default.html Issue 122
Table of Contents

U.S. Gives Public Lands Away for Pennies

The U.S. federal government has given mining companies millions of acres of federal lands at extraordinarily low prices, a year long investigation of federal data and records on hardrock mining operations has found

Top Air Polluters Cozy With Bush Administration

by J.R. Pegg Faced with federal requirements to reduce harmful air emissions, the owners of the nation's dirtiest power plants poured millions of dollars into the Bush presidential campaigns and the RNC and in turn received an unprecedented rollback of federal clean air laws

Half Of Americans Breathe Unhealthy Air

Over half the people in the United States, 55 percent, live in counties where the levels of ozone or particle pollution are harmful to their health, says a new report from the American Lung Association. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Area is the worst, the report finds, both for ground level ozone, or smog, and for particle pollution

The Grin That Might Destroy The World

by Joyce Marcel What sense can we make of the hideous photographs that have come out of Saddam Hussein's prison in Iraq? I don't think we will ever understand them, as we will never understand the minds of mass murderers and torturers. But how can we live with them? How can we adapt them to our reality? How can we move past them? The truth is, we can never move past them

Film About "Accidental Mullah" Draws Boffo Crowds In Tehran

by Shahla Azizi A film about a convict who escapes prison in the cloak and turban of a cleric and becomes an accidental mullah, was a huge hit here. Ticket lines snaked around theaters. People bought tickets days in advance, breaking Iranian box-office records. Everyone, from schoolchildren to grandmothers, talked about the film before it was quickly pulled from theaters

Ariel Sharon's Gaza Plan A Roadblock To Peace

by Marlene Nadle Ariel Sharon's and George Bush's selling of the withdrawal of Israeli settlements from Gaza only gives an illusion of progress. Their self-serving plan is actually a detour from peace, making both Israelis and Palestinians victims of the politicians

Latino Kids Face Unexpected Lead Poison Risks

by Mary Jo McConahay Public health institutions typically point to old paint as the major source of childhood lead poisoning. But in one central Californian town, immigrant children are being poisoned by lead from another source -- possibly fried grasshopper treats sent in care packages from Mexico

The Long Knives Come Out For Chalabi

by Jeff Elliott I will not be voting for Nader in 2004. This year is very different from 2000. In office, Bush has been the social conservative most of us expected and feared. But in the aftermath of Sept. 11 another side of his conservatism has gained traction: an extremely repressive agenda with respect to civil liberties and a willingness to use every procedural trick at his disposal to impose his views

The CIA Is Trying To Discredit Me, Chalabi Says

by Golnaz Esfandiari Chalabi and Iran have both denied the claims, although Tehran admits it has had an ongoing dialogue with Chalabi and other members of the Governing Council

European Workers Fight Shredding Of Safety Net

by David Bacon In Germany, unions are battling the very party they created, the Social-Democratic Party, and its chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, over proposed changes to retirement, health care and unemployment benefits. Judging from huge street protests in April, several European governments may have gone too far in their shredding of the welfare state

Neo-Nazi Threats Cause Concern Among Jews And Gays In Chile

by Gustavo Gonzalez 'We must save our fatherland and our race from these scum. We must not allow our children to be abused by these degenerates,' state the neo-Nazi groups, who call activists and others who advocate for respect for the rights of sexual minorities 'sodomites'

As Iraq Falls Apart, UN Weighs What Role - If Any - It Wants

by Thalif Deen As violence continues to escalate in Iraq, killing dozens of soldiers and hundreds of civilians, the United Nations has given few clues as to how it intends to salvage a country on the brink of disaster

Top Pentagon Official Acknowledges Violation Of Geneva Conventions

by Charles Recknagel The Pentagon has now acknowledged that some of the abuse of Iraqis at Baghdad's Abu Ghurayb prison was in violation of the Geneva Conventions. The acknowledgement adds fuel to a growing debate in the United States over the extent to which the U.S. administration has loosened observance of the Geneva Conventions to pursue terrorists and whether that may have confused operating procedures in Iraq

U.S. Must Act Fast Or Afghanistan To Become "Narco-State"

by Ahto Lobjakas A delegation from NATO has returned from a visit to Afghanistan with the warning that Western sponsors of democracy must act fast - that there still is no security outside Kabul and without an additional 3,000 to 4,000 Western troops, elections planned for September will be decided by Afghanistan's regional warlords and factional commanders

U.S. Contractors In Iraq Not Subject To American Or Iraqi Law

by Ron Synovitz Human Rights Watch is concerned that while private contractors will be investigated, they may not be held accountable for abuses. That's because the private defense contractors are both exempt from prosecution by Iraqi courts and fall outside the U.S. military's chain of command. They also currently are not subject to prosecution by U.S. civilian courts

The U.S. Has Lost Battle Of The Photographs

by Juan Cole The Bush administration, despite the savvy of its spinmeisters and Hollywood-trained publicists, has lost the war of images abroad. Although it has had more success in managing war images at home, cracks have increasingly opened up on the domestic front as well

Amnesty Says British Have Killed "Many" Iraq Civilians

by Sanjay Suri The new reports have shattered a myth that some British media had been building up that British forces were acting with far more restraint than U.S. forces and were being more respectful to the Iraqi population

Jamaica Welcomes Hundreds Of Haitian Refugees

by Dionne Jackson Miller Nearly 500 Haitians fleeing violence and turmoil in their country have made the precarious journey in small, often overcrowded boats across the 160 kms of ocean separating Haiti from Jamaica since a political crisis erupted there in February

Sarin Discovered In Iraq Was A Relic, Not A Weapon

The sarin used in the shell is believed to be old, and therefore lacking much of its original potency. In a May 22 analysis, Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector in Iraq (1991-1998) said that the shell was likely a "dud" fired long ago in a training exercise

Iraq Prison Abuse Mirrors Problems In Afghanistan Lockups

by Golnaz Esfandiari Reports and photographs of Iraqi prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers have raised concern about the treatment of detainees being held in Afghanistan. Human rights groups long ago expressed such concern to Washington after similar reports of mistreatment began to surface

Anxieties Grow For Olympics As Bomb Blasts Shake Athens

by Breffni O'Rourke With just 100 days left to go before the opening of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, bomb blasts in the Greek capital have renewed fears the games could be the target of terrorist attacks. But tensions are rising not only because of the terror threat. It's still unclear whether all of the Olympic facilities will be finished in time for the opening of the games on 13 August

Iraq Prison Abuse Scandal Making Europe Uneasy Over Ties With U.S.

by Julio Godoy European officials are slowly coming to the conclusion that the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. and British forces will limit any role the two countries might play in an international peace plan

Mystery Lingers Over Damascus Bombing

by George Baghdadi In the attack Syrian police are reported to have battled unidentified bombers for more than an hour in Mazza, a residential neighborhood that houses several Western and Middle Eastern embassies, including those of Canada, Britain, Iran and Saudi Arabia

Soldiers Returning From Iraq With Radiation Poisoning

by Katherine Stapp Washington's insistence that depleted uranium (DU) munitions are not toxic has been undermined by revelations that four U.S. soldiers recently home from Iraq are suffering from radiation poisoning

Is Revered Indonesian Cleric A Terrorist Leader Or "Village Preacher?"

by Andreas Harsono If he is a high-ranking terrorist to officials, to others Baasyir remains a genuine religious leader. Ahmad Syafii Maarif, chairman of the second largest Muslim organization in Indonesia and himself a hugely influential Muslim cleric, called Baasyir only a village preacher

Prison Abuse Another Scandal Leading To Neo-Con Feith

by Jim Lobe It was Feith's office that also housed the future undersecretary for intelligence, Stephen Cambone, who facilitated the transfer of Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp that houses suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners, to Abu Ghraib prison with the mission of extracting more intelligence from detainees there about the fast-growing insurgency

Violence Against Journalists At 10-Year High

by Alicia Fraerman Last year, 42 journalists were killed and 766 were detained, the highest annual figures in the past decade

Boycott Of Coca Cola Over Colombia Spreads

by Nefer Munoz The international campaign against Coca-Cola involves students, trade unions and human rights activists from Colombia and the United States. They might not speak the same language, but they have the same concerns. They hold Coca-Cola responsible for labor abuses and for the torture, kidnapping and killing of trade unionists in Colombian bottling plants

Many Americans Carry Toxic Pesticide Cocktail in Their Blood

Children, women, and Mexican Americans carry disproportionate levels of the dangerous chemicals, many of which have been linked to serious short term and long term health effects including infertility, birth defects, and childhood and adult cancers

Mysterious Disappearance Of Colombia Top Paramilitary Chief

by Constanza Vieira Castano, one of the paramilitary leaders who has worked closest with the armed forces, vanished six days before the Supreme Court began to consider an extradition request from the United States, where he is wanted on drug trafficking charges

Venezuela's Chavez Says Invasion Plans Uncovered

by Humberto Marquez The government says the men are paramilitary fighters brought in from northeastern Colombia by extremists in the anti-Chavez opposition movement to form part of a force that was to attack military installations, officials, and governing party and opposition political leaders

Iraq A Certified Case of 'Chickenhawk Groupthink'

by Jim Lobe While the out-group, which ironically boasts men, including Powell, Armitage, ret. Gens. Anthony Zinni and Brent Scowcroft, with real war experience, the in-group is dominated by individuals, particularly Cheney and virtually the entire civilian leadership of the Pentagon, who have no military record at all

Liberal Hawks' Role In Build Up To Iraq War Overlooked

by Tom Barry Brandishing arguments that the invasion of Iraq would spark a democratic revolution in the greater Middle East, the neocons managed to forge a powerful political coalition that sidelined Republican realists

Rumsfeld Losing Support Of Military Brass

by Jim Lobe What began as the shouts of a few top retired officers when the first Abu Ghraib photos were published ten days ago has now become a veritable clamour. The Army Times editorial is just the latest, if most striking, example

50 Years After School Integration, A Major Step Backwards

by Lee Hubbard A dramatic and perfectly legal re-segregation of schools has taken place since the Supreme Court declared that different schools for blacks and whites made education both separate and unequal

Chalabi: From White House To Dog House In Five Short Months

by Jim Lobe The raids also came as reports of wrongdoing by the former exile -- including nepotism, bribery, corruption and even blackmail -- have been steadily piling up in recent months

Likud Vote A Slap To Sharon And Bush

by Ferry Biedermann The settlements may be only one of several obstacles to a future peace, but for the moment they seem to block progress on all other fronts. The vote against the plan means an indefinite extension and a deepening of the impasse in the conflict

Pity The Residents in The 19 In-Play States

by Molly Ivins Most of us, in most of the states, will barely be aware there is a presidential election going on -- we're out of this loop, team. Nobody will be talking to us. Because we're not 'in play,' this election is not about us. For reasons established by supposedly skilful polling, none of us even get to be part of this election. We're taken for granted

Tom DeLay's Grand Jury Problem

by Molly Ivins You may be wondering why House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is raising money for a legal defense fund and telling his fellow Republicans in Washington to be prepared to name his replacement in the event he is indicted

Not Vietnam, But A Quagmire All The Same

by Molly Ivins It's the Prince Bandar story that left me whomper-jawed. Do you remember when someone who was connected to someone who was connected to someone who was connected to China was found to have raised money for Bill Clinton? The right wing came completely unglued over it, and all manner of hideous conspiracy theories were advanced. Maybe the Saudis trying to influence our elections shouldn't startle me -- the new book House of Bush, House of Saud is all about that connection. Still, the non-denial denials from the White House and the Saudis smell like rotten meat

What Chalabi Wrought

by Molly Ivins The neo-cons fell for Chalabi for one reason: He said he would help Israel. Once Saddam was overthrown, he said he would reinstate the Iraq-Israel pipeline, recognize Israel, trade with Israel

The Rot Of Abu Ghraib Began At The Top

by Molly Ivins In this case, there is more than sufficient evidence pointing to the culpability of those at the top. But at the same time, the Pentagon is putting out the word that it was only a few bad apples, six low-level soldiers who have already been charged, with no one else involved. This just stinks of cover-up

The Ten Mistakes In Iraq

by Molly Ivins In case you think no one in public life is capable of intelligent thought about Iraq, I recommend a speech made by Gen. Anthony Zinni (well, OK, so he's slightly retired) May 12 to the Center for Defense Information. In it, Zinni lists the 10 mistakes he believes were responsible for getting us into this fine mess

How Dumb Do We Think Iraqis Are?

by Molly Ivins It's quite difficult to convince people you are killing them for their own good. That's our basic problem in Iraq.

This Misbegotten Occupation

by Molly Ivins Things are going very badly in Iraq. I'm sure some of our professional patriotic bullies will denounce this as unpatriotic pessimism, harmful to the morale of the troops, etc. I think it's more important to recognize reality

NIKE Accused Of Breaking Promise To UN

by Marty Logan Launched by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in July 2000, the Global Compact now counts more than 1,400 companies worldwide, including coffee retailer Starbucks, one of three U.S. firms that joined this month. Nike signed up in 2000 and by 2001 had been accused of violating the compact by blocking unionizing efforts in its overseas factories

White House Distances Itself From Neo-Con Policies After Iraq's Bloody April

by Jim Lobe The defeat of the neo-conservatives, whose influence has been exercised primarily through the offices of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, has been made abundantly clear by the mandate the administration has given United Nations Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to essentially handpick the leadership of the new Iraqi government

Homeless From Iraq War, Refugees Face Tent City Future

by Aaron Glantz As a new round of violence erupted in Najaf, Red Crescent officials began to fear the need for many more tent cities in Iraq. The Fallujah families were only the first among those

Business Giants Hold Summit On Iraq's Future

by Sanjay Suri The weight of the conference was clear from the presence of former U.S. Rear Admiral David Nash who is leading the program for the awarding contracts worth $18.6 billion up to the supposed handover of power from the CPA to a new Iraqi government due June 30

Islamic Fundamentalist Violence Spreading To New Countries

by Ferry Biedermann The violence that has thus far mainly hit Iraq, Israel and the Palestinians is spreading now to other countries in the Middle East. In Syria, attackers were engaged in a rare confrontation with security forces in the center of capital Damascus. And in Jordan the authorities aired video- taped confessions by presumed members of al-Qaeda saying they were planning a large-scale chemicals attack in the kingdom

Bush Calls For New Generation Of Nuclear Weapons -- For U.S.

by Michelle Ciarrocca President Bush's 2005 budget request of more than $19 billion for nuclear weapons functions represents a 7.9 percent increase over current funding levels

Red Cross Says Leak Of Iraq Prison Abuse Report Threatens Its Mission

by Ron Synovitz A confidential report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is at the center of a scandal over abuses by U.S. troops at Baghdad's Abu Ghurayb facility. Senior ICRC officials say the report was meant only for U.S. authorities and was leaked to a U.S. newspaper without their authorization

Media Shunned Largest March In Human History

by Allison Stevens The men's marches -- and even the Million Mom March gun-control rally, which was estimated to draw at least a half of a million people in 2000 -- generated more coverage than a march that drew record numbers to the nation's capital to protest governmental efforts to undermine women's reproductive and health rights

Afghanistan Chaos Starting To Mirror Iraq

Analysts who closely monitor the region say security in Afghanistan remains tenuous and has shown no signs of improvement. And they predict the explosive situation there might soon turn out to be as bad as Iraq -- but on a smaller scale

A Duty To Disobey: The Forgotten Lessons Of My Lai

by Robert S. Rivkin If it was not clear before this incident, it became clear afterwards that Army soldiers had been inadequately trained in the laws of war. They apparently did not know that they had a duty to disobey unlawful orders (although at least one soldier had the moral sense to throw his weapon to the ground instead of participate in the killing). Just as an order to kill innocent civilians or subdued prisoners is unlawful, an order to torture, humiliate or abuse a prisoner (civilian or military) is also illegal

Abuse Scandals Ends The Myth Of U.S. "Exceptionalism"

by Jim Lobe As the vanguard of that moral superiority, the U.S. soldier has always been expected to embody the country's extraordinary goodness. That's what makes the photos from Abu Ghraib so shocking

UN Posts List Of Top Ten Neglected News Stories

byThalif Deen Journalists' obsessive preoccupation with Iraq has left AIDS orphans, child soldiers, women peacekeepers and Native peoples out in the cold in terms of news coverage

NY Times' Mea Culpa Doesn't Cut It

by Larry Everest The Times' and other media's abysmal failure to get the Iraq WMD story right is the product of biased, politically driven coverage going back over a decade that failed to prominently print the abundant information available that Iraq had destroyed the bulk - if not all - of its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs by the mid-1990s

Al-Sadr Influence Spreading Through S Iraq Via Local Elections

by Aaron Glantz This tug of war between supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr and the officials and contractors of the occupation authority is playing itself out all around Iraq. Sadr's forces have organized elections in much of the Shia dominated south of Iraq

Bush Nuclear Weapons Program Squandering Billions

The Bush administration is spending 12 times more on nuclear weapons research and production than on retrieval, and secure disposal of nuclear weapons materials worldwide. Much of the spending on weapons research and production, which amounted to $6.5 billion in fiscal 2004, is funding costly projects that are irrelevant to the defense and security challenges that confront the nation

After 20 Years In Court, Bhopal Survivors Ask UN For Help

by Haider Rizvi Disappointed after 20 years of appeals to courts and governments, survivors of the Union Carbide gas disaster in India are urging United Nations agencies to start relief and rehabilitation work in their hometown Bhopal, where hundreds of thousands of people still suffer from exposure to toxic material

Chalabi's Long, Costly Charade

by Robert Scheer Being a wily survivor, Chalabi apparently decided that after embarrassing his Beltway backers so badly on the question of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and realizing that he was about as popular as the occupation itself, he had better make some new friends. Now he is playing the role of a populist Moses to President Bush's Pharaoh, chanting in Baghdad last week to 'let my people go'

Same-Sex Honeymoons In Boston, Sadistic Hatred In Baghdad

by Robert Scheer In the end, the irony is grim: The U.S. military bans openly gay soldiers but apparently does not effectively screen out heterosexual sadists. Meanwhile, at home the president tries desperately to make an election-year issue out of preventing free adults from civilly consecrating same-sex partnerships

Thread of Abuse Runs to the Oval Office

by Robert Scheer The White House and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have for months stubbornly ignored and kept from the public the conclusions of both the Red Cross report and the even more damning internal report done by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba for the Pentagon in March

When We're the Evildoers in Iraq

by Robert Scheer President Bush is again refusing to take responsibility for any of the horrors happening on his watch. This time it is the abuse of Iraqi prisoners carried out by low-ranking military police working under the direct guidance of military intelligence officers and shadowy civilian mercenaries

GIs Killed Shiite Leaders In Cold Blood, Witnesses Say

by Peyman Pejman In the small town Hilla, an hour's drive south of Baghdad, bloodstains a wall at the office of the Babylon Human Rights Organization. It was here, spokesmen for the rights group say, that U.S. soldiers raided a community meeting, killed the two sheikhs and arrested two other important community leaders

Thailand Fears Its Own 9/11 In Attack On Bangkok

by Andrew Lam Known as the tourist Mecca of Southeast Asia, Thailand always has had a grimmer side, one that it tries to keep tightly under wraps. Now, images of teenagers lying in pools of blood crowd the front pages of newspapers

Iraqis, Americans Begin To Agree: Both Want U.S. Out

by Jim Lobe A year after President George W. Bush declared an end to major hostilities in Iraq, public opinion there and in the United States is beginning to converge, as people in both countries increasingly agree that the U.S. invasion and occupation might not have been such a good idea after all

Schwarzenegger Refuses To Identify Who Helped Draft State Energy Plan

by Jason Leopold In a page torn straight out of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney's playbook on government secrecy, Schwarzenegger's aides have refused to disclose the names of individuals who helped the governor draft a plan to retool California's energy market, a plan that appears to benefit the very same special interests

In China, Old Fears Return About 'Quality Of Race'

by Antoaneta Bezlova The liberalization of China's marriage law is reviving old fears about the 'quality' of race in the world's most populous country, as eugenics experts sound the alarm about the growing number of babies born with birth defects or diseases

Abu Ghraib Appears To Be Tip Of Iceberg

by Jim Lobe The accounts of former detainees themselves -- in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo -- have also put in question the Pentagon's insistence that it has provided humane treatment to prisoners under its control

Flame Retardant Chemicals Common In Household Dust

U.S. researchers have found high levels of chemicals used as flame retardants in household dust within every home they sampled. The human health impacts of the chemicals, known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), are not well known but scientists have found they cause neurological damage in laboratory animals

White House Makes Super-Size Effort To Gut Obesity Report

by Michele Simon Despite American-style contributions to the global obesity crisis, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, instead of supporting WHO's efforts, conducted a line-by-line critique of the draft document that read as if it came from the food industry itself

Fallujah Claims Victory, Mourns Dead

by Aaron Glantz Amid the stench of death, there is also a sense of victory in Fallujah. Young Mujahadin fighters carrying Kalashnikovs now drive around the city on top of cars and motorbikes. People on the streets cheer them

The Lesson Of Fallujah: We Don't Understand Iraq

by William M. Arkin If some Iraqis have rallied around Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr, it is because he is not George W. Bush, not L. Paul Bremer III, not some American lackey on the Governing Council. And the U.S. needs to understand this if it is to find a way out of the current dilemma

Berg Execution Escalates Iraq Media War

by William O. Beeman When all Americans become colonist, Crusader captors, then anyone can be killed at random by the resistance, since to kill one American is to attack them all. Beheading a hapless innocent like Berg is equivalent to beheading President Bush, and if Americans are revolted at the sight, so much the better

Israel Attacks Protesters, Killing Ten

by Ferry Biedermann The killing of at least 10 Palestinian demonstrators and the wounding of many others by Israeli forces in Rafah in the southern Gaza strip Wednesday increased domestic and international pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

Israel Attack On Rafah Was War Crime, Amnesty Says

by Ferry Biedermann Amnesty said that over the last three-and-a-half years Israel has destroyed more than 3,000 Palestinian homes. In some cases that represented a breach of the fourth Geneva Convention and amounted to war crimes

Bin Laden's Stature To Rise With World's Tallest Building

by Mamoun Fandy No matter how much the Bin Laden family tries to disassociate itself from Osama bin Laden's name and deeds, the construction of the tallest skyscraper in the world -- planned for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and to be built by the Bin Laden Group -- can only benefit Osama's stature in the Islamic world

Pakistan Clamps Down On Its Sham Democracy

by Muddassir Rizvi The military has pulled the strings from behind the political scene for decades, but the institutionalization of its role in this South Asian country this month removes much of the pretense that it is a full parliamentary democracy

Even Anti-Castro Cubans Knock Bush 'Hasten Democracy' Plans

by Patricia Grogg The new U.S. plan to 'hasten a transition to democracy' in Cuba has met with more opposition than support among the Cuban people, and even from the very dissidents it is designed to back

Bush Tightens Cuba Embargo To Cheers Of Florida Voting Bloc

by Jim Lobe Six months before an election in which the state of Florida may again play a decisive role, President George W. Bush on Thursday announced new measures to tighten the 44-year-old U.S. embargo on Cuba

60 Former Diplomats Condemn Bush For Total Support Of Sharon

by Jim Lobe Some 60 former U.S. diplomats and other government officials who served overseas have signed a letter to President George W. Bush protesting his unwavering support for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the Palestinian conflict

Women Shocked By Female Role In Iraq Torture Scandal

by Jodi Enda When women are in the minority, as they are in the military police, they are forced to assimilate, said Harvard's Hunt, who founded Women Waging Peace. Just as working women have learned to engage in office politics and to 'dress for success,' women in the military have learned to fit in by toughening up and going along, she said

Monsanto Shelves Plans For GMO Wheat In U.S. And Canada

by Stephen Leahy Activists who fight genetically engineered products are declaring victory after agricultural giant Monsanto's decision to shelve plans to launch GE wheat in Canada and United States. But some warn that the battle over the wheat, and GE crops in general, is far from over

General Charged With Atrocities A Leading Candidate For Indonesia President

by Jim Lobe The Bush administration's 'war on terrorism' in Southeast Asia could face a hurdle after the nomination by Indonesia's most popular political party of an accused war criminal to run for the presidency

India's Election Results Confound Pollsters

by Sandip Roy Perhaps the pollsters with their fancy bar graphs and pie charts never actually asked the people who really voted in the slums of Mumbai or the dusty forgotten villages of India's cow belt

Outsourcing Torture and the Problems of "Quality Control"

by Charles Knight Issues of clever 'deniability' aside, these points remain: the issue of the United States as a state sponsor of torture, perpetrated or exported to foreign stooges, is having a ripple effect globally that will damage American diplomacy for a long time to come

Calls For Rumsfeld To Quit Over Prisoner Scandal

by Jim Lobe That the Bush administration has very little idea about what to do was made clear by the news -- printed in bold across the front pages of the morning's Washington Post and the New York Times -- that Bush had 'privately' scolded Rumsfeld for not warning him about the photographs before they were broadcast

Photos Don't Tell Lies

by Lou Dematteis The war in Iraq is being compared more and more to Vietnam. During that war, relentless images of American servicemen dead and wounded added to iconic images such as the napalmed Vietnamese girl running naked down the road and the Saigon police chief summarily executing a Viet Cong prisoner during the Tet offensive. They helped turn the tide of public support against that misguided and unnecessary war

Oklahoma Stops Execution Of Mexican National At Nearly Last Minute

by Diego Cevallos Osvaldo Torres had been scheduled for execution next week in the state of Oklahoma, but on Thursday the governor commuted the death sentence in a move the Mexican government and lawmakers see as a victory for diplomacy and reason

Kerry Has To Step Up and Fight Patriot Act

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The Patriot Act is too dangerous to play politics with, and, political expediency aside, presidential contender John Kerry must step up his opposition to its abusive provisions

Senators Give Negroponte A Pass On "Death Squad" Past

by Jim Lobe Until Negroponte's arrival, Honduras was a relatively untroubled backwater in the region whose military, unlike those of its neighbors, was seen as relatively progressive, if corrupt, and loath to resort to actual violence against dissidents. But with the support of the CIA and the Argentines, Alvarez moved to change that radically

The George W. Bitter-Enders

by Randolph T. Holhut There are still enough Americans willing to give another four years to a President who, in the words of commentator Peter Lee, is more incompetent than Harding, more dishonest than Nixon and stupider than Reagan

Bush Running The Ship Of State Aground

by Walter M. Brasch Innumerable times, President Bush told the nation he was giving his military all the resources they needed to fight. Either this was political spin of the truth, or his subordinates didn't take him seriously. Gen. Karpinski told Newsweek she didn't have enough troops or resources, that her brigade wasn't properly trained, and that when she complained to her superiors, they ignored her

Bush "Clear Strategy" Speech Offers Same Old Fuzzy Vision

by Stephen Zunes Bush spoke of the lack of freedom and democracy in the Middle East as simply 'a tragedy of history,' ignoring the role of the United States -- which has long been the principal supporter and arms supplier of the region's authoritarian regimes and occupation armies -- in denying Middle Eastern peoples democracy and freedom

History Predicts Iraq's Endgame May Be Bloody Affair

by Franz Schurmann If history is any indication, recent bloody fighting in Iraq between U.S. troops and members of Muqtada al-Sadr's 'Mahdi Army' could be a precursor to a massive show of force or threat of violence that U.S. presidents use before defeating an enemy, as in World War II, fighting to a draw, as in Korea, or, as in Vietnam, abandoning ship

Bush Signs Tobacco Control Treaty, But Many Expect No Serious Action

by Jim Lobe The good news about the Bush administration signing the tobacco control treaty is clouded by the fact that officials might not be serious about transforming that commitment into law, according to U.S. public health groups

Zarqawi's Role In Beheading Is Ominous Turn

by Charles Recknagel The videotape marks the return of al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant, to the frontlines of the Iraq crisis -- and in the ruthless way that has become his trademark

Child Mothers Put Over One Million Infants At Risk

by Jim Lobe More than one million infants -- and an estimated 70,000 adolescent mothers -- die each year in developing countries because young girls are marrying and having children before they are ready for parenthood

UN Poised To Ignore Iraqi Prisoner Abuse Scandal

by Gustavo Capdevila The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which during its April sessions kept mum on the abuses committed in Iraq, will once again avoid the issue in late May when it is to receive a report on the Iraq situation

Native Americans To Demand Compensation

by Marty Logan The Boarding School Healing Project (BSHP) has four main goals -- heal the schools' victims; educate people about the attempted genocide of the American Indian; document how that process worked, and build a movement that will demand compensation from the U.S. government

Thailand Urged To Attack Islamic Militants

by Marwaan Macan-Markar Newspapers in Thailand were full of the 'get tough' and "search and destroy" policy that Bangkok has approved in the wake of the bloody showdown that left over 110 people dead

A Million Face Hunger As Sudan Fighting Continues

by Sanjay Suri According to the UN refugee agency, 110,000 Sudanese -- mostly women and children -- have crossed the border into Chad. As of this week, 50,000 have been relocated to refugee camps, and the number is increasing daily

Taguba Report On Abuses May Be Tipping Point In Iraq War

by Jim Lobe The 53-page report, by Army Major Gen Antonio Taguba, called for disciplinary action against 10 members of the Army, including a brigadier general, a colonel and two civilian contractors hired by the military to help conduct interrogations, and possible criminal prosecutions against at least six people. Some reports said the contractors directed the abuse sessions. They are two of an estimated 15,000 in Iraq -- highly paid former elite soldiers from countries as disparate as Chile and South Africa

UN Calls For Probe Of Iraq Prisoner Abuse

by Thalif Deen UN officials have joined the rising tide of criticism against U.S. and British soldiers alleged to have tortured and humiliated Iraqi detainees in a notorious Baghdad penitentiary

Abuse Of Iraqi Prisoners May Be Widespread

by Aaron Glantz The treatment of Iraqi prisoners apparent from the CBS pictures is not the American way of doing things, Bush declared Friday. But the indications on the ground in Iraq are that such treatment may not be the exception

Bloody Hands, Bloody Minds

by Joyce Marcel What could be behind the Bush Administration's decision to censor the photographs of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq? Could it really be to hide the realities of war for political reasons? Or is it to protect the delicate sensitivities of the ruling class as Americans die to build them an empire?

"Coffingate" A Scandal Of The Pentagon's Making

by William M. Arkin How did Schwarzkopf's adamant refusal to count enemy dead turn into today's fetish about controlling photographs of U.S. coffins returning from Iraq -- photos that demonstrate the dignity and respect with which the remains are treated?

Monsanto Shelves Plans For GMO Canola In Australia

by Jeremy Bransten While the Australian government has been supportive of genetically modified crops, the state governments have not been so welcoming. On March 25, the state of Victoria decided to implement a four-year moratorium on the planting of biotech canola although the Commonwealth government had already approved such plantings as safe

Court Throws Out U.S. Charges Agains Greenpeace

A federal judge May 19 dismissed charges brought by the U.S. Justice Department against Greenpeace USA for violating an obscure 1872 maritime law prohibiting "sailormongering."

War On Iraq Allowed Al-Qaeda To Regroup, Study Says

by Breffni O'Rourke A prestigious British research organization, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, has issued a report that asserts that the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq has actually strengthened the Al-Qaeda terrorist network, rather than weakened it. The report, titled "Strategic Survey 2003/2004," says the Iraq conflict has led to an accelerated recruitment to Al-Qaeda. And it says the ideal goal of the group is to use weapons of mass destruction

"Honor Killing" Of Women Returns To Middle East

by Walid Batrawi Since September 2000 when the Intifadah erupted, the Palestinian territories are witnessing an absence of the rule of law. WACLAC records show a 12 percent increase in crimes related to 'honor killing' of women

Serb Mercenaries Strike It Rich In Iraq

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic Stories of mercenaries going to Iraq abound in Serbia, but it is hard to trace the channels that lead them there. From time to time, small ads appear in Serbian papers announcing "the need for security personnel with experience." The phones in the ads are not local. Similar ads are appearing in newspapers in neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina

Israelis Resurrecting Old Deeds To Seize Palestinian Property

by Ferry Biedermann To the group of religious Jewish activists, the Ateret Cohanim bent on "salvaging" one-time Jewish property and land in Jerusalem, the two houses in Abu Dis they have moved into are the beginning of a new Jewish neighborhood, Kidmat Zion. "Jerusalem is united and eternally the capital of Israel and we have a right to live anywhere we want to," says group spokesman Daniel Luria. "This land was bought by Jews in the 1920s."

California's Juvenile Prison System Needs Reform From Ground Up

by Judge Leonard Edwards The brutal, videotaped beating of a young man in a California Youth Authority prison sparked outrage nationwide. But efforts to reform juvenile justice are doomed to failure if they stick to a 19th century model of large youth lockups. Congregate care makes juvenile offenders far worse

Fallujah Is Rallying Cry For An Iraq United Against U.S.

by Annia Ciezadlo Fallujah's refugees are pouring into Baghdad, bringing tales of carnage. "I saw it with my own eyes: they shelled all of Fallujah," says Subhi, collapsing into an armchair, exhausted after his return journey. He and other from his neighborhood brought about 400 refugees back with them. "Stores, houses -- they shelled indiscriminately."

Marching With A Million Women As A Pro-Choice Man

by Abe Velez Why? Because the participation of pro-choice men seems to be a value-added (excuse the marketing jargon) contribution to the cause. Because I think anti-choice activists are often bullies and I don't like bullies. Because it's the least I can do

CIA Has Taught Use Of Torture Photos For 30 Years

by Peter Dale Scott Are you shocked that U.S. military interrogators have photographed and videotaped their activities? The CIA, for one, has been using photographic documentation as part of its interrogation techniques for years. At least one Army general says the CIA helped set standards for treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib

U.S. Media Ignores The Racism In Abu Ghraib Prison Photos

by Norman Solomon Among the millions of words that have appeared in the U.S. press since late April about abuse and torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, one has been notably missing: Racism

Trust Us, We're The "Liberal" Media

by Norman Solomon More revealing than they evidently intended, the editors' article repeatedly lumped together two institutions -- the New York Times and the U.S. government -- as though they were somehow in comparable situations during the lead-up to the war. The excuses for both were sounding remarkably similar

About That Invitation to Join the Bush-Cheney '04 Team...

by Norman Solomon It seems notably ungrateful for the chairman of the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign to complain about national media -- after all they've done for this administration

The Coming Backlash Against Outrage

by Norman Solomon In the weeks ahead, we'll be encouraged to turn away from information surfacing about imprisonment and interrogation techniques that have held sway under U.S. authority in Iraq. Atrocities will be discounted, excuses made, messengers blamed

UN Staffers Don't Want To Go To Iraq 'Death Trap'

by Thalif Deen As the United Nations prepares to help organize elections and try to create a new interim government in Iraq starting in July, skepticism is growing about the wisdom of risking UN lives in a country swirling in violence and chaos

Many Hired Guns In Iraq Have War Crime Backgrounds

by Louis E.V. Nevaer A dirty little secret of the Coalition Provisional Authority: due to its outsourcing of privatized security services, the CPA has put terrorists, mercenaries and war criminals on the payrolls of companies contracted by the Pentagon

World Bank, IMF Can't Take Credit For World Poverty Drop

by Emad Mekay Global poverty has declined over the past 20 years but the successes are not in countries that have closely followed the advice of the World Bank and its sister institution the IMF, a new study shows

Waiting For Kerry To Step Up To The Plate

by Alexander Cockburn With America's debacle in Iraq blaring on every TV channel, Democrats in Oregon tuned in eagerly to Kerry as he toured their state in mid-May, awaiting their champion's robust savaging of the commander in chief, tottering through some of the worst news headlines of his presidency. They waited in vain

The Empire, Seen From Oceanside

by Alexander Cockburn If the empire's forward outpost is currently in Baghdad, surely the valley bottoms, mesas and shoreline of San Diego County, guarded on its northern edge by Camp Pendleton, offer a useful clue as to how power and privilege work in the imperial homeland

Greenlights For Torture

by Alexander Cockburn So there were WMDs in Iraq after all. They're called digital cameras. Partly because of them the United States faces one of the most humiliating defeats in imperial history

Torture As American As Apple Pie

by Alexander Cockburn Start torturing and it's easy to get carried away. Torture destroys the tortured and corrupts the society that sanctions it

As U.S. Targets Al-Sadr, Cleric Gains Followers

by Aaron Glantz Karim has been thrown in prison twice by the U.S. Army in the last month, and he is not happy with the way they are keeping the peace. "Really I hate Muqtada," he says. "But now with the Americans going after him so strongly and Muqtada speaking out, I begin to respect him somehow."

Washington Facing 'Hatred Like Never Before' In Arab World

by Jeffrey Donovan Nizar Hamzeh, a professor of politics at Beirut's American University, said fewer and fewer Muslims now appear to view moderation and negotiation as viable tactics. "The average [Arab] citizen is simply saying that it looks like the Islamic militants -- whether they're Palestinians or Arab Muslims in general -- look to be more right and [that] everybody else who accepted negotiations are wrong," Hamzeh said.

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