2006-12-31

Saddams Tod: Geheimnisse im Grab, Video im Netz

--- Die irakischen Henker haben kurzen Prozess mit Saddam Hussein gemacht: Lang dauerte sein Todeskampf nicht, wie ein mit einer Handy-Cam aufgenommenes Video der Hinrichtung des Diktators mit dem Strang zeigt ("Full Saddam Execution Video Leaked from Cellphone"). Zu sehen auf Sites wie LiveLeak.com (Ogrish.com im Web-2.0-Gewand). N�here Erkl�rungen zum Hinrichtungsvideo, zum Geschehen in den letzten Minuten Saddams und �bersetzungen der letzten gefallenen Worte gibts in einem Artikel auf Spiegel Online. Robert Fisk beklagt derweil im Independent, dass der Gest�rzte einige schmutzige Geheimnisse auch �ber seine fr�heren Kooperationen mit den USA mit ins Grab nimmt -- obwohl dazu wohl auch von einem noch lebenden Saddam wohl nie etwas �ffentlich gemacht worden w�re:
The moment Saddam's hooded executioner pulled the lever of the trapdoor in Baghdad yesterday morning, Washington's secrets were safe. The shameless, outrageous, covert military support which the United States - and Britain - gave to Saddam for more than a decade remains the one terrible story which our presidents and prime ministers do not want the world to remember. And now Saddam, who knew the full extent of that Western support - given to him while he was perpetrating some of the worst atrocities since the Second World War - is dead. Gone is the man who personally received the CIA's help in destroying the Iraqi communist party. After Saddam seized power, US intelligence gave his minions the home addresses of communists in Baghdad and other cities in an effort to destroy the Soviet Union's influence in Iraq. Saddam's mukhabarat visited every home, arrested the occupants and their families, and butchered the lot. Public hanging was for plotters; the communists, their wives and children, were given special treatment - extreme torture before execution at Abu Ghraib. There is growing evidence across the Arab world that Saddam held a series of meetings with senior American officials prior to his invasion of Iran in 1980 - both he and the US administration believed that the Islamic Republic would collapse if Saddam sent his legions across the border - and the Pentagon was instructed to assist Iraq's military machine by providing intelligence on the Iranian order of battle. One frosty day in 1987, not far from Cologne, I met the German arms dealer who initiated those first direct contacts between Washington and Baghdad - at America's request. "Mr Fisk... at the very beginning of the war, in September of 1980, I was invited to go to the Pentagon," he said. "There I was handed the very latest US satellite photographs of the Iranian front lines. You could see everything on the pictures. There were the Iranian gun emplacements in Abadan and behind Khorramshahr, the lines of trenches on the eastern side of the Karun river, the tank revetments - thousands of them - all the way up the Iranian side of the border towards Kurdistan. No army could want more than this. And I travelled with these maps from Washington by air to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt on Iraqi Airways straight to Baghdad. The Iraqis were very, very grateful!" ... We still don't know - and with Saddam's execution we will probably never know - the extent of US credits to Iraq, which began in 1982. The initial tranche, the sum of which was spent on the purchase of American weapons from Jordan and Kuwait, came to $300m. By 1987, Saddam was being promised $1bn in credit. By 1990, just before Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, annual trade between Iraq and the US had grown to $3.5bn a year. Pressed by Saddam's foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, to continue US credits, James Baker then Secretary of State, but the same James Baker who has just produced a report intended to drag George Bush from the catastrophe of present- day Iraq - pushed for new guarantees worth $1bn from the US.
Lesen wir dagegen auch US-Pr�sident Bushs Statement zum Ereignis des gestrigen fr�hen Morgens: Today, Saddam Hussein was executed after receiving a fair trial -- the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime. Fair trials were unimaginable under Saddam Hussein's tyrannical rule. It is a testament to the Iraqi people's resolve to move forward after decades of oppression that, despite his terrible crimes against his own people, Saddam Hussein received a fair trial. This would not have been possible without the Iraqi people's determination to create a society governed by the rule of law.

Mehr zur Inszenierung des Spektakels in Telepolis: Mit der eiligen Exekution Husseins wird viel zugedeckt. Das schnell und medienwirksam verh�ngte Todesurteil dient der irakischen und amerikanischen Regierung, aber ob das als unfair kritisierte Ende des Prozesses das Land vers�hnen wird, darf bezweifelt werden.

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2006-12-21

"You": Time kopiert die Person des Jahres

--- Die Netzk�nstlerin Olia Lialina hat mal ein bisschen in den Time-Archiven gew�hlt und ist dabei auf eine bezeichnende Parallele gesto�en: Das zur "Person des Jahres" gek�rte "You" in Form des aktiven Internet-Nutzers ist f�r sie die gleiche Figur, die das US-Magazin noch sehr skeptisch, distanziert und passiv 1983 unter der �berschrift "Der Computer macht sich breit" vor die damals ausgezeichnete "Maschine des Jahres" setzte. Eine gephotoshopte Zusammenschau der beiden Cover gibts hier. Olia schreibt dazu auf der Mailingliste nettime:
Though people in my blogosphere (Livejournal) are proudly making pictures of their reflection on the aluminum foil on Time's cover and celebrate Time's arrogant gesture as a recognition of modern online culture and their modest input to it, I can't get rid of the thought that with "You" Time address one particular person, a papier-man they left in front of a personal computer a quarter of a century ago.
Immerhin wusste Time damals schon von so abgefahrenen Sachen wie E-Mail und Internet zu berichten: By itself, the personal computer is a machine with formidable capabilities for tabulating, modeling or recording. Those capabilities can be multiplied almost indefinitely by plugging it into a network of other computers. This is generally done by attaching a desktop model to a telephone line (two-way cables and earth satellites are coming increasingly into use). One can then dial an electronic data base, which not only provides all manner of information but also collects and transmits messages: electronic mail. The 1,450 data bases that now exist in the U.S. range from general information services like the Source, a Reader's Digest subsidiary in McLean, Va., which can provide stock prices, airline schedules or movie reviews, to more specialized services like the American Medical Association's AMA/NET, to real esoterica like the Hughes Rotary Rig Report. Fees vary from $300 an hour to less than $10.

Dass gerade kreative Heimarbeiter den PC gern nutzen, war auch schon bekannt: Just as the term personal computer can apply to both a home machine and an office machine (and indeed blurs the distinction between the two places) many of the first enthusiastic users of these devices have been people who do much of their work at home: doctors, lawyers, small businessmen, writers, engineers. Such people also have special needs for the networks of specialized data.

Personal bzw. Rapid Fabrication oder Manufacturing spukte ebenfalls schon durch die Gegend: Because a computerized robot is so easy to reprogram, some experts foresee drastic changes in the way manufacturing work is done: toward customization, away from assembly-line standards. When the citizen of tomorrow wants a new suit, one futurist scenario suggests, his personal computer will take his measurements and pass them on to a robot that will cut his choice of cloth with a laser beam and provide him with a perfectly tailored garment. In the home too, computer enthusiasts delight in imagining machines performing the domestic chores.

Und noch ein h�bsches Zitat: Says Atari's chief scientist, Alan Kay: "Software is getting to be embarrassing."

Diese Passage geht zudem schon in die Richtung des aktuellen "You": But the essential element in this sense of inevitability is the way in which the young take to computers: not as just another obligation imposed by adult society but as a game, a pleasure, a tool, a system that fits naturally into their lives. Unlike anyone over 40, these children have grown up witl TV screens; the computer is a screen that responds to them, hooked to a machine that can be programmed to respond the way they want it to. That is power.

Nat�rlich d�rfen auch die Warner in der Computerw�ste nicht fehlen: Weizenbaum's basic objection to the computer enthusiasts is that they have no sense of limits. Says he: "The assertion that all human knowledge is encodable in streams of zeros and ones�philosophically, that's very hard to swallow. In effect, the whole world is made to seem computable. This generates a kind of tunnel vision, where the only problems that seem legitimate are problems that can be put on a computer. There is a whole world of real problems, of human problems, which is essentially ignored." Allzuviel scheint sich also gar nicht ge�ndert zu haben.

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