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Australia: Police report reveals real instigators of Cronulla race riots

By Fergus Michaels, 30 November 2006

Below we are publishing part one of a three-part series on the December 2005 race riots at Sydney’s Cronulla beach. Part 2 was published on December 1 and part 3 will be published on December 2.

Nicaraguan election: Ortega’s victory and the dead-end of Sandinismo

By Rafael Azul and Patrick Martin, 30 November 2006

Daniel Ortega, the long-time head of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) of Nicaragua, won the country’s presidency in a general election November 5. Ortega received 38 percent of the total vote, about nine percent more than his nearest opponent, the US-backed conservative Eduardo Montealegre of the National Liberal Alliance (ALN), who received 29 percent.

Letters from our readers

By , 30 November 2006

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

For Your Consideration: A disappointing effort

By Ramon Valle, 30 November 2006

For Your Consideration, directed by Christopher Guest, written by Guest and Eugene Levy

New York City mayor seeks to quell outrage over police slaying

By Sandy English, 30 November 2006

In the five days since New York City police shot and killed 23 year-old Sean Bell and wounded two others in the predominantly working-class borough of Queens, the city’s media and political elite have sought to blunt any mass protest and obscure the circumstances and root causes of the murder.

Bush to deliver ultimatum to Iraqi prime minister at Jordan summit

By Peter Symonds, 30 November 2006

The planned meeting between US President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in the Jordanian capital of Amman failed to go ahead yesterday, after a secret White House memo detailing US plans for Iraq, and critical of Maliki, was leaked to the New York Times.

International report documents repression in Indian-controlled Kashmir

By Parwini Zora and Daniel Woreck, 30 November 2006

A recent report by the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) documents the systematic human rights abuses carried out by the Indian security forces in the state of Jammu and Kashmir with the protection of the Indian government and legal system.

Borat: Whose pie and whose face?

By David Walsh, 29 November 2006

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, directed by Larry Charles, screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham and Dan Mazer

Berlin panel discussion on Kosovo: Marxism vs. nationalism

By our correspondent, 29 November 2006

A panel discussion on Kosovo last Wednesday in Berlin illustrated the profound gulf between a Marxist attitude to the national question and a petty-bourgeois radical approach.

Demise of US rail system highlighted by DC-area bridge fault

By Jeff Lassahn, 29 November 2006

On November 13, an inspection of a CSX Corporation’s Anacostia River railroad bridge revealed structural problems, leading to the temporary closure of the bridge to all traffic. Located east of Washington, D.C., the bridge is part of a line carrying all north-south freight traffic through that region. Its closure has resulted in rerouting and delays for all of this traffic, and approximately 50 employees are without work or pay until the bridge is repaired.

Australia: Union protests provide no way forward against industrial relations laws

By Terry Cook, 29 November 2006

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

US Senate endorses Bush’s nuclear accord with India

By Kranti Kumara, 29 November 2006

The United States Senate voted 85 to 12, November 16, to exempt India from the nuclear-trade restrictions currently in place under the US Atomic Energy Act (USAEA), thereby overturning longstanding US nuclear non-proliferation policies.

Bush visits Middle East to intensify Iraq war

By James Cogan, 29 November 2006

The thrust of today’s talks in Jordan between George Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is clear in advance. Bush, accompanied by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, will insist that the Iraqi leader bow down to US demands for a bloody crackdown against the largest faction in his own government, the anti-occupation Sadrist movement headed by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and its Mahdi Army militia. An unnamed senior US official bluntly told the New York Times: “It’s decision time and everybody knows it.”

Canberra prepares for possible military intervention in Fiji

By Rick Kelly, 29 November 2006

Amid stepped up threats by the Fijian military to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, Canberra is taking aggressive steps to protect its interests in the country and the region. The Howard government will host a meeting of the 16 Pacific Islands Forum foreign ministers on Friday in order to invoke the “Biketawa Declaration,” which authorises regional intervention into the affairs of member states, potentially including military intervention.

Letters on filmmaker Robert Altman

By , 28 November 2006

The following are two letters received in response to “American filmmaker Robert Altman dead at 81,” posted November 23 on the WSWS.

An appreciation of jazz singer Anita O’Day, 1919-2006

By John Andrews, 28 November 2006

Anita O’Day, one of the great vocalists in jazz history, passed away Thanksgiving Day in a West Los Angeles convalescent hospital at the age of 87. She left no survivors. Her death from cardiac arrest due to pneumonia was announced by her manager.

Setenta años después de la guerra civil española la derecha en España intenta rehabilitar a Franco

By , 28 November 2006

WSWS : Español

British Airways and the Christian cross controversy

By Julie Hyland, 28 November 2006

At the weekend, British Airways announced it would review its uniform guidelines. The move came after a hysterical campaign, orchestrated by sections of the media, politicians, bishops and Christian groups, in support of a BA employee who had insisted on her right to display her cross necklace at work.

Australia: SEP campaign wins support in Victorian state election

By James Cogan, 28 November 2006

In last Saturday’s Victorian state election, Will Marshall, the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) candidate for the Melbourne seat of Broadmeadows, received 425 votes, or 1.53 percent of the total. While small, the vote nevertheless indicates that the SEP’s campaign had a significant impact on workers and young people in the electorate, despite a media blackout, anti-democratic electoral laws and a campaign of just three weeks.

New York police kill unarmed man, wound two others

By Sandy English, 28 November 2006

On Saturday, November 25, a few hours before his wedding, Sean Bell, 23, was shot to death in his car by undercover New York City police officers in Jamaica, Queens. Police bullets struck the former UPS driver twice, once in the neck and once in the arm.

China woos India to parry US containment strategy

By Keith Jones, 28 November 2006

Chinese President Hu Jintao made a four-day visit to India last week, then spent three days in Pakistan.

Nominee for US defense secretary advocated bombing of Nicaragua

By Joe Kay, 28 November 2006

In December 1984, Robert Gates, the Bush administration’s nominee to replace Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary, advocated military strikes against Nicaragua in response to what he considered to be a growing threat to US interests in Central and South America. Gates was then deputy director of intelligence at the CIA.

What the New York Times has learned from Iraq

By Barry Grey, 28 November 2006

The lead editorial in Sunday’s New York Times deserves careful reading and consideration. Entitled “Learning from Iraq,” the piece should serve as an antidote to popular illusions that the American electorate’s massive repudiation of the Iraq war on November 7 and the capture of Congress by the Democrats will lead to a retreat by the American ruling elite from its policies of neo-colonialism and war.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 28 November 2006

Latin America

SEP public lecture in Colombo: new SLFP-UNP coalition to expand civil war

By our correspondent, 28 November 2006

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) held a public lecture in Colombo on November 14 to discuss the political implications for the working class of the unprecedented coalition between the two major establishment parties—the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the opposition United National Party (UNP)—and the escalating civil war in Sri Lanka.

A riot in China over deteriorating public health care

By John Chan, 27 November 2006

Two thousand people mobbed and ransacked a hospital in the southwestern Chinese city of Guangan, in Sichuan province, on November 10 after it allegedly refused to treat a 3-year-old child before payment. The riot is another indication of widespread and growing frustration over worsening social conditions, in this case the result of Beijing’s “user-pays” medical reforms.

European powers seek to benefit from Bush’s Middle East setbacks

By Jean Shaoul, 27 November 2006

Within days of the Bush administration’s defeat in the mid-term elections, due to widespread opposition to the Iraq war, a number of European powers were attempting to flex their political muscles.

Setenta años después de la guerra civil española la derecha en España intenta rehabilitar a Franco

By , 27 November 2006

WSWS : Español

Letters from our readers

By , 27 November 2006

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

Lebanese regime approves US-backed tribunal directed against Syria

By Patrick Martin, 27 November 2006

The Lebanese cabinet voted Saturday to approve the establishment of an international tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. The action sets the stage for a further confrontation between the United Nations Security Council and the Syrian government of President Bashar al Assad, the main target of the tribunal.

Victorian election: Labor government returned to power with big business and media backing

By Rick Kelly, 27 November 2006

The Labor government in the Australian state of Victoria was returned to office last Saturday with a marginally reduced majority. The result came as no surprise, with Labor Premier Steve Bracks unanimously endorsed by big business and the media. With the official campaign limited to just three weeks, the shortest time possible, none of the central issues facing working people was addressed. No discussion was permitted on the Iraq war, the growing threat to democratic rights, worsening social inequality or lower living standards.

German parliament extends participation in the “war on terror”

By Justus Leicht, 27 November 2006

On November 10, the German Bundestag (parliament) agreed by a large majority to extend its participation in the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom. The government coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU) and Social Democratic Party (SPD), as well as the opposition free-market Free Democratic Party (FDP) voted in support. Only the Left Party and—for the first time—the Greens voted against.

Setenta años después de la guerra civil española la derecha en España intenta rehabilitar a Franco

By , 26 November 2006

WSWS : Español

Polish mining disaster claims 23 lives

By Cezar Komorovsky, 25 November 2006

In the worst mining disaster in modern Polish history, 23 miners lost their lives at Halemba, a colliery in the town of Ruda Slaska in the southern industrial province of Silesia.

More than 200 dead in Baghdad’s deadliest day of bombings

By Peter Symonds, 25 November 2006

Sectarian warfare in Iraq further escalated on Thursday after more than 200 people died and at least 250 were wounded in Baghdad, in the deadliest single day of attacks since the US invasion in 2003.

Belgian Volkswagen factory occupied

By our reporters, 25 November 2006

The Volkswagen Forest works in the west of Brussels has been occupied around the clock for the past week. Of the 5,800 employees at the factory, 4,000 are threatened with dismissal, following the decision by management to switch production of the Golf model to Germany.

Canada: Ruling in O’Neill case underlines threat to democratic rights

By David Adelaide and Keith Jones, 25 November 2006

An October ruling by Ontario Superior Court Justice Lynn Ratushny in the case of Ottawa Citizen journalist Juliet O’Neill highlights the extent to which the Canadian ruling elite is prepared to break with democratic norms in order to prosecute its right-wing program of militarism, cuts to public and social services and closer cooperation with the Bush administration.

Sri Lankan Attorney General replies on SEP supporter’s murder

By our correspondent, 25 November 2006

For weeks the Sri Lankan attorney general has remained silent on the international campaign waged by the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) demanding the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the murder of SEP supporter Sivapragasam Mariyadas. Now, the Attorney General’s department has belatedly informed the SEP that the case is receiving its attention.

Australian High Court sanctions wholesale assault on working conditions

By Mike Head, 25 November 2006

Last week’s ruling by the Australian High Court to uphold the Howard government’s WorkChoices industrial relations laws has cleared the way for an escalating attack on workers’ jobs, wages, working conditions and basic rights. By a 5-2 majority, the country’s supreme court dismissed a challenge to the constitutional validity of the laws mounted by several state Labor governments and trade union bodies.

Support the struggle of Volkswagen workers in Brussels!

By by Editorial Board, 25 November 2006

The strike by Volkswagen workers in Brussels makes clear the urgency of organizing a joint struggle by workers at all VW locations and plants.

Who Killed the Electric Car?, written and directed by Chris Paine

By Jay Stock, 25 November 2006

Who Killed the Electric Car?, a film written and directed by Chris Paine, was shown in some theatres earlier this year and was released on video November 14. The following review was submitted by a reader of the World Socialist Web Site.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 25 November 2006

Asia

Australia: Labor makes cynical promise on public education in Victorian election

By Will Marshall and Socialist Equality Party candidate for Broadmeadows, 24 November 2006

For empty promises and cheap electioneering, the Labor Party’s ploy on public education in the Victorian state election campaign plumbs new depths.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East and Africa

By , 24 November 2006

Europe

Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette: Not even cake?

By Emanuele Saccarelli, 24 November 2006

Marie Antoinette, written and directed by Sofia Coppola

Britain: Blair’s overseas diplomacy highlights military crisis in Afghanistan

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 24 November 2006

The visits by Prime Minister Tony Blair to Pakistan and Afghanistan and by Chancellor Gordon Brown to Iraq continue the desperate efforts of the British government to rescue its imperialist ambitions following the defeats suffered by the Bush administration in the United States mid-term elections.

Germany: Election Alternative prepares for merger with Left Party

By Lucas Adler and Ulrich Rippert, 24 November 2006

Two hundred seventy delegates of the organisation Election Alternative—Labour and Social Justice (WASG) met in the remote town of Geseke in western Germany last weekend for a national congress. Many of the remarks at the congress made verbose references to “left alternatives,” “democratic socialism,” and “expropriation of the key industries and banks,” and there was general talk of the “need for a more humane society.”

The New York Times and the Gemayel assassination

By Chris Marsden, 24 November 2006

The November 23 editorial of the New York Times, “Another Killing in Lebanon”, begins with the assertion:

UN report documents huge October death toll in Iraq

By James Cogan, 24 November 2006

The human rights report released on Wednesday by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) describes a nation that has been plunged into barbarism since the US-led invasion in March 2003. The Bush administration’s illegal war for oil and world power, cynically code-named “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” has turned Iraq into a slaughterhouse and mass graveyard.

Victorian election: Vote for Will Marshall and the SEP in Broadmeadows

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 24 November 2006

Workers in Victoria go to the polls on Saturday having endured an official election campaign in which all the fundamental issues—war, attacks on democratic rights and deteriorating living standards—have been buried.

Germany: Election Alternative prepares for merger with Left Party

By Lucas Adler and Ulrich Rippert, 24 November 2006

Two hundred seventy delegates of the organisation Election Alternative—Labour and Social Justice (WASG) met in the remote town of Geseke in western Germany last weekend for a national congress.

WSWS correspondent to address international conference on the Spanish Civil War

By , 24 November 2006

World Socialist Web Site correspondent Ann Talbot is to address the International Conference on the Spanish Civil War, in Madrid on November 27-29, 2006.

Strike and occupation at Volkswagen works in Belgium

By Helmut Arens, 23 November 2006

More than 5,000 workers at the Forest Volkswagen factory in Brussels have been on strike since last Friday. The workers also occupied parts of the factory at the start of the week in order to prevent finished cars from being transported out of the plant and to stop any dismantling of machines. On Wednesday morning the workers held a mass meeting at the main factory gate to decide on further action.

Canada’s Conservative government increases state’s repressive powers

By François Tremblay, 23 November 2006

Just as Canada’s Conservative government invokes the hunt for “Taliban terrorists” to justify a neo-colonial military intervention in Afghanistan, it is seeking to increase the repressive powers of the state under the cover of a “fight against crime.”

American filmmaker Robert Altman dead at 81

By David Walsh, 23 November 2006

Robert Altman, whose film and television directing career began in the 1950s, died in Los Angeles Monday at the age of 81. He had been battling cancer for at least 18 months. Altman, as he revealed when he accepted an honorary award at the 2006 Academy Awards ceremony, also underwent a heart transplant some time in the 1990s. He was one of the most interesting filmmakers of the post-studio era in Hollywood, responsible for such works as McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), Nashville (1975), The Player (1992), Short Cuts (1993) and Gosford Park (2001).

Australia: Socialist Equality Party holds successful election meeting in Broadmeadows

By our reporters, 23 November 2006

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) held a well-attended public meeting on Tuesday in Broadmeadows as part of its campaign for the November 25 state election in Victoria.

Bush administration and US media blame Syria for Gemayel assassination

By Patrick Martin, 23 November 2006

When a murder investigation begins, the starting point is not to shout from the rooftops some unfounded suspicion, but to assemble, in a methodical and serious fashion, all the physical and circumstantial evidence. A list of suspects must be drawn up, each with their possible motives.

Bush’s visit to Asia dogged by US disaster in Iraq

By John Chan, 23 November 2006

President Bush’s first trip abroad following the Republican Party defeat in the US mid-term elections has been anything but a success. He failed to stamp his administration’s agenda on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam or achieve any significant breakthrough on key issues such as Iran and North Korea.

A socialist answer to war, environmental disaster and social inequality

By Nick Beams, 23 November 2006

Nick Beams delivered the report below to the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) meeting held on November 21 in Broadmeadows for the Victorian state election. Beams is the national secretary of the SEP in Australia and a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site.

UK military faces recruitment and retention crisis

By Harvey Thompson, 22 November 2006

The National Audit Office (NAO) has released a report detailing a series of critical difficulties faced by the British Armed Forces in recruiting and retaining sufficient numbers to carry out ongoing military operations.

Sectarian rifts in Iraqi government intensify

By James Cogan, 22 November 2006

The kidnapping on November 14 of dozens of Sunni Arab employees at Iraq’s higher education ministry and government threats to arrest a leading Sunni cleric have sparked another bloody escalation in sectarian violence across the country. Sunni political parties are under pressure to walk out of the “national unity” cabinet of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad.

Australia: Labor Party and unions stifle opposition to Ford job cuts

By Terry Cook, 22 November 2006

The state Labor government and the trade unions in Victoria are working overtime to assist Ford management in carrying out the destruction of 640 jobs at its Broadmeadows and Geelong plants.

Bush appoints “choose life” conservative to head family-planning programs

By Naomi Spencer, 22 November 2006

The Bush administration, catering to the extreme right-wing constituency in the Republican Party, has appointed yet another abortion opponent to a top post in the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

Canberra maintains aggressive stance toward Solomon Islands government

By Rick Kelly, 22 November 2006

The tense standoff between the Australian and Solomon Islands governments is continuing. After his efforts to defuse tensions were rebuffed by Canberra, Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare made a new threat to curtail the Australian-led the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

Workers speak out against sackings at Ford Australia

By our correspondents, 22 November 2006

Ford Australia announced plans in early November to axe 640 permanent jobs at its Broadmeadows and Geelong plants in Victoria before the end of the year. Both the unions and the state Labor government are collaborating with Ford to ensure there is no resistance to the layoffs.

School shooting and suicide in Germany

By Stefan Steinberg, 22 November 2006

At 9:30 a.m. on Monday, November 20, a heavily armed 18-year-old man stormed into his former junior high school, Geschwister-Scholl, opened fire on students and threw smoke bombs, injuring more than 30 before taking his own life. The attack took place in the town of Emsdetten in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.

Australia, New Zealand dispatch troops to Tonga

By Rick Kelly, 21 November 2006

The Australian and New Zealand governments dispatched more than 150 soldiers and police to the south Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday. Contrary to the claims of the two governments and media outlets, the military intervention has nothing to do with helping the Tongan people. Rather, it is aimed at advancing Canberra and Wellington’s strategic and economic interests in the region and preventing the country’s political and social crisis from spiralling out of their control.

Will Marshall exposes Labor and Greens at Broadmeadows election forum

By Richard Phillips, 21 November 2006

An election forum in the Victorian state seat of Broadmeadows last Wednesday sharply highlighted the hostility felt by many ordinary people toward the state Labor government, the Liberal Party and the rest of the political establishment. The meeting was organised by the Broadmeadows Progress Association, a local lobby group with close ties to the Labor and trade union bureaucracies.

California: UCLA student victim of police brutality

By Jeff Lincoln and Naomi Spencer, 21 November 2006

On November 14, police at the University of California’s Los Angeles (UCLA) campus brutally assaulted a student with a Taser stun gun as he was leaving the library.

Ireland: “Bertiegate” corruption allegations against Taoiseach Ahern

By Steve James, 21 November 2006

Leaks from the Mahon Tribunal into alleged planning corruption in the early 1990s focus on Ireland’s Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Bertie Ahern.

Goodyear strike in North America enters seventh week

By Tony Bell, 21 November 2006

Contract talks have broken down between Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. and the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) union as the walkout by 15,000 workers at 16 plants in the US and Canada enters its seventh week.

Democrat Congressman calls for reinstating the draft

By Joe Kay, 21 November 2006

Only two weeks after the US midterm elections, in which the overriding sentiment was public opposition to the war in Iraq, political debate in Washington has shifted markedly. Gone is any discussion of even a partial troop withdrawal in the near future. The main question within the political establishment is whether or not the US should send more troops to Iraq, and if so, how many and for how long.

Milton Friedman 1912-2006: “Free market” architect of social reaction

By Nick Beams, 21 November 2006

In his afterword to the second edition of Capital in 1873, Karl Marx noted that the scientific character of bourgeois economics had come to an end about 1830. At that point the class tensions generated by the development of the capitalist mode of production itself made further advances impossible. “In place of disinterested inquirers there now stepped forward hired prize-fighters; in place of genuine scientific research, the bad conscience and evil intent of apologetics.”

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 21 November 2006

Latin America

Britain: Farepak collapse ruins Christmas for tens of thousands

By Jean Shaoul, 20 November 2006

Farepak, one of the largest Christmas hamper and savings clubs in Britain, has collapsed, robbing at least 300,000 families of their Christmas savings worth up to £150 million. Some families lost up to £1,500 when Farepak went into liquidation four weeks ago.

An exchange on Stalinism with a South African reader

By , 20 November 2006

Below we publish an edited email exchange on Stalinism between a reader of the World Socialist Web Site in South Africa and Barbara Slaughter, a veteran Trotskyist who rejected the counterrevolutionary politics of Stalinism and joined the Fourth International following the tumultuous events of 1956.

Democrats seek accommodation with Bush administration to continue Iraq occupation

By Joe Kay, 20 November 2006

Over the weekend, leading Democrats pledged their eagerness to work closely with the Bush administration in forging a bipartisan policy to continue the occupation of Iraq, and voiced their support for a substantial increase in the military budget and the recruitment of more Army troops.

Australia: Bracks and the “war on terror”

By Will Marshall and Socialist Equality Party candidate for Broadmeadows, 20 November 2006

In the face of growing public disquiet over the “war on terror” and its agenda—war in the Middle East and police-state powers at home—Victorian Premier Steve Bracks has postured, from time to time, as a moderating voice. He has distanced himself, on occasions, from the federal Howard government’s anti-Muslim campaign and claimed to have won protections for civil liberties in the latest round of “anti-terrorism” laws.

UN envoy accuses Sri Lankan military of helping recruit child soldiers

By K. Ratnayake, 20 November 2006

UN special representative Allen Rock has provoked a furore in Sri Lankan ruling circles by alleging that the military has assisted a paramilitary ally known as the Karuna group in recruiting children to fight in the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Resurge el concenso pro-bélico luego de las elecciones en Estados Unidos

By , 20 November 2006

WSWS : Español

Letters on the US elections

By , 20 November 2006

The following is a selection of letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site in response to recent articles on the US midterm elections.

Australian Greens pitch election campaign to political and media establishment

By Rick Kelly, 18 November 2006

Election pundits expect the Australian Greens to make significant gains in the November 25 Victorian election, with opinion polls suggesting they will receive more than 10 percent of the vote. The party may hold the balance of power in the upper house, giving it effective veto power over contentious government legislation.

Civil rights groups file war crimes complaint in Germany against top US officials

By Joe Kay, 18 November 2006

On November 14, lawyers submitted to a German prosecutor a complaint of war crimes against outgoing US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former White House Counsel and current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and 11 other current and former Bush administration officials and military officers. The charges relate primarily to the role of these figures in devising and implementing an international program of torture and illegal detention.

Spain: Popular Party attempts to wreck ETA ceasefire

By Paul Mitchell, 18 November 2006

Spain’s right-wing opposition Popular Party (PP) is attempting to wreck the ceasefire announced on March 24, 2006, by the Basque separatist group Euskadi ta Askatasuna (Basque Homeland and Freedom—ETA). The ceasefire was accompanied by a declaration of a permanent end to its 38-year military campaign of bombings and shootings that resulted in the death of 800 people.

France: Socialist Party chooses a Blairite presidential candidate

By Antoine Lerougtel, 18 November 2006

Ségolène Royal had been designated Socialist Party candidate for the 2007 presidential elections. The party’s 218,771 paid-up members cast their vote in 4,000 transparent ballot boxes on November 16. Of these eligible voters, 68,049 were new members who had joined the Parti Socialiste (PS) via the Internet with cut-price dues of €20 in order to participate in the ballot.

Giuliani prepares US presidential bid—a new phase in 9/11 mythmaking

By Bill Van Auken, 18 November 2006

With this week’s announcement that Rudolph Giuliani has formed an exploratory committee—the first step in making a run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination—the mythmaking surrounding New York City’s former Republican mayor is entering a new phase.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 18 November 2006

Indian lignite workers strike for pay

Thousands protest in Colombo against killing of Tamil MP

By our correspondents, 17 November 2006

Thousands of people protested in Colombo on Monday against the assassination last week of Tamil parliamentarian Nadaraja Raviraj. The demonstration drew a cross-section of people—Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim—who are deeply concerned about the resumption of civil war in Sri Lanka and the abduction or murder of hundreds of people over the past year.

Supreme Court inaugurates new term with reactionary death penalty ruling

By Jeff Lincoln, 17 November 2006

On November 13, the Supreme Court in the case of Ayers v. Belmontes reinstated a death sentence imposed on a man in the state of California despite evidence that the sentencing verdict resulted from confusion over jury instructions.

Workers’ Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 17 November 2006

Europe

Letters from our readers

By , 17 November 2006

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

US hearings on Iraq set course for intensified conflict

By Peter Symonds, 17 November 2006

Just over a week after American voters expressed their opposition to the war in Iraq, Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on Wednesday provided further confirmation that there will be no rapid withdrawal of troops or end to the US occupation.

Michigan: Mentally ill inmate dies after five days of abuse

By Naomi Spencer, 17 November 2006

On August 6, Timothy Joe Souders, a mentally ill young man held in the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility in Jackson, died after five days of horrific abuse and neglect. The 21-year-old was held for five days in isolation, naked, shackled by his arms and legs to a concrete slab in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, forced to lie in his own urine.

Britain: Blair advises policy shift in Middle East

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 16 November 2006

British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s speech to the City of London Lord Mayor’s annual Mansion House banquet on November 13 was an attempt to reformulate British foreign policy in the aftermath of the popular repudiation of the Iraq war and the defeat suffered by the Bush administration in the US elections.

US soldier pleads guilty to rape and murder in Iraq

By Patrick Martin, 16 November 2006

A US soldier charged with raping an Iraqi girl last March and helping kill her and three other members of her family pleaded guilty to the charges and agreed to testify against four other soldiers involved in the crimes. Spc. James Barker, 23, agreed to the plea in order to avoid the death penalty, according to his civilian lawyer, David Sheldon. He gave a detailed confession Wednesday before a court martial at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

After the US elections: Renewed pro-war consensus emerges in Washington

By Socialist Equality Party, 16 November 2006

One week ago, in an election broadly acknowledged to have been a referendum on the war in Iraq, the American people made clear their emphatic opposition to the occupation of that country and their desire for the rapid withdrawal of all US forces.

Bangladesh convulsed by protests over coming election

By Paul Fernando and Kranti Kumara, 16 November 2006

A fourteen-party coalition of Bangladesh’s opposition parties, led by the Bangladesh Awami League (BAL), launched an indefinite agitation in all the country’s major cities Sunday November 12 to press for the creation of “a congenial atmosphere for a free and fair election.” The coalition’s principal demand is the resignation of the current four-member Election Commission (EC) headed by Justice M. A. Aziz and the constitution of a new EC.

Australia: workers and young people speak out on jobs and the Iraq war

By Terry Cook, 16 November 2006

The Bracks state Labor government, and all the official opposition parties—Liberal, Greens and Democrats—are working to ensure that the essential issues concerning ordinary working people do not see the light of day in the Victorian election.

Mexican government steps up repression in Oaxaca

By Rafael Azul, 16 November 2006

The Mexican city of Oaxaca is under police occupation. Government security forces are engaging in a “dirty war” of arbitrary detentions and disappearances reminiscent of the operations carried out in the 1970s.

Thai military attempts to contain opposition to coup regime

By John Roberts, 16 November 2006

Thailand’s interim prime minister Surayud Chulanont, who was installed following the September 19 military coup, detailed his government’s program in a speech to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on November 3. It was the first major policy statement since the overthrow of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his Thai Rak Thai (TRT) government.