Saturday, January 31, 2004

Iraq critics owe me apology: Howard: "John Howard said yesterday that the British report clearing the Blair Government of claims it 'sexed up' its intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons also exonerated him. 'Those who have accused us of taking Australia to war on a lie owe me as much an apology as those who made equal accusations against Tony Blair owe him an apology,' the Prime Minister said. Asked if he was concerned that intelligence warnings that Iraq had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction appeared to have been incorrect, Mr Howard said: 'It's still too early to make a final judgment. If you wait for proof beyond all reasonable doubt, as I said more than a year ago, you face a potential Pearl Harbour situation.'"

How can he continue to get away with it? There were no Weapons of Mass Destruction. There were no links with al-Qaeda. It was all a pack of lies. There was an abundance of evidence it was a neo-conservative inspired invasion to get control of Iraqi oil and establish military bases in the heart of the Gulf region.

Rod Liddle ridicules Lord Hutton and the Hutton report: "The only thing we can learn from the Hutton report is that next time we yearn and clamour for an inquiry into some piece of governmental chicanery, we should avoid at all costs importuning a senior member of the legal community to write it." Hutton's whitewash loses credibility by not containing any criticism of the government at all. He's done his job too well. The story about Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" is the same now as it was before and during the war: it is all a pack of lies. One of the biggest packs of lies in modern history. And no one has been called to account for it.

Jewish, Arab Americans Disapprove of Bush Mideast Policy, support Geneva initiative: "The two polls, which were aimed mainly at assessing support in both US communities for the unofficial Geneva Initiative that was signed Dec. 1 by prominent Israeli and Palestinian personalities, found the two groups are not as far apart as one might expect.

"About 43 percent of both communities strongly or somewhat supported the Initiative, while 4.9 percent of Arab citizens and 8.9 percent of Jewish respondents said they opposed it. But about one-half of the Arab group and 44.4 percent of the Jewish group said they did not know enough about the plan to make a judgment.

"When they were offered key details, however, 50.2 percent of the Jewish group said they were more likely to back the Initiative; 22.4 percent said they were more likely to oppose it, while the rest said their position had not changed or that they were uncertain. On the Arab side, 73.5 percent said they were more likely to support the Initiative, 7.9 percent said less likely and the rest said the details made no difference or they were unsure."

Yet another demonstration of the remarkable fact that modern 'democratic' government is far apart from what the people actually want; and is in fact in thrall to minority extremist interests.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Hutton saga a sideshow: The real issue is who will pay the price for war and occupation: "We have been here before. In April 1972, the former brigadier Lord Widgery published his now notorious report into the killing of 14 unarmed civil rights demonstrators by British paratroopers in Northern Ireland three months earlier on Bloody Sunday. Widgery cleared the soldiers of blame, insisting, in defiance of a mass of evidence, that they had only opened fire after coming under attack. The Widgery report was so widely seen as a flagrant establishment whitewash, and continued to be such a focus of nationalist anger, that a quarter of a century later Tony Blair felt compelled to set up another Bloody Sunday inquiry under Lord Saville, still sitting today.

"Lord Hutton - a scion of the Northern Irish protestant ascendancy who himself represented British soldiers at the Widgery inquiry - has, if anything, outdone Widgery in his service to the powers that be... Instead of a prime minister who took the country to war on the basis of discredited dossiers about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, it is the BBC that now finds itself in the dock - and its chairman who was last night forced to resign. Hutton's report could scarcely have been more favourable if it had been drafted, or even sexed up, by Tony Blair's former spinmeister Alastair Campbell himself."

Iraq Diaries: Water, sickness, and a brewing Storm: Report indicating the situation in Iraq is worse now than when Saddam was in power - and the combination of his regime and the sanctions was terrible.

My Government also cleared: Howard: "The Hutton report clearing Tony Blair also exonerated the Australian Government and put to rest claims that the country had gone to war on a lie, the Prime Minister, John Howard, said. "And those who have accused us of taking Australia to war on a lie owe me as much an apology as those who made an equal accusation against Tony Blair owe him an apology.""

This is sensational news. Hutton must have found the weapons that Hans Blix, David Kay and the whole US army have not been able to find, not a vial, for over a year now! Hutton must also have found the links to al-Qaeda!

What about the WMD threat? Was that not a lie? What about the links to al-Qaeda? Was that not a lie? What about the denied but real reasons for participation in the war: the alliance with the USA and committment to its imperialist and hegemonic ambitions? Was that not a lie? What will the Labor opposition say in response to Howard?

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Pentagon plans spring offensive into Afghanistan/Pakistan: "Officials already have said they hope to finally capture bin Laden this year, a development that could benefit President Bush in the November election. One senior defense official said Pentagon leaders determined a couple of months ago that it is important to catch bin Laden, more for the symbolism than for his military value."

Having let al-Qaeda go whilst they attacked Iraq, to pick Bin Laden up before the election would be an important propaganda coup for Bush.

Elections in Iraq: "On January 12, Sistani said: 'We want free and popular elections, not nominations.' On January 16, he reiterated that 'it's possible to have elections in the next few months with an acceptable level of transparence and credibility'. Sistani even proposed as electoral identities the rationing cards held by practically all Iraqi families for the duration of the UN oil-for-food program.

"The official American excuse for not holding direct elections - as expressed by Iraqi proconsul L Paul Bremer's minions in Baghdad - is lack of time. No wonder. The occupying power has not taken a single measure since last April to even give the impression it was interested in organizing direct elections. The July 1 deadline cannot be postponed because it falls four months before the American presidential election - and Bush and the neo-cons must as soon as possible, according to the ideal scenario, furnish proof to the electorate that the American military adventure in Iraq may be over soon... If [Sistani] issues a fatwa (religious edict) condemning the caucuses and the future, indirectly-appointed national assembly, 15 million Shi'ites will follow - and whatever government chosen indirectly will be considered a fake. Sistani has also made it very clear that only a government chosen by free, direct elections will have the legitimacy to negotiate the crucial issue with the Americans: when the occupying troops will actually leave. "

US Plans Spring Offensive in Pakistan: "The U.S. military is making plans for an offensive that would reach inside Pakistan in coming months to try to destroy operations of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, the Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday. Such an intervention would be political dynamite for Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who has only allowed a very limited U.S. military presence in his country. He has cooperated with Washington against al Qaeda but is under pressure from Islamic parties at home. The newspaper, in a report from Washington citing military sources, said the plans involved thousands of U.S. troops, some of them already in neighboring Afghanistan."

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Iraq's WMD: the big lie?: "In answer to this question, the Sunday Herald has heard from dozens of senior members of the [British] intelligence community... The Sunday Herald has been told that the reason the intelligence community wants to speak out now is to get their defence in first before the expected attack from politicians... This is not a mea culpa from the intelligence community, instead it is a warning that they are not prepared to be the whipping boy for the failure to prove the case for war, the death of David Kelly and the quagmire that the government is now in over the lack of WMD in Iraq."

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Yonathan Shapira: An Israeli Pilot Speaks Out: Each day the government becomes more dictatorial.

Israeli historian Benny Morris documents ethnic cleansing, and approves of it: "'Ben-Gurion was right. If he had not done what he did, a state would not have come into being. That has to be clear. It is impossible to evade it. Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here... in certain conditions, expulsion is not a war crime. I don't think that the expulsions of 1948 were war crimes. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. You have to dirty your hands... if the desire to establish a Jewish state here is legitimate, there was no other choice... Even the great American democracy could not have been created without the annihilation of the Indians. There are cases in which the overall, final good justifies harsh and cruel acts that are committed in the course of history... If he [Ben-Gurion] was already engaged in expulsion, maybe he should have done a complete job. I know that this stuns the Arabs and the liberals and the politically correct types. But my feeling is that this place would be quieter and know less suffering if the matter had been resolved once and for all... if there is a general Arab attack on us and a situation of warfare on the front with Arabs in the rear shooting at convoys on their way to the front, acts of expulsion will be entirely reasonable. They may even be essential... The Israeli Arabs are a time bomb... They are a potential fifth column. In both demographic and security terms they are liable to undermine the state. So that if Israel again finds itself in a situation of existential threat, as in 1948, it may be forced to act as it did then... The whole Zionist project is apocalyptic... Yes, I think of Armageddon. It's possible. Within the next 20 years there could be an atomic war here.'"

As the interview proceeds, Morris descends further and further into distorted and paranoid ravings about Arafat, Arabs and Palestinians and their hatred for Jews, about wild beasts, iron walls and cages, the impossibility of peace, the clash of civilisations, barbarians at the gate, apocalypse and armageddon, and so on. Quite astonishing really. And he calls himself a 'left-winger'. If this represents scholarly and educated thinking in Israel, the country has gone mad.

Perhaps the desire to establish a Jewish state is not legitimate? It is a 19th Century European, colonialist, racist concept that necessarily involves injustice to indigenous inhabitants and is not legitimate. One day Israel will have to face this, although that does not mean that Israel should be 'swept into the sea', anymore than the United States or Australia should be swept away because of their treatment of the indigenous inhabitants. The further process of colonisation and mistreatment of indigenous people must, however, be terminated.

Power, Propaganda and Conscience in the War On Terror - by John Pilger (v.good): "When I showed evidence of a second massacre near the Santa Cruz cemetery in November 1991, the foreign editor of the only national newspaper in this country, The Australian, mocked the eyewitnesses. "The truth," wrote Greg Sheridan, "is that even genuine victims frequently concoct stories." The paper?s Jakarta correspondent, Patrick Walters, wrote that "no one is arrested [by Suharto] without proper legal procedures." The editor-in-chief, Paul Kelly, declared Suharto a "moderate" and that there was no alternative to his benign rule.

"Paul Kelly sat on the board of the Australia-Indonesia Institute, a body funded by the Australian government. Not long before Suharto was overthrown by his own people, Kelly was in Jakarta, standing at Suharto?s side, introducing the mass murderer to a line of Australian editors. To his great credit, the then editor of the West Australian, Paul Murray, refused to join this obsequious group. Not long ago, Paul Kelly was given a special award in the annual Walkley Awards for journalism ? the kind they give to elder statesmen. And no one said anything about Indonesia and Suharto. Imagine a similar award going to Geoffrey Dawson, editor of the London Times in the 1930s. Like Kelly, he appeased a genocidal dictator, calling him a "moderate.""

"A Czech friend, a novelist, told me; "You in the West are disadvantaged. You have your myths about freedom of information, but you have yet to acquire the skill of deciphering: of reading between the lines. One day, you will need it." That day has come. The so-called war on terror is the greatest threat to all of us since the most dangerous years of the cold war. Rapacious, imperial America has found its new "red scare." Every day now, officially manipulated fear and paranoia are exported to our shores ? air marshals, finger printing, a directive on how many people can queue for the toilet on a Qantas jet flying to Los Angeles.

"The totalitarian impulses that have long existed in America are now in full cry. Go back to the 1950s, the McCarthy years, and the echoes today are all too familiar ? the hysteria; the assault on the Bill of Rights; a war based on lies and deception. Just as in the 1950s, the virus has spread to America?s intellectual satellites, notably Australia."

"Of all the western democracies, Australia is the most derivative and the most silent. Those who hold up a mirror are not welcome in the media. My work is syndicated and read widely around the world, but not in Australia, where I come from. However, I am mentioned in the Australian press quite frequently. The official commentators, who dominate the press, will refer critically to an article of mine they may have read in the Guardian or New Statesman in London. But Australian readers are not allowed to read the original, which must be filtered through the official commentators. But I do appear regularly in one Australian paper: the Hinterland Voice ? a tiny free sheet, whose address is Post Office Kin Kin in Queensland. It?s a fine local paper. It has stories about garage sales and horses and the local scouts, and I?m proud to be part of it.

"It?s the only paper in Australia in which I?ve been able to report the evidence of the disaster in Iraq ? for example, that the attack on Iraq was planned from September 11; that only a few months earlier, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, had stated that Saddam Hussein was disarmed and no threat to anyone. Today, the United States is currently training a Gestapo of 10,000 agents, commanded by the most ruthless, senior elements of Saddam Hussein?s secret police. The aim is to run the new puppet regime behind a pseudo-democratic fa?ade ? and to defeat the resistance. That information is vital to us, because the fate of the resistance in Iraq is vital to all our futures. For if the resistance fails, the Bush cabal will almost certainly attack another country ? possibly North Korea, which is nuclear armed."

Top cleric spurns U.S. plans; warning of 'another Saddam': "In a statement read to thousands of worshipers Friday, Grand Ayatollah Ali al Husseini al Sistani said of the American governance plan: ``It is illegitimate because that decision took place between the coalition forces and the Governing Council, and they are an unelected body. . . . The coalition forces are afraid to have direct elections because maybe someone will be in power that they don't agree with.''"

"''If the Americans refuse to give us elections and begin making appointments, they will bring us another Saddam,'' warned Noor Aldin Alwa'adh, a spokesman for Sistani's Baghdad office. Many in the Hawza, a religious body of scholars that issues fatwas, or edicts to be followed as law, share this pessimism. ''The people of Iraq suffered for 30 years under a terrible regime. It is natural for them to be afraid of the future,'' said Ali Sibziwary, a senior member of the Hawza. ''I am afraid that the Americans, absent direct elections, will give the power to such a regime,'' he said. ``It would be just like the Governing Council -- selected by the Americans.''"

"Part of Washington's overriding concern is that an open election might put in office a Shiite Muslim cleric, or a politician beholden to one, who would steer Iraq toward a theocratic state like its neighbor to the east, Iran." - unmentioned in this report is Washington's concern that a democractic government in Iraq could demand the complete pullout of US troops and corporations.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Articles About Chomsky: "'Unlike many others, even those who oppose the [Vietnam] war, Noam Chomsky can't stand it and his hatred of what we are doing there and his shame, as well as his loathing for the men who defend and give it countenance are tangible enough to touch.' Nation essayist Brian Morton finds 'nothing exotic about his critique of the U.S. role in Vietnam: He attempted no analysis of arcane economic or political structures. All he did was evaluate our government's actions by the same standards that we apply when we evaluate the actions of other governments.'"

"Chomsky books on American foreign policy have explored other political hotbeds around the world, drawing the conclusion that U.S. interests in human rights, justice, and morality are inevitably subordinated to big business profit-taking. As Beschloss notes, Chomsky's "is a portrait of corporate executives manipulating foreign policy for profit motives, of Third World peoples devastated for drifting away from the American 'grand area' of influence; of hand-maiden journalists, politicians, and intellectuals shrouding the darker realities of American statecraft under platitudes about idealism and goodwill with an eye toward their flow of rewards from the Establishment" ... [he] "is relentless in tracking down official lies and exposing hypocrisy and moral indifference in the high places.... Yet the passion of Chomsky's indictment is always controlled, and while he is harsh toward his opponents, he is never unfair or arrogant.""

WMD Pressure Builds Up for Blair: "Mr Blair insists weapons of mass destruction will be found although the official leading the US search resigned saying they did not exist... After resigning, US search official David Kay said he did not believe there had been large-scale production of chemical or biological weapons in Iraq since 1991. On Saturday US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Iraq may not have possessed any stocks of weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq War.

"Mr Cook, who resigned in protest at the prospect of war with Iraq, told BBC Radio 4's Today program it was 'rather undignified' of Mr Blair to continue to insist he was right when 'everybody could now see he was wrong... If there was no threat from Iraq we obviously had no right to carry out a preemptive strike to remove that threat. And we better drop that doctrine before somebody else in the world uses it in their own back yard.'"

Too late for two states?: "Mostly relaxed, the Hamas leader becomes incensed when confronted with the revulsion of western public opinion over Islamist suicide bombings of Israeli buses and bars - like Azzam, defending the tactic as a deterrent which has gone some way to shift the 'balance of suffering'. 'The number of Palestinian children killed by the Israelis in the past three years is almost as high as the total number of Israeli deaths. These operations have only one target - to deter the killing of our children and civilians. If they stop killing our civilians, we will stop. But what kind of international public opinion is it that averts its eyes from Israeli F16s but protests at us fighting the occupiers?' Nor is he prepared to concede that suicide attacks have poisoned Palestinian culture. 'We do not have a cult of death,' he insists, 'we have a cult of dignity - as you have seen they also do in Iraq.'

"More unexpected than Rantissi's defence of what many Palestinians themselves regard as unjustifiable is the attitude of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders towards the prospect of a two-state settlement of the conflict. Both groups are usually regarded as beyond the political pale outside the Muslim world, not only because of their use of suicide bombers, but also because of their long-term goal of establishing Islamist rule in the whole of historic Palestine. Unlike the secular resistance, it is often assumed, the Islamists will never accept peace with Israel. What emerges from any discussion which goes beyond slogans and soundbites, however, is something different - and potentially crucial to any settlement of the conflict. In practical terms, it becomes clear, both Hamas and Islamic Jihad are now committed to ending their armed campaign in exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967: the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem... What these comments make clear is that every significant Palestinian political and armed force is ... now prepared to accept a de facto end to conflict in return for a fully independent state on only 22% of pre-1948 Palestine. This is unprecedented in the history of the conflict. But, of course, no such state is on offer."

These interviews illustrate a pattern that has been the case for some time now, nearly 30 years, that for political and rhetorical reasons Palestinian leaders will not give up their historic claim to the whole of Palestine or to a full right of return, but in practice the two-state solution would be accepted, even by the most radical wings.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov denounces Iraq war: "'The realities of the post-war situation in Iraq are the destruction of national statehood and the resulting legal vacuum, along with the rampage of violence and crime,' said the Russian Foreign Minister, Igor Ivanov, in a comprehensive analysis of the consequences of the U.S.-led war to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein. 'All this provides breeding ground for extremism and terrorism and moreover threatens Iraq with a break-up along ethnic and confessional lines. Iraq has become a pulling ground for terrorist groups from across the Middle East (West Asia).'

"Mr. Ivanov quoted Mahatma Gandhi's words that if violence yielded any good, it was short-lived, whereas the harm it did would stay for long. 'There are reasons to fear that Iraq's internal crisis may merge with other hotbeds of instability in the region, above all the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,' Mr. Ivanov writes... Moscow continues to stick to its view that 'no legal grounds existed for the use of force against Iraq' and that 'Iraq presented no direct threat to the security of either the United States or any other nation'."

American empire: " “More than 725 American military bases (are) spread around the world. ... Many garrisons are in foreign countries to defend oil leases from competitors or to provide police protection to oil pipelines, although they invariably claim to be doing something completely unrelated--fighting the ‘war on terrorism’ or the ‘war on drugs,’ or training foreign soldiers, or engaging in some form of ‘humanitarian’ intervention.” - Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire

"How many Americans understand the implications of Johnson’s observation? Bush’s “State of the Union” address, with its repetitive mantra declaring America’s gift of “freedom” to the world and its on-going fight against “terrorists” (used 20 times) obscures the reality of America’s deployment of “over half a million soldiers, spies, technicians, teachers, dependents and civilian contractors in other nations” (Johnson) for purposes of protecting private investors who use American forces to protect their private interests, not the interests of American citizens."

Ex-Arms Hunter Kay Says No WMD Stockpiles In Iraq: "David Kay stepped down as leader of the U.S. hunt for banned weapons in Iraq Friday and said he did not believe the country had any large stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons."

Andrew Rawnsley: What a shame Blair chose the wrong pretext: "Like all of his post-war grief over Iraq, this is the penalty for how he pursued the prewar propaganda campaign. He always had cogent and powerful arguments for acting against Saddam. Here is a vicious tyrant who has been in defiance for many years of countless UN resolutions. Sanctions and sporadic bombing have hurt the people of Iraq rather than their slavemaster. Military action was the only means to free Iraq and conclusively deal with Saddam. Had Tony Blair argued that, he would not be in the mire he is in today. The fundamental error was to subordinate his moral case for dealing with Saddam to a 'threat' argument which now looks so threadbare."

This is a remarkable statement from the Guardian columnist, but short of admitting the truth, it is the last refuge for the warmongers Bush, Blair and Howard, and their compliant media propagandists. The claim that UKUSA acts in the interests of human rights in Iraq has no more credibility than that it acts to prevent a threat from WMDs. Policy on Iraq during the 90s was described by Dennis Halliday as 'genocide', with the death of 500,000 Iraqi children. During the worst period of Saddam's crimes, the 1980s, he acted with the full support of "the West". The reality is that the talk of human rights and liberation of Iraqis is as false a pretext as the talk of WMDs. The reason for the war, as we all know, is the oil, empire, hegemony, the neo-conservative clique in Washington. Rawnley's argument is also not plausible, because in order to get a population to support a war, you have to frighten them with talk of threats from enemies. The public will not support a war on the basis of "getting a bad guy," why would they? This is why WMDs had to be used, and beaten up to a mass of lies to overwhelm the population.

Paul Krugman Interview on the propaganda machine and economic 'policy': "Paul Krugman to 'Well, a couple of things. The first is that a good part of the media are essentially part of the machine. If you work for any Murdoch publication or network, or if you work for the Rev. Moon's empire, you're really not a journalist in the way that we used to think. You're basically just part of a propaganda machine. And that's a pretty large segment of the media.

"As for the rest, certainly being critical at the level I've been critical –- basically saying that these guys are lying, even if it's staring you in the face –- is a very unpleasant experience. You get a lot of heat from people who should be on your side, because they accuse you of being shrill, which is everybody's favorite word for me. And you become a personal target.'"

"There is no economic policy. That's really important to say. The general modus operandi of the Bushies is that they don't make policies to deal with problems. They use problems to justify things they wanted to do anyway. So there is no policy to deal with the lack of jobs. There really isn't even a policy to deal with terrorism. It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Now if you ask what do the people who keep pushing for one tax cut after another want to accomplish, the answer is they are basically aiming to create a fiscal crisis which will provide the environment in which they can basically eliminate the welfare state."

"I think that with the looming disasters of the budget on foreign policy –- and the things that really scare me, which I know we're not going to get into but let's just mention the erosion of civil liberties at home -– I think that, in retrospect, this will be seen in terms of how did the country head over this cliff. I hope I'm wrong... It's this funny thing: I lived this very comfortable life in a very placid college town, with nice people all around. And life is good. But some of us -– not just me, but a fair number of people, including my friends -- we've looked at the news, and we sort of extrapolate the lines forward. And there's this feeling of creeping dread."

Bush's Iraq: An Appointocracy: "Mr. Bremer wants his Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to appoint the members of 18 regional organizing committees. The committees will then select delegates to form 18 selection caucuses. These selected delegates will then further select representatives to a transitional national assembly. The assembly will have an internal vote to select an executive and ministers who will form the new government of Iraq. That, Bush said in his address, constitutes 'a transition to full Iraqi sovereignty.'

"Got that? Iraqi sovereignty will be established by appointees appointing appointees to select appointees to select appointees. Add to that the fact that Mr. Bremer was appointed to his post by President Bush and that Mr. Bush was appointed to his by the U.S. Supreme Court, and you have the glorious new democratic tradition of the appointocracy: rule by appointee's appointee's appointees' appointees' appointees' selectees... Given the widespread perception that the United States is not out to rebuild Iraq but to loot it, if Iraqis were given the chance to vote tomorrow, they could well immediately decide to expel U.S. troops and to reverse Mr. Bremer's privatization project, opting instead to protect local jobs. And that frightening prospect -- far more than the absence of a census -- explains why the White House is fighting so hard for its appointocracy."

Friday, January 23, 2004

Children's cartoon exhibition in France: "The juxtaposition between the artwork's ferociously angry imagery and the childish drawing styles of the third graders would disturb the most jaded reader... They see Bush as a vicious, thoughtless warmonger with fascist tendencies, Americans as arrogant brutes who don't give a passing thought to the innocent people who die at the hands of their government and rapacious corporations as hegemonic steamrollers that crush cultural distinctiveness and independence in their ceaseless quest for the almighty dollar... What must Palestinian kids think of us?"

"Walking past those drawings these past few days felt like getting slugged in the stomach. Part of it was the sheer scale--there were more than 700 pieces on display. But the level of rage and vitriol against America and everything related to it (one kid even trashed Tropicana orange juice) surpassed prewar propaganda in Saddam's Iraqi press. And these are kids..."

"The European media has covered a different war than the one you've seen on CNN and Fox News... The bloody corpses of Iraqi civilians are standard TV fare here. The Bush Administration is routinely portrayed as greedy, stupid and mean... Of course, many of us don't give a damn whether French schoolchildren or anyone else think Bush's United States is a land of butchers and thugs."

Thursday, January 22, 2004

US plan: sovereignty or puppet government?: "Bush and his viceroy, L. Paul Bremer, and their handpicked quisling officials in the provisional authority, are trying to rig the summer 'sovereignty' exercise by running elections through open ballot caucuses, [while Shiite demonstrators] are demanding instead an election by universal suffrage. Of course, if there were a real open one-person, one-vote election in Iraq, odds are that the outcome would be a government that would promptly demand that the U.S. pull out, immediately, lock, stock and barrel.

"That's why Bremer is running back and forth between his Baghdad palace and Washington, and inviting in the U.N., trying to come up with some kind of a scheme in which the government could be somehow elected, but would have to agree in advance not to order the U.S. to leave. Some kinda 'sovereignty!' I checked my dictionary, and the definition of the term sovereignty was 'supreme and unrestricted power.' That's pretty unambiguous wording. Clearly if you have a government, but it can't tell an occupying army to scram, you don't have a sovereign government.

"Although the corporate media is still content to repeat uncritically the White House's use of the term sovereignty, the dictionary definition of the word is rather hard to get around, and it makes a joke of the so called 'handover of sovereignty' being planned by Washington for Iraq for this June or July. In fact, contemplating Iraq's future administration, the term 'puppet government' comes most readily to mind. My dictionary defines that as 'a state that appears independent but is controlled by another.'"

An Annotated Critique of the Foreign Policy Segments of President George W. Bush: The dismal reality is that Bush can even make such a mendacious speech without being howled down.

"Perhaps even more disheartening than these misleading statements by President Bush during his State of the Union address is that, in their formal responses to Bush’s speech, Democratic Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle failed to challenge them other than a vague appeal for stronger diplomatic efforts. None of the analysts on the major networks challenged these misleading statements either. Meanwhile, the two Democratic presidential contenders who dominated the Iowa caucuses the previous evening were senators who have largely supported Bush Administration policy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel/Palestine and elsewhere in the Middle East. President Bush can get away with such misleading rhetoric because he knows the mainstream media and the Democratic Party will allow him to do so. Unless the American public demands greater accountability from the news media and the Democratic Party leadership, George W. Bush will have four more opportunities to make similar State of the Union speeches."

US set for Iraq election retreat: "The US-led coalition in Iraq is on the verge of bowing to Shia Muslim pressure for direct elections before the handover of power on June 30... A shift in plans for elections follows a series of abrupt policy changes made by the coalition over the last few months, mainly forced by events on the ground, and will add to the sense of disarray in the CPA. The CPA has come under sustained pressure in recent days from Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most senior Shia cleric in Iraq."

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Mpeg video: Apache helicopter gunship in action: Apache gunner kills 3 men with 30mm cannon bursts. The first man killed seems to have been turned into a 'pink mist'. The third man was wounded and then deliberately killed by another burst.

"Gunner: Want me to take the other truck out?
Commander: Roger . Wait for movement by the truck.
Gunner: Movement right there.
Commander: Roger. He's wounded. Hit him!
Gunner: Alright. Hitting the truck.
Commander: Hit the truck. Hit the truck and him. Go forward of it and hit him.
Gunner: Roger."

Give Iraqis the Election They Want: "Led by clerics demanding real democracy, the protests have strongly raised this question: What right does the United States have to tell people that they cannot be allowed to rule themselves? With the stated reasons for the U.S. invasion — the imminent threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and his ties to Al Qaeda — now a proven fraud, the Bush administration was left with one defense: It was bringing democracy to this corner of the Mideast. If we now fail to promptly return full sovereignty to the Iraqis, inconvenient as that outcome may be, the invasion will stand exposed as nothing more than old-fashioned imperial plunder of the region's oil riches — and the continued occupation could devolve into civil war.

"The Shiites do not require divine revelation to see through the U.S. plan to perpetuate its influence through an opaque process of caucuses designed, implemented and run by Washington and its Iraqi appointees. It is just colonial politics as usual. That's why the conservative Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the revered cleric of Iraq's Shiites (who make up 60% of the country), is requesting a transparent one-person, one-vote election.

"The U.S., however, has not agreed. And a top Sistani aide recently suggested that President Bush's opposition to a universal ballot election stemmed from a fear that his own reelection efforts could be hurt if the invasion he launched resulted in another Mideast country where ayatollahs played a major political role. Or, perhaps worse from the president's point of view, an independent government might be so bold as to ask the U.S. to pull out its troops, hand back control of its oil and dismiss billions in reconstruction contracts with corporations like Halliburton."

The Great White Wall: "This Great Wall of Capital, which separates a few dozen rich countries from the earth's poor majority, completely dwarfs the old Iron Curtain. It girds half the earth, cordons off at least 12,000 kilometers of terrestrial borderline, and is incomparably more deadly to desperate trespassers... His obvious model is Australia, where rightwing Prime Minister John Howard has declared open war on wretched Kurdish, Afghan and Timorese refugees. After last year's wave of riots and hunger strikes by immigrants indefinitely detained in desert hell-holes like Woomera in South Australia, Howard used the navy to intercept ships carrying refugees in international waters and intern them in even more nightmarish camps on Nauru or malarial Manus Island off Papua New Guinea."

"Meanwhile the human toll from the new world (b)order grows inexorably. According to human rights groups, nearly 4,000 immigrants and refugees have died at the gates of Europe since 1993: drowned at sea, blown up in minefields, or suffocated in freight containers. Hundreds, perhaps thousands more, have perished in desperate attempts to cross the Sahara desert simply to reach Europe's borders. The American Friends Service Committee, which monitors the carnage along the US-Mexican border, estimates that a similar number of immigrants (3,000-5,000) have died over the last decade in the furnace-hot deserts of the Southwest."

"Toilers without votes or permanent domicile, of course, represent a Republican utopia. The Bush plan would provide WalMart and MacDonalds with a stable, almost infinite supply of indentured labor."

George W Bush and the Real State of the Union:
"92%: Percentage of Iraq's urban areas that had access to drinkable water a year ago
60%: Percentage of Iraq's urban areas that have access to drinkable water today

80%: Percentage of the Iraqi workforce now unemployed
55%: Percentage of the Iraqi workforce unemployed before the war"

John le Carre takes the final step: "There has been a linear evolution in the mind-set of le Carre's spies over the years--from agonizing over the moral ambiguity of the craft set against a firm belief in its necessity (the Smiley novels), through opting to place individual values over national ones (A Perfect Spy and Russia House), to recognizing that bureaucracy has poisoned the intelligence business from within (the post-cold war novels). Now, driven by recent world events, that evolution takes an even more radical step--to the realization that ideology is irrelevant, that powerful governments are an evil unto themselves, forever the enemy of individual life." Would that so many other cold war warriors could take the same step.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The privatization of the public's natural resources: The Great Lakes as Commodity: "It was under the reign of Governor John Engler [R] in the late 1990s that the French company Perrier [now the Swiss multinational Nestle] was allowed to come into the state and drill a massive well into an aquifer in the center of lower Michigan. No fees, nothing at all for the state, just a free pass for a foreign corporation to come in and sell for private gain an aquifer upon which a whole region depends."

"The well that Perrier [now Nestle] put in pumps up to 400 gallons a minute out of the ground-24,000 gallons an hour, and over a staggering half million gallons a day, day in, day out. Millions upon millions of gallons a year pumped out of an aquifer that is part of a larger ecology, and upon which many people depend for their water. We all know what will happen-and for what? So that a foreign corporation can make a million and a half dollars a day from a public resource, while paying nothing back to the people, nothing to compensate for the environmental damage upon which their profit is based? Worst of all, though, is the precedent. Those millions of gallons pumped in a pipeline across a dozen miles of countryside to a bottling plant represent only a minuscule fraction of what may happen. Fresh water is in increasingly short supply across the United States."

100,000 demand Iraqi elections: "Today's demonstration saw a huge crowd of Shia Muslims, estimated by reporters at up to 100,000 strong, march about three miles to the University of al-Mustansariyah, where a representative of their spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, delivered a speech directed at the parties to the meeting at the UN headquarters. Ayatollah Sistani, the country's most influential Shia leader, has rejected a US formula to transfer power via a provisional legislature selected by 18 regional caucuses. He insists instead upon full-blown national elections."

""The sons of the Iraqi people demand a political system based on direct elections and a constitution that realises justice and equality for everyone," Ayatollah Sistani's representative, Hashem al-Awad, told the crowd. "Anything other than that will prompt people to have their own say." The crowd responded by chanting: "Yes, yes to elections. No, no to occupation." ... Many marchers linked hands, while others carried portraits of Ayatollah Sistani and other Shia leaders and waved banners saying "real democracy means real elections"."

Monday, January 19, 2004

Israeli Ambassador vandalises artwork in Swedish Museum: "When Mazel pulled the plugs on the installation on Saturday night, Dror Feiler approached him angrily, shouting in Hebrew, 'You're doing exactly what you do in Nablus. This is a free country and I can say what I want to say here, not like you in your apartheid country.'"

Halliday: UN return to Iraq 'Terrible Mistake': "Former U.N. official Denis Halliday said it would be a 'terrible mistake' for the United Nations to return to occupied Iraq, adding the organization should be restructured for the sake of world peace and justice. 'The U.N. should not be in Iraq lest it would give legal respectability to the invasion and occupation of the oil-rich Arab country, or further promote the impression that it has collaborated against the Iraqi people,' Halliday [said]"

"Halliday, a former U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, believed the situation is precarious for the step, asserting that ordinary Iraqis feel resentful of – and betrayed by - the United Nations. "They no longer see the U.N. as a friendly organization. It is a deadly one through their eyes, as they had suffered under the totally bankrupt – if not illegal and immoral - concept of sanctions," he said. "It had allowed occupation of an independent sovereign country, and Secretary General Kofi Annan did not criticize the U.S. and Britain for their war ambitions sufficiently, Iraqis believe," said the former U.N. envoy."

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Shiite Push: the Threat of Democracy: Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani has emerged in Iraq as a genuine threat of democracy, for which the US has no answer as yet.

"Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, the leader of Iraq's Shi'ites, isn't happy about the Coalition Provisional Authority plan to hold provincial "caucuses" of their handpicked stooges, who would then organize a government. Last summer the Ayatollah, spiritual leader of Iraq's 60-70% majority Shi'ites, issued a fatwa calling for direct, democratic elections to a constituent assembly, torpedoing an American scheme to write a Constitution first. Imperial proconsul Paul Bremer then came up with his caucus plan, which is now effectively blocked by the Ayatollah's veto."

"This malarkey about the lack of a reliable census is laughable. The Americans refused to cooperate with a plan by the Iraqis to take a census: Nuha Yousef, the Iraqi census director, guaranteed a count by December. But, as the New York Times reported, the occupation authorities nixed the plan. CPA spokesman Charles Heatly opined: "Rushing into a census in this time frame with the security environment that we have would not give the result that people want." Translated into plain English, what Heatly means is that a direct election would yield results that certain people in Washington don't want. And we can't have that!"

"The Ayatollah is holding fast to his demands that a direct election be held – and that the provisional government which results should have the power to rule on the question of a continuing U.S. military presence. And his position has popular support. Sistani scotched an earlier move for a made-in-the-USA Constitution, and the Americans, for all their firepower, can't stop him from sabotaging this one. Their neat plan to hand over fake "sovereignty" to their favored collaborators on July 1, all the while settling comfortably into permanent military bases on Iraqi soil, is running into some serious problems, even as the insurgency reaches into the previously peaceful Shi'ite south.... Short of pulverizing the country, or sending all the Ayatollahs off to Guantanamo – neither of which is an option – Bremer is stymied."

Shiites demand democracy: ""We should think seriously about the future and for the coming generation, and fashion it to keep our dignity," said Abdel-Madhi Salami, the chief cleric in Karbala, one of two Shiite holy cities in Iraq. "This will happen through serious participation in a peaceful protest, strikes and, as a last resort, possible confrontation with the occupying forces, because they plan to draw up colonial schemes."

"Salami also suggested a way to avoid violence, repeating Sistani's demand for the United Nations to send a fact-finding team to Iraq and judge whether elections can be organized. When Sistani first called for a U.N. visit, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan sent a letter to the Governing Council saying elections could not be arranged properly before July 1.

""It was not correct for Kofi Annan to sit in New York and say it," Salami said. "We feel this was all a maneuver. If the commission came, investigated and said there is no way, then an alternative would have to be found." He was evasive about whether Sistani would accept a U.N. judgment. "There is a lack of trust," he said. Salami spoke dismissively of Bremer, with whom Sistani has refused to meet. "It's a feeling we will not get anything from Bremer. My evaluation is, there is no profit in a meeting with him," he said."

Friday, January 16, 2004

Frodo has failed: "If the [second world war] had inspired or directed the [war of the ring], the certainly the Ring would have been seized and used against Sauron; he would not have been annihilated but enslaved; and Barad-dur would not have been destroyed but occupied. Saruman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would in the confusion and treacheries of the time have found in Mordor the missing links in his own researches into Ring-lore, and before long he would have made a Great Ring of his own with which to challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle Earth." - JRR Tolkien, foreward to 2nd editon LOTR.

Or, as an American pacifist (?) remarked after the end of the Second World War, one of the problems of the war is that the winner is convinced that violence works.

Lord Acton's famous axiom is that 'power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' Such a view is not far distant from the stance of classical liberalism that power is susceptible to abuse and that therefore the complex of liberal democracy - a raft of checks and balances, laws and institutions, values and practices - is necessary in a truly free society to protect the public from injustice by state and government authority.

Chomsky has expressed this and given his particular expression of anarchist philosophy by saying "I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom."

One of the lasting effects of Chomsky will surely be that he will have been responsible for reviving and introducing Anarchism to millions of people around the world. In the 21st Century Anarchism will finally come into its own. It is a vital philosophy whose insights need to be absorbed and internalised by every person concerned with justice and rights.

Another nice quote on Chomsky: "To be termed wrong by Chomsky carries the most disturbing of predicaments; for despite the honor of being mentioned by him, it comes with the knowledge that your wrongness is made immortally and indelibly public, for all future generations to see."

People like Alan Dershowitz, David Horowitz and even the likes of Simon Wiesenthal (and so many others) are surely going to be remembered not so much by what they have done and said in their lives but primarily by what Chomsky has said about them. I often find Chomsky to be a combination of devastating and hilarious, if hilarity can be permitted in the subjects under discussion. I suppose major figures like Henry Kissinger, Tony Blair and so on put their own bloody mark on history but its hard not to think a nice little branding (Kissinger: "remarkable ignorance and geopolitical fantasies, even by his standards"; Blair: "Every time he opens his mouth, he looks more disgusting and ridiculous") by Chomksy will ever accompany it.

Kennedy Says War in Iraq Was Choice, Not Necessity: "'We are reaping the poison fruit of our misguided and arrogant foreign policy,' Mr. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, said in a speech before the Center for American Progress, a liberal policy organization in Washington. 'The administration capitalized on the fear created by 9/11 and put a spin on the intelligence and a spin on the truth to justify a war that could well become one of the worst blunders in more than two centuries of American foreign policy.'"

Saddam ordered fighters to keep their distance from foreign militants: "Saddam Hussein told his followers to keep their distance from foreign Arab militants crossing into Iraq to fight American troops, according to a document found with the dictator when he was captured last month.... Officials, widely believed to be from the CIA or the State Department where there was considerable opposition to the Pentagon's drive for war, said Saddam feared that the Arabs' enthusiasm for holy war against the West conflicted with his supporters' attempts to return him to power."

America's Empire of Bases: "As distinct from other peoples, most Americans do not recognize -- or do not want to recognize -- that the United States dominates the world through its military power. Due to government secrecy, our citizens are often ignorant of the fact that our garrisons encircle the planet. This vast network of American bases on every continent except Antarctica actually constitutes a new form of empire -- an empire of bases with its own geography not likely to be taught in any high school geography class. Without grasping the dimensions of this globe-girdling Baseworld, one can't begin to understand the size and nature of our imperial aspirations or the degree to which a new kind of militarism is undermining our constitutional order."

"By far the greatest defect in the "global cavalry" strategy, however, is that it accentuates Washington's impulse to apply irrelevant military remedies to terrorism. As the prominent British military historian, Correlli Barnett, has observed, the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq only increased the threat of al-Qaeda. From 1993 through the 9/11 assaults of 2001, there were five major al-Qaeda attacks worldwide; in the two years since then there have been seventeen such bombings, including the Istanbul suicide assaults on the British consulate and an HSBC Bank. Military operations against terrorists are not the solution. As Barnett puts it, "Rather than kicking down front doors and barging into ancient and complex societies with simple nostrums of 'freedom and democracy,' we need tactics of cunning and subtlety, based on a profound understanding of the people and cultures we are dealing with -- an understanding up till now entirely lacking in the top-level policy-makers in Washington, especially in the Pentagon."

"In his notorious "long, hard slog" memo on Iraq of October 16, 2003, Defense secretary Rumsfeld wrote, "Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror." Correlli-Barnett's "metrics" indicate otherwise. But the "war on terrorism" is at best only a small part of the reason for all our military strategizing. The real reason for constructing this new ring of American bases along the equator is to expand our empire and reinforce our military domination of the world."

Kennedy: "'There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud,' the Massachusetts Democrat told the AP. He said Bush officials employed 'distortion, misrepresentation, a selection of intelligence' to justify the war. As for the administration's current policy in Iraq, Kennedy called it 'adrift.' He said Bush officials had failed to account for $1.5 billion of the $4 billion the war costs each month, citing a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office. 'My belief is this money is being shuffled all around to these political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops,' he told the AP."

"The senator's comments reflect the tired old soft-on-defense attitude of the Democratic Party," [a] Republican official told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity."

Kennedy's remarks are devastating and the point about an unaccounted $1.5b per month and possible bribery is especially important. The Republican response is a classic illustration of Goering's maxim "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." What other response could they use?

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Another case for war?: "Imagine that President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell had made a case for the invasion of Iraq along the following lines: 'Saddam Hussein is an evil dictator who has long oppressed the Iraqi people and threatened Iraq's neighbors. It is U.S. policy to seek regime change in Iraq, and we propose to do that now, by military force. Saddam does not pose a risk to the United States now, and any threat he eventually may pose is years or decades away. His programs for developing weapons of mass destruction have been dormant since the end of the Gulf War. We have no evidence of links between Saddam and the terrorists of Al-Qaida or other groups capable of attacking the United States. Any invasion of Iraq is not related to the war on terrorism.

"'Nevertheless, removing Saddam and creating a free, democratic Iraq is a worthy goal, though it will not come cheap. It will cost tens upon tens of billions of dollars raised from American taxpayers. International assistance will be minimal. Hundreds of fine young Americans will be killed in the process, and thousands will suffer debilitating wounds that will alter their lives forever. We call upon the American people to willingly shoulder those costs in the name of a free Iraq.'

"That, of course, isn't the case Bush and Powell made. The American people would have rejected it, and properly so."

And that, of course, is the reason why such a case was not made. The famous remark of Goering at Nuremburg is relevant: "Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

The case of 'humanitarian war' can only be made after the war is started and the earlier pretexts have been discredited. Of course, the post-facto 'humanitarian motive' is every bit as false as the pre-war 'threat of WMDs'. The real reason for the war is imperialistic and hegemonic: control of oil, military bases etc.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Bush 'Outed' on Iraq: Invasion a priority from the start: "Invading Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein was a top priority at U.S. President George Bush's very first National Security Council meeting — seven full months before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks Bush then cited as a reason for "pre-emptively" disarming Saddam's regime. "From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill has confirmed in a whistle-blowing appearance on the CBS program 60 Minutes. "It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying `Go find me a way to do this.'" O'Neill even saw a secret memo entitled Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq and other related documents."

Global Warming: "This is not just another issue. It is an absolutely central one. There is widespread agreement in the world scientific community that unless we dramatically shift from the use of fossil fuels to the use of clean and renewable energy, we are facing a truly apocalyptic future. Among the likely consequences:

"-The Hadley Center, a major climate research laboratory in Britain, recently said that, 'by 2040, most of the world's forests will begin to die.' (1) -The near-disappearance of arctic sea ice. 'It is 40% thinner than it was forty years ago.' (2) -'Climate change would probably exacerbate hunger and poverty around the world. . . People who are highly dependent on farming, fishing or forestry will see their livelihoods destroyed.' (3) -We will see heat waves worse than the one last summer in Europe that killed upwards of 35,000 people. -Hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe storms will become more frequent and deadlier. May, 2003 brought 562 tornadoes to the United States, 163 tornadoes higher than the previous monthly high of 399, set in 1992. -'Results of a major study showed yesterday that more than a million species will become extinct as a result of global warming over the next 50 years.' (4) -'New research in Australia suggests that the amount of water reaching the rivers will decline up to four times as fast as the percentage reduction of rainfall in dry areas. This, alongside the disappearance of the glaciers, spells the end of irrigated agriculture.' (5) -The melting of the glaciers and arctic sea ice could lead to a shutting down of the Gulf Stream, 'which bathes the UK and northwest Europe in warm water carried northwards from the Caribbean' (6) And because the Gulf Stream is the 'engine' powering what is called the 'Great Ocean Conveyor. . . a twisting, swirling current that wends through all the world's oceans,' (7) 'the possibility exists that a disruption of the Atlantic currents could have implications far beyond a colder UK and northwest Europe, perhaps bringing dramatic climatic changes to the entire planet.' (8)"

Bush Admits He Targeted Saddam from the Start: "'The stated policy of my administration toward Saddam Hussein was very clear -- like the previous administration, we were for regime change,' ... "September the 11th made me realize that America was no longer protected by oceans and we had to take threats very seriously no matter where they may be materializing," Bush said."

"Bush "exhausted all possible means to resolve the situation in Iraq peacefully" before launching the invasion in March, [spokesperson] McClellan said. Saddam defied a "final opportunity to comply" with U.N. demands to disarm, prompting Bush to take action "in the aftermath of Sept. 11th (because) it's important to confront threats before it's too late." Apalling lies...

Iraqi Shiite cleric insists on demand for democracy: "The United States administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, has rejected a call by a senior Shiite leader for the direct election of a national government... Ayatollah Sistani has emerged as a big obstacle to the plans hammered out between Washington and its hand-picked Iraqi leadership. US officials also expressed their fears about his demand that any agreement for US-led forces to remain in Iraq would have to be approved by directly elected representatives."

The threat of democray in Iraq and autonomy in Kurdistan is serious for the United States. However the continuing insurgency may force the US to bow to the demands for fear of never being able to control the country. Whatever happens, however, the propaganda will always be the same: 'democracy and freedom'.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Anti-Monopoly: "Ralph Anspach and Patrice McFarland have vowed that before they die the world will know that the original purpose of the Monopoly game was to teach the evils of exploitation, that it was conceived by socialists rather than its alleged inventor, and that the giant gamesmaker Parker Brothers has no right to monopolize it."

It was conceived by a georgist to illustrate the evils of land monopoly, as this article eventually does partially admit. This story has been around for many years but it has failed to get the penetration that it deserves.

Jeffrey Record: US army war college paper on the 'Global War on Terror' GWOT (pdf): US establishment paper effectively rubbishes the 'war on terror', driving a hole through the 'logic' of the case made by Bush/Blair/Howard. But the paper fails to ask the obvious question and discuss the implications, if the 'war on terror' is mendacious, what then is the real reason for this state of war?

US Army war college: War on terrorism doomed: "A scathing report published by the Army War College criticises the US's handling of the 'war on terrorism', accusing it of taking a detour into an unnecessary war in Iraq and pursuing an unrealistic quest against terrorism that may lead to US wars with nations posing no serious threat."

""The global war on terrorism as currently defined and waged is dangerously indiscriminate and ambitious, and accordingly . . . its parameters should be readjusted," Professor Record said. The anti-terrorism campaign was "strategically unfocused, promises more than it can deliver and threatens to dissipate US military resources in an endless and hopeless search for absolute security"."

"Many of Professor Record's arguments, such as the contention that Iraq was deterred and did not present a threat, have been made before by critics of the Bush Administration. Iraq, he concludes, "was a war-of-choice distraction from the war of necessity against" al-Qaeda. However, it is unusual to have such views published by the war college, the US Army's premier academic institution... The essay concluded with several recommendations, including one that the US scale back its ambitions in Iraq and be prepared to settle for a "friendly autocracy" there rather than a genuine democracy."

In other words, the 'war on terror' is nothing but a fraud. It doesnt take Einstein to figure this out. As for the 'friendly autocracy' in Iraq, as if that was anything but the original goal.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Rendition archipelego: 15,000 detained: "Worldwide, the experiment is becoming the norm. It has been estimated that at least 15,000 people are being held without trial under the justification of the 'war on terrorism'. They include more than 3,000 detained in Iraq after the war, of whom at least 1,000 are still in detention; an estimated further 1,000 to 3,000 detained at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan; and an unknown number being held on the British territory of Diego Garcia... It is of grave concern that the example being set by the US and the UK is being used to legitimise repression internationally on an ever-increasing scale. >From China, which has imprisoned up to 100 Chinese Muslims without trial, to Uzbekistan (up to 1,000), Yemen (200), Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, India and Indonesia, this alarming lead is being eagerly followed. In Israel and Chechnya, there would be far more people in prison without trial had not the authorities there taken matters one step further and authorised extra-judicial killings. They were safe in the knowledge that the US government boasted last year of killing alleged al-Qaida members in Yemen."

"Everyone needs to protest - peacefully, but as loudly and as persistently as they are able. Every act counts. And let everyone be certain of this: those who experiment in inhumanity will have no appetite to stop unless there is such protest."

Mad Cow USA: "THERE HAS been change. The situation in terms of workplace deaths, for example, isn’t as bad now as it was in the 1920s. And that happened because of the union movement and a number of social movements that put pressure on institutions. But what you see happening with the Bush administration–and even before–is that the minute public pressure lets up, the pressure from industry mounts and begins to roll back the protections that people start to take for granted.

"I think the main thing is to continue to scrutinize, to be skeptical of what you hear from the government, to look at the small print and to put pressure on them. There’s the old adage that power concedes nothing without a struggle, and I think that’s as true today as it was back when it was first said. Sometimes, there’s a temptation to look at all the ways we’re not winning right now–at how corporations and powerful institutions are disempowering individuals–and to feel frustrated. But the truth is that we do have a legacy that’s been built on the shoulders of past popular struggles, which has produced protections for the public. And I think we need to keep pushing for those and have a clear vision of what kind of world we want to live in. We’ve made progress that way in the past, and I think we can do that in the future."

"THE MEAT industry pays a price for endangering U.S. consumers with tainted beef. But it’s a bargain price--about $41 million spent on politicians during the 1990s, to be precise. Republicans received the lion’s share of that money, but the meat business also bought some high-powered Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), both of whom come from big cattle states."

Top Shiite cleric Sistani continues to demand elections: "Iraq's most revered Shi'ite leader insisted Sunday that democratic elections must he held within months... Officials from the U.S.-appointed Governing Council went to the Shi'ite Muslim city of Najaf Sunday to meet Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and try to persuade him to back the U.S. plan... Sistani wants the transitional assembly to be directly elected, and is not backing down from his stance."

"The ideal mechanism for this is elections which a number of experts confirm can be held within coming months with an acceptable degree of credibility and transparency," Sistani's office quoted him as telling the Governing Council delegation. "If the transitional assembly is formed by a mechanism that doesn't have the necessary legitimacy then it wouldn't be possible for the government to perform a useful function...New problems will arise as a result of this that will only worsen the tensions in the political and security situation."

If the insurgency continues the US may be forced to accept the demands for democracy and autonomy being made by the Shiites and the Kurds. This may be the best possible chance of Iraq actually achieving democracy and decentralisation. But the tensions arises at the point that insofar as the Iraqis regain independence and democracy, the main US objectives, US military bases and control of the oil industry and economy, are placed at risk.

Iraqi Kurds scorn US autonomy offer: "Kurds in Iraq have rejected a US-backed plan for very limited autonomy in the north of the country, which has enjoyed a status close to independence for more than a decade. "It gave us even less than Saddam Hussein offered us in the past," a Kurdish leader said yesterday... The Kurds have said they are willing to turn over control of foreign policy, defence, fiscal policy and natural resources to a central government. But in practice they will retain most of the powers they won a dozen years ago when Saddam Hussein withdrew his armies from Kurdistan. The Kurdish leaders are conscious that they are in a very strong position... The Kurds will not declare independence because they know that this would precipitate an invasion by Turkey and also be fiercely opposed by Iran and Syria."

Zionism as an offshoot of imperialism: "Abed Alwahab Almasiri, an expert on Jewish history, has published a book entitled, The Protocols, Judaism and Zionism (Cairo 2003). This progressive, scholarly work is exceptional: it argues against the prejudices that are presently rife in the Arab world. Almasiri explains: 'Zionism's use of violence [in the Palestinian Territories] is a natural product of the racist, imperialistic culture in whose framework this movement has acted. Zionism became an accomplished fact only with the full realization of western imperialism, and it continues to act within this framework. It comprehends the world according to the imperialist political map.' 'Herzl,' adds Almasiri, 'understood that the West could get rid of the Jews by steering them to a place beyond its borders. He understood that the only recourse was to appeal to Western imperialism as the sole mechanism that could make his Zionist colonial project work.'

"Almasiri finds the reason for the power of the Zionist lobby in the services that Zionism performs for American imperial interests. He adds: 'The Zionist movement is not part of Jewish history. It is not part of the Torah or Talmud, despite the use it has made of this window dressing. Zionism belongs to the history of western imperialism. It is the latter's solution to the Jewish question.'"

Australia abandons Kyoto: "Australia has abandoned a major international measure aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions, arguing that it is unlikely to come into effect and creates no incentive for industry to reduce such emissions. The Howard Government believes there is still significant uncertainty surrounding the Kyoto Protocol and its international emissions trading scheme and has stopped all work on the scheme by the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO). Staff have been moved to other projects or have left."

"Emissions trading allows industry to offset its production of greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming, by investing in projects such as carbon sinks... Meanwhile, the Premier, Bob Carr, has been trying to persuade other states to join him in setting up their own emissions trading scheme. He has created a greenhouse office within the cabinet office to administer a $6 million fund and investigate the possibility of a states-run scheme."

Surely a carbon tax or an emissions tax is a better concept for reducing emissions than emissions trading. There needs to be much more debate about this.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Nader shouldn't run: "Consider a recent statement by Joel Kovel, a former Green Party candidate for senator from New York: 'Tens of millions of people, including a lot of radicals, believe that Bush's men are moving to rip up the Constitution and fundamentally restructure the American republic to destroy the slim chance of democratic renewal upon which green electoral politics, along with much else, rests.'"

"After noting a few of the policies implemented with a vengeance by the Bush regime, Kovel wrote: "These are qualitative shifts, the way quantitative changes become qualitative after a while, then create new configurations. It is very weak reasoning to point out how awful the Democrats are, how corporate, etc., and neglect to realize that a rogue faction of the ruling class, represented by the Bushies, can break loose even from the traditional Republican party, and set out to change the fundamental structures themselves. That is how republics can turn into dictatorships. Will it happen? Well, I don't know; nobody does. Is it more likely now than ever before? Oh yes, yes, and will become even more so if Bush gets in again."

"The regime of George W. Bush has made a compelling case for an imperative: He must not return to the White House for another term in January 2005. And we have a responsibility to see that he doesn't. Does Ralph Nader sufficiently grasp such concerns in 2004? For several decades, he demonstrated enormous strategic savvy. Hopefully, he has not become tone deaf at this pivotal moment in history. We'll soon find out."

Poland offering to host major US military base: report: "The Polish government has offered to let the United States build a major military base on its territory"

After freeing itself from Russian domination, Poland voluntarily debases itself, demonstrating no understanding of the concepts of imperialism and hegemonism. No self-respecting nation should ever permit foreign military forces on its soil except if forced to by grave military crisis.

Greens face uphill battle against corporate establishment despite evidence of Climate Catastrophe: "The findings have been described as 'terrifying' by the report's lead author, Chris Thomas, professor of conservation biology at Leeds University. Professor Thomas said: 'When scientists set about research they hope to come up with definite results, but what we found we wish we had not. It was far, far worse than we thought, and what we have discovered may even be an underestimate.'"

"In 1991, in his book US Petroleum Strategies In The Decade of the Environment, Bob Williams, a consultant to the oil and gas industry, described the industry's number one priority: "To put the environmental lobby out of business... There is no greater imperative... If the petroleum industry is to survive, it must render the environmental lobby superfluous, an anachronism" ... Ron Arnold, also an industry consultant, told a meeting of the Ontario Forest Industries Association: "You must turn the public against environmentalists or you will lose your environmental battle." ... Frank Mankiewicz, a senior executive at transnational PR firm Hill and Knowlton, predicted accurately: "I think the companies will have to give in only at insignificant levels. Because the companies are too strong, they're the establishment. The environmentalists are going to have to be like the mob in the square in Romania before they prevail.""

Dave Lindorff: MoveOn Shouldn't Apologize for Those Ads: "The truth is that the two ads are pretty darned good. The first shows Hitler in a parade and speaking, followed by scenes of German troops attacking, planes bombing, tanks firing, and victorious troops goose-stepping into occupied territory, as a voiceover says 'A nation warped by lies--lies fuel fear--fear fuels aggression--invasion--occupation.' As the scene fades from Hitler giving a raised arm salute to Bush with his hand raised at his inauguration, the voiceover says, 'What were war crimes in 1945 is foreign policy in 2003.'

"And the truth: The Bush administration deliberately stoked public fears after 9/11--just as the Nazi's used the Reichstag Fire--to win support for an illegal, unprovoked invasion of Iraq, an act of aggression which, at the Nuremberg Trials, was specifically determined to be a war crime. The ad might have added that the 'shock and awe' terror campaign that was the centerpiece of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, was also by definition a war crime, since its target was the Iraqi public.

"As for the second controversial ad, it features first a picture of Hitler, speaking in German, with a voiceover translating the lines as 'We have taken new measures to protect our homelandSI believe I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.' Then, as Hitler continues to speak, the voiceover says, '"God told me to strike Al-Qaeda, and I struck him." As the picture morphs into George Bush, the voiceover continues, "and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did." With a picture of cheering Germans in the background, the voiceover concludes, "Sound familiar?"

"And the truth here? President Bush did in fact publicly claim divine instruction to have been behind his decisions to invade Afghanistan and later Iraq--a rather scary example, if he is being sincere, of the very kind of megalomania that characterized Hitler... They were legitimate warnings that the American public is being manipulated by demagoguery, jingoism and the worst kind of lies... What they are saying is that the same technique used by Hitler and his National Socialist brownshirts to whip up nationalist fervor in Germany in the early and mid 1930s is being employed today by the Bush Administration and the Republican Party, and to the same end--to get the American public to acquiesce in surrendering its democratic rights, to accept one-party rule, and to agree to a national policy of permanent war in the name of American global hegemony."

Australia sends more troops to Iraq to provide security: "The troop rotation comes as several Australian companies await word on whether their bids to win contracts for reconstruction work will be granted. Australian oil company Worley has submitted a joint bid with United States' concern the Parsons Corporation to rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure. Parsons and fellow US company Bechtel were this week awarded new contracts worth 1.8 billion US dollars towards rebuilding Iraq. A second Australian group, Clough Engineering, is also seeking work in the gas and oil area. Australia was one of the United States's staunchest allies in its war against Iraq and remains hopeful of being granted reconstruction contracts. Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile visited Iraq in December and promoted Australian companies to the man in charge of awarding reconstruction contracts, retired US Navy Admiral David Nash. Vaile's spokesman said Australian companies with connections to Bechtel and Parsons were in a good position to pick up work. 'Australian companies are well positioned provided they have the relevant expertise and skills to take advantage of any sub-contracts that arise from those contracts,' he told AFP."

The shameful role in Iraq played by the Australian armed forces is to hold the country down while it is repeatedly raped by foreign corporations. 'War is a racket' as General Butler said.

Stealth Administration: Tom Engelhardt rages against Bushevism and the Busheviks. What a year it has been and what a crisis America is in.

Green Party "Terrorists": "Writing about his no-fly nightmare in the Fairfield County Weekly, art dealer Doug Stuber, who had run Ralph Nader's Green Party presidential campaign in North Carolina in 2000, was pulled out of a boarding line and grounded. He was about to make an important trip to Prague to gather artists for Henry James Art in Raleigh, N.C., when he was told (with ticket in hand) that he was not allowed to fly out that day. Asking 'why not?' he was told at Raleigh-Durham airport that because of the sniper attacks, no Greens were allowed to fly overseas on that day."

"At one point during his interrogation, Stuber asked if they really believed the Greens were equal to al Qaeda. Then they showed him a Justice Department document that actually shows the Greens as likely terrorists – just as likely as al Qaeda members... Stuber said he could only conclude that the Greens, whose values include nonviolence, social justice, etc., are now labeled terrorists by the Ashcroft-led Justice Department."

Mounting Evidence Shows Iraq Didn't Have WMDs: Washington Post report, Carnegie report and Iraq survey group effectively wrap up the story of Iraq's WMDs: it didnt have any. One of the biggest and most spectacular lies in modern history.

The Year of the Fake: "This was the year when fakeness ruled: fake rationales for war, a fake President dressed as a fake soldier declaring a fake end to combat and then holding up a fake turkey. An action movie star became governor and the government started making its own action movies, casting real soldiers like Jessica Lynch as fake combat heroes and dressing up embedded journalists as fake soldiers. Saddam Hussein even got a part in the big show: He played himself being captured by American troops. This is the fake of the year, if you believe the Sunday Herald in Scotland, as well as several other news agencies, which reported that he was actually captured by a Kurdish special forces unit."

""Her main aim is to meet as many Nigerians as she can," the Queen's press secretary, Penny Russell, said of the monarch's December trip to Nigeria... Instead of the planned visit to an African village, the Queen toured the set of a BBC soap opera in New Karu, constructed to look like an authentic African market. During the "fake walkabout," as the Sunday Telegraph called it, the Queen chatted with paid actors playing regular villagers, while actual villagers watched the event on a large-screen TV outside the security perimeter."

"While truth did not pay in 2003, lying certainly did. Just ask Rupert Murdoch. According to an October study conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, when it comes to the war in Iraq, regular watchers of Murdoch's Fox News are the most misinformed people in America. Eighty percent of Fox News watchers believed either that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, that there is evidence of an Iraq-Al Qaeda link or that world opinion supported the war--or they believed all three of these untruths."

"I'm no longer convinced that America can be set free by the truth alone. In many cases, fake versions of events have prevailed even when the truth was readily available. The real Jessica Lynch--who told Diane Sawyer that "no one beat me, no one slapped me, no one, nothing"--has proven no match for her media-military created doppelganger, shown being slapped around by her cruel captors in NBC's movie Saving Jessica Lynch. Rather than being toppled for his adversarial relationship to both the most important truths and the most basic facts, Bush is actively remaking America in the image of his own ignorance and duplicity. Not only is it OK to be misinformed, but as the almanac warning shows, knowing stuff is fast becoming a crime."

Head of Jordan’s Bar Association demands defense panel for Saddam, says Bush, Blair should be tried: "“The real intention behind the capture of Saddam is to terrorize the Arab nations and humanity as a whole…President Bush and his administration are the ones who should be brought to trial as they are the major threat to world peace,” added Mujalli. Mujalli has sent requests to all Arab and international Organizations, including the UN, to bring to trial the governments of Israel, Britain and the US for their crimes against humanity. He is also requesting that these organizations demand an immediate end to the continuing aggression against Iraq and its people, including the former president of Iraq... In response to a question about the impact of his appeal on the Iraqi public [who are demanding a trial of the ousted president], “these are the people who should be brought to trial, because there will never be a fair trial under American occupation. It is also known that the US had fought against the formation of the international criminal court because it [US] fears it will be the first one to be brought to trial for committing so many crimes against humanity.”"

""When asked about the former Iraqi leader’s record of mass killings and the use of chemical weapons against the Kurdish north, he replied “on the contrary! The United States is the one committing mass killings and is responsible for terrorizing the whole world…its record is full of horrible crimes against humanity.” Mujalli concluded his conversation by saying “we are now facing an American-British-Zionist occupation of Iraq, and talking about the past will only distract the entire Arab nation from what is really happening [in Iraq]. All Arabs have to embark on ‘comprehensive resistance’ to expel the occupation from the Arab lands - and I mean all the Arab lands - Iraq and Palestine, because both occupations are two faces of the same cause.”"

'US Climate Policy Bigger Threat to World than Terrorism': "Tony Blair's chief scientist has launched a withering attack on President George Bush for failing to tackle climate change, which he says is more serious than terrorism... Advisers to President Bush have suggested climate change is a natural phenomenon and criticized climate researchers for suggesting that rises in global temperatures are the result of man-made emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. But Sir David says the "causal link" between man-made emissions and global warming is well-established and scientists cannot explain the general warming trend over the past century without invoking human-induced effects... President Bush has said more research on global warming is needed before the US will consider the sort of action needed to comply with the Kyoto protocol, but Sir David says that by then it could be too late. "Delaying action for decades, or even just years, is not a serious option. I am firmly convinced that if we do not begin now, more substantial, more disruptive, and more expensive change will be needed later on.""

The 'longest hatred' revisited: "While hatred is lavished on the lamentable Ariel Sharon, it is ignored that his presence is the reaction to the rejection by the Palestinian leadership of his predecessor's offer to relinquish more than 95 per cent of the West Bank and all of Gaza plus East Jerusalem to a new Palestinian state. Instead of grasping an extraordinary offer of peace, one that made many Israelis gasp, the Palestinians responded with suicide bombers. Sharon's hour arrived as Israelis turned in desperation to the one leader they thought could defend them... Until 1967, when Israel launched a successful pre-emptive war against massing Arab armies, Israel wore the title of victim - as a plucky little state created by the United Nations 20 years earlier, only to be invaded by its neighbours with the intention of driving fledgling Israelis into the Mediterranean."

Breathtaking lies and disinformation such as the above would go a long way on its own towards explaining anti-semitism and paranoia in the Arab world. But the main cause is the brutal 35-year occupation of the Palestinian territories. Or, as Uri Avnery says, the Sharon regime is a giant incubator for the anti-semitic virus.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Carnegie Report: WMD in Iraq: Probably the most thorough and authoritative report to date, essential for historians and policy makers. Includes recommendations.

Carnegie Group Says Bush Made Wrong Claims on WMD: "The Bush administration will today be accused of 'systematically misrepresenting' the threat posed by 'Iraq's weapons of mass destruction' in a comprehensive report on post-war findings."

Experimental Economics, Indeed: "Some Objectivist writers take the view that a proper tracing of title to Iraqi oil assets will lead straight back to a number of western oil companies, who should become the new owners." What tools these 'objectivists' and 'libertarians' are. The natural resources of a country are the common property of the people of that country.

Brian Cloughley: Never Mind the WMDs, Just Look at History: "In his Christmas message to British occupation troops in Iraq, Tony Blair, Britain's leader of the governing Labour Party assured them that there was 'massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories' in Iraq. Blair again made a fool of himself, and it is interesting to examine the vulgar, shoddy affair of the phantom laboratories in the context of what politicians and officials imagine they can get away with in misleading their unfortunate public."

IMF warns: Global fears as US goes into the red: "The budget deficit - which has swung from a healthy surplus in 2000 to a forecast blowout of more than $US400 billion ($521.2 billion) this year - was a 'significant risk' for the rest of the world, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday... The fund said the US would soon have a foreign debt totalling 40 per cent of its gross domestic product - an "unprecedented level debt for a large industrialised country". This could trigger a "disorderly" plunge in the US dollar - and a corresponding jump in other currencies, including the Australian dollar - rocking the global financial system."

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

US policy on Taiwan: "Fifty years later, US posture on Taiwan remains basically the same, to prevent the ending of the Chinese civil war with a no-war, no-peace status quo to prevent a united China from challenging US hegemony in Asia. All the talk about defending democracy and preserving stability is merely 'to put ourselves [the US] into a defensible position'.

"In Oral History Interview with Dean Acheson June 30, 1971, by Theodore A Wilson and Richard D McKinzie, Acheson said: 'You see, you all start with the premise that democracy is some [thing] good. I don't think it's worth a damn ... People say, 'If the Congress were more representative of the people it would be better.' I say the Congress is too damn representative. It's just as stupid as the people are; just as uneducated, just as dumb, just as selfish ... In the old days when liberalism didn't persist and senators were elected by the legislatures, you got some pretty good senators, because they were not representative.' "

Bush Knew: "Two words: 'Bush Knew.' It is, frankly, amazing that this has fallen down the memory hole. Recall two headlines from that period. The first, from the UK Guardian on May 19, 2002, was titled 'Bush Knew of Terrorist Plot to Hijack US Planes.' ... In a top-secret intelligence memo headlined 'Bin Laden determined to strike in the US', the President was told on 6 August that the Saudi-born terrorist hoped to 'bring the fight to America' in retaliation for missile strikes on al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan in 1998. Bush and his aides, who are facing withering criticism for failing to act on a series of warnings, have previously said intelligence experts had not advised them domestic targets were considered at risk. However, they have admitted they were specifically told that hijacks were being planned.""

The 9/11 attack has been ruthlessly exploited by the neocons to advance their radical agenda. It is reminiscent of Pearl Harbour: the Administration may have known more than it has admitted, but it was prepared to sit it out and exploit the resultant opportunity.

Anarchism, Or The E-volutionary Movement Of The Twenty-first Century: "Everywhere from Eastern Europe to Argentina, from Seattle to Bombay, anarchist ideas and principles are generating new radical dreams and visions. Often their exponents do not call themselves 'anarchists'. There are a host of other names: autonomism, anti-authoritarianism, horizontality, Zapatismo, direct democracy... Still, everywhere one finds the same core principles: decentralization, voluntary association, mutual aid, the network model, and above all, the rejection of any idea that the end justifies the means, let alone that the business of a revolutionary is to seize state power and then begin imposing one's vision at the point of a gun. Above all, anarchism, as an ethics of practice-the idea of building a new society 'within the shell of the old'-has become the basic inspiration of the 'movement of movements' (of which the authors are a part), which has from the start been less about seizing state power than about exposing, de-legitimizing and dismantling mechanisms of rule while winning ever-larger spaces of autonomy and participatory management within it.

"There are some obvious reasons for the appeal of anarchist ideas at the beginning of the 21st century: most obviously, the failures and catastrophes resulting from so many efforts to overcome capitalism by seizing control of the apparatus of government in the 20th. Increasing numbers of revolutionaries have begun to recognize that "the revolution" is not going to come as some great apocalyptic moment, the storming of some global equivalent of the Winter Palace, but a very long process that has been going on for most of human history (even if it has like most things come to accelerate of late) full of strategies of flight and evasion as much as dramatic confrontations, and which will never-indeed, most anarchists feel, should never-come to a definitive conclusion."

"These changes have been difficult to document because so far anarchist ideas have received almost no attention in the academy. There are still thousands of academic Marxists, but almost no academic anarchists. This lag is somewhat difficult to interpret." - Anarchism like georgism suffers from a curious marginalisation in the academy whilst Marxism has had such a massive presence.