FDL Book Salon Welcomes Hugh Wilford, America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East

By: Saturday February 1, 2014 1:59 pm

One of the most enduring changes in American government occurred in the years after the Second World War, when the United States created its first permanent foreign intelligence agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Authorized by the National Security Act of 1947 and built from the bones of the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the CIA had an immediate impact on American activities in all regions of the globe, especially the Middle East.

 

Saudi Arabia: A Retrograde Rentier Dictatorship and Global Terrorism

By: Sunday January 12, 2014 7:00 am

Saudi Arabia has all the vices and none of the virtues of an oil rich state like Venezuela. The country is governed by a family dictatorship which tolerates no opposition and severely punishes human rights advocates and political dissidents. Hundreds of billions in oil revenues are controlled by the royal despotism and fuel speculative investments the world over. The ruling elite relies on the purchase of Western arms and US military bases for protection. The wealth of productive nations is syphoned to enrich the conspicuous consumption of the Saudi ruling family. The ruling elite finances the most fanatical, retrograde, misogynist version of Islam, “Wahhabi” a sect of Sunni Islam.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War

By: Saturday December 14, 2013 1:59 pm

Between them, their unquestioned attitudes conditioned all of the covert interventions of the Eisenhower era. The coups in Iran and Guatemala, for example, were as much about defeating perceived threats to the business interests of America’s capitalist elites as containing the spread of communism. Ho Chi Minh and Sukarno offended Foster’s Calvinist religiosity. Patrice Lumumba’s fate was so miserable in part because patrician Americans had very little personal notion of life in post-colonial Africa. All these men were “monsters” in the brothers’ demonology, and therefore deserving of monstrous treatment.

Of course, the Dulles brothers’ value system now appears outmoded, even quaint. But, as Stephen Kinzer reminds us again in a stimulating concluding chapter, the actions that it propelled the U.S. to take in the 1950s shaped the world we live in today. What unthinking cultural assumptions and prejudices drive the behavior of those who make current U.S. foreign policy?

Ann Jones: War Wounds

By: Sunday November 17, 2013 7:05 pm

In 2010, I began to follow U.S. soldiers down a long trail of waste and sorrow that led from the battle spaces of Afghanistan to the emergency room of the trauma hospital at Bagram Air Base, where their catastrophic wounds were surgically treated and their condition stabilized. Then I accompanied some of them by cargo plane to Ramstein Air Base in Germany for more surgeries at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, or LRMC (pronounced Larm-See), the largest American hospital outside the United States.

Tomgram: Max Blumenthal, Expulsion and Revulsion in Israel

By: Monday October 14, 2013 4:04 pm

Max Blumenthal spent four years researching the on-the-ground realities of Israel. Today, he offers us a powerful, if grim, glimpse of just where Israel has been and where it’s heading, the sort of up-close-and-personal reporting you’re not likely to see in the American mainstream media (not, at least, since President Obama tried — and failed — to get the Israelis to stop building new settlements and other housing on Palestinian or contested lands).

Note: Max Blumenthal and his book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel will be featured in FDL’s Book Salon Novemeber 2nd. Philip Munger aka EdwardTeller will host.

Obama’s Former PR Flack Anita Dunn Pitches “Ethical Oil” Keystone XL Ad

By: Wednesday October 9, 2013 3:55 pm

Ezra Levant is the man behind an attempt to re-frame the Alberta tar sands as “ethical oil.” “Ethical” – Levant’s deceptive public relations campaign argues of the tar sands “carbon bomb” – because it doesn’t come from the war-ridden and human rights-abusing Middle East.

Now, the “ethical oil” campaign has a new backer: Anita Dunn, former White House Communications Director for President Barack Obama.

Did Iran Win the US-Iraq War?

By: Thursday September 26, 2013 1:20 pm

A central claim in a new story published by the New Yorker is that the real victor in the 2003 war between the US and Saddam governments was the Islamic Republic of Iran. Profiling Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Qods Force, a division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the article describes how Iran both engineered the new Iraqi government and the US forces withdrawal.

If You Haven’t Panicked Yet About Syria, a Few of the Many Reasons You Should

By: Saturday September 7, 2013 4:00 pm

An American strike on Syria could very conceivably be the shot that is heard around the world. It could lead to a Third World War involving the most important players and economies on the world stage.

Of Nobel Prizes, Past and Present

By: Saturday September 7, 2013 10:15 am

Reading the 2009 announcement from the Nobel Peace Prize committee and Obama’s Nobel Laureate lecture, and then listening to the news today is an exercise in mental whiplash.

As the fourth anniversary of that announcement approaches, Obama might want to return his Nobel medal to Oslo. It’s not as if it means a lot to him any more.

Alone and Delusional on Planet Earth

By: Thursday September 5, 2013 5:45 am

In an increasingly phantasmagorical world, here’s my present fantasy of choice: someone from General Keith Alexander’s outfit, the National Security Agency, tracks down H.G. Wells’s time machine in the attic of an old house in London. Britain’s subservient Government Communications Headquarters, its version of the NSA, is paid off and the contraption is flown to Fort Meade, Maryland, where it’s put back in working order. Alexander then revs it up and heads not into the future like Wells to see how our world ends, but into the past to offer a warning to Americans about what’s to come.

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