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Uday Al-Zaidy: Another Life in the Balance in “The New Iraq”

This is a very serious matter – they will slaughter him.

— Sabah Al-Mukhtar, President of the Arab Lawyers Association

On Saturday, January 10th, the BRussells Tribunal circulated a Press Release which stated, “Iraq: Mr Uday Al-Zaidi – Appeal of Extreme Urgency.”

It outlined “an appeal for the immediate and urgent mobilization of (the relevant UN Agencies, Amnesty International. Human Rights Watch and other international NGOs and appropriate legal bodies) in securing the release of the prominent human rights defender, Mr Uday Al-Zaidi.”

The Appeal was necessarily brief, but the wider context is vital to understanding as another life hangs in the balance …

Murdering Journalists … Them and Us

The Anti-Empire Report #136

After Paris, condemnation of religious fanaticism is at its height. I’d guess that even many progressives fantasize about wringing the necks of jihadists, bashing into their heads some thoughts about the intellect, about satire, humor, freedom of speech. We’re talking here, after all, about young men raised in France, not Saudi Arabia.

Where has all this Islamic fundamentalism come from in this modern age? Most of it comes – trained, armed, financed, indoctrinated – from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. During various periods from the 1970s to the present, these four countries had been the most secular, modern, educated, welfare states …

Charlie Hebdo and the Long Form

To the first: the end of the anti-​colonial era was followed immediately by the not so rosy dawn of neoliberalism. Quickly, Arab nationalism gave way to Gulf capitalism; the always bourgeois PLO gave way to the neoliberal Palestine Authority. Simultaneously, the Arab working-​class suffered a set of quintessential neoliberal losses compounded by what might be called the economic shock doctrine brought on by the likes of World Bank and IMF that came with the end of colonialism and the beginning of the neoliberal era. Thus, before any fruits of decolonization could be fully enjoyed, the working class of the global

So This is The Anthropocene?

Or, Rather, is Our Hubris Showing?

The term “Anthropocene,” although originated by some Russians in the 1980s, was given its current common meaning by USan “ecologist Eugene F. Stoermer, and has been widely popularized by the [Dutch] Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist, Paul Crutzen, who regards the influence of human behavior on the Earth’s atmosphere in recent centuries as so significant as to constitute a new geological epoch for its lithosphere.”

The most recent time periods of geological history (see below, source), consist of (a) 5 Ages of the Holocene Epoch of the (b) Quaternary Period of the (c) …

Inside the Uniform, Under the Hood, Longing for Change

From January 4 – 12, 2015, Witness Against Torture (WAT) activists assembled in Washington D.C. for an annual time of fasting and public witness to end the United States’ use of torture and indefinite detention and to demand the closure, with immediate freedom for those long cleared for release, of the illegal U.S. prison at Guantanamo.

Participants in our eight day fast started each day with a time of reflection. This year, asked to briefly describe who or what we had left behind and yet might still carry in our thoughts that morning, I said that I’d left behind an …

Beyond Vietghanistan

Martin Luther Obama Jr., as dictated to David Swanson

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because the Republican Congress leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I am in partial yet profound agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietghanistan. The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, if not my brain, and I found myself in sympathy with your desires when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time has not come for us in relation …

The New York Times Sinks to a New Journalistic Low in its Reporting on Ukraine

On 8 January 2015, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk demonstrated once again that he is either a liar or an ignoramus (inspired by Russophobia) when he told a German TV channel, “I will not allow the Russians to march across Ukraine and Germany, as they did in WWII.” Putting aside his ludicrous bravado – analogous to a crazed, dying gnat promising to stop a bull elephant — only the untaught do not know that it was Hitler’s Nazi Germany that invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. Moreover, while most military historians specializing in the history of the Eastern …

Netanyahu and Europe’s Far Right find Common Ground after the Paris Attacks

Israel has been having its own internal debate about the significance of the Paris killings this month, with concerns quite separate from those expressed in Europe.

While Europeans are mired in debates about free speech and the role of Islam in secular societies, Israelis generally – and their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in particular – view the attacks as confirming Israel’s place as the only safe haven for Jews around the world.

The 17 deaths in Paris have reinforced Israeli suspicions that Europe, with its rapidly growing Muslim population, is being dragged into a clash of civilisations it is ill-equipped to combat.

More …

Fast Track Is Not A Done Deal: The People Will Stop It

There is bi-partisan opposition in Congress to Fast Track and a large movement of movements mobilized to stop it.

The corporate media is reporting that since the Republican leadership and President Obama support Fast Track trade authority, it is a done deal. And that message, also heard by countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is driving the race to finalize that agreement.

The truth is: Fast Track is not a done deal. There is bi-partisan opposition in Congress and a large movement of movements organized to stop it.

Across the political spectrum there is mass opposition to fast tracking the secretly negotiated TPP, …

Misusing RIPA: Keeping National Security Vague

Laws have certain flexibility to them, the vast legroom that allows a degree of significant contortions.  The most resilient ones tend to be those concerning security.  Where safety is perceived to be at stake, the legroom widens.  Interpreters of national security laws tend to make leaps to extend their application as far as possible.  Rather than reading down the effects of legislation, with the tendencies to limit civil liberties, the desire lies in expanding power. The drafting, for that reason, is fundamental.

Since 2000, the Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ) has noted an institutionalised campaign against that noble profession, with a …

Western Democracy Crusaders are Foes of Democracy

The World Seen Through a “Progressive” Western Keyhole versus a Panoramic Lens

One of Castro’s closest comrades, the Argentine-born guerilla Che Guevara, had been in Guatemala in 1954 and witnessed the coup against Arbenz.  Later he told Castro why it succeeded. He said Arbenz had foolishly tolerated an open society, which the CIA penetrated and subverted, and also preserved the existing army, which the CIA turned into its instrument.  Castro agreed that a revolutionary regime in Cuba must avoid those mistakes. Upon taking power, he cracked down on dissent and purged the army.  Many Cubans supported his regime and were ready to defend it.  (Emphasis, jw)

Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers: John Foster

The GOP Chocolate Machine

The Republican retreat in Hershey, PA is rather symbolic of their tactics and their attitude toward the people. The Hershey brand of chocolate is a perfect metaphor for the Republican tactic of rebranding with the most appealing and tasty stances but never delivering on the nutritional substance.

Then like a metaphor of Recycle and Reuse, Romney revisited a Bush moment. He — sort-of — re-launched a 3rd campaign for president on an aircraft carrier, mocking the tone and site of a George W. Bush “Mission Accomplished” declaration over 10 years ago on another carrier. Mitt Romney spoke to a Republican …

Local Syria Ceasefires

US contradictions between the Obama administration’s policy in Syria and realities on the ground have become so acute that US officials began last November discussing a proposal calling for support of local ceasefires between opposition forces and the Assad regime in dozens of locations across Syria.

The proposal surfaced in two articles in Foreign Policy magazine and in a column by the Washington Post’s David Ignatius. Those indicated that it was under serious consideration by administration officials. In fact, the proposal may even have played a role in a series of four White House meetings during the week of …

Freedom and Peace through Art

It was 30th May, deep autumn in Argentina. The streetlights had been turned on an hour earlier, just as I was entering the house/museum. Now inside, it was dark, silent, warm and cozy.

Magda Konopacka de Bruzzone brought two cups of tea upstairs, after locking the gate. For a while, we sat in silence.

“Now tell me about the world outside,” she whispered, after I took my first sip.

“People are freezing to death,” I said. “Argentinean people are dying.”

She looked at me and then her eyes moved somewhere behind, way beyond me.

*****

She was the love of his life.

To me he was one …

Credit Suisse: Big Crimes Become Big Business

In May of 2014, financial firm Credit Suisse AG pled guilty to serious criminal charges. The giant bank aided and assisted approximately 22,000 wealthy U.S. taxpayers (whose names Credit Suisse AG escaped having to send to the Justice Department for law enforcement) for over a decade in filing false income tax returns and other documents with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The full extent of these crimes, according to a Department of Justice news release, are as follows: “assisting clients in using sham entities to hide undeclared accounts;” “soliciting IRS forms that falsely stated, under penalties of perjury, that the sham …

Ruin Is Our Future

Neoconservatives arrayed in their Washington offices are congratulating themselves on their success in using the Charlie Hebdo affair to reunite Europe with Washington’s foreign policy. No more French votes with the Palestinians against the Washington-Israeli position. No more growing European sympathy with the Palestinians. No more growing European opposition to launching new wars in the Middle East. No more calls from the French president to end the sanctions against Russia.

Do the neoconservatives also understand that they have united Europeans with the right-wing anti-immigration political parties? The wave of support for the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists is the wave of Marie Le …

Assassination Nation

UPDATED: January 18

Imagine living in a town or neighborhood where a serial killer is on the loose. The killer’s primary weapon is a pipe bomb filled with small metal projectiles like BBs and nails. The bombs are designed to kill and maim those in the vicinity of the explosion. The killer’s weapons are usually aimed at male targets, but quite often several others in the vicinity are also killed, including women and children. Oftentimes, a note is sent to the media after the attacks warning of future attacks unless the people being targeted give in to …

The Dreaded Methane Veil

A veil of methane originating in the Arctic is heading southward, slowly spreading all across the Northern Hemisphere.

As it happens, with 2014 the “hottest year ever,” the Arctic heats up evermore. It is especially vulnerable to the effects of heat-trapping green house gas (GHG) carbon dioxide (CO2). In turn, the warming Arctic is stirring up humanity’s biggest nightmare, methane (CH4).

Stuart Scott, Deputy Director General of IESCO and founder of the United Planet Faith & Science Initiative offers visualization of the dreaded methane veil in a new video, Rethinking Economics in the Age of Climate Change. The video was …

To Change Everything: An Anarchist Appeal

A video collaboration with CrimethInc.

If you could change anything, what would you change? Would you go on vacation for the rest of your life? Make fossil fuels stop causing climate change? Ask for ethical banks and politicians? Surely nothing could be more unrealistic than to keep everything the way it is and expect different results.

Our private financial and emotional struggles mirror global upheaval and disaster. We could spend the rest of our days trying to douse these fires one by one, but they stem from the same source. No piecemeal solution will serve; we need to rethink everything according …

How Many More Wake up Calls Does Humanity Need?

It’s those immeasurably powerful moments when we stand still and stay close to ourselves that make us see things more clearly, and that give us a better understanding of ourselves and our connectedness with each other.

I was born into this culture/religion but I was raised not practicing it. There are actually lots of aspects about Islam that I can’t relate to. Same as I can’t relate to much of what’s in other faiths. So, I’m a nominal Muslim at the most. I don’t even see it as part of my identity. As cliché as it may sound, I consider myself …