Articles by The Independent

We found 292 results.


The Cost of War Must Be Measured by Human Tragedy, Not Artefacts
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 18 Mar 2013

What does heritage matter in the face of such tragic desolation? What is a child’s life worth against all the antiquities of Syria?

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John Kerry wants the Gulf to support the Syrian rebels. But which rebels? The soft, safe ones? Or those horrible, ‘terrorist’ Islamists?
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 11 Mar 2013

John Kerry has had a miserable time of it in the Gulf. He has to love them all – the kings and princes and emirs – and he needs their support against Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Because, of course, they are sending cash and weapons to the rebels. But which rebels? The soft, secular safe guys of the Free Syrian Army or the horrible ‘terrorist’ Islamists who are also fighting Assad and who, give and take a few thousands square yards, have just captured the Syrian provincial capital of Raqa?

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Alawite History Reveals the Complexities of Syria That West Does Not Understand
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 4 Mar 2013

Never once has a Western newspaper shown a map of Bradford with Muslim and non-Muslim areas marked off, or a map of Washington divided into black and white people. No, that would suggest that our Western civilisation could be divvied up between tribes or races. Only the Arab world merits our ethnic distinctions. The problem, of course, is that Syria – as secular and assimilated as any Arab nation before its current tragedy – doesn’t lend itself to this neat distribution of religious minorities.

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War on Terror Is the West’s New Religion
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 25 Feb 2013

But All the Crusading and Invading Simply Plays into Al-Qa’ida’s Hands – Just Ask the French

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From Algeria, a Lesson in How to Bypass Democracy
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 28 Jan 2013

Our Middle East Correspondent on the Bouteflika regime, Pentagon folly, the many faces of Assad, and precious lessons from an old handbook in his Beirut briefcase.

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Algeria, Mali, and Why This Week Has Looked Like an Obscene Remake of Earlier Western Interventions
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 21 Jan 2013

We are outraged not by the massacre of the innocents, but because the hostages killed were largely white, blue-eyed chaps rather than darker, brown-eyed chaps. Odd, isn’t it, how our “collateral damage” is different from their “collateral damage”.

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Could Saudi Arabia Be Next?
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 7 Jan 2013

Nobody can predict which way the ‘Arab Awakening’ will turn this year. But Robert Fisk has ventured a very tentative punt or two…

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Together the Voices of Reason and Care Can Bring Sexual Equality to an Ever More Draconian Uganda
Harjeet Johal – The Independent, 10 Dec 2012

Our writer, who saw an unlikely champion of gay rights fight for his beliefs in an African court, says that there are grounds for optimism in the battle for equality there.

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(Português) Uri Avnery: Fúria e Humor de um Pacifista Israelense
Robert Fisk, The Independent – Outras Palavras, 3 Dec 2012

Uri Avnery dispara: Netanyahu quer estado judeu do Mediterrâneo ao rio Jordão; mas isso levará a beco sem saída.

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The Latest War with Hamas Over Gaza Proves Benjamin Netanyahu Is Leading Israel into Isolation
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 3 Dec 2012

Israelis are congratulating themselves on the success of their Iron Dome missile shield. But across Israel these past years has fallen a different kind of iron dome, one that isolates the country rather than protects it, which shields its people from the realities of the Middle East, from Gaza and the West Bank and Lebanon and the rest of the Arab world.

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Why I Am No Longer a Zionist
Wayne Myers – The Independent, 3 Dec 2012

In this highly personal guest contribution, a British and Jewish blogger reflects on his youth membership of Zionist movements, the recent conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas, and how his relationship with faith changes as he gets older.

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Uri Avnery, One of Israel’s Great Leftist Warriors, Wants Peace With Hamas and Gaza – But Does the Knesset?
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 26 Nov 2012

Old [TRANSCEND member] Uri Avnery is 89 but he’s still a fighter. In fact, the famed writer is still one of the great old leftist warriors of Israel, still demanding peace with the Palestinians, peace with Hamas and a Palestinian state on the old ’67 borders – give or take a few square miles. He still believes Israel could have peace tomorrow or next week.

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As Israel and Hamas Open the ‘Gates of Hell’ in Gaza, All the Journalistic Clichés of War Are Here Again
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 26 Nov 2012

‘Surgical air strikes’, ‘rooting out terror’, and ‘cyber-terrorism’ cannot conceal reality. Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror. Here we go again. Israel is going to “root out Palestinian terror” – which it has been claiming to do, unsuccessfully, for 64 years – while Hamas, the latest in “Palestine’s” morbid militias, announces that Israel has “opened the gates of hell” by murdering its military leader, Ahmed al-Jabari.

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We Are All Israeli’s Now: Its Brutality, Unlike Syria’s, Is Fought in the Name of the West’s War on Terror
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 26 Nov 2012

Who set the precedent when it comes to “collateral damage”? The West did. We Westerners set the precedents in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq – trains, bridges, TV stations, wedding parties, blocks of civilian apartments, you name it – and now the Israelis can trot along behind and produce, whenever necessary, the same tired list of excuses we invented for NATO.

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(Portuguese) Israel Conspira Contra Si Mesmo
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 26 Nov 2012

Robert Fisk alerta: num Oriente Médio transformado, operação militar brutal de Telaviv ameaça, a médio prazo, própria existência do país.

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Are You Man Enough To Go Vegan?
Victoria Martindale – The Independent, 12 Nov 2012

As we enter World Vegan Month it’s time to reconsider the vegan stereotype. Admittedly, veganism has been given a bad name over the years, it’s very mention conjuring up images of pale hirsute hippies who zip about on their bikes to spread the love. I remember the only vegan on my course (and quite probably in the whole university) turned up at our graduation ball dressed in sackcloth and sandals.

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The Case of the Swedish Weapons in Syria
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 12 Nov 2012

How did warning flares from a small town near Gothenburg find their way into the weaponry of the anti-Assad resistance?

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Regardless of Whether Obama or Romney Wins, America’s Relations with the Arab World Will Change
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 5 Nov 2012

28 Oct 2012 – After last week’s Obama-Romney love-fest for Israel, the Arabs have been slowly deciding which of the two men would be best for the Middle East. It looks like Barack Obama is their man; but the problem – as always – is the sad, pathetic and outrageously obvious fact that it doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference.

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Iraq Records Huge Rise in Birth Defects
Sarah Morrison – The Independent, 22 Oct 2012

New study links increase with military action by Western forces. High rates of miscarriage, toxic levels of lead and mercury contamination and spiralling numbers of birth defects ranging from congenital heart defects to brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs have been recorded. Even more disturbingly, they appear to be occurring at an increasing rate in children born in Fallujah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad.

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Plucky Little Turkey Standing Up to Evil Syria? It’s Not as Simple as That
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 15 Oct 2012

The Long View: Turkey is funnelling weapons and armed men across the border into Syria. When it comes to international law, to moral compromise, to sheer hypocrisy, the Western powers take the biscuit. La Clinton raves on about Syrian depravity when Syrian shells slaughter a Turkish woman and her four children – which they did – but gives succour to the gunmen who torture and kill and suicide-bomb the regime’s supporters inside Syria.

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Benjamin Netanyahu’s Warning Reveals His Moments of Memory Loss
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 1 Oct 2012

Not since the last set of cartoons flourished in the UN Donkey House has the world been so gobsmacked.

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Drug Giants Fined $11bn for Criminal Wrongdoing
Jeremy Laurance – The Independent, 24 Sep 2012

Fines Are Not Enough to Reform Drug Industry, Warn Lawyers – The global pharmaceutical industry has racked up fines of more than $11bn in the past three years for criminal wrongdoing, including withholding safety data and promoting drugs for use beyond their licensed conditions. In all, 26 companies, including eight of the 10 top players in the global industry, have been found to be acting dishonestly.

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Al-Qa’ida Cashes In As the Scorpion Gets In Among the Good Guys
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 24 Sep 2012

The United States supported the opposition against Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi, helped Saudi Arabia and Qatar pour cash and weapons to the militias and now America’s Libyan “friends” turned against them. The US had fed the al-Qa’ida scorpion and now it had bitten America. And so Washington now supports the opposition against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was helping Saudi Arabia and Qatar pour cash and weapons to the militias (including Salafists and al-Qa’ida) and would, inevitably, be bitten by the same “scorpion” if Assad was overthrown.

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The Provocateurs Know Politics and Religion Don’t Mix
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 17 Sep 2012

So another internet clever-clogs sets the Middle East on fire: Prophet cartoons, then Koranic book-burning, now a video of robed “terrorists” and a fake desert. The Western-Christian perpetrators then go into hiding (an essential requisite for publicity) while the innocent are asphyxiated, beheaded and otherwise done to death – outrageous Muslim revenge thus “proving” the racist claims of the trash peddlers that Islam is a violent religion.

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What’s So Scary About a Vegetarian Future?
Dr Victoria Martindale – The Independent, 17 Sep 2012

Scientists predict that global diets will need to change dramatically within the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic food shortages. That almighty bastion of meat culture, McDonalds, has taken heed and spearheaded plans to open vegetarian restaurants in India. OK, McDonalds’s may well be crappy junk food but there will always be people who eat it and at least now it will be crappy vegetarian junk food. And as Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut follow its example people will soon be eating vegetarian crap everywhere. But hey, whether it’s a Maccy D’s veggie burger, artificial meat grown in a lab or local seasonal vegetables – it’s got to be good news.

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The Forgotten Massacre
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 17 Sep 2012

Thirty years after 1,700 Palestinians were killed at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps, Robert Fisk revisits the killing fields. The memories remain, of course.

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Hundreds of Refugees Sent Back to Sri Lanka to Face Torture
Jerome Taylor – The Independent, 17 Sep 2012

14 Sep 2012 – The Government is planning to forcibly remove hundreds of Sri Lankan asylum seekers next week despite mounting evidence that many are tortured on their return. The Independent has learnt that the Border and Immigration Agency has commissioned as many as three separate charter flights to remove more than 300 people next week. Returning Tamils would find themselves interrogated and tortured for information.

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Barclays Makes £500m Betting On Food Crisis
Tom Bawden – The Independent, 10 Sep 2012

Barclays has made as much as half a billion pounds in two years from speculating on food staples, prompting allegations that banks are profiting handsomely from the global food crisis. Barclays is the UK bank with the greatest involvement in food commodity trading and is one of the three biggest global players, along with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

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Inside Daraya – How a Failed Prisoner Swap Turned Into a Massacre
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 3 Sep 2012

If these stories are true, then the armed men – wearing hoods, according to another woman, who described how they broke into her home and how she kissed them in a fearful attempt to prevent them shooting her own family – were armed insurgents rather than Syrian troops.

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‘They Snipe At Us Then Run and Hide In Sewers’
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 27 Aug 2012

Our writer was given exclusive access to the Assad Generals accused of war crimes as they seek to defeat the rebels in Aleppo. “They snipe at us and then they run and hide and in the sewers. Foreigners, Turks, Chechens, Afghans, Libyans, Sudanese.” And Syrians, I said. “Yes, Syrians too, but smugglers and criminals,” the general said.

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We’ll Make A Killing Out of Food Crisis, Glencore Trading Boss Chris Mahoney Boasts
James Cusick – The Independent, 27 Aug 2012

Drought is good for business, says world’s largest commodities trading company.

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Syria’s Ancient Treasures Pulverized
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 13 Aug 2012

The priceless treasures of Syria’s history – of Crusader castles, ancient mosques and churches, Roman mosaics, the renowned “Dead Cities” of the north and museums stuffed with antiquities – have fallen prey to looters and destruction by armed rebels and government militias as fighting envelops the country.

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(Portuguese) Guerra de Mentiras
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 6 Aug 2012

Enquanto Qatar e Arábia Saudita armam e financiam os rebeldes sírios para derrubar a ditadura alauíta-baazista-xiíta de Bashar al-Assad, Washington não faz nenhuma crítica contra essas nações. O presidente Barack Obama e a sua secretária de Estado, Hillary Clinton, dizem que querem democracia para a Síria, mas o Qatar é uma autocracia, e a Arábia Saudita está entre os mais perniciosos califados ditatoriais do mundo árabe. Os governantes de ambos os Estados herdam o poder de suas famílias, assim como fez Bashar.

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Syrian War of Lies and Hypocrisy
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 6 Aug 2012

While Qatar and Saudi Arabia arm and fund the rebels of Syria to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite/Shia-Baathist dictatorship, Washington mutters not a word of criticism against them. President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, say they want a democracy in Syria. But Qatar is an autocracy and Saudi Arabia is among the most pernicious of caliphate-kingly-dictatorships in the Arab world. Rulers of both states inherit power from their families – just as Bashar has done – and Saudi Arabia is an ally of the Salafist-Wahabi rebels in Syria, just as it was the most fervent supporter of the medieval Taliban during Afghanistan’s dark ages.

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UK: Now the Army Is Giving the Orders
Kim Sengupta & Nigel Morris – The Independent, 23 Jul 2012

As foreign athletes start to arrive, military sends officers to tackle security shambles. Army chiefs have been dispatched to the headquarters of G4S to take a more active role in controlling security for the London Olympics, The Independent has learnt, following the company’s failure to fulfil its £250m contract to guard the Games.

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How Julian Assange’s Private Life Helped Conceal the Real Triumph of WikiLeaks
Patrick Cockburn – The Independent, 9 Jul 2012

Without the access to the US secret cables, the world would have no insight into how their governments behave. As Julian Assange evades arrest by taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy to escape extradition to Sweden, and possibly the US, British commentators have targeted him with shrill abuse. They almost froth with rage as they cite petty examples of his supposed gaucheness, egotism and appearance, as if these were criminal faults.

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Joseph Stiglitz: ‘Jail the Bankers’
Ben Chu – The Independent, 9 Jul 2012

The Barclays Libor scandal may have shocked the British public, but Nobel Economics Laureate Joseph Stiglitz saw it coming decades ago. And he’s convinced that jailing bankers is the best way to curb market abuses. A towering genius of economics, Stiglitz wrote a series of papers in the 1970s and 1980s explaining how when some individuals have access to privileged knowledge that others don’t, free markets yield bad outcomes for wider society.

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Julian Assange Loses Appeal against Extradition to Sweden
John Aston & Cathy Gordon – The Independent, 19 Jun 2012

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has failed in his bid to reopen his appeal against extradition to Sweden where he faces sex crime allegations. The announcement was made today [14 Jun 2012] by the Supreme Court.

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The Children of Fallujah – The Hospital of Horrors
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 30 Apr 2012

Special Report day two: Stillbirths, disabilities, deformities too distressing to describe – what lies behind the torments in Fallujah General Hospital? In al-Hadidi’s office, there are now photographs which defy words. How can you even begin to describe a dead baby with just one leg and a head four times the size of its body?

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This Is Politics Not Sport. If Drivers Can’t See That, They Are the Pits
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 23 Apr 2012

Supposing it was Assad shelling out £40m for a race. Would Ecclestone be happy to give him a soft sporting cover for his repression? When the Foreign Office urges British motor racing fans to stay away from Bahrain, this ain’t no sporting event, folks, it’s a political one. The Bahraini authorities prove it by welcoming sports reporters but refusing visas to other correspondents who want to tell the world what’s going on in this minority-run, Saudi-dominated kingdom.

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Man Whose WMD Lies Led To 100,000 Deaths Confesses All
Jonathan Owen – The Independent, 2 Apr 2012

A man whose lies helped to make the case for invading Iraq – starting a nine-year war costing more than 100,000 lives and hundreds of billions of pounds – will come clean in his first British television interview tomorrow [2 April 2012]. “Curveball”, the Iraqi defector who fabricated claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, smiles as he confirms how he made the whole thing up.

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Don’t Expect Morality from a Faceless Behemoth That Exists Purely For Profit
Alex Preston – The Independent, 19 Mar 2012

A Rolling Stone article about Goldman Sachs published in 2010 described the former investment bank as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”. While Rolling Stone wins plaudits for the striking metaphor, Smith’s letter will do more damage. It is the geeky earnestness, the sense of a good man pushed over the edge by a “toxic and destructive” working environment…

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Madness Is Not the Reason for This Massacre
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 19 Mar 2012

I’m getting a bit tired of the “deranged” soldier story. It was predictable, of course. The 38-year-old staff sergeant who massacred 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, near Kandahar this week had no sooner returned to base than the defence experts and the think-tank boys and girls announced that he was “deranged”. Not an evil, wicked, mindless terrorist – which he would be, of course, if he had been an Afghan, especially a Taliban – but merely a guy who went crazy.

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The Heroic Myth and the Uncomfortable Truth of War Reporting
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 5 Mar 2012

Like other correspondents, Robert Fisk has risked his life to ‘witness history’. But after almost four decades, he feels ambivalent towards his profession. – “Funny, though, that the newsrooms of London and Washington didn’t have quite the same enthusiasm to get their folk into Gaza as they did to get them into Homs. Just a thought. A very unhappy one.”

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The Fearful Realities Keeping the Assad Regime in Power
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 5 Mar 2012

Once a Roman city, where the crusaders committed their first act of cannibalism – eating their dead Muslim opponents – Homs was captured by Saladin in 1174. Under post-First World War French rule, the settlement became a centre of insurrection and, after independence, the very kernel of Baathist resistance to the first Syrian governments. By early 1964, there were battles in Homs between Sunnis and Alawi Shia. A year later, the young Baathist army commander of Homs, Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Tlas, was arresting his pro-regime comrades. Is the city’s history becoming a little clearer now?

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The Demise of the Dollar
Robert Fisk - The Independent, 30 Jan 2012

In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading. Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars. Bankers remember, of course, what happened to the last Middle East oil producer to sell its oil in euros rather than dollars. A few months after Saddam Hussein trumpeted his decision, the Americans and British invaded Iraq.

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Doctors Sued For Creating ‘Valium Addicts’
Nina Lakhani – The Independent, 9 Jan 2012

Patients Take Legal Action After Being Damaged By Over-Prescription of Drugs – Doctors are being sued for creating prescription drug addicts amid claims they have failed to follow safety guidelines published more than 20 years ago. Lawyers and medical experts have reported an increase in clinical negligence cases by patients left physically and psychologically broken by “indefensible” long-term prescribing of addictive tranquillisers such as Valium, collectively known as benzodiazepines.

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US Tells Scientists to Censor Flu Research
Steve Connor – The Independent, 26 Dec 2011

The United States Government has taken the unprecedented step of asking scientists to censor key parts of their work describing how they managed to mutate the H5N1 bird flu virus into a strain that could be highly infectious and deadly to humans.

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Bankers Are the Dictators of the West
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 19 Dec 2011

It seems to me that the reporting of the collapse of capitalism has reached a new low which even the Middle East cannot surpass for sheer unadulterated obedience to the very institutions and Harvard “experts” who have helped to bring about the whole criminal disaster.

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Sanctions Are Only a Small Part of the History That Makes Iranians Hate the UK
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 5 Dec 2011

It’s a weird irony that Iranians know the history of Anglo-Persian relations better than the Brits. This was not a myth but a real, down-to-earth conspiracy. The CIA called it Operation Ajax; the Brits wisely kept their ambitions in check by calling it Operation Boot. They were successful. Mossadegh was arrested – by an officer assiduously done to death in the 1979 revolution – and the young Shah returned in triumph to impose his rule, reinforced by his faithful SAVAK secret police whose torture of women regime opponents was duly filmed and – according to the great Egyptian journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal – circulated by CIA officers to America’s allies around the world as a “teaching” manual. How dare the Iranians remember all this?

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Unmanned Technology Takes Off for the Weapons Industry
Chris Woods, Emma Slater – The Independent, 5 Dec 2011

High-ranking military officers and their aides mingled with salesmen and potential customers at the 11th annual drones conference. Some had paid as much as £3,000 to attend Unmanned Aircraft Systems 2011, a two-day event that opened on 16 November in a plush hotel in Kensington, west London.

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Less Healthcare, But Greece Is Still Buying Guns
Roxane McMeeken - The Independent, 14 Nov 2011

The small, crisis-hit nation, buys more German weapons than any other country. Some Greeks want to know why it is that France and Germany are demanding cuts in pensions, salaries and public services, but the buying of arms is allowed to continue unabated.

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In The Bullrings of Portugal, the Horse Is the Star of the Show
The Independent – TRANSCEND Media Service, 24 Oct 2011

Bullfighting might have been banned in Barcelona, but it is still part of life in Lisbon. Adrian Mourby stayed at a hotel where guests are invited to meet the men behind this controversial spectacle.

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Why the Middle East Will Never Be the Same Again
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 26 Sep 2011

The Palestinians won’t achieve statehood, but they will consign the ‘peace process’ to history. The US has lost its purchase on the Middle East. It’s over: the “peace process”, the “road map”, the “Oslo agreement”; the whole fandango is history.

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In The Line of Fire: A Date with Despots at Britain’s Arms Fair
Tom Peck – The Independent, 19 Sep 2011

As London invites dictators to the world’s biggest weapons expo, Tom Peck finds out how easy it is to assemble a hi-tech arsenal. The 65 national delegations asked to buy weapons in London include 14 regimes defined as “authoritarian” by human rights groups, who have highlighted the use of British arms in suppressing opposition movements in the Middle East. “Securing Nations Around The World” is the slogan of AeroVironment Inc, a company which produces “unmanned aircraft systems”. It is not hard to spot the VIPs. They mostly wear military uniform, with big red badges saying “delegate”, and wander in packs. Those from Ukraine seem particularly intimidating.

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Men Rescued From Squalid Forced Labour Camp Refuse to Help Police
Jerome Taylor – The Independent, 19 Sep 2011

Nine “modern day slaves” who were freed by police over the weekend have refused to co-operate with the investigation in one of the worst cases of forced labour in modern British history. Experts said it was often common for victims to empathise with their abusers. “We can’t prejudge what has happened here,” said Paul Donohoe, of Anti-Slavery International. “But you do find sometimes that institutionalisation… creates a situation where captives psychologically identify with their captors.”

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For 10 Years, We’ve Lied to Ourselves to Avoid Asking the One Real Question
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 12 Sep 2011

I’m talking about the volumes, the libraries – nay, the very halls of literature – which the international crimes against humanity of 11 September 2001 have spawned. Many are spavined with pseudo-patriotism and self-regard, others rotten with the hopeless mythology of CIA/Mossad culprits, a few (from the Muslim world, alas) even referring to the killers as “boys”, almost all avoiding the one thing which any cop looks for after a street crime: the motive.

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Baha Mousa inquiry: It’s Not the Brutality That Is ‘Systematic’. It’s the Lying About It.
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 12 Sep 2011

It was Baha Mousa’s dad I will always remember. On an oppressively scorching day in Basra, Daoud Mousa first spoke of his son’s death, telling me how the boy’s wife had died of cancer just six months earlier, how Baha’s children were now orphans, how – not long after the British Army had arrested Baha Mousa and beaten him to death, for that is what happened – a British officer had come to his home and stared at the floor and offered cash by way of saying sorry.

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‘In Defence of Anarchy’
Boff Whalley – The Independent, 15 Aug 2011

It’s the catch-all term that’s being used to describe this week’s riots. But is this really anarchy? Not even close, says Chumbawumba’s Boff Whalley, a self-professed anarchist. Anarchism, anarchy, they’re only words; but they’re my words, they’re our words. No manner of headlines will take them away from us. As Johnny Rotten once said: “I am an anarchist.”

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Rio de Janeiro: The Most Gay Friendly Destination in the World?
Nicole Froio – The Independent, 1 Aug 2011

The authorities in Rio de Janeiro are aiming turn the city into the most gay friendly destination in the world. The government is launching innovative projects to attract this profitable branch of tourism – but is Rio really ready to be transformed into a gay vacation paradise?

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Why I Had To Leave The Times
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 18 Jul 2011

When he worked at The Times, Robert Fisk witnessed the curious working practices of the paper’s proprietor, Rupert Murdoch. Despite their jocular exchanges, the writer knew he couldn’t stay… “He is a caliph, I suppose, almost of the Middle Eastern variety.”

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European Leaders Rail against ‘Oligopoly’ of Rating Agencies
Stephen Foley in New York – The Independent, 11 Jul 2011

Like a conscientious pupil waiting for grades from the teacher, every government wants straight As from the credit rating agencies. A rating is simply a measure of how likely it is that an investor who lends money to a government (by buying its bonds) will get their money back and the interest they were promised. At the top end of the scale, AAA, or triple-A, means there is practically no chance of a default. Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch and a handful of smaller rivals all calculate probabilities to place bonds on a sliding scale that heads down through A- and BBB+ to B-. Below a certain cut off point in the Bs, bonds become “junk” – off limits to all but the most speculative investors.

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A Newspaper’s Closure Does Not End the Hacking Scandal
The Independent, Editorial – TRANSCEND Media Service, 11 Jul 2011

The management team that repeatedly covered up evidence of wrongdoing remains in place. Even in the depths of a crisis, Rupert Murdoch’s flair for the dramatic never deserts him. No – the sound that could be heard yesterday [7 Jul 2011] was not of an empire crumbling, but an empire attempting to shore up its defences and protect its key personnel. The purpose of this move is to prevent the rest of the sprawling Murdoch media organisation from contamination.

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The Hidden History of Homosexuality in the US
Johann Hari – The Independent, 27 Jun 2011

The point of the gay-rights struggle is to show that homosexuality is a trivial and meaningless difference. Gay people want what straight people want. I am the same as my heterosexual siblings in all meaningful ways, so I should be treated the same under the law, and accorded all public rights and responsibilities. The ultimate goal of the gay-rights movement is to make homosexuality as uninteresting – and unworthy of comment – as left-handedness.

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UK: Victory in the Campaign to Ban Circus Animals
Martin Hickman – The Independent, 27 Jun 2011

MPs voted to ban wild animals in circuses last night [23 Jun 2011] after David Cameron’s attempts to bully Conservative backbenchers into voting against the measure backfired and ended in a humiliating public defeat. In a decision hailed by campaigners as an “historic victory for animal welfare and protection”, MPs of all parties unanimously backed a ban and the Government signalled that it would introduce one, ending forever the days of lions, tigers, elephants and other wild animals in the big top.

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Cheap Meat, MRSA and Deadly Greed
Johann Hari – The Independent, 20 Jun 2011

In the United States, Latin America, and Asia, animals being farmed for meat and milk are being automatically given antibiotics in their food all day – irrespective of whether they are healthy or sick. It’s like slathering your child’s Cornflakes with antibiotics, all year round. Some 80 per cent of all antibiotics in the US go straight into farm animals. This speeds up the race massively. It’s like taking bacteria to the gym and giving them a constant work-out – and then unleashing them on the rest of us.

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Does Portugal Have the Solution to Our Drug Epidemic?
The Independent, Ireland – TRANSCEND Media Service, 20 Jun 2011

In 2001 Portugal became the first country in the EU to decriminalise drug use. The leader of the country’s People’s Party, Paulo Portas, said plane-loads of foreign students would head for the Algarve for “sun, beaches and any drug you like”. Yet, 10 years on, Portugal’s drug policy is being held up as the model for other countries to follow. Rather than criminalising people found in possession of drugs, they are sent to a “dissuasion commission” for treatment and the results have been spectacular.

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Bit of [belated] Friendly Advice, Portugal
The Independent – TRANSCEND Media Service, 13 Jun 2011

Dear Portugal, this is Ireland here. I know we don’t know each other very well, though I hear some of our developers are down with you riding out the recession. They could be there for a while. Anyway, I don’t mean to intrude but I’ve been reading about you in the papers and it strikes me that I might be able to offer you a bit of advice on where you are at and what lies ahead. As the joke now goes, what’s the difference between Portugal and Ireland? Five letters and six months.

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Oxfam: Hunger Will Strike
The Independent – TRANSCEND Media Service, 6 Jun 2011

The charity warns that we will be unable to feed the world by 2050. Is it politics, global warming or greed that has got us here? And, asks Sean O’Grady, why aren’t we changing our behaviour to ensure a safer future?

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World’s Food System Broken
Cahal Milmo, Chief Reporter – The Independent, 6 Jun 2011

Doubling of prices and 70 per cent rise in demand means millions more will go hungry.

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It’s Not Just Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The IMF Itself Should Be On Trial
Johann Hari – The Independent, 6 Jun 2011

Imagine a prominent figure was charged, not with raping a hotel maid, but with starving her, and her family, to death. Sometimes, the most revealing aspect of the shrieking babble of the 24/7 news agenda is the silence. Often the most important facts are hiding beneath the noise, unmentioned and undiscussed. If Strauss-Kahn is guilty, I suspect I know how it happened. He must have mistaken the maid for a poor country in financial trouble. Heads of the IMF have, after all, been allowed to rape them with impunity for years.

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A Report That Dares to Tell the Truth to Power
The Independent, Editorial – TRANSCEND Media Service, 6 Jun 2011

Global commissions normally tell international leaders what they want to hear. But the Global Commission on Drug Policy – which has called on the services of distinguished names such Paul Volcker, Kofi Annan, Mario Vargas Llosa and Javier Solana – has done something very different. Instead of telling world leaders what they want to hear, the commission has, instead, told them the truth.

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Who Cares in the Middle East What Obama Says?
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 6 Jun 2011

President Obama has shown himself to be weak in his dealings with the Middle East, says Robert Fisk, and the Arab world is turning its back with contempt. Its future will be shaped without American influence.

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Brazil: £10bn Amazonian Dam Approved
Reuters – The Independent, 6 Jun 2011

Brazil’s environment agency gave definitive approval yesterday [1 Jun 2011] for construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, a controversial $17bn (£10.3bn) project in the Amazon that has been criticised by native Indians and conservationists. Critics of the dam include singer Sting, Hollywood director James Cameron and environmental group Greenpeace. The 3.75-mile dam will displace 30,000 river dwellers, partially dry up a 62-mile stretch of the Xingu river, and flood large areas of forest and grass land.

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Australian Cattle Trade Halted Over ‘Cruelty’
AP – The Independent, 6 Jun 2011

The Australian government has suspended live cattle exports to 11 Indonesian abattoirs featured in a television programme showing steers being whipped and taking minutes to bleed to death.

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Slash and Burn: Brazil Shreds Laws Protecting Its Rainforests
Guy Adams – The Independent, 30 May 2011

The new bill relaxes laws on the deforestation of hilltops and the amount of vegetation farmers must preserve. Partial amnesties will also be offered for previous fines.

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UN Claims Canberra Has Racist Policies
Reuters – The Independent, 30 May 2011

The United Nations top human rights envoy attacked Australia’s tough refugee policies and the treatment of outback Aborigines yesterday, saying there was a strong undercurrent of racism in the country. Long-standing policies of locking up asylum-seekers had “cast a shadow over Australia’s human rights record”, and appeared to be completely arbitrary, said Navi Pillay, the UN Human Rights Commissioner.

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A Turning-Point We Miss at Our Peril
Johann Hari – The Independent, 30 May 2011

We have the choice of burning all the oil left and hacking down all the remaining rainforests – or saving humanity.

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Lots of Rhetoric – But Very Little Help: Obama’s Speech
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 23 May 2011

Well, this weekend is Netanyahu’s weekend and the Israeli settlements – more were flagged only hours before Obama spoke – will go on as before. And by the time Obama ends up swearing eternal loyalty to the Israelis, the Arabs will forget yesterday’s posturing. And the reference to the “Jewish state” was obviously intended to make Netanyahu happy.

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Why No Outcry over These Torturing Tyrants?
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 23 May 2011

It is all about our fear of Saudi Arabia. Which also means it is about oil. It is about our absolute refusal to remember that 9/11 was committed largely by Saudis. It is about our refusal to remember that Saudi Arabia supported the Taliban, that Bin Laden was a Saudi, that the most cruel version of Islam comes from Saudi Arabia, the land of head-choppers and hand-cutters. Yes, our other friends. The Saudis.

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Tragedy Is Ignored Because the Victims Are Not White
Jerome Taylor – The Independent, 16 May 2011

The Italian and Maltese coastguards were working around the clock to try rescuing those vessels they knew to be in distress. One rescue official I spoke to told me how even heavily pregnant women were arriving on the boats. One had given birth on the way over. Although some dramatic rescues take place, many more boats simply sink in an ocean that is teeming with European vessels providing support for the NATO-led assault on Libya.

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Samoa Skips From Last to First Country to See the Sun
Kathy Marks, Asia-Pacific Correspondent – The Independent, 16 May 2011

For visitors, the highlight of a trip to Samoa has always been the opportunity to stand on a rocky promontory at Cape Mulinu’u, the westernmost point of the planet, and – with the International Dateline only 20 miles away – to gaze into tomorrow. Once the changes take effect, visitors to the Samoan islands will be able to experience the same day twice, by flying between Samoa and American Samoa, just one hour apart. “You can have two birthdays, two weddings and two wedding anniversaries on the same date – on separate days … without leaving the Samoan chain,” Mr Tuilaepa said.

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Was He Betrayed? Of Course. Pakistan Knew bin Laden’s Hiding Place All Along
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 9 May 2011

I met the man [bin Laden] three times and have only one question left unasked: what did he think as he watched those revolutions unfold this year – under the flags of nations rather than Islam, Christians and Muslims together, the kind of people his own al-Qa’ida men were happy to butcher? While the Arab dictators ruled uncontested with our support, they largely avoided condemning American policy; only bin Laden said these things. Arabs never wanted to fly planes into tall buildings, but they did admire a man who said what they wanted to say. But now, increasingly, they can say these things. They don’t need bin Laden. He had become a nonentity.

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An Opportunity for Peace That Must Not Be Squandered
The Independent, Editorial – TRANSCEND Media Service, 2 May 2011

The EU made a serious mistake five years ago when it refused to recognise Hamas.

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US, EU & Media’s Complicity in Crimes against Humanity: Bahrain’s Secret Terror
Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor – The Independent, 2 May 2011

Desperate emails speak of ‘genocide’ as doctors who have treated injured protesters are rounded up. The intimidation and detention of doctors treating dying and injured pro-democracy protesters in Bahrain is revealed today [21 Apr 2011] in a series of chilling emails obtained by The Independent.

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How the Wheels of This Misadventure Were Oiled
The Independent, Editorial – TRANSCEND Media Service, 25 Apr 2011

Tony Blair has always maintained that Iraq’s oil reserves did not cross his mind in the run-up to the 2003 invasion. But Iraq’s abundant oil supplies had certainly crossed the minds of the British energy giant BP. As this newspaper reported yesterday [19 Apr 2011], documents reveal that the oil company discussed Iraq’s fossil fuel reserves in considerable detail with government officials in late 2002.

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Fukushima: Openness Can Be the Only Policy
The Independent, Editorial – TRANSCEND Media Service, 18 Apr 2011

Panic and nuclear technology go together. But that does not mean the nuclear authorities in Japan, as elsewhere in the world, should withhold information. It means the opposite. The more educated public opinion becomes, the less purchase alarmist scares and inaccurate comparisons will have. Honesty and openness is the best long-term strategy for the nuclear industry if it is to stand any chance of playing a major part in meeting the world’s future energy needs.

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Europe Has an Obligation to These Desperate African Refugees
The Independent, Editorial – TRANSCEND Media Service, 21 Mar 2011

If Italy needs assistance to deal with migration flows, other EU states should provide it. Fortress Europe has closed its gates.

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Cambodia: Compromise Offer on US ‘Dirty Debt’
Reuters – The Independent, 21 Mar 2011

Cambodia has offered to repay 30 per cent of the debt owed to the US, as a “compromise” over money which it says was used by a pro-American government in the 1970s to repress its own people.

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Satellite Images Reveal True Scale of Japan’s Devastation
The Independent – TRANSCEND Media Service, 14 Mar 2011

While reports and pictures from on the ground in Japan reveal the human side of the tragedy the tsunami has caused, these before-and-after aerial photographs indicate the sheer scale of devastation that was unleashed upon towns and villages up and down the country’s eastern coast.

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Decline of Honey Bees Now a Global Phenomenon, Says United Nations
Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor – The Independent, 14 Mar 2011

The mysterious collapse of honey-bee colonies is becoming a global phenomenon, scientists working for the United Nations have revealed.

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How Lukashenko’s Soviet-Style Regime Maintains Its Iron Grip
Jerome Taylor – The Independent, 14 Mar 2011

Alexander Lukashenko rules Europe’s last dictatorship with a vice-like grip that has tolerated little opposition for the past 16 years. When democratic revolutions swept through the former Soviet republics of Eastern Europe in the early 1990s, Belarus steadfastly took a different path. In many ways the country mimicked the Soviets states of central Asia, where local strongmen seized power and crushed any democratic opposition to create brutal police states dominated by bizarre personality cults.

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America’s Secret Plan to Arm Libya’s Rebels
Robert Fisk, Middle East Correspondent – The Independent, 7 Mar 2011

Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi.

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[UK] Cameron Defends Arms Sales in Push for Growth
Andrew Grice, Political Editor – The Independent, 7 Mar 2011

David Cameron declared yesterday [6 Mar 2011] that enterprise was morally right and defended his controversial campaign to sell British-made arms to regimes around the world with poor records on democracy and human rights.

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Chevron’s Dirty Fight in Ecuador
Guy Adams – The Independent, 21 Feb 2011

The giant oil corporation has been fined $8.6bn for an environmental disaster that has been called ‘the Amazon’s Chernobyl’. But guess what? It may end up paying nothing.

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Mohamed Heikal: ‘I was sure my country would explode. But the young are wiser than us’
Robert Fisk – The Independent, 21 Feb 2011

The old man’s voice is scathing, his mind like a razor, that of a veteran fighter, writer, sage, perhaps the most important living witness and historian of modern Egypt, turning on the sins of the regime that tried to shut him up forever. “Mubarak betrayed the republican spirit – and then he wanted to continue through his son Gamal,” he says, finger pointed to heaven. “It was a project, not an idea; it was a plan. The last 10 years of the life of this country were wasted because of this question, because of the search for inheritance – as if Egypt was Syria, or Papa Doc and Baby Doc in Haiti.”

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The US Bank and the Secret Plan to Destroy WikiLeaks
Jerome Taylor – The Independent, 21 Feb 2011

The computer hackers’ collective Anonymous has uncovered a proposal by a consortium of private contractors to attack and discredit WikiLeaks. Last week Anonymous volunteers broke into the servers of HB Gary Federal, a security company that sells investigative services to companies, and posted thousands of the firm’s emails on to the internet.

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Japan Forced to Halt Whaling in Antarctic As Activists Claim Victory
David McNeill in Tokyo – The Independent, 21 Feb 2011

The US-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which has been stalking the whaling fleet with their own vessels, claimed that the Japanese ships had managed to harpoon just 30 whales, a fraction of their 945 target. “We’ve shut them down basically,” Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson told The Independent by satellite from aboard the MY Steve Irwin. “It’s silly to say they’ve suspended the hunt. We suspended them.”

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Catastrophic Drought in the Amazon
Steve Connor, Science Editor – The Independent, 7 Feb 2011

Region Set to Outstrip US as CO2 Emitter

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Pesticide Linked to Bee Deaths Should Be Suspended, MPs Told
Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor and Josephine Forster – The Independent, 31 Jan 2011

A new generation of pesticides is implicated in the widespread deaths of bees and other pollinators and should be suspended in Britain while the Government reviews new scientific evidence about their effects, MPs were told yesterday [26 Jan 2011]. Neonicotinoid pesticides are linked by “a growing weight of science” to insect losses, and the assessment regimes for them are inadequate, the Labour MP Martin Caton told the House of Commons.

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