Ideias antigas

Fósseis, árvores, minorias, filhos e outras coisas fora de moda

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Apenas uma relíquia do Plioceno...

segunda-feira, fevereiro 28, 2005

E mais Bob Herbert

(shit, estou compensando o abandono do blog nas últimas semanas hoje)

COLUNA DE HOJE no NYT, ainda sobre a tortura terceirizada. Alguém me perguntou se eu achava crível que um governo como o dos EUA mandasse pessoas para tomar chá de manta no exterior e deixasse que elas vivessem para contar a história. Veja o que diz o colunista:
As a nation, does the United States have a conscience? Or is anything and everything OK in post-9/11 America? If torture and the denial of due process are OK, why not murder? When the government can just make people vanish _ which it can, and which it does _ where is the line that we, as a nation, dare not cross?When I interviewed Maher Arar in Ottawa last week it seemed clear that however thoughtful his comments, I was talking with the frightened, shaky successor of a once robust and fully functioning human being. Torture does that to a person. It’s an unspeakable crime, an affront to one’s humanity that can rob you of a portion of your being as surely as acid can destroy your flesh.Arar, a Canadian citizen with a wife and two young children, had his life flipped upside down in the fall of 2002 when John Ashcroft’s Justice Department, acting at least in part on bad information supplied by the Canadian government, decided it would be a good idea to abduct Arar and ship him off to Syria, an outlaw nation that the Justice Department honchos well knew was addicted to torture.Arar was not charged with anything, and yet he was deprived not only of his liberty, but of all legal and human rights. He was handed over in shackles to the Syrian government and, to no one’s surprise, promptly brutalized. A year later he emerged, and still no charges were lodged against him. His torturers said they were unable to elicit any link between Arar and terrorism. He was sent back to Canada to face the torment of a life in ruins.Arar’s is the case we know about. How many other individuals have disappeared at the hands of the Bush administration? How many have been sent, like the victims of a lynch mob, to overseas torture centers? How many people are being held in the CIA’s highly secret offshore prisons? Who are they and how are they being treated? Have any been wrongly accused? If so, what recourse do they have?President Bush spent much of last week lecturing other nations about freedom, democracy and the rule of law. It was a breathtaking display of chutzpah. He seemed to me like a judge who starves his children and then sits on the bench to hear child abuse cases. In Brussels, Belgium, Bush said he planned to remind Russian President Vladimir Putin that democracies are based on, among other things, ‘‘the rule of law and the respect for human rights and human dignity.’’Someone should tell that to Maher Arar and his family.Arar was the victim of an American policy that is known as extraordinary rendition. That’s a euphemism. What it means is that the United States seizes individuals, presumably terror suspects, and sends them off without even a nod in the direction of due process to countries known to practice torture.A Massachusetts congressman, Edward Markey, has taken the eminently sensible step of introducing legislation that would ban this utterly reprehensible practice. In a speech on the floor of the House, Markey, a Democrat, said, ‘‘Torture is morally repugnant whether we do it or whether we ask another country to do it for us. It is morally wrong whether it is captured on film or whether it goes on behind closed doors unannounced to the American people.’’Unfortunately, the outlook for this legislation is not good. I asked Pete Jeffries, the communications director for House Speaker Dennis Hastert, if the speaker supported Markey’s bill. After checking with the policy experts in his office, Jeffries called back and said: ‘‘The speaker does not support the Markey proposal. He believes that suspected terrorists should be sent back to their home countries.’’Surprised, I asked why suspected terrorists should be sent anywhere. Why shouldn’t they be held by the United States and prosecuted?‘‘Because,’’ said Jeffries, ‘‘U.S. taxpayers should not necessarily be on the hook for their judicial and incarceration costs.’’It was, perhaps, the most preposterous response to any question I’ve ever asked as a journalist. It was not by any means an accurate reflection of Bush administration policy. All it indicated was that the speaker’s office does not understand this issue, and has not even bothered to take it seriously.More important, it means that torture by proxy, close kin to contract murder, remains all right. Markey’s bill is going nowhere. Extraordinary rendition lives.

E por falar em dinossauros...

A REDE NACIONAL de pesquisas em paleontologia, formada por pessoas a fim de dar uma mamada nos peitões da Viúva e empurrada aos paleontólogos brasileiros así no más, sem consulta prévia, ameaça desandar. Os cientistas, que não são burros nem nada, demandaram uma revisão da rede ao MCT. Well, a tal revisão não saiu. Aposto meus artelhos como não vai funcionar.

O que é isso, hermanito?

JÁ DIZIA o bom e velho (mais bom do que velho) Max Langer: pra publicar alguma coisa na Nature, tu tem que pegar latão e fazê-lo brilhar como ouro. É assim que soa a descoberta do raptor argentino, anunciada na revista britânica por Fernando Novas. Seria o "primeiro raptor do Hemisfério Sul" (!) O que é evidentemente uma culhuda da grossa. Dentes desses bichos têm aparecido a torto e a direito em toda a Amériica do Sul, e os animais já haviam até sido identificados "a nível de" sub-família. Troodontidae, dromaeosauridae e velociraptoridae estiveram em São Paulo no Cretáceo. Na própria Argentina já havia sido desenterrado um tal Megaraptor, cuja garra assassina é bem maior que minhas duas mãos abertas.

quinta-feira, fevereiro 24, 2005


OS ESTADOS UNIDOS DA AMÉRICA são realmente um país singular. A la vez, pressionam todo o mundo, com dinheiro ou com armas, para abrir seu mercado às empresas americanas e à livre concorrência, ao Mercado (em caixa alta) etc. Mas aí você chega lá e descobre, entre outras coisas:
- Que só existe uma marca de leite (Garelick);
- E uma só de manteiga (Four Lands);
- Só uma empresa de ônibus (Greyhound e suas filhotes);
- Pra não falar na Microsoft...

domingo, fevereiro 13, 2005

É a economia, estúpido!

AS MORTES da freira americana Dorothy Stang, de bala, no Pará, e das duas crianças kaiowás,de fome, em Mato Grosso do Sul, têm a mesma causa-raiz. Quem matou uma e outras foi o agronegócio. A elite rural consolidada hoje em Mato Grosso do Sul, que concentra renda, exporta carne e deixa morrerem índios foi, a seu tempo, o que é a pressão por ocupação de terras públicas no Pará hoje: uma turba de grileiros, bandidos e assassinos. A seu tempo, os fazendeiros de Dourados derrubaram a mata e meteram chumbo em quem estivesse em seu caminho. Os índios que sobraram do "sélviço" já não oferecem perigo. São sobras, mesmo, ou sombras, destinadas a morrer de fome um pouco por dia.
Os grileiros mauzões de hoje no Pará serão os ganadeiros e sojeiros ilustres e beneméritos de amanhã, que levantam a "pujança do agronegócio", nas palavras de Arnaldo Jabor e de outros deslumbrados imbecis da grande imprensa. E assim se faz a balança comercial de um país que, 500 anos depois, continua agrícola e monocultor.

sexta-feira, fevereiro 11, 2005

Terceirizando a tortura

REPRODUZO coluna de Bob Herbert no NYT de hoje.
Assustador, mas real.

Maher Arar is a 34-year-old native of Syria who emigrated to Canada as a teenager. On Sept. 26, 2002, as he was returning from a family vacation in Tunisia, he was seized by American authorities at Kennedy Airport in New York, where he was in the process of changing planes.Arar, a Canadian citizen, was not charged with a crime. But, as Jane Mayer tells us in a compelling and deeply disturbing article in the current issue of The New Yorker, he ‘‘was placed in handcuffs and leg irons by plainclothes officials and transferred to an executive jet.’’In an instant, Arar was swept into an increasingly common nightmare, courtesy of the United States of America. The plane that took off with him from Kennedy ‘‘flew to Washington, continued to Portland, Maine, stopped in Rome, Italy, then landed in Amman, Jordan.’’Any rights Arar might have thought he had, either as a Canadian citizen or a human being, had been left behind. At times during the trip, Arar heard the pilots and crew identify themselves in radio communications as members of ‘‘the Special Removal Unit.’’ He was being taken, on the orders of the U.S. government, to Syria, where he would be tortured.The title of Mayer’s article is ‘‘Outsourcing Torture.’’ It’s a detailed account of the frightening and extremely secretive U.S. program known as ‘‘extraordinary rendition.’’This is one of the great euphemisms of our time. Extraordinary rendition is the name that’s been given to the policy of seizing individuals without even the semblance of due process and sending them off to be interrogated by regimes known to practice torture. In terms of bad behavior, it stands side by side with contract killings.Our henchmen in places like Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Uzbekistan and Jordan are torturing terror suspects at the behest of a nation _ the United States _ that just went through a national election in which the issue of moral values was supposed to have been decisive. How in the world did we become a country in which gays’ getting married is considered an abomination, but torture is OK?As Mayer pointed out: ‘‘Terrorism suspects in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East have often been abducted by hooded or masked American agents, then forced onto a Gulfstream V jet, like the one described by Arar. Upon arriving in foreign countries, rendered suspects often vanish. Detainees are not provided with lawyers, and many families are not informed of there whereabouts.’’Arar was seized because his name had turned up on a watch list of terror suspects. He was reported to have been a co-worker of a man in Canada whose brother was a suspected terrorist.‘‘Although he initially tried to assert his innocence, he eventually confessed to anything his tormentors wanted him to say,’’ Mayer wrote.The confession under torture was worthless. Syrian officials reported back to the United States that they could find no links between Arar and terrorism. He was released in October 2003 without ever being charged and is now back in Canada.Barbara Olshansky is the assistant legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is representing Arar in a lawsuit against the U.S. I asked her to describe Arar’s physical and emotional state following his release from custody.She sounded shaken by the memory. ‘‘He’s not a big guy,’’ she said. ‘‘He had lost more than 40 pounds. His pallor was terrible, and his eyes were sunken. He looked like someone who was kind of dead inside.’’Any government that commits, condones, promotes or fosters torture is a malignant force in the world. And those who refuse to raise their voices against something as clearly evil as torture are enablers, if not collaborators.There is a widespread but mistaken notion in the U.S. that everybody seized by the government in its so-called war on terror is in fact somehow connected to terrorist activity. That is just wildly wrong.Tony Blair knows a little about that sort of thing. Just twodays ago (Feb. 9) the British prime minister formally apologized to 11 people who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for bombings in England by the Irish Republican Army three decades ago.Jettisoning the rule of law to permit such acts of evil as kidnapping and torture is not a defensible policy for a civilized nation. It’s wrong. And nothing good can come from it.

quinta-feira, fevereiro 10, 2005

Ñanderu cuê. Avá cuê.

DEUS JÁ ERA. O homem já era. Numa tradução livre do guarani, é assim que eu classificaria os novos desdobramentos da tragédia dos kaiowá e ñandeva da região de Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul, que foram primeiro abatidos, depois confinados e finalmente desapropriados (de sua fé, de seus símbolos, de seu milho e de suas festas) em reservas que estão entre o sojal e a favela. Agora, cunumîs morrem de desnutrição. No meu tempo, era só enforcamento -- veja como as coisas progridem. Morrem os que ficam na reserva, porque muitos vão para a cidade pedir esmola.
Estive duas vezes na região de Dourados no distante ano de 1997. A situação já era de chorar na época. Os guaranis sempre preferiram a reza ao choro. Ñandejara resolveria.
Só que Ñandejara, se entrou nessa história, foi ao lado da oligarquia rural do gado e da soja, dos herdeiros da Cia Mate Laranjeiras e toda a bandidalha latifundiária à qual pertence o tal Zeca "do PT", em nada diferente de outros governadores da direita ruralista etnocida sul-matogrossense.
Como sabiamente registrou Nimuendajú, "Pei jiroquy, ivaíta ma yvy". Vamos dançar, porque o mundo vai piorar.

sexta-feira, fevereiro 04, 2005

Adeus, Ernst

PARA MIM Mayr morreu em setembro do ano passado, quando teve diagnosticado câncer em estado terminal. Hoje de manhã, ele empacotou oficialmente (queria saber como seu espírito germânico reagiria à palavra "empacotou"). Teve 80 anos de uma carreira produtiva. Revolucionou (ele também certamente detestaria essa palavra, que evitava aplicar até a Darwin) a biologia e trabalhou até o último segundo. Queria poder terminar assim também.

Deixo a quem interessar o link para uma entrevista legal que uns chapas meus fizeram com o véio no ano passado.

quinta-feira, fevereiro 03, 2005


PROPONHO que seja instituído o Prêmio Torquemada de Obscurantismo. O premiado de honra deste ano, claro, é o Presidente Bush.

terça-feira, fevereiro 01, 2005

Noble request

IVAN NOBLE morreu hoje, aos 37 anos, de câncer no cérebro.

É uma boa data para as pessoas pararem de fumar imediatamente.