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Palestinian Refugees: The Right of Return
Palestinian Refugees: The Right of Return
by Naseer Aruri
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from CDN$ 21.15

5.0 out of 5 stars The Palestinian case, April 14 2003
Nur Masalha in chapter 2 writes that Plan D was implemented in early 1948, officially implying the clearing and expulsion of Palestinian villages and villagers. Maslah goes through some of the 100 or so massacres by the Hagannah. For example he quotes the account of soldiers in Moshe Dayan's batallion about the massacre of 80-100 people at Al-Dawayma in October 1948. Safsaf, Oct. 1948, several dozen men dumped in a well and shot; hundreds massacre by Palmach, elite strike force of Hagannah, then hundreds more in forced march of inhabitants to Arab army lines; 70 Arab detainees massacred May 1948 at Ayn Zaytun. Hula, October 1948, Shmuel Lahis murdered perhaps up to 80 villagers he was gaurding in this Lebanese village (Masalha does not mention that Lahis later became secretary general of the Jewish agency and was amnestied after recieving a seven year prison sentence for this crime and was given a liscence to practice law by the Israeli legal council on the ground the his act carried no stigma). Masalha writes this to show that massacres were a big part of the policy of the mainstream Hagannah; not simply those of the "dissident" Irgun and Stern Gang. Masalha continues with a discussion of the explusion of thousands of Azame tribesmen from 1949 to 1956. He notes that Northern commander Yitzhak Rabin, which like his role in the Lydda and Ramle expulsion of 1948 as Palmach commander, he recounted in his memoirs his using the cover of the Suez war in October 1956 to expel thousands of Israeli Arabs in Northern Israel to Syria. It happened one day after the Kafr Qassem massacre.
Wadie Said discusses the abysmal treatment of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, where they have little chance of employment or getting the social services given to other Lebanese. They must even build their houses in their camps in ramshackle manner so as not to make them permanent. The reason given is that the government insists that the they don't want to give up the Palestinian right of return to their homes in Palestine by integrating them into their society but they are more likely actually concerned about tipping the precarious confessional balance in favor of Sunni Muslims. Said gives an instructive incident from September 1995, when Gadaffi expelled all Palestinian workers from Libya as a way of protesting the peace process but the Lebanese government insisted those coming from Lebanon couldn't return but had to reapply for a passport even though Lebanese law said they didn't need to.
Noam Chomsky that the U.S. supported Israel's rejection of Sadat's offer to recognize Israel in return for the Sinai in February 1971. When the Arab states and the PLO supported a resolution in January 1976 calling for adding a Palestinian state to resolution 242, promising to let Israel live in peace and security, the U.S. vetoed it but a month before Israel had engaged in a "preventive" bombing of Beirut, killing 57 civillians in Beirut to let the security council know what it thought while it was deliberating.
Salman Abu Sitta presents his scheme for possibly resettling refugees within Pre-1967 Israel. He reasons that there is alot of land available seeing as how only 14 percent of Israeli Jews live on 78 percent of the land. The refugees for instance could fit right in to their former homes in the Galilee which is already majority Arab anyway. In the Negev there is lots of space. Most of the Kibbutzim, which are mostly bankrupt in the area could easily be replaced by Arab farmers. However Israeli policy as crafted by Sharon and Rafi Eitan as ministers in Netanyahu's government in the late 90's has been to sell off the Kibbutz land i.e. former Palestinian land at exhorbitant prices to be shared with the former Kibbutzers to developers who will build houses for Jewish immigrants.
Jan Abu Shakrah gives a fascinating overview of the situation of the Arab Jews that came to Israel following that country's creation. In Iraq, she writes, there was no official discrimination but many Jews faced employment discrimination and were subjected to propaganda urging them to immigrate by Israel. In 1951, to try to stop the drain on the economy caused by the flight of Iraqi Jews, the government froze all assets of those leaving, giving them two months to return, with the exception of the elderly and students. The Jewish elite of Iraq, about 5,000 stayed on probably until the nationalist upheavals and the rise of Ba'athism and continued to exercise influence, administiring the "abandoned" Jewish property. In 1950 and 51, the Mossad launched a terrorist campaign in Iraq to try to make Iraqi Jews leave. Called Operation "Ali Baba" it was written about by one of its participants, an Iraqi Jew named Naeim Giladi who established a panel to seek reparations for abandoned Jewish property, holding Israeli officials and the Iraqi officials that they colluded with and bribed accountable, along with the Western governments. She notes that it is curious that no pother is made about Jewish property in Yemen. The airlift of Jews out of there was apparently made with the agreement of that government. She also interestingly says that the Allon affair or "the mishap" as Israelis like to call it where Israel sent agents to bomb American and British cultural centers in Egypt in the Summer of 1954. with the apparent attempt to disrupt relations between Egypt and the West but Abu Shakrah claims also that it was designed to terrorize Egyptian Jews into coming to Israel.

Iron Wall
Iron Wall
by Avi Shlaim
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.62
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good history by a serious moderate historian, April 3 2003
Ce commentaire est de: Iron Wall (Paperback)
Shlaim writes that a main reason for the Arab states invading Palestine in May 1948 was to undermine the abmitions of King Abdullah, who had agreed to partition Palestine with the Zionists in November 1947. He writes that Israel avoided peace offers from Syria and Jordan in 1948-49.
He writes that Israel committed many atrocities while making searches in Israeli Arab villages for Palestinian "infiltrators." Most of these infiltrators, he writes, had come back for social or economic reasons to the land from which they had been cleansed in 1948 and between 1949 and 1956, Israel managed to kill between 2700 and 5000 of these persons, the vast majority of them unarmed. Israel insisted on the view that the Arab states were deliberately sponsoring the infilitration, when Israeli officials he quotes like deputy intelligence chief Yehoshafat Harkabi were aware that Jordan was trying to restrain the infiltration as best they could. He quotes defense minister Pinhas Lavon that Israel was deliberately sending military units into Jordan and committing atrocities but claiming to be responding to some fraudulent atrocity against Israel. Israel tried to disrupt relations between the West and Nasser's Egypt in the summer of 1954 by sending agents to bomb British and American installations in Egypt in what came to be known as the Lavon affair or "the mishap" as Israelis like to euphemistically call it. Likewise Israel hijacked a Syrian civillian airliner in December 1954, claiming that five Israelis had been kidnapped, but he notes that Sharett, whose diary he quotes alot, eventually went public that the five had actually infiltrated into Syria to take care of a wiretap on a telephone line.
The February 28 1955 Israeli raid on Gaza, Shlaim writes, destroyed the secret talks between Egyptians and Israeli envoys. After this Nasser began actively supporting fedayeen terror against Israel. The border between the two had been quiet in the previous months except for the killing of a cyclist and Sharett expressed irritation in his diary that Ben Gurion felt the need to make up a story that the raid had resulted from an Egyptian military unit invading Israel. In the run-up to the Suez war, he writes, Israeli plans for territorial expansion reached their heights. He quotes Sharett's diary on plans in 1954 for annexing Southern Lebanon up to the Litani river and installing a friendly Christian regime in Beirut, and destabilizing the Hashemite regime in Jordan and handing control over it to Iraq. They discussed taking the Sinai and exploiting oil deposits there with the French. Egypt had no right to it Ben Gurion wrote in his diary, because it was attached to it by Britain in the late 19th century, taken from the Turks. Ben Gurion read a few books that asserted, based on interpretation of the Byzantine writer Procopius, that an ancient Jewish kingdom had existed on the islands of Tiran and Sanafir in the Gulf of Aqaba and became convinced that Israel had a right to control the Straits of Tiran.
He calls the 1967 war a pre-emptive attack of self-defense on Israel's part. But he also writes that it was basically rooted in the Israeli-Syrian feuding over the Demilitarized zones from the 1949' armistice. He quotes a conversation with journalist Rami Tal that Moshe Dayan had in the mid-70's that was published in 1997 where Dayan estimated that at least 80 percent of the incidents since 1949 between Syria and Israel in the DMz's were provoked by Israel. He dismisses Dayan's suggestion that the Israeli settlers near the Golan Heights were only concerned about grabbing that territory for themselves instead of genuinely being about protection from Syrian shelling. He writes that they only mentioned security and nothing about land in their meetings with government officials.
The 1973 war, he shows, was significantly caused by Israel's settlement building in the Sinai as well as its rejection of Sadat's February 1971 for recognizing Israel in return for the Sinai and proposals for demilitarizing the Sinai.
On Lebanon, he calls the Qana massacre an error on Israel's part. He does give an interesting account of what Sharon hoped to achieve by the war, namely the destablization of King Hussein and the "transfer" of Palestinians to the East Bank of the Jordan.
On the peace process, he was highly optomistic about it though he admits that Labor governments as well as those of Likud were the cause of injustices to Palestinians:increased settlement building, the encirclement of Jerusalem by Israeli settlement blocks, cutting off the West Bank from East Jeruasalem, the continued application of Israeli military ordnances instead of the fourth Geneva conventions, the continued lack of security of Palestinians from abuses by Israeli soldiers and settlers. I don't think he is quite right when he says that Har Homa was suspended by the Rabin-Peres government: it was actually approved to go forward in February 1996 and be implemented at the same time and manner as Netanyahu did.
In his intro to the paperback edition dated September 2000 he does not get too much into the unpleasant specifics of the July 2000 proposal for a Palestinian state such as Israel's control over water and the by-pass roads. He just says that the "state" offered would be "weak, demilitarized and territorially divided."

Iraq Under Siege, Updated Edition: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions and War
Iraq Under Siege, Updated Edition: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions and War
by Anthony Arnove
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.00
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read this for comfort in these viscious times, March 28 2003
People going out of their minds from the pathological jingoism and pentagon produced santizied media coverage should read this book. Reading the essays by people like Kathy Kelly , a real hero, of Voices in the Wilderness, an utterly wonderful organization, is somewhat soothing. And to read about the depleted uranium that our troops are being exposed to....
Anthony arnove quotes a Washington post article from June 2000 that the little notice "No-fly zone" bombings were regularly killing civilians.. During the Gulf war, our "smart bombs" hit water treatment facilities, electrical plants, and other such vital civilian infrastructure leading to the indirect murder of tens of thousand of Iraqis. Under "dual use" bans imposed by the U.S. Iraq has not been able to import vital medicines, spare parts and chemicals like chlorine for water treatment, fertilizers to fight agricultural plagues. So Iraqis drink water filled with sewage and die hideous deaths in hospitals which don't have equipment or medicine. And it is noted that John Negroponte our ambassador to the UN did not mention that at the time of the passage of resolution 1409 in May 2002, the U.S. was blocking on the UN sanctions committee over 5 billion in Iraqi requests for vital civilian supplies. They have not been able to repair transportation systems to transport food or repair warehouses or get air-conditioned trucks to transport goods in the heat.
Noam Chomsky points out how the Republicans in the 80's were authorising the shipments to Saddam of materials to build his WMD arsenal. And plenty of credits to buy agricultural produce: in december 1989 Bush Sr. announced a major increase. Iraq needed to import food because Saddam had ruined Iraq's northern breadbasket in the 80's. Bob Dole and other senators came to soothe him in the Kurdish city of Mosul in April 1990 about a few scattered negative reports in the American press about him. He points out that the U.S. helped Saddam crush the post-gulf war rebellions; Schwartzkopf allowed Iraqi aircraft to fly over U.S. lines to crush it. The U.S. preferred Saddam Hussein to stay in power and then maybe some pro-U.S. "iron fisted junta" as Chomsky quotes the New York Time's Thomas Friedman, could take his place and hold Iraq together as well as Saddam did back in the 80's to the approval Turkey, the Saudis and the U.S.
Dr. Peter Pellet points out that the Kurdish North benefited during the sanctions era because it is the breadbasket of Iraq and it received more than 50 percent per capita oil for food aid than the Saddam controlled part of the country. NGO's also gave a lot more aid to it.
Sharon Smith points out that this is a prime time for anti-war organizing. What with the obvious links of the Bush administration to the corporate knavery of the 90's and their accelleration of the attack on worker's rights. With regard to the latter she notes the Longshoreman were threatened and finally forced back to work by the invocation of Taft-Hartley in Oct. 2002. She points out that much of the promised food aid to starving Afghans has not materialized and the Northern Alliance judges have ruled that women running away from their husbands will only be jailed, not killed as under the Taliban. She points to some success in organizing: I like her reference to the disruption of the staged "town meeting" conducted by Clinton officials in February 1998 where that ruthless killer Miss Albright was flustered by a question about U.S. funding of Indonesia's occupation and genocide in East Timor.
Barbara Nimri Aziz has an really moving and profound essay about this intellectual couple in Baghdad who were full of life in spite of being deprived of books and periodicals by the sanctions. The husband dropped dead of a heart attack, part of the enormous rise in heart problems caused by the deprivation of the sanctions. Iraqis before 1990, in spite of the Ba'ath regime had produced a vigorous society that was in many ways close to the first world. The U.S. dosen't like third world people who do well. The bombing and sanctions have crushed ordinary Iraqis as many people have suddenly discovered(while their leaders whom Americans were suddenly told to hate after 8/02/90 have prospered quite well).
Dennis Halliday argues that the part of UN resolution 687 should be implented which calls for removing all WMD from the Middle East. He callslifting the sanctions from Iraq, once it fully complies with inspections and dropping the threat to overthrow the regime even if it does comply. It involves lifting the sanctions to empower the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam. Not realistic anymore obviously but a good plan. It is noted in the endnotes to Halliday's and Phyllis Bennis's interview with David Barsamian that the U.S. is the biggest arms trader in the Middle east, selling at least a billion dollars worth to governments like Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey.

Against War with Iraq: An Anti-War Primer
Against War with Iraq: An Anti-War Primer
by Michael Ratner
Edition: Paperback
23 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Good summary of why this war is aggression, March 21 2003
Written before the current jihad began, but no less useful, this book outlines why the U.S. has no authority to unilalaterally bomb a sovereign country. Resolution 1441 stated merely a listed of extremely heavy conditions for Iraq to comply or else it would be declared in "material breach." It called for the convening of the security council to hear the inspector's report. There was nothing explicitly granting the United states to bomb if Iraq was declared in "material breach." Article 51 of the UN charter declares that no state can act militarily against another without security council approval or if they country is under immediate and sustained attack. The UN charter does not endorse the doctrine now explicity endorsed by the extreme reactionaries currently at the helm of power in Washington that the U.S. has the right to "pre-emptively" attack any country it feels to be threatened by, even if that threat is not imminent.
They note that the U.S. has obtained security council votes in an extremely compromsing way. E.G. cutting off aid to Yemen after it voted against a U.S. draft resolution back in 1990. They note that congressman Henry Gonzales drafted a bill of impeachment against Bush Sr. for the many "bribes and threats" used to get UN approval. In current times, it seems some backroom deals have been made with the French and the Russians to secure their existing oil contracts with Saddam post-war which is what the latter are really concerned about. American oil companies will probably have first pick of the oil resources. The Americans will install a pro-American government that will do America's bidding in the oil rivalries with OPEC, they write.
And indeed the authors point out that Iraq is not an imminent threat, that U.S. intelligence deny this. They note that Richard Butler reported to the security council in January 1999 that the inspection process had made Saddam "substantially disarm." They quote the conservative anaylst Anthony Cordesman that it is likely that stocks of biological and chemical weapons retained by Iraq after the gulf war have lost their viability. They quote Scott Ritter that the 800 or so mustard gas shells that Iraq is reportedly to have, does not represent any sort of option for them on the battlefield. Nor do the dozen or so blastic missles. And they do not have the technology to produce any significant amount of VX nerve gas, and the equipment they did have was found and destroyed by the inspectors in 96' and found never to have been used. They note that the International Atomic energy agency certified in October 1997 that Iraq was in "full, final and complete" compliance with its nuclear weapons program. They note in an endnote that the evidence about Iraq trying to gain enriched uranium from Africa is very tenuous, it simply does not have the infrastructure (this book was published before it came out from the IAEA that U.S. documents purporting to show Iraq's aquisition of uranuim from Niger were forgeries).
They point out, of course, Saddam's regime is unbelievabably bestial but that did not bother United States and its British lietenant when he was "gassing his own people" back in the 80's. They gave him substantial support to build up his arsenal of WMD. The link to Bin Laden is unlikely for the supposed meeting in the Czech republic seemed not to have taken place and Saddam would not want to give weapons to independent-minded fundamentalists who have a goal of overthrowing his secular dictatorship.
Most importantly they note that people seem not to care much about the humanitarian impact on Iraqis. U.S. bombing has and will continue to destroy much of Iraq's vital civilian infrastructure. Estimates vary about total casualties: from like 48,000 to 200,000. If Saddam does have any substantial WMD and is backed into a corner, there is no doubt he will use them. Various nations with bad human rights records like Russia, China, India, Israel have a green light to conduct terrorism in the name of fighting terrorism. Wahabi terrorism increased in late 2002 and will surely do so as a result of what happens in Iraq.
They note in an endnote that the dim-witted disciple of Jesus currently in the white house was not telling the truth when he said that Iraq was diverting oil for food money for weapons. Such money is placed in an escrow account in New York with purchases made by it directed by the United nations. They note that it is rather unlikely the president's claim that Iraq has possessions of drones that are capable of flying undetected accross other countries and U.S. military bases to bomb the United States.

Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus & the Heart of Contemporary Faith
Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus & the Heart of Contemporary Faith
by Marcus J. Borg
Edition: Paperback
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fine exposition of a humane Christianity, March 20 2003
The author begins this book by giving an overview of his own bouts with scripture from Childhood to adulthood. He grew up in rural North Dakota and was schooled in traditional Lutheran doctrines. He started to emerge from the state of precritical naivete in his teenage years and started applying the scientific method in discerning the accuracy of the bible for himself and came dangerously close to the notion that it was all merely a bunch of folk stories passed down by generations in ancient Palestine.
He learned more about varying interpretations of the bible at his lutheran university and seminary school and eventually decided to devote himself to studying Jesus but his doubts remained. To make a long story short, he resolved those doubts many years ago. He is one of the premiere Jesus scholars in the country.
In brief he argues that the evidence shows that Jesus was a mere human being who did not believe that he was divine or the son of god or preached that the world was coming to an end. Such was how the Christian community in the decades and centuries after Jesus's death chose to put down his messages in the gospels and elsewhere, adapted to their own time and spiritual experiences. Jesus was a spirit person, Dr. Borg writes, one who experienced another layer of reality than other humans, one who had visions of such reality. Such visions are common writes Dr. Borg, accross the great religions of the world, within the context of their own cultures. They all experienced god as he is found in nature and in other humans; he is all around us, not merely somebody up in the sky.
Jesus was a spirit person. Throughout the bible, particularly Proverbs, the Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach, the spirit is spoken of as what translates into Greek as Sophia. Jesus is recorded in the New Testament as refering to himself as a child of Sophia. In Chapter 5 "Jesus, the wisdom of god" he connects the passage on "logos" in the book of John to the previous discourses about Sophia being with god during the creation of the world and imbibed with his wisdom and power since logos or "word" is spoken of in the same way as Sophia. The spirit of Sophia eventually "became flesh and dwelt among us." In other words Sophia inserted herself into human beings, there for inviduals to discover if they tried. He writes "Jesus is the incarnation of divine Sophia. Sophia became flesh. " Jesus is called the child of Sophia, a child of the spirit, as he is called "son of god," "lamb of god," "the word of god"and other metaphors. There is certainly no actual evidence that he was actually biologically descended from god or was a lamb or whatever.
His vision is one of compassion. He is against applying the old Jewish purity system in Christianity; after all this is what Jesus fought against. He writes that what little the bible says about homosexuality, in Leviticus in the old testament, is rooted in that purity system of the second temple period. Jesus, in the tradition of the Old testament prophets was against conventional wisdom. Using the wisdom of Jesus and the philosophy of Paul, Dr. Borg advocates neither "believing" in Jesus nor following a bunch of rules to get into heavan. It is necessary to "know" God, to become a spirt person like Jesus. "To know" in Hebrew remarks Dr. Borg is the same word for sexual intercourse. One can feel something like the estacy people may or may not feel in the latter in knowing God. In cahapter 6 "Images of Jesus," he argues that the bible "priestly story" has been subverted into a tool of theological docility. This message of deliverance from sin is not meant to be a justification for pouring out one's soul to pastors and being absolved by them but one of personal freedom. Freedom from the burden of having guilt over one's past sins. God loves all of us no matter what. The same with the story of the deliverance from slavery of the Jews and their Babalonyan exile. The latter two tend to be downplayed in the Christian tradition; they talk about freedom from slavery, metaphors journey towards spiritual freedom freed by constraints and so on.
Not that he was really a feminist, but Jesus was against the subordinate status of women in the second temple period. Women were to a large extent segregated from men in public life and adult women had to be veiled. They couldn't be educated. He had a large number of lady followers, whom he accepted on equality. Paul too did so; in an endnote, he writes that many scholars have come to believe that Paul did not write the "anti-woman" passages in 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. It may have been written several generations after Paul by a supposed disciple of him seeking to subvert his message.
Jesus was a Jew, he notes. His early followers were Jews. Most of the authors of the New Testament were Jews. A small band of Jewish collaborators with the Romans played a role in his execution. He was in a line of tradition of the Jewish prophets of the old testament subverting the status quo and conventional wisdom. It seems quite amazing how many Christians do not know of Jesus's Jewishness. In an endnote, he quotes the author Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza on her experience in teaching an adult education class at her parish where she had a difficult time convincing her class of Jesus's Jewishness and one of her students responded "But the blessed mother for sure is not"
i should say that I am well within the agnostic camp. This book did not change that. I was compelled to read this in a religous class at my secular Lutheran university. I'm not convinced about the divinity of the experiences of "spirit people." This is a scholarly book with a prose style that can be slightly dry in the second half of it.But societies could certainly not go wrong, certainly no worse than they are now, following the version of Christianity in this book.

Power and Terror: Post 911 Talks and Interviews
Power and Terror: Post 911 Talks and Interviews
by Noam Chomsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.10
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5.0 out of 5 stars Something new and refreshing from Chomsky, March 10 2003
Chomsky notes that in the December 2002 issue of "Current History", distinguished academics praise the US war on Nicaragua as an example of successful defense against terror. He notes how the U.S. rejected the 1986 ruling of the world court to stop terrorising Nicaragua and veoted a UN resolution calling on all countries to observe international law and then officially authorized the Contra's to start hitting "soft targets" like hospitals and farms until the Nicaraguan people threw the Sandansitas out. The Current History historians list the biggest terrorist atrocities in 1985, the peak of the terror plague, as one the killing, of a US military officer in a hijacking and the killing of Leon Klinghoffer. This while Israel was slaugtering people in Lebanon and massacring Tunisans and a CIA car bomb killed 80 people in Beirut. Chomsky says the atrocities mentioned by Current History were indeed abominable things, though quite comparable with atrocities witnessed in early 2002 such as an Israeli tank, subsidised as they all are by the U.S. taxpayer, crushing a man in a wheel chair in Jenin or a young woman dying in the occupied territories because Israeli soldiers blocked her at the checkpoints from getting to a dialysis treatment at a hospital. He notes that the U.S. did order Sharon to remove Israeli tanks from Palestinian population centers in early 2002, because that was interfering with Dick Cheney's unsuccessful mission to the Arab world to try to get its Arab allies to support war on Iraq.
Maybe the most interesting section of the book is an account of his visit to Turkey in early 2002. He quotes Osman Baydemir as saying that by early 2002 three million Kurds were internal refugees with 50,000 slaughtered by the Turkish security.... He discusses several incidents: Baydemir getting hauled before the state security court for using the Kurdish word for a New Year's celebration instead of the Turkish word in article, getting presented with a Kurdish-English dictionary after one of his talks, a really staggeringly subversive act in Turkey, a leading dissident .spending years in jail for writing about Turkish ethnic cleansing of Kurds, but refusing an offer from the U.S government's International fund for free expression, because he would not take support from the government that was so heavily funding his oppressors.
After he went to Turkey, he went to Colombia where U.S. military aid is funding 80 percent of the atrocities in that war, committed by the Colombian military and their paramilitary proxies. He notes that Colombian human rights is improving: recently a commander was removed from his post after his unit chain-sawed some peasants into pieces. He notes that Colombia does indeed go one better than our enemy in Cuba for it allowed an independent political party years ago, even though a couple thousand of its elected officials were assassinated by the paramilitaries. This fumigation he says has led to the widespread detruction of crops and farm animals. "Children are dying, you can see them with scabs all over their bodies and things like that." A side benefit of all this, he writes is that these peasants will flee into the big city and now the land will be cleared for strip mining, monoculture for agro-export, and other acitivities of benefit to the rich and powerful. He also notes our current embargo against blocking half a billion dollars in International American development bank loans that are designed to try to repair Haiti's health system and reverse the decline in life expectancy, all the while Haiti is forced to pay interest on these loans. In the meantime death squad leader Emanuel Constant is protected from extradition by the U.S....
He notes that Clinton plan for a Palestinian state in 2000 was actually a plan for 4 divided cantons in the West Bank, worse than anything apartheid self Africa planned for its blacks. Clinton started selling huge numbers of helicopters to Israel after it started firing on Palestinian apartment houses at the beginning of the Intifada. Clinton began the process of the U.S. "abstaining" on the issue of the applicability of the Geneva convention to the occupied territories. Bush Jr.'s regime has vetoed UN resoultions on having international monitors in the territories and did not attend a December 2001 conference on the Geneva conventions/territories that was even attended by its loyal lapdog Britain.
About Saddam, he notes what a difficult thing it is for intellectuals to address past U.S. support for him when he was gassing his own people. He suspects that the U.S. will not lean towards establishing a democratic facade in Iraq because that would have to give voice to the Shiite majority in the South who would lean toward Iran and the Kurds will want autonomy that Turkey will not stand for. He remembers the time Bob Dole led a Senate delegation to visit Saddam in early 1990 and gave him warm greetings from Bush Sr. and told him not to pay attention to occasional criticisms of him in the U.S. media and assured him that an anti-Saddam Voice of America commentator was being removed.
In a kind of funny remark, he wonders why people call him an apologist for Bin Laden and don't say the same about the Wall Street Journal or the National Security council from 1958..
On the Kosovo war, he notes that it documents from Western governments allege that the Kosovo Liberation army was conducting most of the atrocities at the point of January 2001 and things did not change much over the next few months. And that atrocities and refugee flight sharply escalated after the verification monitors were withdrawn and the U.S. started bombing. He notes that in the trials of the Serb criminals at the Hague, keep to atrocities that started after the U.S. bombing.

Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You
Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You
by Norman Solomon
Edition: Paperback
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good presentation of info being denied by the media, Feb. 25 2003
The authors point out the media dosen't cover the hundred thousand civillian deaths in the first gulf war; dosen't refer to the destruction of Iraq's water and sewage treatment systems and just about all the rest of Iraq's civillian infrastructure by the bombings...
Erlich has a section devoted to wheather this coming war is about oil. He notes that the U.S. would greatly prefer to get its hands directly on Iraqi oil: a post-Saddam Iraqi government would probably privitize the industry into the hands of U.S. companies and adopt the oil policies the U.S. likes at OPEC. He quotes an article from the British press apparently sourced from British Petroleum that Ahmad Chalabi, head of the INC met with officials from three American oil companies and promised to divide Iraq's oil resources between them as a reward for the U.S. toppling Saddam. Not that they wouldn't want to do business w/Saddam...Dick Cheney as head of Haliburton advocated lifting sanctions on Iraq before he became the VP canidate. Haliburton stands to get huge reconstruction contracts for Iraq's oil industry after the war.
Solomon points out how the U.S. got security council authorization in the last war. Yemen lost 70 million dollars in aid in late 1990 for vetoing a U.S. rough draft resolution and other rotating security council members were threatened w/a similar fate. Similarly in late 2002 Mauritius withdrew its UN ambassador after he opposed a U.S. rough draft, not willing to risk a cut-off of U.S. aid.
Seth Ackerman of FAIR has a section on media treatment of the U.S. using inspections to spy and scout targets for bombing.
Appendix 2 is an analyses by Institute for Public accuracy experts of George W. Bush's speech in Cincinanti on October 7th. They respond to the president's pieties about stopping evil dictators from terrorising the world by pointing to the U.S. funding of Suharto's bloody rule and occupation of East Timor, the U.S. support for perpetrators of aggression like Morroco, Turkey and Israel and its own invastion of Panamma in contravention of UN resoultions and its refusal to pay billions in reparations to Nicaragua as called for by the World Court for its support of the terrorist contras. Others point out that the U.S. authorized the sending to Iraq of the seed stock of Iraq and many other lethal biological agents in the 80's when Saddam really was dangerous.
The experts like Phyllis Bennis, Francis Boyle, Mahajan, Glen Ragwala and James Jennings point out how resolution 1441 calls for the Iraq to grant access to stuff it has never been required to give accounting of before like possible unmanned aerial veichles, their parts and paperwork related to them as well as all Ballistic missle parts and records instead of just missles with a range of over 150 KM. It required Iraq to turn over all materials and records related to its chemical manufactuers even those unrelated to WMD within thirty days, a very impossible task to create 100 percent accounting for, giving the U.S. the opportunity to declare Iraq in material breach. It called for the inspectors to bring any equipment into Iraq that they wished obviously including devices that could be used for spying and the power to declare unspecified areas "exclusion zones"...The inspectors have the right to demand any Iraqi citizen and their families be taken out of the country for questioning about SAddam's WMD. Many are going to likely take this route for they want to get out of Iraq and will exagerate Saddam's threat, telling the U.S. what it wants to hear so they can get prestige. 1441 implies the continuation of U.S. policy through the UN of refusing to lift the sanctions once Saddam fully accounts for his WMD as called for in resolution 687, thus giving the Iraqi regime a heavy incentive to continue not to completely cooperate

A People's History of the United States
A People's History of the United States
by Howard Zinn
Edition: Paperback
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books, Feb. 8 2003
Dr. Zinn starts off with Colombus's first encounter with the Americas. That is to say, with the Arawak indians, whom, Colombus wrote in his diary were very naive and friendly and offered him many gifts. After these observations, Colombus wrote that they would make fine servants and that with fifty men "we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we wan't." Zinn quotes De La Casas's description of the enslavement and genocide of the Carribean Indians. He notes that the great historian Samuel E. Morrison used the word "genocide" to describe Colombus's policies back in his celebrated book on Colombus in 1954. However this is lost in the middle of a book slobbering over Colombus as a courageous sailor and one driven by a devotion to god.
He notes that African societies also had slaves. But their systems were like European serfdom. Slaves could marry into their masters family, own property, testify in court. All in societies more egalitarian and with women considerably more empowered than in European societies. In contrast to the race-based chattel slavery peculiar to the Americas.
Zinn's overriding point in this book is that class warfare is as During the revolutionary war there was continuing riots of the poor over the profiteering of merchants and the impressment of poor people into the army (the rich could get out by paying a few hundred dollars for a substitute).
The constitution was written by the wealthy minority of the country, he points out, who devised a very strong central government. He quotes James Madison explaining in Federalist paper #10 that the constitution aimed to eliminate factional strife and he listed the principle causes of such strife: demands for redistribution of land held by the wealthy elite, the issuing of paper money to pay off debts and any other "improper and wicked object."
He writes about Andrew Jackson from the point of view of the southern Indians whom he helped drive off by encouraging terror against them and a lust for new land by speculators. He notes the case of Samuel Worcester and his missionary colleagues who were sentenced to hard labor by the state of Georgia for supporting the rights of the Cherokees, with Jackson refusing to enforce the ruling of the Supreme court saying that the arrest of Worcester & co. violated the Indian treaties. This in contrast to Jackson's attacks on South Carolina for refusing to accept a federal tarrif, an episode that so engrosses modern historians.
He writes interestingly that the populist movement was a complex movement. A multi-racial political machine actually elected blacks and whites locally in East Texas in the 1890's before being destroyed by white supremacist terror. Texas and Arkansas and Georgia populists actually tried to be multi-racial; for instance the 1896 Georgia populist party platform condemned lynching even while populists in the Georgia legislature were passing waves of anti-black legislation.
He gives an interesting statistic about the Spanish-American war. Only about 380 of 5,000 plus deaths of American soldiers during the war died in combat. The rest were subjected to bad living conditions, having to use food and other resources of bad quality sold by contractors to the government at hugely inflated prices. He notes government reports about food poisoning in soldier's food. Far from the first time he shows. He gives the example of J.P. Morgan during the Civil War making a fortune selling defective guns at inflated prices that he gotten from the army back to the army, and resulted in many soldiers getting maimed. He quotes the reports of soldiers, journalists and others from that war of the mass atrocities, mass tortures and the extreme racism of that war fought to "civilize" the filipinos. He notes that labor was initially uneasy about the war before it began. He quotes an International Machinists union journal writer who pointed out that at about the time the U.S.S. Maine was mysteriously blown up and much anguish in the American media followed, massacres of American workers like the 18 protesting miners who were gunned down in Pennslyvania after refusing to disperse for police, elicited no noticeable outrage.
The "progress" made by Industrialization he points was not shared with the majority of Americans. He notes that while many immigrants came to America during this period, many of them would leave. Agitation during the "progressive" era compelled tiny reforms and tokenism by the white supremacist Theodore Roosevelt. Socialists picked up as much of a third of the votes in places like Chicago and New York in 1917. The IWW was at the height of its influence. He quotes the Committee on Industrial relations that 35,000 people were killed and 700,000 injured at work in 1914 alone. In the 1920's during the "Jazz age" there were about 25,000 workers killed and 100,000 permanently disabled annualy, he writes. He notes that in this great period, supposedly stimulated by 1923 tax cuts for the rich, 42 percent of families made less than a 1,000 dollars a year. 1/10 of one percent of the top one percent of families owned as much wealth as the bottom 42 percent. He quotes letters of people to congressman Fiorello Laguardia of people expressing the anguish of barely surviving from day to day.
The New Deal, he writes, was designed only to stabilize the capitalist system. Roosevelt was against the Wagner bill granting basic rights to workers until the strikes in Minneapolis and San Francisco in late 1934 made passing the bill necessary for stability. He points out that 9 million people were still unemployed in 1938. There were 4 million unemployed at the end of the last economic slump back in 1921.

The New Crusade: America's War on Terrorism
The New Crusade: America's War on Terrorism
by Rahul Mahajan
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 22.35
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I've read on the war on terror, Jan. 3 2003
ountry, without evidence to his guilt presented. And, according to the London Daily Telegraph, the Taliban had agreed to extradite Bin Laden to Pakistan where he would be tried within the framework of Islamic law before an international tribuanal, which would decide to try him themselves or extradite him to the U.S. Apparently General Musharaff scuttled the deal, obviously under U.S. pressure. The author notes that the U.S. demanded that the Taliban open all "terrorist training camps" to U.S. inspection and the Taliban must hand over everyone in the vaguely defined "terrorist support structure" of Al Qaida. No sovereign state could accept these demands; thus the bar was set so high for the Taliban that war was inevitable. The author says that this war is simply about terrorising third world countries who refuse U.S. demands. Getting Bin Laden is a goal but it is really further down the list. The author points out that the threat of bombing and then the bombing itself caused the creation of about a million internal refugees within Afghanistan, severely exacerbating the humanitarian crises in that country. The threat of bombing and then the bombing forced aid agencies in the country to suspend their work most of the time. He quotes a Christian Aid official as saying that the humanitarian crises during the bombing was not related to the Taliban blocking the relief efforts but the U.S. bombing. He points out that with seven million people desperately needing food in the midst of the bombing, the U.S. government had to cover its tracks a bit. This was done by dropping 37,000 food packets on the country, ridiculous not just for the small number compared to the actual needy, but, as was denounced by the aid agencies, it is very difficult to distribute food to the needy that way. Aid agencies argued that it was perniscious that humanitarian aid was being dropped with bombs. The author points out that the U.S. really didn't block aid distribution after the Taliban fell; they just really didn't do anything to help that distibution, whatever the rhetoric. The author notes that the heroic efforts of the World Food Program averted widespread starvation for a few months last December. The WFP said that the danger of widespread famine was over but other agencies said it was only not a danger for a few months. The speculates that tens of thousands of people at minimum died because of the cutoff aid caused by the threat of bombing then the bombing from September to December 2001. This in adition to the probably 4,000 people who died from the bombs themselves or who accidently picked up a cluster bomb, which were strikingly resembled the yellow food and medicine packets that the U.S. was dropping as part of its sham humanitarian operations. The U.S. packets with medicine had instruction for dispensing written in English for a nation of people, the vast majority of whom can't read their own language.
The author notes that a hundred people were dying a day in January at the camp of Maslakh near Herat and that there was still numerous reports of inability to access isolated villages cut off by snow. Those villagers of course, were surviving by eating bread made of grass. The author notes that the amount of banditry and lawlessness, particularly harming aid distribution, vastly increased with the Northern alliance takeover of the country. And the author notes that the Northern Alliance barbarians, though including a few women in their government-- greatly impressing Western intellectuals-- instituted a harsh farm of Sharia (Islamic law) law and a judge announced that adulterers would still be stoned but with smaller ones than the Taliban used.
The author says some other interesting things. He refers to the furor about the CIA being "restricted" from doing business with terrorists, by the Church committe of the 70's, the law passed in 1995 requring CIA agents to get permission from headquarters to business with human rights violators and so on. He notes that the CIA managed to fund its largest operation ever in the 80's supporting the Al Qaida-types in the 80's in Afghanistan. He quotes Carter's National security advisor Zbygniew Brzesinski as as saying that the United States had been covertly funding the fundamentalist fanatics in Afghanistan, trying to provoke the Russians, at least six months before the Russians invaded in December 1979. He notes that it dosen't look very smart to give even more power to an organization, the CIA, that created, funded, armed and trained these "Afghan Arabs" organizations like Al Qaida and then left them to be set loose on the world. He points out that the CIA was able to fund very well the terrorist contras in Nicaragua. And he quotes the CIA spokesman as saying under the 1995 rule, agents have been rarely refused requests to work with various thugs.
He discusses other matters like the U.S. forcing the shutdown of the Hawala money transfer affiliate in Somalia, on the grounds of its suspected ties to Al Qaida, though no actual evidence has been found of it (U.S. government assertions don't count). The author speculates about the closure of the prime way of getting money into Somalia will lead or has led to the deaths of many thousands of people. He notes that the U.S. "humanitarian mission" in Somalia back in 1992-93 was actually intended to secure a foothold in a strategically important and mineral rich area. It had been undertaken after most of the famine was over. After funding the Somali dictator Mohammed Siad Barre, overthrown in 1991, whose bloody rule was largely responsible for bringing the famine about, the U.S. managed to kill 7,000 to 10,000 people during this intervention. Nobody remembers or even knows about that but they remember the American servicemen killed.

War on Iraq
War on Iraq
by William Rivers Pitt
Edition: Paperback
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Republican causes discord in a jingoist frenzy, Jan. 3 2003
Ce commentaire est de: War on Iraq (Paperback)
Ritter says that Iraq's nuclear infrastructure and nuclear weapons were completely destroyed. It's capability to produce Sarin and Tabin Nerve gas and other chemical weapons was destroyed too, with the destruction by the inspectors of the Muthanna state establishment. The Iraqis were weaponizing VX nerve gas but they were discovered, the stocks destroyed, 200 crates of gas lined equipment discovered and destroyed. "With that Iraq lost its capacity to produce VX." Iraq was producing liquid bulk anthrax but its capability to do that was destroyed. He writes that discussion of the Iraqis turning L-29 single jet Czechoslovakian engines into drones to deliver chemcial and biological weapons is abusurd for to do so would be very detectable and he says that his old friends in the Israeli military says that such a conversion has not been detected. In short he says, Iraq's capabiility to produce Chemical, biological, nuclear long range missles and delivery systems were completely dismantled by the inspections. To rebuild it would be pretty difficult and expensive and easily detectable which it has it not been.
One interesting thing he refers to is the case of weapons inspectors not looking for biological weapons in Saddam's palaces in 1998. The U.S. inspector Dick Spertzel, says Ritter, refused to look for biological weapons in the palaces, even though there was so much talk about the time how we have to find anthrax which Saddam is producing because he's going to kill us all, and so on. Ritter writes that if the Iraqis were hiding any stocks of biological and chemical before December 1998 then those stocks would have lost their viability now.
He points out how the U.S. used UNSCOM's video and listening devices to spy on the Iraqi government on matters unrelated WMD. He writes that Butler led the way in seeking an excuse for the U.S. to disrupt the inspections. He violated the Sensitive Sites agreement of 1996 by sending in 12 inspectors in November 1998 to a Ba'ath party headquarters in Badghad, the Iraqi's compromising by only allowing in four as was called for by the Sensitive sites agreement. The headquarters was not covered in that agreement. This was cited as proof of Iraqi obstructionism and two days before Operation Desert Fox began, Butler received a phone call from deputy U.S. ambassador to the UN Peter Burleigh and withdrew even though the security council was supposed to tell him when to withdraw. Thus Saddam did not kick out the inspectors as current propaganda has it.
He refers to one incident where a lady inspector caught some of Saddam's bodygaurds tyring to run away from headquarters with suitcases and as they started to translate the documents contained within they though it was decisive evidence of biological weapons work but it eventually turned out to be related to testing for poison in Saddam's food. Yet Richard Butler is fond of repeating this story today as decisive proof of Iraq's Biological weapons research.
As for Khidre Hamza, who has been getting so much attention in the media, Ritter says that he is a fraud, not Saddam's former bombmaker but only a mid-level bureaucrat in the nuclear program. He defected in 1994 says Ritter but the intelligence community rejected him as misrepresenting himself. He wasn't a designer of weapons, certainly not the head of the program. Ritter says that Hamza's alleged "smoking gun" document about Saddam getting a nuclear bomb was dismissed as a forgery by the late Hussein Kamal back in 1995.
As for Saddam and Bin Laden, he says that the evidence points to Mohammed Atta being in Florida at the time he was supposed to be in Iraq. Bin Laden views Saddam as a secular dictator, the devil incarnate and Saddam has spent his career butchering fundamentalists, particularly of the Wahabi school. An alliance between them is unlikely. He says that there is no evidence that Salman Pak camp south of Bagdhad is used to train terrorists. It was set up in the 80's with the help of British special forces as a training camp for hostage rescuing. After that it was turned over to the department of External threats to deal with Islamic fundamentalists infiltrating into Iraqi Kurdistan from Iran.

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