Danish Diplomats Exit Three Countries
The Danish ambassadors to Iran, Syria and Indonesia and other diplomatic staff have left those countries due to threats against them over the publication of cartoons of the Muslim prophet. The ambassador in Tehran and his staff left after being informed of "concrete and serious threats against the ambassador", the Danish Foreign Ministry said in a communique on Saturday. Full Story
Flu Pandemic 'Two Mutations Away', According to UN Doctor
The bird flu virus is only two mutations away from a form that can spread easily between people, sparking a pandemic in which millions could die. Dr David Nabarro, who heads the UN drive to contain the virus, told weekly Portugese newspaper Expresso that "only two mutations are needed for it to become easily transmissible among humans.Full Story
Crucial Moment in Case of the Cuban Five
CRUCIAL MOMENT FOR THE CUBAN FIVE - THE FIVE'S APPEALS TO BE HEARD IN ORAL ARGUMENTS ON TUESDAY
The Cuban Five political prisoners, who have already served seven and a half years in U.S. prisons, due to their unjust convictions and sentences, will have their appeals heard in oral arguments before an "en banc" hearing, in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, on February 14.
A community meeting will be held the evening of the oral arguments, 7 pm, Feb. 14, at Spelman College, Cosby Auditorium, in Atlanta. Come hear leaders of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, as well as international jurists who are coming to Atlanta to witness the oral arguments. Click here to see the flyer..
The year 2006 will be crucial in their legal and political battle to win freedom. Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González are anti-terrorists activists who were stopping terrorists from carrying out attacks on the island of Cuba.
For information on the Freedom campaign
for the Cuban Five, call: 415-821-6545, or visit: www.freethefive.org
********************** A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 323-464-1636
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
US: The End of the Internet
by Jeffrey Chester, The Nation
February 6th, 2006
The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online.
Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency.
According to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets -- corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers -- would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out.Read full story, thanks to Corpwatch
New Interviews and Great News from Independent World Televison
I am a strong supporter of Independent World Television (IWT)
, the brainchild of Canadian documentary film-maker Paul Jay. He sent me this latest update email, which I've decided to post here for those interested in more information about this nascent, exciting new network whose time has definitely come.
Dear Annamarie Support Independent World Television
First, I would like to wish you all the best for 2006 on behalf of the Independent World Television team.
I'm extremely pleased to tell you I was recently able to interview three important media players in India and Africa: Ferial Hafferjee, Editor of South Africa's Mail and Guardian; N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, which has over 3 million readers daily; and Indian Journalist and News Anchor Sashi Kumar. Their enlightening comments on the state of the media in their countries underline the necessity of a "real news" network that presents the world as it is.
Watch the interviews now and tell us what you think.
On another note, January was quite exciting for us at IWT. Support for IWT grows stronger each day -- your words of encouragement and generous contributions clearly show that the world can't wait for the first independent news network to become a reality.
This ever-growing enthusiasm made us think of ways we could bring the essence of IWT to you even before the launch of our first show, IWT News Nightly. Hence, we are now in the midst of creating a brand-new website, with new and original video content to boot. Dynamic, user-friendly and rich in new video content, the website will become the centre of the movement to make this independent television news network a force that will break the media monopoly on information. An expanded video section will feature exclusive T.V. news analysis that deconstructs headlines to get to the real story, interviews and debate with notable personalities with something to say, and a video blog from Iraq that will bring viewers there through a firsthand account of the war's true impact.
Over the next few months, the IWT team will be fully dedicated to the development of the new website and video content. Although it will be updated less frequently, the current website (www.iwtnews.com) remains the best place to get information and to watch interviews with journalists and personalities who have endorsed the IWT plan and vision. We encourage you to tell your friends about us and invite them to subscribe to our email updates. Our members will be the first to know when we launch our new website and video later this spring!
Needless to say, we are very excited about the months ahead and can't wait to show you our new website and video. Keep sending us your comments and suggestions -- and stay tuned.
Thanking you once more for helping us make Independent World Television a reality.
Paul Jay, Chair
Independent World Television
P.S. : Haven't seen our newly-cut 2-minute version of the Birth of a Network video? Go to www.iwtnews.com!
makes Independent World Television
possible. Because IWTnews is non-profit and independent of funding from governments, corporations or advertising, it depends on contributions from people like you.
In the U.S. and Canada, donations to IWTnews are tax deductible
In the U.S., Independent World Television
is registered under federal 501(c)(3) charitable status. U.S. donors will receive a tax receipt.
In Canada, Independent World Television
is a registered not-for-profit corporation pending charitable status. While awaiting charitable status, IWT has partnered with Tides Canada Foundation, a Canadian registered charity. Canadian donors to the IWT Fund at Tides Canada Foundation will receive a tax receipt from Tides Canada Foundation for donations of $50 or more.
Video Festival in Oakville, Ontario - February 18th
Documentary Video Festival
Saturday February 18, 2006 - Doors open at 12:45 p.m.
Church of the Incarnation
1240 Old Abbey Lane, Oakville
(North of the QEW at the corner of Dorval Dr.) Amnesty International
presents this event in conjunction with the Halton Peace Network and the INCA Social Justice Committee
For information contact Louise at 905-842-8044 or email@example.com FREE – Donations Accepted PROGRAMME1st Screening 1:00 p.m.
Darfur: Human Rights Under Fire
2nd Screening 1:15 p.m.
The Corporation (Part 2):
**************** BREAK – 2:15 p.m. ****************
3rd Screening 2:30 p.m.
Let Them Stay: Voices of US War Resisters in Canada
4th Screening 3:00 p.m.
When the State Kills
**************** BREAK – 4:00 p.m. ****************
5th Screening 4:15 p.m.
Global Gardener: Permaculture
6th Screening 5:15 p.m. Reducing Harm: Lawn and garden pesticides
**************** CLOSE – 5:30 p.m. **************** "Anyone with knowledge of illegal activity and an opportunity to do something is a potential criminal under international law, unless the person takes affirmative measures to prevent the commission of the crimes." - Declaration of War Crimes Tribunals following World War ll
Spying and Lying in 21st Century America
Since the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the historical protections of speech, assembly, protest, and privacy enjoyed by U.S. citizens and legal residents (“U.S. persons”), have also come under attack as a stampeded Congress, goaded by a panicked and paranoid administration, abdicated its constitutional role—rather, its constitutional duty—to prevent the undue concentration of power in the Chief Executive. The immediate result was the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorists Act of 2001”—better known by its acronym, USA PATRIOT Act.
This law, as has become more and more clear over the last three months, was but the initial move by the Bush administration in what has become an extended and coordinated attack on the civil liberties of U.S. persons in the name of national security and—ironically—in the name of bringing democracy and civil liberties to Iraq.
The extent of this frontal assault suggests the depth of the ideological aversion of many Bush advisers and confidants to the underlying principles on which the entire American democratic experiment rests. These include protecting the rights of all citizens, especially those of various minorities, against an overbearing majority; providing basic services and infrastructure on an equitable basis; and being responsive to the concerns and safety of the people. In short, it seems that key administration figures and confidants have difficulty with the proposition that “government of the people and for the people” refers to all
the people. Foreign Policy In Focus[FPIF]
U.S. Blackhawks to Hit Our Border
The U.S. will use Blackhawk helicopters and planes along the Montana border with Alberta and Saskatchewan to watch for terrorists, drug-runners and illegal immigrants. The Calgary Sun
NASA's Pluto Mission Draws Three Dozen Protesters
CAPE CANAVERAL -
About three dozen people assembled at the spaceport Saturday to protest this month's planned launch of a plutonium-powered space probe bound for Pluto.
The demonstrators made speeches, sang songs and carried signs with messages such as "NASA puts us all at risk!" and "Even mousetraps malfunction. Is a mini-Chernobyl in our community's future?" in opposition of the nuclear generator being used to power the New Horizons spacecraft.
The protesters say a rocket explosion could expose people, animals and the environment to dangerous doses of radioactive plutonium. Many of the people who gathered outside Cape Canaveral Air Force Station alleged the mission is not just for scientific gain, but also to test the nuclear generator for use in space weapons.
"The public is tired of being lied to," said Maria Telesca-Whipple, a married mother of two from Rockledge and an organizer with the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. "We have no problem with the peaceful exploration of space, but we don't think that's what plutonium in space is all about."www.Space.com
Tom Hilde examines and refutes Jonah Goldberg’s forthcoming book with the "funny self-explanatory title", Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton
What of fascism? Clearly, it’s not on the side of liberalism but more closely allied with right-wing political ideology. Goldberg is already on very shaky ground in the title of his book. Quinton says of fascism that it “combines an intense nationalism, which is both militarily aggressive and resolved to subdue all aspects of public and private life, to the pursuit of national greatness. It asserts that a supreme leader is indispensable, a heroic figure in whom the national spirit is incarnated.” Think Bush on the deck of the “victory” aircraft carrier and Ann Coulter’s grotesque discussion of his “sexiness.” Think NSA and spying on citizens and non-citizens alike. Think military aggression. Think Cheney’s obsession with consolidating the power of the executive.
Read More:Selves and Others
New Orleans: Gentrification by Genocide
The following and other stories at: www.sfbayview.com/Katrina, capitalism and continuing Black crisis in America
In fact, the main reason so many poor Black women and children died in New Orleans was because they had no cars or money to flee the city on their own.
In a pretense of offering the un-evacuated citizens "hurricane relief," the city government told them to go to the Convention Center and the Superdome. Thousands of mostly Black residents walked or waded to these locations from miles away expecting to find help, food, water and medical care. What they found instead was cruel indifference, unpreparedness and chaos. Surrounded by disease contaminated water, there was nothing to drink and no food as they were jammed into these darkened arenas without sanitary toilet facilities.
When the desperate, abandoned people began to obtain basic necessities from abandoned stores - certainly doing no worse than the Cadillac-stealing police - orders came down to "shoot to kill looters." The mainstream media blatantly described whites and police as "finding" food and water from abandoned stores and Blacks as "looting" these things. Martial law was declared, and the actual relief and rescue operations being organized by the people were shut down by armed mercenaries - hired by FEMA - and the military and police.Eviction moratorium stalls ethnic cleansing in New Orleans
According to National Low Income Housing Coalition, 140,000 units were destroyed in New Orleans, many of them affordable housing. Since Hurricane Katrina, the housing market has risen dramatically, causing a housing crisis.
Tenants who want to move back cannot afford the high rents. "People cry to go home. They tell us there is no place to go, but there is housing for us," said Sam Jackson, a displaced resident. "They don't want us to come back. They want to kick low-income people out of New Orleans."Tender mercenaries: DynCorp and me
As a journalist, I'm afraid I have to judge DynCorp not on the spin of its CEO but on its record. Here are just a few of the reasons for serious concern about DynCorp forces operating on U.S. soil:
- DynCorp employees in Bosnia, where the company plays a major policing role, have engaged in organized sex-slave trading with girls as young as 12, and DynCorp's Bosnia site supervisor was filmed raping a woman. A subsequent lawsuit, filed by a company whistleblower, alleged that "employees and supervisors from DynCorp were engaging in perverse, illegal and inhumane behavior [and] were purchasing illegal weapons, women, forged passports and [participating in] other immoral acts."Misery on Every Corner
The whisteblower, with whom DynCorp eventually settled, "witnessed co-workers and supervisors literally buying and selling women for their own personal enjoyment, and employees would brag about the various ages and talents of the individual slaves they had purchased." The company's initial response was to fire the whistleblowers.
The employees involved in the sex ring were transferred out of the country. Some were eventually fired, although none were ever criminally prosecuted. One of the whistleblowers told Congress, "DynCorp is the worst diplomat our country could ever want overseas.''
- In Afghanistan, where DynCorp guards President Hamid Karzai, the company has a reputation for brutality and recklessness, including serious complaints from internationals of intimidation. It has even been rebuked by the State Department for its "aggressive behavior" in interactions with European diplomats, NATO forces and journalists. A BBC correspondent also witnessed one of the guards slapping an Afghan government minister.
- In Haiti earlier this year, DynCorp bodyguards on the detail of interim president Boniface Alexandre beat at least two journalists trying to cover a presidential event. DynCorp has had a checkered past in Haiti, where it "trained" the national police force after the original coup against President Aristide, bringing several feared Tonton Macoutes leaders back into prominence.
- The company is facing a major lawsuit filed by 10,000 Ecuadoreans forced to live - and die - with the impact of DynCorp's toxic crop spraying, which it does in several Latin American countries, including Colombia, as part of Plan Colombia. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, charges that "DynCorp's employees have a history of behaving like cowboys." A leading Colombian newsweekly called them "lawless Rambos."
The 'devastation tour' is New Orleans' newest attraction. Even locals ride the bus, saying it traverses a sadness that must be seen and shared.
They might have been mourners in a hearse, so somber were the passengers in the small bus on Mirabeau Avenue. Theresa Sandifer shook her head sadly as the bus crawled along. House after ruined house was spray-painted with an "X" and numbers denoting how many people had been found there, dead or alive, after Hurricane Katrina. Sue Stein stifled a gasp at floodwater marks that grazed the roofs of a block of one-story homes. William Thompson glued his gaze to a trim beige house impaled by an oak tree.
No one spoke until the bus rounded a corner onto St. Bernard Avenue, in the Gentilly area. The roof of a wood-frame house from the 1960s sat askew, as if it had been picked up and tossed down at all the wrong angles. The chimney was missing; the doors and windows were blown out. A plywood sign carried a message from a family who had left for good.
"Goodbye, N'awlins, We'll Miss You," read Brad Dupuy, the guide on this city's newest bus excursion.
…February 9, 2006 |
Mary Howard of Lake Charles, La., joins about 400 others displaced by Hurricane Katrina in marching to the US Capitol. "We want to go home" and "Where is the money?" were the chants of storm victims who will continue their rally and protest in the District today. www.truthout.org
New Orleans 'Risks Extinction'
The BBC's Horizon
programme has spoken to the scientists who are now confronting the real possibility that New Orleans may be the first of many cities worldwide to face extinction. BBC News - Science and Nature
The Pentagon as Global Slumlord
This is an 'oldie' but still a compelling article...
The battle of Fallujah, together with the conflicts unfolding in Shiia cities and Baghdad slums, are high-stakes tests, not just of U.S. policy in Iraq, but of Washington's ability to dominate what Pentagon planners consider the "key battlespace of the future" -- the Third World city. CommonDreams
The American Empire Meets Peak Oil
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.
"We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire. Our aim is a democratic peace...." - President Bush in the 2004 State of the Union Address
When will the President clarify why the US maintains more than 700 military bases in 130 countries if, in fact, the US has no desire to dominate or ambitions of empire?The American Empire Meets Peak Oil
Following the Soviet collapse in 1989, the U.S.’s economic empire was left without any effective constraints except two: global warming and peak oil.
Control of oil is critical to the U.S. because globalization, the American Empire, the U.S. economy and the American way of life all depend on oil. U.S. per-capita consumption is approximately 25 barrels per year — double that of western Europe, more than five times the world average and 16 times higher than that of China. The U.S. produces only a third of the oil it consumes, so that its dependence upon imports was rising even before the hurricanes further reduced domestic supplies. And maintaining an empire is very expensive and energy-intensive. CanadianDimension.com
Norway Editor Apologises for Cartoons
The editor of a Norwegian Christian newspaper has apologised to Muslims for publishing cartoons lampooning Prophet Muhammad that triggered a furor including the burning of Norway's embassy in Syria. Vebjoern Selbekk, who initially defended his 10 January publication of the cartoons in Magazinet
as an expression of press freedom, shook hands after his apology with a Muslim leader in Norway who said he considered the controversy over.
"I address myself personally to the Muslim community to say that I am sorry that your religious feelings have been hurt," Selbekk told a news conference on Friday. Full Story
Nigeria Poultry Imports Banned
Nigeria's alarmed neighbours have slapped bans on poultry imports from the West African country in an effort to prevent the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus from spreading across their porous borders. Niger and Chad, the countries closest to the H5N1 outbreak detected this week in northern Nigeria, Cameroon to the east, and Ghana to the west all announced emergency measures to block the import of Nigerian poultry and poultry products. But their governments admitted they could be hard pressed to prevent contamination through bustling cross-border trade routes from what is the first reported H5N1 virus case in Africa. Full Story
Russia's Drivers Fight Back Against Elite
Russian authorities are bracing for a wave of protests this weekend as working class citizens intend to drive through cities in convoys to voice their feelings against the country's chauffeur- driven elite. The outrage was sparked by the fate of Oleg Shcherbinsky, a railway worker from Siberia, who was jailed for four years last week for failing to yield to a speeding Mercedes carrying Mikhail Yevdokimov, the regional governor.The limousine careened off the road and into a tree, killing the governor.Across Russia this weekend, thousands of people are planning to protest by driving in convoy through major cities with slogans including "Today it's Shcherbinsky. Tomorrow it will be you!" draped on their cars.The case has brought to the boil simmering anger at a two-tier system that allows bureaucrats in chauffeur-driven black limousines to weave dangerously through traffic while other motorists are fined for the smallest misdemeanour. Some say it is a metaphor for Russian society in general under President Vladimir Putin where a narrow class of bureaucrats enjoy increasing power while, critics say, ordinary peoples' rights are undermined.Full Story
America's Historic Debt to Haiti
Haiti's troubled elections have put the impoverished Caribbean nation briefly back into U.S. consciousness, but few Americans know the historic debt that they owe to Haiti. Arguably, no country did more for the United States and was treated worse for it -- a raw deal dating back two centuries to an extraordinary triangle of conflict involving Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon Bonaparte and Haitian leader Toussaint L'Ouverture.
For the full story of this early chapter of U.S. lost history, go to Consortiumnews.com
. To keep Consortiumnews.com going, they are trying to raise $10,000 by the end of February. If you can, please consider a tax-deductible donation either by credit card at the Web site or by sending a check to Consortium for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Suite 102-231, 2200 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201.
Exporting Democracy, Revising Torture: The Complex Missions of Michael Ignatieff
In his fatal attraction to the style of instant journalism, Michael Ignatieff frivolously mixes history and propaganda, argues Mariano Aguirre.
Tools of argument
Michael Ignatieff has been useful to the US government as it has tried to promote democracy in the middle east. He brings to this unofficial job a special, double-edged approach: he provides conservative arguments to the liberal audience and liberal alibis to the conservatives.
… the United States has the duty to promote “the universal birthright of mankind” because “if the American project of encouraging freedom fails, there may be no one else available with the resourcefulness and energy, even the self-deception, necessary for the task”. Europe and Canada, according to Ignatieff, enjoy the freedom to criticise the United States, but they are not willing to assist Washington in its complex task. …www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-americanpower/jefferson_2679.jspNote:
These are dangerous arguments, based on the one hand on the assumption that one Nation or Volk has the almost divine mission to impose a vision of the world, and on the other, that the rest of the world is either weak or corrupt, and must be redeemed by the Chosen One. An echo of the past resounds around Europe. …
… in the end he shares the US government’s vision of the violent and compulsory promotion of democracy, the war against terrorism and the use of instruments, for example torture, which are apparently in need of a revisionist treatment. …
Ignatieff … is the director of a prestigious academic human-rights centre, a skilful writer known for advocating a humanitarian intervention in the Balkan wars, …
in much of his work he begins by describing what is wrong with his subject (the war, imperialism, violations of human rights, the lack of universal health coverage in the US … ) and then pauses to say “and yet, and yet”. With that he turns to a counter-argument which lifts us up from puny thoughts into the heaven of higher values.
Too many victims in Iraq? They are dying for the future of democracy and the global war against terrorism. The US has no universal health and education coverage? It’s a sign that the Democratic Ideal is in crisis because there are too many models of democracy. And so the readers feel smaller and smaller as they see that their silly opposition to the war in Iraq or support for a multilateral democratic system is nothing more than a failure to grasp extraordinary missions and glorious fates. …
His texts end with the same message: we are in a war against terrorism and for the promotion of democracy, and the United States must take the lead because the Europeans and the Canadians are selfish.
… he supported the attack on Iraq, arguing that “a preventive war” was “honest”. He believed at first that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, but when the WMD did not appear he wrote: “I never thought that the key question was what weapons Hussein actually possessed, but rather what intentions he had.”… So this last-resort war was a war to combat intentions.…
In article after article he has established a sort of rational framework for democratisation by force and also for the revision of our understanding of human rights.
Terrorism is the key issue for him. In his latest article he says: “It’s terrorism that has joined together the freedom of strangers and the national interest of the United States.” Although the September 11th Commission established that there was no connection between the tragedy of the World Trade Center and the government of Saddam Hussein, Ignatieff, like Bush, is still promoting the theory.
He is absolutely in favour of the principles and the defence of human rights, and yet, and yet, … His proposal … is that “the issue then becomes not whether torture can be prevented, but whether it can be regulated”. He goes even further, and seems to like the idea that when the police need to torture a suspect they could apply to a judge for a “torture warrant” that would specify the individual being tortured and set limits to the type and duration of pain allowed …
Ignatieff recently won a seat in parliament representing Etobicoke Lakeshore. His campaign website
indicates that he supports recent and planned massive increases in military spending, the occupation of Afghanistan and Canada’s policing role in Haiti.
Meet Canada's New Minister of Propaganda / Hill & Knowlton Sell War
What is new Canadian Prime Warmonger Stephen Harper to do when he doesn't want peace to be on the menu of public debate? Fill the “Defence” Minister's position with a former Brigadier General, who was also a lobbyist for weapons manufacturers and who cut his teeth at Hill & Knowlton - the most effective propaganda corporation in modern history. Meet Gordon O'Connor, Canada's New Minister of Propaganda.
With O'Connor's close ties to Hill & Knowlton
combined with Stephen Harper's itchy trigger finger for Canada to become more deeply complicit in the US's wars of aggression, we all need to keep a very close eye on them. Any justifications that O'Connor tries to bring forward for military action should be treated with great skepticism, given his background. When it comes to propaganda, he's worked with the best.
Speaking in Parliament on February 1, 2005, O'Connor said, “We reject the concept of mission roles for the military, like peacekeeping”. After all, if armies actually kept peace, who would O'Connor's clients sell their weapons to?www.activistmagazine.com/THE NEW USED WAR SALESMAN
If Stephen Harper is the new Prime Warmonger, then Gordon O'Connor - the so-called "Defence Minister" - is the new Conservative Government's Used War Salesman.
In addition to being a retired Brigadier-General in the Canadian Armed Forces, O'Connor has been, according to Wikipedia, "a Senior Associate with Hill & Knowlton Canada". In short, the new Defence Minister, has worked directly with the company most directly involved in creating blatant propaganda to sell the Gulf war in 1990.
Gordon O'Connor, MPHILL & KNOWLTON SELL WAR
Ontario, Carleton - Mississippi Mills
First elected in June, 2004. Mr. O'Connor served in the military for 33 years, retiring at the rank of Brigadier General. He has served as the Official Opposition Critic for National Defence. Born in Toronto, Mr. O’Connor received a Bachelor of Sciences in Mathematics and Physics from Concordia and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from York University.
Before being elected to Parliament Mr. O’Connor had several careers in the private and public sectors. Mr. O’Connor, who has lived in Kanata in his riding of Carleton – Mississippi Mills for over 20 years, is married with two adult children.
"Hill & Knowlton, then the world's largest PR firm, served as mastermind for the Kuwaiti campaign. Its activities alone would have constituted the largest foreign-funded campaign ever aimed at manipulating American public opinion.
"Nine days after Saddam's army marched into Kuwait, the Emir's government agreed to fund a contract under which Hill & Knowlton would represent 'Citizens for a Free Kuwait,' a classic PR front group designed to hide the real role of the Kuwaiti government and its collusion with the Bush administration. Over the next six months, the Kuwaiti government channeled $11.9 million dollars to Citizens for a Free Kuwait, whose only other funding totalled $17,861 from 78 individuals. Virtually all of CFK's budget - $10.8 million - went to Hill & Knowlton in the form of fees.
"Jack O'Dwyer had reported on the PR business for more than twenty years, but he was awed by the rapid and expansive work of H&K on behalf of Citizens for a Free Kuwait: 'Hill & Knowlton . . . has assumed a role in world affairs unprecedented for a PR firm. H&K has employed a stunning variety of opinion-forming devices and techniques to help keep US opinion on the side of the Kuwaitis. . .
"The techniques range from full-scale press conferences showing torture and other abuses by the Iraqis to the distribution of tens of thousands of 'Free Kuwait' T-shirts and bumper stickers at college campuses across the US.
- From How PR Sold the War in the Persian Gulf: http://www.prwatch.org/books/tsigfy10.html
From:Answers.com - Hill & Knowlton
..."a controversial firm. While much of their work falls well within ethical boundaries, there are a fair amount of campaigns in their archives that violate certain ethics. In 1991, H & K received 14 million dollars from countries known to abuse human rights, including China, Peru, Indonesia, Israel, and Egypt. They have also taken on cases that dealt with corporate crime, including the El Paso natural gas case and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International case. Finally, there has been some H & K involvement in government conspiracies including the alleged October Surprise and work for the CIA where overseas offices acted as covers for US agents.BACKGROUND
"In 1993, on behalf of Citizens for a Free Kuwait, H & K researched and then created stories and 'eye-witness' testimonies that described Iraqi atrocities that would build public support which were presented to the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. This case included the Nayirah testimony that played a major role in involving the US in the Gulf War."
Hill & Knowlton Corporate Profilehttp://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=378WPP: World Propaganda Powerhttp://www.prwatch.org/prwissues/2001Q2/wpp.htmlHill and Knowlton in Torontohttp://www.hillandknowlton.ca/contact.htm
'Just Say No To War' - Monthly Vigils by 'Homes Not Bombs Toronto'
Just Say No To WarHomes Not Bombs Toronto
continues its series of monthly vigils to protest Canada's war economy and its rapidly escalating participation in illegal wars, occupations and coups d'etat, and its aiding and abetting crimes of state terror.SPECIFICALLY, WE ARE ORGANISING THESE PROTESTS TO CALL FOR:
1. An end to Canada's role in the military occupation of Afghanistan and its complicity, with US forces, in illegal detentions, torture, and murder of detainees.SOME BACKGROUNDHAITI
2. An end to Canada's shameful role in Haiti, from its facilitation of the coup against legally elected Haitian President Aristide to its subsequent support for an illegitimate regime and reign of terror against the country's poorest citizens and democracy proponents.
3. An end to the production and export of weaponry, a multi-billion dollar industry that sees millions of Quebec's SNC-TEC bullets, Kitchener, Ontario's Diemaco machine guns, and Montreal's Bell-Textron "Hunter-Killer Copters" used in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other places.
4. An end to our permanent war economy which will soon see $20- billion a year spent on war while millions scrape by in poverty without affordable housing, accessible daycare, and other vitally needed social supports.
5. An end to the shady role of overseas "trainers" provided by RCMP and Canadian police forces for Iraqi and other security forces, many of whom are subsequently implicated in human rights abuses.
6. An end to Canada's ongoing role in the development and production of space warfare, and an end to this country playing the role of testing ground for military forces from around the world.
7. An end to the powerless Canadian thinking that such demands are impossible to achieve. To paraphrase an old saying, we should continue to demand the impossible so long as those who are currently possible remain possible.
"Since a February 2004 coup backed by Canada, the US and France overthrew the democratically elected Haitian government, liquidating 7,000 government officials from office and dissolving Senate, political repression has beenAFGHANISTAN
the order of the day in Haiti. The constitutional Prime Minister, Yvon Neptune, has been languishing in jail for over a year without even facing charges, while Father Jean Juste, a priest who was anticipated to become the leader of Haiti's most popular political party, Fanmi Lavalas, is also in prison without charges. A study by the University of Miami's law school has documented escalating human rights abuses, and there is evidence of a campaign of violence being waged against the Haitian poor living around Port au Prince, in neighbourhoods where calls for the return of the
constitutional government have been loudest. In protest against ongoing political persecution, Lavalas is boycotting the elections process."
--ISABEL MACDONALD, ZNET, AUGUST 10, 2005
Human Rights Watch has documented indiscriminate and excessive force used during arrests, arbitrary or mistaken arrests and indefinite detention, mistreatment in detention at Bagram airbase and in other facilities, and numerous deaths in US custody. Canada has turned over detainees to US forces, perhaps bound for torture at Bagram, Guantanamo, or elsewhere. "Today, on Afghan soil, the United States is maintaining a system of arrests and detention as part of its ongoing military and intelligence operations that violates international human rights law and international humanitarian law (the laws of war). In doing so, the United States is endangering the lives of Afghan civilians, undermining efforts to restore the rule of law in Afghanistan, and calling into question its commitment to upholding basic rights." Its detention system "operates almost entirely outside of the rule of law." --from the
report "Operation Enduring Freedom: Abuses by U.S. Forces in Afghanistan," HRW, March, 2004
In addition, US and other "multinational" forces participate in continual aerial bombings and patrols of the countryside which serve to terrorise the local population. According to independent filmmaker Carmela Baranowska, who was embedded with US Marines and subsequently produced Taliban Country, "we uncovered US abuse of Afghans as well as collusion with local war/drug lords. The footage is a unique and unprecedented 'window' onto an extremely traditional way of life which is being totally destroyed by US military operations, detention, abuse and torture. The US, in effect, is making more Taliban."
How can Canada claim to be building civil society institutions in Afghanistan when it works hand-in-hand with forces that are directly undermining any concept of civil society? And if, as most experts agree, the Al-Qaeda network and much of the Taliban were dispersed from Afghanistan after 2001, who is it, exactly, that Canadian troops moving to Kandahar will now be killing? Are the "detestable scumbags" referred to by Canadian general Hillier in fact civilians whose body count is required to maintain the perceived need for an illegal occupation? In remote war zones, it is easy to kill anyone and label them "Al-Qaeda or Taliban" because no one is there to independently monitor the situation.
In a recent trip to Afghanistan, Co-Directors of the Afghan Women's Mission, Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls found that media in the United States have greatly exaggerated any victories for women's rights, and downplayed the conditions of warlordism, oppression and poverty that still flourish, and that the situation of women and girls was extremely dire and that little had changed since the fall of the Taliban.
The Afghan Women's Mission reports (April 2005), "most Afghans voted for Hamid Karzai in the recent Presidential elections based on his promises to undermine warlords. Unfortunately, Karzai recently announced that Northern Alliance warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum was the country's new Military Chief of Staff. Another warlord, Ismail Khan, was appointed Minister of Energy. Many of the Afghan warlords were backed by the US in the 1980s and 90s, and again in 2001 to help oust the Taliban. US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad claims that 'Karzai's decision to...give a role to...regional strongmen is a wise policy.' But all the Afghans we spoke with were dismayed and cited warlordism as the most important problem facing Afghanistan today. Men like Dostum and Khan have their 'hands soaked in the blood of our people,' we were told. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission recently released a report entitled 'A Call to Justice' based on surveys of thousands of Afghans across the country, whose most ardent plea is for there to be justice for past war crimes by warlords. US media have failed to expose the crimes of these warlords, the Afghan people's hatred of them, and the US responsibility for bringing them to power." April 2005IRAQ: TRAINING FOR TORTURE?
We have grave concerns about what, exactly, is being taught to the 32,000 Iraqi police going through an international police training centre in Amman, Jordan.
As of January 9, 2004, officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Quebec City Police Service, Montreal Police Service, the Toronto Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Cape Breton Police Service and the Edmonton Police Service have been training Iraqi police in Jordan. "The Canadian police officers heading to Jordan have a clear responsibility - a clear mission: To teach the next generation of Iraqi police officers proper investigative techniques and methods for restoring law and order peacefully in rebuilding their community," stated RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli.
International Cooperation Minister Aileen Carroll proudly stated at the time, "Canada is playing an important role in helping Iraqis develop their own capacity for the rule of law, security and good governance take hold in a new Iraq."
In January, 2005, Human Rights Watch released a damning report, "The New Iraq? Torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Iraqi custody." It reported on abuses by Iraqi police and intelligence forces, noting, "In its February 2004 report to the U.S. government on conditions in 2003, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) found that Iraqi authorities had "allegedly whipped persons deprived of their liberty with cables on the back, kicked them in the lower parts of the body, including in the testicles, handcuffed and left them hanging from the iron bars of the cell windows or doors in painful positions for several hours at a time, and burned them with cigarettes (signs on bodies witnessed by ICRC delegates). Several persons deprived of their liberty alleged that they had been made to sign a statement that they had not been allowed to read." Public follow-up on this issue has been insufficient.
The Human Rights Watch report "details serious and widespread human rights violations by Iraqi police against national security suspects, including insurgents, and suspected common criminals since late 2003. As of mid-2004, Iraqi intelligence forces also committed serious violations, principally against members of political parties deemed to constitute a threat to state security.
"Human Rights Watch investigations in Iraq found the systematic use of arbitrary arrest, prolonged pre-trial detention without judicial review, torture and ill-treatment of detainees, denial of access by families and lawyers to detainees, improper treatment of detained children, and abysmal conditions in pre-trial detention facilities. Trials are marred by inadequate legal representation and the acceptance of coerced confessions as evidence. Persons tortured or mistreated have inadequate access to health care and no realistic avenue for legal redress. With rare exception, Iraqi authorities have failedto investigateand punish officials responsible for violations. International police advisers, primarily US citizens funded through the United States, have turned a blind eye to these rampant abuses.
"The Iraqi Interim Government, led by Prime Minister Ayad 'Allawi and presented to the international community as a sign that the violence and abuses of the Saddam Hussein government are a thing of the past, appears to be actively taking part, or is at least complicit, in these grave violations of fundamental human rights. Nor has the United States, the United Kingdom or other involved governments publicly taken up these issues as a matter of concern."
As for what Canadian values are being taught, Edmonton police were cited in an Amnesty International report released November 30, 2004, "Excessive and lethal force? Amnesty International's concerns about deaths and ill-treatment involving police use of tasers." as was the RCMP. Amnesty notes that in 2004, the "RCMP Public Complaints Commission (an independent watchdog agency) issued its final report into policing at the 2001 Summit of the Americas in Quebec City. It found that excessive force was used by the RCMP in dealing with the largely peaceful demonstrators. The Commission chairwoman found that the RCMP tactical squad's use of an M26 Taser against a protester who was lying face-down on the pavement, waiting to be arrested, with one arm held up for a handcuff and the other over his head flashing the peace sign, was a clear abuse of authority." The Ontario Provincial Police are currently the subject of an ongoing inquiry into their murder of unarmed First Nations protester Dudley George. Other Canadian police forces represented in Jordan have been cited in Amnesty
For more information on related issues (war economy, star wars), please visit www.homesnotbombs.ca
Hamilton Event: An Evening with President of Dominican Republic Coffee Growers, Feb. 18
You are Invited to AN EVENING WITH RUFINO HERRERA - A PIONEER OF FAIR TRADE
Rufino is PRESIDENT OF FEDECARES - An association of small-scale coffee growers in the Dominican Republic.
Rufino will present the challenges faced by small-scale coffee producers and
how FAIR TRADE is making a difference in their communities.
It is an honour to have Rufino in our community - come and join us!
Sample Coffee from FEDECARES,
Enter to win prizes from the penny sale;
Enjoy some finger foods and desserts, Browse the displays, and meet Roasters, Retailers, and other consumers interested and involved in FAIR TRADE! Free Admission
> Where: Community Living, Hamilton
> 191 York Blvd. (At Caroline St.)Hamilton
> When: Saturday, February 18th , 2006 6:30-9:00pm
> For More Info/RSVP (for planning) call: 905-383-5484
> or 905-309-7302
> or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
> HOSTED BY:
The Dominican Republic Faith Experience;
> SUPPORTED BY:
> Dominican-Canadian Community Development Group,
> Social Awareness
> Office-Hamilton Diocese, OECTA Teachers for Social
> Justice, OPIRG McMaster,
> School Sisters of Notre Dame, Canadian Catholic
> Organization for Development
> and Peace-Hamilton Council, Local High Schools "Anyone with knowledge of illegal activity and an opportunity to do something is a potential criminal under international law, unless the person takes affirmative measures to prevent the commission of the crimes." - Declaration of War Crimes Tribunals following World War ll
On a recent sunny San Francisco Bay Area Saturday, having walked the beach at Limantour Spit and seen nature red in tooth and claw -- actually, an Osprey flying overhead, a large fish in its talons -- I paid the price for visiting the wilds. It turned out to be $2.53 a gallon for unleaded regular on my trip back to reality -- and that was by no means the worst price I saw that day.
For anyone who slips into the driver's seat of a car -- and except for those who live in cities like New York with full-scale public transport systems, that's most of America most of the time -- life is already a permanent energy crisis. No wonder the President stumbled across reality this year and declared before the nation
that we were all oil addicts in a hooked homeland and it was time to rid ourselves of our "dependence" on Middle Eastern oil (a region where, as it turns out, oil use is surging
). You know -- that horribly "unstable" part of the world the President personally destabilized with his invasion of choice.
The Saudis were mildly insulted by the presidential speech (especially since they sell us their oil at relatively cut-rate prices while energy-hungry Asian powers pay top Euro for it); the big oil execs, knowing the truth of the situation, were unflustered ("No combination of conservation measures, alternative energy sources and technological advances could realistically and economically provide a way to completely replace those imports in the short or medium term," said Exxon Mobil senior vice president Stuart McGill); and the President, it turned out, had his facts upside down. It's true that we now import 60% of our oil from elsewhere, but because it's cheaper to transport energy from relatively close at hand, our one-two punch in imported oil turns out to be neighbors Canada and Mexico. (The Saudis only place, and right behind the top three comes not, say, Kuwait, but... gulp... Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.) To add insult to injury, just this week, the government's Energy Information Administration announced
that "U.S. and world oil demand growth in the second quarter [of 2006] is expected to be stronger than previously forecast."
From the beginning, the Bush administration has been an all-oil-all-the-time regime. Chevron
even dubbed one of its double-hulled tankers the Condoleezza Rice
because she was on the company board. (The name was changed when she became Bush's national security adviser.) Our President and Vice President were, of course, in the business and the government has since been Halliburtonized; Zalmay Khalilzad, our ambassador first to Afghanistan and now to Iraq, was once an advisor to Unocal
, the energy company that tried to negotiate the running of a natural-gas pipeline through the Taliban's Afghanistan... and so on.
Though various neocons and top administration officials dreamed of a Pax Americana in the Middle East, they certainly never meant to take those heartland energy reserves for the United States. Settling permanently into bases in Iraq was to be the royal way to global dominance over other energy-desperate powers. (Imagine the frustration, then, that Iraq can now hardly get its oil out of the ground
Still, the President had a point. We do have a problem. Of course, problem number one was how little lay behind Bush's words. As Valerie Marcel
, energy expert at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London commented, "Bush was playing to a very, very domestic agenda. It's just rhetoric."
What's the point, after all, in announcing that we're a nation of addicts, if you're not only not planning to put money into treatment centers, but cutting funds for them? As Michael Klare so vividly points out below, we are entering what is, in essence, a permanent global state of energy crisis without significant thought or planning. Click here to read more of this dispatch
University of Toronto Presents: Haiti Film Night, February 18th
Another film on Haiti
Haiti film night
The Toronto Haiti Action Committee is pleased to present:
The Toronto premiere of Nicolas Rossier's critically-acclaimed film
ARISTIDE AND THE ENDLESS REVOLUTION
Saturday, February 18
Doors open: 6:30pm
Film begins: 7:00pm
Earth Sciences Building
33 Willcocks Street
University of Toronto(South of Bloor, east of Spadina)ABOUT the FILM:View the trailer
One hour away from Miami the elected President of the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation was twice removed from office with the complicity of the international community. Aristide and the Endless Revolution is a feature documentary that explores through investigative lenses the events that led to the removal of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the democratically elected President of Haiti. Filmmaker Nicolas Rossier takes the viewer into a journey of political intrigues, armed criminals posing as freedom fighters and economic fiascos. What emerges is a young democracy being constantly tested and ultimately destroyed.Advance tickets:
The film features renowned physician and anthropologist Paul Farmer, President Aristide himself, actor and UN goodwill ambassador Danny Glover, political commentator and linguist Noam Chomsky, Assistant - Secretary of State Roger Noriega, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, expert James Dobbins, John Shattuck and many Haitian Voices.
$ 5Tickets at the door:
$ 10 or PWYC (pay what you can)Tickets may be purchased at:
The Toronto Women's Bookstore:
73 Harbord StreetOPIRG U of T:
563 Spadina Avenue, Room 101; phone 416-978-7770OPIRG York:
C449 Student Centre, 4th floor; phone 416-736-5724Organised by the Toronto Haiti Action Committee
Hamilton Event: Hear Two Peace Activists from the World Social Forum on Feb. 15th
Two peace activists from Hamilton attended the World Social Forum in Venezuela. Come hear Brendan Stone and Peter Leibovitch report back on the meetings in Caracas.When:
February 15, 7:30pm Where:
McMaster Health Sciences HS1A4
Peter Leibovitch travelled with the Canadian Labour Congress and met with Venezuelan trade unions.
Brendan Stone travelled with the Toronto Social Forum and helped promote Haiti awareness events.
* Special projects and “Missions” by the Venezuelan government Admission:
* Attempts to build labour solidarity
* Activism on Canada’s role in Haiti
* And more…
the Labour Studies Programme, Labour Studies Students Association, & Haiti Action Committee.
Alfred McCoy, an expert on the CIA and its history of torture, has some actual news -- the sort that's been sitting unnoticed right in front of our collective, reportorial eyes. Last year's clash between John McCain and the Bush administration over the senator's successful attempt to attach a ban on torture and other abusive interrogation techniques to the Defense Appropriations Bill was heavily reported. After all, it was a heroic tale of a man -- himself tortured pitilessly earlier in his life -- who held off the powers-that-be, rejected their attempts to amend his ban, and finally triumphed by a handy margin in Congress. The ban, now in place, is the law. End of story. Only one problem, reality turns out to lurk in the fine print -– and the McCain amendment has some striking fine print that mainstream reporters failed to attend to; in fact, McCoy tells us, it has a loophole big enough to absolve torturers of their acts and, in combination with an amendment by Senator Lindsey Graham, drive testimony obtained by torture directly into our courts. I would call that news.
While the torture debate is somewhat in abeyance in the United States right now, it continues in Europe. There, a major scandal brews over the ways in which Eastern European countries were used as CIA secret prison sites, European citizens and others were kidnapped from European soil, and CIA "extraordinary rendition" flights used European air space and airports. All this, by the way, seems to have happened with the support of various European intelligence services which, by the evidence, may work as much for the Bush administration as for their own governments.
The Council of Europe has deputized Swiss prosecutor Dick Marty to conduct an extensive investigation of both alleged CIA "black" sites and Agency rendition flights. His preliminary report to the Council on January 22 concluded, albeit tentatively, that six Agency aircraft had, since 2001, made 800 rendition flights -- a level of covert activity far beyond anything reported in the U.S. press. Marty is under significant pressure
to get to the bottom of this scandal, which may end up producing more torture headlines on both sides of the Atlantic. Moreover, various American media outlets continue to investigate the torture story, insuring occasional bombshells like ABC TV's sensational November 18 story detailing CIA "waterboarding"
techniques and its December 5 exposé of the locations
of secret CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.
Finally, it's well known that only those in the lowest ranks of the military are being held in any way accountable for torture practices mandated from the top and overseen by top civilian, military, and intelligence officials. Even at the lowest levels, accountability has proved, at best, a moving target, as is clear from the most recent torture case tried in this country. After Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush voluntarily surrendered in November 2003, he was tortured with rubber hoses by "Iraqi nationals
, reportedly in the employ of the CIA," while Chief Warrant Officer Lewis E. Welshofer Jr., 43, of the U.S. Army looked on. Mowhoush then suffered other mistreatment before he fell into Welshofer's waiting hands. Welshofer has since used the Nuremberg defense -- that he was just following orders in coming up with "creative interrogation techniques"! to make Mowhoush talk –- to explain his subsequent actions. He forced Mowhoush, face-first, into a sleeping bag, wrapped him in electrical wire, and sat on the 57-year old prisoner's chest. After twenty minutes, Mowhoush was dead.
Recently, Welshofer faced American military justice for his crimes. While tried on murder charges, he was convicted only of the lesser counts of negligent homicide and dereliction of duty. These still carried a maximum three-year prison sentence and dismissal from the service (which would have denied him his pension). In the end, however, a military jury sentenced Welshofer to no prison time and only a formal reprimand. He was given 60 days restriction to his home, office, and church; and a forfeiture of $6,000 -- apparently the going rate for an Iraqi life. No one in our self-professed "no-torture" administration thought this worth a comment.
The American Empire Project series
I co-edit has just published McCoy's newest book, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror
. I can testify that, while the book's focus is grim indeed -- a half-century-plus history of CIA torture research and how it was applied globally -- it is also, simply put, riveting to read. It offers a window into an almost unknown world that we ignore at our peril. I could not recommend it to all of you more strongly. To get a taste of its early sections, check out McCoy's previous Tomdispatch piece
(from which the book developed) or read a Buzzflash review
of the book. Tom Why the McCain Torture Ban Won't Work
The Bush Legacy of Legalized Torture
By Alfred W. McCoyClick here to read more of this dispatch.
Book Review: 'Realizing Hope', by Michael Albert (with Introduction by the Author)
by Michael Albert
256 pages, 18 chapters.
Published by Zed Press
You Can Purchase Realizing Hope
(paper edition) Online
In the U.S. also from Amazon.com
In the U.S. from AK Press -- search Albert
Internationally from Zed Press
Or from Alternative Bookstores Realizing Hope
is about envisioning and winning a better world. Noam Chomsky from the U.S.
says about Realizing Hope
"In many earlier studies, Michael Albert has carried out careful in-depth inquiries into systems of participatory economics (parecon), analyzing in detail how they can function justly, equitably, and efficiently, and how they can overcome many of the criminal features of current social and economic arrangements. This new and very ambitious study casts the net far more widely, extending to just about every major domain of human concern and mode of human interaction, and investigating with care and insight how, in these domains, parecon-like principles could lead to a far more desirable society than anything that exists, and also how these goals can be constructively approached. It is another very valuable and provocative contribution to the quest for a world of much greater freedom and justice." Realizing Hope
in its first chapter presents an ultra accessible summary of the logic and rationale of a post capitalist way of organizing production, allocation, and consumption called participatory economics. Mandisi Majavu from South Africa
says about Realizing Hope:
"Michael Albert is a very serious thinker. In Realizing Hope he not only presents an alternative to capitalism, he provides profound insights into how economics affects personalities and social relations and vice versa. The book opens many doors for social vision and strategy. At a moment when Africa needs an alternative to nationalist politics, Realizing Hope is amazingly timely. Pan-Africanists and Black Marxists alike will find much to enrich and expand our politics in this book."Realizing Hope
explores how having a desirable economy would impact other parts of life, and, vice versa, what the implications of desirable change in other parts of life would be for economics. Jeremy Brecher from the U.S.
says about Realizing Hope:
"During the grim decades of 'there is no alternative,' few did more than Michael Albert and his collaborators to promote discussion of alternatives to domination by either state or market. Now, when millions assert 'another world is possible,' Michael Albert’s proposals for 'participatory economics' provide an essential starting point for thinking about what that world might be and how we might get there. In Realizing Hope, he goes beyond the primarily economic framework of participatory economics to open the crucial but too-rarely posed questions of how to coordinate economic change with the changes we need in other spheres of life."Realizing Hope
addresses government, race and religion, gender and generations, ecology, and international relations. Andrej Grubacic from Serbia
says about Realizing Hope:
"Michael Albert has posed a breathtakingly simple question- what do left-libertarians want, exactly, 'beyond capitalism'?- and, in answering it, has produced a work of exhilarating scope. Albert captures the best of the spirit of the new global social movement. He consciously rejects all vanguardism, and demands a direct action in the realm of thought: he asks us to look at those who are creating viable alternatives, to try to figure out what might be the larger implications of what they are doing, and then to offer those ideas back, not as prescriptions, but as contributions, possibilities—as gifts. Albert combines close empirical insights with a magisterial conceptual grasp. We will be arguing about this work for years."Realizing Hope
addresses on a more specific level, education, art, athletics, journalism, crime, science, and technology. Milan Rai from Britain
says about Realizing Hope:
"In Realizing Hope, Michael Albert mulls over the better society that we may create after capitalism, provoking much thought and offering a generous, hopeful vision of the future. His prescriptions for action in the present are modest and wise; his suggestions for building the future are ambitious and humane. There is a hunger for this kind of practical, visionary alternative. Realizing Hope is an important part of the internal development of the global movements for peace and justice, helping us to recover lost insights."Realizing Hope
is succinct. Each chapter can stand alone. But it is not only about values. It is about viable institutions that can measure up to our highest values including solidarity, diversity, equity, self management, sustainability, and justice. Vittorio Agnoletto from Italy
says about Realizing Hope:
"This book is against all those who accuse the social movements of only being able to say "no". A better world is indeed possible and not just a Utopia. Michael Albert points the way towards a society based on participation and justice. Utopia is somewhere that does not exist yet. This book can really help turn a dream into reality."
With some ideas about vision and strategy bearing on each area discussed clarified, Realizing Hope
proceeds to discuss broad schools of strategy including issues of organization, movement building, decision making, etc. Stephen Shalom from the U.S.
says about Realizing Hope:
"Those of us who have been grappling with the question of the good society in limited domains of inquiry are indebted to Michael Albert for bringing together so much of this work into a coherent and exciting whole and expanding on it. Anyone disgusted with existing society -- which is to say, just about everyone -- who wants to know if there are any alternatives, will find Realizing Hope informative, provocative, creative, engaging, and, yes, full of hope."Realizing Hope
is not about fixed, timeless assertions. It is about asking questions and providing tentative answers that can reveal their adequacy only in collective practice. Pervez Hoodbhoy from Pakistan
says about Realizing Hope:
"The need for an alternative vision has never been greater than now - a time when moral compasses are unsteady, and capitalism crows victory even as much of the world descends into dark despair. Michael Albert passionately argues for a different future where equity, diversity, justice, and self-management are more than just distant dreams. Those who have seen through the childish notions offered by religion and its vision of a perfect society, as well as the false claims of unreconstructed Marxism and promises of the dictatorship of the proletariat, will benefit from this profoundly important work. It does not shy away from the awesome complexity of human issues, nor does it reek of the stultifying dogmatism of so many left-wing tracts. One can disagree at places, but it forces the reader to think and be conscious of choices."
Finally, Sudhanva Deshpande from India
says about Realizing Hope:
"Michael Albert is more than a man behind a virtual address - he is an organizer, he is a dreamer, he is a fighter, he is a man with a vision. Erudite and learned, his prose is marked by that increasingly rare commodity, simplicity. His intellectual and political roots may be in Anarchism, but he is, in the best sense of the term, a Utopian. Not for him, though, the lazy distractedness of the utopian. His feet are firmly on the ground. He recovers for us the best aspects of the socialist traditions of the nineteenth century: the anger with an unjust and exploitative system, the return of morality to the centre of thinking about politics, economics and society, and the belief, simple though not naïve, that human beings are amenable to reason. There are, in Realizing Hope, ideas you may agree with fully, or partially, or not at all. But there are no ideas that you can throw in the waste bin. But for the most fanatical loony fringe of the far-Right, no one believes, not even those who earn billions from it, that capitalism and imperialist globalization are just or equitable. Millions across the world are coming together in hitherto unprecedented networks of solidarity to struggle against poverty, inequality, discrimination, and war. These fighters proclaim that a better world is possible. Realizing Hope challenges us to imagine how. Its conclusions may be controversial; the project itself is not. Indeed, there was never a greater need for it than now, when the new century has dawned with new wars and new struggles, with new hopes and new troubles."
This from ZNet
Realizing Hope has a book page at: http://www.zmag.org/realizinghope.html Introduction to Realizing Hope
From that page one can find out more about the book, see its table of contents, read an author interview about its origins and purpose, read the introduction (which also appears below), and follow links to buy the paperback version of the book. As we email this message late Sunday night, Realizing Hope is number 601,410 on the Amazon sales list. It has just recently gone online for purchase but there has no public announcement, no promotion, etc., as yet. Apparently some people found it on Amazon, somehow, already, but not too many. It will be interesting to see what the impact of this mailing will be on its future. We hope the many comments above and the introduction below will cause you to seriously consider purchasing a copy of Realizing Hope, to assess its merits, and to join or to enlarge your involvement in the task of developing vision and strategy for winning a better world.
By Michael Albert
The stupendously influential and celebrated British economist John Maynard Keynes wrote, “[Capitalism] is not a success. It is not intelligent, it is not beautiful, it is not just, it is not virtuous - and it doesn't deliver the goods. In short, we dislike it, and we are beginning to despise it. But when we wonder what to put in its place, we are extremely perplexed.”
Suppose we escaped Keynes’ perplexity and attained a desirable post capitalist economy. What changes would need to occur alongside this new economy? What features would the new economy have to incorporate to mesh successfully with extra-economic innovations? How would broad future prospects affect current strategies for change?
Societies must resolve disputes, deal with criminality, establish shared norms and rules, and implement collective pursuits. What impact would a new participatory economy have on political functions? How might new political structures affect a desirable economy?
Societies involve women and men being born, maturing, aging, and dying. What impact would a participatory economy (or parecon for short) have on relations between the sexes, living arrangements, methods of procreation, styles of nurturance, and the content and practice of socializing new generations? What would kinship improvements require of participatory economics?
People live extended lives and pass through different age groups. What implications would a participatory economy have for intergenerational relations and what would healthy intergenerational relations require of a parecon?
People develop diverse cultures and form racial, ethnic, and religious communities. What implications would parecon have for cultural communities? How might innovative cultural community relations affect economic structures?
Societies exist in context of other societies. Will a participatory economy foster war or peace, strife or cooperation, international equity or widening inequality? In turn, how might new international relations affect economic structures?
Economies exist in nature. Would a parecon lead to environmental disasters? Would it produce wise environmentalism? What about other species, from the smallest one-celled creatures to great elephants and whales, from bugs that kill to bugs that sustain, plants that overrun to plants that nourish, and pets we love to predators we fear? What implications would a parecon have for species other than humans, and what implications would prioritizing sound ecological and species policies have for a parecon?
Scientists have long investigated our world from its most minuscule subatomic byways to its most gargantuan extra galactic vistas. How would participatory economics affect the knowledge and activities of scientists? What would healthy scientific practice imply for a parecon?
Humanity utilizes scientific knowledge plus experiential skills to create technologies for production, shelter, locomotion, health, entertainment, etc. Would pareconish technological developments be accelerated or obstructed? What would happen to technology’s direction, content, and use? What would desirable technological innovation require from a participatory economy?
Health matters. Economies directly and secondarily influence our bodies and minds. How would a parecon affect medicine and medical care and what would having a healthy society require from a parecon?
People need education. Would a participatory economy call forth the best pedagogy we can imagine or would it limit our pedagogical imaginations? What would having desirable pedagogy require from a parecon? Would a parecon meet education’s admission and graduation requirements?
What about information? What implications would a parecon have for journalism’s content and process? What would desirable journalism require of a parecon?
Humans engage in visual, auditory, textual, and tactile arts. Would parecon facilitate artistic creation or reduce artistic quality? What would a parecon demand from artists? What would artistic creativity demand from a parecon?
Would sports be diminished or enhanced by parecon? What will become of competition in non-economic realms when we have a cooperative rather than competitive economy? What would desirable play require of a parecon?
Finally, what does participatory economics tell us about who are the agents of social change and who are likely to oppose social change? What does it tell us about the demands, arguments, evidence, and inspiration necessary to create lasting opposition? What does it tell us about the features our organizations ought to embody to win desired aims rather than results we must later disavow? What is the connection between participatory economics and Marxist, anarchist, and other approaches to economy and social change?
How does participatory economics view its own fallibility? How will parecon interact with its own advocates and critics? Will it welcome critique and innovation, including renovation? Or will it tend toward defensiveness, inflexibility, and even sectarianism?
One goal of Realizing Hope is to indicate the broader social merits of participatory economics and to further explore economic vision and strategy’s interconnections with other spheres of social life. A second goal is to provoke and even modestly help inform proposals of worthy vision and strategy for each other area addressed here.
Iraq Confirms Second Bird Flu Death
As if the beleaguered Iraqis don't have enough problems, now this...
A second Iraqi Kurd has been confirmed to have died from the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain as international teams scrambled to combat the spread of the virus in the country's north. Hamma Sur Abdullah, 40, who died of flu-like symptoms a little over a week after his niece, was confirmed by a lab in Cairo as having died of the same cause, a senior Kurdish health official said on Monday. A few days after Abdullah's death, the World Health Organisation (WHO) lab confirmed his niece Shajin Abdel Qader had died of bird flu, galvanising an international response. Earlier on Monday the WHO said there were seven more suspected cases of bird flu in Iraqi Kurdistan
. "Apart from the girl who died there are seven suspected cases of bird flu and we have taken their blood samples and sent them to Cairo for further investigation," Naeema al-Gasseer, the WHO representative in Iraq, told reporters before news of the cause of Abdullah's death emerged. Further tests are underway in Britain on virus samples from Abdullah, as well as on samples from a woman who comes from the same region and remains in hospital. Full Story
Yet Another Bush Lie
George W. Bush tells Americans that they have nothing to fear from his warrantless wiretapping because the program has been reviewed and approved by lots of lawyers and other professionals. What he doesn't say is what happens to those administration officials who object to his assertion of unfettered presidential power. Many are isolated in their jobs or pushed out of the government. One even got a derisive nickname from Bush.
For the full story about how Bush's engineers his internal consent, go to Consortiumnews.com
.To keep pace with their budget projections for this year, Consortiumnews.com must raise $10,000 by the end of February. So, if you can, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution.
Donations can be made either by credit card at the Web site or by sending a check to Consortium for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Suite 102-231, 2200 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201.
'Talkin' Texan' Means Lyin' Big
George W. Bush told an audience at the Grand Ole Opry that he would explain his warrantless wiretap program in "Texan," presumably straight-shootin' talk. He then proceeded to give a fictional account of how his special spying program only targets Americans who are calling al-Qaeda operatives. The reality is much different, with vast amounts of data from Americans being mined for leads that almost invariably turn out to be worthless.
For the full story of how Bush's "talkin' Texan" is reminiscent of Wild West tall tales about Pecos Bill, go to Consortiumnews.com
New Energy for Brampton, Ontario
An Ontario subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin Inc. has landed a $757 million contract from Sithe Global Power LLC to build Canada's largest "combined cycle" natural gas-fired power plant, which will be capable of recycling waste heat to produce electricity more efficiently. The 880 megawatt plant - the first of four natural gas-generation facilities proposed in and around the GTA - will be located in Brampton, Ontario, and at full output, it will produce power for 600,000 homes.
From The Brampton Guardian
"In combined cycle mode, it would be one of the cleanest - if not the cleanest - plants of its type in Canada," said Duane Cramer, VP of development with the New York based power developer. He said the plant is being designed for an urban setting, and emphasis will be on keeping nitrogen oxide emissions low and minimizing the use of water.Increased Efficiency
Combined cycle plants increase efficiency by blending two methods for generating electricity. Read More
Despite Pullout, Israeli Settler Population Increased
The overall number of Israelis living in settlements on Palestinian land increased last year despite the pullout from the Gaza Strip, a new report by the settlement watchdog Peace Now says. Around 10,000 Israelis moved into settlements across the occupied West Bank over the course of 2005 while around 9000 settlers were uprooted from 21 settlements in Gaza and four small enclaves in the West Bank, Peace Now said on Monday.Full Story
Bush Plans Defence Budget Hike, while Social Programs Cut
US President George Bush has submitted a $439.3 billion defence budget to Congress, seeking a 7% boost in military spending without taking into account the full cost of a protracted war in Iraq. Full Story
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Social spending the victim in US budget
The US president has proposed to boost defence spending, slow Medicare's growth and cut a host of domestic programmes in a $2.77 trillion budget that seeks to soothe Republican frustrations over high deficits. George Bush wants to scale back or scrap 141 programmes - with education, cancer research and community policing programmes slated to take a hit - but he proposed a record $439.3 billion defence budget, up 4.8% from last year. Full Story
Recount Ordered in Costa Rica Poll
A two-week manual recount of votes has been ordered in Costa Rica after an unprecedented razor-thin margin separated the two candidates in the country's presidential election, the Supreme Electoral Council said. A day after the polls in the Central American country, only 3648 votes separated centrist candidate Oscar Arias, a former president and a Nobel Peace prize winner, and his centre-left rival Otton Solis. Full Story
World Might Yet be Saved, says Environmental Study
Fundamental changes would work
If we hurry, global warming can be curbed, says report.
From: The Tyee.ca
WORLD MIGHT YET BE SAVED
By Traci Hukill
The authors of the world's most overlooked environmental study held a press briefing in Washington to discuss what life on the planet will be like in 2050. Their upbeat conclusion: fundamental changes, in practice and policy, can protect us from the worst consequences of overpopulation and climate change.
Good news -- if anybody pays attention.
Although Venezuela has a history of democratic governance since 1958, the U.S. government has since 1998 made the country a major focus of its democratization strategy. According to the U.S. government, Venezuela is undergoing a political transition that is leading the country away from democracy and toward dictatorship.
The top governmental actor in Venezuela is the U.S. Agency for International Development, which through its Office of Transition Initiatives, aims “to provide fast, flexible, short-term assistance targeted at key transistion needs.” USAID has been spending $5-7 million annually to promote democracy in Venezuela and prevent President Chavez from “hijacking the machinery of government.”
See new IRC Americas commentary online at: http://americas.irc-online.org/am/2977
No Help to Democracy in Haiti
No Help to Democracy in Haiti
February 3, 2006 Editorial New York Times
Haiti was a deeply troubled democracy when the Bush administration took office. Now it is an even more deeply troubled nondemocracy. One thing contributed to Haiti's present plight, our colleagues Walt Bogdanich and Jenny Nordberg reported Sunday, was a "democracy building" program financed by the United States government and run by the International Republican Institute.
The I.R.I., whose chairman is Senator John McCain and whose president is a former Bush administration official, is one of four institutes (the others are affiliated with the Democrats, the United States Chamber of Commerce and the A.F.L.-C.I.O.) set up during the 1980's to channel taxpayer dollars toward strengthening democracy in other countries. Congress intended this financing system to move American support for democracy in other countries out of the shrouded world of covert intelligence and into the daylight of political training institutes. But according to the Times report, which the I.R.I. disputes, much of the Republican Institute's activities in Haiti from 2001 to 2003 were carried out in a shadowy world of secret meetings and efforts to isolate and destabilize the democratically elected government.
Latin America's Year of Elections / Latin America Winning 7-0
Latin America's political map could find itself being redrawn as 12 of the region's countries prepare for presidential elections between November 2005 and the end of 2006. Read MoreLatin America Winning 7-0
The United States, the European Union and the international financial institutions are watching their economic order being bashed in Latin America, where popular sectors are having their demands heard for the first time.
Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and now Chile, with the victory of Michelle Bachelet, the first woman president in that southern country´s history, lead the silent (for the mainstream media) revolution taking place in the continent.
Voters throughout South America have warned that people and nature´s interests must be taken into account if the human race is to survive.Read More
BECHTEL VS. BOLIVIA: THE PEOPLE WIN!!
This morning here in Bolivia, the Bechtel Corporation will sign an agreement dropping its $50 million legal case against the people of Cochabamba – for kicking Bechtel out in the 2000 water revolt. Instead of the fortune it demanded, Bechtel will fly home with a token settlement of two shiny Bolivian coins worth a total of thirty cents. One of the biggest, most powerful corporations on Earth has been defeated by an army of concerned citizens all over the world, including many of you.Read More
Let the Rivers Run: A Plan for the Intelligent Management of Water...
A plan for the intelligent management of water and the re-greening of Nicaragua 's watersheds
Water is the very fount of all life; forests are its essential counterpart. Yet, all over the planet, rivers are dying, water-tables are falling, lakes are being contaminated, forests torn down.Read More
1954: Washington Unmakes Guatemala
Half a century after the overthrow of Guatemala’s elected president, the horrendous scars inflicted during that era can still be seen in the fractured socio- and political landscape of the country; as a result of this initiative, the CIA along with the State Department sealed the fate of the 200,000 people who were murdered during the subsequent 36-year-war. Americans will undoubtedly be troubled by the disgraceful actions carried out in their name, whose reverberations still have an appalling impact on Guatemala today.From: The Council on Hemispheric Affairs
To mark the 50thanniversary of the CIA-sponsored invasion of Guatemala, Australia-based COHA Research Fellow Matthew Ward has produced an insightful report, re-investigating this pinnacle event. Drawing on over 14,000 pages of recently de-classified CIA documentation, he critiques the machinations of the US government in the late 1940s and 1950s.
Fair Vote Canada News Release: Our Broken Voting System - February 7, 2006
News Release from Fair Vote Canada
- February 7, 2006 MEET THE NEW BOSS, SAME AS THE OLD BOSS:
DEMOCRACY SCRAPPED IN CABINET PATCH JOB
Stephen Harper’s cabinet-building contortions are undemocratic, according to Fair Vote Canada
, and make a mockery of voters’ rights and representative democracy.
“Our broken voting system has failed to provide representation for almost half a million Conservative voters in our largest cities,” said Wayne Smith, president of the multi-partisan citizens’ movement for voting reform, “so Stephen Harper has scrapped democracy and fallen back on partisan deal making to build his cabinet. It’s already ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ and that’s after only one day of new government.”
With not one Conservative elected in Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver, Mr. Harper used the lack of government MPs from those cities to justify Cabinet appointments for Michael Fortier, a Montreal-based party operative whose name did not appear on any ballot, and David Emerson, a Vancouver-based MP who just two weeks ago presented himself to voters as champion of a different party and political agenda. Toronto will have to make do with Jim Flaherty, the member from nearby Oshawa.
With a fair voting system, according to Smith, Harper would have had lots of urban lumber with which to build his cabinet.
“Almost half a million Canadians voted Conservative in these three cities” said Smith. “They should all have Conservative MPs in the new Parliament.”
“In Vancouver 22% of voters voted Conservative. They deserve to have elected one of Vancouver's 5 MPs. One who had faced the voters.
“In Montreal 15% of voters voted Conservative. They deserve to have elected three of Montreal's 18 MPs. Ones who had faced the voters.
“In Toronto 24% of voters voted Conservative. They should have elected five of Toronto's 22 MPs.“
“Had the same votes been cast in a fair voting system, Conservative voters would have elected approximately nine MPs in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto,” said Smith. “creating a pool of legitimately elected representatives for cabinet consideration. But our dysfunctional voting system failed us again, and so our new government is built on backroom brokerage.”
“This is exactly the political behaviour that sickens Canadians,” said Larry Gordon, Executive Director of Fair Vote Canada. “Mr. Harper had a choice. He could have acknowledged our voting system denies fair representation for millions of voters from all parties. He could have chosen to launch a reform process to give every Canadian an equal vote. Instead, on day one of his new government, he resorts to backroom deals that do a complete end run around voters.”
Contact: Wayne Smith, 416-407-7009
or Larry Gordon, 647-519-7585Fair Vote Canada
February 06, 2006
*On 1 February 2006 in Doha, Qatar, I interviewed Mr. Samir Khader, Program Editor for Al-Jazeera Channel. Mr. Khader was a key personality in the highly acclaimed documentary “Control Room”
about Al-Jazeera. I asked him questions about his channel, Bush’s plans to bomb Al-Jazeera, present and future goals of Al-Jazeera, Iraq and the state of journalism. -DJ*
Dahr Jamail: How does Jazeera continue to operate amidst the leaked memo to bomb Jazeera, banned from countries in the Middle East, and in this increasingly hostile environment?
Samir Khader: Do you think that because of such a memo we have to stop working? Of course we can’t. We have to do our job. If the memo was true and George Bush wanted to bomb Jazeera, what can we do? They can do that, and the whole world will know. It’s not because a journalist is threatened that he will not do his job. So, no problem for us.
DJ: How do you operate in countries where you’ve been prohibited from working, like Iran and Iraq?
SK: As you know, Al-Jazeera has a history of being kicked out from many countries. It’s not new for us. But at the end, these governments reverse their decision and allow us to work. Because at the end, they can’t hide behind masks. They have to tell the truth one day. And one day they discover that we are telling the truth, whether it’s with them or against them. When they kick us out of a given country, they deprive themselves from a means to answer all the accusations made. For example, if we make accusations at a given country of doing this and this and that and we’re kicked out, they have no means of answering these accusations.
So they realize it is better to have Jazeera with them, under their eyes, so they can use it and use it as a podium also because we are open to everybody. Whether it is opponents or governments, we give the possibility to anyone to express himself or herself. So denying access to al-Jazeera in their own country will in the end be at their own expense.
DJ: Which countries right now have prohibited Jazeera from operating in them?
SK: Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Algeria. These countries completely
prohibit al-Jazeera, 100%. There are other countries who don’t allow us to have a correspondent or to work on a regular basis, but allow us sometimes, for major events, to send a reporter for a couple of days only, then he shall have to leave the country. For example, India and Tunisia. These are important countries where we can only operate on the spot, but not on a regular basis.
Kuwait was one of these countries, but at the end they realized it was better to have al-Jazeera with them, so they allowed us to work there.
DJ: Did Jazeera receive an apology or explanation for the leaked Bush/Blair memo?
SK: No. Our manager explained that yesterday in his press conference. He explained the whole story. The official spokesman of the British government said there was nothing in that memo that referred to al-Jazeera and Tony Blair also said that at the House of Commons.
But in answering other enquiries from British nationals, the same spokesman recognized that this document, this memo exists and there is a reference to al-Jazeera. So there is a contradiction in their own statements. All we want as a channel is to know the truth. Was it true or not?
So, we’re trying. We didn’t receive an answer yet, but we’re trying.
DJ: What are al-Jazeera’s greatest challenges today?
SK: Today? Personal opinion of course. The problems of the Middle East, problems of the people. Like democracy and human rights. In all the countries of the Middle East everybody talks about democracy. And when you have elections in one given country, the government starts saying, “Look at our democracy!” But elections are not democracy. Democracy is something else.
I think that we have to focus more on the needs of our people in these times in terms of democracy and human rights. To tell them, “Don’t believe that elections mean democracy. No, it is something else.” And human rights, I don’t think that there is one single Arab country that really respects human rights. Freedom of the press? Where is it? I don’t see it-freedom of the press. We might enjoy it at al-Jazeera, but we are only a tiny part of the press in the Arab world. So all these things, I
think we should focus on them more and more.
DJ: What are Jazeera’s future plans?
SK: We have plans to continue to cover Pakistan, Afghanistan, India or South America. Also we should cover them because we are an international channel. But we have a priority. We are an Arab Channel and we have to address our Arab populations. And I think the management has plans to focus more on these things.
I spent two weeks in Fallujah in April ’04. I then went to the “Green Zone” and went two times to press conferences of General Kimmitt where he asked Iraqis and Arabs to change the channel. I did an interview with him and I asked, “General…you’re not supposed to be afraid of us. We’re here everyday with you. Why did you ask people to change the channel?” He said, “Look, you do your job and I’ll do mine.” (he laughs) It amazes me that the Americans complain about al-Jazeera. When I was, at that time in 2004, in the field in Iraq, I didn’t feel that the Americans used to look at al-Jazeera as the enemy.
I used to hear Donald Rumsfeld attacking al-Jazeera, depicted as the enemy. But on the field, no. I used to look at and try to socialize with the simple American soldiers. These are poor guys! Most of them, they don’t know what they are doing in Iraq. They were told to go there for many reasons. Some want a scholarship, others want citizenship, any other reason. Some, because they are patriots. They are patriots, of course, all of the American soldiers. But they told them they had a job
to do-to topple Saddam Hussein, to occupy Iraq, they did the job. And then what? To become the police? It’s not the role of an army to do the policing in a country, in a vast country like Iraq. So, this is a big problem for the Americans.
If I was in the shoes of George W. Bush I don’t know what I would do. As an Arab I will tell him to get out of Iraq. But if I were an American and a high ranking official in that administration, I don’t know. He’s really in a very bad position.
DJ: Would you like to comment on the current state of journalism?
SK: Journalism has changed much in the last years. Can you imagine, if Bob Woodward and Bernstein, were to uncover Watergate today? Would they be able to do it? Because today, now, they tell you, “What’s your source?” You have to uncover your source, otherwise you go to jail. And this happened with Judith Miller. Which means that journalists no longer have the ability to do their job.
I tried to meet with Bob Woodward last May when I was in Washington DC. I went to Washington and NY and tried to meet with him just to ask him this question: If you had similar information, inside information like that which led to Watergate, would you be able to publish it? I’m sure of the answer, but I couldn’t find him."
(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.
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