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Ahmed Chalabi and the “liberation” of Iraq

By Rick Kelly, 30 April 2004

With its lies about weapons of mass destruction and Al Qaeda connections fully exposed, the White House is now arguing that its criminal war on Iraq is being waged to bring liberation and democracy to the Iraqi people. “America’s objective in Iraq is limited and it is firm,” declared President Bush at a recent press conference. “We seek an independent, free and secure Iraq.”

Australia pushes ahead with grab for Timor oil and gas

By John Roberts, 30 April 2004

At the latest border talks between East Timor and Australia held in Dili on April 19-22, Canberra reaffirmed its determination to flout international law and keep control of the lion’s share of the oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea. Ignoring growing protests in East Timor and internationally, Australian representatives made no concessions to the demands of the East Timorese leadership for a greater share of the resources.

Britain: Blair pledges anti-immigrant clampdown

By Julie Hyland, 30 April 2004

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s April 27 speech on asylum and immigration to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) was a cowardly capitulation to the xenophobia being pumped out by the media and the Conservative Party.

Canada: State assault on public sector workers

By David Adelaide, 30 April 2004

On Canada’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts, right-wing provincial governments have introduced draconian legislation this week to break strikes by public sector workers and impose massive wage and job cuts.

The social roots of a Detroit tragedy

By Kate Randall, 30 April 2004

Leonard and Carissa Columbus, a recently married couple living in suburban Detroit, were unable to have children but desperately wanted to be parents. Sara Vanpopering, the 19-year-old mother of two small children, found single parenthood difficult and was seriously considering giving up her children for adoption. One might have thought the intersection of these lives could result in a happy ending for all involved. Instead, it ended horrifically earlier this month with the death of six-month-old Tyler Vanpopering and the suicide of the Columbus couple.

Torture of Iraqi prisoners exposed

By Richard Phillips, 30 April 2004

On April 29, CBS television’s “60 Minutes II” program screened graphic images of Iraqi prisoners being tortured and sexually humiliated by US troops at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. The photographs, which show American soldiers—men and women—smiling, laughing or giving thumbs-up signs alongside naked Iraqi prisoners, expose the sadistic and brutal methods employed by American forces and provide more evidence of the catalog of war crimes being committed by US-led forces in Iraq.

US: Mass opposition grows to Iraq war

By Bill Van Auken, 30 April 2004

In the face of the bloodbath that Washington is unleashing against the people of Iraq, mass opposition to the war and popular support for the withdrawal of US troops from the occupied country has soared among the American people.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East & Africa

30 April 2004

Industrial action at Fiat in Italy halts all production

Beijing shuts the door on democratic reform in Hong Kong

By Peter Symonds, 29 April 2004

In a heavy-handed intervention in Hong Kong affairs, Beijing issued an edict on Monday, declaring that there would be no direct elections for the top political post in the former British colony in 2007 and no increase in elected representation at the 2008 poll for the Legislative Council. The decision makes a mockery of China’s claims to respect Hong Kong’s autonomy. It is likely to trigger widespread opposition and renewed protests demanding democratic reforms.

Britain: Government threatens to change law to enable continued detention without trial

By Ann Talbot, 29 April 2004

The release of two men from prison has once again drawn attention to the British government’s policy of detaining terrorist suspects without trial. There are currently 13 foreign nationals being held in British prisons without due process. They have not been charged with any offence, they have not heard the evidence against them, nor have they been sentenced by any court. They are being held on the basis of mere suspicion. Eight of them are being held in Belmarsh high security prison, which has been called Britain’s Guantanamo Bay.