That's all for now. I really need to get some more book recommendations up. Maybe this week. The piles of books I've read are starting to tower over me. If I can find some negatives in the piles around me I will get some pictures up. Maybe I should clean the piles. Later...
Fishing for a Pretext to Squeeze Iran
By Juan Cole
Iran threatened last week to use the oil weapon if the United Nations Security Council imposes sanctions on the country because of its nuclear research program, promising “harm and pain” to the United States. In addition to consumer anxieties about oil prices, rumors of a planned U.S. or Israeli airstrike on Iran keep flying, and neighboring Iraqi Shiites have threatened reprisals if that is done to their brethren. What is driving the crisis between the Bush administration and Iran and ratcheting up the rhetoric?
Will We Fight Iran?
Will we fight Iran?
Another way to ask the question is: Will it be a war of choice?
In other words, will war happen because we want it, and freely decide that this is the best outcome of policies we have approved?
Or instead, will relentless stories -- iron narratives already in place -- force our hand?
This is what happened in August 1914.
Logic out the window at the White House
The biggest pitfall in predicting the behavior of radical groups like the inner circle of the Bush administration is that you keep telling yourself that they would never actually do whatever it is they’re talking about. Surely they must realize that acting like that would cause a disaster. Then they go right ahead and do it.
“(The Iranians) must know everything is on the table and they must understand what that means,” U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told a group of visiting British politicians last week. “We can hit different points along the line. You only have to take out one part of their nuclear operation to take the whole thing down.” In other words, he was calmly proposing an illegal attack on a sovereign state, possibly involving nuclear weapons.
Bolton knew his words would be leaked, so maybe it was just deliberate posturing to raise the pressure on Iran. But on Sunday, addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, Bolton repeated the threat: “The longer we wait to confront the threat Iran poses, the harder and more intractable it will become to solve… We must be prepared to rely on comprehensive solutions and use all the tools at our disposal to stop the threat…” He may really mean it -- and no one in the White House has told him to shut up.
Unleashing Armageddon: What Then?
I want to discuss in some detail the propaganda campaign now being waged with regard to both Iran and Syria, as well as the ideological frame of reference that underlies the particular manner in which that campaign is being and has been conducted. I will address the nature and strategy of this campaign -- how such a campaign was waged with regard to Iraq, and how a similar campaign is now underway with regard to Iran and Syria (and has been for some time) -- in subsequent essays here. But I will begin by starting at the end.
Is Another 9/11 in the Works?
If you were President George W. Bush with all available US troops tied down by the Iraqi resistance, and you were unable to control Iraq or political developments in the country, would you also start a war with Iran?
Yes, you would.
Wilfred Thesiger Web Gallery
The aim of this gallery is to introduce a selection of some 100 of Thesiger's less well-known images.
Sir Wilfred Thesiger, the distinguished explorer and travel writer, took some 38,000 photographs in over fifty years of travelling in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The total collection forms an unparalleled historical document of the regions in which he travelled and the peoples he encountered, and it is now preserved in the Photograph Collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum.
Interior of Raudha's mudhif (guest house) during construction.
Marshes, Iraq, 1955
thanks to 1mag3
In 2003 I linked to some articles about Thesiger: the last explorer
It has been three years since the beginning of the war that marked the end of Iraq’s independence. Three years of occupation and bloodshed.
Spring should be about renewal and rebirth. For Iraqis, spring has been about reliving painful memories and preparing for future disasters. In many ways, this year is like 2003 prior to the war when we were stocking up on fuel, water, food and first aid supplies and medications. We're doing it again this year but now we don't discuss what we're stocking up for. Bombs and B-52's are so much easier to face than other possibilities.
I don’t think anyone imagined three years ago that things could be quite this bad today. The last few weeks have been ridden with tension. I’m so tired of it all- we’re all tired.
Mortars were louder than reason in Baghdad today...
Mortars are blind and whoever uses this kind of dumb weapon that belongs to WWI is blind too. Maybe they make good weapons in open battlefields but using mortars inside crowded cities reflects savage insanity that forces you to pick a mortar-lottery ticket and hope not to be the unfortunate winner.
When you count the homes in Baghdad and the number of daily mortars and using some logarithmic equations of probabilities you feel somewhat relieved by knowing that you're unlikely watch a mortar round fall on your head and after each time you hear the bang of one of those dumb things you realize that it fell sufficiently away from you and you hope that it didn't hurt someone.
I wasn't home this morning but I was close enough to home to know that the relatively unusual intense bombardment was close to my neighborhood.
It still felt 'normal' until my cell phone rang, I picked up and it was my father.
Are you coming home soon Mohammed?
I just want to tell you not to panic when you see the crowd and police vehicles in our alley…
What's wrong? What happened?
Don't worry (said the old seasoned former soldier) it's just a mortar round; it hit the home of one of our neighbors, some 60 meters from ours.
No, no one was hurt….
thanks to War and Piece
Iraq: Permanent US Colony
By Dahr Jamail
Why does the Bush Administration refuse to discuss withdrawing occupation forces from Iraq? Why is Halliburton, who landed the no-bid contracts to construct and maintain US military bases in Iraq, posting higher profits than ever before in its 86-year history?
Why do these bases in Iraq resemble self-contained cities as much as military outposts?
On Call in Hell
He left a desk job for the front lines of Fallujah—and a horror show few doctors ever see. How Richard Jadick earned his Bronze Star.
Tortured, shot, ambushed, victims are found dumped outside morgues. What is happening to Iraq's intellectuals is chilling
It is estimated that between 250 and 500 intellectuals have been killed or have disappeared since the fall of Saddam Hussein. There is a rising surge of anger over attacks on Iraq's intellectuals and many believe some of the killings may be part of a deliberate policy of targeting those who speak out against the "occupation".
thanks to Yolanda Flanagan
Expert on Iraq: 'We're In a Civil War'
U.S. Officials Deny Violence Has Risen to That Level, but ABC News Analysts See a 'Serious Lack of Realism'
thanks to AMERICAblog
God: I've lost faith in Blair
All the signs are that the Almighty is unhappy about efforts to implicate Him in the attack on Iraq
by Terry Jones (Yes, that Terry Jones.)
A high-level leak has revealed that God is "furious" at Tony Blair's attempts to implicate him in the bombing of Iraq. Sources close to the archangel Gabriel report him as describing the Almighty as "hopping mad ... with sanctimonious yet unscrupulous politicians claiming He would condone their bestial activities when He has no way of going public Himself, owing to the MMW agreement" (a reference to the long-established Moving in Mysterious Ways concordat).
And always check out Juan Cole to find out what is happening in Iraq:
Eugene Atget documented Paris from 1888 until his death in 1927. Like many people, I consider him to have been the greatest photographer of all time. Atget straightforwardly documented the city with photographs that give you the feeling that all the transitory things that people do and are have washed away, leaving only their transcendent accomplishments.
On a 1989 trip to Paris, I suddenly found myself face to face with a spiral-topped gatepost that I knew very well from a beautiful photograph by Atget (the photograph on the left). I rephotographed his gatepost from memory (the photograph on the right) and wondered how many other Atget subjects might still be holding their poses.
You could read a book about Atget.
Here is a blog chronicling life under Israeli occupation.
Raising Yousuf: a diary of a mother under occupation
Bread runs out in face of Israeli closure
Walking around Gaza today, one would have thought there was a war looming (well, I guess we are in a perpetual state of low-intensity war, but still). Most bakeries throughout the city were closed by mid-afternoon, with the only remaining ones jam-packed with customers, lines extending out to the streets till late at night.
The reason: flour stocks have officially run out in Gaza due to a 44-day and going-strong Israeli-imposed closure of the only commerical crossing for goods and humanitarian supplies. Palestinians in Gaza consume around 350 tons of flour per day, but all flour mills have shut down due to the depletion of wheat stocks, and bakeries are working through their last bags of stored flour. As word of the shortage spread, residents flocked to bakeries-in many cases bringing their own bags of flour with them.
thanks to 'Just World News' by Helena Cobban
Interview with Zahhar
AP is reporting today that Mahmoud Zahhar, one of the co-founders of Hamas, "most likely will be named foreign minister, according to a preliminary list of Cabinet ministers given to The Associated Press by officials in Hamas and the PFLP."
So I thought I should quickly write up the interview I conducted with Dr. Zahhar in his mosque-side Gaza home, after the end of evening prayers on March 6. In it, he oozed self-confidence, and a determination that the Hamas government would not be making the kinds of concessions to Israel and the west that were what, in the view of many Hamas supporters, had led Mahmoud Abbas's Fateh Party into such a non-productive and humiliating dead end.
Zahhar described a Hamas program that for the next two years would focus on rebuilding the Palestinians' own society as much as possible, while quite possibly redirecting Gaza's economic links away from Israel and towards Egyp--, and that would not necessarily involve any negotiations at all with Israel. At one point, when I asked if Hamas could do anything to help reassure Israelis, he answered flatly, "They should be scared, because whenever they felt a sense of security they felt it would be okay to make aggressions... When they felt insecurity, was when they withdrew. And that was a big victory for us."
Colonization of Palestine Precludes Peace
by Jimmy Carter
For more than a quarter century, Israeli policy has been in conflict with that of the United States and the international community. Israel’s occupation of Palestine has obstructed a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land, regardless of whether Palestinians had no formalized government, one headed by Yasir Arafat or Mahmoud Abbas, or with Abbas as president and Hamas controlling the parliament and cabinet.
thanks to Politics in the Zeros
Sa'adat kidnap boosts Olmert's election campaign
There are many reasons for the raid on Jericho prison. One of them is the Israeli election. Palestinians know from experience that before every election Israel becomes more brutal. The latest poll conducted by Ha'aretz shows a serious increase in the support for Kadima and its leader Ehud Olmert.
Another reason is to send Hamas a message: They will not be accepted and the agreements between Israel and the previous PA are no longer valid.
The arrival of Israeli tanks just twenty minutes after the withdrawal of the British and American guards from the prison shows that Israel is not the only one sending this message. This comes as yet another slap of blatant contradiction in the face, as the EU and the US have been consistently demanding that Hamas respect all previous agreements with Israel.
Israel's Policy of Targeted Assassination
Gangland violence is making us safer.
That's the message we hear today from Israel's Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, who not only defended the practice of "targeted assassination" but threatened to use the controversial tactic against Palestine's new Prime Minister-designate, Ismail Haniya.
The Missing Word
Have Israelis Given Up on Peace?
In English, a "four-letter word" is a rude expletive. It is a vulgar description of a sexual act or organ, and an educated person will not use it.
Now it appears that in the Hebrew language, too, there is a four-letter word, which a decent person will not use, especially not in an election campaign. A (politically) correct person will avoid it at all costs.
That word is Peace (which in Hebrew consists of four letters).
Darius Kinsey was the most important and prolific photographer of logging activities in the Pacific Northwest. This collection of 130 selected images from the Libraries' collection illustrate all aspects of logging and lumbering from the turn of the century until the 1940s.
thanks to The Analog Photography Users Group
Darius and Tabitha Kinsey
Darius and Tabitha Kinsey were a remarkable husband and wife photographic team whose partnership began in Whatcom County in 1896. With Darius taking photographs in the field and Tabitha developing prints in the darkroom, the partnership continued for 50 years, capturing images of Northwest landscapes, town life, portraits, and various industries.
Kinsey, ace of the picture men
When it came to capturing on film in amazing detail the splendors of the deep woods and colorful characters that inhabited them, we think Darius (Dee) Kinsey was without a peer. And considering the vagaries of poor light in the tall timber and his primitive equipment, his accomplishments are all the more remarkable.
pain and suffering
Another day of pain and suffering. The lawn is mowed, paths edged, gravel raked, and holes dug in the ground for plants. I started the day off by taking a 360 degree plus pano. I've been wanting to use the 65mm lens on the Salut-S (41mm equivalent) for panos. Now that I have a fully functioning Salut-S I can move forward with the panos. I can do 360 degrees with eight shots giving me lots of overlap. I will have to take some shots of the pano head. I bought it 14 years ago. It was made in a home shop so it isn't as fancy as some of the new pano heads. But it works just fine. The intent was to print the pano in panels but now we have software to merge them. I will mail the film off tomorrow and should have it back by the end of the week.