Author Archives: Damian Counsell

“Tunisia: That ‘Wikileaks Revolution’ meme”

Dan Murphy questions a fashionable view of what triggered what is already being referred to as the Jasmine Revolution: The theory goes that private US diplomatic cables from the Tunis embassy released via Wikileaks on December 7 revealed to Tunisians that Ben Ali was an authoritarian despot, that his family was supremely corrupt, and that […]

“Why Tunisia’s Revolution Is Islamist-Free”

In Foreign Policy, Michael Koplow offers his background view of the dark irony behind the sudden fall of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali—a history of ruthless suppression of Islamist opponents—and a warning for those dreaming of a domino effect: Unlike in Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, and most other secular Arab autocracies, the main challenge to […]

Communities, majorities, lobbies, and “The Taxpayers’ Alliance”

A blog hosted on The Economist site, of all places, questions the name of a particularly noisy Right-wing UK special interest group—and counterparts in the US: ONE of the many things that irritate me is people putting themselves forward as self-appointed “spokesmen”, claiming to speak on behalf of enormous masses of other people. Examples are […]

“Hugo Boss”

In Canada’s National Post, Christopher Hitchens reflects on the increasingly bizarre behaviour of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chávez. I have embedded a link to the Washington Post article to which Hitchens refers: Recent accounts of Hugo Chavez’s politicized necrophilia may seem almost too lurid to believe, but I can testify from personal experience that […]

“What’s the big deal about it?”

For years now, Mick Hartley’s blog has often linked to and summarized journalism that covers the horror and absurdity of life under the North Korean regime. Not only are its subjects prisoners, but the story of their suffering is hidden from the outside world, both by the paranoia and secrecy of the country’s rulers and […]

Conspiracy Theory Round-Up

After delivering a speech at the “General Conference for the Support of Al-Quds”, Mahathir Mohamad, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia shared his suspicions that the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US were staged to provide “an excuse to mount attacks on the Muslim world” with a press conference: I am not sure now that Muslim […]

‘What Next for the “Decent” Left?’

Martin Bright writes about supporters of the Euston Manifesto in his Spectator blog: Earlier this month I was asked to address an audience about what future there might be for the “decent left”. For those unfamiliar for the term this is the tendency on the left generally associated with backing the Iraq War (though some […]

New email blockade by Iranian authorities

In the aftermath of the most recent wave of protests in Iran, The inventive tactics of Iran’s opposition continue to deny the Tehran regime the uncontested power it seeks. The result is that the post-election political contest over the future of Iran is reaching a pivotal stage, says Nazenin Ansari. there have been reports that […]

R2P not R2I

The latest edition of The Economist contains an excellent article about attempts to undermine the UN commitment (such as it is) to the “responsibility to protect” (R2P). It contains some important history: R2P is certainly not—to judge by a careful reading of its history—a mere ploy by rich and powerful countries to poke their noses […]

Iran Anniversary Demo

This Thursday, 9th July 2009, is the tenth anniversary of the student protests in Iran in 1999—at the time the most serious in the country since the country’s 1979 revolution. On that day, there will be an anniversary demo in London, starting at 18:00, solely to show solidarity with the Iranian people. Participants are invited […]