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Journal of a Futurist - 30 September 2005
Washington, Warporn and Wild Wild Weather

Richard Neville

September 30, 2005

It wasn’t only the way he spoke or what he said that betokened an inner crisis for George W Bush, it was the befuddlement that dulled his eyes. Everything he held dear was falling apart. The most powerful man in the world was telling his people to limit the use of their cars. Even as he mouthed the words, Bush looked like he wanted to eat them. At Brazil’s environmental summit in '92, his father had famously issued a stern warning to Earth: "The American way of life is not negotiable", and now the White House was waving the white flag.

It was not the option he favoured. You can imagine the scenes at the Oval Office, the President in a flight suit pounding the table: "Let’s declare a war on the weather!"

Who dared to tell him? "You already have!" From his first days as President, Bush and his friends at Big Oil had doctored the data on Global Warming, cut funds for climate mitigation and bribed journalists to fling mud at environmentalists. So successful was this strategy, that it was adapted to pump up support for the conquest of Iraq – spread lies, embed the media, fling mud. Securing the oil was part of the plan.


Now that the chickens have come home to roost, what do the chicken hawks do? While over a 100,000 peace protesters converged on the White House last weekend, the chicken-hawk-in-chief took flight. "I don't want to get in the way of relief efforts", he said, as he proceeded to get in the way. Among images of Rita flashing onscreen, was one of a battered oil plant emblazoned with the slogan: "EXXON, fuelling America’s dreams". Exactly. The dream that oil will last forever, that our lifestyle is not negotiable, that the killing over a 100,000 Iraqis is worth it, that God’s on our side.

The dazed look on the face of Bush is that of someone who has woken from a wonderful dream to find himself in a prison, a prison of his own construction. It turns out that climate change is not a figment of green paranoia, but a wrecker of oil rigs, communities and Presidential repute. Instead of boosting the flow of oil from Iraq, his illegal invasion has slashed the country’s output by three quarters of a million barrels a day. Instead of a hero, he is a scoundrel.

And that’s not all. Something more important than the supply of oil has been diminished by his actions in Iraq. And by the echoing actions of Australian Prime Minister, John Howard. Dare I say it? Perhaps you’re thinking, "reputation", but this is about something even more vital than Brand America, also in a tailspin. We’re talking about a nation’s soul.

Not that of its citizens, who possess soul and spirit in abundance, but of its public persona, its governing ethos, its aura.


A similar decline is happening in Australian, unaccompanied by robust dissent, so this is not a sneer from higher ground. Our politicians compete with each other to peel away civil rights. In lieu of a terrorist attack, we suffer panic attacks. A Ghandi inspired American peace activist was locked up by our secret police and deported, with barely a blip of protest.

In Iraq, the collapse of honour and moral courage is blatant. Human Rights Watch reports that soldiers in the US Army's elite 82nd Airborne Division systematically tortured Iraqi detainees for a whole year, breaking limbs with metal baseball bats and dousing eyes with chemicals.This is on top of depriving prisoners of sleep, food and water, subjecting them to extreme heat and cold, stacking prisoners in human pyramids and kicking them in the face. Officers often instructed the soldiers to "smoke" detainees, meaning to abuse them until they lost consciousness. The motive was not always to gain "intelligence", according to a sergeant, it was "a sport".

Drawing on similar reports of systemic brutality, most of the victims had probably committed no crime, unlike most of the troops of the 82nd Airborne Division, who turned up in New Orleans and again behaved like thugs. One of its soldiers warned media reps that if they took pictures or wrote about the body recovery process, their press credentials would be shredded and they would be "kicked out of the state", an improvement on being kicked in the face.


This week at the American University in Washington, Mr Viges, who also served with the 82nd Airborne Division, offered an "extraordinary insight" into the dehumanising impact of war. Viges revealed that indiscriminate fire from US troops is likely to have killed an untold number of Iraqi civilians and that he was still haunted by the memories: "I had days that I don't want to remember". His battalion was ordered to open fire on all taxis in the city of Samawa because it was believed they "might be" transporting Iraqi forces. Of course no soldier will be charged. Medals will glitter on chests.

"Found in the car" - dirty work at the crossroads?

The Australian military consorts with this torture regime, but our own Government denies culpability and blocks media access to files and possible witnesses. We are good people, remember, the Others are evil. And let’s not ask why two British "undercover soldiers" were driving a car in Basra that reportedly contained wigs, Arabic headgear, explosives and detonators. (For more info, see HOTLINKS - on the right)


A new generation is learning that fellow humans who are under suspicion, despite being citizens of a country the Coalition is supposedly "liberating", can be brutalized at will, even exterminated, with absolute impunity, both moral and legal. The stench of this degradation is starting to percolate the homeland. Soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan have long been taking snaps of the enemy dead, many of them "horribly mutilated or blown to pieces", and sending them to a web site. In exchange for permission to post these images, the soldiers get free access to porn. While the death images are vomitous, it is not their display that curdles the blood. In fact, I believe the exclusion of such images from the mass media advances the cause of the warmongers. It shields the public from the horrors of what’s been unleashed in their name. No, what is truly terrifying, is the attitude of these soldiers towards the people they’ve killed.

A picture of a victim lying in a pool of his own brains and entrails is captioned, "What every Iraqi should look like." A corpse whose jaw has rotted away, is mocked with the phrase, "bad day for this dude."
A group of young Marines in fatigues laugh and smile for the camera while pointing at a burned, charcoal-black body: "cooked Iraqi". And so on. To be fair, the website warns, "if you have a problem with dead terrorists please don't look here". But what if we have a problem with deadened soldiers?

  1. Bring the troops back home.

  2. Treat their incipient psychopathology.

  3. Hold to account those at the top whose defiance of the UN is responsible for the bloodbath.


"What people fail to realise is that we do not need to erode civil liberties to prevent terrorism. We simply need an ethical and just foreign policy". Letter on BBC website.


In a dispatch posted at 11:35am Mecca time Friday morning, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that a short while earlier a US fighter plane had bombed a two-story house owned by a local resident in the middle of al-Qa’im, a city in western Iraq near the Syrian border.

The al-Qa’im correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported witnesses as saying that seven people – a man, his wife, two girls, and two elderly women – were killed in the American air attack.

The correspondent reported that the Director of the Emergency Ward of the city hospital told the press that all the seven family members died instantly in the attack and that the body of one woman, aged 80 according to neighbors, was still under the rubble. Rescue teams were working on its recovery. At the time of reporting, US forces had made no comment on their attack.


Published: September 10, 2005 Author: Mafkarat al-Islam, Mohammed Abu Nasr translation


"The British and American bomber pilots came, unopposed, safe and cosy in their state-of-the-art aircraft, pressing buttons to drop bombs, to kill and maim," Mr Mahathir said. "And these murderers, for that is what they are, would go back to celebrate 'Mission Accomplished'.

"Who are the terrorists? The people below who were bombed, or the bombers? Whose rights have been snatched away? - Malaysia's former leader, Mahathir Mohamad, Sept 9/05.



In the last three months, nearly 300 asylum seekers "detained" in camps by Australian immigration officials have tried to harm themselves. The head of the department, Amanda Vanstone, was last seen in a Bush-like photo-op extravaganza, tearing down the razor wire erected by her demonic forebear. Amanda was less visible a few days later, when the razor wire was replaced with an electric fence. This week a robotic doll is to be launched by J. Shackelford & Associates, who will greet her first owner with the words, "We're going to have the best time together". This hot new toy is marketed under the name, Amazing Amanda, $99.

Unlike the real-life Amanda, robo-doll will listen and show emotion. Some analysts who have played with her, say Amanda represents an evolutionary leap from earlier talking models, like Crazy Germaine of the 1960's, a doll that cycled through a collection of bizarre speeches when a child pulled a cord in its back.

Smarter Than Your Daughter

Radio frequency tags in Amanda's accessories - including toy food, potty and clothing - wirelessly keep the doll informed. For instance, if Amanda asks for a bucket full of peas, potatoes, pork chops and lashings of ice cream and is fobbed off with a plastic cookie, she will have her owner deported to Uzbekistan.

Its inventor, Ms. Shackelford, is trying a new frontier with Amazing Amanda, convinced that it will stoke a girl's imagination, not take its place.The pre-release model of Amazing Amanda, once it was activated (by flipping the toy's only visible switch hidden high on its back and beneath its clothing), woke with a yawn, slowly opened its eyes and started asking questions in a cutesy, almost cartoonlike girl's voice.

What the doll is actually doing, Ms. Shackelford said, is "voice printing" the primary user's voice pattern. By asking a child to repeat "Amanda" several times, the doll quickly comes to recognize and store in its electronic memory that child's voice, and only that child's voice, as its "mommy." Other voices are greeted with Amanda's cautionary proclamation, "You don't sound like Mommy", and unless she is satisfied, Amanda can dial up the immigration police.

The doll is equipped for almost an hour of speech that includes misleading responses, policy statements, and the hymns of Hillsong. And as Amanda speaks, the doll's soft-plastic lips move and its face, using Disney-like animatronics, help to suggest expressions of compassion.

Some 150 pages of logic are programmed into Amanda so she can assist the children of refugees to spy on their parents and keep lists of foreign peace activists.

"The idea that a child can be led is so important to me," notes her creator, "Amanda’s sophisticated surveillance technologies must be invisible". Ms. Shackelford, who says she is in her mid-60's, wears sensible shoes and has no children of her own, explains, "You have a baby doll that is supposed to make a little girl feel like the doll loves her. Girls tell dolls all the time that they love them."This doll," Ms. Shackelford said, "acts like she loves you." She laughs. "But it’s just an act!".

:: Article nr. 16294 sent on 30-sep-2005 16:19 ECT


Link: www.richardneville.com/

:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

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