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Archives: September 2003

Mon Sep 29, 2003

Agency Belittles Information Given by Iraq Defectors

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 — An internal assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that most of the information provided by Iraqi defectors who were made available by the Iraqi National Congress was of little or no value, according to federal officials briefed on the arrangement.

In addition, several Iraqi defectors introduced to American intelligence agents by the exile organization and its leader, Ahmad Chalabi, invented or exaggerated their credentials as people with direct knowledge of the Iraqi government and its suspected unconventional weapons program, the officials said. More...

Posted by: Ed Howard on Sep 29, 03 | 2:35 pm

Sun Sep 28, 2003

Say no to privatisation

America's plan to privatise the Iraqi economy is a mistake that needs to be corrected before it is implemented. The huge sell-off programme, tax breaks and virtual elimination of tariffs on imports is designed to attract foreign investment and revive Iraq's moribund industries. But recent evidence suggests Washington's radical prescription is doomed to fail. The last big socialist, centralised economy that opted for such sudden and drastic shock therapy was Russia in 1992. The result was economic devastation, rampant corruption and the rise of a powerful class of businessmen, the oligarchs. Clearly a case of all shock and no therapy - and Iraq could go the same way. In reaching for such extreme measures, Paul Bremer, the American running Iraq, has exposed the limitations of Washington's efforts at nation-building. Reconstructing the country needs cash - which thanks to George Bush's "America-alone" policy over Iraq has not been forthcoming from friends or alienated allies. Iraq's oil production, which should have paid the bills, has not materialised thanks largely to US failure to keep the peace. It is also clear that the Bush administration underestimated just how dilapidated Iraq's infrastructure has become - thanks to Saddam's neglect and sanctions imposed after the last Gulf war. America's taxpayers, who went to war without being told about the costs involved, are understandably angry about being being asked to pick up a large part of the tab, some $150bn. To share the burden, the occupying powers decided to court foreign, private sector capital and opted to lower taxes and put a large "For Sale" sign over Iraq.
More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Sep 28, 03 | 7:24 pm

A not so academic controversy

International Academic Friends of Israel, fighting a boycott on local universities, names director for new Jerusalem office.

"It's like cutting off your nose to spite your face," says David Leshnick to characterize attempts in the international scientific community to boycott Israel in the wake of the intifada. "An academic or scientific boycott is totally against the concept of academia." More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Sep 28, 03 | 2:40 pm

Edward Said: A lighthouse that navigated us

Ilan Pappe, The Electronic Intifada, 25 September 2003

We, who supported the Palestinian cause, have been orphaned with the untimely death of Edward Said. For Israeli Jews, like myself, he was the lighthouse that navigated us out of the darkness and confusion of growing in a Zionist state onto a safer coast of reason, morality and consciousness.

I am sorry I only met Edward in 1988, but I feel fortunate for the time we did spend together. His insights of, and inputs on, the global reality in general and the Palestine one in particular will guide us all for many years to come. But above all, we shall miss Edward's unique ability of articulating in the public sphere the evil inflicted upon the Palestinians in the past against the continued effort in the Western media of sidelining, if not altogether eliminating, the plight and tragedy of Palestine. There is no one who could easily feel his place on that stage -- no one who could in few sentences associate so clearly the wrongs of the past with the tragedy of the present in the land of Palestine.

The academic and intellectual world would equally be disorientated without his original thoughts and conceptualization on the West's relationship with the world. We should be grateful, nonetheless, that so many of our colleagues went in his footsteps as he so brilliantly deconstructed the power bases and more sinister interests behind the knowledge production in West on the Orient in general and the Middle East in particular.

For those of us who knew him more personally, we have all lost a dear and genuine friend, with whom one could talk about the most abstract philosophical issues and with the same ease move to more mundane problems in life -- which usually paled in comparison with his endless and brave struggle against his fatal illness.

Something of this mixture and balance was also in his books. He will be remembered, and justly so, for "Orientalism" and the works that followed shaping and contributing to the post-Colonialist and Cultural Studies. But I will also cherish the "The Politics of Dispossession" -- these short and lucid interventions, quite often immediate reactions to a recent crisis or juncture in the life of Palestine and the Palestinians, but always contextualizing the event and Said's thoughts within the much more broader view on the march of history.

A few weeks ago we had our last meaningful conversation -- on the phone -- in which he beseeched me, as he did others I am sure, not to give up the struggle for relocating the Palestinians' refugee issue at the heart of the public and global agenda. He stressed the need to continue the effort of changing the American public opinion on Palestine and he was very hopeful and encouraged by he what recognized as a significant change in European public opinion.

Edward probably left more than one spiritual and moral will to us. The one I am taking is the one above. In his memory and out of respect to his intellectual genius as well as to his moral courage, we should regroup our energies and reorganize our efforts to impress on the world that there will be no justice and no peace in Palestine, no stability in the Middle East and no tranquility in the US relationship with the Muslim world, without the return of Palestinian refugees to their home, the end of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the building of a state in Palestine that would respect human and civil rights, as did Edward all his life.

May his soul rest in peace.

Ilan Pappe is a senior Israeli academic at the Department of Political Science and M.A, University of Haifa and the author of many books relating to the conflict.

Posted by: Mona Baker on Sep 28, 03 | 2:21 pm

Sat Sep 27, 2003

Edward Said

Edward William Said ( إدوارد سعيد November 1, 1935 – September 24, 2003) was a well-known literary theorist and critic. He was also an outspoken Palestinian activist.

Said was born in Jerusalem into the Christian faith, but spent his childhood in Cairo, Egypt except for several long stays in Palestine. Said received his B.A. from Princeton University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He was professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University for many years. He also taught at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Yale universities. More...

Posted by: admin on Sep 27, 03 | 10:03 pm

Fri Sep 26, 2003

World-renowned scholar Edward Said dies

Edward Said, the world-renowned scholar, writer and critic has died aged 67, it was announced today. Said died at a New York hospital, his editor Shelly Wanger said. He had suffered from leukaemia since the early 1990s. More...

Posted by: admin on Sep 26, 03 | 11:07 pm

In memory of Edward Said

The only language of loss left in the world is Arabic -
These words were said to me in a language not Arabic.

Edward Said, beloved witness - Shahid - is dead.

The sky is stunned, it's become a ceiling of stone.
I tell you it must weep. So kneel, pray for rain in Arabic. More...

Posted by: Charles MacKinnon on Sep 26, 03 | 4:20 am

Thu Sep 25, 2003

11 reasons you should march on Saturday to demand an end to US/UK occupation of Iraq

1. IRAQIS DON'T WANT THE OCCUPATION Opinion polls demonstrate a majority against the occupation. (Financial Times report: http://www.mwaw.org/article.php?sid=2776)

2. THE OCCUPATION KILLS 1,000 IRAQIS EVERY WEEK US troops are firing on peaceful civilians. (Robert Fisk: http://www.mwaw.org/article.php?sid=2781)

3. THE OCCUPATION IS OBSTRUCTING RELIEF AGENCIES "The decision to place responsibility for post-conflict reconstruction with the US Department of Defence has been a particular source of concern to the humanitarian community." (International Crisis Group report: http://www.crisisweb.org/projects/middleeast/iraq_iran_gulf/reports/A400930 _27032003.pdf)

4. THE OCCUPATION IS FUELLING THE CHAOS Iraq has become a magnet for fighters from across the Middle East. Pulling out the troops therefore reduces the danger of further bloodshed. (Even the Wall Street Journal can see the connection: http://www.frontpagemag.com/articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=9464)

5. IT HAS DESTROYED THE ROADMAP TO PEACE IN PALESTINE "The guerrilla war that is becoming ever wider in Iraq will spread throughout the Arab and other Muslim countries and the world at large." (Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=22&ItemID=4202)

6. PRIVATISATION WILL MEAN A SECOND LOOTING OF IRAQ The US has announced a mass sell-off of Iraqi industry to foreign companies. (Even the Financial Times is concerned: http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory& c=StoryFT&cid=1059480069040&p=1012571727269)

7. THE OCCUPATION IS NOT ABOUT DEMOCRACY OR LIBERATION The US has created a governing council currently led by a fraudster and former CIA employee. The US has no intention of allowing free and open elections. (John Pilger: http://www.mwaw.org/article.php?sid=2743)

8. IT WILL LEAD TO MORE GLOBAL TERRORISM Blair was warned of this fact by the British intelligence agencies before the war. (Guardian report: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,1040155,00.html)

9. IT'S COSTING BILLIONS $4 billion per month to be precise - this money would be better spent on reconstruction. (Washington Post report: http://www.mwaw.org/article.php?sid=2770)

10. BLAIR AND BUSH LIED TO US ALL ABOUT WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION Saddam destroyed his WMD a decade ago, says Hans Blix. (The Independent: http://www.mwaw.org/article.php?sid=2786)

11. THERE IS ANOTHER WAY Bloody dictators have been repeatedly overthrown by their peoples - most recently in Indonesia, Serbia and Eastern Europe. Armed intervention is not the way. As for the transition from US/UK occupation, George Monbiot points us to a proposal by the World Citizen Foundation: http://66.114.243.76/html/IraqIntroNew.asp (Monbiot article: http://www.mwaw.org/article.php?sid=2747)

IT'S ILLEGAL, IT'S BRUTAL, IT'S COLONIAL...

DEMONSTRATE! SATURDAY 27 SEPTEMBER --- INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST END THE OCCUPATION, NO MORE WAR NO MORE WAR LIES, FREEDOM FOR PALESTINE

ASSEMBLE HYDE PARK 12 NOON MARCH TO TRAFALGAR SQUARE
More details at www.stopwar.org.uk

Posted by: Mona Baker on Sep 25, 03 | 9:16 am

Sun Sep 21, 2003

Iraq's occupiers suspected of losing touch with reality

09/20/03: BAGHDAD - A culture of secrecy has descended upon the Anglo-American occupation authorities in Iraq. 

They will give no tally of the Iraqi civilian lives lost each day. 

They will not comment on the killing by an American soldier of one of their own Iraqi interpreters on Thursday – he was shot dead in front of the Italian diplomat who was official adviser to the new Iraqi ministry of culture – and they cannot explain how General Sultan Hashim Ahmed, the former Iraqi minister of defence and a potential war criminal, should now be described by one of the most senior US officers in Iraq as "a man of honour and integrity."
More...

Posted by: nachoua on Sep 21, 03 | 1:15 pm

Another Day, another death-trap for the US

09/19/03: (The Independent: UK) The American Humvee had burnt out, the US troop transporter had been smashed by rockets and an Iraqi lorry - riddled by American bullets in the aftermath of the attack - still lay smoldering on the central reservation. 

More...

Posted by: nachoua on Sep 21, 03 | 1:09 pm

What good friends left behind

Two years ago, as the bombs began to drop, George Bush promised Afghanistan 'the generosity of America and its allies'. Now, the familiar old warlords are regaining power, religious fundamentalism is renewing its grip and military skirmishes continue routinely. What was the purpose? 

John Pilger 

Saturday September 20, 2003: (The Guardian) At the Labour party conference following the September 11 attacks, Tony Blair said memorably: "To the Afghan people, we make this commitment. We will not walk away... If the Taliban regime changes, we will work with you to make sure its successor is one that is broadbased, that unites all ethnic groups and offers some way out of the poverty that is your miserable existence." He was echoing George Bush, who had said a few days earlier: "The oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and its allies. As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan. The US is a friend of the Afghan people."
More...

Posted by: nachoua on Sep 21, 03 | 12:54 pm

Thu Sep 18, 2003

Blix Attacks 'Spin and Hype' of Iraq Weapon Claims

LONDON (Reuters) - Former U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix on Thursday attacked the "spin and hype" behind U.S. and British allegations of banned Iraqi weapons used to justify war against Saddam Hussein.
More...

Posted by: admin on Sep 18, 03 | 4:47 pm

Palestinian Medical Relief Ambulance Staff and Patient Detained by the Israeli Occupying Forces

At 9 am on Tuesday the 9th of September, Israeli Soldiers stopped a Palestinian Medical Relief ambulance whilst it was transporting a patient from Hebron to Al Makassad Hospital in Occupied East Jerusalem. Inside the Volkswagen ambulance, number 9404090, was Bassim Mahmoud Titi, who had a hip injury requiring surgery at Al Makassad. Dr Mahmoud Abu Ayash, and a driver - Jaweed Ahmad Adhami, staffed the ambulance. More...

Posted by: admin on Sep 18, 03 | 1:22 pm

Gaza shifts to a new solution

He smiles and raises his two fingers in a sign of victory, gazing over the thousands of supporters that have flocked to his side to protect him. Yasser Arafat last week escaped from the political margins thanks to the Israeli government's declaration to 'remove' him on Thursday.

International pressure may prevent Israel from carrying out its threat but its policies in the West Bank and Gaza, according to Palestinian and Israeli analysts, are slowly strangling any prospect of Arafat's dream, a viable Palestinian state, becoming a reality. More...

Posted by: admin on Sep 18, 03 | 1:13 pm

Fri Sep 12, 2003

On Criticising Israel: Letters to LRB

The following letters were published by London Reviews of Books (LRB, Vol. 25 No. 17) in response to Judith Butler's essay 'No, it's not anti-semitic.' More...

Posted by: admin on Sep 12, 03 | 2:23 pm

IFJ Condemns Arrest of Journalist and Warns of “Witch-hunt Against Al-Jazeera and Arab Media”

The International Federation of Journalists today condemned the arrest by Spanish officials of an Al-Jazeera Television journalist for alleged ties to al Qaeda members in what it warned “looks like developing into an international witch-hunt” against Arab-language media. More...

Posted by: Ed Howard on Sep 12, 03 | 11:06 am

Mon Sep 08, 2003

Reasons to fear US

Amid the aftershocks of recent suicide bombings in Baghdad and Najaf, and countless other horrors since Sept. 11, 2001, it is easy to understand why many believe that the world has entered a new and frightening "age of terror," the title of a recent collection of essays by Yale University scholars and others. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Sep 08, 03 | 3:20 pm

Sat Sep 06, 2003

Eye to Eye: A Palestinian talking to Americans

Look into my eyes
And tell me what you see
You don't see a damn thing,
'cause you can't, until you try to relate to me.

You're blinded by our differences.
My life makes no sense to you.
I'm the persecuted Palestinian.
You are the American red, white and blue.

More...

Posted by: Charles MacKinnon on Sep 06, 03 | 9:01 pm

Thu Sep 04, 2003

Pakistan "Recognizes" Israel

In June 2003, Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s self-appointed President and strongman, was summoned to Washington. He returned with two errands from President George Bush. Pakistan must recognize Israel and dispatch its troops to police America’s illegal occupation of Iraq. There was money in it for Pakistani rulers: three billion dollars over the next five years. More...

Posted by: Shahid Alam on Sep 04, 03 | 4:38 am