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December 14, 2001 | Issue 387

FRONT AND BACK PAGES

U.S. kills thousands of Afghan civilians
Washington's war crimes
U.S. officials insist the war in Afghanistan is a "war on terrorism" not a war against the Afghan people. But since the Pentagon has dropped 10,000 bombs on one of the world's poorest countries, that story has become harder to sell.

Defend our jobs! Defend our unions!
More than 225 teachers of the Middletown school district in New Jersey defied court injunctions against a strike and went to jail in their struggle for a fair contract. Meanwhile, 5,100 members of International Association of Machinists District 91 were on strike against aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney.

Bush's fast-track attack
Earlier this month, George W. Bush rammed "fast track" free-trade legislation, now called "trade promotion authority," through the House of Representatives by one vote. Outrageously, he used the "war on terror" as an excuse.

SW SPECIAL FEATURES

The real face of Washington's war
Nightmare in the "new" Afghanistan
To listen to the Pentagon, the village of Kama Ado is alive and well. Sure, U.S. warplanes dropped bombs nearby, but Pentagon spokespeople dismissed reports of civilian casualties from off-target bombs. However, up to half of the area's residents may have been killed.

Arafat faces mounting pressure from Israel and the U.S.
Israel lashes out
Casualties continue to mount as Israel steps up its war on Palestinians following three suicide bombings at the beginning of December. In less than a week, more than 100 Palestinians--most of them children--were injured, and two killed.

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WHAT WE THINK

Democrats cave in to the attack on civil liberties
Ashcroft's witch-hunt
"My name is Ali Al-Maqtari, and I want to tell you the story of how I was jailed by the INS for almost eight weeks…Even though I did nothing wrong, and cooperated with the INS, FBI and Army in every way possible, I spent many weeks in harsh jail conditions, cut off from my wife…"

Recession and the shape of things to come
The official pronouncement that the U.S. is in recession came as Enron staggered into the biggest corporate bankruptcy ever. The business media pundits quickly declared that the two events were unrelated.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Feds renew persecution of Mazen Al-Najjar
Facing deportation on secret evidence
After three and a half years of detention, Mazen Al-Najjar was freed last year when the "secret evidence" used to convict him didn't hold up. But now the 44-year-old Palestinian man is back in prison--and threatened with deportation--based on the same evidence.

FBI agents raid Muslim charity
Stripping the rooms clean in raids that went on for hours, federal agents shut down offices of the Muslim charity Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development on December 4.

U.S. approved attack on East Timor
Recently released documents prove that President Gerald Ford and his administration gave the green light for Indonesia's 1975 invasion and annexation of East Timor--one of the most terrible war crimes in history. Indonesia's occupation cost the lives of as many as 200,000 East Timorese.

What $1 bought Afghans
George W. Bush's appeal to U.S. schoolchildren to contribute $1 to a fund for Afghan children was always an obvious public relations stunt. Just how obvious became clear in December.

Illinois men exonerated after 15 years behind bars
Four Illinois men were exonerated this month when DNA testing cleared them--after spending 12 to 15 years each behind bars.

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COLUMNS AND FEATURES

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?
Trying to bring back COINTELPRO
There is no question that George W. Bush's "either you're with us, or with the terrorists" atmosphere has a certain Cold War ring to it.

Can the UN fix Afghanistan?
The White House made it clear all along that it expected the UN to "take over the so-called nation-building" after the war, as George W. Bush put it in October. But this doesn't mean the U.S. is giving up its say-so over Afghanistan's future.

Dividing the globe in the name of democracy and freedom
Washington's new imperialism
Many U.S. politicians and media pundits have decided that Afghans--and other people in the Middle East and Central Asia--are unfit to rule themselves, with some openly calling for a revival of old-style colonialism.

THE MEANING OF MARXISM
Why economists can't explain crisis
"I say to my mom, 'Don't worry, there will not be another Depression,' and she says, 'Why not?' And I say I don't really know why not." This comes from an economic historian quoted in the New York Times. Economists seem unable to predict the onset of slumps, their duration, how they came about or how they will end.

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SW READERS SPEAK OUT

Right-wingers draft an academic blacklist
Protect free speech
I suppose you're doing something right when the vice president's wife accuses you of corrupting civilization.

Workers deserve more from UAW
It's disconcerting though not unexpected that UAW president-select Ron Gettelfinger can mouth vacuous comments. What is more disturbing is that an interviewer from the Oakland Press accepted his blather without question.

Seasons greetings from the credit card crooks
I got a holiday surprise from Capital One.

Other Letters
Bush's snare of patriotic prejudice; We can disarm the supporters of war; Defend the right to die with dignity

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ON THE PICKET LINE

Steelworkers battle shutdown at LTV
A Federal bankruptcy judge delayed the planned closure of steelmaker LTV after unions and creditors pressed for more time to find a buyer. LTV management has literally tried to destroy the company while stuffing their own pockets.

ISSUES IN THE LABOR MOVEMENT
The steel crisis and labor's challenge
I still remember the faces of the workers filing out of U.S. Steel's South Works in Chicago the day 18 years ago that the company announced the shutdown of that mill and several others--two days after Christmas. "15,000 on the slag heap," was Socialist Worker's then-shocking front-page headline.

Labor in brief
St. Catherine's Medical Center; New York Catholic school teachers; Obituary: Noel Colón

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REPORTS FROM THE STRUGGLE

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
Police viciously attacked a 500-strong march in Philadelphia for death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal December 8.

Columbia University antiwar protests
Students at Columbia University won't be silenced by pro-war bigots. In late November, 40 people turned out to hear a U.S. veteran of the war in Bosnia speak against the war in Afghanistan.

Stop budget cuts at CUNY
About 300 people demonstrated at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) December 5 to protest budget cuts.

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REVIEWS

How the U.S. tramples dissent
Since reading Robert Goldstein's Political Repression in Modern America: From 1870 to 1976, I considered for a moment that perhaps Bush had a keener sense of history than I'd given him credit for--but only for a moment.

Disney's not-so-Magic Kingdom
Corporate giant Disney Corp. celebrated the 100th anniversary of founder Walt Disney's birth with parades through the Magic Kingdom's streets. Disney is supposed to be an icon of a world where all your dreams can come true. But these rules didn't apply if you worked for him.

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