default.html Issue 128
Table of Contents

Kerry's Contra Cocaine Investigation

by Robert Parry In early 1986, the 42-year-old Massachusetts Democrat stood almost alone n the U.S. Senate demanding answers about the emerging evidence that CIA-backed Contras were filling their coffers by collaborating with drug traffickers then flooding U.S. borders with cocaine from South America

The Senator Who Exposed The Criminal Bankers

by Lucy Komisar The battle involved the first Bush administration's attempt to put the lid on an investigation that connected a worldwide criminal bank to narco-traffickers, terrorists, and to Middle East money men who helped the Bush family make piles of cash. Those links connect to people now on the U.S. post-9/11 terrorist list

Israel Created Image Of Arafat As Obstacle To Peace

by Neve Gordon This potent myth accordingly suggested that the escalating conflict was due to the absence of a partner, rather than to Israel's unwillingness to address Palestinian grievances and demands

Hey, John Kerry! I Want My $25 Back!

by Phyllis Hasbrouck You can be sure that if the Republicans had been in your position they would have fought tooth and nail to pull a victory out of defeat. Why didn't you give investigative journalist Greg Palast a million of our donated dollars to run an investigation into black box vote fraud in Florida? Why didn't you send your army of lawyers to fight for every provisional ballot in Ohio? Why did you betray our hopes?

A Most Uncivil War

by Steve Young This is the problem with Talk Radio and the rest of the God-fearing pundits today, Right or Left, is that it only works if the country is split. It builds anger and self-righteousness. Both of those passions sell. Check Amazon. Or the O'Reilly bank account. And what is the difference between those histrionic evangelicals who employ God to build their estates and the political commentators and infotainers who use shrill divisiveness (and their witness to God) to build theirs?

How To Talk To Talk Radio

by Steve Young When you sit in your car, absolutely beside yourself with exasperation as to how the host had mangled the truth, you have to calm down. The problem is, while you're writhing with righteous indignation, even if you do attempt to get through tho the host, by the time you do, it's months later and all that you can remember is the exasperation. And that, my unarmed, liberal friend, is the crux of the problem

Falluja and the Reality of War

by Rahul Mahajan The assault on Falluja has started. It is being sold as liberation of the people of Falluja; it is being sold as a necessary step to implementing "democracy" in Iraq. These are lies. You read the reports about X killed and Y wounded. And you should remember those numbers; those numbers are important. But equally important is to remember that those numbers lie -- in a war zone, everyone is wounded

Bush, Republican Right Claim Mandate

by Jim Lobe Second-term mandates have often resulted in over-reaching, particularly by Republicans, who suffered significant defeats as a result of the Watergate scandal that undid Richard Nixon in the middle of his second term and the Iran-Contra affair that might well have destroyed Ronald Reagan's presidency

Christian Conservatives Take Credit For Bush Win

by Emad Mekay Rev Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, a Christian group that lobbies Washington on behalf of religion causes, said the election demonstrates Democratic Party leaders have moved far from the religious consensus in the United States. "If they are to reclaim political relevancy, they will need to re-examine their positions on all the major moral issues, including the sanctity of human life, the sanctity of marriage and the public acknowledgement of God," he said in a press release.

How Will Gays Cope Under Bush's Culture War?

by Sandip Roy With the right wing consolidating control over the House, Senate, presidency and even the Supreme Court, the space that allowed gays to be different is shrinking in America. It's a new "fit in or get out" America, the domestic incarnation of Bush's "if you're not with us, you're against us" rhetoric. And the horror is, it's perfectly democratic.

Where Were Michael Moore's Slacker Voters?

by Russell Morse Anyone who thought youths would save John Kerry from Karl Rove's evangelicals must be disappointed. Overall youth voter turnout was up in an election that saw more Americans go to the polls. But as a percentage of the total vote, the youth vote didn't budge -- and many young voters chose Bush

Don't Credit The Bible-Thumpers For Bush Victory

by Ira Chernus Bush did not win by playing on the fear of sin. He did need the pious faithful, the quarter or so of the population who fear God and sin above all. More importantly, though, he had to play on the fear of terrorism. He needed the millions more, professing all sorts of religion and none at all, who fear terrorism above all. It was the combination of the two groups that gave him victory

Kerry Volunteer View: Don't Blame The Mobilization Effort

by Eve Pell After all the doorbell -ringing and polling-place protecting, what happened? An election volunteer found equal parts enthusiasm, disorganization and overkill among Democrat-leaning mobilization efforts on Election Day

Philippines Only Behind Iraq As Most Deadly Place For Journalists

by Marwaan Macan-Markar It may have one of the most vibrant media environments in Asia -- with journalists having freedom to write just about anything -- yet the Philippines ranks after Iraq as one of the deadliest places for reporters

Arafat Shunned By Rulers, Revered By The People

by MB Naqvi While he was alive, the Palestinian leader lent his conscience to the otherwise quiet Arab masses. In death, he will be an even bigger force among all Arab people, much to the chagrin of conservative Middle East regimes. Arafat was seen by all Arab rulers -- both kings and dictators -- as a dangerous influence on their people. His struggles gave them ideas and the Arab powers-that-be just hated that and felt threatened

U.S. Charges India With Helping Iran On Covert Nuke Program

by Ranjit Devraj India is irked over allegations by Washington that its scientists have passed on nuclear technology to Iran, and leaders as well as experts here are inclined to believe that the charges are a ploy to restrict New Delhi's plans to develop nuclear power progams that could reduce its dependency on oil from big American corporations

Afghan Farmers Harvesting Bumper Crop Of Opium

by Wahidullah Amani Despite renewed pledges by the government to eradicate the drug trade, those who produce the raw material for heroin insist they have no alternative

Taking Stock of 100,000 Iraqi Deaths

by Amy Quinn If the U.S. government can stick to the claim that it's capable of registering all Iraqi citizens for the January elections, then surely it's also capable of determining how many Iraqis have been killed in this war

Malaysia Fears Payback After Leader Endorsed Kerry

by Anil Netto "This interference by Dr. Mahathir has actually helped Bush (to win the election) because the (North) American people don't want external interference in their politics much less from Muslims," said Kamaruddin Jaffar, a central committee member of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party

The Politics of Slaughter in Sudan

by Dan Connell At least 70,000 civilians have been killed, 400 villages destroyed and more than 1.5 million people displaced -- 200,000 fleeing to neighboring Chad -- in a brutal campaign that has devastated Darfur over the past year, leading UN officials to term this the world's worst humanitarian crisis

Sudan Denies Forced Relocations Of Darfur Refugees

by Joyce Mulama The UN's envoy to Sudan told the BBC that there was evidence of armed forces having forcibly relocated displaced persons from Nyala last week. More than 30,000 internal refugees were reportedly involved in the exercise while women who were reluctant to move are also said to have been threatened with rape

Time Running Out For Darfur, UN's Annan Says

by Joyce Mulama Six protocols on issues such as the creation of a transitional government and the sharing of oil wealth have been agreed on. However, a final peace agreement has remained elusive. Deep differences exist about where the army that will be created by merging government and rebel troops should be deployed during the six years before the referendum

Tanks, MiGs, Heavy and Small Weapons Pour Into Sudan From Many Countries

by Joyce Mulama Russia and Belarus, along with Poland, are also accused of supplying tanks, other military vehicles and artillery to Sudan -- while China, France, Iran and Saudi Arabia are said to have provided it with rifles and other light weapons, ammunition and grenades

Oil, Weapons Interests Block UN Action Against Sudan

by Thalif Deen China is the single largest investor in the oil industry in Sudan, and Russia also has interests in continuing to sell weapons and other military equipment to the Khartoum regime

U.S. Forces Attacks Falluja Despite Warnings Of Blowback

by Jim Lobe Hawks within and outside the Bush administration have been calling for a major offensive against the Falluja-based insurgency virtually since April, when White House policymakers, fearful of the political costs of what had become a bloodbath, called off a three-week Marine offensive to retake the city and punish those responsible for the lynching and mutilation of four U.S. mercenaries

China Re-Nationalizes Thousands Of Private Oil Wells

by Antoaneta Bezlova After a brief flirt with private investment in the oil sector, Beijing has started cracking down on independent players in the field. In one of the most flagrant examples, the government has ordered the seizure of thousands of private oil wells

Violence At Arafat Mourning Dims Hope Of Peace

by Ferry Biedermann The moderate Mahmoud Abbas, who is Arafat's heir as head of the PLO is one of few from the old guard who is well respected. But the shooting at an event he attended Sunday where two security guards were killed was an early sign of militant resistance to moderate leadership

Iraq Rage Builds Over Falluja Attack

by Dahr Jamail The sharp increase in attacks on U.S. and allied forces has been only the most violent form of rising hostility. But it is not an extremist few that are becoming more and more strongly opposed to the occupation and now a U.S. assault on Falluja. What Iraqi people are saying could be even more worrying to the occupation forces than the attacks

Democrats Have Run Out Of Excuses

by Bill Hillsman The bottom line for this election is simple: Individual citizens and independent groups, taking the burden upon themselves, did a superlative job of cultivating national dissatisfaction with the president and his policies. But the Kerry campaign and the Democratic Party could not provide an acceptable enough alternative. They could not close the deal with America's swing voters

Bush Gets Chilly Congratulations From UN

by Thalif Deen A long-serving UN official says Annan cannot afford to take a confrontational stand against Washington, 'because he will only be doing irreparable damage to the institution. Either you cooperate with the White House -- or you just perish'

Neo-Cons Deliver "Checklist" Of What They Expect From Bush

by Jim Lobe The list, which begins with the destruction of Falluja in Iraq and ends with the development of 'appropriate strategies' for dealing with threats posed by China, Russia and 'the emergence of a number of aggressively anti-American regimes in Latin America,' also calls for 'regime change' in Iran and North Korea

Gaza Withdrawl Will Launch New Era For Israel

by Michael Dahan Since the early 90s, the settlers and their supporters have waged what can only be termed a psychological war against Israeli politicians on the left and right as well as the Israeli public. The purpose of this psychological war? To strike fear and uncertainty into the hearts of Israeli citizens and decision makers, preventing them from reaching the only logical solution to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict -- the dismantling of settlements, a return to the 1967 borders, a just resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue and the creation of a viable Palestinian state

Cheney's Man Gets Top National Security Post

by Tom Barry The appointment of Hadley as National Security Adviser, following the announced departure of Colin Powell and the nomination of Vulcan team leader Rice, was a clear indication that during his second administration President Bush intends to continue the hard-line global security agenda outlined by the circle of Vulcans

Three Condoms A Year Max For Most African Men

by Bayano Valy Delegates to 'Countdown 2015: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for All' heard that on average, men in sub-Saharan Africa only have access to about three condoms a year. Some men associate condoms with prostitutes, and think they should only use the prophylactics when frequenting sex workers

Terror Bombs, Snipers, Reportedly Used Against Falluja Civilians

by Dahr Jamail The U.S. military has used poison gas and other non-conventional weapons against civilians in Falluja, eyewitnesses report

Yanukovych Voters Feared Change

by Valentinas Mite For four straight days, supporters of Ukrainian opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko have braved freezing temperatures to protest the 21 November presidential polls, which pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych officially won despite strong criticism from the West that the poll was fraudulent. But what about Yanukovych's supporters? Though not nearly as visibly numerous as his rival's backers, Yanukovych voters have also made their voices heard despite being virtually shut out by the Western media

Arafat Led Palestinians For 35 Years, Despite All Odds

by Ferry Biedermann For almost four decades, Yasir Arafat was Mr. Palestine to many in this fractured land

Voting To Join The Club Of Criminal Nations

by Mark LeVine Before November 2, Americans could at least say they weren't directly responsible for the disaster that has unfolded there in Iraq, since an unelected President had taken the country to war under false pretenses. No more. As of today, American society has declared its support for the invasion, and as such is morally and politically culpable for every single one of those 100,000 dead, and every single one of the tens of thousands of deaths that are sure to follow

Allawi, Annan, Feud Over Iraq Election Monitors

by Thalif Deen The Iraqi government, backed by the United States, wants Annan to despatch a huge contingent of UN monitors to Iraq's capital Baghdad -- primarily to provide legitimacy that might shut out voters from insurgency-hit provinces. But the secretary-general, who has called the invasion of Iraq illegal and condemned the killings of civilians, is dragging his feet

Neo-Cons Mirror Former Soviet Apparatchiks They Despised

by Janine R. Wedel The Eastern European former apparatchiks and the American neo-cons share many characteristics. They specialize in blurring state and private interests and spheres. They are skilled at skirting both the government's rules of accountability and business codes of competition. They have created new norms that make bureaucracy more like business and business more contingent on government

Arab World Wonders About Palestine After Arafat

by Mohamad Ozeir Press coverage of Yasser Arafat's death in the Arab World has been overwhelming. Much of the coverage the day after the official announcement of his death emphasized similar themes -- Arafat as a symbol of his people, a leader who put the Palestinian cause on the world's conscience, a controversial figure who was always in the eye of the storm. Only in Kuwait did the daily press take a distinctively critical approach to his accomplishments.

Falluja "Victory" Could Undermine U.S.-Backed Iraq Government

by Dahr Jamail Concern is growing over what a victory over an estimated 2,000 to 6,000 resistance fighters can mean for the United States and its appointed government. Killing or capturing a significant number of these fighters will not be easy for the interim government to live with

UN Probes Reports Of British Torture In Iraq

by Gustavo Capdevila Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the British authorities to establish a civilian-directed mechanism to investigate suspicious deaths attributed to British troops. Amnesty's protests are aimed at both the British government and the country's legal system, because it violates the prohibition on using statements obtained through torture as evidence in court

The Iraqi Judge Who Knew Too Much -- And Was Fired For It

by Doug Ireland Judge Al-Maliky has not only lost his envied position as the senior investigating magistrate of Iraq, he has lost his confidence in the current government, and in the hope of a better future for his country. 'I can't tell you at which point I feel deceived,' he says. 'Under the old Saddam regime, I said: okay, it's a dictatorship which acts like a dictatorship. But today, we hear talk about a free and democratic Iraq, in which no one is supposed to be above the law. But this government tortures, just like before under Saddam.'

"Believe It Or Not" Items For A Holiday Weekend

by Molly Ivins Mental health experts say we face a crisis because one in six returning soldiers from Iraq is suffering from post-traumatic stress, and the number is expected to grow rapidly. You will not be amazed to learn that the Pentagon did not anticipate the problem, since it has yet to anticipate anything about Iraq correctly

Save Some Of Your Outrage For Later

by Molly Ivins As though things on the legislative side weren't bad enough, Bush and Cheney are moving to make the executive branch all-powerful. You can already see several of the unfortunate characteristics of the first term being intensified in the second. The emphasis on secrecy is already more pronounced, as is the selection of people for loyalty rather than competence

Tom DeLay Shows What Republican Ethics Are Made Of

by Molly Ivins House Republicans have rewritten the ethics rules so Tom DeLay won't have to resign if indicted after all. Let's hear it for moral values. DeLay is one of the leading forces in making 'Republican ethics' into an oxymoron

The Bush Purge

by Molly Ivins What I was most afraid of in the next four years: the complete closing of the circle, the old Bush emphasis on loyalty as the first and most important asset, above brains, judgment or expertise. Bush has been making this mistake for years, and it is clear it will now get worse. The clash of ideas is not welcome in his office. He wants everything solved in a one-page memo. This effectively limits him from being exposed to anything but obsequious third-rate thinking. It's precisely how he got into Iraq

Hold The Tears For Ashcroft's Exit

by Molly Ivins What an unusual day that was when he simply refused to provide a Senate committee with a Justice Department memo on why torture should be legal. Ashcroft just never appreciated judicial or congressional oversight because he didn't quite grasp the separation of powers. Hey, he lost a political race to a dead guy -- what do you want from him?

My 2¢ On "What Is to Be Done?"

by Molly Ivins The D's were caught off-guard on the R's GOTV (get out the vote) effort and again shouldn't have been, because Rove said in 2000 that that's what he wanted to do. D's were out there working passionately, but only in the last few months -- the R's effort was steady over four years

Voting Is A Friendly Thing

by Molly Ivins As an American living today, your one vote means you have more political power than 99 percent of all the people who ever lived on this planet. Think about it: Who ever had this much power? A peasant in ancient Egypt? A Roman slave? A medieval shoemaker? A French farmer? Your grandfather? Why throw power away? Use it. Leverage it

Murder Of CARE Director No Longer News In Iraq

by Omar Anwar and Sara Tosh The apparent death of MargaretHassan as seen on a videotape November 16 sparked an outcry in the Western media and was loudly condemned by foreign diplomats and politicians, but the response to the execution was rather more muted in Iraq itself

Alberto Gonzales Controversial Choice For Attorney General

by Jim Lobe As White House counsel, he has been criticized for defending the White House's efforts to withhold documents demanded by Congress, screening judicial appointments for right-wing credentials, and backing some of the more far-reaching provisions in the USA Patriot Act, a law passed after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 that permits security agencies to restrict civil liberties.

U.S. A Key Player In Oil-For-Food Scandal, Ex-UN Aide Says

by Thalif Deen The United States, which has accused the United Nations of condoning bribery and corruption in the now defunct oil-for-food program in Iraq, has not itself been ethical, says a former senior UN official who once headed the humanitarian project in Baghdad

World Headlines React To Bush Win

Beirut's Assafir Daily considered Bush's victory a coup in the political, social, and intellectual life of America, and a sharp turn toward the extreme religious right. Its editorial calls for the whole world to go into hiding

The Election Of Our Discontent

by Larry Everest Because they represent the status quo, the Democrats are afraid to rouse the one force that could stop the right-wing juggernaut -- the many people who deeply despise the direction Bush is taking the country. This fear of upheaval from below, which could threaten the whole establishment, was amply illustrated by Al Gore's response to the 2000 election. Why didn't he call his followers to the streets to demand that all votes be counted? Instead, he gaveled down Congressional opposition to ratifying the stolen election

Iraq, Afghan Voting May Backfire, Studies Show

by Stephen Leahy Elections in Afghanistan and Iraq may prove disastrous by increasing violence and extremism, according to studies of other post-conflict societies. If elections in volatile situations are ill-timed or poorly designed, they risk producing the direct opposite of the intended outcome, fuelling chaos and reversing progress toward democracy

U.S. Army Recruiters Leave No Latino Youth Behind

by Liz Fox Today, Latinos make up 11 percent of the armed forces and the Defense Department spends approximately $27 million of its $180 million recruitment budget on bilingual personnel and Spanish-language publications, according to department statistics. In many recruitment pamphlets and Web sites, young Latino recruits appear with parental figures because officials know that family is a key component of Latinos' lives and usually that's who needs the most cajoling

The Puritans of Plymouth Rock And George Bush of Baghdad, Iraq

by Jim Lobe U.S. families celebrating the traditional Thanksgiving feast might find startling convergences between the notions of those early settlers, who braved the rough voyage across the North Atlantic aboard their tiny vessel, 'The Mayflower' to Plymouth Rock, and the prevailing ideas and worldview of the administration headed by President George W Bush

Cost Of Rice Skyrocketed In 2004

by Frederick Noronha International rice prices have jumped this year by 40 percent, and scientists warn that this hike, brought on by shortages in some countries, is a grim reminder that Asia's ability to feed itself cannot be taken for granted

Anti-APEC Forum Shows Downside Of Free Trade Deals For Chile

by Daniela Estrada The deterioration of working conditions was stressed at one of the 186 discussion panels held during the Chilean Social Forum, which brought together representatives of more than 200 civil society organizations from throughout the country. The meeting kicked off with a massive protest march that ended in clashes between demonstrators and police

Powell's Real Job Was Lending Bush His Credibility

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Powell may have had little to do with Bush and Cheney's final decision to make war -- though there is much dispute about that -- but the decision was not his but the president's to make. It then became Powell's job as secretary of state not to publicly challenge that decision, but to put the Bush administration's best face on it

Open Probe Of Soldier Who Killed Wounded Iraqi Needed, Group Says

by Jim Lobe The military command announced that the unnamed Marine who fired the shot had been taken off the battlefield and could face a court martial, depending on the results of the probe. Under the circumstances, the only defense would be that the Marine had reason to believe the insurgent was armed and posed a threat, in which case the shooting would constitute an act of self-defense.

Did Arafat Have A Secret Political "Last Testament?"

by Ferry Biedermann The significance of Arafat reportedly naming the leading 'rejectionist' in his Fatah movement as his successor cannot be overstated. It may influence the crucial question that many in the West especially ask: will the new leadership be more moderate or not?

Wary Palestinian, Arab Media Praises Arafat, Avoids Talk Of Succession

by Ferry Biedermann Reporting the state of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, or worse, on developments looking at life after Arafat is emerging as another crisis

Women's Groups Brace For Return Of Backroom Abortion Era

by Molly M. Ginty The Washington, D.C.-based Planned Parenthood Federation of America is stepping up the work of its Post-Roe Service Delivery Task Force -- a group dedicated to exploring the legal and practical aspects of providing abortion despite a federal ban

Common Synthetic Fragrances Found to Harm Wildlife, Humans

"This is the first study to show that some personal care products in water do have an effect, even in low concentrations. Our results indicate that the effects on the first line of defense might be irreversible or continue long after the event. It's a warning sign. It's a smoking gun. Are there other chemicals out there that have similar long-term effects? Could these be harming these defense systems in aquatic organisms? And could they be having similar effects in humans?"

Guantanamo Ex-Prisoner Faces Hatred Back Home - In Sweden

by Simon Reeves Mehdi Ghezali, a Swedish citizen was finally released from the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo, Cuba, but is now in Swedish custody for his own protection, facing death threats and hostility upon returning home

Thousands Say "Sorry" For Bush Win

by Marty Logan 'It's absolutely intriguing, and quite an important example I think, where people are speaking to the rest of the world really and bearing testimony to the fact that what the U.S. government does is not supported by all of the people here'

Iraqi Women On U.S.-Sponsored Tour Of America To Praise Invasion

by Joseph E. Mulligan People who heard or read about the two witnesses from Iraq who were lavish in their praise of Bush policies need to know that they had been brought to the U.S. by our government, were trained in an extremely conservative, 'free-market' theory of democracy, and were on a speaking tour sponsored by a right-wing group whose directors and advisors support the extreme hard-line policies of the Israeli government and had promoted hostile action against Iraq

Cultivating Opium, Not Democracy

by Robert Scheer Truth is, freedom in Afghanistan continues to be on more of a stoned-out stumble than a brisk march. The Taliban has been driven from Kabul, but it still exists in the countryside, and the bulk of the country is still run, de facto, by competing warlords dependent on the opium trade -- which now accounts for 60 percent of the Afghan economy

He Won. Live With It, For Now

by Robert Scheer The good news is that unless George W. Bush is hoping to provoke Armageddon, life will go on. In fact, there is another national election a mere two years from now. By then, some of the far-right now chortling about the possibility of flat taxes, repealing Roe vs. Wade and privatizing Social Security will have found that winning control of a nation on the skids isn't everything it's cracked up to be

The UN Deserves An Apology

by Robert Scheer Even as we once again call on the organization to help broker peace and elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, American politicians find the UN an irresistible pinata, ripe for demagogic bashing

Mystery Surrounds Iran Nuclear Capability

by Praful Bidwai Does Iran already possess blueprints for a nuclear bomb and a certain quantity of enriched uranium, which were transferred to it by Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan as part of his global black market in atomic materials?

The Trials of Julian Goodrum

by Charles Sheehan-Miles An Army Reserve Lieutenant served in the Iraq War and filed complaints about safety violations in his unit. Now he's defending his freedom as the Army gears up a court-martial

800 Civilians Feared Dead In Falluja, Red Cross Says

by Dahr Jamail "Several of our Red Cross workers have just returned from Falluja since the Americans won't let them into the city. And they said the people they are tending to in the refugee camps set up in the desert outside the city are telling horrible stories of suffering and death inside Falluja." The official said that both Red Cross and Iraqi Red Crescent relief teams had asked the U.S. military in Falluja to take in medical supplies to people trapped in the city, but their repeated requests had been turned down

Remembering Arafat

by Paul Findley To Arafat, the violence he frequently authorized was never terrorism but the lawful right of a people to struggle forcibly to evict an occupying power. Was he a terrorist? If so, the colonists who rebelled against King George in 1776 deserve the same label

Ukraine Key To Russia's Dream Of Economic Empire

by Roman Kupchinsky To build on existing ties, Single Economic Space (SES) agreements, which were proposed by Putin in early 2003, were signed by Kuchma in April 2004. This body, created at President Putin's initiative, seeks to first coordinate and then merge the economic might of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan into a customs union or a free trade zone. Others see it as another example of Russian economic imperialism

Has Putin Lost The Ukraine?

by Jeremy Bransten As the political crisis in Ukraine continues, some politicians and analysts in Russia are beginning to ask to what degree Russian President Vladimir Putin has harmed Moscow's interests by his close involvement with the presidential campaign of Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. Did the Kremlin play its cards wrong and what implications does this have for the future?

Key Evidence For Saddam Trial Has Disappeared

by Jim Lobe Crucial evidence of alleged human rights abuses that could be used in upcoming trials of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his top aides has apparently been lost or damaged due to U.S. neglect, says a report released Nov. 4

River Full of Human Waste Runs Through Nation's Capitol

The trash comes from littering, as well as overflowing dumpsters and garbage cans. Some people dump trash illegally into rivers and parks. Municipal stormwater systems, the underground networks of pipes designed to keep rainwater from flooding the city streets, also wash tons of debris off streets and directly into the Anacostia River system every year

Half The American Harvest Goes To Waste

An average family discards 1.28 pounds of food a day, about 470 pounds per household per year, or 14 percent of all food brought into the house

Arafat's Hot/Cold Relationship With Iran

by Saloumeh Peyman After the Iran revolution, Khomeinii closed the Israeli embassy and turned it into the PLO's official headquarters and embassy, complete with Palestinian flag. Later, he allowed the PLO to have a branch office in Iran's most important and richest province, Khozestan. But several years later, in the 1980s, Arafat fell out of favor with Iran's revolutionary leaders

Gem Dealers Still Buying "Blood Diamonds"

by Jim Lobe Diamond sellers in the United States and Britain are not doing enough to ensure that proceeds from the gems they sell are not financing wars and that buyers understand what 'conflict diamonds,' are, says a new report

New Spainish Government Moves Away From Catholic Church

by Tito Drago Bills that would legalize marriage and adoption by homosexuals, streamline divorce, relax laws on abortion and euthanasia, scrap plans for compulsory religious instruction in public schools, and cut state financing of the Church have drawn sharp criticism from the country's bishops and cardinals

U.S.- Backed "Liberators" Broadcasting Propaganda To Iran

by Saloumeh Peyman A combination of light entertainment, talk shows and politics beamed into Iran by a dozen or so satellite stations set up by Iranian exiles in the United States is proving to be explosive in the Islamic country

Ukraine Election "Fraudulent" Says EU

by Ahto Lobjakas An European official cited 'unrealistic' turnout figures -- in some parts of the country exceeding 100 percent. He added that they were 'reminiscent of Saddam Hussein's referenda.' He said widespread intimidation had taken place, as well as abuses of absentee ballots, ballot stuffing, out-of-area voting, and misuse of mobile polling stations

What's At Stake In The Disputed Ukraine Election

by Roman Kupchinsky The rise of the Donetsk clan, many of whose cadres might be appointed to senior posts in a Yanukovych administration, would signal few advances for legality and rule of law in Ukraine in the coming five years. A clan purportedly built on violence, assassination, and ruthlessness could hardly be expected to bolster civil society

Sanctions Were Key To Libya Compromise, Not Fear Of U.S. Attack

by Paolo Pontoniere Contrary to the Bush administration's boast that its pre-emptive war in Iraq scared Libyan dictator Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi into good behavior, it was the impact of economic sanctions that forced Qaddafi to lighten up

Eyewitness Accounts To U.S. Raid Of Baghdad Mosque

by Dahr Jamail U.S. soldiers raided the Abu Hanifa mosque in Baghdad during Friday prayers, killing at least four and wounding up to 20 worshippers, according to witnesses. An eyewitness commentary to IPS about the U.S. attack on the mosque gives a vivid picture of what a 'successful raid' can be like

Leftists Win Power In Uruguay For First Time

by Diana Cariboni The current Colorado Party administration of President Jorge Batlle is one of the most unpopular governments in Latin America today. At the same time, neighboring South American countries have begun to turn away from the free-market policies, structural adjustment progams and privatization that were all the rage in the 1990s

Rumsfeld Encourages Return Of "Dirty War" Tactics In S America

by Jim Lobe In remarks to his fellow-defense ministers, Rumsfeld even suggested that, given the challenges posed by 21st-century threats, it was time to re-think the separation of the armed forces from the police -- a major reform ostensibly pursued by U.S. as well as Latin American human-rights organizations as a way of asserting civilian control over the military and reducing abuses

Unions Say Don't Blame Us For Bush Victory

by David Bacon AFL-CIO President John Sweeney told a post-election news conference that in the future, "we have to do more." But Huerta felt it was the Kerry campaign that could have done more, especially in combating the use of abortion and gay marriage as "scare" issues by the Republican Party

France Criticized For Heavy Counterattack On Cote D'Ivorie

by Thalif Deen France is coming under fire for its heavy-handed action in destroying virtually the entire air force of its former colony Cote d'Ivoire in retaliation for the killings of nine French soldiers and a U.S. aid worker

Minority Communities Strongly Backed Kerry

by Jim Lobe Nearly two out of every three Arab Americans and three out of every four Jewish Americans marked their ballots in favor of Kerry, according to the surveys, which found that only African Americans, of all ethnic minorities, were more solidly behind the Massachusetts senator

Feds Ignore Evidence That Biotech Corn Can Produce Allergies

Evidence that food allergies may be caused by corn genetically modified to produce its own insecticides has been ignored by the EPA, which often fails to collect data for review of potential human health impacts and accepts substandard testing by biotech companies. The EPA has ignored evidence from independent researchers that conflicts with information provided by biotech companies

Falluja Will Light The Fuse That Ignites Iraq

by Dilip Hiro An attack on Falluja, say most analysts, will act as a catalyst, uniting disparate resistance groups throughout Iraq. It is also expected to increase resentment among Iraqis and swell insurgent ranks. It's worth remembering that the siege of Falluja in April was the tipping point when insurgents -- hitherto seen by most Sunni Arabs as imbued with Islamic fundamentalism -- gained popularity. Fellow Sunnis, witnessing the carnage the Americans had caused in the besieged city, shed their fear of religious fanaticism and embraced the resistance fighters and their cause

Brazil Abuzz After Evidence Found Of Secret Terror Archives

by Mario Osava "What we have been denouncing since 1992 has now been proven: that the secret archives do exist," and can shed light on cases of torture and murder that the armed forces want to keep as an "eternal secret," said a Brazillian human rights group

One Nation, Handcuffed Together

by Deborah Ellsworth So the old "Moral Majority" rose up again and swamped the boat this election. With war, global terrorism, unemployment, an elitist health-care system and other serious issues dominating this election, who saw this coming? Who saw this leviathan lurking beneath the surface?

Bush Let Iraq's Real Dangers Slip Away: Top Weapons Experts Missing

by Michael Roston While President Bush has failed to secure deadly explosives in Iraq, his administration has also failed to take serious action to make sure that Iraq's intellectual resources, possessing in-depth knowledge for making WMD, do not employ their knowledge against Coalition forces, or sell them out to the highest bidder among neighboring countries developing their own WMD capacity

Rice Gets State Dept. Despite Poor Record of Diplomacy, Management

by Jim Lobe Most analysts assess her experience overseeing the NSC staff quite negatively because of her reluctance to take a position when policies were deadlocked, to ensure all sides were heard, and to enforce discipline on the various agencies once a policy was decided. As a result, policy reviews in key areas, such as Iran and North Korea, to cite two of the most prominent examples, dragged on for months and in some cases were never completed

Arafat's Death First Test For Post-Election Bush

by Jim Lobe At one point, Cheney confided to Israel's defense minister that he thought the Palestinian leader, who was elected president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) by nearly 90 percent of Palestinians in one of the freest elections ever held in the Arab world, should be 'hung'

Yushchenko Voters See Life Of Misery Without Reforms

by Valentinas Mite Supporters of opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko say they want to see Yushchenko triumph, but their concerns run deeper than politics. People say they cannot make ends meet and see no end to what they say is a miserable life. They accuse the present ruling elite -- and government-backed candidate Viktor Yanukovych -- of corruption and avoiding reforms

Israeli Child Abuse On The Increase As Intifadah Continues

by Ferry Biedermann The UN's annual arms register, created about 12 years ago to ensure military transparency among member states, continues to be shunned by some of the world's biggest arms buyers in the Middle East and by key arms exporters such as China

Iraq Uprising Spreads After Battle Of Falluja

by Dahr Jamail No one can say how many of the 1,200 'rebels' U.S. forces claim to have killed inside Falluja are civilians, or whether the death toll is higher. Very few bodies of insurgents have been found

India Marchers Protest Coca-Cola Pollution, Water Use

Communities living around the bottling facilities are experiencing severe water shortages, and the remaining scarce groundwater, along with the soil, has been polluted by Coca-Cola's practice of dumping its wastewater into the nearby fields, the demonstrators say

Ukraine Protesters Mob Cities, Charging Presidential Election Stolen

An estimated 200,000 Ukrainian voters mobbed the streets of Kiev again today, protesting the outcome of Sunday's election where the prime minister claimed to have won the presidential runoff by a narrow victory. The protesters were marching in support of his opponent, who has claimed fraud and says he will challenge the result

Bush Response To Kyoto Ratification: Drill In ANWR

The Bush Administration does not lend its support to the UN Kyoto climate protocol, it will remain "actively engaged" in moving towards a solution to global climate change, said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan

Nader And Others Say Questions Linger On Bush Win

by Ritt Goldstein Speculation focuses upon a number of questions -- purposeful miscounts, anomalies surrounding electronic voting (e-voting) machines, particularly the optical scan types; and numerous reports of voting 'irregularities' in heavily Democratic areas

The Big Question After Bush Win: How Aggressive Will He Be?

by Jim Lobe The biggest question about President George W. Bush's foreign policy in a second term is if it will continue on the same aggressive trajectory that marked the first or whether, chastened by Iraq, it will be more restrained

Rice's Views On Foreign Policy Mostly Unknown

by Jim Lobe Whether Rice remains the 'Scowcroftian realist' who entered the White House with Bush four years ago -- and, if so, whether she will fight for that position -- or whether she has become a convert to the neo-imperial and unilateralist ideology of the neo-conservatives and their main sponsor, Vice President Dick Cheney, is the 64,000 dollar question at the moment

Saudi Arabia Silent On Promised Local Elections

by Peyman Pejman When conservative Saudi Arabia announced last year that it would hold partial municipal elections in which people for the first time could vote directly, the reaction of many in and out of the country was nothing less than shock. Now reform-minded activists are pushing the envelope even further by announcing that several women will nominate themselves for the elections.

Brazil Could Become Major Biofuel Producer

by Mario Osava In Brazil, renewable fuel is recuperating the popularity it had in the 1980s, and not just because of the lower price. There is a growing demand for 'bi-fuel' automobiles that can use gasoline, fuel alcohol or any mix of the two. These cars were put on the market last year

UN Report: Fighting Terror Does Not Justify Torture

by Thalif Deen No country can justify torture, the humiliation of prisoners or violation of international conventions in the guise of fighting terrorism, says a new UN report. The 19-page study, which is likely to go before the current session of the UN General Assembly in December, does not identify the United States by name but catalogues the widely publicized torture and humiliation of prisoners and detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan by U.S. troops

"We Shall See The Reign Of Witches Pass Over"

by Thom Hartmann It is time, now, for us to once again follow Jefferson's wise advice. Hope for the best, organize for a better America, and recognize the power and evil unleashed by politicians who believe that campaign lies are defensible, laws gutting the Bill of Rights are acceptable, and that the ends justifies the means

Media Plays Ball With Bush On Iraq

by Norman Solomon The Bush administration -- striving to promote the attitude that only U.S.-allied Iraqis are actual Iraqis worthy of the name -- is eager to blur exactly what good reporting should clarify. And America's major media outlets are helpfully providing a journalistic fog around a central fact: The U.S. government is at war with many people it claims to be liberating

The Holy War Wars

by Norman Solomon While the U.S. media are downplaying the available information about Iraqi people suffering in Falluja, many Arabic-language outlets have a different news agenda. Escobar reports in the Nov. 11 edition of Asia Times Online: 'The main story playing in the Arab world in the past 24 hours is that of Mohammed Abboud -- who saw his nine-year-old son bleed to death of shrapnel wounds when his house in Falluja was hit because he could not venture out to go to a hospital. Abboud had to bury his son in his own garden.'

The Emergency Is Here

by Norman Solomon Right-wing trumpets are making a horrific racket across a ravaged political landscape. For now, hope is barely audible. Progressives seem like fledglings without feathers, weakly tapping from inside thick shells. Four more years sound like hell

Israel, U.S. Still Don't Understand Arafat's Appeal

by William O. Beeman Yasir Arafat's death is an opportunity for peace only if Israel and the U.S. understand how he embodied the right of the Palestinian people to live in dignity and equality

Burma's Generals Dump Prime Minister

by Marwaan Macan-Markar By dismissing the country's prime minister in an unprecedented manner, Burma's military leader has affirmed that the junta's hardliners will fight hard to retain their grip on power

'Let Them Drink Sand'

by Alexander Cockburn If there is anything that should fuel the outrage of the antiwar movement and of all people of conscience, it is surely the destruction of Falluja and the methodical war crimes being inflicted on its population, the most extensive thus far being denial of the most basic and essential source of life, water

Now For The Really Bad News

by Alexander Cockburn All the 9/11 nuts have relocated to Stolen Election. My inbox is awash. People who have spent the last three years sending me screeds establishing to their own satisfaction that George Bush personally ordered the attacks on the Trade Towers and that Dick Cheney vectored the planes in are now pummeling me with data on the time people spent online waiting to vote in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and how the Diebold machines are all jimmied

Crows Come Home For The Democratic Party

by Alexander Cockburn Nov. 2, 2004, marks a terrible defeat for the liberal elites, whether represented by Paul Krugman in the New York Times, by Michael Moore in his baseball cap, by the New York Review, or by that vast complex of delusion and self-aggrandizement known as the Democratic Party. Its establishment is truly in crisis now, from the labor leaders who squandered millions in vehement efforts to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot to the public interest groups that gave Kerry the green light to waffle on all the crucial issues

Will Montana Become The Radical's Redoubt?

by Alexander Cockburn Earlier in 2004, Montana's voters chased out a right-wing governor. On Nov. 2, in this Republican state, the Democrats seized control of the state legislature, the same way liberal Democrats and Progressives did in Vermont, land of the herbivores. And through the direct democracy of the ballot initiative, Montana voters legalized medical marijuana and most significantly beat back a multi-million dollar campaign by the gold-mining industry to overturn a ban on heap-leach mining, a process requiring large amounts of cyanide

Flogging The Corpse

by Steve Young The Lords of Loud hauled John Kerry's lifeless candidacy -- not to be confused with his lifeless candidacy prior to the election -- and continued to flog away at his political corpse. How much longer can Hannty's most ardent fans take the litany?

Indecency's Getting A Bad Rap

by Steve Young How can a small group decide for the majority what we should watch, or in Howard Stern's case, listen to? If that was the rule of decision, John Kerry would be getting ready to move into the White House. Actually, decency-police to the rest-of-us percentages applied, come January, Ralph Nader would be parking his hybrid at 1600 Pennsylvania

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