Friday, June 01, 2007

Random News & Views Roundup

- There's a good article in Adbusters about North American integration aka the "Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) – a plan critics have called “NAFTA on steroids.”" Check it out.

- If you're a fan of Dahr Jamil's MidEast Dispatches - real, unembedded reporting from Iraq - or even if you've never heard of him, you should listen to his interview on radio. Describing Baghdad as "hell" really is an understatement considering what's really going on there.

- Rice insists that Cheney backs diplomacy with Iran.

Rice was responding to remarks by Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. ElBaradei had told BBC Radio that the world risked a war in Iran because of "new crazies who say, 'Let's go and bomb Iran.' "

Asked who the "new crazies" were, ElBaradei replied, "Those who have extreme views and say the only solution is to impose your will by force."

Cheney, a major advocate of war with Iraq, is regarded as a hawk on Iran and recently made a tough speech denouncing the Islamic republic from the deck of an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

Who do you trust? Rice or ElBaradei?

Here's Cheney's definition of "diplomacy":

BRUSSELS, May 11 — Vice President Dick Cheney used the deck of an American aircraft carrier just 150 miles off Iran’s coast as the backdrop today to warn the country that the United States was prepared to use its naval power to keep Tehran from disrupting off oil routes or “gaining nuclear weapons and dominating this region.”

By the way, Dahr Jamail also addresses the US policy towards Iran in the above linked radio interview.

- The video of heavy artillery fire and tanks storming the Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon on Friday is extremely depressing.

NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon (Reuters) - Advancing under a blanket of artillery and tank fire, Lebanese troops overran positions held by al Qaeda-inspired militants at a Palestinian refugee camp on Friday and 19 people were killed.

Artillery and machinegun fire shook Nahr al-Bared camp in north Lebanon from early morning to well into the night. At times shells exploded at a rate of 10 a minute.

Security sources said at least 16 people were killed inside the camp, as well as three soldiers, after the fiercest fighting in two weeks.
At least 84 people -- 35 soldiers, 29 militants and 20 civilians -- had been killed before Friday.
More than 25,000 of Nahr al-Bared's 40,000 Palestinians have fled to the smaller Beddawi camp nearby.

Isn't there already enough death and destruction? Those Lebanese weapons are, of course, happily provided by the US government in this proxy war against Syria.

- Whose bright idea was this?"

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. architectural firm posted drawings of the new U.S. Embassy being built in Baghdad on its Web site, prompting complaints from U.S. officials on Friday that their release could endanger U.S. personnel.

- How is Iraq's oil money, which is supposed to benefit the Iraqi people, being spent?

UNITED NATIONS -- More than four years after the fall of Baghdad, the United Nations is spending millions of dollars in Iraqi oil money to continue the hunt for Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

I should add that while the Bush administration is critical of the work this UN team is doing, it (obviously) has no moral high ground to stand on whatsoever (about anything) when it comes to complaining about money being wasted in Iraq. After all, they've sent billions of dollars in cash to Iraq via pallets on airplanes and lost some $8.8 billion in the process. It just really is all quite insane, isn't it?

- Canada is so special that it shouldn't have to do what other G8 countries do when it comes to dealing with that global warming stuff.

Liberal MP David McGuinty called Harper's plea for special consideration "theatre of the absurd."

"I've been doing this for 20 years and I have never heard anything as absurd – on the international diplomatic level, on this international environmental issue – anything as absurd as this. Ever.

"(Other countries) tell us they're paying the price and biting the bullet, and working feverishly hard to achieve their Kyoto targets. But they're not going out to the world and saying, 'We're special! We're sooo special!' "

Be prepared to be ridiculed by your government at yet another international meeting. You can start cringing and hiding under your desks now.

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