September 10th, 2011

  • kangofu

Scores drowned in Zanzibar ferry sinking

Scores drowned in Zanzibar ferry sinking
Over 100 dead and many still missing as vessel carrying more than 500 passengers capsizes off coast of East Africa.
Source - Al Jazeera
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2011 07:35

More than a hundred people have died after a ferry travelling from Zanzibar to Pemba island off the East African country of Tanzania capsized overnight, a doctor told the Reuters news agency.

"We are still receiving many bodies by truck loads ... The death toll will likely be much higher," Karim Zam of the Mnazi Mmoja hospital in Zanzibar, told Reuters, saying that 107 bodies had been recovered thus far.

Earlier, the government said that about 260 people had been rescued off the capsized ferry - that was carrying 500 passengers - but scores were still unaccounted for.

Zanzibar and Pemba are the two main islands of the Zanzibar archipelago, a popular destination for tourists visiting their pristine Indian Ocean beaches.

"We are fearing the greatest calamity in the history of Zanzibar. This is a disaster," a government official in Zanzibar, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

Abdullah Saied, one of those rescued from the ferry, said the MV Spice Islander was heavily overloaded and sank in an area with heavy currents in deep sea between mainland Tanzania and Pemba Island at about 1am local time.

Thousands of residents mobbed the docks of Stone Town on Zanzibar, an island near Pemba, waiting for news, The Associated Press reported.

One man was screaming that he had lost 25 members of his family, including his sisters, his wife and grandsons. He was too upset to give his name.

Many of those present expressed anger that the ship had been allowed to leave port so overloaded and called on government officials to resign.

"The ship's manifest [passenger list] shows that the vessel travelling from Unguja [Zanzibar] to Pemba islands had more than 500 passengers on board," Mussa Alli Mussa, Zanzibar's police commissioner, told Reuters.

Mussa said rescue workers with the aid of some fishing boats in the area were helping to rescue more passengers and recover bodies.

"Because of strong ocean winds, some of the bodies could even be washed up in Tanga [mainland Tanzania]," he said. "The cause of the accident cannot be confirmed at the moment."
  • kangofu

2 articles on the attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo & video about Turkey and Israel

Crowds attack Israel embassy in Cairo
Israeli ambassador evacuated as a thousand injured in overnight clashes as protesters demolish wall and storm building.
Source - Al Jazeera
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2011 01:07

A building housing Israel's embassy in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, has been stormed by hundreds of protesters who tore down one of the outer embassy walls.

Protesters demolished the wall, erected to protect the embassy which has become a focus for protests, with makeshift battering rams and hammers on Friday after peaceful demonstrations in Tahrir Square earlier in the day against the country's military rulers.

Some protesters then scaled the wall of the building, replacing the Israeli flag with Egyptian and Palestinian flags. Others got inside and threw thousands of pieces of paper from upper-floor windows.

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i'm not alone. i'm not afraid.
  • namey


NEW YORK—As media coverage of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 ramps up this week, citizens across the United States collectively realized they would rather think about the terrorist attacks of 2001 than about anything else that has transpired in the subsequent decade.

"The events of Sept. 11 were unspeakably tragic, but really, when you think about it, things have only grown more horrible and unbearable since then," said Phyllis Bennett of San Jose, CA, who considered 9/11 a notably less unpleasant topic than the Iraq War, the worldwide financial meltdown, Hurricane Katrina, the nation's debt burden, the deaths of 6,200 U.S. troops, China's rise into a global superpower, the housing market, relentless partisan bickering, millions of job losses, the war in Afghanistan, nuclear proliferation, unchecked climate change, declining household income, swine flu, or the 9/11 Truth movement.

"That was an awful day for America, but at least the nation came together and people actually seemed to care about one another. Just compare that to now, Jesus Christ."

While stating they felt "kind of terrible" about it, Americans expressed a longing to return to those "better days" of shared national agony in September 2001, when everybody truly believed things couldn't get any worse.

Source, of course.
[Stock] hey sexy

Tell: An Intimate History of Gay Men in the Military

As "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" comes to an end, we sent Chris Heath to interview dozens of gay servicemen from the past and present to find out what life was really like as America's military struggled with its last great identity crisis

On a day to come very soon—September 20, 2011—a serviceman's sexuality will no longer be grounds for dismissal from the U.S. Armed forces. These are the voices explaining what it has been like to be a gay man in the American military over the previous seventy or so years, from World War II veterans in their late eighties to young servicemen on active duty.

1. Life Today as a Gay Serviceman
How we got here: In 1992, many people thought that the discrimination was nearly over. "I remember being in the Castro," says John Forrett (army reserve, 1987–99), "and watching the TV at a bar with some friends, watching Al Gore and Bill Clinton swearing that if they became the tag team for America they were going to get rid of the harassment of gays and lesbians serving in the military." But when the tag team prevailed, they underestimated the resistance to such a reform from a coalition of social conservatives, religious groups, and a large part of the military itself. The consequence, the following year, was a messy kind of compromise that became colloquially known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Gay people were allowed in the military but only as long as they didn't reveal their sexuality; to facilitate this, all members of the military were also prohibited from inquiring about anyone's possible orientation. This was presented as a kind of victory for the forces of progress—you were no longer excluded from serving—but it could instead be seen as solidifying discrimination. Gay people were only acceptable, in effect, to the degree to which they could successfully masquerade as nongay. Still, the whispered message from Clinton and Gore seemed to be that this was only a temporary stopgap while the nervous military took a large deep breath: Trust us, they seemed to imply. We'll be there soon.

It took seventeen years. Seventeen years in which gay servicemen have existed in a paradoxical kind of netherworld. Even when it worked as it was supposed to, it was a very weird way to ask anyone to live.

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  • acmeeoy

Orwell, 9/11, Emmanuel Goldstein and WikiLeaks

A strikingly good piece of investigative journalism from Associated Press finds that accusations about the damage done by WikiLeaks' latest release are -- yet again -- wildly overstated and without any factual basis.  These most recent warnings have centered on WikiLeaks' exposure of diplomatic sources whom the released cables indicated should be "strictly protected."  While unable to examine all of the names in the cables, AP focused on the ones "the State Department seemed to categorize as most risky."  It found that many of them are "comfortable with their names in the open and no one fearing death." 

In particular, many of these super-secret sources were "already dead, their names cited as sensitive in the context of long-resolved conflicts or situations" while "some have publicly written or testified at hearings about the supposedly confidential information they provided the U.S. government."  Like the Pentagon before them, even the State Department  -- which has "been scouring the documents since last year to find examples where sources are exposed and inform them that they may be 'outed'" -- is unable to provide any substantiation for its shrill, public denunciations of WikiLeaks and its "dire" warnings about the "grave danger" caused by publication of these cables:   

The total damage appears limited and the State Department has steadfastly refused to describe any situation in which they've felt a source's life was in danger. They say a handful of people had to be relocated away from danger but won't provide any details on those few cases.

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MISC - moustache

Herman Cain produces incredibly tasteless 9/11 video

So, Joe Scarborough only produced the second-grossest 9/11 "tribute" video I've seen this week. Herman Cain's presidential campaign produced this monstrosity, in which Cain croons "God Bless America" over footage of the 2001 attacks and their aftermath.

Just a warning: If you don't want to see graphic images of the events of 9/11, including multiple shots of the second plane hitting and the towers collapsing, don't watch this video. (Also, don't turn on your TV this entire weekend.)

I don't even know what to say. I guess Cain can now brag that he's a former pizza magnate and crass exploiter of tragedies for political gain.


Paul Ryan Hears Your Pain, Provides Free Health Care for Protesting Seniors: Have a Nice Day in Jail

Paul Ryan's Heart Shrank THREE Times That Day!

Paul Ryan Mocks Senior Citizen Handcuffed At His Town Hall: ‘I Hope He’s Taking His Blood Pressure Medication’

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the author of the House GOP plan to phase out Medicare, does not like it when constituents publicly challenge him. In fact, people who disagree with Ryan have a habit of getting arrested for it. A few weeks ago, several of Ryan’s unemployed constituents staged a peaceful sit-in at his Kenosha, Wisconsin office to protest his unpopular decision not to hold any free public town halls during the August recess. These constituents didn’t think they should have to pay to ask their elected representative a question. Instead of meeting with them, Ryan’s staff called the police.

So it should come as no surprise that this week, three people who paid to see Ryan speak were arrested and charged with trespassing for protesting the event. One constituent, a 71-year-old retired plumber from Kenosha, Wisconsin, was handcuffed and pushed to the ground by security:

Video footage taken by an attendee at the event shows that one of them, Tom Nielsen, received particularly harsh treatment — he was pushed to the ground and handcuffed. Nielsen received an additional charge of resisting arrest.

Ryan was speaking Tuesday afternoon at the Whitnall Park Rotary Club.

Protesters gathered both outside his event and inside, standing up and

disrupting the congressman’s remarks.

According to Oak Creek Patch, as many as a dozen protesters were escorted out of the event. Another dozen or so left willingly.

Ryan seemed supremely undisturbed that a senior citizen worried about receiving the Medicare he’s paid into his whole life was treated so brutally. Indeed, Ryan made light of the arrest and quipped to the audience, “I hope he’s taking his blood pressure medication.”

Watch it, courtesy of Wisconsin Jobs Now:

Another woman was shown the door when she challenged Ryan’s claim that the jobs crisis is directly related to the debt crisis. “Our debt is out of control because of the tax cuts you’re giving,” she said. “Our unemployment in 2003 was 6.2% before the tax cuts went through. Now our unemployment rate is 9.1%. What are you doing to create jobs, Congressman?” Another woman was escorted out when she stood up while Ryan was speaking and said, “You won’t talk to us. How can we give our opinions when you refuse to talk to us?”

Ryan has consistently faced angry constituents at his events since his Medicare-killing budget became a top GOP priority. Tired of being publicly embarrassed by constituents who voice their disagreement and say his policies are hurting them, Ryan has resorted to increasingly harsh responses to deal with people who have the audacity to speak up at his events.

Killed on Sept. 11, 2001, but Destined to Be Mourned Only Quietly, Only by a Few

Three deadly weapons struck down their victims in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. Two were hijacked jets. The third was a .40-caliber pistol on a dark corner of Brooklyn, with just 18 minutes remaining in that day.

To be the last man killed on Sept. 11 is to be hopelessly anonymous, quietly mourned by a few while, year after year, the rest of the city looks toward Lower Manhattan. No one reads his name into a microphone at a ceremony. No memorial marks the sidewalk where he fell with a bullet in his lung.

The case of the last man killed that day remains unsolved. Had he been shot a day before, the police might have arrested someone, but the sad truth is that the police response to the 911 call at 11:42 that night was diminished by the need for officers at key city sites and at the place fast becoming known as ground zero.
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  • acmeeoy

The "war of terror" decade

Anthony Arnove, author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal and coauthor with Howard Zinn of Voices of a People's History of the United States, looks back at the 10 years since the September 11 attacks--and how politicians have used the tragedy.

TEN YEARS after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the world is still reeling from the consequences of the terrorist attacks and the geopolitical shifts that followed.

Moments after the attack, President George W. Bush and his military planners were discussing how to use people's anger and fear for their political advantage.

The Bush administration saw the horrific events of September 11 as a rare chance to carry out plans that long predated the attacks and package these as defensive rather than offensive measures. Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, immediately set to work to target Iraq, despite the fact that the country had no link at all to the attacks.

Leading members of the Bush administration were open about describing the post-September 11 moment as an "opportunity." After September 11, Condoleezza Rice, Bush's National Security Adviser and later Secretary of State, asked senior national security staff to think about how to "capitalize on these opportunities," which were "shifting the tectonic plates in international politics" to U.S. advantage.

"I really think this period is analogous to 1945 to 1947," Rice told one journalist. "And it's important to try to seize on that and position American interests and institutions and all of that before they harden again."

Bush invoked al-Qaeda and the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks repeatedly in his public speeches on Iraq, as the administration consciously set about selling the war, eventually creating the false impression among a majority of the U.S. population that Iraq was connected to September 11.

The most immediate target, though, was Afghanistan. Bush and Co. claimed that they were invading and occupying Afghanistan--still occupied to this day, with no end in sight--because Afghanistan was a base for the September 11 attacks.

In reality, the Bush administration was simply looking for revenge and an easy target to strike, despite the fact that the people who would suffer the consequences were civilians of Afghanistan, who had no responsibility whatsoever for September 11.

With the Democrats safely in tow, the Bush administration intended the invasion of Afghanistan to be a show of force that would have a "demonstration effect," signaling to other states that the U.S. government has the right--one which it may extend on a limited basis to allies, such as Israel--to engage in "preemptive strikes" against any country it chooses.

While many sought to explain the aggressive policies of the Bush administration as an aberration or a case of neoconservatives or Republicans engineering a radical shift in U.S. principles, the fundamental policies of the so-called "war on terror," whatever name they go by, have been overwhelmingly bipartisan and have continued in significant respects under President Barack Obama.

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