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Today’s Iraq: The Police State That America Built

The Economist — the veritable Bible of the Anglo-American Establishment — paints a grim portrait of the Iraqi regime installed at the point of American guns: a sinkhole of torture, execution, increasing repression and brazen power-grabs. The Shia-led government has overseen a ballooning of the country’s security apparatus. Human-rights violations are becoming more common. In private many Iraqis, especially educated ones, are asking if their country may go back to being a police state. Old habits from Saddam Hussein’s era are becoming familiar again. Torture is routine in government detention centres. “Things are bad and getting worse, even by regional

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Tears of Fire: Mourning in the Macabre Killing Fields of Afghanistan

"I took some flesh home and called it my son." The NATO airstrike that killed more than 70 civilians near Kunduz earlier this month was a deadly confluence of two primary elements that characterize the living hell of Afghanistan: relentless violence and crushing poverty. The villagers were slaughtered while trying to siphon gasoline from two fuel tankers that the Taliban had hijacked from the occupation forces. The trucks were stranded in the ford of a shallow river. Unable to get the trucks out, the insurgents invited local villagers to come gather the fuel for themselves. The prospect of salvaging a

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The Spider’s Egg

Well, it’s that time of year again, when all of us who pontificate in public must offer up a comment on the momentous events of September 11, 2001. I don’t have much to add beyond what I said on the subject two years ago — or even what I said on the subject eight years ago, in a newspaper column written the day after the events, and published on September 14. Both of these pieces are excerpted below.  First, from September 11, 2007: A commenter asked recently about my take on 9/11. In light of the anniversary … I thought

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Healthy Profits: Corporate Money Moves Tell the True Tale of Obama’s “Reforms”

Want to know the  true significance of Barack Obama’s speech on health care "reform" Wednesday night? Then just follow the money: Insurance Stocks Rise After Obama Speech (Truthdig): Remember President Obama’s reference during his health care address to “Wall Street’s relentless profit expectations”? Well, those expectations were apparently met by that same address. Insurance company stocks got a boost from the speech, which foreshadowed the death of the public option and promised to deliver millions of currently “irresponsible” customers. Truthdig then quotes Reuters: Shares of U.S. health insurers climbed on Thursday after analysts saw no “game changers” from President Barack

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NATO Goes Green — for Ill-Gotten Gains

NATO, the "North Atlantic" treaty organization now fighting a slaughterous war in, er, Central Asia, is going green,setting up a new panel of heavy-duty worthies to pursue the strategic ramifications of global climate change. But as David Cronin reports in the Guardian, when militarists mull the ailments of Mother Earth, they aren’t looking to mop the old lady’s brow; they’re trying to shake her down for every little bauble she’s got left. The whole piece is worth reading, but here are some excerpts: Over the past week a group appointed by the new Nato secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen held its

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Metrics of Monstrosity: Free Falling in Afghanistan

The Grand Guignol in Afghanistan plays on, growing ever more absurd and macabre. A farcical election that makes the recent balloting in Iran — the subject of such stern denunciation at the imperial court in Washington — look like an exercise of the strictest civic probity. A "counterinsurgency" doctrine that churns out insurgents like an assembly line, manufacturing discontent with mass murders of civilians, and armed support of vicious warlords and corrupt officials. Influential voices on influential platforms calling for the establishment of an extermination program that killed up to 40,000 innocent people the last time it was tried. A

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Van Overboard: Obama’s Problem With Strong Black Voices

Barack Obama seems to be making quite a habit of throwing overboard any black person associated with him who might have spoken an uncomfortable truth or raised some disturbing questions at some point in their lives. First his lifelong friend and mentor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, now his "green jobs" advisor, Van Jones. As Jonathan Schwarz puts it: Van Jones is a genuinely worthwhile person, from which it follows he’s someone whom America’s right-wing would inevitably go berserk about. Yet if Obama were willing to face down their berserkitude, this would mean I would have to redraw my mental map

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Down the Hatch: A Nation’s Character Revealed

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. — Dwight D. Eisenhower’s speechwriter, 1953. This is the true character of a nation that fights wars of "humanitariam intervention" for the sake of "peace": U.S. Increases Its Share of Worldwide Arms Market (NYT): Despite a recession that knocked down global arms sales last year, the United States expanded its role as the world’s leading weapons supplier, increasing its share to more than two-thirds of all

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Outrageous Behavior: Bogus Bluster From Bigwigs Hides Lockerbie Truth

If you need more proof that we are living in a masquerade, in a world of sham, show and deceit, in a veritable — dare we say it? — empire burlesque, look no further than the recent manufactured "scandal" over the release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the bombing of PanAm 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988. Al-Megrahi, who is dying, was released on "compassionate grounds" by the Scottish government last week, and returned to a hero’s welcome in his native land of Libya. As soon as he was freed, we heard howls of outrage

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The 16th Term: Obama’s New Betrayals are Old, Old Hat

In a new piece at TomDispatch, David Swanson and Tom Englehardt do a good job of encapsulating the continuity that has become the hallmark of our so-called Age of Change. The title says it all: "Bush’s Third Term? You’re Living It." It is a very thorough and detailed demolition job; but the roots of the corruption go much deeper than the current administration – or the last one. But first, a few excerpts (though do go and read the whole piece, especially for the copious links): It sounds like the plot for the latest summer horror movie. Imagine, for a

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