The Guardian has excellent Flash graphics showing what is going on.
Attacks on Afghanistan
Aerial surveillance over Afghanistan
Where are the Islamic nations?
A must read written by a women who actually was in Afghanistan to get some actual data.
But the simultaneous campaigns of war and relief create a simplistic, and erroneous, impression of the impact the U.S. can hope to have in Afghanistan, particularly when it comes to living conditions and human rights, contends Dr. Lynn Amowitz, the Fireman Health and Human Rights Fellow for the organization Physicians for Human Rights. Amowitz, who studied Afghanistan during the last 18 months, says that country's gravest ills may be due in part to the Taliban, but the roots of the problems extend far deeper than a change of government or airdropped rations could quickly remedy. Meanwhile, she says, every day that the U.S. drops bombs on Afghanistan, a dire situation becomes much worse -- despite any consolation offered by pamphlets and peanut butter.
Amowitz's report, "Women's Health and Human Rights in Afghanistan," pinpoints the full extent of the Afghanistan crisis in almost 100 pages filled with grim statistics. The report details the country's general health disaster, but Amowitz's particular concern is the unique situation of women under the Taliban, who are forbidden to work, get an education or appear in public without wearing a burqa and being accompanied by a male escort. Amowitz looked at the physical and mental effects of these restrictions. As a result, she unearthed some unexpected trends, such as a nationwide concern over women's rights, and the extent to which Afghan women actually support seemingly oppressive dress codes.
You can read Amowits's report here:
And the situation is Israel is sliding downhill fast. Since Ze'evi's assassination-11 Palestinians dead, 1 Istraeli dead.
Israeli tanks seize swath of Arafat's land
Blogging has been light. Reality has been rearing its ugly head again. Trying to finish up a large (for me) web project. It's getting close.
Before we go on to the scary news here are a couple of cultural items.
"Ukiyo-e" (translated as pictures of the floating, or sorrowful, world) is a showcase of the Library's spectacular holdings of Japanese prints, books, and drawings from the 17th to the 19th centuries. These works are complemented by related works from the Library's collections created by Japanese and Westerns artists into the 20th century.
thanks to wood s lot
If Harry Potter's world is a fantasy, it's a peculiarly British one. Which is why there was nowhere more appropriate to shoot the film than in the UK's cathedrals, castles and suburbs. Gareth McLean joins the Harry Potter trail
Now for the scary stuff.
Rehavam Zeevi, the Israeli far-Right Tourism Minister, was shot and killed outside his Jerusalem hotel room today, in what a radical PLO faction said was revenge for the killing of its leader by Israel two months ago.
The Israelis have, for some time now, been assassinating Palestinian leaders. Now the Palestinians assassinate an Israeli leader and the Israelis are going off the deep end. Arafat's stuck between that rock and a hard spot that's getting very rocky and very hard.
The killing today of Rehavam Zeevi, the Israeli far-Right Tourism Minister, is the first political assassination of its kind in Israel by a Palestinian group.
Richard Beeston, Diplomatic Editor of The Times, assesses how his killing will impact peace efforts in the region as well as the coalition's military campaign in Afghanistan. Additional reporting is provided by Christopher Walker, The Times Middle East Correspondent.
The assassination of an Israeli minister has thrown events in both Israel and the Palestinian territories into further confusion. Israel will have to weigh the urge to retaliate against America's fervent wish to keep the Middle East quiet during its campaign against Afghanistan
At least six Palestinians, including a militant on Israel's most-wanted list and a 10-year-old girl, were killed on Thursday following Israeli threats of retribution for the assassination of a cabinet minister.
THE Middle East moved closer to a new war yesterday as Ariel Sharon declared the Arafat era over and moved tanks into three West Bank towns.
Israel also killed a leading Palestinian militant, and the PLO claimed to have evidence that the Jewish state was plotting to assassinate its leader, Yassir Arafat.
The rapid collapse of the peace process followed the murder of Rehavam Zeevi, the Israeli Tourism Minister, by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) on Wednesday. Mr Sharon said: “Arafat has seven days to impose absolute quiet in the (occupied) territories. If not, we will go to war against him. As far as I am concerned, the era of Arafat is over.”
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat personally asked Arab and European diplomats Thursday to stop Israel's assassination policy which he said targeted him as well, a senior Palestinian official told AFP.
The severe deterioration of the situation in the territories is weakening Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat and is undermining the authority of Palestinian leadership. Palestinian spokesmen said Thursday that they have no doubt that Arafat has wanted to achieve a cease-fire in recent weeks, so as to regain the trust of the United States and European nations.
According to the Head of the Jerusalem Media Center, Rassan al-Hatib, the person who prevented Arafat from reaching the relative calm and cease-fire was Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who, even before Wednesday's murder of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi, had renewed his policy of assassinations, elevating tensions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
According to a speech given Wednesday in Jerusalem by researcher Dr. Khalil Shikaki, of Ramallah, Arafat's oppostion - made up of the Islamic bloc and the left - now enjoys the majority of the support of the Palestinian public. Adding Arafat's opponents within Fatah, the hardships of the Palestinian leadership are greater today than they have ever been.
Sharon is blaming Arafat for everything and expecting him to quell all disturbances when it's obvious that Arafat has little control over the people in Palestine. Sharon's actions are, IMHO, either very cynical or very stupid. Sharon doesn't strike me as stupid. He provokes the Palestinians, and when they respond by assassinating Ze'evi, he takes advantage of the assassination to threaten a war and increase the violence against the Palestinians. This saves his political ass with the right wing which was deserting him (Ze'evi was leaving Sharon's coalition). Sharon has been likening the assassination to the WTC attack and he is using it in the same way Bush is to justify is attack on terrorism.
If Sharon actually does invade Palestine, as he is threatening to do, the Middle East shit will hit the fan of America's "fight against terrorism".
We can't have all no work and no play, now can we?
Some adult themes.
thanks to MetaFilter
A Flash drawing program with animated strokes. Way cool!
all 4 thanks to weblog wannabe
thanks to MetaFilter
Since 1994 or earlier, the National Security Agency has been collecting electronic intercepts of conversations between members of the Saudi Arabian royal family, which is headed by King Fahd. The intercepts depict a regime increasingly corrupt, alienated from the country's religious rank and file, and so weakened and frightened that it has brokered its future by channelling hundreds of millions of dollars in what amounts to protection money to fundamentalist groups that wish to overthrow it.
The intercepts have demonstrated to analysts that by 1996 Saudi money was supporting Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda and other extremist groups in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Yemen, and Central Asia, and throughout the Persian Gulf region. "Ninety-six is the key year," one American intelligence official told me. "Bin Laden hooked up to all the bad guys—it's like the Grand Alliance— and had a capability for conducting large-scale operations." The Saudi regime, he said, had "gone to the dark side."
In interviews last week, current and former intelligence and military officials portrayed the growing instability of the Saudi regime—and the vulnerability of its oil reserves to terrorist attack—as the most immediate threat to American economic and political interests in the Middle East. The officials also said that the Bush Administration, like the Clinton Administration, is refusing to confront this reality, even in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
thanks to also not found in nature
What is a terrorist? Is one man's terrorist another man's freedom fighter? Bush is attaching the terrorist label to some and not others. It's not only Bush that is doing this. Every government is now attaching the term terrorist to those that oppose them. Is this meaningful? Who decides who is a terrorist and who is not. Is there Terrorist Identification Board? What about State supported terrorism?
Governments can arbitrarily label whoever they want as a terrorist for their own political reasons if there is no agreed upon definition of what constitutes a terrorist. Like they are doing now.
The statement, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” has become not only a cliché, but also one of the most difficult obstacles in coping with terrorism. The matter of definition and conceptualization is usually a purely theoretical issue—a mechanism for scholars to work out the appropriate set of parameters for the research they intend to undertake. However, when dealing with terrorism and guerrilla warfare, implications of defining our terms tend to transcend the boundaries of theoretical discussions. In the struggle against terrorism, the problem of definition is a crucial element in the attempt to coordinate international collaboration, based on the currently accepted rules of traditional warefare.
The struggle to define terrorism is sometimes as hard as the struggle against terrorism itself. The present view, claiming it is unnecessary and well-nigh impossible to agree on an objective definition of terrorism, has long established itself as the “politically correct” one. It is the aim of this paper, however, to demonstrate that an objective, internationally accepted definition of terrorism is a feasible goal, and that an effective struggle against terrorism requires such a definition. The sooner the nations of the world come to this realization, the better.
thanks to MetaFilter
And how well is our war against terrorism going?
The Bush administration is growing increasingly alarmed by the direction of the military campaign in Afghanistan after a week of almost continuous bombing has failed to dislodge either Osama bin Laden or the Taliban leadership.
In the absence of new intelligence on the whereabouts of the Saudi-born extremist accused of masterminding the September 11 terrorist attacks, US generals are under pressure from civilian defence officials to send greater numbers of special forces into Afghanistan to try to accomplish what the bombing failed to do - flush out a target.
But the Pentagon's top brass are reluctant to deploy their best troops in the absence of good intelligence about Bin Laden's whereabouts, and before further bombing has softened expected resistance on the ground.
Once you start a war, who's in charge?
And once you start limiting freedoms to support the war, who decides which freedoms get limited?
It's official. Tom Ridge has been sworn in as the director of the Office of Homeland Security, as of October 8, 2001. In his acceptance speech, he said, "Although some sacrifices will have to be made, the essential freedoms of the American people will be protected." And this is a very sinister message. What he's saying is that there obviously will be "sacrifices" in the civil rights of the people. And then he's saying the "essential" civil rights of the people will be maintained. But who determines what the word "essential" means? Who determines what "rights" are essential? Certainly the people are not going to determine that. And Ridge didn't say who it was who would be doing the determining. Then Bush spoke for a few more minutes and said that who would be doing the determining would be the "Supreme National Security Council." It will exist above the Homeland Security Directorate, and will be chaired by George Bush, various cabinet members and "certain others who have had long-term political allegiances to my father."
What they're saying is that since this is a super-agency, which is immune from congressional oversight or judicial review, there has to be some regulatory body above it. That will make this Council extra-legal, extra-constitutional, extra-judicial, and extra-legislative. And it's even extra-executive. Bush then is essentially assuming supreme power as Chairman of the Supreme National Security Council.
Welcome back to the excesses of HUAC - House of UnAmerican Activities Committee. HUAC was small time compared to what Bush and Ridge are planning. It is usefull to look at what damage HUAC did in support of political interests.
The Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was originally established in 1937 under the chairmanship of Martin Dies. The main objective of the HUAC was the investigation of un-American and subversive activities.
A Bill Mauldin cartoon probabaly from the 1950s.
The TestingTesting IAC Benefit Concert is archived. It was a great show. Listen to it. The show ended after 10pm. Then it was tearing down and loading my living room back into the van. I only unloaded the computer when I got home. I was beat but I can't be without e-mail and the web. I start twitching.
Derek came by this morning to help unload the van. We traded stories of great moments in the concert. For one, Derek, who is a *big* Dylan fan, thought that Karin Blaine's version of "Don't Think Twice, It's Allright" is the finest version he has ever heard. No doubt. Check it out. She ends her set with it. Timothy Hull was great, as usual. A new song at the end of his set. Barton was super and Blue Marble harmonies and songs were wonderful. All the performers gathered on stage for the finale which was "Blowin' in the Wind.
Robbie, who did an incredible job on the sound, had screwed up the cassette tapes. They could be used but only with a lot of work. He had the show on Digital Audio Tape so he ran that off onto a couple of CDs for me to use for the archive. Great sounding archives because of that. We will probably sell CDs of the show.
back to surreality
Do I have to? Yes!! OK.
The World Bank’s former Chief Economist’s accusations are eye-popping - including how the IMF and US Treasury fixed the Russian elections
"It has condemned people to death," the former apparatchik told me. This was like a scene out of Le Carre. The brilliant old agent comes in from the cold, crosses to our side, and in hours of debriefing, empties his memory of horrors committed in the name of a political ideology he now realizes has gone rotten.
And here before me was a far bigger catch than some used Cold War spy. Joseph Stiglitz was Chief Economist of the World Bank. To a great extent, the new world economic order was his theory come to life.
thanks to also not found in nature
Joe Stiglitz also was one of three to win the Nobel Prize for Economics.
There has been a little germ of an idea that started to go throught my mind yesterday and, after reading the above gem, the little idea became a little scarier.
Monday Doc Searls posted a question for discussion about how entertainment tastes have changed since 9-11. My response was how I had trouble watching The Matrix after 9-11. Watching aircraft fly into skyscrapers just wasn't what it used to be. I felt movies like The Matrix were desesensitizing us to violence and it's consequences. People die when there big balls of flame come out of the sides of skyscrapers.
The Matrix had gone from the top of my list to the bottom. Now it's back on top. Why didn't I see what was so obvious?
The last month on the Internet has been drinking from a firehose of information. Much of the information had been there before 9-11 but not seen. Reading the article on Joe Stiglitz put me into the scene where Keanu Reeves wakes up, for the first time, outside the Matrix. Sort of a What The Fuck?! moment with the realization that things were much worse that I thought.
I considered myself relatively well versed on what is going on in the world and, no, we are not being raised by AI for electricity. But there are two worlds. Much more than I had realized. The world that is our Matrix with O.J. trials and Monica Lewinsky. Our world where foreign affairs is when a small boy from Cuba ends up in Florida. And the other world where our country is screwing everyone at all levels. The other world where the rich and powerful in this country truly are not bound by any laws passed by any government. In fact, they control the election process (Florida) and now own the United States government, as well as much of the rest of the world.
I suppose I saw that message in a small way when I saw The Matrix. I'm now seeing it in a *big* way.
Or maybe it's because it's past 4 in the morning.
On a happier note...
There may, Heikal believes, be some as yet undiscovered element in the atrocity of September 11. Whatever the truth, he says that the explanations so far have been hasty, inconclusive and remarkably convenient. "I understand that the American administration wanted an enemy right away to hit, to absorb the anger of the American people," he says, "but I wish they had produced some real evidence. I read what Mr Blair said in the House of Commons carefully: they had prepared the atmosphere for that statement by saying he is going to reveal some of the proof, but there is no proof, nothing; it is all deductions. Colin Powell was more honest than anybody: he said if not this, it doesn't matter, he has committed so many other crimes that necessitate taking action against him. But that is like the Chinese proverb: 'Hit your wife every day; if you don't know the reason, she does.' You can't do it this way."
Saudi Arabia claims it has severed all ties with Osama bin Laden, but the government there is dragging its feet in helping us follow the terrorist's trail. It won't freeze his assets, nor turn over records of the charities which reportedly funneled money to the Al Qaeda network. When Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Talal offered New York City a relief check for $10 million, it came with a slam on U.S. Middle East policy; Mayor Rudy Giuliani sent it back.
thanks to Ethel the Blog