default.html Issue 140
Table of Contents

Internet Summit Ends On Mixed Note

by Hilmi Toros As the summit concluded, the prevailing feeling is that the private sector, shut out of summits and other major inter-governmental meetings until a few years ago, is on the march to increased influence in global affairs beyond just business. It had strong and coordinated representation through the International Chamber of Commerce and other well-funded organizations, while civil society organizations lacked any unified structure

Gender Gap Another Part Of Digital Divide

by Marty Logan What is crystal clear is that the 'digital divide' includes a wide gulf between how men and women participate in this new age. And that correcting the imbalance will not be as easy as installing more Internet lines or boosting the number of mobile phones

Navajo Nation Goes Global

by Marty Logan The Navajo used the websites to first provide information about planning and community development, which in turn led locals to draw up inventories of resources like land, water, roads and power lines, and finally to draft local governance laws that would empower individual communities to take the lead in rebuilding their lives.

Internet Freedoms Under Attack Worldwide

by Stanislaus Jude Chan With more than a third of the world's people living in countries where there is no press freedom, the group has published a Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents in five languages, dispensing advice to Internet users on preserving their anonymity on their blogs

The Little Green Laptop That Could

by Mithre J. Sandrasagra This little green computer runs without electricity or batteries, and it costs 100 dollars. And it could do more than all thhe speeches made at the World Summit on the Information Society to help narrow that 'digital divide'

More Internet, Less Poverty?

by Marty Logan India announced one hundred volunteer agencies, 22 government departments, 34 private sector players and 18 academic institutions announced here Wednesday that they plan to network 1.2 million Indians -- one man and one woman in every village -- and then use them to introduce their neighbors to the information age

Internet Summit Ignores "Digital Divide"

by Stefania Milan Civil society leaders say other issues that are supposedly a part of the development agenda are being ignored by the summit. 'Gender equality, media concentration, free software and cultural diversity issues were left out. No concrete proposals were made on how social groups from the South can appropriate technologies without infringing laws'

U.S. Retains Control Of Internet

by Hilmi Toros The alliance of civil society and developing countries suffered a setback Tuesday in their quest to wrest control of Internet governance from the United States. Eleventh-hour negotiations produced a compromise document that maintains the status quo: Internet governance remains with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which answers to the U.S. government

Bush Hopes To Save Face With New Court Pick

by Jim Lobe The fact that Bush, after successfully getting John Roberts confirmed as Chief Justice this summer, had chosen yet another white male to the Court -- passing over his Latino attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, precisely because the far right had similar reservations about him as with Miers -- was also stressed by Democrats

NY Times Allows Judy Miller To Resign -- Finally

by Jim Lobe Now that the New York Times and its one-time star weapons of mass destruction (WMD) investigative reporter, Judith Miller, have formally divorced over what appear to be irreconcilable differences, both questions still hover over an affair whose lessons likely will be studied in media, journalism and political communications classes for decades

Boycott Bill

by Steve Young Because of first amendment, freedom of speech, yada-yada-yada, I will not call for Bill O'Reilly to be fired. Rather, I believe, he should be boycotted. Boycotted until he changes his attitude. Boycotted until he is man enough to kiss and make up with Al Franken, or, in the least, stop trying to kiss and put the make on his female sidekicks

2000 Deaths And Counting...One At A Time

by Steve Young Before you can honestly understand war's demands, it is incumbent to empathize with those who have already lost, and you cannot empathize with those who have suffered by reflecting on 2000 deaths. You empathize by contemplating a single death -- then repeating the exercise 2000 times

Progressive Talk Needs A Dose Of HBO

by Steve Young While there may never be a liberal Limbaugh or one show that delivers Hannity's numbers, but maybe an alternative would work: a great deal of smaller liberal originals

Iraq Faces To Lose Billions In U.S.-Brokered Oil Deal

by Emad Mekay Oil exploration deals currently being negotiated between the Washington-backed Iraqi government and multinational oil companies could cost Iraqis up to $194 billion in lost revenues and transfer more than two-thirds of the country's oil reserves to the control of foreign firms, a new report warns

Chinese Loggers Decimate Burma Forests

by Marwaan Macan-Markar The destructive logging and illegal timber trade take place with the full knowledge and complicity of the SPDC, the Chinese authorities and ceasefire groups, states the 94-page report. Rangoon's reluctance to crack down on the logging, even though it violates Burmese law, has to do with the money it brings in. In 2003-04, timber was the SPDC's third most important source of foreign earnings

Rumsfeld Won't Let UN Interview Guantanamo Prisoners

by Jim Lobe On Oct. 27, the Pentagon invited three UN experts -- special rapporteurs on torture, religious freedom, and arbitrary detentions -- to visit Guantanamo, but added that they would not be permitted to meet with detainees. The three experts, as well as several other UN investigators, had repeatedly sought access since early 2002

Scooter Libby Replacements Tied To Iraq Deceptions

by Jim Lobe According to the National Journal, Addington has also argued aggressively and so far successfully -- even over the objections of Bush's legal counsel and political aides -- for refusing to turn over critical documents concerning the White House's treatment of pre-Iraq war intelligence to the Congressional Intelligence committees

Groups Want UN To Ban Genetic Engineered Rice From Asia

by Marwaan Macan-Markar A coalition of Asian environmentalists and grassroots activists intensified their drive against genetically engineered (GE) rice by calling on the UN food agency to ban such grain from the continent

Chalabi In U.S. To Lay Groundwork For Iraq Control

by William O. Beeman At this juncture, it seems that Chalabi miraculously has no serious rivals for power. One other ticket headed by former U.S. appointed Prime Minister Ayad Allawi (a relative by marriage of Chalabi) is not likely to garner many votes. Other major tickets consist of a Kurdish party and a coalition of three Sunni Arab parties. Chances are good that Chalabi's ticket will win a roaring victory -- and voila! He will be prime minister

Best Climate Model Yet Predicts Dramatic Changes

by Chad Boutin The most comprehensive climate model to date of the continental United States predicts more extreme temperatures throughout the country and more extreme precipitation

Iraqis Declare Resistance To Occupation Isn't Terrorism

by Gareth Porter The biggest surprise was the acceptance by Kurdish and Shiite representatives of the statement that 'resistance is a legitimate right for all people,' which implies recognition that the Sunni resistance is legitimate politically. The Sunnis agreed that 'terrorism does not represent legitimate resistance' and that attacks on non-military targets are indeed 'terrorism'

Blair Backs Away From Kyoto Protocol

The UK itself may not achieve its stated target of a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2010, some analysts say. As gas prices have gone up, some British electricity producers have switched back to coal, and the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by motor vehicles and aircraft increases year by year

Ballot Wins For Democrats Add To GOP Gloom

by Jim Lobe In a new setback to /Bush's political standing that is certain to fuel the growing disarray within the ruling Republican Party, voters in two politically important states -- Virginia and New Jersey -- elected Democrats as governors in Tuesday's off-year elections

Graceless W. Bush

by Molly Ivins The colossal ineptitude of Bush's diplomacy, if it can be called that, leading up to the Iraq war was somewhere between ludicrous and nuts. Bullying, bribing, threatening -- and these were our allies. The insanity of our approach to Turkey, one of America's oldest democratic allies in the Middle East, is textbook -- to be studied in international relations schools for years. In the name of bringing democracy to Iraq (actually, at the time we never mentioned that as a reason), we threatened to end it in Turkey. Good grief

How To Make Things Right, Part 3

by Molly Ivins OK, so we could shift $60 billion into education without even breathing hard. Then, how would we continue toward of a goal of putting more into education than on stuff to kill people? For starters, we could try having fewer enemies in the world. Then we wouldn't need so many ways to kill them, eh? And how do we get there?

Lots Of Lemons For Lemonade

by Molly Ivins Tom DeLay is under indictment, Heckuva Job Brownie is no longer on the public payroll, and for some inexplicable reason, the administration found a Republican prosecutor in the Plame affair who seems to care more about the law than politics

Cowardly White House Labels Others Cowards

by Molly Ivins Dissent equals treason. Anyone who criticizes Bush is unpatriotic. According to this pitiful attempt at intimidation, to notice that this war is a disaster is the same as spitting on our soldiers. Stephen Hadley, Donald Rumsfeld, Bush and Cheney have all played this card in recent days. It's just plain old intimidation, trying to scare people into shutting up -- it's an old, ugly, mean trick, and it only works against cowards

The Inevitable Iraq Islamic State

by Tom Maertens All wars have unintended consequences. The Bush administration never set out to establish another Islamic state in the Middle East when it invaded Iraq, but that is what is happening. In fact, the Bush administration's policies virtually ensure that outcome

The Real Rosa Parks

by Paul Rogat Loeb Rosa Parks didn't make a spur-of-the-moment decision. She didn't single-handedly give birth to the civil rights efforts, but she was part of an existing movement for change, at a time when success was far from certain. This in no way diminishes the power and historical importance of Parks's refusal to give up her seat. But it reminds us that this tremendously consequential act, along with everything that followed, depended on all the humble and frustrating work that Parks and others undertook earlier on. It also reminds us that Parks's initial step of getting involved was just as courageous and critical as the stand on the bus that all of U.S. have heard about

500,000 Himalaya Quake Survivors Face Winter Without Shelter

There are not enough precious helicopters to reach the more than 3 million survivors, so aid workers have now resorted to the arduous and painfully slow method of using mules to reach otherwise inaccessible villages before the snows arrive. Some 140 mules are being used by the Red Cross to negotiate the steep mountain passes that lead to hundreds of isolated villages. It can take the mules all day to reach a village and one animal can carry only two tents

Is France Ready For Affirmative Action?

by Brahmani Houston In France, where the government collects no data on ethnic background, the business community is slowly taking steps to address longstanding discrimination. But young French Arabs say you've still got to be a Jacques or Pierre, not a Karim or Mohammad, to get a lucky break

Europe Uneasy As France's Riots Spread

by Paolo Pontoniere France's unrest is spreading throughout Europe. Though the scale of the French riots has not been equaled elsewhere on the old continent, in the past weeks rioting erupted and cars were torched in Germany, Holland, Belgium, Greece and Italy

Paris Riots Spread Into Rebellion

by Julio Godoy Lagrange said conditions of extreme poverty, high unemployment and the racial segregation that hinders immigrant access to jobs lay at the heart of the rebellion. Instead of dealing with these issues, Interior Minister Sarkozy is stirring up unrest to establish tighter electoral links with a populist right-wing extremist population

The Nurse Who Whupped The Governator

by Kathleen Sharp Forget sexist language or charges of groping -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's biggest 'woman problem' is the head of the state's nurses union, who led a successful movement to defeat his special election initiatives

Schwarzenegger Could Do Right By "Tookie" Williams

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Governors are scared stiff of being tagged as soft on crime and of subverting the people's will. They routinely duck and run from granting clemency to convicted murderers. Yet, in Sept. 1997, conservative Republican Gov. George Allen did what many thought unthinkable: He spared Saunders' life

What Way Out?

by Joe Conason What alarms everyone -- including many members of the president's own party -- is that they still can articulate no plausible plan to get our troops out. Rather than distracting themselves with partisan bickering, these statesmen ought to seize any opportunity to extricate U.S. honorably from the terrible mess they have made

Russia's Richest Man En Route To Labor Camp

by Jeremy Bransten Former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his associate Platon Lebedev are being transferred to labor camps, where they will serve their eight-year sentences after being convicted of fraud, theft and tax evasion. Russia's Federal Corrections Service has not revealed where the men are being sent and it could be many days before their train reaches its final destination -- perhaps in Siberia

Bush Governing By Gut And God

by Gordon Livingston Is the man so insulated from the reality of events that he has come to believe his administration's propaganda? Or is there a more ominous and pervasive problem that calls into question something other than political ideology, that is influenced by a world view marked by an inability to reason logically and learn from experience?

Gov't Of The Crony, By The Crony, For...

by Molly Ivins While we're still slugging it out over who's responsible for the gross failures and/or distortions of American intelligence before the war, our president tootles merrily along, fixing things in his own inimitable way. Late last month, he appointed nine campaign contributors, including three longtime fund-raisers, to the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

Are They Stupid, Or Lying?

by Molly Ivins I'll say this for America's corporate executives, they certainly weren't cowed by the Enron, Tyco, etc., scandals. There were a lot of stock buy-backs and acquisitions, but not much investment that creates jobs

The Right-To-Torture Nation

by Molly Ivins A string of prisons in Eastern Europe in which suspects are held and tortured indefinitely, without trial, without lawyers, without the right to confront their accusers, without knowing the evidence or the charges against them, if any. Forever. Who are we? What have we become? The shining city on a hill, the beacon and bastion of refuge and freedom, a country born amidst the most magnificent ideals of freedom and justice, the greatest political heritage ever given to any people anywhere

Time For The Heckuva Job Brownie Prize

by Molly Ivins As those silver-tongued poets at the Pentagon put it, we are in a target-rich environment. One cannot -- honestly, one simply cannot -- pass up the Brownie memos

Hurricanes Spawn Oil Industry Scams

by John Passacantando Just days after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf region, and while our nation was still in shock from the images of human suffering, more than 100 companies were already chasing the ambulance. The companies themselves were reporting rigs missing, damaged or overturned from Hurricanes. But instead of taking action to prevent other parts of the country from similar catastrophes, Congress was quick to join the industry in its oily hoax

50 Cents: It's Not The Movie Billboard, It's The Message

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Black critics blame Hollywood for this, and why not? It's a soft target. Most studio executives know nothing about life in 'the hood.' So long as they can turn the thuggish image of the ghetto into dollars, they don't want to know. The young rappers also bear responsibility for promoting the thug image. But so long as it sells, don't expect any apologies or change. In fact, Fifty Cent went one better and sneered that protests of the movie's ad campaign 'help me.' The sarcastic and sardonic quip says it all.

U.S. Suspected Of Running Dozens Of Secret Detention Centers Worldwide

by Gustavo Capdevila While the United States refuses to deny or confirm the existence of these secret detention centers, "we know that at least 36 people have been held in secret locations"

Doctors Say U.S. Soldiers Trashing Ramadi Hospitals

by Dahr Jamail and Harb Al-Mukhtar 'The maternity hospital and the general hospital in our city are the two biggest hospitals,' one official said. 'These have both been raided twice a week by the American forces with the excuse that they are searching for militants. They (the U.S. soldiers) break every door which is closed, play with our records and sometimes even detain some of our staff. The Americans are not adhering to any laws'

Iraq Reconstruction Plans In Shambles, Reports Find

by Emad Mekay The Waxman report assesses reconstruction work in three key sectors of the Iraqi economy -- oil, electricity and water. It found that the administration's results are far less than what is publicized. 'Oil production remains below pre-war levels, electricity production is unreliable and well below the goal of 6,000 megawatts of peak electricity output, and a third of Iraqis still lack access to potable water,' says the report. 'Billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent, but there is little to show for the expenditures in Iraq'

Africa Migration Crisis Reaches "Biblical" Proportions

by Stefania Bianchi The European Union is coming under increasing pressure to change its asylum and migration policies after sub-Saharan African immigrants died trying to cross over into Spanish territory

Schwarzenegger's China Trip: Pumping Up The Personal Profile

by Kathleen Sharp Behind the hype surrounding California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent visit to China is a governor trying to boost his popularity and possibly secure his next career move -- a jump back into Hollywood. What about helping the state's economy? Too many members of the trade delegation were not California employers

White House Denies Al-Jazeera Bombing Was Planned

by Jim Lobe The White House emphatically denied a report by a British tabloid Tuesday that President Bush considered bombing the headquarters of the al-Jazeera satellite television station in Qatar during the U.S. Marine assault on Falluja in April 2004

China Tells Bush To Mind His Own Business

by Antoaneta Bezlova Chinese President Hu Jintao was quick to fend off Bush's demands for more rapid democratic reforms. During a speech made on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) in Pusan, South Korea, last week, he described his country as one that is still struggling to become a developed economy and also one that needs to observe its own pace and ways of liberalization

Bush: Clueless In Beijing

by George Koo Instead of rampant suppression of religion, Buddhism is proliferating; trade with Taiwan is on the increase; and, according to recent poll, Chinese are more optimistic than ever

Protesters March In Argentina Against FTAA, Bush

by Marcela Valente Tens of thousands of demonstrators from throughout the Americas marched through the streets of this eastern Argentine resort Friday to protest the presence of President Bush and reject the push for a hemisphere-wide free trade area

How Your French Fries Are Endangering Orangutans

by Baradan Kuppusamy The orangutan is seriously endangered, say environmental activists, as its jungle habitat in Southeast Asia is turned into palm plantations to provide oil to fry Western man's greasy foods

Fujimori's Trip To Chile First Step Towards Peru Return

by Angel Paez Authorities in Peru believe that former president Alberto Fujimori will use his two-month stay in Chile -- the estimated duration of his extradition trial on charges of human rights abuses and corruption -- to organize a campaign aimed at allowing him to run for president

Woodward Gambit: Latest Move In The Plame Game

by Jack Random Three days after the indictment of Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, an unknown administration official stepped forward to inform special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he informed the Washington Post's Bob Woodward of Valerie Plame's CIA identity before Scooter informed a quaint circle of reporters, including the retired New York Times reporter Judy Miller. The gambit serves up Woodward's journalistic head on a platter while seemingly undercutting the prosecutor's claim that Libby was first to reveal the agent's identity to the press.

Hopeful Signs Of New Realism At White House

by Jim Lobe The intensified diplomacy within the past several weeks -- particularly last week's Arab League meeting in Cairo where both Sunni and Shiite Iraqi parties, as well as the predominantly Sunni Arab governments that make up the League, joined together to call for reconciliation and a withdrawal of non-Arab troops. The fact that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who has long been close to Iran, flew immediately to Tehran after the meeting did not go unnoticed

Europe Bans Russia Birds After Flu Cases

by Kester Kenn Klomegah Up to 140,000 birds have died or been slaughtered as a result of the avian flu outbreak in Russia's Siberia and Volga-Urals districts, and another 127,000 have been slaughtered in the Tyumen, Chelyabinsk and Omsk regions to stop the outbreak, the government Press Service says

Ken Tomlinson Just The Tip Of CPB's Scandal

by Michael Winship Ken Tomlinson's ignominious departure still leaves behind a stable of similarly inclined confederates to carry on his conservative crusade. His replacement as CPB chair, real estate developer Cheryl F. Halpern, has in the past suggested that producers be penalized for any programming deemed biased by CPB, a violation of the Public Broadcasting Act. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, she and her husband, Fred, ranked among the top 100 contributors to the GOP

Witnesses Describe Ballot Fraud In Key Iraq Province

by Gareth Porter Reports compiled by the U.S. military in Iraq from its informants and by non-governmental organizations from independent Iraqi sources provide the first detailed picture of a campaign of ballot fraud by Kurdish authorities in Nineveh province, the key to the outcome of the Oct. 15 constitutional referendum

As Expected, Bolton Causing UN Havoc

by Thalif Deen John Bolton, the abrasive U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who has been dubbed by one New York newspaper as 'a human wrecking ball,' is living up to every critic's gloomy expectations. Last week, he threatened UN member states, specifically the 132 developing nations, that if they don't play ball with the United States, Washington may look elsewhere to settle international problems

Cheney Calls Senate Critics "Dishonest And Reprehensible"

by Jim Lobe In his second public appearance in less than a week, Cheney told a specially invited audience at the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Monday that suggestions 'by some U.S. senators' that President George W. Bush or any member of his administration 'purposely misled the American people' before the war was 'dishonest and reprehensible'

White House Launches Major Attack On Attackers

by Bill Berkowitz On Veterans' Day, Bush told a captive military audience that, "It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war [in Iraq] began" as Cheney came out of his bunker long enough to charge the "suggestion that's been made by some U.S. senators that the president of the United States or any member of this administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city"

Top Democrat Hawk Calls For Immediate Iraq Pullout

by Jim Lobe In a major new blow to President Bush's determination to 'stay the course' in Iraq, an influential Democratic hawk with close ties to the uniformed military has called for Washington to begin withdrawing U.S. troops immediately

Finally, Cold War Is Ending In Korea

by Charles K. Armstrong If the United States and South Korea are increasingly drifting apart, it's mainly because America doesn't want to admit that the Cold War is finally, though belatedly, ending in the Korean Peninsula

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide At 650,000 Year High

Levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are the highest they have been in 650,000 years, according to the first in-depth analysis of tiny air bubbles trapped in an ice core from East Antarctica

Another Declassified Report Shows White House Lied Its Way To War

by Robert Scheer Who in the White House knew about DITSUM No. 044-02 and when did they know it? The report demolished the credibility of the key al-Qaeda informant the administration relied on to make its claim that a working alliance existed between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. It was circulated widely within the U.S. government a full eight months before Bush used the prisoner's lies to argue for an invasion of Iraq

Cheney's Shameful Smears

by Robert Scheer You've got to hand it to Dick Cheney; no other modern politician has come so close to perfecting the theater of the absurd. Even as he protests his innocence of lying about matters of state, he lies about matters of state

The Big-Lie President

by Robert Scheer The basic claim of the president's desperate and strident attack on the war's critics this past week is that he was acting as a consensus president when intelligence information left him no choice but to invade Iraq as a preventive action to deter a terrorist attack on America. This is flatly wrong

Judy Miller Obstructed Justice And Journalism

by Robert Scheer In particular, the indictment makes a farce of the theatrics of New York Times reporter Judith Miller. She knew early on that Libby was using the media to punish former Ambassador Wilson

Bush: Blame The Democrats For Believing Me On WMDs

by Joe Conason It is pitiful indeed to hear the president now pretend that the responsibility for this deadly fiasco somehow falls equally on both parties and both branches of government. As far as the public is concerned, that debate is over

Congress Of The Callous

by Joe Conason Unmoved by the plight of the poor -- who are growing poorer and hungrier, according to the latest government data -- Congressional leaders last week decided that the best way to pare spending is to reduce the number of families that qualify for food stamps

Fitzgerald Investigation Has Long Way To Go

by Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith Fitzgerald's investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's name has reaffirmed the basic American principle that even the highest government officials are subject to the rule of law. His charges represent the start of a revitalization of the institutions designed to maintain government under law. But that revitalization still has a long way to go

Peru Ex-President Fujimoro Arrested In Chile

by Gustavo Gonzalez The most serious charge faced by the former Peruvian president involves two massacres in which a total of 25 people -- including a young boy -- were killed. The murders were committed in Lima in 1991 and 1992 by the Colina army death squad. He is also accused of illicit association to commit crimes and of embezzling 15 million dollars for his former security chief Vladimiro Montesinos -- currently on trial in Peru and accused of running a vast network of corruption -- who fled to Panama.

China Keeping Details Of Mega-Dam Secret

by Antoaneta Bezlova After a public outcry and opposition from countries downstream, Beijing suspended the plans last year. In a victory for China's nascent green movement, Premier Wen Jiabao ordered a full study of the environmental impact of the proposed dams in southern Yunnan province. But in violation of China's much-touted new green laws, the environmental impact assessment was completed by the developers in secrecy and sent for approval to the State Council, China's cabinet, without any prior public hearings or disclosure of its content

Countries Meet On Kyoto Protocol, Most Determined To Undermine It

by Stephen Leahy With more than 10,000 participants from governments, the private sector and civil society, and some 1,500 journalists added into the mix, restaurants and brasseries in chilly Montreal will be home to hot speculation about what comes after Kyoto

Iraq Unions Under Attack From All Sides

by David Bacon There are many reasons why workers and unions might hate the occupation. Iraqi unemployment has been at 70 percent since the occupation started. Among U.S. occupation czar Paul Bremer's neoliberal orders was number 30, issued in September of 2003 and still in force. It lowered the base wage in public enterprises, where most Iraqis work, to $35/month, and ended subsidies for food and housing. Most of all, workers hate Law 150, issued by Saddam Hussein in 1987, which prohibited unions and collective bargaining in the public sector. Bremer chose to continue enforcing this measure, and bound the transitional government of Allawi to do the same. Bremer backed it up by issuing Public Order 1, banning even advocacy leading to civil disorder, and arrested IFTU leaders, expelling them from their Baghdad offices

Al Qaeda: The Next Generation

by Fawaz A. Gerges There are many reasons why workers and unions might hate the occupation. Iraqi unemployment has been at 70 percent since the occupation started. Among U.S. occupation czar Paul Bremer's neoliberal orders was number 30, issued in September of 2003 and still in force. It lowered the base wage in public enterprises, where most Iraqis work, to $35/month, and ended subsidies for food and housing. Most of all, workers hate Law 150, issued by Saddam Hussein in 1987, which prohibited unions and collective bargaining in the public sector. Bremer chose to continue enforcing this measure, and bound the transitional government of Allawi to do the same. Bremer backed it up by issuing Public Order 1, banning even advocacy leading to civil disorder, and arrested IFTU leaders, expelling them from their Baghdad offices

Japan, China Continue Sabre-Rattling

by Tim Shorrock Until Japanese leaders stop paying official visits to the Shinto shrine of Yasukuni, where the country's most notorious war criminals are enshrined, military tensions will continue to rise between China and Japan, a leading Chinese scholar predicts. The animosity runs both ways. The Japanese government is still seething over the violent, anti-Japanese demonstrations that swept through 10 Chinese cities last spring. During one of those protests, the Japanese consulate in Shanghai was bombarded with stones as Chinese police -- usually quick to quell demonstrations of any sort -- stood aside

No Question Alito Is Activist Judge

by Joe Conason The judge from New Jersey is among the most persistent 'activists' currently serving on any federal court -- and his confirmation to the Supreme Court might well endanger precedents dating back seven decades. Judge Alito has few qualms about overturning the will of the majority, as expressed by Congress, if that serves the enternched power he has so consistently upheld

Russia The Odd Man Out At U.S. And China Meet

by Franz Schurmann What will the world's new 'odd couple' talk about in Beijing? Since advisors from both sides have already agreed or disagreed on outstanding issues -- trade, avian flu, North Korea -- chances are good the two leaders will talk about Russia

Black Youth Given Harsh Jail Terms 10x More Often Than Whites

by Jim Lobe Nationwide, black youth are given life-without-parole sentences 10 times more often than their white counterparts. In California, the ratio is even more dramatic: black youth are 22.5 times more likely to receive such a sentence

Torture Widespread In U.S. "Black Site" Prisons, Says AI

by Jim Lobe While there have been widespread reports recently that the United States is holding two to three dozen 'high-value' detainees at secret CIA-run facilities outside the country, the cases of the three 'disappeared'Yemenis documented in the new Amnesty International report 'suggest that the network of clandestine interrogation centers is not reserved solely for high-value detainees, but may be larger, more comprehensive and better organized than previously suspected,' the report maintains

Cheney Becomes Political Albatross

by Jim Lobe Cheney's fate rests less with whether Libby tells prosecutors that his former boss encouraged him to leak the operative's identity to prominent Washington journalists than with the White House's calculation that the most powerful vice president in U.S. history has become a serious political liability, both for Bush and for increasingly panicked Republican lawmakers desperate to retain control of Congress in next year's elections

Burma Prepares For Regime Turnover

by Larry Jagan The country's military ruler, Gen. Than Shwe, is expected to stand down as the junta leaders pass on power to the next generation of generals. The planned changes are said to be intended to prepare the army for the next phase in the country's move toward political reform and the introduction of a civilian administration

Pakistan Quake Victims Mob Hospitals As Freezing Weather Sets In

by With the onset of winter conditions in much of northern Pakistan and hundreds of people pouring daily into medical facilities in the region with cold-related problems, health officials have stressed the urgent need to upgrade the living conditions of quake survivors and provide them with warm shelters and clothing to avert a second wave of deaths

Factory Farm Vs. Free Range Chickens In Bird Flu Dispute

by Aaron Glantz and Ngoc Nguyen Backyard operations concern Vietnam veterinarians and officials, although they concede that most illness have sprung up at factory farms rather than among free-range birds. The country wants to move production to larger factory farms. Launched in August, the program has already vaccinated 20 million birds. But other measures, such as more efficient poultry management, are also seen as necessary.

Sharon Minus Likud Equals... What?

by Peter Hirschberg His departure from Likud has left it floundering. Less than a third of the party's vaunted 3,000-strong Central Committee pitched Thursday night for the first gathering without Sharon. The glum looks on the faces of party leaders captured the wake-like atmosphere in the ruling party this week

UN, Europe Seek Probe Of U.S. "Black Site" Prisons

by Katherine Stapp The Washington Post article said that virtually nothing is known outside elite political and intelligence circles about the black sites, including who is detained and how long prisoners are held. But it adds that 'the arrangement has been increasingly debated within the CIA, where considerable concern lingers about the legality, morality and practicality of holding even unrepentant terrorists in such isolation and secrecy, perhaps for the duration of their lives'

Supporting Corrupt Pakistan The Main Reason For U.S. Quake Aid

By Sharon Weiner The United States is sending food, money, and helicopters to help Pakistan in the aftermath of Saturday's devastating earthquake. There is no doubt that such emergency assistance will save lives this week. But the Muslim world, and the world in general, needs to be convinced that the United States responds to such disasters because it shares a view of humanity with the rest of the world, not because disaster is a good opportunity to win hearts and cultivate allies

UN: Get Ready For Millions Of "Environmental Refugees"

by Stephen Leahy The United Nations estimates that more than 50 million people may be on the move in five years because of environmental disasters and degradation

Japan's Shameful Protection Of Fujimori

by Julian Armington Tokyo failed to notify either Interpol or Mexican and Chilean authorities that Fujimori (who was wanted on an international warrant) left the island on a private jet bound for Tijuana, Mexico. After his Mexican stopover, Fujimori flew to the Chilean capital, Santiago, and checked into a downtown hotel, where he was arrested by local authorities

Water Privatization Often Leads Poor To Use Dirty Water Sources

by Stefania Bianchi The CEO says the European Commission's trade department is continuing to promote the expansion of private water multinationals headquartered in Europe, while the Dutch government seems 'obsessed' with promoting public-private partnerships in developing countries via development aid

Extremists Earn Legitimacy Through Pakistan Quake Relief

by Ashfaq Yusufzai Besides the hospitals and orphanages, the Jamaatud Dawa has also been distributing essentials, ranging from crutches for the crippled, tents and hard cash. A fear expressed by some is that the militants could turn the orphans into as recruits -- but for now, the main worry is still the safety of the large number of child survivors that have nowhere else to turn

Bosnia City Salutes Kung-Fu Fighter Bruce Lee As Icon Of Peace

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic 'Bruce Lee was chosen as he was the symbol of our youth, when loyalty, friendship and skills that win over rude force were cherished,' added his partner in the enterprise, Veselin Gatalo. Bruce Lee is also 'so neutral,' Gatalo said. 'He has no historical links with us, did nothing bad in World War I or World War II, has no local origin -- he was not Catholic, Muslim or Orthodox. But he represents the idea that the good guys can win'

Concerns Over How China Would Handle Bird Flu Outbreak

by Antoaneta Bezlova Chinese authorities initially denied that a 12-year-old girl from Hunan province in central China who died after eating a chicken believed to be infected with the H5N1 virus had contracted the bird flu. But on the weekend, Beijing reversed its stance. The state news agency Xinhua carried a brief statement saying that the disease 'had not been ruled out' as the cause of her death, or the similar illness that had affected her younger brother and a local village teacher

Far-Right Prepares All-Out Attack On UN

by Bill Berkowitz The Bush administration's recess appointment of longtime UN-basher John Bolton as its U.S. ambassador to the institution, the unrelenting focus on Iraq's oil-for-food program, particularly by the Fox News Channel, and the recent launch of 'EYE on the UN' by a conservative think tank may channel the right's multi-decade dissatisfaction with the UN into a battle-plan for obliteration

Legalize Afghan Opium, Study Says

by Jan Jun Afghanistan should terminate its expensive and largely unsuccessful opium eradication program. Instead it should license and control the production of opium for medicinal use. This is the recommendation of the Senlis Council, an international drug-policy advisory forum, that presented its analysis at a seminar in London on November 21. The study said the switch would earn Afghanistan badly needed foreign currency and permit farmers to earn their livelihood legally

First New Orleans Air Tests Show Dangerous Levels Of Mold

New air quality tests taken by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) show that airborne mold levels in the ruined city pose a serious health risk to returning residents and workers. The tests raise concerns that federal officials are neglecting a major safety threat affecting thousands of people both indoors and out, the NRDC says

Big Oil Claims Record Profits, High Prices Not Price Gouging

by Emad Mekay Independent watchdog and consumer groups have complained of price gouging and appealed for official intervention. Among the measures sought is for the White House and Congress to force ExxonMobil to invest some of its record profits in new refining capacity. The group claims that by acting in concert, the industry and refiners ensured that supplies are artificially limited, insulating refiners from competition, causing record price spikes and guaranteeing themselves hefty profits

World Bank Picks Patents Over People In Bird Flu Vaccine Case

by Marwaan Macan-Markar In the face of a possible global pandemic of bird flu, the World Bank is being criticized for distancing itself from the role it has carved out over decades as an advocate of policies to help developing countries

Tehran And Washington Need Each Other

by Norman Solomon Between the hardliners in Tehran and Washington, there is a love -- or at least mutual justification -- that dares not speak its name. The more belligerent Iran gets, the more administration officials in Washington use that belligerency to justify their own. And vice versa

Dishing Up The Usual Thanksgiving Media Leftovers

by Norman Solomon It's easy enough for media outlets to supply something for everyone at Thanksgiving time. We can choose to focus on replicas of some heartfelt sincerity along with facile sentimentality in news coverage. There are plenty of human-interest stories and recipes, plus the obligatory tales of gobblers that encounter or evade the guillotine. But overall, the commercialism pegged to Thanksgiving provides the most powerful undercurrents for the holiday

Republicans Cut And Run From Iraq, Bush

by Jim Lobe In the wake of the party's poor performance in last week's off-year elections, as well as the continuing slide to unprecedented lows of Bush's public approval and credibility ratings, Republican senators have begun to seize control of policies that the White House has long insisted should be in its exclusive domain

Bush Outlines Iraq Victory Strategy: Stay The Course, Trust Us

by Jim Lobe Bush's speech, as well as the strategy document's release, marks the beginning of an unprecedented campaign to rally the public behind the president, as well as his policy in Iraq. With his approval ratings hovering below 40 percent for several weeks, Bush's political advisers, as well as independent analysts, believe that the public's perceptions of success or failure in Iraq will largely determine his political potency over the three years that remain in his presidency.

Unlike Vietnam, Iraq Is A Religious War, Official Says

by Aaron Glantz Some of the occupation's opponents in Iraq do have developed organizations, complete with spokespersons and ideological programs. But, Tran says, because all of them are built on ethnic or religious lines, they'll never succeed in their objectives. The movement of Muqtada Sadr, for example, appeals primarily to poor people in the country's numerous Shi'ite slums. It provides services in poor Shi'ite neighborhoods, while advocating an Islamic state. Such a plan of action has helped Sadr amass millions of supporters, but leaves him unable to attract a following outside his core base

Auto Arson Center To French Riots

by Philip J. Cunningham Nowhere in recent time has there been a show of antipathy for the wheeled internal combustion engine greater than in France, which saw thousands of cars torched, almost singularly singled out for abuse, contagion-like, in a matter of a few fiery nights

Will France Riots Set Europe On Fire?

by Paolo Pontoniere All the elements for the outbreak of youth rebellion are present in Western Europe. Hardly unique to France are the marginalized second or third generation immigrants out of place in their parents' old countries but not fully accepted by their own. So are unemployment, social discrimination and underclasses packed in dismal neighborhoods of despair

Arab Media Compares France Riots To Palestinian Intifada

by Jalal Ghazi Hitham Manah, a spokesman from the Arab Committee for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera the riots compared to the first Palestinian Intifada (1987-1993). While young Palestinians used stones against Israeli tanks, Arab and Africans living in ghettoes are burning cars in wealthy neighborhoods to get the world's attention.

French Politician's Racist Comments Inflame Immigrants

by Julio Godoy A recent report by the French parliament describes the low-income neighborhoods around the larger French cities as areas of extreme social disarray. Unemployment and poverty are twice the national average in these areas, the report says, and people have only limited access to medical facilities

Summit Of The Americas Leaves Region More Polarized

by Teo Ballve Joaquin Morales Sola, a columnist with the Argentine daily La Nacion, wrote that the meeting "was a failure for both camps." In his column, Sola said Mercosur was completely isolated and out of touch, while the United States failed to gain key support for the FTAA, even with 28 Latin American countries already backing its position

Exiled Fujimori Says He'll Return To Peru, Run For President

by Angel Paez Fujimori's announcement that he plans to run again in April 2006 highlights the futility of nearly five years of attempts by the government of Alejandro Toledo extradite him from Japan

Peru Prosecutors Prepare Cases Against Fujimori

by Angel Paez Supreme Court Justice Jose Luis Lecaros, who is handling nearly all of the cases against Fujimori, told IPS that the Peruvian justice system was in a position to mount a strong case for his extradition from Chile, based on the evidence gathered over the five years since the former president fled to Japan

First The Lying, Then The Pardon

by Alexander Cockburn Many of the associates of Libby and of his boss, now threatened by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, are veterans of that Reagan culture and hardened survivors of the crisis that ultimately threatened several of them with legal sanction and lengthy terms in prison. That crisis was the Iran-contra Affair

Speaking Truth To War Power

by Alexander Cockburn The importance of Murtha's speech was that it vaulted over these laboriously prudent schedules into the reality of what is actually happening in Iraq. As his military sources in Iraq most certainly urged him to point out, the main fuel for the Sunni Arab insurgency is foreign occupation. So long as it continues, the resistance is likely to go on

Alito Another Rancid Right-Winger

by Alexander Cockburn There's been sedate talk in the mainstream press about Alito's legal caution, his sense of fairness, his steady temperament, his understated humor and his respect for the law as the executive instrument of fairness in American society. How anyone can come to this bizarre conclusion passes our understanding. Alito's record, both inside the prosecutor's office and in his judicial briefs, displays a rancid right-winger whose views fume with prejudice against the weak and the poor

Did Libby's Lies Swing The 2004 Election?

by Alexander Cockburn Barely had Fitzgerald stepped away from the microphone after his press conference the day his grand jury handed down the indictment before liberal columnists like Tom Oliphant of the Boston Globe and Robert Scheer of the Los Angeles Times were seizing on one of Fitzgerald's remarks that if Libby had not lied, his investigation would have been over in October 2004, on the eve of the presidential election

Outposts Of Empire

by Tom Engelhardt Given what's generally available to be read (or seen on the TV news), there is simply no way most Americans could grasp just how deeply we have been digging into Iraq. At the moment, the 'coalition' has a staggering 106 bases in the country, none with less than 500 troops on hand, and that figure doesn't even include 'four detention facilities and several convoy support centers for servicing the long daily truck runs from Kuwait into Iraq.' Of course, some of these bases also house Iraqi troops, various Iraqis needed by U.S. forces -- translators, for instance, who, when living outside such bases, are being killed off by insurgents at what seems to be a ferocious rate -- and some of the hordes of contractors 'reconstructing' the country, including the thousands and thousands of hired guns who have flooded in and are constantly at risk. Some American bases like Camp Anaconda, spread over 15 square miles near Balad (with two swimming pools, a first-run movie theater, and a fitness gym) or Camp Victory at the Baghdad International Airport, are vast Vietnam-style encampments, elaborate enough to be 'permanent' indeed. Such bases had long been at the heart of Bush administration dreams for the region; yet since April 2003 there have been only a few very partial descriptions of American bases in Iraq in the press

U.S. Building Up Bases In South America

by Conn Hallinan Paraguayan denials that Mariscal Estigarribia is now a U.S. base have met with considerable skepticism by Brazil and Argentina . There is a disturbing resemblance between U.S. denials about Mariscal Estigarribia, and similar disclaimers made by the Pentagon about Eloy Alfaro airbase in Manta, Ecuador . The United States claimed the Manta base was a 'dirt strip' used for weather surveillance. When local journalists revealed its size, however, the United States admitted the base harbored thousands of mercenaries and hundreds of U.S. troops, and Washington had signed a 10-year basing agreement with Ecuador

Hail To The Ostrich

by Steve Young The White House decided that this country's Veterans Day was the perfect day to attack...our veteran's country. In doing so, President Bush honored those who sacrificed so deeply to give us, among other things, freedom of speech -- which, so it seems, is only to be used to condemn those who exercise that freedom. Not only condemn dissenters, but to once again hoist the old right- wing chestnut that questioning this President is a slam of the troops

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