Progressive Calendar 08.11.06
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2006 03:04:10 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     08.11.06

1. Alt/violence      8.11 6pm

2. AWC yard sale     8.12 8am
3. N Am ethnic       8.12 9am
4. Latino fair       8.12 10am
5. Avoid military    8.12 10:30am
6. TGen/women/color  8.12 11am
7. Vs US/Israel      8.12 12noon Duluth MN
8. Mendota pow wow   8.12 1pm
9. N-side solidarity 8.12 2:45pm
10. Bike-in/Bell     8.12 5pm
11. NE corn feed     8.12
12. WEI farm day     8.12

13. Jeanne Massey   - BetterBallotCampaign lawn signs and more
14. Vandana Shiva   - Corporate rule = fascism
15. David Barsamian - Gore Vidal interviewed
16. Gabriel Garcia Marquez - The Fidel Castro I know
17. Noam Chomsky    - Apocalypse near

--------1 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Alt/violence 8.11 6pm

8/11 (6 pm) to 8/13 (6 pm), advanced level training for Alternatives to
Violence Program, Friends for a Non-Violent World, 1050 Selby Ave, St Paul.
avp [at] fnvw.org


--------2 of 17--------

From: Tracy Molm <molm [at] umn.edu>
Subject: AWC yard sale 8.12 8am

Its that time of year AWC fans:
Every year around this time we offer to help you clear that space in your
house by taking away items you no longer need, AND all the profits are
going to the AWC.  As if that's not enough, come back Saturday and get all
your holiday shopping out of the way!

All joking aside, the AWC Yard Sale is one of our best fundraisers during
the year, and that relies on your help both bringing us your previously
loved items and for you, your friends and family to come and shop on Sat.
Also we can always use help staffing the Yard Sale drop-off and sale, if
you have time Friday or Saturday please give our office a call
(612-379-3899, or email info [at] antiwarcommittee.org).  So we will see you
there, and hopefully at some of the other upcoming events!

Anti-War Committee Yard Sale Donation Drop-Off/Set-up
Friday, 8/11 @ 6-8pm DONATE; 5-10pm VOLUNTEER @ Bethany Lutheran
Church, 2511 East Franklin, Mpls.

The AWC Yard Sale has boasted some of the most unique and interesting
gifts around town. Help us put together the yard sale items, categorizing
and generally organizing. Please join us, bring your stuff, and stay for a
while to help get the annual sale off on the right foot!

Anti-War Committee Yard Sale
Saturday, 8/12 8am-3pm SALE; 7am-5pm VOLUNTEER @ Bethany Lutheran
Church, 2511 East Franklin, Mpls.

Come buy cool stuff, recycle and give your money to a good cause! The AWC
Yard Sale has boasted some of the most unique and interesting gifts around
town. Looking for that 80's style water bed to complete your bedroom look?
Or how about a used t.v. for your office? These are some of the types of
fabulous items you can purchase or even donate to our annual fundraising
yard sale! VOLUNTEERS and SHOPPERS needed. Questions? Call us at
612.379.3899 or email us at
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/antiwarmn/post?postID=tkUKE34AdtqCk7xe287O1WPO1p7CBqM40fBF3JOmU4YKV_lmfmvGHFdDrsJlJULwcNKALyMEeEZPP-YUb2qw1Ahy>info
 [at] antiwarcommittee.org



--------3 of 17--------

From: humanrts [at] umn.edu
Subject: N Am ethnic 8.12 9am

August 12 - First Day: North American Ethnic Nationalities Seminar.
9am-12noon
First Baptist Church, 499 Wacouta St, St Paul MN 55101

The Karen Community of Minnesota requests your attendance to the North
American Ethnic Nationalities Seminar which will be held Saturday August
12, Monday Aug 14 and Tuesday Aug 15 at the First Baptist Church in Saint
Paul.  This seminar is the first gathering of its kind with the purpose to
empower the ethnic minorities of Burma residing in North America.  Over 26
delegates from 11 different indigenous groups of Burma are expected to
attend.

The opening day of the seminar will begin with a Martyr s Day Ceremony on
Saturday August 12th from 9a-12p with speakers and presentations to
follow.

FFI: Karen Community of Minnesota Office 651-291-9711 office hours M-F 9am
- 12pm.

Wilfred Shwe 651-214-4460 Robert Zan 651-488-1111


--------4 of 17--------

From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com>
Subject: Latino fair 8.12 10am

Saturday, 8/12  10am - 2pm Latino Family Resource Fair (La Feria)
at Midtown Market, Lake & 22nd Ave.

La Feria Anual de Recursos para La Familia Latina del 2006.
 The Latino Family Resource Fair (La Feria ) will celebrate another year
as a recognized and reputable tradition within the Minneapolis community.
Once again, the City of Minneapolis, La Oportunidad, Metropolitan Health
Plan and the Midtown Market will host this fun and informative event for
Latino families living in the Minneapolis community and the greater
metropolitan area.  In 2005, fair-goers gathered information from nearly
90 registered resource booths in areas of health care, social services,
education and more.

In addition to a variety of community resources, there will also be
traditional food, live music and dancing, and various children's
activities.

10am-2pm: East Lake Street and 22nd Avenue  Minneapolis.


--------5 of 17--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Avoid military 8.12 10:30am

SHARE WIDELY  espeically with YOUTH considering the military or being
heavily recruited at their high schools! LH

Saturday, 8.12 (and 2nd Saturday of each month), 10:30 am, Coalition for
Alternatives to Military Service (or CAMS, a counter-recruitment group)
meets at Twin Cities Friends Meeting, 1725 Grand, St. Paul.  Contact Mary
at wamm [at] mtn.org


--------6 of 17--------

From: David Strand <mncivil [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: TGen/women/color 8.12 11am

Trans-Gender Unity:  A Transgender Summit for Women of Color
Saturday August 12
11am-5pm
Sabathani Community Center 310 E. 38th Street Minneapolis, MN
(3rd Floor- Conference Center room D1 & D2)

A transgender summit for women of color including brunch, entertainment
and prizes.  $25 honorarium for conference participants.  Sponsored by
African American AIDS Task Force and funded by PFund

Special Celebrity Guest Bebe Benet--Miss Minnesota USA 2006
Conference facilitator:  Ms Andrea Jenkins
Conference Coordinator:  Ms. Reneka Evans
Contact Reneka for pre-registration or more information at (612)825-2052


--------7 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Vs US/Israel bombs 8.12 12noon Duluth MN

Saturday, 812, noon, emergency rally "Stop US/Israeli Bombing in the Middle
East," Power Plaza, Lake Ave & Superior St, Duluth.
adamthejanitor [at] yahoo.com or 715-392-6660.


--------8 of 17--------

From: Sue Ann <mart1408 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Mendota pow wow 8.12 1pm

Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community 7th Annual Welcome Home Pow Wow
August 12-13, 2006
St. Peter's Catholic Church
1404 Sibley Memorial Highway Mendota Heights, Minnesota
(By Mendota Bridge off Highway 13)

Grand Entry
Satuday, August 12  - 1 & 7 pm
Sunday, August 13 - 1 pm

$5 Button Gate Donation

Emcee:  Mitch Walking Elk
Arena Director:  Windy Down Wind
Head Dancers:  Wally Rippling and Beverly Scott
Host Drub:  Kangi Cikala
Co-Host:  Thunder Nation

For more information call the MMDC office at 651-452-4141


--------9 of 17--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: N-side solidarity 8.12 2:45pm

Please come to help make this an unforgettable show of solidarity and
protest against the continuing violence on the Northside mankwe

Please note that since this was written, just over a week ago, we are now
at 41 murders in Minneapolis.

THIS IS A CALL TO ACTION!!!

There have been over 35 murders in the city of Minneapolis since January
1st, 2006. Over half of which have been in North Minneapolis alone, three,
on the corner of Broadway and Dupont.

Lets Do Something.
Silent Protest August 12th, 2006 at 2:45p

 Meet on the corner of W. Broadway and Dupont dressed in all black
 Be prepared to stand in unison with other artists, activists, and
community members for one hour (from 3p to 4p) in complete silence, while
honoring those who have lost or those who have been lost due to violence
in the neighborhood and also protesting any further acts of violence∑ We
will meet for fifteen minutes (2:45-3p) to spread ourselves amongst the
four corners, North, South, East, and West (Knowledge, Power, Wisdom, and
Overstanding).

IMPORTANT
This Is An Event For And By The People
We Are Not Looking For Media Attention
Forward Information To Any And All People You Feel NEED To Be Present
The community needs and thanks you.
Peace & Love

Latisha "Tish" Jones Executive & Artistic Director TruArtSpeaks


--------10 of 17--------

From: Shanai Matteson <matt0423 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Bike-in/Bell 8.12 5pm

Bike-In at the Bell
Saturday, August 12
  5pm-12midnight
  Bell Museum courtyard
  $8/$5 if you bike in
Pedal to the Bell Museum for the second annual Bike-In at the Bell, a
celebration of bikes and biking! Learn how to ride safely on city
streets, how to navigate bike trails across the state, how to advocate
for transportation alternatives, and how to donate your old bike to a
good cause. Enjoy live music, a bike circus, food and drinks from
bike-friendly businesses, and bicycle art from local artists. At dusk,
see a selection of local short films about bikes and biking, followed
by a screening of the award winning animated classic, The Triplets of
Belleville (2003). This event is open to all, but tickets are
discounted for those who bike in.


--------11 of 17--------

From: tom [at] organicconsumers.org
Subject: NE corn feed 8.12

Its here and its now!

This Saturday, AUG. 12th, is the annual corn feed/brat-a-palooza at the NE
Farmers Market.

You will not only be able to stroll amongst the shade of the trees that
line the NE Farmers Market and peruse the bounty of flowers and produce
provided by local growers and take home your dinner but also support the
NE Farmers Market at our annual Corn Feed and Brat-A-Palooza.

It will be a ton fun for the whole family.  Bird House John will be there
with his one of a kind bird houses and for the young at heart and age
there will be a literal juggling of vegetables, and magicians and, I KID
YOU NOT, GIANT CAMELS (from Barebones Productions).

Fabulous grilled brats from the Trebesch farm (http://trebeschmeats.com/)
will be available and this year we will be cooking up the legendary sweet
corn from Gardens of Eagan (http://www.frontiernet.net/~atinagoe/); a
fifth generation family farm, in operation since 1857 and certified
organic since 1974.

Trio Tipo (http://www.triotipo.com/) will be providing the unique sounds
of their acoustic fusion and Market stalwarts Chowgirls Catering,
providers of killer catering (http://www.chowgirls.net/), will be set up
for all your epicurean and caffeinated needs.

The NE Farmers Market, in its 7th year of operation, is located in lovely
lower NE MPLS at the corner of 7th and University AVE NE in the parking
lot of St. Boniface Catholic Church.  There is plenty of free parking and
it is your direct connection to local growers east of the MPLS Mississippi
River.

If you would like to volunteer to help us on that day please get a hold of
Tom Taylor at 612-788-4252 or tom [at] organicconsumers.org

Thanks, please spread the word and hope to see you there!

Tom Taylor 612-788-4252 tom [at] organiconsumers.org


--------12 of 17--------

From: erin [at] mnwomen.org
Subject: WEI farm day 8.12

Saturday, August 12: Women's Environmental Institute at Amador Hill
Saturday Farm Day - Come and join a working farm day at WEI. Great food,
hearty work and extra produce for you to take home. Help harvest and enjoy
the out-of-doors. You can join the farm harvest crew or work on the
organic apple orchard. RSVP 651/583-0705. Please leave your deserving pets
at home. www.w-e-i.org.


--------13 of 17--------

From: Jeanne Massey <jkmassey [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: BetterBallotCampaign lawn signs and more

GET YOUR LAWN SIGN
"Vote YES for Instant Runoff Voting" lawn signs are on order. Reply "YES"
to
    jkmassey [at] earthlink.net

if you would like one. We'll deliver it when it comes in.

HELP LIT DROP
We are literature dropping in neighborhoods throughout the city. Reply
"YES" again to

    jkmassey [at] earthlink.net

if you can help lit drop for a couple of hours during the evening or on a
weekend.

DONATE
We need to reach voters city wide to win in November. Please support the
campaign in any amount you can:

$ 25 buys 8 "Vote Yes for Instant Runoff Voting" lawn signs
$ 50 buys 500 pieces of "Vote Yes for Instant Runoff Voting" literature
$ 100 buys 12 "Vote Yes for Instant Runoff Voting" t-shirts
$ 500 buys a campaign intern to organize lit drops, phone banks, door
  knocks, and mailings for a month

You can contribute on line at
http://www.betterballotcampaign.org/BBC/contribute
        or
Send a check to:
Better Ballot Campaign 3606 Harriet Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55409

ENDORSEMENTS
We have received two new exciting endorsements!
 Andy Luger, candidate for Hennepin County Attorney
 Minneapolis Urban League, a prominent African American public policy
advocacy and social services organization

SAVE THE DATE - SEPTEMBER 15
The Better Ballot Campaign is holding a gala event Friday, September 15th
at the Hennepin History Museum, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Live entertainment
by Le Cirque Rouge. You will receive your invitation soon!

UPCOMING EVENTS
Volunteer or learn more about Instant Runoff Voting at an upcoming event.
See Upcoming Events for venues and dates:
http://www.betterballotcampaign.org/BBC/home


--------14 of 17--------

Corporate Rule = Fascism
By Vandana Shiva
August 10, 2006
ZNet Commentary
http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2006-08/08shiva.cfm

Terror in Dadri - "Urja" Nagar (Power City) become "Ujar Nagar" (City of
Devastation)

On the outskirts of Delhi, in Dadri, Ghaziabad, Reliance Energy has plans
to build the world's largest gas based power plant of 3500 MW. The
investment outlay is more than Rs. 10,000 crore (US $ 2.2 billion).
However the real investment is the 2500 acres of land in the most fertile
region of the world, with alluvial soils built up over millennia by the
Ganges and Yamuna rivers, irrigated by the Ganga Canal system. Farmers on
whose land the power plant is to be built, did not even know the
Government had acquired the land till the foundation stone was unveiled.
Since then, the villagers of the region have been resisting the forced
take over of their land. Farmers of seven villages have been on a hunger
strike since January 2006 at the protest site in Village Bajhera Khurd in
Dader.

When I went to Bajhera with Rajendra Singh of Tarun Bharat Sangh and
Satpal Choudhary of the Lak Tantrik Party in May 2006, Dr. Jaipal Singh,
one of the protestors on a fast said that the villagers came to know of
the acquisition only from local newspapers at the time of unveiling of the
power project. No consent was taken and no notice was served. When they
challenged the injustice and illegality of the acquisition of their land,
the authorities told them to either go to Court or accept the
"compensation" being awarded.

With Delhi's explosive urban sprawl, land in Dadri is worth Rs. 13,500 /
Sq.m. Farmers are being offered only Rs. 120/- Sq.m. Further the power
project only needs 700 acres, but 2500 acres have been acquired because of
high real estate value. And finally no legal procedure has been followed
in acquiring the land.

Farmers have torn down the fence, and have been ploughing their fields to
assert their rights. On 8th of July, India ex Prime Minsiter V.P. Singh
who has recently launched a farmers front Jan Morcha to stop farmers
exploitation and oppression, was to join farmers in tillilng the land.

The night before, 100 vehicles of the police entered Bajhera Khurd, fired
bullets and tear gas at the protestors, then entered the village, broke
open doors, assaulted women, children, the old and the disabled, cows and
buffaloes, stole every womens gold jewellery, robbed money from safes and
trunks, broke every car and motorcycle, took away every mobile phone so
that the village was left with no mobility and no communication.  Mr. V.P.
Singh was arrested along with Raj Babbar, the famous bollywood filmstar
and M.P. at the Delhi border

On 11th July, I went to visit the women of Bajhera. The foods the
community had collected to serve 100,000 who were to join the protest on
8th had been heartlessly destroyed. Prem Pal, the Son of Rohta Singh had
been shot in the foot but was not given medical help. Instead he was
thrown in Jail.

Harvati had been attacked severely on her legs and neck. She cannot speak.

Sona's pregnant daughter-in-law was dragged out of a room after breaking
down the door. The attack has traumatized her to such an extent that she
is having fits. Her husband Charan Singh was thrown in Jail.

Maya, a widow had all her cash and jewellery stolen. Her son, Sunil drives
a taxi for a living. He had just sold an old car for Rs. 30,000/-. That
was taken. Tear gas was exploded in his eyes. He has lost his sight. Maya
said "his eyes was what kept the family alive. How will we survive".

Even the disabled were not spared. Makhan Singh was attacked by a Bayonet.
When Lal Giri was attacked, his aged mother Asharfi threw herself in the
way to protect him.

Dalit labourer Udaibir's son Jagdish's sons leg has been broken, and a 16
year old son Chandeema is in jail. His wife's mangal sutra was snatched.
His one and a half month grandson Kapil who was in his lap was snatched
and thrown on the floow.

Dulari, Sashi, Masla..... no one was spared. Shiela was hit on the head
and face with a bayonet. Her head is still bleeding.

People's land and people's blood, is the subsidy being given to
corporations to build power plants and cities, shopping malls and golf
courses. This is not "Shinning India" or "Smiling India". This is India
enslaved, India in tears.

The Emergence of the Corporate State leads to the emergence of fascism

The partnership between corporations and Governments is leading to the
emergence of a corporate state - with the state using its political power
to help corporations appropriate the wealth and property of citizens, and
corporations using their economic power to help politicians who have
helped them to crush democratic dissent. This gives a few people such
power that they can rob people of all freedoms. Monopoly markets lead to
quasi-military authority. The corporate state becomes a fascist state.
Fascist dictatorship is an inevitable outcome of market dictatorship. This
is what the atrocities in Bajhera Khurd in Dadri symbolize. Every village
is being made a concentration camp. Every home is being turned into a
torture chamber.

Policies which combine the colonial / feudal principle of the "eminent
domain" with the market principle of corporate concentration must become
an assault on people's rights.

The colonial land acquisition act gave unbridled power to the colonial
state to acquire land for public purpose. However, an obsolete act
continues to be used to grab land from farmers for private profit. Whether
it is for the Reliance power plant in Dadri or the Reliance Special
Economic Zones in Haryana and Maharashtra, or the Retail Hubs Reliance is
setting up in Punjab, fertile land has been forcefully acquired by
Governments at rates 1000 times lower than market rates, and handed over
to corporations. Markets are for corporations, not the farmers. For the
farmers it is the brute force of a fascist state using colonial laws.

In a democracy, land and resources should be governed on the basis of the
public trust doctrine, not the eminent domain principle. In times of
corporate globalsiation, the Land Acquisition Act can only be the
instrument of fascism. It must be set aside. Let corporations negotiate
directly with farmers. If farmers do not want to sell their farmland a
brute state should not forcefully acquire it. If they do, they should get
the full market price.

The Newsweek of July 17, 2006 has a cover story on Mukesh Ambani, the
brother of Anil Ambani, who is setting up the Dadri power plant. Mukesh
Ambani is also setting up Special Economic Zones (SEZ) outside Delhi and
Mumbai. In addition he is planning to create 1600 farm supply hubs across
India. He calls himself the Wal Mart of India and claims that his success
comes from "Government is ceding its powers". However like in Dadri,
Mukesh Ambani's SEZ's of 150 square kilometers outside Mumbai has been
based on land acquisition with Government help. This is not about
Governments ceding its powers, but Government exaggerating its powers to
force citizens to cede their resources and assets so that businesses like
Reliance can grow bigger. When Newsweek has a cover story on Mukesh Ambani
as India's Mister Big who could spark Asia's next boom, they are not
telling the story of how ordinary farmers are being robbed of their land
and livelihood to create this boom.

We cannot allow fascism to be the foundation of India's economic growth.
The Dadri atrocity must never be repeated if India is to stay democratic
and free.


[Yes, corporate rule = fascism. And behind the corporations is the ruling
class of billionaires, pushing corporate rule and fascism as fast they
can.

We must reject their myths of the ruling-class as better than we, or more
deserving, or as "giving us our jobs"; or that we have to reward them with
billions and live under fascism just so they will get up in the morning.

Two and three houdred years ago, people rose up and overthrew kings and
dukes and counts. It was a major change in the structure of society.

It is time to change the structure of society everywhere, so that there
are no more ruling classes. If we don't, they will do to all of us what
they did to the people in the article above.

A hundred years ago, socialist and populists had an accurate understanding
of the ruling class - a fat man in a three-piece suit, with a whip, riding
on the shoulders of a bare-chested strong young laborer, *crack* "Faster
you scum!" *crack*

We should, none of us, want to be these pig-like whip-snappers.  Class
society is wrong, evil, immoral, destructive of basic humanity. It is not
justified by the line that, Well YOU could be one of the whippers, too!

Both "major" parties are bought and paid for by the ruling class, so it
won't be easy to change things. But if we don't, anything resembling
civilization is over. -ed]


--------15 of 17--------

GORE VIDAL / AMERICA'S GEORGE GALLOWAY
by Allen L Roland
OpEdNews

http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_allen_l_060808_gore_vidal_2f_america,htm

" Bill Clinton was so busy triangulating that he was enlisting under the
colors of the other team:" Gore Vidal

In the dangerous political tides of today's world ~ it is imperative that
we hear the voices of England's George Galloway and America's Gore Vidal
to remind us that our ship of state is listing badly and we desperately
need a new captain and crew.

Here's a typical quote from Vidal that hits the mark ~

"The media belongs to the big money, and the big money, their candidates,
their party, is the Republican Party as now constituted ...What isn't
typical is a Democratic Party that has also sold out. There are just as
many lobbyists and propagandists there as on the other side. They're never
going to regain anything until they remember that they're supposed to
represent the people at large, and not the very rich."

Here is Gore Vidal being interviewed recently by David Barsamian for The
progressive and Vidal, once again, delivers in style. -Allen L Roland

GORE VIDAL INTERVIEWED
By David Barsamian August 2006 Issue
http://progressive.org/mag_intv0806

Gore Vidal is a gold mine of quips and zingers. And his vast knowledge of
literature and history-particularly American-makes for an impressive
figure. His razor-sharp tongue lacerates the powerful.

He does it with aplomb, saying, "Style is knowing who you are, what you
want to say, and not giving a damn." He has a wry sense of noblesse
oblige: "There is no human problem which could not be solved if people
would simply do as I advise."

Now eighty, he lives in the Hollywood hills in a modest mansion with
immodest artwork. I felt I was entering a museum of Renaissance art. A
stern painting of the Emperor Constantine was looking down upon us as we
sat in his majestic living room. A Buddha statue from Thailand stood
nearby. But all was not somber. He had a Bush doll with a 9/11 bill
sticking out of it on a table behind us.

His aristocratic pedigree is evident not just in his artistic
sophistication but also in his locution. In a war of words, few can
contend with Vidal.

"I'm a lover of the old republic and I deeply resent the empire our
Presidents put in its place," he declares.

Vidal moved gingerly and was using a cane. A recent knee operation left
him less mobile. He says, "The mind is still agile but the knees have
grown weak."

We sat in upholstered chairs. On a nearby table I saw the galleys of his
second memoir, Point to Point Navigation. It will be out this fall. His
earlier one, Palimpsest, came out in 1995.

Prolific does not even begin to describe Vidal's literary output. He's the
author of scores of novels, plays, screenplays, essays. In 1993, he won
the National Book Award for his collection of essays, United States.

His recent books (he calls them "pamphlets") - Perpetual War for Perpetual
Peace, Dreaming War, and Imperial America - have sold in huge numbers.
When I asked him what was the point of his work, he said, "I am
chronicling America." The prose, whether polemical or fictional, is
elegant.

Distantly related to Jackie Kennedy, he does not romanticize JFK. "He was
one of the most charming men I've ever known," says Vidal. "He was also
one of the very worst Presidents."

He's been a Democratic candidate for the House from New York and for the
Senate from California. Today, he ridicules the Democrats for supineness.

He sees a certain continuity in U.S. foreign policy over the last fifty
years. "The management, then and now, truly believes the United States is
the master of the Earth and anyone who defies us will be napalmed or
blockaded or covertly overthrown," he says. "We are beyond law, which is
not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common
sense."

I talked with him on a hot afternoon in mid-April.

Q: In 2002, long before Bush's current travails, you wrote, "Mark my
words, he will leave office the most unpopular President in history." How
did you know that then?

Gore Vidal: I know these people. I don't say that as though I know them
personally. I know the types. I was brought up in Washington. When you are
brought up in a zoo, you know what's going on in the monkey house. You see
a couple of monkeys loose and one is President and one is Vice President,
you know it's trouble. Monkeys make trouble.

Q: Bush's ratings have been at personal lows. Cheney has had an 18 percent
approval rating.

Vidal: Well, he deserves it.

Q: Yet the wars go on. It's almost as if the people don't matter.

Vidal: The people don't matter to this gang. They pay no attention. They
think in totalitarian terms. They've got the troops. They've got the army.
They've got Congress. They've got the judiciary. Why should they worry?
Let the chattering classes chatter. Bush is a thug. I think there is
something really wrong with him.

Q: What do you think of the conspiracy theories about September 11?

Vidal: I'm willing to believe practically any mischief on the part of the
Bush people. No, I don't think they did it, as some conspiracy people
think. Why? Because it was too intelligently done. This is beyond the
competence of Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld. They couldn't pull off a caper
like 9/11. They are too clumsy.

Q: Today the United States is fighting two wars, one in Afghanistan and
one in Iraq, and is now threatening to launch a third one on Iran. What is
it going to take to stop the Bush onslaught?

Vidal: Economic collapse. We are too deeply in debt. We can't service the
debt, or so my financial friends tell me, that's paying the interest on
the Treasury bonds, particularly to the foreign countries that have been
financing us. I think the Chinese will say the hell with you and pull
their money out of the United States. That's the end of our wars.

Q: You're a veteran of World War II, the so-called good war. Would you
recommend to a young person a career in the armed forces in the United
States?

Vidal: No, but I would suggest Canada or New Zealand as a possible place
to go until we are rid of our warmongers. We've never had a government
like this. The United States has done wicked things in the past to other
countries but never on such a scale and never in such an existentialist
way.

It's as though we are evil. We strike first. We'll destroy you. This is an
eternal war against terrorism. It's like a war against dandruff. There's
no such thing as a war against terrorism. It's idiotic. These are slogans.
These are lies. It's advertising, which is the only art form we ever
invented and developed.

But our media has collapsed. They've questioned no one. One of the reasons
Bush and Cheney are so daring is that they know there's nobody to stop
them. Nobody is going to write a story that says this is not a war, only
Congress can declare war.

And you can only have a war with another country. You can't have a war
with bad temper or a war against paranoids. Nothing makes any sense, and
the people are getting very confused. The people are not stupid, but they
are totally misinformed.

Q: You've called the country "The United States of Amnesia." Is this
something in our genes?

Vidal: No, it's something in our rulers. They don't want us to know
anything. When you've got a press like we have, you no longer have an
informed citizenry.

I was involved somewhat with Congressman Conyers on what happened in Ohio
during the last Presidential election.

Conyers is the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, and he went up
there with a bunch of researchers. They went from district to district,
and they found out how the election was stolen.

He wrote a report that was published by a small press in Chicago. To help
out, I said I'd write a preface for him on how the election was stolen. We
were thinking that might help. But The New York Times and The Washington
Post were not going to review the book about how we had a second
Presidential election stolen. They weren't going to admit it.

A huge number of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein was
responsible for 9/11. You have a people that don't know anything about the
rest of the world, and you have leaders who lie to them, lie to them, and
lie to them.

It's so stupid, everything that they say. And the media take on it is just
as stupid as theirs, sometimes worse. They at least have motives. They are
making money out of the republic or what's left of it. It's the stupidity
that will really drive me away from this country.

Q: When were the media better?

Vidal: They've never been much good. They belong to the people who own
them. But they were better, the level was higher. There used to be foreign
correspondents in other countries. There's nobody abroad now. The New York
Times gave up being anything except a kind of shadow of The Wall Street
Journal.

The Washington Post is the court circular. What has the emperor done
today? And who will be the under-assistant of the secretary of
agriculture? As though these things mattered.

Q: What do you think of the public advertising of one's faith among
political leaders? They make a show of going to church and participating
in ceremonies.

Vidal: Personally I find it sickening, and very much against what our
Founders had in mind. Remember that the country was mostly founded by
Brits, and England's always gotten credit for having invented hypocrisy.
So we are reflecting our British heritage when we hypocritically talk
about how religious we are.

Q: Is the U.S. more like Sparta than Athens?

Vidal: We're not so good as either. We certainly are not warlike. Spartans
were based upon military service. We don't want that. We want to make
money, which I always thought was one of the most admirable things about
Americans.

We didn't want to go out and conquer other countries. We wanted to corner
wheat in the stock market or something sensible like that. So we are very
unbelligerent. We were dragged screaming into World War I. Well, we were
slightly enthusiastic about that, but we were very innocent farm people in
those days. In World War II, we fought to stay out of that war.

And every liberal figure in the United States from Norman Thomas on was
anti-war. They were isolationists in the old populist tradition. So we
never had a chance of being Sparta.

Q: Talk about the role of the opposition party, the Democrats.

Vidal: It isn't an opposition party. I have been saying for the last
thousand years that the United States has only one party - the property
party. It's the party of big corporations, the party of money. It has two
right wings; one is Democrat and the other is Republican.

Q: What can people do to energize democracy?

Vidal: The tactic would be to go after smaller offices, state by state,
school board, sheriff, state legislatures. You can turn them around and
that doesn't take much of anything.

Take back everything at the grassroots, starting with state legislatures.
That's what Madison always said. I'd like to see a revival of state
legislatures, in which I am a true Jeffersonian.

Q: Do you see any developments on the horizon that might suggest an
alternative?

Vidal: Newton's Third Law. I hope that law is still working. American laws
don't work, but at least the laws of physics might work. And the Third Law
is: There is no action without reaction.

There should be a great deal of reaction to the total incompetence of this
Administration. It's going to take two or three generations to recover
what we had as of twenty years ago.

David Barsamian is the director of Alternative Radio in Boulder, Colorado.
His latest book is "Original Zinn: Conversations on History and Politics."

T www.allenroland.com

Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who
also shares a daily political and social commentary on his weblog and
website allenroland.com He also guest hosts a monthly national radio show
TRUTHTALK on Conscious talk radio www.conscioustalk.net


--------16 of 17--------

[We've made a few tiny changes to a bit of this translation that was
awkward; otherwise the English (by an unknown translator) is as posted.
Original source and date not known. -NY Transfer]

The Fidel Castro I Know
By Gabriel Garcia Marquez
English translation edited by Walter Lippmann

His fondness for words. His power of seduction. He hunts for a problem
wherever it is. The impelling force of inspiration as befits his style.
The breadth of his tastes is very well reflected in his books. He gave up
his cigars so as to have the moral authority to fight smoking. He likes to
prepare recipes with a sort of scientific fervor. He keeps in excellent
shape through several hours of daily exercise and frequent swimming.
Invincible patience. Strict discipline. He's drawn toward the unexpected
by the force of his imagination. Learning to work is as important as
learning to rest.

Fatigued by talking, he rests by talking. He writes well and likes to do it.
His greatest motivation in life is the emotion of risk. The rostrum of an
improviser seems to be his perfect environment. When he starts
speaking, his voice is always hard to hear and his course is uncertain, but
he takes advantage of anything to gain ground, little by little, until he
takes a kind of swipe and takes possession of his audience. He's the
inspiration: the irresistible and dazzling state of grace only denied by
those who lack the glory to feel it. He's the quintessential anti-dogmatist.

He's been sufficiently talented to incorporate the ideas of Josi Marti, his
bedtime author, into a Marxist revolution's bloodstream. The essence of his
own thoughts lies perhaps in his certainty that working with the masses
means first of all taking care of individuals.

That could explain his absolute confidence in face-to-face contact. He's got
a language for each occasion and a different approach to persuasion
according to his listener. He knows how to be up to the same standard as the
other, and his vast and diverse information allows him to feel at ease in
any environment. One thing's for sure: wherever he is, however he is and
whoever he is with, Fidel Castro is there to win. His attitude toward
defeat, even in the smallest acts of everyday life, seems to abide by a
private logic: he doesn't even admit it, and never takes a moment's rest
until he manages to reverse the situation and turn it into victory.

There's no one more obsessed when it comes to getting to the bottom of any
matter. He engages in any project, whether colossal or microscopic, with
the same fierce passion, especially if it means facing adversity. Never
does he seem to be in a better mood than in those moments. Someone who
thinks they know him well told him: "Things must be very wrong, because
you look enraptured."

Reiteration is one of his working methods. For instance: the issue of the
Latin American foreign debt came up in his conversation some two years
ago, and has evolved, branched out and deepened since then. The first
thing he said, as a simple arithmetical conclusion, was that the debt was
impossible to pay. Then came the staggering findings: its effects on
national economies, its social and political impact, its decisive
influence on international relations, its providential importance for a
unitary policy in Latin America... up to a totalizing vision, which he
exposed in an international meeting called for that purpose and which time
proved right.

His rarest virtue as a politician is the ability to discern how an event
will evolve all the way to its farthest consequences... but he practices
such ability, not by flashes of inspiration, but as a result of arduous,
tenacious reasoning. His supreme assistant is a memory he uses and abuses
to back up a speech or a private talk with overwhelming statements and
incredibly fast mathematical calculations.

He needs to be helped with incessant, spoon-fed and digested data. The
task of accumulating information starts as soon as he arises. No less than
200 pages of news from all over the world join his breakfast every
morning. Every day, wherever he is, they get urgent reports to him:
according to his own estimate he has to read about 50 documents per day,
not to mention the reports issued by official services and by those who
visit him and whatever arouses his boundless curiosity.

Any answer has to be accurate, since he can pinpoint the smallest
contradiction in a casual phrase. Books are another source of vital
information. He's an avid reader. No one understands where he finds enough
time or what method he applies to read so much and so quickly, although he
insists he uses none in particular. He frequently takes a book with him in
the early hours and makes comments about it the following morning. He can
read in English, but he doesn't speak it. He'd rather read in Spanish, and
at any given time is willing to read whatever piece of paper with letters
on it that falls into his hands. A regular reader of economic and
historical topics, he also appreciates good literature and follows it very
closely.

He's in the habit of bombarding people with swift, consecutive questions that
he asks in bursts until he finds out the whys of the whys of the final whys.
Once a Latin American visitor hastily gave him figures about rice
consumption in his country; he did his mental arithmetic and said:
"That's weird; each person eats four pounds of rice a day". His supreme
tactic is asking about things he already knows to confirm his data, and in
some cases to size up his interlocutor and treat him accordingly.

He misses no chance to be well-informed. At an official reception he
attended during the war in Angola he described a battle so thoroughly that
it was hard to convince a European diplomat that Fidel Castro had taken no
part in it. His account of the capture and murder of Che Guevara, his
description of the attack on the Moneda Palace and Salvador Allende's death,
or one on the ravages of Hurricane Flora were great spoken examples.

His vision of Latin America's future is the same Bolivar and Marti: an
integrated, autonomous community capable of changing the fate of the world.
He knows the United States better than any other country, barring Cuba. He
has in-depth knowledge about the nature of its people, its power structure
and its government's hidden intentions, something he has efficiently used to
weather the unceasing storm of the blockade.

When interviewed, usually for hours on end, he dwells on every subject,
venturing into its least expected twists and turns without ever neglecting
accuracy, aware that a single misused word can bring about irreparable
damage. He has never refused to answer any question, nor has he lost
patience. There are some who keep him from hearing the truth in order to
spare him from too many worries. He knows, though. To an official who
tried to do so, he said: "You hide the facts from me so as not to disturb
me, but when I find out at the end I will die of shock for having to face
so many truths you never told me." The most serious ones, however, are
those they keep from him to cover up for deficiencies, because parallel
with the outstanding achievements that sustain the Revolution - whether in
politics, science, sports or culture - runs a huge bureaucratic
incompetence that affects daily life at almost every level, and
particularly domestic happiness.

When he talks with people in the street, their conversation acquires the
raw expressiveness and frankness of real endearment. They call him
"Fidel." They surround him safety. They address him on a first-name basis;
they argue with him, state opposing views and make demands, all in a live
broadcasting session through which the truth comes tumbling out. That's
when we get to see the uncommon human being concealed by the brightness of
his own image. This is the Fidel Castro that I believe I know: a man of
austere habits and insatiable hopes, old-fashioned bearing, cautious words
and fine manners whose ideas can't be less than extraordinary.

He dreams that his scientists will eventually discover the ultimate cure
for cancer, and he has developed a foreign policy fit for a world power in
an island 84 times smaller than his major enemy. He's convinced that a
proper formation of consciousness is humankind's greatest accomplishment,
and that moral incentives outdo material things in changing the world and
pushing history. In his few moments of yearning for life, I've heard him
ruminating on the things he could have done differently to reclaim more
time from life. Seeing him weighed down with the burden of so many
people's destiny, I asked him what he would like to do more than anything
else, and his straightaway answer was: "To stand on a street corner."


--------17 of 17--------

Apocalypse Near
By Noam Chomsky
August 08, 2006
ZNet Commentary
http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2006-08/08chomsky.cfm

Noam Chomsky interviewed by Merav Yudilovitch

Last week, a group of renowned intellectuals published an open letter
blaming Israel for escalating the conflict in the Middle East. The letter,
which mainly referred to the alignment of forces between Israel and the
Palestinian Authority, caused a lot of anger among Ynet and Ynetnews
readers, particularly due to its claim that the Israeli policy's political
aim is to eliminate the Palestinian nation.

The letter was formulated by art critic and author John Berger and among
its signatories were Nobel Prize winner, playwright Harold Pinter,
linguist and theoretician Noam Chomsly, Nobel Prize laureate José
Saramago, Booker Prize laureate Arundhati Roy, American author Russell
Banks, author and playwright Gore Vidal, and historian Howard Zinn.

--
Prof. Chomsky, you claimed that the provocation and counter-provocation
all serve as a distraction from the real issue. What does it mean?

"I assume you are referring to John Berger's letter (which I signed, among
others). The "real issue" that is being ignored is the systematic
destruction of any prospects for a viable Palestinian existence as Israel
annexes valuable land and major resources, leaving the shrinking
territories assigned to Palestinians as unviable cantons, largely
separated from one another and from whatever little bit of Jerusalem is to
be left to Palestinians, and completely imprisoned as Israel takes over
the Jordan valley.

"This program of realignment cynically disguised as "withdrawal," is of
course completely illegal, in violation of Security Council resolutions
and the unanimous decision of the World Court (including the dissenting
statement of US Justice Buergenthal). If it is implemented as planned, it
spells the end of the very broad international consensus on a two-state
settlement that the US and Israel have unilaterally blocked for 30 years -
matters that are so well documented that I do not have to review them
here.

"To turn to your specific question, even a casual look at the Western
press reveals that the crucial developments in the occupied territories
are marginalized even more by the war in Lebanon. The ongoing destruction
in Gaza - which was rarely seriously reported in the first place - has
largely faded into the background, and the systematic takeover of the West
Bank has virtually disappeared.

"However, I would not go as far as the implication in your question that
this was a purpose of the war, though it clearly is the effect. We should
recall that Gaza and the West Bank are recognized to be a unit, so that if
resistance to Israel's destructive and illegal programs is legitimate
within the West Bank (and it would be interesting to see a rational
argument to the contrary), then it is legitimate in Gaza as well."


You claim that the world media refuses to link between what's going on in
the occupied territories and in Lebanon?

"Yes, but that is the least of the charges that should be leveled against
the world media, and the intellectual communities generally. One of many
far more severe charges is brought up in the opening paragraph of the
Berger letter.

"Recall the facts. On June 25, Cpl. Gilad Shalit was captured, eliciting
huge cries of outrage worldwide, continuing daily at a high pitch, and a
sharp escalation in Israeli attacks in Gaza, supported on the grounds that
capture of a soldier is a grave crime for which the population must be
punished.

One day before, on June 24, Israeli forces kidnapped two Gaza civilians,
Osama and Mustafa Muamar, by any standards a far more severe crime than
capture of a soldier. The Muamar kidnappings were certainly known to the
major world media. They were reported at once in the English-language
Israeli press, basically IDF handouts. And there were a few brief,
scattered and dismissive reports in several newspapers around the US.

Very revealingly, there was no comment, no follow-up, and no call for
military or terrorist attacks against Israel. A Google search will quickly
reveal the relative significance in the West of the kidnapping of
civilians by the IDF and the capture of an Israeli soldier a day later.

"The paired events, a day apart, demonstrate with harsh clarity that the
show of outrage over the Shalit kidnapping was cynical fraud. They reveal
that by Western moral standards, kidnapping of civilians is just fine if
it is done by "our side," but capture of a soldier on "our side" a day
later is a despicable crime that requires severe punishment of the
population.

"As Gideon Levy accurately wrote in Ha'aretz, the IDF kidnapping of
civilians the day before the capture of Cpl. Shalit strips away any
"legitimate basis for the IDF's operation," and, we may add, any
legitimate basis for support for these operations.

The same elementary moral principles carry over to the July 12 kidnapping
of two Israeli soldiers near the Lebanon border, heightened, in this case,
by the regular Israeli practice for many years of abducting Lebanese and
holding many as hostages for long periods.

Truly disgraceful

"Over the many years in which Israel carried out these practices
regularly, even kidnapping on the high seas, no one ever argued that these
crimes justified bombing and shelling of Israel, invasion and destruction
of much of the country, or terrorist actions within it. The conclusions
are stark, clear, and entirely unambiguous - hence suppressed.

"All of this is, obviously, of extraordinary importance in the present
case, particularly given the dramatic timing. That is, I suppose, why the
major media chose to avoid the crucial facts, apart from a very few
scattered and dismissive phrases, revealing that they consider kidnapping
a matter of no significance when carried by US-supported Israeli forces.

"Apologists for state crimes claim that the kidnapping of the Gaza
civilians is justified by IDF claims that they are 'Hamas militants' or
were planning crimes. By their logic, they should therefore be lauding the
capture of Gilad Shalit, a soldier in an army that was shelling and
bombing Gaza. These performances are truly disgraceful."


You are talking first and foremost about acknowledging the Palestinian
nation, but will it solve the "Iranian threat"? Will it push Hizbullah
from the Israeli border?

"Virtually all informed observers agree that a fair and equitable
resolution of the plight of the Palestinians would considerably weaken the
anger and hatred of Israel and the US in the Arab and Muslim worlds - and
far beyond, as international polls reveal. Such an agreement is surely
within reach, if the US and Israel depart from their long-standing
rejectionism.

"On Iran and Hizbullah, there is, of course, much more to say, and I can
only mention a few central points here.

"Let us begin with Iran. In 2003, Iran offered to negotiate all
outstanding issues with the US, including nuclear issues and a two-state
solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. The offer was made by the
moderate Khatami government, with the support of the hard-line "supreme
leader" Ayatollah Khamenei. The Bush administration response was to
censure the Swiss diplomat who brought the offer.

"In June 2006, Ayatollah Khamenei issued an official declaration stating
that Iran agrees with the Arab countries on the issue of Palestine,
meaning that it accepts the 2002 Arab League call for full normalization
of relations with Israel in a two-state settlement in accord with the
international consensus. The timing suggests that this might have been a
reprimand to his subordinate Ahmadenijad, whose inflammatory statements
are given wide publicity in the West, unlike the far more important
declaration by his superior Khamenei.

"Of course, the PLO has officially backed a two-state solution for many
years, and backed the 2002 Arab League proposal. Hamas has also indicated
its willingness to negotiate a two-state settlement, as is surely
well-known in Israel. Kharazzi is reported to be the author of the 2003
proposal of Khatami and Khamanei.

"The US and Israel do not want to hear any of this. They also do not want
to hear that Iran appears to be the only country to have accepted the
proposal by IAEA director Mohammed ElBaradei that all weapons-usable
fissile materials be placed under international control, a step towards a
verifiable Fissile Materials Cutoff Treaty.

"ElBaradei's proposal, if implemented, would not only end the Iranian
nuclear crisis but would also deal with a vastly more serious crisis: The
growing threat of nuclear war, which leads prominent strategic analysts to
warn of 'apocalypse soon' (Robert McNamara) if policies continue on their
current course.

"The US strongly opposes a verifiable FMCT, but over US objections, the
treaty came to a vote at the United Nations, where it passed 147-1, with
two abstentions: Israel, which cannot oppose its patron, and more
interestingly, Blair's Britain, which retains a degree of sovereignty. The
British ambassador stated that Britain supports the treaty, but it
"divides the international community". These again are matters that are
virtually suppressed outside of specialist circles, and are matters of
literal survival of the species, extending far beyond Iran.

"It is commonly said that the 'international community' has called on Iran
to abandon its legal right to enrich uranium. That is true, if we define
the "international community" as Washington and whoever happens to go
along with it. It is surely not true of the world. The non-aligned
countries have forcefully endorsed Iran's "inalienable right" to enrich
uranium. And, rather remarkably, in Turkey, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, a
majority of the population favor accepting a nuclear-armed Iran over any
American military action, international polls reveal.

"The non-aligned countries also called for a nuclear-free Middle East, a
longstanding demand of the authentic international community, again
blocked by the US and Israel. It should be recognized that the threat of
Israeli nuclear weapons is taken very seriously in the world.

"As explained by the former Commander-in-Chief of the US Strategic
Command, General Lee Butler, "it is dangerous in the extreme that in the
cauldron of animosities that we call the Middle East, one nation has armed
itself, ostensibly, with stockpiles of nuclear weapons, perhaps numbering
in the hundreds, and that inspires other nations to do so." Israel is
doing itself no favors if it ignores these concerns.

"It is also of some interest that when Iran was ruled by the tyrant
installed by a US-UK military coup, the United States - including
Rumsfeld, Cheney, Kissinger, Wolfowitz and others - strongly supported the
Iranian nuclear programs they now condemn and helped provide Iran with the
means to pursue them. These facts are surely not lost on the Iranians,
just as they have not forgotten the very strong support of the US and its
allies for Saddam Hussein during his murderous aggression, including help
in developing the chemical weapons that killed hundreds of thousands of
Iranians.

Peaceful means

"There is a great deal more to say, but it appears that the "Iranian
threat" to which you refer can be approached by peaceful means, if the US
and Israel would agree. We cannot know whether the Iranian proposals are
serious, unless they are explored. The US-Israel refusal to explore them,
and the silence of the US (and, to my knowledge, European) media, suggests
that the governments fear that they may be serious.

"I should add that to the outside world, it sounds a bit odd, to put it
mildly, for the US and Israel to be warning of the "Iranian threat" when
they and they alone are issuing threats to launch an attack, threats that
are immediate and credible, and in serious violation of international law,
and are preparing very openly for such an attack. Whatever one thinks of
Iran, no such charge can be made in their case. It is also apparent to the
world, if not to the US and Israel, that Iran has not invaded any other
countries, something that the US and Israel do regularly.

"On Hizbullah too, there are hard and serious questions. As well-known,
Hizbullah was formed in reaction to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in
1982 and its harsh and brutal occupation in violation of Security Council
orders. It won considerable prestige by playing the leading role in
driving out the aggressors.

"The 1982 invasion was carried out after a year in which Israel regularly
bombed Lebanon, trying desperately to elicit some PLO violation of the
1981 truce, and when it failed, attacked anyway, on the ludicrous pretext
that Ambassador Argov had been wounded (by Abu Nidal, who was at war with
the PLO). The invasion was clearly intended, as virtually conceded, to end
the embarrassing PLO initiatives for negotiation, a "veritable
catastrophe" for Israel as Yehoshua Porat pointed out.

Shameful pretexts

"It was, as described at the time, a "war for the West Bank." The later
invasions also had shameful pretexts. In 1993, Hizbullah had violated "the
rules of the game," Yitzhak Rabin announced: these Israeli rules permitted
Israel to carry out terrorist attacks north of its illegally-held
"security zone," but did not permit retaliation within Israel. Peres's
1996 invasion had similar pretexts. It is convenient to forget all of
this, or to concoct tales about shelling of the Galilee in 1981, but it is
not an attractive practice, nor a wise one.

"The problem of Hezbollah's arms is quite serious, no doubt. Resolution
1559 calls for disarming of all Lebanese militias, but Lebanon has not
enacted that provision. Sunni Prime Minister Fuad Siniora describes
Hizbullah's military wing as "resistance rather than as a militia, and
thus exempt from" Resolution 1559.

"A National Dialogue in June 2006 failed to resolve the problem. Its main
purpose was to formulate a "national defense strategy" (vis-a-vis Israel),
but it remained deadlocked over Hizbullah's call for "a defense strategy
that allowed the Islamic Resistance to keep its weapons as a deterrent to
possible Israeli aggression," in the absence of any credible alternative.
The US could, if it chose, provide a credible guarantee against an
invasion by its client state, but that would require a sharp change in
long-standing policy.

"In the background are crucial facts emphasized by several veteran Middle
East correspondents. Rami Khouri, now an editor of Lebanon's Daily Star,
writes that "the Lebanese and Palestinians have responded to Israel's
persistent and increasingly savage attacks against entire civilian
populations by creating parallel or alternative leaderships that can
protect them and deliver essential services."


You are not referring in your letter to the Israeli casualties. Is there
differentiation in your opinion between Israeli civic casualties of war
and Lebanese or Palestinian casualties?

"That is not accurate. John Berger's letter is very explicit about making
no distinction between Israeli and other casualties. As his letter states:
"Both categories of missile rip bodies apart horribly - who but field
commanders can forget this for a moment."

"You claimed that the world is cooperating with the Israeli invasion to
Lebanon and is not interfering in the events Gaza and Jenin. What purpose
does this silence serve?

"The great majority of the world can do nothing but protest, though it is
fully expected that the intense anger and resentment caused by US-Israeli
violence will - as in the past - prove to be a gift for the most extremist
and violent elements, mobilizing new recruits to their cause.

"The US-backed Arab tyrannies did condemn Hizbullah, but are being forced
to back down out of fear of their own populations. Even King Abdullah of
Saudi Arabia, Washington's most loyal (and most important) ally, was
compelled to say that "If the peace option is rejected due to the Israeli
arrogance, then only the war option remains, and no one knows the
repercussions befalling the region, including wars and conflict that will
spare no one, including those whose military power is now tempting them to
play with fire."

"As for Europe, it is unwilling to take a stand against the US
administration, which has made it clear that it supports the destruction
of Palestine and Israeli violence. With regard to Palestine, while Bush's
stand is extreme, it has its roots in earlier policies. The week in Taba
in January 2001 is the only real break in US rejectionism in 30 years.

"The US also strongly supported earlier Israeli invasions of Lebanon,
though in 1982 and 1996, it compelled Israel to terminate its aggression
when atrocities were reaching a point that harmed US interests.

"Unfortunately, one can generalize a comment of Uri Avnery's about Dan
Halutz, who "views the world below through a bombsight." Much the same is
true of Rumsfeld-Cheney-Rice, and other top Bush administration planners,
despite occasional soothing rhetoric. As history reveals, that view of the
world is not uncommon among those who hold a virtual monopoly of the means
of violence, with consequences that we need not review."


What is the next chapter in this middle-eastern conflict as you see it?

"I do not know of anyone foolhardy enough to predict. The US and Israel
are stirring up popular forces that are very ominous, and which will only
gain in power and become more extremist if the US and Israel persist in
demolishing any hope of realization of Palestinian national rights, and
destroying Lebanon. It should also be recognized that Washington's primary
concern, as in the past, is not Israel and Lebanon, but the vast energy
resources of the Middle East, recognized 60 years ago to be a "stupendous
source of strategic power" and "one of the greatest material prizes in
world history."

"We can expect with confidence that the US will continue to do what it can
to control this unparalleled source of strategic power. That may not be
easy. The remarkable incompetence of Bush planners has created a
catastrophe in Iraq, for their own interests as well. They are even facing
the possibility of the ultimate nightmare: a loose Shi'a alliance
controlling the world's major energy supplies, and independent of
Washington - or even worse, establishing closer links with the China-based
Asian Energy Security Grid and Shanghai Cooperation Council.

"The results could be truly apocalyptic. And even in tiny Lebanon, the
leading Lebanese academic scholar of Hizbullah, and a harsh critic of the
organization, describes the current conflict in "apocalyptic terms,"
warning that possibly "All hell would be let loose" if the outcome of the
US-Israel campaign leaves a situation in which "the Shiite community is
seething with resentment at Israel, the United States and the government
that it perceives as its betrayer.

"It is no secret that in past years, Israel has helped to destroy secular
Arab nationalism and to create Hizbullah and Hamas, just as US violence
has expedited the rise of extremist Islamic fundamentalism and jihad
terror. The reasons are understood. There are constant warnings about it
by Western intelligence agencies, and by the leading specialists on these
topics.

"One can bury one's head in the sand and take comfort in a "wall-to-wall
consensus" that what we do is "just and moral" (Maoz), ignoring the
lessons of recent history, or simple rationality. Or one can face the
facts, and approach dilemmas which are very serious by peaceful means.
They are available. Their success can never be guaranteed. But we can be
reasonably confident that viewing the world through a bombsight will bring
further misery and suffering, perhaps even 'apocalypse soon.'"


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   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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