Archive for April, 2003

What’s wrong with this picture?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2003

An award-winning LA Times photographer is fired for altering a news photo.  It took a while to notice, but once I did, the fraud was obvious.  The man with the red bandanna in the lower left corner is duplicated in part just in fromt of the soldier’s leg.  One might argue that the alteration only improves the composition, while leaving the image’s meaning intact.  Of course we only know this because we have seen the two originals from which the altered photo was derived.  But beware; the real deceptions in this war, which I feel are already well underway, will distort the truth grotesquely, not slightly, and will do so with virtually undetectable sophistication.  If I felt that Brian Walski’s minor transgression was the worst lie to come out of this war, then I would be greatly relieved.

We do nothing about people who commit war crimes, yet we fire a reporter for retouching a photo.  What’s wrong with this picture?

killing the messengers

Wednesday, April 9th, 2003
The tank’s turret is seen moving toward the Palestine Hotel, where foreign reporters have set up shop, and the gun carriage lifting and waiting at least two minutes before opening up.

The French TV channel had positioned two cameras in two rooms facing the bridge as of 6.30am (02h30 GMT).

“It had been very quiet for a moment. There was no shooting at all. Then I saw the turret turning in our direction and the carriage lifting. It faced the target,” said Herve de Ploeg, the journalist and film editor on contract with the French channel who filmed the attack.

“It was not a case of instinctive firing,” he said.

Why all the hostility toward journalists?  Most of them not embedded, and at least one of these tragic deaths, because of the secrecy cloaking its aftermath, is now becoming a sign of ominous portent, as well.

Update: Reporters Without Borders accuses US military of deliberately firing at journalists’,CAPTION,’www.rsf.org’);” onmouseout=”return nd();”>This is the link I was looking for when I posted this entry.  Thank you ex-lion tamer.

us

Tuesday, April 8th, 2003

You know, maybe it is just me. 

I live mostly in fear.  That’s right folks, I am no different than the people I find most revolting; people who pave-over their nagging consciences; people who consider compassion and logic to be unnecessary encumbrances; people who make statements like “You’re either for us, or against us.”  I am just like them. 

The people who believe that ‘might makes right’, who promote distortions of true patriotism with sentiments like ‘America, love it or leave it’, and ‘My country, right or wrong’, they would not agree that I am just like them.  They would dispute that they too live mostly in fear.  They may have no awareness of their fear, or they may be trying to control the fear that haunts them by denying that it exists.  Fear makes us brutal when we could be courageous, it makes us violent when instead we could be powerful, and it makes us view dissent as tantamount to treason.  This is how I know they are living in fear just like me. 

But maybe it is just me.  Maybe I am the only one who is afraid.  When I was a child, I would occasionally have a recurring nightmare of being lost in a crowd of strangers, separated from my parents, terrified that I would never be able to find them again.  I always thought it would never come true, but here I am; they are gone, and I am lost.  I know of course that I am only as isolated as I choose to be, and I choose to be very isolated.  I also know that I am not a child, but I feel that way sometimes, and I know that I am not lost, but it sure seems that way. 

I don’t want to hate them, I don’t want to hate anyone.  But I don’t want to be like them, either.  Yet I am.  I sometimes let my frustration boil over in a froth of rage and reckless acts, like calling the president an asshole, or calling a cabinet officer a Nazi.  While obviously not literally true, such name-calling is polemically unhelpful.  To engage in such divisivness is self-abuse.  We are a body politic beating itself up, like when the police

Police Attack California Anti-War Protesters

‘,CAPTION,’www.commondreams.org’);” onmouseout=”return nd();”>inflict injuries upon peaceful protesters, or when a raucous war rally tramples a noble sentiment.  We—and that is the we that includes us all—we do not want to inflict injury upon ourselves, yet that is what we do sometimes in the reckless folly of our rage and confusion. 

I cannot stop them from

Berkeley resident Clay Hinson \(R\), who was shot once in the chest and twice in the back during an anti-war protest, shows his wounds to an Oakland Police sergeant \(L\) who takes his statement at the West Oakland train station, April 7, 2003.

‘,CAPTION,’www.commondreams.org’);” onmouseout=”return nd();”>hurting me.  I cannot stop them from ”People say this doesn’t happen in this country,” McGeady said, ”but one of my neighbors has been disappeared. It’s not what he might have done that matters to me — they disappeared him. They need to question him and let him go, or charge him. It’s like Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka.”
–Steve McGeady, quoted at wired.com’,CAPTION,’www.wired.com’);” onmouseout=”return nd();”>locking me up in secret
without benefit of due process.  I cannot stop them from WE HAD a great day,” said Sgt Eric Schrumpf of the US Marines last Saturday. ”We killed a lot of people.”

He added: ”We dropped a few civilians, but what do you do?” He said there were women standing near an Iraqi soldier, and one of them fell when he and other Marines opened fire. ”I’m sorry,” said Sgt Schrumpf, ”but the chick was in the way”.
–The War for Truth, article by John Pilger in The Mirror’,CAPTION,’www.mirror.co.uk’);” onmouseout=”return nd();”>killing innocent people

.  All I can do is stop myself from running in fear to the opposite pole in this national debate.  I can refuse to become the mirror image of ‘them’, by continuing to patiently insist that there is no ‘them’, there is only us. 

Angelica Amaya

Tuesday, April 8th, 2003

A young woman, plagued by her conscience.  I cannot imagine myself one tenth as brave as she.  Read about her here, or here.

what the fuck?!

Monday, April 7th, 2003

OAKLAND, Calif. – Police opened fire Monday morning with non-lethal bullets at an anti-war protest at the Port of Oakland, injuring several longshoremen standing nearby.

Police were trying to clear protesters from an entrance to the docks when they opened fire and the longshoremen apparently were caught in the line of fire.

?from the Associated Press story, published at commondreams.org

Kill me, you asshole Bush.  Kill me you Nazi, Rumsfeld.  Kill me because I cannot endure the guilt of being a survivor in the world where you are taking me.  Kill me you ruthless elites, because I count it a dishonor to be alive in the United States today and bear no wounds; I consider it cowardice to call myself a bleeding-heart liberal without losing a drop of my own blood fighting this heinous brutality you have instituted.  From this point on I move into grave peril, for I despise the criminal powers that govern my nation, and I will not stay silent or immobile. 

Shoot me, too, and do not be sparing in your cruelty, for it is my goal to richly deserve the contempt of monsters like you.

Read the SF Chronicle article.

Try to find this story on CNN.  Good luck.

…in the way

Monday, April 7th, 2003
WE HAD a great day,” said Sgt Eric Schrumpf of the US Marines last Saturday. “We killed a lot of people.”

He added: “We dropped a few civilians, but what do you do?” He said there were women standing near an Iraqi soldier, and one of them fell when he and other Marines opened fire. “I’m sorry,” said Sgt Schrumpf, “but the chick was in the way”.

?from an article by John Pilger, writing for The Mirror

mellifluous flow

Monday, April 7th, 2003
The official spelling is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight SavingS Time.
Saving is used here as a verbal adjective (a participle). It modifies time and tells us more about its nature; namely, that it is characterized by the activity of saving daylight. It is a saving daylight kind of time. Similar examples would be dog walking time or book reading time. Since saving is a verb describing a single type of activity, the form is singular.

Nevertheless, many people feel the word savings (with an ‘s’) flows more mellifluously off the tongue, and Daylight Savings Time is also in common usage, and can be found in dictionaries.

I think my preference regarding things which flow mellifluously is for them to flow onto, not off of my tongue.

brave innocence

Sunday, April 6th, 2003

Thanks to the criminal behavior of the US government, brutal regimes have escalated their killing and have gained confidence that they will not be held accountable.  On Saturday April 5, 2003 a 24 year old American peace activist, Brian Avery, wearing clear markings identifying him as a non-combatant, and with his arms in the air, was shot in the face by an Israeli tank.  The tank then slowly lumbered past without stopping or offering assistance.  This is the new world order which the Bush administration has inaugurated.  Read it.

Two weeks ago, Rachel Corrie, 23, was run down and killed by an Israeli bulldozer in the Palestinian town of Rafah.  It appears the bulldozer drove over her deliberately.  She too was a clearly marked, passive non-combatant.  Read it.

strange embed-fellows

Sunday, April 6th, 2003

A little bit of truth slipped out recently, despite Donald Rumsfeld’s omnipotent micro-management.  The whitewashing effort, well underway for days, helps identify for us those few news outlets which still hold the truth in high regard, and reveals the rest as cowardly apologists for thugs. 

“‘Fire a warning shot,’ he [U.S. Army Capt. Ronny Johnson] ordered as the vehicle kept coming. Then, with increasing urgency, he told the platoon to shoot a 7.62mm machine-gun round into its radiator. ‘Stop [messing] around!’ Johnson yelled into the company radio network when he still saw no action being taken. Finally, he shouted at the top of his voice, ‘Stop him, Red 1, stop him!’

“That order was immediately followed by the loud reports of 25mm cannon fire from one or more of the platoon’s Bradleys. About half a dozen shots were heard in all.

“‘Cease fire!’ Johnson yelled over the radio. Then, as he peered into his binoculars from the intersection on Highway 9, he roared at the platoon leader, ‘You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn’t fire a warning shot soon enough!'”

?from an article at commondreams.org, quoting Washington Post correspondent William Branigin’s eyewitness account.

children

Friday, April 4th, 2003

‘Ana, ana’ \(me,me\) as he tapped his chest.  Take just one picture of me.  I never got his name, but he lives in the Saddam City district of northern Baghdad.  Photo credit: Farah Laith

Click to visit more images of the enemy at IraqJournal.org.

‘,CAPTION,’IraqJournal.org’);” onmouseout=”return nd();”>

A coworker said to me the other day, “Yeah, well, I’m behind Bush one hundred percent.  I saw the pictures on the news of the kids that got killed, and that’s not nice, but you know, they’re just going to grow up and be just like their parents.”

“And.  What’s.  Wrong.  With.  That?” I asked, incredulous.  “What have they done to us?”  She responded with some vague blither about 911.  “You don’t even know,” I said.  “The fact is that they haven’t done anything to us.  You don’t even know the lies, much less believe them, yet you are willing to let children die.”

Her voice can be a scraping irritating noise even when her words have negligible meaning.  But her cavalier disregard of the slaughter of children, and her use of racism to justify it was revolting.  I nearly struck her.  I had to walk away. 

She is just an overwhelmed child herself, what with all the considerable trauma and stress she has endured in her own life.  Which makes it worse.  She doesn’t have the time or the inclination to be bothered with the esoterica of injustice ten timezones away. Indeed, for anyone, accusing one’s own country of criminal behavior requires an uncommon discernment both incisive and fearless.  And so her opinion is not the result of a rigorous and objective examination of the facts, but is simply a regurgitation of the recieved propaganda, passed on essentially unchanged.  I’d like to think no one else thinks this way.  I’d like to think the propaganda did not have this effect on one as typical as she.  She is in her twenties—starting a family, starting a career, starting an American life.  She is a mother.  And she is studying to be a nurse.  I dread to think how many other young people in america?children really?think as she does. 

I want to throw-up.

There is no question in my mind why the world hates us. 

sweet reason

Thursday, April 3rd, 2003
“Stop the war now. As Baghdad will be encircled, this is the time to get the UN back in to inspect Baghdad and the rest of Iraq for biological and chemical weapons. Our troops should not have to be the ones who will find out, in combat, whether Iraq has such weapons. Why put our troops at greater risk? We could get the United Nations inspectors back in.

“Stop the war now. Before we send our troops into house-to-house combat in Baghdad, a city of five million people. Before we ask our troops to take up the burden of shooting innocent civilians in the fog of war.

“Stop the war now. This war has been advanced on lie upon lie. Iraq was not responsible for 9/11. Iraq was not responsible for any role al-Qaeda may have had in 9/11. Iraq was not responsible for the anthrax attacks on this country. Iraq did not try to acquire nuclear weapons technology from Niger. This war is built on falsehood.

“Stop the war now. We are not defending America in Iraq. Iraq did not attack this nation. Iraq has no ability to attack this nation. Each innocent civilian casualty represents a threat to America for years to come and will end up making our nation less safe. The seventy-five billion dollar supplemental needs to be challenged because each dime we spend on this war makes America less safe. Only international cooperation will help us meet the challenge of terrorism. After 9/11 all Americans remember we had the support and the sympathy of the world. Every nation was ready to be of assistance to the United States in meeting the challenge of terrorism. And yet, with this war, we have squandered the sympathy of the world. We have brought upon this nation the anger of the world. We need the cooperation of the world, to find the terrorists before they come to our shores.

“Stop this war now. Seventy-five billion dollars more for war. Three-quarters of a trillion dollars for tax cuts, but no money for veterans ‘ benefits. Money for war. No money for health care in America, but money for war. No money for social security, but money for war. We have money to blow up bridges over the Tigris and the Euphrates, but no money to build bridges in our own cities. We have money to ruin the health of the Iraqi children, but no money to repair the health of our own children and our educational programs.

“Stop this war now. It is wrong. It is illegal. It is unjust and it will come to no good for this country.

“Stop this war now. Show our wisdom and our humanity, to be able to stop it, to bring back the United Nations into the process. Rescue this moment. Rescue this nation from a war that is wrong, that is unjust, that is immoral.

“Stop this war now”.

Sorry, but I just can’t bring myself to leave out even just one word of this statement. 

pox americana

Thursday, April 3rd, 2003
In our name, the government has brought down a pall of repression over society.  The President’s spokesperson warns people to “watch what they say.”  Dissident artists, intellectuals, and professors find their views distorted, attacked, and suppressed.  The so-called Patriot Act — along with a host of similar measures on the state level — gives police sweeping new powers of search and seizure, supervised if at all by secret proceedings before secret courts. 

Thursday, April 3rd, 2003

The “Shock and Awe” Photo Gallery

make war

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2003
One man’s body was still in flames.  It gave out a hissing sound.  Tucked away in his breast pocket, thick wads of banknotes were turning to ashes.  His savings, perhaps.

Down the road, a little girl, no older than five and dressed in a pretty orange and gold dress, lay dead in a ditch next to the body of a man who may have been her father.  Half his head was missing. 

One cannot help but gasp when confronted by such trauma and agony, unlimited in both its gore and its senselessness.  The wet sound of living body parts splattering…  the snap and pop of limbs dismembered…  and the sight of someone’s animated face at the moment of their decapitation…  all happening under the shrieking, bellowing, screaming roar of the lethal machines of war.  It lifts one–both body and soul–out of the monotonous daily repitition of dull and threatless lives into an experience of the sublime.  For those who come through it conscious and in one piece, such an experience transcends ethical judgement, it transports one beyond such petty distinctions as friend or foe, panic or peace, alive or dead, and it plants one firmly in the center of an unvarnished, undiluted, unmitigated, unadulterated experience of being terribly alive.

Until humankind learns to experience life with the same degree of intensity, clarity, and desperate cruciality as when in the throes of mortal combat, until then humans will continue to make war.  It really has nothing to do with ideology or politics or even justice; those are merely the pretenses upon which we build our horrific stage of war, and where we exorcize the demons of our unsatisfying lives.