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How to think about this, what to call for, and some links to help.
Would you give up your firstborn child for free WiFi?
Of course not if you knew these terms and conditions. Except that is exactly what scores of people did when they were asked if they wanted free WiFi at Picadilly Circus, London. Nobody bothered to read the terms which contained a clause that forces you to give up your firstborn child.
The same level of unknowing vulnerability applies to Facebooks terms and conditions. You freely enter into a contract that is nonnegotiable and impossible to read, and yet carries implications far beyond the platform.
We now know that Facebook not only took our data, but also gave them to Cambridge Analytica, among many others. But which others? We dont know.
Why not? The answer to that question breaks up into three pieces:
The first is that Facebook is a de facto monopoly. Its business model is based on avoiding competition at all cost. Buying Instagram was a perfect example.
The second is that the authorities by and large ignore Facebooks monopoly position. They seem to think that, just because a monopoly is de facto, it can be left alone.
Of course, European law is quite clear on the question of monopolies: they are bad. The ...
JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin claims he closed down the groups social media accounts because they were taking up too much time.
But a (now deleted) Twitter account from former Wetherspoons social media team members, claims the accounts were shut down and deleted because the firm was in fear of being caught for social data misuse connected to what it called the #VoteLeave scam:
Este, que normalmente est relacionado ao conceito de espao delimitado e definido por limites administrativos, hoje ultrapas...
Despite the fact that maps are a useful resource in terms of power and decision making, we are currently living through a period of transformations, redefining what we have always referred to as territory.
Although this concept is usually associated with the idea of a delimited space, defined by administrative borders, today it goes beyond geographic traditions.
However, these historical features of maps become limits to innovation, seeing as they create mental and imaginary barriers. Borders that, although perhaps no longer in existence, our senses insist on perceiving, due to our previous programming that tells us we mus...
Pese a que los mapas son un recurso til en trminos de poder y toma de decisiones, estamos viviendo en medio de una poca de transformaciones y redefiniciones de aquello que siempre hemos llamado territorio, ya que normalmente se relaciona al concepto de espacio delimitado, definido por lmites administrativos, pero hoy su concepcin va mucho ms all de las geografas tradicionales.
Sin embargo, estas caractersticas histricas de los mapas se convierten en aspectos que limitan la innovacin, ya que generan barreras mentales y, muchas veces, imaginarias.
Fronteras que, aunque probablemente ya...
openDemocracy investigations raise fresh questions about Arron Banks's wealth and the real source of the Brexit campaign's largest donations.
Brexit donor Arron Banks likes to boast about his money. Reported estimates of his fortune vary from 100m to 250m. In his book, The Bad Boys of Brexit, Banks says that in 2015 he decided to spend millions of pounds on influencing British politics because my businesses in this country and overseas, where I own a number of diamond mines, were doing really well.
Banks was the biggest backer of the Brexit campaign, donating more than 8m. In spring 2016, the one-time Ukip donor gave 6m in loans to Leave.EU. These loans - a huge sum for a British political campaign - were due to be repaid by the end of 2017. But Banks has not called in these debts, openDemocracy has learned.
You might imagine that man who could afford to just write off 6m in loans to Leave.EU must have significant disposable income? Perhaps. After a major openDemocracy investigation last year found serious questions about the extent of Bankss wealth, the Electoral Commission announced that it is investigating whether, in the run-up to the Brexit vote, Banks and one of his companies broke campaign finance rules requiring transparen...
A year ago, the media platform EVN Report was founded to surface everyday concerns and what the media leaves behind. As Armenians take to the streets again, its become an invaluable resource.
Read the latest in our ongoing Unlikely Media series. As part of this series, we profile new independent (and independently-minded) publications from across the post-Soviet space, and interview editors who are trying to make spaces for alternative journalism, political commentary and reporting.
These are turbulent times for Armenia. Following constitutional
changes in 2015, the country transitioned from a presidential to a
parliamentary republic. Some dismissed the move as a tactic by
president Serzh Sargsyan to stay in power after his final
presidential term expired in April 2018. The naysayers were proven
right; two days ago, the ruling Republican Party of Armenia elected
Sargsyan as its candidate for prime minister. Today, parliament
votes on his appointment.
For many younger Armenians, its the final straw. Over the weekend, hundreds of opposition protesters marched in the Armenian capital and beyond to Reject Serzh. Theyve occupied streets, seized the public radio building, and ground Yerevan to a halt. The new independent media platform EVNReport has been indispensable in bringing perspective to these events.
The publication was born in the fallout of an earlier episode of mass unrest in Armenia. In July 2016, a motley assortment of nationalist veterans seized a police station in suburban Yerevan, killing two in the process. As riot police besieged the occupied building, Kajik Grigoryan, a 58-year old unemployed man, set himself alight as protests broke out.
Meanwhile, 49-year old Artur Sargsyan approached the fighters and gave them food, for which he was charged with supporting an armed terrorist group. After a long stay in prison without adequate medical assistance, the bread bringer died in hospital a year later. At the request of...
Today, Tuesday 17 April, is the last chance for people to register to vote in the local elections on 3 May, if they are not already on the electoral roll. This is particularly important for citizens of EU countries other than the UK, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta, as it is unlikely that they will retain their voting rights after Brexit, so this may be the last opportunity they have to make their voice heard. The franchise in all UK elections is currently given to all legally resident Commonwealth and Irish citizens, but other EU nationals dont have the right to vote in the national parliament elections. However, everyone will lose their vote for the European elections, which are due in June next year, as the UK will no longer have the right to send MEPs to Brussels/Strasbourg. In London, which has all-out elections in all 32 boroughs, there are a large number of EU citizens; in some wards, one or two thousand, which means that their participation in next months elections could swing the result. Thats why a number of community NGOs, as well as several political parties, are urging them to register and to vote, to send a strong anti-Brexit message to 10 Downing Street (and to Labours Jeremy Corbyn, for that matter). A strong performance b...
Britain has an ignoble history of exploiting Caribbean people when they were useful, then casting them aside as insufficiently British when they were not.
Recent reports of the current Home Office crackdown on Commonwealth elders come as a horrifying surprise, but they tell of a history we have not faced. How did we get here?
The history begins in 1795 with the West India Regiment (WIR). The British army recruited from the Caribbean colonies to help fight for the British Empires interests. Recruiting from the Caribbean was economically resourceful for the empire since around 90 per cent of white troops who died when stationed in the area, did so from disease.
By the turn of the 20th century, the British Empire routinely recruited from colonies to assist in its wars. The British Army created a second infantry, the British West Indies Regiment (BWIR), to help support British interests in the First World War. It used the WIR to fight West and East African campaigns.
Alongside the West Indian regiments, Black British soldiers also served in the army as early as World War One. Walter Tull is perhaps one of the greatest forgotten legends. Born to a Barbadian carpenter, Tull went on to have an outstanding career in football, playing for Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town before becoming a well-respected military sergeant.
Tull died in battle, but to this day, Tull has not been awarded any posthumous honour for his military efforts.
As Phil Vasili writes: According to The Manual of Military Law, Black soldiers of any rank were not desirable. During the First World War, military chiefs of staff, with government approval, argued that White soldiers would not accept orders issued by men of colour and on no account should Black soldiers serve on the front line."
The British Army was reluctant to award outstandin...
"I joined a massive demonstration against the Orbn supremacy a week after the election, on Saturday afternoon 14 March. It completely filled Budapests wide avenues between the Opera and Parliament."
The election victory of Viktor Orbn his third in a row in Hungary last week is a much greater danger to the European Union than Brexit. A clearly undemocratic Premier now threatens to overturn the rule of law and install himself as an effective dictator based on popular mobilisation, stirred by noxious racist and xenophobic strobes.
The menace follows his overwhelming election victory last week on Sunday 8th March. The recipient of billions of euros in EU support, much of which is apparently misappropriated by regime corruption, and benefiting from German permission, Orbn is arguably now coming to represent actually existing Europe.
Hungarys capital city voted against him and his party, Fidesz. The town is still covered in election posters. Idealistic images of the leaders of the fragmented opposition parties stare out from lampposts. From Jobbik, the rightist party that came second, to centrist and leftist movements like Momentum, founded last year, that gained just 3% of the vote and failed to enter parliament. A brief post-election report is filled with their now gloomy faces in defeat and resignation.
The thought that together they had 51% of the total was little consolation. The electoral system introduced by Orbn loaded the votes in his favour and gave him a two-thirds parliamentary majority, enough to do as he wishes with the constitution.
The countryside of this modest, 10 million strong people, backed Orbn to the hilt, after two terms in power and outrageous examples of corruption, support for Fidesz grew. Basically a significant part of Hungarian society wanted this type of governance to continue. This is not because these people are stupid, tunnel-visioned, or unprincipled. The words are those of...
Four black women from all walks of life speak up about their experiences. They can no longer be silenced.
I was six years old when I came running to my mother complaining about a grade that a teacher gave me and I still remember the look she gave me and then said: little girl, you have to study hard and work twice as hard as your peers, life is hard for people with our skin. If you fall, no one will be there for you.
This memory still resonates with Houda, a 27 year old civil engineer. Supported by her friend Sabrine, she tells her story with excitement and a bitter sadness. Both girls grew up in the deep south of Tunisia and both emphasized the role of the black woman in their community. A role that requires a lot of sacrifices but little reward in exchange.
Because you have a whole community on your back , your whole family says Houda with a confident tone, as a black woman, I am always thinking of how to improve the situation of my family and only with education and work are we able to do that. My mom was always my source of inspiration, she was the driving force of the whole family
Rania and Maha, even though both of them come from different backgrounds, have chosen to be a walking manifestation of activism. Maha, a social geography researcher and Ph.D student, reveals I dont straighten my hair anymore, I keep it natural, I feel authentic. The pride in her voice cant go unnoticed and f...
The model of criminalising only the clients of sex workers is becoming increasingly popular, but what do those working with sex workers in Finland actually think of it?
I'm Essi Thesslund from Pro Tukipiste-Finland. We started 27 years ago, and we mainly work with workers in the erotic industry and sex industry. Ten years ago, we started also working with victims of trafficking. However, our position regarding so-called anti-trafficking work has always been quite critical. This is because, coming from the Nordic countries, the discussion around trafficking has been framed within a criminal justice approach to controlling prostitution, and whether we should criminalise the clients of sex workers.
Sam (oD): Ive heard you say elsewhere that there is no such thing as the Nordic model. But as anybody with an interest in the topic knows, there is something that is being sold as the Nordic model the basic idea of criminalising the clients but not the workers. This is becoming more popular, so I wanted to ask you to respond very directly to the suggestion that this causes no harm to the women involved. What are your thoughts on that?
Essi: I think it's very hard to have a person who is selling, a person who is buying, and to then criminalise one part of that transaction. How would that not affect the other part of the transaction? And what we have heard we have had many Swedish advocates coming to show us how they implement their policy is that they surveil sex workers to catch clients. We see this kind of policy as a violation against sex workers integrity and right to privacy. It seems to be difficult to get the clients without harassing the sex workers.
Finland didn't adopt the Swedish model, which does this. The Finnish model is the partial criminalisation of sex buyers. Finnish law differentiates between different kinds of sex work. Sex work is not illegal. It's legal to buy and legal to sell if the person is working individually. But its illegal to buy sex from sex workers who are working under a pimp, or from victims of trafficking, or from minors.
It seems to be difficult to get the clients without harassing the sex workers.
The partial criminalisation used to be implemented in some cases, but not so much anymore. In practice it has been hard to prove that the clients should have known that the person had been under working under...
Who gets to decide who is involved in pseudoscience and misdirection? Who asks the questions and who gets bamboozled? What role should the media play?
Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media was trying to shut down debate. For good measure, The Times also denounced the Working Group as Assads Useful Idiots in its editorial column.The morning after the US-led airstrikes on Syria, The Times devoted its front page to an attack on academics who had questioned the rationale for the bombing. The headline article Apologists for Assad working in British universities was accompanied by a two-page spread claiming that the academic
A leading national newspaper singling out individual scholars as agents of disinformation and cheerleaders for despotism who, it strongly implied, should not be employed at British universities, raises urgent questions of academic freedom.
The Times maintained its support for the idea of untrammelled academic inquiry as sacrosanct, but argued that the work of the Group does not count as legitimate academic inquiry. Instead, it said, this coterie of Assad apologists is engaged in pseudoscience and misdirection, peddling obscurantism and sophistry. These are not serious academics pursuing a search for truth, but rather agents of disinformation whose work is a violation of the ethos of academic research.
I must declare an interest here: I am on the international advisory board of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media. I can attest that the aim of the group is not to act as apologists for either the Syrian or Russian governments. Rather, its aim is to analyse media coverage and critique the propaganda claims that surround the conflict. It should not come as a surprise to anyone that western media have acted as conduits for such propaganda, but dont just take my word for it. 'Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press says former New York Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer....
This church will really change your consciousness and reform your life. But at what cost? RU
Sunday services at Kyivs Vozrozhdeniye, or Resurrection, church attract hundreds. Most travel by metro, trudging the last bit through an industrial estate to Vydubychi, a historic area on the edge of the city. The church itself is an immense metal box, painted to look like a blue sky with a few clouds floating in it. Above it, a banner showing a happy (traditional) family: Dream, act and win. Resurrection. With the surrounding industrial landscape, the building appears like a ray of light in a kingdom of darkness.
Precious, anointed ones, come this way. The security guys organise the crowd with ease, directing them to the few empty seats left. The interior could pass for a Eurovision venue a floodlit stage with a large screen, spotlights and multi-coloured lighting effects. The priests wear shiny red suits and bowties. The women wear dramatic make-up, and their hair is done to perfection. The services are rousing, often with an acapella prayer and a musical finale that brings the more impressionable members of the congregation to ecstasy.
The congregation, hungry for spiritual spectacle, repeat the words of the chanted prayers and shout Amen in American fashion, waving their arms in the air. A few speak in tongues after receiving the Holy Spirit. Many have brought notebooks to note the important bits of the sermons there are many of these, one after another.
The preachers talk about strength of character and faith, and quote passages from the scriptures, each in their own style, but all loud, full of inspiration and accompanied by guitar riffs. In between times, people are exhorted to sign up for church events and activities: going on a crusade; enrolling on bible courses where they can render powerful praise and worship unto God and hold healing sessions, not to mention summits at which Muntyan expounds his teachings about the fourth dimension, which will really change their consciousness and reform their lives. All these events cost money.
Although there is a lot of talk of prosperity in the church, most of the followers of the...
By Russell Bruce
That was nae fair, getting big Jenny tae tuck her skirt intae her knickers jist as you went sneaking roun ma back. Pure Daily Mail diversion. clever though All gie ye that. Calls for ma team tae hive a tactical meeting the nicht.
Theres the bell, 16 minutes an the monitors oot.
Same time tomorrow then
From playground games life progresses to some kind of normality for most people, but to a very small number of individuals they get their hands on the actual trigger. To war, or not to war? For May and Macron this was their first opportunity to engage in military action. May made a clear reference to this in her first public statement and was obviously delighted to be seen holding Trumps hand again.
Few countries have the geopolitical complexity of ruthless dictator Bashar al-Assads Syria. Calculations may have been carefully made but the wisdom of the action is highly questionable. A number of ancillary considerations are not without meaning.
I am reminded of The Glass Bead Game by German author Hermann Hesse. It was not published in Germany until after WWII due to Hesses anti fascist views. The rules and description of the game are not tightly defined. Some have invented actual games with their own interpretation. I always saw it as a chess-like game in multiple layers with connectivity operating on both the horizontal and vertical axis. Making unexpected connections was certainly part of what Hesse wanted to engage his readers with.
The US did not want to hit any Russian targets. The Russians decided to stay out of things leaving Assad exposed to the16 minute barrage on three of the identified chemical weapons facilities or sites with delivery potential. At least two target possibilities were abandoned because of the danger of Russian or civilian collateral damage.
There is almost virtual universal agreement that the use of chemical weapons should meet with international condemnation. Sixteen minutes of high explosive impact does not solve this issue. In the wake of the action, and behind the scenes, detailed and separate evaluation is being undertaken by the US Pentagon and the Russians.
The difficulty of bombing Syria was always a fraught calculation because Assad had a Russian air defence system installed to discourage such attempts. With a missile fired the equivalent of every 8 seconds this was a chance to find out how many would make it through to target. It is certain that the sequence and frequency of missile firing bursts, from three locations, was pre-timed in great detail.
The Russians have a newer, more sophisticated system installed at their Syrian bases. They were not going to expose or engage it. Assad was on his own when the sky suddenly glowed with high explosive projectiles.
The Russian military bases in Syria are the Russians core reason for being involved, that and a Russian natural g...
The dividing line between authoritarian Russia and liberal democracies is growing ever thinner.
If a Martian were sent to earth with a secret mission to figure out the trends of world politics, he would certainly be puzzled by the outsized role that Putins Russia plays in the 21st century imagination of the west. Almost half of Americans tend to believe that Moscow rigged the 2016 US presidential election; many Europeans suspect that the Kremlin shapes public opinion in their countries; and some of the leading western media outlets insist that Russias President Vladimir Putin is the worlds most influential political leader. While in the beginning of this century Russia was viewed as a mixture of failure and banality, today in the minds of many it has mutated into the model of the world to come.
Frankly speaking, neither Russias brutal annexation of Crimea, nor its military involvement in Syria nor aggressive meddling in American elections could sufficiently explain western obsessions with Russia. It is true that Putins Russia is a military power and that the Kremlin has demonstrated its willingness to use force as an instrument to achieve its goals. But let us not forget that Russia is a resurgent rather than a rising power. Its power and influence are just a bleak copy of those of the Soviet Union. Russia suffers from low European-level birth rates and almost African-level life expectancy. Its population has one of the highest percentages of university-educated people, but with the lowest labour productivity per hour worked in the industrialised world.
The country is profoundly corrupt and though President Putin is a strong leader, the prospects of Russias development after him (regardless of when that after will be) are highly uncertain. In the words of Vyacheslav Volodin, the current chairman of the Duma, there is no Russia without Putin. So why then is the western political imagination as much or even...
The Swedish model is not especially efficient or good, but it is the one that has pushed as far as possible the post-authoritarian logic in modern European education.
When it comes to education, the public debate in France, as in Germany, seems to have taken a very cartoonish shape. Its reached the point where we can predict almost exactly how the debate will go. The discussion will start with someone from the left wing highlighting Sweden as being the model to follow. A country which supposedly achieved high results while giving more room to creativity, imagination and free-time. The debate will unavoidably end with some right-winger replying that Sweden has a very high suicide rate, that the Swedish are not really happy in general even slightly neurotic and that this so-called model would damage the French art de vivre. On top of that, the new Swedish generation is said to be ill-mannered.
The problem I have with this debate is simply that all of the above is wrong. Firstly, Sweden's performance in terms of education, as measured by the PISA test, is very low. As an example, the country only ranked 27th in science, behind.... France. Secondly, the suicide rate in Sweden is absolutely not as high as claimed. With a suicide rate of 12 in every100,000, the country is about the European norm, even better, their rate is lower than Frances. Thirdly, when it comes to ill-mannered kids, anybody who has been to France recently knows that Frenchman really have no right to say anything about this.
In other words, in 10 years, and despite everything that has been written and said on the matter, nobody has taken 5 minutes to check the facts on Google....
But this debate says something extremely interesting about French society. The irrelevance of facts in the ongoing discussion is no...
Arlene Foster (@DUPleader) April 13, 2018
DUP MLA Carla Lockhart has today rightly highlighted the unacceptable nature of personal abuse that was directed at her on social media recently.
Comments were directed at her and party leader, Arlene Foster, after the latter had posted a photograph of the pair on Twitter.
Lockharts intervention was welcomed by Sinn Feins Northern Leader, Michelle ONeill:
Listening to @carlalockhart, well done to you for speaking outAbusive, nasty or disrespectful comments towards anyone on social media are totally unacceptable. No one should have to tolerate it. All should be reported to PSNI and to the Social Media platform.
michelle oneill (@moneillsf) April 16, 2018
The personal abuse meted out to high profile figures in politics can be deeply unsavoury, and is usually attributed to accounts with anonymous profiles behind which individuals hide to avoid being directly linked with cowardly comments that can be misogynistic, racist, homophobic or sectarian in nature.
Lockhart is correct to raise this issue.
It is equally important to call out the actions of elected representatives and commentators who resort to similar language on screen or on social media to denigrate political opponents using looks or appearance as a weapon.
A number of years ago, Carla and Arlenes party colleague, Sammy Wilson, made this comment about two female elected representatives:
The other two Sinn Fein ministers are two women. I cant remember their names but their sisters called Cinderella.
There is only one way to interpret Wilsons words. He has form in this regard.
Coming from a prominent elected representative, the significance of Wilsons utterances to a party gathering would have a considerably greater impact on account of his status as an influential, high profile figure.
If Carla Lockhart speaking out makes a difference t...
White people need to get better at seeing race, addressing it, and addressing our own complicity. Taking part in all-white panels especially on a subject where race is central simply isn't good enough.
What if you had to guess what links the three people in this photo? Cousins? A budget Specsavers advert?
You probably wouldnt guess that we were the speakers at an international conference session called minorities and justice at Oxford University. Im the one on the left. An all-white panel on minorities and justice.
Six months ago the Lammy Review found that Black people in the UK are four times more likely to be in prison than would be expected given their proportion of the total population. As the UK Prime Minister Theresa May said, if youre black, youre treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if youre white.
Six months on and the theme of the Howard Leagues bi-annual conference at Oxford University is Redesigning Justice: Promoting civil rights, trust and fairness.
According to the conference blurb, it will shine a light on seemingly intransigent aspects of justice systems including what equality and legitimacy mean 50 years after the assassination of Martin Luther King and why prison is still so central to justice responses to crime.
Bring it on. I submit my abstract and am excited when I get a place to speak. If ever there was a system in need of redesign it is the criminal justice system.
I am already at the conference when I realise that the session Im going to be presenting in is called minorities and justice. Im a white woman - there must be some mistake.
The programme is impressively vast, with nine parallel sessions at a time. The session in which Im speaking appears to be one of the only ones specifically about minorities and justice, along with the final plenary session. Within different sessions individual presentations also cover issues related to the experiences of minority groups and justice, mostly from an academic perspective. Sixteen of the eighteen plenary speakers appear white.
What used to be more of a concern when reporting from active warzones is now becoming a reality of reporting in an alarming number of places.
In the spring issue of the Index on Censorship magazine, we interviewed Aasim Saaed, who was kidnapped and held in captivity for 21 days last year. He said his kidnapping departed from the past because it was carried out by state forces, rather than the more commonplace accomplices extremists.
People are definitely scared. Another guy was picked up recently, he added.
Saaed joins a cohort of abducted journalists and dissidents in the country. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, since 2011 more than 3,500 such disappearances have occurred.
There are usually procedures to be followed when summoning journalists We are now being intimidated, said journalist Charles Etukuri, who was also recently kidnapped, in his case in Uganda. Working for the publication New Vision, he thinks his abduction was because of an article he wrote in February detailing the death of a Finnish national in the Ugandan capital Kampala.
On route to lunch, Etukuri was surrounded by men in military uniform, handcuffed, taken to an undisclosed location and held for six days. While in custody, his captors demanded that he reveal the sources behind the story, but he refused. They only let him go once they had gone through all of his private emails. Etukuri believes the problem lies with a few government officials in the security department.
Its saddening that the president who fought for establishing the rule of law is silent, he added.
Etukuri is the second high-profile journalist to have been kidnapped in Uganda recently. Freelance journalist Isaac B...
The fight against corruption in Brazil should imply political reform limiting the influence of economic power on politics, particularly during elections. But without respect for the law, this is impossible. Espaol, Portugus
Corruption and illegal behaviour have characterised the ruling class not only in Brazil, but in many other societies from the more developed such as the US to the less developed around the world.
The members of these hegemonic classes tend to be large agri-business owners, owners of banks or financial institutions, of industrial or service business, of media giants, of property, of national cooperations. And their members make up the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government.
In Brazil, like in many other countries, examples of this type of expedience are:
Brazilian society is composed largely of urban workers (employed, unemployed and underemployed individuals), of rural workers without land and small cultivators, of excluded individuals that receive pay-outs from the Bolsa Familia benefits scheme whose value varies from 85 to 195 reales monthly ($25 to $57 roug...
In addition to their regional and international allies, the two superpowers will shift from the tactical towards the strategic insight. Therefore, we should see more homogeneous new alliances than those found during the last years of war in Syria.
There is no logic in the alliance between liberals and Islamists, as is the case in the strange partnership that let communists meet with capitalists.
War conditions may have imposed these interim alliances, in which they get temporary goals to achieve the strategic objectives.
In the Syrian case which is protracted since March 2011, it was common to see religious fundamentalists creating a political and military framework with liberals who aim to abolish religious manifestations in Syria and build a secular country.
The National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (The Coalition), one of the most prominent Syrian opposition frameworks, includes politically incompatible entities such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Syrian nationalist opponents, and liberals.
"The Coalition" is also allied with radical Islamic factions such as Jaysh al-Islam (the Army of Islam), an ally in turn of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (Levant Liberation Committee) formerly Al-Nusra Front; the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda.
Another example of the alliance of extremes is what we have seen between the Kurdish Democratic Union party PYD (the leftist with its identity and orientation) and the United States of America (the primary proponent of capitalist thought).
The main forces influencing the Syrian situation are the United States through its main ally; the Syrian Democratic Forces, and the Russian Federation through the Syrian army and its loyal fac...
Some 5,000 participants from government, business and civil society have arrived for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The central theme of the deliberations is Towards a Common Future.
Great Britain is known for its grand events and theatre. Magnificent pomp and pageantry awaits the leaders of 53 Commonwealth nations arriving here for their summit. The masters of ornamentalism have pulled out all the stops and a prominent role is being played by the Queen as the head of the Commonwealth, and other royals.
Some 5,000 participants from government, business and civil society have arrived for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The central theme of the deliberations is Towards a Common Future. Their vision is to promote peace, prosperity and democracy.
The Commonwealth has been playing a constructive role over the years by highlighting the problems of the developing countries and small island nations and by providing aid. Concerned British leaders and groups see it as an effective instrument for helping the helpless of the world through aid programmes. It fights malaria, malnutrition and other maladies in the member-countries. It provides relief in the face of natural calamities. Concerned British leaders and groups see it as an effective instrument for helping the helpless of the world through aid programmes.
Some want the Commonwealth to promote democracy and free speech by enforcing these virtues and punishing the offenders even throwing out a member-country straying from the democratic path. Some others feel that the institutions extra emphasis on human rights was driven by cold war considerations.
The business leaders expect every institution to promote commercial interests. So, the Business Forum will have a busy schedule during the summit.
Since the present British Government is tasked with implementing the res...
The inherent bias towards Tory seats in our voting system is set to get worse, and the arguments for reforming it have never been stronger, finds a new report out today.
Image: Big Ben under scaffolding. David Holt/Flickr/Creative Commons.
The last time we had a choice about electoral systems the Alternative Vote referendum in 2011 Labour was undecided, and most trade unions opposed reform.
Indeed, one union leader argued: first-past-the-post delivers strong, single-party government.
2011 seems like a different world now.
Since then, weve witnessed three weak and wobbly elections none of which have delivered on First Past the Posts central promise. The way our politics works has changed almost beyond recognition with the shift in Labour just one sign of that.
Trade unions in Scotland (the STUC) have now unanimously agreed that the balance has shifted when it comes to reform: the burden of proof now falls upon those that want to keep the status quo. For backers of Proportional Representation (PR) this shift is significant. It was trade unions getting behind electoral reform that saw Scotland switch to Holyroods proportional system in the 1990s.
But for Labour supporters, theres also a growing realisation that something has changed over the past few elections. An electoral system which once benefited Labour has become rigged in the opposite direction.
Assuming the contest was to end in a draw - i.e. the Conservatives and Labour won the same number of votes in a General Election today they would not be rewarded with the same number of seats in the House of Commons. The Conservatives would be the largest party by 12 seats an issue known as electoral bias.
Labour would need to do 0.8% better than the Conservatives to become the largest party. But to win a majority, the figures are more stark: Labour will need a lead of 7.4%, compared to just 3.4% for the Conservatives.
The reason for this absurd bias in UK General Elections is because of the archaic voting system being used, First-Past-The-Post. At a constituency leve...
The problem with Lula's conviction is the use of criminal proceedings as a political toolset with a long-standing authoritarian agenda. Portugus
On April 4, the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF) denied the habeas corpus petition filed by former President Luiz Incio Lula da Silva, a constitutional remedy to prevent his arrest before his conviction becomes definitive.
Lula was sentenced first, and later on second instance, to 12 years in prison on charges of corruption, mainly for supposedly accepting an apartment as a bribe in order to facilitate dubious contracts with Petrobras, Brazil's State oil company.
The problem with Lula's conviction is the use of criminal proceedings as a political toolset with a long-standing authoritarian agenda. The official discourse is the redemption and moralization of politics, but its machinery disregards constitutional fundamental rights inverting the burden of proof and tainting the very principle of a fair trial.
To justify our thesis, our argument will be based on the following points: that conclusive evidence has not been presented in the Sergio Moro's sentence that could indicate Lula's crime of corruption and money laundering; that Lula's case was sped through the courts in record time, and the rights provided by the procedural laws were not respected; and finally, that, as illustrated by the habeas corpus decision made by the Brazilian Supreme Court, a restrictive interpretation of the law was used to the detriment of Lula.
The judge Sergio Moro has sentenced former president Lula for the crime of corruption and money laundering. In his ruling, the judge points out only a few indications that a property in the interior of the State of So Paulo (known as the Triplex of Guaruj) belonged to Lula.
Moro's sentence is based on the following evidence: a rough draft of a proposal to buy the...
Maddy Bridgman who is the Public Affairs Officer for the Integrated Education Fund writes for Slugger about the Alternative Manifesto published today by the IEF
The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) has published its Alternative Manifesto for education based on the premise that we need to change our education system. Recent research (commissioned by the IEF from independent polling company LucidTalk) found parents reporting that some schools cannot afford to employ enough staff, and many buildings are decrepit. We have many high achievers in NI who deserve to be celebrated, but educational outcomes are not good enough for a significant number of pupils. We are artificially propping up a duplicated, expensive model which features thousands of empty desks. And somehow we think its ok to effectively segregate young people on the basis of the tradition or religion into which they were born.
Public servants acknowledge the budgetary landscape is bleak and, further, that radical, structural change is needed to mitigate this.
The recent budget briefing, issued by the Department of Finance, said:
Doing more of the same will get the same results as now at increasing cost.Transformation could result in better outcomes for pupils and for our economy,
And the Northern Ireland Childrens Commissioner in her report on the Cost of Education concluded:
The Northern Ireland Executive must ensure an end to the duplication of spend on the administration of the various education sectors in Northern Ireland. The focus of the provision of education within restricted budgets must be on ensuring that all children receive an education in line with Article 29(1) of the NCRC and fulfil their maximum potential.
We are confident, through our own research and our engagement with communities, that many more people recognise the need for change and many share our vision for an education system which meets the 21 century needs of every young person.
The LucidTalk poll found that there is strong support for structural change to the NI education system, with equally strong support for increased integration. A Sky News poll published just last week revealed 69% of people in NI were in favour of integrated education.
We are also confident that our vision for education helps meet the declared aims of politicians and policy-makers. The draft Programme for Government aspires to a flourishing, diverse but united community. The role that our education system can play must not be dismissed. To achieve our common vision, we need meaningful reform of the way education is planned, managed and delivered. We need collaborative, strategic thinking to make this come true. We have seen too many projects, tweaks and minor adjustments...
There are radical responses to Trumpism in rural and working class white communities. The story of one of them, called Redneck Revolt, reveals important lessons for the US left.
The election of Donald Trump, coupled with the growth of right-wing populism around the globe, has spurred considerable reflection about the multiple divides that stratify the current US political spectrum, particularly the urban/rural and racial rifts. Rural and working-class whites have received special scrutiny for their higher-than-expected turnout, and are often casually portrayed as the root cause of Trumpism.
While support for Trump, and the right-wing populism he tapped into, is definitely high among rural whites, it is by no means total. In fact, the spread of Trumpism has also inspired the spread of efforts to counter it.
The story of one group in particular, Redneck Revolt, provides a glimpse into emancipatory efforts across the rural US. Ultimately, their work shows that the US left has too easily abandoned the countryside to regressive forces, and suggests that challenging Trumpism requires challenging liberalism itself.
Growing out of a rural Kansas mutual aid society called the John Brown Gun Club, one of Redneck Revolts main projects is to recruit away from white supremacist organizations. Thus much of their strategy is built around working...
The ban on the popular social network and messaging app heralds a new era of pressure on online privacy, including for western internet companies.
On Friday, the internet messenger Telegram was banned in Russia. The first chapter of this story, developing at its own pace since June 2017, ended in a blitzkrieg by Russias internet regulator in a Moscow court.
Over these eight months, Telegram has increased its user-base from six million to 15m users catching up WhatsApp, Viber and Skype in terms of popularity in Russia. Indeed, in October 2017, Russia became the world leader in downloads with 12.5m, accounting for downloads across US, Germany, Italy, Spain and Ukraine all together.
Undoubtedly, one of the reasons for this surge in popularity was the companys public refusal to give Russian security services access to its users correspondence. This became possible after the Russian internet regulator, after several weeks of active correspondence and public statements, included Telegram against established procedure on the so-called Register of Organisers of Information Distribution, i.e. social networks and other similar applications, in June 2017.
By that time, there were already 97 companies on this register, including Russias most popular internet services. For some reason, Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Skype and Viber were not included. Meanwhile, LinkedIn, the internet radio Zello, as well as Blackberry Messenger and the Imo and Line messengers were blocked for refusing to place themselves on the register and store Russian users personal data in domestic data centres.
Services on this register have to store all their users correspondence for six months, including transferred files, audio and text messages. Moreover, companies have to store users metadata for 12 months. This information has to be given to the police or the Federal Security Service (FSB) on request. Theres no legal requirement to receive court permission to access this information,...
I know just how bad this evil bitch & her scum husband is. Years ago I posted CLINTONS: THEIR SECRET LIVES. It takes some believing but its the best documentary ever done regarding this miserable lot. Ive posted it many times & said I never imagined there could be a worse American family than Bush. I was wrong. Thanks to
For us to care about the practices of corporations, reclaim our privacy and contest mass-surveillance we should not need the shock therapy of Trumpian politics.
influence the outcome of the US elections, which saw the rise of Trump and his acolytes to power. Suggestions are being made that Brexit was orchestrated by using similar tactics. Cambridge Analytica has maintained that it obtained the data legally.The Cam-Book gate is creating ripples across the world as both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scramble to control the damage. The data extracted from Facebook without the informed consent of the users was allegedly used to
There is noise coming out of India as well about data breaches. It is mere politicking and not a serious debate as it is a country with no robust privacy laws, and the state is more than happy to give corporations such as Facebook enough leeway as long as they toe its line. India has requested user data from Facebook more than every other country except the United States. In the recent past, Facebook has also blocked users from Indian Occupied Kashmir for expressing anti-India sentiments on its platform and so has ...
We need to practice economic disobedience so that radical alternatives can flourish.
Its not easy to get in touch with Enric Duran. Dubbed the Robin Hood of the Banks by the mainstream media, the Catalan activist defrauded the Spanish banking system of nearly half a million euros in the period 2006 to 2008. He used the money to fund a range of local and global initiatives aimed at building alternative structures outside the state.
In 2013 he skipped bail and has since been on the run within the EU, living what he calls a nomadic existence. For many, Duran is a living symbol of the power of civil disobedience. For others, including the Spanish government, hes a naive criminal. Either way, his ideas around the right to resist state power and the importance of building autonomous financial systems have gained fresh relevance today, both through the upheavals in Catalonia and the rapid growth of the cryptocurrency sector.
Ive been chatting to him for some time on the secure messaging service Telegram and we eventually set up a connection through the open source conferencing programme Jitsi. With his black beard and heavy-set eyebrows and a gap between his front teeth, Duran looks like a typical 41-year old Mediterranean man. Behind him is a framed print of a tulip, reminiscent of a hotel room. I smile as I ask him where he is, and he smiles as he responds that he cant tell me. It doesnt need to be known in any public intervention, he explains. This is a typical response from a man who seems to view all of his personal actions within the frame of achieving social change and what he calls integral revolution.
Integral revolution means comprehensive transformation from below of all aspects of life like culture, economic, social, personal, ecological, he says. We achieve this by empowering communities from below to build a new society, new systems that are not based on the state or capitalism. Its the familiar goal of prefigurative politics: building a new world in the shell of the old.
In order to achieve this goal, Duran helped set up the Catalan Integral Cooperative, a loose network of cooperative ventures. He has never revealed how much of the loan money was funnelled into projects related to the CIC, preferring to say his action...
There is no evidence that Chomskys research program has been driven by a desire to devise a theory that is devoid of any potential military applications.
thought-provoking piece makes two independent assertions, though Knight sees them as crucially linked. The first is that the Pentagon had high hopes of applying the results of Chomskys theorizing for military purposes. The second is that Chomskys horror at the idea of serving the military in any way led him to develop a theory of language so utterly abstract and other-worldly so completely removed from any practical application that no matter what insights he came up with, nothing could possibly be used to kill anyone.Chris Knights
My opinion is that Knight is right on the mark in his first assertion and completely wrong in the second. Contemporary accounts and subsequent history bear out the deep interest of the military in language-related research. However, there is no evidence that Chomskys research program has been driven by a desire to devise a theory that is devoid of any potential military applications.
Military interest in linguistics goes back at least as far as the beginning of the Second World War. American linguists at the time were convinced, and were successful in convincing others, that their methods of analysis were directly applicable to the preparation of the language instruction manuals that the American forces would need.
As early as 1942, it was reported that the director of the program that forged a link between the field of linguistics and the war effort was called upon for advice on language problems by practically every agency of government which has these problems: Office of Strategic Services, Board of Economic Welfare, Department of Justice, as well as the numerous departments of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. 1.
Knight documents very well the reasons for military interest in grammatical theory, as carri...
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