Red Reading - Spectrezine's reviews of the latest the radical press

As European officials express concern about the fact that the Bush administration's designation of Iranian agencies and firms as supporters of terrorism could block relations with Tehran for years to come, President Vladimir Putin's description of these new U.S. sanctions, as America "running around like a madman with a razor blade in his hand," seems appropriate and worrisome.

The problem is that Europe has been enchanted by America's spread of dollar-democracy and through it has become America's closest 'ally'. Europe's formal political figures no longer represent the voice of the people but the interests of the ruling elites, all of whom are currently courteous to the American Empire. Without being aware, people on the streets in Europe are not really discussing their role in the international arena, but are merely reacting to America's global expectations. Read Pablo Ouziel's answer to the question "Could Iran Redefine Euro-American Relations?" on Countercurrents"

Pakistan Sinks Deeper Into The Night

"A state of emergency in Pakistan was declared out of fear that a Supreme Court might make it impossible for Pervaiz Musharraf to contest the elections, scheduled for January. The constitution might be reinstated after the Supreme Court is cleansed and the media are put under control.

"For anyone marinated in the history of Pakistan yesterday's decision by the military to impose a State of Emergency will hardly come as a surprise. Martial Law in this country has become an antibiotic: in order to obtain the same results one has to keep doubling the doses. What has taken place is a coup within a coup.

"General Pervaiz Musharraf ruled the country with a civilian façade, but his power base was limited to the Army. And it was the Army Chief of Staff who declared the emergency, suspended the 1973 Constitution, took all non-government TV channels off the air, jammed the mobile phone networks, surrounded the Supreme Court with paramilitary units, dismissed the Chief Justice, arrested the President of the Bar association and the civil rights activists of the Human Right Commission of Pakistan, thus inaugurating yet another shabby period in the country history.

"Why? They feared that a Supreme Court judgement due next week might make it impossible for Musharraf to contest the elections. The decision to suspend the Constitution was taken a few weeks ago. Benazir Bhutto, was informed and left the country. She is reportedly on her way back. Till now she has offered no comment on the new martial law, despite the fact that a senior leader of her party, Aitzaz Ahsan has been arrested for denouncing the coup. Intoxicated by the incense of power she might now discover that it remains as elusive as ever. If she supports the latest turn it will be an act of political suicide. If she decides to dump the General(she has accused him of breaking his promises and it will be difficult for her to remain allied to a dictator) she will be betraying the confidence of the US State Department, which pushed her in this direction. At a recent off-the-record gathering at Ditchley Park(a British Foreign Office think-tank), the would-be Secretary of State, James Rubin, became short-tempered when Pakistani participants challenged his view that Bhutto was a decisive player in the 'war on terror' on the Western borders of the country.

Read the rest of Tariq Ali's article on Counterpunch


Progressive UN watchdog Global Policy Forum has opened a new portal on unfolding events in Burma.
As readers will recall and GPF explains, in August "a massive protest began in several major Burmese cities under the leadership of Buddist monks. The regime repressed the protesters violently, jailing large numbers. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the military to stop the violence, release the detainees and start a dialogue with the opposition to promote democracy. The Security Council finally took up the issue, as did ASEAN, the regional organization of South East Asia." The Burma page already contains links to a wealth of material and more will be added as the situation develops.

The Eugene V. Debs Reader: Socialism And The Class Struggle

The Debs Reader presents the great US socialist leader Eugene Victor Debs in his own words, as trade unionist, socialist, presidential candidate – who twice polled a million votes, in 1912 and 1920, the second time from a prison cell, where he had been jailed for opposing the mass slaughter of European and American workers by warring capitalist factions. His career spanned two centuries, and his radical presence was uniquely American. This was a time when Oklahoma and Texas had socialist parties which could rival all but the Germans in membership-per-head. More than half a century after this voice of the people fell silent, the former railroad worker still has much to offer. Introduction by Howard Zinn, edited by William A. Pelz. Read more