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Electoral Interference as Reality: A Brief History

We should not forget the encouragement: hack those emails, extolled Donald J. Trump during the presidential campaign in 2016.  It was the first public evocation of its sort, an invitation to a foreign power, in this case Russia, to indulge in cyber activity that has now been described by various US members of congress as “an act of war”.

The excitement has turned, less on the issue of what the material revealed – suitably damaging, impairing and even disabling of, for instance, the Clinton campaign – but the fact of hacking itself.  US sovereignty, goes the cry, was breached.

The sense of …

Historical Materialism Versus Historical Conceptualism

With all its emphasis on materiality, physicality and corporeality, as the prime origin of all conceptualities, historical materialism is, first and foremost, a concept, that is, a philosophy. No matter how much it claims otherwise and continuously stresses the importance and objectivity of materiality as:

A priori and prima causa for all ideas, perceptions and consciousness, historical materialism always resorts to language, philosophy and concepts in order to elucidate its principles, its conclusions, and in addition, in order to validate its fundamental premises etc. In actuality, historical materialism is a theory of history that relies principally on a material conception of

Rehabilitating Bush: The Deadly Illusion Of Corporate Dissent

The title of the editorial said it all:

The Guardian view on George W Bush: a welcome return.

In a tongue-in-cheek, almost jovial, piece the Guardian unsubtly rehabilitated a man responsible for crimes that are among the most egregious in all history.

Bush was responsible for the destruction of an entire country, the killing of one million Iraqis, the wounding and displacement of countless millions more. The car bombs, the suicide bombs, the mass executions, the dead-of-night disappearances, the blow torch and electric drill tortures, the bombs in London and Madrid, the rise of Islamic State, and much, much more …

Turkey and Syria: Blood, Tears, and Walls

A Turkish poet, Mustafa Goren, is standing in the middle of a street in the border town of Karkamış. He raises his index finger towards the sky prophetically, then shouts at me, with his powerful voice:

I’m against the invasion into Syria! Is this another game of the West? These are our children, our boys that are dying there. These are innocent children of Syria that are being blown to pieces. Why do Syrian people have to run to Europe; tell me why? Why do they have to humiliate themselves, to suffer? Syria used to be rich. Those people are even

Our Sons-of-Bitches: Western Media and the Syrian “Rebels”

“He may be a son-of-a-bitch, but he’s our son-of-a-bitch” – this is what U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt is rumoured to have once said about Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza. We examine how the western media, always so full of editorials and columns praising western values (whatever those may be), have covered the Syrian opposition during the Syrian war, focusing on three groups in particular. A closer look at the falsehoods that have been peddled, the inconvenient truths that were left unsaid, and the contradictions that emerged due to low journalistic

Australian Foreign Policy and Israel: An Enduring Disgrace

The recent visit to Australia by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the forthcoming foreign policy White Paper should provide an opportunity for Australia to re-examine its support for the State of Israel.  There is, however, every indication that the current and past levels of support will endure.  The most puzzling question is: why is this the case?

The creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and its subsequent acceptance into the then largely white man’s club of the United Nations has been fraught with difficulties from the outset.

As early as 1950 (Resolution 394) the UN was calling for Arab-Israeli …

Gaza Report: “Not About Justice for Israel’s Victims”

The Israeli leadership shows no signs of heeding the lessons of an official report into the 2014 Gaza war that led to massive destruction and loss of life in the tiny coastal enclave, Palestinians warned this week.

After a two-year inquiry, the State Comptroller, an official Israeli watchdog, published a report on Tuesday into the 51-day war that began in July 2014. It was highly critical of Israeli government officials, as well as Israel’s military and its intelligence services.

In particular, the 200-page document faulted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for failing to address the mounting humanitarian crisis in Gaza – conditions …

Maitreya: The Coming One for all Humanity

A Message of Hope

Bombarded with one negative news story after another, many people feel a pervasive pessimism close at hand. Fear and mistrust, uncertainty, are some of the results. Debilitating conditions, which sap the joy out of life, and strengthen materialistic demands of escape: alcohol, drugs and endless consumerism, which in turn feeds climate change and ecological destruction.

Largely unreported by mainstream media, an extraordinary, albeit controversial story has been spread far and wide over the last 40 years, by Benjamin Crème: A remarkable man, he died on 24th October 2016, aged 94. He would probably have described himself as an artist, a painter, …

How Much Does It Cost to Tell a Lie That Big?

It was quite expected but I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that the US backed propaganda organization, the White Helmets, has effectively received an Oscar for the short documentary film about them.  Which, of course, indicates that it is not just acceptable to twist facts and call a group of people with documented criminal activities “heroes”, but it is acceptable to award them with cultural, artistic and humanistic recognition.  And it is all for the sake of waging a colonial war against a country that does not quite follow the imperial ways.

How …

Lester B. Pearson Enabled Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

It’s no wonder Canadians are confused about their country’s place in the world when a leading advocate of the Palestinian cause praises the official most responsible for dispossessing Palestinians.

In an article about a recent poll showing Canadians have a negative attitude towards Israel, reject the notion criticizing Israel is anti-Semitic and believe the media is biased in Israel’s favour, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East leader Tom Woodley threw in a sop to official mythology. He wrote, “Lester B. Pearson won a Nobel peace prize for his role in mediating the …

The Reality Show Comes to Congress

Let us tear through these Trumpland evocations, the business pitches of this show and publicity act that was the first address by the President to a joint sitting of the US Congress. There were the common themes; there were the contradictory messages; and there was plain, traditional nonsense.  In the undergrowth were olive branches being offered (“The time for trivial fights is behind us”), platitudes, and a few incontestable points.

While he swayed between themes like a confused, erratic metronome, a few could be gathered from Donald J. Trump’s speech.  For one, he kept insisting that he was placing the US …

Trump’s Speech to Congress

After struggling mightily with whether or not to tune in, I was able to overcome my fears and convince myself to sit down in the privacy of my den and watch President Trump present his first address to the U.S. Congress.  What fears?  Well, maybe not quite the same fears that motivated early Christians to outlaw dancing as the “work of the Devil,” but in that general ballpark.

As it turned out, my trepidation was unfounded.  Trump’s “Devil Dance” was both spectacularly tame and, simultaneously, spectacularly ambitious (but not in a good way). Even acknowledging that presidents are allowed to inspirationally …

Descendants of Slaves, Forerunners of Justice

American Muslims Must Stop Apologizing

I had recently been asked to give a talk about “being an American Muslim in the United States.” Although wary of the uses and abuses of the term, I obliged.

Islam is a religion propelled by values, not race nor, theoretically, by blind tribal allegiances, I explained.

The ‘American Muslim’ identity which has been under constant investigation in US media, politics and society is completely different from what American Muslims associate themselves with.

The media’s ‘American Muslim’ is a suspect, a fifth column, potentially dangerous and more receptive to violence than every other collective identity in the US. While this contrasts sharply with …

Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think

Back in Congress following February recess’s raucous town meetings, Republicans are shuddering. Instead of nearly empty auditoriums, where legislators’ staff often outnumber voters in attendance, meetings were packed with citizens determined to block the “take away” agenda of the Trump Republicans.

It takes provocation for people to show up for face-to-face confrontations with their Senators or Representatives. So when out of touch politicians in safe electoral districts are seen attempting to take away people’s health insurance, social security benefits or other protections—watch out! As the New York Times reported: “In the reddest of districts and the smallest of towns, a movement …

Who is the Biggest Climate Change Villain?

Here is an exclusive the Guardian has held back from its readers for 26 years. It is finally published on its pages today.

In 1991 the Shell oil company produced a half-hour film, Climate of Concern, for showing in schools and universities, that set out the dangers of climate change, apparently with unnerving accuracy. The Guardian calls the film “prescient”.

The paper makes the point that Shell knew from scientists precisely what havoc our addiction to oil would wreak on the planet. Despite its own warnings, Shell carried on extracting oil regardless.

But the Guardian misses the real story, probably because the …

Initiating a Global Citizens Movement for the Great Transition

A new publication by The Great Transition Initiative provides an inspiring vision of a more equal, vibrant and sustainable civilisation. From STWR’s perspective, all that it lacks is a sufficient focus on the critical needs of the very poorest citizens—which could ultimately forge the global solidarity needed to bring that new world into being.

Journey to Earthland is a recently released book by the Great Transition Initiative (GTI), a worldwide network of activist scholars with a unique purpose—to advance “a vision and praxis for global transformation”. …

Humans and Subhumans: Weill Cornell and the Death of the American Soul

Walking into 1305 York Avenue for the first time, one feels almost imbued with a sense of awe. Set in the heart of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Weill Cornell Medical Center oozes money, power, and privilege.  Met by smiling residents when you are sent to an examination room, a newcomer could easily fall under the erroneous impression that this is a medical facility governed by principals of humanity, ethics, and compassion for all.

It is only later that one learns that all patients that walk through the door of Weill Cornell are put into two categories: the humans, who are deemed …

Trump’s Military Industrial Complex

This budget will be a public safety and national security budget.

— President Donald J. Trump, February 27, 2017

Humming along the road of American empire to its state of noisy exception, US President Donald J. Trump has promised more money and fuel for a military industrial complex he considers starved and depleted. (As it is, the entire complex remains unbecomingly bloated and far from accountable.)  Before the National Governor’s Association on Monday, he suggested that US military spending increase by some 10 per cent, amounting to some $54 billion.

The themes of the promised budget are old and tried: when in doubt, …

The Digital Storm: Blowing Away the Human Mind

Temporal compression, as it is technically called, is an event that concretely modifies everyone’s daily life at the same time. In the face of this acceleration of daily life, fear has become an environment even in a time of peace. We are living in the accident of the globe, the accident of instantaneous simultaneity and interactivity that have now gained the upper hand over ordinary activities…With the phenomena of instantaneous interaction that are now our lot, there has been a veritable reversal, destabilizing the relationship of human interactions and the time reserved for reflection in favor of the conditioned responses

Edward Percy Girouard: Canada’s Colonial Governor?

As Black History Month draws to an end it is important to reflect on the European conquest of Africa. Is there a connection between colonial rule and the continent’s impoverishment today? Should the beneficiaries of European imperialism pay reparations or at least acknowledge the injustices committed?

When thinking about these questions it’s important to look at my city’s contribution to this history. For example, few are aware that a Montréaler played a key role in expanding British colonial rule across Africa.

Sir Edouard Percy Girouard rose to fame by helping Britain conquer Sudan. The Royal Military College of Canada …