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Long-time CIA “asset” installed as interim Iraqi prime minister

By Peter Symonds, 31 May 2004

The insertion of Ayad Allawi as the new Iraqi interim prime minister makes a mockery of Washington’s claims to be bringing democracy to Iraq and preparing to hand over to a sovereign government on June 30. Moreover, the crude and hamfisted manner in which the appointment was made reveals a Bush administration that is itself torn by vicious infighting and in complete disarray.

Japan’s political establishment rocked by pension scandal

By Joe Lopez, 31 May 2004

Over the past month, a scandal over the non-payment of mandatory pension scheme contributions has forced the resignations of senior government and political figures. The speed and scope of the crisis has revealed once again a deep divide between the country’s political establishment and a majority of the population, particularly younger layers.

Does criticism lead to violence?-a comment on the Brandenburg intelligence service slander of the German SEP

By Rolf Gössner, 31 May 2004

This guest contribution first appeared in Ossietzky(10/2004)—a fortnightly magazine devoted to politics, culture and science http://www.sopos.org/ossietzky—as well as in http://www.linksnet.de. We are publishing this contribution with the agreement of the author, Rolf Gössner.*

Letters from our readers

By , 31 May 2004

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

A timeless portrait of the anti-colonial struggle in Algeria

By Richard Phillips, 29 May 2004

A fully restored version of The Battle of Algiers (1965) is currently screening in selected North American cinemas, with international releases and a DVD to follow later this year. Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo from a script by Pontecorvo and Franco Solinas, the award-winning black-and-white film is a seminal work and probably one of the most powerful films about colonial occupation, and resistance to it, ever made.

Soldier beaten at Guantanamo in interrogation training

By Patrick Martin, 29 May 2004

In an incident that confirms the routine torture and brutalization of prisoners in the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, a former soldier there has revealed that he was savagely beaten and suffered brain damage when he posed as a prisoner as part of a training exercise.

Canadian elections: campaign hype cannot mask popular disaffection

By Keith Jones, 29 May 2004

Ending months of hesitation and speculation, Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin has called a federal election for Monday, June 28.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 29 May 2004

Indian slate workers on strike for more than a month

New Indian ministry to continue right-wing policies

By Deepal Jayasekera, 29 May 2004

The composition of the Indian council of ministers, sworn into office last Saturday, provides further confirmation that the Congress Party-led coalition government will maintain essentially the same right-wing policies at home and abroad as its predecessor.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 29 May 2004

French energy workers strike to oppose privatisations

Spain: Zapatero continues Aznar’s anti-democratic measures in regions

By Paul Bond, 28 May 2004

When March’s general election swept the right-wing Popular Party (PP) government of Jose Maria Aznar from power, the incoming social democratic government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was given a cautious welcome by nationalist and regionalist parties in Spain’s 17 autonomous regions.

UN Security Council stalls vote on US Iraq resolution

By James Conachy, 28 May 2004

Amid the escalating political and military debacle confronting the American occupation of Iraq, the US and Britain placed a draft resolution before the UN Security Council on Monday to secure its endorsement of the Bush administration’s plans for so-called Iraqi sovereignty. An unelected interim government is to be selected by UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, vetted by the White House and handed power on June 30.

German resident incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay for two-and-a-half years

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 28 May 2004

It was November or December 2001. Murat Kurnaz was dragged out of a bus in Pakistan by Pakistani security forces. He would have been unable to understand why—he speaks neither Arabic nor English. Kurnaz parents are Turkish citizens, currently residing in Bremen, Germany. Murat Kurnaz, now 23, was born in Germany—and is a legal resident alien of that country—but is a Turkish citizen.

Ashcroft, Mueller press conference: sowing panic to prepare a provocation

By Barry Grey, 28 May 2004

The ostensible purpose of the extraordinary press conference held Wednesday by Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller was to alert the American people to the danger of an imminent terrorist attack. But neither of the two officials could cite a single piece of evidence to substantiate their claim that such an attack was in the offing, or even explain why they had called the press conference in the first place.

Guantanamo prisoners “locked up in a world of shadows”

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 28 May 2004

Almost two-and-a-half years ago, Murat Kurnaz was arrested in Pakistan by American security forces and transported to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. (See “German resident incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay for two-and-a-half years”) Since then, he has been held in this American enclave without any charges being made against him. Murat, a Turkish citizen, was born in Germany and is a legal resident alien of that country. Two years ago, his correspondence with his parents in Germany ceased, and with it any contact with the outside world. Only the security forces have access to him.

Student charged with “terrorist” training released on bail

By Laura Tiernan and Mike Head, 28 May 2004

The efforts of the Howard government to concoct evidence of a major terrorist plot in Australia in the lead up to this year’s scheduled federal election suffered a blow in Sydney yesterday when a judge ordered the release on bail of a young university student charged with receiving terrorist training.

New York City: Immigrant worker killed in construction collapse

By Jamie Chapman, 28 May 2004

A laborer, Angel Segovia, fell nearly 40 feet to his death on the morning of May 20 when a third-story balcony roof he was working on collapsed suddenly. Two other workers at the luxury condominium jobsite in Brooklyn, New York, were injured, one of them critically.

For greater complexity, more uncovering

By David Walsh, 27 May 2004

This is the second in a series of articles on the 2004 San Francisco International Film Festival, held April 15-29.

Bush’s prime-time speech highlights deepening crisis over Iraq

By the Editorial Board, 27 May 2004

In the buildup to Bush’s Monday night speech on Iraq, the White House announced that the president would spell out a clear strategy for a “successful” outcome of the US occupation. Instead, both the content of the speech and the circumstances in which it was delivered underscored the crisis and disarray of the administration’s Iraq policy.

Thieves fall out in Baghdad: behind the US raid on Ahmed Chalabi

By Patrick Martin, 27 May 2004

Last week’s raid by Iraqi police and US troops on the Baghdad home and headquarters of Ahmed Chalabi—whose Iraqi National Congress (INC) was once the favored US group of Iraqi exiles—is an unmistakable sign of the deepening disarray and crisis within the US occupation regime. The man the Bush administration once promoted as the George Washington of Iraq is now being linked to charges of kidnapping, torture, embezzlement and murder.

The death of Portugal’s richest man: a lesson in how a revolution was betrayed

By Daniel O’Flynn and Paul Mitchell, 27 May 2004

On May 10, 2004, António de Sommer Champalimaud died at the age of 86. With an estimated wealth of $3.1 billion, he was the richest man in Portugal and the 153rd-richest man in the world. His life illustrates how a pillar of the Salazar fascist dictatorship, forced to flee during the 1974 Portuguese revolution, was rehabilitated after the revolutionary threat to the bourgeois order was diverted by social democracy and Stalinism.

More Pentagon lies about the bombing of an Iraqi wedding party

By Peter Symonds, 27 May 2004

It took the publication of pictures showing US soldiers humiliating and abusing Iraqi prisoners before the Pentagon finally admitted that torture had taken place, even as it falsely claimed that only a few isolated individuals were involved. So it is not surprising that for more for a week, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, the US military has stonewalled and lied about a raid that killed more than 40 Iraqi men, women and children attending a wedding celebration in the village of Mukaradeeb, near the Syrian border, in the early hours of May 19.

Australia: Critical lessons from the tramway sackings in Melbourne

By Terry Cook, 27 May 2004

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

Letters from our readers

By , 27 May 2004

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

Furore over torture in Iraq prompts new revelations of US abuse in Afghanistan

By Peter Symonds, 26 May 2004

Following the graphic exposure of US torture methods in Iraq, former prisoners in Afghanistan have provided detailed accounts of similar physical, sexual and psychological abuse meted out to them by US interrogators and soldiers while held in US-run detention facilities. Their statements confirm that the Bush administration has been responsible for the systematic torture of detainees in a network of prisons and detention centres in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries.

Attac and German Trade Union Federation hold joint congress in Berlin

By Ute Reissner, 26 May 2004

Attac and the trade union leadership in Germany are beginning to close ranks against any political challenge from the left. This was the significance of the so-called “Perspectives Congress” held May 14-16 at the Technical University of Berlin. It was called by Attac and more than 80 organisations of different kinds, from trade unions and officially recognised welfare federations to various radical groups and local organisations.

The politics of opportunism: the “radical left” in France

By Peter Schwarz, 26 May 2004

The following is the sixth part of a seven-part series on the politics of the so-called “far left” parties in France. Part one was posted on May 15, part two on May 17, part three on May 19, part four on May 22 and part five on May 25.

“People smuggler” trial raises new questions about Canberra’s role in refugee deaths

By Jake Skeers, 26 May 2004

Next month, a hearing will resume into a criminal case that that has already raised significant questions about the Howard government’s role in the loss of more than 350 lives when a refugee boat sank on the way from Indonesia to Australia in October 2001. Testimony given by survivors of the tragedy has again suggested that the government was complicit in the sinking, as a result of its anti-refugee campaign aimed at winning the November 2001 general election.

Pakistan and Zimbabwe: a tale of two autocrats

By Rick Kelly, 26 May 2004

Following a meeting of its Ministerial Action Group in London on Saturday, the British Commonwealth lifted the suspension imposed on Pakistan following the country’s 1999 military coup. Ignoring all evidence to the contrary, the Commonwealth declared that “progress [has been] made in restoring democracy and rebuilding democratic institutions in Pakistan”.

Huge rise in prisoners serving life sentences in the US

By Debra Watson, 26 May 2004

One out of every 11 persons in the federal and state prison systems in the US is serving a life sentence, four times the number of “lifers” in 1984. A total of 127,677 inmates in 2002/2003 were in prison for life, up from fewer than 70,000 in 1992.

The politics of opportunism: the “radical left” in France

By Peter Schwarz, 25 May 2004

The following is the fifth part of a seven-part series on the politics of the so-called “far left” parties in France. Part one was posted on May 15, part two on May 17, part three on May 19 and part four on May 22.

More “Washington whispers” about possible pre-election terrorist attack

By Joseph Kay, 25 May 2004

Two more pieces published in the press in recent days point to a continuing discussion within the political elite in the US about the electoral consequences of a pre-election terrorist attack. Top officials and analysts speak as if an attack were probable if not certain, and indicate the major concern in Washington is how such an attack would affect the outcome of the elections.

Spain: Socialist Party government attacks free speech

By Paul Stuart, 25 May 2004

The PSOE (Socialist Workers Party of Spain) government of Jose Luiz Zapatero was swept to power in March by a powerful movement of the working class against the right-wing Popular Party’s (PP) pro-war stance and its attempt to exploit public horror at the March 11 bombings in Madrid for electoral success. The PP used the bombings to whip up hostility against the Basque separatist group ETA, concealing evidence that the bombings were the work of Islamic fundamentalists.

India’s new prime minister: a representative of corporate interests par excellence

By Deepal Jayasekera, 25 May 2004

When Manmohan Singh was sworn in as Indian prime minister last Saturday, there was no doubt that local big business and foreign investors had their man in the top job. Variously known as “the father of Indian economic reform”, “Mr Clean’s Mr Clean” and “India’s economic liberator”, Singh’s appointment was a guarantee to the markets that the new Congress Party-led coalition government would not hesitate in forging ahead with privatisation and economic restructuring.

New Sri Lankan government immediately axes hundreds of jobs

By W.A. Sunil, 25 May 2004

Sri Lanka’s new Labour Minister Athauda Seneviratna inaugurated his term of office on May 11 by announcing plans to dismiss around 500 contract workers from the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB). The minister’s actions are a sharp warning of the anti-working class character of the newly-installed United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 25 May 2004

Argentine workers fight for shorter workweek

US: SEP holds election meetings in Seattle and Portland

By our reporters, 24 May 2004

On May 18 and 20, the Socialist Equality Party continued its series of meetings on the West Coast in the US focusing on the war in Iraq and the party’s campaign in the 2004 presidential election, as well as other races.

Palestinian leader found guilty of murder after show trial

By Chris Marsden, 24 May 2004

On May 20, an Israeli court found Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti guilty of five murders in Israel and the West Bank. After the conviction prosecutors asked the court in the city of Tel Aviv to hand down five life sentences. He will be sentenced on June 6, his 44th birthday.

Britain: Father of Nick Berg supports march against Iraq occupation

By Paul Bond, 24 May 2004

Several thousand people marched through the centre of London on Saturday May 22 to demand the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq. The march was called by the Stop the War Coalition (STWC), the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) in response to the revelations of torture in military prisons in Iraq. Marchers demanded an end to the torture and an end to the occupation.

Australia: Unemployment rate driven down by the creation of low-paid jobs

By Terry Cook, 24 May 2004

For the fourth consecutive month, the unemployment rate in Australia has come in below the 6 percent mark. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recorded a 5.6 percent unemployment rate for April, which was in line with the previous month and down on the 5.9 percent registered for February. Full-time jobs grew by 43,400 in April, and part-time jobs by 12,800, while in March full-time jobs increased by 39,200 and part-time by 27,800.

Iraqi city of Karbala left in ruins by US military

By James Conachy, 24 May 2004

After three weeks of destructive fighting, the US military claims to have re-taken control of the city of Karbala from the Iraqi resistance fighters being led by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. American tanks and armoured vehicles rolled through the centre of the city on Friday and Saturday nights, close to the holy Shiite shrines of Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas, without coming under attack. US-controlled Iraqi police are reported to be once again carrying out patrols.

Nader gets his meeting with Kerry

By Patrick Martin, 22 May 2004

Ralph Nader’s hour-long meeting with Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on May 19 should go a long way in disabusing those who harbor illusions that the “independent” presidential candidate represents a serious or principled alternative to the American two-party system.

Canada’s Liberal government boosts military, courts Bush administration

By David Adelaide, 22 May 2004

Under Paul Martin, Canada’s Liberal government has given increased importance and prominence to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). In answer to demands from Canadian big business and Washington that Canada increase its contribution to “global security,” Ottawa has announced new or speeded-up weapons purchases, deployed troops to Haiti, extended the CAF mission in Afghanistan, and all but dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on Canadian participation in the Bush administration’s missile defence program.

The politics of opportunism: the “radical left” in France

By Peter Schwarz, 22 May 2004

The following is the fourth part of a seven-part series on the politics of the so-called “far left” parties in France. Part one was posted on May 15, part two on May 17, and part three on May 19.

Ex-New York Mayor Giuliani booed at 9/11 hearing

By Bill Van Auken, 22 May 2004

The two days of hearings held in New York City by the commission investigating the September 11 terrorist attacks exposed the disparity between the government- and media-crafted myths about 9/11 and the reality that has become all-too painfully apparent to those whom the events of that day touched most deeply.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 22 May 2004

Indonesian workers fight for reinstatement

Georgia: Tensions increase between Abkhazia and Tbilisi

By Simon Whelan, 22 May 2004

For the time being at least, a war of words rather than bullets has ensued between the breakaway Georgian republic of Abkhazia and the Saakashvili regime in Tbilisi. As soon as the Tbilisi central government wrested back control of Adjaria, they began to alternately threaten or cajole the Abkhazian authorities. Regardless of repeated claims from the proclaimed capital of Sukhumi that Abkhazia is no Adjaria, the new government in Tbilisi is undoubtedly pursuing a similar scenario.

US seeks Pakistani military support for Afghan and Iraqi occupations

By Vilani Peiris, 22 May 2004

Bogged down in a deepening quagmire in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration has made a series of appeals to Pakistan for military and political assistance in both countries. However, any steps by President Pervez Musharraf to accede to the US requests will only further fuel opposition within Pakistan and compound the political difficulties his regime confronts.

Father of Guantanamo Bay prisoner says son has been abused

By Richard Phillips, 21 May 2004

Australian lawyer Stephen Kenny and Terry Hicks, the father of 28-year-old David Hicks, one of two Australians incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, have accused the US military of torturing detainees in the prison camp. The allegations were made at a press conference last week in Australia, after former British prisoners issued an open letter to the US government detailing abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 21 May 2004

Europe

Former prisoners demand release of Guantanamo Bay videotapes

By Richard Phillips, 21 May 2004

Statements by former British prisoners at Guantanamo Bay over the past week provide further damning proof that the sadistic torture used at Abu Ghraib in Iraq originated in Afghanistan and the Pentagon’s infamous military prison in Cuba. The declarations were followed by new evidence that Australian detainees in Guantanamo Bay—David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib—were beaten and abused.

White House pushes ahead with plans for Iraqi puppet state

By James Conachy, 21 May 2004

Tuesday’s memorial ceremony for Izzedin Salim, the assassinated president of the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC), was symbolic of the state of affairs in Iraq. The representatives of the occupation—whether American, coalition, UN or Iraqi—are viewed with such hostility and are so fearful of the Iraqi people that the ceremony could only take place before a carefully vetted audience inside the heavily fortified Green Zone compound in the centre of Baghdad.

United Nations report highlights growing inequality in South Africa

By our South African correspondent, 21 May 2004

The tenth anniversary of the end of apartheid and the first democratic elections in South Africa has been widely celebrated throughout the country. The government has used the occasion to congratulate itself on its performance in eradicating poverty, reducing inequality, and generally producing “a better life for all.” However, a report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) presents a different picture to that painted by politicians and government spokesmen.

US military strafes Iraqi wedding party, killing at least 40

By Peter Symonds, 21 May 2004

In another example of callous indifference for Iraqi lives, the US military strafed the small village of Mukaradeeb in the early hours of Wednesday morning, killing at least 40 men, women and children who were part of a local wedding party. Official US denials, which eyewitnesses and local officials have rejected as fabrications, have further fuelled anti-American anger in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

Los engaños y la hipocresía de Estados Unidos en cuanto a las torturas y humillaciones en Irak

By , 21 May 2004

WSWS : Español

Australian government dismisses proof of torture in Iraq

By Rick Kelly, 21 May 2004

The criminal complicity of the Howard government in the US-led subjugation of Iraq has been underscored yet again by its dismissive reaction to the revelations of systematic torture and abuse by occupying forces.

Bush’s legal propagandist defends the indefensible: torture in Afghanistan and Iraq

By Richard Hoffman and Mike Head, 20 May 2004

The erstwhile mouthpiece of American liberalism, the New York Times, on May 15 published a brazen and lying defence of the Bush administration’s illegal use of torture, sexual abuse and severe “stress” techniques against detainees in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq by President George W. Bush’s counsel Alberto Gonzales. The column’s provocative title was “The Rule of Law and the Rules of War”.

Attempts to restart Sri Lankan peace talks heighten political instability

By Wije Dias, 20 May 2004

The newly-installed United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government in Sri Lanka is pressing ahead with steps to restart stalled peace negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to end the country’s 20-year civil war. After a flurry of diplomatic activity, the Colombo government and the LTTE have both indicated their willingness to begin talks.

Israeli massacre of demonstrators in southern Gaza

By Barry Grey, 20 May 2004

In an open and wanton act of mass murder, Israeli forces on Wednesday fired on some 2,000 unarmed Palestinians who were peacefully demonstrating in the southern Gaza town of Rafah to protest the ongoing Israeli invasion of the adjoining Rafah refugee camp. At least 10 of the marchers, who for the most part consisted of youth and young teenagers, are confirmed dead and least 50 others were wounded.

Sonia Gandhi declines India’s prime ministership

By Keith Jones, 20 May 2004

The Indian and international press have almost universally hailed Sonia Gandhi’s decision to forego India’s prime ministership as a courageous act of self-sacrifice. In reality it was a craven capitulation. A capitulation to the Hindu supremacist right—the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had begun an agitation against the “humiliation” of a “foreign” prime minister. But even more fundamentally a capitulation to Indian and international capital.

US occupation regime staggered by bomb blasts, uprisings

By Patrick Martin, 19 May 2004

The suicide car bombing that killed the head of the US-appointed Iraq Governing Council Monday is the latest in a series of blows to the occupation regime, which is widely hated by the Iraqi people and seen as increasingly weak and beleaguered.

Colonel Gadhaffi’s long journey and the collapse of Arab nationalism—Part 1

By Steve James, 19 May 2004

This is the first part of a two-part article on the underlying causes of Libya’s Muammar’s Gadhaffi’s recent visit to Brussels.

Continuing fears of a Chinese economic slowdown

By John Chan, 19 May 2004

The world’s stock markets, commodity prices and a number of currencies suffered a sharp drop after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced on April 29 that Beijing would take “effective and very forceful” measures to slow down China’s “overheating” economy.

The politics of opportunism: the “radical left” in France

By Peter Schwarz, 19 May 2004

The following is the third part of a seven-part series on the politics of the so-called “far-left” parties in France. Part one was posted on May 15, part two on May 17.

Israel escalates war of terror in Gaza

By Jean Shaoul, 19 May 2004

This last week has seen a massive escalation in Israel’s criminal war of terror against the Palestinians in Gaza. Distraught Palestinians are fleeing their homes with such possessions as they can carry as Israel mounts a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

German foreign minister in Washington— cowardice personified

By Ulrich Rippert, 19 May 2004

For millions of people in the Middle East, Europe and the US the torture photos from Abu Ghraib have delivered the final proof and confirmed something they knew, or at least suspected, for a long time—the war against Iraq is nothing other than a brutal imperialist war of conquest.

Australia: Public housing being “cannibalised”

By Mary Beadnell, 19 May 2004

Public housing in Australia is unlikely to survive more than another decade, according to a recent report produced for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. The study, prepared by Mike Berry and Jon Hall from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, found that state and federal spending cuts have forced public housing authorities to begin “cannibalising” themselves—selling off properties to finance their operations.

Sonia Gandhi prepares to become India’s prime minister

By Keith Jones, 18 May 2004

India’s election shock wave continues to reverberate, roiling the country’s stock markets and political elite.

South Korean court overturns presidential impeachment

By Peter Symonds, 18 May 2004

South Korea’s Constitutional Court last Friday overturned the impeachment of President Roh Moo Hyun by the country’s National Assembly in March. While the court decision was widely expected, it confirms the setback suffered by the right-wing parties that sought to oust the president. Not only has Roh been restored to office but the pro-Roh Uri Party has gained control of the National Assembly, following a voter backlash against the impeachment in general elections last month.

US press accounts confirm: Rumsfeld, Bush approved Iraq torture policy

By Alex Lefebvre, 18 May 2004

Recent press reports have demolished Bush administration claims that US torture in Iraq was an isolated act of a few deviant soldiers and reservists. Interviews and government documents obtained by The New Yorker and Newsweek show that the very highest levels of the Bush administration—including President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld—set up programs designed to extract more information out of detainees by circumventing international laws banning torture. Moreover, they were fully conscious that in doing so they were violating US and international law and leaving themselves open to prosecution for war crimes.

Siemens of Germany shifts jobs and cuts wages

By Eli Zimmermann, 18 May 2004

At the start of May, Siemens management announced the relocation of 2,000 jobs from its factories at Bocholt and Kamp-Lintfort am Niederrhein to Hungary, where, due to significantly lower wages, production costs are considerably lower than in Germany. Siemens currently still employs 4,500 workers in the production of mobile phones at the plants.

World Bank chief admits United Nations development goals cannot be met

By Barry Mason, 18 May 2004

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund issued a report on April 16 that accepts the millennium development goals (MDGs) will not be achieved. The MDGs were established at the United Nations General Assembly summit in 2000. Their stated aim was to cut by half the number of people in the world’s poorest countries suffering poverty, hunger and ill-health.

SEP election meetings in California

By Kim Saito, 18 May 2004

On May 15 and 16, the Socialist Equality Party held the first two of four public meetings on the West Coast about the war in Iraq and the party’s campaign in the 2004 presidential election as well as in various congressional and state-wide races.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 18 May 2004

Latin America

Mitsubishi workers face layoffs and closures

By Terry Cook, 18 May 2004

Tens of thousands of workers employed by Mitsubishi Motor Corp (MMC) are facing an uncertain future following developments last month that could lead to the liquidation of the ailing auto manufacturer or further drastic global restructuring and downsizing.

Fighting intensifies around Shiite holy cities in Iraq

By James Conachy, 17 May 2004

The US military is intensifying its efforts to crush the uprising in Iraq led by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Over the past week, major attacks have been launched by American troops in Najaf and Karbala—the location of the most important shrines of the Shia faith—as well as ongoing operations in the rebellious Sadr City, a major working class suburb of Baghdad.

Spain assumes leading role in Middle East diplomacy

By Paul Bond, 17 May 2004

Spain’s Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos is continuing to promote his government’s diplomatic role in the Middle East in the wake of the withdrawal of Spain’s combat troops from Iraq. This is likely to intensify the pressure Spain comes under as divisions between Europe and the US deepen.

United Nations Security Council ignores ethnic cleansing in Sudan’s Darfur region

By Brian Smith, 17 May 2004

The ongoing conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region has increasingly taken the form of ethnic cleansing, with numerous reports of the direct targeting of civilian populations.

Global recovery could be short lived

By Nick Beams, 17 May 2004

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has painted a rosy scenario for the world economy. According to its semi-annual Economic Outlook issued last week, the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of its 30-member states will increase at its fastest rate in four years during 2004.

The politics of opportunism: the “radical left” in France

By Peter Schwarz, 17 May 2004

The following is the second part of a seven-part series on the politics of the so-called “far-left” parties in France. Part one was posted May 15.

Democrats agree to suppress photos of US torture in Iraq

By Alex Lefebvre, 15 May 2004

As evidence of mass torture of Iraqi detainees by US forces continues to emerge, the Senate Armed Services Committee has, through its public hearings, assumed the role of point-man in the effort of the US political establishment to conceal the dimensions of American war crimes and obscure the colonialist character of the Iraq war. True to form, congressional Democrats are playing the crucial role in shielding the chief perpetrators in the Bush White House and Pentagon.

Political earthquake in India

By Keith Jones, 15 May 2004

To the shock of India’s entire political and economic establishment, the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition have been swept from office. Just hours after vote counting began Thursday morning, the BJP-led NDA conceded defeat in India’s 14th general election and by evening Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Prime Minister since 1998, had tendered his resignation.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 15 May 2004

Union attempts to call off Thai anti-privatisation protests

The politics of opportunism: the “radical left” in France

By Peter Schwarz, 15 May 2004

The following is the first of a seven-part series on the politics of the so-called “far-left”parties in France. Part two will be published on Monday, May 17.

Blair pledges his continued loyalty to Bush on Iraq

By Julie Hyland, 15 May 2004

Prime Minister Tony Blair has dismissed calls from within his own party to distance himself from President George W. Bush, insisting that it is in “the interests of the world” that the US/UK military forces remain in Iraq.

Declaración electoral del Partido Socialista por la Igualdad de Alemania: ¡Por los Estados Socialistas Unidos de Europa!

By , 15 May 2004

WSWS : Español

More evidence of Australian government’s failure to warn of Bali bombings

By Mike Head, 15 May 2004

A series of recent revelations—involving Qantas, the Australian airline, and the country’s intelligence agencies—has raised new questions about why the government failed to warn ordinary Australians that the Indonesian resort island of Bali had become a terrorist bombing target.

The Iraq war and the international working class

By , 15 May 2004

SYDNEY Sunday, May 30, 3:00pm Tom Mann Theatre 136 Chalmers Street Surry Hills (close to Central Station) Tickets: $5/$3 concession

Political crisis in Nepal continues after prime minister resigns

By W.A. Sunil, 14 May 2004

The political crisis in Nepal, precipitated by weeks of anti-government protests, continued unabated this week despite the resignation of Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa last Friday. King Gyanendra has found no replacement for Thapa and is under continuing pressure from the country’s five major parties to restore parliamentary democracy and a government containing representatives of all parties.

Red Cross report documents US torture of Iraqi prisoners

By Kate Randall, 14 May 2004

In the wake of the publication of photos depicting the brutal and humiliating treatment of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of US troops at the Abu Ghraib prison, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has released to the press its February 2004 report on the handling of prisoners and other detainees by Coalition Forces (CF) in Iraq.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East and Africa

By , 14 May 2004

Europe

The terrible and strange death of Nick Berg

By James Conachy, 14 May 2004

The terrible death of Nick Berg in Iraq—beheaded in front of a video camera—has taken place in such strange and suspicious circumstances that it raises deeply troubling questions. Among them is whether American agencies had a direct or indirect hand in the young man’s murder.

No to the European Union—Yes to the United Socialist States of Europe

By by Socialist Equality Party (Britain), 14 May 2004

The U-turn by Prime Minister Tony Blair in accepting the need for a referendum on the proposed constitution for the European Union (EU) has provoked a political crisis in Britain and Europe.

Britain: Sunday Times details enormous gains for the super-rich

By Simon Whelan, 14 May 2004

The publication of this year’s annual Sunday Times Rich List catalogues the financial bonanza enjoyed by the super rich living in Britain over the last 12 months. In addition, it illustrates how London in particular has become the virtual tax-free playground for this parasitic social layer.

France: Amiens meeting discusses SEP campaigns in Europe and US

By Antoine Lerougetel, 14 May 2004

Peter Schwarz, WSWS editorial board member and leading member of the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (the German Socialist Equality Party) addressed a meeting organised by the WSWS readers group in Amiens on May 3. The gathering marked the launch in France of an international campaign in support of the US and European SEP candidates in this year’s elections.

Looking beyond one’s nose

By David Walsh, 13 May 2004

This is the third and final article of a series on the 6th Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, held from April 14 to 25. There are two accompanying interviews, with directors Ana Poliak (Parapalos) and Clark Lee Walker (Levelland).

India: Stalinists to promote Congress power bid

By Nanda Wickremasinghe and Keith Jones, 13 May 2004

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) will back a bid by the Congress party to form a coalition government if India’s general election produces a hung parliament. The traditional governing party of India’s economic and political elite, the Congress, is an enthusiastic supporter of the Indian bourgeoisie’s “liberalization” agenda, which aims to make India a magnet for foreign capital through privatization, deregulation, cuts to social welfare programs, the dismantling of tariff protection for small farmers, and the gutting of worker rights.

Iraq debacle creates crisis in Portugal

By Paul Mitchell, 13 May 2004

The decision by the newly elected Spanish government to withdraw its troops from Iraq has created a crisis for the ruling elite in neighbouring Portugal.

US prison boom creates an Orwellian world

By Peter Daniels, 13 May 2004

A recent study by the Urban Institute, a nonprofit policy research and education organization, sheds important light on the growth of prisons in the US over the past two decades, and on some little-noticed social and political ramifications of this phenomenon.

Interview with Ana Poliak, director of Palapalos

By David Walsh, 13 May 2004

David Walsh: Why did you begin with the physical exam?