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Bush travels to South Asia in pursuit of key strategic “partnership” with India

By Keith Jones, 28 February 2006

US President George W. Bush travels to South Asia this week with the aim of cementing a strategic and “global” partnership with India. According to his aides, the trip is among the most important that Bush has made in his entire presidency.

A letter and reply on Spielberg’s Munich

By , 28 February 2006

On “‘Progressive’ Australian film critics denounce Spielberg’s Munich”

German Constitutional Court strikes down Aviation Security Act

By Justus Leicht, 28 February 2006

The German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe has voided the Aviation Security Act passed by the former Social Democratic Party (SPD)-Green Party government.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 28 February 2006

Latin America

Iraq occupation makes possible record profits for British private military contractor

By Harvey Thompson, 28 February 2006

The British private military company Aegis Defence Services announced profits of £62 million for last year. The firm has seen turnover rise more than 100-fold in the past three years, thanks largely to contracts for the US Pentagon in Iraq

Nick Beams: Report on the world economy in 2006

By Nick Beams, 28 February 2006

Published below is the first part of a report delivered on January 22, by Nick Beams to an expanded meeting of the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board (IEB). Beams is a member of the WSWS IEB and National Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), which hosted the meeting in Sydney from January 22 to 27, 2006. Part two was published on March 1 and Part three on March 2. David North's opening report to the WSWS IEB meeting was published on 27 February. Further reports will be published subsequently.

Ahead of Bush’s visit, Chirac pushes French interests in India

By Sarath Kumara, 28 February 2006

A three-day visit by French President Jacques Chirac to India last week highlighted the growing competition of the major powers for influence in New Delhi. Chirac’s trip is to be followed by this week’s visit to South Asia by US President George Bush, who, like his French counterpart, is seeking to cement economic and strategic ties, particularly with India.

Acusan a la Ford motor Company de ser cómplice en la "guerra sucia" de Argentina

By , 28 February 2006

WSWS : Español

The Australian Wheat Board scandal and the Iraq war

By Mike Head, 28 February 2006

After seven weeks of damning evidence from the Howard government’s Cole inquiry, the real issue in the scandal over the Australian Wheat Board’s payment of $300 million worth of bribes to Saddam Hussein’s regime is not whether Prime Minister John Howard and his ministers knew about the kickbacks. That has certainly proved to be the case.

Letters from our readers

By , 27 February 2006

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

David North: Opening report to meeting of WSWS International Editorial Board

By David North, 27 February 2006

Published below is the opening report by World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board (IEB) Chairman David North to an expanded meeting of the WSWS IEB hosted by the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) and held in Sydney from January 22 to 27, 2006. This was the first of a number of reports delivered by leading WSWS IEB members and delegates from the sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International that will be published subsequently.

Mexican government suspends search for trapped coal miners

By Rafael Azul, 27 February 2006

On Saturday, February 25, Mexican authorities announced the suspension of rescue efforts for the 65 miners trapped underground after the February 19 explosion at the Pasta de Conchos mine in Cahuila, about 85 miles southwest of the US border. With the lack of breathable air and no sign of the miners after more than a week, it is presumed the 65 men have perished.

Two dead, 100 injured in Los Angeles County jail riots

By Kevin Kearney, 27 February 2006

On Saturday, February 4, racial riots broke out in Los Angeles County jails between black and Latino inmates. The rioting continued for more than two weeks, involving thousands of prisoners at several different facilities. More than a hundred have been injured, many critically, and two inmates are dead.

Philippine president imposes state of emergency after alleged coup attempt

By Peter Symonds, 27 February 2006

In a sign of considerable political crisis, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last Friday declared a state of emergency and began a crackdown on political opponents in response to what she alleged was a foiled military coup.

Britain: Special Branch detain documentary actors and former Guantánamo prisoners

By Paul Bond, 27 February 2006

Two actors in a new documentary film on the US prison camp at Guantánamo Bay and two former Guantánamo prisoners were detained and interrogated by the Special Branch on February 16.

White House report on Katrina: no blame, no accountability for hurricane disaster

By Kate Randall, 25 February 2006

At a press conference on Thursday, Bush domestic security adviser Frances Townsend unveiled a White House report entitled “The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned.” It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows the Bush administration that the document—billed as a comprehensive review of the government’s response and a list of measures to prevent a similar debacle in the future—is a transparent cover-up.

Ford Motor charged as accomplice in Argentina’s “dirty war”

By Bill Van Auken, 25 February 2006

Ford Motor Company has been charged in an Argentine court with playing a direct part in the illegal detention, torture and “disappearances” of its own workers under the dictatorship that ruled the South American country from 1976 to 1983.

Bush administration shields corporations from safety rules, lawsuits

By Mike Ingram, 25 February 2006

Federal agencies under the Bush administration are systematically gutting state regulations aimed at safeguarding the public and consumers from corporate wrongdoing, while imposing new rules to protect private industry from civil lawsuits, according to an investigation published in the February 19 edition of the Los Angeles Times.

What the ports controversy says about Washington’s “war on terror”

By Patrick Martin, 25 February 2006

The political uproar in Washington over the sale of cargo facilities in six US ports to an Arab-owned company has exposed the cynicism of the Bush administration’s so-called “war on terror” and its claim that military aggression abroad and attacks on democratic rights at home are aimed at protecting the American people from new terrorist attacks like those of September 11, 2001.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 25 February 2006

Asia

Sri Lankan peace talks stagger on to another round

By Wije Dias, 25 February 2006

Two days of talks between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)—the first in nearly three years—broke up in Geneva on Thursday without any substantive agreement. A brief official statement declared that both sides were committed to upholding the current ceasefire agreement signed in 2002 and to meet again on April 19-21.

Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian revenues: a brazen violation of international law

By Rick Kelly, 25 February 2006

Events within the Occupied Territories following Hamas’s victory in Palestinian legislative council elections last month have again demonstrated Israel’s and Washington’s blatant disregard for international law.

A discussion with Hamburg strikers: “It is much more serious than 14 years ago”

By a WSWS reporting team, 25 February 2006

On February 6, German public service employees began strike action affecting such services as sanitation, hospitals, kindergartens, libraries and recreational facilities. The walkout began after the public service union Verdi conducted a ballot of sections of its membership, resulting in large majorities for a strike.

Australian parliament rubberstamps new military callout powers

By Mike Head, 24 February 2006

After a perfunctory debate—lasting less than six hours in the Senate and House of Representatives—the Australian parliament last week passed the Defence (Aid to Civilian Authorities) Act, dramatically enhancing the federal government’s powers to call out troops domestically.

Financial Times columnist warns about social inequality in US

By Ann Talbot, 24 February 2006

The Financial Times columnist Samuel Brittan, one of the first monetarist economists in Britain, has issued a warning that the United States cannot allow the gap between the pay of top executives and the rest of society to continue to grow on the present scale. He calls for redistributive taxation to redress the situation. [1]

A novel look at life’s unfolding diversity

By James Brookfield, 24 February 2006

The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution,by Richard Dawkins, Mariner Books, 2005, $16, ISBN 0-618-61916-X (paperback)

Lawrence Summers resigns as Harvard president

By Bill Van Auken, 24 February 2006

The resignation this week of Lawrence Summers from the post he has held for the last five years as president of Harvard has provoked an extraordinary firestorm of political controversy far from the ivied halls of what has long been considered one of the premier US universities.

Sectarian violence engulfs Iraq following mosque bombing

By James Cogan, 24 February 2006

The bombing of the Al-Askariya mosque in the city of Samarra on Wednesday is a deliberate provocation that has immediately unleashed widespread sectarian violence and threatens to take US-occupied Iraq to a new level of savagery and barbarism.

Letters from our readers

By , 24 February 2006

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

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 24 February 2006

Europe

Millions facing drought and famine throughout Africa

By Barry Mason, 23 February 2006

Reports from aid agencies show that many areas in Africa are currently facing drought and threat of famine. In East Africa some 11 million people are suffering a drought that is the worst in a decade and will mean that food aid is urgently needed over the next six months. The countries affected stretch from the Horn of Africa through to Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.

Italian election campaign begins with anti-Berlusconi opposition backing austerity candidate

By Peter Schwarz, 23 February 2006

President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi officially launched Italy’s national election campaign when he dissolved parliament earlier this month. On April 9 and 10, voters will elect a new parliament and determine the country’s new government.

Pakistani protests over anti-Muslim cartoons threaten Musharraf’s rule

By Deepal Jayasekera, 23 February 2006

Ongoing protests in Pakistan against the provocative Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed have increasingly been directed against the ruling regime and the US, as well as European countries where the images have been published. The demonstrations not only complicate US President George Bush’s planned visit to Islamabad next month, but also threaten the position of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

Canada to greatly expand its military presence in the Arctic

By Lee Parsons, 23 February 2006

Canada’s new Conservative government is committed to a major expansion and rearmament of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) including: the addition of 13,000 regular troops and 10,000 reservists, a C$5.3 billion increase in military spending over the next five years, and the development of an increased rapid deployment capacity that would enable greater Canadian participation in military interventions overseas.

Zionists witch-hunt Australia’s leading cartoonist

By Richard Phillips, 23 February 2006

Zionist commentators, aided and abetted by the Murdoch media, have seized on a malicious hoax to vilify Michael Leunig, one of Australia’s leading editorial cartoonists. Leunig’s cartoons are published in the Fairfax-owned Melbourne Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

Last-minute reprieve for California death row inmate

By Kate Randall, 23 February 2006

The execution by lethal injection of California death row inmate Michael Morales was temporarily put on hold Tuesday, just hours before his death warrant expired. Although given a temporary reprieve, the circumstances surrounding his case speak volumes about the gruesome and sadistic practice of capital punishment in the United States.

Human Rights First report documents deaths of Iraqis and Afghans in US custody

By Tom Carter and Barry Grey, 23 February 2006

A report issued Wednesday by Human Rights First (HRF) documents the deaths of 98 people while in US custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. The report gives details of some of the killings, putting names and faces on the victims of US imperialism. The HRF report, coming on the heels of the newly released Abu Ghraib photos, provides a devastating exposure of systematic torture, abuse and murder.

Australia: former minister fans anti-Muslim prejudice and racism

By Terry Cook and Tania Kent, 22 February 2006

That politicians now have little compunction in making openly racist comments is testimony to the extreme rightward shift in official politics in Australia and to the noxious public climate being fostered by the political and media establishment.

Right-wing posturing from Congress on Arab firm’s role at US ports

By Patrick Martin, 22 February 2006

Congressional leaders of both parties are engaged in a cynical publicity stunt in their criticism of the Bush administration for approving the takeover of commercial operations at six Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports by a port management company owned by the government of Dubai, a Persian Gulf sheikdom that is part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Indian government opens retail sector to foreign corporations

By Jake Skeers, 22 February 2006

In a decision that will have devastating consequences for some of the poorest sections of Indian society, the Indian cabinet last month approved the opening up of the country’s retail and other sectors of the economy to foreign investment.

French government forced to recall ship laden with toxic waste

By Pierre Mabut, 22 February 2006

The French government has been forced to abandon its attempt to export the ex-aircraft carrier Clemenceau to the Alang breakers yard in India so as to take advantage of India’s lax environmental and workplace health and safety regulations.

Mexico: miners trapped after explosion

By Tom Carter and Rafael Azul, 22 February 2006

The fate of 65 miners in a Mexico mine is still unknown, three days after an explosion trapped them underground during the early morning of February 19.

“In Justice” dramatizes reality of US criminal justice system

By Debra Watson, 22 February 2006

“In Justice”—ABC Television, Fridays, 9 p.m. Eastern

Spain: 1981 coup leader accuses Socialist Party government of national betrayal

By Paul Stuart, 22 February 2006

In late January, former Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero Molina published a letter denouncing the Socialist Party (PSOE) government for betraying Spain.

Sri Lankan housemaid tells of systematic abuse in Saudi Arabia

By Kalpa Fernando, 22 February 2006

Tens of thousands of Sri Lankans are driven by financial need and poverty to become contract workers in the Middle East. Their conditions are appalling. Many are treated as slave labour and abused, mentally and physically. A number have died in unexplained circumstances. The Sri Lankan government, concerned above all to protect a lucrative source of foreign exchange, has taken no action to defend its citizens.

US media drops Abu Ghraib torture issue

By David Walsh, 21 February 2006

Horrifying images of systematic US military abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison were aired last week on Australian television and also published at Salon.com. The images of prisoners, naked, strapped to apparatuses on the floor, hanging upside down, wounded, threatened by snarling dogs, masturbating for their abusers, draped in women’s underwear, forced to sodomize themselves, arranged in the most degrading and painful positions, as well as photographs of dead bodies and blood-smeared cells, have been in the possession of the US military for several years and have been systematically suppressed. The Pentagon has resisted efforts to have the photographs and videos made available to the public.

The controversy over a cartoon in the German Tagesspiegel

By Peter Schwarz, 21 February 2006

Following Denmark, Germany now has its own controversy over anti-Muslim caricatures. On February 10, the Berlin daily paper Tagesspiegel published a drawing that provoked disgust among Iranian football fans, drew an official protest from the Iranian government, and led to violent demonstrations in front of the German embassy in Tehran.

2005: The Year for Africa—Results and Prospects

By Ann Talbot, 21 February 2006

The following article was written at the request of the journal African Renaissance, and is published in its January/February edition. Ann Talbot is a regular contributor to the World Socialist Web Site and has written extensively on Africa.

Letters on the anti-Muslim cartoons

By , 21 February 2006

The following is a selection of letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site in response to a number of recent articles on the anti-Muslim cartoons.

Bird flu sparks emergency measures in India, Europe, Africa

By Patrick Martin, 21 February 2006

In the most rapid and far-flung extension of the area of infection since the most recent strain of avian flu was first detected nine years ago, health authorities in India, Western Europe and parts of Africa reported new outbreaks of the disease and announced emergency measures over the weekend.

Palestinian parliament sworn in as US and Israel step up destabilisation drive

By Rick Kelly, 21 February 2006

The newly elected Palestinian legislative council, in which Hamas holds 74 of the 132 seats, was sworn in on Saturday, February 18. The Israeli government marked the occasion by confirming that it will impose a raft of further repressive measures against the Palestinian people in response to the Islamists’ control of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Australian parliament’s “vote of conscience” on RU486

By Laura Tiernan, 21 February 2006

A “conscience vote” in the Australian federal parliament last week on the fate of abortion pill RU486 presented a sordid public spectacle. While the vote in the House of Representatives saw the health minister’s veto power over the drug’s importation overturned, the debate itself provided a nationwide platform for yet another frontal assault on science, mingled with appeals to racial politics and anti-Muslim vilification.

Washington reluctantly concedes Préval is Haiti’s president-elect

By Richard Dufour and Keith Jones, 21 February 2006

The attempt of Haiti’s traditional elite and elements in and around the Bush administration to prevent René Préval, the clear winner of the country’s February 7 presidential election, from being proclaimed president-elect has failed.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 21 February 2006

Struggles by bus operators and doctors in Nicaragua

Sri Lankan government makes provocative preparations for Geneva talks

By Wije Dias, 21 February 2006

Two days of negotiations are due to start in Geneva tomorrow between representatives of the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Tigers (LTTE). The talks, which were only agreed after intense international pressure and lengthy diplomatic wrangling, are the first to be held in nearly three years.

IMF measures wreak havoc on Iraqi people

By James Cogan, 21 February 2006

The disastrous social conditions that exist for the Iraqi people after decades of war and nearly three years of US occupation are being dramatically worsened as a result of International Monetary Fund (IMF)-dictated economic restructuring.

By , 20 February 2006

The Edukators (Your Days of Plenty Are Numbered), directed by Hans Weingartner, written by Weingartner and Katharina Held

Germany: New attempt to impose radical tax reform

By Peter Schwarz, 20 February 2006

The elevation of Paul Kirchhoff, a flat-tax advocate, into the election team of Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Angela Merkel was instrumental in shrinking the 20 percent lead enjoyed by her party and its political partner the Christian Social Union (CSU) in the polls, to a 1 percent advantage over the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in the general election campaign last year. All three parties are currently united in Germany’s “grand coalition” government. The introduction of a uniform tax rate for all incomes—irrespective of low or high income—was regarded as so unjust that many conservative voters turned their backs on the union (CDU-CSU) parties. After the election Kirchhof and the flat tax seemed to have disappeared from the scene.

Democrats force antiwar candidate out of Ohio Senate race

By Patrick Martin, 20 February 2006

Iraq war veteran and antiwar activist Paul Hackett withdrew from the US Senate race in Ohio February 14, after his campaign for the Democratic Party nomination was sabotaged by the top national Democratic leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Charles Schumer of New York, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Australian government responsible for “Bali Nine” death sentences

By Mike Head, 20 February 2006

Two young Australians face execution by firing squad and seven others life in prison as a direct result of the policies of the Howard government and the directives it gave to the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Despite feigning sympathy for the young people and their families, Howard and his ministers authorised a police operation that led inevitably to the sentences handed down last week by a court in Bali, Indonesia.

Nearly 2,000 feared dead as huge mudslide hits Philippine village

By John Roberts, 20 February 2006

An entire village in the Philippines was engulfed by a massive mudslide when the side of a mountain suddenly gave way last Friday. After three days of rescue efforts, most of the nearly 2,000 inhabitants of Guinsaugon in the province of Southern Leyte are still missing, feared dead.

Letters from our readers

By , 20 February 2006

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

Letters on recent films

By , 20 February 2006

The following letters were sent to the World Socialist Web Site in response to reviews of two recent US films, Brokeback Mountain and The New World.

US Congress prepares legal sanction for spying program

By Joe Kay, 20 February 2006

Negotiations are under way between the White House and congressional leaders to pass legislation that will provide a pseudo-legal sanction for the Bush administration’s domestic spying program. Meanwhile, the administration and Congress are working to ensure that whatever investigations into the program are carried out, they will be nothing more than whitewashes for what is a vast expansion of the intelligence powers of the US government.

Why the government spying is illegal: a reply to the US Department of Justice

By Richard Hoffmann, 20 February 2006

On January 19, 2006 the US Department of Justice released a 42-page memorandum purporting to set out a legal justification for the spying activities of the Bush administration that have been undertaken by the National Security Agency (NSA).

Assam: Police kill at least 10 during protest against Indian Army murder

By Kranti Kumara, 20 February 2006

In keeping with the arbitrary and violent manner that Indian security forces typically respond to protests in the country’s north-east, police shot and killed at least 10 villagers and wounded more than 20 others during a February 10 protest in the state of Assam. The demonstrators were demanding punishment of Indian Army personnel responsible for the murder of a young villager who had been taken away from his house by army personnel.

Cheney “takes responsibility”—without accountability or consequences

By Tom Carter and David Walsh, 18 February 2006

“Cheney takes responsibility for shooting . . .” —AP

Letters on the Cheney shooting incident

By , 18 February 2006

The following is a selection of letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site in response to articles written on the Cheney shooting incident.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 18 February 2006

Asia

Bush administration seeks funds for regime change in Iran

By Peter Symonds, 18 February 2006

The Bush administration took a further step on Wednesday in its campaign against Iran by requesting a large increase in funding for the political destabilisation of the Tehran regime.

US and Israel plot overthrow of Hamas-led Palestinian Authority

By Rick Kelly, 18 February 2006

A New York Times article on February 13, “US and Israel are said to talk of Hamas ouster,” has provided further evidence of Washington and Tel Aviv’s determination to overthrow the recently elected Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA).

Indian Supreme Court imposes sweeping ban on public debate on toxic warship

By Sarath Kumara, 18 February 2006

Last Monday, India’s Supreme Court issued a sweeping ban on public debate and protests over plans to decommission the Clemenceau, a French aircraft carrier, at a demolition yard in Alang, in the west Indian state of Gujarat. Although French President Jacques Chirac, in response to a critical French court ruling, has now ordered the Clemenceau to return to France, the Indian court ban sets an ominous precedent.

By , 18 February 2006

A Good Woman, directed by Mike Barker; screenplay by Howard Himelstein, based on Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde

University of Illinois student newspaper publishes anti-Muslim cartoons

By Tom Mackaman, 18 February 2006

On Thursday, February 9, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student newspaper, the Daily Illini, became the first college paper in the United States to print the inflammatory cartoons of the Muslim prophet originally published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The cartoon’s publication in Champaign-Urbana and the manner in which they were published has touched off protest and great controversy on campus.

Hurricane Katrina and the “war on terrorism”

By Joe Kay, 18 February 2006

On Wednesday, a House Select Committee issued a report on its investigations into the government’s preparations and response to Hurricane Katrina. On the same day, Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee and was questioned about the actions of his department in the disaster.

German public service strike grows into confrontation with the grand coalition

By Ulrich Rippert, 18 February 2006

Last Monday, February 13, the German service trade union Verdi expanded its public sector strike when 22,000 employees in seven German states—North Rhine-Westphalia, Rheinland-Pfalz, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, Saxony, Bavaria, Bremen and Hamburg—refused to show up for the early shift.

The Abu Ghraib photos and the anti-Muslim “free speech” fraud

By David Walsh, 17 February 2006

The release of more horrifying photographs and videos from Abu Ghraib prison sheds a revealing light on the hypocritical and genuinely sinister character of the supposed “free speech” campaign surrounding the publication of anti-Muslim cartoons in the European and international press.

Pregnant immigrant miscarries after being abused by federal agents

By Peter Daniels, 17 February 2006

Asian-Americans and others demonstrated in both Philadelphia and New York City on February 15 to protest the abuse of a pregnant Chinese woman by federal immigration officers. The 32-year-old woman, Zhenxing Jiang, was carrying twins and suffered a miscarriage as a result.

Britain: Parliament approves police state measures in Terrorism Bill

By by Socialist Equality Party (Britain), 17 February 2006

The Labour Party government of Prime Minister Tony Blair has succeeded in reinstating an offence of “glorifying terrorism” in its latest Terrorism Bill. On February 15, Parliament rejected amendments to the clause proposed by the Lords, and the government won by a comfortable majority after the collapse of a supposed Labour rebellion.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 17 February 2006

Europe

Bankruptcy court approves Delphi executive bonuses

By Jerry Isaacs, 17 February 2006

A federal bankruptcy judge last week approved a plan proposed by Delphi Corporation that will provide its top executives with tens of millions of dollars in bonuses while hourly workers face a wage cut of up to 60 percent and the loss of 24,000 jobs.

“Progressive” Australian film critics denounce Spielberg’s Munich

By Richard Phillips, 17 February 2006

Since its international release last month, Munich, Steven Spielberg’s powerful and disturbing account of the Mossad assassination of Palestinians alleged to have organised the killing of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, has been seen by tens of thousands of people around the world.

UN report denounces US torture and calls for closure of Guantánamo prison camp

By Kate Randall, 17 February 2006

A United Nations investigation has found that the US is committing acts amounting to torture at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The report, released Thursday, is a stinging rebuke to the American government’s illegal practices, justified in the name of the so-called “war on terrorism.” The UN body is calling for the prison camp to be closed.

US auto union pressures Delphi workers to accept concessions deal

By Jerry Isaacs, 17 February 2006

With Delphi Corporation expected as early as Friday to ask a US bankruptcy judge to terminate collective bargaining agreements with its 35,000 unionized employees, representatives from the company, the United Auto Workers union (UAW) and Delphi’s former owner, General Motors, are involved in intense negotiations to craft a deal that would avert a strike and allow Delphi and GM to press ahead with their cost-cutting plans.

Intrigues continue to stall new Iraqi government

By James Cogan, 17 February 2006

In a vote last Sunday, Ibrahim al-Jaafari was nominated by the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA)—a coalition of Shiite fundamentalist organisations and the largest faction in the 275-seat Iraqi parliament—to continue as Iraq’s prime minister.

Farcical municipal elections intensify political instability in Nepal

By W.A. Sunil and Deepal Jayasekera, 16 February 2006

The record low turnout in Nepal’s municipal elections last week has exposed just how isolated King Gyanendra and his autocratic regime are. The election, touted by Gyanendra as part of a “road map to democracy,” has only intensified opposition to the king’s rule and deepened the country’s political crisis. Gyanendra dismissed the national parliament and seized full executive power in February last year.

US troop deployment sparks protests in Dominican Republic

By Bill Van Auken, 16 February 2006

The landing of hundreds of US troops at a port city in the Dominican Republic, barely 80 miles from the Haitian border, sparked protests and warnings that Washington may be preparing another military intervention aimed at quelling the popular unrest that has erupted in Haiti over attempts to rig the presidential election.

Britain: Why did it take so long to bring Abu Hamza to trial?

By Chris Marsden, 16 February 2006

On February 7, the radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza El-Masri was sentenced to seven years in prison on six charges of soliciting murder, 21 months on three counts of incitement to racial hatred, three years for possessing “threatening, abusive or insulting recordings,” and three and a half years for having a document useful to terrorists. He will remain at Belmarsh high-security prison, where he has been held since his arrest in 2004. Because of the time he has already served in custody, he will be eligible for parole in 2008.

Australian TV airs more photos of US torture at Abu Ghraib

By Bill Van Auken, 16 February 2006

Pictures of Iraqi prisoners—naked, wounded, covered with blood, women’s underwear draped over their heads, bound in painful and degrading “stress positions”—were broadcast on Australian television Wednesday, further exposing the horrors inflicted at the US military’s prison camp at Abu Ghraib and similar facilities across the globe.

Unresolved questions in the Cheney shooting incident

By Patrick Martin, 16 February 2006

Last Saturday, Vice President Dick Cheney, an experienced hunter, was hunting quail with several well-heeled Republican acquaintances, including Texas lawyer Harry Whittington. The two men had been drinking throughout the afternoon, and at one point began to quarrel about a business venture of mutual interest which had gone awry. The argument became heated. Whittington sneered at Cheney’s declining public standing and the most recent disclosure, by Cheney’s former chief of staff Lewis Libby, that Libby had leaked classified information to the press at Cheney’s direction. When Cheney responded with an obscenity-laced remark, Whittington, a man who knows where many bodies are buried in Texas politics and business, suggested he might arrange for certain facts of a sensitive nature to become public knowledge. Cheney, enraged, stormed away, then turned, lowered his shotgun and discharged it, hitting Whittington’s face and upper body.

Anti-Muslim cartoons published in Australia

By Mike Head, 16 February 2006

Over the past 10 days, three Australian media outlets have published one or more of the 12 defamatory cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad as a terrorist and killer, despite warnings from local Muslim groups that it would insult believers and inflame an already tense atmosphere.

Germany: Former Green Party leader advocates European military role in the Middle East

By Peter Schwarz, 16 February 2006

Following the change of government in Berlin little was heard from the former Green Party foreign minister Joschka Fischer. He resigned from all leading party positions and only occasionally attends the Bundestag (parliament) as a backbencher. However, he has now resurfaced in the midst of the controversy about the anti-Muslim cartoons and the escalating dispute with Iran. In a long contribution that appeared February 11 in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Fischer advocates the stepping up of Europe’s military role in the Middle East.

Philippines: Fatal game-show stampede—an exploitation of social despair

By Fergus Michaels, 16 February 2006

The fatal crowd stampede that occurred on February 4 at the entrance to the PhilSports sporting arena in Pasig City, Manila, reveals the poverty and desperation afflicting workers in the Philippines.

In their own words: the politics behind the anti-Muslim cartoons

By Barry Grey, 15 February 2006

Common to the statements of virtually all of the pundits and politicians who have come to the defense of the Danish government and Jyllands-Posten in the controversy over the newspaper’s publication of anti-Muslim cartoons is a refusal to consider the political context which gave rise to these ugly and offensive caricatures.

Letters on the anti-Muslim cartoons

By , 15 February 2006

The following is a selection of letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site in response to a number of articles written on the anti-Muslim cartoons published in Denmark.

Large protests call for Thai prime minister’s resignation

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 15 February 2006

Thousands of people rallied in the Thai capital of Bangkok last Saturday demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Chanting “Thaksin, get out” and waving national flags, the protesters marched to the Royal Plaza, defying a government ban on rallies in the area. Around 20,000 people took part, including professionals and businessmen as well as students and workers opposed to privatisation.

How governments, bankers, secret services, Masonic lodges, the Vatican and the Mafia impacted international politics in the 1970s and 1980s

By Marc Wells, 15 February 2006

I Banchieri Di Dio: Il Caso Calvi (God’s Bankers: The Calvi Case), written by Armenia Balducci and Giuseppe Ferrara, directed by Giuseppe Ferrara.

German army to deploy 2,000 troops for World Cup

By Peter Schwarz, 15 February 2006

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) intends to use the World Cup soccer championship to be held this summer in Germany as a means of facilitating the domestic deployment of the army. According to the German constitution, drawn up at the end of the Second World War and drawing on the experiences of fascism, the army is currently not permitted to intervene inside Germany itself.

Bush appointees censor scientists at government agencies

By Sandy English, 15 February 2006

Last month, James E. Hansen, a senior scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), accused appointees of the Bush administration in the agency’s public affairs department of attempting to prevent him from publicly discussing the role of fossil fuel emissions in climate change.

Britain: Parliament agrees to compulsory ID cards

By Julie Hyland, 15 February 2006

Parliament voted through legislation on February 13 to introduce compulsory Identity Cards in Britain.