Friday, September 30, 2005

Scritching around

This blog has thwarted itself. I used to be able to type "iraq blog" into search engines and bingo! A new blog would show up. Only now all I keep getting are the usuals and old Iraq Blog Count ramblings.

So in the absence of blogs, again, and scratching around for something mildly related, slightly different, and unashamedly leaning toward alternative solutions to war, I thought I'd post a link to an amazon history book. I guess it's kind of a semi rare one in that even though it's still reprinted from time to time not that many people have probably heard about the events within (although some may recognise a similar story). Nobody seems to've published it on the web so short of transcribing the whole thing and having Dick Scott after me with a copywrite batton, just click on the link and good luck.

I'd write a review or intro but someone else already has. It's not about Iraq, but it is about war, pacifism, vision and natural resources.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Offering myself up for arrest again

The "arrest me" campaign is taking off. Great to see how these things spread and diffuse into the real world.

Three days of anti-war protests in Washington have ended the way protest organisers planned, with the arrest outside the White House of Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war movement's symbolic leader...

The "arrest me" protest had been planned and discussed with Washington area police and emails were sent to media organisations, outlining what would happen and when. more


Ursula Rucker wants to be put on the CIA and FBI watch list. Paris Pompor asks the Amnesty festival singer why.

Plus plus: a nearly overlooked mention but cheers anyway to dailykos for helping to get the "arrest me" message out there.

Would just like to point out that the idea is a kind of independent initiative and does not represent all bloggers let alone all Iraqi bloggers, only those who wish to be arrested in solidarity with others who already have been are campaigning for arrest. Hopefully, this will catch on. Because when I get arrested, I hope to have company. Would also like at this point to point out the plight of bloggers facing the threat of arrest in Iran and China. Update: and Singapore.

Unrelated link duty: see Riverbend.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Handbook for bloggers

Blog safely - use protection.

Go to now and download your Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents *FREE* when not much else is.

Helping hand for bloggers

Paris: A media watchdog has released a handbook to help cyber-dissidents and bloggers avoid political censorship in countries as far apart as China, Iran, Vietnam and Cuba.

The guide, published this week by Reporters Without Borders with the backing of the French Government, identifies bloggers as the "new heralds of free expression" and offers advice on how to set up a blog and run it anonymously.

"Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure," wrote Julien Pain. "Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest."

Blogs are personal websites that are easy to set up and are often written in the form of an online diary.

The Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents can be downloaded from the group's website ( more


And now who will fixup the msm with this fixers story, now that this fixer is gone? Just follow the link.

And then go and post it up on all your blogs. One fixer dies, many blogs spring up in his (wish I could write her) honour.

Democratic model

Counting other countries flaws.

A little something to take into account while drafting constitutions and other documents outlining electoral procedure. Might want to write something in about validating voter registration. I know I know, b****y emigre you're probably all thinking - on about bureaucratic technicalities again damn she is such a bluestocking tightwad. But really, whoever is writing up the constitution might want to include a bit about checking on people registering household pets and imaginary friends.

Dog registered to vote
Otago Daily Times NZPA

Toby the jack russell terrier signed up on the electoral roll with his paw print and received a voter's card for the general election, his owner says...

When Mr Rhodes, an aviation safety specialist, received his electoral roll confirmation forms this year an extra form was supplied for people who had been "inadvertently overlooked". At the time, he was frustrated with the Queenstown Lakes District Council's regulatory contractor, CivicCorp, and with the "bureaucratic nonsense" he had to deal with while trying to subdivide his property.

"So I thought, for the hell of it, I'd put Toby's name on it, and sign it, and see what happens."

Mr Rhodes says he gave his dog the full name of Toby Russel Rhodes, occupation: rodent exterminator, and signed a squiggle, accompanied by a paw print, for a signature. He gave Toby the birth date of July 4, 1977 - his age in "human years" (his real age is four years). He expected Toby's application to be rejected.

To his surprise, Mr Rhodes received a letter in the mail, addressed to Toby, saying he had been registered in the Otago electorate and was able to vote. read whole true story

The electoral enrolement centre manager, Mr Wicks, was not amused:

"It's a statutory declaration ... You have to tell the truth when enrolling."

Mr Wicks must be one of the few people left in the world who still believes in Santa in flawless fine upstanding politicians.

Isn't it great when other places make mistakes that everywhere else can learn from.

Update: Mr Wicks will not give details of what sort of enrolment checks are done because:

"once it gets out there, there'll be all sorts of people doing all sorts of things".

Oh. But how can other emergent democracies learn from the mistakes then, if nobody's going to say how it happened?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

More questions, Basra undercover

A free writer, adding events together and asking what is behind the scenes:

The news coverage of Iraq frequently fails to convey the cumulative linkage of military events in this country... Can we ask why would the two soldiers be undercover ? and what is the real story behind this event? whole post

Plus another post, not sure what it all means but it sounds disconcerting and poetic, something about the shackles of the nation and truth and feminine whiles and the circulation of opinion and lack of tolerance and stagnation leading to a need for adaptation (I think). It sounds controversial, radical and conservative all at once (bit like the Latham diaries only with eloquence). I may have misread it, so best to have a look yourself.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Interim lit'

Lol, trolls. Guess some personalities are at a loose end since Raed closed his comments. Anyway, to change the tune ~ why not go and read some poetry.

Note to troll (if still lurking): could try posting under relevant topic next time? Less confusing for readers following the diatripe. Thanks. Can't be bothered deleting insults today - water off a duck's back I guess, plus, am busy. If anyone else feels like stepping in and editing lurid comments please do.

See you all later, take care and peace.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hurricane alert

No, not in Baghdad or Mosul or Fallujah or anywhere else in Iraq, nor even metaphorically (for a change).

Hurricane Rita - keep an eye on Fayrouz's blog. She's in the path of a storm and may go offline if electricity is cut.

If she's not blogging after it's over send an email or something and check she's alright.

Counting the mercenaries

So, did anyone think New Zealand was exempt from war-mongering?

Sure it's a great place and all, and who knows maybe someone one day might even be tempted to model their newly branded democracy on it's electoral system - but New Zealand has it's merchants of spin just like everyone else.

Kiwi ad man gives advice to Pentagon


Mr Roberts, chief executive of global advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, was invited by the United States Department of Defence to address various "US defence intelligence agencies" at a conference in New York on March 9, according to Brandweek, which obtained a copy of his speech, Loyal Beyond Reason. read all of it

Article discusses "branding the conflict in Iraq".

Monday, September 19, 2005

Two more ways to enrich a day

Read Vladimir Poetin, Holland based blogger filled with wonder and delight by Kurdistan.

Play the neopostmodern theory of criticism that seeks to expose deepseated speech acts in a work by delving below its surface meaning game - choose word, lookitup, replace with several short words.

Baghdad Security

New blog, wondering what it will be about. Hoping it has security survival tips - something lot of people round the world could do with.

Other reads: River on constitution(s) - is a name change in the pipeline? Salam at Political Prisoner Association, see whole thing all the way to the end.

New Today: 1
Total: 164

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Neo-postmodern poetry !

Run your favourite Arabic poem/lyrics through an arabic to english autotranslation tool:

River of the sadnesses

Assigned you as rivers of sadnesses
Rivers of music. Carried me
[lwraa'i], behind the times

Rivers of music get lost
Reigned me. Then lost me
The black tear above them

Tones of statement fall
Assigned you and tobaccos and alcoholic
The cup tenth blinds me

I in the seat burning
My fires my erosion of luminous
['a'aqwl] knits [yaa] lunar?

Ah if possibilities were in
So I did not hope you in the life
Except assigns you and my sadnesses

My ships in the port weeping
The gulfs get torn above
Decisive yellow broke me

Broke in chest fiducial
['a'asaafru] echoes you [lylkty]?
[yaa] shadow of God [b'ajfaany]

[yaa] summers green [yaashmsy]
[yaa] beautiful. My colors beautify

Is expels about you and our cut
Return of April become beautiful from?

Flower become beautiful from [Gaardynyaa]
In [e'utmti] Spanish hair

[yaa] grain only. Does not cry
So your tears dig affections

Indeed me did not hope you in the life
Except assigns you. .[w] my sadnesses

['a'aqwlu] knits [yaa] lunar?
Ah if possibilities were in

So I lost human
The ground does not introduce in local

Get lost me trains. Get lost me
Names. Get lost me addresses

Dates! What for my date
Indeed me forgetfulness of the forgetfulness

Indeed me anchor does not anchor
Wounding in features human

What gives you? ['ajybyny]
Worries? Atheism? Nauseas

What gives you apart from amount
Refraining of the devil dances in

I thousand knits. So leaves
Meant. About fires and smoky

So I did not hope you in the life
Except assigns you? My sadnesses

Which makes about as much sense to me as Beowulf in olde english. But magnificently dadaist. Tristan Tzara would have loved it.

("The black tear above them... Tones of statement fall" ~ phoo, what could that all mean).

(For additional layers take it through Dutch, Japanese and French).

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Two more

It's been a long time since I just aimlessly clicked about and ran across blogs like this - have to admit got a bit lackluster about it all for a while, and most of the blogs linked here over the past year or so are links posted by other contributors or sent by visitors or padded out with other relevant topics for lack of actual blogs.

Anyway, just happened across two blogs which reminded me of that long ago time when this blog first started on the over-optimistic premise that hundreds and thousands of thoughts were seething in Iraq and just waiting to flood through onto a page somewhere if only there was regular electricity etc:

Stamps & Money From Iraq
- philately.

iRaQ 4 All BaGhDaD 4 Me - an msn spaces diary.

New: 2
Total: 163


I am so tired of offering my condolences and inventing new ways to deal with propaganda everytime more people die.

I just wish the whole thing were over, am so sick of war.

Links to other bloggers with more fortitude covering it:

(Apologies if left anyone out who's covered the latest bombings but didn't have stomach to investigate further today).

Other "news": two wellknown bloggers close comments. Hardly surprising, I support them both.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Idea !

Bit of an afternoon surf today, and noticed discussion sort of hovering around constitution readings, contractors, troops, and the usual indiscriminate shootings, bombings and arrests ~ in no especial order but it reminded me of a thought from a while ago...

It could be written into the constitution to hold "visitors" (all embracing definition including contractors, troops etc) in Iraq accountable to human rights laws, while in Iraq. At the moment the constitution just seems to cover Iraqis in Iraq, but there are lots of others in Iraq as well.

Of course, it would have to be written very carefully. And it would be unprecedented - no other constitution in the world that I know of has anything like it, so whoever might choose to write something like that into Iraq's constitution would really be breaking new ground and "leading the way".

A nice way to do it, might be to include a reference to other people's constitutional roots - something about all people in Iraq of all nationalities being accountable to the international bill of human rights maybe?

Theoretically, people are supposed to be accountable to their own constitutions when abroad but that's not always the way it works out and a sort of international interlinking constitutional reference might help remind people to be humane. In writing an article like that it might be an idea to write it more along universal declaration of human rights lines rather then invoke individual country's constitutions - partly because the constitutions of some countries with people in Iraq are in flux themselves, at this point.

Not a bad idea really, when you think about how many different people there are in Iraq (and how many borders Iraq has).

Crazy idea? Maybe, but can anyone think of any reason why this shouldn't or couldn't be included.

Will hold off writing thoughts about the rest of the constitution (unless anyone really wants to know in which case I could be persuaded and you might regret it) anyway will hold off for the minute, if only because I'd just be echoing what others have already noted: hastily written, full of loopholes, Iraq already had one - five in fact. Could say more, won't right now.

* A link to an article published in the July 1948 issue of the United Nations Bulletin, found the article itself a bit dry but interesting from historic point of view. Written by Charles Malik.

Monday, September 12, 2005

More bloggers blogging about other blogs that blog about blogs

Some reviewing. And some more, not quite sure what to call it. Some more "truths?" anyway, more from truth about about what he thinks about everyone else.

Sick of spam?

Fayrouz pointed this out weeks ago but I still see blogspot blogs all over the show being comment spammed (not just Iraq ones for a change). To cut the spam (mostly random adverts disguised as praise: "Hey! Great blog! Come and visit my website about automotive parts, we have a great free deal on gnoosnaps right now" etc) to cut the spam just go to the blogspot settings tab, and then the comments tab, and then click the yes dot next to the bit where it says "Show word verification". This won't get rid of regular hasslers, but it will stop automated advertising.

While you are there, might as well go to the "Site Feed" tab and check your feed is activated (and why it's a good idea).

Snow in Iraq - another new blog (!)

Caesar of Pentra wrote me a few weeks ago warning of his new blog's imminence. Just thought I'd take this opportunity to clear up a few misunderstandings - firstly, all your blogs are loved. But if emailing to declare a new blog presence, all emailers will need to tell me the url of your new blog. Like most netizens I am only psychic 60 to 70 percent of the time, this means that while I can forecast large climatic events like hurricanes (after checking web weather reports) and even foresee the decline and salvation of civilisations, I am unable to divine finer detail, like personal blog addresses.

So remember bloggers, send a link when you're asking for one. Thanks.

Here's Caesar's blog. Make of it what you will (he is apparently 21 and cold).

Please, if we are going to have another mistress scandal don't shoot me - am just the messenger today.

New: 1
Total: 161

Thursday, September 08, 2005

2 blogs at once

24 steps to liberty

A new blog by a 27 year-old male from Baghdad, a reporter, and now a blogger.

God, more interesting blogs coming in and I have to go out!! :( I will try to keep up with every thing as much as I can..

Anyway, this is one more interesting blog, the writer wrote this summarizing his blog:
Here I will post my personal accounts on different issues, including social, political, and religious issues. The goal is not to affect your opinion or personal points of view. Instead, it is a way to help myself speak out things and share them with others. I hope this will help people outside Iraq to get an idea of what life really looks like here.
And here's the link..

Little snippet

A blog by a writer without a profile :)

He started his blog because he was:
Born in a country like Iraq made me experience life in a slightly different way. I don’t believe that my life is more important because of that. I simply consider it a story of interesting events that might entertain certain people. Few of my friends have always enjoyed my recollection of some early events of my life in Iraq and they pressed me to try and write about it.
He writes, and he writes well.. Here's the link.

New: 2
Total: 160

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

From Haneen with love

From Haneen with love
She took your picture to the stars above
She never found the words to say
But I know that today
She's gonna send her post to you !!!

A blog by an Iraqi girl, 21 years old, lives in Baghdad and has so many dreams.. Reading her blog, I think one of her dreams, which she's trying to fulfill, is studying abroad.

I'm going to add this blog to my list as soon as I finish this post, 'cause I'm really liking it!

Anyway, you can read it too, and here's the link!

New: 1
Total: 158

Monday, September 05, 2005

Glum morning cheeriness !

Well I know the weekend has been a bit of a shocker for everyone - no less for Iraqis who have just seen their liberators go down the sinkhole.

Anyway, bit of optimism to chirp everyone up:

One good thing about Iraq, if the climate models are correct it'll become a basin of civilsation again - because all the big coastal maritime cities are going underwater and Iraq is well placed in the middle away from the edges (bad news for Manhatten - sorry, I can't help it I'm just the weather forecaster).

Also, Fats Domino lives and he's "goin' back to Nu Orleans"...

That's it from me for now, I'm about all good-newsed out.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Constitution update

Well, having ascertained that the constitution is already unconstitutional but has managed to weave enough loopholes to not dissolve the Transitional National Assembly and start the process all over (discussed weeks ago, various blogs) might as well examine the possibility that the TAL is about to breach itself again.

According to niqash:

If the draft constitution is made public later than 15 August 2005 then the referendum will take place 2 months after the publication of the draft constitution. more

Ok, so. The constitution was definitely not ready for publication before or on 15 August. To all intents and purposes, it is still not clear whether a final copy even exists. There are numerous reports of tinkerings and various versions floating about - which one is the real one? Who can tell. Anyway, somethings were released in the last week of August - some partial translations and also several sites with Arabic copies. Keeping in mind that netizens usually get hold of these things before citizens, and keeping in mind that there was supposed to have been a draft "sort of" announced on 29 August, and keeping in mind that as late as 31 August another blogger reported some parties were still trying to get article 44 removed: let's be kind and say that it was released for publication 30 Aug (goodness knows what the drafts are that appeared before then - or how and why they got out before it was "finished"). Which means two months from the end of August for everyone in Iraq, and every Iraqi out of Iraq, to read it and discuss before the referendum. So, aside from whether two months means two calendar months, two lunar months or two fiscal months, let's just make it simple and say, um, referendum end of October - right? Hem maybe not. Looks like some people still want to try and get it all done on the 15 October. Even though the TAL timetable implies everyone is supposed to have two months (15 August to 15 October) to read it and not just one and a half months. Maybe I am jumping the gun and maybe the TNA will do this "fairly" and go schedule the referendum for 31 October - then again, the niqash press blog seems to think it's still all "penciled" in for the 15th...

Am making occasional updates to the constitution digest post. Will also count blogs (just remember to give the url/blog address when you're emailing about it. Thanks).

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I'm back with a new blog

Hi people, I'm back with a new blog..
Just discovered it when reading the comment's on Hassan's blog..

The blog is "Treasure of Baghdad", the writer describes himself:
I don't like hypocrisy and selfishness. I always feel that the person should keep his secrets and if it is necessary to tell someone, this person who is going to be told, should be trustworthy. I like joking with friends but not every time.
Still two posts, so you can catch up on everything from the beginning, and here's the link..

New: 1
Total: 157

Iraq Constitution Digest

Special "digest" edition of links about the constitution that have shown up here over the last few weeks. Mostly focusing on facts rather then speculation (while understanding that a blogger can't help but veer off merrily down the path of sheer wotif some other times).

The facts. What it actually says:

  • Apparent full Associated Press translation on pdf.
NOTE: most of the above copies appeared before the "finished" version was "passed" on 28 August, 2005 (Iraq time). Changes to the preamble and some of the articles have been made since.

  • The version that was announced, but not agreed to by everyone, on 28 August.

And what people are saying about it:

  • What a freelance (not embedded) journalist in Iraq wrote about it.
  • What all the bloggers are saying: see blogroll.

What else people are saying:

  • Has anyone seen the whole final thing and how do I get a copy?
  • What is in it to protect Women and Children?
  • What is in it that won't protect Women and Children?
  • Why did they word this part like that and that part like this, as if I even need to pose rhetorically?
  • Why does federalism have to be so important?
  • It is kinda rushed looking, isn't it?
  • How come it is all such a big hurry to get it through?
  • Will the troops go now?

What else people have proposed:

Other links:

  • has a copy of the TAL - "Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period". Basically the thing which rules how the constitution is supposed to be written and passed and voted on. See especially Chapter Nine Articles 60 and 61, look at Chapter One Articles 1 and 2, and marvel over how Chapter One Article 3 can be cleverly manipulated to do so many things that run counter to "the rights of the Iraqi people" by introducing a number of subtle ways almost anything can conflict with the "Supreme Law" timetable under A and then stating under B that "Any legal provision that conflicts with this law is null and void". A savy debater would argue that if anything that holds the Transitional National Assembly accountable to being "constituted in accordance with a process of extensive deliberations and consultations with cross-sections of the Iraqi people (Chapter One Article 2 B1)" becomes null and void under Article 3 B, then that makes the Transitional National Assembly null and void and a new one should be elected. Am amazed no-one has suggested this particular counter permeation yet, although other versions have been suggested based on Chapter Nine. Personally, I wouldn't have passed the TAL let alone the constitution that's supposed to be written under it. (This is not speculation it is an observation with my opinion on the end, and an arguement that could make sure everyone not in the TNA gets the proper two months initially scheduled to read and discuss the final constitution draft. And if the two months isn't allocated, well, the TNA is even more "voider and nuller" then it looks already).

Something pressing left out? Please suggest other offerings to add to this post (links, questions to ask, answers to counter, blog posts about it, key figures involved, anything at all).


The kind of numbers no-one likes to see. But it's part of my natural instinct to acknowledge the dead so here I do:

Bridge stampede deaths reported at 852 by some sources and expected to climb. I'm guessing it takes a while for non-local news to filter through to me, it could just be the 24 hour day/night roll over. My local sources are quoting death tolls up 800 and more while the articles I can access from news agencies nearer the scene are a few hours old and still quoting 600-700. A google search reveals:

  • Qatar 11 hours ago: more then 600 killed in stampede
  • Ynetnews, Israel 9 hours ago: at least 500 dead in Iraq stampede
  • Zaman Online, Turkey 9 hours ago: Number of Dead may Exceed 600 in Iraq Stampede
  •, India 8 hours ago: nearly 640 feared dead in Iraq stampede
  • Science Daily (press release) 8 hours ago: Hundreds die in Baghdad stampede
  • The Age (subscription), Australia 1 hour ago: toll expected to hit 1,000

Condolences are such a frail thing to offer, but everyone does. It's the only way people have to express empathy. I expect conspiracy plot hatchers to be out on this, and I ignore them all. Let people rest and grieve.

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