This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Ferguson to Baltimore: taking on institutionalized racism

What are our values? Equal opportunities? Freedom of expression? Protection of human rights principles? If so, the US is building a frightening track record of alienating and insensitive behavior.

Bringing CIA torture to justice

In the courts and beyond, a global civil society has been fighting on multiple fronts to chip away at the impunity of the world's most powerful nation. From States of Impunity.

Baltimore’s dangerous politics of containment

The city of Baltimore was in a ‘state of emergency’ long before the rioting began.

Always historicize!

The proper way for radicals to conceive of their activism is in terms of the speeding up of current historical trends, not their interruption or reversal.

The renewable revolution

Four reasons why the transition from fossil fuels to a green energy era is gaining traction.

Cuba ante la apertura diplomática con Estados Unidos

Si se levanta el embargo y Cuba deja de estar incluida en la lista de los estados que patrocinan el terrorismo, según Washington, el penúltimo muro de la Guerra Fría habrá caído. English.

NSA and the Stasi – a cautionary tale on mass surveillance

While the Stasi archive is overwhelming, today’s spies can gather far more information with a fraction of the effort. 

What if the Saudis win? Avoiding massive sectarian bloodshed in Yemen

Saudis won’t pull the triggers – AQAP, IS and various Sunni militias will do that – but they and their Sunni and American allies will be politically and morally culpable.

Cuba on the eve of a diplomatic rapprochement with the US

Diplomatic change will oblige Cuba to introduce internal political change. Otherwise, for the government in Havana, the risks are many. Español.

After tyranny, how can we rebuild trust?

The deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner demand police reform. Could South Africa provide a model for improving community-police relations in the US?

Fair business for Muslims?

Counter-terrorism regulation is having a corrosive effect on charity banking worldwide. International banks, under punitive US anti-terrorism laws, are increasingly terrified. And the real losers are Muslims.

US airstrikes weaken ISIL but keep it as a viable threat

The US Air Force stood idly by as ISlL swept towards Baghdad, but swiftly scrambled in August to launch airstrikes to halt an unexpected advance towards Irbil – capital of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). 

Implications of the preliminary Iranian nuclear deal

Recognition has dawned that the potential pre-eminent state in the region, Iran, and the globally pre-eminent state, the United States, need each other.

Digital citizenship: from liberal privilege to democratic emancipation

On the anniversary of the Magna Carta, a call for a new debate on the conception of citizenship. Let’s seize the opportunity to transform our utopian dreams into everyday life.

Defending the global knowledge commons

Members are encouraged to use creative commons licensing and to join others in a pledge to be open by agreeing to review for and publish in mainly if not solely open access journals.

India’s Daughter: platforming rapists and ignoring activists

Udwin’s intervention has been true to her self-assigned role as an ‘amplifier’, but the only voice given an international platform here other than her own is that of the rapist.

Guantánamo - time to end the lease

Those who protest that only regime change and full recognition of human rights in Cuba should precede any deal have surely had their arguments demolished. 

What about an international education?

The 2012 US federal law denying visas to Iranian students comes into conflict with the educational mission of the US State Department. 

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?

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