The contrast in western attitudes to Darfur and Congo shows how illiberal our concept of intervention really is
The Bush administration’s plans to bring detainees at Guantánamo Bay to trial were thrown into chaos yesterday when military judges threw out all charges against a detainee held there since he was 15 and dismissed charges against another detainee who chauffeured Osama bin Laden.
The Colossus of Baghdad
Wonders of the Imperial World
By Tom Engelhardt
Of the seven wonders of the ancient Mediterranean world, including the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Colossus of Rhodes, four were destroyed by earthquakes, two by fire. Only the Great Pyramid of Giza today remains.
We no longer know who built those fabled monuments to the grandiosity of kings, pharaohs, and gods; nowadays, at least, it’s easier to identify the various wonders of our world with their architects. Maya Lin, for instance, spun the moving black marble Vietnam Memorial from her remarkable brain for the veterans of that war; Frank Gehry dreamt up his visionary titanium-covered museum in Bilbao, Spain, for the Guggenheim; and the architectural firm of BDY (Berger Devine Yaeger), previously responsible for the Sprint Corporation’s world headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas; the Visitation Church in Kansas City, Missouri; and Harrah’s Hotel and Casino in North Kansas City, Missouri, turns out to have designed the biggest wonder of all — an embassy large enough to embody the Bush administration’s vision of an American-reordered Middle East. We’re talking, of course, about the still-uncompleted American embassy, the largest on the planet, being constructed on a 104-acre stretch of land in the heart of Baghdad’s embattled Green Zone, now regularly under mortar fire. As Patrick Lenahan, Senior Architect and Project Manager at BDY, has put it (according to the firm’s website): “We understand how to involve the client most effectively as we direct our resources to make our client’s vision a reality.“
Andrew J. Bacevich: Parents who lose children, whether through accident or illness, inevitably wonder what they could have done to prevent their loss. When my son was killed in Iraq earlier this month at age 27, I found myself pondering my responsibility for his death.
Another human tragedy is unfolding just over the border with Iran and threatening Afghanistan. During the past three weeks the fundamentalist Islamic regime of Iran has forcefully deported over 85 000 Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan. Reports tell of the brutal treatment of Afghan refugees by the Iranian police and of women and children being separated from their adult male family members and taken away to Afghanistan. The flood of refugees surged into the hot deserts of Nimroz and Farah with no water, no food and no shelter – a horrific situation. Hundreds of small children who have been separated from their parents can be seen roaming, dazed and crying out for their families.
(Coal mined at the Cerrejon coal mine in Colombia is sold to NB Power and NS Power and consumed in electricity by residents in these provinces.)
Sintracarbón (the union representing the workers at the Cerrejon coal mine) has decided today [Weds. May 23] to carry out a peaceful sit-in at the Social Security Offices in the city of Riohacha to protest the health problems faced by Cerrejón’s workers, in particular, the over 700 workers who are suffering from different work-related illnesses and injuries.
The main issues affecting the workers have to do with:
· Failure of the ARP/ISS to provide services
· Lack of comprehensive rehabilitation for disabled workers
· Lack of a consistent program for work re-assignements by ARP/CERREJON
· Failure to supply medications prescribed for workers
· Failure to pay disability benefits in a timely manner
· Changing diagnoses from “work-related illness or injury” to a non-work-related cause
Because of the above, we demand from the Social Security Administration the following:
· That it create an interdisciplinary committee to resolve these problems
· That it recognize the work-related origin of the disabilities suffered by 700 Cerrejón workers
· That it review the benefits due for loss of work capacity
· That medications and rehabilitation be provided in a timely manner
· That a regional review board be established in Riohacha
· That diagnoses not be changed
We request your solidarity regarding these problems facing the workers at Cerrejon. The problems are increasing, and the programs in place to address them do not address the reality that our workers are suffering. The government entities (ISS/ARP) that are responsible for medical services and not fulfilling their responsibilities. They are taking the side of the company, and exacerbating the health problems faced by the workers.
JUNTA DIRECTIVA NACIONAL
The four kidnapped security guards were working for Canadian-owned security firm GardaWorld.The company is one of the biggest suppliers of private security in Iraq, and is mainly staffed by Britons.
The kidnapped computer expert was working for BearingPoint, a US management consultancy which has worked on development projects in Iraq since 2003.
Private contractors are known to be unpopular with Iraqis.
Anas Al-Tikriti, an Iraq expert involved in the negotiations to secure the release of Briton Norman Kember, said mercenaries, private contractors and private firms were considered to be in Iraq “filling their boots”.
“As much as the Iraqis despise and loathe the occupiers, they loathe and despise those mercenaries a hundred times more,” he said.
About 200 foreigners of many different nationalities have been kidnapped in Iraq over the past four years, though the number has fallen dramatically since a few years ago.
This is thought to be the first time Westerners have been abducted from a government facility.
Their head office is in Montreal and it is publicly traded on the TSX as “GW”.
Heather Mallick: I have long been puzzled by accusations of being “anti-American,” in other words as though it’s an epithet.
I am anti- many things: Robert Mugabe, torture, the tedious triumvirate of Roth, Bellow and DeLillo, lawn pesticides and, of course, Tony Blair.
Cindy Sheehan: I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called “Face” of the American anti-war movement. Especially since I renounced any tie I have remaining with the Democratic Party, I have been further trashed on such “liberal blogs” as the Democratic Underground. Being called an “attention whore” and being told “good riddance” are some of the more milder rebukes.