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Democrats cover up for Bush lies on Iraq WMD

By Patrick Martin, 31 January 2004

Thursday night’s debate in South Carolina among the seven candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination took place amid the mounting crisis of the Bush administration over the exposure of false claims that Iraq possessed huge stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. But not one of the Democratic candidates would state the obvious: that the Bush administration is guilty of deliberate lying to the American people and to the world to make its case for war.

BBC’s Gilligan resigns after condemning the Hutton Inquiry and Blair government

By Chris Marsden, 31 January 2004

BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan resigned last night, but issued a statement denouncing the Hutton Inquiry into the death of whistleblower Dr. David Kelly and defending his story exposing how the British government had “sexed up” its September intelligence dossier on Iraq.

Rising death toll undermines the White House’s rosy picture of Afghanistan

By Peter Symonds, 31 January 2004

A series of incidents in Afghanistan over the past week has highlighted the continuing resistance to the US-led occupation of the country and the mounting number of casualties. Far from being the “success story” that the Bush administration would like to claim, the country remains wracked by ongoing civil war, immense social problems and a lack of basic democratic rights.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 31 January 2004

Leading Cambodian union official murdered

Catalan coalition seeks greater independence from Spain

By Paul Bond, 31 January 2004

The coalition government that took power in Catalonia after last November’s elections is set to pursue an agenda increasingly dictated by the nationalists.

A warning to California grocery workers: Trumka, AFL-CIO preparing final act in betrayal

By Andrea Peters and Rafael Azul, 31 January 2004

This article is available as a PDF leaflet to download and distribute

New York Times calls for exclusion of Kucinich and Sharpton from debates

By Kate Randall, 31 January 2004

In a January 28 editorial, (“Defrosting the Primaries”), the New York Times called for candidates Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton to be excluded from future debates in the contest for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Britain: More questions on Dr Kelly’s death as a confidante rejects suicide claim

By Chris Marsden, 30 January 2004

The January 25 Mail on Sunday ran an interview with Mai Pederson, a United States Air Force translator who worked alongside Dr David Kelly in Iraq. In it she reiterated her earlier claim that the government scientist had received death threats because of his work in Iraq and her surprise that he had died apparently as a result of taking 20 painkillers before slashing his wrist. Pederson reported that Kelly had an aversion to swallowing tablets and had spoken to her shortly before his death of his plans for the future.

Germany: New education standards—perfecting the system of social selection

By Dietmar Henning, 30 January 2004

The conference of German education ministers (Kultusministerkonferenz—KMK) has rushed through an agreement on nationwide education standards for the coming school year. Instead of correcting the well-known failings of the German education system, these standards are part of a process that will result in the broad privatisation of the school system. The main feature of the German school system—its function as a means of social selection—is being carried to extremes and perfected.

Letters on “Hutton inquiry whitewashes Blair government over Iraq war”

By , 30 January 2004

Below we post a selection of recent letters on “Britain: Hutton inquiry whitewashes Blair government over Iraq war”

Institute of Medicine calls for universal health care in US

By Joanne Laurier, 30 January 2004

In the course of his recent State of the Union address, President George W. Bush made clear his unaltered commitment to the existing for-profit health care delivery system in the US that has become increasingly unaffordable for millions of people.

US military lawyer denounces Guantanamo Bay trials

By Richard Phillips, 30 January 2004

Major Michael Mori, the US military lawyer appointed to defend Australian citizen David Hicks, the first of six Guantanamo Bay prisoners scheduled to face a US military court, has bluntly denounced the planned tribunals. In his first public statement on the hearings, Mori told a Washington press conference on January 21 that the military commissions were “created by those only with a vested interest in conviction” and would “not provide a full and fair trial”.

Hutton Inquiry: British media warns of a whitewash too far

By Julie Hyland, 30 January 2004

In the wake of the Hutton Inquiry report exonerating Prime Minister Tony Blair of any blame for events leading up to the death of whistleblower Dr. David Kelly, Blair has declared himself and his government vindicated and urged the resignation of all those who suggested he had lied about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in advance of the war. However, the consensus view in the British press was that Hutton’s whitewash of Blair was so crude as to have virtually no legitimacy, and cautioned the government against its heady triumphalism.

Oregon budget crisis leads to closure of three hospitals

By Hector Cordon, 30 January 2004

The announcement January 23 of plans to close Lane County Psychiatric Hospital (LCPH) brings to three the number of hospitals closed or planning to close in the state of Oregon within the last two weeks.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East & Africa

By , 30 January 2004

Civil servants strike in the UK

Bush y el Estado de la Nación: amenazas, mentiras y engaños

By , 30 January 2004

WSWS : Español

Signs of more political instability in Fiji

By Frank Gaglioti, 29 January 2004

An acrimonious struggle has broken out this month in Fiji’s ruling circles between the head of the military Commander Frank Bainimarama and sections of the government led by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, threatening to reignite the festering conflicts that remain unresolved following the failed coup attempt in 2000.

A revealing saga: New Zealand Maori MP faces charges over misuse of funds

By John Braddock, 29 January 2004

New Zealand Maori MP, Donna Awatere Huata, last November appeared in court to face charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), after a nine-month investigation into the use of public funds by private businesses and trusts associated with her family. Just before Christmas, with court proceedings pending, she survived an unsuccessful attempt by her own party—the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers (ACT)—to have her removed from parliament. She was however expelled, with considerable fanfare, from the party caucus but rejected demands to resign her seat.

New Hampshire vote shows widespread antiwar, anti-Bush sentiment

By Patrick Martin, 29 January 2004

The record turnout in the New Hampshire Democratic primary and the dismal fifth-place showing of Senator Joseph Lieberman, the only candidate to identify himself with the Bush administration’s war in Iraq, demonstrate the deep-seated antiwar sentiment among wide layers of the American population.

SEP public meeting to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the death of Keerthi Balasuriya

By , 29 January 2004

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) will be holding a public meeting in Colombo on January 31 to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the death of Keerthi Balasuriya, the founding general secretary of the Revolutionary Communist League (RCL), the SEP’s forerunner. His untimely death from a sudden heart attack on December 18, 1987, at the age of just 39 was a huge loss for the SEP and the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).

India and Pakistan to pursue “composite dialogue”

By Keith Jones, 29 January 2004

The governments of India and Pakistan announced Tuesday that they will “commence the process” of a “composite dialogue” by holding talks in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad for three days beginning February 16.

Britain: Hutton inquiry whitewashes Blair government over Iraq war

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 29 January 2004

The report by Lord Hutton has exonerated the British government of any responsibility for the death of whistleblower Dr. David Kelly and cleared Prime Minister Tony Blair of having manipulated and falsified intelligence in order to drag the country into an illegal war against Iraq.

Blair’s 45-minute WMD claim refuted by Iraqi group that supplied the intelligence

By Chris Marsden, 29 January 2004

The pro-Western Iraqi National Accord (INA) has admitted that it supplied intelligence to Britain’s Labour government that became the basis for Prime Minister Tony Blair’s claim that Saddam Hussein could launch weapons of mass destruction (WMD) within 45 minutes, and it also admitted that the intelligence was false.

Britain: Blair’s majority cut to five in vote on tuition fees

By Julie Hyland, 28 January 2004

The Blair government’s plans to introduce variable university tuition fees of up to £3,000 per year scraped home last night, with a slim five-vote majority in Parliament.

Academy Award nominations: the globalization of mediocrity

By David Walsh, 28 January 2004

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the 76th annual Oscar nominations January 27 in Beverly Hills, California. The awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, February 29.

Australia: Camden Hospital nurse speaks out over inadequate healthcare

By Erika Zimmer and Leanne Jones, 28 January 2004

Over the last five months newspapers in Sydney, Australia’s largest city, have published a number of articles about increasing incidents of accidental deaths in the public hospital system in the state of New South Wales. One of the most alarming reports concerned the death of 19 patients caused by inadequate medical care at Campbelltown and Camden Hospitals in Sydney’s outer western suburbs.

Letters from our readers

By , 28 January 2004

Below we post a selection of recent letters to the World Socialist Web Site.

Britain: Asylum seekers protest persecution

By Neil Hodge, 28 January 2004

After handing over $10,000 to a human trafficker on the Iranian-Turkish border, Ozra picked up her false passport and opened the accompanying plane ticket to see which safe country she was going to be flying to. It turned out to be Britain, but she would be flying from Istanbul.

Will Vice President Cheney be indicted—and will the US media report it?

By Patrick Martin, 28 January 2004

A French investigation into $180 million in bribes paid by oil companies to government officials in Nigeria threatens to implicate US Vice President Richard Cheney, according to reports in the French and British press. The conservative French daily newspaper Le Figaro wrote last month that “the Paris court contemplates an eventual indictment of the present United States’ vice president, Richard Cheney, in his capacity as former CEO of Halliburton.”

Paris and Berlin consider military intervention in Iraq

By Peter Schwarz, 28 January 2004

The French and German governments, both of which spoke out last year against the war in Iraq, have more recently been sending out unmistakable signals favouring rapprochement with Washington. In the meantime, they no longer exclude the use of their own troops to help control the occupied country.

Chief US inspector admits Iraq had no WMD stockpiles

By Peter Symonds, 28 January 2004

The admission by the CIA’s top weapons adviser in Iraq, David Kay, that the country possessed no stockpiles of so-called weapons of mass destruction (WMD) nor related production facilities is a devastating refutation of the lies used by the Bush administration to justify its illegal invasion and occupation. The comments are all the more damning coming from someone who was one of the most rabid advocates of ousting Saddam Hussein as the only means of ending the alleged threat posed by Iraqi weapons.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 27 January 2004

Airline workers strike in Mexico

Turkey: Inflation decreases but wages still lag behind

By Sinan Ikinci, 27 January 2004

According to recently published figures, the Turkish economy managed to remain within official guidelines for inflation in 2003. The State Institute of Statistics (DIE) announced that consumer prices rose by 0.9 percent in December over the previous month, and that the inflation rate for the past 12 months was 18.4 percent. Wholesale prices increased by 0.6 percent in December compared to November, up 13.9 percent over the same period.

Michael Moore enlists with General Clark: the pathetic—and predictable—logic of protest politics

By David Walsh, 27 January 2004

The decision by American independent filmmaker and radical gadfly Michael Moore to endorse former army general Wesley Clark for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, while deplorable, is hardly astonishing. On the contrary, the move possesses a certain inevitability. It expresses the political and intellectual limitations, indeed bankruptcy, of an entire trend of current liberal-left thinking in America.

Australia: State Labor government tries to find scapegoats for train disaster

By Terry Cook, 27 January 2004

A damning 435-page report released this month into last year’s Waterfall train disaster has blamed the management of former New South Wales (NSW) State Rail for the accident, the worst in 26 years.

Israel: Sharon refuses to resign in face of corruption allegations

By Jean Shaoul and David Cohen, 27 January 2004

Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has refused to resign following the indictment of David Appel, a property dealer and political fixer in Sharon’s ruling Likud Party. Determined to brazen it out, Sharon took the unprecedented step of telephoning two newspapers to issue a personal statement.

Socialist Equality Party announces US presidential campaign

By , 27 January 2004

Jim Lawrence for vice president

Tall tales tell only part of the story

By Joanne Laurier, 26 January 2004

Big Fish, directed by Tim Burton, screenplay by John August, based on the novel by Daniel Wallace

US plans for a new Iraqi regime in disarray

By Mike Head, 26 January 2004

In his State of the Union address last week, President George W. Bush insisted that the resistance to the US-led occupation of Iraq “will fail, and the Iraqi people will live in freedom... Month by month, Iraqis are assuming more responsibility for their own security and their own future.”

Japan stakes its claim to Iraqi oil and gas

By Joe Lopez, 26 January 2004

Japanese companies are involved in talks with senior officials of the Iraqi Oil Ministry to secure contracts over oil and gas fields in Iraq. The negotiations expose the Koizumi government’s claim that it is only sending troops and financial aid to assist the US occupation to address the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people. From the beginning, Tokyo has seen support for the US invasion as a means of re-establishing Japan’s commercial and political presence in the oil-rich country.

Mad cow discovery punctures myth of US “firewall” against disease

By Tom Carter and Jerry Isaacs, 26 January 2004

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British Socialist Equality Party addresses students on Iraq war

By our correspondent, 26 January 2004

A newly formed Socialist Society at the Royal Holloway, University of London in Egham, Surrey in the southeast of England held a forum on January 21 under the title, “The justifications for the war against Iraq and America’s current wave of imperialism”.

Democrats bow to Bush on budget attacks

By Bill Vann, 24 January 2004

In another indication of their organic incapacity to offer any alternative to the policies of the Bush administration, Democrats on Capitol Hill dropped their opposition Thursday to a Republican-drafted federal budget that includes a provision depriving up to 8 million workers of the right to overtime pay.

Australian government seeks to cut off disabled pensioners

By Erika Zimmer, 24 January 2004

In one of its first measures of 2004, the Australian government has unveiled another attempt to strip tens of thousands of disabled and injured people off Disability Support Pensions and force them into low-paid work.

Britain: Revelations on US spying compared to Pentagon Papers

By Paul Mitchell, 24 January 2004

The leak of a top-secret memo by Katharine Gun, an intelligence officer at the British government’s secret surveillance headquarters, has been compared to the publication of the Pentagon Papers.

Of people at sea

By David Walsh, 24 January 2004

House of Sand and Fog, directed by Vadim Perelman, screenplay by Perelman and Shawn Lawrence Otto, based on the novel by Andre Dubus III

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 24 January 2004

Taxi-drivers in China campaign to defend their jobs

Canada-US agreement whitewashes Arar case

By David Adelaide, 24 January 2004

Following last week’s first meeting between US President George Bush and Canada’s new prime minister, Paul Martin, Ottawa announced that an agreement has been concluded with US authorities that will prevent other Canadians from being subjected to an ordeal like that of Maher Arar.

Call to investigate Britain for Iraq war crimes

By Julie Hyland, 24 January 2004

A group of legal experts are calling on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to investigate Britain for war crimes in Iraq.

Italy: Court overturns Berlusconi’s immunity law

By Marianne Arens, 23 January 2004

On January 13, the Italian constitutional court revoked a law that had granted Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immunity from criminal prosecution until the end of his term in office.

Israel: Workers’ struggles intensify despite Histadrut betrayal

By David Cohen, 23 January 2004

Another wave of strikes, workers’ struggles and anti-capitalist demonstrations is being felt in Israel just two weeks after the Histadrut trade union federation reached an agreement with the finance ministry ending sanctions in the public sector. The agreement between the trade union bureaucracy and the government headed by Ariel Sharon and his Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, was signed after the Histadrut agreed to mass lay-offs in the public services and state-owned companies in return for changes in the government’s austerity plan for 2004’s budget.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East and Africa

By , 23 January 2004

French rail workers strike

Britain: Blair works to quash rebellion on university tuition fees

By Julie Hyland, 23 January 2004

With the parliamentary vote on the government’s introduction of a student graduate tax just days away, a major effort is underway by Prime Minister Tony Blair’s backers to bring Labour rebels into line.

Bush touts pittance for worker training as job cuts mount

By Patrick Martin, 23 January 2004

Two events Wednesday captured the dichotomy between official propaganda about the US economic recovery and the reality confronting American workers. President George W. Bush appeared at campaign-style rallies at community colleges in Ohio and Arizona, touting his minuscule $250 million job retraining initiative. And Kodak Corp. announced the elimination of 20 percent of its workforce, an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 jobs.

Australian government stops doctors visiting Nauru detention camp

By Jake Skeers, 23 January 2004

In a new display of colonial-style bullying, the Australian government last week pressured Nauru’s government to repudiate an agreement to allow an independent medical team to visit asylum seekers held for more than two years in the Australian-financed detention camp on the remote Pacific island.

Letters from our readers

By , 23 January 2004

Below we post a selection of recent letters to the World Socialist Web Site.

Tolkien’s magic diminished

By Margaret Rees, 23 January 2004

The Return of the King, the third movie in director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has been released worldwide and established new records at the box office. Very few of its audiences would be new to the saga—the two previous films having won many enthusiastic adherents, particularly among the younger generation, adding to the millions of supporters of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy.

On the British and US response to the Bam earthquake

By Jean Shaoul, 22 January 2004

The earthquake that struck southeastern Iran on December 26 was one of the most catastrophic in the last 25 years. It killed more than 40,000 people and injured at least 30,000. It destroyed more than 80 percent of the buildings in Bam and the surrounding towns and villages, leaving more 100,000 people homeless.

Bush’s State of the Union: Threats, lies and delusion

By Bill Vann, 22 January 2004

In his third State of the Union address since his installation as president, George W. Bush Tuesday night spelled out an election-year agenda consisting of stepped-up global militarism, the continued looting of the economy to augment the fortunes of America’s super-rich and an appeal to social and religious backwardness.

Germany: Perfecting the system of rejecting refugees

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 22 January 2004

At the celebration marking fifty years of Germany’s Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees (BAFl-Bundesamt für die Anerkennung Ausländischer Flüchtlinge), the invited politicians made clear that they were demanding the agency act in a manner entirely contrary to its name. It was not the right to asylum that stood at the centre of the commemorative speech by Interior Minister Otto Schily (Social Democratic Party—SDP) and the greetings delivered by his Bavarian state colleague Guenter Beckstein (Christian Social Union—CSU), but the allegedly “immense abuse” of this right.

US military chief calls for “staging post” base in Australia

By Mike Head, 22 January 2004

The Pentagon’s highest-ranking military officer, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Richard Myers, called for even closer military ties with Australia when he visited the country for three days last week at the conclusion of a nine-day East Asian tour. Officially, the purpose of his Australian stop was to thank the Howard government for its unequivocal participation in three US-led wars—in Afghanistan, Iraq and the “war on terror”.

Tropical cyclone devastates Pacific island of Niue

By John Braddock, 22 January 2004

The future of Niue, one of the world’s smallest semi-independent territories, remains uncertain after Cyclone Heta swept through the southwest Pacific during the first week of January. The cyclone lashed the Tokelau Islands, Samoa and Tonga’s northern islands before heading for Niue, a tropical atoll with a population of about 1,700 people, situated 2,400 kilometres northeast of New Zealand.

Britain: Troops died in Iraq as a result of equipment shortages

By Chris Marsden, 22 January 2004

Britain’s defence secretary Geoff Hoon has come under sustained attack over the failure of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to adequately equip troops sent to Iraq.

Explosion threatens gas supplies to two Australian states

By Paul Bartizan, 21 January 2004

Mass layoffs and cuts to basic energy services are still threatened in the Australian states of New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia three weeks after a massive blast and fire on New Year’s morning shut down supplies from the country’s biggest onshore gas fields.

Britain prepares its own version of US Patriot Act

By Richard Tyler, 21 January 2004

The Civil Contingencies Bill, published on January 7, is meant to serve as a legal veneer for the Labour government of Prime Minister Tony Blair to defend its own existence during an “emergency”. It grants ministers draconian powers to remove fundamental civil liberties.

All US airline passengers to undergo government background checks

By Jamie Chapman, 21 January 2004

The US Transportation Security Agency (TSA) gave the go-ahead last week to a new screening system for airline passengers. The Computer Assisted Passenger PreScreening program, known as CAPPS 2, involves a two-stage process for determining who will be subject to additional security checks at airports, and who will be denied the right to fly altogether.

Letters from our readers

By , 21 January 2004

Below we post a selection of recent letters to the World Socialist Web Site.

Former SS member faces trial for war crimes in the Netherlands

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 21 January 2004

Almost 59 years after the death of Dutch resistance fighter Jan Houtman, the trial of 88-year-old former Nazi SS (Schutzstaffel) member Herbertus Bikker opened on September 8, 2003, in the German district court of Hagen. Bikker is accused of shooting the 27-year-old Houtman to death on November 17, 1944, on a farm in the Netherlands district of Dalfsen.

Kerry, Edwards lead in first contest of Democratic presidential campaign

By Patrick Martin, 21 January 2004

Monday night’s caucuses in Iowa, the official beginning of the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, were won by Massachusetts senator John Kerry, who received 38 percent of the vote, with North Carolina senator John Edwards, the runner-up, receiving 32 percent. Former Vermont governor Howard Dean, the frontrunner in fundraising and national opinion polls, placed a poor third, with 18 percent of the vote. Congressman Richard Gephardt was a badly beaten fourth, at 11 percent, and pulled out of the race the next day.

Bush presenta programa 'bracero' para trabajadores inmigrantes

By , 21 January 2004

WSWS : Español

Fondo Monetario Internacional toca la alarma debido de la creciente deuda de Estados Unidos

By , 21 January 2004

WSWS : Español

Correspondence on Zimbabwe

By , 21 January 2004

Below we post a letter on Zimbabwe from a reader and a reply by Chris Talbot for the WSWS editorial board.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 20 January 2004

Uruguayan workers demand jobs

“Stop-loss” orders prevent soldiers from leaving US Army

By Jeff Riley and Peter Daniels, 20 January 2004

The new and broader “stop-loss” order just invoked by the US Army on active, National Guard and reserve troops currently deployed in the Middle East reflects growing Pentagon worries over manpower shortages as the occupation of Iraq drags on and new military adventures are considered in other parts of the world.

New Zealand Herald covers up reasons for sacking anti-Zionist cartoonist

By John Braddock, 20 January 2004

New Zealand’s largest-circulation daily newspaper, the New Zealand Herald, last month broke a four-month silence over its sacking of cartoonist Malcolm Evans. Evans was dismissed in August following complaints from pro-Zionist lobbyists about his cartoons critical of Israel’s repression of the Palestinians.

Questions surround police shooting at Australian-operated Indonesian mine

By John Roberts, 20 January 2004

On the morning of January 7, Indonesia’s notorious Mobile Brigade riot police, known as Brimob, opened fire on a demonstration outside the Toguraci open-cut gold mine on Halmahera Island in the Indonesian province of North Maluka. One person was killed, another seriously injured and at least six arrested, including a priest.

Bush administration seeks UN aid as Iraqi political crisis mounts

By Patrick Martin, 20 January 2004

The chief US administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, met with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan Monday in New York City in an effort to obtain UN assistance to prevent the political crisis in the occupied country from spiraling out of control. Annan is considering a UN mission to Iraq to negotiate with the leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who has refused to meet with representatives of the US occupation authority.

US forces kill 11 more civilians in Afghanistan

By David Walsh, 20 January 2004

US military forces killed 11 civilians in southern Afghanistan early Sunday morning, according to Afghan officials. Abdul Rahman, chief of Char Chino district, 200 miles south of the capital Kabul, told reporters that a US helicopter attacked a group of people in the village of Saghatho, resulting in the deaths of four children, three women and four men.

Portuguese president denies link to child abuse scandal

By Paul Mitchell, 20 January 2004

Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio has appeared on television to criticise a newspaper that linked him to a paedophile scandal that has dominated the news in Portugal for the last year.

Alan Bates (1934-2003)—a key figure in British drama

By Paul Bond, 19 January 2004

Alan Bates, who died aged 69 on December 27, 2003, was an actor with as celebrated a record on screen as on stage. He was at the forefront of his craft for over 40 years, working with most of the major writers and directors of the contemporary British stage and screen.

Bush promises the Moon (and Mars) but offers only rhetoric

By Walter Gilberti and Patrick Martin, 19 January 2004

President George W. Bush delivered an address to NASA on January 14, outlining his plans for the US space program and calling for NASA to reorganize itself to establish a permanent settlement on the Moon and an eventual manned mission to Mars.

“Friend of court” applications denounce Guantanamo Bay detentions as illegal

By Richard Phillips, 19 January 2004

Last week 85 British MPs and more than 50 peers joined a list of over 10 organisations and individuals that have submitted amicus curiae applications to the US Supreme Court over the Bush administration’s illegal detention of Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Amicus curiae or “friend of the court” briefs allow interested parties to present information and legal opinion on current hearings.

Pentagon lies exposed over killing of reporters in Baghdad

By Mike Head, 19 January 2004

An investigation by Reporters Without Borders into the United States military’s killing of two news cameramen at Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel last April raises a series of new questions about their deaths, as well as the wider casualties inflicted on reporters by US forces during the war on Iraq.

Scientific triumph on Mars as Spirit lands and explores surface

By Walter Gilberti, 19 January 2004

On Thursday, January 15 the Mars Spirit rover rolled onto the Martian landscape for the first time, after NASA scientists successfully maneuvered the six-wheeled vehicle off the lander, and away from the deflated airbags that were impeding its progress. Now the mission that began so promisingly two weeks ago can continue, with the exploration of a wider swath of the Martian surface.

Bush seeking Supreme Court precedents to dismantle democratic rights

By John Andrews, 19 January 2004

The Bush administration is using cases of people dragooned during its so-called “war on terror” to establish broad legal precedents supporting unlimited presidential power to imprison people without charges and then to hide its operations from public scrutiny. Having already upheld the Bush administration in one such case, the same Supreme Court which intervened in the 2000 elections to halt the counting of Florida ballots and steal the election for George Bush will be deciding at least four more “war on terror” cases before its term ends in late June.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East and Africa

By , 17 January 2004

Transport workers strike in Italy

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 17 January 2004

Retired petrochemical workers demonstrate in China

Human rights groups: US may be guilty of “collective punishment” war crime in Iraq

By Joanne Laurier, 17 January 2004

US military forces in Iraq appear to be committing war crimes by detaining the relatives of suspected insurgents and demolishing their homes, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the international human rights organization.

More of the big lie that “socialist realism” emerged from Soviet revolutionary art

By Marianne Arens and Sybille Fuchs, 17 January 2004

The art form officially sanctioned by the state under Stalin has long been ridiculed in the West; but now, 50 years after the death of the dictator, and in the absence of any serious attempt to tackle the development of the Soviet Union in the twentieth century, “socialist realism” has suddenly acquired a new respectability in a number of German museums in Berlin, Bonn and Frankfurt.

Schwarzenegger budget to slash health and education in California

By Rafael Azul and Jerry Isaacs, 17 January 2004

California’s Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, outlined a budget proposal January 9 that constitutes a massive assault on health, education and other social service programs upon which millions of people in the state rely.

Questions raised about the South African AIDS initiative

By our South African correspondent, 17 January 2004

After denying for years that there is an AIDS problem, the South African government has apparently made an about face and announced that it will be funding the largest anti-AIDS programme on the continent.

US: Protesters jeer Bush in Atlanta on King’s birthday

By David Walsh, 17 January 2004

A crowd of some 1,000 demonstrators booed and jeered George W. Bush when he showed up to lay a wreath at the tomb of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Atlanta on the slain civil rights leader’s birthday January 15. Antiwar protesters, environmentalists and human rights activists were joined by many black residents, angry at Bush’s attempt to gain political credibility by linking himself to King’s legacy.

Letters on the movie Cold Mountain

By , 16 January 2004

Below we post letters on David Walsh’s review of the movie Cold Mountain.

Bush imposes security crackdown on international travel

By Jamie Chapman, 16 January 2004

A week after raising the “terror alert” level to Code Orange, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced new requirements that foreign airlines post armed marshals on flights “where necessary,” as determined by US authorities. Underscoring the non-negotiable nature of the demand, Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge told a news conference on December 29, “Any sovereign government retains the right to revoke the privilege of flying to and from a country or even over their airspace.” He warned that airlines unwilling to comply would be refused landing and over-flight rights for designated flights.

Washington Post defends Bush, Iraq war against Paul O’Neill’s exposures

By David Walsh, 16 January 2004

The revelations of former US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill about the inner workings of the Bush administration, featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes program January 11 and providing the substance of former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind’s new book, The Price of Loyalty, have further laid bare the divisions within the American political establishment. O’Neill’s assertion, backed up by extensive documentation, that the Bush government was plotting a war against Iraq from its first days in office in January 2001, is a particularly devastating exposure.

Letters on the social crisis in the US

By , 16 January 2004

Below we post a selection of recent letters on the social crisis in the US.

Australian government continues cover-up of refugee deaths

By Jake Skeers, 16 January 2004

The jailing in Egypt late last month of Abu Quassey, an alleged organiser of the voyage of a refugee boat which sank, drowning 353 asylum seekers in international waters between Australia and Indonesia in late 2001, has raised further questions about the Australian government’s complicity in the tragedy.

Sudan peace agreement paves way for increased oil production

By Brian Smith, 16 January 2004

The Sudanese government has signed an agreement on wealth sharing with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), as a prelude to a full peace pact expected by the end of the month.

Britain: Train drivers union leader threatens mass sackings and union busting

By Paul Stuart, 16 January 2004

Office workers employed at the London headquarters of the train drivers’ union, the Association of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF), have voted overwhelmingly to strike against their employer. The staff, members of the General Municipal Boilermakers Union (GMB), fear that restructuring plans for the union headquarters will mean job losses and the introduction of short-term contracts.

The New York Times whitewashes Bush’s lies about Iraq

By Patrick Martin, 15 January 2004

An editorial published January 11 in the New York Times, the leading US daily newspaper, demonstrates the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of what passes for liberalism in contemporary America. It is a cover-up of the systematic lying employed by the Bush administration, the congressional Republicans and Democrats, and the American media to justify the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.