This blog is on (very) ‘partial blackout’…

…because I stand in solidarity. And I will also not be gagged.

They seek to move us; but we will not be moved.

For more information, see here:

And here:



From Iraq to Iraq: Political violence, recently

Protestors in Malaysia: The ‘969’ anti-Muslim movement in Burma has been identified as the main instigator of violence against Muslims in that country. Photo courtesy of

Some links related to and around news about political violence over the past few weeks:


FALLUJAH, Iraq, Apr 13, 2012 (IPS) – At Fallujah hospital they cannot offer any statistics on children born with birth defects – there are just too many. Parents don’t want to talk. “Families bury their newborn babies after they die without telling anyone,” says hospital spokesman Nadim al-Hadidi. “It’s all too shameful for them.”

“We recorded 672 cases in January but we know there were many more,” says Hadidi. He projects pictures on to a wall at his office: children born with no brain, no eyes, or with the intestines out of their body.

Contextualizing Media Claims in Boston –

In attempting to place Tamerlan and Dzhohar Tsarnaev into the mould of the stereotypical “Islamic fundamentalist bomber,” the media used several facts and claims about the brothers that, in my opinion, don’t ring true or were taken out of the Chechen and post-Soviet context and, thus, were misunderstood. I would like to draw attention to several such facts (certainly not all) and clarify them. While these details may seem small, they helped to form an image of the Tsarnaev brothers in the public’s mind, simplifying complex motivations that may exist behind this attack. Words have connotations beyond their direct meanings, and so the choice of something as small as the wrong word can change how we perceive the facts: …

The wrong kind of Caucasian – Opinion – Al Jazeera English

Ethnicity is often used to justify violent behaviour. But no ethnicity is inherently violent. Even if the Tsarnaevs aligned themselves with violent Chechen movements – and as of now, there is no evidence they did – treating Chechen ethnicity as the cause of the Boston violence is irresponsible.

One hundred years ago, the violent act of one Polish-American caused a country to treat all Polish-Americans with suspicion. Now, the Poles have become “white” – which is to say they are largely safe from the accusations of treason and murderous intent that ethnic groups deemed non-white routinely face. When a Polish-American commits a crime, his ethnicity does not go on trial with him.

But this change is not a triumph for America. It is a tragedy that it happened to Poles then, and a greater tragedy that we have not learned our lesson and it happens still – to Hispanics, to Arabs, to Chechens, to any immigrant who comes here seeking refuge and finds prejudice instead.

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Encircling Empire Reports is a selection of essays, blog posts, and news reports covering a given time period, providing links and representative extracts or key passages from each resource, usually focusing on certain countries/continents and/or processes in each report. The focus of the reports ranges from imperialism discussed in broad strokes, to specific facets of imperialism: militarization and militarism; militainment; “humanitarian intervention” and the “responsibility to protect”; regime-change; nation-building; counterinsurgency; state terrorism; the economics of empire; soft power, psychological operations, and strategic information operations; and, the ideologies and moral constructions of contemporary imperialist thought. In keeping with the dualistic theme–the empire that encircles us, and the encircling of empire by resistance and collapse–we also attempt to provide coverage of anti-imperialism, anti-war struggles, and the direct resistance against imperialist intervention, as well as covering the decline of U.S. and European geopolitical hegemony.

(When links expire–and they certainly will in many cases–either…

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Grand Blog Tarkin

Pity the modern supervillain, Adam tells us. He’s a poor, decrepit figure, beholden to the deceptive whims of irrationality, distanced from the creative politics of his more practical predecessors. The grand image of global–or, better yet, multiversal–domination is a Mesopotamian artifact of superherodom.  The Joker’s low-tech banditry abounds in contemporary supervillainy, while Dalek “extermination” is little more than a charming, if impractical product of British public television. From a critical perspective, this shift is an unfortunate consequence of post-9/11 security cultures. If Judi Dench’s M is any indication–and s/he has been for a half-century–hero fandom should view the modern supervillain as a product of a more discreet Zeitgeist, of a less transparent, more opaque world of “shadows.” Hats off to Christopher Nolan, whose Joker is a mere interlude to Ra’s al-Ghul’s global League of Shadows, a happy marriage of Erik Prince (Bane, the mercenary) and young Emma Goldman…

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How the U.S. presidency was won (and why it won’t change anything much)

From Al Jazeera:

I appreciate their featuring of one of the “third-party” candidates, Jill Stein from the Green Party (from about the 20:16 mark).

Posts that relate to this, in one way or another:

‘A Period of Persistent Conflict’, or why the United States will bever have another peacetime president (Foreign

Since September 11, 2001, the president has been able to threaten or use military force to achieve a range of foreign policy objectives with few checks and balances or sustained media coverage — to an extent unprecedented in U.S. history. Anything short of deploying large numbers of U.S. ground troops is tolerated, and any executive branch justification for using lethal force is broadly accepted, including the notion that such military operations can continue in perpetuity.

Though both of the presidential candidates claim to want a peaceful world (Mitt Romney used some version of “peace” 12 times in the final presidential debate), it is unlikely that the United States will ever have a peacetime president again.

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Human rghts in Singapore: Always derogated (part 2)

See part 1 here. Alex Au has a post that has more details here (more on this below).

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

To recap: On 24 October 2012, the Handa Centre for Global Governance and Human Rights was scheduled to be opened with a launch at the Singapore Management University (SMU). SMU’s School of Law was to be host of the Centre, and a job for a part-time executive was even advertised before the launch was so unceremoniously cancelled.

On political pressure and wiggle room
The conflict at first blush focused on the naming of the Centre, particularly the words “Human Rights” in it, according to citizens’ journalism website The Online Citizen (TOC), and a “compromise name involving ‘Global Justice’ would have been acceptable” (more comments on this farther below).

This post is the second of a two-parter. It aims to dissect the issue and understand the context for the closure of the Centre – before it was even properly opened. The reasons and motivations for the various actors and stakeholders involved are not so essential here, but they will be taken into account. As such, this piece will cover quite a bit of ground, but may not be sufficient to satisfy everyone’s curiosity or queries.

To begin this exploration, take this part from the TODAY article:

Dr Handa, who is the founder and chairman of Tokyo-based non-profit organisation Worldwide Support for Development (WSD), has also provided funding for Curtin University’s Centre for Human Rights Education.

Dr Handa could not be reached for comment yesterday. But he was quoted by website Singapolitics as saying that, after consulting SMU, the WSD leadership “has decided not to proceed with the organisation of a new centre”. He added that WSD “remains supportive of SMU and will continue to consider future projects in Singapore”.

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“The Pentagon’s grip on Hollywood” (updated 10 July)

 From Al Jazeera‘s ‘Listening Post’ programme, hosted by Richard Gizbert:

The military entertainment complex is an old phenomenon that binds Hollywood with the US military. Known as militainment, it serves both parties well. Filmmakers get access to high tech weaponry – helicopters, jet planes and air craft carriers while the Pentagon gets free and positive publicity.

The latest offering to come from this relationship is Act of Valor and it takes the collaboration one step further. The producers get more than just equipment — they have cast active-duty military personnel in the lead roles, prompting critics to say the lines have become so blurred that it is hard to see where Hollywood ends and Pentagon propaganda begins. In this week’s feature, the Listening Post’s Nic Muirhead looks at the ties between the US military and Hollywood.


This is not just a step “going a little bit beyond propaganda”, as one of the commentators said in the video, but one that reveals a symbiotic relationship between Hollywood and the U.S. regime. One that is about active collaboration between a state’s military establishment and civilian film industry – a collaboration that has been advanced far beyond the days of the Cold War, which had its fair share of propaganda films emanating from Hollywood-Pentagon collaboration.

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