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Milo Minderbinder in Afghanistan

By John Grant

1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder
:
"We're gonna come out of this war rich!"

Yossarian:

"You're gonna come out rich. We're gonna come out dead."

-From the Buck Henry screenplay of Catch 22

No one has captured the absurd spirit of US war-making better than Joseph Heller in Catch 22. Here’s one of the greatest literary symbols for capitalism, Milo Minderbinder, on the future of US warfare:

"In a democracy, the government is the people," Milo explained. "We’re people, aren’t we? So we might just as well keep the money and eliminate the middleman. Frankly, I’d like to see the government get out of war altogether and leave the whole field to private industry."

Does the Ruling Class Really Want to Commit Suicide?

By Charles M. Young

Last March I went to the Left Forum in New York, which is a yearly gathering of liberals, progressives, anarchists, socialists, communists, hippies, punks, mystics, conspiracy theorists and anti-conspiracy theorists who are all trying to figure out how to get to a decent future from the indecent present. Nobody, of course, knows how to do that. There may not even be a path to a decent future from the indecent present, but I always find the Left Forum hopeful because a few thousand people in one place are at least putting their minds to the problem.

Backing the Wrong Side: Eva Golinger's Tamil Libel

By Ron Ridenour

“Sri Lanka Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse threatens to hang his partner in war crimes, former general Sarath Fonseka, in an indictment for “perpetrating genocide against Tamil civilians.”
-- BBC TV Hardtalk, June 7

On June 7, BBC presenter Stephen Sackur confronted Sri Lanka Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, brother to Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse, with an assertion by Sarath Fonseka, former general who had led the final bloody assault against the Tamil Tigers, that he would testify before any independent investigation about alleged government abuses during the Tamil war. “I will not hide anything,” Gen. Fonseca had vowed.

Defense Secretary Rajapakse responded to the BBC interviewer, “That’s a treason. We will hang him if he do that.”

American Media Hide the Evidence: Did Israeli Troops Execute or Murder the Mavi Marmara Victims?

You want to know why we need independent journalism, and why those of you who are reading this article need to support the publication in which it is appearing and well as the one for which I originally wrote it? Because if you rely for your news on the US corporate media, whether ad-supported or underwriter-supported, you won’t learn that Furkan Dogan, the 19-year-old American citizen slain by Israeli commandos in the raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla May 31, was shot in the back and in the back of the head, as well as multiple times in the face.

This is the conclusion of the autopsy conducted by the Turkish Council of Forensic Medicine, which also did autopsies on the eight other Turkish citizens killed in the Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara ferry and five other smaller boats in the so-called Freedom Flotilla. Of the other eight dead, the medical examiners found that five had been shot in the back, or in the back of the head.

This Can't Be Happening...Happens!

By Leslie Thatcher

On Sunday May 18, Truthout's Leslie Thatcher interviewed veteran reporter, master raconteur and founder of the This Can't Be Happening web site, Dave Lindorff. Dave's remarkable background - and that of his three colleagues at the new "news collective" - informs the style, content and unmistakable attitude the new venture brings to Internet journalism.

>b?

Leslie Thatcher for Truthout:

So who are you, Dave Lindorff?



In the Israeli Minefield

By John Grant

It’s like entering a minefield to seriously discuss Israel and Palestine, a tale of two peoples who claim the same land.

I’ve entered this minefield before and have been called an ”anti-semite” and an “Israel hater” for saying pretty much what the sentence above suggests, that Palestinians feel a legitimate bond with the land Israel claims and holds with its military prowess. The individual who called me those names is an antiwar liberal on everything but Israel, at which point he becomes a jackboot militarist without a shred of mercy.

I’ve also been critical of governments like El Salvador’s, but I’ve never been called anti-Hispanic or an El Salvador hater. My concern was for the Salvadoran government and its US patron to stop the repression of the poor. I’m also opposed to the repression of democracy in places like Iran.

Lone Star Cheesehead Versus The Lesser Of Two Medievals

By Charles M. Young

The Texas State Board of Education is a lot like the weather. Everyone talks about it, nobody does anything about it.

Except Judy Jennings. She’s running for the Texas State Board of Education in District 10, which stretches in vast zigzags from the ‘burbs of Austin to the ‘burbs of Houston. In area, it is bigger than 12 states. It was gerrymandered by Tom Delay to include lots of Republicans. Jennings is a Democrat. She thinks that public education is a good idea, that actual science should be taught in science classes supported by tax dollars, and that the Texas State Board of Education should not be a laughingstock in large newspapers and small blogs around the world.

Israel’s Deadly Assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla: Murder on the High Seas

By Dave Lindorff

Like the cop who batters someone senseless at a demonstration and then accuses the victim of “banging his head against my baton,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the victims of Israel’s brutal military assault on a peace convoy to Gaza of attacking Israeli soldiers. An Israeli deputy ambassador to the UN went further, saying, “What kind of peace activists use knives, clubs and other weapons to attack soldiers who board a ship in accordance with international law?''

Let’s straighten this out. The question to be asked is: what kind of country
sends troops armed with automatic weapons to assault a boat filled with unarmed, peaceful civilians, and slaughters nine of them as if they were in a war zone?

The Bodies of Those Who Died in Vain Litter Our Landscape

By Dave Lindorff

It’s Memorial Day Weekend and I am sick to death of the glorification of war in America.

And I am even sicker of politicians who wrap themselves in the bloody flag and try to rub off some of the stench of death from the bodies of those who have died, mostly in vain for worthless causes, in hopes that taking on some of the odor will cause them to be perceived as admirable patriots themselves.

President George W. Bush, who dodged danger in the Vietnam War by signing up for the Texas National Guard and then ducked even that domestic duty, and Vice President Dick Cheney who used five different excuses to duck military service, morbidly rubbed themselves with that flag for eight long years, even as they sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women into harm’s for their own personal political advantage.

Unless Otherwise Directed...

By John Grant

I’ve worked in journalism for 35 years. I did graduate study in journalism, I’ve worked as a daily newspaper reporter and I’ve freelanced magazine articles and newspaper op-eds. Now I blog.

I’ve learned that certain ideas are not permitted in the mainstream press. Well-paid gatekeepers might say these ideas are misguided, wrong or irresponsible, but that’s not really the reason. It’s because certain ideas are not in alignment with the middle-brow assumptions our mainstream press operates within. It also has to do with a commercial inclination for celebrity journalism and a fetish for scorekeeping over analysis.

Here’s a personal example. For three weeks, since the Times Square bombing attempt, I’ve been in a back-and-forth exchange with the op-ed editor of a major city newspaper over a 900-word piece focused on the motivations of would-be bomber Faisal Shahzad.

Channeling the Pentagon Channel: The New Socialist Realism

By Charles M. Young

The Pentagon Channel is not the Military Channel. The Military Channel is Hitler plus top ten lists. You wanna know about the failed plot to assassinate the Fuehrer in 1944 and then learn the ten best attack submarines of all time--the Military Channel is your meat. It’s the NFL Network with a drill sergeant instead of a coach yelling at an audience of men so bored with their lives that trench warfare is an attractive alternative. 

The Pentagon Channel is not the History Channel. The History Channel looks at many tyrants in addition to Hitler, plus UFOs and Biblical prophecies and ghosts. The Pentagon Channel is also not the the History Channel International, which is indistinguishable from the History Channel.

Screw the Environment: BP and the Audacity of Greed

By Dave Lindorff

Even as BP’s blown well a mile beneath the surface in the Gulf of Mexico continues to gush forth an estimated 70,000 barrels of oil a day into the sea, and the fragile wetlands along the Gulf begin to get coated with crude, which is also headed into the Gulf Stream for a trip past the Everglades and on up the East Coast, the company is demanding that Canada lift its tight rules for drilling in the icy Beaufort Sea portion of the Arctic Ocean.

In an incredible display of corporate arrogance, BP is claiming that a current safety requirement that undersea wells drilled during the newly ice-free summer must also include a side relief well, so as to have a preventive measure in place that could shut down a blown well, is “too expensive” and should be eliminated.

For Biased Judges Even White Doesn't Make Right

Linn Washington Jr.

On the second anniversary of their winning a historic $10-million verdict – the largest ever for a discrimination lawsuit against the Philadelphia Police Department – three men staged a protest outside the city’s federal court house criticizing an unusual roadblock keeping them from receiving the fruits of their justice.

The three protestors, all former policemen, had sued the City of Philadelphia for savage, career-ending retaliation they received from Police Department personnel, including top officials, for their reporting of racism, corruption and other misconduct in the department.

In an unusual twist for such a discrimination suit, all three men are white,

This trio suffered severe retaliation during the late 1990s for opposing the vile racism heaped upon black police officers and minority citizens in the precinct where they worked.

Honduras: Bad Faith Down in The Gulch

By John Grant

In Spanish, the word Honduras means depth. The example often used is meterse en Honduras – to go beyond one’s depth. It comes from the adjective hondo – deep or low.

I’ve often wondered what the Spanish conquistador or priest was thinking when he decided circa 1500 to call the place The Depths– or with some liberties, The Gulch.

When I was in Honduras, I recall the capital Tegucigalpa as a series of hills and deep gulches, with the hillsides noted for poor communities of thousands of slapped-together shanties. The Tegucigalpa airport is considered one of the most dangerous in the world; it’s a bit like dropping down and circling inside a teacup before landing.
So maybe that old Spaniard was onto something. If Afghanistan is the “graveyard of empires,” maybe Honduras is the gulch where they just get mired in muck.

Radio Free Maine: First Augusta, then the World

Charles M. Young

In the spring of 1994, I went to the Socialist Scholars Conference in New York where I encountered a large red-faced man with white hair. He had the look and manner of Santa Claus, minus the beard, and he was standing behind a table from which he was selling audio and video cassettes of lectures by Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and other prominent anarchists, socialists, communists and even some vaguely progressive Democrats. He was also selling photocopies of an interview I had done with Noam for Rolling Stone.

“Hey,” I said, “that’s my interview with Noam Chomsky!”

“Cool,” said the large, red-faced man. “Would you mind if I crash on your couch tonight? I came all the way from Maine and I don’t have a place to stay.”

Slippery Talk: Obama Has Learned Nothing from the BP Blowout

By Dave Lindorff

(This article appears in full in the new ThisCantBeHappening.net, an e-newspaper put out by the TCBH News Collective)

President Obama claims to have learned a lesson from the disastrous blowout of British Petroleum drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico: a “cozy relationship” between the agency that regulates oil drilling, the Minerals Management Service, and the oil industry, he charges, allowed companies to drill in vulnerable offshore areas without properly assessing the risks to the ocean and its ecology.

He’s only just figuring this out?

May 13, 1985: Philly Bombs, Literally

By Linn Washington Jr.

Philadelphia loves to brag about it’s ‘Firsts,’ citing such notable things as the nation’s first capital (1774), America’s first zoo (1874) and the birthplace of the world’s first digital computer ENIAC (1946).

There is one ‘First’ that will never appear in slick tourist handouts from the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau though, and that’s the city’s first air raid on May 13, 1985, when the city deliberately bombed an occupied house containing children, sparking a deadly firestorm.

A bomb dropped on an American city by that city’s own police force?

Yes, a bomb made with hi-explosive military C-4 and powerful Tovex dropped by Philadelphia police from a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter onto the roof of 6221 Osage Ave., located in West Philadelphia just blocks from the University of Pennsylvania – considered America’s ‘First’ university.

Obama's War Hits a Speed Bump

By John Grant

Mister Obama’s War has hit a speed bump in Times Square. The question is will the President and members of Congress pay any attention to it and slow down, or will they floor the accelerator and race into Pakistan?

The speed bump is a nobody named Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old, westernized Pakistani, highly educated, and a naturalized American citizen with a wife and two kids. A casualty of the US financial meltdown, a career in the finance industry fizzled and his $285,000 home went underwater and was foreclosed.

Shahzad then trekked to North Waziristan in Pakistan along the Afghan border, where someone allegedly taught him how to make a car bomb. Fortunately, that training was either inadequate or he was a lousy student.

Following on the bloody Fort Hood shooting and the failed underpants bomber, Shahzad’s action has become leverage for greater US military intervention into the rugged Pashtun areas of northwest Pakistan.

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