August 25th, 2006

US is investigating Cluster Bombs “fair use” in Lebanon

As more and more UN staff is pouring into Southern Lebanon, it becomes evident what’s really going on there. In almost every village the place is littered with cluster bombs payloads. Some look like ventilator blades, others just tiny cylinders, about 1 by 2 inch. The latter are supposed to go through 3 inch steel armor. Nice stuff.

Back in the late 70′s, early 80′s, cluster bombs were supplied by the US to Israel, under certain “rules” on how to use them. One rule is they cannot be used against civilian targets. Stop reading here and think for a second will you? OK, thanks.

So, not only were complete villages covered with cluster bombs (“of course, all these villages housed terrorist Hezbollah fighters”), but the quality of the shit is obviously so bad, the place is littered with unexploded devices. And guess who is going to pick picking this stuff up, with population returning in the area? Right, the children. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to think about how the youngsters that loose friends, brothers, sisters like this will feel about it, and how willing they are to face up “the enemy”. Right, with hatred.
Read-see Seymour Hersh (New Yorker) on how Israel and the US pre-planned this war way before the two soldiers were captured. The idea was to kill Hezbollah (I don’t like Hezbollah, but they WERE elected by the people), while saying to Iran: “hey, watch out with your nuke toying”. Condi heavily involved, now on a peace mission there. Ehhh?? Anyway, seems that backfired a bit.
Now, the US, in an attempt to counter the the long established opinion that the US will back the Israeli government whatever they do, is investigating if the use of cluster bombs is in line with the agreement mentioned before. Complicating is the fact that the Israeli army has both US made as well as home brew cluster bombs in their arsenal. Anyone interested in making bets on the outcome?

ps: the fact that I am writing this ps is crazy enough in itself, but I would like to state I have nothing against Israel, Israeli’s, Jews and for that matter Arabs, Muslims, yes, Christians, fill in anything. I simply don’t care too much for lying stupid trigger happy governments, especialy as they, by definition, hold the right to use violence exclusively, which imho requires some intelligence and prudence.

Update: Jan Egeland (UN) has called Israel’s use of cluster bombs “Entirely immoral”. According to the news here (my translation back into English) he said “What is shocking and in my opinion entirely immoral is the fact that 90% of the attacks with cluster bombs were carried out in the last 72 hours of the conflict when it was certain there would be a resolution”. So far, 13 people have been killed and 46 wounded by the delayed explosions of cluster bomb “bomblets”.

August 21st, 2006

The terrorists won

Today, passengers of a Brittish aircraft bound from Malaga to Manchester, forced two “suspiciously looking” men off the aircraft, finally giving in to mix the hysterical measures (supposedly forced in the open under US government pressure) and latent racism. I think my pilot friend would call it mutiny, as the article does.

Patrick Mercer, the Tory Homeland Security spokesman, said last night: “This is a victory for terrorists. These people on the flight have been terrorised into behaving irrationally.

“For those unfortunate two men to be victimised because of the colour of their skin is just nonsense.”

In my country we joke the Germans won WWII, as they came out best economically. It’s pretty obvious the terrorists have won too. From Merriam Webster
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French terrour, from Latin terror, from terrEre to frighten; akin to Greek trein to be afraid, flee, tremein to tremble

ps: I couldn’t have said it better than in this Wired article.

August 21st, 2006

BBC News: Prescott denies calling Bush ‘crap’.

- from your non-domestic reporter -

Ben Poole is a blogger in my (IT) profession, but now and then he calls a private statement. He pointed to this item on BBC News.

“Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has denied saying the Bush administration had been “crap” on the Middle East road map – the plan for peace in the region.”

FYI, deputy prime minister is a sort of Dick Cheney for the United Kingdom. John has been given “the keys” while Tony Blair has been enjoying his vacation. Except for the denial, John has my kudos, as the total lack of Washinton diplomacy has made me very pessimistic and it seems the bad guys in the middle east are more united than ever and only a little incident is needed to set the world on fire (tension in: Afghanistan [taliban], Iran [nuke toys], Lebbanon [new tork times: US-Israeli pre planned war waiting on a soldier kidnapping], Iraq [yeah], Saudi Arabia [all our oil coming from this suppresscracy].

August 20th, 2006

VOTE “YES” on ballot measure 2 – tell out of State folks they are wrong!

This is something I wrote over a month ago. Lately, my S.O. has noticed that whenever she visits Yahoo she gets a banner headline advising her to vote “no” on prop 2 (who’s paying for this – give me a break). Ballot Measure 2 will protect Alaska, Alaskans and the water we all depend on. If it fails, we get screwed – simple as that. Tell the foriegn cruise lines (and the ad agencies in Seattle) to go fly a kite; they should respect us, not exploit us.

The foreign cruise lines that use Alaska waters to make “big bucks” have pulled out the stops and are spending huge sums of money (from “Outside”) to try to convince us Alaskans that the $50/head tax that Ballot Measure 2 would impose on cruise line pasengers visiting our state would hurt us. Ballot Measure 2 is on the ballot because a bunch of Alaskans thought it was important to let the citizens of Alaska decide if monitoring the impact of cruise ships on our State’s waters and the impact that the cruise lines have on local business should be put to a vote. I got a very slick brochure, paid for by out-of-state concerns, urging me to vote “NO” just the other day. In a word the cruise lines, and their outside supporters are full of B.S. The cruise lines don’t give 2 hoots about the impact of the tax on their clients (how much are they charging their customers now for a ride?) What the foreign cruise ship operators are worried about is what Alaska will do with the tax money collected. Specifically a portion of the funds collected, if Measure 2 is approved by the citizens of Alaska, would be used to enforce existing laws regarding the Cruise ship industries impact on our environment. What the Cruise ship operators are worried about is that if law enforcement is funded they might get fined for dumping raw sewage, diesel fuel and who knows what else into the pristine waters of Alaska (more than a few have been caught already). Not surprisingly The Anchorage Daily News (ADN) has chosen to throw its’ lot with the cruise ship owners. I think it’s ironic that ADN would argue that outside groups might be responsible for getting the measure on the ballot considering that ADN is run by a bunch of folks in California and owned by outsiders. The “tax,” a good “tax,” imposed by Ballot Measure 2 will help keep our waters clean for future tourists and thus, increase the desirability of a vacation in Alaska – not diminish the desire as the cruise lines have claimed – that’s a good thing.. VOTE YES on #2.

Addendum: The Alaska based “poster businesses” lending their names to the “vote no on Prop 2 advertising” are all, without exception, the “big operators” who fear that disclosing the monies they pay to the cruise lines will hurt their businesses, regardless of the impact that their “kick-backs” have on other small businesses who do not kick-back procedes to the cruise lines (if the majority of voters vote yes on Prop 2 the “big operators” will have to disclose what they’ve kicked-back to the cruise operators.)

August 9th, 2006

ADN, Federal & Alaska State regulators asleep on the job; local talk show host trumps them all on BP shutdown.

My jaw dropped yesterday when local talk show host Aaron Selbig asked listeners who might have worked for British Petroleum or related concerns to call into his radio show and voice their opinions on BP’s shut down of its’ Alaska based oil production in order to fix infrastructure failures at Prudhoe Bay. To my amazement, numerous callers who claimed to have worked for BP or companies supporting BP’s operations called in to Aaron’s show with claims that BP had punished employees who reported leaks. As always I ask, where is the Fourth Estate? If former BP employees are willing to call into a radio show, state their names and talk about malfeasance on the part of the oil interests in my state, it’s hard for me to believe that local and national news reporters couldn’t get a story out about the shenanigans that the oil companies have been up to for the past 20 years. Why didn’t the State of Alaska or the Feds haul BP onto the carpet years ago? Inquiring minds need to know. Hmmmm?

August 2nd, 2006

Credit when due (must read): CJR Daily: Lawrence Pintak, “Open Season on Journalists in the Middle East.”

A couple of days back I mentioned journalist Layal Najib who was killed recently in Lebanon. Lawrence Pintak wrote about Journalists and the “Middle East” on CJR Daily yesterday. I think it’s worth your time to read his piece: “Open Season on Journalists in the Middle East.”