The iconic photograph of the Falling Man at the World Trade Centre was "the defining image" of that day. I see his 10-second journey as also a symbol of 7+ years of the "War on Terror;" as an archetype that resounds throughout the history of humankind.
I think of other famous falling symbols: the rebellious fallen angel thrown out of heaven because he tempted humans "to sin or commit evil deeds," representing "a crisis of faith, individualism, free will, wisdom and enlightenment." I think of Icarus ,who flew too close to the sun and, with burnt wings, fell into the sea. I think of Virgil leading Dante through the circles of hell in The Divine Comedy. I think of The Fall by Albert Camus,about a "man's confessions that reveal his "perception of justice and his own downfall." I think of the painter, Georg Bacelich , and his stunning paintings of a falling man.
Barack Obama was elected as the "heroic" saviour. Stories of heroism can serve as moral examples. But Obama has a problem: his rhetoric is a contradiction of reality. Obama is a good lawyer, a good debater. Debaters are taught to be able to support both sides of a story equally well. Obama's double-speak statements reveal the military, political and "intelligence" schisms within the White House. The contradictory mood music coing out of Washington remind me of The Lyre Bird whose sweet callings are interspersed with chain saws and sirens.
The results are not encouraging. Defense contracts are numerous; surveillance is omnipresent; police state mentality and laws have infected Israel and the United Kingdom. Illegalities (torture, rendition, eg.) are not prosecuted and continue. Terrorism remains a focus of the a government rampant with Human Rights war crimes. The American jobless public, under a pall during the "War on Terror," have transfered their anger to rebelling against economic injustice. We all mourn "Paradise Lost". Until America's Augean Stables are cleansed and purified, the Falling Man will continue to fall.
The United States deployed two missile-interceptor ships from South Korea on Monday, a military spokesman said, days ahead of a North Korean rocket launch widely seen as a long-range missile test that violates U.N. sanctions. The launch presents the first significant challenge by the prickly state to U.S. President Barack Obama, who will discuss Pyongyang's intentions with global leaders including Chinese President Hu Jintao this week at the G20 summit in London.
The US military has aroused intense condemnation from the international community over its mistreatment and abuse of Iraqi prisoners some of whom incarcerated without any charges. In May 2004, leaked pictures of the notorious Abu-Ghraib prison scandal showed US military personnel in Baghdad subjecting Iraqi detainees to humiliating and degrading treatment, thus triggering an international outcry against the human rights violations. Abu-Ghraib prison is located on the western outskirts of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
An attack on a police training school near the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has left around 22 people killed and more than 50 others wounded. The incident took place early on Monday when gunmen in police uniform broke into Manawan police training school outside Lahore and attacked recruits with hand grenades and random gunfire, Press TV correspondent reported, adding 20 people have so far lost their lives in the attack. Following the incident, Pakistan's elite squad was called to the scene and the area was cordoned off by the police. The Guardian: Gunmen storm Pakistan police academy (Video). PressTV: Pakistani police arrest Lahore attackers. The Independent: Pakistani commandos end academy siege.
American influence in former Soviet countries could make or break Obama administration's new Afghan-Pakistan strategy. The road passes a shimmering green mountain pasture, then dips steeply to a new US-built bridge. Across the languid Panj river is Afghanistan and the dusty northern town of Kunduz. On this side is Tajikistan, Afghanistan's impoverished Central Asian neighbour.
Prepared behind the backs of the American people and with contempt for anti-war opinion expressed in the presidential election, Obama's plan calls for replicating in Afghanistan Bush's military "surge" in Iraq and launching military strikes at will in Pakistan. It confirms that Obama's candidacy was not a move towards peace, but the expression of a struggle inside the American ruling elite over the strategic priorities of US imperialism. Obama served as the front man for those who believed the Pentagon had focused too much attention on Iraq and that the main target of military violence should be Central Asia. Kenny's Sideshow: Obama on Afghanistan and Pakistan - Lies and Propaganda. Guerilla News: Obama's War: Has the "peace movement" become part of the war machine? AntiWar: Obama: Pakistan to Be Held ‘Much More Accountable’. WaPo: Obama Says He Is Sharpening "Focus" of War in Afghanistan.
[Al Jazeera.net] In this week's show we hear how Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of war crimes for it's unlawful use of white phosphorous. Mike Kirsch a town in the US where white phosphorous is manufactured and shows locals the true human cost of the weapon. Survivors of the war in Gaza take legal action and we meet a mother burnt by white phosphorous who tells her story. Part 2
Haaretz, on 17 March 2009, has an article by Bradley Burston, entitled THE RACIST ISRAELI FASCIST IN ME Burston refers to people who ask about the Israelis: "What is with these blights on the backside of humanity? A vast war machine pretending to be a tiny country, a mobilized citizenry sterilized of morality, drained of compassion, bereft of conscience, bestial in war, imperial in ambition, Goliathized in its marriage of high tech and high explosive; incorrigibly bigoted bullying simpletons, little more than racists who vote for racists, fascists who fall for fascists, an embarrassment to the West, an embarrassment to the Jews, an embarrassment, at root, to the progressive individual who asks the question."
Three Weeks in September is a forthcoming documentary film that deals with the deadly health effects, emotional issues, and financial burdens that are now plaguing tens of thousands of 9/11 First Responders.
In the days and weeks that followed the terrible events of September 11th, 2001, thousands of volunteers from across the United States descended upon Ground Zero to volunteer in the search of "The Pile". Reassured that the air quality was safe by both the Federal Government through statements issued by the EPA, and the Government of New York City, these brave men and women toiled night and day in the toxic fumes of the rubble. Now seven years later, most of them are sick, many of them are dying, and too many are already dead. To add insult to their injuries, many have found themselves having to fight for the medical treatments they now need to battle their afflictions. Amid a mass of bureaucratic red tape and corporate policy roadblocks, these forgotten heroes are living the 9/11 nightmare daily.
[WikiPedia:] Asbestos is known to have toxicity. The inhalation of toxic asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses, including malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis (also called pneumoconiosis). Since the mid 1980s, many uses of asbestos have been banned in several countries.
[WikiPedia:] The dust from the collapsed towers was "wildly toxic", according to air pollution expert and University of California Davis Professor Emeritus Thomas Cahill. The thousands of tons of toxic debris resulting from the collapse of the Twin Towers consisted of more than 2,500 contaminants, more specifically: 50% non-fibrous material and construction debris; 40% glass and other fibers; 9.2% cellulose; and 0.8% of the extremely toxic carcinogen asbestos, as well as detectable amounts of lead, and mercury.
[9-11 Research:] Towers' Destruction 'Solved' Asbestos Problem. The Twin Towers had large amounts of asbestos fireproofing which would have necessitated costly removal had they remained standing. The exact amount and distribution of the asbestos in the Towers remains unclear, like other details of the buildings' construction and history, but the evidence suggests that the cost of its removal may have rivaled the value of the buildings themselves.
The former vice-president fears being held to account on torture and is lashing out. The documents detailed horrifying CIA practices that the Red Cross unequivocally called torture – shoving prisoners in tiny, air-tight coffins, waterboarding, beatings, sleep deprivation, stress positions: all the techniques we have now come to know almost by heart. And torture is a war crime. War crimes have no statute of limitations and are among the most serious crimes of which one can be accused. This is what Cheney is desperate to avoid. It is unclear whether he will actually ever be prosecuted, but the facts of his record will wend their way inexorably into the sunlight. That means he could become a pariah.
Pervez Musharraf said on Sunday no outside party had any right to cross the border into Pakistan, adding serious notice must be taken of any such actions. Speaking to media at Islamabad airport before leaving for China on a 10-day visit, the former president rejected all allegations against the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), a private TV channel reported. “The ISI protects and projects Pakistan’s national interests,” he said. The whole nation should defend the ISI, he added.
Why you'll be paying for the occupation for years to come, withdrawal or not. With last week's announced escalation of the war in Afghanistan, including an Iraq-like "surge" replete with 4,000 more U.S. troops and a sizable increase in private contractors, President Barack Obama blew the lid off of any lingering perceptions that he somehow represents a significant change in how the U.S. conducts its foreign policy. In the meantime, more reports have emerged that bolster suspicions that Obama's Iraq policy is but a downsized version of Bush's and that a total withdrawal of U.S. forces is not on the horizon.
Palestinians and their supporters around the world are organizing protests, demonstrations, teach-ins and actions on Palestinian Land Day, which has also been declared the 'Global Day for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel'.
A legal battle being waged by Palestinian families to stop the takeover of their neighbourhood in East Jerusalem by Jewish settlers has received a major fillip from the recent souring of relations between Israel and Turkey.
The uncompromising verdict of Dr Mörner is that all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal scare story, writes Christopher Booker. If there is one scientist who knows more about sea levels than anyone else in the world it is the Swedish geologist and physicist Nils-Axel Mörner, formerly chairman of the INQUA International Commission on Sea Level Change. And the uncompromising verdict of Dr Mörner, who for 35 years has been using every known scientific method to study sea levels all over the globe, is that all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal scare story. Despite fluctuations down as well as up, "the sea is not rising," he says. "It hasn't risen in 50 years." If there is any rise this century it will "not be more than 10cm (four inches), with an uncertainty of plus or minus 10cm". And quite apart from examining the hard evidence, he says, the elementary laws of physics (latent heat needed to melt ice) tell us that the apocalypse conjured up by Al Gore and Co could not possibly come about.
Decision to cancel festival 'another devastating blow' for Spanish bullfighters. Spain's economic woes have bitten into the heart of the nation with one small town voting at the weekend to scrap its annual bullfighting festival to save public money. The festival in Manzanares El Real, north of Madrid, is held in August. Residents decided in a referendum that the four-fay fiesta would not feature bulls this year. Dedicated aficionados fighting to uphold their bullfighting traditions were furious. The town's vote is bound to have an impact on the nationwide debate about the ethics of bullfighting. As Spain's bullfight season shifts into top gear, anti-taurine campaigners and cash-strapped authorities are likely to question whether the huge sums spent annually on the "national fiesta" amount to wasteful extravagance during the economic crisis.
Massive Chinese computer espionage networkA mystery electronic spy network apparently based in China has infiltrated hundreds of computers around the world and stolen files and documents, Canadian researchers have revealed. The network, dubbed GhostNet, appears to target embassies, media groups, NGOs, international organisations, government foreign ministries and the offices of the Dalai Lama, leader of the Tibetan exile movement. The researchers, based at Toronto University's Munk Centre for International Studies, said their discovery had profound implications. uncovered. NYT: Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries.
Cohen, who paid a visit to Iran last month to report on the issue, asserted that Jews enjoy comfortable living conditions in Iran and are treated with healthy respect. He described rhetoric leveled at Iran as "inflammatory" and declared the country to be one of the most tolerant, democratic and sophisticated states in the Middle East. His articles unleashed a raging torrent of criticism from senior members of the American Jewish community -- many of whom accused the mainstream newspaper, and Cohen in particular, of exercising Nazi-style propaganda to encourage anti-Semitism.
A Spanish court has agreed to open a criminal case against six former Bush administration officials over allegations of supporting torture. Gonzalo Boye, a Madrid lawyer who filed the complaint, told the AP on Saturday that human rights lawyers brought the case before leading anti-terror judge Baltasar Garzon. Garzon who is famous for ordering the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998 has accepted the case and sent it to the prosecutor's office for review.
Repeat al Qaeda ad nauseum. Make sure 9/11 is mentioned repeatedly. More money and lives for the fraud of the 'War on Terror.' + Richard Holbrooke has been named as the special representative for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The People's Voice: Obama unveils new Afghan plan, sets goals (Comment).
In 1948, 750 000 Palestinians were expelled from their homeland. One hundred thousand of them fled to Lebanon. They live there now, in crowded refugee camps where disease runs rife. This documentary visits the camps. Survivors of Ariel Sharon’s Sabra and Shatilla camp massacre tell their story.
"But I find it awfully ironic that we got our first African-American President who wants to reinstate…slavery!"
The Give Act, HR1388: I shot this video before the bill was passed in Congress and the words "mandatory service" were removed -section 6104 of original bill : http://tinyurl.com/cpdv63.
However, I decided to post the video anyway as the fact that "mandatory" was in to begin with is a cause for concern! We must pay attention, that it is not re-introduced in another bill or by Senate. We must stay on our toes! By these statements made by Rahm Emanuel and Obama, we know mandatory service is on their minds. Red, Green & Blue: HR 1388 “GIVE” Act Could Force Mandatory Service Requirement on All Young Americans: Passed by the House of Representatives with a 321-105 margin, HR 1388: the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, dubbed the “GIVE” act, would require the US government to develop a plan to implement a “mandatory service requirement for all able young people”. Already males ages 18 through 25 living in the U.S. register with Selective Service to keep records in the event Congress and the President authorize a draft. What is the purpose of the service requirement under the GIVE act? The purpose of the GIVE act is to “To reauthorize and reform the national service laws”, specifically the National and Community Service Act of 1990. Global Turkey Republic News: H R 1388 The GIVE Act A return to fascism? (Video)
A Brazilian archbishop dropped a bombshell overnight when he said Catholics and gypsies had been more persecuted than Jews during World War II. "The Jews talk about six million people killed. But how many Catholics were victims of the Holocaust? They were 22 million in all,'' Archbishop Dadeus Grings, from Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, told advertising magazine Press & Advertising.
Lawyers for the (Palestinian) families were given access to Ottoman land registry archives in Ankara for the first time, providing what they say is proof that title deeds produced by the (Jewish) settlers are forged...Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire when the land transactions supposedly took place...
A vast electronic spying operation has infiltrated computers and has stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama, Canadian researchers have concluded. In a report to be issued this weekend, the researchers said that the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but that they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved.
It is not economic prosperity but peace that guarantees press freedom. That is the main lesson to be drawn from the world press freedom index that Reporters Without Borders compiles every year and from the 2008 edition. RWB: Only peace protects freedoms in post-9/11 world.
Until recently, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, often considered the “brains” of the department, has been known mostly to legal experts. But for the past eight years, it was the epicenter of allegations of political manipulation and, worse, the source of infamous memoranda on torture. In tapping Eric Holder as attorney general, President Obama has promised to restore standards of professionalism to the department. For Republicans, this is tantamount to a declaration of partisan war.
The Justice Department is feeling the heat as it continues the prosecution of former AIPAC staffers Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman. The two officials from the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) were in 2005 indicted for passing along secret US documents to Israel in violation of the 1917 Espionage Act.
This is the most important blog post I have ever made. I would be grateful if you could do everything in your power to disseminate a link to anyone you know who has the remotest interest in human rights - or should have. This blog will be silent for a few days now. Tucked away at Page 15 of its annual Human Rights report, the FCO has finally made a public admission of its use of intelligence from torture. Despite the Orwellian doublespeak about "unreserved condemnation of torture", this is the clearest statement the government has ever made that it, as a policy, employs intelligence from torture.
Torture Expose by Iraq member of Parliament. Mohammed Al-Daini reveals torture in Iraqi prisons. He is currently missing. [URUKNET]
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) contest figures presented by the Israeli Coordination and Liaison Authority for the Gaza Strip which claim that 1,370 Palestinians were killed in the course of Israel’s 23 day military offensive on the Gaza Strip. The Israeli Coordination Authority claim that 600 of the dead were combatants, and that 309 civilians were killed in the attack. They have yet to classify 320 Palestinians. PCHR regards this as a deliberately manipulative attempt to distort the reality of the offensive, and to disguise Israel’s illegal actions. Following extensive investigation and cross-checking, PCHR have determined that a total of 1,417 Palestinians died in the offensive. 926 were civilians, including 313 children and 116 women. 255 were non-combatant police officers. 236 combatants were killed, representing 16.7% of the total deaths.
An American activist who participated in a Palestinian solidarity demonstration is in serious condition Saturday after an Israeli soldier shot him in the face with a high-velocity tear gas canister. He underwent surgery early Saturday.
As Galloway's Canadian lawyers have argued, to claim that Galloway is a terrorist accomplice based on the fact that a small portion of the convoy's aid was given to the head of Gaza's democratically-elected Hamas government is an inference so outlandish and perverse that it clearly constitutes a governmental "abuse of power." It also constitutes a chilling attack on democratic rights: because it has been concocted with the aim of derailing Galloway's "Resisting war from Gaza to Kandahar" Canadian tour and preventing Canadians from hearing his criticisms of US, Canadian and Israeli government policy. The People's Voice: Canada becomes the first and only country in the world to ban British MP George Galloway.
The policy Obama announced represents a massive increase in military violence not only in Afghanistan, but also in Pakistan. Significantly, Obama devoted the first half of his remarks to Pakistan, signaling that a major conclusion of his administration's strategic review is to expand the war more aggressively beyond the borders of Afghanistan. This will mean the deaths of untold thousands Afghans and Pakistanis, the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars, and the deaths of thousands of US youth, sent to kill or be killed in a wider war in South and Central Asia. Daily Beast: The Holes in Obama's Afghanistan Plan.
So when a Shelby County Sheriff's deputy stopped him for an expired tag, he thought the officer would let him get his mother to Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett, less than a mile away. He even suggested the deputy follow him and write the ticket there. The deputy, whom the department has not identified, declined, according to Ables, and began checking Ables' license and insurance while calling an ambulance to take Vernice Ables from the scene. Meanwhile, the elderly woman's condition worsened. Her breathing became shallow, her body stiffened and her face slumped onto her walking stick. "She pretty much died in the back seat of my car," Ables said.
Warning that the situation is "increasingly perilous", US President Barack Obama unveils a new strategy to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda. In an address at the executive office building in Washington on Friday, Obama said he would use all elements in his power to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat" the insurgency in the war-ridden country. "Attacks against our troops, our NATO allies, and the Afghan government have risen steadily. Most painfully, 2008 was the deadliest year of the war for American forces," Obama said. He reminded the American people  that the US did not choose to invade Afghanistan but was forced to after the deadly 9/11 attacks carried out by al-Qaeda elements.
It is deeply disappointing that the Center for American Progress has issued a call for a 10-year war in Afghanistan. CAP takes no notice of the torture and detention without human rights protections at Kabul's Bagram prison, now undergoing massive expansion. Obama's team already says his anti-torture executive order does not cover the hundreds detained in Afghanistan, so it is likely that the American forces will launch a massive "preventive incarceration" campaign in the months ahead. CAP's silence on this matter is especially disturbing since the think tank expressed deep concern over the same policies in Iraq. AntiWar: Obama Plans Additional Afghan Escalation: In addition to the 17,000 troops President Obama has already committed to add to the war effort in Afghanistan, his new “comprehensive strategy” will reportedly include another 4,000 troops and hundreds of “civilian advisers,” bringing the US military presence in Afghanistan to nearly 60,000. The Guardian: Time running out on Afghanistan, US fears. + If this becomes Obama's war, it will poison his presidency.
Sudan says Israel has been 'most probably' behind two attacks on a truck convoy which killed up to 40 people in the country's north. "The first thought is that it was the Americans that did it. We contacted the Americans and they categorically denied [that] they were involved," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadig said on Friday. "We are still trying to verify [the American's claim]. Most probably it involved Israel," he added.
Japan's government has officially authorized the shooting down of North Korean rockets or their debris if they threaten Japan's security. "I issued the necessary order after the (government) security council this morning decided to issue a destruction order in advance," Defense Minister, Yasukazu Hamada, said after meeting Prime Minister, Taro Aso, and other key cabinet ministers on Friday. Daily Telegraph: US deploys warships as North Korea prepares to launch missile.
A study conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has cast doubt over Israel's survival beyond the next 20 years. The CIA report predicts "an inexorable movement away from a two-state to a one-state solution, as the most viable model based on democratic principles of full equality that sheds the looming specter of colonial Apartheid while allowing for the return of the 1947/1948 and 1967 refugees. The latter being the precondition for sustainable peace in the region." The study, which has been made available only to a certain number of individuals, further forecasts the return of all Palestinian refugees to the occupied territories, and the exodus of two million Israeli - who would move to the US in the next fifteen years.
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