Monday, July 31, 2006

Qana and the Litani: Diversions

The Israeli Ministry of Government Affairs has published the full text of the "warning" leaflet dropped on southern Lebanon, including the town of Qana:

That's nothing if not explicit.

The website of the American University in Washington DC includes an Inventory of Conflict & Environment (ICE), for which - in November 1997 - Angela Joy Moss produced an admirably explicit analysis of the decades-old dispute about control of the Litani river:

Israel has considered diverting the Litani southward, first proposed in 1905 because it seemed "the waters of the Jordan basin would be insufficient for the future needs of Palestine."(14) The Litani, because of its water, was suggested to become part of the "national Jewish entity" in 1919 but this was rejected by the League of Nations, and the Litani became part of Lebanon.(15)

There were also prestatehood Jewish interests in the Litani. David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, suggested the inclusion of the Litani in the Jewish state. The 1941 international commission to whom this was suggested recommended seven-eighths of the Litani be "leased to Israel."(16) Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan advocated Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon and the Litani.(17)

In 1945, Professor Lowdermilk proposed a comprehensive water plan for the region which would have included changing the course of the Litani toward the Jordan and used its water for irrigation along the Jordan Valley and in central Eretz Israel (Palestine) where the electricity produced could be transferred to Lebanon. This was never implemented because the Arabs did not want to cooperate with Israel.(18) In 1947, Ben Gurion thought the Litani should be Israel's northern border. Also, water was a source of conflict in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.(19) In fact, in the war in 1967, water resources were "perhaps the prominent factor in Israeli strategic calculations."(20)

After the 1967 war, Moshe Dayan, defense minister, asserted Israel achieved "provisionally satisfying frontiers, with the exception of those with Lebanon."(21) Israel hoped that it would have use of the Litani by the mid 1980s, when it projected that it would have fully used up the waters captured in the 1967 war. Israel hoped to meet this goal by securing the Litani in 1978. Israel had even included the Litani in calculations of their water resources. (22)

In fact, Israel's need for water makes it conceivable that it may already be using the Litani. It is not recent that Israel has been suspected of planning to divert the waters of the Litani for its own use. Near 1994, this developed into a large number of direct accusations that Israel was using the Litani.(23)
- complete text here.
The War on Terror is a war for dwindling natural resources.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


BBC: Huge rally challenges Mexico poll

The NYT and the Washington Post see these people as dangerous insects:

Election Protesters Swarm Mexico City

Mexican leftists swarm capital in election protest


Man marks the earth with ruin – his control
Stops with the shore


1. From the LA Times, this weekend:

A Primeval Tide of Toxins
William Dennison, then director of the University of Queensland botany lab, couldn't believe it at first."We checked this 20 times. It was mind-boggling. It was like 'The Blob,' " Dennison said, recalling the 1950s horror movie about an alien life form that consumed everything in its path.
2. From the Toronto Globe and Mail, this weekend:

Acid waters, dissolving shellfish
Ocean researchers have found that the huge influx of carbon dioxide since 1800 is making oceans more acidic than they have been for millions of years. If not reversed, this trend could destabilize -- or even threaten --much of the world's marine life, particularly animals that can't adapt to living in a more corrosive environment.

So far, the ocean's pH (the commonly used scale of whether something is acidic or lkaline) has become about 30 per cent more acidic over the past 200 years because humans have added so much carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Scientists say this change has never occurred in the recent history of the planet -- either in such a massive way, or so quickly.

"The pH changes that are occurring in the ocean today are truly extraordinary," says Joan Kleypas, a scientist at the U.S. National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and the lead author of a report issued this month that rang alarm bells about the trend. "Unfortunately, this is not an environmental problem that we've had to deal with in the past, and so we really don't have a very good grasp of what this means for ocean biology."
No, they're not making it up. Meanwhile, in Lebanon, among much else:

What would the world be, once bereft

Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,

O let them be left, wildness and wet;

Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

- 1918.

On to Syria

Defense officials told the Post last week that they were receiving indications from the United States that the US would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria.

Jerusalem Post

Friday, July 28, 2006

The "hiding among civilians" myth

Israel claims it's justified in bombing civilians because Hezbollah mingles with them. In fact, the militant group doesn't trust its civilians and stays as far away from them as possible.

By Mitch Prothero

Throughout this now 16-day-old war, Israeli planes high above civilian areas make decisions on what to bomb. They send huge bombs capable of killing things for hundreds of meters around those targets to destroy them, and then blame the inevitable civilian deaths -- the Lebanese government says 600 civilians have been killed so far -- on "terrorists" who callously use the civilian infrastructure for protection.

But this claim is almost always false. My own reporting and that of other journalists reveals that in fact Hezbollah fighters -- as opposed to the much more numerous Hezbollah political members, and the vastly more numerous Hezbollah sympathizers -- avoid civilians like the plague. Much smarter and better trained than the PLO and Hamas fighters, they know that if they mingle with civilians, they will sooner or later be betrayed by collaborators -- as so many Palestinian militants have been.

John Dean, leftist

John Dean (yes, that one) uses the F-word (no, not that one):
"Are we on the road to fascism? Clearly, we are not on that road yet. But it would not take much more misguided authoritarian leadership, or thoughtless following of such leaders, to find ourselves there. I am not sure which is more frightening: another major terror attack or the response of authoritarian conservatives to that attack."
"Cheney has swallowed the presidency."
"My views have changed very little over the last 40 years. The Republican Party and conservatism have moved so far to the right that I'm now left of center."

Blood, sweat and tears. And oil.

Sunny California, sunny Europe, sunny Middle East, sunny world: the BBC reports -

The heatwave that has been baking California since mid-July is being blamed for about 100 deaths across the state, the authorities have said. Most of the deaths have been in the Central Valley, where temperatures have reached 46C (115F) in some areas. Among the worst-hit areas is Fresno, where the local mortuary is struggling to deal with dozens of bodies.

The heat has also hit the agriculture sector, killing 25,000 cattle and 700,000 poultry, farmers say. [...]
The high temperatures over the past fortnight have led to the deaths of some 25,000 cattle in central California, about 1% of the state's dairy herd. Farmers have seen milk yields decline as cows suffer from the heat."The timing is horrendous," Andy Zylstra, president of the California Dairy Campaign, told the French news agency, AFP. "The price of milk is down 30% while feed, fuel, electricity prices are all up, and now we have these tremendous losses, It's just a kick in the head."

Several California counties have declared states of emergency because of the large number of carcasses that need to be disposed of.
The solution, no doubt, will be to acquire and burn more oil, so that air-conditioning can be maintained and improved, carcasses can be transported and disposed of quickly, and even more water can be pumped from the depleted aquifers to save the shrivelling harvests grown with the help of oil-based fertilisers and pesticides.

The US currently imports 67% of its oil and rising. It's not enough. Where's the rest going to come from? And why are we having a War on Terror?

"The American way of life is not negotiable." - George Bush senior, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Terrorist Topsoil

Ralph Nader:

"And during the 18-year occupation of South Lebanon, itself illegal under international law from 1982 to the year 2000, Israel drew water, precious water, from the Litani and even took fertile topsoil back to Israel, and other plunders."

Bomber to investigate bombing, impartially

Dan Gillerman [Israel's ambassador to the United Nations] also said Israel would not allow the United Nations to join in an investigation of an Israeli air strike that demolished a post belonging to the current UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. Four UN observers were killed in the Tuesday strike.

"Israel has never agreed to a joint investigation, and I don't think that if anything happened in this country, or in Britain or in Italy or in France, the government of that country would agree to a joint investigation," Gillerman said.

True. Mafia bosses need Gentleman's Agreements, and the cops have no business interfering.

Declared aims

From Bush's perspective, he only has two years to consolidate his vision of complete U.S. control of the Middle East, and to do that, all seeds of resistance should be crushed in a devastating blow that will make it clear to every single Arab that obeying the master is the only way to stay alive. If Israel is willing to do the job, and crush not only the Palestinians, but also Lebanon and Hezbollah, then the U.S., torn from the inside by growing resentment over Bush's wars, and perhaps unable to send new soldiers to be killed for this cause right now, will give Israel all the backing it can. As Rice announced in her visit in Jerusalem on July 25, what is at stakes is "a new Middle East". "We will prevail" - she promised Olmert.

But Israel is not sacrificing its soldiers and citizens only to please the Bush administration. The "new Middle East" has been a dream of the Israeli ruling military circles since at least 1982, when Sharon led the country to the first Lebanon war with precisely this declared goal. Hezbollah's leaders have argued for years that its real long-term role is to protect Lebanon, whose army is too weak to do this. They have said that Israel has never given up its aspirations for Lebanon and that the only reason it pulled out of Southern Lebanon in 2000 is because Hezbollah's resistance has made maintaining the occupation too costly. Lebanon's people know what every Israeli old enough to remember knows - that in the vision of Ben Gurion, Israel's founding leader, Israel's border should be "natural", that is - the Jordan river in the East, and the Litani river of Lebanon in the north. In 1967, Israel gained control over the Jordan river, in the occupied Palestinian land, but all its attempts to establish the Litani border have failed so far.

As I argued in Israel/Palestine, already when the Israeli army left Southern Lebanon in 2000, the plans to return were ready.[12] But in Israel's military vision, in the next round, the land should be first "cleaned" of its residents, as Israel did when it occupied the Syrian Golan Heights in 1967, and as it is doing now in southern Lebanon. To enable Israel's eventual realization of Ben Gurion's vision, it is necessary to establish a "friendly regime" in Lebanon, one that will collaborate in crushing any resistance. To do this, it is necessary first to destroy the country, as in the U.S. model of Iraq. These were precisely Sharon's declared aims in the first Lebanon war. Israel and the U.S. believe that now conditions have ripened enough that these aims can finally be realized.

Tanya Reinhart

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"The job of a leader is to define reality."

World 'backs Lebanon offensive'

So says the Israeli Justice Minister, Haim Ramon, who also tells us:

"All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah."
Does the world really support the rape of Lebanon? Is everyone in South Lebanon really a "terrorist"? Well, yes; because it's our Leaders who decide what's real and what's not.

The Israeli Army spokesman, Captain Jacob Dallal:
He forgot to mention women and children, UN observers, bridges, paper mills, food storage facilities and milk factories. Anything and anyone is a target, "in the war on terror in general". Villages are not villages, people are not people; they're something else entirely; they're Terror:
In the War On Terror In General, then, everything's going according to plan. Let no-one fret, for reality is in very capable hands:

The Transformation of the Super-Rich

Michael Parenti:

"[M]ost of the really big money is inherited--and by a portion of the population that is so minuscule as to be judged statistically inaccessible.

The higher one goes up the income scale, the greater the rate of capital accumulation. Economist Paul Krugman notes that not only have the top 20 percent grown more affluent compared with everyone below, the top 5 percent have grown richer compared with the next 15 percent. The top one percent have become richer compared with the next 4 percent. And the top 0.25 percent have grown richer than the next 0.75 percent. That top 0.25 owns more wealth than the other 99¾ percent combined."

The L-Curve:
Jeremy Seabrook:

"Perhaps the most astonishing obstacle to the removal of poverty from the world has been the transformation of the super-rich. These have ceased to be regarded as the greedy devourers of the substance of the poor, the ugly monopolists of resources: no longer the exploiters and bloodsuckers of 19th-century industrial lore, they have been turned into philanthropists, the virtuous possessors of fabulous fortunes, by whose grace and charity alone the dire poverty of the destitute will be relieved.

The world's richest individuals are now competitive even in their generosity. Lucre has been cleansed of its filth and plutocrats have become svelte. A residual antagonism may remain at the self-awarded emolumentsof fat cats but, in general, antagonism between rich and poor has been allayed by a shared commitment to the creation of wealth, in which the poor become pensioners of opulence and not its enemies.

It is impossible to overestimate the significance of this metamorphosis of the rich. It turns the poor from disputants over the distribution of wealth into petitioners for the overflow of abundance. In the process, it goes without saying, the poor have been demobilised from the struggle for social justice."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Gore Vidal on the Bush Gang

War on Terror, Gaza front

"About 140 Palestinians and one [1] Israeli soldier have been killed since Israel launched its offensive."


Show me the bright side and I promise I'll take a look at it.

Lebanon: "It's the water, stupid." -

An excellent collection of links at Democratic Underground.

Another excellent collection of links at Le Colonel Chabert.

The War on Terror is a war for dwindling natural resources:

Eating Fossil Fuels.

Meanwhile, in Europe:

Scorching temperatures and drought could destroy up to 20 percent of Poland’s grain harvest, warned the agriculture minister, Andrzej Lepper. “It is quite simply dramatic, and if the weather does not change we could have a disaster,” he said on Polish Radio. Germany is facing crop losses of up to 50 percent in the worst-hit regions, according to the president of the national farmers’ association, Gerd Sonnleitner.

Katrina victims “not allowed” to talk to media

From FAIR, via Rigorous Intuition:

FEMA a Disaster for Freedom of the Press

Katrina victims “not allowed” to talk to media, reporter told


The Federal Emergency Management Agency prohibits journalists from having unsupervised interviews with Hurricane Katrina victims who have been relocated to FEMA trailer parks, according to a report in the Baton Rouge Advocate (7/15/06).

“If a resident invites the media to the trailer, they have to be escorted by a FEMA representative who sits in on the interview,” FEMA spokesperson Rachel Rodi is quoted in the article. “That’s just a policy.”

The Advocate report, by reporter Sandy Davis, describes two separate attempts to talk to people displaced by Katrina that were halted by the intervention of a FEMA security guard. In the first incident, in a Morgan City, Louisiana camp, an interview was interrupted by a guard who claimed that residents of the camp are “not allowed” to talk to the media.

Dekotha Devall, whose New Orleans home was destroyed by the storm, was in her FEMA-provided trailer telling the Advocate reporter of the hardships of life in the camp when a security guard knocked on the door.

“You are not allowed to be here,” the guard is quoted as telling the reporter. “Get out right now.” The guard reportedly called police to force the journalist to leave the camp, and even prevented the reporter from giving the interview subject a business card. “You will not give her a business card,” the guard said. “She’s not allowed to have that.”

Later, at another FEMA camp in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, the reporter attempted to talk to camp resident Pansy Ardeneaux through a chain link fence when the same guard halted the interview. “You are not allowed to talk to these people,” the guard told Ardeneaux. “Return to your trailer now.” The reporter said she and an accompanying photographer were “ordered...not to talk to anyone or take pictures.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Massacre as Marketing

"Israelis don't make their living from avocados, but from electronics, and particularly from weapons. Their wars are Sales Promotion."

- Thomas Immanuel Steinberg

Is Beirut Burning?

"IT SEEMS that Nasrallah survived," Israeli newspapers announced, after 23 tons of bombs were dropped on a site in Beirut, where the Hizbullah leader was supposedly hiding in a bunker.

An interesting formulation. A few hours after the bombing, Nazrallah had given an interview to Aljazeera television. Not only did he look alive, but even composed and confident. He spoke about the bombardment - proof that the interview was recorded on the same day.

So what does "it seems that" mean? Very simple: Nasrallah pretends to be alive, but you can't believe an Arab. Everyone knows that Arabs always lie. That's in their very nature, as Ehud Barak once pronounced.

- Uri Avnery

Monday, July 24, 2006




Amazon rainforest 'could become a desert'

And that could speed up global warming with 'incalculable consequences', says alarming new research

By Geoffrey Lean in Manaus and Fred Pearce

Independent, 23 July 2006

The vast Amazon rainforest is on the brink of being turned into desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world's climate, alarming research suggests. And the process, which would be irreversible, could begin as early as next year.

As we report today on pages 28 and 29, the Amazon now appears to be entering its second successive year of drought, raising the possibility that it could start dying next year. The immense forest contains 90 billion tons of carbon, enough in itself to increase the rate of global warming by 50 per cent.

Dr Nepstead expects "mega-fires" rapidly to sweep across the drying jungle. With the trees gone, the soil will bake in the sun and the rainforest could become desert.

Dr Deborah Clark from the University of Missouri, one of the world's top forest ecologists, says the research shows that "the lock has broken" on the Amazon ecosystem. She adds: the Amazon is "headed in a terrible direction".

Sunday, July 23, 2006

George Galloway, London, July 22

(See also: Lenin's Tomb)

"Anyone can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran." *

Q. WHAT ARE Israel's goals in carrying out this assault?

Achcar. STRATEGICALLY SPEAKING, both Israel and the United States consider their main enemy in the Middle East to be not bin Laden or al-Qaeda--these are only minor nuisances in their eyes, if conveniently useful nuisances--but Iran.

There is what they call the Shiite axis or crescent, which has its source in Iran, and goes through the pro-Iranian Shiite forces in Iraq, through the Syrian government, which is allied to Iran, and reaches Hezbollah in Lebanon.

This is why they consider Hezbollah a very important enemy--because with their kind of conception of the world, they see everything through their obsession with what they consider to be their main enemy state. At the time of the Cold War, they used to see everything worldwide in terms of a confrontation with the former Soviet Union. Now, they see everything in the Middle East in terms of a confrontation with Iran.

* Senior Bush Official, May 2003

Saturday, July 22, 2006


We shall return (Sanarji'u)

We shall return to our village one day
and drown in the warmth of hope
we shall return
though time passes by
and distances grow between us.

O heart don't drop wearied
on the path of our return
how it wounds our pride
that birds tomorrow will return
while we are still here.

There are hills
sleeping and waking on our pledge
and people who love
their days comprised of waiting
and nostalgic songs
places where willows fill the eye
Bending over the water
while afternoons in their shade
drink in the perfume of peace.

We shall return
the nightingale told me
when we met on a hill
that nightingales still
live there on our dreams
and that among the yearning hills
and people there is a place for us
0 heart then
how long has the wind scattered us.
Come, we shall return
let us return.

Dying of thirst

Why is the population of southern Lebanon being forced to withdraw to the north of the river Litani? Why were southern Lebanese citizens spooked by late-night phone calls from Israel on the eve of the Israeli attack?

The War on Terror is a war for dwindling natural resources.

Jeff Wells:

If Israel again reaches the Litani and holds it, the pressure will be that much greater to exploit Lebanon's waters, because the environmental exigencies are that much more exacerbated this century then they were even twenty years ago. In 2002, Ariel Sharon threatened Lebanon with war if it diverted the water of the Hasbani River from the Sea of Galilee, Israel's largest reservoir. How will nations behave when they're dying of thirst?

"a business-driven engine of deceit"

While Chomsky gets the Brockes treatment in the liberal Guardian, the right-wing Telegraph carries a very decent summary and review of Failed States by the novelist James Flint:

[W]e take him seriously when he draws parallels between the behaviour of the current Bush administration and that of Hitler's in the 1930s. The core of the problem, as Chomsky defines it, has been the growing power of capital. The global financial liberalisation that has taken place since the collapse of the Bretton Woods currency-exchange agreement in 1971 has enabled the rise of an international power elite centred on America, "a 'virtual Senate' of investors and lenders who can exercise 'veto power' over government decisions by threat of capital flight, attacks on currency, and other means".

This new business class has no interest in the maintenance of traditional democratic structures - even Adam Smith, its leading guru, warned that it is in the interests of merchants and manufacturers "to deceive or even to oppress the public". And in America, the past few decades have seen a business-driven engine of deceit so completely take over the electoral machine that it is left to a TV series, the superlative West Wing, to educate the populace about what a healthy democracy might look like if it should ever again have a possibility of operating.

Today, the American electoral process is "run by the public relations industry", the primary task of which is "to delude the public by carefully constructed images that have only the vaguest resemblance to reality". The power of this network was demonstrated by its effective theft of the 2004 presidential election, at which point, says Chomsky, the new elite finally cemented its hold over Washington.

Perhaps the biggest single untruth peddled by this elite is that we're better off under its neo-liberal agenda. Since these policies took hold in America in the 1970s, "real wages for the majority have largely stagnated or declined" and have gone from the highest in the world to close to the lowest among industrial societies.

In the 1990s, living conditions stagnated for the middle classes. Between 1983 and 1998, the average wealth of the top one per cent rose 42 per cent, while the lowest 40 per cent lost fully three-quarters of their already modest worth. Not to mention the significantly slower rates of economic growth and a national debt fast approaching $9 trillion.

Chomsky argues that the situation is now so extreme that democracy is no longer functioning in America. What has taken its place is a corporate totalitarianism that routinely deploys Orwellian double-speak to clamp down on society and has all but isolated itself from its own population, which reputable polls reveal as holding an entirely different set of moral priorities from those claimed for it by the government: 33 per cent regarding the leading threat to the country not as terrorism but "greed and materialism"; 80 per cent judging that universal healthcare is more important than holding down taxes.

There is a plot against America, says Chomsky, and it is real. ...

- via This Space

Thursday, July 20, 2006

"a very emotional situation"

1. The Independent, today:

CBI chief warns of looming energy crisis

2. Energy Bulletin, yesterday:

Bodman: Oil Producers Unable To Respond To Demand

"[US Energy Secretary] Bodman, speaking in an interview with CNBC, said the producers of oil "are unable to appropriately respond to the demands that the marketplace is putting on them."

Bodman, who is in Baghdad and was being interviewed via a television link, also said oil demand will exceed supply for the next year or two [sic].

"At least at the present time and for the foreseeable future, I would guess for the next year or two [sic], we're going to see demand exceeding supply," Bodman said. "And we're going to be dealing with a very emotional situation in that environment."

Bodman said there is a crisis for American families that haven't budgeted for higher gasoline prices, but he said the U.S. economy is
absorbing the shock.

"I believe that we see that the American economy is quite resilient," Bodman said. "It is surprisingly quite able to handle high oil and gasoline prices. But, you know, heaven long that will last."

Hence the War on Terror.

The US Energy Secretary sounds almost as if he is in a state of shock. "Heaven knows" is not your average Statesmanspeak. But can anyone say what Secretary Bodman means when he predicts "a very emotional situation" in the US in the very near future?

Maybe he means starving rioters.

Hence the Homeland Security Act.

As the New York Times reported on Feb. 4, 2006 :

"Kellogg, Brown and Root would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space."

Big Picture


Following the bombings of Beirut by Israel, there is a danger that the US sponsored Middle East war, which is at present characterized by three distinct war theaters (Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq) will escalate and extend to the entire Middle East - Central Asian region.

The bombings of Lebanon are part of a carefully planned military agenda. They are not spontaneous acts of reprisal by Israel. They are acts of provocation.

The attacks could indeed be used as a pretext to trigger a much broader military operation, which is already in the active planning stage. In all likelihood, the bombings were conducted with Washington's approval.

The timing of these bombings coincides with the showdown with Iran regarding its alleged nuclear weapons' program. They should be viewed and analyzed in relation to US-Israeli geopolitical and strategic interests in the broader region.

The Beirut bombings should also be understood in relation to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, which has opened up a new space, for the deployment of Israeli forces.

Since 2004, the US, Israel and Turkey have formulated concrete war plans involving air raids on Iran's nuclear sites. Israel is slated to play a direct role in the US sponsored military operation against Iran, which is also the object of consultations at the G8 meeting in St. Petersburg on July 15-17.

Since late 2004, Israel has been stockpiling US made weapons systems in anticipation of an attack on Iran. This stockpiling, which is financed by US military aid was largely completed in June 2005. Israel has taken delivery from the US of several thousand "smart air launched weapons" including some 500 'bunker-buster' bombs, which can also be used to deliver tactical nuclear bombs. US tactical nuclear weapons have been deployed by the US and several of its allies and could be used against Iran. Israel's thermonnuclear missiles are pointed at Tehran.

The participation of Turkey in the US-Israeli military operation is also a factor, following a 2004 agreement reached between Ankara and Tel Aviv.

"Israel has created a unified field theory of the Middle East's crises"

Robert Dreyfuss at

"Israel's actions in no way can be seen as a legitimate response to the small-scale attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah. Instead, what Israel has done has used the pretext of those pin-prick attacks -- a couple of border raids and a handful of errant rockets -- to launch a strategic attack whose goals are to crush Hamas and the remaining institutions of Palestinian self-rule and decapitate and destroy Hezbollah politically and militarily in Lebanon.

Second, it's clear that Israel would never have launched this war without having made the calculation that it would win the support of the United States. ...

Third, by invading and bombing Lebanon and acting brutally to crush the Palestinian Authority, Israel has created a unified field theory of the Middle East's crises, uniting the escalating world showdown with Iran, the unraveling civil war in Iraq, the crisis over Syria's role in Lebanon, and the Arab-Israeli conflict itself into one big tangle. Until last week, before Israel went to war, the neoconservatives were losing across the board. They watched in horror as the war in Iraq faltered, and they were appalled by President Bush's Condi-led opening to Iran. Indeed, to many it seemed as if the entire post-9/11 project to remake the Middle East and build American hegemony on that cornerstone was in jeopardy. ... Now that Israel is at war, they have the chance once again to go on the offensive, against Iran, in Iraq, against Syria and against the mythical Terrorist International that they warn about so regularly."

Neocons Rise From Mideast Ashes

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Cryptocrats and Kleptocrats

Mr. Justice Aikens has ruled that the British populace must pipe down, fuck off and leave its leaders to do as they please. Or, as the Guardian puts it:

Secrecy ruling by judge on Blair-Bush talk

Richard Norton-Taylor Wednesday July 19, 2006

The public must be prevented from learning the contents of a conversation between Tony Blair and President George Bush about the conduct of the war in Iraq - crucial evidence in a forthcoming official secrets trial - an Old Bailey judge ruled yesterday.

Any discussion of an already partially leaked document - in which Mr Bush purportedly said in April 2004 that he wanted to bomb the Arabic satellite TV station al-Jazeera, and Mr Blair expressed concern about US military tactics in the Iraqi city of Falluja - must be heard behind closed doors, Mr Justice Aikens ruled. He also banned the public and the media from hearing the prosecution's arguments on the grounds of national security.

Defence lawyers who have seen the four-page document argue that its contents are at most embarrassing...
- continues here

Karneval in Mainz

March 2003: Angela Merkel emerges from the buttocks of Uncle Sam after lambasting the SPD/Green government for opposing the invasion of Iraq.

"it takes so long to saw the chains off your mind."

Maxims and Reflections has a wonderful post on the everyday moral insanity manifested in reactions to the attack on Lebanon :
Anyway, Carroll is wrong, he himself is all fucked up and twisted, probably by stuff he's been hearing since he was a kid. I'm still half fucked up myself; it takes so long to saw the chains off your mind. But, you know, one day it's going to happen. People will throw off this shit, nationalities and religions and all the other stickers we put on each other's kids saying it's okay to kill them, and we'll realize that there's only one enemy, the kllers. The killers secure our allegiance by pretending to be enemies to each other. But the killers are playing on one team and we are playing on the other and we are losing. But, in the absence of worldwide anarchist revolution, it's important to keep score, especially if you are a taxpaying citizen in the country that's paying for all this carnage, without which it would not be taking place.

The worst thing I think I saw on TV was last week, on C-Span's morning call-in show, where you think you would hear the voices of people somewhat knowledgable about international affairs, about history, about anything, if they're bothering to call this relatively highbrow show. But there you could hear the result of the U.S. educational system, of the media, of the barbarism of popular culture. The calls alternated from "left" to "right" and practically everyone was a racist. Someone started going on about the Jews controlling the media, etc., then the next one said that the previous caller's racism was unconscionable and doesn't he know that Israel has to destroy these Arab animals, and it went on in that vein. People are being butchered, nobody knows anything, nobody has anything to offer but miles and miles of hate...
- From Maxims and Reflections

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

It's Official: The 9/11 Report is a Comic

From the Washington Post:

The two are well established in the graphic world. Jacobson, 76, the creator of "Richie Rich" series, used to be editor in chief of Harvey Comics. Colón, 75, who drew "Richie Rich" and "Casper" for 25 years, also worked for Harvey before a short stint as an editor at DC Comics -- the home of characters such as Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Superman and the Flash. He also illustrated for Marvel Comics, where Spider-Man and the X-Men were created.

Bush massages Merkel

Words fail me. The video is here.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Eye Myth

Stan Brakhage

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Frédéric Chopin: Ballade no. 1

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

Frédéric Chopin: Etude op. 10 no. 4

Sviatoslav Richter

Harp attack

"The most extraordinary noise in all Varèse is the harp attack ('heart attack,' I almost said and that is what it almost gives one) in La croix du sud." - Igor Stravinsky

(The sound is hidden in the background, around 4:42, during the line: "Les singes du Pôle sont albinos ambre et neige/ et sau-pwong-tent vêtus d’aurore boréale.")