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No Fair Hearing for Assange at the Guardian

At what point do we cry foul when we witness the abuse of a political dissident, one who dares to take on mighty vested interests?

When his own state, the local legal system and the media all turn on him? When he is forced to seek sanctuary in a foreign embassy for many years, surrounded by state security forces threatening to arrest him if he leaves? When the world’s highest arbiter on the matter of his confinement, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, supports his case? When the state, legal authorities and the media ignore the ruling and continue to …

Julian Assange, the UN, and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention

Should the UN announce tomorrow that I have lost my case against the United Kingdom and Sweden I shall exist the embassy at noon on Friday to accept arrest by British police as there is no meaningful prospect of further appeal.

— Julian Assange, Twitter, Feb 4, 2016

LONDON — The UN is a funny old thing. It has provided, historically, the strangest collective of bedfellows, fed on a good staple diet of hypocrisy and political jousting. It has more panels than Italian pasta varieties, more working committees than French cheese. At times, its workings reek of private school understandings …

Social Control Emerging as ISIS Motive for Erasing Cultural Heritage in Syria

DAMASCUS — Among these patriots are regular citizens as well as the stellar nationalist employees of Syria’s Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) who this observer has interviewed extensively over the past nearly three years as they elucidate why ISIS destroys and loots our irreplaceable antiquities. This observer’s research has been augmented by other eyewitnesses, some who are themselves former jihadists or their victims, to ISIS looting and its distribution of franchises to sell off our shared cultural heritage give witness.

Heretofore, three varying but cogent explanations for ISIS’ rabid destruction of our shared cultural heritage have been commonplace.

The first …

They’re Just Not Answering!

Steve Leone, editor of the Concord Monitor—the second largest newspaper in New Hampshire—makes me long for the good old days of old-fashioned communications. He actually, personally, answers his own phone.

I know this because when I called him I actually got right through, despite the media’s frenetic immersion in the week before the state’s presidential primary.

“You answer your own phone?” I asked him incredulously, saying to myself, no voicemail, no screening secretary? “Yes,” he said calmly, “I pick up my phone right away.” The result: from our conversation, he suggested that I write an op-ed. In 24 …

UK Parliamentary Committee Calls for Halt to Arms Sales

Moots International Inquiry into Alleged International Law Abuses

Mercurial: “Subject to sudden or unpredictable changes of mood or mind.”

In a woefully belated but welcome initiative the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee, the influential cross party oversight body which scrutinizes the Department for International Development, has called for a suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

In context, the reason for the Committee’s stance is related to the black farce of one arm of the UK government providing aid to Yemen, as other arms are providing the advice, aircraft and weaponry to Saudi Arabia to assist in the destruction of the ancient nation whose shores are lapped by the Red …

Optimism of the Will

So now we have another anti-Semite. Mazal Tov (“good luck”) as we say in Hebrew.

His name is Ban Ki-moon, and he is the Secretary General of the UN. In practice, the highest international official, a kind of World Prime Minister.

He has dared to criticize the Israeli government, as well as the Palestinian Authority, for sabotaging the peace process, and thereby making Israeli-Palestinian peace almost impossible. He emphasized that there is a world-wide consensus about the “Two-state Solution” being the only possible one.

The formulation sounded neutral, but Ban made it quite clear that almost the entire fault lies with the Israeli …

Unjust and Dysfunctional: Asylum in the UK

Imagine you wake one fine morning and find you are living in a war zone, aerial bombardments are a weekly occurrence, family members have been killed, tortured or imprisoned and the children’s school destroyed. You love your country, but frightened and desperate you decide to leave in search of a new home, in a peaceful place, where you can study, work and have a chance to live out your days happily.

Or you live in a country where you are persecuted for your religious beliefs, like Mizrak (not her real name) from Eritrea: arrested and imprisoned aged 16 for being Pentecostal …

Presidential Fiat: US Right to Commit War Crimes

The Anti-Empire Report #143

Is Bernie Sanders a socialist?

“Self-described socialist” … How many times have we all read that term in regard to Vermont senator Bernie Sanders? But is he really a socialist? Or is he a “social democrat”, which is what he’d be called in Europe? Or is he a “democratic socialist”, which is the American party he has been a member of (DSA – Democratic Socialists of America)? And does it really matter which one he is? They’re all socialists, are they not?

Why does a person raised in a capitalist society become a socialist? It could be because of a parent or …

Pseudo-leftist Cognitive Policing on Race

Coercive Engineered Migration: Zionism's War on Europe (Part 7 of an 11 Part Series)

In order to fully comprehend the implications of the US/Israeli strategy of weakening Europe through a divide and rule policy of artificial mass migrations, the questions of race and demography need to be looked at more closely. For Israel is a racist nation-state. It is the world’s only nation state based on a strict interpretation of racial identity. Yet it is a state, which, through its myriad lobbies and think tanks across the world, has managed to direct US foreign policy in its interests for many decades, in spite of the fact that the US is a multiracial, multicultural federal …

Hard Laws and Harder Experiences: Apartheid in Palestine

Apartheid in Palestine (University of Alberta Press, 2016) is a valuable guide in the struggle for justice in Palestine. Editor Ghada Ageel gathered activists, indigenous Palestinians and scholars, which do not represent the worn-out media views that the public is tired of hearing. The authors believe that peace to the region can only come if justice is done to Palestinians and if their rights, denied for decades by Israel and the international community, are met.

Ghada Ageel is a visiting professor in the …

Western Empire’s Unmatchable Brutality

My speech in Rome at the Italian Parliament on January 29, 2016.

Friends and Comrades, it is a great honor to be standing here – at the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament.

*****

One year ago I was driving through the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, monitoring the situation in the refugee camps there. Winter was approaching and the mountains on the Lebanese–Syrian border were covered by snow. It was cold, very cold.

Some 20 minutes, after leaving Baalbek, I spotted an extremely humble makeshift refugee camp, growing literally from the road, in the middle of nowhere.

I stopped. Together with my interpreter, I walked inside and engaged several people in conversation.

The situation was desperate. …

Security ties between Palestinians and Israel begin to fray

Attack on Israeli soldiers by PA guard exposes split between Netanyahu and army over how to respond

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has described his security forces’ cooperation with the Israeli military as “sacred”. But an armed attack on an Israeli checkpoint last weekend by a Palestinian security official, which left three Israeli soldiers injured, suggests that Abbas’ view may not be widely shared among Palestinians.

Amjad Sukari, aged 34, a driver and bodyguard in Ramallah for the Palestinian attorney general, was shot dead on Sunday after he opened fire at Israeli soldiers stationed at a “VIP crossing” near Ramallah.

It was the second time in recent months that a PA security officer has opened fire on …

The Indifference of Union Leaders to Capitalist Dominance over Culture and Space

The private automobile gets a free pass

At their finest labour unions are class conscious organizations that check the corporate elite’s influence over public policy. But, even the best Canadian unions have largely failed to provide an alternative vision to the existing system and challenge the power of big business over important areas of our lives.

Alongside collective-bargaining activities, unions have spearheaded efforts to expand the Canadian Pension Plan and Employment Insurance coverage, to raise minimum wages and to improve labour laws. While these campaigns have directly benefited all workers, unions have also been heavily involved in fights for Medicare and public daycare, programs that serve a wider …

Who Hatched Rubio?

The big boys are confident that Sen. Marco Rubio has locked up the Republican nomination.

But who’s locked up Rubio?

I called my bookie in London. The betting professionals were not surprised at Marco Rubio’s big Iowa showing. The smart money has been on Rubio since October 31–despite the fact that Rubio was polling at just 9%.

Paul Krishnamurty, politics odds analyst at Betfair.com, told me that, among professional betters, over just two days, Rubio soared from zero to odds-on favorite to win the GOP nomination.

Why would the guys …

Freeing Julian Assange: The Last Chapter

Assange is now closer to justice and vindication, and perhaps freedom, than at any time since he was arrested.

One of the epic miscarriages of justice of our time is unravelling. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – an international tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations – has ruled that Julian Assange has been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden.

After five years of fighting to clear his name – having been smeared relentlessly yet charged with no crime – Assange is closer to justice and vindication, and perhaps freedom, than …

Sweden, Denmark, and Refugees: Still Hope?

Part 4: Denmark, Decency, and Decay

Read Part 1, 2, and 3.

Sweden

Permit a digression to neighbouring Sweden.

Sweden has – shamefully – not only closed its borders for people without valid documents, scrapped the right to asylum embedded in the Human Rights Declaration. It has declared (January 28, 2016) that it intends to deport 60,000-80,000 refugees already inside Sweden.

It was Sweden’s ambassador, the courageous Harald Edelstam, who in 1973 stood at the stadium in Santiago after the Pinochet coup and murder of president Allende and told thousands that they would always be welcome in Sweden. Thousands came and made a good …

Mother Earth May Have Good Reason to Slaughter Us

Decades ago James Lovelock constructed a principle called the Gaia hypothesis, contending that a biosphere teeming with life works together with inorganic matter to self-regulate conditions for maintaining a livable planet.

The oxygen levels in our air are maintained, and the salinity of the seas – everything that’s needed to keep conditions within the zones which nurture life on the planet.  This is a theory embraced by many deep environmentalists because it offers hope for the future of life forms on the planet.

When one creature (such as man) gets to be so out of control that it threatens the other …

Seventy Years of Harassing Political Establishment and People of Europe

According to a “sensational” article by the Telegraph, the US director of National Intelligence was recently instructed by Congress to “conduct a major review into Russian clandestine funding of European parties over the last decade.” This disclosure – a classic “controlled leak” – is intended to warn disobedient yet popular political entities across Europe to scale back their ambitions to rebalance the roles and weight of their nation states within the European Union. Hungary’s Jobbik, Greece’s Golden Dawn, Italy’s Lega Nord, and France’s Front National are explicitly included in the …

The Logic of Hunger Striking Palestinians

When Starvation Is a Weapon

By Friday, January 29, Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qeq had spent 66-days on hunger strike in Israeli jails. Just before he fell into his third coma, a day earlier, he sent a public message through his lawyers, the gist of which was: freedom or death.

Al-Qeq is 33-years of age, married and a father of two. Photos circulating of him online and on Palestinian streets show the face of a bespectacled, handsome man. The reality, though, is quite different. “He’s in a very bad situation. He fell into his third coma in recent days, and his weight has dropped to 30 …

Human Rights are Buried by UK Arms Profits as Yemen Bleeds

Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism’s face
And the international wrong.
— W.H. Auden, 1907-1973

It is more than possible to speculate why Prime Minister David Cameron has declared it his mission to scrap the Human Rights Act – which is incorporated into the European Convention on Human Rights – it appears he simply does not believe in human rights.

For example, the fact that Saudi Arabia executed – including beheadings – forty seven people in one day last month, displaying their bodies from gibbets, failed to deter him from having British military experts to work with their Saudi counterparts, advising on which targets …