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Articles by Jeff Sparrow

Texas Governor Rick Perry stalls investigation into an innocent man’s execution

In 2004, prison guards carried Todd Willingham into the death chamber, strapped him onto a gurney and injected him with sodium thiopental to paralyse him, pancuronium bromide to collapse his lungs, and potassium chloride to stop his heart. One problem: Willingham was probably innocent.

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A peace prize for the president of war

Barack Obama wins a Nobel peace prize AND may escalate a war? Well, we live in post-ironical times, where we all dutifully believe six impossible things before breakfast. Like, nuclear weapons are ultimately peaceful.

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Book industry has to accept the Kindle: it may be a bumpy ride

Australian publishers may not like it, but e-books are not going away. And with the launch of the Kindle in Australia, the industry’s going to have to adapt.

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Flat-screen TVs, conscription and the Left: dangerous liaisons?

Given the Left-liberal orientation of most people attending the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, the Rightward slant of the topics seems distinctly odd.

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Sri Lanka and its Manik approach to human rights

In Sri Lanka, an appalling human rights tragedy continues to play out. After the wake of the military defeat of the Tamil Tigers, 250,000 Tamils have been herded into detention.

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Happy Days in the White House, starring President Fonzie

The Oz jumps on the “let’s beat ‘em up” bandwagon with support for a tougher, leather-clad Fonz in the White House.

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A bad month on death row

It’s been a bad time for executioners in America in the last month with revelations of a botched execution in Ohio and innocent men dying. But it’s been worse still for inmates.

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Joe Wilson and the mainstreaming of shock jockery

Republican Joe Wilson’s shout of ‘You lie!’ during Obama’s congressional address constituted a snub more-or-less equivalent to an Australian mooning.

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How the pundits got it oh so wrong on Afghanistan

Given the almost universal recognition that the Afghanistan campaign has become a bloody mess, it’s worth revisiting some of the pundits who initially sold us the war.

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Video shatters polite silence in Sri Lanka’s civil war

For the most part, the world discreetly hid its eyes from exactly what took place in Sri Lanka’s civil war. Until last week.

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Voting for Afghanistan. Again and again and again

The Election Complaints Commission has already received 1157 allegations of irregularities in Afghanistan. And the allegations are not just coming from disgruntled candidates.

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Woodstock: Blame the boomers for not going far enough

The Woodstock anniversary shows once again the power of the 60s social movements. Except, the women’s movement challenged the madonna/whore distinction and we ended up with post-feminism and … Madonna.

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Afghanistan: are assassinations the only answer?

When the military draws up its death lists, how does it distinguish between civilian and military targets? Should drug traffickers be put on the assassination list?

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ASIO willing to leak to spin the news their way

Why are security agents prepared to break the law to cultivate the media, rather than simply doing their job and letting the headlines take care of themselves?

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ACTU bites its tongue, retreats to attic

What trade-off has the ACTU received for biting its tongue about the building industry? So far, just some half hearted words of encouragement about ‘buying Australian’.

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Afghanistan: a mess wrapped in a blood-soaked riddle

Pro-war pundits contrast the theocratic rule of the Taliban circa 2000 with an Afghan future that exists only in their imagination, neatly ignoring the real Afghanistan that the war has brought into being, writes Jeff Sparrow.

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Terrorism in Indonesia has nothing to do with Afghanistan

Imagine a politician claiming that the best response to a bombing in Indonesia was to invade Afghanistan. We’d think they were perfectly mad.

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Peter Garrett: fool now or liar then?

As recently as 2006, Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett was still talking up the anti-nuclear movement and urging Australians to oppose new mines. So is he a hypocrite or an idiot?

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Honduran coup: take another look at Zelaya’s proposals

Had they come to fruition, the evil schemes of Zelaya (and, for that matter, Chavez) would have resulted in an electoral system rather like Australia’s.

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Honduras gets ugly, time for another US decision

With gunshots and teargas, the military has successfully prevented the plane carrying the elected Honduran leader from landing.

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First the neo-cons praise Iran, now they want to bomb them

With the protests in Iran ebbing away, get ready for a change in approach from the neo-cons. Yesterday they sung the praises of the Iranian people. Now they want to bomb them.

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Australia’s role in Iraq must be examined

As US combat troops get set to leave Iraqi towns and cities tomorrow, it’s time for Australia to get the kind of inquiry due to take place in Britain, argues Overland editor Jeff Sparrow.

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Iranian rebellion inspired by the West? Not so much.

They’re risking their lives. We’re debating utes. You’d think that, in local discussions of Iran, a certain humility would prevail. But not so for Janet Albrechtsen, writes Jeff Sparrow.

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Why the building industry needs a history lesson

It’s hard to think of a major figure from Australian trade union history who wouldn’t fall foul of the current building industry code, writes Jeff Sparrow.

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Shell pays off the Ogoni, but must still settle with history

The claims of complicity by Shell in the death of Nigerian environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa were to be tested in a New York court. Instead, the oil company has offered a settlement of a $US15.5 “humanitarian gesture”.

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