The Whitening of Marianne Pearl

July 4th, 2007

More scary crap from Angelina Jolie, the great voyeur (euse) of ‘third world’ suffering and queen of white supremist charity…

When Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped in Pakistan in 2002 his wife, Marianne, became a fixture in international media. The first time I saw her I made a very simple observation. “His wife is black,” I said to myself. I know a black person when I see one, and I saw one in Marianne Pearl. In the new film A Mighty Heart, Pearl is portrayed by actress Angelina Jolie. Jolie is white.

Here we are in the 21st century and a white actor is portraying a black character. Not just any character, but a real life, well-known, still living human being. Anyone who sees Marianne Pearl knows she isn’t white, but the powers that be in Hollywood didn’t care and knew they could get away with this offensive charade.

Marianne Pearl was born in France to a Cuban mother and a Dutch father. Her mother was quite obviously black, photos are unambiguous on that point. Her father was European, so she can be described as multi-racial or biracial. It doesn’t really matter what term or words Pearl uses to describe herself. She is clearly a person of African ancestry, and putting dark make up and a curly wig on Angelina Jolie doesn’t change that fact or fool anyone.

The days of white actors using various makeup techniques to play non-white people should be over in the new millennium. Who can forget Marlon Brando portraying an Okinawan or John Wayne as Genghis Khan. Those days should be long gone and consigned to the dust bin of Hollywood’s shameful history.

In the old days, white actors always played light-skinned black characters who could “pass” for white. Films such as Pinky and Imitation of Life are historic examples of that phenomenon. We now have a white person portraying a not so light skinned, obviously black, living person. It seems that Hollywood is becoming less enlightened with time.

Of course, it didn’t hurt Jolie that her boyfriend Brad Pitt produced the movie. Because Pitt is a bankable star and producer, he can get whatever he wants. If he had insisted on having an actress of color portray a woman of color he could have gotten that too. It isn’t clear if he was motivated by the desire for familial bliss, “color doesn’t count, can’t we all get along, kumbayah” fantasy, bigger bucks at the box office, or all of the above.

Pearl and Jolie are just fine with the arrangement, and why not. Jolie gets a role she wanted and Pearl gets to see her story on the silver screen. Both are defensive about the casting criticisms and plead with the peasantry to remain silent.

“I know that people are frustrated at the lack of great roles [for people of color], but I think they’ve picked the wrong example here,” Jolie opined. Why is this example wrong? Is it because honesty and integrity would have denied her the part? If Jolie can possibly think of a reason why the rest of us should just shut up and accept modern day blackface she needs to come up with a better explanation.

Marianne Pearl also thinks that critics should bite their tongues. “This is not about skin color. I wanted her to play me because I trust her. Aren’t we past this?” Who is we? Hollywood endlessly promotes white people and their image. If they aren’t “past” the business of telling the world that only white people are acceptable, beautiful, and noble, then the rest of us shouldn’t be “past” demanding that our images be shown, especially if the image in question is that of a living individual who is obviously not the same race as the actor playing the part.

Pearl’s acquiescence is no reason for other black people to think that this throwback to Hollywood’s dark ages, pun intended, should be acceptable. She is not free to instruct the rest of the African ancestored world how we should react when our very presence is denied and our image is erased. The story of a pregnant journalist whose husband is kidnapped and beheaded tugs at the heart strings. Apparently the deal makers in Hollywood feared that those heart strings wouldn’t be moved if one black or multiracial person portrayed another.

Last but not least, Pitt and Jolie should not be given a pass for their white washing endeavor. They have adopted Asian and African children and given birth to one on the African continent. They may get brownie points for having a multiracial family, but that shouldn’t protect them from criticism when they tell us not to believe our lying eyes.

Margaret Kimberley is an editor and senior columnist for the Black Agenda Report. Her Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at

Carter says US, EU must bring Hamas and Fatah together in Palestinian territories

June 20th, 2007

DUBLIN, Ireland: The United States, Israel and the European Union must end their policy of favoring Fatah over Hamas, or they will doom the Palestinian people to deepening conflict between the rival movements, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday.

Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was addressing a conference of Irish human rights officials, said the Bush administration’s refusal to accept the 2006 election victory of Hamas was “criminal.”

Carter said Hamas, besides winning a fair and democratic mandate that should have entitled it to lead the Palestinian government, had proven itself to be far more organized in its political and military showdowns with the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas fighters routed Fatah in their violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last week. The split prompted Abbas to dissolve the power-sharing government with his rivals in Hamas and set up a Fatah-led administration to govern the West Bank.

Carter said the American-Israeli-European consensus to reopen direct aid to the new government in the West Bank, but to deny the same to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, represented an “effort to divide Palestinians into two peoples.”

While seeking to boycott the Hamas leadership because of its refusal to renounce violence and recognize Israel, Europe and the U.S. have continued to send humanitarian aid to Gaza through the United Nations and other organizations.

During his speech to Ireland’s eighth annual Forum on Human Rights, the 83-year-old former president said monitors from his Carter Center observed the 2006 election in which Hamas won 42 percent of the popular vote and a majority of parliamentary seats.

Carter said that election was “orderly and fair” and Hamas triumphed, in part, because it was “shrewd in selecting candidates,” whereas a divided, corrupt Fatah ran multiple candidates for single seats.

Far from encouraging Hamas’ move into parliamentary politics, Carter said the U.S. and Israel, with European Union acquiescence, has sought to subvert the outcome by shunning Hamas and helping Abbas to keep the reins of political and military power.

“That action was criminal,” he said in a news conference after his speech.

“The United States and Israel decided to punish all the people in Palestine and did everything they could to deter a compromise between Hamas and Fatah,” he said.

There are also Fatah splinter groups forming calling Abbas a pro-Israel/U.S. flunky. For Israel and the U.S., the more divided the better…

A Secular-Democratic State Solution

a good article by Omar Barghouti about the only real solution…

…This latest dose of American — Israeli-inspired — “constructive chaos” in the occupied Palestinian territory may well wreak havoc on US-Israeli policy in the region. With the imminent dissipation of the illusion that a national Palestinian sovereignty can be established under the overall colonial hegemony of Israel, many Palestinians are now seriously questioning the wisdom of the two-state mantra and considering to repose their plight as one for equal humanity and full emancipation, within the framework of a unitary, democratic state solution in historic Palestine. After almost three decades of “searing into the consciousness” of Palestinians that only a two-state solution can deliver any of their demands, the US and Israel are harvesting what they sowed: the collapse of any semblance of independence and integrity of the PA — which was all along charged with relieving Israel’s colonial burdens vs. the inhabitants of the occupied West Bank and Gaza — and the mounting Palestinian discontent with, if not yet revolt against, the game of unilateral Palestinian compromise leading only to insatiable Israeli demands for further compromise, with the simultaneous loss of land, resources, freedoms and the bleak — and real — prospects of social breakdown.

The demise of the two-state solution should not be mourned. Besides having passed its expiry date, it was never a moral solution to start with. In the best-case scenario, if UN resolution 242 were meticulously implemented, it would have addressed most of the legitimate rights of less than a third of the Palestinian people over less than a fifth of their ancestral land. More than two thirds of the Palestinians, refugees plus the Palestinian citizens of Israel, have been maliciously and shortsightedly expunged out of the definition of the Palestinians.

It is now clearer than ever that the two-state solution — other than being only a disguise for continued Israeli occupation and a mechanism to permanently divide the people of Palestine into three disconnected segments — was primarily intended to induce Palestinians to give up the inalienable right of their refugees to return to their homes and lands from which they were ethnically cleansed by Zionists during the 1948 Nakba.

A secular, democratic state solution is increasingly being perceived by Palestinians and people of conscience around the world as the moral alternative to Israeli apartheid and colonial rule. Such a solution, which promises unequivocal equality in citizenship, as well as individual and communal rights, both to Palestinians (refugees included) and to Israeli Jews, is the most appropriate for ethically reconciling the ostensibly irreconcilable: the inalienable, UN-sanctioned rights of the indigenous people of Palestine to self-determination, repatriation, and equality in accordance with international law and the acquired and internationally recognized rights of Israeli Jews to coexist in the land of Palestine — as equals, not colonial masters.

Talk about the fox guarding the chicken coop…

June 13th, 2007

Of course it had dropped out of the news by the end of the day, but this morning it was reported on BBC that among the purported ‘guards’ of the shrine at Samarra were “American contractors’.

It’s something how an attack on a symbol can fill one with grief, all of the grief and horror of the past 4 years, what am I talking about, of the past 16 years, contracted to a single point. Such a wondrous place, all blue and gold, created out of human impulses long forgotten by us. We are incapable of comprehending or manifesting such beauty.

But as we demonstrate again and again, more than capable of obliterating it.

Who did it?
‘Al Qaida’? That would be us.
Blackwater mercenaries? Us.
‘Elements of Iraqi security’? Us.
However you slice it.


Who’s Behind the Violence in North Lebanon

May 25th, 2007

Gee take a guess.

Given Bush administration debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan and its encouragement for Israel to continue its destruction of Lebanon this past summer, the situation in Lebanon mirrors, in some respects, the early 1980’s when groups sprung up to resist the US green lighted Israeli invasion and occupation. But rather than being Shia and pro-Hezbollah, today’s groups are largely Sunni and anti-Hezbollah. Hence they qualify for US aid, funneled by Sunni financial backers in league with the Bush administration which is committed to funding Islamist Sunni groups to weaken Hezbollah.

This project has become the White House obsession following Israel’s July 2006 defeat.

To understand what is going on with Fatah al-Islam at Nahr el-Bared one would want a brief introduction to Lebanon’s amazing, but shadowy ‘Welch Club’.

The Club is named for its godfather, David Welch, assistant to Secretary of State Rice who is the point man for the Bush administration and is guided by Eliot Abrams.
Key Lebanese members of the Welch Club (aka: the ‘Club’) include:

The Lebanese civil war veteran, warlord, feudalist and mercurial Walid Jumblatt of the Druze party( the Progressive Socialist Party or PSP)

Another civil war veteran, warlord, terrorist (Served 11 years in prison for massacres committed against fellow Christians among others) Samir Geagea. Leader of the extremist Phalange party and its Lebanese Forces (LF) the group that conducted the Israel organized massacre at Sabra-Shatilla (although led by Elie Hobeika, once Geagea’s mentor, Geagea did not take part in the Sept. 1982 slaughter of 1,700 Palestinian and Lebanese).

The billionaire, Saudi Sheikh and Club president Saad Hariri leader of the Sunni Future Movement (FM).

Over a year ago Hariri’s Future Movement started setting up Sunni Islamist terrorist cells (the PSP and LF already had their own militia since the civil war and despite the Taif Accords requiring militia to disarm they are now rearmed and itching for action and trying hard to provoke Hezbollah).

The FM created Sunni Islamist ‘terrorist’ cells were to serve as a cover for (anti-Hezbollah) Welch Club projects. The plan was that actions of these cells, of which Fatah el-Islam is one, could be blamed on al Qaeda or Syria or anyone but the Club.

To staff the new militias, FM rounded up remnants of previous extremists in the Palestinian Refugee camps that had been subdued, marginalized and diminished during the Syrian occupation of Lebanon. Each fighter got $700 per month, not bad in today’s Lebanon.

The first Welch Club funded militia, set up by FM, is known locally as Jund-al-Sham (Soldiers of Sham, where “Sham” in Arabic denotes Syria, Lebanon, Palestine & Jordan) created in Ain-el-Hilwa Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon. This group is also referred to in the Camps as Jund-el-Sitt (Soldiers of the Sitt, where “Sitt” in Sidon, Ain-el-Hilwa and the outskirts pertain to Bahia Hariri, the sister of Rafiq Hariri, aunt of Saad, and Member of Parliament).

The second was Fateh-al-Islam (The name cleverly put together, joining Fateh as in Palestinian and the word Islam as in Qaeda). FM set this Club cell up in Nahr-al-Bared refugee camp north of Tripoli for geographical balance.

Fatah el-Islam had about 400 well paid fighters until three days ago. Today they may have more or fewer plus volunteers. The leaders were provided with ocean view luxury apartments in Tripoli where they stored arms and chilled when not in Nahr-al-Bared. Guess who owns the apartments?

According to members of both Fatah el-Islam and Jund-al-Sham their groups acted on the directive of the Club president, Saad Hariri.
So what went wrong? “Why the bank robbery” and the slaughter at Nahr el-Baled?

According to operatives of Fatah el-Islam, the Bush administration got cold feet with people like Seymour Hirsh snooping around and with the White House post-Iraq discipline in free fall. Moreover, Hezbollah intelligence knew all about the Clubs activities and was in a position to flip the two groups who were supposed to ignite a Sunni ≠Shia civil war which Hezbollah vows to prevent.

Things started to go very wrong quickly for the Club last week.
FM “stopped” the payroll of Fateh el-Islam’s account at the Hariri family owned back.

Fateh-al-Islam, tried to negotiate at least ‘severance pay’ with no luck and they felt betrayed. (Remember many of their fighters are easily frustrated teenagers and their pay supports their families). Militia members knocked off the bank which issued their worthless checks. They were doubly angry when they learned FM is claiming in the media a loss much greater than they actually snatched and that the Club is going to stiff the insurance company and actually make a huge profit.

Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces (newly recruited to serve the bidding of the Club and the Future Movement) assaulted the apartments of Fatah-al-Islam Tripoli. They didn’t have much luck and were forced to call in the Lebanese army.

Within the hour, Fatah-al-Islam retaliated against Lebanese Army posts, checkpoints and unarmed, off-duty Lebanese soldiers in civilian clothing and committed outrageous killings including severing at four heads.

Up to this point Fatah-al-Islam did not retaliate against the Internal Security forces in Tripoli because the ISF is pro-Hariri and some are friends and Fatah al-Islam still hoped to get paid by Hariri. Instead Fatah al Islam went after the Army.

The Seniora cabinet convenes and asks the Lebanese Army to enter the refugee camp and silence (in more ways than one) Fatah-al-Islam. Since entrance into the Camps is forbidden by the 1969 Arab league agreement, the Army refuses after realizing the extent of the conspiracy against it by the Welch Club. The army knows that entering a refugee camp in force will open a front against the Army in all twelve Palestinian refugee camps and tear the army apart along sectarian cracks.

The army feels set up by the Club’s Internal Security Forces which did not coordinate with the Lebanese Army, as required by Lebanese law and did not even make them aware of the “inter family operation” the ISF carried out against Fatah-al-Islam safe houses in Tripoli.

Today, tensions are high between the Lebanese army and the Welch Club. Some mention the phrase ‘army coup’.

The Club is trying to run Parliament and is prepared to go all the way not to ‘lose’ Lebanon. It still holds 70 seats in the house of parliament while the Hezbollah led opposition holds 58 seats. It has a dutiful PM in Fouad Siniora.

The club tried to seize control of the presidency and when it failed it marginalized it. Last year it tried to control of the Parliamentary Constitutional Committee, which audits the government’s policies, laws and watch dogs their actions. When the Club failed to control it they simply abolished the Constitutional Committee. This key committee no longer exists in Lebanon’s government.

The Welch Club’s major error was when it attempted to influence the Lebanese Army into disarming the Lebanese Resistance led by Hezbollah. When the Army wisely refused, the Club coordinated with the Bush Administration to pressure Israel to dramatically intensify its retaliation to the capture of the two soldiers by Hezbollah and ‘break the rules’ regarding the historically more limited response and try to destroy Hezbollah during the July 2006 war.

The Welch Club now considers the Lebanese Army a serious problem. The Bush administration is trying to undermine and marginalize it to eliminate one of the last two obstacles to implementing Israel’s agenda in Lebanon.
If the army is weakened, it can not protect _over 70% of the Christians in Lebanon who support General Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement. The F.P.M. is mainly constituted of well educated, middle class and unarmed Lebanese civilians. The only protection they have is the Lebanese Army which aids in maintaining their presence in the political scene. The other type of Christians in Lebanon is the minority, about 15% of Christians associated with Geagea’s Lebanese Forces who are purely militia. If the Club can weaken the Army even more than it is, then this Phalange minority will be the only relatively strong force on the Christian scene and become the “army” of the Club.

Another reason the Club wants to weaken the Lebanese Army is that the Army is nationalistic and is a safety valve for Lebanon to ensure the Palestinian right of return to Palestine, Lebanese nationhood and the resistance culture led by Hezbollah, with which is has excellent relations.

For their part, the Welch Club wants to keep some Palestinians in Lebanon for cheap labor, ship others to countries willing to take them (and be paid handsomely to do so by American taxpayers) and allow at most a few thousand to return to Palestine to settle the ‘right of return’ issue while at the same time signing a May 17th 1983 type treaty with Israel with enriches the Club members and gives Israel Lebanon’s water and much of Lebanon’s sovereignty.

Long story short, Fatah el-Islam must be silenced at all costs. Their tale, if told, is poison for the Club and its sponsors. We will likely see their attempted destruction in the coming days.

Hezbollah is watching and supporting the Lebanese army.

Franklin Lamb’s recent book, The Price We Pay: A Quarter Century of Israel’s use of American Weapon’s against Lebanon (1978-2006) is available at Hezbollah: A Brief Guide for Beginners is expected in early summer.


Kucinich Reveals Dem Funding Bill Includes Privatization of Iraq Oil & Carte Blanche to Invade Iran

May 8th, 2007

In a meeting with the West Los Angeles Democratic Club on Saturday, May 5, Presidential candidate and Ohio Congress Representative Dennis Kucinich revealed that the Democrats in Congress had made some secret concessions to the Republicans in the initial Bill to continue funding the Iraq War that was vetoed, and in a subsequent version that is currently being negotiated. They include:

>Privatization of Iraq’s Oil – in the original Bill, but not shared with the public. A rule was created that said this clause could not be removed during debate on House floor.

>Bush could invade Iran without approval of Congress. A clause that would require him to get approval from Congress first was removed.

>Timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq to be removed from Bill (in post-veto version).

The clause that Iraq must privatize ownership of its oil was in the original Bill presented by Congress, although it was not mentioned publicly. It was stated as a benchmark to be met by Iraq, and if it was not met, the US would withdraw troops and refuse to offer peacekeeping troops to help rebuild the country. That means the Iraqis would not own their own oil, but instead International oil companies, primarily US oil companies, would instead divide ownership of the oil.

This seems to reaffirm the worst possible scenario that the war in Iraq not only was built upon lies, but was solely for the purpose of destroying their country so the big US oil companies can own their oil. These same oil companies are still resolute about keeping the oil prices high at the pumps for US citizens (while refraining refinery capacity), so that they alone retain record-breaking profits. Kucinich explained he requested on the Congress floor that clause be removed from the Bill, and was finally assured it would be. He found it was not, and again demanded it be removed, and was then accused of ‘not being a loyal Democrat’.

Kucinich went on to explain that last November, the citizens of the US voted for a ‘change of direction in Iraq’ but as of yet have only gotten a bait and switch.


April 19th, 2007

msnbc April 18, 2007

watch the commentators
dance around the hidden fears:
he was a psychotic psychopath
listen to him—
but don’t listen to him he was crazy
he was unhappy
so we shouldn’t listen
“Hardball goes inside the mind of the guy,
the man who…” not the boy
don’t say the boy
not our boy, not one of us
call him Ishmail
outcast in the desert
the gunman
talking like a prophet
“you have poured trash down my throat,
you have crucified me
…with your gold necklaces
your Mercedes
your vodka and cognac
your debauchery…”
think of a boy, a strange vigilant boy
alone among strangers, coming up alone
“…laced with comments about the rich
…truly creepy, beyond sad…
this statement from the grave…”
his parents can’t help him
for they are strangers too
so he moves through the strange land
alone. our children,
our children are empty
rich poor black white brown
“…imminent danger to self and others…”
the weakest fall first
the weakest fall and some take others
when they go
for those moments maybe he was not alone
“…weakness in our laws
and the treatment of the mentally ill…”
don’t listen to him
don’t listen
250 died hideously in Iraq today
men weeping in fury
at the blood-soaked streets
littered with grotesque hulks of burnt cars
broken corpses
how many would have died in Iraq today
without invaders? without us? without our kids?
these kids of ours back from boot camp tell me
they are killers now
we train them and we train them another way tooÉ
there is something here
something that leaves too many children
empty and flat-faced
something what is it? it is the nothing
the nothing you are left with
when things are all you worship
trash poured down their throats
the boy with dead eyes so many boys
dead in the eyes
“…now you have blood on your hands
that will never wash off…”

“Who’s he talking to?” brays the neighing buffoon
“Who’s ‘you’?”
you, fool, it’s you he’s talking to and
and me too

“…When the time came
I did it.
I had to.
…for my children
my brothers and sisters that you fuck.
I did it for them.”

“..someone who doesn’t think
like you and I do…truly the face of evil…
this animal…” I was waiting for that.

“…You have vandalized my life
…do you know what it feels like
you have crucified me like Jesus
your trust funds were not enough
your Mercedes were not enough
your gold chains were not enough…”
a reverse sermon on the mount
cursed are the rich
cursed the debauched

“…too much to bear…”

“You can’t force someone
to take medication, not
in this country…”
said regretfully
this our discourse, our self-talk
medicate the deviant against the horror
of feeling the emptiness that is this is us
banality of evil that sanctions slaughter
and makes it to the church on time
and leave the children to their solitary revelation
of every hypocrisy
and wonder when they break
guns don’t kill people.
and this is still
the greatest country in the world.
this canary in the coal mine
choking on the poison fumes
bought an AK
and blew himself and a bunch of other canaries

“How do you tell the difference
between a homicidal killer
and a budding Stephen King?”
horror is after all an American genre
the beast that stalks our dreams
the fear we will not will not name
“…a kind of narcissism
that pervades all of this…”
yes one that renders impossible
the obvious connections
the necessary reflection
the seemly silence
the mea culpa

“Gun Culture”

April 18th, 2007

The most self-critical the U.S. ever gets is in instances like the Virginia Tech massacre, when certain people (liberal) reflect that the wide availability of guns might be at least in part responsible. Of course the NRA (National Rifle Asssociation) is immediately asked to weigh in, and does its usual prattle about how it’s not the guns, but the bad guys who use them. This is patently ridiculous, because in countries where guns are not easily available, people don’t kill each other with them. Duh.

But what is always missing from these so-called moments of reflection is any consideration of the bigger picture: the United States is the world’s premier weapons-merchant. The United States is presently conducting two major wars and Lord knows how many covert ones…In short, the United States is the most violent nation on the face of the earth, and instead of inviting people to reflect on that, information junkies are fed psychological profiles of ‘the killer’, emotional stories about prayer vigils and what-not, and other rubbish. The point is to keep people from considering the big picture.

Our vaunted ‘individualism’ comes in handy at times like these: we are encouraged to take a prurient interest in the particular oddities of a particular killer’s personality. The seemingly endless fascination with Hitler is the classic case: there is the greatest resistance to looking at the Nazis in any sort of historical context. When you do, the Nazis are sadly predictable, alas.

Rather than considering the domestic rot that inevitably develops in any rabidly militaristic state, we lurch from heinous act to heinous act in a sort of panic. In the case of a school shooting psychologists are asked, “What’s wrong with these kids?” Instead we should be asking, “What do incidents like these say about us?” Could it be that the violent acts of the weakest and most confused among us somehow bear witness to a society spinning out of control?

Imus and the Duke Lacrosse team

April 18th, 2007

Don Imus got toppled off his throne for making a comment which has been typical of him for years. Why now? Maybe because he’s also calling Cheney a war criminal these days? Or suggesting that he might up the ante on his criticism of Bush and start talking on his show about 9-11? Another of his shock-jock comrades called Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney a “ghetto slut” and referred to her “nappy” head a few months back and nobody pulled his license to spew.

Whatever those white boys did NOT do to that black girl on that fated evening, rest assured that they called her things that leave Don Imus’s remarks in the shade. And not from miles away either. And nobody but nobody is talking about that this week. The Duke kids are being painted as innocent martyrs victimized by a self-seeking prosecutor. Yeah right. No matter how self-seeking, no prosecutor in his right mind would pursue a case with no merit at all. I also think of what it would be if I were the mother of one of those lacrosse players, how horrified and ashamed I would be of the behavior which no one disputes.

In the Imus case, immediately, the finger gets pointed at black rappers, even by black ‘pundits’ who feel that Imus was merely reflecting what has become acceptable discourse about black females, only offensive because it’s a white saying the ugly things. I have no intention of wading into that swamp of history and internalized oppression. As a white I in fact feel that I have no right at all to talk about it.

The events of this week have simply served to highlight the vicious stupidity of the discourse on race in this country. Yet again, whites have written a script that exonerates them from complicity, and paints certain of them as martyrs and corporations as anti-racist heroes.

Surprise surprise.

Divide and Rule –America’s plan for Baghdad

April 12th, 2007

By Robert Fisk

04/11/07 “The Independent” — — Faced with an ever-more ruthless insurgency in Baghdad – despite President George Bush’s “surge” in troops – US forces in the city are now planning a massive and highly controversial counter-insurgency operation that will seal off vast areas of the city, enclosing whole neighbourhoods with barricades and allowing only Iraqis with newly issued ID cards to enter.

The campaign of “gated communities” – whose genesis was in the Vietnam War – will involve up to 30 of the city’s 89 official districts and will be the most ambitious counter-insurgency programme yet mounted by the US in Iraq.

The system has been used – and has spectacularly failed – in the past, and its inauguration in Iraq is as much a sign of American desperation at the country’s continued descent into civil conflict as it is of US determination to “win” the war against an Iraqi insurgency that has cost the lives of more than 3,200 American troops. The system of “gating” areas under foreign occupation failed during the French war against FLN insurgents in Algeria and again during the American war in Vietnam. Israel has employed similar practices during its occupation of Palestinian territory – again, with little success.

But the campaign has far wider military ambitions than the pacification of Baghdad. It now appears that the US military intends to place as many as five mechanised brigades – comprising about 40,000 men – south and east of Baghdad, at least three of them positioned between the capital and the Iranian border. This would present Iran with a powerful – and potentially aggressive – American military force close to its border in the event of a US or Israeli military strike against its nuclear facilities later this year.

Iraq conflict ‘must not deter UK’

April 12th, 2007

The UK must not shy away from trying to resolve international crises despite the “terrible misadventure” in Iraq, a report from charity Oxfam argues.

It warns that it would be disastrous if the country was put off sending troops to future humanitarian crises like those seen in Sierra Leone and Kosovo.

Really. Lord forbid the world should be spared further acts of British ‘charity.’