Protection racket

A note from the editor

Vanessa Baird

The United Nations says the global earth summit it is holding in Rio this month ‘is a chance to move away from business as usual and to act to end poverty, address environmental destruction and build a bridge to the future’.

Splendid aims. However, a great many of those involved in shaping the outcome are from the fossil-fuel, mining, banking and carbon-trading sectors.

So we reckon a reality check is in order. This month’s issue gives you the ‘unofficial guide’ to Rio+20, as the summit is called. Writer and activist Danny Chivers also removes the fig-leaves from a selection of corporate miscreants in his exposé of ‘Eight Great Greenwashers’. Some on the list are household names; others may be new to you.

Also this month, Richard Swift answers the tricky question of why the political Right gained and the Left lost ground in the wake of the financial crisis. This essay won him the prestigious US Daniel Singer Millennium Prize. Time will tell if the tide can really be turned, in Europe at any rate, following the French and Greek elections.

Elsewhere, intrepid filmmaker Nadia El Fani explains why she had to leave her native Tunisia. Outspoken US scholar Norman Finkelstein posits that Jewish Americans are falling out of love with Israel – and discusses what that could mean for peace in the Middle East. Charismatic Indian activist Bunker Roy talks about ‘granny power’, and British comedian Jeremy Hardy reflects on being a Marxist at the tender age of 10.

Vanessa Baird for the New Internationalist co-operative.

The big story

What price a gliding treefrog in the costing of 'eco-system services' that the Rio+20 process seems to be heading towards? Stockphoto

What price a gliding treefrog in the costing of 'eco-system services' that the Rio+20 process seems to be heading towards?


Big business goes to Rio

With the Earth Summit just days away, Danny Chivers chronicles the urgent battle to stop corporates from hijacking the green agenda.

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Lady Justice is a familiar London landmark – but justice for those accused of terrorism offences is not so easily found.James Cridland under a CC Licence

Abu Qatada: when the net tightens on justice

Britain's counter-terrorism policy is undermining the rule of law, argues Simon Crowther.

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Not all Jews back Tel Aviv
policy. Ultra-Orthodox
protesters outside the
Republican convention
earlier this year.Eric Thayer / Reuters

Why American Jews are falling out of love with Israel

Outspoken scholar Norman Finkelstein speaks to Hazel Healy about his latest book Knowing Too Much.

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Introducing... The Eight Great Greenwashers

Introducing... The Eight Great Greenwashers

Ahead of the Rio +20 Earth Summit, Danny Chivers exposes the canny, crafty and plain deceitful claims of corporations co-opting 'sustainability'

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Goodbye welfare, hello workfare nateOne Under a CC Licence

Goodbye welfare, hello workfare

Warren Clark is unimpressed by governments forcing citizens to 'donate' their labour to big business.

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How do you sleep at night, Mr Davis?

How do you sleep at night, Mr Davis?

Two dead, 100 injured – this is the way Swiss mining giant Xstrata does ‘community relations’ in Peru, while boss Mick Davis is in line for a $44 million bonus.

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Garden party with the forest people

Garden party with the forest people

Mari Marcel Thekaekara learns a lot about her own back yard when her adivasi friends come to visit.

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Comedy for a cause madame.furie under a CC Licence

Comedy for a cause

Pitfalls can await the unsuspecting comic, especially at benefit gigs, writes Steve Parry.

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Jeju Island’s beauty is
threatened by a new
naval base.Justin Ornellas under a CC Licence

Defending Korea’s peace island

South Korean villagers are campaigning to keep a military base off the pristine Jeju island, reports Chloe Simons.

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Democracy activists 
were outlawed 
under Moi.AP Photo/ Sayyid Azim

Torture recompense comes to Kenyans

Maina Waruru celebrates payouts for persecuted activists on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

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Activists outside a London
store award Nike the title
of ‘biggest cheat’ for using
exploited women workers
in its factories abroad.UK Feminista

Feminists target Nike ahead of the Olympics

Nick Harvey reports on a campaign to expose sportswear firms who exploit women workers while boasting Olympic values.

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Letter from Botswana: 'There's a good side to this HIV' Illustration: Sarah John

Letter from Botswana: 'There's a good side to this HIV'

A new birth offers a sign of hope for Lauri Kubuitsile.

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Bunker Roy shares a joke
with one of his trainee
grandmothers.Bata Bhurji

African grannies go solar

Indian activist Bunker Roy is bringing electric light to rural villages by training up grandmothers as solar engineers, reports Georgia Hanias.

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Cook Islands

Cook Islands

Black pearls, cruise ships and lively politics: Mary Warren gives the lowdown on the South Pacific atolls.

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