Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Other Items

Nepal's politicians prepared Tuesday for the unenviable challenge of shaping peace. But they faced continuing pressure from protesters and Maoist rebels, who called their acceptance of the king's offer to return the political parties to power a "historic blunder."

Doug noted the above from Somini Sengupta's "Nepal's Opposition Finds the Front Is No Longer United" in this morning's New York Times. Doug: "Historic blunder seems an intersting call to make but who am I to disagree with Sengupat's use of the term that best describes her reporting?" We'll jump back to Nepal in a second.

First, Zach notes Robert Parry's "Bush's Hypocrisy: Cuban Terrorists" (Consortium News):

Like an aging rock star singing a beloved oldie, George W. Bush can count on cheers whenever he delivers a favorite line from the Bush Doctrine enunciated after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks: Any country that harbors a terrorist is equally guilty as the terrorist.
Bush got a round of applause at
an Indianapolis speech on March 24, 2006, when he declared "one of the lessons learned after September the 11th is that we must hold people to account for harboring terrorists. If you harbor a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, if you house a terrorist, you're as equally guilty as the terrorist."
Similarly, Vice President Dick Cheney roused
an American Israeli Political Action Committee crowd on March 7, 2006, when he declared that "since the day our country was attacked, we have applied the Bush Doctrine: Any person or government that supports, protects, or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent, and will be held to account."
But like much else from the post-9/11 period -- when frightened Americans put their faith in Bush's tough talk -- this supposedly clear-cut rule applies differently when a Bush ally is implicated in terrorism and the Bushes are the ones doing the harboring.
While the anti-harboring principle is cited when invading Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush administration continues to turn a blind eye to the presence of right-wing Cuban terrorists living in the United States.
This double standard was underscored again in early April when a Spanish-language Miami television station interviewed notorious Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch, who offered a detailed justification for the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight that killed 73 people, including the young members of the Cuban national fencing team.
As usual, Bosch refused to admit guilt, but his chilling defense of the bombing -- and the strong evidence that has swirled around his role -- leave little doubt of his complicity, even as he lives in Miami as a free man.

(Personal note, I love Parry's opening sentence.) In Failed States, Noam Chomsky notes (page thirty-three):

In April 2004, OFAC [Office of Foreign Assets Control] informed Congress that of its 120 employees, four were tracking the finances of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, while almost two dozen were enforcing the illegal embargo against Cuba.

If you haven't checked out Chomsky's latest, please do. And you can check out one of his recent Democracy Now! interviews as well.

Back to Nepal, Cindy notes Tariq Ali's "This is No Rah-Rah Revolt" (Guardian of London via Common Dreams):

There is something refreshingly old-fashioned taking place in the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal: a genuine revolution. In recognition of this, the US has told citizens except for "essential diplomats" to leave the country, usually a good sign. Since April 6, Nepal has been paralyzed by a general strike called by the political parties and backed by Maoist guerrillas. Hundreds of thousands are out on the streets - several have been shot dead and more than 200 wounded. A curfew is in force and the army has been given shoot-to-kill orders.
But the people have lost their fear and it is this that makes them invincible. If a single platoon refuses to obey orders, the Bastille will fall and the palace will be stormed. Another crowned head will fall very soon. A caretaker government will organize free elections to a constituent assembly, and this will determine the future shape of the country.
The lawyers, journalists, students and the poor demonstrating in Kathmandu also know that if they are massacred, the armed guerrillas who control 80% of the countryside will take the country. This is not one of those carefully orchestrated "orange" affairs with its mass-produced placards, rah-rah gals, and giant PR firms to aid media coverage, so loved by the "international community". Nor does the turbulence have anything to do with religion. What is taking place in Nepal is different: it is the culmination of decades of social, cultural and economic oppression. This is an old story. Nepal's upper-caste Hindu rulers have institutionalised ancient customs to preserve their own privileges. Only last year was the custom of locking up menstruating women in cowsheds declared illegal.
The Nepalese monarchy, established more than two centuries ago, has held the country in an iron grip, usually by entering into alliances with dominant powers - Britain, the US and, lately, India - and keeping them supplied with cheap mercenaries. It is a two-way trade and ever since the declaration of the "war on terror," the corrupt and brutal royal apparatus has been supplied with weaponry by its friends: 20,000 M-16 rifles from Washington, 20,000 rifles from Delhi, and 100 helicopters from London. Meanwhile, half the country's 28 million people have no access to electricity or running water, let alone healthcare and education, according to the UN.

Rachel notes this on WBAI today (time given is Eastern):

11:00 am-noon: Joy of Resistance
From Abortion Rights to Reproductive Justice: Loretta Ross (SisterSong) @ Hampshire College (Apr. 7); Monica Ramirez on sexual harassment of immigrant women workers; Maretta Short (Women of Color & Allies) debuts regular JOR segment w/expose of welfare-to-work programs & "why I became a feminist"; worldwide feminist news includes: US Azerbaijani Embassy connections to sex traffickers.

And remember to listen, watch or read Democracy Now! today. The e-mail address for this site is


Wally noted two things from Danny Schechter's News Dissector for yesterday. First:

David Swanson writes:
I'll be co-hosting with Verna Avery-Brown of Pacifica Radio, a live broadcast on Pacifica from 8:30-11 a.m. ET on Thursday, April 27, of a forum on Capitol Hill hosted by Congresswomen Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee.


Thanks for tuning in. I will be speaking in Boston at Emerson College on Friday at 7 PM. The film The Jihadi and the Journalist which I worked on opens at the Tribeca Film Festival on the 27th, and South African Broadcasting’s SABC 1 airs on April 26th on SABC 1 at 9 PM. Amandla!

As Wally notes, that will tick Mike off. (We're all going to be in NYC just as Danny comes to Mike's area.) If you're in that area or can be, don't miss Danny -- great speaker, will make you think and leave you inspired (and hopeful -- important in these times).

Also Daniel Ellsberg is among the guests on today's Democracy Now! and one of the topics is the government's pursuit of Jack Anderson's paper. The following community sites posted yesterday:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty's Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
Kat's Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills);
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
and Wally's The Daily Jot

And Kat says for everyone to remember that KPFA broadcasts Guns and Butter at one p.m. (PST) today.