Gaither Stewart‘s The Trojan Spy takes the thriller genre an important step forward, advancing it from the work of his predecessors John le Carré and Robert Ludlum. Le Carré and Ludlum rebelled against the conventions of the classic spy thrillers, which assumed that we’re the good guys who are under attack by bad guys so evil that we’re justified in bending the rules to save ourselves from them. In that world, lies, deceit, sabotage, and even murder are sometimes necessary to defend peace, justice, and the American (or Western) Way against (pick one, depending on when the book was written) Nazis, communists, or terrorists.
Last week, a major article in the New York Times painted a grim portrait of how President Obama has taken over from George W. Bush as the “commander in chief” of a “war on terror” that seems to have no end, and that not only appears to be counter-productive, but also, at heart, illegal.
WASHINGTON, Jun 8, 2012 (IPS) – The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Western governments acted this week to escalate their accusations that Iran has “sanitised” a site at its Parchin military complex to hide evidence of nuclear weapons work, showing satellite images of physical changes at the site to IAEA member delegations.
The idea to have American allies summarily expel Syrian diplomats was hatched, according to a US congressional source, in the fertile office of outgoing US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, rumored to be on his way to New York to become, unimaginably one might be forgiven for thinking, the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs.”
In case you missed this, or would like to watch it again.
Documentary in which professor Howard Zinn recounts his life as a writer, educator, and leader in nonviolent social protest. His story is one of being in “the right place at the right time,” from poor beginnings, working in shipyard unions, fighting in WWII as a bomber pilot, and then launching his academic career as one of the first white professors to teach at the historically black Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Continue reading
Reading more than I should lately–now that the weather has turned good I ought to be out hustling on getting more work and starting a business and instead I’m reading books about the middle east and our wars therein, both present and future. First book that has taken up time that it shouldn’t have, or more accurately, more time now than it should have is The Oil Kings, by Andrew Scott Cooper. Book is of late 2011 vintage and it seems to have not attracted critical attention, which is wrong, as it is an excellent piece of history of recent times.
The Rt. Hon. Alistair Burt, M.P.,
Under Secretary of State,
Foreign and Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
London SW1A 2AH
Dear Mr Burt,
Re: Mahmoud al Sarsak.
As Minister with responsibility for the Middle East and North Africa, the plight of Palestinians both held without trial, legal representation and on hunger strike in Israeli jails, is surely of deep concern to you.
In the middle of her three-nation tour of the South Caucasus, on June 5 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with fellow short-term New Yorker Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia. The latter is a preeminent, a greatly favored, a nonpareil American satrap, for whom the doors of the White House and the op-ed pages of the major U.S. dailies are always open. For eight and a half years he has been president of his nation after winning 96 percent of the vote on January 6, 2004 in a spurious election following standing head of state Eduard Shevardnadze being manhandled and deposed in the so-called Rose Revolution of the preceding November. The sort of election the State Department is always willing to endorse if the result advances American geostrategic interests.
When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
In Wisconsin and in two major cities in California, voters (made up mostly of working folks) chose to restrict the benefit packages and wage increases for public service AKA government employees. Some say that since most of the workers in these places, and throughout America, are employed by the private sector, the attitude became one of resentment. The private sector and non union (in most cases) workers were fed up of seeing their counterparts getting better benefit packages and wage increases. I call it Interclass warfare. Continue reading
Chris Hedges‘ and Joe Sacco’s new book, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, is a treasure. Hedges wrote the plain text. Sacco produced the text-heavy cartoon sections and other illustrations, which even I — not a big fan of cartoon books — found to enrich this book enormously.