Albion Monitor Issue 130 JANUARY 2005

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Precious time was lost in the days following the Dec. 26 earthquake as the world underestimated the extent of the catastrophe. Steadily the death toll welled steadily upwards -- from the hundreds to the thousands, to the tens of thousands, and then to the unbelievable hundreds of thousands. The horror became clear: This was a disaster of historic proportions. "You wonder where are the people? What has happened to them?" A shaken Kofi Annan asked about two weeks later on viewing the destruction in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

How each nation responded will long stay in memory. Sri Lanka put the island nation's ethnic conflict aside; Indonesia continued its war with separatists. Germany pledged $680 million, none of the oil-rich Gulf nations offered more than $30 million. India refused aid money and said, "We share this tragedy;" The U.S. asked, "how much do we have to pay?" At first offering a stingy $15 million, Bush raised the relief total to $350 million -- which many noted represented less than he spends every two days in his Iraq adventure

Scenes from Indonesia, Thailand, and India

(Photo credits not given on aid sites)

 + Tsunami Survivors Say Aid Agencies Aren't Listening To Them

 + Now It's Bird Flu Worry In Tsunami-Hit Asia

 + China Defends 'Nominal' Role In Tsunami Relief Effort

 + There's More To Disaster Mitigation Than Just A Warning System

 + Europe Warns Against Tsunami Adoptions

 + Europe Proposal To 'Rescue' Tsunami Orphans Draws Ire

 + Many Tsunami-Hit Nations Wary Of Debt Freeze  + Tsunami Survivors Fear Return To Fishing

 + Indonesia Requests Pen-Pals For Tsunami Children

 + Under Pressure, Some Oil-Rich States Boost Tsunami Aid

 + Tsunami Aid Turning Into Garbage In India Province

 + India Black Market Trying To Get Hands On Tsunami Aid

 + Aceh Fears Christian Missionaries Will Steal Tsunami Orphans

 + Where Are Burma's Earthquake Casualties?

 + UN Expects Big Donors To Skip Out On Disaster Aid

 + Mishandled Aid Could Easily Hurt Tsunami Victims
 + Catastrophe As Photo-Op FREE!

 + Indonesia Relief Aid Must Be Carefully Monitored, Watchdog Group Says

 + Flood Of Aid To Asia May Come At Expense Of Other Disasters

 + World Judging Wealthy Nations By How They Respond To Catastrophe
 + Gulf Arabs Debate Aid For Tsunami Victims FREE!

 + Sri Lanka Unites Over Asia Disaster

 + Despite Disaster, Indonesia Continues Fight Against Rebels

Enviros Falsely Charged With Exploiting Tsunami FREE!
No environmentalists link tsunami with global warming, but right-wing claims they do

Audit finds potentially widespread corruption under L. Paul Bremer's CPA management
White House Calls Off WMD Search, But War Still "Absolutely" Worth It, Bush Says FREE!
"This is about protecting the American people," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said

In Mosul, Iraq Solders Turn From Hunter To Hunted
The Sunni majority in Mosul wanted Kurd sodiers to stay outside the city. But now the Kurds run the security of Mosul with the Americans

Abuse, Torture by Iraqi Police Called Routine
"The people of Iraq were promized something better than this after the government of Saddam Hussein fell"

UK Shocked By Iraq Prisoner Torture By Its Own Soldiers
"It seems that the world takes little note unless there are pictures"
U.S. soldiers attached to Camp Babylon, Iraq, take a guided tour of the ancient ruins shortly after the 2003 occupation. The site is now closed to visitors until experts can catalog the extent of destruction done by U.S. and Polish troops. (PHOTO: Arlo K. Abrahamson/USN)

U.S. And Polish Troops Destroyed Artifacts At Ruins Of Babylon FREE!
Vehicles crushed a 2,600-year-old brick pavement, military used soil containing artifacts for sandbags

U.S. Forces In Iraq Follow Israel's Lead: Collective Punishment Of Public
U.S. was warned last year against making same mistake

War On Terror Ignores Root Causes, Global Report Says
Underlying problems can't be solved with soldiers or by sealing borders

U.S. Hiding Info On Guantanamo Abuse, ACLU Charges
Documents show FBI formally complained to the Defense Department

Monsanto Collecting Million$ By Suing Farmers
"Monsanto's business plan for GE crops depends on suing farmers," says advocate group

Human Rights Watch Taps U.S. And Sudan As 2004 Worst Offenders
"Each, in its own way, has had an insidious effect"

Homeland Nominee Was Behind Roundup Of Muslims After 9/11
Also an architect of the USA Patriot Act

Another Pentagon Advisory Board Slams Bush Admin Over Iraq
Defense Science Board says Pentagon should have quickly turned over control to State Dept.

UN Oil-for-Food Audit Finds Much Ado About Not Much
"When you have a $65 billion program and manage to find $2 million missing, you don't have a big story"
Iraqi Election Workers Resigning Under Threat FREE!
700 reportedly quit in Mosul as violence increases

Iraq Rebel Force 2x U.S. Estimate, Says Iraqi Spy Chief
"I think the resistance is bigger than the U.S. military in Iraq"
Bush's Coalition Slipping Quietly Out The Door FREE!
Many of Rumsfeld's "New Europe" nations among those now announcing troop reductions and pullouts
Muqtada al-Sadr's Army Eases Baghdad Fuel Woes FREE!
Mahdi Army cheered by Iraqis for stopping black market, price gouging

Father Of Killed U.S. Soldier Brings Aid To Iraqis
Delivers scarce medical supplies

Wolfowitz' Indonesia Visit Was For Military Ties, Not Tsunami Aid
Close personal links to army going back to worst of Suharto era

Possible U.S. "Death Squads" In Iraq Send Chills To Those Who Remember El Salvador
Just the latest parallel between U.S. involvement in these two countries

The Iraq Election
The likely outcome will be several major blocs divided between Shi'as, Kurds, and Sunnis, with women effectively marginalized from or co-opted into the emerging male and religiously defined power structure -- in short, the "Lebanon scenario" more than one Bush administration official has declared would be an acceptable and even preferred outcome of the January elections. The problem with such an outcome is that in Lebanon the post-colonial power structure failed to chase away or disarm the golems of ethnic and religious hostility so carefully nurtured under French rule. It took a 14-year civil war to do that.

Meanwhile, with their ham-fisted counter-insurgency tactics, the U.S. and its allies added fuel to the flames by severely alienating a large percentage of the Sunni Arab population. Beginning with the coinage of the term "Sunni triangle" to describe the initial stronghold of the insurgency, the U.S. has steadily convinced Sunni Arabs who have no relation to the rebellion that they are the enemy. "They've equated Sunnis with terrorists," one Sunni Arab in Baghdad told the Washington Times. "Under Saddam, one of out 1,000 Iraqis was a salafi. Now it's 100 out of 1,000, all because of the Americans." The Bush administration has never grasped the import of the indiscriminate detentions of thousands of Iraqis -- many of them picked up in sweeps through the "Sunni triangle" -- that exploded into global consciousness with the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal

 + Vote Or Lose Your Food Rations, Iraqis Were Threatened

 + "No Bombs Went Off Here. It Was A Good Day"

 + Arab Media Calls Iraq Election Day "Historic"

 + Election Hardly A "Historic Day" For Iraq

 + Allawi's Dollar Deals

 + Arab Media Split Over Iraq Election

 + Iraqi-Americans Frustrated By U.S. Restrictions On Voting

 + Few Iraqis Living Abroad Will Vote

 + Iraq Election: Unknown Candidates, Unknown Polling Places
 + Bush "Iraqification" The Real Threat, Not Ethnic Divide FREE!

 + First-Time Iraqi Voters Face Ballot From Hell
 + Look To Lebanon For Iraq's Future FREE!

 + Iraq Elections Worry Neighbor Countries

Since the occupation began, no place in Iraq has been as friendly to U.S. forces as the northern section of the country known as Kurdistan. But IPS reporter Aaron Glantz returns on the eve of the January vote and finds the Kurds angry. An estimated 100,000 Kurds displaced by Saddam have moved back to their homeland, many of them living in shantytowns on the outskirts in Kirkuk, with no running water or electricity. But many Kurds in northern Iraq are facing another threat as the two main Kurdish parties elbow each other for power. Money is playing its part in the Kurdish election, local people say. Over the last week many Kurds told me they had been given money to vote either by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) or the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The two have a common slate for elections to the 275-member national assembly, but are contesting against one another in simultaneous elections for the regional council. "This talk of democracy is just paint," says Zirak Abdullah, managing editor at the Arbil office of the independent Kurdish weekly Hawlati. "The talk of democracy is just on the surface. The real action is under the table"

 + Kurds Rush To Polling Places

 + Behind Mask Of United Front, Kurd Parties Strong-Arm Voters

 + Arabs In N Iraq Fear Ethnic Cleansing After Election

 + Kurd Power Brokers Have Decided Region's Election Outcome

 + Kurds Anger Over Finding Saddam's Men On Ballot

 + Kurdistan Gets Taste Of War With U.S. Attack Mistake

 + Wave Of Kurd Refugees Flood Into Kirkuk

 + Return To Kurdistan

Afghanistan "Dark Alliance" Sparks New Opium War
"Liberated" Afghanistan has become again the world's top heroin producer

Pakistan Governor Says Foreign Militants Regrouping Near Afghan Border FREE!
Reportedly trying to recruit unemployed, local youth in the tribal regions

Palestinian Election Over, Abbas' Honeymoon May Be Short
Ariel Sharon could be a tougher customer than armed Palestinian groups

Gaza Killings Ends Abbas' Election Honeymoon
Attack killing six Israeli soldiers came 4 days after Palestinian elections

Abbas election
Prior to the elections, some already referred darkly to Mahmoud Abbas as the "Palestinian Karzai" -- in other words, America's stooge. Few have forgotten that the last time a U.S. president used such glowing language to bless a Palestinian election was upon Arafat's victory in 1996
Hailing Abbas' victory by a "large-size vote," Bush described the election as "further proof" that people in the Middle East want democracy. But Mahmoud Abbas won over about 28 percent of eligible Palestinian voters. By comparison, turnout at the poll was 78 percen for Yasser Arafat

U.S. Now Downplaying Goal Of Middle East Democracy
The threat was implicit: change your ways or face regime change, a la Saddam Hussein

U.S. Media Misses Key Message In Latest Bin Laden Tape
Described specific strategy to cause maximum damage to the American economy

ACLU Report Traces Jailing, Torture Of Innocent Muslims After 9/11
Study of 13 men represents thousands trapped in U.S. gulag

Fox News: The Whole World's Watching FREE!
Generates as much emotion in Istanbul as it does in Indianapolis

U.S. Mistreatment Of Prisoner Scandal Expands
Even as Bush mulls life in prison for terror suspects held without trial

Chinese Hostages In Iraq Spotlight China's Global Reach
China's expanding global clout one of the top overlooked stories
The Other Armstrong Williams Scandal FREE!
Flacking for Big Tobacco

White House Tightens Homeland Secrecy Rules
"A huge door is closing within our government," says Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists

Politics As Usual
Cheney limo pelted by snowballs during inaugurial procession
Exit, Feith
Was architect of Iraq policy, partiularly failure to plan for postwar insurrection

Gonzales Narrowly Wins Approval By Senate Committee
Broad coalition of Latino, human rights organizations opposing his nomination

Cheney Delivers The Real Inaugurial Speech
Dark words of warning against Iran on interview show just hours before inauguration

Unclouded by Doubt, Bush Vows Freedom-Spreading
Surprise at the foreign-policy sweep of Bush's vision, the almost total lack of specificity that it contained, and the almost total certainty with which it was expressed

International Poll: Please, Not Another Four Years Of Bush
21-nation survey finds widespread fear and loathing

Champagne and Pepper Spray Herald Bush Inauguration
Capitol police reported at least five arrests, including one protester who briefly interrupted Bush's inaugural speech, yelling: "Where are the poor? Did you ship them out of town?"

Women's Rights In The Balance As Dems Ponder "Red State" Appeal
"It's going to be a fight if they think they can push us around," said Eleanor Smeal

Neo-Conservatives Apparently Losing Ear Of White House
Uncertain of their position in Bush's second term

Armstrong Williams Payoff Just Latest Bush Media Scandal
TV pundit received about 1/4 of Dept. of Education $1 million budget for fake news

Gonzales Faces Stormy Hearing Over Torture Memos
White House refuses to disclose documents showing role in preparing memos
Ag Secretary Hearing Becomes Gripe Session On Mad Cow Policy FREE!
Both GOP and Democrat Senators concerned over Bush policy

Rice Steps Away From Neo-Cons With Pick For Deputy Post At State Dept.
Was expected to follow Cheney crowd and appoint super-hawk
Cancel The Inauguration Parties, Give The Millions To Tsunami Victims FREE!
Precedent of FDR's "simple and austere" 1945 inaugural "with no fanfare or formal celebration" and no parade due to wartime gas rationing

Bush Lifts Canadian Beef Ban As New Mad Cow Case Found FREE!
"[Bush] calling Canadian beef unsafe is like calling your twin sister ugly," says industry expert

Rainforest Tribe Fighting Ecuador Army, Argentine Oil Company Over Drilling
Ecuador claims Indians only own land's surface
Sea otter
Sea Otter coated with oil from Dec. 8 shipwreck of a Malaysian freighter in the Aleutian islands (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife/Alaska)
Alaska Oil Spill Cleanup Slow - Still Unknown How Much Dumped FREE!
Could be as much as half-million gallons from Dec. 8 tanker crash in wildlife habitat

The Mystery Of Musa Al-Sadr
New efforts to solve the mystery of key Muslim leader's disappearance 26 years ago

Sudan Ends Africa's Longest Civil War
Darfur region in western Sudan remains in turmoil

Argentina Groups Fight Two Decades Of Media Monopoly
Control of broadcasting unchanged since days of military dicatorship
Smokers Most At Risk From Radon Gas In Homes FREE!
Study finds radon increases risk of lung cancer by 25x

Female Genital Mutilation Moves Into Hospitals
Dismay as doctors taking up the illegal, but lucrative, practice

Unocal Agrees To Settle Forced Labor Suit Over Burma Oil Pipeline
U.S. oil company allegedly worked with Burmese soldiers to enslave ethnic community

Nigeria Rushes To Privatize Water Supply
As Lagos will be third largest city in the world within decade

Scientists Pin Europe's 2003 Heat Wave On Global Warming
Might lead to court challenges that force Bush to legally acknowledge damage
Tehran Air Pollution Reaches Critical Levels FREE!
4,600 reportedly die each year from pollution-related illnesses

"DREAM" Act Green-Card Bill Would Force Latinos Into Military
While holding up the promise of permanent U.S. residency, law would push the undocumented toward military service

Is Public Education Working? How Would We Know? FREE!
Myths that for-profit voucher and charter schools are better

The Ritual of Executions
Pro or con, advocates will come out for California's second execution under Schwarzenegger

The Real CBS Scandal: When 60 Minutes Promoted WMD Fantasies FREE!
No firings in 2003, although story was completely false

Schwarzenegger's Dismal Education Ideas
Proposal doesn't value teachers or students -- or tells the truth

Malpractice Suits Aren't What Needs Fixing Here FREE!
Frivolous lawsuits not what's driving up health care costs, as Bush claims


MOLLY     IVINS Molly Ivins

 + Word Games Republicans Play
 + Not Exactly Your Reality-Based President
 + Protecting The Bosses, Not The Workers
 + Not Much To Laugh About In 2004
 + Bush Flat Out Lying About Social Security
 + Now They're Feeding Us Actual Covert Propaganda
 + GOP Launch Campaign To Kill Social Security
 + Happy New Year Disgraces

 + Bush Inaugural Cheapens The Name Of Freedom
 + Pomp and Improper Circumstance
 + Is Al Qaeda Just A Bush Boogeyman?
 + Backing Gonzales Is Backing Torture

 } Robert Scheer

 + Killing Nothing To Be Proud Of
 + A Shaky Media Taboo -- Withdrawal from Iraq
 + Far From Media Spotlights, The Shadows Of "Losers"
 + Acts of God, Acts of Media

 } Norman Solomon

 + The CIA's New Campus Spies
 + Will Israel Keep America In Iraq?
 + There's Always Bad News In There, Somewhere
 + Is Bush Wearing A Heart Attack Harness?

 } Alexander Cockburn

 + Liberal Talk Comes (Back) To LA
 + Dems Ran A Campaign, But Repubs Fought A War
 + Search For WMD Ends, Search For Outrage Begins
 + Hello, FCC? Some Attention Over Here, Please?
 } Steve Young

Noam Chomsky



Noam Chomsky is one of most widely read political intellectuals in the world. Why does academic history pretend he does not exist?

Albion Monitor
Issue 130

Editor: Jeff Elliott (

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