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World Crisis Analysis Archives - Arranged by Month

Echoes of South Africa?

The combination of rock stars and politicians normally means a good but non-controversial cause is at hand, as the great and the good line-up to pay lip service to global poverty, or the environment, or something equally worthy. But until recently you would not expect the cool and the influential to come together for an issue as divisive as the Israel-Palestine conflict. But so violent is the record of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and so symbolically backward-looking the wall currently bull-dozing its way through the illegally-occupied Palestinian Territories, that it seems Palestine may be emerging as an issue to rival the anti-apartheid movement in its appeal to a base level sense of justice and injustice.

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004
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Death In A Cemetery

"I will never understand how Mohammed was killed. Maybe one day I will know. Khaled raised his hands, so he was a convenient target for them. Him they killed in cold blood. They let him finish speaking and then they killed him. But how Mohammed was killed I don’t understand. I shouted like a madwoman: `Help, my son is alive, we have to save him.’ They laughed and told me to shut up. The soldier who was laughing was standing below, on the street. I sat on the floor and kept on shouting like a crazy person. I pounded on the door until my hands were injured. I don’t know how those curses came out of me. I called for help, Diana and Ali were crying hysterically, and the soldiers threatened to blow up the building with us inside.”

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004
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Courting the Hate Vote

Another two bite the dust. Following the earlier deaths of detained migrants in Britain, last Friday a 23-year-old Vietnamese asylum-seeker killed himself in the Dungavel immigration detention centre in Lanarkshire. And a week ago in Harmondsworth, west London, a 31-year-old eastern European was found hanging in his cell. New Labour is not moved by such stories. This government will not waver. Stuff the causes of asylum - girlie, bleeding-heart talk. “We are resolute,” says the abrasive Blunkett, and his mates in the Cabinet cheer. They know millions of voters will thank them for the stand they take.

Monday, July 26th, 2004
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The Democratic Convention

The Democratic National Convention, which opened Monday in Boston, is the culmination of a drive by the most powerful forces in the Democratic Party, the media and the USA ruling elite as a whole to banish from the November presidential election any real debate amongst opponents of the present administration. This effort to exclude from the political process all voices of serious dissent, and suppress the most vital concerns of the vast majority of the people - not only the war, but also the assault on jobs, living standards and democratic rights - testifies to the organic incapacity of the two major parties in America to address, let alone resolve, a mounting social and political crisis of historical proportions.

Monday, July 26th, 2004
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The Path of Evil

Former Baltimore Sun journalist Frank Kent considered, “The evils of government are directly proportional to the tolerance of the people.” The government formed is the result of citizens having cast votes in an election. If recent polling results are accurate, then to the extent that the American citizenry are aware of the murderous events in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Haiti, and elsewhere, sociopathology might be considered to be societal and reflected by the government. A vote for either Bush or Kerry in the upcoming presidential elections could be construed as a sociopathological attitude to non-Americans, since a Kerry presidency would only mean a change of face and little significant change in foreign policy except to invite allies to share in imperialistic plunder.

Monday, July 26th, 2004
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The Skin of the Bear

While the occupation forces are tightening the siege and carrying out “targeted killings”, battles between the Palestinians themselves have broken out, with militants shooting at each other, targeting leaders and burning headquarters. Occupation generals, politicians and commentators in Israel follow the events with glee or click their tongues sanctimoniously: “Didn?t we tell you? The Palestinians can?t rule themselves, there is no one to talk with, we have no partner for peace. When they are left to themselves, anarchy reigns.” Since the Sharon government is responsible for the present situation in Gaza in the first place, it resembles the son who kills both his parents and pleads in court: “Have mercy! I am an orphan!”

Saturday, July 24th, 2004
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Muslims Portrayed

Media images of Islam are omnipresent, and are part of Western culture of racism and imperial design. Islam has always been seen in the West as violent, barbaric, anti-democratic, anti-human, anti-rational, etc. The aim is to turn Muslims into an enemy people, to be regarded collectively with contempt and scorn. In Australia, Muslim refugees and asylum seekers fleeing war torn countries are completely removed from humanity. They are detained in remote centres and stripped of their human rights and dignity. They are portrayed as “illegal” immigrants and “potential terrorists”. The fact that thousands of illegal immigrants are white Anglo-Saxons living and working illegally in Sydney and Melbourne shows how tolerant Australia is. Illegal immigrant it seems, if you’re not white.

Saturday, July 24th, 2004
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"Like A Tree Which Has Been Uprooted"

"My life is shattered,” Umm Taha said while crying once again, “and I can do nothing. There is no compensation. I spent 20 years building my life, and now I?m 50 years old,” she added, “I can?t start over again. ??We have no present. We have no future. The occupiers have destroyed our life, and what have we done? We want to leave here - leave our country to the people who ?liberated? it.” Nagem Salam interviews a former Abu Ghraib female detainee, who was arrested by USA forces on September 14th, 2003 and detained for four months in Ba’qouba, Tikrit, Abu Ghraib, and the Tesfirat transfer station.

Saturday, July 24th, 2004
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Divine Right and Mortal Man

Anybody who has had dealings with the state’s wrath knows the feeling of utter impotence in the face of the overwhelming power that extends from the petty, day-to-day insults and indifference, through to the total force that can be brought to bear on an individual. Most of us, when confronted with such power, cave in. A very few of us refuse, and when we do, the state will do everything in its power to crush and obliterate such people. For at stake is the state’s right to rule, which we the people extend to the state via the electoral system. At one end is the man wrongfully convicted for murder, and at the other end is Tony Blair ignoring the people’s opposition to the invasion of Iraq. In between are the immense and immovable structures of the state in all its manifestations that imposes its ideology on us all.

Saturday, July 24th, 2004
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Arafat's Last Stand - Again?

Is it the beginning of a genuine reform movement, or a destructive power struggle within a multi-headed and inflated security apparatus on the eve of an anticipated - but far from certain - Israeli pull-out from the Gaza Strip? Or is it a clever takeover attempt by former Security Chief Mohamed Dahlan, who has been cited as “the favorite candidate” by the Israeli intelligence and media, to assert his power as the strongest man in Gaza? Available information includes elements of all these scenarios, producing a reform movement entangled within a vicious power struggle between security war lords jockeying for position, either through direct support from Arafat or by positioning themselves for the post-Arafat era. A genuine evolving reform movement, meanwhile, risks being squashed, or even reduced to empty slogans.

Friday, July 23rd, 2004
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In Hebron

"The children were fascinated. Urged to ask questions, they mostly wanted to know whether IDF colonel was afraid, though they also asked if he had killed Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, whose picture and the picture of his destroyed wheelchair were quite a hit on Israeli TV. The colonel said it was another unit, not his, ‘but he deserved to die,’ and he promised the children that ‘we don’t kill unless there is a really good reason.’ He ended the talk by telling the children he hoped that they too would one day have the chance to become senior officers in the IDF.” Yitzhak Laor writes about an exhibition of soldiers’ photographs in Tel Aviv and introduces some of the soldiers’ memories of their military service.

Thursday, July 22nd, 2004
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We Are The System

In the recent past, the media has flooded us with articles and a few photographs about mistreatment of captive prisoners by American soldiers. The moralizers are now hard at work demanding investigations so that America’s name can be cleared and we can show that the mistreatment was really an anomaly.  You know, a few sick soldiers indulging themselves, brought down to a depraved level by the circumstances of war. It’s “systemic,” says former Special Forces Master Sergeant Stan Goff, meaning that the “system,” the military system, is such that it dehumanizes you and it dehumanizes the enemy. Well, watch out, folks, get into “systemic” and you may get more than you bargained for

Thursday, July 22nd, 2004
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The Tensions of Transition in Iraq

Iraq is a telling example of how a political system created by an occupying power and out of touch with popular aspirations creates the necessary conditions for a perpetual state of civil strife and violent conflict. The invasion brought about regime change, but more importantly, it lead to the complete collapse of an already weakened Iraqi state. As a result, political authorities in Iraq have to contend with eroded legitimacy, lack of authority, and a loss of sovereignty to occupying forces. Despite the seemingly benign and clear-cut formula for the “transfer of power,” a complex matrix of interrelated dilemmas will continue to plague any plan instigated by occupation forces that does not enjoy the consent of mainstream Iraqis.

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004
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Not The First 'Closed' Case For Negroponte

John Dimitri Negroponte has a birthday today, his 65th. He has been a warrior from the dark side a long time. Almost 40 years ago, Negroponte was a young “political affairs officer” at the United States embassy (1964-68) in what was then Saigon. Twenty years later Negroponte was the Reagan administration’s odious envoy (1981-85) in Honduras and a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal that covertly financed the CIA-run war against the Sandinistas, the elected left-wing government of neighbouring Nicaragua. It was wee George who, another 20 years on, would resurrect Negroponte’s career, first as his ambassador to the United Nations in 2001, the year the Twin Towers came down, and most recently as Washington’s man with the real power in Iraq.

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004
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"A Better and Safer Place"

For mile after mile south of Baghdad yesterday, the story was the same: empty police posts, abandoned Iraqi army and police checkpoints and a litter of burnt-out American fuel tankers and rocket-smashed police vehicles down the main highway to Hillah and Najaf. It was Afghanistan Mk2. Yes, it is a shameful reflection on our invasion of Iraq - let us solemnly remember “weapons of mass destruction” - but it is, above all, a tragedy for the Iraqis. They endured the repulsive Saddam. They endured our shameful UN sanctions. They endured our invasion. And now they must endure the anarchy we call freedom.

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004
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The Other Regime Change

Over three years ago, the International Republican Institute’s senior program officer for Haiti, Stanley Lucas, suggested on Haitian radio three strategies for removing Haiti’s elected president. First, Lucas proposed forcing Aristide to accept early elections and be voted out; second, he could be charged with corruption and arrested; finally, he could be removed in the same way as Congolese President Laurent Kabila, the month before. “You did see what happened to Kabila?” Lucas asked his audience. Kabila had been assassinated. Throughout the last six years, the federally funded IRI - stated mission, to “promote the practice of democracy” abroad ? spent $3 million training Aristide’s political opponents, uniting them into a single bloc and, according to a former USA ambassador there, encouraging them to reject internationally sanctioned power-sharing agreements in order to heighten Haiti’s political crisis.

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004
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Is It Unjust to Be Home?

The differences thrust in my face while returning home to America from Iraq are glaring. It starts with the little things. That I could even leave Iraq to come to a Western country felt?well, simply unjust and unfair. My Iraqi friends don?t have that option. I went to see the movie Fahrenheit 9/11 last night. Just that I can go see a movie in safety is an oddity to me now. In addition, the options for fun and relaxation here are only limited by my own imagination. The one amusement park in Baghdad, Fun City, has been closed since the war. Hanging out in a park there is a good way to get kidnapped or looted. There are no movie theaters, or they would most certainly be the target of a car bomb.

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004
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Safe Passage for the Bin Ladens

It was the second Wednesday of September 2001. Terrorist attacks had grounded all commercial and private aviation throughout the entire United States for the first time in history. Former vice-president Al Gore was stranded in Austria because his flight to the United States was cancelled. Former president Bill Clinton was stuck in Australia. Major League Baseball games were postponed. American skies were nearly as empty as they had been when the Wright brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk. America was paralysed by terror, and for 48 hours, virtually no one could fly ...… No one, that is, except for the Saudis.

Monday, July 19th, 2004
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The American Saddam

Two of Australia?s most distinguished newspapers reported on Saturday two independent claims that Iyad Allawi, the USA-installed Iraqi interim prime minister, personally murdered six handcuffed and blindfolded prisoners in June this year. The newspapers seem to have had the story for several weeks, deciding to publish on July 17, after “the failure by Iraqi and US officialdom to mount convincing denials”. Thus far, no major USA newspaper or television network has reported the allegations, which, if substantiated, should result in the immediate arrest of Allawi on murder charges. The same media that promoted last year?s invasion with stories of murder, torture and rape-rooms under Saddam Hussein is displaying no interest in the growing evidence that the USA-installed regime of Allawi will rule in essentially the same fashion.

Monday, July 19th, 2004
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Israel Builds Another Wall

Countering concerted pressure from the USA and its allies, the World Court has decided to apply the universal principles of justice to the actions of an Occupation that in its malicious intent, its devastating effects, its lengthening history, and its potential for fueling wars has no parallels in recent times. Yet, as predictably as it is tragic, Zionists in Israel and the USA ? both Christians and Jews ? have responded to the Court’s decision with hollow clich?s that carry little conviction except with a segment of Americans, some of whom are avowed Christian Zionists, others white supremacists, but most have been coaxed into hating Palestinians by a media that is both mendacious and malicious in the ways in which it constructs the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Palestinians are terrorists and anti-Semites to boot; the Israelis, under threat and in peril, are their innocent victims.

Sunday, July 18th, 2004
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'Amal' is the Arabic Word for 'Hope'

Since Israel is not willing to address how it is that she has brought destruction on to her own people because she will not dismantle her own illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, and she refuses to glance at the 5,000,000 plus Palestinians of whom she has made refugees, then she should build a wall. If necessary, she should build a wall that?s taller and thicker than this one. Build that wall and shut out the world, maybe even put a lid on it, and only give the key to your only friend, America. Build that wall, but build it on your own land (stolen) between Israel and Palestine, and not between Palestinians and their homes and families.

Friday, July 16th, 2004
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Perfidious Albion and Diego Garcia

Gwynne Dyer

Britain’s capacity for mean and underhanded behaviour towards its former colonial subjects has never been in doubt, but last week saw an especially ugly example. Four years ago, the high court in London ruled that the former inhabitants of Diego Garcia and the other Chagos Islands, removed from their homeland between 1967 and 1973 to make way for a huge US air base, had been evicted illegally.  It looked like an old injustice was finally on the way to being rectified ? but that depended on the British government obeying its own courts. Fat chance.

Friday, July 16th, 2004
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'Democratic' Racism: Parts 1 & 2

Jonathan Cook

An Israeli Knesset committee is currently formulating the first constitution for Israel in its fifty-six years of existence. The consensus among the Jewish committee members is that the constitution will proclaim the state to be both “Jewish and democratic”. The sole Arab committee member, Azmi Bishara, believes that the state cannot be both Jewish and democratic at the same time. Who is right? In considering the Jewish state?s track record in fostering democracy, we will restrict ourselves to its record in governing the population within its own borders, and in particular the one million Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship. How have they fared in what the Knesset wishes to call a Jewish and democratic state?

Friday, July 16th, 2004
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Will the 'New Iraq' Be Any Different?

Farish A. Noor

One of the many frustrations of academics like myself who teach politics and history is having to deal with insolent students who raise the irritating question: “What is the relevance of all this, since everything you have taught us has passed and is no longer relevant in the present?” On a bad day I would be inclined to pick up a hefty classical text and try my best to aim it at the head of the ingrate in question, hoping that upon its landing on the hard skull across the room the victim?s IQ level would have risen by a point or two. But these days, thanks to the ?benevolent imperialism? of the United States of America, I can say that what I teach does make sense and is indeed relevant for the sad times we live in.

Thursday, July 15th, 2004
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The Price of Imperial Folly

Phyllis Bennis

It’s hard to imagine what $151 billion actually means. Well, here are some facts to prod our imagination. To begin with, $151 billion can pay for health care for 23 million uninsured Americans; or housing stipends for 27 million homeless people in this country; or a year’s salary for 3 million new elementary school teachers; or more than 678,000 new fire engines. That same $151 billion could feed half the hungry people in the world for two years and provide clean water and sanitation for the entire developing world and fund a comprehensive global AIDS program and pay for childhood immunizations for every child in poor countries that constitute the global South.

Thursday, July 15th, 2004
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Is No-one Then To Blame?

Robin Cook

It used to be a standard mantra of Tony Blair’s speeches that “responsibility and rights” are indissolubly linked. It turns out that responsibility is for job-seekers and single parents, not for our ruling classes. Lord Butler has produced elegantly crafted paragraphs explaining that none of them need take responsibility for the biggest blunder in British foreign and security policy since Suez. What a shame that at the time Anthony Eden did not have a Lord Butler around to explain he was not responsible for his decision to invade.

Thursday, July 15th, 2004
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Butler, Blair, and the Blood Flows On

Robert Fisk

Lord Butler told us yesterday that Tony Blair acted in good faith. So that’s all right then. At the al-Yarmouk hospital in Baghdad yesterday morning, there was blood on the walls, blood on the floor, blood on the doctors, blood on the stretchers. In the dangerous oven of Baghdad, 10 more lives had just ended. So what was it Tony Blair said in the Commons yesterday afternoon? “We are not killing civilians in Iraq; terrorists are killing civilians in Iraq.” So that’s all right then. Question: Are Baghdad and London on the same planet?

Thursday, July 15th, 2004
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The War in Iraq Will Take Bush Down

Mark Hertsgaard

At the height of his power, Joseph McCarthy appeared invincible. Beginning in 1950, the senator from Wisconsin made a name for himself by claiming that the USA government employed hundreds of communists. For the next four years, no one in Washington dared stand up to McCarthy’s witch hunting. Yet his over-reach soon prompted the establishment to regard him as an unsteady extremist and to turn against him. Within months, the USA Senate had voted overwhelmingly to censure the demagogue, and McCarthy’s career was finished. Fifty years later, USA President George W. Bush is about to suffer the same fate.

Wednesday, July 14th, 2004
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Israel Up Against The Wall

Ian Williams, Asia Times.

It is not often that the International Court of Justice comes out with such an unequivocal opinion as it did recently on Israel?s “security barrier” inside the Occupied Territories. Just because it ruled against Israel and, by extension, its USA protector, on every point, does not invalidate the reasoning for the rest of the world. You cannot cherry-pick international law. People who attack the court for its decision should beware. In doing so, they are calling into question the United Nations Charter, and the whole foundation of international law and humanitarian conventions and treaties: which in the end are the legal basis of the state of Israel’s international recognition, and, in a broader sense, everyone else’s best hope for a global order that does not rely on anarchistic violence and force majeure.

Wednesday, July 14th, 2004
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On Kangaroos and Courts

Diana Buttu

Even prior to its ruling on the illegality of the wall, the International Court of Justice was denounced by Israeli government pundits as a “kangaroo court.” After the ruling, one commentator opined, “The court is biased.” Another proclaimed that the ICJ decision would “find its place in the garbage can of history.” The same stance was not, however, taken with respect to the Israel High Court decison. Justice Minister Yosef Lapid aptly summarized Israel’s position on these two decisions: “We will comply with our High Court decisions, and not with the International Court.” Herein lies the fundamental problem: Israel reserves the right to act both as defendant and judge of any suit against it and will not accede to independent adjudication of its crimes.

Tuesday, July 13th, 2004
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Greasing Up to Power

George Monbiot

Tomorrow the Butler report will reopen the debate in the UK about who was to blame for the lies with which we went to war ? the government or the intelligence agencies. One thing the news networks will not be discussing is the culpability of the news networks. After this inquiry, we will need another one, whose purpose is to discover why journalists help governments to lie to the people. I don?t need to discuss the failings of the USA news networks, some of which could reasonably be described as components of the military-industrial complex. But the failures of the British media, and in particular the BBC, in the light of British academic research, require more explanation.

Tuesday, July 13th, 2004
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Diego Garcia: Paradise Isle or Britain's Shame?

Linda S. Heard

The recent USA Supreme Court ruling questioning the legality of Camp Delta in Guantanamo, Cuba, giving detainees the right to challenge their incarceration and treatment in USA courts, could well spell the beginning of the end for this shameful detention centre. It has recently come to light that Tony Blair has repeatedly asked his USA counterpart to send the remaining British prisoners home, as Britain does not accept the premise that military tribunals is a just way forward. It, therefore, seems inconceivable that Britain would be involved with secret detentions, and rumoured torture, on its own territory of Diego Garcia, especially since it is a signatory to the International Criminal Court and various human rights treaties, while the USA is not. Yet the signs are that Britain is just as mired in the human rights scandal as the Americans.

Tuesday, July 13th, 2004
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Blair Knew Iraq Had No Usable Weapons

Robin Cook

For one of the British establishment’s most reliable and well known figures to openly criticise the Prime Minister, and leader of his own Party, is bad news enough for Tony Blair. For one to publicly claim that the effective head of state is either a liar or profoundly incompetent would at one time be grounds for a public hanging, or a revolution. But in the week that the report is due for publication into British intelligence failures in the run up to the war against Iraq, the man who until recently was Leader of the House of Commons, and Foreign Secretary under Tony Blair himself has spoken out with his most damning indictment yet, of his leader and his government. Tony Blair, according to Sir Robin Cook, knew before the war that Iraq was no threat to the world. And he is either so forgetful and incompetent as to beggar belief, or he lied to Britain and the world about the threat from Saddam Hussein.

Tuesday, July 13th, 2004
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From Nuremberg to Abu Ghraib

Andrew Lichterman

Refusing to act in the service of our view of what is truly lawful changes not only the meaning of the law, but the meaning of our story, of our history. Our government lied to justify an aggressive war. It now appears likely that our government?s highest officials promulgated policies that resulted in the torture and killing of prisoners. If we fail to do everything in our power, consistent with our vision of lawfulness, to hold them to account, then even the meaning of Nuremberg will darken. Instead of being a step in the realization of a universal normative and legal vision, those trials so many years ago will look more like revenge killings of an emerging global superpower, bent on establishing a world in which it rules through force while standing above the law.

Monday, July 12th, 2004
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Bloody Uniform

Guest Editorial by Media Lens

As anyone who has worked in a modern corporation will know, the people working in those corporations are good, caring people. It?s just that, in their work, they are required to obey a system of economic logic that subordinates human and animal suffering to short-term profit. They are decent, civilized people -? their actions result in mass suffering and death. It is wrong to think that evil comes with a black hat, horns, scarred face, handle-bar moustache, or even mad, staring eyes. Endless testimony has documented the banal nature of evil. Men, women and children are generally burned alive, not by grinning monsters, but by fresh-faced kids pushing throttles, raising flaps and pressing bomb releases.

Monday, July 12th, 2004
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There Are Judges in the Hague

Uri Avnery

One of the Israeli newspapers, Haaretz, put the two events on the front page: the 100th anniversary of the death of Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionist movement, and the judgment of the International Court of Justice, which declared the Israeli Separation Wall illegal. This coincidence may seem fortuitous. What connection could there possibly be between a historical anniversary and the latest topical event? But there is a connection. It is expressed in one sentence written by Herzl in Der Judenstaat, the book that became the cornerstone of Zionism. This is what it said: “There (in Palestine) we shall be a sector of the wall of Europe against Asia, we shall serve as the outpost of civilization against barbarism.” This sentence could easily be written today.

Sunday, July 11th, 2004
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The Mistaken Islamism

Abid Ullah Jan

We need to understand the “-ism” and “ists” in simple words before we apply these suffixes to the complex issues. Margaret H. Parkinson, an expatriate New Zealander associated with Dunedin Methodists, has defined “ists” and “-ism” in a beautiful way. She gave the example of the enormous stretches of tulip fields, spreading like a carpet with rows of different colors. There are the occasional yellow tulip scattered among the red or stray pinks and reds among the yellows - apparently “out of sync.” These stray colors are invisible until we focus and specifically look for them. The question that strikes the mind is: Were they accidents or simply “the way things are”?  It is very easy to think of differences as mistakes, and even crimes, when we further zoom into some serious issues. A yellow tulip among a sea of red?

Saturday, July 10th, 2004
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Dispersing Demonstrators or Chemical Warfare?

James Brooks

"What the army used here yesterday was not tear gas. We know what tear gas is, what it feels like. That was something totally different . . . When we were still a long way off from where the bulldozers were working, they started shooting things like this one. Black smoke came out. Anyone who breathed it lost consciousness immediately, more than a hundred people. They remained unconscious for nearly 24 hours. One is still unconscious, at Rapidiya Hospital in Nablus. They had high fever and their muscles became rigid. Some needed urgent blood transfusion. Now, is this a way of dispersing a demonstration, or is it chemical warfare?”

Saturday, July 10th, 2004
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The Mother of All Anti-War Forces

Naomi Klein

Fury is an entirely appropriate response to a system that sends young people to kill other young people in a war that never should have been waged. Yet the American right is forever trying to pathologize anger as something menacing and abnormal, dismissing war opponents as hateful and, the latest slur, “wild-eyed.” This is much harder to do when victims of wars begin to speak for themselves: No one questions the wildness in the eyes of a mother or father who has just lost a son or daughter, or the fury of a soldier who knows that he is being asked to kill and die needlessly. Many Iraqis who have lost loved ones to foreign aggression have responded by resisting the occupation. Now, victims are starting to organize themselves inside the countries that are waging the war.

Friday, July 9th, 2004
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Facing the Enemy on the Ground

Scott Ritter

The battle for Iraq’s sovereign future is a battle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. As things currently stand, it appears that victory will go to the side most in tune with the reality of the Iraqi society of today: the leaders of the anti-USA resistance. Not only has the United States failed to put into place a viable government to replace the CPA in the aftermath of the so-called “transfer of sovereignty,” but more importantly, it continues to misidentify the true nature of the Iraqi insurgency. As a consequence, the resistance will inevitably continue to flourish and grow until no force can defeat it, Iraqi or American.

Friday, July 9th, 2004
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Is it legal?

Ian Douglas

One would hardly believe one’s eyes, but seemingly last Thursday saw the opening of the “trial of the century” - Saddam Hussein and cohorts hauled before a semester abroad version of Court TV. Dressed by his American captors in an “off-the- rack” suit conspicuously missing a necktie, rendered “suddenly ordinary” in the perceptive words of one of the few Western journalists permitted to attend, Hussein, against all odds, actually struck a few chords of sympathy around the Arab world. He tried to kill daddy, now junior will do away with him. To the decade-long debacle that future historians will doubtless see as the greatest political and financial scandal of our times the United States is bent on compounding the fleecing of Iraq with a travesty of justice that adds insult to injury upon ordinary Iraqis.

Thursday, July 8th, 2004
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Starving for Justice

Guest Editorial by MIFTAH

Those who think that Palestinian leaders lack the will and the political savvy to organize effective peaceful protests against Israeli occupation would do well to visit a bustling tent off the Ar-Ram checkpoint on the road between Jerusalem and Ramallah, in which an extraordinary sit-in hunger strike, called five days ago by Dr. Azmi Bishara, the charismatic Israeli-Arab political leader and intellectual, is gathering momentum exponentially. Whether the strikers will eventually achieve their stated goal of bringing to an end Israel?s construction of the separation wall is debatable, but it is clear, from the conviction expressed by them, that they believe strongly enough in their cause to risk their lives for it.

Thursday, July 8th, 2004
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A Referendum Divides Bolivia

Alex Contreras Baspineiro

The upcoming referendum in Bolivia has accomplished what various neoliberal governments, including military dictatorships, even the United States? own policy, could not: dividing the popular movement and challenging its leaders. A great question mark now hangs over this country?s future. A binding referendum ? described by some in the labor movement as “no more than a consolidation of the privileges awarded to multinational corporations” - will be held on July 18th to decide the fate of the country?s fossil fuels. Judging by the mood in the country, the issue looks set to be a major landmark in the country?s unstable recent history.

Thursday, July 8th, 2004
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Mixing Prophecy And Politics

Jane Lampman

For Ray Sanders and his wife, Sharon, reading Hal Lindsey’s apocalyptic bestseller, “The Late Great Planet Earth,” was a life changing experience. “That awakened our understanding to Israel and its prophetic role in the Last Days,” Mr. Sanders explains. The Sanders’ now live and work from Jerusalem, marshalling support from evangelical Christians around the world, to fulfill what they see as their role in an unfolding final drama. They and other Christian Zionists, whose ranks are estimated at 20 million in the USA alone, have in the past two decades poured millions of dollars of donations into Israel, formed a tight alliance with the Likud and other Israeli politicians seeking an expanded “Greater Israel,” and mobilized grass-roots efforts to get the USA to adopt a similar policy.

Thursday, July 8th, 2004
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Militarism: Empire and Resistance Today

Walden Bello

Over the last year, I have been preoccupied, as so many of us have, with one thing, Iraq. Iraq, as Bob Woodward puts it in his book Plan of Attack, has “sucked all the oxygen out of the system.” It is the central event of our time, our Spanish Civil War, our Vietnam, and everything else seems to be put on hold both here and in other parts of the world until there is a just and decisive resolution to the terrible situation created by the US invasion and occupation of that country.

Thursday, July 8th, 2004
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With Trembling Fingers

Hal Crowther

I used to take a drink on occasion with a network newsman famed for his impenetrable calm--his apparent pulse rate that of a large mammal in deep hibernation--and in an avuncular moment he advised me that I’d do all right, in the long run, if I could only avoid the kind of journalism committed to the keyboard “with trembling fingers.” I recognized the wisdom of this advice and endeavored over the years to write as little as possible when my blood pressure was soaring and my face was streaked with tears. The lava flows of indignation ebb predictably with age and hardening arteries, and nearing three-score I thought I’d never have to take another tranquilizer--or a double bourbon--to keep my fingers steady on the keys. I never imagined 2004.

Wednesday, July 7th, 2004
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A Visit to Shatila

Bilal El-Amine

There are close to 400,000 registered Palestinian refugees in Lebanon living in 13 camps ranging in size from 1,000 to 45,000. They are carefully (and deliberately, according to some refugees) distributed throughout the country but well away from the border with Palestine. On a recent visit to Lebanon where I?m from, a friend who works with Palestinian refugees arranged for a group of us to visit Shatila camp in Beirut. We asked for a general history of the camp before we were taken to see it. So she told us her story, a personal account of what she endured and saw.

Wednesday, July 7th, 2004
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Mind Over Matter

Louis Werner

The news that Jewish historian Raphael Patai’s book The Arab Mind, a sex-obsessed cultural stereotyping of the Arabs, is considered a must-read by Washington neo-conservatives is not surprising. It is, after all, taught at the US Army War College, and its new edition has an introduction written by Colonel Norvell DeAtkine, whose academic specialties are listed as terrorism, urban warfare, and “operations other than war”. So I suppose it is also unsurprising that the book was apparently used as a field manual by US Army Intelligence in Abu Ghraib prison, whose interrogators inferred the bizarre lesson from Patai’s chapter on Arab sexual shame that recommends forced nakedness, transvestitism, and female-on-male sado-masochism as the best way to get Iraqi prisoners to cooperate and talk.

Monday, July 5th, 2004
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Why Did Gordon Gentle Have to Die?

Paul Kelbie

There was never any doubt what Gordon Gentle would end up doing when he left school. Both his mother’s brothers had served with the Royal Highland Fusiliers in Northern Ireland, and for the quiet, 6ft 2in Celtic fan it seemed there was never an alternative but to follow in their footsteps. School friends teased him over his military ambitions, saying he was too kind and good-natured to be a soldier. He was called Gentle, after all. But the teenager had the strength of character to ignore them, and enlisted with the regiment last year. On Wednesday, the same friends, who nicknamed him him “Soft”, will gather to honour a 19-year-old who joined the Army to see the world but ended up being the 60th and last British soldier to be killed in Iraq before the handover of power to the new Iraqi government.

Monday, July 5th, 2004
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Buying Cuban Exiles Gets Tricky

Gwynne Dyer

The Bush administration’s policy on Cuba recently took a new turn. From now on, Cuban-Americans will be able to visit the island only once every three years, not annually, and the amount of money they can take with them will be cut by more than two-thirds. Other Americans will continue to be banned from going to Cuba at all. Those defying the ban risk up to ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Military aircraft will be deployed in the skies near Cuba to push American TV and radio propaganda broadcasts through Cuban jamming.  This stuff is obviously not going to shake Fidel Castro’s hold on power, so why did Bush do it? The “Miami Herald” published the complete answer in late May: “The new Cuba rules are a cold, poll-driven calculation that has less to do with democracy-building in Havana than with vote-counting in Miami.”

Sunday, July 4th, 2004
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