Your Brain Of Mud Or President Obama’s Magic Show In Cairo

On June 4th 2009, President Barack Obama (a man I voted for!) took the stage on the soil of one of the region’s most despotic and repressive regimes. But more than that, he was standing in the center of the geography of American imperial projections that has been the Middle East since the British, Germans, French and other smaller European nations were forced to leave it in the 1940s.
(Originally written in response to Obama’s first condescending speech to the A-rabs back in 2009. Reposted to reflect that nothing really has changed.) Details »

Sticking Our Head In The Sand Or We Just Liked Afghanistan Better When The Soviet’s Were Raping It

Larry Towell is looking for money for a new project in Afghanistan and has placed his request on Kickstarter. This would all have been fine had it not been for the fact that he is doing the wrong project.

Larry Towell has been an inspiration, one of the first photographers whose works compelled me to come to photography. So it is with great disappointment that I read his description of what he intends to do in Afghanistan.

The opening sentence from his project description, a project called Crisis In Afghanistan, left me stunned:

For 30 years, Afghanistan has known only civil war.

No it has not. Details »

What It Looks Like When You Leave The Embed Or Thank Goodness Some Remember The Basics

Jeremy Scahill has written a fascinating piece for The Nation called Killing Reconciliation. He and film maker Rick Rowley (of Big Noise Films – see a recent one called The Return Of The Warlords on Afghanistan) traveled in Afghanistan outside the predictability and suffocating inanity of the ’embedded’ war and bring back some fascinating insights into the situation. Details »

Photographing The Unseen Or What Conventional Photojournalism Is Not Telling Us About Ourselves


Unmarked 737 at "Gold Coast" Terminal Las Vegas, NV Distance ~ 1 mile 10:44 p.m.

Trevor Paglen is a man on a mission and it is one that reminds us that what makes any work of photography relevant, interesting, important or even significant, are the ideas and intentions that inform it. Anything else is merely gazing at pretty pictures. Details »

Getting The Pakistanis To Sing Our Songs But Sending Them Villains And Not Violins

A few weeks ago another typically obtuse and brain dead New York Times journalist lamented the said state of affairs of the country of Pakistan where apparently her pop singers were not entertaining him sufficiently with songs against the Taliban. Adam B. Ellick was confused and upset about this and pointed out, in a piece called Pakistan Rock Rails Against The West, Not The Taliban that there is..

…a surge of bubble-gum stars who have become increasingly politicized. Some are churning out ambiguous, cheery lyrics urging their young fans to act against the nation’s woes. Others simply vilify the United States. Details »

Whats Happening In Pakistan? Its Not What The New York Times Will Tell You

A couple of insightful pieces appeared recently. Both, in different ways, challenge the mainstream narrative being bandied about in Washington D.C. and being stenographed by individuals pretending to be reporters but in fact are really acting as government/official stenographers out of Pakistan and the USA. Details »

The Wars On Our Frontiers Or Haven’t We Been Here Before?

From Mother Jones magazine, October 2004, written by Malcolm Garcia

Kalooshah, South Waziristan, April 2004: Mir Abbas Khan sits outside the remains of his family home, destroyed by pakistan army bulldozers. The army has destroyed dozens of homes in this area of people it claims were harboring Al Qaeda fighters and collaborators. Many innocent civilians have been displaced and others have lost their homes, belongings and means of livelihood as a consequence. 2004 Copyright Asim Rafiqui Do Not Reproduce

Mir Abbas Khan stares into the camera. Behind him the ruins of his home lay strewn across the dry, hard ground. Since March, when Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Pakistan and promised President General Pervez Musharraf billions of dollars in aid, the Pakistani army has been scouring the semiautonomous tribal regions of South Waziristan for Al Qaeda fighters—bombing, burning, and bulldozing the homes and belongings of those deemed collaborators, or merely uncooperative. Details »

Guantanamo Detainee Fouad Mahmoud Al Rabiah’s Petition for Habeus Corpus Is Granted!

In a remarkable, courageous and honest ruling, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, found that the government could not credibly support its allegation that Fouad Mahmoud Al Rabiah was part of the Taliban or al-Qaida, and that the evidence against him wasn’t sufficient to justify his continued detention. She ordered the government to release Al Rabiah “forthwith [1].” Details »

Spreading Democracy Around The World…By Getting Into Bed With One Maniacal Dictator At A Time

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Speaking of a history of ugliness, that lovely man shaking the hands of our Secretary of State is Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the President of the nation of Turkmenistan. This photo was taken on September 21, 2009. At the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Quite the address. Details »

Fear The Pushtun Bogeyman Or Scaring Children As An Imperialist Habit

Juan Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Engaging the Muslim World. He has a regular column at Salon.com. and writes the Informed Comment blog.

He has now written what I think is the first piece that connects modern day American imperialist paranoia in Afghanistan to 19th century British imperialist paranoia in Afghanistan. Details »