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Archive for March, 2003

Letter to Robin Cook, MP.

Posted by Ed on March 31, 2003

I have just written a letter to Robin Cook, M.P., the British ex-cabinet minister who resigned over the war on Iraq, asking him to question the Prime Minister about his knowledge of and/or support for the ideals of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

PNAC has been mentioined a number of times in previous postings by both Charl and me. The aim of this group is clear: American global domination. The overlap between its members and the Bush administration is striking. This letter is a desperate attempt to gain some publicity for PNAC, not to help them of course, but to expose them for what they are.

It is slightly longer than it should be really, but its a complex issue and cannot be reduced to slogans and soundbites.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran Next?

Posted by Ed on March 29, 2003

WarBlogging has another article about PNAC, this time focussing on rumours that Iran will be the next target on the Bush regime’s hitlist.

These rumours seem entirely plausible.

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Departure of the Prince of Darkness

Posted by Ed on March 28, 2003

Warblogging, amongst others, is reporting the news of Richard Perle’s resignation from the Defense Policy Board (this can only be a Good Thing), following allegations of a conflict of interest. They also refer to Perle’s role in PNAC and the particularly odious document, Rebuilding America’s Defenses, in which the case for American global domination is made without so much as a small blush.

Brian Whitaker also discusses Perle’s departure in The Guardian:

“In 1996 Mr Perle, nicknamed the Prince of Darkness, was the main author of a report entitled “Clean Break” whose contents were revealed by the Guardian last September (Playing skittles with Saddam, September 3 2002). This set out a plan to protect Israel’s strategic interests by reshaping the Middle East, starting with regime change in Iraq.”

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Random cartoon

Posted by Ed on March 27, 2003

A random cartoon from Private Eye:

cartoon

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An Arab View

Posted by Ed on March 26, 2003

The Jordan Times describes how the current “liberation” of Iraq looks to many Arabs, in the context of nearly a century of European and American power-brokering in the region:

“For many Arabs, this revives historical ghosts from 1915-22, when British and French armies brazenly rearranged our region into strange-shaped countries with Euro-made power structures. The Arab view is that this was done mainly to protect Western colonial interests, divide up local spoils and promote Zionist national goals, largely ignoring indigenous Arab, Kurdish and other local interests. The consequences have been catastrophic: nearly a century of chronic wars and insurrections, unstable frontiers, underachieving and distorted economies, and the most persistent modern legacy of political autocracy anywhere on the planet.”

Read the article here.

Also, have a look at this (quite stylish, in my opinion) website about the background to war: WhoDies

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iPod fixed at last!

Posted by Ed on March 24, 2003

Apple have finally upgraded their iPod firmware, fixing a long-running battery-life problem.

“Some customers have reported that over time their iPod?s battery life has declined. This update enables the iPod to more accurately monitor its battery charge, thus using the entire battery capacity and regaining long battery life.”

A quick glance at the Apple Discussion Lists will indeed confirm that some, if not many, customers have reported this problem. Also, when they say that battery life declined over time, what they mean is over the time it took to run the previous upgrade, or a few seconds.

What I don’t understand is why Apple will never acknowledge problems until they’ve found a solution. Any ideas?

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Death of the UN?

Posted by Ed on March 21, 2003

US uber-hawk Richard Perle delights in the death of the UN, in today’s Guardian:

“The chronic failure of the security council to enforce its own resolutions is unmistakable: it is simply not up to the task. We are left with coalitions of the willing. Far from disparaging them as a threat to a new world order, we should recognise that they are, by default, the best hope for that order, and the true alternative to the anarchy of the abject failure of the UN.”

This total disregard for the rule of law, and the reliance on ad hoc coalitions to convey some kind of legitimacy onto the naked aggression now seen in Iraq, is shameful but comes as no surprise. After all, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which espouses a “Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity” leaves us in no doubt as to where the Bush administration is going.

North Korea, Iran, Cuba and others beware.

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Patriotism or piss-take?

Posted by Ed on March 20, 2003

Please, please tell me that this is a piss-take.

No really, please. And while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the Hall of Patriots – its really scary.

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Liberty and justice for all

Posted by Ed on March 20, 2003

Matthew Engel in The Guardian suggests that the newly liberated Iraq will soon be “able to enjoy the benefits of American-style democracy”, including:

At present, according to the official website of the Iraqi National Assembly (“a major organ for the expression of democracy”) the 250 members are elected by blocs of 50,000 voters throughout the country. This suggests the outline principle is the same as in the US. However, the American constitution demands that the 600,000 inhabitants of its own capital city should not be allowed to take part in this process. The reasons are so obvious that no one can remember what they are, but most of those affected are poor and black, anyway. To ensure true devotion to US principles, the same will have to apply in Iraq; doubtless the Americans will break the news to the people of Baghdad tactfully.

Under decree 59 of 1994, Iraqis can lose their right hand for theft of more than 5,000 dinars and their left foot for a second offence. This will presumably be replaced by the three-strikes law, ratified this month by the supreme court, under which Leandro Andrade has been jailed for 50 years for stealing nine videos and Gary Ewing got 25 years to life for the theft of three golf clubs.

and I particularly like this one:

Saddam has been universally seen firing his gun indiscriminately and menacingly. Under the second amendment, this right would be extended to everyone.

Read the whole article here.

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Mots du jour

Posted by Ed on March 19, 2003

The BBC has gathered together a collection of war jargon. For example:

going kinetic: military term for invading or bombing, shorthand for kinetic targeting. Psyops, such as leafleting propaganda, is known as soft targeting. Time magazine: “‘It will be highly kinetic,’ an Air Force planner says with grim understatement.”

vertically envelop: invade (see going kinetic). Pentagon buzzword for the tactic of sending troops in by helicopter to seize key targets in Iraq.

and this particularly fine example of the razor-sharp wit of George Dubya:

legs of responsibility: what the UN needs to regain, according to George Bush: “…in the post-Saddam Iraq the UN will definitely need to have a role. And that way it can get – begin to get its legs – legs of responsibility back.”

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