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Google, Gag Orders and the WikiLeaks Investigation

Google’s gargantuan presence on the Internet, be it in terms of search engines, archived data and the use of email, has become a problem.  Given that it traffics in information of virtually every shade and colour, it was bound to be on the attractive hit list for law enforcement authorities. Those who use its services had to be aware that, at some point, their subscriber information would become attractive.

Google took almost over two and a half years to disclose that it has handed emails and various forms of digital data belonging to three WikiLeaks staffers to the US government.  On …

Abrupt Climate Change, Already?

Is abrupt climate change already here?

There are some serious scientists who believe it is already here. If their analysis is correct, the world could turn nearly uninhabitable within current lifetimes.

In that regard, the American public is overly, dangerously casual about the prospects/risks of abrupt climate change. This is found in numerous studies and polls; e.g., according to a Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, in an international survey of 39 countries, Americans were among the least concerned about climate change threatening the country. Global warming also ranked near the bottom of Americans’ priorities.

As it goes, the American public may be caught …

The History of Black History Month

Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present

The Tragedy of being a Girl in India

It is said that India is the ‘most dangerous country in the world in which to be a girl’, a controversial United Nations finding based on a range of distressing social statistics rooted in gender and caste prejudice, much of which can be traced back to 18th century colonialism and the destructive ‘divide and rule’ methodology employed by the British.

Throughout the country and up and down the class-caste ladder the joy of parenthood is conditioned by the gender of the child. If a boy is born, delight amongst the family; if it’s a girl, anxiety and disappointment. The sole …

Harry’s Gone a Huntin’

I’m not accustomed to paying much attention to anyone’s national holidays, except perhaps France’s, but only because it at least commemorates what for a brief time was a real revolution. Since I pass a certain consulate almost every day, I do wonder every time I notice that the flag has not been hoisted.

Little did I realise that on the last such occasion, actor-director Clint Eastwood would be watching his latest film release reap in the nation’s box offices. Not only does the harvest mean a monetary yield for the war propaganda industry, one can safely presume that the otherwise hypocritically …

Boehner’s Treason?

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court….

– United States Constitution, Article III, Section 3

Inviting a hostile head of state to challenge the U.S. President from the shelter of the U.S. Congress may not rise to the level of “levying war” in the literal sense. But it is surely an act of virtual war that recklessly raises the stakes …

Dear Syria: From One Refugee to Another

Whenever the word ‘refugee’ is uttered, I think of my mother. When Zionist militias began their systematic onslaught and ‘cleansing’ of the Palestinian Arab population of historic Palestine in 1948, she, along with her family, ran away from the once peaceful village of Beit Daras.

Back then, Zarefah was six. Her father died in a refugee camp in a tent provided by the Quakers soon after he had been separated from his land. She collected scrap metal to survive.

My grandmother Mariam, would venture out to the ‘death zone’ that bordered the separated and newly established state of Israel from Gaza’s refugee …

CBS Promoting the GOP?

Can there be doubt that CBS News, in effect, promotes a bias that favors the Republican Party? Anyone who follows politics and watched the Scott Pelley interview of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell last night on Sixty Minutes had to be dumbfounded when Scott Pelley failed to utter any challenge to both Boehner and McConnell’s hubris about the Democrats obstructing legislation, something the GOP promoted as policy. You would expect Fox News to misinform on that count but not a major network.

The lead headline question Scott Pelley asks for the interview: “The job approval rating for Congress is 15%. …

Freedom of Expression Fundamentalism or – What happened to Charlie?

My answer is simple: the issues surrounding the horrific attack on Charlie Hebdo disappeared so fast because the general Western reaction was ill-considered/phony and therefore unsustainable. 

But there is actually still quite a lot to be discussed.

Secondly, European politicians and media chose – quite uniformly for a professed pluralist society – to not discuss the possible causes. The more convenient interpretation was that the perpetrators were just madmen and people like that should be hunted down and eliminated (like IS in Syria and Iraq).

Without causal analysis we can more easily go straight for more “security”, …

I Want What You Want

A Letter to the Scottish Independence folk

Of course, although this was addressed to the people in Scotland who had been campaigning for independence, there is a message here for all of us, denied as we all are by our governments of real democracy.  How can we wake ourselves up and take part in the kind of inspired political debate that the referendum on independence generated among the Scots, whichever side they were on?

When I first became engaged in the debate about independence for Scotland it was because of anger and embarrassment at the slant presented by the Better Together campaign.  But as I talked to …

Scramble to Conclude Suspicious EU-US Trade Deal

UK industry is in intensive care. Should we throw open the door and allow America’s big business battalions to muscle in under cover of a trade treaty?

Critics claim that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being cooked up between the EU and the United States could:

Weaken workers’ rights and put millions of jobs at risk;
Reduce environmental protection and food safety regulation;
Lead to more privatisation of public services like education and our prized National Health Service (NHS);
Give new powers for corporations to sue European governments, including the UK, in secret courts.

They complain that world leaders are working alongside major …

The Communist Manifesto Today

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Manifesto of the Communist Party in 1848. By no means did Marx and Engels set out to read the fortune of future capitalist societies, or to develop some high-resolution photograph of future international political economy amongst states. Nor did they predict the various incarnations of communism that would arise after their time. Instead, the manifesto was a commissioned work; its intention was to communicate the purposes and platform of the Communist League, an international political party started in 1847 London.

The manifesto’s investigation of historical and then class struggle included polemicizing capitalism and the …

Why do critics love American Sniper?

I watched American Sniper the other night and it really is the most puerile propaganda imaginable. It is not even as though it is simply unfair to the “enemy” – that is, mostly ordinary Iraqis, who are shown to be ruthless and heartless killers filled with irrational hatred for the American soldiers sent to liberate them from … well, in this re-write of history it is seemingly from al-Qaeda. It is equally unfair to the US soldiers there, presenting them either as good guys being heroes or as good guys being traumatised by their exposure to the natives’ savagery.

And, of …

The NFL’s Anarchist Success Story

Last Sunday, the Green Bay Packers came within minutes of defeating the Seattle Seahawks and earning a berth in the Super Bowl. Were it not for a miracle comeback by Seattle, the Packers would have made their 14th appearance in the NFL’s title game. With 13 world championships, the Packers have far more than any other football team. They are arguably the most successful franchise in American professional sports history. But the most remarkable thing about the Green Bay Packers is that in an industry controlled by parasitic owners who leech billions of dollars off taxpayers, they are 100% publicly-owned …

Iraq Invasion: The “Six Wise Men” Tony Blair Ignored

Nothing justifies killing of innocent people.

— Tony Blair, CNN, 15th January 2015

The Independent on Sunday has revealed that having decided to back George W. Bush in the illegal March 2003 invasion of Iraq come what may, in November 2002 the then Prime Minister Tony Blair and then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, with senior advisors, consulted “six wise men” — then ignored all they had to say. Four of those consulted agreed to talk to the Independent.

The revelations end a week when the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry into the invasion is further delayed and government statements confirm it will …

Trident – UK’s Instruments of Armageddon

The existence of nuclear weapons makes Armageddon possible. If there were no nuclear weapons on the planet, the human race would have a dire threat lifted and could focus on the other, less instantaneous, threats to the survival of our species.

In certain cops and robbers films a scene arises when protagonists are lined up opposite each other, both factions pointing weapons at their opponents. Obviously this is a highly risky scenario which typically ends badly – in a bloodbath.  One of the protagonists decides he can win if he fires first; a passing waiter drops a tray of glasses and …

Why Business And Government Are Quiet About TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has been negotiated secretly for many years and there is good reason for the secrecy, especially in terms of how it affects billions of people in the world. As you might guess those who benefit most are governments and the rich and powerful.

Clyde Prestowitz, president of the Economic Strategy Institute, who served in the Reagan and Clinton administrations, says that TPP won’t deliver jobs or curb China’s power, the former a fallacy that seems to be pushed, or at least suggested, by both Congress and the Obama administration.

Supporters like Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and former U.S. …

The Greek Elections and Media Bias

Who are the heroes of Greece?

As you may have heard, Greece will be holding national elections this Sunday, January 25. I’m not here to talk about the election itself, however—I’d rather focus on how the for-profit media has skewed their reporting on the election to imbue everything they write with a clear anti-Syriza bias. And this is an important issue to keep in mind, because as Malcolm X once observed: “If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

With that in mind, notice how virtually every mainstream …

Divesting America of Ozone-Destroying Energy Sources

Long before the price of gas and oil began to plummet, socially conscious churches, universities, non-profit organizations, and local governments began to divest themselves of fossil fuel stock and shock the fossil fuel industry to understand the environmental and public health concerns.

The World Council of Churches, which represents about 590 million Christians in 520,000 congregations, decided in July that to continue to hold fossil fuel stock would compromise its ethics, and recommended that the 349 member denominations consider divesting oil and gas stock.

Six of the eight Anglican dioceses of New Zealand and Polynesia, and four dioceses in Australia divested their …

Contradiction in Action: The Eulogies for King Abdullah

What a spanner in the works of international relations he proved to be. The late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia was always the spoiler in the morality plays of Western powers keen to back him. Oil was always the greatest deterrent against getting on his wrong side, but it also meant the most intolerable of inconsistencies. For most governments, however, these were tolerated.

Those inconsistencies were there for all to see in the eulogies for the monarch. US President Barack Obama gave a description of someone who was distinctly different from a member of the House of …