Saturday, June 18, 2005

Your War

We Are All Complicit
But What Can We Do About It?

Robert Fisk
June 18, 2005
Independent (UK)

We are all complicit in these vile acts of torture - but what can we do about it? If our government uses information drained out of these creatures, it is we who are holding the whips.
I still have my notes from a man who knew all about torture, a Druze friend in the 1980s, during the Lebanese war, pleased with himself because he'd just caught two Christian militiamen trying to plant a car bomb on the Beirut seafront. "I saw two Phalangists over there. I knew who they were. They had a bomb in their car. I called the PSP [Walid Jumblatt's Progressive Socialist Party] and they took them off for questioning." What happened to them? "Well, they knew what would happen to them; they knew there was no hope. They were questioned here for a couple of days and then they were taken up to Beit Eddin."

Ah, Beit Eddin, one of the prettiest villages in Lebanon, the palace of the Emir Bashir the Second, site now of one of the country's finest music festivals - run by Jumblatt's glamorous wife Nora. But Beit Eddin was different in the 1980s. "The guys are always told that they are going to die, that there's no point in suffering - because they are going to be killed when they've talked," my Druze friend told me. "There's a center. They don't survive. There are people there who just press them until they talk. They put things into a man's anus until he screams. Boiling eggs, that sort of thing. They kill them in the end. It's only a few days and it's all over. I don't really like that sort of thing. I really don't. But what can I do?"

It's a good question again now. What can we do? What can we do when an American president dispatches "suspects" to third countries where they will be stripped, wired up, electrocuted, ripped open and tortured until they wish they had never been born? What can we do with a prime minister - ours - who believes that information from torture victims may be of use to us and may be collected by us? How can we clean our hands when we know that men are being subject to "rendition" through our own airports? Doesn't a policeman have the right to go aboard these CIA contract jets that touch down in Britain and take a look at the victim inside and - if he believes the man may be tortured - take him off the plane?

I started thinking about this more seriously in the beautiful little town of Listowel in Co Kerry - not far, by chance, from Shannon airport - where I went to give a talk at the recent writers' festival. I was handed a flyer by a bearded man in the audience. "Who was on board the CIA-chartered plane Reg No N313P that landed in Shannon on 15 December 2003 en route from Iraq?" it asks.

Now, a little fact-checking suggests that the Tralee anti-war group got the details right. And planes have also gone in the other direction - to Uzbekistan and Egypt and other countries where Geneva Conventions - already disregarded by the lads and lassies in charge of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib - are used as lavatory paper. In Uzbekistan, they boil "suspects" in fat. They take out their nails. In Egypt, they whip prisoners and sometimes sodomize them. In one Egyptian prison complex a local human rights group found that guards forced prisoners to rape each other. But no friendly Garda walks up to find out who's aboard at Shannon. The Irish government will not investigate these sinister flights. Outside, Irish eyes may be smiling. But they won't be allowed a peek into these revolting aircraft.

It's not difficult to trace our journey to this perdition. First, we had Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara, who in November 2003 was ranting away at a joint press conference with George Bush, that "in the face of this terrorism, there must be no holding back, no compromise, no hesitation in confronting this menace". No holding back? In tandem with this drivel, we had writers such as David Brooks at the New York Times perniciously asking readers what would happen to "the national mood" when "the news programs start broadcasting images of brutal measures our own troops will (sic) have to adopt... The president will have to remind us that we live in a fallen world, that we have to take morally hazardous action..." Indeed.

Already there's an infamous case in Canada of a Syrian-born Canadian citizen who was transiting the United States, who was arrested and put on a plane to Damascus where he was duly tortured until the Syrians decided he had nothing to tell them. Then he came back to Canada - only to find that the Canadian authorities might have tipped off the US spooks that he was a wanted man. Now I'm quite an expert on Syrian torture. A beating is about the best you can expect. But there exists in one of their "mukhabarat" basements an instrument known as the German chair, installed long ago by the now defunct German Democratic Republic. The victim is strapped down and the back then moves inwards until the prisoner's spine is snapped. A home-made version - the Syrian chair - was nastier. It broke prisoners' backs more slowly.

And as we all know - and Saddam's torture boys were also experts at this - prisoners' families can be brought to prisons to be beaten, raped and sodomized if the inmate still refuses to talk. With all this are we now complicit. As long as we send men off to this physical hell, we have the electrodes in our hands; we are the torturers. As long as our government accepts information drained out of these emasculated creatures, it is we who are pulling out the fingernails; it is we who are holding the whips.

Mind you, our American friends are already, it seems, dab hands at smearing prisoners with excrement and beating them and - given the evidence I've heard from a prisoner who was at Bagram in Afghanistan - sticking brooms up men's anuses, and, of course, just killing them. Thirty prisoners have now died in US custody. I don't believe in the few bad apples line. It's happened on far too great a scale. And how do we excuse all this filth? How do we excuse ourselves for this immorality? Why, we say Saddam was worse than us.

Saddam had women raped; he shot them down into mass graves. He was much worse. But if Saddam's wickedness has to be the tuning fork against which all our own iniquities are judged, what does that say about us? If Saddam's regime is to be the moral compass to define our actions, how bad - how iniquitous - does that allow us to be?

Saddam tortured and executed women in Abu Ghraib. We only sexually abused prisoners and killed a few of them and murdered some suspects at Bagram and subjected them to inhuman treatment in Guantanamo and sent others off to be boiled and fried and killed off by our "friends" without the embarrassment of being present. Saddam was much worse. And thus it became inevitable that the symbol of Saddam's shame - Abu Ghraib - subsequently became the symbol of our shame too.

© 2005 Independent Newspapers, Ltd.

A Fragging in Iraq

U.S. Soldier Accused in Iraq "Fragging" Incident

C. L. Cook - In the late days of America's war in Vietnam, the most disgruntled grunts expressed their disillusionment by tossing hand-grenades into their officer's barracks. Today, Iraq proved another parallel to the 10,000 Day War in South East Asia; a soldier has been charged with "fragging" two of his officers.

U.S. Soldier Accused in
Iraq "Fragging" Incident
C. L. Cook

June 17, 2005

Initially reported as a mortar strike, on June 7th Captain Phillip Esposito, Commander of Head Quarters for the 42nd Infantry Division, and Lieutenant Louis Allen were fatally wounded while in a room of one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces in Tikrit. Now, Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez has been arrested for murder.

In the lead up to the Iraq invasion, another U.S. soldier, Army Sergeant Hasan Akbar, a Muslim, attacked fellow troops in Kuwait, killing two and wounding 14 others, but this is the first reported case of fratricide recorded in the two-plus year occupation of Iraq.

In the context of growing suspicion among soldiers about the motives for going into Iraq, as underscored by the burgeoning Downing Street Memo scandal, and heavy U.S. casualties this month in Iraq, an incident like this seems inevitable.

So far, few details have been released as to Martinez's motives for the alleged attack, but the biggest question must be: Is the situation for American troops degraded to the level seen in the late days of the war against Vietnam? And if so, are further fragging instances likely?

Military blogging and e:mails from Iraq detail the doubts and distrust of both their mission in Iraq and the calibre of the leadership there. This has become a thorn to the Bush administration and the military, who today issued restrictions on out-bound blogs.

The Martinez arrest comes while U.S. forces are engaged in a massive offensive in the west of Iraq. The so-called, Operation Spear is guaranteed to create more casualties. So far, the American military confirms over 1700 of their own killed, and many thousand more wounded.

And many more, apparently to come.

Chris Cook
hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Limbaugh's Fatwa: Leftie Beware!

Limbaugh's Fatwa: Leftie Beware!

Kurt Nimmo
June 17, 2005

In a further attempt to incite fear and division in America, media loudmouth and Bush loyalist, Rush Limbaugh informed his listeners: Those opposing the Bush administration will be responsible if another "terrorist" attack occurs in the United States {ape}

Rush Limbaugh Threatens
a Vendetta Against His Enemies

Kurt Nimmo
June 17, 2005

Is it possible Rush Limbaugh’s years of popping pain pills has eroded his higher brain functions, or is he simply a vicious right-wing demagogue looking to incarcerate (or execute) people he hates, mostly so-called liberals, Democrats, and left-wingers?

On June 14, according to Media Matters, the loud-mouth “excellence in intolerance” host declared on his radio program: Let me tell you something, folks, if we are hit again, if we are hit again, we need to hold these people in our country who are undermining our efforts responsible. It ain’t going to be the FBI’s fault next time. It isn’t going to be the CIA’s fault next time. It isn’t going to be some bureaucracy’s fault next time. It’s going to be the fault of politicians, left-wing groups and the like who have names and identities and spend their every waking moment trying to obstruct our ability to secure intelligence information for our own national security.

But “undermining” what effort? Killing Iraqi civilians, who have nothing to do with terrorism, or terrorism supposedly perpetuated by former CIA assets? Let’s face it—we have no real definitive idea who pulled off nine eleven, there is as much evidence it was Mickey Mouse and Goofy as Osama and his cave-dwelling medieval clan of Koran-thumpers.

“To date, very little evidence has been made public, for obvious security reasons, so any discussion has been necessarily relegated to the realm of speculation,” Jessica Reaves wrote for Time Magazine on October 3, 2001. “We do know that this is not a ‘normal’ evidentiary search: Colin Powell has been candid in saying that the evidence is not of the type that would stand up in an American court of law.”

In fact, speculation is all we have—and speculation and outright lies drive Bush’s bogus war on terrorism. He does not need evidence because the American people do not insist he present it. Millions of Americans were all too willing to buy his line (and his later lies) because he said it and he is the president and Americans love to believe whatever their presidents say, even when it turns out they are demonstrated liars (and this is hardly an uncommon personality trait for the people who end up acting as our so-called leaders).

Limbaugh’s threat he will transfer guilt and blame “if we are hit again” to his list of select enemies because they have questions—and for Limbaugh and the rabid right-wingers engaging in dialogue and criticizing the government are acts of treason because like Good Germans we are all to march unquestioningly in step with people guilty of telling enormous and murderous lies in order to invade innocent countries—is more than enough evidence of his fascistic leanings and vindictive personality. Like Horowitz and other right-wing attack dogs, it is not so much the perceived (and imaginary) enemy (invariably Muslim) but rather “left-wing groups and the like who have names and identities” (making a list, checking it twice) who would presumably be rounded up in the middle of the night and either prosecuted, incarcerated, or as one of Limbaugh’s contemporaries on a Denver talk radio station warned, executed as traitors and seditionists.

Only fascists and diehard Stalinists were as obsessed with rubbing out their enemies as the current crop of Limbaughs and Savages and Horowitzs. It is indicative of the corroded state of political discussion in America when popular radio talk show hosts threaten enemies over the air while millions of people listen (some of them obviously deranged). Limbaugh went so far as to tick off several names:

You want some names: [Sen. Patrick] Leahy [D-VT], [Sen. Joseph R.] Biden [D-DE], [Sen. Richard J.] Durbin [D-IL], [Sen. Barbara] Boxer [D-CA], [Sen. Edward] Kennedy [D-MA], [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid [D-NV], Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, Amnesty International. If we get hit again, these are the names of the people and organizations we need to look at when we’re trying to find out why and how it happened.

If one or more of these people are shot on the street or have white powder mailed to their offices and homes, we can blame Limbaugh and the rabid right attack dogs.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Arnold's Blues


By Jack Random

Aside from the fact that the governator suddenly looks old and fragile, there is little encouraging about Schwarzenegger’s latest political maneuvering. His call for a special election might be admirable if he or his sponsors were paying for it. After all, it is more about a man’s ego and ambition than any concept of good governance.

The worst thing about the governor’s abuse of the initiative process is that it will likely damage the process itself. Initiatives and referendums are the application of direct democracy and those of us who truly believe in democracy are wary when politicians attack the process when it does not serve their purposes. Certainly, there should be reform to remove big money and restore the grassroots to the process. No one should be paid to collect signatures and contributions should be limited to individuals at fixed limits but that is not the issue now. The real question is: Since we are going ahead with this lame brained special election, why is the governor not on the ballot?

It is not difficult to understand the governor’s motives. Arnold loves the lights. A Democratic legislature has brazenly chosen to stand in his way rather than to demure and assist him in building a national campaign. If a constitutional amendment is not in the cards, Schwarzenegger’s persona ought to be good for a cabinet post or a high-profile ambassadorship. Certainly, he would be a suitable Emperor for the next occupation.

I understand the governor’s distaste for teachers and nurses. They tend to read, listen to the news, analyze policies and events, and communicate their ideas to family and friends. They know a fraud when they see one and Arnold’s compassionate conservative act is growing old. He wants to get rid of tenure so unruly teachers can be fired, neglecting the critical shortage facing both the state and the nation for years to come. He wants to deny the nurse-to-teacher ratio demanded by the people in a previous initiative. If he succeeds, health professionals will find greener pastures elsewhere but the governator will be able to hire more energy and political consultants.

I understand the need for redistricting reform but it is not a pressing matter for a state in fiscal crisis and it is nothing more than self-serving in the hands of this governor.

What I do not understand is why Recall Arnold has not already qualified for this ballot. Where is the party of opposition? Asleep at the wheel? Gone fishing? Striking a pose for the cameras? There is only one effective restraint to the abuse of the initiative process that began with the recall of Gray Davis: Recall Arnold. What comes around goes around and all that jazz. Unfortunately, we are saddled with a gutless and self-serving brand of politician on both sides of the proverbial aisle.

It is thick with irony that this special election ballot will offer a proposition to “re-regulate the power industry.” How special indeed. It has been five years since the fleecing of California to the tune of fifty billion dollars by a handful of Texas energy companies. Made possible by a Republican drive for deregulation that is still in process, with the corrupt cooperation of corporate Democrats, it is in fact the reason for our current crisis. There is something truly rotten in the bowels of the state legislature. What have they been waiting for? Another episode of massive fraud and redistribution of wealth, California to Texas, with the blessings of both parties? The last chapter ended with the crucifixion of the governor. Who will take the blame for the next?

If we have learned anything at all from these sorry events, it is that neither major party offers any real solution to our long-term problems. Both are more interested in securing their power base and lining their pockets with corporate payoffs. The obvious answer is not to disable direct democracy but to enable greater, broader and uncorrupted participation in electoral politics. Give democracy a chance: Vote for an independent or third party candidate. When enough people say no the political machinations of entrenched politicians, they will finally begin to listen.

Meantime, regulation of the energy industry is the only sure Yes on the special election ballot but there ought to be another: Shall the governor of the state of California be removed from office? Yes, Yes, a thousand times Yes!



Silent Spring?

Silent Spring?

C. L. Cook
-PEJ News - When Rachel Carson finished her seminal work, ‘Silent Spring’ in 1962, she could have no way of knowing the literal irony her title would hold for we living in this green and pleasant Victoria in 2005. - {lex}

Silent Spring?
C. L. Cook
Special to
May 14th, 2005

[This article is taken from the June/July issue of Victoria's own, StreetNewz newspaper, now on the street. lex.]

May money from the sale of this newspaper be used towards peace, and pass through healing hands.

Carlson’s book was a bellwether warning against the unregulated use of pesticides and the effects these would have on the natural world. The silence she alludes to is the devastating reduction of birds due to the eradication of their insect food source. Thus, the absent bird songs of Spring humans have listened to and been inspired by forever.

True to her prediction, the avian populations of North America and beyond are severely stressed, their numbers overall reduced by half in the last decade. But there is no silence here in Spring. Victoria, the renowned ‘City of Gardens’ rings, as I write, with the machine song of lawn-mowers, weed-whackers, and leaf-blowers.

Beyond the racket, these devices present a further threat to the remaining natural world we all wish to live amid. In California, where air quality is a pressing concern, opposition to gas-powered garden appliances has focussed concerns on the environmental costs of allowing their unfettered access to the air-shed.

In 1999, Zero Air Pollution LA, (ZAPLA), a grassroots organization working for a cleaner, “NoBlow” environment conducted public opinion surveys to elicit comment on the neighbourhood scourge.

They report: Results of Survey99 show

-75% of participants would like to see more restrictions on blowers, and
-62% would like to see blowers banned.
-64% of participants changed their own routines sometime within a typical week due to the use of blowers.
-56% of this group do so often or daily.
-70% of all participants state that blowers in their neighbourhood disturb them.

The overwhelming unpopularity of these destruction machines is not new in California. As far back as 1978, the well-heeled residents of Beverly Hills banned leaf-blower use within that jurisdiction. Others too have fought to eliminate the obnoxious machines, and ZAPLA says they are continually receiving requests from neighbourhoods wishing to follow suit.

In 1991, Santa Monica, California drafted their own law to deal with the menace and were quickly followed by: Albany, Bakersfield, Belvedere, Carmel, Coronado, Davis, Del Mar, Downey, Hermosa Beach, Hillsborough, Malibu, Newport Beach, Ojai, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and others.

The City of Victoria convened a committee in 2002 to address noise pollution, and leaf blowers were included in the area of concern. They announced then the creation of a City Noise Map, to be completed by Wakefield Acoustics Ltd. But, a search of the City website reveals no initiatives to address air quality issues created by these machines. To date, the noise bylaws have been ineffective, as any stroll through local neighbourhoods will attest, in curtailing the use of leaf blowers and other highly polluting two-stroke engine gardening equipment.

As with most things, it’s a political dilemma. The users, retail sellers, and manufacturers of these tools oppose laws threatening their businesses. But, as ZAPLA points out, many of these opponents to regulation do not live in the community, and may be more concerned with their own economic interests. Landscapers and professional gardeners are especially vulnerable to bans and restrictions, and argue their business survival is imperiled, but there are, ZAPLA notes, alternatives to the din and polluting status quo. They recommend:

“…blower use can be eliminated or reduced by use of rake and broom, mulching mowers, frequency of mowing grass, electric (or battery operated) vacuums, and changes in landscape design and maintenance routine. Routine changes could include edging only every other week, and collecting grass clippings in a mower bag, or using mowers that leave clippings on top of, or push them down into, the lawn.”

What must be considered here, as in all civic issues, is the quality of life within the community. Do you wish your Spring mornings and weekends resound with the racket of “industrialized” lawn and garden maintenance? Or is it possible we move away from environmentally detrimental practices towards common sense alternatives that harm none?

Rachel Carson is long gone now, but the people working in her spirit at remind of her parting words to us:

"The more clearly we can focus our attention on
the wonders and realities of the universe about us,
the less taste we shall have for destruction."

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from CFUV Radio at the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.

On Loyalty: An Open Letter to US Troops

On Loyalty

Stan Goff
- I was a soldier for most of the time between 1970 and 1996. I signed out on my retirement from 3rd Special Forces in Ft. Bragg. I had also served in 7th Special Forces, on three Ranger assignments, with Delta for almost four years, as a Cavalry Scout for a while, and in the 82nd Airborne Division as an infantryman. I started my career in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. I thugged around in eight different places in East Asia, Latin America, and Africa, where I pointed guns at people. Like you, I was an instrument of American foreign policies; ­ policies controlled, then as now, by the rich. In the course of that career, I heard everything you have heard and felt everything you have felt about "loyalty."

On Loyalty: An Open Letter to US Troops
in Afghanistan and Iraq

June 15, 2005

Tricky thing, loyalty.

Nowadays, when I talk with some of you, or when I hear conversations recorded with you, I hear many who have very serious reservations about these wars of occupation. I had more than reservations from the get-go about Iraq and Afghanistan, and I opposed them as hard as I could, and so did millions of other people around the world.

But that brain-dead piece of shit in the White House who is legally your boss, and all his handlers, starting with Vice President Dick "Halliburton" Cheney they sent you to do this thing anyway.

They talked themselves into believing this would be ­ and these are their words ­ a cakewalk. They surrounded themselves exclusively with others who echoed what was already in their minds; and they punished and villified and isolated anyone who told them what they didn't want to hear. Because they made up their minds to conduct these invasions years ago, and with the attacks of September 11 ­ in which Iraq's role was exactly nothing­ they figured now was their chance to conduct the re-disposition of the old Cold War military into their new plan to build permanent bases in Southwest Asia.

Since they'd made up their minds, they didn't want to hear anything except rosy scenarios for their plans, because these reptile-minded, preppy gangsters are like spoiled children who can't abide anyone fucking up their toy-emperor fantasies.

But when those fantasies did get fucked up, by the realities they ran so hard to escape, they continued to pursue their grim agenda in spite of the mounting consequences, because they don't pay those consequences.

If I had my way, we would issue the whole shriveled, manicured lot of them their assault rifles, put them aboard an Air Force transport, tighten the leg straps on their static line parachutes, and boot their sorry asses out from 800 feet right over the middle of Ramadi ­ where they could drop their harnesses in the street and explain democracy to the locals.

But that's just ranting, because I do so despise them. I hate people who get away with shit just because they have money and power. And I hate people who sacrifice the lives of others to amplify or protect that power.

But I'm not telling you anything. You all already know by now what generation after generation has learned the hard way. When the rich start their wars, it's not the rich that get sent to fight them. Yeah, a few go get their time as part of putting together a political career, but we know who does the heavy lifting.

And in these conversations that many of you have with me and thousands of other people, we hear you say ­ more and more often now ­ that you know this war is wrong, but that you have to "do your job," because you are loyal to your buddies; because you feel that you have to back them up; and because if you don't go, someone else will have to. And I respect that sentiment.

But I have to challenge this loyalty thing, and I do it out of respect for you, and because I care about you, and because my own son is back there for his second go-around.

A young friend of mine, Patrick Resta, who recently returned from Iraq, and who is now a member of an organization called Iraq Veterans Against the War, recently told me, "My platoon sergeant tried to get us to violate the Geneva Convention, and when we resisted, he threatened us with punishment. He told us that'the Geneva Convention doesn't exist in Iraq, and that is in writing at the Brigade level.'"

You all know that this is bullshit, and if you didn't know, let me give you a news flash about some ­ not all, but some ­ military lifers; and this is coming from a military lifer. Some of them are dumber than dog shit. Some of them say things when they don't have the foggiest fucking idea what they are talking about. Some of them will say any goddamn thing to get you to do what they want you to do.

But then again, there wasa memorandum that came down that suggested the Geneva Conventions were void in Iraq. It didn't come from the Brigade level, though; it came from fucking George W. Bush's office. And it's a lie. That's why they sat there in front of Congress before they made the author of that memo into the Attorney General of the United States ­ get your head around that­ and denied that they meant it.

But it is a lie.

You do not have to follow illegal orders EVER, under any circumstances, and you ARE bound by International Law. You should also be bound by what you know is right, by your sense of plain common decency.

One of the ways they will get you to do things that you will not want to live with for the rest of your lives is to impose that group-think on you. If one of us is guilty, we are all guilty. And "what happens in Iraq stays in Iraq." This is one of the many ways they take that buddy-to-buddy loyalty and twist it into a way to control you, even when they are trying to get you to violate the law and not only the formal law, but to violate what you know is right, to violate your own conscience and jeopardize your own peace of mind for the rest of your life.

And I'm telling you that you do not owe them or anyone else that kind of loyalty.

They know that many ofyouknow that you were sent to do this thing for a pack of lies about weapons of mass destruction and mushroom clouds over New York City and phony al Qaeda connections (and then when that fell apart, you were there to deliver democracy at gunpoint). So they know that many of you can't stay committed to this violent occupation out of loyalty to that gang of thugs in Washington DC, who are busy every day at home undermining the same Constitution you swore to protect (from all enemies foreign and DOMESTIC).

They know that you know that plenty of the officers are out there trying to get new fruit salad medals on their Class-A uniforms, and bucking for promotion, by risking your asses on pointless glory patrols. So they know that they can't rely on the loyalty of many of you to the chain of command any more either.

Where do they have to go with this, then, after all? What do they tell you?

"You get out there on that Humvee, and face those IEDs ­ together, as loyal buddies."

"You get out there and ransack people's houses in the middle of the night, and make their babies cry ­ together, as buddies."

"You get out there and set up a road block without Arabic signs or interpreters and get put into that situation where you are tense and don't know, and you shoot up that car and kill parents in front of their children, and you have to live with that for the rest of your lives ­ together, because you are loyal buddies."

"You get out there and lose life, limb, or eyesight face mental and physical ailments for the rest of your lives together, as an act of loyalty to your buddies."

That's the pressure you have on you today. Cover your buddies, and for some of you, go to Iraq so someone else doesn't take your place.

But let's look at the bigger picture here, and for that I'll take you back to Vietnam, before many of you were born. We heard this same bullshit then. Almost verbatim. And do you know what one of the main contributing factors was for getting us out of that war?

We quit being good soldiers.

The United States military got to the point where it was no longer an effective fighting force, because US soldiers quit taking orders. It got to the point where an officer who was using his men's bodies to chase medals might find himself on the wrong end of a Claymore mine. Now I'm not advocating that again, and I hope we can stop this before it goes that far.

The other thing many soldiers did was become part of the political resistance at home. They looked at this question of looking out for their buddies and for fellow soldiers in the short term, but staying ina barbaric and immoral war. And they realized that the best thing they could do for their buddies ­ not as soldiers, but as human beings ­ was to enlist in the opposition to the war and bring it to an end.

In the process, many of them discovered that it took a lot more endurance and a lot more courage to oppose the war than it did to demonstrate that macho bullshit they were expected to display as they continued to do terrible things to those other human beings whose country they occupied.

Here's how you can exercise a deeper loyalty to the troops there now, and to all those who will continue to go as long as this obscenity continues:

Do everything you can to stop the war.

Question every order, and base those questions on the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare. Let them see you keeping a detailed journal of your experience. Send your stories home in letters. Open up discussions about the legitimacy of the war when you are in your billets, even if it does spark controversy. Spread around information you get about the war from sources other than those loud-mouthed news-mannequins on FOX. And email or mail your anonymous membership in to Iraq Veterans Against the War. The link is at the end of this letter.

The day this war stops and they put the last of you on an airplane home, is when you will never again have to smell that fresh-blood smell that stays in your head for hours after you've loaded someone onto a stretcher or rolled them into that big Ziploc bag. The day will come when you all pull out, because this was a losing proposition from the outset, but Bush and his crew were too fucking stupid to know it.

The best thing is that this war of occupation ends sooner than later, and ­ as an exercise of loyalty to your own conscience, of loyalty to those who are there and those who may go there, and loyalty to the principle of human decency ­ you can find ways to hasten that day. You can find ways to bring closer the day when the Iraqis can get on about the business of taking control of their own destiny, and you and your buddies can sleep in security and comfort in your own homes, play with your children, make love with your partners, and walk down familiar streets unencumbered by the rattling luggage of war.

If bringing this day closer for all of you is the goal, how much more loyal can you get?

Yours for walking unencumbered,

Stan Goff
US Army (Retired)

Stan Goff is the author of "Hideous Dream: A Soldier's Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti" (Soft Skull Press, 2000), "Full Spectrum Disorder" (Soft Skull Press, 2003) and "Sex & War" which will be released approximately December, 2005. He is retired from the United States Army. His blog is at

Goff can be reached at:

I encourage troops to show this to other troops. I encourage family members of troops to print it out and send it to them in letters, or to paste it into emails. I encourage troops and family members who are on military reservations to make copies and place them everywhere you can think of.

Web sites of interest to troops and their families:


The United States should not have invaded Iraq, but now that we are there, aren’t we responsible to clean it up and ensure that there is no bloodbath when we leave?

Much of the answer to this question begins with a critical look at the premises hidden inside the question.

Premise 1: The “United States” invaded Iraq.
Premise 2: “We” are the United States who did it.
Premise 3: The invasion was a “mistake.”
Premise 4: “We” are better suited to “clean up” Iraq than the Iraqis by themselves.
Premise 5: The violence in Iraq is a reflection of divisions existing inside Iraq.
Premise 6: Iraqis cannot be trusted to guide the reconstruction of Iraq without US supervision about HOW to do reconstruction.

Reply to Premise 1:

“The ‘United States’ invaded Iraq.”

The decision to invade Iraq was not made by any democratic process in the United States. It was made by the executive branch without consulting Congress for a declaration of war, as mandated by the Constitution.

Many millions of Americans opposed the war and still oppose it.

Reply to Premise 2:

“’We’ are the United States who did it.”

The United States did not conduct the invasion, the United States military did, under orders from the Bush government.

The larger “we” has never seen anything but snapshot of this war, and has no real experience of it. The use of the term WE serves to purposes: it masks those who are responsible and transfers responsibility to the whole American people; and it implants in our thinking a sense of “us & them”,” the US being a privileged category.

Reply to Premise 3:

“The invasion was a ‘mistake.’”

This premise ties into the preceding ones, by suggesting WE conducted this invasion out of some sense of righteousness, that was merely misguided. The President was mistaken, or even exercised bad judgment, and we share in this “mistake.” But the invasion was not a mistake or an accident. It was carefully conceived by a group of people in the executive branch, as we now know from the Downing Street memo and a host of other sources, and the reasons for the war were not miscalculations, but carefully calculated deceptions. It was based on those deceptions that large sections of the US were convinced of the need to invade Iraq.

A deception is not a mistake! A deception is something someone does on purpose.

If the reasons given for the war are lies, then we have to ask what are the reasons for the invasion and occupation. There is an overwhelming body of evidence available to show the real reasons for the war, much of it written over the past decade by the architects of the war itself, to show what the real reasons were and are.

Their purpose is to reconfigure the US military from its former Cold War disposition to retain US global power in the future. Their method is to establish permanent US military installations in this critically strategic region to (1) ensure American access to continued flows of cheap oil for American corporations, and (2) to use control over the region as strategic leverage against global competitors, like China, Western Europe, and India.

Reply to Premise 4:

“’We’ are better suited to ‘clean up’ Iraq than the Iraqis by themselves.”

If the reasons for being in Iraq are to control the region with a permanent military presence, and this agenda is determined not by a collective “we,” but by the corporate-controlled American government, why do we believe that the vandal is the person most suited to get the contract to rebuild the house? And by what magical process of transformation will the leopard, the US government in this case, change its spots?

Governments, especially imperial governments, do not make decisions based on morality. They base their decisions on the question of getting and keeping power. The decision to invade Iraq was made with the goal being conquest. The goals later stated by the occupation, like stability and democracy, are no more honest than the weapons of mass destruction. It is still a deception. The goal is still US power and permanent military bases there.

So “clean-up” is not on the agenda, unless clean-up includes American military and financial power there.

More importantly, perhaps, what is the additional premise hidden in this premise? That the Iraqis are somehow less-than, somehow inferior, to us, and thereby incapable of self-governance. In the period of the British empire, there was a similar argument that was more open with its racism; it called this the “white man’s burden to bear civilization to the darker races.” And it was, of course, civilization that included British political, financial, and military oversight.

The same argument by Americans now, for Iraq, fails to remember that Iraqis were civilized for thousands of years before the British or the Americans.

Reply to Premise 5:

“The violence in Iraq is a reflection of divisions existing inside Iraq.”

On of the impressions that the Bush administration has fostered throughout this aggression has been the idea of sharp division between Iraqis. The American corporate press has dutifully echoed this simplistic notion, which supports the related idea that these “violent, irrational Arabs,” if left to themselves, will immolate themselves in an orgy of blood and iron.

Yet when one looks at the various faces of violence in Iraq, the most prominent an d lethal source of violence is the American military itself – which has killed more than 100,000 Iraqis just since the March 2003 invasion.

One segment of the resistance, so-called foreign fighters (that comprises less than 15 percent by reputable estimates) are drawn to Iraq precisely because the Americans are there.

The attacks on Shia leaders in the South and on Kurdish leaders in the North are not “sectarian,” “religious,” or “ethnic.” Statements from various groups within the nationalist resistance – both secular and Islamist – have specifically stated that their attacks are directed at those who are collaborating with the Americans, because of that collaboration… NOT based on ethnic or religious rivalry. In fact, the rates of intermarriage between these groups has always been very substantial, and Shias, Sunnis, Islamists, and secular nationalists have expressed the desire from the very beginning to find a framework for political cooperation and co-existence.

The Anglo-American military presence is the cause of most of this violence. If the occupation ends, no one will be targeted for collaboration, because there will be no one to collaborate with. And it must be restated with emphasis that the American presence is not there to ensure what is best for Iraqis, but to ensure what is seen as best for the American corporate-controlled government.

Reply to Premise 6:

“Iraqis cannot be trusted to guide the reconstruction of Iraq without US supervision about HOW to do reconstruction.”

First of all, who says the Iraqis will decide to remain a unified Iraq? Those boundaries were drawn by British imperialists. Iraqis may decide to become a regional federation, an ethnic federation, or to split into autonomous regions and nations.

That process may involve some fighting, but it cannot be fighting on the scale we have seen with the Americans, if it happens at all.

History sometimes leaves people little choice. The question of slavery in the United States was resolved, after all, by what was at the time the bloodiest war in human history. Nothing of this scale will happen in Iraq, and whatever happens, the history of Iraqis must be left in the hands of Iraqis – not a foreign imperial power.

The main question preoccupying the Bush administration is not “reconstruction” at any rate, but how to ensure that Iraqis don’t have public control over their own oil wealth, and how to prevent – what is already happening despite US attempts to control Iraqi politics – Iraqi and Iranian cooperation in the region.

The notion that the Iraqis CAN not or SHOULD not be left to their own initiative to determine their future is another display of “white man’s burden.”


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

9/11 "Inside Job" says former Bush Insider

Kurt Nimmo - Are you surprised? The Morgan Reynolds story about nine eleven being an “inside job” has received nada coverage beyond the original UPI story—that is to say nada coverage in the corporate media (it was covered immediately by Conspiracy Planet and Collective Bellaciao and I’m sure other alternative news sites). -{KN}

Morgan Reynolds’ Nine Eleven Inside Job:
Corporate Media Silence is Golden

Kurt Nimmo
June 14th 2005

Google news search results are pathetic. You’d think this would be a HUGE story—a former Bushite declaring it is distinctly possible America was attacked by its own government—but instead we get the following (posted on the KLAS TV site):

The Michael Jackson verdict is was the lead story across the world. The Jackson trial was found not just on tabloids but also more high-minded newspapers.

Since the story broke yesterday, the Jackson melodrama has returned 1,784 results on the Google News search engine.

Meanwhile, real news—news of national and international significance—is scoffed at by corporate toadies, for instance Los Angeles Times editorial page editor Michael Kinsley. “Developing a paranoid theory and promoting it to the very edge of national respectability takes ideological self-confidence,” Kinsley declared sarcastically about the Downing Street Memo story two days ago. Meanwhile, Michael Getler of the Washington Post deemed people concerned about Bush and crew planning an invasion, mass murder, and occupation without good reason “wing nuts” out on the edge of respectable opinion.

“What can reading USA Today tell us about the Downing Street Memo (DSM) story? Zip. Zilch. Nothing. At least that was the case for the first 38 days after the memo was published in London’s Sunday Times. USA Today published not a word about it until June 8, 2005,” writes Cynthia Bogard. “The Bush Administration successfully stymied almost all mainstream coverage of the issue until Reuter reporter Steve Holland’s brave question at the joint Bush-Blair news conference on June 7. They had a lot of help from the White House press corps which, despite 19 daily briefings, asked Bush spokesperson Scott McClellan exactly two questions about the memo between May 1 and USA Today’s first mention of it on June 8.”

“USA Today chose not to publish anything about the memo before today for several reasons, says Jim Cox, the newspaper’s senior assignment editor for foreign news. ‘We could not obtain the memo or a copy of it from a reliable source,’ Cox says. ‘There was no explicit confirmation of its authenticity from (Blair’s office). And it was disclosed four days before the British elections, raising concerns about the timing,’” writes Editor & Publisher.

Does Cox think Bush’s poodle was going to hand deliver the memo to his office and also provide “confirmation of its authenticity”? And the fact British elections coincided with the release of the memo is completely irrelevant. Cox was, of course, fishing for excuses. The DSM is nothing less than an embarrassment for the corporate media because it so slavishly (and transparently) served as Bush’s propaganda organ for perpetuating war crimes, telling us straight-faced such absurdities as Osama and Saddam were buddies, Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the people who destroyed Iraq’s weapons said otherwise, Saddam shopped around for yellowcake, model airplanes were deadly drones, Atta met with an Iraqi secret agenda in Prague, and other whoppers, all lies and dissembling chatter.

“If there’s one thing left wingers love, it’s a good, old-fashioned conspiracy. Give them a small nibble of a ‘claim’ of wrong doing against the current White House, conservatives, or Republicans, and the left wing fringe will pounce into action. Facts? Data? Evidence? Those items are simply minor inconveniences to their ‘analysis’ of right wing efforts to rule the world, steal elections, plant White House reporters, or a host of other perceived dirty deeds,” scribbles Bobby Eberle for GOPUSA.

Claim my foot. Anybody with two brain cells to rub together understands Bush and crew lied, fabricated “intelligence,” and planned the “war” against Iraq years ago. But since it wasn’t covered by the “liberal” New York Times and the one-time (still-time no doubt) CIA asset (Operation Mockingbird) the Washington Post it is little more than an “old-fashioned conspiracy” by the “left wing fringe.” Facts ain’t facts unless they appear in the corporate media. I once had a former New York Times stringer tell me as much.

Naturally, the Morgan Reynolds story will go nowhere because the corporate media will ignore it. Down here in the nether regions of the “left wing fringe,” the story will simply be more evidence that the Bush explanation for nine eleven is hogwash and it will add fuel to the speculation that the attacks were an inside job. Morgan Reynolds’ story is so damaging that the corporate media will ignore it—crossing its fingers and hoping it will die—and shills like Michael Kinsley and Michael Getler will not even make sarcastic jokes about it like they did with the DSM story. For the corporate media, silence is golden.

For the rest of us, it is another arrow in our quiver.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Blair Pitches 'White Man's Burden' for Africa

Spin, Lies and Corruption
George Monbiot
June 14th, 2005

The G8’s debt reduction plan is little better than an extortion racket

An aura of sanctity is descending upon the world’s most powerful men. On Saturday the finance ministers from seven of the G8 nations (Russia was not invited) promised to cancel the debts the poorest countries owe to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The hand that holds the sword has been stayed by angels: angels with guitars rather than harps.

Who, apart from the leader writers of the Daily Telegraph,(1) could deny that debt relief is a good thing? Never mind that much of this debt – money lent by the World Bank and IMF to corrupt dictators – should never have been pursued in the first place. Never mind that, in terms of looted resources, stolen labour and now the damage caused by climate change, the rich owe the poor far more than the poor owe the rich. Some of the poorest countries have been paying more for debt than for health or education. Whatever the origins of the problem, that is obscene.

You are waiting for me to say but, and I will not disappoint you. The but comes in paragraph 2 of the finance ministers’ statement. To qualify for debt relief, developing countries must “tackle corruption, boost private sector development” and eliminate “impediments to private investment, both domestic and foreign.”(2)

These are called conditionalities. Conditionalities are the policies governments must follow before they receive aid and loans and debt relief. At first sight they look like a good idea. Corruption cripples poor nations, especially in Africa. The money which could have given everyone a reasonable standard of living has instead made a handful unbelievably rich. The powerful nations are justified in seeking to discourage it.

That’s the theory. In truth, corruption has seldom been a barrier to foreign aid and loans: look at the money we have given, directly and through the World Bank and IMF, to Mobutu, Suharto, Marcos, Moi and every other premier-league crook. Robert Mugabe, the west’s demon king, has deservedly been frozen out by the rich nations. But he has caused less suffering and is responsible for less corruption than Rwanda’s Paul Kagame or Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, both of whom are repeatedly cited by the G8 countries as practitioners of “good governance”. Their armies, as the UN has documented, are largely responsible for the meltdown in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has so far claimed four million lives, and have walked off with billions of dollars’ worth of natural resources.(3) Yet the United Kingdom, which is hosting the G8 summit, remains their main bilateral funder. It has so far refused to make their withdrawal from the DRC a conditionality for foreign aid.

The difference, of course, is that Mugabe has not confined his attacks to black people; he has also dispossessed white farmers and confiscated foreign assets. Kagame, on the other hand, has eagerly supplied us with the materials we need for our mobile phones and computers: materials which his troops have stolen from the DRC. “Corrupt” is often used by our governments and newspapers to mean regimes that won’t do what they’re told.

Genuine corruption, on the other hand, is tolerated and even encouraged. Twenty-five countries have so far ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption, but none of them are members of the G8.(4) Why? Because our own corporations do very nicely out of it. In the UK companies can legally bribe the governments of Africa if they operate through our (profoundly corrupt) tax haven of Jersey.(5) Lord Falconer, the minister responsible for sorting this out, refuses to act. When you see the list of the island’s clients, many of which sit in the FTSE-100 index, you begin to understand.

The idea swallowed by most commentators – that the conditions our governments impose help to prevent corruption – is laughable. To qualify for World Bank funding, our model client Uganda was forced to privatise most of its state-owned companies, before it had any means of regulating their sale. A sell-off which should have raised $500m for the Ugandan exchequer instead raised $2m.(6) The rest was nicked by government officials. Unchastened, the World Bank insisted that – to qualify for the debt relief programme the G8 has now extended – the Ugandan government sell off its water supplies, agricultural services and commercial bank, again with minimal regulation.(7)

And here we meet the real problem with the G8’s conditionalities. They do not stop at pretending to prevent corruption, but intrude into every aspect of sovereign government. When the finance ministers say “good governance” and “eliminating impediments to private investment”, what they mean is commercialisation, privatisation and the liberalisation of trade and capital flows. And what this means is new opportunities for western money.

Let’s stick for a moment with Uganda. In the late 1980s, the IMF and World Bank forced it to impose “user fees” for basic healthcare and primary eduction. The purpose appears to have been to create new markets for private capital. School attendance, especially for girls, collapsed. So did health services, particularly for the rural poor. To stave off a possible revolution, Museveni reinstated free primary education in 1997 and free basic healthcare in 2001. Enrolment in primary school leapt from 2.5 million to 6 million, and the number of outpatients almost doubled. The World Bank and the IMF - which the G8 nations control – were furious. At the donors’ meeting in April 2001, the head of the Bank’s delegation made it clear that, as a result of the change in policy, he now saw the health ministry as a “bad investment”.(8)

There is an obvious conflict of interest in this relationship. The G8 governments claim they want to help poor countries to develop and compete successfully. But they have a powerful commercial incentive to ensure that they compete unsuccessfully, and that our companies can grab their public services and obtain their commodities at rock bottom prices. The conditionalities we impose on the poor nations keep them on a short leash.

That’s not the only conflict. The G8 finance ministers’ statement insists that the World Bank and IMF will monitor the indebted countries’ progress, and decide whether or not they are fit to be relieved of their burden.(9) The World Bank and IMF, of course, are the agencies which have the most to lose from this redemption. They have a vested interest in ensuring that debt relief takes place as slowly as possible.

Attaching conditions like these to aid is bad enough: it amounts to saying “we will give you a trickle of money if you give us the Crown Jewels.” Attaching them to debt relief is in a different moral league: “we will stop punching you in the face if you give us the Crown Jewels.” The G8’s plan for saving Africa is little better than an extortion racket.

Do you still believe our newly-sanctified leaders have earned their halos? If so, you have swallowed a truckload of nonsense. Yes, they should cancel the debt. But they should cancel it unconditionally.


1. Leading article, 13th June 2005. That’s enough debt relief.

2. G8 Finance Ministers, 10-11 June 2005. Conclusions on Development.

3. United Nations Security Council, October 2002. Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. UN, New York. See also: Amnesty International, 1st April 2003. Democratic Republic of the Congo: “Our brothers who help kill us” – economic exploitation and human rights abuses in the east.; Human Rights Watch, 4th December 2004. Democratic Republic of Congo – Rwanda Conflict.; International Rescue Committee, December 2004. Mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Results from a Nationwide Survey, Conducted April – July 2004.; Global Witness, June 2004. Same Old Story – Natural Resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo.;
The All Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes Region and Genocide Prevention, November 2002. Cursed by Riches: Who Benefits from Resource Exploitation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?; Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, US State Department. 31st March 2003. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2002. Rwanda.
5. David Leigh, 2nd June 2005. Jersey breaks promise to outlaw bribes. The Guardian.
6. Warren Nyamugasira and Rick Rowden, April 2002. New Strageies; Old Loan Conditions. Uganda National NGO Forum, Kampala.

7. ibid.

8. Report of the meeting by a health ministry official, cited in Warren Nyamugasira and Rick Rowden, ibid.

9. G8 Finance Ministers, 10-11 June 2005. G8 Proposals for HIPC debt cancellation.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Burying Pat: Tillman Parents Speak Out

Why Pat Tillman's Parents
Are No Longer Silent

by Dave Zirin

To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain't got no name
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game.
- Bob Dylan

When former Arizona Cardinals football player turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman died in Afghanistan, sonorous bugles moaned from coast to coast. We were told he died a "warrior's death" charging up a hill, urging on his fellow rangers. His funeral was a nationally televised political extravaganza with Senator John McCain among others delivering eulogies over his open grave. His Commander in Chief George W. Bush took time during last fall's Presidential campaign to address Cardinals fans on the Jumbotron at Sun Devil Stadium. Republican Rep. J.D. Hayworth was one of many singing Tillman's praises. "He chose action rather than words. He lived the American dream, and he fought to preserve the American dream and our way of life."

At the time, I wrote a small column stating that Tillman - who refused "hundreds if not thousands" of offers by the Pentagon to shill publicly for the "War on Terror"- would be repulsed by all the attention. I wrote that to Bush, McCain, and their pro-war ilk, Tillman was proving far more useful dead than alive. He had joined the Rangers for ideals like freedom and justice, but he fought in a war for oil and empire. I wrote that in death he was little more than a "pawn in their game."

This observation didn't click with the pro-war/occupation camp, as hate mail and death threats poured into my sleepy newspaper. People claimed that the bipartisan war brigade was celebrating his heroism, not exploiting his death - and by not simply standing and saluting, I deserved a similar fate.

I want to know how the hate mongers and internet thugs feel now, knowing that they were duped about Tillman's death. Duped like the country was duped about WMDs. Duped into cheerleading a war that's made the world a more dangerous place and accomplished little more than a new generation of mass graves, containing 100,000 Iraqis and 1,600 US soldiers - as Bush and his chickenhawks smirked knowingly in the background.

I can only wonder if those so protective of Pat Tillman's memory will exhibit a fraction of the bravery being shown by Pat's parents Patrick and Mary. The divorced couple has decided to go public with their fury at a government that lied over the body of their dead son.

Patrick and Mary now know that Pat did not die at the hands of the Taliban while charging up a hill, but was shot by his own troops in an instance of what they call "fratricide." Patrick and Mary now know that Tillman's men realized they had gunned him down "within moments." They know that the soldiers - in an effort to cover up the killing of the All American "poster boy" - burned Tillman's uniform and body armor.

They know that over the next 10 days, top-ranking Army officials, including the all too appropriately titled "theater commander," Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, hid the truth of Tillman's death, while Pentagon script writers conjured a Hollywood ending. They know that the army waited until weeks after the nationally televised memorial service to even clue them in about "irregularities" surrounding their son's death. They know that the concurrent eruption of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal may have played a role in the cover-up, as the army attempted to avoid a double public relations disaster. "After it happened, all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this," Patrick Tillman said earlier this week to the Washington Post. "They purposely interfered with the investigation, they covered it up. [T]hey realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out. They blew up their poster boy."

Mary Tillman, like her ex-husband and son, a fiercely private person, spoke with a frankness that should put dissembling military planners to shame.

"It makes you feel like you're losing your mind in a way," she said. "You imagine things. When you don't know the truth, certain details can be blown out of proportion. The truth may be painful, but it's the truth. You start to contrive all these scenarios that could have taken place because they just kept lying. If you feel you're being lied to, you can never put it to rest." Now the Tillmans, consciously or not, are lending their voice to a growing chorus of military family members determined to speak out against this war. New organizations, like Gold Star Mothers for Peace and Military Families Speak Out, are made up of people handling their grief by refusing to be political props and instead making a country bear witness to their pain.

"Every day is sort of emotional," Mary Tillman said. "It just keeps slapping me in the face. To find that he was killed in this debacle -- everything that could have gone wrong did -- it's so much harder to take. We should not have been subjected to all of this. This lie was to cover their image. I think there's a lot more yet that we don't even know, or they wouldn't still be covering their tails. If this is what happens when someone high profile dies, I can only imagine what happens with everyone else."

It is exactly for "everyone else" dying throughout the Middle East, that we must follow the Tillmans example and regard silence as a luxury we can no longer afford.

Dave Zirin is the News Editor of the Prince George's Post in Prince George's County Maryland, for which he writes the column Edge of Sports. His work can be read at To have his column sent to you every week, just e-mail

Contact the author at

Gorilla Radio for Monday, June 13, 2005

Gorilla Radio for Monda, June 13th, 2005

This week: Dave Zirin and the last refuge of the polemicist

Conn Hallinan and Cornering the Dragon

and, Janine Bandcroft bringing us up to speed with all that's good to do in and around Victoria this week

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: He also serves as a contributing editor at the progressive web news site:

Gorilla Radio for Monday,
June 13, 2005
C. L. Cook

To watch millionaire athletes today shamelessly pimped by Pepsi and McDonald’s and the endless number of other destructive product producers, it’s hard to believe the sporting world could provide any social benefit beyond an afternoon’s diversion.

But sport has not always been mute on the great issues of the day; through every generation, while most stood silent, there have been heroic figures that risked public ridicule and their careers defying unjust conventions.

Dave Zirin is a columnist and editor for the Prince George’s Post newspaper, and author. His Edge of Sports column is a unique marriage of sport and politics that reminds of the tradition of athlete activism, and is widely republished on the internet, from to The International Socialist Review.

His new book, ‘What’s My Name, Fool!: Sports and Resistance in the United States’ is fresh off the press and published by Haymarket Books. Dave Zirin in the first half.

And; the United States has denied their "Forward Operating Locations" surrounding Russia and obstructing pipeline routes to India and China are designed as permanent bases from which America and its allies will control Caspian Basin oil reserves. Their presence there they say is simply part of the "War on Terror."

It's an argument that carries little water for the Chinese, who've grown restive at what they see as an encirclement of their country, too. Last month, China announced it's own plans to "deter terrorism." The first step they say is a move to establish a military presence, or “Forward Operating Location” in the troubled former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz government denies they will allow the Chinese to deploy in their country, but talks quietly continue.

It all makes for a crowded game board in Central Asia and could promise a return to Cold War conditions between China and the West.

Conn Hallinan is lecturer in journalism at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a foreign policy analyst with Foreign Policy in Focus, a think tank for research, analysis, and action, supported by the International Relations Center and the Institute for Policy Studies. Conn Hallinan and ‘Cornering the Dragon’ in the second half.

And; Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with all that’s good to do in and around Victoria this week. But first, Dave Zirin and reclaiming the tradition of resistance in American sport.

G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the mainstream media.

Some past guests include: M. Junaid Alam, Joel Bakan, Maude Barlow, David Barsamian, William Blum, Vincent Bugliosi, Helen Caldicott, Noam Chomsky, Michel Chossudovsky, Diane Christian, Juan Cole, David Cromwell, Jon Elmer, Reese Erlich, Jim Fetzer, Laura Flanders, Susan George, Stan Goff, Robert Greenwald, Denis Halliday, Chris Hedges, Julia Butterfly Hill, Robert Jensen, Dahr Jamail, Diana Johnstone, Kathy Kelly, Naomi Klein, Anthony Lappe, Frances Moore Lappe, Dave Lindorff, Jim Lobe, Wayne Madsen, Stephen Marshall, Linda McQuaig, George Monbiot, Loretta Napoleoni, John Nichols, Kurt Nimmo, Greg Palast, Michael Parenti, William Rivers Pitt, Sheldon Rampton, Paul de Rooij, John Ross, Danny Schechter, Vandana Shiva, Norman Solomon, Starhawk, Grant Wakefield, Bernard Weiner, Mickey Z., and many others.