The Day of Bahr Moussa

April 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

UK’s retreat from Basra is ‘A historic day for Iraq – but not in the way the British want to believe,’ writes Robert Fisk.

One hundred and seventy-nine dead soldiers. For what? 179,000 dead Iraqis? Or is the real figure closer to a million? We don’t know. And we don’t care. We never cared about the Iraqis. That’s why we don’t know the figure. That’s why we left Basra yesterday.

I remember going to the famous Basra air base to ask how a poor Iraqi boy, a hotel receptionist called Bahr Moussa, had died. He was kicked to death in British military custody. His father was an Iraqi policeman. I talked to him in the company of a young Muslim woman. The British public relations man at the airport was laughing. “I don’t believe this,” my Muslim companion said. “He doesn’t care.” She did. So did I. I had reported from Northern Ireland. I had heard this laughter before. Which is why yesterday’s departure should have been called the Day of Bahr Moussa. Yesterday, his country was set free from his murderer. At last.

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The Obama-Netanyahu Showdown

April 30, 2009 § 2 Comments

Robert Dreyfuss is one of the best analysts of the forces shaping US foreign policy. Had more people been reading him in the lead up to the Iraq war, it is likely that they could have acted more effectively to prevent the war. While some like Noam Chomsky would have you believe that there is a unified ‘elite’ which makes unanimous decisions, the reality is far more complicated and far less hopeless. There are forces within the establishment who are deeply wary of the neoconservative worldview, and while 9/11 had put them in a disadvantaged position, now they are silent no more. Here Dreyfuss reports on the stern advice Obama received from one of the leading lights of the Realist camp.

President Obama got some strongly worded advice yesterday on how to deal with Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, who’ll be making his first visit to the United States as Israel’s new leader in mid-May. The Obama-Netanyahu meeting promises to be a showdown.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the veteran strategist and hardliner — who was Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser — told a conference yesterday that in the history of US peacemaking in the Middle East, the United States has never once spelled out its own vision for what a two-state solution would look like. That, said Brzezinski, is exactly what President Obama needs to do. And fast.

Brzezinski was speaking at a conference on US-Saudi relations sponsored by the New America Foundation and Saudi Arabia’s Committee on International Trade. Brzezinski, who advised Obama early in the presidential campaign, was exiled from Obamaland after his less-than-devout support for Israel made him a liability.

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Eric Margolis on Pakistan and Afghanistan

April 29, 2009 § 1 Comment

Eric Margolis is one of the world’s leading experts on Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is particularly insightful in this interview with Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio.

Eric Margolis, author of American Raj: Liberation or Domination, discusses the causes of instability in Pakistan, the unrealistic expectations the U.S. places on its puppet governments, the Taliban’s inability to fill the Pakistan power vacuum and why the U.S. can’t resist the lure of imperialism.

MP3 here. (23:59)

Eric Margolis is a regular columnist with the Quebecor Media Company and a contributor to The Huffington Post. He is the author of War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir and Tibet.

Sheikhs, lives and videotape

April 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

‘A member of the UAE royal family is accused of torture – but is there any chance of justice when the country’s rulers are the law?’ asks Brian Whitaker.

The atrocities of Abu Ghraib caused much rightful indignation – and nowhere more so than in Arab countries where the sadistic torture of prisoners at the hands of their American jailers was viewed as symbolising the rape of Iraq by a foreign power.

I remember discussing this at the time with Hisham Kassem, a newspaper editor in Cairo who – contrary to the prevailing Arab view – described the coverage of Abu Ghraib by the Egyptian press as “shameless”.

“They talk about American monstrosities as if their own governments have never practised anything similar,” he said. “It’s nothing in comparison to what’s happening in Arab prisons.”

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Dr. Mads Gilbert: A Physician in Gaza

April 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

Dr. Mads Gilbert has worked and practiced medicine in Gaza for more than thirty years. One of the few western observers on the ground during Israel’s January bombardment, Gilbert’s testimony during the offensive was a critical source of information. On January 3, after an Israeli strike on a Gaza vegetable market, Gilbert sent a text message to his Norwegian and International contacts:

‘From doctor Mads Gilbert in Gaza: Thanks for your support. They bombed the central vegetable market in Gaza city two hours ago. 80 injured, 20 killed. All came here to Shifa. Hades! We wade in death, blood and amputees. Many children. Pregnant woman. I have never experienced anything this horrible. Now we hear tanks. Tell it, pass it on, shout it. Anything. DO SOMETHING! DO MORE! We’re living in the history books now, all of us!’

Laura Flanders spoke with Gilbert recently as he embarked on a speaking tour in the United States.

Farewell, the American Century

April 28, 2009 § 1 Comment

Andrew J. Bacevich Rewriting the Past by Adding In What’s Been Left Out. (via TomDispatch)

In a recent column, the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen wrote, “What Henry Luce called ‘the American Century’ is over.” Cohen is right. All that remains is to drive a stake through the heart of Luce’s pernicious creation, lest it come back to life. This promises to take some doing.

When the Time-Life publisher coined his famous phrase, his intent was to prod his fellow citizens into action. Appearing in the February 7, 1941 issue of Life, his essay, “The American Century,” hit the newsstands at a moment when the world was in the throes of a vast crisis. A war in Europe had gone disastrously awry. A second almost equally dangerous conflict was unfolding in the Far East. Aggressors were on the march.

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Financial Barbarians at the Gate

April 28, 2009 § Leave a comment

hudson02

The Financial Barbarians at the Gate is a Guns and Butter interview with economist / historian Michael Hudson.  In it he discusses the historical takeover of the economy by the finance sector.

Financial Barbarians at the Gate (59:53): MP3

One point of note is that the illegal war of aggression in Iraq is not a war related to economics but to the strategic interests of Israel.  Hudson, explaining American Imperialism, states that “unlike England the United States didn’t have to invade countries, at least before the oil grab in Iraq” and instead drained countries through the US monetary system.  It’s revealing that he suggests Iraq as a change in economic policy, it was not about economics, the oil lobby in Washington didn’t want a war, they wanted an end to brutal sanctions to gain conventional access to the oil.

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