Criminal and Accomplice

I didn’t watch Blair’s performance at the Chilcot inquiry, for health reasons, but I did read that he mentioned Iran 30 times, as in ‘the same good case for war applies to Iran’. This comes in the context of America concentrating ships and missiles in the Gulf. It is unlikely that the US will attack Iran directly, but increasingly likely that Israel will provoke a conflict. Blair may be preparing the ground for this.

Blair felt ‘responsibility but no regret’ over the destruction of Iraq which has killed over a million, created at least four million refugees, and turned a fertile land into a diseased desert. He focused on Saddam Hussain’s monstrosity, but refrained from explaining how Saddam’s most monstrous crimes were supported by his Western backers. He was allowed to refrain. He didn’t entertain the possibility that Hussain could have been deposed in other ways. He blamed Iran and al-Qa’ida, neither of which had a presence in the country before its collapse, for Iraq’s problems, and again his illogic was not questioned.

Continue reading “Criminal and Accomplice”

The BDS Movement Wishes to Thank the Following Zionists

There are many people, from many different countries busting their ass in order to move the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement forward. These people are human rights activists, concerned citizens, people of conscious.

Sometimes, however, the propellers of the BDS movement are not what you’d expect. They are hard-core fascist, self-righteous Zionists, so unable to see beyond their own ideology that they actually hurt themselves. I’d like to take a moment to thank them all.

The BDS Movement Wishes to Thank the Israeli Mainstream Media

In the past 3 months, the Israeli media went from irresponsibly ignoring the BDS movement, to at least 6 articles a day, among the online media, focusing on the fear of Israel’s deteriorating image, in the world. Though articles about actual news (like the Dexia Bank disinvestment) are missing from the mainstream media, we can witness the fear and loathing in the Zionist state, all over the main three media outlets:

Left warns of global boycott over Ariel U. [Yediot Acharonot/Ynet]

World isn’t buying Israel’s explanations anymore [Ha’aretz]

[Israel’s] image is at an all time low. International pressure is mounting, and the calls for ostracism and boycotts are multiplying. All this was fueled by the Goldstone report, which was in itself fueled by Israeli sources. The funding for these sources is provided by, amongst others, the NIF. The question is whether the New Israeli Fund is indeed for Israel… Israel is bleeding, IDF officers are closed up in the Kiriya, leaders are canceling visitations abroad, Israeli produce is taken of the shelves and this is just the beginning. [Ma’ariv/nrg, limited by my translation]

Continue reading “The BDS Movement Wishes to Thank the Following Zionists”

Decency and Strength

by Kathy Kelly

A fire hazard mars natural beauty at Fort Carson

Here in Colorado Springs, student and community organizers recently invited me to try and help promote their campaign against a proposed “No Camping” ordinance, a law to ban the homeless from sleeping on sidewalks or public lands within the city limits.  The organizers insist it’s wrongful to criminalize the most desperate and endangered among us, that it instead seems quite criminal to persecute people already in need of far more care and compassion than we’ve been willing to offer, especially during these bitterly cold winter months.  But others in the area are intent on eliminating the tent encampments near the Monument Creek and Shooks Run trails, complaining that the encampments mar natural beauty, deter tourists, create fire hazards, and degrade the environment by strewing heaps of trash and debris near the creek and even in it.

It seems important for both sides of the argument to acknowledge other local encampments that Colorado Springs is home to: Fort Carson Army base, both Peterson and Schriever (formerly Falcon) Air Force Bases, Norad and Cheyenne Air Force Stations, and the U.S. Air Force Academy.  It’s not lost on opponents of the “No Camping” ordinance that stop-loss policies prevent many of the young men and women at these institutions from returning to their homes, where many of them long to be after repeated tours of military duty outside the United States.  For every soldier intent on strengthening his or her country’s military option, how many more are taking a last-ditch option, signing up for the famed “poverty draft,” to sustain themselves and their families through an economic crisis felt throughout the country and the world?   Many, though not all, of these young people have been driven by poverty into their encampments as surely as the Monument Creek campers have been driven into theirs.

Continue reading “Decency and Strength”

The Olympics and the politics of the spectacle

What won't the cameras be showing us?

The Olympics are more than just a game. I don’t mean that in the sense that they are a serious competition for national pride for which the word “game” does not do justice. Rather, considering the billions of dollars in corporate sponsorships, the equally substantial sums of public money pumped into the host city, and the occasional political sideshow, the quadrennial athletic exhibition is about far more than points scored and records broken. But I wish the Olympics were merely a matter of national pride. I’m an American so losing at curling is the least of my indignities.

Never the less, I am left wondering what these spectacles mean in the twenty-first century. If anything, the impending World Cup and Winter Olympics serve as an intriguing allegory for global capitalism itself. Writing for, Andrew Wallace remarked on what the Olympics mean for Vancouver activists:

“…the real legacy of the Games won’t be the revamped Sea-to-Sky Highway or new sports infrastructure in Richmond. And it certainly won’t be the 250 units of social housing the city has promised from the freshly constructed athletes village. The real legacy will be debt. Crippling public debt. According to 2010 Watch’s Christopher Shaw, the Olympics are quickly shaping up to be Vancouver’s very own ‘Big Owe.’

“And that debt could put more pressure on existing grassroots groups, especially when funds are cut and the world’s eyes aren’t on Vancouver. Sport can be a powerful platform for awareness—but it also comes with a short attention span. It’ll be difficult for the organizations that have been so vocal in the run up to the Games to maintain the force of their voice once the Olympic spotlight has moved on,”

Continue reading “The Olympics and the politics of the spectacle”

David Sanger: NYT reporter with son in IDF not an issue

David Sanger lays to rest concerns about reporter-Israeli Defense Force link.

The Electronic Intifadah, Tikun Olam, Mondoweiss, and FAIR have all been probing whether NY Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner’s son enlisted in the Israeli Defense Forces.  The implications of such a tie for an ostensibly credible reporter are huge.  But to date, Bronner and the newspaper have been somewhat evasive when asked for confirmation and how this might be a conflict of interest.

Susan Chira, the foreign editor of The New York Times replied to The Electronic Intifada that “Ethan Bronner referred your query to me, the foreign editor. Here is my comment: Mr. Bronner’s son is a young adult who makes his own decisions. At The Times, we have found Mr. Bronner’s coverage to be scrupulously fair and we are confident that will continue to be the case.”

FAIR, If Americans Knew and other media watchdogs have frequently taken issue with that grand postulate.  What do fellow Times reporters think?  Today on a public radio program I asked NYT chief Washington correspondent David Sanger how the newspaper could maintain credibility on the Middle East (mp3) when it didn’t address these types of conflicts of interest.  Sanger seemed to confirm the IDF report, but awkwardly repeated the emerging company line that it wasn’t a problem—at least not for the “AfPak” sector he was pontificating about.  “The last time I looked in Pakistan and Afghanistan, I have not seen the Israeli military as a significant operating source there.  So if we have a New York Times reporter with a son in the IDF, and I think I know who that reporter is, ah and there’s no reason that the reporter’s son should be limited in what he does by what his father may…profession is, I’m not sure it has anything to do with our reporting on Afghanistan or Pakistan.”  Indeed.

Continue reading “David Sanger: NYT reporter with son in IDF not an issue”

Open-Mindedness on Independence Day

The following piece is one of the twelve essays in Steven Salaita’s latest book, The Uncultured Wars:  Arabs, Muslims, and the Poverty of Liberal Thought.  To find more of his work, visit his facebook page here.  To purchase The Uncultured Wars, please go here or here.

Of course, not all African Americans are lazy.  Of course, not all Indians are alcoholics.  Of course, not all Jews are stingy.  Of course, not all Russians are whores.  Of course, not all Mexicans are dirty.  Of course, not all Pakistanis smell.  Of course, not all Africans are bestial.  Of course, not all Eskimos use 250 words for snow.

Friedman: Sage of the Elite

Of course, not all Asians are craven.  Of course, not all Americans are ignorant.  Of course, not all Japanese are kamikazes.  Of course, not all Indians are stoic.  Of course, not all African Americans are criminal.  Of course, not all Arabs are angry.  Of course, not all Maoris are premodern.  Of course, not all Hawaiians are hula dancers.  Of course, not all Aborigines are backward.  Of course, not all Thai are gamblers.  Of course, not all women are too emotional.

Of course, not all Mexicans are laborers.  Of course, not all South Asians are swindlers.  Of course, not all Appalachians are backwoods rapists.  Of course, not all poor folk are tasteless.  Of course, not all women are mentally inferior.  Of course, not all Poles are stupid.  Of course, not all Italians are Mafiosi.  Of course, not all Spaniards are sleazy.  Of course, not all Afghans are filthy.  Of course, not all Hispanics are greasy.  Of course, not all homosexuals are child molesters.  Of course, not all Africans are nude and pagan.  Of course, not all Sri Lankans deserve it.

“Of course, not all Muslims are terrorists”—Thomas Friedman, New York Times, July 4, 2007.

A visit from Oz

Along with a Youtube video [see below], the following short report appeared on the Ha’aretz website today:

Israel’s new immigration police has joined security forces in cracking down on foreign activists residing in the Palestinian West Bank, Haaretz has learned.

The Oz Unit participated last week in the attempted arrest of a number of activists in the West Bank town of Bil’in, and also in the raid that nabbed leading Palestinian militants Mohammed Hatib that same night. Two weeks ago, the unit took part in the arrest of a Czech activist in Ramallah…

An Israel Defense Forces officer can be seen ordering the activists to obey the unit’s instructions, explaining that immigration officials have every right to make such requests. The same officer then urges the immigration official to search for some default or problem in the detainee’s documents,

The IDF soldiers can later been seen forcefully detaining a few of the activists. When asked why the arrest was being carried out, the soldier said that the immigration official would explain everything.

So for some background on the ‘Oz’ unit, here are some links:

Established by a 2008 cabinet decision, the task force, which goes by the Hebrew name “Oz” (courage), is the enforcement body of the Population Authority that comes under the aegis of the Interior Ministry, and replaced the immigration police. The unit has 200 inspectors, who have policing powers only with regard to foreigners.

Continue reading “A visit from Oz”

The Only Democracy in the Middle East: 29.1.2010

The Day’s Demonstrations

The Bil’in weekly demonstration brutally suppressed by soldier’s infiltration into the village, for the the third week in a row. Youth and children fight back to save their land:

Continue reading “The Only Democracy in the Middle East: 29.1.2010”

Berbera al Somali

by JKS Makokha

The body of the ancient sea city
bathes daily in the Gulf of Aden.
Memories from the Holy Books
of the wide open wounds of Job
loom large in you as you behold
scores upon scores of pot holes
afflicting the torn and tired lanes
criss-crossing the old Somali port.

Broken minarets tower the town
with houses made of coral stones
crumbling under memories of war
holding on to each other so close
like families of frightened refugees
sometimes separated from others
by shacks of nylon on dried sticks
under which shelters some citizens
drinking sugary tea with camel milk
or smoking with their kettles on fire
or cleaning russian rifles with jeep oil.

Herds of camels crowd around town
listening in silence as the gulf sings
or following their old thoughts slowly
in tune with their cud-filled mouths.
Underneath them doze lazy hounds
that sometimes snap at buzzing flies
or stand up, shake and eat their tails
spitting ticks into the scorched sand
before trotting off to unknown places.

Continue reading “Berbera al Somali”

%d bloggers like this: