Archive for August, 2006

UN “Peacekeepers” Shoot Into Poor Neighborhood in Haiti

Monday, August 28th, 2006

…Accompanied by four Haitians, the foreigners entered Simon Pele, a Cité Soleil neighborhood where U.N. troops had reportedly attacked people in recent weeks. The plan was for the group to interview residents to ascertain what actually had happened at that time. “We saw a church and a health clinic and a school that had been completely blasted away and couldn’t operate any more,” Welsh said.

They had just begun to interview people, when they saw four UN armored personnel carriers approaching. “Two went down one street and two came down the street we were on,” Welsh said in an interview in Berkeley on Saturday.  Market stalls were operating in front of the houses and there were many people on the street, including children, Welsh said.

Accompanying the APCs, manned by Brazilian soldiers, was a UN bulldozer and a UN dump truck filled with sand. The sand was dumped and the bulldozer scooped it up, placing it to form a barrier in a roadway “apparently to block an escape route from the neighborhood,” said Terrell in a phone interview from Haiti on Sunday.

From previous experience, people understood that this was the first step in a U.N. “operation” that would culminate in an attack on the neighborhood, Welsh said, adding that the bulldozer and dump truck seemed to scare the people more than the familiar sight of the occupying troops atop the APCs.

Then the troops started firing. “They were shooting down the street and into houses,” said Welsh, describing the shots as repeated and apparently random. Both Welsh and Terrell said they heard two pops coming from the direction of the houses, which they said could have been return fire from a small caliber weapon.

The soldiers ignored the foreigners, who filmed and photographed the incident, hoping that their presence would deter a full-scale assault by the UN soldiers on the people. “We tried to talk to them, but they wouldn’t talk to us,” said Welsh, who, for some of the time, was as close as five feet from where the soldiers were shooting. At one point, “I saw five or six Brazilians run out of the APCs and into the neighborhood,” Terrell said.

John Ross: Mexico Approaches the Combustion Point

Monday, August 28th, 2006

Mexico City. The Congress of the country is ringed by two-meter tall grilled metal barriers soldered together apparently to thwart a suicide car bomb attack. Behind this metal wall, 3000 vizored, kevlar-wearing robocops — the Federal Preventative Police (PFP, a police force drawn from the army) — and members of the elite Estado Mayor or Presidential military command, form a second line of defense. Armed with tear gas launchers, water cannons, and reportedly light tanks, this Praetorian Guard has been assigned to protect law and order and the institutions of the republic against left-wing mobs that threaten to storm the Legislative Palace — or so the President informs his fellow citizens in repeated messages transmitted on national television.

No, the President’s name is not Pinochet and this military tableau is not being mounted in the usual banana republic or some African satrap. This is Mexico, a paragon of democracy (dixit George Bush), Washington’s third trading partner, and the eighth leading petroleum producer on the planet, seven weeks after the fraud-marred July 2 presidential election of which, at this writing, no winner has been officially declared. One of the elite military units assigned to seal off congress is indeed titled the July 2 brigade.
MEXICO ON A KNIFEBLADE headlines the British Guardian, but the typically short-term-memory-loss U.S. print media seems to have forgotten about the imbroglio just south of its borders. Nonetheless, the phone rings and it’s New York telling me they just got a call from their man on the border and Homeland Security is beefing up its forces around Laredo in anticipation of upheaval further south. The phone rings again and it’s California telling me they just heard on Air America that U.S. Navy patrols were being dispatched to safeguard Mexican oil platforms in the Gulf. The left-wing daily here, La Jornada, runs a citizen-snapped photo of army convoys arriving carrying soldiers disguised as farmers and young toughs. Rumors race through the seven mile-long encampment installed by supporters of leftist presidential challenger Andres Manuel! Lopez Obrador (AMLO) three weeks ago who have tied up big city traffic and enraged the motorist class here, that PFP robocops will attack before dawn. The campers stay up all night huddled around bum fires prepared to defend their tent cities.

Airline Insanity Merely A Beta Test For Police State Caste System

Monday, August 28th, 2006

…The agenda is clearly to maintain a state of alert and panic until such a time that reverting back to ‘normal’ and ‘reasoned’ security measures is forgotten – the new normal becomes the insane and displaying any traits of disobedience to authority figures is taken as a sign of terrorism. Lie detector tests, voice stress analysis technology, advanced screening which produces naked images of passengers along with brain scanner and perspiration tension analysis systems are all being implemented as the notion of innocent until proven guilty is jettisoned without recourse.

The airports are merely a beta test for the exact same measures to be rolled out in major cities, where regular checkpoint officials inspect internal passports and consumers are body scanned to enter a supermarket or any kind of public event as spy drones swoop overhead to catalogue movement and alert authorities to any suspicious body language (remember Poindexter’s gait analysis?).

The key to achieving all this on the part of the Neo-Fascists is to carry out more staged terror attacks on soft targets like sports stadiums, schools and large shopping malls. In terms of police state propaganda, these attacks would be more effective than a 9/11 style event because the implications would reach down into the roots of everyday life.

After more soft target terror attacks on buses and trains, citizens will be forced to biometric scan and show ID just to enter the transport station. Resistors who refuse to take a national ID card and eventually an implanted ID chip will be punished by their exclusion from a trusted travelers program that denotes how well a citizen has behaved and compares that score to the criteria of how and when they can travel. Nationwide toll roads snaking across the US and Britain that use RFID signals at toll booths and instant kill switches in private vehicles will see this nightmare extend its tentacles into the personal vehicle of every citizen.

“Goodbye to the Unipolar World”. The Nasrallah Interview (Conducted shortly before the ceasefire)

Monday, August 28th, 2006

…”They are not going to be able to turn our country and region into a Kosovo. Now our people are aware of everything and will not play into imperialist tricks. We will absolutely not permit them to attack Iran or Syria. We are going to fight for our freedom to the last drop of our blood. Let no one doubt this. They are claiming that Iran has nuclear weapons at its disposal. On the contrary, most of the nuclear weapons are in the hands of Israel and the US. Furthermore, nuclear weapons are nothing but excuses put forward in order to create collaborating regimes in the region.

Q. There are claims that Hezbollah is being directed by Tehran. What are your views on this issue?

Hasan Nasrallah: This is a great lie. We are an independent Lebanese organization. We do not take orders from anyone. But this does not mean that we are not going to form alliances. We are on the side of Iran and Syria. They are our brothers. We are going to oppose any attack directed at Tehran and Damascus to the last drop of our blood just as we do in Lebanon. We uphold global resistance against global imperial terrorism.

Q. Is there any other additional point you want to make?

Hasan Nasrallah: Peace cannot be unilateral. So long as there is imperialism in the world, a permanent peace is impossible. This war will not come to an end as long as there are occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

Israel Seizes Another Hamas MP

Monday, August 28th, 2006

The Israeli army has seized a Hamas member of the Palestinian parliament in the West Bank.

Witnesses said that about 20 army vehicles surrounded Mahmoud Mesleh’s house in the village of Bireh near the city of Ramallah on Sunday and took him away.

The Israeli army confirmed the detention. Earlier on Sunday, an Israeli military tribunal ordered Mahmoud al-Ramhi, the detained Hamas secretary of the Palestinian parliament, to be held for a further two weeks, his lawyers said.

The court in the Ofer detention camp near Ramallah ordered al-Ramhi to be held pending charges being brought against him, probably related to his membership of the Islamist Hamas.

Ramhi, the fourth-ranking official in the Palestinian legislature, was arrested on August 20.

Israel has detained dozens of Hamas officials, including ministers, since a cross-border raid from Gaza during which Palestinian armed groups killed two soldiers and seized a third on June 25.

As part of its subsequent crackdown on Hamas, Israel detained 64 Hamas officials, including eight ministers and 29 MPs, on June 29.

For an Iraq Cut in 3, Cast a Wary Glance at Kurdistan

Monday, August 28th, 2006

…The top Kurdish politicians in Iraq officially are not pushing for an independent Kurdistan. They are all too aware that a Kurdish nation would draw intense hostility from Turkey, Iran and Syria, which all have Kurdish minorities chafing to raise their own flag. Kurds in those countries and in Iraq have long dreamed of uniting to form the nation of greater Kurdistan, encompassing up to 30 million people and stretching from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean to southern Iraq.“Both Turkey and Iran are not happy with what’s going on in Iraqi Kurdistan — having a special region, having a government, having a Parliament, and so on,” said Mahmoud Othman, a senior Kurdish member of the Iraqi Parliament. “That’s why they do those special operations, those bombings. It’s a blow against the Kurdish government in Kurdistan.”

“We have to be very careful, and we are very careful,” he added.

The type of cross-border disputes occurring in Kurdistan could spread across Iraq should the country splinter. Some Shiite leaders are working to create a nine-province autonomous Shiite region in the south, one that would include the oil fields around Basra. If this were to happen in the context of a large-scale civil war, Saudi Arabia and Syria, countries with Sunni Arab majorities, could openly back Sunni militias in Iraq against the Iranian-supported Shiite fief.

Yet whether Iraq’s neighbors like it or not, this country’s regions are heading toward greater autonomy, not less.

You Wouldn’t Catch Me Dead in Iraq

Monday, August 28th, 2006

…“A car comes through and it stops in front of my position. Sparks are coming from the car from bad brakes. All the soldiers are yelling. It’s in my vicinity, so it’s my responsibility. I didn’t fire. A superior goes, ‘Why didn’t you fire? You were supposed to fire.’ I said, ‘It was a family!’ At this time it had stopped. You could see the children in the back seat. I said, ‘I did the right thing.’ He’s like, ‘No, you didn’t. It’s procedure to fire. If you don’t do it next time, you’re punished.’”Anderson shakes his head at the memory. “I’m already not agreeing with this war. I’m not going to kill innocent people. I can’t kill kids. That’s not the way I was raised.” He says he started to look around at the ruined cityscape and the injured Iraqis, and slowly began to understand the Iraqi response. “If someone did this to my street, I would pick up a weapon and fight. I can’t kill these people. They’re not terrorists. They’re 14-year-old boys, they’re old men. We’re occupying the streets. We raid houses. We grab people. We send them off to Abu Ghraib, where they’re tortured. These are innocent people. We stop cars. We hinder everyday life. If I did this in the States, I’d be thrown in prison.”

Armed Forces Journal Nightmare Scenario

Monday, August 21st, 2006

How a better Middle East would look

International borders are never completely just. But the degree of injustice they inflict upon those whom frontiers force together or separate makes an enormous difference — often the difference between freedom and oppression, tolerance and atrocity, the rule of law and terrorism, or even peace and war.

The most arbitrary and distorted borders in the world are in Africa and the Middle East. Drawn by self-interested Europeans (who have had sufficient trouble defining their own frontiers), Africa’s borders continue to provoke the deaths of millions of local inhabitants. But the unjust borders in the Middle East — to borrow from Churchill — generate more trouble than can be consumed locally.

While the Middle East has far more problems than dysfunctional borders alone — from cultural stagnation through scandalous inequality to deadly religious extremism — the greatest taboo in striving to understand the region’s comprehensive failure isn’t Islam but the awful-but-sacrosanct international boundaries worshipped by our own diplomats.

What apalling racist hypocrites. Check their new map! A giant Kurdistan with access to the Black Sea and NO Palestine. And that’s just for starters…


‘Inevitable  War Trumped Up in Kirkuk

… “We, the International Crisis Group, are proposing an alternative way, a way out of this looming crisis. This would involve, most importantly, cancellation of the referendum, for now. No deadline for a referendum,” he said. “Instead, a United Nations envoy should be appointed in some capacity to mediate the conflict between the various communities and with the government and with the Kurdistan regional government to find an alternative solution. The main component of that would have to be that Kirkuk and other disputed territories would gain an interim status for maybe 10 years.”

Interim what? Interim country?

Pakistanis find no evidence against ‘terror mastermind’

Monday, August 21st, 2006

The Briton alleged to be the ‘mastermind’ behind the airline terror plot could be innocent of any significant involvement, sources close to the investigation claim.

Rashid Rauf, whose detention in Pakistan was the trigger for the arrest of 23 suspects in Britain, has been accused of taking orders from Al Qaeda’s ‘No3’ in Afghanistan and sending money back to the UK to allow the alleged bombers to buy plane tickets.

But after two weeks of interrogation, an inch-by-inch search of his house and analysis of his home computer, officials are now saying that his extradition is ‘a way down the track’ if it happens at all.

It comes amid wider suspicions that the plot may not have been as serious, or as far advanced, as the authorities initially claimed.
Gosh the Brits love those illusory ’Pakistani masterminds’, don’t they? I remember a few around 7/7.

Fisk: A Land Reduced to Rubble

Monday, August 21st, 2006

…Cody and I set off to southern Lebanon over smashed bridges, round vast bomb craters, beating the earth down to allow Hassan’s “Death Car” to drive over them, trying to avoid the thousands of unexploded shells lying in the fields. So many bombs on the Litani that the river has partly changed its course and we walk into the water. We drive to Srifa, a village which clearly was – heaven preserve us from these clichés – a Hizbollah “stronghold”, but whose ruins now cover dozens of civilian dead. I am photographing the wreckage – using real film because I still feel that digital cameras lose definition – and I find that I see through the lens more pain than I see with my own eyes. I think this is because the sheer extent of the bomb damage is focused in a frame. Later, I look at my developed pictures in Beirut and am appalled by the level of destruction. Some of my pictures look like the photographs of French villages after German bombardment during my dad’s First World War. They will find 36 bodies under the Srifa rubble upon which I have walked.“>