Thursday, July 31, 2003

The War on Truth

In this article, Pilger again offers a much needed antidote to the Goebbels-speak coming out of Washington and London. It's incredible the enormity of the lies that are being perpetuated by both the corporate and state medias, as Pilger makes clear. It really drives home the depravity of imperialism that requires the dehumanization of human beings for its genocidal goals.

Bolivarian Circles Revealed

Z-NET has finally published an interview with the director of the Bolivarian Circles in Venezuela, Rodrigo Chavez, that reveals their immense potential for revitalizing participatory democracy. Viva Chavez!

Friday, July 25, 2003

With a half life of 4.5 billion years

A former US army officer in charge of testing and cleaning deplete uranium munitions sites has been raising the alarm bells about the weapon's eternal legacy. Major Douglas Rokke has been speaking to peace groups across the US about the extent of the contamination, the health effects, and the military cover-up that is keeping the issue from being more broadly discussed.

Indeed, Iraqis have long noted how contaminated regions where the weapons were used have reported horrific birth defects and elevated rate of cancer. Gulf War veterans have suffered mysterious symptoms too, in the form of the Gulf War syndrome that has afflicted over 200,000 ex-soldiers and killed 10,000 more. The devestation of Agent Orange comes to mind, as the US deploys yet another WMD with lasting consequences, this time for the life of the Earth itself.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

GM Foods: Towards An Apocalypse

Besides the ecological and health effects, the issue of GM foods is basically about the corporate domination of every aspect of life. Replacing local self-reliance and food security for high tech dependency, the US has been engineering the global food market for years, and looks set to massively expand its grasp through such measures as the WTO Agreement on Agriculture. See this article by Devinder Sharma of the Delhi-based Forum for Biotechnology & Food Security for another ominous read.


"After taking control over one-third of the world's crude oil supplies and that too after a futile search for 'weapons of mass destruction', American President George Bush appears ready to take over the world's food market and that too by emotionally misleading the world in the name of removing hunger."

Crisis of the Globalist Project

Walden Bello lays it all out in yet another excellent article about the state of things in today's world. Check it out at Z-Net.

Here's a quote:

The Bush people are not interested in creating a new Pax Romana. What they want is a Pax Americana where most of the subordinate populations like the Arabs are kept in check by a healthy respect for lethal American power, while the loyalty of other groups such as the Philippine government is purchased with the promise of cash. With no moral vision to bind the global majority to the imperial center, this mode of imperial management can only inspire one thing: resistance.

The Alamo in Mosul

If American forces really did kill Saddam's sons, it was not without a so-called fight. It took over 200 American troops, several helicopter gunships, more than 20 missiles, and over six hours to overcome four men who only had small arms to defend themselves. That's right, four against the US military machine!

Supposedly the two brothers, Uday and Qusay (who incidentally don't get along) were among the four, along with Qusai's teenage son and a bodyguard (Mustafa, 14-years-old, is the one who fought to the death after the adults were killed by a barrage of missiles and gunfire). At the end of it, the villa was completely demolished by the siege. One wonders what secrets the brothers might have had for the Americans to kill rather than capture and try them.

Despite going down honourably in a hail of bullets and missiles, the brothers won't be mourned. They were vicious and depraved in life, yet now they won't ever be tried for their crimes.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

45 Minutes

Came across this quote by Arthur "bomber" Harris, the (in)famous British air force commander boasting about teaching the Iraqis a lesson with his biplanes in 1920: "within 45 minutes a full-sized village can be practically wiped out and a third of its inhabitants killed or wounded." ("Britain Tried First. Iraq Was No Picnic Then.", New York Times, July 20, 2003)

Odd then that the same figure would crop up again in Britain's dodgy dossier from September which claimed that Iraq's WMDs can be deployed in "45 minutes." History is full of interesting ironies.

Friday, July 18, 2003

"Judgement Day is inevitable"

The words of the latest reprogrammed Terminator to come back to save John Connor echo how the US military is plunging headlong into the frightening reality outlined by the Terminator movies. Although the idea of self-aware war machines turning on their human creators was revived by the Matrix, the Terminator movies, especially the latest installment, more clearly drew the link between humanity's (or in this day and age, the US) hubris in creating more efficient killing machines to do their dirty work.

A key scene in Terminator 3 is the presence of the earliest prototypes of hunter-killer drones and Terminators in the same US military research facility as skynet. That Terminators were created by the US military is the most realistic and alarming assessment of current trends in advanced weapons research, the militarization of space, and the automation of war.

Check these headlines out to get a sense of foreboding about what is being unleashed:


Allen Moshfegh, a researcher at the U.S. Office of Naval Research, is building a network that would support swarms of unmanned, unattended and untethered drones on the ground, in the air and underwater. These machines would be capable of independently handling events in a hostile combat zone, such as surveillance, strike and even capture and detention. Aiming to create an adaptive, dynamic, self-healing network of drones, Moshfegh intends to rework the whole idea of military structure.

-- The Drone Armies Are Coming, Wired News, August 30, 2002

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is accepting research proposals to create a self-aware computer system that would reason in a variety of ways, learn from experience and adapt to surprises. It would be aware of its behavior and explain itself. It would be able to anticipate different scenarios and predict and plan for novel futures.

-- Good Morning Dave..., Computerworld, November 11, 2002

Like the flying killer robots of the "Terminator" movies, the California-built unmanned Predator aircraft is a step closer to the automated battlefields long envisioned by science-fiction writers.

-- Predator drones are the future of warfare, SF Gate, November 6, 2002

"Minuteman will enable the Navy to bring fully networked force to the battlefield," Gerla said. "This will be the 'glue' that holds together supporting technologies such as mission planning, path planning, reasoning, decision making and distributed real-time computing and control."

-- SkyNet Will Guide Unmanned Vehicles into Battle, Space Daily, April 24, 2002

But the Pentagon, energized by successes in Afghanistan, is moving ever closer to draining the human drama from the battlefield and replacing it with a ballet of machines. Rapid advances in technology have brought an array of sensors, vehicles and weapons that can be operated by remote control or are totally autonomous. Within a decade, those machines will be able to perform many of the most dangerous, strenuous or boring tasks now assigned to people, military planners say, paving the way for a fundamental change in warfare.

-- Machines Are Filling In for Troops, NY Times, April 16, 2002

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

The Shadow of Extinction

George Monbiot reminds us that, like during the great Permian extinction, it only takes a few degrees change in the earth's surface temperature to lead to a massive catastrophe.