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Powell at the Conference of World Affairs Councils

Address at the National Conference of World Affairs Councils of America

Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC January 31, 2003

Well, thank you very much, Randy, for that very kind and generous introduction. It's a great pleasure to be with you this afternoon for a brief period of time. My time is somewhat limited these days as I write presentations of one kind or another. (Laughter.) And so this is a very nice break in my day and I liked that line about, you know, a Hollywood script. (Laughter.) I started to ask Randy -- Which shows do you have in mind, Randy? (Laughter.)

I've been milking it for years, though, you know, raised in a log cabin in the South Bronx section of New York City. (Laughter.)

There is another important aspect of today for me in that it is not only the opportunity to speak to Combined World Affairs Councils, but it is the Groundhog Job Shadow Day, for those of you who were not aware of it. You know the groundhog story. It comes out and sees his shadow, and the shadow means something that follows you.

And a couple of years ago when I was the Chairman of America's Promise, my youth program, America's Promise and a number of other youth-oriented programs came up with Groundhog Job Shadow Day as a day when we would bring the young people into the workplace and show them what work is all about. It's kind of like "Take Your Son and Daughter to the Office" for a day, but Groundhog Job Shadow is not take your son and daughter, take someone else's son and daughter, and take someone who might not be familiar with the kind of work that you do or the kind of life that you live, and might benefit from that experience. So today is Groundhog Job Shadow Day and we have some 115 or so young people over at the Department of State today. And they're all over the Department. They're learning what Foreign Service Officers do, what Civil Service Officers do, the whole panoply of foreign affairs activities.

And I have with me, and I would like to introduce to you, my shadow for the day, Constance Banks from Booker T. Washington High School. (Applause.)

A million kids are participating in the program this day. And with all of these World Affairs Councils present, 80 of you, perhaps next year you might want to find a way, if you aren't already, in participating in Groundhog Job Shadow Day. And I encourage you to do so.

But I am pleased to be with you today at a time when matters of war and peace, peril and promise, confront our nation, our people, confront the world. America's success abroad is founded on the rock of an informed and involved public. And through your leadership and outreach to tens of millions of Americans, you and your councils play an important, extraordinarily important role in connecting the American people to American foreign policy.

I say to audiences all over, it's not my foreign policy, it's not even the President's foreign policy; it's the foreign policy of the American people. The President is the one who leads us, but in so leading us he captures the ambitions, the desires, the fears and hopes of the American people in structuring a foreign policy. And it is to have this kind of group here today, it's so important to have this kind of group to make sure we remain connected with the people who own the foreign policy of the United States.

Now, I know that your conference this year focuses on U.S.-Asian relations, but I hope you will allow me to take time to offer a broader perspective on America's engagement outside our borders. The spread of democratic and economic freedoms around the globe spurred by the breathtaking technological advances of our times has created unprecedented opportunities to lift millions of our fellow human beings out of misery. We have nothing less in this new century than the chance to build a world of hope for the children of that world.

But if our new century offers such exciting promise, it has also brought peril. The murderous attacks of September 11th, 2001, one of which took place just across the Potomac River from where we sit now, those attacks opened our eyes to the full reality of the terrorist threat we face.

For most of my adult life, the threat we faced was an easily definable one. It was defined by Cold War sentiment. It was defined by Iron Curtains and Bamboo Curtains. One could see the enemy. One knew what the enemy had. We knew there were two ideologies fighting one another represented in states that were on opposite sides of the map, the red and the blue side of the map.

Now, we have terrorism -- not always state-sponsored individuals creeping around in the dark. Individuals who are hard to find. Individuals you can't see as you could see the Soviet Union in the old days. But the danger is no less real. The threat is no less great. And we must fight back just as we fought back during the days of the Cold War and deterred during the days of the Cold War.

Except this enemy is not an enemy you can deter. This is an enemy we must destroy, and we are determined to fight back against terrorists in whatever form they come at us. And as the President has said, we will fight back with all the tools at our disposal and we will be successful.

Under President Bush's leadership, the global campaign against terrorism is making headway around the world. Thanks to concerted international efforts and their own efforts, the Afghan people, for example, have reclaimed their country and begun to rebuild it. Thanks to the work of the International Coalition Against Terrorism, it is harder by the day for terrorists to move about, to communicate, to plot and to murder. Every day terrorist cells are being smashed, their members arrested, their financial bloodlines severed.

We see it in every country in the world. More and more nations coming to the realization that terrorism is not just a threat against the United States as manifested on 9/11. It is a threat against every civilized nation, and every nation must respond.

Still, as the recent terrorist attacks in Bali, Moscow, Mombasa and elsewhere remind us, a great deal of work lies ahead. The fight against terrorism will continue to demand unrelenting resolve from every nation. Even more, the fight against terrorism will continue to demand that we do everything possible to deny terrorists the means to murder on a massive scale.

As President Bush has repeatedly warned, the gravest danger facing America in the world is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Such regimes could use these weapons for their own twisted ends, or even provide them to terrorist allies. That is a great danger: the nexus between states that have these kinds of weapons -- irresponsible rogue states with these kinds of weapons -- and terrorists who would be bent on acquiring them.

And nowhere is that danger more grave than in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Even before he invaded Kuwait in August of 1990, Saddam Hussein acquired and used weapons of mass destruction. This isn't some, you know, speculative issue. He has had them before. He has used them before. And one should expect, given the chance, and given a reason to do so, he will use them again.

Since his defeat at the hands of an international coalition in 1991, Saddam Hussein has continued his pursuit of these weapons despite United Nations Security Council resolutions, despite economic sanctions, and even despite the presence of inspectors on the ground inside Iraq during the decade of the '90s.

Two months ago, President Bush challenged the United Nations Security Council to demonstrate its relevance and see that its resolutions are carried out. The resolution that was passed by the Security Council on the 8th of November responded to the challenge that the President laid down. Resolution 1441 was unanimously passed. All 15 nations of the Security Council agreed to this tough resolution that fundamentally said Iraq has been in breach of its obligations. It is not that it is not yet guilty. It is guilty. It is in breach of its obligations, but we will give it one more chance with a tough inspection regime. And if it fails this last chance, there must be serious consequences. Everybody who voted for the resolution that day knew that that meant if Iraq does not disarm peacefully, it must be done through the use of force.

Resolution 1441 places the burden squarely on Iraq to provide accurate, full and complete information on its weapons of mass destruction. Simply, that means come clean, come forward and show everything that you have been doing. If you want to avoid conflict, if you want to get right with the international community, if you want to get out of the material breaches you are in, come clean. Come forward. Lay it all out. Bring the documents out. Show us the bunkers. Show us the missing missiles. Show us all so that it can be verified by the inspectors.

Resolution 1441 is not about inspectors exposing new evidence of Iraq's established failure to disarm. It is not about a scavenger hunt for hidden materials in a country the size of California. 1441 is about Iraq disclosing the entire extent of its illicit biological, chemical, nuclear and missile activities and disarming itself of these horrible weapons with the assistance of inspectors to verify and to destroy.

To date, Iraq has responded to Resolution 1441 with empty claims, empty declarations and empty gestures. Just last Monday, Chief UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix told the United Nations Security Council that, "Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament that was demanded of it." That's not the United States speaking. That's Dr. Hans Blix, the man charged with the responsibility to verify Saddam Hussein's compliance with the resolution.

After more than six weeks of inspection, the international community still awaits the answers to vital questions. Where is the evidence that Iraq has destroyed the tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and botulinum that we know it had before it expelled the previous set of inspectors back in 1998? What happened? Come on, what happened? Where is it? What happened to the nearly 30,000 munitions capable of carrying chemical agents? The inspectors can account for only 16 of them. Where is the rest?

And it is not enough to say, "Well, we don't know." And it is not enough for my colleagues on the Security Council to turn away and say, "Well, you know, we're not sure. Let's just keep hunting around looking for them. Maybe we'll find them." No. The answer is Iraq is supposed to deliver them so that they can be verified and prepared for destruction.

What happened to the three metric tons of growth material, as it is called, that Iraq imported, growth material, media that would be used for producing deadly biological agents?

These and similar questions that we are asking, the President asked the other night, but more importantly, the inspectors are asking. The inspectors are the ones who need to know these answers and they are not academic questions awaiting academic answers. They are matters of life and death and they must be answered.

To those who say, "Why not give the inspectors and the whole inspection process more time," the simple answer is, "How much more time does Iraq need?" Not the inspectors. How much more time does Iraq need to realize the seriousness of its position, the futility of its position, to understand once and for all that if they don't come clean now, they will be made clean by military force?

It is not a matter of time. It is a matter of telling the truth. And Saddam Hussein still responds with evasion and with lies.

In his State of the Union Address, President Bush observed that some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. His response to this was a hard-won truth: "Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions politely, putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words and all recriminations would come too late. The United States seeks Iraq's peaceful disarmament. But we will not shrink from war if that is the only way to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction."

Backing Resolution 1441 with the threat of force remains the best way to eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and offer Iraq's long-suffering people hope for a better future.

I know that this is a difficult issue for all of us. None of us want to think about war and no one wants to think about the unintended consequences of war. There is still an opportunity for war to be avoided, but it will not be avoided by us looking away, us turning away from the challenge, or us being so afraid of what war might bring that we are frozen into inaction.

The way forward is to keep the pressure up, to use diplomacy to the fullest extent, to recognize Iraq wouldn't have done as much as it has done now in a passive way, not an active way. But allowing the inspectors in -- none of what they have done in the last few months in this attempt to pretend that they are meeting the requirements of the international community, none of that would have been done by them if it hadn't been for the threat of military force.

I can assure you that the President will make every step possible to try to solve this peacefully. But I also know, and you know, that we will not shrink from what duty requires when duty calls. And the Armed Forces of the United States are ready. And they will not alone. They will be accompanied by many other nations who have expressed their support for this policy and this approach.

I know that Assistant Secretary Jim Kelly was with you and has already discussed another country that has pursued weapons of mass destruction at a cost of hope for its people. Of course I mean North Korea. Let me once again reaffirm our policy with respect to North Korea.

The United States is willing to talk to North Korea about how it will meet its obligations to completely dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Pyongyang's behavior affects the stability of the region, the stability of the world. And so we are working with our allies and our friends in the region and across the international community to address our common concerns through diplomacy.

The United States has no intention of attacking North Korea. President Bush has made this clear. And we are prepared to convey this assurance to North Korea in a way that makes sense and that is unmistakable.

We stand ready to build a different kind of relationship with North Korea, but only when it comes into verifiable compliance with its international commitments. We want to see North Korea out of the proliferation business and integrated peacefully into the region and into the world community.

The North Koreans are a suffering people. They're starving. We help them with humanitarian aid. They need energy. They need fuel. They need everything to try to bring their people out of the desperate straits in which they find themselves.

And the international community stands ready to help. We cannot help easily a nation that is so dismissive of the concerns of the international community. And this is a problem not just between North Korea and the United States; it is between North Korea, the United States and North Korea's neighbors and the international community, as reflected in the International Atomic Energy Agency which has responsibility for supervising nuclear matters within North Korea.

But you know, ladies and gentlemen, even as we deal with perils such as the two that I've just described, it's still a very hopeful time and very hopeful century, because we're laying a stronger foundation for capturing the promise of our times. Indeed, in the course of my daily work, I often take a step back and marvel over the changes in our world that make it so possible.

I always take a moment late at night before giving it up for the day to think about the change in the world from the days that I was a soldier spending my time worrying about war on the north German plain with Russian armies, or Vietnam or Korea, the other places I've had to serve.

Now I see Russia and China playing important roles as partners with us in our efforts to resolve the challenges posed by terrorism, posed by Iraq, posed by North Korea. Just imagine how more difficult these issues would be if our relations with Moscow and Beijing were still marked by intense Cold War rivalry.

But fortunately, the days of superpower confrontation are gone. The major threats that each of us face are shared with others, and so are the solutions. With this new perspective, Presidents Bush and Putin have established a new strategic partnership which they are determined to deepen in the years ahead.

We also fully support Russia's efforts to become integrated, fully integrated, into the international community economic community, such as through membership of -- in organizations such as the World [Trade] Organization and full membership in the G-8 in the year 2006.

The United States has important concerns and disagreements, still, with Russia; and Russia with us. However, these disagreements, these concerns, have not prevented us from building a relationship worthy of two great countries with so much to contribute to the world that we live in.

It's the same situation with China. As President Bush told China's next generations of leaders when he spoke to students at Chinghwa University, China is on a rising path, and America welcomes the emergence of a strong, peaceful and prosperous China.

We look to China to play a responsible role in world affairs, following international standards -- international standards on trade and proliferation, human rights, and international peace and cooperation.

The United States seeks to work with China so that as it rises, so as it becomes more powerful, more economically strong, the choices that China makes builds international confidence and create hope among the people of China and among its neighbors and its other friends in the world.

Another way we are building habits of cooperation is by working with our partners on regional disputes, such as the ongoing strife in the Middle East. Russia is a valued partner now with us, rather than a competitor with us in the Middle East. Russia works with us in the Quartet that we have established, with the European Union, the United Nations, Russia and the United States working together.

With the help of this Quartet and other members of the international community, we are drawing up a roadmap to a lasting peace based on President Bush's vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

To realize this vision, we all know that the Palestinians must establish a new and different leadership, along with new institutions. They must also end all terror, all violence. For its part, Israel knows that it will have to ease the economic plight of ordinary Palestinians and deal with the issue of settlement construction. With intensive effort by all sides, creation of a viable Palestine, one that does all it can to end terrorism, that lives in peace with Israel, can still be realizable in the years ahead.

In the broader region of the Middle East, Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah is right when he said that Arab governments must introduce meaningful political and economic reforms if their people are to realize their God-given potential. We are committed to helping them do so.

The countries of the Middle East are not alone in the need to kindle hope in the hearts of their people. Fledgling democracies everywhere can founder if their citizens do not see improvements in their lives. By helping strengthen civil society -- independent media, democratic institutions and the rule of law -- we can build confidence, confidence in these nations to stay on the difficult course of reform.

And by helping countries achieve higher growth rates, we can build hope for increasing prosperity. That means support for market-friendly policies, as well as intensified efforts to conclude the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization talks by January 2005. Only expanding trade and investment can generate economic growth on the scale needed to lift entire nations out of misery.

But foreign assistance wisely channeled can also play an important part in creating the conditions that attract trade and investment in the first place. That is the context for President Bush's groundbreaking Millennium Challenge Account initiative. Once approved by Congress, this initiative will dramatically increase our development assistance, ramping up to an additional $5 billion per year within the next three years. That's a 50 percent increase in the amount of foreign assistance, as you would generally call it, that we have been making available for many years, going backwards.

These funds will be targeted in a slightly different way. They will be funds that will go to developing countries that have committed themselves to good governance, better investing in their people, that have transparent political systems, that have the rule of law in place, that have ended corruption, and that have committed themselves to free enterprise systems. These funds will be targeted at countries where those leaders are creating hope for their people.

Disease is the enemy of economic growth and development. Disease is the enemy of hope. In his State of the Union message, President Bush unveiled a major new initiative to combat one of the most dreaded diseases that is devastating societies in the developing world, HIV/AIDS. The President announced an emergency plan for AIDS relief that will commit $15 billion over the next five years, targeted at the hardest hit countries of Africa and the Caribbean. And we're determined, through the use of these funds, to make sure that we save millions of lives.

I have traveled in the Caribbean. I have traveled in our own hemisphere. I have traveled in Africa. And I've seen what HIV/AIDS is doing. We have our own experience with it here in our land. But in parts of Africa, parts of the Caribbean, elsewhere -- and it's spreading to other parts of the world rapidly -- what you're seeing is not just a disease, you're seeing a destroyer of nations. You're seeing a destroyer of families. You are seeing entire generations being wiped out. There's nothing more tragic than to go to a village and see grandparents trying to care for young children with both parents gone as a result of HIV/AIDS, teachers not in schools because they have been decimated by HIV/AIDS, hospital workers, others, all wiped out by HIV/ AIDS. Tens of millions of people already dead. Tens of millions more at risk. Children at risk. Children with no parents to take care of them, no parents to give them sustenance, no parents to bring income into the home. A devastating disease that has as great an impact on the world as any other crisis that we have talked about or we are thinking about today. It is one that requires the entire world to mobilize.

So we're facing a time of challenge when we look at Iraq, when we look at North Korea and we look at the Middle East and we look at a disease such as AIDS. But we are also facing a time of great opportunity -- opportunity that will only be grabbed if the United States does its part. If we remain the leader of this world that wants to be free, if through our generosity, through our example, through our willingness to get engaged we show the nations of the world how they might move forward; not by adopting exactly the American model, but in what we have done and what we do with respect to democracy and the free enterprise system, perhaps getting the inspiration they need to adopt those values consistent with their own culture, their own traditions, their own history.

What I have spoken about with respect to hope doesn't just apply to the several areas I've mentioned today, it applies here in our own hemisphere, the Western Hemisphere. Fifteen years ago when I was National Security Advisor, most of the nations of the Western Hemisphere in the southern part of our hemisphere, so many of them were led by generals and tyrants, juntas. And now all of them, except for Castro's Cuba, is on a path to reform and democracy and economic development. They're struggling. They need our help. And we are going to help them with free trade agreements, with formation of the Community of Democracy, with the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas reaching all the way from the top to the bottom of our hemisphere.

We are committed to every nation on the face of the earth that wishes to be a friend of the United States. And that springs from our tradition. We are a nation of nations. We are touched by every nation on earth, and we, in turn, must touch every nation on earth with our value systems, with our treasure, with our time, with our attention. No matter how difficult the road, no matter how difficult the challenges that come our way, we must remain engaged. That is the commitment of the American people, it is the commitment of President Bush, and I can assure you it is the commitment of the wonderful diplomats who work for you in the Department of State.

Thank you very much.

(Applause.)

MODERATOR: Everyone here knows of the great general and statesman George C. Marshall of 50 years ago. We are honored today to be in the same room and to hear from George C. Marshall's successor -- a man who carries all of his legacy and his mantle. Mr. Secretary. (Applause.)

As we know that he has an extremely packed day, we can get in only about one or two questions. Thank you for at least 45 questions from the floor. (Laughter.) Mr. Secretary, it is only proof that we are not an indifferent public, we are not a complacent public. We really care. I wish we could do all 45, but here's the first one.

What can we all do, what can you do and what can we do to stem the rising tide of anti-Americanism in the world?

SECRETARY POWELL: There's less anti-Americanism than you would led to believe just by reporting. There are a lot of disagreements around the world on some of our policies on a question that our policy with respect to Iraq is not supported by large numbers of Europeans and other nations around the world. But that is anti-American policy. And as policies change, that attitude can change along with policy.

What I have found as I go around the world is that people still have enormous admiration for America. People still look at us and see a place of hope. People still want to come to us. People still want to tie their future to this country.

I was at Davos last weekend and there was a bit of anti-Americanism expressed in the audience and there was a lot of criticism. There was a lot of criticism about our policies, but as soon as they got through criticizing our policy, they wanted to know when our economy would be on the rebound to pull the rest of them out of the ditch. (Laughter.) That is not an anti-Americanism, that is pro-Americanism.

The fact of the matter is there are some disagreements with our policy. What we made clear is that we will try to work with our friends and neighbors every opportunity we can. The President believes, as he's said often, not in the gunslinger image but in the posse image -- coming together to solve a problem. But we will stick with our principles. And where we can't agreement, then we will still stick with our principles if we believe those principles are important.

And so I think there is residual admiration and appreciation and affection for America, but we are having some difficulties with some of the policies we feel strongly about that we don't have the similar feelings in and among the different populations in the world. I think we can work our way through this. Success changes attitudes very quickly. And if we are successful with some of our more controversial policies, then I think those attitudes would change.

And every time I worry about this question and we try to do something about it, we settle on several things. One, do a better job with our outreach programs, spending more money and investing more time in bringing young people and not so young people, opinion makers, to this country to expose them to America and then send them back to their land to describe what they saw here.

I need more Americans to travel and see other lands and come back with an appreciation for other lands as well as educating themselves in these other lands.

So there is much that we have to do with respect to the messages that we convey, with respect to our public outreach and public diplomacy efforts, and I would ask for your support for that effort.

I also need to make sure that in your councils you convey that same message to your membership on how valuable they are to me as they go and travel around the world. Your councils represent an informed group of Americans who travel widely, and I hope they reach out into the communities that they visit overseas.

But when I really am starting to feel a little bit down about this all I have to do is walk through any American neighborhood or turn on television and look at any street scene that comes along, and I see an America where people still want to come here from all over the world. I'll check with my Consular Affairs Office and discover that the applications for visas are still coming in.

You know, I often tell folks I can walk out of my office and within five minutes, drive or walk, I can be at a synagogue, a temple, a mosque, any one of 53 different Protestant or Catholic denominations, an Orthodox -- you name it, a temple. You name it and you can be there. And you will find every variation of humankind in these places all getting along. It's the beauty of America. It's a beauty that will not be lost to the rest of the world, even while our policies may be criticized on any particular day, the beauty and value and strength of America will ultimately shine through.

MODERATOR: Just one more. What can we all do -- (laughter) -- what can we all do to build freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society in the Middle East?

A PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)

(Laughter.)

SECRETARY POWELL: Let me see the rest of this. (Laughter.)

The most important thing to do is to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. A new government is now coming into Israel as a result of Prime Minister Sharon's win. I spoke to the Prime Minister day before yesterday. He's hard at work now forming his government.

And I hope that when this government is formed we can then get the political season behind us, and using the roadmap and other tools that we have, see if we can start to develop some level of trust between the two sides again, and see if we can impress upon the Palestinian leadership, the Palestinian people, that this is the time to end the terror, end the violence. They will never have a state as long as they are using violence as the means to get that state. Terrorism is not the way to get a state that will live side by side in peace with another state.

On the Israeli side, the Prime Minister and I have had many discussions over the past two years about the sacrifices and the things that Israel will have to do to move toward a settlement. President Bush is prepared to engage even more deeply than he has over these past two years, and he has been engaged deeply over the past two years, as have I and all of my colleagues.

But there are other, more fundamental problems that will have to be dealt with in the Middle East which is the essence of the question. And we have been in candid conversations with our Arab friends about the need to begin examining your institutions. Can you truly keep women from getting the education they need and from becoming a part of a vibrant society?

Is there a need for greater tolerance? Is there a need to look at your educational systems to see whether or not you are educating your children in a way that will make them contributing members of your economy and your society in the years ahead?

And it is presumptuous for us to go to any Arab state and say, "You ought to look like America with our Jeffersonian system of democracy. They have been states for far longer than we have. But I believe strongly, and we say this to them, that in the 21st century, it is time to take a look at where you are heading as a state and begin to adapt your institutions in a way that will provide a brighter future for your young people.

Some of them have started to move in that direction. Others are still examining what they might do. We have launched a number of programs to help. The Middle East Partnership Initiative, which I launched not too long ago, will help in their schools, will help in exchange programs, will help in teaching their teachers other ways to educate youngsters for the 21st century.

So I think those are the sorts of things we have to be working on. But first and foremost, we have to put our utmost attention to finding a solution of the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians.

Thank you all very, very much. Enjoy the rest of your conference.

[End]

Released on January 31, 2003


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