Bill Weinberg

UN investigator on U.S. abuses in Afghanistan: out

M. Cherif Bassiouni, a professor of law at DePaul University in Chicago who was the UN Human Rights Commission’s independent expert for Afghanistan, released a 21-page report last week, accusing U.S. military forces and civilian contractors of "engaging in arbitrary arrests and detnetions and committing abusive practices, including torture." He had been expecting a routine two-year renewal of his mission; instead he was told April 29 his job is over. He suspects U.S. lobbying as the cause. (NYT, April 30, via Guerilla News Network)

UK petition on "peak oil"

The "peak oil" theory, which remains the domain of the wacko fringe in the U.S., appears to be taken rather more seriously in the U.K., where several members of parliament have signed on to a petition circulated by an alternative-energy advocacy group calling on the govenrment to release research findings on the phenomenon and take steps to prepare for an impending crisis. Here is the press release announcing the petition drive:

More terror in Cairo

It is looking more and more like Egypt is heading towards a reprise of the "dirty war" between Islamist insurgents and security forces that shook the country in the '90s. From Haaretz:

Last update - 22:34 30/04/2005
Two Israelis hurt as wave of terror strikes Cairo
By Yoav Stern and Arnon Regular, Haaretz Correspondents, and News Agencies

CAIRO - A bomber and two veiled women attacked tourists in separate incidents in Cairo on Saturday, targeting people near a popular museum and a bus in the south of the city and wounding seven, including two Israelis, official sources said. An Egyptian man, probably the bomber, and the two women were killed, they said.

"Jewish lobby" denies Armenian genocide

Here's a textbook case in how the reigning anti-Semitic propaganda system works, with the paradoxical complicity of certain powerful (and deluded) Jews. This propaganda system is all the more effective for being nearly universally unrecognized.

Mexico: Fox blinks in showdown over presidential race

It is a looming nightmare for Washington, but Mexico may be the next to join the fast-growing loose alliance of left-populist governments in Latin America, if Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the left-opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) becomes president next year, joining Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Lula da Silva of Brazil, Nestor Kirchner of Argentina and Tabare Vazquez of Uruguay. Not surprisingly, the power structure around President Vicente Fox's ruling right-wing National Action Party (PAN) has moved to block Lopez Obrador's candidacy through legalistic prestidigitation. But the PAN regime now appears to be backing down in the face of sustained and determined protest. From Reuters:

WHY WE FIGHT

Taxi driver, pregnant passenger, pedestrian in critical condition

April 26, 2005, 12:31 PM EDT

NEW YORK -- A taxi driver whose out-of-control cab set off a chain reaction of crashes at Times Square remained in critical condition on Tuesday, as did his pregnant passenger and a pedestrian.

The driver, Syed M. Zia, 54, of Corona, Queens, was driving along 42nd Street near the Port Authority Bus Terminal at around 10:30 a.m. Monday when he collided at the intersection of Eighth Avenue with a station wagon, which then hit a pedestrian, authorities said.

The cab then went around the station wagon, striking the pedestrian a second time, then sped off, and hit a minibus, then a Chevrolet Impala, and finally hit a row of taxicabs, the last of which stopped near Ninth Avenue, police said.

Prince Abdullah schmoozes at Bush ranch

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah met with George Bush in his ranch in Crawford, TX, April 25, where unprecedentedly escalating oil prices obviously dominated the agenda. The reactionary NY Post ran a front-cover story "THE HIGH PRICE OF OIL," with prominent photos of Bush walking hand-in-hand with the prince and exchanging an "air-kiss" (as the caption put it) with him. This was, of course, portrayed as unmanly and a national humiliation, prompting predictably outraged letters from lug-headed Post readers ("No, the prince should not have gotten a kiss on the cheek. He should have gotten a kick in the rear.")

Mindanao: "Next Afghanistan"?

Joseph Mussomeli, charge d'affairs at the U.S. embassy in Manila, was quoted April 11 as saying that the southern island of Mindanao, where U.S. and Philippine forces are battling Muslim rebels, could be the next Afghanistan. According to a report from the Pakistan Tribune:

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