Tag Archives: America

A self-serving insider perspective of wikileaks?

24 Oct

In an opinion piece for Al Jazeera, Grenier, a retired CIA veteran suggests that the recent wikileaks reveals few surprises. Furthermore, the greatest potential harm lies in promoting ‘tendentious interpretations’ i.e. a particular viewpoint or cause that is especially controversial. Continue reading

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European corporations criticised for workers’ rights violations

2 Sep

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has just published a new report on its website, ‘A Strange Case’ highlighting the questionable labor practices of supposedly law abiding European corporations in America.

Continue reading

Environmental historical facts in USA – 40th Earth Day (USA)

21 Apr

Interesting environmental facts in America (source: Mother Nature Network; edited with additional links) Continue reading

Environmental – Activist – Hollywood – Celebrities

13 Apr

Director James Cameron who directed Avatar has urged the Brazilian President, Lula, to halt the construction of an $11 billion Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. The project is predicted to be the world’s third-largest of its kind and has been opposed by environmentalists who says the dam would destroy biodiversity and the livelihoods of 40,000 people who live around it. Continue reading

1000 days and still counting

15 Mar

I thought this was an excellent piece by an Al Jazeera correspondent on the situation in Gaza. Even with the UN endorsement of the Goldstone report, which only limits itself to the 2008/9 invasion, there remains something much more dire that has since escaped international attention. It is the state of Israel’s economic blockade that is slowly but surely killing the lives and dreams of ordinary civilians in Gaza.  Continue reading

Burmese shrug off military rule

26 Sep

It should not come as a surprise that the Burmese riot police has finally retaliated with violence on the protesting monks. The restraint that the military regime has practised until recently has somewhat bolstered the protestors’ confidence, which had the uncanny effect of causing the mass protests to further swell.

Now that the regime has lost their head by attacking the revered monks, the option of no longer NOT using violence is basically thrown out of the window. The effect of this outright display and actual violence on the protestors and monks is likely to escalate and either:

a) cause the size of the protests to dwindle as the monks or people fear physical retaliation; or

b) further expand because the ordinary Burmese are no longer willing to watch idly while the monks, highly respected in their society are attacked.

The second probability is more likely to occur since the increase in fuel hikes has caused far too much misery to the livelihoods of the ordinary people that they feel they have no choice but to publicly protest; despite knowing the severity of the repercussions.

This is a crucial period where international pressure is likely to play an important role in ensuring that violence is reduced or stopped.

As Bush announces more sanctions against Burma, China has urged the latter for stability.

Yet, asking the Burmese military regime to stop the violence cannot be executed without urging for a process of immediate dialogue.

To this end, ASEAN can and should play a decisive meditative role by urging the Burmese military government to:

a) release Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest;

b) release the activists and monks who have been imprisoned for participating in the protests;

c) engage in a tri – party dialogue process (consisting of the Burmese military; Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy leaders; and ASEAN acting as the arbitrator)

The aim of the dialogue, not only to reduce and stop the violence, could also pave the way for the generals to “relinquish their authority” while allowing the country to transit towards a process of democratisation – from military to civilian rule.

The likelihood of ASEAN to initiate this process is slim considering it has always advocated a “non-interference on internal affairs” approach towards its members.

However, ASEAN also understands that if it does not act to ensure that violence stops in Burma, its credibility as a trade- security bloc which tries to embody a human rights mechanism (with its newly drafted ASEAN Charter) will merely be an empty call.

China and India, which are close trading partners with the regime should also exert pressure on the government.

This is perhaps the tipping point where the Burmese needs more international pressure and aid more than ever, if they ever wanted to shrug off military rule. People in other countries can help by signing petitions or protesting outside the Burmese embassy in their own countries. They could also write to the Burmese government and or their elected members of parliament to urge them to take up the cause of allowing the Burmese their right to freedom of assembly and stopping the violence.