The Night of the Generals: When Brazilians Were Tortured and Disappeared.

Brazil' 64 Coup #2 "The Face of Evil,” flashed the eye catching headline in Brazil’s major daily on a morning late this March, and the accompanying photo of Army lieutenant-colonel, Paulo Malhaes, retired, could not have portrayed a more convincing ogre had it been photo shopped by central casting.  Malhaes, a self-described torturer and murderer operated in the early 1970's, the most repressive period in … [Read more...]

Brazil’s 1964 Coup: What ‘Communist Conspiracy’?

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It all began with Cuba in 1959. That was a line in the sand for Tio Sam. Kennedy launched the Alliance for Progress in ‘61, and caudillos throughout South and Central America lined up for lessons on how to prevent their own homegrown communists from reproducing what Fidel and El Che had brought down from the Sierra Maestras. The School of the Americas’ manual of torture, originally drafted in Scotland and likely … [Read more...]

Rio de Janeiro in 1964…

            Rio de Janeiro in 1964 remained the de facto seat of the Brazilian government and home to its corps of international diplomats.  Despite the fact that Brasilia, the modernist architectural ghost town erected in the scrublands of the country’s isolated interior was designated Brazil’s new capital in 1960, the foot dragging went on for years before the embassies and the governing bureaucrats … [Read more...]

The Chomsky Thread

The long stream of commentary and observations which follows was prompted by a series of staccato exchanges on email between Professor Noam Chomsky and me, Michael Uhl.  In the first exchange I received some unanticipated support from Chomsky about my critique of Nick Turse's book, Kill Anything That Moves.  But it is the second exchange that I would really wish to bring to the attention of a larger, albeit highly … [Read more...]

Red Lines and Bombing in Syria: A Really Bad Idea

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Here we go again. Polls suggest the American people are fed up after two full-bore wars and the killing of an ambassador in Benghazi following our commitment to regime change in Libya. Yet, the Obama administration seems poised to launch another war in Syria. “We can’t do a third war in 12 years!" This exasperated response was not from a leftist peace activist ready to do civil disobedience; it was from Colonel … [Read more...]

The Problematic: Penny Lewis Repairs Some Misconceptions About the Vietnam War

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The Vietnam War seems to be drawing attention increasingly from researchers born during or after the tumultuous decade in which that deadly drama played out.  One sees mostly this generation’s higher profile works, like Fredrik Logevall’s Embers of War; The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History, and Nick Turse's Kill Anything That Moves: The Real … [Read more...]