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Recent Z Nightly Commentaries
Feb 06, 2009
Growing up in an Antipodean society proud of its rich variety of expletives, I never heard the word bollocks. It was only on arrival in England that I understood its majesterial power. All classes used it. Judges grunted it; an editor of the Daily Mirror used it as noun, adjective and verb. Certainly, the resonance of a double vowel saw off its closest American contender. It had authority.
Pilger: Freedom Medals
Jan 23, 2009
On 13 January, George W. Bush presented "presidential freedom medals", said to be America's highest recognition of devotion to freedom and peace. Among the recipients were Tony Blair, the epic liar who, with Bush, bears responsibility for the physical, social and cultural destruction of an entire nation; John Howard, the former prime minister of Australia and minor American vassal who led the most openly racist government in his country's modern era; and Alvaro Uribe, the president of Colombia, whose government, according the latest study of that murderous state, is "responsible for than 90 per cent of all cases of torture".
Parenti: Capitalism's Apocalypse
Jan 19, 2009
After the overthrow of communist governments in Eastern Europe, capitalism was paraded as the indomitable system that brings prosperity and democracy, the system that would prevail unto the end of history.
Pilger: Holocaust Denied
Jan 09, 2009
The lying silence of those who know...
Prashad: India's Road
Dec 27, 2008
On Thursday, November 27, in the middle of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Imran Babar, one of the terrorists, called India TV from Nariman House. He used a cellphone that belonged to Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, the co-director of the Chabad-Lubavitch Center. The following day, Babar and his associates killed Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka. The phone call he made was not long. Babar opened with a comment that made little sense to most people: "You call [Israel's] army staff to visit Kashmir. Who are they to come to J &K [Jammu and Kashmir]? This is a matter between us and Hindus, the Hindu government. Why does Israel come here?"
Pilger: Groundhog Day
Dec 13, 2008
One of the cleverest films I have seen is Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray plays a TV weatherman who finds himself stuck in time. At first he deludes himself that the same day and the same people and the same circumstances offer new opportunities. Finally, his naivety and false hope desert him and he realises the truth of his predicament and escapes. Is this a parable for the age of Obama?
Pilger: Kafka's Rival
Dec 02, 2008
Today (December 1), a surreal event will take place in the centre of London. The Foreign Office is holding an open day "to highlight the importance of Human Rights in our work as part of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights". There will be various "stalls" and "panel discussions" and Foreign Secretary David Miliband will present a human rights prize. Is this a spoof? No. The Foreign Office wants to raise our "human rights awareness". Kafka and Heller have many counterfeits.
Nov 28, 2008
Barack Obama is on record as advocating a military escalation in Afghanistan. Before sinking any deeper into that quagmire, we might do well to learn something about recent Afghani history and the role played by the United States.
Pilger: Unpeople Of Entire
Nov 27, 2008
I went to the Houses of Parliament on 22 October to join a disconsolate group of shivering people who had arrived from a faraway tropical place and were being prevented from entering the Public Gallery to hear their fate. This was not headline news; the BBC reporter seemed almost embarrassed. Crimes of such magnitude are not news when they are ours, and neither is injustice or corruption at the apex of British power.
Pilger: Obama Hype
Nov 13, 2008
My first visit to Texas was in 1968, on the fifth anniversary of the assassination of president John F Kennedy in Dallas. I drove south, following the line of telegraph poles to the small town of Midlothian, where I met Penn Jones Jr, editor of the Midlothian Mirror. Except for his drawl and fine boots, everything about Penn was the antithesis of the Texas stereotype. Having exposed the racists of the John Birch Society, his printing press had been repeatedly firebombed. Week after week, he painstakingly assembled evidence that all but demolished the official version of Kennedy's murder.
Nov 07, 2008
Writing for Time Magazine on November 5th, Joe Klein called Barack Obama's victory a sign that our country is a "younger, more optimistic, less cynical" place. "It is a country that retains its ability to startle the world -- and in a good way, with our freedom." The Boston Globe editorialized that the new president will usher in "a decisively different direction" for the United States.
Oct 29, 2008
In 1992, Mark Higson, the Foreign Office official responsible for Iraq, appeared before the Scott inquiry into the scandal of arms sold illegally to Saddam Hussein. He described a "culture of lying" at the heart of British foreign policymaking. I asked him how frequently ministers and officials lied to parliament.
Pilger: Sporting Star
Oct 14, 2008
The great American athlete John Carlos once described "those people of grace who raise sport to something more than a game". Carlos and Tommie Smith had stood with their black-gloved fists held high on the winners' podium at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, damning racism and poverty. They were men of grace. Sep was very different, but he had the grace.
Pilger: South Africa
Oct 06, 2008
John Pilger describes the 'social and economic catastrophe' that replaced the African National Congress's 'unbreakable' promise' to end the poverty of the majority.
Prashad: Cartoon Che
Sep 29, 2008
Che was fated to the mythic. Even his birthday attached him to a long tradition of popular struggle: he was born on Bastille Day, the commemoration of the opening of the French Revolution. [Some doubt that this was his actual birthday; his parents might have picked it to disguise a pregnancy that began before their marriage]. In life, he was larger than life. Handsome and brave, an intellectual with a gun and machete who was at the same time able to talk easily about love for humanity: all this enhanced his appeal. He becomes iconic with the 1961 picture by Alberto Korda. It went from the pages of Revolución (April 16) to posters across the planet. Three decades after its first appearance, I bought a hand-printed poster from a left-wing bookstall in Caracas' Central University. The students who sold it had an air of the guerrillero heroico among them as well. The same year as Korda's picture flew around the world, Jean-Paul Sartre published a brief book on Cuba. He marveled at the Revolution's youth. "These young people form a discrete cult of energy, so much loved by Stendhal. But don't think that they talk about it, that they theorize it. They live energy, they exercise it, they invent it, perhaps. They prove it with its effects, but they don't breathe a word about it. Their energy manifests itself." Che embodied energy, and it is this that was seized upon by young people who made him an icon, and it is what sustains his special attachment in the hearts of the young. Youth sees in this forever youthful revolutionary the spark that sustains them in unsettled times.
Pilger: New World War
Sep 25, 2008
Britain's political conference season of 2008 will be remembered as The Great Silence. Politicians have come and gone and their mouths have moved in front of large images of themselves, and they often wave at someone. There has been lots of news about each other. Adam Boulton, the political editor of Sky News, and billed as "the husband of Blair aide Anji Hunter", has published a book of gossip derived from his "unrivalled access to No 10". His revelation is that Tony Blair's mouthpiece told lies. The war criminal himself has been absent, but the former mouthpiece has been signing his own book of gossip, and waving. The club is celebrating itself, including all those, Labour and Tory, who gave the war criminal a standing ovation on his last day in parliament and who have yet to vote on, let alone condemn, Britain's part in the wanton human, social and physical destruction of an entire nation. Instead, there are happy debates such as, "Can hope win?" and, my favourite, "Can foreign policy be a Labour strength?" As Harold Pinter said of unmentionable crimes: "Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening, it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest."
Prashad: Invisible Army
Sep 18, 2008
Hidden in the bowels of the University of Iowa library are the papers of Lement Harris (1904-2002). Harris came from money (his father co-founded Texaco) and he took his degree from Harvard. When he graduated in 1926 he decided to avoid the careers associated with his class and went to work on a Pennsylvania farm. During this three-year sojourn, Lem, as he was called, read the agrarian pacifism of Tolstoy and Gandhi, and met a worker who had been to the Soviet Union. Lem contacted Harold Ware, an old IWW hand and communist, who ran a farm south of Moscow in Verblud (camel). Ware, the son of “Mother” Bloor, transplanted American technology to Soviet farms (particularly the tractor) and did so with a team of radical American farmers (including six from North Dakota’s Non-Partisan League). Lem arrived at Verblud in June 1929 (there is some terrific material in the J. B. Davidson papers, also at Iowa, including the pictures that you can see in Deborah Fitzgerald’s useful book, Every Farm a Factory). Lem’s experience on Ware’s farm changed him, and he became a lifelong communist.
Pilger: Murderous Theatre
Sep 12, 2008
Try to laugh, please. The news is now officially parody and a game for all the family to play.
Prashad: Clemente Interview
Sep 05, 2008
Rosa Clemente, 35, is the vice presidential candidate for the Green Party of the United States. Clemente, who is Puerto Rican, was born in the South Bronx, New York, and educated at the University of Albany and at Cornell University. A vibrant community organizer and feisty journalist, Clemente co-founded the National Hip Hop Political Convention. The Green Party's presidential candidate is Cynthia McKinney, former two-term Congresswoman from Georgia. In May 2007, McKinney left the Democratic Party at an anti-war rally in front of the Pentagon. "As an American of conscience," she said, "I hereby declare my independence from every bomb dropped, every civil liberties rollback, every child killed, every veteran maimed, every man tortured. And I sadly declare my independence from the leaders who let it happen."
Pilger: Don't Forget Yugoslavia
Aug 16, 2008
The secrets of the crushing of Yugoslavia are emerging, telling us more about how the modern world is policed. The former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia in The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, this year published her memoir The Hunt: Me and War Criminals. Largely ignored in Britain, the book reveals unpalatable truths about the west's intervention in Kosovo, which has echoes in the Caucasus.