Leading a banana republic

There is a name for countries that utilise rampant, unchecked power: “In search of a terrorist nuclear bomb, the [US] federal government since 9/11 has run a far-reaching, top secret program to monitor radiation levels at over a hundred Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area, including mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses, plus similar sites…

A misty mirror

Australians are increasingly not seeing themselves on screen: “Local television drama is set for a lean year, with network belt-tightening and timid programming adding to instability created by expected changes to media ownership laws. “Viewers are being let down, said the head of the Screen Producers Association of Australia, with only a “patchy” schedule of…

A view on China

China is aiming to make a fool of itself in early 2006: “Prosecutors are proceeding with an espionage case against a Chinese researcher for The New York Times and his trial could begin within six weeks, his defence lawyer said Friday. “Zhao Yan, who worked for the Times’ Beijing bureau, was detained in September 2004,…

Some lessons in Israeli democracy

It seems like yesterday that Israel was being praised for bringing peace to the conflict. Now, perhaps, the world will realise the Jewish state’s true intentions. The IDF now advocates collective punishment and the targeting of civilian areas in Gaza. Notwithstanding the failure of such policies in the past, the IDF suggests it may even…

Selling liberation

It seems the American people are concerned about black propaganda: “Almost three-quarters of Americans think it was wrong for the Pentagon to pay Iraqi newspapers to publish news about U.S. efforts in Iraq, a new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows. “USA TODAY reported earlier this month that the Pentagon plans to expand beyond Iraq an anti-terrorism…

A stain on Israeli society

Haaretz, December 23: “Cases of abuse of Palestinians, whether by soldiers or by settlers, have stopped making headlines in the press or eliciting shock. Nor do investigations of these incidents appear to be serious, and complaints are ignored until the story is either published in the media or dealt with by one of the human…

The friends we keep

British Prime Minister Tony Blair regularly talks about eradicating poverty in Africa. Perhaps he should take a long, hard look at one of his allies: “An Ethiopian court has charged 131 politicians, journalists and activists with treason and genocide as the Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, continues to suppress all dissenting voices in the country. “Two…

Duty calls

In my ongoing series of “guess what? The military lies”, Deutsche Welle reports on interesting times in Germany: “The German ministry of defence has admitted that it is carrying out an internal inquiry into the possible extracting of information on suspected terrorists by Bundeswehr operatives posing as journalists in Bosnia. “The confirmation of an inquiry…

Liberate me!

It seems that even military men with an establishment pedigree are questioning current deployments in the Middle East: “One of the sons of Australia’s celebrated former defence force chief Peter Cosgrove will be discharged from the army after going AWOL from his barracks and being thrown in military jail. “Private David Cosgrove, based at Singleton…