Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2004

Beastly Behavior

By Chris Floyd

It was a largely secret operation, its true intentions masked by pious rhetoric and bogus warnings of imminent danger to the American way of life. Having gained the dazed complicity of a somnolent Congress, U.S. President George W. Bush calmly signed a death warrant for thousands upon thousands of innocent victims: a native population whose land and resources were coveted by a small group of powerful elites seeking to augment their already vast dominance by any means necessary, including mass slaughter.

A flashback to March 2003, when Bush finally brought his long-simmering brew of aggressive war to the boil? Not at all -- it happened just last week. This time, however, the victims were not the Iraqi people, but one of the last remaining symbols of pure freedom left in America itself: the nation's herd of wild horses, galloping unbridled on the people's common lands.

With an obscure provision smuggled without any hearings or public notice into the gargantuan bud…

"There are limits to American power"

HE WAS born in the year the Bolshevik revolution shook the world. At 87, Eric Hobsbawm still displays all the analytical skill and prowess that led him to be counted as one of the most important historians ever. "Hitler came to power when Eric Hobsbawm was on his way home from school in Berlin, and the Soviet Union fell while he was giving a seminar in New York. He translated for Che Guevara in Havana, had Christmas dinner with a Soviet spymaster in Budapest and an evening at home with Mahalia Jackson in Chicago," the cover of his recent autobiography, Interesting Times, says about the man. In addition to The Age of Revolution, The Age of Capital, The Age of Empire and The Age of Extremes, Prof. Hobsbawm, who taught until retirement

Eric Hobsbawm

Soon after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Cuban President, Fidel Castro, said that the world was entering a very dangerous phase. Would you agree with such a view?Prof. Hobsbawm: Yes, and I am afraid what has been ha…

First World Bugs Attack United Nations

Bugging device found at UN offices

Brian Whitaker and agencies
Saturday December 18, 2004
The Guardian

A secret bugging device has been found behind wooden panels at the UN's European headquarters in Geneva, bolstering claims that the international body is a routine target for eavesdroppers.

"In the course of the renovation of the Salon Français, workmen found what is considered to be a sophisticated listening device," Marie Heuze, the chief UN spokeswoman in Geneva, said yesterday.

She was speaking to reporters after Swiss TSR television obtained photographs of the bug, which it said had been discovered in the autumn.

"An investigation failed to determine who planted the device," Ms Heuze said. "I am not authorised to say anything else."

The discovery echoed allegations by Clare Short, the former British cabinet minister, that Britain had bugged the office of the UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, in 2003 during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Ms S…

The politics of brutality. 'Them' & 'Us'?

TJS George

The cruellest personification of brutality in recent history is no doubt Pol Pot. Assuming power in Cambodia in 1975, he pronounced it as Year Zero and issued an 8-point edict which abolished all towns, abolished all markets and abolished money. People in towns and cities were force-marched into the countryside. Along the way, those who talked too much or were slow in walking, or cried or protested were executed as they walked. Old people and children who stumbled were shot too. Babies were killed by flinging them against rocks. Marauding soldiers would lynch people and eat their livers in the raw. Some 1.5 million people were butchered in a matter of months.

Okay, so Pol Pot was brutality in human form. Does that make Cambodians a brutal race? That's the kind of generalisation that can make dubious psycho-historians out of otherwise respectable writers. Philip Short is indeed a highly respected researcher/writer. His book Mao: A Life is a classic. He has now written a …

Judge declares Pinochet “fit” to stand trial

The former general, who has been accused of involvement in killings linked to the ‘Condor’ operation, will be kept under house arrest until his trial

Judge Juan Guzman yesterday indicted former General Augusto Pinochet for his involvement in the ‘Condor’ operation, while he had Chile under military rule between 1973 and 1990. The judge also ruled that Pinochet be kept under house arrest. Last night the former dictator’s defence lawyer was planning to lodge an appeal for legal protection with the Supreme Court.

The judge has indicted Pinochet on charges connected with ordering nine “permanent kidnappings” (disappearances) and one killing as part of the kidnappings and killings carried out during the Condor operation. Condor was set up among a number of South American dictatorships, including Chile, in the 70s and 80s to persecute and wipe out the opposition. Judge Guzman said: “I had no difficulty taking this decision once I had examined all the testimonies and elements in the case as …

New Medicine Is Best Hope Against Tuberculosis in 40 Years

A chemical compound that drug developers had shelved as a failed treatment for inflammation has unexpectedly become the most promising new tuberculosis medicine to emerge in 40 years, scientists said yesterday.

The surprise discovery that the drug is a potent antibiotic -- and one that in animals, at least, has many advantages over current TB drugs -- has generated a flurry of excitement among public health specialists struggling to control the growing global scourge.

Among infectious diseases, tuberculosis is the second leading cause of death worldwide, surpassed only by AIDS. Spread easily by coughing, the disease sickens more than 8 million people every year and kills 2 million to 3 million annually. Adding to the problem, a growing number of cases -- as many as 400,000 a year -- are caused by microbial strains that are resistant to currently used drugs.

The new compound, known simply as R207910, has been given to only 50 or so healthy people for safety testing so far. Studies of …

TIME exclusive on Ukraine's Presidential Drama

The Dirtiest Trick

It's official: opposition leader Yushchenko was poisoned in Ukraine's rigged election. Can he win this time?


The faces of great leaders are weathered by the years, absorbing and reflecting the pain of their people. Viktor Yushchenko, the opposition leader running for President of Ukraine, hasn't had a chance to demonstrate greatness, but almost overnight his handsome face turned into a gray, pitted, suppurating mask — a road map to his anguished and divided country. Now doctors have confirmed the cause of that sudden transformation. "There is no doubt about the fact that Mr. Yushchenko's disease is caused by poisoning and that dioxin is one of the agents," said Dr. Michael Zimpfer, director of Vienna's Rudolfinerhaus clinic, where Yushchenko has been treated off and on since he fell grievously ill Sept. 5. "We have identified the cause. We suspect involvement of a third party."

Yushchenko has no doub…

Frances Newton - A criminal or a victim?

In a land where elections are rigged, election results are fixed, where supreme courts rule that there is "no time" to count votes... Yes, in a country that has George Bush as the president of the Corporate America, which has nothing to do with the 'real people'... how does one expect justice to prevail?

Frances Newton has spent 16 years in jail... 16 years of freedom lost. The 39-year-old was to become the first black woman executed in Texas since the US Civil War ended in 1865.

If the new ballistic results prove that the gunpowder traces found on her skirt was actually not gunpowder... Would the state of Texas be able to give her back her husband, two kids and 16 years of life?

It is a big IF - cause it is in America.

Frances Newton is a poor black woman who would have got 100,000 USD as Insurance Money. Frances Newton is no OJ Simpson, she is not a Michael Jackson, She is not a Colin Powell (International War Criminal - for Powell gave false evidence to United N…

Ukraine should learn from Uruguay

The electoral stalemate in Ukraine has received a lot of media attention. There has been a tremendous amount of media spin and doosras in the last week - even suggestions that Ukraine is going to be divided.

Is this just bad politics? Or a case of politics gone bad?

Ukrainians had a choice between blue balls and orange balls. Not a choice between Russia and the West as claimed by many political commentators. To the average poor person in east or west of Ukraine or anywhere in the world (including USA) - feeding their family, a better life prospect - is what they want.

But, then, as the American elections proved to us for the second time in four years - the brute majority of people refuse to indulge in politics and allowed an anti-social man to become the president of the richest nation in the world. The majority of people who are slaves to a consumerist system - watch TV, eat Kentucky Chicken and prefer a life of political impotence?

Impotence it is - in thought and in deeds.

Just bec…

Why Putin Worked Yanukovych's Corner


An acquaintance of mine, a world karate champion, once told me that when you're competing on enemy territory the judges will never let you win on points. You've got to win by knockout.

Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko won the election on points and now he's going for a knockout. In the election game, a knockout is known as a revolution.

Russia was predestined to referee this bout between Ukrainian political heavyweights. But President Vladimir Putin opted to be the guy in Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's corner who hands him the towel and the spit bucket. The trainer can't be the referee. So the Ukrainians called in Javier Solana and Lech Walesa.

Why did Putin choose to work in the corner of a twice-convicted candidate?

If elected, would Yanukovych give preference to Russian businesses? Not likely. During the campaign, the government privatized the crown jewel of the Ukrainian metals industry, VAT Kryvorizhstal. Alexei Mordashov, head of Sev…