George Bush had a tough time of it last weekend in Argentina.
Mass demonstrations of opposition to the President's trade and economic policies greeted his every move. And even inside the cloistered gathering rooms of luxury hotel where the the Summit of the Americas was convened, Bush was the odd man out. Leaders of Latin American countries, many of them elected because of their explicit opposition to the American President's approach, made it clear that Bush will have a hard time establishing a hemispheric Free Trade Area of the Americans that his campaign contributors so desperately seek.
It wasn't supposed to be this way.
If one needed more reason to criticize the Washington Post's decision to withhold information, at the government's request, about the CIA's network of prisons in Eastern Europe for suspected Al Qaeda terrorists, read Jane Mayer's horrifying article in this week's New Yorker. In "A Deadly Interrogation," Mayer reports on the death by torture of an Iraqi terrorist suspect in the custody of the CIA. Jamadi died while being interrogated at Abu Ghraib by a CIA officer and a translator. His head had been covered by a plastic bag and he was shackled in a crucifixion-like pose that inhibited his ability to breathe. According to forensic pathologists interviewed by Mayer, Jamadi died of asphyxiation. But in a subsequent internal investigation, US government authorities classified his death as a homicide. Nevertheless, the CIA investigator has not been charged with a crime, and continues to work for the agency. Mayer reports he has been under investigation by the Justice Department for more than a year. (The CIA has reportedly been implicated in at least four deaths of detainees, and has referred eight potentially criminal cases to the Justice Department, Mayer reports. Yet, as she notes, the government has so far brought charges against only one-level contract employee.) It is a fantasy to believe that the architects of these cruel, inhuman interrogation techniques will be held accountable by an Administration whose key figures, especially "The Vice President for Torture," are so deeply implicated in the policies that led to the metastasizing use of torture.
What should not be overlooked is the historic significance of the Washington Post's decision. "This is probably the most important newspaper capitulation since the New York Times yielded to John F. Kennedy's call for them to not run the full story of planning for the Bay of Pigs," Peter Kornbluh, National Security Archive senior analyst, told Columbia Journalism Daily. "By withholding the country names, the Post is directly enabling the rendition, secret detention, and torture of prisoners at these locations to continue. That is a ghastly responsibility."
(In the interest of full disclosure, a reminder about The Nation's role in the reporting on CIA plans for the Bay of Pigs. When the New York Times acceded to Kennedy Administration requests to suppress its story, The Nation went ahead and alerted the country, in an article published on November 19, 1960, to an impending invasion. For this, the magazine was vilified. The New Republic, by the way, also suppressed its story about CIA plans for the invasion--at Kennedy's request.)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Argentine soccer hero Diego
Maradona led thousands in a massive rebuke of George W. Bush, his trade
policies and his neoconservative agenda at the Summit of the Americas in
Mar del Plata Argentina. Despite some sporadic violence, the protest
focused on developing indigenous alternatives to US-led trade
Vice President Dick Cheney has had very little to say about the indictment of his former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, and even less to say about aspects of the investigation that have touched on his own actions before and after the invasion of Iraq. Now, three key Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives want to give the vice president an opportunity to clear the air.
Recalling that Cheney's former boss, then-President Gerald Ford, testified before the House after his controversial pardon of former President Richard Nixon in 1974, Representatives John Conyers Jr., the Michigan Democrat who is the ranking minority member of the House Judiciary Committee; Henry Waxman, the California Democrat who is the ranking minority member of the Government Reform Committee; and Maurice Hinchey, the New York Democrat who has been one of the most outspoken critics of the administration's misuse of intelligence during the period before the Iraq War began, have asked the vice president to "make yourself available to appear before Congress to explain the details and reasons for your office's involvement -- and your personal involvement - in the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's identity as a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative."
The letter, sent to Cheney on Thursday, two days after Democratic Leader Harry Reid forced the Senate into closed session to discuss investigations of efforts by the administration to inflate intelligence assessments of the threat posed by Iraq, offers the latest signal that Congressional Democrats are determined to hold key players in the administration, particularly Cheney, to account.
It's been a tough year for Wal-Mart, and things are about to get tougher.
Last Tuesday, at the world premiere of Robert Greenwald's Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, SEIU chief Andy Stern declared: "This isn't just the premiere of a movie, it's the premiere of a movement." During the week of November 13 to 19, over 3000 screenings of the film are planned in all 50 states and 19 countries. Throughout "Wal-Mart Week," the two largest groups opposing the retail behemoth's practices, Wal-Mart Watch and Wake Up Wal-Mart, are planning an unprecedented series of actions.
Spiraling into PR crisis mode, the world's largest corporation has just assembled a "rapid-response public relations team in Arkansas," which includes former presidential advisors Michael K. Deaver of the Reagan Administration and Leslie Dach of the Clinton White House. Wal-Mart's new "war room" certainly has its work cut out for itself.
The right has ushered in a moment of cult celebrity for the pre-born.
But let's not be seduced by this idea of personhood. Remember the poor
and not-so-perfect post-born children of America? Aren't they persons,
The fictional world created by the Bush Administration over its five
years in power is falling to pieces, with the blood-soaked folly in Iraq, a
ruined environment, massive corruption and a basic failure to govern.
Yet the faith-based President continues to fashion lies, and believe
The Baathist regime is the most opaque on earth, and Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad must develop a strategy to save himself and his regime,
as the UN investigation of the assasination of Lebanese Prime Minister
Rafiq Hariri unfolds.
If the US is to prevail in the war on terror, we must do it by
distinguishing ourselves from the enemy. Torture and degrading
treatment are as morally evil as terrorism, because they brutally
disregard the value of human life.
The scandals suffocating the Bush Administration seem less like Nixon
and Watergate and more like Louis XV and pre-Revolutionary France. They
are harbingers of a potent cultural event that may jolt the public out
San Francisco recently launched universal preschool, designed to make young participants higher earners and better citizens when they reach adulthood. If successful, San Francisco’s initiative could make preschool as commonplace as kindergarten.
Recycling electronics using US prison labor is a booming business, with
a captive workforce paid pennies per hour for dangerous work that is
largely unregulated. The human and environmental consequences of
negligent handling and disposal of electronic waste are considerable.