Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Recently in the Warblogging Category

The War Tapes »

I just saw a screening of the film "The War Tapes", a documentary about soldiers in Iraq by soldiers in Iraq. The director Deborah Scranton is telling the story now. She was asked by the National Guard to do a documentary as an embedded journalist. Instead, she suggested that they give cameras to the soldiers and let them shoot the film. Soldiers were given cameras and she directed coordinated the editing via IM and email. The result is an amazingly candid and real film and it gave me a better view of what it is like to be a soldier...

U.S. soldiers videotaped desecrating Taliban corpses »

MetaFilterU.S. soldiers videotaped desecrating Taliban corpses. U.S. soldiers videotaped desecrating Taliban corpses. The bodies were positioned to face Mecca and burned -- an act of desecration that violates Islamic burial rites and the Geneva Conventions. A U.S. PsyOps specialist broadcast an inflammatory message to the nearby town in order to incite an attack. "Attention, Taliban, you are all cowardly dogs. You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burned. You are too scared to come down and retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be." The video aired...

"Anti-Japan War Online" Game »

Interfax ChinaPowerNet and China Communist Youth League develop "Anti-Japan War Online" game Shanghai. August 23. INTERFAX-CHINA - PowerNet Technology, a Chinese online gaming firm, has developed a new online game in cooperation with the China Communist Youth League (CCYL) named "Anti-Japan War Online," which will begin commercial operation by the end of 2005, a PowerNet official said Tuesday. "The game will allow players, especially younger players, to learn from history. They will get a patriotic feeling when fighting invaders to safeguard their motherland," a PowerNet Project Manager, surnamed Liu, told Interfax. The background for "Anti-Japan War Online" is the Japanese...

False positive - Part II »

Earlier, I blogged about the Brazilian man who was shot by officers in the UK in the Stockwell subway who suspected him of being a suicide bomber. The reports has said that he was wearing suspicious clothing, that he ran away from the polices, etc. We had a lively discussion in the comments of that blog post. Mike B, just posted a link to an article in Scotsman.com. I don't know this publication so don't know the accuracy of their reporting, but they tell a different story. Scotsman.comBlunders led to police killing of an innocent man Key points •...

New York Times Op Ed on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki »

In the middle of my slightly insane two sleepless days at OSCON, I got an email from the New York Times asking me to write an op ed. They wanted me to write about my thoughts about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the bombing. They said the deadline was Friday. "You mean next Friday?" "No, the day after tomorrow." "Oh." My mind was full of open source and the future of the Internet. The atomic bomb and World War II were definitely not on my mind. It would be an interesting...

The War on Terror - As viewed from the Bourne shell »

The War on Terror - As viewed from the Bourne shell. Some geeky fun for a serious issue. via MetaFilter...

False positives »

AP via YahooMan Killed in London Not Linked to Blasts By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer Sat Jul 23, 7:16 PM ET LONDON - Police identified the man who was chased down in a subway and shot to death by plainclothes officers as a Brazilian and expressed regret Saturday for his death, saying they no longer believed he was tied to the recent terror bombings. [...] The man shot at the Stockwell subway station was identified as Jean Charles de Menezes, 27. Witnesses said he was wearing a heavy, padded coat when plainclothes police chased him into a subway car,...

London Explosions »

Anyone who is tuning in right now... about 2 hours ago a series of explosions were reported in London involving the Underground and a bus. The BBC reports "Large numbers of casualties have been reported after at least six explosions on the Underground network and a double-decker bus in London." UPDATE: Most big media sites are slow or down. You can get to many of the blogs post via Technorati for queries such as "London explosions". Lots of pictures on the Flickr London Explosions Group / Flickr Bomb tag. Wikinews article. (Note: I think Wikinews has had the fastest and...

Differences in meaning of finger chopping in Korea and Japan »

I wrote earlier about the origin of the Japanese the ritual of chopping off pinkies. In Japan, the ritual comes the importance of the left pinkie in the grip of a Japanese sword. Removing the left pinkie is literally disarming and was used to punish people in the past. This has been ritualized and continues to be used by small number of Yakuza and others in Japan as a form of punishment or taking responsibility. This is why I didn't understand why the Koreans were severing their fingers in protests against the Japanese. Two Koreans chopped their little fingers off...

CNN's Jordan accused of blaming US military of murder in Iraq »

Rony Abovitz blogged that Eason Jordan of CNN accused the U.S. military of murdering journalists in Iraq during a panel at Davos. The official summary does not reflect these comments. Rebecca MacKinnon, former CNN journalist who worked for Jordon corroborates the assertion by Abovitz. Little Green Football is tracking this in detail. UPDATE: A MUST READ update from Rony Abovitz....

Former CIA head wants to limit Internet access »

UPI via The Washington Times Tenet calls for Internet security [...] The way the Internet was built might be part of the problem, he said. Its open architecture allows Web surfing, but that openness makes the system vulnerable, Mr. Tenet said. Access to networks like the World Wide Web might need to be limited to those who can show they take security seriously, he said. If the Internet were not open, it would no longer be the Internet. it is exactly the "vulnerabilities" that Tenet refers to that allows the Internet to promote free speech, innovation and growth without asking...

Kevin Sites blogs about Falluja shooting video »

I'm sorry I'm a bit late in picking this up, but blogger and journalist Kevin Sites is all over the news for the video he took of a US Marine shooting what appeared to be an unarmed prisoner in Falluja. There is a post on his blog that you must read about his position and the circumstances around his taking and releasing the video. There is article on the front page of today's IHT about this as well, but I can't seem to find it online. via Xeni @ Boing Boing...

Video of French soldiers shooting civilians »

There is an interesting discussion going on on MetaFilter about a very graphic video of what appears to be French soldiers shooting at civilians in Cote d'Ivoire. The discussion starts with understandable outrage, but some people begin to question the authenticity of the video and question whether it might be propaganda from the Gbagbo government. There is more and more political video on the Internet and it clearly is more emotional than text. Well respected groups such as Witness have been using video to expose human rights issues for awhile now. It will be interesting to see if/when/how not so...

Abuse in the Russian army »

die puny humansMore members of Russia's armed services committed... More members of Russia's armed services committed suicide or died in accidents than in the line of duty this year.. In October, Human Rights Watch published a detailed study of what it called "horrific violence" against new conscripts in the Russian army. The international organisation highlighted a ritual of organised bullying known as "dedovshchina", which allegedly involves senior soldiers being able to treat juniors as little more than slaves. The report claimed hundreds of soldiers were killed or committed suicide as a result. Tens of thousands ran away, while thousands more...

Govt. Responds; Indymedia Seizure Order May Have Come from Italy »

Donna Wentworth @ EFF Deep LinksGovt. Responds; Indymedia Seizure Order May Have Come from Italy The US government has responded (PDF) to EFF's motion to unseal the mysterious government order that resulted in the seizure of two servers hosting more than 20 Independent Media Center (IMC) websites. The reply, which argues that the order should remain secret, contains details that suggest that the order may have originated in Italy. In the reply, the government contends that the seizure order should be kept sealed because (1) EFF and our Indymedia clients lack standing to contest the seizure, (2) the request for...

Is Google filtering Abu Ghraib images? »

merkinofbaphomet posts on AnandTech that he just noticed that no abuse images show up on Google Images when you search for Abu Ghraib. The same search on Alta Vista produces a bunch of images. I DO know that Google Images doesn't refresh their image database that frequently. Is it just that the images haven't made it into the database yet? Does anyone have more info on this? Can someone from Google shed some light? via metafilter...

Election day WMD drills? »

Why are they going to run WMD drills on election day? Some strong allegations on the Citizens for Legitimate Government page with links to a variety of sources....

Followup on the Japanese hostages »

I blogged earlier about the very negative reaction that the Japanese taken hostage in Iraq received in Japan. The main reason was that when the parents asked for their release, they didn't apologize to the Japanese government and even denounced the war. I believe it was a rather unfortunately, but understandable reaction in the context of Japanese culture for the Japanese to say, "we told you to stay away from there, and how dare you cause such shame on Japan without even apologizing." I recently talked to someone involved in the Arab press and learned that if the parents had...

WSJ reporter confirms authenticity of private email about being in Iraq »

Mark Frauenfelder @ Boing BoingWSJ reporter confirms authenticity of her letter to friends about horrific conditions in Iraq Farnaz Fassihi, a Wall Street Journal correspondent in Iraq, confirmed that a widely-redistributed letter she emailed to friends about the nightmarish situation in Iraq was indeed written by her. Too bad the WSJ doesn't allow this reporter to write these kinds of stories for the paper. "Iraqis say that thanks to America they got freedom in exchange for insecurity," Fassihi wrote (among much else) in the letter. "Guess what? They say they'd take security over freedom any day, even if it means...

US soldier in Iraq faces 20 years for essay »

Salon Operation American Repression? An Army officer in Iraq who wrote a highly critical article on the administration's conduct of the war is being investigated for disloyalty -- if charged and convicted, he could get 20 years. Sept. 29, 2004 | An Army Reserve staff sergeant who last week wrote a critical analysis of the United States' prospects in Iraq now faces possible disciplinary action for disloyalty and insubordination. If charges are bought and the officer is found guilty, he could face 20 years in prison. It would be the first such disloyalty prosecution since the Vietnam War. The essay...

Uncovered: The War on Iraq - Interviews Torrent »

Gary LerhauptUncovered: The War on Iraq - Interviews Torrent In a follow-up to the licensing of the Outfoxed movie under a Creative Commons license, Robert Greenwald has also agreed to release the interviews from his previous movie, Uncovered: The War on Iraq under the Creative Commons. The files can be downloaded directly (also available in higher quality format) from archive.org, or you can join the torrent hosted on Torrentocracy.com at uncovered_interviews.torrent. Hopefully we can match the over 700 downloads of Outfoxed that its torrent has already generated. Either way, the truth is free. (free as in beer AND as in...

Video of strike on group of people in Fallujah »

Here's another Iraq war video. This one appears to be a strike on a group of people walking down a street in Fallujah. Does anyone else have more information on this video? Has it been aired on any TV network? If they are civilians, it's quite disturbing. The "aw dude" in the audio doesn't seem like a very appropriate reaction. The embedded Windows Media Player window didn't work for me in Firefox on OS X, but worked fine in Internet Explorer. You can also use this link to view it directly in Windows Media Player. Via Paul...

Chart of terror alerts and Bush's approval ratings »

Interesting chart showing how terror alerts in the US seems to coincide with drops in Bush's approval ratings. via JuliusBlog...

9/11 toy found inside candy bags »

AP Photo via CNNSee CNN for full sized imageAP via CNN9/11 toy found inside candy bags Wholesaler recalls 14,000 bags it bought from Miami import firm MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- Small toys showing an airplane flying into the World Trade Center were packed inside more than 14,000 bags of candy and sent to small groceries around the country before being recalled.First NROjr and now this. For some reason, all of my posts today are about the US government and the last two are very weird messages to kids... via Adam...

CAPPS II is back »

The US Transporation Security Administration (TSA) announced that CAPPS II, the controversial passenger profiling system is back looking a bit more shy and sporting a new name, "Secure Flight." It still sounds bad and they'll start testing it within the next 30-60 days. via Kevin @ EFF: Deep Links...

ABC on Cryptome »

Cryptome is one of my primary sources of documents that get released to the public through a variety of sources. I link to it quite often from my blog. ABC News questions the value of the public's right to know, vs the risk of "helping the enemy." I have a feeling that terrorists are pretty good at using the Internet and probably already have access to most of the stuff on Cryptome. I think that it could be argued that they are helping terrorists by making the information so easy to find, but I personally think that Cryptome and other...

Just-in-time-production? »

Talking Points MemoJust-in-time-production? See CNN's Breaking News Alert: "Security forces have captured a high-level al Qaeda operative in a raid in central Pakistan, Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat said." Then, after you see that, remember that we noted in May and then The New Republic reported out extensively early this month, that this White House has been telling the Pakistanis for months that they wanted to see a big-time al Qaida leader -- hopefully bin Laden -- produced during the Democratic convention.Coincidence? via Glenn...

911 Commission Report »

Here's the 7.4MB 911 Commission Report. via Cryptome...

Lessig : Mr. O'Reilly, please just stop »

Lessig writes an open letter to Bill O'Reilly from the FOX News show The Factor. Lessig has been blogging a lot about OutFoxed, Richard Greenwald's film criticizing FOX News. Lessig links to a clip from the film, the original interview with Jeremy Glick and the offending anti-war ad. He takes on point by point the series of false accusations that O'Reilly has been making about Glick in an unfair smear campaign against his Glick.Lawrence LessigMr. O'Reilly, please just stop. Mr. O'Reilly, You have declared a "war" on the New York Times. That's good for you, good for them, and good...

Evidence for Hersh's claims of child sexual abuse at Abu Ghraib? »

Boing BoingEvidence for Hersh's claims of child sexual abuse at Abu Ghraib? Following up to this BoingBoing post on allegations by journalist Seymour Hersh of rape and sexual abuse of minors at Abu Ghraib prison Iraq -- there appears to be evidence for those claims in supporting statements that accompany the Taguba Report. What most of us have seen of the report are excerpts from the 50-page summary. In fact, there are well over 6,000 pages in the report itself, including statements by and interviews with witnesses. Among them, testimony from an Iraqi prisoner that would appear to substantiate Seymour...

Were children raped at Abu Ghraib? »

Boing BoingHersh: children raped at Abu Ghraib, Pentagon has videos From Daily Kos' partial transcript of a video (link to stream) of Seymour Hersh speaking at an ACLU event. According to this transcript, Hersh says the US government has videotapes of children being raped at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. "The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror it's going to come out... a massive amount of criminal wrongdoing was covered up at the highest command out there,...

Brainstorm 2004 - Quotes from Wesley Clark »

Some good quotes from Wesley Clark... Wesley Clark: The responsibility of Abu Ghraib does not lie in the men and women in the armed forces. It lies in with the commander and chief. Q: Why isn't the administration being held accountable for this? Wesley Clark: They will be held accountable in the elections. -- Wesley Clark: You can't win the war on terror by killing terrorists. You have to cut of the recruitment. It doesn't involve killing people....

Fahrenheit 911 factchecks »

Boing BoingFahrenheit 911 factchecks Here are Michael Moore's extensive factchecking notes on Fahrenheit 911. Link (via Kottke)What a good idea. Media sites should put factchecking notes online too....

Rock, Paper, Sadaam! »

Rock, Paper, Saddam! Pretty silly, but pretty funny. via Metafilter...

Draft Bruce »

Andrew is trying to draft Bruce Springsteen, an outspoken critic of war, to perform at Giants Stadium (which he has reserved) September 1, the day of the Republican National Convention. Andrew wants you to sign his petition. Bush vs Bruce live would be definitely be something worth watching. via ejovi...

Boing Boing reports that US military may be blocking access to news sites »

Xeni @ Boing BoingMore on blocked sites for .mil websurfers Following up on this BoingBoing post about rumors that access to TheMemoryHole is being blocked on military computers in Iraq... [John continues:]If the request was denied due to the Content Filter configuration is a sentence fragment, but with The content category reported is Gen. News. and If you feel this site was blocked in error, please contact the Help Desk the meaning is clear enough. For whatever reason, "General News" is not fit for our troops. I've been meaning to send her a list of links and ask her if...

Spirit of America »

Spirit of America is a somewhat grassroots, and quickly growing project to promote humanitarian aid in Iraq. It's interesting to note that both people for and against the war have signed on with their support. Dan Gillmor says, "Marc Danziger, a.k.a. the 'Armed Liberal' Web logger, supported the war in Iraq. Britt Blaser, a Howard Dean campaign adviser, did not." Both Marc and Britt are supporting this effort. Dan also writes, "'It seemed if you could essentially aggregate requests and syndicate those to potential donors, mainly using the Net and electronic outreach, you could respond with speed and on...

Sudan »

Passion of the present is covering the genocide in Sudan. See Jim's blog for more information on how you can help googlebomb to stop genocide....

RTMark reports false arrest of artist by FBI who mistakes art for bioterrorism »

RTMarkFBI ABDUCTS ARTIST, SEIZES ART Feds Unable to Distinguish Art from Bioterrorism Grieving Artist Denied Access to Deceased Wife's Body DEFENSE FUND ESTABLISHED - HELP URGENTLY NEEDED Steve Kurtz was already suffering from one tragedy when he called 911 early in the morning to tell them his wife had suffered a cardiac arrest and died in her sleep.  The police arrived and, cranked up on the rhetoric of the "War on Terror," decided Kurtz's art supplies were actually bioterrorism weapons. Thus began an Orwellian stream of events in which FBI agents abducted Kurtz without charges, sealed off his entire...

Rumsfeld bans camera phones in Iraq »

News24.comRumsfeld bans phone cameras London - Cellphones fitted with digital cameras have been banned in US army installations in Iraq on orders from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, The Business newspaper reported on Sunday. Quoting a Pentagon source, the paper said the US defence department believes that some of the damning photos of US soldiers abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad were taken with camera phones. "Digital cameras, camcorders and cellphones with cameras have been prohibited in military compounds in Iraq," it said, adding that a "total ban throughout the US military" is in the works. via Smartmobs The...

Report: "Rumsfeld and Rice Approved; Bush Knew" »

Lauren WeinsteinReport: "Rumsfeld and Rice Approved; Bush Knew" Greetings. Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker, who exposed so many aspects of the Iraqi prisoner abuse story, now reports that U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and national security advisor Condoleezza Rice secretly approved the expansion of a clandestine program that encouraged physical coercion, sexual humiliation, and blackmail of Iraqi prisoners, setting the stage for the abuses that these same officials have recently been condemning so publicly. According to the report, President Bush was kept informed regarding this program. The Department of Defense called the accusations in the story "outlandish, conspiratorial, and...

Full Red Cross Report »

I'm sure most people have seen it, but the full Red Cross report on Iraqi Prisoner Abuse is online on Cryptome. Red Cross Report on Iraqi Prisoner Abuse...

Government trying to use hostage crisis to squash NGO's in Japan »

The Japan TimesKidnap crisis poses a new risk In Japan's case, laws are being proposed to punish those entering designated "danger zones" without an official reason. Victims -- or their families -- will foot the bill for their rescue, which will amount to airfare, if not more. "This is standard practice for mountain rescues," one line of reasoning goes. But consider two things: One is that an aid mission to a danger zone is not a forest stroll gone astray. The very comparison indicates a misunderstanding of what aid missions do. The second is policy overstretch and political abuse. This...

Halliburton Pulling the Plug on GI Communications »

Kathryn CramerHalliburton Pulling the Plug on GI Communications A week after a scandal broke involving photos of American troops torturing Iraqi prisoners, Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown, & Root is pulling the plug on private electronic communications with the folks back home, apparently at the request of the Department of Defense.via Jim Oh right! If it weren't for that pesky Internet... I haven't seen this in mainstream media so I may be jumping the gun. Anyone who finds any other information about this, please let me know so I can update....

Orientalism by Edward W. Said »

Just finished reading the famous introduction to Orientalism by Edward Said. Said was a professor of comparative literature at Columbia University and was a well known Palestinian scholar who died in September of last year. Orientalism was written in 1978, but probably continues to become more relevant.Basically, he argues that the whole notion of the "Orient" or "Orientalism" is a body of culture, academic work and politics that tries to identify the East as "them" in terms that have evolved through Western imperialism. He makes the point that even work that doesn't appear immediately political had political impact and was part of the larger process of the development of Orientalism. Reading it brings back memories of Trader Vic's and pictures from British Museum exhibits of "Headpiece from dead savage."He points out some important issues which ties into the racism as stereotype discussion we had about Lost In Translation. The simplistic stereotypes and the images of the the East leads to a kind of fascination with the Orient, but also creates a false sense of understanding and fake academics upon which many ignorant, racist and imperialistic political decisions are made.A version of the introduction is available on The Guardian Unlimited Books web site so I'll give you a few quotes from there.Edward W. Said...Orientalism is very much a book tied to the tumultuous dynamics of contemporary history. Its first page opens with a description of the Lebanese civil war that ended in 1990, but the violence and the ugly shedding of human blood continues up to this minute. We have had the failure of the Oslo peace process, the outbreak of the second intifada, and the awful suffering of the Palestinians on the reinvaded West Bank and Gaza. The suicide bombing phenomenon has appeared with all its hideous damage, none more lurid and apocalyptic of course than the events of September 11 2001 and their aftermath in the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. As I write these lines, the illegal occupation of Iraq by Britain and the United States proceeds. Its aftermath is truly awful to contemplate. This is all part of what is supposed to be a clash of civilisations, unending, implacable, irremediable. Nevertheless, I think not.I wish I could say that general understanding of the Middle East, the Arabs and Islam in the US has improved, but alas, it really hasn't. For all kinds of reasons, the situation in Europe seems to be considerably better. What American leaders and their intellectual lackeys seem incapable of understanding is that history cannot be swept clean like a blackboard, so that "we" might inscribe our own future there and impose our own forms of life for these lesser people to follow. It is quite common to hear high officials in Washington and elsewhere speak of changing the map of the Middle East, as if ancient societies and myriad peoples can be shaken up like so many peanuts in a jar. But this has often happened with the "orient", that semi-mythical construct which since Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in the late 18th century has been made and remade countless times. In the process the uncountable sediments of history, a dizzying variety of peoples, languages, experiences, and cultures, are swept aside or ignored, relegated to the sandheap along with the treasures ground into meaningless fragments that were taken out of Baghdad.[...]The major influences on George W Bush's Pentagon and National Security Council were men such as Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami, experts on the Arab and Islamic world who helped the American hawks to think about such preposterous phenomena as the Arab mind and the centuries-old Islamic decline which only American power could reverse. Today bookstores in the US are filled with shabby screeds bearing screaming headlines about Islam and terror, the Arab threat and the Muslim menace, all of them written by political polemicists pretending to knowledge imparted by experts who have supposedly penetrated to the heart of these strange oriental peoples. CNN and Fox, plus myriad evangelical and rightwing radio hosts, innumerable tabloids and even middle-brow journals, have recycled the same unverifiable fictions and vast generalisations so as to stir up "America" against the foreign devil.[...]Think of the line that starts with Napoleon, continues with the rise of oriental studies and the takeover of North Africa, and goes on in similar undertakings in Vietnam, in Egypt, in Palestine and, during the entire 20th century, in the struggle over oil and strategic control in the Gulf, in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Afghanistan. Then think of the rise of anti-colonial nationalism, through the short period of liberal independence, the era of military coups, of insurgency, civil war, religious fanaticism, irrational struggle and uncompromising brutality against the latest bunch of "natives". Each of these phases and eras produces its own distorted knowledge of the other, each its own reductive images, its own disputatious polemics.My idea in Orientalism was to use humanistic critique to open up the fields of struggle, to introduce a longer sequence of thought and analysis to replace the short bursts of polemical, thought-stopping fury that so imprison us. I have called what I try to do "humanism", a word I continue to use stubbornly despite the scornful dismissal of the term by sophisticated postmodern critics. By humanism I mean first of all attempting to dissolve Blake's "mind-forg'd manacles" so as to be able to use one's mind historically and rationally for the purposes of reflective understanding. Moreover humanism is sustained by a sense of community with other interpreters and other societies and periods: strictly speaking therefore, there is no such thing as an isolated humanist.[...]Speaking both as an American and as an Arab I must ask my reader not to underestimate the kind of simplified view of the world that a relative handful of Pentagon civilian elites have formulated for US policy in the entire Arab and Islamic worlds, a view in which terror, pre-emptive war, and unilateral regime change - backed up by the most bloated military budget in history - are the main ideas debated endlessly and impoverishingly by a media that assigns itself the role of producing so-called "experts" who validate the government's general line. Reflection, debate, rational argument and moral principle based on a secular notion that human beings must create their own history have been replaced by abstract ideas that celebrate American or western exceptionalism, denigrate the relevance of context, and regard other cultures with contempt.[...]The terrible conflicts that herd people under falsely unifying rubrics such as "America," "the west" or "Islam" and invent collective identities for large numbers of individuals who are actually quite diverse, cannot remain as potent as they are, and must be opposed. We still have at our disposal the rational interpretive skills that are the legacy of humanistic education, not as a sentimental piety enjoining us to return to traditional values or the classics but as the active practice of worldly secular rational discourse. The secular world is the world of history as made by human beings. Critical thought does not submit to commands to join in the ranks marching against one or another approved enemy. Rather than the manufactured clash of civilisations, we need to concentrate on the slow working together of cultures that overlap, borrow from each other, and live together. But for that kind of wider perception we need time, patient and sceptical inquiry, supported by faith in communities of interpretation that are difficult to sustain in a world demanding instant action and reaction.Humanism is centred upon the agency of human individuality and subjective intuition, rather than on received ideas and authority. Texts have to be read as texts that were produced and live on in all sorts of what I have called worldly ways. But this by no means excludes power, since on the contrary I have tried to show the insinuations, the imbrications of power into even the most recondite of studies. And lastly, most important, humanism is the only, and I would go as far as to say the final resistance we have against the inhuman practices and injustices that disfigure human history.I just picked out some paragraphs there were particularly interesting to me, but the whole thing is really interesting so I suggest you read the intro in its entirety.

Soldiers moblogging from the frontlines »

James Hong of Hot or Not and Yarfo has a page of links to moblogging from soldiers on the front line in Iraq on Yarfo. via Greg...

Some people don't think US soldiers did anything wrong in Abu Ghraib »

The Daily TelegraphGood ol' girl who enjoyed cruelty By SHARON CHURCHER in Fort Ashby May 7, 2004 POINTING crudely at the genitals of a naked, hooded Iraqi, the petite brunette with a cigarette hanging from her lips epitomised America's shame over revelations US soldiers routinely tortured inmates at Abu Ghraib jail near Baghdad. Lynndie England, 21, a rail worker's daughter, comes from a trailer park in Fort Ashby, West Virginia, which locals proudly call "a backwoods world". She faces a court martial, but at home she is toasted as a hero. At the dingy Corner Club Saloon they think...

American's accused to have participated in the killing of thousands of Afghan POW's »

Canadian Broadcast CorporationConvoy of Death There’s only one war on our television screens now – that other war, the one from just a year ago, has been forgotten – but not by everyone. In Afghanistan, filmmaker Jamie Doran has uncovered evidence of a massacre: Taliban prisoners of war suffocated in containers, shot in the desert under the watch of American troops. After screening the videotape last fall, the European Parliament called for an investigation. The United Nations has authorized an official investigation into the film’s allegations, but only if the security of its members can be guaranteed. And security is...

U.S. Army report on Iraqi prisoner abuse »

U.S. Army report on Iraqi prisoner abuse Complete text of Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba [...] 6. (S) I find that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts: a. (S) Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet; b. (S) Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees; c. (S) Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing; d. (S) Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time; e. (S) Forcing...

"Kicking butt is mandatory. Taking names is optional." »

John Perry Barlow"Kicking butt is mandatory. Taking names is optional." So runs the headline on a current U.S. Navy recruiting ad. This may sum up current U.S. military philosophy pretty neatly, whatever the branch of service. No one from the Pentagon knows, or seems particularly interested in finding out, how many civilians we have killed in Iraq so far. I would guess it exceeds many times over the number who died here on September 11. One of the liabilities of conducting a military operation that is so heavily based on "death from above" is that, even with our surgical new...

A War for Us, Fought by Them - New York Times »

Opinion SourceA War for Us, Fought by Them by William Broyles Jr. New York Times, 05/04/2004 If children of the political elite were fighting in Iraq, a resolution to the current military imbroglio would soon be found. The author, a Vietnam War veteran, proposes reinstating the draft to ensure the US military gets the support it needs and to relieve pressures on an over-extended volunteer force. Most importantly, he argues, a draft would also prove the ultimate test of Americans' support for the war in Iraq. William Broyles Jr., the founding editor of Texas Monthly, wrote the screenplay for "Cast...

Authenticity of the Mirror's torture photos in question »

The Mirror ran a story about British soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners with photos. There is a lot of question about the legitimacy of the photos. The BBC has a organized list of the claims against their authenticity and the rebuttals.BBC NewsWhat the papers say The Express says soldiers who originally tried to sell the story of mistreatment were told it would be "worth a fortune if there were corroborating pictures and weeks later they produced them".This sort of commercial and unethical behavior by the media is really disgusting. I guess The Mirror is still standing by their claims, but it...

Interesting discussion about the new Iraq flag »

Interesting discussion about the new Iraq flag over at Design Observer. via Oli...

The New Yorker on the torture at Abu Ghraib »

In case anyone missed this, there is a detailed article on the torture at Abu Ghraib in The New Yorker. Unlike the sniper rumor, this one is pretty much documented fact. I realize that this is obviously not standard behavior, but it is not a single wacko, but a group of soldiers. It's really quite appalling. How can something like this happen? What is the mood like among American soldiers in Iraq? Is there a general hatred or is it really isolated behavior? I can't imagine an occupying force being very successful without some basic respect for the local citizens....

Article in Guardian about why the US should be forced out of Iraq »

An interesting article in The Guardian about what we should do in Iraq. She argues that the UN should not support the US in Iraq and should join the mutiny against the US and force the US out of Iraq.Naomi Klein, Saturday May 1, 2004, The GuardianMutiny is the only way out of Iraq's inferno The UN betrayed Iraq by becoming the political arm of US occupation. Now it must redeem itself Can we please stop calling it a quagmire? The United States isn't mired in a bog in Iraq, or a marsh; it is free-falling off a cliff. The...

Whom did Bush consult before going to war? »

MSNBC Hardball with Chris Matthews April 29 with Donald RumsfeldMATTHEWS: Mr. Secretary, let me ask you about the war in Iraq and the boldest question I could put to you here in the Pentagon. Did you ever advise the president to go to war? [...] RUMSFELD: You ought to get a life. You could do something besides read those books. MATTHEWS: This is my life. Let me ask you about something a little more... RUMSFELD: Let me answer your question. MATTHEWS: Did you advise the president to go to war? RUMSFELD: Yes. He did not ask me, is the question....

Getting asymmetrical on the asymmetrical »

The Scotsman Mystery group wage war on Sadr's militia In a deadly expression of feelings that until now were kept quiet, a group representing local residents is said to have killed at least five militiamen in the last four days. The murders are the first sign of organised Iraqi opposition to Sadr’s presence and come amid simmering discontent at the havoc their lawless presence has wreaked. The group calls itself the Thulfiqar Army, after a twin-bladed sword said to be used by the Shiite martyr Imam Ali, to whom Najaf’s vast central mosque is dedicated. Residents say leaflets bearing...

Reaction of Japan to the Japanese Hostages in Iraq »

Several people have asked me to comment on an article in the NYT about the reaction of to the Japanese people to the three Japanese taken hostage in Iraq. The article describes how everyone including the politicians in Japan are angry at the hostages for causing trouble to the Japanese government and being irresponsible. There are many conflicting reports about whether they were reckless or not and what their motives were so I won't comment on that. I also don't feel strongly personally on this issue so I'm not going to make a judgmental point either. What I would like...

US snipers shooting kids in Falluja? »

Story about US snipers shooting kids and pinning down the ambulance and evacuation services in Falluja. Here's a photo of a dead baby on Al Jazeera. Is there any coverage of this in other media? via Ryuichi Sakamoto...

Genocide in Sudan »

There is genocide going on in Sudan. A must read essay about it and how you can help. via Jim Moore...

Doonesbury's B.D. injured in Iraq »

GregIn case you haven't been keeping up with your Doonesbury, Gary Trudeau has crossed an interesting landmark: B.D. has been injured while on reservist duty in Iraq. And his helmet has come off.Today's Doonsebury...

Japanese hostages in Iraq freed »

Three Japanese Hostages Freed in Iraq; Italian Captive Killed via Al...

Iraqi man claims Japanese hostages will be executed one by one from later tonight »

Australian Broadcasting CorporationAn Iraqi man claiming to have spoken to the kidnappers says the hostages will be executed one by one from later tonight if the demands are not met. Via The Command Post...

Abe wants to revise Constitution to use SDF in hostage crisis »

Japan TodayAbe wants to revise Constitution to use SDF in hostage crisis Monday, April 12, 2004 at 06:47 JST TOKYO — Shinzo Abe, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, called Sunday for amending the Constitution to enable the government to mobilize the Self-Defense Forces in such eventualities as the current hostage crisis in Iraq.Obviously the US doesn't have a monopoly on using tragedies and fear to push their political agenda. I personally am not against revising the constitution and I can see how it makes "political sense" to do it now, but it still bugs me. People make...

Hostages Update »

The Command PostHostages Released? Fox TV is reporting that at least eight hostages have been released and the three Japanese hostages are “safe.” No confirmation on this yet, will follow up.AljazeeraFate of Japanese hostages uncertain Monday 12 April 2004, 4:44 Makka Time, 1:44 GMT The lives of three Japanese hostages in Iraq are still in jeopardy, with their captors apparently threatening to start killing them unless Japan withdraws its forcesAljazeeraEight foreign hostages freed Sunday 11 April 2004, 21:39 Makka Time, 18:39 GMT An Iraqi group says it has released eight foreign hostages following the intervention of Muslim scholars on their...

Japanese hostages 'to be freed' »

Japanese hostages 'to be freed' - BBCi Iraqi group to free Japanese hostages - Aljazeera The Japanese hostages in Iraq are supposed to be freed in a few hours. I'm watching the TV news for more information now. UPDATE: Japan awaits news about hostages - BBC...

Japanese hostages threatened with cannibalism in Iraq »

The Japanese news has been suppressing the more vivid videos of the hostage situation in Iraq and continue the "we are not pulling out" line. One piece of news that even the West seems to be suppressing is that the Japanese hostages are being threatened with cannibalism.Reuters"We tell you that three of your children have fallen prisoner in our hands and we give you two options -- withdraw your forces from our country and go home or we will burn them alive and feed them to the fighters," the group said.Most reports are saying "killed" or "burned alive". via The...

NYT Op-Ed on Iraq »

A good op-ed by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times about the situation in Iraq....

Bush Jokes About Absent Wmd »

Bush Jokes About Absent Wmd Haha. Very funny... not. Via Lauren Weinstein's Blog...

Richard Clarke on 60 Minutes - Did Bush Press For Iraq-9/11 Link? »

60 MinutesDid Bush Press For Iraq-9/11 Link? "Rumsfeld was saying that we needed to bomb Iraq," Clarke said to Stahl. "And we all said ... no, no. Al-Qaeda is in Afghanistan. We need to bomb Afghanistan. And Rumsfeld said there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan. And there are lots of good targets in Iraq. I said, 'Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with it. "Initially, I thought when he said, 'There aren't enough targets in-- in Afghanistan,' I thought he was joking. via Dan Gillmor...

Rumsfeld Faces The Nation, And Stammers »

Video clip of Rumseld on Face The NationFace The NationSCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this. If they did not have these weapons of mass destruction, though, granted all of that is true, why then did they pose an immediate threat to us, to this country? Sec. RUMSFELD: Well, you're the--you and a few other critics are the only people I've heard use the phrase "immediate threat." I didn't. The president didn't. And it's become kind of folklore that that's--that's what's happened. The president went... SCHIEFFER: You're saying that nobody in the administration said that. Sec. RUMSFELD: I--I can't...

Terrible terrorist incident in Spain »

In case you're just waking up and reading blogs before reading the news. There has been a terrible terrorist incident in Spain. News on CNN.com. The last count I saw was over 170 192 people dead. Several commuter trains in the early morning to Madrid. Government says it was the ETA. Victor has compiled a lot of information on the attack....

Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Ad »

I think this is old news on the Net, but the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force has produced an ad that is has begun to show on big screens at major intersections now and will soon be on TV. It's a bit embarrassing as a Japanese, but I guess it makes us look less threatening... via Wirefarm See the JMSDF site for the movie....

Mustached Japanese soldiers in Iraq and Oshin »

Interesting article by Mike Rogers describing the influence of the popular Japanese TV drama Oshin and mustached Japanese soldiers in Iraq. Also some interesting perspectives about the ability to identify with suffering and Japan's relationship with the Middle East. Alright, think about Oshin. Think about that story and that kind of suffering. I don't think Americans can relate to that. Of course Japanese can. And, get this: Oshin has been broadcast in most Middle Eastern countries for at least the last 12 years. Iran? Sure. According to the Nikkei Shimbun News Oshin scores a remarkable 82% viewer rating; Iraq? Of...

Disturbing image from Iraq »

I just received this by email from a friend.WELCOME TO THE WAR IN IRAQ Attached is actual night-vision footage shot from a U.S. Apache attack helicopter engaging Iraqis, whom allegedly were attempting to launch a Stinger missile at the Apache. The Apache responds with approximately one-hundred rounds of 30mm cannon fire, which is, ironically, the least powerful weapons system onboard the helicopter. The footage has been "dumbed down" to VHS resolution before conversion to MPEG, since the actual night-vision system on the Apache provides a much sharper and more detailed image. I realize that the targets were probably a threat...

US warplanes rumored to be flying over Scotland to possibly bomb someone else »

ilind.netNovember 5, 2003 - WednesdayThe following is from Information Clearing House today."Note: Unconfirmed Report"Can any of our Scottish readers verify the following report:Since Saturday, people in the Highlands of Scotland have been witnessing large movements of US warplanes overhead. Experienced observers say the large numbers are reminiscent of those that preceded the bombing of Iraq in 1998 and military strikes against Libya in the 1980's, as well as the first Gulf War.It is thought that the planes have flown on a route over the North Pole to bases in Europe and the Mediterranean. The size and scale of the movement suggests that the US may be preparing to strike against a country in the Middle East in the next week to ten days. I have been getting a lot of email referring to this report. If you have information in relation to the above, please email me at email@cox.net"Has anyone seen this or know of any other information about this? Is the US about to attack someone else?Via Markoff

Israel Reels at Pilots' Refusal to Go on Mission »

I'm sure most of you have already seen this news, but 27 pilots including a brigadier general and two colonels, nine in active duty, signed a letter saying that the Israeli air strikes were "illegal and immoral" and that they refused to take part in such missions.ReutersIsrael Reels at Pilots' Refusal to Go on MissionAn F-15 pilot who signed the letter, identified only as Captain Alef, told Israel's Channel Two television: "If dropping a bomb on a seven-storey building only to find out 14 innocent civilians were killed, of them nine children and two women, if that is not an illegal order, then what is?" Israel drew international condemnation last year when 16 civilians died after an F-16 warplane dropped a one-ton bomb on a residential neighborhood in Gaza City to kill Salah Shehada, a top commander in the militant Islamic group Hamas.This is truly a significant issue. If upstanding members the Israeli military feel that the justification of the attacks on the Palestinians is weak, it's clear that the extremists who are pushing for the continued attacks are on fairly weak moral ground.This reminds me of the work that Peaceworks is doing to try to amplify the voice of the silent majority in Israel and Palestine who are against the continued conflict.

State Department warning on "increased indications" of attacks today »

CNNBREAKING NEWSState Department warns of "increased indications" that al Qaeda is preparing attacks on U.S. interests to coincide with 9/11 anniversary. Details soon. Ahh... OK. What do I? Run away?Thanks for the link GabeUPDATE: More details on State Department warning on CNN.

Baghdad Burning »

Doc links to a "Girl Blog from Iraq", Baghdad Burning by Salam's friend Riverbend.

Japanese rocket crashes in Sweden »

According to the Swedes on #joiito, a Japanese space probe just crashed in Sweden. I can't find anything about on English or Japanese language sites. Anyone know anything about this?Erista has blogged about it in Swedish with a link to the to the original article. Manne first discovered the link.

Salam Pax employed by the Guardian »

I first heard about Salam Pax on March 11 from John Monasch who sent me an email about him. Since then, he has gathered a great deal of attention from bloggers everywhere as the war approached. He was silent for quite awhile since the bombings. He finally came back, and now he's writing for the Guardian! Wow!Guardian UnlimitedSalam's StoryThe most gripping account of the Iraq conflict came from a web diarist known as the Baghdad Blogger. But no one knew his identity - or even if he existed. Rory McCarthy finally tracked him down, and found a quietly spoken, 29-year-old architect. From next week he will write fortnightly in G2.

So, where are the WMD Mr. Colin Powell? »

I've been tuned out of the warblogging these days, but I have a question for the warbloggers. Did they find any WMD? Because... if they didn't I've lost a great deal of respect for Colin Powell. It was his passionate argument about how he was convinced beyond doubt that Iraq had WMD that moved me to say I was "more supportive" of the US.

mp3 and transcript of CNN's Kevin Sites' account of near-death capture and release by Iraqi solders »

text transcript of CNN's Kevin Sites' account of near-death capture and release by Iraqi solders on Xeni's site and the audio of his account on CNN today (MP3, 1.34 MB)Thanks Xeni!

NBC News Fires Arnett Over Iraqi TV Interview »

The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today report NBC News fires Arnett Over Iraqi TV Interview. Via The Command Post, here is the official word from National Geographic which co-fired him.Update from The Command Post: "Peter Arnett, the American reporter fired by MSNBC and National Geographic earlier today has reportedly (Fox News) been hired by the Daily Mirror."

Flash animation about the liberation of Afghanistan »

Short flash animation about the liberation of Afghanistan. Turn up the sound an take a look at this link.Via Tom Hammer

Comment from a friend who works at a major US TV Network on Kevin Sites Blog issue »

I blogged earlier that I thought that CNN telling Kevin Sites to stop blogging sucked. I recently talked to a friend of mine who works at a major US TV Network and was presented a more balanced view on the issue. I have received permission to quote the following from an email exchange.

You can watch Iraqi TV on the Net... Not »

Boing BoingHow to watch Iraqi Satellite TV on the web: The Saddam Show Paul Boutin has all the details in Slate, right here. [...]UPDATE: Oops. Too bad we just blew it up. AP reports one version of the story, and CBS reports another, as follows

Salam, the blogger in Baghdad, mentioned on CNN »

InstapunditCNN MENTIONED SALAM PAX -- and gave his URL. This isn't cool.More reason to hope the troops get to Baghdad soon, and keep Saddam's goons busy in the meantime.IMHO, I think that Iraqi intelligence probably already reads Salam's blog so the CNN coverage MIGHT increase his risk, but at this point, I think the more people who read Salam's blog, the better.

Frank Boosman agreeing Al Jazeera »

Frank Boosman is pro-war and he and I have had several debates/discussions about this. On the issue of the treatment of POW's, he's on Al Jazeera's side and provides good reasons which I agree with and couldn't have said better.

Salam is back online »

Salam, our blogger in Baghdad was out of touch for a few days and I was getting worried. He's back online and says his Internet access was down, but it's back up.

Christiaan on mutual respect and the Arab world »

Christiaan van der Valk posted a thoughtful item about mutual respect and the Arab world on the GLT list.

Lisa Rein has footage on her blog of police hitting protestors in SF »

If you haven't seen it already, Lisa has video footage of police hitting protestors in San Francisco.

CNN stops warblogger »

Kevin SitesPausing the warblog, for now.Dear readers:I've been asked to suspend my war blogging for awhile.That sucks.

Is the Baghdad Blogger really in Baghdad? »

Q: Is the Baghdad Blogger for real?A: Probably.

Capability of Japan to defend itself against attack from North Korea »

There is a great deal of debate in the Diet recently about Japan's military capability.

Rant about war from Salam in Baghdad »

Good rant from Salam, a blogger in Baghdad about the war.SalamWhat is bringing on this rant is the question that has been bugging for days now: how could "support democracy in Iraq" become to mean "bomb the hell out of Iraq"? why did it end up that democracy won't happen unless we go thru war? Nobody minded an un-democratic Iraq for a very long time, now people have decided to bomb us to democracy? Well, thank you! how thoughtful.

Movies from the anti-war parade in Shibuya »

I've posted a two movies clips I took at the anti-war parade in Shibuya. The first one is a 1.7MB QT movie of the Japanese drummers and the second one is a 780K QT movie of the big black flags of the anarchics waving in the air walking down Koendori in front of the Marui department store. I imagined that we were marching for the overthrow of the Japanese government for a moment. ;-)

Anti-war parade in Shibuya »

It was dark so I used the infrared nightvision mode on my Sony video camera to capture the sceneWent to the anti-war parade in Shibuya today. It was the biggest protest of its type that I've been to. (Although I think the gay and lesbian parade I went to with Kara and Megan was bigger and more fun...) I heard that it was the first protest that circled through the Shibuya route completely before the last team had left, making a full circle.We were the bloggers against war. We were stuck between the semi-left wing Asian group and a bunch of strange folks with messages on their umbrellas. Later, we ended up next to the Japanese drummers, which was much better. I guess they wanted to do this at the same time all over the world so Japan got stuck after dark. We were a pretty diverse group. I liked the Japanese drummers, the anarchists with the BIG black flags and the "Love not War" folks.It was pretty interesting and mayb 20% of the people were really having fun. Regardless of the logic, I think it is definitely more fun to be against the war than for it.

My position on warblogging »

Recently I've been getting email and comments in my blog pushing me to try to elaborate on my position on the war or to engage in the debate. I don't want to right now. I have several reasons.
Whiplash by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe

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