Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Dershowitz, Roy, Caucus, Ritter, Radio Niqash, Citgo, Green

1) The following is an email message from Beshara Doumani, a Middle East History Professor at Berkeley, concerning a new book by Norman Finkelstein and academic freedom in light of attempts to squelch said book:

Dear Friends:

I want to alert you to a disturbing development on the academic freedom front: It is possible that the University of California Press might not, after all, publish the long-awaited book by Norman Finkelstein's, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. The reason is that UCPress, under pressure from outside political forces as well pressure from inside the UC administration, has asked Norman Finkelstein to make further changes despite and in violation of an earlier commitment to publish the final galleys without any further changes.

This commitment came after a very long and tortuous editing process during which Norman has bent over backwards in accommodating queries by editors, reviewers, and several (nine is the figure I heard) libel lawyers that UCPress consulted. As the article below by Jon Weiner that appears in the current issue of the Nation magazine shows, the book has received excellent reviews by eminent scholars and has been cleared by several lawyers. The new demands seem to be the result not of scholarly concerns, but of intensive lobbying by Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard professor and author of the book, The Case for Israel, which Norman tears apart by showing that every substantive claim the book makes is false. Norman also makes a strong case that Dershowitz is a plagiarist.

My understanding is that the core of the new demands by UCPress is the deletion of any references to plagiarism on the part of Alan Dershowitz, primarily in order to avoid being sued. That is a dangerous abdication of the right of academic freedom and the consequences go well beyond Norman Finkelstein and his book. If the heavy handed tactics succeed in muzzling UCPress and Norman Finkelstein , university presses in general will become very wary of publishing any book critical of Israeli policies or of the apologists for these policies, of which Dershowitz is a prime example. The capitulation of the President and Provost of Columbia University when it comes to what ME professors can teach now may have its publication equivalent.

There is no doubt in my mind that Norman's book would have been published by now if the normal procedures of peer review were followed. The folks at UCPress, if left alone to do their work freely would have seen this book through. But peer review procedures and academic freedom do not always apply when it comes to critical academic works about Israel. What we have before us here is a naked in-your-face attempt to exercise political muscle in support of bankrupt intellectual arguments.

The article by Jon Weiner below was written before these new developments, hence the assumption that book will be published in its current form. I should also note that despite claims to the contrary, the letters sent by Dershowitz and his lawyers unequivocally aim at suppressing the publication of the book.

It is ironic that when Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, was asked to intervene on behalf of
Dershowitz and prevent the publication of this book, his office replied that it cannot do so, for this is a clear case of academic freedom. I think it is very important that UCPress and UC administration and its lawyers be reminded that this core principle is at stake and they should not allow outside pressures to dictate the political boundaries of what can or cannot be published.


2) Dershowitz II:

Giving Chutzpah New Meaning
[from the July 11, 2005 issue]

What do you do when somebody wants to publish a book that says you're completely wrong? If you're Alan Dershowitz, the prominent Harvard law professor, and the book is Norman Finkelstein's Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, you write the governor of California and suggest that he intervene with the publisher--because the publisher is the University of California Press, which conceivably might be subject to the power of the governor.

Schwarzenegger, showing unusual wisdom, declined to act. The governor's legal affairs secretary wrote Dershowitz, "You have asked for the Governor's assistance in preventing the publication of this book," but "he is not inclined to otherwise exert influence in this case because of the clear, academic freedom issue it presents." In a phone interview Dershowitz denied writing to the Governor, declaring, "My letter to the Governor doesn't exist." But when pressed on the issue, he said, "It was not a letter. It was a polite note."
Old-timers in publishing said they'd never heard of another case where somebody tried to get a governor to intervene in the publication of a book. "I think it's a first," said Andre Schiffrin, managing director at Pantheon Books for twenty-eight years and then founder and director of the New Press. Lynne Withey, director of the University of California Press, where she has been for nineteen years, said, "I've never heard of such a case in California."

But if you're Alan Dershowitz, you don't stop when the governor declines. You try to get the president of the University of California to intervene with the press. You get a prominent law firm to send threatening letters to the counsel to the university regents, to the university provost, to seventeen directors of the press and to nineteen members of the press's faculty editorial committee. A typical letter, from Dershowitz's attorney Rory Millson of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, describes "the press's decision to publish this book" as "wholly illegitimate" and "part of a conspiracy to defame" Dershowitz. It concludes, "The only way to extricate yourself is immediately to terminate all professional contact with this full-time malicious defamer." Dershowitz's own letter to members of the faculty editorial committee calls on them to "reconsider your decision" to recommend publication of the book.

Why would a prominent First Amendment advocate take such an action? Dershowitz told Publishers Weekly that "my goal has never been to stop publication of this book." He told me in an e-mail, "I want Finkelstein's book to be published, so that it can be demolished in the court of public opinion." He told Publishers Weekly his only purpose in writing the people at the University of California Press was "to eliminate as many of the demonstrable falsehoods as possible" from the book before it was published.

Everyone knows who Alan Dershowitz is--the famed Harvard professor, part of the O.J. Simpson defense team, author of the number-one bestseller Chutzpah, portrayed by Ron Silver in the film Reversal of Fortune, about his successful defense of accused wife-murderer Klaus von Bülow. He's also one of the most outspoken defenders of Israel, especially in his 2003 book The Case for Israel; it reached number twelve on the New York Times bestseller list. That's the book Finkelstein challenges in Beyond Chutzpah.

Norman Finkelstein is not so famous. The son of Holocaust survivors, he is an assistant professor of political science at DePaul University in Chicago. He's the often embattled author of several books, of which the best known is The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering--an exposé of what he calls "the blackmail of Swiss banks." It was originally published by Verso in 2000, with an expanded second edition in 2003, and has been translated into seventeen languages. The book was reviewed in the New York Times Book Review by the distinguished Holocaust historian Omer Bartov, who holds a chair at Brown University; he wrote that the book "is filled with precisely the kind of shrill hyperbole that Finkelstein rightly deplores in much of the current media hype over the Holocaust; it is brimming with the same indifference to historical facts, inner contradictions, strident politics and dubious contextualizations; and it oozes with the same smug sense of moral and intellectual superiority." (A positive review, written by Neve Gordon, appeared in these pages on November 13, 2000.)

Finkelstein's Holocaust Industry, however, has some prominent supporters, and not only leftists like Noam Chomsky and Alexander Cockburn. Most significant is Raul Hilberg, the semi-official dean of Holocaust studies and author of the classic The Destruction of the European Jews, who wrote of The Holocaust Industry, "I would now say in retrospect that he was actually conservative, moderate and that his conclusions are trustworthy.... I am by no means the only one who, in the coming months or years, will totally agree with Finkelstein's breakthrough."

Dershowitz did not see the manuscript for Beyond Chutzpah before writing his letters, which were based instead on statements Finkelstein had made in interviews and lectures. Dershowitz's attorney objected first of all to Finkelstein's statements that Dershowitz "almost certainly didn't write [The Case for Israel], and perhaps didn't even read it prior to publication." He also objected to the charge that Dershowitz is guilty of plagiarism--more on that later--and that "every substantive sentence" in the Dershowitz book "is fraudulent." Finkelstein has been telling this to anyone who will listen, and wrote as much in an e-mail to me: "I devote some 200 pages to documenting that every substantive fact in the book is a flat-out lie." (Emphasis in original.)
Now that the "uncorrected pages" of Beyond Chutzpah are being sent out to reviewers, it's possible to see what Finkelstein's book actually says. (Disclosure: A senior editor of The Nation served as a freelance editor of Beyond Chutzpah.) The claim that Dershowitz didn't write The Case for Israel has been removed--the UC Press explained in a statement accompanying review copies that "Professor Finkelstein's only claim on the issue was speculative. He wondered why Alan Dershowitz, in recorded appearances after his book was published, seemed to know so little about the contents of his own book. We felt this weakened the argument and distracted from the central issues of the book. Finkelstein agreed."

But the rest of the claims Dershowitz and his attorney railed against are still there: Beyond Chutzpah describes Dershowitz's Case for Israel as "among the most spectacular academic frauds ever published on the Israel-Palestine conflict." In Dershowitz's book, "It's difficult to find a single claim...that's not either based on mangling a reputable source or referencing a preposterous one, or simply pulled out of the air." He charges that Dershowitz "plagiarizes large swaths" of his book from Joan Peters's From Time Immemorial, whose scholarship Finkelstein had debunked in an earlier book. The introduction concludes by calling The Case for Israel "rubbish."

The body of Beyond Chutzpah shows Finkelstein to be an indefatigable researcher with a forensic ability to take apart other people's arguments. The core of the book challenges Dershowitz's defense of Israel's human rights record by citing the findings of mainstream groups, including Amnesty International, the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem and Human Rights Watch.

The most important part of the book examines Israel's treatment of Palestinian civilians during the second intifada, which began in September 2000. Since then Israel has killed three Palestinians for every Israeli killed. Dershowitz tries to defend this ratio, writing that "when only innocent civilians are counted, significantly more Israelis than Palestinians have been killed." But Finkelstein cites Amnesty International's conclusion that "the vast majority of those killed and injured on both sides have been unarmed civilians and bystanders." That means Israel has killed something like three times as many unarmed civilians and bystanders as Palestinians have.

Dershowitz has a second argument: While Palestinian terrorists have targeted Israeli civilians intentionally, the killing of Palestinian civilians by the Israel Defense Forces is "unintended," "inadvertent" and "caused accidentally," because the IDF follows international law, which requires the protection of civilian noncombatants. For example, Dershowitz writes, the IDF tries to use rubber bullets "and aims at the legs whenever possible" in a policy designed to "reduce fatalities." But Finkelstein's evidence to the contrary is convincing: Amnesty International reported in 2001 that "the overwhelming majority of cases of unlawful killings and injuries in Israel and the Occupied Territories have been committed by the IDF using excessive force." Amnesty cited the use of "helicopters in punitive rocket attacks where there was no imminent danger to life." As for the rubber bullets, Amnesty reported in 2002 that the IDF "regularly" used them against demonstrators who were children "at distances considerably closer than the minimum permitted range...and the pattern of injury indicates that IDF practice has not been to aim at the legs of demonstrators, as the majority of injuries suffered by children from rubber-coated bullets are to the upper body and the head."
Another of Dershowitz's examples of Israeli protection of Palestinian civilians concerns Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh. Dershowitz writes that on several occasions, the army passed up opportunities to attack him "because he was with his wife or children." But in July 2002 an Israeli F-16 dropped a one-ton bomb on Shehadeh's apartment building in Gaza City, killing Shehadeh and fourteen Palestinian civilians, nine of whom were children.

Most of Beyond Chutzpah consists of these kinds of juxtapositions--arguments by Dershowitz on Israeli practices of torture, assassinations, treatment of Palestinian children, and water and land rights, refuted by documentation from human rights organizations. The cumulative effect is a devastating portrait of widespread Israeli violations of human rights principles and international law.

Finkelstein has won support for his book from leading scholars, whose statements appear in the book's publicity materials: Baruch Kimmerling, who holds a chair in sociology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and whose book on Palestinian history was published by Harvard University Press, calls Beyond Chutzpah "the most comprehensive, systematic and well documented work of its kind." Sara Roy of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard, whose book on political Islam in Palestine has just been published by Princeton University Press, calls Beyond Chutzpah "a vigorous, intelligent, succinct and powerfully argued analysis." Avi Shlaim, professor of international relations at Oxford, calls it a work of "erudition, originality, spark, [and] meticulous attention to detail." Daniel Boyarin, professor of Near Eastern studies at UC Berkeley, calls the book "accurate, well-written, and devastatingly important."

The argument about plagiarism, which has figured prominently in the pre-publication controversy over the book, has been relegated to an appendix. Finkelstein's evidence has already been presented in these pages by Alexander Cockburn and debated by Dershowitz in letters exchanges with Cockburn [October 13, October 27 and December 15, 2003]; thus it can be summarized here briefly. In the Dershowitz book, twenty-two out of fifty-two quotations and endnotes in the first two chapters "match almost exactly" material quoted in Joan Peters's From Time Immemorial--including the placement of ellipses in quotations. Beyond Chutzpah has an eleven-page chart comparing these quotations. They are virtually identical. But Dershowitz never acknowledges Peters as the source for these quotations; instead, he cites the original sources that appear in Peters's footnotes.

The official policy on plagiarism at Harvard, where Dershowitz teaches, is clear on this issue: "Plagiarism is passing off a source's information, ideas, or words as your own by omitting to cite them." Dershowitz in an e-mail made three arguments in his defense: first, for three of the quotations in question, "I have incontrovertible evidence that I was using those quotations in the 1970s in debates," and thus "I did not originally find them in the Peters book." Second, although he did not cite Peters for the quotations listed by Finkelstein, he did cite her as the source of "at least eight" others. As to why he failed to cite Peters for the quotations in question, Dershowitz acknowledges that he found them originally in Peters, but "I then went to the Harvard library, read them, and cited them in the original," without indicating that he found them first in the Peters book--a citation practice that he (and some of his defenders) regards as proper.

But Finkelstein somehow obtained a copy of the uncorrected page proofs of The Case for Israel containing some devastating footnotes, which he reproduces in Beyond Chutzpah--including one that says "Holly Beth: cite sources on pp. 160, 485, 486 fns 141-145." Holly Beth Billington is credited on Dershowitz's acknowledgments page as one of his research assistants; the pages to which he refers her are from Peters's book. The note doesn't tell Holly Beth that Dershowitz is going to the Harvard library to check the original sources, nor does it tell Holly Beth that she should go to the library to check; it says she should "cite" them--copy the citations from Peters into his footnote, presumably to give readers the impression that he consulted the original source. That's not plagiarism in the sense of failing to put in quotation marks the words of somebody else, and the Harvard administration has taken no action in response to Finkelstein's charge. But it's clearly dishonest for Dershowitz to have passed off another scholar's research as his own.

The Finkelstein book was originally under contract to the New Press, and Dershowitz claims he succeeded in persuading the New Press to drop it. He told me in an e-mail that after he wrote the New Press pointing out "numerous factual inaccuracies in Finkelstein's manuscript, New Press cancelled it's [sic] contract with him." New Press publisher Colin Robinson says that's not true: "We did not cancel the agreement to publish Norman's book and never wanted to do so." Finkelstein said the same thing in an e-mail: "I was the one who pulled out of the contract when publication was delayed due to Dershowitz's letters. In fact, Colin urged me to reconsider the decision and stay with New Press."

Now, despite Dershowitz's best efforts, UC Press is publishing the book--to the great credit of director Withey and history editor Niels Hooper. The book is appearing in August rather than June--because, according to the press statement, "editing and production took longer than we hoped." Hooper explained that California published the book not as part of a personal feud between Finkelstein and Dershowitz but because the chapters on human rights "show what is going on in the Occupied Territories and Israel." Dershowitz is relevant as a prominent defender of Israeli policies and practices.

Will Dershowitz now sue for libel in federal court in Boston, or in London, where the law makes it easier for libel plaintiffs to win--as his attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore has threatened? That would be another shameful act by a man who claims to be a defender of free speech.

3) Arundhati Roy's speech given at the World Tribunal on Iraq last Friday in Istanbul. I attended, but unfortunately only on the opening day, so I have little to add to this speech:


STATEMENT OF CONSCIENCE AT THE WORLD TRIBUNAL ON IRAQ:"The Most Cowardly War in History"by Arundhati Roy

4) Here is a caucus determined to pull US troops out of Iraq. Urge your representative / senator to join:


JUNE 16, 2005 1:13
Progressive Democrats of America
Kevin Spidel
(602) 373-6990
Rep. Waters Creates New “Out-of-Iraq CongressionalCaucus”

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA)has informed Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)that she and Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Barbara Lee,Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. JohnConyers, and Rep. John Lewis are leading a newlyformed Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus, with 41members as of today.

Rep. Waters said: "The Out of Iraq CongressionalCaucus is a newly formed effort whose sole purpose isto be the main agitators in the movement to bring ourtroops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our effortswill include the coordination of activities andlegislation designed to achieve our goal of returningour troops home. Through floor statements, pressconferences, TV and radio appearances and otheractions, we will provide leadership for the AmericanPublic who has been waiting too long for ourcollective voices against the war."

“This announcement illustrates the changing tide inWashington around the issue of the Iraq Occupation,”says National Director of PDA Tim Carpenter. “Thiscaucus will allow a collective dialogue withinCongress on this issue, in which the tens of thousandsof grassroots activists within PDA will be working tosupport.”
In addition, Rep. Waters will speak at today's 5 pmrally in Lafayette Square Park in support of Rep. JohnConyers' (D-MI) hearings today on the Downing Streetmemo. Before the rally Rep. Waters will be attendingthe hearings. The hearings are being held from2:30-4:30 pm in Room HC-9 of the U.S. Capitol, withoverflow at the Wasserman Room at 430 S Capitol St.SE.

Current members of the caucus include:
Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep.Corrine Brown, Rep. Julia Carson, Rep. DonnaChristensen, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. William Delahunt,Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Chaka Fattah,Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. RushHolt, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, Rep.Dennis Kucinich, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Shelia Jackson- Lee, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. James McGovern, Rep.Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Jim Moran, Rep. GraceNapolitano, Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton, Rep. JohnOlver, Rep. Major Owens, Rep. Donald Payne, Rep. NickRahall, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Janice Schakowsky,Rep. Bobby Scott, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. John Tierney

5) Scott Ritter Audio:


³We declared a war on terror. We declared war on those who practice terror. Are we going to declare war on ourselves?² - Scott Ritter, June 23, 2005


We have an exclusive talk by Scott Ritter on US war making against Iran. He gave this important address at a Traprock fundraiser on June 23rd. We encourage radio airplay, downloads for private listening and linking to the audio on the Traprock website.

Ritter covers the Downing Street Memo, US mass media complicity in wars against Iraq and Iran, and the covert and terrorist war that the US is now waging against Iran. He describes pre-conflict preparations, ³warlike advance force operations² and the CIA¹s work with the terrorist MEK organization, which is committing terrorist acts, such as bombings, in Iran.

This address follows up on Ritter¹s recent article on war with Iran. His main theme came through very clearly ­ that the US is engaging in a terrorist war of aggression against Iran. He explains how the US is doing it and that, like the war with Iraq, it is all based on a lie. Iran¹s nuclear power program is for energy, not weapons, and the administration and media know it, he says. He makes the case that the Bush regime is doing this in order to stay in power, whatever the disastrous consequences of a war for the US and Iran.

Audio link:http://www.traprockpeace.org/scott_ritter_23june05.html

We have unedited audio of both his talk and the Q and A session. The talk is 47:09 minutes and the Q and A is longer - 1:04:57. Both are available as mp3 files for radio airplay (recorded in mono at 48 kbps) Sound quality is excellent. ­ we thank Ed Russell of activeingredients.org for handling the recording. I did the editing for sound quality. While Traprock Peace Center does not necessarily agree with all of Ritter¹s opinions, the content is complete and unabridged. A video is on the way.

For the most part, the American people are ignorant about US aggression toward Iran and have bought US propaganda. The US administration has stoked the flames of hatred many Americans have felt toward Iran. Ritter describes an ugly and tragic situation that¹s not a lot of fun to look at for Americans. But look at it they must. They can¹t later say ³I didn¹t know.²

Best wishes, Charlie Jenks

Charlie Jenks
Website Manager;
Past President
Traprock Peace Center
103A Keets Road
Deerfield, MA
01342413-773-7427 (Traprock office)
413-773-5188, ex. 2 (messages)
Fax 413-773-7507

6) International Solidarity Movement Article. The Raphael Cohen cited at the bottom of the article was at U. of Chicago in the early 90's:

By Finlo Rohrer
June 27, 2005


The trial and conviction of an Israeli soldier for the manslaughter of Tom Hurndall have highlighted the controversial work of the "human shields" of the International Solidarity Movement.

To the Western peace activists themselves, they are helping defuse the situation by using non-violent means to act as a buffer between Israelis and Palestinians...

They claim Israel allows its soldiers to shoot civilians and children, and believe they can protect these victims because the Israeli Defence Force will think twice before shooting at a group that includes Westerners.

The ISM has already lost two members - the American Rachel Corrie, killed by an Israeli bulldozer, and Tom Hurndall, shot in the head.

To the Israeli authorities, the activists of the ISM are misguided outsiders who are allowing themselves to be manipulated by Palestinian militants.

They say ISM members have met suicide bombers and helped gunmen, something the group vehemently denies. Some activists who left Israel have been prevented from returning.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli embassy in London says: "Israel has no objection to foreign nationals participating in legitimate protests as long as they take place within the law and do not endanger human lives.
"Nevertheless, over the past few months, the International Solidarity Movement has actively inflamed an already tense and volatile situation.

"The ISM is a Palestinian movement using Western activists to present itself as an international peace movement.

"The ISM's radical anti-Israeli politics, combined with their illegal and provocative methods, stand in stark contrast to the behaviour of the other NGOs operating in the area."

The various arms of the ISM have been in existence since soon after the beginning of the latest intifada in September 2000.

Raphael Cohen, a British organiser within the ISM, says they are acting to prevent wanton killing.

"No-one goes there in the belief that they are going to be shot," he says.

"Our presence in itself means the army are curtailed in the level of violence they can use.

"They can't just start firing at a crowd when they know there are foreigners in there. Palestinian lives are held very cheaply.

"The rules of engagement for soldiers in the Gaza Strip have not been made available publicly."
He says the shooting of Tom Hurndall is a perfect illustration of the Israeli army's disregard for life.

"We were taking part in an action to set up a tent on the edge of the civilian settlement in Rafah, on an area where there has been a lot of destruction to property, to create a buffer zone between their military positions on the border and the populated area.

"They regularly drove tanks and would fire indiscriminately on the civilian population. Several people had been injured in the same week."

And Mr Cohen, who says he has been barred from entering Israel for "security reasons", vows that the ISM's work will continue.

7) Radio Niqash Posting:

I would like to inform you of the official launch of the German-Iraqi media project "niqash" - a website/radio that provides a space for Iraqi citizens to debate current political issues & aims to help strengthening the nascent Iraqi civil society.

matthias s. klein

Iraqi-German media project *NIQASH* launched!!!

On June 11, 2005, the Iraqi-German media project *niqash* - produced by “MIC - Media In Cooperation” (formerly: Streamminister) - went online and on the air. We invite you to visit our website at www.niqash.org or listen to the *niqash radio show* that is aired every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:15 to 12:45 on Radio Dijla (Baghdad - 105.2 FM).

/What is *niqash*?/ *niqash* is a space for Iraqi citizens to exchange views on the current political process and to debate the processes that are shaping the iraqi society. Its main focus is on issues relevant to the drafting of the new Iraqi constitution.

/What does *niqash* want?/Its main goal is to facilitate a public and popular debate on the current political process in Iraq.

/What does *niqash* do?/In order to achieve its goals, *niqash* provides background information, organizes expert exchanges on current topics, and offers every visitor the possibility to participate in discussions or even create a personal web-diary (blog). A newsletter keeps registered users updated.

/What is on the *niqash* website?/The segment Background<http://www.niqash.org/content.php?contentTypeID=74> provides essential information on contemporary Iraq - the country, the society, the state -, and introduces main themes of the political debate.

In the segment Debate <http://www.niqash.org/content.php?contentTypeID=75> , representatives from within the Iraqi civil society exchange opinions and ideas about political topics of their expertise. The aim is to bring people from various backgrounds (political, ethno-religious, occupational, etc.) together and - through these “expert exchanges”, initiate public discussions on topics relevant for the Iraqi civil society that will in turn affect the parliamentary decision-making and thus shape the constitution-drafting process.

The segment Community <http://www.niqash.org/community.php> contains awide array of features that will enable the visitors to the website to actively participate in the civil society debate. In free and open discussions current topics - be they drawn from the “Debate” or started by website visitors themselves - are debated. Personal web-diaries (“blogs”) can be created and managed. Visitors can register for the “niqash”-newsletter, and even sign up for and use “niqash mail” - our very own e-mail service provider.

*Radio Niqash <http://www.niqash.org/content.php?contentTypeID=28>* is apolitical radio magazine that does both - fostering and mapping the debates revolving around the drafting of the constitution. The show will consist of interviews with experts, politicians, journalists and citizens and reports on all controversial topics connected with the current nation-building process.

All parts of the radio show will be archived on the *niqash* website. The shows are free-to-air for any radio station or Internet platform.

---*niqash* is produced by an Arab-German-Kurdish team of “Media In Cooperation” (MIC) in Berlin & Amman. Its website is published in English, Arabic, and Kurdish.

The project is funded by the German Foreign Ministry and supported by the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation.
---“MIC - Media In Cooperation” (formerly: Streamminister) is a non-profit non-governmental media organization that was founded in Germany in April 2004. With close connections to and associations with local NGOs in Iraq MIC implements media projects that aspire to help create a stable civil society structure in Iraq. Moreover, through drawing a constructive link between institutions of civil society and those of the state, MIC aims to enable people to form their own opinion on the political processes in Iraq and articulate them within the political institutional framework. Finally, MIC aims to enhance the knowledge and understanding of the Iraqi people of such political issues that concern them the most, like the parliamentary elections and the drafting of the new Iraqi constitution.

Targeting the Iraqi people in general, but more specifically the young generation in Iraq, MIC’s joint Iraqi-German teams have so far produced radio programs with both political and cultural foci.

Through the implementation of MIC’s projects the organization aims: 1. to develop independent and interactive media programs to be involved in the rebuilding and transformation of Iraq on all levels of Iraqi society 2. to contribute to creating independent media networks with qualified professionals 3. to strengthen investigative journalism skills within the media sector so that it becomes both - an independent part of the civil society and a support of civil society’s impact on the political process.

Previous projects include “Telephone FM” - a cultural radio program - and “Election Monitor Iraq” - a radio show & website that focused on the Iraqi elections in January 2005.

8) Extraordinary Rendition:


Alleged CIA target tied to Iraq groupItalian official details imam case
By Sofia Celeste and Farah Stockman,
Globe Correspondent and Globe Staff
June 27, 2005

MILAN -- The radical Islamic preacher who Italian prosecutors say was abducted by CIA agents in February 2003 had been involved in preparing false passports and travel documents for radical Islamic fighters traveling to northern Iraq, according to an Italian law enforcement official involved in the case....

9) I'm not at all sure I agree with the premise that your oil dollars are better off in Venezuela than in "Saudi Arabia or the Middle East," but I DO like the idea of supporting Chavez rather than US oil multinationals -- if this information is accurate. Somehow I sense that nothing in the oil industry is ever so straightforward as this message indicates. I wouldn't be surprised if some intern at Citgo planted the story:

Published on Monday, May 16, 2005
by CommonDreams.org

Buy Your Gas at Citgo:
Join the BUY-cott!by Jeff Cohen Looking for an easy way to protest Bush foreign policyweek after week? And an easy way to help alleviateglobal poverty? Buy your gasoline at Citgo stations.

And tell your friends.

Of the top oil producing countries in the world, onlyone is a democracy with a president who was elected ona platform of using his nation's oil revenue tobenefit the poor. The country is Venezuela. ThePresident is Hugo Chavez. Call him "the Anti-Bush."

Citgo is a U.S. refining and marketing firm that is awholly owned subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oilcompany. Money you pay to Citgo goes primarily toVenezuela -- not Saudi Arabia or the Middle East.There are 14,000 Citgo gas stations in the US. (Clickherehttp://www.citgo.com/CITGOLocator/StoreLocator.jsp tofind one near you.) By buying your gasoline at Citgo,you are contributing to the billions of dollars thatVenezuela's democratic government is using to providehealth care, literacy and education, and subsidizedfood for the majority of Venezuelans.

Instead of using government to help the rich and thecorporate, as Bush does, Chavez is using the resourcesand oil revenue of his government to help the poor inVenezuela. A country with so much oil wealth shouldn'thave 60 percent of its people living in poverty,earning less than $2 per day. With a mass movementbehind him, Chavez is confronting poverty inVenezuela. That's why large majorities haveconsistently backed him in democratic elections. Andwhy the Bush administration supported an attemptedmilitary coup in 2002 that sought to overthrow Chavez.

So this is the opposite of a boycott. Call it aBUYcott. Spread the word.

Of course, if you can take mass transit or bike orwalk to your job, you should do so. And we should allwork for political changes that move our countrytoward a cleaner environment based on renewableenergy. The BUYcott is for those of us who don't havea practical alternative to filling up our cars.

So get your gas at Citgo. And help fuel a democraticrevolution in Venezuela.

Jeff Cohen is an author and media critic(www.jeffcohen.org)

11) Oil and Iraq Connection:


From an article by oil former analyst Jan Lundberg,cited in Congressman Roscoe Bartlett's (R.) recent testimony to the House on peak oil: "The viciousnessof the invasion of Iraq... should serve to wake peopleup to wean themselves off petroleum." The connectionis fundamental, no one needs convincing--yet for somereason it continues & continues not being made. I'msorry the Tribunal was one more a venue that couldhave but didn't--even as a sidebar--look at the largercontext of the war and, in consideration of saidcontext, a more ecological/ holistic (rather thannarrowly political) consideration of "guilt."

12) Green technology isn't always very green


If I see one more article about how wonderfulalternative energy is compared to oil, I'm gonna flip. Alternative energy sources can be good —very good in fact. And it's pretty obvious that we'regoing to need them, and that our dependence on oil (foreign or otherwise) is a Bad Thing.

But accepting that does not mean accepting that anykind of alternative energy is by default a good thing.
To be a good thing, it has to have three properties:1) It has to help reduce our dependence on oil, 2) It has to be no worse for the environment, and 3) It has to be economically practical.

Many of the things touted meet one or even two ofthose criteria. Solar panels, for example. They can reduce our need for oil, at least in certainregions, and they're certainly not bad for theenvironment. But they're prohibitively expensive. If you spend the money to make your homesolar-powered, you probably won't recoup your costsfor at least 15 years, which approaches the lifespan of the panels.

I realize that these days, taking a moderate positionon anything makes you the enemy of everyone who has an extreme view. But green isn't always good, and oil isn't always bad.

Certainly we need to clean up our act big time andfind viable sources of alternative energy. Depending on the Saudis — and oil — for our energy needs is stupid.

But we also have to keep in mind that every one ofthese alternative-energy sources comes at a cost, which is something people seem to forget. Theyhear the phrase "alternative energy" and automaticallyassume it's got to be good.

And this makes them no better than the people who hearit and think it's a waste of time.

It's not easy being green

Two seemingly "green" technologies that pop up againand again are ethanol and electric cars. Both are touted by well-meaning people as good for theenvironment and a way to reduce our oil dependence,especially as oil prices continue to rise.

I've written in detail about ethanol before, but itdeserves a rehash. The Senate, you see, is considering a bill that would require a doubling of the amount of ethanol mixed with gasoline at the pump.

They say it's about oil dependence and theenvironment, but it's not. It's about buying votes from farmers by artificially creating demand for crops— ethanol coming, in large part, from corn.

But there are a bunch of problems with ethanol. First,it doesn't have as much energy as gasoline, which means it takes about 1.5 gallons of ethanol to get you as far as one gallon of gas.

Ethanol also requires a lot to produce it — 26 poundsof corn to get a gallon, in fact. And growing corn requires lots of water and fertilizer and pesticide, not to mention the energy required to distill it into ethanol.
And by-products of that distillation include(according to the EPA) acetic acid, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and methanol, all of which are pumpedinto the air. Yum.

It boils down to this: Ethanol sounds good, but theenergy required to produce it, and the pollutants it generates, mean it's arguably worse for the environment than gasoline, especially consideringthe cleanliness of today's engines.

On the other hand, even with the acreage, water,fertilizer, and pesticide, ethanol has one big thing going for it: It's not produced by the Saudis.

It's electric

Hearing the un-researched praises heaped on ethanolsets my teeth on edge, but hearing the supposed ecological wonders of electric cars makes me wantto bang my head against the desk. (I'm talking abouttrue electric vehicles, not hybrids.)

Electric cars are dirty. In fact, not only are theydirty, they might even be more dirty than their gasoline-powered cousins. People in California love to talk about "zero-emissions vehicles," butpeople in California seem to be clueless about whereelectricity comes from. How else can you explain a state that uses more and more of it while not allowing new power plants to be built?

Quoth Schoolhouse Rock: "Power plants most all usefire to make it: electricity, electricity/Burnin' fuel and usin' steam, they generate electricity — electricity."

Aside from the few folks who have their roofs coveredwith solar cells, we get our electricity from generators. Generators are fueled by something —usually a hydrocarbon (coal, oil, diesel) but also byheat generated in nuclear power plants. (There are a few wind farms and geothermal plants as well, but by far we get electricity by burning something.)

In other words, those "zero-emissions" cars are likelycoal-burning cars. It's just the coal is burned somewhere else so it looks clean.

It isn't. It's as if the California Greens arecovering their eyes — "If I can't see it, it's not happening."
But it's worse than that. Gasoline is an incrediblyefficient way to power a vehicle; a gallon of gas has a lot of energy in it. But when you take that gas (or another fuel) and first use it to make electricity, you waste a nice chunk of that energy, mostly in the form of wasted heat — at the generator, through the transmission lines, etc.

In other words, a gallon of gas may propel your car 25miles. But the electricity you get from that gallon of gas won't get you nearly as far — so electric cars burn more fuel than gas-powered ones. If our electricity came mostly from nukes, or geothermal, or hydro, or solar, or wind, then an electric car truly would be clean. But for political, technical, and economic reasons, we don't use much of thoseenergy sources. We should, but we don't — that meansthose electric cars have a dirty past.

Furthermore, today's cars are very, very clean. I'd bewilling to bet they're a lot cleaner than coal-burning power plants. And that's not evengetting into whatever toxic niceties are in thoseelectric cars' batteries — stuff that will eventually end up in a landfill. And finally, when cars are the polluters, the pollution is spread across all the roads. When it's a power plant, though, all the junk is in one place. Nature is very good at cleaning up when things are not too concentrated, but it takes a lot longer when all the garbage is in one spot.
Being green is good. We've squandered our spaceprogram on things like the International Space Money Pit, so we won't be leaving the planet very soon. It's what we've got and we should do better at takingcare of it.
But that doesn't mean we should jump on any technologylabeled "green" anymore than investors should have jumped on any stock labeled "tech" in the 1990s. We know what happened there.

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