Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Psychology, Sociology, Political Economy of Pandemic Rape

May 21st, 2009 8:49 am
The Psychology, Sociology, Political Economy of Pandemic Rape
What does it take to construct an Ethical Self?

We need more critical analyses (based on actual research) of the construction of Liberian masculinity during the war and postwar years.

I regret to note that in every nation-state including and perhaps especially the US, the psychology and sociology of of instances of inhumanity within our species, goes largely unresearched.

It is easy for our governments to toss around words like terror, horror,torture, atrocity, genocide, pandemic rape -- then continue to under-serve and even exploit victims and generally fail to examine the psychological, sociological, economic and political underpinnings of such deviant pathological behavior.

Thanks Mr. Kristof for narrating the story of Jackie, an innocent and an survivor.

Chithra Karunakaran
City University of New York (CUNY)
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYTimes copyright
Op-Ed Columnist: After Wars, Mass Rapes Persist
Published: May 20, 2009
Jackie, a 7-year-old Liberian girl who is recovering from being raped, jumps rope at a shelter for girls in Monrovia.

Monday, May 18, 2009

US Policy Missteps Promote Pakistan's Nuclear Peril

My published NYT comment #111.
May 18, 2009 9:39 am


May 18th, 2009 7:56 am
US Policy Missteps Promote Pakistan's Nuclear Peril

All the evidence of the past 60 years of US Cold War manipulation/exploitation of a Partition-weakened (in 1947) Pakistan, under the guise of a US-invented Cold War, points to the fact that the US has instigated and abetted Pakistan's nuclear peril.

The US is solely responsible for placing the world's largest democracy, Pakistan's neighbor, at grave risk. However, that democracy has just held an unprecedented election and will successfully continue to thwart US military adventurism in the South Asia region.

To Commenter #22 : Which madrassah were you miseducated in? You unfortunately are a example of a US pawn and the propaganda of your feudal elites combined with Saudi (US petrodollar ally) wahabbism are so successful you are not even aware of Pakistan's servile status vis a vis the US. Fortunately I have wonderful Pakistani friends who have a more thorough grasp of the facts.

Chithra Karunakaran
City University of New York (CUNY)
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

— EthicalDemocracy, NewYork&Chennai
New York Times copyright
Pakistan Is Rapidly Adding Nuclear Arms, U.S. Says

There are new concerns on Capitol Hill about whether billions of dollars in proposed military aid might be diverted to Pakistan’s nuclear program.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Obama's Whiteness: Protecting Bush-Cheney War Crimes

My published NYT comment #37.
May 16, 2009 10:14 am


May 16th, 2009 6:21 am

In David Sanger's piece I take issue with his statement:

"the president has begun to come down on the side of taking fewer risks with security,..." This is a neoliberal argument.

Is this what Obama is doing? Is he really taking fewer risks or is he taking more risks?

1. By refusing to release detainee abuse photos, Obama is refusing to inform the American public what they have a right to know. How can Democracy work if We the People are kept in the dark about the specific policies and practices of the government (Bush-Cheney) the majority elected to office? What else is Obama conspiring to hide from us? Will we find out only after he leaves office, as in the case of Bush?

2. Just who are these "enemy combatants" that the military tribunals are allegedly continuing to prosecute? The public has a right to see their faces on CNN and NYT and know something about them.

The US electorate (including me)voted for Obama because we were desperate for Change that would make us more safe. But we cannot be made more safe through military adventurism, troop surges, shock and awe, drone raids and failure to protect market activity against corporate greed. That's the dualcore problem of the US Whiteness System on which the nation was founded.

Obama's decision to emulate his predecessor shows his inability and unwillingness to step out of the US Whiteness System that is built on an earlier history of slavery and genocide, and for the last 50 years an endless war driven by market fundamentalism (resource grabbing) in West Asia, South East Asia and South Asia for profit. I could go on, name other theaters of US adventurism/exploitation in Africa and South America.

Obama is an expert exponent of the US Whiteness System.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYT copyright
News Analysis: Obama After Bush: Leading by Second Thought

The president’s recent decisions on detainee abuse photos and tribunals have put him more in line with his predecessor, despite pledges of a new direction.
NYTimes copyright
Pool photo by Brennan Linsle

Updated: May 15, 2009

Military commissions, used to prosecute captured enemies for war crimes, have a long history in the United States. They rose to new prominence after the September 11th attacks due to President George W. Bush's decision that terrorism suspects would be considered enemy combatants who would be tried by military tribunals rather than in civilian courts. In May 2009, President Obama said they would be used to prosecute some terrorism suspects, although with added protections for defendants' rights.

In a series of orders in 2001 and 2002, the Bush administration created a system of tribunals that specifically did not adhere to the standards set out in the Geneva Convention, arguing that as "non-state actors'' the suspects were not entitled to that kind of protection; the system was also declared to be beyond review by federal courts. The government established a prison camp at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba to hold these prisoners away from federal court jurisdiction, arguing that the right of habeas corpus — the fundamental right, centuries old, to ask a judge for release from unjust imprisonment — did not apply to foreigners being held outside the United States as enemy combatants.

In 2004, the Supreme Court disagreed, in a case named Rasul v. Bush. A Supreme Court decision in June 2006, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, struck down military tribunals that the Bush administration had established shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. The court ruled that the tribunals violated the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions.

In response, the Bush Administration and Congress effectively rewrote the law, by passing the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The measure broadened the definition of enemy combatants beyond the traditional definition used in wartime, to include noncitizens living legally in the United States as well as those in foreign countries and anyone determined to be an enemy combatant under criteria defined by the president or secretary of defense. In place of habeas proceedings, it said detainees could challenge their imprisonment only through hearings known as combatant status review trials. It allowed evidence seized in the U.S. or abroad without a search warrant to be admitted in trials. And while the bill barred the admission of evidence obtained by cruel and inhuman treatment, it made an exception for any obtained before Dec. 30, 2005, when Congress enacted the Detainee Treatment Act banning torture.

In a June 2008 decision in the case of Boumediene v. Bush, the Supreme Court overturned those portions of the law, finding that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantánamo Bay have constitutional rights to challenge their detention in United States courts. In a harsh rebuke of the Bush administration, the Court rejected the administration’s argument that the individual protections provided by the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 were more than adequate.

Among the first acts carried out by the administration of President Barack Obama in January 2009 was an executive order closing Guantánamo. It also issued an immediate halt to the military commission proceedings for prosecuting detainees and filed a request in Federal District Court in Washington to stay habeas corpus proceedings there.

Mr. Obama suggested during his 2008 presidential campaign that, in place of military commissions for the detainees, he would prefer prosecutions in federal courts or, perhaps, in the existing military justice system, which provides legal guarantees similar to those of American civilian courts. However, he never explicity ruled out the use of military commissions, though possibly with different procedures than those used by the Bush administration.

On May 15, 2009, Mr. Obama said the commissions would be used as one avenue for prosecution along with existing American courts. "This is the best way to protect our country, while upholding our deeply held values," he said in a statement.The new system would limit the use of hearsay evidence against detainees, ban evidence gained from cruel treatment, and give defendants more latitude to pick their own lawyers.

But the new rights still fall far short of the protections provided in federal court, lawyers said, predicting that the administration would encounter energetic new legal challenges that could take years to resolve.Officials said the decision to proceed with military commissions came partly as a result of concerns that some detainees might not be successfully prosecuted in federal courts. They said lawyers reviewing the cases worried that, among a host of issues, federal courts procedures might be too cumbersome to protect classified evidence that is likely to be central to many cases.

They also said questions surrounding the brutal treatment of some detainees had become an obstacle. Though some detainees did give so-called "clean" confessions to participating in terrorist activities in 2007, they were not given the warnings against self-incrimination that are standard law enforcement practice because of constitutional protections.

In some cases, lawyers said, convictions may be nearly impossible without the detainees' confessions. The most prominent of the military commissions cases seeks the death penalty for five detainees, including the self-described terrorism mastermind, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, for their alleged roles as the coordinators of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Administration officials said that some detainees would be prosecuted in federal courts.

The decision benefits the administration politically because it burnishes Mr. Obama's credentials for taking a hard line toward terrorism suspects. Some administration insiders say top officials have appeared surprised by the ferocity of the largely Republican opposition to Mr. Obama's effort to close the Guantánamo Bay prison, where 241 detainees remain.

But some liberals and human rights groups said they were stunned by what some of them called a betrayal. They said the prospect of the new administration presiding over military trials at Guantánamo would hurt Mr. Obama's efforts to improve relationships around the world and would embroil the administration in years of legal battles.

The executive director of Human Rights First, Elisa Massimino, called the commission system of trying war crimes cases irredeemable. "Tinkering with the machinery of military commissions will not remove the taint of Guantánamo from future prosecutions," Ms. Massimino said.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Norway and Ethical Democracy

My published NYT comment #119.
May 14, 2009 10:08 am
May 14th, 2009 10:00 am
Norway and Ethical Democracy
The rest of the world has much to learn from ALL the Scandinavian countries, not only Norway.

Norway's example shows WE, the People, with our elected government, can construct democracies where inequality is lessened through social policy. Norway's example demonstrates We can construct democracies where the Greater Collective Good (GCG, my coinage) is seen as an achievable goal.

The US model of militaristic capitalism in which individualism is the foremost priority, but Democracy is an addendum, accompanied by boom and bust cycles, lack of oversight and regulation, is not a desirable model for the rest of the world, especially not the Global South, in recovery from colonialism, underdevelopment and now neo-imperialism coupled with market fundamentalism.

Chithra KarunaKaran
City University of New York
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYT copyright
Thriving Norway Provides an Economics Lesson
Instead of spending its oil riches, Norway saved, and it is now growing in the midst of the global recession.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Circumventing Democracy To Commit Torture

May 13th, 2009 7:56 am
Circumventing Democracy

How easily the democratic process can be circumvented!

And no Deep Throat to leak "enhanced interrogation techniques" to the Washington Post of the NYT?
Time to cultivate those inside sources.

In fact our custodians of democracy in the three branches of government, are least likely to uphold it.

It takes All the People All the Time to safeguard Democracy.

May I also add that the US is least qualified to lecture any other sovereign nation-state on Democracy, or engage in any activity outside of its borders, to promote it.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYT copyright
Op-Ed Contributor
Congress’s Torture Bubble
Published: May 12, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Both Cheney & Obama Deploy the US Master Narrative

May 13th, 2009 2:43 am
Cheney & Obama Deploy the US Master Narrative
The rest of the world is weary,damaged, sickened and made less safe, by the US geopolitical master narrative of the last 50 years, whether orchestrated by Cheney or Obama, or their predecessors.

This is not to imply Barack and The Dick are similar. But is Cheney the only exponent of the US master narrative?

The US master narrative is bigger and more troublesome than either individual. The more things 'change' the more they remain the same.

If Cheney is 'yelping' now, he's already been neutered so can mainstream media stop focusing on his amusing attempts to bolster his criminal legacy?

Now we have to worry about what damage Obama will do with his AfPak strategy and other implementations of the US master narrative.

President Karzai was right when he warned last week that the US had not met its own "moral standard" in its disastrous use of drones against women, children and men. It's a moral and ethical issue. Importantly, it's a matter of idealistic pragmatism. Karzai's assertion challenges the US master narrative.
But Dowd would rather focus on what a defanged, out-of-office pol has to say.

Chithra Karunakaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
New York Times copyright
Op-Ed Columnist
Rogue Diva of Doom
Published: May 12, 2009

Karzai: US has not met its "moral standard" in Afghanistan

US has not met its "moral standards" in Afghanistan: Karzai
11 May 2009, 1856 hrs IST, PTI
Print Email Discuss Share Save Comment Text:
WASHINGTON: Smarting from frequent US air attacks and resultant "massive" civilian toll in his country, President Hamid Karzai has said America
has not met its "moral standard" in Afghanistan and warned that any society will be "fed up" with such "continued casualties".

"The US has not met that standard in Afghanistan. The United States must stand on a much higher moral platform in order for us together to win this war," Karzai said in an interview to NBC News.

Pressed whether the US has not met their own moral standards and was Washington waging an "immoral war" in Afghanistan, Karzai said: "No. No. It's not immoral war, it's the standard of morality that we are seeking which is also one that is being desired and spoken about in America.

"In other words, are we the same as the terrorists, are we the same as the bad guys, or are we standing on a much higher moral, moral platform? Are we better human beings or not?," Karzai said.

He insisted that "extreme care" should be taken to protect civilians "and their children and their homes" for the civilians "to see us (as) completely distinct and separate from the terrorists."

Referring to the recent US bombing in Farah district where some 100 Afghan civilians died, he noted that the incident resulted in "massive" civilian casualties.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Zardari says India "not a threat to Pakistan"

Zardari says India not a threat to Pakistan

Zardari's statement that India is not a threat to Pakistan, provides India with a credible opportunity to praise Pakistan's leadership for this long overdue,publicly stated position. India can go further and show initiative in advancing people-to-people exchanges, which suffered a serious setback on 26/11.

Now is absolutely NOT the moment to be adversarial, petty minded and cynical about Pakistan's leaders and the India Pakistan relationship. It is diplomatically in India's interest but, more important, in the interest of BOTH of our civil societies, to take Zardari at his word, and hold Zardari to his word, especially when Pakistan is being pressured by the heavy-handed military and anti-civilian tactics of the US.

Nothing will change the fact that the US is the state sponsor of terror in the South Asian region and that since the early 50's, the US has manipulated and exploited Pakistan, weakened by Brit-driven Partition in 1947. Divide and Rule is an especially effective weapon of both colonial and neo-imperial strategy. Indians & Pakistanis (together w/Afghans) have to find every possible way to defeat US designs in the region.
Times of India copyright

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The US Hand in Pakistan & Afghanistan

#49. May 9, 2009 10:45 am Link

The US Hand in Pakistan & Afghanistan

It is disturbing but predictable that Mackey, Filkins and Cowell would file articles and blog posts that hide the US hand in the vast internal displacement of Pakistanis within their own homeland. Despite their claims of objectivity, their job is in accordance with the diktat of the Obama administration and Congress. The Pakistani Government, a hapless stooge of the US since the days of John Foster Dulles, is cynically sacrificing its own people, in order to stay in power and make a quick profit with a US handout.

The Pakistani people will not see a dime of that money.

Mackey is engaging in a clever theoretical exercise by comparing two ‘counterinsurgencies’ one in Sri Lanka one in Pakistan. But this is not Political Theory 101 for some Ivy League course. There is Af-Pak blood on US hands.

The flight from Swat and Buner is a TRAGEDY for the Pakistani people and Pashtun refugees created by earlier US action.

The insurgents against US invasion,occupation and militarization can all be conveniently lumped together by US-based media as THE TALIBAN or AL QUEDA. But it is clear that the local inhabitants of both Afghanistan and Pakistan are resisters against US and US-led NATO who are physically on the ground and in the air of their homeland, killing civilians.

This resistance can only grow stronger till the US and US led NATO vacate the region. That resistance will be a good thing for nation-building for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their peoples are to be commended, not labeled and theorized as insurgents/terrorists.

That said, I continue to read and pay attention to the points raised by Mackey, Filkins et al. We have a profound disagreement.
Chithra KarunaKaran
City University of New York
LEDE BLOGGER RESPONSE: You won’t be surprised that I disagree strongly with your reading that anything written by myself or my colleagues is done “in accordance with the diktat” of the U.S. government, but we will have a blog post about Pakistani views of American media coverage later today which will deal with this sort of reading of our coverage in detail.
New York Times copyright
May 8, 2009, 12:08 pm
Pakistan and Sri Lanka, a Tale of Two Counterinsurgencies
By Robert Mackey
Associated Press copyright
Desperation in Pakistani hospitals, refugee camps

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pak Feudal Billionaires and US Militarism

Comment #333. May 9, 2009 12:52 am Link

Pak Feudal Billionaires and US Militarism

Zardari, feudal landowner and billionaire is in Washington with a begging bowl in his hand. He is being turned into a total US stooge.

The money that he gets as a bribe from the US will never reach the suffering people of Pakistan, now desperate refugees in their own country. Pakistan is attacking its own people. The Pakistani people will never forgive their current leaders for this assault, and they will be forced to turn more and more to the multiple factions of the Taliban and the tribal chieftains.
This attack on the Pakistani people, at the relentless prodding of the US, is predictably the beginning of a new phase in Pakistan’s violent and troubled history.

Pakistan, weakened by Partition in 1947, and fed a steady diet of hate by their corrupt leaders, against India (which has more Muslims than Pakistan) has been manipulated and exploited by the US since the early 50’s.

This is a tragic state of affairs for the Pakistani people whom I regard as my sisters and brothers.

Chithra Karunakaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYTimes copyright
Pakistan Pounds Taliban, Swelling the Tide of Refugees
Pakistanis arriving Friday at a refugee camp in Mardan, in the North-West Frontier Province, after fleeing the Buner district.

Published: May 8, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

NUCLEAR, not Diplomatic, 'Disconnect' between US and Pak

My published NYT comment #83.
May 07, 2009 5:13 pm


May 07, 2009 3:53 pm
US-Pak NUCLEAR not Diplomatic 'Disconnect'

What we have is not merely a diplomatic disconnect. That's small potatoes, talk is cheap.

What the entire world is faced with is a NUCLEAR 'disconnect' in which the US and NATO have not so far reassured and convinced the world that Pak's warheads are 100% secure. Nothing less that a 100% guarantee will do. This is extremely serious. Everything else pales into insignificance.

Why is the IAEA silent? Why is el-Baradei dumbstruck on this issue? Why does the world not have a guarantee from the IAEA that Pakistan's warheads are fully secured and under continuous IAEA surveillance?

The US will never act in the best interests of the Pakistani people. The US will never act in the best interests of the Afghan people. Afghans and Pakistanis, Indians and Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis and Nepalis and Maldivians know this in their hearts.
Pakistanis especially are being humiliated (even as they are bribed) by the US in this 50 year master-stooge relationship. Pakistan has not thrived under a half-century of US domination and manipulation.

The diverse peoples of South Asia are related by blood and history. It is up to us South Asians, despite centuries of Brit divide and rule colonial strategy, to work together in fellowship and cooperation. Pakistanis have to vomit the hate propaganda they have been fed by their feudal elites to keep them servile, hungry, poor and with no prospects for employment except as suicide bombers and terrorists. And India must help and respect Pakistan in the spirit of sisterhood for the sake of every woman, child and man in our South Asia region.

Pakistanis, Indians and Afghans are closer to each other than they can ever be to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, China or the US. That's a fact.

Chithra Karunakaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYTimes copyright
On the White House: In Diplomacy, a Pakistan Disconnect
As American and Pakistani diplomats met, there was a gap between the sentiments expressed in public and those voiced in private.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How John Yoo Became White & Learned to Perform Whiteness

How did John Yoo become white? How did John Yoo learn to perform Whiteness?

John Yoo, the law professor at Berkeley, a US-born citizen played a key role, along with Judge Jay Bybee of the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in crafting the legal argument underlying the 'torture memos' of the Bush administration.

The US system of Whiteness is the core ideology of the state - a set of beliefs which makes possible the exercise of racialized, supremacist, dominant POWER at home and around the globe. Because this set of beliefs originating with white male supremacists, including the so-called Founding Fathers, is so entrenched it shapes the thoughts and actions of everyone, no matter what their racial membership, their ethnicity, social class,religion, gender, age, sexual orientation.

see my Theory of Systemic Whiteness on this Blog. Itmay help to clarify how a Chinese American, a person of color, became a recruit into the US Whiteness System.
If we want to remain progressive and ethical, we have to exercise vigilance accompanied by critical thinking in order to prevent ourselves from being unwittingly recruited into Whiteness.
Associated Press copyrightes article
Bush attorneys who wrote terror memo face backlash

File - In this June 26, 2008 file photo John Yoo, a law professor at the AP – File - In this June 26, 2008 file photo John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California at …

* No charges seen over interrogation memos Play Video Video:No charges seen over interrogation memos AP
* Bush era memos on waterboarding released Play Video Video:Bush era memos on waterboarding released AP
* Interrogation Memos Play Video Video:Interrogation Memos FOX News

By TERENCE CHEA, Associated Press Writer Terence Chea, Associated Press Writer – Wed May 6, 9:21 pm ET

SAN FRANCISCO – Pressure is mounting against two former Bush administration attorneys who wrote the legal memos used to support harsh interrogation techniques that critics say constituted torture. John Yoo, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is fighting calls for disbarment and dismissal, while Judge Jay Bybee of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals faces calls for impeachment.

Justice Department investigators have stopped short of recommending criminal charges, but suggest in a draft report that the two men should face professional sanctions. A number of groups across the country agree, and some want even stronger action.

"We believe there is a lot of evidence to suggest that war crimes were committed," said Laura Bonham, deputy director of the Progressive Democrats of America, a group dedicated to rebuilding the Democratic Party. "We believe the memos provided the Central Intelligence Agency with the cover they needed to begin torturing detainees for information."

Bybee and Yoo worked in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and played key roles in crafting the legal justification for the interrogation techniques.

The draft report from an internal Justice Department inquiry sharply criticizes Yoo and Bybee and recommends referring their cases to state bar associations for possible disciplinary actions, a person familiar with the inquiry said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the inquiry.

Action was not recommended against a third lawyer, Steven Bradbury, who was head of the office at the time the memos were created, a person familiar with the inquiry said. The person, who also was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation, said investigators found that Bradbury played a lesser role in the creation of the memos. Bradbury is now in private practice.

The recommendations come after an Obama administration decision last month not to prosecute CIA interrogators who followed advice outlined in the memos.

The long-awaited report is still in draft form and subject to revisions. Attorney General Eric Holder also may make his own determination about what steps to take once the report has been finalized.

Yoo's attorney, Miguel Estrada, would not comment, citing an agreement with the Justice Department not to discuss the case. Bybee's attorney, Maureen Mahoney, did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday.

But at a forum last month on the campus of Chapman University School of Law where Yoo is visiting professor, he defended his role in establishing the legal rationale for using waterboarding and other severe interrogation techniques.

"Three thousand of our fellow citizens had been killed in a deliberate attack by a foreign enemy," Yoo told a packed audience on the Southern California campus, according to the Los Angeles Times. "That forced us in the government to have to consider measures to gain information using presidential constitutional provisions to protect the country from further attack."

"Was it worth it?" he asked, brushing off hecklers. "We haven't had an attack in more than seven years."

John Eastman, dean of the Chapman law school, defended the memos.

"He wrote a comprehensive legal analysis of a gray area of the law," Eastman said. "I think John's legal analysis taps into the founders' understanding of the executive."

Yoo, 41, who worked for the Justice Department from 2001 to 2003, has drawn intense criticism and protests since his role in the interrogation memos became public in 2004.

In December, the Berkeley City Council, known for wading into politically charged national and international issues, passed a measure urging the federal government to prosecute Yoo for war crimes.

Human rights and anti-war activists are planning a demonstration at the Berkeley School of Law's May 16 commencement ceremony to press for Yoo to be fired.

"It's unconscionable that the legal architect of the torture apparatus is teaching the future generation of lawyers and judges at UC Berkeley," said Stephanie Tang, an organizer with the group World Can't Wait.

Robert Cole, a professor emeritus at Berkeley's law school, said he believes the university should conduct its own investigation to determine if Yoo's work for the Bush administration violated the campus' faculty code of conduct.

"The university has got to protect its integrity," Cole said. "Every professor we put in the classroom has to have professional competence and ethical integrity."

California Attorney General Jerry Brown, a likely Democratic candidate for governor, said the memos raised questions about whether Yoo should be allowed to teach law at UC Berkeley and called for a full accounting.

"This is not something that should be swept under the rug," he said.

Christopher Edley Jr., Berkeley's law school dean, has rejected calls to dismiss Yoo and says the university doesn't have the expertise or resources to conduct an investigation involving classified intelligence. A tenured professor would have to be convicted of a crime that demonstrates unfitness to be a faculty member to be dismissed by the university.

"Assuming one believes as I do that Professor Yoo offered bad ideas and even worse advice during his government service, that judgment alone would not warrant dismissal or even a potentially chilling inquiry," Edley said in a statement. He added that Yoo "remains a very successful teacher and prolific (but often controversial) scholar."

In Nevada, debate over Bybee's role has been more muted, largely playing out on the opinion pages and among his colleagues at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Bybee taught constitutional and administrative law and civil procedure from 1999 until 2001 and remains on the faculty.

Legal colleagues, while praising Bybee as a scholar and caring colleague, have criticized the memos, particularly for what some of them say was legal sloppiness and faulty constitutional logic not indicative of his other work.

John Podesta, president of the liberal Center for American Progress and the leader of President Barack Obama's transition team, said, "If he would do the right thing, he should just simply resign."

If he doesn't quit, Podesta said, he should be removed from office.

Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign, who with Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., sponsored Bybee for the federal judgeship, has defended him and said calls for his impeachment were "outrageous."

"To call for him to be impeached when he was trying to give the proper legal advice is just ridiculous," Ensign told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Reid, who has said he was disturbed by the memos, has taken a wait and see attitude.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said impeachment was a "possibility a little down the road," but said he first wanted to see the pending Justice Department report.

He said if the report indicates "Bybee violated professional ethics, we'll have to see whether a special counsel is appointed and the impeachment issue will come after that."


Associated Press Writers Paul Elias in San Francisco, Tom Tait in Las Vegas, and Devlin Barrett and Larry Margasak in Washington contributed to this report.

US State-sponsored Terror -- with Apologies

My published NYT COMMENT #98.
May 06, 2009 2:12 pm


May 6th, 2009 1:41 pm
US State-Sponsored Terror -- with Apologies
Talk is cheap -- your apology means nothing, Secretary Clinton, you too President Obama and the rest of the White House/State Dept. crew.

Pashtun civilians are dying and we know who is causing the deaths. Wake up and smell the acrid odor of burning flesh in a drone airstrike, America.

The US is engaged in state-sponsored terror in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area of the South Asia region

Remember the US trained, armed and paid the Mujahideen to fight the Cold War(invented by the US), with the Soviets in the 80's.

Now those same Mujahideen have become the Taliban. Historically, Pashtuns (now Mujahideen and Taliban) have never tolerated invaders and occupiers on their soil. They taught the Brits a bitter lesson during the colonial period. Then the Soviets got a 9-year taste of Pashtun medicine. Now it's the turn of the Americans to learn the same bitter bloody lesson.

But who's paying the price? Innocent women, children and men who live in the westernmost part of my South Asia region.
And who's footing the bill? The US taxpayer, me.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy as Lived Practice
NYT copyright
High Civilian Toll Seen in U.S. Raid in Afghanistan

The Red Cross said dozens died, but Afghan officials put the toll at more than 100, offering a grim backdrop to a U.S. visit by the Afghan and Pakistani leaders on Wednesday

Russia's Role in the New Global Order of Competing Fundamentalisms

The US Whiteness system which has its origins in slavery and genocide for profit, is strongly ideological while posturing as progressive, pragmatic and ethical. This is the core ideological system in which Obama performs Whiteness. I voted for Obama because I clearly understood he is the lesser of two evils within the US Whiteenss System of racialized dominant power based on extreme exloitative profit.

Who armed, trained and paid the Mujahideen who morphed into the Taliban? The US has been a state sponsor of terror throughout the world for over 50 years. Its latest military adventurism, along with US led-NATO, is in my region of South Asia. The US is seeking strategic depth" in South Asia in order to counter Russia and Iran while continuing satellization of Israel. All three adjoin the South Asia region, which the US is cultivating as the main theater of US geopolitical operations.

But fingerpointing at the US does not absolve each nation-state. We each have to do whatever we can to promote social and economic justice in the world for the billions of our fellow citizens of earth. This requires ethical thinking and practice over strategic thinking thinking and practice.

We need idealistic pragmatism that demonstrably promotes prosperity under conditions of peace for the billions of hungry, diseased and homless in our world today.

Russia has to do considerably more by developing a visibly open society (look at India) that takes a more responsive and responsible place in the world.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
Russia today copyright

US: State Sponsor of Terror In South Asia Region

Comment #84. May 6, 2009 4:46 am Link
US: State Sponsor of Terror In South Asia Region

What's new? The US is the chief irritant and instigator of instability in my South Asia region.
The US is a state-sponsor of terror in the South Asia region.

Get out.

Stop droning and killing civilians. That's terror.

How dare the US 'invite' Saudi Arabia, that pillar of democracy and proponent of wahabbism, into the region.

Pakistan's weakly resurgent democracy has not been given a chance to work, by the US and US-led NATO.

Do not give Pakistan military aid, but do give Pakistan civil society assistance, though international and local NGOs.

The sovereign nation-states of the South Asia region will have to work this out among themselves. They have the capability to do so.

Both the IAEA and the UN's several agencies can and must take a more comprehensive role. They are impeded by the US seat in the UN Security Council.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

p.s Among your panel of so-called experts, why don't you have one each from Pakistan and Afghanistan?

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYTimes copyright
Room For Debate
May 5, 2009, 5:39 pm
Pakistan’s Nuclear Scenarios, U.S. Solutions
By The Editors

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Loose Cannon Diplomacy: US Style

My published NYT comment #30.
May 05, 2009 3:03 pm


May 5th, 2009 2:39 pm
Loose Cannon Diplomacy: US style

The US is a loose cannon in the South Asia region. It has been that way for over 50 years, particularly in regard to Pakistan, which became a victim of US Cold War geopolitical machinations, beginning with the Dulles-era of the State Department. We are seeing a continuation of that same loose cannon diplomacy from the Obama White House.

It would be a total mistake to conclude that the US has any interest in the South Asia region other than a narrowly defined, ad hoc, frequently shifting strategic interest. Therefore no real attempt to invest in the civil societies of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The latest twist in this story, that David Sanger does not mention in his article, is that Robert Gates is now calling upon Saudi Arabia, that pillar of Democracy, to assist US policy with Pakistan. Isn't Saudi money financing wahabbism in the madrassh and providing weaponry to the factions on the border? Great move, Gates and crew.

Will Pakistan become Obama's Vietnam? Sure looks like it. My sympathy goes out to the civil societies of both Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are paying the price for egregious missteps in US policy in South Asia. They and the US taxpayer.

Chithra Karunakaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
New York Times copyright
On Washington: Pakistan Overshadows Afghanistan on U.S. Agenda

Important as Afghanistan is to the U.S., the events of the past few weeks have focused American minds on the risks to Pakistan’s stability.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Horror Terror Torture: The American Way

My published comment #102.
May 03, 2009 10:27 am
May 3rd, 2009 0:10 am

Horror Terror Torture: The American Way

Q. Is torture by waterboarding to be set apart and conveniently isolated from the "banality of evil" of US foreign policy?

Q. Was "shock and awe" mass torture?

Q. Are today's drone raids that routinely kill civilians in Swat fly-by torture?

Q. Shall we continue to make convenient comforting distinctions between horror, terror, torture in US nation-state relations?

Maureen Dowd focuses on waterboarding torture as one example of Republican leaders' character corrosion. But really, is it just about torture or more broadly about the aforesaid 'banality of evil' in the US national political character? Is this corrosiveness a Condi-tion found just in Republicans of the Bush-Cheney era or widely distributed throughout the Beltway and beyond? That banality of evil is represented by the US nation-state, in which horror, terror, torture at the existential level, are inseparable. Ask the bleached bones at Hiroshima, the napalm burned skin in Vietnam all the way to today.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
New York Times copyright
Op-Ed Columnist: How Character Corrodes

The Republicans new-found concerns about checks and balances is touching, given what the Bush administration did to undermine the process.

A Language & Practice of Earth Justice

My published NYT comment #54.
May 02, 2009 6:43 pm


May 2nd, 2009 10:51 am
A Language & Practice of Earth Justice

This NYT article (see link listed below) mistakenly takes a top-down approach to Earth Justice (preferable in my view, to "conservation") by focusing on EcoAmerica, a corporate consultancy that basically is in cahoots with the Beltway.

As a participatory citizen in Democracy, whether in India or the US, I don't rely on govt, or its corporate clients, both of whom are major polluters. However I do hold these two powerful entities accountable, (with my activism and my ballot), for their policy and implementation priorities.

Instead of a top-down approach, we need a wide ranging grassroots level daily accountability from ordinary folks like me. For example, you and I can and must exercise an obligation to:

1) use less

2) recycle more

3) leave a measurably smaller footprint on the earth, on which we live, for a glorious but transient moment.

The US is undoubtedly the most wasteful and most avaricious user and disposer of resources of any nation-state on earth. All the self-promoting politicized jargon developed by EcoAmerica will not change that one iota. Unless WE, the People, do.

I'll give an example. I work at a huge urban public university. This university doesn't even have a simple directive mandating everybody on their campuses from the President to the freshman student, to print on both sides of their paper. The uni. refuses to even set their thousands of printers to print on both sides of a page. Multiply that reckless waste a hundred-thousand-fold across the university systems of America.
I once suggested double-sided printing in a memo (which I still have in my email) to my college president, but the idea, while lauded on paper (yes, more paper) predictably fell by the wayside. The conservation directive was never issued.

Education or information or 'new' language as EcoAmerica wastefully purports to do, doesn't change anything if that knowledge does not impact our lived practice in this Earth we share.

Chithra Karunakaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
New York Times copyright
Seeking to Save the Planet, With a Thesaurus
Published: May 1, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

Heredity, Environment & Genius

My NYT Comment #329.
May 01, 2009 4:19 pm


May 1st, 2009 11:13 am
Heredity, Environment and Genius

There is a dynamic interplay between heredity and environment, to produce ABILITY, whether average, mediocre or at the so-called genius level. I would have liked to see included in Brooks' discussion, the 'outlier' factor developed by Malcolm Gladwell.

Part of the crucial role of environment is ACCESS to:

1.Goods (example a spinet or a Steinway)

2. Resources (a parent, a mentor)

3. Social capital -- what-you-know-is-as-important-as-who-you-know.

It also helps if you are not partly impeded by social location -- as a member of an oppressed minority or suffer other deeply stratified setbacks resulting from intolerance, bias and hatred.

On a geopolitical level, ability rising to the 'genius' level probably cannot be fostered under brutal imposition of "shock and awe."

Can SOCIAL JUSTICE cultivate more "geniuses"?
That would be a research enterprise worthy of us all.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYTimes copyright
Op-Ed Columnist: Genius: The Modern View
The latest research suggests a more prosaic, democratic, even puritanical take on great accomplishment. It’s not I.Q., but deliberate practice.

Aid Pakistan's Civil Society, Not Pak Military

My published NYT Comment #1
May 01, 2009 8:30 am
May 1st, 2009 8:13 am

Aid Pakistan's Civil Society, Not Pak Military

So now, it's not AfPak or PakAf but AllPak.

Hope the aid (through UN agencies and NGO) is all humanitarian, example development of infrastructure for schools and hospitals and a complete halt to drone strikes, which fuel Taliban and civilian recruitment and aggression.

The fewer foreign forces on the ground, the better.

However, the US still doesn't get it. The US must abandon its arbitrary, profit-oriented, self-appointed GlobalCop interventions.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Pratice
NYTimes Copyright
News Analysis: Now, U.S. Sees Pakistan as a Cause Distinct From Afghanistan