Sunday, March 23, 2008

Words of Qaid-i-Azzam remembered on Pakistan's National Holiday

From All Things Pakistan

Today is 23rd March, 2008. On this date in 1940 the historic Lahore Resolution (Later Pakistan Resolution) was passed. This year I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my favorite photographs from 1940's and also very very relevant speeches of founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

[ ... ]

Speech by Mohammad Ali Jinnah on Criminal Law Emergency Power Bills before the Imperial Legislative Council (February 6, 1919):

No man should lose his liberty or be deprived of his liberty without a judicial trial in accordance with the accepted rules of evidence and procedure… the powers which are going to be assumed by the executive, which means substitution of executive for judiciary, such powers are likely to be abused, and in the past we have instances where such powers have been abused… there is no precedent or parallel that I know of in any civilized country where you have laws of this character enacted… it imperils the liberty of the subject and fundamental liberties of a citizen.

Critiquing the critics of the Israel Lobby

From Ignorance cannot be realistic: A Critique of the Mearsheimer-Walt Hypothesis

Whether or not one believes the Iraq War was a wise or necessary action, any serious analyst must acknowledge that the administration acted on the basis of perceived U.S. interests. There is no serious evidence that this was done either at Israel's behest or for its benefit. In fact, as Walt and Mearsheimer have since admitted, Israel was unenthusiastic at best about the idea of invading Iraq, partly out of a belief that such an offensive would seriously damage Israel's main priority, deterring Iran. Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, disclosed that the "Israelis were telling us Iraq is not the enemy--Iran is the enemy," adding that warnings against the invasion were "pervasive" in Israel's communications with the administration.

Musical Innerlube: Peter Frampton - 'Black Hole Sun'

Ursula K LeGuin on Anarchism, Writing

via Smygo :

As part of my investigation of the intersection of anarchism and fiction, I conducted an interview with Ursula K LeGuin, the author of The Dispossessed and The Left Hand of Darkness among many other sci-fi anarchist/feminist classics. This interview will be included in an upcoming book/zine from Strangers In A Tangled Wilderness.

SiTW: One of the things that I'm quite curious to explore is the role of the radical as an author of fiction. What do you feel like you've accomplished, on a social/political level, with your writing? Do you have any specific examples of change that you've helped initiate?

Ursula: I may agree with Shelley that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, but he didn't mean they really get many laws enacted, and I guess I didn't ever really look for definable, practical results of anything I wrote. My utopias are not blueprints. In fact, I distrust utopias that pretend to be blueprints. Fiction is not a good medium for preaching or for planning. It is really good, though, for what we used to call conscious-raising.

Within my field of work—imaginative fiction—I think I have had an appreciable effect on the representation of gender and of "race," specifically skin color. When I came into the field, the POV was totally male-centric and everybody was white. At first I wrote that way too. In science fiction, I joined the feminist movement when it reawoke in the late Sixties, early Seventies, and we did away with the squeaking Barbies and began to write actual women characters. In fantasy, my heroes were colored people when, as far as I know, nobody else's were. (And yet I still fight, every single fantasy jacket-cover, to get them represented as nonwhite).

~ more... ~

Mozart - Lacrimosa

NSA's ad-hoc collection of surveillance "black programs" evades scrutiny

Largely missing from the public discussion is the role of the highly secretive NSA in analyzing that data, collected through little-known arrangements that can blur the lines between domestic and foreign intelligence gathering. Supporters say the NSA is serving as a key bulwark against foreign terrorists and that it would be reckless to constrain the agency's mission. The NSA says it is scrupulously following all applicable laws and that it keeps Congress fully informed of its activities.

According to current and former intelligence officials, the spy agency now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic emails and Internet searches as well as bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel and telephone records. The NSA receives this so-called "transactional" data from other agencies or private companies, and its sophisticated software programs analyze the various transactions for suspicious patterns. Then they spit out leads to be explored by counterterrorism programs across the U.S. government, such as the NSA's own Terrorist Surveillance Program, formed to intercept phone calls and emails between the U.S. and overseas without a judge's approval when a link to al Qaeda is suspected.

The NSA's enterprise involves a cluster of powerful intelligence-gathering programs, all of which sparked civil-liberties complaints when they came to light. They include a Federal Bureau of Investigation program to track telecommunications data once known as Carnivore, now called the Digital Collection System, and a U.S. arrangement with the world's main international banking clearinghouse to track money movements.

The effort also ties into data from an ad-hoc collection of so-called "black programs" whose existence is undisclosed, the current and former officials say. Many of the programs in various agencies began years before the 9/11 attacks but have since been given greater reach. Among them, current and former intelligence officials say, is a longstanding Treasury Department program to collect individual financial data including wire transfers and credit-card transactions.

It isn't clear how many of the different kinds of data are combined and analyzed together in one database by the NSA. An intelligence official said the agency's work links to about a dozen antiterror programs in all.

A number of NSA employees have expressed concerns that the agency may be overstepping its authority by veering into domestic surveillance. And the constitutional question of whether the government can examine such a large array of information without violating an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy "has never really been resolved," said Suzanne Spaulding, a national-security lawyer who has worked for both parties on Capitol Hill.

~ from NSA's Domestic Spying Grows As Agency Sweeps Up Data ~

Air Force Wants to Counter Sat-Killers, ASAP

It's all the rage for superpowers to shoot down satellites.  So the U.S. Air Force is planning to field a capability to counter an anti-satellite weapon by 2011, reports Aviation Week & Space Technology. The basis of the system, according to the article, is the "Rapid Attack Identification Detection Reporting System (Raidrs) Block 20."

[ ... ]

Block 20, as Aviation Week notes, is the only acknowledged counter-ASAT system (the implication being there could well be other programs tucked away in the black budget).

~ link ~

Navy contingent pushing for UFO disclosure

According to sources leaking information to UFO/ET researchers as to a secret UN UFO meeting recently there exists a United States Navy working group that is secretly pushing for full and open disclosure of extraterrestrial reality. This group sees "… a logistical "window of opportunity" to end over 60 years of denial during this "lame duck" period (of the Bush Administration) and before the next administration takes office; this helps to facilitate disclosure at this time in order to put overt contact at the forefront of future plans."

One of the ways that this group hopes to effect disclosure is through calculated leaks of UFO/ET related information to the public. The question now is if the Navy takes the lead will the Air Force, Army and Marines follow? (For some history on this U.S. Navy UFO working group go to the following site and scroll down to the discussion of this in this article on the Black Budget. )

Clearly as far as the war in the Middle East is concerned many in the armed services are becoming fed up being used by the civilian leadership to support global entrenched economic and political interests against the best interest of the American people. Some of this realization and dissatisfaction with being manipulated and used by the global elite seems to be spilling over into other areas like the cover up of extraterrestrial reality.

~ from Where the Navy Leads Will the Air Force Follow? ~

It's the war economy, stupid

From Columbia Missourian :

A January 2008 report by the National Priorities Project indicates that the U.S., to date, has spent $495 billion on the War in Iraq. According to political scientist Chalmers Johnson, “The military adventurers of the Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups of men thought that they were the 'smartest guys in room'... (However), the neoconservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination.”

When George W. Bush assumed the presidency in January 2001, the national debt was approximately $5.7 trillion. Today that debt exceeds $9 trillion. If one assumes a 5 percent interest rate for future payments, the Bush debt will require the government to pay its creditors, including the Japanese and Chinese, some $200 billion a year indefinitely, even before any of the nation's pressing health, education, employment and infrastructure problems are addressed. The Bush administration's record is, to say the least, hypocritical given the Republican mantra that Democrats are “tax and spend liberals,” while its own policy of “ borrow and spend” has dug the country's economy into a seemingly endless morass.

'What Congress and the public don't know is hurting them'

Several enormous spying programs started before and after the 9/11 attacks, once partially disclosed, were so controversial that Congress intervened to put a halt to them. But they didn't stop operations. Like rogue companies that go out of business only to come back under different names, or under no name at all.

The FBI's "Carnivore" system, approved during the Clinton administration, is designed to tap e-mail and cell-phone links -- what numbers and e-mail addresses are calling each other, what's in the subject-line of e-mails, time stamps, lengths of communications. Negative press reports compelled the FBI to change the name but not the program, to something blandly called the "Digital Collection System," until the agency dropped the system in 2005 in favor of another secret spying system. The same thing happened to the ominously called "Total Information Awareness" program started by a Pentagon agency in 2002. That program was designed to sift through as much data as possible on any given individual from as many sources as possible. Congress stopped funding the program in 2003 -- but not really. The program was adopted by the National Security Agency. It's now paid for from a "black budget," the secret funding of intelligence activities that gets minimal congressional scrutiny.

~ from Underworld of Carnivores ~

An utterly ridiculous definition of fascism

The chief "rival identity", of course, is that of conservatism, and Goldberg, a noisy conservative pundit, has as his stated agenda the need "to dismantle the granite-like assumption in our political culture that American conservatism is an offshoot or cousin of fascism." He makes it abundantly clear that when some dopey lefty calls George W. Bush (or, for that matter, Jonah Goldberg) a fascist it really grates his cheese, and so he has set out to even the libellous score. He has taken it upon himself to make the case that fascism really has its antecedents on the left - that the American Progressive movement "was a sister movement of fascism." He shows that many American progressives in the 1920s, and even into the 1930s, expressed admiration for aspects of Italian or German society - Lincoln Steffens, or Rexford G Tugwell. (He also makes it clear with 32 citations of the New Republic that he considers it something like the historic house organ of liberal fascism.)

Goldberg proceeds to trace the development of liberal fascism from Woodrow Wilson - Goldberg states outright (he likes outing thoughts in their wildest form) that Wilson was "the twentieth century's first fascist dictator" - to Roosevelt to Kennedy to Johnson to SDS to Hollywood, culminating, natch, in Hillary Clinton's secret plan (very secret, for most of us) to have children removed from their families and reared by the state. Whatever their intentions, each and every one of the aforementioned liberal figures is nothing more than a victim of "the totalitarian temptation: the belief that there is a priesthood of experts capable of redesigning society in a 'progressive' manner".

Goldberg clearly means to shock us with these truffles that he has dug out of the woeful soil of the twentieth century. But very little of the story he tells is news to students of history. We had already heard that Steffens said of the Soviet Union, "I have been over into the future, and it works," so it is not exactly a shock to read that he had kind words for a similarly regimented society. We similarly understand that the Wilson administration did indeed shut down The Masses and fan racism and xenophobia and round up radicals, and no liberal today thinks of these moves as things to be proud of or to duplicate. We are also acutely aware that some New Dealers were fans of the totalitarian Soviet Union. Roosevelt's second vice-president was one such, and he kicked Henry Wallace off the ticket in 1944 for just that reason. Since Roosevelt did not manage to keep Wallace's expulsion out of the papers, it is not exactly a secret.

We have also recognised, since at least the 1950s and in some prescient instances even earlier, that certain consanguinities between the far left and the far right did exist in those days, and that the Nazi programme was in some respects a left-wing programme, appealing on a class basis - and, always, a racial basis - to German workers and the petit bourgeoisie. It was not called National Socialism for nothing. Goldberg goes into great detail on all this in his chapter titled - are you sitting down? - "Adolf Hitler: Man of the Left".

~ from Jackboots and Whole Foods ~

Dwindling numbers at traditional German peace marches this Easter

Hundreds of peace activists gathered in major centres in Germany Saturday to participate in traditional Easter marches against war, with the focus this year on Iraq and Afghanistan. Some 70 events were taking place across the country between Good Friday and Easter Monday, with the main marches on Saturday and Monday. This year, the demonstrators could be counted in dozens, rather than the hundreds of thousands seen at the highpoint of the peace movement. Some 250 participated at the start of a three-day march in the Ruhr region from Duisburg to Dortmund.

~ more... ~

"The True Story of the Bilderberg Group" undergoes fact check by publisher

“Regularly, what is discussed there, within a short period of time, 'miraculously' becomes a reality,” Millegan wrote in an announcement of a free appearance by Estulin this Saturday at Eugene's Tsunami Books.

TrineDay published the American version of Estulin's European best-selling expose, Millegan said, because decisions made at the elite gatherings “hugely affects the lives of Americans, yet these hidden conclaves are held with no press reports, even though media owners and high-level working press attend.”

Now in it's third printing, the U.S. version of “Bilderberg Group” is already TrineDay's most financially successful title, having sold more than 30,000 copies to date, Millegan said.

After Estulin's Eugene appearance, Millegan will accompany him to Hollywood where they will jointly announce a related movie deal.

In the book, first published in Spain in 2005, Estulin contends that an elite international group — which purportedly includes Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, the king of Spain, presidents of the world's largest corporations and financial organizations, and others — authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq at their 2002 meeting in Virginia.

He said the group is now discussing plans for a North American Union, to include the United States, Canada and Mexico, yet operates in virtual secrecy.

As for fact-checking a book that relies in part on anonymous sources, Millegan said he felt somewhat comfortable publishing the U.S. version because it had already sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide in 30 languages.

“A book doesn't sell a million and a half copies unless readers find a substance there that they want to share with other people,” he said, adding that Estulin predicted both oil hitting $100 barrel and this year's mortgage crisis based on his Bilderberg group reporting.

~ from Local publisher faces challenges verifying latest nonfiction book ~

'Telling the good guys from the bad guys'

History repeats itself. During World War Two, Germany's professional military such the Luftwaffa operated many remarkably humane POW camps obeying the Genva Conventions. American pilots in Luftwaffe custody did not have to fear systematic torture. However, Hitler's Nazi Brown Shirts and Gestapo operated under a different secret set of rules and employed many forms of torture. Although Germany had many officers who who did not commit crimes against humanity, it is most remembered for all those who did torture and murder. 

~ from Bush Vetoes Anti-Torture Legislation ~

'the devil has you all so convinced he doesn't exist'

yes, some rastas believe the illuminati exists... that there is a global
conspiracy to invoke a new world order. and while you might not hear
anything about the trilateral commision or the bilderbergers coming out of
their mouths, you know where they're going with this. of course this sounds
a bit odd or absurd; and perhaps i've read too much robert anton wilson, or
not enough; but how far off is this myth really? perhaps the wicked priests
have gotten so good at their magick that they don't even need to hide out at
masonic temples anymore-they take over seattle, davos, genoa, new york, for
their world economic forums and world trade organization conferences.

the devil has you all so convinced he doesn't exist, you welcome his minions
to your cities' finiest halls to sit behind darkened boardroom tables and
plot "innocent" world domination, all under the pretense of a "stronger
economy" and "increased prosperity."

worse yet, all the cultural elements and customary effects that are a
natural and fundamental part of the human experience have been stolen,
commodified, mass manufactured by foreign child labor, repackaged, shipped,
stocked, shelved, and sold back to you taxed, where at the counter you use
your high-interest rate credit card which records your shopping habits for
later sale to marketing agencies. and for every brick in that pyramid, every
concrete block blotting the sun from the sky, strangling our mothership
earth-you could've made the thing yourself or done without it. arts, crafts,
music, toys, games, clothes, food, inebriants... convenience is a dangerous
friend. and now there are a lot of people tangled up in this mess.

~ from travels of the zion froptic ~

Damn Near Seven Years of Failure: The Phoenix Anti-War Movement and the Ritual Cult of Defeat

By Phoenix Insurgent

In the process of getting ready to write something new about the anti-war movement here in Phoenix, I re-read my past writings on the topic. Looking them over, I realized, why bother? Nothing has changed. Ritual and ineffectiveness still dominate the movement, as do activists who need the war to justify their management of others (to get votes, to build organizations or just to massage their own egos). A fear of shaking things up and a conservative attitude towards tactics prevails.

Failure, rather than success, has become the benchmark for the movement. To continue losing, to continue to stand impotent before the forces of the elite war machine, has in fact become a sort of measure of success in its own right. We're still here, and we're still against the war, seems to be the message, ignoring the fact that as long as that's true, the war must also still churn mercilessly on, devouring both American and Iraqi alike (although one in substantially greater proportion than the other). After all, you can't be against a war once it's over.

Heavy on symbol and low on substance, the movement in Phoenix has become a candle-holding caricature of itself, at war with imagination and as a result completely unable to conceive of any action other than to repeat its own failed mistakes of the past. Nearly seven bloody years of war have passed and still the local liberal anti-war movement has yet to claim anything remotely approaching a victory, having instead allowed itself to be diverted into dead ends like electoralism, petitioning and moral witness.

Literally, the movement here has engaged in the exact same protest almost since the day American bombs started pummeling Iraq: show up at Senator McCain's office, hold some signs and deliver a petition. The movement's success is judged in terms of honking horns rather than concrete results. Initially, there were street protests and some enthusiastic energy, but those days are long gone. The vampires of the liberal left have sucked all the blood from the movement, leaving behind a lifeless, mindless corpse incapable of creative action.

~ read on... ~

German anti-globalization activist refused entry to Japan

Japan's immigration authorities have denied a German anti- globalization activist entry to Japan at a port in Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido, where security checks have been tightened ahead of July's Group of Eight summit, his supporters said Friday.

Martin Kraemer, 37, left a port in Russia aboard a freighter March 7 and arrived at Otaru port, some 30 kilometers west of Hokkaido's capital Sapporo, on Monday.

Kraemer was scheduled to attend an anti-summit rally in Sapporo on Saturday, they said.

The Japanese Justice Ministry's Sapporo Regional Immigration Bureau has refused to confirm the incident, saying that it does not comment on specific cases.

~ more... ~

One Foot in the Grave: Iran Attack Nearer, More Likely Than Most Suspect

A very important, very disturbing -- and almost entirely overlooked -- piece appeared on Juan Cole's Informed Comment site this week. It was a guest column by William R. Polk, laying out, in copious and convincing detail, the evidence indicating that the United States will indeed launch a military strike against Iran, most probably before George W. Bush leaves office.

However, even if Bush does hold off for some reason, the processes that Polk describes will almost certainly lead the next president into war with Iran, especially as the three remaining major candidates have forcefully pledged to keep "all options, and I mean, all options on the table" (Polk quotes Barack Obama's bellicose formulation). And none of them are likely to have the political courage that Polk rightly says would be necessary to climb down from the highly aggressive posture that both parties have adopted toward Iran.

~ read on... ~

Lovelock: Paris A Desert, China 'Uninhabitable' By 2040

“Lovelock believes it is too late to repair the damage. Government targets are 'futile,'” Sands wrote. “Britain contributes such a tiny amount of emissions compared with countries such as China that our self-regulatory measures are pathetic.”

“Everyone could burn coal all day and drive around in 4x4s and it would not make a scrap of difference,” Lovelock said to The Daily Mail.

According to Lovelock, several scenarios will play out by the time the magical year 2040 arrives. The Chinese will inhabit Africa, the Russians will migrate to Siberia and Americans will move into Canada. He told The Daily Mail he believes “white Americans” will adapt easily to these Armageddon circumstances.

“White Americans are descended from those who had the guts to cross on rough old ships and find a new life,” Lovelock said. “They have the right spirit of can-do.”

The British Isles will survive this pending doom because Lovelock estimates the Gulf Stream that has kept Britain warm for hundreds of years will end and counteract the rise in global temperature. Unfortunately, the rest of Europe won't be as fortunate.

“By 2040, parts of the Sahara desert will have moved into middle Europe,” Lovelock said. “We are talking about Paris. As far north as Berlin. In Britain we will escape because of our oceanic position.”

~ more... ~


Asia Times: Save the market from market forces

Neo-liberalism is slowly fading away - that is, if we define neo-liberalism as an ideology that steadily wants to reduce and belittle the role of government and promote ever freer markets.

While almost everybody nowadays recognizes the market as an interesting instrument, dogmatic market fundamentalism is on the way out. If you want to prevent big trouble, there is really no alternative but that it should be so.

~ read on... ~


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