default.html Issue 124
Table of Contents

The Battle For Israel's Future And Soul

by Neve Gordon What Sharon and the Israelis who support the separation barrier neglect to see is that while the barrier imprisons the Palestinians, it is also encircling Israel, turning it, as it were, into an island, as opposed to a state among states in the Middle East

The Problems Of Fahrenheit 9/11

by Robert Jensen The most common defense I have heard from liberals and progressives to these criticisms of Fahrenheit 9/11 is that, whatever its flaws, the movie sparks people to political action. One response is obvious: There is no reason a film can't spark people to political action with intelligent and defensible analysis, and without subtle racism

End of the Road for Old Cars in Baghdad

by Hazem al-Shara The high crime rates and gasoline shortages of post-war Iraq have made taxi-driving a dangerous and time-consuming job. But the biggest problem stems from the collapse of the customs system, which has brought a flood of new cars into Iraq -- paid for out of the new money entering the country. That has ruined business for those with tired old autos

Bush Targets "Heart of Western Arctic" for Oil Drilling

by J.R. Pegg The Bush administration's proposed revisions to the 1998 management plan for the northeast portion of Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve are unjustified and threaten "the biological heart of the Western Arctic," according to former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt.

Few Militants Surrender As Saudi Arabia Amnesty Expires

by Jeffrey Donovan Four fugitives surrendered in total, while 27 others were repatriated from abroad. Still, Saudi officials insist the amnesty has achieved progress as part of a wider government crackdown that this week included a raid on the home of Al-Qaeda's chief in Saudi Arabia that yielded a gruesome discovery

NEW! by Tom Engelhardt For all of us in a sense, the Earth was knocked off its axis on August 6, 1945. In that one moment, my father's war ended and my war -- the Cold War -- began. But in my terms, it seems so much messier than that. For we, and that boy that was my Japanese pen-pal, continued to live in the same world together for a long time, accepting and embroidering each other's silences

Michael Moore Could Learn From O'Reilly

by Steve Young The Prince of Fox News pretty much dismissed the actual quotes, not by selected usage as a Michael Moore might, but by inventing a new and more convenient recollection. And it isn't necessary to have had been said for Bill to say it was said

Talk Radio: Not Half-Truths, No Truths

by Steve Young WMD can be really small and finding them in a country the size of Iraq, would probably be like trying to find an itty bitty capsule in California...which comes lusciously close to the Limbaugh 'there are more road deaths in California U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, so it's not that bad' theorem. Or howzabout the Brit Hume, 'there are more murders in California than American soldiers who died in Iraq' hypothesis. My guess is that we probably should have invaded California

Jesus Wouldn't Survive The Scrutiny

by Steve Young I can hear Hannity now: "Look, Jesus is a savior, but where's the experience? Other than a returning eyesight to a few uninsured people who haven't thought far enough ahead to obtain their own health coverage, what has he accomplished? If you think Hillary was bad, how soon do you think the 'meek shall inherit the earth' guy will be pushing for a national health plan? And the man hasn't ever voted. Unbelievable!"

When Lively Debate Turned Into Livid Hate

by Warren Bluhm Something odd happened from the time of Jim and Shana to the time of Rush and Mike. It stopped being entertainment; it stopped being funny. And the politicians and spin-meisters started insulting each other as an everyday routine, not just when they were in a contrived TV environment. And they started hating each other

Arab Leaders Wary Of New Iraqi Regime

by Thalif Deen Arab states seem to be adopting a wait-and-see attitude after Iraqi leaders agreed Tuesday with the United States and United Nations on a new interim government that will lead the country towards its first elections next year

Now That Iraq Arms Embargo Lifted, Countries Vie To Sell It New Weapons

by Thalif Deen When the 15-member UN Security Council legitimized the U.S.-imposed interim government in Baghdad in June, the five-page unanimous resolution carried a provision little publicized in the media: the lifting of a 14-year arms embargo on Iraq

Fish Disappear From Egypt's "Toilet Lakes"

by Cam McGrath The lakes were among the richest and most diverse ecosystems in Egypt until just 30 years ago. Today, they are popularly referred to as 'Egypt's toilet'

AIDS Pandemic Sweeps Africa

Half of all new HIV infections are now found in the 15 to 24 year-old age group, with more than 6,000 contracting the virus every day

Forced Labor Still Common In Burma, Despite Junta's Vow

by Marwaan Macan-Markar According to human rights organizations monitoring Burma, there are over 50 known camps across the country where prisoners, including women and young girls, are subject to forced labor

Bush Seeks To Exempt Huge Factory Farms From Pollution Rules

by Katherine Stapp An imminent amnesty deal between the factory farm industry and federal regulators epitomises the laissez-faire approach toward enforcing pollution laws of the administration of President George W Bush, critics are charging

Court Rules Against Media Monopoly

by Katherine Stapp Had the FCC rules been left intact, a single company could have owned three television stations, eight radio stations, and the monopoly newspaper in a single market. Opponents of media consolidation, who feared that the rules would have allowed a handful of media giants to dominate news and information, hailed the verdict as a major victory for media diversity and access

The New Afghan Crisis: Who Owns What?

by Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi The question of land ownership has become more contentious in recent years for several reasons: 23 years of war has displaced millions; land-rights documents have been lost; the system of public administration and civil law has been largely destroyed. Drought and land mines have intensified the demand for safe and productive land. After years in exile, refugees are now returning to find the land they thought was theirs occupied and claimed by others. In many cases, refugees’ land was distributed by the local commanders who continue to seize private property by force. A law unto themselves, these local commanders have also appropriated government and other public property

Bush Again Blocks Funds To UN Population Fund

by Jim Lobe In what critics are calling its latest slap at women and multilateralism, the administration of President George W Bush announced July 16 that the $34 million Congress had earmarked for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) will be used for other purposes

The Pentagon's Secret Scream

by William M. Arkin This is a weapon unlike any other used by the military, and it is certain to provoke public outcry and the conspiracy theories that often greet new U.S. military technology

Starbucks Faces Angry Brew Of Workers And Activists

by Emad Mekay The company says it is one of the biggest customers of fair trade coffee, buying 2.1 million pounds of the product in 2003, approximately twice the amount of the previous year. This, the company says, represents approximately 10 percent of all fair trade coffee certified in the United States in 2003.

Expect Lots Of "Dead Time" At The Baghdad Embassy

by John Brown Based on over twenty years of experience in the Foreign Service, I see several reasons why the American mission in Baghdad -- which will cost in 2005 up to $1 billion to operate, not including the construction of a new embassy -- will create a 'dead time' environment

Despite Hostage Crisis And Ban, Filipino Workers Head To Iraq

by Meena Janardhan The ordeal of a Filipino truck driver freed by militants after his country withdrew its troops from Iraq has not deterred Philippine migrant workers from making their way to the war-racked Middle Eastern country through the United Arab Emirates, despite an official prohibition by Manila

Supreme Court Rules "Enemy Combatants" Have Rights

by Jim Lobe The rulings amounted to an almost total rebuff of the administration's assertions that the president, as commander-in-chief, had the right to indefinitely detain individuals whom it designated 'enemy combatants' without charges and without access to counsel or the right to review their status before an independent court

Take Intel Operations Away From Pentagon, 9/11 Panel Says

by Jim Lobe The commission identified 10 "unexploited opportunities" before the attacks -- four under the Clinton administration and six in the first eight months of the Bush administration -- when, if the relevant agencies had known what other agencies had known, the government could have discovered, delayed, or disrupted the plot

Pentagon Admits Ties To U.S. Mercenaries In Afghanistan

by Andrew Tully The growing scandal arising from the U.S. abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan now includes the case of three U.S. civilians accused of kidnapping and torturing suspected Afghan resistance fighters. The three are on trial in Kabul, and after initial denials, a spokesman for the U.S.-led antiterrorism operation in Afghanistan now admits the coalition did have contacts with their leader, Jonathan Idema

Coca-Cola Accused Of Draining Aquifers In Desert India Region

by Ranjit Devaraj Villagers around Kaladera, an industrial area in the largely desert state of western Rajasthan, have been demanding the closure of the Coca-Cola plant there accusing it of using powerful bore wells to extract vast quantities of water from deep aquifers, depriving them of their share and disturbing the sensitive ecology of the area.

China Using Terror War As Excuse To Repress Muslim Minority

by Marty Logan China has detained tens of thousands of people in the northwest Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists attacks on New York and the Pentagon, using 'anti-terrorism' as its motive

Northern China Facing Water Disaster

by Antoaneta Bezlova After years of environmental destruction and two decades of spectacular economic growth, China has severe water problems on its hands. The northern half of the country is drying out and two-thirds of all Chinese cities do not have enough fresh water all year round

"Slave Conditions" For Asian Workers In Saudi Arabia

by Jim Lobe Even though they enter the kingdom legally, however, they often find themselves at the mercy of legal sponsors and employers who have the power to impose working conditions on them without any effective government oversight. Fearful of losing their jobs and unaware of their rights, most workers do not report abuses

NY Court Rules Felons Have No Constitutional Right To Vote

by Sara Giboney A civil rights coalition is considering its options after a federal court dismissed a suit seeking voting rights for thousands of disenfranchised Black and Latino prisoners and parolees. The case, Hayden v Pataki, sought voting rights for incarcerated convicted felons and those on parole. In a decision this month, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District in New York ruled that convicted felons had no constitutional right to vote

House GOP Gives Lesson On How To Destroy Democracy

by Joel Barkin Shouts of "Shame, Shame, Shame" echoed through the House Chamber as scores of angry members on the Democratic side took to their feet. But the Republicans are apparently immune to such public shaming

Interview With Nader: "Watch What You Wish For"

by Brian Shott "I'd still like [voters in battleground states] to vote for our ticket. But they're free to do whatever they want. The spillover vote from the Nader-Camejo ticket is going to help progressive Democrats in close races in the House and Senate, and may help recover Congress to block any second Bush administration"

Kerry Needs Big Turnout Of Blacks, Latinos

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson While blacks will again vote overwhelmingly for Kerry, and Latinos will give him the majority of their votes, it's not the percentage of these groups' votes that counts, but how many voters actually show up at the polls on Election Day

Kerry: a Lighter Shade of Bush

by William M. Arkin Kerry's adoption of the Bush administration's worldview and strategies merely reinforces the idea that the United States is indeed the problem, that there is a clash of civilizations that only might can resolve and that Islam will be an American target no matter who is president

With Charm-Boy Edwards On The Ticket, Is Dour Cheney Out?

by Jim Lobe While Cheney's vast Washington and national security experience is far superior to Edwards' mere five years in the U.S. Senate, the latter's unfailingly sunny and optimistic demeanour -- not to mention his Clintonesque skill, finely honed over two decades as a trial lawyer, at connecting with an audience -- will make it difficult for the dour incumbent to prevail in any face-to-face debate

No Nation Offers Troops To Protect UN Staff In Iraq

by Thalif Deen The dramatic increase in kidnappings of foreign nationals in Iraq is threatening to undermine the creation of a new multinational security force to protect UN employees and humanitarian workers planning to return to the violence-ridden country

John Edwards Could Restore Demos Credibility Among Blacks

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards should buck the recent trend among Democratic presidential contenders of downplaying civil rights issues. Instead, he should speak out loudly for affirmative action and hate crimes legislation, and for ending mandatory drug laws that have imprisoned thousands of young blacks for non-violent offenses. Democratic campaign strategists, however, may have other ideas

Remember Afghanistan?

by Marty Jezer More than 800 people have been killed in Afghanistan this past year, most of them by Taliban guerrillas. Yet, President Hamid Karzai, in an interview with the New York Times, insists that it's not the Taliban that threaten Afghanistan; it's our allies, the warlords of the Northern Alliance that are the greater danger. Because of the violent activities of their private armies, security is almost non-existent outside of Kabul. Nation building is stalled, as are major projects for internal reconstruction

AIDS Explodes In Asia, E Europe

by Sanjay Suri   Apart from five million new infections, three million died of AIDS related causes last year. Both the infections and the deaths were the highest reported for a single year

Iraq Missing From Topics At Demo Convention

by Molly Ivins Hate to be the skunk at the garden party, but the one topic the D's, in their determined-not-to-be-negative mode, are avoiding like said skunk is Iraq. Since their candidate was in favor of going in (Howard Dean, who opposed the war, got a lot of applause Tuesday night), he's stuck with that position. Ever since poor George Romney (whose son is now governor of Massachusetts) said back in 1968 that he had been brainwashed -- meaning he was told a bunch of lies -- over Vietnam, politicians have been afraid of admitting they were misled for fear people will think them simpleminded. What happened to Romney was that the press turned on him mercilessly and pilloried him as though the fault were his

Kerry Gets No Bounce From Beantown Bash

by Molly Ivins The D's aren't going to get much of a bounce out of this convention because this race is already so tight there just ain't enough swing votes to bounce anywhere

Repub Talking Points Hammer Away At Big Lies

by Molly Ivins Am I the only person around who distinctly remembers an entire 18 months ago? This is what happened: The CIA was wrong, but it wasn't wrong enough for the White House, which kept pushing the spies to be much wronger. The CIA's lack of sufficient wrongness was so troubling to the anxious Iraq hawks that they kept touting their own reliable sources, such as Ahmad Chalabi and his merry crew of fabulists

Lots To Learn From Clinton Book

by Molly Ivins Bill Clinton's manners are so much better than those of everyone who has ever trashed him, it's a monument to his momma. In fact, this book is written with such a forgiving spirit, it's a shame

GOP Still Clueless About "Lady" Issues

by Molly Ivins All in all, it's kind of hard to see how Bush could convince "the ladies" that he has helped take stress out of their lives. Unless, of course, the lady is married to a guy who makes $1 million a year

Embattled Venezuela President Chavez Popularity Grows As Recall Approaches

by Humberto Marquez His increased popularity is attributed to the success of the generous food aid and health care programs, land reform and literacy campaigns launched by the government in 2003 and provided with heavier funding this year

Iran Youth Drug Abuse "Getting Out Of Control"

by Ramin Mostaghim The government estimates that there are two million drug addicts nationwide. But people who work in combating the drug problem find the official number unrealistically low, adding that the actual number of addicts is closer to seven million

Bush Forging Ahead With Yucca Mountain Project

by J.R. Pegg There are also funding concerns swirling around the project. In its latest budget request, the Bush administration proposed moving the majority of funding for the repository 'off budget.' That funding proposal was not well thought out, said Domenici, because the budget process does not permit the Bush request. The problem is forcing the Congress to scramble to meet the $880 million funding request -- the House budget only includes $131 million

Nuclear Waste Fund a $15 Billion Slush Account To Hide Fed Deficits

by LeRoy Koppendrayer The nation’s ratepayers who receive electric energy generated from nuclear power make more than $750 million per year in payments into the nuclear waste fund, designed to fund the Department of Energy’s establishment of a safe, timely, and cost-effective centralized storage and permanent disposal of the civilian spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The fund now holds about $15 billion. Unfortunately for the public, this account balance has been used to camouflage the federal deficit each year

Soap Operas Play Role In Venezuela's Battle For Power

by Humberto Marquez The latest battle for power is on in Venezuela, with a new soap opera shedding a positive light on President Hugo Chavez and conflicting opinion polls regarding the outcome of the Aug. 15 presidential recall referendum

Top CIA Man Says Iran, Not Iraq, Gassed Kurds in 1988

by Sanjay Suri A claim by a leading CIA man that it was Iran that gassed Iraqi Kurds in Halabja in 1988 could confirm the statement by Saddam Hussein at the opening of his trial in Baghdad Thursday that he knew of the massacre only from the newspapers

Caribbean Nations Uneasy About "Re-Engaging" Haiti

by Peter Richards The 'Caliviginy Statement on Haiti' makes it clear that re-engaging Haiti, whose seat at the CARICOM table was declared vacant in March, should not be viewed as an acceptance of the undemocratic change of government in the former French colony

Macho Politics: Schwarzenegger's "Girlie Men" And Dubya's "Bring It On"

by Roberto Lovato California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent comments -- as well as similar macho remarks from the Bush administration -- are an attempt to bolster part of the electorate that feels threatened by the nation's changing demographics

Saddam's Ex-Prisoners Feel Left Out Of Trial

by Ferry Biedermann The former political prisoners are curious about the case that will be presented against Saddam. And they are somewhat bitter that Salem Chalabi, director of the special tribunal that has been preparing the case has not consulted them

Doctors Without Borders Pulls Out Of Afghanistan After 24 Years

by Antoine Blua The international aid group Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres) has been in Afghanistan since 1980. It has braved the Soviet occupation from 1979 to 1989, the civil war in the 1990s, and the rule of the hard-line Taliban. The medical charity has now decided to pull out of Afghanistan, becoming the first major aid agency to quit the war-ravaged country since the ouster of the Taliban in late 2001.

Sudan Warns Foreign Troops To Stay Out

Sudan has warned it will retaliate against any foreign troops sent to stop violence in the country's western Darfur region, the site of a huge humanitarian crisis. The warning comes as the international community steps up pressure on the Sudanese government to stop the fighting between rebels and government-backed Arab militias

Even a Tyrant Is Entitled to Due Process

by Robert Scheer It is a huge stretch to call the proceedings a fair trial or an Iraqi-run affair. Men long on the U.S. payroll are running the country and the trial; U.S. troops are still guarding Hussein. And the U.S. even chose what images could be broadcast and told pool reporters they could not record Hussein's voice. An unauthorized audiotape was, however, leaked to the media

An Excuse-Spouting Bush Is Busted by 9/11 Report

by Robert Scheer By month's end, "the system was blinking red" and could not "get any worse," then-CIA Director George Tenet told the 9/11 commission. It was at this point, of course, that George W. Bush began the longest presidential vacation in 32 years

Homophobia and Apple Pie

by Robert Scheer Still smarting from the defeat in the Senate of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, the president has returned to playing the God-and-patriotism card heavily -- always implying that the GOP is the party for 'real' Americans

Fact of the Matter Is That Facts Didn't Matter To Bush

by Robert Scheer The 511-page Senate Intelligence Committee report makes it clear that despite the haughty posturing of national security heavyweights, we do not have adults watching the store. The report's epic series of embarrassing conclusions about how the intelligence on Iraq became distorted is a testament to how political ideology and ambitions consistently trumped logic and integrity

Uproar In S Korea After Beheading Of Hostage In Iraq

by Ahn Mi-Young Although the government announced that its decision to deploy 3,000 troops to Iraq is unlikely to be swayed by the beheading of a South Korean hostage, public protests are mounting

Australia Right-Wing Demanding Full Disclosure Of NGOs

by Bob Burton The Australian government is considering proposals by a conservative think-tank to force non-government organizations (NGOs) to disclose much greater levels of detail about their internal operations, personnel and international affiliates in the name of 'transparency'

Natural Gas Deal May Link Iran, India, Burma

by Ranjit Devraj Growing energy demands and the more open attitude of India's new government toward its neighbors may see the revival of plans to pipe natural gas into the country from Iran to the west and Burma in the east

Demolition of Most Dangerous Building in America Begins

On July 15, workers began demolishing Building 771 at Rocky Flats, a former nuclear weapons production plant 16 miles northwest of Denver. Building 771 is the first plutonium process building of its size and complexity to be demolished in the United States. In 1995, the Department of Energy (DOE) concluded that Building 771 was its greatest vulnerability and the building was called the 'most dangerous building in America'

UN, U.S. Won't Call Sudan Killings 'Genocide'

by Thalif Deen The humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region in Sudan has reached deadly proportions with thousands killed, one million displaced and over 150,000 refugees fleeing into neighboring Chad and entire villages wiped out by marauding Arab militia groups. Still, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan have refused to describe the killings by the Janjaweed militia as genocide

Halliburton Fires Two Top Execs Over Kickback Scheme

by Julio Godoy French prosecutors launched investigations a year ago into a gas field project in Nigeria where Halliburton's main subsidiary KBR together with partners from Italy, France and Japan were said to have paid out $180 million in illegal commissions. Halliburton announced June 18 that it had fired two executives, William Chaudan and Albert J. Stanley, close associate of Cheney and until last December president of KBR. Halliburton said both had obtained 'improper personal benefits' in Nigeria.

200 Dead In Battles With Islamic Rebels In Yemen

by Nabil Sultan   Thousands of families are at risk as the clashes continue in the Marran mountains of Saddah area, about 150 km north of capital Sana'a, and close to the border with Saudi Arabia. It is the main center of the Zaidi Shia sect founded about 1,000 years ago

Who Will Defend Saddam In Court?

by Peyman Pejman At his arraignment on July 1, the defiant former Iraqi president refused to sign a charge sheet with preliminary charges against him, saying he would do so after consulting with his lawyer. But Saddam has not yet chosen one and neither has he indicated whether he will accept a court-appointed lawyer or seek legal advice from a Jordan-based team appointed by his wife and three daughters

Arab Nationalism Will Be On Trial With Saddam

by M B Naqvi Saddam was not a tinpot of dictator, as found in many small Third World states. He was an important political figure even if he was ruthless and intolerant. He belonged to the Baathist Party that has dominated the Arab mind since early 1970s when its two factions were ruling Iraq and Syria. But make no mistake: In the entire Arab world, the idea of Arab nationalism still dominates

Israel Apartheid System Bars Marriage To Palestinians

by Sanjay Suri The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law that bars Israelis married to Palestinians from the occupied territories from living with their spouses in Israel. The Israeli Parliament is all set to extend the law. Any change would have meant the setting up of a committee to review the law, but no such committee has been set up

U.S. Leads In Tying Poor Nation Donations To Expensive Trade Deals

by Thalif Deen Donor money that comes with strings attached cuts the value of aid to recipient countries 25 to 40 percent because it obliges them to purchase uncompetitively priced imports from the richer nations, says a new UN study on African economies

Revolving Door Between Pentagon And Arms Makers, Group Says

by Emad Mekay Hundreds of U.S. military and government officials routinely leave their posts for jobs with private contractors who deal with the government, a process that has eroded the lines between government and the private sector

Colombia Civil War At 40 Years

by Constanza Vieira In many rural areas of this South American country, life is measured from war to war, the first of which broke out in 1948, the second in 1954, the third in 1962 and the fourth, which is still raging, in 1964

Court Rejects Yucca Mtn. 10,000 Year Radioactive Safety Limit

Both sides are claiming victory after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit handed down its ruling July 9 on challenges to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. The 10,000 year federal safety requirement for the highly radioactive waste is illegal, the court ruled, because it is inconsistent with the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences. But the court rejected Nevada's constitutional challenge to the repository

Spiral Of Revenge Killings In Baghdad

by Dahr Jamail "We have three to four times the violent crimes now than we did before," Col. Adnan al- Rahman, public relations director for the Iraqi Police told IPS in his office at the Ministry of Interior. Dr. Faiq Amin from the Medico Legal Institute (the Baghdad morgue) says more than 600 bodies are brought there every month, about four times the number before the invasion. This includes only "suspicious deaths" such as murders and people killed by the U.S. military.

Bush Gives Cold Shoulder To World AIDS Conference

by Katherine Stapp Two years ago, Washington sent 236 employees to the International AIDS Conference. But this time around, the U.S. has cut it delegation to 50 and slashed its funding for the meeting from $3.6 million to about $500,000

AIDS Groups Ask Bush For More Money, Less Ideology

by Jim Lobe While Bush's administration has contributed substantially more money than any other donor government to the global anti-AIDS fight, the funds have been laden with conditions that AIDS activists say make it more difficult to defeat the disease

Mixed Feelings At End Of AIDS "Talkfest"

by Moyiga Nduru What has made activists angry with the Bangkok Conference is the fact that life-enhancing antiretroviral drugs, for people living with HIV, continue to be produced in the rich industrialized world but not made accessible where they needed most -- namely poor communities in the developing world

AIDS Mainstream Now Talking The Talk Of Activists

by Marwaan Macan-Markar The mainstream conference discussions, previously centered on science and medical issues, took on a more human approach by talking about preventive behavior and treating and caring for people infected with HIV or already afflicted with the killer disease.

Hecklers Accuse U.S. AIDS Czar Of Lying

by Ma Guihua Two years ago at the last International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, U.S. health and welfare secretary Tommy Thompson was booed so loudly his speech was barely audible. This time, it was U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Randall Tobias's turn to feel the heat from protesters who stood Wednesday and held up placards saying 'He's Lying'

Big Pharma Ignoring AIDS Children

by Moyiga Nduru HIV treatment for adults is slowly becoming easier, with increasing availability in developing countries of a three-drug cocktail in one tablet. But children who need treatment still have to drink large amounts of foul-tasting syrup or swallow large tablets if they can actually access treatment at all

Bush's AIDS Relief Plan Will Delay Drugs, Reward Big Pharma

by Jim Lobe Africa and AIDS activists say the Bush Administration's pledge to expedite its approval process for low-cost, generic anti-retroviral drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will really slow delivery of drugs to those suffering while undermining the authority of the UN and World Health Organization

Condoms A Women's Rights Issue In AIDS Fight

by Marwaan Macan-Markar According to that report by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), nearly 50 percent of the estimated 38 million people who are victims of the pandemic are women. What is more, the UNAIDS findings have exposed other myths held in high regard by conservatives. Marriage and long-term monogamous relationships do not protect women from HIV, the UN agency adds.

UN Warns Asia It Faces AIDS Catastrophe

by Marwaan Macan-Markar With one in four new HIV cases being reported from Asia, the sprawling continent is on the verge of an AIDS epidemic that could dwarf the devastation wrought by the killer disease in Africa, experts are warning

Are Terrorists Hijacking The News?

by Richard J. Eisendorf To date, more than 50 captives from the United States, Canada and 11 other countries in Europe and Asia have been kidnapped in Iraq -- many threatened with beheading. And the media are unwittingly feeding this frenzy of brutal terror

Pro-Choice Repubs Stake Claim To Be Party "Silent Majority"

by Cynthia L. Cooper A pro-choice faction might seem, at first glance, fated for outcast status in a Republican Party that takes a hard line against abortion and women's right to choose. Undaunted, however, the group is now raising an even bolder banner and staking a greater claim on its rightful place in the GOP. Begun in 1999, when three regional groups with similar missions combined to form the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition, the group last month renamed itself Republican Majority for Choice, with the emphasis on 'majority'

Media Missed The Real Story At The Kerry Convention

by Tom Engelhardt It's true that in media terms, this was the world of no-world and the story of no-story, as everyone wrote all week. But there actually was a story here, a tale that might be called 'What George Wrought,' and walking the Convention floor, the halls, and galleries, watching the whole of one non-day, a day not even fit, not an hour of it, for network TV news, you couldn't help but feel that something electric and possibly new was in that room

Kerry Taps Into Enviro Anger at Bush

League of Conservation Voters (LCV) President Deb Callahan says her organization is well on track to meet its goal of directly reaching 1.5 million voters in four swing states -- Florida, Oregon, New Mexico and Wisconsin -- by November

Secrecy Is CIA's Secret Weakness

by William M. Arkin What we need now is not a time-consuming and distracting renovation, but rather some simple measures aimed at forcing a change in CIA culture. The CIA's budget needs to be open to scrutiny, as do its organizational charts

Bayer Backs Away From Attempt To Suppress Pesticide Safety Data

by Sanjay Suri A curious British court action June 30 gave Friends of the Earth the right to tell people where to look for information on some pesticides -- but not to offer the information

Iran Rife With Bribery, Kickback Demands

by Ramin Mostaghim Graft has become so widespread in Iran that the growing economic and spiritual malaise in the country is getting worse by the day, many people say

Pakistan "Honor Killing" Of Women Lives On

by Ron Synovitz Each year, scores of women in Pakistan are killed by their male relatives for marrying without the permission of their families. In areas where arranged marriage is a centuries-old tradition, Pakistani women who take husbands without family consent are thought to bring disgrace upon their relatives

Severe Aral Sea Pollution Even Altered DNA In Central Asia

by Antoine Blua The Aral Sea, which straddles Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, was once the world's fourth-largest inland body of water. Today, however, it has shrunk to half its original size, due in large measure to the diversion of its feeder rivers for irrigation. This environmental catastrophe is being compounded by a related health crisis among the local population. Local populations are battling anemia, tuberculosis, and cancer

Iraq: Archives, Libraries Devastated By War, Looting

by Valentinas Mite Employees of Iraq's National Library and Archives are struggling to overcome the destruction wrought during the first weeks of the U.S.-led war. Many irreplaceable documents, photographs, maps, and books -- some centuries old -- were either destroyed in the fighting or were stolen in the rampant looting that followed. A vital part of Iraq's culture seems to have disappeared forever

The Lessons Of Whoopi

by Robert Gelfand What has puzzled me for years is how Los Angeles area consumers have allowed the monopolization of our airwaves by the right wing attack machine to continue. It is not because liberals are in the minority here. To the contrary. They should take a page from the Whoopi Goldberg story by complaining to the sponsors

Iraq War Has Cost Average U.S. Household At Least $3,000

by Jim Lobe $151.1 billion that will have been spent through this fiscal year could have paid for comprehensive health care for 82 million U.S. children or the salaries of nearly three million elementary school teachers. According to one study cited in the 54-page report, the war and occupation will cost the average U.S. household at least $3,415 through the end of this year

Native Americans Want Apology - As A First Step

by Marty Logan Group is now drafting a resolution to be introduced in Congress that would demand compensation on behalf of the victims of the residential school system. She suggested that an official government apology could spur the government to compensate for past wrongs done to Native people

Bill Cosby Rant Stirs Up Black Press

by Danielle Worthy From the front page to the Op-Ed section, the African-American press is rehashing and dissecting actor and philanthropist Bill Cosby's recent tirades about blacks, with opinions ranging from full-on agreement to flat-out denial

The Democracy We Hate, The Fanatics We Love

by Medea Benjamin When it comes to elections, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia are like night and day. Saudi Arabia has a feudal monarchy; Venezuela has the most closely watched electoral democracy of any country in the Western Hemisphere

Legacy Of Liberia's Civil War: Garbage, Shrapnel, Carcasses

by Abdullah Dukuly Fourteen years of war have brought about a near-terminal decline of public services such as water provision and sanitation. As a result, the streets are littered with household waste, shrapnel, carcasses, rubble and scrap that are an eyesore at best -- at worst, a dangerous pollutant of underground water sources

Liberals Hang On To Power In Canada

by Mark Bourrie The Liberal Party, coming out of 11 years in power and several embarrassing political scandals, was, according to pollsters, expected to lose its grip on dozens of constituencies outside of major cities in eastern Canada. Instead, in results that surprised political experts, the Liberals won 76 of Ontario's 106 seats

The Most Dangerous Trial Balloon Of All

by Norman Solomon Even while the bulk of commentators panned the postponement scenario, the Bush political team had succeeded in getting it on the media table without causing a massive sustained uproar. That's dangerous

Corporate Media Fires Warning Shot At Edwards

by Norman Solomon The direct and indirect efforts by big business groups to help defeat the Kerry-Edwards ticket are largely fueled by worries that ousting Bush from the White House would be detrimental to mega-profits, outsized corporate power and deregulation measures. Such concerns are shared in the executive suites of quite a few media conglomerates, which employ large numbers of editorial writers and pundits who denounce 'protectionism'

Hope Is Not On The Way, But Hopefully Bush On The Way Out

by Norman Solomon I'm already getting tired of the bulk email messages claiming that Kerry is the embodiment of progressive dreams. Please. We can simultaneously walk, chew gum and be clear about the reality that Kerry embraces a centrist matrix of militarism and corporatism -- and, at the same time it's extremely important that Bush lose the election

Schwarzenegger's "Girlie Men"

by Norman Solomon With two words, the governor of California has managed to highlight the confluence of anti-gay bias and misogyny. Open contempt for "girlie men" would have raised fewer eyebrows in the past. Reactions to Arnold Schwarzenegger's put-down of Democrats in the state legislature -- "if they don't have the guts, I call them girlie men" -- tell us a lot about how far we've come. The good news is the media outcry; the bad news is that the outcry hasn't been stronger

Millions Of Children "Slaves" Behind Closed Doors

by Gustavo Capdevila The ILO report lists some national estimates of the prevalence of children in domestic labor: 700,000 in Indonesia, 559,000 in Brazil, 250,000 in Haiti, 264,000 in Pakistan, 200,000 in Kenya and 100,000 in Sri Lanka.

Philippines Did The Right Thing In Pulling Out Of Iraq

by Rene P. Ciria-Cruz The Philippines' troop pullout from Iraq did not send the wrong signal, it sent the right one. Not just one life was at stake, but also the livelihoods of millions of guest workers as well as the sovereign right of nations to negotiate with whomever they deem necessary

Colombia Launches Massive Offensive Against Rebels With U.S. Help

by Constanza Vieira Plan Patriot, the most ambitious military offensive to date against leftist guerrillas, is underway, with the U.S. providing heavy financial, tactical and logistical support

Political Defiance Dead Within The Two Parties

by Alexander Cockburn Wherever one looks, at the gerrymandered districts, the balloting methods, the fundraising, corruption fumes like vapors from a vast swamp. In the House of Representatives today, only some 35 seats are in serious contention. The rest have been gerrymandered into permanent incumbencies

This Election Year Not Such A Big Deal

by Alexander Cockburn The general quality of life have nothing to do with the presidential elections rolling around every four years, which rouse expectations far in excess of what they actually deserve

Candidate Kerry A Yawner

by Alexander Cockburn As an inspirational candidate, he's a dud, even damper a political squib than Michael Dukakis and far less appealing, by dint of his chill snobbery. Three terms in the U.S. Senate have left almost no footprints of interest, except to Karl Rove's propagandists eager to transform this utterly conventional figure into a seditious radical, hell-bent on putting the Pentagon out of business

Democrats Should Welcome Nader, But Won't

by Alexander Cockburn Always partial to monopolies, the Democrats think they should hold the exclusive concession on any electoral challenge to Bush and the Republicans. The Nader campaign prompts them to hysterical tirades. Republicans are more relaxed. Ross Perot and his Reform Party actually cost George Bush Sr. his reelection in 1992, yet Perot never drew a tenth of the abuse for his presumption that Nader does now

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