Saturday, October 08, 2011

A lot of lies, a little truth

Roy Gutman has a McClatchy story that we're not interested in. I'm not linking to it, I'm not citing and we will never, ever treat it as reliable. Stories that come out based upon it, we're not noting (we may note other aspects of the stories if they did not come from Gutman's article). That actually has nothing to do with Roy Gutman. It has to do with the two-bit liar he interviews. Liar can hide behind his collar all he wants. Reality is he gave testimony that was false and did so under oath and got confronted on it only to insist that no one could print his testimony to a commission because it was off the record.

Again, he can hide behind his collar all he wants. And he can pretend to be something noble and wonderful even though he can't leave the Green Zone because most Iraqis long ago learned that he was, in effect, a double agent, offering a 'religious' ear and then turning over information to the US and British officers of the occupation. We won't pretend that he is noble and wonderful. He is a War Hawk who whored for the war ahead of the war. And hides behind his collar.

He's used his spot in Baghdad to do covert actions and hid behind his collar.

He's a known liar.

We are not interested in Gutman's article due to the 'source.' And it's a shame because that topic is so under-reported on. But we don't treat Colin Powell as a trusted source because he's a known liar and we don't treat two-bit whores as trusted sources just because they hide behind a collar. Citing or depending upon an article built around the comments of a known liar is begging to be part of a disinformation campaign. (And, glancing at the article, it would appear the assignement collar's been given is to discredit WikiLeaks and inflame tensions against it.)

From Liar With A Collar, to Truth Teller. Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) files a Saturday profile on Peter Van Buren who is the author of the new book

What makes Mr. Van Buren's account so striking is its gleeful violation of the spirit -- and perhaps the letter -- of the written and unwritten code of America's diplomatic corps.
In anything but diplomatic language, he skewers the Army’s commanders and the Iraqis, the embassy, its staff, and even its ambassador at the time, Christopher R. Hill, though not by name. He takes sarcastic aim at the ambassador's Sisyphean effort to grow a lawn in the sprawling embassy compound beside the Tigris River.
"No matter what Iraq and nature wanted, the American Embassy spent whatever it took to have green grass in the desert," he writes. "Later full-grown palm trees were trucked in and planted to line the grassy square. We made things in Iraq look the way we wanted them to look, water shortages through the rest of the country be damned. The grass was the perfect allegory for the whole war."

Truth and lies battle out every day. Sometimes one is forced to speak truth. The editorial board of Pakistan's The Nation offers a blistering editorial against Barack that reads as though they feel they're responding to the White House:

Turning a blind eye to the reality on the ground in Afghanistan that almost every informed person is telling the world, he [Barack] claimed that his forces were closer than before to defeating Al-Qaeda and its network. His other view included: 'despite possessing the required might, the Americans are ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in a responsible manner'; and 'the US has proven the point that it is not fighting against Islam anywhere in the world'. Hardly have heads of state taken stands that reek of such outlandish untruths! But then, with Obama insisting that killer Raymond Davis had diplomatic status, the international community would not, perhaps, be so much surprised at the utter falsehood of his remarks. The world would rather go along the reading of the situation by German General Harald Kujat, the man who planned the Bundeswehr's mission in Afghanistan and oversaw it: the mission has been a failure, and the Taliban will regain power within months of US withdrawal. That is the reality that is making the US uneasy and that Obama wants to hide.

Events appear to have forced The Nation to face reality. But, as many US reporters have demonstrated when it comes to Iraq violence, reality can be 'managed.' Today AP wanted you to know that Iraqi cities set to be turned over from the Iraqi military to the police are not being turned over due to violence but, please understand, it's decreasing violence.

Decreasing violence? Really. For the last two years, violence has increased in Iraq. How can you pretend otherwise? By managing reality.

By forever using 2006 and 2007, years of ethnic cleansing as the US military largely stood on the sidelines (from time to time, they helped with the ethnic cleansing, having been told this political enemy was actually a 'terrorist' and what not).

That is insane and if there were publications that gave a damn about the Iraq War, by this point they'd be insisting that people stop this bulls**t. 2007 is four years ago. 2006 is five years ago. Is Iraq violence increasing? Yes, after a slight drop in 2008 and 2009, it has increased. And it's past time that people stopped being full of s**t and started telling the truth.

There is no reason in the world to use 2006 and 2007 as a baseline. They're in the past. A past the press is happy to let go as evidenced by the cute little terms they give the ethnic cleansing and their refusal to ever get honest about what went down. (Equally true, US press in 2006 and 2007 was insisting things were okay in Iraq.)

Wally and Cedric updated this evening as did World Can't Wait, NPR and

And we'll swipe from Wally & Cedric's joint post to note the following community posts from Thursday night and Friday:

Lastly Zed Books has a new slate of books and events. Click here for Zed on Facebook, here for Zed on Twitter and here for Zed on Blogspot.

The Global Minotaur
America, the True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy
Yanis Varoufakis

'Yanis is one of the best, brightest and most innovative economists on the planet' - Steve Keen, author of Debunking Economics

'In the most comprehensive guide to the contemporary economic crisis yet written, Yanis Varoufakis traces out the path from post-war US economic supremacy to the current predicament. This book's provocative thesis, written in lively and impassioned prose, is that which neither the US nor the EU nor any other nation can now restore robust global growth. Whether you agree or disagree, this book's lively and impassioned prose will engage you both heart and mind, and hold you in thrall to the last word. The Global Minotaur is a masterwork that registers for all time the challenge of our time.' - Prof. Gary Dymski, University of California, Riverside

Paperback ISBN: 9781780320144 £12.99

Debunking Economics - Revised and Expanded Edition
The Naked Emperor Dethroned?
Steve Keen

'Economics still awaits its Darwin. Keynes came close, but not close enough. Keen comes closer still. Economics, like biology used to be, remains mostly faith-based. No book poses a bigger threat to that faith than the second and expanded edition of Debunking Economics.' - Edward Fullbrook, Editor, Real World Economics Review

'It is notorious that only the most mediocre students have the stomach to stick with graduate economics degree. The assumptions become so narrow-minded and tunnel-visioned that reality-based minds drop out. But economics obviously is important ­ too much so to be left to economists. Fortunately, Steve Keen is an empirical mathematician who views the economy logically and systematically. Having made a pioneering explanatory statistical model, he looked through the literature to review the history of economic thought ­ and saw how little today's assumptions had to contribute to Reality Economics. So his book does two things. First, it explains some of the most wrong-headed logical paths that led today's 'free market' economics down its detour to rationalize the status quo. Second, it explains how to view the economy from a more realistic, cause-and-effect light.' - Michael Hudson, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics, University of Missouri

Paperback ISBN: 9781848139923 £18.99

Confronting Managerialism
How the Business Elite and Their Schools Threw Our Lives Out of Balance
Sven Harten

'Everyone should read this book to see what is so wrong with finance capitalism U.S.-style. The book's expose of bad "management philosophy from hell" carries one forward like an adventure story as it describes the academic and global diplomacy whose infighting has spread it. Most important is the authors' conclusion that it doesn't have to be this way!' - Michael Hudson, author of Super Imperialism

Paperback ISBN: 9781780320717 £12.99

Catastrophe: What Went Wrong in Zimbabwe?
Richard Bourne

'In the plethora of one-sided and ill-informed works on Zimbabwe, Richard Bourne's new book stands out as deeply-thought, highly-detailed, judicious and balanced. Bourne's capacity to weigh evidence and to arrive at sober and sobering judgements is superb. There will not be a better account of Zimbabwe for some time to come.' - Professor Stephen Chan, author of Robert Mugabe: A Life of Power and Violence

'Richard Bourne has written a clear, well-linked history of Zimbabwe from its earliest days as a territory invaded and seized by whites to its recent history under the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe. Perceptive and fair, Bourne offers no quick solutions or easy receiver plans but remains optimistic that Zimbabweans themselves will reconcile and rebuild.' - Richard Dowden, author of Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles

Paperback ISBN: 9781848135215 £14.99

From Global Network to Local Franchise
Christina Hellmich

'If you think you know anything at all about al-Qaeda or simply want an accessible introduction to the subject, this book is a must-read. For the novice and expert alike, Al-Qaeda by Christina Hellmich is currently the best book in the very large field of al-Qaeda studies. An eloquent and incisive deconstruction of the mythology surrounding al-Qaeda and a trenchant critique of the contradictions at the heart of Western security policy, Christina Hellmich delivers an intelligent and balanced assessment of perhaps the most misunderstood group in the world.' - Richard Jackson, Aberystwyth University, UK

'A sensible, sharp, reasoned, comprehensive overview of analysis of modern Islamic militancy and discussion of the nature of the phenomenon of al-Qaeda.' - Jason Burke, author of al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam

Paperback ISBN: 9781848139084 £12.99

Who's Afraid of China?
The Challenge of Chinese Soft Power
Michael Barr

'One need not agree with every aspect of Michael Barr's 'Whose Afraid of China' to benefit from his exploration of China's use of 'soft power' and its attempt to exploit the global information space. China's challenge in this dimension, its attempt to mis-position the West, to diminish Western values and appeal, reflect a maturing 'battle of ideas' about governance. Michael Barr offers interesting perspective on these dynamic questions. A good read for anyone concerned about governance, values and the increasingly informational dimension in which China increasingly challenges the West.' - Dr Stefan Halper, University of Cambridge

''Who's Afraid of China?' by Michael Barr provides a very solid answer to the puzzle of why there is international fear of China's rise. Both those advocating and opposing the theory of Chinese threat will understand why neither of their arguments holds water after reading this book. It is especially worth reading for those who plan to shape a friendly environment for China's rise.' - Professor Yan Xuetong, Tsinghua University, Beijing.

Paperback ISBN: 9781848135901 £16.99

Congo Masquerade
The Political Culture of Aid Inefficiency and Reform Failure
Theodore Trefon

'The Trefon volume is indispensable reading for all those interested in post-conflict state-building. He provides a devastating critique of how the large international investment in this project in DR Congo has fallen far short, through the failings both of the external parties and the Congolese political elite.' - Professor Crawford Young, University of Wisconsin

'Trefon's sweeping survey of reconstruction efforts in Congo, from bridge repairs to security sector reform, delivers a stinging indictment of both the Congolese government and its international partners, leaving no one unscathed. Sure to create controversy, this book makes for a compelling read and calls for an understanding of Congo and the Congolese on their own terms.' - Professor Pierre Englebert, Pomona College

Paperback ISBN: 9781848138360 £12.99

The New Maids
Transnational Women and the Care Economy
Helma Lutz

'Through compelling ethnographic portraits and astute theory, The New Maids takes us beyond narratives of exploitation or empowerment to capture mutual dependences, transnational motherhood, and intimate labor under shifting gender, migration, and welfare regimes. It moves the scholarship on paid domestic work under globalization to new heights!' - Eileen Boris, Hull Professor and Chair, Department of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

'With insight and conviction, Helma Lutz takes us inside the world of the foreign domestic work. She shares poignant narratives that reveal the paradoxical lives of today's maids as one of simultaneous professionalism and personalism at work, distance and proximity in the family, and the unrecognized dependency on their labor by the state. This is an important book that should be read by policy makers and scholars alike.' - Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, Professor of Sociology, University of Southern California

Paperback ISBN: 9781848132887 £18.99

Policing Sexuality
Sex, Society, and the State
Julian C. H. Lee

'Policing the body politic always entails sequestering the body sexual; the questions are only how and why, exactly where and when. This trans-regional examination of the different, and always self-contradictory, modalities of sexual state control and self-control is a treasure chest. Authors from Michel Foucault to Judith Butler would pawn one of their books to read this one: a combination of socio-cultural anatomies with humanist thinking. The anthropological wealth and comparative sociological imagination of this painstaking, yet amazingly easy-to-read book are scholarship at its best: accessible but never simplifying, liberating but never patronizing.' - Gerd Baumann, University of Amsterdam

Paperback ISBN: 9781848138971 £16.99

Women, Violence and Tradition
Taking FGM and other practices to a secular state
Edited by Tamsin Bradley

'Women, Violence and Tradition takes a unique approach to generating its content. It has involved women who are students and/or activists in collecting and writing up the stories of BME women who have been affected by the cultural traditions and practices that are the focus of the book - from FGM to dowry within Hindu communities. Many of the contributors to this volume also have first-hand experience of the traditions and practices that they are writing about and this lends a sense of authority and insight to their writing that is often absent in purely academic studies. The volume aims to highlight how women uphold, challenge and defend aspects of these traditions and practices, which often result in violence, in the context of the "secular" British state. It draws our attention the ways in which they are often underpinned by particular understandings of religion and culture that can make it difficult to challenge and negotiate them. The chapters are engaging and personal, and result in a volume that will appeal to the general public as well as an academic audience.' - Dr Emma Tomalin, University of Leeds

Paperback ISBN: 9781848139589 £19.99

Common Ground
The Sharing of Land and Landscapes for Sustainability
Mark Everard

'Common Ground is a must-read for anyone concerned about the sustainability of the landscapes that support us. The book is based on the many societal benefits provided by ecosystems, exploring shifting perceptions of people's rights, priorities for land management and economic flows across landscapes, and suggesting a range of pragmatic implications for achieving sustainable 'living landscapes'. Insightful, engaging and extremely well researched, Common Ground is an indispensible guide for academics, policy-makers and the concerned public.' - Professor Jim Longhurst, Assistant Vice Chancellor, University of the West of England

Paperback ISBN: 9781848139626 £16.99

Elections and the Media in Post-Conflict Africa
Votes and Voices for Peace?
Marie-Soleil Frère

'There is simply no equivalent volume and no other author with a similar in-depth knowledge of the minutiae of Africa?s media landscape. Frère provides the reader with a broad and clear exposé, in which she shines an uncompromising light on the theory and practice of the role of the media in democratic and post-conflict transitions. Building on years of participatory fieldwork in six Central African countries, she highlights with compassion the systemic consequences of the physical vulnerability and material precariousness of African journalists. A real eye-opener!' - Pierre Englebert, Pomona College

Paperback ISBN: 9781780320182 £21.99


Book Launch for
Africa's Odious Debt
How Foreign Loans and Capital Flight Bled a Continent
Léonce Ndikumana and James K. Boyce

10 October 2011 7-9 p.m.
Khalili Lecture Theatre
The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG
Speakers: James Boyce and Leonce Ndikumana
Respondent: John Christensen (Director, International Secretariat, Tax Justice Network)
Chair: Professor John Weeks (SOAS)
For more information see here
For more information on the book see here

Book Launch for
Congo Masquerade
The Political Culture of Aid Inefficiency and Reform Failure
Theodore Trefon

17th October 2011 7-9pm
Khalili Lecture Theatre
The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG
Speakers: Dr. Theodore Trefon (Author), Ben Shepherd (Associate fellow, Africa programme, Chatham House) and Christian Mukosa (Amnesty International).
For more information see here
For more information on the book see here

The New Maids
Transnational Women and the Care Economy
Helma Lutz

Thursday 20 October, 6.30pm, £2 (refreshments inc)
Bookmarks Bookshop,
1 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3QE
Please contact us to reserve a place:
020 7637 1848 or email:
For more information on the event see here
For more information on the book see here

The Crises of Multiculturalism
Racism in a Neoliberal Age
Alana Lentin and Gavan Titley

Wednesday 26th October, 6.30pm, £2 (refreshments inc)
Bookmarks Bookshop,
1 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3QE
Please contact us for more information about the event or to reserve a place:
020 7637 1848 or email:
For more information on the book see here

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Just come along to our office on Wednesday October 19th
for unbelievable bargains on ALL ZED STOCK!
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