- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
Quote of the Year
"I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with
us ... They're here in solidarity with me because we like nonfiction.
We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the
time where we have fictitious election results that elect a
fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending
us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fiction of duct
tape or fiction of orange alerts, we are against this war, Mr. Bush.
Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And any time you've got the
Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up. Thank you
Michael Moore, accepting an Oscar for Best Documentary, for Bowling
Robalini's Note: Without reservation, The Konformist denounces the
humiliating treatment of American POWs (and dead American soldiers)
by Iraqi forces as a blatant violation of the Geneva Convention. At
the same time, it is agreed that due to their support of even more
offensive violation of POW rights in Camp X-Ray and Mazar-i-Sharif
(not to mention other violations of international law) Redrum
Rumsfeld and Shrub have zero moral authority in any assertions they
make on the issue.
Hypocrites Of Washington Crying Foul
By Paul Routledge
The Mirror - UK
Nothing more clearly illustrates the cruel hypocrisy of America's war
against Iraq than Washington's reaction to the news that GIs have
Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld screamed "Geneva Convention! Geneva
Convention!" at the Iraqis for showing footage of US soldiers taken
on the battlefield.
He thundered that the film was "video propaganda" which violated
their rights as prisoners of war under international law.
How two-faced can you get?
Rumsfeld is the warmonger who ignored international legalities when
the UN refused to back the invasion of Iraq.
And he ruled that PoWs captured by the Americans in Afghanistan more
than a year ago have NO rights, and can be caged like animals at Camp
X-Ray in Guantanamo, Cuba.
Footage of 300 PoWs airlifted out of Kabul - with bags over their
heads and chains on every conceivable part of their body - was
jubilantly shown on American TV. The pictures were posted on the
That was OK. That was broadcast to satisfy the understandable
American desire for revenge for the attack on the Twin Towers.
Yet, it is not OK for Saddam Hussein to take a leaf out of the Yankee
book. When he does, he is "evil, evil" and his actions are an
But 18 months on, the Pentagon's PoWs - including nine Britons - are
held as hostages in Camp X-Ray with no access to lawyers or
Tony Blair connived in their unlawful treatment, as last night he
joined the chorus of condemnation of the Al Jazeera film.
At least the relatives of Edgar from Texas and James Reilly from New
York know where their loved ones are. At least they can hope for
their release as part of any deal to end hostilities.
The families of the lost legion of Camp X-Ray have no such hope. Only
the expectation that the Pentagon will keep their loved ones in
barbaric conditions, in clear defiance of the Geneva Convention -
until they rot.
Of course, what Saddam is doing is inhuman and degrading. The Geneva
Convention forbids the deliberate humiliation of PoWs.
It is typical of his merciless nature and he is wrong to do it.
But two wrongs do not make a right, particularly in the moral maze of
The Americans cannot go round screaming "breach of convention" when
it happens to their own, while they humiliate prisoners of the Afghan
war on a daily basis.
American culture seeks to deny suffering. Islam, a religion of the
desert, almost revels in it.
That's why this conflict is more than simply a clash of arms.
Fans boo as U.S. national anthem is played
By Associated Press, 3/21/2003
MONTREAL (AP) Fans booed during the playing of the U.S. national
anthem before the New York Islanders' 6-3 victory over the Montreal
Canadiens on Thursday night.
The sellout crowd of 21,273 at Bell Centre was asked to ''show your
support and respect for two great nations'' before the singing of the
American and Canadian national anthems.
But a significant portion of the crowd booed throughout ''The Star-
Spangled Banner'' in an apparent display of their displeasure with
the U.S.-led war against Iraq. More than 200,000 people turned out
for an anti-war demonstration in Montreal last Saturday.
''I'm sure there are a lot of people against the war, but some things
people can't control,'' said New York's Alexei Yashin, who is from
Russia. ''They were probably showing what they feel about it.''
Teammate Mark Parrish, a native of Bloomington, Minn., was upset
hearing the boos.
''I came to the game pretty pumped up, but once I heard that it
really got me going,'' Parrish said. ''So I guess I can thank them a
little bit for getting me more pumped up.''
Pope: War Threatens 'Fate of Humanity' in First Public Statement on
Conflict With Iraq
The Associated Press
VATICAN CITY March 22
Pope John Paul II on Saturday denounced the war against Iraq as
threatening the "fate of humanity" in his first public comments on
the U.S-led attacks.
"When war, as in these days in Iraq, threatens the fate of humanity,
it is ever more urgent to proclaim, with a strong and decisive voice,
that only peace is the road to follow to construct a more just and
united society," John Paul said. "Violence and arms can never resolve
the problems of men."
The pontiff said that peace is "a gift of God and a humble and
constant achievement by men."
John Paul, with impassioned speeches and Vatican diplomacy, lobbied
against war and in favor of a negotiated solution in the months
before the conflict.
He made his remarks Saturday in an address at the Vatican to members
of an Italian religious television channel, Telepace.
A few hours after the war began, the Vatican expressed "deep pain"
and faulted both sides for failing to find a peaceful solution, but
until Saturday, the pope himself had not spoken publicly about the
John Paul has said there is no legal or moral justification for
military action. He has also expressed concern that war would harm
relations between Christians and Muslims.
Before thre war, the pope sent a cardinal to Washington to plead with
President Bush not to attack, and another cardinal to Baghdad to
press Saddam Hussein to cooperate completely with U.N. weapons
Russia's Putin Calls On Bush To End War
Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the United States to stop
its war against Iraq and rejected US claims that President Saddam
Hussein's regime had posed a danger to other countries.
Putin convened an emergency session of the Russian security council
as Moscow plotted its response to a war it had for months fought hard
to avert and that officials here said threatened to topple existing
global security mechanisms.
"If we install the rule of force in place of international security
structures, no country in the world will feel secure," Putin told a
meeting attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and the foreign
and defense ministers.
"That is why Russia insists on a quick end to military operations,"
Putin said "there was no need" for military strikes on Iraq because
UN-led weapons inspections in the country were taking their course.
"I would like to underline that military action is taking place
contrary to international public opinion and contrary to the
principles of international law," said Putin.
The United States abandoned its efforts to have the UN Security
Council approve military action against Baghdad after apparently
failing to gather enough votes in the body.
"This military action is unjustified," Putin stressed. "There has
been no answer to the main question: Are there weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq and if so, which ones?"
Some 200 demonstrators protested the war outside the US embassy and
security was stepped up across the country as the foreign ministry
called on all Russian media to pull out of Iraq.
The three major Russian television stations have reporters filing
regular dispatches from Baghdad and Channel One cancelled all morning
television programs and devoted all its air time to the war.
Meanwhile Russia's lower house of parliament agreed to vote later
Thursday on a resolution calling for the UN General Assembly to hold
an emergency session on Iraq and called for the war to stop.
Russia had struck an alliance with fellow permanent UN Security
Council members France and China, along with Germany, in a hard-nosed
diplomatic drive to block the joint US-British strikes.
Nationalist Russian lawmakers condemned the United States for what
they said was a flagrant violation of international law.
"All the mechanisms of solving international disputes are being
ruined" by the attacks, Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov told
the RIA Novosti news agency.
The United States "has completely ignored the will of the people
around the world and decisions reached by international
organizations," Zyuganov said.
Others called for calm and a diplomatic counterstrike to the US-led
war against Moscow's Soviet-era ally.
"We must keep a cool head and ask ourselves to what extent what is
happening presents a threat to our national security, and how we can
influence the situation," said Vladimir Lukin, the deputy speaker of
the State Duma, the lower house of parliament.
"I do not think there is any way in which we can influence the
situation through military means," he told Channel One television.
"What we can now do is improve our relations with nations whose
positions (on Iraq) are close to ours, in order to try and limit the
damage being done (by the United States) to the international rules
of the game," he said.
But ordinary Russians seemed filled with foreboding at news that the
Iraq war has been launched.
"This is the worst scenario. This war is a disgrace for all mankind,"
Irina Loseva, a 62-year-old theology teacher, told AFP.
Many Russians drew uneasy parallels with the Chechen conflict, where
federal troops are still bogged down fighting a separatist insurgency
after intervening in 1999 after a three-year cease fire.
Although Russia has a large Muslim population in the North Caucasus
region, the Kremlin said it did not expect the outbreak of war in
Iraq to inflame the situation in the volatile breakaway republic.
More than 500,000 Chechens are due Sunday to hold a referendum on a
new constitution that Moscow says will pave the way to a peaceful
settlement to a long-running separatist insurgency.
Media giant's rally sponsorship raises questions
By Tim Jones
Tribune national correspondent
March 19, 2003
Some of the biggest rallies this month have endorsed President Bush's
strategy against Saddam Hussein, and the common thread linking most
of them is Clear Channel Worldwide Inc., the nation's largest owner
of radio stations.
In a move that has raised eyebrows in some legal and journalistic
circles, Clear Channel radio stations in Atlanta, Cleveland, San
Antonio, Cincinnati and other cities have sponsored rallies attended
by up to 20,000 people. The events have served as a loud rebuttal to
the more numerous but generally smaller anti-war rallies.
The sponsorship of large rallies by Clear Channel stations is unique
among major media companies, which have confined their activities in
the war debate to reporting and occasionally commenting on the news.
The San Antonio-based broadcaster owns more than 1,200 stations in 50
states and the District of Columbia.
While labor unions and special interest groups have organized and
hosted rallies for decades, the involvement of a big publicly
regulated broadcasting company breaks new ground in public
"I think this is pretty extraordinary," said former Federal
Communications Commissioner Glen Robinson, who teaches law at the
University of Virginia. "I can't say that this violates any of a
broadcaster's obligations, but it sounds like borderline
manufacturing of the news."
A spokeswoman for Clear Channel said the rallies, called "Rally for
America," are the idea of Glenn Beck, a Philadelphia talk show host
whose program is syndicated by Premier Radio Networks, a Clear
'Just patriotic rallies'
A weekend rally in Atlanta drew an estimated 20,000 people, with some
carrying signs reading "God Bless the USA" and other signs condemning
France and the group Dixie Chicks, one of whose members recently
criticized President Bush.
"They're not intended to be pro-military. It's more of a thank you to
the troops. They're just patriotic rallies," said Clear Channel
spokeswoman Lisa Dollinger.
Rallies sponsored by Clear Channel radio stations are scheduled for
this weekend in Sacramento, Charleston, S.C., and Richmond, Va.
Although Clear Channel promoted two of the recent rallies on its
corporate Web site, Dollinger said there is no corporate directive
that stations organize rallies.
"Any rallies that our stations have been a part of have been of their
own initiative and in response to the expressed desires of their
listeners and communities," Dollinger said.
Clear Channel is by far the largest owner of radio stations in the
nation. The company owned only 43 in 1995, but when Congress removed
many of the ownership limits in 1996, Clear Channel was quickly on
the highway to radio dominance. The company owns and operates 1,233
radio stations (including six in Chicago) and claims 100 million
listeners. Clear Channel generated about 20 percent of the radio
industry's $16 billion in 2001 revenues.
Size sparks criticism
The media giant's size also has generated criticism. Some recording
artists have charged that Clear Channel's dominance in radio and
concert promotions is hurting the recording industry. Congress is
investigating the effects of radio consolidation. And the FCC is
considering ownership rule changes, among them changes that could
allow Clear Channel to expand its reach.
Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) has introduced a bill that could halt
further deregulation in the radio industry and limit each company's
audience share and percent of advertising dollars. These measures
could limit Clear Channel's meteoric growth and hinder its future
Jane Kirtley, a professor of media ethics and law at the University
of Minnesota, said the company's support of the Bush administration's
policy toward Iraq makes it "hard to escape the concern that this may
in part be motivated by issues that Clear Channel has before the FCC
Dollinger denied there is a connection between the rallies and the
company's pending regulatory matters.
Rick Morris, an associate professor of communications at Northwestern
University, said these actions by Clear Channel stations are a
logical extension of changes in the radio industry over the last 20
years, including the blurring of lines between journalism and
From a business perspective, Morris said, the rallies are a natural
fit for many stations, especially talk-radio stations where hosts
usually espouse politically conservative views.
"Nobody should be surprised by this," Morris said.
In 1987 the FCC repealed the Fairness Doctrine, which required
broadcasters to cover controversial issues in their community and to
do so by offering balancing views. With that obligation gone, Morris
said, "radio can behave more like newspapers, with opinion pages and
"They've just begun stretching their legs, being more politically
active," Morris said.
Copyright © 2003, Chicago Tribune
Is Mubarak's era is coming to an end for sake of USA donations?
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR)
on March 24, 2003 Cairo, Egypt
(Kindly distribute and/or publish immediately)
The kidnapping of Hamdin Sabahee (a journalist and current member of
Egypt's Parliament) in front of his home in Mohandiseen, Cairo took
place today after he requested investigating Egypt's minister for
interior affairs for the illegitimate use of excessive force by
Egyptian police against anti-war demonstrators last Thursday and
The people's representative himself, Mr. Sabahee, was badly beaten up
by police forces at the Lawyers' Syndicate last Thursday where he
gathered with other lawyers to protest the war. In the same day his
office director Ms Niveen Ahmed Samir was arrested and later ordered
her detention 4 days pending investigation by Azbakia Prosecutor,
Cairo with the charges of participating in an assembly consisting of
more than five persons and other similar charges. The police forces
have arrested and detained several hundreds of demonstrators, many
of them have been severely beaten up and injured both during the
arrest and later at police stations. The defendants include
students, doctors, engineers, lawyers, journalists as well as others
from a wide variety of professions.
Hisham Mubarak Legal Center HMLC in Cairo Egypt (hmlc@...) in a
Press Release today has drew the attention to the similarity of what
is going on in Egypt, with what was going on in Egypt shortly before
the dramatic end of Sadat's era by his assassination, and focusing on
some specific incidents such as mass detention, arresting parliament
members and attacking lawyers' syndicate
Mubarak has been governing Egypt with emergency laws since he came to
power more than 20 years ago. Since then, he has refused to appoint a
vice-president as he was vice-president when he took power after
It is known that the majority of Egyptians are totally against
the "American" attack on Iraq contradicting with Mubarak's policies
that aim at keeping the American money (more than two $billion/year
donation) that his regime receives as donation. Mubarak has quietly
granted the United States overflight rights for combat aircraft in
addition to occasionally blaming Saddam for the attack. Recently he
sent a delegation to negotiate with US officials the price of his
cooperation that was estimated to be around $3.2 billion. Mubarak is
believed to be grooming his son to rule after him witch is strongly
rejected by many Egyptian political activists that have access to a
small portion of Egyptian media which is dominated by Mubarak's
What is considered to be a real threat for Mubarak now is the joining
of non-political activists to the movement against him, diversifying
his classical enemies of Islamists and leftists (that he is used to
firmly suppress) to a wider spectrum of Egyptian public from all
backgrounds marked by the last demonstration few days ago to drop
down his huge picture that was hanging on the headquarter of his
National Democratic Party.
In a recent visit to Cairo, early this month, we noticed a growing
sentiment against Mubarak and his government due to the getting worse
economy and continuing decrease of the value of Egyptian pound.
Michael Mohammed Joseph
Frankfurt - Germany
Human Rights Watch Release
Islamonline about opposing Mubarak policies
Washingtonpost coverage of Arab demonstrations
Gorbachev on the Nile- (washingtonpost.com) Mocking Mubarak's Son
The Arabic Press Release of EOHR: