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For Vietnam: Artemisinin from China, Agent Orange from America

One half of this year’s Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine went to Tu Youyou for her discovery of the antimalarial drug artemisinin. Many of us who do research in the biological sciences have felt that this award was long overdue.

The discovery of artemisinin has saved the lives of millions.  And so the Nobel is proper recognition for Dr. Tu, for China and for the advancing role of women in science here and around the world.

There is an interesting and illuminating back story to Dr. Tu’s discovery. India’s The Hindu relates the story here:

(In the 1960s North Vietnam and …

Trophic Avalanche

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

This is the first verse of a hymn entitled “Conflict: Light Shining out of Darkness,” written by William Cowper in 1773. The author failed at a suicide attempt after penning his creation. More than likely he was simply overcome with the mystery of God’s ways. Since that time, some version of the first six words have been repeated by devout Christians more than seven hundred trillion times (estimate). I’ve personally heard a form of the phrase at least three hundred thousand times …

Syria, Russia, and Washington’s Problem

Waiting in Vain for Moderation

The most unedifying spectacle since Russia’s full-blooded attempt to change the tide of conflict in Bashar al-Assad’s favour has been the lexical scrounging on the part of Western governments. They are on the hunt for excuses what, exactly, they are defending, let alone protecting.

There is little doubt that no intervention would be the best sort of intervention in Syria. That tends to be the rule for most countries where sectarian, brutal conflict takes place. Secular religions such as humanitarian intervention, or regime change in the name of human security, are no less dangerous than fanatics who have also …

US Lies and Excuses for Bombing Hospital

Here is the US changing its story for the FOURTH time of why it launched an air strike on the Doctors without Borders hospital in the Afghan town of Kunduz at the weekend, massacring at least 22 patients and hospital staff.

As Glenn Greenwald has doggedly pointed out, the western media have been faithfully changing their account repeatedly and largely uncritically of what happened to keep in line with US claims. CNN and the New York Times have been particularly egregious offenders. The media monitoring group FAIR has also produced a revealing overview of the NYT’s coverage …

Where Did Obama Really Go to School?

And what is really happening in Syria?

Seventy years after the UN Charter was supposed to prohibit wars of aggression, we can see that the only countries that have complied with the spirit of the charter have been the so-called communist block, now non-communist Russia and nominally communist China.

Unlike the Soviet government on 7 July 1950, inexplicably absent from the Security Council and hence unable to veto Resolution 84, used by the US as its pretext to invade Korea, the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government have rejected any Security Council resolution rubber-stamping of the US war in Syria. That is probably the most remarkable historical …

Resolving the Problems of the Hajj

The number of pilgrims visiting Mecca for the Hajj has increased exponentially—from 57,000 in 1921 to more than two million this year. As more Muslims want to come each year, the demand to accommodate them will continue to increase. But the death toll in this year’s Hajj continues to climb (1,112 and still counting) as a result of the incident where two waves of pilgrims in Mina converging on a narrow road (which had been partly closed to allow a VIP Saudi prince to jump the cue), causing people to suffocate or be trampled to death.

The Hajj was never intended …

The New American Popery

Seventeenth century England was full of debate over the divided loyalties of Englishmen and women. Many were said to be in the grips of papal allegiance, an allegiance that could not be shared with the King of England. We hear similar rumblings today in the U.S. The Republican Party establishment and their benefactors in the media have become increasingly hostile to the message of social justice emanating from the Vatican and it is for good reason.

Here in the U.S., it was not long ago that Republicans were concerned about whether the Pope would direct U.S. policy from …

Mercenary of Reaction

Lynton Crosby in Canada

Lynton Crosby has a full schedule. He is the modern electoral PR hitman for parties in dire straits. He is hired to stir the pot of resentment and undermine hopes for change. His very existence suggests that democracies are shadows of their actual function, operating on traditional platforms of populism when required.

Those familiar with the Crosby portfolio should be aware about various hobgoblin practices he has been engaging in over the years. When he has the brief of desperation from governments in trouble, racial and immigration tensions will be fanned. The security state imperative will be …

The Truth about Poverty and How to Address It


It’s high time UN agencies and the mainstream media acknowledge the true scale of global poverty and engage in a long overdue public debate on how ambitious and transformative the international development agenda really is.

As the star-studded endorsements and media hype surrounding the all-pervasive Global Goals campaign begins to subside, a very different truth is beginning to emerge about this latest attempt by the international community to end poverty and create an ecologically viable future. Despite the UN’s ambitious claims, all the indications are that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) do not have the potential to “free the human …

Misrepresentation of the Colombian Conflict

A week and a half ago news emerged from Havana that the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the Colombian government had reached a framework for a final peace agreement to be signed within six months. This was hailed as a breakthrough in the half-century-old conflict and an opportunity to bring peace to the people of Colombia. But by adopting the government’s narrative, mainstream media have failed to recognize the primary cause of the violence and the inevitability that it will continue in the future.

The decades-long policy of the Colombian government has been a national security strategy …

This Has Become Routine

In his comment on the mass shootings at the Oregon community college, President Obama said: “This has become routine.”

So have police shootings of unarmed and unresisting Americans.

So have numerous other undesirable and deplorable happenings, such as the foreclosure on the homes of millions of Americans, while the “banks too big to fail” are bailed out with trillions of dollars, and such as foreign policy lies that have destroyed seven countries, bringing the US and Europe millions of refugees.

In addition there are the foreign policy lies that have brought the US and Europe into conflict with Russia, and the economic lies …

What Has Become of the £375Billion Created by the Bank of England under Quantitative Easing?

Have you ever wondered what happened to the £375billion, equivalent to £6,000 for every man, woman and child in the UK, created by the bank of England electronically? This colossal sum of new money is created through the programme called Quantitative Easing (QE), and pumped into the financial markets by the purchase of government bonds.

The campaigning group Positive-Money estimates that this money pushed share prices up by 20%. The idea was that those benefiting from this would invest this new wealth in the real economy. But the reality is that this new wealth simply went into more financial …

22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan

Before the 2003 Shock and Awe bombing in Iraq, a group of activists living in Baghdad would regularly go to city sites that were crucial for maintaining health and well-being in Baghdad, such as hospitals, electrical facilities, water purification plants, and schools, and string large vinyl banners between the trees outside these buildings which read: “To Bomb This Site Would Be A War Crime.” We encouraged people in U.S. cities to do the same, trying to build empathy for people trapped in Iraq, anticipating a terrible aerial bombing.

Tragically, sadly, the banners must again condemn war crimes, this time …

Israel Lights the Touchpaper at Al-Aqsa again

Since a boy named David slew the giant Goliath with a slingshot, the stone has served as an enduring symbol of how the weak can defeat an oppressor.

For the past month Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tried to rewrite the Bible story by declaring war on what he terms Palestinian “terrorism by stones”.

There are echoes of Yitzhak Rabin’s response nearly 30 years ago when, as defence minister, he ordered soldiers to “break bones” to stop a Palestinian uprising, often referred to as the “intifada of stones”, against the Israeli occupation.

Terrified by the symbolism of women and …

After All We Did For Them in Fallujah!

I was a bit surprised as well as appalled at the reported reaction of U.S. military personnel who had participated in the November 2004 destruction of Fallujah under Operation Phantom Fury, to the January 2014 taking control of the city by Sunni insurgents. The New York Times reporter covering this story says that “watching insurgents running roughshod through the streets they once fought to secure, often in brutal close quarters combat, has shaken their faith in what their mission achieved.” Marine Corps sergeant …

Nuclear War and Corbyn: The Fury and the Farce

Last month, 250,000 party members voted Jeremy Corbyn leader of the Labour party, ‘the largest mandate ever won by a Party Leader.’ The combined might of the political and media establishment had fought and lost its Stalingrad, having bombarded Corbyn with every conceivable smear in a desperate attempt to wreck his reputation with the British public. The more extreme the attacks, the more people caught on. Social media surely played a part in this awakening; but the public simply needed to compare the cynicism with Corbyn’s obvious decency and common sense.

Long lines of media futurologists, having all dismissed Corbyn’s …

Russian Intervention Exposes Coalition Lies

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive.
— Walter Scott, 1771-1832, “Marmion.”

How speedily the lies of the “international community” in general and those of the US and UK in particular about the Syrian situation are unraveling since the participation of Russia.

Take UK Prime Minister David Cameron. On September 24th last year he addressed the United Nations, committing British aircraft to targeting IS/ISIL/ISIS in Iraq adding unequivocally that there would be no similar action in Syria and absolutely no “boots on the ground.”

Referring to Iraq he added that the West should not be frozen by “past …

What’s Wrong with Britain?

One glance on Sunday morning at The Guardian website demonstrated quite clearly what is wrong with Britain – and, probably, the rest of the ‘developed’ world.  Three major concerns of the average household were news. And all three are connected, not just to each other, but to the way this country is being run.

Housing and the ‘Right to Buy’

This country has never recovered from the 1980s Great British Sell-off of our social housing – council houses and flats.  Having sold them off, councils weren’t then allowed to use the money to build much needed… council houses.  There has …

Five Leaders Challenging Western Imperialism through Diplomacy, Persuasion, and Public Pressure

Pope Francis, Vladimir Putin, Xi, Jinping, Hassan Rouhani, and Jeremy Corbyn

Western imperialism, in all of its manifestation, is being challenged by five political leaders, through diplomacy, moral persuasion and public pressure. In recent time, Pope Francis, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn have raised fundamental questions concerning (1) war and peace in the Middle East and the Caucuses; (2) climate change and the destruction of the environment; (3) economic sanctions, military threats, and confrontation; and (4) growing inequalities of class, gender, and race.

The New Global

Southeast Asia and Western Terror: As if it Never Were

Southeast Asian elites “forgot” about those tens of millions of Asian people murdered by the Western imperialism at the end of, and after, the WWII. They “forgot” about what took place in the North – about the Tokyo and Osaka firebombing, about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs, about the barbaric liquidation of Korean civilians by the US forces. But they also forgot about their own victims – about those hundreds of thousands, in fact, about the millions, of those who were blown to pieces, burned by chemicals or directly liquidated – men, women and children of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, …