First world war – a century on, time to hail the peacemakers
"On the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, we should remember those who tried to stop a catastrophe" [more inside]
John Green: "Why Are Americans Health Care Costs So High?
" A quick, handy little overview of common misconceptions on the US healthcare system. (SLYT)
In 2011, the CIA declassified documents admitting its involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's elected government and installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, details of which were first first disclosed by the New York Times
in 2000. Timeline
. However, they refused to release them to the public
. Today, the National Security Archive research institute has (after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit) obtained and made the 21 documents public. "Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States' role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq's ouster has long been public knowledge, but today's posting includes what is believed to be the CIA's first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup
. [more inside]
The UK Peace Index [PDF]
, a new publication from The Institute for Economics and Peace
(IEP), has produced a startling new headline: against public perceptions of crime
, both crime and homicide have fallen significantly. The fall over the last decade has resulted in the UK homicide rate now being roughly equivalent to that of the Western European average, and it is now at its lowest level since 1978. [more inside]
is a collaborative collection of more than 3,000 royalty-free
photos from World War II's Battle of Normandy and its aftermath. (Photos date from June 6 to late August 1944). The main link goes to the photostream. You can also peruse sets
, which include 2700+ images from the US
A new MP, Gloria De Piero was taken aback by how many people despised her because of her new profession. So she took to the streets to find out why
. [more inside]
Are Social Impact Bonds a good way to invest in public services?
"Imagine a contract where private investors are paid by the government if there's a decrease in homelessness or convicts re-offending. It's a an idea that's taking shape in the UK and some US states. And now the Canadian government is considering piloting social impact bonds. Critics say it's a way of governments shirking their responsibilities." CBC's "The Current" reports. [more inside]
100 Firefights, Three Weeks: Inside Afghanistan's Most Insane Fight
"In its first three weeks in Afghanistan’s Sangin district, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines got into more than 100 firefights and sustained 62 casualties. The insurgents managed to negate the Marines’ night-vision gear, and rendered their traditional close-combat tactics useless. Things got so bad, the 3/5’s superior officers even suggested pulling their troops back. That didn’t happen. Instead, the 3/5 went after the militants, hard. When the 3/5 came home, they told counterinsurgency historian Mark Moyar all about their deeply unconventional approach to what was already an unconventional war."
This is an excerpt in Wired of Moyar’s 74-page after action report
. (pdf) [more inside]
176 Horn Lane, Acton, London
, probably isn't an address you think of when it comes to death sentences in Arizona and California. It is the home of a small driving school. And Dream Pharma
, a mom and pop pharmaceutical wholesaler. [more inside]
Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt,"
told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards. [more inside]
have been declared at Airports in the US, UK and Middle East after the discovery of suspicious packages originating in Yemen
. The packages, modified toner cartridges, have been described
as "definitely not a complete bomb" but being "potentially sinister".
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year
, NATO may lose in Afghanistan
, the UK gets a regime change
, China needs to chill
, India's factories will overtake its farms
, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum
, the stimulus will need an exit strategy
, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2"
, African football
will unite Korea
, conflict over natural resources will grow
, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled
, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable)
, technology will grow ever more ubiquitous
, we'll all charge our phones via USB
, MBAs will be uncool
, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest
, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world
. And so the Tens
The Economist: The World in 2010
. [more inside]
Standard & Poor’s changed the UK's credit outlook from stable to negative
a few days ago, and warned that there is a chance the UK could lose its AAA rating. Meanwhile, Moodys, another of the big 3
rating agencies, has warned that the US might also eventually lose its AAA rating
. The UK announcement caused sterling to drop by 1% and the FTSE by 2%
. However, many blame
the same rating agencies for their part in triggering
the subprime crisis. The irony of this is not lost on the Wall Street Journal
, who note that "After all, those governments are jacking up spending, in part, to bail out the financial firms who gobbled up those 'AAA' asset backed securities duly blessed by the credit ratings firms." [more inside]
The Obama administration has repeatedly threatened to conceal future information of terrorist threats from the British government, unless the British government disobeys the High Court ruling requiring them to release information about the US government's acknowledged torture program. This may be a breach of the Convention Against Torture. Glenn Greenwald
has new evidence. Previously.
(Previously: 1 2
the Formal Evidence Session on UK Complicity in Torture on Tuesday 28 April 1.45pm UK time.
You can (hopefully) watch it on Parliament TV
If you want to have a good look at UK / US complicity in torture, this
might be a good place to start...
Please note he has said "There is absolutely no way I am going to kill myself. Just thought it might be wise to get that out in public!". Hopefully statements like that won't be necessary.
"I'm not a politician, I'm an artist. Depravity is part of the job description,"
says self-styled dandy, former drug addict, and controversial British author Sebastian Horsely, who was denied entrance to the US by customs officials at Newark Airport
on the grounds of "moral turpitude
," a wide net that encompasses everything from fornication to being a "nuisance." Shades of Oscar Wilde
US has right to kidnap any defendant, anywhere, anytime,
says it's UK lawyer. Until now it was commonly assumed that US law permitted kidnapping only in the “extraordinary rendition” of terrorist suspects. The American government has for the first time made it clear in a British court that the law applies to anyone, British or otherwise, suspected of a crime by Washington. [more inside]
In 2005, invasive MRSA infections were estimated to have killed 18,650
in the United States alone. This may be a conservative estimate. It is going global
. It is
. [more inside]
Animated population pyramids
project a steady increase in the median age. England and Wales
. United States. Canada. China. Japan.
"The number of older persons has tripled over the last 50 years; it will more than triple again over the next 50 years." [pdf
] There will be a shortage of workers
to support the retired and disabled. The looming crisis has been predicted for years.
Proposed solutions include robots
A Disturbance in the Blogosphere: Publishing the UK/US/Uzbekistan Torture Memo.
Braving arrest, bloggers
have broken the UK’s law of silence with the truth about torture.
Bloggers are mass publishing the leaked UK/US/Uzbekistan Torture Memos. The memos are from the correspondences of Craig Murray who was the United Kingdom's ambassador to Uzbekistan.
These memos are evidence and a memorandum of record outlining the rendition and torture of US-arrested prisoners in Uzbekistan.
From Craig Murray's Memo:
12. On the usefulness of the material obtained, this is irrelevant. Article 2 of the [UN] Convention, to which we are a party, could not be plainer: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."
13. Nonetheless, I repeat that this material is useless – we are selling our souls for dross. It is in fact positively harmful.
Britain may pull out of the JSF program. Multinational defense programmes
are becoming more common, and the JSF
is indicative of particularly close ties between the U.K. and the U.S. Representatives Hyde
and Hunter have opposed the transfer of technology to Britain. Even with the Rueda Report
(pdf) concluding that the embargo against China not be lifted, eventual third-party sales to China still appear a concern
Five years ago, Robert Lilly, a distinguished American sociologist, prepared a book based on military archives. Taken by Force is a study of the rapes committed by American soldiers in Europe between 1942 and 1945. He submitted his manuscript in 2001. But after September 11, its US publisher suppressed it, and it first appeared in 2003 in a French translation. We know from Anthony Beevor about the sexual violence unleashed by the Red Army, but we prefer not to know about mass rape committed by American and British troops. Lilly suggests a minimum of 10,000 American rapes. Contemporaries described a much wider scale of unpunished sex crime. Time Magazine reported in September 1945: "Our own army and the British army along with ours have done their share of looting and raping ... we too are considered an army of rapists." An Ethical Blank Cheque
How Good Was The Good War ?
And from the Eastern Front: Uncensored Memories From Alfredo Perez's Political Theory Daily Review
Trusting The Redcoats:
How many independent-minded Americans actually rely on the BBC (specially the World Service
) for accurate coverage of American politics? Not to mention The Guardian
. Is it a strictly an elitist, liberal/left-wing phenomenon? What does it mean? What does it say about better-informed liberal newspapers and media of the U.S.? If so, why aren't like-minded Europeans just as cosmopolitan and, say, pay the same attention to news sources like The New York Times, NPR and others, rather than stolidly sticking to their own national staples?
How to love the US
is a story on the newly redesigned BBC pages, just recently mentioned here.
I was struck by the tone of the piece, which seemed to me to be a desperate bid to find good things to say about the US.
Have things really sunk so low? Is the US so despised that it needs the BBC to pimp it?
A sign of Global recession?
For the first time I can remember, it's cheaper to buy a console in the UK than it is the States. Over here, we're used to seeing straight dollar to pound conversions ($299 = £299), so this is a first.
Do you think it's sign of recession or just Sony developing a conscience?
In a throwaway
comment the Telegraph reports an unprecedented criminal charge. "Last week her colleague, Lindis Percy, 59, a former Greenham Common protester, was acquitted of criminal misuse of an American flag
". An earlier
Independent article covers the background "[T]he Crown Prosecution Service has accused Lindis Percy of being motivated by racist hatred of the American people when she "trailed" the US flag on the road at the US military eavesdropping base at Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire.