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Saturday, 15 September


When rescue at sea becomes a crime: who the Tunisian fishermen arrested in Italy really are "IndyWatch Feed"

Fishermen networks from Morocco and Mauritania have released statements of support, and the Tunisian State Secretary for Immigration, Adel Jarboui, urged Italian authorities to release the fishermen, considered heroes in Tunisia.

lead lead Protest in front of the Italian Embassy in Tunis on 6 September 2018 calls for immediate release of fishermen held in prison in Italy since 29 August 2018 Photo: Paul Scheicher. All rights reserved.

On the night of Wednesday, August 29, 2018, six Tunisian fishermen were arrested in Italy. Earlier that day, they had set off from their hometown of Zarzis, the last important Tunisian port before Libya, to cast their nets in the open sea between North Africa and Sicily. The fishermen then sighted a small vessel whose engine had broken, and that had started taking in water. After giving the fourteen passengers water, milk and bread which the fishermen carry in abundance, knowing they might encounter refugee boats in distress they called the Italian coastguard, who told them theyd be coming soon.

After hours of waiting, though, the men decided to tow the smaller boat in the direction of Lampedusa Italys southernmost island to help Italian authorities in their rescue operations. At around 24 miles from Lampedusa, the Guardia di Finanza (customs police) took the fourteen people on board, and then proceeded to violently arrest the six fishermen. According to the precautionary custody order issued by the judge in Agrigento (Sicily), the men stand accused of smuggling, a crime that could get them up to fifteen years of jail if the case goes to trial. The fishermen have since been held in Agrigento prison, and their boat has been seized.



Valparaso-bound: Nerudas ark "IndyWatch Feed"

SS Winnipeg was Pablo Nerudas Winged Fugitive Ark for war-refugees. Where are such grand gestures today?

SS Winnipeg in 1939. Wikicommons/ Agrupacin Winnipeg. Some rights reserved.

Stateless and dispossessed persons in the world today amount to a towering 65 million. If we are to trust the census of such an unstable and stateless population, it is the highest number of refugees in recorded history (at least, in history recorded after the infamous case of Babel.) On the shores of Europe, the shipwrecked either hide from the immigrations police, or are processed by techno-bureaucracies. A resident status is pending, assets confiscated in storage facilities, petitioners confined in the forced passivity of detention centres. Many years go squandered, lost in waiting. Waiting, during a gruelling process for the approval or denial of refuge, by way of forms to be filled in and email telegrams to be telegrammed. Waiting, to hear from relatives who fled, who did not flee; who may have died or who may have received a permit.

APoets around the world have attempted to make poetic gestures of solidarity with the oppressed immigrants in what has become, ironically, the anti-nomadic world of globalized technocracy. Most of these poets activist statements fall like blunt arrows thrust against the currents of the dominant news media, its language, its software programmes of noise-creation. Powerful interested parties try to generate panic about refugee crises. And many first-world, cultured liberals and card-carrying progressives who have supported mass-deportation policies in the past, today accuse right-wing extremists of being the original xenophobes (intellectuals who have decried such easy equations include philosopher Alain Badiou.  

Europes uniformed guardians call this Philanthropy, speak of Generosity and its limits; while they wag their truncheons and their batons to no melody, only the disciplinarian harmony. All too often, poets end up servicing such easy apologetics. Meanwhile, looking to the...


Second bank account: MPs demand probe into Rees-Moggs Brexit group "IndyWatch Feed"

Cross-party demands for an urgent investigation into the financial affairs of the European Research Group follow openDemocracys investigation.

Jacob Rees-Mogg in front of a sign saying Jacob Rees-Mogg: we're still waiting for answers. Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

Senior MPs are calling for a deep investigation of the second bank account and undisclosed funding held by Jacob Rees-Moggs group of hard-line anti-EU Conservatives.

They want full public scrutiny of the financial operations and shrouded membership list of the European Research Group (ERG). Their demands follow the latest disclosure in openDemocracys ongoing investigation into the ERGs affairs, which revealed an undisclosed second bank account with unknown sources of funding.

Transparent as mud

Details of the accounts held by the ERG were branded a political scandal by the Liberal Democrats Brexit spokesman, Tom Brake. He called the activities of the ERG as transparent as mud and said the groups reluctance to accept full public scrutiny of its accounts showed it had something dubious to hide.

Brake added: This scandal involving the finances of a hard-right Brexit group is, however, all too reminiscent of the dodgy and unscrupulous deals by the Leave campaign [during the EU referendum].

John Trickett, Labours shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, said the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) must now reopen its investigation into the ERG and provide the public with much-needed answers to a long list of questions: how do the ERG use their public funding, and what is the source of their private funding and the identity of their members?

A circus

Trickett said the continued lack of clarity over the ERGs affairs and operations carries the risk that this circus starts to make a mockery of our entire political system.

The ERG, chaired by Rees-Mogg, but still effectively run by the former Brexit minister, Steve Baker...


Bernie Sanders and Yanis Varoufakis call on progressives to unite against Trumps Nationalist International "IndyWatch Feed"

Calling on progressives worldwide to form an international movement to combat the rise of authoritarianism represented by Donald Trump.

DiEM25 flagging up the new series in The Guardian.DiEM25. All rights reserved.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the former US presidential candidate, and Yanis Varoufakis, co-founder of DiEM25, are today calling on progressives worldwide to form an international movement to combat the rise of authoritarianism represented by Donald Trump.

In the first of a series of exchanges published in The Guardian, the pair described the urgent need for a Progressive International that can bring together people across the globe around a vision of shared prosperity, security and dignity for all.

While the very rich get much richer, people all over the globe are working longer hours for stagnating wages, and fear for their childrens future, said Sanders. Authoritarians exploit these economic anxieties, creating scapegoats which pit one group against another.

Varoufakis said: Our era will be remembered for the triumphant march of a Nationalist International that sprang out of the cesspool of financialised capitalism. Whether it will also be remembered for a successful humanist challenge to this menace depends on the willingness of progressives in the US, the EU, the UK as well as countries like Mexico, India and South Africa, to forge a coherent Progressive International.

As a first step, Varoufakis called for the creation of a common council that draws out a blueprint for an International New Deal, a progressive New Bretton Woods.

Yanis Varoufakis is exactly right, Sanders underscored in his reply. At a time of massive global wealth and income inequality, oligarchy, rising authoritarianism and militarism, we need a progressive international movement to counter these threats.

Sanders went on to argue that, the solution, as Varoufakis points out, is an international progressive agenda that brings working people together aroun...


How the campaign for a Peoples Vote is changing politics (again) "IndyWatch Feed"

A new generation is making the campaign for a People's Vote on Brexit the next insurgency for change in Britain.

The call for a Peoples Vote on the Brexit deal, conceived by Caroline Lucas, was adopted early this year by a broad coalition of people and organisations who want the British to think again. The concept is a neat one. It is not a demand to re-run the referendum. It is a claim that those who instructed the government to negotiate Brexit must have the final say. It is a demand for continued democracy. Or, to borrow a phrase, for voters to take control. Which means that Leavers can support it too. 

While I liked it for these reasons, it seemed to me unlikely to happen and I feared that if it did it would deliver the same result. Now, it looks as if I was wrong on both these counts. 

Since the Cabinet met at Chequers and set out what it wants for the countrys relationship with the EU to be, the Brexit alliance has disintegrated. There is a good chance that whatever deal the Prime Minister now achieves, it will be voted down by the Commons. If so, a Peoples Vote has become more likely than not, as the only way out of the impasse.

More important, poll after poll shows opinion has started to turn against Brexit with most constituencies now showing a majority for Remain. This is an essential development to reassure those MPs who fear that another plebiscite will deepen not resolve the division in the country. 

It seems like a paradox. A Peoples Vote has to be about democracy. But Labours English MPs in particular need to see in advance that a new referendum can unify the country. While nothing is certain they want to know that a major shift is taking place in the peoples will, or at least the will of their own supporters; one that can gain consent rather than empower the right.



The shockingly inadequate reaction to the bankers' crisis is the reason Britain is in such a state today "IndyWatch Feed"

It's 10 years to the day since Lehman Brothers collapsed into bankruptcy and practically nothing has been done to rein in the excesses of the mega-rich speculator class who created the Bankers' insolvency crisis.

First the entire establishment class rallied around to ensure that their mega-rich speculator mates wouldn't lose out as a result of the crisis they caused with their reckless gambling, with bailouts, and quantitative easing cash galore to prop up the value of the assets of the rich.

Then Tories cynically used the bankers' economic crisis as an excuse to impose ruinous austerity dogma as a means of pushing the cost of the crisis onto ordinary people through wage repression, in-work benefits cuts, welfare cuts for sick and disabled people, local service cuts, etc.

Meanwhile the Tories actually rigged the economy even further in favour of the mega-rich by slashing corporation tax, slashing taxes on the mega-rich, and lavishing the speculator class with ridiculously one-sided outsourcing contracts, and handing them massive chunks of public infrastructure and services at bargain basement prices (like the Royal Mail) or even for free (like the state schools given away to private academy profiteers).

The bankers' insolvency crisis called for decisive action to ensure such a meltdown could never happen again. Action like breaking up the "too big to fail" banks, restraining the ridiculous short-term bonus culture to make financial rewards dependent on the long-term sustainability of the...


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Future Ireland: Alternative Conversations About Unity and the Union "IndyWatch Feed"

The future of Northern Ireland is deeply uncertain. Brexit, the rise of English nationalism, Scotland, Stormont deadlock and demographic change make Irish unity a realistic alternative. The polls vary greatly, but some have unity very much within sight, especially if there is a harsh Brexit and a disruptive border.

People are talking about this at kitchen tables across the north. But whilst we are highly engaged about if we would like unity or the union, and many of us have gut reactions, we are only coming around to the fact that the central questions are why do we want it?; and how is it going to work?

In parallel to our domestic puzzles, Northern Ireland is ransacked by global currents. Massive changes in work, ecology, migration, age demographics and technology are all well underway.

And its in this wider context that we find ourselves wanting to think more deeply and logically about what Irish unity could be like. Because to be honest, nobody has a clue.

Similarly, if a border poll is called and a majority of people vote to stay in the union, this cannot be a vote for the status quo. The world is moving. We cannot be static. So much needs to change.

How do we get match fit for the politics of the future, while so much of our time is spent combing through the past? How can we re-imagine current political debate in a way is respectful of identity, but is honest about the global social and economic rollercoaster that were strapped into?

As the Brexit referendum showed us, its a good plan to start talking about ideas early, when there is space and time for flexible and creative thinking. The question of a new Ireland is here now. And we all want to live in a place where we can feel at home and our kids can be safe and happy. Now is the time to start thinking about the various shapes and forms that the future of this island could possibly take.

Over the course of the next few months, well be bringing you a series of articles, imagining Ireland the north of it, the south of it, its relationship with Scotland, England, Wales and Europe from a variety of perspectives.

Our aim is to gather personal reflections and data analysis from a range of different angles. The goal is to begin the conversation early, do some thinking around unity, and alternative imaginations of the union, that we hope will help detoxify and expand the debate.

We need to be asking What...

Friday, 14 September


Pedagogy in the Post-Truth Era: An Anti-Trump Pro-test! "IndyWatch Feed"

Derek Ford







A Seminar by Derek R. Ford (Assistant Professor of Education Studies, DePauw University, USA)


University of East London

Stratford Campus

Cass School of Education & Communities

17th October 2018

12.30 2.00pm

Room: ED201


Abstract: Those who are in shock that truth doesnt seem to matter in politics today miss the mark, for politics has never corresponded with truth. Instead, political struggle is about the formulation and materialization of new truths. In this sense, the post-truth era offers a new opportunity to articulate and fight for a new political reality. Yet rather than embrace this opportunity, the mainstream anti-Trump resistance aims to suture this opening and re-stabilize the political superstructure. This paper focuses instead on the left-wing resistance thats organizing and mobilizing to force a new world into being. After articulating the coordinates of our post-truth moment, it investigates the educational logic of the protest. Specifically, I propose that the protest is when movements test their political line, their organizational capacity, and the existing order of things.



Uri Avnery in memoriam "IndyWatch Feed"

He leaves behind a wealth of books, articles and emails, that will continue to inspire, representing hope and reconciliation through the dark decades, that alas, are still with us.

Uri Avnery, June, 2006. Wikicommons/ Uri Avnery. Some rights reserved.

Some years ago I was asked to go and collect Uri Avnery from the airport. Although I had been reading his regular email reports from Israel, I wondered how I would recognise him. I neednt have worried, the moment I saw a magnificent old man, complete with a head of impressive white hair and an equally impressive white beard, striding towards me, I knew I had found my quarry. Uri looked every inch the Old Testament prophet I hadnt dared to expect.

It was an appropriate reaction, Uri was a prophet, looking into the future that he saw for Israel and warning of the wrath to come, if the country he loved, did not change course.

After leaving Germany aged fourteen, Uri joined an extremist nationalist group and fought in the War of Independence in 1948. Then, like so many other prophets, he had a Road to Damascus and saw that violence would not solve the problem of the displaced Palestinians. For the rest of his long life, he fought for a peaceful and fair settlement, one made by consulting with the Palestinians themselves. Until around 1970, this seemed possible and Uri put the case both through the journals he edited and wrote for and by becoming a member of the Knesset.   



Theresa May and the Tories are the ones with the serious anti-Semitism problem "IndyWatch Feed"

One of the first world leaders Theresa May met after she was appointed Prime Minister was the fanatically right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbn.

Since then the Tory party have continued to cosy up to Orbn and his anti-Semitic, xenophobic, judiciary-rigging, free speech-attacking regime.

After Orbn retained power in the 2018 Hungarian elections which featured a massive anti-Semitic poster campaign the then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson Tweeted gushing praise for Orbn and his party.

And in September 2018 Tory MEPs in the European Parliament sided with all the exreme-right nasties in Europe (Front National, Golden Dawn, PiS, PVV, AfD, Swedish Democrats, True Finns, FP, Lega Nord, and Britain's own UKIP) in order to defend Orbn's government against a motion of censure that was overwhelmingly supported by the European centre (from conservatives, through liberals to the socialists and greens).

The Tories were the only (supposedly) mainstream government in Europe to ally themselves with Orbn and the extreme-right.

Here's one of Orbn's most notorious quotes about Jews: "We are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open, but hiding; not straightforwar...


The High Court found that Vote Leave broke the law in a new way "IndyWatch Feed"

Britain's High Court has ruled that Vote Leave broke campaign spending limits in addition to the way that the Electoral Commission previously said they did.

By sjiong -, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The High Court has ruled today that Vote Leave did break their spending limit and so the law when they gave 625,000 to the young Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes ahead of the European Referendum. However, people have got confused about how this relates to the Electoral Commissions decision to fine both Vote Leave and Grimes back in July. So I've read the whole ruling to work out what's going on.

Its important to understand that there are three separate but related issues in play here.

The first is the fact, in itself, that Vote Leave paid 625,000 to Darren Grimes for his BeLeave campaign.

The second is the fact that Vote Leave didnt actually pay this money to Grimes himself. Rather, all but 1,000 of it was paid on his behalf to AggregateIQ, the online comms firm which ran much of the Brexit campaign.

The third is the question of whether or not the money was paid to Grimes as part of a joint plan with Vote Leave.

The short explanation is that the court ruled today on the first two questions. The Electoral Commission ruled back in July on the third.

The case itself followed the publication by openDemocracy and the Ferret of a cache of internal Electoral Commission emails (after Carole Cadwalladr, Buzzfeed and Private Eye had written about the affair). This correspondence obtained under Freedom of Information legislation by my colleague Jenna Corderoy showed that the regulator was concerned about Vote Leaves donations to Grimes but had decided not to launch an investigation. This prompted Jolyon Maugham QC of the Good Law...


En el Paraguay rural, las mujeres estn al frente de una carrera contrarreloj para conservar las semillas nativas "IndyWatch Feed"

Ante la expansin de la agricultura industrial, los cultivos transgnicos y las patentes de semillas, las mujeres rurales estn preservando las variedades nativas y enseando sobre agroecologa. English.

Native seeds preserved in rural Paraguay. Photo: Maria Sanz Dominguez.En Chacore, a unos 200 kilmetros al este de Asuncin, la capital de Paraguay, Ceferina Guerrero (68) camina entre estantes de botellas de plstico y tambores de metal cuidadosamente etiquetados. Cada uno contiene una variedad de semilla nativa esencial para la dieta de las comunidades rurales.

Sus etiquetas enumeran los nombres de las semillas en guaran, un idioma indgena y la segunda lengua oficial de Paraguay, junto con el espaol. Guerrero las presenta cariosamente, como una madre lo hara con sus hijos: ste es un poroto, ste es man, ste es maz.

Conocida como a Cefe en su comunidad, Guerrero dice que su apellido le viene como anillo al dedo. Ella es una de las fundadoras de la Coordinadora  Nacional de Mujeres Rurales e Indgenas de Paraguay (Conamuri).

Conamuri empez como un pequeo grupo en los noventa. Hoy lo componen mujeres de ms de 200 comunidades rurales en Paraguay. Adems est conectado a otros aliados alrededor del mundo, al formar parte del movimiento internacional de campesinos La Va Campesina.

Aunque, asegura Guerrero, no deberamos olvidar nuestro primer objetivo: recoger y conservar las semillas nativas en todo el pas. Describe este trabajo como una carrera contrarreloj, y contra la expansin de la agricultura industrial a gran escala.

Actualmente hemos perdido casi el 60% de las variedades nativas, afirma. Incluso tenemos comunidades en las que no se encuentra ninguna.

Actualmente hemos perdido casi el 60 % de las variedades nat...


How will we pay for news we can trust? I hope to find out "IndyWatch Feed"

The British government has ordered a review into the sustainability of high-quality journalism. Its chair explains the challenges she faces.

Pediment of neoclassical building with 'Journalism' carved into it. Needs maintaining. Image: Richard B. Levine/SIPA USA/PA Images.

Newspapers are in a bad way, and it is not easy to see how to rescue them. But finding a way to ensure a continuing supply of high-quality journalism is clearly essential to the health of democracy: it has been the press, through the past two centuries, which has provided the main challenge to behaviour that threatens the public interest, good government and robust public institutions.

The challenges to newspapers have increased over the past two decades, and the papers have not always responded wisely. Most took the decision early to make most of their content available free online, without any clear idea of the business model that would allow them to benefit. But the gigantic wave of technological change has swamped them. Specialised classified advertising web sites have siphoned off the staple income source of local papers (and part of their reader content too); the replacement of the iPad with the mobile phone greatly increased the alternative ways for readers to use their time; and most damaging of all, the relationship between reader, advertiser and publisher has been disrupted by the rise of Google, Facebook and other digital giants.

The press review that I am undertaking for the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with the support of an expert panel, has found plenty of evidence of the accelerating threats to the traditional press. We recently conducted a survey which found that more people are now regularly accessing national newspaper content online via apps and websites (28%) than in print (22%).

We have also come across a number of online start-ups, often supported by a mixture of donations and subscriptions, providing local and national news in niche markets. Newspapers have been developing new approaches, such as the Ozone project to p...


Brazilian vice-presidential candidate Snia Guajajaras river rally with indigenous leaders "IndyWatch Feed"

Brazil's democratic future is at stake in the upcoming October elections. During a stop over in the Amazonia, the indigenous vice-presidential candidate met on the water with her fellow fighters. Images: Pablo Albarenga / Midia NINJA. Espaol

One of Guilherme Boulos and Sonia Guajajara followers greets the candidate after a campaign rally in Macap, Amap, Brazil. Image: Pablo Albarenga / Mdia NINJA. All rights reserved.

Although promotional tours and concerts are exhausting for musicians, they are a fundamental element of show-business and they must be undertaken with enthusiasm and professionalism. The same goes for electoral campaigns, and for any presidential or vice-presidential candidate that follows this path, it is usually a case of the more campaign visits the better, the more selfies the better, the more exhausting the better.

But amidst this promotional tour, there can emerge a moment of quiet where one can find peace, a space of recovery, of serenity, and in which one can connect with their inner-most emotions. And this is what occurred last September the 6th for the first ever indigenous candidate for the vice-presidency in Brazil, Snia Bone Guajajara, during a stopover in the city of Santarm, en route to So Paulo via Beln, at the mouth of the Amazon.

Making the most of her stop over, Snia got in touch with female indigenous leaders active in the neighbouring river Tapajs, one of the largest aquifers in the world and a place of significance within the Amazon region, m...


Why did the Tories align themselves with all the extreme-right nasties in the European Parliament? "IndyWatch Feed"

Days after the Tories aligned themselves with all the extreme-right nasties in the European Parliament to vote against censure of Viktor Orbn's anti-Semitic, judiciary-rigging, free press-attacking, human rights-demolishing government in Hungary, Theresa May and the Tories are still refusing to provide a convincing explanation for their actions.

The political parties the Tory MEPs aligned themselves with include:

Fidesz - Orbn's ruling party in Hungary.
PiS - The extreme-right government in Poland that is launching similar attacks on the judiciary and the free press to Orbn.
Golden Dawn - The Greek neo-Nazis
Front National - The French extreme-right led by Marine Le Pen.

FP - The Austrian extreme-right party founded by the Nazi Anton Reinthaller.
AfD - The German extreme-right anti-immigrant party.

True Finns - An anti-immigrant nationalist party in Finland.
Sweden Democrats - The Swedish extreme-right party with fascist and white supremacist origins.
Lega Nord - The Italian extreme-right who are in coalition government with the populist anti-vaxxer Five Star movement.
PVV - Geert Wilders' extreme right party in the Netherlands.

Fortunately the Tories decision to back Orbn's fanatically right-wing government failed as the motion of censure was passed by 448 - 197, just passing the 2/3 majority needed.


Being a female social leader in Colombia: a black hole "IndyWatch Feed"

The story of Ana Milena Villa Villa, Colombian social leader helps us to understand the current killings of social leaders from a much-needed gendered perspective that is not as present as it should be. Espaol

Photo: Ana Milena. All Rights Reserved.

Ana Milena Villa Villa put on her gym clothes and left her house towards a black hole in which what made her feel most alive in this life suddenly made her most fear death. The black hole of one threat that turns life into death. 

Upon arriving at the gym after crossing the colourful winding streets of her neighbourhood Nelson Mandela on the outskirts of Cartagena, she realised that the man with whom she had shared a glance on a motorbike a short time before had followed her and he was armed.  

That same man was waiting for her to threaten her with death when she left the complex, and it wouldnt be the last threat she would receive. 

Ana Milena Villa Villa, delegate of the Community Action Council of Sector Las Vegas in the neighbourhood of Nelson Mandela, was threatened with death because she expends every word she has on fighting for a better life for the inhabitants of her neighbourhood.

She was threatened because her empathy distinguishes her from those who fear her capacity to change the world. She was threatened because she is a social leader.

Unfortunately, the systematic murder of political and social leaders in Colombia is far from a new phenomenon.

The recent growth in murder rates of social leaders has been compared many times with the genocide of the 1980s and 90s against the Unin Patriotica that ended the lives of around 3000 of its members.

The recent growth in murder rates of social leaders has been compared many times with the genocide of the 1980s and 90s against the Unin Patriotica, a left-wing political movement of disarmed ex-guerrilla members, that ended the lives of ar...


Feminism in Tunisia: brutal hijacking, elitism and exclusion "IndyWatch Feed"

The feminist movement in Tunisia has been a victim of brutal hijacking, exploitation, and politicization which has fragmented its foundation.

NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.

Womens rights activism in Tunisia have been glorified and portrayed as a success for all the women in the Arab world, however, many observers are intentionally turning a blind eye to what is wrong with feminism and womens rights activism in Tunisia. Feminism in Tunisia has certain characteristics that shape that activism space. The ruling of elite women activists can be considered one. The exclusion of the majority of women from that space has turned womens rights activism into a platform for VIP women only to voice their demands while excluding others. Another major characteristic would be the males hegemony over the womens contributions and the neglect of the womens struggle for their rights, along with many other issues that havent been addressed by feminists.  

History repeats itself

On August 13, 1956, the first president of the republic Habib Bourgiba delivered a celebrated speech in which he paid tribute to the effective role of Tunisian women in the Tunisian revolution. He then declared the issuance of The Code of Personal Status (CPS). Many saw Bourgibas changes as a mimic act of other liberal political figures such as Tahar Haddad and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk that is not inspired by womens long- path struggle in Tunisia.

The CPS was celebrated as a Bourgibas achievement, ignoring the female activists who fought for these laws. School history books rarely mention names such as Bchira Ben Mrad, Radhia Haddad, and Manoubia Ouertani, but instead, its  Bourgiba who is celebrated as the womens saviour and liberator.

Ben Ali followed his predecessors footsteps and had also a hard stance on Hijab

These Liberal reforms had also created fractions in womens solidarity in Tunisia. The...


"IndyWatch Feed"


Picture by Depo Photos/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images. All rights reserved. .



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10 years of women's resistance to austerity across Europe in pictures "IndyWatch Feed"

Women across Europe have not been passive victims of austerity policies. From Paris, France to Nicosia, Cyprus, they have protested and organised for alternatives.

Woman protesting cuts in the UK, 2016. Woman protesting cuts in the UK, 2016. Photo: Ik Aldama/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.Its harder to ignore womens mobilisations today, when smartphone cameras are ubiquitous and anyone can post images online. Even so, stories of womens resistance remain underreported, and while impacts of austerity on women may sometimes make headlines, those affected are often portrayed as helpless.

Theyre not; across Europe, women have mobilised against harmful austerity policies enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Here are 10 images that capture 10 years of womens resistance.

Nicosia, 23 March 2013 - Confronted by mass bank closures, falling salaries and rising unemployment, women in Cyprus demonstrated in the countrys capital. The former offshore banking havens large financial sector and close financial ties with Athens left the country particularly vulnerable to economic collapse in the wake of the 2008 crash. The fallout included policies slashing social benefits, with tremendous impacts on women, particularly single mothers and domestic violence survivors. (Photo: Florian Schuh/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved).



Living the double life: behind the lies of women's daily lives in Egypt "IndyWatch Feed"

The consequences of living this sort of double-life go far beyond family disagreements.

Picture by crosby_cj / Some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).25-year-old Sara does not feel secure telling her parents how she feels about myriad things. Having struggled with the concept of religion from a very young age, her proclamation of atheism was not met with much open-mindedness. They freaked out and insisted I see a family sheikh, she says. Her father also threatened to cut off funds for her college education. The whole thing traumatized me which made mein the endsay that I believe in God, she adds.

Sara now lies about sexual activity, alcohol consumption, and more. What Sara describes as an 'off and on switch' made apparent the restraints fashioned by a conservative, mostly Muslim society. Based on three indicesthe Social Progress Index, the Environmental Performance Index and the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Gender Gap reportEgypt comes at number six amongst the 15 least liberal countries in the world.

The Middle Eastern country was first faced with this wave of Islamism and ardent Wahhabism around Islamic theorist and Islamism figurehead Sayyid Qutbs time in the 1950s and 1960s. Qutb lead the Muslim Brotherhood group and incited violence. The conservative shift was felt by many in society, except women suffered more than men as a result. And, despite Egypts uprising in 2011 against Mubaraks regime and the injustice it inflicted, Egyptian women still experience malignant treatment and regard. To this day, women remain an afterthought on matters of divorce, female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual harassment, and education.

According to a...


Permanent Secretary failed to address significant under-representation on NIFRS board "IndyWatch Feed"

Yet more evidence that the Commissioner for Public Appointments is being casually sidelined (one former office holder) after the Minister excluded her from the appointment of directors to NI Water).

This time, with no minister in the job to take the flack it was Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly. The BBC reports:

The permanent health secretary made substantive breaches of the code overseeing ministerial public appointments when selecting board members for NI Fire and Rescue Service.

That was the finding of an investigation by the Commissioner for Public Appointments Judena Leslie.

She found a lack of rationale or justification for the appointments.

The report continues:

This is the first time that Mr Pengelly has had to authorise new appointments to a public body in this case two non-executive lay member posts on the board of the NI Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS).

When two of the applicants a man and a woman who had been found suitable and were among the top three scoring candidates were not appointed last October, they asked the commissioner to carry out separate investigations.

In her hard-hitting reports, the commissioner said that it was the responsibility of the Department of Health and Mr Pengelly to ensure that these appointments are made fully in accordance with the code in the most transparent and justifiable manner.

This is particularly so in the current political circumstances. There were substantive breaches of the code in this appointment process accompanied by a lack of proper rationale and justifiable grounds for the appointments.

Theres no evidence that the department tried to block the Commissioner, and it strongly denies there was any discrimination, but with a significant under-representation on the board of the NIFRS, the Commissioner said

This leaves the waytwo of the applicants a man and a woman who had been found suitable and were among the top three scoring candidates were not appointed may have the motivated the decision making.


They told me that if I didnt become more cooperative, they could do whatever they wanted to me: anarchist Arman Sagynbayev reveals torture by Russian law enforcement "IndyWatch Feed"

In this high-profile terrorism investigation into Russian anarchists, brutal torture has been used to extract confessions from detainees.

Arman Sagynbayev. Source: personal archive. Since October 2017, 11 people have arrested as part of The Network case in Russia a terrorism investigation into anti-fascists and anarchists. According to investigators, these men were members of an organisation that planned to to provoke the further destabilisation of the political climate in the country during the Russian presidential elections and Football World Cup. Cells of the organisation were allegedly operating in Moscow, St Petersburg, Penza and Belarus.

Several of the men detained have reported being tortured into confessing to charges at the hands of the FSB. For example, software engineer Viktor Filinkov, who was abducted from St Petersburg Pulkovo airport in January 2018, describes in detail how he was tortured into learning a false confession in a minivan on the outskirts of the city.

Arman Sagynbayev, 26, was arrested as part of The Network case in St Petersburg in November 2017. Sagynbayev, who previously ran a vegan food business, recently withdrew his confession to the charges in court. He stated that he was forced to incriminate himself and others under torture. Russian media outlet MediaZona publishes a lawyers examination of Sagynbayev, and we translate his testimony here.


In November 2017, FSB operatives applied forbidden methods of investigation (torture) to me under the following conditions.

On 5 November 2017, at approximately six oclock in the morning, someone rang the bell at the apartment in [...] in St Petersburg where I was at that moment in time. I opened the door, as behind the door I was told that the district police officer was outside. As soon as I opened the door, at least four men burst into the room. They began shouting that they were from the FSB, placed a firearm (pistol) against my face, and then put me facing the wall, having handcuffed my hands behind my b...

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