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The Standard Total Academic View on Cambodia
Topic: Politics and Law 5:22 am EDT, Aug  7, 2003

This partial Canon offers a glimpse into the assumptions and logic, evidence and arguments that a generation of Western scholars used to defend the Khmer Rouge or rationalize their policies during the mid-to-late 1970s. Together, they created the standard total academic view. This glimpse, whether representative or not, is in and of itself a testament to Khmer Rouge's charm over academia.


In chapter 3, the Chomsky-Lacouture Controversy is reconstructed. It is more a Ponchaud- Barron-Paul-Lacouture-Chomsky-Herman Controversy, to be sure, but that would sound tediously long. In early 1977, François Ponchaud wrote the first book detailing the struggle, under socialism, of the Cambodian people. That year, Barron and Paul published their own book, Murder of a Gentle Land (1977) an equally if not more damning broadside against the Khmer revolution and the Khmer Rouge. Ponchaud and Barron-Paul were among the first to see to sound the alarm on Cambodia. In 1976, Ponchaud had written in Mondes Asiatiques about the nature of the Khmer revolution.[19] After publishing his book, it was reviewed favorably by Jean Lacouture, but that review got a broadside from the leading, most intellectually formidable member of the antiwar movement, Noam Chomsky. At the May Hearings in 1977 on Human Rights in Cambodia, Gareth Porter trashed Ponchaud his uncritical use of refugees in Cambodia: Year Zero. A polemical exchange ensued among Chomsky, Lacouture, Ponchaud, and Bob Silvers, then editor of the New York Review of Books which had translated the Lacouture review titled "The Bloodiest Revolution."


The Porter-Chomsky-Herman objections were numerous, but still Chomsky and Herman admitted that Ponchaud's book was "serious and worth reading" though full of discrepancies and unreliable refugee reports which were contradicted by other refugees (who, for instance, had said that they had walked across the country and seen no dead bodies). This was vindication of the Khmer Rouge--reports of having seen no evil nor heard any evil. The Porter-Chomsky-Herman logic in a nutshell: Refugees are run away because they are displeased, thus will exaggerate, especially over time, if not lie about "alleged atrocities" altogether. Chomsky and Herman call for "care and caution," nothing short of patronizing to today's refugees from Guatemala, or El Salvador, or yesterday's from Auschwitz. Chomsky and Herman latched onto a number of media mistakes which include three fake photographs, a fake interview with Khieu Samphan, and a handful of misquotations. A little more fairly treated was Ponchaud's book, but the erratas first discovered by Ben Kiernan were blown out of proportion in Chomsky and Herman's review of the Ponchaud book for the Nation and repeated verbatim two years later in After the Cataclysm (1979).

The Standard Total Academic View on Cambodia | Iraq, Israel and the United Nations
Topic: Current Events 2:49 pm EDT, Jun  4, 2003



But a quite distinct sort of claim is also made in the “double standards” debate. This holds that Israel stands in breach of Security Council resolutions in just the way Iraq does, and therefore deserves to be treated by the UN with equal severity. Not so.

The UN distinguishes between two sorts of Security Council resolution. Those passed under Chapter Six deal with the peaceful resolution of disputes and entitle the council to make non-binding recommendations. Those under Chapter Seven give the council broad powers to take action, including warlike action, to deal with “threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, or acts of aggression”. Such resolutions, binding on all UN members, were rare during the cold war. But they were used against Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait. None of the resolutions relating to the Israeli-Arab conflict comes under Chapter Seven. By imposing sanctions—including military ones—against Iraq but not against Israel, the UN is merely acting in accordance with its own rules.
The distinctiveness of Chapter Seven resolutions, and the fact that none has been passed in relation to Israel, is acknowledged by Palestinian diplomats. It is, indeed, one of their main complaints.

A Palestine Liberation Organisation report, entitled “Double Standards” and published at the end of September, pointed out that, over the years, the UN has upheld the Palestinians' right to statehood, condemned Israel's settlements and called for Israel to withdraw. But “no enforcement action or any other action to implement UN resolutions and international law has been ordered by the Security Council.” | Iraq, Israel and the United Nations

The Congo Test
Topic: Current Events 2:52 pm EDT, May 30, 2003

“We’ve been sending messages every day to New York that this was going to happen, that we need more troops,” the French commander of the U.N. peacekeepers told a reporter. “Nothing was done.” This has become a routine scenario: massacres foretold, warnings ignored, slaughter erupting under the noses of U.N. forces with useless mandates. The mutilated remains of two peacekeepers were found in Bunia last week, and the commander, who has given shelter to some thirteen thousand civilians, was slashed with a machete at the gates of his compound. As Bunia burned, the U.N. Secretary-General, Kofi Annan—haunted by his failure to heed warnings of the impending genocide in Rwanda in 1994—sent a letter to the Security Council asking its members for a “rapid reaction force” to pacify the region. France, which is also tainted by complicity in the Rwandan slaughter, has said it can muster troops to maintain order until the U.N. can field a plausible force, but only on the condition that other nations join in. At least five governments have said they would consider contributing to a French-led operation. The Bush Administration has expressed support for the project but has refused to commit any troops to it.

The Congo Test - Blood of Innocents
Topic: Current Events 5:20 pm EDT, May 23, 2003

By Matthew McAllester
May 23, 2003

Baghdad - Throughout the 13 years of UN sanctions on Iraq that were ended yesterday, Iraqi doctors told the world that the sanctions were the sole cause for the rocketing mortality rate among Iraqi children.

"It is one of the results of the embargo," Dr. Ghassam Rashid Al-Baya told Newsday on May 9, 2001, at Baghdad's Ibn Al-Baladi hospital, just after a dehydrated baby named Ali Hussein died on his treatment table. "This is a crime on Iraq."


Now free to speak, the doctors at two Baghdad hospitals, including Ibn Al-Baladi, tell a very different story. Along with parents of dead children, they said in interviews this week that Hussein turned the children's deaths into propaganda, notably by forcing hospitals to save babies' corpses to have them publicly paraded.


Under the sanctions regime, "We had the ability to get all the drugs we needed," said Ibn Al-Baladi's chief resident, Dr. Hussein Shihab. "Instead of that, Saddam Hussein spent all the money on his military force and put all the fault on the USA. Yes, of course the sanctions hurt - but not too much, because we are a rich country and we have the ability to get everything we can by money. But instead, he spent it on his palaces."

The U.S. government and others long have blamed Hussein's spending habits for the poor health of Iraqis and their children. For years, the Iraqi government, some Western officials and a vocal anti-sanctions movement said UN restrictions on Iraqi imports and exports were at fault. - Blood of Innocents

Microsoft and Best Buy accused of scam
Topic: Technology 7:05 pm EDT, May 22, 2003

All your cash are belong to M$OFT

Microsoft and Best Buy accused of scam

ScreamingMidget: Which Fark Cliche Are You?
Topic: Games 6:58 pm EDT, May 22, 2003

take the test. Which Fark are you?

ScreamingMidget: Which Fark Cliche Are You?

Judge: File-swapping tools are legal | CNET
Topic: Intellectual Property 7:52 pm EDT, Apr 25, 2003

] A federal judge in Los Angeles has handed a stunning
] court victory to file-swapping services Streamcast
] Networks and Grokster, dismissing much of the record
] industry and movie studios' lawsuit against the two
] companies.

] "Defendants distribute and support software, the
] users of which can and do choose to employ it for
] both lawful and unlawful ends," Wilson wrote in his
] opinion, released Friday. "Grokster and StreamCast
] are not significantly different from companies that
] sell home video recorders or copy machines, both of
] which can be and are used to infringe copyrights."

Wow! Good news!

Judge: File-swapping tools are legal | CNET

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Ozymandias
Topic: Arts 3:38 am EDT, Apr 23, 2003

"I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away. "

This poem makes me think of Saddam Hussein..

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Ozymandias

A mortal decision made: Journalistic objectivity is casualty of firefight
Topic: Current Events 9:39 pm EDT, Apr 19, 2003

A mortal decision made: Journalistic objectivity is casualty of firefight

by Jules Crittenden
Sunday, April 13, 2003


Down the broad avenue, the column halted in front of a Versailles-like palace, topped with four gargantuan and very bizarre busts of Saddam in an arabesque war helmet that caught our attention briefly, but the fire coming from the ditches under roadside hedges distracted us.

It was here I went over to the dark side. I spotted the silhouettes of several Iraqi soldiers looking at us from the shadows 20 feet to our left. I shouted, ``There's three of the (expletive) right there.''

``Where are the (expletive)?'' Howison said, spinning around in his hatch.

``The (expletive) are right there,'' I said, pointing.

``There?'' he said, opening up with the 50. I saw one man's body splatter as the large caliber bullets ripped it up. The man behind him appeared to be rising, and was cut down by repeated bursts.

``There's another (expletive) over there,'' I told Howison. The two soldiers in the crew hatch with me started firing their rifles, but I think Howison was the one who got him, firing through the metal plate the soldier was hiding behind.

Some in our profession might think as a reporter and non-combatant, I was there only to observe. Now that I have assisted in the deaths of three human beings in the war I was sent to cover, I'm sure there are some people who will question my ethics, my objectivity, etc. I'll keep the argument short. Screw them, they weren't there. But they are welcome to join me next time if they care to test their professionalism.

A mortal decision made: Journalistic objectivity is casualty of firefight

ArabNews: It's Not Too Late to Face Reality
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:25 am EDT, Apr 19, 2003

] "We are all suffering from low-level
] depression," a friend of mine said the other night.
] I didn't have to ask him why. "Yes," I
] said, "the events of the past month have been
] traumatic, and we are all anxious to see what the future
] has in store for us."
] "God only knows," another friend commented.
] "True," my friend answered, "but God helps
] those who help themselves. What have the Arabs done to
] help themselves over the last 40 years?"

ArabNews: It's Not Too Late to Face Reality

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