This week on GR: Veteran for peace, Mike Ferner and reports from inside Iraq's Red Zone. Tom Rankin and the hijacking of B.C. Hydro. And; Janine Bandcroft brings us up to speed with all that's good to do in and around Victoria this week.
Who could have known? Who could have foreseen the disaster Iraq
would become before the missiles and bombs fell, before the shock and
The millions marching in the streets of towns and cities across the world knew. Movie stars and lesser artists and political celebrities who were ridiculed and refused air time knew. The myriad organizations, both established and hurriedly cobbled against the impeding attack knew. And, the men who planned and executed this horror knew they would profit it.
More than three and a half years on, and the situation in Iraq is worse now than ever. Mike Ferner is an American peace activist, freelance journalist, and author of the book, â€˜Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran for Peace Reports from Iraq.â€™
Mike Ferner in the first half.
Steve is a New
Englander, an educated man. He's been released from jail just a few
hours before the rendezvous with the camera, late at ... all Â» night,
in a crowded bar in Denver. It's a cold night. The judge will not let
him see his son without a shrink being present. Steve is very upset and
outspoken. He talks about what he calls the Shitstem, the justice
system in America; he divides American society amongst those who have
and those who have not, and was on the consequences to come should we
decide to do nothing about it. Steve's an average American, an educated
man angered at a society that he finds profoundly unjust.
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by Richard Kastelein
A paranoid passenger seated next to former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins got nervous on a flight to Brisbane when he saw the rocker reading â€œJihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asiaâ€, a book about Islamic fundamentalists. The passenger contacted the authorities after the plane landed and Henry faced the rubber glove snapping... thanks to the Australian government. For a book.
â€œDays later I received an e-mail from a woman who I guess figured out who I was and found me,â€ Rollins stated. â€œI had been named a â€˜person of interest.â€™ Basically, they get calls like this every five minutes, and Iâ€™m probably on the â€˜who caresâ€™ list, in that theyâ€™ll probably let me into the country again. But the fact that this guy could be that ignorant and call me in on this for a book . . . I was angry. Because of the fact that the guy wouldnâ€™t confront me. I like confrontation. If Iâ€™ve offended you, let me know. Donâ€™t call it in and not leave your name. I just think itâ€™s pretty weak.â€
Freedom is under attack
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Spirituality is intrapersonal. Itâ€™s a liberating and uplifting awareness. It nurtures personal growth. It inspires more conscious perceptions. But when personal spirituality is organized into a religion, an institution is produced and, as all institutions, it then produces a hierarchy who concoct dogma that has nothing to do with spirituality and everything to do with maintaining social and political control.
The Roman Catholic Church lied about and covered-up decades of child abuse by priests. When finally exposed, they responded by banning â€œgay priests.â€ But as Kathryn Conroy, assistant dean of Columbia Universityâ€™s School of Social Work, pointed out in a New York Times piece following the Vaticanâ€™s ban on â€œgay priestsâ€:
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What is forgotten in all of the hysteria about priest sexual abuse is that pedophilia is about a sexual attraction to children (most often, regardless of their sex) and about access. â€¦
Reliable studies show that pedophiles (those adults who sexually abuse children) are overwhelmingly heterosexual. In fact, homosexuals are statistically underrepresented as those who sexually abuse children. â€¦
Further, women have far lower rates of sexually abusing children than men do. So if the church were really serious about protecting children from sexual abuse by priests, gays would not be excluded from the priesthood and ordination would be extended to women.
" Thank you for not putting a bomb in your
"President Bush said the United States is still under the threat of attack and will continue to be right up until Election Day."
-- Jay Leno
Hand-in-hand with his threat warnings, Bush keeps telling us how his War on Terror has made us so much safer, bragging that there hasn't been a terrorist attack in the United States in the five years since the one of September 11, 2001. Marvelous. There wasn't a terrorist attack in the United States in the five years before that day either. But thanks to the War on Terror -- particularly the bombing, invasion, occupation, and torture of Afghanistan and Iraq -- numerous new anti-American terrorists have been created since that historic day. The latest confirmation of this, if any more were needed, is the recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate conclusion that "the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and ... the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks."Add a comment
Day-to-day life within an empire consists of the deceitful leading the disengaged. Although when the artifice shielding a nationâ€™s populace from the ruthlessness of their leaders begins to fall away, hysteria and displaced rage rises in the land. Ergo, in the American empire, weâ€™re witnessing these demented days of congressional boy love and despotic rockets.
Day after day, the pace at which insane tidings arrive quickens: itâ€™s as if weâ€™ve become passengers on a high-speed train, commandeered by lunatics, that only stops at insane asylums in order to board more lunatics ... Naturally, the train has gone runaway, careening down the buckling tracks, blue spark spraying from its steel wheels, while any approaching curve becomes a threat to derail the whole hurdling madhouse.
For many years, these episodes of mass psychosis have been gaining velocity. Empires are inherently bughouse crazy, because, by their very nature, they grow conservative to the point of becoming totalitarian. After a time, the singular raison d'Ãªtre of this form of pathological conservatism is to fiercely cling to the things it has gained through expansionist practices and policies. In addition, it must find ways to rationalize the brutal and deceitful means required to sustain itself.
If one were to believe the hype, nothing less than the fate the civilized world is riding on the results of the upcoming midterm elections. American-style democracy, we're told, will step in and sort things out. Reminds me of T.S. Eliot: "An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry." Not everyone is fooled, of course. "I think it is dangerous to confuse the idea of democracy with elections," says Indian novelist, Arundhati Roy. "Just because you have elections doesn't mean you're a democratic country."
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I was reminded of the proverbial frog as I considered how the recently passed Military Commissions Act (MSA) managed to get lost in a shuffle of naughty e-mails and bipartisan accusations.
This isn't meant to downplay the MSA. As Michael C. Dorf, a professor of Law at Columbia University, explains: "It immunizes government officials for past war crimes; it cuts the United States off from its obligations under the Geneva Conventions; and it all but eliminates access to civilian courts for non-citizens--including permanent residents whose children are citizens--that the government, in its nearly unreviewable discretion, determines to be unlawful enemy combatants." Nasty stuff, indeed...but since fiddling with human rights has long been a hobby for America's power elite, it'd be misguided to assign all the blame to the current administration. The erosion of freedom has been a slow steady processâ€¹not unlike boiling a pot of water.
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(Inspired by the recent assassination of Russian journalist Anna
There's no shortage of outrage on the Left. Plenty of marches and manifestos to go along with the myriad calls to change this and take back that. Toss in the occasional fighting words and the intermittent flirtation with property damage and the Left typically does just enough to get itself effectively demonized by the mainstream...thus making it that much easier for the police to get away with swinging their nightsticks at the next "anti-globalization" protest.
So, here's my question: What would those who identify as leftists do if one of their high profile icons were openly eliminated? For the sake of argument, let's say the U.S. government (or one of its proxies)â€¹with the full support of the corporate mediaâ€¹overtly did away with Michael Moore for his political beliefs and anti-corporate activism.
The Bush administration has repeatedly rejected North Koreaâ€™s appeals for a â€œnon-aggressionâ€ pact. Bush believes that he has the inherent right to attack whomever he chooses if it is in the national interest, which is to say, if it furthers his ambitions for global domination.
Bush has openly supported â€œregime changeâ€ in North Korea and placed the country on his axis of evil list. On a personal level, Bush stated that he â€œloathesâ€ Kim Jung-il and has referred to him as â€œa pygmyâ€.
These provocations have been duly noted in North Korea. Kim knows that heâ€™s a top candidate for a preemptive attack unless he develops a credible deterrent. Any sane person would draw the same conclusion even if they hadnâ€™t been humiliated in public as â€œevilâ€.
As'ad AbuKhalil (of Angry Arab fame) plucked out this bit of necessary context for the Foley scandal from a nugget buried deep in a long Newsweek examination of the affair. This is especially pertinent now that the right-wing has decided to divert the outrage of their "base" over the Republican leadership's coddling of a known sexual predator into a good, old-fashioned gay-bashing witch hunt, just like Mother used to make for Uncle Joe McCarthy when he used to come around for dinner with his little friend Roy Cohn:Add a comment
Kissinger and The Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina: America on the Brink of Horror.
This blistering Buzzflash editorial deserves to be spread far and wide. The reappearance of Henry Kissinger as a top adviser in the White House dredges up horrors that have long been buried by time â€“ but which are still fresh in the scarred hearts of millions of people. It reminds us of the complicity and cooperation of the American political elite in the South American mass murder campaign known as "Operation Condor." This earlier "war on terror" â€“ which reached its apogee on that other September 11 terrorist attack, in 1973, with the American-backed murder of Salvador Allende, Chile's democratically elected president â€“ also featured unrestrained "unitary executive power" claiming the right to imprison and torture and permanently detain anyone arbitrarily declared a "terrorist" or "enemy of the state" on the most specious â€“ or nonexistent â€“ grounds.
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