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This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

New York Times slams UK education policy as myopic, unfair, cruel, unwise, utter failure

Wikileaks showed that the incoming British government was desperate for American approval, perhaps they should rethink their education cuts

Lebanese consensus-building: weathering a tempest

With the Special Tribunal of Lebanon indictment for the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri set to be issued ‘very, very soon’, the weary and the wary in Lebanon are holding their breath.

US power, wikileaks, student protest, Christopher Hitchens and openDemocracy under attack: moral authority, or authoritarianism?

Authors, authority and authoritarianism. A turbulent week raises the question of truth and legitimacy

The New Sound of the Streets

Driving the new wave of protests in England especially is a generational divide that is economic and cultural: the system traded on the alienation of the young from it but it was never mere passivity and now it started to erupt.

Reflections on a Riot

What happens when you go to a demonstration peacefully and are caught up in a riot? An honest account of what it is like for both sides as English higher education is marketised

Berlusconi’s politics of an eternal present

Berlusconi dictates an idea of the eternal present based upon a model of eternal youth and embodied in the narcissistic cult of the self. But there is a democratic affirmation of the individual that can replace this with a narrative that builds our collective future

The state of things: a London protest

A student protest in central London reveals the ugly face of an unaccountable government and the angry one of an alienated young generation, finds Delwar Hussain.

#demo2010, a new generation seized Britain's Parliament Square and it won't be defined by Rock Toffs swinging from the Cenotaph

The British government lost control of the capital last night; it was not supposed to do so.

America: the panoptic shiver

The hacked United States diplomatic missives reveal both the vast ambition and the new vulnerabilites of the world’s superpower.

Burma implicated in nuclear weapons construction

The Myanmar military government is allegedly attempting to gain nuclear weapons with the aid of North Korea. Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia. A major new pipeline is set to be agreed on by central and south Asian leaders in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. All this and more, in today’s security update.

The morning after the fight before: What next for Gen' 2010?

We now have the image that will define this age of retrenchment and rebellion, splashed across all the frontpages this morning. Even Grosvenor Square '68 can't compete with that kind of iconography. But the real images of the night were not of the violent black-flag brigade, nor of the middle class heirs to the '68ers, but of London's black teenage youth.

How to destroy Hezbollah

Who has benefited most from the assassination of Rafik Hariri? As the UN special court on Lebanon arrives at its version of events, one Lebanese reading finds confirmation in Wikileaks for pointing us in a different direction.

Censorship late-Berlusconi-style

Propaganda damages a person or institution by contrasting them with those thought to be morally, ethically and politically superior. But the latest Italian smear campaigns aim instead to downgrade the victim’s reputation to the same level of the person or institution that he or she is trying to criticize.

Deeply rethinking defense

Reflecting on the Great War, Clemenceau said war is too important to be left to the generals. Likewise, defense budgets are too important to be left to the accountants.

Israel vs Iran: rumours of war

Iran is again at the centre of international politics. Its diplomats are discussing their nuclear plans. Its nuclear specialists are being targeted in Tehran. Its Saudi neighbours are pleading with the Americans to bomb it. But most serious of all, the momentum behind an Israeli military assault on its nuclear facilities continues to refuel.

US military changes mind over ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy on homosexuality

Defence Secretary Robert Gates urges Congress to allow lesbians and gays to serve openly in US military; Anger and confusion in Ivory Coast, as results of first presidential election in a decade are torn up; British government considers selling its intelligence agencies' services to private companies. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Wilders and the Dutch press: scapegoater hunted down as a witch

Judgmental journalism directed at members of parliament is an orchestrated form of ‘mob-justice’ in the Netherlands today. Self-appointed media watchdogs present a bigger danger to society than the persons they pursue

2010 US mid-term elections: the shellacking

Some surprising conclusions emerge from looking more closely at the message sent by voters in the US mid-term elections. This is a report on the results of an election day poll commissioned from Greenberg Rosner Associates by the Campaign for America’s Future and Democracy Corps.

North Korea reveals details of uranium enrichment plant

North Korea reveals details of new nuclear power plant. Iran blamed ‘Zionist regime’ for assassination of top nuclear scientist. Gaza blockade still 'crippling' Palestinians. Congolese army accused of instability and smuggling. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

“Middle-class kids and mad militants”: the battle against media stereotypes

Protestors and strikers always have two opponents: those they are against and the way the media represents them. Today in London, can different kinds of opposition come together and overcome the media?

Brazilian paramilitary launch favela offensive

War on Rio’s drug gangs pushes forward, with thousands of paramilitary forces involved. Moroccan security forces accused of deliberately targeting Western Sahara civilians. Protests occur as Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood claims election fraud. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Student Power: 1968... 2010

Is a student movement starting in England in opposition to the Government's cuts and marketisation of higher education? If so, how does it compare to the first student movement in the late 1960s? A veteran reflects.

Korean peninsula on ‘the brink of war’

On Friday, the official news service of North Korea accused the US and South Korea of pushing the peninsula to the brink of war. Israeli armed forces have been witnessed demolishing a mosque and other buildings in the occupied West Bank. Nouri al-Maliki has been asked by the Iraqi President to form a new government as bomb blasts across Iraq kill nine and injure over fifteen. All this and more, in today’s security update.

Telling the story of how women become asylum seekers

Let the women who come to Britain for asylum from rape and mayhem in their own countries, be heard. The theatre brings their stories to life.

The road to endless war

The politicians and diplomats lead the summits and rule the airwaves. But a close look at the Afghanistan-Pakistan conflict reveals that the United States military take the decisions.

HIV Prevention: towards the medicalisation of sex?

2010 will be a year to remember for the field of HIV prevention. Two clinical studies are raising the hope that the HIV epidemic can be tamed. But only if we get it right.

Rescue the EU’s External Action Service from the European Commission

The air in Brussels is thick with a storm over the European External Action Service, basically caused by the European Commission trying to break its word on peace-building.

Iraqi refugees: problems and prospects

Iraqi refugees in neighbouring Arab states are unwilling to return to their country and unable to emigrate further west. Their perilous situation needs to be addressed by the powers who created this humanitarian crisis, says Dawn Chatty.

‘N-A-T-O? What’s that stand for?’

How can we cheer NATO for promising equality for women in an institution we deplore? We are saying: ‘military security’ is an oxymoron. Women ascribe a totally different meaning to the word security

Prophecy is suggesting the possible

"Our values of interdependence are no longer crazy talk. Our language has been mainstreamed." Diana Francis reports on a discussion between peace academics about how to globalise the work of conflict transformation

War crimes trial of Congolese militia leader begins at International Criminal Court

War crimes trial begins of Congolese militia leader accused of turning blind eye to mass rape and killings. Circumstantial evidence emerges of Hezbollah link to Hariri’s assassination. Al-Qaeda boasts of parcel bomb plot in latest propaganda magazine. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Confusion over US-Israel settlement deal

The US and Israel deadlocked over settlement negotiations. The speaker of the Lebanese National Assembly has said the Israeli withdrawal from Ghajar does not mean the end of resistance. French President Sarkozy is under increasing pressure to speak out over his complicity in using funds from arms sales to Pakistan to fund a Presidential campaign. NATO chiefs meet at a crucial summit in Lisbon. All this and more in today’s security update…

Civil resistance and the language of power

“If you want to build a ship, don’t gather your people and ask them to provide wood, prepare tools, assign tasks. Call them together and raise in their minds the longing for the endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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