Tag: Juan Cole

Global Spying By US Is An Outrage

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

At his blog, Glenn Greenwald posted that he had written an article for O Globo, the large Brazilian newspaper based in Rio de Janeiro revealing that millions of Brazilians emails and calls, too, had been scooped up by the US spy program. This followed on the news in Der Spiegel that gave a detailed account of the mass collection of data from the electronic communications of Germans. The Brazilian government is now demanding an explanation from the US.

The foreign minister, Antonio Patriota, expressed “deep concern” about a report that appeared in O Globo newspaper at the weekend, which detailed how the US National Security Agency (NSA) had conducted extensive spying activities in Brazil.

Based on documents provided by Snowden, the O Globo story showed how the US had been carrying out covert surveillance on ostensibly friendly nations. Similar reports in Europe and Hong Kong have sparked indignation in recent weeks.

After the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, called in cabinet ministers to discuss the issue, the government issued a statement of concern.

After the flight carrying Bolivian president Evo Morales was forced to land in Austria over the suspicion that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board, Bolivia and two other Latin American countries, Venezuela and Nicaragua have offered Snowden asylum. The offers spark some rather undiplomatic responses from elected officials on the Sunday talk shows. The most notable was from Sen. Robert Menedez (D-NJ) who, after calling for sanctions against the three countries, told Meet the Press‘s David Gregory:

“I’m not surprised by the countries that are offering him asylum,” Menendez said Sunday. “They like sticking it to the United States.”

The second half of Glenn Greenwald’s interview with Snowden that was taped in Hong Kong by Laura Poitras on 6 June 2013 was posted at The Guardian.

Edward Snowden: ‘The US government will say I aided our enemies’

Juan Cole had this to say about the NSA spying and the Obama administration

The general disappointment with the Obama administration on issues of surveillance, drone warfare, the surge in Afghanistan, extension of the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich, labor issues and the environment felt by anyone to the left of David Brooks appears to be a factor in Snowden’s whistleblowing. He must also have been frustrated to see Senators such as Ron Wyden (D-OR) muzzled and unable to tell the American people forthrightly what was troubling him about the secret interpretation of the USA Patriot Act (which is of course the most unpatriotic piece of legislation ever passed). Muzzling a sitting senator about an issue of clear public concern surely is unconstitutional. You can’t have a democracy that way. Snowden knew this and is trying to restore what we lost to the National Security Super-State.

A Kindergarten Revolution in Northeast Africa

Juan Cole’s website is apparently assembled by an IRC-era net-bot with simple instructions like “Cole-Bot, get Egypt video!”

“5 Year Old Child Heads Demo in Alexandria Egypt!”

“And the wolf will lie down with the lamb, and a little child shall lead them!” -Isaiah 11:16

So judging from the Juan-Cole-Bot and genius reporters like Christiane Amanpour (“The Muslim Brotherhood only wants to support civilian democracy!”), you might think that Northeast Africa is a democratic paradise, except where the USA is propping up a demon like Hosni Mubarak!

So let’s take a little tour of the other prosperous, peaceful, and democratic regimes of that blessed region!

Northeast Africa

Immediately to the south we find ourselves in the Republic of the Sudan, which virtually nobody calls a “client-state” of the USA, and yet somehow even without the intervention of the Great Satan, those highly independent Muslims have managed to kill a few hundred thousand of their fellow citizens, and then a few hundred thousand more, and then..

Likewise neighboring Libya subscribes to the democratic principle of “one man, one vote,” except that the “one man” is Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, and his “one vote” is the only vote that counts.

And yet again, although nobody calls Libya a “client-state” of the USA, it isn’t easy to discover anything that most of us would recognize as “democracy.”

Rounding out the top right-hand corner of Africa we arrive at the Republic of Chad, where civil war raged for no less than 30 years between independence in 1960 and the ascension of General Idriss Déby around 1990, and General Déby still rules that unfortunate country 21 years later, and continually justifies his ranking as the 15th worst dictator in the world!

And once again, even without American support, Chad has somehow evolved into one of the most corrupt and un-free countries on the face of the earth!

But Egypt would have naturally developed into blissful democracy, except for the Great Satan’s puppet, Hosni Mubarak!

And a little child shall lead them!


Informed Comment: Call for Essays

Want to write a Guest op-ed for Juan Cole’s blog, Informed Comment?

I just received an email from him which he sent to the LBAN (Liberal Blog Ad Network) group list.

He makes a generous offer to help drive more traffic to LBAN blogs.

I’d like to help out other members of this group, and it occurred to me that one way to do it would be to print guest op-eds with link backs.

He’s looking for 750-word essays – particularly critiques of the McCain campaign.

I originally thought I might just link to some stories at other Lban blogs, but finding ones appropriate to what I usually talk about is not easy.

Since we’re in the presidential campaign season, though, and since I post on general politics in addition to foreign policy, actually the appropriateness issue is less salient right now.  Most of us are probably commenting on the campaign in one way or another.  I’m especially interested in a range of critiques of the McCain campaign.


Those of you who have books are welcome to suggest a short essay related to the book, and if I like it for my site we can put in the Amazon link.