Noam Chomsky on Guantanamo Bay


This video from the USA is called Noam Chomsky Lecture – Distorted Morality. Speech at Harvard University about America’s war on terror.

From British daily The Independent:

Chomsky: Britain has failed US detainees

By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Britain has failed in its duty to stop the US from committing “shameful acts” in the treatment of suspects detained during the war on terror, one of America’s most respected intellectuals warns today.

In an interview with The Independent, Professor Noam Chomsky calls on the Government to use its special relationship with Washington America to secure the closure of Guantanamo Bay.

Claiming that he has heard only “twitters of protest” in the UK , the emeritus professor of linguistics also asks British “thinkers” to be more conspicuous in their opposition to the erosion of civil rights since the 9.11 attacks on the US.

In the wake of the invasion of Iraq, Prof Chomsky, a leading opponent of the Vietnam conflict, has been the most prominent among US intellectuals critical of the war with Iraq and the treatment of terror suspects sent to Guantanamo Bay and other prison camps around the world.

See also here.

White storks and kingfisher


This is a kingfisher video.

Rather cloudy, my third day at Weerribben nature reserve.

Not many birds, not many dragonflies, at first. Also not near the southern hide, where there are probably more birds in spring.

Near Wetering West village, two white storks.

Later, near Wetering Oost, one white stork and two grey herons.

We go to the northern hide, like yesterday.

Mute swans, grey lag geese. Great cormorants, sitting while spreading their wings, to dry them.

Again, a kingfisher.

An adult great crested grebe with two youngsters.

Kingfisher and osprey


This video from the USA is about ospreys.

Tuesday 26 August was my second day in Weerribben nature reserve.

Just across the road, a horizontal pole just above the water. This morning, a kingfisher sits down on it! What a fine beginning of a day. A bit later, a moorhen near the same spot.

Many barn swallows, some of them nesting under the roof of our house; some sitting down on the TV antenna of the restaurant.

In a birdwatchers’ hide, a kilometer to the north: mute swans. Great cormorants. Great crested grebes; grey lag geese.

And a kingfisher, sitting on a bald branch.

Then, an osprey, flying across the lake, and sitting down near a treetop.

Later, a buzzard.

In a former church in Kalenberg village, mainly landscape paintings by Frans Obdam, 1921-1988.

Just before going on board in the evening, a rabbit running away.

After the ship has started, the third kingfisher of today, sitting on a vertical pole in the water.

Mr Dolstra, the reserve warden, tells us that there are about 350 roe deer in the Weerribben; which is a lot for a marshy area, not ideal for the species.

This spring, there were nine male bitterns calling. As they are polygamous, that means that there were considerably more nests of this rare species.

As the number of trees in the Weerribben has increased recently, the number of goshawk nests has gone up to thirteen. Which may be a big problem next to a black tern colony … Other tree loving birds, rising in numbers in the national park, are golden oriole; lesser spotted woodpecker; and bullfinch.

Other rare species here are the purple heron; and the otter. In 1967, otters became extinct in the Weerribben as the last one was then found dead. In 2002, otters were brought here again, from eastern Europe and Sweden. Cubs have been born, and there are now about thirty otters in the reserve.

Of the many plants in the reserve, three species are related: simplestem bur-reed; European bur-reed; and the smallest of those three, small bur-reed.

Mr Dolstra also showed other plants. Sweet-flag is rarer now, as water quality is getting better.

Also: lesser bulrush; and Cicuta virosa.

Water dock is very important for the caterpillars of the rare Lycaena dispar butterfly in the reserve. The caterpillars spend the winter on those plants (see also video here).

More Weerribben plant species: yellow flag iris; the insectivorous common sundew; and sweet gale.

Best year for bitterns for 130 years in Britain: here.

US soldiers killed Iraqi detainees


This shows graphic Abu Ghraib pictures and video.

By Jerry White in the USA:

Military officers testify that US soldiers murdered Iraqi detainees

29 August 2008

Testimony presented to a US Army hearing in Germany this week detailed how three US noncommissioned officers executed four bound and blindfolded Iraqi detainees in Baghdad in April 2007. The four men—whose names have been withheld by the US military—were allegedly murdered and their bodies dumped on the banks of a canal.

Two noncommissioned officers— Sergeant First Class Joseph P. Mayo, the platoon sergeant, and Sergeant Michael P. Leahy Jr., Company D’s senior medic and acting squad leader, confessed to the killings and gave accounts of the event in signed statements to Army investigators in January.

The statements, obtained by the New York Times, described how each of the two soldiers killed one of the Iraqi detainees with a pistol shot to the back of the head, following the orders of First Sergeant John E. Hatley. Hatley shot the two other Iraqi men, the soldiers said, before ordering them to remove the bloody blindfolds and plastics handcuffs and shove the bodies into the canal.

US deal does not mark the end of Iraq‘s occupation: here; and here.