news bits

guantanamo bay suicides:

three "detainees" have committed suicide. they hung themselves in their cells. u.s. military officials tried to revive them but without success. they have called the suicides

here is what one of the u.s. commanders said about the suicides:

"They are smart. They are creative, they are committed," rear adm. harry harris, commander of the joint task force guantanamo, told reuters. "They have no regard for life, either ours or their own." harris added that the suicides were "clearly a planned event, not a spontaneous event ... I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of ... warfare waged against us."

interesting. so this is an act of warfare. i don't know if this is true or not, but i don't see how he can not call it an act of desperation. i've always thought of suicide, to harm oneself, (even if done as a "pact" of sorts) as an act of desperation. usually people don't see any other alternative or any other way out of their situation. in this case, it is the unlawful detention of 460 people who are considered unlawful combattants, when in reality they are prisoners of war and subject to international laws and regulations. i always found it funny how the u.s. government could call the war on terror a "war" and not consider these 460 people prisoners of war. it's like just because you don't have an official army uniform, you are not eligible for the international norms for prisoner rights. i've called b.s. on this for years and i still call b.s. god help any american soldier caught during battle in the near future.


palestinian president mahmoud abbas declared saturday he would hold a referendum july 26 on the establishment of a palestinian state alongside israel. some observers are saying that abbas should win a clear majority on the issue. the referendum will ask the palestinians whether they accept the so-called prisoners' document, which was put together by leaders of the different palestinian factions held in israeli jails. the document says the palestinians should establish a state on lands israel captured in the 1967 mideast war. the voters will be asked to answer yes or no.

abbas' fatah organization and members from the governing hamas party have been clashing in the streets in recent weeks, in a larger attempt at wrestling power from each other. this announcement of a referendum follows through on abbas' ultimatum from last month, where he told the palestinian factions, including hamas, that they have ten days to agree to the document that basically recognizes israel's right to exist. abbas had made it clear that if the sides could agree, he would call off the referendum, but to this date, no real progress has been made.

i like this referendum idea. forget the polls, forget the politicians who talk out of their asses, and forget the extremists that like to make the nightly news: go to the people. a referendum is one of the best tools a democracy has in finding out what the people really want. even hamas would be loathe to ignore a referendum, which is perhaps why they're so scared of having one in the first place.

i must say that i do like abbas. say what you want about him, and say what you want about the prisoners' document, but i think he's trying to walk the middle line. however, in recent months, basically since hamas' election win, he's had to take an increasingly authoritative and militant stance. unfortunately, this stance has been necessary against his own people. i guess the reason i like abbas is because i'm just following the bland, middle-of-the-road route that most canadians like to take. or perhaps it's because i think he's the only rational one in a den of lions, sort of speak. i really do think he's looking out for the best interests of the palestinian people, putting long held political beliefs that was holding progress back behind him in order to achieve peace. you may not agree with him, but you have to admit at least he's willing to go the distance.

i'm wondering what would happen if there was a close referendum result. i mean, is 50% + 1 enough? most likely not. i just remember all the issues surrounding the quebec referendum, and how it was deemed 50% + 1 was not sufficient to warrent quebec separation, and in essence, breaking up the country. i figure the same is true in recognizing another country. in order for the result to hold water, it would probably have to be closer to 2/3rds in favour.


abu musab al-zarqawi:

abu musab al-zarqawi, leader of al-qaeda in iraq, is dead. what's interesting is the responses. while everybody in the bush administration was giving each other high-fives, a very different response was given by the father of nick berg, who was beheaded in iraq in 2004, sopposedly by al-zarqawi himself. michael berg doesn't blame al-zarqawi for the death of his son, but george w. bush himself.

"I will not take joy in the death of a fellow human, even the human being who killed my son," said berg, who says that revenge killed his son. he blamed bush, defense secretary donald rumsfeld and attorney general alberto gonzales for the death of his son because of their role in making possible the torture of iraqis at abu ghraib prison.

"My son died in a perpetual cycle of revenge that goes on and on, forever. It's got to stop somewhere. As far as I'm concerned, it will stop with me," said berg.

smart last words. i just wish more people would wise up. i mean, you have to ask yourself, is what you're doing really worth it? is your life better for it? i mean, can't we all just get along?

(source 2)

homegrown terrorists:

here's a little thing from the hour on cbc. it's a nice little discussion about journalism and fact finding with regards to the recent arrest of 17 people under suspicioun of organizing terrorist attacks...