Yet Another Bogus ‘Terror’ Plot

James Cromitie after his arrest on charges of plotting terror acts.
James Cromitie after his arrest on charges of plotting terror acts.

Pop goes another ‘terror plot’. Robert Dreyfuss reports: (UPDATE: Dreyfuss follows up here)

By the now, it’s maddeningly familiar. A scary terrorist plot is announced. Then it’s revealed that the suspects are a hapless bunch of ne’er-do-wells or run-of-the-mill thugs without the slightest connection to any terrorists at all, never mind to Al Qaeda. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle: the entire plot is revealed to have been cooked up by a scummy government agent-provocateur.

I’ve seen this movie before.

In this case, the alleged perps — Onta Williams, James Cromitie, David Williams, and Laguerre Payen — were losers, ex-cons, drug addicts. Al Qaeda they’re not. Without the assistance of the agent who entrapped them, they would never have dreamed of committing political violence, nor would they have had the slightest idea about where to acquire plastic explosives or a Stinger missile. That didn’t stop prosecutors from acting as if they’d captured Osama bin Laden himself. Noted the Los Angeles Times:
Continue reading “Yet Another Bogus ‘Terror’ Plot”

The Darfur Debate


This debate between Mahmood Mamdani and John Prendergast took place on April 14, 2009 at the School of International and Public Affairs and the Institute for African Studies, Columbia University. I recently finished Mamdani’s new book Saviors and Survivors, which I will be reviewing for The Electronic Intifada shortly. The book is a tour de force brimming with political, historical, and anthropological insights. I would highly recommend it to anyone with interest in the subject.

(Also see James North’s review of the debate, and this follow up post.)

Good Cop, Bad Cop

Big brother is blogging you!
Big brother is blogging you (a scene from 1984)

Considering that past winners have included the frothing-at-the-mouth zionut Mellanie Phillips, it would perhaps be more accurate to rename the Orwell Prize the Orwellian Prize. Here is Ross McKibbin on this year’s winner for the best political blog. Here is Ross McKibbin on this year’s winner for the best political blog.

The Orwell Prize committee this year introduced a new prize for political blogging. It has been won by an anonymous ‘English detective’ who calls himself ‘NightJack’. His posts are a mixture of general comment and diary accounts of apparently typical days in the lives of English policemen. They are vigorously written and sometimes perfectly reasonable. NightJack regrets that the police today are kitted out as imperial stormtroopers, he has little nostalgia for the old canteen culture, he laments the mass of paperwork that has been foisted on the police (like everyone else in the public sector) and fairly argues that if plea-bargaining is to become entrenched it ought to be formalised.

Continue reading “Good Cop, Bad Cop”

The Torture Memos

guantanmoNoam Chomsky examines the recently released torture memos and puts them in a historical context.

“Bush, of course, went beyond his predecessors in authorizing prima facie violations of international law, and several of his extremist innovations were struck down by the Courts. While Obama, like Bush, eloquently affirms our unwavering commitment to international law, he seems intent on substantially reinstating the extremist Bush measures.”

Continue reading “The Torture Memos”

BDS movement gains ground in Scotland

massacres and state terrorism in Gaza make this money unacceptable
Prominent filmmaker Ken Loach: "The massacres and state terrorism in Gaza make this money unacceptable."

The boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel continues to gain leverage every day as more  people become aware of Israel’s atrocities.   Many argue that the BDS movement must penetrate every aspect of society for it to be fully effective at encouraging people to demand that Israel halt its policies of ethnic cleansing and apartheid against Palestinians.   The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has accordingly agreed to return funds provided by the Israeli Embassy to finance the visit of Israeli filmmaker Tali Shalom-Ezer.  While Ginnie Atkinson from the EIFF continues to insist that the decision was not politically motivated, she prefaces her explanation for the move by stating that:

…we probably do not have too distant views on the fundamentals. Continue reading “BDS movement gains ground in Scotland”

Terrorism Reexamined

(New Press, 2008)

C. S. Soong is one of the best radio interviewers, erudite and articulate, and on his show Against the Grain you will always find some of the most stimulating discussions on politics, philosophy, literature and activism.

Terrorists, we are told, threaten our freedom and democracy. What does this kind of rhetoric ignore, and what kind of governmental violence does it justify? Matthew Carr calls attention to a tradition, beginning in the 19th century, of using violence against symbolic targets to achieve a political victory. He also discusses the Mau Mau in Kenya and the counterterrorism initiatives of the Reagan era.

Matthew Carr, The Infernal Machine: A History of Terrorism The New Press, 2008

Blair’s Million Dollar Israeli Peace Prize

Former British Prime Minister and Mideast mediator Tony Blair, right, Israel's President Shimon Peres, center, and Dan David, attend the $1 million Dan David Prizes in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, May 17, 2009.
Former British Prime Minister and Mideast mediator Tony Blair, right, Israel's President Shimon Peres, center, and Dan David, attend the $1 million Dan David Prizes in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, May 17, 2009.

Last Sunday Tony Blair was presented with a cheque for $1 million, the Dan David prize, at a ceremony at Tel Aviv university.  The prize was awarded for his “foresight”, “exceptional intelligence” and “steadfast determination” to end conflicts.  It gets better as the BBC report explains his entry to the competition hails him as “one of the most outstanding statesmen of our era” praising his “morally courageous leadership” over Kosovo.

Iraq is conspicuous by its absence, after all it was the beginning of a Neoconservative Likudnik plan to reshape the Middle East in Israel’s interest, killing around 1.5 million Iraqis in an illegal war of aggression.  For this act alone, Blair should be recognised as a warmonger ineligable for any kind of peace prize, however, in Israel, the more Arabs you kill, the greater a statesman peacemaker you’re considered. This is the immorality they are celebrating and they only respect Blair’s support in “ending” conflicts through the defeat and total destruction of Israel’s adversaries, such as Iraq.

Continue reading “Blair’s Million Dollar Israeli Peace Prize”

Palestinian rights deserve Anglican action

Archbishop of canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams

Ben White writes that “a obsession with even-handedness is stopping Anglicans taking a firm stand on Israel’s disregard for Palestinian rights.”

However I’d argue that the obsession with even-handedness is not a cause but an effect — an effect of paranoia induced by the Israel lobby, strongly represented in the Anglican community by Anglican Friends of Israel.

This group spread the fear that criticising Israel will damage relations with the Jewish community, even if this were so, should it stop the church’s quest for justice?  They also use ‘anti-Semitism’ (or Judeophobia) and therefore the Holocaust, to create an atmosphere of intimidation saying Anglican peace activists are “singling out” Israel (thus implying there is no good reason to criticise Israel and the reason must be anti-Jewish racism).  No individual or organisation wants to be threatened with anti-Semitism and have themselves compared to some of the worst criminals in history.

It’s sad that these tired old tricks are still accepted and work as a distraction from the real issues of colonialism, occupation, international law, basic morality and justice.

At the 14th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting, held in Jamaica earlier this month, a resolution on the Middle East was passed, criticising the Israeli occupation. An original version of the resolution was originally submitted by the Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN), but as the language was felt by some to be too “strong”, a new resolution was put forward and adopted. Continue reading “Palestinian rights deserve Anglican action”

Biden Does Beirut

From friend of PULSE and correspondent in Beirut, Franklin Lamb.

Biden IIIHeeeeeerrrre’s Joe!

It appears that the Biden visit is part of a US bid to supervise the electoral campaign of a Lebanese party, which feels threatened politically, in light of the expected outcome of the legislative vote. We call on all Lebanese, regardless of their political views, to rise up against such meddling that represents a flagrant violation of Lebanese sovereignty. Biden’s visit is part of U.S. efforts to impose its views on the government that will be set up after the elections. They are tracing red lines for the future government but we will rise up to this.
Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah, Friday morning 22 May 2009 as Joe Biden arrived in Beirut.

Let U.S. Vice President Joe Biden hear what Lebanon needs and not listen only to what the U.S. wants
Hezbollah deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem in a message to President Michel Suleiman (22 May 2009)

How not to win votes for the ‘US team’

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Beirut with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman aboard a U.S. military helicopter at 11:50 am this morning. At 12:14 pm Biden arrived at Baabda Palace and went straight to meet President Michel Suleiman ignoring media questions. Biden was greeted at Beirut’s airport by Hezbollah supporter Fawsi Salloukh, Lebanon’s Foreign Minister and one of the key back channels for US-Hezbollah communications. Biden’s Salloukh meeting is likely the extent of any dialogue between Biden and Hezbollah this trip. Biden’s first words, shouted to some journalists outside the Baabda Presidential Palace were, “I am happy to be in Libya…I mean Lebanon…this morning!”

If Biden was having a good morning, many Beirutis were not. Many woke up furious as they learned they will be on “lockdown” from 11 am to 6:30 pm for Vice President Joe Biden’s quick visit. It will be the 14th visit by a US official over the past six months to assure the people of Lebanon that the US will not interfere in the June 7 elections. In fact, US interference has now reached a near fever pitch just sixteen days before the voting.

Continue reading “Biden Does Beirut”

Obama’s Foreign Policy Failures: Diplomacy, Militarism and Imagery – James Petras

James Petras enumerates how the Obama administration’s policies constitute more continuity than change, and thus continue and compound Bush-era failures.

Hope Fading FastPresident Obama’s greatest foreign policy successes are found in the reports of the mass media. His greatest failures go unreported, but are of great consequence. A survey of the major foreign policy priorities of the White House reveals a continuous series of major setbacks, which call into question the principal objectives and methods pursued by the Obama regime.

These are in order of importance:

1) Washington’s attempt to push for a joint economic stimulus program among the 20 biggest economies at the G-20 meeting in April 2009;

2) Calls for a major military commitment from NATO to increase the number of combat troops in conflict zones in Afghanistan and Pakistan to complement the additional 21,000 US troop buildup (Financial Times April 12, 2009 p.7);

3) Plans to forge closer political and diplomatic relations among the countries of the Americas based on the pursuit of a common agenda, including the continued exclusion of Cuba and isolation of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador (La Jornada (Mex. D.F.) April 20, 2009);

4) Weakening, isolating and pressuring Iran through a mixture of diplomatic gestures and tightening economic sanctions to surrender its nuclear energy program (Financial Times, April 16/17, 2009 p. 7);

Continue reading “Obama’s Foreign Policy Failures: Diplomacy, Militarism and Imagery – James Petras”

%d bloggers like this: