September 30, 2005
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.
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
FUELLING TOMORROW’S NIGHTMARES
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.
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.
VIRTUE, TRANSPARENCY, THE LONG VIEW – FAREWELL!
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.
MEDALS, BRASS BANDS,
PATS ON THE BACK
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?
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)
PATRIOTISM AND NECROPHILIA ON PORNO PLANET
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.
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."
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
POST SCRIPT: FRAGMENTS, NOTES, QUOTES, OFFCUTS
- Bring the troops back home.
- Treat their incipient psychopathology.
- Hold to account those at the top whose defiance of the UN is responsible for the bloodbath.
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.
US WARPLANE BOMBS HOME, KILLING A FAMILY OF SEVEN
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.
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.
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
HE IS NO GREAT CIVIL LIBERTARIAN HIMSELF, BUT …
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'.
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.
THE AMAZING AMANDA
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
"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!".