Jonathan Neale

Justice For Trayvon

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In late February George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. That much is not in dispute - Zimmerman and his lawyer admit it. It's a scandal, but not for the reasons most of the media are telling you.

Zimmerman is a neighbourhood watch "captain" in a gated community. Martin was a 17 year old African American wearing a hoodie and visiting relatives. Zimmerman thought maybe Trayvon Martin was a prowler. So he called 911 (the American 999) and followed Martin, talking to the 911 operative as he did so. On the tape of the call, Zimmerman says to the 911 dispatcher, "He looks [...pause...] black."

Austerity USA

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Last month Obama and the Republicans agreed a last minute compromise on the US national debt ceiling.

To explain why this happened, it's useful to begin by looking the peculiarities of the US political system. The US does not have a parliamentary system where the parliament elects the government. Instead, a president is elected every four years. There are elections every two years for Congress - the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Afghanistan fears

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The war in Afghanistan is in crisis - the US postponed the summer offensive and the split between Hamid Karzai and the occupation forces worsens.

Afghanistan is changing fast. In the south and east the Taliban resistance controls most of the villages. In the west and north the government has begun to lose control. Crucially, the sort of divide and rule policy the US used in Iraq is not working here. The non-Pushtun militias won't fight the Taliban, and there are no ethnic riots or pogroms.

Moreover, American public opinion now opposes the war. Facing re-election, Obama has pledged to start reducing troops by the summer of 2011.

Vestas changed the climate

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The workers at Vestas on the Isle of Wight have not won yet. But even without winning, they have done more for environmental politics in this country than a hundred conferences.

First, they have changed the debate about wind power. It's not true that onshore wind development is stalled in this country. There has been a 500 percent increase in onshore wind power in Britain in the last five years.

But it is true that among environmentalists many people took the NIMBY opposition to wind farms seriously. Now the balance has shifted decisively.

Round-up on Afghanistan

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The Afghan resistance is spreading and winning. The resistance has largely cut off the Khyber Pass, the main road from Pakistan, and has effective control of half the country.

The occupiers control very little, and are now being attacked in Kabul itself. Behind all this, Afghans of all ethnic groups have now turned away from the Americans.

This is not because Afghans are naturally warlike. Afghanistan now is not Iraq. In Iraq there was resistance from day one of the invasion. In Afghanistan there was almost none for the first two years, and little for the next year.

After Barack Obama's historic victory, what's next?

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What will Barack Obama's presidency bring? That depends on the balance of forces argues Jonathan Neale.

I've lived abroad for many years, but I grew up in the US, and still carry a US passport. I cried for joy the night Barack Obama was elected. But I didn't vote for him. I want to explain both of these things as a way of explaining what his election means for the future.

Stop Global Warming

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Jonathan Neale, Bookmarks, £11.99

Jonathan Neale's new book poses a strategy which is not to be found in the majority of literature on the subject as well as covering more familiar territory. On both counts Neale's book is to be welcomed and recommended both to those who have read widely and those who are beginning to get to grips with the issue. His examination of the more recent grasping of the possibility of abrupt climate change gives a framework for understanding the problem. The urgency associated with trying to avoid a "tipping" point leading to abrupt climate change is not outlined in order to prompt fear.

Afghanistan: the other lost war

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Against the backdrop of failure in Iraq, Afghanistan is often promoted as the enduringly justifiable, and winnable, war. Jonathan Neale explains why this is not the case, while former US infantryman Johnny Rico speaks out about his experiences on the Afghan frontline

This is the fifth Afghan War. The first Afghan War was in 1838, when the British invaded to make Afghanistan part of the Indian empire. The Afghan barons and warlords did not resist. It was the ordinary people who rose up under the leadership of the village mullahs and slaughtered a whole British army. The British left.

Ecology against Capitalism: Put the Heat on Governments

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We can deal with the challenge of climate change, argues Jonathan Neale.

Scientists are now agreed that the atmosphere is getting hotter, and getting hotter more quickly. Global warming is caused by 'greenhouse gases'. Right now one gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), accounts for more than 80 percent of warming.

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