Priests & Politicians – the Mafia of The Soul – 2021

Priests & Politicians: The Mafia of the Soul

“These politicians and these priests have been constantly in conspiracy, working together hand in hand. The politician has the political power; the priest has the religious power. The politician protects the priest, the priest blesses the politician – and the masses are exploited, sucked; their blood is sucked by both.”1 Osho

See also:

Osho: Only One Thing Can Prevent Politicians From Destroying the World
Democracy – The Primary Fatal Flaw
Democracy – Towards a Democratic Meritocracy
Mother Teresa: Deceiver, Charlatan, and Hypocrite
Time to Move Over, Old Man
A Complete Democracy Is Impossible without Economic Equality – Osho

We are asking three questions:

  • One, if this is illegal, why is no one prosecuted?
  • Two, if it is legal, who made those laws?
  • Three, then whose action or inaction allowed those lawmakers to have that power?

The Unfolding Story – Updated Regularly:

Read 2020 Edition HERE

December 31, 2021
Retired general warns the U.S. military could lead a coup after the 2024 election
As the anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol approaches, three retired U.S. generals have warned that another insurrection could occur after the 2024 presidential election and that the military could instigate it. The generals…  made their case in a recent Washington Post op-ed. “In short: We are chilled to our bones at the thought of a coup succeeding next time,’ they wrote.” – NPR

December 30, 2021
Jamal Khashoggi killers living in luxury villas in Riyadh, say witnesses
“At least three members of a Saudi hit squad convicted by the kingdom of murdering Jamal Khashoggi are living and working ‘in seven-star accommodation’ inside a government-run security compound in Riyadh, according to a source connected to senior members of Saudi intelligence. The assassins are believed to be staying in villas and buildings run by Saudi Arabia’s State Security agency – far from the walls of its infamous prisons.” – The Guardian

December 29, 2022
The pandemic caused a global surge in domestic violence. For victims with few options, abuse has become the new normal.
“Nearly two years after the pandemic began and reports of abuse spiked around the globe, the silent suffering of millions of domestic violence victims has become a part of this life…. Nearly 7 in 10 women said domestic violence increased in their community since the pandemic began, according to a survey by the United Nations agency for gender equality of 13 countries, including Jordan, which concluded in September. One in four women said they feel less safe at home during the pandemic.” – The Washington Post

December 29, 2021
Beijing warns it will take ‘drastic measures’ if Taiwan makes moves towards independence
“Beijing claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory and in the past two years has stepped up military and diplomatic pressure to assert its claim of sovereignty, fuelling anger in Taipei and concern in Washington.” – The South China Morning Post

December 29, 2021
What happened in the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre of Sikhs in British-ruled India?
“British police are holding a 19-year-old man who broke into Windsor Castle where Queen Elizabeth was spending Christmas. He purportedly made a video claiming he was an Indian Sikh who would attempt to ‘assassinate’ the monarch as revenge for the Jallianwala Bagh incident…. On April 13, 1919, Brigadier General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer, an officer of the British Indian Army, ordered a squad of local soldiers to open fire… where more than 20,000 residents had gathered to protest against implementation of a colonial law that gave unlimited powers to the government to imprison people without trial…. The soldiers continually fired 1,650 rounds of bullets for over a period of 10 minutes without giving the crowd any warning to disperse…. Indian estimates said that 1,000 people perished and more than 1,500 were injured. The youngest victim was a six-month-old infant.” – The South China Morning Post

December 29, 2021
How Errors, Inaction Sent a Deadly Covid Variant Around the World
“India was slow to identify and publicize the emergence of delta…. India’s hampered response was characterized by months of inertia from the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and a startling lack of resources, according to interviews with two dozen scientists, officials, diplomats and health workers. Many asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak to the media or were concerned about talking publicly about India’s missteps.” – Bloomberg

December 29, 2021
Speed of Stand News shutdown sends chilling signal to Hong Kong’s media
“’They are making it illegal to do honest reporting,’ said Nathan Law, exiled pro-democracy activist. ‘If you ‘incite hatred’ to the government by reporting truthful news, you are also subject to this law, which means you can only talk about the positive side of the government now. This is the signal they are trying to send.’ “The arrests of six people associated with Stand News amounts to an open assault on Hong Kong’s already tattered press freedom, as China steps up direct control over the former colony,” said Steven Butler, Asia program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists.” – The Guardian

December 28, 2021
Chile Rewrites Its Constitution, Confronting Climate Change Head On
Chile has lots of lithium, which is essential to the world’s transition to green energy. But anger over powerful mining interests, a water crisis and inequality has driven Chile to rethink how it defines itself…. After months of protests over social and environmental grievances, 155 Chileans have been elected to write a new constitution amid what they have declared a ‘climate and ecological emergency.’” – The New York Times

December 28, 2021
Myanmar massacre: two Save the Children staff among dead
“Save the Children has confirmed that two of its staff were killed in a Christmas Eve massacre blamed on junta troops that left the charred remains of dozens of people on a highway in eastern Myanmar. Anti-junta fighters said they found more than 30 bodies, including women and children, on a highway in Kayah state where pro-democracy rebels have been fighting the military.” – The Guardian

December 28, 2021
Russian Court Orders Prominent Human Rights Group to Shut
“Russia’s Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the nation’s most prominent human rights organization must close, signaling President Vladimir V. Putin’s longstanding determination to control the narrative of some of the most painful and repressive chapters of Russian history…. The decision comes after a year of broad crackdown on opposition in Russia as the Kremlin moved aggressively to stifle dissent — in the news media, in religious groups, on social networks and especially among activists and political opponents, hundreds of whom have been harassed, jailed or forced into exile. Shutting down Memorial is also another step in Mr. Putin’s effort to recast Russia’s legacy as a series of glorious accomplishments and soften the image of the often-brutal Soviet regime.” – The New York Times

December 27, 2021
‘Families want a son at any cost’: the women forced to abort female foetuses in India
“An abortion pill was forced down her throat, without a doctor’s supervision, and subsequent complications led to hospitalisation. The night she was released, Laali cried herself to sleep – and in the morning returned to her work in the fields. Laali’s unborn daughter is among India’s estimated 46 million “missing females” over a period of 50 years, ten times the female population of London. A deepening gender bias, breeding rampant sex-selective abortions and female infanticides, means that India accounts for nearly half of global missing female births.” – The Guardian

December 27, 2021
Jesus statue smashed in spate of attacks on India’s Christian community
“Festive celebrations were disrupted, Jesus statues were smashed and effigies of Santa Claus were burned in a spate of attacks on India’s Christian community over Christmas. Amid growing intolerance and violence against India’s Christian minority, who make up about 2% of India’s population, several Christmas events were targeted by Hindu right wing groups, who alleged Christians were using festivities to force Hindus to convert. In recent years, Christians have increasingly faced harassment around Christmas but this year saw a notable surge in attacks.” – The Guardian

December 26, 2021
How Paid Experts Help Exonerate Police After Deaths in Custody
“Inside the self-reinforcing ecosystem of people who advise, train and defend officers. Many accuse them of slanting science and perpetuating aggressive tactics. An officer fired a Taser at Kevin Piskura’s chest for 11 seconds. He went into cardiac arrest and later died. A consultant working for Taser wrote: ‘… there is no support for speculations that the minimal amount of current and charge delivered into a human body by an X26 ECD discharge … is likely, or even medically or scientifically possible, to directly cause clinically significant adverse effects …'” – The New York Times

December 25, 2021
Hindu event calling for genocide of Muslims sparks outrage
Police file case after videos go viral on social media of a meeting in which Hindu religious leaders called for mass killings and use of weapons against Muslims.” – Aljazeera

December 23, 2021
Business appears complacent about US democratic stability
“It is time for corporate America to back its fine talk on voting rights with concerted support for legislation.” – Financial Times

December 23, 2021
Hong Kong Removes Statue That Memorialized Tiananmen Victims
“In the latest crackdown on political dissent in Hong Kong, authorities removed the ‘Pillar of Shame’ statue that memorialized those killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square government massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing.” – The New York Times

December 22, 2021
America is now in fascism’s legal phase
“John Ehrlichman, one of Nixon’s top advisers, said that Nixon’s campaign and administration ‘had two enemies: the anti-war left and Black people,’  and invented the drug war to target both: ‘You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.'” – The Guardian

December 21, 2021
The US military trained him. Then he helped murder Berta Cáceres
“The indigenous activist was opposing the construction of a dam being constructed by Roberto David Castillo’s company. When Roberto David Castillo graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point, the Honduran cadet was confident he’d leave behind a legacy. ‘He will be remembered by all as being a fearless leader committed to God, his family and serving others,’ read the caption under his yearbook portrait. Castillo is certain to be remembered: earlier this year, the Honduran high court found him guilty as the joint perpetrator in the 2016 assassination of the indigenous activist Berta Cáceres, then one of Latin America’s most prominent environmental defenders.” – The Guardian

December 21, 2021
My Neighbor Protested His Family’s Expulsion From Its Home—Now He’s in an Israeli Prison
Murad Attieh has been in prison for 133 days for what many believe is an effort to criminalize our movement…. ‘Murad is a born leader with a passion for justice,’ Murad’s mother said in a statement released by the neighborhood’s official social media account. ‘Consequently, they wanted him muzzled by these false allegations.”’ – The Nation

December 19, 2021
The Human Toll of America’s Air Wars
“Airstrikes allowed America to wage war with minimal risk to its troops. But for civilians on the ground, they brought terror and tragedy.” – The New York Times Magazine

December 18, 2021
The Civilian Casualty Files – Hidden Pentagon Records Reveal Patterns of Failure in Deadly Airstrikes
“The promise was a war waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs. The documents show flawed intelligence, faulty targeting, years of civilian deaths — and scant accountability.” – The New York Times

December 18, 2021
Man Beaten To Death After Alleged Sacrilege Attempt At Golden Temple
“According to witnesses, the man jumped over the railing of the sanctum sanctorum inside the Golden Temple during the daily evening prayer and tried to grab the sword kept in front of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs…. Parminder Singh Bhandal, the Deputy Commissioner of Police of Amritsar, said, ‘The man, about 20 to 25 years of age who had a yellow cloth tied on his head jumped the fence… the people inside held him and escorted him out to the corridor where there was a violent altercation and he died.'” – NDTV

December 17, 2021
Pegasus spyware ‘found on phone of jailed critic of Narendra Modi ’
“The Indian government’s case against Rona Wilson, a jailed Indian activist and critic of Narendra Modi’s administration, is expected to face new scrutiny following allegations that his mobile phone was hacked using Israeli-made spyware just months before his controversial arrest…. Wilson is part of a network of more than a dozen writers, lawyers and artists who advocated for the rights of indigenous communities and low-caste Indians and who have been detained since 2018.” – The Guardian

December,ber 17, 2021
Sex crimes at Islamic schools under spotlight as Indonesia mulls tougher laws
Rape cases have in the past months been dominating Indonesian headlines, including incidents at Islamic boarding schools, or pesantren. On top of limited laws against sexual violence, the high degree of respect accorded to religious teachers in Indonesia prevents victims from speaking out, observers say.” –  South China Morning Post

December 17, 2021
Why Ukraine’s Fight Against Corruption Scares Russia
The country’s democratization and its ongoing efforts to fight entrenched graft and cronyism are a threat to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s model of governance.” – Foreign Policy

December 17, 2021
3 retired generals: The military must prepare now for a 2024 insurrection
“Paul D. Eaton is a retired U.S. Army major general and a senior adviser to VoteVets. Antonio M. Taguba is a retired Army major general, with 34 years of active duty service. Steven M. Anderson is a retired brigadier general who served in the U.S. Army for 31 years. In short: We are chilled to our bones at the thought of a coup succeeding next time.” – The Washington Post

December 15, 2021
German court convicts Russian in brazen Berlin assassination, links it to Moscow
“A court in Berlin on Wednesday convicted a Russian national of the murder of a Georgian citizen of Chechen ethnicity in broad daylight in 2019 and sentenced him to life in prison. Federal prosecutors called it a political murder ordered by Russia and maintained that Vadim Krasikov is a former colonel in the Russian intelligence service the FSB.” – The Washington Post

December 12, 2021
Civilian Deaths Mounted as Secret Unit Pounded ISIS
“A single top secret American strike cell launched tens of thousands of bombs and missiles against the Islamic State in Syria, but in the process of hammering a vicious enemy, the shadowy force sidestepped safeguards and repeatedly killed civilians, according to multiple current and former military and intelligence officials. The unit was called Talon Anvil, and it worked in three shifts around the clock between 2014 and 2019, pinpointing targets for the United States’ formidable air power to hit: convoys, car bombs, command centers and squads of enemy fighters….. It circumvented rules imposed to protect noncombatants, and alarmed its partners in the military and the C.I.A. by killing people who had no role in the conflict: farmers trying to harvest, children in the street, families fleeing fighting, and villagers sheltering in buildings.” – The New York Times

December 11, 2021
Radicalized Christian nationalism is a growing threat to American democracy
“A relatively small but incredibly organized faction is working to turn the country into something resembling a theocracy” – The Guardian

December 11, 2021
Yale Historian Spells Out Why ‘The Worst’ May Be Yet To Come For America
“‘Our government is still under attack,’ warned Joanne Freeman in an op-ed for The Washington Post. ‘The offensive is quieter now but no less menacing.’… It was ‘tempting to conclude that the insurgency failed’ after a violent mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters who stormed the Capitol were unsuccessful in their bid to overturn the 2020 election, Freeman wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post published Friday…. The muted congressional response to the attack and what has appeared to be an absence of accountability ‘virtually guarantees more of the same,’ Freeman said. ‘With no clear line in the sand, the attack on democracy will continue, unchecked and empowered, with the worst yet to come.'” – HuffPost

December 10, 2021
In Texas, a Battle Over What Can Be Taught, and What Books Can Be Read
“A new state law constricts teachers when it comes to race and history. And a politician is questioning why 850 titles are on library shelves. The result: ‘A lot of our teachers are petrified.’… State Representative Matt Krause, a Republican, emailed a list of 850 books to superintendents, a mix of half-century-old novels — “The Confessions of Nat Turner” by William Styron — and works by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Margaret Atwood, as well as edgy young adult books touching on sexual identity.” – The New York Times

December 10, 2021
How a terrorism law in India is being used to silence Modi’s critics
“The BJP government is exploiting a terrorism prevention law to intimidate dissenters from lawyers, journalists, priests, poets to Kashmiri civilians.” – The Guardian

December 8, 2021
Helping refugees starving in Poland’s icy border forests is illegal – but it’s not the real crime
“The asylum seekers on the Poland-Belarus border are not aggressors: they are desperate pawns in a disgusting political struggle…. It’s ironic that this border has more than 50 media crews gathered, yet Poland is the only place in the EU where journalists cannot freely report.” – The Guardian

December 8, 2021
US supreme court to hear case that could have dire consequences for death row inmates
“Arizona will ask highest court to bar two death row inmates from presenting evidence that could prove their innocence.” – The Guardian

December 8, 2021
An ‘Alt-Jihad’ Is Rising On Social Media
“The playbook of the ‘alt-right’ is guiding a new generation of fringe jihadists, showing just how complicated extremism is about to become online.” – Wired

December 5, 2021
Pro-Trump counties now have far higher COVID death rates. Misinformation is to blame
Since May 2021, people living in counties that voted heavily for Donald Trump during the last presidential election have been nearly three times as likely to die from COVID-19 as those who live in areas that went for now-President Biden…. Counties that went heavily for Donald Trump have seen much lower vaccination rates and much higher death rates from COVID. – NPR

December 4, 2021
Why international election observers would give Wisconsin a failing grade
“The proposed Wisconsin power grab is shocking in its brazenness. If this occurred in any of the countries where the United States provides aid, it would immediately be called out as a threat to democracy. U.S. diplomats would be writing furious cables, and decision makers would be threatening to cut off the flow of assistance. Yet we are conspicuously failing to hold ourselves to the same standard.” – The Washington Post

December 3, 2021
Man tortured and killed in Pakistan over alleged blasphemy
“In horrific videos shared across social media, Diyawadana can be seen being thrown on to the floor, where hundreds began tearing his clothes, violently beating him. He was tortured to death and then his body was burned. Dozens in the crowd can also be seen taking selfies with his dead body. The incident began when rumours emerged that Diyawadana, who had been manager of the factory for seven years, had taken down a poster bearing words from the Qur’an. The police assistant commissioner Mohammed Murtaza said: ‘Due to the renovation of the factory building, some posters were taken off from the wall. They may have desecrated posters bearing the name of Prophet Muhammad.” – The Guardian

December 3, 2021
Republican senator blocks gun control law in wake of Michigan shooting
The Iowa senator Chuck Grassley, the leading Republican on the Senate judiciary committee, blocked a request on Thursday to proceed on gun control legislation in the Senate following the Michigan school shooting this week…. Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut and leading gun control advocate, requested unanimous consent on Thursday to pass the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021, which would require new background checks for gun transfers between private parties, as well as expand a 10-day review for gun purchases and transfers…. He added that the Republican party cares “more about the health of the gun industry and their profits than they do about the health of our kids.” – The Guardian

December 3, 2021
Poland plans to set up register of pregnancies to report miscarriages
The Polish government are planning to introduce a centralised register of pregnancies which would oblige doctors to report all pregnancies and miscarriages to the government. The proposed register would come into effect in January 2022, a year after Poland introduced a near-total ban on abortion. This has raised serious concerns for women’s rights activists, who believe that in light of Poland’s near-total abortion ban, the register could be used to cause legal difficulties for women who have self-administered abortions. – The Guardian

December 2,  2021
‘I will never surrender’: Author who claims Trump raped her responds to former president’s counter-lawsuit
“E Jean Carroll says she will ‘never give in’ to former president’s attempts to stop her lawsuit. Related video: Trump sexual accuser E Jean Carroll is ‘sick’ of women not being listened to.” – Independent

December 1, 2021
Co-founder of Christian TV network that railed against vaccines dies of Covid-19
Marcus Lamb, 64, whose Daystar network reaches an estimated 2 billion viewers worldwide, had pushed alternative therapies…. [He] railed against Covid-19 vaccines, has died of Covid-19. He was 64 years old. Lamb, who was the chief executive of the conservative network that reaches an estimated 2 billion viewers worldwide, died on Tuesday, weeks after contracting the coronavirus. – The Guardian

December 1, 2021
Anti-mask Maine lawmaker resigns after wife dies of Covid-19
“Rep Chris Johansen, a Republican who represented parts of Aroostook County, had vigorously protested pandemic precautions in his state, and was one of seven lawmakers who refused to wear masks in the Maine House of Representatives, causing a confrontation with police. Mr Johansen and his wife, Cindy Johansen, also posted numerous messages on Facebook casting doubt about the pandemic and vaccines. In July, they both contracted the virus. Ms Johansen later died of Covid-19.” – Independent

November 30, 2021
‘Like Fresh Meat’: Detailing Rampant Sex Harassment in Australia’s Parliament
“A sweeping report lays out a cloistered, alcohol-fueled environment where powerful men violated boundaries unchecked. Men strutting down corridors looking women up and down. Women carrying fake binders to block unwanted advances. Forcible touches, kisses, comments about appearance. Fears of speaking out…. The report, released on Tuesday, was commissioned by the Australian government in March, shortly after a former staffer’s account of being raped in Parliament House sent shock waves through Australia’s halls of power. It found that one-third of parliamentary employees — 40 percent of women — had experienced sexual harassment. About 1 percent of the more than 1,700 people who participated in the review said they had been the victim of attempted or actual sexual assault.” – The New York Times

November 29, 2021
What ‘My Body, My Choice’ Means to the Right
“At the very moment that Roe v. Wade could be overturned, the American right has become obsessed with bodily autonomy and has adopted the slogan ‘My body, my choice’ about Covid vaccines and mask mandates.” – The New York Times

November 28, 2021
‘Hate won, an artist has lost’: Munawar Faruqui says he’s ‘done’ after Bengaluru show cancelled amid threats
“Comedian Munawar Faruqui hinted at an exit from standup comedy after his Bengaluru show on Sunday was cancelled due to vandalisation threats from right-wing groups…. Various right wing organisations including Sriram Sena and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti had lodged a complaint with the Bengaluru city police Commissioner against the comedian charging him of hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus by allegedly insulting Hindu Gods…. ‘Nafrat jeet gayi, artist haar gaya. (Hate won, an artist has lost), I’m done! Goodbye,’ Faruqui wrote.” – Deccan Herald

November 27, 2021
‘A core threat to our democracy’: threat of political violence growing across US
“House Republicans heard Ocasio-Cortez’s impassioned plea and responded with a collective shrug. All but three Republican members voted against censuring Gosar and stripping him of his committee assignments, while every House Democrat supported the resolution. The Gosar incident served as the latest data point in an alarming trend in American politics. In a year that began with a deadly insurrection at the US Capitol, lawmakers have seen a sharp rise in the number of threats against them. Republicans’ muted response to Gosar’s behavior has intensified fears about the possibility of more political violence in America in the months to come.” – The Guardian

November 25, 2021
Interpol appoints Emirati general accused of torture as president
“A general from the United Arab Emirates accused of complicity in torture has been elected as president of the international policing agency Interpol in the teeth of fierce objections from human rights groups.” – The Guardian

November 25, 2021
Allahabad high court: Outrage as court reduces child sex abuse sentence
“A trial court in August 2018 found the man guilty of ‘aggravated penetrative sexual assault’ under the stringent Pocso (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act and handed him a 10-year jail sentence. The man appealed and last week, the high court judge reduced his jail term to seven years, saying that under the law, the assault was not ‘aggravated’ – implying that the crime was less serious than the trial court had deemed it to be…. India is home to the largest number of sexually abused children in the world with tens of thousands of cases reported every year. Last year, the National Crime Records Bureau registered 43,000 offences under the Pocso Act – that’s an average of one case every 12 minutes.” – BBC

November 22, 2021
America’s Right is Off the Leash and Out for Blood
“Right Wing Violence is Exploding, and It’s Beginning to Rip America Apart…. Nearly anyone, and I mean anyone, who dared to say anything on Twitter expressing disgust or revulsion or horror with the verdict exonerating Rittenhouse? Met a massive, raging, frenzied, throbbing, violent fascist pile on. Say something, anything, and you were almost sure to get death threats, rape threats, intimidation, harassment, abuse, doxxed, or worse…. Because it was never about self-defence at all to the right, but the right to terrorize, harm, abuse, use violence.” – Eudaimonia

November 22, 2021
‘It’s devastating’: how fentanyl is unfolding as one of America’s greatest tragedies
“More than 100,000 people died from overdoses in a single year – driven primarily by one drug…. “The trajectory is up, with no leveling off,” Daniel Ciccarone, the Justine Miner endowed professor of addiction medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said. ‘There’s nothing that says it’s slowing down.’… It’s also important to address the fundamental inequalities frequently driving the overdose crisis, Ciccarone said. ‘We’ll continue to have wave over wave over wave of drug overdoses unless we address the inequities in our society. It’s a wake-up call, and civilizations do fall if they don’t address the instabilities in their population.'” – The Guardian

November 22, 2021
How Fake News on Facebook Helped Fuel a Border Crisis in Europe
“Social media worsened a migrant crisis on the border of Belarus and Poland and helped smugglers profit off desperate people trying to reach Europe.” – The New York Times

November 20, 2021
How Facebook and Google fund global misinformation
“The tech giants are paying millions of dollars to the operators of clickbait pages, bankrolling the deterioration of information ecosystems around the world.” – Technology Review

November 19, 2021
How Delaware Became the World’s Biggest Offshore Haven
“Kleptocrats, criminals, and con artists have all parked their illicit gains in the state…. Viktor Bout was one of the leading members of a long list of international crime lords who raced to Delaware, building out his operations with the anonymity the state provided. With clients and partners from Central America to Central Asia and from warlords in sub-Saharan Africa to the Taliban, Bout was involved in nearly all of the major illicit arms transfers that took place in the 1990s and early 2000s. Fighter jets and anti-aircraft weapons, machine guns and machetes: The products didn’t matter. All that mattered was moving merchandise to waiting clients—and making sure those investigating him, including U.S. officials, never uncovered the financial networks that facilitated his arms trafficking.” – Foreign Policy

November 19, 2021
India’s Deadly Mix of Nationalism and Religion
Hindu nationalists across India are giving allied politicians cover to enact laws that explicitly discriminate against Muslims. But many Indians are pushing back. – Bloomberg

The forgotten oil ads that told us climate change was nothing
“Since the 1980s, fossil fuel firms have run ads touting climate denial messages – many of which they’d now like us to forget. Here’s our visual guide…. As recently as last month, six big oil CEOs were summoned to US Congress to answer for the industry’s history of discrediting climate science – yet they lied under oath about it. In other words, the fossil fuel industry is now misleading the public about its history of misleading the public.” – The Guardian

November 18, 2021
Hoover Hid That Some Witnesses In Malcolm X Assassination Trial Were FBI Informants
“The recent investigation found information in FBI files about witnesses who couldn’t identify Islam and implicated other suspects, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. told the court. The files showed that the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover ordered agents to tell witnesses not to reveal that they were informants when talking with police and prosecutors, Vance said. ‘I apologize for what were serious, unacceptable violations of law and the public trust,” he said. “There is one ultimate conclusion: Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam were wrongfully convicted of this crime.'” – HuffPost

November 18, 2021
China making example of jailed Wuhan Covid journalist, says lawyer
“Zhang Zhan’s former lawyer says authorities are sending message, as calls grow for release on medical grounds…. Her reports challenged official claims about the Wuhan lockdown and the outbreak, which authorities had attempted to cover-up. On Thursday she was awarded the Reporters Without Borders’ 2021 Press Freedom award for courage. Zhang, a 38-year-old former lawyer, was sentenced in December last year to four years in jail on charges of disseminating false information in her video and blog reports from Wuhan and in interviews with foreign press. She was first arrested in May of that year, accused of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” – an accusation commonly used against dissidents, activists and journalists.” – The Guardian

November 17, 2021
100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 12 months during the pandemic
“The U.S. drug epidemic reached another terrible milestone Wednesday when the government announced that more than 100,000 people had died of overdoses between April 2020 and April 2021. It is the first time that drug-related deaths have reached six figures in any 12-month period. There are now more overdose deaths from the illegal synthetic opioid fentanyl than there were overdose deaths from all drugs in 2016. The new figures, which are provisional but rarely change much in final tallies, represent a 28.5 percent increase from the same period a year earlier. The financial, mental health, housing and other difficulties of the covid-19 pandemic are widely blamed for much of the increase.” – The Washington Post

November 16, 2021
Loopholes for Kleptocrats
“The term ‘tax haven’ may conjure images of Caribbean islands and palm trees, but two recent books make the case that the world’s leading tax haven is America.” – The New York Review

November 16, 2021
Almost $500bn ‘lost to tax abuse by firms and super-rich in 2021’
“Figure would be enough to fully vaccinate global population against Covid three times over, report says…. Research by tax campaigners found that estimated losses had risen from $427bn last year to $483bn (£359bn) in 2021, with the UK alone responsible for almost 40% of the total. Britain facilitates abuse and evasion through a network made up of British overseas territories and the City of London, the report said.” – The Guardian

November 15, 2021
“If the 20th century was the story of slow, uneven progress toward the victory of liberal democracy over other ideologies—communism, fascism, virulent nationalism—the 21st century is, so far, a story of the reverse.” – The Atlantic

November 15, 2021
China is perfecting a 21st-century method of destroying an entire people
“China’s Communist leaders, innovative in so many ways, appear to be perfecting a 21st-century approach to genocide. With the Beijing Olympics less than three months away will Coca-Cola and other sponsors of the Games celebrate with China while this is taking place? While, a few hours’ flight due west of the stadiums and ice rinks, an entire people is being slowly, deliberately erased?… A report published last week by the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, ‘To Make Us Slowly Disappear,’ suggests that China may have found a different way, more insidious if no less monstrous. – The Washington Post

November 15, 2021
A newly disclosed memo reveals Trump’s plot to turn the military into his personal goon squad
“This revealing and chilling document deserves to be read not as a historical curiosity but as a terrible portent of what could be in store if Trump wins another term. He appears determined to turn the military into his personal goon squad.” – The Washington Post

November 14, 2021
Michael Flynn Demands ‘One Religion Under God’ At Far Right Rally
“Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser and felon Michael Flynn called on Saturday for a single religion in America. ‘If we are going to have one nation under God — which we must — we have to have one religion,’ Flynn said in San Antonio at a stop for the far-right ‘ReAwaken America’ tour. ‘One nation under God, and one religion under God,’ he added. Such a vision is completely contrary to the Constitution’s guarantee of Freedom of Religion, and the separation of church and state.” – HuffPost

November 13, 2021
Dontae Sharpe: US man wrongfully imprisoned for 26 years pardoned
“‘I’ve been in there and know there are guys that are innocent and know that our system is corrupt and needs to be changed.’… He was convicted on a first-degree murder charge over the killing of George Radcliffe. Months after the trial, a teenage eyewitness for the state recanted her testimony. It still took over two decades for Mr Sharpe to be exonerated and released from prison.” – BBC

November 12, 2021
Homicide is a top cause of maternal death in the United States
“Pregnant women in the United States die by homicide more often than they die of pregnancy-related causes — and they’re frequently killed by a partner — according to a study published last month in Obstetrics & Gynecology.” – Nature

November 12, 2021
Leonard Peltier Is America’s Longest-Serving Political Prisoner. Biden May Be His Last Hope.
“The FBI put the Native American activist behind bars 44 years ago based on lies, threats and no proof he committed a crime…. His trial was riddled with misconduct that would never hold up in a U.S. court today. Prosecutors hid key evidence. The FBI threatened and coerced witnesses into lying. A juror admitted she was biased against Peltier’s race on the second day of the trial, but was allowed to stay on anyway.” – HuffPost

November 12, 2021
Trump White House Repeatedly Blocked Critical COVID Warnings, Officials Tell House Probe
“The Donald Trump administration intervened multiple times to block critically important warnings to the public from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as COVID-19 was exploding across the nation, top health officials have told congressional investigators, according to newly released interviews and other records released Friday. A furious Trump immediately curtailed CDC officials’ media appearances after agency health expert Dr. Nancy Messonnier warned early last year that the spread of COVID-19 was inevitable, she told the House select subcommittee on the pandemic.” – HuffPost

November 12, 2021
The Bizarre emergence of the non-religious “Evangelical”
“The term evangelical is rapidly becoming meaningless as a religious identity because it is fast evolving into a political identity, a polite way of saying “MAGA cultist”” – Medium

November 10, 2021
A woman murdered every month: is this Greece’s moment of reckoning on femicide?
“Lax punishments, police inaction and inadequate laws serve to embolden abusers, say campaigners – and stark figures bear them out…. ‘Gender-based violence is one end of a continuum. The other end is femicide,’ says Anna Vouyioukas of Diotima. ‘It’s become obvious in Greece. Domestic violence can lead to femicide, and that you cannot change because it means death.” Christina agrees. “The state does nothing for women,” she says, shaking her head. ‘So many femicides and they do nothing.’” – The Guardian

November 10, 2021
White supremacists declare war on democracy and walk away unscathed
“The insurrection on 6 January and the weak response are only the latest example.” – The Guardian

November 10, 2021
Hindu Sect Accused of Using Forced Labor at More Temples Across U.S.
“BAPS, a prominent sect with strong ties with Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, faces accusations of exploiting low-caste laborers from India to run massive temples around the country. …The men were intentionally recruited based on their marginalized status; most are Dalit or Adivasi, from the lowest rungs in India’s social hierarchy, the lawsuit claimed, adding that one overseer called the workers “worms.”” – The New York Times

November 9, 2021
Trump Officials Illegally Campaigned While in Office, Watchdog Finds
“Thirteen of President Donald J. Trump’s most senior aides — including his son-in-law and his chief of staff — campaigned illegally for Mr. Trump’s re-election in violation of a law designed to prevent federal employees from abusing the power of their offices on behalf of candidates, a government watchdog agency said Tuesday. Henry Kerner, who heads the Office of Special Counsel, made the assertion in a withering report that followed a nearly yearlong investigation into’“myriad’ violations of the law, known as the Hatch Act.” – The New York Times

November 8, 2021
Vietnamese minister fed £1,450 gold-plated steak after laying flowers at Karl Marx’s grave
“General To Lam had led a delegation at the United Nations COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, before heading to London to dine at Salt Bae’s restaurant.” – Independent

November 5, 2021
Chinese journalist jailed over Covid reporting is ‘close to death’, family say
“A citizen journalist jailed for her coverage of China’s initial response to Covid in Wuhan is close to death after going on hunger strike, her family said, prompting renewed calls from rights groups for her immediate release. Zhang Zhan, 38, a former lawyer, travelled to Wuhan in February 2020 to report on the chaos at the pandemic’s centre, questioning authorities’ handling of the outbreak in her smartphone videos.” – The Guardian

November 5, 2021
How Corruption Ruined Lebanon
“The deadly port blast, the triple-digit inflation, the energy shortages — Lebanon’s many crises have a shared root: misrule by a self-dealing elite. …The country has been driven to bankruptcy by a handful of politicians, most of whom began as sectarian warlords. The power-sharing agreement that ended Lebanon’s civil war produced a cross-sectarian political system — much like the one the United States imported into Iraq after the 2003 invasion — that has looted the state and weakened its institutions.” – The New York Times

November 4, 2021
Uncovering the Secret Offshore Accounts of the Global Élite
“The Pandora Papers went public on October 3rd. The release was extraordinary in its scale: stories from media outlets in a hundred and seventeen countries appeared simultaneously, naming twenty-nine thousand offshore accounts held by, among others, more than a hundred billionaires and thirty-five current or former heads of state, containing hidden assets totalling somewhere between five trillion and thirty-two trillion dollars.” – The New Yorker

November 4, 2021
Ex-Nato head says Putin wanted to join alliance early on in his rule
“A former Labour defence secretary who led Nato between 1999 and 2003, said Putin made it clear at their first meeting that he wanted Russia to be part of western Europe. ‘They wanted to be part of that secure, stable prosperous west that Russia was out of at the time,’ he said…. The account chimes with what Putin told the late David Frost in a BBC interview…. Putin told Frost he would not rule out joining Nato ‘if and when Russia’s views are taken into account as those of an equal partner.’ He told Frost it was hard for him to visualise Nato as an enemy. ‘Russia is part of the European culture. And I cannot imagine my own country in isolation from Europe and what we often call the civilised world.'” – The Guardian

November 3, 2021
Weapons Tracing Study Implicates Russia in Ukraine Conflict
“One of the most comprehensive studies to date of weaponry in the war in Ukraine shows a panoply of Russian-supplied arms that has helped fuel the war…. The Kremlin has consistently denied transferring arms to Ukraine, even after Western governments documented major weaponry crossing the border. This included a tracked vehicle-mounted antiaircraft missile system that shot down a civilian airliner in 2014, killing all 298 people aboard.” – The New York Times

November 3, 2021
Why books have become a battlefield in Texas
““Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature,” wrote Cassandra Clare in her novel “Clockwork Angel.” A powerful and debilitating strain of such intellectual fragility has been sweeping across red states such as mine. Texas stands at the front lines of America’s thought wars, with books increasingly the battlefield. Last week, state Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth), chairman of the House General Investigating Committee, sent school districts a list of more than 800 books and asked that they investigate how many copies are in their classrooms or libraries, as well as the amount of money spent on them. Krause also wants the districts to identify books or content dealing with human sexuality, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and graphic depictions of sex.” – Washington Post

November 1, 2021
Xinjiang’s Oppression Has Shifted Gears
“Militarization is being scaled down as internal surveillance and propaganda increase…. Heavily militarized police patrols and sprawling reeducation facilities may be disappearing. But highly securitized prisons, intensive propaganda and indoctrination, ubiquitous surveillance, population control, and coercive labor assignments are there to stay…. A robust array of government sources, police leaks, and first-hand testimonies have depicted a ruthless and systematic attempt to take control over and forcibly assimilate people perceived as an imminent (if imaginary) threat to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).” – Foreign Policy

October 31, 2021
‘The Problem Is Him’: Kara Swisher on Mark Zuckerberg’s crisis and ours
“One of the main problems is what he needs to be is a nearly impossible job for anyone and he is particularly ill-suited given his lack of communication skills. He’s undereducated for the job he has because he’s not just a technologist; he’s a social engineer. And a very powerful one with no accountability. He’s like an emperor that he so admires; he was a fanboy of Augustus Caesar. That was his hero. But Augustus Caesar wasn’t really equipped to be emperor either.” – New York Magazine

October 31, 2021
Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff
“As the House investigation into the Jan. 6 attack heats up, some of the planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C., have begun communicating with congressional investigators and sharing new information about what happened when the former president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Two of these people have spoken to Rolling Stone extensively in recent weeks and detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.” – Rolling Stone

October 31, 2021
Hindu-Muslim violence crosses border from Bangladesh to India
“Footage shared on social media blamed for igniting violence between communities that left seven dead, buildings torched and many living in fear…. A Qur’an had been found in the shrine they had recently erected for the upcoming Hindu festival of Durga Puja. The Islamic holy book had been placed on a statue of the Hindu god Hanuman…. The news of the desecration of Muslim holy scripture in their shrine… set off some of the worst anti-Hindu attacks in years and left seven people dead. The violence seeped over the border into the neighbouring Indian state of Tripura, where more than a dozen retaliatory rallies by rightwing Hindu group Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and others escalated into violence and anti-Muslim attacks. Muslim residents were terrorised, Muslim shops were torched, and at least 16 mosques were vandalised – of which four were set alight. VHP spokesman Vinod Bansal claimed reports of violence were ‘fake news’ spread by ‘jihadists’ and said it had only arranged peaceful rallies.” – The Guardian

October 28, 2021
How Britain is responsible for a third of the world’s lost taxes – video
“Tax havens cost governments at least $245bn a year in lost revenue – and many of these havens are British.” – The Guardian

October 28, 2021
How Corruption Ruined Lebanon
“The deadly port blast, the triple-digit inflation, the energy shortages — Lebanon’s many crises have a shared root: misrule by a self-dealing elite…. Lebanon’s sectarian system, which predates the war, divides positions among the country’s 18 officially recognized sects. The president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of Parliament a Shiite Muslim. The system was designed to ensure that every community’s voice is heard in a country rived by factionalism, but it has enabled sectarian leaders to avoid accountability by claiming that any criticism of them is really a criticism of their sect.” – The New York Times Magazine

October 28, 2021
Indian police arrest seven for ‘celebrating’ Pakistan cricket win
“Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, a senior Bharatiya Janata party figure, said in a tweet that the three may be charged with sedition, on top of the charges of cyberterrorism and ‘promoting enmity among groups’ that police accused them of after the arrests on Wednesday.” – The Guardian.

October 28, 2021
Brexit worse for the UK economy than Covid pandemic, OBR says
“Fiscal watchdog says Brexit would cut GDP by around 4% long term, while Covid impacts would hit output by a further 2%.” – The Guardian

October 27, 2021
American Jihad: The Religious Right’s War on America
In the 1980s Jerry Falwell and his fevered followers, on the recommendation of my high school principal—Robert Billings—started the Moral Majority and the Religious Right was born. It’s goal from that moment on was to take over the Republican Party, then use the GOP to take over America in order to impose authoritarian theocratic rule on the country. They were open about their goals and their strategies, and it was the opposite of what evangelical excuse-makers describe today.That this was the goal was outlined in this article of mine that was published in September, 1981 in Libertarian Review magazine under the title “The New Theocracy: Moral Majority’s Grab for Power.” Below is that article. At the time it was current events, not it is a historical look at the movement attacking America today.  The Radical Center

American Jihad: The Religious Right’s War on America

American Jihad: The Religious Right’s War on America

October 27, 2021
‘Disgraceful’: Italy’s senate votes down anti-homophobic violence bill
“Bill would have made violence against LGBT people and disabled people, as well as misogyny, a hate crime…. Pina Picierno, a PD member of the European parliament, called the vote “one of the worst pages in the history of the Italian republic”….. Last June, the Vatican made an unprecedented intervention urging the Italian government to change the law over concerns it would infringe upon the Catholic church’s “freedom of thought.” – The Guardian

October 27, 2021
Indian supreme court orders inquiry into state’s use of Pegasus spyware
“India’s supreme court has ordered an independent inquiry into whether the government used the surveillance software Pegasus to spy illegally on journalists, activists and political opponents…. Analysis by the media outlets of infected phones, and of a wider list of more than 50,000 phone numbers believed to have been selected as persons of interest by clients of Pegasus’ manufacturer, NSO Group, strongly indicated the Indian government was using the tool. Delhi has consistently declined to confirm if it has access to it.” – The Guardian

October 27, 2021
Dr. Deborah Birx: Trump Could Have Prevented 40% Of U.S. COVID Deaths
“The former response coordinator for the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force said the White House messed up a chance to prevent up to 40% of America’s COVID-19 deaths. More than 400,000 people died of COVID-19 before Trump left office on Jan. 20.” – HuffPost

October 27, 2021
74-Year-Old Man Blocks Universal Paid Leave – It was Sen. Joe Manchin.
“A 74-year-old man is blocking Congress from providing American workers with paid family and medical leave, leaving the United States as the only industrialized nation without such a mandate.” – HuffPost

October 27, 2021
Hate campaign in India against Urdu for being a ‘Muslim’ language
“Last week, Hindu right-wing forces in India forced a leading firm to withdraw its festive season advertisement after it featured a couple of words from the Urdu language, which in the popular imagination in the country is a “Muslim language”. a young parliamentarian belonging to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who often makes headlines for his Islamophobic remarks, was not happy. “This deliberate attempt of Abrahamisation of Hindu festivals, depicting models without traditional Hindu attires, must be called out.”” – Aljazeera

October 25, 2021
Saudi crown prince a ‘psychopath’, says exiled intelligence officer
“A former senior Saudi intelligence officer has claimed that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a ‘psychopath with no empathy,’ who once boasted that he could kill the kingdom’s ruler at the time, King Abdullah, and replace him with his own father. In an interview on US television, Saad Aljabri, who fled Saudi Arabia in May 2017 and is living in exile in Canada, also said he had been warned by an associate in 2018, after the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, that a Saudi hit team was heading to Canada to kill him. Aljabri told 60 Minutes on CBS he was warned “don’t be in a proximity of any Saudi mission in Canada. Don’t go to the consulate. Don’t go to the embassy.” When he asked why, he said he was told “they dismembered the guy, they kill him. You are on the top of the list.” – The Guardian

October 23, 2021
Tyranny Expert Sounds The Alarm On 2024 Election: It’s Happening
“Yale history professor Timothy Snyder, an expert on fascism and authoritarianism, on Friday sounded what could be one of the loudest alarms yet on the 2024 election. Snyder, talking with MSNBC’s Ari Melber, noted how former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 result had relied on “personal charisma and signals to his followers and a few people in the Justice Department and hope.” But if Trump does decide to officially enter the 2024 race, Snyder warned this time around he’ll also have “a whole bunch of institutional machinery” with the installation of partisan election officials who back his 2020 lies, which for them legitimizes throwing the vote, “plus a whole lot of time to plan.” “What we know historically is that a failed coup is a trial run for a successful coup,” said Snyder. “Usually when you fail in a coup, something happens to you— and Mr. Trump, nothing has happened to him.” Melber asked Snyder if he feared a coordinated effort that could swing the election. “We should be thinking about this as what is happening and then ask what we can do to prevent it,” he replied.” – HuffPost

October 23, 2021
In India, Facebook Grapples With an Amplified Version of Its Problems
On Feb. 4, 2019, a Facebook researcher created a new user account to see what it was like to experience the social media site as a person living in Kerala, India. For the next three weeks, the account operated by a simple rule: Follow all the recommendations generated by Facebook’s algorithms to join groups, watch videos and explore new pages on the site. The result was an inundation of hate speech, misinformation and celebrations of violence, which were documented in an internal Facebook report published later that month…. ‘The test user’s News Feed has become a near constant barrage of polarizing nationalist content, misinformation, and violence and gore.’… The documents include reports on how bots and fake accounts tied to the country’s ruling party and opposition figures were wreaking havoc on national elections. – The New York Times

October 22, 2021
Violence Strikes, and India’s Farmers Want You to See It
“A year on, protesters against the country’s agricultural laws are taking an increasingly confrontational approach with the country’s leaders.” – The New York Times

October 22, 2021
Russia Is Censoring the Internet, With Coercion and Black Boxes
“The process, underway since 2019, represents the start of perhaps the world’s most ambitious digital censorship effort outside China. Under President Vladimir V. Putin, who once called the internet a ‘C.I.A. project’ and views the web as a threat to his power, the Russian government is attempting to bring the country’s once open and freewheeling internet to heel….In recent years, governments in India, Myanmar, Ethiopia and elsewhere have used internet blackouts to stifle pockets of dissent. Russia had internet shutdowns during antigovernment protests in the southern region of Ingushetia in 2018 and Moscow in 2019. China has provided inspiration.” – The New York Times

October 20, 2021
Koch network spends big to lobby against Biden agenda while supporting other Democratic plans
“One of the network’s lobbying targets this year has been moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. The total also does not include the millions spent on lobbying by the separate Koch Industries, a conglomerate that’s been owned and run by the family for decades.” CNBC

October 19, 2021
Brazilian Leader Accused of Crimes Against Humanity in Pandemic Response
“A Brazilian congressional panel is set to recommend that President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with ‘crimes against humanity,’ asserting that he intentionally let the coronavirus rip through the country and kill hundreds of thousands in a failed bid to achieve herd immunity and revive Latin America’s largest economy.” – The New York Times

October 17, 2021
Malcolm Turnbull on Murdoch, lies and the climate crisis: ‘The same forces that enabled Trump are at work in Australia’
“Systematic partisan lying and misinformation from the media, both mainstream and social, has done enormous damage to liberal democracies, the former PM writes. The United States has suffered the largest number of Covid-19 deaths: about 600,000 at the time of writing. The same political and media players who deny the reality of global warming also denied and politicised the Covid-19 virus.” – The Guardian

October 17, 2021
Revealed: how UK spies incited mass murder of Indonesia’s communists
“Newly declassified papers show shocking role played by Britain in slaughter. A propaganda campaign orchestrated by Britain played a crucial part in one of the most brutal massacres of the postwar 20th century, shocking new evidence reveals. British officials secretly deployed black propaganda in the 1960s to urge prominent Indonesians to ‘cut out’ the ‘communist cancer.’ It is estimated that at least 500,000 people – some estimates go to three million – linked to the Indonesia Communist party (PKI) were eliminated between 1965 and 1966.” – The Guardian

October 16, 2021
US throws out millions of doses of Covid vaccine as world goes wanting
“At least 15m doses were scrapped in the US between March and September, according to one analysis of CDC data. A separate investigation found 1m doses were discarded in 10 states between December and July. States continue tossing unused shots. Louisiana has thrown out 224,000 unused doses of the Covid vaccines – a rate that has almost tripled since the end of July, even as a deadly fourth wave of the virus gripped the state. Some of the lost doses came from opening and not finishing vials, but more than 20,000 shots simply expired. Thousands of doses are reportedly wasted each day in Wisconsin. In Alabama, more than 65,000 doses have been tossed; in Tennessee, it’s almost 200,000.” – The Guardian

October 15, 2021
Masked men storm Moscow screening of film about Stalin-era famine
“Irina Sherbakova, Memorial’s lawyer, said that after the police were called, the authorities handcuffed the entrance doors to Memorial’s office and locked its staff and attenders inside for hours. ‘It was strange, the police started to question us and not the ones who actually disrupted the movie. This looks like a planned attack on us to scare us away, approved by the authorities,’ she said. Nationalist activists frequently disrupt liberal, feminist and LGBT events, and Kremlin critics say the activists are able to freely operate with tacit approval from the authorities.” – The Guardian

October 14, 2021
The World’s Rich and Powerful Are Stashing $500 Billion in This Tax Haven
“South Dakota has no members in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index of the world’s richest 500 people, yet it shelters some half a trillion dollars of wealth in trusts. There’s no telling where the vast fortunes hide on tree-softened Phillips Avenue here in Sioux Falls. No billionaires in Brioni tuck into the gravy-drenched roast beef sandwich at the Diner. No dark-windowed Escalades cruise past the Child’s Play Store, where the owner sports a pin that proclaims her a ‘glow getter.’ Yet the money is here, mind-boggling sums of it, along this avenue in South Dakota, as the wider world discovered one sunny Sunday in October.” – Bloomberg

October 12, 2021
ECHR rejects case seeking to blame Vatican for abuse
“The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the Vatican cannot be sued in a local court for sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests, affirming that it enjoys sovereign immunity and that the misconduct of priests and their superiors cannot be attributed to the Holy See. Anne Barrett Doyle, co-founder of the online resource, said the ruling was a “galling reminder” of the Vatican’s impunity because of its status as a sovereign state. “The church’s dual identity as a religion and a state allows it to shape-shift according to the threat it faces in courts,” she said in a statement. “No other religious institution enjoys the same buffet of legal protections. The result is that the church repeatedly evades justice and its untold millions of victims are left to suffer.”” – Aljazeera

October 11, 2021
The City of London Is Hiding the World’s Stolen Money
“The Pandora Papers… exposed a smorgasbord of secretive and questionable financial dealings by more than 330 politicians and public officials from over 90 countries and territories — and over 130 billionaires from Russia, the United States and elsewhere. On display was a dizzying array of chicanery and wealth hoarding, often by the very people who should crack down on it…. But if there is one country at the system’s heart, it is Britain. Taken together with its partly controlled territories overseas, Britain is instrumental in the worldwide concealment of cash and assets. It is, as a member of the ruling Conservative Party said last week, “the money laundering capital of the world.” And the City of London, its gilded financial center, is at the system’s core. – The New York Times

October 11, 2021
The covid tech that is intimately tied to China’s surveillance state
“Heat-sensing cameras and face recognition systems may help fight covid-19—but they also make us complicit in the high-tech oppression of Uyghurs…. The algorithms make it appear normal that Black men or Uyghurs are disproportionately detected by these systems. They stop the police, and those they protect, from recognizing that surveillance is always about controlling and disciplining people who do not fit into the vision of those in power. The world, not China alone, has a problem with surveillance.” – MIT Technology Review

October 10, 1021
Luxury car sales surge in India as super-rich exit pandemic gloomFinancial Times

October 8, 2021
Ambani Joins Bezos, Musk in World’s Exclusive $100 Billion Club
Indian tycoon has added $24 billion to his fortune this year. Asia’s richest man is 11th member of the all-male club.” – Bloomberg

October 8, 2021
Is Facebook the tobacco industry of the 21st century? 
“The platform is ‘fanning ethnic violence’ in Ethiopia, just as it did to devastating effect in Myanmar, where Facebook eventually admitted its role as a deadly weapon in a campaign by the military against the Rohingya Muslim minority that led to murder, rape and dispossession. The authorities in Nigeria similarly say fake news spread on Facebook is killing people, as groups attack each other in retaliation for atrocities that never happened. Facebook knows about those problems too, and though it always makes the right noises about ‘learning lessons’ and ‘doing better,’ it does all too little.” – The Guardian

October 8, 2021
French far right’s new face: the meteoric rise of Éric Zemmour
“Claims that immigration and Islam will destroy the country and warns of a ‘war of races.’… He has argued that the ‘white, heterosexual male’ is under threat from ethnic minorities and a so-called ‘gay lobby.’ He claims foreigners have taken over whole neighbourhoods in France and, unless immigration is stopped, France will become an ‘Islamic republic.’… ‘It’s a turning point in French political history that Zemmour’s discourse is given so much space and legitimacy by the media,’ said Cécile Alduy, a Stanford University professor and expert on French political semantics…. He rose to fame after a deliberately provocative 2006 book on the dangers of what he called “feminist ideology” and his promotion of men’s inherent ‘need to dominate.’ On the back of it, he was hired as TV chatshow pundit – a provocateur whose outrageous views would bring in big ratings.” – The Guardian 

October 8, 2021
Top 1% of U.S. Earners Now Hold More Wealth Than All of the Middle Class
“After years of declines, America’s middle class now holds a smaller share of U.S. wealth than the top 1%. The middle 60% of U.S. households by income — a measure economists often use as a definition of the middle class — saw their combined assets drop to 26.6% of national wealth as of June, the lowest in Federal Reserve data going back three decades. For the first time, the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%.” – Bloomberg

October 7, 2021
Senate Report Details Trump’s Dramatic Efforts To Undercut 2020 Election In Waning Days
“White House counsel Pat Cipollone likened Trump’s effort to a “murder-suicide pact,” a Judiciary Committee probe found…. Top Justice Department officials and White House attorneys threatened to resign en masse if then-President Donald Trump followed through on plans to aggressively pursue unfounded claims of election fraud in his final days in office, according to a Senate Judiciary Committee report examining Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.” – HuffPost

October 7, 2021
Coronavirus report warned of impact on UK four years before pandemic
“Exclusive: Report from planning exercise in 2016 alerted government of need to stockpile PPE and set up contact tracing system…. Government ministers have previously stressed that pandemic planning focused more on flu so did not prepare the UK for the demands a coronavirus placed on PPE, hospitals and care homes…. In August the government refused to release the file saying it could ‘lead to loss of public confidence in the government’s and the NHS’ Covid-19 response… based on misinterpretation of the report.’… However, the file was released on Thursday under freedom of information laws to Dr Moosa Qureshi, a clinician campaigning for greater transparency around the government’s preparedness for the pandemic, which has claimed more than 137,417 lives so far, according to the government’s own figures.” – The Guardian

October 7, 2021
The Afghan War: A Photographer’s Journal
“One of the first things the New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks witnessed after arriving in Afghanistan in late 2001, soon after U.S. airstrikes on Oct. 7 opened the invasion, was the execution of a wounded Taliban fighter. The scene shocked him, upending everything he thought he knew about war and about the Afghan Northern Alliance — the U.S.-aligned fighters who had been his guides and protectors, and the Talib’s killers.” – The New York Times

October 6, 2021
How Other Nations Pay for Child Care. The U.S. Is an Outlier.
“Rich countries contribute an average of $14,000 per year for a toddler’s care, compared with $500 in the U.S.”– The New York Times

October 6, 2021
Donald Trump Justifies Capitol Riot, Says Election Was The ‘Real Insurrection’
“In a statement, Trump targeted Congress’ bipartisan select committee investigating the attack, which involved a horde of his supporters storming the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Dozens of police officers were injured in the riot, and several people died. The committee ‘should come to the conclusion after spending many millions of dollars, that the real insurrection happened on November 3rd, the Presidential Election, not on January 6th—which was a day of protesting the Fake Election results,’ Trump said in his statement.” – HuffPost

October 5, 2021
Estimated 216,000 children abused by French Catholic priests, report finds
“The number could rise to 330,000 when including abuse by lay members. There have been about 2,900-3,200 suspected paedophiles in the French church over the last 70 years.” – The Guardian

October 5, 2021
Pandora papers reveal South Dakota’s role as $367bn tax haven
“The files suggest the US midwestern state now rivals Switzerland, Panama, the Cayman Islands and other famous tax havens as a premier venue for the international rich seeking to protect their assets from local taxes or the authorities…. US is also emerging as a key location for trusts, which are typically used to shelter the personal wealth of super-rich individuals rather than multinationals…. The disclosures will be a major embarrassment for the US president, Joe Biden, who upon entering office pledged to ‘lead efforts internationally to bring transparency to the global financial system.'” – The Guardian

October 4, 2021
Here Are the Biggest Revelations From the Pandora Papers Leak
“An unprecedented leak of financial records known as the Pandora Papers has revealed the offshore financial assets of dozens of current and former world leaders and hundreds of politicians from Asia and the Middle East to Latin America. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained 11.9 million confidential documents from 14 separate legal and financial services firms, which the group said offered ‘a sweeping look at an industry that helps the world’s ultrawealthy, powerful government officials and other elites conceal trillions of dollars from tax authorities, prosecutors and others.'” – Bloomberg

October 3, 2021
Through 22 stories and 130 locations, a photographer retraces a haunting ‘pathway to genocide’
“Over 75 years on from the German surrender at the end of World War II, living memory of the atrocities of the Holocaust are fading. In the minds of those who weren’t there, they are also zoned. Think of the murder of millions by the Nazis and most think of railway lines beneath watchtowers, through gates and behind razorwire fences into places with the most terrifying names in history: Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, Mauthausen. But these killing centres were only one part of the terror experienced by those persecuted across Europe between 1933 and 1945. Now, with first generation survivors of the Nazi genocide diminishing, it is the places themselves that stand in memory to the horrors that happened there – many of which are in danger of being forgotten. – National Geographic

October 3, 2021
GONE Nearly 100,000 people have disappeared in Mexico. Their families now search for clues among the dead.
“They lie in clandestine graves strewn across the desert, mingled in communal pits, or hacked to pieces and scattered on desiccated hillsides…. In a country wracked by a drug war without end, death can feel pervasive. Murder rates climb inexorably, now topping 30,000 a year…. The missing haunt Mexico’s collective memory, a crushing testament to the inability of government after government to staunch the bloodshed and bring criminals to justice…. According to Ms. Durán-Martínez, the crisis of the disappeared in Mexico speaks not just to the prevalence of organized crime, but also to the propensity for state security forces to be engaged in the violence.” – The New York Times

October 1, 2021
Police log 10,000 indecent exposure cases, but fewer than 600 reach court
“Women are facing an ‘epidemic’ of flashing and other forms of indecent exposure, with police in England and Wales recording more than 10,000 cases last year but taking fewer than 600 people to court over them, Guardian analysis reveals. The findings come after Wayne Couzens was reported for repeated instances of alleged indecent exposure in the years and days before he raped and murdered Sarah Everard, but faced no action. Police accepted they may have had enough clues to identify the police officer as a threat to women sooner, amid fears that flashing is a gateway to other sex crimes.” – The Guardian

October 1, 2021
Police Violence Deaths Are Twice As High As Official U.S. Count, Study Finds
“Researchers estimate 30,800 people have been killed by police from 1980 to 2018 — far more than government data has captured. More men died of police violence than of testicular cancer, or lymphoma, or STDs in the U.S. in 2019…. A new study published in The Lancet found that a government-run database has undercounted the number of deaths at the hands of police in the U.S. by more than half. The undercount was most pronounced among non-Hispanic Black victims, who had the highest mortality rate: Of an estimated 9,500 deaths, only around 3,800 were officially logged.” – Bloomberg

September 30, 2021
China owed $385bn – including ‘hidden debt’ from poorer nations, says report
“AidData finds 42 low-to-middle income countries with ‘belt and road’ exposure exceeding 10% of GDP…. Researchers have identified debts of at least $385bn (£286bn) owed by 165 countries to China for ”belt and road initiative” (BRI) projects, with loans systematically underreported to international bodies such as the World Bank.” –  The Guardian

September 29, 2021
Most Americans Today Believe the Stock Market Is Rigged, and They’re Right
“New research shows insider trading is everywhere. So far, no one seems to care.” – Bloomberg

September 27, 2021
The Largest Autocracy on Earth – Facebook is acting like a hostile foreign power; it’s time we treated it that way.
“Facebook is a lie-disseminating instrument of civilizational collapse. It is designed for blunt-force emotional reaction, reducing human interaction to the clicking of buttons. The algorithm guides users inexorably toward less nuanced, more extreme material, because that’s what most efficiently elicits a reaction. Users are implicitly trained to seek reactions to what they post, which perpetuates the cycle.” – The Atlantic 

September 27, 2021
The Kremlin’s Strange Victory – How Putin Exploits American Dysfunction and Fuels American Decline
“In the very early years of the post–Cold War era, many analysts and observers had hoped that Russia would slowly but surely converge in some ways with the United States. They predicted that once the Soviet Union and communism had fallen away, Russia would move toward a form of liberal democracy. By the late 1990s, it was clear that such an outcome was not on the horizon. And in more recent years, quite the opposite has happened: the United States has begun to move closer to Russia, as populism, cronyism, and corruption have sapped the strength of American democracy.”– Foreign Affairs 

September 26, 2021
Femicides in the US: the silent epidemic few dare to name
‘According to the CDC, homicide is the fourth leading cause of death for girls and women one to 19 years old, and the fifth leading cause of death for women 20 to 44…. According to analysis of FBI data, of all female homicides accounted for in 2018 where the relationship between perpetrator and victim could be identified, 92% of cases involved women or girls killed by a man they knew, 63% of whom were killed by current husbands, ex-husbands or current boyfriends. This puts confirmed American female intimate gendered killings happening at a staggering rate of almost three women every day…. Adjusting for population size, the problem is twice as bad in the US than it is in France…. In Turkey, where so-called ‘honor killings’ are reportedly still practiced… the proportion of femicides here remains distinctly larger.” – The Guardian

September 26, 2021
Scientist Complained Trump ‘Election Stuff’ Overrode COVID Concerns In His White House
Virologist Steven Hatfill was traveling to Arizona and Nevada to challenge Donald Trump election losses instead of fighting COVID, according to his emails…. A scientist working for the Trump administration repeatedly complained in emails that “election stuff” was taking dangerous precedence over developing an effective response to the deadly COVID-19 crisis, The Washington Post reported. Donald Trump’s focus on the election persisted, according to the emails, even as COVID-19 cases in the U.S. soared to some 250,000 a day in January, the Post noted. – HuffPost

September 26, 2021
China’s war on fun – Like helicopter parents, dictators think it’s dangerous to enjoy life
“At the start of August an article appeared in China’s biggest state-run news agency comparing video games with “electronic drugs” and “spiritual opium”. A few weeks later, online lists ranking celebrities by popularity were banned to ‘rectify chaos in the fan community.’.Before the month was out online gaming companies were barred from providing services to minors except on Fridays, weekends and holidays, and even then only between 8pm and 9pm. Next, reality TV shows with “abnormal aesthetics” featuring ‘sissy men’ were forbidden, with viewers encouraged to ‘love the party, love the country, advocate morality and art’, and instructed to ‘consciously abandon vulgar and kitsch inferior tastes, and consciously oppose the decadent ideas of money worship, hedonism and extreme individualism.'” – UnHerd

September 26, 2021
The Failed Game Plan for Overthrowing the 2020 Vote
“John C. Eastman, one of the lawyers who advised President Donald Trump in his attempt to overturn the 2020 election, reportedly presented Trump with an exquisitely Trumpian plan to have Vice President Mike Pence do his dirty work: Pence should lie. Then he should leverage his lie in order to take the election out of the hands of American voters through the exercise of an authority he doesn’t have under the Constitution.” – The Bulwark

September 24, 2021
Noam Chomsky on the cruelty of American imperialism
“Mr Trump has brilliantly tapped poisons running below the surface of American society, stirring up a toxic brew that may destroy the country. The party he now owns is pursuing its long decline to proto-fascism. If that course persists, the reversal from the 1930s will be a cruel irony, particularly poignant for those whose lives it will have framed. And it will be devastating for the world, given American power.” – The Economist

September 24, 2021
This Is How America’s Richest Families Stay That Way
“It might just be the most important tax loophole in America — one that billionaires use to pass vast sums of wealth down to their heirs by avoiding capital gains taxes. This supremely obscure and yet wildly consequential rule concerns assets passed from one person to another when they die…. Former Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota called it ‘one of the biggest scams in the history of forever.’” – The New York Times

September 24, 2021
‘Necessary for security’: veteran Taliban enforcer says amputations will resume
“The Taliban will resume executions and the amputation of hands for criminals they convict, in a return to their harsh version of Islamic justice. …“No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Qur’an. Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security,” Turabi said, saying it had a deterrent effect. He said the cabinet was studying whether to carry out punishments in public and would “develop a policy”.” – The Guardian

September 24, 2021
Republican Review of Arizona Vote Fails to Show Stolen Election
“The much criticized review showed much the same results as in November, with 99 more Biden votes and 261 fewer Trump ones. …Election experts said the inquiry run by Trump partisans with unrestricted access to ballots and election equipment failed to make even a basic case that the November vote was badly flawed, much less rigged.” – The New York Times

September 21, 2021
Pregnant Texan Registers as Corporation So Government Can’t Regulate Her
“I am now known as Fallopian Rubes, Incorporated,” declared Hidalgo. “This so-called ‘heartbeat bill’ is a slippery slope of epic proportions, so I had to find a legal loophole like a true American. I know it’s been said over and over by countless people, but I’ll be damned if I let the government tell me what to do with my body. To be honest, I don’t even want to get an abortion. It is way too important for me to spawn offspring that will counteract the insane levels of ignorance that prevail in the Lone Star State. Instead of a gender reveal, I will be announcing whether my fetus will be an LLC or a sole proprietorship.” – Medium

September 19, 2021
White Evangelicals Shun Morality for Power
“Evangelical Christians castigated Bill Clinton in wake of his “improper relationship” with the White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He had sinned. He would be stoned…. But Mr. Graham never demanded the same of Donald Trump. To the contrary, he became one of Trump’s biggest defenders. When a tape was released during the 2016 campaign of Trump bragging years earlier about sexually assaulting women, Graham revealed his true motives: It wasn’t religious piety, but rather raw politics. – The New York Times

September 19, 2021
Prince Charles ‘cash-for-honours’ scandal grows with fresh allegations
“Prince Charles “met at least nine times” with William Bortrick, the alleged fixer at the heart of the claims, who is said to have received thousands of pounds to secure an honour for a Saudi billionaire and brokered a personal thank you letter from Charles to a Russian donor… The Mail on Sunday reported that Charles met Bruno Wang, who describes himself as a Chinese philanthropist and donated £500,000 to the prince’s charity, the Prince’s Foundation. The newspaper claimed that Wang is wanted in Taiwan for alleged money laundering and being a fugitive from justice, allegations he strongly denies, and drew comparisons between Wang and the Russian banker Dmitry Leus. Leus was likewise accused of money laundering and made a donation of £500,000 to the foundation.” – The Guardian

September 19, 2021
Long-Secret FBI Report Reveals New Connections Between 9/11 Hijackers and Saudi Religious Officials in U.S.
“The Saudi government has always denied any role in the attacks, noting that al-Qaida and its former leader, Osama bin Laden, were sworn enemies of the royal family. But the 2016 report shows that FBI agents found evidence that several Saudi religious officials working in the United States had connections not only to people who assisted the hijackers but also to other Qaida operatives and suspected extremists. At the time, there were many Saudis in the country who had diplomatic credentials but were mainly involved in religious activity.” – ProPublica

September 16, 2021
Troll farms reached 140 million Americans a month on Facebook before 2020 election, internal report shows
“‘This is not normal. This is not healthy.’In the run-up to the 2020 election, the most highly contested in US history, Facebook’s most popular pages for Christian and Black American content were being run by Eastern European troll farms. These pages were part of a larger network that collectively reached nearly half of all Americans, according to an internal company report, and achieved that reach not through user choice but primarily as a result of Facebook’s own platform design and engagement-hungry algorithm…. The report reveals the alarming state of affairs in which Facebook leadership left the platform for years, despite repeated public promises to aggressively tackle foreign-based election interference.” – MIT Review

September 15, 2021
Priest accused of burning his wife alive in temple premises arrested
“According to the local police, the accused used to doubt about the loyalty of his wife and has suspicion that she was indulged in extramarital relation on Wednesday, infighting occurred between husband and wife after which the accused brutally beaten the victim lady in the day, in the evening when he returned, he again attacked her with sharp-edged weapon till, she fainted. After-then the accused set the lady on fire with a gas stove, said Bhatapara police. At the time, when the horrific incident occurred the accused children and in-laws were present in the temple premises, but they kept their mouths shut over the accused threats….” – The Free Press Journal

September 15, 2021
Pope rejects German archbishop’s resignation over abuse
“Pope Francis has rejected the resignation of the archbishop of Hamburg, who offered to step down in March after a report faulted him for his handling of sexual abuse allegations in his previous diocese. The statement said Francis rejected Hesse’s resignation and asked him to stay on in view of “the fact that the archbishop recognizes with humility the mistakes he made in the past” and had offered to quit. The influential German lay group ZdK, or Central Committee of German Catholics, sharply criticized the Vatican’s reasoning. “It is a slap in the face for people affected by sexual violence when no personal consequences result from these wrong decisions,”” – AP News

September 14, 2021
China #MeToo Figure Vows to Appeal After Losing Landmark Case
“The court in Beijing rejected Ms. Zhou’s case in a terse online statement that did not go into the substance of her claims. She had ‘tendered insufficient evidence to prove her assertion that a certain Zhu had engaged in sexual harassment,’ the court stated. Standing on the street in front of the courthouse shortly after the decision, Ms. Zhou — who is widely known in China by her nickname, Xianzi — said the judges had given her little opportunity to detail her allegations. She said they had rejected her lawyer’s efforts to introduce what she said was supporting evidence, such as video footage from outside the dressing room, as well as police interview notes with her parents from shortly after the episode. ‘Ultimately, the court didn’t give us any space for making a statement,’ she said in a 10-minute statement around midnight that wavered between resignation and defiance.” – The New York Times

September 14, 2021
Warren Asks Fed to Break Up Wells Fargo After Regulatory Hit
“’Every single day that Wells Fargo continues to maintain these depository accounts is a day that millions of customers remain at risk of additional negligence and willful fraud,’ Warren wrote. ‘The only way these consumers and their bank accounts can be kept safe is through another institution—one whose business model is not dependent on swindling customers for every last penny they can get. The Fed has the power to put consumers first, and it must use it.’” – Bloomberg

September 14, 2021
As India’s Lethal Covid Wave Neared, Politics Overrode Science
“The country’s top science agency tailored its findings to fit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s optimistic narrative despite a looming crisis, researchers say. The forecast was mathematically based, government-approved and deeply, tragically wrong…. Dr. Agarwal took his concerns to the agency’s top official in October. The response: He and another concerned scientist were reprimanded, he said. In the wake of the devastating second wave, which killed hundreds of thousands of people, many in India are asking how Mr. Modi’s government missed the warning signs….  Part of the answer, according to current and former government researchers and documents reviewed by The New York Times, is that senior officials forced scientists at elite institutions to downplay the threat to prioritize Mr. Modi’s political goals. ‘Science is being used as a political weapon to forward the government narrative rather than help people,’ said Dr. Agarwal, 32.” – The New York Times

September 13, 2021
The War on Terror Was Corrupt From the Start
“The war in Afghanistan wasn’t a failure. It was a massive success — for those who made a fortune off it…. Corruption wasn’t a design flaw in the war. It was a design feature. We didn’t topple the Taliban. We paid warlords bags of cash to do it…. What stands out about the war in Afghanistan is the way that it became the Afghan economy…. The result was a fantasy economy that operated more like a casino or a Ponzi scheme than a country. Why build a factory or plant crops when you can get fabulously wealthy selling whatever the Americans want to buy? Why fight the Taliban when you could just pay them not to attack?” – The New York Times

September 11, 2021
The Sacklers Are Walking Off Into the Sunset. Reform the System.
“Ignored by a system devised to protect extreme wealth and perpetuate social disparity, Purdue’s victims find themselves doubly victimized…. The final settlement — up to $750 million to over 130,000 victim creditors — is far less than what will be paid to a handful of lawyers and consultants in the case…. Victims stand to receive only about 7.5 percent of the total value of the estimated settlement. The other 92.5 percent will go to corporations and governments. Victims deserved better — and they deserved more. And they did not deserve to have the Sackler family shielded from any civil litigation.” – The New York Times

September 11, 2021
9/11 should have led to a criminal investigation, not a war
“The politics of fear, with its foundation in lies, is an effective way of manipulating any electorate. Perhaps it has never been so effectively applied as it was by consecutive US presidents in the wake of 9/11, when they took al-Qaeda, with its slingshot, and portrayed Osama bin Laden’s motley crew as Goliath.” Aljazeera

September 10, 2021
Infographic: US military presence around the world
“The US controls about 750 bases in at least 80 countries worldwide and spends more on its military than the next 10 countries combined… US troop deployment since 1950: Over the past 70 years, the US military has been deployed to more than 200 countries and territories. – Aljazeera

September 10, 2021
Declassified documents show Australia assisted CIA in coup against Chile’s Salvador Allende
“Australia’s covert overseas spy agency, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, opened a base in Santiago to assist in the US Central Intelligence Agency’s destabilisation of the Chilean government ahead of the bloody military coup against Salvador Allende’s socialist government 48 years ago today.” The Guardian

September 10, 2021
The Trump Coup Is Still Raging
“What happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was not a coup attempt. It was half of a coup attempt — the less important half. The more important part of the coup attempt — like legal wrangling in states and the attempts to sabotage the House commission’s investigation of Jan. 6 — is still going strong. These are not separate and discrete episodes but parts of a unitary phenomenon that, in just about any other country, would be characterized as a failed coup d’état.” – The New York Times

September 7, 2021
US airstrikes killed at least 22,000 civilians since 9/11, analysis finds
“US drone and airstrikes have killed at least 22,000 civilians – and perhaps as many as 48,000 – since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, according to new analysis published by the civilian harm monitoring group Airwars. The analysis, based on the US military’s own assertion that it has conducted almost 100,000 airstrikes since 2001, represents an attempt to estimate the number of civilian deaths across the multiple conflicts that have comprised aspects of the ‘war on terror.’ – The Guardian

September 7, 2021
Egypt security forces accused of covering up extrajudicial executions
“Campaigners have accused Egyptian security forces of killing dozens of alleged militants in extrajudicial executions then claiming the deaths occurred during ‘shoot-outs.’ Human Rights Watch cited interior ministry statements as reporting 755 such killings between 2015 and 2020.” – BBC

September 6, 2021
Cultural genocide’: the shameful history of Canada’s residential schools – mapped
In 1876, parliament passed the Indian Act…. Children were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to live in institutions that had the explicit aim of stripping away their culture, language and identity…. For most of the 20th Century, at least 139 residential schools were run by Catholic, Anglican and United churches, with financial support from the federal government. An estimated 150,000 children attended. They were prohibited from speaking their native languages and had to adopt their school’s religious denomination. Many were beaten, verbally and sexually abused, and thousands died from disease neglect and suicide…. The latest discoveries suggest that the deal toll at the schools which was previously estimated at 3,200, is likely to be far higher….. Only a fraction of the schools have been searched so far. – The Guardian

September 6, 2021
Brazil: warning Bolsonaro may be planning military coup amid rallies
“The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, and his allies could be preparing to mount a military coup in Brazil, according to an influential group of former presidents, prime ministers and leading public figures on the left. An open letter claims rallies that Bolsonaro followers are staging on Tuesday represent a danger to democracy and amount to an insurrection modelled on Donald Trump supporters’ attack on the US Capitol on 6 January. They assert the nationwide marches by Bolsonaro supporters against the supreme court and Congress, involving white supremacist groups, military police, and public officials at every level of government, are “stoking fears of a coup in the world’s third largest democracy”.” – The Guardian

September 5, 2021
The Conservative Justices’ Reasoning in the Texas Abortion Case Is Legal Mansplaining
“It’s almost impossible to not go one further and declare that the court opted to end virtually all abortion rights in Texas, in the full knowledge that they were blessing an unconstitutional and brutal piece of lawless vigilantism, because it’s only about women.” – Slate

September 5, 2021
“A Vast Criminal Racket”: How the U.S. Corrupted Afghanistan
“…It was game on for a cash mill that saw a total of $2 trillion spent by America in Afghanistan. Civilian officials from agencies like USAID, the State Department, and Congress continued to launch obscenely inflated development projects that could turn Afghan governors into millionaires overnight. Military contractors continued to unwittingly pay Taliban commanders to refrain from attacking supply convoys. And Afghan officials brazenly stole the paychecks, ammunition, and even food of Afghan soldiers fighting on the front line. On paper the U.S. paid for a 300,000-man Afghan army, but the actual number was much smaller—and the difference, of course, was pocketed by Afghan officials. American policies were so contradictory, in fact, that many ordinary Afghans concluded that the U.S. was secretly allied with the Taliban and just “pretending” to be at war.” – Vanity Fair

September 5, 2021
Trump’s coup attempt has not stopped – and Democrats must wake up
“The former president’s attempted coup is not stopping. He still refuses to concede and continues to rile up supporters with his bogus claim that the 2020 election was stolen. Tens of millions of Americans believe him. Last Sunday, at a Republican event in Franklin, North Carolina, Congressman Madison Cawthorn, repeating Trump’s big lie, called the rioters who stormed the Capitol on 6 January ‘political hostages.’ Cawthorn also advised the crowd to begin stockpiling ammunition for what he said was likely to be American-versus-American ‘bloodshed’ over unfavorable election results.” – The Guardian

September 2, 2021
Afghanistan Was a Ponzi Scheme Sold to the American Public
When a scam falls apart, it collapses fast. – Foreign Policy

September 1, 2021
Purdue Pharma Is Dissolved and Sacklers Pay $4.5 Billion to Settle Opioid Claims
“It largely absolves the Sacklers of Purdue’s opioid-related liability. And as such, they will remain among the richest families in the country… to address a public health crisis that led to the deaths of more than 500,000 people nationwide…. Judge Drain delivered his ruling… ‘This is a bitter result,’ he said. ‘B-I-T-T-E-R,’ he spelled out, explaining that he was frustrated that so much Sackler money was parked in offshore accounts…. Dr. Richard Sackler, a former president and co-chairman of Purdue’s board of directors, said that neither the family, the company nor its products bore responsibility for the opioid epidemic…. Washington State’s attorney general, Bob Ferguson, called the plan ‘morally and legally bankrupt,’ because, he said, ‘it allows the Sacklers to walk away as billionaires with a lifetime legal shield.’ – The New York Times

August 31, 2021
Kevin McCarthy Warns Phone, Tech Giants GOP Won’t ‘Forget’ If They Turn Over Jan. 6 Records
“House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) issued a warning to telecom and tech companies on Tuesday, saying Republicans would ‘not forget’ if they turn over phone records to lawmakers investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. McCarthy made the comments a day after a House select committee, led by Democrats, requested that 35 phone and social media companies preserve the records of an unknown group of people related to the deadly insurrection, as well as those involved in the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally near the White House that precipitated the mob attack.” – HuffPost

August 31, 2021
This Is the Moment the Anti-Vaccine Movement Has Been Waiting For
“Dr. Michelle Fiscus, Tennessee’s medical director in charge of vaccinations, was fired in mid-July after promoting vaccination to young people, an effort state legislators like Scott Cepicky, a Republican representative, found ‘reprehensible.’ And then the state suspended vaccination outreach for all vaccines. Dr. Fiscus says the anti-vaccine movement is partly to blame. ‘I think it’s been this insidious growth of their influence on susceptible legislators,’ she said, ‘especially in Southern states where they have taken the ‘medical freedom’ kind of angle.’” – The New York Times

August 30, 2021
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar defends Karnal SDM who asked cops to ‘crack heads’ of farmers
“Chief Minister Khattar has defended the police action at the behest of Karnal’s Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Ayush Sinha, who was seen instructing policemen that no protesters should go beyond a certain barricaded area, and that their “heads should be cracked” if such an attempt was made. After a video of Sinha asking the cops to use their lathis on farmers went viral, Khattar said that words were wrong but the intentions were correct.” – The Free Press Journal

August 30, 2021
In India, growing clamour to criminalise rape within marriage
In India, a society rooted in patriarchal traditions, marriages are sacrosanct and it is not a crime for a man to rape his wife…. The British colonial-era law, which has been in existence in India since 1860, mentions several “exemptions” – situations in which sex is not rape – and one of them is “by a man with his own wife” who’s not a minor.” – BBC

August 28, 2021
Repression Without Borders
“According to a major report this year by the human rights organization Freedom House.. compiled a list of 608 cases of transnational repression since 2014, conducted in 79 host countries by 31 governments. Major violators, in addition to Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, included Rwanda, Iran, China and Egypt…. ‘China conducts the most sophisticated, global and comprehensive campaign of transnational repression in the world,’ the report said…. Interpol, the international criminal police organization, has been an especially popular tool of the autocrats to hunt down their critics…. Russia is responsible for 38 percent of red notices….. Ari Fleischer said after the C.I.A. began using armed drones to strike at terrorists: ‘We will fight the war on terrorism wherever we need to fight the war on terrorism.'” – The New York Times

August 27, 2021
Wisconsin School District Rejects Universal Free Lunches So Kids Won’t Get ‘Spoiled’
“But parents and teachers are clamoring to get the federally funded program back as families continue to financially struggle during the coronavirus pandemic. A Wisconsin school district has rejected free, federally funded lunches for all students so families won’t be ‘spoiled,’ in the words of one board member.” – HuffPost

August 25, 2021
It’s Finally Time to End American Hubris in Afghanistan
“In 2001 the Taliban’s leader and co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar attempted to surrender to Mr. Karzai’s forces and demobilize, in exchange for allowing the Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Mohammed Omar to live in dignity in Kandahar. The U.S. defense secretary at the time, Donald Rumsfeld, refused to accept that deal. At the insistence of Americans, the Taliban were bombed and locked up at Guantánamo Bay.” – The New York Times

August 25, 2021
Chinese Citizen Who Documented Wuhan Outbreak Falls Ill in Prison Hunger Strike
“Zhang Zhan was sentenced to four years for videos about failures in handling the virus. She now weighs less than 90 pounds, her former lawyer says… Ms. Zhang had declined to appeal her conviction, telling her lawyers that she refused to acknowledge the validity of the legal process used to imprison her. She was the first citizen journalist tried for challenging the official narrative of China’s pandemic response.” – The New York Times

August  25, 2021
I Commanded Afghan Troops This Year. We Were Betrayed.
“Political divisions in Kabul and Washington strangled the army and limited our ability to do our jobs…. So why did the Afghan military collapse? The answer is threefold. First, former President Donald Trump’s February 2020 peace deal with the Taliban in Doha doomed us…. Second, we lost contractor logistics and maintenance support critical to our combat operations. Third, the corruption endemic in Mr. Ghani’s government.” – The New York Times

August 25, 2021
Who’s to blame for the Afghanistan chaos? Remember the war’s cheerleaders
“Today the media are looking for scapegoats, but 20 years ago they helped facilitate the disastrous intervention. Everyone is to blame for the catastrophe in Afghanistan, except the people who started it.” – The Guardian

August 24, 2021
Federal Defense Contractors Resume Donations To Republicans Who Rejected Democracy
“Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon all vowed to halt political contributions after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Welp! The nation’s biggest federal defense contractors have quietly resumed giving money to Republicans who helped fuel the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, despite making a public show of halting their political contributions after the attack and touting their companies’ roles in protecting democracy.” – HuffPost

August 24, 2021
He Blew the Whistle on the Catholic Church in 1985. Why Didn’t We Listen?
“…In May 1985, Jason Berry, a Catholic journalist in Louisiana, wrote his first piece on child sexual abuse in the church, for the National Catholic Reporter and the Times of Acadiana. Mr. Berry called himself a ‘reluctant muckraker’” but his exposé on the Rev. Gilbert Gauthe would prove to be only the first in a series of exhaustive investigations over the years, including his 1992 book, ‘Lead Us Not Into Temptation.’ Mr. Berry appeared on national television programs like ‘Donahue’ and ‘Oprah,’ arguing that child sexual abuse had become ‘the Watergate of the Catholic Church.'” – The New York Times

August 23, 2021
What We Left Behind in Afghanistan
“The Americans and their partners were happy to dole out money, but they stopped short of directing the country. They didn’t know the languages, anyway. Desperate for allies, they turned to the strongest Afghans immediately available: the cynical, battle-hardened commanders who had risen through the chaos of the past two decades. The combination of warlords and American largesse, sanctified by Western-style elections, produced a state whose leaders’ main objective was to get hold of as much foreign money as possible. Enriched by graft, the Afghan élite began spending weekends in the United Arab Emirates, where they gathered in posh villas on an island called Palm Jumeirah. American officials had a droll name for the phenomenon: vertically integrated criminal enterprise, or vice. The Afghan state, venal and predatory, became the main driver of Taliban recruitment.” – The New Yorker

August 23, 2021
In the South, We Are Fighting Covid. And Our Own Elected Officials.
Our intensive care units are full. Our children are getting sick in record numbers. Nevertheless, a small subset of unmasked, unvaccinated humanity has taken to yelling during school board meetings, and the most extreme protesters have issued threats against nurses and physicians who dared to speak publicly on behalf of such reasonable pandemic mitigation measures as masks and vaccines. Things have gotten this terrible for one reason: Our elected leaders keep making an already bad situation much worse.” The New York Times

August 20, 2021
The ides of August
“Hamid Karzai, the U.S. choice to pilot Afghanistan after we ousted their regime, was in fact the go-between who negotiated those very Taliban’s initial entry into Afghanistan in 1994. And lo. Karzai abruptly emerges from this vortex, at the head of a “coordinating committee” that will negotiate the Taliban’s return to power? Again? …And what did we stand for? What flourished on our watch? Cronyism, rampant corruption, a Ponzi scheme disguised as a banking system, designed by U.S. finance specialists during the very years that other U.S. finance specialists were incubating the crash of 2008. A government system where billionaires get to write the rules. Is that American democracy?” – Sarah Chayes

August 18, 2021
Why the World Is Giving Up on Freedom
“His choice is the most sensible one of all, seen through his own eyes. Neoliberalism has cost him a good life. He has paid the costs too long, of a failed global order, which has not benefitted him much at all — because it cannot see his suffering. But there is someone who can: the strongman, the fascist, singing him soothing lullabies of greatness and strength. He will be great again! Ah, at last: an end to suffering.” – Eudaimonia

August 18, 2021
Billions spent on Afghan army ultimately benefited Taliban
“Built and trained at a two-decade cost of $83 billion, Afghan security forces collapsed so quickly and completely — in some cases without a shot fired — that the ultimate beneficiary of the American investment turned out to be the Taliban. They grabbed not only political power but also U.S.-supplied firepower — guns, ammunition, helicopters and more.” – The Associated Press

August 18, 2021
Hong Kong Police Arrest Students Over ‘Advocating Terrorism’
“Four student union leaders at the University of Hong Kong were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of ‘advocating terrorism’ after they had held a moment of silence for a man who stabbed a police officer and then killed himself.” – The New York Times

August 16, 2021
Biden Administration To Permanently Boost Food Stamp Benefits By 25 Percent
“The increased assistance will be available indefinitely to all 42 million SNAP beneficiaries.” – HuffPost

August 15, 2021
Deceptions and lies: What really happened in Afghanistan.
“U.S. hid the truth about an attack targeting Cheney, amid fears of losing war By lying about how close the insurgents had come to harming Cheney, the U.S. military sank deeper into a pattern of deceiving the public about many facets of the war, from discrete events to the big picture. What began as selective, self-serving disclosures after the 2001 invasion gradually hardened into willful distortions and, eventually, flat-out fabrications.” – The Washington Post

August 15, 2021
Acres of Money Laundering: Why U.S. Real Estate is a Kleptocrat’s Dream
“What do the Iranian government, a fugitive international jeweler, and a disgraced Harvard University fencing coach have in common? They have all used U.S. real estate to launder their ill-gotten gains. In Acres of Money Laundering: Why U.S. Real Estate is a Kleptocrat’s Dream, Global Financial Integrity (GFI) dives into the murky world of global money laundering and demonstrates the ease with which kleptocrats, criminals, sanctions evaders, and corrupt government officials choose the U.S. real estate market as their preferred destination to hide and launder proceeds from illicit activities.” – Global Financial Integrity

August 12, 2021
The unravelling of a conspiracy: were the 16 charged with plotting to kill India’s prime minister framed?
“In July 2021, the Guardian and a consortium of news organisations revealed that Pegasus spyware had been used by a number of repressive governments around the world to spy on human rights defenders, activists and journalists. Modi’s government was said to be among those using Pegasus, and it was reportedly found to be targeting opposition politicians, journalists and activists in India. ” – The Guardian

August 9, 2021
Eight-year-old becomes youngest person charged with blasphemy in Pakistan
“Hindu boy faces possible death penalty after being accused of intentionally urinating in a madrassa library….. The boy’s family is in hiding and many of the Hindu community in the conservative district of Rahim Yar Khan, in Punjab, have fled their homes after a Muslim crowd attacked a Hindu temple after the boy’s release on bail last week. Troops were deployed to the area to quell any further unrest.” – The Guardian

August 9, 2021
The Big Money Behind the Big Lie
“Donald Trump’s attacks on democracy are being promoted by rich and powerful conservative groups that are determined to win at all costs. …On July 24th, Trump appeared in Phoenix for a “Rally to Protect Our Elections,” and said, “I am not the one trying to undermine American democracy—I’m the one trying to save American democracy.” Predicting that the audit would vindicate him, he rambled angrily for nearly two hours about having been cheated, calling the election “a scam—the greatest crime in history.”” – The New Yorker

August 7, 2021
India’s passage to despotism began long before demagogue Modi
“A new book, ‘To Kill A Democracy: India’s Passage to Despotism’ examines the failures of India’s dance with democracy. It argues the country’s problems are long in the making and not only linked to Narendra Modi’s brand of populism…. Despotism is rather a new type of strong state led by a demagogue and run by state and corporate leaders with the help of pliant journalists and docile judges, a top-down form of government that has the backing of not just the law-enforcement agencies but also millions of loyal subjects who are willing to lend their support to leaders who offer them tangible benefits and daringly rule in the name of ‘democracy’ and ‘the people.’ Hungary, Kazakhstan and Turkey – to name just a few recent cases – show that a transition from democracy to despotism can happen rapidly, in not much more than a decade. India may be next on the list.” – South China Morning Post

August 6, 2021
Texas GOP Leader Hospitalized For COVID-19 Dies Days After Mocking Vaccines
“’A tragedy,’ the GOP Facebook post read. ‘Please pray for Melissa and Reid and their family. God remains in control, although this is yet another tough one to swallow.’” – HuffPost

August 5, 2021
Revealed: Britain’s ‘lost’ blueprint for fighting a coronavirus outbreak – written 16 years ago
“The Coronavirus Files: After Sars swept across the globe, the UK drew up a plan for fighting an airborne virus arriving in Britain from China. The 2005 document was filed away in Whitehall, and apparently never used. Now uncovered, its recommendations – from limiting travel to stopping ‘super-spreader’ events – are strikingly similar to the measures belatedly brought in to fight Covid-19. Former government advisers tell Samuel Lovett that this guide to fighting an epidemic could have saved tens of thousands of lives…. The plan was seemingly ‘lost’ in Whitehall, never acted upon or even considered when Covid-19 swept the planet.”  – Independent

August 5, 2021
Deaths in United Kingdom: Deaths within 28 days of positive test by date of death
“Number of deaths of people who had had a positive test result for COVID-19 and died within 28 days of the first positive test: 130,175.” – GOV.UKCoronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK

August 4, 2021
Dalit girl allegedly raped, killed and forcibly cremated in India
“Nine-year-old girl’s family alleges she was gang-raped and murdered by a Hindu priest and his associates in the capital New Delhi…. Her mother told Al Jazeera on Wednesday, ‘“I was shocked and asked the priest to tell me how my daughter could die. I told him I wanted to take her to the police station and hospital but he refused, saying, “Don’t do that. I will give you money but let’s settle the matter here. You will not be able to fight the case.” – Aljazeera

August 4, 2021
Investors Are Ignoring a Dangerous Crackdown on Press Freedom
“From Hong Kong to the U.S., freedom of expression is under threat. Global press freedom is under spectacular pressure. More journalists than ever were in jail last year and the number of media workers killed rose by a third compared to 2019, with Asia accounting for nearly half of those murdered.” – Bloomberg

August 3, 2021
Why Is America Cooperating With Militaries Running Criminal Rackets?
“This is an issue the U.S. Congress has the power to address…. And this corruption extends to the security forces the United States arms, trains, and coordinates with. In Guatemala…. In Honduras…. In El Salvador…. Members of the security forces have been found to be involved in criminal gangsmurder-for-hire rings, and vigilante death squads…. In Colombia…. Police and military forces are involved in 90 percent of all organized crime cases…. The police, justice ministry, and drug enforcement agency are wholly captured by criminal groups. It is not a coincidence that these developments are occurring at a time of increasing militarization of society in Latin America…. Today’s democratically elected presidents are increasingly calling soldiers out of their barracks and assigning them roles well beyond their mandate.” – Foreign Policy

August 3, 2021
Nearly 5 million fewer girls to be born worldwide over next 10 years: study
“An estimated 4.7 million fewer girls were expected to be born globally in the next 10 years because of sex-selective practices in countries with a cultural preference for male offspring, a trend that could undermine social cohesion in the long term, research showed. The research suggested that the projected shortfall in the number of girls being born will lead to a surplus of young men in around a third of the global population by 2030, which could lead to increased antisocial behaviour and violence.” – South China Morning Post

August 3, 2021
A Trump bombshell quietly dropped last week. And it should shock us all
“A newly released memo shows that Trump told the acting attorney general: ‘Just say the election was corrupt [and] leave the rest to me and the [Republican] congressmen.’” – The Guardian

August 2, 2021
The Big Money Behind the Big Lie
“Donald Trump’s attacks on democracy are being promoted by rich and powerful conservative groups that are determined to win at all costs…. Dark-money organizations, sustained by undisclosed donors, have relentlessly promoted the myth that American elections are rife with fraud, and, according to leaked records of their internal deliberations, they have drafted, supported, and in some cases taken credit for state laws that make it harder to vote.” – The New Yorker

August 1, 2021
What I Heard in the White House Basement
“I knew the president had clear and straightforward talking points—I’d written them. One phone call changed my life…. I made sure to close the door behind me. ‘If what I just heard becomes public,’ I told my brother, ‘the president will be impeached.’…It’s been a year of turmoil for the country, and for my family and me. I’m no longer at the National Security Council. I’m no longer an officer in the U.S. Army. I’m living in the great unknown, and so, to a great degree, is our country. But because I’ve never had any doubt about the fitness of my decision, I remain at peace with the consequences that continue to unfold.” – The Atlantic

July 31, 2021
Trump, Russia, the Election, and the Coup
“We’re Learning the Truth About Trump, Russia, the Election, and the Coup, and It’s Even Worse Than You Probably Thought…. How far was Trump prepared to go to steal the election? And why was he willing to go so far? A much, much clearer picture is finally emerging. It’s every bit as bad as those of us called “alarmists” feared, and then some. Another revelation surfaced recently. Trump pressured the Justice Department to declare the election “illegal” because it was “corrupt.” Why? So that Congress could could invalidate the certification of Electoral College results — an effort that Trumpists had already begun in earnest as that point.” – Eudaimonia

July 30, 2021
US intelligence ‘likely’ knew of threat to Khashoggi before he was murdered, says UN investigator
“It appears increasingly likely that the US had intelligence in advance about the deadly threat to Jamal Khashoggi, according to the former UN official who investigated the dissident journalist’s murder by Saudi Arabia. By failing to make public all and any information it has about the killing, and whether it was aware in advance of the perilous danger he was in, she said, the US is making itself “complicit” in the impunity enjoyed by Saudi Arabia.” – Independent

July 29, 2021
She risked everything to expose Facebook. Now she’s telling her story.
“Sophie Zhang, a former data scientist at Facebook, revealed that it enables global political manipulation and has done little to stop it… Her memo revealed how she’d identified dozens of countries, including India, Mexico, Afghanistan, and South Korea, where this type of abuse was enabling politicians to mislead the public and gain power. It also revealed how little the company had done to mitigate it, despite Zhang’s repeated efforts to bring it to the attention of leadership…. In anticipation of writing it, she had turned down a nearly $64,000 severance package to avoid signing a nondisparagement agreement and retain the freedom to speak critically about the company.” – MIT Technology Review

July 25, 2021
Facebook’s Next Target: The Religious Experience
“The company is intensifying formal partnerships with faith groups across the United States and shaping the future of religious experience.” – The New York Times

July 24, 2921
Tax Raids At Media Group Dainik Bhaskar, Also At UP Channel
“Some 100 taxmen searched around 30 locations of Dainik Bhaskar in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The homes and offices of the group’s promoters were also raided…. Both the media houses had recently put out reports critical of the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, particularly the second wave of Covid that swept through India in April-May. – NDTV

July 22, 2021
Top Brazilian General Reportedly Backs Bolsonaro Effort To Undermine 2022 Elections
“For months, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has peddled conspiracy theories about the integrity of his country’s voting system, setting the stage for the embattled right-wing leader to question the results of next year’s elections if he loses. Bolsonaro has even claimed that if Brazil’s Congress does not alter the constitution to overhaul its election system and add paper ballot receipts to its electronic voting system, Brazil ‘won’t do elections at all.'” – HuffPost

July 22, 2021
Five arrested in Hong Kong for sedition over children’s book about sheep
“Five members of a Hong Kong union behind a series of children’s books about sheep trying to hold back wolves from their village have been arrested for sedition.” – The Guardian

July 21, 2021
Coronavirus: how India’s catastrophic failure in tackling its second wave doomed the country and cost an unimaginable – yet avoidable – toll on lives
“Misstepping at almost every turn, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set a number of examples for the world of what not to do…. While some nations seem to be approaching the end of the pandemic, Covid-19 remains a threat in India, with more than 30 million people infected and over 400,000 deaths – official figures that many believe are far below the real numbers. A more likely scenario, The New York Times reported on May 25, is that 539 million people have been infected and more than 1.6 million are dead.” – South China Morning Post 

July 21, 2021
India’s Watergate Moment
A journalist hacked by Pegasus says he will survive, but Indian democracy may not…. If India’s institutions fail to stand up and press Modi’s government for answers, it could well mark the demise of the world’s largest democracy. The onus is also on another democracy, Israel, to come clean and take steps to cancel India’s Pegasus license for violation of contractual obligations.” – Foreign Policy

July 19, 2021
How Did the Sacklers Pull This Off? This Is What Billionaire Justice Looks Like.
“Though they are widely reviled for profiting from a public health crisis that has resulted in the death of half a million Americans, they have used their money and influence to play our system like a harp. It is hardly news that our society treats people like Mr. Washington with sledgehammer vengeance and people like the Sacklers with velvet gloves.” – The New York Times

July 15, 2021
The Developing World Is a Tinderbox
“And things are urgent. The coronavirus has reversed decades of progress on global development. The number of people experiencing hunger shot up by hundreds of millions last year, the most since at least 2006. Global peacefulness declined for the ninth year in a row, with a marked increase in riots and other violent demonstrations. It sure feels as if the world is on the brink. To pull back, it needs help from those on more solid ground.” – The New York Times

July 15, 2021
Russia Bars News Site That Said Putin May Have Secret Child
“Russia outlawed an investigative media outlet that published a report last year suggesting that President Vladimir Putin secretly fathered a daughter outside his marriage, stepping up a campaign to stamp out any challenge to the Kremlin. The Prosecutor General on Thursday declared the U.S.-based publisher of Proekt Media an ‘undesirable organization,’ saying its activities ‘pose a threat to the foundations of constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation.'” – Bloomberg

July 15, 2021
Kremlin papers appear to show Putin’s plot to put Trump in White House
“Vladimir Putin personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election during a closed session of Russia’s national security council, according to what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents. The key meeting took place on 22 January 2016, the papers suggest, with the Russian president, his spy chiefs and senior ministers all present. They agreed a Trump White House would help secure Moscow’s strategic objectives, among them “social turmoil” in the US and a weakening of the American president’s negotiating position.” – The Guardian

July 15, 2021
The person to ‘weaken’ America: what the Kremlin papers said about Trump
The report seemed to confirm what Trump would later deny: that Putin’s spy agencies had gathered compromising material on him, possibly stretching back to Soviet KGB times. Trump’s personal flaws were so extensive – also featuring an “inferiority complex” – that he was the perfect person to feed divisions and to weaken America’s negotiating position. The unflattering assessment of Trump’s personality was based on evidence, the paper said, derived from observation of his behaviour during trips to Russia. – The Guardian

July 15, 2021
He Exposed The World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis. U.S. Partners Jailed And Tortured Him.
Journalist Adel Al-Hasani told HuffPost how the UAE and its allies in Yemen tried to silence him, and warned of further human rights violations…. Al-Hasani ultimately spent six months detained in the custody of the Southern Transitional Council, the U.S.-linked militia that has taken over southern Yemen amid the country’s ongoing civil war. The organization ― which receives American weapons and other support from one of Washington’s closest partners in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates. – HuffPost 

July 15, 2021
Yemen – Wikipedia
“Since 2011, Yemen has been in a state of political crisis starting with street protests against poverty, unemployment, corruption, and president Saleh’s plan to amend Yemen’s constitution and eliminate the presidential term limit. President Saleh stepped down and the powers of the presidency were transferred to Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Since then, the country has been in a civil war (alongside the Saudi Arabian-led military intervention aimed at restoring Hadi’s government) with several proto-state entities claiming to govern Yemen…. At least 56,000 civilians and combatants have been killed in armed violence in Yemen since January 2016. The war has resulted in a famine affecting 17 million people.” – Wikipedia

July 15, 2021
As Covid Rages in Myanmar, Army Hoards Oxygen, Doctors Say
The military has ordered oxygen withheld from private clinics and even stopped charities from giving it away, medical workers and others say. First, the junta stole Myanmar’s elected leaders from the people. Now, doctors say, the generals have taken the oxygen that some citizens need to breathe. – The New York Times

July 14, 2021
Battle for oxygen as coup-hit Myanmar faces its most severe Covid outbreak
“’My oxygen levels have dropped to 55 (% concentration). I need more oxygen again. Some elderly at my house also need it… we can come collect ourselves. Please help us,’ a student wrote on Facebook. The same request was repeated 11 times, until he passed away on Sunday…. The military coup in February has caused Myanmar’s hospitals to collapse and thrown its vaccination and testing campaigns into chaos.” – The Guardian

July 14, 2021
Top US general warned of ‘Reichstag moment’ in Trump’s turbulent last days
“Shortly before the deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen Mark Milley, told aides the US was facing a “Reichstag moment” because Donald Trump was preaching “the gospel of the Führer”, according to an eagerly awaited book about Trump’s last year in office…. Milley is reported to have said: ‘They may try, but they’re not going to fucking succeed. You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with guns.” – The Guardian

July 10, 2021
Taliban claims to control most of Afghanistan after rapid gains
“The Taliban have been emboldened by the NATO troop withdrawal and – with peace talks in Doha deadlocked – appear to be pressing for a full military victory. …With the Taliban having routed much of northern Afghanistan in recent weeks, the government holds little more than a constellation of provincial capitals that must largely be reinforced and resupplied by air. …Hundreds of Afghan security personnel and refugees continued to flee across the border into neighbouring Iran and Tajikistan, causing concern in Russia and nearby nations that the Taliban could infiltrate Central Asia.” – Al Jazeera

July 10, 2021
How the White Press Wrote Off Black America
“They depicted Black men as congenital rapists, setting the stage for them to be hanged, shot or burned alive in public squares all over the former Confederacy. These newspapers entered their bloodiest incarnations during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, inciting hellish episodes of violence during which white mobs murdered at will while sometimes destroying entire Black communities. African Americans who fled these Southern horrors found the white Northern press only marginally less hostile.” – The New York Times

July 7, 2021
The Real Toll From Prison Covid Cases May Be Higher Than Reported
“Some deaths were not counted as part of prison virus tallies because hospitalized inmates were officially released from custody before they died…. More than 2,700 people are reported to have died of Covid-19 in connection to U.S. prisons, jails and immigration detention centers, but the additional cases raise the prospect that the known toll on incarcerated people falls far short of providing the full picture. – The New York Times

July 7, 2021
This Is Tax Evasion, Pure and Simple
“Since the 1980s, countries have competed for business by reducing companies’ taxes. A few nations, like Ireland and Bermuda, have adopted extremely low rates and become tax havens for companies like Google and Apple. Last week, 130 countries, including the United States, agreed to a blueprint to tax their companies’ profits at a minimum 15 percent rate — no matter where the profits are booked.The pact is a step in the right direction. But for working-class Americans who have fallen behind as tax cuts helped the rich get richer, 15 percent is too little, too late.” – The New York Times

July 6, 2021
Religion is keeping Indians apart, especially in the north of the country: Pew survey
“The study found Hindus see their religious and national identities as closely intertwined, while a third of respondents don’t want a Muslim neighbour. ‘Segregation on the basis of religion is a reality now,” said Sheikh, 44. ‘Religion has become the focal point in schools, residential complexes … in every sphere of public life of an Indian.’ ‘The religious intolerance that existed in subtle ways for years in India has come to the fore with legitimacy from the government,’ Qureshi said.” – South China Morning Post

July 6, 2021
UK faces reckoning after unmarked Indigenous graves discovered in Canada
The United Kingdom is facing growing calls to re-examine the troubling legacy of its colonial history in Canada after the discovery of more than 1,000 unmarked graves at former residential schools for Indigenous children. At least 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend such church-run schools as part of the campaign to strip them of their cultural identity, and amid anger over the Catholic church’s role in operating the majority of the institutions, churches across the country have been set on fire. – The Guardian

July 5, 2021
When a Search Crosses the Line
“These women crossed paths with the Egyptian justice system. Each said she was sexually abused by the authorities. These women were either arrested for speaking out or had gone to the authorities to report a crime. In each case, they said, they were sexually abused by the officials sworn to protect them. Whether they are victims of crimes, witnesses or the accused, women who encounter Egypt’s criminal justice system risk being taken aside and stripped, groped, prodded and violated. This treatment is illegal, but in this authoritarian and patriarchal country, there is almost nothing they can do about it.” – The New York Times

July 5, 2021
Fury in India over death of 84-year-old political prisoner Stan Swamy
“India’s oldest political prisoner, an 84-year-old Jesuit priest who was denied bail as his health deteriorated, has died, prompting an outpouring of anger among lawyers, writers, politicians and activists. Father Stan Swamy, a priest and human rights activist who spent five decades fighting for the rights of the tribal community in the state of Jharkhand, was arrested in October 2020, charged under draconian terrorism laws and held in judicial custody. Despite Swamy’s weak condition from advanced Parkinson’s disease, which worsened after he contracted Covid-19 in prison last month, the courts repeatedly denied him pre-trial bail.” – The Guardian

July 4, 2021
‘They can’t speak freely’: Hong Kong a year after the national security law
“In the last year, political opposition has all but disappeared. Pan-democrat legislators have resigned or been disqualified; dozens of them have been arrested. Activists have been jailed, gone to ground or fled overseas alongside untold thousands of other residents. Political parties and advocacy groups have disbanded, church charities shuttered, academia upended. The city’s most vocal pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, has been forced to close and other media intimidated or muzzled. …An Amnesty International report released on Wednesday said: ‘The authorities are exercising these virtually unchecked investigative powers in cases potentially unrelated to national security.'” – The Guardian

July 4, 2021
The Forever Virus
“Among humans, global herd immunity, once promoted as a singular solution, is unreachable. Most countries simply don’t have enough vaccines to go around, and even in the lucky few with an ample supply, too many people are refusing to get the shot. As a result, the world will not reach the point where enough people are immune to stop the virus’s spread before the emergence of dangerous variants—ones that are more transmissible, vaccine resistant, and even able to evade current diagnostic tests. Such supervariants could bring the world back to square one. Rather than die out, the virus will likely ping-pong back and forth across the globe for years to come. Some of yesterday’s success stories are now vulnerable to serious outbreaks.” – Foreign Affairs

July 4, 2021
Former South African president Jacob Zuma granted appeal to jail sentence
Jacob Zuma, the former president of South Africa, appeared on Saturday to have won a reprieve from imminent imprisonment on contempt of court charges after the country’s most senior judges agreed to hear his challenge to a 15-month jail sentence awarded last week. Police were ordered to arrest the 79-year-old by the supreme court if he did not surrender to authorities by Sunday after he failed to appear before a corruption inquiry earlier this year.” – The Guardian

July 3, 2021
Boy Scouts of America: $850m deal agreed over sexual abuse claims
“The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has reached a preliminary $850m (£617m) settlement with some 60,000 people over claims of historic sexual abuse. Lawyers say it may be the largest sexual abuse settlement in US history. But another of the group’s lawyer’s, Tim Kosnoff, told NPR that it was a ‘rotten, chump deal. I don’t know how you can characterise this as anything but a failure.’ He said that some men who had been abused for years could get pay-outs of just a few thousand dollars, describing it as ‘an insult to all of the men who found the courage to file claims and participated in this process.”’– BBC

July 3, 2021
Vatican judge orders cardinal and nine others to stand trial for alleged financial crimes
“A Vatican judge has ordered 10 people, including an Italian cardinal, to stand trial for alleged financial crimes including embezzlement, money laundering, fraud, extortion and abuse of office.Those indicted include Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was fired by the pope last year, the former heads of the Vatican’s financial intelligence unit, and two Italian brokers involved in the Vatican’s purchase of a building in a luxury area of London.” – The Guardian

July 3, 2021
Brazil Vaccine Scandal Imperils Bolsonaro as Protests Spread
“Brazilians were angry over how slowly their government moved to acquire coronavirus vaccines. Now they’re incensed over a corruption scandal involving vaccine deals. The plot twists of a coronavirus vaccine kickback scandal that has rattled Brazil’s capital have been worthy of a reality TV show. The main stage has been a congressional hearing room, where scores of witnesses have been shedding light on the government’s chaotic response to the pandemic, which has killed more than 520,000 in the country.” – The New York Times

July 2, 2021
Britain found to have funded ‘conversion therapy’ clinics in Africa
“The UK government is among major aid donors to have funded clinics in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania that offer so-called ‘conversion therapies,’ which pressurise gay people to ‘quit’ same-sex attraction, an investigation has found. The openDemocracy reporters said they visited facilities that had been flagged in previous research with more than 50 LGBTQ+ people in east Africa. Conversion therapy activities were found in 12 out of the 15 clinics they visited. Counselling was the most common method of conversion therapy offered, and in Uganda a reporter posing as an older sister to a 17-year-old was told to get him sleeping pills to prevent him from masturbating.” – The Guardian

June 29, 2021
A Form of Brainwashing’: China Remakes Hong Kong
“Neighbors are urged to report on one another. Children are taught to look for traitors. Officials are pressed to pledge their loyalty…. Residents now swarm police hotlines with reports about disloyal neighbors or colleagues. Teachers have been told to imbue students with patriotic fervor through 48-volume book sets called ‘My Home Is in China.’ Public libraries have removed dozens of books from circulation, including one about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.” – The New York Times

June 28, 2021
Republicans can win the next elections through gerrymandering alone
“In Washington, the real insiders know that the true outrages are what’s perfectly legal and that it’s simply a gaffe when someone accidentally blurts out something honest. And so it barely made a ripple last week when a Texas congressman (and Donald Trump’s former White House physician) said aloud what’s supposed to be kept to a backroom whisper: Republicans intend to retake the US House of Representatives in 2022 through gerrymandering. ‘We have redistricting coming up and the Republicans control most of that process in most of the states around the country,’ Representative Ronny Jackson told a conference of religious conservatives. ‘That alone should get us the majority back.’ He’s right. Republicans won’t have to win more votes next year to claim the US House.” – The Guardian

June 26, 2021
The Cruel Logic of the Republican Party, Before and After Trump
“Donald Trump has claimed credit for any number of things he benefited from but did not create, and the Republican Party’s reigning ideology is one of them: a politics of cruelty and exclusion that strategically exploits vulnerable Americans by portraying them as an existential threat, against whom acts of barbarism and disenfranchisement become not only justified but worthy of celebration.” – The New York Times

June 26, 2021
Johnson & Johnson to Pay New York $230 Million to Settle Opioid Case
“The settlement comes at a time when the opioid industry is facing over 3,000 lawsuits across the nation for its contribution to an epidemic of prescription and street opioid abuse that has killed more than 800,000 Americans in the last 20 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…. For years, Johnson & Johnson had supplied 60 percent of the ingredients that make opioids to companies that used them to make drugs like Oxycodone, contracting with poppy growers in Tasmania…. In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said that the settlement was not an admission of liability or wrongdoing and that ‘the company’s actions relating to the marketing and promotion of important prescription pain medications were appropriate and responsible.’”– The New York Times

June 25, 2021
Outrage after Pakistan PM Imran Khan blames rape crisis on women
“Imran Khan, is facing backlash after he blamed victims of rape for wearing ‘very few clothes…. If a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the man unless they are robots. It’s common sense.’… More than a dozen women’s rights groups, including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, released a statement demanding an apology. ‘This is dangerously simplistic and only reinforces the common public perception that women are ‘knowing’ victims and men ‘helpless aggressors,’ they said.” – The Guardian 

June 24, 2021
US billionaires don’t pay tax, and our politicians don’t seem bothered
“Fifteen years of tax information on thousands of plutocrats is one of the biggest stories of the decade. And yet … crickets. American billionaires don’t pay taxes, and American politicians are all but ready to send Seal Team Six to assassinate the nameless bureaucrat who let ProPublica in on this fact. Welcome to our political hellscape.” – The Guardian

June 23, 2021
Russia says to boost military ties with Myanmar as junta leader visits
“Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told Myanmar’s junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing that Moscow is committed to strengthening military ties with it, Russia’s RIA news agency reported. Rights activists have accused Moscow of legitimising the junta, which seized power in a Feb. 1 coup, by continuing bilateral visits and arms deals. ‘We are determined to continue our efforts to strengthen bilateral ties based on the mutual understanding, respect and trust that have been established between our countries,’ RIA quoted Shoigu as saying at a meeting on Tuesday.” – Yahoo!News

June 23, 2021
Thanks to Modi, India Had a ‘State Orchestrated Covid Massacre’
“In the Opinion video above, Kunal Kamra, an enormously popular stand-up comedian in India, puts all jokes aside and takes a serious look at his government’s handling of the pandemic. His assessment is withering: He accuses the nation’s leadership, especially an overconfident Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of putting political vanity before common sense and opening the door to a devastating resurgence of coronavirus infections that have devastated the country.” – The New York Times

June 23, 2021
Vatican Says Italy’s Hate Speech Law Blunts Freedom of Speech
“The Vatican has formally complained to Italy that a planned law criminalizing anti-LGBTQ hate speech would harm the freedom of Catholics. Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister, said the planned law would limit freedom of speech, as well as put Catholic schools at legal risk if they refuse to mark a national day against homophobia. Gallagher invoked the Mussolini-era treaty that created the Vatican city state and guarantees the freedom of the Church and of Catholics in Italy.” – Bloomberg

June 22, 2021
French spyware bosses indicted for their role in the torture of dissidents
“Charges in the Paris Judicial Court against leaders at Amesys, a surveillance company that later changed its name to Nexa Technology, claim that the sales to Libya and Egypt over the last decade led to the crushing of opposition, torture of dissidents, and other human rights abuses…. Clémence Bectarte, International Federation for Human Rights: ‘When you look at attempts to hold these companies accountable, you see a lot of failures… we still face strong obstacles.’ The charges were brought by the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes unit of the court,” – MIT Technology Review

June 22, 2021
Saudi Operatives Who Killed Khashoggi Received Paramilitary Training in U.S.
“Four Saudis who participated in the 2018 killing of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi received paramilitary training in the United States the previous year under a contract approved by the State Department…. Said R. Clarke Cooper, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs during the Trump administration: ‘No government is going to flush a significant bilateral relationship over this murder, no matter how horrific it was.'” – The New York Times

June 22, 2021
US military training manual describes socialism as ‘terrorist ideology’ – report
Navy document, obtained by the Intercept, lists political philosophy alongside anarchists and neo-Nazis…. On one page of the document, in a section titled Study Questions, the question is asked: ‘Anarchists, socialists and neo-Nazis represent which terrorist ideological category?’ – The Guardian

June 19, 2021
The Two Men Blocking Military Sexual Assault Reform
“A bill championed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the New York Democrat, that would overhaul how the armed services handle accusations of rape, sexual assault and other serious crimes.” – The New York Times

June 19, 2021
Trump Commerce Boss Wilbur Ross Hoovered Up $53 Million While In Public Office
“Ross reported making somewhere between $53 million and $127 million during his four years as head of the Commerce Department…. It’s possible that Ross earned ‘significantly more’ since he was not required to specify certain income totals over $1 million, noted watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which reported Ross’ financial disclosure filings earlier this week…. ‘Even in an administration characterized by corruption, Ross became notorious for mixing personal business with his government role,’ CREW said in a statement.” – HuffPost

June 18, 2021
18 Died Of COVID-19 In Texas Prisons After Winning Parole: Report
“At least 18 people died of complications from COVID-19 in Texas prisons during the first 12 months of the pandemic after they had been approved for parole, a heartbreaking study has discovered. An additional two dozen inmates granted parole died behind bars largely due to chronic health issues unrelated to COVID-19…. ‘Despite being approved for parole, some [inmates] will never walk out the prison gates because they die while waiting for release,’ noted the report, titled ‘Dead Man Waiting.’… That delay has been particularly deadly during the COVID-19 pandemic.” – HuffPost

June 18, 2021
The Ganges Is Returning the Dead. It Does Not Lie.
“The second wave of infections appears to be ebbing, but the country is struggling to process the staggering toll — nearly 380,000 people dead, the vast majority since just March — hobbled by the continuing obfuscation of both local and central authorities. But the holy Ganges does not lie. …Uttar Pradesh has been governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since March 2017, under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu monk turned politician. Mr. Adityanath’s response in April to grave shortages of oxygen, ventilators and beds in intensive care units throughout the state and to the images of overcrowded cemeteries and crematories was to issue denials and threats. He directed state officials to invoke antiterrorism laws against and seize property from people he accused of spreading rumors.” – The New York Times

June 15, 2021
The long fight to criminalise rape in marriage
“400 years of wealthy white men – and rape…. Demanding the ‘right’ to rape…. Husbands: The most dangerous men in women’s lives.” – Al Jazeera

June 14, 2021
ICC prosecutor seeks investigation into Philippines ‘war on drugs’ killings
“The international criminal court’s chief prosecutor has sought authorisation to open an investigation into crimes against humanity during the Philippines’ deadly ‘war on drugs.’… Fatou Bensouda asked judges at the world’s only permanent war crimes court to authorise an investigation into allegations that police unlawfully killed as many as tens of thousands of civilians between 2016 and 2019…. More than 6,000 people have been killed in over 200,000 anti-drug operations conducted since July 2016, according to official data. Human rights groups estimate the number of dead could be several times higher. Many suspects have been put on ‘drug watchlists’ by local officials and then visited by police at their homes – a situation that often ends in a deadly shooting that officers claim was self-defence.” – The Guardian

June 12, 2021
One Woman’s Journey Through Chinese Atrocities
“The result has been a campaign of forced sterilization and IUD insertion. Some 80 percent of China’s IUD insertions have been in Xinjiang, home to less than 2 percent of the country’s population…. Muslims are forced to betray their faith by eating pork or drinking alcohol, prayer is banned in public places, kids are sent to boarding schools to be indoctrinated, and when Uyghur men are jailed the government has sent Han Chinese men to live in their homes and share beds with their wives….. China is not massacring Uyghurs, so this is not a genocide in the commonly accepted sense. But under the legal definition in the 1948 Genocide Convention, China’s practices appear to qualify as genocide by suppressing births of a particular ethnic group.” – The New York Times

June 12, 2021
Private Inequity: How a Powerful Industry Conquered the Tax System
“There were two weeks left in the Trump administration when the Treasury Department handed down a set of rules governing an obscure corner of the tax code. Overseen by a senior Treasury official whose previous job involved helping the wealthy avoid taxes, the new regulations represented a major victory for private equity firms. They ensured that executives in the $4.5 trillion industry, whose leaders often measure their yearly pay in eight or nine figures, could avoid paying hundreds of millions in taxes. The rules were approved on Jan. 5, the day before the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Hardly anyone noticed.” – The New York Times

June 11, 2021
Boris Johnson Is a Terrible Leader. It Doesn’t Matter.
“There have been accusations of corruption, reports of bitter rivalries on his closest team and, to top it off, explosive testimony from his former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, that laid responsibility for the handling of the pandemic in Britain — where over 125,000 people have died of Covid-19 — squarely at Mr. Johnson’s door. Story by story, scandal by scandal, Mr. Johnson has been exposed as a slapdash, venal, incompetent leader. But it doesn’t seem to matter.” – The New York Times

June 10, 2021
Student’s rape and murder puts India’s sexual violence under spotlight again
“Despite new laws to combat the problem, a rape is reported every 15 minutes, leaving victims and families crying out for justice…. But the courts stand accused of approaching rape cases with patriarchal and regressive attitudes. Earlier this year a former chief justice of India’s supreme court asked a man accused of raping a child whether he would marry the victim in order to settle the case.” – The Guardian

June 10, 2021
She Exposed the Truth About ‘Dirty Money.’ Why Was She Sentenced to Prison?
“Last Thursday, President Biden vowed to make global financial systems more transparent so that individuals and organizations engaged in corruption would find it harder to ‘shield their activities.’ On the same day, a federal judge imposed prison time on Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a former Treasury Department official who, by providing secret government documents to an investigative reporter, did more to bring transparency to the global financial system than almost anyone else in recent memory.” – The New York Times

June 10, 2021
China’s Uyghurs living in a ‘dystopian hellscape’, says Amnesty report
“Widespread internment, torture and rights abuses have been claimed by former detainees as Beijing continues a policy of denial. Amnesty International has collected new evidence of human rights abusesin the Xinjiang region of China, which it says has become a “dystopian hellscape” for hundreds of thousands of Muslims subjected to mass internment and torture.” – The Guardian

June 10, 2021
Navalny backers see cautionary tale in Russian raids on Jehovah’s Witnesses
“Analysis: members of religious group declared extremist in 2017 have faced arrests, surveillance and prison. The decision by a Moscow court to declare Alexei Navalny’s nationwide political organisation as “extremist” adds the group to a list associated with terrorist organisations such as al-Qaida and Islamic State. But for a guide to how Russia could treat Navalny’s supporters, a better example is the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a non-violent religious group that has felt the full extent of Russia’s law on extremism. – The Guardian

June 9, 2021
DOJ Vows to Hunt Down Whoever Let the Public Know How Little Billionaires Pay in Taxes
“After ProPublica published IRS records of the ultra-wealthy, Attorney General Merrick Garland says finding the leaker is ‘at the top of my list.’ This week, ProPublica released a massive scoop—a treasure trove of financial records showing how some of the U.S.’s wealthiest billionaires scamper off with virtually no tax burden. And the U.S. government knows exactly what to do in response: find whoever released those embarrassing records and incarcerate the shit out of them.” – Gizmodo

June 9, 2021
Palestinian Activist Criticizes Attempts To Sanitize Forced Displacement In Sheikh Jarrah
“’Just because you can legalize an evil act doesn’t make it any less evil,’ Mohammed el-Kurd, who was recently detained, told journalist Mehdi Hasan. A Palestinian activist whom Israeli forces recently arrested and then freed said Monday that the international community must cut through propaganda and identify the continued expulsion of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood for what it really is.” – HuffPost

June 8, 2021
The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax
ProPublica has obtained a vast cache of IRS information showing how billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes, even nothing. In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes. Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row. – ProPublica

June 6, 2021
No apology from Pope for Canada’s residential school deaths
“Trudeau on Friday blasted the church for being ‘silent’ and ‘not stepping up,’ and called for a formal apology and for the church to make amends for its prominent role in the residential school system. ‘We’re still seeing resistance from the church, possibly from the church in Canada,’ said Trudeau, who in 2017 also made a formal request for a papal apology. Pope Francis has expressed his pain over the discovery in Canada of the remains of 215 Indigenous children forced to attend a church-run boarding school, but did not offer the apology sought by survivors of the system that a commission of inquiry said amounted to “cultural genocide.” – Aljazeera

June 4, 2021
Modi’s bulldozing of parliament shows him as the architect of a Hindu Taliban
“This ideologically driven, hate-filled destruction follows the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992 and the vandalism of Islamic and Mughal monuments all over India. Modi appears to want nothing less than the obliteration of all the Islamic monuments of India and the removal of the 200 million Indian Muslims. Let us not forget that he has already forcibly taken away Indian citizenship from many millions of Indian Muslims and rendered them stateless – a crime for which he has not been brought to book, even though India is a signatory to the UN declaration of human rights, of which citizenship is a central tenet.” – The Guardian

June 4, 2021
Disgraced Tory who Boris Johnson gave House of Lords seat against official advice donates £500k to party
“A scandal-hit banker gifted the Tories half a million pounds after Boris Johnson gave him a seat in the House of Lords against official advice, it has emerged.” – Independent

June 3, 2021
‘The jobs went, the drugs moved in’: America’s addiction nightmare – in pictures
“From opioids to crack, families have been torn apart by the drug crisis rampaging through the US – as the stark work of these three photographers shows.” – The Guardian

2 June, 2021
The 139 Republicans Who Lied, Fueled An Insurrection And Then Voted To Cover It Up
“Don’t forget the names of these GOP lawmakers who chose Donald Trump over American democracy. Twice.” – HuffPost

2 June, 2021
Hong Kong’s 4 June Tiananmen vigil over the years – in pictures
“For years, Hong Kong has been one of just two cities in China allowed to mark anniversaries of the deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. This year, however, Hong Kong authorities banned the vigil for the second consecutive year, citing the coronavirus pandemic. Critics say the authorities are using the pandemic as an excuse to silence pro-democracy voices. Last year thousands of people gathered in Victoria Park despite the ban, and weeks later police arrested more than 20 activists who had taken part in the vigil. Organisers have urged people to mark the anniversary in private this year by lighting a candle at home.” – The Guardian

June 2, 2021
The Guardian view on remembering Tiananmen 1989: mourning for those who cannot
“Beijing’s attempts to obliterate the memory of the massacre are extending their reach…. The Communist party’s erasure of 1989’s killings has been so comprehensive and effective that many young people on the mainland are unaware they happened, and others have come to believe that perhaps the crackdown was necessary. The silence grows. The right to remember what happened in 1989 is also the right to know the truth more broadly: “Defending the memory of Tiananmen is the first line of defence,” one Hong Kong lawyer said this week.” – The Guardian

June 2, 2021
Trump’s Justice Department Secretly Seized Phone Records Of NYT Reporters
“’Seizing the phone records of journalists profoundly undermines press freedom,’ New York Times Executive Editor, Dean Baquet, told the Times. ‘It threatens to silence the sources we depend on to provide the public with essential information about what the government is doing.’ – HuffPost 

“Outrage Greets Report of Arizona Plan to Use ‘Holocaust Gas’ in Executions
“Headlines noting that the chemicals could form the same poison found in Zyklon B, a lethal gas used by the Nazis, provoked fresh outrage, including among Auschwitz survivors in Germany and Israel, over the association with the Holocaust and hydrogen cyanide’s use in the death camps.” – The New York Times

June 1, 2021
Disaster patriarchy: how the pandemic has unleashed a war on women
“As Covid-19 has swept the world there has been an explosion of violence against women…. Naomi Klein was the first to identify ‘disaster capitalism,’ when capitalists use a disaster to impose measures they couldn’t possibly get away with in normal times, generating more profit for themselves. Disaster patriarchy is a parallel and complementary process, where men exploit a crisis to reassert control and dominance, and rapidly erase hard-earned women’s rights. All over the world, patriarchy has taken full advantage of the virus to reclaim power – on the one hand, escalating the danger and violence to women, and on the other, stepping in as their supposed controller and protector.” – The Guardian

June 1, 2021
100 Experts Express ‘Growing Alarm’ That Republicans Are Endangering Democracy
More than 100 scholars have issued a dire warning that Republicans are putting the nation’s democracy in danger by restricting access to voting and perpetuating the fiction that the 2020 presidential election was not secure. “We, the undersigned, are scholars of democracy who have watched the recent deterioration of U.S. elections and liberal democracy with growing alarm,” said a statement released Tuesday by the New America think tank. – HuffPost

May 30, 2021
“What I saw was bad enough, and yet I cannot tell all that I saw.”
“One hundred years ago, on May 31, 1921…. A lynch mob formed in downtown Tulsa after a 19-year-old Black man was accused of assaulting a White woman. That night, thousands of White Tulsans launched an all-out assault on Greenwood with rifles, machine guns, torches and aerial bombings from private planes. The rampage lasted into the next afternoon, leaving 10,000 Black Tulsans homeless and their community burned to nothing but ash and rubble. It’s still unknown how many people were killed but it’s estimated as many as 300lost their lives in the massacre…. And it was part of a larger pattern of assault. ‘We estimate that there were upwards of 100 massacres that took place between the end of the Civil War and the 1940s,’ says William Darity Jr., a Duke University economist.” – CNN

May 30, 2021
Kumbh Mela: how a superspreader festival seeded Covid across India
“In the weeks beforehand, as a deadly coronavirus second wave began engulfing India, anxious calls to cancel the festival were rebuffed by the state and central government, which are both ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP). On 21 March, a full page newspaper advert featuring the prime minister, Narendra Modi, invited devotees to the festival, assuring them it was ‘clean’ and ‘safe.'” – The Guardian

May 29, 2021
An Arms Race in America: Gun Buying Spiked During the Pandemic. It’s Still Up.
“Preliminary research data show that about a fifth of all Americans who bought guns last year were first-time gun owners…. In cities across the country, gun homicides were climbing…. ‘Americans are in an arms race with themselves,’ said Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents South Los Angeles, where the surge in gun violence has been particularly sharp, on the City Council.” – The New York Times

May 28, 2021
Fragile India, Strong India
Why some states handled COVID-19 better than others…. It is no particular surprise the state of Kerala has fared relatively well…. its health minister, a former high school physics teacher, quickly launched an extensive testing regime and systems to track the spread of the disease and supplies. The contrast could not be more striking with Uttar Pradesh…. Its chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu mendicant… has a profoundly populist bent. His performance during the pandemic—which has included holding religious festivals and opening a temple while hounding those who dared to question his policies—has been inept, callous, and authoritarian. As a result, in late April, at the beginning of the second wave, the state saw at least three deaths every two hours. – Foreign Policy

May 28, 2021
Senate Republicans block creation of US Capitol attack commission
“Republicans killed the effort to set up a 9/11-style inquiry into the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob despite broad popular support for such an investigation and pleas from the family of a Capitol police officer who collapsed and died after the siege and other officers who battled the rioters.” – The Guardian

May 28, 2021
Germany agrees to pay Namibia €1.1bn over historical Herero-Nama genocide
“Tens of thousands of men, women and children were shot, tortured or driven into the Kalahari desert to starve by German troops between 1904 and 1908 after the Herero and Nama tribes rebelled against colonial rule in what was then named German South West Africa and is now Namibia.” – The Guardian

May 28, 2021
Every mass shooting in the US – a visual database
“It’s rare to go one day without a mass shooting in America. Since 2014 the US has averaged more than one mass shooting a day, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive. There is no official definition of “mass shooting”, but this database tracks incidents in which at least four people are shot or killed, not including the shooter.” – The Guardian

May 27, 2021
Colombia politician tells protesters hurt by police to ‘stop crying over one eye’
“’Don’t fool Colombians and don’t fool the international community and stop crying over one eye,’ said Paola Holguín, a senator from the ruling Centro Democrático party…. Since protests erupted in April, the police response has been brutal. At least 43 protesters have been killed by officers, according to local human rights monitor, Temblores, with mounting reports of arbitrary detention, torture and sexual abuse of protesters at the hands of police. Forty-six people have suffered eye injuries, prompting speculation that police were intentionally seeking to blind protesters. A similar tactic was used by police in Chile during a wave of unrest that began there in late 2019.” – The Guardian

May 27, 2021
Twitter Calls on Indian Government to Respect Free Speech
“After the government targeted posts criticizing its response to the coronavirus spread, Twitter said it would push back on what it called ‘intimidation tactics.’… The statement comes as the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi faces mounting pressure for its handling of a devastating second wave of the coronavirus. Many of those complaints have been aired on Twitter and elsewhere online…. Under Indian law, Twitter’s executives in India could face up to seven years in prison if the company fails to abide by government orders to remove content that it considers subversive or a threat to public order and national security.” – The New York Times

27 May, 2021
Myanmar: fossil fuel giants cut payments to junta but gas still flows
“Advocacy groups said 90% of the money the junta makes from the Yadana gasfield joint venture with Total and Chevron – as well as the gas itself – continues to flow…. Since the military deposed Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, more than 5,400 people have been arrested, according to monitoring group AAPP Burma, with the majority still in detention, often in unknown locations. At least 824 people have been killed by the junta, including dozens of children, sparking global outcry and calls for international companies to cut their business ties with the military.” – The Guardian

27 May, 2021
GOP Prepared To Block Capitol Attack Commission With Filibuster
“Most Republicans oppose the bill that would establish a commission to investigate the attack by Donald Trump supporters over the election. ‘We have a mob overtake the Capitol, and we can’t get the Republicans to join us in making historic record of that event? That is sad,’ said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat. ‘That tells you what’s wrong with the Senate and what’s wrong with the filibuster.'” – HuffPost

May 27, 2021
UN rights council to investigate crimes during Gaza conflict
UN Human Rights Council will also investigate ‘systematic’ abuses in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel…. The United States said that it deeply regretted the decision. ‘The action today instead threatens to imperil the progress that has been made,’ said the statement issued by the US mission to the UN in Geneva.’ – Al Jazeera

May 27, 2021
US official condemns violence in Tigray, warns of new sanctions
US legislators call for action amid reports of gang rapes, ethnic cleansing and war crimes by Ethiopian, Eritrean forces…. ‘The violence in Tigray is horrifying. It shocks the conscience,’ US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Godec said on Thursday.” – Al Jazeera

May 27, 2021
UN to launch inquiry into ‘systematic discrimination’ in Israel and Palestine
“UN rights chief says Israel attacks on Gaza could constitute war crimes and accuses Hamas of firing indiscriminate rockets. The UN’s main human rights body will launch an investigation into ‘systematic discrimination and repression’ in Israel and Palestine…. Israel and its allies, including the US and UK, have accused the UN rights body of a disproportionate anti-Israel bias.” – The Guardian

May 26,2021
Cummings Calls PM Johnson ‘Unfit for Job’: U.K. Politics Update
“Boris Johnson is ‘unfit’ to be U.K. prime minister and made a series of disastrous pandemic decisions that meant ‘tens of thousands of people died who didn’t need to die,’ his former aide Dominic Cummings said.” – Bloomberg

May 26, 2021
They Were Only Children
“When asked to describe how they felt, many parents answered with a simple ‘It’s God’s will,’ their voice often reduced to a whisper, the words conveying resignation. They said their children had wanted to be doctors, artists and leaders. ‘I’m in disbelief,’ said Saad Asaliya, a taxi driver from Jabaliya, who lost his 10-year-old daughter. ‘I try to calm myself by saying it was God’s will for her to go.’ During 11 days of fighting this month between Israel and Hamas, at least 66 children under age 18 were killed in Gaza and 2 in Israel, according to initial reports. These are the children who died. – The New York Times

May 25, 2021
How India’s efforts to put a positive spin on its Covid-19 crisis lie at the heart of the disaster
“The government is seeking to starve the country of stories about the lack of oxygen, hospital beds and crematorium space, and filling the vacuum with optimistic histrionics. Ever since the BJP announced Modi as its prime ministerial candidate in 2013, a wave of optimism has accompanied him like a dark cloud….. But isn’t optimism without a healthy dose of realism just delusion? Unfortunately, the government not only prefers citizens to be delusional but has gone out of its way to ensure this, by clamping down on free speech and moulding democratic institutions to serve the regime.’ – South China Morning Post

May 25, 2021
India Police Visit Twitter Office After It Tagged Pro-Modi Posts
Police visited Twitter Inc.’s empty offices in India on Monday following the company’s Friday decision to label multiple tweets from accounts linked to the country’s ruling party as manipulated media…. The policy forbids users from sharing things that ‘deceptively promote synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm.’… Twitter last month removed or restricted access to more than 50 posts at the behest of the Indian government, including tweets that criticized its handling of the coronavirus pandemic…. The social media giant permanently suspended more than 500 accounts and blocked access to hundreds of others in India earlier this year during farm protests, acceding to a government order to limit misinformation and inflammatory content.” – Bloomberg

May 24, 2021
Belarus accused of ‘hijacking’ plane to arrest activist, provoking outrage in the West
Belarus provoked outrage in the West after one of its warplanes forced a Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania to land in Minsk and arrested a passenger, dissident journalist Roman Protasevich…. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen likened the incident to a ‘hijacking,’ while Belarus’ actions were dubbed ‘an act of state terrorism’ by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who said it must not go unpunished. – CNBC

May 22, 2012
End the Court Doctrine That Enables Police Brutality
“Had Mr. Chauvin not been criminally prosecuted — as the vast majority of police who kill in the line of duty are not — he may well have faced no consequences at all. How is that possible? The whole world saw the video, saw Mr. Chauvin kneel calmly on Mr. Floyd’s neck for nine minutes even as he gasped for air, begged for his mother and, finally, went limp…. The doctrine, known as qualified immunity, has developed over the years into an impenetrable barrier to relief for many victims of police brutality — or, as in the case of Mr. Floyd, for victims’ families.” – The New York Times

May 22, 2021
Tracee Ellis Ross On Ways Society ‘Spoon-Feeds’ Women To Want Marriage And Kids
“Tracee Ellis Ross is pushing back against societal expectations about marriage, children and happiness. The “Black-ish” actor and producer discussed in a recent cover story for Marie Claire, the societal messages that suggest a woman’s happiness and fulfillment are connected to marriage and children. Ross pointed out that although she would “love” those things, she is just as happy and fulfilled as a single person with no kids.” HuffPost

May 22, 2021
AP Reporter Fired For Pro-Palestinian College Activism Says She’s A ‘Scapegoat’
“Emily Wilder was fired for social media posts she made in college expressing support for Palestinians…. The reporter, Emily Wilder, who is Jewish, was terminated on Wednesday after three weeks on the job, sparking an immediate outcry from others in the news media.” – HuffPost 

May 20, 2021
Survey: 43% of Millennials ‘Don’t Know, Care, or Believe God Exists’
“Younger Americans are reshaping the country with a philosophy of life that rejects faith in God and organized worship at the same time defining success and morality in terms of personal happiness and economic social justice, a survey from the Cultural Research Center (CRC) at Arizona Christian University found.” – Breitbart

May 14, 2021
Young Ugandans are being brutally oppressed. They must be allowed a voice
‘Bobi Wine is leader of the National Unity Platform; ‘Uganda is experiencing its worst wave of political oppression in decades. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of supporters of opposition parties to President General Yoweri Museveni have been abducted, detained and tortured in recent months…. The atrocities are numerous: the unresolved carnage of the Kayunga shootings in 2009 that saw 40 left dead, the massacres in Rwenzururu where police and military killed more than 150, or the November 2020 killings in which more than 50 protesters lost their lives. Not to mention the shooting of my driver, Yasin Kawuma, by police forces on 13 August 2018 at a political rally. He was only 27, and left behind a widow and children.'” – The Guardian

May 14, 2021
‘Bodies are being eaten by hyenas; girls of eight raped’: inside the Tigray conflict
A woman working in war-torn Tigray has shared her harrowing testimony of the atrocities taking place: “Wherever there are Eritrean or Ethiopian troops. Tragic. Every single woman, not only once. It is intentional, deliberate. I am confident in that from what I am witnessing. There are 70,000 civilians under attack. So much looting, fighting, raping. All targeting the civilians. The brutality, the killings, the harassing.” – The Guardian

May 13, 2021
India’s Covid anguish fuels calls to release rights activists from jail
“Protesters against Narendra Modi’s controversial citizenship law remain detained in prisons rife with coronavirus…. Like hundreds of citizens and members of Indian civil society picked up in the sweeping crackdown against anti-CAA protesters,… accused of inciting violence. The law…. activists were charged under, a draconian terrorism law known as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), ensured they could be held in jail and denied bail for the past 12 months in the name of national security. Lawyers say there is no evidence for the charges and rights groups have called the arrests politically motivated and an example of the BJP government’s intolerance of democratic dissent.” – The Guardian

May 12,  2021
India’s Covid Catastrophe Shows World the Danger of Complacency
“Governments around the world keep repeating the same mistakes. In a country of 1.4 billion, the consequences are on a whole new scale. …Even as infection rates began to rise in February, multiple state elections drew huge, largely unmasked crowds to hear candidates speak. Modi bragged about the size of the rallies he and his right-hand man, Home Minister Amit Shah, had managed to hold ahead of the vote in West Bengal, a densely populated state of more than 90 million people. Officials also encouraged citizens to participate in the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu festival on the banks of the Ganges that is the world’s largest human gathering. Millions did, packing shoulder to shoulder by the edge of the sacred river.” – Bloomberg

BJP Campaign Rally
BJP Campaign Rally April
Kumbh Mela April 12
Kumbh Mela April 12

May 11,  2021
Trust Us, Modi Government Tells Court as Virus Rages in India
“India didn’t have the luxury to prepare detailed coronavirus vaccination plans, unlike its previous programs for which it has been lauded, the government told the court. ‘In view of the unprecedented and peculiar circumstances under which vaccination drive is devised as an executive policy, the wisdom of the executive should be trusted,’ it said.” – Bloomberg

May 11, 2021
India Covid: Dozens of bodies wash up on banks of Ganges river
Some local residents and journalists told BBC Hindi a shortage of wood for cremations and the rising costs associated with funerals were leaving some families with no option but to put the bodies of loved ones who had died from coronavirus directly into the river.– BBC

[In his memoirs the Hindi poet, Suryakant Tripathi, wrote “Ganga was swollen with dead bodies.” The sanitary commissioner’s report for 1918 also noted that all rivers across India were clogged up with bodies, because of a shortage of firewood for cremation. – Wikipedia]

May 11, 2021
Hindu Sect Is Accused of Using Forced Labor to Build N.J. Temple
“Federal law enforcement agents descended on a massive temple in New Jersey on Tuesday after workers accused a prominent Hindu sect of luring them from India, confining them to the temple grounds and paying them the equivalent of about $1 an hour to perform grueling labor in near servitude. In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, lawyers for the laborers said Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, a Hindu sect known as BAPS that has close ties to India’s ruling party and has built temples around the world, had exploited possibly hundreds of low-caste men in the yearslong construction project.” – The New York Times

May 10, 2021
China Targets Muslim Women in Push to Suppress Births in Xinjiang
Across much of China, the authorities are encouraging women to have more children, as they try to stave off a demographic crisis from a declining birthrate. But in the Xinjiang region, China is forcing them to have fewer, tightening its grip on Muslim ethnic minorities and trying to orchestrate a demographic shift that will diminish their population growth…. It is part of a vast and repressive social re-engineering campaign by a Communist Party determined to eliminate any perceived challenge to its rule, in this case, ethnic separatism.

May 8, 2921
Refugees and the Armenian genocide: human rights this fortnight in pictures
“A roundup of the coverage on struggles for human rights and freedoms, from Colombia to China.” – The Guardian

May 7,2021
4 Years After an Execution, a Different Man’s DNA Is Found on the Murder Weapon
“Lawyers’ request to conduct additional DNA testing before Ledell Lee was executed had been denied. For 22 years, Ledell Lee maintained that he had been wrongly convicted of murder. ‘My dying words will always be, as it has been, “I am an innocent man,”‘ he told the BBC in an interview published on April 19, 2017 — the day before officials in Arkansas administered the lethal injection.” – The New York Times

May 6, 2021
The Secret Papers of Lee Atwater, Who Invented the Scurrilous Tactics That Trump Normalized
“An infamous Republican political operative’s unpublished memoir shows how the Party came to embrace lies, racial fear-mongering, and winning at any cost…. In many ways, his memoir suggests that Atwater’s tactics were a bridge between the old Republican Party of the Nixon era, when dirty tricks were considered a scandal, and the new Republican Party of Donald Trump, in which lies, racial fearmongering, and winning at any cost have become normalized.” – The New Yorker

May 5, 2021
Nazi Trump? Listen to Trump Himself Answer the Question
“Xenophobia + Jewish globalist conspiracies and money + racehorse theory eugenics + explicit hierarchical division of the world into admirable Nordic Norway and German ‘order and strength’ vs non-white ‘shithole countries’ = Nazism. Listen to Frau Merkel. She knows.” – Illumination

May 5, 2021
Israel’s Apartheid Doesn’t Make a Difference
“In April, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report called ‘A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,’ arguing that Israel’s policies toward the Palestinian population in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel have met the definitions of apartheid and persecution—and thus, of crimes against humanity. The report is damning. But it seems unlikely to have much influence on the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians or on the Western powers that express an interest in ending it.” – Foreign Policy

May 4, 2021
Pharma-Backed Democrats Decline To Support COVID-19 Vaccine Patent Waiver
“All of the Democrats who are among Congress’s top recipients of pharmaceutical industry cash have yet to endorse waiving the rules on intellectual property rights for the COVID-19 vaccines that many experts say stand in the way of needed production…. ‘The greed of Pharma means that they are effectively blocking the manufacture of the necessary supply,’ said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.” – HuffPost

May 3, 2021
Former Ethics Chief Slams Cruz’s Warning To ‘Woke’ CEOs As ‘Most Openly Corrupt’ Ever
“Republicans will stop accepting donations in exchange for ‘looking the other way’ when corporate bigwigs dodge taxes, Cruz wrote in a stunningly honest admission of his party’s current modus operandi. ‘This time,’ he wrote, ‘we won’t look the other way on Coca-Cola’s $12 billion in back taxes owed. This time, when Major League Baseball lobbies to preserve its multibillion-dollar antitrust exception, we’ll say no thank you. This time, when Boeing asks for billions in corporate welfare, we’ll simply let the Export-Import Bank expire.’ – HuffPost

April 30, 2021
‘We are witnessing a crime against humanity’: Arundhati Roy on India’s Covid catastrophe
“It’s hard to convey the full depth and range of the trauma, the chaos and the indignity that people are being subjected to. Meanwhile, Modi and his allies are telling us not to complain. The precise numbers that make up India’s Covid graph are like the wall that was built in Ahmedabad to hide the slums Donald Trump would drive past on his way to the “Namaste Trump” event that Modi hosted for him in February 2020. Grim as those numbers are, they give you a picture of the India-that-matters, but certainly not the India that is. In the India that is, people are expected to vote as Hindus, but die as disposables. ‘Let’s try and not be a cry baby.”” – The Guardian

April 27, 2021
A Threshold Crossed – Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution
“About 6.8 million Jewish Israelis and 6.8 million Palestinians live today between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River…. Throughout most of this area, Israel is the sole governing power; in the remainder, it exercises primary authority alongside limited Palestinian self-rule. Across these areas and in most aspects of life, Israeli authorities methodically privilege Jewish Israelis and discriminate against Palestinians. Laws, policies, and statements by leading Israeli officials make plain that the objective of maintaining Jewish Israeli control over demographics, political power, and land has long guided government policy. In pursuit of this goal, authorities have dispossessed, confined, forcibly separated, and subjugated Palestinians by virtue of their identity to varying degrees of intensity. In certain areas, as described in this report, these deprivations are so severe that they amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.” Human Rights Watch

April 25, 2021
India asks Twitter to take down some tweets critical of its COVID-19 handling
“(Reuters) – The Indian government asked social media platform Twitter to take down dozens of tweets, including some by local lawmakers, that were critical of India’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, as cases of COVID-19 again hit a world record. Twitter has withheld some of the tweets after the legal request by the Indian government, a company spokeswoman told Reuters on Saturday.” – Business Insider

April 25, 2021
Coronavirus: India’s patients suffocate amid oxygen shortage in world’s worst virus surge
“’It’s not the virus variants and mutations which are a key cause of the current rise in infections,’ Dr Anant Bhan, a bioethics and global health expert, tweeted this week. ‘It’s the variants of ineptitude and abdication of public health thinking by our decision makers.’” – South China Morning Post

April 24, 2021

Deadly Double Mutant

April 22, 2021
‘It was a torture chamber’: Ugandans abducted in vicious crackdown
“Hundreds of ordinary people suspected of supporting opposition politicians in Uganda have been snatched off the streets by security services in the worst wave of repression in the east African country for decades. Many suffered systematic torture, detention in harsh conditions in often secret prisons and the denial of access to relatives or lawyers…. Museveni has been in power for 35 years… The US and UK have given many billions of dollars of development and security assistance to Uganda in recent years. Some detainees have had joints or genitals beaten with wires, been burned with cigarettes, or had fingernails torn out.” – The Guardian

April 19, 2021
France ‘did nothing to stop’ Rwanda genocide, report claims
“France ‘bears significant responsibility’ for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 because it remained ‘unwavering in its support’ of its allies even though officials knew the slaughter was being prepared, a report commissioned by Kigali claims…. The 600-page report, by the US law firm Levy Firestone Muse, labels France a “collaborator” of the extremist Hutu regime that orchestrated the murders of about 800,000 people, mainly from the Tutsi minority.” – The Guardian

April 17, 2021
Yoga can leave you injured, psychotic and a Hindu, Christian groups claim
“The National Center for Law & Policy, an organization of Christian lawyers who take on legal cases backing anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage and other causes that they call ‘civil liberties,’ has produced a factsheet claiming to prove that yoga cannot be separated from its religious roots in Hinduism.” – The Guardian

April 14, 2021
‘Super-spreader’: Over 1,000 COVID positive at India’s Kumbh Mela
“More than 1,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus at the site of a major Hindu festival in India in two days, officials said, as huge crowds of mostly maskless devotees descend on the Ganges River in the northern Uttarakhand state. “Our faith is the biggest thing for us. It is because of that strong belief that so many people have come here to take a dip in Ganga,” Siddharth Chakrapani, a member of one of the Kumbh Mela organising committees, told AFP news agency. “They believe that Maa (mother) Ganga will save them from this pandemic.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, however, has refused to call off the festival that is scheduled to last the whole month, possibly fearing a backlash from religious leaders in the Hindu-majority country.” – Aljazeera

April 12, 2021
The World’s Wealthiest Countries Are Getting Vaccinated 25 Times Faster
“Economies with the highest incomes have 40% of the world’s vaccinations, but just 11% of the global population. The U.S., for example, has 24% of the world’s vaccinations but just 4.3% of the population, while Pakistan has 0.1% of the vaccine coverage for 2.7% of the global population. The pattern is repeated across the globe and follows efforts by wealthy countries to pre-purchase billions of doses of vaccines, enough to cover their populations several times over, according to a separate analysis of vaccine deals. The world’s least wealthy continent, Africa, is also the least vaccinated. Of its 54 countries, only three have have inoculated more than 1% of their populations.” – Bloomberg

April 11, 2021
‘Tell Us if He’s Dead’: Abductions and Torture Rattle Uganda
Hundreds have been detained, many brutalized, after a bloody, contested election. The government of Yoweri Museveni appears intent on breaking the back of the opposition. Armed men in white minivans without license plates picked up people off the streets or from their homes. Those snatched were taken to prisons, police stations and military barracks where they say they were hooded, drugged and beaten — some left to stand in cellars filled with water up to their chests. The fear is still so palpable in the capital, Kampala, that many others have gone into hiding or left the country.” – The New York Times

April 11, 2021
Downing Street rewrote ‘independent’ report on race, experts claim
“Officials at Downing Street have been accused of rewriting much of its controversial report into racial and ethnic disparities, despite appointing an independent commission to conduct an honest investigation into inequality in the UK. The Observer has been told that significant sections of the report published on 31 March, which were criticised and debunked by health professionals, academics, business chiefs and crime experts, were not written by the 12 commissioners who were appointed last July. The 258-page document was not made available to be read in full or signed off by the group.” – The Guardian

April 9, 2021
Trump officials celebrated efforts to change CDC reports on coronavirus, emails show
“Political appointees also tried to blunt scientific findings they deemed unfavorable to Trump, according to new documents from House probe…. Even as career government scientists worked to combat the virus, a cadre of Trump appointees was attempting to blunt the scientists’ messages, edit their findings and equip the president with an alternate set of talking points.” – The Washington Post

April 9, 2021,
Extent of mental health crisis in England at ‘terrifying’ level
“England is “in the grip of a mental health crisis” because of the Covid pandemic, with under-18s suffering the most, psychiatrists are to warn on Friday. Record numbers of children and adults sought NHS help last year for problems such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders, or because they ended up in a mental health crisis. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has highlighted the sharp rise in mental ill health, that began after the first lockdown in March 2020, in an analysis of NHS and Office for National Statistics data. The college said NHS services were struggling to cope with the demand. Adrian James, the college’s president, said: “The extent of the mental health crisis is terrifying, but it will likely get a lot worse before it gets better. Services are at a very real risk of being overrun by the sheer volume of people needing help.” – The Guardian

April 8, 2021
Intelligence forecast sees a post-coronavirus world upended by climate change and splintering societies
“U.S. intelligence officials have little comfort to offer a pandemic-weary planet about where the world is heading in the next 20 years. Short answer: It looks pretty bleak. On Thursday, the National Intelligence Council, a center in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that creates strategic forecasts and estimates, often based on material gathered by U.S. spy agencies, released its quadrennial ‘Global Trends’ report. Looking over the time horizon, it finds a world unsettled by the coronavirus pandemic, the ravages of climate change — which will propel mass migration — and a widening gap between what people demand from their leaders and what they can actually deliver…. At the same time, the pandemic accelerated and exacerbated social and economic fissures that had already emerged. And it underscored the risks from ‘more and cascading global challenges, ranging from disease to climate change to the disruptions from new technologies and financial crises,’ the authors write…. The authors write of a ‘looming disequilibrium between existing and future challenges and the ability of institutions and systems to respond.’ Within societies, fragmentation is increasing — political, cultural, economic — and ‘large segments of the global population are becoming wary of institutions and governments that they see as unwilling or unable to address their needs,’ the report says.” – The Washington Post

April 5, 2021,
‘Allergic reaction to US religious right’ fueling decline of religion, experts say
“Fewer than half of Americans belong to a house of worship, a new study shows, but religion – and Christianity in particular – continues to have an outsize influence in US politics. Just 47% of the US population are members of a church, mosque or synagogue, according to a survey by Gallup, down from 70% two decades ago – in part a result of millennials turning away from religion but also, experts say, a reaction to the swirling mix of rightwing politics and Christianity pursued by the Republican party.” – The Guardian

March 31, 2021
Opinion: Which world leader has the worst pandemic record? The competition is fierce.
“That was essentially confirmed by Deborah Birx, President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force coordinator, who told CNN that most deaths in the United States could have been prevented. And yet — cold comfort — Trump might not have been the worst leader of the pandemic. Others arguably botched the crisis even worse than Trump did, and the list tells you a lot about the state of global governance…. It is sometimes hard to suppress a chuckle when watching the antics of these buffoons. Yet the sense of absurdity is quickly stifled by the realization that their actions have likely contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands around the world — perhaps more.” – The Washington Post

March 29, 2021
US sinks to new low in rankings of world’s democracies
“The US has slipped 11 points in a decade – below Argentina and Mongolia – according the latest report by a democracy watchdog. Extreme partisan gerrymandering – the manipulation of electoral district lines to boost one party over the other – has contributed to dramatic polarization in the US, threatening its democratic foundations. Gerrymandering, the report says, “has the most corrosive and radicalizing effect on US politics.”” – The Guardian

March 26, 2021
The Historians Under Attack for Exploring Poland’s Role in the Holocaust
“To exonerate the nation of the murders of three million Jews, the Polish government will go as far as to prosecute scholars for defamation. …In 2016, Polish authorities charged the Polish-American historian Jan Tomasz Gross, author of the groundbreaking book “Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland,” with insulting the Polish people, for his observation that Poles killed more Jews than Germans during the Second World War. …half of the European Jews murdered in the Holocaust were killed in what had been Poland before the war; a Jew in Poland had a 1.5-per-cent chance of survival. Gross’s book “Neighbors” documents the murder of sixteen hundred Jews by their Polish neighbors: the killing of one half of a village by the other. Grabowski’s research has burrowed deeper into the role of Polish collaborators. In his 2011 book, “Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland,” he looked at the fate of Jews who had escaped ghettos or death camps, becoming, as he put it in conversation with me, “invisible” to the Germans. Yet most of these Jews died because Polish gentiles helped the Germans to find them.” – The New Yorker

March 24, 2021
How Taiwan triumphed over Covid as UK faltered
“Both are islands ruled by democratic government, their large populations – more than 22 million people live in Taiwan – mostly crowded into cities, with public health systems that mean medical care is widely accessible. At the end of 2019, both were heavily exposed to travellers carrying coronavirus…. A little over a year later, Britain has one of the world’s worst death rates, with more than 130,000 people lost to the virus and more than 4 million people infected. Taiwan has lost 10 people, and had just 1,000 documented cases, the vast majority of them among quarantined travellers. The root of the difference lies in the approach their governments took.” – The Guardian

March 23, 2021
Top Saudi official issued death threat against UN’s Khashoggi investigator
“Senior official twice threatened to have Agnès Callamard ‘taken care of’ in meeting with UN colleagues in Geneva in January 2020…. Callamard’s 100-page report, published in June 2019, concluded that there was ‘credible evidence’ that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and other senior Saudi officials were liable for the killing, and called the murder an ‘international crime.'” – The Guardian

The Vatican’s Giant Step Backward on Same-Sex Unions
“Can the Catholic Church bless same-sex unions? The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a brief “responsum” to the question with a single word: “Negative.” But there was an “explanatory note,” which said that blessings are “sacred signs that resemble the sacraments,” such as marriage, which, in God’s plan, found “inscribed in creation,” is between a man and a woman. Because same-sex unions cannot, therefore, be marriages, to bless them would be to give sacramental recognition to sexual relationships outside of marriage, which the Church, technically, regards as a sin in all cases. Therefore, because God “does not and cannot bless sin,” the Church cannot bless same-sex unions—and even the “positive elements” in same-sex unions cannot “justify these relationships.”” – The New Yorker

Bolsonaro uses Brazil’s dictatorship-era law as protesters depict him as a Nazi
“The national security law, which dates from 1983, near the end of the country’s military dictatorship, states it is a crime to harm the heads of the three branches of government or expose them to danger. That vague definition has recently been used to detain or investigate Bolsonaro critics…. There have been previous news-making charges against prominent critics of the president, including a newspaper columnist, a political cartoonist and a popular YouTube star, but the law is increasingly being employed against ordinary citizens.” – The Guardian

Canadian Conservative party votes not to recognize climate crisis as real
“Delegates vote 54%-46% against policy change request…. Canada is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and one of the highest emitters of greenhouse gases on a per capita basis.” – The Guardian

The Victims of Agent Orange the U.S. Has Never Acknowledged
“America has never taken responsibility for spraying the herbicide over Laos during the Vietnam War. But generations of ethnic minorities have endured the consequences…. Agent Orange… is notorious for being laced with a chemical contaminant called 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-P-dioxin, or TCDD, regarded as one of the most toxic substances ever created…. The use of the herbicide in the neutral nation of Laos by the United States — secretly, illegally and in large amounts — remains one of the last untold stories of the American war in Southeast Asia…. the extent to which the U.S. military broke international agreements has never been fully documented, until now…. At least 600,000 gallons of herbicides rained down on the ostensibly neutral nation during the war.” – The New York Times

One Year Later, We Still Have No Plan to Prevent the Next Pandemic. And yes, there could soon be another pandemic.
“It’s appropriate to ask what smart collective action are we pursuing to prevent this from ever happening again. The answer, as best as I can detect, is nothing — at least nothing meaningful…. Cornell University’s Steve Osofsky, a wildlife veterinarian, summarized how the health of wildlife, the health of ecosystems and our own health are inextricably linked. To say that a majority of emerging viruses come from wildlife is not to blame wild creatures, explained Osofsky. It is to make the point that through our own behaviors we ‘invite these viruses into humanity’s living room: We eat the body parts of wild animals; we capture and mix wild species together in markets for sale; and we destroy what’s left of wild nature at a dizzying pace — think deforestation — all greatly enhancing our encounter rates with new pathogens.’” – The New York Times

9 March, 2021
Iran Is Starting to Want the Bomb
“The U.S. maximum pressure campaign accidentally spurred a strategic shift in Tehran…. Wide swaths of Iranian society, among the public and policymakers alike, seem to increasingly see the weapon not just as an ultimate deterrent but as a panacea for Iran’s chronic security problems and challenges to its sovereignty by foreign powers.” – Foreign Policy

9 March, 2021
Quarter of women and girls have been abused by a partner, says WHO
“’Violence against women is endemic in every country and culture, causing harm to millions of women and their families, and has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic,’ said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general. ‘Violence against women is endemic in every country and culture, causing harm to millions of women and their families, and has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.’… Funding to address violence against women… amounted to only 0.33% of the total DAC [donor countries] country budgets. ‘It’s a pittance when you consider the magnitude of the problem, when you consider the prevalence, when you consider the millions of women and their children that are affected,’ said García-Moreno.” – The Guardian

9 March, 2021
Sidhique Kappan: Jailed and ‘tortured’ for trying to report a rape
“A 19-year-old Dalit woman had died after she was allegedly gang-raped by four of her upper-caste neighbours in the village of Bhulgarhi in Hathras. The story of the brutal assault, the woman’s death and a forced cremation in the middle of the night by the police without her family’s consent had made headlines around the world…. Sidhique Kappan, a 41-year-old journalist for the Malayalam-language news portal Azhimukham, also set out for Bhulgarhi, travelling from Delhi where he had been based for nine years…. Mr Kappan was arrested…. Last week, he completed his 150th day in jail. In the police lockup that night – according to an account he gave his family and lawyer – Mr Kappan was ‘dragged and beaten with sticks on thighs, slapped on face, forced to stay awake from 6pm to 6am on the pretext of questioning and subjected to serious mental torture.”… Police accused Mr Kappan of sedition and invoked the dreaded Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) – an anti-terrorism law that makes bail almost impossible.” – BBC

9 March, 2021

UK ‘balancing books on backs of Yemen’s starving people’, says UN diplomat
“The UK has announced it will give Yemen about £87m in aid this year, down from £164m in 2020. Boris Johnson has said the decision is due to the ‘current straitened circumstances’ caused by the pandemic and has insisted the public would think the government had its ‘priorities right.’ The conflict in Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, which UN officials have warned is fast becoming the most serious famine the world has seen in decades. The UK government is intimately involved in the conflict, as a leading supplier and supporter of the Saudi and Emirati-led coalition fighting in the war.” – The Guardian

January 9, 2021
UK overseas territories top list of world’s leading tax havens
“Dereje Alemayehu, the executive coordinator of the Nobel peace prize-nominated Global Alliance for Tax Justice, said the report’s findings showed the biggest economies in the world were helping companies avoid $245bn in tax, and ‘to trust the OECD in light of its findings is like trusting a pack of wolves to build a fence around your chicken coop.’… The report said OECD countries were responsible for 39% of the world’s corporate tax abuse risks…. But the Tax Justice Network said they continued to facilitate capital flight from many of the world’s poorest nations, allowing multinational corporations to avoid legitimate claims on their profits.” – The Guardian

January 8, 2021
Trial implicating Honduran president in drug trafficking begins
“US prosecutors say Juan Orlando Hernandez accepted bribes from drug cartels, the president has denied the allegations…. Federal prosecutors accused Hernandez, who has been president since 2014, of using Honduran law enforcement and military officials to protect drug traffickers. Hernandez was a key ally to the US under both the Obama and the Trump administrations.” – Aljazeera

January/February 2021
The Party That Failed – An Insider Breaks With Beijing
“When Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, I was full of hope for China. As a professor at the prestigious school that educates top leaders in the Chinese Communist Party, I knew enough about history to conclude that it was past time for China to open up its political system…. By then, I was midway through a decades-long process of grappling with China’s official ideology, even as I was responsible for indoctrinating officials in it…. A package of legal reforms passed in 2014, which further exposed the party’s intent to use the law as a tool for maintaining totalitarian rule. After 20 years of hesitation, confusion, and misery, I made the decision to emerge from the darkness and make a complete break with the party. Xi’s great leap backward soon left me with no other choice…. Soon, I was expelled from the party. The school stripped me of my retirement benefits. My bank account was frozen. I asked the authorities at the Central Party School for a guarantee of my personal safety if I returned. Officials there avoided answering the question and instead made vague threats against my daughter in China and her young son. It was at this point that I accepted the truth: there was no going back.” – Foreign Affairs

March 7, 2021
Inside Xinjiang’s Prison State. Survivors of China’s campaign of persecution reveal the scope of the devastation.
“… At thousands of checkpoints and convenience stations in Xinjiang, police have collected DNA samples, voice recordings, fingerprints, and iris and facial scans of residents. Throughout the region, people’s homes are marked with QR codes linked to information about each resident. Mandatory smartphone apps monitor citizens’ movements and private messages. Survivors of China’s campaign of persecution reveal the scope of the devastation. … In the yard, the men were ordered to squat as policemen and guard dogs circled them. The police placed hoods over the prisoners’ heads and led them, in pairs, to waiting buses. ‘They had rifles and were yelling at us. Then they put hoods on us. Like the Second World War. Like the fascists dealing with the Jews’” – The Newyorker

March 5, 2021
Covid: Bolsonaro tells Brazilians to stop ‘whining’ as deaths top 260,000
“The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has triggered a wave of revulsion by telling citizens, ‘Stop all this fussing and whining. How long are you going to keep on crying?’… With vaccination stuck in first gear, infections surging, intensive care units reaching capacity and close to 2,000 lives being lost each day, the answer looks certain to be quite some time….. Against that backdrop, Bolsonaro’s comments – widely seen as designed to distract from awkward reports about his son’s purchase of a luxury mansion– caused outrage. ‘Impeachment and jail for this crook,’ tweeted Ciro Gomes, a prominent leftist rival, calling Bolsonaro ‘the gravedigger of Brazil.'” – The Guardian

March 5, 2021
The Church Needs Shame to Function
“The church is full of lovely people beholden to a broken system — a guilt-based religious structure that ultimately keeps people enslaved. Here is a snapshot of the various ways that I have observed the use of shame and shaming in the church: Using shame to create converts, using shame to create conformity, using shame to generate income, using shame to lift attendance, using shame to manage behavior. As a result, so many who attend churches pick up their fig leaves and cover their own shame and sense of not measuring up. Christians are forced to pretend, repress, deny, or become a hypocrite because nothing they do will ever be good enough. It is not so much that hypocrites join churches, but that the evangelical church’s very structures encourage people to act and pretend.” – Medium

March 4, 2021
India’s top judge tells accused rapist to marry victim to avoid jail
“The chief justice Sharad Arvind Bobde… told the government technician at a hearing: ‘If you want to marry [her] we can help you. If not, you lose your job and go to jail.’… Bobde’s comments sparked a furore and prompted women’s rights activists to circulate an open letter… calling for his resignation. According to the letter, the defendant is accused of stalking, tying up, gagging and repeatedly raping the girl and threatening to douse her in petrol, set her alight and have her brother killed. ‘By suggesting that this rapist marry the victim-survivor, you, the chief justice of India, sought to condemn the victim-survivor to a lifetime of rape at the hands of the tormentor who drove her to attempt suicide,’ the letter said.” – The Guardian

March 4, 2021
The Insidious Creep of Violent Rhetoric
“For now, when trying to decide whether to intervene on an ambiguous tweet or post by a major political figure, content moderation staffers carefully parse the words and wonder about their author’s intent. What really matters for preventing violence is how content is understood by its audience, especially people who might commit or condone violence…. Social media platforms should hold such people accountable when the content they post is understood by their followers to call for crime…. If the test proves effective, the list of politicians could be expanded to include candidates for office and former politicians, as well as non-politicians with significant power over specific audiences, like religious leaders and other people with online audiences over a certain size…. It is time for social media companies to hold powerful people accountable.” – NOĒMA

March 3, 2021
Some U.S. Bishops Advise Catholics to Avoid J&J Vaccine
“Some U.S. bishops are advising Catholics to avoid what the prelates contend is a Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine that’s immoral because aborted human tissue is used in its manufacture. Their guidance is stricter than the Vatican’s declaration that the formula is broadly acceptable for the faith’s 1.3 billion followers. The Archdiocese of New Orleans, with 518,000 Catholics, cited “the wrongdoing” of the vaccine’s creators for the “extensive use of abortion-derived cell lines.” The two archdioceses declared the formula “morally compromised.”” – Bloomberg

March 3, 2021
Chinese labour schemes aimed to cut Uighur population density – report
“Chinese labour programmes in Xinjiang are designed at least partly to reduce the population density of the Uighur ethnic minority group, according to a study accidentally published online. The Chinese report, by academics of Nankai University, was taken down in mid-2020, but a copy was archived by the academic Dr Adrian Zenz. It adds to the growing body of evidence of Beijing’s concerted efforts to persecute Uighurs in what human rights experts and some governments have labelled cultural genocide. The Chinese government denies accusations of forced labour and labour transfers in Xinjiang, saying work programmes are a voluntary element of its poverty alleviation goals. However, the Nankai report said the labour transfers were also a long-term measure that “not only reduces Uighur population density in Xinjiang, but also is an important method to influence, melt, and assimilate Uighur minorities.” – The Guardian

March 2, 2021
Ex-President Sarkozy Gets Jail Sentence for Corruption in France
“The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty and sentenced to prison by a court in Paris on Monday on charges of corruption and influence peddling, only the second time in modern French history that a former president has been convicted of a crime. While the court handed down a three-year prison sentence, two of those years were suspended… Mr. Sarkozy can request that his one-year term be served outside prison, for instance at home with an electronic bracelet.” – The New York Times

March 2, 2021
Homosexuality can be called a mental disorder, rules Chinese court
“A court in China has agreed with a textbook’s description of homosexuality as a mental disorder, upholding a ruling by a lower court. In 1990, the World Health Organisation declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder following which China followed suit and decriminalised homosexuality in 1997. Two years later, in 2001, China removed it from the official list of mental disorders. The textbook, being used by a number of Chinese universities, is the 2013 edition of Mental Health Education for College Students published by Jinan University Press. It has listed homosexuality under “common psychosexual disorders” along with cross-dressing and fetishism.” – The Independent

February 28, 2021
Brazil Is Brilliant at Vaccinations. So What Went Wrong This Time?
“With one of the largest universal, free-of-charge public health systems in the world, the country has a distinguished track record of vaccinations and disease control…. In a country where the pandemic has wrought terrible damage — 250,000 people have died… the failure amounts to a disaster…. So what went wrong?… From the beginning, Mr. Bolsonaro’s government downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic…. Mr. Bolsonaro, through ineptitude and malice, has squandered the country’s resources to ruinous effect.” – The New York Times

February 26, 2021
Ethiopia’s War Leads to Ethnic Cleansing in Tigray Region, U.S. Report Says
“In a second report, published Friday, Amnesty International said that soldiers from Eritrea had systematically killed hundreds of Tigrayan civilians in the ancient city of Axum over a 10-day period in November, shooting some of them in the streets. The worsening situation in Tigray — where Mr. Abiy, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, launched a surprise military offensive in November — is shaping up to be the Biden administration’s first major test in Africa. Former President Donald J. Trump paid little attention to the continent.” – The New York Times

February 26, 2021
Saudi Crown Prince Is Held Responsible for Khashoggi Killing in U.S. Report
“American officials listened to a recording obtained by Turkish intelligence that not only captured Mr. Khashoggi’s struggle against Saudi agents and his killing, but also the sounds of the saw being used on his body…. The declassified document was a powerful rebuke of the crown prince, a close ally of the Trump administration, whose continued support of him prompted international outrage.” – The New York Times

February 26, 2021
Crushing Dissent: The Saudi Kill Team Behind Khashoggi’s Death
“Seven Saudis involved in the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi belonged to an elite unit charged with protecting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a declassified report on the assassination released on Friday. The New York Times has linked the group to a brutal campaign to crush dissent inside the kingdom and abroad, citing interviews with American officials who have read classified intelligence reports about the campaign.” – The New York Times

February 24, 2021
Mexican president under fire for defending politician accused of rape
“Félix Salgado Macedonio has registered to run for governor in southern Guerrero state with the ruling Morena party, despite accusations of sexual violence and rape by five women dating back as far as 1998…. López Obrador initially dismissed the complaints as “politicking” and then alleged that the attacks on Salgado were little more than a ruse against the president himself, saying it was part of a campaign of ‘media lynching’… The episode has again placed Amlo in conflict with women’s rights campaigners and the country’s burgeoning feminist movement…. ‘Everything is made so [Salgado] is never sentenced and, in reality, almost no man is ever convicted for sexual violence,’ said Paola Zavala Saeb, a lawyer and director of Ocupa México, a violence prevention organisation. ‘Just 2% of sexual violence complaints end up with a sentence.’” – The Guardian

February 24, 2021
Trump made $1.6bn while president, report says
Donald Trump made as much as $1.6bn during his four years as president according to a report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). CREW argues that much of this income came from those wishing to curry favour with the president paying a premium to stay at properties branded in his name. The report by CREW comes as the Supreme Court handed down a decision that will force Mr Trump to hand over his tax returns to prosecutors in New York.” – The Independent

February 23, 2021
‘Patriots’ Only: Beijing Plans Overhaul of Hong Kong’s Elections
“China plans to impose restrictions on Hong Kong’s electoral system to root out candidates the Communist Party deems disloyal, a move that could block democracy advocates in the city from running for any elected office. The planned overhaul reinforces the Communist Party’s resolve to quash the few remaining vestiges of political dissent after the antigovernment protests that roiled the territory in 2019. It also builds on a national security law for the city that Beijing enacted last summer, giving the authorities sweeping powers to target dissent.” – The New York Times

February 22, 2021
How Britain Stole $45 Trillion From India, And Lied About It
“Renened economist Utsa Patnaik calculated that Britain drained a total of nearly $45 trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938. How did this come about? It happened through the trade system. The East India Company began collecting taxes in India, and then cleverly used a portion of those revenues (about a third) to fund the purchase of Indian goods for British use. In other words, instead of paying for Indian goods out of their own pocket, British traders acquired them for free, “buying” from peasants and weavers using money that had just been taken from them. It was a scam – theft on a grand scale. On top of this, the British were able to sell the stolen goods to other countries for much more than they “bought” them for in the first place, pocketing not only 100 percent of the original value of the goods but also the markup.” – Aljazeera

February 21, 2021
Anatomy of a conspiracy: With COVID, China took leading role
“From Beijing and Washington to Moscow and Tehran, political leaders and allied media effectively functioned as misinformation superspreaders, using their stature to amplify politically expedient conspiracies already in circulation. But it was China — not Russia – that took the lead in spreading foreign disinformation about COVID-19’s origins, as it came under attack for its early handling of the outbreak.” – AP

February 19, 2021
Locked up at age 15, Joe Ligon became the nation’s longest-serving juvenile ‘lifer….’ Now, at 83, he’s finally free…. 

“That February night, Ligon and four other teenagers drained two bottles of wine, ripped through the streets of South Philadelphia near his home and stabbed eight men, two of whom died. It was the first time he ever drank, he has said…. His lawyers instructed him to plead guilty to the facts, leaving the judge to determine the crimes. Ligon admitted to stabbing one victim who survived. Ligon was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of ever getting out…. The United States has long led the world in incarcerating juveniles for life without possibility of parole….” – The Washington Post

February 19, 2021

Rich nations ‘hoarding’ a billion doses of excess COVID vaccine
“Surplus of vaccine doses would be sufficient to vaccinate the entire adult population of Africa, according to campaign group. ‘This huge vaccine excess is the embodiment of vaccine nationalism, with countries prioritising their own vaccination needs at the expense of other countries and the global recovery,’ said ONE, a group that campaigns against poverty. ‘It’s an unprecedented acceleration of global inequality and it’s politically unsustainable too because it’s paving the way for a war of influence over vaccines,’ Macron told the Financial Times newspaper.” – Aljazeera

February 19, 2021
One night in Cancun: Ted Cruz’s disastrous decision to go on vacation during Texas storm crisis
“On Cruz’s trip, at least, almost everyone could agree: “Nope. This is politics 101. Incredibly stupid move,” tweeted Charlie Spiering, White House correspondent for the conservative Breitbart News. “Well Senator Cruz is flying to Cancun while millions of Texans do not have electricity #Priorities #ThanksforNothingSenator,” wrote one Houston-based Twitter user, above a photo of Cruz looking like any airport traveler in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic… And the hypocrisy of a man who has trashed fellow politicians for vacationing during crises — vacationing in Cancun during a crisis himself.” – The Washington Post

February 18, 2021
Trump Is Guilty of Pandemicide
“History will show the former U.S. president was staggeringly negligent during the pandemic’s deadly third wave…. Trump’s failure to, as he vowed in his oath of office, ‘faithfully execute the office of president of the United States’ promulgated a scale of lives lost exceeding anything experienced in the country since the Civil War, 160 years ago…. According to a new Lancet Commission report compiled by an international team of august scientists and public health leaders, some 40 percent of America’s COVID-19 death toll during the Trump administration was needless, meaning it could have been averted with available nonmedical interventions.” – Foreign Policy

February 18, 2021
Japan’s ruling party invites women to meetings – but won’t let them speak
“It was a move designed to show that Japan’s ruling party was committed to gender equality after the sexism row that forced one of its former prime ministers, Yoshiro Mori, to resign as head of Tokyo’s Olympic organising committee. The time had come to give female members of the Liberal Democratic party (LDP) more prominence at key meetings, the party’s secretary general, Toshihiro Nikai, said this week, days after Mori had stepped down following his claim that meetings attended by ‘talkative women’ tended to ‘drag on.’. But Nikai’s attempt to address the yawning gender gap in his party quickly unravelled when it became clear that the small groups of women attending the meetings were expected to be seen but not heard.” – The Guardian

February 15, 2021
India: activist arrested over protest ‘toolkit’ shared by Greta Thunberg
“Indian police have charged a 22-year-old climate activist with sedition over accusations she edited and circulated a document tweeted by climate activist Greta Thunberg relating to India’s ongoing farmer protests… claiming the document was evidence of a conspiracy ‘to wage economic, social, cultural and regional war against India.'” – The Guardian

February 15, 2021
Peru’s foreign minister resigns over COVID vaccine scandal
“Peru’s foreign minister has resigned, the second top official to step down amid a growing scandal over politicians receiving COVID-19 vaccinations well before the general public…. Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti also stepped down last week following a newspaper report that ex-President Martin Vizcarra had received a shot of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine in October…. Vizcarra, 57, received the jab just weeks before being impeached and removed from office on charges he was ‘morally incompetent’… Peruvian media has speculated there may be numerous officials who are already vaccinated…. Peru has recorded more than 1.2 million coronavirus cases and more than 43,700 deaths.” – Aljazeera

February 12, 2021
Forty per cent of American Covid deaths were avoidable – and the Trump administration is to blame, study finds
“Systemic racism, poor healthcare access and entrenched neoliberal policy have contributed to decades of avoidable excess deaths. A paper published today in The Lancet finds that over the last four years, the Trump administration’s policies have had a ‘devastating impact’ on ‘every aspect of health’ in the US…. In their new report, the researchers… write that 461,000 fewer Americans would have died in 2018 alone and the Covid-19 death toll would have been cut by 40 per cent…. According to commission co-chair Dr Steffie Woolhandler, ‘This unprecedented decoupling of health from national wealth signals that our society is sick.'” – Independent

February 12, 2021
Canada military trumpets diversity… with picture of eight white men
“’Conversations on diversity, inclusion, and culture change are not incompatible with our thirst for operational excellence. I count on my senior leaders to champion culture change,’ admiral Art McDonald, recently wrote on Twitter. ‘Diversity makes us stronger, inclusion improves our institution.’ Unfortunately, that stirring message was somewhat undercut by the accompanying photograph of the meeting – which showed eight white men sitting round a table.” The Guardian

February 12, 2021
Why are South Korean churches a magnet for coronavirus and conspiracy theories?
“Outbreaks at churches have been prominent in each wave to hit South Korea, while pastors have promoted conspiracy theories and unconventional ‘cures’. In his case the matter has been made worse by the fact the card that is said to emit “waves” that will “fend off and kill the Covid-19 virus” was developed by Kim Hyon-won, a controversial biochemistry professor at the Yonsel University Wonju College of Medicine. In recent months, infection levels have soared, prompting alarm that new clusters have been able to get past the aggressive testing, contact-tracing and isolation regimes that once earned South Korea praise from the World Health Organization.” – The South Asia Morning Post

February 12, 2021
Influential Evangelist is Accused of Sexual Abuse in Scathing Report
“The influential evangelist Ravi Zacharias, who died last spring, engaged in “sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape,” according to a report released on Thursday by the global evangelical organization he founded. After initially denying accounts of his misconduct, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries announced that an investigation had found credible evidence of sexual misconduct spanning many years and multiple continents.” – The New York Times

February 11, 2021
How Germany Lost Control of the Virus
“The country excelled during the first wave. What went wrong the second time around? ‘We have lost control of this thing.’ Those were the words of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany…. Why did this happen? The short answer: politics.” – The New York Times

February 10, 2021
UK approved $1.9bn of arms sales to Saudi Arabia since ban lifted
“the UK authorised weapons exports worth 1.39 billion pounds ($1.9bn), according to the government figures. The category of arms including missiles and bombs accounted for 1.36 billion pounds ($1.88bn) of the sales. Anti-arms trade campaigners slammed the sales as “shocking” and said the figures “illustrate the UK government’s determination to keep supplying arms at any cost”. “UK-made weapons have played a devastating role in the Saudi-led attacks on Yemen, and the humanitarian crisis they have created, yet the UK government has done everything it can to keep the arms sales flowing.”” – Aljazeera

February 9, 2021
Southern Baptist Pastors Compare Kamala Harris To Bible’s Queen Jezebel
“Two Texas pastors have yet to apologize for comparing Vice President Kamala Harris to Jezebel, a Biblical queen whose name has become shorthand for a woman who is manipulative, seductive, and wicked. There is a distinctively racist and sexist undertone to the label, since the Jezebel trope has been used to denigrate Black women for years, scholars say…. According to Tamura Lomax, author of Jezebel Unhinged: Loosing the Black Female Body in Religion and Culture, ‘The name Jezebel was actually meant to be a slur because she did not submit to patriarchy.’” – HuffPost

February 9, 2021
‘Anti-India’ social media posts may cost your passport: police chief
“Police forces in the Indian states of Uttarakhand and Bihar have warned citizens that criticising the government on social media or participating in protests could disqualify them from government jobs, bank loans and even obtaining passports…. Political analyst Arati Jerath warned democracy itself was in peril…. ‘[The BJP] has resorted to a sledgehammer approach to stifle uncomfortable voices,’ she said…. Critics say the BJP has adopted an aggressive ‘us and them’ mindset in which all dissenters are tagged as enemies; party figures have dubbed outspoken academics as ‘seditionists,’ Muslims against the citizenship law as ‘jihadis,’ and farmers – most of whom are Sikh – as ‘religious separatists.'” – The South China Morning Post

February 9, 2021
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump made up to $640 million while working in White House, report finds
“Their extraordinary incomes have alarmed lawmakers and ethics groups chronicling concerns over the family’s allegedly rampant self-dealing and enrichment while Mr Trump was in office. Ivanka Trump’s ownership stake in Washington DC’s Trump Hotel – what CREW called a ‘locus of influence peddling in the Trump administration’ – earned her more than $13 million since 2017, according to financial disclosures analysed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. – The Guardian

February 7, 2021
Trump’s election fraud falsehoods have cost taxpayers $519m — and counting
“The expenditures include legal fees prompted by dozens of fruitless lawsuits, enhanced security in response to death threats against poll workers, and costly repairs needed after the 6 January insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. That attack triggered the expensive massing of thousands of National Guard troops on the streets of Washington amid fears of additional extremist violence.” – Independent

February 4, 2021
India clamps down on free speech to fight farmer protests
“Ministers in Modi’s government accused the journalists and a prominent opposition parliamentarian of inciting hatred and endangering the nation’s integrity through inaccurate reporting and tweets. It led to the filing of colonial-era sedition charges, which carry a maximum five-year prison term. The law, like its equivalent in other former British colonies, is viewed as draconian and was revoked in the United Kingdom in 2010.” – Independant

February 3, 2021
Xinjiang’s Camps Enable Systemic Sexual Violence
“A new report draws attention to rape and other abuses of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s large-scale internment camps…. This week, the BBC released a series of accounts from witnesses of systematic rape inside the carceral system in Xinjiang, where more than 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities are imprisoned. Refugees have previously recounted sexual abuse in the camps, but the BBC report gathers several key witnesses, including some women who were raped. These accounts track with the scale of the camps, recorded both through satellite data and on Chinese government websites—and with the government’s own sexualized rhetoric.” – Foreign Policy

February 2, 2021
Russian Activist Navalny Sentenced to More Than 2 Years in Prison
“A decision likely to send him for a lengthy term in a far-flung penal colony for the first time…. Tuesday’s sentencing represented a pivotal moment for President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia. Mr. Navalny… repeatedly embarrassed the president and his close allies with investigative reports about corruption that were viewed many millions of times on YouTube. ‘Hundreds of thousands cannot be locked up,’ Mr. Navalny said during the hearing before he was sentenced. ‘More and more people will recognize this. And when they recognize this — and that moment will come — all of this will fall apart, because you cannot lock up the whole country.'” – New York Times

February 1, 2021 
FP Editors’ Picks: What’s next for Myanmar – Sound familiar?
After refusing to recognize the country’s election results based on unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, Myanmar’s military launched a coup and detained state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. – Foreign Policy

February 1, 2021
Why Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup
“Analysts and campaigners say commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing’s presidential ambitions played a key role in power grab. Frontier Myanmar, a current affairs magazine based in Yangon, said the fact that Min Aung Hlaing is ‘one of most wanted men on the planet’ due to his role in the atrocities committed against the Rohingya also contributed to the general’s anxiety about his future. ‘This is a Min Aung Hlaing coup, not just a military coup,” said Mark Farmaner, director of the UK-based Burma Campaign. ‘It is about his position and his wealth.'” – Aljazeera

February 1, 2021
Something went terribly wrong with Trump’s defense
“Just over a week before the start of his second impeachment trial, former President Donald Trump’s entire legal team has walked away. What already promised to be an unpredictable and unprecedented show on the Senate floor just got even messier, as it appears that Trump will insist on repeating the same dangerous lie that sparked the Capitol riot — that the election was stolen from him — and led to his (second) impeachment in the first place.” – CNN

January 31, 2021
Trump Raised $255.4 Million in 8 Weeks as He Sought to Overturn Election Result
“Mr. Trump’s strongest fund-raising came in the immediate aftermath of the election, such as after major media organizations declared that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had won on Nov. 7. But even as Mr. Trump and his legal team lost case after case — in venues including the Supreme Court — his donors continued to give repeatedly. More than two million contributions flowed in to Mr. Trump, the Republican National Committee and their shared accounts from Nov. 24 through the end of the year.” – The New York Times

January 29, 2021
‘The perfect target’: Russia cultivated Trump as asset for 40 years – ex-KGB spy
“Donald Trump was cultivated as a Russian asset over 40 years and proved so willing to parrot anti-western propaganda that there were celebrations in Moscow, a former KGB spy has told the Guardian. Yuri Shvets, posted to Washington by the Soviet Union in the 1980s, compares the former US president to ‘the Cambridge five.’ the British spy ring that passed secrets to Moscow during the second world war and early cold war.” – The Guardian

January 29, 2021
Why 1850 Doesn’t Feel So Far Away
“Scarcely had the violence ebbed on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 when the Republican calls for healing began…. And many of them are using threats of violence to encourage Democrats and the disloyal to fall in line. ‘I had a lot of conversations with my Republican colleagues last night,’ reported Representative Jason Crow, Democrat of Colorado, on MSNBC on Jan. 13, and a ‘couple of them actually broke down in tears… saying that they are afraid for their lives if they vote for this impeachment.” – The New York Times

January 28, 2021
Report: Corruption in U.S. at Worst Levels in Almost a Decade

“Advocates attribute the drop to declining trust in democratic institutions and poor oversight of pandemic-related financial aid. In the annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), the United States fell to a low of 67 out of a maximum possible score of 100, down from a high of 76 in 2015…. The lower the score, the worse the corruption. Two-thirds of the 180 countries and territories included in the 2020 index scored below 50, with an average of 43.” – Foreign Policy

January 28, 2021
‘The Capitol Insurrection Was as Christian Nationalist as It Gets.’
“Religious resentment has become a potent recruiting tool for the hard right…. Andrew L. Whitehead and Samuel L. Perry, professors of sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the University of Oklahoma, describe Christian Nationalism in their book ‘Taking America Back for God’: It includes assumptions of nativism, white supremacy, patriarchy and heteronormativity, along with divine sanction for authoritarian control and militarism.” – The New York Times

January 28, 2021
2 men caned 77 times for gay sex in Indonesia’s Aceh

“It’s the third time that Aceh, the only province in Indonesia to practice Shariah law, has caned people for homosexuality since the Islamic law was implemented in 2015 as a concession made by the government to end a long-running separatist rebellion… A Shariah court last month sentenced each man to 80 strokes, but they were caned 77 times after a remission for time spent in prison. Four other people received 17 strokes for extra-marital relations and 40 strokes for drinking alcohol”. – The Free Press Journal

January 27, 2021
Poland to implement near-total ban on abortion imminently

“The ruling, handed down by the constitutional tribunal in October, found that terminating pregnancies due to severe foetal abnormalities is unconstitutional…. Once the ruling goes into effect, abortion will only be permitted in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger. – The Guardian

January 27, 2021
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Liked Posts Calling For Killing Democratic Politicians: Reports

‘Media Matters for America, a progressive watchdog group, first reported that Greene, a far-right firebrand who was recently elected to Congress, had endorsed fringe conspiracy theories on Facebook in 2018 that suggested former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton murdered a child during a satanic ritual…. In January 2019, Greene liked a comment that said it would be ‘quicker’ to remove Pelosi from office with a ‘bullet to the head.’ On another post from April 2018, a commenter asked her if ‘H & O’ — referring to former President Barack Obama and Clinton — should be hanged.” – HuffPost

January 26, 2021
Indian court rules that groping without removing clothes is not sexual assault

“In a judgment last week, Bombay High Court judge Pushpa Ganediwala found that a 39-year-old man was not guilty of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl as he had not removed her clothes, meaning there was no skin-on-skin contact. According to court documents, the man brought the child to his house on the pretext of giving her guava in December 2016. While there, he touched her chest and tried to remove her underwear, according to the judgment.” – CNN

January 26, 2021
Indian Muslim comic in jail for weeks for jokes he did not tell

“An Indian Muslim stand-up comic has spent 25 days in a Madhya Pradesh jail for jokes he did not tell an audience, but on suspicions he was ‘going to.’ Mumbai-based Munawar Faruqui, 28, is facing legal action in two states. In Madhya Pradesh, he was arrested while performing by Indore police for allegedly insulting Hindu deities during rehearsals. In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, he is sought by the police in another case of allegedly insulting Hindu deities as well as Home Minister Amit Shah.” – Aljazeera

January 26, 2021
UK sells arms to nearly 80% of countries under restrictions

“Exporting to countries under sanctions and embargos is ‘systematic failure to consider human rights records.’ British ministers and officials have approved the sale of arms to nearly four-fifths of countries subject to arms embargos, trade sanctions or other restrictions over the past five years, according to analysis… the UK has a history of championing human rights around the world and regularly calls out governments which fail to uphold them.” – The Guardian

January 25, 2021
Palace for Putin

“… this man, in his craving for wealth, is completely mad. We will find out by whose money and how this luxury is financed. And how right now and for the past 15 years, the biggest bribe in history is being given and the most expensive palace in the world is being built.” –

January 24, 2021
In 2 weeks after it called the election, Fox News cast doubt on the results nearly 800 times
“The network’s most prominent figures relentlessly attempted to subvert democracy by fueling conspiracy theories and spreading misinformation, rhetoric for which the network has refused to hold them accountable.” – Media Matters

January 24, 2021
10 Billionaires Made Enough Money During The Pandemic To Vaccinate The Entire World
“They could save millions from poverty with what’s left over, according to a new Oxfam report on inequality and the coronavirus.” – HuffPost

January 23, 2021
Brazil’s Indigenous Leaders Sue President Jair Bolsonaro For Crimes Against Humanity
Chief Raoni Metuktire, the leader of the Kayapo people, and Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui, leader of the Paiter Surui tribe, filed the claim at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, on Friday…. If the ICC follows through, the complaint against Bolsonaro could have an impact far beyond Brazil: The lawyers behind the case say it could push widespread environmental destruction ― or ecocide ― onto the list of crimes the ICC recognizes as prosecutable under international law. – HuffPost

January 21, 2021
Former head of Vatican bank found guilty of embezzlement

“A former head of the Vatican bank, Angelo Caloia, has been found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering and sentenced to eight years and 11 months in prison, making him the highest-ranking Vatican official to be convicted of a financial crime. He was accused of conspiring with others to make millions from the below-market sale of more than 20 Vatican Bank properties in Italy and laundering the proceeds in Switzerland.” – Aljazeera

January 19, 2021
The U.S. Coronavirus Response Might Be a Crime Against Humanity

“The Trump administration callously dismissed the deaths of the most vulnerable, including minorities…. The scale of the death toll in the United States is on a par with genocidal actions of the past…. Researchers at Columbia University compared the Trump administration response to COVID-19 to the response of other nations and estimated that the ineffective strategy in the United States resulted in 130,000 to 210,000 needless deaths over less than a year.” – Foreign Policy

January 19, 2021
In 1,458 days, President Trump has made 30,534 false or misleading claims
The Fact Checker’s ongoing database of the false or misleading claims made by President Trump since assuming office. – The Washington Post

January 19, 2021
Woman jailed for record 43 years for insulting Thai monarchy
“‘What is thought to be the toughest sentence ever passed under the kingdom’s strict lese-majesty law,’ lawyers said. The woman, said to be in her 60s, was accused of posting audio clips to Facebook and YouTube with comments deemed critical of the monarchy, according to the group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights. A sentence of 87 years was announced initially, but this was halved because she pleaded guilty. – The Guardian

January 18, 2021
Poisoned Putin Critic Navalny Jailed For 30 Days In Russia, Spokeswoman Says
The politician’s allies said he was being held at a police precinct outside Moscow and has been refused access to his lawyer…. Navalny flew to Russia from Germany, where he had spent five months recovering from nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin…. Last month, Navalny released the recording of a phone call he said he made to a man he alleged was a member of a group of officers of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, who purportedly poisoned him in August and then tried to cover it up. The FSB dismissed the recording as fake. – HuffPost

January 18, 2021
Amazon Web Drama Draws the Wrath of India’s Hindu Nationalists
“Artists say officials tied to the country’s ruling party use pressure to stem criticism…. The true objection to “Tandav” may simply be that it’s too real…. The authorities in Uttar Pradesh State, home to many recent police killings and run by one of Mr. Modi’s closest allies, a Hindu monk turned chief minister, seem especially offended. They said in a filing with the police there that the Amazon series portrays the post of prime minister ‘in a very indecent manner.’ On Monday, state officials warned that the filmmakers should ‘prepare for arrest.'”The New York Times

January 18, 2021
127 Republicans Who Voted To Overturn The Election Results Are Now Praising MLK
“Not only did they try to overturn the election results and give legitimacy to President Donald Trump’s lies of rampant voter fraud, but they essentially tried to erase the mammoth turnout among Black voters that helped Biden win. Twelve days after that vote, 127 of those Republicans ― 86% ― tweeted or put out statements Monday praising the work of Martin Luther King Jr., who is perhaps best remembered for fighting racial injustice…. The hypocrisy was not lost on civil rights leaders. – HuffPost

January 18, 2021

How to Hold Social Media Accountable for Undermining Democracy
“Far from being neutral, social media companies are constantly making decisions about which content to amplify, elevate, and suggest to other users. Given their business model, which promotes scale above all, they’ve often actively amplified extreme, divisive content — including dangerous conspiracy theories and misinformation… Facebook profits by amplifying lies, providing dangerous targeting tools to political operatives seeking to sow division and distrust, and polarizing and even radicalizing users.” – Harvard Business Review

January 17, 2021
The ‘Shared Psychosis’ of Donald Trump and His Loyalists
“Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist and president of the World Mental Health Coalition, led a group of psychiatrists, psychologists and other specialists who questioned Trump’s mental fitness for office in a book that she edited called The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President. In doing so, Lee and her colleagues strongly rejected the American Psychiatric Association’s modification of a 1970s-era guideline, known as the Goldwater rule, that discouraged psychiatrists from giving a professional opinion about public figures who they have not examined in person. ‘Whenever the Goldwater rule is mentioned, we should refer back to the Declaration of Geneva, which mandates that physicians speak up against destructive governments,’ Lee says. ‘This declaration was created in response to the experience of Nazism…. If one cannot have love, one resorts to respect. And when respect is unavailable, one resorts to fear. Trump is now living through an intolerable loss of respect: rejection by a nation in his election defeat. Violence helps compensate for feelings of powerlessness, inadequacy and lack of real productivity.'” – Scientific American

January 17, 2021
‘Our souls are dead’: how I survived a Chinese ‘re-education’ camp for Uighurs
“After 10 years living in France, I returned to China to sign some papers and I was locked up. For the next two years, I was systematically dehumanised, humiliated and brainwashed …They had sentenced me to seven years of re-education. They had tortured my body and brought my mind to the edge of madness. And now, after reviewing my case, a judge had decided that no, in actual fact, I was innocent. I was free to go.” – The Guardian

January 16, 2021
India’s ‘love jihad’ laws: Another attempt to subjugate Muslims
“The new anti-conversion laws not only remove agency from women, but also put a target on the backs of innocent Muslim men and boys. The Supreme Court of India declined to stay controversial laws recently enacted in several states to tackle “love jihad” – a baseless conspiracy theory accusing Muslim men of luring Hindu women into marriage with the aim of forcefully converting them to Islam.” – Aljazeera

January 15, 2021
These Textbooks In Thousands Of K-12 Schools Echo Trump’s Talking Points
“Their religion-centered, anti-Democrat, anti-science, anti-multicultural message mirrors the Christian nationalism seen at the U.S. Capitol riot…. Scholars say textbooks like these, with their alternate versions of history and emphasis on Christian national identity, represent one small part of the conditions that lead to events like last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, an episode that was permeated with the symbols of Christian nationalism. Before storming the Capitol, some groups prayed in the name of Jesus and asked for divine protection. They flew Christian and “Jesus 2020” flags and pointed to Trump’s presidency as the will of God. – HuffPost

January 14, 2021
Mexico Exonerates Ex-Defense Chief Who Was Freed by the U.S.
“The authorities in Mexico say they will bring no charges against a former top military official who was arrested in the United States last year on drug-trafficking and corruption charges…. His complete exoneration in Mexico came as a shocking about-face after the authorities had promised to bring the full weight of the Mexican justice system to bear in the case…. General Cienfuegos was apparently known as ‘El Padrino,’ or The Godfather, by one of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels. Officials said General Cienfuegos directed military operations away from the criminal group in exchange for large sums of cash.” – The New York Times

January 14, 2021
Trump Ignites a War Within the Church: After a week of Trumpist mayhem, white evangelicals wrestle with what they’ve become.

“Conservative preacher Jeremiah Johnson: ‘Over the last 72 hours, I have received multiple death threats and thousands upon thousands of emails from Christians saying the nastiest and most vulgar things I have ever heard toward my family and ministry. I have been labeled a coward, sellout, a traitor to the Holy Spirit, and cussed out at least 500 times…. I’m convinced parts of the prophetic/charismatic movement are far SICKER than I could have ever dreamed of.’” – The New York Times

January 14, 2021

Up to 1m Hindus gather in India as festival goes ahead amid Covid fears
Millions more are expected to descend on Haridwar in the coming weeks for Kumbh Mela, one of the world’s biggest religious gatherings…. ‘The pandemic is a bit of a worry, but we are taking all precautions,’ said one of the organisers, Siddharth Chakrapani. Most of those walking into the freezing river on Thursday morning were not wearing masks and social distancing was hard to maintain.” – The Guardian

January 14, 2021
The US Capitol riot risks supercharging a new age of political repression

“A new age of political repression is coming at a time in which we need protests the most, and it will be a bipartisan affair…. Following the fascist riot at the US Capitol, progressives and liberals have begun to mimic the calls for “law and order” of their conservative counterparts, even going as far as threatening to expand the ‘war on terror’…. While this may be well-intentioned, it fits neatly within the trajectory of attacks against civil liberties over the last two decades.” – The Guardian 

January 14, 2021
China possibly committed ‘genocide’ against Xinjiang Uygurs, says US commission

“China has been widely condemned for setting up complexes in Xinjiang that it describes as ‘vocational training centres’ to stamp out extremism and give people new skills and which others have called concentration camps. The United Nations says at least 1 million Uygurs and other Muslims have been detained in Xinjiang. Faith leaders, activist groups and others have said crimes against humanity, including genocide, are taking place there.” – South China Morning Post

January 13, 2021
Democrat: GOP colleagues say they’re ‘afraid for their lives’ if they vote to impeach Trump
‘”The majority of them are paralyzed with fear,’ Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) said Wednesday on MSNBC. “I had a lot of conversations with my Republican colleagues last night. A couple of them actually broke down in tears talking to me, and saying that they are afraid for their lives if they vote for this impeachment.” – The Hill

January 13, 2021
Lisa Montgomery: US carries out first federal execution of a woman in nearly seven decades

“’The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight,’ Montgomery’s attorney, Kelley Henry said in a statement. ‘Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame. The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman,’ Henry said. ‘Lisa Montgomery’s execution was far from justice.’” – The Guardian

January 12, 2021
Report Gives Glimpse Into Horrors of Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes
“The report, the culmination of a six-year investigation, detailed some 9,000 deaths of children at 14 of the country’s so-called mother and baby homes and four county homes over several decades…. Survivors of the homes say urgent action by the state is needed, and many say the Roman Catholic church, which ran the homes, needs to be held more fully accountable. Mother and baby homes were run by religious orders, starting in the 1920s, and funded by the Irish government. But the institutions where young women and girls were taken, typically against their will, are not a thing of Ireland’s distant past. The last of the facilities was closed in 1998.” – The New York Times

January 12, 2021
A Christian Fundraising Site for Extremists
“GiveSendGo — the world’s number one ‘Christian’ fundraising platform — has helpfully raised over $100,000 for Tarrio’s legal defense after he was arrested for the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner, which he stole from a historic Washington, D.C., Church. Oh… and he was also found in possession of illegal firearms.” – Medium

January 12, 2021
We are Israel’s largest human rights group – and we are calling this apartheid
“The systematic promotion of the supremacy of one group of people over another is deeply immoral and must end…. There is not a single square inch in the territory Israel controls where a Palestinian and a Jew are equal. The only first-class people here are Jewish citizens such as myself, and we enjoy this status both inside the 1967 lines and beyond them, in the West Bank.” – The Guardian

January 11, 2021
How White Evangelical Christians Fused With Trump Extremism
“A potent mix of grievance and religious fervor has turbocharged the support among Trump loyalists, many of whom describe themselves as participants in a kind of holy war. Before self-proclaimed members of the far-right group the Proud Boys marched toward the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, they stopped to kneel in the street and prayed in the name of Jesus.” – The New York Times

January 11, 2021
Why do so many Republicans appear to be at war with both truth and democracy?
“It comes with the idea that a right-minded elite of religiously pure individuals should aim to capture the levers of government, then use that power to rescue society from eternal darkness and reshape it in accord with a divinely-approved view of righteousness…. It would be a mistake to overlook the powerful role of the rhetoric of religious nationalism in their ranks. At a rally in Washington on Jan. 5, on the eve of Electoral College certification, the right-wing pastor Greg Locke said that ‘God is raising up ‘an army of patriots.’ Another pastor, Brian Gibson, put it this way: ‘The church of the Lord Jesus Christ started America,’ and added, ‘We’re going to take our nation back!'” – The New York Times

January 10, 2021
In a viral video, Schwarzenegger links the Capitol riot to a rampage that was a prelude to the Holocaust.
“In a video posted to Twitter on Sunday that quickly drew millions of views, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the movie star and former California governor, compared the riot at the Capitol last week to Kristallnacht, a rampage that took place under Nazi Germany in 1938 in which mobs burned synagogues and destroyed Jewish-owned shops.” – The New York Times

January 9, 2021
The American Abyss: A historian of fascism and political atrocity on Trump, the mob and what comes next.

“Our big lie is typically American, wrapped in our odd electoral system, depending upon our particular traditions of racism. Yet our big lie is also structurally fascist, with its extreme mendacity, its conspiratorial thinking, its reversal of perpetrators and victims and its implication that the world is divided into us and them. To keep it going for four years courts terrorism and assassination.” By Timothy Snyder – The New York Times

January 9, 2021
The storming of the Capitol was in large part brought to us by the white, evangelical church in America.
“…The insurrection represents an utter failure in the American church. This anti-epiphany reveals the horrid outgrowths of Christian nationalism, faulty spiritual formation, false teaching, political idolatry, and overriding ignorance.” – Christianity Today

January 8, 2021
This week’s Trump terrorist attack was not random.
“It wasn’t an accident. It was planned, aided and abetted by certain members of the police, the military and the Republican party. And it was only the dry run. This violent attack is not over. Please allow me to share my thoughts about what I think is happening and is about to happen.” – Michael Moore

January 7, 2021
Trump Is Said to Have Discussed Pardoning Himself
“He has long maintained he has the power to pardon himself, and his polling of aides’ views is typically a sign that he is preparing to follow through on his aims.” – The New York Times

January 7, 2021
Arizona becomes Covid hotspot of the world as governor resists restrictions
“Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has declined to institute a statewide mask mandate even as the state reports the highest rate of new cases in the US” – The Guardian

January 7, 2021
India to hold nationwide ‘cow science’ exam
“…in the latest push by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to promote and protect the animal considered sacred by a large section of the Hindu majority. Study material on test includes information on different cow breeds, as well as the theory that slaughtering animals causes earthquakes.” – Aljazeera

January 7, 2021
Trump’s doomed bid to reverse result further damages faith in US democracy
“The angry rantings of a president unwilling to accept defeat with claims of wholesale vote rigging have gained momentum and are now embraced by a majority of Republican voters as fact.” – The Guardian

January 5, 2021
‘A lifetime of torture’: the story of the woman Trump is rushing to execute
“Lisa Montgomery’s first experiences of sexual abuse occurred indirectly when she was three years old. She would lie in bed at night beside her beloved half-sister Diane, close enough to touch, while Diane, then eight, was being raped by their male babysitter. At the age of 11, Montgomery learnt what it was like to be attacked herself.” – The Guardian

January 5, 2021
Jacob Blake: officers will not be charged in shooting that left Black man paralyzed
“Blake was shot several times by Sheskey on August 23 when officers were responding to a domestic incident call…. Blake survived the shooting but was left with multiple injuries to his arms, spinal cord and internal organs along with being paralyzed from the waist down. Three of Blake’s children were in the car at the time of the shooting.” – The Guardian

January 5, 2021
Donald Trump pressures Mike Pence to throw out US election results – even though he can’t
““The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday… part of Trump’s doomed-to-fail, last-ditch effort to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.” – SCMP/Politico

January 5, 2021
India Is Targeting Defenders of Indigenous Rights as ‘Terrorists’
“Indian authorities arrested Stan Swamy, an 83-year-old Jesuit priest affected by Parkinson’s disease, from his home in the state of Jharkhand. Swamy is being held under an antiterrorism law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), that a group of United Nations’ Special Rapporteurs has condemned for enabling the Indian state to designate dissidents as terrorists and detain them for months without access to courts.” – Scientific American

January 5, 2021
Democrat lawmaker’s gender inclusive ‘amen and awoman’ congressional prayer causes stir
“Democrat representative Emanuel Cleaver caused a stir online after he ended his congressional prayer with the words ‘amen and awoman’. Mr Cleaver was invited to deliver the prayer opening up the 117th Congress on Sunday, when he decided to introduce a gesture towards gender neutrality.” – The Independent

January 5, 2021
Jericho March Returns to DC to Pray for a Trump Miracle
“Organizers of the Jericho March, slated for Tuesday and Wednesday, have called on “patriots, people of faith and all those who want to take back America” to travel to Washington on those days for a pair of marches to overturn the recent presidential election.” – Christianity Today

January 4, 2021
Greek Orthodox church to defy lockdown by opening for Epiphany
“Church hardliners have increasingly questioned the public health measures, deploring the prohibition of coveted rituals such as the sacrament of communion, conducted with a shared spoon.” – The Guardian

January 4, 2021
Algerian jailed for 3 years for political protest memes
“An Algerian supporter of the Hirak protest movement was sentenced to three years in jail Monday for satirical social media posts mocking the government and religion, a campaign group said. Walid Kechida, 25, was accused of insulting President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and ‘offending the precepts’ of Islam in Internet memes and other online posts.” – Arab News

January 3, 2021
Toppled Algerian President’s Brother Acquitted of Grave Accusations
After more than a year in jail, the brother of ousted Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, along with two other senior security officials, was acquitted on Saturday of charges of conspiracy against the state. Said Bouteflika, who was said to be the de facto ruler of Algeria following his long-serving brother’s severe stroke in 2013, was arrested in May 2019 during the mass protests led by the Hirak movement. Bouteflika was charged with plotting against the state and was sentenced to 15 years in prison but a military tribunal retried his case in accordance with a Supreme Court order. – The Media Line

January 3, 2021
Misinformer of the Year: Fox News
“The right-wing network has promoted coronavirus misinformation an estimated 13,551 times on its weekday programs over the course of the pandemic. And its lies had a deadly impact.” – Media Matters

January 3, 2021
Trump Pressured Georgia Official to ‘Find’ Enough Votes to Overturn Election
“…and vaguely threatened him with ‘a criminal offense,’ during an hourlong telephone conversation with him on Saturday, according to audio excerpts from the conversation. “I just want to find 11,780 votes,” Mr. Trump said on the call. – The New York Times

January 3, 2021
Pence Welcomes Futile Bid by G.O.P. Lawmakers to Overturn Election
“Vice President Mike Pence signaled his support as 11 Republican senators and senators-elect said that they would vote to reject President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.” New York Times

January 2, 2021
Trump May Launch ‘Reckless’ Attack on Iran, Experts Fear
“Trump is a very wounded and very cornered animal in an end-game scenario. He’s got a few weeks left, and we know that he is capable of extremely erratic behaviour… It may be the case that his most erratic, most reckless lashing out is yet to come.” – Al Jazeera

January 1, 2021
Hong Kong Democracy Activist Moved to Top Security Prison
“Authorities in Hong Kong have transferred 24-year-old democracy activist Agnes Chow to a top-security prison that places Category A prisoners convicted of violent crime in solitary confinement, …on charges of unauthorized assembly.” – Radio Free Asia

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