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After Paris, be careful what you ask for: an interview with Thomas Drake

NSA whistleblower Drake wanted to defend the US constitution. So they prosecuted him under the Espionage Act. - free thinking for the world

After Paris, be careful what you ask for: an interview with Thomas Drake

NSA whistleblower Drake wanted to defend the US constitution. So they prosecuted him under the Espionage Act. - free thinking for the world

This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

The ISIS threat: terror, propaganda and ideology

Mainstream Muslim scholars must engage with reinterpreting passages of the Qur'an that seem to support ISIS' treatment of women. Translated excerpt from Trusselen fra IS: Terror, propaganda og ideologi.

Fictiocracy: democracy as an illusion

Latin America is the domain of democracy as an illusion. An illusion that is maintained by its governments’ narratives, and a democracy that is corrupted by crime. Español. Português.

The aid crisis for Syrian refugees

As the war is prolonged, families are exhausting their savings. Without a massive re-thinking of how aid is delivered and distributed, refugees in the region are going to look for ways to leave.

Making whistleblowing safe: a view from the Philippines

New technologies that help human rights defenders are coming to developing countries, but those who blow the whistle need better protection.

Who's going to be left holding the baby, George?

Maternity services are underfunded, understaffed and struggling to cope, finds a survey by the Royal College of Midwives.

Trans ™: how the trans movement got sold out

From Zoolander 2 to Brewdog, now being transgender is cool, corporations are co-opting the sexy bits to turn a profit. 

Can celebrities and fashion magazines in Mexico really influence social change?

Partnering with celebrities and seeking visibility is key to mobilizing resources for the women’s movement in Mexico. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate, Funding for Human Rights.  Español

Ghana: women at war in a country at peace

The absence of war does not necessarily imply peace for women. The binary opposites of war and peace obscure the continuum of violence women experience as a result of patriarchal gender structures.

The BBC can help revive local journalism, but only if it’s allowed to

For an organisation that’s so self-confident in dealing with national and global news, the BBC is surprisingly vulnerable when it comes to local and regional journalism. 

Putin’s politics of uncertainty: how the Kremlin raised the stakes

The Kremlin has achieved much in 2015. What has happened so far, and what happens next? на русском языке


Six ways to spin climate coverage

How are big polluters trying to influence climate change reporting in the run up to the vital Paris summit? Here are some things we've noticed..

David Cameron truly is the heir to Tony Blair

Despite being widely despised by almost everyone, Blair is Cameron's role model – he worships him.

The SNP need to get back to governing – and being honest with us

The SNP must demonstrate that they offer more than Independence and grievance justification.

Introducing our new series: the Northern Powerhouse

Welcome to the Northern Powerhouse collection of articles for Open Democracy, curated by Manchester Left Writers. Here, I want to outline what we aim to do across our pieces.

Empowerment through education for Travellers in prison

Gypsy and Irish Traveller prisoners represent 5% of the entire prison population of England and Wales. Let’s get their education right.

The vicious cycle of pitiless violence

ISIS fighters must be held to account as criminals, not conventional military adversaries, for their violent crimes. Snared by geopolitical interests, post-9/11 interventions have too easily been captured by leading states.

Nonviolent activism around the Olympic Games: History and lessons learned

Whereas countless public figures have insisted that the Olympics be kept “apolitical” for decades, nonviolent action and civil society together have succeeded in revealing the hollowness of such a notion.

After Paris, be careful what you ask for: an interview with Thomas Drake

NSA whistleblower Drake wanted to defend the US constitution. So they prosecuted him under the Espionage Act.

The return of Balkan solidarity?

Deep-seated mistrust and apathy among the people of the Balkans has been replaced with actions of transnational solidarity brought about by the region's natural disasters, disgust at political corruption and the ongoing refugee crisis.

Argentina, now to be run by its proprietors

The Argentine electoral system exhibited its virtues by showing that an incumbent can be defeated, and a centre-right president has been elected. Will he repeat the right-wing’s major errors of the past? Español.

Israel, ISIS and the Paris attacks

The recent spate of terror attacks around the world have given Israel an opportunity to showcase its military and intelligence capabilities—and to further crack down on Palestinians.

Where is the outrage on David Cameron’s scandal in the Gulf?

The UAE, we now know, was busy planning its own operation against Muslim Brotherhood affiliates at home while urging David Cameron to do the same in Britain.

An uneven playing field: inequality, human rights and taxation

The Latin American experience shows that progressive tax systems are crucial to reducing inequality. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate, Economic Inequality and Human Rights. Español

Women cyclists are dying, why are we still talking about their clothes?

Cycling deaths are gendered and women's cycling needs must taken into account by planners and campaigners.

Can the Working Families Party succeed in America?

The United States is shifting to the left. What happens next?

People tied up ‘like animals’ on UK deportation flights

Commercial contractors routinely belt immigration detainees into restraints so extreme that they are rarely used in prisons.

International community neglects to act on Yazidi genocide

Mass murder, rape, slavery, and kidnapping; the situation for the Yazidi community is dire and the international community's reponse has been wholly inadequate.

Government failure to upgrade informal settlements in Egypt: a brief history

Is civil administration and planning in Egypt being run professionally according to research and analysis, or is it as ‘random’ as the housing it claims to improve?

Latin America seeks decisive role at COP21 in Paris

About 25% of the world’s farmable land, 22% of its forests, and 31% of fresh water are found in Latin America. The sustainability of development in the region will determine the future of all of us. Español. Português.

Truthiness in Russia

What we’re missing from the propaganda debate: how Russian state media feed off and amplify public sentiment.