Friday, November 29, 2002

Peace Activist Caoimhe Butterly shot by IDF soldier
"On Friday, Ian Hook, a British UN volunteer, was shot and killed in Jenin. Caoimhe Butterly, a 23-year-old Irish activist, was also shot, but survived. In October, I spent two weeks filming Caoimhe for a documentary I am making. I had been inspired to meet her by the footage of her blocking Israel Defense Force tanks as they fired over her head, and stories of her standing in the line of fire between soldiers and Palestinian children, as the IDF threatened to "make her a hero". "

UN Consecrates Water As Public Good, Human Right GENEVA - The United Nations Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights issued a statement Wednesday declaring access to water a human right and stating that water is a social and cultural good, not merely an economic commodity.

The Committee stressed that the 145 countries that have ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are now obligated to progressively ensure access to clean water, "equitably and without discrimination".

Scathing Chomsky critique of U.S. policy
"I'm sure every one of you knows from your own lives and the lives of the people around you that the Bush administration is carrying out a major attack against the American population," Chomsky said.

"In his view, its agenda follows the outline set by Ronald Reagan in the early '80s: Drive the country into a huge budget deficit, use that fiscal crisis to slash social programs, and hide behind a propaganda campaign that instills fear across the country.

"They are trying to enrich a pretty small group of corrupt gangsters, who they are protecting all the time," Chomsky said. "And they are carrying out a war against the public to do it."

"In his writings, Chomsky has indicted the United States as a rogue nation, bullying and oppressing poor people from South America to Europe to further its interests and the interests of large corporations."

Chomsky: Why Iraq?
"Chomsky said President Bush is using the Iraq issue to forward a broader conservative agenda.

"It is the strategy of the right oligarchy to direct mass discontent into nationalism and fear, he said. This strategy has been working quite brilliantly, you can see it in the midterm elections.

"As to the administration's choice of Iraq as the target, Chomsky credited the stupendous strategic powers that control of Iraq's oil reserve would confer."

Zionist Theses and Anti-Theses
"When the Zionists first proposed, in 1897, to create a Jewish state in Palestine, they knew that they would have to find an imperialist sponsor and sell the idea to audiences in Europe and United States. Within a few years of its creation, the moral case for Israel had been sold like a Spielberg blockbuster. The Zionists had succeeded in presenting Israel as a small,
beleaguered but heroic country, defending Western values against
the onslaught of Islamic vandals. Next to the creation of Israel, the launching of this narrative has been the greatest triumph of

Henry Kissinger Fears Arrest
"An indictment of Henry Kissinger for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes would include (but not be confined to) the following.

"VIETNAM: Kissinger scuttled peace talks in 1968, paving the way for Richard Nixon's victory in the presidential race. Half the battle deaths in Vietnam took place between 1968 and 1972, not to mention the millions of civilians throughout Indochina who were killed.

CAMBODIA: Kissinger persuaded Nixon to widen the war with massive bombing of Cambodia and Laos. No one had suggested we go to war with either of these countries. By conservative estimates, the U.S. killed 600,000 civilians in Cambodia and another 350,000 in Laos."

Chomsky: US plans to take oil.
"Anatol Lieven, senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC, observes that the Bush administration's efforts conform to "the classic modern strategy of an endangered right-wing oligarchy, which is to divert mass discontent into nationalism" through fear of external enemies.

"The administration's goal, Lieven says, is "unilateral world domination through absolute military superiority", which is why much of the world is so frightened."

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Awesome new resource: Google News
News sites can now be searched, compared and contrasted. Indymedia sites also covered.

Chomsky interview: Deterring democracy in Italy
"I don't know about Italy, but here the population is polled very extensively, so we have a pretty good grasp of public attitudes. There is, in fact, at Harvard a project called 'The Vanishing Voter Project', which I hope tells you something. It does extensive polling analysis to try to determine why the voters have been losing interest in elections over the past twenty years. One of the things they measure is the sense of helplessness, that is, that you feel you cannot do anything that will affect the political process. It hit a new high this year, far beyond anything before. Right before the election about 75 per cent of the population felt that there was no election at all, that it was just some kind of game being played by rich contributors, party bosses and the media. The whole public relations, or advertising, industry was crafting candidates, training them to use certain gestures and produce certain words that the research industry showed might increase the number of votes. But they didn't mean what they said and you weren't supposed to be able to understand what they said and it was all meaningless, just some kind of public relations game".

US Hyperpower: The New International Order
"With the publication this September of the Bush's administration's document defining the new "national security strategy of the United States"... the world's geopolitical architecture now has at its apex a single hyperpower, the US, which "possesses unprecedented and unequalled strength and influence in the world" and which "will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defence by acting pre-emptively." Once a threat has been identified, "America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed."

"This doctrine re-establishes the right to preventive war which Hitler used in 1941 against the Soviet Union and which Japan used in the same year against the US at Pearl Harbour. It also summarily abolishes one of the basic principles of international law, established with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, that one sovereign state does not intervene, and especially not militarily, in the internal affairs of another (a principle already discarded in the 1999 Nato intervention in Kosovo.

"This means that the international order laid down in 1945 at the end of the second world war and overseen by the United Nations has come to an end."

A CENTURY OF US INTERVENTIONS:From Wounded Knee to Afghanistan. Compiled by Zoltan Grossman

Edward Said: Waiting on a Countervailing Force
"The ideological position common to nearly everyone in the system is that America is best, its ideals perfect, its history spotless, its actions and society at the highest levels of human achievement and greatness. To argue with that -- if that is at all possible -- is to be "un-American" and guilty of the cardinal sin of anti-Americanism, which derives not from honest criticism but for hatred of the good and the pure."

The US & Weapons Of Mass Destruction
"In 1979, Daniel Ellsberg listed a total of thirty known occasions when the US "used" nuclear weapons, which he compared to the "use" of a pistol in the commission of a crime, "whether or not the attacker actually pulls the trigger."

How does dissent effect government policy, ie the war? "Our actions do not educate the government. It is not that we open their eyes to moral precepts they had missed, or to world relations they were blind to. Their morals are not changed by our actions, but remain unswervingly self-centered, profit-oriented, and power-driven. And they see the same world that we do; it is just that they like the implications we reject. The result of our activism is not the reeducation or moral uplift of elites, Rather, dissent creates a new context in which elite calculations change.

"The government pursues its policies, overwhelmingly to serve elite corporate and geopolitical interests. The aim, for example, of the proposed war on Iraq, is to further delegitimate international law, to further imbed in world consciousness the fear that the U.S. will economically and militarily crush any serious opposition to its pursuits, to further expand the "war on terrorism" because of its great utility in scaring populations into supporting policies they would otherwise reject, to enhance electoral prospects for the Republicans by drowning objections to their domestic policies in a flood of patriotic fervor, and to establish and entrench U.S. control over the oil resources of Iraq and the Middle East more generally."

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Collateral Damage: the health and environmental costs of war on Iraq

The evidence-based report, introduced by Dr June Crown, Medact President and former president of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians UK, summarises from a public health perspective the effects of the previous Gulf War, and outlines the likely impact of another war on the people of Iraq, on the combatants and on the wider world. It concludes that the threatened war could have disastrous short, medium and long-term consequences for all concerned and summarises alternatives to war. Medact is the UK affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. The report will be launched on the same day by IPPNW and its US affiliate Physicians for Social Responsibility in Washington, and by other affiliates in Australia, Canada, Germany, Guatemala, India, Japan, the Netherlands and the Philippines.

Effects of bombing Iraq
Like people everywhere, most people in the US think it’s wrong to kill civilians as a means of pressuring their government. But for many, the link between this conviction and opposition to the US plan to attack Iraq is severed by fear, misinformation and a desensitization to what war will really mean for ordinary people in Iraq. This guide is intended to help combat the euphemisms ("collateral damage") and passive language ("bombs fell") that obscure the suffering that the Bush Administration’s plans will cause. What does war mean for women and families in Iraq?

The Bush Administration wants to bomb Baghdad, a city of five million people. This would cause a humanitarian catastrophe equivalent to a heavy air bombardment of Los Angeles.

A November report by the global health organization Medact estimates that at least 50,000 civilians are likely to be killed by a US attack ( .

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Land Tax not an impediment to investment
"The institute's national president, John Hill, instead challenged the Government to provide an incentive package by cutting its own stamp duty and land tax demands on investors - "the two biggest impediments to investment". "

Land tax is not an "impediment to investment", rather it is an incentive for investment to put sites to their highest and best use. Hill's statement, endlessly reiterated by the REI, reflects how the Real Estate Institute serves the interests of the rent-taking class and not the public.

Tom Billionaire heir James Packer reported to be involved with Scientology
The son of Australia's richest man is a prize catch for the Church of Scientology. Rich, famous and friends with the church's star disciple, Tom Cruise, James Packer is just the kind of recruit the church loves to welcome in one of its "celebrity centres" around the world.

Monday, November 25, 2002

Iraq: U.N. Plan Is Pretext for War
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - In a point-by-point protest, the Iraqi government complained to the United Nations (news - web sites) Sunday that the small print behind the weapons inspections beginning this week will give Washington a pretext to attack.

The new U.N. resolution on the inspections could turn "inaccurate statements (among) thousands of pages" of required Iraqi reports into a supposed justification for military action, Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites).

"There is premeditation to target Iraq, whatever the pretext," Sabri said.
Sabri's letter, dated Saturday and released Sunday, complained that a key passage on providing documentation is unjust, "because it considers the giving of inaccurate statements — taking into consideration that there are thousands of pages to be presented in those statements — is a material breach."

Sabri wrote that the aim was clear: "to provide pretexts ... to be used in aggressive acts against Iraq."

Coming Soon! Gulf Wars Episode 11: Clone of the Attack

Full text: Bin Laden's 'letter to America'
The 'Bin Laden letter' remains to be authenticated, however it is still of interest. Even if not by Bin Laden himself it expresses sentiments he is known to have, such as in the November 13 tape, and elsewhere; sentiments which are known to be common throughout the muslim world. What is interesting is that the author of the letter realises that it is the American public which is the only force which can change the policies that he disagrees with, hence the letter is addressed to the public. The sophistication of the analysis of US foreign policy is remarkable too, stripping aside certain fundamentalist formulations. It is an exceptionally coherent statement of grievances. The author clearly knows a good deal more about it than the American public, who are kept in the dark by the mass media about the policies of their own government.

'Bin Laden letter' lists grievances against West -
The 'Bin Laden letter' remains to be authenticated, however the SMH has declined to published the text of the letter, which is a disservice to the Australian people in the crisis as the public urgently needs to understand what are the sources and causes of Arabic terrorism, in order to make responses which will lessen the risks of further terroristic strikes. However, things are worse in the USA. On a quick glance, the "Bin Laden letter" is not even mentioned on, or, much less printed in full.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

"Let it not be said that people in the United States did nothing when their government declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures of repression."

"There is a deadly trajectory to the events of the past months that must be seen for what it is and resisted. Too many times in history people have waited until it was too late to resist."

US Congressman Kucinich Draws the Line Against War
Unilateral military action by the U.S. against Iraq is unjustified, unwarranted and illegal. The Administration has failed to make the case that Iraq poses an imminent threat to the United States. There is no credible evidence linking Iraq to 9/11. There is no credible evidence linking Iraq to Al Qaeda. Nor is there any credible evidence that Iraq possesses deliverable weapons of mass destruction, or that it intends to deliver them against the United States.

The only weapon that can save the world is nonviolence, said Gandhi.

There is no reason for war against Iraq. Stop the drumbeat. Stop sending troops and supplies to Kuwait and Qatar. Pull back from the abyss of unilateral action and preemptive strikes.

Gulf War: What Bodies?
Description of the nature and extent of press censorship by the Pentagon. Keeping bodies hidden from the view of Americans.

Department of Homeland Security: Turning the US into a police state
A federal agency that has been given unlimited powers to spy on Americans, trample all over the First and Fourth Amendments, ignore the privacy of anyone it chooses and violate the rights of every man, woman and child who used to live in the Land of the Free.

Our own paranoia has accomplished what Osama bin Laden and his minions could not with hijacked airplanes and vague threats about future attacks – these fears have forced America to abandon its principles and create a police state.

Bush's Lies And Simple Truths
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

Let us not be unrealistic about this struggle. We have to ask, who is on our side in this struggle? Is the media on our side? No. Are the corporations on our side? No. Are the politicians on our side? No.

Who is on our side? Take a minute and look to the person at your side. That is what we have. We do not have the power of money; we have the power of people.

Let's Join, Not Fight The Global Coalition Against War
In the recent UN Security Council debate on Iraq, 60 nations spoke against U.S. policy, and not a single country except Israel and the United Kingdom spoke for it. This global united front opposed not only Bush's Iraq policy, but also the entire "Bush doctrine," whereby the U.S. can unilaterally and preemptively attack any country it sees as a potential security threat.

A child could see that the Bush doctrine is divorced from reality. Four percent of the world's people, however rich and well-armed, can't control the rest of the world by themselves.

Iraq resolution 1441: Unilateral Power, By Any Other Name
Behind all the media euphemisms and diplomat-speak, a cold hard reality about Resolution 1441 is already history: The resolution was fashioned to provide important fig leaves for domestic politics and foreign governments. President Bush and Britain's Tony Blair needed U.N. cover for the war that they're so eager to launch.

"Backroom deals with France and Russia regarding oil contracts in a postwar Iraq were a big part of the picture," Phyllis Bennis writes in The Nation. "And the impoverished nation of Mauritius emerged as the latest poster child for U.S. pressure at the U.N. The ambassador, Jagdish Koonjul, was recalled by his government for failing to support the original U.S. draft resolution on Iraq. Why? Because Mauritius receives significant U.S. aid, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act requires that a recipient of U.S. assistance 'does not engage in activities that undermine U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.'"

Saturday, November 23, 2002

The Failure of the War on Terror
Excellent hard hitting article, summarising the concerns we have been expressing from the outset.

"Meanwhile, in Afghanistan itself, the record is just as dismal. By using the heroin-financed gangsters of the Northern Alliance to overthrow the Taliban regime and pursue al-Qaida remnants ever since, the US has handed over most of the country to the same war criminals who devastated Afghanistan in the early 1990s. In Kabul, the US puppet president Hamid Karzai can rely on foreign troops to prop up his fragile authority. There, and in a few other urban centers, some girls' schools have re-opened and the worst manifestations of the Taliban's grotesque oppression of women have gone.

"But in much of what is once again the opium capital of the world, the return of the lawlords has meant harsh political repression, lawlessness, mass rape and widespread torture, the bombing or closure of schools, as well as Taliban-style policing of women's dress and behavior. The systematic use by Ismail Khan, who runs much of western Afghanistan with US support, of electric shock torture, arbitrary arrests and whippings to crush dissent is set out in a new Human Rights Watch report. Khan was nevertheless described by the US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently as a "thoughtful" and "appealing" person. His counterpart in the north, General Dostam, has in turn just been accused by the UN of torturing witnesses to his troops' murder of thousands of Taliban prisoners late last year, when he was working closely with US special forces.

"The death toll exacted for this "liberation" can only be estimated. But a consensus is growing that around 3,500 Afghan civilians were killed by US bombing (which included the large-scale use of depleted uranium weapons), with up to 10,000 combatants killed and many more deaths from cold and hunger as a result of the military action. Now, long after the war was supposed to be over, the US 82nd airborne division is reported to be alienating the population in the south and east with relentless but largely fruitless raids and detentions, while mortar and rocket attacks on US bases are now taking place at least three times a week. As General Richard Myers, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, puts it, the US military campaign in Afghanistan has "lost momentum".

"All this has been the inevitable product of the central choice made last autumn, which was to opt for a mainly military solution to the challenge of Islamist terrorism. That was a recipe for failure."

William H. Gates IV - One page career summary
Useful summary covering the core episodes in Gates' career. Gates is described as a "Schumpeterian entrepreneur", but wouldnt it be more insightful to describe him as a Rent-seeking monopolist?

It is apparently inconceivable to the author that Microsoft is a legally enacted privilege which is a parasite on the computer industry; that the software is poor quality; and that its dominance has hindered the development of the information industry. The author has completely missed the concurrent development of the Free Software movement, which will probably spell the end of the Microsoft monopoly.

Update on Kosovo
Andrew Sutton on the miseries, corruption and human-rights abuses in Kosovo, the UN’s first-ever protectorate

Malnutrition in Iraq - What the New UNICEF Study Shows
According to the “Profile of Women and Children in Iraq (UNICEF, April 2002), “Diarrhea leading to death from dehydration and acute respiratory infections together account for 70% of child mortality in Iraq. An Iraqi child suffers an average of 14.4 diarrhea spells a year, an almost 4 fold increase from the 1990 average of 3.8 episodes. During the same period, typhoid fever increased from 2,240 to over 27,000 cases.”

Despite repeated denials by every UN agency and NGO working in Iraq, the U.S. continues to claim that the only reason people are suffering under sanctions is because of their government.

Joni Mitchell blasts the Record Industry
In the W magazine interview, she blasted the recording industry as "the most corrupt one of all. They try not to pay you whenever possible."

Venting her scorn on contemporary artists -- including Madonna -- Mitchell said of music industry executives;

"They're not looking for talent. They're looking for a look and a willingness to cooperate. And a woman my age, no matter how well preserved, no longer has the look. And I've never had a willingness to cooperate."

As for Madonna, who was once quoted as saying that as a teenager she had adored Mitchell: "She has knocked the importance of talent out of the arena. She's manufactured. She's made a lot of money and become the biggest star in the world by hiring the right people," Mitchell said.

She has refused to do anything to make her music more salable. "What would I do?," she asked in the W magazine interview.

"Show my tits? Grab my crotch? Get hair extensions and a choreographer? It's not my world," she said.

Linux Forum
Abstract: This paper posits that the open source/freeware software development and distribution paradigm, will eventually become dominant. It aims to show that this will occur as an inevitable process, slowly at first, then with almost critical-mass motion. A number of analogies to other areas of human endeavour, such as Science will be used to underline the power of the concepts behind open source freeware. Also, that the open source movement shouldn't be viewed as an attack against any single closed source vendor, but against the inadequacies of the closed source process. And finally, the hope is for this message to achieve some sense of resonance with enough readers, to add just a little more momentum to the accelerating adoption of the open source paradigm.

Information as a global public good: Oxfam campaign proposal

(Driving Up) the Cost of Freedom
The United States is an “imperial democracy” which “does not know how to listen or reply,” Octavio Paz once wrote. But we can no longer ignore our interdependence with the rest of the world. It is imperative that we listen to other voices which challenge our definition of freedom. Most people who are angry at America do not hate our freedom per se, or our culture. “They hate that you are monopolizing all the nonrenewable resources,” a Muslim community leader told Thomas Friedman. “As a consequence, you support feudal elements who are trying to stave off the march of democracy.”

What many are saying outside the U.S., few North Americans want to hear. As Jeremy Rifkin wrote: “While most Americans think that we are planning an attack on Iraq to save the world from a madman, most Europeans think that Bush is the madman, with the evil intention of grabbing a foothold in the oil-rich Middle East to extend the American empire’.”

George Bush Sr. once declared that “the American way of life is not up for negotiation.” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed that the War Against Terror aimed to persuade the world that Americans must be allowed to continue their way of life. But the truth is that “the American way of life is simply not sustainable,” as Indian novelist Arundhati Roy has said.

President Bush May Be "Moron": Stupidity Experts
A high-ranking federal official may be correct in an assessment of US president George Bush as "a moron" say a group of Canadian stupidity experts.

"Technically, a moron is someone who is stupid but looks normal," said Albert Nerenberg, a Toronto-based film director who is completing a television documentary titled Stupidity. A controversy has erupted over newspaper reports that a top Canadian federal aide called Bush a "moron" for his hard-line stance on Iraq at the current NATO meeting in Prague.

"Much has been said recently about Bush arriving at a point where he looks presidential," said Nerenberg. "What's intriguing about morons is that they can pass as just about anyone, but inside they're still morons."

The original term moron was coined by an American Psychologist in New Jersey during the early part of the century. Moron was added to the US version of the IQ test to screen out people who looked intelligent but weren't. A moron was considered to have an IQ between 50-75.

Linux is the future: Europe's Microsoft Alternative
MERIDA, Spain -- Luis Millan Vazquez de Miguel, a college professor turned politician, is succeeding where multibillion-dollar, multinational corporations have failed. He is managing to unseat Microsoft Corp. as the dominant player in the software industry, at least in his little part of the world.

Vazquez de Miguel is the minister of education, science and technology in a western region of Spain called Extremadura, a mostly rural expanse of olive trees and tiny towns with 1.1 million inhabitants. In April, the government launched an unorthodox campaign to convert all the area's computer systems, in government offices, businesses and homes, from the Windows operating system to Linux, a free alternative.

Already, Vazquez de Miguel said, more than 10,000 desktop machines have been switched, with 100,000 more scheduled for conversion in the next year. Organizers regard the drive as a low-cost way to bring technology to the masses in the impoverished region.

"We are the future," he said. "If Microsoft doesn't become more open and generous with its code, people will stop using it and it will disappear."

Bush Aide: Inspections or Not, We'll Attack Iraq
GEORGE Bush's top security adviser last night admitted the US would attack Iraq even if UN inspectors fail to find weapons.
Dr Richard Perle stunned MPs by insisting a "clean bill of health" from UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix would not halt America's war machine.

Evidence from ONE witness on Saddam Hussein's weapons program will be enough to trigger a fresh military onslaught, he told an all- party meeting on global security.

Former defense minister and Labour backbencher Peter Kilfoyle said: "America is duping the world into believing it supports these inspections. President Bush intends to go to war even if inspectors find nothing.

"This make a mockery of the whole process and exposes America's real determination to bomb Iraq."

Critics draw Linux in the sand over Microsoft -
Australia's federal and state governments are under fire for taking a blinkered approach to information technology spending - ignoring local companies and alternatives to Microsoft.

Microsoft's grip on government IT spending has strengthened after it struck multi-million-dollar long-term deals with Canberra, the governments of Victoria, Queensland and South Australia and various government departments.

Open source has begun to make inroads locally. The Department of Veterans' Affairs, Centrelink and Bureau of Meteorology recently made separate decisions to move part of their IT infrastructure to Linux. Early this year, the Northern Territory Department of Education replaced Microsoft software with the open source word processing suite StarOffice 5.2 in its 160 schools.

US to Set Up 'Big Brother' Citizen Database THE Bush Administration is developing a computer system to monitor every American’s credit card transactions, phone calls and even borrowed library books in an anti-terrorist measure denounced as the country’s most intrusive domestic spying network so far.
Critics of the Total Information Awareness System, development of which was confirmed yesterday, say it will give the Government unprecedented powers to spy on citizens’ personal habits. Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a civil liberties group, called it “the most sweeping plan to conduct surveillance on the public since at least the 1960s”.

Arab, Jewish Americans Agree Widely on Solution
Of 500 people polled at random from each community, 52 percent of U.S. Jews and 79 percent of Arab Americans said they would support a settlement that led to two independent and secure states with a common border that would be defined roughly by Israel's 1967 frontiers, with a shared capital.

Asked whether they agreed or disagreed that Palestinians have a right to live in a ''secure and independent state of their own'', 85.5 percent of Jews agreed, as did 95.6 of Arab-Americans. Posed the same choice about the right of Israelis to an independent and secure state, 96.6 percent of Jews agreed, as did 95.4 percent of Arab-Americans.

The survey found a high level of support for the Taba framework, whose main elements include a two-state solution, the evacuation of most Jewish settlements from the occupied territories, the establishment of a border roughly along the pre-1967 frontiers, a Palestinian right of return only inside a new Palestinian state, and a shared capital in Jerusalem.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Online edition: Information Liberation, by Brian Martin (London: Freedom Press, 1998)
Discussion and Critique of issues such as Intellectual property, defamation, restrictions on freedom of speech in the information age.

The Right to Read - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)
"There were ways, of course, to get around the SPA and Central Licensing. They were themselves illegal. Dan had had a classmate in software, Frank Martucci, who had obtained an illicit debugging tool, and used it to skip over the copyright monitor code when reading books. But he had told too many friends about it, and one of them turned him in to the SPA for a reward (students deep in debt were easily tempted into betrayal). In 2047, Frank was in prison, not for pirate reading, but for possessing a debugger."

"The right to read is a battle being fought today. Although it may take 50 years for our present way of life to fade into obscurity, most of the specific laws and practices described above have already been proposed; many have been enacted into law in the US and elsewhere. In the US, the 1998 Digital Millenium Copyright Act established the legal basis to restrict the reading and lending of computerized books (and other data too). The European Union imposed similar restrictions in a 2001 copyright directive."

Danny Yee's Free Software Advocacy and Politics
"I'm interested in linking the free software movement with the struggle for social justice and developing the synergies between them, and in connecting free software with freedom of information issues in other areas."

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Axis of Oil: Shoot First and Inspect for Weapons Later.
An Analysis of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 on Iraq and WMD as Adopted on November 8, 2002

"According to Secretary of State Colin Powell, 'if Iraq violates this resolution and fails to comply, then the Council has to take into immediate consideration what should be done about that, while the United States and other like-minded nations might take a judgment about what we might do about it if the Council chooses not to act.' In other words, if the Council decision does not match what the Bush administration has unilaterally decided, Washington will implement its own decision regardless."

"Have we really bought the fiction, the Washington propaganda, that Iraq is a threat? We all know -- the issue is oil, oil and more oil. And U.S. control thereof. The new resolution of the UN Security Council is a charade, a device to obscure. Nevertheless it is transparent enough that one can point out the trip wires, hoops and hurdles (combined with dangerous ambiguity) placed so that Iraq must inevitably fail to avoid material breach. Then the Bush war can begin nicely covered in UN respectability -- although of course it has already begun, what with the 12 years of deadly embargo, the no-fly zone bombings and now placement of army, navy and air force resources on the ground in the Gulf, Kuwait, etc The resolution is little more than a sop to other member states and a response to the domestic pressures that took Bush to the General Assembly in September when he outrageously threatened the entire membership. Pressure on Baghdad to comply will not prevent war -- only intense pressure on the Bush regime might. To pretend this resolution represents progress, or is hopeful, or a move in the right direction strikes me as naive and dangerous."

"This resolution takes a hard-line approach that will almost certainly lead to war. Thirteen members of the Security Council were opposed to this resolution or deeply skeptical, but Washington used intense pressure and eventually bent them to its will. The U.S. used hardball diplomacy of the type deployed to gain the first Gulf War resolution in 1990. The Secretary of State at that time, James Baker, later described in his autobiography how he lined up votes for resolution 678: 'I met personally with all my Security Council counterparts in an intricate process of cajoling, extracting, threatening, and occasionally buying votes. Such are the politics of diplomacy.'"

"In 1990, France, the Soviet Union and China all sold Iraq out at the Security Council…. Russia can be bought by getting admitted to the WTO and being given a free hand on Georgia and Chechnya, as well as having its oil interests guaranteed in Iraq. China wants an end to proposed high-tech U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan. France wants its oil interests in Iraq protected, as well as its sphere of influence in Francophone Africa respected. The serious bargaining has yet to begin. The bottom line here is that the Bush Jr. administration originally sought and has now failed to obtain the same language from the UN Security Council that the Bush Sr. administration obtained in resolution 679 (1990), authorizing UN Member States 'to use all necessary means' to expel Iraq from Kuwait. So a unilateral attack by the United States and the United Kingdom against Iraq without further authorization from the Security Council would still remain illegal and therefore constitute aggression. In recognition of this fact, British government officials are already reportedly fearful of prosecution by the International Criminal Court. And the Bush Jr. administration is doing everything humanly possible to sabotage the ICC in order to avoid any prospect of ICC prosecution of high-level U.S. government officials over a war against Iraq. Lawyers call this 'consciousness of guilt.'"

"This will be used by the United States as an authorization by it, acting alone and without further UN approval, to go to war with Iraq. It will not, according to the U.S., require another resolution by the UN to go to war."

"Articles 1 and 2 contain language more or less certain to guarantee a new war if anything goes wrong with the UNMOVIC mission. Language finding Iraq already in 'material breach' and being given 'a final opportunity' to come clean is a rather ominous way of predetermining the outcome, especially when linked with articles 3 and 4 demanding a full and complete accounting and forbidding any misstatement. This opens the possibility that any missing document page or any evasive statement by any official could trigger a war."

"Because the U.S. has gotten so much Security Council opposition, an initial draft that was tailored to be a Rambouillet-style demand for effectively unlimited military occupation, which neither Iraq nor any other sovereign nation could accept, has been dramatically watered down. The provision for ground and air 'exclusion zones' was one of the key elements of that approach, and it has been retained. If UNMOVIC construes this power broadly enough, it will be an intolerable imposition of the kind that Iraq could not accept. Since Hans Blix has been cooperating closely with the United States, even allowing the U.S. to keep him from sending inspectors back to Iraq, it's not clear the UNMOVIC will be any more independent of U.S. policy considerations than UNSCOM was."

"One of the problems with UNSCOM is that it committed espionage, often involving leaving monitoring equipment behind in places that had been inspected. This provision seems like a way to make sure that UNMOVIC inspectors could also smuggle such equipment into inspected sites."

"This language is aimed at demanding Iraqi compliance with the U.S.-British air patrols and bombings going on in the so-called 'no-fly' zones. Neither creation or military enforcement of those zones was ever authorized by the United Nations; no UN resolution before this one ever even mentioned 'no-fly' zones. This section would serve to legitimize the 11-year-long illegal U.S.-British imposition of 'no-fly' zones, and the four-year-long illegal bombing raids carried out there. The U.S. claims that those bombing raids, and the imposition of the zones themselves, are to 'enforce' UN resolutions -- specifically 688, which calls on Iraq to protect the human rights of various communities. But in fact the bombing is without any actual UN authorization. So far the Security Council has never called the U.S. and Britain to account for their illegal actions; this language serves to legalize those actions instead."

"Because there is no specified consequence here for a potential Iraqi delay, it is likely the U.S. will interpret this section as authorizing immediate and unilateral military force. No such force would be appropriate, but there is a history of usurpation of such language."

"It could be argued that this is the second-stage meeting France and Russia desired and that the consequences of a breach are to be decided by the Security Council. But, by this time, such a meeting may not have any efficacy in stopping the U.S. from making unilateral war. Suppose the Council decides it does not think force is appropriate or reaches no decision -- deciding, for example, that Iraq has sufficiently complied. The U.S. might still go to war. It will argue that the Council has already decided that Iraq was in material breach of past resolutions and that any infraction of the current resolution was a 'material breach.' "

"Article 12 is actually the war empowerment part of the resolution. It does say that the Council will convene. In the absence of 'full compliance,' the wording directly [in the next paragraph] mentions 'serious consequences.' If such a meeting is held, the Security Council will in effect have a gun to its head, since the U.S. administration has already stated that if the UN fails to act, the U.S. will act unilaterally."

"This clear language should prohibit any country -- including the United States -- from acting unilaterally in response to any perceived Iraqi obstruction. However, given Bush administration officials' consistent claim that they need 'no further' UN resolutions to authorize the use of force 'to enforce' UN resolutions, it is highly doubtful that Washington intends to adhere to this language. The inclusion of the reference 'in order to restore international peace and security' is a code for proceeding immediately to using force, whether or not authorized by a new 'consideration of the situation.' It is certain the Bush administration will point to this reference if they choose to go to war without actual Council consent. The fact that they specifically do not call for an actual formal meeting of the Council, and do not call for a new resolution or new decision, but only the informal call 'to convene' implies a lack of seriousness about the right of the Council alone to determine sufficiency of compliance and possible consequences."

Critique of US Draft UN Resolution
A Detailed Analysis of the Draft UN Security Council Resolution
Proposed by the U.S. Government
(Latest publicly available version, October 23, 2002)

"Claims of a threat posed by Iraq to international peace and security are entirely untenable. Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet refuted Bush's claims in a letter to the Senate, where he said clearly the threat of an Iraqi WMD attack was virtually nonexistent, except possibly in the eventuality of a U.S. war for 'regime change.' Nobody claims Iraq has nuclear weapons, nobody has produced any evidence that Iraq is capable of weaponizing biological agents, and it's quite clear that Iraq can have no more than a nominal chemical weapons capability."

"This language is specifically designed to set the stage for a U.S. military attack."

"The word 'consequences' used in this paragraph is a code word for war. It is not at all clear that war is warranted over major or minor disputes that may arise over interpretations of Security Council resolutions."

"The multi-speak coming from Washington allows the allied leaders, and especially the P-5 [Permanent 5] governments, to put a good face on the deal they are striking with Washington. They don't want it to appear that war is 'automatic.' But everyone understands that war is automatic."

"According to this paragraph, any false statement by any Iraqi official, or any statement interpreted as false, whether false or not, could become a pretext for war."

"The numerous provisions above add up to an attempt to provide for a military occupation without having to fight a war. Note especially the right to create 'exclusion zones and/or ground and air transit corridors.' An earlier draft explicitly stated that these could be enforced by the military of 'member states,' meaning the U.S. military. That language has been removed, but the United States likes to maintain a certain 'creative ambiguity' -- if the language doesn't explicitly forbid enforcement by member states, they will likely claim that it allows such enforcement. In toto, these conditions amount to unrestricted military to any site it deems fit, unrestricted overflight rights, right to commandeer and control the entire electromagnetic spectrum over Iraq, unrestricted right to appropriate materials, and especially unrestricted right to occupy areas and completely control access and transit. This is remarkably like the demands the United States made of Yugoslavia in the draft Rambouillet accords ('negotiations' broke down shortly before the U.S. started bombing) and to the demands that the United States made of the Taliban before the Afghanistan war. In each case, the United States calls for the target country to completely relinquish its sovereignty, allowing an indefinite, roving military occupation. Since no sovereign state grants such rights, the clear inference is that the U.S. deliberately sets its demands so high they cannot be met and then claims that it has justification for war. In this case, Hussein has made some remarkable concessions and it's not clear just how far he will go -- what is clear is that no matter how much he concedes, the Bush administration will continue to refuse to take 'yes' for an answer."

"This language is aimed at demanding Iraqi compliance with the U.S.-British air patrols and bombings going on in the so-called 'no-fly' zones. Neither creation or military enforcement of those zones was ever authorized by the United Nations; no UN resolution before this one ever even mentioned 'no-fly' zones. :: Envisioning and demanding a peaceful global community!
"Help stop the war on Iraq before it starts! Let's show the world that the peace movement is united in its opposition to a pre-emptive attack on Iraq. Please act quickly to organize rallies, protests, vigils, and other nonviolent direct actions to stop this needless war."

No time to talk turkey, it's Iraq in his sights -
"[Prime Minister Howard] drew the first nexus between the war on terrorism and the expected campaign against Saddam Hussein by suggesting there was a need to ensure unreliable states harbouring weapons of mass destruction did not provide them to Osama bin Laden."

According to former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, Iraq has been 90-95% disarmed, ie it has no weapons of mass destruction. But even if it did, the only situation in which it might use them, especially against the US, is if it faced dire threat of imminent destruction. Also, Saddam and Bin Laden are bitter enemies, therefore there is minimal likelihood that Saddam would supply Bin Laden with WMD (if he had them) or with any weapons.

The gaps in logic in the Howard position are remarkable and can only be explained by the absence of genuine content and debate in modern politics, and how everything is done for appearances, and how it works immediately in the polls.

Howard recalls crack war troops -
No connection has been made, despite strenous efforts, between Iraq and Al-Queda or September 11, or Bali. But in his recent tape Bin Laden has made it abundantly clear why Australians have and will be targeted. All evidence points to the fact that the repression of the Palestinians and the sufferings of the Iraqis are the two biggest rallying calls for radical Islamists such as Bin Laden.

If Mr Howard was at all serious about combatting terrorism he would terminate immediately Australia's involvement in America's imperialist wars. Mr Howard is a man who has learned nothing from the tragedy of the First World War or the Vietnam War. He continues to regard Australia as a Colonial dependency or Imperial outpost which should back the Empire's wars no questions asked. Of course, it plays well with the electorate, to pose as a tough man, willing to fight, and risk the lives of young Australians. Until such time as the electorate realises it has been deceived.

Pakistani MP Brands America a 'Terrorist'
"A SENIOR Pakistani MP described America as the “biggest terrorist state” in prayers said in Parliament yesterday for a man executed in Virginia last week for the murder of two members of the CIA."

"Kansi, 38, was executed by lethal injection last Thursday. His body was returned to Quetta on Monday. His death has fueled intense anti-US sentiment in Pakistan and right-wing religious parties, which made big gains in recent parliamentary elections, have called for revenge against the United States. Many Pakistanis see Kansi as a new “icon of Islam”.

"Before his execution, Kansi told the BBC that he felt no remorse and that he had carried out the attack to register his anger at American “anti-Muslim” policy in the Middle East. The US State Department gave warning that the execution could lead to retaliation against Americans around the world."

War Crimes Arrest Blow to Iraqi Opposition
"DANISH police arrested last night an exiled Iraqi general tipped as a possible replacement for President Saddam Hussein. He faces charges that he was responsible for killing thousands of Kurds in a chemical weapons attack 14 years ago.

"The arrest of General Nizar Khazraji, the former Iraqi Chief-of-Staff and the most senior officer to defect from Baghdad, appeared to wreck any chances that he might lead a mutiny in the Armed Forces and help to topple Saddam’s regime."

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Why is it forbidden to ask Why the terrorism occurs?
As has always been the case, the core of sympathy, recruiting and financial support for Arab terrorism can most easily be gained by touching on the Israel, Palestinian, Iraq, Saudi, oil, and US military issues. There is room and need for real change here, but the question "why?" and "what policies does the west need to change to undermine the support for terrorists?" are forbidden to be asked in the Western political/media elite. A typical example is Gerard Henderson.

In this article Henderson is about as far left and liberal as a mainstream columnist can get, and makes some good points against the absurdity of the racist and scaremongering linkage exploited by the Howard government, that terrorists or sleepers are among the desperate boat people of Afghanistan and Iraq. But the questions "why" and "what do we need to change" are forbidden to be raised.

Bin Laden explains why the terrorism has occurred.
Comparing the online transcripts of the Bin Laden tape of 13 Nov 02 on the SMH and Indymedia sites show that the SMH version has been slightly edited or censored in an interesting way.

The following passages were omitted from the SMH version:

"To the peoples of the countries allied to the iniquitous American government:"

- this was cut from the beginning of the statement. It is significant, Bin laden is clearly addressing his message to the peoples of the Governments allied to America, both his bombs and his words.

"So the Muslim nation begins to attack you with its children, who are committed before God to continue the jihad, by word and by the sword, to establish justice and eradicate injustice, for as long as their hearts continue to beat.

"Finally, we pray to God to aid us that His religion might triumph, and pursue the jihad unto death, so as to merit His mercy."

- these two paragraphs were also cut. They are less significant. One wonders why it was felt necessary to cut anything from what is a concise statement in the original. And the way it has been cut and presented in the SMH version suggests that rather more was cut than has in fact been done. It doesnt exactly inspire trust in the corporate media.

Key Bin Laden statements carried in both Indymedia and SMH versions:

"To the peoples of the countries allied to the iniquitous American government:

"The road to salvation begins with the end of aggression. It is only justice to give back the same. What has happened since the conquests of New York and Washington up until now - like the operations on Germans in Tunisia, the explosion of the French tanker in Yemen, on the French in Karachi, the operations against the Marines in Failaka [Kuwait], on Australians and Britons in the explosions in Bali, as well as the recent hostage-taking in Moscow and other operations here and there - were nothing but the response of Muslims eager to defend their religion and respond to the order of God and their Prophet.

"What Bush, the pharaoh of the century, did by murdering our children in Iraq and what Israel, the ally of America, did in bombing houses of the elderly, women and children in Palestine, using American planes, was enough for the wise among your leaders to distance themselves from this criminal gang.

"Our people in Palestine have been massacred and subjected to the worst of suffering for nearly a century. If we defend our people in Palestine, the world gets agitated and coalesces against Muslims under the cover of the war against terrorism, unjustly and in a false way.

"Do your governments not know that the clique in the White House is made up of the greatest murderers of the century?

"Rumsfeld [US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld] is the butcher of Vietnam who has killed more than two million people. Cheney [US Vice-President, Dick Cheney] and Powell [US Secretary of State, Colin Powell] have murdered and destroyed in Baghdad more than did Houlagou," [a reference to a 13th-century Mongol who conquered the city].

"Why did your governments ally themselves with America to attack us in Afghanistan, and I cite in particular Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Germany and Australia. Australia was warned about its participation [in the war] in Afghanistan and its ignoble contribution to the separation of East Timor [from Indonesia]. But it ignored this warning until it was awakened by the echoes of explosions in Bali. Its government subsequently pretended, falsely, that its citizens were not targeted.

"If you suffer to see your [people] killed and those of your allies in Tunisia, in Karachi, in Failaka, Bali and Amman, remember our [people] killed among the children of Palestine, in Iraq. Remember our dead in Afghanistan.

"As you look at your dead in Moscow, also recall ours in Chechnya. For how long will fear, massacres, destruction, exile, orphanhood and widowhood be our lot, while security, stability and joy remain your domain alone? It is high time that equality be established to this effect.

"As you assassinate, so will you be [assassinated], and as you bomb so will you likewise be."

Full transcript, Indymedia version:
Edited transcript, SMH version:

We Have Played Straight Into Bin Laden's Hands
"Contained in [Bin Laden's message] is the clear warning that it will be a European country that will be targeted as a "punishment" for supporting America. So what have we done about it? The blunt answer is play straight into his hands.

"It is astonishing that, having cornered Saddam Hussein and forced him to give in to a ferocious UN resolution, both Washington and London are saying that they don't believe him and that the war plans are still on, for all the world giving the impression that the object is forced regime change whatever he does. How do we think this goes down in a Muslim world that is already convinced that President Bush is pursuing a plan that has nothing to do with peace and everything to do with oil?

"What do we think we're doing when we indicate that we support President Putin in Chechnya, when we pretend not to notice what the Chinese are doing with the Turkomans, or when we support the worst of regimes in Uzbekistan and Jerusalem?"

"The... most important thing is to do everything we can to deprive al-Qa'ida of any legitimacy in the Islamic or the Third World.

"My own feeling is that the al-Qa'ida threat is greatly exaggerated. It has money. It has a hard core of loyal devotees. And it has relations with a host of Islamic groups of one sort and another round the world. But it doesn't control them and it can only succeed with them in so far as their individual causes are given life.

"Deprive the group of its funds (as we have so far been singularly unsuccessful in doing) and you remove its influence. Deprive it of its cause, and you leave it without its justification. If Bin Laden becomes a champion of the Muslim downtrodden, it is only because we will have made him so."

Albanian and Russian Observers Sent to Monitor American Elections
"The joke, during the endless presidential election recounts in Florida two years ago, was that Russia and Albania would send poll monitors to help the United States with its unexpected bump on the road to democracy. Now, the joke has become reality.

"A high-level delegation of European and North American election observers including members from Russia and Albania arrived yesterday for a week-long mission to watch Florida's mid-term elections, which take place on Tuesday.

"Their task: to see if the world's most powerful democracy has learned anything from the disastrous 36-day showdown between George Bush and Al Gore in 2000, in which the world saw every wart in Florida's deeply flawed electoral system without ever discovering for sure who had won."

Bali and Imperalism, by John Pilger.
"Last week's atrocity in Bali, like the September 11 attacks on America, did not happen in isolation. They were products, like everything, of the past. According to George W Bush, Tony Blair and now Australia's prime minister, John Howard, we have no right to understand them. We must simply get the criminals, dead or alive.

"The fact that the Bush posse has caught no terrorist of proven importance since September 11 makes a grim parody of Bush's semi-literate threats and Blair's missionary deceptions as they prepare a terrorist attack on Iraq that will be the horror of Bali many times over."

"State terrorism is a taboo term. Politicans never utter it. Newspapers rarely describe it. Academic "experts" suppress it; and yet, in many cases, it helps us understand the root causes of non-state atrocities like Bali and September 11. It is by far the most menacing form of terrorism, for it has the capacity to kill not 200, but hundreds of thousands. In each shower of cluster bombs that will fall on Iraq will be countless Sari Clubs. The dropping of the atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima was the equivalent of the horror of the Twin Towers 100 times over.

"State terrorism, backed by America, Britain and Australia, has scarred Indonesia for the past 40 years. For example, the source of the worst violence is the Indonesian army, which the West has supported and armed. Today, troops continue to terrorise the provinces of Aceh and West Papua, where they are "protecting" the American Exxon oil company's holdings and the Freeport mine.

"In West Papua, the army openly supports an Islamic group, Lashkar Jihad, which is linked to al-Qaeda."

"This was only the latest in Australia's long complicity with state terrorism in Indonesia, which makes a mockery of the self-deluding declarations last week that Australia had "lost its innocence" in Bali. Certainly, few Australians are aware that not far from their holiday hotels are mass graves with the remains of some 80,000 people murdered in Bali in 1965-66 with the connivance of the Australian government.

"Recently-released files reveal that when the Indonesian tyrant General Suharto seized power in the 1960s, he did so with the secret backing of the American, British and Australian governments, which looked the other way or actively encouraged the slaughter of more than half a million "communists". This was later described by the CIA as "one of the worst mass murders of the 20th Century".

"The Australian Prime Minister at the time, Harold Holt, quipped: "With 500,000 to a million communist sympathisers knocked off, I think it's safe to assume a reorientation has taken place." Holt's remark accurately reflected the collaboration of the Australian foreign affairs and political establishment. The Australian embassy in Jakarta described the massacres as a "cleansing process". In Canberra, officals in the Prime Minister's department expressed support for "any measures to assist the Indonesian army cope with the internal situation"."

Amnesty Says U.S. Missile Strike in Yemen May Be Illegal
"LONDON, Nov. 8 -- Amnesty International, the human rights advocacy group, wrote to President Bush today to question Washington's deadly missile attack on al Qaeda suspects in Yemen.

"Six men suspected of membership in the militant Islamic network died Sunday when their car was hit by a Hellfire missile fired from an unmanned Predator aircraft operated by the CIA.

""If this was the deliberate killing of suspects in lieu of arrest, in circumstances in which they did not pose an immediate threat, the killings would be extra-judicial executions in violation of international human rights law," the London-based group said in a statement. "The United States should issue a clear and unequivocal statement that it will not sanction extra-judicial executions.""

US far right wins grip on the country in mid-term elections.
"And so one of American liberalism's darkest days was repeated across the country. Minnesota and Missouri, long-time Democrat strongholds, fell. Governor Jeb Bush, despite the Democrats insisting that justice now be done for those infamous chads, won in Florida. As if to underscore conservatism's ascendancy, the only Democrat gain was in Arkansas where the Republican senator had suffered a messy divorce and his Democrat challenger was even more pro-gun and pro-Bible than the incumbent.

"The result is that the Republicans now control the Senate, House and the presidency for the first time since President Eisenhower. The consolidation of America as an ultra conservative country is going to take place rapidly. Mr Bush may have offered a few tit-bits to show his credentials as a 'compassionate conservative', like his concern to reduce the price of prescription drugs for the elderly, but the core of the Republican program is anything but. There will be radical tax cuts for the rich and the corporations; a freezing of all efforts to stiffen regulation in the wake of America's corporate scandals; moves to privatize the social security system; and a roll-back of environmental protection.

"Nor do the Conservatives' ambitions stop there. Following the ideas of the high priest of ultra conservatism, Leo Strauss, they want to construct a republic of 'moral', god-fearing citizens who adhere to traditional virtues, rewarding the rich who can only have become rich through the virtue of hard work and penalizing the poor who are only poor because of their own fecklessness. Above all, by now having the opportunity to pack the judiciary with extreme right-wing judges, they intend to do away with the famous Roe v Wade judgment that legalized abortion. This is the most fiercely reactionary program to have emerged in any Western democracy since the war, and for which last Tuesday's vote, argue Republicans, is an explicit mandate."

"One poignant photo said it all: Georgia's defeated Democratic senator, Max Cleland, sitting in a wheelchair, missing both legs and an arm lost in combat in Vietnam. This highly decorated hero was defeated by a Vietnam war draft-dodger who had the audacity to accuse Cleland of being "unpatriotic" after the senator courageously voted against giving Bush unlimited war-related powers. I do not recall a more shameful moment in American politics."

Bush's real target may be Iran.
Speculative, but plausible, piece on future American wars:

"Bush's victory is clearly a mandate to proceed with his crusade against Iraq. Preparations for war are in an advanced stage. The U.S. has been quietly moving heavy armour and mechanized units from Europe to the Mideast. Three division equivalents and a Marine heavy brigade are now in theatre. An armada of U.S. warplanes is assembling around Iraq, which is bombed almost daily. U.S. special forces are operating in northern Iraq, and, along with Israeli scout units, in Iraq's western desert near the important H2 airbase. The war could begin as early as mid-December if there is no coup against Saddam Hussein.

"But for all the propaganda about wicked Saddam, Iraq is not the main objective for the small but powerful coterie of Pentagon hardliners driving the Bush administration's national security policy. Nor is it for their intellectual and emotional peers in Israel's right-wing Likud party. The real target of the coming war is Iran, which Israel views as its principal and most dangerous enemy. Iraq merely serves as a pretext to whip America into a war frenzy and to justify insertion of large numbers of U.S. troops into Mesopotamia.

"The prevailing view in the Israeli military is that Iraq will be quickly defeated by U.S. forces, and then likely split into two or three cantons. Israel's North American supporters, however, are still being given the party line that Israel is in mortal danger from Iraq.

"Iran is a different story. Iran is expected to produce a few nuclear weapons within five years to counter Israel's large nuclear arsenal, and is developing medium-range missiles, Shahab-3s and -4s, that can easily reach Tel Aviv.

"With 68 million people and a growing industrial base, Iran is seen by Israel as a serious threat and major Mideast geopolitical rival. Both nations have their eye on Iraq's vast oil reserves.

"Israel's newly appointed hardline defence minister, former air force chief Shaul Mofaz, who was born in Iran, has previously threatened to attack Iran's nuclear installations. Thanks to long-range F-15Is supplied by the U.S., plus cruise and ballistic missiles, Israel can strike targets all over Iran. This week, Israel's grand strategy was clearly revealed for the first time, though barely noticed by North American media, as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called for an invasion of Iran "the day after" Iraq is crushed.

"In the U.S., Pentagon hardliners are drawing up plans to invade Iran once Iraq and its oil are "liberated." They hope civil war will erupt in Iran, which is riven by bitterly hostile factions, after which a pro-U.S. regime will take power. If this does not occur, then Iraq-based U.S. forces will be ideally positioned to attack Iran. Or, they could just as well move west and invade Syria, another of Israel's most bitter enemies.

"Israel's Likudniks thirst for revenge against Syria - and also Iran - for supporting Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, which drove Israeli forces from Lebanon.

"Pentagon superhawk Richard Perle, told the TVO program Diplomatic Immunity that the U.S. was prepared to attack Syria, Iran, and Lebanon.

"By February or March, the U.S. media will likely be flooded with dire warnings about the threat to the world from Iran. Israel's American lobby will turn its guns from Iraq to Iran. "Links" will surely be "discovered" between Iran and al-Qaida. The cookie-cutter pattern that worked for whipping up war psychosis against Iraq should work just as well against Iran, Syria or Saudi Arabia - and win the next national election."

The New Protest movement: Something is stirring among the people.
"One measure of the strength of popular anti-establishment movements is their suppression as news. Millions of people took to the streets in Italy last month, yet the main political news in Britain the next day was the latest Machiavellian utterances of Gordon Brown. On 28 September, the historic demonstration of 400,000 people in London was considered worthy only of trivialisation by the Observer. Nowhere in the begrudging reporting of that extraordinary day was there recognition of a new, diverse and growing constituency of angry people no longer interested in the small circuses that fill tombstones of column inches, such as the diddum tears of Estelle Morris.

"My guess is that a great many people would agree, for very different reasons, with Peter Mandelson's prediction that "the era of representative democracy is coming to an end". That has long been demonstrably true in the United States. It is a truth that has eluded many journalists and broadcasters, understandably, as the main function of so much political reporting is to run a cigarette paper between the parties and to channel spin.

"The public understands this, which is why the audience for political news on television has slumped. Blaming the public for its "lack of interest in politics" is the self-deluding excuse of media executives who claim an insight into the popular mood, yet are contemptuous of it. In truth, the public has never been more interested in real politics, which it does not associate with the deceptions and gossip of an elective oligarchy."

A Real Plan for Combatting Terrorism
"6. Encourage Israel to withdraw immediately from the territories occupied in 1967, and support the establishment of a Palestinian state within these borders. We should work with both sides to assure the security of each state and validity of the borders.

"7. End the client-state system of American empire. We must cease all funding and arming of non-democratic governments, with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Egypt at the top of the list. After all, it should be assumed that whoever funds and arms dictatorships will be the object of resentment and reprisal from those who suffer under such regimes. We should then immediately announce a plan to provide economic development aid (not loans) for those nations and political organizations willing to democratize and observe international human rights standards.

"8. Start to observe democracy and human rights standards in our own domestic and foreign policy (see the Amnesty International report on human rights in the United States). This will improve the sort of good will necessary for international cooperation in police work. International good will toward the U.S. was prominent in the immediate aftermath of September 11th. It has been completely squandered by the Bush administration, who have succeeded in the dubious achievement of uniting most of the world against us.

"You won't hear the Bush administration or the Democrats talk about these types of solutions, because they are not serious about reducing terrorism. Their primary goals are political and economic power for themselves and their clients in corporate America, who fund their campaigns. First in importance among these corporate donors are the energy companies, who help so much to put the "conflict" in "conflic of interest." Terrorism is the natural outcome of such arrangements, and is seen as worth the price.

"These proposals would cost money, but probably not as much money as will be spent on useless weapons systems like "Star Wars" (not very helpful in fighting fanatics armed with box cutters) and perpetual wars involving the bombing of brown-skinned people. Needless to say, in addition to increasing our security dramatically, radical policies would have tremendous environmental and economic benefits. In the end, they would likely generate revenue and help to democratize our economy."

Former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter turned anti-war campaigner.
"Keep this in the back of your head: About 3,000 Iraqi children are starving to death each month -- outside the view of American heartstrings," Ritter said. "Suppose every month 3,000 Iraqi children were lined up and we threatened to shoot them if Saddam Hussein didn't do what we wanted. Suppose we gave orders for the Marines to shoot them. Well, nothing would happen because Marines don't shoot kids. But that doesn't mean America doesn't kill children. We just starve them to death.

"Ritter made the case that America is hellbent on war with Iraq no matter what U.N. arms inspectors find if readmitted to that country. Why? We want to control Mideast oil.

"We see the world as one big grocery store," he said. When the United States needs another country's natural resource, he said, we will make friends with oppressive regimes to get it, steal it or take it by force.

"Instead of hunting down terrorists with Predator drones, only to see them replaced by more terrorists, better to ask why and how people become terrorists in the first place, Ritter said."

US Corporations have the rights of persons
"But in 1886, the consent of the people was stolen. A bizarre distortion of the Santa Clara Supreme Court decision by the Court's reporter led to corporations claiming that they were also entitled to the human rights laid out for We, The People in the Bill of Rights and the free-the-slaves Fourteenth Amendment. They claimed, even though the Supreme Court had explicitly not ruled it, that they had won the rights of humans: corporate personhood.

Unions wouldn't get those rights (and still don't have them), nor would churches or associations or family-owned businesses, and not even governments would ever have those rights (because the Bill of Rights was explicitly intended as a weapon for fragile humans to use to hold back the potentially repressive powers inherent in any government), but corporations exclusively, the Court's reporter said, would share them with humans.

"Thus, our largest corporations have now claimed the First Amendment right of free speech, and captured control of our airwaves and many of our politicians. They've claimed the Fourth Amendment right of privacy, and tell us we can't inspect their voting machines that determine the fate of our democracy. They've claimed the Fourteenth Amendment right to be free of discrimination, and tell local communities they have no right to nurture small, local businesses while "discriminating against" predatory multinational corporations."

The Covert Biotech War
Patents and Copyrights have underpin the conversion of genetically modified food to a Rent Seeking monopoly.

"The real problem with engineered crops, as this column has been pointing out for several years, is that they permit the big biotech companies to place a padlock on the food chain. By patenting the genes and all the technologies associated with them, the corporations are maneuvering themselves into a position from which they can exercise complete control over what we eat."

Anarchism Triumphant: Free Software and the Death of Copyright
"The spread of the Linux operating system kernel has directed attention at the free software movement. This paper shows why free software, far from being a marginal participant in the commercial software market, is the vital first step in the withering away of the intellectual property system".

Some reader-unfriendly jargon in this piece but afterwards an interesting history and interpretation of the computer/software industry, including the Internet, IBM, Unix, Microsoft, Software Copyrights, Richard Stallman, Linus Torvalds etc.

Why Free Software? Look at the numbers!
Lengthy research paper giving figures on the seemingly unstoppable march of the brilliant Free Software (GNU/Linux) concept to an historically, socially, economically and politically significant victory. It only remains for the pre-installed desktop market to be penetrated.

The Freenet Project
"I worry about my child and the Internet all the time, even though
she's too young to have logged on yet. Here's what I worry about.
I worry that 10 or 15 years from now, she will come to me and say
'Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away
from the Internet?" -Mike Godwin

"At present the Internet is seen as a hot-bed of anarchy, beyond the controls of individual governments, a system which ensures free-speech and free-thought by its very nature. Unfortunately, while this seems true at present, it is caused more by a lack of knowledge about the technology involved, rather than being a feature of the technology. It is actually the case that the Internet could lead to our lives being monitored, and our thinking manipulated and corrupted to a degree that would go beyond the wildest imaginings of Orwell."

"[The project] allows information to be made available to a large group of people in a similar manner to the World Wide Web. Improvements over this existing system include:
- No central control or administration required
- Anonymous information publication and retrieval
- Dynamic duplication of popular information
- Transfer of information location depending upon demand

"The aim of this project is to devise a key-indexed information storage and retrieval system with the following properties:
1. The system should have no element of centralised control or administration
2. It should provide anonymity to both providers and consumers of information
3. The system should be robust in handling hardware and software failure
4. It should adapt to changing demands and resources in an effcient manner
5. Its performance should be comparable to that of existing mass information
distribution systems such as the World Wide Web."

"While the Domain Name System is distributed, it is still centrally controlled. There is little, from a technical perspective, to prevent the owners of the root domain name servers from reclaiming the ability to administer sub-domains of the system, or from accidentally stopping the entire system from operating."

"Normally each piece of information on the World Wide Web is stored once
on an individual computer on the Internet. Every time anybody wishes to
view that information a request is sent to that computer and it returns the
relevant piece of information. This model works well when there are relatively
few requests, however if a piece of information becomes increasingly popular
then the computer possessing the piece of information can become swamped by
requests, preventing many from obtaining the information.

"The World Wide Web offers little anonymity to either producers or consumers
of information. If it is possible to retrieve a piece of information then an IP address for the server on which the information is stored must have been found. If this is the case then that IP address may be matched to an organisation or person. Even if that person did not create the information, they are responsible for its availability, and thus could be forced to remove the information."

"UseNet is one of the older systems on the Internet. It is a world-wide bulletin-board discussion system where people may post articles, and respond to the postings of others... While Usenet succeeds in being a distributed, and largely decentralised system it is extremely inefficient. The requirement that every message posted to the system must be distributed to each and every server on the system means that each server must be capable of storing huge quantities of data (if each article is not to expire before anyone has a chance to read it). Furthermore, the band-width required to transfer the new messages between servers is extremely high. It does serve as an example of one method to achieve a distributed decentralised information distribution system, but does so at the price of extreme inefficiency, and lack of security. Having said that, of all the systems described in this section, the operation of Usenet comes closest to that of the system described in this report."

"A simplistic way to look at Freenet is as a filesystem, where anyone can save a file under a filename of their choice, and anyone else, given the filename, can load the file, but unlike a file system, you cannot modify or overwrite a file in Freenet, and Freenet will only retain a file for so-long as it is popular."

"It is the author's intention to create a fully operational Adaptive Network using the simulation described in this documentation as a starting-point. The client will be written in the Java programming language, and will be developed in an open manner with the cooperation of interested parties on the Internet. It will be released under the GNU Public Licence."