of U.S. real economy means the virtual freeze of the American economic machinery: private and public bankruptcies in large numbers, companies and public services closing down."
The report goes on to say that we are entering a period for which there is no historic precedent. Any comparisons with previous situations in our modern economy are invalid.


So there you have it. Three reports from three different sources, all well regarded, and all pointing to a disastrous fall-out from our monetary moves.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Another useful word is crowning (keter), a euphemism for a siege in which anyone who leaves his house risks being shot at. War zones are places where Palestinians can be killed even if they are children who don’t know they’ve entered a war zone. Palestinian children, by the way, tend to be upgraded to Palestinian teenagers, especially when they are accidentally killed. More examples: isolated Israeli outposts in the West Bank are called illegal outposts, perhaps in contrast to Israeli settlements that are apparently legal. Administrative detention means jailing people who haven’t been put on trial or even formally charged (in April 2003 there were 1119 Palestinians in this situation). The PLO (Ashaf) is always referred to by its acronym and never by its full name: Palestine is a word that is almost never used – there is a Palestinian president but no president of Palestine.
‘The civilian,’ Yigael Yadin, an early Israeli chief of staff, said, ‘is a soldier on 11 months’ annual leave.’ For the Israeli media there is no leave.

Great Moments in Advertising