Propaganda is a podcast brought to you by the Moral Economy. Each week (InShaAllah) we seek to present you a philosophical twist on the latest news out of politics, economics, and culture. Have a problem that we said “InShaAllah”? Then you are really going to love this weeks CIA, “The Great Satan“! But first, here are some of the headlines, which we shamelessly ripped from Democracy Now!
The Pentagon says that a U.S. fighter jet shot down an Iranian-made armed drone on Tuesday. The Pentagon claims the drone was flying toward U.S.-backed Syrian fighters. The Pentagon declined to speculate who was operating the drone. The area has been identified as of military importance to the Syrian regime, and strategically important to Iran. Russian officials have threatened to target U.S. planes flying west of the Euphrates River. The downing increases fears of the possibility of a direct confrontation between the U.S. and Russia in Syria.
In Saudi Arabia, King Salman has deposed his nephew as crown prince. Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the king’s son, has now been named first in line for the throne. As defense minister Mohammed bin Salman has been presiding over the devastating U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen. The newly announced crown prince was also named deputy prime minister.
This is all amidst a what has been called a diplomatic crisis in the Middle East, as Saudi Arabia moved to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. The State Department expressed confusion Tuesday about Saudi Arabia’s decision, saying the Saudis and other Gulf countries have not yet revealed their grievances over than two weeks after they severed ties. In a surprise to nobody, however, the U.S. has nonetheless agreed to sell $12 billion worth of U.S.-manufactured F-15 fighter jets to Qatar.
In the latest, according to NDTV News, the State Department has issued a public warning to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Eremites, suggesting the Saudis may have provoked a crisis and drawn the US on false pretences.
“Meanwhile, in Yemen,” according to Democray Now, “health officials say multiple U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition airstrikes killed at least 25 civilians at a market in northern Saada province Sunday. More than 10,000 people have died amid the ongoing U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen, which has also destroyed the country’s health, water and sanitation systems, sparking a deadly cholera outbreak.”
Yemen has been engulfed by a civil war since September 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi rebels swept into the capital of Sanaa and overthrew the internationally recognised government.
“In Somalia, at least 15 people were killed in a suicide car bombing in the capital Mogadishu Tuesday. Police say most of the victims were civilians. The militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack.”
“The International Organization for Migration says as many as 120 refugees are missing and feared drowned after a boat sank off the coast of Libya on Friday. The majority of the victims were Sudanese and Nigerian. At least 2,000 refugees have now died this year while attempting to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe.”
“Meanwhile, in Hungary, the trial has begun of four men charged with killing 71 refugees who were found suffocated in the back of an abandoned, overcrowded truck in 2015. The victims were from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and included at least four children. The men are also charged with human trafficking.”
“The United Nations is accusing a militia linked to the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo of committing human rights abuses, including ethnically motivated attacks against women and children in the central Kasai region. This is U.N. rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.”
“Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein: “Refugees from multiple villages in the Kamonya territory indicated that the Bana Mura have in the past two months shot dead, hacked or burnt to death and mutilated hundreds of villagers, as well as destroying entire villages.””
“In Honduras, journalist and congressional candidate Víctor Fúnez was murdered outside his home in the Caribbean coastal city of La Ceiba last Thursday. Víctor Fúnez directed the local nighttime television news show. Police say they’ve arrested a suspect in the case. Human rights groups say Fúnez is at least the 70th journalist murdered in Honduras since 2001.”
China and North Korea
“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is meeting with Chinese officials today. Tillerson was planning to use the meetings to press Chinese officials to continue to confront North Korea over its nuclear program. But on Tuesday afternoon, President Trump appeared to abandon this effort in a tweet, writing, “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” The New York Times reports that senior officials say they’re trying to understand the meaning of the tweet.”
“Uber founder Travis Kalanick has resigned as CEO amid a widespread sexual harassment scandal at the Wall Street-backed ride-hailing company. His departure comes after a revolt by a number of investors who demanded Kalanick’s ouster. Last week, billionaire David Bonderman also resigned from Uber’s board, after making disparaging comments about women at a board meeting intended to address sexual harassment, saying that if there were more women on the board, “it’s much more likely to be more talking.” At least 20 Uber workers have also been fired over the reports of sexual harassment.”
“The dash camera video of the police killing of African-American motorist Philando Castile in Minnesota has been released, only days after police officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter. The dash cam video shows Yanez pointing his gun at Castile through the driver’s side window. Castile then informs the officer that he has a gun in the car, which he was licensed to carry. In the video, you can also hear the voices of Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her 4-year-old young daughter, who were both inside the car.”
Republicans will release a draft of the healthcare bill on Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced. The bill would strip 23 million people of their health insurance, and give billions of dollars in tax breaks to wealthy Americans. Republicans pushing for a vote on the bill before July 4, when the House will take a recess, in order to ensure that it passes before too much public scrutiny. McConnel said on Tuesday that the Senate bill will be different from the House bill, but did not specify.