By Thalif Deen*
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 2014 (IPS) – Tarzie Vittachi, a renowned Sri Lankan newspaper editor and one-time deputy executive director of the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF, once recounted the oft-quoted story of an African diplomat who sought his help to get coverage in the U.S. media for his prime minister’s address to the General Assembly.
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.
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.
By BEN HUBBARD and ERIC SCHMITT – The New York Times
BAGHDAD — As fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continue to seize territory, the group has quietly built an effective management structure of mostly middle-aged Iraqis overseeing departments of finance, arms, local governance, military operations and recruitment.
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
By Ramesh Jaura*
BERLIN/ROME, Aug 2014 (IPS) – Inter Press Service News Agency has braved severe political assaults and financial tempests since 1964, when Roberto Savio and Pablo Piacentini laid its foundation as a unique and challenging information and communication system.
By Bill Black* – Naked Capitalism
I wrote this column in Bogota, Colombia where I was presenting five talks at the Universidad Central’s economics conference, so I was struck by the title of a choleric rant by the Wall Street Journal entitled “Banking in a Time of Cholera.”
By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 2014 (IPS) – An international conference on small island developing states (SIDS), scheduled to take place in Samoa next week, will bypass a politically sensitive issue: a proposal to create a new category of “environmental refugees” fleeing tiny island nations threatened by rising seas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Pepe Escobar* – Asia Times
First, passenger airliner MH370 vanished from Planet Earth. Then MH370 vanished from the news cycle. First, MH17 was shot down by “Putin’s missile” – as Planet Earth was told. Then MH17 vanished from the news cycle.
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.
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.
Stephen F. Cohen* – The Nation
US fallacies may be leading to war with Russia.
I prepared the text below for remarks to the annual US-Russia Forum in Washington, DC, on June 16. Though held in the Hart Senate Office Building, and well attended, the event was privately organized, without any official auspices. In order to fit the time allocated to speakers, I had to abridge my text. I have restored the deletions here and spelled out a number of my impromptu comments. In addition, I refer to a few subsequent developments to illustrate some of my themes. I have not, however, significantly revised words written to be spoken into the prose I prefer for published articles. —SFC
By Emile Nakhleh*
WASHINGTON, Aug 2014 (IPS) – The Islamic State’s territorial expansion and barbaric executions in Iraq and Syria are a gathering threat and must be confronted. American air bombardment, however, is the wrong course of action, and will not necessarily weaken ISIS or DA’ISH, as it’s known in Arabic.