Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cremation is latest battlefield in Israel's perennial religious wars

From its earliest days the Inter Religious Federation for World Peace (IRFWP), (more precisely the Council for the World's Religions (CWR), founded in 1985) recognized INTRA religious dialogue as vital and indispensable to the mission of religion and peace. Religions divided in themselves can not function reliably as dialogue partners. For this reason, CWR blazed a strong and fine trail of intrareligious dialogue greatly serving to knit together the inner factions of the world's great religious families.

Sadly this work was not properly sustained, now leaving horrible rifts in the major religions. Religion has descended further from its mission for peace when factions so misread scripture as to find justification not only for violence, but violence against innocents, and violence against our own fellow believers.

We are most accustomed to wincing at the horror of deaths among pilgrims as we see in Iraq frequently. Today however evidence of intra Jewish strife has made the news. It may seem merely like the destruction of a single and simple crematorium, but the intelligent reader will recognize in this the inner rifts in Israel that help to render it incapable of effective peace seeking for its own benefit.

Extensive reportage is found in the Signonsandiego article "Cremation is latest battlefield in Israel's perennial religious wars" .

Yitzhak Cohen, the minister for religious affairs from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, refused to condemn the fire.

History of complaints over Blackwater

The Washington Post reports this morning that

Senior Iraqi officials repeatedly complained to U.S. officials about Blackwater USA's alleged involvement in the deaths of numerous Iraqis, but the Americans took little action to regulate the private security firm until 11 Iraqis were shot dead last Sunday, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.
Before that episode, U.S. officials were made aware in high-level meetings and formal memorandums of Blackwater's alleged transgressions....

The lack of a U.S. response underscores the powerlessness of Iraqi officials to control the tens of thousands of security contractors who operate under U.S.-drafted Iraqi regulations that shield them from Iraqi laws. It also raises questions about how seriously the United States will seek to regulate Blackwater, now the subject of at least three investigations by Iraqi and U.S. authorities. Blackwater, which operates under
State Department authority, protects nearly all senior U.S. politicians and civilian officials here.

The article focuses on the history of efforts from Iraq leaders to gain the attention of US officials in response to numerous complaints. It is an important part of the puzzle.

Article here

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


The unseen surge

clipped from

A United Nations working group on the use of mercenaries said in February there were about 48,000 private employees working in support of the coalition forces in 2006, a figure about a third of the size of the U.S. military presence in Iraq and almost 10 times the deployment by the U.K.'s contingent in the country.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blackwater's ways have long been known

It is deeply tragic that it takes the death of 11 civilians to call attention to the long-known shadow army, 40,000 strong, operating in Iraq.

Blackwater is not alone among shadow operations of US corporations operating outside scrutiny and international sanctions in Iraq.

clipped from

Security firms face inquiry after 11 Iraqis die

Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, described the shooting on Sunday as "criminal" while a senior judge threatened the company with prosecution.

The incident has outraged Iraqis and revived controversy of the "shadow army" of up to 40,000 foreign armed guards who protect diplomats, airports and reconstruction projects in Iraq but are seen as operating above the law.
"This came after the flagrant assault conducted by members of the American security company Blackwater against Iraqi citizens."
A US private security officer, security firms face inquiry after death of 11 Iraqis
A US private security officer

Tasered Student

Surely millions already have read this article

The video has been viewed nearly half a million times

Still this scene must be posted in as many places as possible.

The Clintons began the police state style blocking and suppression of even the most remote semblance of dissent, and the Bush administration has carried this nasty habit of violating citizens rights all the farther.

Where this particular occasion of aggression and violation of human and civil rights came from is still under investigation

Hopefully outrage will prevail. Already UFla students have spontaneously and peacefully marched in protest.

clipped from

Student Tasered at John Kerry forum

Video: Student Tasered at John Kerry speech
Student Andrew Meyer struggles as University of Florida police try to remove him from a John Kerry forum on campus.

Student Andrew Meyer struggles as University of Florida police try to remove him from a John Kerry forum on campus.

The University of Florida said today it has asked state law enforcement officials to investigate an incident in which campus police Tasered a student as he tried to question Sen. John Kerry during a forum.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

LA Times: Quiet, withering critique

Death by a 1,000 cuts
Here are some of the lines you'll find in this article:

The Iraq stalemate

Despite Bush's bromidic calls for bipartisanship, Americans are more bitterly divided than ever, politically and morally stalemated over our responsibility for creating and for resolving what can now only be called a quagmire...

They distracted the public from the underlying problem, which is that the United States has no power to compel an Iraqi cease-fire, let alone the necessary political reconciliation...

Petraeus and Crocker avoided offering promises, or even benchmarks for progress, which have so often disappointed in the past. They were wise enough to recognize the emptiness of each event that the war's supporters have heralded as a turning point -- the capture of Saddam Hussein nearly four years ago, the two national elections, the drafting of a constitution, the killing of Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab Zarqawi last year, the formation of a government and parliament, and most recently, the "surge." By contrast, Bush's new rhetoric about a "return on success" and defending an"ally" that has requested U.S. help was twisted and misleading in the extreme.

And so on and so forth. The article is worth the read.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Analysis of the Bin Laden video

The increasingly bloated, narcissistic, and intellectually anemic, Western popular news-media tends to treat all news, including important political matters in the same vein as Access Hollywood.

This article from the Jamestown foundation on the two most recent Bin Laden tapes is subdued, reflective, and insightful.

Please read it.

09/11/2007 - By Michael Scheuer (from Terrorism Focus, September 11) - The September 7 release of a new video statement by Osama bin Laden puts to rest, at least for now, widespread speculation that he is dead, retired, or has been pushed aside by his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri [1]. With a newly trimmed and dyed beard, comfortable robes rather than a camouflage jacket, and a clear and patient speaking style, bin Laden achieved a major purpose of his speech before he said a word: he clearly showed Muslims and Americans that he was still alive, that he was healthy and not at death's door, that he spoke from secure surroundings unthreatened by the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, and that he, al-Qaeda and their allies were ready to continue the war.

read the entire article here

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Department of Oxymorons

Test: Which word does not belong in the following sentence?

U.S. intelligence knows he walked into Pakistan in 2001. They just don't know what has happened since then.

( Hint: It begins with "intelligenc..." )

The tragic irony is despite U.S. claims of a robust search effort, $10 billion of aid to Pakistan and an aggressive search by American troops on the Afghan side of the border, all efforts so far may have only served to insulate and maybe even embolden, bin Laden and al Qaeda.

"Bin Laden is not only alive, he is once again a threat to the United States," Clarke said.

Clipped from