Category Archives: Military

Headline of the day: Maybe time for Twig to leaf?


The front page Washington Post homepage teaser for a story that makes us wonder why does this man still holds onto his job, given that he demonstrably can’t do it?:

BLOG Twig

Viggo Mortensen on American militarism, art


Viggo Mortensen is one of Hollywood’s most interesting actors, a commanding and often sympathetic screen presence.

But he’s much more than a screen presence. Born in New York, he was raised in Latin America, and holds citizenship in both the U.S. and Denmark. Among his other talents are gifts for painting, photography, writing, and poetry. Oh, he speaks four languages fluently and can converse in several others. And he’s also a recording artist and founded his own book publishing house, Perceval Press.

Give his credentials as a talented polymath, it should come as no surprise that he’s also a man of considered political opinions, and it is these that are the focus of the latest edition of TeleSUR English’s The Laura Flanders Show:

Viggo Mortensen: Empires and Justice in the Middle East

Program notes:

This week Laura and Viggo Mortensen discuss heroes, outlaws, empires and justice in the Middle East. Academy Award-nominated actor Viggo Mortensen has appeared in scores of movies, including The Lord of The Rings, one of the highest grossing film series of all time. What you may not know is he’s also a poet, photographer, musician and painter. He speaks four languages, and he is the founder and publisher of an independent publishing house, Perceval Press. The twelfth anniversary edition of Perceval’s collection of essays in response to the Iraq occupation: Twilight of Empire — was released this winter with essays by Mike Davis, Amy Goodman, Jodie Evans and Dennis Kucinich among others – and a forward by Howard Zinn. This episode also features a few words from Laura on Hillary Clinton – her warmth and her wars.

His Twitter feed is here, and his Facebook arts page is here.

Chart of the day II: Hawk/dove divide deepens


From a new report [PDF] from the Pew Research Center:

BLOG Divide

Headline of the day: Almost a fitting way to go


From the Independent, a warning that while we’ve trashed the earth with impunity, hazards lurk above:

Rise in space junk orbiting the Earth could ‘provoke armed conflict’, Russian scientists warn

Countries will be unable to tell whether damage to military satellites during collisions is caused by debris or deliberate attacks by other countries

The Empire Files: The U.S. role in birthing ISIS


Our respect for Abby Martin continues to grow as she matures as a journalist, first moving from hosting a show on Berkeley’s community access cable station to RT America, where she hosted Braking the Set, and then, after a brief hiatus, moving on to teleSur where she now hosts The Empire Files.

Each step of the way she has matured as a journalist, attaining a sense of gravitas that is the antithesis of what it takes to survive on this country’s corporate media.

In this latest edition of The Empire Files, she conducts what is probably the best interview we’ve seen on the troubles now afflicting the Middle East and North Africa, and lays the blame squarely at the doorstep of those most responsible, the U.S. Department of State and successive presidential administrations, and their use of oil as a weapon to bring down governments.

Her guest is Vijay Prasad, George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and he dissects the U.S. role in the violence now unfolding in Libya and Syria.

One of his most trenchant statement brilliantly sums up the nexus of crises across the globe: “The rich have gone on strike and are refusing to pay taxes.”

And so, from teleSUR English:

The Empire Files: Examining the Syria War Chessboard

Program notes:

The war in Syria is an unparalleled crisis. It has gone far beyond an internal political struggle, and is marked by a complex array of forces that the U.S. Empire hopes to command: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and more. To simplify this web of enemies and friends, Abby Martin interviews Dr. Vijay Prashad, professor of International Studies at Trinity College and author of several books.

Headline of the day II: Oh now that’s reassuring


From the Associated Press:

Air Force withheld nuclear mishap from Pentagon review team

In the spring of 2014, as a team of experts was examining what ailed the U.S. nuclear force, the Air Force withheld from them the fact that it was simultaneously investigating damage to a nuclear-armed missile in its launch silo caused by three airmen.

Chomsky takes aim at Al Jazeera’s owners


Al Jazeera is owned by the ruling family of Qatar, and in an interview by Mehdi Hasan of Al Jazeera English, Chomsky talks — or tries to talk — about a wide range of issues, most notably the current violence in Syria and elsewhere spawned by the rise of ISIS, or, as Hasan designates it, ISIL.

Chomsky, typically, pulls no punches, and Hasan repeatedly interrupts whenever the MIT linguist treads on turf inimical to Hasan’s employers, but Chomsky manages to get in a shot at Qatar for funding some of the most violent of the forces now fighting in Syria.

Hasan is clearly overmatched and nervous as all get out, while Chomsky maintains his characteristic cool throughout.

From Al Jazeera English:

UpFront – Headliner: Noam Chomsky on ISIL, Turkey and Ukraine

Program notes:

Noam Chomsky has been described as “arguably the most important intellectual alive”. And as one of the world’s most celebrated academics, he has published more than 100 books and is a leading critic on US foreign policy. In the first of a special two-part interview, Chomsky sits down with Mehdi Hasan to discuss the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, Ukraine and Turkey.