On June 23, 2006, Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz fired his deputy and the minister of finances Zyta Gilowska after she had been formally charged with perjury. Gilowska allegedly had lied about being an agent of the Communist secret police (Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa, SB) before 1989. Her codename was “Beata.” Gilowska vehemently denied all charges. The ensuing vetting trial of the politician and the accompanying public debate laid bare serious flaws in Poland’s judicial and legislative process. They also exposed the impact of the nation’s totalitarian past on its democratic present. The Firing The rumor mill churned out stories about Gilowska’s [...]
The United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, is getting uneasy about its steadily increasing dependence on imported petroleum. A question increasingly being asked is whether the U.S. oil habit is sustainable any longer. Not only Democrats and conservationists have posed this question, but also neoconservative advocates and their Republican allies in Congress, who aim to weaken U.S. ties with Middle East petro-states such as Saudi Arabia. President George W. Bush has talked about the link between American oil consumption and national security. In his 2006 State of the Union address he said “America is addicted to oil, which is [...]
Commentary Week in Review: A War of Words
Iran, Venezuela and the United States exchanged verbal machine-gun fire at the United Nations. The Pope ignited a new fight over semantics with Islam and U.S. politicians locked horns over the terminology of torture law. A war of words broke out across the globe this week and commentators wasted no time filling the world’s English-language opinion pages with clarifications of what was being said. There was also a coup in Thailand and a few new things were written — although unsurprisingly nothing was done — about the crisis in Sudan. Kaveh L. Afrasiabi observed in the Sept. 23 Asia Times [...]
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