Thursday, April 30, 2009

Obama and the Spanish "Torture" Investigation

What inspired Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón to open an investigation into torture at Guantánamo less than two weeks after the Spanish Attorney General appeared to say that he was opposed to such a move? Short answer: the Obama administration.

See my new post on here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Al-Dura Footage Heightens Mystery

Journalist Esther Schapira's second documentary on the "Al-Dura Affair," which was shown last month on Germany's ARD public television, sparked a brief flurry of commentary in the new media: brief, undoubtedly, because the documentary is for the time being only available in German. But the biggest revelation in the film was passed over in silence: namely, a few seconds of footage that appears to show Mohammed Al-Dura wounded. Was the emblematic "boy-martyr" of the 2nd Palestinian Intifada in fact killed? But if so, by whom and under what circumstances?

See my new article on here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Signs and Wonders: The Germans Return to Iraq

"Once upon a time, Herodotus recounts, a solar eclipse prevented a war between Sparta and the Persians. The war came anyway, but later. For it was not peace that the wonder foretold, but rather a catastrophe so great that even such a weighty day-to-day matter as war had to be deferred."

Thus writes Thomas Uwer in an article in the April edition of the German monthly Konkret. Uwer worries that the recent apparition in Iraq of German politicians Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Peter Gauweiler, and Herta Däubler-Gmelin might also be the sign of an impending catastrophe. See my translation of Uwer's article on Pajamas Media here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The "Rightwing Extremism" Report and the Bogus Europeanization of American Politics

One of the oddest aspects of the DHS “rightwing extremism” report is the very use of the expression “rightwing extremism.” There is very little tradition of using this broad-brush designation to discuss American political movements. The German equivalent — Rechtsextremismus — is, however, a standard element of German political discourse. Could the DHS "analysts" have been aping German usage? It would seem so...

See my new article on Pajamas Media here.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Holbrooke and Iran: Renewing Old Ties

According to Hillary Clinton, American “Af-Pak” envoy Richard Holbrooke had a brief, but “cordial” encounter with an Iranian representative in The Hague last week. And if there is any American official with whom the Iranians could be expected to have “cordial” interactions, it would surely be Richard Holbrooke. For Holbrooke and an administration he represented have in fact already cooperated with Iran in a crisis region. That was in Bosnia during the Bosnian civil war. Though perhaps the word "collusion" would be more fitting than "cooperation."

See my new article on here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Berlin, Two Days After 9/11

Barack Obama is currently in Europe attempting to "restore America's standing in the world" and regain the sympathy that George Bush is famously supposed to have “squandered” after the 9/11 attacks. But it is worth remembering what the atmosphere was really like in the heart of Europe in the aftermath of the attacks. In his 2002 book "No War, Nowhere" [Kein Krieg, Nirgends], Henryk Border reports on an important intellectual gathering that took place in Berlin two days after 9/11. There was indeed a great deal of sympathy on display. It was, however, for the most sympathy with the perpetrators of the attacks, not with the victims.

See my new translation of Broder's report on here.

Taliban to US: Let's Talk, But We Can't Diss Al-Qaeda

Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef says the Taliban would be prepared to talk -- so long as they don't have to renounce their ties to Al-Qaeda. See my new post on here.