Z Nightly Commentaries
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Recent Z Nightly Commentaries
May 16, 2009
Obama, who has strongly supported the idea of a two-state solution since his campaign, has yet to articulate whether or not he is actually prepared to spend some of his massive political capital to exert serious pressure on Israel towards that end - for example, by conditioning (even some) of the currently committed $30 billion in U.S. military aid to a complete Israeli settlement freeze in the West Bank. If he means it, this could be the moment. Netanyahu's campaign rejection of the two-state solution, his rejection of continuing the current Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy and instead limiting negotiations to economic issues, and his extreme racist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman all serve to make a serious U.S. effort towards Israeli accountability not only timely, but less politically costly than ever.
May 10, 2009
When Obama and his followers say, as they do repeatedly, that he has "banned torture", this is a statement they have no right to make. The executive orders concerning torture leave loopholes, such as being applicable only "in any armed conflict" What about in a "counter-terrorism" environment? And the new administration has not categorically banned the outsourcing of torture, such as renditions, the sole purpose of which is to kidnap people and send them to a country to be tortured. Moreover, what do we know of all the CIA secret prisons, the gulag extending from Poland to the island of Diego Garcia? How many of them are still open and abusing and torturing prisoners, keeping them in total isolation and in indefinite detention? Total isolation by itself is torture; not knowing when, if ever, you will be released is torture. And the non-secret prisons? Has Guantanamo ended all its forms of torture? There's reason to doubt that. And what do we know of what's happening now in Abu Ghraib and Bagram?
Blum: Anti-Empire Report
Apr 11, 2009
In the West, one of the most unfortunate results of the Cold War was that 70 years of anti-communist education and media stamped in people's minds a lasting association between socialism and what the Soviet Union called communism. Socialism meant a dictatorship, it meant Stalinist repression, a suffocating "command economy", no freedom of enterprise, no freedom to change jobs, few avenues for personal expression, and other similar truths and untruths. This is a set of beliefs clung to even amongst many Americans opposed to US foreign policy. No matter how bad the economy is, Americans think, the only alternative available is something called "communism", and they know how awful that is.
Bond: Dying in Durban
Apr 07, 2009
There are special places dedicated to the memories of Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi, Martin Luther King in Memphis, Malcolm X at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem and South Africa's own Hector Pieterson in Soweto. These and many other activists striving for social justice have been commemorated at the sites where they were felled.
Bond: Apartheid Reparations
Mar 19, 2009
The movement for reparations against transnational corporations that profited from apartheid is finally making progress within the generally hostile US judicial system, using the 'Alien Tort Claims Act' (ATCA) and public pressure. Along with Dennis Brutus, I reported on the matter last year and there are interesting new developments, good and bad.
Blum: Anti-Empire Report
Mar 10, 2009
In Cambodia they're once again endeavoring to hold trials to bring some former senior Khmer Rouge officials to justice for their 1975-79 war crimes and crimes against humanity. The current defendant in a United Nations-organized trial, Kaing Guek Eav, who was the head of a Khmer Rouge torture center, has confessed to atrocities, but insists he was acting under orders.1 As we all know, this is the defense that the Nuremberg Tribunal rejected for the Nazi defendants. Everyone knows that, right? No one places any weight on such a defense any longer, right? We make jokes about Nazis declaring: "I was only following orders!" ("Ich habe nur den Befehlen gehorcht!") Except that both the Bush and Obama administrations have spoken in favor of it. Here's the new head of the CIA, Leon Panetta: "What I have expressed as a concern, as has the president, is that those who operated under the rules that were provided by the Attorney General in the interpretation of the law [concerning torture] and followed those rules ought not to be penalized. And ... I would not support, obviously, an investigation or a prosecution of those individuals. I think they did their job."2 Operating under the rules ... doing their job ... are of course the same as following orders.
Bennis: Withdrawal Plan
Mar 09, 2009
The meaning of President Obama's Iraq withdrawal speech, and its influence on real U.S. policy in Iraq, will not be determined solely by his actual words. The import of the speech - and whether its promises become real - will be determined by a fluid combination of what Obama says, his own definitions of what he says, AND the disparate ways his speech is heard, perceived, described and contested by others - the mainstream media, Congress, the military, other centers of elite power, and crucially, the peace movement.
Bennis: Troop Withdrawal
Feb 27, 2009
President Obama is about to order the beginning of the end of the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq...
Feb 14, 2009
The timing of the December-January Israeli assault on Gaza had everything to do with the Israeli elections (well, almost everything â€” there was that little item of finishing the military attack before Barack Obama's inauguration.).
Bond: Durban for Palestine
Feb 05, 2009
The decision on February 3 by South African dockworkers to refuse handling of Israeli imports is of enormous importance for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and will prod more local Durban citizens - including academics and cultural activists - to also raise concerns about institutional linkages that give the Israeli state legitimacy.
Boyle: US & NATO
Jan 27, 2009
What is the world to do about major human rights atrocities and catastrophes that undeniably do occur today? Certainly, the world must not accord the great military powers such as the United States, the NATO states, Russia, and China some fictive right of "humanitarian intervention" that these powerful states will only abuse and manipulate in order to justify military aggressions against less powerful states and peoples for their own selfish interests. There is no need to alter or update presently existing international law in order to expand the possibilities for a military "responsibility to protect" in response to purportedly new exigencies of the day-there are more than enough international laws and international organizations to deal with major human rights atrocities and catastrophes going on around the world today. The demand to do so reflects a political agenda seeking legal legitimacy, not a deficit in the existing law.
Billet: Tha Truth
Jan 14, 2009
To say that Tha Truth is eager is something of an understatement. The Philly MC is downright fanatical--a term this writer uses in its most positive sense. War, racism, sexism, the prison industrial complex and police brutality are all explicit targets on his most recent release, Tha People's Music. He peppers the album with speeches from Howard Zinn, Angela Davis and Cynthia McKinney.
Boyle: Genocide in Gaza
Jan 11, 2009
As long ago as October 19, 2000, the then United Nations Human Rights Commission (now Council) condemned Israel for inflicting "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" upon the Palestinian people, most of whom are Muslims. The reader has a general idea of what a war crime is, so I am not going to elaborate upon that term here. But there are different degrees of heinousness for war crimes. In particular are the more serious war crimes denominated "grave breaches" of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Since the outbreak of the first Intifada in 1987, the world has seen those heinous war crimes inflicted every day by Israel against the Palestinian people living in occupied Palestine: e.g., willful killing of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli army and by Israel's illegal paramilitary settlers. These Israeli "grave breaches" of the Fourth Geneva Convention mandate universal prosecution for the perpetrators and their commanders, whether military or civilian, including and especially Israel's political leaders.
Blum: Glorious War
Jan 05, 2009
The Pentagon pushes hard for a large increase in troops for Afghanistan. Barack Obama has been calling for the same since well before the November election. Listen to the drumbeats telling us that the security of the United States and the Free World necessitates increased action in this place called Afghanistan. As urgent as Iraq 2003, it is. Why? What is there about this backward, reactionary, woman-hating, failed state that warrants hundreds of deaths of American and NATO soldiers? That justifies tens of thousands of Afghan deaths since the first US bombing attacks in October 2001?
Bennis: Gaza Crisis
Dec 30, 2008
Analysis explaining Israeli violations of international law, US complicity, and what should be done now.
Bond: Neoliberalisms End?
Dec 24, 2008
Those who declare that the Great Crash of Late 2008 heralds the end of free market economic philosophy - "neoliberalism" for short - are not paying close enough attention.
Dec 05, 2008
The first problem in examining the SOFA text is that we cannot yet be sure exactly what the text says. The Iraqi parliament is debating one version, that has been translated informally to English for the international press. But we do not yet have the White House's official version. Until that time, I do not think we can assume that the text now being discussed in the press is necessarily "the" final version. There are many in Iraq who are eager to present the text as a victory for Iraqi sovereignty; there is certainly the possibility that the text circulating in Iraq has been doctored with in such a way as to over-emphasize Iraq's power in the future U.S.-Iraq relationship.
Blum: Anti-Empire Report
Dec 03, 2008
Okay, let's get the obvious out of the way. It was historic. I choked up a number of times, tears came to my eyes, even though I didn't vote for him. I voted for Ralph Nader for the fourth time in a row.
Bond: Economic Advisors
Nov 12, 2008
One of Barack Obama's leading advisors has done more damage to Africa, its economies and its people than anyone I can think of in world history, including even Cecil John Rhodes. That charge may surprise readers, but hear me out.
Bond: African Resistance
Oct 25, 2008
Far-reaching strategic debate is underway about how to respond to the global financial crisis, and indeed how the North's problems can be tied into a broader critique of capitalism.