Archive for October, 2008

“These Three Men Were Sacrificed To Show The United States That Canada Was Doing Something”

A Canadian inquiry has determined that false and inflammatory information passed by Canadian officials to the United States contributed to the detention and torture of three Canadian men in Syria.

Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati, and Muayyed Nureddin, Canadian citizens all, were arrested while visiting Syria, then imprisoned and tortured there as suspected “Islamic extremists,” “terrorists,” “Al Qaeda procurement officers,” and the like.

The Syrians acted upon information provided by the United States, some of it originating in Canada. The Canadian information, the inquiry concluded, was in the main unsupported by evidence; in some instances, the “evidence” concerned entirely different people.

Although the Canadian inquiry was not assigned to review the actions of the three men, the head of the inquiry, former Canadian Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci, announced at a press conference Tuesday that the three men were innocent of any wrongdoing.

James Kafieh, a lawyer involved in the inquiry, bluntly concluded that “these three men were sacrificed to show the United States that Canada was doing something.”


Things Keep Their Secrets

I live in the high foothills of northern California, along the Cascade-Sierra divide, on land where Ishi once lived.

Ishi, “the last of the Yahi.” The marooned American Indian famously portrayed, with no little sympathy, by Theodora Kroeber in Ishi In Two Worlds. The man who, on August 29, 1911, most probably walked across what is today “my” “land,” on his way down out of the wilderness, into a corral occupied by east Oroville butchers. Who was briefly jailed, then spent the four remaining years of his TB-shortened life as a museum piece, literally living in a Museum of Anthropology, at the University of California in San Francisco.

Ishi, in his four short years among whites, didn’t say much. He never, as an example, revealed his name. At all times, however, whenever among whites, he was adamant: he was the last of his tribe. All other Yahi, all his relations, alpha to omega, had died.

This is my 34th year (on and off) on Ishi’s land.

And I will tell you this: Ishi was not the last of his tribe.

And, in this diary, I will tell you why that is all I will tell you.


Mapping Through Georgia

There is a hopeful article in the November/December issue of Archaeology that details how modern archaeologists can obtain knowledge of vanished American Indian cultures without disturbing sites that may contain human remains.

At what is now Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site in what is now the state of Georgia, archaeologists have eschewed the digging of hundreds of thousands of test pits, which traditional archaeological methodology would consider necessary to fully assess what might lie concealed here, beneath 500 years of flood- and plow-scoured land.

Instead, an archaeological team moving over the surface of the earth utilized sophisticated portable sensors to map a shrouded underground city of more than 140 buried buildings, “without turning a single shovelful of earth.”


Operation Enduring Fiefdom “Doomed”; “We Have Assumed The Place Of The Soviets”

French officials mortified by President Nikolas Sarkozy’s suicidal embrace of Operation Enduring Fiefdom—George II’s adventure in Afghanistan—have leaked to the uppity French weekly Le Canard Enchaine a classified cable relating that the British envoy to Afghanistan has concluded that “American strategy is doomed to fail.”

Meanwhile, the former deputy chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center has admitted that a trio of Afghani “warlords,” formerly supported and supplied by the Reagan administration in the 1980s proxy war against the Soviet Union, today—again—control much of Afghanistan, and that we here in the US “have assumed the place of the Soviets.”


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October 2008