Writer, analyst, and blogger

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A new political novel by Justin Podur

About The Demands of the Dead

When police killed his two best friends in a supposedly accidental shooting, detective Mark Brown left the force bitter and angry, abandoning a promising career and leaving his special skills to languish. A year later, the trail of one of the killers has Mark looking south, to Mexico, just as he receives a mysterious, anonymous, encrypted message over e-mail: The dead demand much more than vengeance. Drawn into the conflict zone by the connection to the deaths of his friends, Mark finds that he has to work on both sides to solve the case, in a place where any mistake could endanger lives – or reignite a war.

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A little blog accountability

In the interests of blog accountability, I will remind readers that I made an incorrect prediction days ago, when I followed the trends and said that India's right wing Hindu fundamentalist party, the BJP, would win the elections with a minority. Well, it looks like the BJP won't be at the head of the government after all. Instead, it will be the Congress party.

Brazil and the NYT

When the US decided it was going to add a little extra humiliation for foreigners to the process of traveling through that country (which multinational transportation networks, especially in the Americas, have made difficult to avoid) by fingerprinting and scanning them, Brazil decided to do the same to US visitors of Brazil. This was greeted with gasps all over the world. The temerity! Galeano wrote about it, eloquently as usual:

Beheading and the race war

The media will be full of stories of the beheading of Nick Berg. The implication is clear: we do horrific things to them, and they do horrific things to us, so it's all fine and even-handed and okay.


US troops courageously handcuff 5-year old Haitian girl, and more...

I am including below a report from Marguerite Laurent of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network. It is a rush translation and I can't verify its accuracy. But it falls well within the realm of the entirely plausible, so I include it for readers to decide for themselves.


Destroying Gaza

I'm sure readers will forgive the repetition. Or rather, if the repetition is upsetting to you, you ought to direct your anger at those who keep committing the same atrocities over and over.

So, in Gaza, the United Nations reports that in the past ten days Israel has flattened 100 homes in Gaza, rendering 1100 more people homeless, bringing the total of Palestinians made homeless in Gaza over 17,000 since 2000.

Colombian Paramilitaries in Venezuela

I've written about the Colombian paramilitaries in Venezuela, putting together what's available in Venezuelan alternative sites and communiques and Colombia's National Newspaper, El Tiempo. We certainly don't have the whole story, but what has happened is very strange and frightening -- and a happy ending, for now.


Elections are going on in India right now (they take 5 weeks). The outcome is still uncertain, although the Hindu right-wing (fascist, if you want to be impolite) party is likely to form the government, though probably not with a majority.

The Daniel Freeman-Maloy Case

A website has been set up with all the materials on the case of Daniel Freeman-Maloy, the Jewish student activist at York University in Canada who was expelled for blatantly political reasons -- namely, his anti-poverty and anti-militarist activism.


56 Colombian paramilitaries captured -- in... Venezuela?

More from El Tiempo, which today reported that 56 Colombian paramilitaries (or people suspected of being Colombian paramilitaries) were captured in Venezuela, where they were training and organizing with dissident members of the Venezuelan Armed Forces for another coup d'etat. According to Venezuela, they were part of a larger group of 130 paramilitaries in the country.

Colombia, oil, and sheer coincidence

A Colombian friend passed me an article from El Tiempo (Colombia's daily) today, but it was published May 7. The report is that ExxonMobil will be recommencing its exploration in the Colombian Caribbean region, in a consortium with two state oil companies: Brazil's Petrobras, and Colombia's ECOPETROL.


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