Tuesday, March 07, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, March 7, 2006 [Updated] Bring ‘em on: Two British men burned to death in their car after shoot-out with police in the southern city of Basra. A third person in the car, also believed to be British, was wounded and rushed away from the scene. Police Captain Mushtaq Kadhim said Iraqi policemen and two other civilians were also wounded in the shooting. A Foreign Office spokesman said he was aware of unsubstantiated reports of an incident involving non-Arabs. The Ministry of Defence said it was aware of reports of an incident in Basra and was making inquiries. A ministry spokesman said no British military personnel had been involved in any incident or injured yesterday. According to Mr Kadhim, the attack occurred about 9pm local time after a police patrol chased two suspicious cars and forced them to stop in the Jazaer neighbourhood of central Basra. Bring ‘em on: Major General Mubdar Hatim al-Dulaimi, commander of all Iraqi army forces in the capital, was killed by a sniper, police sources said. he was shot as he drove through western Baghdad. As the commander of the 6th Division, among the first and biggest of Iraq's new army divisions formed by U.S. forces as part of their plans for eventual withdrawal, Dulaimi was among the most prominent officers in Iraq's security forces. The U.S. military said in a statement: "Mubdar had been visiting his soldiers in Kadimiyah and was returning to his headquarters when his convoy came under small arms fire attack."
[Updated: "The gunmen had very precise information": The Iraqi army is investigating how a gunman managed to kill a senior Iraqi general in an attack that has fueled concern about the new, U.S.-trained Iraq military's cohesion. "It is a very strange incident and raises many questions," an official in the Defense Ministry press service said on Tuesday after the commander of all Iraqi troops in Baghdad died from a bullet to the head while in a patrol convoy on Monday. Another Iraqi general told Reuters it was an assassination that needed inside information and proved the army, recruited by U.S. officers over the past two years, had been infiltrated. "The outsiders have hands on the inside," the general said. Dulaimi, a Saddam Hussein-era general who had a reputation for personal bravery, was in a convoy of 14 armored vehicles, the Defense Ministry official said. He had driven out from his headquarters in late afternoon to investigate a gun battle. The general was wearing body armor, the ministry official said. He opened the door of his four-wheel drive vehicle and a single bullet struck his head as he was putting on his helmet. "The gunmen had very precise information," he said.]
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Assailants attack Sunni mosque in Ghazaliyah neighborhood owith guns and grenades, killing a guard and torching two rooms. Gunmen ambushed police when they responded, wounding five officers. Mortar shell wounds worshipper as he emerges from a Shiite mosque after dawn prayers, one of several rounds that slammed into the city Tuesday morning. Roadside bomb targeting U.S. patrol in western Khadhra neighborhood kills one bystander and injures another. No reports of American casualties. Car bomb misses U.S. patrol in Zafaraniyah neighborhood, wounding at least four civilian bystanders. Gunmen shoot and kill a Baghdad International Airport employee as he drives through the southern Saydiyah neighborhood. Police find four bullet-ridden bodies two of them with their eyes gouged out dumped in parts of Baghdad. Three mortar rounds land on headquarter of National Dialogue Front, a Sunni Arab party No casualties reported. Hilla: Two car bombs explode almost simultaneously at separate sites in city of Hillah on Tuesday, wounding at least three people, police said. Baqubah: Car bomb kills one civilian and wounds three police officers who had arrived at the scene after gunmen had killed a policeman on patrol. Gunmen kill three members of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's office. Two other members were wounded. One Iraqi officer killed in attack on police patrol. Beiji: Three Iraqi officers killed in attack on police patrol. Hawija: Policeman killed and another wounded in a drive-by shooting on the Kirkuk-Hawija highway, 60 km (40 miles) southwest of Kirkuk. Tikrit: Sunni shrine destroyed when gunmen planted bombs inside it. Balad: Policeman wounded when four mortar rounds land in and around Balad police station. Kirkuk: Three students and a soldier wounded when roadside bomb explodes as an Iraqi army patrol drives by Kirkuk University. IRAQ NEWS Photographer Shot: Zuma Press revealed this afternoon that its contract photographer Toby Morris was shot twice by snipers last week in Ramadi, Iraq, and received serious but non-life-threatening injuries. He was on patrol with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion of 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Syria and Iran seeking to establish Iranian strategic oil pipeline across Iraq. U.S. military says 36-year-old male detainee dies of natural causes at Camp Bucca in Iraq. One of Iraq's leading Sunni Arab politicians accuse Iran of stoking sectarian tensions to foment a civil war that would break up Iraq and allow Tehran to control its oil-rich Shi'ite Muslim heartlands in the south. Tarek Al Hashemi, a contender for speaker when the new parliament opens on Sunday, said Iran was fostering instability in Iraq, partly through militias loyal to Shi'ite parties, in a bid to divert US pressure over Tehran's nuclear programme. Iraq plunged into political deadlock as the dominant Shiites opposed efforts by President Jalal Talabani to convene parliament amid bickering over who should lead the next government. The dispute came amid increasing violence which Tuesday morning saw at least eight killed and 22 wounded in a series of attacks, five involving car bombs. Talabani, a Kurd, along with Kurdish, Sunni and secular factions, opposes the reselection by the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) of outgoing Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari to head the a national unity government. The opening of Iraq's new parliament, which Talabani wanted to convene on Sunday, has now fallen victim to the high-stakes political gamesmanship. One of the vice presidents, the Shiite Adel Abdul Mahdi, has declined to sign the presidential council order for the assembly to meet, a top government official told AFP Tuesday. Al Jazeera airs video showing three of four Christian peace activists held hostage in Iraq: The video, dated February 28, was the first since the hostage-takers said in January that U.S.-led forces had one last chance to free Iraqi prisoners or the men would be killed. The men shown appeared to be Briton Norman Kember and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Sooden. The three along with American Tom Fox were kidnapped in November. The video showed the three men sitting in a room. They appeared in good health and were speaking to the camera, but their voices could not be heard. A group calling itself the Swords of Truth kidnapped the men in Baghdad, where they were working with a Christian peace organization. Cindy Sheehan arrested Monday during demonstration demanding withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq: The march to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations by about a dozen U.S. and Iraqi anti-war activists followed a news conference at U.N. headquarters, where Iraqi women described daily killings and ambulance bombings as part of the escalating violence that keeps women in their homes. Women Say No to War, which helped organize the march, claimed Sheehan was physically assaulted by security officers during the arrests. Photos show officers dragging Sheehan, with her shirt yanked up. Police said the four women were arrested for criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. The women were trying to deliver a petition to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations with more than 60,000 signatures urging the "withdrawal of all troops and all foreign fighters from Iraq." When they arrived at the mission, they found the doors locked. Blowing Up History: Governmental sources are reporting that militants have blown up the Abbasid palace north of Samarra. The source blamed the same groups that bombed the Al-Askari shrine over a week ago. The Abbasid palace in Samarra was built by Abbasid caliph Al-Mu'tasim in 836, when he moved his capital from Baghdad to Samarra. It is one of the largest Abbasid era palaces to have survived to this day, in addition to the Abbasid palace in central Baghdad. It is regarded, together with the Grand mosque of Sammara (famous for its spiral minaret) and the Al-Askariyyain shrine (the golden mosque), as one of the most prominent historical landmarks of the city. No further details on the incident were provided, but still, it boggles the mind that such an operation could be carried out twice at the same area in just over a week. Given the historical and cultural value of these palaces and mosques in such a tense area, where a similar attack took place last week, one would think that they would be closely guarded. But why protect buildings in a country where human life has no value anyway? You won't see sectarian riots over this one. It's only an archaeological site, and too much of those have been destroyed or looted over the last three years for people to care anymore. Not even bricks have been spared our misery. British troops could start leaving Iraq within weeks: In an interview with the Telegraph, Lieutenant General Nick Houghton [the UK army's most senior officer in the country] said a gradual withdrawal needed to begin soon in order to reassure Iraqis that British troops would not become a resident force. Lt Gen Houghton said most UK personnel should be home by summer 2008, adding that the process of reducing Britain's 8,000-strong force in Iraq would happen in four stages, due to begin in the spring or by the end of the summer. However, he admitted that withdrawal depended on the formation of a national unity government in Iraq and sectarian tensions not worsening further. REPORTS Number of black active-duty enlisted U.S. personnel declined 14 percent since 2000: The decrease is particularly acute among the troops most active in the Middle East: The number of black enlisted soldiers has dropped by 19 percent and the number of black enlisted Marines has fallen by 26 percent in the same period. At least 8,000 members of the all-volunteer U.S. military have deserted since the Iraq war began, Pentagon records show, although the overall desertion rate has plunged since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. Since fall 2003, 4,387 Army soldiers, 3,454 Navy sailors and 82 Air Force personnel have deserted. The Marine Corps does not track the number of desertions each year but listed 1,455 Marines in desertion status last September, the end of fiscal 2005, says Capt. Jay Delarosa, a Marine Corps spokesman. 14,000 detained without trial in Iraq: US and UK forces in Iraq have detained thousands of people without charge or trial for long periods and there is growing evidence of Iraqi security forces torturing detainees, Amnesty International said today. In a new report published today, the human rights group criticised the US-led multinational force for interning some 14,000 people. Around 3,800 people have been held for over a year, while another 200 have been detained for more than two years, the report said. The invasion and occupation of Iraq has cost British taxpayers more than £4 billion, it emerged last night as a senior officer outlined plans to withdraw nearly all soldiers from the area by the summer of 2008. Since the war began in March 2003, around £1 billion a year has been spent on operations and equipment costs. And the cost of operations is expected to reach its highest level this year, according to the Ministry of Defence. COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS The Hussein trial: If 148 innocent people were executed, or if some smaller number of innocent or even guilty people were tortured, that isn't acceptable. It is, however, somewhat ironic to be concerned with such events during a week when hundreds, perhaps thousands, more have been killed, and during a time when reports emerge continually of currently operating government torture centers (I'm talking about Iraqi government torture centers here) killing dozens or hundreds of people. And it is also ironic to be talking about a trial for the aftermath of an event, the attempted assassination of the head of state, which did actually occur (that seems to be undisputed), and for which we learned today (not for the first time) that those who were executed actually had trials (however fair or not), which is more than can be said for anyone incarcerated by the Americans in Bagram or Guantanamo or dozens of other secret prisons, dozens of whom have been killed (including being tortured to death). But of all the ironies, the one that hit me most was the news that Hussein was being criticized in the trial today for ordering the destruction of orchards belonging to villagers convicted of attempting to assassinate him. Which again, whether those trials were fair or not, was at least more of a hearing than hundreds of Palestinian villagers have received at the hands of the Israeli government and (separately) Israeli settlers, or that many Iraqi villagers have received at the hands of the U.S. military, before their orchards were destroyed. Orchard destruction is a routine practice in Palestine and Iraq, and I haven't heard a word of criticism of those practices in the Western corporate media. Indeed, the whole situation would be laughable were it not so tragic for those involved. And don't even ask about the destruction of Vietnamese farms and forests by the U.S. application of Agent Orange. I'm sure that dwarfs Hussein's destruction of farmland in Dujail by many orders of magnitude. The Samaraa bombings have produced three surprising political outcomes : The first is Al-Sadr's leap in popularity among his followers and his military and political clout with Iraq's Shia marjaaiya (clerical order). While it was Al-Sistani who reacted immediately to the bombing by calling for protests but restraint, it was Al-Sadr who crossed the aisle, embraced the Sunnis and called for unity. By Saturday, after his meeting with the predominantly Sunni-based Association of Muslim Scholars, Al-Sadr's influence on Iraqi politics had become all but complete. It was he who dispatched his associates to meet and pray together with Sunnis in the Sunni Abu Hanifa Mosque (which had been at one point threatened by unknown armed groups) and it was also he who called for Sunnis and Shia to embrace one another. When he visited Basra Sunday, he received the welcome akin to a politician who is yet to assume a major position. Al-Sadr, who was once threatened with prison and death by the Iraqi government and US forces, is at once the unifying, and trouble- making, catalyst in Iraq. The second development is on the destructive power of the militia. They were left virtually unchecked as they engaged in street fights, occupied mosques, and defied both a curfew and travel ban. And so threatening is their menace that US forces steered clear of them, often knowing where and when they were targeting their attacks. The US chose not to interfere. The third outcome is the round-robin phone call US President George Bush put through to several Iraqi politicians across the factional spectrum. All of a sudden, Sunni politicians who had boycotted an emergency meeting with President Jalal Talabani a day earlier announced their readiness to enter talks anew. Q. Why are we in Iraq? Q. Why are we in Iraq? A. To prevent the failure of the occupation of Iraq. If we pull out now the occupation will be a failure! Q. Would it have been easier to have never occupied it in the first place? A. Ah, but if we never occupied Iraq, then the occupation certainly would have been a failure, now wouldn't it? Q. (meditates for many years) Q. Now I am enlightened. BEYOND IRAQ IRAN NEXT?
Unless Iran executes a dramatic about-face and suspends all its nuclear activities, the U.N. Security Council will intervene "quite actively," a senior State Department official said Monday. The message to Iran is that it has "crossed the international red line" and engaged in unacceptable enrichment activity "and there must be a U.N. Security Council process to deal with that," Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said. Burns did not say what the United States would ask the Security Council to do. While the Bush administration takes a stern line toward Tehran it might not be able to persuade other nations to impose economic or other penalties on Iran. The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, which voted to refer the dispute to the Security Council, will reaffirm its stance this week in Vienna, Austria, "unless Iran does a dramatic about-face and suspends all of its nuclear activities," Burns said at the Heritage Foundation, a private research group. His remarks followed a State Department spokesman's dismissal of reports an eleventh-hour compromise might be struck over Iran's nuclear program. Iran responds to threat of military action by promising to become "killing field": The threat came as the international nuclear watchdog opened crucial talks in Vienna on how to dampen Tehran's atomic ambitions. John Bolton, the hawkish US Ambassador to the United Nations, warned that the republic faced "painful consquences" if it refused to comply. In response, the deputy head of Iran's armed forces retorted: "Iran's armed forces, through their experience of war, will turn this land into a killing field for any enemy aggressors." Ali-Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, reiterated Tehran's defiance. "We will not show any flexibility on research and development," he told AFP in Vienna. Iran claims advanced technology in electronic warfare with which to combat any such attacks on its military equipment: "If our main enemy wants to carry out electronic warfare and jamming operations, our standards are at the NATO level," Ebrahim Mahmoudzadeh [head of defense ministry electronics industries] told state television on Saturday. He was also quoted as saying that Iran's radars, passive and active electronic protection "can combat anything that wants to harm us". The United States of Amnesia: Remember how important the nuclear issue was for getting us into the Iraqi quagmire: this time around, the same crew is pushing the same button. A recent poll shows that a clear majority of Americans are willing to risk war in order to stop the Iranians from going nuclear. Invoking the specter of nuclear annihilation is the best way to scare the living daylights out of otherwise thinking people. If the War Party can convince the Americans that the "mad mullahs" are on the brink of having the ability to nuke New York, they will have accomplished their mission. Some, like Gore Vidal, believe we live in "the United States of Amnesia," and that Americans can't remember what happens from week to week, never mind the lies they told last year and the year before. I respectfully disagree: the people clearly realize they were lied into war, and they aren't happy about it. As to whether they'll let the War Party get away with pulling another fast one, that remains to be seen.
Europe "happy hunting ground for foreign security services": The Council of Europe says European nations need to introduce tougher laws to regulate the activities of foreign intelligence agents operating on their territories. Council Chairman Terry Davis told reporters in Strasbourg Wednesday most of Europe is, "a happy hunting ground for foreign security services." His comments came as he released a report detailing European nations' oversight of foreign intelligence activities. At issue is the CIA, which is under fire in Europe over reports that it secretly flew terror suspects across the continent, and operated secret prisons in Eastern Europe to house and question the suspects. Washington denies any wrongdoing. The report did not include any evidence of the existence of secret prisons in Europe. Chairman Davis said Italy, Poland, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina did not provide requested information for the report. Some Guantanamo prisoners don’t want to go home: Fearing militants or even their own governments, some prisoners at Guantanamo Bay from China, Saudi Arabia and other nations do not want to go home, according to transcripts of hearings at the U.S. prison in Cuba. Uzbekistan, Yemen, Algeria and Syria are also among the countries to which detainees do not want to return. The inmates have told military tribunals that they or their families could be tortured or killed if they are sent back. President Bush has said the United States transfers detainees to other countries only when it receives assurances that they will not be tortured. Critics say such assurances are useless. The U.S. has released or transferred 267 prisoners and has announced plans to do the same with at least 123 more in the future. Inmates have told military tribunals they worry about reprisals from militants who will suspect them of cooperating with U.S. authorities in its war on terror. Others say their own governments may target them for reasons that have nothing to do with why they were taken to Guantanamo Bay in the first place. A man from Syria who was detained along with his father pleaded with the tribunal for help getting them political asylum - in any country that will take them. "You've been saying 'terrorists, terrorists.' If we return, whether we did something or not, there's no such things as human rights. We will be killed immediately," he said. "You know this very well." The ENDGAME Project: The Halliburton subsidiary KBR (formerly Brown and Root) announced on Jan. 24 that it had been awarded a $385 million contingency contract by the Department of Homeland Security to build detention camps. Two weeks later, on Feb. 6, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced that the Fiscal Year 2007 federal budget would allocate over $400 million to add 6,700 additional detention beds (an increase of 32 percent over 2006). This $400 million allocation is more than a four-fold increase over the FY 2006 budget, which provided only $90 million for the same purpose. Both the contract and the budget allocation are in partial fulfillment of an ambitious 10-year Homeland Security strategic plan, code-named ENDGAME, authorized in 2003. According to a 49-page Homeland Security document on the plan, ENDGAME expands "a mission first articulated in the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798." Its goal is the capability to "remove all removable aliens," including "illegal economic migrants, aliens who have committed criminal acts, asylum-seekers (required to be retained by law) or potential terrorists." (…) In consequence, the United States is being redefined as a vast gated community, hoping to isolate itself by force from its poverty-stricken neighbors. Inside the U.S. fortress sit 2.1 million prisoners, a greater percentage of the population than in any other nation. ENDGAME's crash program is designed to house additional detainees who have not been convicted of crimes. Significantly, both the KBR contract and the ENDGAME plan are open-ended. The contract calls for a response to "an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs" in the event of other emergencies, such as "a natural disaster." "New programs" is of course a term with no precise limitation. So, in the current administration, is ENDGAME's goal of removing "potential terrorists." It is relevant that in 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced his desire to see camps for U.S. citizens deemed to be "enemy combatants." On Feb. 17 of this year, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of the harm being done to the country's security, not just by the enemy, but also by what he called "news informers" who needed to be combated in "a contest of wills." Two days earlier, citing speeches critical of Bush by Al Gore, John Kerry, and Howard Dean, conservative columnist Ben Shapiro called for "legislation to prosecute such sedition." Bush, Chavez and Hitler: U.S. officials become angry and indignant when someone compares the Bush administration's policies to those of the Hitler regime. Even government officials at the local level get upset over the comparison, as reflected by the public schoolteacher who is under investigation for comparing Bush's policies to those of Hitler in his classroom. Ironically, however, the anger and indignation felt by U.S. officials when someone compares Bush's policies to those of Hitler does not stop U.S. officials from comparing foreign leaders to Hitler. The most recent example was when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld compared Venezuela's democratically elected president, Hugo Chavez, to Hitler, saying, "He's a person who was elected legally - just as Hitler was elected legally - and then consolidated power and now is, of course, working closely with Fidel Castro and Morales and others." When Rumsfeld compares Chavez to Hitler, he's obviously not suggesting that Chavez is setting up deaths camps to commit another Holocaust. He's simply saying that Chavez, like Hitler, is "consolidating power" and working closely with foreign rulers who, like Chavez, refuse to submit to the dictates of the U.S. Empire. Ironically, even as Rumsfeld calls Chavez "Hitler" for consolidating power, no one can deny that ever since 9/11, Bush has done everything he can to "consolidate power," as evidenced by the USA PATRIOT Act, the unconstitutional assumption of power to declare war, the illegal attack and war of aggression on a country that had never attacked the United States, the illegal spying on Americans by recording their telephone conversations without a judicially issued warrant, the jailing and punishment of Americans without due process of law, illegal kidnapping and "rendition" of prisoners to foreign regimes for the purposes of torture, and of course the illegal torture, sex abuse, rape, and murder of detainees by U.S. forces. Unfortunately, when U.S. officials such as Rumsfeld compare Chavez to Hitler for "consolidating power," their own arrogance and hubris prevent them from seeing that President Bush has been doing the exact same thing ever since 9/11 - and arguably to a much greater extent than Chavez - "consolidating power." While they have no hesitancy in placing the label of "Hitler" on foreign leaders for doing so, U.S. officials scratch their heads in befuddlement when foreigners place the label of "hypocrites" upon them. The days when courage referred to those who take on the mighty against all odds and face the consequences are, apparently, over. For, when it comes to attacking the weak and backing the strong, "bravery" has somehow become the mot du jour. A couple of years ago a British journalist won a major award for columns supporting the Iraq war on the grounds that to do so was "brave". Whether the award was deserved is irrelevant; the judges' adjective is the issue. What, after all, is "brave" about supporting the policies of both your government and the sole global superpower against a country that posed no threat? Likewise, when David Goodhart, the editor of Prospect magazine, published his blueprint for racial exclusion two years ago ("To put it bluntly," he wrote, "most of us prefer our own kind"), he was praised for being "bold". As though maligning diversity constituted an act of courage in a country where black people are overwhelmingly more likely to be stopped, searched, jailed, murdered in jail, unemployed and marginalised. It is not the validity of these arguments that is at issue here but the characterisation of those who make them as audacious that is problematic. To align yourself with the powerful and then take aim at the powerless takes not one ounce of valour. To prop up prevailing hierarchies and orthodoxies rather than challenge them demands not a scintilla of bravery. True, like Summers, you may run into trouble. But just look who's covering your back. With the prevailing winds of war, prejudice or the state on your side, the odds are with you. Since the privileges you are defending are inherent in the commentariat - how many women, blacks, working-class people or Muslims get to speak, let alone be heard? - your worldview is constantly being reinforced. It may still be the right thing to do - the weak should not be protected from criticism nor the strong denied praise solely on the grounds of their relative material strength. But those who choose Goliath's corner cannot then claim underdog status once David gets out his slingshot. Take the Danish cartoons. They were first printed in a country that supports the war in Iraq, where the far-right Danish People's party receives 13% of the vote and where, according to the Danish Institute for Human Rights, racially motivated crimes doubled between 2004 and 2005. Barely had the ink dried on sermons extolling western civilisation last month than scenes of colonial barbarism involving British troops beating Iraqis filled our screens. Soon after came more images from Abu Ghraib, showing a handcuffed Iraqi with mental-health problems taunted by US soldiers. We saw him pounding his head on a cell door and hanging upside down from a top bunk, clothed only in his faeces. These cartoons did not appear in a vacuum. In publishing them the editor of Jyllands-Posten had illustrated not just an insensitive Islamophobic jibe but a racist mindset that has consequences for Muslims worldwide. He had a right to print them. But to do so in this context was an act of bigotry, not bravery. Underpinning this peculiar notion of courage is the feeble-minded obsession with political correctness - the ultimate refuge of the baseless argument and the clueless commentator. There was a time when such words as "darkie", "paki", "puff", "spastic" and "coloured" were common currency. We have abandoned them for the same reason we no longer burn witches at the stake or stick orphaned children in the poor house. We have moved on. That's not political correctness but social and political progress. Not imposed by liberal diktat, but established by civic consensus. Those who are unwilling or unable to move on are welcome to those words and views. But like anyone else who engages in antisocial behaviour, once they act on those impulses they must live with the consequences of those actions. They might be crude, crass or contrarian; insensitive, ignorant or in denial. But whatever else they are, they are not brave.
Were you looking for new heroes like Ghandi, King and Mandela? Look again: During my entire grown up life I have seen the European intellectuals grow increasingly stupid in the attempt to grow balls. So it didn't surprise me the least that they joined the neoconservative islambashers. Today there are so many of them: Henri-Bernard Levy, another sorry excuse for a writer gone right wing activist, André Glucksmann, a fairly decent former left wing philosopher decayed into a rambling pseudo anthropologist - all of them "great" European thinkers facing the "threat of the new Islam". Now the increasingly monotonous Salman Rushdie, the "impossible not to pity" Dutch feminist, former left wing politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and the Danish pseudo professor of sociology, Mehdi Mozzafari, among others, have launched a new attack on radical Islam. A manifesto, no less. And all the terrorists, all the fundamentalists and all the radical Muslims tremble with fear. A manifesto: Together facing the threat of totalitarianism. The authors are all denouncers of Islam with the skin tone to make up for their frankness. They are all in danger of persecution from Islamic zealots, and that is probably what they are hoping for. Not too enthusiastically, though, because however much they want to be remembered as heroes of the movement of global enlightenment, they also want to stay alive. So they get police protection to say, what a lot of people are thinking:
Muslims are lunatics. They will end up turning against us and bomb everything. We have to do something about it, and it has better be soon, or else... (Everybody applauds).
I, personally, think they are idiots. I sympathize with their view of democracy and human rights, I really do. More democracy to the peoples of the world. Nobody's free unless everybody's free. What bothers me is that they are political analphabets reaching for overkill to get public support for some "drastic measures" that they haven't even thought out at this point. What exactly do they want us to do? Condemn, condemn, condemn? Sorry, guys, we are already at it, have been for ten years or so. Bomb, bomb, bomb? Well, bombs away, if you haven't noticed. Round them up, herd them in, electrify their asses to get them to reveal their secrets, the "24 Hour style" approach? Been there, done that. Ever since I read Paul Johnson's "Intellectuals" I have had little confidence in the "great" thinkers and academics of postmodern Europe. They are all alike: They are wannabes, dreaming about an era when the intellectuals were pop stars, desiring comparison to Voltaire and Rousseau. They too want to be celebrated, recognized and achieve honorable merits in history books. The problem is that what they do is what brain dead intellectuals have always done: During colonialism they supported imperialism, during the depression they supported fascism, after the second world war they supported stalinism and today they all think they are Churchill and the only ones to realize the depth and severity of the threat from the "new fascism". Take my word for it: They are just spinning their wheels, because they are political imbeciles as well as literary buffoons. These European intellectuals have always been wrong, and you can bet your teeth that they are also wrong this time. All they need is a flag to hail and a few fancy speeches about freedom, and they are all gooey for the cause. Mass Starvation and Democracy Prevention: "[The economic siege] is like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but they won't starve to death", Dov Weissglas, Ariel Sharon political advisor. The Palestinian people are the most brutalised and terrorised community on earth. As Jennifer Loewenstein, a scholar at Oxford University, wrote recently; "While [Palestinians] are being stomped, shot, beaten, demolished, assassinated, intimidated, robbed, despoiled, starved, uprooted, dispossessed, harassed, insulted and killed with bullets, missiles, armoured bulldozers, tanks, helicopter gun-ships, cluster-bombs, fleshettes, fighter-bombers, semi-automatic submachine guns, sonic booms, tear gas, electrified fences, blockades, closures and walls, they must renounce violence so that the hoodlums won't get hurt. If they defend themselves they lose". Israel's genocidal policy of systematic control and imprisonment of the Palestinian people can only be compared with Nazi concentration camps. To satisfy it Zionist ideology, Israel is proceeding to impose a Nazi-like economic siege over nearly 4 million defenceless Palestinians, intended to starve them into surrendering their democratic freedoms. On Sunday 19 February 2006, Israel moved to withhold funds of $50 million per month owed to the Palestinians from tax and customs revenue, causing great hardship and financial crisis in occupied Palestine. The money is part of the value-added tax of 17% that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. In 2005 Israel collected $711 million on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. The money is simply stolen from the Palestinians by the Israeli government. The Jewish state which is in violations of international laws and UN resolutions is imposing - with the support of the US and Europe - sanction measures that will starve the victims of its brutal occupation. The Palestinians' reward for democratically electing their representatives is a "collective punishment", which if implemented will lead to a silent Palestinian genocide. It is ironic that the might of the US, Israel and the European powers, is now directed against the most defenceless community in the world, the Palestinian community. Similar genocidal sanctions (1990-2003) were imposed on Iraq by US-Britain, and backed by the Europeans have needlessly killed more that 1.6 million Iraqis, including 600 000 Iraqi children, and destroyed the fabric of the Iraqi society. It was premeditated genocide. "Mass starvation is mass genocide. It is a silent holocaust", said Nayef Rajoub, a prominent Hamas leader.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Americans are being sleep marched into history`s hall of shame" - Anwaar Hussain


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