Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wednesday Night/Thursday Morning Links

In the spirit of maintaining a regular posting routine, here are some interesting links I've come across the past few days. I was originally planning to write a more extensive bit on the recent Colombian Senate election/preview of May's Presidential election (and its troubling characteristics...), but I'll try to save that for this weekend.

...That is, assuming of course I can pull myself away from the myriad college basketball games this weekend for the onset of March Madness, arguably my favorite time of year according to the sports calender.

1.) I found this report on Brazilian President Lula da Silva's alleged remarks on maintaining ties with his Iranian and Venezuelan counterparts Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez utterly fascinating, and I find it rather unfortunate it hasn't recieved more attention in the political press.- though not at all surprising considering the lazy (at best, "propagandistic" at worst) political "analysis" we find in the mainstream press. Is there any doubt whatsoever that Lula is, for better or worse, one of the most brilliant and interesting politicians on the international stage of our time? (Of course, the fact that he let this leak out might indicate otherwise, but I'm confident he knew what he was doing. Plus, he's at the end of his term anyway!) Seriously, what better example of international relations theory combined with sheer human drama could one ask for?

2.) Here's something else that's getting very little pub for as important as it is: serious indications that the US may be drastically curtailing its nuclear weapons programs, or at least the acknowledgement from people with influence in the Defense Department that it should. Yes, the facts we've been saying this for years (40 to be exact) and that we're still here 20 years after the end of the Cold War means I won't be holding my breath on this one. And a 90% reduction is still 10% short of what we should be striving for (not to mention the rest of the world's nuclear material and weapons, accounted for and not). But as a critical observer of US foreign policy and its role in the world, this seems like something for which to give credit where credit is due- but I also demand to see results.

3.) Finally, via Pitchfork, legendary British trip-hop group Massive Attack have a new music video that is a must-see, whether you like electronic music or not. More than just a standard music video for their new song "Saturday Come Slow," the 8 minute clip highlights the use of sound torture, like that employed by American interrogators at Guantánamo Prison and elsewhere, and its effects on human beings such as Ruhal Ahmed. Ahmed is a British citizen who was detained without trial or charges brought against him for over two years by the United States government while he was on his way to a wedding in Pakistan. A powerful counter to another certain video regarding torture and detainees in the "War on Terror..."

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