Data Visualizations Of The Gaza Conflict

I am just collecting some interesting links here:

Israel, Gaza, War & Data: social networks and the art of personalizing propaganda.” Gilad Lotan, i ❤ data, medium.com (2014/08/04) – The filter bubble of social media is illustrated very well in this article.

Watch the Israeli-Palestinian conflict unfold online.” Al Jazeera English, n.d. – Visualization of various hashtags that emerged since June 2014, when the three Israeli youths were kidnapped and killed.

Quote: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Russia, Ukraine

You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Russia’s flexing of its military on Crimea

While I also find the events in Ukraine, particularly on Crimea, in the last days quite disturbing, there is nonetheless a certain hypocrisy in Kerry’s grandiose statement. The twenty-four hours news cycle may cater to short attention spans, but I still remember the fallacious rationale for the 2003 Invasion of Iraq: Saddam Hussein’s imaginary mobile laboratories for biological weapons. This arguably “completely trumped up pre-text” for war was based on faulty intelligence by Iraqi informant “Curveball”—interestingly passed on to the U.S. by the German BND—and propagated by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell in his infamous presentation before the UN Security Council on February 2, 2003.

You might say that I am not fond of any state’s war propaganda. The amoral nature of such deceptions lies in the fact that it is almost never the decision-makers who bear the consequences of their warmongering. Those who die in these wars die in vain, for lies, as pawns in geopolitical games, and for the profits of the military-industrial-complex. It is just horrible.

A Dying Iraq War Veteran’s Condemning Letter To Bush and Cheney

Tomas Young, a dying Iraq War veteran, writes a condemning letter to Bush and Cheney

Recently, President Obama commemorated the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War in a White House press release. In that statement, he thanked American military for its sacrifices.

Now a letter by a severely injured military veteran illustrates what those sacrifices look like. Tomas Young, who joined the US military shortly after 9/11 has written a very condemning letter towards President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, in which he accuses both of war crimes and evasion of justice.

Young on how many military veterans view the Bush administration in hindsight:

You may evade justice but in our [military veteran’s] eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Among the issues Young talks about in his letter are the illegality of the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war, the catastrophic impact of the Iraq War on the Middle East, the war profiteering of oil companies, the chickenhawkishness of Bush and Cheney, their religious hypochrisy and their general betrayal of military veterans, especially when it comes to appropriate care through the Veteran’s administration.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned.

As a dying man,Young speaks truth to power and unmasks Bush and Cheney as moral failures:

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character.

Read Tomas Young’s letter in full on the website linked below.

Read more:

The Last Letter.” (Tomas Young, Truthdig, 2013/03/18) – The letter in full, plus links to an interview with Tomas young by Chris Hedges.

US Military Abuses Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy For Pro-War Propaganda On MLK Day

US Military Abuses Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy For Pro-War Propaganda on MLK Day

Civil Rights Movement icon Martin Luther King, Jr. is well-known for his anti-war stance, especially regarding the US involvement in the Vietnam War at the time. But now some people within several branches of the US military have decided, in true orwellian fashion, to abuse MLK as an advocate for militarism and expanding military budgets on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 15).

If we are to believe those within the US military apparatus who promote this fantasy version of MLK, then apparently, like the slogan of the fictional ‘Ingsoc’ party’ in George Orwell’s novel ‘1984’ contends, “WAR IS PEACE” and “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”

King on militarism during the Vietnam War:

Here is what King had to say in his 1967 Riverside Church speech ‘Beyond Vietnam‘:

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

And just in case that was not clear enough:

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

Finally, King lambasted the US at the time as the

greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.

The US military mischaracterizing King:

In contrast, here is what the US Marines tweeted for MLK Day 2013:

“A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.” — Martin Luther King Jr. #MLK

And here is what the United States Air Force’s Global Strike Command claimed in an essay on its website:

Dr. King would be proud to see our Global Strike team – comprised of Airmen, civilians and contractors from every race, creed, background and religion – standing side-by-side ensuring the most powerful weapons in the U.S. arsenal remain the credible bedrock of our national defense.

Martin Luther King, Jr. would roll over in his grave if he could witness these pathetic attempts at deceiving the American public. To take a peace advocate and refashion him into a mouthpiece for militarism amounts to nothing but disgusting propaganda. A figure like King surely deserves better than this.

In my opinion, there are good reasons to be outraged at such revisionist practices: They smack of Stalin erasing Communist Party members from photographs after they fell from grace, China’s censorship of material covering the Tiananmen Square massacre, or the GDR’s claim that the Berlin Wall was an “Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart” —all purposeful distortions of reality unworthy of a democratic society.

There is something inherently evil in lying this way about historic figures. Whenever it happens, we need to be alert.

Read more:

Martin Luther King Jr., champion of military defense?” (David Sirota, Salon, 2013/02/01)

Santa Claus-ifying Martin Luther King, Jr.” (David Sirota, In These Times, 2013/02/01)

Black-and-whitewashing the US military.” (Belen Fernandez, Al Jazeera English, 2013/01/25)

US military says Martin Luther King would be proud of its weapons.” (Glenn Greenwald, Guardian, 2013/01/22)

A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. (contents)” (King Papers Project, King Institute at Stanford University) – Read all of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches for yourself here.

Books:

Bacevich, Andrew J. The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War. (Oxford UP, 2006).