August 5, 2006

Washington Monthly
Guest:ŹRebecca Sinderbrand

TALKING TO SYRIA....There are still plenty of nay-sayers, but the chorus calling for Syrian involvement in crafting a Lebanon ceasefire solution now includes Richard Armitage, Warren Christopher, and Mr. Flat World himself, Tom Friedman.

The idea isn't limited to diplomacy's backseat drivers. With the notable exception of France (which is trying to seduce Syria's closest ally, Iran),

most EU governments believe the path to peace runs through Damascus. In the same way that the U.S. is the only party that can influence Israel to stop the bombing, they say, then like it or not, Syria is the only actor with the clout ÷ and the willingness ÷ to do the same on the other side. more...

August 4, 2006

Weapons of Mass Destruction Discovered Here: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and North Dakota
by Bill Quigley Ź

On August 6, 1945 the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Three days later, the US dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki. These nuclear weapons killed over 100,000 people, almost all civilians, and injured many tens of thousands more.

Fr. Carl Kabat, 72, Greg Boertje-Obed, 51, and Michael Walli, 57, sit in jail in North Dakota awaiting a federal criminal trial because of weapons of mass destruction and because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I visited them last week.

Their crime? They tried to disarm one of the 1700+ nuclear weapons in North Dakota. On June 26, 2006, they went to the silo of a Minuteman III first-strike nucclear missile and wrote on it "If you want peace, work for justice." Then they hammered on its lock and poured some of their own blood over it. They waited to be arrested and have been in jail ever since. If convicted, they face imprisonment of up to ten years for criminal damage to federal property.

The Minuteman III is a first-strike intercontinental nuclear missile with a range of over 6000 miles and carries 27 times the destructive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. There are over one hundred fifty Minuteman III missiles planted in the grounds in silos in just the northern part of North Dakota. more...

August 3, 2006

Evidence of Election Fraud Grows in MŽxico
By Chuck Collins and Joshua Holland

As the U.S. media distorts the aftermath of the July 2 election, evidence suggests there may be an attempted theft in progress.

A month after more than 41 million Mexicans went to the polls to elect their next president, the country is still awaiting a result. A preliminary count of polling station tally sheets put conservative Felipe Calder—n of the National Action Party (PAN) ahead with a slight lead over left-populist Andres Manuel L—pez Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD). Both candidates have claimed victory, with L—pez Obrador and his supporters holding vigils and protests across the country and calling for a vote-by-vote recount.

That hasn't kept a consensus from emerging in the commercial media that Calder—n won by a small margin in a squeaky-clean election. In a hyperbolic editorial on July 30 -- one that bordered on the ridiculous -- the Washington Post accused L—pez Obrador, known as AMLO to his supporters, of taking "a lesson from Joseph Stalin" and launching an "anti-democracy campaign" by demanding a manual recount and urging his supporters to take to the streets in peaceful protests. Calling the vote "a success story and a model for other nations," the editors concluded that it's "difficult to overstate the irresponsibility of Mr. L—pez Obrador's actions."

Days after the election, the New York Times irresponsibly declared candidate Calder—n the winner, even though no victor had been declared under Mexican law, and just this week, in an article about L—pez Obrador's protests, the Times reported that L—pez Obrador had "escalated his campaign to undo official results."

But there are no "official" results and probably won't be until after Sept. 1. Under Mexican law, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) is charged with running the elections and counting the vote. But only the country's Election Tribunal, known by its Mexican nickname as the "TRIFE," has the power to declare a victor (See here for background on the TRIFE). They have until Sept. 6 to rule on the election. more...

August 2, 2006

America Struggles With Its Own Evangelical Taliban
by Pierre Tristam Ź

At this late stage of the Bush rapture, American evangelism is a lot like the Exxon Valdez: Massive, sloshing with oily energy and not a little drunk on its power as it steers through hazards of its own designs. The moment evangelicals began tearing down the church-state wall, the rubble became their shoals. The wreck will be ugly. It will take years to mend because, as one of their own, Minnesota's Rev. Gregory Boyd, recently put it: "Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn't bloody and barbaric. That's why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state." Meanwhile, too much damage is being done by policies keyed to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" not to have lasting consequences abroad and at home.

The wreck's effects abroad are spreading. Remember William Boykin, the Army lieutenant-general who went around Christian congregations after Sept. 11, telling them how he knew that "my" God "was bigger than his" (one of Osama's lieutenants), "that my God was a real God, and his was an idol"? Instead of being relegated to sorting junk mail in a Pentagon basement, Boykin was promoted to undersecretary of defense for intelligence -- including the supervision of prison interrogations. It's "his" God against the jihadis now in Iraq and Afghanistan, and apparently "his" God against the Constitution or the Geneva Conventions.

The evangelical assault on secular values at home is no less dangerous than its Islamic variant. It's a difference of degrees, not substance. The difference is hard to see when evangelicals eagerly thump for blood-letting abroad or stage-manage it like Boykin and his crusading commander-in-chief do. John Hagee is a Texas evangelical and leader of that hybrid known as the Christian Zionist movement. He commands a huge following and the ear of politicians, Bush among them. Earlier this month Hagee led a rally of 3,500 evangelicals at a Washington hotel, where he called Israel's attacks on Lebanon a "miracle of God" and proof that Israel was doing God's work. Hagee was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying that for Israel to show restraint would violate "God's foreign policy statement" toward Jews. Bush sent Hagee a message of praise for "spreading the hope of God's love and the universal gift of freedom." more...

August 1, 2006

How Can "Terrorism" Be Condemned While War Crimes Go Without Rebuke?
Washington's partners in this hypocritical war on terror are given free reign to wreak their own brutal, illegal violence
by David Clark Ź

As if we didn't know it already, the conflict in Lebanon shows that truth and war don't mix. All parties to the tragedy of the Middle East resort to disinformation and historical falsification to bolster their case, but rarely has an attempt to rewrite the past occurred so soon after the fact. Israeli ministers and their supporters have justified the bombardment of Lebanon as "a matter of survival." Total war has been declared on Israel, so Israel is entitled to use the methods of total war in self-defense. This would be reasonable if it were true, but it isn't. It's completely false.

The conflict was triggered by a Hezbollah operation in which two Israeli soldiers were captured and three killed. Let's be frank, this wasn't exactly the Tet offensive. It certainly didn't justify Israel's ferocious onslaught against the very fabric of Lebanese society. Yes, the rocket attacks on Haifa are an appalling crime, but they followed rather than preceded Israel's decision to escalate the fighting. They cannot provide retrospective justification for Israeli strategy. more...


Qana bombs an Israeli 'war crime

Human Rights Watch accused the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) of treating southern Lebanon as a "free-fire zone".

It said the failure to distinguish between civilians and combatants could be judged as a war crime, and called for an UN probe into the conflict. more...

July 31, 2006

Baghdad Burning

... I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend...

Sunday, July 30, 2006 Ź

Qana Massacre...
Although the sun is blinding this time of year in our part of the world, the Middle East is seeing some of its darkest days·

I woke up this morning to scenes of carnage and destruction on the television and for the briefest of moments, I thought it was footage of Iraq. It took me a few seconds to realize it was actually Qana in Lebanon. The latest village to see Israeli air strikes. The images were beyond gruesome- body parts and corpses being hauled out from under tons of debris. Wailing relatives and friends, searching for loved ones· So far, according to humanitarian organizations, 34 were children. They killed them while they were sleeping inside their bomb shelters- much like the Amriya Shelter massacre in 1991.

We saw the corpses of the children on television, lifeless and twisted grotesquely, what remained of their faces frozen in expressions of pain and shock. I just sat there and cried in front of the television. I didnāt know I could still feel that sort of sorrow towards what has become a daily reality for Iraqis. Itās not Iraq but it might as well be: Itās civilians under lethal attack; itās a country fighting occupation.

Iām so frustrated I canāt think straight. Iām full of rage against Israel, the US, Britain, Iran and most of Europe. The world is going to go to hell for standing by and allowing the massacre of innocents. For Godās sake, 34 children??? The UN is beyond useless. Theyāve gone from a union of nations working for the good of the world (if they ever were even that), to a bunch of gravediggers. Theyāre only good for digging mangled bodies out of the ruins of buildings and helping to identify and put them into mass graves. They wonāt stop a massacre- they wonāt even speak out against it- theyāll just come by and help clean up the mess. Are the lives of Arabs worth so little? If this had happened in the US or UK or France or China, somebody would already have dropped a nuclear bomb· How is this happening?

Where is the Security Council??? Why havenāt they stopped Israel? Ehud Olmert recently told Condi that he needs 10 to 14 more days of bloodshed- and nothing is being done about it! Where are the useless Arab leaders? Canāt the pro-American, spineless emirs crawl out of their gold palaces long enough to condemn this taking of lives? Our presidents/leaders are only as influential as their oil barrels are deep.

And the world wonders how Īterroristsā are created! A 15-year-old Lebanese girl lost five of her siblings and her parents and home in the Qana bombing· Ehud Olmert might as well kill her now because if he thinks sheās going to grow up with anything but hate in her heart towards him and everything he represents, then heās delusional.

Is this whole debacle the fine line between terrorism and protecting ones nation? If itās a militia, insurgent or military resistance- then itās terrorism (unless of course the militia, insurgent(s) and/or resistance are being funded exclusively by the CIA). If itās the Israeli, American or British army, then itās a pre-emptive strike, or a Īwar on terrorā. No matter the loss of hundreds of innocent lives. No matter the children who died last night- theyāre only Arabs, after all, right?


July 30, 2006

Dozens killed in Lebanon air raid

More than 54 civilians, at least 34 of them children, have been killed in a town in south Lebanon in the deadliest Israeli strike of the conflict so far.

Displaced families had been sheltering in the basement of a house in Qana, which was crushed after a direct hit.

Lebanon's prime minister denounced "Israeli war criminals" and cancelled talks with the US secretary of state. more...


The Final Say
Israeli soldiers are again being sent into the quagmire of Lebanon, being used as battering rams by the U.S. against Syria and Iran
by Eric Margolis Ź

The spreading war in Lebanon has bared the bizarre contradictions and self-destructive nature of U.S. Mideast policy.

With one hand, the U.S. sends $30 million of food and blankets to Lebanon for the 20% of its population made refugees by Israel's bombing.

With the other, it rushes planeloads of precision bombs to Israel, one of which may have destroyed a UN border observer post, killing four, including a Canadian major.

In Rome, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week blocked international efforts by Europe and Washington's Arab allies to halt the war. Not since Colin Powell's grotesque lies to the UN about Iraq has American diplomacy so debased itself. Small wonder hatred for America is surging across the Muslim world.

Rice also proclaimed the U.S. was going to midwife the birth of a "new Middle East" by means of the Lebanon war. This latest absurdity comes from the same fools and right-wing ideologues that fathered the Iraq debacle.

However, Canadian PM "Steve" Harper has no doubts. He suggested the deceased Canadian major and his UN-mandated post may have been at fault for being in the way of Israeli bombs, and that Israel's destruction of the southern third of Lebanon was a "measured response." Many Canadians must suspect they elected a prime minister who actually may be George Bush's intellectual equal. more...

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