Thus were the State Department’s pretenses laid bare

Matthew Lee of AP is a credit to his profession. For nearly a week he has been interrogating the State Department spokesman PJ Crowley abou the imprisonment of Abdullah Abu Rahmah, a non-violent activist who led the weekly protests at Bil’in. The silence and dithering of the government are telling given the high-minded claims Obama and Clinton made about supporting non-violent civil-society initiatives.

Update: Mondoweiss reports that Lee raised Abu Rahmah’s detention yet again at today’s press conference and the following exchange ensued:
Continue reading “Thus were the State Department’s pretenses laid bare”

Nir Rosen on the aftermath of America’s wars

Nir Rosen, is a fellow at NYU’s Center on Law and Security, and one of the best war reporters in the world.    Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World is his account of the impact of US wars in the Middle East and Central Asia. In this interview he speaks to Glenn Greenwald of Salon about his book.

And here is the transcript:

Glenn Greenwald: My guest today on Salon Radio is Nir Rosen who I think is unquestionably one of the best war journalists and commentators in the country probably in the world. He is a freelance writer photographer, film-maker, and he is currently a scholar associated with the New York University Center on Law and Security, and he has just written a book that I finished reading actually today entitled Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World. It’s really an amazing book. It describes the impact of multiple American wars on families and people in various countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and other countries where Nir has spent a great amount of time. I’m really excited to talk about this book. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me today.

Nir Rosen: Thanks for reading the book.

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The War You Don’t See

A new John Pilger documentary is always a media event. For over four decades he has set the bar for incisive and intrepid investigative journalism. In The War You Don’t See, his latest, Pilger indicts the mainstream media for its responsibility in enabling wars by sanitizing its image and glorifying its aims.

Michael Moore on why he helped bail out Assange

Michael Moore on why he supports Assange and Wikileaks and why he posted part of his bail (other contributors included John Pilger and our dear friend Tariq Ali)

Also, FAIR has circulated this petition which we encourage you to signt:

We Support WikiLeaks
Stand with Daniel Ellsberg, Barbara Ehrenreich, Arundhati Roy, Noam Chomsky and others–sign FAIR’s petition in support of Wikileaks today.

December 14, 2010

As journalists, activists, artists, scholars and citizens, we condemn the array of threats and attacks on the journalist organization WikiLeaks. After the website’s decision, in collaboration with several international media organizations, to publish hundreds of classified State Department diplomatic cables, many pundits, commentators and prominent U.S. politicians have called for harsh actions to be taken to shut down WikiLeaks’ operations.

Continue reading “Michael Moore on why he helped bail out Assange”

“All That We Share” isn’t enough

by Robert Jensen

A review of All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons/How to Save the Economy, the Environment, the Internet, Democracy, Our Communities, and Everything Else That Belongs to All of Us by Jay Walljasper and On the Commons

The New Press, 2010, 288 pages, $18.95

All That We Share is an exciting and exasperating book. The excitement comes from the many voices arguing to place “the commons” at the center of planning for a viable future. The exasperation comes from the volume’s failure to critique the political and economic systems that we must transcend if there is to be a future for the commons.

In the preface, the book’s editor and primary writer, Jay Walljasper, describes how he came to understand the commons as a “unifying theme” that helped him see the world differently and led him to believe that “as more people become aware of it, the commons will spark countless initiatives that make a difference for the future of our communities and the planet.”

Defining the commons as “what we share” physically and culturally — from the air and water to the internet and open-source software — the contributors recognize that a society that defines success by individuals’ accumulation of stuff will erode our humanity and destroy the planet’s ecosystems. Walljasper calls for a “complete retooling” and “a paradigm shift that revises the core principles that guide our culture top to bottom.” No argument there. Unfortunately the book avoids addressing the specific paradigms we must confront. Is commons-based transformation possible within a capitalist economy based on predatory principles and an industrial production model built on easy access to cheap concentrated energy?

Continue reading ““All That We Share” isn’t enough”

On a wing and a prayer

Flying is one of the safest modes of travel — i.e., unless you are flying a Boeing 737 NG. As the following investigation by Tim Tate reveals, the FAA and Boeing have been covering up serious structural flaws with this most widely used model. Next time you are on a 737, just hope that the manufacturers have read Arthur Miller’s All My Sons.

Air travel is a question of trust, but a People & Power investigation asks what happens when that trust is shaken.

We Want You Out

An open letter from the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers and Afghans for Peace

As the Obama administration releases its December review of the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan, the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, along with Afghans for Peace, have issued a review of their experiences.  To express support for their letter, click here.

To all the leaders of our world, the leaders of the US-led coalition, the Afghan government, the ‘Taliban/Al-Qaeda’ and regional countries,

We are intolerably angry.

All our senses are hurting.

Our women, our men and yes shame on you, our children are grieving.

Your Afghan civilian-military strategy is a murderous stench we smell, see, hear and breathe.

President Obama, and all the elite players and people of the world, why?

America’s 250-million-dollar annual communications budget just to scream propaganda on this war of perceptions, with its nauseating rhetoric mimicked by Osama and other warlords, is powerless before the silent wailing of every anaemic mother.

We will no longer be passive prey to your disrespectful systems of oligarchic, plutocratic war against the people.

Your systems feed the rich and powerful. They are glaringly un-equal, they do not listen, do not think and worst, they do not care.

Continue reading “We Want You Out”

Ostrich America?

by Chase Madar

Famous photograph of the US isolating itself in Iwo Jima. (Photo: Joe Rosenthal, 1945)

Of all the received ideas that clog America’s foreign-policy discourse, none is more at variance with reality than the threat of isolationism. We have never been more engaged with every corner of the world, yet we have never been lectured more often about the consequences of “retreating within our borders.” The more countries we attack—Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen—the more dire warnings we get about national introversion. The specter of isolationism has never looked healthier.

A case in point was George W. Bush’s 2006 State of the Union address, a venue he used to tell a spine-chilling tale. With his foreign policy exploding all around him, Bush warned against an even more disastrous alternative: there were those who would “tie our hands” and have us “retreat within our borders.” From the tenor of his talk, he seemed to think that Americans were about to burn down both the Pentagon and Department of State, beat defense intellectuals into postal workers, and force every house in the land to set up a little steel foundry in the back yard—just like in the Great Leap Forward—while learning to live on grubs and wild mountain honey.

Of course, this is absurd: as many pointed out in response to this scaremongering, there are no isolationists in America—not in either political party, not in the media, and not in the academy. (The i-word is often used as a synonym for unilateralism. Here I am assigning only its most common meaning: a tendency to ignore security threats beyond territorial borders and disengage diplomatically, politically, and economically from the rest of the world.) Nevertheless, the menace of a return to geopolitical autarky is carted out whenever our sclerotically narrow foreign-policy consensus gets an unwelcome jolt. This habit of mind did not end with the exit of George W. Bush.

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Neocons holding up START treaty

The neoconservatives represent the Likud wing of the Israel lobby. In the 1970s, when the United States was reeling from the defeat in Vietnam, and reconsidering its imperial stance, the neocons joined the military-industrial complex and unreconstructed Cold Warriors to derail the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) and Nixon’s detente. The Cold War is over, but the neocons still have an interest in maintaining a state of conflict. Once again, therefore, they are derailing a worthy arms control initiative. Here are some wise words from Ivan Eland as to why the neocons are so afraid of New START.

The START treaty, which would reduce the United States and Russia’s nuclear arsenals by 30%, has been held up in Congress for months by neoconservatives. Will the treaty gain any traction before more conservatives join Congress in January? RT’s Dina Gusovsky is joined by Jacob Hornberger from The Future of Freedom Foundation and Ivan Eland from the Independent Institute to discuss the START treaty.

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