20 December 2005
Perhaps this points to the common ground between Western theological religion and Buddhist practice: The Western One-God and our Vajradhara are both representations of that which is so beyond human ordinary mental conception that all description, all words, all concepts fail us, and we can only revere it and seek to involve ourselves in its direct experience. And in so doing we discover that the sublime creates in our hearts potentially limitless lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity, purification, and wisdom.
May everyone's holidays be happy, and may they have a happy, productive, and healthy New Year!
19 December 2005
13 December 2005
Elizabeth Kolbert has a lead "Talk of the Town" piece in the current New Yorker too, in which she says it's no longer a question of putting off catastrophe; it's a question of rushing towards it. (No link currently available).
08 December 2005
Make it $100 million for Innocent Rendition Victim Khaled El-Masri
I just got off the phone with a prominent Arabic journalist producing a program on the politics and practice of rendition.This journalist, Yosri Fouda, has interviewed at length Khaled El-Masri, the innocent victim of American kidnapping and rendition gone very wrong. I have not read extensively about El-Masri's case, so this may be public record, but what I did not know when I wrote last night's post were the details of how he was "dumped" after American authorities learned he was innocent.
Get this now. El-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, was kidnapped while vacationing by American intelligence agents. He was transported and "questioned" -- allegedly roughly -- by American authorities in Afghanistan. Along the way, these investigators finally figured out he was innocent and reported back to CIA Director George Tenet. Tenet had him held ANYWAY for another two months. And then. . .you might ask, could it get worse? Well, yes.
We dumped him blind-folded in the deep forest, mountainous triangle area between Albania, Serbia and Macedonia. He had to walk out with no money, no identification. He got to a border guard station -- and because of his inability to identify himself and because of how "outlandish" his story sounded to the border guards he met, he feared that the entire process would begin. We dumped him blindfolded in a forest in one of the toughest regions nearby. Were U.S. authorities hoping he'd just be shot by someone else? What were they thinking?Let's make sure that one of the journalists traveling with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice asks about this detail of the story that had escaped me and others before. What is this about dumping a known-innocent guy in the Serbia-Kosovo-Macedonia triangle? More later.-- Steve Clemons
UPDATE: My friend, journalist Eli Lake, has suggested in the comments section that someone (including TWN) pose the question of how the El-Masri case occurred to the CIA, which handled this case. He has a good point, and we will follow up on it. But others in the press corps ought to also follow up with the CIA. SCC
02 December 2005
Among his chief examples are the completely misleading figures given on oil production. Of course oil production in Iraq increased from 2003 to 2004. During and just before the war in '03 there was effectively no oil production, so if it didn't increase in '04 it would really be a major drop. The truth is that oil production in Iraq, depsite rosy predictions by the neocons in Fantasyland, has never achieved in pre-war, Sanctions-in-effect levels.
He also points out that the statements about "progress" in Fallujah, Samara and Najaf are pretty blatantly just not borne out by the real facts.
I was impressed by the CBS News dialog between Bob Schieffer and Lara Logan on the day of Bush's speech. Schieffer asked her about the Airport Road, which Bush claimed was now under Iraqi control. Logan said, "That's just not true, Bob," and proceeded to describe the real situation. This is what the American people have a right to expect: a press that does its homework and fact-checks everything the Great Misleader says.