Monday, February 27, 2006

W.F.P Memorial to John Glansbeek

US Refusal to Back Real Middle East Democracy (from

The third myth is an absurdity of more recent vintage: A government is only legitimate, and can only be dealt with, if it renounces violence and recognizes the right of all states to exist. In practice, this means that Palestine's new Hamas government must unilaterally disarm in the face of a demonstrably brutal enemy – backed by the unqualified support of the world's only superpower – and willingly turn its back on a duty (jihad) that it believes derives from God's word.

Michael Scheuer who gained fame as the famed "Anonymous" whose main job at the CIA was tracking Osama (before anyone else had heard of him) sounds a bit naive if he thinks that the US was actually intruding into the Middle East to spread democracy. However, he does make that case that if it was, US treatment of Hamas after they won the election in Palestine was a definite blunder.

The Fantasy of State Protection (from

"Even the most cursory examination of history shows that no correlation can be made between a country's security and its military spending. Since there is no relationship between military budgets and external threats, there can be no causality between the two. Thus, governments do not have militaries in order to protect their citizens from external enemies. Militaries must exist for some other reason."

I've got to say this I agree with this guy, Stefan Molyneux, about his thesis. Capitalist states do not exist to take care of their people. What started him thinking about this idea is his ex-military friend's admission that the Canadian military was being trained to turn back a revolution if the economy went bad there. We in America would not be too shocked if that happened here after all the revelations we've had about domestic spying, etc.

Now, as for socialist states, Mr. Molyneux called the social programs enacted in Britain after WWII "massive socialism." I don't think that was true. All of the resources of Britain were not being shared among the people there.

It is refreshing to see an open discussion of the fact that the state has guns and they will use them--ON US!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Iraq's Death Squads: On the Brink of Civil war

"Mr Pace, a Maltese-Australian who has now retired from his UN post to his home in Sydney, says the constant violence and utter lack of security in Iraq are creating a vicious circle in which ordinary citizens are turning to extremist sectarian groups for protection. Fear of anybody in official uniform inevitably strengthens the militias and the insurgents. In Sunni areas people will look to their own defences, and not to the regular army and police."

Patrick Cockburn and Andrew Buncombe in the Independent cite information from outgoing UN human rights chief on the violence in Iraq that is making life, let alone democracy, extremely difficult. A thousand bodies each month turn up in the Baghdad morgue with evidence of torture, like drill bit holes, and/or execution by bullet. The majority of victims are Sunni. Found on Angry Arab.

Useless Democrats--More on Opposition to the Port Deal

Dave Lindorff on Counterpunch points out the bipartisan double-dealing that has "turn[ed] the US dollar into a joke currency" and created a society "[i]n which one in ten families has to seek food assistance every year?"

"The port of Long Beach, California was long ago turned over to a state company owned by the Communist government of China--a country it might be recalled, whose military leaders not long ago threatened to attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons if America were to interfere with China's efforts to capture the island nation of Taiwan. Nobody's fussing about that. "

Hamas Victory Putting Lie to US "Democracy" Claims

Ramzy Baroud of Palestine Chronicle points out the intriguing ramifications of the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections. This article was linked in a discussion on The Angry Arab blog about how the Nation Magazine has maintained a pretty much Zionist perspective on the Israeli/Palestine situation, e.g., using Israeli or Jewish pundits to comment on the Palestinian elections, etc.

But the Bush administration debacle, in my opinion, transcends the geographic boundaries of the Israel-Palestinian conflict to the much more, far-reaching political and strategic setting in the entire Middle East, to its quandary with 'political Islam' and the disgruntled, 'rascal multitudes' - to borrow a Chomsky term -- of the Arab and Muslim world; so fractious and so eager to take charge of its own destiny - perhaps through the ballot box.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Horrifying Video of Cal. Cops Shooting Soldier




Keep in mind that neither Elio Carrion (the victim) nor the driver of the car he was in was
armed. This video clip and the picture above were in the article linked below, written by Iraq Vet Jeff Englehart, an antiwar activist, for Socialist Worker and picked up by Uruknet.

They will walk down the streets of their hometown, only to engage in more combat against an unruly police force, one example being Iraq veteran Elio Carrion who was horrifically shot by a trigger-happy pig while on leave in his hometown in California

Racist Response to Profit Prompted Port Deal

"Also critics of the deal, fail to support their opposition with facts. Their opposition is glaringly politically motivated, with an eye toward November elections." Al Jazeera article

Locally, as the linked article explains, Jim McDermott jumped on the zenophobic, flagwaving election-year bandwagon, addressing longshore workers who rallied to show their disapproval of foreign port ownership.

A Canadian commenter on the article has interesting information on Bush connections to Dubai Ports World, which points out the corporate global reasons why Bush won't back down on this and what the Dems should be talking about instead of "port security." In America, any security comes second to corporate profits.

dp world [Dubai Ports World], by the way, is only a year old, the result of a bush-fostered merger that made it the world's sixth largest port operator. sound farfetched? not at all. david sanborn, whom bush named of u.s. maritime administration less than a month ago, runs dp world's european and latin american operations. and in january of last year, dp world acquired an international terminal business known as csx, a company chaired by john snow, who resigned just in time to become bush's secretary of the treasury and a federal panel that helped seal the merger. ha s. tu .pid americans

I haven't confirmed his/her assertions, but there are many interesting commenters from around the world who view this dust-up as American racism. And at least one Republican (who could be politically motivated against the Dems knee-jerk flag waiving) agrees:

Sen. Pete Domenici R-N.M., said much of the criticism against the deal has an anti-Arab bias.
"We are at war against
terrorists, not any religion or ethnicity. Some politicians seem to have forgotten that. ... Such alarm, verging almost on hysteria, harms our efforts to have the broadest coalition possible against worldwide terrorism," The Associated Press quoted Domenici as saying.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Sunnis Hitting Back (violence following shrine explosion)

"Personally, I think jihadis hit the Askariya shrine. I think they did everything they could to make it look like it was a Shi’a inside job so the Shi’as would rampage (as they did) and give any Sunnis who might have been considering cooperating with the new government second thoughts. Furthermore, this will slam shut any division between Ba’athists, Iraqi Islamists and jihadis that the Americans had been working on for so long. Under the threat of a Shi’a onslaught, the Sunni insurgency will put aside its differences."

Christopher Albritton, ex-AP reporter in Baghdad, theorizes on whodunnit.

Gates Locked: At Least 51 Dead in Bangladesh Factory Fire

"Witnesses said the fire broke out after a loud noise on Thursday evening. They said the main gate of the factory was locked by the factory's caretaker, trapping many workers, most of them women, inside."

Horrifying article shows that this is a pretty common occurrence in Bangladesh. "Bangladesh is home to some 4,000 textile factories which have been plagued by accidents due to poor safety standards."

We are all throw-away people to the titans of industry.

Juan Cole's (Informed Comment) UN Fetish

"Your description of Iraq's best scenario is particularly shocking in this respect : 'That's with the UN presiding over a good decade of bloodshed before it stabilizes.' My best scenario is that the US get a firm condemnation for the Iraq invasion by the Hague. That along with the UK she is condemned to pay due compensations to the Iraqis and to forward big reconstruction money."

Juan Cole, a college professor and liberal expert on the Middle East, continues to push the idea that the UN should take over from the US in Iraq. According to the reader quoted above, he has done so again in this interview in Detroit's Metro Times paper:

Each time he proffers this solution to the Iraq occupation, he is contradicted by the bulk of his commenters, but he keeps it up. As the reader points out, he is pretty cavalier with the lives of Iraqis, considering they did nothing to deserve the wrath of the West, as it has descended on them.

Riverbend in Baghdad: Civil War Unthinkable to Many

"[s]o much talk of civil war and yet, with the people I know- Sunnis and Shia alike- I can hardly believe it is a possibility. Educated, sophisticated Iraqis are horrified with the idea of turning against each other, and even not-so-educated Iraqis seem very aware that this is a small part of a bigger, more ominous plan…

Riverbend is a woman who has been blogging from Baghdad almost since the beginning of the invasion at Baghdad Burning. She often relates what it is like for ordinary Iraqis to live through this hell.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Christian Fundies Swelling US Israeli Lobby

From The Angry Arab blog comes this news: U.S. Christians create umbrella organization to lobby for Israel

"Some 400 Christian community leaders met in San Antonio, Texas, two weeks ago to establish the group, which Christians United officials said represents about 30 million Americans."

Cong. Black Caucus Exemplary of Dem Dereliction

"Black congressional leadership been has been dragged around by the nose by Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the white folks who are indebted to corporations."

The Black Commentator excoriates the Congressional Black Caucus for not showing up at Republican-sponsored hearings on the Katrina disaster. (Except for courageous Cynthia McKinney, who didn't knuckle under to Pelosi.) But as we know, they are just representative (no pun intended) of the blatant manipulation by the Democratic leadership and their followers, who are eating their corporate cake and (so far) our votes too.

Report on Detainee Deaths in U.S. Custody

Certainly 8, as many as 12, people were tortured to death.

The link above is to the press release for a detailed report, that includes the information on torture deaths. Below is Informed Comment's summary of the report:

In a detailed report, Human Rights First has used freedom of information laws to gain access to and document the US government's apalling lack of accountability for detainee deaths in custody:

98 detainee deaths in U.S. custody.

45 suspected or confirmed homicides. Thirty-four deaths were homicides under the U.S. military’s definition; Human Rights First found 11 additional cases where the facts suggest death as a result of physical abuse or harsh conditions of detention.

In 48 cases – close to half of all the cases – the cause of death remains officially undetermined or unannounced.

Certainly 8, as many as 12, people were tortured to death.

Only 12 deaths have resulted in any kind of punishment.

The highest punishment for a torture-related death: 5 months confinement.

How can a murderer be sentenced to only 60 days confined to base?

The cases also include that of Abed Hamed Mowhoush, a former Iraqi general beaten by U.S. Army, CIA and other non-military forces, stuffed into a sleeping bag, wrapped with electrical cord, and suffocated to death. In the recently concluded trial of a low-level military officer charged in Mowhoush’s death, the officer received a written reprimand, a fine, and 60 days with his movements limited to his work, home, and church.

And how can no-one be held accountable for deliberately obstructing justice in a murder investigation?

And they include cases like that of Nagem Sadoon Hatab, in which investigative failures have made accountability impossible. Hatab was killed while in U.S. custody at a camp close to Nasiriyah. Although a U.S. Army medical examiner found that Hatab had died of strangulation, the evidence that would have been required to secure accountability for his death – Hatab’s body – was rendered unusable in court. Hatab’s internal organs were left exposed on an airport tarmac for hours and the organs were destroyed; the throat bone that would have supported the Army medical examiner’s findings of strangulation was never found.

Blasts at Shrine Set Off Widespread Shiite Protests

"The war could really be on now,'' says Abu Hassan, a Shiite street peddler who declined to give his full name. "This is something greater and more symbolic than attacks on people. This is a strike at who we are."

This Christian Science Monitor article, recommended by Juan Cole of Informed Comment, explains the relationship of the Shiites to the Shrine and to the Sunnis in this article.

Seattle Author Talks About Red/Blue King County

I mean, this most materialist country on the face of the globe is also the most superstitious country this side of Iran.

These are the words of Jonathan Raban, a very popular author, originally English, who now lives in Seattle. Mother Jones interviewed him in an article called, My Holy War.

In case the link I created above doesn't work, here it is again:

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Will Shrine Explosion Blow Up Into Civil War?

Christopher Albritton, a former AP reporter, has a blog called "Back to Iraq," which is where he reports from. He says the mosque being blown up this morning will prevent any kind of unity government (which the US dearly wants). He talks of violent protests up and down the whole country. Not a good sign.

Robert Fisk: War Can Never Be Justified

"War is not about victory or defeat. It is about the total failure of human spirit," Robert Fisk, The Independent's Middle East correspondent, told the debate. "When you see the things I see, you would never support war ever again."

I'm reading Fisk's new book, The Great War for Civilisation, The Conquest of the Middle East. 250 pages into this 1,000 tome, I can say that Fisk's credibility on this topic cannot be assailed. He has been there for 19 years, covering everything from the Iran hostage crisis to the US invasion, at enormous risk to his life. He really helps you understand the background dealings we never (or rarely) learn of, e.g,. Israel was selling Iran arms during the Iraq/Iran war. Business goes on no matter what wars the gov'ts are throwing their people into.


Spying on local Activists

Local Peace Groups Spied On
Front page article in today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The Gov't must do this spying because although there have been thousands of
peaceful protests devoid of anything resembling a terrorist attack you just never know.
It may not look like terrorism or walk like terrorism but for a tyrant I'm sure protest feels like terrorism.
God knows they are far removed from any real terrorism for which they show such gross negligence in dealing with.

Seattle Weekly Posts My Letter To Geov on Lesser Evilism

Here's the Link to the Parrish column about Maria Cantwell I was responding to:

Here's my letter:

A little Too Late

Yes, I am afraid we have hit rock bottom in our addiction. Progressives do need to swear off voting Democratic, as Geov Parrish outlined in his column ["Solving a Problem Like Maria," Feb. 15]. No more campaigning or money until these candidates start representing us on our issues.

However, he is a bit late. The Nader/Camejo presidential campaign had everything a progressive could want, but Parrish and other pundits were recommending the lesser evilism of a John Kerry vote. A portion of his column advocating Kerry ["A Naderite for Kerry," Oct. 27, 2004] shows how bankrupt lesser evilism really is: "John Kerry deserves my vote because he can do something that . . . no other candidate can do: He can defeat Bush."

Kerry did not beat Bush because he did not represent us. He was not against the invasion of Iraq. Even when the Democrats were spending thousands (millions?) trying to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot, progressives bought Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers and swelled their campaign coffers, though they were clearly Republican-lite. Nader was high-profile and could have paved the way for people like Aaron Dixon, but progressives turned their back on their best interests and backed the Democratic warmongers.

Parrish is a day late and a dollar short, but he is correct. If progressives had built the Nader/Camejo campaign, we might have somewhere else to go right about now.

Linda Jansen

Father of Local GI Killed in Iraq Calls Out Bush's Daughters

"Right now the only way I could have any respect for President Bush is if he would volunteer his daughters to go over there now and take my son's place. That would restore my faith in his commitment and his belief in this action," Matheny, an Army veteran, said.

Air Force Times Documents War Strains at Home

At a Georgia air base where there have been steep rises in suicides, child abuse and even murders, doubts about the mission constitute a large part of the problem. The base commander says:

“We could transform anything we wanted to,” he says, “But the only way you can sustain that is if you have complete buy-in from the people who are working. And it’s training. It’s taking care of them. And it’s their belief in a leadership that truly cares.”

Whole sad article (found on

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


This is Sen Murtha's grand scheme and democrats all over the country are going to fall for it.
Peace, Dorli
----- Original Message -----
Sent: 2/20/2006 8:51:56 PM
Subject: Democrats New Iraq Stall Strategy - "Strategic Redeployment"

The reports are coming in from all over the nation. The Democrats are getting pilloried as they shuck and jive on the war. They have an election coming up in fall of 2006 and they want to take back Congress. They are scrambling to find their footing. The Dems think we can have guns and butter - war and health care. I've got news for them - that tune ain't playing no more.

The Boston Globe reported on February 20 that the Dems have put Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), a former Army officer, in charge of coming up with a consensus Democratic plan for the war. His answer? It's called "strategic redeployment." What does that mean? "It's important to note that it's not withdrawal -- it's redeployment," Reed said. "We need to pursue a strategy that is going to accomplish the reasonable objectives, and allow us to have strategic flexibility. Not only is it a message, but it's a method to improve the security there and around the globe."

The Dems new plan is to pull some number of U.S. troops out of Iraq into Kuwait and other new bases in Afghanistan, Southeast Asia and the Horn of Africa. From the new large bases in Kuwait the U.S. would increase Air Force bombing missions over Iraq, increase the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's) like the Predator, that fly via satellite direction, and can drop bombs and fire missiles. For the Iraqi people this means more indiscriminate bombing and more innocent people killed.

When things get really out of hand in Iraq, the "strategic redeployment" plan (it's just the Murtha plan with a new name by the way) will call for an expansion of U.S. Special Forces teams going back into Iraq for quick hits and killings of anyone who dares resist the corrupt puppet government the U.S. has put into place.

The Democrats will sell this to the American public by saying they are pulling the troops out of the war. A few units will be brought home and big ceremonies held so that the public thinks the war is slowing down. The Dems hope that "strategic redeployment" will mean less troops will be killed day to day in Iraq. They hope it will be their ticket to victory in November. But in truth the war will go on.
In fact, the endless war will be expanded with new basing arrangements in Southeast Asia, Africa and Afghanistan. More territory will be occupied and the field of operations against that faceless "terrorism" will be expanded. All this will be done with the Dems full encouragement and support. And guess what? The Pentagon will need lots more money to build these new bases and outposts and Congress - both Repubs and Dems - will give them the money.

The peace movement had better not fall for this bait and switch. The Dems are running an election game on us. They are feeling our pressure and this is their disingenuous response. Peace activists nationwide must see through this latest shell game and call it for what it is. Strategic deception.

The time has come for the peace movement to unembedded itself from the Democratic Party. As long as peace activists see themselves as "party" people they will not have the ability to be critical of these kind of cynical moves to co-opt our energies.

I was in Germany right after the U.S. began the invasion of Afghanistan soon after 9-11. The Green Party in Germany supported that invasion and angered the German peace movement. I saw German peace activists publicly condemn national Green Party leaders for supporting the U.S. war. The peace activists understood where their primary allegiance belonged. To the anti-war movement first, and then to a party. If the party goes astray, the peace movement does not follow. We must do the same here in the U.S.
Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 729-0517 (Blog)

What is a Siratyst?

We searched the web (font of wisdom) and found what our blog name means.

"The path". In Muslim tradition, the bridge to Paradise. Al-Sirat is narrower than a spider's thread and sharper than a sword. Only the good pass swiftly over it, while the wicked fall down to the mid-Hell it spans. Also called Bridge of Jehennam.

So be a Syratist and read our blog to paradise,
or we will send you to hell.

Informed Comment--Cole Advocates (again) the UN Takeover of Iraq

Thank goodness his readers almost universally disagree. The comments are very enlightening.


Deepa Kumar, "Danish Cartoons: Racism Has No Place on the Left"

Excellent summary of some of the racist analysis coming from the so-called US left.

Read more at mrzine.monthlyreview.or...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Mohammad cartoon protests aren't unique to Islam - Yahoo! News

Finally, Michael Conlon at Reuters puts together a rational picture of why the Muslims are in the street! Although Juan Cole (Informed Comment) has been saying this all along.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Pat Robertson calls for Chavez's assassination again!

From the February 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

"COLMES: So, you're not taking back the comment. You believe assassination of Hugo Chavez would be in the best interests of the world.

ROBERTSON: Well, rather than going to war. One day, we're going to have to go to war, I'm afraid, if he continues his policy, you know. But, I don't know. I wrote him a letter. I apologized to him....

COLMES: Do you want him taken out?

ROBERTSON: Not now, but one day, one day, one day. My premise is, and I think as -- you know, until that comment came out, everybody thought Chavez [added link] was a fellow having to do with table grapes in California. Now --"

Go here to read Robertson's amazing logical gymnastics in making this statement: