27 August 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the assassination of one of the most prominent leaders of the Palestinian national liberation movement by Israeli military forces. In addition to remembering his life of struggle against oppression, this day should also stand as a reminder of Israel’s flagrant lawlessness in its global assassination campaign.
Monthly Archives: August 2021
The US‘s withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan has gone alongside a stunning recapture of much of the country by the Taliban. This has naturally raised predictable whines from neoconservative elements who believe that withdrawal has “led to a Taliban triumph”.
However, not only is continuing the occupation of Afghanistan an abject exercise in futility, the US also has partly itself to blame for the rise of the radical Islamist group. A closer examination of history shows that this ascendency traces its roots to US interference in earlier decades.
In the month that has now passed since protests erupted across Cuba, much media commentary has focused on how President Biden would react. Earlier this year Biden’s press secretary had said that “a Cuba policy shift is not currently among President Biden’s top priorities.” However, the Biden administration is now clearly shifting policy, but not in the direction that Cubans in Cuba and US progressives had been hoping. On August 10, The New York Times published an article titled Biden Ramps Up Pressure on Cuba, Abandoning Obama’s Approach. The article states that, far from pivoting back to the Obama-era normalization process, “Mr. Biden is taking an even harder line on Cuba than his predecessor, President Donald J. Trump, who tightened restrictions on travel and financial transactions.”
Throughout this time corporate media accounts have been loyally parroting Washington’s line that the protesters were primarily motivated by the “authoritarianism” of the Cuban “regime.” As was the case in the run up the Iraq War, the purpose of these reports is to manufacture consent for Washington’s coercive foreign policy and obscure its self-serving and hypocritical agenda. As would be expected, these reports also ignore growing evidence suggesting that the protests were in part orchestrated by Washington as part of its ongoing plan destabilize the country and, in turn, bring about regime change. In a competitive field, one essay in particular stands out for its shamelessly tendentious propagandizing. Published at the online journal The Conversation, the article is condescendingly titled 5 ways Americans often misunderstand Cuba, from Fidel Castro’s rise to the Cuban American vote.
Prime minister Boris Johnson has come under fire for his comments about the decline of coal mining in the UK. On the surface, it might seem hypocritical for those on the left, and especially environmentalists, to mourn the shutting down of coal pits. But a more nuanced analysis shows that there is, in fact, no contradiction.
On July 29, an Associated Press (AP) article appeared online titled With turmoil at home, more Nicaraguans flee to the U.S. As is so often the case with media reports these days, the article starts off with a melodramatic anecdote that sets the tone and argumentative thrust for the rest of the piece. Emotionally manipulative rhetoric is, after all, more viscerally effective in pulling at the heart strings than facts and figures could ever hope to be. This particular article tells the tale of one Alan Reyes Picado. Picado, the AP tells us, is “one of the thousands of Nicaraguans the U.S. government has encountered at the border in recent months.” Evidently, the report’s author couldn’t even get past the first sentence without laying the blame squarely at the feet of the Sandinista government. The article says that Picado “fled Nicaragua by bus in the middle of the night, haunted by memories of government officials harassing him, throwing him in jail and then leaving him half naked in a dumpster.”
The US government and allies in the right-wing Cuban exile community have been seizing on recent protests in Cuba to further their regime change strategy. And, as would also be expected, the corporate-owned media has largely been parroting this line. Moreover, it’s been leaving out crucial facts that undermine Washington’s narrative.
The most prominent aspect of this lying by omission is a consistent failure to name the biggest cause of suffering for Cubans. And that’s overwhelmingly been a crushing set of US-imposed economic sanctions. Now, a number of NGOs and prominent academics have signed a damning open letter to the US government. It’s calling on president Joe Biden to finally lift sanctions against Cuba.