Created on Thursday, 17 January 2008 19:29
Written by Ramzy Baroud
Guantanamo as a Symbol
by Ramzy Baroud
11 January marked the sixth year anniversary of the establishment of the Guantanamo detention camp. Mere months after the start of the 2001 United States invasion of Afghanistan, a large cargo plane landed in a US military base in Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, bringing in a group of hunchbacked, orange-clad, blindfolded, "terrorist" suspects, apparently representing the worst of the worst. They included children and aged men, charity workers, journalists and people who were sold to the US military in exchange for a large bounty.
The debate over this notorious prison has ever since been marred by easy reductionism. The fact is that Guantanamo is neither a warranted compound holding "bad people" -- as explained by the ever straightforward President Bush -- nor is it a dark spot in the otherwise luminous US record for respecting human rights, rules of war and international treaties.
Read more: Guantanamo
If anything, Guantanamo is a mere extension of a long list of untold violations practised by the Bush administration, which condenses the camp to being a symbol of widespread policy predicated on nonchalantly undermining international law.
Created on Thursday, 17 January 2008 18:59
Written by Agence Global
Little Ships of Horror
by Christopher Leslie Brown
very man condemns the [slave] trade in general," wrote the abolitionist Thomas Cooper, of Manchester, England, in 1787, "but it requires the exhibition of particular instances of the enormity of this Commerce, to induce those to become active in the matter, who wish well to the cause upon the whole."Those accounts of the trade that present "particular distress, with its attendant circumstances," are best "calculated to excite compassion."
Read more: Return Journeys: The Slave Ship
Such were the principles of the British campaign against the slave trade at the end of the eighteenth century, as historian Marcus Rediker explains. And this emphasis on itemizing particular instances describes just as well the approach that guides Rediker's breathtaking new book on the eighteenth-century Atlantic slave trade.
Created on Thursday, 17 January 2008 17:26
Written by Tom Engelhardt
The Corpse on the Gurney: The "Success" Mantra in Iraq
By Tom Engelhardt
he other day, as we reached the first anniversary of the President's announcement
of his "surge" strategy, his "new way forward" in Iraq, I found myself thinking about the earliest paid book-editing work I ever did.
An editor at a San Francisco textbook publisher hired me to "doctor" god-awful texts designed for audiences of captive kids.
Each of these "books" was not only in a woeful state of disrepair, but essentially D.O.A. I was nonetheless supposed to do a lively rewrite of the mess and add seductive "sidebars"; another technician then simplified the language to "grade level" and a designer provided a flashy layout and look.
Read more: On Success, the Surge, and the Baghdad Morgue Queue
Created on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 21:57
Written by Scott Horton
Ending a Culture of Impunity for Contract Soldiers
by Scott Horton
oday, Human Rights First released its report â€œPrivate Security Contractors at War: Ending the Culture of Impunityâ€(4MB PDF), which I helped write and edit. The reportâ€™s focus is not on the misdeeds of private military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rather it focuses on the United States Government, and particularly the Department of Justice.
The Bush Administration has crafted a culture of impunity for contractors in Iraq. This can be seen in a number of acts and in a policy of official indifference towards violent crime involving contractors.
The victims of this policy are Iraqi civilians, coalition military, and members of the contractor force themselves. As a senior general in Iraq recently told one of my colleagues: â€œThe three biggest threats faced by American soldiers in Iraq are IEDs, al Qaeda fighters, and unaccountable contractors.â€
Repeated hearings and demands for action from Congress are ignored by the Justice Department.
Read more: Ending a Culture of Impunity
Created on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 20:34
Written by Scott Horton
Brecht â€˜To Those Who Follow in Our Wakeâ€™
by Scott Horton
Wirklich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten!
Das arglose Wort ist tÃ¶richt. Eine glatte Stirn
Deutet auf Unempfindlichkeit hin. Der Lachende
Hat die furchtbare Nachricht
Nur noch nicht empfangen.
Truly, I live in dark times!
An artless word is foolish. A smooth forehead
Points to insensitivity. He who laughs
Has not yet received
The terrible news.
Read more: To Those Who Follow in Our Wake
Created on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 20:15
Written by Chris Cook
Canadians Too Thick to Support Afghanistan Mission
by C. L. Cook
y way of getting to know his new subjects, freshly minted Conservative Defence Minister, Gordon O'Connor summed up what he sees as his greatest challenge: How to get through to the sixty-two percent of Canadians who don't believe the country should be involved with the worsening occupation of Afghanistan.
"The population out there doesn't really understand right now why we're there and what we're doing. You have to say the thing five, six, seven, eight times before it really gets through to a large number of people." - Defence Minister O'Connor instructs the foreign press.
Read more: Canadians 'Too Thick' to Support Afghanistan Mission
[This comes from 2006. The minister has since departed his post. - lex]
Created on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 19:33
Written by Chris Cook
Deceits to Come: A Predictive History of George Bush's Second Term
by C. L. Cook
efore the New Year gets out of its diapers, and in the spirit of pre-emption lately so fashionable, I think it fitting to sketch out a few of the inevitable crimes, and misdemeanors George W. Bush must commit during his second illegitimate term if he is to complete the creation of the nightmare project that is his New American Century.
Read more: A Predictive History of George Bush's Second Term
[I wrote this in the early days of 2005, those halcyon years when war was young and... - lex]
Created on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 18:20
Written by Paul Craig Roberts
Read more: Libertyâ€™s Light and Independent Views
Extinguishing Libertyâ€™s Light and Independent Views
by Paul Craig Roberts
hat was the greatest failure of 2007? President Bushâ€™s â€œsurgeâ€ in Iraq? The decline in the value of the US dollar? Subprime mortgages? No. The greatest failure of 2007 was the newly sworn in Democratic Congress.
The American peopleâ€™s attempt in November 2006 to rein in a rogue government, which has committed the US to costly military adventures while running roughshod over the US Constitution, failed. Replacing Republicans with Democrats in the House and Senate has made no difference.
The assault on the US Constitution by the Democratic Party is as determined as the assault by the Republicans. On October 23, 2007, the House passed a bill sponsored by California Democratic congresswoman Jane Harman, chairwoman of a Homeland Security subcommittee, that overturns the constitutionally guaranteed rights to free expression, association, and assembly.
Created on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 17:57
Nuclear Safety Watchdog Head Fired for "lack of leadership": Minister
by CBC News
ederal Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn defended his decision to fire the head of Canada's nuclear safety watchdog Wednesday, arguing she lost the government's confidence over the way she handled the shutdown of a medical isotope-producing nuclear reactor late last year.
Read more: Canadian Nuke Watchdog Fired Hours Before Testimony
The former head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Linda Keen, will remain a member of the commission. (CBC)
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission president Linda Keen was let go hours before she and Lunn were set to appear before a House committee in Ottawa on Wednesday. Keen subsequently backed out.
Created on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 07:34
Written by Jim Miles
Canada Report 2007 â€“ Part II â€“ Canadaâ€™s Policy on Israel/Palestine
by Jim Miles
Previously I had looked at several factors that tend to indicate that Canadaâ€™s actions with foreign policy and with domestic policy are increasingly following American policies.
One of the areas that receives very little local media attention is the official policy towards the Israeli/Palestine question â€“ seldom do the issues on Israel/Palestine surface in any of the media, and what little does generally follows the lines of Palestinian terrorists, the undemocratic Hamas takeover of Gaza, and the hardships of the Israeli population.
Read more: Canada: Nearly Achieving Sub-Nation Status II