Thursday, April 10, 2003

Under the Patriot Act, librarians and booksellers are required to open their records to the FBI so the feds can trace a person's Internet activities and the books he's been reading and buying. Since these investigations are conducted in secret, the librarians and booksellers are bound under a gag order not to divulge one word of what the FBI is after, nor, indeed, even mention that they have received a visit from the FBI. Librarians fear criminal prosecution should they talk. . ..

-from Throwing the Book At Us by James Ridgway, The Village Voice-

Hmmmm. . . I'm a bit confused here. Who, exactly, is the patriot described by The Patriot Act in the above situation? Is it the librarians and book vendors being victimized by shadowy Federal Agents? Or is it the shadowy Federal Agents conducting secretive searches and seizures, often not only of information but of people as in the case of Maher Mofied Hawash:

Friends rally to free Hillsboro man in federal custody

Maher Mofied Hawash, a U.S. citizen since 1988, has been in federal custody since March 20, and authorities refuse to say why.

There's no public record of his arrest, the search warrants filed on his Hillsboro home or office are sealed, and a federal judge has ordered defense lawyers and prosecutors not to discuss it.

-MARK LARABEE, The Oregonian-

Or, perhaps it is people like the oft quoted of late Sgt. Eric Schrumpf of The United States Marines:

"We had a great day," said Sgt Eric Schrumpf of the US Marines last Saturday (April 5). "We killed a lot of people."

He added: "We dropped a few civilians, but what do you do?" He said there were women standing near an Iraqi soldier, and one of them fell when he and other Marines opened fire. "I'm sorry," said Sgt Schrumpf, "but the chick was in the way".

- As reported by by John Pilger-

I'm really not sure about the others - the harrassed librarians and secretive Federal Agents, I mean - but a marine unafraid to kill innocent people sounds like a real patriot. And don't be modest Sgt. Schrumpf! A few civilians? The marines are better shots than that.

U.N. Condemns 'Incredible' Civilian Deaths

The rising number of civilian deaths in Iraq - caused mostly by heavy U.S. firepower - has evoked strong protests and condemnation by senior U.N. officials and global human rights and humanitarian groups.

. . .the 'New York Times' said Thursday that the number of civilians killed will never be known. . .

-Thalif Deen, IPS-

It's true that we will never know how many innocent people were liberated in the ultimate sense as a result of Bush's invasion of Iraq, but the folks keeping tabs at Iraq Body Count figure at least 1,160 individual lives have been given the freedom of the grave at the time of this writing by the U.S and it's allies.

And we're Cheering.

New Yorkers Gather to Rally US Troops

As many as 15,000 New Yorkers, mostly union workers, gathered Thursday at the site of the devastated World Trade Center, known as Ground Zero, for a rally in support of U.S. troops in Iraq.

New York Governor George Pataki led the flag-waving crowd in roars of approval for U.S. troops. Mr. Pataki reminded the crowd of the significance of the rally site.

"I am proud of all of you, not just because you are here today," he said. "But for many of us in New York, the war in Iraq did not start when the bullets started in March. The war started right here on September 11, 2001."

Don't you mean the war on Iraq, Mr. Pataki? Or, perhaps, The war on Democracy? The War on Morality? The War for profit? Are our eyes, yours and mine, really possessed of such different vision that you see Good where I see Evil? That you see Saddam Hussein as a villain where I see him as a villain, yes, but also a convenient scapegoat and old friend of fearless Donald Rumsfeld?

The Saddam in Rumsfeld's Closet

In 1984, Donald Rumsfeld was in a position to draw the world�s attention to Saddam�s chemical threat. He was in Baghdad as the UN concluded that chemical weapons had been used against Iran. He was armed with a fresh communication from the State Department that it had "available evidence" Iraq was using chemical weapons. But Rumsfeld said nothing.

-Jeremy Scahill, Common Dreams-

Rumsfeld said nothing, indeed. Well let it stand on the record that I am saying something. This war is wrong no matter how right it may seem in ridding the world of a despotic scoundrel. With every bomb that drops we are sowing seeds that will bear poisonous fruit while their roots burrow deep and spread cancerous tendrils through the ground beneath our feet, honeycombing the planet 'till we are standing on shaky earth undermined by our own worst qualities.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.

"He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,"--in those who harbour such thoughts hatred will never cease.

"He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,"--in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred will cease.

For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule.

-from The Dhammapada, Chapter I: The Twin-Verses-

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