Saturday, August 06, 2005

this is an archive

This site is now an archive of peace and human rights-related posts and links. It iwll no longer be updated.

All my political and personal blogging will be done on one super all-encompassing blog, My Intellectual Odyssey.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Please see my post about the London bombings on my Ramblings blog.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The fix was in

A lot of attention seems to be focussed on the following sentence in the Downing Street Memo:

"But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Ray McGovern ovserves that several right wing pundits are using smoke and mirrors to distract form this damning part of the memo. As Ray says:

In any case, on MSNBC’s Hardball on June 21 Rhodes scholar Woolsey made a frontal assault on the word “fixed.” Taking issue with interviewer David Gregory’s suggestion that the infamous sentence is about “fixing intelligence to meet the policy,” Woolsey countered:

“I think that’s not what fixing means in these circumstances. I think people are not listening to British usage. I don’t think they’re talking about cooking the books.... I think people ought to back off a bit on this notion...”

...and focus more on Saddam Hussein’s “rape rooms” (boilerplate in Woolsey’s speeches, which he managed to include later in the interview).

Other pundits have joined the smoke-machine. On June 19, Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler opined that “maybe ‘fixed’ means something different in British-speak.” And Christopher Hitchens, in an article posted on Slate the same day Woolsey went on Hardball, wrote: “Never mind for now that the English employ the word “fix” in a slightly different way—a better term might have been ‘organized.’”

Can someone explain to me how this advances the argument?

Ray then talked to a number of British friends, all of whom said that "fixed" could only mean one thing: intelligence was being fixed. In other words, the fix was in.

Ray's conclusion, with which I whole heartedly agree, is that

"Given the seriousness of the issue and the documentary nature of the evidence, my own suggestion would be to subpoena testimony from George Tenet and other senior U.S. officials whose views were reported to Blair—and the sooner the better."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

more links

Will The US Anti-War Movement Impeach Bush
Half million demand answers on Downing Street memo
Time to Impeach a War Criminal
Why George Went To War

Monday, June 20, 2005

Editors come to senses

Editors in the US are coming out against the war in Iraq and the Bush administration, largely thanks to the Downing Street Memo:

Sunday, June 19, 2005

links for Downing Street Memo

The secret Downing Street memo by Sunday Times
After Downing Street by William Rivers Pitt
The Downing Street Memos: Building a New Movement by Bernard Weiner
The Latest Downing Street Memos by David Corn
What the Hell is the Downing St. Memo -- and Who Cares? by David Benjamin
Parrying Parry: Why Hope Still Lives on Downing Street by David Michael Green
Stars and Strips Reports on Downing Street Memo by Leo Shane III
Calls for Impeachment at Downing St. Hearing by CBC News
Downing Street Memo a Growing Problem for Bush by Lawrence M O'Rourke
Democrats Cite Downing Street Memo in Bolton Fight by Associated Press
Downing Street Delusions by Kevin Drum
Hearing sought on leaked war memo by Kansas City Star
Hijacking Catastrophe -- Why Downing Street Matters? -- video
Downing Street II by Ray McGovern
NYT's Downing Street Dissembling by Patrick Doherty
His Was Not To Wonder Why by Dante Zappala
Just hearsay, or the new Watergate tapes? by David Paul Kuhn
The Kinsley Paradigm: Downsizing the Downing St. Memo by Jeffrey Koloakowski
Is 'Downing Street Memo" a smoking gun? by Tom Regan

The Downing Stree Memo: Impeach Bush

OK, I'm back, and I'm on the Downing Street Memo issue. This is an issue that the anti-Bush crowd must rally around. It's an opportunity handed on a golden platter: notes from a memo saying that the Bush administration in mid 2002 was talking about orchestrating a pre-emptive attack against Iraq.

Put aside the fact that Bush lied about WMDs, about Saddam having terrorist links, and about Iraqi involvement in 9/11. Apparently, that was not enough to keep disaster Bush from being re-elected.

Now, we have proof that the whole war was planned. Thousands of US troops died. Approximately a hundred thousand Iraqi citizens killed. And for what. A cynical self-interested scheme.

The American people should be outraged. Fortunately, there is a place for this outrage to be channeled:

The emotive and charged word "impeachment" was voiced yesterday on Capitol Hill as a clutch of Democratic congressmen, backed by distraught mothers of soldiers slain in Iraq, put together a piece of theatre that could become the summer's political drama.

John Bonifaz, a self-styled constitutional lawyer and anti-war activist, suggested there are sufficient grounds to launch an inquiry into whether the President should be impeached for lying to Congress about the justification for the war.

"The United States House of Representatives has a constitutional duty to investigate fully and comprehensively the evidence revealed by the Downing Street minutes and other related evidence, and to determine whether there are sufficient grounds to impeach George W. Bush, the President of the United States," Mr. Bonifaz said.

Impeachment, or at least an attempt at it, is essential right now. That is the only was to stop these fascists in the next four years. If Clinton can be impeached for lying about a blow job, then Bush can be impeached for lying about the war which has killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Vacalv Havel on Nonviolence (1986)

I've been reading Vaclav Havel's "Living In Truth" (1986), and I'm going to transcribe a part of it here word for word, as I can not find it anywhere on the internet. I'll tell you why afterward I think it is important to do so.

All of this, however, is not the main reason why the 'dissident movements' support the principle of legality. That reason lies deeper, in the innermost structure of the 'dissident' attitude. This attitude is and must be fundamentally hostile towards the notion of violent change -- simply because it places its faith in violence. (Generally, the 'dissident' attitude can only accept violence as a necessary evil in extreme situations, when direct violence can only be met with violence and where remaining passive would in effect mean supporting violence: let us recall, for example, that the blindness of European pacifism, was one of the factors that prepared the ground for the Second World War.) As I have already mentioned, 'dissidents' tend to be sceptical about political thought based on faith that profound social changes can only be achieved by bringing about (regardless of the method) changes in the system or in government or in the government, and the belief that such changes -- because they are considered 'fundamental' - justify the sacrifice of 'less fundamental' -- justify the sacrifice of 'less fundamental' things, in other words, human lives. Respect for a theoretical here outweighs respect for human life. Yet this is precisely what threatens to enslave humanity all over again.

'Dissident movements', as I have tried to indicate, share exactly the opposite view. They understand systemic change as something superficial, something secondary, something that in itself can guarantee nothing. Thus an attitude that turns away from abstract political visions of the future towards concrete human beings and ways of defending them effectively in the here and now is quite naturally accompanied by an intensified antipathy to all forms of violence carried out in the name of a 'better future', and by a profound belief that a future secure by violence might actually be worse that what exists now; in other words, the future would be fatally stigmatized by the very means used to secure it. At the same time, this attitude is not to be confused for political conservatism or political moderation. The 'dissident movements' do not shy away from the idea of violent political overthrow because the idea seems to radical, but because it does not seem radical enough. For them, the problem lies far to deep to be settled through mere systemic changes, either governmental or technological. Some people, faithful to the classical Marxist doctrines of the nineteenth century, understand our system as the hegemony of an exploiting class over an exploited class and, operating from the postulate that exploiters never surrender their power voluntarily, they see the only solution in a revolution to sweep away the exploiters. Naturally, they regard such things as the struggle for human rights as something hopefully legalistic, illusory, opportunistic and ultimately misleading because it makes the doubtful assumption that you can negotiate in good faith with your exploiters on the basis of a false legality. The problem is that they are unable to find anyone determined enough to carry out this revolution, with the result that they become bitter, skeptical, passive, and ultimately apathetic, in other words, they end up precisely where they system wants them to be. This is one example of how far one can be mislead by mechanically applying, in post-totalitarian circumstances, ideological models from another world and another time.

Havel wrote this in 1986. In 2003, Havel supported the US war on Iraq. He is now involved with the Committe on the Present Danger.

What happened?