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Dead Zone: The Deeper Poison Beyond the NSA Revelations

“Thanks for a nation of finks” — William BurroughsAs the days and weeks go crawling by, bringing now and then another little drib, another little drab of revelations from the storehouse of secrets that Edward Snowden pried loose from the National Security Agency, the story turns slowly but surely from one of scandal and outrage bidding fair to trouble the well-cushioned bottoms on the seat of power to a dimmed, drained subject of “debate” amongst powerful insiders. Indeed, we are now told by the dolers of the dribs that “debate” was the sole purpose of the exercise in the first

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Ham and Iron: America’s Middle East Policies in Action

1.As I’ve said many times before, anyone who wants trenchant insights into the realities of the Middle East — including its ever-fraught interactions with the Potomac Imperium —  should be reading “the Angry Arab,” As’ad AbuKhalil. Just today, AbuKhalil provides two telling examples of the Imperium’s arrogance, indifference and — in the case of John Kerry — murderous ignorance in its ham-handed and iron-fisted attempts to bend the region and its peoples to the Domination Agenda of our American elites. First, AbuKhalil passes along a report from a correspondent on the latest manifestation of our noble Nobel Peace Prize Laureate’s

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The Dreams: Hidden Reefs and Sounding Brass

An old, old story, and fresh as the day’s news: “I knew a precious thing had cracked, and could not be put right”: Sounding Brass. Also, in light of the recent outpouring of NSA revelations, a reprise of a Cassandraish prevision penned some time ago: We know your number/We read your mail/From outer space/We can follow your trail/But don’t you worry/Don’t you fret/Our social networks/Ain’t hurt nobody yet….

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Requiem for a Whistleblower

Here is my latest, slightly expanded column for the print version of CounterPunch, which came out last month. A former colleague of mine died recently, although I didn’t know he had been my colleague until I read his obituary in the New York Times last month — six months after his obscure and unmarked death in the small East Tennessee town where I’d worked as a reporter. Charles Varnadore and I worked together for five years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, part of the vast research complex that midwifed the atom bomb. Curiously enough, my grandfather had helped build Oak

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There Will Be Blood: Analogies and Analyses of the Syrian Situation

As often noted here, one of the very best analysts of the Middle East writing today is the acerbic and astute As’ad AbuKhalil, the “Angry Arab.” Below he offers up a critique of Noam Chomsky’s recent take on the situation in Syria, and finds it marred by false analogies: I don’t know who Chomsky talks to learn about the Syrian non-revolution and I don’t know what he is relying on to follow-up developments on Syria but he seems to me woefully ill-informed.  I am quite displeased with his analysis here.  The worst part is when he draws an analogy to

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Gas and Air: The Foundations of Western Moral Authority on the Use of Chemical Weapons

As we all know, the use of chemical weapons — or even the alleged use of chemical weapons — is the most heinous crime that can be committed by a government. It is worse that murdering civilians at weddings and funerals with drone missiles; it is worse than murdering teenage children for the crime of having fathers who had earlier been murdered for uncharged, unproven crimes; it is worse than launching wars of aggression on false premises that result in the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians; it is worse that imposing murderous sanctions that cause the unnecessary

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Moloch’s Minions: Preparing More Slaughter in Syria

At some point in the next few hours or days, it is likely that deeply damaged collection of moral cretins known as “Western leaders” will sit down behind the gargantuan phalanxes of heavily armed security that keeps their well-wadded rumps safe and cozy and give the nod to some close-cropped flunky laden with medals for mendacious time-serving and relentless butt-covering to launch the airstrikes that will kill a large number of human beings who had absolutely nothing to do with the alleged chemical weapon attacks allegedly carried out by Syrian government forces. That is to say, the leaders of the

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Bread, Sex, Culprits, Exile, Goodness: Down the Road We Go

A brief compendium to contemplate while the Burlesque disappears into the rural deeps for a time. First, a reprise piece for Chelsea Manning, who, as many have pointed out, has been given a far harsher sentence for revealing war crimes than Lt. William Calley and his My Lai massacrers were given for actually committing war crimes. 35 years for leaking documents — while the mass murderers, drone bombers and death-squadding assassins of the Potamac Empire live free in pomp and privilege. “Good corporal, good corporal, what have you done? You’ve laid out the dead in the light of the sun.”

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Dissent, Disappointment and Draconian Rule: Bradley Manning’s Plea and the Fight to Be Human

(UPDATED BELOW) Two points about Bradley Manning’s mitigation plea, which, the Guardian tells us, “will disappoint Manning’s thousands of supporters around the world, who believe he undertook a courageous act of whistleblowing because his conscience demanded it.” First point: as Arthur Silber has noted, the importance of these ‘whistleblower’ cases has nothing to do with the personalities involved. Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden: it doesn’t matter what kind of people they are, if you think they are ‘heroes’ or ‘bad people,’ if you’d ‘like to have a beer with them’ or would run a mile if you saw them

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United We Fall: Our Egregious E Pluribus Unum

Below is a version of my most recent column for the print version of Counterpunch. *** It is a commonplace of our commentariat to say that American society is deeply divided — indeed, perhaps more polarized than it’s ever been before. Of course, this leaves out any number of emblematic events that might possibly undermine their blazing insight — like, say, the Civil War, Haymarket, Selma, Little Rock, Watts or Kent State, to name but a very few historical instances of “polarization.” But then, willful ignorance has always been the coin of our realm, the golden ticket to the circles

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