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Obama’s Denver speech: Populist demagogy in the service of militarism

By Patrick Martin, 30 August 2008

The speech delivered by Senator Barack Obama Thursday night, accepting the Democratic presidential nomination at a football stadium in Denver, combined populist rhetoric with invocations of patriotism and pledges to escalate the war in Afghanistan and build up the US military “to meet future conflicts.”

Letters on the Democratic National Convention

By , 30 August 2008

The following is a selection of letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site in response to article covering the Democratic Party National Convention.

Three years since Hurricane Katrina

By Naomi Spencer, 30 August 2008

Three years ago, on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the US Gulf Coast. The storm devastated nearly 100,000 square miles and displaced over a million people. New Orleans, Louisiana, bore the brunt of this disaster, after the levee system failed and nearly 80 percent of the city was submerged.

Unemployment and poverty on the rise in Berlin

By Emma Bode, 30 August 2008

A debate is underway in political circles and the German media over the possibility of collaboration between Germany’s oldest political party, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), and the recently formed Left Party. Such collaboration could take the form of coalition governments in the German states of Hesse and Saarland or agreements by which the Left Party supports SPD governments in those states.

Australia: Labor government accelerates right-wing offensive against public education

By Patrick O’Connor, 30 August 2008

In a major speech delivered on Wednesday to the National Press Club, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd unveiled a series of far reaching right-wing reforms to the public education system. The proposed measures include the publication of national league tables based on schools’ test results, tying school funding to these test results, shutting down schools deemed “underperforming”, introducing so-called performance pay for teachers, and bringing university graduates without teaching qualifications into the public school system. The central aim of this “education revolution” is to better meet business demands for a more productive workforce.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 30 August 2008


Britain: Labour government proposes huge increase in state surveillance

By Paul Stuart and Paul Mitchell, 30 August 2008

In a further escalation of the attack on democratic rights, the Labour government is proposing a huge increase in state surveillance. It is implementing new measures under the pretext of the “war on terror” to intrude ever deeper into the private lives of people who are viewed as potential criminals rather than citizens.

McCain’s VP pick: A sign of deepening crisis in the Republican Party

By Bill Van Auken, 30 August 2008

The surprise pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the vice presidential running mate of Senator John McCain is indicative of a sharp political crisis within the Republican Party.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 29 August 2008


Tropic Thunder and Vicky Cristina Barcelona: The unfocused and the flat as a pancake

By David Walsh, 29 August 2008

Tropic Thunder, directed by Ben Stiller, written by Stiller, Justin Theroux and Etan Cohen; Vicky Cristina Barcelona, written and directed by Woody Allen

Military officers testify that US soldiers murdered Iraqi detainees

By Jerry White, 29 August 2008

Testimony presented to a US Army hearing in Germany this week detailed how three US noncommissioned officers executed four bound and blindfolded Iraqi detainees in Baghdad in April 2007. The four men—whose names have been withheld by the US military—were allegedly murdered and their bodies dumped on the banks of a canal.

Labour ministers quit Fiji’s military regime

By Frank Gaglioti, 29 August 2008

Labour Party leader and interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry has resigned from Fiji’s crisis-ridden military regime along with two other Labour Party ministers, depriving interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama of a key political prop. Since taking power in a military coup in December 2006, the regime has been unable to fulfil its aim of stabilising the Fijian economy and is riddled with internal contradictions.

Australia: Damning evidence surfaces in Beaconsfield mine inquest

By Noel Holt, 29 August 2008

Testimony by miners, mining experts and inspection officials in the first weeks of the long-delayed coronial inquest into the death of miner Larry Knight at the Beaconsfield gold mine on April 25, 2006 has revealed the culpability of both the mine owners and the Tasmanian state government.

Democratic National Convention outlines policy of wider war

By Bill Van Auken, 29 August 2008

After going through the formality of a roll call vote ending in the preordained nomination of Barack Obama as its presidential candidate, the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday turned to the question of “national security,” portraying itself as more competent than the Bush administration in defending the interests of US imperialism abroad, while making it clear that it is prepared to launch new and even bloodier wars than those carried out over the past eight years.

Repression in Denver highlights assault on democratic rights in US

By Tom Eley, 29 August 2008

On Wednesday, police raided the headquarters of a group—Unconventional Denver—protesting at the Democratic National Convention, arresting several people, destroying, and seizing property. The calculated effort to intimidate the protesters and suppress dissent has gone unnoted by the national media, let alone the Democratic Party politicians assembled in the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Letters from our readers

By , 28 August 2008

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

US, Europe denounce Russian support for Georgian provinces’ independence

By Stefan Steinberg, 28 August 2008

The US and Western European powers have issued vitriolic denunciations of Russia’s decision to recognize the independence of the two breakaway provinces of Georgia—South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Finnish government outlines major tax cutting proposals

By Jordan Shilton, 28 August 2008

With the start of talks on Finland’s budget for 2009, the right-wing coalition government composed of the National Coalition Party (NCP), Centre Party, Swedish Peoples’ Party and the Greens have made clear one of their main priorities will be substantial income tax cuts.

Australian media attacks Germaine Greer over essay on Aboriginal violence

By Richard Phillips, 28 August 2008

Australia’s mainstream media last week launched a series of hysterical denunciations of Germaine Greer, the well-known feminist, academic and op-ed columnist for the British-based Guardian newspaper. The occasion was the publication of Greer’s On Rage, a 10,000-word essay about the plight of Australia’s indigenous population.

Anwar’s landslide win: a further blow to Malaysian government

By John Roberts, 28 August 2008

Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the opposition Malaysian Peoples Front (PKR), won a hotly contested by-election for the seat of Permatang Pauh on Tuesday with 67 percent of the vote. The scale of the win in the northern state of Penang will see Anwar back in the national parliament for the first time in a decade and intensify the opposition’s confrontation with the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi.

Police continue repressive tactics in Denver

By Tom Eley, 28 August 2008

In the two days since Denver police—acting at the direction of U.S. Secret Service—attacked and jailed nearly 100 peaceful protesters outside the Democratic National Convention, the virtual militarization of Denver has continued. In total, over 130 protesters have now been imprisoned.

12 deaths in Canada linked to listeria outbreak in meat products

By Carl Bronski, 28 August 2008

A listeria bacterial contamination traced back to a Toronto, Ontario, food processing plant has been linked to the deaths of at least 12 people across Canada. Dozens more have been sickened by the infection.

Union bureaucrats attack their own members as “racist” for failing to back Obama

By Shannon Jones, 28 August 2008

The two main competing factions within the US trade union bureaucracy are temporarily setting aside their bitter rivalry to unite behind the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. One prominent feature of their intervention has been to attribute the lack of enthusiasm among their own members for Obama to white racism, a charge that they make no attempt to substantiate, and in fact is contradicted by polls that reveal growing anger and alienation among workers from the Democrats and the two party system.

Australia’s “tax review”: Rudd seeks to deliver corporate agenda

By Mike Head, 27 August 2008

One of the main agenda items advanced at the Rudd government’s “2020 summit” last April has begun to take shape with the release of a Treasury discussion paper on the tax system. At the summit, business leaders demanded a major overhaul of taxation and a slashing of the company tax rate. By publishing the tax report and calling for public submissions, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his ministers aim to deliver.

Democratic convention meets with Obama campaign in crisis

By Patrick Martin, 27 August 2008

The first two days of Democratic National Convention have been dominated by a sense of foreboding and unease, with mounting concern that the Obama campaign is losing ground in the polls, and that the divisions opened up in the primary contest between Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton have not healed, but rather have begun to fester.

Police repress protesters at Democratic National Convention

By Tom Eley, 27 August 2008

On Monday, police in riot gear used pepper spray, truncheons and rubber bullets on a peaceful demonstration of about 300 protesters about one mile from the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Around 100 demonstrators were arrested, charged with resisting a lawful order to disperse and obstruction of streets or public passageways.

Britain: Security Service “facilitated” torture of Guantánamo detainee

By Richard Tyler, 27 August 2008

A London court has ruled that the British government must disclose information that could support the claim that torture was used to extract confessions from Binyam Mohamed, a former British resident who has been held in Guantánamo Bay since September 2004.

350 immigrant workers arrested in raid on Mississippi factory

By David Walsh, 27 August 2008

On Monday, in the latest in a series of large-scale, brutal operations, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested some 350 immigrant workers employed by Howard Industries in Laurel, Mississippi. The company, which employs more than 3,000 people in Jones County, was forced to close its manufacturing facility for the day.

Casting about for the truth of 9/11: Don DeLillo’s Falling Man

By Sandy English, 27 August 2008

Falling Man by Don DeLillo, New York: Scribner, 2007, 246 pp.

Pakistan’s ruling coalition splits amid continuing political uncertainty

By K. Ratnayake, 27 August 2008

Pakistan’s governing coalition split on Monday when its second largest partner, the Pakistan Muslim League-Narwas (PML-N), withdrew its support, citing the failure of the leading party, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), to honour its promises. The rupture will deepen the country’s political instability after former military strongman Pervez Musharraf resigned his post on August 18 rather than face impeachment.

The Nation and the Obama campaign

By Jerry White, 27 August 2008

The “special convention issue” of the Nation magazine features a lengthy article entitled “Progressives in the Obama Moment,” which seeks to make the case for those opposed to war and the reactionary policies of the Bush administration to rally behind the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Lawyers plead for wounded Pakistani woman facing “terror” trial in New York

By Bill Van Auken, 27 August 2008

Lawyers for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui held a press conference in Brooklyn, New York Monday to demand that their client, a 36-year-old mother of three, be transferred immediately from federal jail to a hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds inflicted by US personnel before she was brought to the US to face trial.

Census report shows rising poverty in US

By Barry Grey, 27 August 2008

The Census Bureau reported Tuesday that the official poverty rate in the United States rose in 2007 to 12.5 percent, compared to 12.3 percent the previous year. According to the bureau’s American Community Survey, last year 37.3 million Americans were living below the income level, which, according to the government, signifies poverty.

Scotland: Massive public health failings responsible for CDAD deaths at Vale of Leven hospital

By Steve James, 26 August 2008

It has now been established that some 3,145 people contracted Clostridium difficile associated disease (CDAD) in Scottish hospitals in the six months between December 2007 and May 2008. Of these 285 died, with CDAD being cited as the underlying cause of death in 86 cases and a contributory factor in 199, a fatality rate of 9 percent.

A letter and reply on Mars landing

By , 26 August 2008

On “Mars Phoenix Lander provides conclusive proof of ice water on Mars”

US air strike massacres civilians in western Afghanistan

By James Cogan, 26 August 2008

In one of the worst atrocities of the US-led occupation of Afghanistan, as many as 90 civilians were massacred by an American air strike last Friday in the western province of Herat. At least 60 of those killed were children under the age of 15, according to Afghan government and military sources.

Control: The fate of Joy Division's Ian Curtis

By Kevin Martinez, 26 August 2008

Directed by Anton Corbijn, written by Matt Greenhalgh, based on Touching from a distance by Deborah Curtis

Sri Lankan army advances into key LTTE areas

By Sarath Kumara, 26 August 2008

After a military stalemate lasting nearly a year, the Sri Lankan army has recently captured several key positions in the northern areas of the island from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The overall objective of these operations appears to be to tighten the noose around the town of Kilinochchi, which has functioned for more than a decade as the LTTE’s administrative and military centre.

Democrats convene in Denver amid police state security and a sea of corporate cash

By Bill Van Auken, 26 August 2008

Nothing could more graphically expose the political fraud of the “change you can believe in” mantra promoted by the Democrats and their presidential candidate Barack Obama than the reactionary atmosphere surrounding the party’s national convention, which kicked off Monday in Denver, Colorado.

US continues to ratchet up tensions with Russia

By Barry Grey, 26 August 2008

The United States has continued to intensify its confrontation with Russia in the wake of Moscow’s withdrawal of troops from most of the Georgian territory it held following the five-day war provoked by the invasion of the breakaway province of South Ossetia by the US-backed government of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 26 August 2008

Latin America

Germany: Stunned silence following the war in Georgia

By Ulrich Rippert and Peter Schwarz, 25 August 2008

The geopolitical situation in Europe has changed fundamentally over the past two weeks. The assault launched by Georgia on the breakaway province of South Ossetia has dramatically intensified the conflict between the two largest nuclear powers—the US and Russia. At the same time, the stationing of American missiles in Poland has set in motion a drive towards rearmament with no precedent since the end of the Cold War—with incalculable consequences.

Russia-Belarus talks signal renewed cooperation against US

By , 25 August 2008

RE: “Russia-Belarus talks signal renewed cooperation against US”, 27 December 2007

The need for a socialist strategy

By a WSWS reporting team, 25 August 2008

World Socialist Web Site journalists Susan Allan and Richard Phillips and freelance photographer John Hulme recently visited central Australia to report on the social and political impact of the federal government’s Northern Territory Emergency Response or police/military intervention into Aboriginal communities. This is the last in a series of articles, interviews, video clips and slide shows (1 and 2). Parts one, two, three, four, five and six were posted on June 21, June 26, July 2, July 15, July 24 and August 6 respectively.

Obama selects Biden to reassure the US ruling elite

By Patrick Martin, 25 August 2008

The selection of Senator Joseph Biden as the vice-presidential candidate of the Democratic Party underscores the fraudulent character of the Democratic primary campaign and the undemocratic character of the entire two-party electoral system. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, the supposed protagonist of “change,” has picked as his running-mate a fixture of the Washington establishment, a six-term US senator who is a proven defender of American imperialism and the interests of big business.

Bush administration widens domestic spy agency powers

By Naomi Spencer, 25 August 2008

In recent weeks, Bush administration officials have introduced a number of provisions that substantially widen the powers of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to conduct spying and other operations within the US against American citizens.

Britain: SATs fiasco highlights Labour’s failed education policies

By Harvey Thompson and Linda Slattery, 25 August 2008

On August 15, the British Labour government’s regulatory body, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), terminated the contract of the company responsible for marking Standard Assessment Tasks (SATs) school test papers (which are mandatory for all school children in England aged 11 and 14 years.)

Pakistan’s ruling coalition on brink of collapse

By Vilani Peiris, 25 August 2008

Just one week after the resignation of military strongman Pervez Musharraf as president, Pakistan’s ruling coalition is on the point of breaking down. The Pakistan Muslim League-Narwas (PML-N) of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is threatening to quit the alliance today unless the government reinstates 57 high court judges sacked last year by Musharraf.

Letters from our readers

By , 23 August 2008

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

Propane worker cites cost-cutting as cause of massive Toronto explosion

By Carl Bronski, 23 August 2008

In an August 19 interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Henry Dufour, a temporarily laid-off worker at Toronto’s Sunrise Propane Industrial Gas Plant, blamed unsafe work practices and cost-cutting for the massive explosion that rocked a north Toronto neighbourhood August 10.

Madrid plane crash: Pilot’s union warned months before that cut-backs placing passengers at risk

By Marcus Morgan, 23 August 2008

After the worst Spanish air tragedy in 25 years on Wednesday, accident investigators have begun examining the wreckage of the plane that crashed at Madrid’s Barajas airport, killing 153 passengers. Just 19 passengers have survived the crash, 5 of whom are said to be in a critical condition, with horrific injuries. The captain and co-pilot are confirmed among the dead.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 23 August 2008

Indian cardamom workers strike for pay increase

France: Stalinist paper l’Humanité on verge of bankruptcy

By Pierre Mabut, 23 August 2008

The French daily l’Humanité, historically linked to the politics of the Stalinist French Communist Party (PCF), failed to publish on August 15 and 16 amidst a severe and potentially terminal financial crisis. In its August 14 edition, the paper explained that as “part of the plan to safeguard [the paper] confronted with difficulties which threaten its very existence, l’Humanité will not appear this Friday and Saturday.”

Military offensive displaces 300,000 in north-west Pakistan

By James Cogan, 23 August 2008

A major offensive by the Pakistani military against Islamist militants in the country’s Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) and North West Frontier Province (NWFP) has effectively become a campaign of collective punishment against the fiercely independent Pashtun tribes that live in the region. As tens of thousands of refugees pour out of the remote Bajaur agency, they are reporting indiscriminate air strikes and helicopter gunship attacks, devastated villages and farmlands, and hundreds of dead and wounded civilians.

New York state legislature passes draconian budget cuts

By Alan Whyte, 23 August 2008

In a special session of the New York State Legislature on August 20, lawmakers agreed with Democratic Governor David A. Paterson to make hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts in order to reduce the state’s budget deficit for this and future years. The cuts will immediately reduce the $122 billion budget for this fiscal year by $427 million. They are expected to cut next year’s budget by $1 billion and slash another $2.4 billion by fiscal year 2011-2012.

Public pressure on Olympic hurdler Liu Xiang highlights rise of Chinese nationalism

By John Chan, 23 August 2008

The Chinese government came under sharp pressure when 110-metre hurdler Liu Xiang withdrew from the Olympic competition on August 18 due to injury. His failure to participate caused uproar among a layer of the new middle classes in China that has been whipped into a patriotic frenzy by the regime over the Beijing Olympics.

Bush administration steps up war of words with Russia

By Patrick Martin, 22 August 2008

US officials escalated their attacks on Russian actions in Georgia, despite mounting evidence that Russian military forces have begun pulling back from the positions seized in the wake of the Georgian onslaught on South Ossetia, one of two autonomous regions that have enjoyed de facto independence from Georgia for more than a dozen years.

Democrats and Obama prepare platform of war and reaction

By Bill Van Auken, 22 August 2008

With the Democratic National Convention set to convene in Denver, Colorado next week for the formal nomination of Senator Barack Obama, the party and its presidential candidate have made it clear that they will present no genuine alternative to the politics of aggressive war and social reaction that have prevailed in America over the whole past period.

Sri Lankan government intimidates voters in two provincial council elections

By Saman Gunadasa, 22 August 2008

In the lead-up to two provincial elections tomorrow, the Sri Lankan government has stopped at nothing to ensure its victory. While publicly campaigning on the basis of its renewed war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the ruling coalition has resorted to all manner of intimidation and physical violence against opposition parties and their supporters.

French government, media scramble to contain opposition to Afghan deployment

By Alex Lantier, 22 August 2008

The deaths of 10 French soldiers in Afghanistan on August 18 have precipitated a political crisis in France, as politicians and the media try to contain popular opposition to the French deployment in Afghanistan. This was the largest death toll for the French military since the 1983 bombing of the Beirut barracks, which left 58 French paratroopers dead, and brings the total French death toll in Afghanistan to 24. The deaths have particularly destabilised French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who sent a further 700 French troops to Afghanistan in defiance of widespread opposition in April.

How the American “free press” toed the government line on Georgia

By Tom Eley, 22 August 2008

During the first several days of the war between Georgia and Russia, the US media’s readers and viewers could find in the nation’s newspapers and on its airwaves a degree of ambiguity and even rare moments of objectivity. Though vaguely anti-Russian, a good share of the initial coverage tended not to lay the blame for the war fully at the feet of Moscow and provided some insight into the Georgian military’s devastation of the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali.

Australian Labor government presses neo-colonial agenda at Pacific Islands Forum

By Patrick O’Connor, 22 August 2008

This week’s Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ summit in Niue, the first held since Kevin Rudd succeeded John Howard as Australian prime minister, underscores the unanimity between the current and former governments regarding South Pacific strategy. The new Labor regime is no less determined than its Liberal predecessor to promote the economic interests of corporate Australia and secure its strategic hegemony by shutting out rival powers and maintaining a heavy military-police presence in the region.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 22 August 2008

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

More threats of international intervention amid continuing Burmese cyclone disaster

By our correspondent, 22 August 2008

UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon is due to meet with Burmese leaders today in an effort to pressure them to accept more international aid for the hundreds of thousands of cyclone survivors who are still without adequate shelter, food, clean water and medicine nearly three weeks after the disaster struck.

Britain: Economy hit by inflation and threat of recession

By Jean Shaoul, 22 August 2008

There has been a host of statistics in the last few weeks that testify to the increasingly serious impact the financial crisis is having on the British economy and the living conditions of working people. The rise in the cost of living has outstripped pay increases for the first time since the 1990s—meaning that the average person is now officially worse off.

French troops killed in Afghanistan: another sign of an escalating war

By Peter Symonds, 21 August 2008

The death of 10 French soldiers in an ambush in Afghanistan on Monday has again underscored the resurgence of armed resistance against the US-led occupation and reignited debate in France over its involvement in the war. The incident involved the worst loss of foreign troops in open battle since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and, for the French army, its highest casualties since a Beirut truck bomb killed 58 paratroopers in 1983.

Real wages fall as record price hikes hit US workers

By Andre Damon, 21 August 2008

US prices jumped in July by their highest month-to-month rate since 1981, in one of the sharpest inflation spikes since the Second World War.

How the American “free press” toed the government line on Georgia

By Tom Eley, 21 August 2008

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Beneath the Olympic glitter, massive police presence highlights China’s social tensions

By John Chan, 21 August 2008

Beijing has gone to considerable expense and effort at the Olympics to present a shiny, modern image of the new China. The reality is not too far below the surface, however. The security measures employed during the Games point to the police-state methods routinely used to suppress any political opposition as the regime manages the world’s largest cheap labour platform.

Letters from our readers

By , 21 August 2008

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

More claims that Western powers protected Radovan Karadzic

By Paul Mitchell, 21 August 2008

Earlier this month, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic appeared before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) after 13 years in hiding. He was arrested in the Serbian capital of Belgrade disguised as Dragan Dabic, a doctor of alternative medicine.

US exploits Georgia crisis to push through Polish missile deal

By Stefan Steinberg, 21 August 2008

The agreement signed Wednesday by the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to establish a missile defence shield on Polish soil marks a major turning point in international political relations.

Sydney man faces “terrorist” trial for compiling book

By Mike Head, 21 August 2008

Yet another major terrorist trial opened in Australia last week, bringing the number of cases currently underway to five, with a total of 27 Islamic or Tamil men facing lengthy imprisonment. The wave of trials highlights the fact that despite last year’s defeat of the Howard government, and the collapse of the police frame-ups against Mohamed Haneef and Izhar ul-Haq, nothing has changed in the domestic “war on terror”.

US oil pipeline politics and the Russia-Georgia conflict

By Alex Lantier, 21 August 2008

US media claims about Georgian democracy notwithstanding, a key factor in US backing for Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in his conflict with Russia has been the emergence of Georgia as a key transit country for oil and gas exports from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea basin.

Provincial election delay in Iraq heightens ethnic tensions in Kirkuk

By James Cogan, 20 August 2008

On August 6, the Iraqi parliament adjourned for a five-week summer break without passing the legislation needed to hold provincial elections by the scheduled date of October 1. At the heart of the impasse were differences over the future of the northern oil-rich province of Tamim and its capital Kirkuk. In the two weeks since, the divisions have only widened.

UK declares its support for Washington’s anti-Russian campaign over Georgia

By Ann Talbot, 20 August 2008

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has declared the UK’s full support for Washington’s provocative anti-Russian campaign over Georgia.

Australia: Huge swing against Labor in Northern Territory election

By Richard Phillips, 20 August 2008

Growing disenchantment with the federal Labor government and its state and territory counterparts saw thousands of voters deserting the party or refusing to vote in the Northern Territory (NT) elections on August 9.

On eve of Democratic convention, Obama advances agenda of global militarism

By Bill Van Auken, 20 August 2008

Speaking before an audience of 3,000 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama defended his patriotism while attacking his Republican rival for being squeamish about launching unilateral military attacks against Pakistan.

Turkish trade unions oversee sackings of tyre workers

By our Turkish correspondent, 20 August 2008

Just a month after the Union of Petroleum, Chemical and Rubber Industry Workers of Turkey (Lastik-Is) ended a two-week strike in northwest Turkey, the companies involved have begun discriminatory dismissals, targeting workers who are known for their opposition to the union leadership.

NATO meeting in Brussels: US steps up pressure on Russia

By Stefan Steinberg, 20 August 2008

Following intense pressure from the United States, the NATO meeting of foreign ministers held in Brussels on Tuesday issued a statement accusing Russia of “disproportionate” military force and the “deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure” in the conflict with Georgia.

Canadian media covers up the social roots of the Montreal riot

By Richard Dufour, 20 August 2008

In the wake of the riot that erupted earlier this month in the north end of Montreal after the police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old immigrant from Honduras, the big business media are trying to whitewash the killing and cover up the social roots of the underlying repression of minority youth.

Jerry Wexler, producer of Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles, dead at 91

By Hiram Lee, 20 August 2008

Jerry Wexler, the legendary music producer of Atlantic Records, died of congestive heart failure on August 15 at his home in Sarasota, Florida. He was 91.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 19 August 2008

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Exchange of letters on “Belgium edges closer to split as rival factions fail to agree”

By , 19 August 2008

Exchange of letters on “Belgium edges closer to split as rival factions fail to agree”

Canada to deport another Iraq war resister to the US

By John Mackay, 19 August 2008

The Canada Border Service Agency last week ordered Jeremy Hinzman, the first US soldier to refuse to serve in Iraq and apply for political refugee status in Canada, to be deported back to the US. The ruling was handed down one month after Robin Long became the first US war resister to be deported from Canada. Long is now being held at a county jail in Fort Carson, Colorado and will be tried by court martial in early September.

Italy’s phoney “Robin Hood” tax

By Marianne Arens, 19 August 2008

Although it is all but impossible to live in Europe on a monthly income of 500 euros, currently 13 percent of the Italian population—7.5 million people—are forced to survive on this sum. In Italian cities, poverty amongst pensioners is growing rapidly and, according to the child welfare organization UNICEF, the level of child poverty in Italy is the highest in Europe.

Musharraf resigns as Pakistan’s political crisis deepens

By Peter Symonds, 19 August 2008

Effectively abandoned by his domestic allies and international backers, Pakistan’s military strongman Pervez Musharraf formally resigned yesterday as the country’s president rather than face impeachment proceedings that were due to commence this week.

Indian government resorts to armed repression in Kashmir, killing 21 and wounding hundreds

By Kranti Kumara, 19 August 2008

Indian government security forces have shot dead at least 21 unarmed civilians and wounded hundreds of others over the past week in an attempt to repress widespread protests in the northern Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K)—India’s only majority Muslim state—over the economic blockade imposed by Hindu-chauvinist groups.

Obama, McCain vie for support of Christian right

By Bill Van Auken, 19 August 2008

In his first joint appearance with Senator John McCain since the end of the Democratic and Republican primaries, Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama went head to head with his Republican rival in pandering to the Christian right.

Goodyear to shut down its last tyre plant in Australia

By Peter Byrne, 19 August 2008

In another blow to an area already blighted by high unemployment, the US-based Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company will shut down South Pacific Tyres (SPT) at the end of this year, destroying nearly 600 jobs. The factory, located in the northern Melbourne working class suburb of Somerton, is the company’s last remaining manufacturing plant in Australia.

Spain: Economy slumps as unemployment hits ten year high

By Paul Stuart, 19 August 2008

News that the 15-member euro zone has recorded its first-ever contraction will put greater pressure on an already ailing Spanish economy.

Washington steps up its anti-Russian rhetoric

By Patrick Martin, 19 August 2008

Despite the signing of a ceasefire agreement with Georgia by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, and repeated assurances that Russian military forces would begin withdrawal from most Georgian territory Monday, the Bush administration and the American media have intensified their campaign of anti-Russian propaganda, aiming at creating a crisis atmosphere both in Europe and the United States.

Malaysia: Anwar contests by-election despite being charged

By John Roberts, 18 August 2008

Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto leader of the opposition Malaysian Peoples Front (PKR), nominated on Saturday for the August 26 by-election in the seat of Permatang Pauh, which was made vacant by the resignation of his wife. Anwar is seeking to re-enter parliament despite facing a politically motivated charge of sodomy. His aim is to bring down the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)-dominated Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government that has held power for 51 years.

Irish government prepares public spending cuts, lay-offs

By Jordan Shilton, 18 August 2008

An article in the Sunday Business Post on July 27 revealed that the Irish government is to initiate severe cuts to public spending over the coming months. The article, written by political editor Pat Leahy, was based on a leaked memo that instructed each government department to identify projects greater than the value of 10 million euros that could be deferred.

US: Verizon contract cuts benefits and clears way for layoffs

By a Verizon worker, 18 August 2008

The contract negotiated by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) with the telecommunications company Verizon represents a betrayal of the 65,000 Verizon workers represented by the two unions. It cuts benefits and sets the stage for the company to eliminate thousands of jobs.

Australia: Labor government scapegoats air traffic controllers

By Terry Cook, 18 August 2008

The Rudd government and Airservices Australia, the body overseeing the country’s air traffic control system, are attempting to blame air traffic controllers (ATCs) for increasing numbers of flights by passenger aircraft through unsupervised airspace—a development heightening the chance of mid-air collisions that could cost hundreds of lives.

Germany: Divisions widen in the Social Democratic Party

By Ulrich Rippert, 18 August 2008

The factional struggle inside the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) is daily becoming more confrontational. The dispute primarily concerns the attitude to be taken towards the Left Party. But behind this lies a far more fundamental question: How to deal with the growing resistance to the anti-social policies of “Agenda 2010.”

The political realities of “democratic” Georgia

By Tom Eley, 18 August 2008

One of the constant themes in the US government and media presentation of the conflict in the Caucasus is the depiction of Georgia as a bastion of democracy. The Bush administration has increasingly invoked the terminology of the Cold War by referring to “democratic Georgia” as a symbol of the “free world” and its struggle against authoritarian Russia.

The New York Times covers for US role in Georgia crisis

By Alex Lantier and Barry Grey, 16 August 2008

In its recent coverage, the New York Times has repeatedly asserted that US officials, in the lead-up to Georgia’s August 7 attack on South Ossetia, tried to prevent Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili from embarking on a military confrontation with Russia and were taken by surprise by the outbreak of hostilities.

Bank seizures of US homes reach record high

By Andre Damon, 16 August 2008

Banks repossessed almost three times as many American homes last month as in July of 2007, while foreclosures jumped 55 percent over the same period, according to a report issued Thursday by RealtyTrac, a California-based seller of foreclosure data.