April 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
War is hell, war is pain and sorrow–unless of course it’s a Just War which is noble, heroic, every true Christian’s blessed jihad, and if you can swing it, fully authorized by the UN Security Council. Even if Just Wars both ancient (say, the Albigensian crusade) and modern (the starvation of thousands of Iraqis by UN Security Council-authorized sanctions) have been unspeakably nasty, Just Wars are still at least Just, so what’s not to like?
There are two ways to make your war a Just War, with all the fringe benefits. Please read carefully.
First, convince the world that the war is just by invoking the UN Charter and getting Security Council authorization. The law involved is less straightforward than the Scholastic neo-Aristotelianism that used to justify Just Wars, so you’ll be wanting to hire some lawyers. Less intelligent presidents will put angry anti-diplomats like John Bolton on the task, but cannier ones will hire smoother jurists like Harold Koh and Samantha Power to make the case in the dulcet tones of humanitarian NGOese. This is the preferred way of making a war Just nowadays, most likely a matter of supply and demand, as there’s no shortage of secular casuists graduating from the top law schools, and the US Department of Defense has 15,000 lawyers on hand.
The second way to make your war a Just War is to get the Pope to declare it so, or at least not denounce it as an unjust war. This may sound self-consciously retro, but new WikiLeaks disclosures reveal that it has never truly gone out of style. The story « Read the rest of this entry »
April 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
In this TomDispatch.com interview Civil rights attorney and PULSE contributor Chase Madar outlines the case against––and the defense on behalf of––the soldier who allegedly provided the documents for the latest WikiLeaks release as well as the now infamous “Collateral Murder” video, Private First Class Bradley Manning. Also, don’t miss Chase’s brilliant piece on Bradley Manning.
Omar Barghouti, founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, speaks at Brandeis University
April 14, 2011 § 2 Comments
WALTHAM, MA- Today (Wednesday) Omar Barghouti, one of the leading founders of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, presented at Brandeis his new book BDS: Boycott Divestment and Sanction: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights. The event was hosted by Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine (BSJP) and Haymarket Books.
April 6, 2011 § 1 Comment
Reposted from the Coalition of Women for Peace website in response to Goldstone’s “reconsiderations” of the UN fact finding mission of the bloody incursion into Gaza.
Dear Justice Richard Goldstone,
The recent escalation in the Israeli army incursions into the Gaza strip is of grave concern to us at the Coalition of Women for Peace. The prospect of yet another flare out of large scale violence against civilians is alarming. Your recent comments on the Goldstone report are already interpreted by Israeli officials and the mainstream media channels as complete and full absolution of Israel’s military conduct in its entirety. Yet, the conclusions drawn from your statement with respect to Israel’s conduct during the Cast Lead military campaign and especially its aftermath are not backed by any new facts or findings. This seriously undermines the international, Israeli and Palestinian civil society struggle for accountability and against impunity from grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law.
March 29, 2011 § 4 Comments
Yesterday Antiwar.com published Grant F. Smith’s book review “Neoconomics: Conscription and War as Wealth” discussing Dan Senor and Saul Singer’s 2009 book Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle.
A 19 minute radio interview is available today.
2:19 Israeli conscription and societal cohesion
2:43 Bomb releases to electric car batteries
3:13 Ben-Gurion and Shimon Peres as entrepreneurs
4:21 An international entitlement: preferential US market access
5:55 Are US entrepreneurs battle tested?
6:36 Start-up Nation’s exclusive focus on supply-side
7:20 US consumer market buys 40% of total Israeli exports
7:39 $10 billion in yearly trade surplus as aid to Israel
« Read the rest of this entry »
March 12, 2011 § 1 Comment
As Muammar Gaddafi strikes to crush rebel forces in Libya, Empire looks at the case for and against intervention.
February 18, 2011 § 3 Comments
For the past seven months, US Army Private First Class Manning has been held in solitary confinement in the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia. Twenty-five thousand other Americans are also in prolonged solitary confinement, but the conditions of Manning’s pre-trial detention have been sufficiently brutal for the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Torture to announce an investigation.
Pfc. Manning is alleged to have obtained documents, both classified and unclassified, from the Department of Defense and the State Department via the Internet and provided them to WikiLeaks. (That “alleged” is important because the federal informant who fingered Manning, Adrian Lamo, is a felon convicted of computer-hacking crimes. He was also involuntarily committed to a psychiatric institution in the month before he levelled his accusation. All of this makes him a less than reliable witness.) At any rate, the records allegedly downloaded by Manning revealed clear instances of war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, widespread torture committed by the Iraqi authorities with the full knowledge of the U.S. military, previously unknown estimates of the number of Iraqi civilians killed at U.S. military checkpoints, and the massive Iraqi civilian death toll caused by the American invasion.
For bringing to light this critical but long-suppressed information, Pfc. Manning has been treated not as a whistleblower, but as a criminal and a spy. He is charged with violating not only Army regulations but also the Espionage Act of 1917, making him the fifth American to be charged under the act for leaking classified documents to the media. A court-martial will likely be convened in the spring or summer.
February 17, 2011 § 7 Comments
by Huma Dar
On Thursday, 27th of January, 2011, while the world was busy watching — or ignoring, as the case might be — the inspiring Egyptian Revolution, in broad daylight, in a very busy part of Lahore (Pakistan), in front of hundreds of eye-witnesses, American contractor, Raymond Davis, murders two or by some accounts even three people: Muhammad Faheem (aka Faheem Shamshad?) (age 26), Faizan Haider (age 22), and Ibad-ur-Rehman. Davis shoots the former two, who had allegedly threatened to rob him, from within his locked car, with seven bullets — each bullet expertly and fatally finding its mark. The windshield shows the piercing trajectory of the fatal bullets, but otherwise remains miraculously unshattered. Davis, then, emerges calmly from his well-equipped car (see descriptions below), shoots Faizan from the back while Faizan was running away (how “dangerous” is that?! does the excuse of “self-defence” hold when one of the victims was running away?), takes photographs and videos of both his victims with his cellphone, gets back into his car, and drives off unruffled, to flee the scene. Faizan Haider was still alive — he expired later in the hospital. What an act of “responsibility” from a “diplomat” of the self-ascribed global policeman!
February 1, 2011 § 1 Comment
Dear Macy Gray,
I’ve publicly declared that I won’t give up on you and I intend to keep to my resolution. You keep on asking how not playing in Israel will help the situation. You seem to believe that you are nothing but a 4 minute escape for people (the majority of which, as I explained in my last letter, are soldiers). I believe in each of our endless ability to change the reality around us. But in order to do so, we need to see the reality for what it is. This is what my letters to you are about. This is what the 20 Days to Macy Gray Facebook Project is about. It’s an opportunity for people to empower each other. I hope you’ll allow us to bring back your faith in yourself, that your voice matters, and that you can change this harsh world for the better, for the long run, and not only for the 4 minute duration of a song.
January 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
by Farid Farid
One of Australia’s most acclaimed authors, Tim Winton, has re-released Land’s Edge: A Coastal Memoir. Through a series of autobiographical reflections, Winton describes how Australia is a littoral society always on “the edge of things” – floods, bushfires, riots etc… Winton talks about the sensuality of water being central to the Australian imaginary. Through his prose about surfing and sharks, readers can also envision human cargo packed on a floating boat teetering between life and death.
It is perhaps then fitting that this was underscored a couple of days ago by the enthusiastic reception by foreign minister Kevin Rudd and defence minister Stephen Smith of their British counterparts William Hague and Liam Fox at the HMAS Watson on a naval base in Sydney harbour. In an ironic scene on the water, the Australian government’s foreign image untarnished by floods or asylum seekers was tactfully kept and strategic interests were shared between “cousins on opposite sides of the world” according to Hague and Fox.
Hague & Fox in their joint opinion piece for the Sydney Morning Herald opt for a turgid title that spells out their foreign policy objectives — ‘Stronger alliance required to meet modern challenges’. They probably had Wikileaks in mind as one of these trans-national challenges with both countries agreeing to tighten intelligence cooperation against cyber crimes.