Albion Monitor Issue 147 JUNE, 2006
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The Ghosts of Kim
"He sat, in defiance of municipal orders, astride the gun Zam-Zammah on her brick platform opposite the old Ajaib-Gher -- the Wonder House as the natives called the Lahore Museum. Who hold Zam-Zammah, that "fire-breathing dragon,' hold the Punjab; for the great green bronze piece is always first of the conqueror's loot."

-- "Kim," Rudyard Kipling

FREE! Zam-Zammah breathes fire no more, replaced by F-15s and AC-130U "Spooky" gun ships spitting artillery rounds and 40mm cannon shells. The efficiency of death has evolved, but the "Great Game" is the same for the people of Afghanistan: the Pashtun, the Tajik, the Hazara, and the Uzbeks, pitted against one another in a deadly chess game played by men whose capitols lay half a world away.

How just like the old days it must be for British Lieutenant General David Richards, commander of NATO forces in southern Afghanistan. NATO, taking over from the United States, is pouring troops into Helmand Province, 8,000 of which will be British. This ground and history is familiar for the British. It will be, after all, England 's fourth war in Afghanistan.

While the government of President Hamid Karzai is quick to blame Pakistan for the current fighting, Pashtun coming across the border from Pakistan is hardly a new development. Every day some 15,000 people cross into Afghanistan through the frontier town of Chaman, Pakistan alone. It is a "border" drawn up in Whitehall, not Lahore or Kandahar

Is Afghanistan Becoming Another Iraq?

Taliban have almost free run of most southern provinces

Taliban Rewinning Afghan Hearts And Minds

80% in southern Afghanistan now back extremists

U.S. Security Companies Act As Kabul's Private Militias

Operating without any oversight or regulation

Afghanistan Should Make Peace With Taliban, Says Negotiator

Islamists, large faction of Afghan cabinet ready to strike truce

U.S. Spends Millions Building Afghan Road To Nowhere

Afghans angered as shoddy reconstruction project builds glorified dirt road

Foreign Aid To Afghanistan Squandered, Stolen

System mostly efficient at funneling money back to the wealthy donor countries

Afghanistan Offers Amnesty To Taliban

President Karzai calls Taliban "victims of outsiders"

The news you don't know you're missing 404 reports

Massacre Just Part Of Soldier's Rampage In Haditha

U.S. military had earlier cut electricity and water to the entire city, attacked the hospital and burned the pharmacy

Haditha Massacre No Isolated Case, Iraqis Say

"We describe this kind of incident as 'normal' because it has happened over and over"

Whose Bomb Killed The Palestinian Family On A Gaza Beach?

Israelis deny responsibility in incident that has gripped Mideast

Mideast Meltdown Over Israeli Soldier Hostage

Both Israeli and Palestinian governments near collapse over showdown

Putin Orders Special Forces To 'Destroy' Iraq Killers Of 4 Russian Diplomats FREE!

FSB head vows to kill group affiliated with Al-Qaeda "however much time and effort it requires"

U.S. Emits Half Of World's Car CO2 FREE!

Lots of driving in SUVs

Buffett Donation Makes Gates Even Bigger Player

But worry that governments will back off from committments

Reasons To Worry Over The Gates-Buffet Colossus

World's richest foundation becomes a state unto itself

"Great Divide" Seen in Muslim and Western Opinions

10 out of 12 Muslim countries described relations with West as "generally bad"

Global Warming Confirmed By Top U.S. Study FREE!

Report requested last year by House Science Committee

Japan Takes Control Of International Whaling Commission

Intense vote-buying by Japan from smaller and poorer countries with no whaling interests

The Coulter, Vicious

Shame on the silent senators, who used the widows to create the 9/11 Commission

Stop Immigrants Or We Will, Minutemen Leader Threatens

"The time has come to defend ourselves from the invasion with every possible weapon"

Neo-Con Think-Tank Ends With A Whimper

Cheney, Rumsfeld's PNAC quiet since Jan. 2005

15 Gitmo Prisoners Released To Saudi Arabia Face Uncertain Future

Unlikely to receive a fair trial and are at risk of torture. warns Human Rights Watch

Gitmo War Crimes Trials Illegal, Supreme Ct Tells Bush

"The Supreme Court is saying that the president can't go and create some new legal universe where he makes the rules"

Call for Investigation of Gitmo Suicides

As State Dept. diplomat calls deaths a "PR move"

14 European Nations Allowed CIA Detention Centers, Rendition Flights

"Spider's web" of sites around the world used to facilitate renditions

9/11 Ground Zero Workers, Survivors, To Get Another Health Survey FREE!

Followup to 2003-2004 first survey of the 71,000 people present at Ground Zero and cleanup workers

Darfur Aid Workers Flee Violence, Leaving 350,000 Without Help

Twice that many scattered around the region without access to humanitarian relief

Bush Hawks Down In Somalia

U.S. was paying warlords up to $150,000/mo to "fight terrorism"

Game Over For Mogadishu's U.S.-Backed Warlords? FREE!

Somalia's capitol now under control of Islamic militias

Nations Give Themselves A Kyoto Extension

Push deadline for serious reductions until after 2012

Rebels Pack Nepal's Capitol In Huge Victory Rally

City experiences some of the intimidation felt by villagers over last decade

Baby Bottles, Other Common Plastics Linked To Prostate Cancer FREE!

Common plastic also in toys, pacifiers

For Iran's Defiance, Look To The Calendar

Similar delay last year

Bush Won't Attack Iran, Strategy Paper Reveals

Carefully worded statement explicitly makes regime change the goal of U.S. policy

U.S. Jewish Community Worried About Iran Backlash

Nervous about Bush remarks of possible military action to protect Israel

Ayatollah Khamenei, Not Iran's President In Control, And Ready To "Haggle"

Firebrand Ahmadinejad not making key decisions

U.S. Dropped Iran Threats Due To Lack Of Allied Support For Sanctions, Attack

Rice failed to get backing from Brits, other 4 big powers

Rice Reverses Policy, Offers Iran A Deal

But Iran has to first "prove" to Bush that it has no secret nuke program

Bolivia's Gas Nationalization Redraws Political Map Of S AmericaFREE!

Significantly undercuts U.S. power to dictate trade deals

Bolivia's Poor Will Eventually See Great Gains From Gas Nationalization

Dramatic change of course after years of World Bank and IMF programs giving all control to foreign investors

The Day Bolivia Took Back The Nation's Gas Industry

Only a few of Morales' closest associates knew that morning the army was about to occupy Bolivia's oilfields

The Battle for Iraq/Algiers

FREE! Early on in the Iraq War, "The Battle of Algiers," Pontecorvo's 1965 film about the urban guerrilla struggle between French troops and Algerian nationalists, was favored viewing at both the White House and Pentagon. More recently, Alistair Horne's "A Savage War of Peace: Algeria, 1954-1962" has become the read of choice for many U.S. military officers serving in Iraq.

Mounting evidence suggests that the Bush administration is drawing the wrong lessons from Algeria. To be successful in the war on terrorism, you must first win the battle of ideas. American tactics in Iraq, as symbolized by the abuse and humiliation of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison and the wanton and methodical murder of civilians at Haditha, suggest a breakdown in moral authority and leadership, similar to what the French experienced in Algeria


FREE! The press tells us that our "thrilled" President was "conservative" or "carefully guarded," or expressed "cautious optimism" in responding to the death of Abu Musad al-Zarqawi, the small-time thug, beheader, fomenter of Sunni/Shia civil war, and all-around violent extremist who became an American poster boy for terrorism in Iraq.

His face filled the screen in life and death malevolently and photogenically. He looked the villain -- particularly useful for an administration focused on a Manichaean world of good and evil, governing a country that tends to like its enemies straight-up and, if at all possible, personified in a single face. So it didn't take long before Zarqawi was America's most-wanted man in Iraq

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in happier times

Arab Media Not Mourning Zarqawi's Death

Al Jazeera commented Zarqawi became an infamous media figure with the beheading stories -- and he kind of liked that image, walking around like Rambo in his last video

No Evidence Zarqawi Killing Will End Violence

Hatred against occupation drives rebellion, not charismatic leadership

Pakistan Elders Call For Death Of Anyone Revealing "Honor" Killing Of Women

Wives murdered upon the slightest suspicion of adultery

Most Pakistan Quake Survivors Face Uncertain Future FREE!

No rebuilding in remote areas as 3.5 million remain homeless

U.S. Draws Closer To Repressive Regimes In Name Of "Fighting Terror"

Key ally Egypt extends 20-year-old "emergency" law to arrest, detain anyone without charges

Mohammed Cartoon Controversy Led To Greater Acceptance Of Muslims In Denmark

Large peace demonstrations across Denmark followed the uproar

Soybean Farming Major Factor In Amazon Rainforest Destruction

Financed by huge U.S. agribusiness corporations like Cargill

China Concealing Real Costs, Damage Of Three Gorges Dam

Audit would show massive impact on environment and local populations, watchdog group says

Child Labor Exploding In Ex-Soviet States

Higher rates than Asia, Latin America

Sweatshops In Jordan Grew From Israel, U.S. Trade Deal

Slavery-like conditions making apparel for Wal-Mart, Target, others

Zapatista Leader "Subcomandante Marcos" Renounces Armed Conflict

Marcos also warns, "political class no longer represents Mexican society"
The Aymara of the Andes have a reverse concept of time: Here, the speaker indicates space ahead of himself when referring to the past. (PHOTO: © Rafael Nunez, UC/San Diego)

For Andes Tribe, It's Back To The Future FREE!

Unique view that the past lies ahead and the future behind

Texas Rejects Insanity Plea, Executes "Half Angel And Half Man" Killer

Despite 4 of 5 experts saying man was insane

Why Are Private School Students Exempt From Exit Exams?

How can you determine a high school diploma on one 45-minute test?

Jails Increasingly Treating Prisoners Like Profit Centers

Gouging inmates for what little they've got

EPA Lets Factory Farms Decide If They Need Clean Water Permits FREE!

"Instead of doing its job to regulate polluters, it chickened out and decided to let polluters police themselves -- if they want to"


Large-Scale Oil Smuggling Plagues Iraq Reconstruction FREE!

Nearly 40,000 gallons disappear daily from Basra

Ramadi A City Under Siege

No water, electricity, cooking gas and medical supplies for the hospitals as U.S. troops surround city

Iraqi Athletes Now Targets Of Violence FREE!

"Wearing shorts is prohibited because it reveals parts of the body in violation of the principles of Islamic religion," read leaflets in Sunni neighborhoods where 3 athletes were killed

More Charges Of U.S. Troops Covering Up Iraqi Deaths

Human rights investigator says pregnant woman shot in back of head

The Decline And Fall Of Tariq Aziz

As Saddam's most visible diplomat, Aziz epitomized the urbanity of evil

Iraqi Drug Use On The Rise FREE!

Coming in from Afghanistan through Iran, creating major new drug route to Europe

Growing Flood Of Bodies At Baghdad Morgue

Most corpses tortured by beating, electricity, acid, drills, and other horrible ways

Basra State Of Emergency Declared FREE!

A model city in months after 2003 invasion, now near anarchy

Ramadi Becomes Another Falluja

Cut off from the rest of Iraq and off limits to reporters not embedded with U.S. troops


Congress Opens Hearings On Bush "Signing Statements"

"The brazenness of Bush's use of this practice is remarkable"

Republicans Rip Voting Rights Act In Postponing Renewal

All it took to derail House approval was a loud complaint from a handful of Southern Repubs

On Capitol Hill, A Burning Issue

Flag burning: America's greatest risk

Hillary's "Premature Triangulation"

If Hillary Clinton thinks she can postpone an all-out confrontation with the antiwar movement until a time and place of her tactical choosing, she's going to be very disappointed

Booting Out Jefferson Won't Solve Congress' Culture of Corruption

Sacrifice was a political necessity for Dems wanting to hammer at corrupt antics of the disgraced Repubs

Bush Gambles Iraq Will Be GOP Election Winner

Rove kicks off campaign with "Dems cut-and-run" theme speech

Chertoff Gives Homeland Security To The Lobbyists

The controversial grants issued to cities are dwarfed by contracts awarded to private corporations, which amount to around $10 billion annually

Will Immigration Fears Be Election Year Boon Or Bust For Repubs?

Republicans are reading the San Diego election as a sign that Bilbray's anti-immigrant platform helped him win -- and may replicate it in other areas

Is The Right Still Buying Bush's Election Year Hate Pandering?

The chips are down, bring out the old whipping boy of the threat of gay message

GOP Strategist Luntz Sets Sights On Canada's Conservatives

New Prime Minister's media policy appears to come directly from the Bush playbook

NY Times Turns Tabloid Over The Private Life Of Bill And Hill

Ultimately, this episode reveals less about the Clintons than about the decaying culture of Washington journalism. Like the Bourbons, the Washington press corps forgets nothing, forgives nothing and learns nothing. They remain utterly oblivious to their own mean-spirited hypocrisy


Molly Ivins The Bush No-Policy Policy On N Korea

It's Cut'n'Run Week For Dems... And Top General

Bush Poses As The Environment Guy

Can Republicans Run Anything Right?

Beady-Eyed Bush Goes Eye To Eye In Iraq

Enough Is Enough

Bush Swinging Between Threats And Making Nice With Iran

What Would Repubs Do Without Flag Burning?

No Excuses For Haditha

Bush Was Kenny-Boy's Unindicted Co-Conspirator


Robert Scheer The Disgraceful Bush Jihad Against Newspapers

Why Hillary?

DeLay Salutes His Triumphs

Media Failed Its Duty In Wen Ho Lee Case

Media Ignores Bush Links To Enron Crimes


Alexander Cockburn Buffett's Gift

Israel's Deadly Siege of Palestinians

The Blogger's Monsters

No New Beginning With Zarqawi's End


Steve Young Why Does Hannity Continue To Aid The Terrorists?

Opposites Detract

If The Media Reported On Democrats The Same Way They Report On Repubs

Cancer Kids Milking Their Disease For Sympathy

Stop The Flag-Burning At Same-Sex Weddings, Mr. President!


Vandals in the People's House FREE! The Post reports, "Legislators and public-interest group advocates say the most likely result this year is a minimalist package that would allow members to say they have responded to the Abramoff situation and other scandals but would do little to crimp their ability to accept lobbyist favors." So the big money lobbyists get to continue to wine, dine and bribe with few if any new constraints. And you wonder why it's so hard to get a minimum wage increase through Congress. Or to legislate restraints on government waste, compounded by corruption in the dealing out of contracts. Or to pass environmental restrictions on industries slowly choking and parboiling us to death. But the problem isn't just greed, lobbyists and the need for the public financing of campaigns. Alas, it's also our own continuing, goddamned indifference

Albion Monitor
Issue 147

Editor: Jeff Elliott (

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