Civil rights lawyer and activist Michelle Alexander — author of The New Jim Crow — delivered the 15th Annual Eqbal Ahmad Lecture on November 1, 2012. Her talk is titled "Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness."

The annual Eqbal Ahmad Lecture honors the teaching, scholarship, and activism of the late Pakistani activist, writer and philosopher Eqbal Ahmad, who was a longtime Hampshire College professor.

The New Yorker Magazine has described Brennan as a ‘supporter’ of the CIA’s torture programme, including but not limited to slamming detainees’ heads against walls while beating and kicking them. Brennan is also a strong supporter of extraordinary rendition — the practice of seizing suspects from one country and secretly shipping them to another for interrogation and torture. Rendition delivers suspects to unaccountable Third World governments where they are tortured at the bidding of the United States. Innocent people are caught up in the process. Maher Arar is a prime example of how wrong such a programme is. A Canadian citizen, Arar was detained by the US in 2002 and sent to Syria where he was tortured on suspicion of being an al Qaeda terrorist. Since his release, the Canadian government has apologised to Arar. His lawyers are currently seeking a deposition from the US government that their actions were illegal and violated Arar’s constitutional and charter rights.
The narrative of Pakistan that now circulates through the mainstream media began during World War II when strategic and security concerns compelled the US to produce expertise on newly post-colonial South Asia. Since then, discourse around Pakistan has drawn from two related strands of thought. The first is modernization theory, which places the “West” as the apotheosis of development. The second perspective is the Orientalist perception of Islam as a totalizing worldview.

Recommended Reads of 2012 on US Drone Strikes:

The year is coming to an end but the atrocities and havoc inflicted by US drone strikes and cruise missiles in the Middle East and South Asia seem like they will, unfortunately, continue in the coming year. In order to understand the gravity of the situation and the repercussions these drone strikes are causing in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and beyond, it is important to gain a comprehension of the nature of the policy and the laws that its implementation is continuously violating. Given below is a list of questions, arguments and statistics involving the drone strikes and the casualties - of women, children and innocent bystanders - it’s caused. Furthermore, questions involving the demand to make Barack Obama responsible for these strikes, the lack of transparency and the infamous, inhumane definition of “military age males” is taken into serious consideration.

The more you know.

That is an Afghan child being patted down by an American soldier.
American weaponized paranoia knows no limits whatsoever. In addition to creating and defining something so ambiguous and dangerous like "military age males", the American military industrial complex has no issues with such intrusive, unnecessary policies. Saadia Toor also tells that: “‘Direct’ PIA flights to the USA are routed through Manchester airport because they don’t trust security checks at the Pakistan end, and [Pakistani] kids are patted down at Manchester.”
My father is always “randomly” taken aside for security checking. So is my mother “randomly” told to reveal whatever lies in her bags. Brown bodies have always been a target of scrutiny. They are seen as rebellious, threatening and even fatal. The way America views Muslims - especially Muslims of color - is disgusting but it is a specifically designed and propagated phenomenon. Many people will say, “But the Taliban wrap bombs around children so they have a reason for patting them down!” The Taliban is indeed brutal but that does not excuse American brutality or its obsession with militarizing everything. By that twisted logic of viewing all brown bodies as potential danger, shouldn’t young white men and boys be constantly patted down and taken aside “randomly” for security checking in case they show disturbing behavior often equipped with ammunition?
This hypocrisy is state-sanctioned. This is the Empire dictating what is worth invading to instill “peace” and what should be left to grow worse at home.

That is an Afghan child being patted down by an American soldier.

American weaponized paranoia knows no limits whatsoever. In addition to creating and defining something so ambiguous and dangerous like "military age males", the American military industrial complex has no issues with such intrusive, unnecessary policies. Saadia Toor also tells that: “‘Direct’ PIA flights to the USA are routed through Manchester airport because they don’t trust security checks at the Pakistan end, and [Pakistani] kids are patted down at Manchester.”

My father is always “randomly” taken aside for security checking. So is my mother “randomly” told to reveal whatever lies in her bags. Brown bodies have always been a target of scrutiny. They are seen as rebellious, threatening and even fatal. The way America views Muslims - especially Muslims of color - is disgusting but it is a specifically designed and propagated phenomenon. Many people will say, “But the Taliban wrap bombs around children so they have a reason for patting them down!” The Taliban is indeed brutal but that does not excuse American brutality or its obsession with militarizing everything. By that twisted logic of viewing all brown bodies as potential danger, shouldn’t young white men and boys be constantly patted down and taken aside “randomly” for security checking in case they show disturbing behavior often equipped with ammunition?

This hypocrisy is state-sanctioned. This is the Empire dictating what is worth invading to instill “peace” and what should be left to grow worse at home.

mehreenkasana
‎The children of north-west Pakistan, it seems, are not like our children. They have no names, no pictures, no memorials of candles and flowers and teddy bears.

In the US, mass child killings are tragedies. In Pakistan, mere bug splats.

Barack Obama’s tears for the children of Newtown are in stark contrast to his silence over the children murdered by his drones.

(via mehreenkasana)

‎The children of north-west Pakistan, it seems, are not like our children. They have no names, no pictures, no memorials of candles and flowers and teddy bears.

In the US, mass child killings are tragedies. In Pakistan, mere bug splats.

Barack Obama’s tears for the children of Newtown are in stark contrast to his silence over the children murdered by his drones.

Of the some 3000 persons killed by US drones, something like 600 have been innocent noncombatant bystanders, and of these 176 were children. In some instances the US drone operators have struck at a target, then waited for rescuers to come and struck again, which would be a war crime. Obviously, children may run in panic to the side of an injured parent, so they could get hit by the indiscriminate second strike. We don’t know the exact circumstances of the children’s deaths because the US government won’t talk about them, indeed, denies it all.
I felt disconnected from humanity.

Ex-drone pilot speaks up on the twisted, perverse phenomenon of US drone strikes (via Der Spiegel)

Not only do drone strikes kill people in Afghanistan and Pakistan but, in this article, we find out that there’s an extremely sickening invasion of privacy as well. The ex-drone pilot, Byrant, tells how he could see Afghan couples on their rooftops during summer.

I saw them having sex with their wives. It’s two infrared spots becoming one.

Another pilot tells:

There was no time for feelings.

Shame on the US Government, shame on Barack Obama for continuing this intrusive, morally revolting policy.

We like to tell ourselves that anti-American animosity is produced by propaganda from foreign factions hostile to the US. Actually, that belief is the one that is the by-product of propaganda. The acts of the US government that generate this hostility are rarely discussed in US political discourse, though they are widely discussed in most of the rest of the world. Americans would benefit from spending much less time and energy expressing outrage and offense at anti-American sentiment, and far more time and energy trying to understand why it’s so widespread and intense.
CIA agents tortured a German citizen of Lebanese origin, sodomizing, shackling, and beating Khaled el-Masri, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European court of human rights said in a historic judgment released on Thursday.

Landmark European court of human rights judgment says CIA tortured wrongly detained German citizen.

Imagine the number of cases that haven’t been reported yet. And this is all done in the name of “security” and “peace-keeping” which is USA’s excuse to violate human rights without ever being held accountable. This is how Empire functions.


Native Orientalists in Pakistan
The Orientalist enterprise of Western writers has received a great deal of critical attention since the publication of Edward Said’s Orientalism in 1978. As Western academics have learned to bring more objectivity and empathy to their study of the Islamicate, a growing number of Muslim academics, novelists and journalists – in their home countries and the diaspora – have started looking at themselves through new Orientalist constructs that serve the interests of Western powers. This native Orientalism has existed in the past but it has grown dramatically since the launch-ing of the West’s so-called global war against terror. This essay examines the man-ner in which native Orientalists in Pakistan – writing mostly in the English language – have been supporting America’s so-called global war against terror.

Reading right now. Profound and important.

Native Orientalists in Pakistan

The Orientalist enterprise of Western writers has received a great deal of critical attention since the publication of Edward Said’s Orientalism in 1978. As Western academics have learned to bring more objectivity and empathy to their study of the Islamicate, a growing number of Muslim academics, novelists and journalists – in their home countries and the diaspora – have started looking at themselves through new Orientalist constructs that serve the interests of Western powers. This native Orientalism has existed in the past but it has grown dramatically since the launch-ing of the West’s so-called global war against terror. This essay examines the man-ner in which native Orientalists in Pakistan – writing mostly in the English language – have been supporting America’s so-called global war against terror.

Reading right now. Profound and important.

What is remarkable is how so many Democrats are devoting so much energy to defending a possible Susan Rice nomination as Secretary of State without even pretending to care about her record and her beliefs. It’s not even part of the discussion. And now that some writers have begun examining that record, it’s not hard to see the reason for this omission. […] Last week, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern extensively documented Rice’s long record of cheering for US wars, including being an outspoken and aggressive advocate of the attack on Iraq, support that persisted for many years. In a New York Times Op-Ed yesterday, Eritrean-American journalist Salem Solomon condemned Rice’s fondness for tyrants in Africa, while Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford argued - with ample documentation - that her supporters “care not a whit for Africa, whose rape and depopulation has been the focus of Rice’s incredibly destructive career.” A New York Times news article from Monday separately suggests that Rice’s close ties to the ruling regime in Rwanda - that government “was her client when she worked at Intellibridge, a strategic analysis firm in Washington” - has led Washington to tacitly endorse its support for brutal rebels in the Congo.

Susan Rice’s record of war advocacy and close ties to tyrants is notably missing from the debate over whether she should be Secretary of State.

In full agreement. Susan Rice is belligerent, reckless and hypocritical with her political stance on global affairs. I’m not surprised Obama or even Democrats would support her.

The impact of America’s drone war in the likes of Pakistan and Yemen will linger on, especially for the loved ones of the 178 children killed in those countries by U.S. drone strikes.

U.S. Drone Strikes Are Causing Child Casualties: Video and Report.

War Costs’ latest video (with accompanying report) brings attention to the children who have died as a result of drone strikes. The video names some of the children who perished in these strikes, and points out the obfuscation tactics of American officials who will not own up to the significant amount of civilian casualties that have occurred due to this legally- and morally-dubious policy.

The nauseating irony that these strikes are being carried out with the approval of a Nobel “Peace” Prize winner.

The past 11 years of war and occupation in the name of women’s rights should have served as a cautionary tale for how easily liberal (and left-liberal) guilt can be used to authorize terrible deeds, especially in view of the clear evidence showing that the status of Afghan women has seriously declined during the last 11 years largely as a consequence of the war/occupation, and in the face of consistent critiques of the occupation by Afghan (women) activists such as Malalai Joya. Instead, the idea that the US/NATO war in Afghanistan has been good for Afghan women continues to hold sway within the liberal mainstream in the United States. In August 2009, for example, Time magazine’s cover featured a disfigured young Afghan woman with the caption, “What Happens When We Leave Afghanistan.” More recently, in May this year, Amnesty-USA ran a campaign openly supportive of the US/NATO presence in Afghanistan just in time for the NATO summit in Chicago. Ads on city bus stops featured images of Afghan women in burqas along with the caption: Human Rights for Women in Afghanistan. NATO: Keep the Progress Going! Alongside this ad campaign, Amnesty conducted a “shadow summit” featuring former secretary of state Madeline Albright, with promotional material rehashing Bush-era “feminist” justifications for the war in Afghanistan and claiming that the 11 years of war and occupation had improved conditions for Afghan women.

Saadia Toor - Imperialist feminism redux.

What explains this “politically expedited collective amnesia” (Dabashi 2006) which allows Afghan/Muslim women to be constantly dredged up in order to support military adventures? Hamid Dabashi argues that a new breed of native informants is central to constantly refreshing this notion in order to legitimize the contemporary imperialist project. In particular, Dabashi draws attention to “a body of memoire by people from an Islamic background,” which has flooded the US market since 9/11, and which is characterized by “legitimate concerns about the plight of Muslim women in the Islamic world,” but in order to “put that predicament squarely at the service of the US ideological psy-op, militarily stipulated in the US global warmongering” (Dabashi 2006). Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel (2007) and Irshad Manji’s The Trouble with Islam (2004)—both bestsellers—exemplify this genre.
Saadia Toor, a Pakistani sociology and anthropology professor as well as the writer of the excellent book: The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan, is exceptionally dexterous in explaining how the phenomenon of native informants had to do a lot with legitimizing global war and abuse. Sahar Saba, an Afghan women rights’ activist for RAWA, also explains how organizations like Amnesty International are deeply problematic due to their affiliation and support for Western intervention as well as cheering for US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan. Brilliant analysis by both, always relevant.