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Sri Lankan LSSP offers its services to big business as an advocate of peace

By Nanda Wickremasinghe and Desmond Perera, 29 June 2002

The current moves in Sri Lanka for a peace deal to the country’s long-running civil war have again highlighted the political degeneration of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), which, on the basis of a struggle for Trotskyism, was once the island’s largest working class party. In 1964, after a protracted period of backsliding, the LSSP abandoned the fundamental principles of socialist internationalism and joined the capitalist government of Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike. In doing so, it openly embraced the ideology of Sinhala chauvinism that animates the ruling elites in Colombo.

Washington’s phony pretext for Iraqi invasion

By Bill Vann, 29 June 2002

Speaking before a Republican audience in Portland, Oregon June 24, Vice President Richard Cheney reiterated the Bush administration’s intention to carry out a preemptive strike against Iraq under the pretext of preventing the use of “weapons of mass destruction.”

Interview with Israeli refusenik: "We can put in place a new leadership"

By David Cohen in Israel, 29 June 2002

Israel’s Supreme Court ordered on June 25 that an Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) officer be released from military jail, despite completing only 13 days of a 35-day sentence for refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories. First Lieutenant David Zonshein, 29, a co-founder of the Courage to Refuse group, was jailed on June 13 after he disobeyed a call-up notice ordering him to serve in the territories. He was subject to a disciplinary hearing by his commanding officer, without legal counsel. His release came after the Supreme Court decided to postpone a ruling on an appeal by Zonshein to stand trial before a military tribunal. Under Supreme Court regulations, the verdict handed down in the disciplinary hearing was deemed to be invalid, as it was not accompanied by any explanation of the decision.

WorldCom spearheads US job cuts

By Jerry Isaacs, 29 June 2002

Layoff notices went out to 17,000 WorldCom employees Friday. In a now familiar scene, hundreds of workers carrying their belongings in cardboard boxes left work for the last time at WorldCom’s offices across the US, including 1,300 in Virginia and 1,000 in Dallas and hundreds in Mississippi where the company is headquartered. The latest layoffs follow another 3,700 jobs cut in April.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 29 June 2002

Bangladesh jute mill workers oppose government closure

Letter from a Detroit school bus driver

By , 29 June 2002

The following letter was sent to the World Socialist Web Site .

Further evidence of a massacre of Taliban prisoners

By Peter Schwarz, 29 June 2002

New reports from a human rights organisation and the German press have substantiated charges that US troops, aided by local and international allies, massacred thousands of defenceless Taliban in the course of the war in Afghanistan.

Canada: Worker critically injured by Navistar strike-breaking operation

By a correspondent, 28 June 2002

Navistar International’s campaign to break a strike at its Chatham, Ontario, truck plant has claimed its first victims. On Monday, June 24, an employee of the professional strike-breaking firm London Protection International drove a van through a picket line established by strikers and their supporters at a staging area from which Navistar intended to bus scabs into the plant. Three picketers, all of them Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union members from Windsor, Ontario, were hospitalized, one with critical injuries.

Tense military standoff continues between India and Pakistan

By Vilani Peiris and Sarath Kumara, 28 June 2002

Despite media efforts to downplay the continuing military standoff between India and Pakistan, the situation along the border remains precarious. The potential for a relatively minor incident to trigger broader conflict and an all-out war between the two nuclear armed powers was highlighted by the mutual recriminations over the death of a Pakistani soldier.

The Trepca mining complex: How Kosovo’s spoils were distributed

By Paul Stuart, 28 June 2002

In northern Kosovo, near the town of Mitrovica, sits a huge dilapidated industrial site known as the Trepca mining complex. During the 1980s, it employed 20,000 workers and accounted for 70 percent of all Yugoslavia’s mineral wealth. One economist described Trepca as a “colossal conglomerate composed of more than forty mines, foundries, and subsidiary plants—which [at its height] generated 25 percent of the entire regional industrial production and figured among the principal exporters of the ex-Yugoslavia.” According to the same study, “In the subsoil of Kosovo, one of the richest of Europe, enormous deposits are hidden of lignite, lead, zinc, non-ferric metals, gold, silver and petroleum,” on top of 17 billion tons of coal.

Police kill two protesters in Argentina

By Jerry Isaacs, 28 June 2002

Two protesters were killed and 90 others injured in Buenos Aires Wednesday when police and national guardsmen attacked a demonstration of hundreds of jobless workers and retirees on the outskirts of the Argentine capital. Witnesses said heavily armed riot police fired from rooftops and at point blank range into crowds of protesters demanding jobs, food and aid for those hardest hit by the country’s economic crisis.

Confusion on every score

By Joanne Laurier, 28 June 2002

The Believer, the directorial debut of veteran Hollywood screenwriter Henry Bean, is the story of a young Jewish man who becomes a neo-Nazi skinhead.

US "Pledge" ruling exposes political scoundrels

By Bill Vann, 28 June 2002

The ruling by a three-judge federal appeals court panel in San Francisco that compelling the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to “one nation under God” in public schools is unconstitutional has afforded yet another opportunity for America’s politicians to make fools of themselves.

New Zealand teachers’ union calls off industrial ban in long-running pay dispute

By John Braddock, 28 June 2002

The New Zealand Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) last week ended a key industrial ban after thousands of high school students took to the streets to protest against the Labour-Alliance government’s refusal to meet teachers’ demands over pay and working conditions. Early on June 17, the PPTA announced suspension of plans to “roster home”—that is not teach selected year levels of students each day—citing the interests of “student and teacher safety”.

Threatened collapse of WorldCom sends political establishment into crisis

By Joseph Kay, 28 June 2002

The imminent collapse of telecommunications giant WorldCom is rapidly surpassing even the Enron scandal in its magnitude and implications. After admitting to the biggest accounting scam in American corporate history, the nation’s second-largest long-distance provider is on the verge of the largest corporate bankruptcy ever. The situation at WorldCom will exacerbate an economic crisis within the United States that has seen massive layoffs, the precipitous fall of the stock market and a declining dollar. The extent to which the entire American economy is built on rotten foundations of deceit and criminality is becoming clear, with profound political consequences.

Divided US Supreme Court ruling bans execution of the mentally retarded

By Kate Randall, 27 June 2002

After decades defending the practice, the US Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on June 20 that execution of the mentally retarded is a violation of the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment ban on “cruel and unusual punishment.” The ruling came in the case of Virginia death row inmate Daryl R. Atkins, who had been sentenced to die for a murder and robbery committed when he was 18 years old. Atkin’s IQ has been measured at 59, well below the generally accepted definition of mental retardation.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 27 June 2002

Spanish workers hold first general strike in eight years

PLO leader bows to Bush

By Bill Vann, 27 June 2002

A “serious effort to push the peace process forward.” With these words describing US President Bush’s June 24 speech on the Middle East crisis, Yasser Arafat gave full expression to his own political bankruptcy and that of the movement he has led for more than 35 years.

G-8 security operation-the stifling and criminalizing of dissent

By David Adelaide, 27 June 2002

The arrangements surrounding this week’s G-8 summit in Kananaskis County, Alberta underline that the assembled leaders are representatives of a privileged minority that is increasingly haunted by the fear of popular unrest. The leaders of the world’s wealthiest industrial nations—the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union—arrived in nearby Calgary by executive jet, then were helicoptered to the wilderness fortress cum Rocky Mountain recreation village of Kananaskis, so they could be spared the sight of many thousands of protestors.

Members of the French Young Communists Movement speak to the WSWS

By Antoine Lerougetel and David Walsh, 27 June 2002

High school students Eloïse Vis and Maxime Carliez are members of the French Young Communists Movement (Mouvement Jeunes Communistes), the youth organisation of the Communist Party (PCF). They live in a constituency in Amiens whose long-standing PCF deputy in the National Assembly is Maxime Gremetz, an interview with whom we posted earlier this week on the WSWS. The Stalinist party, although in terminal decline, obviously still maintains an apparatus and certain political influence in the area.

Employers give cold shoulder to Australian government’s anti-union inquiry

By Terry Cook, 27 June 2002

After sitting for nine months in Brisbane, Perth, Hobart and Melbourne, the Australian government’s Royal Commission into alleged union violence and corruption in the construction industry began hearings in Sydney at the beginning of this month.

Australian MP appeals against conviction for migration fraud

By Margaret Rees, 27 June 2002

Andrew Theophanous, a former senior Labor parliamentarian of nearly 20 years standing who once served as a cabinet secretary to Prime Minister Paul Keating, was this month sentenced to a total of six years jail on four charges of migration fraud. Although Theophanous supported Labor’s immigration policy, which included the introduction of mandatory refugee detention in 1992, he was viewed in official circles as an irritating critic of government policy.

Angola: from cease fire to famine

By Barry Mason, 26 June 2002

Following the killing of UNITA leader Joseph Savimbi, a Western-backed ceasefire in April halted the 27-year civil war between the government and the rebel UNITA forces. Aid agencies now have to deal with severe malnutrition and disease resulting from the effects of the war in vast areas of the country that were previously inaccessible.

Letters from our readers

By , 26 June 2002

On the case of US Air Force officer Steven Butler:

Dramas, ideas, vida

By , 26 June 2002

WSWS : Español

Bush gives Israel blank check in assault on Palestinians

By Bill Vann, 26 June 2002

Even in the annals of Middle East “peace” proposals, the speech delivered by George W. Bush on the White House lawn June 24 stands out for its cynicism.

Economic problems mount as G-8 summit meets

By Nick Beams, 26 June 2002

When the United States recorded a 5.6 percent growth rate for the first quarter of this year it appeared, at least to short-sighted observers, that it would be plain sailing out of the recession that commenced in March last year. In fact, doubts were even expressed that the economy had undergone a recession at all. It is a vastly different picture a few months on.

The French elections and the failure of the left

By Serge Lefort, 26 June 2002

The following analyses were submitted to the WSWS by a reader in France.

A first-hand report of life in LTTE-held areas of Sri Lanka

By our correspondents, 26 June 2002

In Sri Lanka, the Colombo media is engaged in a campaign to present the ceasefire agreement between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as having led to greater freedom and improved conditions for Tamils in the country’s war zones. That is not the case in government-controlled areas where civilians are still subject to army harassment and living standards remain unchanged. Nor, as our correspondents’ first-hand report makes clear, has the situation changed greatly in the LTTE-held areas, which have been previously subject to military attack and a debilitating economic blockade.

El acero y la Virgen

By , 26 June 2002

WSWS : Español

O Partido dos Trabalhadores escolhe um magnata da indústria têxtil como candidato

By , 25 June 2002

WSWS :

"The government’s concern is to drive people off benefits"

By , 25 June 2002

The following is an interview with a former Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) worker, Robyn, who worked for the Australian government-run job agency for 17 years. After being made redundant in 1995, she worked as a case manager for SkillShare, a government-funded, community-based placement agency for just over a year.

Australian government to close state-run job agency

By Barry Jobson, 25 June 2002

A month has passed since Australian Treasurer Peter Costello presented the May 2002 budget. While budget measures such as tougher eligibility criteria for disability pensions and increased charges for pharmaceutical items have been the subject of ongoing comment and criticism, little has been said about the decision to close Employment National (EN), the government-owned job agency.

Hydro One debacle highlights crisis of Ontario Tory regime

By David Adelaide, 25 June 2002

To the consternation of big business, Ontario’s Tory government has abandoned plans to privatize Hydro One and instead given the electrical transmission utility’s blue-chip corporate directors their walking papers.

US torture of John Walker Lindh exposed as frame-up continues

By John Andrews, 25 June 2002

Defense attorneys for John Walker Lindh filed documents describing how, after barely surviving atrocities that claimed the lives of hundreds of his companions, the so-called “American Taliban” was tortured while the FBI wrangled statements out of him in violation of his Fifth Amendment right not to be a witness against himself. The new filings are for a crucial hearing on July 15 to determine whether statements made by Lindh after his capture with an Afghan Army unit will be suppressed or allowed into evidence at trial.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 25 June 2002

Massive rally for jobs in Argentina

Las películas del director taiwanés, Hou Hsiao-hsien, y varios documentales

By , 25 June 2002

WSWS : Español

Interview with French Communist Party deputy Maxime Gremetz

By David Walsh, 25 June 2002

Maxime Gremetz is the French Communist Party (PCF) deputy from North Amiens. He spoke to the WSWS outside the Whirlpool factory in Amiens, an industrial city north of Paris. He was campaigning for votes at the plant, between rounds of the parliamentary elections. On June 16 he won reelection with 54.8 percent of the vote over a candidate from the right-wing Union for French Democracy (UDF).

Afghanistan’s loya jirga fails to provide even the illusion of democracy

By Peter Symonds, 24 June 2002

Afghanistan’s loya jirga or grand tribal assembly, which wound up on June 19, has proved to be a dismal failure for its organisers. It was not so much that the nine-day gathering of 1,600 delegates did not complete the formal tasks allotted at the UN-organised conference on Afghanistan in Bonn last December. These arrangements were always going to be decided behind the scenes by the chief powerbrokers in Afghanistan—the US and other major powers—in league with their local political servants.

An exchange on the Colombian FARC

By , 24 June 2002

Bill Vann, for the WSWS

Israel dismembers Palestinian Authority

By Chris Marsden, 24 June 2002

The “new policy” being implemented by Israel is nothing less than the piecemeal occupation and dismemberment of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

US-backed groups push North Korean asylum bids in China

By James Conachy, 24 June 2002

In the past three months, at least 10 groups of North Koreans have been secreted through northern China to make high-profile bids for political asylum at embassies and diplomatic missions in Beijing and Shenyang. The largest group was in March, when 25 North Koreans rushed into the Spanish embassy. This month 26 people have made it into South Korean or Canadian facilities and were allowed to leave China on Sunday. The most recent incident was on June 13. A teenager successfully entered the South Korean consulate, while his father was seized by Chinese security guards.

Bush claims right to jail US citizens indefinitely, without charges or hearing

By Bill Vann, 24 June 2002

In a legal argument that could as easily be used to justify a declaration of martial law, the Justice Department last week asserted the right of the president and the military to indefinitely hold US citizens deemed “enemy combatants” incommunicado, without formal charges, the right to a hearing or legal counsel.

Brazil’s Workers Party chooses textile magnate as candidate

By Bill Vann, 22 June 2002

In an electoral maneuver aimed both at winning votes and placating foreign investors, Brazil’s Workers Party (PT) has chosen a multimillionaire textile magnate and leader of the right-wing Liberal Party (PL) as its vice presidential candidate in elections set for October.

Crackdown on Internet cafes in China follows Beijing fire

By John Chan, 22 June 2002

A fire engulfed the unlicensed “Lanjisu” Internet cafe in the university district of Beijing in the early hours of June 16. Officially 24 people, mostly university or college students spending their Saturday night browsing the web or playing Internet games, were killed. Another 13 suffered injuries, one of whom died on June 20.

Enron execs looted company prior to bankruptcy

By Joseph Kay, 22 June 2002

Documents filed in a New York court by the energy company Enron reveal the extent to which the company’s top executives enriched themselves in the year preceding its bankruptcy. The collapse of the company cost thousands of jobs for ordinary workers and decimated pension savings. The top management, however, walked away with millions of dollars in income and bonuses.

Comment on the French parliamentary elections

By Serge Lefort, 22 June 2002

The following comment was submitted to the WSWS by a reader in France in the aftermath of the second round of the French parliamentary elections June 16.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 22 June 2002

Over 100 feared killed in major mine blast in China

Todavía persisten varios problemas, aún cuando las condiciones han cambiado

By , 22 June 2002

WSWS : Español

French Whirlpool workers facing layoffs speak to WSWS

By David Walsh, 22 June 2002

A WSWS reporting team spoke to workers outside the gates of the Whirlpool factory in Amiens, 140 kilometers north of Paris, on June 12. In April, Whirlpool Europe announced plans to lay off 360 of the 860 workers at the plant. The company intends to transfer the production of washing machines to its facility in Propad, Slovakia, leaving only production of dryers in Amiens. The facility employed 1,049 in 1999.

Amnesty documents human rights abuses in Middle East

By Robert Stevens, 22 June 2002

The section on the Middle East and North Africa in Amnesty International’s latest annual report covers 18 countries, as well as the Palestinian Authority.

Why is the US media blacking out documentary on war crimes in Afghanistan?

By Kate Randall, 21 June 2002

Massacre in Mazar, a documentary by Irish director Jamie Doran, was screened last week before select audiences in Europe. The film documents events following the November 21, 2001 fall of Konduz, the Taliban’s last stronghold in northern Afghanistan. [See: “Afghan war documentary charges US with mass killings”]

India and Pakistan continue to trade threats of war

By Sarath Kumara, 21 June 2002

Belligerent comments from both India and Pakistan have revealed just how close the two countries have been to war over the last month. Moreover, despite superficial moves to ease tensions, no moves are being made to withdraw the one million heavily-armed troops lined up along the border and no talks are planned. With both governments susceptible to pressure from communal extremists, any incident has the potential to catapult the region into military conflict between the two nuclear-armed nations.

Air Force officer disciplined for saying Bush allowed September 11 attacks

By Jerry Isaacs, 21 June 2002

A US Air Force officer in California recently accused President Bush of deliberately allowing the September 11 terror attacks to take place. The officer has been relieved of his command and faces further discipline. The controversy surrounding Lt. Col. Steve Butler’s letter to the editor, in which he affirmed that Bush did nothing to warn the American people because he “needed this war on terrorism,” received scant coverage in the media.

Trying to have it both ways

By Alex Lefebvre, 21 June 2002

Spiderman, based on a 1960s Marvel comic strip, tells the story of a young man using his spidery powers to fight crime in New York. The 2002 release of this movie has achieved remarkable popularity and, as the mass media never tires of mentioning, box-office success. Cinema executives and pundits seem somewhat surprised: Amy Pascal, the chairwoman of Columbia Pictures, said: “Everybody identifies with him [Spiderman] ... Lucky for us.” Time noted on May 20 that of those who saw the movie on opening night, “95% said they would recommend it to a friend; 70% said they would have to pay to see it again. (You usually have to bomb Baghdad to get that kind of approval ratings).”

World Socialist Web Site Review: July-September issue now available

By , 21 June 2002

WSWS : Mehring Books

Northern Ireland security force links to loyalist gunmen exposed

By Mike Ingram, 21 June 2002

In its June 14 edition, the Guardian newspaper cited leaked information on the long-awaited report by Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir John Stevens.

Famine intensifies in southern Africa

By Barry Mason and Chris Talbot, 20 June 2002

A new international survey shows that 12.8 million people in southern Africa in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique face an immediate famine crisis. Reports coming from these separate countries suggest the figure is a conservative estimate.

European Union plan to restrict immigration

By Elizabeth Zimmermann, 20 June 2002

The stringent control and limitation of immigration into the European Union (EU) is set to be the major theme at the upcoming EU summit in Seville, Spain on June 21-22. Both Germany’s Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD—Social Democratic Party) and France’s President Jacques Chirac (Gaullist) decided to push for such a policy when they met in Paris at the end of last month.

A tribute to Vadim Rogovin: "A passion for historical truth"

By Galina Rogovina-Valuzhenich, 20 June 2002

Galina Rogovina-Valuzhenich, the widow of Russian Marxist historian and sociologist Vadim Zakharovich Rogovin, spoke at a May 15 meeting in Moscow to commemorate what would have been the sixty-fifth birthday of her husband, who died in September 1998. Also attending the meeting were surviving children of Russian Left Oppositionists murdered by the Stalinist regime, scholars who worked with Vadim at the Institute of Sociology in Moscow, representatives from several socialist tendencies in Russia and many friends. David North, editorial board chairman of the World Socialist Web Site, delivered the principal address on the significance of Vadim’s life and work. Galina Rogovina’s remarks are reprinted below.

Australian Prime Minister goes "all the way" in Washington

By Mike Head, 20 June 2002

Amid mounting apprehension in European and international capitals over the Bush administration’s increasingly unbridled militarism, Australian Prime Minister John Howard went out of his way to identify himself with Bush’s policies, both foreign and domestic, on a visit to Washington last week.

Karachi bomb blast highlights Pakistani regime’s political crisis

By Vilani Peiris, 20 June 2002

The car bomb attack near the US consulate in Karachi last week underlines the precarious political situation confronting Pakistan’s military strongman General Pervez Musharraf. Under pressure from the US he broke ties with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and now he must block armed Islamic militants from entering Indian held Jammu and Kashmir. He faces growing opposition from the Islamic fundamentalist groups that have had close ties to the Pakistani military.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 20 June 2002

Air traffic controllers strike throughout Europe

UN food summit ends in fiasco

By Peter Daniels, 19 June 2002

Last week’s four-day meeting of the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in Italy ended in a fiasco after it was essentially boycotted by the wealthy countries of North America and the European Union.

Brazil: Workers Party officials accuse Wall Street of "electoral terrorism"

By Bill Vann, 19 June 2002

The Brazilian government announced a series of emergency economic measures June 13 aimed at stemming the precipitous fall of the country’s currency against the dollar and strengthening the country’s position on world financial markets.

Anti-Bush protesters ejected from Ohio State commencement

By Kate Randall, 19 June 2002

Graduates at the June 14 commencement ceremony held by Ohio State University (OSU) were threatened with arrest if they made any protest against the keynote speaker, George W. Bush.

New Zealand students walk out to support striking teachers

By John Braddock, 19 June 2002

Tens of thousands of New Zealand high school students took part in walkouts last week to support their teachers in a long-running dispute with the Labour-Alliance government over pay and conditions. The student protests began the day after Prime Minister Helen Clark announced that parliamentary elections, due in November, would be brought forward to July 27. With Labour riding high in the polls and seeking to win enough seats to govern in its own right, the demonstrations immediately put its re-election strategy under a cloud.

Witnesses in Jakarta trials testify to East Timor murders

By John Roberts, 19 June 2002

The first prosecution witnesses in the trials of Indonesian military, police and civilian officials have provided chilling accounts of the violence unleashed in East Timor in 1999, leading up to and following the UN-organised plebiscite on independence. In all, 25 men have now been charged in a special human rights court in Jakarta for allowing or failing to prevent mass killings by the military, police and the militias they hired, organised and armed.

New York Times whitewashes US torture

By Bill Vann, 19 June 2002

“There are Ways to Make Them Talk.” The headline in the Sunday opinion section of the New York Times, echoing the language of the police precinct “third degree” or the torture chamber of a military dictatorship, was no doubt intended to titillate the newspaper’s readers.

French right-wing parties consolidate large parliamentary majority

By David Walsh, 18 June 2002

On June 16 the final, shabby curtain descended on the 2002 French national elections. The four-act electoral process (two rounds each of presidential and parliamentary elections over the course of eight weeks) resulted, finally, in the right-wing parties retaining the presidency and obtaining 399 of the 577 seats in the National Assembly. Setting yet another record, 40 percent of the population abstained from Sunday’s voting.

Tyco: US conglomerate falls amid revelations of greed and corruption

By Joseph Kay, 18 June 2002

The American-based conglomerate Tyco International Ltd. is in deep crisis following a wave of revelations concerning the corrupt practices of the company and its top management. Dennis Kozlowski has resigned as CEO and Tyco stock has plummeted, threatening the firm with bankruptcy. The collapse of Tyco, one of the world’s largest corporations, with 240,000 employees, would send shockwaves throughout the US and global economy.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 18 June 2002

Mass opposition to privatization in Peru

US dollar’s "virtuous circle" may be turning vicious

By Nick Beams, 18 June 2002

There are clear signs in financial markets that the long-predicted day of reckoning for the US dollar may be close at hand. Last week the dollar slid to a 17-month low against the euro, marking a decline of nearly 14 percent from the levels of last July. Stock markets around the world turned down with the Dow Jones Index dropping 3.4 percent for the week and markets in Europe and Asia generally reached their lowest levels since the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Indonesian military continues its repression in Aceh

By Carol Divjak, 18 June 2002

Despite peace negotiations held in Geneva last month, the Indonesian armed forces (TNI) is continuing its offensive against the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in the north of Sumatra. The current operations are part of a brutal civil war that has raged for 26 years and cost the lives of at least 12,000 people.

The political impasse facing Israel’s refuseniks

By Laura Villon and Chris Marsden, 18 June 2002

The ongoing assault on the Palestinian population is causing extreme disquiet within Israel. Not since the 1982 massacre of women and children at the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla overseen by then Defence Minister Ariel Sharon has there been such political unrest within Israel.

Interview with Jamie Doran, director of Massacre at Mazar

By Stefan Steinberg, 17 June 2002

Jamie Doran is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has been producing films for the past 22 years. He spent seven years working for the BBC before establishing his own independent television company. He has spent much of the last eight months working in Afghanistan on film projects. The WSWS conducted this interview with Doran on June 14.

Record write-downs by telecom firms

By Joe Lopez, 17 June 2002

The collapse of the hi-tech bubble is continuing to send shock waves through financial markets as major telecom companies are forced to write-down the value of assets purchased at the height of the boom.

US Supreme Court steps up attack on federal regulatory powers

By Don Knowland, 17 June 2002

On May 28 the five-member right-wing majority on the US Supreme Court issued a radical new states’ rights decision barring federal agencies from adjudicating complaints by private parties against states that violate federal law.

US Supreme Court packed with millionaires

By Kate Randall, 17 June 2002

Recently released figures document the fact that the US Supreme Court, an unelected body that rules on issues affecting the lives of millions of Americans, is comprised of representatives of the wealthiest layers of society.

New Jersey appeals court upholds secret detentions

By Kate Randall, 17 June 2002

In the first ruling to uphold the Bush administration’s secret detention policy, a New Jersey Appeals Court ruled June 12 that two county jails do not have to reveal the names of immigrants rounded up since September 11. Bush’s Justice Department has refused to release the names of those arrested in the “anti-terror” dragnet.

Afghan war documentary charges US with mass killings of POWs

By Stefan Steinberg, 17 June 2002

A documentary film, Massacre in Mazar, by Irish director Jamie Doran, was shown to selected audiences in Europe last week, provoking demands for an international inquiry into US war crimes in Afghanistan.

An encounter with Lutte Ouvrière: the political physiognomy of centrism in France

By David Walsh, 17 June 2002

In the first round of the French parliamentary election, held June 9, the left-wing organization known as Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle) ran candidates in every constituency in France. The organization held meetings in each district to explain its positions to the voters. This reporter attended a meeting June 7 in a union hall in La Courneuve, an industrial suburb northeast of Paris, a few miles from the Alstom plant where the LO candidate Michel Jouannin works, and where the WSWS had interviewed workers a few days earlier [French factory workers discuss upcoming parliamentary election].

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 15 June 2002

Chinese auto workers protest

Residents of French CP leader’s constituency speak to the WSWS

By a reporting team, 15 June 2002

Following the interview with Communist Party General Secretary Robert Hue, WSWS reporters spoke to residents of Argenteuil about the economic and political conditions in the area.

US bullying and threats at Afghanistan’s loya jirga

By Peter Symonds, 15 June 2002

Afghanistan’s loya jirga or grand tribal council, currently in session in Kabul, was never intended to provide anything more than a thin veneer of democracy for an Afghan administration beholden politically and economically to the major powers, above all to the US. But as the gathering was about to convene this week, what was prepared as a piece of political theatre rapidly descended into farce.

Western intervention increases instability in Somalia

By David Rowan, 15 June 2002

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has issued a number of reports highlighting the plight of between 3,500 and 5,000 Somali refugees who are encamped around the town of Mandera in the northeast of Kenya. They have fled from Bulo Hawa in the Gedo region of southwest Somalia to avoid fighting between rival Somali factions.

An interview with Robert Hue, general secretary of the French Communist Party

By Ulrich Rippert, 15 June 2002

On June 7, two days before the first round of parliamentary elections, WSWS reporters spoke with Robert Hue, the general secretary and 2002 presidential candidate of the French Communist Party (PCF), in his constituency of Argenteuil, north of Paris.

Robert Hue and the putrescence of French Stalinism

By Peter Schwarz, 15 June 2002

Confronted with Robert Hue, it is difficult to imagine that this man heads a party that has played such a pivotal role in French history in the twentieth century. His answers to the questions put to him by the WSWS are a mixture of complacent narrow-mindedness and evasion. He gives the impression of being a bookkeeper or receiver for a bankrupt company, rather than the leader of a party with a decades-long tradition.

US to hold Jose Padilla indefinitely without charges

By Patrick Martin, 15 June 2002

The Bush administration confirmed June 13 that it had no plans either to charge, try or release Jose Padilla, the Brooklyn-born man who was seized by FBI agents last month at O’Hare Airport in Chicago as he returned to the United States from a lengthy stay overseas. Padilla, also known as Abdullah al Muhajir, is the first US citizen to be subjected to indefinite detention by the Bush administration under its unilateral assertion of wartime executive power.

Letters to the WSWS

By , 14 June 2002

Below we post a selection of recent letters to the WSWS.

Australian government incites company action to bust steel strike

By Chris Sinnema and Terry Cook, 14 June 2002

For the second time in less than eight months, a large continent of police has been used to smash through a picket line in a major industrial dispute in the Australian state of Victoria. As was the case in the dispute at carpet-maker Feltex last year, the latest police action followed statements by federal Liberal government ministers urging companies to adopt tough measures against strikers, including punitive legal action.

Congressional agency debunks charges of vandalism by Clinton White House

By Barry Grey, 14 June 2002

“Vandalism-Gate” has become the latest anti-Clinton scandal to be exposed as a Republican-inspired fraud. The Paula Jones sexual harassment suit was thrown out of court. After eight years of investigations, at a cost of more than $50 million, the Independent Counsel’s office was unable to document any crimes in connection with the Whitewater real estate deal or subsequent scandals, from “Travel-Gate” to “File-Gate.”

India-Pakistan cross-border barrages exact an appalling human toll

By Nanda Wickramasinghe, 14 June 2002

Despite claims by US officials and the international media that tensions between India and Pakistan have eased, there are few signs of any relaxation along the border between the two countries.

Career bureaucrat named president of US auto union

By Jerry Isaacs, 14 June 2002

The installation of Ronald Gettelfinger as the president of the United Auto Workers union is a fitting demonstration of the moribund character of the organization, which has lost over half of its membership in the last three decades. A functionary within the UAW apparatus for nearly a quarter of a century, Gettelfinger’s name is virtually unknown among rank-and-file autoworkers, let alone the working class as a whole, since he never led a struggle against the auto companies.

Britain: Labour government targets single parents and disabled for workfare

By Julie Hyland, 14 June 2002

Britain’s Labour government this week announced an intensification of its efforts to dismantle welfare provision. In typical “third way” rhetoric, renewed efforts to force the unemployed into low-paid work were presented as a progressive measure aimed at liberating the jobless.

Gobernando con provocaciones: la administración de Bush aumenta sus alertas de terror

By , 14 June 2002

WSWS : Español

Britain’s media proclaims the virtues of imprisoning parents

By Liz Smith, 13 June 2002

“Prison works” was the message from Britain’s Labour government and a supportive media, after the recent jailing of mother of five, Patricia Amos, for failing to send her two daughters to school.

Danger of India-Pakistan war remains high despite peace gestures

By Vilani Peiris and Sarath Kumara, 13 June 2002

Over the past few days, India and Pakistan have taken several small steps to reduce the current state of extreme military tension a notch or two. The danger of war, however, remains high, with more than a million heavily-armed troops confronting each other along the border. The gestures towards peace have been in response to direct pressure from Washington, including visits to the Indian subcontinent by two top US officials over the last week.

US welfare bill attacks the poor

By Paul Sherman, 13 June 2002

Millions of Americans will find social programs further eroded as a result of the welfare reauthorization bill passed by the US House of Representatives last month. The goal of the legislation is to push the remaining 5 million people still on welfare off benefits and force them to become part of an expanding pool of cheap labor.

Washington seizes on Philippines hostage deaths to extend military presence

By Keith Morgan, 13 June 2002

A botched rescue attempt by Philippine soldiers on June 7 has resulted in the deaths of two of the three hostages held by an Abu Sayyaf group in southern Mindanao for more than a year. American missionary Martin Burnham and Philippine nurse Ediborah Yap were killed in the shootout. Martin Burnham’s wife Gracia received a gunshot wound to the leg and was ferried to hospital by helicopter. Four guerrillas were killed and seven Philippine soldiers wounded, four seriously.