Author: Justin Glyn

  • INTERNATIONAL

    No easy judgement in Syrian chemicals attack

    • Justin Glyn
    • 07 April 2017
    13 Comments

    The pictures coming out of Khan Sheikhoun are horrific. Children foaming at the mouth, some with terrible head wounds. No wonder the reaction of the world has been outrage. 'Assad must go' has been revived as a catchphrase in the West. We are right to be appalled. Yet several features about the reported sarin attack in Syria's Idlib Governorate should give pause in the current rush to judgment. Firstly, while you wouldn't know it from much of the media, the facts themselves are contested.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Obama built the foundations for Trump's Muslim ban

    • Justin Glyn
    • 02 February 2017
    9 Comments

    The right wingers who support stripping people of their visas, and separating families in the process, have a point when they say that the US government is not beginning a new persecution, but merely continuing and deepening the persecutions of their predecessors. While previous administrations were more subtle in their actions than Trump's, it is undoubtedly true that the nationals now picked for sanction were those who were already targeted for visa penalties in the Obama years.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Empathy for Russia after Trump's ascent

    • Justin Glyn
    • 15 November 2016
    6 Comments

    If a failure of empathy marks our understanding of internal politics, its effects are magnified, with even worse results, in the international arena. A classic example is Russia. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the west has failed to take Russian interests seriously. I endorse neither the present Russian government nor its point of view. However, knowing that the other side has a point of view and what it is is vital in avoiding miscalculations. You don't get a second chance with nuclear weapons.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Mosul and Aleppo: A tale of two sieges

    • Justin Glyn
    • 25 October 2016
    5 Comments

    This is a tale of two cities. Both are occupied by militants holding to an extremist reading of Islam which gives no space to other faiths or opposing voices. In both cases, the defenders are using civilians as human shields and preventing them from leaving in the breaks granted by the besieging forces. Both are under attack by the internationally recognised governments of the countries in which they are situated. In both cases, civilians are suffering. Yet the narratives in the west are wildly different.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Trump vs Clinton: Americans' unpalatable choice

    • Justin Glyn
    • 27 July 2016
    9 Comments

    As the US goes through its convention season, it is becoming increasingly clear that the choice is between someone spouting decidedly undemocratic and possibly fascist rhetoric and someone for whom democratic decision-making is, at best, something to be evaded with as little scrutiny as possible. Both parties are moneyed and both seek foreign scapegoats upon which to direct media attention. November is shaping up to provide a distinctly unpalatable choice.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A closer look at the AFP's shady Labor raid

    • Justin Glyn
    • 01 June 2016
    14 Comments

    It has puzzled me that the constitutional implications of the AFP's raid on the offices of the official opposition and one of its senators two weeks ago has not been explored in more detail. The uncomfortable fact is that the leaks about which NBN Co is complaining are not damaging because they relate to competition nor to national security, but because they expose cost overruns and reflect badly on the government of the day - the same government which holds all the shares in NBN Co.

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  • MEDIA

    Chilling and killing Duncan Storrar's free speech

    • Justin Glyn
    • 18 May 2016
    9 Comments

    To put it bluntly, this is the point at which the free speech argument, like the Ouroboros serpent of ancient myth, eats its own tail. While the newspapers claimed that they were exercising their rights to free speech in their daily articles against Storrar, the effect of their dragging his name and life through the mud was undoubtedly that any other member of the public who dared ask awkward questions of their rulers would think again.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Questions for sub happy Australia

    • Justin Glyn
    • 09 May 2016
    15 Comments

    If Australia knows who its enemies are, presumably these putative enemies have a fairly good idea who they are as well. How are they likely to respond to a purchase of submarines? By initiating military countermeasures? By exacting trade sanctions? By diplomatic reprisals? These questions are vital, not just for military planners but also for anyone who is likely to be affected by Australian foreign policy as well as those who want to know more generally how their tax dollars are to be spent.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Sniff the rot in Australia's wobbly democracy

    • Justin Glyn
    • 20 April 2016
    9 Comments

    Last week, a member of Parliament, Jenny Leong, allegedly faced racist and sexist abuse by police from at least four separate commands. This abuse was linked to her opposition (in accordance with her party's stated policy) to the use of drug sniffer dogs without a search warrant. Whether or not one agrees with Green party policy in this regard, the treatment of Leong ought to rankle. Such ill-treatment at the hands of the executive is, unfortunately, not an isolated phenomenon.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't fall for Humpty Dumpty politics

    • Justin Glyn
    • 11 April 2016
    10 Comments

    We got a lesson in the art of language from the Minister of Immigration, Peter Dutton, whose redefinition of the word 'detention' was reminiscent of Humpty Dumpty's remark in Alice Through the Looking Glass: 'When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.' We are social creatures who make real decisions based on the representations of others. Once we know we cannot expect the truth from each other, especially those who govern, society can no longer function.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    History of disability discrimination is present in Australia

    • Justin Glyn
    • 29 March 2016
    9 Comments

    People with disabilities have lived on society's margins since biblical times. In 1939, extending eugenics and sterilisation campaigns developed in the US in the early 20th century, Hitler authorised the vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens ('the destruction of lives unworthy of life'). Unfortunately, not only has discrimination not been eradicated but those of us with disabilities, much like indigenous people, the poor, refugees and others with limited voice in society, continue to be seen as soft touches.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Vacuous politics breeds vacuous politicians

    • Justin Glyn
    • 15 March 2016
    6 Comments

    The standard explanation for the rise of 'outsider' figures like Donald Drumpf in the US and Clive Palmer in Australia is that there is disillusion in democratic countries with 'politics as usual'. Neal Gabler has blamed the media for turning politics into celebrity theatre. While he has pinpointed the symptom, I suggest that he has it exactly the wrong way around. It is because politics has already been hollowed out to be a slanging match of personalities rather than ideas that vacuous celebrities can flourish.

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