Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Unhappy Birthday

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  • Rich of Observationz,

    I once found a gram of uranium oxide

    Depleted or natural? I'm guessing not enriched.

    The US has 500,000 tonnes of the former. They might sell you some - but you'd need to do your own processing from UF6 (careful!)

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Kyle - pleae don't skim read.

    Your link clicks onto Blacks reply and several retractions from quite a few who dissed it 1st up including Nature.

    http://www.edwinblack.com/retractions/BaumelRetraction.pdf

    http://www.edwinblack.com/retractions/LarsHeideRetraction.pdf

    http://www.edwinblack.com/retractions/SegalRetraction.pdf

    So yeah that great kiwi company getting a headache over Auckland Airport might have a few more headaches for their complicity in 'rendition' as part of the war of terror.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Marc Lynch has a bit of a break down of that BBC -reported poll which indicates the very mixed nature of poeples' experiences and opinions.

    Sure, and the Japanese wanted the folks who'd nuked them into submission -- after fire-bombing the homes of millions -- to piss off sooner rather than later, but not before cleaning up their mess. I guess when you're starving to death in chaotic piles of rubble and ash, the social graces are the first to go.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    On the subject of diamonds, I'm very impressed by this 1982 article in the Atlantic Monthly about the history of diamonds.

    It turns out the the diamond engagement ring is essentially a 20th century invention, helped along by clever advertising courtesy of the De Beers diamond cartel.

    I've always thought it would be better to get a local jewellery designer to create a ring for you than to just buy some generic bling.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Except that Cockburn implies (by omission) Iraq as a nation had remained intact through the gassing of the Kurds in the 80s and the mass killings of the marsh Shia Arabs in the 90s only to be broken assunder by the American invasion.

    Isn't that part of the point? This country has been torn apart. Declaring optimism of victory or whatever the true-believers are saying in the USA right now is divorced from reality. It's a fucking mess with no end in sight. Cherry picking good bits is what Centcom and ICA were so good at...James' mansions in the north is just continuing that dishonest tradition.

    It's always been fairly ok in the Kurdish areas..since the 1990s, although watching intra-Kurdish debates on BBC and Al-Jaz of recent, corruption and nepotism have reached new heights there in current times.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    It turns out the tdiamond engagement ring is essentially a 20th century invention, helped along by clever advertising courtesy of the De Beers diamond cartel.

    I worked on a De Beers commercial once where the budget seemed unlimited. The crew was helicoptered on to the lower Tasman glacier where it is a giant rubble pit with faces of dirty ice. As the ice melts in the sun rocks are continually rolling down. The Brazilian female model dressed in nothing but a fawn scarf draped carefully had to walk a few paces with smoke machines giving the affect of a primordial, I guess diamond making, landscape. This took all day from before dawn to the last possible light for flying at the end of the day. The crew said the model had spent the previous day knee deep in a cold river near Queenstown.

    One of the crew told me about spending a week with the director, driving him all around the South Island looking for this particular shot he had in mind of a telegraph pole with a certain backdrop - and never found it.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    it's always been fairly ok in the Kurdish areas..since the 1990s

    Now that is funny!! Unintentionally of course!

    Maybe the US/UK enforced no fly zone might have had something to do with "things being fairly ok in the Kurdish areas .. since the 1990s". What do you think? Maybe, just maybe?

    The Kurds were rid of the Saddam from 1992 onwards, 16 years ago. The rest of the country has only been rid of the bastard, one of the worst and most brutal dictators of last century, for 5 years. Give them some time. Now they have a chance, a good chance of becoming a decent prosperous nation. They didn't have a snowballs chance in hell before.

    If you want to reflect on Iraqi anniversaries, make sure to reflect on the 20th anniversary of Hallabja, which was just the other day.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    If we're talking about overthrowing a brutal dictator, then smashing the countries infrastructure without actually having a rebuilding plan in place, leaving millions of people to suffer in misery for years and years and years to 'give them some time' to become a 'decent nation', as you put it, is not exactly my idea of how it should be done.

    A bit like rescuing someone who is being brutally assaulted, by driving off their attacker, but then leaving them at the side of the road to crawl a couple of miles to the hospital by themselves, don't you think?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Now that is funny!! Unintentionally of course!

    Maybe the US/UK enforced no fly zone might have had something to do with "things being fairly ok in the Kurdish areas .. since the 1990s". What do you think? Maybe, just maybe?

    James, seriously don't be so bloody smug, it does you no favours. Yes I was well aware of what I was saying as were the litany of US military folks who handled that no-fly zone.Folks like Zinni whom I guessing might have more of a grasp on the day to day realities than you, and was adamantly against the invasion. Your point is really irrelevant to 2008. It's a big so what.

    the 20th anniversary of Hallabja

    What is with the one-upmanship...your atrocity is worse than mine that you continually throw around. It's all fucking obscene and Halajah (one L) doesn't make god knows how many refugees, bodies and a dysfunctional country for half a decade onwards right.

    The survivors of that atrocity seemingly are less than happy too:

    On the 2006 anniversary of the gas attack, violent demonstrations erupted in Halabja against the Kurdish administration. An estimated 7,000 demonstrators protested against priorities in reconstruction, claiming party bosses did not care about the problems of the gas attack victims. Road blocks were set up and the gas attack memorial museum was set afire. Police fired at protesters killing one 14-year old boy and wounding many others.

    And if the United States had been a little more honest in trying to deflect the blame in the 198090s s at Iran, despite knowing it was Iraq....

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    bill rolston doesn't appear to be your biggest fan russell if his comments on radio this afternoon were anything to go by.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Did anybody see the doco on TV the other night about gangs in the US military in Iraq.

    I missed it but was wondering if others could fill in on some details. My mate was saying that the US gangs like the crips were represented in the military and there were tags around Iraq and that these guys go into the military to get years of military training before taking their new found 'skills' back to the 'streetz'.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Actually a quick google search turns up quite a bit:

    youtube clip:

    http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,96056,00.html

    Of particular concern are reports that the Folk Nation, consisting of more than a dozen gangs in the Chicago area, is placing young members in the military in an effort to gather information about weapons and tactics, said FBI Special Agent Andrea Simmons, who is based in El Paso, Texas.

    "Our understanding is that they find members without a criminal history so that they can join, and once they get out, they will have a new set of skills that they can apply to criminal enterprises," Simmons said.

    This from 1995
    http://www.streetgangs.com/topics/1995/072795cpblmil.html

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/07/28/eveningnews/main3107316.shtml
    http://www.stripes.com/07/feb07/gangs/gangs1.html

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Kyle - pleae don't skim read.

    Your link clicks onto Blacks reply and several retractions from quite a few who dissed it 1st up including Nature.

    Well I didn't skim read. You've followed another three links or so, which if you're that into it, up to you. I can't be particularly bothered, I've spent my evening coaching kids to play ice hockey.

    The debate about Black's book is whether a punch card machine was fundamental to the holocaust.

    You said that IBM supplied typewriters, which aren't even close to the same thing. The Nazis wouldn't need to go to IBM for typewriters - they had several brands made in Germany - the Kanzler, Adler to name two.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    James, seriously don't be so bloody smug, it does you no favours.

    C'mon Simon, there's no way you can pull the Rush Limbaugh clone schtick without coming across as smug.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Matty Smith,

    Ralston's little tanty was cute, in a twitchy-eyed sort of way. It was all about how RB is an 'ignorant blogger ... who believes strange things'. A few accusations of faux journalism just to top things off. It's pretty amusing for a third rate radio personality to accuse you of 'feed[ing] like vermin off the work of other journalists'.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2007 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Ralston’s just being a bit well……….. weird. All the media are. They don’t really know what’s around the corner for them and they’re fretting. You would.

    the media is changing and it's a power change more than a fiscal change.

    the answer : tell the truth and tell it in such a way that everyone understands it, you’ll be the dominant media for the next era.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    IBM was the issue - Corp America Profiteering from War. I was working from memory & you supplied the evidence and it doesn't stand up.

    Retractions in Nature pretty much mean Hayes was wrong.

    That Uni has a nasty Holocaust Denier - A. Butz. There was a wee buzz there a decade or so ago around Butz, although I don't know that Hayes was involved.
    It rode the Holocaust Deniers wave that Canty got caught up in around that time.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Yamis - I signed up with an x-blackpower member.
    I'm told that back in the day whole companies were Blackpower or Mongrel Mob. My old CO was x-Sgt-at-Arms for Epitaph Riders or Devils Henchmen & had the colours tattooed on his back.
    The MP in the clip saying the military reflect the society is on the money.
    Stop gangs in society and you'll get them out of the forces as well.

    Why would a 25yr old Sgt & father want to join another gang?

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    Why would a 25yr old Sgt & father want to join another gang?

    Yeah, I wondered the same thing. I can only presume that if War is Hell and you find yourself a long way from home, staring into the Gates of Hell, you might want some back up. If the guys you bond with are Crips, then you might be susceptible to joining the gang. It may well seem appropriate at the time.

    Even in 'peacetime' people join gangs because it gives them a sense of belonging, a sense of family that may be lacking otherwise. I'd imagine being stuck in a War That Makes No Sense might recreate those same conditions.


    And if i was in Iraq and my unit found one of those million dollar bundles of cash, I might just join the gang to ensure I get my cut too ...

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    John Burns, an NYT reporter who has spent a long time in Iraq over the years has a very interesting article on Iraq on the 5th anniversary.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/16/weekinreview/16jburns.html?_r=1&ref=weekinreview&oref=slogin

    Another interesting article by Jules Crittenden, it is from the Weekly Standard, but well worth a read.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/879jpiay.asp

    As for reflecting on Halabja, that suggestion has nothing to do with one upmanship or whatever. It is worth reflecting on to keep at the front of our minds what a horrendous bastard Saddam was, and how the Iraqi people suffered under his rule. And still would be if he hadn’t been deposed. Facts that seem to get completely lost in the current debate on Iraq.

    In 2008 the key question on Iraq is what to do now, in 2008 and beyond. Should the MNF stay or go? We don’t get to have a do over from 2003. Even the NYT as they were editorializing for a precipitous withdrawal earlier last year, stated that a precipitous withdrawal would most likely result in genocide on a massive scale, but who cares anyway it is not our problem. And the left/libs think of themselves as the good guys.

    Lots of mistakes have been made over the last 5 years, but why make a mistake of that magnitude when Iraq is heading, however haltingly, in the right direction? An end is in sight, and the end result could be a stable, successful, wealthy society as peace with itself and a remarkable example of what could be, or rather should be, in the Middle East. Why throw that possibility away? Why hand a huge victory to a group of blood thirsty horrendous terrorists and insurgents, who have done most of the killing in Iraq? Why grab disaster from the jaws of possible success? How does that make any sense at all?

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    As for reflecting on Halabja, that suggestion has nothing to do with one upmanship or whatever. It is worth reflecting on to keep at the front of our minds what a horrendous bastard Saddam was, and how the Iraqi people suffered under his rule. And still would be if he hadn’t been deposed.

    I agree he was a bastard, but lets face it, the USA played its part in keeping that horrendous bastard killing for quite some years, and was happy to use Halabja for it's own ends. That's pretty horrendous too.

    The thing is James you are playing some grotesque game of one upmanship. There were no "blood thirsty horrendous terrorists" in Iraq until you opened the door for it. You are saying that the deaths, refugees, ethnic cleansing, mayhem and misery that people like you have wrought on Iraq in the past 5 years is better than the hell that Saddam wrought. You don't wriggle out of it that easily.

    Virtually every institution the US has introduced into Iraq has been almost criminally incompetent, from the CPA to the US military (spend a few minutes reading through Ricks' Fiasco just to understand how much) and polling is showing that the Iraqis themselves are saying they are better off without the US, as they've been saying for years. Millions are displaced, an unknown number are dead, much of the country is thoroughly ethnically cleansed and you are saying more please......

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    ...and polling is showing that the Iraqis themselves are saying they are better off without the US, as they've been saying for years.

    The polls indicate a more ambivalent picture -

    The presence of US troops is opposed by 72%

    While more than a third of Iraqis believe the United States should pull out immediately, 63% believe the Americans should leave only after a period during which security and government get stronger.

    And a full 80% believe the US should continue to fight Al Qaeda and foreign jihadis in Iraq.

    And while there is widespread opposition to any long term large scale US military presence many still support the invasion -

    95% of Sunnis say the invasion was wrong. 65% of Shia say it was right, as do 87% of Kurds.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    It rode the Holocaust Deniers wave that Canty got caught up in around that time.

    An ill-considered paragraph in an otherwise perfectly good thesis from one postgrad student does not, as far as I'm concerned, constitute getting "caught up in" a "Holocaust Deniers wave". What actually happened was that one of the postgrads, who was doing a WWII history thesis on a non-Holocaust topic, managed to convince himself he'd proven that the Nazis couldn't possibly have burned all the bodies if the Holocaust had happened. His maths was wrong, as it happens, but he put it in his thesis before he realised that, the thesis was accepted, and the History department got branded Holocaust deniers. I believe the guy realised he was wrong later on, but it was a bit late then. In any case, to imply that there was some sort of general or partial acceptance of Holocaust denial going on at Canty at any time is a load of bollocks.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I really don't get how either side uses polling data in relation to Iraq. This isn't an election, it's a war, or a civil war, or a complete fuck up. Arguing over how many percent, or whether the percentage of support for war has gone up or down. Talk about not seeing the big picture.

    Sometimes there are moral imperatives (to quote the West Wing) and this really feels like one of them.

    How there are moral imperatives in Iraq, but not in some other places around the world - Sudan for example - I just don't get.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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