The Stasi's 'romeo" project

This is an interesting read: an article about the Stasi's "romeo" espionage program.

Republicans change their own rules to protect DeLay

Calvinball anyone?

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) exhorted his party colleagues to change the rule, which House Republicans adopted in the early 1990s to set an example of high ethical standards.

"This is a way to repeal a bad rule we adopted 12 years ago," King said after the voice vote.

I guess this change has its ultimate roots in 9/11 which, as we know, "changed everything".

Israeli soldiers kill 3 Egyptian policemen

An Israeli tank in the occupied Gaza Strip fired across the border into Egypt, killing 3 Egyptian policemen.

Israel's mouthpieces immediately rushed to express their sorrow over this "accident'. But I will take any bet for $100 or less from anyone that no Israeli soldier will ever face any substantive punishment for this incident. After all, if an Israeli officer can get away scott-free after murdering a Palestinian girl and then mutilating her corpse, then the killings of these full-grown Arab men will hardly register at all.

All bets are off if the guilty Israeli soldiers turn out to be bedouin Arabs.


Major Operations Ended, Again

Looks like someone in the new Iraqi puppet government is dancing on strings provided by the Bush administration:

"It is with all pleasure that I announce to you that operation New Dawn has been concluded," the minister of state for national security, Qasim Dawood, said at a news conference in Baghdad, as Marine artillery and aerial gunships continued to pummel Fallujah 35 miles to the west.

"Major operations have been brought to a conclusion."

Where have we heard that before?

...my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.

The whole invasion of Fallujah and what's going on in Mosul, etc., presumably being "minor".

I have an odd feeling that Dawoud's happy little statement will be even less prescient than Bush's.


Arafat dead

Yasser Arafat has died. He was 75.

You can read eulogies and condemnations elsewhere; I'm not going to write either. I offer only a few words that might help put what other people will be saying (good, bad, and preposterous) into perspective.

I do not think that Arafat was the great leader the Palestinians needed and still need; he could not get rid of the Israeli occupation and prevent the ghettoization the Palestinians now face; and he was a crook. Still, the amount of condemnation and hatred that have been heaped upon the man long ago went beyond all bounds of rationality and reality. Satan himself would have a difficult time earning the reputation Arafat had. People who did not hesitate to condemn Arafat and point their finger at him as the model "terrorist" would have better spent their time doing the same to Ariel Sharon, a person whose direct involvement in war crimes and mass murder are a clear part of the historical (as opposed to mythical) record and require none of the speculation, innuendo, and often complete fabrication that surrounded Arafat's personal history.

I do not know how the future will remember Arafat. However, two things seems clear. In the short term, Arafat's death will expose the scenario that postulated him as the devil preventing peace in the Middle East as the specious bullshit that it is. Second, and much longer term, history will vindicate his refusal to accept Barak's "generous offer" of a bantustan Palestine at the Camp David meetings. Just as Israeli historians can now admit that the state of Israel practiced deliberate ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians in 1948, we will see yet another admission - this time concerning the "generous offer" myth - when it is safe for Israel to do so.


F-16 strafes NJ elementary school

Preparing for Iraq, I suppose.

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