Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Random linkage

I remain preoccupied with other stuff, so short form posting remains in effect for the time being.

* While protests continue at the G8 summit in Scotland, George Monbiot finds it odd that MNCs are being entrusted with helping pull Africa out of poverty. "At the Make Poverty History march," he observes, "the speakers insisted that we are dragging the G8 leaders kicking and screaming towards our demands. It seems to me that the G8 leaders are dragging us dancing and cheering towards theirs."

* Besides African poverty, the other major agenda item for the G8 is climate change. Despite increasing isolation, the Bush administration remains the greatest roadblock to dealing with this issue.

* In the Observer, Peter Beaumont reports that torture in Iraq remains a daily part of the government's activities, even after Hussein's toppling.

* The eventual trial of Saddam Hussein, write Robert Weiner and Alexis Leventhal in the Boston Globe, "may not be great news for the United States. In fact, it may allow the former Iraqi dictator to publicize some obscure but extremely sordid aspects of the US relationship with him and make a very public defense against the validity of the constantly changing reasons for the current Iraq war. The trial could easily backfire and go haywire from the US government's point of view."

* In a survey of Iraq's troubling corruption, Ed Harriman writes in the LRB, "Both Saddam and the US profited handsomely during his reign. He controlled Iraq’s wealth while most of Iraq’s oil went to Californian refineries to provide cheap petrol for American voters. US corporations, like those who enjoyed Saddam’s favour, grew rich. Today the system is much the same: the oil goes to California, and the new Iraqi government spends the country’s money with impunity."

* Dahr Jamail asks, "Who benefits from the ongoing tales of the mysterious Zarqawi?"

* War casualties, from sea to shining sea...

* "We are the new Palestine." According to the NY Times, Iraqis are drawing analogies between the wall that separates the Green Zone in Baghdad and Israel's "apartheid wall" in the West Bank.

* Over the last few months in Palestine, Maureen Clare Murphy writes, "we have seen the death of former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, the election of Mahmoud Abbas, and preparations for the planned Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and a few small settlements in the north of the West Bank. But what we haven't seen is a change to the status-quo, a change that is desperately needed to prevent the situation from collapsing into something far worse than the first and second intifadas."

* Judging from certain media coverage from Afghanistan, FAIR concludes, "Finding two American bodies is more important than killing as many as 17 Afghan civilians."

* The Brits are reportedly shifting a significant number of their troops from Iraq to Afghanistan this Fall.

* Here's an excellent reprise of the recent upheaval in Bolivia from the Narcosphere. The lack of attention this story received (and continues to receive) elsewhere is disgraceful.

* Saul Landau revisits the Newsweek Koran flushing incident, and ties it to other instances where the mass media has been more than willing to play the tune demanded by those in power.

* "With the Supreme Court vacancy left by the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor," Thomas B. Edsall and Dana Milbank of the Washington Post report, "the conservative movement has within its grasp the prize it has sought for more than 40 years: the control of all levers of the federal government."

* "Reporters with a gut fear of breaching confidential sources must fight like tigers to protect them," Bill Israel writes for E&P. "But neither reporters Cooper nor Miller, nor their publications, nor anyone in journalism should protect the behavior of Rove (or anyone else) through an undiscerning, blanket use of the First Amendment that weakens its protections by its gross misuse."

* Ol' pals Chomsky and Zinn drop some knowledge in the Boston Review.

* I thought this interview with Robert Jensen about Horowitzian efforts to curtail freedom in the academy made some excellent points.

* Stan Goff points to this review of Theodore Allen's classic book, The Invention of the White Race. For added background on "whiteness studies," see Peter Kolchin's historiographical review from the JAH.

* There's some required reading on American militarism from Andrew Bacevich and Anatol Lieven, as well as Gareth Porter.