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Falling Arab dictatorships and Israeli government panic

The walls are crumbling. The walls behind which dictators indulge in decadent opulence while "their" people are mired in wretched circumstance. The walls behind which "leaders" secretly sell -- for personal gain -- the rights of the people they claim to represent.

Across North Africa and the Middle East, across the Arab world, for decades dictatorship and deepening corruption, firmly supported by imperial powers, seemed beyond challenge. Today, once "stable" regimes are now facing a popular reckoning.

From the vantage point of Palestine, there are three new dynamics.

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Wikileaks exposes the lies of U.S. diplomacy

Wikileaks is again publishing a trove of documents, in this case classified U.S. State Department diplomatic cables. The whistle-blower website will gradually be releasing more than 250,000 of these documents in the coming months so that they can be analyzed and gain the attention they deserve. The cables are internal, written communications among U.S. embassies around the world and also to the U.S. State Department. Wikileaks described the leak as "the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain [giving] an unprecedented insight into U.S. government foreign activities."

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Obama brings support for repressive regime on visit to Indonesia

If a volcano kills civilians in Indonesia, it's news. When the government does the killing, sadly, it's just business as usual, especially if an American president tacitly endorses the killing, as President Barack Obama just did with his visit to Indonesia.

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Children fleeing violence face cruel immigration system in U.S.

Photo: Living-Learning Programs/flickr

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas put a prominent, public face on the immigration crisis this week when he was detained by the U.S. Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas. After a number of hours and a national outcry, he was released. He first revealed his status as an undocumented immigrant three years ago in a New York Times Magazine article, and has since made changing U.S. immigration policy his primary work. Vargas was in Texas to support the thousands of undocumented immigrant children currently detained there by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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The Putin pivot: A new era in global politics

Photo: Mark Turner/flickr

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A $400-billion agreement between China and Russia last week changed the global geopolitical landscape.

In a far-reaching memorandum of understanding between the two powers, China bought itself some energy security for the next 30 years, and Russia unlocked its Siberian natural gas reserves.

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Harper on Russia: America's useful idiot?

Photo: pmwebphotos/flickr

Stephen Harper's acutely embarrassing behaviour regarding the crisis in Ukraine -- demonizing Vladimir Putin and upping the rhetoric -- must be welcomed in the U.S. which created the crisis in the first place and apparently believes it still has something to gain by isolating Russia. But it is not clear that Harper even realizes -- or cares -- what the larger game is.

And that game may include a Russia-driven shift in global currency allegiance that could devastate the economies of the U.S. and Canada.

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How the gas industry is exploiting the crisis in Ukraine to push fracking

Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout/flickr

The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European market with fracked-in-the-USA natural gas, or so the industry would have us believe. As part of escalating anti-Russian hysteria, two bills have been introduced into the U.S. Congress -- one in the House of Representatives (H.R. 6), one in the Senate (S. 2083) -- that attempt to fast-track liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, all in the name of helping Europe to wean itself from Putin's fossil fuels, and enhancing U.S. national security.

Photo: wikimedia commons
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MQ-1 Predator Drone launching a Hellfire missile.
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