Tag Archives: United States

Wikileaks and Singapore’s reputation

12 Dec

A series of Wikileaks cables obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald has shown that senior Singaporean officials have been sending confidential information to their U.S. counterparts on their dismissive impressions of neighbouring states.

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National security, public interest, Manning, Assange and Wikileaks

11 Dec

National security is usually an overriding reason given by governments to suppress information or persecute those who choose to release these information to the public. Yet, when it comes to defining national security, most officials would have a difficult time, trying to justify the need to classify these information as confidential.

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Voices of a People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn

1 Mar

What is history? What can history teach us? What often happens to the stories of the people who are on the other side or worse, wrong side of the history as opposed to the victors? In that sense, Howard Zinn’s unflinching portrayal of the alternative version of the official history is always illuminating. Yet, Zinn does not stop at that. By documenting the voices of the ordinary people,  he tried to show us that notions such as nationalism have always been disguised by the ruling elites as a form of psychological warfare against class struggle. This is best expressed in his own words within the introduction to Voices of a People’s History of the United States:

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Obama, the (ongoing) war president

10 Apr

When America voted Obama as the next President instead of John McCain, many around the world, including liberals/ pro-demcorats/ anti- republicans thought things will change. After all, this is the first black President (debatable) who has promised the world that ‘yes we can’. Continue reading

Libya on the spotlight

8 Sep

Taking advantage of US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice’s visit to Libya, Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have highlighted the human rights abuses that have persisted in the autocratic regime (AI 2008a; HRW 2008a) . In a letter to Rice, HRW has urged the former not to place to business and terrorism issues above human rights concerns (HRW 2008 a).

The issues voiced by both human rights organisations include the imprisonment of political prisoners and suppression of political dissent. These critics include Fathi el-Jahmi who ihad been imprisoned but now reported to be in hospital custody. He had called for political liberalisation such as conducting free and fair elections and having a free press. Idriss Boufayed, the purported organiser with 11 other men for planning a peaceful protest  are still being imprisoned (AI 2008a; HRW 2008a). Three other men from the same group who had planned the demonstration are said to have been released in 2007 and 2008 though two of them are reported to have disappeared (HRW 2008b, p. 3) Continue reading

Americans want change… so does the world…

8 Nov

According to an AFP report, “Americans yearn for change of direction: poll” dated 4 November, a Washington Post and ABC News survey indicated that “three-quarters of the respondents want the next president to chart a different political course.”

The report stated that more than 60% believed the Iraqi war was not worth fighting for and nearly two-thirds felt the local economy was negatively managed. With approximately 7 in 10 forseeing an economic recession likely over the next year, Bush’s rating has also plunged to a low at 64% showing disapproval of his work.

As early as 2003, the world has already thought Bush a threat to world peace.

In a poll conducted for BBC for a program, “What The World Thinks of America”, as many as 60% of the respondents polled from 10 different countries “had a very unfavourable, or fairly unfavourable attitude towards the American President.”

Another poll conducted in 2006 reported in the Guardian reflected similar sentiments.

69% of those polled in Britain “believe US policy has made the world less safe since 2001, with only 7% thinking action in Iraq and Afghanistan has increased global security.” 62% of Canadians and 57% of Mexicans agreed likewise.

In the same survey, 71% of the British respondents feel the Iraqi invasion was unjustified. 89% of the Mexicans and 73% of Canadians polled had the same sentiments.

World Public Opinion also published a report of the BBC World Service Opinion Poll in which respondents from 27 countries are asked to rate 12 different countries. On the US, 51% said the US is playing a mainly negative role in the world based on respondents from the 26 countries polled (except from the US sample).

It quotes Steven Kull, director of PIPA (The Program on International Policy Attitudes) who said, “It appears that people around the world tend to look negatively on countries whose profile is marked by the use or pursuit of military power… This includes Israel and the US, who have recently used military force, and North Korea and Iran, who are perceived as trying to develop nuclear weapons.”