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Israel: Sharon, facing indictment, threatens new government

By Chris Marsden, 31 March 2004

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is facing a deepening corruption scandal, together with a political challenge from his far right coalition partners, who are opposed to his plan for unilateral separation from the Palestinians.

Discussion on the arts, democratic rights and Nader

By , 31 March 2004

Today, we continue publishing the remarks and written contributions of delegates attending the conference on “The 2004 US Election: the Case for a Socialist Alternative,” held by the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party on March 13-14 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

An exchange on the Australian intervention in the Solomon Islands

By Mike Head, 31 March 2004

The following is a reply to correspondence received from Dominic Morice, media manager, public affairs group, AusAID, which is the Australian government’s overseas aid agency. Morice’s letter, the full text of which can be read here, alleges that the WSWS article “Australia’s richest man profits from Solomon Islands intervention”, posted on March 3, contains “a number of factual errors”.

Canada’s new prime minister delivers more austerity

By Keith Jones, 31 March 2004

Last week’s federal budget—the first the Liberal government has tabled under Prime Minister Paul Martin—received generally favorable reviews from the corporate media and business spokesmen. Echoing a line from Finance Minister Ralph Goodale’s budget speech, many commentators praised the government for eschewing a “pre-election spending spree” and emphasizing instead the need to constrain public spending and “rejuvenate” government through a continual review of the scale and efficacy of all federal programs.

The selling of Bush’s Medicare plan: a case history of political gangsterism

By Patrick Martin, 31 March 2004

While official Washington was transfixed last week by the televised appearance of current and former top national security officials before the commission investigating the 9/11 attacks, another witness was appearing on Capitol Hill to describe a recent instance of the political skullduggery that characterizes the Bush administration.

Letter from Dominic Morice, media manager, AusAID

By , 31 March 2004

To the Editor

Film-making in the service of identity politics

By John Braddock, 31 March 2004

The 2004 Academy Awards became the occasion in New Zealand this month for an orchestrated display of national self-congratulation. Peter Jackson’s final instalment of his Lord of the Rings trilogy—The Return of the King—-won every category in which it was nominated; 11 Oscars in all, including best picture and best director. First-time actor Keisha Castle-Hughes became, at 13 years of age, the youngest-ever nominee in the category of best actress for her role in Whale Rider.

France: Government parties routed in regional elections

By Marianne Arens, 31 March 2004

The government of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin and President Jacques Chirac suffered a devastating defeat in the second round of regional elections held on Sunday, March 28. From the total of 22 French regions, the ruling parties UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) and UDF (Union for the French Democracy) were only able to retain control in Alsace. Before the elections, these parties controlled a total of 14 regions.

European antitrust case finds against Microsoft

By Mike Ingram, 31 March 2004

The European Commission issued a statement March 24 announcing that it had found that Microsoft broke the European Union competition law. After a five-year investigation the EC concluded that Microsoft has carried out illegal practices “by leveraging its near monopoly in the market for PC operating systems (OS) onto the markets for work group server operating systems and for media players.”

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 30 March 2004

Ecuadorian workers strike over wages

US Justice Scalia’s memo on Cheney case: contempt for the law and democratic rights

By John Andrews, 30 March 2004

In an unprecedented 21-page memorandum [see here], United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia last week reaffirmed his decision not to recuse himself from the appeal of a case involving Vice President Dick Cheney, who is seeking to nullify a court order that he respond to questions about meetings with energy industry representatives during the preparation of the Bush administration’s energy policy.

Sri Lankan election: SEP opposes disenfranchisement of voters in LTTE areas

By Wije Dias, 30 March 2004

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) strongly condemns the decision by the Sri Lankan election commissioner not to establish polling booths for the voters living in areas of the North and East under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This is a gross infringement of the civil rights of a large segment of the population. An estimated 275,000 potential voters—overwhelmingly Tamil—live in these so-called uncleared areas and will now be effectively excluded from the election on April 2.

US shuts down anti-occupation Iraqi newspaper

By James Conachy, 30 March 2004

Thousands of followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took to the streets of Baghdad on Sunday to demonstrate against the US shutdown of Al Hawza, a weekly journal published under Sadr’s editorial influence. A tense standoff ensued outside the newspaper’s offices between nervous American troops and crowds of angry Iraqis chanting “Where is democracy now?”

Why won’t Condoleezza Rice give open, sworn testimony on 9/11?

By Bill Van Auken, 30 March 2004

President Bush’s National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice appeared on the CBS News program “60 Minutes” Sunday night to reiterate the US administration’s rejection of growing demands that she testify publicly and under oath before the national commission formed to investigate the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“Independent” candidate Ralph Nader offers alliance with Democrat Kerry

By Jerry Isaacs and Barry Grey, 30 March 2004

Just five weeks after announcing he would run as an independent candidate for president in the November US election, consumer advocate and 2000 Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader has all but dropped the pretence of opposing the Democratic nominee, John Kerry.

German reactions to Aznar defeat: Die Zeit insults Spanish voters

By Ulrich Rippert, 30 March 2004

The Spanish parliamentary election, which took place in the aftermath of the devastating bombings in Madrid, has met with ferocious reactions in all the European capitals. The election defeat of the conservative Aznar government shook the governments in London, Rome and Warsaw, which lost an important ally in the axis of those willing to wage war. Moreover, in Paris and Berlin, where the Iraq war was viewed more critically, the result unleashed a shock.

Israel: Sharon government creates ever widening social inequality

By Brian Smith, 29 March 2004

The Israeli government’s subjugation of the Occupied Territories and the defence of its illegal settlements has not only brought untold misery and suffering to the Palestinians. It has severely exacerbated economic difficulties and social contradictions within Israel itself.

The diplomacy of imperialism: Iraq and US foreign policy

By Joseph Kay, 29 March 2004

This is the eighth in a series of articles on the history of Iraq and its relationship with the US. The previous installments were posted on March 12, 13, 16, 17, 19, 24 and 26. This article examines the end of the Iran-Iraq war and the consequences of the war for Iraqi society. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes are from declassified national security documents made available by the National Security Archive at http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv or http://nsarchive.chadwyck.com.

On the US election: “The two-party system is a two-headed monster”

By , 29 March 2004

Today, we continue publishing the remarks and written contributions of delegates attending the conference on “The 2004 US Election: the Case for a Socialist Alternative,” held by the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party on March 13-14 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Bush administration and September 11: the implications of Richard Clarke’s revelations

By Patrick Martin, 29 March 2004

In an appearance March 24 before the national commission investigating the September 11 terrorist attacks, and in an hour-long appearance on the NBC News program Meet the Press on March 28, former Bush counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke reiterated his charges that the Bush administration downplayed the threat of terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda until after the hijack-bombings of the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, and then used the attacks as the pretext to set in motion pre-existing plans to invade Iraq.

Government routs opposition parties in Malaysian elections

By John Roberts, 29 March 2004

The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition led by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi scored its largest-ever electoral win at the national polls in Malaysia on March 21. BN won 198 of the total of 219 parliamentary seats, up 50 from the 1999 election. Badawi’s own United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the major component of the BN coalition, increased its seats from 71 to 109.

Political uproar over Labor leader’s call for troop withdrawal from Iraq

By Linda Tenenbaum, 29 March 2004

A half-hearted and highly qualified suggestion by Australian opposition leader Mark Latham that the country’s troops might be withdrawn from Iraq by Christmas if Labor wins the next general election has sparked a political uproar. Following hard on the heels of the shock election result in Spain, the response to Latham’s remark indicates escalating fears in both the Bush administration and the Howard government that their “coalition of the willing” is starting to unravel.

On events in Haiti: “Imperialism can only be fought as a globally unified struggle”

By , 27 March 2004

Today, we continue publishing the remarks and written contributions of delegates attending the conference on “The 2004 US Election: the Case for a Socialist Alternative,” held by the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party on March 13-14 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 27 March 2004

Thai workers continue protests against privatisation

European Union extends transport network into accession states

By Niall Green, 27 March 2004

The European Union (EU) is in the midst of developing a new transportation network that by 2020 is to stretch across the continent, linking the EU’s original members and opening up the accession countries of the former eastern bloc.

New Zealand: Labour government dispatches SAS troops to Afghanistan

By John Braddock, 27 March 2004

Following recent talks with the Bush administration, the New Zealand government announced earlier this month that 50 Special Air Services (SAS) troops will be sent to Afghanistan at the beginning of April for “long range reconnaissance and direct action missions.” The deployment is initially for a period of six months.

Australia: Transport union collaborates in destruction of tram jobs

By the Socialist Equality Party, 27 March 2004

With the help of the Rail, Tram and Bus Industry Union (RTBIU), Yarra Trams sacked more than 100 tram drivers and other staff this week, including 14 drivers at Brunswick depot, 15 at Glenhuntly, 18 at Essendon, 12 at Malvern, 4 at Kew, 3 at Camberwell, 6 at Preston and 6 at Southbank. Fifteen ticket inspectors, three tram attendants and a number of administrative staff were axed as well. The move is part of a $2.3 billion re-privatisation of Melbourne’s train and tram networks being carried out by the Bracks Labor government in the state of Victoria.

Blair’s visit to Libya: It’s about oil, Got it?

By Chris Marsden and Barry Grey, 27 March 2004

Those who were taken in by the moralistic posturing of the US and British governments in their war propaganda against Iraq would do well to consider Thursday’s visit by British Prime Minister Tony Blair with Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gadhaffi on the outskirts of Libya’s capital city, Tripoli.

Letters from our readers

By , 27 March 2004

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

¿Por qué ha provocado tanto interés en Estados Unidos La Pasión del Cristo?

By , 27 March 2004

WSWS : Español

Election statement of German SEP: For the United Socialist States of Europe

By , 27 March 2004

The following statement was issued by the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (Socialist Equality Party) for the upcoming elections to the European Parliament. The PSG is putting forward a slate of candidates for the June 13 elections in Germany. The statement will also be translated into several languages, and the campaign will be taken to countries across Europe in collaboration with the Socialist Equality Party in Britain and other international supporters.

President impeached as South Korean democracy unravels

By James Conachy, 26 March 2004

South Korea has been plunged into a constitutional crisis by the March 12 impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun. Not prepared to wait for another election, Roh’s opposition in the Grand National Party (GNP) and Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) have used their two-thirds majority in parliament to try and end his presidency just 13 months into his five-year term of office.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East and Africa

By , 26 March 2004

Teachers in Telford, England strike against job losses

The diplomacy of imperialism: Iraq and US foreign policy

By Alex Lefebvre, 26 March 2004

This is the seventh in a series of articles on the history of Iraq and its relationship with the US. The previous articles appeared on March 12, March 13, March 16, March 17, March 19 and March 24. Parts five and six documented the increasingly close ties of the American government with the Saddam Hussein regime during the 1980s. This article examines ways in which the US sought to help finance Iraq’s arms purchases. Unless otherwise noted, all citations are from documents publicly available in the Iraq section of the National Security Archive at http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv or http://nsarchive.chadwyck.com.

US and Israel exploit Syrian/Kurdish tensions

By Steve James, 26 March 2004

Tensions between Syria’s Kurdish population and the government have reached a new level of intensity in the aftermath of the United States’ occupation of neighbouring Iraq.

The science of remembering

By David Walsh, 26 March 2004

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, directed by Michel Gondry, screenplay by Charlie Kaufman

Sri Lankan opposition spells out anti-working class agenda

By Priyadarshana Maddewatte, 26 March 2004

The opposition United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA)—a coalition between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)—is trying to use the Sri Lankan election campaign to exploit widespread disaffection with the government’s economic restructuring policies by promising to halt privatisation and lift living standards.

Frame-up prosecution of Guantanamo Bay chaplain collapses

By Patrick Martin, 26 March 2004

Captain James Yee, who could have faced the death penalty on false accusations of spying at the Guantanamo Bay prison, was cleared of all criminal charges March 19. After a formal hearing which resulted in a written reprimand on unrelated personal misconduct charges three days later, Yee was released from custody to return to his home station of Ft. Lewis, Washington.

Iraq’s missing weapons—Bush and the media share an inside joke

By Bill Van Auken, 26 March 2004

President George W. Bush was the star performer at the 60th annual Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association dinner held in Washington, DC Thursday night.

“Reality will dawn on masses of people with American speed and ferocity”—David Walsh

By , 26 March 2004

Today, we are publishing the remarks of WSWS Arts Editor David Walsh and other delegates to the conference on “The 2004 US Election: the Case for a Socialist Alternative,” held by the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party on March 13-14 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

9/11 hearings ignore political, historical issues behind terrorist attacks

By the Editorial Board, 25 March 2004

The public hearings conducted Tuesday and Wednesday by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States made clear that the bipartisan panel is engaged in a cover-up of the fundamental questions surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

New York mayor imposes mandatory tests for school promotion

By Peter Daniels, 25 March 2004

Last week’s abrupt firing of members of the city’s Panel for Educational Policy by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was greeted with widespread anger. The mayor dismissed two of his own appointees and the Staten Island borough president fired another member of the panel in order to win passage of the mayor’s plan for new promotion requirements for third graders in the city’s public schools.

Political tensions escalate after Taiwan’s disputed presidential election

By John Chan, 25 March 2004

Far from resolving political tensions in Taiwan, last Saturday’s presidential election has only exacerbated them. After surviving an apparent assassination attempt last Friday—18 hours before the election—the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Chen Shui-bian was declared reelected as president of the Republic of China.

SEP candidate in TV debate over the Sri Lankan civil war

By our correspondent, 25 March 2004

On March 9, Socialist Equality Party candidate Priyadarshana Maddewatte took part in a live debate on the popular private television station Swarnavahini, as part of the Socialist Equality Party’s (SEP) campaign in the forthcoming Sri Lankan general election. The program Kinihira (Anvil), which discusses issues with politicians from various parties, is broadcast weekly and has a wide audience. The debate was watched by an estimated 90 percent of television viewers.

How Joe Lieberman won the Democratic presidential nomination

By Bill Van Auken, 25 March 2004

The ballots have been counted and, for all intents and purposes, the Democratic primaries are over. In a stunning come-from-behind upset, a clear winner has emerged—Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Final public meeting for SEP election campaign in Sri Lanka

By , 25 March 2004

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka is holding a public meeting in Colombo on March 29 to conclude its general election campaign. Under Sri Lankan election regulations, all public campaigning has to stop 72 hours before the poll.

A defeat for the camp of the conservative government

By Peter Schwarz, 25 March 2004

French regional elections held on Sunday represent a clear rejection of the conservative governing parties.

Haiti’s US-installed prime minister hails fascist gunmen

By Keith Jones, 25 March 2004

A government rally in Gonaïves March 20 has provided further proof that the Bush administration, the “political opposition” to Haiti’s deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and the fascist gunmen who overran the Caribbean-island country have been acting in concert.

United Nations report: Israeli forces have inflicted a “reign of terror”

By Jean Shaoul, 24 March 2004

A recent report by John Dugard, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights’ Special Rapporteur, stated that Israeli forces had “inflicted a reign of terror upon innocent Palestinians in the course of their assassinations of militants in densely populated towns, their destruction of homes, and their random firing in built up areas—not to mention the methodical intimidation and humiliation of civilians at checkpoints.”

Intriguing new discoveries on Mars

By Frank Gaglioti, 24 March 2004

The current National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mission to Mars has already provided significant new evidence that the planet may in the past have been considerably warmer and possessed large amounts of liquid water. The observations made by the small roving vehicle Opportunity raise the possibility that life may have emerged on Mars in a previous, more benign environment.

The diplomacy of imperialism: Iraq and US foreign policy

By Alex Lefebvre, 24 March 2004

This is the sixth in a series of articles on the history of Iraq and its relationship with the US. The first five articles were published on March 12, March 13, March 16, March 17 and March 19. In the following article we continue our analysis of US-Iraqi relations during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. All citations below are from recently declassified national security documents, publicly available in the Iraq section of the National Security Archive at http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv or http://nsarchive.chadwyck.com.

SEP presidential candidate Bill Van Auken condemns US-backed assassination of Hamas leader

By , 24 March 2004

The following statement is also available in PDF format to download and distribute.

US soldier refuses to return to Iraq

By Jeff Riley, 24 March 2004

A Florida National Guard soldier returned to his base of deployment at Fort Stewart, Georgia, to face charges for desertion after refusing to return to duty in Iraq to serve as, in his words, “an instrument of violence” in an “oil-driven war.” The incident has provoked disquiet within the military establishment, feeding concern over the morale of US occupation troops.

Germany: Trial against former SS member Herbertus Bikker abandoned

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 24 March 2004

On February 2 the trial against Herbertus Bikker, a former member of the Nazi SS (Schutzstaffel) responsible for war crimes in Holland, was abandoned only five months after legal proceedings were first initiated. The reason given by the court was the defendant’s “long-term inability to stand the trial.”

Britain: The beating of Delbo King highlights police racism and brutality

By Robert Stevens, 24 March 2004

The recent court case of Delbo King, a 33-year-old black man in Manchester, England has received widespread publicity because his beating by the police was captured on CCTV cameras. The CCTV evidence was first shown during his trial on February 20.

“Blair-Bush alliance is an expression of the reemergence of naked imperialism and colonialism”

By , 24 March 2004

Today, we are publishing the remarks of Julie Hyland, a Central Committee member of the Socialist Equality Party in Britain, the British section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, and member of the WSWS Editorial Board, to the conference on “The 2004 US Election: the Case for a Socialist Alternative,” held by the World Socialist Web Siteand the Socialist Equality Party on March 13-14 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Islamic headscarf ban: a French teacher’s view

By Antoine Lerougetel, 23 March 2004

The following comment was written by a retired French teacher and regular contributor to the World Socialist Web Site.

Slain Irish soldier’s mother condemns Iraq war

By Julie Hyland, 23 March 2004

The mother of the only Irish soldier to be killed during the occupation of Iraq has attacked the US-led war.

“Our party intervenes in the European election on an internationalist socialist program”

By , 23 March 2004

Today we are publishing the remarks of Peter Schwarz, a Central Committee member of the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit, the German section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, and member of the WSWS Editorial Board, to the conference on “The 2004 US Election: the Case for a Socialist Alternative” held by the World Socialist Web Siteand the Socialist Equality Party on March 13-14 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Austria: Social democrats form coalition in Carinthia with Haider

By Markus Salzmann and Ulrich Rippert, 23 March 2004

Just one week after state elections in Carinthia, the southernmost state in Austria, the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) has agreed to form a governing coalition with the extreme-right Freedom Party (FP) led by Jörg Haider.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 23 March 2004

Brazilian unions campaign for shorter workweek

US-backed military offensive in Pakistan costs scores of lives

By Peter Symonds, 23 March 2004

A week of fierce fighting between 6,000 heavily-armed Pakistani troops and suspected Islamist militants in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan has resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. The army has surrounded an estimated 400 to 500 fighters entrenched in a number of heavily fortified mud brick structures in South Waziristan and has been pounding the area using artillery, helicopter gunships and combat aircraft.

Australian pilots aborted US-assigned bombing raids during Iraq war

By Terry Cook, 23 March 2004

An extraordinary account in the Sydney Sun-Herald on March 14 revealed that during the course of the Iraq war, Australian fighter pilots aborted over 40 missions, refusing to drop bombs on targets assigned to them by US field commanders. According to the article, each of the 14 RAAF F/A-18 Hornet pilots aborted three or four bombing raids when they discovered that the pre-flight briefings on targets did not correspond to what they saw on the ground. The Hornets flew over 600 missions during the course of the war. Of these, 350 were combat sorties.

Former terrorism aide charges Bush manufactured case for Iraq war

By Patrick Martin, 23 March 2004

In a book published Monday and an interview on the CBS program “60 Minutes” Sunday night, former Bush counter-terrorism coordinator Richard Clarke has denounced Bush and his top aides for using the September 11 terrorist attacks as a pretext for waging war against Iraq.

Estados Unidos respalda golpe de estado en Haití e impone reino de terror

By , 23 March 2004

WSWS : Español

American militarism through a somewhat paranoid prism

By Joanne Laurier, 23 March 2004

Spartan, written and directed by David Mamet

Israeli assassination of Hamas leader: a provocation, incitement and prelude to stepped-up aggression

By Chris Marsden, 23 March 2004

Israel’s assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual head of the Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas, is calculated to escalate the conflict on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is a desperate and criminal effort by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to create the most favourable conditions for the major land-grab, announced in his plan for unilateral separation from the Palestinians.

Protests in Australia and New Zealand mark war anniversary

By James Conachy, 22 March 2004

Rallies took place in major Australian and New Zealand cities to commemorate the first anniversary of the war on Iraq. The main demand of the demonstrations was for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq, including the 850 Australian troops, and an end to the US occupation of the country.

Bank of America-FleetBoston deal highlights criminalization of US corporate elite

By Barry Grey, 22 March 2004

The acquisition of FleetBoston Financial Corp. by Bank of America provides revealing insights into the workings of the American profit system and its social priorities.

A good deal to chew, and not all of it edible: Brecht and Mother Courage

By David Walsh, 22 March 2004

Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht, at the Classical Theater of Harlem, February 4-29

Hundreds of thousands join in international protests against Iraq war

By Chris Marsden, 22 March 2004

The anniversary of the Iraq war witnessed a global outpouring of opposition to the invasion and occupation of the Persian Gulf country by the US and its allies. The single largest protest marking the first anniversary of the war took place in Rome, but altogether many hundreds of thousand of people took part in hundreds of demonstrations in cities and towns on every continent.

Germany: antiwar protests in Berlin and at US air base in Ramstein

By a reporting team, 22 March 2004

Demonstrations took place in a number of German cities to oppose the occupation of Iraq. The protests were boycotted by the main political parties, including the ruling Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens, and the trade union presence was minimal.

“The great issues before workers require global perspective”

By , 22 March 2004

Today, we are publishing the remarks of Richard Phillips, Central Committee member from the SEP in Australia, to the conference on “The 2004 US Election: the Case for a Socialist Alternative” held by the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party on March 13-14 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A summary account of the event was published March 15, and the opening report to the conference by WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman and SEP (US) National Secretary David North was posted March 17. Presidential candidate Bill Van Auken’s remarks were posted March 18, and vice-presidential candidate Jim Lawrence’s remarks were posted March 19. In the coming days, we will continue our coverage of this important political event, with remarks by other international delegates and contributions from the conference floor.

The dysfunctional society: US billionaires on the rise—roads, bridges in decay

By Jamie Chapman and Kate Randall, 22 March 2004

Two recent reports cast light on the impact of growing social inequality in the US. The first, the annual inventory of the very rich compiled this month by the business magazine Forbes, tracks the wealth of the world’s billionaires, and their increasing numbers in the US. The second is the “report card” issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) on the state of the infrastructure in the United States.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 22 March 2004

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature by e-mailing information to: editor@wsws.org

Hundreds of thousands march in Spain

By Vicky Short and Celia Sokolowski, 22 March 2004

Between 300,000 and 400,000 people demonstrated in cities throughout Spain against the US occupation of Iraq. Despite the fact that the protests received little advance publicity, at least 100,000 took to the streets in Madrid, scene of last week’s train bombings that killed 202 people. The biggest demonstration, involving between 150,000 and 200,000 people, took place in Barcelona. Some 15,000 marched in Zaragoza, 10,000 in Seville, and thousands more in Valencia, Castille, Palma de Mallorca and other cities and towns.

US: Protests on the West Coast and in Michigan

By our reporters, 22 March 2004

Protest demonstrations marking the first anniversary of the Iraq war took place in all the major cities along the West Coast of the United States as well as in many cities and towns in the Midwest and South.

Letters from our readers

By , 22 March 2004

The following is a selection of recent letters to the World Socialist Web Site.

Britain: government issues first “control orders” imposing house arrest

By Richard Tyler, 22 March 2004

Within hours of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (PTA) being signed into law on March 11, Britain’s home secretary, Charles Clarke, personally authorised the first control orders.

Canada: Protests in more than 50 cities

By a WSWS reporting team, 22 March 2004

Canadians in more than 50 cities and towns demonstrated Saturday against the illegal US-British invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Spain: protestors discuss Madrid bombings, Aznar’s lies, the election aftermath

By Vicky Short and Celia Sokolowski, 22 March 2004

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to many demonstrators in Madrid about the upsurge that brought about the electoral defeat of the Popular Party (PP) and their views concerning the incoming Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government.

Britain: 25,000-plus protesters march to rally in Trafalgar Square

By our reporting team, 22 March 2004

As demonstrators assembled at Hyde Park in London on Saturday, a representative of the Guantanamo Bay detainees appealed for support for Moazamm Begg, the Birmingham man still held in the US military prison in Cuba.

Over 100,000 in New York City march against Iraq occupation

By a WSWS reporting team, 22 March 2004

A massive stream of protesters estimated at over 100,000 paraded through New York City Saturday to demand the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and protest the Bush administration’s global policy of US militarism. The march, which followed a 34-block rectangle, virtually encircled the center of Manhattan, with the last marchers stepping off only shortly before the front of the march arrived back at its starting point on Madison Avenue and 24th Street.

Massive anti-war protest in Rome

By a correspondent, 22 March 2004

Rome saw the biggest antiwar demonstration worldwide, with over one million demonstrators participating in a march through the centre of the Italian capital. The protest was jointly organised by trade unions, anti-globalisation groups and parties of the official Italian left. Demonstrators came by special buses and trains from all regions of Italy. The march, which had to be started earlier than scheduled, lasted over seven hours.

Iraqi journalists protest US killing of two Al Arabiya reporters

By Mike Head, 22 March 2004

Local Iraqi news reporters staged an angry protest at a press conference held by US Secretary of State Colin Powell during his brief, unannounced stopover in Baghdad last Friday. About 25 journalists walked out of the media briefing to register their opposition to the slaying of two TV journalists from the Dubai-based satellite news channel Al-Arabiya by US soldiers the previous night.

Spain: How Aznar’s lies paved the way for his defeat

By Chris Marsden, 20 March 2004

Republican party bigwigs and the US media are falling over themselves to accuse the Spanish people of cowardice and appeasement towards terrorists because they voted out the right-wing pro-Iraq war Popular Party (PP) government of José María Aznar.

World Socialist Web Site Review: March-May 2004 issue now available

By , 20 March 2004

WSWS : Mehring Books

SEP candidate Bill Van Auken on Bush’s war anniversary speech: “Threadbare lies in defense of a criminal war”

By , 20 March 2004

The following is a statement by Socialist Equality Party presidential candidate Bill Van Auken in response to President Bush’s March 19 speech marking the first anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 20 March 2004

Sri Lankan electricity workers demand pay increases

More letters on “Why has The Passion of the Christ evoked such a popular response in America?”

By , 20 March 2004

Below we most additional letters on David Walsh’s March 5 article, “Why has The Passion of the Christ evoked such a popular response in America?”

US-led occupation force targets Haiti’s slums

By Keith Jones, 20 March 2004

The US-led international “stabilization” force that descended on Haiti after Washington engineered a coup against the Caribbean-island country’s elected president has begun moving aggressively into urban areas loyal to deposed president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The force’s stated aim is to restore order by disarming both pro-and anti-Aristide groups. But its targeting of the slums of Port-au-Prince underscores that the principal goal of the stabilization force is to quell popular opposition to Haiti’s new US-installed regime.

Wall Street Journal marks anniversary with lies and slander

By Joseph Kay, 20 March 2004

March 16 marked the one-year anniversary of the killing of 23-year-old Rachel Corrie by Israeli troops outside the Palestinian city of Rafah. Corrie was run over by a bulldozer while attempting to protect a Palestinian home from demolition by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). According to several eyewitness accounts, she was in full view of the driver of the bulldozer, who deliberately ran over her body twice before leaving.

Lead contamination of water supply in US capital

By Patrick Martin, 20 March 2004

Tens of thousands of residents of Washington, DC, have been drinking water with lead levels as much as 40 times the maximum set under US health standards, officials of the city’s Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) have admitted.

In the absence of an explanation: the World Trade Center memorial site

By Clare Hurley, 20 March 2004

Reflecting Absence, by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, was selected as the design for New York City’s World Trade Center Site memorial this past January, after what was billed as “the largest design competition in history” by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), which sponsored it. Despite the fanfare, the design is widely considered a disappointment, though an effort is being made to address its technical defects and make the best of it. Nevertheless, contention over the site is likely to continue.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East and Africa

By , 19 March 2004

Italian trade unions announce half-day general strike in pension protest

The diplomacy of imperialism: Iraq and US foreign policy

By Alex Lefebvre and Joseph Kay, 19 March 2004

This is the fifth in a series of articles on the history of Iraq and its relationship with the US. The previous articles were posted on March 12, March 13, March 16 and March 17. We now begin an examination of American diplomacy toward Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. During this period Washington gave increasingly open support to Saddam Hussein, despite his repeated use of chemical weapons. All documents cited below are recently declassified national security documents, publicly available in the Iraq section of the National Security Archive at http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv or http://nsarchive.chadwyck.com.

Spanish defeat exposes vulnerability of Howard government

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 19 March 2004

Last weekend’s defeat of the conservative Popular Party in the Spanish elections has visibly rattled the Howard government, exposing its acute political vulnerability. Despite ongoing claims of significant popular support, the government rests on an increasingly narrow social base, with large sections of the population deeply hostile to its foreign and domestic agenda.

“The working class must develop a political strategy to defend jobs and living standards”

By , 19 March 2004

Today, we are publishing the remarks of SEP vice-presidential candidate Jim Lawrence to the conference on “The 2004 US Election: the Case for a Socialist Alternative” held by the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party on March 13-14 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A summary account of the event was published March 15, and the opening report to the conference by WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman and SEP (US) National Secretary David North was posted March 17. Presidential candidate Bill Van Auken’s remarks were posted March 18. In the coming days, we will continue our coverage of this important political event, including remarks by international delegates and contributions from the conference floor.

One year since the US invasion of Iraq

By World Socialist Web Site and Socialist Equality Party, 19 March 2004

The following statement will be distributed at anti-war demonstrations being held March 20 in cities across the US and around the world. The statement is posted as a leaflet in pdf format, and we urge our readers and supporters to download and help circulate it at the March 20 rallies, as well as at work places and schools.

Britain: Freed Guantanamo Bay detainees detail beatings and abuse

By Richard Tyler, 19 March 2004

Five innocent men were returned to Britain last week, after two years’ illegal detention at the US concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The five are—Shafiq Rasul, Ruhal Ahmed and Asif Iqbal from Tipton, near Birmingham, Jamal al-Harith from Manchester and Tarek Dergoul from East London.