La fin de Pirate Bay?

Aujourd'hui, la police suédoise a capturé les serveurs de Pirate Bay, un des plus gros répertoires de torrents au monde. Le problème? D'aucune manière l'existence de ce site violait les lois suédoises, puisque, il faut le répéter, un site qui échange des fichiers torrents ne contient aucun matériel sous copyright.

Via Slashdot.
Les développements ici.
La nouvelle via Slyck.

ThePirateBay.org Raided - Servers Seized
May 31, 2006
Thomas Mennecke

In their native Sweden, ThePirateBay.org enjoyed a level of immunity from copyright prosecution rarely seen in the file-sharing world. Often defiant in the face of those wishing to enforce their intellectual property rights, ThePirateBay.org would go on to become one of the premier BitTorrent indexing and tracking sites.

As one of the largest trackers, ThePirateBay.org largely replaced the search engine SuprNova.org. SuprNova.org met its demise in late 2004, when it was under pressure from the entertainment industry to shut it operation down. Conversely, such pressure has been ineffective against ThePiratebay.org.

When such political pressure fails, the use of force is typically the next course of action. In a move that many thought would never come, Slyck.com learned this morning that ThePirateBay.org was raided by Swedish police.

“…The police right now is taking all of our servers, to check if there is a crime there or not (they are actually not sure),” ThePirateBay.org spokesperson “brokep” told Slyck.com.

The seizure of ThePirateBay.org’s entire server farm will guarantee this BitTorrent tracker will remain offline until the police complete their investigation. The uncertainty on the part of the police may stem from the fact ThePirateBay.org's servers only host .torrent files, not actual copyrighted material. As a tracker, ThePirateBay.org's function is to index .torrent files and to direct BitTorrent traffic and maintain the swarm (uploads and downloads.) The downloaded .torrent file contains all the necessary information to locate and download the queried file. The legality of indirectly linking to copyrighted material has yet to be tested by Swedish courts.

Whether this will keep ThePirateBay.org offline indefinitely is another matter.

“We are not sure when it will return, but we are moving it to another country if necessary,” brokep said.

According to The Pirate Party, a Swedish copyright reform organization, the raid also seized Piratbyrån's (the Pirate Bureau) servers. Piratbyrån is a educational and quasi-political organization which performs a public servic role similar to The Pirate Party. In addition, The Pirate Party reports "...the servers where located in a protected area, to which the police had no legal right to enter..." Approximately 50 police participated in the raid, which placed into custody two PirateBay.org personnel.

The premature departure of ThePirateBay.org marks a significant turning point in the BitTorrent community. Although it's not currently known what, if any, entertainment entity is behind this raid, failure to secure ThePirateBay.org's permanent removal will only bolster this tracker’s position of defiance.


Be Strong, Be Wrong

Repiqué de And The Clocks Were Striking Thirteen.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was a communist and a terrible president.
Jimmy Carter used to be a waffler, now he's a traitor.
Walter Mondale is a flip-flopper.
Michael Dukakis is a waffler.
Ronald Reagan was the best president in history.
The media is liberal.
Bill Clinton is a flip-flopper.
Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster.
Bill & Hillary Clinton are radical leftists.
Al Gore is a waffler.
Al Gore claimed he invented the internet.
Al Gore is boring, stiff and wonky.
George W. Bush is a great guy to have a beer with.
George W. Bush is a Texan.
George Bush was a successful businessman.
Bush won Florida in 2000.
Losing by 2 million votes in 2000 is a mandate.
This administration will hold itself accountable.
Bush will restore honor and integrity to the White House.
The Clinton administration trashed the White House before the Bush administration took over.
Bush will make health insurance affordable for low-income families.
The Healthy Forests Initiative will help forests.
No Child Left Behind will help children.
The Clear Skies Initiative will reduce air pollution.
Republicans are compassionate conservatives.
It is executive privilege not to reveal the members of the energy task force.
Vice President Cheney no longer has ties with Halliburton.
Bush is not that familiar with Ken “Kenny Boy” Lay.
There is no global warming.
There is global warming, but humans aren't causing it.
If there is global warming, it's actually good for us.
There are legitimate scientists who dispute the "liberal" theories about global warming.
Sex education causes STDs and increases pregnancy rates.
HPV vaccine will cause teen sex cults.
Unemployment numbers have never been so low.
Outsourcing will create more jobs.
The vast majority of Bush's tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum.
Tax breaks for Hummers are good for the economy.
Tax cuts increase federal revenue.
The estate tax hurts family farms.
Privatizing Social Security will save Social Security.
Citizens will earn more money for retirement with “private accounts.”
Republican proposals to change Social Security are not plans to “privatize.”
They are not “private accounts,” they are “personal accounts.”
The budget deficit will be cut in half in four years.
The economy is doing great.
Nothing is more important in a time of war than cutting taxes.
Bill Clinton is responsible for 9/11.
Bill Clinton was offered Bin Laden on a silver platter and turned it down.
No one could have anticipated airplanes flying into buildings.
We have removed the Taliban from Afghanistan.
Pat Tillman was killed by enemy fire.
They hate us for our freedom.
The creation of a department specializing in Domestic Security isn’t necessary.
Refusing to support the creation of a new Department of Homeland Security is anti-American.
The Patriot Act is needed to protect Americans.
Giving up some freedoms is necessary to defend freedom.
"Bin Laden Determined to Strike within the U.S." was a historical document.
You're either with us or against us.
We don’t want the smoking gun to be in the form of a mushroom cloud.
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
Anyone who leaks information will no longer be a part of this administration.
There can be no doubt that Saddam has reconstituted his WMD program.
The only way to get Zarqawi is to invade Iraq.
Saddam Hussein attacked us on 9/11.
We're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here.
Critics of the war are liberal, left-wing radicals.
Opposition to the war gives aid and comfort to the enemy.
Democrats hate America.
Dissent is unpatriotic.
The Iraqis will welcome us with open arms and flowers.
It could take six days, six weeks - I doubt six months.
Several hundred thousand troops is wildly off the mark.
Democrats voted for the war too.
Iraq is the central front on the war on terrorism.
Yellow ribbon magnets on your car mean you support the troops.
Iraqi oil will pay for the war and the reconstruction.
US liability for the war shouldn’t be more than a billion dollars.
Saddam would not let the weapons inspectors in the country.
Saddam would not let the weapons inspectors do their jobs.
There is a large international coalition participating in “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
We know where the WMD are. They’re in the area around Baghdad and Tikrit and north, south, west and east somewhat.
Those trucks we found in Iraq were mobile biological weapons labs.
Iraq sent its WMDs to Syria.
Mission accomplished.
The violence is the result of a few Baathist dead-enders.
The insurgency is in its last throes.
Bring It On.
No one could have anticipated the Iraqi insurgency.
There is no civil war in Iraq.
We've turned a corner in Iraq.
A spike in violence in Iraq is a sign of American success as insurgents resist positive changes.
A decline in violence in Iraq is indicative of American success in getting a handle on Iraqi security.
If our military commanders need more troops, all they have to do is ask for them.
Abu Ghraib was the result of “a few bad apples.”
There is no need for a bill banning the use of torture.
We do not torture.
A “signing statement” freeing the executive branch from having to follow a law is necessary during a time of war.
Progress as a result of the “historic” pass of sovereignty, formation of government, election in Iraq will be seen in the next 6 to 8 months.
When they stand up, we'll stand down.
A plan to withdraw troops is defeatist.
U.S. beliefs that Iraq had WMD was an intelligence lapse.
The WMD mistakes were made in good faith.
Congress had access to the same intelligence on Iraq.
The Founding Fathers were Christians.
George W. Bush is a Christian man.
America is a Christian nation.
There is a war on Christmas.
There is a war on Easter.
Democrats and the ACLU want to ban the bible.
Democrats and the ACLU want to make it illegal to pray.
Bush was elected by “values voters.”
Dems struggle to attract “values voters.”
Jesus would have voted for Bush.
Gay marriage threatens the sanctity of marriage.
Republicans are pro-life.
Democrats are the party of death.
Evolution isn't supported by the facts.
There are legitimate scientists who dispute the "liberal" theories about evolution.
Man existed alongside the dinosaurs.
The earth is 6,000 years old.
Terry Schiavo wanted to live.
Michael Schiavo wanted to murder his wife.
Michael Schiavo abused his wife.
Terry Schiavo can laugh, smile & communicate.
Terry Schiavo can recover.
The country is 'bitterly divided' over the Schiavo controversy.
George W. Bush is a war hero. John Kerry isn't.
John Kerry shot himself in the leg to earn his medals.
Max Cleeland blew off his own limbs.
Bush is a war president.
Bush is a popular president.
The Democrats are weak on national security
Bush critics are 'shrill,' 'angry,' 'bitter’
John Kerry was against the $87 million before he was for it.
John Kerry is a flip-flopper.
John Kerry outed Mary Cheney.
Howard Dean is insane.
Diebold voting machines are secure.
Fox News is fair and balanced.
Jeff Gannon is a journalist.
Bill O’Reilly looks out for you by cutting through the spin to get to the truth.
Chris Matthews will not let anything get by him.
Tim Russert asks the tough questions.
Dan Rather got what was coming to him.
No one could have anticipated the breech of the levies.
Kathleen Blanco never asked for federal help.
Ray Nagin should have used the buses.
All of the president’s nominations should be given an “up or down vote.”
John Roberts would be a great Supreme Court justice.
Harriet Miers would be a great Supreme Court justice.
Harriet Miers is the best candidate to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.
It is not necessary to give Harriet Miers an immediate “up or down vote.”
Sam Alito is the best candidate to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.
It is the duty of Congress to approve the President’s nominations.
Tom DeLay is decent Christian businessman.
The Delay investigation is the result of a rabidly partisan prosecutor.
Nobody at the White House knows Jack Abramoff.
Democrats took money from Jack Abramoff too.
The Corruption scandals are bipartisan.
The 9/11 plot would have been discovered with the NSA domestic spying program.
Press reports about warrantless wire tapping undermines American national security.
Bill Clinton did it too.
Democrats don't want to wiretap terrorists.
Whenever we say "wiretap," that means we're going to get a court order.
The government is tapping your phone to protect you.
Leaks of classified information authorized by the President are ok because he can de-classify anything at will.
Leaks of classified information to the press by a whistleblower to expose illegal activity are treasonous and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
You cannot have Civil Liberties if you are dead.
Anyone who thinks Dubai shouldn't control our ports is racist.
No one who thinks we should build a wall along the Mexican border is racist.
The national anthem should only be sung in English.
Mexicans must be stopped from taking jobs Americans won't do.
George W. Bush is a decider.
Dick Cheney is a sober shooter.
Joe Wilson admitted that Valerie Plame wasn't covert.
Valerie Plame is a traitor.
Joseph Wilson is a traitor.
Patrick Fitzgerald is going to indict Joe Wilson.
Karl Rove has a faulty memory.
Scooter Libby has a faulty memory.
Gas prices are high because of liberal environmentalists.
Gas prices are high because of taxes.
Drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge will lower the price of oil.
High gas prices are the result of increased global demand.
Capping gas prices interferes with the free market.
Gas is still cheaper in America than in Europe.
Windfall taxes on high oil company profits is socialism.
It’s surprising that Bush’s poll numbers are so low since people like him so much.
Basically everybody likes the president except for a few wackos on the left.
George Bush doesn't read the polls.
The Democrats are in disarray.
The Democrats are struggling to take advantage of opportunities even with a weakened GOP.
Some Democrat party insiders are concerned the party is too liberal.
Some Democrat party insiders say Howard Dean is destroying the party.
Howard Dean can't raise money.
The Republican Party is the party of ideas.
Democrats lack new ideas.
Democrats are struggling to articulate ideas.
Democrats take a political hit criticizing Bush when he has strong poll numbers.
Democrats look like they are “piling on” if they criticize Bush when he has weak poll numbers.
Al Gore is an angry madman.
John McCain is a maverick.
John McCain is a straight shooter.
Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat nominee in 2008.

Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

War is Peace.
Freedom is Slavery.
Ignorance is Strength.

Abstain from this

The Bush administration's $1 billion experiment in using abstinence messages as the basis of HIV prevention has born its first fruit: In a public speech on May 18, Uganda's AIDS Commissioner Kihumuro Apuuli announced that HIV infections have almost doubled in Uganda over the past two years, from 70,000 in 2003 to 130,000 in 2005. And despite this chilling wake-up call, Bush has empowered Christian right activists to continue to push their abstinence-only agenda at a UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS, to begin next week. According to a State Department email I obtained, the official U.S. delegation is stacked with some of the very people who contributed to the debacle in Uganda.

Curious George and the media

A battlefront in the war on terror is, of course, Iraq. And people in our country are unsettled because of the war, and I understand that. I fully understand why people in America are disquieted about what they're seeing on their TV screens. There's a concern about whether or not we can win. There's no doubt in my mind we will win. And our objective is to have an Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself, an ally in the war on terror, and an example for others in a region that is desperate for freedom.

The enemy cannot defeat us on the battlefield, but what they can do is put horrible images on our TV screens.

Winning hearts and minds

"We don't want Americans in our country. They don't care about poor people. They killed innocent people today and this is not the first time," said Abdul Shakoor, a 28-year-old who joined in the protests after Monday's traffic accident. "They do it all the time and in the end they say it was a mistake. It's not acceptable to us anymore."


Friedman Redux

C'est quand même étonnant comment on peut répéter la même chose depuis bientôt quatre ans.

Friedman ce matin.

Nevertheless, thanks to the incredible sacrifice of U.S. and British soldiers, Iraqi elections have been held, a parliament convened. The process is indeed messy, and, given all the shameful mistakes by the Bush team, much deadlier than it had to be. But Mr. Ibrahim, who spent from 2000 to 2003 in an Egyptian prison for pushing free and fair elections in Egypt, is no starry-eyed dreamer, and he believes there's a decent chance that in a few years, Iraq will make its transition, build up an army and settle down.


La guerre juste? Le cas de l’Afghanistan.

Peut-être croyez-vous qu’il existe des interventions militaires qui sont justifiables? (Personnellement, je crois qu’elles peuvent l’être, mais que les réalités du pouvoir et des conflits des intérêts rendent l’idée presque toujours en pratique injustifiable à l'aide des critères moraux que l'on se donne habituellement; m’enfin c’est le sujet d’une autre discussion). Certaines personnes aiment croire que l’intervention en Afghanistan est justifiable selon les principes de la théorie de la guerre juste. Voyons ces critères (Wiki) :

1)Just Cause: Force may be used only to correct a grave public evil (e.g. a massive violation of the basic rights of whole populations) or in defense;
St Augustine categorised just cause into three elements which justified warfare
•defending against an external attack
•recapturing things taken
•punishing people who have done wrong
A contemporary view of just cause was expressed in 1993 when the US Catholic Conference said: "Force may be used only to correct a grave, public evil, i.e. aggression or massive violation of the basic human rights of whole populations"
2)Comparative Justice: While there may be rights and wrongs on all sides of a conflict, to override the presumption against the use of force, the injustice suffered by one party must significantly outweigh that suffered by the other;
3)Legitimate Authority: Only duly constituted public authorities may use deadly force or wage war;
4)Right Intention: Force may be used only in a truly just cause and solely for that purpose- correcting a suffered wrong is considered a right intention, while material gain or maintaining economies is not.
5)Probability of Success: Arms may not be used in a futile cause or in a case where disproportionate measures are required to achieve success;
6)Proportionality: The overall destruction expected from the use of force must be outweighed by the good to be achieved.[3]
7)Last Resort: Force may be used only after all peaceful and viable alternatives have been seriously tried and exhausted.

Seuls le troisième critère et une certaine version du premier critère ont été respectés. 1) dans la mesure où vous croyez que les Talibans sont directement responsables de l’attaque du 11 septembre, peut-être est-ce justifiable d’attaquer l’Afghanistan. S’il s’agit de la principale raison de l’attaque, vous devez expliquer pourquoi et comment il est justifiable de poursuivre l’intervention militaire alors que les Talibans ont quitté le pouvoir (i.e. le but de l’attaque est-il de les chasser du pouvoir ou de les exterminer ?). On peut aussi dire que les Talibans sont si horribles côté droits de la personne (i.e. droits des femmes) que ceci justifie une attaque ; vous devez par contre, selon moi, démontrer en quoi le sort des femmes dans ce pays est pire que dans les pays que l’on n’attaque pas, et, si le sort de femmes de d’autres pays est pire, pourquoi on choisirait l’Afghanistan plutôt que ce pays hypothétique comme cible. 3) l’attaque s’est déroulée sous mandat de l’ONU, donc ça va ici.

Le critère 2) n’est pas respecté : il est clair qu’une invasion militaire d’un pays sera infiniment plus dommageable qu’une attaque terroriste qui a tué quelques milliers de personnes.

Le critère 4) pourrait être respecté si on ne savait pas que Karzai est un ex-conseiller d’UNOCAL, et que les plans de construction d’un pipeline afghan ont été accélérés après l’invasion. C’est aussi très douteux à la lumière de la stratégie américaine en Asie Centrale quant au contrôle des ressources naturelles et du contrepoids souhaité aux influences russe et chinoise.

Les critères 5) et 6) ne sont clairement pas remplis. Une invasion et une occupation militaire pour tenter d’épingler quelques personnes ? Proportionnel ? Et quelles sont les conditions de victoire de notre occupation de ce pays ? Si vous le savez, faites-moi en part.

Le critère 7) a peut-être été respecté, si vous considérez que de proférer de vagues menaces aux Talibans afin qu’ils livrent Bin Laden constitue l’épuisement des mesures diplomatiques à entreprendre dans des cas semblables.

En bref, on ne peut justifier notre présence en Afghanistan, selon les critères de la théorie de la guerre juste. Ne reste plus qu'à sortir avant de participer à une guerre civile qui embrasera le pays, nous avec.


Ce que Al "Goebbels" Gore a à dire

Voici, en référence à mon intervention précédente, le documentaire qui fait d'Al Gore, la réincarnation du ministre de la propagande de Hitler.

Goebbels répond aux critiques:

Thank God for CO2

And, BTW, Al Gore is a nazi.

Via C&L.

Update: More gems from the National Center for Policy Analysis (or ExxonMobil, if you prefer).


Fast Food Nation

Si vous n'avez jamais lu le livre (à lire absolument), réservez-vous au moins du temps pour aller voir le (faux) documentaire qui sortira bientôt ici (m'enfin, on l'espère). Beaucoup plus intéressant que Super Size Me.

Jon Stewart: why are you hurting America?


Since taking over The Daily Show in 1999, Stewart's cut-the-crap humour and endless send-ups of politicians and the world they inhabit have made him a force to be reckoned with in American politics.

He has been on the cover of Newsweek and won Emmy awards. His U.S. audience has doubled in the last five years, to 1.3 million.

In Canada, his ratings are also on the rise, with 400,000 watching him on the Comedy Network and CTV, according to Nielsen Media Research.

But is his sarcasm turning those who watch him the most — young adults — into giant cynics with a diminishing trust in politicians and the institutions of democracy?

One new study, published this month in the journal American Politics Research, says yes. Reseachers have connected The Daily Show to lower opinions of politicians and greater cynicism toward the mainstream media and the electoral process itself.

At the same time, for reasons the study's authors propose are none too flattering, these same young people also figure themselves quite confident in their own knowledge about the complex world of politics.

"We are not saying The Daily Show is bad for democracy," says study co-author Jonathan Morris, an assistant professor at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. "I'm a fan of The Daily Show. I watch it very frequently.

"We're just pointing out that exposure to this show among young adults is associated with cynicism toward political candidates and the political process as a whole."

A spokesperson for the Comedy Central channel in the U.S., where the show is produced, said no one from the show would comment on the study.

The study was done before the 2004 presidential election. It chose college students as subjects, since young adults are the most avid watchers of The Daily Show, even as this age group increasingly ignores mainstream news.

Mmmh, Jon Stewart est-il un agent double de l'extrême-droite?


L'aviez-vous compris?

Iran = Allemagne nazie
Iran = Allemagne nazie
Iran = Allemagne nazie
Iran = Allemagne nazie
Iran = Allemagne nazie

Êtes-vous prêts? Eux le sont.


Greg Palast: l'amusante histoire de ChoicePoint

Greg Palast, un journaliste américain qui aime bien déterrer ce que les autres journalistes n'oseraient jamais regarder, vient de publier un livre sur les dessous peu affriolants de la Guerre contre le Terrorisme (TM). Il révèle entre autre l'existence d'une compagnie, ChoicePoint, qui aimerait sans doute vous connaître un peu mieux, toujours un peu mieux (et c'est ça le problème).

Des extraits du livre ici et .

What pizza do you like? At what price? Are you willing totake the risk associated with dealing with a company that doesn’t screen their drivers? Who is this guy [asking these questions]? Derek Smith is the founder of a company called ChoicePoint, prime contractor for the Department of Homeland Security.

ChoicePoint, the largest personal profile database company in America, is the leader in the Fear Industry. The problem for CEO Smith and the firm he founded in 1994 is that, at first, the public wasn’t buying . . . until September 11, 2001, when ChoicePoint’s new business plan fell from the sky.“The War on Terror hasn’t been decided yet, but a few winners are emerging,” wrote Forbes a few months after the attack. “High up onthe list of businesses that will benefit . . . ChoicePoint, Inc.”They didn’t have to wait. ChoicePoint’s Bode Technologies division picked up a $12 million contract to identify by DNA testing pieces of corpses found in the Staten Island garbage dump holding the TwinTowers. Al-Qaeda’s attack set up an explosion of demand for Smith’s topproduct. His top product is you. Your Prozac prescription, Satan’s church donations, Victoria’s Secret bill payments, driver’s license, voting record, you name it. And George Bush is buying. ChoicePointis operating a private FBI or, more accurately, a private KGB, because they keep files on you that the law doesn’t allow the FBI to hold.The law in question is the U.S. Constitution, which says the government can’t spy on you unless you’re suspected of a crime, but ChoicePoint can, and that’s where the game begins.

And what does the family Bush do with ChoicePoint’s funky information? In Florida, it was ChoicePoint’s DBT unit that came up with the list of 94,000 “felons” to purge from Florida voter rolls before the 2000 election. At least 91,000 were innocent legal voters,but the vast majority of these were guilty of nothing more than being Black, Democrats or both. And now, ChoicePoint wants your blood. Why? Because “Choice-Point Cares.” That’s the name of its program to reunite those kiddies on milk cartons with their loved ones. And they’ll need your DNA to do it. That’s the point of the ghost stories of pizza men coming to snatch your milk-carton baby, to convince “the mothers of this country facing threats” to raise no objections to the data goldminers digging into your bank accounts, medical records and bloodstream.

[...] The company’s inside track is bullet-proofed. Its retainers include Vin Weber, former congressman and a cofounder of Project for a New American Century (PNAC) with Richard Armitage, who served on the board of ChoicePoint’s Florida unit. (Armitage, after the vote-purging work was done, was appointed a Deputy Secretary of State.) The remainder of the ChoicePoint Board of Directors looks like a Bush fundraising gala, including Home Depotfounder Bernie Marcus and his partner Ken Langone, Treasurer of Rudy Giuliani’s aborted Senate campaign against Hillary Clinton.

But take a look at this document marked, on page 44, “FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION—SECRET [ci-dessous].” It is about the FBI’s contract with ChoicePoint to obtain government records on every citizen in half a dozen countries. The September 11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates and Pakistan. But the FBI has, oddly, chosen Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Honduras and Venezuela. Is there an exploding enchilada conspiracy sneaking over the border? Or is it something else that put these nation’s citizenry on the terror watchlist? Notably, each nation had an anti-Bush president running for reelection or an anti-Bush candidate in the lead for the presidency. Hmm. When I was in Venezuela in 2004, I noted that Súmate, a group seeking the recall of Bush’s bête noire, President Hugo Chávez, had at each registration booth a laptop computer with the voter rolls. The anti-Chávez group could challenge improper (i.e. pro-Chávez) voters. Was this Florida-goes-Latin? No one could say where Súmate got the lists or if these were the ones lifted by ChoicePoint. We do know that Súmate received cash payments from the Bush Administration. Hunting for Hijackers . . . in Venezuela? Every September 11 hijacker came from the Arabian Peninsula or Pakistan. Yet, from a source with a copy not blacked out, we learned the hunt was limited to Venezuela, Mexico and other Latin nations with presidential elections favoring anti-Bush candidates. The interesting thing about ChoicePoint’s obtaining these citizen files from Venezuela, Mexico and Argentina is that according to press reports and officials I spoke with, in those countries this is a crime. ChoicePoint blames any misconduct on its operatives. Nevertheless,Mexico contractors were busted; arrests were avoided in Argentina when ChoicePoint promised to erase its copies of the list. But what about Bush’s copy?

Qui a dit que les critiques de cinéma n'avaient plus de mordant?

Allez lire A.O. Scott à propos du Da Vinci Code.

C'est arrivé près de chez vous

Immigration: Mother consigned to certain death by harsh new rules

A young mother fell ill and died on a visit to Britain - an innocent victim of the hysteria over so-called health tourism

By Maxine Frith, Social Affairs Correspondent
Published: 18 May 2006

When Ese Elizabeth Alabi fell ill while on a trip to Britain and was told she urgently needed a heart transplant, she comforted herself with the knowledge that she was in a democratic country with an excellent healthcare system.

Instead, she was consigned to a certain death by draconian new rules brought in to quell the hysteria over so-called health tourism and immigration.

Ms Alabi was denied the chance of a heart transplant simply on the grounds of her nationality and died in hospital on Monday night at the age of 29, leaving three-month-old twin boys and a two-year-old son. Desperate attempts to get a High Court judge to overturn the rules were delayed as Ms Alabi was forced to fight a deportation battle even as she lay dying in hospital.

On impose un délai de carence -un délai d'accès aux soins de santé- aux immigrants québécois de trois mois, qui ne s'applique heureusement pas aux cas urgents. Toutefois, qui sait, avec un vent d'hystérie anti-immigration qui souffle sur l'occident, un gouvernement de droite à Ottawa et un virage à droite qui semble s'amorcer au Québec sur les question sociales, doit-on s'attendre à ce genre de situation ici?


Une "accalmie" en Irak?

Syed Saleem Shahzad:

The Taliban, and to a lesser extent al-Qaeda, have established a de facto Islamic state in the North Waziristan tribal area on the border with Afghanistan. In effect it is beyond the control of Islamabad. This correspondent planned to travel there, but was warned that it would not be "fruitful", presumably in terms of life expectancy.

Instead, some contacts from North Waziristan traveled to the city of Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province, to speak to Asia Times Online, including Nasir.

They related that about two weeks ago, three men representing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda leader in charge of Iraqi operations, were summoned from that country. The men met with Zawahiri in South Waziristan and were bluntly told to "immediately stop attacking Shi'ites in Iraq" and to "bring about [Sunni] reconciliation with Shi'ite groups" in Iraq. Further, they were ordered to "develop a common anti-US strategy along with the Shi'ites in Iraq".

Tom Friedman

Peut-être pensez-vous, à l'instar de Richard Martineau, que Tom Friedman est un grand journaliste dont les positions sont justes et étoffées? Personnellement, je lis Friedman à l'occasion, lorsque par exemple je me trouve loin d'une source de caféine et que j'ai envie de faire monter ma pression. Mais parfois, c'est l'hilarité qu'il provoque en moi:

(Gracieuseté de Fair.Org)

"The next six months in Iraq—which will determine the prospects for democracy-building there—are the most important six months in U.S. foreign policy in a long, long time."
(New York Times, 11/30/03)

"What I absolutely don't understand is just at the moment when we finally have a UN-approved Iraqi-caretaker government made up of—I know a lot of these guys—reasonably decent people and more than reasonably decent people, everyone wants to declare it's over. I don't get it. It might be over in a week, it might be over in a month, it might be over in six months, but what's the rush? Can we let this play out, please?"
(NPR's Fresh Air, 6/3/04)

"What we're gonna find out, Bob, in the next six to nine months is whether we have liberated a country or uncorked a civil war."
(CBS's Face the Nation, 10/3/04)

"Improv time is over. This is crunch time. Iraq will be won or lost in the next few months. But it won't be won with high rhetoric. It will be won on the ground in a war over the last mile."
(New York Times, 11/28/04)

"I think we're in the end game now…. I think we're in a six-month window here where it's going to become very clear and this is all going to pre-empt I think the next congressional election—that's my own feeling— let alone the presidential one."
(NBC's Meet the Press, 9/25/05)

"Maybe the cynical Europeans were right. Maybe this neighborhood is just beyond transformation. That will become clear in the next few months as we see just what kind of minority the Sunnis in Iraq intend to be. If they come around, a decent outcome in Iraq is still possible, and we should stay to help build it. If they won't, then we are wasting our time."
(New York Times, 9/28/05)

"We've teed up this situation for Iraqis, and I think the next six months really are going to determine whether this country is going to collapse into three parts or more or whether it's going to come together."
(CBS's Face the Nation, 12/18/05)

"We're at the beginning of I think the decisive I would say six months in Iraq, OK, because I feel like this election—you know, I felt from the beginning Iraq was going to be ultimately, Charlie, what Iraqis make of it."
(PBS's Charlie Rose Show, 12/20/05)

"The only thing I am certain of is that in the wake of this election, Iraq will be what Iraqis make of it—and the next six months will tell us a lot. I remain guardedly hopeful."
(New York Times, 12/21/05)

"I think that we're going to know after six to nine months whether this project has any chance of succeeding. In which case, I think the American people as a whole will want to play it out or whether it really is a fool's errand."
(Oprah Winfrey Show, 1/23/06)

"I think we're in the end game there, in the next three to six months, Bob. We've got for the first time an Iraqi government elected on the basis of an Iraqi constitution. Either they're going to produce the kind of inclusive consensual government that we aspire to in the near term, in which case America will stick with it, or they're not, in which case I think the bottom's going to fall out."
(CBS, 1/31/06)

"I think we are in the end game. The next six to nine months are going to tell whether we can produce a decent outcome in Iraq."
(NBC's Today, 3/2/06)

"Can Iraqis get this government together? If they do, I think the American public will continue to want to support the effort there to try to produce a decent, stable Iraq. But if they don't, then I think the bottom is going to fall out of public support here for the whole Iraq endeavor. So one way or another, I think we're in the end game in the sense it's going to be decided in the next weeks or months whether there's an Iraq there worth investing in. And that is something only Iraqis can tell us."
(CNN, 4/23/06)

"Well, I think that we're going to find out, Chris, in the next year to six months—probably sooner—whether a decent outcome is possible there, and I think we're going to have to just let this play out."
(MSNBC's Hardball, 5/11/06)

Comme disent les jeunes: "LOL"

Il fallait que ça arrive

Record labels sue XM over portable device

Il est très intéressant que la RIAA se lance à l'assaut contre la radio par satellite. En fait, selon moi, ça pourrait très bien être un des premiers cas où les majors se feront sérieusement rabrouer par les autorités judiciaires, parce que dans ce cas-ci, c'est clairement la doctrine du "Fair Use" qui est attaquée (celle-ci permettait entre autres aux gens d'enregistrer tout contenu diffusé sur les ondes pour usage personnel), à moins bien sûr qu'il ne s'agisse là que d'une manière de faire payer XM et Sirius des quantités exponentiellement croissantes d'argent pour faire jouer les produits de la RIAA. À suivre...

"XM Radio is the largest single payer of digital music broadcast royalties, and royalties paid by XM go to the music industry and benefit artists directly," the satellite radio company said.

"The music labels are trying to stifle innovation, limit consumer choice and roll back consumers' rights to record content for their personal use," XM added.

"It's a question of economic impact. Will these devices substitute for the purchase of a record? Everything is changing and the industry is petrified," said Jay Cooper, an entertainment lawyer.


Rove et Harper

Aujourd'hui, Chantal Hébert publiait ses impressions du gouvernement Harper. Si celles-ci étaient en gros assez positives, elle notait aussi que les problèmes d'un gouvernement (surtout du type minoritaire) sont souvent déjà là, à un stade embryonnaire, prêts à éclore dans un contexte favorable.

Up to now, the Prime Minister has tended to score his most effective goals by pursuing policies that the Liberals could (or used to) call their own and to generate the most controversy by dropping Liberal balls.

As a result, some of the trouble spots that may be lurking around the corner of his first year in office can already be spotted on the fronts of the environment, social policy, aboriginal rights, his relationship with Ontario and, potentially, the Afghan mission.

Il y a quelque chose que Chantal oublie: les élections mi-mandat aux USA. Vous pouvez être sûrs d'une chose, Karl Rove mettra en branle les bonnes vieilles méthodes qui ont donné à GWB ses deux mandats, i.e. attiser l'homophobie de sa base ultra-conservatrice. Si c'est le cas, les débats qui se déroulent aux USA se feront sentir et on entendra ceux et celles qu'Harper a su faire taire jusqu'ici. Quel sera le résultat pour son gouvernement? Et quelles seront les conséquences pour Boisclair?

Le déséquilibre d'un monde unipolaire, les tensions d'un monde multipolaire

Si vous avez quelques minutes à tuer, je vous invite à lire un article sur l'émergence d'un système international multipolaire (dans la foulée de mon intervention précédente).

Un extrait :

The American aspiration to freeze historical development by working to keep the world unipolar is doomed. In the not very long run, the task will exceed America’s economic, military and political resources; and the very effort to maintain a hegemonic position is the surest way to undermine it. The effort to maintain dominance stimulates some countries to work to overcome it. As theory shows and history confirms, that is how balances of power are made.

Kenneth Waltz "Intimations of Multipolarity"

Latin America's New Consensus

À lire.


As its political and economic influence in the region wanes, Washington has given up trying to convince Latin America to join the "war on terror," while its trade envoys are now reduced to signing bilateral deals with negligible economies like Paraguay and Ecuador to dilute opposition to the FTAA. The White House, under the sway of neocon ultras, has further backed itself into a corner by encouraging Chávez's adversaries to go for broke. Rather than patiently broadening a base of opposition and accumulating grievances, they have pursued an increasingly desperate series of actions--a coup attempt, an oil strike, the recall and, most recently, a boycott of legislative elections--that have left their nemesis strengthened and themselves discredited. Washington may be laying the groundwork for the same all-or-nothing strategy against Morales, having just announced that it is cutting off 96 percent of its military aid to Bolivia, a move that seems calculated to provoke the armed forces to act. The Bush Administration now promises to wage a battle for the "future of Latin America," but with few options left--except, of course, the military one--it is unclear if it will have any more success in what used to be the United States's backyard than it is having now in the Middle East.


Fabriquer du bio-diesel sans effort (ou si peu)

Via Slashdot.

NZ firm makes bio-diesel from sewage in world first

By Errol Kiong

A New Zealand company has successfully turned sewage into modern-day gold.

Marlborough-based Aquaflow Bionomic yesterday announced it had produced its first sample of bio-diesel fuel from algae in sewage ponds.

It is believed to be the world's first commercial production of bio-diesel from "wild" algae outside the laboratory - and the company expects to be producing at the rate of at least one million litres of the fuel each year from Blenheim by April.

Faites votre propre gag. Des compteurs pour vos toilettes? Le parachutage d'algues sur Québec et Ottawa?

M'enfin, blague à part, c'est loin d'être une mauvaise nouvelle, étant donné que c'est beaucoup plus productif comme méthode de production de biodiesel, il semble, que toutes les autres.

Jack Cafferty est en colère

Via C&L.


The Minutemen: protection against disease-ridden canadians

Sydney Blumenthal

Je vous invite à lire son texte sur la fin de la CIA.


Regardless of anodyne assurances offered in his forthcoming congressional testimony, Hayden will preside over the liquidation of the CIA as it has been known. The George H.W. Bush CIA headquarters building in Langley will of course remain standing. But the agency will be chipped apart, some of its key parts absorbed by other agencies, with the Pentagon emerging as the ultimate winner.

The militarization of intelligence under Bush is likely to guarantee military solutions above other options. Uniformed officers trained to identity military threats and trends will take over economic and political intelligence for which they are untrained and often incapable, and their priorities will skew analysis. But the bias toward the military option will be one that the military in the end will dislike. It will find itself increasingly bearing the brunt of foreign policy and stretched beyond endurance. The vicious cycle leads to a downward spiral. And Hayden's story will be like a dull shadow of Powell's -- a tale of a "good soldier" who salutes, gets promoted, is used and abused, and is finally discarded.

No president has ever before ruined an agency at the heart of national security out of pique and vengeance. The manipulation of intelligence by political leadership demands ever tightened control. But political purges provide only temporary relief from the widening crisis of policy failure.

La lettre d'un fou?

Via ATol

Je vous laisse décider:

Mr George Bush, President of the United States of America

For some time now I have been thinking, how one can justify the undeniable contradictions that exist in the international arena - which are being constantly debated, specially in political forums and among university students. Many questions remain unanswered. These have prompted me to discuss some of the contradictions and questions, in the hopes that it might bring about an opportunity to redress them.

Can one be a follower of Jesus Christ (PBUH) [praise be upon his name], the great Messenger of God, feel obliged to respect human rights, present liberalism as a civilization model, announce one's opposition to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and WMDs [weapons of mass destruction], make war and terror his slogan, and finally, work towards the establishment of a unified international community - a community which Christ and the virtuous of the Earth will one day govern, but at the same time have countries attacked; the lives, reputations and possessions of people destroyed and on the slight chance of the ... of a ... criminals in a village or city, or convoy, or for example the entire village, city or convoy, set ablaze.

Or because of the possibility of the existence of WMDs in one country, it is occupied, around 100,000 people killed, its water sources, agriculture and industry destroyed, close to 180,000 foreign troops put on the ground, sanctity of private homes of citizens broken, and the country pushed back perhaps 50 years. At what price? Hundreds of billions of dollars spent from the treasury of one country and certain other countries and tens of thousands of young men and women - as occupation troops - put in harm's way, taken away from family and loved ones, their hands stained with the blood of others, subjected to so much psychological pressure that every day some commit suicide and those returning home suffer depression, become sickly and grapple with all sorts of ailments; while some are killed and their bodies handed to their families.

On the pretext of the existence of WMDs, this great tragedy came to engulf both the peoples of the occupied and the occupying country. Later it was revealed that no WMDs existed to begin with.

Of course Saddam [Hussein] was a murderous dictator. But the war was not waged to topple him, the announced goal of the war was to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction. He was toppled along the way towards another goal, nevertheless the people of the region are happy about it. I point out that throughout the many years of the ... war on Iran [in the 1980s], Saddam was supported by the West.

Mr President,

You might know that I am a teacher. My students ask me how can these actions be reconciled with the values outlined at the beginning of this letter and duty to the tradition of Jesus Christ (PBUH), the Messenger of peace and forgiveness.

There are prisoners in Guantanamo Bay that have not been tried, have no legal representation, their families cannot see them and are obviously kept in a strange land outside their own country. There is no international monitoring of their conditions and fate. No one knows whether they are prisoners, POWs [prisoners of war], accused or criminals.

European investigators have confirmed the existence of secret prisons in Europe too. I could not correlate the abduction of a person, and him or her being kept in secret prisons, with the provisions of any judicial system. For that matter, I fail to understand how such actions correspond to the values outlined in the beginning of this letter, ie the teachings of Jesus Christ (PBUH), human rights and liberal values.

Young people, university students and ordinary people have many questions about the phenomenon of Israel. I am sure you are familiar with some of them. Throughout history many countries have been occupied, but I think the establishment of a new country with a new people, is a new phenomenon that is exclusive to our times.

Students are saying that 60 years ago such a country did not exist. The show old documents and globes and say try as we have, we have not been able to find a country named Israel.

I tell them to study the history of World War I and II. One of my students told me that during WWII, which more than tens of millions of people perished in, news about the war was quickly disseminated by the warring parties. Each touted their victories and the most recent battlefront defeat of the other party. After the war, they claimed that 6 million Jews had been killed. Six million people that were surely related to at least 2 million families.

Again let us assume that these events are true. Does that logically translate into the establishment of the state of Israel in the Middle East or support for such a state? How can this phenomenon be rationalized or explained?

Mr President,

I am sure you know how - and at what cost - Israel was established: Many thousands were killed in the process.

Millions of indigenous people were made refugees.

Hundred of thousands of hectares of farmland, olive plantations, towns and villages were destroyed.

This tragedy is not exclusive to the time of establishment; unfortunately it has been ongoing for 60 years now.

A regime has been established which does not show mercy even to kids, destroys houses while the occupants are still in them, announces beforehand its list and plans to assassinate Palestinian figures and keeps thousands of Palestinians in prison. Such a phenomenon is unique - or at the very least extremely rare - in recent memory.

Another big question asked by people is why is this regime being supported? Is support for this regime in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ (PBUH) or Moses (PBUH) or liberal values? Or are we to understand that allowing the original inhabitants of these lands - inside and outside Palestine - whether they are Christian, Muslim or Jew, to determine their fate, runs contrary to principles of democracy, human rights and the teachings of prophets? If not, why is there so much opposition to a referendum?

The newly elected Palestinian administration recently took office. All independent observers have confirmed that this government represents the electorate. Unbelievingly, they have put the elected government under pressure and have advised it to recognize the Israeli regime, abandon the struggle and follow the programs of the previous government.

If the current Palestinian government had run on the above platform, would the Palestinian people have voted for it? Again, can such position taken in opposition to the Palestinian government be reconciled with the values outlined earlier? The people are also saying why are all UNSC [United Nations Security Council] resolutions in condemnation of Israel vetoed?

Mr President,

As you are well aware, I live among the people and am in constant contact with them - many people from around the Middle East manage to contact me as well. They do not have faith in these dubious policies either. There is evidence that the people of the region are becoming increasingly angry with such policies.

It is not my intention to pose too many questions, but I need to refer to other points as well.

Why is it that any technological and scientific achievement reached in the Middle East regions is translated into and portrayed as a threat to the Zionist regime? Is not scientific R&D [research and development] one of the basic rights of nations?

You are familiar with history. Aside from the Middle Ages, in what other point in history has scientific and technical progress been a crime? Can the possibility of scientific achievements being utilized for military purposes be reason enough to oppose science and technology altogether? If such a supposition is true, then all scientific disciplines, including physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, engineering, etc. must be opposed.

Lies were told in the Iraqi matter. What was the result? I have no doubt that telling lies is reprehensible in any culture, and you do not like to be lied to.

Mr President,

Don't Latin Americans have the right to ask, why their elected governments are being opposed and coup leaders supported? Or, why must they constantly be threatened and live in fear?

The people of Africa are hardworking, creative and talented. They can play an important and valuable role in providing for the needs of humanity and contribute to its material and spiritual progress. Poverty and hardship in large parts of Africa are preventing this from happening. Don't they have the right to ask why their enormous wealth – including minerals – is being looted, despite the fact that they need it more than others?

Again, do such actions correspond to the teachings of Christ and the tenets of human rights?

The brave and faithful people of Iran too have many questions and grievances, including: the coup d'etat of 1953 and the subsequent toppling of the legal government of the day, opposition to the Islamic revolution [of 1979], transformation of an embassy into a headquarters supporting the activities of those opposing the Islamic Republic (many thousands of pages of documents corroborates this claim), support for Saddam in the war waged against Iran, the shooting down of the Iranian passenger plane, freezing the assets of the Iranian nation, increasing threats, anger and displeasure vis-a-vis the scientific and nuclear progress of the Iranian nation (just when all Iranians are jubilant and collaborating with their country's progress), and many other grievances that I will not refer to in this letter.

Mr President,

September 11 was a horrendous incident. The killing of innocents is deplorable and appalling in any part of the world. Our government immediately declared its disgust with the perpetrators and offered its condolences to the bereaved and expressed its sympathies.

All governments have a duty to protect the lives, property and good standing of their citizens. Reportedly your government employs extensive security, protection and intelligence systems - and even hunts its opponents abroad. September 11 was not a simple operation. Could it be planned and executed without coordination with intelligence and security services – or their extensive infiltration? Of course this is just an educated guess. Why have the various aspects of the attacks been kept secret? Why are we not told who botched their responsibilities? And, why aren't those responsible and the guilty parties identified and put on trial?

All governments have a duty to provide security and peace of mind for their citizens. For some years now, the people of your country and neighbors of world trouble spots do not have peace of mind. After 9-11, instead of healing and tending to the emotional wounds of the survivors and the American people - who had been immensely traumatized by the attacks - some Western media only intensified the climates of fear and insecurity - some constantly talked about the possibility of new terror attacks and kept the people in fear. Is that service to the American people? Is it possible to calculate the damages incurred from fear and panic?

American citizens lived in constant fear of fresh attacks that could come at any moment and in any place. They felt insecure in the streets, in their place of work and at home. Who would be happy with this situation? Why was the media, instead of conveying a feeling of security and providing peace of mind, giving rise to a feeling of insecurity?

Some believe that the hype paved the way - and was the justification - for an attack on Afghanistan. Again I need to refer to the role of media. In media charters, correct dissemination of information and honest reporting of a story are established tenets. I express my deep regret about the disregard shown by certain Western media for these principles. The main pretext for an attack on Iraq was the existence of WMDs. This was repeated incessantly - for the public to, finally, believe - and the ground set for an attack on Iraq.

Will the truth not be lost in a contrive and deceptive climate? Again, if the truth is allowed to be lost, how can that be reconciled with the earlier mentioned values? Is the truth known to the Almighty lost as well?

Mr President,

In countries around the world, citizens provide for the expenses of governments so that their governments in turn are able to serve them.

The question here is what has the hundreds of billions of dollars, spent every year to pay for the Iraqi campaign, produced for the citizens?

As your excellency is aware, in some states of your country, people are living in poverty. Many thousands are homeless and unemployment is a huge problem. Of course these problems exist - to a larger or lesser extent - in other countries as well. With these conditions in mind, can the gargantuan expenses of the campaign - paid from the public treasury - be explained and be consistent with the aforementioned principles?

What has been said, are some of the grievances of the people around the world, in our region and in your country. But my main contention - which I am hoping you will agree to some of it - is: Those in power have specific time in office, and do not rule indefinitely, but their names will be recorded in history and will be constantly judged in the immediate and distant futures. The people will scrutinize our presidencies.

Did we manage to bring peace, security and prosperity for the people or insecurity and unemployment? Did we intend to establish justice, or just supported especial interest groups, and by forcing many people to live in poverty and hardship, made a few people rich and powerful - thus trading the approval of the people and the Almighty with theirs'? Did we defend the rights of the underprivileged or ignore them? Did we defend the rights of all people around the world or imposed wars on them, interfered illegally in their affairs, established hellish prisons and incarcerated some of them? Did we bring the world peace and security or raised the specter of intimidation and threats? Did we tell the truth to our nation and others around the world or presented an inverted version of it? Were we on the side of people or the occupiers and oppressors? Did our administration set out to promote rational behavior, logic, ethics, peace, fulfilling obligations, justice, service to the people, prosperity, progress and respect for human dignity or the force of guns? Intimidation, insecurity, disregard for the people, delaying the progress and excellence of other nations, and trample on people's rights? And finally, they will judge us on whether we remained true to our oath of office - to serve the people, which is our main task, and the traditions of the prophets- or not?

Mr President,

How much longer can the world tolerate this situation? Where will this trend lead the world to? How long must the people of the world pay for the incorrect decisions of some rulers? How much longer will the specter of insecurity - raised from the stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction - hunt the people of the world? How much longer will the blood of the innocent men, women and children be spilled on the streets, and people's houses destroyed over their heads? Are you pleased with the current condition of the world? Do you think present policies can continue?

If billions of dollars spent on security, military campaigns and troop movement were instead spent on investment and assistance for poor countries, promotion of health, combating different diseases, education and improvement of mental and physical fitness, assistance to the victims of natural disasters, creation of employment opportunities and production, development projects and poverty alleviation, establishment of peace, mediation between disputing states and distinguishing the flames of racial, ethnic and other conflicts where would the world be today? Would not your government, and people be justifiably proud? Would not your administration's political and economic standing have been stronger? And I am most sorry to say, would there have been an ever increasing global hatred of the American governments?

Mr President, it is not my intention to distress anyone. If prophets Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael, Joseph or Jesus Christ (PBUH) were with us today, how would they have judged such behavior? Will we be given a role to play in the promised world, where justice will become universal and Jesus Christ (PBUH) will be present? Will they even accept us?

My basic question is this: Is there no better way to interact with the rest of the world? Today there are hundreds of millions of Christians, hundreds of millions of Muslims and millions of people who follow the teachings of Moses (PBUH). All divine religions share and respect on word and that is monotheism or belief in a single God and no other in the world.

The holy Koran stresses this common word and calls on all followers of divine religions and says: (3.64) "O followers of the Book! Come to an equitable proposition between us and you that we shall not serve any but Allah and (that) we shall not associate aught. With Him and (that) some of us shall not take others for lords besides Allah, but if they turn back, then say: Bear witness that we are Muslims. (The Family of Imran)."

Mr President,

According to divine verses, we have all been called upon to worship one God and follow the teachings of divine prophets. To worship a God which is above all powers in the world and can do all He pleases. The Lord which knows that which is hidden and visible, the past and the future, knows what goes on in the Hearts of His servants and records their deeds. The Lord who is the possessor of the heavens and the earth and all universe is His court planning for the universe is done by His hands, and gives His servants the glad tidings of mercy and forgiveness of sins. He is the companion of the oppressed and the enemy of oppressors. He is the Compassionate, the Merciful. He is the recourse of the faithful and guides them towards the light from darkness. He is witness to the actions of His servants, He calls on servants to be faithful and do good deeds, and asks them to stay on the path of righteousness and remain steadfast . Calls on servants to heed His prophets and He is a witness to their deeds. A bad ending belongs only to those who have chosen the life of this world and disobey Him and oppress His servants. And a good and eternal paradise belong to those servants who fear His majesty and do not follow their lascivious selves.

We believe a return to the teachings of the divine prophets is the only road leading to salvations. I have been told that Your Excellency follows the teachings of Jesus (PBUH), and believes in the divine promise of the rule of the righteous on Earth.

We also believe that Jesus Christ (PBUH) was one of the great prophets of the Almighty. He has been repeatedly praised in the Koran. Jesus (PBUH) has been quoted in Koran as well; (19,36) "And surely Allah is my Lord and your Lord, therefore serves Him; this is the right path, Marium."

Service to and obedience of the Almighty is the credo of all divine messengers.

The God of all people in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, the Pacific and the rest of the world is one. He is the Almighty who wants to guide and give dignity to all His servants. He has given greatness to Humans. We again read in the Holy Book: The Almighty God sent His prophets with miracles and clear signs to guide the people and show them divine signs and purity them from sins and pollutions. And He sent the Book and the balance so that the people display justice and avoid the rebellious.

All of the above verses can be seen, one way or the other, in the Good Book as well.

Divine prophets have promised: the day will come when all humans will congregate before the court of the Almighty, so that their deeds are examined. The good will be directed towards Heaven and evildoers will meet divine retribution. I trust both of us believe in such a day, but it will not be easy to calculate the actions of rulers, because we must be answerable to our nations and all others whose lives have been directly or indirectly effected by our actions.

All prophets, speak of peace and tranquility for man - based on monotheism, justice and respect for human dignity.

Do you not think that if all of us come to believe in and abide by these principles, that is, monotheism, worship of God, justice, respect for the dignity of man, belief in the Last Day, we can overcome the present problems of the world – that are the result of disobedience to the Almighty and the teachings of prophets - and improve our performance?

Do you not think that belief in these principles promotes and guarantees peace, friendship and justice?

Do you not think that the aforementioned written or unwritten principles are universally respected?

Will you not accept this invitation? That is, a genuine return to the teachings of prophets, to monotheism and justice, to preserve human dignity and obedience to the Almighty and His prophets?

Mr President, History tells us that repressive and cruel governments do not survive. God has entrusted the fate of man to them. The Almighty has not left the universe and humanity to their own devices. Many things have happened contrary to the wishes and plans of governments. These tell us that there is a higher power at work and all events are determined by Him.

Can one deny the signs of change in the world today? Is this situation of the world today comparable to that of ten years ago? Changes happen fast and come at a furious pace.

The people of the world are not happy with the status quo and pay little heed to the promises and comments made by a number of influential world leaders. Many people around the world feel insecure and oppose the spreading of insecurity and war and do not approve of and accept dubious policies.

The people are protesting the increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots and the rich and poor countries.

The people are disgusted with increasing corruption.

The people of many countries are angry about the attacks on their cultural foundations and the disintegration of families. They are equally dismayed with the fading of care and compassion. The people of the world have no faith in international organizations, because their rights are not advocated by these organizations.

Liberalism and Western style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems.

We increasingly see that people around the world are flocking towards a main focal point - that is the Almighty God. Undoubtedly through faith in God and the teachings of the prophets, the people will conquer their problems. My question for you is: Do you not want to join them?

Mr President,

Whether we like it or not, the world is gravitating towards faith in the Almighty and justice and the will of God will prevail over all things.

Vasalam Ala Man Ataba'al hoda
Mahmood Ahmadi-Najad President of the Islamic Republic of Iran


Fluffy sunday posting

Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb.

Via C&L.


Stephen Harper, humoriste

«Ces jours-ci, il semble que Toronto soit un endroit riche en candidats au leadership libéral. En effet, j'ai demandé au chauffeur de taxi qui m'a déposé ici aujourd'hui pour qui il voterait. Il m'a dit qu'il était lui-même candidat.»

- Stephen Harper, jeudi soir, à Toronto

Via Vastel.

New Rules

Je vous donne celles d'hier...

Nouvelle tuile pour l'administration Bush

La démission inattendue de Porter Goss, l'ex-nouveau directeur de la CIA, a pris tout le monde par surprise à Washington. L'histoire qui se cache derrière est assez savoureuse, merci. En fait de s'achopper sur le moindre écueuil politique, Jean Charest a encore des croûtes à manger.

Via C&L.


Préparation d'une offensive pakistanaise

Syed Saleem Shahzad nous donne le topo d'une intervention pakistanaise militaire massive en préparation contre les territoires tribaux du Nord-Ouest.

[...] the US is leaning heavily on Pakistan, its key ally in the "war on terror" in the region, to go on the offensive against the strong Taliban foothold in the North and South Waziristan tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.

What the US is asking for, in effect, is a Tora Bora-style aerial bombing of the area, similar to that undertaken in the mountains of that name in Afghanistan during the rout of the Taliban five years ago. (Incidentally, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden escaped from Tora Bora long before the bombs began to fall.)

The Taliban are integrated into the local population and there would be high civilian casualties. This is considered acceptable as civilians would be deemed Taliban sympathizers.

According to highly placed officials who spoke to Asia Times Online, the Pakistani military has already drawn up a blueprint for such an attack, which could be implemented in the near future.

In response, the Taliban, along with al-Qaeda, have a counter-plan in which they will go on the offensive, and an extensive network is primed to launch attacks on the Pakistani establishment.

Colbert (suite et fin)

George est pas content.

Via C&L.


L'inégalité est-elle mauvaise pour la santé?

Je ne sais pas si vous avez vu cet entrefilet dernièrement (la discussion est en dessous):

Study Shows Americans Sicker Than English

By CARLA K. JOHNSON and MIKE STOBBE, Associated Press WritersTue May 2, 10:47 PM ET

White, middle-aged Americans — even those who are rich — are far less healthy than their peers in England, according to stunning new research that erases misconceptions and has experts scratching their heads.

Americans had higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, strokes, lung disease and cancer — findings that held true no matter what income or education level.

Those dismal results are despite the fact that U.S. health care spending is double what England spends on each of its citizens.

"Everybody should be discussing it: Why isn't the richest country in the world the healthiest country in the world?" asks study co-author Dr. Michael Marmot, an epidemiologist at University College London in England.

The study, based on government statistics in both countries, adds context to the already-known fact that the United States spends more on health care than any other industrialized nation, yet trails in rankings of life expectancy.

The United States spends about $5,200 per person on health care while England spends about half that in adjusted dollars.

Even experts familiar with the weaknesses in the U.S. health system seemed stunned by the study's conclusions.

"I knew we were less healthy, but I didn't know the magnitude of the disparities," said Gerard Anderson, an expert in chronic disease and international health at Johns Hopkins University who had no role in the research.

Just why the United States fared so miserably wasn't clear. Answers ranging from too little exercise to too little money and too much stress were offered.

Even the U.S. obesity epidemic couldn't solve the mystery. The researchers crunched numbers to create a hypothetical statistical world in which the English had American lifestyle risk factors, including being as fat as Americans. In that model, Americans were still sicker.

Smoking rates are about the same on both sides of the pond. The English have a higher rate of heavy drinking.

Only non-Hispanic whites were included in the study to eliminate the influence of racial disparities. The researchers looked only at people ages 55 through 64, and the average age of the samples was the same.

Americans reported twice the rate of diabetes compared to the English, 12.5 percent versus 6 percent. For high blood pressure, it was 42 percent for Americans versus 34 percent for the English; cancer showed up in 9.5 percent of Americans compared to 5.5 percent of the English.

The upper crust in both countries was healthier than middle-class and low-income people in the same country. But richer Americans' health status resembled the health of the low-income English.

"It's something of a mystery," said Richard Suzman of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which helped fund the study.

Health experts have known the U.S. population is less healthy than that of other industrialized nations, according to several important measurements, including life expectancy. The U.S. ranks behind about two dozen other countries, according to the World Health Organization.

Some have believed the United States has lagged because it is more ethnically diverse, said Suzman, who heads the National Institute on Aging's Behavioral and Social Research Program. "Minority health in general is worse than white health," he said.

But the new study showed that when minorities are removed from the equation, and adjustments are made to control for education and income, white people in England are still healthier than white people in the United States.

"As far as I know, this is the first study showing this," said Suzman. The study, supported by grants from government agencies in both countries, was published in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Other studies have measured the United States against other countries in terms of health care spending, use of medical care and availability of health care services. But this is the first to focus on prevalence of chronic conditions, said Anderson, the Johns Hopkins professor.

Differences in exercise might partly explain the gap, he suggested. One of the study's authors, Jim Smith, said the English exercise somewhat more than Americans. But physical activity differences won't fully explain the study's results, he added.

Marmot offered a different explanation for the gap: Americans' financial insecurity. Improvements in household income have eluded all but the top fifth of Americans since the mid-1970s. Meanwhile, the English saw their incomes improve, he said.

Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health who was not involved in the study, said the stress of striving for the American dream may account for Americans' lousy health.

"The opportunity to go both up and down the socioeconomic scale in America may create stress," Blendon said. Americans don't have a reliable government safety net like the English enjoy, Blendon said.

However, Britain's universal health-care system shouldn't get credit for better health, Marmot and Blendon agreed.

Both said it might explain better health for low-income citizens, but can't account for better health of Britain's more affluent residents.

Marmot cautioned against looking for explanations in the two countries' health-care systems.

"It's not just how we treat people when they get ill, but why they get ill in the first place," Marmot said.

C'est assez surprenant en effet, sauf que, il y a quelques années, Norman Daniels publia une plaquette où il défendait l'idée suivante: un des facteurs qui fait varier la santé des personnes en général dans des pays qui ne sont pas trop pauvres et où il existe des inégalités sociales (et de revenu), est moins la richesse relative de cette population que la grandeur des disparités entre riches et pauvres elle-même. Autrement dit, si vous êtes riche dans un pays riche mais où il existe de grandes inégalités sociales, vous avez plus de chance d'être en mauvaise santé que si vous êtes moins riche, dans un pays moins riche, mais où les inégalités sont moins criantes. Ça donne des trucs du genre:

Parions que ce n'est pas Couillard qui vous parlera de votre santé de cette manière.

George: not so amused

Chalmers Johnson

Via Tomdispatch.


Exporting the American Model
Markets and Democracy
By Chalmers Johnson

There is something absurd and inherently false about one country trying to impose its system of government or its economic institutions on another. Such an enterprise amounts to a dictionary definition of imperialism. When what's at issue is "democracy," you have the fallacy of using the end to justify the means (making war on those to be democratized), and in the process the leaders of the missionary country are invariably infected with the sins of hubris, racism, and arrogance.

We Americans have long been guilty of these crimes. On the eve of our entry into World War I, William Jennings Bryan, President Woodrow Wilson's first secretary of state, described the United States as "the supreme moral factor in the world's progress and the accepted arbiter of the world's disputes." If there is one historical generalization that the passage of time has validated, it is that the world could not help being better off if the American president had not believed such nonsense and if the United States had minded its own business in the war between the British and German empires. We might well have avoided Nazism, the Bolshevik Revolution, and another thirty to forty years of the exploitation of India, Indonesia, Indochina, Algeria, Korea, the Philippines, Malaya, and virtually all of Africa by European, American, and Japanese imperialists.

We Americans have never outgrown the narcissistic notion that the rest of the world wants (or should want) to emulate us. In Iraq, bringing democracy became the default excuse for our warmongers -- it would be perfectly plausible to call them "crusaders," if Osama bin Laden had not already appropriated the term -- once the Bush lies about Iraq's alleged nuclear, chemical, and biological threats and its support for al Qaeda melted away. Bush and his neocon supporters have prattled on endlessly about how "the world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East," but the reality is much closer to what Noam Chomsky dubbed "deterring democracy" in a notable 1992 book of that name. We have done everything in our power to see that the Iraqis did not get a "free and fair election," one in which the Shia majority could come to power and ally Iraq with Iran. As Noah Feldman, the Coalition Provisional Authority's law advisor, put it in November 2003, "If you move too fast the wrong people could get elected."


The gap between preaching and self-deception in the way we promote democracy abroad is even greater than in selling our economic ideology. Our record is one of continuous (sometimes unintended) failure, although most establishment pundits try to camouflage this fact.

The Federation of American Scientists has compiled a list of over 201 overseas military operations from the end of World War II until September 11, 2001 in which we were involved and normally struck the first blow. (The list is reprinted by Gore Vidal in Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got To Be So Hated, pp. 22-41.) The current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not included. In no instance did democratic governments come about as a direct result of any of these military activities.

The United States holds the unenviable record of having helped install and then supported such dictators as the Shah of Iran, General Suharto in Indonesia, Fulgencio Batista in Cuba, Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, Augusto Pinochet in Chile, and Sese Seko Mobutu in Congo-Zaire, not to mention a series of American-backed militarists in Vietnam and Cambodia until we were finally expelled from Indochina. In addition, we ran among the most extensive international terrorist operations in history against Cuba and Nicaragua because their struggles for national independence produced outcomes that we did not like.

On the other hand, democracy did develop in some important cases as a result of opposition to our interference -- for example, after the collapse of the CIA-installed Greek colonels in 1974; in both Portugal in 1974 and Spain in 1975 after the end of the U.S.-supported fascist dictatorships; after the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines in 1986; following the ouster of General Chun Doo Hwan in South Korea in 1987; and following the ending of thirty-eight years of martial law on the island of Taiwan in the same year.

Le reste ici.

Juan Cole en a marre

Juan Cole, si vous ne le connaissez pas, est un professeur de l'Université du Michigan spécialisé en politique du Moyen-Orient. Mais, vous voyez, il défend une thèse anti-impérialiste: il dénonce les mensonges et la manipulation qui ont donné carte blanche à la droite israélienne de faire ce qu'elle veut aux palestiniens, qui ont permis aux américains d'envahir l'Irak et qui, en ce moment, tentent de vendre l'idée d'une attaque contre l'Iran. Donc, Juan Cole se fait tirer dessus à boulets rouges par les généraux d'estrades, dont le Capitaine Paf lui-même, la cheerleadeuse de 300 livres de résidus alcoolisés, j'ai nommé Chris Hitchens.

Mais là, Juan Cole en a marre. Allez le lire.


Diane Tell fait du techno minimal?

Écoutez à genre 2:00...


Eh ben.

(Avec phote de grammaire en anglais en sus)

"Vous êtes lourd"

Comment énerver la police.

Via Le Périscope.

The truthiness hurts

Je vous recopie un article apparu sur Salon à propos de Stephen Colbert. C'est pas gentil, je sais, mais je vous épargne les affres du Site Pass.

The truthiness hurts

Stephen Colbert's brilliant performance unplugged the Bush myth machine -- and left the clueless D.C. press corps gaping.

By Michael Scherer

May 1, 2006 | Make no mistake, Stephen Colbert is a dangerous man -- a bomb thrower, an assassin, a terrorist with boring hair and rimless glasses. It's a wonder the Secret Service let him so close to the president of the United States.

But there he was Saturday night, keynoting the year's most fawning celebration of the self-importance of the D.C. press corps, the White House Correspondents' Association dinner. Before he took the podium, the master of ceremonies ominously announced, "Tonight, no one is safe."

Colbert is not just another comedian with barbed punch lines and a racy vocabulary. He is a guerrilla fighter, a master of the old-world art of irony. For Colbert, the punch line is just the addendum. The joke is in the setup. The meat of his act is not in his barbs but his character -- the dry idiot, "Stephen Colbert," God-fearing pitchman, patriotic American, red-blooded pundit and champion of "truthiness." "I'm a simple man with a simple mind," the deadpan Colbert announced at the dinner. "I hold a simple set of beliefs that I live by. Number one, I believe in America. I believe it exists. My gut tells me I live there."

Then he turned to the president of the United States, who sat tight-lipped just a few feet away. "I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound -- with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world."

It was Colbert's crowning moment. His imitation of the quintessential GOP talking head -- Bill O'Reilly meets Scott McClellan -- uncovered the inner workings of the ever-cheapening discourse that passes for political debate. He reversed and flattened the meaning of the words he spoke. It's a tactic that cultural critic Greil Marcus once called the "critical negation that would make it self-evident to everyone that the world is not as it seems." Colbert's jokes attacked not just Bush's policies, but the whole drama and language of American politics, the phony demonstration of strength, unity and vision. "The greatest thing about this man is he's steady," Colbert continued, in a nod to George W. Bush. "You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday."

It's not just that Colbert's jokes were hitting their mark. We already know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that the generals hate Rumsfeld or that Fox News lists to the right. Those cracks are old and boring. What Colbert did was expose the whole official, patriotic, right-wing, press-bashing discourse as a sham, as more "truthiness" than truth.

Obviously, Colbert is not the first ironic warrior to train his sights on the powerful. What the insurgent culture jammers at Adbusters did for Madison Avenue, and the Barbie Liberation Organization did for children's toys, and Seinfeld did for the sitcom, and the Onion did for the small-town newspaper, Jon Stewart discovered he could do for television news. Now Colbert, Stewart's spawn, has taken on the right-wing message machine.

In the late 1960s, the Situationists in France called such ironic mockery "détournement," a word that roughly translates to "abduction" or "embezzlement." It was considered a revolutionary act, helping to channel the frustration of the Paris student riots of 1968. They co-opted and altered famous paintings, newspapers, books and documentary films, seeking subversive ideas in the found objects of popular culture. "Plagiarism is necessary," wrote Guy Debord, the famed Situationist, referring to his strategy of mockery and semiotic inversion. "Progress demands it. Staying close to an author's phrasing, plagiarism exploits his expressions, erases false ideas, replaces them with correct ideas."

But nearly half a century later, the ideas of the French, as evidenced by our "freedom fries," have not found a welcome reception in Washington. The city is still not ready for Colbert. The depth of his attack caused bewilderment on the face of the president and some of the press, who, like myopic fish, are used to ignoring the water that sustains them. Laura Bush did not shake his hand.

Political Washington is accustomed to more direct attacks that follow the rules. We tend to like the bland buffoonery of Jay Leno or insider jokes that drop lots of names and enforce everyone's clubby self-satisfaction. (Did you hear the one about John Boehner at the tanning salon or Duke Cunningham playing poker at the Watergate?) Similarly, White House spinmeisters are used to frontal assaults on their policies, which can be rebutted with a similar set of talking points. But there is no easy answer for the ironist. "Irony, entertaining as it is, serves an almost exclusively negative function," wrote David Foster Wallace, in his seminal 1993 essay "E Unibus Pluram." "It's critical and destructive, a ground clearing."

So it's no wonder that those journalists at the dinner seemed so uneasy in their seats. They had put on their tuxes to rub shoulders with the president. They were looking forward to spotting Valerie Plame and "American Idol's" Ace Young at the Bloomberg party. They invited Colbert to speak for levity, not because they wanted to be criticized. As a tribe, we journalists are all, at heart, creatures of this silly conversation. We trade in talking points and consultant-speak. We too often depend on empty language for our daily bread, and -- worse -- we sometimes mistake it for reality. Colbert was attacking us as well.

A day after he exploded his bomb at the correspondents dinner, Colbert appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes," this time as himself, an actor, a suburban dad, a man without a red and blue tie. The real Colbert admitted that he does not let his children watch his Comedy Central show. "Kids can't understand irony or sarcasm, and I don't want them to perceive me as insincere," Colbert explained. "Because one night, I'll be putting them to bed and I'll say ... 'I love you, honey.' And they'll say, 'I get it. Very dry, Dad. That's good stuff.'"

His point was spot-on. Irony is dangerous and must be handled with care. But America can rest assured that for the moment its powers are in good hands. Stephen Colbert, the current grandmaster of the art, knows exactly what he was doing.

Just don't expect him to be invited back to the correspondents dinner.