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Articles by: Justin Podur

Just How Powerful Is Russia Internationally?

Just How Powerful Is Russia Internationally?

After the 2016 U.S. election, Barack Obama provided some perspective on the U.S.’s growing fear of Russia; fear that has only grown in the year since. “Russia can’t change us,” Obama said. “They are a smaller country, they are a weaker country, their economy doesn’t produce anything that anybody wants to buy except oil, and gas and arms.” Obama was[Read More…]

Lessons From Ed Herman’s Lifelong War Against Lies

Lessons From Ed Herman’s Lifelong War Against Lies

  The story goes that Einstein’s theory of relativity began with a simple question: What if a person could sit on a beam of light? A single inquiry led to an entire field of study, and perhaps the world’s most famous scientific breakthrough. The late Ed Herman’s questions were less playful. They were about war and death, lies and power[Read More…]

5 Ways Capitalist Logic Has Sabotaged The Scientific Community

5 Ways Capitalist Logic Has Sabotaged The Scientific Community

Academics should be collaborating, not competing for pseudoscientific rankings. At a time when federal employees are prohibited from uttering the phrase “climate change,” the right routinely attempts to undermine universities’ legitimacy, and tuitions have skyrocketed alongside student debt, it seems perverse that academics would further endanger their mission to educate and enlighten. Yet by embracing a malignant form of pseudoscience,[Read More…]

Afghanistan’s Painful, Never-Ending War Takes A New Bad Turn

Afghanistan’s Painful, Never-Ending War Takes A New Bad Turn

The return of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Butcher of Kabul, is the latest symbol of the country’s destruction.   This past May, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, sometimes known as the Butcher of Kabul, Afghanistan’s most famous and probably most hated warlord, returned to Kabul through a negotiated deal with the government. He arrived in a convoy of trucks, with armed followers brandishing their[Read More…]

Syria: The Afghans Are Coming!

Syria: The Afghans Are Coming!

  There’s a phrase that keeps popping up in discussions of Syria. It’s a string of words that always appear together, without variation, which is a tell for propaganda phrases and talking points. In the context of Libya, there was a line about “African Mercenaries”. The one I keep hearing about Syria is that Assad has “Afghan Shia militias” fighting[Read More…]

The Much-Maligned Views Of Rania Khalek On Syria

The Much-Maligned Views Of Rania Khalek On Syria

When journalist Rania Khalek’s lecture was cancelled on February 27, the group that invited her, Students for Justice in Palestine – University of North Carolina (SJP-UNC) issued a statement saying that the cancellation was because of Rania’s “views” on Syria, and that they believed “her invitation would mistakenly imply SJP to hold such views”. They also added that they “do[Read More…]

Women Rise Up Against Gender Violence In The Caribbean

Women Rise Up Against Gender Violence In The Caribbean

On March 11, survivors of violence against women and their allies and supporters held marches in six Caribbean countries. Started by two Barbadian women, Ronelle King and Allyson Benn, the movement had the hashtag #LifeInLeggings. In Jamaica, one of the groups marching was the Tambourine Army, a movement of activists dedicated to eradicating sexual violence against women and girls. Some[Read More…]

No To Peace In Colombia?

No To Peace In Colombia?

In the four years that it took to negotiate this peace deal, Colombia has been moving inexorably towards October 2, the day that the people could have their say about the deal that would end the five-decade long war. The polls predicted an easy win for the “yes” side. The government’s negotiators and the guerrillas (FARC) campaigned for a strong[Read More…]

Free Homa Hoodfar

Free Homa Hoodfar

At the end of August, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif traveled to six Latin American countries: Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, and Venezuela. On what was mainly a business tour, Zarif discussed megaprojects like the Grand Interoceanic canal. An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said that “Iran has such a position that it can pick its political friends and trade[Read More…]

Haiti 101 Years After US Invasion, Still Resisting Domination

Haiti 101 Years After US Invasion, Still Resisting Domination

US invaded and occupied Haiti 101 years ago today, and remained there for nineteen years. Accomplishments of the occupation include raiding the Haitian National Bank, re-instituting forced labor, establishing the hated National Guard, and getting a 25-year contract for the US corporation, United Fruit. There was a pretext for the invasion – the assassination of Haiti’s president in 1915. But[Read More…]