Recent pieces

I have been writing, just not on here. Here are the excerpts and links to some recent pieces published on Salon over the last few months, but which weren’t posted on the blog. I also have some new pieces coming up, to be posted soon…


Our endless “War on Terror”: the truth behind an incoherent foreign policy, July 14, 2014

The implicit rules of what counts as a just or fair attack — and what doesn’t — can be discerned from recent statements by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest and Secretary of State John Kerry. On Wednesday, Earnest made the following statement:

MR. EARNEST:  Well, let me start by saying that we strongly condemn the continuing rocket fire into Israel and the deliberate targeting of civilians by terrorist organizations in Gaza.  No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians, and we support Israel’s right to defend itself against these vicious attacks. (emphasis added).

Earnest, responding to a reporter’s question about whether there was any chance of negotiating a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, insisted that countries have a right to defend themselves when their civilians are attacked. This appears to be the White House catchphrase, as Secretary of State John Kerry repeated the statement nearly verbatim.

The ironies of these statements should be obvious. (link to rest of article here…)


The real Bergdahl scandal: What about the other Gitmo detainees? June 5, 2014

Last week’s highly publicized prisoner exchange conducted by the Obama administration suggests that, despite years of inaction, it is entirely possible to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.  On Friday, the White House announced that it was going to transfer five “high ranking” Taliban officials in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. Army soldier who was captured in Afghanistan by the Taliban almost five years ago. The five Guantanamo detainees, who were released into the custody of the government of Qatar, are prohibited from traveling outside the country for one year, after which point they will be free to return to Afghanistan.

Though Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., is drumbeating about how their release poses threats to American soldiers for years to come, he needn’t worry. Simply put, those detainees can and will always be tracked — by drones, Internet, telecommunications companies, or simple house arrest monitors. As the Obama administration has demonstrated, it is as capable as it is enthusiastic, about droning any real or perceived potential threats to the U.S. (I do not endorse droning anyone, whether Taliban officials or U.S. citizens; I am merely reminding Rogers that, over the last decade, the U.S. has demonstrated through rather drastic examples and self-legitimizing bills such as the NDAA 2012 and 2013, its capacity to engage in global “peace-keeping” through whichever means it autocratically deems.) (link to rest of article here)…


Mos’ Def’s false alarm: why a harrowing Internet rumor seemed so credible, May 27, 2014

Last week, several news sites reported that rapper and political activist Yasiin Bey had canceled his U.S. tour. According to Together Boston’s website, Bey, also known as Mos Def, had been denied entry into his country of citizenship, the U.S., due to “immigration/legal issues.”

While there was some skepticism about the veracity of the story (given that it had not been confirmed by Bey or his lawyer, and had only been originally reported on Together Boston’s site), it was picked up unquestioningly by media sites as varied as New York Daily News and Democracy Now. Several days ago, however, the South Africa Times reported that Abdi Hussein, a close friend of Mos Def, insisted that the original story was false: Bey, who had been living in Cape Town, South Africa, had not been denied entry into the U.S.

All of which raises the question: Why did so many of us, myself included, find this subsequently discredited story so credible? The answer provides a lens into the current state of U.S. foreign policy: If it can drone its own child citizens for the sin of having a fundamentalist cleric for a father, why would it be so hard to believe that it would deny reentry to one of its own adult citizens? (link to rest of article here…)


Greenwald and Poitras’ return: What’s the real reason they weren’t arrested? April 14, 2014

When the news broke in February that Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras were going to attempt to reenter the United States to accept a journalism award in person, the obvious question that loomed was whether they would be allowed to enter. Since last June, when the two journalists helped release classified documents obtained from the NSA through former contractor Edward Snowden, they have come under fire by top Obama administration officialsmedia celebrities and congressional officials alike. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., has argued that Greenwald’s publishing of NSA materials was a criminal activity while Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., has repeatedly called for the arrest of Greenwald, even though a number of other journalists have helped to screen and release the documents obtained by Snowden.

Greenwald and Poitras had good reason to fear that they could be arrested. The State Department did move against Snowden by revoking his passport in an attempt to thwart his efforts to elude the long reach of the U.S., and it appeared to silently consent to the U.K.’s day-long interrogation of Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, at Heathrow Airport as he tried to return to his home in Brazil, after relaying documents to Poitras, who lives effectively in exile in Germany. (link to rest of article here…)



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