The Road to Rendition
Torture Air, Incorporated
By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR - Counterpunch Weekend Edition; April 9 / 10, 2005
Oregon City, Oregon
A sleek Gulfstream V jet with the tail number N379P has racked up more international miles than most passenger jets. Since October 2001, this plane has been spotted in some of the world's most exotic and forbidding airports: Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Karachi, Pakistan, Baku, Azerbaijan, Baghdad, Iraq, and Rabat, Morocco.
It has also frequently landed at Dulles International, outside Washington, DC and enjoys clearance to land at US military air bases in Scotland, Cyprus and Frankfurt, Germany. Observers around the world have noticed men in hoods and chains being taken on and off the jet.
"Over the next 100 years or so as many as half of the Earth's
species, representing a quarter of the planet's genetic stock, will
either completely or functionally disappear. The land and the oceans
will continue to teem with life, but it will be a peculiarly
homogenized assemblage of organisms naturally and unnaturally
selected for their compatibility with one fundamental force: us.
Nothing--not national or international laws, global bioreserves,
local sustainability schemes, nor even 'wildlands' fantasies--can
change the current course. The path for biological evolution is now
set for the next million years. And in this sense "the extinction
crisis"--the race to save the composition, structure, and
organization of biodiversity as it exists today--is over, and we
"The first point that has to be grasped is that proposals for system-wide, top-down change - getting the Federal government to do something constructive about the situation, for instance - are a waste of time. That sort of change isn't going to happen. It's not simply a matter of who's currently in power, although admittedly that doesn't help. The core of the problem is that even proposing changes on a scale that would do any good would be political suicide."
The primitive and dogmatic policies of John Paul II and the Catholic Church in relation to contraception, women, HIV/AIDS prevention, the Holocaust, socialism and liberation theology have massively contributed to horrendous global avoidable mortality.
Rachel Corrie, an activist with the International Solidarity Movement in Palestine, was killed two years ago by an Isreali Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer as she was protesting against house demolitions in Rafah, Gaza. A new play opened in London recently about this talented 23 yr. old who believed in a cause and gave up her life acting on it. An unswerving activist with a wonderful imagination decimated by a state terrorist infrastructure.
Much of the recent coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II, critical and otherwise, has focussed on his conservative social views regarding women, queers and sexuality. Less known are his reactionary political views and the role he played in facilitating the Cold War crusade against "communism." One of my memories from the 1980's is of the Pope admonishing Catholic Sandinista supporters in Nicaragua to stop chanting revolutionary slogans before he would address them.
Two excellent articles on Pope John Paul II's reactionary political views follow.
"The State Department Saturday called on Israel to forswear nuclear weapons
and accept international Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on all nuclear
This is the second time in about two weeks that officials in the Bush
administration are putting the nuclear weapons of Israel, India and Pakistan
on a par."
Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic resistance group, has decided to join the PLO. The The political structure of the PLO, long dominated by the nationalist Fatah movement, will be transformed with Hamas' full and active participation. Hamas has widespread grassroots support in the occupied territories and is expected to inject a popular line into PLO's negotiations with Israel. This will include a more resolute stand on the issues of Jerusalem, Israeli settler-colonies, and the refugees.
The complete story from the Al Ahram weekly is pasted below.
"Pope John Paul believed that it was contrary to God's law for anyone - Catholic or otherwise - to engage in birth control, abortion, homosexuality, in-vitro fertilization, masturbation, artificial insemination or sterilization. Intercourse between married partners, with no barrier to pregnancy and childbirth, was the only permissible sexual act in his eyes. And you go to hell if you believe otherwise....This was also the man who condemned 'liberation theology' - the belief that the church had a moral obligation to engage politically in the struggle for economic and political justice for the poor."
"A man is dead. We anarchists love life and we can't dislike that.
Especially for the unspeakable cruelty of an agony indecently exhibited
on the world by the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Anyway, this day that sees
all politicians, from Fausto Bertinotti [PRC] to Alessandra Mussolini
[ex-AN, 'neo-fascists'], bow down in front of the 'throne of Peter' we
want to remember the man who was at the head of an absolute monarchy
distinguished for centuries in its barbarity. The church that has
perpetuated and blessed the massacre of millions and millions of men and
women, tortured, burned, killed in the name of the cross isn't the memory
of a now disowned past, but found in Wojtila, its deserving descendent."
"Prisons are there to isolate people, so we must be actively keeping the link to the outside world open." Not long ago, someone in a Books for Prisoners program mailed me a small zine entitled, "A Practical Guide to Prisoner Support." The zine gives practical advice about writing prisoners and interacting with prisoners inside and outside prison walls, and lists prison activist networks. Many people are intimidated by the idea of writing someone they do not know in jail. People are not sure what to talk about, nor is the process for sending prisoners correspondence clear either.
"I have attempted to illuminate the stakes of feminist collusion in U.S. imperialism, by questioning which women the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan have aided, and attempting to demonstrate how these occupations have only helped solidify patriarchal interests. Violence and sexual assault, unemployment, and political marginalization in Iraq and Afghanistan are only some impacts of occupation that have been gendered - rendering the political forces and concerns affecting occupied men and women distinct, even potentially at odds. However, meaningful change must be built and can be claimed by Iraqi and Afghani women and people as their own - without compromising appeals to U.S. military might and economic dominance."
"Within a couple of hours last week, crude oil prices hit a
record $56 a barrel, President Bush fretted publicly over world oil
shortages and the Senate voted to open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to
The converging events drew attention to what administration officials call a
temporary global energy crunch. But bigger worries also are bubbling to the
surface - fears of a day of reckoning over world oil reserves."
The following statement was made at the 61st session of the Commission of Human Rights by Felipe Pérez Roque, minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba
"The Commission on Human Rights - despite the efforts by those who honestly believe in its importance and wage a battle to return it to the spirit of respect and cooperation of its founders - has lost legitimacy. It is not credible. It allows the impunity of the powerful. It is handcuffed. In it, there are plenty of lies, double standards and empty speeches by those who, while enjoying their wealth, squander and pollute, look the other way and pretend not to see how millions of human beings endure the violation of the right to life, the right to peace, the right to development, the right to eat, to learn, to work; in brief, the right to live in dignity."
On Tuesday the 15th March Colombian Vice President Franciso Santos came to speak in Bristol, England, in a talk entitled "Colombia - a democratic response to terrorism". Expecting an uncritical audience he expounded the Colombian State's military attack on social protest - 'democratic security policy' and claimed success in the "war on drugs" and human rights. He was met with a combiation of direct action and informed critical interrogation...