News, Weather, Mozart, Sports, Eurovision Love Ænema & Perverted Videogames from Vleeptron

NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

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Location: Great Boreal Deciduous Hardwood Forest, New England, United States

old dude, all hair, swell new teeth

03 July 2006

assorted hallucinations

Oh PLEASE click HERE for a wonderful music video. In Disney's "Dumbo," nasty circus people have spiked the baby elephant's water with liquor, and he hallucinates the famous Pink Elephants. It's one of the greatest moments of animation, but this remix features the cover by the remarkable jazz musicians from Saturn, Sun Ra and His Arkestra.

Pink Elephants On Parade

from the Walt Disney
animated feature "Dumbo" (1941)

lyrics: Ned Washington

Look out! Look out!
Pink elephants on parade!
Here they come!
Hippety hoppety

They're here and there
Pink elephants ev'rywhere
Look out! Look out!
They're walking around the bed
On their head
Clippety cloppety

In braid
Pink elephants on parade!
What'll I do?
What'll I do?
What an unusual view!

I could stand the sight of worms
And look at microscopic germs
But Technicolor pachyderms
Is really too much for me!

I am not the type to faint
When things are odd
or things are quaint
But seeing things you know that ain't
Can certainly give you an awful fright!
What a sight!

Chase 'em away!

Chase 'em away!
I'm afraid!
Need your aid!
Pink elephants on parade!
Pink elephants!
Pink elephants!


I'm a little long-winded, so maybe The Columbus Dispatch might not run my Letter to the Editor.

Sue me. Read it on Vleeptron.


Letters to the Editor
The Columbus Dispatch
Columbus, Ohio USA

To the Editor:

Of all the tasteless and insensitive things I have ever read in a newspaper, your public humiliation of Professor John Burnham of Ohio State University, by running his column "Former Drug Czars Believe Their War Has Been Won" (30 June), is surely the most shameful.

Professor Burnham is clearly suffering from the most virulent hallucination I have ever witnessed, with or without LSD or liquor's pink elephants. He's convinced 35 years of America's War On Drugs have achieved Victory.

In 1965, when I graduated from high school, I had never met a human being who had ever smoked marijuana. I couldn't have found any marijuana, heroin or cocaine if I'd waved a hundred-dollar bill all over my large city for a week.

Now, with Victory achieved, these substances, plus methamphetamine and ecstacy, are a phone call or a 24/7 open-air drug market away throughout America, at prices to fit any teenager's allowance. (Legal, taxed, government-supervised alcohol is far more difficult for teens to obtain.)

I feel such sympathy for Professor Burnham's inability to notice the reality nearly every American, urban or rural, can see and, by gunshots in the night, hear.

The Nutty Professor looks back on America's 14 years of Alcohol Prohibition and concludes:

"Historians have established that the 1920s experiment in alcohol prohibition was successful and was repealed in 1933 only because of a massive, well-financed propaganda campaign."

In other words, Professor Burnham believes that if America had Done The Right Thing, it would still be a crime for an adult to drink a beer or a glass of wine. Franklin D. Roosevelt was an evil drug legalizer.

America's Drug War has achieved one Victory. Led by these remarkable Drug Czars, a bipartisan political emphasis on police, prosecutors and prisons has made my Land of the Free the world's largest prison system.

When I was growing up, this distinction belonged to the Siberian Gulags of the Soviet Union, and before that, to Nazi-occupied Europe. In 2000, under the leadership of Czar and former Army general Barry McCaffrey, this pathetic Gold Medal passed to the USA, and we now boast 2,300,000 children, women and men behind bars. We're Number One!

Stop shaming this troubled man and enabling his problems. Get the guy -- and the USA -- some help immediately!

Robert Merkin
Northampton, Massachusetts


Friday 30 June 2006
Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Copyright 2006 The Columbus Dispatch
Author: John C . Burnham
Note: John Burnham is research professor of history at Ohio State University, where he specializes in the history of medicine and American social history.


The United States has won the war against illegal drugs. That was the conclusion of a unique gathering on June 17, which marked the 35th anniversary of the war's beginning in 1971 with the appointment of Dr. Jerome H. Jaffe, a psychiatrist, as the first White House drug czar.

Jaffe was joined at the the anniversary gatheing in by six other former czars, Dr. Robert L. Du Pont, Dr. Peter G. Bourne, Lee I. Dogoloff, Dr. Donald Ian Mac-Donald, Lee Brown and retired Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey. Also attending were 20 former staff members and a handful of experts, including me, a specialist historian.

The meeting, sponsored and hosted by the University of Maryland, was held for the purpose of making a historical record.

The seven former czars and former staff members held remarkably unanimous views, though they come from a variety of backgrounds and included Democrats and Republicans who worked for five very different presidents. And what they had to say was often surprising.

The main conclusion that we won the war on drugs was the biggest surprise, because advocates of illegal drugs have in recent years filled the media with rhetoric about "the failed war on drugs." The czars' straightforward conclusion may come as a shock, but, as they outlined what the war was about, what they had to say made a lot of sense.

Thirty-five years ago, the big worry was the veterans who were returning from Vietnam who had been using illegal drugs. And the drug causing overwhelming concern was heroin. A hard-headed public-health approach showed an alarming number of deaths directly related to heroin, not to mention crimes committed by addicts. As the veterans showed that their use did not continue after their return to the United States, and as methadone-maintenance programs came into place, along with enforcement and education, heroin use declined, and even more dramatic was the decline in heroin-related deaths. This was the great victory of the war on drugs. A recent small uptick in illegal drug use is remarkably insignificant compared with the original problem.

Only in the 1980s, when the price of cocaine, in the form of crack, went down did that drug become a significant public-health problem. But what about marijuana? At that time, the serious effects of pot smoking were largely unknown. But in the late 1970s, the parents movement developed parents who had seen what happened when their kids got addicted to marijuana and their young brains got fried. This was a huge group of very angry people, and they were political dynamite.

The main tension in the office of drug czar was between enforcement and treatment. Congress would fund enforcement but did not like treatment, although one czar told of taking a couple of reluctant members of Congress to view a treatment center and see how much money treatment was saving the public as addicts, often under court coercion, were enabled to work productively.

For historians like me, the collective experience of the former czars provides two lessons. The first is unwelcome to extremists of the right and left and their shady commercial allies: Prohibitory laws can work.

Historians have established that the 1920s experiment in alcohol prohibition was successful and was repealed in 1933 only because of a massive, well-financed propaganda campaign.
The leadership of the drug czars in reducing supply and demand of illegal drugs is reflected not only in the public-health statistics. They can also cite public opinion polls. Thirty-five years ago, illegal drugs were usually first or second and no lower than fourth as public concerns. Now the drugs issue trails many other problems.

Everyone at the conference knew that the problem is going to continue for American society, but at a much lower level than 35 years before. That is what laws do: They attempt to control problems, not bring perfection. Laws against murder provide hope to control the problem, not abolish murder.

The second lesson is more subtle. The title czar was ironic, because the appointees had no direct, executive power. Instead, they coordinated the many federal and local agencies dealing with aspects of the drug problem and drug-law enforcement. The czars used persuasion. They got a drug detection and treatment system into the armed services, where the programs served as models for private businesses and other units. When new substances of abuse came along, often the czar was able to get officials and private businesses, especially pharmaceutical companies, to get one substance or another restricted before it became a major problem.

So what if the amusingly designated czars had no real power? They proved that in American government, there can be impressive leadership beyond formal power.

2 poems; & what happened to the poet when he tried to go home

Tenzin Tsundue, Tibetan
poet in exile in India

NGO Vleeptron
Preliminary Report
on Global Terrorism

In the view of the government of the Peoples Republic of China,
any Tibetan who objects to China's military occupation of Tibet is a terrorist.

In the view of the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, any American who objects to Britain's military occupation of Britain's American colonies is a terrorist.

Well, after Americans defeated the British Army and won their independence, Britain doesn't think George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson are terrorists anymore. They're ... well ... okay, if Britain can't bring itself to call these ex-terrorists freedom fighters or liberators, they're, uhhh, political leaders of a new, recognized sovereign nation. We exchange ambassadors now, and Britain doesn't try to hang our leaders or line them in front of a firing squad anymore.

This article about the exiled Tibetan poet Tenzin Tsundue is from the Belfast Telegraph in Northern Ireland. In the view of the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, any Irish person who objects to Britain's military occupation of any part of the island of Ireland is a terrorist.

Well, after the British recognized the southern counties as the independent Republic of Ireland, the British government doesn't think the Irish freedom fighters were terrorists anymore.

In the view of the government of Israel, any Palestinian who objects to Israel's military occupation of the West Bank is a terrorist ...

In the view of the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, any Jew who objects to Britain's military occupation of Palestine is a terrorist ...

In the view of the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, any Egyptian who objects to Britain's military occupation of Egypt is a terrorist ...

In the view of the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, any Hindu, Muslim or Buddhist who objects to Britain's military occupation of its empire in the Indian subcontinent is a terrorist ...

In the view of the government of the United States of America, any Filipino who objects to the US military occupation of the Philippines is a terrorist ...

In the view of the government of the Soviet Union, any Afghani who objects to the Soviet Union's military occupation of Afghanistan is a terrorist ...

In the view of the government of Myanmar, any Burmese who objects to the military junta which ignores, by force of arms, the overwhelming vote of the Burmese people to have a democratic government is a terrorist ...

Where the hell do all these fucking terrorists come from???????????

And how do so many of them end up as the political leaders of new sovereign nations? How do so many of them end up on currency and postage stamps?

And why do those damn Scandinavians keep awarding so many terrorists the Nobel Peace Prize?



by Tenzin Tsundue

The Tibetan in Mumbai
is not a foreigner.

He is a cook
at a Chinese takeaway.
They think he is Chinese
run away from Beijing.

He sells sweaters in summer
in the shade of the Parel Bridge.
They think he is some retired Bahadur.

The Tibetan in Mumbai
abuses in Bambaya Hindi,
with a slight Tibetan accent
and during vocabulary emergencies
he naturally runs into Tibetan.
That's when the Parsis laugh.

The Tibetan in Mumbai
likes to flip through the MID-DAY,
loves FM, but doesn't expect
a Tibetan song.

He catches the bus at a signal,
jumps into a running train,
walks into a long dark gully
and nestles in his kholi.

He gets angry
when they laugh at him

The Tibetan in Mumbai
is now tired,
wants some sleep and a dream.
On the 11pm Virar Fast,
he goes to the Himalayas.
The 8.05am Fast Local
brings him back to Churchgate
into the Metro: a New Empire.



by Tenzin Tsundue

I am a terrorist.
I like to kill.

I have horns,
two fangs
and a dragonfly tail.

Chased away from my home,
hiding from fear,
saving my life,
doors slammed on my face,

justice constantly denied,
patience is tested
on television, battered
in front of the silent majority
pushed against the wall,
from that dead end
I have returned.

I am the humiliation
you gulped down
with flattened nose.

I am the shame
you buried in darkness.

I am a terrorist
shoot me down.

Cowardice and fear
I left behind
in the valley
among the meowly cats
and lapping dogs.

I am single,
I have nothing -
to lose.

I am a bullet
I do not think

from the tin shell
I leap for that thrilling
2-second life
and die with the dead.

I am the life
you left behind.


Belfast Telegraph
Monday 3 July 2006

Tibetan dissident
to accuse Chinese
of torture and genocide

by Clifford Coonan

Tenzin Tsundue, a Tibetan poet and activist, takes his fight to Britain today when he files a sworn testimony detailing atrocities he says he saw and experienced while in prison in the remote Himalayan region.

Mr Tsundue’s testimony is a stark litany of beatings and torture doled out during his imprisonment without trial in 1999, and will be submitted today to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office legalisation office, where it will be officially notarised.

The testimony is for a criminal suit filed in Spain’s High Court by three Tibet support groups accusing former president Jiang Zemin and ex-parliament chief Li Peng, both of whom retired in 2003, of committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Tibet.

"Many European countries speak of peace and human rights and harmony. But on business they all cosy up to China, it’s hypocritical. Through asking for justice in an international court I hope they will have second thoughts," Mr Tsundue said. "The Tibetan people should have the right to run their own country, not the Chinese people," he said. The case accuses the retired leaders, who were in office during the 1980s and 1990s, of authorising massacres and torture in Tibet. The court could call for the Chinese government to arrest those accused of human rights abuse -- and even impound their property.

Tibet has been under the control of China since 1950 when the People’s Liberation Army marched into Tibet. Less than a decade later the Himalayan region’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled [to India] after a failed uprising. Tales of torture and abuse have abounded over the past four decades.

China has condemned the lawsuit, calling it absurd, and Beijing has accused Madrid of meddling in its affairs. Madrid is also investigating charges of genocide against the Falun Gong spiritual movement. Emilie Hunter, a spokesperson for the Madrid-based Friends of Tibet Committee, said she hoped that the effect of filing the testimony in Britain would be to stimulate broader government and public interest in the issue.

The lawsuit coincides with the opening of a hi-tech train line between Beijing and Lhasa, which the Chinese say will give Tibet an economic boost, but which Tibetan activists fear will lead to a dilution of Tibetan culture.

"This is one way to fight Beijing -- they may not listen to us Tibetans but this is a way to speak to Beijing non-violently with law and show this is injustice and we want them to address this," Mr Tsundue said.

The activist lives, along with approximately 110,000 other Tibetans including the Dalai Lama, in Dharamsala, close to the border with India. He was arrested in 1999 while crossing into Tibet at Ladakh and held for three months in two prisons. Here he says he experienced, and witnessed, the treatment of Tibetans who had been jailed for "counterrevolutionary" crimes.

"Over three months I was beaten, starved, became infested with lice and had a red-hot poker brandished in front of my eyes. For me, those long sessions of interrogation were so intimidating, humiliating, and disturbing that many times I found myself crying in the middle of night in my dark prison cell," he said.

He said he fears for the life of one political prisoner, Dawa Gyaltsen, who was arrested in 1996 and sentenced to 18 years in prison for designing and distributing "free Tibet" posters. He is now being held in Lhasa’s notorious Drapchi prison.

Mr Tsundue’s views are more extreme than those of the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese view as a dangerous separatist who wants to wrest control of Tibet away from China. Beijing accuses him of continuing to spark independence movements among the 2.7 million Tibetans and refuses to allow him back inside its borders.

For his part, the Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, insists he is a moderate who preaches a "middle way," which seeks special autonomy for Tibet within China, not independence.

Many Tibetans, include Mr Tsundue, remain fiercely loyal to the figure they regard as a god-king. "For us Tibetans the Dalai Lama is our leader and he is our Buddha," Mr Tsundue said. "He has an immense sense of compassion and forgiveness. I don’t have the power of the Buddha to compromise on independence.

"On the political front I ask for independence for Tibet. The Tibetan people should have the right to run their own country and not China," he said.

- 30 -

© 2006 Independent News and Media (NI)
a division of Independent News & media (UK) Ltd

Tsundue’s testimony

My name is Tenzin Tsundue. I am a Tibetan born and brought up in India. On 4 March 1997, I walked across the India-Tibet border. I was apprehended at Cha-gang by border police. For eight days I was interrogated every morning for many hours and throughout these interrogation sessions, they kept asking me who sent me, who backed me in my mission, what was it about, who I was meeting in Tibet -- the interrogators, who were mostly Tibetans, would kick me, punch me in the chest and often slapped my face -- Sometimes, after a hard slap I would almost go deaf, and for a long time I remained dazed. These sessions of interrogation were very intimidating, humiliating and mentally so traumatising that sometimes in the middle of the night in my cell, I found myself crying -- I was never produced before any court nor given any opportunity for legal support. In the jail, the food was poor and served only twice a day, leaving us starved all the time.


Friends of Tibet (INDIA)

Dear friend:

Friends of Tibet (INDIA) is an effort by individuals from India to help, preserve and spread awareness about the issue of Tibet and the unique cultural and religious identity of the Tibetan people.

Tibetans living in exile are spread across more than ten countries. Although faced with unforeseen problems and unpredictable circumstances beyond their control, they have held together as a community and kept alive their national identity. Also very much alive is their yearning to return to their homeland. Even among the fourth generation in exile they have successfully preserved their language, their culture and their religion.

Friends of Tibet (INDIA) was formed on March 9, 1999, at Dharamshala, and its website was inaugurated by Ven. Yeshi Togden, president of Gu Chu Sum Movement of Tibet

Sadly, the same cannot be said about the situation inside Tibet. Throughout the early decades of the occupation tens of thousands of Tibetans were killed and many more sent to prisons and concentration camps. During this period more than 6,000 temples and monasteries -- including vast Buddhist universities and ancient libraries were looted, burned and destroyed. Even today, despite some cosmetic changes, largely for the benefit of tourists or visiting dignitaries; Tibetan religion and culture has not recovered from the decades of suppression and continues to suffer from neglect and discrimination. Rampant and indiscriminate exploitation of Tibet's vast natural resources is also threatening the fragile ecological balance of the Roof of the World. However, the single biggest threat to the survival of the Tibetan people is China's policy of population transfer aimed at reducing Tibetans to an insignificant minority in their own country by sending in millions of landless and jobless Chinese.

The distinct cultural ties between India and Tibet, the most obvious being the spread of Buddhism from India to Tibet in the seventh century, is perhaps too well known to bear repeating here. The trade and economic ties between the two countries is perhaps even older. It is equally important to remember that India maintained independent relations with Tibet throughout our shared history. Never, until China's military occupation of Tibet after 1949, has India ever shared a common border with China. Today India spends more money to defend our northern border with Chinese-occupied Tibet than we do to protect our border with Pakistan. Even in the case of our western border, much of the problem is linked to the political, economic and the military support that China gives to Pakistan.

Joined together by almost the entire length of the mighty Himalayan range -- India and Tibet are also inseparably linked in a physical sense. With such an extensive common frontier, the environmental changes on one side inevitably affects the other. It is for this reason that China's destruction of Tibet's fragile environment not only through indiscriminate deforestation and mining but also by dumping nuclear and other toxic wastes -- should be a major concern to every Indian. It is no longer just a question of helping an oppressed people and supporting a peaceful and friendly neighbour. Today the question of Tibetan independence is inseparably linked to India's long-term future. The implications of having China as our permanent northern neighbour or even the single issue of any of the rivers flowing from Tibet to India becoming polluted by toxic waste is too serious to be left to chance.

We believe that all the issues raised above are of a global nature not only in terms of the principles involved but also in terms of their impact. We, therefore, call upon freedom-loving people everywhere to join hands with the Tibetan people. We believe that Tibet Can and that Tibet Will Be Free. So join us by sharing your ideas, your time and your talents. Together we can make a difference to the lives of our Tibetan friends and also secure the safety of our future generations. For too long China has taken India and Indians for granted. Let us act now to make Tibet free.

Friends of Tibet (INDIA) believe that all the issues raised above are of a global nature -- not only in terms of the principles involved but also in terms of their impact. We, therefore, call upon freedom-loving people everywhere to join hands with the Tibetan people. With your help

‘Tibet Can and Tibet Will Be Free.’


Sethu Das

(President, Friends of Tibet INDIA)

[photo:] Friends of Tibet National Committee with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

01 July 2006

stoned California pelican attacks car, detained

domoic acid

The Los Angeles Times (California USA)
Saturday 24 June 2006

Plastered Pelican
in Detox After Flying
Through Windshield

Domoic acid in algae is the likely
cause for inebriated seabirds

by Roy Rivenburg, Times Staff Writer

Four pelicans were being detained in an animal drunk tank Friday on suspicion of public intoxication, authorities said.

One of the birds was in guarded condition after allegedly flying under the influence Thursday and crashing through the windshield of a car on Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.

The driver was rattled but uninjured.

The other California brown pelicans [Pelecanus occidentalis californicus]
were nabbed in backyards or wandering local streets in a daze.

Although toxicology tests aren't complete (there are no bird breathalyzers), such behavior usually signals domoic acid poisoning from eating algae, said Lisa Birkle, assistant wildlife director at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, which is caring for the pelicans.

Domoic acid was also the likely culprit behind a 1961 seabird invasion that inspired Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror film "The Birds."

According to news reports, thousands of befuddled birds rained down on Northern California towns in August 1961, slamming into buildings and even pecking eight humans.

Nobody is predicting a Hitchcockian invasion here, but Birkle urged Southern California residents to be on the lookout for pelicans acting disoriented or turning up in unusual locations.

In the last week, the wildlife center fielded 16 calls of suspicious bird behavior. And more incidents are likely because ocean waters south of Los Angeles Harbor have tested positive for the poisonous algae, Birkle said.

The pelican that collided with the car is recovering from surgery for a broken foot and a 4-inch gash in its pouch.

"She's hanging in there," Birkle said. On Friday, the heavily sedated bird began eating on her own, a good sign for full recovery.

Blood tests for domoic acid will take about three weeks, but Birkle said she's never heard of a sober pelican crashing into a car.

The birds have phenomenal eyesight, she explained, noting that from high above the ocean, they are able to spot fish.

After the pelicans being held in Huntington Beach have sobered up, they will be released on their own recognizance.

Copyright © 2006, The Los Angeles Times

from Wikipedia:

Domoic acid

Domoic acid, which causes amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP), is an amino acid phycotoxin (algal toxin) found associated with certain algal blooms [1].

In 1958, domoic acid was originally isolated from the red alga called "doumoi" or "hanayanagi" (Chondria armata [2]) in Japan. "Doumoi" is used as an anthelmintic [?] in Tokunoshima, Kagoshima.

Domoic acid is also produced by diatoms of the genus Pseudo-nitzschia [3][4]. The chemical can bioaccumulate in marine organisms that feed on the phytoplankton, such as shellfish, anchovies, and sardines.

In mammals, including humans, domoic acid acts as a neurotoxin, causing short-term memory loss, brain damage, and death in severe cases. Red tides are associated with the phenomenon of ASP. Considerable recent research has been carried out by the Marine Mammal Center and other scientific centers on the association of red tides to domoic acid and to resulting neurological damage in marine mammals of the Pacific Ocean.

In the brain, domoic acid especially damages the hippocampus and amygdaloid nucleus. It damages the neurons by activating AMPA and kainate receptors, causing an influx of calcium. Although calcium flowing into cells is a normal event, the uncontrolled increase of calcium causes the cell to degenerate.

On June 22, 2006, a California brown pelican, possibly under the influence of domoic acid, flew through the windshield of a car on the Pacific Coast Highway. The acid is found in the local seas.

Domoic acid poisoning was the most likely cause of a 1961 invasion of thousands of frantic seabirds in Northern California that inspired Alfred Hitchcock's film The Birds.

30 June 2006

my HTML ate a bad fig and was constipated. Cured now.

Okay, the original "Asymmetric Warfare" post seems to have eaten a rotten fig and caused a couple of days of Bad Constipation on Planet Vleeptron. Thus the re-post, and Vleeptron now believes the Constipation is Cured, and Vleeptron can now be accessed without problems.

Here is an original visual complaint about The Technical Problems Vleeptron's readers were experiencing the last day or two. Copyright (c) 2006 by Ron Bizer, All Rights Reserved.

The inevitable consequence of Asymmetric Warfare

General Jacob H. Smith's infamous order,
"Kill everyone over ten"
was the caption in The New York Journal cartoon
on May 5, 1902. The Old Glory draped an American
shield on which a vulture replaced the bald eagle.
Caption is:

"Criminals because they were born
ten years before we took the Philippines."
(from Wikipedia.) Click.

The inevitable consequence
of Asymmetric Warfare

Asymmetric Warfare -- I don't know which twerp first used the phrase -- is Military Gobbledyspeak for a superpower's high-tek military which bumbles into a war against dirt-poor barefoot guerrillas who have neither air force nor navy and who arm themselves with 1940- or 1910-era firearms and $30 worth of box cutters and duct tape from the Tru-Value.

If they can't make their own high explosives, they steal them from our military depots, which have tons of the shit, or from our duds -- our unexploded bombs and ordinance. Then they make vests of plastic explosive and a Tru-Value thumb switch and walk up to an army platoon and FOOMF. Six American flag-draped coffins fly back to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, and the bomber begins acquainting himself or herself with Paradise.

As a fine modern example of Corrupting The English Language, AW ranks with "Collateral Damage," which is Military Gobbledyspeak for a superpower's high-tek military dropping a planeload of bombs on a children's hospital. The bedridden children made the mistake of getting too close to bona-fide military targets.

This *quote,* as best I remember this startling live-TV moment, is very close to Ramsey Clark's outburst on CNN when some US Air Force fuckhead used the term during the NATO bombing of Belgrade (in which the Chinese Embassy was collaterally smithereened):

*Collateral damage -- for god's sake,
call it what it is:

Killing children, women,
civilians, old people.*

Here are our superpower military ideals and doctrine of warfare as we continue to teach them to the professional officer corps at Annapolis, West Point, the Air Force Academy, and the military staff and command colleges:

We go against some Third World nation with overwhelming destructive power -- the doctrine of Shock and Awe -- destroy their military's ability to continue fighting, accept their surrender in some insulting fashion, stand around waiting for the liberated native girls to throw their arms around our soldiers and kiss them in gratitude, and then cable the band to start rehearsing for the huge Victory Parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Mission Accomplished.

Asymmetric Warfare is Evil, because our enemy refuses to stay surrendered, and then refuses to stand up and face us fair and square like Americans. They are cowards and murderers.

They are also winning. Just tossing out figures, but I put the ratio this way. If the US has to spend $12,000,000 per day to fight the War in Iraq, our enemies are spending $3,751.16 per day, not including newspaper coupons redeemable at the hardware store for electrical wire and lantern batteries.

And they're winning. We're certainly losing. Do you think we're winning? Make Vleeptron wise: Leave A Comment.

(Calling me a traitor is not a persuasive argument that we're winning. Aim that intimidating crap at Natalie Maines instead, if you haven't already.)

Our Season of Whistleblown Atrocities began pretty early after Mission Accomplished, with Abu Ghraib. The universal Pentagon response, of course, is that the abuses are committed by a very few rotten apples, but 99.99993 percent of all American soldiers and Marines are Straight Arrow Decent Guys who would never do anything like that.

By an astonishing coincidence, all the rotten apples who end up getting court-martialed are low-ranking enlisted men and women, PFCs, corporals and 3-stripe buck sergeants. Commissioned officers (and gentlemen, by Act of Congress) never force prisoners to strip naked and masturbate for the camera while threatening the prisoners with unmuzzled attack dogs, nor would any American commissioned officer ever countenance or encourage such things by his or her subordinates.

Hardware War is incredibly frustrating for a modern superpower military which still thinks it's fighting World War Two in Europe.

We make a brigade-size battle plan, the helicopters, air support and wheeled and track vehicles all start to rock and roll at 04:45, we race into the sleeping town -- and find no one there whom we can unambiguously identify as enemy combatants. No one is standing up to fight us like Americans. They are all somewhere else, or are wearing sneaky, deceitful Civilian Costumes -- like little-girl and old-women dresses or schoolboy uniforms.

The week before Operation One-Two Punch, nine soldiers in the brigade were blown up or ambushed and killed and maimed. Everyone from Private to Major General, Commanding is Pumped and ready for Righteous American Military Vengeance. When the whistle blows on One-Two Punch, SOMEBODY's gonna be sorry. SOMEBODY's gonna wish they'd never been born.

Unfortunately, the Cowardly Fiends who killed our comrades are nowhere to be found. They've taken the day off to redeem their coupons at the hardware store and make some more Improvised Explosive Devices (MilGobble for Crude, Cheap Bomb).

But like 800 armored, locked-and-loaded, megapumped American soldiers all yelled at 04:45: SOMEBODY's gonna be sorry.

~ ~ ~

The problem is, these are Not Civilized, Gentlemen Warriors like we are.
They are Barbarians, Savages. Massacre and Torture are the only language they understand. Their barbarian sneaky tactics are so frustrating that They are forcing Us to behave that way. We didn't want to. But it's All Their Fault. We came to Iraq to fight a gentlemanly, orderly, rational war with our overwhelming conventional forces vs. their pre-doomed silly antiquated tiny forces.

And we defeated them exactly as we predicted we would, for as long as the Fair and Square Phase lasted.

But they won't stop killing us. They lost. But they refuse to act like enemies who lost fair and square.

And now, if you are expecting SP5_Happy to launch into an Old Toothless Vet's Memoires of the Vietnam War, surprise: I'll skip MY Asymmetric War vs. the Cowardly un-American Barbarians (who won btw) for a change, and hurtle you back 65 years earlier, in the Heathkit TM-212 Time Machine, to America's first Asymmetric War.

They were barbarians. Torture and massacre were the only language they understood. They made us do those things to them. We didn't want to have to fight them that way. They forced us. We had no choice. What else could we do?

~ ~ ~

Agence-Vleeptron Presse Advisory

The following block of this Wikipedia article
runs stet, without changes.

A-VP has added only typographical emphasis:
boldfacing and supersizing.

To help readers recognize anything that might
sound faintly familiar to them.

Like the Army-organized campaign
of letter-writing --
identical language in
personal letters home --
by US soldiers
early in the Iraq War.

~ ~ ~

from Wikipedia

The Philippine-American War

War Crimes

American torture and scorched-earth campaigns

In 1908, Manuel Arellano Remondo, in a book entitled General Geography of the Philippine Islands, wrote: "The population decreased due to the wars, in the five-year period from 1895 to 1900, since, at the start of the first insurrection, the population was estimated at 9,000,000, and at present (1908), the inhabitants of the Archipelago do not exceed 8,000,000 in number." [25]

U.S. attacks into the countryside often included scorched earth campaigns where entire villages were burned and destroyed, torture (water cure) and the concentration
of civilians into "protected zones" (concentration camps). Many of the civilian casualties resulted from disease and famine. Reports of the execution of U.S. soldiers taken prisoner by the Filipinos led to savage reprisals by American forces. Many American officers and soldiers called war a "nigger killing business."

American soldiers' letters and response

From almost the beginning of the war, soldiers wrote home describing, and usually bragging about, atrocities committed against Filipinos, soldiers and civilians alike. Increasingly, such personal letters, or portions of them, reached a national audience as anti-imperialist editors across the nation reproduced them. [26]

Once these accounts were widely reproduced, the War Department was forced to demand that General Otis investigate their authenticity. For each press clipping, he forwarded it to the writer’s commanding officer, who would then convince the soldier to write a retraction.

Private Charles Brenner of the Kansas regiment resisted such pressure. He insisted that Colonel Funston [27] had ordered that all prisoners be shot and that Major Metcalf and Captain Bishop enforced these orders. Otis was obliged to order the Northern Luzon sector commander, General [Arthur] MacArthur, to look into the charge.

Brenner confronted MacArthur’s aide with a corroborating witness, Private Putman, who confessed to shooting two prisoners after Bishop or Metcalf ordered, "Kill them! Damn it, Kill them!"

MacArthur sent his aide’s report on to Otis with no comment. Otis ordered Brenner court-martialed "for writing and conniving at the publication of an article which ... contains willful falsehoods concerning himself and a false charge against Captain Bishop."

The judge advocate in Manila convinced Otis that such a trial could open a Pandora’s box, as "facts would develop implicating many others."

General Otis sent the Brenner case to Washington writing: "After mature deliberation, I doubt the wisdom of court-martial in this case, as it would give the insurgent authorities a knowledge of what was taking place and they would assert positively that our troops had practiced inhumanities, whether the charge should be proven or not, as they would use it as an excuse to defend their own barbarities"; and Otis went on, justifying the war crimes, "and it is not thought that his charge is very grievous under the circumstances then existing, as it was very early in the war, and the patience of our men was under great strain." [28]

Towards the end of 1899, General Otis attempted to repair his battered image. He began to work to win new friends among the journalists in Manila and bestowed favors on any journalist who gave him favourable press. [29]

Concentration camps

As one historian wrote about Marinduque, the first island with concentration camps: "The triple press of concentration (camps), devastation, and harassment led Abad (the Marinduque commander) "to request a truce to negotiate surrender terms ... The Army pacified Marinduque not by winning the allegiance of the people, but by imposing coercive measures to control their behavior and separate them from the insurgents in the field. Ultimately, military and security measures proved to be the (essential element) of Philippine pacification." [30] This assessment could probably be applied to all of the Philippines.

Filipino atrocities

To counter the bad press back in America, General Otis stated that insurgents tortured American prisoners in "fiendish fashion," some of whom were buried alive, or worse, up [to] their necks in anthills to be slowly devoured. Others were castrated, had the removed parts stuffed into their mouths, and were then left to suffocate or bleed to death.

It was also stated that some prisoners were deliberately infested with leprosy before being released to spread the disease among their comrades. Spanish priests were horribly mutilated before their congregations, and natives who refused to support Emilio Aguinaldo were slaughtered by the thousands. American newspaper headlines announced the

"Murder and Rapine"
by the
"Fiendish Filipinos"

General "Fighting Joe" Wheeler insisted that it was the Filipinos who had mutilated their own dead, murdered women and children, and burned down villages, solely to discredit American soldiers. [31]

Other atrocities included those by General Vicente Lukban, the Filipino commander who masterminded the surprise attack in the Balangiga Massacre, that killed over fifty American soldiers. Media reports stated that many of the bodies were mutilated. [32]

Sergeant Hallock testified in the Lodge committee [that] natives were given the water cure, "in order to secure information of the murder of Private O'Herne of Company I, who had been not only killed, but roasted and otherwise tortured before death ensued." [33]

Reporters and Red Cross accounts contradict Otis

During the closing months of 1899, Emilio Aguinaldo attempted to counter General Otis’s account by suggesting that neutral parties -- foreign journalists or representatives of the International Red Cross -- inspect his military operations. Otis refused, but Emilio Aguinaldo managed to smuggle in four reporters -- two English, one Canadian, and a Japanese into the Philippines.

The correspondents returned to Manila to report that American captives were "treated more like guests than prisoners," were "fed the best that the country affords, and everything is done to gain their favor." The story went on to say that American prisoners were offered commissions in the Philippine army and that three had accepted. The four reporters were expelled from the Philippines as soon as their stories were printed. [34]

Emilio Aguinaldo also released some American prisoners so they could tell their own stories. In a Boston Globe article entitled "With the Goo Goo’s" Paul Spillane described his fair treatment as a prisoner. Emilio Aguinaldo had even invited American captives to the christening of his baby and had given each a present of four dollars, Spillane recounted.

Naval Lieutenant J.C. Gilmore, whose release was forced by American cavalry pursuing Aguinaldo into the mountains, insisted that he had received "considerable treatment" and that he was no more starved than were his captors. Otis responded to these two articles by ordering the "capture" of the two authors, and that they be "investigated," therefore questioning their loyalty. [35]

When F.A. Blake of the International Red Cross arrived at Emilio Aguinaldo’s request, Otis kept him confined to Manila, where Otis’s staff explained all of the Filipinos' violations of civilized warfare. Blake managed to slip away from an escort and venture into the field. Blake never made it past American lines, but even within American lines he saw burned out villages and "horribly mutilated bodies, with stomachs slit open and occasionally decapitated." Blake waited to return to San Francisco, where he told one reporter that "American soldiers are determined to kill every Filipino in sight." [36]

Ratio of Filipinos wounded

The most conclusive evidence that the enemy wounded were being killed, came from the official reports of Otis and his successor, General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., which claimed fifteen Filipinos killed for every one wounded. In the American Civil War, the ratio had been five wounded for every soldier killed, which is close to historical norm. Otis attempted to explain this anomaly by the superior marksmanship of rural southerners and westerners who had hunted all their lives.

MacArthur added a racial twist, asserting that Anglo-Saxons do not succumb to wounds as easily as do men of "inferior races." [37]


In the south, Muslim Filipinos resisted until 1913 -- the so-called Moro rebellion. They were never part of Aguinaldo's movement. During this conflict, the Americans realized a need to be able to stop a charging tribesman with a single shot. To fill this need, the Colt M1911 Handgun was developed for its larger .45 caliber ammunition (45 ACP), resulting in additional stopping power.

English education and the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church was disestablished, and a considerable amount of church land was purchased and redistributed. However, the bulk of the land was quickly bought up by American companies with little going to Filipino peasants. [citation needed]

During the U.S. occupation, English was declared the official language, although the languages of the Philippine people were Spanish, Visayan, Tagalog, Ilokano, Pangasinan and other native languages. Also, six hundred American teachers were imported aboard the USS Thomas. The first task of the Thomasites was to reform the education system to one that maintained an anti-Spanish curriculum but glossed over existing American atrocities. [citation needed]

The English requirement barred many from political office and ensured a dependency on American administrators.


Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Philippine-American War

In the fall of 1899, [General Arthur] MacArthur, who was still loyal to General Otis, said to reporter H. Irving Hannock:

"When I first started in against these rebels, I believed
that Aguinaldo’s troops represented only a faction.
I did not like to believe that the whole population
of Luzon --
the native population that is --
was opposed to us
and our offers
of aid and good government.

"But after having come this far, after having occupied
several towns and cities in succession, and having been
brought much into contact with both insurrectos
and amigos,
I have been reluctantly compelled
to believe that the Filipino
masses are loyal
to Aguinaldo and the government
which he heads." [38]

Further reading

* Agoncillo, Teodoro A (1997). Malolos: The crisis of the republic. University of the Philippines Press. ISBN 9715420966. Kenton J. Clymer States "The book provides the best account to date of the inner dynamics of the Filipino side of the war." -- Review: Not so Benevolent Assimilation: The Philippine-American War, Reviews in American History Vol. 11, No. 4 (Dec., 1983), pp. 547-552

* Brands, H. W. (1992). Bound to Empire: The United States and the Philippines. Oxford University Press.

* Deady, Timothy K.; "Lessons from a Successful Counterinsurgency: The Philippines, 1899-1902" Parameters, Vol. 35, 2005

* Gates, John M. (1973). Schoolbooks and Krags: The United States Army in the Philippines, 1898-1902. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0837158184.

* Gates, John. "War-Related Deaths in the Philippines, 1898-1902", Pacific Historical Review 53:367+ (1983)

* Gates, John M., The US Army and Irregular Warfare, Chapter 3: The Pacification of the Philippines

* Linn, Brian McAllister (2000). The U.S. Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War, 1899-1902. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807849480.

* May, Glenn Anthony (1991). Battle for Batangas: A Philippine Province at War. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300048505.

* Miller, Stuart Creighton (1982). "Benevolent Assimilation": The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300026978. Kenton J. Clymer States "The War Miller describes is a more believable one than the one Gates pictures."

* Schirmer, Daniel B. (1972). Republic or Empire: American Resistance to the Philippine War. Schenkman. ISBN 087073105X.

* Schirmer, Daniel B. Stephen Rosskamm Shalom (1987). The Philippines Reader: A History of Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Dictatorship, and Resistance. South End Press. ISBN 089608275X.

* Shaw, Angel Velasco (2002). Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899-1999. New York University Press. ISBN 0814797911.

* Smallman-Raynor, Matthew, and Andrew D Cliff. "The Philippines Insurrection and the 1902-4 cholera epidemic: Part I-Epidemiological diffusion processes in war" Journal of Historical Geography, v 24, n 1, January, 1998, p. 69-89

* T.A. Agoncillo / M.C. Guerrero, History of the Filipino People, Quezon City,1987, pp. 159

* Twain, Mark and Jim Zwick (1992). Mark Twain's Weapons of Satire: Anti-Imperialist Writings on the Philippine-American War. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0815602685.

* Zwick, Jim. Friends of the Filipino People Bulletin

* Zwick, Jim. Militarism and Repression in the Philippines

* Zwick, Jim. "Prodigally Endowed with Sympathy for the Cause:" Mark Twain's Involvement with the Anti-Imperialist League" (Ephemera Society of America (January 1, 1992) ASIN B0006R8RJ8

* Young, Kenneth Ray; The General's General: The Life and Times of Arthur MacArthur, Westview Press, 1994

Government and contemporary sources

* The Philippine "Lodge committee" hearings (A.K.A. Philippine Investigating Committee) and a great deal of documentation were published in three volumes (3000 pages) as S. Doc. 331, 57th Cong., 1st Session An abridged version of the oral testimony can be found in: American Imperialism and the Philippine Insurrection: Testimony Taken from Hearings on Affairs in the Philippine Islands before the Senate Committee on the Philippines--1902; edited by Henry F Graff; Publisher: Little, Brown; 1969. ASIN: B0006BYNI8

* See the extensive Anti-imperialist summary of the findings of the Lodge Committee/Philippine Investigating Committee on wikisource. Listing many of the attrocities and the military and government reaction.

The President ... is as powerful a monarch as Louis XIV ... and is not subject to the processes of any court in the land ...

cartoon by Spooner for The Age

Ah, screw it, I give up. I can't find this guy's e-mail addie anywhere on the website of Australia's national broadsheet The Age. I want to write the guy an e-mail but I can't.

So I'll just filch his column, post it on Vleeptron, and maybe he'll notice and contact me to complain.

Oh, I'll say I'm sorry and offer to buy him a pizza.

But I want to tell him what a great column this is.

Why should anybody care about a loop job like David Hicks?

Mr Shaun Carney, an Associate Editor of The Age, tells us why.

It's called The Rule Of Law. Our President Bush suspended it, and ceaselessly tells the American people why he suspended the Rule of Law, and why he doesn't care who objects, and promises to keep suspending the Rule of Law for as long as he's the worst president we've had in living memory, and for as long as he's the worst "Commander-in-Chief" we've ever had during a national emergency or two.

Yesterday five justices of the United States Supreme Court told President Lawless that he had to stop acting as if he were Above The Law.

And five is enough to mean that one of our three co-equal branches of the federal government demands he Straighten Up and Fly Right. The Supreme Court just told the president to Obey The Law. Or Else.

(Or Else what? Watch This Space.)

A little peek at the future.

In 2008, our Constitution says we must hold a presidential election, and Bush can't run for a third term. Our Constitution says that in January 2009, a new guy (or mebbe a lady) will take the oath and be sworn in as the new President of the United States.

If you were Bush, and you were as self-hypnotized as Bush says he is that the entire safety of every citizen of the USA depends on his being Above The Law during a national emergency -- would you gracefully and happily turn your powers over to The Next Guy or The Next Gal? Would you gracefully and quietly go back to Texas and spend your days polishing up your Presidential Library?

Hmmm ... maybe, if the guy who wins in 2008 is another right-wing Republican pscyho loop job. Like his brother Jeb, the Governor of Florida -- just an example.

But what if the 2008 winner is a Democrat who ran on a platform of restoring respect for the U.S. Constitution and the Rule Of Law? What if the 2008 winner is sitting on a new Democratic majority in both houses of the U.S. Congress, after a flip in '06 and/or '08?

If I were as megalomaniacal as Bush -- I wouldn't go gentle into that dark Texas. America needs me! Only I can save America! America will be doomed if it votes mistakenly for some kommie pinko sissy liberal Democrat. And personally, I'd be convinced that it wasn't a fair vote, but that the Democrats won by rigging the election. I can't let them take over the reins of power if they stuffed ballot boxes and hung pregnant chads in some politically corrupt state.

More than that, Bush on several occasions has made it clear that he has a historically unique special mandate to be our President. A mandate from God. God specifically wants George Bush to be President of the United States.

If I were God, do you think I'd care about the U.S. Constitution? God is Above The Law. God IS The Law. God chose George Bush to be President. Four more years, says God -- or that's what The Voice of God in Bush's Head will be telling him.

By the way, this "There's a war on, I'm the President, I'm Above The Law" crap has been pulled before. Richard Nixon's lawyer specifically argued before the Supreme Court that, during a presidency, the President has the same powers as Louis XIV of France -- the original "We Are The Law" absolute monarch. Here is what Nixon's lawyer, James D. St. Clair, said to the nine justices:

"The President wants me to argue that he is as powerful a monarch as Louis XIV, only four years at a time, and is not subject to the processes of any court in the land except the court of impeachment."

This cartoon from The Age pretty much shows how the Supreme Court (unanimously, I think, 9-0) replied to Nixon's lawyer. A few months later Nixon climbed aboard the Marine helicopter and waved goodbye, the first and (so far) only president ever to resign while in office.

How can you compare a total fuckup (I don't exactly know what the Ozzie word "bogan" means, if you do, please Leave A Comment)

WIKIPEDIA: Bogan (pronounced ... to rhyme with slogan) is an Australian and New Zealand English slang term, at times derogatory, for a person who is, or is perceived to be, unsophisticated or of a lower class background. The stereotype includes having speech and mannerisms that are considered to denote poor education and uncultured upbringing. Mostly applied to white, working-class people.

Any discussion of the meaning of the term is likely to be controversial. Australians tend to have an image of their country as culturally egalitarian; by contrast, Britain and the United States are often stereotyped in Australia as obsessed with cultural and economic class respectively. The presence of an insulting stereotype for poor people is obviously in conflict with this self-image.

Like the British term chav and the American term white trash, the term is supposedly based on behaviour rather than class alone. It may be contrasted to the term 'povvo', which assumes that poverty as such is worthy of insult.

Further, the stereotype assumes a correlation between subcultural practices of particular working-class people (eg style of dress, accent, and musical tastes), and anti-social behaviour. It should thus be considered a slur.

The term, and the attendant stereotype, are far more acceptable in Australian culture than equivalent slurs. A person who used the term in the media, for example, would be unlikely to face similar consequences to if they had used a term such as nigger or kike. The popular Australian TV comedy Kath and Kim derived much of its humour from this stereotype. A TV comedy based on equivalent stereotypes of Aboriginal people, for example, would have been highly unlikely to be aired.

While it has been used as a derogatory term, the word 'bogan' is becoming much more accepted, particularly among bogans themselves. Many people proudly claim to be bogans, making a statement on their musical preferences, lifestyle and morals.

like the pathetic Australian David Hicks to Our Great and Mighty God-Chosen War President? What can possibly link these figures together?

Shaun Carney knows, and says so with such wonderful, amazing clarity.

It's the Rule Of Law. If we live under it, David Hicks is still pathetic -- but he's somebody, a recognized human being, and the Laws of the United States of America, and the Laws of Australia, say so, and require he be treated according to these laws.

Three associate justices (led by Clarence Thomas, who was such a sore loser he read his dissent from the bench, something he's never done before) say the hell with the Rule of Law, this president can ignore it, and this president should ignore it. We're at War, the president needs the unlimited powers of a Strong Man to defend the USA. Like Louis XIV, liked Mussolini, like Hitler. Bush is Above The Law.

Five associate justices said: No. The President is not above the law.

~ ~ ~

The Age (national Australian broadsheet)
Saturday 1 July 2006

Sacrificing David Hicks

by Shaun Carney

David Hicks must surely be the most celebrated Adelaide bogan ever.
All that ink, all that air time, all the legal work done on his behalf. The protests, such as the mock prison cage set up on a Manhattan street. The high-level diplomatic representations. Now, even the loftiest jurists in the world's most powerful nation, the members of the US Supreme Court, have, by extension, considered his fate.

Many among us have, to varying degrees, made a mess of our lives. But Hicks has earned the right to be the poster boy for that particular subset of humanity. He could have evaded capture by the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in late 2001 by staying out of that country. Instead, having taken off earlier, he went back in to get his meagre belongings.

That's when he was nabbed and eventually handed over to the United States. And his life, bad enough before -- with his poor schooling and ridiculous, possibly murderous adventures with al-Qaeda and the Taliban -- has been an utter nightmare ever since.

There can be no doubt that Hicks is the chief author of his own misfortune, which was to be consigned to a dismal existence in detention at Guantanamo Bay, and so much more. But he is not the sole creator of his own story.

It was Hicks' bad luck to hail from a country whose elected political leadership not only does not give a stuff about him or his legal rights, but appears to actively want his life to be broken as some sort of example or sacrifice. Or something.

If Hicks had been, say, a Saudi Arabian or a British citizen when he was captured, he would not be in Guantanamo Bay now. He would be back in his homeland.

I do not like what David Hicks did. I do not like the way he lived his life. I think many of his choices were stupid and wrong. In Afghanistan he made a conscious choice to do the bidding of very bad people. The Taliban are evil and Hicks appears to have taken up arms on their behalf. At the very least, he hung out with them and fashioned himself a fellow traveller.

Morally, there is no defence for that. But we long ago left behind the practice of deciding what to do with our citizens based solely on our judgement of their morals.

Instead, we have laws; they are the spine of our society. Laws are to be applied equally, free of political preferment and interference. If there is anything we are defending in our ongoing battle against the terrorists who try to attack our way of life, it is that.

Hicks has not broken any Australian laws. Prime Minister John Howard acknowledged this in a radio interview yesterday. "If he's brought back to Australia he can't be effectively charged because the crimes he committed were not, according to Australian law, crimes at the time he committed them," he said.

"It was not a crime back in 2001 to do as he admitted he did, and that is train with al-Qaeda and rejoin al-Qaeda even after the terrorist attacks (on the United States) on the eleventh of September."

For that reason, Howard says he has no interest in seeing Hicks returned to Australia. From that decision, that attitude, held widely at the senior levels of the Howard Government, everything about the Hicks case has flowed.

Because of it, Hicks has languished for 4 1/2 years at Guantanamo, first without charge and then awaiting trial before a US military commission. It was a remarkable thing to see: one nation effectively shopping around for a forum to which it could deliver one of its own citizens -- a citizen who had broken none of his own country's laws.

Whenever Hicks' plight was raised with the Government, the Prime Minister, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer would say there was nothing they could do. Hicks was the property of the US, where he would be dealt with fairly by that great democracy.

Oh, and the by the way, they always added, Hicks is a terrible person who did terrible things. Totally guilty, you understand, even if he hasn't been charged with anything.

On Thursday Washington time, this entire approach to Hicks collapsed when the US Supreme Court ruled that the military tribunal the Howard Government was happy to see pass judgement on him did not have proper legal status and breached the Geneva Conventions.

Defiant to the end, Howard said yesterday that Hicks should be brought to trial. "There clearly has to be another method of trial -- a court martial or a civilian trial -- which conforms with the Supreme Court decision."

Reports from Washington suggest that there was a desire on both sides of Congress to refashion the military tribunals, to give them a proper legal status. However, the same reports said the Supreme Court had warned that this would not be easy because of the requirements of the Geneva Conventions, which include proper protections for defendants.

Yesterday the Prime Minister said he had no sympathy for Hicks, adding almost comically "but that doesn't mean to say his rights should not be respected."

The Government's best course would be to swallow its pride, submerge its ego or whatever else its leading figures have invested in this thing, and repatriate Hicks.

After all, the Supreme Court ruling would seem to suggest that Hicks and the other Guantanamo detainees have been held illegally. That is, the Bush Government has locked them up for an illegal purpose.

Beyond that, however, there is the issue of Hicks' punishment. Is the four-and-a-half years of hard time he has already served enough? How does this square with his former Guantanamo inmates, British citizens, who are now free?

There will be no great public outcry from the Australian public in the coming days for Hicks to be either released or dealt with in some other more humane or legally decent manner, so the Government will not feel under pressure to change its approach.

For that, Hicks can take some of the blame. His bad choices marked his cards with many of his fellow Australians. The tragedy is that the nation's political leadership, which makes laws and expects those laws to be respected, continues to be so anxious to serve up one of its own citizens for its own political and diplomatic ends.

Shaun Carney is an associate editor.

Copyright © 2006. The Age Company Ltd.

29 June 2006

Romeo and Ethel, Abdullah the grocery delivery boy and Katherine the Honor Student

My least favorite Shakespeare play. In Tom Stoppard's "Shakespeare in Love," the Bard is having writer's block with his first draft: "Romeo and Ethel." It couldn't have been worse than "R & J."

I don't know what Love is. But I know what it's Not. And it's Not anything you experience so wildly and violently at any age younger than 20.

Which isn't to say that the stuff you experience at 14, 15 or 16 isn't Fun. Teen Romance is the Theme Park Summer Thrill Ride of the emotions.

Too bad so many of the riders get thrown out of the cars and land on the concrete. But most of them manage to limp away from that.

Hmmmm a bit of Journalistic Subtext here. The family appeared on ABC TV's morning show and blabbed about their Family Problems to the televised world, but refused to talk to the Associated Press.

Is this because the AP doesn't bribe subjects with $$$$$ payoffs for interviews?

Next we turn to the Michigan prosecutor. Doesn't this asshole have anything better to do than torment this little girl? I mean, she just ran away from home to try to experience something she perceived as Love. She's not a Teen Thrill Killer. No Human or Animal Was Harmed in the Making of This Adventure. Doesn't this asshole prosecutor have any Real Crime in his county?

And Abdullah ain't no al-Qaida terrorist fiend, he's just your basic 20-year-old boy meatball, too, with a grocery delivery job and the confused and volcanic emotions of Youth. Romeo fell in love just like Juliet did. Leave him alone, too.

Poor little girl got caught at the Amman Airport and sent home, embarrassed, humiliated all over TV and the front page.

Now leave her alone, let her rents handle it. She gets good grades in school.

And stop blaming it all on MySpace. Jeez. Teenagers are just being teenagers. But the adults in this Adventure really need to Get Smart.

And the little girl needs a few lessons in How Not To Get Caught. I was pretty good at that when I was her age. Contact Vleeptron for free Teenage Sneakiness Lessons.

Although the scam she pulled on her rents to get herself a passport -- pretty slick! Only an Honor Student can get from Detroit, Michigan USA to Amman, Jordan on a teenager's allowance!

A cheerleader probably couldn't have made it to Indianapolis on a Greyhound bus.


Associated Press
Thursday 29 June 2006

'MySpace' Teen's Trip
Leads to Family Court

by DAVID RUNK (Associated Press Writer)

GILFORD, Michigan USA -- Weeks after trying to get to the West Bank to pursue an online romance, a now-17-year-old girl was set to appear Thursday in Family Court, where authorities have filed a runaway juvenile petition against her.

A judge could ultimately place Katherine Lester under court supervision until she turns 18 next June 21.

Her secret was uncovered earlier this month, when she slipped out of her mother's home in rural Michigan and made it as far as Amman, Jordan, before being sent home by U.S. authorities.

Lester is now living with her father, Terry, near Flint. A judge ordered her to surrender her passport and undergo counseling. In an interview last week on ABC's "Good Morning America," she declared her love for Abdullah Jimzawi, a 20-year-old Palestinian who works in his father's business delivering goods to minimarkets.

They still talk online, her father and Jimzawi have said, and she says she wants to marry him.

"Now that this is all over with, I know that if I would have told them about him, they would have understood my feelings for him," she said in the appearance with her father and stepmother. "I wish I would have told them about him."

"Now that our relationship is out in the open, I feel like I don't have to go there to talk to him or to be with him," she said. "I plan on him coming here and us being together over here."

Her father has declined requests from The Associated Press to interview his daughter but says her story should serve as a warning to families -- not about the dangers of the Internet, but about the importance of good family communication.

"She's her same old self," said Terry Lester. "She knows what she did was wrong, and she's willing to accept the responsibility."

Authorities don't think any local or state laws were broken in Katherine Lester's disappearance, but the FBI continues to investigate.

[Thank God! America's Security is at stake! Add 20 more FBI agents to the case immediately!]

MySpace, a social networking Web site popular with teenagers, has raised concerns among U.S. authorities, with scattered accounts of sexual predators targeting minors on the site.

But Jimzawi has said his love for Lester is pure. In a recent interview with the AP, Jimzawi said he met Lester online about eight months ago and was devastated when he learned they would not meet face-to-face. Jimzawi's mother, Sana, said Lester intended to sign a marriage contract in Jericho.

"When I realized she wasn't coming, I felt my whole world collapse," he said. "My tears didn't stop and I couldn't sleep for three days."

Back home, those who know Katherine continue to be stunned. For months, Katherine Lester had kept her relationship a secret: the then-16-year-old girl appeared to have a typical teenage life. Family members say she kept up good grades and went on two dates. But all along, she was crafting a plan to visit him, authorities said, securing a passport by telling her parents she wanted to go to Canada with friends.

The principal of her 200-student school in Michigan's agricultural eastern region said he expects there will be a lot of questions from students when they return from summer vacation.

The teen is a member of the National Honor Society at Akron-Fairgrove Junior/Senior High School and was an intern at the radio station where her older sister worked.

"It was a little shocking," said Joseph Candela, the school principal and district superintendent. "Katherine is a very good student, an excellent student. ... You would have never known it."

Her 19-year-old sister, Mary Lester, said that before Katherine's trip, she thought of her as honest.

"This story has taken a toll on not only our family, but on our entire lives as well," she said. "The sister that I have been around since this all happened is not the sister I have known for the past 16 years."

"She is not an adult," said Prosecutor Mark E. Reene at the Family Court proceedings. "That is something that should not be lost -- even though she is making a decision that could affect her whole adult life."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved.