‘We are doing this for one reason only: to harm the German economy.’

“America is to punish Germany for leading international opposition to a war against Iraq. The US will withdraw all its troops and bases from there and end military and industrial co-operation between the two countries – moves that could cost the Germans billions of euros.

The plan – discussed by Pentagon officials and military chiefs last week on the orders of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld – is designed ‘to harm’ the German economy to make an example of the country for what US hawks see as Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s ‘treachery’.Guardian UK

Chirac finding pro-US stances hard to stomach:

blow-by-blow account of Chirac backed into a corner by hawkish cohort at European Council summit. The Herald

And: ‘Listen to the voices of Iraqi exiles’;

Defiant Blair answers the concerns of the protesters
: “The timing of Tony Blair’s monthly press conference, entirely dominated by questions on Iraq, was no coincidence.

Arranged before the European Union swung behind the prime minister to toughen its stance against Saddam Hussein, Mr Blair was determined to address the concerns of the thousands who turned out on Saturday to protest at the prospect of war against Iraq.” The Herald

Antiwar Protests Fail to Sway Bush on Plans for Iraq:

President Bush dismissed antiwar protests today as a factor in his plans for confronting Iraq and pressed ahead with a strategy to persuade reluctant allies that United Nations weapons inspections would not secure the disarmament of Saddam Hussein.” NY Times Does this surprise you? I thought not. Have you started to feel hopeless yet about preventing this crime against humanity? Can you say “nonviolent direct action”?

Behind the Great Divide

Paul Krugman: “There has been much speculation why Europe and the U.S. are suddenly at such odds…”

Many Americans now blame France for the chill in U.S.-European relations. There is even talk of boycotting French products.

But France’s attitude isn’t exceptional. Last Saturday’s huge demonstrations confirmed polls that show deep distrust of the Bush administration and skepticism about an Iraq war in all major European nations, whatever position their governments may take. In fact, the biggest demonstrations were in countries whose governments are supporting the Bush administration.

There were big demonstrations in America too. But distrust of the U.S. overseas has reached such a level, even among our British allies, that a recent British poll ranked the U.S. as the world’s most dangerous nation— ahead of North Korea and Iraq.

So why don’t other countries see the world the way we do? News coverage is a large part of the answer. NY Times

TiVo in dock after new Discovery

“A personal video service that promised to revolutionise TV by remembering to record viewers’ favourite programmes has been accused of Big Brother tactics after it programmed viewers’ video recorders to automatically tape shows on the Discovery Channel…

US subscribers have discovered that their box is automatically switched to the Discovery Channel two nights a week to download commercials and trailers and when they switch their TV on the following morning, it is tuned to Discovery.” Guardian UK

Girl, 17, Fights for Life After Organ-Donor Error

“A 17-year-old girl is in critical condition after mistakenly being given a heart and lung transplant from a donor with the wrong blood type at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C.

The patient, Jésica Santillán, has rejected the organs and is unconscious and on life support. Doctors say she is unlikely to survive more than a few days without another transplant. But she has little chance of getting one, because donors are scarce. In 2001, doctors performed only 27 heart-lung transplants in the United States.” NY Times

Armageddon Asteroids:

‘Best kept a secret’. “A scientific adviser to the United States government has suggested that secrecy might be the best option if scientists were ever to discover that a giant asteroid was on course to collide with Earth.

In certain circumstances, nothing could be done to avoid such a collision and ensuing destruction, and it would be best not to tell the public anything, said Geoffrey Sommer, of the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California.” Independent UK

Hacker accesses 5.6 million credit cards —

Visa: ‘No accounts have been used fraudulently’. “The hacker who breached a security system to get into credit card information had access to about 5.6 million Visa and Mastercard accounts, far more than originally announced, the two card associations told CNN Tuesday.

Monday, Visa and Mastercard said the hacker could look at as many as 2.2 million accounts after breaching the security system of a company that processes credit card transactions on behalf of merchants.” CNN

Massive Great Ape Die-Off in Africa—

Ebola Suspected: “A catastrophic die-off of lowland gorillas and chimpanzees at the very heart of their range in central Africa has been reported by scientists.”

//news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/02/photogalleries/gorillas/images/primary/2_young_lowland_gorillas_n.jpg' cannot be displayed] The epidemic appears be spreading from west to east. Scientists from the World Wildlife Fund working in Minkebe National Park in northern Gabon documented the disappearance of great apes from an estimated area of 20,000 square kilometers (7,700 square miles) sometime between 1990 and 2000, and suspected that the Ebola virus might have been the cause. Three Ebola epidemics were recorded in villages in the Minkebe area between 1994 and 1996.

Between November 2001 and June 2002 at least 80 people died during an outbreak of the disease in the cross border area of northeastern Gabon and northwestern Congo (Mekambo-Ekata-Mbomo-Kelle). During this epidemic, scientists from ECOFAC, CIRMF, and WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) also documented deaths of great apes in the same area and the Ebola virus was confirmed from one carcass. In several cases it was established that handling fresh ape carcasses that they had found in the forest had contaminated humans.

//news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/05/images/030205_ebolaoutbreak.jpg' cannot be displayed]No one knows how the disease entered the first human or ape, said William Karesh, head of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Field Veterinary Program. “But we do know that the virus is subsequently spread from infected animals to other animals and from infected people to other people.”

Karesh said that there was no known way to contain the epidemic among animals. “When people are infected we can educate them about the risk of touching or consuming dead or sick animals, and if they are sick, to immediately let authorities know so they can be isolated before they infect other people.” National Geographic News

Slammed by Slammer?

More on Wired‘s claims that Symantec identified the Slammer threat and failed to share the information widely. “(D)id Symantec really sit on the problem? The company’s claims are inconsistent: a Silicon Defence analysis shows that Slammer infected more than 90 per cent of vulnerable hosts within 10 minutes. This analysis is supported by first-person accounts of telecom security experts contacted by us, as well as security consultant Robert Graham’s excellent review of the spread of the worm.

So we think this is more a case of Symantec shooting itself in the foot with inflated marketing claims for its early warning service rather than anything more sinister. If it knew about Slammer before everyone else (which is questionable) then we doubt it knew it was anything like as vicious as it turned out to be.” The Register [thanks, Michael]

The Repression Ramps Up:

Two Arrested for Posting Pictures of Iraqis in NYC: “Artist Emilie Clark and writer Lytle Shaw were arrested for posting pictures of people from Baghdad in Soho late Thursday night. Both have been released. A court date has been set to prosecute the two for showing New York City the people who will die in a possible war against Iraq.

Clark and Shaw were members of the Baghdad Snapshot Action Crew. Based in New York City, the crew of 75 artists and activists began posting simple flyers with pictures of ordinary Iraqi citizens around New York City, in anticipation and solidarity of the February 15th anti-war rally. The pictures were taken by artist Paul Chan, who recently returned from Baghdad as a member of the Iraq Peace Team, a project of the Chicago based, Nobel Peace Prize nominated activist group, Voices in the Wilderness.” National Philistine [thanks to John Maas] The police who detained Clark and Shaw justified their actions by concerns about the threat of a terrorist attack on the anti-war rally, and probably believed it. The twisted logic of justifying all sorts of repressive measures as protection is a keystone of the Ashcroft cosmos as it has been in every oppressive regime.

[Image 'iraq66.jpg' cannot be displayed]

I can’t find any coverage of this in the ‘official’ press; please send me the URL if you see a news source.

The Baghdad Snapshot Action website has full-size .pdfs of the thirty posters in black and white here. I’m sure the artists wouldn’t mind if you printed them out and began posting them around your communities…

Little Friends

(For Ween and Levon)

The little friend might be a scientific partner, helping you with your

experiments, head turned up in clean appreciation. Little friends mass in

thrift stores. You adopt on hair color and compatibility. Kung Fu

aesthetics are not the aesthetics of the little friend, but those of the

dense competition among equals.

Little friends are dirty; you’ve seen their expressions in phonics

textbooks. A number of little friends might be arranged in a choir and big

voices could lead, guide the chimes of little friends.

In the morning, mist rising above the castle and hill, The Dwarf leaves his

den under the tree roots, eyes adjusting to the scene around the river:

endless little friends there in respect and confidence. He is their

protector, and of course their leader.

— Lytle Shaw