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(DV) August 2006 Articles

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August 31

Hurtling Towards the Next Intifada: An Interview with Jonathan Cook
by Andrea Bistrich

This is an edited version of an interview published in German in the newspaper Die Junge Welt on July 1, 2006 between Andrea Bistrich and the British journalist Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel, about his new book Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish State (Pluto Press, 2006) about Israel’s plans for the further dispossession of the Palestinians. The interview was conducted before Israel’s attack on Lebanon....
(full interview)

The Return of People Power
by John Pilger

John Pilger reaches behind the news of war and suffering and is inspired by the rise of popular resistance throughout the world: from Lebanon to Latin America, to an unprecedented level of political awareness in Britain.....
(full article)

Poisoned Water, Government Response, and Race: 
Black Families Still Must Wait Longer for Protection
by Robert D. Bullard

A recent New York Times article, “Texas Lawsuit Includes a Mix of Race and Water,” detailed what many environmental justice advocates have known for decades. Namely, there is a clear racial divide in the way government responds to emergencies-toxic contamination, industrial accidents, and natural and man-made disasters-affecting blacks and whites. Long before Hurricane Katrina created the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history and the levee breach drowned New Orleans nearly a year ago, millions of African Americans from West Harlem to South Central Los Angeles learned the hard way that waiting for government to respond can be hazardous to their health and the health of their community.....(full article)

Tearing Down the Master's House:
An Interview With Derrick Jensen, author of
End Game
by Adam Engel

Adam Engels interviews environmental activist and radical writer Derrick Jensen about his new two-volume book End Game: "We are in a crisis. We are literally in the midst of “the Apocalypse.” The dominant culture is not going to change. What I'm saying in Endgame Volumes 1 and Volume 2, is if you really believe the culture must change, what does that mean for your strategy and your tactics? For the most part we all say we don't know because we don't talk about it. The reason we don't talk about it is because we are all so busy pretending that things are going to somehow magically work out if we can just buy fair trade or something.".....(full interview)

by Jodi Dean

If freedom is no longer an American value what, if anything, has taken its place? I'm tempted to co-opt Stephen Colbert and suggest 'free-ness.'.....(full article)

The New South Africa: From National Liberation to Neo-Liberalism
by David Silver

The fall of apartheid South Africa was largely made possible by the internationalist solidarity provided by Socialist Cuba, which defeated the racist regime at Cuito Carnivale in Angola. As the Australian journalist and anti-imperialist John Pilger cogently stated, South Africa’s rebirth as a “rainbow nation” is really a lesson in betrayal.....(full article)

August 29

The Lobby and the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon: Their Facts and Ours
by James Petras

All the national, state and local Jewish organizations have launched a $300 million fundraising and propaganda campaign in support of the 21 Jewish civilians and 116 soldiers killed during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon (but not the 18 Israeli Arabs who were excluded from Jews-only bomb shelters). As adjuncts of the Israeli foreign office not a single one of the 52 organizations which make up The Presidents of the Major Jewish Organizations in the US voiced a single public criticism of Israel’s massive destruction of civilian homes, hospitals, offices, supermarkets, refugee convoys and churches and mosques, and the deliberate killing of civilians, UN peacekeepers and rescue workers with precision bombing. On the contrary the entire Jewish lobby echoed in precise detail the Israeli lies that the Lebanese deaths were caused by the Lebanese resistance’s “use of human shields,” despite the total devastation of the heavily populated southern suburbs of Beirut, completely out of range of any Hezbollah rockets. The magnitude of the Jewish Lobby’s cover-up of Israel’s massive military assault can be measured in great detail.....(full article)

J’Accuse: The Latest Ramsey Fiasco
and the Responsibility of the Media
by Walter A. Davis

In recent days one has heard this complaint in many alternative media: why, with all the deaths in Iraq and Lebanon and Haifa etc., the fixation in the mainstream media on the death of a single individual, a little girl who died ten years ago? While I sympathize with this concern, I think there is another lesson we can learn here. (And, as I’ll show, one that connects what happens in Amerika on the little stage with what Bush and Company continues to project on the large one.).....(full article)

The Murtha Model: How the Democratic Party Misleads Antiwar Voters
by John A Murphy

We all know how the antiwar movement fell silent in 2004 so as not to jeopardize the bloodthirsty campaign of John Kerry who promised to kill more Iraqis faster and cheaper than George Bush. Last week some of us experienced a similar phenomenon in Washington, DC and in other cities around the nation. When a demonstration was held to protest Israel's vicious attack on Lebanon, the antiwar movement, especially those associated with the Coalition for Peace and Justice did not participate. In fact, locally they have offered no response at all to the actions of Israel. The hero du jour of the Democrats is John Murtha -- shades of Wesley Clark. Murtha is the Democratic Party's chief militarist who says verbally that we have to bring our troops home from Iraq but whose actual proposal calls for their redeployment to Kuwait so that they can be ready to invade Iraq or to stage an invasion against Iran or Syria.....(full article)

Senator Hillary Clinton: All Show and No Substance

by Sibel Edmonds & William Weaver

Recent surveys measuring public opinion and confidence in congress all arrived at the same conclusion: over seventy percent of Americans have lost faith and confidence in the United States Congress. The public no longer trusts this body of politicians who were elected to represent the people and the peoples’ interests. Instead, they now view these “representatives” as servants of special interest groups, corporations and high-powered lobbyists. Americans are tired of watching and listening to elected officials who refrain from taking a strong stand on crucial issues, and who almost never state their positions with conviction and sincerity. In the eyes of the nation these senators and representatives are nothing more than programmed publicity puppets, competing for face time in the media. Common adjectives used by our citizens to describe these officials clearly reflect their sentiments: “spineless,” “phony,” “corrupt,” “out of touch,” “timid,” “all show and no substance,” and the list goes on. Why have we Americans lost confidence and faith in those elected? Where and when did we go wrong; or perhaps more correctly, they go wrong? What have these representatives done, or, failed to do, that arouses such anger and loathing in the very same constituents who voted them into office? Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is a perfect example....(full article)

Global Warning Brouhaha Heating Up Among
Conservative Evangelicals
by Bill Berkowitz

While last month's record-setting heat wave may have convinced televangelist Pat Robertson that Global Warming is a clear and present danger, a healthy number of conservative evangelicals, academics, theologians, and political leaders still have their doubts. In a sweltering summertime concurrence, both Robertson's conversion and a report from a group calling itself the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance (ISA) came while many Americans were escaping the heat wave by shuffling off to movie theaters to see Al Gore's critically acclaimed film "An Inconvenient Truth." Reaction to Gore's film -- which was scorched by the conservative media -- Robertson's second thoughts, and the ISA report are all indicative of how conservatives are responding to global warming.....(full article)

August 25

The Liquid Bomb Hoax: The Larger Implications
by James Petras

The charges leveled by the British, US and Pakistani regimes that they uncovered a major bomb plot directed against nine US airlines is based on the flimsiest of evidence, which would be thrown out of any court, worthy of its name.  An analysis of the current state of the investigation raises a series of questions regarding the governments’ claims of a bomb plot concocted by 24 Brits of Pakistani origin.....(full article

Stoking Hate Toward Arabs and Muslims
Politicians Responsible for Climate of Racism
by Sharon Smith

British authorities grabbed headlines on August 10, claiming to have foiled Muslim terrorists harboring incriminating liquids in their homes -- sending U.S. and British airports into an anti-terrorist frenzy. But the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was simultaneously zeroing in on another alleged conspiracy: men of “Middle-Eastern descent,” who were scooping up cell phones at Wal-Mart stores in Ohio and Michigan. On August 8, two such suspects, Ali Houssaiky and Osama Sabhi Abulhassan of Dearborn, Mich., were arrested in Marietta, Ohio, after a traffic stop -- when officers discovered 12 cell phones, $11,000 in cash and “airplane passenger lists” in their car. The men claimed the passenger lists were left by a relative who worked at an airport and said they were buying cell phones to resell them at a profit. They were nevertheless charged with supporting terrorism. Within days of the Ohio arrests, three Palestinian men from Texas -- Adham Othman, Louai Othman and Awad Muhareb -- were arrested in Caro, Mich., with 1,000 cell phones and digital photos of the Mackinac Bridge, linking Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. They also were charged with terrorism.....(full article)

Simply Blown Away
by Emma Dixon

When I was a child, I remember my mother waking all of us children in our modest house north of New Orleans to alert us about a severe storm. The crashing thunder and the lighting flashing at the windows had already made sleep virtually impossible. My mother insisted that we get dressed so that if we were blown away, we would be fully clothed. Five decades later, my mother was blown away by Hurricane Katrina. She survived the 160 mph winds, but the storm shook her foundations, as it did with the houses near her home in Bogalusa. Her health, already precarious, deteriorated steadily over this past year. She was hospitalized earlier this summer, and is still unable to come home. I'm not alone in struggling with seniors' reactions to Hurricane Katrina.....(full article)

Confronting Gender After Katrina: An Interview with Shana Griffin
by Elena Everett

Elena Everett interviews Shana Griffin, a resident of New Orleans and organizer with INCITE: Women of Color Against Violence and Critical Resistance New Orleans. Shana grew up in the Iberville Housing Development and is completing a Masters Degree in Sociology at the University of New Orleans. She is currently working on the Women’s Health and Justice Initiative, which is a coordinating with several organizations to open a Women’s Health Clinic this September in the historic Treme district of New Orleans....(full interview)

The Year the Levees Broke
by Greg Palast

America went through a terrible year. The levees broke in New Orleans. When bodies floated in the streets, the Republican Congress saw an opportunity for more tax cuts and consolidation of the corporatopia they had created for their moneyed donors. The Democratic Party was clueless, written off, politically at death's door. The year was 1927. Back then, when the levees broke, America awoke. Public anger rose in a floodtide, and in that year, the USA entered its most revolutionary period since 1776. The 34-year-old utility commissioner of Louisiana, Huey P. Long, conceived of a plan to rebuild his state based on a radical program of redistributing wealth and power. The ambitious Governor of New York, Franklin D. Roosevelt, adopted it, and later named it The New Deal. America got rich and licked Hitler. It was our century. It's 1927 again.....(full article)

August 24

The Mythical End to the Politics of Fear
by Norman Solomon

Five years into the “war on terror,” it’s still at the core of American media and politics. Yeah, I’ve seen the recent polls showing a drop in public support for President Bush’s “war on terror” claims. And I’ve read a spate of commentaries about Bush’s current lack of political traction on the terrorism issue, like the New York Times piece by Frank Rich on Aug. 20 triumphantly proclaiming that “the era of Americans’ fearing fear itself is over.” That’s a comforting thought, hovering somewhere between complacent and delusional. Reflexive fear may be on vacation, but it hasn’t quit. The “war on terror” motif is fraying -- but it remains close at hand as a mighty pretext for present and future warfare.....(full article)

Women’s Equality Day: In Praise of Radical Women 
by Lucinda Marshall

Women’s Equality Day on August 26 is celebrated as a commemoration of the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. While most of us now take this right for granted, in its day, women’s suffrage was a controversial issue and those who fought for it were considered radicals. While this is an excellent opportunity to honor this significant moment in our history, it is also a chance to recognize the radical women of our own time who are working not only to insure that the democratic process really works and that our votes count but also to rectify the situation when it doesn’t.....(full article

Canned Hunts: Sports Afoul
by Walter Brasch

Ralph A. Saggiomo is an affable sort of fellow, one you probably wouldn’t mind having a couple of beers with, swap a few tales, and discuss just about anything. He grew up in one of the most rural, most remote parts of the country, and considers himself to have the same values as the Colonials who lived in Pennsylvania more than two centuries earlier. But, he’s also lived in urban America. He was a Philadelphia firefighter for 33 years, the last few in command positions. After retirement, he moved back to his 75-acre family farm in Sayre, Pa., and continued his work in local civic organizations, becoming president of both the Greater Valley Emergency Medical Services and the Sayre Business Association. He’s a member of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing & Conservation, and was president of the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania, an association that claims about 20,000 members. For 60 years, Ralph A. Saggiomo has proudly been killing fish and game, both small and large. Name a domestic species, and he’s probably shot at it, wounded it, or killed it.  He says he was told one of his more recent kills was a Dall Sheep; more likely, it was a Texas Dall ram, a lucrative target because of its thick curly horns. The rams, a hybrid of Corsican and Mouflon sheep, are primarily bred to look like the Dall Sheep, native to the mountainous regions of Alaska and the northwest part of Canada. Dall sheep are a challenge to hunters because of their adept ability to escape into the steep mountainous slopes. Domesticated Texas Dall rams pose no such problems. Whatever he killed -- “dispatched” and “harvested” are the terms hunters euphemistically prefer -- Saggiomo didn’t have to go more than 3,000 miles to the sub arctic mountains, he only had to go about 50 miles from his home to the Tioga Boar Hunting Preserve. Saggiomo’s day of killing, a gift from his family, was in a fenced-in area.....(full article)

Again, Arabs to Fish in a “Dead Sea”
by Nicola Nasser

Undeterred by any historic experience, the Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on July 15 seemed intent not to desist from fishing in the “dead sea” of the United Nations and decided to send a delegation to a ministerial meeting of the UN Security Council in mid-September with the aim of launching a new Middle East peace process. More of the successive failed “peace processes” as a management practice during intervals between wars is no more convincing to Arab populace as an alternative to real peace-making. The United Nations has proved a dead-end for making peace in the Middle East. The latest U.S. veto at the U.N. Security Council on July 13 to abort a PLO-initiated and Arab-drafted resolution should be a fresh reminder that the U.N. will lead to nowhere.....(full article)

Through the Looking Glass
by Aftab Ahmad Malik

Why do Muslims hate the West so much when it has always shown them such benevolence? A study of history shows us just how much Western powers have helped Muslim countries -- repeatedly, in major ways. The generous West completely restructured their ailing countries, created nation states (made roadmaps along the way!), and installed inspiring, strong leaders, all in a valiant attempt to bring Muslims freedom. They even created Israel: a democratic role model for all Muslim countries (please ignore those extreme right wing religious fanatics); it is an inspiration, and a reminder of the favours of the West for that region. Muslims are so lucky.....(full article)

Inside a Veterans’ Group: Writing About War and Peace 
by Shepherd Bliss

After being raised in the military family that gave its name to Ft. Bliss, Texas, I have tried to live a normal civilian life.  After serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam Era, I have tried to live a normal civilian life. But like many “military brats” and veterans, I have not always adjusted so well to life outside the service. I spent over 20 years being militarized and have now lived nearly 40 years de-militarizing myself. Those formative first two decades have been hard to overcome, though I can usually cope and pass. Then war breaks out again......(full article)

August 22

Trying to Make It Home: New Orleans One Year After Katrina
by Bill Quigley

New Orleans is still in intensive care. If you have seen recent television footage of New Orleans, you probably have a picture of how bad our housing situation is. What you cannot see is that the rest of our institutions, our water, our electricity, our healthcare, our jobs, our educational system, our criminal justice systems -- are all just as broken as our housing. We remain in serious trouble. Like us, you probably wonder where has the promised money gone? (full article)

The Katrina Anniversary
by Jordan Flaherty

“I want as many people to come visit here as possible,” a lower 9th ward resident named Calvin told me as we walked past the infamous breached levees and destroyed homes of his neighborhood. “The national media has forgotten us, the politicians in DC have forgotten us. I support anything to get the word out.” Among many people I've spoken with in New Orleans, this sentiment is common; the idea that the country has moved on, and if people would just come here and see for themselves, they’ll bring attention and consciousness. Beginning days after the storm, New Orleans hosted a stream of celebrities and political players, from Sean Penn to Spike Lee, a United Nations Human Rights envoy, and a series of PR visits from president Bush. Later, Women of the Storm, a nonpartisan group led mostly by wealthy white women from New Orleans, raised a lot of cash and publicity for their mission to fly to DC and convince congressional representatives to come here and view the devastation. Now, we are days away from the long-heralded anniversary of the destruction of our city, and once again the tour buses are filling up.....(full article

Democrats Stifle Antiwar Voices, Again
by Joshua Frank

The Democratic Party doesn’t allow dissent, and like the Republican Party, they are even willing to stifle democracy in order to ensure their ascendancy on Election Day. Here in New York the Democratic Party has willfully ignored Jonathan Tasini’s popular antiwar campaign against Hillary Clinton. Tasini, unlike Ned Lamont, is critical of the close relationship between the US and the state of Israel....(full article)

by Peter Kurth

JonBenet Who? Oh, right. It’s all coming back to me now, in spades. That blonde, dimpled, 6-year-old “beauty queen,” dressed and painted like a Vegas hooker, who was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her parents’ home in Boulder, Colorado, on Christmas Day, 1996. Her sudden reemergence as a news item has blown even last week’s shrieking issue, “Terror in the Skies,” right out of the, uh, skies. Who cares about a bunch of tourists having to ditch their shampoo at the airport when we’ve finally got a suspect in (yet another) “Crime of the Century” and, better still, a self-confessed child molester behind bars? And the neat part is, we get to see all that tacky video footage again: JonBenet dressed as a cowgirl or a showgirl, tossing her boa, faking a striptease and grinning at the camera. What fun! And what journalist worthy of the name could possibly pass on a story like this? Lebanon has a “cease fire,” after all, and there were only 3,438 civilian deaths in Iraq in July -- a 9 percent increase from June, but so what? In Britain, John Prescott, the acting head of government while Tony Blair is on vacation, has described George Bush as “crap” and “just a cowboy with his Stetson on,” but so what? Being called names is “the burden of leadership,” says White House spokesman Tony Snow.....(full article)

August 21

-- The Anti-Empire Report --  
Saved Again, Thank the Lord, Saved Again 
by William Blum

From what is typical in terrorist scares, it is likely that the individuals arrested in the UK August 10 are guilty of what George Orwell, in 1984, called "thoughtcrimes." That is to say, they haven't actually DONE anything. At most, they've THOUGHT about doing something the government would label "terrorism." Perhaps not even very serious thoughts, perhaps just venting their anger at the exceptionally violent role played by the UK and the US in the Mideast and thinking out loud how nice it would be to throw some of that violence back in the face of Blair and Bush. And then, the fatal moment for them that ruins their lives forever . . .  their angry words are heard by the wrong person, who reports them to the authorities......(full article)

After Lebanon, Israel is Looking for More Wars
by Jonathan Cook

The bloody nose Israel received in south Lebanon has not shaken its leaders’ confidence in their restless militarism. If anything, their humiliation has given them cause to pursue their adventures more vigorously in an attempt to reassert the myth of Israeli invincibility, to distract domestic attention from Israel’s defeat at the hands of Hizbullah, and to prove the Israeli army’s continuing usefulness to its generous American benefactor.....(full article)

Bush Loses Lebanon at the Roulette Table
by Ahmed Amr

On the Arab Street, the United States is getting a well-deserved share of vilification for promoting the orgy of violence that has already claimed the lives of over a thousand Lebanese civilians. That figure might be no more than a statistic in America. But, because of extensive live coverage on satellite TV, millions of Arabs now have the ability to attend the funerals of many of the victims. Every casualty is seen as an individual tragedy more so when the funerary rituals are for a child. After weeks of exposure to the mutilated lifeless bodies dug up from the wreckage of south Lebanon, Arab audiences now get to witness what the victims looked like before some anonymous Israeli assassin pulled the execution switch from an air-conditioned plane financed with American tax dollars. In the tradition of the south, large color portraits of each victim are carried to the burial grounds along with the caskets. In sharp contrast to the disfigured corpses sealed in their coffins, robust pre-war faces flash carefree smiles from kinder times. Innocent toddlers are buried along with siblings and parents who suffered the same fate -- a destiny that was pre-ordained by George Bush......(full article)

Bush's Iraq Quagmire: "Lions Led By Donkeys"
by Walter C. Uhler

Three years ago, while visiting St, Petersburg, Russia, three Russian friends pointedly advised me that the Russian news media was having a field day with the stupidity of President Bush. Why? Because he not only mispronounced "Abu Ghraib" each of the three times he mentioned it during his nationally televised speech the previous evening, he also mispronounced it three different ways. Which is why I'm curious to know what my Russian friends would say now, given the recent news that Mr. Bush didn't even know, until two months before his order to invade Iraq, that the country was largely populated by antagonistic Sunnis and Shias. Unfortunately, we're talking about something more than a mere "bubble-boy" president, who "just doesn't get it." Rest assured, Mr. Bush infuses his appalling ignorance with self-righteous, in-your-face "attitude." One might call it "punk stupidity." And, beyond our more than 2,600 dead American soldiers, it's costing us dearly in Iraq.....(full article)

175 Years Ago: Nat Turner Puts the South on Notice
by Mickey Z.

Two earlier slave revolts-by Gabriel Prosser and Denmark Vesey-had blazed the path and shattered the myth of African slaves as docile co-conspirators in their plight... but it was Nat Turner who brought reality into the homes of Southerners. Born in Southampton County, Virginia, the deeply religious Turner was prone to visions and dubbed "The Prophet" by his fellow slaves.....(full article)

The CIA-Contra-Crack Connection, 10 Years Later
by Nick Schou

Ten years ago today [August 18], one of the most controversial news articles of the 1990s quietly appeared on the front page of the San Jose Mercury News. Titled "Dark Alliance," the headline ran beneath the provocative image of a man smoking crack -- superimposed on the official seal of the CIA. The three-part series by reporter Gary Webb linked the CIA and Nicaragua's Contras to the crack cocaine epidemic that ripped through South Los Angeles in the 1980s. Most of the nation's elite newspapers at first ignored the story. A public uproar, especially among urban African Americans, forced them to respond. What followed was one of the most bizarre, unseemly and ultimately tragic scandals in the annals of American journalism, one in which top news organizations closed ranks to debunk claims Webb never made, ridicule assertions that turned out to be true and ignore corroborating evidence when it came to light. The whole shameful cycle was repeated when Webb committed suicide in December 2004.....
(full article)

August 18

Lebanese Deaths and Israeli War Crimes Kept off the Balance Sheet
by Jonathan Cook

During Israel’s war against the people of Lebanon, our media, politicians and diplomats have colluded with the aggressors by distracting us with irrelevancies, by concocting controversies, and by framing the language of diplomacy. In the fragile truce that is currently holding while Lebanon waits for Israel to withdraw, we are simply getting more of the same. One example of the many distractions during the war that neatly reveals their true purpose is the “faked Reuters photograph” affair. The supposed scandal of a Lebanese photographer tampering with a picture to add and darken smoke from an Israeli missile attack -- to little or no effect, it should be noted -- has not only been decried by activists on Zionist websites but amplified by mainstream commentators into a debate about whether we can trust the images of this war. Who benefits from these doubts? (full article)

The Real Threat We Face in Britain is Blair
by John Pilger

John Pilger writes about the alleged plot to blow up airliners flying from London and says that "unimaginable mass murder" has already taken place -- in Iraq -- and that the real threat the British face is in Downing Street.....
(full article)

Information Cleansing, Canadian Style
by Bill Berkowitz

If you're a teacher, student, journalist or just a plain concerned citizen interested in finding well-researched documentation about climate change, you can no longer depend on the Canadian government to supply that information. According to Canada's Liberal Party, since early July, the country's government -- under conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper -- has been systematically scrubbing its websites of information regarding global warming and the Kyoto Protocol treaty to curb greenhouse gas emissions. (As of Wednesday, Aug. 16, when you visit the government of Canada's Climate Change website, you find the following message: "The Government of Canada Climate Change site is currently unavailable.") Despite its relatively short time in office, the Harper government has been repeatedly accused of following the lead of the George W. Bush administration in the United States. Now, it appears it has taken up the Bush administration's habit of mixing science and politics by purposefully expunging information from federal websites dealing with climate change and its ramifications. In addition, in designing its new "Made in Canada" plan to deal with the environment and global warming -- a plan due to be unveiled in October -- government officials are working in secrecy and without significant participation from environmental organizations.....(full article)

$2 Million Fine Small Potatoes For Kaiser Transplant Disaster
by Evelyn J. Pringle

Although the $2 million fine levied against Kaiser Permanente was the largest ever imposed by the California Department of Managed Health Care, it seems like small potatoes considering the damage caused by the HMO's failed kidney transplant program. The second largest fine ever levied against an HMO was $1 million back in 2002, following the death of a patient. It also was against Kaiser but obviously did nothing to deter similar misconduct.....(full article)

August 15

Mad Dog on a Leash
by Sheila Samples

The current conflict raging in the Middle East has less to do with self-defense or protecting the homeland than with zionist politics, Christo-fascist talking points and corporate media spin. It is a war of extermination -- a carefully planned crusade for world dominion, and it has been simmering on US and Israeli backburners for decades.....(full article)

The Truth About Terrorism
by Joe Parko

The latest terrorist plot involving airplanes flying from London to the U.S. provides clear evidence that the threat from terrorism is growing. Since our invasion of Iraq, we have seen an appalling rise in terrorist attacks around the world. The sad fact is that the so-called “war on terrorism” is failing and that terrorism is spreading like a cancer and posing more and more danger for us.....(full article)

Military War Resisters Protect First Amendment Freedoms
by Susan Van Haitsma

Freedom. It's the word used over and over by George W. Bush to defend military offensives initiated by his administration. Freedom, he says, is being protected and expanded through the sacrifices of US soldiers ordered into Iraq and Afghanistan. First Amendment rights to speak, assemble, publish, practice religion and petition the government are essential freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution soldiers swear to defend. But are soldiers themselves accorded the rights they are ordered to protect? Is it possible for First Amendment freedoms to be advanced by an institution that suppresses those freedoms? (full article)

Reparations for Iran
by Rosemarie Jackowski 

That the CIA orchestrated a coup in Iran is old news, but it is still relevant for two reasons. For the people of Iran, August 19, 1953 is a day of great national historic importance; beyond that, USA interference in the sovereign affairs of Iran continues today. I pose this question to any of the right wing (they are all right wing) spin masters out there on the airways. What moral or legal right allows the U.S. to dictate limits on the weapons of any sovereign nation? Only a twisted sense of logic would allow a nation that has used nuclear weapons to go unchallenged, while debating the nuclear rights of other less aggressive nations....(full article)

Perspective on the Iran Debate 
by Mitra Roshan and Kourosh Shemirani

The July 19 actions marking the anniversary of the execution of two young men in Mashad, Iran, have initiated an important discussion about the role Western Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) activists can play in relation to persecuted minorities around the world. We feel the July 19 actions were fundamentally flawed and showed a dangerous trend in LGBT politics, which could lead to a counterproductive, if not outright destructive, situation for sexual minorities in Iran and other countries. The problems are both in the misuse of facts and in a poorly developed strategy that is unlikely to achieve its purported goals.....(full article)

Open Letter to Mike Wallace on His Ahmadinejad Interview
by Michael K. Smith

Dear Mr. Wallace, 
Your interview with Iranian President Ahmadinejad was a disgrace to the journalistic profession. You began with the condescending manner of a school principal lecturing the class clown for immature behavior and squandered the entire interview on hypocritically accusatory questions. If gall were an Olympic sport, you'd take the Gold Medal.....(full letter)

August 14

Stop Belittling the Theories About September 11
by Bill Christison

However horrendous the crimes of two of the world’s great liars and terrorists in Gaza and Lebanon, it is imperative that we not let the deeds of Ehud Olmert and George W. Bush distract us from another recent event. The U.S. alliance with Israel and the power of the lobby that lets Israel so easily influence U.S. foreign policy have been major factors in allowing the monstrous slaughter of innocent civilians in Gaza and Lebanon. What is happening in these lands may also encourage Olmert and Bush to start new hostilities in Syria and heavy, possibly nuclear, bombings in Iran -- and this entire mess of neocon pottage may lead to a new World War and clashes of civilizations and religious fundamentalisms that these two wretched politicians seem quite literally to want to impose on the rest of us. It’s a tough case to make that anything else going on in the world -- anywhere -- could possibly be of equal importance. But on July 29 and 30, and then again on August 1, something else happened that increasing numbers of people believe is of equal importance. On these dates C-SPAN rebroadcast a panel discussion, held originally in late June, sponsored by an organization called the American Scholars’ Symposium to discuss what really happened on September 11, 2001. Held in Los Angeles, the meeting lasted two days, and the C-SPAN rebroadcast covered one almost two-hour wrap-up session. The meeting was attended by 1,200 people interested in hearing something other than the official story of 9/11. The TV audience was evidently large enough to spur C-SPAN to broadcast the panel discussion five separate times in four days.....(full article)

Discourse of the Mean Spirits:
False Mantras, Euphemisms and Naked Hypocrisy
by Paul de Rooij

In the face of a major Israeli war of aggression against Lebanon many politicians and pundits have sought to justify the Israeli actions, throwing in an occasional lame rebuke. It is instructive to dissect some of the commonly heard mantras that have been repeated ad nauseam, before being replaced by others.....(full article)

How I Found Myself with the Islamic Fascists
by Jonathan Cook

It occurred to me as I watched the story unfolding on my TV of a suspected plot by a group of at least 20 British Muslims to blow up planes between the UK and America that the course of my life and that of the alleged “terrorists” may have run in parallel in more ways than one.....(full article)

Prepare Your Stakes and Fires
by Zbignew Zingh

What do we really know about an alleged plot to blow up 10 airliners in flight over the Atlantic? Not much -- only what government authorities tell us. Maybe the threat was real. Maybe not. Do you trust the sources of these news stories? What is their track record for truth-telling? As we read the story, did we think, "oh my God, here we go again," or "oh my God, here they go again?" Were you sucked into the vortex of fear generated by the story? Was your fear legitimate or a conditioned response calculated for maximum impact? Are you, am I, being manipulated, or just being informed? (full article)

Lieberman’s Loss and the Future of the Internet
by Bill Willers

Within living memory there has not been such an expression of direct democracy as that allowed by the open and neutral Internet. It reminds one of an old New England town meeting in which everyone from the mayor to the town crank had a chance to vent, but now expanded to cosmic dimensions. The Internet’s dense meshwork of pathways, free of editorial censorship and the political and profit-oriented interests of corporate media owners, has made possible the involvement of vast segments of the human family previously kept in a state of silence and political impotence. That this constitutes major interference to interests intent on controlling information distribution is self-evident. Therefore it’s natural that establishment interests in many political, media and corporate spheres would seek to gain authority over this universe of unsuppressed information and free expression. As Geraldine Ferraro so famously said, “We’ve got to get this Internet under control.” Joe Lieberman’s loss of the Democratic Primary in Connecticut, largely a result of a grassroots “cybercampaign,” has cast a spotlight on corporate-owned media’s growing inability to control public perceptions and the flow of information. It’s a spotlight powerful enough that even the marginally attentive can now see it.....(full article)

Failing Soldiers at Home, Too
by Gene C. Gerard

It’s well known that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld failed to protect the nation’s soldiers during the invasion of Iraq. Numerous news accounts and Congressional reports have established that soldiers in Iraq fought without sufficient body armor, armored vehicles, bullets, and even food. But a multi-million dollar settlement last week between the federal government and American Amicable Life Insurance Company glaringly demonstrates that Secretary Rumsfeld failed to protect soldiers on the home front, too.....
(full article)

The Other Crisis
by Sheila Velazquez

If the door to our Southern border slams shut, an unpleasant smell will fill the air, the smell of rotting produce, much of which is now harvested by hand. But those hands will have been forbidden to cross and do their jobs. Americans will have no one but themselves to blame. Instead of addressing the real looming crisis, the uninformed, including much of the public and the media, fixate on a group of people who are, in fact, providing the consumers of this huge nation with an almost sinful array of food choices. Many in the government probably do know, but they have their own agendas. We hear that Mexican workers are taking jobs that would otherwise be available to us, but most Americans know nothing about growing food, because if they did, they'd be preparing for the apocalypse that is about to come -- hunger caused by drought, growing and transportation costs, and, oh yeah, lack of pickers. If there is one truth, it is this: No one is looking out for you. Another is that the less you rely on other people, including your government, (who, remember, do not give a crap about you) and more on your own skills, the more secure you will be when TSHTF. And since you probably won't have a job, growing your family's food will be a good use of your time.....(full article)

Penis Politics
by Lucinda Marshall

I recently told a sweet but sometimes dense (by his own admission) male friend that it isn’t all about penises. I meant it in a personal sense, but when I opened my morning paper and saw a story about a prostitution ring that involved smuggling women into the country in packing crates, I was reminded that actually it is. My birthday fell on the same day that the story broke about the latest terrorist threat to airplanes (known for some time, but conveniently made public the day after Lieberman’s defeat). Next year maybe I can go on a trip and travel in my birthday suit at the rate things are going. In the meantime, I read that women’s lipsticks are being confiscated. Hairspray too. We should have expected this after they tried to take away our knitting needles and started frisking us if we were wearing underwire bras after 911. I have done some intensive research on this and so far as I can tell the murder rate attributed to any of these items is 0%. Unless of course you tell a woman that she can’t carry them, in which case all bets are off. But in the meantime, our ports are still unsecured (which no doubt is why it is probably painfully easy to bring women into the country in crates). Gun laws are being eased in this country and weapons (many curiously penis shaped) are raining/reigning down on innocent people all over the world.....(full article)

Getting Cognitive: The Limits of George Lakoff’s Politics
by Robert Jensen

One of George Lakoff’s key observations in his work on contemporary political discourse is that “frames trump facts” -- when facts are inconsistent with the frames and metaphors that structure a person’s worldview, the facts will likely be ignored. Ironically, Lakoff’s new book -- Whose Freedom? The Battle over America’s Most Important Idea -- demonstrates that problem all too well. His worldview seems to keep him from the very critical self-reflection that he counsels for liberal/progressive people.....(full article)

August 10

Revolution of Hope 
by Joshua Frank, Kim Petersen, and Sunil K. Sharma

We hadn’t been in Venezuela for more than three hours and we were already traversing the brilliantly spotless subway system in hope of catching a Sunday Presidential celebration. Earlier, we caught a red-eye flight from Atlanta to Caracas and hadn’t had a wink of sleep. That, and a few beers, will make even the most intrepid of travelers a bit weary. Fortunately, we managed to pull it together and make it in time to see Hugo Chavez’s entourage and the rally that led up to one of his long-winded speeches. But no matter how long Chavez stands at the pulpit and talks about his political philosophy, his followers always seem to be asking for more. The event itself was an eye opener for us. Pictures of Chavez and Che were everywhere. From t-shirts to posters, the icons of revolution were ever present. Hope with a “red” flare filled the damp air that day, as did a new brand of socialism. It would be hard for one to walk away from such an experience, where the poor and less fortunate had gathered to hail their leader, and not feel something profound. It was something extraordinary. The only thing that compared to this, for most of us, were the antiwar protests leading up to the second Iraq invasion and the anti-WTO actions in Seattle. No matter what you may think about Chavez or his policies, there is no doubt that Venezuelans adore him. We were fast waking up to something we hadn’t felt before as we battled Bush day in and day out in North America: revolutionary hope, Bolivarian style. And we hadn’t even had our first sips of Venezuelan coffee yet.....(full article)

Hypocrisy and the Clamor Against Hizbullah
by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

A reader recently e-mailed to ask if anyone else was suggesting, as I have done, that Hizbullah’s rocket fire may not be quite as indiscriminate or maliciously targeted at Israeli civilians as is commonly assumed. I had to admit that I have been ploughing a lonely furrow on this one. Still, that is no reason in itself to join everyone else, even if the consensus includes every mainstream commentator as well as groups such as Human Rights Watch.....(full article)

Extraordinary Precision: The Logic of Israel's War on Civilians
by Ramzy Baroud

Israel often acknowledges, with "regret", the high civilian tolls of its war; sometimes it goes as far as apologizing for such unintended "mistakes". The Israeli government however is adamant that it will continue to carry out such attacks; that it’s those who "hide among the civilian population" which deserve the blame, not Israel; that neither Hezbollah nor Palestinian resistance groups seem to care much for the life of Israeli civilians, while Israel does care for Palestinian and Lebanese civilians. In fact, and ironically, according to various Israeli politicians and media pundits, one of Israel’s objectives is to liberate its neighbors from the suffocating grip of terrorists. An objective journalist is expected to highlight both narratives, without pointing out the fallacies of one or the other. Such "objectivity" has served Israel well, since facts on the ground are hardly consistent with its claims.....(full article)

Let's Compare America's Ideals with Christian Ideals
by Lee Salisbury

Do we really appreciate the ideals that make America great? From the Declaration of Independence we find phrases such as “all men are created equal … with certain inalienable rights … Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The Constitution begins, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” We should marvel at the character, the tenacity, the intestinal fortitude of the few who spend a lifetime fighting the forces that oppose America’s ideals as set forth by our founding fathers. Fortunately for America, there was a woman named Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) who would not be intimidated or defeated. She spent her life fighting for equal rights, establishing justice, domestic tranquility and the general welfare for Americans. Her battle started with slavery. After investigating slavery, she shocked the abolitionists by declaring that the Bible and its clergy were the primary reasons for slavery’s existence in America....(full article)

Christian Right Steps Up Pro-Israel Lobbying
by Bill Berkowitz

Over the past two decades, as the Christian Right has grown in political power in the United States, there has been parallel growth in support for Israel. A number of organizations made up of conservative evangelical and Jewish leaders have been founded, and millions of dollars have been raised and donated to charities in Israel. Now, a new group plans to take it up a notch, becoming a significant presence in any political policy debates involving Israel.....(full article)

Focus on Sri Lanka
A Conversation with PK Balachandran (Part 1)
by Fr. Chandi Sinnathurai

PK Balachandran is Special Correspondent of The Hindustan Times in Sri Lanka. The following interview conducted by Chandi Sinnathurai is a “conversation exclusive.”....(full interview)

Deal or No Deal
by Said Shirazi

There’s a new game show on NBC called “Deal or No Deal.” Here’s how it works: you pick one of 26 briefcases, each of which contains an unknown sum of money somewhere between a penny and a million bucks. One by one, you open the other briefcases, and after every few picks, you are offered a buy-out deal, a known sum of money in exchange for the unknown amount in your own case. If the cases you open contain large sums, then the chances that your case has a large sum go down and the offer goes down accordingly. If the cases contain small sums, it becomes more likely that yours has a large one and the offer goes up. Let’s say I open six cases, containing $25,000, $10, $200, $400 and $1000. These are relatively low numbers, which is good, so I will probably receive a good offer. The offers come from a shadowy figure in a control booth high above the stage who telephones the show’s host, who then relays the offer to the contestant. If they decide to take the offer, they lift a glass lid and press a red launch button and the game is over. If not, they must continue to open cases until they accept an offer or reach the last case, their unevaded fate....(full article)

August 9

Democrats Running Scared … Again
by John A. Murphy

The Democratic Party in Pennsylvania is once again trembling in fear. The last time it suffered such a political panic attack was when it faced the prospect of having to run against Ralph Nader in 2004. Since it could not possibly deal with Mr. Nader on an issue-by-issue basis given a candidate like John Kerry, the leaders of the party decided to destroy democracy in Pennsylvania. That sounds like strong language but there are two ways to destroy democracy. One is by preventing people from voting, the other is by preventing worthy candidates from ever appearing on the ballot. In 2004 the Democratic Party removed 63% of the signatures of Pennsylvania citizens from Ralph Nader's petitions using the minutia embedded in the anti-democratic ballot access laws it helped create and effectively destroyed democracy in Pennsylvania.....(full article)

Incumbents Beware:  Peace Voters Mean Business

by Linda Schade

For months, polls revealed increasing opposition to the US occupation of Iraq. Connecticut Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont’s victory in the state primary shows clearly that Americans oppose the war and are willing to vote en mass against pro-war incumbents. In Quinnipiac University’s Thursday poll, 94 percent of Lamont backers cited incumbent Joe Lieberman's position on the war as one reason they backed the challenger. In the final days, Lieberman futilely urged voters to put aside their top priority.  “Look at the whole record,” he pleaded. “Don't vote on one issue.” Protests that he was a ‘good Democrat’ and ‘critical of Bush’ did not spare him from the Peace Voters’ wrath. Rather, anti-war voters across the country flocked to Lamont signaling that they are dead serious about Iraq withdrawal and will vote accordingly.....(full article)

“I Have a Right to Keep My House Safe”
by Mickey Z.

As reported in the New York Times on August 7, 15 states in the last year "have enacted laws that expand the right of self-defense, allowing crime victims to use deadly force in situations that might formerly have subjected them to prosecution for murder." In Florida, for example, people now have the right to use such force "against intruders entering their homes." As one Florida resident declared, "I have a right to keep my house safe." Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, agrees. He explains that if people were to "make a decision to save their lives in the split second they are being attacked, the law is on their side." LaPierre adds: "Good people make good decisions. That's why they're good people. If you're going to empower someone, empower the crime victim." But what about bad people making bad decisions? (full article)

August 8

Following the Profits and Escaping the Debts:
International Immigration and Imperial-Centered Accumulation
by James Petras

Among most writers who discuss international migration (IM), their focus is largely on the individual micro-decision making process, the family networks in the ‘receiving country’ (RC) and the so-called ‘push-pull factors’ which motivate IM. While these approaches provide some data at the level of individual behavior, they fail to explain several fundamental questions regarding IM. For example, the focus on individual micro decision-making (IMD) provides data on the social background of the individual (relatively more ambitious, better educated and more risk-taking than those within their class who do not immigrate). IMD tells us that most migrate for economic reasons, and secondarily to flee political conditions (refugee status). Family network analysis tells us that IM are likely to locate in countries where they have family or relatives. It also describes the support-networks, which operate in the RC in providing housing and job contracts. Push-pull theory examines some of the general ‘macro structural factors’ such as over-population, underdevelopment and underemployment in the sender country (SC) as well as the employment needs of the RC to explain IM. Whatever useful data these approaches provide is overshadowed by serious methodological, theoretical, conceptual and empirical flaws.....(full article)

UN Resolution
by Jonathan Cook

If there were any remaining illusions about the purpose of Israel’s war against Lebanon, the draft United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a “cessation of major hostilities” published at the weekend should finally dispel them. This entirely one-sided document was drafted, noted the Hebrew-language media, with close Israeli involvement. The top adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, talked through the resolution with the US and French teams, while the Israeli Foreign Ministry had its man alongside John Bolton at the UN building in New York. The only thing preventing Israeli officials from jumping up and down with glee, according Aluf Benn of Haaretz newspaper, was the fear that “demonstrated Israeli enthusiasm for the draft could influence support among Security Council members, who could demand a change in wording that may adversely affect Israel.” So no celebration parties till the resolution is passed. Instead, in a cynical ploy familiar from previous negotiating processes, Israel submitted to the US a list of requests for amendments to the resolution. When Israel agrees to forgo these amendments, it will, of course, be able to take credit for its flexibility and desire to compromise; Lebanon and Hizbullah, on the other hand, will be cast as villains, rejecting international peace-making efforts.....(full article)

Israel, Oil and the “Planned Demolition” of Lebanon
by Mike Whitney

By bombing the highways and main bridges into Beirut, Israel has cut off the capital from the outside world and put the entire nation under siege. Israel can now execute its plan to pummel Lebanon into rubble without the threat of foreign intervention. The north has been effectively severed from the south allowing the IDF to continue its ethnic cleansing operations as well as its search-and-destroy missions for Hezbollah fighters. They have meticulously destroyed all the main points of entry at the Syrian border and blockaded the coastline. Israel believes that their earlier occupation (which ended in year 2000) failed due to the unrestricted flow of supplies and weaponry from Syria and Iran. The Bush administration has assisted this effort by providing crucial intelligence from the NSA about the movement of material from the outside. By now, it should be apparent that Israel’s military campaign has nothing to do with Hezbollah’s capturing of the two Israeli soldiers on July 12. The present plan, which was drawn up more than a year ago (and which high-ranking members of the Bush administration were fully briefed), is designed to establish a new northern border for Israel at the Litani River and create an “Israel-friendly” regime in Beirut.....(full article)

Losing the War of Civilizations: Turning Wine into Blood
by Gary Corseri

Christ’s first miracle occurred at Qana. He turned water into wine. Modern civilization uses the miracles of modern technology to turn the wine of our achievements into children’s blood. A stunning example of this anti-miracle occurred last week at Qana when Israeli missiles slaughtered 37 sleeping, sheltering Lebanese children. Without his “press corps” of twelve disciples, Christ’s miracles would have gone unrecorded and Western civilization would have taken a vastly different course. Without the modern media to zoom pictures of anti-miracles around the world, the response and resistance to that “civilization” would be much diluted and probably fail. In their attempt to destroy the “infrastructure” of Hezbollah, Israeli generals are “fighting the last war” -- the 1967 blitzkrieg-successful Six-Day War against Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan, and the extended stalemated war against Hezbollah of 1982-2000. They are employing the “shock and awe,” rapid invasions and targeted assassination tactics which they have used to effect against Palestinians for decades. But these wars and these tactics precede Al Jazeera and other Arab news outlets. They precede the Internet.  They are, if you will, the tactics of “Old Israel,” “Old Britain” and “Old America,” in which Empire employed “full-spectrum dominance” over the media’s images and texts. These tactics will now fail......(full article)

Operation Security Roof (A Developing Story)
by Gilad Atzmon

Following the IDF difficulties in defeating Hezbollah’s and Hamas’s ballistic warfare, the Israeli Government is now searching for contractors with some advanced experience in large scale reinforced concrete constructions. The mission ahead is the building of a solid concrete roof over the entire Jewish State (known as ‘Greater Israel’). PM Ehud Olmert is determined that the only way to defend Israel’s populated area is to cover the Jewish State with a thick layer of iron and cement.....(full article)

Anti-Doping for Bush
by Peter Kurth

A couple of years ago, when the state of the world seemed a little less bleak than it does now -- a little, mind you, not a lot -- a reader wrote in to say that he was tired of my “constant rants about Dubya” and wondered if I could “ever write an entire column without once mentioning the name George W. Bush.”......(let's see)

August 7

Once Again, Error and Betrayal in Lebanon
by Ahmed Amr

“Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made a round of phone calls to her European Union counterparts and Security Council members Monday, ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers today and Security Council discussions later this week. Livni told them that Israel should not be pressured into an immediate cease-fire, and the harsh pictures from Israel’s bombing of Qana on Sunday should not distract attention from the main goal -- implementation of Resolution 1559.” (Haaretz, Aug 1, 2006)  Get this. Israel -- a country with an unrivaled history of ignoring and denigrating the United Nations -- has now assumed the role of enforcing UN resolutions on its neighbors. As the above quote makes clear, the Israeli assaults on Lebanon had very little to do with the abduction of two of its soldiers. Tel Aviv had a plan waiting for an excuse -- an exact replay of the events in 1982......
(full article

Canada: The Honest Broker?
by Kim Petersen

Zionist forces backed by the US are inflicting massive violence on the people of Palestine and Lebanon while most of the rest of the world stands by and looks on. Various “leaders” invert reality and bray about an Israeli right to self-defense. Canada’s prime minister Stephen Harper has been one of the most unabashed supporters of Zionism. Since the election of a minority Conservative regime earlier this year, Canada has been tilting ever rightward, especially, according to some pundits, in foreign policy. One of Harper’s first acts was to break off relations with the elected government of Palestine, Hamas. Following the launch of a murderous Zionist attack on Gaza and Lebanon, Harper mimicked US president George Bush that the government of stolen Palestine (renamed “Israel” by the thieves) “has the right to defend itself.” Harper opined, “I think Israel’s response under the circumstances has been measured.”......(full article)

Symptom of Capitalist Distress: Erratic Israel
by Nathaniel Turner

Capitalism has begun wheezing and sputtering under the influence of its fatal contradictions. One of the more graphic illustrations of the system’s growing irrationality is being vividly painted now by one of its forward outposts -- Israel. The state that Zionism created has begun sensing its mortality and is thrashing around accordingly. The guardians of the state are clearly in the grip of fear and uncertainty. The indiscriminate bombing in Lebanon and Gaza and the resultant killing of civilians and destruction of infrastructure, the kidnapping of Hamas legislators, the targeting of a U.N. observer post and now the outrage on Qana are desperate acts increasingly outside the bounds of common sense.....(full article)

Israel, Not Hizbullah, is Putting Civilians in Danger
on Both Sides of the Border
by Jonathan Cook

Here are some interesting points raised this week by a leading commentator and published in a respected daily newspaper: “The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert embeds his soldiers in Israeli communities, next to schools, beside hospitals, close to welfare centers, ensuring that any Israeli target is also a civilian target. This is the practice the UN's Jan Egeland had in mind when he lambasted Israel’s ‘cowardly blending ... among women and children.’ It may be cowardly, but in the new warfare it also makes macabre sense. For this is a propaganda war as much as a shooting one, and in such a conflict to lose civilians on your own side represents a kind of victory.” You probably did not read far before realizing that I have switched “Israel” for “Hizbullah” and “Ehud Olmert” for “Hassan Nasrallah.” The paragraph was taken from an opinion piece by Jonathan Freedland published in Britain’s Guardian newspaper on 2 August. My attempt at deception was probably futile because no one seems to seriously believe that criticisms of the kind expressed above can be leveled against Israel. Freedland, like most commentators in our media, assumes that Hizbullah is using the Lebanese population as “human shields,” hiding its fighters, arsenals and rocket launchers inside civilian areas. “Cowardly” behaviour rather than the nature of Israel’s air strikes, in his view, explains the spiraling death toll among Lebanese civilians. This perception of Hizbullah’s tactics grows more common by the day, even though it flies in the face of the available evidence and the research of independent observers in Lebanon such as Human Rights Watch.....(full article)

The Great Deception: The Propaganda That We Pay For
by Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar

“What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires -- desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.” (Bertrand Russell) So it is with Messrs. Bush and Blair which have acted time and again on the flimsiest of evidence to reshape Middle East into what they desire it to be: a neo-colonial possession to supply oil while at the same time helping their rich to get richer. You may disagree with this statement, especially, if you have been listening to so much propaganda about spreading democracy in the Muslim world in general and Middle East in particular. So I ask you to look at the following arguments and then decide if the actions taken so far point to fighting terrorism, spreading democracy or hegemony.....(full article)

The Political Corruption of Science
by Gene C. Gerard

Unions representing thousands of scientists and other specialists employed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently complained that EPA officials are ignoring science. The unions indicated that agency administrators are allowing numerous toxic substances to be used in agricultural pesticides. This revelation comes on the heels of a survey by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientists which found that the agency has become so political that it’s no longer protecting public safety. While all presidential administrations, by their very nature, are political, it’s increasingly clear that the Bush administration is using politics to corrupt science. Nine unions comprised of 9,000 EPA scientists maintained that multiple agricultural pesticides are dangerous for pregnant women, children, and the elderly. In a letter to EPA administrator Stephen L. Johnson, union leaders indicated that agency officials seem to believe that “the concerns of agriculture and the pesticide industry come before our responsibility to protect the health of our nation’s citizens.” An EPA scientist warned that the agency often ignores scientific studies that disagree with industry-funded studies. This isn’t surprising, given that the EPA’s own inspector general acknowledged earlier this year that the agency had failed to protect children from pesticide exposure.....(full article)

Luffing the Leeward Sails: How the Left Repeatedly Gets
the Wind Knocked Out of Its Causes
by Zbignew Zingh

We should expect it like the setting sun. In recent times, every time the populist ship of state tacks strongly into an issue -- be it the anti-globalization movement, the anti-war movement, the unraveling of capital chicanery, or the impeachment of the Bushkovites in Washington -- something extraordinary happens to luff our sails and stall the ship's progress. . . . How does it happen? (full article)

The New Frontier
by Natylie Baldwin

As an unusually long and sweltering heat wave enveloped the traditionally mild San Francisco Bay Area, power outages knocked out air conditioning, and gas prices under $3.00 a gallon seemed like leisure suits or vinyl LPs, relics of a long forgotten era, those who have been warning of the consequences of global warming and the eventual decline of a fossil fuel-based life felt an awkward sense of vindication.   Though some progressive icons like Greg Palast still try to write the peak oil movement off using incomplete research and fallacious arguments, increasingly people are awakening to the limits of a system that is utterly dependent upon a finite substance; a substance that is becoming uneconomical and is destroying the earth’s life-support network.....(full article)

August 3

Academic Freedom After September 11
by Neve Gordon

Immediately after September 11, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), founded by Lynn Cheney and Senator Joseph Lieberman, published a report accusing universities of being the weak link in the war against terror and a potential fifth column. As if the general hint at treason was not enough, an appendix to the report listed the names of 117 “un-American” professors, staff members, and students, and the offending statements they had made. A few months after ACTA’s study was disseminated, Daniel Pipes, the director of a think tank called Middle East Forum, launched a blacklisting internet site called Campus Watch, which publishes dossiers on scholars who criticize US policy in the Middle East or Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. On the website one finds a “Keep Us Informed” section, where Pipes encourages students to inform on any professor who deviates from “correct conduct.” Some have obediently complied. These initiatives marked the beginning of a well-orchestrated attack against academic freedom in the US. In mid-January of this year, the Bruin Alumni association offered students $100 to tape leftwing professors at the University of California Los Angeles. The idea was to expose radical professors who “[proselytize] their extreme views in the classroom.” 24-year-old Andrew Jones did not wait long and created a website featuring a hit list of 30 professors he considers the top extremist, leftwing offenders. As Beshara Doumani, a history professor at the University of California Berkeley, points out in his compelling introduction to Academic Freedom after September 11, Pipes and friends have cynically appropriated the liberal terminology of the New Deal and civil rights eras, employing code words such as balance, fairness, diversity, accountability, tolerance, and not least, academic freedom in order to justify the enforcement of a political orthodoxy that undermines these very values.....(full review)

Don’t Gut the Estate Tax
by Howard Behar

The estate tax is still on the agenda within the halls of the US Congress. In our nation’s capital, after Congress failed by several votes in June to abolish the federal estate tax, the Senate will soon consider a bill to gut the law and dramatically reduce the tax. This change would be a mistake. Our federal inheritance taxes raise substantial revenue exclusively from those most able to pay -- the heirs and heiresses of multi-millionaires and billionaires. The federal tax will raise over $1 trillion in the coming 15 years. Paying an estate tax is one of the ways that those of us who have accumulated wealth in our society re-fertilize the garden of opportunity that we have benefited from. As an individual and former executive at Starbucks, I know the hundreds of ways our society’s investments have helped my company and me. None of us exists on an island  -- and no wealth can be created without a society that provides a fertile ground of opportunity.....(full article)

Home Court Advantage: Religion and the Israel Lobby 
by J.A. Miller

I submit for your consideration that the real secret to the sensational success of the Isreal Lobby is the religious home court advantage it enjoys in the west and most particularly in America. This advantage is diffused effectively throughout the generality of western society but nowhere is it more damaging than among ranks of the so-called progressive groups. The religious factor is avoided plague-like by progressives because they are singularly loathe to consider religion as a factor in any issue, preferring instead the safer waters of political, class or economic terms. They shift uncomfortably in their seats and their eyes dart back and forth nervously when the issue of religion comes up unless of course they are called upon to excoriate Muslim treatment of women or decry Falwellian dispensationalism in which case they breathe a sign of relief and heave to. This willingness to castigate “unenlightened” theologies not only smacks of racism and elitism but it also neatly frees progressives from examining their own theologies and how they might skew their ability to think and act in a principled manner.....(full article

De-Arabization of Arab League
by Nicola Nasser

The Israeli bombardment of Lebanon and Palestine as well as the ongoing U.S. process of abruptly and forcibly delivering to life a lifeless new US-modeled Iraqi regime are crushing the Arab League “system” in a life-or-death test and again pushing it into a collision course with the people. Almost all the constitutions and basic laws of the Arab League’s twenty-two states, including the stateless Palestinian Authority, stipulate that their peoples and countries are an integral part of the “Arab nation” and some explicitly pronounce Pan-Arab unity as a national goal. Yet almost all of them in practice pursue policies that flagrantly violate their constitutional stipulations, enveloping their contradiction in Pan-Arab rhetoric Jargon. The desperate outcries for Pan-Arab help by helpless Palestinian, Iraqi and Lebanese Arabs who are being crushed by the American and Israeli merciless war machines are falling on deaf ears with the Arab League’s states, failing to realistically accept the proven fact of life that no help will ever come from the moribund and defunct regional grouping, still floating only thanks to the mercy of the U.S. midwife of the “New Middle East.” And despite the proven and frustrating history of the Arab League “system,” Arab masses are time and again turning to this futile regional grouping to look for help in times of crises.....(full article)

Weapons of Mass Destruction Discovered Here:
Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and North Dakota

by Bill Quigley

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 nuclear 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.....(full article)

August 2

Psychologists, Guantánamo, and Torture:
A Profession Struggles to Save Its Soul
by Stephen Soldz

. . . The Global War on Terror, launched after 9-11, provided yet another opportunity to experiment with these behavioral science-based torture techniques. The establishment of a detention center at Guantánamo for those detained during the Afghanistan war and other battles in the “Global War on Terrorism” provided a particularly favorable environment. A total institution was created whose inmates, the detainees, have, at least in the administration’s opinion, absolutely no rights and where all aspects of their daily life can be monitored and controlled. The administration’s legal doctrine emphasized that essentially anything short of direct murder was legally acceptable.....(full article)

Israeli Newspaper Reports That Army Lied About Qana:
There Were No Hezbollah Fighters or Missile Launchers in Qana
by Ira Glunts

In its lead story yesterday, the Hebrew edition of Ha’aretz Online reported that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) claim that Hezbollah missile launchers and Hezbollah fighters were in and around the building in Qana which they shelled early Sunday morning was false.....(full article)

From Cana to Qana: From the Wedding Then,
To a Slaughter of Innocents Now  
by Gary Leupp

In the second chapter of the Gospel of John (2:1-11), Jesus performs his first public miracle in the small Galilean hill town of Cana. His mother Mary is apparently involved in the planning, and Jesus and his disciples are invited. Maybe due to the presence of too many guests, the wine runs out before the party ends. Mary points this out to Jesus, expecting him to take care of the problem. “My hour is not come yet,” Jesus tells her, implying that it was not yet the time for him to be working miracles, before his public ministry begins. But he does provide the alcohol, miraculously converting six stone jars of water into fine wine. This “was the first of the signs given by Jesus; it was given in Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him” (2:11). Cana has been much in the news lately. It’s now spelled “Qana” and falls within the borders of the state of Lebanon. Recall that on Sunday, Israel precision-guided bombs falling on Qana killed 57 civilians, including 37 children -- just a fraction of the 400-plus slaughtered so far in the Israeli assault on the Jewish state’s northern neighbor. This is what virtually every government in the world, except for the U.S., has called “disproportionate” use of force in retaliation for the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbollah in what may or may not have been Israeli territory. Even the Israeli government, rather than denying the charge, exults in it......(full article)

Confronting the Violence of Dollar Hegemony
by Greg Moses

As Islamic states and communities caucus over the crisis in Lebanon, non-Islamic populations in the West also desire some quick way to peacefully deter the hyper-violence of the reigning Washington-London-Jerusalem machine. Ahmed Amr calls our attention to currency activism, a grassroots dollar boycott, suggested by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. By withdrawing economic activity as much as possible from the production and circulation of USA dollars, billions of people all over the world might collectively compel substantial and lasting concessions from our steel-tipped oligarchs, if not turn them out naked overnight. The power of currency activism can be dramatically envisioned upon premises of dollar hegemony worked out in the pages of Asia Times by economist Henry CK Liu. In dialectics marvelous to read, Liu argues that Clinton’s place in economic history was secured by consolidating dollar hegemony as the monetary structure for globalization, a.k.a. neo-liberalism. The care and feeding required by this system explains odd collaborations between Republicans and Democrats, Texans and Saudis, or think about this one: Wal-Mart shoppers and the Communist Party of China (CPC)......(full article)

Viva Fidel!
by Julie Webb-Pullman

If there was ever any doubt of the extent of the moral and ethical bankruptcy of the Unites States of America’s hard-line Cuban community, spawn of Batista and his henchmen honed to pornographic precision by the CIA, the mean-spirited displays on the streets of Miami by gaggles of gloating gusanos following the announcement of the illness of President Fidel Castro will lay it to rest. Not satisfied with killing, maiming, and otherwise injuring at least three thousand Cuban citizens and scores from other countries over the last 40 years, kidnapping a small boy, and unjustly imprisoning five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters for the past seven years, this illustrious community further demonstrated its attainment of the heights of civilized behavior and humanity by dancing in the streets to celebrate the suffering of one of the greatest statesmen in human history -- and the guy isn’t even dead!
(full article)

August 1

The Case for Israel, by Israel
by Gabriel Ash

For those good souls who woke up suddenly after years of sleep, jolted by the din from the latest Israeli massacre at Qana, and are now wetting their face in the bathroom while mumbling how incomprehensible, how dispiriting it all is, their foreheads furrowed with deep worries as they reassure themselves that the morning coffee would soon bring moral clarity, or at least some damn good excuses, enough to dispel the foggy unease of being so rudely denied the continuation of whatever comfortable dream they were in the middle of, for all those I put together -- and annotated with a large dose of poetic license -- a collection of words spoken or written by Israeli figures in the days before and soon after the moment when an Israeli pilot -- the best of the best no doubt, a son, boyfriend, neighbor, perhaps a father, perhaps “a quiet and conscientious young man,” or “an outgoing and generous friend” -- collapsed with utmost dedication, precision and, yes (why not?), thoughtfulness  that three-story house in Qana on top of the refugees who sought shelter in its basement, killing 54 people of whom 34 were children, in what was the most predictable man made holocaust since Hurricane Katrina exposed the full ugliness of the American class war to the TV cameras. The scattered, disturbed quotes below do not make the massacre’s complete family tree. For that, one would need to go a lot deeper, raking through the muck that accumulated for over a century in the collective psyche of a nation. These are merely a few short brushstrokes added to a portrait to bring forth a neglected something of the subject’s character, a not always pleasant effort that is already more than one usually wants to have with the first coffee of the day. My apologies.....(full article)

Why Do They Hate Us? Listen to Qana (Again)
by Jonathan Cook

The crowds in Beirut last year demanding a Cedar Revolution, “the first shoots of democracy” supposedly planted by the United States, are a distant memory. Yesterday, we saw in their place the fury of Lebanon directed against the capital’s United Nations building -- an early “birth pang” in Condoleezza Rice’s new Middle East. If Israel wanted to widen its war, it could not have chosen a better way to achieve it than by sending its war planes back to the mixed Muslim and Christian village of Qana in south Lebanon to massacre civilians there, as if marking a morbid anniversary. A decade ago, Israeli shelling on the village killed more than 100 Lebanese civilians sheltering in a local UN post. To the Lebanese, and most in the Arab world, the United Nations now symbolizes everything that is corrupt about the international community and its “conscience.” The world body, it has become clearer by the day, is a mere plaything of the United States and, by default, of Israel too. It is nothing more than a talking shop, one so enfeebled that it lacks the moral backbone even to denounce unequivocally the murder of four of its unarmed observers by the Israeli army last week. How can Lebanon expect protection for its civilians from an international body as emasculated as this? (full article)

Mahathir Calls for a Boycott of the Dollar
by Ahmed Amr

Once again, Qana has been struck with another premeditated Israeli atrocity. The horrifying images beamed around the world were in great part manufactured by George Bush and his piano-playing dunce in a red dress. Take a lock of hair from each murdered and disfigured Lebanese child and send it to Condi to keep in her hope chest. Who is this barren spinster with a cult like infatuation for Israel’s violent streak? Why is she having "birth pangs" about a New Middle East at the very same time that she is facilitating the slaughter of the innocent children of innocent mothers? Just last year, the Bush administration was hitching a free ride on the back of the democratic Lebanese uprising that followed the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri. Today, they are providing aid, assistance and moral comfort to the Israeli thugs who are systematically carpet bombing the country that Hariri dedicated his life to rebuilding. As an Arab-American -- I am more certain today than ever that I am a citizen of a racist state. The political elite in Washington continues to be mercilessly indifferent to the loss of Lebanese and Palestinian life. If a state has a racist foreign policy -- you can be certain that it is owned and operated by certifiably psychotic bigots. But complaining and cursing, these Neanderthals will not breathe life into the mutilated corpse of a single Lebanese child. It will not reconstruct the Lebanese infrastructure that was so laboriously built after a quarter of a century of civil war. The time for rage is over and the time to take action has come for all people of good conscience.....(full article)

Why Must the Right Wing Sound So Brutally Stupid?
by John Chuckman

Just when I thought he had shown a glimmer of statesmanship, Stephen Harper, Canada's prime minister courtesy of just over one-third of the vote, reverted to character. Following Israel's apparently-deliberate targeting of four UN observers in Lebanon, including one Canadian, Harper thought it appropriate to ask, not why Israel killed them, but why the observers were there? His inspired question reminded me of nothing so much as a rape-case lawyer attacking the victim with questions along the lines of why was she in such a place? at such a time? wearing such a dress? Condoleezza Rice, Bush's official idiot-savant, gave us a memorable quote last week concerning Israeli barbarism in Lebanon: "We are witnessing the birth pangs of a new Middle East." I wonder what would have been press reaction in America to some high official saying, as the World Trade Center toppled in flames, "We are witnessing the birth pangs of a new America"? (full article)

All That's Given Up in the Name of Security
by Sibel Edmonds and William Weaver

Three days ago we made available to the public news that one of our members, Russell Tice, a former NSA Senior Analyst, had been served with a subpoena asking him to appear before a federal grand jury regarding the criminal investigation of recent disclosures which involved NSA warrantless eavesdropping. Our announcement was followed up in both the main and alternative media, and started heated discussions among online activists. We have received e-mails and letters from people who expressed their support and solidarity with Mr. Tice and other patriotic public servants who have chosen to place our nation, its Constitution, its liberty, thus its public’s right to know, above their future security, careers and livelihood. We have also received e-mails from individuals who argued against the public’s right to know when it comes to issues such as NSA warrantless eavesdropping or mass collection of citizens’ financial and other personal data by various intelligence and defense related agencies. They unite in their argument that any measure to protect us from the terrorists is welcomed and justified. One individual wrote: “so what if they are listening to our conversations. I have nothing to hide, so I don’t mind the government eavesdropping on my phone conversations. Only those engaged in evil deeds would worry about the government placing them under surveillance.” But how far can one let the government go based on this rationale? (full article)

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