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The Week In Review: April 7-13

Week in Review

There is no rampant looting in Iraq, but they need police; US assures the Turks that Kurds won't get too much power; the police unlease the dogs of war on protesters in Cali; SARS continues spreading, still rather quietly; and -- can you imagine? -- more media consolidation...

This was the week that was, and it wasn’t a very good week for progressives everywhere. The American military is trying to cope with the anger of “liberated” Iraqis and in the style of colonial forces historically is looking for former police operatives to preserve the social order. Of course, they will only replicate what they had before. Meanwhile, the Chickenhawks flew Ahmed Chalabi (of the so-called Iraqi Liberation Front) to Iraq, while ex-General Jay Garner –- the selected colonial administrator -- remains in Kuwait. Chalabi, who has no manifest credentials nor organization, seems best known as a con man, while Garner is manifestly an ex-military man tied into the Defense industry. He was Reagan’s top dog in the Star Wars program.

In the talk about reconstruction, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post cites “news sources” who claim that the U.S. is preparing to pay the salaries of up to one million Iraqis to work at rebuilding.

Russia, France, and Germany met in “summit” to reaffirm their demand that the occupation of Iraq and its revitalization be the role of the United Nations.

Meanwhile, the Turkish government is making threatening noises over the Kurds asserting their power in northern Iraq. As a result of the actions of Iraq, Turkey, and the U.S., the Kurds remain the largest ethnic group without a territorial base. Nuclear powers India and Pakistan played out another act in their hostilities as Pakistan made noises about preventive war to which India responded “appropriately.”

The week began and ended with peace demonstrations across the country, as well as internationally. In Oakland, CA, last Monday, the police opened fire on demonstrators with incredible force shooting wooden dowels, concussion grenades, tear gas and other “nonlethal” weapons. At least 21 people were injured. On Saturday, some 20,000 people marched in Washington, DC where the police acted in a far more aggressive way than in any of the recent demonstrations. (See the report by Aiko Joshi on the DC IndyMedia site.)

SARS continues its worldwide spread. This as yet little understood Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome has caused 124 known deaths and 2700 cases in 20 countries. This week Florida reported 12 cases.

The Baltimore Sun reported that Army scientists have been able to reproduce the Anthrax powder used in the 2001 attacks which killed five people and sickened many. The significance of the Army’s work is that they were able to use simple methods, cheap materials, and limited scientific skill.

On the media scene, Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp is buying DirecTV, the largest home satellite service. This is another step in the concentration of the news and entertainment media. It will likely result in an increase in cable tv subscription rates. As it is, cable systems have raised rates at three times the rate of inflation in the past several years.

And the rumors are swirling about Apple in talks to buy the Universal music division of Vivendi Universal, for a reported $6 billion. The notion -- though apparently out-of-the-blue -- fits in with news of Apple's imminent music distribution service. Just to complicate matters, there are also rumors that Microsoft will raise a challange for ownership of Universal. And me, I thought one day we'd all be Beatrice...


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