January 14, 2009 — If we are serious about assisting this devastated land we must stop trying to control and exploit it.
Any large city in the world would have suffered extensive damage from an earthquake on the scale of the one that ravaged Haiti’s capital city on the afternoon of January 13, but it’s no accident that so much of Port-au-Prince now looks like a war zone. Much of the devastation wreaked by this latest and most calamitous disaster to befall Haiti is best understood as another thoroughly manmade outcome of a long and ugly historical sequence.
David Mamet is the University of Texas at Austin’s prize literary celebrity trophy case possession. His papers are in the Harry Ransome Center, and he makes biannual or thereabouts visits to Austin and UT. UT’s president, William Powers, to his credit, periodically teaches a Freshman general studies course and uses Mamet’s The Spanish Prisoner, book and movie, as a text. Mamet’s big UT event this year was an on-stage conversation with UT’s president, with a Q&A session afterwards, held at the Student Union Theater, followed by a showing of The Spanish Prisoner.
The 350 seat theater was 100% full for this event. About one third of the audience were UT students, but as is usually the case with serious literary/political events anywhere in Austin, the majority of the audience was silverhaired non-UT types, west Austin members of the socioeconomic upper strata and solid members of Austin’s dominant political class. Probably a fairly high percentage of the regional over-50 intelligentsia was represented there. As to where the 25-50 year old intelligentsia was, no telling–they never show up at anti war rallies and other political events, either. Mamet was right entertaining on his end of the conversation–quick-witted, amusing, and quite open and unafraid of his opinionatedness. Powers was fairly dull, and didn’t have anything to say original or interesting, like most professors I had at UT.
Naomi Klein Issues Haiti Disaster Capitalism Alert: Stop Them Before They Shock Again
Journalist and author Naomi Klein spoke in New York last night and addressed the crisis in Haiti: “We have to be absolutely clear that this tragedy—which is part natural, part unnatural—must, under no circumstances, be used to, one, further indebt Haiti and, two, to push through unpopular corporatist policies in the interest of our corporations. This is not conspiracy theory. They have done it again and again.” [includes rush transcript]
On Monday and Tuesday evenings, the BBC’s Newsnight ran an extraordinary two-part feature on Guantánamo, bringing former guard Brandon Neely over from the United States to meet — and apologize to — former prisoners Shafiq Rasul and Ruhal Ahmed, two of “The Tipton Three,” from the West Midlands, who were freed in March 2004 and whose story was later featured in “The Road to Guantánamo,” a powerful film about their experiences.
Brandon Neely served at Guantánamo in the first six months of the prison’s existence, between January and June 2002. He was then deployed to Iraq, but when the Army attempted to recall him from his Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR) status to active duty in May 2007, he ignored every letter and email, until the Army gave up, granting him an honorable discharge in June 2008.
“In Post-War Iraq, Use Military Forces to Secure Vital U.S. Interests, Not for Nation-Building” — The Heritage Foundation
And just in case you still haven’t got the point, the same Heritage Foundation document, dated 25 September, 2002 went on to tell us,
“Protect Iraq’s energy infrastructure against internal sabotage or foreign attack to return Iraq to global energy markets and ensure that U.S. and world energy markets have access to its resources.”
Anything that says otherwise in the corporate or state press is just propaganda and/or lies. Period.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Asks For Data On “Targeted Killings” Of Suspected Terrorists And Civilian Casualties
NEW YORK – In a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed today, the American Civil Liberties Union asked the government to disclose the legal basis for its use of predator drones to conduct “targeted killings” overseas. In particular, the ACLU seeks to find out when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, and how the United States ensures compliance with international laws relating to extrajudicial killings.
On Wednesday, January 13th, the CEOs of the United States’ four largest banks went under oath to answer questions about their role in the financial crisis of 2008. It marked the opening day of a new government inquiry into the causes of the financial crisis. The inquiry has the power to subpoena for information and recommend criminal investigations, but will it put these tools to work?
Thomas Ferguson is a political scientist and author who studies and writes on politics and economics, often within an historical perspective. He is a Political Science professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is also a a contributing editor of The Nation. He is also the author of several books, the recent of which is Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political System
Kevin G. Hall, the former South America correspondent, is now the bureau’s national economics reporter. During his career he has reported from Mexico City, Saudi Arabia, Miami, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., for the Journal of Commerce and United Press International. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese.
I’m not talking about religious fanatics, extreme right republicans or conservatives, suicide bombers, who will destroy all that we stand for. There are other extremists we need to fight against. They are brainless, you could not hope to make them understand reason, they’re a real threat. There’s a need to fight these extremists fighting against cruelty for children, animals and the environment. They’ve crossed the line, they’ve gone too far, they’ve become huge bureaucracies, they’re totally out of their mind.
“The Destruction Is Everywhere You Go”: Independent Journalist Ansel Herz in Port-Au-Prince
Democracy Now! spoke with independent journalist Ansel Herz earlier tonight from Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Herz says more than 100,000 people may have died in the devastating earthquake. Tune into Democracy Now! on Thursday for full coverage. Herz was interviewed by Democracy Now! producer Mike Burke.