The End of the American Empire

Chalmers Johnson on Media Matters with Bob McChesney.

Chalmers Johnson is president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, a non-profit research and public affairs organization devoted to public education concerning Japan and international relations in the Pacific. He was chairman of the academic advisory committee for the PBS television series “The Pacific Century,” and he played a prominent role in the PBS “Frontline” documentary “Losing the War with Japan.” Both won Emmy awards. His most recent books are Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2000); The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2004); and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2007).

Zionists Against Zion?

By M. Shahid Alam

Zionists have worked hard and cleverly for their successes, but their cause has been greatly advanced at each stage by the logic of their colonial project aimed at the creation of a Jewish settler state at the very center of the Islamicate.

Most importantly, Zionism created a geopolitical realignment of great importance. It brought together two strands of the Western world, previously at odds – Christians and Jews – to join their forces against the Islamicate.

At every stage in its history, Israel has ratcheted its power by unleashing forces, even negative forces, that it has then turned to its advantage. Power, intelligence and luck have played into this.

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Mohammed Omer denied from entering US (updated)

UPDATE: Success! See Haymarket Books Press Release (appended below in full): International Pressure Campaign Brings Award-winning Palestinian Journalist Allowed Entry to the U.S.

I’m late posting this.  But nevertheless, it’s still important.

Award-winning journalist Mohammed Omer is being denied from entering the US.  The US consulate in the Netherlands is holding his visa application for an extended period of time and has led to a cancellation of his US speaking tour. Omer was scheduled to speak with Ali Abunimah in Chicago on April 5.  Abunimah has more on the story at his Web site Electronic Intifada. The US Consulate did not provide an explanation as to why they denied his visa and the only American media source (that I know of ) that’s raising a concern is The Progressive.

Omer was to visit Houston, Santa Fe and Chicago, where local publisher Haymarket Books was to host his Newberry Library event, “Reflections on Life and War in Gaza,” alongside a broad set of interfaith religious, community and political organizations.

Rather than cancel the meeting, organizers are calling on supporters to write letters and emails calling for the US consulate’s approval of Omer’s visa.

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The Only Democracy in the Middle East: 26.3.2010

In heavy rain and under heavy threat, all the weekly demonstration insistently ensued, across the West Bank. The village of Al Ma’asara demonstrated against the latest arrest and torture of the local demonstration organizer, Omar Alaaeddin:

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ESRC, Islamophobia, and the British sense of humour

A couple of years back a leading Scots philosopher, a friend, applied for funding to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the main public research-funding body in the UK, to study the tradition of non-violence in Islam. After much delay, he received a letter from the ESRC in which an anonymous reviewer informed him that his bid had been rejected because ‘there is no tradition of non-violence in Islam’.

On 23 March 2010, the British Home Office’s counter-terrorism communications unit RICU announced its top 20 most influential “pro-Islamic” political bloggers. Topping the list are Ali Eteraz and the Angry Arab News Service. Eteraz is a US-based writer, an aggressive self-promoter, who is known less for his ‘pro-Islamic’ views than for his self-conscious cultivation of a ‘moderate’ image which has included forging friendly ties with the notoriously Islamophobic hate site Harry’s Place. Angry Arab News Service is run by As’ad AbuKhalil, a California-based Lebanese anarchist, and atheist. AbuKhalil’s daily output includes ritual denunciations of clerics and Islamists from North Africa to Saudi Arabia. He is an all opportunities offender (sometimes indiscriminately so).

The list was compiled based on research conducted by one David Stevens of Nottingham University whose work, according to his website, is focued ‘within the area of contemporary normative political philosophy’. The man obviously gazes from such Olympian heights that he can’t distinguish between the Pope and a pagan. And to his funders, it appears not to matter.

So who commissioned this exercise in fatuity? Why the ESRC of course.

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Leaving al-Tanf

When hundreds of Palestinians fled Iraq in 2006, no country in the Middle East would accept them.  The UN eventually set up tent camps in ‘no man’s land’ between the Iraq-Syria border. While the camps were supposed to be a ‘temporary’ solution, it was not until the end of 2009 that a small number of refugees were finally granted permission to move to Italy, while others were told they would be transferred to refugee camps in the region. Edith Champagn’s Leaving Al Tanf documents the stories of  several Palestinian refugees as they prepare to uproot their lives yet again, compelling us to think about how the idea of home, and of time and waiting is experienced by those whose lives have overwhelmingly been marked by uncertainty, liminality, and loss.