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Showing posts from March 21, 2014

Theresa May warns Yahoo that its move to Dublin is a security worry

Internet firm is known to be unhappy about snooping and would be under no obligation to hand over material under Irish laws


Nick Hopkins


Theresa May called the meeting with Yahoo to express the fears of Britain’s counter-terrorism investigators. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA


Theresa May summoned the internet giant Yahoo for an urgent meeting on Thursday to raise security concerns after the company announced plans to move to Dublin where it is beyond the reach of Britain's surveillance laws.

By making the Irish capital rather than London the centre of its European, Middle East and Africa operations, Yahoo cannot be forced to hand over information demanded by Scotland Yard and the intelligence agencies through "warrants" issued under Britain's controversial anti-terror laws.

Yahoo has had longstanding concerns about securing the privacy of its hundreds of millions of users – anxieties that have been heightened in recent months by revelations from the whistleblower Edward Sn…

Iraq invasion was about oil

Dr Nafeez Ahmed

Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the 2003 Iraq War - yet to this day, few media reflections on the conflict accurately explore the extent to which opening up Persian Gulf energy resources to the world economy was a prime driver behind the Anglo-American invasion.

The overwhelming narrative has been one of incompetence and failure in an otherwise noble, if ill-conceived and badly managed endeavour to free Iraqis from tyranny. To be sure, the conduct of the war was indeed replete with incompetence at a colossal scale - but this doesn't erase the very real mendacity of the cold, strategic logic that motivated the war's US and British planners in the first place.

According to the infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC) document endorsed by senior Bush administration officials as far back as 1997, "While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification" for the US "to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional secu…

Ukraine as Stalking Horse - The Rise of Fascism in the West

By Norman Pollack

- "Counterpunch"- Fascism dribbles off the tongue too easily, yet it is possible to wrap one’s arms around the concept and practice with, allowing for historical variations, some degree of precision. Hitler’s Germany may be the gold standard by which to measure all else, but even there correction can be made for both underlying structural features and ideological themes applied to other and different settings. By that I mean, e.g., functional equivalents of Nazi societal organization, if you will, foundations or perhaps sub-foundations of the social order and political culture. If we return to Franz Neumann’s Behemoth, the now-neglected classic on the subject and Robert A. Brady’s Spirit and Structure of German Fascism, also near-forgotten, focused on the ideology of business organization, we can say that the primal factor in fascism’s internal composition is capitalism, not your everyday Smithian variety happily ensconced in Econ. 101 textbooks, but the rea…

China's Strategic Railway Extension

China plans to extend the Qinghai-Tibet railway to the southern Tibetan city of Xigaze, located less than 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the border with India. The railway extension, which authorities expect to be operational by October, is ostensibly intended to improve access for Tibetans and other Buddhist pilgrims to the Beijing-installed Panchen Lama -- the highest reincarnated lama after the Dalai Lama and the highest recognized by Beijing -- whose official seat is in Xigaze. At the same time, authorities say the rail line will open the way for increased Chinese and foreign tourism throughout Tibet, thus increasing the region's economic integration with and reliance on the rest of China. The railway will also extend China's infrastructural (and therefore security) footprint deep into Tibet.

The extension plan taps into a number of overlapping themes in contemporary Chinese geopolitics. Fundamentally, it must be understood in the context of China's centuries-old strug…

The Geopolitics of Russia: Permanent Struggle

Analysis


Editor's Note:This was originally published in October 2008.

Russia's defining characteristic is its indefensibility. Unlike the core of most states that are relatively defensible, core Russia is limited to the region of the medieval Grand Principality of Muscovy. It counts no rivers, oceans, swamps or mountains marking its borders -- it relies solely on the relatively inhospitable climate and its forests for defense. Russian history is a chronicle of the agony of surviving invasion after invasion.



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Traditionally these invasions have come from two directions. The first is from the steppes -- wide open grasslands that connect Russia to Central Asia and beyond -- the path that the Mongols used. The second is from the North European Plain, which brought to Russia everything from the Teutonic Knights to the Nazi war machine.



To deal with these vulnerabilities, Russia expanded in three phases. In the first, Russia expanded not toward the invasion corridors to …

Colombia's Farmers Could Call for Protests

Farmers march in Bogota on March 17 to protest the failure of President Juan Manuel Santos' government to comply with an agreement signed in 2013. (GUILLERMO LEGARIA/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


Recent moves by Colombia's agricultural organizations suggest that major protests could occur during the country's presidential election season. Several leftist groups closely identified with agricultural and rural matters decided on March 17 to form a negotiating team to force concessions from the government. If the government does not meet their demands, they will begin nationwide protests in early May. Other farming collectives, such as coffee and rice farmers, could join in the demonstrations. These groups have the potential to merge into a nationwide protest movement similar to the one that blocked roads across Colombia in 2013, which would threaten to undermine Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos' chances for re-election.

Analysis


The principal groups calling for the protes…

Morocco and Tunisia Maintain Stability Amid Changes

Summary

As North Africa continues its post-Arab Spring transition, Morocco and Tunisia have found themselves in flux. Despite the ousting of the president in Tunisia and low-level demonstrations becoming more common in Morocco, Tunis and Rabat have avoided many of the pitfalls seen in Libya and Egypt. Though domestic challenges remain, especially in Tunisia, both countries face greater threats from instability and militancy in neighboring countries than from within their own borders.

Analysis


International focus on North Africa intensified after the Arab Spring. The sweeping unrest that unfolded in 2011 affected much of the Middle East, albeit to varying degrees, but its epicenter was Tunisia. North Africa experienced the greatest unrest in the months and years following the ouster of sitting governments in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Significant social unrest occurred in Algeria through much of 2011 and early 2012. Morocco faced greater social unrest than usual, though not to the same deg…