default.html Issue 129
Table of Contents

Gary Webb's Legacy

by Robert Parry At Webb's death, however, it should be noted that his great gift to American history was that he -- along with angry African-American citizens -- forced the government to admit some of the worst crimes ever condoned by any American administration: the protection of drug smuggling into the United States as part of a covert war against a country, Nicaragua, that represented no real threat to Americans

Afghans Angered, Sickened by Anti-Drug Spraying

by Hayatullah Gaheez and Amanullah Nasrat Eyewitnesses in the eastern provinces of Nangarhar and Kunar have reported seeing aircraft spraying poppy fields. Doctors in the region, meanwhile, said the sudden outbreak of skin diseases and respiratory ailments are due to a mysterious chemical they have so far been unable to identify

Talkers Circle The Wagons For Rummy

by Steve Young Ironic, ain't it, that the calls for Rumsfeld exit before the election were being led by the evil partisan, and the post-election voices are coming from such evil leftie partisans as Republicans John McCain, Trent Lott, Norm Coleman and William Crystal

A (Slightly) Humbler Bill O.

by Steve Young It should be mandatory that every radio talk show host should have to suffer the indignity of being the object of their labored charges, toxic labeling and name-calling with little or no consequences, before ever taking their first orchestrated phone call

Iraqi And U.S. Forces Ignored Falluja Injured Following Siege

by Dahr Jamail 'We provided everything the refugees needed,' says Shehab Ahmed Jassim who is in charge of managing the refugee crisis for the ministry of health. 'We sent 20 ambulances to the general hospital in Falluja.' But none of these ambulances actually entered the city area. The Falluja general hospital remained a no-go zone for people in the city trapped in their homes until very recently

Hmong Angush Over Hunting Tragedy

by Pha Lo Assimilation in America has been difficult because the world from which Hmong come is drastically different, and the conditions that brought them here, abrupt. Last year, 15,000 Hmong refugees from the Wat Thamkrobrak campgrounds north of Bangkok, Thailand, were approved for resettlement to America. Many have joined relatives in cities such as Fresno, Calif., and St. Paul, Minn., where there are sizable Hmong populations. With more expected over the next year, they too will need a bridge between worlds

Target Iran

by Tom Barry Shortly after 9/11, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith began coordinating Pentagon planning for a regime change in Iraq. The challenge facing Feith, the No. 3 civilian in the Defense Department, was to establish a policy rationale for the attack. At the same time, Feith's ideological cohorts in the Pentagon began planning to take the administration's "global war on terrorism," not only to Baghdad, but also to Damascus and Tehran. It now appears that Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith's Office of Policy, which was creating dubious intelligence rationales for the Iraq war, was also establishing a covert national security strategy for regime change in Iran -- most likely through a combination of preemptive military strikes (either by the United States or Israel) and support for a coalition of Iranian dissidents. This covert operation is now the subject of an FBI espionage investigation and inquiries by the House Judiciary Committee and Select Senate Intelligence Committee -- inquiries that were postponed until after the election

Hard Times For Afghan Women, Children

by Masha Hamilton At least 30 percent of all Afghan households are headed solely by women, according to UNICEF estimates. Figures are higher if one counts homes where men are alive but without work. That causes particular hardships for women in this male-controlled culture, particularly in urban areas like Kabul, where joblessness is estimated to be as high as 70 percent, is because women are often last in line for work

Foreign Student Numbers At Lowest In 3 Decades

by Jim Lobe The number of foreign students studying in the United States has dropped for the first time in more than three decades, in part because of a perception those students are not welcome here

States Give Up Waiting For Bush Leadership On Global Warming

by Katherine Stapp Even as recognition of the problem grows, most states have given up looking for guidance from Washington, which disputes the scientific consensus on climate change. Instead, they are redoubling their own efforts to crack down on the industries that produce greenhouse gases, and to begin the difficult shift away from oil dependence to clean energy sources like wind and solar

Ken Blackwell And Me

by Dan Hamburg Katherine Harris rode her performance in the duel roles of Florida Secretary of State and co-chair of the Bush/Cheney campaign to the U.S. congress. How far might Ken Blackwell go, having delivered Ohio in 2004? Elected officials like Harris and Blackwell sow discord by taking on multiple, and conflicting roles, especially when the presidency is at stake. Blackwell has created another problem by housing himself in a private building, isolated from the public that pays his keep

Congress Back To Business As Usual: Bait And Switch

by Robert L. Borosage Republicans have perfected the ways to shaft Kansas without anyone noticing. Pass the bill on Friday afternoon. Bury the provision in a 1,000-page bill that no one reads. Don't make the cuts directly, just delegate the authority to the education secretary. When the cuts come, Republican legislators will line up to express their shock to outraged constituents

Serbs Teaching Ukraine Protesters Civil Disobedience

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic Yanukovich's fears that Otpor was helping the Ukrainian group Pora (It's Time) became clear when two Otpor activists were expelled from Ukraine during the first round of elections Oct. 31. The Otpor influence seems to have worked to an extent. Several members with 'Pora' written on their caps were seen on the stage with opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko. Pora activists set up 27 tents representing the 27 provinces of Ukraine in Independence Square in Kiev in a mock recount of votes. Otpor activists say a campaign can succeed only when people dissatisfaction passes a critical point. Only past that will authorities acknowledge that change is unavoidable.

Growing Discontent Over Rumsfeld Among GOP, Military

by Jim Lobe Senior Republican lawmakers, including two of the most highly decorated Vietnam veterans in the U.S. Senate, have hardened their criticism of Rumsfeld's performance, with one of them, Senator John McCain, telling Associated Press this week he has 'no confidence' in the defense secretary

Putin Says Russia Developing New Breed Of Nuclear Missiles

by Jeremy Bransten President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia is developing a new generation of nuclear missiles superior to those currently possessed by any other country. Analysts say the missiles appear designed to dodge a defense system being developed by the United States, fueling fears that a new arms race may be about to begin

UN, Kofi Annan Dismiss Right-Wing Calls For His Resignation

by Thalif Deen Many observers see the campaign as the Bush administration's retaliation over Annan's comment that the U.S. war against Iraq was illegal. The remark, which the secretary-general made weeks before the U.S. presidential election Nov. 2, was interpreted as Annan's attempt to inject himself into the election campaign

Was 2004 That Terrible, Or Did It Only Seem That Way?

by Molly Ivins Emblematic Political Moment of the Year: As the full dimensions of the tidal wave in the Indian Ocean became clear, Bush's staff used the occasion to ... take a few cheap shots at Bill Clinton

Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas

by Molly Ivins Happy holidays to the sailors and ballroom dancers, the birders and the bingo players

Blame For Iraq Settles On Rummy, For Now

by Molly Ivins The Sabbath gasbags, as The Nation's Calvin Trillin calls our Sunday TV news commentators, distinguished themselves yet again. They're trying to gang up on Donald Rumsfeld on the theory that the entire Iraq war would have worked out just dandy if it hadn't been for Rumsfeld's mistakes

Bush Shuns The Reality-Based Community

by Molly Ivins The Bush solution to global warming is to declare it does not exist. While this solves the problem for him in the short term, global warming is highly unlikely to be impressed by the news that we are now an empire and can change history. Scientists, a reality-based bunch of empiricists if ever there was one, are in no doubt about global warming. The only question is about how fast it's happening. And many of the small minority who argue it is coming slowly are themselves in the pay of oil companies and industry groups

Bush Upfront About Plans To Kill Social Security

by Molly Ivins As Kevin Drum of Washington Monthly points out, the Social Security trustees, always operating on a properly gloomy forecast, have been predicting disaster for the system for years, but the projected point at which it will go bust keeps moving. In 1994, the system was supposed to go bust in 2029, a mere 35 years from the date of prediction. Now, it's supposed to go bust in 2042, 38 years down the road

U.S. Denies Red Cross Charge Of Guantanamo Torture

by Jim Lobe Military lawyers who have complained about the Pentagon's attitude are now increasingly concerned about the future of the U.S.' relationship to the ICRC. 'They think that the relationship of trust that has been built up over many years has been badly damaged. The Pentagon's political leadership, on the other hand, just thinks this is a public relations problem'

Palestinian Economy Crushed After Four Years Of Israeli Crackdown

by Emad Mekay Four years of an Israeli military crackdown on a popular Palestinian uprising, based on closures of towns and villages, have left the economy of the occupied territories in tatters and its people facing soaring poverty, the World Bank said Nov. 23

Caterpillar Pressured To End Bulldozer Sales To Israel

by Jim Lobe Human Rights Watch (HRW) has joined the campaign to pressure U.S.-based heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc to stop selling bulldozers to Israel's military because it uses the machines to violate human rights in the occupied territories

Pinochet Indictment Cheered By Regime's Survivors

by Gustavo Gonzalez The fate of the 89-year-old retired general once more depends on the Supreme Court, which must determine whether or not the former dictator is mentally fit to stand trial in the current case, which involves Operation Condor

Bush Denied New Generation Of Nukes

by Jim Lobe Over White House objections, members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate decided against approving $27.6 million for the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (bunker buster) designed to destroy command-and-control facilities or WMDs buried deep underground

Neo-Cons Target N Korea Regime Change

by Jim Lobe To achieve the desired "regime change," Nicholas Eberstadt, a Korea specialist at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), which appeared in the neo-conservative 'The Weekly Standard,' called first for a purge of State Department officials who argued for engaging Pyongyang during Bush's first term

New Rules Would Protect GM Seed Makers From Crop Contamination Suit

by Stephen Leahy Under the proposed guidelines companies are 'encouraged' to submit to the FDA their safety evaluation of a new protein 'prior to the time you have concerns that (it) could enter the food supply,' which critics interpret to mean that by advising beforehand, firms will escape legal liability for any contamination

Christmas Quake Spotlights Risk To Coastal Nuclear Plants

by Ranjit Devraj Although India's Kalpakkam facility escaped major damage, the fact that 30 from the plant's residential complex nearby died and that several of them were technical personnel or atomic scientists was proof enough that planners never seriously considered the possibility of a tsunami striking the Tamil Nadu coast

Laci Peterson's Murder Not Unique

by Gretchen Cook The world was gripped with the idea a man could kill not only the woman he married, but the child he conceived. Unfortunately, that scenario is not so rare

MIT's Role In Missile Test Fraud

by Theodore A. Postol MIT and the Pentagon have been involved in a fraud that has promoted a weapon system that will have little or no utility and could cost hundreds of billions of dollars

Blacks Who Oppose Gay Rights Shame Rev. King's Legacy

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The sight of the youngest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. standing at her father's gravesite with thousands of demonstrators to denounce gay marriage was painful. The Rev. Bernice King and march organizers deliberately chose King's resting place in Atlanta to imply that he would have stood with them. But Martin Luther King's uncompromising battle against discrimination during his life -- and his persistent refusal to distance himself from a well-known gay civil rights leader -- show that King never would have endorsed an anti-gay campaign

Earthquake Disaster Underscores Rich Nation Aid Shortfall

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson U.S. foreign aid dollars often come with strings attached. Aid-dependent nations are often forced to spend the relatively scant aid dollars on weapons, manufactured goods, agricultural products and drugs from American corporations. This has been especially galling for African nations, where the AIDS plague has reached pandemic proportions. They can't buy less costly generic drugs made by companies in other countries

Haiti Wants To Extradite Aristide From S Africa

by Moyiga Nduru Haiti's inability to restore order to the island has prompted Prime Minister Gerald Latortue to accuse Aristide of masterminding violence in Haiti with South Africa's blessing. Three weeks ago, Larortue also issued an arrest warrant for Aristide on corruption charges

Falluja, Guernica

by Saul Landau Shortly before Colin Powell's February 5, 2003 UN Security Council fraudulent, power point presentation, where he made the case for invading Iraq, UN officials, at U.S. request, placed a curtain over a tapestry of Picasso's Guernica, located at the entrance to the Security Council chambers. As a TV backdrop, the anti-war mural would contradict the Secretary of State's case for war in Iraq.

Battle Over Future Of Civil Rights Panel Looms

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The clash between President Bush and Civil Rights Commission chair Mary Frances Berry over when Berry's term expires is more than a head bump between two strong-willed public officials whose views on civil rights differ wildly. It's about what the rights panel should be about, and how tightly its commission should be under the thumb of the White House

Family Planning Groups Fear Impact Of Four More Years Of Bush

by Marcela Valente The work of the International Planned Parenthood Federation has entailed 50 years of struggle, and despite the obstacles raised by governments and churches along the way, significant progress has still been made. But with Bush in power for another four years, the organization's work in Latin America will not be easy, added president Monty Eustace

Japanese Forces To Stay In Iraq For Another Year

by Suvendrini Kauchi Despite public unease and questions of legitimacy under Japan's constitution, the Japanese cabinet agreed on Dec. 9 the country's troops will stay in Iraq for another year. This comes as Japan puts the final touches on a sweeping overhaul of its defense policy that will give its armed forces a greater role globally and could upset neighbors like China and North Korea

Right Wingers Target Kofi Annan And UN

by Jim Lobe Daunted by setbacks in Iraq and the looming difficulties in achieving "regime change" in Iran and North Korea, neo-conservative hawks have joined the U.S. extreme right in training their sights on a much weaker target, the United Nations, beginning with its secretary-general, Kofi Annan

Speak Out Against U.S. Torture, And Do It Now

by Molly Ivins In the name of Jesus Christ Almighty, why are people representing our government, paid by us, writing filth on the Korans of helpless prisoners? Is this American? Is it Christian? What are our moral values? Where are the clergymen on this? Speak out, speak up

Please No, Not Gramm

by Molly Ivins Just what we need for treasury secretary: the banking industry's errand boy. The man who helped bring us Enron

Arab Leaders See Iraq Vote As Sham, But Back Election

by Adam Morrow "The Sharm conference saw Arab regimes placating the Bush administration after the U.S. elections," Kazziha said. "This outside pressure (to reform) can be accommodated, but with few substantial changes taking place. They can spread a facade of democratization, but they know that, after four years, the United States will have a change of administration -- or a change of heart -- and everything will return to how it was."

Muslim Scholars Seek To Rein In "Sheikhs Of Death"

by Meena S. Janardhan Calling those who interpret Islam for violent purposes a 'deviant' group, the delegates called it a distortion of the religion and refuted Western charges that Islam fosters extremism and terrorism

Total Clampdown On Falluja Media Coverage

by Dahr Jamail The media commission sent out an order asking news organizations to 'stick to the government line on the U.S.-led offensive in Falluja or face legal action.' The warning was sent on the letterhead of Allawi. The letter also asked media to 'set aside space in your news coverage to make the position of the Iraqi government, which expresses the aspirations of most Iraqis, clear'

First Trial Of Albanians For War Crimes Against Serbs

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic The trial of three Kosovo Albanians seeks to establish the impartiality of The Hague tribunal but could also reopen old wounds. This is the first time Albanians are being prosecuted for atrocities against Serbs

Fight Against Terrorist Money Laundering Going Nowhere

by Julio Godoy The fight against money laundering for terrorism is making little headway, and could be diverting attention from organized and corporate crime, experts say

Human Rights Watchdogs Increasingly Face Attacks Themselves

by Thalif Deen UN report says human rights organizations are also increasingly facing 'invasive policing,' citing 22 cases of raids by officers of law enforcement agencies, who seized documents, files and databases relating to rights abuses, and also confiscated computers and cameras -- all from human rights organizations

Bush Narrowly Wins Intelligence Reform

by Jim Lobe In the end, Bush was forced to pressure recalcitrant members of his own Republican Party. But in order to rally support, Bush also weakened some of the most important innovations in the original bill, notably the authority of the new director of national intelligence (DNI) to control the allocation of the community's estimated $40 billion budget among its 16 agencies.

U.S. Has Mishandled Billion$ In Iraq, Audits Show

by Emad Mekay Sloppy accounting and lax oversight of contracts were routine under the now defunct U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which handled Iraq's reconstruction funds and left blueprints for the economy that the current interim U.S.-backed government follows

With Afghan Government In Place, Long-Stalled Pipeline Project Moves Forward

by Raouf Liwal According to insiders, there are strong indications Unocal could be favored by Afghan officials in the government of President Hamid Karzai to return back to the development of the trans-Afghan pipeline venture -- though the company's role is not exactly clear in the ADB-led project

Bush Losing War For Muslim Hearts And Minds, Pentagon Finds

by Jim Lobe Al-Qaeda and radical Islamists are winning the propaganda war against the United States, says a high-level Pentagon panel, which concluded that Bush administration policies in the Middle East, a failure to understand the Muslim world and a lack of imagination in using new communications technologies are responsible

Bush Wants To Cut Aid To Key Allies For Backing International Criminal Court

by Jim Lobe The United States is poised to punish some of its closest friends overseas for supporting the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a growing number of its soldiers are being sanctioned for abusing prisoners. A measure inserted into the current omnibus appropriations bill in Congress would ban tens of millions of dollars in U.S. economic aid to some of its allies unless they formally agree to exempt U.S. citizens from the ICC's jurisdiction

A Year After Saddam's Capture, Iraq Chaos Worsens

by Jim Lobe Of the 44 countries (including Palau and the Solomon Islands) the Bush administration claimed to take with it as proof of its multilateralism when it launched the invasion, only 28 (including Palau and the Solomon Islands) remain -- testimony as to how credible U.S. power and its chances of winning are now seen even by its closest partners 21 months later

U.S. Negotiators Try To Justify Bush Global Warming Position

At global conference in Buenos Aires, the United States is insisting that although it will not ratify the Kyoto climate protocol, the Bush administration is making as strong an effort as any other country to deal with climate change

Despite Election Defeat, Yanukovych Wields Considerable Power

by Jeffrey Donovan At the moment, neither Yushchenko's bloc nor Yanukovych's party appears to have the backing to win an outright majority in parliament. So, much will depend on whether Yushchenko and Yanukovych can boost their backing over the coming year

Kosovo Prime Minister Charged With Murder

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic Ramush Haradinaj, 36, an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, has been charged by Serb authorities with crimes against humanity and armed rebellion in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo in 1998-99. Earlier this month the controversial Haradinaj became prime minister of Kosovo, which is still a part of Serbia but under United Nations control.

Iraq Hospitals Still Waiting For Basic Medical Supplies

by Dahr Jamail What this largest medical complex in Iraq lacks is medicines, he said. 'I'll prescribe medication and the pharmacy simply does not have it to give to the patient.' The hospital is short of wheelchairs, half the elevators are broken, and the family members of patients are being forced to work as nurses because of shortage of medical personnel

New Study Links Risk Of Autism To Mercury In Vaccines

Some vaccines given to infants and children are preserved with thimerosal, which is half mercury by weight, and parents worry that these vaccines, including flu shots, may trigger autism in their children. Now new evidence that strengthens that theory has been found

Time For Bush To "Get Serious" About Prosecuting Soldiers, Rights Group Says

by Golnaz Esfandiari Human Rights Watch said it had uncovered three new cases of detainee deaths in U.S. military facilities in Afghanistan. The rights group says it is time for the United States to "get serious" about prosecuting soldiers implicated in prisoner deaths or mistreatment

Millions Of Child Deaths Unreported Every Year

by Diego Cevallos Martin died of an unidentified illness at 11 months of age in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, but there is no record that he ever even existed. The same fate befalls millions of people who live in countries that have no way of gathering accurate figures on numbers and causes of deaths

A Devil's Island For Our Times

by Robert Scheer This Kafkaesque gulag, like others in human history, is an expression of a governing doctrine that defines morality as simply an expression of power: Might makes right. What the system can get away with, it does

The GOP's Sabotage of Social Security

by Robert Scheer If the president is truly worried about the federal coffers running dry he should stop cutting taxes for us better-off folk and stop spending so much money on boondoggles like the occupation of Iraq

Kerik's 'Nannygate' Was The Least Of It

by Robert Scheer Bottom line: A smart guy like Giuliani should have suspected something in 1998, when his wife and his deputy mayor attended Kerik's lavish wedding, which was dotted with mob-connected characters. This was two years before he appointed Kerik to head the New York City Police Department

Pakistan And The True WMD Threat

by Robert Scheer Bush is so eager to cater to Musharraf that he is even championing the dictator as key to the creation of a democratic Palestinian state

Red States Love Their Sleaze, Too

by Robert Scheer Red states love the crap entertainment corporations dish out just as much as the blue ones . Whether in Utah, Georgia or New York, the TV ratings show that we are choosing the equivalent of fast-food entertainment over quality programming. Sex and violence sell well everywhere; high culture does not. So the entertainment titans keep dishing up more of the same

Australian Conservatives Vow To Battle Enviros

by Bob Burton Think tank funded by mining energy, biotechnology and agricultural companies holds conference and charges 'environmental fundamentalism' harming the environment and 'denying farmers, foresters, fishermen, prospectors, miners, beekeepers, 4WD (four-wheel-drive) enthusiasts and others access rights, property rights, water rights' and also generating excessive red tape

Ukraine Runoff Election Goes Smoothly

by Askold Krushelnycky While no major problems were reported, both sides traded accusations of minor violations. Yanukovych supporters accused their opponents of turning off elevators in tall buildings in Kiev and preventing invalids from being transported to polling sites, among other gambits, to prevent ballots being cast in favor of the prime minister

Opposing Wings Of Catholic Church Take Sides In Ukraine Election

by Brian Whitmore In demonstrations in Kiev in November, the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods of Ukraine warned of "the expansion of Catholics and sects in Ukraine" should the West-leaning Yushchenko win the presidency. Leaflets distributed in Orthodox parishes called Yushchenko a "partisan of the schismatics and an enemy of Orthodoxy," according to media reports. And opposition leaders and human rights groups allege that some clergy in heavily Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine told parishioners to vote for "God's candidate," the pro-Moscow Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, or be denied the sacraments

AP Picks Terror, Iraq As 2004 Top Stories

by Jim Lobe The 'if-it-bleeds-it-leads' mentality that has dominated U.S. news coverage, especially local TV news, for at least two decades. And the fact that the world's news media were on the spot in both Russia and Madrid -- where some 330 and 200 people, respectively, were killed -- to offer hour-by-hour, sometimes minute-by-minute coverage of the mayhem in both events might explain why, for example, Darfur's genocide simply could not compete

Pakistan's Musharraf Lobbies To Be Middle East Peacemaker

by MB Naqvi Musharraf has just completed a tour of Latin America, U.S., Britain and France in which he emphasized the need of removing the root causes of terrorism. Musharraf added that if it was not done, then the world would just be treating the symptoms and leaving the causes of the ailment unattended

Big Tobacco's Plans To Lure New Asian Smokers

by Marwaan Macan-Markar The tobacco industry believed it needed to construct a culture which, despite tradition and social history, smoking would become desirable or even normalized for young men and women," Knight and Chapman point out. And the industry achieved this by creating an atmosphere that appropriated vehicles that included music, entertainment, sport, adventure, fashion, and the emancipation of women

Anti-Smoking Is Discrimination, Big Tobacco Ad Campaign Says

by Maria Cecilia Espinosa The tobacco industry as a whole has a global strategy aimed at capturing markets in the South to compensate for the markets it is losing in the industrialized countries of the North, due to anti-smoking legislation. The tobacco transnationals have been highly successful in Latin America, where the number of smokers has increased by 68 percent, while 10 percent of smokers in the United States and Europe have kicked the habit

India Moderates Want Hindu Temples To Account For Huge Donations

by Ranjit Devraj About the only temple in India that publicly accounts for its wealth is the Tirupati shrine in southern Andhra Pradesh which is controlled by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams trust with an income of $150 million a year making it the second wealthiest religious body in the world after the Vatican

Brazil's Hit Soap Opera Traces Nation's Class Conflict

by Mario Osava The series' multiple intertwined storylines begin in 1968, when Maria arrives in Rio de Janeiro from the northeast, with her five small children in tow. Her arrival coincides with a clampdown by the U.S.-backed military dictatorship (1964-1985) and the repression of the student movement that turned the streets of Rio de Janeiro into a battlefield.

Death By Homeland Security

by Jocelyn McCalla Dantica, a respected Baptist minister in Haiti, probably never imagined he would find himself one day behind bars in the United States. But on Oct. 24, he got caught in the terrible crossfire of the political violence and lawlessness that has gripped Haiti since September. He suffered threats to his life and was almost killed. Together with his son, Maxo, he fled Oct. 29 to the United States, where he faced the hellish nightmare Haitian refugees before him have confronted when seeking asylum

Eastern Ukraine Views Yushchenko's Party With Suspicion

by Valentinas Mite A massive Lenin statue stands in the main square of Donetsk, where thousands rally in support of their presidential candidate -- pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. As with Lenin, people in Donetsk do not trust the capitalist West. They have no confidence in Western Europe or in the United States. And they cast a suspicious eye on western and central Ukraine, which is largely pro-Western and nationalistic

Ukraine Revolution Inspired By Neighbors, Sponsored By U.S.

by Jeremy Bransten This month the U.S. administration revealed that it had spent $65 million over the past two years on such efforts in Ukraine. The money went to local groups involved in a range of activities -- from education and legal reform to electoral monitoring. But the U.S. State Department said the money was not distributed directly to parties, nor was it meant to favor any one side

Central America In Bloody War On Gangs

by Diego Cevallos Every week, mutilated bodies bearing signs of torture appear in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, the victims of an ongoing war between gangs -- to which around 300,000 young Central Americans belong -- and with those who are trying to exterminate them

Despite Iraq Quagmire, Neo-Cons Demand Actions Against Syria

by Jim Lobe In contrast to the charges that were made against Damascus 16 months ago, the new campaign appears to be based primarily on alleged statements by unidentified U.S. military and intelligence officials to the effect that the Sunni insurgency in Iraq is being organized, funded and even managed by, as the Post put it, 'a handful of Iraqi Baathists operating in Syria'

Central Asia Using Terror War To Justify Human Rights Abuse

by Linus Atarah Western countries, particularly the United States, were strident in their criticism of human rights violations in the former Soviet bloc countries before Sept. 11, Najimov said. But since then there has been little criticism of human rights issues in these countries

UN Reverses, Agrees To Send More Staff To Iraq

by Thalif Deen After long refusing to risk its workers in violence-ridden Iraq, the United Nations has reversed its stance and is planning to expand its international staff in the country in time for upcoming elections set for late January

Israel's War On Palestinian Olive Trees

by Sonny Inbaraj In the past four years since the second intifadah, the Israeli occupying forces have uprooted almost 400,000 olive trees with a value of over $60 million. Olive groves have also been cleared from strategic locations in order to open new lands for Jewish Israeli settlements. In addition, according to the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature, Israeli policies of collective punishment often target entire Palestinian communities and include uprooting trees as a means of reprimand and intimidation

AIDS Pandemic In Asia Could Match Africa's

by Zofeen T. Ebrahim 'The same factors (are here) and yet we don't recognize them. We keep saying our value systems are going to protect us...I heard all that in Africa,' she pointed out. 'Asia Pacific countries need to act against HIV/AIDS, and they need to act now.'

Allawi Viewed As New Saddam By Many Iraqis

by Dahr Jamail The rule of Ayad Allawi, the U.S.-appointed interim prime minister of Iraq, is now more in the style of the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein than a leader of a supposedly democratic state, a growing number of critics say

Reaction To Quake Disaster Shows India's Divide

by Sujoy Dhar and Sandip Roy At one end of the wrath of the tsunami was the booming coastal city of Chennai, one of the biggest centers of offshore outsourcing. At the other were the remote Indian Ocean islands of Andaman and Nicobar. When it came to nature's destructive force on Dec. 26, the tech-savvy were no better off than the tribals -- a fact not lost on Indian media

U.S. Lays Out Plans To Hand Over Iraqi Oil Fields To Corporations

by Emad Mekay The United States is helping the interim Iraqi government continue to make major economic changes, including cuts to social subsidies, full access for U.S. companies to the nation's oil reserves and reconsideration of oil deals that the previous regime signed with France and Russia

Iraq War Shouldn't Be A Video Game - But It Is

by Pedro Paulo Viegas De Sa The missions in Kuma War each simulate a specific battle, boasting names like 'Uday and Qsay Last Stand,' or 'Falluja Police Station Raid.' The reconstruction of these missions is not only dependent on the reproduction of real-life battle scenes collected from different fronts; it also relies on the military expertise of retired war veterans. It doesn't matter which side of the pro-war/anti-war debate you are on. Young lives are being lost daily in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this is serious, not a game

Brazil Threatens To Ignore Patents On New AIDS Meds

by Mario Osava The Brazilian government announced Tuesday that it would break the patents on several medications to prevent the financial collapse of its widely praised public health program that provides antiretroviral drugs free of charge to people with HIV/AIDS

Bush Defensive as Aid Effort Lumbers Into Action

by Jim Lobe With the South Asian death toll from Sunday's tsunamis well beyond the 100,000 mark and climbing, the administration of U.S. President George W Bush is defending itself against charges that its aid commitments so far have been largely too little, too grudging and too late

How Bush Can Show America's Not Stingy

by Robert S. Rivkin Here's a simple proposal that would capture the world's attention, and which a majority of Americans would almost certainly support. President Bush should announce that because of the colossal losses suffered by millions of people in Southeast Asia and East Africa, he will make an exception to his promise not to raise taxes. Bush should propose a Tsunami Disaster Relief Surtax for 2004 and 2005, with very simple components that everyone can understand

Half Of World's Workers Make Less Than $2/Day

by Gustavo Capdevila That there were 185.9 million unemployed people around the world in 2003 is discouraging enough, but the fact that three times that many people were working and yet making less than one dollar a day is even more troubling

Iraq Debt Relief Puts Country In IMF Hands

by Emad Mekay Rich nations' decision to accept a U.S. request and forgive part of Iraq's debt will help the occupied country but also saddle it with a burdensome economic program that threatens to take decision-making power from Baghdad and put it in the hands of the International Monetary Fund

India Court Tells Coke And Pepsi To Include Toxic Warning Label

by Ranjit Devraj Coke and Pepsi manufacturers may brag that their colas are the same around the world. But that's not the case in India. Indian-produced Coke and Pepsi contain pesticides and, after being hauled to court, both companies now will have to display labels saying that their colas have toxic chemicals

Prisoner Abuses Continue In Iraq, Guantanamo

by Jim Lobe The e-mails make clear that the FBI objected to such techniques, which allegedly included sleep and sensory deprivation, and even the deployment of 'military working dogs,' or 'MWD,' to intimidate prisoners, as late as August 2004 -- or four months after photographs of abuses committed at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in October 2003, became public

Philippine President Blames Storm Deaths on Illegal Loggers

Illegal or excessive logging has been cited as the main culprit in the floods and slides that hit the towns of Real, Infanta and General Nakar in Quezon on November 29, leaving 669 dead and 697 missing and presumed dead

Bush Ignoring Darfur Genocide, Groups Charge

by Jim Lobe Congress and the Bush administration described the situation in dire terms last July, Congress found it amounted to "genocide," a label formally endorsed in September by Secretary of State Colin Powell and later by President Bush. But the Bush administration has been unwilling to push hard enough for a tough resolution, fearing that doing so will make it more difficult to gain the council's co-operation on Iraq and related issues

Super-Hawks Sending Bush Their Wish Lists On Next Country To Attack

by Jim Lobe What is common to almost all of these hawkish call-to-arms is the sense that, while Iraq might not have gone quite as well as anticipated, the 'victory' in Fallujah marked a turning point in the U.S. occupation and January's elections should permit Washington to begin drawing down its troop presence in Iraq not long afterwards. And, while the United States should still be committed to Iraq for the long haul, it is time that it came to act on the threats posed by other 'evil' regimes -- be it by military force, covert action, 'support for the opposition,' or simple intimidation

Remembering Che And The Gueveras

by Marcelo Ballve Che's parents -- who eloped and married against the wishes of their families, with Che's mother already pregnant -- were eccentrics, almost misfits, and had a much more hardscrabble life than your typical Buenos Aires aristocrats

After Pinochet's Trial, Kissinger's Should Follow

by Roger Burbach and Paul Cantor So now, the 89-year-old ex-dictator -- his former friends deserting him in droves, his cultivated image of the tough but honorable savior of his country in tatters -- is under house arrest in his own country. He's trying to avoid prosecution by claiming he is too old and too feeble-minded to face a trial. What about Kissinger?

Iraq Contractors Spending Heavy on Private Armies, Armor

by William Fisher Although spending nearly one-third of their contract revenues on armored cars, bodyguards and other safety measures, some contractors are constantly at risk, often unable to move around the country to work with the people they have been hired to help, and frequently forced to leave Iraq for certain periods for the relative safety of Jordan or Kuwait.

Convicts React To Scott Peterson Death Sentence

by Dannie M. Martin The jury's recommendation of death in the Scott Peterson trial probably came as a bigger shock to convicts then it did to people out in the street. Because of the total lack of forensic evidence, many of us in prison don't believe he got a fair trial

U.S. Troops Pile Into Iraq In Record Numbers

by Jim Lobe Given the recent disappointing performance of Iraqi police and security forces, the influx of more U.S. troops marks at least a symbolic setback to the larger strategy of "Iraqification," or giving indigenous Iraqi forces more responsibility for maintaining order and keeping the largely Sunni insurrection in check

Oil-Rich Arab Nation Looks To Renewable Energy

by Meena S Janardhan A country that produces nearly 2.5 million barrels of crude oil per day has little reason to look anywhere else. However, regard for the environment and the realization that fossil fuel reserves may not last forever have induced authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to consider renewable energy options

Largest Relief Operation In World History Underway In Asia

The biggest humanitarian relief operation the world has ever seen is underway in Asia, as international aid agencies supported by foreign troops race to provide emergency help in the aftermath of a massive earthquake and the huge tsunamis it unleashed

Media In The Winter Of Our 'Disremorse'

by Norman Solomon Many millions of Americans would tell a suitably inquiring journalist that they don't really regret John Kerry's loss -- that what they find horrific is the new four-year lease on the White House for an administration with an unrepentant track record of mendacity and extreme ideological zeal

Myths Of 'Good' And 'Bad' Nuclear Weapons

by Norman Solomon Any whiff of sanity is conspicuous. Just before Thanksgiving, when the House and Senate voted to cut funding of research for a new line of tactical nuclear weapons including bunker buster warheads, the decision was reported as the most significant victory for arms-control advocates since the early 1990s. That's because the nuclear-weapons industry has been running amok for so long

U.S. Military Blocking Medical Care From Reaching Iraqis

by Dahr Jamail Iraqi doctors at many hospitals have reported raids by coalition forces. Some of the more recent raids have been in Amiriyat al-Fallujah, about 10km to the east of Fallujah, the town to which U.S. forces have laid bloody siege. Amiriyat al-Fallujah has been the source of several reported resistance attacks on U.S. forces

Tailgated by Media Technology

by Norman Solomon People who want to keep up with 'the news' are apt to become overloaded with too much input and scant insight. Meanwhile, technology doesn't necessarily supply any solution. For most Americans, checking for the latest on the Web is apt to mean navigating a continually expansive -- yet corporately circumscribed -- universe of hyperlinks. A visit to a heavily trafficked site like CNN is scarcely more adventurous than tuning in to the cable network counterpart

The Limits Of "Man Bites Dog" Stories

by Norman Solomon The fly-on-the-wall conceits of reporters can distort our understanding of what's happening in the world. For instance, even though media coverage often skews political developments rather than merely depicting them, journalists routinely adhere to the pretense that they are just observing dramatic events from off-stage

U.S. Wants Rights To Patent S America Genetic Biodiversity

by Constanza Vieira Access to genetic resources in South America's Andean region, which holds a quarter of the planet's biodiversity, is a point of discord in the trade agreement that the United States has been negotiating with Colombia, Ecuador and Peru since May. The treaty 'is really a patent deal. The United States wants to impose -- if one can put it that way -- that all countries must adopt treaties on patents. And this is one of the major problems of the biodiversity issue'

Native People's DNA Being Illegally Sold On Internet, Brazil Charges

by Stephen Leahy and Mario Osava The Brazilian government has asked Interpol, the international police, to intervene in what it says is the illegal sale of genetic material from its Native peoples by a U.S. research center

"Hobbit" Humans May Have Lived Recently, Southeast Asians Say

by Caty Husbands When news broke recently of the discovery of bones of a dwarf-sized species of hominid on an Indonesian island, one anthropologist suddenly remembered Floresians' tales of the mysterious Ebu Gogo, who stole crops and made a nuisance of themselves, villagers insist, until just a few generations ago

Ukrainian Devotion To Yushchenko At Core Of Election Crisis

by Jeremy Bransten Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko has become famous around the world, but few outside the country know much about him. Who is the leader of the "orange" revolution, where did he come from, and what makes him such a powerful force?

Yushchenko Victim Of Massive Dioxin Poisoning

by Jeremy Bransten Dr. Michael Zimpfer, the head doctor of the Rudolfinerhaus clinic told reporters Saturday that there is no doubt the disease that has disfigured Yushchenko's face over the past two months was caused by dioxins, adding that Yushchenko's blood and tissue registered concentrations of dioxin 1,000 times above normal levels

FBI Again Spying On Domestic Organizations In Name Of Terror War

by Marty Logan U.S. civil rights groups have filed multiple freedom of information requests around the country to uncover evidence that the FBI and local police are spying on political, environmental and faith-based groups in the name of fighting terrorism

U.S. Army Deserters Seek Canadian Asylum

by Marty Logan Hinzman arrived in Canada on Jan. 3, 2004 with his wife and child, fleeing his army unit, the 82nd Airborne Regiment, just days before it was to depart for Iraq. The army specialist, who had already served in Afghanistan, had applied to be discharged or reassigned as a conscientious objector (CO) but the military denied his request Two recent conscientious objectors who deserted were sentenced to one year in jail by military courts-martial earlier this year. Despite those risks it is estimated that a dozen other U.S. soldiers are already in Canada "underground," awaiting the outcome of Hinzman's refugee hearing.

Plenty Of Reasons For Moral Outrage

by Alexander Cockburn Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin, demon foe of government fraud and waste, used to give out Golden Fleece awards. Month after month they'd make the papers, and the sums weren't so big. These days, you have to steal at least half a billion and have the name Halliburton on your corporate letterhead even to get noticed on the CNN newstape. Oh, I know John McCain makes a big show of denouncing his colleagues for priming the defense budget with pork. But it doesn't raise a stir and only irks his fellow senators because they know he doesn't really mean it and, when he's finished grandstanding, will vote the budget

Gary Webb And The Art Of The CIA Coverup

by Alexander Cockburn Webb stepped over that line and paid for it by undergoing one of the most unfair batterings in the history of the U.S. press. As he himself wrote in 2001, 'To this day, no one has ever been able to show me a single error of fact in anything I've written about this drug ring, which includes a 600-page book about the whole tragic mess'

Politicize The CIA? You've Got To Be Kidding

by Alexander Cockburn Bush's new director, former Republican Florida Rep. Porter Goss, and his team of enforcers are on a rampage through the corridors of CIA headquarters at Langley. Goss was once an undercover CIA officer, so there's probably a personal edge to his mission of revenge, as he strikes back at the dolts who nixed his expense accounts or poured scorn on his heroic endeavors in the field

Soldier's Debt

by Alexander Cockburn The president was smart to make it a quick visit to Camp Pendleton. If, like Henry V in Shakespeare's play, he'd moved among the Marines in disguise and listened to their worries, he'd have had a rude surprise. But in the fake world of TV news PR, 'heroes' aren't racked with worries like an 805 percent annual interest rate

As Dollar Drops, China's Yuan In Line To Be Next World Currency

by Franz Schurmann At its pinnacle a century ago, the British pound sterling and the various currencies linked to it through its colonies reigned imperially all over the world. But a half-century ago the pound had become badly weakened by World War II, and the American dollar became the primary imperial currency. Now, another half-century later, is it America's turn to abandon its mighty dollar to another rising imperial currency?

Bush Loses Out As China, Iran, Draw Close

by Antoaneta Bezlova China hopes to offer comprehensive development of Iran's giant natural gas field, including exploration and drilling, petrochemical and gas industries, pipelines and other services. Beijing's inroads into Iran's energy sector will hamper U.S. efforts to keep Tehran under pressure through the economic embargo imposed in April 1995

Please Don't Let Us Kill Christ Again

by Steve Young Do you have talk radio at the North Pole? Well, if you do, you know that the air waves have been full of consternation as to how those idol-worshippers on the left are doing whatever they can to take Christmas out ofÊChristmas. Bill's been talking about it all week. Same with Sean, who must have been a really good boy 'cause I hear tell that you, with a little help from the boys at Disney, brought him a new $25 million contract

A Listen Back At The Lords Of Loud

by Steve Young Talk Radio spent the past year, turning every event, including the election, into a sporting event. Perhaps even a war. Your evil country against ours. And if you are a real fan, your side always wins. Man, that feels good. Those who say that you need to lose every so often to truly appreciate winning, don't know what it feels like to win. Those who say you have to learn from your mistakes, don't have an inkling of how the Bush administration works

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