Bill Weinberg

Kyrgyzstan: pawn in the new Great Game?

As Kyrgyzstan's Tulip Revolution is being consolidated, with a modicum of order returning to Bishkek, the capital, ousted president Askar Akayev has emerged in Moscow, and formally resigned--after having pledged from hiding that he wouldn't. He said that he hopes to return to Kyrgyzstan to participate in new presidential elections now slated for June--but just as a voter, not a candidate. (Pakistan Daily Times, April 4)

Pope leaves mixed legacy—will successor be Black?

Pope John Paul II, who died April 2, leaves a mixed legacy. In his native Poland, and elsewhere in the Communist world, he was a catalyst of revolutionary change in the '80s, but this same anti-Communism caused him to ally with Reagan and the U.S. in the Cold War, and move against the Liberation Theology current in Latin America. Few eulogies recall the bitter dispute between the Vatican and Nicaraguan priests serving in the revolutionary Sandinista regime. Recounted the Haitian writer Jean-Pierre Cloutier in a 1987 essay, Theologies: Liberation vs. Submission:

Fred Korematsu dead at 86

From the LA Times, April 1:

Fred Korematsu, the Japanese-American whose court case over his refusal
to be interned during World War II went to the U.S. Supreme Court and
became synonymous with this nation's agonized debate over civil
liberties during time of war, has died. He was 86.

PNAC piggie gets just desserts

Reads the latest communique from the Biotic Baking Brigade, dated March 30:

William Kristol, founder of the Project for the New American Century (a leading neo-con think tank) and a key figure in American foreign policy for over 20 years, was hit by what appeared to be a cream pie tonight in Richmond, Indiana. Throughout his speech, given at Earlham College, he defended the "Bush doctrine" of pre-emptive war and state terror and was in the process of comparing current policy challenges to those of the early Cold War when a young man calmly lifted himself onto the stage and quickly walked to the podium, splattering a delicious dish all over the speaker as well as the college's president (collateral damage, perhaps?).

WMD report: worse than a whitewash

Well, all the lefties and Bush-haters are gloating again—this time at the new report from a presidential commission finding that the intelligence the White House received aboout weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was "dead wrong." (AP, March 31) Will Pitt of TruthOut does an impressive job of documenting how the report is actually a whitewash that allows the Administration to scapegoat the intelligence community for its own lies (or, more charitably, distortions and misreadings of data).

Turkey's Laz minority face cultural exclusion

Reads an AFP report that seems to have been picked up exclusively by the Kurdish Media website:

A musician from Turkey's Laz minority group said the country's public television refused to allow him to perform his songs, claiming that new laws adopting democratic European standards exclude the Laz language.

The Laz musician, Birol Topaloglu, said he had been invited to participate in a musical special on March 18 in Ankara on the national television station TRT-INT. He has been involved since 1997 in trying to preserve the culture of the Laz community of about 250,000 people in northeast Turkey.

Kyrgyzstan: revolution "made in USA"?

What is now being dubbed Kyrgyzstan's "Tulip Revolution" is starting to look considerably less than velvet. The country remains divided, with ousted president Askar Akayev in hiding but refusing to step down, and some protests and even road blockades reported in his support. (AP, March 28) Looting and sporadic gunfire continue, with armed bands roaming the streets of Bishkek, the capital.

Oil spill on Alaska's North Slope

Well, it seems workers are battling to contain a large spill of crude-contaminated water—111,300 gallons—at ConocoPhillips' Kuparuk oil filed on Alaska's North Slope. State officials are concerned about impacts on the fragile tundra environment. How ironic that this comes days after the Senate voted to open the nearby ANWR to oil development. Fortunately, however, the compliant media have contained the crisis—by keeping it out of the headlines.

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