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World Crisis Analysis Archives - Arranged by Month

Peace on Earth: The Prospects

Geov Parrish

Remember those quaint, nostalgic times when this season was associated with the phrase “Peace On Earth”? That is, way back in the days before our born-again leader with the proclaimed personal ear of God started ordering up wars the way other politicians ask for planning studies? Before our nation became so drunken with manufactured bogeymen and antiseptic media invasions and patriotic warmongering fever that war?s unpleasantness made it something people wished absolutely to avoid? When peace was considered a good thing, not the way of cowards?

Wednesday, December 31st, 2003
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Lessons From the Three Wise Men

Jacob Bender

My own response to the events of 9/11 was to begin work on a documentary film that I entitled “Reason and Revelation: Averroes, Maimonides, Aquinas in Their Time and Ours.” Who were these three men, Averroes the Muslim, Moses Maimonides the Jew and Thomas Aquinas the Christian, these three geniuses from a long-ago age, and what, if anything, do they have to teach us today? Before we can answer that question, we must first explore, as will my film, the world into which they were born.

Tuesday, December 30th, 2003
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Bad Guys We Once Thought Good - the Full Text

Scott Burchill

Sections of a leaked memo, sent to CIA Director George Tenet some time after the capture of Saddam Hussein, have been surfacing in the Australian press and on the internet. Much of it has been kept back from public eye, but the World Crisis can now provide for the first time its full text. The memo discusses matters concerning the history of USA foreign policy. For “Doubting Thomas’”, and those of you with short memories, it serves as a useful reminder of the extents to which the Washington establishment will go to foster democracy in other parts of the world.

Tuesday, December 30th, 2003
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The Terror Threat At Home, Often Overlooked

Kris Axtman

Some people are so attatched to the illusion that the USA is a morally superior society, that they refuse to believe their country could be a source of terrorism. Sustained by isolated ideologies, they refuse to admit that some of their neighbours live in fear from groups of fellow Americans who would like to see them dead or placed in exile. Earlier this week, I posted an article about a white racist organisation that had built up an arsenal of chemical and conventional weaponry, possibly intended for the mass killing of black Americans. Some people suspected the article because it was originally published in the Black Commentator. The following article, published by the respected Christian Science Monitor, with images from a CBS News station, should set the matter beyond doubt.

Tuesday, December 30th, 2003
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Liberation on Hold in Samarra

Dahr Jamail for the World Crisis Web

So far, every single journalist I?ve spoken with here has told me that they had followed the news closely prior to their arrival, and knew to prepare themselves for it. But after being here even just a day, have been astonished at how terrible the situation here truly is. This was my experience as well upon arriving my very first day. It has now been over 9 months since the ?war? ended. The country of Iraq remains in chaos, and the lack of consistent basic services such as petrol, security, electricity, and running water continue to afflict Iraqis.

Monday, December 29th, 2003
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Tell the Truth For Once, Mr. Blair

Robin Cook

It is not enough for No 10 now to justify the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that they have indeed found weapons of mass destruction - but in Libya. Their novel defence appears to be that their strategy was right and it was only a minor detail that they invaded the wrong country. They must not be allowed to get away with it. One of the questions they were repeatedly asked before the war was: “Why Iraq?” Why was such high, urgent priority attached to Iraq, when there were many other countries where the evidence of weapons of mass destruction was greater?

Monday, December 29th, 2003
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Creating Democracy In Afghanistan Was Doomed From The Start

Gwynne Dyer

Two years after American troops arrived in Kabul, how is the Bush administration’s project for a democratic and prosperous Afghanistan coming along? Well, the opium crop is booming: 3,600 metric tons this year, almost back up to the peak production of 4,600 metric tons that was reached before the Taliban banned the crop in 1999. Most of Zabul and Oruzgan provinces and half of the Qandahar region are once again Taliban-controlled by night, and USA troops and those of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have come under fire more often in the past three months than in all of the previous fifteen.

Monday, December 29th, 2003
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United In Opposition To The Occupation

Dahr Jamail

Ali looks me calmly in the eye and politely asks me if he may ask me a personal question. I tell him, “Of course.” After pausing, he takes a deep breath and asks, “If someone invades your house, kills some of your relatives while taking the rest to jail, steals your things, remains in your home and then threatens you and tries to tell you what to do in your own home, what would you do? Would you welcome him with flowers? What would you do if this happened to you in your home?”

Sunday, December 28th, 2003
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Dreaming of a Non-White Christmas

Tim Wise

As someone who regularly writes about racism, I have long been intrigued by the “whiteness as rightness” symbolism that pervades ous culture. Yet, the full force of this process never really hit me until last week. It was then that I found myself at the mall, passing a line of parents and their children, waiting to have a few seconds alone with Santa. You know Santa, right? The big white guy who only works one day a year and yet no one calls him lazy; the big white guy who exploits elfin labor in a sweatshop for no pay while his wife does all the housework, and yet no one calls him a slave master; the big white guy who invades millions of homes on Christmas Eve and yet, no one arrests him for breaking and entering. Yeah, that one.

Saturday, December 27th, 2003
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White Terror

Racist Terrorist Groups in the Heart of the USA

The Bush men decorate our holidays in Homeland Security yellow, orange and red, while demonizing Islamic green as the color of the most implacable foes of Western “civilization.” Yet official silence conspires to hide genocidal maniacs in our midst who have sworn to erase the Black presence from the landscape of the United States: White Terror. Tens of thousands of members of a racist legion operate openly in every corner of the nation ? men, women, juveniles, extended families, cells, gangs, churches, clans, militias, border armies, all engaged in what they consider to be a war to the death against non-white America.

Saturday, December 27th, 2003
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"Relative Calm" Leaves 117 Dead

Ali Abunimah

When, on Christmas Day, a Palestinian blew himself up at a bus stop in Tel Aviv, the mass media was quick to declare that the suicide bombing marked the end of a period of “relative calm” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which had supposedly lasted since the last Palestinian suicide attack in Haifa on 4 October. In fact, the period has been one of intense Israeli violence, in which 117 Palestinians were killed, including 23 children. Clearly, someone’s not telling the whole story.

Friday, December 26th, 2003
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The First Year Of The Second Century

Hani Shukrallah

Year one of the “new American century” seemed to end on a propitious note. Saddam Hussein, embodiment of history’s first truly global empire’s demonic other, was captured and, in the best imperial traditions, put on public display. Haggard, dazed and dishevelled, he was the star of the televised medical examination that was made to substitute for the parade of manacled barbarian chieftains and booty that once drew the crowds.

Friday, December 26th, 2003
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Reducing the Palestinians

Joseph Massad

One of the most important changes that the Oslo process brought about was the de facto transformation, indeed the ultimate corruption, of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, from a liberation movement representing the entire Palestinian people, into a vassal regime called the Palestinian Authority, representing only one third of the Palestinian people. While Israel continues to speak as if representing world Jewry, the exiled Palestinian majority are simply referred to, in accordance with US and Israeli parlance, as “refugees”, and Israeli Palestinians are referred to by Israeli diktat as “Israeli Arabs”.

Friday, December 26th, 2003
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Iraq?s "Path to Freedom"

Dahr Jamail

"This little boy and girl, their father was shot by the USA. Who will take care of this family? Who will watch these children? Who will feed them now? Who? Why did they kill my brother? What is the reason? Nobody told me. He was a truck driver. What is his crime? Why did they shoot him? They shot him with 150 bullets! Did they kill him just because they wanted to shoot a man? That?s it? This is the reason? Why didn?t anyone talk to me and tell me why they have killed my brother? Is killing people a normal thing now, happening everyday? This is our future? This is the future that the USA promised Iraq?”

Thursday, December 25th, 2003
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Palestinians in Need of Their Own Awakening

Ramzy Baroud

There is an awakening in Israel, and less conspicuously among Jewish intellectuals elsewhere, coupled with a dramatic shift in terminology that conveys a different breed of apprehension: suicide bombings, militants, and Molotov cocktails are conceding to a much greater distress: demography, Jewish identity, democracy vs. apartheid. Opposite to Israel?s rude awakening however, the Palestinian leadership swarms with confusion, unable to unify its ranks behind a single idea. In an attempt to reflect political shrewdness they are only yielding further ideological disintegration.

Wednesday, December 24th, 2003
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For Telling The Truth

Norman Solomon

Few Americans have heard of Katharine Gun, a former British intelligence employee facing charges that she violated the Official Secrets Act. So far, the mainstream USA media has ignored her, and the UK authorities plan to put her in jail in as quiet a manner as possible. However, the case raises profound questions about democracy and the public’s right to know on both sides of the Atlantic, for it details how, in the lead-up to war against Iraq, the USA and UK governments were systematically spying on their fellow Security Council members, at exactly the time when they were trying to gain support for their invasion plans.

Wednesday, December 24th, 2003
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Fear Factor Orange

Manuel Valenzuela

As the USA erupts in an assortment of colors marking the holiday season, a new color has made its way into the cocktail of delight and merriment. The most un-Christmas-like color has infiltrated itself into our collective holiday cheer, creating with its presence a most frightful time of year. Like a most unwelcome neighbor or relative, orange has crept inside our homes and communities, making its annual appearance just in time to spoil our most cherished and comforting holiday.

Wednesday, December 24th, 2003
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Semantics of Empire

M. Shahid Alam

We might glean a few insights about the semantics of the global order ? and the reality it tries to mask ? from the way in which the United States has framed the moral case against Saddam. Saddam’s unspeakable crime is that he has “tortured his own people.” He has “killed his own people.” He has “gassed his own people.” He has “poison-gassed his own people.” In all the accusations, Saddam stands inseparable from his own people. Rarely do his accusers charge that Saddam “tortured people,” “gassed people,” “gassed Iraqis,” or “killed Iraqis.” A google search for “gassed his own people” and “Saddam” produced 5980 hits. Another search for “gassed people” and Saddam produced only 276 hits.

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2003
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Sharon?s Speech: Decoded Version

Uri Avnery

It is no surprise that the establishment interpreted nothing new in Ariel Sharon?s speech setting out his plans for “unilateral actions” concerning the Occupied Territories. The commentators just did not understand what they had heard. That?s why they wrote things like “He did not say anything new”, “He has no plan”, “He is marking time”, “He is old and tired”, and the usual Washington reaction: “A positive step, but?” However, it is all nonsense. In his speech, Sharon outlined a whole, detailed ? and extremely dangerous ? plan.

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2003
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Just Another Christmas Scapegoat

William Hardiker

It appears that Saddam Hussein, ex-employee of the American Government, has been extracted from his metaphorical “haystack” in Iraq ? that is, if that which all the worlds media have leapt upon during the past week is true to appearances, rather than the equally feasible possibility that expert work, accomplished courtesy of high-tech “Hollywood-style” special effects teams, presented a long US incarcerated Saddam to domestic American and world media as a much needed Christmas present in the face of escalating Iraqi insurgencies.

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2003
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If Libya Can Do It, Why Not Israel?

Peter Preston

There’s a logic to these things. Muammar Gadafy, growing older, and his isolated Libya, growing poorer, were getting nothing worthwhile from the atomic bomb they hadn’t built yet or chemicals they had scant residual use for. Logic - and common sense - meant changing tack. Good for logic. But logic doesn’t stop there. What next? If weapons of mass destruction are a menace in unstable regions such as the Middle East, if their availability must be reduced, then logic begins to move us closer to the confrontation we never seek with the nuclear power we - let alone Messrs Bush and Blair - seldom mention: Israel.

Monday, December 22nd, 2003
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Selective Memory and a Dishonest Doctrine

Noam Chomsky

An indictment of Saddam Hussein’s atrocities would include not only his slaughter and gassing of Kurds in 1988 but also, rather crucially, his massacre of the Shiite rebels who might have overthrown him in 1991. At the time, Washington and its allies held the “strikingly unanimous view that whatever the sins of the Iraqi leader, he offered the West and the region a better hope for his country’s stability than did those who have suffered his repression,”

Sunday, December 21st, 2003
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Put Capitalist States on Trial As Well

Hizb ut-Tahrir

Saddam is no different to any of the brutal secular dictators in the Muslim world such as Mubarak, Musharraf or Karimov. They are all backed financially and politically to the hilt by Western governments. Indeed without this Western support, the Muslims of these countries would have removed these tyrants long ago and made them prisoners. For Western leaders to now seek to claim the moral high ground in removing one of ‘their’ dictators is the height of hypocrisy!

Sunday, December 21st, 2003
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Sharon's Hopeless Vision

Michael Brown

Ariel Sharon’s recent speech on the future for the Occupied Territories acknowledged there will be a Palestinian state, but said nothing about that state which Palestinians could latch on to as a sign of future peace. His vision for Israel seems to be one of constant siege, and his idea of Palestine fits very closely with the the Apartheid South African policy of state-supervised bantustans.

Sunday, December 21st, 2003
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The Monsters We Make

Mary Riddell

The symbol of this Christmas is the noose. Hang my son, says Ian Huntley’s mother. Hang Saddam, says almost everyone. As the great Judaeo-Christian feast approaches, the polarity between good and evil is stark. In modern replays of the Book of Genesis, conducted in settings as diverse as the Old Bailey, a spider hole near Tikrit and your local Odeon, light does not often vanquish darkness.

Sunday, December 21st, 2003
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The Silencing Of Dissent

Paul Eisen

As the onslaught on the Palestinian people continues and the hundred-year conquest of Palestine enters what may be its final stages, efforts by the Israeli, Zionist and Jewish establishments to silence any remaining criticism of Israel and Zionism intensify. At the centre of these efforts is the claim that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism. Critics of Israel are warned that whilst like any other democratic state, Israel is open to criticism of its policies, any criticism of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is, by definition, anti-Semitic.

Sunday, December 21st, 2003
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Bearded Lady of Tikrit is No Ace in the Hole

Ahmed Amr

George Bush doesn?t have Saddam Hussein to kick around any more. But the resistance lingers on. Worst still, Saddam is still alive and will be accorded some kind of public trial. He might even have time to write his memoirs while preparing for his defence. That is no comfort to the many willing Iraqi, American, Arab and European collaborators who played along with Saddam during various stages of his reign of terror.

Wednesday, December 17th, 2003
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Hoping for Amnesia

Scott Burchill

It is hard to believe that either Washington or London would relish the prospect of an open trial of Saddam Hussein. They would not want him to adumbrate their support for him - credit-by-credit, pathogen-by-pathogen, weapon-by-weapon - during the 12 years before he became an official enemy by invading Kuwait in August 1990.

Wednesday, December 17th, 2003
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A Weapon With Wings

George Monbiot

Tomorrow at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, George Bush will deliver a eulogy to aviation, while a number of men with more money than sense will seek to recreate the Wrights’ first flight. Well, they can keep their anniversary. Tomorrow should be a day of international mourning. Dec 17th 2003 is the centenary of the world’s most effective killing machine.

Tuesday, December 16th, 2003
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Thinking of ?B?

Anne Gwynne

Whenever I light a cigarette I think of B. I last saw him in the beautiful, moonlit city of Nablus. To meet was a huge risk for him but he wanted to say “until we meet again”. I hadn?t made it to an earlier rendezvous, and was sad that I had missed him ? he knew, so he came back at a very dangerous time when the soldiers were in the city! To my profound sorrow, some four months later he has finally been trapped and captured in Raffidiya during an Israeli occupation army undercover operation in which his brother was also dragged in shackles from his bed.

Tuesday, December 16th, 2003
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The Enemy Within

Manuel Valenzuela

Deep in the halls of Washington a putrid wind of sweeping ideology festers, swirling like a hurricane from the Atlantic seaboard, becoming a tornado in the frozen tundras of the Midwest, an impenetrable and monstrous fire wall consuming vast tracts of open expanse in the West and a sweltering drought drying up the nation?s future. Like a virus that was given new life, the once dormant group, for years denied the claws of power, suddenly awoke and spread through all levels of the US government with the appointment of George W. Bush in 2000. This cabal of Machiavelli and autocratic-style believers of power is now deeply entrenched in the highest positions of our government, determining policy and the direction our government and by consequence our nation is headed in.

Tuesday, December 16th, 2003
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Capturing Saddam: Surprise in the Night

Leila Montour

The name I?ve heard in nearly every conversation for the last eight years. All, and I mean ALL, of the Iraqi ex-pats and refugees in my community have peppered their conversations with this name over and over again. Not just the name representing the man, but the name as symbol of everything back home: every arrest, beating, torture, lost limb and life, humiliation, secretive whispering, paranoid thought, forced military service, tapped phone call, and missing family and friends. The stuff of division since the war began, the desire to be rid of him sometimes overcame the desire to stop the inevitable further rape and pillage of Iraq.

Monday, December 15th, 2003
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One Down, One More To Go

Bruce Kennedy

For months, reports from Baghdad have rumoured secret negotiations between Saddam and the USA. In September, several reports surfaced that were then quelled by the Washington tout rags, including CNN and Fox News. At a time when George Bush is being accused of everything from war crimes against Iraqis, to exercising a reckless disregard for the lives of America soldiers, and who is currently seen as virtually incapable of winning re-election for his gang of thugs, could it be that Bush has negotiated with his so-called No. 2 enemy?

Monday, December 15th, 2003
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Saddam's Capture Will Not Stop the Insurgency

Robert Fisk

"Peace” and “reconciliation” were the patois of Downing Street and the White House yesterday. But all those hopes of a collapse of resistance are doomed. Saddam was neither the spiritual nor the political guide to the insurgency that is now claiming so many lives in Iraq - far more Iraqi than Western lives, one might add - and, however happy Messrs Bush and Blair may be at the capture of Saddam, the war goes on.

Monday, December 15th, 2003
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The Resistance Will Grow

Sami Ramadani

As a long-time refugee from Saddam Hussein’s regime, the joy for me was deep, but the pain, too, was overwhelming as I remembered relatives and friends who lost their lives opposing Saddam’s tyranny or in his wars. This delightful moment - enjoyed by all the Iraqis I spoke to as the news of his capture was breaking - was soured by the fact that it was Iraq’s newly appointed tyrant, Paul Bremer, doing the boasting: “Ladies and gentlemen… we got him!”

Monday, December 15th, 2003
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Saddam's Capture, and the Aftermath

Danny Dayus

After a war that is expected to have cost $150billion by mid-2004, at the expense of tens of thousands of Iraqi lives, after the economic and social infrastructure has been devastated, and after the country’s land and water have been further polluted by burning oil wells and depleted uranium weapons fragments, I hear that the USA occupiers have finally taken Saddam Hussein prisoner. Caught at last, but what does his capture signify?

Sunday, December 14th, 2003
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Creating Children Willing to Die

Leah Tsemel

My Parents left Europe just before the Holocaust and they lost most of their family members in it. They came to that part of the world which today is called Israel, and used to be called Palestine, to promise me a better life and the security of a state of our own. After almost 60 years I cannot say that they succeeded; on the contrary. It seems that my parents and others who wanted to build the state of Israel did not understand that it is impossible to build a new future on the relics of oppression.

Saturday, December 13th, 2003
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From Occupation To Democracy?

Helena Cobban

Fine words came recently from George W. Bush on the need for “democracy” in the countries of the Middle East.  One may ask, of course, whether he is aware of the many disconnects between his rhetoric and the reality of a USA policy that is maintaining a military occupation regime in Iraq, supporting a brutal, actively colonialist military occupation regime in Palestine, and engaging in shady backroom deals with all the actively anti-democratic intelligence services of the region. But let us, for a few moments, take him at his word.  Let us suppose that he really does want to see democracy grow and flourish throughout the Middle East, and that Iraq is to be the first centrepiece and exemplar of this project.

Saturday, December 13th, 2003
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Iraqis Demand Elections, Reject Caucuses

Rajiv Chandrasekaran

The demonstrators converged on the provincial governor’s office on Sunday with banners, sleeping mats, cooking pots and a simple demand: Iskander Jawad Witwit should quit. After three days and nights of continuous protests, Witwit did just that. But the demonstrators have refused to budge. “Yes, yes for elections!” shouted the protesters, a collection of students, clerics and middle-aged professionals whose ranks swelled to more than 1,000 on Thursday. “No, no to appointment!”

Saturday, December 13th, 2003
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Caught In A Cold Embrace

Muzaffar Iqbal

A quick glance at the map of Iran and the surrounding region shows that Iran is now effectively a besieged land. This encircling of Islamic Iran is not a chance development. Unlike Iraq, where the recent invasion had a fast track pre-attack strategy, the USA is still moving carefully against Iran. But this must not be taken as a sign of reluctance by the USA administration to implement its overall strategy.

Saturday, December 13th, 2003
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The Same Old Racket In Iraq

Tariq Ali

This week, Bush amplified USA policy by insisting on the time-honoured norm: to the victor, the spoils. Why should those countries (Germany, France, China, Russia, etc) that had refused to make the necessary blood sacrifice expect a share of the loot? The EU is screaming “foul”, and its bureaucrats are suggesting that by denying the non-belligerent states equal opportunities to exploit an occupied Iraq, the USA is withdrawing itself from the groove of capitalist legality.

Saturday, December 13th, 2003
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Unilateral Unity

Azmi Bishara

The Palestinians cannot hope for a just solution of their cause anytime soon. Sharon knows that. This is why he is calling on the Palestinians to accept a long-term transitional settlement while threatening them with unilateral moves, including the wall. Both Sharon and his deputy, Ehud Olmert, are in favour of unilateral action towards the Palestinians. Since an acceptable settlement cannot be expected under Sharon the Palestinians should focus on consolidating and maintaining national unity.

Friday, December 12th, 2003
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Silence Is Not An Option

Hizb ut-Tahrir

Muslims are once again facing a wave of arrests by the British law enforcement authorities under the so called ‘war on terror’. However, although some Muslims may instinctively feel the need to lie low, remain silent and ride out the current storm, this would be a mistake for two reasons. Firstly the strategy of bunkering ourselves would not benefit the Muslim community in the long run, and secondly, silence would also be a failed opportunity to expose the militant liberal way of life that we see in the West; a system that oppresses humanity the world over. In the current emotive and caustic debate, several points need to be made.

Friday, December 12th, 2003
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Let's Play Prime Ministers

Hani Shukrallah

The young man singing on the stage in the Geneva auditorium could easily have been Egyptian. His face would not have been out of place on the streets of Cairo, yet his name was Aviv Geffen and he was singing in Hebrew. The sound was wonderful, the song was for peace and the audience was made up of a few hundred Palestinians and Israelis, men and women of all ages gathered in this lovely Swiss city to proclaim their common commitment to peace and brotherhood. I should have been moved. I wasn’t.

Friday, December 12th, 2003
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The Stupefaction of a Nation

Manuel Valenzuela

We are the lifeblood of the conglomerate, of vital importance, and, as such, it is in its best interest to control as much of our lives as possible, transforming us into obedient servants of obliviousness. We have allowed the oligarchy to hide the keys of democracy while we carelessly follow it on the road to fascism, where the elite have control of all aspects of our lives, including our mind.

Thursday, December 11th, 2003
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Reassessing Iraq And Other Colonial Handiwork

Rami G. Khouri

The big question that haunts Iraq today, and that has traumatized much of the modern Arab world, is “Will the Iraqis be given an opportunity to decide their own fate?” This is not a frivolous question. The fact is, the Iraqis did not have a choice or a voice when their country was manufactured by the British colonial office early last century. Perhaps this is why, for the second time in a century, the British Army is in Basra again, ruling an occupied people and contemplating their future condition.

Thursday, December 11th, 2003
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'Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought'

Benjamin Zephaniah

In a few weeks the good subjects of Britain will be given the annual announcement of the ?New Year Honours List?. Each year, a predictable collection of celebrities, politicians, business leaders, and general philanthropists, are ?honoured? by the Queen, in a list actually composed by the Prime Minister. The awards have been traditionally given only to ?pillars of the establishment?, but Tony Blair has broadened out the list to include ‘safe’ representatives of ?the minions?, to suit his vision of ?Cool Britannia?. Although invited, one person definitely NOT given an award (or any other, after this article) will be the poet Benjamin Zephaniah. Here, he gives his reason for turning down the offer to bend his head in front of the Queen, to become an ?Officer of the Order of the British Empire?.

Wednesday, December 10th, 2003
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The Moon is Down Over Iraq

Charles R. Steward III

The capture of the town was relatively easy. The colonel in charge of the occupation tells the local mayor his people must cooperate. The mayor replies, “I don’t know, sir. They are orderly under their own government.” The colonel informs the mayor, “They will be in danger if they are rebellious. We must get coal, you see. Our leaders do not tell us how; they order us to get it. But you have your people to protect. You must make them work and thus keep them safe.” The mayor then asks, “But suppose they don’t want to be safe?”

Tuesday, December 9th, 2003
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The Need For A Mutual Ceasefire

Daoud Kuttab

If all things go as planned, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will likely meet this week or the following one. For some time, the peoples of the region and outside officials and observers have been awaiting this important meeting. In fact, this meeting has been awaited ever since Sharon took power in the 2001 Israeli elections.

Tuesday, December 9th, 2003
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Searching for Yunis - and how many others?

David Enders

Paul Bremer?s ?Coalition Provisional Authority? admits to holding around five thousand Iraqi detainees, although other official estimates vary from 20,000 to 50,000. Many of them are imprisoned indefinitely and without charges. David Enders from Occupation Watch here gives a story about attempts to track down one man - a journalist - who has been imprisoned by the occupation forces in a Kafkaesque system of arbitrary, violent injustice, that gives the lie to USA claims that it is creating a free democracy in Iraq.

Tuesday, December 9th, 2003
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From Tommy Franks, A Doomsday Scenario

Robyn E. Blumner

The quotes from retired General Tommy Franks, warning of dangers to freedom in the USA during the ‘war on terror’, bounced around faster than a Paris Hilton sex video. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman repeated the alarm when he said that virulent terrorism “is the most serious threat to open societies, because one more 9/11 and we’ll really see an erosion of our civil liberties.” These pundits and prognosticators are saying out loud what anyone who has been following the government’s actions since 9/11 already senses.

Monday, December 8th, 2003
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From Florida To Baghdad

Abdulwahab Badrakhan

Before the war, the word was for any “peace of information” that would support the war, especially pertaining to the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Probably in all its history, the USA has never spent as much money on ‘nothingness’ as on Iraqi WMDs. Now the invasion is over, as was shown by James Baker’s recent appointment as George W Bush’s ‘personal envoy’, the word is for money, and this money determines the decisions and choices in Washington.

Monday, December 8th, 2003
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Refugees Are the Scum of the Scum

Nick Sommerlad

Earlier this year, for seven weeks the investigative reporter Nik Sommerlad was given the job of a security officer at the UK?s controversial ?Yarl?s Wood Detention Centre? for asylum seekers, in Bedfordshire. The brutal, racist, and violent nature of the regime that he saw on his assignment is a damning indictment of the UK Government’s human rights policy, and its public claim that it provides a “safe and caring” environment for those claiming refugee status in the country.

Monday, December 8th, 2003
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War on Aljazeera an Assault on the Collective Arab Aspiration

Ramzy Baroud

While in high school, I used to write a weekly article. Pretending to use the school?s restroom, I would hide a scrap of paper behind a specified toilet and leave. A young man would follow me in, locate the paper, and fit it into his shoe and so hastily vanish. On the next day, the article, in its entirety would be inscribed on the walls of the school; hand-written with no names attached, except for a pen name: “Young Kanafani”.

Sunday, December 7th, 2003
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J. Edgar Hoover Back at the 'New' FBI

Nat Hentoff

After the USA Senate exposed FBI director J. Edgar Hoover’s relentless violations of the Bill of Rights, Attorney General Edward Levi established new FBI guidelines to keep its agents within the bounds of the Constitution. The chairman of the relevant Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, pledged that “the American people need to be reassured that never again will an agency of the government be permitted to conduct a secret war against those citizens it considers a threat to the established order.” Attorney General John Ashcroft has broken that pledge more times than I can count.

Sunday, December 7th, 2003
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West Bank East

Ed Blanche

If the USA military?s escalating war against insurgent forces in Iraq is starting to look more and more like Israel?s campaign to crush the Intifada and the Palestinians? hope of an independent state, it?s probably because the Americans have been increasingly turning to their Israeli allies for advice on how to conduct just such a conflict.

Sunday, December 7th, 2003
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To the Brink of Existential Abyss

Victoria Buch

I am a member of a women’s human rights organization that monitors military checkpoints around the West Bank. We make an effort to increase the awareness of the Israeli and international public of what is happening there. I would like to tell you about what we saw lately at check-points in the Nablus area, and also to share with you some thoughts concerning the real objectives of Israel’s ‘closure policy’.

Sunday, December 7th, 2003
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Radical Without Apology

Badrol Hisham

The fatwa from the high priests of Washington has been pronounced: Islamic radicalism is a dirty word. Millions of intimidated Muslims the world over, are now desparately trying to convince others that they are not radical Muslims. “We are moderates” they plead, “the good Muslims you can talk to.” In their efforts to fit in, they are forgetting that it has always been radicalism that solves the world’s problems.

Saturday, December 6th, 2003
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Iraq: the Next Afghanistan

Phillip Adams

As George W. Bush sinks slowly in the West, let?s look at what he?s achieved at other points of the compass. In Afghanistan, the president needs a Praetorian guard of Americans to keep him safe in Kabul. In Iraq, escalating attacks come from who knows where. As for Iraq?s alleged stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, we have witnessed the biggest failure in intelligence in modern history; or been misled with the biggest lies foisted on Western democracy. Or both. It?s now clear that only one man was honest about WMDs in the run-up to the war.

Saturday, December 6th, 2003
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The Palestinian State is Not the Priority

FATEH Rejects the Geneva Accord

For a short time after the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian struggle was marked by protracted diplomatic attempts to bring about a two-state solution to the Occupation. In all the negotiations, people forgot that the projected state was only ever an interim objective of the Palestinian liberation movement, whose principle founding goal was the right of refugees to return to land that was stolen from them by Israelis in previous conflicts. After years of prevarication by Ehud Barak, and suppression by Ariel Sharon, the Oslo process has hit a brick wall. In this translation of their ruling on the Geneva Accord, FATEH (the Palestinian Liberation Movement) make plain that the Palestinian state is no longer the issue; only recognition of the right of return will end the conflict.

Friday, December 5th, 2003
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The Minutiae of Racism

Azmi Bishara

What sense is there in attempts to blur the boundaries of the definition of the term and the phenomenon it identifies by claiming that racism against the Arabs is a form of anti-Semitism because the Arabs are Semites too? Why implicitly acknowledge this ethnic racial term, as though it were scientifically sound, and subsume ourselves beneath it? Racism against the Arabs does not have to be described as anti-Semitic in order to be condemned. Nor did hatred of the Jews in Europe arise because they were Semites.

Friday, December 5th, 2003
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Figures of Fun

Julian Manyon, ITV Correspondent

Sunday?s clashes in Samarra ? billed by the USA as their biggest post-invasion victory ? had all the classic ingredients of a Wild West thriller. The American white hats were delivering money to the town?s banks when they were ambushed by the black hats. The Americans were quicker on the draw and no fewer than 54 black hats perished in a hail of well-aimed gunfire. In fact, when I and other reporters reached the town, we found confusion, anger and a story that bore little resemblance to the made-for-TV version. It?s a story that gives the lie to Donald Rumsfeld?s airy claim that he doesn?t ?do? quagmires, for what happened in Samarra is something of an object lesson in how to make one.

Friday, December 5th, 2003
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The BBC And Iraq; Myth And Reality

John Pilger

Greg Dyke, the BBC?s director general, has attacked American television reporting of Iraq. “For any news organisation to act as a cheerleader for government is to undermine your credibility,” he said. “They should be… balancing their coverage, not banging the drum for one side or the other.” He said research showed that, of 840 experts interviewed on American news programmes during the invasion of Iraq, only four opposed the war. “If that were true in Britain, the BBC would have failed in its duty.” Did Dyke say all this with a straight face?

Friday, December 5th, 2003
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Smug As A Bug Outside Reality

Curtis Doebbler

It’s easy to condemn those who use violent means against others. Since September 11th 2001 one of the most frequent claims repeated in the United States and Europe has been that “violence can never be justified”. We recite this over and again, secure in our feeling that we must be right because violence must be wrong. The picture gets a bit more blurry, however, if we broaden our view of the world and look to how our nations, instead of our neighbours, behave. Regardless, the above-mentioned mantra is still repeated. But when we speak of others using violence against us, we might want to think about who and what we are talking about.

Thursday, December 4th, 2003
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The Merchants of Pain

Jim Lobe

USA companies are exporting millions of dollars worth of equipment known to be used for torture, including selling devices to 12 countries where the USA State Department says that the use of torture is “persistent”, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

Thursday, December 4th, 2003
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People the Law Forgot

James Meek

It is almost two years since the Guantanamo prison camp opened. Its purpose is to hold people seized in the ‘war on terror’ and defined by the Bush administration as enemy combatants - though many appear to have been bystanders to the conflict. Images of Camp Delta’s orange-jumpsuited, manacled detainees have provoked international outrage. But the real horror they face isn’t physical hardship, it is the threat of infinite confinement, without trial or access to legal representation. James Meek has spent the past month talking to former inmates and some of those involved in operating the Pentagon’s Kafkaesque justice system.

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2003
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Geneva Accord Promotes A Failing Apartheid Solution

Mazin Qumsiyeh

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat recognized Israel on 78% of the land of Palestine in hopes of being allowed an independent state on the remaining 22%. Many “deals” since then failed because, as Amnesty International puts it, they fail to recognize the importance of human rights. The media is now trumpeting the latest in this line of agreements: the Geneva understandings. Guided by an imbalance of power, Palestinians would be asked to abrogate the right of return to their homes and lands and to recognize Israel not as a state of its citizens but as a state “for the Jewish people.”

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2003
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A Media War? The Rise of a New Dictatorship in Iraq

Firas Al-Atraqchi

In 1931, a young Adolf Hitler learned the value of the media. A powerful media could control the people, move them when needed, silence them when needed. This is called propaganda. Last month, USA Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld charged that Arab media in Iraq was “violently anti-coalition.” Apparently, showing images of girls being frisked by USA soldiers, an affront to Muslims and Arabs, is anti-coalition. Apparently, giving voice to Iraqi civilians who complain that they were beaten, or showing old men being pushed around and forced to strip by anxious USA soldiers is anti-coalition.

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2003
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Bottom of the Barrel

George Monbiot

The oil industry is buzzing. On Thursday, the government approved the development of the biggest deposit discovered in British territory for at least 10 years. Everywhere we are told that this is a “huge” find, which dispels the idea that North Sea oil is in terminal decline. You begin to recognise how serious the human predicament has become when you discover that this “huge” new field will supply the world with oil for five and a quarter days.

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2003
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Four Sticks

Novakeo

As two young Iraqi sisters gathered wood in a field, American soldiers shot Fatima and Azra, ages 15 and 12, shot dead for their efforts on Thanksgiving Day. They were simply murdered for gathering sticks and for being in their own country, nothing more than a couple of sand niggers, but its ok, you see, George Bush made it all better by making a surprise visit to the troops in Baghdad on the same Thanksgiving Day, all be it for a couple of hours within the strict confines of Baghdad airport. The visit was to boost morale for the Bush clan?s centurions in the field, so they can continue to shoot unarmed Iraqi children and establish vindication and glory for their commander-and-chief. It is the American and patriotic thing to do.

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2003
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Can It Ever Really End?

Sam Bahour

The world has finally come to its collective senses by explicitly acknowledging that Israel?s 37-year military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem must come to an abrupt end in order for peace in the Middle East to have even a remote chance of success. With this belated awakening, a fair and frank question has come to the forefront. Will the Palestinians accept the end of the Israeli occupation as their cue to cease, once and for all, their five-decade struggle to correct the historic injustices done to them? The easy answer is no.

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2003
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Bush's 'Forward Strategy': Democracy and Paradox

Ramzy Baroud

As a token of goodwill, we shall presuppose that President George W. Bush’s ardent calls for democracy in the Arab world don’t envisage politically motivated, court determined elections, like that of his. Nor, shall we assume that the President was fervently calling for a racial/religious democracy that is maintained through exclusiveness and customary acts of ethnic cleaning, so that the demographic composition of a state might be sustained, like in the case of Israel. But goodwill alone can hardly prepare one for the paradoxes that the president’s democracy calls so starkly infuse.

Monday, December 1st, 2003
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James Yee's Supporters: We're Relieved, Outraged

Pueng Vongs

You may assume that, mindful of the widespread claim that the ?war on terror? is really a war against Islam, the military authorities would be especially careful to give all the respect they could to their own Muslim Chaplain serving at Guantanamo Bay. You would be wrong. Captain James Yee has been arrested, placed in the now trademark ?restraints?, interrogated at length, and accused of being an Al-Qaeda spy. After the charges were finally proved groundless last week, the military authorities are attempting to justify their actions by substituting new claims in an attempt to portray Yee as a perpetrator of sex-crimes.

Monday, December 1st, 2003
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Barbed-wire Screen, Smoke Screen

B. Michael

A lot of “separating” can be achieved with 3,000 km (2,000 miles) of barbed-wire: separating livestock from its owners, olives from their harvesters, vines from their pickers, a doctor from his patients, a worker from his place of work, a teacher from his students. Especially the farmer from his land. One kind of separation will not be obtained by the thousands of barbed kilometres - separating the suicide-bomber from his victims.

Sunday, November 30th, 2003
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