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Western Propaganda: So Simple But So Effective

When some time ago Noam Chomsky and I met at MIT in order to write a book On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare and to produce a film with the same title together, the topic we mainly aimed at discussing was that of the countless genocides the West has committed all over the world since the end of the WWII. The second topic was impunity.

But no matter what atrocities we re-visited, our conversation kept slipping towards one crucial theme: the propaganda that has been manufactured in media centers like New York, Paris, London and other North …

Iceland: Exemplary Nation in a Troubled World

A small land situated between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean, Iceland minds her own business and minds it very well. I was so impressed by what I saw and learned in a recent and first visit there with my family that I decided to write this short piece as a tribute to her people and their history and as a lesson that needs to be learned and practiced by the greatest troublemaking nation of all time during only 240 years of her existence, namely, America, a nation forever at odds with herself, constantly preparing for and engaging in …

Crimea, Georgia and the New Olympic Sport: Russia Bashing

In every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the People.

— Eugene Victor Debs, 1855-1926.

Oh dear, as the fantasy of Vladimir Putin as “Vlad the Terrible” ratchets up in the US-UK-NATO driven new Cold War, the Independent runs a piece headed “What lies behind the new Russian threat to Ukraine”, the sub-heading is: “Vladimir Putin, his opponents repeatedly point out, has form on this. The war between Russia and Georgia took place in 2008 at the time of the …

The Aleppo Poster Child

Washington’s media presstitutes are using the image of the child to bring pressure on Russia to stop the Syrian army from retaking Alleppo. Washington wants its so-called moderate rebels to retain Alleppo so that Washington can split Syria in two, thereby keeping a permanent pressure against President Assad.

As for the little boy in the propaganda picture, he does not seem to be badly injured. Let us not forget the tens of thousands of children that Washington’s wars and bombings of 7 Muslim countries have killed without any tears shed by CNN anchors, and let us not forget …

Attacking Wikileaks’ Assange for Doing What Journalists are Supposed to Do

While I periodically have written commentaries dissecting and pillorying news articles in the New York Times to expose their bias, hypocrisy half-truths and lies, I generally ignore their editorials since these are overtly opinions of the management, and one expects them to display the elitist and neo-liberal perspective of the paper’s publisher and senior editors.

That said, the August 17 editorial about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent four harrowing years trapped in the apartment-sized Ecuadoran embassy thanks to a trumped-up and thoroughly discredited political rape “investigation” by a politically driven Swedish prosecutor and a complicit right-wing British government, moves …

What Will Turkey Do?

So many would like this to happen – to see Turkey go, to leave NATO, to break its psychological, political and economic dependency on the West. Now that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his allies are quarreling with the United States and the EU, there is suddenly great hope that Turkey may thoroughly re-think its position in the world, strengthen its ties with Russia and China, renew the historic friendship with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and improve its relationship with Iran.

Could this be really happening, so suddenly and so unexpectedly? If only Turkey were to join BRICS, if it decided to …

The “Intentional Fallacy” Revisited

(Who cares about motives?)

In the great scheme of things a minor confusion or disturbance in the routine of less mainstream journalism, whether called progressive, left or radical — terms which themselves confuse more than they clarify — has no great consequences. No revolts occur and none are quelled. But the exchange in these pages, especially the observation that certain essays were rejected by what might be called the less — or sub-mainstream establishment — should draw our attention to a constant and serious problem in our analysis of events: the problem of intention.

Since it is a matter of record, for those who have …

Closing Manus Island’s Detention Centre: The Search for Alternative Cruelties

It all goes back to April, when the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court found the Manus Island detention facility, ostensibly directed and run by the Australian government, in breach of the PNG Constitution.

By the order of the court, “Both the Australian and Papua New Guinea governments shall forthwith take all steps necessary to cease and prevent the continued unconstitutional and illegal detention of the asylum seekers or transferees at the relocation centre on Manus Island and the continued breach of the asylum seekers or transferees constitutional and human rights.”

PNG’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, did not wait long before announcing

War to “Stop” War: Libya’s “Operation Odyssey Lightning”

The Obama Doctrine is Ravaging the Middle East

Everyone seems to have a theory on how to obliterate ISIS, or ‘Daesh’. However, two points are rarely raised: one, concerning the origins of the group and the second, on whether there are genuine intentions to defeat it, in the first place.

We must boldly address the first to unravel the enigma behind the rise and growth of ‘Daesh’ – otherwise, how else can the group be dismantled.

We must contend with the second point before engaging in superfluous discussions about the most appropriate war strategy – that if war is, at all, the answer.

The questions are quite urgent yet, somehow, they …

Hillary Used the Word “Assassination” in 2008 Campaign against Obama

Words matter, my friends. And if you are running to be president, or you are president of the United States, words can have tremendous consequences.

Hillary Clinton, August 10, 2016

The corporate media (CM) is once again slinging mud at Donald Trump over his comments at a South Carolina rally. Hillary’s campaign joined in the claim that he encouraged violence against her. But Trump said nothing about violence. Absolutely nothing. ((Trump said: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.” There is no mention …

The Irony of Hamilton Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Advocacy for Puerto Rico

As the economic and humanitarian crisis has worsened in Puerto Rico in recent months, playwright and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, has given voice in interviews and Op-Eds to the severity of the crisis among ordinary Puerto Ricans. Miranda called the island’s debt crisis a matter of “life and death,” saying, “I have a lot of family who are struggling in Puerto Rico, that’s not an abstract issue to me.” He humanizes what the statistics – $73 billion in debt, $19,500 median household income, 11.5 percent sales tax, 64,000 people leaving per year – can not. Puerto Rico is a …

The Scapegoats of Empire

For elites, anything that distracts from empire is a good thing

The Green Party might have had a realistic chance for the presidency had Bernie Sanders not amputated his “political revolution” and instead joined presidential nominee Jill Stein on the Green ticket. But Sanders was the sheep-dogging company man Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report said he was. The Green Party will not win this year, but with support it may win soon. A decade ago Syriza in Greece polled at five percent. Now it is in power. In 1853 there was no Republican Party. In 1861 they put an abolitionist in the White House. Stranger things have happened. Of …

Will it be Petras’s Apocalypse or Hammond’s Hopeful Enlightenment?

US Delusion of Empire, Obstacle to Peace

It is time to assess the legacy that President Obama bequeaths us. Two timely books contribute to this; namely, The End of the Republic and the Delusion of Empire by James Petras, (Clarity, 2016) and Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Jeremy Hammond, (Worldview, 2016) with Hammond focusing on the “special relationship”, Petras, more broadly on US imperialism. Both are pessimistic about the possibility of any change without an active, articulate citizens’ movement that has staying power, thereby creating the conditions for a political renewal.

Hammond’s work is detailed, documenting the period starting with …

The Progressive Left Is Neither

It’s an election year, as you know, and the demos, stupefied in aspic from too many years baking in front of a warm television screen, have awakened to the reality they have nothing, own nothing, save debt and perhaps a paltry 401k, the innards and working mechanics of which they haven’t the foggiest understanding of.  Bereft of a truly social inclination or civic revelation once in their entire lives, now, now, after 50 years of showing up every four years to vote for shit after shit after shit after parading, mass murdering made for TV. shit, now, NOW they’re looking …

Doubts About Something: To be or not to be correct

(Politically that was never the question)

I do not consider it the sign of an intellectually critical person that he or she has a dogmatically predictable reply to any and every issue. It is perfectly legitimate to have doubts about something.

Actually I have often disagreed with Bill Blum, but then I tend to share Gandhi’s insight about “Western civilization”.

The last two essays …

Updates from on the Ground in Syria: June to August 11, 2016

Since June 13, 2016, I have been visiting different regions of Syria but have not had sufficient time to post regularly.  However, until I am able to, I will share some brief updates I had shared on social media, and otherwise refer to my writings/photos/videos from my prior 4 visits.

Down the Terrorist-Sniped Road to Aleppo, the Only Entrance to a City of over 1.5 Million (July visit)

Going through my …

Bride of the Monster

It is not “Ridiculous” to Reject Hillary, Part 2

In Part 1 of this article I argued that the 2016 US presidential race is the Alien vs. Predator election. The joke, which is at the expense of everyone on this planet, is that they are both aliens and both predators. Many ordinary people understand the situation perfectly well. A South Carolina real estate billboard shows Trump and Clinton and reads: “Moving to Canada? We can sell your home.” Even a month ago you could read this Onionesque headline at The Hill: “Poll: 13 percent prefer meteor hitting earth over Clinton, Trump”. It …

Should Citizen Juries Choose America’s President, Congress, Governors and State Legislators?

Many people think choosing politicians by popular vote is an essential part of democracy. Nevertheless, there is another way to choose politicians that is in important regards far more democratic and much better. That way is for politicians to be chosen by juries of citizens drawn from the public by random selection. Such juries could number from 25 to 1,000 or more citizens, with larger juries being used for the most important offices such as President.

In Classical Athens, widely considered the birthplace of democracy, a broad range of decisions were made by juries drawn from the citizens by lottery. The …

Facing Down the Panopticon

An army of networked kiosks is invading New York City. Hundreds of them. They’re large vertical slabs, practically ten feet tall and chock full of sensors. Reminiscent of the mysterious black monoliths from Stanley Kubrick’s movie 2001. These kiosks are replacing the city’s aging public telephone booths and after this initial wave of monoliths hits Gotham there will be thousands more installed throughout the city. John Young, the architect who runs the web site Cryptome, has called this forest of kiosks “the largest urban spying system in the United States.”

And this is merely the tip of the iceberg. …

Hilary Clinton: History Repeats Itself?

Once upon a time, there was a man called James Buchanan. He was a Democrat, a Secretary of State and then the President of the United States. A good friend of mine, a historian, told me about him.

Buchanan was the last U.S. President who previously served as Secretary of State. He was a Pennsylvania native, and he took his place in the Oval Office in 1857.

Now, more than 150 years later, Hilary Clinton may be about to follow in his footsteps. And some footsteps they were!

Before serving as Secretary of State (in the administration of President James K. Polk), James …