Category Archives: History

Juan Cole: John Kerry acknowledges Israeli apartheid and 5 ways he is understating it

Juan Cole: John Kerry acknowledges Israeli apartheid and 5 ways he is understating it

“Israel itself was ethnically cleansed of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948, and was designated ‘Jewish,’ such that the expelled Palestinians (now millions strong) were denied the right to return to their homes.  Some 70% of the residents of the Gaza Strip are from southern Israel, and cannot return to their nearby homes in cities such as Sderot, where Israelis have settled Ethiopians and Thai guest workers.  In the Palestinian West Bank, some 600,000 Israeli squatters have usurped significant amounts of land from Palestinians, for which they paid nothing to the original owners, and their squatter settlements are off-limits to Palestinians, who cannot live in them.”


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Obama will never end the War on Terror

Obama will never end the War on Terror

“What began as one horrific attack 13 years ago and a simple, 60-word Authorization for the Use of Military Force three days later has morphed all but unnoticed into a war with no name or parameters—against an enemy that the government will no longer even officially identify, on battlefields that didn’t exist when the measure hurriedly passed Congress.

And as the Yemen strike suggests, the war hardly appears to be winding down. Nor do U.S. forces seem to be getting much better at avoiding “collateral damage.” The grave but very real danger is that this strangest of wars will never end, certainly not before the expiration of Obama’s second term. And his successors may be left with nearly the entire unresolved mess: an open-ended war authorization and inchoate rules for drone and special operations, the promised-but-never-carried-through closing of Guantánamo Bay, and a National Security Agency that’s still not sure whom or what it can spy on.”

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As Ukraine violence escalates, leaked tape suggests the US was plotting coup

As Ukraine violence escalates, leaked tape suggests the US was plotting coup

“Where do you want me to begin? I mean, we are watching history being made, but history of the worst kind. That’s what I’m telling my grandchildren: Watch this. What’s happening there, let’s take the big picture, then we can go to the small picture. The big picture is, people are dying in the streets every day. The number 50 is certainly too few. They’re still finding bodies. Ukraine is splitting apart down the middle, because Ukraine is not one country, contrary to what the American media, which speaks about  the Ukraine and  the Ukrainian people. Historically, ethnically, religiously, culturally, politically, economically, it’s two countries. One half wants to stay close to Russia; the other wants to go West. We now have reliable reports that the anti-government forces in the streets—and there are some very nasty people among them—are seizing weapons in western Ukrainian military bases. So we have clearly the possibility of a civil war.”

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Homophobia: Africa’s new apartheid

Homophobia: Africa’s new apartheid

“The construction of sin and categorical notions of sexuality over the past four centuries on the continent are inextricably linked to colonialism, the Church and the ambitions of the state. And ‘independence’ from the colonial powers, as it came, was a shame, for it often did little to inspire independent thought. If anything, the struggle for gay rights in so many African countries today tells us about a continent still battling the demons of colonialism, a continent that is still in the process of negotiating an identity – as articulated, again, through the lens of the colonial master. Among the greatest challenges many African democracies face today are the continued existence of one-party states and the lack of strong civil institutions.”

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Why deconstructing Zionism is important

“To deconstruct Zionism is, therefore, to demand justice for its victims – not only for the Palestinians, who are suffering from it, but also for the anti-Zionist Jews, ‘erased’ from the officially consecrated account of Zionist history. By deconstructing its ideology, we shed light on the context it strives to repress and on the violence it legitimises with a mix of theological or metaphysical reasoning and affective appeals to historical guilt for the undeniably horrific persecution of Jewish people in Europe and elsewhere.”

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Noam Chomsky: America hates its poor

Noam Chomsky: America hates its poor

“The enormous benefits given to the very wealthy, the privileges for the very wealthy here, are way beyond those of other comparable societies and are part of the ongoing class war. Take a look at CEO salaries. CEOs are no more productive or brilliant here than they are in Europe, but the pay, bonuses, and enormous power they get here are out of sight. They’re probably a drain on the economy, and they become even more powerful when they are able to gain control of policy decisions.”

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New recruiting tools for militants?

New recruiting tools for militants?

“Civilian governments also know that the US has historically not been shy of supporting military regimes in Pakistan as long as they serve its interests. This was evident in the US’ support for General Zia ul-Haq’s regime during the cold-war period, and for Musharraf’s regime in the post September 11 period.

Additionally, US aid historically goes up when Pakistan is under military rule rather than a democratic government. Keeping the US on its side is thus seen to be critical by the government to ensure their survival against a potential military coup. Thus, the two mainstream political parties, namely Pakistan Muslim League (PML, also known as Nawaz group) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), may raise a hue and cry about US policies, but they don’t push too far because of their domestic vulnerability. They know that an ever eager military is always waiting in the wings, for external encouragement, to get back into power.”

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Noam Chomsky: America’s infrastructure is broken

Noam Chomsky: America’s infrastructure is broken

“They were General Motors, Standard Oil of California and, I think, Firestone Rubber. The origins of suburbia reveal an attempt to take over a fairly efficient mass-transportation system in parts of California—the electric railways in Los Angeles and the like—and destroy them so as to shift energy use to fossil fuels and increase consumer demand for rubber, automobiles and trucks and so on. [29] It was a literal conspiracy. It went to court. The courts fined the corporations $5000, or something like that, probably equivalent to the cost of their victory dinner.[30]

But what happened in California started a process that then expanded—and in many ways. It included the interstate highway system. That was presented as part of the defense against the Russians. It was launched under the Interstate Defense Highway Act of 1956, and was intended to facilitate the movement of people and goods, troops and arms, and, allegedly, to prevent overpopulation in specific areas that could become the focus of nuclear attack. [31] The slogan of defense is the standard way of inducing the taxpayer to pay the cost of the next stage of the hi-tech economy of course.[32] That’s true whether it be computers, the Internet or, as in this case, a car-based transportation system.[33]

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The Asian-American awakening: That moment when you realize you’re not white

The Asian-American awakening: That moment when you realize you’re not white

“I hung out with mostly Asians, I watched Asian dramas and listened to Asian music. I got bangs and camera-whored with a peace sign. That quickly ended when I realized the facade of it all. Yes, ethnically I’m Asian, but culturally I’m not. I can squeeze my way into that culture by learning it and copying it, but I’ll never truly be it because I did not grow up in it. Visiting my parents’ homelands was a huge disappointment because people there did not accept me as fully Chinese. They could tell I wasn’t local just by looking at me. I had all the stereotypical facial features, but my composure, dress, and attitude was basically the equivalent of me wrapping myself in an American flag. Even my extended relatives joked about my American accent or lack of cultural respect. I’m Chinese, but I’m not.”

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