Book Review: Nathaniel Mehr, “Making Visible the Frames of War”

21 May, 2009 – MRZine Monthly Review — Judith Butler, Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? (London: Verso, 2009).

frames.jpgJudith Butler’s Frames of War is a searching examination of the intellectual frameworks informing the double standards which pervade contemporary political, journalistic, and academic discourses on the violence of the so-called ‘war on terror.’

Butler assesses the ways in which a variety of methods of control — from ’embedded’ journalism to immigration rules based on highly derivative notions of identity — have served to entrench a perception of a threatening and anti-modern ‘other,’ whose torture and physical destruction is thus rationalised. Making a stand for the humanity of the victims of US aggressions, Butler devotes a fascinating chapter to a survey of the published poems of Guantanamo Bay detainees, ‘efforts to re-establish a social connection to the world, even where there is no concrete reason to think that any such connection is possible.’

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The Cuban Five: A Starkly Controversial Case

21 May, 2009 – Council on Hemispheric Affairs

  • Members of the ‘Wasp Network,’ were arrested in 1998 and charged with espionage, false
  • Five men, known as the ‘Cuban Five’, have filed an appeal of their unusually long prison sentences, hoping to have their case reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court
  • The U.S. judicial system and the Bush Administration have been accused of violating the legal rights of the Cuban inmates as a result of its Cold War mentality during the former president’s tenure
  • Latin American presidents, Nobel prize winners and human rights organizations have called for their release

During Barack Obama’s first three months in office, his administration took several tentative steps toward rehabilitating the U.S. relationship with Cuba. Up to now such ties have been dominated by unremitting hostility towards the Castro Regime of over the last five decades since the 1959 communist revolution as well as the installation of the U.S. embargo in 1962. On April 13, as a sign of a political opening, Obama lifted the restrictions that his predecessor, George Bush, had placed on Cuban-Americans’ ability to send remittances at will back home and to visit their relatives on the island. He also relaxed rules governing the activities of the U.S. telecommunications industry there.

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