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By , 31 May 2005

Taped conversations between senior Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers have exploded the claim of former Premier Mike Harris that he and his Tory provincial government played no part in the police action that led to the killing of an unarmed native protester at Ipperwash Provincial Park in 1995. The tapes, which were played earlier this month at a public inquiry into the police killing of Dudley George, indicate that the Tory government was, on the contrary, intimately involved in directing the police and that the premier and others in his administration helped instigate the use of excessive and lethal force against a small group of aboriginal people demanding fulfillment of a land claim.

An interview with Margarethe von Trotta, director of Rosenstrasse

By Richard Phillips, 31 May 2005

More than two years after its European premiere, Margarethe von Trotta’s Rosenstrasse is finally being shown in Australian cinemas. The movie is about the courageous action of German women who protested against the arrest and impending deportation of their Jewish husbands by the Nazis in 1943. It will screen at Palace cinemas in Sydney and Melbourne in early June, with other cities to follow.

Palestinian president fawns on Bush

By Chris Marsden, 31 May 2005

Journalists love a cliché, as is evidenced by how many wrote of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s meeting with President Bush under the title, “Mr Abbas goes to Washington”.

Oil pipeline completed: a sign of rising great power rivalry in Central Asia

By Peter Symonds, 31 May 2005

Last week’s ceremony in the Central Asian republic of Azerbaijan to open the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline received scant coverage in the international press. Nevertheless the completion of the US-backed pipeline, which has taken a decade to construct, will inevitably accelerate the scramble for oil and gas in the Caspian Basin region and heighten the potential for conflict among rival major powers.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 31 May 2005

Latin America

Three trials, three whitewashes: US military ratifies murder of Iraq prisoners

By Patrick Martin, 31 May 2005

Three trials conducted last week, ending in dropped charges or not guilty verdicts, demonstrate that the US military justice system will whitewash even the most brazen acts of murder against Iraqis.

The third episode, or the sixth, or is this merely a zero?

By David Walsh, 31 May 2005

Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith, written and directed by George Lucas

Letters from our readers

By , 30 May 2005

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

A dark and complex beauty

By Paul Bond, 30 May 2005

Caravaggio: The Final Years at the National Gallery, London, February 23-May 22, 2005

More on Newsweek’s retraction of the Koran story

By Kate Randall, 30 May 2005

New details emerging about detainee abuse at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp underscore the utterly craven and politically motivated character of Newsweek’s retraction of its May 9 article citing desecration of the Koran.

World economy becoming more dependent on US debt

By Nick Beams, 30 May 2005

The increasing fragility of the world economy is underlined by the latest report from International Monetary Fund staff on the position of the United States. The report, which will be the subject of discussion before a final document is prepared, said there was “general agreement” that the outlook for the US in 2005 and 2006 was “favourable” with gross domestic product (GDP) expected to expand at around 3.5 percent over the next two years.

French electorate rejects European constitution

By Peter Schwarz, 30 May 2005

The following is an initial report on the results of Sunday’s referendum in France on the European Union constitution. A more comprehensive analysis of the vote and its political implications will be posted Tuesday.

Turkey: IMF plan demands new attacks on working people

By Sinan Ikinci, 30 May 2005

On May 12, Turkey signed a new three-year, $US10 billion loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

US press takes umbrage at Amnesty’s “gulag” charge

By Joseph Kay and Barry Grey, 28 May 2005

The American establishment press has reacted to the human rights report issued by Amnesty International with a combination of indignation and verbal mudslinging. The editorial boards of the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post have taken particular offense at the statement by Amnesty International’s secretary general calling the US-run prison camp in Guantánamo Bay “the gulag of our times.”

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia & the Pacific

By , 28 May 2005

Indian Coca-Cola workers demand re-opening of closed plant

Australia: school principals given power to select teachers

By Erika Zimmer, 28 May 2005

A new agreement between the Labor government in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) and the NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) takes a significant step toward dismantling the current public school staffing system. Launched late last month, the agreement is the second major shift in this direction, following last year’s amendments to the Teaching Services Act, which allowed for the dismissal of school principals who failed to satisfy various performance benchmarks.

The French left and the politics of evasion

By Peter Schwarz, 28 May 2005

A meeting held Thursday in the northern French town of Amiens, under the title “No to the Constitution: for a Social and Democratic Europe,” differed considerably from a meeting of the Socialist Party which this writer attended the previous evening in Paris.

The essential things go unexplained

By Joanne Laurier, 28 May 2005

Crash, directed by Paul Haggis, screenplay by Haggis and Robert Moresco

Laura Bush, Mubarak and Washington’s “crusade for democracy”

By Patrick Martin, 28 May 2005

Only a merciless satirist could have choreographed the trip through the Middle East last week by Laura Bush, wife of the US president. Mrs. Bush visited Jordan, Israel and the occupied West Bank, then finished up with two days in Egypt, where she visited Cairo, the pyramids, and the site of the ancient library at Alexandria.

Amnesty International report denounces US abuses of human rights

By Chris Marsden, 28 May 2005

Amnesty International has called on the Bush administration to close its prison camp at the US Navy base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, calling it “the gulag of our time.”

British Broadcasting Corporation employees strike over job cuts

By our correspondent, 27 May 2005

Employees of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) struck for 24 hours on May 23, in protest at plans to cut 3,780 jobs and privatise sections of the corporation. A 48-hour strike is planned for May 31 and June 1.

Season of death on US-Mexican border

By Bill Van Auken, 27 May 2005

The so-called season of death began on the border that separates the US and Mexico last weekend, with American Border Patrol agents recovering the bodies of 12 undocumented migrants in the Arizona desert and detaining scores more, many of them suffering from extreme dehydration.

The nature of Stalin’s purges: A letter to the Wall Street Journal

By , 27 May 2005

The following is the text of a letter sent to the Wall Street Journal by David North, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (US), published by the Journal on May 25. The letter is in reply to an opinion piece published May 6 entitled “What Gulag?” by David Satter, a Russian specialist affiliated with the Hoover Institution, the Hudson Institute and Johns Hopkins University. Satter criticized Russia for not breaking completely with the legacy of the Soviet Union. He argued that Russia must “define the communist regime as criminal and the Soviet period as illegitimate; open the archives, including the list of informers; and find all mass burial grounds and execution sites.”

Sunni elite moves toward an accommodation with US occupation of Iraq

By James Cogan, 27 May 2005

Over 1,000 representatives of the Sunni Muslim political and religious elite that previously dominated the Baathist state headed by Saddam Hussein gathered in Baghdad on May 22 to debate participation in the US-dictated political reorganisation of Iraq. While still tentative, the conference marks a shift by a previously recalcitrant faction of the Sunni bourgeois establishment toward legitimising and joining with the post-invasion regime.

Aid conference highlights political impasse in Sri Lanka

By Nanda Wickremasinghe and K. Ratnayake, 27 May 2005

A major international aid conference was held in the Sri Lankan city of Kandy on May 16-17, attended by about 120 representatives from 50 countries, including the US, EU, Japan, China and India and financial agencies such as the World Bank, IMF and Asian Development Bank.

French Socialist Party leaders slander “no” voters in referendum on EU constitution

By Peter Schwarz, 27 May 2005

PARIS—To experience just one of the 450 meetings organised by the French Socialist Party to drum up support for the European Union (EU) constitution confirms one’s conviction that the referendum will most likely fail on Sunday.

Dutch government facing likely defeat in upcoming referendum

By Jörg Victor, 27 May 2005

On June 1, just three days after the planned referendum in France, the Netherlands is holding its own national referendum on the new European Union (EU) constitution. Polls indicate that the government of Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende is facing a serious defeat. A recent opinion poll showed the majority of the population is against the draft constitution, opposing the position of all major political parties in the Dutch parliament.

US puppet government announces state of siege in Baghdad

By Barry Grey, 27 May 2005

The defense and security ministers of the US-backed Iraqi government on Thursday announced a massive police-military operation in Baghdad involving 40,000 Iraqi police and soldiers, backed by the 10,000 US troops stationed in the city.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 27 May 2005

Europe

OECD warns time is “running out” to correct global imbalances

By Nick Beams, 26 May 2005

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is the latest organisation to warn of the growing imbalances in the global economy caused by the mounting US balance of payments deficit and slow growth in the rest of the world.

Budget vote leaves Canada’s Liberal government hanging by a thread

By Keith Jones, 26 May 2005

Canada’s minority Liberal government escaped defeat in the House of Commons May 19 by the slimmest of margins, with the speaker forced to break a tied vote on a budget bill.

Real ID Act: Congress takes another step toward a police state

By Jamie Chapman, 26 May 2005

When President Bush signed into law earlier this month the $82 billion bill to fund ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, incorporated within it was a second piece of legislation known as the REAL ID Act. When implemented three years from now, it will enable the government to follow the daily comings and goings of every US resident, citizen and non-citizen alike.

French referendum on European constitution: the official debate

By Peter Schwarz, 26 May 2005

The past few weeks in France have witnessed an intensive debate leading up to the May 29 referendum on the European Union constitution. But the debate has been exclusively restricted to the sphere of official bourgeois politics. There is not a trace of an independent perspective which would permit the mass of the population to articulate and realize its own demands and interests.

Senate “compromise” on judicial nominations: Democrats prop up a crisis-ridden administration

By Patrick Martin, 26 May 2005

The agreement by 14 US senators Monday to stave off a full-scale battle over the filibuster of Bush judicial nominations is a textbook illustration of how spinelessness and lack of principle on the part of the Democratic Party prop up the Bush administration.

Australia: rifts emerge in Howard government over refugee detention

By Mike Head, 26 May 2005

Amid a continuing series of shocking revelations about its immigration detention regime, rifts have begun to erupt within Prime Minister John Howard’s government. In what the mainstream media has dubbed an unprecedented “rebellion,” five government members of parliament have indicated their support for two private member’s bills to modify the mandatory detention system.

US Army deliberately withheld details of Ranger’s “friendly-fire” death

By Kate Randall, 26 May 2005

The parents of US Army Ranger and former professional football player Pat Tillman have reacted angrily to new revelations surrounding the circumstances of their son’s death last year in Afghanistan.

Nubes de tormenta amenaza a la economía mundial

By , 26 May 2005

WSWS : Español

Bush pledges to veto stem cell bill

By Joseph Kay, 26 May 2005

The backwardness and ignorance of the Bush administration were again on display this week, as the US president vowed to veto a bill that would expand federal funding of stem cell research.

Fortune Global Forum celebrates corporate profiteering in China

By John Chan, 25 May 2005

Some 800 economists, top government officials and business leaders from global corporate giants gathered in Beijing on May 16 for the 9th “Fortune Global Forum”, hosted by New York-based Fortune business magazine.

SEP public meeting to pay tribute to veteran Sri Lankan Trotskyist

By , 25 May 2005

The Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) will hold a public meeting in Jaffna, the capital of the war-torn northern province, to commemorate Velupillai Sarawanaperumal, a longstanding SEP member, who died on April 14 from chronic lung disease. His untimely death at the age of just 56 was a great loss to the international Trotskyist movement.

Correction

By , 25 May 2005

WSWS

Social mobility lower in US and Britain than in other advanced countries

By Jean Shaoul, 25 May 2005

A recent report focuses on how education affects the life chances of British children, compared with those in other countries. Researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE) and Bristol University examined the extent of intergenerational mobility—where children from the most and least affluent families end up in the earnings or income distribution scale as adults.

Obscure Sri Lankan group claims responsibility for Tamil journalist’s murder

By our correspondent, 25 May 2005

A previously unknown Sri Lankan group calling itself the “Therapuththabhaya Brigade” issued an “announcement” last week claiming responsibility for the recent murder of prominent Tamil journalist Dharmaratnam Sivaram.

Vote “no” in French referendum on European constitution

By WSWS Editorial Board, 25 May 2005

On May 29, voters in France will go to the polls to accept or reject the constitution of the European Union. The editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site is decisively opposed to the constitution. We call for a “no” vote on May 29.

Wall Street Journal alibis for Nazi-style crimes in Iraq

By Bill Van Auken, 25 May 2005

In an editorial titled “As bad as the Nazis,” the Wall Street Journal Monday launched a smear campaign against the International Committee of the Red Cross, while attempting to cover up the crimes carried out by the US military in the illegal war in Iraq.

Afghan president feigns outrage over latest US torture revelations

By Peter Symonds, 24 May 2005

On the eve of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s current trip to the US, an article in last Friday’s New York Times provided details of the systematic torture of detainees by American military interrogators in Afghanistan. The article confirmed that two deaths in custody in December 2002 were not the result of “natural causes”, as the US military claimed at the time, but were the consequence of sustained beatings and physical abuse.

Brazilian daily reports multinationals aided Latin American death squads

By Bill Van Auken, 24 May 2005

Major US and European corporations collaborated intimately with Latin American military dictatorships in the 1960s and 1970s, fingering militant workers for arrest, torture and often death, according to an article that appeared this week in the Brazilian daily O Globo.

Germany: Schröder calls for early federal election after Social Democratic debacle in North Rhine Westphalia

By Ulrich Rippert and Dietmar Henning, 24 May 2005

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) lost control of the state legislature in Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine Westphalia (NRW), in elections held Sunday. It was the worst result for the SPD in 50 years, and marked the fall of the last remaining Social Democratic-Green Party coalition government at the state level. The SPD and Greens have held power, in coalition, at the federal level since 1998.

Hack work, not scholarship: the decay of American liberalism

By Richard Hoffman, 24 May 2005

The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in the Age of Terror by Michael Ignatieff was received with great fanfare in liberal circles when published last year. It purports to canvass important political and legal issues arising out of the new “age of terror”. In reality, Ignatieff’s book is a shoddy piece of hack work that expresses, more than anything, the sharp shift to the right in what once constituted liberalism in the United States.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 24 May 2005

Latin America

International Commission calls for Kosovo independence

By Paul Mitchell, 24 May 2005

The International Commission on the Balkans has published a report that calls for a “shift” in Western policy towards supporting independence for Kosovo. The Report, The Balkans in Europe’s Future, also calls for a referendum on the future of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro and a revised federal structure in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

US military atrocities and the moral choice facing the American people

By David North and David Walsh, 24 May 2005

A New York Times editorial May 23 accused the president of the United States, along with other members of his administration, of grave crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Republicans launch power grab in US Senate

By Patrick Martin and Joseph Kay, 23 May 2005

Senate Republicans filed a motion Friday to end debate over the nomination of extreme right-wing Texas jurist Priscilla Owen to the US Court of Appeals and force an up-or-down vote. The motion begins a series of parliamentary maneuvers that could end with the effective suppression of minority rights in the US upper house.

Letters from our readers

By , 23 May 2005

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

Proposed Indonesian criminal code enshrines Suharto-era repression

By John Roberts, 23 May 2005

A draft for a new Indonesian criminal code (KUHP) is currently on the desk of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Purported to be an update of existing legislation, the new bill revives or reasserts many of the anti-democratic measures that prevailed under the Suharto military-backed dictatorship.

Pakistan: US-backed military regime mounts new wave of repression

By Vilani Peiris, 23 May 2005

Scores, possibly hundreds, of activists of Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) remain in detention after a massive crackdown launched last month by the US-backed military regime of Pervez Musharraf.

US indebtedness a growing threat to global stability

By Nick Beams, 23 May 2005

A study released last week on the present disequilibrium in the world economy points to the continued threat to financial stability posed by the never-ending growth of US indebtedness.

Japan renames holiday to honour wartime Emperor Hirohito

By John Chan, 21 May 2005

On May 13, the Japanese parliament passed a bill to rename a national holiday in honour of the late Emperor Hirohito, in whose name Japanese imperialism carried out a brutal campaign of colonial expansion and militarism from 1931 to 1945.

Bush unveils plans for US colonial office

By Bill Van Auken, 21 May 2005

The US government is creating a permanent agency tasked with the rapid consolidation of US control in countries targeted by Washington for military aggression. That was President George W. Bush’s essential message in a speech delivered Wednesday to a Republican audience in Washington.

The French referendum: Sarkozy leads turn to right in ruling party

By Antoine Lerougetel, 21 May 2005

Nicolas Sarkozy—French president Jacques Chirac’s rival for leadership of the ruling conservative party, the UMP (Union for a Popular Movement), and for candidacy for the 2007 presidential elections—has come out openly against his president’s approach in the campaign in favour of the European constitution in the referendum to be held on May 29.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia & the Pacific

By , 21 May 2005

Indonesian textile workers rally for reinstatement

The two Americas: Ronald Perelman’s $1.45 billion and the fate of Sunbeam’s workers

By David Walsh, 21 May 2005

The nearly one-and-a-half billion dollars awarded this week by a West Palm Beach, Florida jury—$604.3 million in compensatory damages and $850 million in punitive damages—to billionaire investor Ronald Perelman, at the expense of investment banker Morgan Stanley, is telling about the present state of affairs in America.

Britain: judge overturns verdict of unlawful killing in Harry Stanley case

By Mike Ingram, 21 May 2005

In a move that poses a serious threat to civil liberties, a High Court judge has overturned the verdict of unlawful killing reached by an inquest into the police killing of Harry Stanley on September 22, 1999.

Washington threatens North Korea, Iran while expanding US arsenal

By Joseph Kay, 21 May 2005

In recent months the US government has escalated threats against both North Korea and Iran on the grounds that both countries are allegedly developing nuclear weapons programs. The hypocrisy of the American threats is highlighted by the position Washington has taken in an ongoing international review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), held every five years. The US is also developing new nuclear weapons and plans that include first-strike nuclear attacks.

US: civil liberties group charges FBI intimidation of political activists

By Kate Randall, 20 May 2005

The American Civil Liberties Union charged Wednesday that the FBI and local police departments have engaged in intimidation tactics against human rights, civil liberties, antiwar and other advocacy groups based on political association. The ACLU allegations are based on documents obtained under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed late last year by the civil liberties group.

Blair’s third-term agenda: privatisations, attacks on civil liberties

By Julie Hyland, 20 May 2005

In the immediate aftermath of the May 5 general election, media commentators speculated that Prime Minister Tony Blair’s much-reduced majority would result in a “softer,” more conciliatory third term.

Vigilantes patrol US border: the politics of the Minuteman Project

By Joe Anthony, 20 May 2005

Last month, the Minuteman Project (MMP) was launched on the US-Mexico border in Arizona. Participants in the project came from across the country to monitor a 23-mile-long stretch of the border. Organizers claimed that the US Border Patrol is spread too thin and is unable to adequately fulfill its duties. Underlying this pretense of merely assisting law enforcement, however, is an ideology of paranoia, xenophobia and racism.

The implications of the SPD’s decline

By Statement by the Socialist Equality Party (Germany), 20 May 2005

The parliamentary election in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia on May 22 is of great political importance. With slightly less than 15 million voters, North-Rhine Westphalia is not only the most densely populated of the 16 German states; containing the Ruhr district, it also constitutes Germany’s largest industrial center. While many of the coal mines and steel mills in the area were closed a long time ago, the area between the cities of Dortmund and Duisburg remains the most concentrated industrial region of the federal republic.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 20 May 2005

Europe

US issues more demands on Iraqi government to include former Baathists

By James Cogan, 20 May 2005

The unexpected visit by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Iraq on May 15 was a visible sign of the alarm in US ruling circles over the situation in the occupied country. With more than 140,000 American troops tied down by the anti-occupation insurgency, the newly-formed Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari is being increasingly viewed in Washington as incapable of functioning as a viable US puppet regime.

White House demands Newsweek “repair the damage”

By David Walsh, 19 May 2005

Ratcheting up the Bush administration’s efforts to intimidate the already servile US media, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told a May 17 press briefing that Newsweek magazine had to do more to “help repair the damage” caused by its May 9 story about US military personnel flushing a copy of the Koran down a toilet.

Two Australian academics openly advocate torture

By Mike Head, 19 May 2005

In a widely-publicised call, two Australian academics have championed the “morality” of torture and advocated its legalisation for use by governments and their security agencies. The July edition of the University of San Francisco Law Review will publish a paper, entitled “Not Enough (Official) Torture in the World?” submitted by Professor Mirko Bagaric, the head of Deakin University’s law school, and fellow Deakin law lecturer, Dr Julie Clarke.

What happened to “African socialism”?

By Chris Talbot, 19 May 2005

The following is a letter from a WSWS reader, followed by a reply by Chris Talbot.

Canada: Tory MP defects to Liberals

By Keith Jones, 19 May 2005

Belinda Stronach, a prominent Conservative MP and member of Canada’s business elite, crossed the floor of the House of Commons Tuesday to become a Liberal cabinet minister. While Stronach’s defection does not ensure that Paul Martin’s minority Liberal government will prevail in two crucial budget votes today, it is a serious blow to the Conservatives’ attempt to force a June election.

Textile factory closure devastates Fijian economy

By Frank Gaglioti, 19 May 2005

The April closure of the Ghim Li Apparel factory, Fiji’s largest manufacturer, will have a devastating impact on the economy and dramatically heighten social and political tensions in the small Pacific state. The Governor of the Reserve Bank, Savenaca Narube, has already slashed the projected gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate for next year from 1.5 percent to 1.2 percent.

British MP Galloway blasts US Senate on Iraqi oil probe

By Chris Marsden, 19 May 2005

It was a rare “emperor has no clothes” moment on Capitol Hill Tuesday when British anti-Iraq war MP George Galloway delivered a blistering rebuttal of charges that he had received kickbacks from the United Nations oil-for-food programme and had even given money to Saddam Hussein.

Poverty forces Bangladeshi woman to turn to organ trade

By Parwini Zora, 18 May 2005

Shefali Begum, a 26-year-old Bangladeshi mother, became the focus of media attention last month after she took out a classified ad in a Bengali-language Sunday newspaper, Ittefaq, offering to sell one of her eyes.

US war in Iraq yields a social “tragedy”

By David Walsh, 18 May 2005

A new study issued by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reveals what the Iraqi Minister of Planning Barham Salih describes as “a rather tragic situation of the quality of life in Iraq.” What this minister in the Baghdad puppet regime did not care to say, unsurprisingly, is that this disaster for the Iraqi people is attributable overwhelmingly to the unrelenting assault by US imperialism over the past 15 years and more.

US presses again on Chinese yuan and imports

By John Chan, 18 May 2005

The Bush administration is again applying pressure on China to revalue its currency, the yuan, supposedly to halt “unfair” competition with US manufacturers and reduce the huge US trade deficit with China.

Australia: Labor’s budget reply makes pitch to big business

By Mike Head, 18 May 2005

There was much hullabaloo in the Australian media last week about Labor leader Kim Beazley’s threat to block the Howard government budget’s tax handouts to the wealthy. Once Beazley rose to give his budget reply in parliament last Thursday, however, it soon became apparent that his posturing, and the credence given to it by the media, was a smokescreen thrown up for popular consumption.

Bush administration forced to detain Posada Carriles

By Bill Van Auken, 18 May 2005

Federal agents detained the anti-Castro Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles in Miami Tuesday shortly after he held a press conference where he told reporters that the government was not looking for him and he felt no need to hide.

Bush visit to Georgia increases tensions with Putin government

By Simon Whelan, 18 May 2005

Speaking in Tbilisi on May 10, President George W. Bush quipped that he was in the neighbourhood and “thought we’d swing by.” However, his visit to the capital of Georgia was anything but casual. Amidst the self-satisfied bonhomie, Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili discussed issues with potentially explosive ramifications for the struggle between Russia and America for dominance over the Caucasus and all the territories that once made up the Soviet Union.

Turkey: military’s nationalist campaign conceals rapprochement with US

By Justus Leicht, 18 May 2005

During the past seven weeks a wave of chauvinism has swept through Turkey. Initially aimed against the Kurds, its real target is the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and its orientation towards membership in the European Union (EU). The nationalist hysteria has not emerged spontaneously from the population, but has been manufactured by a faction of the state apparatus, especially the military and security forces, supported by organized fascistic bands.

Pentagon to realign domestic US military bases

By Patrick Martin, 17 May 2005

The massive restructuring of the American military infrastructure announced last Friday has been treated in US media and political circles almost exclusively as a parochial matter. The focus has been on the local impact of base closures: which facilities will close, lose jobs or expand, or the prospects that political influence in Washington can shift this or that decision at the margins. There has been little commentary on what the proposed realignment of US military bases—both at home and abroad—reveals about the political and military strategy of American imperialism.

Australian radio interview with David North available online

By , 17 May 2005

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) conducted a Radio National interview with David North, WSWS international editorial board chairman, on May 14. A transcript of the lengthy interview, which was conducted by Lyn Gallacher from the “BookTalk” program, can be accessed from Radio National’s web site at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/arts/booktalk/stories/s1363917.htm.

Letters from our readers

By , 17 May 2005

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

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 17 May 2005

Latin America

Newsweek retracts Guantánamo abuse story

By Bill Van Auken, 17 May 2005

Caving in to pressure from the Pentagon and the White House, Newsweek magazine Monday retracted a story on anti-Muslim abuse of detainees held in the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, detention camp. The article sparked anti-US upheavals that swept Afghanistan last week claiming at least 17 lives and spreading to other parts of the Muslim world.

Asian tsunami disaster: the historical and political issues

By , 17 May 2005

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka is holding a public meeting in Galle, capital of the southern province and a city hit hard by the December 26 tsunami, to discuss the historical and political issues raised by the disaster.

Britain: Labour presides over massive increase in health inequality

By Rick Kelly, 17 May 2005

The difference in health and life expectancy between Britain’s rich and poor has not been as unequal as it is today “since Victorian times.” These are the findings of a report published in the April 30 edition of the British Medical Journal entitled, “Health Inequalities and New Labour: How the Promises Compare with Real Progress.”

Clouds gather over world economy

By Nick Beams, 17 May 2005

While the official forecasts are still for strong economic growth, a number of storm clouds are gathering over the world economy. They include: recession or near-recession conditions in a number of eurozone countries, doubts about the direction of the US economy and concerns that financial markets could face considerable turmoil if major hedge funds start to run into trouble.

Real wages fall as attack on US workers intensifies

By Joseph Kay, 16 May 2005

In a stark indication of the mounting attack on the social conditions of American workers, the average real wage in the US has begun to decline steeply for the first time in over a decade. The decline in wages is a product of increased inflation in recent months, combined with a persistently poor job market, even in the midst of a supposed economic recovery.

US: protest hits plans for stadium in New York City

By Peter Daniels, 16 May 2005

Several hundred protesters rallied on Manhattan’s West Side Saturday to oppose plans to build a new pro-football stadium in the area funded largely with New York City taxpayers’ money.

Australia brushes aside East Timorese sovereignty in oil and gas deal

By John Roberts, 16 May 2005

The Australian and East Timorese governments agreed on April 29 to a new arrangement on the division of royalties from oil and gas projects in the Timor Sea. Three days of talks in the Timorese capital Dili were the culmination of more than four years of bullying that Canberra hopes will ensure effective Australian economic and political control of the offshore border region and the wealth beneath its waters.

Uzbekistan: US “war on terror” yields a bloodbath

By Bill Van Auken, 16 May 2005

The Bush administration’s “global war on terrorism” has recorded one of its bloodiest victories yet with the slaughter of several hundred men, women and children in the Uzbekistan city of Andijan.

Sister of Guantanamo detainee Omar Deghayes speaks out

By Barbara Slaughter, 16 May 2005

Thirty-five-year-old Omar Deghayes has been imprisoned in the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for three years. On January 31, 2002, he was arrested in Pakistan along with his wife and young baby by armed local intelligence officers.

Canada: Tories want governor-general to use emergency powers to force new election

By Keith Jones, 16 May 2005

The official opposition Conservatives and the pro-Quebec independence Bloc Québécois (BQ) are urging Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson to compel Paul Martin’s federal Liberal government to admit it has lost the confidence of parliament and call a general election.

New study: US use of psychological torture systematic and unabated

By Joanne Laurier, 16 May 2005

One year since the first photographs surfaced of US personnel torturing Iraq detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, evidence indicates that the wholesale use of torture by the American military as a method of interrogation continues unabated.

US: first New England execution in 45 years

By Kate Randall, 14 May 2005

The state of Connecticut carried out the first execution in a New England state in 45 years early Friday morning. Michael Ross, 45, died by lethal injection at 2:25 a.m. following last-minute attempts by public defenders, death penalty opponents and members of his own family to spare his life. About 300 protesters gathered outside the Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut, as the lethal combination of drugs was administered.

Sri Lankan president on a political tightrope

By K. Ratnayake, 14 May 2005

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga is facing sharp opposition, both from within government ranks and from outside, over her moves to set up a joint body with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to handle tsunami relief work. The campaign to stop the signing of an agreement, scheduled for next week, is being lead by her key government ally, the Janatha Vimkuthi Peramuna (JVP).