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IS: Sons of the West

‘Islamic State’ as a Western Phenomenon? Reimagining the IS Debate
by Ramzy Baroud - PalestineChronicle.com
No matter how one attempts to wrangle with the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS) rise in Iraq and Syria, desperately seeking any political or other context that would validate the movement as an explainable historical circumstance, things refuse to add up.
 
Not only is IS to a degree an alien movement in the larger body politic of the Middle East, it also seems to be a partly western phenomenon, a hideous offspring resulting from western neocolonial adventures in the region, coupled with alienation and demonization of Muslim communities in western societies.
 
By “western phenomenon,” I refrain from suggesting that IS is largely a creation of western intelligence as many conspiracy theories have persistently advocated. Of course, one is justified to raise questions regarding funds, armaments, black market oil trade, and the ease through which thousands of western and Arab fighters managed to reach Syria and Iraq in recent years. The crimes carried out by the Assad regime, his army and allies during the four-year long Syria civil war, and the unquenchable appetite to orchestrate a regime change in Damascus as a paramount priority made nourishing the anti-Assad forces with wannabe ‘jihadists’ justified, if not encouraged.
 
The latest announcement by Turkey’s foreign minister Meylut Cavusoglu of the arrest of a spy “working for the intelligence service of a country participating in the coalition against ISIS” - presumably Canada - allegedly for helping three young British girls join IS, was revealing. The accusation feeds into a growing discourse that locates IS within a western, not Middle Eastern discourse.
 
Still, it is not the conspiracy per se that I find intriguing, if not puzzling, but the ongoing, albeit indirect conversation between IS and the West, involving French, British and Australian so-called “Jihadists,” their sympathizers and supporters on one hand, and various western governments, intelligence services, rightwing media pundits, etc on the other.
 

Terror's Lessons Learned

A History Lesson: What ISIS Learned from Irgun
by William A. Cook - Dissident Voice
 
March 18th, 2015

When the history of the first half of this (20th) century comes to be written – properly written – it will be acknowledged the most stupid and brutal in the history of civilization. — Sir Thomas Beecham

Imbedded in Sir Thomas Beecham’s observation is an assumption, if you will, that civilizations advance, that humankind progresses in time to higher levels of intelligence as we shed ancient superstitions that locked our ancestors into barbaric acts, that our creativeness in application of scientific knowledge improves the human condition, perhaps even, that as time passes, we grasp the one underlying reality of human advancement that will truly fulfill that assumption, all are one in a shared universe or we all are doomed. We have been witness in this new century to ancient superstitions committing barbaric acts as hooded hangmen of old decapitate a fellow human, fulfilling in the act a vengeful retaliation against their perceived enemy.
 
We like to think that this is a retrograde act retreating to an inferior state of centuries past making it easy to condemn as both barbaric and uncivilized. But it is not so.
 
There is an unstated corollary imbedded in Beecham’s quote that explains his note –”properly written” – ; unless the historian accounts for the hidden truth, that omitted from the “accepted” lists of contemporary civilizations, the omitted truth, the controlled truth, the truth allowed by those in power, then the citizen’s perception will be guided by ignorance determined by forces beyond her or his control. The appearance of the advanced civilized society is often just that, an appearance dressed to fashion intellectual advancement wrapped in the perceived splendor of modern progress: business class in international travel, Vogue fashion in business suits for the businessman and the businesswomen, the estate homes attainable because of this perceived advanced excellence – the dress of advancement not the reality of its being.
 
Why, then, in our advanced intellectual state do we shrink from the ISIS marketer who inflames the Western mind by recreating the vengeful retaliation of centuries past?
 

A Talk Undelivered: Chris Hedges' Intended Speech to Toronto on Bill C-51

C-51: They have won, and it is up to us
by Chris Hedges - Rabble.ca

[Here is what Chris Hedges planned to tell the Toronto crowd protesting C-51: This is the speech Chris Hedges would have delivered at the Toronto protest against Bill C-51 on Saturday, if he had made it to the city in time. Weather delayed his plane, but rabble.ca was able to obtain the text of his address and present it here.
Hedges has spent much of his career working as a foreign correspondent in war zones across the globe, and has written extensively on the surveillance state and world conflict. rabble.ca interviewed Hedges by phone that day. You can read that interview here.]
 
There are no internal constraints left to halt totalitarian capitalism.
 
Electoral politics is a sham. The media is subservient to corporate power. The working class is being disempowered and impoverished. The legal system is a subsidiary of the corporate state. Any form of dissent, no matter how tepid, will soon to be blocked by an internal security apparatus empowered by anti-terrorist laws that will outstrip anything dreamed of by the East German Stasi state. And no one in Ottawa or Washington intends to help us.
 

The Dispensable Nation - American Foreign Policy in Retreat - A Review

Reviewing The Dispensable Nation - American Foreign Policy in Retreat
by Jim Miles
 
The Dispensable Nation - American Foreign Policy in RetreatI chose to read this book for two reasons: first, the curiosity of the title by an author of Iranian descent; and secondly because the author, Vali Nasr, has had by his account some significant contact with the U.S. government establishment.
 
It proved to be an interesting read for the political commentary on his own time inside the establishment and for its additional information concerning how the Obama administration operated during its first years. The information used in the book, the ‘facts’, are inarguable and verifiable, but it is the assessments, implications, and interpretations of the significance of these facts that is typical U.S. rhetoric and hubris.
 
The latter range from sadly amusing, to fantasy, to absolute rubbish.
 
The major irony, intended of course, is that The Dispensable Nation is a ‘hook’ and the obvious tendency of Nasr’s argument is that the U.S. is indeed indispensable.
 
 
 

Beyond Carnival: A Brazil Less Beautiful

How beautiful is São Paulo? Beyond the carnival
by Michelle Arroyo Fonseca

 

Last February I travelled to São Paulo to assist a women-led environmental funds meeting. My first time in Brazil, I see the lush vegetation surrounding the airport. The green space awakens and inspires me after a long trying flight.
 
"How beautiful is São Paulo! Please forgive me if I look astounded", I say to my colleague Cristina.

"Rio (de Janeiro) is better than São Paulo", she answers.

"Really? Okay, I like this a lot, but you're Brazilian, Cristina".
 
My impression were soon changed, over the following days I spent in Cunha. When I heard the people's stories, another side of Brazil began to emerge, that does not appear in the Mexican media.

The images of happiness from Rio's Carnival or the Favelas is not the complete story, something I did not fully comprehend, at first glance. Under the surface, is a story about marginalization of local people, and ever encroaching industrial agendas.
 
 

Obama's Western Front: The Real Threat Venezuela Poses to US "National Security"

Obama’s War in our Hemisphere and Venezuela’s National Liberation Struggle
by James Petras
Why did Obama declare a ‘national emergency’, claim that Venezuela represents a threat to US national security and foreign policy, assume executive prerogatives and decree sanctions against top Venezuelan officials in charge of national security, at this time?

To answer this question it is essential to begin by addressing Obama’s specious and unsubstantiated charges of a Venezuelan ‘threat to national security and foreign policy’.
 
First, the White House presents no evidence . . . because there is nothing to present! There are no Venezuelan missiles, fighter planes, warships, Special Forces, secret agents or military bases poised to attack US domestic facilities or its overseas installations.
 
In contrast, the US has warships in the Caribbean, seven military bases just across the border in Colombia manned by over two thousand US Special Forces, and Air Force bases in Central America. Washington has financed proxy political and military operations intervening in Venezuela with intent of overthrowing the legally constituted and elected government.
 

British Columbia's Troubled "LNG" Frackers Send in the Flacks

A PR Flack's Guide to LNG: Dream Team Tries to Repair Industry Image
by Rafe Mair - Common Sense Canadian

It’s an axiom of debate that if you don’t like the argument you’re in, find one that you’re more comfortable with.
 
Barristers use this technique before juries all the time and that’s precisely the technique that Resource Works, a well-heeled pro-LNG group, is using to bamboozle the public of British Columbia.
 
The glossy 58-page document they use is called A Citizen’s Guide To LNG: Sea To Sky Country Edition. Knowing many of the supporters personally, and most of them by reputation, I don’t believe any of them actually wrote this rubbish – it has all the earmarks of a large PR firm.
 
 

Boko Haram: Nigeria's Simple Morality Tale for Western Consumption

Dysfunction in Nigeria
by Craig MurrayICH
I have fond memories of Borno state, camping beside my LandRover in the cold, crisp early mornings, steam rising from a cup of tea, then the thermometer climbing visibly as the sun got to work. Fulani herdsmen crossing the horizon under conical hats with their angular cattle, women walking behind, slim and with beautiful posture, swaying as they walked. The neat homesteads surrounded by fences of beautifully woven millet stalk. Meals of roasted corn and suya. I remember the farmer who offered me a drink, then took a tin cup and brought milk straight from the cow, still very warm. The people there are grave and hospitable.

I never one felt in the slightest danger, thirty years ago. I am taken aback that places I went round then without a care for the British High Commission (I had the agriculture brief, which was an amazing license to roam) are now no-go areas. The region is mostly dry savannah: the forest area stretching into Cameroon, incidentally, is by no means impenetrable, though it is true the canopy would be a barrier to aerial surveillance. Very little of it is primary forest any more.

The media now have a new cartoon figure of hate in the bearded, bobble-hatted leader of Boko Haram, and in truth he is a very bad person. But armed rebellions of thousands of people do not just happen. It is not a simple and spontaneous outbreak of evil, still less a sign that we must wage Tony Blair’s war on Muslims everywhere.

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Before the Flag: Hypothetical Graham Presidency Promises Jack-Boots for Congress - "He's Kidding!"

Why the media silence on Lindsey Graham’s vow to use the military to force vote in Congress?
by Bill Van Auken - WSWS 
 
14 March 2015  

The protracted 2016 presidential campaign cycle has already begun, and with it the close attention of the media to the statements made by prospective candidates in hopes of discovering even the slightest “gaffe” that can be turned into a political news item.
 
All the more odd then that the remarks made at a New Hampshire town hall meeting by one Republican presidential hopeful, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have been virtually blacked out by all of the major print and broadcast outlets.
 
Asked by a member of the audience what he would do about automatic cuts to the Pentagon budget that would go into effect because of sequestration, Graham responded that the problem had left him sick to his stomach.
 
He continued:

“And here is the first thing I would do if I were President of the United States: I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to. We’re not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts. We’re not leaving town until we restore the intel cuts.”

Why Haiti Suffers: "New" Revelations and an Old Story of Colonial Oppression

The economic reasons for the US occupation of Haiti behind the UN and NGO charitable fronts (Check back often for updates.)

The Obama Administration got rid of its most powerful Democratic rival with Haiti. Hillary and Bill Clinton “opened Haiti” as their private asset to liquidate. They used the resources of the World Bank, the State Department, USAID, the UN, the Private Military Security Contractors (PMSC), the US military, and the Fed’s passport and visa issuance capabilities.
 
They got kickbacks called “donations,” from anyone who wished to buy, from them, a piece of Haiti’s lands, oil, iridium, uranium or gold. They also took in bribes disguised as “donation” from big businesses, some from offshore Swiss Bank accounts, to assign UN guns subcontracted to PMSCs to secure corporate interests in Haiti. The Clintons have used governmental power to conduct their private business and called it “helping poor Haitians.” The evidence is in the results for Haiti’s poor.

The racket is finally being exposed by some US journalists. But not altogether and not simply because most care about the truth, the human rights, health or lives of the Black people of Haiti. No.
 
We’ve explained the racism, neo-feudalism, cognitive dissonance, imperialism terrors and about the US low intensity warfare in Haiti for decades now. (See, The Pain Rush in Haiti; Haiti Riches, the economic reason for the US occupation of Haiti behind the UN and NGO charitable fronts ; Quiet Genocide in Haiti from FDR to Obama: UN a criminal organization from Lumumba to Aristide and Swapping Haiti lives: Interview on US Haiti Exploits.) The new “revelations” are “new” because some white guy or gal with privilege newspaper distribution and publishing access, says so.

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Canada's Secret Shame: The Secret Trial 5

The Secret Trial 5
by Secrettrial5.com

Imagine spending years in prison without being charged with a crime or knowing exactly what you’re accused of. A film about the human impact of the “War on Terror,” The Secret Trial 5 is a sobering examination of the Canadian government’s use of security certificates, a Kafkaesque tool that allows for indefinite detention without charges, based on evidence not revealed to the accused or their lawyers.


 
 
 
 

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