NI 498 - The coming war on China - December, 2016

NI 498 - December, 2016

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The coming war on China

A note from the editor

John Pilger

I am delighted to be back in the New Internationalist as guest editor. This issue’s keynote and supporting articles are the result of two years’ work on a documentary film about the shift of the world’s economic power east, to China, and the US reaction to this challenge to its dominance. Losing its economic prowess, Washington has turned almost obsessively to its military might; and the prospect of nuclear war is no longer unthinkable. What I found in Asia, the Pacific and the US, was not only evidence of great risk and folly, but extraordinary resistance to a coming war among island people on the frontline: the Marshalls, Okinawa, Jeju: faraway places of which we may know little but which offer an inspiring example as they face the most powerful military machine. This NI is both a tribute to them and a warning, and will, I hope, raise an issue we all need to understand and act upon.

Also in this issue is a special feature on Tax avoidance by Richard Swift and Josh Eisen. They write:

One of the great privileges involved in writing for NI is the chance to vent over an issue that has been getting under one’s skin. The obsession from almost all political quarters that we should be ‘tightening our belts’ is an excellent example of this. It’s usually people who can barely afford said belts who are asked to do the tightening – refugees, the unemployed, those facing health challenges – in short, the vulnerable. So with a topic like tax avoidance we get to turn the tables and ask why the vaunted rich and powerful – who make much of government ‘waste’ yet live lives of frivolous expense – can’t at least pony up their fair share. Very satisfying.

John Pilger for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

Keynote article.

Preparing for conflict: guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell patrolling in the South China Sea earlier this year.

Preparing for conflict: guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell patrolling in the South China Sea earlier this year.

Photo: US Navy

The coming war on China

A major US military build-up – including nuclear weapons – is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China. John Pilger raises the alarm on an under-reported and dangerous provocation.

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When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of 6 August, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, unforgettably. When I returned many years later, it was gone: taken away, ‘disappeared’, a political embarrassment.

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Features.

Abacca Anjain-Maddison holds a photo of her uncle, John Anjain, the mayor of Rongelap, which was irradiated  by the 1954 Bravo H-bomb.

Bikini was just the beginning, bombs still threaten the islanders

John Pilger visits the Marshall Islands and its bomb survivors, still blighted by US nuclear weapons.

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Floating on top of the world – a well-heeled client enjoys himself in the infinity pool of the luxurious Marina Bay Sands hotel overlooking Singapore’sfinancial district (where discretion isguaranteed).

Tax cheating, easy living

Josh Eisen and Richard Swift tour the offshore world to find out why governments are drowning in debt.

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An oil spill clean-up in the community of Nueva Alianza, in Peru’s northern Amazon region.

The damage done

Tax avoidance has its most pernicious effects in the Global South. Stephanie Boyd reports from Peru.

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The dissimulation game

Tax avoidance is a worldwide system involving many destinations and layers of financial manipulation. We chart a few of the strands to show who wins and who loses.

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When tax gets paid in something as tangible as rice (as it is here in Thaton, Burma) it is much harder to dissimulate ownership and blur the amount owed. But in a globalized post-industrial economy the rich and powerful are much better placed to avoid paying their share and even being self-righteous about it.

Whose money is it anyway?

Dan Hind explodes the self-righteous excuses of tax cheats.

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France’s Nuit Debout movement hits the streets in Rennes to protest against a range of social injustices, including tax evasion by the rich and powerful.

Fox in charge of the hen house

Alain Deneault explains how states legalize tax fraud.

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The dictionary of deceit

New Internationalist dissects the language of high finance with low motives.

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Mimicking the global super-rich at an anti-tax-haven demo in Trafalgar Square during May’s Global Anti-Corruption Summit.

Ending the offshore bonanza

There are ways to change the irresponsible system of tax avoidance, as Niko Block demonstrates.

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Blog.

Fidel Castro speaks during a visit to Luanda, Angola in March, 1984.

'Fidel Castro is not dead'

Vanessa Baird reports on activist reaction to the passing of the world's great internationalist.

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A Black Friday scene in the US.

The dark side of Christmas: the impact on sweatshops

It’s not elves, but underpaid Chinese workers working around the clock that will enable you to unwrap your presents, writes Amoge Ukaegbu.

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Read more blogs...

Opinion.

Acts of conscience on bended knee

Mark Engler reflects on how one man's protest made waves around the US.

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Sexism A and sexism B

There's accidental sexism, and then there's persistent misogyny, writes Kate Smurthwaite.

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Agenda.

Benny Wenda holds the Morning Star flag – the symbol of a free West Papua.

Freedom in sight for West Papua?

Mass mobilizations in support of a referendum have grown in West Papu, writes Jess Worth.

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Slow justice in Peru

Slow justice in Peru

Thousands of families whose loved ones died or disappeared during Peru’s two-decades-long war with Maoist Shining Path guerrillas are one step closer to finding closure and compensation. Roxana Olivera reports.

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White cucumbers return to Palestine

White cucumbers return to Palestine

An Heirloom Seed Library is rescuing ancient agricultural knowledge in Palestine’s West Bank, Giedre Steikunaite writes.

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Re-Introducing Ali Bongo Ondimba

The ‘re-election’ of Ali Bongo to a second Presidential term in Gabon is an all too familiar story for an African continent, writes Richard Swift.

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British parents boycott school census

British parents boycott school census

Parents have boycotted a school census to protect against administrators being ‘turned into border guards’ by the government, Amy Hall writes.

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Indians and Pakistanis forge online friendship

But in this increasingly jingoistic climate there is a growing number of citizens who dare to call for a peaceful solution. Nimisha Jaiswal reports.

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Burma’s refugees still don’t feel safe

The Burmese government has begun discussions with Thailand about repatriating refugees from camps across the border. Melanie Hargreaves reports.

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Cold comfort for Roma in France

Cold comfort for Roma in France

An estimated 20,000 Roma migrants in France have fled poverty and discrimination in Eastern Europe. Morgan Meaker reports.

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#BankBlack: Black-owned banking in the US

#BankBlack: Black-owned banking in the US

Black Americans are turning to economic empowerment in response to a spate of highly publicized police killings, writes Tom Lawson

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Regulars.

Letters

Feedback from our readers.

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Open Window December 2016

With guest cartoonist Tjeerd Royaards from the Netherlands.

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The kind and the curious

Amy Booth finds her feet – and friends – in Bolivia.

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Clockwise from top left: A song-and-dance group prepare to perform at a church in the Mingkaman camp for internally displaced people (IdPs), which has often held as many as 100,000 people during the conflicts of the past few years; villagers in Unity State in the north watch a plane drop sacks of food aid; the boys looking after African-longhorned cattle are also from the Mingkaman camp, in Lakes State; the dinka women drumming have just had a training session aimed at making them aware that gender-based violence is a crime; Amer Agoot is pictured at the river port of Bor, having been forced to flee an IdP camp when men invaded her hut and robbed her of the little she had left.

Country profile: South Sudan

Eleanor Hobhouse considers the state of Africa's newest nation, five years after independence.

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Big Bad World - Onlinenacht

The latest offering from cartoonist Polyp.

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A word with Moby

The singer and musician talks to Graeme Green about fame, frustration and failing systems.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews.

Chicago women launch a sex-strike for peace in Spike Lee’s turbulent and exuberant Chi-Raq.

Mixed Media: Films

Malcolm Lewis reviews Chi-Raq and The Unknown Girl.

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Orcadian artist Louise Bichan builds a musical bridge between memory and motherland.

Mixed Media: Music

Louise Gray reviews releases from Louise Bichan and Sun Ra.

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Mixed Media: Books

Latest releases, including fiction by Vamba Sherif.

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