This week's editor

Heather McRobie

Heather McRobie is an editor at 5050.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Antisemitism: the Middle East connection

The basis of Palestinian opposition to Israel’s actions has little to do with it being a Jewish state. Had it been a Hindu or a Buddhist state, the Palestinians would have been no less embittered. This article was a submission to the UK Parliamentary report into antisemitism emanating from the Middle East conflict, made in November 2014.

Poland: trust no one but the law

Last week the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg rejected a Polish appeal on CIA-prison cases involving the violation of numerous human rights' guarantees on behalf of two Guantanamo detainees. This was an important lesson. 

Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Big Pharma giveaway

Out of all big industries making billions in profit, the pharmaceutical is probably the most ethically questionable.

Sectarianism and Iran’s foreign policy

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, toasted in the west as a rational thinker disinclined to give in to bombastic rhetoric, has also resorted to Iranophobia.

Burying Vietnam, launching perpetual war

Perhaps the most damaging legacy of the post-Vietnam era lies in the way Americans have learned to live in a perpetual “wartime” without war being part of daily consciousness.

Saudi Arabia’s new king fuelling the feud among younger royals

Saudi Arabia must cover its tracks by not only forcefully denouncing ISIS and JN but actively introducing stiffer measures demonstrating that it is genuinely combating terrorism. How does this play out in terms of royal power?

Relaciones Cuba-Estados Unidos: bienvenidos al deshielo en el Caribe

A los asesores de Obama no se les debió haber pasado por alto las enseñanzas del pasado: al castrismo, debieron razonar, no se lo derrota con la CIA sino con la SEARS, la famosa cadena comercial. English

Embargos y delirios

Las sanciones resultan contraproducentes porque proveen al régimen de una coartada para evadir sus responsabilidades y, al empobrecer al cubano medio, lo hacen aún más dependiente del Estado. English

US-Cuba rapprochement: welcome to the Caribbean thaw

The Castro regime, they have reasoned, will not be defeated by the CIA but with SEARS, the famous retail chain. Español

Embargoes and delusions

Sanctions backfired because they provided the regime with an excuse to shun its responsibilities, and impoverishing the average Cuban made him altogether more state dependent. Español

A Cuban end to the Cold War

No Latin American government, be it liberal or conservative, defends the embargo and sanctions against the regime of the Castro brothers. Español

Obama, Netanyahu, Iran, Congress and the Republican Party

An intense political battle is going on over Iran on Capitol Hill. Insular Republicans underestimate at their peril international pressures driven by global security concerns.

An institution under siege

The foot soldiers of American law enforcement should not seek to cast blame on politicians and protesters. Instead they should look to the gilded system which has placed them in the line of fire.

How Israeli high-tech firms are outfitting the US-Mexico border

American academic and corporate knowhow and Mexican low-wage manufacturing are to fuse with Israel’s border and homeland security companies.

Free speech in the French Republic

Since the touchstone of a free speech regime is in how well it protects speech that most find revolting, its defenders have to be willing to speak also for those whose opinions they don’t find respectable.

Charlie Hebdo and the right to offend

The right to offend, which the French secular republic with its long tradition of anti-clericalist satire holds particularly dear, is in everyday conflict with the values of the republic’s second largest religion.

Murder in Guantanamo

Ron Ridenhour became a famous journalist, with an annual prize for bravery awarded in his name after his early death at 52. Will Joseph Hickman get one this year?

Living in denial: big oil and the religious right unite against our environment

Anti-intellectualism and corporate power are undermining our capacity to fight climate change.

The military-industrial complex in Iraq

Radical Islam has proven, with Washington’s help, a worthy successor to the Soviet Union, a superb money-making venture and great way to build a monumental national security state.

Unpacking the war on terror: letter to a young army ranger from an old one

You will be part of the most technologically advanced military on Earth and you will be greeted by the poorest of the poor. Are there fewer terrorists around? Does all this really make a lot of sense?

On the border: Foxconn in Mexico

Foxconn, the biggest electronic manufacturer worldwide, has strong assembly operations in Ciudad Juarez, on the Mexico-US border. With abundant migrant labor-force, extreme social violence and multinational production are among the main factors that characterize this operation.

Subsidising climate change

We need to raise awareness about how the rich oil nations keep subsidising oil extraction whilst agreeing that the world needs to cut emissions. Taxpayers cannot passively let their governments do this.

CIA torture programme cast a wide net

The CIA’s ‘deep interrogation’ and the Guantánamo detention camp came to symbolise the US ‘war on terror’. Yet it turns out that most individuals subjected to the first weren’t thought to merit transfer to the second.

#QuiSommesNous? A Socratic dialogue on “L’Affaire Charlie Hebdo”

Freedoms are not unlimited but who, when and how can we limit them? Two colleagues agree to disagreeContent warning: graphic and potentially offensive imagery, including torture.

Will America's political discord torpedo the Iran talks?

Continued Republican efforts to force further sanctions on Iran threaten the fragile coalition making progress on nuclear negotiations, which already show wear from an outdated zero-sum approach. 

There is no such thing as prison reform: an interview with CeCe McDonald

CeCe McDonald was sent to prison for defending herself against a hate crime. On the one year anniversary of her release, she discusses how to fight back against oppression. Part of Transformation's prison abolition series.

How the US made torture political

The US Senate committee report, far from reinforcing the absolute prohibition against torture, has turned the crime into a dehumanised debate on its purported effectiveness. 

Democracy and terrorism: when definitions stifle free speech

Concepts like democracy, the constitution, and freedom of speech are slogans that are only meaningful in so far as they protect public faith in the American system.

Never again, in 2015?

How is it possible that only 29 % of Americans believe that the interrogations carried out by the CIA, denounced as torture by the recent Senate Report, are wrong? To what do we owe such moral bankruptcy?

The CIA torture report: through Arab eyes

Maged Mandour

The fear that the US has lost its moral compass is vastly exaggerated, for the simple reason that the US - at least in the Arab World - never possessed this moral legitimacy in the first place.

Open for business?

The timing of HSBC’s decision to shut down the bank account could not have come at a worse moment for the Ummah Welfare Trust, one of Britain’s largest Muslim charities.

Redefining the poor as “terrorists”

Most so-called “terrorist” activity is a by-product of neoliberalism’s on-going crisis and its marginalisation of a growing proportion of the world’s population. 

American torture--past, present, and future?

Make no mistake. Getting even this partial and redacted report into public view is a real victory for everyone who hopes to end state torture. But it’s just the beginning.

An inversion of democracy: the case of Alabama and Israel

Democracy does not end at the ballot box. All humans are equally deserving of respect. The legislators of Alabama and Israel have undermined the trust placed in them by the public and so we must question their commitment to their duty to serve.

Tracing the impact of the Ferguson uprising in Turkey

It seems that the time has come for Erdogan to return the favour and make a similar phone call to Obama. He has an excuse to do so now, which can only spell more heartache.

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