Bellum Americanum
May 28, 2003

Breaking News: Weapons of Mass Destruction Found!!! Maryland. According to the article: "The US germ warfare programme at Fort Detrick was officially wound up in 1969, but the base has maintained a stock of nasty bugs to help maintain America's defences against biological attack." "Maintenance of defences" apparently includes the development of the most successfully weaponized anthrax we know about, including the strain used in the attacks on the corporate media and the Congress in October of 2001.

May 27, 2003

You've Forsworn "Blood Diamonds"

Now How About those "Blood Cell Phones?"

Going largely unnoticed in the corporate media, an on-again off-again civil war in the Congo is threatening to escalate to the same genocidal scale witnessed in Rwanda, after which the "international community" rhetorically swore never again. A major reason for the lack of attention is the racist attitude that there is something inherent in Africa that spawns these kinds of conflicts, an attitude that pervaded reporting about Rwanda and will likely characterize reporting on the Congo if the situation gets too bloody to continue to ignore. But, as always in these situations, there is a larger story. Congo, like far too many countries in modern times, is impoverished mainly because it is rich. As Paul Harris notes over at
DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] is said to be the most mineral-rich territory on earth. It has about 60 percent of the world's supply of cobalt and about 20 percent of its copper (it is the largest supplier of high-grade copper), along with lots of gold, one third of the world's volume of diamonds, lots of cadmium, uranium, manganese, tin, and zinc. It also has large stocks of timber, oil, coffee and one other product that is of paramount importance: coltan. This variant of tantalum is used to make cell phones, night vision goggles, fiber optics, and capacitors which maintain the electrical charge in computer chips. It should be obvious why coltan is so highly prized.
This wealth is in large part both the source of Congo's poverty and its violence. In coming days, I'll try to locate articles summing up the various outside interests that continue to stoke the Congo conflict, not the least of which are some of the conspirators involved in the assassination of Congo's first independently elected Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba (i.e. the U.S. Government).


"Clown Prince" Shapiro Protested in Caracas

For the next couple of days, barring any major developments, this blog will turn its eyes away from the Middle East in order to touch in upon some other important areas of conflict, mostly related to earlier or continuing imperialist meddlings by the U.S. and others. We begin with Venezuela, where protestors in downtown Caracas protested the presence of U.S. Ambassador Charles Shapiro on Friday. Shapiro, of course, is a symbol of U.S. coup support and other efforts to bring "regime change" to Venezuela so that the interests of U.S. elites and their comprador Venezuelan allies aren't endangered by President Chavez's moves towards diverting resources towards the poor and downtrodden of the country (i.e. the vast majority).


Judy Miller:

Unscrupulous Propagandist or Just Incompetently Gullible?

New York Times "reporter" Judy Miller warranted a mention in the midst of last week's entry about the consolidation of the U.S. corporate media. Here's a little more evidence that she should have been fired for manufacturing reasons for war long before this whole Jason Blair brou-ha-ha. An email has come to light in which Miller reveals that, in her reporting about Iraq's alleged massive arsenal of weapons, she relied heavily on information provided by convicted Bank fraud felon and aspiring Iraqi dictator Ahmed Chalabi. According to Miller: "I've been covering Chalabi for about 10 years, and have done most of the stories about him for our paper, including the long takeout we recently did on him. He has provided most of the front page exclusives on WMD to our paper." The fact that Miller is presenting allegations by Chalabi (the Pentagon's chosen candidate for regime installation and a man who likely thinks he has a lot to gain by pushing for war) without even alluding to their provenance calls her journalistic integrity into serious question. When is the Times going to devote four pages to outing Miller's lies? Miller's association, along with such Iraq war pushers as Daniel Pipes, Meyrov Wurmser, and William Kristol, with the Middle East Forum and the American Enterprise Institute, two of the think tanks that have long been pushing for the invasion should figure in any consideration of the question posed in the title of this post.

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