Time for a Small Country on the UN Security Council

José Ramos-Horta*

I believe that few people could name more than five members of the UN Security Council. The U.S., Russia and China certainly. Think hard and you would probably add in the United Kingdom and — maybe — France, as the countries who hold the power of “nay” or “aye” over key actions of the United Nations, including how the UN addresses conflicts arising around the world.

Continue reading

Israel-Gaza : No Victory for Israel Despite Weeks of Devastation

By Robert Fisk* – The Independent

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there

’It was not a famous victory – but that’s what the Palestinians of Gaza are celebrating. There was much shaking of heads in the international media when the fireworks burst over that shattered land on Tuesday night. After more than 2,100 dead – about 1,700 of them civilians – and 100,000 wounded, what did they have to crow about? An end to the killing? Peace? Well, no. In fact, Hamas – the vicious, horrible, terrorist Hamas with whom “we” (as in “the West”, Tony Blair, Israel, the US and all honourable men and women) cannot talk – has indeed won a victory.

Continue reading

India: A Race to the Bottom with Antibiotic Overuse

By Ranjita Biswas

KOLKATA, India, Aug 28 2014 (IPS) – In 2011, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned: “Combat Drug Resistance – No Action Today, No Cure Tomorrow.” The slogan was coined in honour of World Health Day, urging governments to ensure responsible use of antibiotics in order to prevent drug-resistant viruses and bacteria, or ‘super bugs’.

The warning is even more salient in 2014, particularly in India, a country of 1.2 billion people that recently earned the dubious distinction of being the worst country in terms of antibiotic overuse in the world.

Continue reading

We’re Living in a Golden Age of Investigative Journalism

Anya Schiffrin – The Nation

Newspapers in America may be closing up shop, but muckrakers around the world are holding corrupt officials and corporate cronies accountable like never before.

In our world, the news about the news is often grim. Newspapers are shrinking, folding up, or being cut loose by their parent companies. Layoffs are up and staffs are down. That investigative reporter who covered the state capitol—she’s not there anymore. Newspapers like the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune have suffered from multiple rounds of layoffs over the years. Continue reading

Holocaust survivors and their descendants accuse Israel of ‘genocide’

Zachary Davies Boren – The Independent

More than 300 Holocaust survivors and their descendants have condemned what they described as Israel’s ‘genocide of Palestinian people’ in an advert in the New York Times

Dozens of Holocaust survivors, together with hundreds of descendants of Holocaust survivors and victims, have accused Israel of “genocide” for the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza since the conflict erupted in July.

Continue reading

The Way Out of the Ukraine Crisis

By Jeffrey Tayler – The Atlantic

MOSCOW—In May, Bob Corker, the ranking Republican on the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, introduced a bill of stunning recklessness that seems specifically designed to destroy what remains of relations between the United States and Russia. The legislation’s very name—the “Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014”—is a misnomer, for its provisions, if enacted, would dramatically heighten tensions between Moscow and Washington. By foreclosing the option of doing what we really need to do—launch a serious dialogue with Russia about how to end the Ukraine crisis—it would deepen the conflict there, augment the human misery spreading as a result, and shove us to the brink of war. In fact, the bill is already doing damage to the prospect of peace by serving Kremlin propagandists as a manifesto of U.S. intent to force Russia to its knees and humiliate its leader. It presents an ultimatum to the Kremlin that no head of state, least of all the famously supercilious Vladimir Putin, would accept.

Continue reading

A Former Marine Explains All the Weapons of War Being Used by Police in Ferguson

Lyle Jeremy Rubin – The Nation

There’s at least one line every Marine knows: “Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot.” The St. Louis County Police Department apparently never received that memo.
As smoke hangs over the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, it’s important to understand its source. Some of this understanding will require us to reassess the history of police militarization in the United States. This will mean acknowledging its origins in the aftermath of the Watts Riots (1965) and the birth of the SWAT team shortly thereafter. It will mean noting the conservative reaction to the Warren Court’s civil libertarian protections in the 1950s and 60s to President Nixon’s launching of the drug war at the end of that same tumultuous decade. It will mean harping on President Reagan’s wholehearted embrace of racial policing and mass incarceration in the 1980s. It will mean interrogating the devastating effects of the 1208 Program (1990), which became the 1033 Program (1996), both of which authorized the transfer of military hardware to domestic precincts, a practice that has only accelerated in the wake of the Battle of Seattle (1999) and the attacks of September 11, 2001. The basic contours of this trajectory can be found in Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces (2013). As Tamara K. Nopper and Mariame Kaba argue in Jacobin, however, any serious reckoning must account for the ongoing dehumanization of black people, tout court.

Continue reading

International Relations, the U.N. and Inter Press Service

By Roberto Savio*

ROME, Aug 22 2014 (IPS) – In 1980, I had a debate at the United Nations with the late Stan Swinton, then the very powerful and brilliant director of Associated Press (AP). At one point, I furnished the following figures (which had been slow to change), as an example of Western bias in the media:

In 1964, four transnational news agencies – AP, United Press International (UPI), Agence France Presse (AFP) and Reuters – handled 92 percent of world information flow. The other agencies from industrialised countries, including the Soviet news agency TASS, handled a further 7 percent. That left the rest of the world with a mere 1 percent.

Continue reading

Ukraine’s economy: Broken down

By Robin Wigglesworth and Roman Olearchyk – Financial Times

The country’s finances have worsened, raising pressure on the International Monetary Fund

Into the buffers: conflict in the east has damaged infrastructure and will damp growth prospects

Plumes of smoke darken the sky above a sunflower seed crushing factory outside Donetsk, the largest stronghold of the Russian-backed separatists surrounded by Ukraine’s advancing army. “It was hit by Grad missiles,” says a rebel waving his machinegun as he guards a checkpoint next to a bullet-riddled bus.

Continue reading

Immigrant Rights Groups Push Obama for Bolder Executive Action

Zoë Carpenter – The Nation

Sometime in the next month President Obama is expected to announce changes to immigration enforcement policies, potentially relieving the fear of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants. Specifics aren’t clear, but press reports and immigrant rights advocates close to the discussions indicate that reforms on the table include widening the group of people temporarily allowed to remain and work in the US; carve-outs for tech and agricultural interests; and changes to the way immigration authorities enforce the law in the field.

Continue reading

Is America on the Brink of Another Iraq War?

The Editors – The Nation

President Obama must seek authorization for any further military action from both the UN Security Council and Congress.

The United States is now at war with the Islamic State, the ruthless jihadi organization that controls much of eastern Syria and western Iraq. The air drops of humanitarian supplies to tens of thousands of besieged Yazidis, who are threatened with genocide by the fanatics of the IS, has justifiably earned widespread support. But those air drops, combined with US airstrikes against IS forces advancing on Iraq’s Kurdish region, mean that less than three years after the departure of ground troops, American armed forces—including at least 1,000 military advisers—are back in Iraq.

Continue reading

“The Industry of Ideas”: Measuring the Impact of Think Tanks

Andrew Mayersohn – Boston Review

Investigating money in politics is a little like studying dark matter: we have to make inferences about what we can’t detect from the behavior of things that we can see. While the “visible” universe of money in politics—mandatory disclosure of campaign contributions, some types of election spending, and lobbying—is sizeable in its own right, it represents only a fraction of the money spent on influencing government. Ken Silverstein’s recent e-book Pay to Play Think Tanks: Institutional Corruption and the Industry of Ideas (PDF) delves into the invisible world, demonstrating that influencers have plenty of other, less transparent tactics at their disposal.

Continue reading

No Victors or Vanquished in Brutal Gaza Conflict

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 2014 (IPS) – As the dust – and the gunpowder – settles after the month-long devastating conflict in Gaza, there were apparently no victors or vanquished.

Israel, despite its high-tech military force and so-called “pinpoint bombings”, failed to achieve its ultimate objective: annihilate the militant group Hamas.

Continue reading