Monday, July 28, 2008

Reading Marx's Capital with David Harvey

Geographer and urban critic David Harvey's work on Marxist economic theory-- especially his magnum opus, "The Limits to Capital," and his more recent "A Brief History of Neoliberalism" -- made a convert out of me. Now, he's made available a series of videos of his lectures on Capital Vol. 1. Brilliant stuff. Check out this lecture on the commodity:

For the entire series of lectures, look here.
Mass Murder Has Been Conducted in Our Name...

This piece by Peter Phillips-- editor of the annual Project Censored list of top 25 most censored news stories-- really hits the nail on the head. Judged by any reasonable standard, U.S. forces in Iraq are guilty of serious war crimes and the leaders who gave the orders-- Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield, the Pentagon brass, the whole damn lot of them-- should be brought to justice.

U.S. Perpetuates Mass Killings In Iraq
By Peter Phillips

The United States is directly responsible for
over one million Iraqi deaths since the invasion
five and half years ago. In a January 2008
report, a British polling group Opinion Research
Business (ORB) reports that, "survey work
confirms our earlier estimate that over
1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have died as a result
of the conflict which started in 2003.. We now
estimate that the death toll between March 2003
and August 2007 is likely to have been of the
order of 1,033,000. If one takes into account
the margin of error associated with survey data
of this nature then the estimated range is between 946,000 and 1,120,000".

This report comes on the heels of two earlier
studies conducted by Johns Hopkins University
published in the Lancet medical journal that
confirmed the continuing numbers of mass deaths
in Iraq. A study done by Dr. Les Roberts from
January 1, 2002 to March 18 2003 put the
civilian deaths at that time at over 100,000. A
second study published in the Lancet in October
2006 documented over 650,000 civilian deaths in
Iraq since the start of the US invasion. The
2006 study confirms that US aerial bombing in
civilian neighborhoods caused over a third of
these deaths and that over half the deaths are
directly attributable to US forces.

The now estimated 1.2 million dead,
as of July 2008, includes children, parents,
grandparents, great-grandparents, cab drivers,
clerics, schoolteachers, factory workers,
policemen, poets, healthcare workers, day care
providers, construction workers, babysitters,
musicians, bakers, restaurant workers and many
more. All manner of ordinary people in Iraq
have died because the United States decided to
invade their country. These are deaths in
excess of the normal civilian death rate under the prior government.

The magnitude of these deaths is undeniable. The
continuing occupation by US forces guarantees a
mass death rate in excess of 10,000 people per
month with half that number dying at the hands
of US forces- a carnage so severe and so
concentrated at to equate it with the most
heinous mass killings in world history. This act has not gone unnoticed.

Recently, Dennis Kucinich introduced a single
impeachment article against George W. Bush for
lying to Congress and the American people about
the reasons for invading Iraq. On July 15 The
House forwarded the resolution to the Judiciary
Committee with a 238 to 180 vote. That Bush
lied about weapons of mass destruction and
Iraq's threat to the US is now beyond doubt.
Former US federal prosecutor Elizabeth De La
Vega documents the lies most thoroughly in her
book U.S. Vs Bush, and numerous other
researchers have verified Bush's untrue statements.

The American people are faced with a serious
moral dilemma. Murder and war crimes have been
conducted in our name. We have allowed the
war/occupation to continue in Iraq and offered
ourselves little choice within the top two
presidential candidates for immediate cessation
of the mass killings. McCain would undoubtedly
accept the deaths of another million Iraqi
civilians in order to save face for America, and
Obama's 18-month timetable for withdrawal would
likely result in another 250,000 civilian deaths or more.

We owe our children and ourselves a future
without the shame of mass murder on our
collective conscience. The only resolution of
this dilemma is the immediate withdrawal of all
US troops in Iraq and the prosecution and
imprisonment of those responsible. Anything less
creates a permanent original sin on the soul of
the nation for that we will forever suffer.

Peter Phillips is a Professor of Sociology at
Sonoma State University and director of Project
Censored a media research group. He is the
co-editor with Dennnis Loo of the book Impeach
the President: The Case Against Bush and Cheney.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Keeping the World at Bay...

As anyone who has been keeping count knows, since 9/11, the Bush administration has barred dozens of prominent foreign nationals from entering the country on the specious grounds that they had some sort of tie to a vaguely defined "terrorism." The case of Tariq Ramadan-- an eminent European Muslim scholar who was prevented from entering the US to take a post at Notre Dame-- is perhaps the most famous. But there have been others: Adam Habib, a South African scholar and outspoken critic of the war in Iraq; Waskar Ari, a Bolivian expert on Bolivian indigeonous religious beliefs and activism; several Cuban scholars and on and on. Now it appears that peaceful, nonviolent, secular human rights activists who just happen to oppose U.S. imperialism's various client regimes are also being barred. Will it never end?

Homeland insecurity
Peter Tatchell, Wednesday July 2 2008

In another bizarre twist to Washington's often illegal, irrational "war on terror", peaceful, lawful human rights campaigners are now apparently being refused entry to the US – without any right of appeal.

Noordin Mengal, a British citizen and Baluch human rights defender, was detained and deported by US immigration when he arrived at Newark Liberty airport from Dubai last week. Read more here.