Saturday, January 18, 2003

Allies start to squabble over arms report - theage.com.au In a move that diplomats believe could touch off a divisive battle in the Security Council, the US plans to press it to suspend plans for the March 27 report by Hans Blix."

Karl is upset. Bush Poodle is getting eaten alive by his own party. Sharon has hindenberged. Those chemical protection suits are as hot as christ after February.

Dick and Condi pull a late one and come back with the answer: We'll ask the Security Council to suspend its own reporting schedule.
One tin soldier rides away... "In the AC Nielsen AgePoll - a blow to the Federal Government's stand on the war with the United States - 62 per cent of respondents said Australia should be involved in a conflict only if approved by the UN.

One in three believed war against Iraq was not acceptable under any circumstances."

Australians, unlike most Americans it seems, don't trust Dick and have never warmed to Shrub. They don't have the stomach for killing lots of civilians and, rightly or wrongly, trust that any situation can be resolved with a bit of good will and firm common sense that won't cause a big fuss. In short, they are antiwar. How else to explain such an sad poll result for Howard's imploding Iraq plan.

Churchill war criminal, says German historian - theage.com.au Churchill favoured a strategy of attacking civilian population centres from the air 20 years before Hitler ordered such raids, according to a new book by a revisionist German historian.

The evidence? Britain's war leader is quoted during First World War as saying: "Perhaps the next time round the way to do it will be to kill women, children and the civilian population."
Tim Blair "Memo to Crean: Find a message. Then stay on it."

Tim Blair points out the essential vapidity of the Australian press gallery over its dismal failure to make much sense of Simon Crean on Iraq. The Bitter Little Pudding and his dithering over Iraq last October contributed to Labor's first ever by-election loss to the Australian Greens. Facing a Christmas back room revolt over his refusal to discuss ruling out a non UN Security Council backed war on Iraq, Crean has furiously tried to reposition the ALP as the "no war" party in Australia, even as he rules out a conscience vote in Parliament. That means there will only be one way to vote on the issue, unlike the USA where votes rarely break along pure party political lines and defection is common.

In reality, his position is no different than Tony Blair's position. If Crean were in The Bush Poodle's shoes, he too would be saluting the Ark Royal as it disappeared over the horizon and mouthing the same words about "unreasonable objections in the security council" -- an Orwellian phrase to be sure.
Banana monocropping threat, but not in Oz Sigatoka disease is spreading like wildfire among the thousands of massive for-export banana plantations around the world, but not in Australia, where a careful quarantine system and the political power of growers has so far thwarted cheap imports from the Philippines and South America. Thanks for the link Brad.
US chucks plutonium in steel shed "There would seem to be fewer things crazier than chucking radioactive waste in a steel shack -- without making sure the place was safe first. But that's exactly what happened at the troubled Los Alamos National Laboratory."

Noah Shachtman has the story here
War with Iraq could unleash the forces of evil

Military chaplain and deacon GARY STONE warns that Australia is being
led into a war against Iraq which is morally and ethically

I WRITE today as an Australian citizen concerned at the threats to world peace and the need for us to courageously confront evil, even using lethal force in circumstances that are morally justified.

I believe Saddam Hussein must be confronted, but I am concerned that a unilateral pre-emptive assault on Iraq without UN mandate has not yet been justified and may result in dire consequences

For the last 33 years I have served in the Australian Army, firstly as an infantry officer, and for the last seven years as a chaplain. As an infantry lieutenant colonel, I commanded an Australian Army peacekeeping contingent on the Iran-Iraq border in 1989-90. I have dealt with senior Iqraqi and Iranian officers, and seen first hand the catastrophic outcome of more than eight years of combat which cost more than 1 million lives. I have seen, felt, even `smelt' the evil emanating from the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Upon my return to Australia I was employed as the land operations officer in the Defence Command Centre in Canberra, and was watch commander when in January 1991 we sent a `flash' message to our troops in the Gulf authorising them to use lethal force to liberate Kuwait from Saddam's forces. I wholeheartedly supported that action,
and today I consider the war on the terrorist activity of the al-Qa'ida network just as necessary and morally justifiable.

But as the spectre of a new war against Iraq looms closer each day, I have grave reservations about involvement by us, on military, strategic and ethical grounds.

As a Christian soldier deployed to five conflicts I have taken great solace in adhering to the long established `just war' doctrine which has informed ethical action in conflict situations since the time of St Augustine.

It is not just practical wisdom, I consider it is divine wisdom. It obliges all citizens and governments to work toward peace and the avoidance of war, but acknowledges the right of legitimate defence by military force in circumstances where, at one and the same time:

The damage inflicted by the aggressor is lasting, grave and certain.

All other means of resolution have been shown to be impractical or ineffective.

There must be serious prospects of success.

The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than
the evil to be eliminated.

(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, para 2309)

This doctrine has been tried and tested over hundreds of years and remains just as valid today. Troops sent to restore peace in a conflict vitally need to know they have both moral legitimacy and parameters on their use of lethal force.

Readers might be interested to know that the Australian Army, in its most recent rewrite of our keystone doctrinal document, The Fundamentals of Land Warfare, 2002, specifically endorses the criticality of adhering the 'just war' precepts for the long-term restoration of peace to be achieved.

I hope our military leaders will not be asked to turn a blind eye to this doctrine, and commit our soldiers to an unjust involvement which may haunt them for years to come, in order to satisfy the demands of our US allies' urgency for action.

From my first-hand experience, the politics and culture of the Middle East are complex issues that most Westerners would have great difficulty understanding. There are no simple or quick fix solutions there.

Hastily devised, externally imposed, and shortsighted `Western' solutions have led from one problem to another in the Middle East throughout the last century. Both Saddam and Osama bin Laden received substantial support from the US in earlier ill-conceived strategies.

People in the Middle East continue to be outraged at the meddling by Western governments in those affairs that suit them (like the economics of oil), and their indifference and intransigence in matters of justice (like restoration of a Palestinian homeland).

Serious attention to demands for Israeli compliance with UN resolutions unfulfilled by them, which could restore justice to the Palestinian people, would draw much of the sting out of the tail of Islamic extremism.

The US has weapons of `massive' destruction that will be able to bomb Iraq back into the dark ages, but real peace requires more than military might. Peace will only be achieved when the root problems of justice in economic, social and political terms is provided for.

It is morally scandalous that inestimable billions of dollars will be found to fund this conflict and its aftermath, when these could have been more fruitfully directed to health and human development in the poorest countries of the world where the seeds of discontent are sown.

Strategically, we need more thinking and action in the ways in which we can provide justice to peoples and nurture and sustain long-term peace, rather than the prevailing shortsightedness of seeking military solutions, which have limited prospect of sustainment.

It is my great fear that unilateral action against Iraq by the US and allies like us, will greatly swell the ranks of Islamic fundamentalists and unleash forces of evil that it will be extremely difficult to contain. What is needed in the Middle East is justice, legitimacy and integrity. The majority of Islamic people expect it just as much as we do. It is a non-negotiable prerequisite for peace .

The so-called `war on terrorism' which has involved the pursuit of the al-Qa'ida network has, in my mind, a legitimacy based on a just response to acts of terror perpetrated by an aggressor who seeks to engage us in indiscriminate conflict. A `war on Iraq' is not in this same category, and can only be tenuously linked to the war on terrorism.

Many media reporters are saying that war is now inevitable. It may be in the mind of the US administration, but it doesn't need to be. Despite the morally reprehensible conduct of the regime of Saddam Hussein, no ethical justification has yet been established for engaging in a pre-emptive war against the people of Iraq. None of the just war criteria has yet been satisfied. No Iraqi, US, British or Australian soldier should have to shed their blood over the oil fields of Iraq until they are. Continued containment of Saddam or his surgical removal, short of invasion, remain as valid options.

Should a `just' case emerge for conflict to be initiated by us, please God it will only employ `just' and discriminate use of force.

I hope the Australian people and Christians particularly, will have the courage and wisdom to continue to speak their minds to their politicians on this issue, and not just assume we must follow the US party line and timetable. World peace is at stake here. Our integrity as a nation is at stake.

History will judge us by our actions and inactions, but more significantly God will judge us.

We may well ask whether God would want us to be bombing Baghdad in a few weeks time, or pursuing other means to achieve peace. I suspect his answer might be an echo of the words of Micah that we should `do (only) what is just, and show mercy' (Micah 6:8).

Gary Stone is a deacon of the Catholic Military Ordinariate, and is based in Brisbane.
U.S. taking its case for war to Vatican -- The Moonie Times "The U.S. ambassador to the Vatican will hold a forum in Rome with the American Enterprise Institute to argue to Catholic Church officials that a pre-emptive strike in Iraq would be a "just war," a moral argument that the pope and U.S. bishops have rejected so far."

Just-war doctrine says a war must be defensive, a last resort, likely to succeed and unlikely to produce more harm than remedy. Bush's war fails on all counts.

Don't Count on China, by Sascha Matuszak Russia, in a meeting with Japanese officials, toed very much the same line. Instead of seeing North Korea as a threat to the East, China and Russia suggest that the US unilateral strutting has created an atmosphere of tension where one did not exist before. Ask the South Koreans and you will receive a similar answer.

The history of Korea, or of the dirty, frightful Korean war, in which my father served as a US army draftee, hasn't been on the right's empty-headed radar for years. This ignorance has consequences, as Dick, Shrub and Rummy have learned.

For example, did you know that one of Syngman Rhee's ROK army commanders when war broke out in 1950 was the same Japanese Army officer & collaborator entrusted to hunt down Kim il-sung's band of guerillas during WW2?

Hirohito awarded Kim sok-won a medal for his work fighting with the Japanese Imperial army, yet five years later he was fighting with the United States Army. In fact the whole ROK army was led by Koreans who fought with the Japs.

The US intelligence agencies at that time basically put Jap collaborators and war criminals in charge of the country, while the North resisted doing so with the help and connivance of China and Russia. This is history, my friend, not shallow "fisking".

Counting the Cost of War

Amanda Hodges reports in yesterday's Australian that there are 1080 World War Two era shipwrecks in the Pacific containing hundreds of tons -- exact number not known -- of unstable oil and gas that is already leaking. The article is not online, but this one is. The relevant 2002 Spillcon conference paper is also online here.

One or more of these ships could go at any time, potentially resulting in spills as big or bigger than the Exxon Valdez.

What's more, the sunken battleships, carriers and tankers are continually corroding, which means the problem will not go away. The U.S. navy is spending $5m on Yap Island where one sunken US oil tanker has already started to break up, directly threatening the lagoon. Read the story here

Many others are also starting to go -- yet no risk assessment has been performed on most wrecks, much less a viable plan for extraction of oil from these ships, many of which lie near virtually undisturbed coral reefs and lagoons.

The issue illustrates to us all the long generational impacts of war, which none of the previous warring parties -- Japan, USA, UK, and ANZ -- wants to face, but must face urgently before they go creating another environmental disaster in the Gulf, 80 percent of whose oil flows to Japan and Europe, not the United States.

I am sure people will be shocked, but I don't know why -- our governments have kept this little nasty surprise to themselves without taking the remedial action that is now evidently required, when logic obviously dictated the opposite course. The US Navy, Japan and Australia have done nothing for over 50 years, when logic says the issue cannot be avoided - a massive own goal of denial.

How does this affect Queensland? The Great Barrier reef is directly threatened by at least three "Battle of the Coral Sea" victims - a sunken US oil tanker, an aircraft carrier and a destroyer which went down 370 klms from Townsville, with more oil than the Exxon Valdez on board. Japan's losses near Townsville were two destroyers, three cargo ships, four gunboats, one light cruiser, one light carrier, various gunboats and other small craft

Just cleaning up the Prestige in Spain is going to cost over $US1 billion the Spanish G'ovt says. There is no way any government will be able to afford to cover the likely hundreds of billions of dollars for the cleanup bill for the 1800 ships in the Pacific, yet it must be done or we face an ecological catastrophe which will severely damage the ecology of the Pacific ocean.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Australian Democrats' Greg Barns: Save the hard line for real abusers [January 16, 2003] "But for law enforcement authorities in the UK to drag him down to the local nick and threaten to prosecute him for using a child pornography website should be offensive to all who believe that the state has no role in regulating what adults do in their own homes."

Former advisor to John Howard, now Democrat Senator wannabe, Mr Barns has put his foot in his mouth on more than one occasion, never more repulsively than here.
The Australian: Why not just kill Saddam [January 17, 2003] "And so the military boffins are our last hope of direct action against Saddam. They are hard at work, these strange people, devising tiny drones – clever, unmanned, robot planes – which could be released upon Baghdad like a swarm of killer bees, trained to hunt for Saddam."

The Australian tries to be funny about an unfunny subject.
Remember the Exxon Valdez and the Harlequin Duck "Although some of the indicators show signs of recovery, the majority of the indicators do not indicate recovery. Taken together, the population census trends, survival measures and indicators of exposure suggest that the harlequin duck has not recovered from the effects of the oil spill."

Our average attention span is about an hour if we are lucky. Meanwhile, oil spills go on forever. The beach at Prince William Sound, Alaska is now covered in oil-based asphalt, part of the 86 percent of oil that wasn't recovered. See also Harlequin Ducks and the Exxon Vakdez Oil Spill and The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill: How Much Oil Remains?
Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Spain asks EU to pay for £650m oil mop-up The ecological disaster provoked by the spill from the oil tanker Prestige, which sank off the coast of Spain two months ago, will cost a billion euros to clear up and, if the Spanish government has its way, the whole of Europe will end up paying for it.
FBI joins inquiry into US murders in Papua - smh.com.au "A US official said a small group of FBI officers would arrive in Indonesia within days to help Indonesian police uncover who planned and carried out the attack that killed three people and wounded 12 others, mainly US teachers."

This is disingenuous, as everyone already knows elements within the Indonesian military were involved, due to US mining giant Freeport-McMoRan cancelling the protection payments it used to make them. I don't think I've seen a single mention of this in the United States' own media -- once more asleep at the wheel?
LA Weekly: Features: Baby Greens "Cameron has soulful eyes, long lashes, and five years to go before he can legally vote in this country. He may be just 13, but he already knows which progressive party is for him, and it's not his mother's tired, old Democrats. Cameron is part of a significant wave of under-30 idealists who find themselves seriously drawn to the third party that is considered enough of a threat to the major parties to be labeled "spoilers" in the last presidential election and, more recently, in the fight to fill liberal Senator Paul Wellstone's (D-Minnesota) seat following his death. Perhaps more importantly, to young people like Cameron and 22-year-old Shawn Hansen anyway, the US Greens are the only party that carries a link to Michael Moore's Web site."

Bring on the voters of 2012.
Another Way: The Absurdist Poetry of Don Rumsfield

Another way to look at it is this
that the
that the inspectors
have not yet come up with new evidence
of Iraq's WMD program
could be evidence
in and of
of Iraq's

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, DoD briefing, Jan. 15, 2003
The Anti-War Show -- U.S. Interventions from Korea to Iraq "The Anti-War Show features posters documenting fifty years of domestic and international opposition to U.S. interventions around the world. These powerful graphic images, which illustrate the human cost and political futility of past wars, remain relevant because their legacies are present in the current conflict -- they raise questions about past interventions and foster debate about present ones. The posters document efforts of people who refuse to remain silent and use the power of art to inspire action."
AlterNet: Letting Saddam Off the Hook "Opposing the war in itself is good but not good enough. Letting the Leviathan off the hook is a grave mistake for which we will pay sooner rather than later. Opposing war, which is an instrument of politics, should not lead us to forget the crux of the things political. It is not weapons of mass destruction that count most; what really counts is the political system that controls them. Ignoring this fact by the forces of peace simply serves the war camp."

This is one of the best pieces I have read on Iraq. Not surprisingly, it is written by an Iraqi leftist academic exile, who demands justice at home via regime change achieved with Sun Tzu's dictums in mind, not Mr Cheney's oil war mongering.
Trade Unionists tackle Bush on Iraq war
WHEREAS, over 100 trade unionists from unions, Central Labor Councils and other labor organizations representing over 2 million members gathered in Chicago for an unprecedented meeting to discuss our concerns about the Bush administrations threat of war..."

Even the Teamsters back the antiwar movement. This is potentially significant, as their usual previous stance was to threaten to bust open protestor's heads.
US Vets' call to conscience
We are veterans of the United States armed forces. We stand with the majority of humanity, including millions in our own country, in opposition to the United States' all out war on Iraq.
I am blogging about politics from sunny Brisbane, Queensland, Australia's most politically interesting and under-reported state.

I've always found Queensland to be a great place to drink up the zeitgeist. As Australia's most rural state, agribusiness, the fast disappearing family farm which the government wants to collectivise, and mining rule our economic world. We smelt a lot of aluminium, which makes Queenslanders one of the biggest per capita emitters of green house gasses in the world.

We clear as much native Australian bush in Queensland as nations of South Americans clear of precious rainforests, year after year. Premier after Premier has remained slackjawed against the onrushing of salinity, too stunted to lift more than a token hand against that most Biblical of curses on the land.

Recently we've given birth to Pauline Hansonism, a virulent white supremacy party who scared the Conservatives so bad they've adopted some of her "tendencies".

Who can forget Joh Bijelke Peterson, the "hillbilly dictator" who ran Queensland like his own cattle station for 30 years, until forced to flee from office in 1987, his National Party government in tatters under a stench of corruption unequalled to any other in Australian political history?

Joh's misuse of state police to spy on and harass opponents of his jack-booted regime resulted in the outlawing of gatherings of citizens to protest his administration, even as he was visiting with corrupt police bagmen in his own Premier's office to take the goodies offered from Queensland's massive tourism-fueled porno, drug and prostitution underworlds.

Joh, the man who literally made his fortune by inventing a gigantic chain device, pulled between two massive tractors, that could tear up dozens of hectares of bushland per day.

Now the senile Joh, who still appears on Brisbane television more often than the highly articulate Senator Bob Brown of the Australian Greens, says our new leader, Peter Beattie of the Labor Party, is just fine. Unlike the "idiots" of the old National Party whom Joh now reviles, the Big Pineapple knows how to govern Queensland.

As our PM John Howard remakes himself as an UberJoh leading a terrier's assault on sin alongside the messianic Bush, I feel like I am sweltering in the pineapple-scented, subtropical heat of a cultural war between a few amateur idealists and those who are happy to break the golden rule. A war for the very soul of laid-back Oz.

Hope that's ok by you.


"We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of this great nation." -- US soldier in Afganistan.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

China-Japan tension growing Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's latest visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine , where 14 Class A Japanese war criminals lie buried "undermines the political foundation of China-Japan relations and runs counter to the Japanese government's commitment to face up to and review its history of aggression."
US "Bold Initiative" on DPRK: Fully Engaged “We expect them to disarm. We expect them not to develop nuclear weapons. And if they so choose to do so — their choice — then I will reconsider whether or not we will start the bold initiative that I talked to Secretary [of State Colin] Powell about,” Bush said.

Supposedly this was already "in the works" before the crisis. Yeah, right. Disarm and there will be pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye. Bush should lead the way by making the Pacific nuclear free, as the peoples of the Pacific desire.
Poindexter's TIA faces congressional review "Even if Congress never acts on Feingold's proposal, the unusual step of trying to suspend a military program may prompt the Defense Department to review the TIA program in a way few other tactics could. The bill will also provide TIA critics with a focal point for activism."

The Pentagon might even consider dropping the program due to the outcry against Poindexter's Big Brother spy database on US citizens.
Who is MARK HAKE CAPITAL? The mysterious Mr Hake, a US Venture capitalist in Arizona, has been fingered as a key link between Deloitte's head honcho in Australia, failed telco New Tel and a mysterious Sydney company developing technology for a massive coal seam methane project in New South Wales.

Said coal company was given a grant of Federal government Ausindustry grant of $4.1 m to develop this "environmentally friendly and clean energy" form of fossil fuel. Investors must be getting nervous indeed. But what is attracting the interest of badly burnt New Tel investors is how the same US promoters who tipped the big spending New Tel as a red hot buy to Americans have tipped Sydney Gas as a favourite, too, based on the size of its ads.

WA Labor says heads will roll over lead inaction The failure of the WA Environment department over dangerously high lead levels in the air near a school continues to cause a stink.
Perth's Navy booty sparks War boomlet "The average American sailor spends approximately $250 a day while in port," the statement said. "With close to 700 crew involved in Sea Swap, tourism and local business can expect a boost of around $175,000 a day."

Now an additional 7000 United States sailors are expected to be in Perth within a week as the US Navy increases its presence in WA. They don't seem to be sporting panty hose or chocolates. Perth nightclub guide

Sort of Heavy warfare Defence Minister Robert Hill said the lightly-armed Australian SAS - specialists in long-range reconnaissance and covert intelligence gathering - were not trained for urban combat, the Pentagon's greatest worry in Iraq. "That's not really the role of our special forces," Hill said. "If there's to be armed conflict in Baghdad, it's more likely to be sort of heavy forces on the ground."

"sort of heavy forces" -- of which Australia has bugger all.
The Australian: Murray refuels Democrats tension [January 16, 2003] "TENSIONS simmering within the Australian Democrats since last year's leadership crisis have erupted over former rebel Andrew Murray's decision not to attend the party's national conference this weekend."

More Democrats fear and trembling on the way to electoral oblivion.
The Village Voice: Nation: Carter Hounded by Kwangju Massacre "The Kwangju Uprising sparked South Korea’s democratic movement, which eventually brought about civilian rule in the late 1980s. It has been called the most important event in the history of South Korea. However, except for a few small-press books—in 1999, when Kwangju Diary was released, it was the only book in print on the uprising—the legacy of Kwangju has been ignored in the United States."

I wonder where the "anti-idiotarians" and fiskies were on this one.
Tim Blair has a spray over Iraq Poll EIGHTY PER CENT of people responding to this Time Europe online poll think that the US is a greater threat to world peace than Iraq or North Korea. This may in part be due to the shortage of live Kurds able to vote, and the inadequate Internet access in the graves of Korean dissidents."

The percentage is now up to almost 82, with nearly 190,000 votes cast (OK I voted twice, which shows you how worthless these surveys really are). And Tim Blair doesn't know much about Korean history.

So I wrote this email to him...

Tim, this is just about the most scary thing I've ever heard from you. That's the problem with the right wing in the country. Memories with holes in them the size of Orwell's ears.

Have you never heard of the long line of sorry thugs the US backed ROK Army put in charge in South Korea, at the behest of its master in Washington? Ever read anything about Rhee Snygman, or his successors General Park Chung-hee (who fought with the Japs), or perhaps Chon Doo-hwan who worked alongside US military intelligence as a Colonel and who staged a coup ? What about Chon Doo-hwan's role in ordering the kwangju massacre in 1980, in which 2,000 Koreans were killed by the ROK Army? Next thing you'll tell us is they weren't the Pentagon's preferred choice. No wonder the Koreans feel no one understands them in the West.

Here's a sampler to get you started -- you promised you would be skeptical.

Kwangju massacre --2000 Koreans killed by Korean army in 1980
Syngman Rhee
Park Chung-hee

The Courier Mail: Health costs continue to mount [16jan03] "THE Federal Government seems certain to approve a request by the major health insurance funds for an increase of about 6 or 7 per cent in subscription rates."

Insurance costs are up 16 percent on last year for me if this goes through. Thanks for nothing, Liberals.
Exxon Valdez oil still harmful, US studies say Small oil patches left from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill are still releasing toxins that harm sea life, government scientists said on Tuesday.
Australia asked to ease foreign investment limits - smh.com.au "Labor's trade spokesman, Craig Emerson, said the lates GATS discussion paper was an "insult to the Australian public". "The requests appear to threaten the public provision of affordable education, health, telephone, postal and transport services," he said.

Labor looks to be following the Greens against GATS.
"Vice Grip" by Joshua Micah Marshall In these institutions, a handful of top officials make the plans, and then the plans are carried out. Ba-da-bing. Ba-da-boom.
Made in China PsyOp on Kids : I hate you, Toy whispers to Babies "How many kids are lying in their crib listening to that?" Skelton's father-in-law, Gary Skelton, posed to The Columbian newspaper."

This gets my vote for most hysterical, irresponsible media story of the year.
Missing Texas Plague Samples Located (washingtonpost.com) "We have accounted for all those missing vials and we have determined that there is no danger to public safety whatsoever," FBI Agent Lupe Gonzalez said."

Oh yes there is, if a nation is foolish enough to try to somehow weaponise bubonic plague.
sp!ked-IT | Gone to the blogs Blogs are "an explosion of opinion that ends up saying very little. As Clint Eastwood once said, 'Opinions are like assholes - everybody has one'."

one asshole is no more or less important than another. blogs can speed knowledge in a group and provide connection to the past...a slug trail of facts and opinions shifting over time...
January 6, 2003 - Road Outrage: How Corporate Greed And Political Corruption Paved The Way For The SUV Explosion Huffington gets stuck in to SUVs ..."at a time when our leaders should be touting the importance of reducing our dependence on foreign oil, the people being given a financial incentive to purchase a new vehicle are those buying fuel-chugging SUVs."
Prof. Kenneth N. Waltz's Political Realism In 1981, at the height of the Cold War and with increasing fears of a nuclear showdown between the superpowers, Waltz published a monograph, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons, his first of many proclamations arguing for the potentially positive effects of nuclear weaponry's gradual spread. He still insists on this reasoning today.

"Countries that have nuclear weapons co-exist peacefully," says Waltz, "because each knows the other can do horrendous damage to it."
ACLU says Big Brother Almost Here "A combination of lightning-fast technological innovations and the erosion of privacy protections threatens to transform Big Brother from an oft-cited but remote threat into a very real part of American life," the report says.
Israel to kill in U.S., allied nations "Israel is embarking upon a more aggressive approach to the war on terror that will include staging targeted killings in the United States and other friendly countries, former Israeli intelligence officials told United Press International."

Former CIA officer says he doesn't know how the administration could protest, giving the recent Yemeni drone assassinations.
Palestinian film denied Oscars entry "Despite favourable reviews at a string of film festivals this year, Divine Intervention has been left off the list of 54 entries for this year's foreign-language Oscar."

Being Palestinian is being a persona non gratis
The Golden Rule The golden rule is endorsed by all the great world religions; Jesus, Hillel, and Confucius used it to summarize their ethical teachings. And for many centuries the idea has been influential among people of very diverse cultures. These facts suggest that the golden rule may be an important moral truth.
Mowing them down It's like we're mowing the grass. You mow the lawn one day and the next day the grass just grows right back."

ABC News - EU bans animal testing in cosmetics after 10-year debate The European Parliament has cleared a total European Union (EU) ban on the testing of cosmetics on animals following decade-long rearguard resistance by the make-up industry
The Modern Church's "big chance" Enlightened churches want to take Christianity back to a pre-Constantine faith in Holy Rebel Jesus in order to challenge today's Roman Centurions.
NEWS.com.au | Kissinger to meet PM (January 16, 2003) HENRY Kissinger, the man George W. Bush wanted to investigate the September 11 attacks, will meet John Howard to discuss Australia's involvement in a possible war on Iraq during a low-key visit to Sydney next week.
US navy repels OZ MPs "The US navy today refused to allow a boat load of prominent West Australians to conduct a "weapons inspection" aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Accompanied by WA Greens MP Jim Scott and rebel ALP Federal MP Carmen Lawrence (former state premier of WA), representatives of the legal and scientific communities, the group wanted to see the extent and nature of weapons of mass destruction aboard the world's largest aircraft carrier."

Reminds me of the time we tried to enact a "citizen's arrest" of the Captain of the HMS Ark Royal, the Brit carrier about to pound Baghdad. We got about as far as Carmen did. Here's her essay about the action.
Pete Townsend posting on his abuse memory

"But what is powerful in my own writing, and sometimes most difficult to control and model, is the unconscious material I draw on."
Liberals just can't see the difference He is the pampered and spoiled product of his country's ruling elite and the son of his country's former leader. Born to the wealth and high social standing of his family's political dynasty, he has enjoyed a life of privilege far removed from concerns of his exploited countrymen. Despite an obvious lack of merit, talent or aptitude, he received the best accommodations his country could offer. He was a notorious playboy and immoral rake until he reached an age at which most men have matured. He produced nothing and accomplished nothing unconnected to his family's name, and owes his current political position to solely his father's cronies."

Yes, Kim jong-il is a bad, bad man.
50 percent of Americans say Iraqis committed 9/11 highjackings "As far as you know, how many of the September 11th terrorist hijackers were Iraqi citizens: most of them, some of them, just one, or none?"

Most of them -- 21%
Some of them -- 23%
Just one -- 6%
None -- 17%
Don't know -- 33%

John le Carré says US "gone mad" "We are in this war, if it takes place, to secure the fig leaf of our special relationship, to grab our share of the oil pot, and because, after all the public hand-holding in Washington and Camp David, Blair has to show up at the altar."

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Michael Ortiz Hill: George Bush's Messianic Complex Messianic Woodward Bush quote: "We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of this great nation."
Chris Floyd: Monsters, Inc., The Pentagon's Plan to Create Super-Warriors The DARPA "war fighter enhancement" programs--an acceleration of bipartisan biotinkering that's been going on for years--will involve injecting young men and women with hormonal, neurological and genetic concoctions; implanting microchips and electrodes in their bodies to control their internal organs and brain functions; and plying them with drugs that deaden some of their normal human tendencies: the need for sleep, the fear of death, the reluctance to kill their fellow human beings.

OK he writes for the Moscow Times. That doesn't mean it's not true.
Col Hackworth says toss DPRK a bone The best way to deal with a mad Korean chow could be behavior modification: Stop the threats and start tossing him some carefully selected bones to chew on.

Col. Hackworth, former Brisbane resident, is one of the USA's most highly decorated combat officers.
World's first robot brain surgeon developed - smh.com.au A six-legged robot has been developed by Singapore experts and programmed to drill through the skull during surgery to remove deep-seated brain tumours in sharply reduced operating time.
Insects show evolution can go stick it - smh.com.au Several stick insect species - including PNG's phasma gigas - have re-evolved wings, 50 million years after losing them.
ALP deserts Mr Angry Bush "In Australia, Labor is almost certain to oppose a US-led unilateral strike on Iraq without UN endorsement. The Opposition Leader, Simon Crean, said on Friday without qualification that the ALP would not support this."
Newsday.com - Ratings Slip for Bush "There has been a perception that he has extraordinary approval," he said. "That was reinforced by the November election. But now I think this makes him more like a normal president than an invulnerable president."
Exxon Mobil eyes DPRK? (washingtonpost.com) Speaking to reporters in Seoul, Kelly was asked whether an Exxon Mobil gas pipeline project would be useful in solving North Korea's energy problems. "It may well be that, once we get beyond nuclear weapons, there may be opportunities with the U.S., with private investors, with other countries, to help North Korea in the energy area," Kelly responded.
Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer Q Ari, given that Illinois is not the only state that has had some questionable executions or cases on death row, has the President expressed any curiosity about any of the cases of execution that occurred under his watch in Texas?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, the President repeatedly has said throughout the process in Texas that he believes that people in Texas received justice on a fair basis; it was administered fairly and served as an effective deterrent.
Australians milked over levy "In a recent review the Dairy Adjustment Authority estimated that given the current trends in milk consumption, the 11c per litre levy on milk sales is likely to be retained for two years longer than originally indicated by the government."

PM Howard's government tossed $220,000 towards developing a polocrosse and "multi-disciplined equestrian centre" in the posh Gold Coast hinterland as a way of helping dairy farmers adjust to deregulation. Can you imagine -- "Wefare Queens Get Free Gambling Venue"?

McDonald's goes low fat, organic Giant hamburger chain, McDonald’s, is to begin selling semi-skimmed organic milk in its UK restaurants, in an effort to boost sales to health-conscious and environmentally-aware consumers.
Tastes like Chicken KFC is not the flavour of the month in China. The chain had been trading for 10 years in Beijing’s former imperial Beihai Park and has recently failed in a bid to renew its lease after complaints were made about its “encroachment” into China’s cultural heritage sites.
A State Terrorist Bought Brisbane's CBD? Australian border control authorities late last year kept out a 20 year old American anti-Globalization protestor who had previously participated in a high school Senator's office sit-in She wanted a tourist visa to visit a friend.

Now they are scrambling to explain how a middle eastern state terrorist and criminal torturer who claims he was only protecting the USA from Islamic terrorists was allowed to settle a stately riverfront home and buy the most prestigious office buildings in the State capital of Brisbane right under their noses.

Adel Jasim Felaifel, former Deputy Head of Intelligence in Bahrain, spent $100 million buying buildings in the Brisbane and coastal development projects before fleeing from Bahrain in May.

"Regime Change" - From evasion to invasion. By Christopher Hitchens This is what many Iraqi dissidents are calling "the nightmare scenario"—a last-minute thwarting of the project for a totally renovated system. Some of them even refer to it as "Saddamism without Saddam," though that increasingly looks like a contradiction in terms.
The Merry Prankster: Karl Rove But while Rove has achieved national recognition and, indeed, celebrity status among political pros, his record is full of ethical questions. After leaving college he moved to Illinois and won his spurs as an undercover operative by pretending to volunteer for Alan Dixon, a Democrat then running for state treasurer."

"Rove got into Dixon's office and swiped stationery with Dixon's letterhead. He then wrote a message to 1,000 people, including drunks on skid-row, inviting them to Dixon's campaign headquarters and promising "free beer, free food, free women and a good time for nothing."
When his authorship was disclosed, he dismissed the Democrats' outrage by saying that "it was just a dumb prank."

This man now runs the White House. 'nuff said.
Of Big Oil, By Big Oil, For Big Oil: The 10 Most Startling Speculations and "Conspiracy Theories" About September 11 and America's New War "The year following September 11 has seen probably the most staggering proliferation of "conspiracy theories" in American history. Angry speculation -- focused mainly on government dirty dealings, ulterior motives, and potential complicity in the attacks -- has risen to a clamor that easily rivals what followed the Kennedy assassination."
Coverup alleged at UC weapons lab / Fired investigators say university hiding financial mess at Los Alamos Two investigators said the university still is engaged in a coordinated coverup of theft and abysmal accounting that involves far more money and goes far deeper than UC has acknowledged.
Protest Groups Using Updated Tactics to Spread Antiwar Message This week a group of Republican business executives organized by movement leaders published a full-page letter in The Wall Street Journal under the title "A Republican Dissent on Iraq," warning President Bush: "The world wants Saddam Hussein disarmed. But you must find a better way to do it."
Why We're So Nice: We're Wired to Cooperate Hard as it may be to believe in these days of infectious greed and sabers unsheathed, scientists have discovered that the small, brave act of cooperating with another person, of choosing trust over cynicism, generosity over selfishness, makes the brain light up with quiet joy.
That's why UC Berkeley banned her?Goldman's prophecy coming true "In one of the quotations, from 1915, Goldman called on people "not yet overcome by war madness to raise their voice of protest, to call the attention of the people to the crime and outrage which are about to be perpetrated on them." In the other, from 1902, she warned that free-speech advocates "shall soon be obliged to meet in cellars, or in darkened rooms with closed doors, and speak in whispers lest our next-door neighbors should hear that free-born citizens dare not speak in the open."
AlterNet: Selling Ecological "Revolution" "Instead of the EPA coming in and saying, you're bad, we need to regulate you," McDonough adds, "what if they came in and said, 'Hey you guys, you might want to try a new design protocol that doesn't require us to regulate you.'"
WSJ.com - China Offers to Host Talks; Pyongyang Rhetoric Grows "Hoping to ease tensions, the president told reporters in the Oval Office, "I view this as an opportunity to bind together nations in the neighborhood and around the world to make it clear to the North Koreans that we expect this issue to be resolved peacefully and we expect them to disarm -- we expect them not to develop nuclear weapons."

Bush should make a gesture to disarm himself -- or the people will do it for him.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Yahoo! News - Crow preaches peace "I think war is based in greed and there are huge karmic retributions that will follow. I think war is never the answer to solving any problems. The best way to solve problems is to not have enemies."
End of World Has Already Begun, Scientists Say By their reckoning, Earth's ''day in the sun'' has reached 4:30 a.m., corresponding to its 4.5 billion-year age. By 5 a.m., the 1 billion-year reign of animals and plants will come to an end. At 8 a.m. the oceans will vaporize. At noon - after 12 billion years - the ever-expanding sun, transformed into a red giant, will engulf the planet, melting away any evidence it ever existed and sending molecules and atoms that once were Earth floating off into space.
RFID tags: Big Brother in small packages Could we be constantly tracked through our clothes, shoes or even our cash in the future? ...we could be tracked because we'll be wearing, eating and carrying objects that are carefully designed to do so.
Homeless freeze to death in South Asia Cold weather across northern India, Bangladesh and Nepal has claimed a daily average of two dozen lives, mostly the elderly and children living on the streets.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | US Korean War troops violated Geneva convention "All US troops were apt to regard prisoners as cattle and treat them as such. They handled them, including cripples who had been badly wounded, extremely roughly. Asked about the Geneva convention, US troops said: 'Well, these people are savages'. All [US] units were inclined to fire on prisoners at the slightest provocation."
Orcinus: Jap Internment Camps Examined With Glenn Reynolds joining the chorus of conservative voices that are leading us toward interning Muslim-Americans, what lessons can we learn from WW2?
Antiwar Activists From Across U.S. Preparing for Weekend of Protests (washingtonpost.com) Counter-protesters say they will rally at Constitution Gardens on the Mall at 9 a.m. Saturday and later greet marchers outside the U.S. Marine Corps barracks at Eighth and I streets SE. The D.C. chapter of the national organization Free Republic, a frequent counter-presence at protests, and MOVE-OUT! (Marines and Other Veterans Engaging Outrageous Un-American Traitors) are organizing this event.
Opposition to War Growing in France (washingtonpost.com) "A poll Thursday by the Ipsos organization for the newspaper Le Figaro found 77 percent of those interviewed opposed to military intervention against Iraq. The poll found that anti-war sentiment largely spanned the political spectrum, from people on the far left, who are most opposed, to people on the far right."

Surprisingly enough, Australian's lack of support for the Iraqi front makes us no better (or worse) than the Frenchies.
I agree with Blair on Iraq. And, boy, do I feel lonely War supporters are deserting in droves in the UK, without some evidence that Iraq is an immediate, time-critical dangerous threat as required under International law for a preemptive war.

"I happen to think that Mr Blair is absolutely right about Iraq. And, boy, am I starting to feel lonely. It still seems overwhelmingly likely that the United States and Britain will be compelled by Saddam Hussein's non-compliance with UN Resolution 1441 to take military action. It still seems probable that this action will be taken soon. But what strikes me is how few people in this country have been psychologically prepared for this most sadly predictable of conflicts. The response one encounters most often is not outright hostility to the war - although that is not confined to the Labour backbenches - but confusion. Hardly anybody gets what Mr Blair is up to. And this is entirely his fault. He has a good case, and he and his colleagues have failed to make it."
Gulf War Revisited - Arguing the Case for War

"Some problems and opportunities of the two [Gulf Oil War] situations twelve years apart are surprisingly similar.

One similarity is that during the five month US led Gulf War build-up along the Arabian-Iraq-Kuwait border, it seemed that the only thing that would stop the US invasion of Iraq would be Iraq's prior capitulation. A question asked at that time was introduced with this lead-in:

"Here are some things that some people thought we should have done but did not do before the situation in the Persian Gulf happened. As I mention each one, please tell me if you think it would have helped a lot, helped a little, or not helped at all, to make the confrontation with Iraq unnecessary"

Read the article to discover the astonishing results which show people have more sense than John Howard:

17 December 2002

Howard Government Suffocates Renewable Energy -- Cooperative Research Centre Abo
The Howard government has de-funded the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Renewable Energy and instead given another $68.5 million to the mining industry in today’s announcement of new CRCs.

The closure of the Renewable Energy CRC in June 2003 is a tragedy for Australia, marking the end of specific government support for research into renewable energy, especially solar power including solar panels and solar hot water, Greens Senator Bob Brown said today.

“Only ten years ago we led the world in renewable energy research excellence and were poised to develop an exciting new industry.

“The remaining research faculties and renewable energy companies will not survive unless the government turns off the flood of money to its coal industry mates and makes a serious commitment to environmentally sustainable renewable energy.

“In this round of CRC funding, the entire mining and energy allocation, $68.5 million, has gone to the mining industry, and none to renewable energy.

“This is on top of --
· $46 million to fossil fuel CRCs in previous funding rounds
· $35 million to Rio Tinto, for a Sustainable Minerals Industry Foundation, whose work appears to be almost identical to the newly funded CRCs for Sustainable Resource Processing and Greenhouse Gas Technologies (carbon sequestration)
· $77 million to the coal and aluminium industries through the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program.

“As well as getting its own government grant, Rio Tinto is a ‘core participant’ in every one of the four CRCs announced today.

“The government’s Rio Tinto-led energy policy is destroying Australia’s opportunity to switch to solar and get serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions”, said Senator Brown.

Envoy: N. Korea Could Get U.S. Energy Aid One analyst said the Bush administration seemed divided over how to deal with North Korea, with some officials espousing dialogue and others opposing it.
"It seems the hawks and doves have not yet finished tuning their policy," said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korea studies at Dongguk University in Seoul."

US says it wants to talk but not negotiate. It wants to put a couple of carrots out. Send a peace feeler. Bad, bad antiwar people, pointing out the hypocrisy of Fully Engaged Team Bush.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Blair ready to act without new UN resolution When Blair is left trying to warn against the "Inspections Trap" you know this is no Kosovo, like he expects it to be.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Blair ready to act without new UN resolution Mr Blair sought to turn around the question of whether Britain should support a war against President Saddam, saying: "Are people really saying that if there is a breach of that UN resolution, no action should follow?

"If we did that, we would send a message to the outside world which would, in my view, be absolutely disastrous for the security of our world."

Surely he jests. What about such resolutions against Israel, ignored by the UK and the USA, or even the US's own proposed breach of Resolution 1441 which requires a full report to the Security Council before war is declared. Unless there is a clear, time-urgent threat of an attack from Iraq on the United States or its allies Australia or Great Britain, Bush's proposed war would seem to be illegal under international law.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Blair ready to act without new UN resolution Mr Blair said he "could not be constrained" by the possibility of a country imposing an "unreasonable block" or proviso that would hinder a fresh UN resolution.
Rummy's Old-Fashioned Fight William Arkin's article in the NY Times makes one feeling I have had for months about fully engaged Team Bush crystal clear.

Rummy has read Sun Tzu's Art of War, but not the bit about how politicians' control of generals inevitably causes bad ch'i. It's out of the natural order and functioning of each sphere of government. That's what keeps the good ch'i flowing in the body politic -- something that it hasn't done for years in the United States.


"For months, Rumsfeld prodded the U.S. Central Command to come up with a blueprint that reflected his demand for new tactics that combined the high-tech weaponry of modern air power with the stealth and agility of special operations. War plans were frequently returned to the Tampa, Fla.-based headquarters as not "imaginative" enough, according to senior officers on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Why, Rumsfeld kept asking, did Army Gen. Tommy Franks and his staff at Central Command doggedly insist on plans that entailed so much equipment, so many troops?"
Salon.com Arts & Entertainment | He fought the law (and the law won) On a recent Sunday, flipping between National Football League games, the familiar opening chords of the title cut from "London Calling" -- is there a stronger album opener in all of music? -- reverberated through living rooms across America. A spit-take later came an ad for Jaguar motorcars, filmed on a London street, announcing to the world that the British carmaker was selling its high-end autos here in the States to those sophisticated enough to recognize the brilliance of its automotive tradition. Once, those chords alluded to the decline of Western civilization and the coming apocalypse; now they were hawking an advanced suspension system and a hushed, leather interior.
Ricin: Psy-Op? "As a psychological weapon, perhaps (ricin is a major threat)...but it takes large quantities of ricin and the means to disperse it to generate a significant physical impact. My view is that this is not that big a deal. Keep in mind that it is not that difficult to produce anthrax or any number of other toxins/biotoxins. The trick is having the dispersal means necessary to generate significant loss of life/casualties."

Aware, but not alarmed.

Monday, January 13, 2003

The Courier Mail: Nationals Take on Big Oil Price Fixing [13jan03] Opposition Leader Mike Horan said Treasurer and Acting Premier Terry Mackenroth had "done everything short of actually doing anything" since it was revealed last week the State Government's 8.35¢-a-litre fuel subsidy appeared to have not been passed on to motorists.
New year resolutions - smh.com.au Why wouldn't Iraq develop WMD for deterrence purposes given threats by Washington and London? We are discouraged from seeing things from Iraq's point of view, but in many ways WMD make sense for vulnerable states. As the realist theorist Kenneth Waltz argues, "North Korea, Iraq, Iran and others know that the United States can be held at bay only by deterrence. Weapons of mass destruction are the only means by which they can hope to deter the United States. They cannot hope to do so by relying on conventional weapons."
New year resolutions - smh.com.au We have never been an aggressive power, we have never invaded another country without the sanction of the United Nations.

Margot, what about Vietnam? No UN sanction there either. What I want to know is, if the USA considers Iraq's oil "war booty" that can be used to pay for the subjegation of Saddam, how much is Australia getting out of it?
snotglass speaks As our elected, fully-engaged, wartime President, George W. Bush skillfully manages the multiple international crises caused by the incoherent foreign policy of the failed Clinton administration, unpatriotic liberals and leftist defeatists are actively aiding the axis of evil by spreading dissent and discord.

He and Charles Firth from CNNNN's Firth Factor should set up a collaborative blog.
The Telegraph - You're losing the party over Iraq, Cabinet warns Blair The unease over a possible invasion without a second UN resolution extends to senior military officers. One told The Telegraph: "The country doesn't have the stomach for a war in Iraq at the moment and frankly neither do many senior officers.

"That feeling will persist until it is clear there is no other option and all diplomatic courses have been exhausted. That means having the backing of the United Nations."

daily news, uk weather, business news - online newspaper - The Telegraph Malcolm Savidge, Labour member for Aberdeen North, who tabled a Commons motion opposing national missile defence, signed by 276 backbenchers, said: "There will be great concern as this will be seen as further evidence of how we are getting sucked into supporting the very aggressive policy of the hawks of the American administration."
NEWS.com.au | No case for troops: Rudd (January 13, 2003) LABOR has virtually ruled out supporting the Federal Government on a war against Iraq, with Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd insisting the Prime Minister has not established the case for pre-emptive deployment of Australian forces.

Mr Rudd said John Howard's announcement last week that Australian military personnel and equipment would be deployed in the Middle East over the coming weeks, ahead of a possible invasion, had shattered hopes Labor would back a non-UN sanctioned attack.
NEWS.com.au | WHY SOME HELP ILLEGAL MIGRANTS (January 13, 2003) With no bank account or tax file number and unable to use her passport, she has accepted work in factories for less than half the minimum wage. She has been paying $160 a week for a 2m by 3m room because, without papers, she can't get a room anywhere else.
china.scmp.com - Hu is Man for the Masses? While Bush clears brush in Texas, what's that new Chinese leader up to these days? Contrary to previous reports that Jiang is still hanging around in the shadows, Hu seems to in command of the situation, if a little bland.

"Mr Hu's element for now is in a Mongolian yurt huddling over a fire with poor herdsmen, while the temperature outside hit minus 35 degrees Celsius."
china.scmp.com - South China Morning Post online coverage of politics and business news in Greater China The first trip Mr Hu took outside Beijing was a "study tour" of the revolutionary base of Xibaipo, where Mao Zedong directed the final campaigns before his triumphant entry into Beijing in 1949. Mr Hu, born in 1942, was only a boy of seven at that time. Half a century later, retracing the footsteps of the early revolutionary leaders, he found determination, hard work, clear thinking and modesty. By reclaiming the red heritage, he put himself firmly in the lineage of the founders.
Economist.com | Bjorn Lomborg One might expect to find the answer to this question in the arguments and data supporting the ruling—but there aren't any. The material assembled by the panel consists almost entirely of a synopsis of four articles published by Scientific American last year. (We criticised those articles and the editorial that ran with them in our issue of February 2nd 2002.) The panel seems to regard these pieces as disinterested science, rather than counter-advocacy from committed environmentalists. Incredibly, the complaints of these self-interested parties are blandly accepted at face value. Mr Lomborg's line-by-line replies to the criticisms (see www.lomborg.com) are not reported. On its own behalf, the panel offers not one instance of inaccuracy or distortion in Mr Lomborg's book: not its job, it says. On this basis it finds Mr Lomborg guilty of dishonesty.
WSJ.com - Defense Contracts Announced Friday Raytheon Co. (RTN) is being awarded a $7.78 million cost-plus fixed-fee contract to provide for design, build and demonstrate an electro-optic laser imaging system. The contractor shall develop a multi-beam 1.5 micron laser system for high resolution 2-D and 3-D imagery at long range. The ultimate goal is to integrate the individual transmit and receive fiber laser modules to form a mosaic image using advanced synthetic aperture image processing. At this time, $1,830,109 of the funds has been obligated. Further funds will be obligated as individual delivery orders are issued. This work will be completed by July 2004.
Broadband Wireless Business Magazine The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is depoying Proxim Corp.’s Tsunami Ethernet bridges as part of an electronic surveillance system for the San Francisco Bay Area’s transportation infrastructure.

The contract is part of a multimillion-dollar security initiative called Bay Area Security Enhancement (BASE). When complete, the BASE system will connect all major Bay Area transportation infrastructure to Caltrans, and to each other, using video cameras, Tsunami subscriber units, Tsunami multipoint base stations and point-to-point radio links.

Sunday, January 12, 2003

The Telegraph - Attack on Iraq rejected by 2 in 3 voters More than two-thirds of British voters believe that a potential attack on Saddam Hussein is not justified in present circumstances, according to the internet pollster YouGov. The survey shows that Labour voters would reconsider their support for the Government if Mr Blair sent troops into action against Iraq.
Yahoo! News - Gaddafi Wants World Peace
Tthe Libyan leader tells Newsweek he is optimistic about the future of relations with the United States. "During the time of wars of liberation, we waged war. Now it is time for peace, and I want to be part of world peace," he said.
U.S. Seeks to Tone Down Drums of War "Blair is very vulnerable on this issue. He's been an overachiever for the United States up to now. But he has a price too. He needs certain things, including giving the U.N. a real opportunity to prove Iraq still has weapons, in order to face the political backlash, particularly within his own party," said a well-placed official who requested anonymity.
Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Daily News in English About Korea Some 60,000 Protestants participated in a large prayer meeting sponsored by the Christian Council of Korea and a Christian leaders organization at City Hall Plaza at 3:00pm Saturday. This prayer meeting under the banner, 'A Peace Prayer Meeting for the Country and Ethnic Koreans' called for self-restraint from anti-American demonstrators.
A U.S. License to Kill "In fact, the best analogy is piracy, and there is international law that deals with pirates," Turner said.

"They are 'the common enemies of mankind,' and as such they may be apprehended or attacked by anyone."
A U.S. License to Kill And, where possible, the U.S. is seeking the permission of local governments before carrying out targeted killings on foreign soil -- although officials suggest that Bush is willing to waive that rule if necessary. Launching a targeted killing in another country without its assent is normally a violation of international law, legal scholars say.
IraqJournal.org As the Bush administration continues to "pour over" the nearly 12,000 page declaration on non-conventional weapons submitted last weekend by the Iraqi government, another report central to the "Iraq crisis" is being ignored by Washington. The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF has just released its annual report The State of the World’s Children.
The Australian: Nauruan leader clinging to power [January 11, 2003] "The people of Nauru want to get rid of Rene Harris, he is a shocker, a thug," said one official, who asked not to be named. "The Australian Government is dealing with him because it is convenient for them, but the aid money from Australia is not being spent on the people of Nauru – it is going to the politicians."
Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Daily News in English About Korea "As for myself, and for people around me, we don't really feel a direct threat." "I think many of us simply think, 'Oh, North Korea is doing it again.'" "Many young people are not interested in the nuclear issue. Simply speaking, they do not know how serious the nuclear issue is."
Libya, Syria, possibly Sudan also seek WMD, CIA warns But while detailing these dangerous pursuits by the "axis of evil," the CIA indicated that other nations from the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism were also involved in similar activities.
One of them is Libya, which, according the report, continues to develop its nuclear infrastructure.
"In 2001, Libya and other countries reportedly used their secret services to try to obtain technical information on the development of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons," the CIA said.
According to the report, Tripoli tried to negotiate with Russia a deal to purchase a nuclear reactor and secure Moscow's assistance in developing the Tajura Nuclear Research Center.
"Such civil-sector work could present Libya with opportunities to pursue technologies that also would be suitable for military purposes," the spy agency concluded.
Following the suspension of UN sanctions against it, Libya quickly moved to establish contacts with chemical companies and research institutions, primarily in Western Europe, in order to secure technologies and raw materials for its suspected chemical weapons (CW) program.
US threatens lawsuit over 'immoral' GM food stance - smh.com.au US Trade rep Zoellick, fresh after Cheney rolled him over his Doha pharmaceutical "breakthough" in Sydney:

"I find it immoral that people are not being able to be supplied food to live in Africa because people have invented dangers about biotechnology. That puts it rather high on my scale to deal with."

I find it immoral that USAid would only cough up a loan to buy the food if Zambia used it to buy GE from the United States.
War and Peace Hero Ron Kovic Back on the Streets in L.A. "Kovic, whose autobiography "Born on the Fourth of July," was made into a movie, predicted the protest would mark the start of "one of the greatest anti-war movements in the history of the United States."
Additional demonstrations, timed to coincide with the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, are scheduled to take place in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., next Saturday.

"I and others are entering a deployment order for citizens of this country to go to the streets and to protest in mass," Kovic said."

WSJ.com - Florida 'Cracker' Becomes Hot at Upscale Developments "In the early 20th century, crackers were lauded as craftsmen and embraced by some Southerners as a sort of unsung hero akin to the cowboy. But during the civil-rights movement, Malcolm X famously used the term to deride white racists."

Reclaiming Cracker Pride via revisionist history and architecture. I'm in.
Lewis Mumford's The Myth of the Machine While Hitchen's might think Orwell was the century's greatest cultural critic, I wouldn't agree. One of the west's most distinguished urban theorists is making a comeback amongst a generation of writers. Indeed the insights of this intellectual godfather of the Greens seem upon further reacquaintance as fresh and as startling as when he first penned them over a career which spanned most of last century. From the linked critique of Mumford's second volume of the series, The Pentagon of Power. Well worth reading this abridged edition if you can't face Mumford's dense 650 page tome of sometimes ornately dense prose.

"In his earliest writing Mumford had seen electricity as a potential force for social improvement, opening the way for a decentralization of industry and population, and the revival of small industries. In the Pentagon of Power, however, he emphasizes the electronic computer's insidious impact on personal privacy and autonomy. To him the computer is merely another overated tool, vastly inferior to the human brain; in the wrong hands, however, an extraordinarily dangerous one."

Remember that creepy, egyptian looking eye logo DARPA has for their uber-database on all citizens, the Total Information Awareness project? Back in the 70s, Mumford offered us a further mythological illumination of the timeless image of the unblinking eye of the pyramid that just *popped into somebody's head at the Pentagon:

"The computer, Mumford argues, is the eyes of the reborn sun god Re; it serves as a private eye for the megamachine elite, who expect complete conformity to their commands because nothing can be hidden from them. In the future no action, no thought, perhaps even no drem will escape this all-scrutinizing eye. And perhaps this will eventually lead to the elimination of autonomy itself: "indeed the dissolution of the human soul."

Whoa. Mumford was not totally dark on humanity, but damn close. He is an extremely important cultural critic whose ultimate answer to the problem relied upon monastic withdrawal from the forces of the megamachine which ultimately presaged today's New Age movements, so is important to understand Mumford from a history of ideas point of view even if you don't share his politics.
'Skeptical environmentalist' rebuked by Scientists- Jan. 10, 2003 Remember the chap who allegedly tore strips off Peter Garrett on Sixy Minutes earlier in the year? Well, CNN is reporting that the The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty said Tuesday that Lomborg's 350-page book "is clearly in violation of the norms for good scientific behavior."

Tim Blair, where are you?
ABCNEWS.com : The Who's Townshend Says 'I'm Not a Pedophile'
I hope this is not just spin doctoring, but the abuse part could explain a lot of his famous onstage antics as the angry young man. I am awaiting what the police have to say about it before passing any judgements, as everyone should.

"I have felt for a long time that it is part of my duty, knowing what I know, to act as a vigilante to help support organizations...build up a powerful and well-informed voice to speak loudly about the millions of dollars being made by American banks and credit card companies for the pornography industry."

Townshend is speaking the truth here anyway, but no politician will touch this issue with a barge pole. Here in Queensland, porno is a US$ 3 billion a year industry - the largest technology export industry from the Smart State, with only three million people. The Queensland pornography industry employs a huge number of technicians and engineers and the state racks in millions alongside the banks. Yet no actual fucking is filmed here in Queensland because it is illegal -- the porn kings have to import content from Canberra and Sydney.
Whatever happened to the peace movement? - theage.com.au
Has the message that peace is preferrably kept in ways not based on armed nuclear combat yet penetrated our brains?

"Warfare used to be international and conventional. Now it is increasingly internal and guerrilla. Large fighting formations no longer bring lasting peace (as the Soviets and the Americans found in Afghanistan). Instead, military operations have to be seen in the broader context of not only winning the war but also winning the peace. This means co-operating with international relief organisations. It also means trying to find other ways of settling disputes. We are all "peace activists" now.

Would that it were so.
Oil is a valid reason for war - theage.com.auTom Friedman tells it like it is to the moral hypocrites designing a society based on limitless US consumption of non renewable resources.
"I have no problem with a war for oil - if we accompany it with a real program for energy conservation. But when we tell the world that we couldn't care less about climate change, that we feel entitled to drive whatever big cars we feel like, that we feel entitled to consume however much oil we like, the message we send is that a war for oil in the Gulf is not a war to protect the world's right to economic survival but our right to indulge. Now that will be seen as immoral."

The problem as I see it is this has been the message since the end of the Second World War. The US could wipe out hunger with a fraction of its gigantic yearly arms budget, yet instead of working for peace we have worked for war.

"We have about 60 per cent of the world's wealth but only 6.3 per cent of its population. Our real task in the coming period (will be) to maintain this position of disparity. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford the luxury of altruism and world benefaction ... the day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered then by idealistic slogans the better." --George Kennan, head of U.S. State Department Planning, Feb 24, 1948.

ABC News - 12/01/03 : N Korea threatens to test-fire missiles Australian environmental group Friends of the Earth says the US, UK and Russia are failing to fulfil their own obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Friends spokeswoman Dimity Hawkins says nations signed to the treaty have committed to the long-term elimination of their nuclear arsenals, but this has dropped off their agendas.

"The US, UK, Russia, China and France, who are the big nuclear weapon states, should really be obliged to disarm their nuclear weapons arsenals now, as they've been saying they would do for over 30 years," she said.

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