Haunted by Gaddafi

Maximilian Forte’s analysis of the US-led destruction of Libya and its global implications provide the most accurate dissection of the current neoliberal world order that I have read.

ZERO ANTHROPOLOGY

One thing I did not predict is that, even five years later, what happened to Libya and to Muammar Gaddafi would still cast a long shadow across the centres of European and North American political and economic power. By now, almost all of the leaders who persecuted Gaddafi, have experienced their own demise, by far gentler means and thus even less justifiable than what befell Gaddafi. Almost all of the Libyans that appeared in the videos showing the brutalization of Gaddafi, have themselves been tracked down and killed. My expectation, around the autumn of 2015, was that Libya would be conveniently buried during the US electoral campaign. Reality, fortunately, proved me wrong. Libya has instead become a recurring theme in campaign debates, and apart from Hillary Clinton and some forgettable Republican candidates, everyone else is unanimous that the consequences of US military intervention in Libya were catastrophic. Gone are the…

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The “Arab Spring” and the Seduction of the Western Left

ZERO ANTHROPOLOGY

Hosni Mubarak has been released from prison, the Egyptian Army is back in charge – this time with the support of most Egyptians, who could no longer endure the chaos their elected Muslim Brotherhood government had inflicted on them. In Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies are in full military retreat – the government of Bashar al-Assad having convincingly won the battle for the hearts and minds of the Syrian people. William Hague and his fellow rogues have been left trashing around for some pretext to “go in” and save their sectarian terrorists. As I write, a suspiciously convenient incident, possibly involving chemical weapons, may do the trick. In Tunisia the Brotherhood regime faces popular revolt, and Libya has descended into utter chaos. Protests in Bahrain continue to be violently crushed by the U.S. puppet dictatorship. In short, the lives of ordinary people are immeasurably worse today than at…

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An Interview with Iraqi Lawyer, Sadiq Al Timimi, on the Current Crisis in Iraq

ZERO ANTHROPOLOGY

Sadiq al-Timimi, from a painting. Sadiq al-Timimi, from a painting.

Sadiq Al Timimi is a well-known lawyer from Baghdad, Iraq, specializing in constitutional law. He has written the internal codes for several human rights and non-governmental organisations in Iraq, and is a regular contributor to the Iraqi press, writing on issues such as constitutional law and civil society. I spoke to him on August 6th and 7th 2014.

Donnchadh Mac an GhoillSadiq, in the first place I’d like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview for Zero Anthropology.

Sadiq Al Timimi: You’re very welcome.

D: You began to practice as a lawyer about ten years before the US invasion in 2003?

S: Yes, nine years before.

D: Was there a lot of political interference in the law at that time?

S: It was accepted that to be appointed a judge, you had to be a member of the…

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101 Things We Learned from WikiLeaks’ Podesta Emails

ZERO ANTHROPOLOGY

US voters have been given a rare, even unprecedented opportunity to look at the machinery inside an electoral campaign and a foundation, as presented by the insiders themselves. Being afforded this privilege motivated one columnist to assert: “Those voting for Hillary Clinton, defending Clinton and supporting Clinton without reading the information reported by WikiLeaks are intellectually no different than those who criticize climate science without ever having read the science” (Denver Post, 2/11/2016). Where access to the “power elites” is typically denied to virtually anyone, thanks to WikiLeaks it is now granted to virtually everyone.

What follows is a list of the 101 stories that caught my attention during the month-long release of the Podesta emails, published by WikiLeaks. Are there only 101 things to be learned? There are likely thousands more—this is by no means a comprehensive account, but more of a personal snapshot. Ideally, one would…

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The Babysitter

How refreshing to see the human side of the world’s premier death delivery service.

ZERO ANTHROPOLOGY

Big Chief, Big Daddy, Big Babysitter to the World

If “winning hearts and minds” is at the top of your global campaign agenda for strategic communication, then you need to insert yourself into some of the most intimate, domestic, and familial places of restive, hungry, and increasingly angry populations. Getting all domestic is what the US military has been doing in its social media and “visual operations” for the past few years, as seen in a wide array of photographs uploaded to the US Department of Defense’s Flickr “photostream,” which I have been studying since early 2014 (see part 1 in this series of photo essays). The trick is to achieve superiority by being at once both engaged and removed. Being engaged shows you actively involved in the uplift and upkeep of other peoples’ lives, thus coming down the mountain to these peoples’ very low station in life. However, you…

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Bare Feet

The message is in the details.

ZERO ANTHROPOLOGY

Encoding Poverty, Backwardness, and Dependency in US Military Imagery

Bare feet. Ever since I was a small child, I have been made aware of how not wearing shoes was symbolically loaded with ideas of poverty, backwardness, primitiveness, or being low class. Images of barefoot people in newspapers and magazines almost always showed villagers in Africa or the Pacific–or Hippies and West Virginians in the US. Stores in Canada routinely posted signs: “No shoes, no service”. Bare feet were, at least for a long time, quietly yet mightily stigmatized in much of Western culture. Like all things “primitive,” this form of bareness symbolizing underdevelopment and an inferior culture (or lack of culture, and lack of development), could also be romanticized: bare feet in the grass, on the sand, symbolizing freedom and child-like innocence, and thus nostalgia for things of the past. Bare feet could also symbolize the exact opposite…

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