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Showing posts from August 29, 2004
Bollettino From the Figaro : “The story resembles a bad film, but it happened, and it is disquieting for the fate of Russian journalism. Wednesday, attempting to go to North Ossetia by airplane, two famous reporters who have continued to cover the fighting against Chechnya independently could not land. This was because of an “aggression’ organized against them by alien muscovite forces. The first, Anna Politkovskaia, is well known for her courage and her pleas against the war in Chechnya. She has served before as a meditator in the hostage taking in Moscov, October 2002. However this time, this was not possible. For Anna Politkovskaia was poined in the airplane that took her to the North Caucasus, after having drunk some tea. Falling violently ill, she was hospitalized at Rostov, then repatriated to Moscow. The form of the intoxication alerted her paper – the editor in chief of said paper, the Chekotchikhine journal, having been killed by a poison. The fate of Andrei Babitski
Bollettino After I wrote the post below, lamenting the lack of attention paid to the connections between the Chechen guerillas and Al Qaeda, I read this dispatch in Liberation: “Selon l'une des sources d'Itar-Tass, la prise d'otages de Beslan aurait pu être financée par un dignitaire wahhabite, Abou Omar as Seïf, émissaire d'Al Qaïda en Tchétchénie.” “According to one of Itar-Tass’s sources, the hostage taking in Beslan might have been financed by a wahabi dignitary, Abu Omar as Saif, emissary of Al Qaeda in Chechnya.” This is the organization that Bush claims to have mightily defeated. Claims, when he can be bothered to speak about the topic at all, to have directed such successful operations against the group that 2/3rds of the leadership has been disabled. Funny, for a defeated group, they seem to have had a successful week – 2 planes down in Russia, one subway bombing, and now the massacre in Beslan. Further information on the connection between Al Qa
Bollettino Perhaps there is something grimly apposite about the fact that the day the Republican Rapture winds down, hundreds of children apparently die in the storming of a school in Ossetia by Russian troops. There’s an odd parallel between Russian and American history – bombs go off in Moscow, in 99, and planes are driven into the WTC in 2001; Chechnya is made a living grave for political reasons in 95, and again in 99, and Iraq is being made into a democracy without democracy in 2004 with the U.S. using Grozny tactics in Falluja and Najaf. So is this the future? According to the Post story, the militia group that took the school was a mix of Chechens and others – including Chechen women with the bombs strapped to their body. We know these tactics, since they preceded the other Chechen wars. In 95 and 99, there was a sinister convergence between the interests of the Yeltsen and Putin cliques and the Chechen 'warriors'. Russia's political oligarchy, pursuing policies
Bollettino Must recommend an op ed piece in the Asia Times this morning. The intro graf of Ehsan Ahrari’s piece poses the question: “If national-security issues are driving the US presidential race - and they certainly are - then why is President George W Bush not doing worse than his numbers currently show? … The security situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is worsening; however, the focus of presidential debate is not whether Bush misled the United States into invading Iraq - by harping on the non-existent weapons of mass destruction, or that he should have stayed in Afghanistan and finished the task of eradicating al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. Bush's misinformation about Iraq and his faux pas regarding Afghanistan have been taken as facts. Yet the voters don't seem to want to punish him. At least that is not the case when one looks at these numbers. Perhaps the fault lies with Kerry.” You think so? Why, Kerry, as all the Dem blogs assure us, is with us – in his he
Bollettino Lately, we’ve been reading the collection of Italo Calvino’s bric a brac published this spring as A Hermit in Paris. The book contains some essays, some autobiographical musings, and a journal of Calvino’s first journey to the U.S., in 1959, under the auspices of a Ford Foundation grant. We were fascinated to learn that the Ford Foundation, no doubt doing its cold war duty to advertise the culture of the free world, brought four European writers to America that year: Calvino, Hugo Claus, Arrabal, and Claude Ollier. Gunter Grass was supposed to be part of this merry band, but couldn’t make it. Calvino is nicely bitchy about his comrades -- Claus he doesn’t know and takes for granted is a minor from a minor country, Ollier – the nouveau romaniste -- he considers to be an ignoramus, and Arrabal the anarchist amuses him with his ceaseless complaints (for instance, Arrabal accuses Goytisolo of blocking his career in Francist Spain because he doesn’t write in the socialist real
Bollettino A friend of mine who is pretty far to the right sent me an email about Swift Boat Veterans about a month ago. I thought, at the time: you gotta be kidding me. Bush, with an incredibly bad military record, can’t afford to open this little can of worms up. I was wrong. The Bush campaign correctly gauged Kerry’s weakness – a massive, senatorial vanity that makes Oedipus’ hubris look like the shrinking modesty of a closet virgin. Kerry’s response has been, throughout, a comic exercise in hauteur. It is as if Kerry feels that we will all feel his pain that he, John Kerry, a senator, a presidential candidate, is being unfairly attacked in a tv ad. Wow – a presidential candidate attacked in a slimy way! That he has made this into an issue of Bush condemning or not the ads shows …. well, a pretty bad instinct in Kerry. Hardball does not consist of insisting that your opponent dominate the game. Surely even in the incubator of egocentricity and bad but expensive hair that is D.