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Illinois SEP candidate issues statement on eve of ballot status ruling

By Tom Mackaman, 31 August 2006

Joe Parnarauskis, Socialist Equality Party candidate for state Senate from Illinois’ 52nd Legislative District, issued a statement Wednesday morning that was sent to local media outlets.

Britain: More indicators of inequality

By Steve James, 31 August 2006

Stark and deepening income inequalities are revealed in a new study based on figures released by the UK government’s Office of National Statistics (ONS).

US military escalates confrontation with Shiite militia in Iraq

By Peter Symonds, 31 August 2006

Two days of fierce fighting in the Iraqi city of Diwaniyah is one more sign that the US military is preparing for a bloody showdown with the militia forces of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The target of any new offensive will be not just Sadr’s Mahdi Army, but the Shiite urban poor who are overwhelmingly hostile to the US occupation and who demonstrated in their tens of thousands on August 4 against the US-Israeli war on Lebanon.

A timely reminder of America’s Enlightenment origins

By Charles Bogle, 31 August 2006

Washington’s Crossing, by David Hackett Fischer, 543 pages, Oxford University Press, 2004, $17.95

Europe to send 7,000 troops to Lebanon

By Peter Schwarz, 31 August 2006

Europe will provide the backbone of the force currently being assembled by the United Nations to supervise the ceasefire in Lebanon. This was decided last Friday at a meeting of the European Union’s 25 foreign ministers in Brussels, and 3,500 troops are due to arrive in Lebanon this week. Altogether, the European Union countries have agreed to make about 7,000 soldiers available for deployment on the ground, with a further 2,000 to provide marine and air support. It is the largest military deployment carried out in the history of the European Union.

Sellout danger in Detroit teachers strike

By Walter Gilberti, 31 August 2006

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

Russian shooting of Japanese fisherman heightens tensions over Kuril islands

By John Chan, 31 August 2006

The killing of a Japanese fisherman on August 16 by a Russian patrol boat in waters near the southern Kuril Islands has highlighted ongoing tensions between the two countries over the disputed territory.

The Threepenny Opera and St. Joan of the Stockyards on stage in Berlin

By Stefan Steinberg, 31 August 2006

Official Germany has long had an ambiguous attitude toward one of the country’s most gifted poets and dramatists, Bertolt Brecht, who died fifty years ago this month. During the period of the Cold War, Brecht was either heavily criticised or ignored by the vast majority of West German anti-communist critics and politicians, who sought to make political capital out of the artist’s choice to settle and work in Stalinist East Germany (GDR).

Letter on Katrina disaster relief

By , 30 August 2006

I write in response to Patrick Martin’s article on the New Orleans mayoral election (See “Racial demagogy mars New Orleans mayoral election”) and the recent August 26 article on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (See “One year since Hurricane Katrina: the rebuilding of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast”). The latter article captured the plight of thousands left abandoned by the government in still devastated communities. In the communities of Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, and Biloxi, Mississippi, 90 percent of the structures are but a few feet above sea level and were hit with a storm surge 25 to 32 feet high, destroying all buildings for a quarter mile inland. Winds damaged almost every building 5 to 20 miles inland along the coast from east to west through Slidell into New Orleans. (A minor note: the towns Pascagoula, Biloxi, etc. run along I-10, not I-90).

Alarm in Washington over deepening disaster in Afghanistan

By James Cogan, 30 August 2006

The New York Times vented the concern in US ruling circles over the deteriorating state of affairs in Afghanistan with a lengthy article on August 23 and an editorial the following day, entitled “Losing Afghanistan”. Close to five years since the country was invaded and occupied in the name of the “war on terror,” the newspaper made the bleak assessment that “there is no victory in the war for Afghanistan, due in significant measure to the Bush administration’s reckless haste to move on to Iraq and shortsighted stinting on economic reconstruction”.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 30 August 2006

Latin America

Sri Lankan military launches new offensive in strategic Sampur area

By Sarath Kumara, 30 August 2006

The Sri Lankan military launched a major new offensive on Sunday aimed at capturing the Sampur area in the East of the island from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The operation is another flagrant breach of the 2002 ceasefire agreement and again exposes the Colombo government’s lies that its armed forces are engaged only in “defensive actions”.

Letters from our readers

By , 30 August 2006

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

Egypt: a social and political tinderbox

By Jean Shaoul, 30 August 2006

Last week’s collision between two trains on a busy route packed with workers travelling into Cairo for work from the poorer northern outskirts of the city has exposed the social and political relations within Egypt today.

One year after Katrina disaster: No accountability for US political elite

By Patrick Martin, 30 August 2006

President Bush visited New Orleans Tuesday, the anniversary of the city’s virtual destruction by Hurricane Katrina, and blandly admitted the indifference with which the US ruling elite responded to the greatest natural disaster in American history.

Media frenzy over JonBenet “killer” ends in fiasco

By David Walsh, 30 August 2006

The Boulder, Colorado district attorney’s office dropped all charges Monday against John Mark Karr for the 1996 murder of six-year-old child beauty pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey, after DNA test results proved that he could not have been the killer. The collapse of the case against Karr is one more fiasco for the utterly unscrupulous, venal and ignorant American media.

Australia’s first “control order” imposed on Jack Thomas

By Mike Head, 30 August 2006

In the first use of draconian police-state powers introduced last December, the Howard government has imposed a house arrest-style “control order” on Melbourne man Jack Thomas, just a week after he was acquitted on all terrorist-related charges.

Spain: A decade of economic boom and stagnant wages

By Paul Mitchell, 30 August 2006

By all accounts, Spain has experienced an economic boom over the last decade. It has “continued its prolonged economic expansion” (International Monetary Fund) and “weathered the international slowdown” (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) making it “one of Europe’s best-performing economies” (Economist magazine).

Israel maintains offensive in Gaza and the West Bank

By Rick Kelly, 29 August 2006

Israel continues to pound Gaza and the West Bank with a daily barrage of artillery shells, missile strikes, and assassinations and arrests of alleged militants. While Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government has agreed to a ceasefire in Lebanon, it has given no indication that it intends to suspend its criminal offensive in Gaza. The Israeli Defence Forces’ (IDF) “Operation Summer Rains” is now in its ninth week. With the full backing of the Bush administration, Tel Aviv aims to obliterate what remains of Palestinian economic and social infrastructure and terrorise the defenceless population into submission.

Guantánamo prisoner released

By Peter Schwarz, 29 August 2006

Murat Kurnaz, from the German city of Bremen, is free. Following four-and-a-half years in detention, he was transferred last Thursday evening from the Guantánamo camp to the US military base at Ramstein, handed over to the German authorities, and released immediately.

FBI arrests in US and Canada signal Washington’s backing for war against LTTE

By Nanda Wickremasinghe, 29 August 2006

An FBI operation last week led to the detention of at least 12 US and Canadian citizens on charges of trying to purchase illegal arms, attempting to bribe US officials and supporting the Sri Lankan separatist group—the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The arrests, carried out in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other US and Canadian authorities, were the first since the US listed the LTTE as a terrorist organisation in 1997.

Mass protests by Turkish farmers

By Sinan Ikinci, 29 August 2006

On July 30, Turkish farmers held a 100,000-strong demonstration in the northeastern Black Sea city of Ordu to protest the policy adopted against hazelnut producers by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Australia: Job insecurity increases, despite falling official unemployment rate

By Terry Cook and Barry Jobson, 29 August 2006

Bare statistics often mask reality. The latest Australian Bureau of Statistic (ABS) labour force figures released this month are no exception. The ABS figures show unemployment continues to decline, falling to 4.8 percent in July from 4.9 percent in June.

One year since Hurricane Katrina: New Orleans left to rot

By the Editorial Board, 29 August 2006

The wretched state of New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast region devastated by Hurricane Katrina one year ago today is a testament to the indifference, incompetence and brutality of the American ruling elite.

SEP Senate candidate Bill Van Auken addresses antiwar meeting in New York

By our reporter, 29 August 2006

The Socialist Equality Party’s candidate for US Senate from New York, Bill Van Auken, spoke Sunday night to an antiwar meeting attended by several hundred people in New York City. The meeting, co-sponsored by New York Peace Action and US Tour of Duty, featured speeches by Scott Ritter, the former Marine intelligence officer and United Nations weapons inspector, and Ray McGovern, the former CIA intelligence officer, both outspoken critics of the war. Also speaking was Jeff Cohen, the founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), the media watchdog group.

What the debate in India over the US nuclear pact shows

By Keith Jones, 29 August 2006

In recent weeks, the debate within India’s ruling elite over the Indo-US nuclear accord has intensified. On August 17, Prime Minister Mammohan Singh gave a major parliamentary address in response to warnings from the scientific-military establishment that the US Congress is trying to attach new conditions to the accord, and last week the Lok Sabha debated its merits.

Mexico’s election tribunal denies Lopéz Obrador’s challenge to July vote

By Rafael Azul, 29 August 2006

Mexico’s Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF) went into public session on Monday and threw out most of challenges to the results of the July second presidential elections. The challenges, questioning the votes cast at some 40,000 ballot boxes, came from Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the candidate of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).

New threats against Detroit teachers as strike begins

By Walter Gilberti, 29 August 2006

As thousands of Detroit teachers manned picket lines in the first day of their strike against the school district’s demands for wage cuts and other concessions, state and local Democratic Party politicians denounced the walkout and demanded they return to work prior to the scheduled beginning of classes on September 5. At the same time, school officials said they would apply for a court order to end the strike.

The Gulf Coast one year later: Indices of a social disaster

By Naomi Spencer, 29 August 2006

One year ago today, in the early morning hours, Hurricane Katrina tore into the Gulf Coast of the US. Upon landfall, the Category 3 hurricane’s storm surge caused massive damage in the states of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. The region was pummeled by 145 mile-an-hour winds and waves 28 feet high, resulting in widespread flooding.

Illinois hearing examiner recommends SEP candidate be placed on ballot

By Elisa Brehm, 29 August 2006

On Monday, David Herman, the hearing examiner appointed by the Illinois State Board of Elections, issued a recommendation that Joe Parnarauskis, the Socialist Equality Party candidate for state Senate from Illinois’ 52nd Legislative District, be placed on the ballot for the November 7 elections.

Detroit teachers strike against concessions

By Walter Gilberti, 28 August 2006

Detroit teachers are set to man picket lines Monday morning following a nearly unanimous vote to strike at a mass meeting held Sunday at the Cobo Arena in downtown Detroit. The strike, by more than 7,000 teachers and support staff, is the first since a nine-day walkout in 1999 that ended in a stalemate. Seven years later, the stakes are much higher.

Australia: The torture of Jack Thomas

By Mike Head, 28 August 2006

Three judges of the Victorian Supreme Court on August 18 quashed the “terrorist” convictions against a young Melbourne worker, Jack Thomas. Their unanimous judgment recorded previously suppressed details of the torture and “emotional manipulation” inflicted on Thomas in order to obtain a blatantly illegal confession.

Bush administration intervenes to block Northwest flight attendants’ strike

By Shannon Jones, 28 August 2006

At the urging of the Bush administration, a federal judge issued an injunction Friday to block a threatened job action by Northwest Airlines flight attendants. The attendants, who are facing new demands for massive wage cuts and other contract concessions from the airline, which is under the protection of a bankruptcy court, were set to begin a series of walkouts at various locations Friday night.

Germany: Democratic rights under attack following arrest of alleged bombers

By Ludwig Niethammer and Peter Schwarz, 28 August 2006

A campaign has been launched to give the German state greater police powers following official claims that bombs found in two regional trains at the end of July were likely left by two young Lebanese men. Security measures severely restricting fundamental democratic rights are now to be introduced in fast-track legislation.

US spy agencies pressed for “intelligence” to justify war against Iran

By Bill Van Auken, 28 August 2006

With the clock ticking to an August 31 deadline set by the United Nations Security Council’s resolution demanding that Iran abandon its uranium enrichment program, a section of the American ruling establishment is pressing US intelligence agencies to produce “evidence” that Iran’s nuclear ambitions pose an imminent nuclear weapons threat.

Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath: from natural disaster to national humiliation

By World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board, 28 August 2006

On the eve of the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and portions of the Gulf Coast in the US, we are reposting for the benefit of our readers a statement that appeared on the World Socialist Web Site September 2, 2005. Its indictment of the American ruling elite has been more than borne out by subsequent events, as we will examine in further postings this week. (See also: “One year since Hurricane Katrina: the rebuilding of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast”)

Sri Lankan government negotiates with JVP ally on program for all-out war

By K. Ratnayake, 28 August 2006

Amid open fighting between the military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) over the past month, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has been actively negotiating for the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) to join his ruling coalition. While a deal is yet to be struck, the fact that discussions are proceeding is one more clear sign that the government is preparing for all-out war against the LTTE and a savage assault on the democratic rights and living standards of working people.

Support the Socialist Equality Party 2006 campaign!

By , 26 August 2006

Make a donation today!

One year since Hurricane Katrina: the rebuilding of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast

By Jeff Lassahn, 26 August 2006

I recently traveled to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast with the volunteer organization Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) to assist in ongoing relief efforts there. It is painfully obvious, nearly a year after Hurricane Katrina laid waste to the region, that the market-based approach to relief and reconstruction has left the entire region devastated, generating even higher levels of social inequality.

The political foundations for the struggle against militarism and war

By Nick Beams, 26 August 2006

The following report was delivered by Nick Beams at public meetings organised by the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) in Sydney and Melbourne on August 22 and 24 to oppose the US-backed Israeli war on Lebanon (see article). Nick Beams is the SEP national secretary and a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site.

Bush reaffirms support for Pakistani dictator

By Keith Jones, 26 August 2006

US President George W. Bush made a demonstrative show of US support for Pakistan’s military strongman, Pervez Musharraf, Wednesday—the very day that the bourgeois opposition launched a campaign to end seven years of military rule.

Spain defies European Commission on energy company sell-off

By John Vassilopoulos, 26 August 2006

The €27 billion takeover bid by German energy giant EON for Spain’s energy company Endesa has again brought Madrid into conflict with the European Commission. In a letter to the Spanish government on August 3, the European Commission raised serious concerns over 19 conditions that Spain’s national energy commission (CNE) wants to impose on the deal, including the forced divestment of about 30 percent of the company’s generating capacity. The European Commission accuses the Spanish government of seeking to “disguise interference with the flow of capital.”

Statements, letters demand ballot status for Illinois SEP candidate

By , 26 August 2006

Below we post statements and letters directed to the Illinois State Board of Elections protesting the continuing effort by the Democratic Party to keep Socialist Equality Party state senatorial candidate Joe Parnarauskis off the November 2006 ballot.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 26 August 2006

Asia

Britain: questions remain over alleged terror plot

By Julie Hyland, 26 August 2006

It is now more than two weeks since police claimed to have thwarted an imminent plan to explode up to a dozen transatlantic jets mid-flight.

Detroit teachers need a new political strategy

By Socialist Equality Party, 26 August 2006

The following statement will be distributed by supporters of the Socialist Equality Party at a mass meeting of Detroit teachers on Sunday, August 27. The teachers are meeting to vote on strike action against the demand of the school district for drastic cuts in wages and benefits in a new contract. The leaflet is also posted as a PDF file. We urge teachers to download and distribute it at Sunday’s meeting.

SEP candidate Joe Parnarauskis demands inclusion in Illinois election debates

By Elisa Brehm, 26 August 2006

Joe Parnarauskis, the Socialist Equality Party candidate for the Illinois Senate from the 52nd District, is calling for his inclusion in all debates to be held by candidates for the state legislative post in the run-up to the November election.

Little Miss Sunshine: High anxiety

By Joanne Laurier, 26 August 2006

Little Miss Sunshine, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris; written by Michael Arndt

Amnesty International details Israeli war crimes in Lebanon

By Peter Symonds, 25 August 2006

An Amnesty International (AI) report published on Tuesday provides a chilling account of the death and destruction inflicted on the civilian population of Lebanon by the Israeli military during its month-long, US-backed offensive. Entitled “Deliberate destruction or ‘collateral damage’? Israeli attacks on civilian infrastructure”, the document demonstrates that the Israeli government is directly responsible for numerous war crimes against the Lebanese people.

Run-off ballot in the Congo

By Kurt Wagner, 25 August 2006

On August 20, the final result of the presidential election held July 30 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was announced. The current head of state, Joseph Kabila, won 45 percent of the vote and his rival, the former rebel leader and current vice president, Jean-Pierre Bemba, 20 percent. The election turnout was 70 percent.

West Bengal Stalinists sign deal with firm tied to ex-Indonesian dictator

By Ajay Prakash, 25 August 2006

Last month, West Bengal’s Stalinist-led Left Front government signed India’s biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) deal with the Salim Goup, an Indonesian conglomerate closely linked to the former Indonesian dictator General Suharto.

The aftermath of the US-Israeli offensive against Lebanon

By Rick Kelly, 25 August 2006

The following report was delivered by World Socialist Web Site correspondent Rick Kelly at public meetings in Sydney and Melbourne on August 22 and 24.

Turkey: Police brutality intensifies along with the political crisis

By Sinan Ikinci and Kerem Kaya, 25 August 2006

Last week, daily papers in Turkey reported widely the case brought by Cigdem Nalbantoglu before a Republican Court against the conduct of police officers, including women, in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district. She stated in her complaint that the police assaulted, beat and threatened her in the course of a random street search.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 25 August 2006

Europe

John Updike’s Terrorist

By David Walsh, 25 August 2006

John Updike, Terrorist, New York, Alfred A. Knopf 2006, 310 pp.

SEP/WSWS meetings in Australia oppose Israeli-US aggression in Lebanon

By our correspondents, 25 August 2006

The Socialist Equality Party and the World Socialist Web Site held public meetings in Sydney on August 22 and Melbourne on August 24 to oppose the US-backed Israeli assault on Lebanon. The meetings were addressed by WSWS staff writer Rick Kelly and Nick Beams, national secretary of the SEP and a member of the international editorial board of the WSWS. Kelly’s report is available today on the WSWS and a full transcript of Beams’s report will be published tomorrow.

US-installed regime begins second Saddam Hussein show trial

By Patrick Martin, 25 August 2006

The special tribunal established under US auspices in Baghdad began its second trial of former Iraq President Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party associates. The trial focuses on charges that Hussein authorized bloody massacres and the use of poison gas against the Kurdish population of northern Iraq during 1988, in a campaign known as “Anfal,” from the Arabic word for “spoils of war.”

WSWS speaks to families of soldiers killed in Sri Lanka’s war

By our correspondents, 25 August 2006

As the Sri Lankan military continues its war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the number of dead and wounded soldiers is rising dramatically. According to the official casualty figures, 159 military personnel have been killed and another 452 injured during fighting since the beginning of August.

US administration rejects Iran’s offer of “serious negotiations”

By Peter Symonds, 24 August 2006

The Bush administration yesterday signalled its rejection of Iran’s offer of “serious negotiations,” setting the stage for punitive economic sanctions and an escalating confrontation with Tehran.

Letters on US politics, history and the media

By , 24 August 2006

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

SEP submits petitions for US Senate candidate in New York

By a reporter, 24 August 2006

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) submitted petitions August 22 to place its candidate for US Senate, Bill Van Auken, on the ballot in New York. Van Auken is challenging New York’s incumbent Senator, the pro-war Democrat Hillary Clinton, in the November election.

Bush authorizes recall of Marine reservists to Iraq

By Barry Grey, 24 August 2006

One day after President Bush told a White House press conference, “We’re not leaving [Iraq] so long as I’m the president,” the tragic meaning of his words for hundreds of American soldiers and their families was spelled out by the Marine Corps’ announcement that at least 1,200 inactive reservists will be recalled for combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wadeye: a case study of the Australian government’s Aboriginal agenda

By Erika Zimmer, 24 August 2006

Under the guise of concern for Aboriginal women and children, the Howard government has seized upon revelations of sexual abuse in indigenous communities, initially broadcast in an Australian Broadcasting Corporation “Lateline” program in May, to push through its right-wing agenda of “ending welfare dependence”.

Japan: Koizumi’s provocative visit to the Yasukuni shrine

By John Chan, 24 August 2006

In one of his final acts before leaving office next month, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid a sixth visit last week to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine where Japan’s war dead, including convicted war criminals, are worshipped. Particularly significant was the date of Koizumi’s visit—August 15 was the day on which Japan formally surrendered to US forces in 1945.

Britain: Labour government proposes punitive welfare reforms

By Jean Shaoul, 24 August 2006

The Labour government’s Welfare Reform Bill published before the parliamentary recess seeks to force the most vulnerable members of society—the sick, single parents and older workers—off benefits and into work.

A passionate exposure of the David Hicks case, with one glaring omission

By Richard Phillips, 23 August 2006

Honour Bound, a 90-minute multimedia performance co-designed and directed by Nigel Jamieson at the Sydney Opera House until September 3 and Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre from September 15 until October 1, dramatises the plight of David Hicks, a 31-year-old Australian citizen imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay for almost five years in violation of the Geneva Conventions and his basic democratic rights.

US policy threatens war in Horn of Africa

By Brian Smith and Chris Talbot, 23 August 2006

The threat of a full-scale war erupting in Somalia is now a real possibility. Ethiopian troops are congregating along the Somali border, amid allegations that the so-called Union of Islamic Courts, which now controls the capital city of Mogadishu and a growing part of the country, is being armed by Eritrea. Ethiopia and Eritrea, headed by nationalist regimes that were originally allies, fought a bloody war in 1998-2000 in which tens of thousands died.

Michael Mann’s Miami Vice: Why this film?

By David Walsh, 23 August 2006

Miami Vice, written and directed by Michael Mann

Despite president’s denials, Sri Lankan military continues offensive war

By Sarath Kumara, 23 August 2006

In a meeting on Monday with diplomats from the US, the European Union, Norway and Japan, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse denied that his government was waging war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Repeating earlier comments to the media, he claimed that the Sri Lankan military was only responding to LTTE attacks and had not launched any offensive operations.

Recent letters from our readers

By , 23 August 2006

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

Bush press conference on Iraq: “We’re not leaving so long as I’m the president.”

By Patrick Martin, 23 August 2006

President Bush’s press conference Monday gave a glimpse of the deepening political crisis of the US administration over the failure of its policies in Iraq and the broader Middle East. Bush was on the defensive throughout the session, struggling with questions which, if not overtly hostile, focused attention on the contradictions in his shifting rationale for the Iraq war.

Tug of war over Lebanon intervention force

By Peter Schwarz, 23 August 2006

The dispatch of a United Nations military contingent to Lebanon is meeting obstacles. France, which was originally supposed to form the “backbone” of the force and provide its leadership, has unexpectedly turned down such a role. Now, urged by Israel and the US, Italy has indicated it is willing to lead the force and supply its biggest contingent.

Honour Bound director Nigel Jamieson speaks with WSWS

By Richard Phillips, 23 August 2006

Honour Bound director Nigel Jamieson is best-known for his large-event productions—Tin Symphony at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the closing ceremony of the Manchester Commonwealth Games. But before migrating to Australia from Britain in 1992 he worked with the Royal National Theatre and founded and directed the acclaimed Trickster Theatre Company and several other theatre groups. In 1985, he was awarded the Greater London Arts Award for outstanding contribution to the fields of Dance and Physical Theatre.

Britain: Eleven charged in alleged airplane bomb plot

By Julie Hyland, 23 August 2006

Eleven people appeared at a central London magistrate’s court on Tuesday charged with various offences relating to the alleged plot to explode transatlantic aircraft mid-flight. All had been held without charge since their arrest on August 10 in police raids in East London, Birmingham and Buckinghamshire.

Australian court overturns “terrorist” conviction based on torture

By David Taylor and Mike Head, 22 August 2006

In a serious blow to the Howard government, a Full Bench of the Victorian Supreme Court last Friday quashed the “terrorist” convictions against a young Melbourne worker, Jack Thomas. The ruling was based on the fact that the confession Thomas gave to police was illegally obtained in a Pakistani jail through torture and coercion by Pakistani, US and Australian authorities.

A damning admission: New York Times concealed NSA spying until after 2004 election

By David Walsh and Barry Grey, 22 August 2006

A column by New York Times public editor Byron Calame August 13 reveals that the newspaper withheld a story about the Bush administration’s program of illegal domestic spying until after the 2004 election, and then lied about it.

A new week: US media frenzy over JonBenet murder carries on

By Joanne Laurier, 22 August 2006

Despite the serious doubts that have been raised regarding the involvement of John Mark Karr in the Christmas 1996 murder of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey in Boulder, Colorado, the US media frenzy provoked by his arrest and “confession” continues unabated. If anything, it intensified Monday morning.

Is the US planning a coup in Iraq?

By Peter Symonds, 22 August 2006

On August 16, an extraordinary article appeared in the New York Times providing details of a top-level private meeting on US strategy in Iraq at the Pentagon last week. President Bush, who was present along with his war cabinet and selected “outside experts”, voiced his open dissatisfaction that the new Iraqi government—and the Iraqi people—had not shown greater support for US policies.

Sri Lankan government prepares to suppress the struggles of workers

By W.A. Sunil, 22 August 2006

As the civil war in Sri Lanka escalates, President Mahinda Rajapakse has intensified his efforts to block any action by workers to defend their living standards and democratic rights.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 22 August 2006

Latin America

UK terror scare: Airlines threaten legal action against British government

By Steve James, 22 August 2006

A bitter row has broken out between the government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and companies operating airports and airlines in the UK, following the officially driven hysteria over the alleged plot to blow up aircraft en route from Britain to the US.

An outlaw state: Israel breaks ceasefire, threatens to assassinate Hezbollah leader

By Patrick Martin, 21 August 2006

Israeli forces on Saturday carried out a flagrant violation of the ceasefire along the Lebanon-Israel border, as dozens of military commandos attacked the village of Boudai, near Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon. The raid was the first full-scale breach in the ceasefire between Israeli and Hezbollah forces in south Lebanon which took effect on Monday, August 14.

War in Sri Lanka creates a flood of refugees

By Nanda Wickramasinghe, 21 August 2006

Ongoing fighting initiated by the Sri Lankan military against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is creating a social catastrophe. More than 160,000 people have been displaced since the army launched what the Colombo government falsely described as a “limited, humanitarian operation” on July 26 to seize the Mavilaru irrigation sluice gate inside LTTE territory.

Families of UK soldiers killed in Iraq mount political, legal challenge to Blair government

By Harvey Thompson, 21 August 2006

Relatives of some of the 115 British soldiers killed in Iraq have announced their intention to form a new political party to contest parliamentary elections.

Australia: Electoral bill blocks registration of new parties

By Mike Head, 21 August 2006

Behind the backs of the Australian population—without any mention in the mass media or serious opposition in parliament—the Howard government has introduced sweeping new electoral laws that aim to suppress any electoral challenge to the mainstream political parties.

Tensions between Georgia and Russia escalate

By Simon Whelan, 21 August 2006

Consultations have begun in Moscow between representatives of the Joint Control Commission (JSS) for a settlement of the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict.

American “democracy” on display in Oregon’s new ballot access law

By Noah Page, 21 August 2006

The petition campaign by the Socialist Equality Party to put Christie Schaefer on the ballot for state Senate in Oregon’s 19th District continues to win broad support in spite of obstacles imposed by the state’s political establishment.

Ford production cuts foreshadow more plant closures, layoffs

By Shannon Jones, 21 August 2006

Last week’s announcement by Ford Motor Co. of sharp production cutbacks prefigures a new round of plant closures and mass layoffs by America’s second largest automaker.

European Union ministers use terror scare to justify more anti-democratic measures

By Julie Hyland, 19 August 2006

On Wednesday, the interior ministers of Britain, Germany, France, Finland and Portugal held an impromptu meeting in London with the European Union’s justice commissioner and its counter-terrorism coordinator.

China joins US in freezing North Korean bank accounts

By John Chan, 19 August 2006

Showing just how willing Beijing is to accommodate to Washington, it was revealed in late July that the state-owned Bank of China (BOC) has cooperated with the Bush administration’s efforts to freeze North Korean finances in a number of Macau-based banks.

Election board to rule on ballot status of Illinois SEP candidate

By Jerome White, 19 August 2006

The Illinois State Board of Elections held its last hearing on Thursday before it renders its decision August 31 on whether Socialist Equality Party state Senate candidate Joe Parnarauskis should be placed on the ballot.

Rush to judgment in the JonBenet Ramsey case

By David Walsh, 19 August 2006

For approximately twenty-four hours this week, from late afternoon Wednesday to the same time on Thursday, the American mass media was consumed by one story: the arrest of a suspect in the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, the six-year-old girl and child beauty pageant queen killed ten years ago in Colorado.

US court rules NSA spying program unconstitutional

By Joe Kay, 19 August 2006

In a sharply worded decision, a federal judge ruled on Thursday that a program set up by the Bush administration to monitor phone calls and emails of US citizens without court-issued warrants violates a federal statute and the US Constitution.

Sri Lankan president demands media toes the line on the war

By K. Ratnayake, 19 August 2006

Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse held a meeting with editors and heads of media bodies on Wednesday ostensibly to explain the “current situation in the country”. The real purpose of the meeting was to pressure those assembled to faithfully reproduce the government’s propaganda on its widening war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 19 August 2006

Asia

Günter Grass and the Waffen SS

By Peter Schwarz, 19 August 2006

Once again, the philistines vituperate.

An officially induced panic: UK terror scare sparks wave of mini-scares

By Kate Randall, 19 August 2006

More than a week after the US and UK announcements that an alleged terror plot to blow up commercial airliners flying from Britain to the US had been foiled, the official claims are unraveling. Authorities have been unable to provide any concrete evidence to back up the story that police raids and mass arrests in Britain thwarted an imminent attack that would have taken the lives of thousands of transatlantic travelers.

On-the-spot report from Sri Lanka’s war-torn Jaffna peninsula

By our correspondents, 18 August 2006

Fierce clashes between the Sri Lankan military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been taking place over the past week on the northern Jaffna peninsula. Little of what has been taking place has been reported in the Colombo media, which relies almost entirely on military and government briefings, or the international press, which has few correspondents on the spot.

Warnings of a US recession and global slowdown

By Nick Beams, 18 August 2006

Three commentaries published in the Financial Times over the past week have pointed to the increasing likelihood of a US recession that would have major implications for the global economy.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 18 August 2006

Europe