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Total number of comments: 11 (since 2013-11-28 16:32:40)


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  • Can the Boston Bombings increase our Sympathy for Iraq and Syria, for all such Victims?
    • I doubt Iraqis are all that concerned about US sympathy or media coverage. Simple comprehension, however, that their entire society was cratered, that the horribly regular bombings are a direct result of the US...

  • The Generals try to stop an Iran War
    • student anonymous 02/03/2012 at 12:13 pm

      last year we were assigned the following article. it basically explains that when israel and it lobby say Iran Iran Iran and Iran they in fact have in mind cleansing in the west bank. the links between israel's domestic and regional dots do not seem to be linked enough. best anyway

      link to

  • Beeman: Letter from Iran
    • The really sad thing about this letter is the choice of the writer to overlook the obvious major concerns of human rights.

      There is much discussion about the fashion merits of the hejab. The major omission is that women are *forced* to wear it in public. Of course, this is just indicative of the general status of women in Iran who, for example, cannot work or travel abroad without their husband's approval.

      The letter focuses on the political discussion about the economy as well as about US issues. The major omission is that of course they cannot talk publicly about the critical issues of Iranian politics like the rule of Islam, or the legitimacy of the last elections. Free speech is forbidden in Iran.

      It is sad that many in the west have become so used to their basic human rights and so obsessed with the remaining small issues (e.g. Gay marriage), that they completely forget the order of magnitude differences between these issues and what the poor people of Iran (and many other dictatorships) have to endure. I wonder how many of the participants were Gay or Lesbian, but I am sure that non were openly so: in Iran this is routinely punishable by Flogging, and legally so by the death sentence too.

      Does the writer really not see that the conference topic "Human Rights and Cultures: Cultures in Support of Humanity" really *is* ironic and that the fact that the "Non Aligned Movement Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, has assembled quite a large and stellar international group of scholars, NGO officers, Peace Movement functionaries and government officials for this" is even more ironic?

  • Obama: The Tides of War are Receding
    • Setting aside the exceptionalism, jingoism and deceit that are demanded of our rhetoricians in chief, when he speaks of nation building at home and restoring (at least some semblance of) the American dream, he’s on the right track. Though I’d note that even with actual (as opposed to faux) liberal governance, any such dream will be a pale imitation of those within reach of our parents or grandparents.

      In any event, there’d be a lot more money for US nation building, a new WPA or CCC, if defense spending wasn’t expected to continue to take up 20% of the federal budget. But purty speeches need not trouble with reality.

  • The End of the Beginning in Afghanistan
  • Repeal the PATRIOT Act is the Lesson of Bush White House Spying
    • Just how corrupt has our whole governmental apparatus become, that clear violations of our Constitution are blithely accepted?

      Damningly rhetorical

  • Ret'd. CIA Official Alleges Bush White House Used Agency to "Get" Cole
    • Something you said about John Tyner and his treatment at the hands of the TSA some months back:

      "Don’t submit to the police state, and we’ll come after you. This isn’t a punishment for Tyner, it is a message to everyone else"

      It's time to recognize what most of us are--dissidents. The less anonymous, the higher the profile, the more hostile/adversarial to permanent state power (regardless of superficial differences between elected officials) you are...

      And note that Ellsberg recently said:

      "Richard Nixon, if he were alive today, would feel vindicated that all the crimes he committed against me–which forced his resignation facing impeachment–are now legal. " (Thanks to the Patriot Act and other laws passed in recent years.) And he says all presidents since Nixon have violated the constitution, most recently President Obama, with the bombing of Libya."

  • Libya not a War for Oil
    • PS Prof. Cole, but are you familiar with Donald Shojai. Taught at San Diego State for most of his career. Wrote The Prison Papers of Bozorg Alavi under the name Donne Raffat?

    • Prof. Cole,

      I'm hardly an expert but I was struck by the challenge: "Explain the British in Gambia via economic imperialism."

      And my immediate reaction was how else would one explain it. Whether it eventually became a remnant of a dwindling African empire (think I read that it was the first and last British colony) doesn't negate their orig. intents.

      I do agree with the first sentence here:

      "They probably kept it as a chess piece in an imperial match with France. It wasn’t economic."

      However, can the former chess move be divorced from a larger imperialistic/econ. mission? And here we come to Libya, which per Greenwald's post (yesterday I think it was) may or may not be about oil. That seems a tad reductive--I'd say it's about maintaining the right to dictate policy in that huge, vitally strategic region (a la Gambia in W. Africa).

      I live in an Asian nation that provides no resources to my homeland, yet 30,000 troops remain--the notion that their role is decoupled from the US empire's larger ambitions (resources, markets, geopolitical positioning vis a vis China) is a bit off, don't you think? I know, way too Chomsky-ish.

    • More from Roosevelt:

      “The natives were just getting to work. In rags…glum-looking.…They told us the natives would look happier around noontime, when the sun should have burned off the dew and the chill. I was told the prevailing wages for these men was one and nine. One shilling ninepence. Less than fifty cents [a day] ... Besides which, they’re given a half-cup of rice. Dirt. Disease. Very high mortality rate. I asked. Life expectancy—you’d never guess what it is. Twenty-six years. Those people are treated worse than the livestock. Their cattle live longer!”

      Sorry I didn't have time to include the source last night.

      The World and a Very Small Place in Africa: A History of Globalization in Niumi, The Gambia, by Donald R. Wright

      As well, here's this from Wiki regarding GB's history in the region:

      The 1783 Treaty of Paris gave Great Britain possession of The Gambia, but the French retained a tiny enclave at Albreda on the north bank of the river, which was ceded to the British in 1857.

      As many as 3 million slaves may have been taken from the region during the three centuries that the transatlantic slave trade operated. It is not known how many slaves were taken by Arab traders prior to and simultaneous with the transatlantic slave trade. Most of those taken were sold to Europeans by other Africans; some were prisoners of intertribal wars; some were sold because of unpaid debts, while others were kidnapped. Slaves were initially sent to Europe to work as servants until the market for labor expanded in the West Indies and North America in the 18th century. In 1807, slave trading was abolished throughout the British Empire, and the British tried unsuccessfully to end the slave trade in The Gambia. They established the military post of Bathurst (now Banjul) in 1816.

      Despite their later efforts to ban the trade, I see no support for "bzzz. Wrong answer"

    • "You might be interested to know that the British Empire in the 19th century exerted significant efforts to end the slave trade."

      Good heavens, that's wonderful. Did they give back all the profits from the previous centuries and apologize for the minor discomfort to a few Africans? Are you denying that the Brits were rapacious colonialists?

      FDR visited Gambia in 1943 and had this to say:

      'It's the most horrible thing I have ever seen in my life… The natives are five thousand years back of us… The British have been there for two hundred years – for every dollar that the British have put into Gambia, they have taken out ten. It's just plain exploitation of those people.'

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