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When Daesh is Defeated: Who Will Fill the Intellectual Vacuum in the Arab World?

Back in the Middle East for a few months, I find myself astounded by the absence of the strong voices of Arab intellectuals.

The region that has given rise to the likes of Michel Aflaq, George Habash, Rached al-Ghannouchi, Edward Said and numerous others has marginalized its intellectuals.

Arab visionaries have either been coopted by the exuberant funds allocated to sectarian propaganda, been silenced by fear of retribution, or are simply unable to articulate a collective vision that transcends their sects, religions or whatever political tribe they belong to.

This void created by the absence of Arab intellectuals (reduced to talking heads with …

An End to UN Occupation of Haiti, but Abuses Remain

Last week the UN Security Council finally voted to end its military occupation of Haiti. Instigated by the US, France and Canada, it has been responsible for countless abuses during the past 13 years.

At the same time as the Security Council voted to draw down its military force (a police contingent will remain), the Associated Press published an in-depth investigation confirming widespread sexual abuse by UN troops in Haiti. The foreign soldiers had sex with minors, sodomized boys and raped young girls. An internal UN report uncovered by AP implicated 134 Sri Lankan troops in a sex ring that …

Karmic Disaster: The Debt Comes Due

Hindu scriptures teach that anyone who kills or causes harm to other sentient beings is in for a big dose of Bad Karma as a result. The shit can hit the fan in this lifetime or in some future reincarnation, but it will happen. Not that I personally subscribe to Hinduism or any other religion, but I do believe that there’s a large dose of merit in their world view. A lot can be said for lifestyles which involve veganism and peaceful coexistence with our fellow beings. Stray from the path, commit the crime, and you’ll eventually do the time. …

Nuking The West Coast: BBC News Massively Hypes North Korean “Threat” To The United States

One of the longstanding functions of the ‘mainstream’ media is to channel government ideology about who are ‘the Good Guys’ – that’s ‘us’ and our allies – and who are the ‘Bad Guys’ – ‘Putin’s Russia’, ‘Saddam’s Iraq’, ‘Chavez’s Venezuela’, ‘Gaddafi’s Libya’ (until rehabilitated for a while by Blair) and North Korea.

Of course, ‘we’ often help ‘Bad Guys’ into power, even give them poison gas, sell them arms, and support them through thick and thin. But let’s put all that to one side.

Consider a recent …

“Making America Great Again” by Reducing the World to Ashes?

In the event of a nuclear war, there will be no chances, there will be no survivors – all will be obliterated… nuclear devastation is not science fiction – it is a matter of fact. The world now stands on the brink of the final abyss. Let us all resolve to take all possible practical steps to ensure that we do not, through our own folly, go over the edge.

— Former First Sea Lord, Louis Mountbatten (1900-1979) Strasbourg, 11 May 1979

As US threats ratchet up towards North Korea, the latest hinging on the accusation that the country attempted a further …

Serving the Rich, Elite and Criminally Insane Capitalists: The Unsilencing of Intellect

Riffing with Intellectual Harbinger of the Anti-Bourgeoise, John Steppling

One of the toughest things I’ve been facing is the bald-faced collective delusion of fellow Americans. From the rank and file social worker, to even the people I serve – homeless, street people, addicted, just out of prison – to the creeps at the top, like my own Oregon’s Phil Knight, Nike guy, all the way through to the politicians, bureaucrats, and those vaunted intellectuals. These delusions center around capitalism, the buy-sell world of service economies, deep into the transnational crap that is the under girder of America’s engines of the rich. Off-shoring, outsourcing, sweat-shopping, disruptive economies bigger in scope …

Israel’s Festivities will Highlight 50 Years of Shame

Israel is to hold lavish celebrations over the coming weeks to mark the 50th anniversary of what it calls the “liberation of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights” – or what the rest of us describe as the birth of the occupation.

The center piece event will take place in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. The West Bank settlement “bloc” enjoys wide support in Israel, not least because it was established long ago by the supposedly left-wing Labour Party, now heading the opposition.

The jubilee is a potent reminder that for Israelis, most of whom have never known a time before the …

Israel and Saudi Arabia: a Match Made in Heaven (or in Washington)

Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Israeli PM Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu
If we were to believe all the propaganda we would think (the occupation state of) Israel and (the medieval kingdom of) Saudi Arabia were mortal foes. On one hand we have an entity that describes itself as a blooming democracy, an oasis of civilisation amongst barbaric foes, and on the other a royal family that presents itself as the natural leader of the Arabs. Given that there is no greater cause in the Middle East than that of …

Attack Against Syria and the Region Speaking Up

Destroyed Aleppo (Photo by Yayoi Segi)
Beirut — As the US Tomahawk missiles were raining on Syria, the entire Middle East was shaken to its core. Here, even the name itself – Syria – triggers extremely complex and often contradictory sets of emotions. To some, Syria is synonymous with pride and a determined struggle against Western imperialism, while others see it as an uncomfortable reminder of how low their own rulers and societies have managed to sink, serving foreign interests and various neo-colonialist designs.

Many people are hiding their heads …

The Costa Rica Lesson

I recently returned from a holiday in Costa Rica, a country I’d wanted to visit for some years. I bought two T-shirts there. One has an image of an automatic rifle with a flower sticking out its barrel and the words “NO ARMY” written across it in the colour of blood. The other T-shirt has an image of an artillery piece, with the words “No army since 1948” on it.

Just after Costa Rica had its revolution in 1948, one of the first things its new visionary leader Jose Figueres Ferrer did was scrap its army. Contrary to what one might …

Resistance in the 21st Century and the Futility of Reforming the Fundamentally Vicious

Out of necessity, organized resistance to the Trump administration’s authoritarian and hyper-violent policy agenda is growing rapidly, both domestically and internationally. Within this context, it is important for those of us who engage in individual and collective acts of resistance – based on our varying proximities to power structures – to consider what and how we resist by taking into account larger structural considerations.

A Brief History of Resistance in the United States

The political, economic and cultural foundations of the United States have consistently proven over time to have a unique ability to legally pacify, repress, vanquish, enslave, murder and inflict …

The Mother of All Bombs Goes to Afghanistan

These are the times where magnitude and size matters. Bombs in number with much heft and presence are being sought to root out those non-state jihadists of the Prophet, destructively maiming and killing all before them in the name of the next heavily drawn out cause.

On Friday, United States armed forces busied themselves with dropping such a weapon of truly lethal size against a country that has had more bombs directed at it than worthy industrial incentives in half a century.

It seemed to rival the announcement of a birth, and it was, in fact, sanctified as the “Mother of All …

New Facts of the White Helmets’ Stage in Khan Shaykhun

On April 13, The Syrian Observer published an article related to the fact that the chemical attack in Khan Shayhun was staged by the White Helmets.

Tuesday, April 4, the White Helmets activists reported the chemical attack in the town of Khan Shaykhun of Idlib province. The national coalition of the Syrian opposition and revolutionary forces was the first to report 80 dead and 200 injured.

In fact, this chemical attack was a premeditated false flag operation aimed to blame the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons against civilians.

A lot of high-ranking opposition journalists took part in this bloodcurdling staging …

We Need Better and More Diverse Coverage on Syria

Open Letter to Amy Goodman and Democracy Now!

Dear Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!

We are a group of military veterans who are hoping NOT to be blown off the face of this planet in a nuclear exchange precipitated by events in Syria.

The U.S. is close to confronting nuclear-armed Russia over Syria.  This situation was triggered by the recent Assad-Did-It-Again story, “gassing his own people,” that we first heard in 2013.  Once again evidence was lacking, and worse, there was a total lack of interest in finding evidence, or in asking the obvious questions of motive, cui bono?

As former military persons, we see no military advantage or rationale for …

US airstrike on Daesh Poison Gas Depot leaves Many Civilians Dead

Reports coming out of Syria suggest that hundreds of people, including civilians, have lost their lives after an airstrike by the US-led coalition hit poison gas supplies belonging to Daesh terrorists.

The General Command of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces, in a statement released on Thursday, announced that the airstrike had taken place in the eastern village of Hatla, near the city of Dayr al-Zawr, at around 5:30 p.m. local time (1530 GMT) the previous day.

The statement, published by Syria’s official news agency, SANA, added that a cloud of thick white smoke covered the area after the strike, before it …

On the Question of Violence and Nonviolence As a Tactic and Strategy Within the Social Protest Movement

An Anarchist Perspective

(Author’s Note: The essay was first published not so long after the Battle of Seattle as a pamphlet by Black Clover Press, Montpelier VT, 2001. It has not previously been available in other formats.)
Peaceful protesters attacked by police in Seattle, 1999
Introduction

Militancy and direct action are not only necessary tactical tools for the anarchist left, but, when correctly implemented, they are also the facilitators of inspiration and motivation for both those involved with the act in question and those who observe the act in question. It is such …

Pompeo, Power and WikiLeaks

Vested interests deflect from the facts that WikiLeaks publishes by demonizing its brave staff and me.

— Julian Assange, The Washington Post, April 11, 2017.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s current director, Mike Pompeo, has a view of history much like that of any bureaucrat as understood by the great sociologist Max Weber. The essential, fundamental purpose of bureaucracy is a rationale to manufacture and keep secrets. Transparency and accountability are its enemies. Those who challenge that particular order are, by definition, defilers and dangerous contrarians.

On Thursday, April 13, Pompeo was entertained by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, an opportunity of …

Lap Dog Politicians Fail Australia Yet Again

One of the more profoundly depressing consequences of the aftermath of the American missile attack on the al Shayrat Syrian air base is having to acknowledge how terminally stupid our politicians are.  Either that, or they are so captivated by the dictates of United States foreign policy that they follow blindly in its wake, which is a different kind of stupidity.

Only the independent MP Andrew Wilkie (12 April 2017) and Green spokesperson Scott Ludlum (media release 7 April 2017) have publicly questioned the dominant media narrative.

There are at least four alternative narratives available to explain what happened in what …

Now Only Rational Thinking Can Save The World

Scenario ONE: Imagine that you are on board a ship, which is slowly sinking. There is no land in sight, and your radio transmitter is not functioning properly. There are several people on board and you care for them, deeply. You don’t want this to be the end of ‘everything’.

What do you do?

A) You fix for yourself a nice portion of fried rice with prawns
B) You turn on the TV set, which is still somehow miraculously working, and watch the news about the future Scottish referendum or on BREXIT
C) You jump into the water immediately, try to …

“Mr. Madison’s War”: An Imperialist War of Conquest

Part Two of a Two Part Series

• Read Part One here

The United States (US) government, only 23 years old, had declared war on the British Empire, beginning Mr. Madison’s War. This article continues the series about this war, showing that the largely agrarian US engaged in an imperialist war, lasting from June 18, 1812 until February 18, 1815, with an economically and commercially superior foe, the Royal Crown.

While some say that the war was the last act of decolonization for the US or a “second war” of independence, this is not true. It was more about “nine invasions of foreign sovereign territory,” fighting over expansion …