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Urgent: expose the Brexit dark money

openDemocracy has worked for two years exposing the dark money driving Brexit. We have many more leads to chase down. Please give what you can today – it makes a difference.

This week’s front page editor

China's web war

Iraq is the latest battlefield in China’s war of websites. Minutes and seconds – and freedom from political censorship – are the weapons of commercial websites who these days attract staggering numbers of users as well as advertising dollars.

To the mountain

Iraq, the Republic of Fear under Saddam, is now ruled by a Coalition of Fear. The distinguished writer John Berger said on the eve of war that lies prepare the way for missiles. Now he sees revealed in the desperate chaos of Baghdad the blindness of a force whose pitiless weaponry and limitless ambition offer no insight into the truths of its conquest.

“If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.” George W. Bush

Baghdad has fallen. The city has been taken by the troops who were bringing it freedom.

Saad Eddin Ibrahim: through the Arab looking glass

A democratic scholar-activist in Egypt is now free after a three-year ordeal of trial and imprisonment on hollow charges. But the individual story of Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a naturalised American citizen, is less one of law and human rights than of an Egyptian state caught between authoritarian rule and strategic and financial dependence on the United States.

Life after Saddam

The toxic shadow of the dictator has fallen across all twenty-five years of this young Iraqi exile’s life. From sinister visits to his nursery school to everyday chit chat, fear and paranoia infused his family’s life; now return and freedom beckon, but can the occupying forces deliver the democracy they have promised?

Christopher Columbus has words from the other side of death for Captain John Whyte...

...who rebaptised Saddam International Airport as his troops rolled into it. The peremptory renaming of the main airport in Iraq’s capital city by its occupier from across the ocean stirs a centuries-old adventurer from his restless tomb.

A new, new world order?

Globolog maps the discussion of ‘progressive globalisation’ around the spring meeting of the World Bank and the IMF in Washington, and asks whether the challenge of building a decent society in Iraq could best be led by another country with deep experience of recovering from pitiless dictatorship.

Europe, Hungary is coming!

As Hungarians vote on whether to join the EU, we dive into their imaginations. What does enlargement mean at ground level? From a German factory in the north-east to the bustle of Budapest’s entrepreneurs, from hopes and fears to past terrors, Hungarian voices and stories jostle. In the corners of Europe, its futures can be glimpsed.

Aftermath: Afghan lessons, Iraqi futures

The American occupation of Baghdad’s centre was won at a terrible cost in civilian casualties. The experience of Afghanistan, seventeen months after ‘regime change’ there, shows that even vastly superior US firepower is not enough to secure a stable peace. Will Iraq be different?

Stories from the fringe: hair in a West Indian style and fashion

With the scent of soup and Blue Magic, memories of hairstyles, tears and Saturday afternoons at Doris’ salon come flooding back. A veteran of black hair fashion remembers.

Masters of the universe?

What are the boundaries of corporate power and responsibility in the 21st century? In this key note roundtable discussion, leading activists, analysts and practitioners talk to Iain Ferguson and Caspar Henderson of openDemocracy.

'Why this debate matters to me'

Participants in openDemocracy’s roundtable on corporate power and responsibility introduce themselves.

Internally displaced persons in Iraq: a potential crisis?

The aftermath of war in Iraq is likely to intensify the problem of internal displacement that has already affected thousands of Kurds in the north and Shi’a and Marsh Arabs in the south. Two relatively untested agencies – the UN Office for Project Services and the International Organisation for Migration – will be responsible for aiding the huge flows of displaced people expected. Can they cope? International experts have grave doubts.

American occupational hazards

Current plans for the post-war reconstruction of Iraq under the authority of an American military commander would bypass the UN and relegate Nato further to the margins. The recent experience of the UN in the Balkans, East Timor, and Afghanistan has demonstrated the UN’s competence in democratisation. In partnership with a Nato-led peacekeeping force, a joint UN-Nato operation would provide a more legitimate guarantee of long-term stability.

In Mogadishu objectivity is a luxury most journalists cannot afford

Somali journalist Harun Hassan found himself at the heart of a fatal information war when he worked for the BBC in Mogadishu. His experiences cast a frightening new light on the debate about journalistic objectivity, balance and ‘involvement’ in times of war.

A time for pride: in defence of British patriotism

The fundamental sense of loyalty and belonging to one’s own country is heightened in time of war. This is patriotism itself, an affirmation of pride and love – not the aggressive display of superiority that is nationalism. The problem in Britain is that minorities reject this patriotism, and the majority is too embarrassed to express it.


After destroying the Saddam regime, the US faces an even bigger task – winning the trust of Iraq’s people. It is time for a historic act of symbolic atonement.

The stone bomb

In response to the horrors of imperial air warfare in Ethiopia, Burma, and India in the 1930s, the sculptor Eric Benfield and the socialist-feminist Sylvia Pankhurst turned political passion into art with a unique Anti-Air War Memorial.

Another day in the last superpower

Down and around Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota, the protest march gently swells around the slogan – ‘war is expensive, peace is priceless’. There is life-affirming energy as well as righteous anger. For one citizen who remembers the Vietnam era, this is the moment to carry an American flag. War is no time for shyness.

Poetry amidst war

War annihilates, politics aggresses – but poetry voices. The vitality of poetry in the anti-war movement reveals people’s need in critical times to make the inner, creative voice part of a shared, public presence. Its impulse is not the anchoring of art to a didactic message, but rather the return of politics to its true origin in the lived experience of humanity.

Before the fall

Ambitious survivalists are peeling off from Saddam’s crumbling regime and taking the freedom road from Baghdad to Kurdistan. Three conceal their faces yet offer their secrets of the last days to our intrigued Tehran correspondent.

Broken lives, bitter hearts

The Iraqi regime is under sustained US assault. Its public voice is being silenced. For Iraq’s soldiers and civilians alike, the cost of almost three weeks of war is already enormous. America is close to victory in the field, but the convulsive reaction across the Middle East will make it a hollow one.

Another casualty of war: proliferation controls and verification protocols

International efforts to limit the proliferation of dangerous weapons have focused recently on questions of verification. But there may be a deeper problem in the way that the spread of destructive power across the world is fuelled by the subjection of science and technology to political ambition.

Clear thinking

The trouble with close-knit groups, according to psychiatrist Arthur Deikman, is that they stop thinking realistically. Is this true of the Bush team? Could this Iraq war be Bush’s Bay of Pigs, rather than his Cuban missile crisis?

No place for <i>jihad</i> in Kurdistan

The war against the Iraqi regime is still claiming victims on the northern front, foreign journalists among them. But the sinister activities of radical Islamist forces in Kurdistan equally concern an informed analyst of his homeland.

A thirty-year war

The arrival of the American army at the gates of Baghdad heralds a decisive phase of the Iraq war. However it ends, the US’s current global ambitions guarantee bitter and prolonged conflict in the Middle East and beyond.

What Europe? Whose century? Which project?

Transatlantic strategic and political divisions lie within the United States and Europe as well as between them. Yet in this contested terrain, Europe’s debility is even more marked in light of the visionary fire of US neo-conservatives. Where is the source of passion and ideas that the European Union needs?


Returning to Colombo, Sri Lanka, after sixteen years’ absence, this writer finds a city no longer her own, still haunted by the violence of a long civil war. But memory remains in the detail, and the rhythms of the city run deeper than human conflict.

Doublespeak: Islam and the media

A western news agenda dominated by hostile, careless coverage of Islam distorts reality and destroys trust. It is countered on the Muslim side by a fierce, unimaginative partisanship. The result, says the founding editor of Q-News, is a mutual siege mentality that serves neither side well. This makes a dynamic, relevant, and professional Muslim media all the more necessary.

The underside of Globalisation: on Michael Winterbottom's <i>In This World</i>

The new film from British Director Michael Winterbottom, which won top prize at the Berlin Film Festival, brings a rough-grained documentary immediacy to the story of two young Afghanis smuggled across Europe to the UK. In the context of the war in Iraq- threatening to displace tens of thousands – and recent attempts to toughen European immigration laws, it has a grim timeliness.

Married to the mob

Ahead of the publication of openDemocracy’s keynote roundtable on Corporate Power & Responsibility, Deborah Doane reflects on the debate so far and concludes that our relationship with modern capitalism and big companies is like a rocky marriage. It needs constant attention and compromise, but can ultimately be beneficial if only we are ready to take responsibility for our own actions.