Monday, February 28, 2005

Assassination Wags The Dog

Before we go to war with Syria and Iran it would be a good idea to keep an eye on any mention of the two countries in the world press, or especially the American media. On February 18, 2005 a story appeared concerning the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. ( A very interesting part of this article states, “The Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal Bin Abdel-Aziz, said unless the perpetrators were brought to justice, there would be unforeseen consequences for the entire region.” Right after this it was reported that the U.S. had recalled our ambassador. The Saudi government speaks and we jump. The report also says, “One of the main reasons for Washington's hardening attitude towards Damascus is its support for the militant Lebanese group, Hezbollah.” Catering to the whims of the governments of Saudi Arabia and Israel has always been the context of our foreign policy.
So bearing all this in mind we see a report from the BBC (
The story sates, “However, a BBC correspondent in Damascus says the Syrian authorities must be worried the situation in Lebanon is spiralling out of their control and might result in a new government demanding the immediate withdrawal of Syria's estimated 15,000 troops in the country.” So it would seems that the U.S. as it has before has assassinated a leader in order to place a friendly leader in power to get what they want. Remember Chile?
The story delivers rather cryptic remark, “Earlier, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield, on a visit to Lebanon, called on Syria to withdraw its troops in compliance with UN resolution 1559, passed in September.” The United States government insisting that another country abide by U.N. resolutions is laughable. Someone should drop leaflets on Pennsylvania Avenue listing the Geneva Convention.
The story concludes with, “Syria says not even the Lebanese want a full Syrian withdrawal, but last week it said it would draw troops back from western Lebanon to areas nearer the Syrian border.” Troops moved to the Syrian border just in time for a precision bombing by the U.S. government. War is one event in history that demands certain events to happen beforehand. Anyone that believes that the assassination and resignation of the Lebanese leader “just happened” is blindly following the shepherd over the cliff into the waves crashing into the shore below.

- Chris Mansel

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Dahr Jamail's Sane Voice From The Heart Of Darkness

I read an interview with Dahr Jamail at (

In the interview Jamail states his purpose well, “After watching the worldwide demonstrations on February 15, 2003 be brushed aside as a “focus group,” I knew then that the minds of the American public had been misled by the corporate media who mindlessly supported the objectives of the Bush regime, and reporting the true effects of the invasion/occupation on the Iraqi people and US soldiers was what I needed to do.” I could almost say the same thing. I know in my heart that writing about this war and the treacherous acts of the Bush regime (I no longer refer to it as an administration, it’s simply a war crimes tribunal waiting to happen) are the right thing to do. I may not change anything but I feel it is something I must do. It’s with that same idea in mind that I have decided to stay with this blog despite any inconvenience or aggravation it may cause me. I feel ashamed for even saying it in the first place. Here I sit in my living room typing this, relatively healthly, while my cousin who I love very much is in Fallujah braving god knows what.
Also in the interview Jamail states, “Iraqis are of course shocked and outraged by the beheadings and kidnappings of people like Margaret Hassan. So many also believe it was a CIA/Mossad plot to keep aid organizations and journalists out of Iraq in order to give the military and corporations here a free hand to continue to dis-assemble and sell of the country.” You really have to wonder about the truth of that statement. We are not in country like Jamail so we don’t have the pulse of the nation. As for whether or not our government is seeking to keep journalists out of Iraq you can simply look to the training that was enforced for journalists, the embedded status…

- Chris Mansel

Saturday, February 26, 2005

What Century Is This Anyway?

Site of reference:,0,3204753,print.story?coll=sns-ap-world-headlines

The Associated Press is reporting of a dark chapter in Dakar, Senegal. The AP reports, “Homosexuality is such a deeply ingrained taboo here that it is punishable by law as an act against nature. The threat of violence and rejection, experts say, is scaring gays away from treatment and making them a high-risk group in a country that has been spared the ravages of AIDS seen elsewhere in Africa.” Ignorance or turning a blind eye will end up killing more and more in Senegal. The last thing the continent of Africa needs is for more people to die of AIDS. Aids is not just a homosexual disease evidenced by the many cases that prove otherwise. Even if gay men or women get the AIDS virus should we turn our back and let them die? Certainly not especially if a film about someone who is gay gets nominated for the academy awards, right? The war of public opinion can be confidently changed when it enters the mainstream. But it seems that the immediate turn of a blind eye to the people of South Africa is constantly amazing. Still the color of someone’s skin is used as a barometer to determine whether they should live or not. If the situation of AIDS in Africa were to be played on television as much as the effects of the Tsunami recently were, and in fact the Tsunami killed over a hundred thousand where AIDS has killed millions in Africa, then the world would be forced to see for themselves the terror in the eyes of the children, the horror of the parents holding a child that will die in a matter of days. The AP reports, “Doctors say that because gays fear revealing their sexual orientation during medical examinations, many carriers of HIV may be afraid to visit medical facilities and may not know they are infected.” Ignorance can kill and as evidenced by the recent events in Senegal, it will continue.

- Chris Mansel

A Man of Peace: Peter Benenson

Site of Reference:

How many lives did Peter Benenson change? How many lives did he save? The News Telegraph is reporting, “Peter Benenson, who set up Amnesty International in 1961, has died aged 83. Mr Benenson founded the organisation after reading an article about the arrest and imprisonment of two students in a cafe in Lisbon, Portugal who had drunk a toast to liberty.” An organization started in the name of liberty, that kind of organization started today would fall under the eye of the Patriot Act. The News Telegraph goes on to say about Mr. Benenson, “Irene Khan, secretary general of the organisation, said that "his vision gave birth to human rights activism''.
Amnesty International is something that the world takes for granted until they are jailed for political reasons, taken off the street somewhere in the world and tortured, unless, that is if you are of Arabic descent. Then the American government will tell you that it is above releasing you or treating you in any civil or decent manner.
The News Telegraph also reports, "Peter Benenson's life was a courageous testament to his visionary commitment to fight injustice around the world,'' Ms Khan said.
"He brought light into the darkness of prisons, the horror of torture chambers and tragedy of death camps around the world.
"This was a man whose conscience shone in a cruel and terrifying world, who believed in the power of ordinary people to bring about extraordinary change and, by creating Amnesty International, he gave each of us the opportunity to make a difference”
An amazing man who built an organization that fights for Human Rights all over the world. Peter Benenson was a good man who did something instead of nothing.
- Chris Mansel

Friday, February 25, 2005

The ACLU and the Freedom of Information Act

The ACLU is an incredibly vital organization that defends the rights of anyone who is being oppressed. Sometimes they might defend someone you despise or disagree with but at the same time on the other side of the country they are defending someone you would take a bullet for. Civil liberties, take them for granted and you will make yourself obsolete in any situation.
In an email I receive from the ACLU periodically was this story ACLU IN Court Over Torture FOIA’s. The article begins, “Army files obtained by the ACLU reveal previously undisclosed allegations of abuse by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among the documents are reports that a detainee who was beaten and seriously injured was forced to drop his claims in order to be released from custody.” Don’t sue us and you can leave and as an added bonus we won’t track you down and kill you so you can’t testify. Ok, now that we understand that section let’s move on.
“The release of these documents follows a federal court order that directed the Defense Department and other government agencies to comply with a year-old request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filed by the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans for Peace. The New York Civil Liberties Union is co-counsel in the case.” If it wasn’t for the ACLU and other organizations, the FOIA, and a sympathetic judge here and there we would never find out anything about anything. But to be sure federal black markers have highlighted the files.
The report states, “One of the recently released files reports that U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan posed for photographs of mock executions with hooded and bound detainees, and that some of these photographs were intentionally destroyed after the Abu Ghraib scandal to avoid "another public outrage.” Yet another case of our soldiers behaving like, well, terrorists almost. Where is the chain of command? Where are the superior officers? The answer is in most cases I am afraid is like the scandal in the Abu Ghraid scandal, the common soldier is mere cannon fodder. The story will break and the decision is made somewhere in the chain of command to throw a few guys out into the light of day and let them take the heat. It’s not like any high ranking member of our armed forces will allow themselves to be scolded by these continual actions of malicious behavior.
If you would like to access more information about this story please go to this site of reference,
And let your voice be heard. On this site you can view the documents in question.
- Chris Mansel