November 2002

Thanksgiving Day

Thursday, 28 November 2002

Total Information (un)Awareness

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

-- The three slogans of the Party displayed on the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984.

WAR IS PEACE

"The United Nations Security Council, and now NATO, have spoken with one voice: The Iraqi regime will completely disarm itself of weapons of mass murder or we, the United States, will lead a coalition of willing nations and disarm that regime in the name of peace." -- George W. Bush, addressing thousands of Romanian citizens in Bucharest, Saturday, November 23, 2002.

Total Information Awareness logo
This image is the actual logo for the DARPA Information Awareness Office (IAO). Its homepage is here. The ACLU has launched a campaign to stop this initiative.

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

"Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend -- all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as 'a virtual, centralized grand database.'" -- William Safire, You Are a Suspect

"Behind Winston's back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized." -- George Orwell, 1984

Americans support invasion of a country they can't even locate on a map
Total Information Unawareness

"As of today, the Attorney General can suspend the ordinary requirements of the Fourth Amendment in order to listen in on phone calls, read e-mails, and conduct secret searches of Americans' homes and offices." -- Ann Beeson, litigation director of the Technology and Liberty Program of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Progressive has collected examples of the new McCarthyism here.

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

According to Pew Research, 55% of Americans favor military action against Iraq. According to AP, only 13% of Americans can locate Iraq on a map. According to People for Better TV, 98% of American households have one television, 67% have two or more, the average American watches nearly nine hours of television every day, and the average American child spends more time in front of the television set than any other activity of their waking lives. People for Better TV cites a May 1998 Roper poll, writing that "69 percent of Americans cite TV as the most trusted source compared to newspapers (37%), radio (14%), magazines (5%) and the Internet (2%)." If all 13% of Americans who can find Iraq on a map support a military invasion, that leaves 42% of Americans supporting an Iraq invasion without knowing where Iraq is located.

US AIR BASE IN UZBEKISTAN CAUSES SIGNIFICANT CHANGES FOR LOCAL RESIDENTS

The US deployment transformed the village of Khanabad, located near the base. Barbed-wire fences were erected that effectively cut the village off from the outside. Soldiers posted at checkpoints supposedly will not permit anyone who is not an officially registered village resident to enter Khanabad. But locals say quietly that "an exception" is made for those who offer either a payment or a gift to a sentry.

The base's presence has altered the social habits of local residents, as the security measures make it difficult, if not impossible, to host visiting friends and relatives. "If we plan a big event, we have to inform the Makhalla (neighborhood) Committee well in advance," says one Khanabad resident. "If anyone dies, it is a doubly troubling for family members, as many of them will not be able to participate in burial ceremonies.

"Sometimes, they [soldiers at checkpoints] do not even let in people accompanying the deceased from the hospital if those people do not have [proper identification] with them," the resident added.

Comprehensive estimate of total cost of war against Iraq

Kuwaiti oil fields ablaze in aftermath of Gulf War
Kuwaiti oil fields ablaze in aftermath of Gulf War. Source: Guardian Unlimited
Friday, 15 November 2002

"It is long past the time for all of us to start to see, to identify, to articulate the pain of systematized brutality." -- Robert Jensen, The Politics of Pain and Pleasure

"There was once a time when the friends and allies of the U.S. lined up happily behind U.S. leadership in a world crisis. That time is over. Now they line up unhappily because they are afraid, not of the U.S. in the abstract, but of the Bush administration concretely." -- Immanuel Wallerstein, Bush: Fear Conquered Hope

Senator Joseph Biden, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, has said that a war on Iraq could cost $100 billion. Others have pointed out that it could cost up to one trillion dollars. According to a report issued by the National Priorities Project, $100 billion is enough to provide health care for every uninsured child in the United States of America for five years, it is more than three times the total international affairs budget of the US, and it is three times what the federal government spends on K-12 education.

A report put out by Medact estimates that a war against Iraq would result in a humanitarian and economic catastrophe of devastating proportions.

Breakdown of costs, quoted directly from the report

Casualties

The Weapons

The Environment

Global Impact

A Country in Ruins

Health of Iraqis

Financial Burdens

News updates

George Washington spoke about partisan politics and the Bush doctrine at an address delivered 206 years ago

Wednesday, 13 November 2002

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! Is it rendered impossible by its vices?

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

-- George Washington, farewell speech 1796

Perspectives on the elections

Monday, 11 November 2002

UN Security Council votes yes on Iraq resolution; US will use this to rationalize waging war of aggression against Iraq

Friday, 8 November 2002

From stopsleeping.com's Police State Classics Series picks of 2001: Electronic Frontier Foundation: Analysis Of The Provisions Of The USA PATRIOT Act

Election fallout day

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

plutocracy 1. Government by the wealthy. 2. A wealthy class that controls a government. 3. A government or state in which the wealthy rule.

democracy 1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives. 2. A political or social unit that has such a government. 3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power. 4. Majority rule. 5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

"George W. Bush was never elected President by the People of the United States of America. Instead, he was anointed for that Office by five Justices of the United States Supreme Court who themselves had been appointed by Republican Presidents. Bush Jr.'s installation was an act of judicial usurpation of the American Constitution that was unprecedented in the history of the American Republic." -- Francis Boyle: Bush's Banana Republic

"Look at this war from the minds of people in the region. If the American leadership chooses to join forces with religious extremists and pro-Israeli think tanks in this country to wage war against Iraq, Osama bin Laden's main recruitment slogan that the 'Jews and Crusaders' are waging a war against Islam will become very credible." -- Fedwa Wazwaz: Oprah Used Her Program to Propagandize for War

Recommended articles from commondreams.org

Other recommended

CIA carries out extrajudicial execution in Yemen

Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Friday, 08 November 2002

Bush Fights for Another Clean Shot in His War

Sharon to US: Israel will respond to Iraqi strikes no matter what the US says, and the US should attack Iran after it finishes its war against Iraq.

Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Sharon referred to the need for "the free world" to take "all necessary steps" against a laundry list of countries: "One of the things I mentioned is that the free world should take all the necessary steps to prevent irresponsible countries from having weapons of mass destruction: Iran, Iraq of course, and Libya is working on a nuclear weapon."

Gulf War Veterans hold Iraq press briefing with distinguished panel of speakers; nobody from the major media outlets shows up

Monday, November 4, 2002

Veterans for Common Sense, an organization of Gulf War Veterans who "seek to inject common sense into the debate over a possible U.S. war against Iraq by placing the debate in the context of safeguarding our liberty, constitutional values and our freedom", held a press briefing at the National Press Club on October 24 with a panel of distinguished speakers. The panel featured speakers such as retired Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard, Jr., who was an Executive Assistant to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara (1961-68) during the Vietnam War.

Gen. Gard discussed topics of traditional military strategy, civilian casualties from the use of excessive firepower in Afghanistan and Kosovo, and the high civilian casualties and terrorist sympathy that will result from an Iraq invasion.

The other panelists discussed other topics, such as the over 200,000 Gulf War veterans out of the total of 700,000 who served in the Gulf War who have filed claims with the VA for illnesses, injuries, and disabilities that they directly connect with their Gulf War service; the large number of Gulf War veterans who are homeless and untreated; and the numerous questions about the use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions, which has been proven to cause cancer in laboratory animals, and which is widely believed to be the root cause of the leukemia and birth abnormality rates which have skyrocketed in southern Iraq.

Nearly all of the press seats were empty.

Poverty grows along with gap between rich and poor in Israel and US

Monday, November 4, 2002

The similarities between Israel and the United States are remarkable. Both economies are a wreck. Both are obsessed with an endless "war on terror". Both are taking on wealth distribution characteristics associated with third world countries. Both are massive arms dealers. Both have a disdain for international law.

As everyday life becomes more unbearable and the real possiblility of "transfer" looms for Palestinians in the occupied territories, Michael Tarazi points to a possible strategic transformation within the Palestinian leadership

Sunday, November 3, 2002

"Palestinian Liberation Organisation legal advisor Michael Tarazi believes that new Israeli outposts, settlements and roads in the West Bank may have a fatal effect on the possibility of a two state solution.

" 'The danger here is that the Israelis have become so successful in changing the demographics and the geography on the ground that anything left to the Palestinians won't be viable,' he says.

" 'The idea of two states is now being seriously reconsidered by the Palestinians because we don't want a state that's simply a glorified Indian reservation.' "

[...]

" 'Our ultimate strategy will be based on whether or not the international community decides to intervene,' he says.

" 'Whether or not responsible Israelis get a hold of their senses and actually stop what their government's doing.'

" 'But if that doesn't happen we certainly will be forced to consider re-evaluating our position and moving from a movement of equal nationhood to equal citizenship.' "

Dissent within dissent: perspectives on the nascent antiwar movement

Sunday, November 3, 2002

As the movement against the Bush administration's planned war of aggression against Iraq gains recognition and broad-based support, Michael Albert and Stephen R. Shalom point to the need for inclusion, attention to tactics, and open dialogue while cautioning against sectarianism and hidden agendas.

US will deploy strategic B2 Bombers outside the US for the first time in preparation for Bush administration's war of aggression against Iraq

Friday, November 1, 2002

The United States Air Force will deploy some of its $1.1 billion B2 strategic bombers to Diego Garcia and Fairford, England. Although the United States used B2 Bombers in Afghanistan and Kosovo, pilots have always flown their missions from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Placing just two bombers in closer proximity will allow twelve sorties to be flown for every one that could be flown from Whiteman.

Scientists point to need for clean energy. Again. And half of the Earth's plants are heading for extinction.

Friday, November 1, 2002

A group of scientists has once again pointed to the need to resolve the global warming problem by developing alternative clean energy technologies. This is actually the sentiment shared by the entire global community except the Bush administration.

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its US Climate Action Report, George W. Bush dismissed it, saying, "I read the report put out by the bureaucracy." He was dismissive because the report stated what everyone knows: global climate change is a very serious problem.

A September 17 2001 report on global warming conducted by Program for International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) said the following:

"A strong majority of Americans favors the US abiding by and ratifying the Kyoto Treaty. When told that President Bush has decided to not abide by the Treaty approximately half oppose the decision while a fairly small minority supports it; a strong majority opposes his decision to not pursue reductions of carbon dioxide emissions and thinks he should propose develop some plan for reducing emissions. When the Kyoto Treaty was being negotiated in 1998 a strong majority supported the level of emissions cuts proposed, even when informed that the US had originally sought less-deep cuts, and a plurality leaned toward deeper cuts."

In this, as in so many issues, the Bush administration is atavistic and severely out of step with scientific consensus and public opinion.

Meanwhile, according to the Independent, half of the world's species of plants are in danger of disappearing.

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Last modified: Wed Mar 31 11:30:28 CST 2004