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The Blair Charge Sheet

On the 21st January the UK’s Channel 4 news had a discussion about the fact that the long-awaited Chilcot Inquiry into Britain’s involvement in the illegal war in Iraq will not be released until after the general election in March. On the 29th January a sizeable group of demonstrators protested outside the Houses of Parliament against the continuing suppression of the Chilcot Report — now five years late. Whilst this story was covered on Russia Today, not a single mention of it was made on the BBC’s six o’ clock news. None of this is surprising: both Labour and …

Mobilized & Winning, Now It’s Time to Escalate

The ‘Movement of Movements’ against Fast Tracking the TPP has the power to win

Since the President’s State of the Union message where he announced his plan to push corporate trade agreements and seek Fast Track trade promotion authority, the movement against Fast Track, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and globalized trade has grown. Instead of the bump in support that Obama expected after the State of the Union, opposition has increased inside Congress and in the grass roots.

Indications are that we are winning, and if we continue to mobilize over the next two months, we will win.

Mobilization

Before the President’s speech there was already a large movement organized from across the political spectrum …

The Greek People Have Punctured the Smugness of the “Moneymen”

Congratulations to the Greek people for democratically puncturing the smugness of the “moneymen”. For far too long politicians have been paralysed by the dogma imposed by  the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission, that the only way out of the economic mess we are in is austerity that hurts those most vulnerable, while the elite continue to accumulate wealth at an accelerating rate. The lack of imagination to think outside the straightjacket imposed on politicians by the “moneymen” is staggering.

The humiliation of Greece by foreign politicians and unelected bodies, dictating what Greece must do regardless of what harm it …

Who’s the “Low Life Scum:” Kissinger or CODEPINK?

A very angry Senator John McCain denounced CODEPINK activists as “low-life scum” for holding up signs reading “Arrest Kissinger for War Crimes” and dangling handcuffs next to Henry Kissinger’s head during a Senate hearing on January 29. McCain called the demonstration “disgraceful, outrageous and despicable,” accused the protesters of “physically intimidating” Kissinger and apologized profusely to his friend for this “deeply troubling incident.”

But if Senator McCain was really concerned about physical intimidation, perhaps he should have conjured up the memory of the gentle Chilean singer/songwriter Victor Jara. After Kissinger facilitated the September 11, 1973 coup against Salvador Allende that …

Chasing the Rainbow

Jeff Chang’s Who We Be: The Colorization of America

My first feeling upon finishing this book and still the deepest is a kind of pleasant awe at Jeff Chang’s ability to accomplish a seemingly impossible task. He has taken a subject that has produced some of the most reductive pronouncements, the most scalding vitriol in the whole acid bath of contemporary US rhetoric – multiculturalism – and written a clear-eyed, solid, but never cautious or dull history of it.

Far from dull, in fact. Who We Be is engrossing and filled with an energy that befits the more than half-century of unremitting turbulence it covers. Because it focuses to …

Google, Gag Orders and the WikiLeaks Investigation

Google’s gargantuan presence on the Internet, be it in terms of search engines, archived data and the use of email, has become a problem.  Given that it traffics in information of virtually every shade and colour, it was bound to be on the attractive hit list for law enforcement authorities. Those who use its services had to be aware that, at some point, their subscriber information would become attractive.

Google took almost over two and a half years to disclose that it has handed emails and various forms of digital data belonging to three WikiLeaks staffers to the US government.  On …

Abrupt Climate Change, Already?

Is abrupt climate change already here?

There are some serious scientists who believe it is already here. If their analysis is correct, the world could turn nearly uninhabitable within current lifetimes.

In that regard, the American public is overly, dangerously casual about the prospects/risks of abrupt climate change. This is found in numerous studies and polls; e.g., according to a Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, in an international survey of 39 countries, Americans were among the least concerned about climate change threatening the country. Global warming also ranked near the bottom of Americans’ priorities.

As it goes, the American public may be caught …

The History of Black History Month

Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present

The Tragedy of being a Girl in India

It is said that India is the ‘most dangerous country in the world in which to be a girl’, a controversial United Nations finding based on a range of distressing social statistics rooted in gender and caste prejudice, much of which can be traced back to 18th century colonialism and the destructive ‘divide and rule’ methodology employed by the British.

Throughout the country and up and down the class-caste ladder the joy of parenthood is conditioned by the gender of the child. If a boy is born, delight amongst the family; if it’s a girl, anxiety and disappointment. The sole …

Harry’s Gone a Huntin’

I’m not accustomed to paying much attention to anyone’s national holidays, except perhaps France’s, but only because it at least commemorates what for a brief time was a real revolution. Since I pass a certain consulate almost every day, I do wonder every time I notice that the flag has not been hoisted.

Little did I realise that on the last such occasion, actor-director Clint Eastwood would be watching his latest film release reap in the nation’s box offices. Not only does the harvest mean a monetary yield for the war propaganda industry, one can safely presume that the otherwise hypocritically …

Boehner’s Treason?

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court….

– United States Constitution, Article III, Section 3

Inviting a hostile head of state to challenge the U.S. President from the shelter of the U.S. Congress may not rise to the level of “levying war” in the literal sense. But it is surely an act of virtual war that recklessly raises the stakes …

Dear Syria: From One Refugee to Another

Whenever the word ‘refugee’ is uttered, I think of my mother. When Zionist militias began their systematic onslaught and ‘cleansing’ of the Palestinian Arab population of historic Palestine in 1948, she, along with her family, ran away from the once peaceful village of Beit Daras.

Back then, Zarefah was six. Her father died in a refugee camp in a tent provided by the Quakers soon after he had been separated from his land. She collected scrap metal to survive.

My grandmother Mariam, would venture out to the ‘death zone’ that bordered the separated and newly established state of Israel from Gaza’s refugee …

CBS Promoting the GOP?

Can there be doubt that CBS News, in effect, promotes a bias that favors the Republican Party? Anyone who follows politics and watched the Scott Pelley interview of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell last night on Sixty Minutes had to be dumbfounded when Scott Pelley failed to utter any challenge to both Boehner and McConnell’s hubris about the Democrats obstructing legislation, something the GOP promoted as policy. You would expect Fox News to misinform on that count but not a major network.

The lead headline question Scott Pelley asks for the interview: “The job approval rating for Congress is 15%. …

Freedom of Expression Fundamentalism or – What happened to Charlie?

My answer is simple: the issues surrounding the horrific attack on Charlie Hebdo disappeared so fast because the general Western reaction was ill-considered/phony and therefore unsustainable. 

But there is actually still quite a lot to be discussed.

Secondly, European politicians and media chose – quite uniformly for a professed pluralist society – to not discuss the possible causes. The more convenient interpretation was that the perpetrators were just madmen and people like that should be hunted down and eliminated (like IS in Syria and Iraq).

Without causal analysis we can more easily go straight for more “security”, …

I Want What You Want

A Letter to the Scottish Independence folk

Of course, although this was addressed to the people in Scotland who had been campaigning for independence, there is a message here for all of us, denied as we all are by our governments of real democracy.  How can we wake ourselves up and take part in the kind of inspired political debate that the referendum on independence generated among the Scots, whichever side they were on?

When I first became engaged in the debate about independence for Scotland it was because of anger and embarrassment at the slant presented by the Better Together campaign.  But as I talked to …

Scramble to Conclude Suspicious EU-US Trade Deal

UK industry is in intensive care. Should we throw open the door and allow America’s big business battalions to muscle in under cover of a trade treaty?

Critics claim that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being cooked up between the EU and the United States could:

Weaken workers’ rights and put millions of jobs at risk;
Reduce environmental protection and food safety regulation;
Lead to more privatisation of public services like education and our prized National Health Service (NHS);
Give new powers for corporations to sue European governments, including the UK, in secret courts.

They complain that world leaders are working alongside major …

The Communist Manifesto Today

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Manifesto of the Communist Party in 1848. By no means did Marx and Engels set out to read the fortune of future capitalist societies, or to develop some high-resolution photograph of future international political economy amongst states. Nor did they predict the various incarnations of communism that would arise after their time. Instead, the manifesto was a commissioned work; its intention was to communicate the purposes and platform of the Communist League, an international political party started in 1847 London.

The manifesto’s investigation of historical and then class struggle included polemicizing capitalism and the …

Why do critics love American Sniper?

I watched American Sniper the other night and it really is the most puerile propaganda imaginable. It is not even as though it is simply unfair to the “enemy” – that is, mostly ordinary Iraqis, who are shown to be ruthless and heartless killers filled with irrational hatred for the American soldiers sent to liberate them from … well, in this re-write of history it is seemingly from al-Qaeda. It is equally unfair to the US soldiers there, presenting them either as good guys being heroes or as good guys being traumatised by their exposure to the natives’ savagery.

And, of …

The NFL’s Anarchist Success Story

Last Sunday, the Green Bay Packers came within minutes of defeating the Seattle Seahawks and earning a berth in the Super Bowl. Were it not for a miracle comeback by Seattle, the Packers would have made their 14th appearance in the NFL’s title game. With 13 world championships, the Packers have far more than any other football team. They are arguably the most successful franchise in American professional sports history. But the most remarkable thing about the Green Bay Packers is that in an industry controlled by parasitic owners who leech billions of dollars off taxpayers, they are 100% publicly-owned …

Iraq Invasion: The “Six Wise Men” Tony Blair Ignored

Nothing justifies killing of innocent people.

— Tony Blair, CNN, 15th January 2015

The Independent on Sunday has revealed that having decided to back George W. Bush in the illegal March 2003 invasion of Iraq come what may, in November 2002 the then Prime Minister Tony Blair and then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, with senior advisors, consulted “six wise men” — then ignored all they had to say. Four of those consulted agreed to talk to the Independent.

The revelations end a week when the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry into the invasion is further delayed and government statements confirm it will …