Arab revolt update: Syria rising

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, March 26th, 2011 - 20 comments
Categories: democratic participation, International, war - Tags: , , , , , ,

The revolts around the Middle East are still heating up. The coalitions air strikes are dealing havoc to Gaddifi’s heavy weapons, giving the rebels a fighting chance. In Bahrain, the Shi’ites are brooding as the country remains under de facto Saudi occupation, Saleh looks gone in Yemen, while violence is escalating in Syria and Jordan.

Rebels have largely re-taken Adjabiya after coalition bombing destroyed tanks controlling key junctions. However, the cities of Zintan and Misurata remain under siege with many civilian deaths reported from artillery and sniper fire.

The Saudis are still in Bahrain in force. This has effectively ended large public demonstrations and leaders of the reform movement have been disappeared but this can only surely be delaying the inevitable and making it even more certain that when they leave Al Khalifa will fall. Small Shi’ite protests continue in Saudi Arabia.

The crucial moment for Yemen may have come with two senior generals and their troops switching sides. Just as Ukrainian special forces pledged to protect the protesters during the Orange Revolution, which at the last moment dissuaded Interior Ministry forces from attacking them and ensured the success of the revolution. The defecting soldiers are standing guard over the Yemeni protesters and fired warning shots when loyalist security forces arrived. One of the defecting generals has apparently met with President Saleh to discuss terms for him to step down. However, the political map in Yemen is fractured and the South secessionists are mobilising.

Protests are spreading across Sryia. Having really kicked off about a week ago in Deraa they were joined by protests in several cities, including Damascus on Friday, the Islamic holy day. The protests have been brutally repressed, with dozens killed in Deraa alone. President Assad is no stranger to repressing his people – his father put down a Muslim Brotherhood revolt in the 1980s, killing at least 10,000. And there’s no hope of the West coming to the Syrian people’s aid if they revolt as they have in  Libya. Syria has a much more powerful military and the West will not want to over-extend itself. The UK used up 20% of its cruise missiles (which, admittedly, was only 12) in taking out Libya’s air defences.

In neighbouring Jordan, protests turned violent for the first time with reformers and government supporters clashing in Amman before security forces intervened. At least one person was killed. King Abdullah II is one of the most moderate leaders in the region. Expect further compromises from him – he won’t risk losing his head to keep his crown.

There’s no sign of the security forces in Syria or Jordan fracturing, yet. But, interestingly, protests in Syria have included the Alawi population, a minority Shi’ite sect which the ruling family belongs to and from which most senior officials are drawn.

Iran’s quiet but it may not remain so.

20 comments on “Arab revolt update: Syria rising”

  1. Irascible 1

    The problem for everyone in the Arab world is that the protest movements in all the states has been built on social media – facebook, twitter, blogs, cell phone MSMs – by the essentially young and disadvantaged and lacks an identifiable leadership focus so that there is no apparent plan for a transition of power given the successful over throw of the regimes.
    In Egypt the recent voting on the interregnum after Mubarak was dominated, not by the “revolutionaries of the social media” but by the conservatives and the Muslim Brotherhood who had established physical local contacts throughout the neighbourhoods and were able to mobilise the voters more efficiently. Even so the voter turn out was less that 40% despite the popular revolution that over threw Mubarak.
    The same problems are there in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Oman, Tunisia, … popular discontent with the inadequacies of the regimes but no visible or popular leadership or plan to replace that which is overthrown.

  2. Maui 2

    .. but in Aotearoa, particularly Ōtautahi, the natives are restless.

  3. Drakula 3

    Libya is the most interesting; Do we really know who the protesters are? If they are people striving for a genuine social revolution to improve wages and conditions I am all for it.

    Then Gadaffi says things like ” those protesters are 17 year olds who are on hallucinagenic drugs given them by Al Queda”

    Anyone who makes a statement like that would have to be thought of as a loose cannon, but other people on the left think that the Al Queda could be jumping on the band-wagon and Gadaffi could have a point. I don’t know, but there is an interesting article in http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/ the argument goes that Obama attacking Gadaffi is unwittingly aiding the Al Queda.

    • Bill 3.1

      Well Drakula, it’s pretty easy to say who the protesters are. They are ordinary Libyans. But who faccilitated the speedy decent into violence? I mean, protestors are being shot all over N. Africa and the Arab World and yet the protesters either have no access to arms or don’t care to go down that road. But not in Libya. Apparently. See, arms just kind of fell into the laps of young pumped up men who went hooning off across the desert where, for some strange reason, the rabid and mad Libyan fighter pilots seemed to be bombing to….well, miss. Hell. Even a prominant BBC correpondent remarked on that strange phenomenum.

      If you want to know the likely future being shaped by the protests and the no-fly zones, then you might do well to look at the people who make up the National Transitional Council. ‘Cause they are the ones running the show…or at least orchestrating the actions of the protests. Have a wee read of the bios of numbers two and three on the self compiled National Transitional Council list that I’ve pasted here. And then go have a look at their just a tad too slick and contrived web site…and their claims to extraordinary levels of organisation given the time lines they present. From nothing to ‘Revolutionary Local Councils’ who then nominate the ‘Grand Council’. And all done between between Feb 17 and March 5.

      http://ntclibya.org/english/

      2. Mr Mahmood Jibril:
      Born in Libya n 1952, obtained a BSc in Economics and Political Science from Cairo University in 1975. Holds a masters’ degree in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1980. He also obtained a Doctorate in Strategic planning and decision-making from the same university in 1984 where he worked as a professor in the same subject field for several years. So far he has published 10 books in Strategic planning and decision making. He led the team who drafted and formed the Unified Arab Training manual. He was also responsible for organising and administering the first two Training conferences in the Arab world in the years 1987 and 1988. He later took over the management and administration of many of the leaders’ training programs for senior management in Arab countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, UAE, Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Britain
      3. Mr. Ali Al Issawi
      A political and education Libyan who was born in the city of Benghazi in 1966. Has a PhD in pivatisation obtained from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest Romania. He occupied the position of Minister of Economy, Trade and Investment in Libya, and was the youngest minister to fill such a post. Before taking the ministerial position, he founded the Centre for Export Development in 2006 and became the first Director General for it. He also assumed the position of Director General for the Ownership expansion program (privatization fund) in 2005

      • Marty G 3.1.1

        there are 31 members of the council. so, there’s two with overseas connections… must all be fakes.

        “I mean, protestors are being shot all over N. Africa and the Arab World and yet the protesters either have no access to arms or don’t care to go down that road. But not in Libya. Apparently. See, arms just kind of fell into the laps of young pumped up men who went hooning off across the desert ”

        They took military compounds. And they’re actually massively underequipped, not even an AK per man and a fighting force of about 1,000.

        “where, for some strange reason, the rabid and mad Libyan fighter pilots seemed to be bombing to….well, miss.”

        Yeah, and the BBC reporter was making the obvious point. If you were a pilot in the Libyan air force, ordered to bomb your own people but you’re sympathetic to the anti-gaddifi cause, what would you do? refuse to fly and get executed like those 150 airforce officers in benghazi? Or fly and drop your bomb in the desert with your commanders not able to verify what you hit or if you missed on purpose?

        Also, intentional missing is common in was, especially militaries with low morale. It’s a big deal to try to kill someone, western militaries undergo intense training to get them mentally fit for it and the evidence from past wars is that a large proportion 20-50% still shoot to miss.

        “In 1947, U.S Armed Forces historian, Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshall, published the controversial book, Men Against Fire, releasing his startling discoveries into the world for the first time. Using data obtained via interviews with thousands of soldiers in World War Two, Marshall came to realise that only a minority of soldiers would fire their weapon at an enemy combatant. Only 15-20% of the soldiers interviewed claimed to have consciously fired at the enemy. Many soldiers simply wouldn’t discharge their rifles. Others would purposefully aim above their opponents heads. It didn’t seem to matter where they were stationed, nor whether they were battling against German or Japanese troops, the 15-20% figure remained consistent.”

  4. Bill 4

    And we get unverified shaky cell phone videos that could, lets face it, be from any one of a dozen countries that purport to show unarmed dead Syrians and it’s accompanied by strong condemnation from the US.

    Just like in Libya; the unconfirmed, unverifiable and shaky cell phone images and the accompanying US condemnation.

    But not so in Bahrain or Egypt or Tunisia or Yemen or….oh, you get the picture…the media and our governments are kind of muted on the actions of ‘our’ official friends killing unarmed citizens. But the video quality is so much better!

    By the way. Haven’t seen an explanation yet for how unarmed citizens in Libya who were apparently being slaughtered left right and center on those cell phone videos managed to capture so many Libyan cities just a few short days later. Maybe they weren’t so armless? Army units surrendered? The same ones who were engaging in the apparent cell phone slaughters?

    And that National Transitional Council was up and running kind of quick smart, was it not? Tell me it’s not full of Washington’s men. International recognition after 12 days? Claiming to be the only legitimate voice for Libyans?

    While in all the other countries people are going to pains to impress that they are not speaking on behalf of the people.

    • Marty G 4.1

      cool down the conspiracy theories there, bill. If you’ll remember, gaddifi was rehabilitated in the West’s eyes, he was selling the oil. The US, in particular was extremely reluctant to do the no flight zone – last thing Obama wants is another expensive and pointless war – and they’ve have handed over leadership of the air campaign to the french as quickly as possible.

      “Haven’t seen an explanation yet for how unarmed citizens in Libya who were apparently being slaughtered left right and center on those cell phone videos managed to capture so many Libyan cities just a few short days later. Maybe they weren’t so armless? Army units surrendered? The same ones who were engaging in the apparent cell phone slaughters?”

      If you haven’t seen an explanation, you should do some reading of the reports. How it started with protests which were fired on, then with protesters besieging the military base in benghazi, which fell only when a middle aged guy (perfume seller I think) turned his car into a bomb and drove it into the gate.

      more towns fell to the rebels because initially there was little organised military resistance. The local police forces and barracks largely chose not to fight (and still largely aren’t fighting). The rebels’ initial gains weren’t from them going town to town, it was the locals in each town rejecting gaddifi’s rule. Then came the fight back from gaddifi’s forces, there was no organised rebel military force.

      “And that National Transitional Council was up and running kind of quick smart, was it not? Tell me it’s not full of Washington’s men. International recognition after 12 days? Claiming to be the only legitimate voice for Libyans?”

      Democratically elected in benghazi – locals. I’m not sure how you think Washington has planted people among the population of benghazi and given them the reputation to win elections. But any evidence you have, other than empty theories I would like to see.

      washington says they like the basic constitutional document from the NTA but are worried about al-qaeda types getting elected because they don’t know much about what is going on in there.

      • Bill 4.1.1

        I’m not at all into conspiracies Marty.

        Whether you wish to question the official line on Libya or not is up to you. But there are details that just don’t quite pan out. Take the National Transitional Council for one. You seem happy to accept that democratic elections were organised and held in the space of a couple of weeks. I can’t see how that’s logistically possible given the time scale.

        It seems we both accept the line that unarmed protestors were beng shot by the army (as in other Arab and N. African states) and that sections of the army took the side of the protestors. But you have no curiosity as to why it is only in Libya that the protestors have taken up arms? Doesn’t that turn of events suggest that there are factors coming into play in the Libyan situation that are absent in other affected states?

        We know that the National Transitional Council is comfortable with the idea of seeking a resolution through violence and that the NTC has been regarded as the legitimate voice of the Libyan state and the Libyan people by the west right from the get go. But its legitimacy has never been questioned or examined. Like I said, the idea that some selection process and popular democratic election was organised and held in the space of a couple of weeks simply isn’t tenable. (Actually, if the statements of the NTC are to be believed there was a series of elections!) If such a thing had occurred, do you not think ‘our media’ would have been all over it and presenting us with images of downtrodden but jubilant people filling in voting papers and excercising their new found democratic freedoms?

        My concern with the shaky cell phone imagery is that its generic and mostly indescernable. You could put almost any voice over on it and claim it shows whatever you wish to suggest it shows. In comparison to the images we have been fed from other countries there are no details (such as flags, placards or banner images) that would tie them to a particular location. So yeah. Did footage from the other night show some dead people on a street? Yes. But was there anything in the images that informed us as to their location? No. The voice over presumed to fill in the balnks and suggest to us what we were seeing. Which, surely, is reason enough to reach for the salt?

        It’s not as though our media doesn’t indulge in a little pulling of the wool over our eyes. And it’s not as if our leaders don’t knowingly peddle lies as truth. Remember the uncritical reporting that accompanied claims of Iraqi troops throwing babies in incubators out of the windows of Kuwaiti hospitals? A complete fabrication that was concocted by our leaders and their mates in Kuwait in order to (successfully) generate public support for US intervention. Or maybe you remember the media coverage of the Venezualan coup against Chavez that claimed to show events that were in fact a complete fabrication and direct contradiction of the truth? Or maybe you are simply far less critical and evaluative than me and assume there is no possibility of a disconnect between what an image is and what a voice over says an image is?

        To suggest, as I think you do, that there was no western machinations occuring within Libya prior to the popular protests is naive in the extreme. Just as there are western connections and presences in the ‘officially friendly’ states seeking to exert influence, so there are in the ‘officially unfriendly’ states. Just that they operate differently given the difference in the situation they are in. Gadaffi hadn’t been rehabilitated. The regime he headed had been somewhat rehabilitated. There’s a big difference between those two things. So would the west have contacted, encouraged and nurtured government officials and others who expressed anti-Gadaffi sentiments or/and more pro-western sentiments? Of course! And would they have had a game plan ready to put into operation in the event of instability? One that would seek to install a more pro-western regime in Libya? Of course!

        It’s just that the game seems to not quite have gone to plan. The NTC hasn’t ousted Gadaffi and all the insider contacts are now well and truly outed….a big fuck up. So time for plan ‘b’…or making it up as they go along if they didn’t make contingencies for plan ‘a’ not quite panning out.

  5. Drakula 5

    The title of the above article is Libya Rebels: Gaddafi Could be Right about Al Qaeda by Alex Cockburn.

    • Marty G 5.1

      funny that this is the opposite theory to Bill’s.

      Here’s what the US ambassador says:

      Libya’s opposition National Council is “off to a good start” in organizing politically, providing basic services and embracing a vision of human rights, US ambassador Gene Cretz said Friday.

      But Cretz, who served in Tripoli until December, said there remained legal hurdles to US recognition of a group that could one day replace Moamer Kadhafi’s regime if it falls in Libya’s weeks-old armed conflict.

      “They are off to a good start in word and deed,” Cretz told reporters, praising a document from the council that supported human rights and women’s rights. “It was really a very, very good document.”

      A recent document presented “their vision of what a future Libya would look like, and it had all the right elements in it in terms of human rights, in terms of women’s rights, in terms of equal participation,” he said.

      Despite being a good start, he said, the United States still has more to learn about the council.

      “And we have to be very careful about, you know, who might be included in the future and how they go about forming a government, if in fact they have that opportunity,” Cretz said.

      The opposition “do not seem to be, at least in the statements and the actions that they’ve taken, in any way incompatible with the kind of ideals that we would be advocating … in that situation,” he said.

  6. Bill seems to think the revolts are really happening at all, all a western con using that famous tool of the US, Al Jezeera as the primary information/propaganda channel. Others say it’s Al Qaeda, that bunch of incompetents who have a 90%+ fail rate in their terrorism operations.

    I wonder if there isn’t a subtle prejudice here – that Arabs can’t really be genuinely wanting democracy and freedom. Sure, Eastern Europeans can overthrow in their police states in largely bloodless protests and are willing to die for the cause if need be but if arabs do it, there must be secret pullers of the puppet-strings, either the US or Al Qaeda.

  7. Bright Red 7

    yeah, this gaddifi guy and his thugs sound really great (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/libyan-woman-claims-abuse-rape-by-soldiers-before-being-detained/article1958189/)

    the people of libya would never want to overthrow him. must all be a us/alqaeda/commie plot!

  8. Nadis 8

    I agree that the revolution seems to be a genuine grass roots phenomenon. But I also don’t doubt there will be all manner of influence peddlers trying to shape that game. And that will bs a contest between tribalism, reactionary Arab regimes, fundamentalists, the west etc. Just hope the people dont get squeezed back in to their box as is happening in Egypt.

  9. kevin rudd just made espiner look like a total dick on q+a. hilarious. everything espiner accused him and the west of was brushed away easily. espiner got antsy about wanting a brief answer, rudd said ‘give me some oxygen and i’ll answer in my own terms’. that shut espiner up.

    then espiner said ‘your predecessor, julia gillard…’ and rudd just says ‘successor’ and grins, espiner was totally flummoxed, hadn’t caught his own mistake, so rudd explained it to him.

    • Bored 9.1

      Rudd (or anybody for that matter) would not have to strain their intellect greatly to make Espiner look like a turkey. The guy is a joke, the sad thing is that he is representative of the tawdry joke that is the MSM.

    • Bored 10.1

      Well spotted Joe, I never cease to be amazed by the way the “jornos” and MSM try and get closure, they cannot see events as a continuum. Their whole modus operandi is todays story in separation, which in turn suits the status quo as the bigger issues dont get discussed.

  10. Irascible 11

    Worth a read…Stories from the Middle East as reported in the UAE.
    http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/middle-east
    http://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/the-review/egypts-revolutionary-generation-struggles-with-the-next-step

    A quick skim through these stories gives a different picture to that presented in NZ media outlets.

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    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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