May 4, 2004 | New York Times by ELIZABETH BECKER and TODD BENSON It began with Brazil’s soybean farmers. Pedro de Camargo Neto, then a top official of the Brazilian Rural Society, Brazil’s most influential agriculture lobby, kept hearing complaints in the late 1990’s from farmers that, just as they were starting to turn a profit with their soybean exports, they were getting clobbered by lower-priced American soybeans that were heavily subsidized with taxpayers’ money. “Something was wrong here,” he said in a telephone interview. “I didn’t understand how this could be happening.” After looking closely at the subsidies for […]
May 5, 2004 | New York Times by JULIA MOSKIN BANANAS, always the fashion victims of the produce section, are wearing another new label this spring. Bananas with “Fair Trade Certified” stickers have been available in the United States since October. They represent the new front of an international effort to help first-world consumers improve the living standards of the third-world farmers who grow much of their food. Fair Trade coffee, tea and chocolate are well established in European markets, and have been available here at premium prices since 1999. They have gained a solid footing in stores like Wild […]
May 12, 2004 | New York Times by SHARON WAXMAN LOS ANGELES, May 11 — Any studio that makes a $125 million movie about global warming is courting controversy. But 20th Century Fox does not seem to have fully anticipated the political firestorm being whipped up by its film “The Day After Tomorrow.” Environmental advocates are using the film’s release, scheduled for May 28, as an opening to slam the Bush administration, whose global warming policies they oppose. Industry groups in Washington are lobbying on Capitol Hill to make sure the film does not help passage of a bill limiting […]
[ “… the Treasury Department, which enforces economic sanctions, is already spending an inordinate amount of time on Cuba… Of the 120 employees at the Office of Foreign Assets Control … 21 are dedicated to enforcing the Cuba embargo and only 4 to tracking the finances of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.” –BL ] Bush Proposes a Plan to Aid Opponents of Castro in Cuba May 7, 2004 | New York Times by CHRISTOPHER MARQUIS
[ From one of the articles: “to date, the Bush administration has protected [Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Intelligence] Boykin and the dubious methods of which he must have been aware – or even authored – to obtain information.” See this earlier attack on Boykin by enlightened evangelical, Jim Wallis. –BL ] ‘Holy war’ general linked to Iraq prison scandal 12 May 2004 | ABC News Online [Australia] The US Army general under investigation for anti-Islamic remarks has been linked by US officials to the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal, which experts warned could touch off new outrage overseas. A Senate hearing […]
[ What worries me is that while the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan insists that Red Cross access to the prisons in Afghanistan provides sufficient safeguard of human rights, the ICRC has a policy of reporting its findings to the U.S. government — not to the public/the media, allowing the government to sit on the reports. –BL ] May 11, 2004 | Reuters by Sayed Salahuddin KABUL (Reuters) – The U.S. military, under fire for its treatment of prisoners in Iraq, Tuesday turned down a request by Afghanistan’s human rights body for access to Afghans in its custody.
May 12, 2004 | The Guardian by Luke Harding in Baghdad For Huda Shaker, the humiliation began at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Baghdad. The American soldiers demanded to search her handbag. When she refused one of the soldiers pointed his gun towards her chest. “He pointed the laser sight directly in the middle of my chest,” said Professor Shaker, a political scientist at Baghdad University. “Then he pointed to his penis. He told me, ‘Come here, bitch, I’m going to fuck you.’” The incident is one of a number in which US soldiers are alleged to have abused, […]