September 12, 2003

September 11th.

I spent the evening of September 11th. at La Peņa in Berkeley California. September 11th. 1973 was the date of the US backed coup which general Pinochet's troops killed Chile's elected president Salvador Allende in the national parliament building. Many of the early members of La Peņa were Chilean emigre's fleeing Pinochet and arriving into the belly of the Beast. It was a refreshing evening.

Along with excellent Chilean music there were political speeches of great interest. Michael Parenti gave a speech on activism in the United States which advocating radical action on the streets. Parenti also gave specifics on coverage of the Chilean coup in the New York Times both then and now. He debunked claims of looming economic disaster being touted as cause for the coup d'etat in 1973. In fact Chile had the second highest growth rate in South America at the time even as President Nixon's sanctions tightened the noose designed to make the Chilean economy 'scream' .

The other political speaker of the night was a mural artist and poet Francisco Letelier. based in another bastion of the left wing left Venice Beach, Francisco has a lot to be angry about but he sublimates this energy in political and artistic expression. Francisco is the son of Orlando Letelier appointed Chilean ambassador to the United States by Allende in '71. After the coup US-based assassins exploded a bomb under his car in Washington D.C's embassy district. The state sponsored terrorists were on CIA payroll but it was Pinochet who really wanted to silence his exiled voice of dissent. Turns out that the FBI interviewed the family about Orlando's death in the house next door. It seems the FBI were keeping an eye on letelier at the time. Instead of trying to find Orlando's killer the FBI focussed on their own enquiries which seemed to accuse Orlando and his passengers of wanting to plant a bomb themselves. a convenient ruse.

Posted by Tony Phillips at 10:01 AM | Comments (1)

September 04, 2003

Iraqi cell coverage; a farce in four parts

cell-er.jpg

Tenders for Iraqi mobile phone services are "... potentially among the most lucrative contracts to be offered in post war Iraq." A special clause is added to the tender banning bids from companies with govt. ownership in excess of 10%. How's that for neo-liberalism?

Cell service in Iraq is live but for US personnel only. It's provider Worldcom (now MCI) is since banned from further US govt. contracts. Mr. Ebbers, Worldcom's ex-CEO yesterday pleaded not guilty to charges related to the $11Bn. scandal.

Batelco spent $5M launching a public cell service in July. It worked, briefly. Plans to offer free phones to police, fire and emergency crews in Baghdad were shelved when the US instructed Batelco that a "license" was required. When Batelco applied for a license they were told to stop the service. Batelco's shareholders include the Government of Bahrain.

The US has not ruled out offering non-GSM services. If competing Qualcomm CDMA technology were offered that would make Iraqi's unable to call into neighboring countries :(

Sources:
Financial Times print edition Thursday September 4th.
Reuters
Local Story

Posted by Tony Phillips at 12:02 PM | Comments (1)

September 03, 2003

One Small Victory

Finally yesterday having driven the new vehicle to central California and back to pick up parts I decided to go for it and try to smog the new engine. The California smog (or emissions) controls are the most stringent in the US which is possibly the most stringent anywhere and this was the first time I had ever had to smog a car as 60's cars are exempt from such controls. Anyway I passed first time even though I'm still not happy with the tune-up myself. This was a small victory but it made me happy. Plenty more still to do but something more done. Keep an eye out for these plates !

Posted by Tony Phillips at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)