London Calling: The Red Wheel Rolls Back

08 July 2005 3681 Hits

 I was in London's Heathrow Airport this morning when the bombs went off in the city, many miles away. Unlike America's CNN-saturated airports, Heathrow has no ubiquitous media presence looming inescapably at every turn. The first inkling we had of the slow-rolling attack was the announcement that the underground service from the airport to the city had been suspended "due to a power failure." Then came snatches of overheard conversations of people on their cell phones: "bus blown apart," "bombs in the tube," "I told them to shut all our pubs and get the hell out of there." No way of finding out more. For once, I longed to see one of those toothsome talking heads blaring out the news to a captive audience.

Soon we were in the car, still under media blackout with a broken radio, driving north on the London Orbital, the great bleak wheel of concrete that encircles the vast metropolis. A line of blaring ambulances passed us on the southern side, heading into the city center. It was almost noon before we were finally able to find out what had happened - or rather, find out the first, still-confused inklings of what had happened. An unknown number of dead; many injured, perhaps hundreds; several tube stations hit, one bus blown up; a coordinated series of attacks, taking place during the course of an hour, and clearly aimed at crippling London's transporation system - which it did, most effectively. There was the usual claim of responsibility by a hitherto-unknown group claiming connection to al Qaeda, although the police were showing an abundance of caution about naming any possible suspects.

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Idiot Wind

Chris 08 July 2005 2925 Hits

Jesus' General does some righteous research on the culturally clashing responses to the London bombing. An excerpt:

"Its time for the President and PM Blair to come to the realisation that its time to save American and British lives and return our troops to their homes.THEN NUKE THE FREAKIN AREA...MAKE IT A PARKING LOT FOR A THOUSAND YEARS! WIPE THE EARTH CLEAN OF THESE COWARDS!"--leagalbgl, Little Green Footballs.

"Those responsible for London attacks are criminals who do not represent Islam or even truly understand (its message)" --Al-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Mohammad Sayyed Tantawi, powerful Sunni cleric.

For more condemnation of the attacks from leaders of the "Muslim village" who,
according to Tom Friedman, are forever "derelict" in their condemnation of the "death-cult in their midst," see this story. Friedman's gasbaggery is particularly acute in his column on the bombings, by the way, with the usual condescending rhetoric, giant blind spot about the West's part in the cycle of violence, the usual specious logic and of course a subtle plug for his latest book, Flatter Than a Flitter in a Roomful of Elephants, or some such.

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Dark Waters: Sailing Into Madness With the Shade of Josef Mengele

08 July 2005 2773 Hits

Published in The Moscow Times, July 8, 2005.

On July 1, the former presidential physician of George H.W. Bush wrote a guest column for the Washington Post. Two days later, the attorney general appointed by George W. Bush made a surprise visit to Baghdad. These seemingly unrelated events are not only inextricably linked; together they form a portrait of a nation gone wretchedly astray, hurtling into a moral void from which there may be no return.

There was nothing unusual about the physician, Dr. Burton Lee III, doing a piece for the Post, of course; the paper is the house organ of the American political elite, and a whole troop of loyal Bush Family retainers make regular appearances in its editorial pages, lauding the son who has now ascended the throne. What is remarkable is that Lee came not to praise the younger Bush, but to bury him – with hard truths about the torture regime he has installed in his "terror war" gulag.

Lee, a former military doctor, denounced Bush's use of military medical personnel to help "set the conditions for interrogation": withholding treatment from tortured prisoners, breaking medical confidence to tell interrogators of prisoners' physical and psychological weak spots, and other heinous practices approved by the White House and codified in Pentagon directives for military medical staff.

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Dance of Death: Corporatizing Compassion for Africa

09 August 2004 9678 Hits

Once more, George Monbiot delivers the goods on the horrific farce of "Live 8" and the "Make Poverty History" movement. Monbiot reveals what almost every single mainstream article about these efforts conceals: that Bush and Blair are "outsourcing" their "benevolent" programs for Africa to some of the most rapacious corporations in the world. They are making a vicious mockery of the generous impulses of millions of young people, marketing themselves as concerned and compassionate leaders while hiding the draconian conditions of near-colonial exploitation they are imposing on any African nation that takes up their offers of aid and debt relief.

I suppose what shocks me most in all of this is the fact that I am still able to be shocked by the shameless, self-serving, murderous lies of political leaders, and the extent to which they are utterly and completely bought and sold by Big Money. Even so, the cynicism displayed in this sickening episode takes my breath away. Once again, I must drag out a line I've used repeatedly in the Bush-Blair era and cry out with a loud voice, saying: "What quadrant of hell is hot enough for such men?"

Here's an excerpt from Monbiot:
Multinational corporations…have already been given control of the primary instrument of US policy towards Africa, the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The act is a fascinating compound of professed philanthropy and raw self-interest. To become eligible for help, African countries must bring about "a market-based economy that protects private property rights", "the elimination of barriers to United States trade and investment" and a conducive environment for US "foreign policy interests". In return they will be allowed "preferential treatment" for some of their products in US markets.

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