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Bee Season: The Triumph of the Swarm

I don’t get out much — and I for  sure don’t pay too much attention to the incessant navel-gazing that seems endemic to the blogosphere. (“Blogs! Do We Rule, or What?” “Blogs: New Paradigm for a Transformative Age!” “Blogs! Are We Important Yet?”). At the same time, I have no interest in the blog-bashing you see among some of the big beasts in both corporate journalism and even in some “progressive” or “dissident” quarters. Blogs are just another means of delivering information, and like all other such means devised by mind of humankind, they can

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Red in Tooth and Claw: American Terror, Then and Now

Lobster – the British “journal of parapolitics” (or “deep politics,” as its usually called in North America, following the work of Peter Dale Scott) – is an interesting magazine. A very low-key affair, with no pictures, no ads, no color, just columns of plain, small-print, heavily footnoted articles, Lobster comes out twice a year, published in the front room of editor Robin Ramsay’s house in Hull. In a profile in the Sunday Herald a few years back, Ramsay described the magazine this way: “Lobster is a futile remnant

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The Mirror Crack’d, or How Do You Like Your Blue-Eyed Boy Now, Mister Death?

Here’s some good stuff from Winter Patriot, who looks at a recent edition of the Wall Street Journal — dribbling chewed cud about the political race and, as always, slathering on war paint for the attack on Persia — and sees the reflection of our sorry state: So this is post-democratic America in its embryonic form: stupid; distracted; cut adrift from reality; corrupt to the bone; fighting a one-sided war of choice and bragging about it; and torturing people until they get mad at us. And then, if they get mad enough to want to hurt us, we’re morally obliged

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The New New World Order: A First-Strike NATO Über Alles

The Lords of the West have called upon their elder chieftains of war to chart a course that will preserve their power and preeminence in the face of an ever-more uncertain future. The answer? A meaner, leaner NATO, openly committed to a nuclear first-strike strategy and stripped of all the “consensus” garbage that has sometimes hampered the organization’s American bosses.

Five former military headmen from the United States, Britain, Germany, France and Holland have issued a “radical manifesto” calling for “root-and-branch reform” of NATO

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Crime Without Punishment: A News Roundup

There are many stories out there that I would like to be writing about in greater detail, but for the moment, time and circumstances are still telling against me. So here’s a brief look at some important pieces. Check them out for yourself.

Patrick Cockburn on the recent emergence of opium-growing in Iraq, where warlords and militias in the pay of the United States and the oh-so-sovereign Iraqi “government” are turning Diyala province into a mini-narcostate, with the attendant murder, corruption, and violence.

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Heartland Politics: Some Historical Anecdotes

For three summers in the 1970s, I worked for the state of Tennessee: one summer at a state park, and two more on a road maintenance crew for the county office of the state Department of Transportation. These were patronage jobs, as were almost all state jobs; you had to have some kind of pull to get one.  During my last summer on the road crew, the summer jobs set aside for local youth (presumably needy ones) were held by: the son of the former mayor of the county seat; the son of a state

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Ground Zero: On the Front Lines of a War Crime


During the holidays, whilst I was sojourning in that strange land that used to be America (I don’t know what it is now; some kind of cheapjack, funhouse-mirror simulacrum of itself, I guess), I missed one of the most important stories about the ongoing war crime in Iraq to come down the pike in a long time: As the Iraqis See It, by Michael Massing, in the New York Review of Books.

There are mountains of commentary (making Ossa like a wart) that I could

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Risky Business: A Reporter in the Eye of the Storm


Scott Horton has some good and true things to say about my former Moscow Times colleague, Carlotta Gall, who is now a New York Times correspondent, covering Afghanistan and Pakistan. Says Horton:

I first met Gall more than ten years ago when she was working for the BBC covering Central Asia. Even then she was a very rare figure, a Westerner who tenaciously dug in to learn what was going on. Gall never thought the
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Planet Waves: Quick Takes From a Mad, Mad World

There are a lot of important stories whizzing around the ether right now; below are just a few that deserve far more attention than I’m able to give them at the moment. So take a gander yourself and see what you come up with.

One of the best pieces out now is this choice morsel from Winter Patriot, who casts his cold, discerning eye on the knuckleheads and cutouts operating in the shadowlands where politics and terror make the beast with two backs: Inadequate Deception: The Impossible Plots of

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The Subhuman Stain: Federal Court Upholds Torture and Tyranny

Last week, a federal appeals court upheld George W. Bush’s outrageous claims of dictatorial powers, ruling that he and his designated minions can torture captives — seized and held outside any legal process — as they see fit. What’s more, the judges — all of them appointed by one of the Bushes who have stained the Oval Office with their bloodstained filth — further ruled that these captives are “non-persons” in the eyes of the law: subhumans, without rights, without redress — no matter what was done to them, no matter if they were innocent. I was going to write

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