Anjalisa -- Fisk -- A gripping diary of one week in the life and death of Beirut
Robert Fisk: A gripping diary of one week in the life and death of Beirut
Published: 23 July 2006
Sunday 16 July
It is the first time I have actually seen a missile in this war. They
fly too fast - or you are too busy trying to run away to look for them
- but this morning, Abed and I actually see one pierce the smoke above
us. "Habibi (my friend)!" he cries, and I start screaming "Turn the
car round, turn it round" and we drive away for our lives from the
southern suburbs. As we turn the corner there is a shattering
explosion and a mountain of grey smoke blossoming from the road we
have just left. What happened to the men and women we saw running for
their lives from that Israeli rocket? We do not know. In air raids,
all you see is the few square yards around you. You get out and you
survive and that is enough.
I go home to my apartment on the Corniche and find that the
electricity is cut. Soon, no doubt, the water will be cut. But I sit
on my balcony and reflect that I am not crammed into a filthy hotel in
Kandahar or Basra but living in my own home and waking each morning in
my own bed. Power cuts and fear and the lack of petrol now that Israel
is bombing gas stations mean that the canyon of traffic which honks
and roars outside my home until two in the morning has gone. When I
wake in the night, I hear the birds and the wash of the Mediterranean
and the gentle brushing of palm leaves.
I went to buy groceries this evening. There is no more milk but plenty
of water and bread and cheese and fish. When Abed pulls up to let me
out of the car, the man in the 4x4 behind us puts his hand permanently
on the horn, and when I get out of Abed's car, he mouths the words
"Kess uchtak" at me. "Fuck your sister." It is the first time I have
been cursed in this war. The Lebanese do not normally swear at
foreigners. They are a polite people. I hold my hand out, palm down
and twist it palm upwards in the Lebanese manner, meaning "what's the
problem?". But he drives away. Anyway, I don't have a sister.
Monday 17 July
The phones are still working and my mobile chirrups like a budgerigar.
Too many of the calls are from friends who want to know if they should
flee Beirut or flee Lebanon or from Lebanese who are outside Lebanon
and want to know if they should return. I can hear the bombs rumbling
across Hizbollah's area of the southern suburbs but I cannot answer
these questions. If I advise friends to stay and they are killed, I am
responsible. If I tell them to leave and they are killed in their
cars, I am responsible. If I tell them to come back and they die, I am
responsible. So I tell them how dangerous Lebanon has become and tell
them it is their decision. But I feel great sorrow for them. Many have
been refugees four times in 24 years. Today I am called by a Lebanese
woman with Lebanese and Iranian citizenship and one child with a US
passport and another with only a Lebanese passport. Her situation is
hopeless. I suggest she travels to the Christian mountains around
Faraya and try to find a chalet. It will be safe there. I hope.
MEDIA ALERT: Stop Israel's Attacks on Gaza & Lebanon
MEDIA ALERT: Stop Israel's Attacks on Gaza & Lebanon
BACKGROUND: Israel is using weapons supplied by the United States to target Palestinian & Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon in violation of the US Arms Export Control Act and the Geneva Conventions.
* On July 12th, Israel killed 23 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip with missiles fired from aircraft and shells fired from tanks. Israel killed 9 members of one family in a missile strike on a house near Gaza City.
* On July 12th, Israel launched a massive invasion of Lebanon. Israeli aircraft fired missiles targeting civilian infrastructure, including bridges, roads, a mosque, a community center, and the Beirut International Airport, and the Israeli navy is blockading Lebanon's ports. Israel has killed at least 50 Lebanese civilians and injured more than 100, including entire Lebanese families of 10 and 7 people killed in the villages of Dweir and Baflay.
Left Turn -- Final Battles?: Interview with Saseen Kawzally
Final Battles?: Interview with Saseen Kawzally
by Jerome Klassen
In this interview from Beirut, Saseen Kawzally describes the Israeli attacks on Lebanon, the background to the crisis, and its possible trajectories. Saseen Kawzally is active in left activism in Lebanon and has worked with Beirut Indymedia in the past. Jerome Klassen visited Lebanon in 2004 and is currently a student in Toronto. This interview occurred by phone over the past few days.
JK: Israel has imposed a siege on Lebanon and is bombing the country from the air and the sea. Can you describe the situation?
SK: Israel has bombed and shelled the country for four days. It has destroyed every road and bridge from the south of the country to Beirut. It has bombed the international road between Damascus and Beirut, as well as the airport and vital civilian infrastructures. Neighborhoods and houses in Beirut and in the South have been hit hard. A total siege has been imposed on the airports and seaports, both of which have been bombed. More than 100 civilians have been killed, and the massacres are forcing an evacuation of people from the South and from the suburbs of Beirut. Israel is also bombing buses and cars of people as they try to find safe shelter. Israel has said that “no place is safe” in Lebanon, and they have attacked without regard for life, safety, or proportionality. They have once again brought disaster to Lebanon.
JK: Politicians and media in North America say that Israel is an innocent player in this conflict, and that Hezbollah’s initial operation was unprovoked. Can you provide a different context to the conflict?
SK: The real background is the ongoing aggression inflicted upon Lebanon by Israel since the Liberation in 2000. Israel still holds Lebanese prisoners. It still occupies the Sheeba farms in South Lebanon. On a weekly basis, it invades Lebanese airspace and coastal waters, and it regularly makes incursions over the Blue Line. It also has committed numerous assassinations in Lebanon in recent years. And it continually threatens the Lebanese government, for example, by breaking the sound barrier over Parliament when the government and cabinet are in session. Furthermore, Lebanese villages and farmers in the South are shelled on a regular basis, resulting in death and destruction. So, to speak of Israeli innocence is to hide the reality of non-stop aggression and war against Lebanon. These issues provide the real context to the recent conflict. Indeed, for over one year, Hezbollah has said that it would capture Israeli soldiers if the Lebanese prisoners were not returned. This was the first goal of the operation, as outlined by Hezbollah leader Nasrallah in the aftermath.
Anjalisa -- A New Middle East is Born: But not exactly the one Shimon Peres had in
Compliments of Multitude List:
A New Middle East is Born: But not exactly the one Shimon Peres had in
Omar Barghouti, Electronic Lebanon, 19 July 2006
Smoke rises from the scene of an Israeli attack on a Lebanese port on
the morning of July 17, 2006. (IRINNews/Peter Speetjens)
Six long, bloodstained days have passed since Israel launched its
barbaric attack on Lebanon without succeeding in exacting a
significant military toll on the resistance itself. Six days are
exactly what it took Israel to deal a crushing and humiliating
military defeat to the largely inferior armies of Egypt, Syria and
Jordan in June 1967, and to subsequently occupy the Palestinian Gaza
Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan
Heights, and the Egyptian Sinai peninsula. How the "Middle East" has
changed in the past 4 decades! Indeed, thanks to the Lebanese
resistance, and to an extent its Palestinian counterpart, this
volatile zone is undergoing radical transformation from a region where
Arab regimes -- and societies, more or less -- have largely
internalized defeat and US-Israeli hegemony as fate to one that is
palpably rebuilding its confidence in the future and its hope for an
era of justice and peace, without colonial and racist oppression.
This is certainly not the "New Middle East" that had been on the
agenda before the current Palestinian intifada broke out. Shimon
Peres, the current Israeli deputy prime minister and one of the few
remaining historic Zionist leaders, often spoke during the heyday of
the Oslo "peace process" between Israel and the Palestine Liberation
Organization (PLO) of his vision for a new Middle East, where Israel
and its Arab "neighbors" would live in harmony, peace and common
prosperity. For the uninitiated in Zionist talk, this translates into
an official Arab capitulation to Israel's hegemony over the Middle
East, opening up lucrative Arab markets to its advanced economy and to
its insatiable desire for becoming a regional empire. Conspicuously
missing from Peres's grand plan was a just solution of the
Arab-Israeli conflict which, according to international law, would
entail ending Israel's occupation and colonization of the Palestinian,
Syrian and Lebanese territories occupied in 1967; recognizing the
rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their lands, from which
they were ethnically cleansed to establish Israel on the ruins of
their society; and ending Israel's system of racial discrimination
against its own Palestinian citizens, who are denied any semblance of
equality in a state that not only discriminates against them in the
provision of basic services and recognition of fundamental rights, but
precludes them from its very self-definition as well.
A protracted colonial war
Palestine / Israel
A protracted colonial war
With US support, Israel is hoping to isolate and topple Syria by
holding sway over Lebanon
Thursday July 20, 2006
In his last interview - after the 1967 six-day war - the historian
Isaac Deutscher, whose next-of-kin had died in the Nazi camps and
whose surviving relations lived in Israel, said: "To justify or
condone Israel's wars against the Arabs is to render Israel a very bad
service indeed and harm its own long-term interest." Comparing Israel
to Prussia, he issued a sombre warning: "The Germans have summed up
their own experience in the bitter phrase 'Man kann sich totseigen!'
'You can triumph yourself to death'."
In Israel's actions today we can detect many of the elements of
hubris: an imperial arrogance, a distortion of reality, an awareness
of its military superiority, the self-righteousness with which it
wrecks the social infrastructure of weaker states, and a belief in its
racial superiority. The loss of many civilian lives in Gaza and
Lebanon matters less than the capture or death of a single Israeli
soldier. In this, Israeli actions are validated by the US.
The offensive against Gaza is designed to destroy Hamas for daring to
win an election. The "international community" stood by as Gaza
suffered collective punishment. Dozens of innocents continue to die.
This meant nothing to the G8 leaders. Nothing was done.
Israeli recklessness is always green-lighted by Washington. In this
case, their interests coincide. They want to isolate and topple the
Syrian regime by securing Lebanon as an Israeli-American protectorate
on the Jordanian model. They argue this was the original design of the
country. Contemporary Lebanon, it is true, still remains in large
measure the artificial creation of French colonialism it was at the
outset - a coastal band of Greater Syria sliced off from its
hinterland by Paris to form a regional client dominated by a Maronite
Anjalisa -- Fisk -- Robert Fisk in Beirut: 'If our Prime Minister is crying, what are we
Robert Fisk in Beirut: 'If our Prime Minister is crying, what are we
Published: 17 July 2006
You could see the Israeli missiles coming through the clouds of smoke,
hurtling like thunderbolts into the apartment blocks of Ghobeiri, the
crack of the explosions so loud that my ears are still singing hours
later as I write this report.
Yes, I suppose you could call this a "terrorist" target, for here in
these mean, fearful streets is - or rather was - the Hizbollah
headquarters. Even the movement's propaganda television station,
Al-Manar, lay a pancaked ruin in the street, its broadcasts still
being transmitted from the station's bunker beneath the rubble. But
what of the tens of thousands of people who live here?
The few who were not lying in their basements ran shrieking through
the streets - not gunmen, but women with screaming children, families
holding suitcases, desperate to leave the heaps of broken buildings,
entire apartment blocks smashed to bits, the roadways covered in
smashed balconies and torn electrical wires. "You don't have to help
the resistance," Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the Hizbollah leader, told
the Lebanese on television last night. "The resistance is on the front
line and the Lebanese are behind them."
Untrue, of course. It is the Lebanese - and their 140 dead, almost all
civilians - who are also on the front line. In Israel, 24 have been
killed, 15 of them civilians. So the exchange rate for death in this
filthy war is now approximately one Israeli to five Lebanese. So many
Lebanese have now fled Beirut for Tripoli in the north of Lebanon, or
for the Bekaa Valley in the east - or to Syria - that Beirut, where
one and a half million people live, is a ghost city, its remaining
residents sitting in their homes amid the hopelessness of all those
who believed that this country was at last emerging from the shadows
of its 15-year civil war. It was Nasrallah who said that there are
"more surprises to come", and the Lebanese fear that the Israelis,
too, have some more surprises for them.
Rene -- Ilan Pappe -- What Does Israel Want?
Palestine / Israel
What Does Israel Want?
Ilan Pappe, The Electronic Intifada, 14 July 2006
An Israeli army tank fires towards Gaza Strip at a position near Kibbutz Nahal Oz, northern Gaza Strip, 9 July 2006. (MaanImages/Inbal Rose)
Imagine a group of high ranking generals who simulated for years Third World War scenarios in which they can move huge armies around, employ the most sophisticated weapons in their disposal and enjoy the immunity of a computerized headquarters from which they can direct their war games. Now imagine that they are informed that in fact there is no Third World War and their expertise is needed to calm down some of the nearby slums or deal with soaring crime in deprived townships and impoverished neighborhoods. And then imagine - in the final episode in my chimerical crisis - what happens when they find out how irrelevant have their plans been and how useless are their weapons in the struggle against the street violence produced by social inequality, poverty and years of discrimination in their society. They can either admit failure or decide none the less to use the massive and destructive arsenal at their disposal. We are witnessing today the havoc wreaked by Israeli generals who opted for latter course of action.
I have been teaching in the Israeli universities for 25 years. Several of my students were high ranking officers in the army. I could see their growing frustration since the outbreak of the first Intifada in 1987. They detested this kind of confrontation, called euphemistically by the gurus of the American discipline of International Relations: ‘low intensity conflict’. It was too low to their taste. They were faced with stones, molotov bottles and primitive arms which required a very limited use of the huge arsenal the army has amassed throughout the years and did not test at all their ability to perform in a battlefield or a war zone. Even when the army used tanks and F-16s, it was a far cry from the war games the officers played in the Israeli Matkal – headquarters – and for which they bought, with American tax payer money – the most sophisticated and updated weaponry existing in the market.
The first Intifada was crushed, but the Palestinians continued to seek ways of ending the occupation. They rose again in 2000, inspired this time by a more religious group of national leaders and activists. But it was still a ‘low intensity conflict’; no more than that. But this is not what the army expected, it was yearning for a ‘real’ war. As Raviv Druker and Offer Shelah, two Israeli journalists with close ties to the IDF, show in a recent book, Boomerang (p. 50), major military exercises before the second Intifada were based on a scenario that envisaged a full-scale war. It was predicted that in the case of another Palestinian uprising, there would be three days of ‘riots’ in the occupied territories that would turn into a head-on confrontation with neighboring Arab states, especially Syria. Such a confrontation, it was argued, was needed to maintain Israel’s power of deterrence and reinforce the generals confidence in their army’s ability to conduct a conventional war.
Rene -- Two worlds
Cocktail party set divorced from Afghanistan reality
Refuge from the real Afghanistan
By Paul Vickers
BBC News, Kabul
Some 10,000 US-led coalition forces have been engaged in a large-scale offensive against Taleban fighters in southern Afghanistan, where around 700 people have been killed in the last few weeks.
But in the capital, Kabul, the upper echelons of society appear to have forgotten the horrors on their doorstep.
Just a few days ago now, a grand party was held at the US Embassy in Kabul, a redoubt as impregnable as any crusader castle reinforced deep in the heart of a city still described by hardy optimists as the capital of Afghanistan.
The US Ambassador, Ronald Neumann, made an upbeat speech reminding the guests (dress code: lounge suits or national dress) of the thousands of Afghan students educated thanks to the generosity of the American people; of the schools and courthouses built, and of the roads rolled out by provincial reconstruction teams stretching far into the deserts and mountains.
There was some polite applause and then the guests made a bee line for the dance floor, the band of the 10th Mountain Division, still wearing their desert camouflage, struck up and churned out a few more Gershwin classics.
This was a typical social event, tailor-made for the elite in Kabul; aid workers, journalists, diplomats, military top brass and the odd rough diamond - the Northwest Frontier's new Raj - all eagerly swapping business cards and networking with the same people they had met before at the last, equally lavish cocktail and canape melee.
In fact, the same faces and the same frocks turn up over and over again at this embassy or that - at the British Council perhaps.
There is even a magazine here called Kabul Scene Magazine that carries a people section with Tatler-style photos.
Anjalisa -- Israeli attacks kill Lebanese civilians
Israeli attacks kill Lebanese civilians
Saturday July 15, 2006
Israel launched a significant escalation of its military campaign
against Hezbollah militants in Lebanon today, with a series of air
strikes which left 30 civilians dead, including a number of civilian
refugees fleeing the fighting.
In one attack, apparently on vehicles full of families trying to get
away from the bombing, an estimated 13 people, including eight
children, died when a truck and a car were incinerated by an Israeli
The small convoy was carrying people evacuating the village of
Marwaheen after Israeli loudspeaker warnings to leave their homes.
Seven of the dead were from a single family, according to
eye-witnesses including a photographer from the Associated Press,
Nasser Nasser, whose pictures show bodies, including a baby, scattered
on the road.
Last night an Israeli military spokeswoman said they were still
investigating the reports of the incident.
Other air strikes flattened Hizbollah's headquarters in Beirut and
attacked roads, bridges and petrol stations in the north, east and
south of Lebanon, cutting the country off from the outside world and
hitting Hizbollah strongholds including the leader Nasrallah's home
and office. Airstrikes were launched against the northern port of
Tripoli, the deepest strike yet into Lebanese territory.
Anjalisa -- Fisk -- Outrage
What I am watching in Lebanon each day is an outrage
By Robert Fisk in Mdeirej, Central Lebanon
Published: 15 July 2006
The beautiful viaduct that soars over the mountainside here has become
a " terrorist" target. The Israelis attacked the international highway
from Beirut to Damascus just after dawn yesterday and dropped a bomb
clean through the central span of the Italian-built bridge – a symbol
of Lebanon's co-operation with the European Union – sending concrete
crashing hundreds of feet down into the valley beneath. It was the
pride of the murdered ex-prime minister Rafik Hariri, the face of a
new, emergent Lebanon. And now it is a " terrorist" target.
So I drove gingerly along the old mountain road towards the Bekaa
yesterday – the Israeli jets were hissing through the sky above me –
turned the corner once I rejoined the highway, and found a 50ft crater
with an old woman climbing wearily down the side on her hands and
knees, trying to reach her home in the valley that glimmered to the
east. This too had become a " terrorist" target.
It is now the same all over Lebanon. In the southern suburbs – where
the Hizbollah, captors of the two missing Israeli soldiers, have their
headquarters – a massive bomb had blasted off the sides of apartment
blocks next to a church, splintering windows and crashing balconies
down on to parked cars. This too had become a "terrorist" target.
One man was brought out shrieking with pain, covered in blood. Another
" terrorist" target. All the way to the airport were broken bridges,
holed roads. All these were "terrorist" targets. At the airport,
tongues of fire blossomed into the sky from aircraft fuel storage
tanks, darkening west Beirut. These too were now "terrorist" targets.
At Jiyeh, the Israelis attacked the power station. This too was a "
Anjalisa -- Levy -- Who Started?
Palestine / Israel
By Gideon Levy
"We left Gaza and they are firing Qassams" - there is no more precise
a formulation of the prevailing view about the current round of the
conflict. "They started," will be the routine response to anyone who
tries to argue, for example, that a few hours before the first Qassam
fell on the school in Ashkelon, causing no damage, Israel sowed
destruction at the Islamic University in Gaza.
Israel is causing electricity blackouts, laying sieges, bombing and
shelling, assassinating and imprisoning, killing and wounding
civilians, including children and babies, in horrifying numbers, but
They are also "breaking the rules" laid down by Israel: We are allowed
to bomb anything we want and they are not allowed to launch Qassams.
When they fire a Qassam at Ashkelon, that's an "escalation of the
conflict," and when we bomb a university and a school, it's perfectly
alright. Why? Because they started. That's why the majority thinks
that all the justice is on our side. Like in a schoolyard fight, the
argument about who started is Israel's winning moral argument to
justify every injustice.
Naeem -- Israel bombs Beirut Airport, Lebannon under siege.
Israel bombs Beirut Airport, Lebannon under siege.
Wait is it 1982 again? Time for another time-warp.
Meanwhile Israel's bombing of Palestine continues. "Asymmetrical"
warfare? Everyone knows crazy Arabs are always the ones who "start
it" and "can't be trusted". Any retaliation is fair game.
Bombing for Peace
Virginia Tilley writes:
"On the excuse of rescuing one kidnapped soldier, Israeli is now
bombing the Gaza Strip and is poised to re-invade. It has also
arrested a third of the Palestinian parliament, wrecking even its
fragile illusion of capacity and reducing the already-empty vessel of
the Palestinian Authority into broken shards. In the shambles,
Palestinians may be observing one bitter pill of compensation: vicious
angling by Fatah to reclaim control of Palestinian national politics
and its rivalry with Hamas are now rendered obsolete. Even the dogged
international community cannot maintain its dogged pretense that the
PA is actually capable of any governance at all. The demise of the
disastrous Oslo model, Israel's device to ensure its final
dismemberment of Palestinian land and its fatal cooptation of the
Palestinian national movement, may finally be at hand."
Adem Carroll talks about that sweet sound in the air:
"Zananah zananah zananah in the sky; the residents know it is the
Israeli Drone. It is not televising barefoot soccer matches in the
Palestinian dust. This entity, called Zananah because of the sound it
makes, has escaped from its Israeli bottle unlike the hundreds of
detainees held in Israeli jails. It is a tool of invasion, occupation
and control. The Zananah buzzes around the edges of life; and then,
finally, comes the missile strike, and death."
Nettime -- Out-Cooperating the Empire? - Exchange with Christoph Spehr
Cristoph is a really interesting person and this exchange seems pertinent to our discussions. One of the questions that we are confronted with is if there are modes of exchange that fall out of the market (small horizontal) / anti-market (capitalism) binary. Cooperation seems to be one response. Cristoph's notion of free-cooperation has been useful in distinguishing a cooperation that is "free" from one that is more common in society which is often obliged, demanded, co-erced. -rg
Out-Cooperating the Empire?
Exchange between Geert Lovink and Christoph Spehr on Creative Labour
and the Hybrid Work of Cooperation
I have just finished an exchange with Christoph Spehr, the German Œfree
cooperation‚ theorist, on creative labour and the hybrid work of
cooperation. This online dialogue grew out of the work that Trebor
Scholz and I did on the documentation of the Free Cooperation project.
A book is scheduled to come out with Autonomedia late 2006 in which a
key text on the art of (online) collaboration was written by German
theorist Christoph Spehr. The following dialogue started as a series of
comments by Christoph Spehr on the introduction to the Free Cooperation
anthology that Trebor Scholz and I wrote in January 2006. An earlier
online interview between Christoph Spehr and me took place in June 2003
and can be found in the nettime archive. In this conversation we try to
jump over our shadows and discuss precarious work, the gift economy
concept and the relation between online and offline work. What does it
mean to Œout-cooperate‚ the Empire in the sense of out-playing,
out-performing the System? Is it aimed at creating
Emily -- Ethnic cleansing of Palestinians
Palestine / Israel
the Israeli war machine has stepped up it's ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people on every front including incursions and shelling in Gaza, land confiscations throughout the West Bank, incursions in the West Bank, arrests and detentions and kidnappings throughout the territories, and the denial of entry of Palestinians returning home at all border crossings, destruction of farmland, property.......
there is so much to report on (and as you know whenever there is a war spectacle for the media to focus on that is when they really go full force with crimes against humanity in all other areas as well because nobody is "watching") so I compiled a small list of what the media is not telling you.
Emily -- only European Country to make a stand against Israel's Gaza campaign
Palestine / Israel
Switzerland decries Gaza campaign
By Imogen Foulkes
BBC News, Geneva
Switzerland says Israel has clearly violated international law by imposing collective punishment on Palestinians over the capture of an Israeli soldier.
Switzerland is the "depository" state of the Geneva Conventions.
They prohibit the deliberate targeting of services essential to the civilian population, like water and electricity.
The statement from Switzerland comes amid growing concern among aid agencies at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Neutral Switzerland does not often venture into political controversy. But this statement is likely to cause some irritation in Israel and the United States.
There is no doubt that Israel has not taken the precautions required of it in international law to protect the civilian population and infrastructure
Swiss foreign ministry statement
A spokesman for the Swiss foreign ministry said that, as the depository country for the Geneva Conventions, encouraging respect for international law was a declared aim of Switzerland's foreign policy and the statement should be read in that context.
Nettime --ABC No Rio: we fought the law, and we won!
ABC No Rio: we fought the law, and we won!
26 years ago, a small group of artists occupied an abandoned building
on Delancy Street. They put up an art show commenting on the housing
crisis in New York, focused by their actions on the quantity of
abandoned properties on the Lower East Side owned by the city itself.
The art show was immediately shut down; the artwork confiscated. The
city, by its over reaction, turned a minor event into a large
scandal. To end the scandal, the city agreed to rent the first floor
and basement of a building the city owned on Rivington street to the
group of artists.
The space became know as ABC No Rio, taking its name from the
reflection of a decayed sign across the street that once said Abagado
Notorio and looked as if it said Abc No rio.
What ABC No Rio is can best be summed up by the following quote from
the ABC No Rio website .
"We seek to facilitate cross-pollination between artists and
activists. ABC No Rio is a place where people share resources and
ideas to impact society, culture and community. We believe that art
and activism should be for everyone, not just the professionals,
experts, and cognoscenti. Our dream is cadres of actively aware
artists and artfully aware activists."
Rene -- Massumi -- Fear (The spectrum said)
Fear (The spectrum said)
par Brian Massumi
That momentary paralysis of the spirit, of the tongue and limbs, that profound agitation descending to the core of one’s being, that dispossession of self we call intimidation ... It is a nascent social state that occurs whenever we pass from one society to another.
— Gabriel Tarde1
The future will be better tomorrow. — attributed to George W. Bush2
In March 2002, with much pomp, the Bush administration’s new Homeland Security Office introduced its color-coded terror alert system. Green-"low" blue-"guarded" yellow-"high" orange-"elevated" red-"severe." The nation has danced ever since between yellow and orange. Life has restlessly settled, to all appearances permanently, on the red-ward end of the spectrum, the blue-greens of tranquility a thing of the past. "Safe" doesn’t even merit a hue. Safe, it would seem, has fallen off the spectrum of perception. Insecurity, the spectrum says, is the new normal.3 The alert system was introduced to calibrate the public’s anxiety. In the aftermath of 9-11, the public’s fearfulness had tended to swing out of control in response to dramatic, but maddeningly vague, government warnings of an impending follow-up attack. The alert system was designed to modulate that fear. It could raise it a pitch, then lower it before it became too intense, or even worse, before habituation dampened response. Timing was everything. Less fear itself than fear fatigue became an issue of public concern. Affective modulation of the populace was now an official, central function of an increasingly time-sensitive government. The self-defensive reflex-response to perceptual cues that the system was designed to train into the population wirelessly jacked central government functioning directly into each individual’s nervous system. The whole population became a networked jumpiness, a distributed neuronal network registering en masse quantum shifts in the nation’s global state of discomfiture in rhythm with leaps between color levels. Across the geographical and social differentials dividing them, the population fell into affective attunement. That the shifts registered en masse did not necessarily mean that people began to act similarly, as in social imitation of each other, or of a model proposed for each and all. "Imitation renders form ; attunement renders feeling."4 Jacked into the same modulation of feeling, bodies reacted in unison without necessarily acting alike. Their responses could, and did, take many forms. What they shared was the central nervousness. How it translated somatically varied body by body. There was simply nothing to identify with or imitate. The alerts presented no form, ideological or ideational and, remaining vague as to the source, nature, and location of the threat, bore precious little content. They were signals without signification. All they distinctly offered was an "activation contour" : a variation in intensity of feeling over time.5 They addressed not subjects’ cognition, but rather bodies’ irritability. Perceptual cues were being used to activate direct bodily responsiveness rather than reproduce a form or transmit definite content. Each body’s reaction would be determined largely by its already-acquired patterns of response. The color alerts addressed bodies at the level of their dispositions toward action. The system was not in any direct way a subjective positioning device. It was a body-aimed dispositional trigger mechanism. Bodies would be triggered into actions over whose exact nature the governmental emission of the perceptual cue had little direct control. Each individual would inevitably express their attunement to the affective modulation in their own unique way. It was in a second moment, through the diversity of the resultant actions thus triggered, that each would position him- or herself subjectively in relation to others. Any moment of reflection that might come would come after, in discussion or retrospective review. The system addressed the population immediately, at a pre-subjective level : at the level of bodily predisposition or tendency — action in its nascent state. A color shift would trip each body’s tendencies into an unfolding through which its predispositions would regain determinate form in particular actions attuned to a changed situation. Each body’s individuality performed itself, reflexively (that is to say, non-reflectively) in an immediate nervous response. The mode under which the system operated was cued directness of self-expression, in bodily action. It was less a communication than an assisted germination of potentials for action whose outcome could not be accurately determined in advance - but whose variable determination could be determined to occur, on hue. The system was designed to make visible the government’s much advertised commitment to fighting the "war" on terrorism it had so dramatically declared in the days following 9-11. The collapse of the World Trade Center towers had glued the populace to the TV screen with an intensity not seen since the assassination of President Kennedy in the medium’s early days, and in its recent history comparable only to the Gulf War show. In a time of crisis television was once again providing a perceptual focal point for the spontaneous mass coordination of affect, in a convincing rebuttal of the widespread wisdom that as a medium it was falling into obsolescence as a consequence of the Internet’s meteoric rise in the late 1990s. Any ground television may have lost to the Web as an information source and as the pivot point for family entertainment was recouped in its resurgent role as the privileged channel for collective affect modulation, in real time, at socially critical turning points. Television had become the event medium. The terror alert system sought to piggy-back on television as social event-medium, capturing the spontaneity with which it regained that role. To capture spontaneity is to convert it into something it is not : a habitual function. The alert system was part of the habituation of the viewing population to affect modulation as a governmental-media function. This taming of television’s affective role accomplished a number of further conversions. For one, it yoked governmentality to television in a way that gave the exercise of power a properly perceptual mode of operation. Government gained signal access to the nervous systems and somatic expressions of the populace in a way that allowed it to bypass the discursive mediations upon which it traditionally depended, and to regularly produce effects with a directness never before seen. Without proof, without persuasion, at the limit even without argument, government image production could trigger (re)action. But what public government function gained in immediacy of effect it lost in uniformity of result. If skillfully played, the system could reliably determine people to action, but the nature of the trigger, or inducer, as an activation contour lacking definite content or imitable form meant that it could not accurately determine what actions would be signaled forth. In a sense, this was an admission of political reality : the social environment within which government now operated was of such complexity that it made a mirage of any idea that there could be a one-to-one correlation between official speech or image production and the form and content of response. The social and cultural diversity of the population, and the disengagement from government on the part of many of its segments, would ensure that any initiative relying on a linear cause-effect relation between proof, persuasion and argument on the one hand, and on the other the form of a resultant action - if in fact there was to be any - was bound to fail, or to succeed only in isolated cases. The contradiction-friendly pluralism of American politicians’ public address is evidence that this has long been recognized in practice (the fact, for example, that a George W. Bush will address car workers in his down-home Texas-transplant drawl as a man of the people looking out for the struggling families of Middle America, then tell a fund-raising dinner that his "base" is the "haves and have-mores"6). Addressing bodies from the dispositional angle of their affectivity, instead of addressing subjects from the positional angle of their ideations, shunts government function away from the mediations of adherence or belief and toward direct activation. What else is a state of alert ? Orienting for the indeterminacy of pure activation assumes that the nature of the actual responses elicited will be finally determined by off-screen co-factors that are beyond politicians’ ken, and not for lack of effort but because they are highly contingent and therefore highly changeable. The establishment of the alert system as a linchpin in the government’s anti-terror campaign is an implicit recognition that the production of political effects, if they are to be direct and widespread, must unfold in a manner that is non-linear and co-causal ; that is to say, complex. The perceptual mode of power set in place by the yoking of governmentality to television in this affective way couples its functioning with the contingency native to complex systems, where input does not necessarily equal output, because all manner of detourings, dampenings, amplifications, or interference patterns may occur in the playing-out of the signal. With affect, perceptually addressed, chance becomes politically operational. A political uncertainty principle is pragmatically established. It practically acknowledges that the systemic environment within which power mechanisms function is metastable, meaning provisionally stable but excitable, in a state of balance but ready to jog.7 The necessity for a pragmatics of uncertainty to which the color system alerts us is related to a change in the nature of the object of power. The formlessness and contentlessness of its exercise in no way means that power no longer has an object. It means that the object of power is correspondingly formless and contentless : post 9-11, governmentality has molded itself to threat. A threat is unknowable. If it were known in its specifics, it wouldn’t be a threat. It would be a situation — as when they say on television police shows, "we have a situation" — and a situation can be handled.
Naeem -- Making Money on Detention
Corrections Corp. Breaks Out
Shares in the private-sector detention company have surged, thanks to a growing inmate population
Crime may not pay, but punishment has been doing pretty well lately. Shares in Corrections Corp. of America (CXW) recently touched a 52-week high of $52.45, and the stock was up 13.6% for the year at the close on June 1. A growing U.S. prison population suggests the Nashville-based company can continue to deliver solid profits.
Corrections Corp. is the biggest domestic player in the burgeoning private-sector detention business. The company runs 63 prison facilities in 19 states and Washington, D.C., with bed capacity for 71,000 inmates. In 2005, the company brought in a profit of $70.9 million, a 22.9% increase from 2004, on revenues of $1.19 billion. "We've never seen the wind at our back like it is today," Chief Executive John Ferguson said in a May 3 conference call.
LOTS OF COTS. Certainly, the forces of supply and demand are working in the company's favor. State and federal authorities are projected to seek 21,600 beds in the private corrections sector in the next two years, but only 13,450 beds are currently available, according to Bank of America analyst T.C. Robillard, who has a buy rating on the stock. Corrections Corp. "is the best-positioned company to benefit from the supply imbalance within the correction industry," Robillard wrote in a May 3 report. (Bank of America has led or co-led an offering of securities for Corrections Corp. and has received compensation from the company for investment banking services.)
On May 3, Corrections Corp. posted a $21.3 million first-quarter profit, after a loss of $8.9 million for the same period a year earlier. Management also raised its full-year profit outlook 2006 by 10 cents, to a range of $2.20 to $2.27 per share. Shares surged to a 52-week high of $49.38. They went on to hit their most recent one-year peak on May 23.
CCR + FIDH on Guantanamo
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
In a Historic Decision, the U.S. Supreme Court Rules that the
War Crimes Trials
Are Illegal under Both Military Justice Law and the Geneva Conventions
FIDH and CCR acclaim Thursday, June 29, 2006 tremendously significant
decision of the Supreme Court ruling that U.S. President George W. Bush
overstepped his powers in ordering the establishment of military
commissions to try detainees held at Guantánamo.
The Supreme Court Justices issued a historic decision, with a majority
of 5 against 3, saying that they `conclude that the military
convened to try Hamdan lacks power to proceed because its structure and
procedures violate both the UCMJ [Uniform Code of Military Justice] and
the Geneva Conventions. Four of us also conclude, see Part V, infra,
that the offense with which Hamdan has been charged is not an
that by =85 the law of war may be tried by military commissions.''
military order issued on November 3, 2001, President Bush authorized
special tribunals (the so-called `military commissions') to be held
prosecute suspected authors of violations of the laws of war by
conspiring to commit acts of terrorism against the United States.
Yesterday's decision renders them illegal.