Clooney is a (small L) liberal

Who would thunk it 😉 [via Miguel]

First he directs Good Night and Good Luck, and then stars in Syriana (which is excellent, but not quite as amazing as I’d been led to believe). I sense a theme there.

The best pull quote from the piece:

The fear of being criticized can be paralyzing. Just look at the way so many Democrats caved in the run up to the war. In 2003, a lot of us were saying, where is the link between Saddam and bin Laden? What does Iraq have to do with 9/11? We knew it was bullshit. Which is why it drives me crazy to hear all these Democrats saying, “We were misled.” It makes me want to shout, “Fuck you, you weren’t misled. You were afraid of being called unpatriotic.”

Amen to that.

Palestine is still the issue…

Newsvine: Israel to Draw West Bank Borders by 2010. What a disgrace! Israel is already illegally occupying Palestinian land, in defiance of U.N. resolutions that have been conveniently ignored by Israel and the U.S.

“Israel will determine its border with the West Bank in the absence of negotiations with the Palestinians…” – there’s no negotiation to be had – Israel should be withdrawing from Palestinian territory. Meh…

No civil war?

Newsvine: No Civil War in Iraq!. In his latest book, Robert Fisk talks about the claim of “civil war” from the U.S and British spin-meisters from as far back as the 1991 attack on Iraq. Interesting that Newsvine is spreading the word…

I’m still getting through Robert’s book. It’s a long and hard read, so detailed and so devastating. I think it is a must read for anyone who wants to know just why there are so many “issues” in the Middle East. Hint: it has a lot to do with our governments’ actions over the past, oh, 50 years.

AWB – all the way to China

With all this hoopla about the AWB’s actions in Iraq, statements have been made in various places I’ve read to the effect that “if you do business in a country with a corrupt regime, you don’t get far without playing by their corrupt rules”.

Of course, the UN Oil for Food program is currently under the spotlight. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to start thinking about other trading partners where corruption is commonplace, if not the norm. Two countries that immediately come to mind are China (which also has a shocking human rights record: see Tibet for just one example) and Indonesia.

Suffice to say, the spotlight won’t be shone upon our business dealings because it’s not politically expedient to do so (as it is in the US led charge against the Oil for Food program).

Palestine is still the issue…

Jim Moore: Oh yea, real smart: >Rice Wants Nations to End Hamas Govt. Aid.

Since I began reading Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation : The Conquest of the Middle East I can’t help but think that the media coverage over here is grossly inadequate. I read an SMH article that glazed over huge issues, and trotted out that old favourite “the peace process” getting “back on track” (if you manage to read the book, you know why I glaze my eyes over when I read that).

Makes me want to buy a subscription to the Independent (which I might yet do) to get Robert’s take on the situation.

The other thing that the book has done is make me want to spend a coupla hundred bucks and buy one for the government and shadow foreign affairs ministers (along with some other pollies) – the parallels between the current situation and past conflicts abound – and some extremely prescient comments by past politicians (such as Churchill) are just simply too extraordinary to ignore.

Robert Fisk

Miguel di Icaza has been mentioning Robert Fisk a lot lately (Barry was the first to put me onto him, linking to an article on his long-abandoned blog – hint, hint). A week or so ago I checked out a lecture recording or Robert speaking in LA. This was enough to prompt me to buy his latest book, The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East.

I’m only two chapters in, and it’s a lengthy book – fun holiday reading 😉 – and I’m hooked. A very good read so far. Miguel has posted some thoughts on the chapter on Iraq, and points to a part of chapter 11, on the 1917 invasion of Iraq.

Although different in topic and tone, it reminds me a lot of Absurdistan by Eric Campbell, in terms of Fisk’s recollections of being a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan during the Russian invasion, launched in 1979.

Wave of terror

Across the front page of the SMH this morning “Wave of Terror sweeping across the globe”. They go on to list the bali bomber death, the blasts in Jordan, etc. etc. One small omission: the 26,000+ people that have died in Iraq as a result of miltary intervention. A war which involves our own defence forces.

“Oh but that doesn’t count as ‘terror'”. Why? “Because it’s the military, because we are ‘liberating’ Iraq”. Such a twisted view of the world that can live with 26,000 deaths abroad, but speak of “horror” and “terror” when we lose “our own”. Until we wake up and realise this, the terrorist threat in Australia, and the west, will continue unabated.

Meanwhile our Prime Minister is pushing anti-terrorist laws described by one NSW politician as being a quality to make Hitler smile. And our democratic devices (namely the Senate) have been put on a leash and, without a Liberal back-bench revolt, will be passed into law. So who are we bringing “democracy and freedom” to again?

Chips…

SMH: High Court chips away at Sony’s stranglehold:

Computer games enthusiasts are free to modify their Playstations to run cheap games bought overseas or online, following a landmark High Court ruling.

Interesting ramifications indeed. All I can think of is DVD regional coding. I hope that the ruling sticks, but I’m not holding my breath…

Mobile web

WorldChanging: KatrinaHome by WAP.

There’s been lots of mentions the past week about how the web has been put to use to help the many people affected by Katrina. I could not help but think these efforts needed to go mobile. Seems they have…