Watching the Shadows

Lynne Stewart battles cancer

A March 3 press release from the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee:

Attorney Lynne Stewart now faces another battle for her life: the battle against breast cancer. Ms. Stewart's sentencing is pending following her conviction last year on charges of aiding terrorism in a case where the government stretched her conversations with a reporter regarding her client into serious, felony charges. Ms. Stewart, 67 years old, faces 30 years in prison and has already lost her ability to practice law - her beloved profession. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in November, 2005. On January 9, 2006, doctors removed a 2.4 centimeter tumor from her left breast that was discovered to be an invasive ductal carcinoma. Over the past two months, Ms. Stewart has consulted with a number of medical specialists about her cancer, the treatment options, and the risks of recurrence.

Nuclear link to Dubai port controversy

Pretty funny to see George Bush accusing the liberal Democrats of racism and Hillary Clinton playing the xenophobe. Is there really any reason to be wary of the port management contract being turned over to a firm from the United Arab Emirates? Predictably, the most salient point in this Feb. 23 New York Times account—Dubai's role in nuclear proliferation—is buried towards the very end. Note highlighted passage:

"Rendition" victim: case dismissed

Ah, yes. "National security." That magical incantation by which all standards of transparency and humanitarian law can be summarily dismissed. This time applied in the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was "renditioned" by US authorities to Syria to be tortured—the same Syria, incidentally, which the US is seeking to destabilize (and will doubtless use its grisly human rights record as propaganda ammo in the service of this effort)! The irony is starting to make us a little dizzy these days... From the Canadian Press, Feb. 17:

Iraq torture images in the news ...barely

Now, obviously the reality of Abu Ghraib and the Iraq horrorshow generally is an essential backdrop to the anti-cartoon protests. But isn't there something pretty sick about the paucity of coverage the release of the new torture photos has received in comparison to the seas of ink spilled over the cartoon controversy? About the fact that the rioters throughout the Muslim world are at least ostensibly reacting to offensive cartoons rather than real torture? And, finally, about the utter hypocrisy of "free speech" in the West—as manifested by the Bush administration's protests over the photos being printed and broadcast? Big ups to Australia's Special Broadcasting Service for resisting White House pressure. From The Australian, Feb. 17:

Homeland Security holds "Cyber Storm" war game

What, us worry? From the AP, Feb. 10:

WASHINGTON -- The government concluded its "Cyber Storm" wargame Friday, its biggest-ever exercise to test how it would respond to devastating attacks over the Internet from anti-globalization activists, underground hackers and bloggers.


Force-feeding breaks Gitmo hunger strike

Harsh new methods have been used in a successful bid to break the inmate hunger strike at the Pentagon's Guantanamo prison camp in Cuba. The methods reportedly included strapping detainees into "restraint chairs" for force-feeding, apparently to prevent the practice of deliberately regurgitating meals. Other strikers were placed in very cold air-conditioned cells, had "comfort" items like blankets removed and were placed in solitary confinement.

Osama has poor reading comprehension

This one really takes the cake. William Blum's anti-imperialist tome Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower has shot up from 205,763 to 26 on's index of the most-ordered books since it was given a favorable review by Osama bin Laden. Wrote the acccused terror mastermind in his Jan. 19 communique:

France threatens nuclear strikes

From BBC, Jan. 19:

France 'would use nuclear arms'

French President Jacques Chirac has said France would be ready to use nuclear weapons against any state which launched a terrorist attack against it.

Speaking at a nuclear submarine base in north-western France, Mr Chirac said a French response "could be conventional. It could also be of another nature."

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