Forever Under Construction

Reality check

Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Militarism, USA, War on Terror by homeyra on June 6, 2009

TAKE A POLL: Regarding Iraq and Afghanistan, Is Obama “Old Wine in a New Bottle?”

Moyers - Scahill

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A day after President Obama’s speech in Cairo, Bill Moyers sits down with award-winning investigative journalist and author Jeremy Scahill to examine what are the facts on the ground and how the situation is actually developing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Make no mistake. We do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and now Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.

Jeremy Scahill: “If the United States, as President Obama says, doesn’t want a permanent presence in Afghanistan, why allocate a billion dollars to build this fortress like embassy, similar to the one in Baghdad, in Islamabad, Pakistan? Another one in Peshawar. Having an increase in mercenary forces. Expanding the US military presence there.

[...] President Obama making it a point, regularly, to say, “We’re going to have Guantánamo closed by early next year.” The fact is that, at Bagram, we see an expansion. They’re spending $60 million to expand that prison. You have hundreds of people held without charges.

[...] Not to mention these regular attacks that we’re seeing inside of Pakistan that have killed upwards of 700 civilians using these robotic drones since 2006. Including 100 since Obama took power.

[...] If this was about fighting terrorism, it would be viewed as a law enforcement operation where you are going to hunt down criminals responsible for these actions and bring them in front of a court of law. This is turning into a war of occupation.

[...] We live in amidst the most radical privatization agenda in the history of our country.

[...] They said that the Taliban are using civilians as human shields. And that’s why so many civilians have been killed. Their source for that was an Air Force intelligence officer who was allowed to speak on as though it was a Pentagon press release. I think that this is sick. Where you turn war, essentially, into a videogame that can be waged by people half a world away. What this does, these drones, is they it sanitizes war. It means that we increase the number of people that don’t have to see that war is hell on the ground. And it means that wars are going to be easier in the future because it’s not as tough of a sell.

[...] Well, I think that what we have seen happen, as a result of this incredible reliance on private military contractors, is that the United States has created a new system for waging war. Where you no longer have to depend exclusively on your own citizens to sign up for the military and say, “I believe in this war, so I’m willing to sign up and risk my life for it.” You turn the entire world into your recruiting ground. You intricately link corporate profits to an escalation of warfare and make it profitable for companies to participate in your wars. In the process of doing that you undermine U.S. democratic processes. And you also violate the sovereignty of other nations, ’cause you’re making their citizens in combatants in a war to which their country is not a party. I feel that the end game of all of this could well be the disintegration of the nation state apparatus in the world. And it could be replaced by a scenario where you have corporations with their own private armies. To me, that would be a devastating development. But it’s on. It’s happening on a micro level. And I fear it will start to happen on a much bigger scale. [...]” Link to the video and transcript

Jeremy Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army , he blogs at Rebel Reports.

The Lancet survey

Posted in Iraq, USA, War on Terror by homeyra on May 26, 2009

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Red and white flags, representing Iraqi and American deaths, sit in the grass quad of The Valley Library on the Corvallis, Oregon campus of Oregon State University. As part of the traveling Iraq Body Count exhibit (not related to the Iraq Body Count project) the flags aim to “raise awareness of the human cost of the Iraq War.” The exhibit uses The Lancet as its primary source.

Liberated. Twice.

Posted in Afghanistan, War on Terror by homeyra on May 11, 2009

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A friend emailed me the above pictures. This is what Afghanistan looked liked some 40 years ago. The country has since been liberated. Twice – by both present day and former superpowers.

Photographer Luke Powell remembers Afghanistan of the 70’s: “No motor vehicles, no power lines. Everything was homemade and everyone was happy and no one was hungry. It was the most beautiful place

Harvesting-opium_1396912i

Telegraph.co.uk: An Afghan man harvests opium in a poppy field while US soldiers look on in a village in Golestan district, Farah province, Afghanistan

Some numbers*: Afghanistan has become the absolute leader in narcotics production, producing 93% of the world’s entire opiates… over 70,000 hectares of land being cultivated [...] Since the Taliban regime was overthrown in the 2001 U.S.-led campaign, Afghanistan, with almost all its arable land being used to grow opium poppies remains the world’s leading producer of heroin.

*** The Poppy Palace – Electric Politics interviews Sibel Edmonds: “It is puzzling to observe that in reporting this major artery of terrorists’ funding, the U.S. mainstream media and political machine do not dare to go beyond the poppy fields of Afghanistan and the fairly insignificant low level Afghan warlords overseeing the crops.”

More at Let Sibel Edmonds speak

Graig Murray: Britain is protecting the biggest heroin crop of all time

Previous post: All is well in Kabul markets

Two links

Posted in Afghanistan, Financial crisis, Iraq, Pakistan, War on Terror by homeyra on May 1, 2009

Two very interesting posts by P U L S E:

The Way We Were and What We Are Becoming: An interview with Dr. Michael Hudson, President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and author of Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1968 and 2003) and of The Myth of Aid (1971).

Hudson examines the causes and consequences of the present financial crisis, its similarities with the destruction of post-Soviet economy, the “Free Market”, etc. (59mn podcast)

Obama and Afghanistan: Are Bush wars becoming Obama’s wars? Marwan Bishara (Aljazeera program Empire) and his guests including Seymour Hersh, examine the path from Iraq to Afghanistan and into Pakistan. At the beginning of the second video, we learn how the El Salvador option was applied in Iraq. (Two 20 mn videos)

Appetite for false intelligence

Posted in War on Terror by homeyra on April 29, 2009

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The Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony
by Scott G. Brooks

Thanks RickB for posting Craig Murray’s Evidence on YouTube!: The entire appearance by former British Ambassador Craig Murray before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.
An excerpt from video 5 – minute 6, emphasis are mine:

“I like to put this to you and I like you to consider this seriously. I was seeing intelligence in Uzbekistan, which I have told you, the purpose of it was to exaggerate the Islamic treat in central Asia, at the same time – and this is absolutely contemporary with the intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was exaggerated back then, at the same time that waterboarding was happening in the US, which we know now was aimed partly, or largely aimed at persuading Al Qaeda to confess to a link with Iraq.
There was a vote for false intelligence. There was a vote for false intelligence, and the false intelligence built up the rationales of the war in Iraq and the rationales of the alliance with Uzbekistan […] I am arguing that the purpose of the complicity with torture was because, torture gives you intelligence which is false, torture does not give you the truth, and there was an appetite for false intelligence and this is the truth.”

Craig Murray’s blog

Youtube at its best

Posted in Philosophy, Poetry, War on Terror by homeyra on February 15, 2009

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Thanks Sophia for directing me toward Alain Badiou, and thanks 99 for this series of great links.

Here are 9 short videos: Alain Badiou debating with Cornel West. Although Badiou is much less mediatic than Zižek, you won’t be disappointed taking the time to hear it all.

An excerpt of Badiou’s talk (video 6, mn 3)

“[…] and we have to find a new way for peace. A peace which is not only the end of the war, but a peace, which is beyond the war itself.
You know today we have a question of what is really peace. Peace is not the contrary of war. Peace is something beyond the war, and the key is to be inside the truth, inside of the process of the truth, inside a new subject, to become a part of a new subject.
And so we have to be inside the truth and we have not to receive the truth from outside.
We have to be a part of the becoming of the new truth, of the new political subject, and not to receive passively from outside this subject.
And maybe this conception is more poetic than purely philosophic. I think the conception of incorporation to a new the truth, the conception of the possibility of something impossible, the conception to become something eternal in time itself, in the realm of the time, is for the moment a poetic conception.[...]“

Why do you kill Zaid?

Posted in Books, Iraq, War on Terror by homeyra on October 8, 2008

Jürgen Todenhöfer’s book is an attempt to shed light on the other side of the story. It reports on how Iraqi people talk about the war, [...] . When neither helicopters nor humvees have been “cleansing” and securing the area for hours beforehand, for politicians and press convoys. “Why do you kill, Zaid?” gives a voice to those whom Pentagon press officers never take their visitor delegations to see – members of the Iraqi resistance. The book attempts to explain why this resistance is not only fighting against American troops, but also against Al Qaeda terrorists and the foreign-backed private militias of Iraqi politicians. It aims to clarify the fundamental differences between resistance fighters and terrorists. [...]“

Dr. Jürgen Todenhöfer – an executive at a major European media group, former member of the German parliament, spokesman for the CDU/CSU on development and arms control – has written two bestsellers about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

With the proceeds he established a children’s home in Afghanistan and is building a children’s clinic in Congo. With the royalties from “Why do you kill, Zaid?” Todenhöfer will finance medical aid for Iraqi refugee children (IOM) and an Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation project in the Middle East (MEET).

10 Thesis

German Buys 3 Pages of NY Times to Explain War to Americans

You can help

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Perspective

Posted in War on Terror, World by homeyra on September 14, 2008

anda multi-billion-dollar industry not solving it.

This World map shows the country and the frequency of people dying of starvation, waterborne diseases and AIDS. One person every other second needlessly dies. Approximately 85% of them are children.

Starvation.net

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The Alternative

Posted in War on Terror by homeyra on July 22, 2008

When I think of war, I think of that one picture. I don’t need to see more or read more to recognize its ignominy. If the mainstream media wasn’t that clearly pro – (or hired by) the so called “war on terror”, this one picture would have been enough to move the masses. But we are not there, far from it.

Now they say there is an alternative! Iran: War or Privatization: All Out War or “Economic Conquest”?

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Today I came across the following articles:

  • A BBC-Persian report on a Afghan fashion show in London – why not
  • John Pilger on “How Britain wages war”, highly recommended if you want to get an idea of the scale of trillion dollars deals and some barbaric practices beneath the clean-shaved “civilized” world.

I would be more than happy if I am totally wrong in my impressions and conclusions, or to learn that the picture is also “photoshopped”.

I Don’t Know

Posted in Economics, War on Terror by homeyra on April 28, 2008

Henry C. K. Liu is a regular contributor to Asia Times Online on economics and finance.

I enjoy reading C. K. Liu‘s articles, although I don’t understand half of his financial jargon. What eases my way through his lengthy specialized writings is that the social, cultural, historical, even artistic and philosophical aspects are always included. That’s where I got some idea about the history of central banking, the Bretton Woods regime and its collapse in 1971, the fiat currency, the dollar hegemony, etc.

A few days ago I came across the following article: The Global Economy in Transition presented in a conference in 2003. Here is Henry C. K. Liu‘s take on the “war on terrorism“:

“[…] The hollowing out of America’s manufacturing and digital sectors becomes a compelling rationale for US control of the world to protect its offshore sourcing. After all, wars have been fought to protect the supply of oil in places where nature has placed it; why should the United States not fight to protect where the “free” market puts its manufacturing and data processing? In this strategy, the US needs only two things: a powerful military with instant power-projection capability everywhere around the globe, and dollar hegemony to create dollars that can buy all the things that the world makes for export to the US. The British Empire was rationalized by the need of Britain to import food as domestic agriculture became crowded out by industry. Similarly, the US Empire will be rationalized by the need of the United States to import manufactured goods as domestic production is crowded out by financial services.

There are only two difficulties with this grand strategy: 1) to build the ideal empire, US workers will have to be retrained for the service sector and large numbers of both blue- and white-collar workers will fall through the cracks – and that creates problems in a democracy; and 2) the rest of the world is not stupid and may not take it lying down. So freedom and democracy at home will have to be modified in the name of homeland security and foreign resistance will have to be crushed in the name of freedom and democracy. The “war on terrorism” is tailor-made for this grand strategy.”

The complete Henry C. K. Liu, AToL
C. K. Liu’s website

Perfect Alibi

Posted in Art, War on Terror by homeyra on March 24, 2008

Imagine you are a Bangladeshi born American and, by some mistake, you happen to be on the terrorist watch list. What would you do?

After an incident at the Detroit airport in 2002, 35-year-old artist Hasan Elahi has found a solution: he has put his entire life online.

Clive Thomspon explains:
Hasan Elahi whips out his Samsung Pocket PC phone and shows me how he’s keeping himself out of Guantanamo. He swivels the camera lens around and snaps a picture of the Manhattan Starbucks where we’re drinking coffee. Then he squints and pecks at the phone’s touchscreen. “OK! It’s uploading now […] It’ll go public in a few seconds.” Sure enough, a moment later the shot appears on the front page of his Web site, TrackingTransience.

There are already tons of pictures there. Elahi will post about a hundred today — the rooms he sat in, the food he ate, the coffees he ordered. Poke around his site and you’ll find more than 20,000 images stretching back three years. Elahi has documented nearly every waking hour of his life during that time. He posts copies of every debit card transaction, so you can see what he bought, where, and when. A GPS device in his pocket reports his real-time physical location on a map.

Elahi‘s site is the perfect alibi. Or an audacious art project. Or both…”
read more

TrackingTransience

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