How the West has always backed brutal Sri Lanka

My weekly Guardian column: The Sri Lankan Navy band was busy last week, learning the tune to Waltzing Matilda. They played it to welcome Scott Morrison, the Australian immigration minister, who was visiting to launch two patrol boats donated by the Australian government. A photo of the moment,tweeted… by journalist Jason Koutsoukis, showed Morrison sitting alongside…

Western hypocrisy over Russia

Brilliantly strong Gideon Levy in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: Saddam Hussein has already been executed, and so has Osama bin Laden. But all is not lost for the enlightened West. There is a new devil, and his name is Vladimir Putin. He hates gay people, so the leaders of the enlightenment did not go to…

Don't trust Western media when reporting Russia/Ukraine (or most conflicts)

My weekly Guardian column is here: Reading the global and Australian media recently, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Russian president Vladimir Putin is a dangerous demagogue who threatens the security of the world after his country’s involvement in Ukraine and Crimea. How many times have we seen those infamous… shirtless photographs… of Putin looking menacing and…

Who is afraid of #pussyriot?

Many American media organisations, apparently (via the Guardian): The… conviction of three members of the punk band Pussy Riot… has caused consternation throughout the world – and a dilemma for prudish news organizations. Major media groups have been furiously editing headlines, tweets and stories to avoid using the word “pussy”. The… Washington Post… has taken the most conservative stance…

Defending online news by playing hardball

As autocratic regimes, hackers, trouble-makers and fools aim to bring down websites that challenge authoritarian rule, such spaces need to be nurtured and protected. Reporters Without Borders on an important project: Filtering, denial of service attacks, withdrawal of content – censors use many different methods to silence news websites. In addition to drawing attention to…

The out of control drone future

So this is where our supposed civilised world is heading. A disturbing piece in the weekend’s New York Times: At the Zhuhai air show in southeastern China last November, Chinese companies startled some Americans by unveiling 25 different models of remotely controlled aircraft and showing video animation of a missile-armed drone taking out an armored…