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Thursday, 22 February

19:27

The mystery of the Russian planes that never were "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Is Russia a military threat to the west? A larger past and closer detail offer fresh light.   

lead An overhead view of Admiral Kuznetsov, aircraft carrier, August 2012. Wikicommons, Ministry of Defence. Some rights reserved.Most analysts blame Vladimir Putins aggressive political stance for the renewed hostility between Russia and the western states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato). The deteriorating relationship has been evident for a decade and more. The fallout from Moscow's interventions in Georgia / South Ossetia (2008), Ukraine / Crimea (2014), and Syria (2015), as well as its reported disruption in the United States presidential election (2016), are but the main episodes. Lesser ones include displays of military strength that attract wide coverage in the western media.  

Before looking in more detail at the latter, it is worth offering a touch of historical perspective on great-power interference. In particular, at a time when Moscow's role in the US election is hotly disputed, a certain degree of hollow laughter is appropriate given Washington's (and London's) own dedicated efforts to influence elections and other political processes in many countries over many decades.

Weve been doing this kind of thing since the C.I.A. was created in 1947.  Weve used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners you name it. Weve planted false information in foreign newspapers. Weve used w...

18:29

Sex and Charity "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Regarding the massive scandal involving chief executives of big NGOs, the situation must be considered through the lens of how we have dealt with sexual abuse. But we must be wary of how this is used to justify budget cuts. Espaol

People queue for water at Place de La Paix Internally displaced peoples (IDP) camp in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. PA Images. All rights reserved.

What I am about to say may offend certain sensibilities. In fact, I hope they are offended.

It is very likely that the women, some of which without a doubt were minors, that had sex with Oxfam workers in Haiti, did so to obtain resources that otherwise would have been out of their reach.

They chose to engage in such acts to obtain money to find food to take home, medicine or perhaps even because being locked up in those brothels meant escaping hell in a country utterly devastated by earthquakes and many other conflicts. Desperate, it is very likely that none of them were professional prostitutes, but simply victims of a catastrophic situation. 

What is certain is that the men that bought those women knew all of this and had no qualm in using their power to create an obscene and miserable reality, as if they were taking them from one kind of hell to another.

When dealing with war zones and extreme human conditions, women and especially underage girls are extremely vulnerable to abuse.

Nothing New

All of us who have worked in situations of extreme vulnerability (including armed conflict zones) know that humanitarian assistance, if provided by the wrong hands, can result in abuses of power. Sexual exploitation is one of the oldest abuses of them all, however is also the most common.

But care must be taken here. I am not saying that conflict ridden countries like Somalia or the Democratic Republic of Congo are immense brothels where anyone can go, offering money in exchange for sex on any corner. But no, there is...

16:49

Want a real spy scandal? How about the aristocratic Conservative spy who was NEVER prosecuted? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Heard the one about the Tory Old-Etonian Lord who despite being caught spying for the Japanese  giving them the know-how to take out Pearl Harbor and to capture Singapore resulting in 100,000 allied prisoners being taken, many of whom died in brutal Japanese PoW camps was so well-connected he was never even prosecuted?

No? Take a bow Conservative peer William Forbes-Sempill, 19th Lord Sempill.

Scottish Tory Lord Sempill was an active member of several far-right, fascist and anti-Semitic organisations including the Anglo-German Fellowship, the pro-Nazi Link Organisation and Archibald Ramsays The Right Club, a secretive organisation with the aim of ridding the Tor...

15:09

How Scotland's beavers came back, and how you can help "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The Scottish government is consulting on whether to let reintroduced beavers stay.

A beaver in Perthshire. Image, Bamff.co.uk

Beavers were extirpated from Scotland by about the 16th century. Our ancestors hunted them for their pelts and for castoreum, a secretion that contains natural aspirin. They were so valuable that as soon as they had more or less wiped out the species across Europe they started on their North American cousins, founding fortunes on their furs. In fact, the vast amounts of money made by the Hudson Bay Companys slaughter of beavers and other fur-bearers provided a significant part of the capital that funded the industrial revolution. 

After a discussion that began in 1994, and a consultation in 1998 European beavers finally arrived back in Scotland in the early 2000s, by which time around 22 other European countries had already reintroduced them.

I got interested in beavers through the enthusiasm of my husband Paul, who campaigned for their return from the early days, when reintroduction was first discussed. In the event they arrived back in Scotland by a number of means. First, some escaped from a wildlife park in 2001. Then, in 2002 we got some for a demonstration project on our land in Perthshire, and some other landowners did the same. In 2009 an official trial project got underway in Argyll and meanwhile, as the years went by and the enclosed beavers bred and reached dispersal age, it seems likely some must have been flooded out or in, in the exceptionally wet years that followed, and bred with the other escapees in the catchment.

By 2010 SNH had decided that the unofficial ones should be rounded up and put in zoos and we started a campaign on Facebook and Twitter to allow them to remain in the wild. With such delays to the official reintroduction, and its reductio...

14:21

Four ways Labour could be by the many, not just for the many "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Why we must build new institutions of economic democracy, and how we can do it.

Jeremy Corbyns call for an economy that works for the many has proved a revitalising rallying cry for a new social settlement beyond neoliberalism.Jeremy Corbyns call for an economy that works for the many has proved a revitalising rallying cry for a new social settlement beyond neoliberalism. But the democratic socialism that inspires Corbyn and McDonnell promises more than a redistributive agenda delivered for ordinary people from on high. Just over one week ago, the Labour leadership used their "alternative models of ownership" conference to launch a set of proposals for economic democracy: an attempt to transfer power away from both private capital and government bureaucrats, giving control to workers and service users. The plan here is a return to public ownership for public services and utilities. Then, the devolution of control to regions and municipalities where possible, and the inclusion of workers and users on governing boards. In the private sector, were promised the mass rollout of co-operatives and mutuals. But as encouraging as these proposals are, is there anything that new? In healthcare, for instance, attempts have been made to involve patients in service design and delivery for some time. Are Clinical Commissioning Groups really the stuff of mass democratic renewal? In Germany, the incorporation of workers on boards has seen German trade unions increasingly co-opted into the internal operations of capital. Is making M&S work a bit more like John Lewis really taking back control? In sum: How can these plans be more than the hollow and tokenistic forms of stakeholder involvement championed by Blair onwards? Why, actually, would anyone want to give up their free time to help run their energy company or post office? Would you give up your Thursday evening pub trip to deliberate the small print of procurement policy? Actually, maybe I would. But only if I truly believed that doing so would really enrich my life, and the lives of others around me. If Labour really wants a New Economics, we need to commit to something really new. Just as it took the creation of a host of new institutions and processes to build the welfare state, equally it will ta...

13:04

secrecy produced agreement but stopped DUP from walking its supporters through each compromise. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

For a substantially more sanguine view on where the talks breakdown leaves us than my own, heres Newton Emerson in the Irish News

The meaning of progress in this instance relates to DUP talks negotiator Simon Hamiltons statement last July that Sinn Fin cannot demand a ten-nil win.

From what is known of last weeks deal, it looks more like a one-all draw. Most items on the talks agenda have simply melted away. RHI and Arlene Fosters return as first minister Sinn Fins original red lines are no longer mentioned.

Legacy and a bill of rights are to be kicked into further committees, although both have already been subject to a decade of deliberations, which in legacys case keep on arriving at the same conclusions, while the bill of rights just turned into an academic farce.

Same-sex marriage has apparently been abandoned. On that point, Sinn Fin must be happy enough to let the DUP continue disgracing itself before British mainstream opinion.

The petition of concern will not be reformed. The DUP does not want to lose it and Sinn Fin may feel it is only one possibly imminent election away from being able to raise petitions on its own.

The big win for republicans is an Irish language act, yet activist demands have been substantially watered down. There will be no public sector recruitment quotas the one unquestionably legitimate unionist concern.

Bilingual signage has been fudged, Irish in the courts will be permitted but not required and the language commissioner will be more of an ombudsman, with no powers of compulsion let alone prosecution.

In practice, this is little more protection than Irish has already.

The DUP conceded the principle of Irish language legislation after last Marchs assembly election and initially thought it could balance it with Ulster-Scots or cultural provisions.

That survives in last weeks deal but only as a face-saving exercise.

Soundings last autumn quickly revealed to the DUP that its supporters were not buying Ulster-Scots as a consolation prize.

Now, I think we shouldnt assume this was a draft deal (square brackets do matter), but Newton makes a more senior point in regard to the DUPs unwillingness to deal:

while there is no excuse for this ill-preparedness, there is a reason for it intrinsic to the deal-making process.

What trust has built up between the DUP and Sinn Fin over the past year has be...

11:56

Brazil militarizes its war on crime "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Even if expanding the use of military operations to combat crime has shown little success in the past, the current Brazilian government has decided to carry on. Espaol

The Armed Forces occupy the Complejo del Alemn, in Rio de Janeiro, to ensure security during the municipal elections in 2008. Image: Wilson Dias/ABr, CC BY-3.0 BR.

President Michel Temer met with politicians and members of his cabinet on February 19 to discuss an executive decree he signed on February 16 allowing the military to assume control of security operations in Rio de Janeiro.

Following that meeting, Wellington Moreira Franco, a close advisor to Temer, told the Associated Press that he hoped to see the model of federal military deployments spread throughout Brazil.

Sergio Etchegoyen, the presidents top cabinet member for military and security matters, said that Rio de Janeiro is a laboratory.

During the meeting, the speaker of the lower house of congress, Rodrigo Maia, described federal military interventions as a weapon in the war on crime.

The military has repeatedly been called in to assist civilian police in Rio de Janeiro in recent years, but Temers decree subject to congressional approval that is expected this week represents the first time that the government is using the constitutional provision allowing the federal armed forces to assume control over civilian police since the end of the countrys military dictatorship in 1985.

The proposed federal takeover has been met with some controversy by opposition politicians, who say the move is legally questionable and politically motivated.

Moreover, the head of Brazils army, Eduardo Villas Bas, recently cautioned against using the military for domestic crime-fighting, arguing that such actions incr...

10:33

Does Brexit threaten rights protection for Irish citizens in the North? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

What happens to a raft of human rights when we leave the European Union and the European Charter of Human Rights no longer applies? The question is raised by the leading constitutional expert Vernon Bogdanor.  Successive UK governments (and I!) thought we had opted out of it for years, but the European Court of Justice ruled in 2013 that we hadnt. Inevitably there is an Irish angle to this that may be of  particular concern to Irish-EU citizens in Northern Ireland. After Brexit how would those rights be protected if the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg is fully withdrawn, as is the British governments formal position? Are they content to leave the future of those rights to the sovereignty of the Westminster parliament and the British courts, taking account of that other European Court at Strasbourg which which is not an EU institution and  will continue to apply to the UK.

The solicitor Martin Finucane has presented a letter from Irish citizens in the North to Leo Varadkar, stating that theyre: shocked at the level of permanent inequality in respect of access to rights that people in the North are expected to endure. In summary, marriage equality, language equality and access to justice before a court of law...

The letter calls on Mr Varadkar to ensure that equality, human rights and respect afforded to Irish citizens in the South are enshrined as inalienable rights in the North.

How this might be done isnt explained.

You might have thought these matters were already protected by the GFA including legislation by the Assembly. And indeed, the draft agreement between Sinn Fein and the DUP  reopened the question of a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights, provided for in the GFA but  long blocked by the unionist parties.

Bogdanor has written a pamphlet on the topic, extracted in the Times:

The EU (Withdrawal) Bill, presently before parliament, seeks to secure legal continuity after Brexit by providing for the incorporation of 44 years of EU law not already part of our domestic law. The bill does something quite unprecedented in modern constitutional history.

Since December 2009 the EU constitution has included the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. Its 54 articles contain many rights that are not in the European Convention of Human Rights, including a very wide right to non-discrimination on grounds such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, members...

10:19

A St Patricks Day Grand Slam showdown at Twickers? Probably. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Ireland last won a Grand Slam back in 2009. In odd years, like 2009, Ireland play England and France (the 2 traditional heavyweights) at home and odd years were therefore deemed Irelands best chance of winning a 6 Nations Championship and particularly a grand slam.

But in more recent times, Frances form has fallen off a cliff and Ireland has taken to beating them both home and away. In contrast to France, Ireland has moved up the pecking order and won the 6 Nations Championship in consecutive years (on points) in 2014 and 2015.

England, of course, have continued to retain their heavyweight tag and now look to winning their 3rd consecutive title a first in the 6 Nations.

Last year, 2017, an odd year and Ireland were many peoples favourites to defeat England in Dublin on the final day of the season and claim the Championship. We were expected to beat France at home and give Italy a good thrashing in Rome which we duly did. 

We were also expected to out-muscle Wales and Scotland on their respective home patches except it didnt quite work out like that. With yours truly in attendance (the only 2 games I managed to go to), Ireland was deservedly beaten by both and I watched in dismay as my investments with Paddy Power (for Ireland to win the 6 Nations Championship) heading for a zero return.

And so to this year. Ireland, (as 2nd favourites for the title), with victories against France and Italy in the bag and 2 home games to come before heading to Twickers where they  are once again expected to challenge England  for the Championship  on the final day of the 6 Nations. 

What could possibly go wrong.

Well, although Ireland are unbeaten at home in the 6 Nations since 2013 there is just the little  matter of a rejuvenated Wales on Saturday followed by an improved Scotland the following week   both  very keen (and able) to once again spoil the (Irish) party.

Wales, in particular, look very dangerous. Yes, they have injuries (e.g. Warburton and Jonathan Davies) but a returning Liam Williams, George North, Leigh Halfpenny and Dan Bigger coupled with Waless adoption of the Scarlets game plan of attacking from anywhere, will guarantee the Irish team will be rightly very wary of their opponents.

...

10:12

Russian interference in the virtual world is not the problem "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

If there were no Russian "influence operations" in the virtual world, no disinformation campaign spearheaded by Russian bots and trolls, would the western world look much different today?

Robert Mueller. (c) James Berglie/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved.It's Mueller time, again. Or rather, it's time to charge up the headline generators about Russian interference and Putin's "master plan" to undermine the west. In the wake of the recent indictments of 13 Russians for attempted meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections, the international media produced a hail storm of articles and op-eds about Russian trolls and bots on social media apparently capable of influencing political outcomes and more in the west.

It doesn't seem to matter that most of the revelations were already known and first reported on by Russian media. Instead, it appears that the "Russian threat" is now more real than ever and will impact anything from the upcoming elections in Italy to the mid-term elections in the United States. Even Silicon Valley's Tech Giants are now apparently dismayed that their products might have indeed changed the world, though not in the way they intended. But this should not be surprise us. After all, we are living in an era of "hybrid war" in which social media are a "tool" for Russian bots and trolls to succeed in what the erstwhile Soviet propaganda and intelligence network could only have dreamed of during the Cold War.

The techno-fetishism surrounding social media, compounded by the hours per day millions of us spend on Twitter or Facebook, has managed to blur the lines between wishful thinking and reality, between the "virtual world" and the r...

10:05

The Backlash podcast episode 1: Women and the far right "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

We talk to three women who know more about the far right than most: councillor Jolene Bunting in Northern Ireland, researcher Marilyn Mayo in the US, and Akanksa Mehta at the University of Sussex.

Jayda Fransen (right), deputy leader of of far right group Britain First, 2017. Jayda Fransen (right), deputy leader of of far right group Britain First, 2017. Picture: Claire Doherty/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.50.50, openDemocracys gender and sexuality section, is investigating the global backlash against womens and LGBTQI rights. Rising nationalist and extreme right-wing populism have been identified including by UN experts as major threats to our rights. And yet women around the world are also joining some of these movements.  

In the first episode of 50.50's new podcast The Backlash we speak to three experts on womens participation in the far right: councillor Jolene Bunting, a Belfast politician and supporter of the far-right, anti-Muslim group Britain First; researcher Marilyn Mayo, senior fellow at the Anti-Defamation League in the US; and Akanksha Mehta, at the University of Sussex. 

Listen to the episode here. You can also read a (lightly edited) transcript below. Follow The Backlash podcast on Twitter and let us know w...

08:59

King of the Belgians **** "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

King of the BelgiansLast night I was at Birkbeck Colleges cinema in Gordon Square for the launch of a mini-season of Belgian films: Focus on Belgian Cinema. It was a bit of a nostalgia trip for me, as for most of the eight years I was based in Brussels as a journalist, I had a nice little side-line reviewing films for the English-language weekly there, The Bulletin (all of which figures in my forthcoming memoir of those Brussels years). At last nights event, there were two excellent presentations by Belgian film critics/professors, outlining what has been happening in both French-speaking and Flemish-speaking movie making over the three decades since I left. The interesting point was made that films made (in French) in Wallonia-Brussels attract much bigger audiences outside Belgium than they do at home, whereas many of the Flemish films are locally popular. Belgium being Belgium, however, many films are effectively multi-lingual, including both French and Flemish (the latter sometimes in its very particular regional dialects), as well as German, English and so on. In fact, the film that followed the two talks King of the Belgians (2016), directed by Peter Brosens and Jessica Hope Woodworth included Turkish, Bulgarian and a snatch of Albanian, too. The film is a comic mockumentary, theoretically commissioned by the Belgian Queen, to try to mak...

08:27

Support Sven! Schrijfmiddag "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

(English below) Op 24 februari wordt er in de anarchistische bieb te Amsterdam vanaf 14 uur een schrijfmiddag georganiseerd voor Sven, die een gevangenisstraf van 5 jaar moet uitzitten voor zijn strijd tegen het grootste proefdierenlaboratorium van Europa, HLS/Envigo. Ook later op de dag kan je nog terecht voor het sturen van een kaartje, de bieb is [...]

08:10

G.A.R.I.! 1974 een film van Nicolas Rglat "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Zaterdag 24 februari (English below) 19:00 uur Soep, salade en brood 20:00 uur 15 min.inleiding over de MIL, GARI en de hoofdpersonen zoals Octavio Albarola, Marc Roulian. Daarna vertoning van de documentaire: Spanje, maart 1974. Verschillende leden van de M.I.L. (Movimiento Ibrico de Liberacin) staan op het punt om ter dood veroordeeld te worden door de franquistische justitie. Vijf [...]

08:00

Elections and the Egyptian movement of 2011: thinking with Alain Badiou about the current situation "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

For French philosopher Alain Badiou, elections pose a more important question for the movement in Egypt beyond the issue of participation.

Image from La poltica en cajas (Politics in boxes) by Alfons Freire, 2010. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The effectiveness of mathematics in the sciences is due precisely to the fact that mathematics formalises the scientific idea. Politics equally needs the capacity to quickly formalise the analysis of a situation and the tactical consequences of this analysis.This is the sign of a strategic vitality Alain BadiouIn politics, time and timing of political action matter! In 2013, for example, when a genuine opposition took to the streets to contest the controversial policies of President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood after one year in power, the movement was hijacked and then side-lined by the military establishment. Instead of renegotiating the social contract through democratic means, as intended by the movement, the military removed President Morsi from office by force. The timing allowed the military to claim a second revolution that heralded its political comeback to power, leaving many in the democratic opposition shocked, angry and with a confounding sense of failure.

Throughout the first term of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, heightened repression in the face of even mild demonstrations of dissent led many of those previously galvanized by the political possibilities of 2011 to retreat from formal politics altogether. In recent months, however, on the cusp of new presidential elections scheduled for March 2018, the prospect of contesting al-Sisis rule has reinvigorated political opposition. The Khaled Ali campaign for presidency, in particular, has served an important purpose. On the one hand, it has strengthened the coalition between parties, social movements, and individual activists. On the other,...

08:00

: "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

  . English

Image from La poltica en cajas (Politics in boxes) by Alfons Freire, 2010. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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00:55

Bring the electorate back into the deal and provide voters with both a carrot and a stick "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

If you missed it, and you want a reliable account of that agreement that wasnt an agreement let Brian Rowan take you through it in his usual careful and measured way

The only aspect of it that seems well worked is the language section (a milk and water version, according to Rick Wilford) and the breaking point there seems to be that the DUP wont sign up to a stand-alone Irish Language Act.

Nothing on the petition of concern, a committee to deal with a Human Rights Act (which the two parties have already tried twice and failed), nothing on equal marriage, and a promise of negotiation on a military covenant.

Richard Haass is also worth listening to for his reading that none of this is about what it seems..

In particular

When I was involved in the talks the Irish language issue was really a tertiary issue at most. It is interesting that it seems to have come to the fore here. One of the questions I would have is is this really about the Irish language issue?

Its not as that many more people have become fluent in the language, or has this become a proxy for both sides for the problems between the north and the republic or the relationship between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

And reflecting on his experience from before

There was certainly a lack of empathy, and a lack of a willingness to walk in the other persons shoes, always a tremendous sense of baggage from the past, of a bitterness.

It was very hard for them not to recount all the slights and injustices as they perceived them from the past and, to put it bluntly, to get on with it.

Would an independent chair make a difference? He shrugs and points out that such a chair can only add 5% to the outcome and that negotiations only success if the parties are willing and able to compromise.

I demur slightly at Brians optimism. The half-life of any signed agreement between these two parties is vanishingly short. Haass rightly locates the real problem as being beyond any issue currently being talked about.

Mary Lous pugnacious accusation this evening that Theresa May is refusing to take on the DUP has...

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Wednesday, 21 February

19:00

: "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

.  English

Fauque Nicolas/ABACA/Press Association Images. All rights reserved. Tunisian women shout slogans and hold posters reading, "don't touch my rights" and "woman is the future of man" during a protest calling for the respect of women's rights and other fundamental rights in Tunis, Tunisia, August 13, 2012. Fauque Nicolas/ABACA/Press Association Images. All rights reserved.

#__ .

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18:27

Wives of muhajirin: whos your husband? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Upon arriving in Syria, the first step a foreign fighter takes is to find a woman to marry. Why do Syrian women accept such marriages? 

Meen Zawjk. Public Domain. Meen Zawjk. Public Domain.At the beginning of 2013, the term muhajir, or migrants, became widely used in Syria in reference to foreign fighters who had entered the country to join armed Islamist groups.

Studies indicate that their numbers exceed 80,000 immigrants of different nationalities, mostly from Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Turkistan, Germany, Britain and France.

Most of the men joined Daesh after its founding in April 2013, while others joined the ranks of rival militant groups such as Al Nusra Front, currently known as Tahrir Al Sham [Liberation of the Levant], and the Islamic Turkistan Party.

After arriving in Syria, the first step a muhajir usually takes is to find a woman to marry before heading to the frontlines; and for several reasons that will be explained in this investigation, Syrian women agree to such marriages.

The local reality

Shagan

Shagan, who preferred to use a pseudonym for this story, is a university graduate who, unmarried at the age of 28, had suffered many sleepless nights hearing her family complain that she was past the age of marriage and would become an old spinster. Then an Egyptian muhajir from Al Nusra Front proposed to her.

Shagan accepted his offer of marriage for many reasons: her familys deteriorating finances due to the ongoing war in Syria, the loss of her job her only source of income as well as her belief that this was her one chance to prove to her family t...

18:05

The silencing of difficult women "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

What happened at Save the Children UK wasnt a mistake, it was a strategic choice.

Justin Forsyth, ex-CEO of Save the Children UK. Credit: By DFID - UK Department for International Development, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

It is now an acknowledged fact that women staff at Save the Children UKs Headquarters in London suffered harassment and that their leadership failed them. In its public statements SCF-UK is now all about the implementation of policy reviews and a new dawn and a readiness for root and branch reform. Justin Forsyth, the former CEO, and Brendan Cox, his former number two, have both admitted that they mistreated women. But this stems from a crisis that culminated in 2015. Why is it only being acknowledged now? Why didnt anyone speak up?

Well, thats the thing. Many did speak up but they were silenced. What happened at Save the Children UK wasnt a mistake, it was a strategic choice: achieving change for children, went the argument, needed Save the Children to be firmly led by powerful charismatic leaders who ruffled feathers and who should be followed obediently by staff.  

When staff started complaining about the bullying culture that was brought in by former Number 10 special advisors Forsyth and Cox, they were derided as moaners. Everyone learned that it was their way or the highway. So when several women suffered repeated mistreatment, this was dealt with by leadership as part of the price of being an effective organizationand staff found out that it was dangerous to complain as a number of them later told the BBC.

Many kept their mouths shut, or at least complained to their peers through informal channels because they had no faith in the formal ones. The bullying and mistreatment was the worst kept secret in the development community. A great many NGO people knew about the ways in whi...

15:16

Is Sweden complicit in war crimes in Yemen? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Despite the documented crimes of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, Sweden continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

A Yemeni man inspects the damage caused by an alleged Saudi-led air strike in Sanaa, Yemen, 04 February 2018. Picture by Hani Al-Ansi/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved. Despite Sweden leading a few special UN sessions in response to the acute humanitarian crisis in Yemen, it still has not demonstrated a political appetite to stop its arms sales to the most active warring parties in the Yemen war: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Swedish parliament is due to discuss its governmental policies on Swedish arms exports, on the 28th of February and anti-militarization Swedish groups are demanding that Sweden halts all its arms sales to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Human rights groups have documented serious attacks committed by both the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis

In the course of the ongoing war in Yemen human rights groups have documented serious attacks committed by both the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis against civilian sites. These attacks appear to have violated international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes. While the Houthis grew their military power ever since they overtook Sanaa on September 2014, with the support of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Saudi-led coalitions military activities in Yemen were only possible because of their weapon supplies from several western countries - including Sweden.

...

14:26

Congratulations are due to the DUP and Sinn Fein negotiators. How can the DUP be persuaded to implement it in their own long term interests? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

After rubbing our eyes several times, the first thing  to do about the 13 pages of  the Draft Agreement published  in full by  Eamonn Mallie is to have it recognised for what it claims to be.   As Sinn Fein has already insisted on its authenticity, the initiative now lies with the DUP.  Clearly the document was the hymn sheet the secretary state Karen Bradley was working off in her Commons statement yesterday , although she understandably  refused to publish it, as it was the DUPs and Sinn Feins document not the British governments. Even so it is hard to believe that the actual drafting was not the work of civil servants.

Once it is acknowledged as a draft agreement, the second is to congratulate the DUP and Sinn Fein negotiators for having got that far. Despite gaps, studied vagueness and omitted themes, the range goes further than expected.

The overall impact of the document is that mutual respect  is recognised but not yet ratified  by the two parties in hard copy, if not for the first time, then in some greater detail than before. Sceptics will say here we go again but the timing and circumstances of a 400 day governmental   freeze apparently hanging mainly on the issue of the Irish Language is a crucial difference.

On the other hand the Stormont House Agreement was eventually reached only at the second attempt and then  negated within months when Sinn Fein walked out.  This Draft hasnt even reached the stage of agreement. And as the DUP has refused the fence it is hard to see how they will jump it now.

Yet here are lots of good things  which will always be worth pursuing.

Cooling off period

A cooling off period of a total of 24 weeks is recommended in the event of deadlock in forming an Executive before another Assembly election is called within a (further) reasonable period. That could amount to as much as 30 weeks before another full blown crisis is faced. You could say it allows a political strike to have constitutional validity. While it implies continuous talking to resolve major roadblocks it is  hardly a guarantee against another boycott.

Not quite full blown collective responsibility

Better coordination within the Executive is yet again promised  with an early was warning system to flag up issues.  This suggests something like a Maze peace centre couldnt be cancelled by a phone call or email although Im not sure it would capture something as financially modest as the Liofa grant.

Petition of concern.  Promises promises?

...

14:14

Why not read Jeremy Corbyn's "red rag" speech for yourself? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"



On Tuesday February 20th 2018 Jeremy Corbyn gave a speech to the EFF confederation of British manufacturers about Labour's economic strategy. The response of the Evening Standard (edited by former Tory Chancellor George Osborne) was to publish a front page hatchet job describing the speech as a "red rag" to the City of London, and Jeremy Corbyn's economic strategy as a plot to turn London into "the last Soviet era city west of Pyongyang".

Shockingly hundreds of thousands of Evening Standard readers will have uncritically accepted this ludicrously hyperbolic appraisal of Jeremy Corbyn's speech without even referring to the source material and judging it for themselves.

So here's the speech so that you can judge for yourself whether George Osborne's minions at the Evening Standard were justified in claiming that Corbyn's speech is some kind of proof of his intention to turn Britain into a Soviet style state where private industry is banned, or the outline of a sensible economic strategy to undo the damage and reduce the private debt mountains caused by four decades of hard-right economic dogma:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Industrial revolution

...

13:19

The left should think more carefully before defending the Good Friday Agreement "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The fact that the ultra-conservative Brexiters are out to get the Belfast Agreement doesnt mean progressives should abandon their critical faculties towards it.

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern sign the Belfast Agreement. Image, BBC, fair use.

Northern Ireland basked in international media attention in the 1990s, with its peace process bracketed with those in Israel/Palestine and South Africa as carrying global political significance. An historic agreement on Good Friday 1998 brought a forest of media satellite vans once more to encircle the Stormont estate. Yet as the 1993 Oslo accords bequeathed to still-dominated Palestinians broken-backed, divided enclaves and the end of apartheid in South Africa in 1994 saw its vast ethnic inequality yawn still wider, Northern Ireland faded back into a familiar history of sectarian polarisation, and the spotlight turned elsewhere.

Until 2017, that is. The most-recent collapse of the power-sharing institutions stemming from the Belfast agreement in January had hardly caused a ripple in London. But when things went horribly wrong for the Conservative party in the June Westminster election, leaving the prime minister, Theresa May, in enfeebled dependence on Northern Irelands Democratic Unionist Party to remain in power, Queens University Belfasts PR staff found themselves begging their political scientists for help with calls from around the world, along the lines of Who is the DUP?

May had called the snap election to strengthenshe thoughther mandate to pursue Brexit, after the narrow vote in favour of the UK leaving the European Union in the referendum a year earlier, which had dislodged her predecessor as Tory leader, David Cameron, from power and office. The result was however to return the focus to what Winston Churchill, in government when Britain partitioned Ireland in 1920-22, resentfully called the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone, counties abutting what then became the UKs new border.

Ireland had barely entered the heads of the Brexit enthusiasts. Cameron was evidently blithely unaware of how an EU referendum would simp...

11:28

Has the model of the GFA itself resulted in the impasse? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Paddy Wilson is a Postgraduate student at Queens University Belfast and a member of the Workers Party. 

On Monday, David McCann gave his assessment of the political impasse between the former parties of the Executive and made the pertinent point that;

when debating whether its a failure, lets compare it to the alternatives, not the Almighty.

Outside the remits of any deity, the GFA is a creation of people. I dont believe that any system or solution that we create will be perfect and the GFA certainly isnt. So, Im taking the approach David advocates. Lets consider the GFA and compare it to an alternative.

The particular power-sharing theory offered by the GFA is that of Consociationalism. Developed by the political theorist Arendt Ljiphart, he advocated a Grand Coalition of parties, with mutual vetoes for competing groups in a society. These parties would be elected by proportionality and decision-making was to be made at the level of elites, those deemed to be the leaders of the competing groups. Finally, there would be segmental autonomy for the groups, allowing self-rule in certain areas, or even federalism.

These aspects are born out in the GFA. Mandatory coalition with dHondt selection of ministers creates the Grand Coalition, PR-STV ensures proportionality, secret negotiations around the various agreements since GFA are conducted entirely at elite level and the example of Shared Learning in NI is an example of segmental autonomy.

None of this was new thinking in 1998. Indeed, the solution offered to NI has not radically changed since the Whitelaws green paper The Future of Northern Ireland in 1972. It discussed the various options to increase the participation of the Northern Ireland minority in the political system. It makes reference to strong committees with chairs assigned proportionately, as we have in the Assembly, and provides several options for sharing executive power, with article 60.b Proportional Representation government being the solution chosen.

There were many variations, amendments, successes and defeats for this model but throughout Sunningdale, The NI Constitutional Convention, the Assembly of 1982-86, the Brooke/Mayhew talks and the Forum talks, the substance of what was on offer never changed. For 46 years, we have tried to apply the same basic solution to NI. It is foolish to ignore the successes of the GFA, but the political process has stalled again. Does the problem lie with the model?

Criticisms of the Consociational model are best outlined by Paul Dixon. He describes the elite leadership aspect as constitu...

11:14

Trump-style Latin American leaders "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Donald Trump met with Jimmy Morales, the President of Guatemala in a context of global resurgence of extreme right-wing populism that has a specific impact in Latin America. Espaol

The bust of President-elect Donald Trump is displayed at the wax museum in Madrid.Francisco Seco/Press Association. All rights reserved.

Donald Trump met with the President of Guatemala on February 8.  Officially, topics discussed included the moving of the Guatemalan embassy to Jerusalem and restoring democracy in Venezuela.

One day prior to their meeting, it was reported that Trump told Pentagon officials to plan a military parade. He reportedly came up with the idea after having witnessed the Bastille Day parade in France. However, if the project goes ahead, it will be as if the Trump administration was inadvertently taking a page out of the Morales playbook. There are, in fact, many uncanny instances of the Trump and Morales administrations mimicking each other.

In October 2015, when Morales was elected, several media labeled him the Latin American Trump. Jimmy Morales, like Trump, had no political experience. 

In October 2015, when Morales was elected, several media labeled him the Latin American Trump. Jimmy Morales, like Trump, had no political experience. He was a popular TV comedian whose most famous sketch was about a dumb cowboy becoming president. Some other sketches on his show led many to believe that he is sexist, homophobic, and racist.

Unlike Trump, Morales won th...

10:15

Is it time for the churches to become more Christian? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Cathal OHagan is a Monaghan native and law graduate, currently doing an MA in Conflict Transformation at QUB.

Just like there isnt momentum for a re-prohibition on contraception; or mood for re-implementing a ban on divorce, the penny will soon finally drop that debates over marriage equality and abortion are not the way for churches to regain influence in Ireland. Churches can either continue with the prominence they give to so-called moral issues, or they can refocus on the core Christian issues of poverty, homelessness and equality to regain popularity, especially among younger generations. They cant have both.

If we speak with one voice on the core ethical issues of our time, we will be stronger. This unequivocal statement by Eamon Martin, Primate of All-Ireland, should have been welcomed across Ireland, as a call across sectarian divides to tackle the devastating problems that face all communities. Recently, at a community event organised by Queens University the question was posed What do churches need to do to appeal to young people? With nearly a quarter of all children here living in poverty, and an average of 100,000 people currently without their own home across the north, unity between all religious denominations and leaders to tackle core ethical issues would surely be welcomed. This statement would not be out of place at a Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn rally. So why did this statement not garner widespread support among youth people?

The problem is, the core ethical issue of our time was not, in the Primates view, referring to the current poverty and homelessness crises. Instead, it was referring to the upcoming debates surrounding abortion. When churches prioritise abortion and marriage equality debates as avenues to spend their political and media capital, they will never attract widespread relevance among young people, while refusing to conduct national campaigns to force governments to address poverty and homelessness.  This was demonstrated in the European Broadcasting Union survey where only 2 per cent of Irish people aged 18-34 told researchers, they had complete faith in religious organisations.  Comparatively, in the last U.K. general election 30% of people voted for a particular party based on that partys stance on healthcare and other social policies. Can churches learn from this?

Abortion and marriage equality have somehow superseded these fundamental values upon which Christianity was established. The New Testament refers minimally to homosexuality, and even then, is ambiguous....

09:45

Whatever happened to the designated parents role in the Belfast Agreement? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

As ever, the breakdown of Stormont, and the inability of the two main parties to agree on anything substantive is being treated as a novelty. In fact, when you put two ideologically rigid parties in a rigid system breakdown is merely the status quo.

As Siobhan Fenton recalled with admirable clarity on Monday, the Belfast Agreement was the product of a liberal rather than the fanatical mindset that presently dominates thinking in both the DUP and Sinn Fein:

Brian Feeney in todays Irish News notes that the non-fanatical guarantors of that international treaty have been asleep at the wheel for some time:

Michel Martin had a point in the Dil when he laid the blame for the present impasse at the door of the two governments but then ruined it because he couldnt resist the obligatory dig at Sinn Fin and the DUP as dysfunctional.

Nevertheless, theres validity in Martins criticism. True, he cant have it both ways blaming London and Dublin but also taking a side swipe at the two main parties here.

The fact is that since 1985 until 2010 its been an axiom that together London and Dublin supervise and jointly manage what happens here. Since then, Martin said, the Irish government has taken their foot off the accelerator. Thats putting it mildly.

No fan of any British PM, Feeney pins the blame for this distancing from Northern Ireland on Cameron (an arrogant, careless dilettante) who made a virtue of never being available to the frequent appeals from Sinn Fein in particular.

The greater problem is the absence of any overarching relationship on Northern Ireland between the Republic and the UK (Strand Two Three)

For their part the Irish government simply disengaged from the north. Eamon Gilmore, a former Stickie who had, shall we say, issues with Sinn Fin, hardly took the place under his notice.

Charlie Flanagan could only see northern nationalists through the magnifying glass of Sinn Fin in the...

07:34

Academic freedom in Tajikistan: western researchers need to look at themselves, too "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The way people in the west research Central Asia isnt always the most honest and this shapes our understanding of academic autonomy.

Campus of the Tajik national university. Source: Personal archive.In a recent Eurasianet commentary, two respected figures of Eurasian studies, Edward Schatz and John Heathershaw, discuss the Tajik governments tightening control over the local academic sphere by the government. They elaborate three options for funding bodies, western universities and field researchers: a refusal to cooperate with Tajik state institutions and academics employed there; a blacklist of institutions with a track record of repression, which, in their opinion, in practice would be similar to a comprehensive boycott; and finally, critical engagement and caution in entering partnerships with Tajik state institutions.

As a young, foreign researcher in Tajikistan who collaborates with official bodies, I am particularly concerned with the authors conclusion:

In light of the deepening authoritarianism in Tajikistan, it is difficult to see how most partnerships in the social sciences and humanities with [Tajik] official bodies can either be academically valuable or ethically permissible. 

In her response to the article, Malika Bahovadinova discusses the problematic use of the authoritarian label, the potential consequences of further isolating the Tajik academic community through boycotts and blacklists, and the power hierarchy between foreign scholars and local researchers, with the latter often reduced to the formers data providers.

In my response, I would like to discuss the p...

07:33

Academic freedom in Tajikistan: why boycotts and blacklists are the wrong response "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

A recent call to disengage with educational institutions in this Central Asian state misses crucial points about academia under authoritarian rule.

Tajik State Pedagogical University. Photo CC BY 2.0: Flickr / Prince Roy. Some rights reserved.I read with interest Edward Schatzs and John Heathershaws recent article published on EurasiaNet under the title Academic Freedom in Tajikistan Endangered: What is to be done? While the authors rightly characterise the Tajik governments attempts to tighten control over the academic sphere, I find their conclusions problematic. Partnerships with local institutions should be terminated, the authors argue, and the academic and ethical validity of any research conducted with such partnerships should be questioned. But by calling for the isolation of the countrys academic sphere, Schatz and Heathershaw risk further endangering academic freedom in Tajikistan.

The issues with this article and its conclusion are manifold. As it is so often the case, there is something that needs to be done about countries such as Tajikistan: something that can be done only by western outsiders. The country itself becomes the problem, and should be avoided wholesale. I would suggest that Schatz and Heathershaw are misguided in their call for Tajikistans isolation. This is not to say that there arent problems in the countrys academic sphere. But the authors understanding of the situation is flawed, and their proposed solutions only likely to exacerbate matters.

Reading the article, one may be forgiven if they conjure up images of a traditionally thriving academic environment in Tajikistan, with various partnerships between foreign and local educational institutions. The situation, however, is quite different. Tajikistan is a small mountainous country in Central Asia of little strategic importance (especially as the interest in Afghanistan, with which Tajikistan shares its southern border, has dwindled) and wit...

07:02

The growing gap between Ukraine and Russia and the people trying to bridge it "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Ukraine and Russia are mired in a self-perpetuating conflict. Ukrainian and Russian activists recognise the problem, but will they be able to overcome it? RU

Write a letter to Moscow - an action in Kyiv, 2015. From left to right: Andrey Ignatchuk, an actor from Minsk; Varya Darevskaya, Natalia Bugreeva. Photo: Elena Podgornaya.Of all the possible post-Soviet models of political behaviour that might be adopted in the face of separatist conflict, Ukraine appears to have opted for the least successful one of all namely, the Azerbaijan-style strategy of blockading territories not under its control and limiting contacts with its neighbouring state. In these conditions, the actual everyday experiences of citizens of both countries are easily supplanted by propagandist bravado, and any attempt at diplomacy from below becomes risky. It feels as if the conflict is hooked up to a kind of perpetual motion machine, whereby it replicates itself on all possible levels, forcing even local governments to keep the flywheel of confrontation constantly spinning.

Without the opportunity to operate freely in their own country, some Russian nationals who have come out against the war in the Donbas have attempted to participate in Ukrainian civic life. The response theyve met with, however, has been less than enthusiastic. Motivated as they are by the best of intentions, Russian activists grow disillusioned when they encounter a wall of antagonism across the border.

Today, no ones awaiting any magnanimous gestures in Kyiv or Dnipro. The only thing people are waiting for is the day Russia leaves Ukraine alone and theyre transferring all their grievances from those who are really to blame (specific politicians) to people within range (activists and volunteers). The resentment is quickly becoming mutual: Russian anti-war activists expect Ukrainians to oppose any continuation of the armed conflict in the Donbas, without realising that you cant protest against a war fought in self-defence.

Your fear is no better than our fear

I had a meeting with some local youngsters in Gorlovka [a town west of Do...

Tuesday, 20 February

22:15

Who Benefits from the Collapse of Power Sharing? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Were unlikely to know for a long time exactly why talks on restoring devolved government collapsed in such spectacular fashion last week. Its always worth asking, in those circumstances, cui bono?

A long-term collapse in devolved arrangements, and a return to Direct Rule, whether or not it is acknowledged as such, would seem at first blush to benefit the DUP, at least in the short term. It also represents a significant shift in power within the DUP, away from Foster and the Assembly group with its stratum of moderates like Simon Hamilton, and towards the consistently hardline Westminster group, which is currently keeping Theresa May in power.

That in turn gives the DUP Westminster group a free hand to push for a hard Brexit with a relatively hard border, not tied into any Executive or wider Assembly approach which would see the DUP constrained by the need for consensus with Sinn Fin and a broader majority of pro-European opinion in the Assembly.

Beyond even that, with the UUP, Alliance and SDLP out of Westminster, an end to devolution would see state funding for all parties bar the DUP and Sinn Fin dry up, reducing them to poorly funded voluntary structures with minimal staffing. The DUP would therefore kneecap its already weak rival for Unionist votes and also get a sort of ultimate revenge on Alliance for having the temerity to win East Belfast in 2010.

Public support for devolution, especially among Unionists, has eroded badly. Arlene Fosters statement on Monday implies the DUP is not interested in attempting to restore the Executive. Dependent on her colleagues for its survival, the Conservative government would not appear to have the will to push them towards doing so.

Alex Kane asks in the News Letter whether the DUP gave serious consideration to an act at any point during lengthy negotiations and, in so doing, conveyed the impression that they were up for trying to sell it to their party and wider unionism.

All the circumstantial evidence would indicate that it was up for it or at least that its negotiating team was. Officials in the NIO and DFA certainly believed it was worth the two Prime Ministers travelling to Belfast to give their imprimatur on something.

22:11

Whats it all about, Oxfam? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

We should seize this opportunity to re-examine the future of foreign aid.

Haiti: Oxfam latrines and sanitation facilities. Credit: Flickr/ Kateryna Perus/Oxfam. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The public heat generated by Oxfams scandal is focused on three issues. First, the absolute importance of protecting vulnerable peopleproject beneficiaries and collaborators, staff and volunteers; second, accusations of hubris, arrogance and self-serving behaviour by aid agencies; and third, the bigger questions of whether and how aid makes a difference. How are these issues connected?

The mechanisms required to protect vulnerable people from being preyed on by staff who abuse their positions of power (in any sector) are well-known: more care and better vetting in recruitment, including a mandatory phone call to previous employers; more open whistle-blowing policies; better induction and training of staff; an emphasis on clearly articulated and modelled ethics; and a commitment by managers to act swiftly and decisively, and steer away from impunity.

Although the aid sector can and should work collectively on an informal basis to strengthen these mechanisms and attributes, I think its a mistake to establish global regulations or a mandatory database of international development workers, because the sector isnt really a single entity in the way that (perhaps) medicine is, and because of the messy, unpredictable, international nature of aid. How, for example, is a young woman in the Philippines supposed to register as an aid worker before the disaster which leads to her recruitment even happens? I also fear that external regulations can be the enemy of the proper internalisation and ownership of ethics.

On the second issue of self-serving corporate behaviour and hubris, there is clearly a problem, but it isnt quite as simple as portrayed in the media. Aid agencies have long backed themselves into a corner by claiming in their marketing and fundraising that they have the solution to poverty, and the public, despite being far too intelligent to think that poverty can be so easily solved, have willingly gone along with this narrative.  

When a willing buyer (the donor) and a willing seller (the charity) are both intentionally vague about the product theyre trading, they create a problem of accountability. So a flawed accountability loop has developed: you give me your money and Ill take care of the problem while you continue to live your privileged lives. The seller is thus e...

Whats it all about, Oxfam? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

We should seize this opportunity to re-examine the future of foreign aid.

Haiti: Oxfam latrines and sanitation facilities. Credit: Flickr/ Kateryna Perus/Oxfam. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The public heat generated by Oxfams scandal is focused on three issues. First, the absolute importance of protecting vulnerable peopleproject beneficiaries and collaborators, staff and volunteers; second, accusations of hubris, arrogance and self-serving behaviour by aid agencies; and third, the bigger questions of whether and how aid makes a difference. How are these issues connected?

The mechanisms required to protect vulnerable people from being preyed on by staff who abuse their positions of power (in any sector) are well-known: more care and better vetting in recruitment, including a mandatory phone call to previous employers; more open whistle-blowing policies; better induction and training of staff; an emphasis on clearly articulated and modelled ethics; and a commitment by managers to act swiftly and decisively, and steer away from impunity.

Although the aid sector can and should work collectively on an informal basis to strengthen these mechanisms and attributes, I think its a mistake to establish global regulations or a mandatory database of international development workers, because the sector isnt really a single entity in the way that (perhaps) medicine is, and because of the messy, unpredictable, international nature of aid. How, for example, is a young woman in the Philippines supposed to register as an aid worker before the disaster which leads to her recruitment even happens? I also fear that external regulations can be the enemy of the proper internalisation and ownership of ethics.

On the second issue of self-serving corporate behaviour and hubris, there is clearly a problem, but it isnt quite as simple as portrayed in the media. Aid agencies have long backed themselves into a corner by claiming in their marketing and fundraising that they have the solution to poverty, and the public, despite being far too intelligent to think that poverty can be so easily solved, have willingly gone along with this narrative.  

When a willing buyer (the donor) and a willing seller (the charity) are both intentionally vague about the product theyre trading, they create a problem of accountability. So a flawed accountability loop has developed: you give me your money and Ill take care of the problem while you continue to live your privileged lives. The seller is thus e...

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