Democracy

We, the undersigned parties and organisations in the Asia region, condemn the moves by the United States government to impose sanctions on Venezuelan citizens it deems to have “abused human rights”. The US House of Representatives’ May 28 vote for such sanctions is a violation of the right of all nations to sovereignty and self-determination.
Tony Blair was branded a “demented warmonger” on June 15 after the slippery former prime minister tried to rescue his reputation from the embers of the Iraq conflict. Blair argued in a long essay published on his website that Iraq would be a much worse place today if he had not ordered British troops to invade the country. He added that the ongoing occupation of Mosul by jihadist organisation Isis could have been prevented with British intervention in the Syrian civil war.
More than a decade after the most contested military intervention of modern times, the fall of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, to Islamic fundamentalists ISIS, underlines the disastrous consequences of the Bush-Blair war in Iraq. As Iraq disintegrates, Barack Obama's statement that he doesn't rule out anything in dealing with the crisis, shows how little he recognises US and Western responsibility for the chaos now spreading across the region. It beggars belief that there are still voices calling for bombing or more intervention to deal with "a terrorist threat".
Since the Obama administration arranged for the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the last US prisoner of war held by the Taliban in Afghanistan, there has been a firestorm of outrage from the right wings of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Bergdahl has been pilloried as a traitor. His father has been denounced as a Muslim. Senators called for him to be court-martialed and thrown into the military stockade. What is Bergdahl’s crime? While deployed in Afghanistan, he became disillusioned with the war and said so in emails to his family.
In a May 19 article on US government spying for The Intercept, Ryan Devereaux, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras publish leaked documents that show the US government may have used the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to aid National Security Agency (NSA) spying on US citizens and non-citizens in foreign countries. The leaked documents refer to “a vibrant two-way information sharing relationship” between the two intelligence agencies, implying that the DEA shares its information with the NSA to aid with non-drug-related spying.
An old truism says that in periods of crisis, politics speeds up. That is being strikingly confirmed in the Spanish state after the June 2 abdication of King Juan Carlos. So too is its corollary ― that institutions that seemed solid and long-lasting suddenly look out-of-date and fragile.
“The Gezi Resistance is the biggest popular uprising in modern Turkish history,” said long-time socialist activist Nuray Sancar. “It smashed the fear we have been living with since the military coup in 1980.” It has now been a year since the Gezi Resistance started with a handful of people protecting trees in Gezi Park in Istanbul's Taksim Square in June last year. Protests spread to 79 cities across Turkey in the next few months.
It was obvious from the start that the aims of Thailand's military junta, which seized power last month, were not about a sincere attempt to restore peace between the two opposing sides in Thailand’s political crisis. How could it be when the military were part of those who wanted to pull down the democratic system from the start? The military staged an earlier coup in 2006, wrote a new, less democratic constitution, and appointed half the senate and most of the members of so-called independent bodies.
It is understandable that Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff has come out swinging. Given that strikes, land occupations and protests are ripping out across the country in advance of the World Cup; given that a Pew Research Poll found 67% of the country is dissatisfied with her handling of the tournament organising; and given that Rousseff faces an election later this year, she is fed up and ready to play the conspiracy card about the turmoil gripping the country.

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