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World Events — posted after May 7, 2002


Archive of postings prior to February 27, 2002


Posted May 7, 2002

Bush 'Unsigns' War Crimes Treaty
(Jim Lobe, AlterNet, May 6, 2002)
The Bush administration Monday formally renounced its obligations as a signatory to the 1998 Rome Statute to establish an International Criminal Court (ICC). Critics say the decision to "unsign" the treaty will further damage the United States' reputation and isolate it from its allies. . . . "Driven by unfounded fears of phantom prosecutions, the United States has hit a new nadir of isolationism and exceptionalism," . . . EU leaders warned the United States last week that any deliberate effort by Washington to destroy the Court could do serious damage to trans-Atlantic ties . . . Critics and Washington's own allies have been quick to criticize the administration's decision, dismissing its concerns as largely unfounded. . . . All but one of Washington's EU allies have ratified the Statute (Greece is expected to complete ratification in the coming months), and several European leaders, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, have personally lobbied top administration officials, including Bush, against renouncing the treaty. . . . But that does not mean Washington's withdrawal will not have consequences. Apart from damage to Washington's ties with its European allies or to its image abroad, the decision may set a dangerous precedent in international law. . . . "This unprecedented action suggests to the world that the signature of a U.S. president lacks enduring meaning," . . . "At the very time, the U.S. seeks signatures and ratifications of anti-terrorist treaties, an 'unsigning' by the Bush administration will undermine the power of the international treaty system." . . . "Other countries might well use this precedent to justify backing out of international commitments that are important to the U.S.,"

 

Posted May 1, 2002

Please, Dad, Tell Me: How Do I Stop Being Complicit?
(Sarah Shields, CommonDreams.org, April 10, 2002)
You taught me that Jews must never, never, never be silent when injustice occurs, because our silence makes us complicit. . . . As a rabbi, you preached against racism in the south, and had to leave a pulpit in Louisiana when they threatened to kill our family. . . . It is a heavy responsibility I carry now. Because now I am complicit. I have not stood in front of the tanks that are killing other mothers' children in refugee camps. I have not ridden in ambulances to help them get past checkpoints so that the injured could be cured. I have not laid in front of the bulldozers to prevent their destroying a family's shelter. . . . What can I do about this injustice? . . . And international law is clear. Occupying countries have to protect the lives and property of the local population. It is not legal to establish settlements at all. Why do Israel and the US pay Israelis to move into them? . . . Israeli soldiers treat occupied people the same way other armies have treated occupied people. . . . When people are humiliated, and have no hope for the future, They see no alternative to violence. . . . "I am a Jew because Israel places man and his unity above nations and above Israel itself." . . . Dad, we have become the oppressors. . . . We are the oppressors, and we are also the victims. Jews are being killed, and at the same time, the moral imperative that you taught me was part of being Jewish seems to be vanishing. I believe that Jews are being used by an American administration to accomplish its own ends, ends that have nothing to do with the ideals of Jews. We need to shout aloud that 80% of the billions that the US gives Israel in aid must be spent on weapons, and that more than half of those weapons are built in Texas. . . . We must act, and we must act immediately. Jews are being used to legitimize the slaughter of Palestinians.

Posted April 30, 2002

Britain Tries to Revive Biological Arms Protocol
(Dominic Evans, Reuters, April 29, 2002)
Britain launched a fresh attempt Monday to give teeth to a global ban on germ warfare, unveiling proposals it said could overcome U.S. objections which blocked an international verification protocol last year. . . . In July the United States rejected an international protocol, 10 years in the making, to strengthen the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. . . . The protocol would have required signatory countries to open up sites that could be used to develop biological weapons, and included spot checks as a means of verification.

 

Posted April 27, 2002

Bush's Master Oil Plan
(Michael T. Klare, Pacific News Service, April 23, 2002)
Beneath the surface of day-to-day crisis management, one can see signs of an overarching plan for U.S. policy: a strategy of global oil acquisition. . . . In the Caspian Sea basin the United States is building new military bases and providing training to local defense forces. In Colombia, U.S.-equipped government forces will soon be guarding the Occidental Petroleum Company's Cano Limon oil pipeline. And in Venezuela U.S. embassy personnel reportedly met with leaders of an abortive coup against President Hugo Chavez. . . . The aim of this strategy is simple: to procure as much of the world's oil for ravenous U.S. markets as possible. With domestic U.S. production facing progressive decline and national consumption rising with every passing day, the United States must obtain more and more of its oil from abroad. . . . The only way to significantly reduce imports is to increase the fuel efficiency of U.S. motor vehicles -- but because President Bush is reluctant to require this, the administration has instead launched a global effort to expand U.S. access to foreign sources of petroleum. . . . This campaign was first laid out in the national energy plan drawn up by Vice President Dick Cheney in early 2001the Cheney report makes three key points: 1) The United States must satisfy an ever-increasing share of its oil demand with imported supplies. 2) The United States cannot depend exclusively on traditional sources of supply 3) The United States cannot rely on market forces alone to gain access to these added supplies . . . In advocating these measures, the Cheney team is well aware that U.S. efforts to gain access to increasing amounts of foreign petroleum could provoke resistance in some oil-producing regions. . . . This means, of course, that American efforts to obtain increased supplies foreign oil will require more than trade deals and diplomacy - - it will also require the threat of or the use of force to dissuade hostile forces from attempting to obstruct the flow of petroleum to the United States. . . . And while these efforts have been accelerated since Sept. 11, it is important to note that they began well before that date.

 

Posted April 26, 2002

Why Prosecute Milosevic for War Crimes but not Kissinger?
(Peter Tatchell, The Guardian, April 25, 2002)
His comments leave open the possibility that he might issue a warrant in the future - if I can produce stronger evidence of Kissinger's culpability in the killing, maiming, torture and forced relocation of civilian populations in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the late 60s and early 70s. . . . Henry Kissinger was the chief architect of US war policy in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. . . . In his own memoirs, White House Years, he boasts of his huge power and influence over the President, claiming that nothing happened in Indochina that he did not know about and authorise. . . . According to the US Senate sub-committee on refugees, from March 1968 to March 1972, in excess of three million civilians were killed, wounded or made homeless. . . . During this same period, most of which coincides with Kissinger's role as NSA to the President, the US dropped nearly 4.5m tonnes of high explosive on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia - more than double the tonnage dropped during the whole of the second world war. . . . What the US did in Indochina involved the mass killing of civilians and the premeditated, wholesale destruction of the environment using chemical defoliants such as Agent Orange. These are war crimes under the 1957 Geneva Conventions Act. . . . Kissinger was a senior party - second only to the president - to the secret, illegal invasion and bombing of two neutral countries, Laos and Cambodia, without a declaration war or any warning to the civilian population. . . . US bombing is calculated to have killed 350,000 civilians in Laos and 600,000 in Cambodia. Several times more civilians were wounded and made refugees. . . . During the first 30 months of the Nixon-Kissinger administration, the US counter-insurgency "Phoenix Programme" was responsible for the murder or abduction of 35,708 Vietnamese civilians. . . . Kissinger's role in formulating and implementing US war policy coincided with the systematic use of chemical defoliants and pesticides, including Agent Orange. . . . These caused birth defects and rendered significant areas of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia too toxic for people to live in or farm - creating an environmental disaster that will continue to affect many generations to come. . . . It is implausible to suggest that Kissinger was unaware of US violations of the Geneva conventions. He planned, sanctioned and monitored many of the operations which resulted in these violations.

 

Posted April 21, 2002

Why I'm boycotting anything 'made in Israel'
(Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, The Independent, 15 April 2002)
Israel has absolutely no right to do what it wants, to use such overpowering weaponry against mostly unarmed people and justify that by referring to the horrendous history which led to the creation of the Jewish homeland. In fact I would suggest that Ariel Sharon should be tried for crimes against humanity in Sabra and Shatila, and Jenin and other occupied areas and be damned too for so debasing the profoundly important legacy of the Holocaust . . . Sharon can only carry on with his invasion of the West Bank because Colin Powell and his master in the White House crumble before his brutish ways and the US pro-Israeli lobby. He knows too he has the blind support of Americans and Britons whose anti-Arab racism has this year reached new lows. . . . I have already started looking at labels and putting back anything made in Israel. . . . We should call on unions, especially Equity, to advise artists and others to cut relations with the state of Israel. Exchange trips should be off; no holidays in sunny Eilat, even Christian pilgrims to the holy places . . . [Universities] have started a boycott of institutional, cultural, academic and research links with Israel. . . . As one Jewish South African friend, an artist, who lives in London put it: "I owe it to my father who fought against apartheid and my grandfather who died in Germany, not to let my people turn into fascists.

World War 3 - is being waged inside your head

The next revolution - World War 3 - is being waged inside your head. It is, as Marshal McLuhan predicted, “a guerrilla information war fought not in the sky or on the streets, not in the forests or around international fishing boundaries on the high seas, but in newspapers and magazines, on the radio, on TV and in cyberspace. It will be a dirty, no-holds-barred propaganda war of competing worldviews and alternative visions of the future.”

Thanks for this to Marshal McLuhan, Fraser Clark, Danie, and parallel-youniversity.com

Posted April 7, 2002

America divides to control. - It's a policy that could make even Bush's best friend Blair an antagonist
(Nick Cohen, The Observer, April 7, 2002)
Support for Israel, which has no oil and is the enemy of oil producing Arabs, confuses this simple reasoning. But it can be explained away as an aberration created by the enormous influence of the Jewish lobby in Washington. The big picture stays unclouded. Why is America attacked? Why will it march Britain into a needless war with Iraq? It's the oil, stupid. Anyone with half a brain knows that. . . . It won't pull out because Washington wants to 'discourage' the 'advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership', while maintaining a military dominance capable of 'deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role'. . . . The quotes don't come from a babbling conspiracy theorist but from the Pentagon's Defense Planning Guidance, which set out American strategy after the collapse of the Soviet Union. . . . If America didn't 'stabilise' the Middle East, Europe, Japan and China would move in and protect their interests. Although their interventions wouldn't necessarily bother America, in the long term they would grow into powers which would challenge its authority. . . . America's friends are potential enemies. They must be in a state of dependence and seek solutions to their problems in Washington. . . . It was written by Paul Wolfowitz for Bush's father. Wolfowitz is now one of the leaders of the Pentagon hawks. Dick Cheney fought for it to be adopted as official policy in the early 1990s, and he is now Bush junior's vice-president. Their work from a decade ago keeps coming up when American foreign-policy intellectuals try to explain why US military bases circle the globe. . . . it was the key to understanding why the Pentagon wanted military power which was greater than that of all the forces of all possible competitors put together. . . . [European leaders] have all but begged America to be allowed a junior role in the 'war' against terrorism. Their rejection puts them, somewhat to everyone's surprise, temporarily on the same side as the mass of the world's poor. The greatest worry a friend of America should have is how its insistence that it can leave no part of the world alone has created anti-Americanism not only in Muslim countries but in regions such as Latin America where bin Laden's theology means nothing. If you dream that everyone might be your enemy, one day they may become just that.

Posted April 6, 2002

Bush Nuclear Weapons Policies Jeopardizing Nonproliferation Regime
(Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association, U.S. Newswire, 5 Apr 2002)
The Bush administration has pursued policies, such as withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, shelving -- at least for now -- the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and rejecting irreversible nuclear force reductions, which contradict most of the agreed steps. . . . Until now, U.S. leaders have recognized that to preserve the objective of global nonproliferation, the nuclear-weapon states need to respect and act on their disarmament commitments," . . . The Bush administration's do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do nuclear weapons policies contradict the United States' NPT commitments and jeopardize the future of the treaty," warned Kimball. "To win international support for efforts to denuclearize Iraq and North Korea and strengthen safeguards to ensure compliance with the treaty, the U.S. must pursue, not postpone, its disarmament obligations.

 

Posted April 1, 2002

The Palestine Chronicle is providing around-the-clock coverage of Israel's attack on Palestine.
This page is regularly updated with news as it is coming in from on-the-scene reports. Refresh the page periodically for recent updates.

Posted March 28, 2002

Crony Capitalism Goes Global - More News About the Carlyle Group
(Tim Shorrock, The Nation, April 1, 2002)
Carlyle has become the nation's eleventh-largest defense contractor, a major arms exporter to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, one of the biggest foreign investors in South Korea and Taiwan, and a key player in global telecommunications, wireless, real estate and healthcare markets. . . . People on the Carlyle payroll include: George Bush Sr., John Major, Karl Otto Pohl, Anand Panyarachun, Thomas Foley, James Baker III and Frank Carlucci. . . . By hiring enough former officials to fill a permanent shadow cabinet, Carlyle has brought political influence to a new level and created a twenty-first-century version of capitalism that blurs any line between politics and business. In a sense, Carlyle may be the ultimate in privatization: the use of a private company to nurture public policy--and then reap its benefits in the form of profit. . . . it's undeniable that its stable of statesmen-entrepreneurs have the ability to tap into networks in government and commerce, both at home and abroad, for advance intelligence about companies about to be sold and spun off, or government budgets and policies about to be implemented, and then transform that knowledge into investment strategies that dovetail nicely with US military foreign and domestic policy. . . . "What we're really talking about is a systematic merging of the private and public sectors to the point where the distinctions get lost," . . . On March 12 Carlucci, who is chairman of the US-Taiwan Business Council, a coalition of US multinationals doing business in Taiwan, invited Tang Yao-Ming, Taiwan's Defense Minister, to attend a closed-door summit of US and Taiwanese defense officials sponsored by the council and key US military contractors, including Carlyle's United Defense Industries. Tang's visit, which was capped by a meeting with US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, marked the highest-level defense contacts between Taipei and Washington since diplomatic relations were severed in 1979--and paralleled President Bush's push to expand arms sales to Taiwan, where Carlyle has significant investments. . . . [Carlyle] is the majority owner of United Defense, maker of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and other weapons systems, and owns Vought Aircraft, the world's largest supplier of commercial and military airline parts. . . . [Editor's Note: For Carlyle, war is necessary for profits. Think about that for a while, keeping in mind who the men are who run that group.]

More about the Carlyle Group

Let the Nobel Prize Committee know you do not support the nomination of Bush and Blair for the Peace Award . . . unfortunately, this is not a joke.
This email form-letter you can send reads in part, "I am writing to protest the nomination of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush for the Nobel Peace Prize, and to urge the committee not to award this prestigious recognition to them. . . . Perpetual war is not peace. Whether or not Bush and Blair's actions are justified, their extensive and expanding pursuit of warfare is not the same thing as working for peace by any definition of the word, and does not amount to 'fraternity between nations, ... the abolition or reduction of standing armies and ... holding and promotion of peace congresses.' "

American Muslim Council Concerned about Image of America
Raids of Muslim Families and Institutions Create Furor
(paknews.com, March 21, 2002)
The American Muslim Council, a leading Muslim organization, today expressed its dismay and concern, at a crowded press conference here, over raids of American Muslim families and institutions. These families and institutions were raided with brandishing guns, and loud shouts asking to raise hands. In some raids, the ladies were photographed while handcuffed and without a headscarf that the ladies wear. . . . victims of the raids, including the representatives of the organizations, spoke of humiliation that they suffered, and the fearsome atmosphere, which the law enforcement agencies tried to create. They termed it inhumane, and un-American. The law enforcement agencies, which included the Customs; the Secret Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the FBI, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, confiscated personal items from the homes of American citizens-American Muslim citizens-without a proper cause. . . . They took with them the baby pictures, passports, driver licenses, computers, and in one case, the wedding card of a Muslim girl who got married last week. . . . speakers also accused the Justice Department of using tactics reminiscent of the McCarthy era, in which many innocent families and individuals were destroyed under the scare of communism.


Posted March 27, 2002

World energy demand to grow 60 percent
(Hil Anderson, UPI, March 26, 2002)
World oil consumption is projected to increase by 2.2 percent annually to 119 million barrels per day over the course of the 1999-2020 period used in the EIA forecast; consumption in 1999 was around 75 million barrels per day. . . . "The increase in oil use in the industrialized world is expected to occur predominantly in the transportation sector, where there are presently few economically competitive alternatives to oil," the analysis said.
[Editor's Note: See story about U.S. automakers blocking improvements in energy efficiency.]

Posted March 22, 2002

The Globalizer Who Came in from the Cold
(Greg Palast, AlterNet.org, March 19, 2002)
There's an Assistance Strategy for every poorer nation, designed, says the World Bank, after careful in-country investigation. But according to insider Stiglitz, the Bank's staff "investigation" consists of close inspection of a nation's five-star hotels. It concludes with the Bank staff meeting some begging, busted finance minister who is handed a "restructuring agreement" pre-drafted for his "voluntary" signature . . . the Bank hands every minister the exact same four-step program. . . . Step 1 is Privatization . . . "You could see their eyes widen" at the prospect of 10 per cent commissions paid to Swiss bank accounts for simply shaving a few billion off the sale price of national assets. . . . And the US government knew it, charges Stiglitz, at least in the case of the biggest "briberization" of all, the 1995 Russian sell-off. . . . After briberization, Step 2 of the IMF/World Bank one-size-fits-all rescueyour- economy plan is "Capital Market Liberalization". . . . A nation's reserves can drain in days, hours. And when that happens, to seduce speculators into returning a nation's own capital funds, the IMF demands these nations raise interest rates to 30 per cent, 50 per cent and 80 per cent. . . . A pattern emerges. There are lots of losers in this system, but one clear winner: the Western banks and US Treasury, making the big bucks from this crazy new international capital churn. . . . In the Opium Wars, the West used military blockades to force open markets for their unbalanced trade. Today, the World Bank can order a financial blockade that's just as effective -- and sometimes just as deadly.

Posted March 21, 2002,

Car Bomb Kills Seven Near U.S. Embassy in Lima
At least seven people were killed on Wednesday when a car bomb exploded near the U.S. Embassy in Lima three days before a visit by President Bush . . . The car exploded outside a bank in a shopping center near the U.S. Embassy, which is a heavily secured fortress-style building in an upscale district of the capital. . . . Several nearby buildings were reportedly badly damaged and three cars were on fire. . . . Bush was due to make a 17-hour visit to Lima, during which he is to hold talks with his counterparts from Peru, Colombia and Bolivia and the vice president of Ecuador on regional trade issues and the wars on terror and drugs.

America's bioterror: Bush has pledged to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. He should start at home
(George Monbiot, The Guardian, March 19, 2002)
Why should you, who claim to want to build "a peaceful world beyond the war on terror" have done all you can to undermine efforts to control these deadly weapons? Why should the congressmen in your party have repeatedly sabotaged attempts to ensure that biological and chemical agents are eliminated? . . . In December, your negotiators tore the biological weapons convention to shreds. . . . So for six years, the 144 signatories had been developing a "verification protocol", which would permit the United Nations to examine suspected bioweapons facilities. In July, your government refused to sign the protocol. In December, you deliberately scuttled the negotiations by insisting, at the last minute, that the resolution be rewritten. One European delegate, referring to the commitments your delegation had made before the meeting, observed, "they are liars. In decades of multilateral negotiations, we've never experienced this kind of insulting behaviour." Your actions have rendered the convention useless, leaving the world unprotected from the very weapons you say you want to eliminate. . . . The United States has also withheld both the money required by the chemicals weapons inspectorate, and the funds needed to remove and disable the vast arsenal of warheads loaded with nerve agents in western Siberia, some of which are lying in warehouses secured only by bicycle padlocks on the doors. . . . The genetically engineered fungus you have developed for aerial spraying in Colombia plainly qualifies as a non-lethal biological weapon. And, because your strategic aims in that country extend beyond the simple eradication of drugs to the elimination of the leftwing rebel forces, the chemical sprays you have been using in the regions they control have also clearly been deployed as weapons, much as Agent Orange was in Vietnam.


Posted March 19, 2002

The people of England, Germany, and France are turning the tide
Voters say no to Iraq attack: 51% oppose British backing for US action

(Alan Travis, The Guardian, March 19, 2002)
A majority of voters are opposed to British backing for American military action against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, according to this month's Guardian/ICM opinion poll. . . . But the poll will also encourage even more senior figures in the cabinet, such as the home secretary, David Blunkett, who has privately warned fellow ministers that there will be a serious rise in racial tension in Britain and a danger of riots if Britain joined the attack on Saddam. . . . Only 35% say they would support such action. . . . The ICM poll shows that the Germans and French are more in tune with British public opinion on this issue than Mr Blair or Mr Duncan Smith. The German defence minister, Rudolph Scharping, yesterday made clear there was no majority in the German parliament for intervention in Iraq. The French have also made clear their reluctance. . . . Opposition to a new war in Iraq marks a sharp change of mood in British public opinion in recent months. Last October some 74% said they supported US and British military action against Afghanistan. It is also signifies a change in long-term attitude towards Iraq among the British public.

The Carlyle Group's Deep Tentacles
Chaired by former Regean administration defense secretary Frank Carlucci, The Carlyle Group is a $13 billion private equity firm based just a few blocks away from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. . . . Founded in 1987 by two executives hailing from MCI, Marriott and a corporate merger attorney, it's attracted the most high-ranking officials in Washington on their way out of jobs in the Oval Office or elsewhere in the upper echelon of government. . . . Principals include former British Prime Minister John Major, former secretary of state, James A. Baker III, not to mention former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Arthur Levitt. Former President George Bush holds the official title of senior advisor to the Carlyle Asia Advisory Board and gives speeches at events. . . . After Sept. 11, President George W. Bush proposed huge increases in military spending now pending before Congress. . . . The languishing defense sector has heated up and with it military-flavored IPOs have surfaced from several players . . . The $400 million United Defense Industries IPO was the first to debut in the latest salvo of weapons debutantes. . . . Carlucci is showing a tidy paper profit of $892,000 on his stake in United Defense Industries . . . On Wednesday, Carlyle filed a $160 million IPO for U.S. Marine Repair, a Norfolk, Va. specialist in maintaining and refurbishing Navy ships. . . . With access to folks like Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, Carlyle seems to have the defense game rigged as one of the biggest military contractors in the country. . . . Sure it's just good business to buy low and sell high, but the Carlyle Group seems to be a bit too well connected. . . . The debate over apparent conflicts of interest will likely continue, but in the meantime, such companies are providing a nice payday for outgoing government officials on many fronts, including the IPO market.

Posted March 17 ,2002

Has the US lost its way?
(Paul Kennedy, The Observer, March 3, 2002)
Does everybody hate America? Maybe the world is just concerned at the lack of visionary leadership from such a powerful nation . . . 'By what right,' an angry environmentalist demanded at a recent conference I attended, 'do Americans place such a heavy footprint upon God's Earth?' . . . We comprise slightly less than 5 per cent of the world's population; but we imbibe 27 per cent of the world's annual oil production, create and consume nearly 30 per cent of its Gross World Product and - get this - spend a full 40 per cent of all the world's defence expenditures. . . . But other Americans I listen to really do worry about the murmurs from afar. They worry that we are isolating ourselves from most of the serious challenges to global society, and that, increasingly, our foreign policy consists merely of sallying forth with massive military heft to destroy demons like the Taliban, only to retreat again into our air bases and boot camps. . . . we cannot escape back to some Norman Rockwell-like age of innocence and isolationism, and fear we are alienating too much of a world to which we are now tightly and inexorably bound. . . . our deepest national interest lies in taking the fate of our planet seriously and in investing heavily in its future.

Death penalty feeds anti-US wave
(Chris White, United Press International, 3/16/2002)
The European Union is flexing its moral muscles in a growing wave of anti-Americanism. . . . an ideological conflict is developing firm roots. . . . there is a determination to best America in a transatlantic tariff war. The powerful European Commission is apparently, planning to nail key states in the United States that are being targeted by the Republican Party in this year's mid-term elections. . . . The move would be in retaliation for President George Bush's 30 percent import tariff on steel . . . These measures are in part driven by a growing distaste for America's global policies which have moved on from the period of supportive sympathy that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. . . . Two events last week have raised the profile of the death penalty as a cause celebre against America. The first was Russian President Vladimir Putin's public toeing the Council line by affirming he would not reinstate the death penalty. . . . He reflected a widespread European view that "there is something profoundly wrong in strapping down a human being to take his or her life. It does not make it any more right to do it in accordance with an official procedure, or to do it in the name of justice. . . . "The death penalty is cruel, futile and unjust. It does little to prevent new crimes from taking place. It takes away the perpetrators' lives, but provides them with a celebrity status in return. The former does little to console the families of the victims, the latter adds considerably to their pain." . . . Adding that the forty-three countries of the Council of Europe have stopped putting people to death, Schieder declared: "It is time for the United States to follow suit."

This just in: Bin Laden wins Afghan war
(Harry Browne, WorldNetDaily, March 14, 2002)
Osama bin Laden has won the war in Afghanistan - the first big battle of the War on Terrorism. . . . Americans are claiming victory because American bombers have devastated Afghanistan, thousands of Afghans have been killed, and the already-impoverished country is now almost completely in ruins. . . . But most likely this is exactly what bin Laden wanted. . . . Do you think Osama bin Laden cares how many innocent Afghans are killed? . . . Why would he? Every dead Afghan is another argument for his crusade. . . . And every bomb that fell on Afghanistan converted more people into America-haters. The U.S. military has been confirming bin Laden's argument that Americans are bullies. . . . The root fallacy in the War on Terrorism is the idea that we have no choice but to fight people who won't rest until they destroy us. . . . The truth is that the evil, malicious, brutal thugs rarely have the ability to make any real trouble outside their own neighborhoods. . . . And they can get that support only if large numbers of people have been mistreated. . . . Today, Osama bin Laden couldn't get the worldwide support necessary to carry out his evil plans if there weren't hundreds of millions of people who resent American troops stationed in their countries; who are appalled by the American blockade that's starving Iraqis; who don't like American presidents imposing their decisions on their countries. . . . And so bin Laden has maneuvered George Bush into destroying a poor, Islamic country . . . Round 1 goes to bin Laden by something close to a knockout. . . . The answer lies not in foreign aid for the world's impoverished. Quite the contrary. The answer lies in minding our own business. The answer lies in ending 50 years of foreign-policy failures. Or are we going to let bin Laden win the rest of the war as well?


Posted March 8, 2002

“Our world is not for sale.”
The next clash of civilisations?
(Paul Kingsnorth, openDemocracy.net, 16 January 2002)
In all, I have seen and heard intelligent people driven by some hatred of the West and of America, symbol of its power, lauding, defending or justifying the actions of a mass murdering Saudi millionaire who they had probably never heard of last August, and still know next to nothing about. . . . Perhaps you think that what these people, these misled supporters of a fundamentalist killer, need now is more market access, more exports, more jobs in maquiladores, more credit, more televisions. . . . Some of us, in what is unsatisfyingly termed the 'anti-globalisation' movement, have been talking about a clash of civilisations for years. . . . we have talked about a clash of world views - of cultures - that has been sparked by the new wave of corporate capitalism unleashed over the last two decades. This clash is between two distinct forces. . . . One is a fundamentally materialistic world view, driven by multinational companies, politicians and their handmaidens in multinational agencies like the World Bank, WTO and IMF. . . . The other is a vast, massing, often confused but potentially hugely powerful collection of opponents, numbering tens of millions around the world, who see life in quite different terms. . . . This may represent a real clash of civilisations; a clash between the destructive, homogenising force of the West's capitalist economic model, and the diverse, varied, hectic alternatives that every day are destroyed by it. And this clash must be a major reason that many people across the world - people with no connection to Islam or support for the ultimate objectives of Bin Laden - jumped for joy at the horrific humbling of the USA. It doesn't make them right. But it does mean that the West and its increasingly smug politicians had better start realising what they are up against, before their whole edifice comes tumbling down. . . . Opponents of the neoliberal machine believe in diversity - cultural, individual, ecological, economic - over homogeneity. They believe that one global model can never fit all, and talk, in the words of Mexico's Zapatista rebels, of "a world in which many worlds can fit"; the precise opposite of the McWorld that globalisation is imposing. . . . the tens of millions of dissenters are not going away anytime soon; indeed, their numbers are growing all the time. And whatever the powerful try or say, they will not be shut up or shut out. They have far, far too much at stake.


UN Population Fund's Annual World Report Links Environmental Changes, Poverty Alleviation and Reproductive Health


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