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An exchange on The Pursuit of Happyness

By , 28 February 2007

The following is a letters on the WSWS review of the film The Pursuit of Happyness and a reply by the article’s author, Joanne Laurier

West Bengal Stalinists’ pro-business policies leading to “civil war”

By Ajay Prakash, 28 February 2007

A group of prominent left-wing intellectuals, several of them long-publicly identified as supporters of the Stalinist Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPM], has issued a report strongly condemning the West Bengal Left Front’s policy of expropriating poor peasants so as to create investor-friendly Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

The Bush administration’s new strategy of setting the Middle East aflame

By Peter Symonds, 28 February 2007

A lengthy article in this week’s New Yorker magazine by veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh provides further evidence that the Bush administration has not only set course for war against Iran, but has over the past few months embarked on a reckless and incendiary strategy that has the potential to unleash sectarian Sunni-Shia conflicts throughout the Middle East.

Global markets slide after China sell-off

By Nick Beams, 28 February 2007

Global stock markets tumbled on Tuesday after a near 9 percent drop in the Chinese market—the biggest fall in a decade—sparked fears that a series of financial imbalances in the global economy could start to cause serious problems.

US Army to retry war resister officer

By Naomi Spencer, 28 February 2007

The US Army re-filed charges against Lieutenant Ehren Watada on February 23, setting the stage for another court martial in March. The first court martial ended February 7 after the presiding military judge declared a mistrial over the implications of a pre-trial plea bargain agreement.

France: Socialist Party attempts “left” re-packaging of Ségolène Royal

By Antoine Lerougetel, 28 February 2007

The past two weeks have seen an attempt to repackage Ségolène Royal, the Socialist Party (PS) candidate in the French presidential elections April 22, as a more left-wing figure. She declared on France Inter Radio on February 26 that any confusion between the left and the right in French politics “is very dangerous” and would “prevent French people from choosing between two social models, two opposing political visions.”

Australia: Long-delayed “terrorist” hearings to commence in Sydney

By Mike Head, 28 February 2007

On March 5, almost exactly 16 months after they were arrested, nine Muslim men will finally be brought to a Sydney court for committal hearings on charges of “conspiring to prepare a terrorist act”. Since November 8, 2005, they have been incarcerated in Guantánamo Bay-style isolation cells.

Fiji’s military junta strong-arms its political opponents

By Frank Gaglioti, 27 February 2007

Since seizing power last December, the Fijian military junta has not hesitated to ride roughshod over basic democratic rights and use brute force to silence any opposition. Arbitrary arrests, the use of physical violence against detainees and at least one death in custody all point to the ruthless methods being used.

Britain: London antiwar demonstration downplays threat of war against Iran

By Richard Tyler, 27 February 2007

In 2003, one million people took to the streets of London to protest against the war in Iraq. Four years later, amidst Bush’s “surge” in Iraq and the advanced preparations for a military assault on Iran, the capital saw somewhat less than 30,000 march on Saturday under the slogan, “No Trident—Troops out of Iraq.”

Senior lawyers accuse Australian government of war crimes over Guantánamo

By Richard Phillips, 27 February 2007

Melbourne barrister Robert Richter and six leading Australian legal experts and former judges have publicly accused the Howard government of war crimes. They have called for the prosecution of the prime minister and other leading ministers over their collaboration with the Bush administration in the more than five-year illegal detention of David Hicks in Guantánamo Bay.

Letters from our readers

By , 27 February 2007

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

SEP opposes exclusion of Noel Holt from Newcastle candidates’ forum

By Terry Cook, 27 February 2007

Members and supporters of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) distributed an open letter at a forum for NSW state candidates for the seat of Newcastle organised by the New Institute on February 22. The letter called on those who attended to oppose the New Institute’s decision to exclude SEP candidate Noel Holt from participating. The New Institute had advertised the forum “as a rare chance to join a genuine ‘town meeting’ with all parties taking part.”

London: Demonstrators express grave concern over Iran

By our reporters, 27 February 2007

Stephen, a 20-year-old student from London, was met on the Saturday demonstration but has been a reader of the World Socialist Web Site for some time.

Shutdown of Chrysler plant hits Newark, Delaware

By Andre Damon, 27 February 2007

On February 14, Chrysler announced its decision to shut down the Newark, Delaware, assembly plant—firing 700 workers by the second quarter of this year and suspending operations by 2009. The shutdown is part of a restructuring plan that entails the destruction of 11,000 jobs in the US and a further 2,000 in Canada.

79th Academy Awards: very removed from life

By David Walsh, 27 February 2007

There is not much to be said about the 79th edition of the Academy Awards. No one said or did anything of particular interest during the more than three-and-a-half-hour ceremony Sunday evening. The film that received the highest honors (best picture, best direction, best adapted screenplay and film editing), Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, is a miserable, misanthropic work, the worst by some distance of the five nominated for best film (along with Babel, Little Miss Sunshine, Letters from Iwo Jima and The Queen).

Congressional Democrats rule out Iraq war fund cutoff

By Patrick Martin, 27 February 2007

Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, flatly rejected Sunday any attempt to cut off funding for the US war in Iraq, calling such an action “immoral” and declaring his party’s commitment to the “success” of the American occupation of Iraq.

Nationalism and religion dominate platform at Scottish antiwar protest

By our reporters, 27 February 2007

Around 2,000 people marched through Glasgow city centre on February 24 in an antiwar demonstration centred on protesting Prime Minister Tony Blair’s plan to upgrade the existing Trident nuclear missile and to offer Britain as a base for the US “Son of Star Wars” Missile Defence Initiative (MDI).

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 27 February 2007

Latin America

Guardian claims report clears London police chief of lying about De Menezes shooting

By Paul Mitchell, 26 February 2007

The Guardian claims an official report has cleared London’s police chief of lying about the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes on July 22, 2005. The innocent Brazilian was killed at Stockwell tube station by plainclothes antiterrorist police following failed explosions on London’s transport system the previous day.

Italy: Communist Refoundation gives Prodi a blank check for right-wing policies

By Dietmar Henning and Marianne Arens, 26 February 2007

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi is preparing to resume his duties as head of government following his sudden resignation last week. On Saturday, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano rejected Prodi’s resignation and asked him to organise votes of confidence this week in both chambers of parliament. Should he obtain a majority, he is to continue to govern as head of his center-left coalition.

Four Sri Lankan workers beheaded in Saudi Arabia

By Parwini Zora, 26 February 2007

Last Monday the Saudi Arabian government beheaded four Sri Lankan migrant workers—Sanath Pushpakumara, E.J.Victor Corea, Ranjith De Silva and Sangeeth Kumara—despite years of protest from international human rights organisations and the victims’ pleas for clemency. The beheading brought the number of people executed in Saudi Arabia this year to at least 17, compared to 38 for all of 2006. Two-thirds of those killed were foreign nationals.

Anti-imperialism vs. anti-Americanism: an exchange of letters

By , 26 February 2007

The following is an exchange of letters with a reader on the article “Blaming the Iraqis: A new cover-up for American militarism”.

US war drums beat louder after Iran fails to meet UN deadline

By Peter Symonds, 26 February 2007

The Bush administration is intensifying the pressure on Iran following its refusal to abide by last week’s UN deadline to suspend its uranium enrichment and other nuclear programs. While publicly pushing for a new UN Security Council resolution with tougher economic and diplomatic sanctions against Tehran, the US is also pressing ahead with preparations for a military attack on Iran.

Fabricated charges dropped against East Timor’s former prime minister

By Peter Symonds, 26 February 2007

The decision earlier this month by East Timor’s prosecutors to drop all charges against former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri barely rated a mention in the Australian, let alone international, media. This was in sharp contrast to the extraordinary campaign of vilification conducted last May and June to justify Australia’s military intervention in East Timor and to force Alkatiri’s resignation.

Egypt: Wildcat strikes and protests continue

By Robert Stevens, 24 February 2007

Strikes and protests by Egyptian workers in several industries have continued for several weeks. The strike movement began at several textile plants in December, before spreading along the belt of the Nile delta. At the time of writing, more than 50,000 workers in textile, cement and poultry production have been involved in the strike wave.

What the New York Times doesn’t say about the court ruling on habeas corpus

By Joe Kay, 24 February 2007

The New York Times on Thursday published an editorial on this week’s appeals court ruling upholding the Military Commissions Act, which strips Guantánamo prisoners of their habeas corpus rights. The commentary, entitled “American Liberty at the Precipice,” is a model of half-truths and evasions.

Padilla suffered brain damage during captivity, experts say

By Tom Carter, 24 February 2007

On February 22, two expert defense witnesses testified that José Padilla suffered brain injuries during the course of his detention in a US naval brig and that he is mentally unable to stand trial.

Gun crime claims three young lives in London

By Julie Hyland, 24 February 2007

Despite the very best efforts of the powers that be, Britain is not yet America—at least where gun crime is concerned. All the more tragic then were the shooting deaths of three boys in London within a matter of days.

Who is David Sentelle?

By , 24 February 2007

Both of the judges who upheld the Military Commissions Act’s attack on habeas corpus in the 2-1 ruling handed down February 20 by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit—David Sentelle and A. Raymond Randolph—have a record of decisions defending the interests of big business and attacking democratic rights. (See: “US appeals court upholds denial of habeas corpus rights to Guantánamo detainees”).

Letters from our readers

By , 24 February 2007

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

Train atrocity in India targets “peace process”

By Sarath Kumara, 24 February 2007

At least 68 persons, including women and children, were killed and some 20 people seriously injured earlier this week, when two firebombs exploded on a train traveling from India’s capital, Delhi, to Lahore, Pakistan.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 24 February 2007

Asia

The “scramble for Hollywood:” the Democratic Party and entertainment industry liberals

By David Walsh, 24 February 2007

The squabble that erupted this week between the camps of Democratic Party senators and presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois might best be described as a skirmish in the “scramble for Hollywood.”

US Vice President Cheney menaces Iran with military aggression

By Peter Symonds, 24 February 2007

Military action against Iran may not have featured in US Vice President Dick Cheney’s keynote speech in Sydney yesterday, but it is certainly on his mind. In two interviews published today—in Murdoch’s Australian and on the US-based ABC News website—he confirmed that the Bush administration was willing to go to war against Tehran on the pretext of halting its nuclear programs.

Australian government prepares to introduce de facto universal ID card

By Mike Head, 23 February 2007

The Australian government has introduced legislation to establish a national identity card, thinly disguised as an “access” card needed to obtain public health and social services. In an unprecedented operation, the government plans a mass registration drive, starting early next year, to photograph and record the details of 16.7 million people—almost the entire adult population—by 2010.

Gaullist presidential candidate Sarkozy allies with Italy’s post-fascists

By Peter Schwarz, 23 February 2007

If one judges the French Gaullist presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy on the basis of the above-cited Greek proverb, he emerges as a politician with firm links to extreme right-wing forces within European politics. One of Sarkozy’s closest political friends is Gianfranco Fini, the head of Italy’s post-fascist Alleanza Nazionale (National Alliance—NA).

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 23 February 2007

Europe

SEP candidate prevented from addressing forum on dental health

By our reporters, 23 February 2007

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) held a public forum last Tuesday on the subject of public dental health services in New South Wales. While the meeting was billed as an opportunity for dental workers and ordinary people to discuss the appalling state of public dental healthcare, the ADA’s orientation was centrally focussed on pleading with the Labor and Liberal parties for marginally more funding.

Seven die in Pennsylvania house fire

By Samuel Davidson, 23 February 2007

Six children and the mother of three of them died in a house fire early last Saturday morning near Waynesburg in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Massive security blanket for Cheney’s Australian visit

By Mike Head, 23 February 2007

Extraordinary levels of security surround the four-day visit to Australia by the United States Vice President Dick Cheney, who arrived in Sydney last night. The official purpose of the trip is to “thank Australia” for the Howard government’s participation in the so-called “war on terror,” particularly the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, hundreds of police and other armed personnel have been mobilised to prevent ordinary people getting anywhere near the vice president.

Italian prime minister resigns after losing foreign policy vote

By Stefan Steinberg and Barry Grey, 23 February 2007

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi tendered his resignation Wednesday night after losing a Senate vote on his center-left coalition government’s foreign policy. The collapse of the nine-month-old Unione government came amidst growing popular opposition to its right-wing policies, both domestic and foreign.

An ominous silence on Iran from the US vice president

By Peter Symonds, 23 February 2007

The most significant aspect of the US Vice President Dick Cheney’s keynote speech in Sydney today was what he did not say. Cheney defended the American occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, justified the US military “surge” in Baghdad, questioned whether North Korea could be trusted to stick to the recently signed agreement with the US and expressed criticisms of China’s military buildup. He also hailed the US-Australia alliance and even found time to praise Prime Minister John Howard for the Australian interventions in the tiny Pacific states of East Timor, the Solomon Islands and Tonga.

Blair announces partial troop withdrawal from Iraq

By Chris Marsden, 22 February 2007

The announcement Wednesday by Prime Minister Tony Blair that 1,600 British troops will return from Iraq within the next few months is far from the “timetable for Iraq withdrawal” that much of the media anticipated. Nevertheless, it underscores the growing isolation of the Bush administration over Iraq and the recognition within ruling circles internationally that the US-British intervention has proved to be a disaster.

Chrysler job cuts to hit Detroit area

By Jerry White, 22 February 2007

Thousands of jobs will be eliminated in southeastern Michigan as well as other Midwestern states as a result of the restructuring plans announced by DaimlerChrysler last week. Eight factories in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana will be affected in addition to the three already identified as part of the plan to eliminate 13,000 Chrysler Group jobs in the US and Canada.

What is behind Russia’s delay of Iran’s nuclear reactor?

By Peter Symonds, 22 February 2007

Russian officials suddenly announced on Monday that work on Iran’s nuclear power reactor at the southern port of Bushehr would be slowed due to Tehran’s failure to make scheduled payments on the construction contract. Far from being an ordinary commercial dispute, the delay is another pointer to the extreme tensions produced by the Bush administration’s military threats against Iran.

Rice’s Middle East visit: Bullying and intimidation dressed up as diplomacy

By Jean Shaoul, 22 February 2007

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s much trumpeted meeting on Monday, February 19 with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas was a calculated public humiliation of the Palestinian president.

Venus and The Pursuit of Happyness: two films with a little something to say

By Joanne Laurier, 22 February 2007

Venus, directed by Roger Michell; screenplay by Hanif Kureishi; The Pursuit of Happyness, directed by Gabriele Muccino; screenplay by Steve Conrad

Indian security forces murder Kashmiris in phony “encounters”

By Kranti Kumara, 22 February 2007

A police inquiry that led to the exhumation of the corpses of several innocent civilians killed by Indian security forces in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has shed light on the murderous campaign the Indian elite and its henchmen in the security apparatus have mounted in India’s only Muslim-majority state for the past two decades.

Italy: 100,000 demonstrate against expansion of US base in Vicenza

By Marianne Arens, 22 February 2007

On February 17, some 100,000 protesters marched in the north Italian city of Vicenza against the planned expansion of the US Ederle military base. The six-kilometre-long march was also directed against the US war in Iraq and the foreign policy of the centre-left Italian government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi.

The Howard government, RAMSI, and the April 2006 Solomon Islands’ riots

By Patrick O’Connor and SEP candidate for Marrickville in the NSW election (Australia), 22 February 2007

The following is the conclusion of a two-part article. Part 1 appeared yesterday, Wednesday February 21.

US appeals court upholds denial of habeas corpus rights to Guantánamo detainees

By Joe Kay, 21 February 2007

The US District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled Tuesday that prisoners held by the US military at Guantánamo Bay do not have the right to challenge their indefinite detention in US courts.

ISSE exposes hypocrisy of Australian Labor politician at campus meeting

By our reporters, 21 February 2007

The International Students for Social Equality (ISSE), the student organisation of the Socialist Equality Party and the International Committee of the Fourth International, spoke from the floor this week at a University of New South Wales (UNSW) campus meeting held to discuss the silencing of dissent and the erosion of democracy in Australia. The ISSE’s intervention exposed the anti-democratic record and hypocrisy of Australian Labor Party (ALP) politician Peter Garrett, the meeting’s keynote speaker.

The Howard government, RAMSI, and the April 2006 Solomon Islands’ riots

By Patrick O’Connor and SEP candidate for Marrickville in the NSW election, 21 February 2007

The following is the first of a two-part article. Part 2 will appear tomorrow, Thursday February 22.

Cheney’s trip to Japan and Australia: the preparation for new war crimes

By Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 21 February 2007

US Vice President Dick Cheney’s trip to Japan and Australia this week is an affront to the democratic rights of the American, Japanese and Australian people. In defiance of majority antiwar sentiment in all three countries, Cheney’s goal is stepped up support for the criminal occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq and for the Bush administration’s preparations for war against Iran.

Letters from our readers

By , 21 February 2007

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

Germany: ISSE holds Berlin meeting on US war plans against Iran

By our correspondent, 21 February 2007

The International Students for Social Equality held a well-attended meeting at Berlin’s Technical University last week. In his opening remarks to the meeting, Peter Schwarz, an editorial board member of the World Socialist Web Site, stated, “Those who have followed the events of the last weeks can no longer have any doubts that the American government is seriously preparing for a war against Iran.” A lively discussion took place about the preparations for war against Iran and the building of an international antiwar movement.

BBC reports on US military plans to strike Iran

By Peter Symonds, 21 February 2007

Despite its menacing naval build up in the Persian Gulf, the US has repeatedly denied any plans for war against Iran. Last Thursday Defence Secretary Robert Gates brazenly told a Pentagon press conference: “For the umpteenth time, we are not looking for an excuse to go to war with Iran. We are not planning a war with Iran.” The statement is another of the Bush administration’s lies.

Russian, Chinese, Indian foreign ministers meet on US war threats against Iran

By Niall Green, 21 February 2007

The foreign ministers of Russia, China and India met in New Delhi last week for talks ostensibly focused on terrorism and Afghanistan.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 20 February 2007

Latin America

US “coerced” India over Iran

By Kranti Kumara, 20 February 2007

In a public speech Stephen G. Rademaker, a former US Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation and International Security, boasted in New Delhi last week that the United States “coerced” India into voting against Iran at recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meetings and warned that Washington may soon present India with an even starker choice.

New Zealand government to introduce cheap labour scheme for Pacific Island workers

By John Braddock, 20 February 2007

The New Zealand Labour government is preparing to launch a cheap labour scheme for seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands to fill shortages in the country’s commodity-producing industries. The Recognised Seasonal Employer policy, announced last October and due to begin in April, will provide temporary work permits for up to 5,000 Pacific Island workers each year.

Portrait of an “antiwar” Democrat: Former Feith aide makes radio reply to Bush

By Patrick Martin, 20 February 2007

Congressional Democrats issued angry denunciations of the Bush administration’s distortion of pre-war intelligence on Iraq after the Pentagon inspector general issued a report February 9 on the operations of a special Pentagon unit headed by then-Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith.

US troops terrorize Baghdad in “Operation Law and Order”

By Kate Randall, 20 February 2007

Thousands of US troops went house to house through mostly Shiite areas in northeastern Baghdad February 13 in the opening phase of Operation Law and Order, the “surge” plan announced by the Bush administration January 10.

China’s economic rise destabilises world capitalism

By John Chan, 20 February 2007

The following is the second part of a report delivered by World Socialist Web Site correspondent John Chan to a membership meeting of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) from January 25 to January 27, 2007. Part one was posted on February 19.

Jakarta’s flood exposes government neglect and indifference

By John Roberts, 20 February 2007

Heavy monsoonal rains inundated large portions of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta and surrounding areas in early February. At least 80 people have died, including 57 in the city itself, mostly as a result of drowning or electrocution. More than 430,000 people, above all the poor who live in the low-lying areas of the capital, have been forced from their homes.

Kenny and Suburban Mayhem from Australia: two sides of the same coin

By Gabriela Zabala-Notaras and Ismet Redzovic, 19 February 2007

Kenny, directed by Clayton Jacobson; Suburban Mayhem, directed by Paul Goldman

France: Royal’s campaign falters as Sarkozy consolidates support of big business

By Antoine Lerougetel, 19 February 2007

Nicolas Sarkozy, the presidential candidate for the ruling Gaullist UMP (Union for a People’s Movement), has made a forthright attack on the programme of Socialist Party contender Ségolène Royal.

China’s economic rise destabilises world capitalism

By John Chan, 19 February 2007

The following is the first part of a report delivered by World Socialist Web Site correspondent John Chan to a membership meeting of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) from January 25 to January 27, 2007. Part two will be posted on February 20.

Demands grow for release of Australian Guantánamo prisoner, David Hicks

By Richard Phillips, 19 February 2007

Popular opposition continues to mount against the Australian government over its refusal to demand the immediate release of David Hicks from Guantánamo Bay. Hicks was captured in Afghanistan by the Northern Alliance in late December 2001 and then sold to the US military. He has been incarcerated in Guantánamo Bay for more than five years.

Italian judge indicts CIA agents for illegal kidnapping

By Richard Tyler, 19 February 2007

The US policy of “extraordinary renditions”—the illegal kidnap and transportation of supposed terror suspects to secret detention sites where they are then tortured—was the subject of both an Italian legal investigation and a critical report by the European Parliament last week.

Socialist Equality Party (Australia) public meetings

By , 19 February 2007

The Socialist Equality Party invites World Socialist Web Site readers and supporters to attend public meetings to be addressed by its candidates in the forthcoming March 24 New South Wales state election.

Join the International Students for Social Equality! Build an ISSE chapter at your college or high school!

By , 19 February 2007

The following is a statement issued by the International Students for Social Equality in the US outlining its political perspective and calling on students to join the ISSE and build clubs at schools throughout the country and internationally. The statement is available in pdf format to download and distribute. An Australian version is also available.

After House vote on non-binding resolution: Democrats won’t cut Iraq war funding

By Patrick Martin, 17 February 2007

The US House of Representatives voted by 246 to 182 Friday in favor of a resolution opposing President Bush’s decision to send an additional 21,500 troops into the war in Iraq. Although Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed, “The passage of this legislation will signal a change in direction in Iraq that will end the fighting and bring our troops home safely and soon,” the vote is not a step towards ending the war.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 17 February 2007

Vietnamese garment workers strike

Letters from our readers

By , 17 February 2007

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

Britain’s cash for honours scandal nears end game

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 17 February 2007

The police investigation into the cash for honours scandal is nearing completion with reports that Scotland Yard has handed over files to the Crown Prosecution Service, the body that determines whether criminal charges will be brought.

The Bush administration prepares for war against Iran

By Peter Symonds, 17 February 2007

The following is the second part of a report delivered by Peter Symonds to a membership meeting of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) from January 25 to January 27, 2007. Symonds is a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site and of the SEP central committee. Part one was posted on February 16.

German Interior Minister Schäuble advocates police state measures

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 17 February 2007

On January 14-15, the European Union (EU) interior and justice ministers used the occasion of an informal gathering in Dresden to push ahead with plans for police state measures across Europe.

Is the Bush administration behind the bombings in Iran?

By Peter Symonds, 17 February 2007

Two bombings this week in Zahedan in southeastern Iran are the latest in a series of incidents involving armed opposition groups based among the country’s ethnic minorities. The most recent attacks again raise questions about the activities of the US military and CIA inside Iran as the Bush administration intensifies its preparations for war.

UK government steps up assault on asylum-seekers

By Barry Mason, 17 February 2007

The British Labour government is ratcheting up the pressure on asylum-seekers and refugees in Britain. Deportations are being pursued regardless of the consequences for the deportees. This policy reflects an increasingly belligerent government attitude towards refugees.

Afghanistan under occupation: An assessment-Part three

By Harvey Thompson, 16 February 2007

This is the conclusion of a three-part series examining the situation in Afghanistan five years after the US-led invasion. Part 1 was posted on February 14; Part 2 was posted on February 15.

Canada transferring Afghan detainees to “self-confessed torturers”

By , 16 February 2007

The World Socialist Web Site spoke this week with Dr. Amir Attaran, Professor of Law and Population Health at the University of Ottawa.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 16 February 2007

French public sector employees strike against government cuts

US-North Korean nuclear agreement: clearing the decks for Iran

By John Chan and Peter Symonds, 16 February 2007

The deal reached between the US and North Korea at six-party talks in Beijing on Tuesday has been variously described in the international media as a “landmark” and an “historic agreement”—holding out the prospect of ending more than five decades of confrontation between the two countries.

WSWS arts editor David Walsh to speak at Virginia Commonwealth University

By , 16 February 2007

David Walsh, the arts editor of the World Socialist Web Site, will speak at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday, February 19.

Canada’s Afghan intervention—three probes launched into prisoner abuse

By Lee Parsons, 16 February 2007

In response to mounting public pressure, three separate investigations were announced last week into the reported abuse of prisoners by Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel in Afghanistan. These inquiries may also include a broader review of the routine transfer of CAF detainees into the hands of the notoriously brutal Afghan police.

The Bush administration prepares for war against Iran

By Peter Symonds, 16 February 2007

The following is the first part of a report delivered by Peter Symonds to a membership meeting of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) from January 25 to January 27, 2007. Symonds is a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site and of the SEP central committee. Part two will be posted on February 17.

US and UK worst places in developed world to be a child

By Ann Talbot, 16 February 2007

The United States and Britain are the worst places in the major industrialised nations to be a child, according to a new report produced by Unicef. The organisation, which usually highlights the plight of child soldiers and children living in poverty in the so-called developing world, has turned the spotlight on 21 wealthy OECD countries. Its findings have exposed the appalling results of growing social inequality in both the UK and US. The report thoroughly refutes the claims of both governments to be reducing child poverty.

The strange case of the Australian PM and the American Senator

By Patrick O’Connor and SEP candidate for Marrickville in the NSW election, 15 February 2007

In an astonishing breach of diplomatic protocol, Australian Prime Minister John Howard has accused Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama of being Al Qaeda’s candidate of choice, because of the senator’s proposal to redeploy most US troops out of Iraq. The strange episode has highlighted the Howard government’s deepening crisis amid growing antiwar sentiment. Desperate to regain the political offensive, but with no antiwar target within the Australian parliament, Howard has resorted to denouncing the US Democrats.

Cheney aide abruptly ends defense in perjury trial

By Patrick Martin, 15 February 2007

Attorneys for I. Lewis Libby, the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who is facing perjury charges, rested their case Wednesday after declining to call either Cheney or Libby himself as defense witnesses. The result was a nearly uncontested prosecution case demonstrating that Libby repeatedly lied to the grand jury investigating the leak of the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson.

At White House press conference, Bush escalates war threats against Iran

By Joe Kay, 15 February 2007

At a White House press conference Wednesday morning, President George Bush laid out the administration’s pretext for military action against Iran. He did so while making clear that the administration is proceeding with its military escalation in Iraq in defiance of popular opposition and the likely passage in the House of Representatives of a Democratic-sponsored non-binding resolution criticizing the increased troop deployment.

US “diplomacy” on Iran: thuggery and threats of military aggression

By Peter Symonds, 15 February 2007

Despite the continuing American military build up in the Persian Gulf, President Bush and his officials insist the US is not planning a military strike against Iran. In an interview with C-Span on Monday, Bush repeated what has become a mantra. He dismissed warnings of war as “people speculating” and declared that the US seeks to “solve the issue diplomatically”. Nevertheless, he reiterated that “the military is the last resort”.

Shakespearean gravitas in political satire: British actor Ian Richardson dead at 72

By Paul Bond, 15 February 2007

Even actors of great versatility and range are sometimes remembered for one or two roles. Ian Richardson, who has died suddenly aged 72, is a case in point.

Hu rejects accusations that China has colonial ambitions in Africa

By John Chan, 15 February 2007

In the course of his recent eight-nation tour of Africa, Chinese President Hu Jintao was forced to rebut a mounting chorus of claims that Beijing was behaving like a colonial power on the continent. The controversy is a significant indicator of China’s growing influence in Africa through trade and investment, which is increasingly cutting across the interests of the US and other major powers.

The implications in Iraq of Bush’s military “surge”

By James Cogan, 15 February 2007

The following is a report delivered by James Cogan to a membership meeting of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) from January 25 to January 27, 2007. Cogan is a member of the SEP central committee and a regular WSWS correspondent on Iraq. SEP national secretary Nick Beams’s report was posted in three parts. Part one on February 12, Part two on February 13 and Part three on February 14.

Afghanistan under occupation: An assessment—Part 2

By Harvey Thompson, 15 February 2007

This is the second of a three-part series examining the situation in Afghanistan five years after the US-led invasion. Part one was posted February 14.

Chrysler cuts 13,000 North American jobs

By the editorial board, 15 February 2007

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

NSW state election: SEP candidate speaks at Newtown forum

By Laura Tiernan, 14 February 2007

Patrick O’Connor, the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) candidate for Marrickville in the NSW state election, spoke at a candidates’ forum convened by the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre on February 7, calling for the urgent development of an international movement against the war in Iraq and US preparations for war against Iran.

Afghanistan under occupation: An assessment—Part 1

By Harvey Thompson, 14 February 2007

This is the first of a three-part series examining the situation in Afghanistan five years after the US-led invasion.

Stop the US war drive against Iran!

By the Editorial Board, 14 February 2007

This statement is available for download as a PDF 4-page brochure in both US Letter format and A4 format