Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Zen politics

Like the Zen master, Bush is 'neither winning nor losing' in Iraq. And if a country disintegrates where CNN cannot report from it, do the screaming millions make a sound?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Cash for Honours

'The Times newspaper reported on Monday that police were investigating aides to Prime Minister Tony Blair and Labour Party officials on suspicion of withholding evidence in a probe into party funding.

Prosecutors have advised detectives to look into suspected attempts to pervert the course of justice by impeding an investigation that aims to establish whether state honours were awarded by parties in return for cash, the paper said.

Blair was himself questioned by police on Thursday as a witness in the 9-month-old inquiry.

The police are still waiting to receive some emails and documents, while others have "disappeared", the Times said.

Neither Blair's Downing Street office nor the Metropolitan Police in London would comment on the report.'

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The epic battle begins

And now, the epic battle of 2008 (2009? 2010?) begins, and at last we can see what the sides will be. Sunni versus Shia. Or, to put it another way: Saudi Arabia versus Iran. Backing the anti-semitic, woman hating Saudi dictatorship: Israel, the US, Hariri Incorporated, the other little US client states of the region (Jordan, UAE, etc.). On the other side: Syria, Hizbollah, (most of) Iraq, Iran and Shias everywhere.

Sharp eyed readers (ha!) will no doubt see that this new prediction goes part of the way to explain why I was so far off in my belief that the last Israeli invasion of Lebanon would end in occupation. The answer: it didn't but the next one might.

The prize for victory: control over the entire middle east, and world oil supplies. Watching from the sidelines: China, India, South American (especially Venezuela and Brazil), Russia.


'Iran's anti-Western President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faces the first test of his popularity since coming to power 16 months ago with elections on Friday for local councils and a powerful clerical assembly.

The former Revolutionary Guardsman, who sparked fresh international outcry this week by hosting a conference questioning the Holocaust and by predicting Israel's imminent demise, hopes the vote will consolidate his grip on power.

But reformists, driven from elected posts in a series of elections since 2003 by conservatives allied to Ahmadinejad, are betting high voter turnout and disenchantment with rising prices for basic goods will spark a reversal in their fortunes.'

Pinochet is dead

"This is how Pinochet tortured me: they took me prisoner with my father and my fifteen year-old brother Tato . . . it was an impressive operation [and] they took us to a house where the Military Intelligence Service was stationed.

. . . they threw me on the floor covered with water and applied electric shot to my entire body, but especially the breasts, vagina, anus, eyes, mouth, and neck.

. . . then they called my father and began to torture him in front of me so that I would speak, all the while beating me . . . then they called my brother and did that same to him.

. . . they pulled my nipples and made cuts with knives and razors. They violated my vagina with their filthy hands, bottles, fingers, sticks, things made out of metal, and then again, with electric shocks.

They took me out and pretended to shoot me.

Along with a woman who was five months pregnant, I was one of the most tortured prisoners in Tejas Verdes . . . I was left for dead. I believe many people were killed in Tejas Verdes, but I do not know how many, or their names; I was always unable to communicate.

Between the daily tortures . . . they tied me to a table, binding each hand and each foot, stretching me . . . two men would open my legs and put rats inside my vagina, all the while stretching my body."

"Former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher is "greatly saddened" by the death of Augusto Pinochet, said a spokesman."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Press Freedom Dies in Iraq

Doubtless many press men and women are also dying.

I blame the victims.

'The Post story quoted Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., declaring at a recent congressional hearing, "We should put the responsibility for Iraq's future squarely where it belongs—on the Iraqis." '