June 14, 2005

Talisman Sabre 05

Australian war resisters enter USA-Australia war games(Talisman Sabre 05) at Shoalwater Bay in Queensland, Australia.

6 Australians were arrested after breaking into the Military Firing Range,north of Yeppoon,Qld. They took with them 6 coffins with photo's of dead Iraqi children and occupied the main road,performing a memorial ceremony and then reading out the names of Iraqi people killed by the "Coalition of the Willing".
After 1 and a half hours of the military (caught by surprise) being inhibited from continuing the war games, the activists were arrested.
Meanwhile, other activists outside the complex blockaded the main entrance of the facility causing long lines of military vehicles, tanks, etc to be stuck in a traffic jam outside,waiting for orders.
Finally the blockade was broken and 4 more arrests took place.
War resisters were released from prison in Rockhampton(beef capital of Australia) and then most people headed to the small town of Yeppoon on the coast for free food supplied by Food Not Bombs and to talk with the local community, who came out in droves to dance to the free music.
The day finished at sunset with "millions"of fruit bats flying along the coast directly into the pristine world heritage areas of Shoalwater where the Americans were performing their sea borne invasion.
In the Evening, the local town hall was packed to overflowing to watch the preview of Film maker David Bradbury's New film "Blowin In The Wind".
The film focuses on the problems with the use of depleted uranium used in modern weapons and talks about the new generation of smart bombs that have been developed since the USA invaded Iraq.
These weapons will be tested for the first time during the next 2 weeks at Shoalwater Bay, in the biggest wargames Australians have ever seen(or not seen, thanks to the war complicent media).

March 16, 2005

"We Seek no Wider War"

On February 17, 1965, several months after the partly fictitious Gulf of Tonkin incident and passage of the wholly real Gulf of Tonkin resolution, Lyndon Johnson famously said of Vietnam, “We have no ambition there for ourselves, we seek no wider war,” the last half of that phrase immortalized by songwriter Phil Ochs.

Those words signaled the almost immediate escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam from support for a murderous counterinsurgency carried out by the South Vietnamese government to all-out war and a massive U.S. troop presence.

By the end of the 1960’s, as most people believed the United States could not win outright, Nixon’s response was to expand the unwinnable war, resuming bombing of North Vietnam and also spreading the war to Laos and Cambodia. The primary reason given was that Laos and Cambodia, as uncontrolled neutral territories, were a base of operations for the Vietnamese resistance.

All the signs indicate that the Bush administration is planning expansion of the hitherto unsuccessful but still far from lost war in Iraq.

We have known for some time that the abstract, theoretical plans of the neoconservatives involve “regime change,” removal of governments, especially in the Middle East, designated as enemies, and the spreading of some form of U.S. domination, usually designated by the code word “democracy.” What we didn’t know, especially with the occupation of Iraq bogging down, was whether those at the top felt they could act on those plans.

Over the last few months, we’ve seen all the signs we need; widening the war is the background for all the administration’s foreign policy thinking.

The neoconservatives, Rumsfeld, and Cheney have developed the absolute conviction that Syria and Iran are helping the Iraqi resistance. This makes little sense; the Syrian Ba’ath and Iraqi Ba’ath have opposed each other for almost 40 years; Syria is run by the minority Alawites – Shi’a -- and can’t be interested in fuelling an insurgency that is increasingly Wahhabized and attacks Shi’a more often than occupying troops; and Syria just turned over Saddam’s half-brother Sabawi to the Americans. Iran is in contact with major Shi’a groups in Iraq, but the main groups close to Iran just won the elections and have no intention of armed resistance.

But we already know that our war planners are not part of what one Bush aide termed the “reality-based community.”

They also know, this time correctly, that they haven’t gotten very far in fighting global jihadism. Put these ingredients together and you get a wider war.

So far, we’ve seen Seymour Hersh saying that the United States currently has numerous teams inside Iran looking for hidden nuclear facilities and that some planners are thinking about “regime change” through the unlikely mechanism of bombing Iran and hoping the pro-democracy movement there overthrows the government.

We’ve seen an opportunistic attempt to use the Hariri assassination to push Syria out of Lebanon preparatory to regime change in Syria -- the ground having been prepared months ago by passage of U.N. Security Council resolution 1559.

Finally, we’ve seen the new “democracy offensive” coming out of Washington. On the one hand, they’re using democratization or some facsimile thereof as a tool to destabilize governments the Bush administration doesn’t like; on the other, infinitesimal reforms in countries like Egypt, supposedly imposed by U.S. action, are used as rhetorical points in a whole new “war of position” in the Middle East that complements their expanding “war of maneuver.”

This strategy is explicit – indeed, Friday’s Wall Street Journal details a massive new review led by Rumsfeld designed to create “a military that is far more proactive, focused on changing the world instead of just responding to conflicts” and that will make counterinsurgency the primary strategy.

It’s too early to see what will come of this. Cooler heads even in this administration know how absurd the plans for Iranian regime change in a quick strike are. Hezbollah’s massive demonstration has counteracted the rhetoric about the Lebanese “opposition” – the administration is in the odd position of celebrating popular participation by Iraqi Shi’a while opposing that done by Lebanese Shi’a. And, although not in active opposition, the American public is growing tired of the war and sees no benefits coming to it – certainly not lower oil prices.

Even with these caveats, we can no longer ignore the possibility of a wider war.


February 01, 2005

Election Flashback!!

An American Paratrooper killed in action in Vietnam,1966

U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote :
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror
by Peter Grose,New York Times
(9/4/1967: p. 2)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were
surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout
in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a
Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the
5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots
yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened
by the Vietcong.

The size of the popular vote and the inability of the
Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the
two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the
nation election based on the incomplete returns
reaching here.

Pending more detailed reports, neither the State
Department nor the White House would comment on the
balloting or the victory of the military candidates,
Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu, who was running for
president, and Premier Nguyen Cao Ky, the candidate
for vice president.

A successful election has long been seen as the
keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging
the growth of constitutional processes in South
Vietnam. The election was the culmination of a
constitutional development that began in January,
1966, to which President Johnson gave his personal
commitment when he met Premier Ky and General Thieu,
the chief of state, in Honolulu in February.

Significance Not Diminished

The hope here is that the new government will be able
to maneuver with a confidence and legitimacy long
lacking in South Vietnamese politics. That hope could
have been dashed either by a small turnout, indicating
widespread scorn or a lack of interest in
constitutional development, or by the Vietcong's
disruption of the balloting.

The turnout of 83 per cent was a welcome surprise. The turnout in
the 1964 United States Presidential election was 62
per cent.

January 30, 2005

Growing Dissent!

“The US has been imposing patents on life around the world through trade deals. In this case [Iraq], they invaded the country first, then imposed their patents. This is both immoral and unacceptable.” Shalini Bhutani, GRAIN.

“Seeds are the software - and we have the seeds.” - Anonymous corporate seed company executive.

With agriculture providing the main source of income for two and a half billion people the effects of biotechnology are immense. Farmers across the world are being locked into a cycle of dependency on biotechnology companies, who of course just want to help them to feed the world.

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January 28, 2005

Iraqi women organise economic boycott of US

Along the entrance to the Women's Will organization, Maxine Nash and I saw banners saying, "The Occupation Kills Your Sons, Don't Buy from the Occupiers," "Boycott the Invaders, and "Iraqi Mothers United Against Sectarian Fighting." Inside the meeting room another more colourful banner said, "No Peace Without Justice."

We walked into a teach-in already in progress. Hana Ibrahim, coordinator of Women's Will and Dr Balkiss, member of the board, (two middle aged Muslim women) alternatively spoke to about eighteen women and five men about one way Iraqis could resist the U.S. occupation.

"We would silently defeat the occupation, not by killing, but by refusing to cooperate economically with America," said Dr. Balkiss.

"America is trying to make this a free market for itself and treating Iraq like another state. We should have our own sovereignty. Even before the tanks came in, the media war succeeded in promoting American products. Iraqis have been buying the cheaper American products, and this has undermined our economy. The invasion has brought us poverty.

" Hana went on to say that there are many things women can do. "Any mother can refuse to buy Coca Cola and other U.S. products. We know how to manage our lives here. We have our own meats, fruits and vegetables. Iran and Syria don't deal with the U.S. economically and they do all right.

" She referred to Gandhi's urging the Indian people to spin their own thread and weave their own cloth.

During the discussion, one woman told the group about her relative's wedding, where the family served American soft drinks, but the people refused to drink it. When the family brought in Iraqi soft drinks, the guests drank them. Another woman said that she knew how to make her own shampoo out of natural products. "If they put in a McDonalds in Baghdad, we will boycott it," added another.

Hana concluded the meeting, "Women should work through civil society. Working nonviolently can strengthen peaceful structures. Small actions, such as putting up posters, and large actions, like demonstrations, all add up and make a difference. Whatever it takes, we will win."
By Peggy Gish

January 07, 2005


“If the money promised to the victims of the
tsunami falls far short of the amounts required,
it is partly because of other priorities,
namely the war on Iraq.” - author and
journalist, George Monbiot.

As our sympathy goes out to the many
thousands of victims of the tsunami disaster
and people across the world dig deep
into their pockets, disgust should be thrown
in the face of governments whose ‘generosity’
is not only dwarfed by the response
of the public, but is even more miserly when
compared to their own arms spending. Consider,
for instance, the cost of one B-2
bomber - a whopping $2 billion. US aid currently
equates to only a day and a half of
the money spent occupying Iraq, which
stands at $148 billion. The UK itself has already
spent £6 billion on massacring the
Iraq people.

The groundswell of empathy from ordinary
people in the face of such tragedy
makes us wonder just how long the war in
Iraq (or any other war) would last if we had
more pictures from the ground of the destruction
of Fallujah, the birth defects
caused by depleted uranium and people
killed and maimed by the aerial bombings.
Meanwhile, corporations have been
busy marketing their own brand of global
compassion. Take Starbucks, who in 2004
had a staggering market value of almost
$15 billion made off the backs of some of
the worlds 25 million grossly underpaid
coffee farmers - including those in Indonesia.
Their donation - a microscopic dent in
profits - is loaded less with generosity than
with cynicism and exploitation.
As for Coca-Cola, the bottled water they
are shipping to the victims in itself leaves a
trail of devastation and destruction. In India,
communities around Coca-Cola bottling
plants are experiencing severe water shortages
and the land has been polluted. The
abundance of pesticides used by Coca-
Cola, which includes DDT, has rendered the
agricultural land infertile, crippling the locals’
means of subsistence.

In the worst-hit province of Aceh, thousands
have been killed in a region which
has already suffered countless deaths and
mass displacements thanks to the Indonesian
military. Aceh is rich in resources - it
supplies much of the natural gas for Japan
and South Korea while Exxon Mobil take its
oil - yet remains in poverty.

Five years ago a million Acehnese (that’s
a quarter of the population!) held a massive
peaceful demonstration calling for a referendum
for a chance to vote on independence
from Indonesia. The military decided to crush
the movement, carrying out assassinations,
‘disappearing’ leaders and raping female activists.
Jafar Siddiq Hamsa, a leading international
spokesman for the Acehnese, returned
home in 2000. He was abducted, and his body
returned wrapped in barbed wire, with multiple
stab wounds and his face sliced off.
Meanwhile Exxon has spent millions over the
past three decades, hiring Indonesian security
forces to protect company facilities in
Aceh in full knowledge that troops were committing
gross violations of human rights
against civilians.

Allan Nairn, a journalist once jailed by
the Indonesian army, spells out the future:
“We should put this in perspective. Now
the world is looking at Aceh for the first
time ever and will probably never again look
at Aceh with this intensity, but as dramatic
as this act of nature is, it’s still far less than
the death toll over just a couple of years
due to hunger and poor nutrition, diarrhoea;
deaths mainly among children who live in
poverty in Aceh. It’s also dwarfed by the
military massacres carried out by the Indonesian
military in various places. They killed
200,000 in Timor. They killed anywhere from
400,000 to a million in Indonesia itself when
they consolidated power in 1965 to 1967.
So, the concern that the world has now for
this disaster is appropriate, but we should
have that concern all the time. When people
are dying, not just from natural tsunamis,
but from military or police bullets, often
paid for by the United States, or dying from
preventable hunger. There are also thousands
of American individuals who could
sit down right now and write a check for $50
million. They could save tens of thousands
of lives, but there’s no social pressure on
them to do that, because we live in a world
where it’s assumed that it’s okay to let people
starve while the dollar that can save them
sits idly in your pocket.”
Or as author Jonathan Schell put it
“Why, we might ask, is there, alongside
armed forces in almost every country, no
established international rescue army – no
well-funded international force fully
equipped with emergency gear ready to give
prompt aid in any large-scale catastrophe?
Initial funding might be $100 billion – a mere
10 percent of the trillion or so the world
spends annually on arms. Why, when human
need is the greatest, should the human
response always be left to improvisation?
There is no reason to think that nature had
any lesson in mind, whether about the
world’s bloated, multiplying nuclear arsenals
or anything else, when it shoved one
tectonic plate beneath another, causing the
earthquake that caused the tsunami. But we
are free to draw a lesson: Leave mass destruction
to nature. Our job should be to
protect and preserve life.”
* Read the interview with Allan Nairn
*Read George Monbiot’s article on the tsunami
aid pledge and military spending at

January 01, 2005

Happy New Year

Year, star date, 2005...Rose Road, you were afterall, not a place for the collection of dead caracasses of cars, nor a place to wait or swelter, but a place to live; and live well. The tree frogs told us in the night. The moon standing high in the morning reminded us of the witchcraft into which we were born; the self-possession of trees discussing what; the time of day; the time of night; the hour of changes; the once house of breezes and the silence of the year end, beginnng of another; our happiness cat waving down on us at breakfast. The road lying outstretched for your hand. Happy New Year! The stars lay outstretched like sparks and tails. Happy New Year! The waking sounds awoke us. Happy New Year! from Australia, Simon, Molly & DC ( on our way overseas)


December 22, 2004

Solstice Season recommended Reading

I love fetishists. Not only do they come in all shapes and sizes, but when they talk about their fetish, they just light up, whether in person or on the page. This book is no exception. Michael Moran lusts to tickle and be tickled. Tickling carries an explosive sexual (not just sensual) charge for him. This book goes into fine detail introducing erotic tickling as a fetish and preparing the reader for any level of experimentation desired, with in-depth instructions, lists of accessories, and even resources. It includes potential problems, solutions, profiles and scenarios and even gives you ideas for finding an erotic tickling partner! My mind was definitely turning as I read, thinking of which of my playmates I could corner, tie up and tickle. A very fun read! (2003)
Erotic Tickling
Moran, Michael
Greenery Press

Boycott Intel

The Intel plant at"Oiryat Gat" is built on land Israel confiscated from the Palestinian villages of Iraq al Manshiya. Iraq al Manshiya was a village of 2000 people living in 300 houses with two mosques and one school. The original Palestinian inhabitants were terrorised out of the village and then the whole village was razed to the ground to prepare the way for the new israeli settlement of Qiryat Gat. Today the remaining population from Iraq al Manshiya is still not allowed to return.. Legal action against Intel for building on looted land is being considered.


December 19, 2004


December 05, 2004

The Quiet of Destruction and Death

It’s a late morning start today…as I’m waiting for Abu Talat, who calls to tell me he is snarled in traffic and will be late once again, huge explosions shake my hotel. Shortly thereafter mortars are exploding in the “green zone” as the loud warning sirens there begin to blare across Baghdad.

Automatic weapon fire cracks down the street.

The good news is that interim prime minister Ayad Allawi has announced a shortening of the curfew that most of Iraq is under. So now rather than having to be off the streets by 10:30pm, we can stay out until 11pm before we are shot on sight.

This past Sunday a small Iraqi Red Crescent aid convoy was allowed into Fallujah at 4:30pm. I interviewed a member of the convoy today. Speaking on condition of anonymity, (so I’ll call her Suthir), the first thing she said to me was, “I need another heart and eyes to bear it because my own are not enough to bear what I saw. Nothing justifies what was done to this city. I didn’t see a house or mosque that wasn’t destroyed.”
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