Latest Developments, September 30

In the latest news and analysis…

Partial pullout
Agence France-Presse reports that the US is hoping to keep “around 10,000” troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014:

“But a new security agreement is needed to allow for the post-2014 presence, including provisions allowing the United States access to various bases.
‘We’re working with President Karzai and his government to get that bilateral security agreement completed and signed,’ [US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel] said.

But Karzai has insisted Afghanistan would not be rushed over the negotiations and has even hinted that an agreement might not be finalised before presidential elections in April next year.”

Historic call
The Associated Press calls last week’s telephone conversation between the US and Iranian presidents “one of the most hopeful steps toward reconciliation in decades”:

“[Iranian President Hassan Rouhani], at a news conference in New York, linked the U.S. and Iran as ‘great nations,’ a remarkable reversal from the anti-American rhetoric of his predecessors, and he expressed hope that at the very least the two governments could stop the escalation of tensions.
The new Iranian president has repeatedly stressed that he has ‘full authority’ in his outreach to the U.S., a reference to the apparent backing by Iran’s ultimate decision-maker, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Such support would give Rouhani a political mandate that could extend beyond the nuclear issue to possible broader efforts at ending the long estrangement between Tehran and Washington — and the West in general.”

Weather forecast
The Guardian reports that the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is only slightly less grim than its 2007 predecessor:

“East Africa can expect to experience increased short rains, while west Africa should expect heavier monsoons. Burma, Bangladesh and India can expect stronger cyclones; elsewhere in southern Asia, heavier summer rains are anticipated. Indonesia may receive less rainfall between July and October, but the coastal regions around the south China Sea and Gulf of Thailand can expect increased rainfall extremes when cyclones hit land.

Life in many developing country cities could become practically unbearable, given that urban temperatures are already well above those in surrounding countryside. Much higher temperatures could reduce the length of the growing period in some parts of Africa by up to 20%, the report said.”

Not letting go
While calling for French troops to “restore security” in the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui, International Crisis Group’s Thierry Vircoulon concedes that France is not exactly a neutral broker in its former colony:

“France has had an almost continuous military presence in CAR since the country gained independence in 1960, and it deployed 400 soldiers at the start of the current crisis to secure the airport.

Paradoxically, France, while securing Bangui’s airport, is also hosting ousted president [François Bozizé], who declared from exile in Paris his wish to retake power by force with the ‘support’ of private actors.”

Exported problem
The Washington Post reports on a new study that suggests the expiration of America’s assault weapons ban has had a “striking” impact on Mexico’s violence levels:

“Overall, our preferred estimates indicate that the annual additional deaths due to [the expiration of the ban] represent around 21% of all homicides and 30% of all gun-related homicides in the post-intervention sample, which are sizable magnitudes. … For total homicides there is a clear, sharp rise between 2004 and 2005 and the effect mostly persists through 2006. The results for gun-related homicides is noisier, but the same pattern is reproduced here as well.”

Tax justice
During a speech delivered at Geneva’s Graduate Institute, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan called for a “credible and effective multilateral response” to tax avoidance:

“Ladies and Gentleman, we must recognise that instances of bad behaviour by government officials and businesses are made possible by our legal and normative frameworks. This is a key area where the international community can make a difference.
Let us be clear: Tax avoidance may be legal, yes, but its extremes have become immoral, unconscionable, and unacceptable. Tax avoidance may once have been seen as an acceptable and standard business practice. But it now costs Africa more than it receives in either international aid or direct foreign investment.

The UK and the European Union are re-examining legislation on money laundering and transparent company ownership. I sincerely hope that they will make company registration public, easily accessible and open to all, and that these registries will extend also to trusts. We must shut down loopholes wherever we can and wherever they are.
I also encourage the British government to maintain its pressure on its overseas territories and Crown dependencies. The US government may also wish to pressure the state of Delaware.”

UNsuable
NBC News asks why it is impossible to sue the United Nations, even when the organization triggers a deadly epidemic, as it appears to have done in Haiti:

“In 1946, the year of its first General Assembly, the U.N. granted itself legal immunity as one of its first official acts. Member states signed a ratifying treaty, and that immunity has been endorsed separately by laws passed in many member states.
‘You can’t sue the United Nations in a domestic court or any court because governments have signed the treaty and some countries like the U.S. have even put it in domestic legislation,’ explained Larry Johnson, a former U.N. official who teaches international law at Columbia Law School.”

Arrest threat
The Kenyan Post reports that the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor has no intention of granting special treatment to Kenya’s Deputy President Willaim Ruto:

In an application she made on Thursday to the Appeals Chamber, [ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda] asked the chamber to reject Ruto’s request that his trial continues in his absence.
She has also warned Mr Ruto of arrest if he fails to show up at The Hague as is required under the Rome Statute and affirmed by the Appeals Chamber.
‘The prosecution notes that Mr Ruto is not here voluntarily, but on compulsion of a summon and risks arrest if he defaults. He is an accused person before the court and, while presumed innocent, cannot expect that life will continue as normally,’ Bensouda said.”

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Latest Developments, September 25

In the latest news and analysis…

Diplomatic baby steps
The Jerusalem Post provides a transcript of new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s UN speech, in which he indicated a willingness “to engage immediately” in nuclear talks but also called for changes in Western attitudes and policies:

“Coercive economic and military policies and practices geared to the maintenance and preservation of old superiorities and dominations have been pursued in a conceptual mindset that negates peace, security, human dignity, and exalted human ideals. Ignoring differences between societies and globalizing Western values as universal ones represent another manifestation of this conceptual mindset.

The prevalent international political discourse depicts a civilized center surrounded by un-civilized peripheries. In this picture, the relation between the center of world power and the peripheries is hegemonic. The discourse assigning the North the center stage and relegating the South to the periphery has led to the establishment of a monologue at the level of international relations.”

Big signing
The Washington Post reports that the US is set to sign the international Arms Trade Treaty at the UN on Wednesday, though its entry into force still looks a long way off:

“The treaty will go into effect once it is signed and ratified by at least 50 U.N. member states. The United States will be the 89th country to sign the treaty, which was adopted in a 153 to 3 vote, with 20 abstentions, in April.

Only four countries have ratified the treaty — Iceland, Nigeria, Guyana and the Caribbean island state of Antigua and Barbuda. U.S. ratification requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, where many Republicans and some Democrats are strongly opposed, and the administration is unlikely to submit it in the near future.”

Intervention fever
Le Monde reports that France is currently mulling over three options for a military intervention in the Central African Republic:

“One, the most direct, would involve increasing the number of French soldiers currently in CAR from 450 to about 1,200 for a rapid securitization operation under a UN mandate, but with considerable autonomy. The second would call for increasing the current force to about 750 troops. This reduced mobilization put forward by President François Hollande would see the French contingent provide a support role for the international mission (MISCA) already on the ground with 1,300 soldiers from Cameroon, Congo, Gabon and Chad.
The last option, seen as more of a long-term approach, would keep the number of French soldiers at 450, who would serve as a rapid reaction force capable of increasing its size if needed.” [Translated from the French.]

ICC on Westgate
International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has announced her willingness to investigate the deadly attack and siege of an upscale Nairobi mall:

“Such attacks by armed groups upon innocent civilians are contrary to international law and may constitute a crime under the Rome Statute, to which Kenya is a State Party. In expressing her solidarity with the victims, their families and the people of Kenya, and with full respect for the primacy of jurisdiction of the Republic of Kenya, the Prosecutor stands ready to work with the international community and the Government of Kenya to ensure that those responsible for these crimes are brought to justice.”

Blue-helmet crimes
Radio France Internationale reports that UN peacekeepers have been accused of misconduct, including rape, in northern Mali:

“An investigation is underway. According to information obtained by RFI on Tuesday, the rape allegations were made against Chadian soldiers belonging to the group that had left their post in Tessalit for Gao in order to protest that they had not been paid bonuses or relieved by fresh troops. According to the mission’s spokesperson, the suspects remain in custody in Gao.” [Translated from the French.]

Sharing the wealth
The Guardian reports that a town in Switzerland has voted to give a chunk of its “commodity million” to charities in countries where Swiss corporate giant Glencore operates:

“ ‘We hope that people will open their eyes to the danger that raw material extraction will be the next reputational time bomb for Switzerland,’ [Hedingen’s Samuel Schweizer] said. ‘Political leaders have not learned anything from the disaster of [Switzerland’s role at the heart of the] banking industry.’
The Berne Declaration, a non-governmental organisation campaigning against Switzerland’s role in hosting global commodity companies, said: ‘While the decision makers in the capital Berne consider our commodities industry still only a political reputation risk, the landmark decision in the rural-conservative Hedingen shows that on the ground Glencore and their competitors already have a real reputational problem in this country.
‘Remarkably and correctly, the people of Hedingen assume that tax money is not automatically white, clean or legitimate. As citizens, they take responsibility for that which the government still shies away from.’ ”

Vision with teeth
Human Rights Watch has released a new report in which it lays out a post-2015 development agenda that enforces respect for human rights:

“Setting mandatory requirements on corporations to undertake human rights due diligence around their work and publicly report on their human rights, social and environmental impacts, as well as their payments to domestic or foreign governments.
Requiring respect for human rights by international financial institutions, in all their development policies and programs.
Making the post-2015 agenda universal – with commitments applicable to all countries, not just low income ones – and strengthening accountability for delivering on these commitments to inclusive, sustainable, and rights-respecting development.”

Corporate medicine
ONE reports that its co-founder, U2 frontman Bono, has lashed out at the US oil industry for fighting against new rules requiring its overseas activities to become more transparent:

“ ‘We know corruption is killing more kids than TB, AIDS, and malaria put together. There is a vaccine and it’s called transparency,’ said Bono.

‘I’m no cranky anti-corporation critic here,’ Bono said. ‘I implore the people in this room, from Exxon, from Chevron… You can’t have it both ways. You can’t give alms to the poor on one level and have your hands on their throats on another.’ ”

Latest Developments, August 19

In the latest news and analysis…

Coup admission
The National Security Archive has published what it believes to be the CIA’s first formal acknowledgement that it helped plan and carry out the overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected prime minister 60 years ago today:

“The document was first released in 1981, but with most of it excised, including all of Section III, entitled ‘Covert Action’ — the part that describes the coup itself. Most of that section remains under wraps, but this new version does formally make public, for the first time that we know of, the fact of the agency’s participation: ‘[T]he military coup that overthrew Mosadeq and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of U.S. foreign policy,’ the history reads. The risk of leaving Iran ‘open to Soviet aggression,’ it adds, ‘compelled the United States … in planning and executing TPAJAX.’
TPAJAX was the CIA’s codename for the overthrow plot, which relied on local collaborators at every stage. It consisted of several steps: using propaganda to undermine [Mohammed] Mossadegh politically, inducing the Shah to cooperate, bribing members of parliament, organizing the security forces, and ginning up public demonstrations. The initial attempt actually failed, but after a mad scramble the coup forces pulled themselves together and came through on their second try, on August 19.”

Coup consequences
The New York Times reports that the US is “curtailing” financial, but not military, aid to Egypt following a security-forces crackdown that killed hundreds of protesters:

“Military aid to Egypt dwarfs civilian aid: of the $1.55 billion in total assistance the White House has requested for 2014, $1.3 billion is military and $250 million is economic. The civilian aid goes to such things as training programs and projects run by the United States Agency for International Development.

Among the programs affected, the official said, would be training programs in the United States for Egyptian government workers, teachers or hospital administrators. Depending on how events in Egypt unfold, and on how lawmakers react when they return from August recess, the economic aid could resume later, the official said.
There are fewer legal restrictions on the $585 million in military aid — the amount remaining from the original $1.3 billion appropriation.”

Marikana apology
The BBC reports that a UK-based mining company has said “sorry” on the first anniversary of South Africa’s deadliest police violence since the end of apartheid:

“The owner of the South African mine where 34 striking workers were shot dead by police a year ago has apologised to relatives.
‘We will never replace your loved ones and I say we are truly sorry for that,’ Lonmin boss Ben Magara said.
He was speaking to thousands of people gathered to mark the anniversary of the deaths at the Marikana platinum mine.”

FISA limits
The Washington Post reports that the secret US court tasked with oversight of the country’s surveillance programs “must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans”

“The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said the court lacks the tools to independently verify how often the government’s surveillance breaks the court’s rules that aim to protect Americans’ privacy. Without taking drastic steps, it also cannot check the veracity of the government’s assertions that the violations its staff members report are unintentional mistakes.

The court’s description of its practical limitations contrasts with repeated assurances from the Obama administration and intelligence agency leaders that the court provides central checks and balances on the government’s broad spying efforts.”

Negative mattering
AllAfrica reports on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Kingsley Moghalu’s assessment of Africa’s economic prospects:

“Acknowledging that Africa has several of the world’s fastest growing economies – often cited by Africa champions as a sign of ‘Africa rising’ – Moghalu argues that economic growth based on cyclical and unsustainable extractive industries and commodity sales conveys ‘a false sense of arrival’.
Pointing to a syndrome he called ‘negative mattering’, he said Africa matters to the world today primarily for the same reason it did during the slave trade and the colonial period: for what can be extracted and exported.

Africa as a ‘last frontier’ often means a continent ripe for profit-making through international trade and investment, Moghalu said.”

Miranda rights
The Guardian reports that the partner of the journalist at the centre of the Edward Snowden affair has been detained at Heathrow airport under UK anti-terror laws:

“The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. According to official figures, most examinations under schedule 7 – over 97% – last less than an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours.
[David] Miranda was released, but officials confiscated electronics equipment including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles.

[Labour MP Tom Watson] said: ‘It’s almost impossible, even without full knowledge of the case, to conclude that Glenn Greenwald’s partner was a terrorist suspect.’ ”

Lived gender
The Guardian also reports that Germany is set to become the first European country to allow babies with ambiguous genitalia to be registered as “a third or ‘undetermined’ sex”:

“The change is being seen as the country’s first legal acknowledgment that it is possible for a human to be neither male nor female – which could have far-reaching consequences in many legal areas.

The German decision to recognise a third gender was based on a recommendation by the constitutional court, which sees legal recognition of a person’s experienced and ‘lived’ gender as a personal human right.”

Behind the scenes
Le Monde reports on an apparent quid pro quo between France and Mali’s Tuareg separatist rebels since the country’s 2012 coup:

“Hoping to shift Bamako’s position, northern Mali’s communities seem to expect much from France which, despite its denials, still secretly controls the agenda.

According to a member of the French intelligence community, the MNLA supplied GPS positions allowing French bombers to hit their targets, particularly in the towns controlled by Islamists: Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal. It was, moreover, the MNLA that recently helped recover the body of French hostage Philippe Verdon.

According to our sources, France supplied a plane carrying 70,000 litres of fuel and airdropped weapons to support MNLA troops after their eviction by al Qaeda jihadists in the summer of 2012.” [Translated from the French.]

Latest Developments, August 1

In the latest news and analysis…

Classified massacre
ProPublica reports that the US government will not be releasing the findings of its inquiry into the killing of “perhaps thousands of Taliban prisoners of war” in Afghanistan:

“The investigation found that no U.S. personnel were involved, said White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden. Other than that, she said, there is ‘no plan to release anything.’
The silence leaves many unanswered questions about what may have been one of the worst war crimes since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, including why previous American investigations were shut down, and how evidence was destroyed in the case.”

Racial profiling
The Kilburn Times reports that multiple witnesses at a London Tube station say they saw “aggressive, intimidating” UK immigration officers “specifically targeting non-white individuals” in an apparent search for illegal immigrants:

“Kensal Rise resident Phil O’Shea told the Times he was threatened with arrest when he asked what was going on.
He said: ‘I thought the behaviour of the immigration officers was heavy-handed and frightening. They appeared to be stopping and questioning every non-white person, many of whom were clearly ordinary Kensal Green residents going to work.’

Last week, the Home Office rolled out a controversial campaign where billboards warning illegal immigrants to ‘go home or face arrest’ would be driven around Brent and five other boroughs in London.”

The 82%
The US Public Interest Research Group has published a new study finding that 82 of the top 100 publicly-traded US corporations have subsidiaries in offshore tax havens:

“All told, these 82 companies maintain 2,686 tax haven subsidiaries. The 15 companies with the most money held offshore collectively operate 1,897 tax haven subsidiaries.

Bank of America: The bank reports having 316 subsidiaries in offshore tax havens – more than any other company. The bank, which was kept afloat by taxpayers during the 2008 financial meltdown, now keeps $17.2 billion offshore, on which it would otherwise owe $4.5 billion in U.S. taxes.”

Historical ties
Jeune Afrique reports that France plans a “recentering” of its aid to focus on 16 African countries, 13 of which are former colonies:

“The focus countries are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Comoros, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, RD Congo, Chad, Togo and Senegal.

The government also wants to prioritize ‘transparency’ and ‘aid effectiveness.’ For assistance to Mali, therefore, a website will be launched in the coming weeks to give precise information on the projects funded.” [Translated from the French.]

Corporate responsibility
York University’s Shin Imai argues the global mining industry’s current “standards of conduct” are inadequate for regulating the overseas activities of Canadian companies:

“While these corporate social responsibility codes could be useful if well implemented, they are all voluntary, and do not have any enforcement mechanisms for addressing breaches of the code. Resource extraction is a highly intrusive, highly dangerous activity. Regulating this activity through voluntary codes is like repealing the Highway Traffic Act and leaving the regulation of Highway 401 to a voluntary code – drafted by truckers.
HudBay Minerals, for example, reports annually on its corporate social responsibility activities in a glossy fifty page report. The 2012 edition says that ‘strong community relationships are the foundation of our work.’ It is odd, then, that HudBay would assure investors of its interest in the welfare of the community, proceed to make profits out of the mine and then wash its hands of any abuses committed to produce those profits.

However, in the words of former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Ian Binnie, commenting on the idea that courts should start to hear cases of corporate abuse abroad, ‘there are acts that are so repugnant that they should force us to rethink our law.’ ”

Selling the coup
Ken Silverstein argues in Harper’s Magazine that the ambivalent US reaction to the recent coup in Egypt is just the latest example of America’s selective enthusiasm for democracy:

“You cannot preach about democracy then accept the outcome only if your side triumphs. In 2006, Hamas won a devastating victory in legislative elections in the Palestinian Authority. The following year, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas dissolved a Hamas-led unity government and swore in an emergency cabinet, leading the Obama Administration to reinstate aid that had been suspended under Hamas’ rule. This type of hypocrisy heightens anti-Americanism, sends the message that elections are meaningless, and encourages terrorism.
On Sunday, I came across this line from Voltaire in the documentary The Act of Killing: ‘It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.’ Though the film is about events in Indonesia in 1965, it brought to mind the intellectual contortions of Egyptian-coup supporters who have justified the mass killings of Islamists in the name of democracy. Back in 1965 it was Islamic militias killing Communists in the name of democracy. The common denominator is that the killers were seen as pro-Western — and so, the trumpets are sounding once again in America.”

Nuclear dumping
The Australian Conservation Foundation’s Dave Sweeney calls on Australia to abandon the “secrecy, exclusion and contest” underlying plans for radioactive waste disposal on Aboriginal land:

“The Muckaty plan lacks consent at home and credibility abroad. It is flawed and failing and it is time for a new approach – one that reflects and is informed by best practise, sound science and respect.

Australia has never had an independent assessment of what is the best (or least worst) way to manage our radioactive waste. Decades ago unelected bureaucrats decided a centralised remote dump was the best model and ever since a chain reaction of politicians have tried – and failed – to find a compliant postcode.”

Ironic request
Mondoweiss transcribes recent comments by Noam Chomsky who scoffs at American demands that NSA leaker Edward Snowden be returned to face punishment in the US, a country Chomsky says is “one of the leaders in refusing extradition”:

“For years Bolivia has been trying to extradite from the United States the former president who’s already indicted in Bolivia for all sorts of crimes. The US refuses to extradite him.

In fact one of the most striking cases is Latin America, again, not just Bolivia. One of the world’s leading terrorists is Luis Posada, who was involved in blowing up a Cubana airliner which killed 73 people and lots of other terrorist acts. He’s sitting happily in… Miami, and his colleague Rolando Bosch also a major terrorist… is happily there… Cuba and Venezuela are trying to extradite them. But you know. Fat chance.”

Latest Developments, July 30

In the latest news and analysis…

Official xenophobia
The Guardian reports on divisions within the British government over a campaign telling illegal immigrants to “go home” and a possible move to require residents of certain countries to pay a security deposit before visiting:

“A day after the Liberal Democrat business secretary, Vince Cable, called the campaign ‘stupid and offensive’, a No 10 [Downing Street] spokesman said [UK PM] David Cameron disagreed, adding that the posters and leaflets were attracting ‘a great deal of interest’.
In a separate move, Lib Dem sources said that a Home Office plan to force visitors from certain Asian and African countries to pay a £3,000 bond before being allowed to visit the UK had not been agreed within the coalition. Reports saying the plan had been signed off prompted a particularly angry reaction from India.”

Mali election
Reuters reports that Mali’s presidential vote went fairly smoothly on Sunday, suggesting “world powers, especially France” were right to insist on the hastily organized election:

“Chief EU observer Louis Michel said on Monday the election took place in a calm atmosphere and participation exceeded 50 percent in some places.
Turnout at some polling stations visited by Reuters on Sunday was more than 50 percent, while participation in previous presidential elections has never exceeded 40 percent.
‘No major incidents were reported even though there were some imperfections,’ Michel told journalists in Bamako.
Some Malians had difficulty finding polling stations and thousands displaced by the war are likely to have missed the vote as they would not have received the newly-printed ID cards.”

Opinion shift
The Guardian reports on a new poll indicating that for the first time since the 9/11 attacks, more Americans are worried about their civil liberties than the threat of terrorism:

“Among other things, Pew finds that ‘a majority of Americans – 56% – say that federal courts fail to provide adequate limits on the telephone and internet data the government is collecting as part of its anti-terrorism efforts.’ And ‘an even larger percentage (70%) believes that the government uses this data for purposes other than investigating terrorism.’ Moreover, ‘63% think the government is also gathering information about the content of communications.’ That demonstrates a decisive rejection of the US government’s three primary defenses of its secret programs: there is adequate oversight; we’re not listening to the content of communication; and the spying is only used to Keep You Safe™.”

Global citizenship
The New York Times marks the passing of Garry Davis, the “self-declared World Citizen No. 1” who believed the end of nation-states would mean the end of war:

“The One World model has had its share of prominent adherents, among them Albert Schweitzer, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Einstein and E. B. White.
But where most advocates have been content to write and lecture, Mr. Davis was no armchair theorist: 60 years ago, he established the World Government of World Citizens, a self-proclaimed international governmental body that has issued documents — passports, identity cards, birth and marriage certificates — and occasional postage stamps and currency.

In November 1948, six months after renouncing his [US] citizenship in Paris, Mr. Davis stormed a session of the United Nations General Assembly there.
‘We, the people, want the peace which only a world government can give,’ he proclaimed. ‘The sovereign states you represent divide us and lead us to the abyss of total war.’ ”

Charitable-industrial complex
Peter Buffett, chairman of the NoVo Foundation and son of multi-billionaire Warren Buffett, discusses the dangers of “philanthropic colonialism” and “conscience laundering”:

“Inside any important philanthropy meeting, you witness heads of state meeting with investment managers and corporate leaders. All are searching for answers with their right hand to problems that others in the room have created with their left.

As more lives and communities are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few, the more heroic it sounds to ‘give back.’ It’s what I would call ‘conscience laundering’ — feeling better about accumulating more than any one person could possibly need to live on by sprinkling a little around as an act of charity.
But this just keeps the existing structure of inequality in place. The rich sleep better at night, while others get just enough to keep the pot from boiling over. Nearly every time someone feels better by doing good, on the other side of the world (or street), someone else is further locked into a system that will not allow the true flourishing of his or her nature or the opportunity to live a joyful and fulfilled life.

It’s time for a new operating system. Not a 2.0 or a 3.0, but something built from the ground up. New code.”

Unmanned & warrantless
The Washington Times reports that the FBI has told the US Congress it does not see any need to obtain case-by-case permission for drone surveillance:

“Then, in a follow-up letter [Senator Rand] Paul released Monday, [assistant director for the FBI’s congressional liaison office Stephen D.] Kelly said they don’t believe they ever need to obtain a warrant to conduct drone surveillance as long as it’s done within guidelines.
He said they take their lead from several Supreme Court cases that don’t deal directly with drones but do cover manned aerial surveillance.”

Smear tactics
Inter Press Service reports that the efforts by American “vulture capitalists” to make huge profits off Argentina’s 2001 debt default go well beyond the courtroom:

“The public relations effort, which focuses on Argentina’s increasingly friendly relations with Iran, comes as the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is weighing whether to side with Argentina before the Supreme Court in its battle with Wall Street.

That the White House is backing away from its earlier defences of Argentina indicates that the millions of dollars U.S. hedge funds have spent lobbying members of the administration, Congress and the press are starting to change the debate, with Iran about as popular as Iraq was in 2002.”