default.html Issue 134
Table of Contents

The Secret Way To War

by Mark Danner Thanks to a formerly secret memorandum published by the London Sunday Times on May 1, during the run-up to the British elections, we now have a memo which shows that even as President Bush told Americans in October 2002 that he "hope[d] the use of force will not become necessary" -- that such a decision depended on whether or not the Iraqis complied with his demands to rid themselves of their weapons of mass destruction -- the President had in fact already definitively decided, at least three months before, to choose this "last resort" of going "into battle" with Iraq. Whatever the Iraqis chose to do or not do, the President's decision to go to war had long since been made

UN Picks Top Ten Ignored News Stories

by Thalif Deen 'The mainstream media ignore or downplay certain stories for specific reasons,' Tharoor told IPS. 'One, because, in the opinion of editors, they don't sell; two, because they seem too remote to the concerns of the readership, viewership, or listenership; and three, because they aren't news -- i.e., they aren't sufficiently in the 'man bites dog' or 'if it bleeds, it leads' categories.'

Asia Concerned As Peak Season For Bird Flu Nears

by Marwaan Macan-Markar Public health experts admit that another outbreak of the H5N1 virus around July would not be a surprise, since it would be following a pattern established last year. The bird-flu death toll in Cambodia stands out as the most disturbing in the region, since all four people infected by the virus have died. In Vietnam and Thailand the incidence rate is marginally lower, between 60 to 70 percent of the infected people dying

Thanks, Tom, Wish We Could, But...

by Steve Young The closer the event, the more ethics allegations against the honoree intensified. In a town where jumping off the ethically-challenged bandwagon is an Olympic sport, the wisdom in attending the tribute was highly suspect leading to a barrage of last minute cancellations of last minute "wish we could be theres"

Dow Chemical's Toxic Waste And Michigan's Coverup

by Brian McKenna In 2001, Michigan Governor John Engler's administration learned that dioxin levels in the Tittabwassee River floodplain, downstream from Midland's Dow Chemical were found at over 7,000 parts per trillion near parks and residential areas (80 times Michigan's cleanup standards). But they didn't bother to tell anyone. The story continues to devolve. A few months ago, in November 2004 the state of Michigan issued a game consumption advisory for the Tittabawassee -river floodplain because of Dow's dioxin. Turkeys and deer are now considered potentially toxic. This was only the second time in Michigan history that such a warning was made. Still, the crisis is vastly underreported in Michigan media

Whistleblowers Demand End To Retaliation

by William Fisher 50 current and former employees of U.S. national security agencies are demanding that Congress end government retaliation against those who expose national security blunders

Border Vigilantes Vow To Return In "Tens Of Thousands"

by Bill Berkowitz An armed private group that patrolled the U.S.-Mexican border last month has gone home with an unequivocal endorsement from California Governor Arnold Shwarzenegger and friendly media coverage. Come October, they say, they will return to the border in the tens of thousands

U.S. Rewards Friendly Tyrants With Tons Of Guns

by Thalif Deen The United States has accelerated arms sales to some of the world's most repressive and undemocratic regimes since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, according to a new report from leading arms trade researchers

Sub-Sahara Africa Spends Money On Arms, Not Aid

by Joyce Mulama An estimated 22 billion dollars a year is spent on arms by developing countries, a sum the Control Arms Campaign says would be enough to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of ending extreme poverty by 2015

Is Nepal's King Just Settling Old Scores?

by Suman Pradhan In its zeal to only charge democratic politicians for corruption and abuse of authority, the regime has ironically managed to create the impression that it is settling old scores -- all the while dealing with a surging Maoist insurgency that is using cronyism as a rallying cry for the poor peasants who fill its army's ranks

World Bank Party For Outgoing President Turns Into Fight

by Emad Mekay The idea of crediting Wolfensohn for reaching out to civil society groups and joining the fight against poverty further rattled some of the development groups who said that Wolfensohn's record amounted to little more than a whitewash, or public-relations gimmick

Appeals Court Ruling Favors Cheney in Energy Task Force Case

by J.R. Pegg In a major victory for the Bush administration, a federal appeals court May 10 dismissed a lawsuit that sought information about the secret White House energy task force overseen by Vice President Dick Cheney in the early months of the administration's first term

"Person Of Interest" Label Throwing Suspects Into Limbo

by William Fisher U.S. law enforcement agencies and prosecutors are using a term that has no standing in law but nonetheless can turn lives upside down, ruin careers, and place people in a long-term legal limbo somewhere between innocence, 'suspect' and 'target'

Amid Afghan Crisis, Karzai Gets Only Pat On Back From Bush

by Jim Lobe While lavishing praise on his guest May 23, President Bush indicated that Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai will receive neither greater control over U.S. troops in his country nor substantially more aid to persuade poppy farmers to drop out of the narcotics business

Bush Opens Last Untouched Wilderness To Logging With New Roads

by J.R. Pegg State governors have 18 months to petition the U.S. Forest Service to lift or keep in place restrictions outlined by existing management plans. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will have the final word on whether the governors' petitions are accepted or rejected

Evolution Hearings End In Kansas

by Jason Miller The hearings concluded May 12 following four days of trial-like proceedings. The School Board, which is dominated by Christian conservatives, is expected to vote on the matter before summer, despite the lack of testimony from a single member of the mainstream scientific community

Terrorist Who Downed Airliner Seeking U.S. Asylum

by Jim Lobe Posada, who in an interview with the New York Times seven years ago admitted to organizing a wave of bombings in Cuba in 1997 that killed an Italian tourist and injured 11 others, is best known as the prime suspect in the bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight shortly after it took off from Barbados in October 1976. The incident, in which all 73 crew members and passengers including teenaged members of Cuba's national fencing team were killed, was the first confirmed mid-air terrorist bombing of a commercial airliner

Iraq Has Plenty of Oil But No Gasoline

by Shawkat al-Bayati Iraq is thought to have the world's second largest oil reserves, it is still importing gasoline because insurgent attacks and creaking technology are hampering production at fuel refineries.

Iraq Suicide Bombers Now Everyday News

by Valentinas Mite Suicide bombers set off a wave of blasts in Iraq May 11, killing at least 71 people and injuring more than 100. The blasts highlight a growing trend in which such attacks are becoming commonplace at Iraqi Army sites, police-recruitment centers, marketplaces, and crowded city streets. Most of those killed in the suicide bombings are innocent civilians, who live in constant fear of their lives and who increasingly distrust the new authorities' ability to cope with the situation

Thirty Years After Vietnam War, The Vietnamese Diaspora Thrives

by Andrew Lam Nearly 3 million Vietnamese have fled abroad and scattered into five different continents since the war ended on April 30, 1975. These days, you can find Vietnamese restaurants in South Africa, Brazil and Morocco. I personally have relatives living in six different countries on three continents. But almost half of the Diaspora ended up in North America, and the largest portion of that population resettled in California

>CPJ Names Most Dangerous Places For Journalists

by Thalif Deen The Philippines, Iraq, Colombia, Bangladesh, and Russia are the world's 'most murderous' countries in which to be a journalist, New York-based media watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said

Life In Liberated Iraq A Nightmare -- Joint UN/Iraq Report

by Niko Kyriakou Living conditions in once prosperous Iraq have sharply deteriorated in the two years of the U.S. occupation, says a new joint Iraqi-UN report. The Iraq Living Conditions Survey (ILCS), based on data from 22,000 households and released May 12, is the first comprehensive statistical description of living standards in the country produced in years and is expected to affect future reconstruction and development assistance

Israeli Colonies In Gaza Dig In To Fight Eviction

by Ferry Biedermann The settlers are mobilizing their supporters throughout the country. They show up in Gush Katif, the settlement bloc in the south of the Strip, for demonstrations on holidays. And, as happened again this week on Monday, they block highways in the center of the country with burning tires in protests against the 'disengagement.' But in the settlements themselves, away from the orange-clad protesters, life continues much as before. Here and there major construction projects are still in progress, supplies are being delivered, and cranes and bulldozers are at work, as if expansion is on the agenda rather than dismantlement

Why Bush Never Talks About The Clawback

by Molly Ivins Basically, you have to beat 3 percent plus inflation to come out ahead, and the only way to do that is to gamble in the stock market

Catapulting The Propaganda

by Molly Ivins Bush is prepared to use his first-ever veto. Didn't stop the bankruptcy bill, didn't stop all those tax cuts for the very rich, didn't stop that gross agriculture bill -- but this he will veto. He says we will 'cross a critical ethical line by creating new incentives for the ongoing destruction of emerging human life.' And he doesn't think starting an unnecessary war was crossing a critical ethical line?

How To Survive As A Journalist In Uzbekistan

by Julie A. Corwin It is forbidden to write about other countries' economic achievement or to report that Uzbekistan has one of the lowest per capita rates of foreign direct investment in the CIS. Integration among CIS countries is also off limits as a topic because its discussion might highlight how isolated Uzbekistan has become. Criticism of Uzbekistan's one ally, benefactor, and protector, the United States, is, of course, precluded

Galloway And Owen: Congress Hears A Hero, Confirms A Zero

by Molly Ivins Galloway is generally in bad smell in Britain. This may or may not be attributable to his political enemies, but it is certainly attributable to more journalists than the neo-neo-con Christopher Hitchens, who described Galloway in London's The Independent as 'a thug and a demagogue, the type of working-class-wideboy-and-proud-of-it who is too used to the expense accounts, the cars and the hotels -- all the cigars and backslapping.' (Only a Brit could have written that sentence.)

Senfronia Thompson Lets Loose

by Molly Ivins Rarely are the words of one state legislator worth national attention, but when Senfronia Thompson, a black representative from Houston, stalks to the back mike with a certain "get-out-of-my-way" look in her eye, it's, Katie, bar the door

Koran Abuse Is Old News

by Molly Ivins I hate to tell you this, but the story about Americans abusing the Koran in order to enrage prisoners has been out there for quite some time

Surprise: Bush Lied to Us

by Molly Ivins On May 1, the Sunday Times of London printed a secret memo that went to the defense secretary, foreign secretary, attorney general and other high officials. It is the minutes of their meeting on Iraq with Tony Blair. The memo was written by Matthew Rycroft, a Downing Street foreign policy aide. It has been confirmed as legitimate and is dated July 23, 2002. I suppose the correct cliche is smoking gun

Bush Spinning Wheels In Race To Fix Energy Problems

by Molly Ivins The energy bill just passed by the House is a classic example of frittering away precious time and resources by doing exactly nothing that needs to be done about energy. The bill gives $8.1 billion in new tax breaks to the oil companies, which are already swimming in cash

Colombia Drug War Becoming Base For Oil War Against Venezuela

by Bill Weinberg Longtime U.S. involvement in Colombia may be transforming and expanding from a 'war on drugs' into a Washington-led, oil-company fueled destabilization campaign against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

FDA Nomination Stalled Over Emergency Contraceptive Issue

by Cynthia L. Cooper A storm is brewing over the nomination of acting commissioner Dr. Lester Crawford to the top position at the FDA. fter meeting with Crawford, Democratic Senators Patty Murray of Washington and Hillary Clinton of New York have put a hold on his nomination to commissioner until the agency under his watch issues a decision on the past-due application for direct sales of Plan B to consumers in drugstores

Amazon Deforestation At Record Pace

by Mario Osava The near-record rate of deforestation in the Amazon jungle last year has sparked an outcry from environmentalists in Brazil and around the world, but some charge that the true extent of destruction is even greater than the figures released Wednesday by the Brazilian government. The latest deforestation figures even prompted the Green Party to announce Thursday that it was pulling out of the ruling coalition

China Sweatshops Driving Africa Sweatshops Out Of Business

by Joyce Mulama So far, 6,000 jobs have already been lost, and four major factories -- which were well-established -- shut down

Nuclear Treaty Summit End With Bickering - U.S. Blamed

by Haider Rizvi From the start, a large majority of non-nuclear nations had stated that they wanted to see the declared nuclear powers -- the United States, Russia, France, Britain, and China -- take their treaty obligations seriously by making drastic cuts in their nuclear arsenals. The United States sought to keep the talks focused on suspected nuclear weapons development by Iran and North Korea, and thus confined its part in the talks to emphasizing the significance of the proliferation aspects of the treaty

Bloody Repression By Bush Ally In Uzbekistan

by Jim Lobe Taken by surprise by the sudden and unexpectedly bloody repression in Uzbekistan, the Bush administration appears to be backing away from its initial, reflexive support for its authoritarian ally in the war against terrorism

Press Under Scrutiny In Former Soviet States

by Gulnoza Saidazimova Pascale Bonnamour, who heads the Europe desk at Reporters Sans Frontieres, says the media environment in Central Asia has significantly worsened in the past year. And the main reasons, she says, are Ukraine's Orange Revolution and Kyrgyzstan's revolution in March

Capture Of "Al-Qaeda's #3" Doesn't Forecast Arrest Of Bin Laden

by Ron Synovitz 'The hunt for Osama bin Laden is a completely different thing [than capturing al-Libbi]. Just because the Americans and the Pakistanis have managed to arrest a senior Al-Qaeda leader doesn't automatically mean that the trail has suddenly become hot to Osama bin Laden. I don't think the seizure of computer equipment or interrogations of people who have been captured is going to be a chain effect which is going to give them [actionable] information. Yes, intelligence is going to form part of a larger picture. But I don't think it is going to be precise intelligence which is going to allow anybody to launch any kind of a specific strike to capture senior Al-Qaeda leaders -- particularly Osama bin Laden'

"Real ID" Driver's License Rule Called Unsafe, Anti-Migrant

by Abid Aslam The act would give states until May 2008 to make changes requiring applicants for a driver's license to prove they are in the country legally. Those able to do so would be issued with licenses accepted as a form of federal identification for purposes including travelling by rail or air and opening a bank account. States could issue second-tier licenses clearly marked as not valid for federal identification purposes and good for up to one year

Brash As Ever, Newt Weighs Run For White House

by Bill Berkowitz Gingrich's comeback is being driven by a compelling combo: God and government. He writes in his book: 'We must re-establish that our rights come from our Creator and that an America that has driven God out of the public arena is an America on the way to decay and defeat'

Japan Revives Plans For Plutonium Reprocessing Plant

by Suvendrini Kakuchi Following a series of harrowing accidents, nuclear power development was in cold storage until recently. The changing picture poses risks for both the environment and Japan's pacifist leanings. With Rokkasho operational, by 2020 Japan's domestic stock of plutonium could equal the U.S. stockpile of plutonium for weapons, said Frank von Hippel, physicist and professor at the Science and Global Security Program at Princeton

Iraq's Unions A Thorn In Side Of Occupation

by David Bacon As U.S. and British forces entered Baghdad on April 9, 2003, and the Saddam Hussein regime crumbled, those who had been driven underground by Hussein's rule began to breathe again. From Syria, Britain, Scandinavia and elsewhere, exiled trade union radicals began to make the long journey home

Newsweek Should Apologize - For Phony Iraq WMD Reports

by Jim Naureckas Newsweek's retraction of the Koran story, contrasted with the lack of any correction of its "green mushroom" claim and other similarly erroneous WMD coverage, is quite illustrative of the actual rules of today's game

U.S. Women's Right To Divorce When Pregnant In Dispute

by Judith Spitzer On Oct. 26, 2004, her lawyer told a Washington state woman her divorce was final. After years of physical abuse that began when she became pregnant with their first child, she said she finally felt free. But on Nov. 4, four days later, she was notified that Superior Court Judge Paul Bastine was revoking the divorce because she was pregnant. The judge said he had to make sure the child was legitimate

Dubya, Woodrow, And Teddy

by Jim Lobe To the administration's neo-conservative boosters, Bush represents a synthesis of the wisdom of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson -- the Republican realist and the Democratic idealist -- who are among the most beloved in the generally hazy historical memory of the nation. But according to a book published last fall by John Judis, this interpretation of history is nonsense

Schwarzenegger Seeks Emergency Powers Over Budget

by Donal Brown Desperate to make inroads in solving California's fiscal crisis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to give his office unregulated power over the budget by eroding the state's system of checks and balances and shortchanging education

G8 Summit Power Brokers, Scottish Tartans, And All Those Chinese Goats/A>

by Sanjay Suri The goats were never to suspect that their migration could prove historic. Because it is the underbelly of these goats found in northern China around Mongolia that produces the fine wool used for cashmere. China then, has the natural resource. And the Scots have the brand name on the strength of that resource. That is the way it has been for long, with resources from the East feeding brand names from the West. The West has traditionally added the value and kept the profits

Iraqis Charge U.S. Operation On Syrian Border Killed Civilians, Not Rebels

by Dahr Jamail Al Qa'im and surrounding areas were besieged by U.S. forces for a week by about 1,000 troops backed by warplanes, tanks and helicopters as a part of 'Operation Matador.' The U.S. military claims that 125 "militants" were killed in an effort to search for followers of the terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. But accounts of the operation from NGOs, Iraqi doctors and civilians differ greatly from those put forward by the military

Bush, Cheney Attack Amnesty International

by Jim Lobe Stung by Amnesty International's condemnation of U.S. detention facilities in Iraq and elsewhere overseas, the Bush administration is reacting with indignation and even suggestions that terrorists are using the world's largest human rights organisation

Homeland Dept. To Destroy $4.5 Billion In Unused Gear

by William Fisher The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says that it will have to replace or alter much of the $4.5 billion in security equipment it bought immediately after 9/11. The equipment includes screening devices to monitor the nation's ports, borders, airports, mail, and air. The DHS said the technology -- to detect guns, explosives, and nuclear and biological weapons -- is ineffective, unreliable or too expensive to operate

Iran Group Wanting Bush Support Accused Of Torture

by Jim Lobe An Iranian rebel group that is campaigning for Washington's support as part of a 'regime change' in its homeland has committed serious abuses including torture and prolonged isolation against dissident members, according to a leading human rights watchdog

Schwarzenegger Plays The Race Card As Ratings Sink

by Pilar Marrero On the same day the Public Policy Institute of California showed that his approval rating has slipped from 60 percent in January to 45 percent today that Schwarzenegger decided to go on a local radio show in Los Angeles to say the vigilantes were doing a 'terrific job' controlling illegal immigration

UN Urged To Declare Human Right To Water

by Haider Rizvi Alarmed by corporate moves to treat water as just another market commodity, leading civil society groups are urging the international community to adopt a new universal treaty to protect the right to water

Congress Faceoff Over Rewrite Of Endangered Species Act

Repubs say the Endangered Species Act has a 99 percent failure rate because only 13 species have fully recovered and have been delisted from protection. Conservationists say of the more than 1,800 species under the Act's protections, only nine have been declared extinct, a 99 percent success rate

Pharmacists In 11 States Refusing To Dispense Contraceptives

by Molly M. Ginty In the past six months, 14 states have considered "conscience clauses" that would allow pharmacists to opt out of dispensing drugs to which they have ethical objections. Four states (Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Dakota) have already enacted such laws. And four others (California, West Virginia, Missouri and New Jersey) are weighing laws that would protect customers' ability to get prescriptions filled

Survey: Most Israelis Don't Want Arabs Near Them

by Ferry Biedermann Polls show that more than half of the Jewish population does not wish Arabs to live in their neighborhoods and that many Israelis would like to see the government encourage Arab citizens to leave the country

Sibel Edmonds: I Am Gagged, But Not Dead

by Sibel Edmonds So much for finally having my day in court; here I was, with my attorneys, standing outside the courtroom and being guarded, while in there, three judges were having a cozy mingling session with a large troop of government attorneys. Then, it was over; that was it; we were told to leave. In other words, my attorneys and I were barred from being present in our own court hearing, and my case remained covered up and gagged; but I continued on

The Race For The Last Drop: The Global Struggle for Energy Immigrants

by Michael T. Klare From Washington to New Delhi, Caracas to Moscow and Beijing, national leaders and corporate executives are stepping up their efforts to gain control over major sources of oil and natural gas as the global struggle for energy intensifies. Never has the competitive pursuit of untapped oil and gas reserves been so acute, and never has so much money as well as diplomatic and military muscle been deployed in the contest to win control over major foreign stockpiles of energy

Haiti's Ex-Premier's Hunger Strike Spotlights Nation's Chaos

by Jim Lobe A month-long hunger strike that now threatens the life of Haiti's jailed former prime minister, Yvon Neptune, is drawing international attention to the increasingly chaotic situation in the Americas' poorest nation

Still No Accountability For Abu Ghraib From Bush Admin

by Abid Aslam Prisoners in U.S. custody have been tortured and abused at numerous detention facilities around the world, HRW said in a new report. It summarized allegations of abuse at U.S. facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Cuba and reiterated its call for independent investigations of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials who it said may have had roles in the mistreatment

Survey: 35 Million Americans Anti-Semitic

by William Fisher A national poll of 1,600 adults conducted in March, found that 30 percent of respondents believe Jews were responsible for the death of Christ, up from 25 percent in 2002. Previous ADL surveys over the last decade had indicated that anti-Semitism was in decline

They May Be Murderers, But They're Our Murderers

by Abhinav Aima Politicians backed by the U.S. in Iraq are running private militia armies as counter-insurgency forces. While they receive some funding and training from the U.S., these militia seem to operate with complete plausible deniability -- spook speak for running death squads without fear of legal prosecution

Anti-U.S. Riots Spread In Afghanistan

International aid agencies evacuate workers from Jalalabad as anti-U.S. riots enter a second day, with three people killed in clashes between protesters and security forces in eastern Afghanistan. Four people died in similar clashes yesterday. Afghans angered at the alleged desecration of the Koran by U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay are demanding a reduction of ties with the United States

Afghan Woman Charged With Adultery Beaten To Death

by Golnaz Esfandiari Human right groups are expressing concern over the killing of an Afghan woman accused of committing adultery. The 29-year-old was reportedly sentenced to death by local religious leaders after she was found in the house of a man other than her husband

Senate Committee Declines To Endorse Bolton

by William Fisher The Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, in a surprise move driven by a key Republican, voted Thursday May 12 to send the embattled nomination of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador at the United Nations to the full Senate without a recommendation -- a rebuff to President Bush

Closing Of First Unionized Wal-Mart Sends Warning

by Paul Weinberg Wal-Mart's closing announcement, UFCW Canada spokesman Michael Forman told IPS, was an effort to instill fundamental fear in every Wal-Mart employee that if they try to mix with the union, this is what is going to happen

Bush Ducks Confronting Saudis In Crawford Meetup

by William Fisher Prior to the Apr. 25 meeting at the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas, major U.S. civil liberties groups called on Bush to demand the release of dissidents, the appointment of women to municipal councils, and an end to the death penalty. The leaders' agenda included some reform-related subjects but its major thrust -- and subsequent media attention -- was on what Saudi Arabia was prepared to do to help lower the price of gasoline

Bush Trying Hard To Demonize Iran As Nuclear Power

by William O. Beeman Since there has been no diplomatic relations between Washington and Tehran for nearly 30 years, the only way for either nation to get the attention of the other is through invective and excessive rhetoric. The Bush administration has decided that the nuclear issue is the one that will play best with the American public, and on the world scene, and so it seems ready to tolerate, and perhaps even orchestrate, stunts

The Last Hunt For Living Nazis

by Roland Eggleston Sixty years after the end of World War II, Jewish organizations are making what they are calling a last-ditch effort to track down Nazi war criminals in Germany before they and their victims die of old age

U.S. Presence In Iraq Is More Problem Than Solution

by Robert Scheer So far this month, more than 450 Iraqis and dozens of U.S. troops have been killed by an Iraqi insurgency that, even after two years, shows signs of intensifying. Yet the Bush administration, which originally expected U.S. troops to be greeted as liberators and then promised that elections would fatally undermine the rebel cause, remains clueless as to the composition of this virulent enemy

Nationalism's Psychotic Side

by Robert Scheer My German uncle, the spitting image of my American father, was a decent man who, like the new pope who once joined the Hitler Youth, was swept along by events far beyond his control. He recalled that as a teenager, Hitler was a distant voice on the radio promising to return order and prosperity to a depressed country. Little did he know that the highway built near the town in the '30s, eagerly welcomed for creating local jobs, was intended to carry tanks to conquer Paris, or that the coming war would leave him near death on the Russian front

Our Loss Was Our Gain In Vietnam

by Robert Scheer The United States is now the biggest marketplace for exports from Vietnam, which began abandoning a failed centralized economy two decades ago in favor of Chinese-style capitalist market reforms. In defeat, the U.S. was able to economically exploit Vietnam without spending U.S. dollars and lives on a hopeless occupation

A Coverup As Shameful As Tillman's Death

by Robert Scheer Given all this, why has nobody high in the Army chain of command, such as Abizaid, been held accountable for this cover-up? Did President Bush know about it? If not, why not? After all, this was the most prominent soldier to die since Bush took office four years earlier, a prize recruit for his controversial spate of foreign invasions

A Hypocritical Church's Sex Lessons

by Robert Scheer Pope Benedict himself exemplifies this contradiction. The same man who doesn't get the scale of the molestation cover-ups has written some of the Vatican's most anti-gay rhetoric, including a 1986 letter to bishops calling homosexuality 'an intrinsic moral evil,' as well as a 2003 battle plan telling Catholic politicians they have a 'moral duty' to oppose gay marriage and adoptions

The Media's Falluja Coverup

by Mike Whitney The truth about Falluja is far different than the bogus reports in the AP and Times. The fact that even now, a full six months after the siege, camera crews and journalists are banned from the city, tells us a great deal about the extent of America's war crimes. Just two weeks ago, a photographer from Al Aribiyya news was arrested while leaving Falluja and his equipment and film were confiscated. To date, he is still being held without explanation and there is no indication when he will be released. This illustrates the fear among the military brass that the truth about Falluja will leech out and destroy whatever modest support still exists for the occupation. Journalists should realize that Falluja may turn out to be the administration's Achilles heel; a My Lai-type atrocity that turns the public decisively against Bush's war

U.S. Ignoring Darfur Genocide, Hosts Sudan's Spy Chief In D.C.

by Jim Lobe "It's like bringing [Hitler's air force chief Hermann] Goering and some of those Nazis here during World War II while the genocide [against the Jews] was still going on," Donald Payne, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Africa subcommittee, said

Indonesia Shuns Tobacco Treaty, May Become Asia's Ashtray

by Richel Dursin Indonesia, the world's fifth largest consumer of tobacco after China, United States, Japan and Russia, is the only country in Asia that failed to sign the World Health Organization-sponsored treaty that requires participating states to outlaw tobacco advertising and sponsorship, to demand that tobacco companies cover at least 30 percent of every cigarette pack with health warnings, to ban the use of euphemistic adjectives like 'light' or 'mild' to describe cigarettes, and to increase tobacco taxes to an optimum level, making the retail price of tobacco high and not affordable

Guantanamo "Gulag Of Our Time" - Amnesty International

by Sanjay Suri The human rights group's annual report attacks the United States for evidence that the U.S. administration had sanctioned interrogation techniques that violate the UN convention against torture. The Bush administration's attempts to dilute the absolute ban on torture through new policies and quasi-management-speak such as 'environmental manipulation,' 'stress positions' and 'sensory manipulation,' is one of the most damaging assaults on global values, the report says

McCain, Kennedy Propose Visa To Legalize Undocumented Workers

by William Fisher It would create a new type of work visa, the H-5A, to allow low-skilled foreign workers who have guaranteed jobs in the United States to enter for three years. The visa could be renewed once for an additional three years. Illegal workers now in the United States could apply for H-5B visas that would be valid for six years. When the visas expire, immigrants could either return home or apply for permanent residence and ultimately, citizenship

Why Are Women So Scarce On The Op/Ed Page?

by Michele Weldon Aren't opinions published in Grade-A newspapers on the basis of merit, not gender? Isn't it an odd coincidence that mostly men write them? Some editors may be waiting until we all go back quietly to our corners so they can return to publishing as usual, not worrying about who writes what and how often

Nepal King Lifts State Of Emergency

by Ranjit Devraj Krishna Prasad Sitoula, a Nepali Congress leader exiled in India pointed out that the king retained control over political leaders through his Royal Commission for Corruption Control which he said would continue to operate even while emergency is lifted

Nuke Power Looks Green To Some Enviros

by Bill Berkowitz Mainstream U.S. environmental groups, discouraged by political defeats, public indifference and budget cuts, are considering alliances with neo-conservatives who want to reduce U.S. dependence on Middle East oil. As a result, some greens are reconsidering their longstanding opposition to nuclear power

Hushing Free Speech, Crushing PBS

by Michael Winship Whether it's the President's scripted, invitation-only town hall meetings on social security, suppressed government reports and evidence (like the documents on UN Ambassador-designate John Bolton's alleged meddling in U.S. policy on Syria) or the entire GOP campaign to end Senate filibusters on judicial candidates, we are in the clutches of a cabal deliriously devoted to the suppression of free speech

"Notable Setbacks" To U.S. Freedom Of The Press

by William Fisher Contrary to the conventional wisdom here that U.S. media are the freest in the world, the United States has suffered 'notable setbacks' in press freedom and has slipped among countries tracked by the New York-based rights group Freedom House

Child Sex Abuse At Ex-Nazi's Sect Were Open Secret In Chile

by Maria Cecilia Espinosa The child sexual abuse and other crimes committed in Colonia Dignidad, a farming commune founded in southern Chile by former Nazi medic and Baptist preacher Paul Schaefer, were an open secret, but nothing was done about it for decades, according to two young Chilean journalists writing a book on the sect

Democrats Failing To Explain What's At Stake In Senate Filibusters

by Robert S. Rivkin In the battle over the Senate filibuster, Democrats would do well to simplify their message to expose the president's real agenda

Natives Wary Of Genetic Study To Trace Roots

by Maria Amparo Lasso Through analysis of the DNA of the different Native groups, the geneticists can trace lineage, which could help reveal the paths taken by the ancestors of modern humans when they left Africa and Asia 60,000 years ago. But negative experiences in the past, cultural resistance and the influence of global activism against 'biopiracy' have triggered suspicion among the people, who worry about their role in DNA studies

Is Bush The "SOB" In Newsweek Quote?

by Jim Lobe Is he an unnamed Defense Department source who told Newsweek magazine that he had read a government document detailing an incident where U.S. military personnel at the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, allegedly flushed a Koran down a toilet? Or is the 'son of a bitch' President Bush, whose administration began fixing intelligence at least eight months before invading Iraq in order to make the public believe that Baghdad posed a serious threat to the United States and its allies?

Domestic Terrorists Called As Dangerous As Foreign

by William Fisher Law-enforcement analysts said known individual membership of militant right-wing groups and paramilitary organizations had fallen since the Oklahoma City bombing -- from some 20,000 to perhaps a few thousand now -- but the remaining members of these groups appear even more intensely committed to violence. Supposedly 'lone wolf' domestic terrorists like McVeigh, Nichols, and Rudolph now are seen as the primary domestic threats although they have been overshadowed by possible attacks by al-Qaeda

Amnesty Calls For Foreign Probe Of U.S. Prisoner Abuses

by Jim Lobe "If the U.S. government continues to shirk its responsibility, Amnesty International calls on foreign governments to uphold their obligations under international law by investigating all senior U.S. officials involved in the torture scandal," said Schulz, who added that violations of the torture convention, which has been ratified by the United States and some 138 other countries, can be prosecuted in any jurisdiction

by Thalif Deen HRW, in a report released May 11, documented over 63 cases in which alleged Islamic militants were transferred to Egypt for detention and interrogation. Since the 9/11 attacks, it added, the total number sent to Egypt could be as high as 200

Bush Playing The Race Card To Confirm Judge Brown

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson In the partisan showdown over President George Bush's controversial judicial nominees, Senate Republicans are pulling a page from the playbook used to confirm Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

New Environment Bill Would Subsidize Nuclear Development

A new version of the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Bill includes financial subsidies for development of nuclear power, a provision that has drained environmentalist support from the measure to limit the emission of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the United States

Iraq's "Garden Of Eden" Begins To Blossom Again

by Katherine Stapp Fifteen years after the former Iraqi government used old blueprints dating from the British Empire to drain a vast wetland, the area is slowly creeping back to life

Iraqi Kurds Quarrel, Still No Regional Government

by Mohammed Amin Abdulqadir The two main Kurdish parties have still not reached agreement on setting up a regional government and parliament after elections held Jan. 30

Foxing Up PBS

by Steve Young Y'gotta hand it to the Right. They keep the Left hopping. They paint anything left of talk radio as liberal-biased and that becomes fact. Now PBS offers us the Wall Street Journal editorial staff with both sides of the WS opinion page; the Right and other Right

raq's Water Pollution Brings Return Of Children's Cholera

by Nasir Kadhim and Salam Nasir Cholera is spreading in Baghdad's impoverished al-Amil quarter where overcrowding and contaminated water are leading to fears of an epidemic. City officials blame insurgent attacks on infrastructure for the outbreak in southwest Baghdad. Children have so far been the worse affected, with one doctor at a Baghdad hospital saying he is now seeing young cholera patients on a daily basis

Deathbed Dollars

by Bill Berkowitz While Terri Schiavo was still alive, her parents agreed to sell their donor list to a right wing direct mail outfit, and radical right wing Christian groups were raising bundles off the case

Robots Will Soon Replace Children As Camel Jockeys

by Meena S Janardhan Camel races are immensely popular in the Gulf and children, some as young as four, have been favored as jockeys because they are light. The jockeys, riding bareback or strapped to the camels' backs, risk falls and trampling. Rights groups say several thousand young boys work as camel jockeys, many after being abducted or sold by their families

Germany Beginning To See Neo-Nazis As Terrorists

by Michael Scott Moore A young neo-Nazi arsonist has been charged as a terrorist in Germany, a move hailed by both liberal and conservative commentators in the country, which has seen a resurgence of the radical right. But the slippery term 'terrorist' keeps expanding to encompass more and more groups

Schwarzenegger's Praise Of Vigilantes Draws Anger

by Elena Shore Latino media, community activists and elected officials are outraged over comments Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made in support of the Minutemen, an armed group of citizens patrolling the Arizona border in search of illegal immigrants. The governor's comments came just one week after he apologized for saying that the solution to California's immigration problem was to 'close the borders.' He said he meant to say 'secure the borders' and jokingly attributed the mistake to his limited English ability

Blair's Ho-Hum Victory Reflects Ongoing Damage Of Iraq War

by Sanjay Suri The significance of Iraq surfaced through the election results. During the campaign it was one among several issues that came up and subsided. The Liberal Democrats claimed they had got it right on Iraq, and the Conservatives attacked Blair over what they called lies over the invasion. But there was little indication how far people were going to think about the invasion when they voted

Pentagon Spending Leaves Homefront Unguarded: Report

by Abid Aslam The U.S. Defense Department should cut billions of dollars from major weapons programs and plough the money into domestic security initiatives, says a new report with far-reaching implications

Impeachment Fever And Media Politics

by Norman Solomon Five months into 2005, the movement to impeach Bush is very small. And three enormous factors weigh against it: 1) Republicans control Congress. 2) Most congressional Democrats are routinely gutless. 3) Big media outlets shun the idea that the president might really be a war criminal

Memorial Day Shouldn't Be Time To Rationalize War

by Norman Solomon Every word of the May 24 broadcast may have been true -- yet, due to the show's omissions, the practical effect was to participate in laying media groundwork for a military attack on Iran

State Dept. Vague On U.S. Position On Torture

by Niko Kyriakou Civil rights groups are accusing the U.S. government of failing to admit the extent to which abuse of non-citizens in U.S. custody in Afghanistan, Iraq, and its base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, violates the international treaty against torture

Nuclear Fundamentalism And The Iran Story

by Norman Solomon The odds are good that if the Pentagon doesn't launch a major missile attack on Iranian facilities in the next year or so, the Israeli government will -- with a wink and nod from President Bush. Yet, unlike Iran's government, Israel is not even a signer of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. With a nuclear bomb stockpile now estimated at more than 200 warheads, Israel is fueling the nuclear arms race in the Middle East. But, from the White House to Capitol Hill to newsrooms across the United States, the Israeli nuclear arsenal draws scant mention let alone criticism

Media And "The Madness Of Militarism"

by Norman Solomon It's essential that we confront the falsehoods repeatedly greasing the path to war, as when New York Times front pages smoothed the way for the invasion of Iraq with deceptions about supposed weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, there is also the crucial need to throw light on the human suffering that IS war. We need to do both -- exposing the lies and the horrific results. Illuminating just one or the other is not enough

Political Bluster And Filibuster

by Norman Solomon Throughout U.S. history, the meaning of the filibuster has always been a matter of political context. The merits have everything to do with what kind of nation people want

Military Draft Becoming More Likely As U.S. Forces Stretched Thin

by Niko Kyriakou At the end of last month, the U.S. Selective Service System issued a report assuring President George W. Bush that it would be ready to implement a draft within 75 days. While stirring up a storm of speculation, this report may actually be the least compelling harbinger of a draft. Far more dire is the skyrocketing need for troops amid plummeting supply

Chavez Forming Venezuela Militia To Defend Against "External Agression"

by Humberto Marquez The aim is to organize the population to respond in the event of 'external aggression,' and for potential aggressor states to be aware, prior to staging an attack. Although President Hugo Chavez, who is himself a retired lieutenant-colonel, said the reservists could eventually number up to two million in this country of 25 million people

China Tags Muslims As "Terrorists" In Oil-Rich Area

by Niko Kyriakou New report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Human Rights in China unveils for the first time the network of laws, regulations and policies that China has used since Sept. 11, 2001 to target Uighurs that they claim are affiliated with Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other international terrorist groups

The Tricky Politics Of Woodpeckery

by Alexander Cockburn That kind of talk would never fly at the big environmental groups, whose fundraising thrives on prospective extinction, not on nature bouncing back

Join The 14 Percent Club! We Won!

by Alexander Cockburn Credentials for membership derive from a recent study by the Pew Research Center disclosing, in the words of Katharine Seelye of the New York Times on May 9, that 45 percent of Americans believe little or nothing of what they read in their daily newspapers. The NY Times fared about average, with 21 percent of readers believing all or most of what they read in The Times and 14 percent believing almost nothing

Democrats Need A Galloway

by Alexander Cockburn Day by day the news gets worse for Bush. He plunges into pits of his own making, like the Schiavo case. The economy turns to rubble. He nearly lost his main prop, Laura, to a coalition of the Sons of the Prophet and the Friends of Jonathan Pollard. Yet there's no sign of a vigorous Democratic onslaught

I'd Pull The Lever For Laura

by Alexander Cockburn Let me say this on the record: In a race between Hillary and Laura for the White House, I'd vote for Laura every time. The record shows she's antiwar, pro choice and, since she's worked in libraries, she's seen the seamy side of life

U.S. Immigration System Runs Hidden "Gulag" Prisons, Author Says

by William Fisher Before Sept. 11, 2001, few people in the United States had heard of immigration detention, but in fact, a secretive parallel prison system run by the U.S. government has existed for more than two decades, says author Mark Dow

The Truly Responsible

by Steve Young It's time that we stop allowing the betraying of the veteran, who has been screwed long enough by the leadership of this country and by those in Congress who refuse to fund the Veterans Administration as they had promised

Repetition Sells, Repetition Sells, Repetition Sells

by Steve Young At a May 12 press briefing, presidential press secretary Scott McClellan used some variation of the phrase 'protocols were in place and followed' forty-five times, to explain the choice not to interrupt President Bush's bike ride to tell him that the Capital, and his home, might be under terrorist attack. It certainly wasn't necessary to repeat the same phrase forty-five times to be understood. Forty would have been plenty

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