Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Reaping the Fruits of Intervention

politics > kosovo > maelstrom
From Chris Deliso's invaluable "Balkanalysis" again, an interview with longtime Balkan resident and analyst, Dr. Sam Vaknin, someone who made quite a few correct predictions (but some not-quite-so-correct as well) about the area post-NATO bombing. This is not a view I agree with, note, but one that is well informed and has some rather good points to make... Quote:

"CD: Could an independent Kosovo survive on its own?

SV: What country in the Balkans – Slovenia aside – can truly survive on its own? Is Macedonia a viable economic entity? Is Bosnia? These are all charity cases and will continue to be so for a long time to come.

As an autonomous unit within the Federated Yugoslavia, Kosovo survived on massive handouts from the center. The West has now replaced Belgrade as Kosovo’s (and Macedonia’s and Serbia’s and Bosnia’s) sugar-daddy."

Food for thought certainly, although his assessment of the inevitability of a purely Albanian Kosovar independent state combined with the above is somewhat problematic, I think. (Also I really don't understand Chris Deliso's mention of "the Albanian-populated sections of Greece" and the possibilty of their nationalist awakening... Where is this minority? Does he mean immigrants? There are a lot of minorities (unrecognized too) in Greece but a native Albanian minority is not one of them. I might have misunderstood though...)

But also check out this amazing article by former Labour Minister Michael Meacher (under Blair, 1998-2003) on both the love-fest between Blair and Gadafi and the recent events in Kosovo. His analysis of what happenned in Kosovo is really, really disturbing, given that he was a minister at the time of the Kosovo debacle. I quote him extensively below, but it's worth reading the whole article in the light of the fact that he had access to information due to his position that most don't. This is his conclusion:

US goals in the use of the KLA as a proxy force, similar to the funding of the Contras against the leftwing Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s, were partly to remove Milosevic and break up Yugoslavia as one of the remaining Communist regimes. But related motives were to break Russia's monopoly over oil and gas transport routes and secure pro-western governments in the strategic Black Sea-Caspian Sea oil-rich basin. A crucial oil corridor, called the Trans-Balkan pipeline, designed to become the main route to the west for oil and gas extracted in central Asia, was to run from the Black Sea to the Adriatic via Bulgaria, Macedonia near the border with Kosovo, and Albania. Another was to run across Serbia to Adriatic ports in Croatia and Italy, fed by a pipeline running from a Black Sea port in Romania.

The implications of this are stark. The US played a major role in creating and sustaining the mojahedin to fight the invading Soviet army in the Afghan war of 1979-92. Then from 1992-95 the Pentagon assisted the movement of thousands of Islamic fighters from central Asia to fight alongside Bosnian Muslims and remove the Milosevic barrier, and so extend US influence in a key area of oil geopolitics - a "pact with the devil", as Richard Holbrooke, America's former chief Balkans peace negotiator put it. It has proved quite another thing to rein them back in again. Before President Bush trumpets his dedication to his war on terror, he should reflect on his country's links with terrorism over the past decade where it has suited US interests.

Monday, March 29, 2004

The Panda's Thumb

science > evolution
"The Panda's Thumb is dedicated to explaining the theory of evolution, critiquing the claims of the anti-evolution movement, and defending the integrity of science and science education in America and around the world."

That such a defense is needed in this day and age, is a sad commentary on the political power of fundamentalism in the US... Marvelous site anyway. Enjoy!
via homunculus over at Metafilter

Friday, March 26, 2004

The Official Site of Muammar Gadafi

politics > inspired > a little to much
Words fail me as this is the true, official website of Muammar Gadafi: "Al Gathafi speaks"... He also speaks in Spanish. The website is still under construction, probably part of Al Gathafi's drive towards rapprochement with his former enemies. About which Robert Fisk has a few interesting things to say (as usual)... Through this article I learned of Gadafi's (now will we all agree on how the man's name is spelled in English?) work of fiction titled "Escape to Hell and other stories", of which I found one chapter online, not quite fictional but rather ecological, called "The Earth".
Over here the PAOK Thessaloniki supporters might, now that the political climate is more opportune, conceivably repeat their impassioned plea for the Great Gadafi to save their team:

'We kneel in homage in front of you. We ask you to be the saviour of our souls, and the leader of the new revolution that will originate in the north. Gaddafi, our God, buy PAOK."

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Noam Chomsky's got a blog

chomsky > blog
... and its name is Turning the Tide. A hell of a good idea from the folks over at Znet, one of many such Znet contributor blogs planned, the other such Z-blog (Zlog?) online already is (multiauthored) Goodbye Maggie (about participatory economics).
A couple more stops on my daily round.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The Killing Of Sheikh Yassin: shifting through the disinfo

politics > palestine > what's happenning?
Robert Fisk reminds the forgetful of a crucial detail:
"This 'head of the snake' was in an Israeli prison. And then, bingo, this supposed monster was let go because of a 'deal'. Sheikh Yassin was set free by no less than that law-and-order right- wing Likudist Benjamin Netanyahu when he was Prime Minister of Israel."

Monday, March 22, 2004

Chomsky backs 'Bush-lite' Kerry

politics > surprises
It seems that Noam finally succumbed to the logic of "lesser-evilism" and, very reluctantly, seems to endorse Kerry. See the full Guardian article. This has already drawn some well-grounded counterarguments.

One year after

iraqi > opinions
Riverbend is reminiscing about the year that has passed. Her concluding remarks:

But we've learned a lot. We've learned that terrorism isn't actually the act of creating terror. It isn't the act of killing innocent people and frightening others… no, you see, that's called a 'liberation'. It doesn't matter what you burn or who you kill- if you wear khaki, ride a tank or Apache or fighter plane and drop missiles and bombs, then you're not a terrorist- you're a liberator.

The war on terror is a joke… Madrid was proof of that last week… Iraq is proof of that everyday.

I hope someone feels safer, because we certainly don't.

Well, let me just say: me neither (and we're having the Olympics here in a few months)...

The Voice of the Turtle

webzines > left
It is my revolutionary duty to present this impressive website to my readers. Anyone who could write "the Mao of Pooh", is alright by me... This of course is part and parcel of a broader view of children's literature.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

A letter from Valencia: "Democracy is coming back to Spain"

personal > corrspondence
My good friend Carmen, wrote to me from Valencia, in response to my previous post about the elections in Spain. She mostly concurs with my points. I'm presenting her comments below, with some very minor editing. This is probably a not atypical example of the attitude of the millions of young voters to the left of the Socialists, who this time bothered to vote..:

"…we are SO SO SO pissed off, you cannot imagine how much.

Last Saturday I spent four hours in front of the PP office in Valencia, yelling, making noise... I felt so furious. The worst part, as you comment in your post, was our government's reaction to the attacks. Obviously, every single person in this country was in shock by the attacks. It was the worst bloodbath Spain has seen in a very long time... Most of them were young people: students, workers... It's impossible not to cry... Even if you are not in Madrid.

Those who have said that terrorism won in our elections don't have any idea of what's going on.
1. As you said, the attacks mobilized new people to vote; it did not change the minds of that many PP voters at all. Different surveys agreed that more than 60% of Spanish people wanted a change in government, however a significant percentage among them was not about to vote.
2. This group of voters decided to vote finally for a couple of reasons:
- mainly, because the PP government was lying to the population about who were the terrorists, and they were manipulating the information (you would not believe what they did!). And it was not their first time: Prestige, the general strike, arms in Iraq... We were just tired of their lies, how they treated us...It was too much.
- and, of course, because we did not want to participate in an illegal war. We did not want Iraqis to be killed in our name. This has happened already. We knew that we would pay for it. As we did. We know what terrorism is, we are against it. But we do understand how Islamic terrorism is produced. We know that a part of it is pure fanaticism, but another part is created by desperation, oppression, Western pressure from countries such as the US. And now Spain.

That's the big difference with American citizens. We are killed by terrorists and we blame our government, for having policies against human rights that produce hate and desperation. We blame the terrorists responsible as well, and will try to stop them. But we try to understand what motivates them.
Because of our foreign policy, we are not innocent. Even if we disagree...
We didn't support our government's acts. So we simply changed our government. Is it so difficult to understand?
I have the feeling that what we have done will have important consequences for other countries... Let's see.

We are so excited... You can breathe a different air; democracy is coming back to Spain. And it feels so great!!!!!"

Also check out this report from yet another young woman who was participating in the same demonstration as Carmen on Saturday 13/3...

Friday, March 19, 2004

Atrocity in west Sudan

massacres > invisible > current
Yet when I read of this, Kosovo pales in comparison:

"'I was present in Rwanda at the time of the genocide, and I've seen many other situations around the world and I am totally shocked at what is going on in Darfur,'...
'This is ethnic cleansing, this is the world's greatest humanitarian crisis, and I don't know why the world isn't doing more about it.' "

'Kristallnacht is under way in Kosovo

Balkans > nationalism > everywhere
"'Kristallnacht is under way in Kosovo,' the [UN] official told B92 on condition of anonymity.
'What is happening in Kosovo must unfortunately be described as a pogrom against Serbs: churches are on fire and people are being attacked for no other reason than their ethnic background,' he added."

Also "deadly unrest in Kosovo", and latest news from B92 in Belgrade. Chris Deliso's Balkanalysis, has a full recap of events thus far and some obvious and valid points... he also links to this, rather ironic at the moment, Javier Solana article from 1999 titled "NATO's success in Kosovo". I would also remind people that bombing Yugoslavia back to the stone age was not really the only option present at the time...

I hate to say "I told you so", but let me emphasize this: confusing an extreme nationalism's military weakness with moral uprightness can only lead to disaster - and that's what you have here: 100,000 Serbs have been ethnically cleansed in Kosovo after the NATO bombardment (of radio stations and train coaches in Serbia and Montenegro), the remaining 100,000 are about to be, along with the remaining Roma, Turks and all other non-Albanian nationalities, obviously part of the clever NATO strategy for building a multi-ethnic Kosovo. At the same time, wait for attacks in Southern Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia (excuse me while I remain paranoid about the recent plane crash that killed Trajkovski, in light of recent events) and and the redestabilization of the area, particularly as these developments might propel the other viciously nationalist wingnut, Vojislav Seselj to the leadership of the Serbia (and possibly create further problems in the already divided Montenegro).
What will the "international community" (that means NATO) do now? What was the plan for Kosovo again? Was it independence? The Serbs (that's the democratic Serbs hand in hand with Milosevic) think not... Was it a new federal republic of Serbia, Montenegro & Kosovo? Sounds good but what do the Albanian Kosovars say about it?

So NATO, having installed as de facto rulers the UCK gangs, complicit in heroin trafficking and prostitution rings, having made Rugova a secondary player as far as real control over the country is concerned, is now faced with the options of either overseeing a massacre, or allowing Serbian troops in Kosovo, or increase their numbers to a full fledged occupation force liked by neither party and, eventually targeted by both.

So what to do? I still think, as I did then, that Misha Glenny had the right idea six months ago... For the moment I think it should be made crystal clear to the Albanian majority in Kosovo that slaughter makes the prospect of independence or autonomy less, not more, probable. Tirana, I'm sure, are not involved in all this and, unless the Pyramid Scheme King comes back to power, they'll stay out of it and exert a calming influence. At the same time some reassurance and protection of Serbs in Kosovo (along with a timetable for safe return of refugees to their homes) would go a long way in defusing the nationalist fervor in Serbia proper, which would be a good thing.

See also: some good points from Croatian blogger Dragan Antulov.

News stories from the ex-Yugoslav press (all the ex-Yugoslav countries) translated in English - albeit with some time delay...

The UNMIK website with the official communiques from the Kosovo administration.

Also while we're on the subject of former Yugoslavia check out this (long) E. Herman analysis of FY tribunal coverage by the NYT.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Spain's response to terror

terror > analysis > hasty
I was already questioning the wisdom of the "official war-party interpretation" of the Spanish election results a couple of days ago in another forum. The evidence from the real election results suggests that there was little transfer of votes from the PP to the PSOE and that the socialists' gains were a result of new voters, the diversion of votes from the left to the Socialists, and larger turnout due to the return of (rightly) disaffected leftist voters - a return which DW was predicting a day before the elections:

The consequence of confirmed al Qaeda involvement could be that Spain's young left-wingers, who so vocally opposed the war in Iraq, drop their current policy of abstention in votes due to lack of belief in the left parties and register protest votes against the PP, tilting the balance of power.

Thus the "victory" for terrorists that well- and ill-meaning commentators have been talking about is not real.

The UPI article I posted above expands on this:

"Predictions are being made that having learned that they can so easily influence international politics through murderous bombing campaigns, Islamist terrorist will most likely try a repeat performance of the Madrid massacres in Rome, London and even Washington, D.C., at a time when mass casualties could influence voters in those cities in a similar manner.
In fact, Islamist fundamentalists may well think they have won, and that Thursday's slaughter moved the Spanish electorate to vote the way they intended them to. However, believing that would be wrong.
Independent polls carried out on Wednesday, the day before the bombings, showed the Socialists ahead with a slight majority."

[See also what Nick at FoE says]

The Article also raises the issue of Aznar's mishandling of the situation and the PP's attempted use of the massacre to gain electoral advantage:

By voting Aznar and his Popular Party out of office and opting for the Spanish Socialist Labor Party -- or SPOE -- to lead them through these tumultuous times, Spaniards did not capitulate to terrorism -- domestic or international -- as many pundits have professed. Instead, Spaniards have chosen to send a clear message to their elected leaders. The message is: "Stop lying to us."

As workers continue to untangle the twisted remains of Madrid's ill-fated trains, another story is also starting to rapidly unfold -- one of how Aznar tried to manipulate Thursday's unfortunate events to his electoral advantage.

While all signs pointed to Islamist terrorists, Aznar incessantly tried to railroad public opinion into supporting the Basque thread.

... Following Aznar's defeat in the polls by the Socialist Labor Party, many Spanish journalists are now infuriated, accusing the prime minister of trying to "censure and manipulate" them.

Let me also remind people that this is the same government that so elegantly handled the "Prestige" disaster: in other words they were repeat offenders in attempted media manipulation - this time over the corpses of 200 victims of terrorism. Would you, gentle reader, actually vote for these people?

But nevertheless, let's expound on the "allowing terrorists to influence elections" argument: Had the attack been from ETA, the net effect would probably have been to bring the PP to a landslide victory, as ETA feverently wishes. This would have clearly been "terrorist electoral influence", yet I doubt anyone would decry it as somehow "caving in to terror". Interestingly, had this scenario occured, it is probable that the Spanish public would vote for the party most likely to deal with ETA by force - it would immerse itself deeper in this war on terror (whether rightly or wrongly is another issue), thus making the assertion of "cowardice" lame. But Basque separatism (terrorist or not) is indeed Spain's issue. The invasion of Iraq isn't. People marching in Barcelona yesterday yelled, "their war, our dead" - "their" and "our" in a class as well as a national sense. This is a clash of fundamentalisms with which the Spaniards rightly want nothing to do with. The perpetrators should be caught and brought to justice. Islamist terror cells in Spain should be crushed. But Spanish troops should be withdrawn from Iraq, unless the UN mandates differently, because that is what the vast majority of Spaniards wanted even before the attacks took place, and still wants,(90% of Spaniards were, a year ago, against Spain's participation in the US's Iraqi neo-colonial adventure - which BTW, had no connection to Islamist fundamentalists whatsoever). So why would Spain risk involvement in the neo-con project? Why should it be targetted by lunatic fascists for things its people didn't want to do in the first place. Boredomjockey's comment on a related metafilter thread provides a colourful metaphor for the situation...

Oh and this war? it takes two to sustain it... and let's not recall the other side's tallies of terror...

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Neighborhood blog

weblogs > slovenia

I just discovered Carniola, a blog from Slovenia in English by fellow MeFite Ljubliana. Amongst its treasures I must recommend "Kullas of Kosovo: A Survey of Doors and Windows", which is exactly that, a collection of photos of doors and windows from Kosovo... Also Tito, a website about the (Slovenian) Yugoslav leader.
Speaking of Slovenians and Tito, I take the opportunity here to plug Laibach, one of my all time favourite groups whose ironic (darkly and stealthily, but ironic) blend of totalitarianism, industrial music and rock and roll make them Europe's answer to the Residents... This website The Slovenia of Athens, is perfectly named for an entry about a Slovenian blog in an Athenian blog.
From this website, I highly recommend the Laibach cover of the Rolling Stones classic "Sympathy for the Devil" (mp3 file - right-click, save-as, you know the drill), performed exactly as it was meant to be performed...

Monday, March 15, 2004

The terrorist mindset

terror > absolute
I've been off for a while - what with work and following the tragic events in Madrid. A small ray of hope lit up yesterday, although it might be too late already.
I'd like to point out the unbridled madness of the people that perpetrated this. Omar Bakri, who pretty much acts as European spokesman for Al Qaida (and who is represented on the internet via the Al-Mujahroun website, a window to the psychopathology of radical, fundamentalist islam), "explained" that the attacks were a retaliation against Spain for its participation in the war:

"I'm surprised that the (Spanish) government doesn't take notice that Islamists in the Muslim world and in Europe are really looking at it as a great retaliation against Spain's atrocities in Iraq," Bakri said.

He suggested that Italy could now be targeted by groups linked to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda in Europe, citing the statement received by Al-Quds Al-Arabi in London.

Note that nowhere in this statement does this clown even refer to the fact that 90 fucking percent of the population of Spain was against Spain's participation in this bloody war, that Saddam was the Islamists worse enemy and that their "efforts" in Iraq are competing in bloodiness and atrocty (remember Karbala? the UN?) with those of the American led occupation forces. Bakri in another interview he gave to the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia", explained that the Olympics were, "as far as he knew" not an Al Qai'da target:

"They are more likely to choose targets in the United States, Britain, France or any other country involved in operations against Islam and Muslims," added Bakri, who is based in Britain.

"Athens would tend to be the least probable target because up until now its position has not provoked us."

However, he added, should "the Greek government change positions and start getting more involved and supporting the US position against Muslims, at that point, yes, you will be in real danger."

Note that France, who objected to the war in Iraq is seen as a target - probably because of the hijab issue (which shows you the mentality of these nutcases).

This reply pisses me off to no small extent. I assure Mr. Bakri that it was public common decency and a public sense of history that prevented the Greek government from even contemplating direct involvement in this war (despite the pro-Americanism of the Greek government at the time). He is trying to paint this reaction as a result of his ilk's blackmail. He is deluded and so are the medieval henchmen he supports.
And this guy walks free...

On the other hand, because it takes two to tango, I hope that the neocon christian fundamentalist psychopaths (one of the few groups that can easily claim a greater death toll than the Al Qaida-related murderers) have the fate of their erstwhile PP Spanish sidekicks, this November. Not that I delude myself in thinking that this will be any sort of significant break in corporate driven western rapacity, or for that matter bring an end to the Middle East disaster, but at least one could sleep at night comforted by the fact that Armaggedon is not something the most powerful men in the world are looking forward to ...

A final word: I don't like this "Abu Hafs Al-Masri Brigades of Al-Qa'ida" group that took claim for the Madrid attacks at all. Even MEMRI (not exactly known for easily missing a chance to smear any and all Arabs) doesn't like it...
These folks have caught been at least twice taking responsibility for things they had no involvement in, and in other attacks (like the attacks on Istambul) they were considered possible culprits but not established as such. Indeed in the case of the UN building bombing in Iraq there were doubts:

Indeed some question if this was "Al-Qa'ida" at all:

...Thamm said that despite the videotape, the email claim, the arrest of three Moroccans and two Indians on Saturday, and the earlier discovery of detonators and a tape of Koranic verses in an abandoned van, he was still not convinced of al Qaeda involvement in Madrid because of the absence of suicide bombers.

"Al Qaeda has an idea, a message. You fight a holy war, a jihad against the unbelievers and send warriors to the front line who are willing to die -- a one-way ticket to paradise.

"For me, the jihad, the martyr concept is missing."

So what's happenning? I don't have a clue, and I'm afraid no one does.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Outsourcing Thomas Friedman - By Tamish Phreedman

Globalisation > winners > and losers
Tamish Phreedman replaces Thomas Friedman and tells it like it is:

"...I know, it's tough, it's not pretty or gentle or comfortable. In fact, it's a lot like what my predecessor at this column liked to call 'the Golden Straitjacket...it's here and it's the only model on the rack this historical season.'
I just wish Mr. Friedman remembered his own words. See, I replaced Mr. Friedman for this column space a few weeks ago. Fact is, I'm a lot cheaper than Thomas Friedman, and I do just as good a job at promoting globalization, or war in Iraq, or just about any other insane idea that America's oligarchy is peddling on the world's playground. You don't need a high-wage, high-prestige American columnist to help sell ideas like that - not when there are hundreds of millions of Indians just as eager to shill for America's oligarchy..."

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Is a pre-Columbus map of North America truly a hoax?

history > authentication > procedures
"In a Yale University library sits a map depicting the New World that predates the landing of Columbus by 60 years--if it isn't a fake. Although the lines on the so-called Vinland map are faded, those between scientists on the controversy are sharp. New salvos regarding its authenticity now come from both sides."

This is a fascinating story, not least because of the elaborate detective work that is part of the debate as to the authenticity of the map.
I bet it will make a great book once it's settled.

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Kucinich Calls For Tripling NASA's Budget

politics > USA > progressive
Yet another reason to support Dennis Kucinich, a true progressive, in a field of conservative Democrats.

Starved of the truth

their > food > not yours
George Monbiot wants to ask you something:

"The question is as simple as this: do you want a few corporations to monopolise the global food supply? If the answer is yes, you should welcome the announcement that the government is expected to make today that the commercial planting of a genetically modified (GM) crop in Britain can go ahead. If the answer is no, you should regret it. The principal promotional effort of the genetic engineering industry is to distract us from this question. "

Well do you? I thought not.

Nostalghia.com - An Andrei Tarkovsky Information Site

film > tarkovsky
"Nostalghia.com is meant as a tribute to Andrei Tarkovsky, arguably one of the most significant filmmakers of the 20th century. This non-commercial site is aimed at Andrei Tarkovsky scholars and other interested parties."

Monday, March 8, 2004

Greek National Elections 2004 - Results

greece > politics > elections
These are the official results of the Greek elections, from the Ministry of Interior. A landslide for the "conservatives" which are carbon copies of the socialists in terms of economic policies (possibly slightly to the left) and, hopefully, less corrupt - although excuse me if I'm not willing to bet on that.
The left managed to survive. Barely.

Thursday, March 4, 2004

"Some of us have lived through 1939"

science > politics
Somehow I missed this incredible correspondence at the time (last May) and first read about it a few days ago in the Iraqi Agora. In brief: Daniel Amit, an Israeli scientist working in Italy, refused this past May to correspond with any american institution and declined to review a paper for Physical Review E, as a protest against American aggression in Iraq. His correspondence with Martin Blume of the American Physical Society is published in the link above, and whether one agrees or disagrees with his action, it is a shocking and impressive statement:

I, personally, cannot see myself anymore sharing a common human community with American science. Unfortunately, I also belong to a culture of a similar spiritual deviation (Israel), and which seems to be equally incorrigible. In desperation I cannot but turn my attention to other tragic periods in which major societies, some with claims to fundamental contributions to culture and science, have deviated so far as to be relegated to ostracism and quarantine. At this point I think American society should be considered in this category. I have no illusions of power, as to the scope and prospect of my attitude. But, the minor role of my act and statement is a simple way of affirming that in the face of a growing enormity which I consider intolerable, I will exercise my own tiny act of disobedience to be able to look straight into the eyes of my grandchildren and my students and say that I did know.

Equally powerful was his interview with Arab News, expressing an even stronger and more explicit condemnation of the war in Iraq and an even bleaker assessment of the global situation in general:

...The reason I took this step is that, with the beginning of the invasion of Iraq, all hope against hope that this pure aggression could be avoided were dashed. I felt that the basic values of enlightened culture were destroyed in a most blatant way, in a world where such values are increasingly needed. One of the central problems of modern global society is that the culture that publicizes itself as the example of democracy, enlightenment, modernity, culture, and freedom, is the one that puts global survival in danger...

Now, I'm ambivalent on this: I recognize the power of such an impressive symbolic gesture, but I'm too much of an idealist where science is concerned (or not disillusioned enough?) to consider that science (and this was Phys Rev E - statistical and non-linear stuff, hardly WMD related) is not by its nature and discourse a civilizing force and, especially through its international character, a counterbalance to this relapse towards barbarism we're experiencing. Not to mention that politically it's not the most effective of reactions - and Amit admits as much... Still it's a helluva interesting discussion and it should have received more coverage at the time - along with other similar reactions in the scientific community.

Pepsi Challenge Politics. The shrinkage of choice, now and then, New York to Moscow.

politics > democracy > light
This blog's favorite writer, Matt Taiibi, talks of censorship, Putin, the US, Russia and the NY Times. He makes points about the US that are slowly but steadily becoming quite relevant all over the World, even here in Greece - and over here they are especially timely with the elections coming up in a few days and the private TV channels already showing a stark preference for the two mainstream parties and a dismissal of the left:

... We have a system of media domination in this country, but it operates according to a completely different paradigm than the traditional bald censorship of Josef Stalin. It’s achieved by drowning out minor voices in an overwhelming quantity of mainstream media output, and through the relentless mass marketing of a charade of political plurality and diversity that carefully excludes or consigns to the edges any uncomfortable content–like Kucinich and Sharpton...

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Anarchist Football Network - We Like to Score

sports > alternative
"If I can't play soccer, I want no part of your revolution."
A different kind of football website!

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Reviving the commons

politics > plunder
David Bollier is speaking of the US, but the trend he is describing is global:

...The privatization of public resources is not a new story, to be sure, but the current rapacity is truly stunning. Much of the immediate blame must go to the Bush administration, which has rewarded corporate contributors with one of the most sweeping waves of privatization and deregulation in our history. But while Republicans are the most aggressive cheerleaders for privatization, many Democrats equally enthuse about the “free market” as an engine of progress and deride strong government stewardship of resources.

This bipartisan support is why fighting privatization is so difficult. American political culture has a strong faith in the efficacy of markets and skepticism in the competence of government. Critics bravely cite individual episodes of privatization gone bad, but there is no compelling philosophical response or alternative grand narrative to the logic of privatization...

Aristide Kidnapped!

politics > carribean > two centuries of US intervention
"The phrase that he [president Aristide] used several times and asked of me to find a way to tell the Haitian people, he said tell the world it's a coup, it's a coup, it's a coup."
More on this US backed coup d' etat disguised as a "revolt" can be found in a well known anti-american, crypto-communist rag: the Financial Times.
Excellent background piece from MADRE.

Monday, March 1, 2004

Oxygen on Osiris

science > planets > extrasolar

"The well-known extrasolar planet HD 209458b, provisionally nicknamed Osiris, has surprised astronomers again. Oxygen and carbon have been found in its atmosphere, evaporating at such an immense rate that the existence of a new class of extrasolar planets – ‘the chthonian planets’ or ‘dead’ cores of completely evaporated gas giants - has been proposed."

Besides the obvious interest of such a discovery, I find both "Osiris" and "chthonian planets", to be sublime choices of names, in a gothic kinda way.

Greek Elections Portal

politics > greek > elections
The national parliamentary elections are taking place this coming Sunday and this site offers all sorts of info, in English, about elections in Greece in general. Interesting, especially as it promises to develop into a global portal for Greek Politics, Election and Cultural Issues.