February 2013

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And the Oscar Goes to...the CIA

Picture: Michelle Obama announces the Best Picture Oscar to Argo courtesy Pete Souza/United States Government/Flickr. Pepe Escobar - Even in his wild, stoned to death, easy rider cuckoo times, Jack Nicholson would never have imagined he would one day tag team with the First Lady of the United States to present an Oscar for Best Picture. This is more Hunter S. Thompson than Academy territory - and hardly presidential. But it did - beautifully - make the point about the marriage between Washington and Hollywood. If George Clooney marries Sudan (but not Palestine), why not Jack schmoozing with Michelle? What next? Obama...

State of Emergency - The War on Women's Bodies

Picture: Sipho Singiswa Gillian Schutte - Women’s bodies have been the locale of war since the inception of patriarchy - a misogynistic trend that saw the female body become the site of restraint, control and oppression. Thus the female body has largely become a meme of violence, suffering and exploitation rather than joy, pleasure and autonomy. Much of this violence is centred on the vagina from which all human life is conceived. Rape is an excruciatingly cruel male practice fuelled by a horrible concoction of masculine...

AFRICOM: The Stealthy Militarisation of Africa

Picture: An American soldier in Djibouti courtesy DVIDSHUB/Flickr. Glenn Ashton - The US Africa Command (AFRICOM), assembled under the leadership of President George W. Bush’s hawk Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2007, now flexes it muscle across the continent in earnest. US military interests in Africa are not new. However, the concept of a unified African military command and associated presence to advance US interests is. AFRICOM arose out of the consolidation of separate US military commands which supervised different African regions. This was spurred by...

Who Controls the World?

Picture: As seen on TED Talks. Video James Glattfelder studies complexity: how an interconnected system - say, a swarm of birds - is more than the sum of its parts. And complexity theory, it turns out, can reveal a lot about how the economy works. Glattfelder shares a groundbreaking study of how control flows through the global economy, and how concentration of power in the hands of a shockingly small number leaves us all vulnerable. There are 737 top shareholders in the world that control 80% of the corporations globally....

Bling, Bling You're Dead

Picture: Oscar Pistorius courtesy Global Sports Forum/Flickr. Richard Pithouse - Not so long ago the middle classes in the world created by British colonialism used to cloak their claim to privilege in the stifling rituals of bourgeois respectability. These days consumerism is increasingly the royal road into the golden circle of authorised superiority. It's a more democratic ideology in the sense that it is less firmly tied to national or ethnic conceptions of culture. A shopping mall in Johannesburg is not very different to a mall in Jakarta or the airport in Dubai....

Ecuador's Correa Wins Re-election: Says Banks and Mass Media Don't Rule Anymore

Picture: Presidencia de la Rep├║blica del Ecuador/Fllickr Video Ecuador is often in the news for harbouring WikiLeaks' Julian Assange in its London embassy, but this week it is making headlines because President Rafael Correa has won the country's most recent presidential elections with 61% of the vote. Analysts argue that Correa's electoral success is based on the fact that he has brought stability to the country. Unemployment reached a record low of 4.1% at the end of last year. Poverty is down 27% since he took office and education spending has doubled...