Priests & Politicians – the Mafia of The Soul

Priests & Politicians – the Mafia of The Soul
156 min read

“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 2021 Edition – part one HERE

January 19, 2022
For the sake of a visa, I was forced into marriage in Arizona — at age 15
“When I was 15 years old and living in Arizona, I was forced by my family to become a visa bride. I am a U.S. citizen, ethnically Pashtun, born in Karachi, Pakistan, and raised in Arizona…. The United States tolerates the forced marriage of minors in other contexts as well…. Let there be no doubt about this: Girls forced into marriage are raped.” – The Washington Post

January 18, 2022
The pandemic’s true death toll: millions more than official counts
“Countries have reported some five million COVID-19 deaths in two years, but global excess deaths are estimated at double or even quadruple that figure.” – Nature

January 18, 2022
They Rejected Democracy. They Lied. Now The GOP Is Hailing Martin Luther King’s Legacy.
“Just over a year ago, 147 Republican lawmakers tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election based on a lie about widespread voter fraud that, just hours earlier, had fueled a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol. Today, most of these lawmakers are hoping you’ll forget how they lied to Americans that day and threatened the peaceful transfer of power, the very foundation of democracy. They’d rather that you think of them as having the same ideals of an American hero, Martin Luther King Jr.” – HuffPost

January 18, 2022
Israel police uses NSO’s Pegasus to spy on citizens
“Mayors, leaders of political protests against former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and former governmental employees, were among those tracked by police without a search or bugging warrant authorizing the surveillance.” – Calcalistech

January 18, 2022
An investigation sheds light into Modi’s machinery of online hate and manipulation
“On Jan. 6, the Wire, an independent Indian news site, began publishing an in-depth investigative series that accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing party, the BJP, of deploying a sophisticated app to hijack social media and even encrypted messaging platforms in order to manipulate public opinion and launch online campaigns against those it believed were a threat to the government, including female journalists…. In 2017, journalist Gauri Lankesh was assassinated outside her house by right-wing radicals. Lankesh was one of the most abused and targeted journalists on social media. But the threats did not stay confined to the digital space. The hate that killed her could soon come calling at our doorstep, too.” – The Washington Post

January 17, 2022
When America Invaded China
“The Boxer Rebellion still shapes Beijing’s attitude toward the United States…. The U.S. Cavalry, outside of the Great Wall of China, during the Boxer Rebellion. The trouble in China began in the summer of 1898…. Many in Washington had been waiting for a moment like this one. Some of the United States’ most powerful families had gotten rich in China. The first U.S. multimillionaire, John Jacob Astor, made part of his fortune smuggling opium into China. The Forbes, Delano, and Cabot families of Massachusetts used their narco-profits to found enduring political dynasties. By 1900 it had become an article of faith that China’s supposedly limitless market was the key to America’s global future. With the Boxer crisis, the opportunity for more assertive intervention was at hand.” – Foreign Policy

January 17, 2021
Fortunes of world’s 10 richest men more than doubled in pandemic, Oxfam claims
“The fortunes of the world’s 10 richest men – including Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates – more than doubled during the pandemic to $1.5 trillion, according to Oxfam. Their soaring profits since the pandemic began has made them six times more wealthy than the world’s poorest 3.1 billion people, the charity said, adding that since March 2020 a new billionaire has been minted almost every day. Meanwhile, 160 million more people have been forced into poverty during the pandemic, Oxfam said, citing numbers from the Forbes 2021 Billionaires List, Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Databook and the World Bank.” – Independent

January 16, 2022
In two pandemic years, how political divisions and policy missteps have failed the world
“Since the first outbreak, the coronavirus pandemic has been marked by political failure in the US, the UK, Australia, Japan and China…. If our fate during the Covid-19 pandemic had rested in the hands of scientists and the medical profession, we would have been in good hands. Almost certainly the pandemic would by now be a fading – if painful – memory. But here we are, two years after the outbreak, reporting 320 million Covid-19 cases worldwide, and five million deaths, with the Omicron variant energetically propelling a fifth viral wave. Communities worldwide are stressed, impatient, panicked and often in despair. Many have lost jobs, careers and income, and face economic hardship, with no prospect of early recovery. The failure that has brought us to this point is not a failure of science or medicine. It is not due to an absence of knowledge of how to track or treat the virus. The failure is a failure of politics – both domestically and between countries.” – The South China Morning Post

January 15, 2022
America Doesn’t Control the Forever Wars
“The slow fall of the nation-state’s monopoly on violence will shape future conflicts.” – Foreign Policy

January 15, 2022
Seven ways Republicans are already undermining the 2024 election
“The next attempted coup will not be a mob attack, but a carefully plotted and even technically legal one. Instead of costumed rioters, the insurrectionists are men in suits and ties” – The Guardian

January 14, 2022
Indian Bishop Is Acquitted on Charges of Raping a Nun
“A Catholic bishop who was accused of repeatedly raping a nun in southern India over a two-year period was acquitted on Friday…. The church was slow to react to the nun’s accusations against Bishop Mulakkal, and it did so only after five of her fellow nuns protested publicly in support of her. Father Augustine Vattoly, who helped organize a group involved in the protests in Kerala, said the nuns had not given up. ‘The verdict is a big, big shock for us,’ Father Vattoly said. ‘But we will continue the fight against the notorious system of the church, which throws its weight behind perpetrators of injustice like Franco Mulakkal.'” – The New York Times

January 13, 2022
‘Our job is to present the truth’: the Texas principal caught in a ‘critical race theory’ firestorm
“Shortly thereafter he was pushed out of his job and his life was turned inside-out: now, Whitfield has emerged as a central figure in the debate over how history is taught in American schools…. But he still can’t quite believe that he’s essentially been kicked out of school for an email. ‘For the better part of the past two decades, all I’ve known is get up, go to school,’ he says.” – The Guardian

January 13, 2022
Misogyny, Extremism, and Gun Violence
“Far-right extremism is a growing threat in the United States. In recent years, white supremacist movements have seen a resurgence, while anti-government militias have become more active and conspiracy theories associated with violence have spread…. Increasingly, experts have identified misogyny as one such ideology that motivates violence and can be a component of far-right extremism.In 2018, the Southern Poverty Law Center began identifying male supremacy as a hate ideology, and the Anti-Defamation League released an extensive report examining misogyny and extremism.” – Everytown Research & Policy

January 13, 2022
Illinois judge sparks outrage by reversing 18-year-old’s rape convictionThe Guardian

January 13, 2022
Indonesian woman flogged 100 times for adultery, man gets 15 lashes
“Judges found it difficult to convict the man, who was then the head of the East Aceh fishery agency and also married, because he denied all wrongdoing…. Unlike the rest of the nation, Aceh follows religious law as part of a 2005 autonomy deal agreed with the central government that ended a decades-long separatist insurgency.” – The Guardian

January 13, 2022
Trump loyalists form alliance in bid to take over election process in key states
“Extreme Republicans loyal to Donald Trump and his ‘big lie’ that the 2020 election was rigged have formed a nationwide alliance aiming to take control of the presidential election process in key battleground states that could determine the outcome of the 2024 presidential race.” – The Guardian

January 12, 2022
Now Prince Andrew is facing trial, the palace must find a way to ‘de-royal’ him
“Whatever the outcome, there is no way back for the prince – and the family will be keen to limit the damage. Well, he’s surely sweating now.” – The Guardian

January 12, 2022
YouTube is major conduit of fake news, factcheckers say
“A letter signed by more than 80 groups, including Full Fact in the UK and the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, says the video platform is hosting content by groups including Doctors for the Truth, which spread Covid misinformation, and videos supporting the ‘fraud’ narrative during the US presidential election. ‘YouTube is allowing its platform to be weaponised by unscrupulous actors to manipulate and exploit others, and to organise and fundraise themselves.'” – The Guardian

January 12, 2022
In America, a child is shot every hour, and hundreds die.
“The country’s gun violence epidemic is killing more children than ever. Who they were matters just as much as how they died…. These are their stories, one for each month of a violent year.” – Washington Post

January 11, 2022
The Soldiers Came Home Sick. The Government Denied It Was Responsible.
“U.S. service members and veterans have long insisted that the military’s garbage-disposal fires in war zones made them ill…. ‘Members of Congress wouldn’t give us the time of day,’ says Rosie Torres, a founder of the advocacy group Burn Pits 360, when I asked her about Stewart’s influence. ‘If you said, “Here’s a widow,” they’d have their staff playing goalie. And then Jon Stewart walks in, and they say, “Absolutely,” and the whole staff wants to be at the meeting.’ ‘This delay is killing people,’ Stewart said.” – The New York Times

January 10, 2022
The Pope is wrong. Choosing to have few or no children is the opposite of selfish
“‘This denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity,'” he added. The Pope’s suggestion that failing to have children is selfish is far from the truth. Especially for those of us living in countries with a large environmental footprint, the choice to have a small family, or no human family at all, is one that helps everyone — particularly children, whose future depends on a more sustainable planet.” – CNN

January 10, 2022
Don’t Worry About America Having a New Civil War — It’s Already In One
“America’s Headed Towards Fascism Without Much of a Fight. So Who Needs a War?… In 1923, there was what is known as the ‘Beer Hall Putsch.’ A few thousand Nazis ‘marched on’ a famous monument, with the aim of violently overthrowing the government…. It was plotted and hatched in bars — and began in one. The putsch failed because the vague paramilitary rabble was too disorganised to really carry it through. Sound a lot like Jan 6th? It should. It’s eerily almost exactly like Jan 6th.” – Eudomonia & Co

January 10, 2022
More than 1,700 congressmen once enslaved Black people. This is who they were, and how they shaped the nation. – The Washington Post

January 10, 2022
Boris Johnson Is Revealing Who He Really Is
“Now he has, beyond any doubt, revealed who he really is: a brattish authoritarian who puts his personal whims above anything else. And whatever his future, Britain will be remade in his image…. The full scale of the impending assault on civil liberties has — understandably — not yet come into focus for much of the British public. The list of legislation is long and deliberately overwhelming. But pieced together, the picture is bleakly repressive…. He will forever be the libertine whose pursuit of personal freedom and “control” saw his countrymen robbed of theirs.” – The New York Times

January 8, 2022
“Your Silence Emboldens Hate-Filled Voices”: IIM Students, Staff To PM
“The letter comes in light of the recent Haridwar Dharam sansad event where some Hindu religious leaders urged people to take up arms against Muslims and called for genocide.” – NDTV

January 7, 2022
Democracy is on the brink of disaster. For voters, it’s politics as usual.
“Election results are following familiar patterns, despite Trump’s rise — and Jan. 6…. If citizens in a democracy don’t shift their voting patterns when the standard-bearer of one party rejects the results of an election, what would lead them to change their minds?” – The Washington Post

January 6, 2021
Christian Nationalism Is One of Trump’s Most Powerful Weapons
“The most serious attempt to overthrow the American constitutional system since the Civil War would not have been feasible without the influence of America’s Christian nationalist movement. One year later, the movement seems to have learned a lesson: If it tries harder next time, it may well succeed in making the promise of American democracy a relic of the past. Christian nationalist symbolism was all over the events of Jan. 6, as observers have pointed out. But the movement’s contribution to the effort to overturn the 2020 election and install an unelected president goes much deeper than the activities of a few of its representatives on the day that marks the unsuccessful end (or at least a temporary setback) of an attempted coup.” – The New York Times

January 6, 2022
The Jan. 6 Insurrectionists Aren’t Who You Think They Are
“The people who stormed the U.S. Capitol weren’t poor, unemployed red-staters. Many were middle-class professionals motivated by the “great replacement” conspiracy theory…. Our new analysis at the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats of the demographics of those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and multiple nationally representative surveys paint a new, startling reality: The insurrectionist movement is mainstream, not simply confined to the political fringe.” – Foreign Policy

January 6, 2022
Guatemala soldiers face rape trial after 40 years
“The trial has begun in Guatemala of five former paramilitary soldiers accused of raping 36 indigenous Mayan women during the 1980s. The abuse is alleged to have taken place over five years at the height of the civil war between the military government and left-wing guerrillas. Prosecutors say the victims’ lives were shattered, and that one was only 12 years old when the abuse began.” – BBC
[“After the election of Ronald Reagan, the U.S. undertook more active measures to ensure close relations with the Guatemalan government. In April 1981, President Reagan’s national security team agreed to supply military aid to the Guatemalan regime in order to exterminate leftist guerrillas and their ‘civilian support mechanisms,’ according to a document from the National Archives.” – Consortium News: “How Reagan Promoted Genocide”]

January 6 , 2022
US faces likely trajectory from anocracy to civil war
“There is, of course, the long-standing debate over whether the absence of universal suffrage in the country’s past (slavery, Jim Crow laws, systemic exclusion of minorities and ethnic groups from voting etc.) can still qualify its history, until quite recently, as democratic in the contemporary sense of the word. But even if we overlook all that, an often cited global data series called Polity and funded by the Central Intelligence Agency – to quantitatively measure other countries on a scale of full autocracy to full democracy – has dethroned the US from that time-honoured designation…. The US is now an anocracy, sometimes also called an illiberal democracy or a hybrid regime (part democratic, part autocratic).” – South China Morning Post

January 6, 2022
How Trump paved the way for return of the far-right in South America
“He saw my father, tied over some wooden trestles after a torture session, dying…. ‘First we shall kill all the subversives; then we shall kill their collaborators; then their sympathisers; then those who remain indifferent; and finally, we will kill those who are undecided.’ – General Ibérico Saint-Jean, International Herald Tribune, 26 May 1977.” – Independent

January 5, 2022
New evidence of Belgian complicity in 1961 killing of Burundian PM
“A popular prime minister of Burundi, Prince Louis Rwagasore, was shot dead just over 60 years ago with the complicity of Belgium, the departing colonial power, a researcher has claimed. The Belgian state has an ‘overwhelming responsibility’ for the assassination of Rwagasore, according to Ludo De Witte, a Flemish sociologist who has spent five years investigating the killing. His previous work on the assassination of Congo’s first elected prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, led to a parliamentary inquiry that concluded Belgium had a “moral responsibility” for the death of the charismatic leader.” – The Guardian

January 5, 2022
Geoff Hoon ‘told to burn memo that said Iraq invasion could be illegal’
“Tony Blair’s former defence secretary Geoff Hoon has claimed he was told to burn a memo from the attorney general that cast doubt on the legality of the Iraq war.” – The Guardian

January 4, 2021
Detained, missing, close to death: the toll of reporting on Covid in China
“Activists say crackdown is driven by Xi Jinping, who has ‘declared a war on independent journalism.” – The Guardian

January 4, 2022
The U.S. Has a Police Brutality Problem. So Does Bangladesh.
“Across Bangladesh, hundreds of people have died at the hands of the country’s elite police unit. They are allowed to kill without consequences…. Dhaka’s denial of extrajudicial killings is imperiling its relations with Washington and exposing the country’s corrupt police and undemocratic institutions.” – Foreign Policy

January 4, 2022
A nuclear Taiwan is too terrifying to contemplate
“According to a Taiwanese academic, if the island isn’t sure that the US will come to its defence or about its own capacity to fight back an attacker alone, the island should develop its own nuclear weapons to create a deterrent ‘balance of terror.’… Now, if a university professor openly pontificates on the possibility of “the balance of terror” across the Taiwan Strait, you can be sure that Taiwan’s generals and top politicians are pretty advanced along that line of thinking, if not actual planning for a very long time.” – South China Morning Post

January 4, 2022
Rep. Eric Swalwell Issues Chilling Warning About 2022 Midterms
“The California Democrat slammed Republicans for choosing ‘violence over voting.’… The 2022 midterms are ‘not only the most important election, if we don’t get it right, it could be the last election,’ he added.” – HuffPost

January 4, 2022
Online ‘Auction’ Is Latest Attack on Muslim Women in India
“India’s online space is rife with misogyny and harassment of women. But the two “auctions” have amplified concern about the organized nature of the virtual bullying, and how targeted smears and threats of violence, particularly sexual violence, are deployed to try to silence women, especially those critical of some of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies. ” – The New York Times

January 3, 2022
US could be under rightwing dictator by 2030, Canadian professor warns
“The US could be under a rightwing dictatorship by 2030, a Canadian political science professor has warned, urging his country to protect itself against the ‘collapse of American democracy.’ ‘We mustn’t dismiss these possibilities just because they seem ludicrous or too horrible to imagine,’ Thomas Homer-Dixon, founding director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University in British Columbia, wrote in the Globe and Mail. ‘In 2014, the suggestion that Donald Trump would become president would also have struck nearly everyone as absurd. But today we live in a world where the absurd regularly becomes real and the horrible commonplace.’” – The Guardian

January 1, 2022
1 in 3 Americans say violence against government can be justified, citing fears of political schism, pandemic
A year after a pro-Trump mob ransacked the Capitol in the worst attack on the home of Congress since it was burned by British forces in 1814, a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll finds that about 1 in 3 Americans say they believe violence against the government can at times be justified…. The percentage of adults who say violence is justified is up, from 23 percent in 2015 and 16 percent in 2010 in polls by CBS News and the New York Times. – The Washington Post

January 1, 2022
China’s Ban on ‘Sissy Men’ Is Bound to Backfire
“In a slur-laden directive, television regulators in September banned “sissy men and other abnormal aesthetics” from appearing on television. Then in late November regulators cracked down on celebrities’ online profiles, their fan groups and advertising, citing “abnormal aesthetics” and threatening to shut down the online accounts of those who failed to fall in line…. The party appears to believe that national rejuvenation is only possible if young men work diligently toward its orders and priorities: Mr. Xi has said “a nation is strong if its youth are strong.” By that (flawed) logic, femininity is a sign of weakness that, if unchecked, bodes ill for the nation’s future.” – The New York Times

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
THE BAD GUYS ARE WINNING
“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 BishopAccountability.org, 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

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