Saturday, April 19, 2003

Rejecting the World
But what happens when unilateralists encounter problems that clearly require the cooperation of other countries — not as junior partners, but as equals? Right now the answer is simply to deny the existence of those problems. The greenhouse effect is a quintessentially global issue — fine, we'll deny that global warming exists. Fighting stateless terrorists demands a global cooperative effort — fine, we'll fight terrorism by launching a conventional war against a regime that, nasty as it was, had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks.
Eventually, of course — and sooner rather than later — this attempt to deny reality will fail. While we've been watching the Iraq show, many past achievements of U.S. foreign policy have been disintegrating. Through neglect and arrogance, the United States has squandered the good will it built up in Latin America in the 1990's. For half a century the U.S. has regarded the drive toward free trade as a key part of its global strategy; now trade negotiations are falling apart from lack of attention.

Telegraph | News | Chalabi's fighters accused of lawlessness
Elements of Ahmad Chalabi's Pentagon-backed army have been accused by American troops of lawlessness.
US marines stationed in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah complain that they have been ordered to hand assault rifles taken from groups of looters and remnants of the old regime to members of Mr Chalabi's Free Iraqi Forces.
"You can imagine, it's a bit of a heartbreaker," said a sergeant. "We take the weapons off one lot and hand them over to these guys."

North Korea says it is successfully reprocessing more than 8,000 used fuel rods at its main nuclear plant, a move which nuclear experts fear could lead to the production of weapons-grade plutonium.
The official Korean Central News Agency made the announcement Friday in a statement acknowledging next week's three-way talks in Beijing to resolve the crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear program. North Korean, U.S. and Chinese delegations will negotiate beginning Wednesday.

Yahoo! News - British Aid Plane Prevented from Entering Iraq
LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. forces have refused a Save the Children plane permission to land in northern Iraq (news - web sites) to deliver aid, breaching the Geneva Convention and "costing children their lives," the British aid agency said on Thursday.

U.S. Bombs Iranian Guerrilla Forces Based in Iraq
The attacks could well anger the more than 150 members of Congress from both parties who have described the Iranian opposition group as an effective source of pressure against Iran's government. In a statement last November, the group urged the Bush administration to remove the organization from its terrorist list.
"We made it very clear that these folks are pro-democracy, antifundamentalism, antiterrorism, helpful to the U.S. in providing information about the activities of the Iranian regime, and advocates of a secular government in Iran," said Yleem Poblete, staff director for the House International Relations Committee's subcommittee on the Middle East and Asia.
"They are our friends, not our enemies," she said. "The fact that they are the main target of the Iranian regime says a lot about their effectiveness."

Friday, April 18, 2003

The Salt Lake Tribune -- Bechtel Gets Huge Contract for Iraq Work
The government on Thursday awarded a big contract to evaluate and repair Iraq's power, water and sewage systems to Bechtel Corp. of San Francisco.
The initial award by the U.S. Agency for International Development was for $34.6 million, although the contract could be worth up to $680 million over 18 months.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Cellular Automata drive radical new nanocomputing architecture
Computers made using the design would be able to process highly parallel applications as many as one billion times faster than today's computers, said Peper. These applications include artificial intelligence, which typically requires checking many possibilities in a search tree, simulations of neural systems, which employ a large number of neurons working in parallel, and simulations of physical systems, which project the interactions of large numbers of particles, he said.

BBC NEWS | UK | Northern Ireland | Security forces 'aided' loyalist murders
Security forces 'aided' loyalist murders

A branch of British army intelligence and some police officers in Northern Ireland actively and deliberately helped a loyalist paramilitary group to murder Catholics in the late 1980s, according to the Stevens Report, by the UK's Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens, due on Thursday.
The report into alleged collusion between the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries has also found that military intelligence in Northern Ireland actually prolonged the Troubles.

Guess what? One of the alleged military perps is an Brigadier General in Basra!

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Oil ministry an untouched building in ravaged Baghdad - War on Iraq - smh.com.au
Since US forces rolled into central Baghdad a week ago, one of the sole public buildings untouched by looters has been Iraq's massive oil ministry, which is under round-the-clock surveillance by troops.
The imposing building in the Al-Mustarisiya quarter is guarded by around 50 US tanks which block every entrance, while sharpshooters are positioned on the roof and in the windows.

Scientific American: Parallel Universes
Parallel Universes

Not just a staple of science fiction, other universes are a direct implication of cosmological observations

By Max Tegmark

Is there a copy of you reading this article? A person who is not you but who lives on a planet called Earth, with misty mountains, fertile fields and sprawling cities, in a solar system with eight other planets? The life of this person has been identical to yours in every respect. But perhaps he or she now decides to put down this article without finishing it, while you read on.

Alleged Chinese Spy Is Denied Bail (washingtonpost.com)
But attorneys for Leung, who is well known in California Republican political circles, argued in court today that Smith and others at the FBI encouraged her to provide information to Chinese intelligence to win their trust. "There's nothing to suggest that she passed anything to any body without the consent of this FBI," said Leung's attorney, Janet I. Levine. "The only documents she had access to were brought to her."
Smith's defense team, meanwhile, argues that senior FBI counterintelligence officials in Washington were long aware of problems with Leung. Smith is free on $250,000 bond.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | US 'agrees to N Korean talks'
Chinese proposal
An agreement on the three-way meeting was brokered by China, US officials said. The Americans had suggested that a larger group of nations should be involved in the talks.
The participation of the Chinese was described as a breakthrough by one official quoted in the New York Times newspaper.
"What's new here is that there is an active, bold participatory role for the Chinese," the official was quoted as saying.
In the proposal, Beijing also agreed to take an active role in the talks, the sources said, adding that this had appealed to Pyongyang which has long relied on China as its closest ally.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Free to do bad things
There is also some embarrassment over Sheikh Muzahim Tamimi, the tribal leader appointed by Britain to take charge of Basra province. It has emerged that he is a former brigadier-general in Saddam Hussein's army and was once a member of the Ba'ath party. Several hundred protesters threw stones at his house earlier this week.
One theory circulating in London is that the sheikh was appointed accidentally because British intelligence confused him with his anti-Saddam brother (who turns out to have been shot dead by the secret police in 1994).

Wife killed in Bali, now asylum seeker loses visa fight - smh.com.au
A bid by an asylum seeker whose wife died in the Bali bombings to obtain visitor visas for his children had failed, his lawyer said today.
Iranian Ebrahim Sammaki was distressed at the government's rejection of visitor visas for his children Safda, seven, and Sara, three, lawyer Danny Hyams said.
Mr Sammaki, who has exhausted all legal avenues to secure his own visa, was also yet to hear an answer to his appeal to Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock to live in Australia on compassionate grounds, Mr Hyams said.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

A Young Dwarf

i'm being eaten alive by fear. this transcends the struggle and tension of everyday life, transcends my fear of the United States Government, the Penal system, the Military, the fucking IRS.

i don't remember being this way, not forever.

i'm afraid of cars and traffic. i'm afraid of strangers. i'm afraid of what may be out in the dark, every sound when i'm alone at night, every sound warrants full attention, full caution. i'm afraid of deep space and objects hurtling towards us, afraid of gamma ray bursters, afraid of our own sun (i love the sun).

i'm afraid of all those things too small to see and those too large to be imagined. i'm afraid of concrete and steel, it makes me shiver and cringe.

my imagination is potent. i can feel the pressure, my muscles tearing, bones popping, blood spilling out as i lose consciousness...

the real irony is that, intellectually, i feel immortal. viscerally, however, i feel like a small soft pink worm living on the surface of a cosmic cue ball.

Right on, man. Right on.
Michael Colby: Howard Dean is No Green
For Vermonters who have seen Howard Dean up close and personal for the last eleven years as our governor, there's something darkly comical about watching the national media refer to him as the "liberal" in the race for the Democratic nomination for president. With few exceptions in the 11-plus years he held the state's top job, Dean was a conservative Democrat at best. And many in Vermont, particularly environmentalists, see Dean as just another Republican in Democrat's clothing.

via cursor.org again (which you need to be reading)
MediaGuardian.co.uk | Media | I was only asking
In the second of his dispatches from the million-dollar media centre at Qatar, Michael Wolff recounts how he angered the US right

via cursor.org

Monday, April 14, 2003

The Seattle Times: Opinion: The New World Disordered: Deadly conflicts rise as nation-states fall
The growing world tensions that have American families sealing their doors with duct tape stem from an overlooked root cause: the alarming decline of the nation-state.
When nation-states falter, as they are doing in much of the world, ethno-religious hatreds erupt into violence.

The solution? A whole lot of reconciliation and "forgetting" of past wrongs. Maybe the West could lead the way, with a debt jubilee?
Yahoo! News - Scientists Complete Human Genome Sequence
"We shouldn't expect immediate major breakthroughs but there is no doubt we have embarked on one of the most exciting chapters of the book of life," Professor Allan Bradley, director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said in a statement.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Protests across Australia against war - War on Iraq - smh.com.au
Grandmother Ingrid Homberg-Semmler joined protesters at Adelaide's Palm Sunday rally after starting her own peace march from Port Wakefield, north of Adelaide.
Declaring herself an unfit, smoking, Ms Homberg-Semmler, 47, said her endurance for the journey came from her convictions.
"Anybody who has a belief can do anything they want to do," she said.
"Please, just spare one moment for peace, that's all I ask."

The parents of a British student shot in the head by Israeli troops yesterday accused the Israeli government of "deliberate recklessness".
Tom Hurndall, 21, is in a critical condition in Bir Sheva hospital and may be brain damaged after being shot by a sniper on Friday.
Yesterday his father, Anthony Hurndall, 52, said: "The Israeli government and the Israeli military will have something to answer. There will be questions. I want to know what happened. I want it to be brought to light."
Speaking with his wife Jocelyn at home in north London, before leaving for Israel, Mr Hurndall, a lawyer, referred to suspicions that the Israeli army has begun targeting "human shields".
"I think the army is deliberately careless if not deliberately reckless as to who they target," he said.

BBC NEWS | UK | Baath officials backed to rebuild Iraq
Baath Party members who were loyal to Saddam Hussein will take part in the reconstruction of Iraq, according to Geoff Hoon.
"They had a system of administration that will deliver," the defence secretary told The Observer.
And many were "perfectly decent people who have not participated in any atrocities".
There has already been anger in the southern city of Basra after the man chosen by the British forces there to run the city was revealed to be a Baath Party member.

So the old Sunni order will largely remain in place -- while the Shi'ites once again look like getting locked out of power structures.
Sunday Herald
FEARS that Iraq's heritage will face widespread looting at the end of the Gulf war have been heightened after a group of wealthy art dealers secured a high-level meeting with the US administration.
It has emerged that a coalition of antiquities collectors and arts lawyers, calling itself the American Council for Cultural Policy (ACCP), met with US defence and state department officials prior to the start of military action to offer its assistance in preserving the country's invaluable archaeological collections.
The group is known to consist of a number of influential dealers who favour a relaxation of Iraq's tight restrictions on the ownership and export of antiquities. Its treasurer, William Pearlstein, has described Iraq's laws as 'retentionist' and has said he would support a post-war government that would make it easier to have antiquities dispersed to the US.

ASPO the Association for the Study of Peak Oil
IWOOD2003, the Second International Workshop on Oil Depletion, which will be held in Paris on 26th and 27th May 2003.

Offshore Bank, Offshore Corporations, IBC, Offshore Trusts, Nevis LLC, Offshore Nominee, Offshore Agents, Offshore Investments, Sovereign Crest, Financial Consultants, Offshore Tax Shelters, Offshore Banking
They instituted a two-tier tax system. The leaders decided there would be one set of laws for the citizens of their country, and another for foreigners. At the same time, the Bahamas clamped the lid on any information leaking out about the financial dealings of those with money in the country. They introduced banking privacy laws.
The response was almost immediate. Americans and Canadians seized the opportunity to shield their assets from prying eyes -- and groping hands. The fact that the islands are a beautiful vacation getaway made investing there all the more attractive. Progressive banking laws coupled with a penchant for confidentiality has earned the Bahamas an excellent reputation as an offshore financial center. Total Euro-dollars handled by Bahamian banks in 1996 exceeded 250 Billions. The second largest source of income for this island nation has become bank service fees!

The J.P. Morgan Chase Watch - from Inner City Press
Morgan Chase's energy-trading business, Mahonia Ltd, which did much of its business with bankrupt Enron Corp., could cost Morgan Chase as much as $1 billion in the wake of Enron's collapse, according to the WSJ. British Channel Islands-based Mahonia, set up a decade ago, did about 60 percent of its trading with Enron -- transactions that Enron used to manage tax liabilities by transferring losses in one financial reporting period to another, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with Mahonia. As Enron's troubles mounted, it eventually turned to Mahonia as a sort of surrogate bank, using it to raise at least $2 billion in financing over the years... Way to run a bank..

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