ISSUE 146 TABLE OF CONTENTS
by Daud Salman UNICEF Special Representative for Iraq Roger Wright added that ongoing insecurity served to deter parents from visiting health centers for essential services, while many health workers had been kidnapped or killed in different parts of the country
by Judith Coburn Much has been written about how President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld waged war on the cheap, sending too few ill-equipped young soldiers -- 30 percent of them ill-trained Reservists and National Guardsmen -- into battle. But little has been reported about how shockingly on-the-cheap the homecomings of these soldiers have proved to be
According to the survey, women's basic rights under the Hussein regime were guaranteed in the constitution and -- more importantly -- respected, with women often occupying important government positions. Now, although their rights are still enshrined in the national constitution, activists complain that, in practice, they have lost almost all of their rights
by Gary Leupp How would it sound if Bush kept repeating: 'The Iranian president has quoted Ayatollah Khomeini, who died seventeen years ago, as saying the occupation regime over Jerusalem must be erased from the page of time?' Pretty lame, huh?
by Roberto Lovato Most politicos, academics, talking heads and journalists don't get it, and it's not just because they lack the Spanish-language skills. It's because they're trying to force this movimiento into the Procrustean bed of 'civil rights' 'progressive' or other traditional U.S. labels. It's because they fail to see the birth of a mass-based mega movement that will counterbalance the exclusive political focus on electoral politics that marchers and others feel have betrayed them for too long
by Alexander Cockburn Early this month, a Left front led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) swept West Bengal with a three-fourths majority, 233 seats out of 293 declared. There's no precedent for such a triumph for the Left, in India or indeed anywhere for a state with a population of close to 100 million
by George Koo Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian failed at his usual 'transit diplomacy' when the United States refused to let him step on American soil during his trip to Latin America last week. The administration would only allow Chen to land in Anchorage for a two-hour refueling and would not even let him de-plane and stretch his legs. Chen is said to have demanded the right to stop in New York. Washington said no. An indignant Chen took off from Taipei and while airborne told the pilot to head west via the Middle East and Europe, bypassing North America altogether
by Steve Young O'Reilly doesn't just toss out those conclusions willy-nilly. He is well aware that any declaration he utters will have national -- nay, international -- ramifications. No one in the business of investigative journalism has put together the crack team Bill has, thoroughly analyzing the finite details of every possible news, legal or cultural innuendo. Any potential sabotage of what is morally right and factually correct is in Bill's cross-hairs. Right, left, gay, straight or Paul Krugman, you screw with the folks, Bill's gonna getcha
by Steve Young To date, it doesn't seem that registered voters have yet to grasp the concept that democracy works much better if you actually participate or so says the ever-deepening pockets of Simon Cowell. Perhaps registering for the party and then actually having a party might be enough of an incentive to drive a bit of interest into selecting the best people to do the job in November
by Steve Young Sean also could hardly hide his compassion as he reminded us of the particulars of the pass people like the Kennedys receive as opposed to 'you or I.' Sean is fond of using the 'you or I would never receive the same get out of jail free card,' attaching it as a display of the sameness he shares with his audience
by Jim Lobe While the situations in both countries underline the doubtfulness of Bush's pledges of 'complete victory' -- most recently voiced Saturday at graduation at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point -- in his 'war on terror,' what makes this year's Memorial Day particularly downbeat is the impending release of an official report on what almost certainly was a massacre of as many as two dozen unarmed Iraqis, including one five-month-old baby girl, carried out by U.S. Marines in Haditha, Iraq, last November
by Brian Conley and Isam Rashid Under Saddam Hussein possession of weapons was highly regulated. But after the invasion of Iraq, the military collapsed and many armories and ammunition dumps were left unprotected. Now, those guns are everywhere. To begin with people bought guns -- or took those discarded on the streets -- to defend themselves against the eruption of lawlessness after the fall of Baghdad. After the bombing of the al-Askariyah shrine in Samarra in February this year, a wave of reprisal killings drastically increased the desire of many Iraqi families to have at least one gun
by Jim Lobe In the last several weeks, nearly 400 people have been killed in an unprecedented Taliban offensive designed, according to Afghanistan expert Ahmed Rashid, to pre-empt the deployment of 6,000 NATO troops who are supposed to replace some 3,000 U.S. soldiers in southern Afghanistan over the summer
by Angel Paez Human rights groups in Peru warned that the 14 recently elected legislators loyal to former president Alberto Fujimori will try to use the legal system to recast their leader as a victim of political persecution
by Zofeen Ebrahim According to UNICEF, one in five persons in the affected areas is under the age of five. Many children suffered head injuries and multiple limb fractures that required amputations. UNICEF estimates that 20,000 children suffered physical impairment from serious injuries and amputations
by William Fisher In a case that went virtually unnoticed by the mainstream press -- but that some legal authorities believe could become one of a number of 'tipping points' on the issue of presidential power -- a federal judge rejected the government's argument that it should be exempt from regulations during national emergencies. But in January, before the appeal could be heard, the government caved. It agreed to pay the plaintiff, Ehab Elmaghraby, $300,000, while not admitting to any of the charges in the lawsuit
by Thalif Deen From North Africa to Central Asia, top U.S. officials are busy embracing dictators -- and their sons, where appropriate -- even as they continue to mouth the pro-democracy rhetoric that became the hallmark of the administration's foreign policy pronouncements, particularly after the 2003 invasion of Iraq failed to turn up evidence of weapons of mass destruction or ties to al Qaeda
A magnitude 6.2 temblor struck Yogyakarta, about 400 km east of the capital Jakarta, early Saturday. The death toll has already passed the 3,000 mark and fast rising as the horror began to reveal itself both within the country and internationally. This is Indonesia's worst disaster since the Dec. 26 2004 Asian tsunami, killing at least 131,000 people
by Earl Ofari Hutchinson In September 1999, then-Texas Gov. George Bush told an audience during the New Hampshire presidential primary, 'English-only would mean to people, 'Me, not you.'' The few times during his White House tenure Bush has seen moves to restrict the use of non-English languages by government agencies, the president didn't budge from that position. However, when House and Senate Republicans pounded Bush recently for championing a non-punitive immigration reform measure he backpedaled, supporting the Senate's tough English-only amendment and a competing amendment that simply touts English
by William Underwood Class-action lawsuits against Japanese corporations will soon be filed by former forced laborers in Chinese courts, marking the first-ever litigation in China stemming from Japan's war conduct. China's new resolve in pressing the issue follows two major defeats in Japanese courtrooms in March. District courts in Fukuoka and Nagano rejected redress claims against the Japanese state and six corporations on the grounds that the statute of limitations expired years ago.
by Bill Berkowitz In an essay published in the March/April 2006 edition of the Nacla Report on the Americas titled 'Biopiracy and the Global Quest for Human Organs,' Scheper-Hughes says that, 'U.S. or Japanese medical agents working for large hospitals abroad ... abducted bodies,' harvested the parts they wanted, especially eyes, kidneys, hearts and livers, and then unceremoniously dumped the remains 'on the sides of country roads or in hospital dumpsters'
by Stefania Bianchi The Bek-Transplant Web site openly advertises for business from foreigners. The cost of a kidney transplant for non-Chinese nationals is put at $70,000, and a liver transplant at $120,000 for both the organ and the operation. Payments are made to the medical centers. Although the exact number of organs taken from prisoners is unknown, the organization reckoned the figure could be in the thousands. The organs are being sold both to Chinese residents and foreign nationals
by Gareth Porter Iran offered in 2003 to accept peace with Israel and to cut off material assistance to Palestinian armed groups and pressure them to halt terrorist attacks within Israel's 1967 borders, according to the secret Iranian proposal to the United States
by William Fisher Human rights organizations here are hailing the recommendations of the United Nations Committee Against Torture that the United States close its Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center, cease holding detainees in secret prisons, and stop the practice of 'rendering' prisoners to countries where they are likely to be tortured. The committee -- a panel of 10 independent experts -- is the UN body that monitors compliance with the world's anti-torture treaty. Last week, it concluded two days of hearings in Geneva, Switzerland, where a 26-member U.S. delegation defended Washington's treatment of prisoners and emphasized its prosecutions of those guilty of abuse
by Molly Ivins I have no objections to anyone breaking into the guild of journalism without the credentials of journalism school or experience on a print daily (though I highly recommend especially the latter). I do object to those who jump from political hackery to flackery and expect respect. Truly, if you can't cover a five-car pile-up on Route 128, you should not be covering a presidential campaign
by Molly Ivins If you expect me to pass up a scandal involving poker, hookers and the Watergate building with crooked defense contractors and the No. 3 guy at the CIA, named Dusty Foggo (Dusty Foggo?! Be still my heart), you expect too much. Any journalist who claims Hookergate is not a legitimate scandal is dead -- has been for some time and needs to be unplugged. In addition to sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, Hookergate is rife with public interest questions, misfeasance, malfeasance and non-feasance, and many splendid moral points for the children
by Molly Ivins Who knew? Unions, organizers, community workers, priests and preachers, and Lord knows the Democrats have been trying to wake the Sleeping Giant for years. That it would happen someday was an article of faith when I first started watching Texas politics 40 years ago. Who knew all it would take was one softly played, very ugly, very nasty little piece of racial political pandering. And there was the Giant, out on the streets in the millions. For those who know the Latin emphasis on respect and dignity, maybe it's not such a surprise after all.
by Molly Ivins Either the so-called 'lobby reform bill' is the contemptible, cheesy, shoddy piece of hypocrisy it appears to be ... or the Republicans have a sense of humor
by Omid Memarian Ahmadinejad's fruitless letter to Bush, as the first direct communication between an Iranian leader and a U.S. president since 1979, has further reduced his appeal to Iran's middle class, journalists and intellectuals. Most believe that he wrote this letter at the wrong time and without achieving any tangible results -- other than enhancing the United States' position in this power struggle
A longtime advocate for the environment, Gore presents a wide array of facts and information in the film, which is intended as a rallying cry to protect the planet. 'It is now clear that we face a deepening global climate crisis that requires us to act boldly, quickly, and wisely,' said Gore
by Jim Lobe With Congress on the verge of approving yet another record Pentagon budget, a task force of nearly two dozen progressive policy analysts is calling for major changes in the way the United States allocates money for its common defense. Noting that Washington currently spends six dollars on its military for every one dollar it spends on homeland security, diplomacy, foreign aid and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the group argues that a three-to-one ratio is more reasonable and well within reach
by Jim Lobe So far only 40 troops -- almost all of them low-ranking enlisted personnel -- have been given prison terms. Of these, 30 were sentenced to less than one year's confinement, even in cases involving serious abuse, such as the beating deaths of two detainees at the detention facility at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan
by Gareth Porter Evidence of wavering by the Bush administration over the negotiations came from the London-based Asharq Al Awsat newspaper, which reported Tuesday that Sunni resistance organizations had just broken off secret talks with Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad because of the U.S. failure to respond to a peace proposal from the insurgents
by William Fisher A major government watchdog group is charging that Muslim charities are being shut down for supposedly backing terrorist causes, while giant firms like Halliburton are allegedly breaking government sanctions against doing business with Iran -- a country designated as a sponsor of terrorism
by Bill Berkowitz While overwrought radio talk-show hosts and a handful of neo-Nazi groups have openly advocated violence against the undocumented, anti-immigrant politicos and several cable news television personalities have contributed to the increasingly toxic climate
by Sandip Roy The immigration movement is being conducted in Spanish. For English, press 2
by Marwaan Macan-Markar Even as it wins praise for increasing forest cover at home, China is importing increasing amounts of wood from the jungles of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Burma
by Nativo Lopez and David Bacon The protests do more than react to a particular Congressional agenda, however. They are the cumulative response to years of bashing and denigrating immigrants generally, and Mexican and Latinos in particular. The protests seem spontaneous, but they come as a result of years of organizing, educating, and agitating -- activities that have given immigrants confidence, and at least some organizations the credibility needed to mobilize direct mass action
by Jim Lobe A story authored by a prominent U.S. neo-conservative regarding new legislation in Iran allegedly requiring Jews and other religious minorities to wear distinctive color badges circulated around the world this weekend before it was exposed as false
Often fearing for their lives, Baghdadis have learnt to keep their distance from the military convoys constantly rumbling down the city's streets, despite the fact that such convoys are ostensibly intended for their protection
by Molly Ivins By all means, reform immigration with this deep obeisance to the Republican right-wing nut faction and their open contempt for 'foreigners.' But do not pretend for one minute that it is not a craven political bow to racism
by Molly Ivins As we all know, things can always get worse, and often do. I rather think it's going to be up to the Democrats to hold the metaphoric hands of this crippled administration until it limps off stage. The Republican National Committee has a new scare tactic for the faithful: You must give to the party, or else the Democrats will spend the next two years investigating the administration
by Molly Ivins Militarizing the border is a totally terrible idea. Do we have a State Department? Are they sentient? How much do you want to infuriate Mexico when it's sitting on quite a bit of oil? Bush knows what the most likely outcome of this move will be. He was governor during the political firestorm that ensued when a Marine taking part in anti-drug patrols on the border shot and killed Esequiel Hernandez, an innocent goat-herder from Redford, Texas. That's the definition of crazy -- repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different result
by Brian Conley and Muhammad Zaher There are some groups, both Sunni and Shia, who believe the time for violent resistance has passed, Ayoub said. Sunni groups such as the Iraqi Accordance Front, the Iraqi Islamic Party and the Muslim Scholars Association seem to be pushing for a political process, and participated in the December elections. But the Islamic Army will never negotiate with the United States or the Iraqi government
by Constanza Vieira Colombian journalist Jorge Enrique Botero, who has reaped both prizes and criticism, has provided another glimpse into the world of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia's largest rebel group
by Patricia Johnson Andrew Martinez, famous as 'The Naked Guy' on the UC/Berkeley campus in the early 1990s, died in jail May 18, an apparent suicide
by Peter Hirschberg On the eve of his visit, Olmert had lowered expectations. Do not expect American backing for Olmert's unilateral West Bank withdrawal plan, officials on both sides said. Bush is facing an array of domestic and international woes, they continued. The last thing he needs now is a new, controversial foreign policy challenge. The bottom line: at best, expect highly qualified, tepid U.S. support for the Israeli leader's plan. In this light, President Bush's comments about another unilateral Israeli pullout -- he called Olmert's ideas 'bold' -- border on an enthusiastic endorsement
by Mohammed A. Salih Major differences continue to divide Shias, Sunnis and Kurds in their move to form a national unity government. Thorny issues are being dealt with simply by putting them aside. About the thorniest of them are federalism and Kirkuk. Many leaders fear these issues could break the fragile togetherness any time. With the new cabinet due to be announced soon, Kurds are warning against any move to end federalism or to declare Kirkuk a part of Iraq, and not of Kurdistan
Analysis by Gareth Porter What is really at stake in the confrontation with Iran from the Bush administration's perspective, according to this authority on neo-conservative strategy, is the opportunity to reorder the power hierarchy in the Middle East even further in favor of the United States, by pursuing the overthrow of the Islamic republic of Iran
by Jim Lobe Despite receiving some $8 billion a month in economic aid and military support over the past year, Iraq and Afghanistan rank among the world's 10 weakest states, along with much of Central Africa, according to the 'Failed States Index' for 2006
by Jim Lobe As if rallying fading public support for keeping more than 100,000 U.S. troops in a disintegrating Iraq and preparing the ground for a possible military attack on Iran were not enough, some influential hawks are now promoting a more confrontational stance against Russia and China, as well
by Julie A. Corwin Scheper-Hughes says there are no guarantees that legalizing kidney sales would end all the abuses now associated with the black market. She says that in Iran legal sales have not corrected a problem of the black market: the exploitation of poor people as organ suppliers for middle- and upper-class recipients. Today the rich are the only people who can afford to fly around the world in search of a kidney on the black market when there are not enough kidneys available from cadavers
Analysis by Jim Lobe Porter Goss is likely to be remembered chiefly for his 'Gosslings,' Republican political operatives he brought with him from the House, whose main purpose was to undertake a purge of senior officers whose loyalty to their tradecraft appeared greater than to the policy priorities of the Bush administration, particularly in the Middle East
by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Bush's tough talk on border security might cool some of the anger of conservatives, but it's a fool's paradise measure that won't put a dent in the illegal immigrant problem
by Eugenia Chien When a protester shouted at Chinese President Hu Jintao during his visit to the White House last month, she brought attention not just to China's harsh treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, but to a growing, U.S.-based media company linked to the spiritual group
by Diego Cevallos The U.S. government decision to deploy National Guard troops along the U.S.-Mexican border, something that had not occurred since 1916, has opened fissures in the united front forged in the past few months by several Latin American presidents and activists and politicians demanding respect for immigrant rights
by Joe Conason No matter what the polls tell Karl Rove about mobilizing the troops, the sad truth for him and his boss is that the public now regards Bush with a cynical eye. Conservatives no longer trust him on the issue of immigration, while liberals, moderates and independents no longer trust him at all. It is sad, because he once had the opportunity -- and the sincere motivation -- to lead the nation to a more enlightened policy toward immigrant workers
by Roberto Lovato Many in Texas and beyond fear what they perceive as the grave danger posed by a president and a Republican Party that appeal to white, conservative voters by targeting immigrants with punitive policies. Waving twin flags of patriotism and national security, Bush has led us into the age of migration and militarism, an age that will and must also see the birth of an 'immifada,' a more militant, non-electoral, cross-border response to the anti-immigrant, anti-Latino politic gripping the most conservative and dangerous sectors of U.S. society
by Julio Godoy Fearing that cats can pass on the bird-flu virus, several European governments urged people to keep pets indoors and take other precautions, prompting many citizens to turn their pet cats over to animal shelters. The trend to get rid of cats is especially strong in Germany and Austria, where at least six cats and a few rodents, like martens, were found to be infected with a strain of avian flu as a result of close contact with infected birds
by Marwaan Macan-Markar Southeast Asian government efforts to tackle bird flu are being sidetracked by Burma's secretive junta, which appears keener on strengthening its iron grip on power than addressing a possible global pandemic
by Jim Lobe On his maiden visit to the United States as Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert received a first-hand look at the political muscle of the right-wing 'Israel Lobby,' part of which used the occasion to launch a campaign to deter him from following through on plans to unilaterally evacuate tens of thousands of settlers living in the occupied West Bank
by Daffodil Altan An eclectic snapshot of editorials and opinion columns from various U.S. ethnic newspapers refutes what some reports have called a confused or fragmented movement. The underlying theme is loud and clear: this movement is big. It includes all immigrants. And it's not going away anytime soon
by Mario Osava Strong evidence indicates that Brazilian police have summarily executed a number of suspects in harsh retaliation for organized-crime attacks staged the May 12 weekend in the southern city of Sao Paulo
by Michael Winship After the FBI climbed the ladder and broke down the door of the exclusive congressional treehouse, which suddenly reawakened the House of Representatives to that faded flap of foolscap called the United States Constitution. Article I, Section 6, Clause 1, to be precise -- the 'Speech or Debate Clause.' The clause was intended to protect legislators from being arrested and prosecuted for unpopular political views, but over the years its interpretation has been bent, stretched and cracked with varying degrees of success
The formation of the national unity government is only the first step in overcoming violence, according to Hiltermann. 'Two other critical steps will be the constitutional review and the integration of all of Iraq's security forces,' he added. However, two key posts have not been filled due to disagreements. They are of the Ministry of interior and defense. Al-Maliki had to temporarily fill the posts heading the ministries controlling Iraq's army and police forces
by Aaron Glantz and Alaa Hassan Before the recent spate of killings, Basra had a reputation as one of the most peaceful cities in occupied Iraq. The British military -- whose 8,000 soldiers in Iraq control Basra -- were considered by many to be more humane than their American counterparts. But when thousands of residents took to the streets earlier this month to protest high unemployment and corruption in the governor's office, the British attacked the demonstrators with helicopters. Fighters responded
by Michael Winship Eric Massa, a 24-year Navy vet and former aide to General Wesley Clark, is one of the 'Fighting Dems,' the dozens of veterans running for the House in this year's midterm elections. Massa's counting on voters' discontent with the state of the nation overriding both their concern about more local issues and the body politic's inclination to vote for the incumbent. For now, the national numbers seem to back him up. According to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, a majority of the public, 56 percent, saying they would prefer to see Democrats in control of Congress after the elections
by Gareth Porter In yet another apparent episode of the inability of the White House to steer a consistent diplomatic course in the Middle East, a new report says that the Bush administration ordered U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in March to postpone indefinitely the talks with Iran on Iraq for which Khalilzad had previously gotten White House approval
by Emad Mekay 'They completely let Northern governments off the hook,' said Peter Bosshard, a policy director with IRN. 'They do not call on them (rich nations) to make any further commitments and rather shift the burden to the South.' Environmentalists, some scientists and a number of independent global institutions say that combating climate change primarily requires action in the North, including much deeper emissions reductions under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol which runs from 2013 and 2017.
Representatives for thousands of scientists and risk managers with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are objecting to imminent agency approval for more than 20 neurotoxic pesticides that they say violates the precautionary principle mandated by the Food Quality Protection Act
by Robert Scheer What Bush got right about serious immigration reform is the need to join two apparently irreconcilable but inevitably co-dependent goals: control of the border and amnesty for most of those already here illegally. While shunning the explosive A-word, he does propose legalizing the status of millions of illegal immigrants if they pay back taxes and fines. This de facto amnesty would allow those already here without papers to go about their work and lives without fear of deportation. This is crucial, because the alternative is social chaos of a dimension not experienced in this country since the Civil War and Reconstruction.
by Robert Scheer I had just been moved to tears by one sign carried by what seemed to be a family stating, 'We are workers, not criminals,' when a fellow spectator began heckling the marchers. Reacting without thinking, I heckled him -- there was this instant hatred between myself and this man I had never met. It startled me, this pent-up yet still-raw rage over the persecution of immigrants. I know where it comes from: My immigrant mother always lived with the fear of deportation
by Robert Scheer The 'turning point' Bush is actually concerned about is the U.S. midterm elections, coming up fast in his windshield. Because Iraq isn't going to be fixed anytime soon and the troops are not coming home, the president is once again trying to sell the lie of Iraqi progress in an attempt to keep his opposition from taking control of Congress and using its subpoena power to ask the right questions about how we found ourselves in such a mess
by Robert Scheer True, Hayden was in charge of the National Security Agency during the run-up to Sept. 11, a massive terrorist attack which intelligence agencies are built to prevent. But remaining unflappably confident while getting it all wrong is a vital credential for the head of the CIA under this administration
Local NGOs say that at least 80,000 families throughout the country are still awaiting reimbursement, with expected payments ranging from the equivalent of $1,000 to $25,000
by Jim Lobe In recent weeks, a growing number of prominent Republicans, as well as Democrats, have been urging Bush to pursue face-to-face negotiations on a range of issues. At the same time, Washington's European allies, which have acted as the administration's surrogates in talks with Iran on its nuclear program for the last three years, are rapidly losing patience with what they increasingly see as U.S. intransigence
by Brian Conley and Isam Rashid The execution of 13 suspected insurgents in March marked a revival of the death penalty in Iraq -- and sparked a debate among Iraqis about whether capital punishment should be written into the laws of a modern society
by Fawzia Sheikh Publicly the Israeli government has said invading Gaza is a last resort. Instead it has pledged to continue firing against Gazan targets like bomb factories, assassinating militant leaders, revoking the residency rights of Palestinian lawmakers living in Jerusalem, and preventing the smuggling of Palestinians into Israel. But current and retired top military brass have been quoted in the Israeli press as saying that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are preparing to reoccupy Gaza -- which Israel vacated last year along with thousands of Jewish settlers -- if Qassam rocket attacks persist. Israel has already made two brief forays to search for explosives
by Joe Conason The Bush presidents, father and son, were naturally among the most intemperate critics of Gore, not only as a political opponent but because he didn't share their abject fealty to the oil bidness. During the 1992 campaign, the first President Bush raged against him incessantly and sometimes incoherently, sputtering, 'Ozone Man, Ozone. He's crazy, way out, far out, man.' Eight years later, Dubya tried to have it both ways, attacking Gore for environmentalist excess while promising to reduce carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Upon entering the Oval Office, he promptly abandoned that pledge, and has since flipped and flopped more times than a dying fish
by Thalif Deen The United Nations is on a global hunt for a jailhouse for former Liberian President Charles Taylor, who is to stand trial in the Netherlands on crimes against humanity both in his home country and in neighboring Sierra Leone. But so far, no one is willing to roll out the welcome mat to Taylor -- irrespective of whether he is found innocent or guilty
Analysis by Omid Memarian Iranian civil society activists who asked to remain unidentified told IPS they believe this policy will just intensify the Islamic republic's repressive approach toward non-governmental organizations and will be used as an excuse to crack down on their activities
by Jess Smee Conservative politicians have called for an 'immigration summit.' Volker Kauder, parliamentary leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats complained that years of 'purring' over multiculturalism under the center-left government of Gerhard Schroeder had not moved integration forward 'one millimeter'
by Gustavo Gonzalez During the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, the regime's notorious secret police and a colony of German immigrants in southern Chile cooperated closely in human rights abuses, according to a Chilean judge who indicted 18 members of the two groups
by Marwaan Macan-Markar Fears that Indonesia may emerge as the epicenter of a global bird flu pandemic are adding to the woes of a country struggling to cope with the aftermath of Saturday's temblor that left more than 5,500 people dead in central Java
by David Bacon When the U.S. Senate passed its version of 'comprehensive immigration reform' on Thursday, senators from both sides of the aisle claimed that despite the enormous controversy the bill has generated, passing a bill with flaws was better than passing no bill at all. Outside of the beltway and its coterie of lobbyists, however, a groundswell of community groups now argue that Congress would do better to pass no bill than to enact a bill which reconciles the proposal just passed by the Senate, and that passed last December in the House of Representatives
by Aimable Twahirwa The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has been set up in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha to bring the alleged masterminds of the genocide to justice, while Rwandan courts have struggled to try the huge number of persons accused of carrying out the killings. Those who survived the genocide are still awaiting reparations, however
by William Fisher Anticipating that the federal government would invoke the so-called 'state secrets' privilege to block any lawsuit calling for the disclosure of details about allegations that phone companies shared customer records with the government's biggest spy agency, the ACLU has filed complaints in more than 20 individual states demanding that their utility commissions and attorneys-general convene public hearings and call phone company executives to testify
by Golnaz Esfandiari Pakistan rejected fresh charges by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that the country is providing a training ground for militants and allowing them to infiltrate Afghanistan. Karzai made the accusations on May 18 after an upsurge in violence that appears to have left more than 100 people dead.
by Alexander Cockburn I would have thought that to ask whether there's an Israeli lobby here is a bit like asking whether there's a Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor or a White House located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.
by Steve Young Meet Doug McIntyre, morning rush host on Los Angeles' KABC radio and L.A. home to Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and a bunch of local far-right zealots. As O'Reilly found out this past week, McIntyre is neither echo nor doormat. Visiting O'Reilly's radio show, McIntyre took Billy to the woodshed leaving the nospinster ridden hard and put away wet
by Bill Berkowitz According to Byron York, who covers the White House for the National Review, 'It was Falwell that approached McCain, not the other way around.' And while McCain's visit is definitely aimed at showing Christian conservatives that they would have nothing to fear should he become the party's standard bearer, the politically savvy Falwell appears to be 'willing to be flexible'
by Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Jasmyne Cannick The Minutemen hope to recruit poor blacks to join them in their anti-illegal immigration efforts by capitalizing on a deep split over immigration in the African-Amercan community
by J.R. Pegg Most of the potential hurdles center on hurricane relief and on programs not included in the White House request -- the $68 billion earmarked by the Senate for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both Democrats and Republicans criticized the president for failing to include funding for the war in the regular budget and for requesting the fifth supplemental appropriations bill since the Iraq war began in March 2003
About six million households have suffered regular power shortages since April 30 when insurgents attacked a major power plant supplying the capital, causing serious problems for families without access to private generators. For three consecutive days, residents of the capital, Baghdad, have received less than one hour of electricity per day. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Electricity said it could take a week or more to restore the power supply to previous levels of about six hours daily
by Marty Logan With Maoist rebels breathing down their necks, Nepal's parliamentarians prepared May 18 to downsize the monarchy and strip the king of his traditional role as army chief
by Marcela Valente The passage of a law on biofuels in Argentina is both good and bad news for sustainable development. While the new law will encourage alternative sources of fuel, it will also boost much-criticized soybean production. Argentina's soybean crop, which is mainly transgenic, threatens biodiversity in agriculture and hurts family farms and the rural social fabric, according to environmentalists and other critics. In the last decade, the expanding cultivation of soybean as the sole crop has prompted an exodus of seasonal workers and small farmers to the cities, while fueling the concentration of land ownership
by Jamal Dajani The Israeli leader described to Congress a forward-thinking, high-tech state ready to make peace with its Palestinian neighbors. The reality for Palestinians is repressive tactics from the apartheid era or earlier
by Lorinda Bullock According to the 83-page affidavit, the FBI had been tracking Jefferson since last March. The FBI was tipped off by a woman the Washington Post named as Lori Mody, a wealthy northern Virginia businesswoman who, persuaded by Jefferson, invested millions of dollars into iGate Inc., a Louisville-based telecommunications company. Mody, worried about being swindled out of nearly $4 million she had invested in iGate, approached the FBI about investigating Jefferson, the document said
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