Saturday, January 22, 2005

UK Abu Gharib, UNRWA Chief, Marshes, Hillywood Effect Tsunami

I hope everyone's in the mood not to buy anything at
all tomorrow, in commemoration of "Not One Damn Dime

1) Always good to know that British soldiers are so
much more civilized and experienced than their
American counterparts, due to their experience in
Northern Ireland, etc...,8542,1393803,00.html

January 19 2005: Photographs taken by five British
servicemen and shown to the courts martial in
Osnabruck, Germany, of three British soldiers from the
Royal Regiment of Fusiliers accused of "shocking and
appalling" acts of abuse and assault against Iraqi
civilians in a humanitarian aid camp known as the
Bread Basket, near Basra, in May 2003. The charges
include forcing detainees to strip and simulate sex.
Lance Corporal Mark Cooley, 25, and Corporal Daniel
Kenyon, 33, have entered not guilty pleas to the
charges. Lance Corporal Darren Larkin, 30, admitted
one charge of assaulting an unknown male at the camp
but pleaded not guilty to other charges.
All photographs: MoD/British court martial handout/PA

2) Bush forces UN refugee chief to go:,2763,1394439,00.html

Israeli pressure backed by conservative and Jewish
groups in US stops reappointment of controversial head
of relief agency

Chris McGreal in Gaza City
Thursday January 20 2005
The Guardian

The Bush administration has blocked the reappointment
of the UN's Palestinian refugee agency chief, Peter
Hansen, after a campaign by conservative and Jewish
groups in the US, and the government in Jerusalem
which accused him of being an "Israel hater".

Some European and Arab governments were keen for Mr
Hansen to stay on at the end of his nine-year tenure
but the US supported Israel's assertion that the head
of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is biased
and soft on "terrorists". This week Mr Hansen sent an
email to staff saying he will leave on March 31.

3) This article discusses Iraq's marshes and their
developments in the past decade. It's a far better
article than the same issue's approach to Daniel Pipes
which was posted here last week:

Paradise Lost?
What should--or can--be done about "the environmental
crime of the century"?
by Christopher Reed

Five thousand years ago in the Mesopotamian marshes,
between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in southern
Iraq, the Sumerians began history. They devised an
irrigation system and built an agrarian society,
banding together the children of hunter-gatherers in
the world's first cities—Ur, Uruk, Eridu, Lagash,
Larsa—on the edge of the marshes. From their cradle of
civilization, the Sumerians brought forth writing (as
well as the wheel, maybe, and much else fundamental)
and carved into clay tablets the epic of Gilgamesh,
which describes the Flood. Here, many say, was the
Garden of Eden (although the latest scientific
thinking suggests it was at a spot now at the bottom
of the Persian Gulf).

4) OpEd: "Julia Roberts has a better chance of winning
this war":,2763,1393528,00.html

Iraq will surrender its soul to America only when the
US army has left

Max Hastings
Wednesday January 19, 2005
The Guardian

There is growing dissension and dismay in the US armed
forces about their prospects of victory in Iraq. The
yellow ribbons, lapel pins and yard signs expressing
solidarity with the nation's soldiers are still
conspicuous around army bases across America. But
commanders and soldiers alike are conducting an
increasingly anguished debate.
There are four reasons for this. First, many service
people are shocked by the incontrovertible evidence
that the justifications offered by the Bush
administration for invading Iraq - WMD and a link with
international terrorism - were false. Second, bitter
and painful fighting, notably in the showpiece assault
on Falluja, has failed to suppress insurgency. Third,
there is deep scepticism about progress in recruiting
Iraqis to assume the security burden. Even General
David Petraeus, the US airborne general charged with
organising Iraq's new forces, is said to be
increasingly despondent. And finally, the army and
marine corps are acutely aware that they have to
sustain the occupation without sufficient troops to
control the country effectively.

5) Before and after Tsunami satellite shots:

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