Planet Ark World Environment News
Rescuers hunt for storm victims in South Korean resort - SOUTH KOREA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17560/story.htm
Brazil says summit considers boosting nuclear power - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17555/story.htm
Schroeder calls energy conference in Germany - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17556/story.htm
Sound of conflict blurs Earth Summit rhetoric - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17557/story.htm
Ministers resume negotiations at Earth Summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17558/story.htm
OPEC said blocking Summit "green" energy goal - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17559/story.htm
Plain talking children refresh wordy Earth Summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17561/story.htm
Rio Summit's children plead for a better world - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17563/story.htm
INTERVIEW - WFP running out of distributable food in Zambia - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17565/story.htm
Kyoto climate goals are not enough, Blair says - MOZAMBIQUE http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17554/story.htm
Japan looks to help Africa with revolutionary rice - JAPAN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17564/story.htm
Toyota, Nissan to cooperate on hybrid systems - JAPAN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17566/story.htm
Protest as French town stages bullfight - FRANCE http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17553/story.htm
SPP seeks to calm greenhouse concerns - AUSTRALIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17552/story.htm
Rothschild, E3 launch carbon credit investment fund - AUSTRALIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17562/story.htm
ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS PICTURES:
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Greenpeace Ship Rainbow Warrior Leads a Peacefull Protest in Dublin Bay http://www.planetark.org/envpicstory.cfm/newsid/17569
INDIA: Greenpeace Activists Demonstrate Against Dow Chemical in Bombay http://www.planetark.org/envpicstory.cfm/newsid/17567
SOUTH AFRICA: A Protestor Demonstrates Against Animal Rights Abuses in Zimbabwe
SciTech Daily Review
Eyes write: Typing without a keyboard just got faster and easier
DNA profiling promises to get to root of arboreal disputes
Nanoantennas made up of tiny wires and spheres could yield super sensors
Better living through french fries -- is biodiesel the fuel of the future?
A "universal virtual computer" may help machines of the future decode digital files from the past (registration required)
At the end of its first week the World Summit is teetering on the brink of failure, with 14 key issues still in dispute and tempers beginning to fray
Ignore the recommended caffeine intake, calorie consumption and exercise time -- common sense is better than a calculator
Planet Ark World Environment News
Wisconsin governor wants USDA to expand deer tests - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17527/story.htm
Biotech fears endanger starving Africans - USDA - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17538/story.htm
California adds wind power farm to electricity grid - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17531/story.htm
Suburban sprawl blocks water, worsens US drought - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17528/story.htm
US summertime smog may double in 2002 - green group - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17525/story.htm
Asarco offers environmental proposal on US plants - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17521/story.htm
UK's Bizzenergy plans to build six wind farms - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17533/story.htm
Surfers gather in UK for anti-pollution festival - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17523/story.htm
UK farmers get green light for GM rapeseed trials - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17539/story.htm
Data bank compiled to help endangered wildlife - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17544/story.htm
Rio Summit's children plead for a better world - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17535/story.htm
"Lettuce lady" dresses NOT to kill at Earth Summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17540/story.htm
Earth Summit faces protests over rich/ poor divide - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17545/story.htm
Zimbabwe rules out GM food aid, won't talk to US - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17537/story.htm
Business group pushes green guidelines at Summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17536/story.htm
UK assailed at summit for downplaying green agenda - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17541/story.htm
Canada sits on fence over Kyoto climate pact - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17546/story.htm
Embattled US goes on offensive at Earth Summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17532/story.htm
Crunch time nears for Earth Summit accord - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17520/story.htm
Earth Summit delegates not clearing up own mess - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17530/story.htm
Earth summit agrees Kyoto compromise - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17529/story.htm
Farming to feed hungry need not hurt nature - expert - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17524/story.htm
Bank plan to burn less oil rig gas may help poor - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17522/story.htm
FACTBOX - Earth Summit seeks to promote renewable energy - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17534/story.htm
Russia should scrap Kyoto pact, advisers say - RUSSIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17526/story.htm
Carbon dioxide? Norway can't get enough - NORWAY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17543/story.htm
Germany's opposition says would amend recycling law - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17542/story.htm
ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS PICTURES:
SOUTH AFRICA: Australian and US Environmental Group Challenge their Leaders at Earth Summit http://www.planetark.org/envpicstory.cfm/newsid/17551
BANGLADESH: Three-Wheelers Cueue Up For Registration http://www.planetark.org/envpicstory.cfm/newsid/17547
SOUTH AFRICA: Activist Lisa Franzetta Gives Out Vegetarian Food http://www.planetark.org/envpicstory.cfm/newsid/17548
CHINA: Three Gorges Dam Project Under Construction in Yichang http://www.planetark.org/envpicstory.cfm/newsid/17549
UK: WWF Member Wearing a Mask of US President Bush Huggs the Ball in the Shape of Earth in Johannesburg http://www.planetark.org/envpicstory.cfm/newsid/17550
LOVE IS THE ANSWER
Ohio Atomic Plant Is Investigated Over Acid Leak
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
This article talks about boric acid almost eating through a reactor head at the David-Besse plant in Toledo.
Please get a message to David Lochbaum (can't find an email for him right now) that I think that it is more likely to be hydrofluoroboric acid, which might explain the reluctance of authorities to provide details of the investigation.
The degree of corrosion indicated in the article strongly suggests the presence of hydrofluoroboric acid - the stuff will eat through most anything.
Check out the following sites.
CANADIAN TELEVISION INDICTS BUSH / CIA IN 9-11 TERROR COMPLICITY (Real Player Video):
BBC TELEVISION INDICTS BUSH / CIA IN 9-11 TERROR COMPLICITY (Real Player Video)::
Below is an interview excerpt on the 9-11 widow who is DEMANDING ANSWERS FROM BUSH about 9-11. The media has almost completely ignored her struggle. Demand the media follow Vanity Fair and Donahue's lead in "LISTENING" to this woman's concerns, and letting America hear her. They only USE 9-11 victims to help Bush war machine. [Media email addresses below article] URGE MANY OTHERS TO CONTACT THEM AS WELL.
KRISTEN [Kristen Breitweiser, one of 3 Middletown, New Jersey 9-11 widows interviewed in Vanity Fair's September, 2002 issue.]
[Excerpt from Page 282 of Vanity Fair, September, 2002, issue] By mid-April Kristen had connected with new blood - two live wire widows from the East Brunswick area - to try to pull off a rally on Capitol Hill demanding a full, independent investigation of the failures of 9/11. Kristen was back in full battle mode.
"How could there be such a colossal, systemic, utter failure that morning?" she fumed to me. "Between the F.A.A., the N.S.A. (National Security Agency), the C.I.A., the Secret Service, the F.B.I., I don't understand it. Two things really hang me up. There is no possible way that four planes could be simultaneously hijacked above the United States and no one know about it until they hit the buildings. And I don't understand how George Bush went in and spoke to second-graders when he knew that the first plane had hit the first tower. He was the commander in chief of the United States of America. We were clearly under attack, and he continues to read to second-graders?"
. . . "All planes were supposed to be grounded [after attacks on the W.T.C.]. So, you've got two planes left up in the air that aren't accounted for, and you're telling me the F.A.A. has no idea where they're going and that one is allowed to crash into the Pentagon? Like, I don't understand why normal American citizens don't find this, like, mildly disturbing. We spend billions of dollars on national defense for intelligence."
At least $30 billion, I interject [the interviewer interjects].
"Let me finish. You think I was a thorn with Ken Feinberg? Like, I haven't even begun."
[Earlier on Donahue, Kristen had told Donahue that she and other widows had had to beg the government for an investigation into 9-11, and she thought it was disgusting.]
CANADIAN TELEVISION INDICTS BUSH / CIA IN 9-11 TERROR COMPLICITY (Real Player Video):
BBC TELEVISION INDICTS BUSH / CIA IN 9-11 TERROR COMPLICITY (Real Player Video)::
History 101 - The Dream Is Dead
by John Brand, D.Min., J.D. YellowTimes.org Columnist, August 28, 2002
"One age misunderstands another; and an age without vision misunderstands all others in its own nasty way." - Ludwig Wittgenstein
"When the legends die, the dreams end. When the dreams end, there is no more greatness." - T.S. Eliot
America's problems, screaming at us from the headlines of the daily papers, are endless. What is our country's underlying disease? Is it terrorism? Is it our balance of trade deficit running into the billions? Is it a President who does not even think twice about shredding the Bill of Rights? Is it the millions upon millions whose credit card debts are staggering? Is it corporate executives who have no sense of morality? Is it the declining stock market?
None of the above are the substantive issues confronting our nation. They are merely symptomatic of our fundamental disorder. Our President desires to take our nation into a senseless war. It seems that neither he nor his clones have any real ideas about the disastrous consequences of such a venture. Yet, not even this Vietnam-like insanity is our basic problem. What is it then?
The vast majority of the people, those who govern and those who are governed, have no majestic visions of the potentials of our nation. We no longer dream the dream. We have lost the splendor of seeing our nation as a bastion of freedom. We have forfeited our inheritance of a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
We crave money, power, and authority - not to see how we can use money, power, and authority to make this a great nation. No, we see these forces as ends in themselves. They have become the gods at whose feet we worship.
The love of money does seem to be the root of much evil. In 1936,when our nation was still in the midst of a backbreaking depression, President Roosevelt, in a speech to Congress, January 3, 1936 said, "We have earned the hatred of entrenched greed." Can any less be said today? The moral fiber sustaining our Ship of State is battered by the whirlwinds of avarice. The fabric of national decency is tattered and torn by the storms of a senseless - a neurotic - thrust for more and more filthy lucre in the hand of a few. Men and women possessing no sense of self-worth seek to find meaning for themselves in the size of their investment portfolios and their bank accounts. Lacking that sense of personal meaning and dignity stemming from the inner resources of one's own character, these misguided blind guides feel that too much is never enough. And so they cook books, rob millions of their investments, circumvent payment of taxes in an effort to compensate for the integrity lacking in their own personal essence. America, indeed, has inherited the evil of entrenched greed.
President Washington wrote to the President of Congress on August 16, 1777, "This matter I allude to is the exorbitant price exacted by the merchants and vendors of goods for every necessary they dispose of. I am sensible the trouble and risk in importing give the adventurers a right to a generous price, and that such, from a motive of policy should be paid but yet I cannot conceive that they, in direct violation of every principle of generosity, or reason and of justice, should be allowed, if it is possible to restrain 'em, to avail themselves of the difficulties of the times, and to amass fortunes upon the public ruin."
Can you imagine that many of those now elected to high offices or appointed to the Supreme Court would give their lives fighting for freedom for their fellow countrymen? Can you imagine that many corporate executives would pledge their fortunes to achieve liberty in the land? Can you imagine that many religious leaders -whose names are household words ö would put their honor on the line for the cause of unalienable rights? I cannot imagine that that would happen today.
Thomas Paine in "The Crisis Papers," 1783, wrote, "We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand, and a race of man . . . are to receive their portion of freedom from the events of a few months. The reflection is awful, and in this point of view, how trifling, how ridiculous, do the little paltry cavilings of a few weak or interested men appear, when weighed against the business of the world."
I admit I had to go to Webster to find out just what "cavilings" means. One definition is to be occupied with trivial matters. That, I believe, states our problems. Our controlling alphas are occupied with matters that to our Founding Fathers would appear petty and inconsequential. They would turn over in their graves were they to see grown businessmen worrying more about the daily value of their company's stock then providing goods and services at a fair price. They would condemn politicians selling their votes to PACs supporting them. They would throw up their hands in horror as they witness our nation seeking to impose its will on the world. Making money, the dirty side of politics, forcing others to comply with our ideas, are insignificant concerns when placed alongside the great ideals of liberty and justice.
The powers driving the Fathers to sacrifice their lives, fortunes, and honor in order to attain liberty were a profound sense of liberation from tyranny based upon the wisdom of the ages. The dream to be free is rooted and grounded in a particular understanding about the dignity of human beings. This certainly is not to claim that our forefathers had the desire to bring freedom to all living in the Colonies. Blacks, American Indians, and women were excluded from the dream. That failure stands as a permanent black mark in the annals of our nation. Yet, even with this fundamental error of judgment, the passion for freedom - at least for their fellows - sounded a clarion note throughout the world. It was an expression - an action - resonating from deep within the spirit, the heart. It is great testimony to the wisdom of the Fathers that by writing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights they enabled minorities in later generations to attain their freedom. The dream marched on!
And that desire, that ideal, that transcendent value of liberty sustained the Fathers in the bitter circumstances at Valley Forge. Ideas, hopes, and beliefs in the rights won at Runnymede surged through their veins. Whatever actions ensued were the consequences of the commitment to those fundamental values. The sense of "becoming" and not of "having become" was the wind in the sails of the Ship of State. We were in the processes - on the road - of reaching toward the ideal that "all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." There was never any indication that by declaring liberty throughout the land that the implementation of these ideals had already been accomplished.
And not only had they not been attained then - they are not a fact today. What then is the difference between the mental perception of the Fathers and our own? The Fathers believed that their ideals were becoming. We believe that we are a nation that has already become! When a civilization's ethos implies that it has become - has arrived, has achieved - then dreams fade into dogmatism. Horizons disappear and become boundaries. Visions vanish and doctrine dominates.
Wisdom has given way to feverish activity. We embrace the belief that America has fulfilled its dream. And so we seek to impose our assumed superiority on the rest of the world. Not only that, the dogmatic leaders of our nation try to impose their will on everyone within the nation. We mistakenly assume that flexing our muscle, imposing our will on one and all, dispatching military forces all over the globe, is evidence of the assumption that our destiny has been fulfilled.
No longer do "old man dream dreams, and young men see visions." (Joel 2:28) Old men try to force everyone into the mold of their own self-image. Young men, devoid of visions, organize dot-coms. Vision has been replaced with sheer activity. The organic, the flowing, the growing, and the vital heartbeat have been replaced with the mechanical, the numbers, the systems, and the cold harshness of laws. There is no sense of history only a sense of conquest. There is no sense of mobility, of change, of transformation, and of nurture of the humane spirit. Metamorphosis has ceased. All effort, all attention, all resources are devoted to spreading a lifeless form. The present point, the immediate needs, become all consuming. The dream has died.
There is much activity but little wisdom. There is much physical exertion but little insight. When there are no dreams, there is no greatness. And all the grubbing has gone for nothing. What does the future hold for a nation so degenerate that profits are more important than people, money more important than morals, stock options more important than a social conscience?
Oswald Spengler paints the picture for us in his monumental work, <http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0195066340/yellowtimes-20>"The Decline of the West." Spengler proposed that once a people become strong enough to form a state, they develop a "culture." A culture is driven by moral values and ethical concerns. A culture is bursting with creativity, with a sense of becoming, but never with the feeling that it has become. In the midst of this excitement of nurturing a tender plant, there comes a time when the interests of the culture shift from conceptual values to materialistic benefits. Spengler calls that state a "civilization." He describes the last days of Rome when it had degenerated into a mere civilization and had ceased being a culture with these words.
"Romans were barbarians who did not precede but closed a great development. Unspiritual, unphilosophical, devoid of art, clannish to the point of brutality, aiming relentlessly at tangible success, they stand between the Hellenic culture and nothingness." The fall of Rome ushered in 400 years of Dark Ages throughout Europe. Spengler continues by saying that the Greek soul had given way to Roman intellect and that this is the difference between a culture and a civilization. "Again and again there appears this type of strong-minded, completely non-metaphysical man and in the hands of this type lies the intellectual and material destiny of each and every 'late' period." Spengler wrote this in 1917. How could he foresee the pervasive deadening force of materialism destroying our nation?
Jefferson's simple words, "The whole of government consists in the art of being honest" have been lost in the insane striving for personal aggrandizement and power. Our Vice President will not reveal any details of the group that met to discuss an energy plan for the United States. It does not take an Einstein to realize that we are dependent on foreign oil. Alternative sources of energy are all around us. Thermal heat, the solar atomic furnace, blowing winds, motions of tides and waves contain enough energy to drive our world until the sun fails to shine - possibly four to six billion years into the future. But the commitment of our leaders is to oil and gas. And so we are engaged in wars, in subversive activities, in effective economic suicide and continue chanting the oil and gas mantra. I do not know the place or the time when so many of our leaders had their blood replaced with sour crude now surging through their veins. They do not think of energy as being the lifeblood of a nation. They only think, oil, oil, and more oil.
A nation that has traded its birth right for stock portfolios and bank accounts has lost its thrust to search for avenues of greatness. It can no loner support differing points of view, critiques of its programs, and objections to its expansionary goals. These words taken from a letter Jefferson wrote to Dr. Benjamin Rush in 1800 are incised on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial. "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." Jefferson had no tolerance for the suppression of anyone's opinion. To his nephew Peter Carr he wrote in a letter dated August 10, 1787, "Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfold fear."
Now we have members of our President's staff suggesting that criticism of any program, any idea, or any law stemming from the President's brow is an unpatriotic act. This man and most of his entourage, by inference, claim to possess absolute truth about all things. Unilaterally he declared international accords null and void. He forced through Congress a bill giving him unlimited trading powers. He proclaimed that we are at war but only Congress can declare war. The word on the street is that if anyone dares to oppose the President, the challenger is unpatriotic.
Free exchange of ideas concerning their dogmas is not tolerated. They are so impressed about the absolute correctness in their beliefs and actions that they seek to institute a national network of informers. The UPS or FedEx deliveryman, the postman on his or her appointed rounds, or a neighbor are encouraged to report miscreants to the Vaterland Security Office. The dream is dead.
President Eisenhower speaking at the Columbia University bicentennial dinner on May 31, 1954, said, "Without exhaustive debate, even heated debate, of ideas and programs, free government would weaken and wither. But if we allow ourselves to be persuaded that every individual or party that takes issue with our own convictions is necessarily wicked or treasonous, then, indeed, we are approaching the end of freedom's road."
Professor Marvin Olasky, School of Journalism, The University of Texas, is the author of the program embraced by President Bush making religion a partner with government. To Baron von Humboldt in 1813, Jefferson wrote, "History, I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose." And to C. Clay in 1815, Jefferson wrote, "This loathsome combination of Church and State." And yet it is such a loathsome combination that Bush et al seek to impose upon our nation.
The destructive symptoms in our society are not primarily the result of foreign agents or terrorists. Forsaken ideals and lost expectations generate the destructive miasma of chaos in the land. In vain do we look for healing balms to the gods of Mammon, the PACs, and international entanglements.
The dream is dead! That is America's problem. All else is a nightmare resulting from the death of the dream. ___
John Brand is a Purple Heart, Combat Infantry veteran of World War II. He received his Juris Doctor degree at Northwestern University and a Master of Theology and a Doctor of Ministry at Southern Methodist University. He served as a Methodist minister for 19 years, was Vice President, Birkman & Associates, Industrial Psychologists, and concluded his career as Director, Organizational and Human Resources, Warren-King Enterprises, an independent oil and gas company. He is the author of Shaking the Foundations
"The Secret Sharers: The CIA, the Bush Gang and the Killing of Frank Olson"
by Chris Floyd - Published by CounterPunch - August 28, 2002
'UN Chief Warns US Over Iraq'
By John Lloyd in Kabul
Published in the Financial Times on August 28, 2002
The head of the United Nations mission in Afghanistan warned the US on Wednesday that it faced rising Afghan anger at its troops' presence in the region.
Lakhdar Brahimi, a highly respected diplomat and veteran UN troubleshooter, said the US-led coalition forces hunting al-Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan "are realising they must be more careful. The Americans are very much aware of how much anger there is against them."
Afghan frustration at the US grew after the discovery of mass graves near Sherbeghan prison, which may contain bodies of prisoners allegedly murdered by the Northern Alliance after capture. The prison was run by the Alliance, a close ally of the US in the war against terrorism.
The UN has led its own investigation but Mr Brahimi accused his predecessor, Francesc Vendrell, now the European Commission's special representative in Afghanistan, of "addressing the gallery" in calling for punishment for those who had perpetrated the alleged murders.
In a separate interview, however, Mr Vendrell said: "There must be an end to this culture of impunity which has plagued the society for 23 years."
On the separate issue of a possible US military strike on Iraq, Mr Brahimi said Washington should first gain UN assent before it could launch an attack on Iraq.
Mr Brahimi voiced deep concern at US plans for unseating the regime of Saddam Hussein.
He said: "If you were so certain in helping humanity you shouldn't have any problem in going to the UN and getting assent.
"If you want to intervene in Iraq, for example, you shouldn't have a problem in coming and getting support."
Mr Brahimi insisted the UN "must not be trampled on. It's an extremely useful instrument. It's not perfect - but it's the only instrument we have and we must use it in the best way possible."
Mr Brahimi's comments come in the wake of Monday's speech by Dick Cheney, US vice-president, giving strong support for an attack on Iraq.
Officers Say U.S. Aided Iraq in War Despite Use of Gas
By Patrick E. Tyler - The New York Times - August 18, 2002
WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 - A covert American program during the Reagan administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war, according to senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program.
Those officers, most of whom agreed to speak on the condition that they not be identified, spoke in response to a reporter's questions about the nature of gas warfare on both sides of the conflict between Iran and Iraq from 1981 to 1988. Iraq's use of gas in that conflict is repeatedly cited by President Bush and, this week, by his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, as justification for "regime change" in Iraq.
Who Are The Terrorists?
Want another good reason not to attack Iraq? "Massacre at Mazar" is a film with testimonies accusing US of war crimes, New film accuses US of war crimes
Kate Connolly in Berlin and Rory McCarthy, The Guardian, June 13, 2002
A former chairman of Amnesty International yesterday called for an independent investigation into claims that US troops tortured Taliban prisoners and assisted in the disappearance of thousands of others in the war in Afghanistan.
Andrew McEntee said that "very credible evidence" in a British documentary film needed to be investigated. He was speaking after the first showing in Berlin of the film, Massacre at Mazar.
"This film raises questions that will not go away," said Mr McEntee, who led Amnesty International UK in the 1990s and is now an international human rights lawyer.
The documentary describes how thousands of Taliban troops were rounded up after the battle of Kunduz in late November and transported in sealed shipping containers to Sheberghan prison, a jail then under US control in northwestern Afghanistan.
The film alleges that large numbers of the prisoners died during the journey. US troops suggested the drivers take the bodies out into the desert at Dasht-i-Leili for burial. Two men said they were forced to drive hundreds of Taliban, many of whom were still alive, into the desert, and said that the living were shot. Footage showed large areas of compact red sand dotted with the traces of bones, including jaw bones, and pieces of clothing.
The filmmakers claim that thousands of Afghans, Pakistanis, Uzbeks, Chechens and Tajiks may now be buried at the mass grave. UN and human rights officials have found the grave but have not estimated the number it contains. Only 15 bodies have been excavated.
A Pentagon spokesman last night denied the allegations: "US Central Command looked into it a few months ago, when allegations first surfaced when there were graves discovered in the area of Sherberghan prison. They looked into it and did not substantiate any knowledge, presence or participation of US service members."
The film's six witnesses have agreed to give evidence at any international war crimes tribunal.
Missile Defense Fraud Double-Take
by Al Martin
The most recent Department of Defense fraud was a test in which a missile was allegedly destroyed by another missile over the Pacific.
A July 13 release by the Department of Defense claimed that this so-called ABM test has been declared a success.
The videotape, released to the media and shown on CNN and other networks, looks suspiciously similar to the admittedly dummied-up September 1985 Department of Defense videotape showing another supposedly successful interception of a ballistic missile under the former ASAT Program, the Anti-Satellite Ballistic Missile Program.
As a matter of fact, the videotapes are exactly the same.
How do I know? Not only do I remember it, but I have a hard copy printout. Having just compared it to the tape seen on CNN, it looks exactly the same. The only thing that's changed is the video-date readout at the bottom.
This latest "successful test" is another low-cost deception from the US Department of Defense.
I really don't blame them, though. They spend a lot of money dummying up the first test. It was later estimated by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) that the Department of Defense spent $43 million to dummy up this test. It actually cost a lot of money to do it the right way.
This latest fraud, however, is a very cost-effective deception.
You could call it Star War Fraud Redux. Now it's packaged up under the new ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) expenditures. But it was exactly the same tape they had shown before in 1985 -- a test which the Department of Defense later admitted was dummied up in an effort to continue congressional appropriations for Star Wars expenditures.
In that time frame (at the end of 1985), the Democrats in Congress were starting to get suspicious of the enormous Star Wars spending. This Star Wars spending peaked in 1986, and then it was sharply ratcheted down.
To put it in historical context, the GAO Report of 1988 stated that of the $531 billion spent by the Department of Defense from 1982 to 1988 under the guise of developing Star Wars projects, over 50 % of the money could not be accounted for.
In 1989, FARCO (Foreign Asset Recovery Control Office) revealed that during the peak years of expenditures on Star Wars programs (1985-1986), there was an enormous increase in the opening of offshore accounts by senior Reagan-Bush officials, including senior military officers and others closely connected to the Reagan Bush Regime, particularly in the defense industry.
That's one of the mandates of FARCO - to maintain an account of the flow of US monies as to foreign deposits.
According to a syndicated Newhouse report, current Department of Defense fraud is even worse than anyone can imagine. "For fiscal year 1999, the Pentagon Inspector General reported $2.3 trillion worth of untraceable accounting entries."
"For fiscal year 2000, auditors or the Pentagon's inspector General's Office found $1.1 trillion in bookkeeping entries that could not be tracked or justified," (Story - http://www.newhouse.com/archive/story1a061301.html )
This was barely a minor blip in the news.
Originally, in the 1980s, it was the late Senator John Tower who was going to blow the whistle on the Star Wars Defense Fraud. He had planned to do so, and in fact he had documents regarding massive Department of Defense fraud involving the Star Wars program. He was carrying it in his high-security metal briefcase -- when his plane crashed.
The FAA still lists this as a "suspicious plane crash." It happened outside of Brunswick, Georgia. It should also be noted that the briefcase was never recovered after he crash The NTSB stated that they could not find the briefcase.
This is the Famous Briefcase Incident [See Chapter 9 of "The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran Contra Insider" by Al Martin]*
Peggy Tower, his daughter, complained and asked about the briefcase's whereabouts, after she was informed by famed congressional investigator Tom Strzemienski.
Then an investigator for Charlie Rose, Chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, Strzemienski was collaterally investigating the incident of the so-called "C130 Aircraft Diversion" from the US Forestry Service. He was trying to solve the problem -- why were all these C130s from the forestry department suddenly winding up in Libya?
He mentioned the type of documents her father was carrying to Peggy.
Subsequent to this event, in 1989, the Department of Defense did in fact return Senator Tower's battered briefcase to Peggy. It was still locked, by the way. When she had it opened, there were no documents inside.
This was the incident when the FAA inspectors showed up at the airport in Brunswick, Georgia. Later it was revealed that the men were not from the FAA, but were in fact from the Department of Defense. They were simply bearing FAA inspectors' identification badges.
Today the new ABM program is nothing more than a continuation of the old fraud of the Star Wars program.
The Al Martin Raw website predicts, as Senator Robert Byrd has already intimated, that five years from now, it will be discovered that fresh hundreds-of-billions of dollars in defense expenditures on the ABM Program are again unaccounted for -- disappearing into shadowy Republican-connected offshore accounts and institutions.
The ongoing frauds are so rampant and egregious that even the so-called watchdogs of the Department of Defense, the Pentagon Inspector General's Office has been publicly caught redhanded.
"Defense Department's inspector general's office is now under investigation for allegedly recreating financial records for an audit shortly before the documents were reviewed by an outside auditor."
"As described by an internal Pentagon report, the apparent fabrication required a dozen staffers to work long hours including overtime at a personnel cost of $63,000."
See "Who shall inspect the inspectors general?"
Remember - it costs a lot to commit serious fraud.
The Pentagon should actually be commended for recycling their old Star Wars Fraud video as their latest so-called "successful" ABM missile defense test.
After all, a really good fraud deserves a double-take.
Big business accused of hijacking Earth Summit
The UN World Summit is in danger of being hijacked by major corporations and a secret deal between the European Union and the United States, a coalition of non-profit organizations has charged. "What we are seeing is quite literally a corporate takeover of this process. So far corporate accountability has been dropped from the implementation text at the summit," Daniel Mittler, spokesman for Friends of the Earth International warned at a Press conference. "Key negotiations in Johannesburg are in danger of being stitched up by a controversial deal struck between US trade officials and trade mandarins in the EU Commission," Oxfam and the World Wide Fund for Nature added in a statement.
For the complete article in the New Straits Times [Malaysia], 28 August 2002, see:
Saving The Planet - Johannesburg Politics
by Ignacio Ramonet, Le Monde Diplomatique
JOHANNESBURG will host the world summit on sustainable development from 26 August to 4 September - an event of great importance, the biggest gathering of government leaders and heads of state in a decade, 60,000 people from more than 180 countries. The aim is to find answers to humanity's most pressing problems: how to save the environment, eradicate poverty, save our planet.
The planet is in a sorry state. The diagnosis of its ills was apparent a decade ago at the first earth summit, held in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. Alarm bells rang: global warming was a fact; world supplies of drinking water were running out; forests were disappearing; many species were en route to extinction; and poverty was destroying the lives of more than 1bn of our fellow humans.
The world's leaders agreed that "the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialised countries, which is a matter of grave concern, aggravating poverty and imbalances". They adopted two conventions, one on climate change and one on biodiversity, as well as the plan known as Agenda 21, to promote sustainable development worldwide.
The idea of sustainability is simple: development is sustainable if future generations inherit a quality of environment at least equal to that inherited by their predecessors. Sustainable development presupposes the application of three principles: the precautionary principle, adopting a preventive rather than remedial approach; the principle of solidarity between all peoples of the world and between the present generation and those to come; and the principle of people participation in decision-making.
In many areas things have not improved in 10 years. They have got worse. With the acceleration of free-market globalisation, the "unsustainable pattern of consumption and production" has become even more entrenched. Social inequality is now at levels not seen since the times of the pharaohs. The fortunes of the world's three richest individuals now exceed the total wealth of the inhabitants of its 48 poorest countries. The ecological destruction of the biosphere by the rich countries has also accelerated.
Although the 30 most developed countries represent only 20% of world population, they produce and consume 85% of synthetic chemical products, 80% of non-renewable energy and 40% of drinking water. And their emissions of greenhouse gases per inhabitant are 10 times greater than those of the countries of the South.
During the past decade emissions of carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming, increased by 9%. In the United States, the leading polluter, the figure increased by 18%. More than a billion people still do not have access to drinkable water, and almost 3bn (half of humanity) have only water of inferior quality. Thirty thousand people die every day as a result of drinking this polluted water - 10 times the number killed in the attacks of 11 September. The devastation of forests continues; 17m hectares disappear each year - an area four times the size of Switzerland. And since there are fewer and fewer trees to absorb the carbon dioxide, the greenhouse effect and global warming worsen. More animal species are being eliminated - 13% of all bird species have gone, 25% of mammals, 34% of fish, a mass extinction the planet has not seen since the disappearance of the dinosaurs.
The delegates who will gather for the summit travel with great hopes. But these will come to nothing if national egotism, the fetishism of growth, the logic of the market and the law of profit are allowed to take over. That was what happened during the preparatory conference in Bali in June. As a result it was unable to adopt a plan of action for sustainable development and ended in stalemate.
To save the planet it is imperative that the powerful nations meeting in Johannesburg commit themselves on at least seven key issues: an international programme for renewable energy, prioritising energy access for the South; undertakings on access to and supply of clean drinking water, aiming to reduce by the year 2015 the number of people who still lack this basic right; measures to protect forests, as already agreed in the biodiversity convention adopted in Rio in 1992; the establishment of juridical frameworks to make companies answerable for their ecological impact, and reaffirming the precautionary principle as the governing principle of all commercial activity; initiatives to modify the rules of the World Trade Organisation in the light of United Nations principles for the protection of ecosystems, and the standards of the International Labour Organisation; a commitment by developed countries to contribute at least 0.7% of their wealth to development aid; binding recommendations to wipe out the debt of the poorest countries.
By destroying the natural world mankind has been making planet Earth less viable as a place to live. There are processes under way that may lead to environmental catastrophe. The Johannesburg summit must find ways to reverse them. This is the challenge that we face at the start of the 21st century. Otherwise we may find that the human race is threatened with extinction.
Translated by Ed Emery
GROUND ZERO Forum NYC
Dear friends, dear 911widows, dear fire fighters
I know the next two weeks will be a tough time.
It will be difficult to find the best way to respect all the feelings of the victims relatives, but also to find the right tone, probably including this email as well.
I can't express how i feel these days, but i still want answers and the truth. I know many of you researched on your own and wondered why your results haven't been addressed in public yet.
We wanna continue changing that.
Here are the most important events GZ support right now:
1) Shadowgovernment.info has finished a video remix of President Bush at the Booker Elementary School, doing nothing for 20-25 minutes, while he was knowing what was going on in NYC. This video will be soon distributed by
2) GROUND ZERO Forum will speak on US Radio on Sep1st. It's also a live radio stream on
Businesstalkradio is mirrored on 70 stations across the US.
The first show will be broadcasted and live streamed on the net at 5AM EST (Sep 1st).
It will be later on 50,000 watt
WWKB 1520 Buffalo
WFAS 1230 Westchester County NYC
WMET 1150 Washington/Baltimore
(These are the major New York stations)
The interview be repeated Sept 9.
My latest article reached 350.000 downloads at least worldwide. It was first mirrored on
(911- The final dots Pt.2 -Top 20 LIHOP- Suspects? )
Please check out http://www.unansweredquestions.org They will update their latest infos about their next event in NYC on September 7th.
UQ had their first succesful press conference in June 2001 in Washington together with many represantatives of 911-widow group. The live broadcast of C|Span was cancelled on the last minute
Best to all of you
Nico Haupt, NY
George W. Bush, Meet Maurice Strong
by John Passacantando, AlterNet August 27, 2002
The study of leadership is a great American obsession. We make rich men and women out of the historians who can teach us something new about those who led us in crisis or into new eras. Recent biographies have given us insight into Teddy Roosevelt, John Adams, Harry Truman and Thomas Jefferson.
Now look at the profiles of two modern leaders, George W. Bush and Maurice Strong, two men with backgrounds in the energy industry whose emerging legacies look like a Hollywood caricature of good vs. evil.
The most interesting background on Bush is the story of his oil company, Harken, which was bailed out at every turn by Poppa Bush's friends, using all the same financial techniques that are now starting to land CEOs in jail. Fortunately he didn't work on as large a scale as the folks at Enron or WorldCom, so fewer people got hurt.
Then W. came to Washington and has run an agenda to enrich people just like himself. He put in a weak SEC chairman so that nobody would bother his fellow CEOs taking shortcuts. He drove tax cuts for the wealthy with a reckless disregard for the finances of the United States, and worst of all, he tried to protect his oil cronies by pulling the U.S. out of the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement to stop global warming. So now we've got the crony capitalist tool in the White House and ExxonMobil driving U.S. energy policy.
Now for the other former energy industry executive-turned-world leader, Maurice Strong. Strong came to prominence as one of Canada's business chieftains, rising to the top of several major Canadian power companies. He then took a wild turn into the diplomatic world and went to the United Nations as an undersecretary-general in the early 1970s to lead the first conference in Stockholm on the environment.
Strong was the Secretary General of the Stockholm (1972) UN Conference on the Human Environment and the Rio UNCED/Earth Summit (1992). In other words, instead of spending his public career trying to further enrich the energy industry cronies he left behind in Canada, he has focused on trying to wrestle some of the greatest global ecological threats.
Now his greatest opponent is George W. Bush.
The Bush Administration has spent the last year using all its diplomatic powers to undermine the Johannesburg Earth Summit, now in progress. And yet more than 60,000 world leaders, activists and people concerned with poverty, hunger, global warming and war will be gathering trying to find solutions -- while Bush just worries about his CEO buddies back home.
The battle is on.
Recently, Strong gave testimony in front of the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee. His words conveyed the frustration that even this former energy company executive feels about the path down which George W. Bush is taking the United States and the rest of the world:
"We face an ominous paradox as the evidence of our destructive impacts on the earth's environment and life-support systems has become more compelling while there has been a serious loss of momentum in the political will to deal with them. The United States is at the center of this dilemma."
The recent retreat by the U.S. from its longstanding role as the leading driver of these issues, as particularly evidenced by its withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol of the Climate Change Convention, threatens the progress that has been made in collaborative management of our environmental problems in the past 30 years and the prospects for the further progress that is so essential to our common future.
The great historians will have to sort out why these two men differed so much, although at the current rate, kids the world over will want to know who stopped Bush -- and Strong is on the short list to do that right now.
John Passacantando is executive director of Greenpeace USA.
UN conference in South Africa pushes business "solutions"
The sham summit
August 30, 2002
NEWS STORIES about the Earth summit in Johannesburg focused on George W. Bush's decision not to show up. Maybe Dubya was afraid that he'd become the main target of protests.
He's personally responsible, after all, for finishing off what little remained of the initiatives from the last Earth summit, which took place in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The final act was the Bush administration's rejection of the 1997 Kyoto protocols to cut back on the emission of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
Bush's decision not to go to South Africa is just the latest U.S. attempt to wreck an international initiative--on a list that includes arms control, land mines and pollution, to name a few. Washington's message to the rest of the world is that it will do whatever it wants--which is why people around the globe responded to Bush's snub with anger.
But the truth is that Bush never had much to fear about this conference. His big business buddies made sure of that. Aside from the influence of the IMF and World Bank preaching neoliberal economic policies, groups such as the International Chambers of Commerce and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development have lobbied since 1999 for the summit to recommend private, for-profit management of vital resources and services--and so-called free-market solutions to pollution and poverty.
No wonder the summit's preparatory materials avoided mentioning the impending famine in the Southern African countries that surround the conference. They might have been forced to discuss the causes of the famine, which include a drought intensified by the impact of global warming--and the devastating poverty of the region caused by a huge debt burden.
And this isn't to mention the difficulties that poor countries face competing in a world market where powerful countries set the rules through the WTO.
The summit is primed to serve corporate power in two major ways. One is voluntary agreements to govern business conduct. Like other corporate "codes of practice," these new agreements will "amount to little more than the re-branding of destructive activities as beneficial ones," as George Monbiot wrote in Britain's Guardian newspaper. The other gift to big business will be a UN blessing for "public-private partnerships"--in which governments hand over control of resources, such as water or energy.
As a justification for these giveaways to rich Western multinationals like Bechtel, Monsanto, France's Vivendi and Britain's Thames Water, free-market enthusiasts claim that resources are used most efficiently when they're sold for profit. But some do admit that privatization has widened the gap between rich and poor--and that poverty bites even harder when everything comes with a "user fee."
The proposed solution is to allow some government action--not limits on how much can be charged, but cash grants to the poor to help them pay. This is in synch with Bush's pre-summit promise to increase development aid to Africa by $4.5 billion.
The amount is stingy. But the real problem is that the cash will never materialize. At the 1992 Rio summit, every rich country promised to double its aid budget--to 0.7 percent of economic output. Since then, aid has actually fallen to 0.22 percent of output.
Whether the summit "succeeds" in endorsing free-market solutions or breaks up with no agreement, the corporations and the governments that serve them can go on wrecking the earth and robbing the poor. The real hope for turning the situation around lies outside the UN--among the forces that protested the Earth summit.
How the free market is wreaking havoc
OVER THE years, the UN and World Bank have honed a strategy for talking about "sustainable development." The first step is to acknowledge an environment-related crisis that threatens the poor. The next step is to misstate the cause and scope of the crisis, and the charade ends with a free market-oriented business "solution" to a misdiagnosed problem.
UN summit documents around the question of hunger echo this method. They stress that food production is no longer growing faster than population--leaving multinational agribusinesses to recommend technical solutions like genetically engineered crops.
What's left out is the fact that, despite the production slowdown, there is now--and has been for decades--enough food to feed everyone. Yet 800 million people face chronic starvation--because of lack of money, not lack of technology.
The same verbal tricks show up when the free marketeers discuss the growing water crisis in poor countries. Drinking water is getting scarcer because of corporate methods of agriculture that demand heavy irrigation, industrial pollution of water, and a lack of proper sewage removal. But market "logic" reduces these problems to a simple question of "natural scarcity"--and declares that water would be best conserved if everybody paid market prices for privatized water.
Besides profits for the new water barons, the real results of water privatization have been higher prices, service shutoffs for the poor and mass layoffs of workers that lead to declines in service and water quality.
The big shots may talk about the wonders of the free market. But their rhetoric is a tool for pursuing their real goal, which is economic imperialism--the defense of profits of the biggest companies in the most powerful countries.
"We want to shut them down"
THE UN picked a strange place to advertise the benefits of the free market. It's not just that the region is in the grips of hunger--and an AIDS epidemic made worse by the prohibitive expense of patented drugs.
The summit itself is taking place in the posh suburb of Sandton, just across a cholera-infested river from the destitute Black township of Alexandra. Like the much bigger township of Soweto across town, Alexandra has a proud history of resistance to the racist system of apartheid--and now a new resistance to the free-market policies of the post-apartheid governments.
The resistance includes illegal restoration of water and power to those who have been cut off by newly privatized utilities--as well as movements of the landless to claim the housing that they were promised when apartheid fell.
The UN tried to head off confrontations by providing an alternative forum of "civil society"--15 miles removed from Sandton. And for those who can't pay the $150 fee to be part of "civil society," there's an area down the road claimed by the landless movement.
One division in the protest movement is between those who want "a seat at the table"--and those who think that gaining such a seat would be impossible or useless. "It is our aspiration to shut them down," said Trevor Ngwane, a leader of South Africa's thousands-strong Anti-Privatization Forum. "If we have the numbers, that is what we will do. We are inspired by what happened in Seattle and Genoa."
The main protest will be an August 31 march to the summit site that could draw tens of thousands. South African authorities are plainly worried. Last week, police arrested 77 landless protesters during one march--and another 30 the next day. Organizers say that the crackdown amounted to "an undeclared state of emergency."
The corporate and political leaders want to have their way in Johannesburg. But protesters have other plans--to expose the Earth summit as a sham.
You may be only 1 in 6 billion, but every person can make a big difference
by Jane Goodall, August 18, 2002
The greatest danger to our future is apathy. We cannot expect those living in poverty and ignorance to worry about saving the world. For those of us able to read this magazine, it is different. We can do something to preserve our planet.
You may be overcome, however, by feelings of helplessness. You are just one person in a world of 6 billion. How can your actions make a difference? Best, you say, to leave it to decision makers. And so you do nothing.
Can we overcome apathy? Yes, but only if we have hope. One reason for hope lies in the extraordinary nature of human intellectual accomplishment. A hundred years ago, the idea of a 747, of a man on the moon, of the Internet remained in the realm of science fiction. Yet we have seen those things and much, much more. So, now that we have finally faced up to the terrible damage we have inflicted on our environment, our ingenuity is working overtime to find technological solutions. But technology alone is not enough. We must engage with our hearts also. And it's happening around the world.
Even companies once known only for profits and pollution are having a change of heart. Conoco, the energy company, worked with the Jane Goodall Institute (J.G.I.) in Congo to build a sanctuary for orphaned chimpanzees. I formed this partnership when I realized that Conoco, during its exploration, used state-of-the-art practices designed to have the least possible impact on the environment. Many other companies are working on clean forms of energy, organic farming methods, less wasteful irrigation and so on.
Another reason for hope is the resilience of nature-if it is given a helping hand. Fifteen years ago, the forests outside Gombe National Park in Tanzania had been virtually eliminated. More people lived there than the land could support. J.G.I. initiated the Lake Tanganyika Catchment Reforestation and Education Project (TACARE), a program active in 33 villages around the park. Today people improve their lives through environmentally sustainable projects, such as tree nurseries and wood lots. We provide health care, family-planning and education programs, especially for women. As their education increases, their family size tends to drop.
While pollution still plagues much of the world, progress is being made. This May in Sudbury, Ont., I saw new forests that were recolonizing hills destroyed by 100 years of nickel mining. The community raised the money and worked for months spreading lime and planting vegetation on the blackened rock. I released the first brook trout into a once poisoned creek there.
Animal species on the brink of extinction can be given a second chance through protection and captive breeding-even if preserving a habitat conflicts with economic interests. A company in Taiwan planned to build a rapid-transit line right through the only major remaining breeding ground of the rare pheasant-tailed jacana. There was an outcry, but it was the only economically viable route. Environmentalists worked with the company to come up with a solution-moving the breeding ground. Water was diverted back into nearby wetlands that had been drained by farmers, and suitable vegetation was replanted. In 2000 five birds hatched in their new home, and when I visited there the next year, even more birds had moved to the site.
I derive the most hope from the energy and hard work of young people. Roots & Shoots, J.G.I.'s program for youth from preschool through university, is now active in 70 countries. The name is symbolic: roots and shoots together can break up brick walls, just as citizens of Earth together can overcome our problems. The more than 4,000 groups of young people are cleaning creeks, restoring prairies and wetlands, planting trees, clearing trash, recycling-and making their voices heard.
We have huge power, we of the affluent societies, we who are causing the most environmental damage. For we are the consumers. We do not have to buy products from companies with bad environmental policies. To help us, the Internet is linking small grassroots movements so that people who once felt they were on their own can contact others with the same concerns.
I feel deep shame when I look into the eyes of my grandchildren and think how much damage has been done to Planet Earth since I was their age. Each of us must work as hard as we can now to heal the hurts and save what is left.
World leaders head for Earth Summit (August 30)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - It's going to get up close and personal at the Earth Summit, as wrangling between officials from rich and poor nations over abstruse diplomatic language gives way to the arrival of squabbling world leaders themselves. (...)
Earth Summit feuds fester over rules for business
CORPORATE-FREE UN: Earth Summit Opens With a Bang (August 26)
Harsh Police Action, a discussion paper pushing a free trade agenda and a diverse People's Forum are all in the spotlight as the Earth Summit opens. (...) Charles Secrett of Friends of the Earth said that the US is using the seductive language of sustainability to cloak a business as usual agenda. "Off the record, developing country delegates share the same concern, and are fed up US bullying." (...) The People's Forum: For those who cannot or do not want to attend the Summit proper, about an hour from the Summit is the Global People's Forum, where civil society bursts with diversity. At the Forum, the vast exposition hall has a bewildering diversity of exhibits -- but almost no visitors. (...) At the 1992 Earth Summit, for the all the contentiousness, hope permeated host city Rio de Janeiro, as new understandings about how to save the earth emerged and thousands dedicated themselves to doing just that. This time around, the high hopes are to avoid utter failure and violence. What a difference a decade makes. In the intervening ten years, we ran smack into the sobering reality that the world's most powerful governments and corporations weren't all that interested in sustainable development after all. Rather they are interested in free trade and big business-friendly investment rules, leading to debt and dependency for the South, with environmental protection and poverty alleviation strictly at the margins. The theme of corporate accountability, pushed by leading environment and development groups, has no chance at the Summit, except in so far as business may co-opt the phrase to mean something similar to voluntary corporate social responsibility. In fact, Summit organizers see corporate partnerships --not democratic control of corporations -- as the "innovative" agreements that will save face. That is, at least enough that the Summit will not be declared a fiasco. It is still two weeks too early to declare that the Summit should not have taken place. But it is clear that the political conditions are not right for an advancement of the Rio agenda. CLIP
Bali Principles of Climate Justice (August 28)
An international coalition has released a set of principles that "put a human face on climate change." The watershed document looks at global warming from a human rights and environmental justice perspective.
TAKE ACTION! Send a SOS to world leaders at SOS Planet action site
It is an attempt to raise awareness of the fact that world citizens are concerned that their leaders will fail to take action in Johannesburg.
WWF position on the World Summit on Sustainable Development
US Democrats say Bush blocking Earth Summit goal (August 30)
JOHANNESBURG - A delegation of U.S. congressional Democrats accused the Bush administration yesterday of blocking plans to alleviate poverty and promote clean economic growth at the U.N.'s Earth Summit. (...) "The United states has a special obligation and opportunity (to promote clean growth) as the world's richest nation and its biggest polluter," said Earl Blumenauer of Oregon. The U.S. has said it will accept no binding targets for those goals and would offer no new aid money in Johannesburg after pledging to raise aid at a summit in Mexico in March. CLIP
Embattled U.S. goes on offensive at Earth Summit
Hitting back at critics who brand it the uncaring tool of greedy big business, the Bush administration showcased hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid projects at the Earth Summit Thursday. But Third World activists and environmentalists, as well as opposition Congressmen, cried foul, saying the money was not new and involved partnerships with corporations that would profit more than the poor billions in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Corporate Capture by George Monbiot, The Guardian
If the world's transnational corporations have their way, the Earth Summit in Johannesburg will not only fail to tackle the ecological crisis, it may make it worse.
Earth Summit feuds fester over rules for business (August 30)
(...) Activists say the U.N. gathering, officially the World Summit on Sustainable Development, should be addressing ways to make business fully accountable for social and environmental actions and accuse firms of hijacking the summit to shirk responsibility.
Big business accused of derailing Earth Summit
Activists accused big business this week of hijacking the Earth Summit from a goal of halving poverty without poisoning the planet.
"Good" News: August 29, 2002
In solidarity with the overwhelming power of business interests at the World Summit in Johannesburg, GN/BN has switched over to the Dark Side.
Letter from the Earth Summit
The dire prediction that the United States intends to sabotage the conference seems to be coming true.
Don't Be Fooled: America's Ten Worst Greenwashers (August 29, 2002)
An annual report exposes the environmental lies corporations tell to earn your "green" shopping dollar.
Greenwash Academy Awards Announced
More than 20 corporations vie for these prestigious awards announced at a star studded ceremony at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg. For nominees and
winners see http://www.earthsummit.biz
Shell Games at the Earth Summit (August 15)
Tracking the behavior of Royal Dutch Shell from the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio to the WSSD in Johannesburg is particularly instructive in drawing out how global corporations have pursued a pro-environment and human rights public-relations strategy on the one hand, while continuing to be deeply engaged in destructive activity on the other. (...) While some may have gained skills working in the Niger Delta's oil fields as a result of Shell's "sustainable development" strategy, it is clear that the giant oil corporation's definition of sustainable development included extracting well over $30 billion in oil from operations in the Niger Delta region since 1956, which has brought little wealth or development to the Delta Region. Conveniently ignored in this best practices case study is the fact that Shell has also created a social and ecological disaster in the Niger Delta that has become a classic case study of the horrendous impacts of oil on people and the environment. Very little, if any of the $30 billion went back into the communities of the Niger Delta, where schools and health clinics are hard to come by, and where toxic contamination from oil spills and gas flares fill the water and air. CLIP
From Rio to Johannesburg: The Globalization Decade (July 24, 2002)
The world's governments, facing a deteriorating planet, are making a last ditch effort to save the Earth. The industrialized countries of the North and the developing countries of the South are scrambling to reach a global deal that will combine environmental protection and poverty alleviation. But a group of global corporations are claiming that they have the answers to the planet's environment and development woes and suggest redefining "sustainable development" to focus on "profit, planet and people."
Extending The boycott
US academic M Shahid Alam* explains why he is happy to join the growing international academic boycott of Israel
In early April 2002, moved by the massacres in Jenin and the wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure in West Bank cities by invading Israeli forces, two British academics, Hilary Rose and Steven Rose, circulated a call
posted at http://www.pjpo.org -- for an academic boycott of Israel.
This campaign was directed mostly at European academics, and so when it reached me nearly two months later, in the first week of July, there were only six American academics among the signatories. I carefully read the boycott statement, which entailed non- cooperation with "official Israeli institutions, including universities", and decided to sign the list. I also forwarded the call to academics on my mailing list.
However, most of the friends on my mailing list ignored the call. Only two responded, and both were more than a little troubled that I should support such a thing. One described this campaign as "destructive", another objected that this was an "attack" on academic freedom. And once my name was on the list of signatories, I promptly received two pieces of hate mail, one of them from India.
A few days later I came across a counter petition initiated by Leonid Ryzhik, a mathematics lecturer at the University of Chicago. In an interview published in the British newspaper The Guardian on 27 May he said that the boycott campaign was "immoral, dangerous and misguided, and indirectly encourages the terrorist murderers in their deadly deeds". And in the New York weekly The Nation for 5-12 August, Martha Nussbaum, an eminent American philosopher, wrote that she felt "relaxed" to be in Israel, where she had gone to receive an honorary degree from the University of Haifa, "determined to affirm the worth of scholarly cooperation in the face of the ugly campaign".
Having declared my support for the academic boycott of Israel, I believe I must now explain why I can not view this campaign as "destructive", "ugly" or supportive of "terrorist murderers". On the contrary, I see it as a moral gesture, part of a growing campaign by international civil society to use its influence to awaken Israelis to the ugly and destructive reality of the occupation, which has now lasted for more than 35 years and shows no sign of ending any time soon. At last, the cumulative weight of Palestinian suffering has begun to break through the crust of Israeli protestations of innocence. Although tardily, the world's conscience is now preparing to engage Israeli intransigence.
Increasingly, the world outside the United States understands that Israel is not a 'normal' country. The Zionist movement sought to establish an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine, a land inhabited almost entirely by Palestinian Arabs in 1900. Since no people has yet been known to commit collective suicide, this could only be accomplished by conquest and ethnic cleansing. This is how Israel emerged in 1948 -- through the conquest and ethnic cleansing of 800,000 Palestinians.
Yet this was not enough. Although Israel now sat on 78 per cent of historic Palestine, this fell short of Zionist goals. In 1967 this shortfall was corrected when Israel, after defeating Egypt, Syria and Jordan, occupied the West Bank and Gaza. Another, smaller campaign of ethnic cleansing was introduced into this second round of conquests.
Although the United Nations Security Council promptly passed a resolution calling for Israeli withdrawal from the territories it had occupied in 1967, this had no teeth. Impressed by the Israeli rout of Arab nationalist forces, the United States deepened its partnership with Israel and promptly rewarded it by doubling US military and economic assistance.
As a result, 35 years later, Israel still remains the occupier of the West Bank and Gaza. However, in reality this occupation is merely a fiction, a farcical cover under which Israel buys time to introduce armed Israeli settlers, increase its control and ownership of Palestinian lands, push the Palestinians into ever-shrinking enclaves, escalate the violence against Palestinian resistance, and deepen the misery of Palestinian lives till the Palestinians are forced to flee their homes.
The logic of the occupation is brutal, and it should be transparent to all but the purblind. If Palestinian demography prevents annexation, and if Palestinians cannot be expelled in one fell swoop -- as they were in 1948 -- then the same results can still be achieved by forcing the Palestinians into Bantustans. If a million Palestinians can live in Gaza, a strip of 100 square miles, then the two million Palestinians on the West Bank can be pushed into similar enclaves, freeing 90 per cent of the land for Jewish settlers. It is about time that we gave up the fiction of the occupation, and described this oppressive regime by its proper name. This is Apartheid: one country with two systems of laws, one for the colonisers and one for the colonised.
I have two objectives in rehearsing, though briefly, this narrative of Palestinian dispossession. First, it is a narrative that has been denied repeatedly and falsified massively by Zionists. It therefore needs to be affirmed, simply and forcefully, again and again, in the expectation that world conscience will bear witness against the Zionist project of wiping out the Arab presence from Palestine to make room for Jewish settlers.
Once this narrative is affirmed, once it becomes clear that the destruction of Palestinians was necessary -- and was always known to be necessary and accepted as necessary --for Israel to emerge as an exclusive Jewish state, once it is admitted that the dispossession of Palestinians has involved wars, ethnic cleansing, massacres, villages destroyed, cities besieged, homes demolished, children maimed and killed, prisoners tortured, ambulances bombed, journalists targeted, municipal records destroyed, and trees uprooted, once all this destructiveness -- already accomplished, and more of it unfolding everyday -- is recognised then protestations about the "destructiveness" or "ugliness" of an academic boycott of Israel become insupportable, indeed unconscionable.
Leonid Ryzhik of the University of Chicago argues that the academic boycott "indirectly encourages the [Palestinian] terrorist murderers in their deadly deeds". Does he mean to say that this boycott "indirectly encourages" the Palestinian resistance, and anything that questions, delays or weakens the extension of the Zionist project to the West Bank and Gaza must be challenged, and neutralised? It must be affirmed in the face of such posturing that resistance is a Palestinian right, as it was a right of all colonised peoples who faced dispossession. Of necessity, dispossession is implemented by force, and it follows that resistance to the coloniser must also be violent.
The question, therefore, is not why do the Palestinians resist, nor why do they resist by violent means. There is a different question before the world's conscience: why have we for 50 years abandoned the Palestinians to fight their battles alone, beleaguered by a coloniser whom they cannot fight alone? Why have we allowed the Palestinians to be battered, exiled from their lands, herded into camps -- in villages and towns that have been turned into concentration camps -- exposed to the mercy of a coloniser who freely draws upon the finances, political support and military arsenal of the world's greatest power? In despair, marginalised, pauperised, facing extinction as a people, if the Palestinians now use the only defence they have -- to die in defence of their rights --who is to blame?
If the world's conscience now shows the first signs of acting on behalf of the Palestinians, it is to be hoped that this will mitigate the Palestinians' deep despair. When young Palestinians learn that academics the world over and young people on campuses in Britain, France, Canada, and United States are stirring on their behalf, this will convince them that they are not alone, and, once they are so convinced, they may be persuaded to renounce their acts of desperation. The academic boycott of Israel uses non-violent means -- it leverages moral suasion -- to reduce the violence of the coloniser as well as that of the colonised.
There are people who are shouting "foul" at the academic boycott, saying that this curtails the academic freedom of Israelis. I will readily admit that it does: the boycott is expected to work by shrinking the international avenues available to Israeli scientists for pursuing their work. Still, it must be emphasised that this curtailment is temporary and that it will end the moment Israel ends its occupation. It is also limited in scope. It only seeks to limit some of the advantages Israeli scientists derive from their interactions with the global scientific community. It does not threaten any fundamental academic freedoms.
This infringement of academic freedom -- temporary and limited as it is -- must also be seen in a broader framework. I readily concede that academic freedom is an important value, and it is a value that all humane societies should cherish. But there are also other values that we should cherish, other values that may even be more important, more fundamental, than the right to academic freedom. I believe it is reasonable and moral to impose temporary and partial limits on the academic freedom of a few Israelis if this can help to restore the fundamental rights of millions of Palestinians -- their right to life, to their property, to their lands, to freedom of movement within their own country, to sovereign control over their destiny, and to equal treatment under the law. This can only be denied if we confess a disproportion in the value we accord to Israeli and Palestinian rights.
One might, of course, argue that the boycott is a wasted effort, since it can have no appreciable impact on Israeli society and policies. This is a question about the efficacy of the boycott. There can be little question that Israeli scientists value the esteem and cooperation of the world's scientific community, as well as access to international funding. It can therefore be expected that if the boycott spreads, it could begin to reduce the effectiveness of Israeli scientists. Perhaps more importantly, it is unlikely that Israeli society can ignore the message that the boycott sends: that Israeli violations of Palestinian rights are repugnant, and will not be allowed to stand.
At the same time, I refuse to be cowed by invocations of the 'sanctity' of academia. More than ever, universities now help to reproduce the power structures of their societies; they are a potent source of ideologies of imperialism, as well as of race and class exploitation. Israeli universities are no exception. Through their links with the military, the political parties, the media and the economy, they have helped to construct, sustain, and justify the Apartheid system. I might have hesitated in adding my name to the boycott if I knew that Israeli academics had taken the lead in organising rallies, in organising sit-ins, and passing resolutions protesting the occupation, or that they had refused to work on projects that serve it. However, on the contrary, Israeli academia on the whole has shown that it is a party to the occupation.
The academic boycott of Israel offers one of the few means available to international civil society for seeking to end the occupation. Israel has pursued policies in the occupied territories that would have invited economic sanctions, and even military intervention, against any other country had it acted in like manner. America's capitulation to the Israeli lobby has meant that Israel can wage war against a civilian population -- using bombs, rockets, tank shells, and artillery fire -- with impunity.
Abandoned, isolated, beleaguered and unarmed, a few Palestinian men and women have responded to this massive force by weaponising their own deaths through suicide bombings, provoking still greater violence against themselves. But, paradoxically, this has also pushed world conscience into taking notice of the affront to humanity that is the Israeli occupation. The academic boycott is one small step the detribalised world is now taking to stop this affront, a step that all men and women who have risen above tribalism should welcome.
* The writer is professor of economics at Northeastern University, Boston.
Thomas Merton And A Chip In The Brain
by Bill C. Davis
According to Thomas Merton, they want it. They want war. It's not that they want peace and a better way of life for the Iraqi people blah, blah. It's not that they want security and freedom for us. They want the war. As if they have a chip, not on their shoulder but in their brains and it is programmed for war.
Thomas Merton believed what the rest of the world is trying to tell Bush, Cheney and their tapestry of advisers: war will exacerbate all problems - it will bury the chip deeper in some and release it in others but war will only make more war - more violence - more anger - and more of what war has always given us.
War is not, as Rumsfeld told a sea of soldiers in camouflage, a difficult means to a positive end. Thomas Merton believed that for the likes of Rumsfeld, war is the end. It is their moment to do the irresistible. They have strong-armed their way to the top and now they can have what they want even as they say they wish they didn't have to want it. Yes -those of us who are more suspicious of their stated motives can say it's about oil and neo-colonialism - that may very well be the subtext to the text of their rhetoric - but Merton believes that even beneath the subtext is the intoxicating pull of war in these mysterious psyches. Like drunkards - war is the apple of their bloodshot eyes.
Merton, a trappist monk, would say that if Mr. Bush in fact had Christ as his philosophical hero he would be on the phone daily with Saddam Hussein. He would send e-mails - he would talk this drama down off the ledge. But that message of Christ has no place in an unabashed appetite for deadly "justice". He had the stomach for the death penalty as governor and he'll have the stomach for war as president.
Thomas Merton wrote in the 1960's that, "the motive for which men are led to fight today is that war is necessary to destroy those who threaten our peace." Merton calls this "pseudologic" and that "...war, in fact, is a complete suspension of reason. This is at once its danger and the source of immense attraction...the awful danger of war is not so much that force is used when reason has broken down but that reason unconsciously inhibits itself beforehand in order that it may break down and in order that resort to force may become inevitable."
We are in the middle of that perverse process right now. A clueless cabal agitates and sells their nobility as they lay the groundwork for war and tolerate the objections. They "understand" the natural apprehensions of informed and learned people of good will but they are further along in the decision-making and they may or may not wait for the rest of the world to "catch up."
Once the bombs drop and the blood flows they seem confident that the others will be absorbed by their pseudologic. We'll see dancing in the streets of Baghdad - we will view videos of the confiscated weapons and exposed labs where WMDs have been percolating and we will be told that we got there just in time. Thousands of lives later we will be told that we are that much safer now.
According to Thomas Merton, the only weapons of mass destruction are those chips in the fevered brains of the men and women in charge and until they are defused nothing and no one can ever be safe.
Bill C. Davis is a playwright http://www.billcdavis.com/
I Call It Treason
by Doug McIntosh
You have to hand it to Mr. Magoo. I'll give him an A for chutzpah, that's for sure. The man is nothing but a common criminal of the white collar type. I openly and publicly call the FED chief a traitor, a coward and a common white collar criminal. The system is beyond accountability and I have a bad feeling this will end in blood. "Strike for Liberty and Honor" was the battle cry of our Revolutionary War, the Irish and also Bonnie Prince Charlie's cry at Culloden. Our criminal leaders have to go to jail on treason charges and there is no beating around the bush, pun intended.
Alan Greenspan did conspire, manipulate and commit "high crimes and felonies" by forcing state pension funds to bail out the stock market on July 24th, 2002. Quite honestly, for this alone Mr. Greenspan should be tried and executed for treason. In fact, what's left of America is headed towards a racial, economic and cultural civil war. The system is collapsing a little more every day. As for Mr. Magoo, he used his position to jawbone the pension funds to reverse the nearly 20% freefall in both Citibank and JP Morgan stock. Each one point of the DOW represents around one billion United States fiat dollars. The 1000 point swing since late July represents a staggering ONE TRILLION dollars of investment, or mal investment. Even the mainstream press admitted that the "little guy" sat this one out and the money came from pension funds, insurance companies and the like. In other words, the FED had the system bail out the system. Talk about economic incest. What the FED did is to loot the retirement plans of public employees. The government has already looted the private retirement plan called Social Security. The looting is done. The money is gone. What cynical, arrogant whores these people are. Common criminals posing as upholders of the law.
The FED is a private banking corporation that sets the economic policy for the people of the United States. I call that treason and worthy of death or exile for the oligarchic elite that has been destroying America since 1860. I think the United States was a Republic until 1860; then began a transition period until 1912 and 1913 with the FED and the Income Tax. We are now in the final phase. I guess you could call me a revolutionary seeking to restore the Republic. The bankers and the elite has already overthrown the true government. Here at gold-eagle.com we are all not so much revolutionaries as restorers. How can you overthrow the government when the current government has already overthrown it? And frankly, I think we are all getting pissed off about these usurpers posing as patriots. Our leaders are arrogant oligarchs bleeding the common people dry for their own purposes. And it will soon stop, one way or another.
As for the current economic situation, it is almost beyond comprehension. The disconnect between economic reality and the true economic reality is getting narrower every passing day. We were told there was no recession and then there was but it ended quickly. Now we are told we are in recovery, except the recession never ended. There is no double dip; there is only the death spiral. A wave of corporate bankruptcies has been happening since 2000. A wave of personal bankruptcies has been happening since 2000. June durable goods orders were down nearly 4% from May. I find it fascinating that the same court economists who ignored nearly two years of manufacturing declines, were so pleased with a few months of "reported increases." If two years of declines were ignored; then, why would any increase matter at all? These court jester economists are pathetic. We now see in July and August that retail sales are stagnating. The back to school season was a bust. Car sales are only being fueled by zero percent financing. I guess the novel idea you have to make money on cars is beyond the Big Three. In another essay I commented about the heavy debt loads, the pension fund liabilities and the need to generate cash flow to deal with this. How can the stock market avoid collapse when companies aren't profitable, can't service their debt and have cooked the books? It can't. Add to that the fact the foreigners have figured all this out and are starting to bail out of both the stock market and the dollar. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the logical result. It helps to be a doomer of course.
President Pretzel gave his speech on corporate accountability and the markets tanked. Mr. Greenspan gave his little speech and the markets tanked. Vice President Cheesy gave his little sound bite on corporate responsibility and nobody even noticed. The President should go to jail for his actions at Harken energy. The Vice President should go to jail for his corruption at Haliburton. And Mr. Magoo should go to jail for his destruction of the retirement hopes of millions of Americans. I believe Vice President Chessy will be impeached after the corrupt democrats retake the Senate and House in November. Mr. Magoo will eventually be allowed to crawl off and rot somewhere. Sir Greenspan the criminal has been recognized for his economic contributions to our age. Do they mean a culture of business and political corruption? Or how about the stock and housing bubbles? Perhaps they mean Mr. Magoo's manipulation of the stock and gold markets. Yeah, Mr. Magoo sure has made major contributions to our age. As for President Pretzel, he's in a class all by himself. Our very own wannabe führer, along with his police state. The economy is going to hell rapidly. The retail sales show the sheeple have figured it out. It's wag the dog time. If Bush is stupid enough to actually invade Iraq, a chain reaction of events will bring the end of our age. All in the next five years or so. Enjoy yourself and live each day to the fullest.
I spent the last weekend at the local Italian festival eating good food and enjoying myself. Except for the riot when Bush came to Portland you could almost think things were normal. That's the key: maintain the illusion of normalcy as long as you can. Won't work though. It's too late for the illusion to maintain its power. That's my basic message: the illusion is over and now reality is rearing its ugly head. The sheeple sense it. The sheeple are spooked. The wolves are circling the flock. It's only a matter of time before the screams start. Are you mentally prepared to deal with it? I hope so. I really do because destiny waits for no man or woman. And destiny, dear reader is now upon us. What we do with it is up to us. We are the captains of our fate and the masters of our own souls. The buck stops with us, individually and collectively. I hope the American people and the people of planet earth are up to the challenges facing us. If not, we will have a dark age. I believe we still have a choice. We will have to give up our illusions and take hold of the new unpleasant reality with both hands. If we do that, we have a chance to create a better system than the current farce. One's thing for sure, our leaders will have to go.
Investigators Conclude Russian Defector is Lead Suspect in Anthrax Mailings Case
Sandpoint, ID Three veteran investigators have independently narrowed the field of anthrax mailings suspects to a single Russian defector affiliated with two heavily implicated defense contractors and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Kanatjan Alibekov, alias Ken Alibek, the President of Hadron Advanced Biosystems, should be re-interrogated by the FBI, according to three researchers who arrived at this conclusion independently. They say Stephen Hatfillthe military virologist cited by FBI officials in recent weeks as a chief subject was not likely involved in the mailings at all.
The three men include: Dr. Leonard G. Horowitza public health and emerging diseases expert, Michael Rupperta retired Los Angeles Police Department narcotics detective, and Stewart Webba federal whistle blower credited with supplying key evidence to federal prosecutors during the 1989 Housing and Urban Development (HUD) scandal. All three investigators say substantial evidence implicates Dr. Alibekov and the parties he served before and during the anthrax mailings, including the CIA. This, they propose, might best explain why the FBIs inquiry has floundered.
Their compiled evidence is largely public knowledge. Dr. Alibekov was the first Deputy Director of Biopreparatthe Soviet Unions leading biological weapons testing center. He oversaw military anthrax production for nearly 20 years, and was personally responsible for 32,000 employees at 40 facilities when he suddenly defected to the United States in 1992 to begin working for the CIA. According to interviews, Dr. Alibekov allegedly defected to help stop the biological weapons race, not for monetary reward. Yet, his activities in America indicate otherwise.
On May 20, 1998 Dr. Alibekov testified before the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress as a Program Manager for the Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI)a leading military contractor and one of few institutional suspects identified by the press. William Broad of the New York Times (Dec. 13, 2001), upon Dr. Horowitzs earlier urging, cited BMI as the chief CIA contractor for project Clearvisionan effort to produce the deadliest Ames strain anthrax ever developed. It was hyper-concentrated, silica-laced, electro-magnetized, and extremely transmissible. The facts indicate Dr. Alibekov, one of two leading anthrax experts contracted by the CIA at the time of Clearvision, may have managed the entire program during which the germ was sent from BMI to the BMI administered and supplied Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah. From here or BMIs anthrax lab in West Jefferson, Ohio, the never-before-seen anthrax weapon was transferred to envelopes and mailed from four locations including Trenton, N.J. and St. Petersburg, FL in early October, 2001. The mailings killed five people while scores of others were victimized by the ensuing fright and toxic side effects from taking CIPROthe anthrax antibiotic, according to experts and news reports.
More suspicious ties to the Russian defector and Hadron Advanced Biosystems were realized when investigators learned of the second leading BMI and CIA anthrax contractor, and close personal friend of Dr. Alibekov, Dr. William C. Patrick, III. Suspiciously, Dr. Alibekov and BMI had contracted with this anthrax ace in the Spring of 1998 to predict the dispersal and damage capability of mailing such a hyper-weaponized germ much like the one sent to select members of the media and legislators on Capitol Hill. Evidence indicates Dr. Patrick, who holds several secret patents on Americas anthrax weapons, worked closely with Dr. Alibekov in developing the anthrax that was mailed.
The three independent investigators each cite economic and political motives for the targeted anthrax mailings. Given the high grade and technical difficulty in producing and handling this grade of anthrax, they reasoned, white collar criminals with access to military or pharmaceutical labs most likely acted on behalf of those who benefited most from the attacks and ensuing fright. Hadron, DynCorp, and BMI lead the pack of corporate and institutional suspects, the investigators say. A revelatory organizational chart prepared by Dr. Horowitz depicting the leading corporate and institutional suspects was mailed to more than 1,500 FBI agents late last year along with an extensive 25-page report still available over the Internet (link to http://www.tetrahedron.org/articles/anthrax/anthrax_espionage.html)
Logically, the three investigators reasoned, the media was initially targeted to sway public opinion in support of government orders worth billions of dollars for hyped vaccines and drugs, much of which benefited Hadron, DynCorp, BMI and their directors and contractors. DynCorp was the major military and intelligence provider awarded $322 million to develop, produce, and store anthrax and smallpox vaccines for the nation. BMI, a leading defense and energy industry contractor, directed the US militarys Joint Vaccine Acquisitions Program. Bioport, LLC became a leading beneficiary. This British-controlled anthrax vaccine maker in Lansing, Michigan was sanctioned repeatedly by federal officials and members of congress for unethical business practices, violating health and safety guidelines, and vaccine contaminations that some researchers say may have triggered the mysterious Gulf War illness.
Corporate profiteering was firmly secured after the mailings to Capitol Hill, the investigators say. The specific targeting of Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), traditionally strong drug and military industry adversaries, reinforced their suspicions.
Dr. Horowitz had been studying anthrax advances since 1989. He correctly diagnosed the beginning of the anthrax scam one week before the first mailings were heralded by the media. FBI records show he urged the bureau to begin their ongoing investigation into anthrax-related bioterrorism on October 1, 2001. It took bureau officials six months to finally respond to his repeated urgent correspondence. Then, rather than expressing gratitude and following my leads, he said, my two interrogators were primed to make me a suspect. For this reason, Horowitz says, he can feel for the plight of the bureaus scapegoatDr. Steven Hatfill.
Detective Ruppert, collaborating with investigative journalist Michael Davidson, followed their suspicions to Hadron and DynCorp through court records pertaining to a secret pirated military software program called PROMIS. They learned that Dr. Alibekovs predecessorHadrons past director and founder, Dr. Earl Briana business associate of former Reagan administration Attorney General Edwin Meesewas convicted of fraud during the 1980s.
Dr. Alibekovs interrogation and lie detection at Hadrons Advanced Biosystems, Ruppert advised, may not only solve the anthrax mailings mystery, but also shed light on the recent untimely and inexplicable deaths of several biological weapons experts including Dr. Alibekovs former boss, Dr. Vladimir Pasechnik. Dr. Pasechnikthe Soviet Unions top biological weapons directorwas most likely murdered, according to Ruppert and Davidson. His demise immediately followed his volunteering to help solve the anthrax mailings mystery.
Dr. Pasechnik defected to Great Britain three years before Dr. Alibekov defected to America, Mr. Ruppert recalled. Pasechnik abandoned his work in biological weapons development. Dr. Alibekov, contrary to his stated reason for defecting, continued to work in this field. Pasechniks death, according to British intelligence officer Christopher Davis, was reportedly due to a stroke. Ruppert and Davidson remain unconvinced.
Stuart Webb has spent more than twenty years investigating white collar crime at the highest levels of government. His intelligence sources and leads have proven accurate a number of times, helping justice department officials indict suspects ranging from bankers to drug dealers. He also believes evidence in the anthrax mailings case implicates key CIA and Bush administration officials. For this reason, he says, the crime is unlikely to be solved by the FBI.
One of my sources, a high ranking intelligence officer, confirmed Dr. Horowitzs conclusion, he said. Hadron and Dr. Alibek in particular, are most heavily implicated as agents for this anthrax devil-doing.
NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: For interviews with the independent investigators named, contact:
Dr. Horowitz, by calling 208-265-2575 or by emailing email@example.com;
Mr. Ruppert by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org;
Mr. Davidson by e-mailing email@example.com; and Mr. Webb by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, Dr. Horowitz's radio program, "The Insight Hour" covering this topic is archived at www.tetrahedron.org/ra/Anthrax8-29-02.ram
Saddam Hussein is going down. George W. Bush has already announced his intention. For many the question is not "if,"... but "when". Even the most sensible voice in the cabinet, Secretary of State Colin Powell, has made it clear that Iraq is the next U.S. target.
As a Daily Reckoning reader put it this week on the discussion board: "Iraq: It's so obvious."
With 112 billion barrels of oil, at least according to Oil and Gas Journal, Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world. And although you may not be aware of it... 90% of Iraq's oil exports -- 24.2 million barrels a month -- already go to the United States. Only the "invasion strategy" appears to remain in question.
Now, here's a fact that should be fairly obvious to all readers...
Arab Wars = Oil Profits
It's simple. Conflict in the Middle East invariably leads to higher oil prices. Consider recent history:
* The Yom Kippur War, 1972 -- fought between Israel and its Arab neighbors, it quadrupled the price of oil, from $3 to $12 a barrel.
* The Iranian Revolution, 1978 -- effectively removed one of the world's kingpin oil producers and pushed oil prices from $12 a barrel to $24 a barrel.
* The Iran/Iraq War, 1980 -- jump-started oil prices again, sending them from under $22 a barrel to over $35!
* Iraq invades Kuwait, 1990 -- propelled oil markets into the stratosphere. The price of crude climbed from $20 a barrel to over $35 a barrel.
Justice Dept Hiding Secret Weekly Reports To The Attorney General
by Michael Ravnitzky email@example.com
I am a reporter who works full time for a well-respected national news organization in the Washington, DC area. My news organization publishes more than 25 national and regional magazines and newspapers, primarily in the area of business and law, and at least two (Legal Times and The National Law Journal) primarily devoted to the activities of the justice system and of federal government agencies.
Last year I learned that the Department of Justice Office of Legislative Affairs (DOJ OLA) provided weekly legislative activity (i.e. DOJ lobbying) reports to the Office of the Attorney General. These reports are usually 2-3 pages in length.
I asked for a few of these reports under the Freedom of Information Act; those were provided in their entirety. Then I sent a letter, again citing FOIA, and requested a couple of years worth of these reports (still only a couple of hundred pages in all). Soon afterward, the roof fell in.
The news organization I work for routinely reports on Justice Department activities in several magazines and newspapers. Nevertheless, DOJ decided that I am no longer a representative of the news media. As a result, they declined to process our request without our payment of hundreds or thousands of dollars in search fees. Under the FOIA law, reporters should not be charged any search or review fees.
I found out soon afterward what had happened. A small office in DOJ called the Office of Information and Privacy runs training seminars for government FOIA managers in a variety of agencies. At one training session in November, 2001, the question came up of how to handle troublesome requests, including my request for legislative weekly reports to the Attorney General. The DOJ representative said that they were going to deny my status as a representative of the news media, despite the fact that I work full time for a national news organization and actively cover agency matters.
I learned this from a FOIA Manager who was in attendance at the seminar, and who also spoke to the group criticizing this decision. This manager told me that he thought their decision-making was highly improper.
Despite letters to the DOJ from the editor in chief of our news organization, as well as inquiries from our company General Counsel, the Justice Department is standing firm and suppressing the release of these reports by insisting that a reporter is not a reporter.
The Justice Department is now considering spreading this technique of hiding government documents to other agencies. If it is not halted now, this approach could keep reporters from learning about the activities of the government. This matter is too important to keep within the confines of a newsroom.
Apparently these documents which I requested are highly embarrassing or sensitive, since they are taking such extraordinary steps to prevent their release.
If I withdraw my request for these documents, which date back at least as far as the mid-1980s, they will undoubtedly be shredded under the Justice Department's document destruction schedules.
What can you do about this?
FIRST of all, these reports should be requested to prevent their immediate shredding. Once records are requested, the agency is obliged to retain the records until the request has been processed.
If anyone else is interested in these reports, you can request them, specifying the years that you are interested in , by sending a letter simply mentioning the Freedom of Information Act, and asking for
THE OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS WEEKLY REPORTS TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE YEARS XXXX - XXXX. (as of last month, they had these reports going back at least 15 years)
Office of Legislative Affairs -- Requests for Office of Legislative Affairs records should be addressed to:
Melanie Ann Pustay, Deputy Director Office of Information and Privacy Suite 570, Flag Building Department of Justice Washington, DC 20530-0001 PHONE: 202: 514-FOIA FAX: 202-514-1009
What lobbying activities are described in these reports that the Justice Department is willing to go to such great lengths to hide?
SECOND, you can contact the Office of Information & Privacy and ask them why they are squelching the release of these records.
If you would like any further information, you can contact me at 202-828-0328. I will provide copies of the relevant correspondence upon request to anyone from a newsroom or public interest or advocacy organization.
Ashcroft Gives Detainee Information To Foreign Consulates But Not To The American People
by Jennifer Van Bergen, t r u t h o u t, May 8, 2002
Last Saturday in Miami, ACLU Director Anthony Romero quietly dropped a bombshell on the audience of a well-attended award dinner.
After noting that ACLU membership increased by a record 75,000 in the closing months of last fall, since 9/11, and spending considerable time detailing the most worrisome provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, Romero told listeners about ACLU efforts to obtain information from the Attorney General John Ashcroft about the more than 1200 immigrants detained under the Act.
This was the last figure provided by the Attorney General's office in late November, before he simply stopped providing updates at all.
Romero explained that the ACLU had repeatedly asked Ashcroft to reveal the identities of those individuals detained, the dates of detention, and the charges, if any. Ashcroft refused.
The ACLU, other human rights organizations, and even U.S. Senators continued to demand this information. But nothing came. In fact, Ashcroft did not even bother to respond to many of these requests.
Finally, the ACLU, along with other several organizations, such as Amnesty International, filed two law suits under the Freedom of Information Act to compel the government to release such information.
The documents provided by Ashcroft as a result of these filings were so heavily redacted that nothing but the outline of the forms themselves was revealed.
Romero then got an idea.
When a nation arrests or detains citizens of another country, it uniformly provides the other country with information about those whom it has detained. Romero decided to contact the embassies likely to have had citizens detained.
Romero contacted the embassies, and lo and behold, Romero received lists... with names ... and dates of arrest ... and charges ... and even, in a few cases, "A-number" file names.
A-file numbers are given to asylum cases by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. As Romero pointed out, an A-file number would not be found in the hands of low-level foreign embassy officials if the U.S. government had not given it to them.
The news came out that the ACLU had written letters to these embassies, but the media didn't bother to mention that it had previously written many letters to Ashcroft, which had gone unanswered.
No one bothered to ask the central question: if national security concerns prevent the U.S. government from revealing such information to its own lawmakers and citizens, how is it that it can reveal this information to foreign nations like, say, Pakistan?
The ACLU asks: why is Ashcroft sharing information with foreign nations, some of whom are likely to be spawning new terrorists right now, that he refuses to share with Americans, supposedly due to national security concerns? Concerned citizens wonder what is the real agenda here?
Washington Bends The Rules
by James Bamford, The New York Times Op Ed, August 27, 2002
Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested." So begins "The Trial," Franz Kafka's story of an ordinary man caught in a legal web where the more he struggles to find out what he did wrong, the more trapped he becomes. "After all," says Kafka's narrator, "K. lived in a state governed by law, there was universal peace, all statutes were in force."
With increasing speed, the Justice Department of Attorney General John Ashcroft is starting to resemble the "always vengeful bureaucracy" that crushed Josef K. Recently, in two federal cases, the Justice Department argued that it is within the president's inherent power to indefinitely detain, without any charges, any person, including any United States citizen, whom the president (through the Justice Department) designates an "enemy combatant." Further, the person can be locked away, held incommunicado and denied counsel. Finally, Mr. Ashcroft argues that such a decision is not subject to review by federal or state courts. This situation is beyond even Kafka, who in his parable of punishment and paranoia at least supplied Josef K. with an attorney.
Despite the draconian dictates issuing almost daily from the Justice Department, it is not the watchdogs in Congress but the judiciary itself that is blowing the whistle. The most recent example came from the super-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in the form of an extremely unusual open opinion -- only the second in its quarter-century history. The judges of the court unanimously criticized federal agents for misleading the court in applications for secret eavesdropping warrants on 75 occasions during the Clinton administration (as of September 2000) and an unspecified additional number between September 2000 and March 2001. One request was even signed by F.B.I. director Louis J. Freeh.
The F.I.S.C. presiding judge from that period, Royce Lamberth, said in April of this year that Mr. Ashcroft's Justice Department had cleared up some problems associated with approval of wiretaps -- the court's main activity. However, Mr. Ashcroft's steady push to increase his department's surveillance powers and subject citizens to investigative methods normally restricted to the tracking of spies has forced the court to publicize its worries. The F.I.S.C. opinion was issued on May 17. It found that the Justice Department wanted to use the U.S.A. Patriot Act improperly. The court's decision is now being appealed by Mr. Ashcroft to the F.I.S.C. appeals court. The May 17 opinion was sent by the F.I.S.C. court to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which released it to the public last Thursday. The committee, like F.I.S.C. itself, has grown concerned by the Justice Department's ever more extensive power.
It is time for Congress to at last hold public hearings on the issue. The problems have become so bad that the court barred one F.B.I. agent -- the supervisor in charge of surveillance involving Hamas, no less -- from appearing before them again.
What triggered the court's extraordinary public rebuke was Mr. Ashcroft's proposal last March to greatly increase the amount of intelligence information shared between the spies and the cops. Many fear that erasing the line between the two groups will open up, in particular, a Pandora's box of domestic electronic espionage by the F.B.I. and the National Security Agency.
The N.S.A., by statute, is largely restricted to eavesdropping overseas. Its capabilities are so great that a single listening post normally pulls in over two million pieces of communications an hour -- phone calls, e-mail messages, faxes, data transfers.
The laws were put in place in reaction to Nixon-era surveillance and were meant to keep foreign-intelligence investigators from tapping everyone's phones, regardless of probable cause and other constitutional niceties, and then pass on the results to prosecutors. The surveillance court was created in 1978 under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It was the product of a compromise between those who wanted to see virtually no legal restrictions on the secret domestic national-security eavesdropping of the N.S.A. and F.B.I., and those who felt the agencies should apply for warrants just as is done in drug or bank robbery cases. After years of debate, it was decided to force the two agencies go to court and obtain a warrant but to create a new, and very secret, court system to issue them. Today, like a modern Star Chamber, the F.I.S.A. court meets behind a cipher-locked door in a windowless, bug-proof, vault-like room guarded 24 hours a day on the top floor of the Justice Department building. The 11 judges (increased from seven by the U.S.A. Patriot Act) hear only the government's side.
A key problem is that, in its nearly 25-year history, the secret court has approved over 10,000 warrants -- with the numbers growing every year -- and never turned down a single request. Before the court was created, the director of central intelligence chaired a panel that reviewed national-security eavesdropping requests -- and very frequently turned them down. Today, if the court should ever turn down a request the government can appeal to the F.I.S.A. appeals court, which has the distinction of being the only court in the United States that has never heard a case. (The government's appeal of the F.I.S.C. opinion of May 17 will be the first case heard by the F.I.S.A. appeals court.) While serving on this bench, the judges have become the Maytag repairmen of the federal judiciary. And should that court reject the request, the government has the right to appeal immediately to a closed session of the United States Supreme Court.
Given the secret power of the F.I.S.A. court, the fact that federal agents regularly misled it and Attorney General Ashcroft's worrisome proposals to expand the number and range of requests, Congress must begin holding hearings, some of them public, on how to fix the system.
In the end, Kafka's Josef K. becomes so fatigued in his fight to find out why he was arrested that he just loses his will to resist. The release of the May 17 opinion (by the court's new presiding judge) to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the committee's release of it to the public, can reasonably be seen as cries for help. The Justice Department has to understand that democratic oversight of law enforcement is not taken lightly by Congress or the American people, even in these threatening times.
James Bamford is the author, most recently, of "Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency.''
BOOKMARK THIS VIDEO AND SHOW IT TO EVERYONE!
BOOKMARK THIS VIDEO AND SHOW IT TO EVERYONE!
08/23/02 BREAKING: RealVideo of Portland Protest MUST SEE. (huge file, best with broadband). This video makes it clear that the mainstream media has drastically under-reported the size of the protest, and documents how the police attacked peaceful protestors with chemical weapons and rubber bullets without provocation, just because Fuhrer Bush and his guests at the fundraiser didn't want to have to look at them. If you think you still live in a free nation, this video will change your mind. This isn't some far off dictatorship where the police beat citizens for protesting, this is happening in the streets of America. BOOKMARK THIS VIDEO AND SHOW IT TO EVERYONE!
BOOKMARK THIS VIDEO AND SHOW IT TO EVERYONE!
FORCE OR FRAUD - THIS SAYS IT ALL!
THIS REALLY PISSES ME OFF!
I Call It Treason
"If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier --just so long as I'm the dictator." --George W. Bush (December 18, 2000)
The ADL/Media/USGOV....talk about a tag team from Hell! Did they convict themselves of acting in "BAD Faith"?
The Network Army
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
Apparently sick of playing the bad guy at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the U.S. struck back yesterday, proclaiming itself "the world's leader in sustainable development." To bolster that claim, U.S. delegates in Johannesburg announced joint government and private-sector initiatives, including a $53 million effort to protect forests in the Congo Basin and $43 million worth of energy projects for poor communities worldwide. The delegates provided few details on the projects, however, and some critics said the money was merely a reshuffling of preexisting aid packages. The announcement --the first official one from the U.S. since the conference opened on Monday -- came on the heels of growing criticism of the Bush administration's environmental policies in general and obstructionism at the summit in specific. Delegates from other nations have accused the U.S. of thwarting negotiations on global trade and the environment, and promoting the privatization of such basic services as health care, drinking water, and electricity at the expense of citizens of developing nations.
straight to the source: Washington Post, Jon Jeter, 30 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=422>
straight to the source: Financial Times, John Mason, 29 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=423>
only in Grist: Dispatches from Johannesburg -- by Tom Turner of Earthjustice <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dearme/turner082902.asp?source=daily>
WATER SHIPPED DOWN
To the dismay of environmentalists, the U.S. Interior Department approved yesterday a $1 billion, 50-year project to store water beneath the Mojave Desert, in what would be one of California's largest water storage facilities. Southern California's Metropolitan Water District would store surplus Colorado River water in an aquifer under the desert; during dry years, the water would be pumped from the aquifer into the MWD system, which serves 17 million people. The water district would buy the water from Cadiz, Inc., which owns the land above the aquifer, an arrangement critics regard as an ominous return to the days of private, for-profit water companies. Environmentalists fear the project would endanger the fragile desert ecosystem supported by the aquifer and pose a threat to species such as bighorn sheep and the desert tortoise. But the Interior Department brushed aside those concerns, saying project managers would ensure that the aquifer wasn't drained too rapidly.
straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Tony Perry and Michael Hiltzik, 30 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=424>
Along with emissions from power plants, pollution from vehicles is the major air-pollution culprit. But that could change if cars ran on sugar, as a team of scientists at the University of Wisconsin at Madison has proposed. In a paper published in yesterday's edition of the journal Nature, the scientists detailed a technique for breaking down a glucose solution into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The hydrogen would then be pumped into a fuel cell that would power a car or truck, and the carbon dioxide would be released into the atmosphere. That might sound like a recipe for more global warming, but the scientists say the process does not produce any more CO2 than would be released into the air as the sugar sources biodegraded naturally. The process is still in the early research stages, but its implications are potentially huge as the automotive industry seeks out clean, renewable energy sources.
straight to the source: MSNBC.com, Reuters, 29 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=426>
It might be officially nicknamed the Golden State, but sometimes, it's more like the Yellowish-Brown State: California continues to lead the U.S. in dirty air, with nearly twice as many "smog days" as any other state in the union, a recent report by an environmental group found. According to the study of government air-quality data by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, smog levels nationwide exceeded federal health standards 4,634 times in the summer of 2001, a 10 percent increase over the previous summer -- and this summer is shaping up to be even worse. Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio rounded out the worst-five list in 2001. Texas, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island were the only states to show improvements over 2000 air-pollution levels. The U.S. PIRG report comes as the Bush administration is attempting to ease regulations governing emissions from power plants, one of the leading sources of air pollution.
straight to the source: Seattle Times, Associated Press, H. Josef Hebert, 30 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=425>
do good: Take action to preserve the Clean Air Act <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/air.asp?source=daily#grandfather>
ANOTHER ANDERSON SCANDAL
A court in India has rejected efforts to reduce the charges against Warren Anderson, the former chair of the U.S.-based company Union Carbide, which was responsible for a 1984 gas leak in Bhopal that killed 3,000 people and sickened tens of thousands more. The leak from a pesticide plant in the central Indian city was one of the worst industrial accidents in the history of the world. Nonetheless, India's Central Bureau of Investigation had tried to weaken the charges against Anderson from culpable homicide to rash and negligent action. A district judge in Bhopal declined the request on the grounds that the accused had failed to appear in court; the judge also asked the CBI to hasten the extradition process so Anderson could be brought to trial. Greenpeace welcomed the court's decision, as did survivors of the leak, who had been outraged by the CBI's efforts to dilute the charges.
straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Sanjay Sharma, 30 Aug 2002 <http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17502/story.htm>
do good: Take action to clean up Bhopal <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/toxic.asp?source=daily#bhopal>
Greenpeace's Positive Energy
August 24 - August 30, 2002
Time for Greenpeace's CLEAN ENERGY NOW! campaign's weekly good news update!!!
In this issue:
-- Good News for Solar in California: AB 58 on Its Way to Full Assembly Vote
-- Earth Summit Update: The Writing is on the Wall for Fossil Fuels
-- Greenpeace Sues U.S. Government Over Global Warming -- Universities Lead the Way to Renewable Energy
Good News for Solar in California: AB 58 on Its Way to Full Assembly Vote
Thanks to all of the faxes, emails and calls that Positive Energy readers and other concerned residents made to Assemblyman Roderick Wright and Senator Bill Morrow in California in support of AB 58, it passed unanimously out of committee on Tuesday, August 27th, with all of our demands met.
AB 58, which allows for solar systems up to a megawatt in size (about enough electricity for 500 homes) to plug into the grid and send solar power they don't use back into the grid for later use, will now be heard on the floor of the Senate and the Assembly.
Keep the pressure on! Be sure to call your representative and tell them to support solar power in California by passing AB 58.
We'll keep you informed about the progress of this crucial legislation.
Earth Summit Update: The Writing is on the Wall for Fossil Fuels
Today, August 30th, Greenpeace and The Body Shop presented 1,602,489 signatures to the Earth Summit in the form of an interactive mural calling upon delegates to agree to get clean, reliable, renewable energy into the hands of 2 billion of the world's poorest people by 2010. Find out more:
Also stay updated with Greenpeace's Youth Delegation. Find out what they have to say to world leaders meeting in South Africa:
Get in the inside scoop on happenings on the ground in South Africa from Greenpeace's team of activists who are continually updating this web site to keep you informed:
Greenpeace Sues the U.S. Government Over Global Warming
Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the City of Boulder Colorado are representing their members in a lawsuit against the United States government. The plaintiffs are victims of global warming, and the claim is that the government's use of tax dollars to fund dirty fossil fuel projects is driving global warming around the world. Read more:
Universities Lead the Way to Renewable Energy
As you may have read in Positive Energy in July, the Los Angeles Community College District made a ground-breading decision to build all new buildings to generate 10% of the energy with on-site solar, and purchase an additional 15 percent of the energy from renewable sources.
Now the Catholic University of America is also supporting renewables! Read more from:
The "Positive Energy" newsletter and our web site,
will give you good news about ways to achieve clean air, climate justice, and renewable energy solutions to our ongoing energy crisis.
Help Greenpeace spread the word. Forward this e-mail on to other caring individuals.
Want to do more? Become a Greenpeace member today! To give online, go to:
US Considered 'Suicide Jet Missions'
Some fighter pilots had no weapons on 11 September US Air Force commanders considered crashing fighter jets into hijacked planes on 11 September because of a lack of armed planes, a BBC investigation reveals.
In the immediate aftermath of the terror attacks US fighter planes took to the skies to defend America from any further attacks.
Their mission was to protect President George W Bush and to intercept any hijacked aircraft heading to other targets in the US.
But, as a new BBC programme Clear The Skies reveals, the threat of an attack from within America had been considered so small that the entire US mainland was being defended by only 14 planes.
As a result unarmed planes were diverted from training missions in a desperate bid to increase the number of fighter planes patrolling American airspace.
Colonel Robert Marr was Commander of the North East Defence Sector and remembers the words that came over the secure phone "we will take lives in the air to preserve lives on the ground".
US military unprepared
However, at the time of the attacks the US had just four fighter pilots on alert covering the north eastern United States.
US pilots were forced to take to the skies without any weapons and might have had to deliberately crash into a hijacked plane to prevent casualties on the ground.
"I had determined, of course, that with only four aircraft we cannot defend the whole north eastern United States," he said.
"Some of them would have just gotten in the air possibly without any armament onboard.
"If you had to stop an aircraft sometimes the only way to stop an aircraft is with your own aircraft if you don't have any weapons.
"It was very possible that they [the pilots] would have been asked to give their lives themselves to try to prevent further attacks if need be."
Colonel Marr said: "That was the sense of frustration, of I don't have the forces available to do anything about this, we've got everything up that we can get up and still can't do anything."
Two of the pilots patrolling north east America told the programme how they struggled to get to New York as fast as possible after the first plane had hit the World Trade Center.
Pilots "Duff" and "Nasty" recalled they were only minutes away when the second plane hit the towers.
Pilot Duff said: "For a long time I wondered what would have happened if we had been scrambled in time.
"We've been over the flight a thousand times in our minds and I don't know what we could have done to get there any quicker."
Summit: Underfunded Genebanks Key To Crop Diversity
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa August 29, 2002 (ENS) - A lack of funding for agricultural gene banks could lead to the loss of a large proportion of the world's collection of crop diversity, warns a new report from researchers from the Department of Agricultural Sciences at Imperial College in London. Seeds from some of the world's most unusual lettuces are stored in a gene bank at Salinas, California.
In a report released today at the United Nations (UN) World Summit on Sustainable Development, professor Jeff Waage, head of the department, warns that many genebanks are now unable to fulfill basic conservation functions, putting at risk the crop diversity that underpins a stable and sustainable world food supply.
The report, "Crop diversity at risk: the case for sustaining crop collections," provides the latest picture of genebank performance. It compares data from 99 countries collected by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2000 to similar data from 151 governments collected by the FAO in 1996.
The researchers found that although the number of plant samples held in crop diversity collections has increased in 66 percent of the studied countries, genebank budgets have been cut back in 25 percent of countries and remained static in another 35 percent.
Samples held in genebanks must be periodically planted and new seed harvested in order to keep seed stocks viable, and a backlog in this regeneration process is a strong indication of a critical lack of resources, the authors warn. The report notes that more than half of developing countries and 27 percent of developed countries have reported an increase in the number of plant samples in urgent need of regeneration.
"Most people assume the crop diversity that scientists have already collected from cultivated fields is safe. We found that this is not necessarily the case," said Professor Waage. "In fact, many critical genebank collections are in a precarious state. If these collections are allowed to fail, then we will lose the valuable crop diversity they contain forever."
In order to safeguard future crop diversity, the report calls for the establishment of a permanent international endowment, funded by public and private sources, to support the maintenance of the world's most critical collections.
"The data points us to one major conclusion: genebanks can no longer rely on uncertain annual sources of funding - as most do now - to fulfill their perpetual responsibility for maintaining the diversity of plants that are essential for food security," Waage explained.
Genebanks hold a significant portion of the world's agricultural heritage and provide the last sanctuary for a growing number of crop wild relatives. These include the cassava, a starchy root crop that is a staple food in parts of Africa and Asia, and the tomato, whose wild relatives are approaching extinction due to deforestation and development. Wild species of coffee, grape and wheat also join the list of wild crop relatives facing genetic erosion - a process that can lead to extinction.
On farm losses are also increasing as farmers give up traditional crop varieties in favor of high yielding modern types. The FAO estimates that about three-quarters of the original varieties of agricultural crops have been lost from farm fields since 1900. Such losses include wheat varieties in China, maize in Mexico and soybean in the United States.
The wheat species Triticum monococcum gives an example of the vital role that genebanks can play. Although widely grown for bread throughout the ancient Roman Empire, it is now almost lost, with relic populations existing only in Turkey and possibly Yemen.
However, because of its high fiber content, T. monococcum is once again in demand and a project has been established to bring back this crop using samples stored in genebanks.
"Both on farm diversity and wild crop relatives are sources of rare genetic traits needed for coping with environmental stress, plant disease and pests," said Waage. "Knowing this, countries have undertaken important efforts to expand their crop diversity collections. A main task now is to ensure the safety of those collections and their accessibility to farmers, plant breeders and researchers."
What's Next...Concentration Camps?
by Anis Shivani
This is the season of demystification. What people of my generation never understood about the mass delusions of recent history--Nazism, Stalinism, holocaust, genocide, thought crimes, totalitarian spying--is all becoming crystal clear.
We who grew up since the youth and social justice movements of the 1960s used to ask ourselves: How could the intelligentsia in Germany have been so acquiescent in the 1930s? Could Germans really not have known that mass extermination of Jews was under way? Why didn't the Jews fight back? Why did they let themselves be annihilated? Why was there nobody able to pinpoint the precise nature of what was happening, until after it was over? How could these things have happened, and could they ever happen again?
Of course they couldn't happen again! There is no Great Depression now. The world is so much more interconnected, information travels so fast and wide, nothing can remain hidden for too long, there simply isn't the stomach to embark on mass repression and annihilation of entire peoples, the liberal consensus about protecting human rights is too strong, wealth is so spread out that ordinary people put portfolios before pogroms, too many institutionalized liberal barriers exist to counter a dictator making the world over in his brutal image.
This is what some of us continue to believe.
Evidence doesn't matter. What we see and read and hear and intuit as about to happen takes secondary place to what our rational faculties tell us about the nature of the modern world.
We are in mass denial, mass psychosis, mass deceit once again.
Have we already forgotten what Adorno and Horkheimer said about the enlightenment always coming to a dead-end? Do we not know that capitalism, after a certain point, always ends in concentration camps? Do we not already have the Hitler of the twenty-first century lording it over the world?
Hitler was not an isolated maniac, a once-in-history occurrence. Hitler is how capitalism purges itself from time to time. It takes itself to its most extreme Darwinian selectivity, makes transparent the brutalities that remain beneath the surface for the most part, until, when the purge is over, people are more than willing to live with those little things they used to complain about the system. What? Wealth and income inequality? No real meaning in life? Liberalism that functions only to paste over the blackest indignities against ordinary workers? Fine, we'll live with all that. As long as there are no concentration camps, mass deportations, genocide, totalitarian recruitment of all in the spying, snitching, self-destroying venture. Please, just not that!
For there is no doubt that the whole idea behind forcing Bush to the presidency was for America to enter the era of concentration camps, mass deportations, cultural genocide, and the redundant addition of Orwellian, or hard, totalitarianism to its already existing Huxleyan, or soft, totalitarianism, in order to ratchet things up to such a depressing level that mere survival, mere existence as we knew it before apocalypse would become a breath of fresh air.
We are being made to dramatically lower our level of expectations.
Is it still not clear what is happening?
Until a few weeks ago, there was little mention in the media, even in most of its alternative, progressive form, of words like "fascism," "totalitarianism," "dictatorship," "police state," "martial law," "genocide," "concentration camps," etc. So the dirty work of laying the foundations of the genocidal state occurred in full sight, with open "coverage" by the media.
The entire framework for martial rule under the most extreme conditions of surveillance was allowed to come into existence; and it is happening even as we speak, with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), essentially the president's nearly 200,000 strong paramilitary, coming into being as the entity that will harbor the brownshirts of this country, and give them license to annihilate common decency.
What is Bush's sticking point with congress over DHS? That there not be civil service protections for the 170,000 workers that will fall under its jurisdiction. No whistle-blower and freedom of information protections. So if you don't fall in with whatever it is that they have planned for us, you can be fired immediately--no thirty-day notice! And replaced with any of a legion of workers with fascist sympathies more than happy to embark on the genocide.
The alarm bells are going up now, but it is too late. The dirty work has already been done. It has already been demonstrated what is possible to achieve with one orchestrated "attack." Wait till the next bioterror "attack," or anything using "weapons of mass destruction" is orchestrated, and every dissenting voice will shut up. Then the brownshirts will go into action.
Two things above all are necessary to complete the genocidal state. The national ID card, which will be unlike anything anyone's ever seen or dreamed of. Eventually, every fact about your life--where you travel, who you speak with on the phone, what government aid you have received that you were or were not qualified for, what books you read, what magazines you subscribe to, what organizations you belong to, how much money you have and what bills you're behind on, what diseases you've been treated for or are susceptible to--will potentially be instantly available. So if you're stopped by the police--and the line between police and intelligence and military is being blurred to nothingness--and you've ever done anything that as a good bourgeois following the lines of responsible capitalist living you ought not to have done, you're in trouble.
This national ID card is coming. If nothing else, as soon as the second massive "attack" occurs, its execution will go into overdrive. As a sidenote, one of the companies eager to assimilate every known bit of data available to American corporations about the trivialities of your life--which are not so trivial anymore when the spooks are putting everything into a profile of terrorists, or dissidents, which are now one and the same thing--is Choicepoint, the same company that illegally purged tens of thousands of black voters in Florida under Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris's patronage.
Second, the military must be allowed to supersede civilian authority--in "emergencies" of course, except that the state of emergency, as in all dictatorships, will become permanent. The second "attack" will be the excuse to let the military take over. We've already heard that the military will monitor the 2002 and 2004 elections, that it will "quarantine" people in case of bioterrorism, that it should have, according to Tom Ridge, shoot-to-kill and arrest powers. Senator Biden agrees that the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which forbids military involvement in civil affairs, ought to be subject to review. The idea has already been put forth. It is as good as accepted doctrine. The Northern Commander, General Ralph Eberhart, is for scrapping the Posse Comitatus Act as we know it. The Northern Command, functioning with the new DHS, will take us to Stalinist Russia, Hitlerian Germany.
What they want to do more than anything else is an excuse to search people's homes, go door to door, ask for everyone's papers, make anyone who fits the "terrorist" or dissident profile disappear without a trace, as they already have been doing on a small, preparatory scale.
The East German style TIPS (the Terrorist Information and Prevention System) program will recruit more than a million service workers--phone, gas, mail, delivery people--to send in tips about suspicious people or activities to the government. What is suspicious? If I read books on terrorism to write a scholarly article, I'm suspect. The librarian or bookstore owner is already being forced to turn over this information. Millions of "tips" about suspicious people will end up in a permanent database, to be used as and when necessary.
We wonder about the Germans, how could they not have known? Today, millions of people of Arab and South Asian and Islamic origin walk the streets of America, sometimes even in distinctive garb or identifying marks, not knowing what is to befall them. Will some of them end up in concentration camps, perhaps in Arizona on the U.S. border? Will they be among the mass roundups that will result in the deportation of hundreds of thousands of people? Will mother be separated from child, husband from wife, and will many do so with some degree of willingness to preserve their own life?
The Bush administration fought hard to replace a liberal member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights with a hard-right ideologue. This same Peter Kirsanow now says that in the event of a second attack--which we've already been assured is inevitable--Korematsu (the Supreme Court decision of 1944 upholding the internment of Japanese Americans) would make a comeback, that there would be no civil rights for certain ethnic or religious groups.
There, he's already said what's on everyone's mind. Now do we wonder why the Jews didn't leave Germany? Why the Japanese in California professed patriotism to the end, thinking it couldn't happen to them?
Absolutely every immigrant is deportable now, even if you have never done anything to break the law. Ashcroft says that all non-citizens are to report a change of address within 10 days, or face deportation. Even if you follow this procedure, will the INS admit to having received the notification, if you're among those targeted for deportation?
Those who believe that an American attack on Iraq will be enough to soothe the military beast, and that a second "attack" on America itself will not be orchestrated, are sadly mistaken. An attack on Iraq will come, but that doesn't necessarily let the military take over this country, it doesn't allow the national ID card plan to go full-speed ahead.
Skeptics wonder if the Bush administration will not open itself up fatally to the charge of a second major lapse in intelligence if they allow a second, even bigger 9/11 to occur. That's already been taken care of. They've told us that a second, bigger attack is inevitable and we've accepted it. The anthrax perpetrator has been suspected for months, including now by the New York Times's Nicholas Kristof--as a dangerous man with white supremacist sympathies working at a military biodefense lab--and there has been no outrage about the FBI's failure to expose him. No, the remnants of liberal opposition will fall quickly in line to defend the homeland. They will not want to subject themselves to the charge of engaging in "conspiracy theory," just as they've failed to see all the evidence pointing to the first one.
We wonder why in Germany and China and Russia neighbor snitched upon neighbor, parents and siblings sacrificed each other to preserve their own lives, people refused to see what was happening in front of their eyes to maintain their sanity. Is it still mysterious? Does one not find oneself hoping for an attack on Iraq--even though all scenarios lead to a nuclear or chemical weapons exchange of some sort, thereby leading to calamity for the people of that region--in order that we the privileged liberals in the U.S. may be spared concentration camps for a while? We used to wonder how the most civilized nations could tumble seemingly overnight into utter darkness.
We wonder how a mother could have made a choice between children, to send one to the gas chamber only in order to preserve the other for a while. It won't be long before we snitch on our closest and dearest ones to save our own skins for a while.
We will be afraid to think dangerous, political thoughts, since thought has already been criminalized. It matters who you speak to, what you read, what you write--and so thought must shut down for four or eight or twelve years, until the beast has gone into retreat and it is safe to come out into the open. We will watch ourselves, in O'Brien's final imperative, to the extent that we will stop believing what we believe, what we see in front of our eyes, so that two plus two is never four, only what the rulers tell us. The boldest amongst us, used to thinking of ourselves as heroic and invincible, will be like lambs.
That is all coming, and if you don't see that, then--well, maybe it will be all right in the end, and we will come away mostly unscathed.
Anis Shivani studied economics at Harvard, and is the author of two novels, The Age of Critics and Memoirs of a Terrorist.
He welcomes comments at: mailto:Anis_Shivani_ab92@post.harvard.edu
Linking the Bank and the War: Why go To Washington?
In November of 1969, President Nixon was preparing to use nuclear weapons against Hanoi and Haiphong. What stopped him were the anti-war mobilizations of that autumn. There were 'too many people in the street.' This September, as Bush continues to push for an invasion of Iraq, to support Sharon's seige of Palestine, and to reinforce the endless 'war on terror', the streets of Washington DC will again be filled with protestors. A mass mobilization has been called for September 25-29, when the World Bank and International Monetary Fund hold their annual Fall meetings.
The protests will focus on issues of economic justice, but they are also a general expression of our opposition to the Bush gang and their policies. If they are large and successful, they too could serve as a deterrent to Bush's escalation of his various wars, provided that we make clear connections between the issues of economic justice and peace.
What does global justice have to do with peace? Everything. The war on terror and the threatened war in the Middle East are integral outgrowths of the global corporate capitalist agenda.
That system has based its legitimacy on a fiction: that by opening the world's resources and peoples to unchecked corporate exploitation, removing governments from their responsibilities as regulators and providers of social services, and releasing corporations from any community accountability, it can provide the good life for all. Endlessly expanding wealth will bring universal democracy and harmony-and you can be a part of it!
But in reality, most people in the world are worse off than they were twenty years ago. The environment deteriorates and governments prove unable to grapple with serious issues such as global warming. Third world countries struggle under crushing loads of debt, and suffer further from IMF policies that enforce privatization of state resources and services and cutbacks in health, social welfare and education. Argentina, the IMF's 'poster child', is in economic ruin. Africa is more deeply impoverished than it was twenty years ago. In industrialized countries, policies of privatization, deregulation, corporate license and withdrawal of public support for social programs result in reduced services, increased prices, blackouts, brownouts, and unemployment, not to mention Enron, WorldCom, and all the rest. The promise now rings false to more and more people. Its legitimacy has successfully been eroded by campaigns of education, public information, demonstrations and direct action, and by its own flaws.
The system requires a new basis of legitimacy in order to retain power. Since September 11, that basis has been fear. If the promises of the system no longer seduce us, we may still cling to it out of fear of a larger enemy. An enemy is such a useful thing. It justifies the erosion of our freedoms and huge expenditures on armaments and the military. It keeps us from looking too closely at what our own leaders are doing, and focuses our anxieties and discontents on a foreign menace. An enemy allows us to periodically demonstrate the scope and firepower of the US Military, just in case anyone in the world still had lingering doubts about who is the top global superpower.
It is no accident that the enemy now wears a Muslim face. The power base of the Bush gang is oil. Oil is the life blood of the global corporate capitalist system. Only cheap oil can subsidize the transport of goods that make it possible for corporations to roam the globe in search of the cheapest labor and most lax regulations. An endlessly expanding economy requires endless oil reserves.
To maintain their control, the oil barons need to maintain our dependence on oil, undercutting the development of alternative fuels and renewable sources of energy, denying the facts of global warming and of oil's environmental costs. Much of the world's oil is under the Middle East, so American control must be maintained there. The world's largest untapped reserves of oil are in central Asia: hence the invasion of Afghanistan. Israel acts as a surrogate for U.S. military power, maintaining a harsh and humiliating control over Palestine as an ongoing warning to the rest of the Arab and Muslim world. A new mythology postulating a 'clash of civilizations' reworks old stereotypes of a progressive, democratic West in conflict with a regressive, primitive, autocratic East-when in reality, repressive forces can be found on both sides.
The mobilization needs to make these connections.
How do we delegitimize fear in a world in which we have real enemies? Not by pretending the world is safe, or by denying that there are regimes that pose the threat of violence. But by challenging the idea that safety can be assured by military backing for systems that create gross inequalities and mass despair. People's desires for lives of dignity and hope cannot be stamped out by force. Real security cannot be achieved by the hegemony of U.S. military might backing global corporate control. Global justice is the solution to global security These issues need to be faced on a global stage. Some voices in the movement have been suggesting that resources are better used locally than in going to mass mobilizations. While local organizing is always important, now is not the moment to pull back into a local focus. For this is the historic moment when the Bush forces will either win overarching control or be stymied. We are facing national and global policies that threaten our basic liberties and undermine anything we can achieve on a local level. It's a global system-its center of power is in Washington, DC, and that is the place to confront it. And the time to confront it is now.
Now-when the false promises of corporate globalization are more and more evident and its legitimacy is faltering. Now-when the Bush junta is pushing its warmongering agenda on an increasingly unsympathetic public. Now-when we most need to show the power holders and the world that there is a strong US movement that is not willing to march lockstep into the war frenzy. Now-when we still have a chance to prevent the next round of slaughter. Now is the moment to fill the streets in an exuberant uprising against the politics of fear and the policies of greed-and to recognize that they are two faces of the same system, and to disrupt it in as many unruly and joyful ways as our imaginations can conceive. For systems that depend on fear are on shaky ground.
We can refuse to be ruled by fear ourselves, to let fear narrow our choices and constrict our imagination. Courage feels good. When we act in spite of fear, we feel good about ourselves. When we plan and act with courage, when we choose our boldest and most creative visions, we evoke the opposite of fear, which is love, the tremor that can bring the fortress down.
The mobilization in Washington DC is from September 25-30.
For more information, see:
AntiCapitalist Convergence Main Day of action: 9/27
Mobilization for Global Justice Main Day of action: 9/28
http://www.globalizethis.org - 202-452-5912
Schedule of events:
Sept 25-27 End Corporate Rule Teach-In: Global Struggles Against the IMF & World Bank organized by 50 Years is Enough and others
Sept. 27th Anti-Capitalist Convergence Action
Sept. 28th-29th IMF & World Bank Group Annual meetings
From Washington to Quito Join us for Corporate Fall!
PRAYER VIGIL FOR THE EARTH
CONTACT: Brenda Graham - 703 323.6117 http://www.oneprayer.org
International Prayer Gathering For Peace To Be Held In Nation's Capitol on the Washington Monument Grounds During September 21st and 22nd
GET INVOLVED! The time is now. Calling all those who are working to build a new world of peace and harmony. Come together to plant the seeds for a positive future for us all. Be a part of creating a new model for human relations based on equality, respect and cooperation.
Washington--Continuous prayer and ceremony for global peace will be the main focus of the 10th Annual Prayer Vigil for the Earth to be held on September 21nd and 22nd on the Washington Monument grounds. This 33-hour prayer vigil will feature religious ceremonies and inspirational talks led by spiritual leaders from a variety of traditions and will include Native American and African drumming, Tibetan chants, and oral prophecies from a variety of elders about the present times. Other activities include music by renowned Nigerian drummer Baba Olatunji; and ceremonies honoring the Jewish, Islamic, and Sufi faiths.
During the Vigil, participants may walk the universal labyrinth, pray at the Christian, Hindu, or African altar, and bring the children to participate in the Voices of the Future throughout the program. Participants also will be able to meet and interact with elders from a variety of nations.
A highlight of this year's activities will be a display of the John Denver Peace Quilt, a peace quilt memorializing the work and legacy of John Denver. Denver has been the inspiration and motivation for hundreds of peacemakers whose own passion for peace has been kindled by his songs and his legacy of peace activism. Other activities include storytelling, community dancing, and ongoing musical performances where participants can join in with their own instruments.
Last year during the aftermath of September 11th, the Prayer Vigil for the Earth 2001, took on heightened importance as many sought the comfort of this prayer gathering. Native American Elders and other spiritual leaders led healing ceremonies and prayers, which included a "Wiping of the Tears" ceremony for the grief-stricken. A ceremony was also conducted near the Pentagon for the victims of 9-11 and their loved ones.
Mary Van Franklin and Hutke Fields of the Nachez tribe spoke about how people can positively change the environment in which we live. They explained, "We can each make a difference. Each person must take responsibility for cultivating peaceful relationships. Whenever conflict occurs among our family members, neighbors, and co-workers, we must find creative and loving ways to resolve these conflicts. This is how we change the world, one by one. Change doesn't occur overnight."
The intent of the Annual Prayer Vigil for the Earth is to be a living demonstration of peace, unity, tolerance, and respect among all people and to help cultivate a more peaceful world for the present and future generations. This event is totally staffed by volunteers and is free and open to the public. Begins at 6:30 a.m. on September 21nd and continues through 3 p.m. on September 22rd. Now is the time to send the message that there are billions of people on this planet who desire to live together in harmony and cooperation. Add your voice and your vision to the Prayer Vigil for the Earth. See you there!
For those who can't make it to D.C. : If you can't attend the Vigil, we are encouraging people to organize their own vigils, celebrations, prayer circles, in your local area to be held simultaneously with the Vigil in D.C. The recommended times are at sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 21, when the opening ceremony happens, and from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Sept.22, to synchronize with the closing ceremonies. Join us in energizing and visualizing Peace on Earth. The love that we invest now will help manifest the kind of world that we want to live in. Visit the Vigil website at
and go to the "Join Us" section to add your local event. Increase the Peace.
Misusing the Military (August 29) The New York Times Editorial
Some Bush administration officials would like to clear the way for American military forces to play a larger role in protecting the home front from terror attacks. That's not a step to be taken lightly. The idea of military forces roaming the nation enforcing the laws sounds like a bad Hollywood script - or life in a totalitarian society.
The Government In The Shadows (August 23)
U.S. Threats to Iraq Contested by Friend and Foe
SciTech Daily Review
Better living through french fries -- is biodiesel the fuel of the future?
It's good news for Tarzan, but bad news for our forests. Lianas are on the rise, and could be stifling forests' ability to cool the climate
In marginal farming areas, sustainable agriculture practices let tiny farms grow more with less
US tobacco firms used financial ties to force pharmaceutical companies that sell smoking cessation aids to muffle the anti-smoking message in their advertising, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
If computers that can't be hacked revolutionize the Internet next year, you can thank two guys named Eric who were just looking to get some sleep
Life and death decisions: The UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority allowed one couple to use IVF to try to save their son, but not another. Why?
Beyond fossil fuels: What happens when energy executives sit down with environmentalists? They come up with a plan for the future that leaves fossil fuels to the dinosaurs
What the industrial revolution in biology needs most is a few good geeks
"I awake in the morning, torn between a desire to save the world, and a desire to savor the world. That makes it hard to plan the day."
Planet Ark World Environment News
Bigger not better when it comes to SUVs - study - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17503/story.htm
Spoonful of sugar could be right medicine for cars - US http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17505/story.htm
US seizes shipments of contaminated Chinese honey - US http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17507/story.htm
EPA says 'water drilling' for coalbed gas not a threat - US http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17504/story.htm
Fund set up to safeguard future food supply - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17500/story.htm
Britannia Zinc sees new materials source in recycling - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17515/story.htm
INTERVIEW - "Hard green" agenda would split world - UK's Short - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17511/story.htm
Mandela brings poverty summit back down to Earth - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17501/story.htm
Earth Summit launches controversial partnerships - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17499/story.htm
US Democrats say Bush blocking Earth Summit goal - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17498/story.htm
Industry joins Greenpeace to demand climate action - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17509/story.htm
US faces legal battles as climate bogeyman - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17512/story.htm
Tuvalu seeks help in US global warming lawsuit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17514/story.htm
Earth Summit feuds fester over rules for business - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17506/story.htm
Baby turtles take wrong turn, gatecrash holiday home - ITALY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17497/story.htm
Greenpeace wants Irish navy in nuclear protest - IRELAND http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17508/story.htm
Indian court rejects lesser charges in Bhopal case - INDIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17502/story.htm
EU plans disaster fund after devastating floods - BRUSSELS http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17510/story.htm
EU's Fischler welcomes Earth Summit fish agreement - BRUSSELS http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17513/story.htm
ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS PICTURES:
BRAZIL: Firefighters Walk in the Ecological Reserve in Brazil http://www.planetark.org/envpicstory.cfm/newsid/17519
IRELAND: Crew Member of Greenpeace Ship Rainbow Warrior Walks Past Banner While Docked in Dublin http://www.planetark.org/envpicstory.cfm/newsid/17516
AUSTRALIA: A Chimpanzee Enjoys Its New View of the City Skyline from Its Revamped Forest Home at Sydney's Taronga Zoo http://www.planetark.org/envpicstory.cfm/newsid/17517
BRAZIL: Helicopter Fights Forest Fire in the Poco Das Antas Reserve in Brazil
Secrets And Lies
Seventy-Five Little Reasons To Be Terrified Of The FISA Court
by Dahlia Lithwick, August 29, 2002, at 3:25 PM PT
This week, a federal court of appeals declared that "democracies die behind closed doors" and demanded that Attorney General John Ashcroft open up the immigration hearings for suspects connected to Sept. 11 roundups. But wherever the courts open one door, Ashcroft and the Bush administration manage to close another. And so we find ourselves in peril of losing the right to search warrants granted by real judges in real courts, as the attorney general again attempts to drag the Constitution into dark caverns and windowless towers.
The Fourth Amendment guarantees that "the right ... against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated." Two hundred years of case law and Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 provide that if the government wants to eavesdrop on your conversations or search your possessions for the purposes of bringing criminal charges, it must first provide a judge or magistrate with evidence of "probable cause" that a crime has been committed. No probable cause, no wiretap, no warrant, and no quickie search just for the fun of it.
The exception to this principle arises with respect to presidential authority and national security. Presidents from Roosevelt to Bush have asserted the constitutional right to authorize surveillance without a warrant, where national securityas opposed to crime controlis at issue. Courts generally agreed, and it wasn't until after Richard Nixon gave a whole new meaning to both surveillance and national security that Congress, in 1978, enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allowing the executive branch to still conduct surveillance and searches for foreign security purposes, but only subject to the oversight of a supersecret FISA "spy court." First mistake: ensuring presidential openness and transparency by creating a secret court.
The FISA court permits warrantless government surveillance so long as the primary purpose is to obtain foreign intelligence information. Under FISA, the government needn't show probable cause that a crime has occurred; FISA surveillance orders are valid for 90 days as opposed to 30 days for ordinary search warrants; the target of surveillance is never advised of this surveillance; and the application itself and supporting affidavits are filed under seal so that neither the target nor his attorney can ever see the allegations against him. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is comprised of 11 federal district court judges secretly selected by the chief justice of the United States. These judges preside in a secret windowless courtroom, behind elaborately locked doors on the top floor of the Department of Justice on Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue NW. James Bond, Austin Powers, and Underdog take turns guarding the door.
Following Sept. 11, Congress scrambled to enact legislation to prevent future terrorism. In the six weeks lawmakers gave themselves to enact the USA PATRIOT Act, they had just enough time to rubber-stamp John Ashcroft's Christmas wish list with scant scrutiny of the legal necessity or constitutionality of his myriad requests. That flapping noise we are now hearing about secret courts is the sound of these chickens coming home to roost. The USA PATRIOT Act amended FISA so that foreign intelligence gathering need no longer be the "primary" purpose of the surveillance, so long as it's a "significant purpose." In other words, thanks to the Patriot Act, the primary purpose for a warrantless FISA wiretap or search can now be evidence collection for criminal prosecution or the fact that someone just looks kind of creepy.
The tussle between John Ashcroft and the secret court followed Ashcroft's secret request last March that this provision of the USA PATRIOT Actlowering the "firewall" between DOJ prosecutors and foreign intelligence investigatorsbe enforced. He asked the court to give him what Congress had already promised: the right to use FISA searches to circumvent the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement in every criminal prosecution tangentially related to "national security." He wants the criminal division to direct all future FISA/fishing expeditions and to reconfigure FISA as a prosecutorialrather than surveillancetool. He asked, in other words, for FISA to become his surveillance bitch.
In a hugely unprecedented Memorandum Opinion released last week by the secret court, the judges refused Ashcroft's request. This same court that has never released an unclassified opinion, that has granted over 10,000 FISA surveillance applications and rejected none over 23 years, this court that operates outside the norms of adversarial proceedings, and which thus ends up OKing virtually every document that flutters across its secret desk, this court refused to allow Ashcroft to tear down the wall between foreign investigation and criminal prosecution. Finding that "the collection of foreign intelligence information is the raison d'etre for the FISA," the court refused to allow the criminal division to swallow the FISA court whole. Ashcroftwho appealed the decision last week to a super-duper-secret FISA appeals court that has never before been convenedclaims that an inability to share information between investigators and prosecutors hamstrings his ability to fight terrorism. But the court pointed out that there are already ample mechanisms for "controlled" information sharing between the FBI and criminal divisions; it's simply that the criminal division "may not direct or control FISA investigations."
The part of the opinion that gained the most attention was the "FISA lies," although they were not really relevant to the court's decision. It seems that in September 2000, the government came forward and reported that it had made about 75 material misstatements of fact in its FISA applications, including a false certification that a FISA target was not under criminal investigation. Virtually every false statement involved misstatements about information-sharing between the criminal and intelligence divisions. These misstatements happened in the Clinton administration, not Bush's. Most troubling: Had the Justice Department not come forward, the FISA court would never have learned of these lies.
No one should be surprised that misrepresentations were made: The reason we have an adversarial system in the first place is to test the truth of prosecutors' claims. The only thing the FISA court proved was that when wolves are guarding the henhouse, they eat a lot of coq au vin.
While the FISA court sidestepped the constitutional question before it, the court held fast to the premise that warrantless searches may be used only for national security purposes. But does it really matter whether there is a firewall between criminal prosecutors and FBI investigators or which of them directs government surveillance? Evidence is evidence, right? Who cares where it comes from? The framers cared a little. Just because evidence is needed to prosecute crimes doesn't make obtaining evidence an end in itself. The point of the warrant requirement was to keep the state from inventing/planting/hypothesizing evidence without allowing you to contest it. By putting probable cause on the record, testing it before a neutral judge, and advising the target of its existence, we guard the wall between reasonable searches and government harassment. And this is why the government's 75 FISA lies are so important: They are more or less an "I told you so" postcard from the framers.
Ashcroft points out that the Patriot Act itself authorized the destruction of the wall between collecting foreign intelligence and criminal prosecutions. It did. The Patriot Act also authorized possibly unconstitutional roving wiretaps, "sneak and peak" warrants, and an expansion of FISA searches from "foreign powers or agents" to U.S. citizens and lawful residents. Ashcroft himself has unilaterally asserted the constitutionality of eavesdropping on attorney-client conversations, indefinite detentions of suspected terrorists, and closed military tribunals. Thankfully, it's not for Congress or John Ashcroft to declare unconstitutional laws constitutional. That job belongs to the courts.
Whether or not the courts will preserve the wall between reasonable searches and unreasonable ones, whether they care about the wall between foreign surveillance and domestic prosecution remains to be seen. The courts have tended to defer to the executive branch in wartime. But the courts also know why they are in business. And "secret courts" by their very nature undermine what's best about the judiciary: They do away with openness, legitimacy, published opinions, judges with names, and adversarial proceedings. Without open courts, you might just as well just flip a coin.
Don't Be Fooled: America's Ten Worst Greenwashers
by Shireen Deen, Valley Advocate, August 29, 2002
More than a decade ago, on Earth Day 1990, millions of people joined together around the country to protest the rapidly declining health of our planet, forcing corporations to realize that even the average Joe had started to take an interest in the well-being of the environment.
Predictably, the level of "greenwashing" has spiked sharply since that eventful Earth Day. Greenwashing is what corporations do when they try to make themselves look more environmentally friendly than they really are.
Arguably, the greenwashers get away with it more often than not. But their deceptions do not go entirely unnoticed. Every year for the past decade, the watchdog group Earth Day Resources for Living Green has released a report called "Don't Be Fooled." The report calls attention to the year's 10 worst greenwashers, the 10 companies that have made the most misleading claims about the environmental benefits of their products and industries. This year, EcoPledge.com, a coalition of environmental organizations that uses boycotts to put pressure on environment-abusing companies, has joined Earth Day Resources in putting out the report.
"Don't Be Fooled" accuses corporations of deceiving consumers with false claims of environmental responsibility and all-natural wholesomeness. Not only does the report focus on deceptive claims made by corporations, it also highlights specific sins, falling into two main categories: producing genetically engineered foods and polluting the environment.
-- Kraft's Post Selects Cereals, for falsely promoting its cereals as having "natural ingredients" when, in fact, the corn used in the cereal is genetically engineered -- made in a lab, not by nature.
-- The Council for Biotechnology Information, for promoting genetically engineered foods and even preaching to children -- through books aimed at kids -- about the benefits of biotechnology without disclosing any of the risks to human health or the environment.
-- Tyson Chicken, for promoting its products as "all natural," even though the company treats its chickens with antibiotics.
-- The Audubon Nature Institute -- not to be confused with the National Audubon Society -- for falsely claiming to support the protection of natural habitats as a way to preserve animal species, while also belonging to the National Wetlands Coalition, which lobbies to weaken the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. The National Wetlands Coalition is made up of such corporate giants as the American Mining Congress, Chevron, Exxon and the National Association of Homebuilders.
-- Comanche Trace, a commercial developer, for false advertising. Comanche Trace bills its golf courses as "great habitats," even though golf courses deplete natural habitats and use pesticides that poison groundwater.
-- Clairol, for false advertising. The company claims to offer a "truly organic experience" with its Herbal Essences line of shampoos but, according to the report, uses chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol and D&C red no. 33, which are not organic. (The report notes that Clairol does use some organic ingredients, does not test on animals and uses 25 percent post-consumer recycled plastic in its bottles.)
-- American Electric Power, for falsely advertising itself as environmentally friendly and concerned about animal habitats, even though it is a major polluter. Its harmful emissions contribute to air pollution, acid rain, global warming and mercury poisoning, according to the report.
-- Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, for falsely promoting coal as a "clean fuel," even though carbon dioxide, one of the byproducts of coal burning, is the primary greenhouse gas responsible for global warning. Continued global warming will result in rising temperatures, rising sea levels, increased rates of diseases such as malaria and continued water pollution.
(In a recent interview with the Advocate, Joe Lucas, ABEC's vice president of communications, said carbon dioxide -- also the gas that humans breathe out -- isn't a contributor to global warming because if it were, he rationalized, "the government would have to ask us all to stop breathing.")
-- General Motors, for falsely promoting its cars as environmentally friendly, with ads that place GM SUVs in natural habitats as if they were as natural as the birds. In fact, SUVs get very few miles to the gallon and are far more harmful to the environment than most other automobiles. General Motors is a member of the Coalition for Vehicle Choice, an organization that opposes clean air legislation and laws directed at reducing auto emissions.
-- ExxonMobil, for falsely advertising that the air we breathe is getting better, not worse. Along with the rest of the oil and gas industry, ExxonMobil helped to kill the Kyoto Protocol, an international initiative that called for tougher emissions standards.
An Uphill Battle
Earth Day Resources' reporting is persuasive because its claims are both well-supported with evidence and concisely stated. The "Don't Be Fooled" report contains information that is most often frightening and at times even comical.
Yet, despite being readable and informative, the report is likely to get short shrift from the media. Perhaps it goes without saying that, unless the media broadcast the report, politicians will continue to ignore its warnings. Whether or not the report has any pronounced effect on the level of greenwashing that goes on every day ultimately depends on the American consumer -- a consumer who, so far, appears largely ignorant of, or unconcerned by, the deceptions being regularly perpetrated by big business.
One of the most compelling examples of the misinformation being doled out to consumers is the work of the Council for Biotechnology Information.
Sticking Fish Head Onto a Monkey
Biotechnology -- basically, the manipulation of DNA -- is a relatively new agricultural innovation, yet the practice has already become pervasive. The Council for Biotechnology Information is a "coalition formed by the leading biotech companies to educate people" about the benefits of biotechnology, according to the Council's executive director, Linda Thraine. The company put out a children's activity book in 2001 touting advances in bioengineering -- without, asserts the "Don't Be Fooled" report, explaining any of the risks.
According to the report, 60 to 70 percent of processed foods marketed in the United States contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but because the FDA does not require these foods to be safety-tested before being released into the market, it's difficult to know what long-term effects these new ingredients will have on human health.
Scientists have found that genetically engineered crops can also pose a threat to the environment. Crops can be engineered to be toxic to certain pests, such as the corn borers that feed on corn crops, but often are also lethal to beneficial insects, like the lacewings that eat the corn borers.
Thraine was quick to dismiss these accusations. "The products that are now on the market, like corn and cotton, have been extensively tested ... Obviously, when we develop a product for human consumption, our primary concern is safety," she said in an interview with the Advocate.
The benefits of genetic engineering are incalculable, asserted Thraine. "The one thing that people lose sight of is that there is chronic hunger in the world. Biotech has a great role to play. It can help farmers to harvest more of what they plant," she said. After all, she added, "agriculture is a building block to overall economic growth."
Thraine claimed that genetic engineering is not only revolutionary but safe as well. It's not so different from what Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics, did in the 1800s, said Thraine: "[Genetic engineering] is similar to the age-old technology of crossbreeding ... It's not like sticking a fish head onto a monkey."
But that is exactly what it's like, according to the "Don't Be Fooled" report. Traditional crossbreeding of the Mendelian variety requires plants that are similar enough to cross-pollinate. Genetic engineering, on the other hand, involves splicing together the DNA of species that could not possibly crossbreed in nature. For example, says the report, genes -- the building blocks of DNA -- from a fish have been inserted into the DNA of strawberries and tomatoes in the hopes that these genetically engineered fruits would be better able to survive frosts.
It would be naïve to dismiss the great potential within the field of genetic engineering. However, given the probable risks, only the greedy or the foolish would advocate continuing -- when the health of entire populations is at risk -- without first rigorously safety testing over an extended period of time these new "Frankenfood" creations. So the questions beg to be asked: Why doesn't the Food and Drug Administration safety-test genetically engineered foods, and why doesn't it require companies to label foods as "genetically modified"?
Carrie Ainsworth-Wright, a spokesperson for the FDA, declined to answer those direct questions. "The answer isn't cut and dry; it's nothing I can boil down into a pat statement," she said, adding that the answers might be found on the FDA's website.
There are some very pat answers available on the FDA's website. In an article addressing the safety of bioengineered foods, former FDA Commissioner Jane E. Henney gave a simple, but remarkably inane, explanation:
"DNA already is present in all foods and is presumed to be [safe] ... [A]dding a bit of DNA does not raise any food safety issues."
Henney's understanding of genetics is wildly unscientific. Yes, there is DNA in all foods. But there is a huge difference between eating a tomato with fish and eating a tomato that has been genetically manipulated to include fish DNA -- effectively mutating the tomato. In fact, even a slight mutation in human DNA can cause a host of diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Parkinson's disease and Down's syndrome.
One particularly insidious example of the kind of risky biotechnology that the Council for Biotechnology Information promotes is rBGH, or recombinant bovine growth hormone, a synthetic hormone created by the Monsanto chemical company that stimulates milk production in cows, increasing production by up to 30 percent. Cows injected with rBGH are at an increased risk for mastitis, an udder infection that cows producing more milk are more susceptible to. The use of rBGH has also been associated with increases in somatic cell counts, or pus, in the milk that the cows produce. Simply put, along with the extra milk, cows treated with the hormone also squirt out greater levels of antibiotics, (which is used to treat the mastitis), pus, and bacteria, which feed on the pus. Milk from cows treated with rBGH also contains higher levels of IGF-I, a hormone that is linked to breast and prostate cancer in humans.
Although Monsanto denies that there are risks associated with the growth hormone, rBGH was banned by Canada in 1999 and has been banned by the European Union since 1994. The United Nations food standards body has also refused to certify that rBGH is safe, according to Robert Cohen, a former member of that group. However, rBGH is legal here in the U.S., and unless a milk carton is specifically labeled "rBGH free," at least some of the milk inside was produced using the growth hormone.
If the international community continues to be wary of rBGH and the health risks associated with its use, why isn't the U.S. government similarly concerned?
Maybe it has to do with the fact that, from 1997 to 1999, Monsanto spent $4 million a year lobbying the government.
The U.S. government has different agencies to protect its citizens from different threats. The EPA is supposed to protect the air, earth and water. The FDA is supposed to protect us from dangerous foods and drugs. But whom are these organizations really serving?
A whopping two-thirds of the food products marketed in the U.S. contain bioengineered ingredients that have not been safety tested by the FDA. At the same time that the government has given the agriculture industry a free pass on bioengineered ingredients, the industry has been pouring money into political campaigns and spending millions on lobbying efforts --more than $77 million in 2000.
That same year, electric utilities and oil and gas corporations spent $128 million lobbying for deregulation, which would enable them to release greater levels of noxious gases into the air. Almost all the utility companies opposed the Clinton administration's proposal that would have required utility companies to produce at least 7.5 percent of electricity using renewable resources by 2010.
In 2000, the automobile industry spent well over $36 million on lobbying. Along with the utilities and the oil companies, the automakers succeeded in convincing George W. Bush to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, through which the U.S. had committed itself to stricter emissions standards.
Unfortunately, green organizations committed to protecting the environment and to creating more stringent food safety regulations do not command the financial resources that corporations do, so making their cases becomes difficult. Many of these green groups are grassroots organizations made up mostly of volunteers. Their task can be monumental when corporations such as General Motors spend millions convincing consumers that their SUVs -- some of which only get 13 miles to the gallon -- are environmentally friendly.
Reports such as "Don't Be Fooled," and the work of groups like Earth Day Resources and EcoPledge.com in general, may appear to be small weapons against the vast arsenals that corporations wield, particularly when the government isn't doing its job. However, the fact that corporations recognize that American consumers are actively searching out green alternatives shows that consumers are not powerless. In fact, consumers hold all the money that corporations can ever hope to lay their hands on. Consumers have the power of the purchase.
As Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop and a social activist, puts it in her globalization primer and action guide, "Take It Personally: How to Make Conscious Choices to Change the World:" "Don't underestimate the power of the vigilante consumer."
Shireen Deen is a writer for the Valley Advocate.
ONE YEAR LATER: UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF 9/11 AND THE WAR ON TERRORISM
John Tirman, AlterNet
The costs have been enormously expensive on many fronts, but the final dangerous outcome of the "war on terrorism" is the ascending chance of a war against Iraq.
WHY BASEBALL PLAYERS ARE RIGHT TO STRIKE
John K. Wilson, AlterNet
Fans are coming down hard on baseball players for their apparent greed. But it's the owners who have put America's pastime on the line for their own wealth.
MUTUAL FUNDS -- CORPORATE CRIME'S NARCOLEPTIC GIANT
Arianna Huffington, AlterNet
Powerful mutual funds managers, emboldened by the call for responsibilty, are wielding their enormous power to keep corporate crime in check.
GEORGE W. BUSH, MEET MAURICE STRONG
John Passacantando, AlterNet
Both men have backgrounds in the energy industry, but their emerging legacies look like a Hollywood caricature of good vs. evil.
THE PRESIDENT IS READING A BOOK, I'M AFRAID
Robert Higgs, AlterNet
Americans will be better off if the President sticks to the funny pages instead of reading books that encourage delusions of grandeur.
Michelle Goldberg, Salon
There are women in the Senate, women heading studios and busloads of young women emerging from film school. So why are 96 percent of films directed by men?
COMING SOON: "TOTAL WAR" ON THE MIDDLE EAST
Jason Vest, The Nation
For an influential group of neoconservative hawks, overthrowing the governments of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Palestine is both urgent and neccesary.
TAKING FLIGHT FROM AIR TRAVEL
Geov Parrish, WorkingForChange.com
Forced to use other means of transportation post-9/11, travelers realized just how annoying flying really is. http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=13960
Barbara Renaud-Gonzales, The Progressive
"Chicano" used to stand for anti-war protests, long hair, MECHA, the Brown Berets, Corky Gonzalez and La Raza Unida. Now on a lavish 15-city museum tour around the country, Chicano is going mainstream.
WHAT DO AFGHAN WOMEN WANT?
Noy Thrupkaew, The American Prospect
A dramatic and militant Afghan feminist group has captured the West's imagination. But does it offer what the women of a shattered society need most?
DON'T BE FOOLED: AMERICA'S TEN WORST GREENWASHERS
Shireen Deen, Valley Advocate
An annual report exposes the environmental lies corporations tell to earn your "green" shopping dollar.
*In EnviroHealth: http://www.alternet.org/?IssueAreaID=18
Can journalists cover the Sept. 11 anniversary without encouraging mindless flag-waving or a resurgence of intolerance? Check out the weekly media roundtable on Friday's Working Assets Radio. Listen online from 10-11amPT/1-2pmET, or call in: 866-798-TALK.
August 29, 2002
Vivendi Embarrassed at UN Sustainable Development Summit
Tough Questions About U.S. Record Spoil Water Giant's Pro-Privatization Hype
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - Peppered with questions by Public Citizen and other civil society groups about why the world's water supply should be privatized even as corporations are bungling the management of water systems they already operate, Vivendi Environnement today abruptly ended a meeting scheduled to promote a new corporate institute.
Vivendi Environnement, a subsidiary of the debt-choked Vivendi Universal, is one of a handful of corporations on the forefront of the push to privatize the world's water supplies and systems. Privatization has come under heavy criticism during the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) from environmentalists and world leaders who believe water is a human right, not a commodity.
Vivendi gathered delegates and other WSSD attendees to a meeting Thursday to announce the creation of its new institute, billed as "a platform for thinking and interchange around the world." But when pressed by civil society groups to defend the company's track record, officials unveiling the institute balked.
In New Orleans, Vivendi's subsidiary, USFilter, has exposed residents to several problems while managing the city's wastewater system, including one instance in which raw sewage was diverted into the Mississippi River. Now, USFilter wants to take over New Orleans' water system and has made lofty promises of huge savings if only the private company could control the public's water.
At the meeting in Johannesburg, Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program, tried unsuccessfully to obtain answers from Vivendi officials about Vivendi's plans for its New Orleans operation. Rather than answer, Pierre-Marc Johnson, a former premier of Quebec tapped by Vivendi to serve on its new institute, said he was unfamiliar with Vivendi's operations, and in the face of continued questioning, the meeting was brought to a halt.
"This so-called institute isn't being set up to provide an independent assessment of sustainable development, as Vivendi would like people to believe," Hauter said. "It was clear from Vivendi's presentation that this is just another spin machine to support the corporation's mission to seize control of and profit from the world's water resources."
Another Vivendi subsidiary, Water Company, was recently ousted from Puerto Rico after a history of neglecting and bungling operation of the water and wastewater systems. In Puerto Rico, Vivendi was criticized for failing to provide running water in many areas - although the company didn't fail to send customers a water bill. Puerto Rico awarded the water contract to one of Vivendi's competitors earlier this year, effectively running the company off the island.
"In Puerto Rico, Vivendi really showed everyone that it exists not to get water flowing to people, but to get money flowing from people," said Tony Clarke, director of the Polaris Institute. "Why should people in the rest of the world buy into Vivendi's sales pitch when the company was wholly discredited and run out of Puerto Rico? The parent corporation is reeling under billions of dollars of debt and scrambling to sell assets to stay afloat. Don't Vivendi's financial troubles make it even more likely that the company will cut corners and shortchange customers to profit from water?"
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
For more information, please visit http://www.Citizen.org
Renewable energy is getting cheaper and more accessible by the day --so why are so few people using it? Part of the blame goes to the U.S. government, which has done less than nothing to encourage the renewable energy sector. But in this month's "Powers That Be" column, Amanda Griscom points to another problem as well: poor marketing. Clean energy currently has about as much sex appeal as a Rainbow Planet catalog, and until it's perceived as hip, it will be relegated to the fringes of American culture. Could energy giant BP's "Beyond Petroleum" campaign change all that? Griscom takes us behind the scenes of the marketing machine, only on the Grist Magazine website.
only in Grist: Got Sun? -- marketing the revolution in clean energy -- in our Powers That Be section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/powers/powers082902.asp?source=daily>
The first week of the World Summit on Sustainable Development has seen a mix of surprising twists and predictable problems. On the surprising end: Two very different organizations, Greenpeace International and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, have agreed to join forces to combat climate change. The two groups plan to work together to convince governments to create an international political framework that encourages and rewards innovative solutions to climate change. Meanwhile, the Green Cross, the international environmental group headed by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, is urging summit delegates to set up a $50 billion fund to promote solar energy. The wrinkle: Money for the fund would come out of government subsidies currently doled out to coal, oil, gas, and nuclear energy companies. In less surprising and more depressing news from Johannesburg, the U.S. is trying to keep human, environmental, and freedom of information rights out of the summit's action plan in order to protect multinational companies from litigation and protests by people in developing nations. The White House claims language on those topics could undermine security measures imposed after the attacks of Sept. 11.
straight to the source: BBC News, Alex Kirby, 28 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=415>
straight to the source: Toronto Globe and Mail, Alanna Mitchell, 29 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=416>
straight to the source: London Guardian, Paul Brown, 29 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=417>
only in Grist: Dispatches from Johannesburg -- by Tom Turner of Earthjustice <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dearme/turner082802.asp?source=daily>
SPRAWL TOGETHER NOW
A new culprit has been named in the drought that has plagued more than a third of the U.S. this summer: urban sprawl. A report released yesterday by American Rivers, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Smart Growth America found that the rapid expansion of pavement and developed land in metropolitan areas amounts to a one-two punch for the environment. The concrete eliminates fields and grasslands, which would have absorbed water and replenished underground aquifers; instead, water rushes off roads, roofs, driveways, and parking lots, picking up pollutants before flushing into rivers and streams. In Atlanta, Ga., just one of the 18 metropolitan areas studied in the report, the amount of water lost because of urban sprawl could have supported the average annual household needs of between 1.5 and 3.6 million people.
straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Elizabeth Shogren, 29 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=418>
do good: Support an anti-sprawl bill <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/land.asp?source=daily#character>
QUITE A PEAR
There have been wars fought over oil and opium, spices and sugarcane -- and now it seems there is a war brewing in Washington state over pears. The battle was touched off when the Seattle-based Washington Environmental Council sent a letter to an irrigation district in the eastern part of the state threatening legal actions if the district didn't stop diverting so much water to orchard owners from Peshastin Creek, home to endangered fish species. The letter infuriated family pear farmers in the area, who were just gearing up for their water-intensive harvest season. Siding with the farmers, the Peshastin Irrigation District refused to meet with the council and began readying for a court battle. The incident is typical of recent battles in the Northwest stemming from efforts by environmental groups to enforce the Endangered Species Act, often in the absence of federal efforts to maintain the law.
straight to the source: Portland Oregonian, Jim Lynch, 29 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=419>
TO MARKET, TO MARKET
Can capitalism and environmentalism go hand in hand? A new breed of financiers thinks so, and is making money by treating air pollution as a commodity. Here's how it works: Companies are required to cut their emissions to a certain level; if they do better than those targets, they can sell pollution credits to other companies that are still exceeding allowable emissions levels. The emissions targets are set by a variety of agencies, from state governments to the U.S. EPA. Most of the trading, however, is spurred by the possibility of international caps on CO2 emissions under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Although the U.S. is no longer a party to the protocol, some companies are preparing themselves for the possibility that a future administration could impose CO2 emissions regulations. Of the many air pollution trading ventures, the SO2 market is the oldest and most successful; the newest is a renewable energy market, inspired by British regulations requiring utilities to generate 3 percent of electricity from alternative energy sources such as solar and wind.
straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Timothy Gardner, 29 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=420>
Scanning The Yellow Pages......And Feeding The Bush Family
by Michael Ryan
I used to think that Richard Condon was, well, a little bit paranoid.
Then I discovered that, through a tortuous chain of connections, I will soon be making a contribution to George W. Bush every time I look up a business phone number.
Richard Condon, some of you may remember, was the author of some fairly outrageous novels, like Winter Kills and The Manchurian Candidate. In the former, a character much like Joseph Kennedy orders the assassination of his own son, the president of the United States. In the latter, a character -- memorably played by Angela Lansbury in the film version -- helps turn her own son into an assassin.
Condon's thesis was that American society was controlled by a small, invisible power elite who, like the great puppetmasters of Prague, pulled the strings on their creations in a way that made them believable to the public. The economy, big business, and government, in Condon's world, were controlled by a tiny nexus of white men who decided policy and controlled markets. Condon even exiled himself to Ireland to escape his native land and the oligarchy that controlled it.
I thought he was amusing, literate, but basically loony. Now that George Bush is providing my telephone numbers, I'm not so sure.
If you follow the intersection of business and politics, you probably know about The Carlyle Group, the Washington-based consulting firm that attracted the likes of George H.W. Bush, James Baker, Frank Carlucci and (for balance) Democratic former SEC chair Arthur Levitt as members. Even Afsaneh Beschloss, wife of the chronic talking head Michael Beschloss, is on the team. John Major, formerly of 10 Downing Street, is the European chair.
But jetting around the globe collecting big bucks for talking to powerbrokers was not enough for these great and good; Carlyle has morphed itself into an investment powerhouse, with $13.5 billion under management.
Recently, when the former Baby Bell Qwest ran into trouble, Carlyle and a partner anted up $7.05 billion to buy out the firm's yellow pages; next time you let your fingers do the walking, remember that you're sending a few pennies into the Bush family coffers.
For that matter, if you do business with a company called Infomax, or with Sonera Smartrust, or United Defense, you're lining the former president's pockets -- and, probably, increasing the inheritance of the incumbent. Carlyle, alas, has sold its stake in Le Figaro, so if you want to read France's version of The Wall Street Journal, you won't be helping Jim Baker buy any more longhorns for his herd.
But, for me, there's nothing more wondrous than the fact that the Bushes now own part of the Yellow Pages.
Take a trip to your video store and rent a classic film called The President's Analyst. In it, James Coburn as the shrink treats a president of the United States who is bedeviled by a conflict with a huge corporation which tells him it can do anything because it is the Phone Company. In our New World Order, the president is the Phone Company.
Michael Ryan has written, directed and produced films, television, and theater, published several books of humor and satire, and worked as a Washington and foreign correspondent and editor for major magazines.
New at TomPaine.com
LIFE'S WORK: CREATIVITY
A Poem From Frank Bidart For Labor Day
by Lloyd Schwartz
Work, especially creative work, is one response to the threat of death. All of us work to keep alive; but poets, like parents, work to transcend death, to keep their names -- and their work -- alive after their death.
PUBLIC OPINION WATCH:
August 12 - August 23
A Weekly Compendium And Commentary
by Ruy Teixeira
Who'll Take the Blame in November? ... Public Thinks Twice about Iraq Invasion
Dispatch: Johannesburg, South Africa
EARTH SUMMIT REPORT #4
Tom Turner's Fourth Dispatch From The World Summit On Sustainable Development.
"A huge horde of reporters is swirling about, looking for something to report, and myriad groups are only to happy to supply new books and reports and studies at press conferences and receptions."
SCANNING THE YELLOW PAGES...
...And Feeding The Bush Family
by Michael Ryan
"Next time you let your fingers do the walking, remember that you're sending a few pennies into the Bush family coffers."
COURTS REJECT FEDERAL ANTI-TERROR TACTICS
An Interview With The ACLU's Kary Moss
by Steven Rosenfeld
A new development in the "War on Terror": Federal courts restrain the Department of Justice's police powers and tactics.
DEA LAUNCHES EXHIBIT PROCLAIMING DRUGS = TERROR
But Has The 'War On Drugs' Caused More Casualties Than Good?
by Bill Berkowitz
Beginning September 10 -- in time for the one year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon -- the DEA's Arlington, Va.-based Museum & Visitor's Center will present a new exhibit called "Target America: Traffickers, Terrorists & You."
Dispatch: Carrboro, N.C.
YOUNG ACTIVISTS TAKE THE BATON
Their Civil-Rights Battle? Campaign Finance Reform
by Nicholas Lamont Dixon
"I like to believe that, for every discouraged youth, there are twice as many positive young Americans laboring the fields of social justice and planting seeds of change for our democracy."
SciTech Daily Review
What grizzlies want: The survival of North America's most fearsome predator depends on a fragile mix of seeds, berries, trout, moths, elk -- and being left alone
Immunity conferred by the smallpox vaccine appears to be remarkably durable
The air-traffic moratorium following 9/11 opened the window on the effects of contrails on climate
Ebola Is Beautiful: Spectators are usually charmed by the luminescent, brightly coloured forms arranged on a backlit wall by artist Hunter O'Reilly -- at least until they find out what they really are
Clearing the air: Eric Schaeffer weighs in on why he quit Bush's EPA
A new study has found the first clear link between anti-social behaviour and a specific interaction of genes and environment, and could help explain why most abused children don't turn into delinquents
America And Great Britain Have Already Made 35 Sorties On Iraq
by Sergey Stefanov, Translated by Dmitry SudakovPravda, PRAVDA.Ru, 08-26-2002
The head of the White House does not need a special permission from the US Congress concerning the strike on Iraq. The Washington Post wrote that this was the conclusion, to which George Bush's lawyers came.
President's lawyers stated that the Congress had already issued such a permission in 1991 to the father of the incumbent American president. Baghdad is charged with non-execution of UN resolutions, like it was eleven years ago. The newspaper advised that the military strike against Hussein's regime was practically inevitable. Nevertheless, the leading American newspaper did not possess the complete information on the subject. The strike has already started. So far, it is an exercise. International observers say that they have increased in their frequency lately. Four sorties on Iraq have already taken place. Reuters reported with reference to a military spokesman for the Iraqi military department that there were eight people killed and nine wounded as a result of the strike on the southern area of Iraq. The attack was performed on Sunday by American and British aviation.
All the killed and injured people were reportedly civilians. Objects of the bombing were civil and military objects on the outskirts of Basra, in the south of the country. An Iraqi news agency reported that American and British aviation had performed 35 sorties from the airbases in Kuwait.
American military men say that the planes attacked the radar station of the Iraqi anti-missile defense. It was added that the attack happened during a regular patrolling process. Americans declared that the radar station was imperiling the planes of the coalition. As usual, the representatives of the coalition "were trying to minimize the number of casualties." Rather a standard situation, indeed.
It is just a question of time for the USA to move from the "military exercise" onto the real bombing. We have to say that it is a question of very short time indeed. NTVRu.com exposed the data of another opinion poll, which was devoted to America's operation against Iraq.
Pursuant to the results of the poll, only 53% of Americans support the USA's operation in Iraq. This index has had a big drop, since three-fourth of respondents supported the strike before. Only 20% of American population agrees with Washington's military operation without the participation of the allies.
Meanwhile, European leaders are out there saying something too. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said in his interview to a German television channel that the war with Baghdad might have a negative influence on the struggle with international terrorism. Schroeder also added that the German army must not take part in the intervention against Iraq.
Intervention is rather a strong word for the German chancellor. Schroeder was releasing his statements during the television debate with his competitor in the up-coming elections, Edmund Stoiber. Furthermore, the coming elections are going to be the first in German history. Anything can happen there in this respect.
And the last thing. Western news agencies reported that Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri arrived in China with an official visit. The negotiations with China's leadership will basically cover the issue of relations between Baghdad and the UN. The parties will also discuss the issue of the return of military inspectors to Iraq.
Planet Ark World Environment News
FEATURE - Brokers blaze trail for new greenhouse gas market - US http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17487/story.htm
FEATURE - Tortugas shining light in Florida's damaged reefs - US http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17488/story.htm
Green groups sue US agencies over global warming - US http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17486/story.htm
Sad circus elephant to join DC's "Party Animals" - US http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17482/story.htm
Turkish water chief warns supplies low - TURKEY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17490/story.htm
Thailand ratifies Kyoto emission reduction pact - THAILAND http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17493/story.htm
Earth Summit delegates clash over renewable energy - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17484/story.htm
INTERVIEW - Loggers must be encouraged to save African forests - SOUTH AFRICA
Stars not coming out for Earth Summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17483/story.htm
Big business accused of derailing Earth Summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17481/story.htm
Deal lifts Earth Summit spirits but tussles go on - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17496/story.htm
Floods a wake-up call on climate change - scientist - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17491/story.htm
FACTBOX - Water security key issue at UN summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17494/story.htm
Earth Summit confronts global water crisis - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17495/story.htm
INTERVIEW - Big business needs Kyoto, says industry chief - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17489/story.htm
Brazil monkey reserve fire brought under control - BRAZIL http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17492/story.htm
Today, Public Citizen added information about doctors in three more states - Florida, Georgia and Alabama - to our Questionable Doctors database, which is a Web-based listing of doctors disciplined by state medical boards over the past 10 years. This brings the total number of states currently online to 16. The Web site is http://www.questionabledoctors.org.
To read the press releases about each state, go to:
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
For more information, please visit http://www.Citizen.org
White House Must Reject Navy's Assault On The Oceans
Environmental Act Should Not Be Weakened.
by Jean-Michel Cousteau and Joel Reynolds of NRDC, August 22 2002
Oil drilling in coastal waters from California to Florida. Underwater explosives testing near the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Ocean dumping off the Eastern Seaboard. And trawlers scouring increasingly depleted fishing grounds from Alaska to Maine. For more than 30 years, these activities and countless others like them have been illegal unless there was full public disclosure and a thorough review of their environmental impacts.
Now that could change. Under a proposal being considered by the Bush administration, the federal law that has been the cornerstone of the protection of our environment--including our oceans--is under attack.
Considered the "Magna Carta of environmental regulation" in the United States since it was signed into law by President Nixon in 1969, the National Environmental Policy Act imposes this common-sense requirement: If a federal agency is thinking of taking an action or starting a program that could significantly affect the environment, it must consider those effects first. Under the act, a federal agency is required to identify the environmental impacts of a proposed action, consider reasonable alternatives and identify ways to reduce the harm. This information must then be made available for public comment.
Earlier this month, under pressure from the Navy and the Department of Justice, five federal agencies convened behind closed doors to consider a Navy proposal that the National Environmental Policy Act no longer be applied to any activity or program -- no matter its environmental risks -- in waters beyond three nautical miles from our shores. Activities within this part of the so-called "exclusive economic zone," or EEZ, of the United States, not to mention activities on the high seas -- would no longer receive public environmental review.
The EEZ, which extends 200 nautical miles from our shores, covers more than 3 million square miles of rich ocean habitat and is home to a wealth of fish, whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life. Under the Navy's proposal, these resources would no longer be subject to the "inconvenience" of public disclosure and environmental review.
According to a Navy "point paper" leaked to the media, both the Council on Environmental Quality, the federal agency charged with issuing regulations under the act, and the Justice Department during the Clinton administration "pressed to apply [the act] worldwide." As recently as this summer, that was still the position of the council and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the agency responsible for protecting our oceans. And that is how the act has been applied for years by the federal courts.
Unfortunately, according to sources at the meeting, the five federal agencies agreed with the Navy that it was time to loosen protections afforded under the environmental policy act. Most important to the Navy -- and the immediate reason for its demand that the federal government's policy be so drastically restricted -- this would mean that an environmental review might not be required before testing or deployment of powerful new active sonar devices around the world, devices that could expose hundreds of thousands of square miles to potentially harmful sound levels.
One of these sonars has been identified by the Navy as the cause of mass strandings involving four species of whales in the Bahamas. Yet in federal court in Los Angeles, in a case brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council and others, the Navy is now arguing that its program for testing and developing this sonar, and many others like it, is not subject to environmental scrutiny under the environmental policy act.
If the law is weakened, however, this change would affect far more than the Navy. It would affect coastal communities, commercial and recreational fishing, beachgoers, scuba divers and anyone else who depends on the health of our ocean resources for their livelihood, recreation or quality of life.
All of us depend on clean ocean waters full of species diversity and free from oil spills, dangerous chemicals, harmful sounds and other pollution. That has been an essential part of what Congress sought to accomplish when it enacted the 1969 law.
Never has protection of the oceans been more critical. With depleted fish populations, endangered whales and sea turtles, growing ocean "dead zones," toxic algal blooms and high-intensity sonar systems that can bombard ocean basins with sound, we cannot afford to dispense with the protections of the National Environmental Policy Act and the public accountability that it guarantees.
President Bush must reject the Navy's ill-conceived and unlawful invitation to weaken the protection of our oceans.
Jean-Michel Cousteau is founder and president of Ocean Futures Society in Santa Barbara. Joel R. Reynolds is a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in Los Angeles.
The secular society gets religion
by Felicia R. Lee
Now, according to Professor Heclo, the pendulum has swung the other way. His research, he said, has turned up polls showing that people are more willing to see religious views expressed by public officials and to see religion promoted by government than at any time since the 1970s. "It's not the old values of the culture wars," he continued, "but what do we think are the grounds for deciding if something is right or wrong?"
To read the entire feature, go to [Free reg. required]:
To read an insightful critique of the foregoing "New York Times" feature, go to:
BBC documentary: "Chasing bin Laden"
by Chris Currie Christchurch, New Zealand
Our New Zealand main national TV channel recently showed a BBC documentary called "Chasing bin Laden." It portrayed U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan being told that the terrorists would run as soon as they were attacked. How ignorant can one be? Afghans have for hundreds of years been brought up to fight. Muslims believe they will go straight to their heaven if killed in battle. The documentary also showed the U.S. forces being delivered by helicopter to the middle of a large valley where the Taliban were and then, of course, having to evacuate. Even King David 3000 years ago knew better strategy than that.
The documentary showed incredible resources and fire power being deployed in the war. What if the same expenditure and effort had been put into rebuilding the Afghan irrigation works destroyed by the Russians? What if even some of the effort had been put into rebuilding non-drug related agriculture and horticulture, thereby earning the right to say that the U.S. way of life is better? What if a fraction of the expenditure had been put into schools providing free board and lodging as well as free education for the children of large Afghan and Pakistani families? What if those schools demonstrated a more upright, merciful, and loving way of life compared with the hundreds of free board-and-lodging schools provided by the radical Muslims?
If any want an in-depth, relatively unbiased, and thoroughly documented view of the situation, I recommend "Taliban: The story of the Afghan Warlords," by Ahmed Rashid, an international journalist who has been reporting on Afghanistan since 1979. It is published by Pan Books.
School Of The Americas Protesters Held Without Rights
They spoke up for us and now it's time that we speak up for them!
On July 12, 2002, a federal court in Georgia found 36 SOA Watch activists guilty and sentenced them for speaking out against the School of the Americas (SOA) in a nonviolent protest on the Fort Benning military reservation. Twenty-nine received prison terms ranging from three months to the maximum of six months - one more attempt to silence the movement to close the SOA, and to prevent others from speaking out. Toni Flynn, 56, a Catholic Worker and mother of four from Valyermo, CA, Peter Gelderloos, 20, an activist from Harrisonburg, VA, and Father Jerry Zawada, 65, a Franciscan priest from Cedar Lake, IN, were taken to Crisp County Jail in Georgia. It was assumed that this was to be a brief stop in transit to a federal prison near their homes.
Now, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has designated Crisp County Jail as the location where the three will serve the remainder of their six-month sentences. The three have reported deplorable conditions in this jail including dangerous medical neglect. The Crisp County Jail does not comply with federal standards for the treatment of prisoners. The Crisp County Jail does not permit visits on weekends and the visitation facilities do not meet the BOP criteria (see federal code citation below).
Federal Code citation: 28 Code of Federal Regulations Sections 540.41 and 540.42 provide requirements for proper visitation facilities and visiting times for inmates. "At a minimum, the Warden shall establish visiting hours at the institution on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays" (Section 540.42(a)). It is the policy of the BOP "to encourage visiting by family, friends, and community groups to maintain the morale of the inmate and to develop closer relationships between the inmate and family members or others in the community" (Section 540.40).
Here's what you can do: *Write a letter to the Southeast Regional Director of the BOP to demand that the SOA Watch Prisoners of Conscience be moved to a facility near their home and that the situation at Crisp County Jail has to change for all prisoners. In doing research on the Net it appears that there has been more litigation concerning Georgia County jails than any other state.
Fax and snail-mail your letter to:
R.E. Holt Southeast Regional Director Federal Bureau of Prisons 3800 Camp Creek Parkway, S.W. Building 2000 Atlanta, GA 30331-6226 Fax: 678 686.1229
*Contact your congressperson. Point out that while SOA-trained killers continue to act with impunity, nonviolent people of conscience are in prison under harsh conditions. Urge your congressperson to contact R.E. Holt to inquire about the conditions in Crisp County Jail that are in violation of federal law, and to demand that Peter, Toni, and Jerry be moved to a facility in compliance with federal standards. If your representative is a co-sponsor of HR 1810 (the bill to close the SOA), thank them for their support. If not, take this opportunity to ask them to sign on. Click here for more legislative information and a list of co-sponsors.
*Come to Fort Benning, Nov. 15-17, 2002, and take the place of those who have been incarcerated.
United States: A Country Behind Bars?
One in 32 adults in the United States was behind bars or on probation by the end of last year, according to a government report that found a record 6.6 million people in the U.S. correctional system.
The Justice Department reported that adults under supervision by the criminal justice system rose by 147,700, or 2.3 percent between 2000 and 2001.
Texas had the most adults under supervision than any other state: 755,100. California had the most incarcerated: 236,300, followed by Texas at 203,800.
"The overall figures suggest that we've come to rely on the criminal justice system as a way of responding to social problems in a way that's unprecedented," said Marc Mauer, assistant director of the Sentencing Project.
Origins of the universe
There is a theory that states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory that states that this has already happened.
The U.S., Saudi Arabia, and other rich nations are deliberately stymieing international efforts to encourage increased clean energy use, according to sources at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, being held this week and next in Johannesburg, South Africa. The WSSD action plan, which will be approved by heads of state at the end of the summit, currently includes a proposal that clean energy account for 15 percent of the world's total energy production by 2010. But delegates from the U.S. and other industrialized and oil-producing countries are lobbying to cut the provision, much to the frustration of environmentalists. The U.S. has vowed to fight for the elimination of the majority of specific targets and timetables in the action plan. In other, more uplifting news from the summit, delegates have reached an agreement to restore depleted fisheries worldwide by 2015. (Apparently, the U.S. let that deadline slide.) The agreement, which calls for sharply reduced catches in some areas and temporary fishing bans where necessary, especially in breeding grounds, marks the first notable success of the summit.
straight to the source: Buffalo News, Associated Press, Joseph B. Verrengia, 28 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=409>
straight to the source: Toronto Globe and Mail, Oliver Moore, 28 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=410>
only in Grist: To summit all up -- dispatches from Johannesburg --by Tom Turner, Earthjustice <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dearme/turner082602.asp?source=daily>
GAMBLING ON THE COURTS
Armed with $4 million, the state of Nevada is preparing for the legal battle of a lifetime: the effort to keep the federal government from establishing a high-level radioactive waste dump at Yucca Mountain. Charles Cooper, one member of the high-profile legal team retained by the state, said yesterday that he was "very encouraged" about Nevada's prospects of prevailing in court. The team of attorneys has declined to reveal its plan, but options include challenging the constitutionality of the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which provides the framework for siting and developing nuclear waste dumps. Even without a constitutional challenge, though, the dump could be derailed by the courts: other pending legal actions against Yucca Mountain include lawsuits against the U.S. EPA over groundwater protection, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission over licensing and safety issues, the Department of Energy over site suitability rules and the project's environmental impact statement, as well as against President Bush and DOE Secretary Spencer Abraham for backing the Yucca site in the face of scientific uncertainty about its safety.
straight to the source: Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sean Whaley, 28 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=411>
Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster (R) kicked off a campaign to save his state's coastline this week by bagging a $3 million, three-year grant from, of all places, Shell Oil. "America's Wetland: Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana" also earned the backing of several major national and state environmental and civic organizations, as well as a spot on the label of Tabasco brand hot sauce. The campaign is aimed at building support for a proposed $14 billion federal-state project to restore the Louisiana coastal wetlands, which are critical to the health of marine species in the Gulf of Mexico. The state has lost more than 1,500 square miles of wetlands in the last half-century, largely due to erosion from development. Foster hopes that widespread publicity about the problem will help persuade taxpayers to foot part of the bill for the restoration project, which would entail rerouting parts of the Mississippi River, rebuilding barrier islands, and replanting marsh grasses.
straight to the source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, Mark Schleifstein, 28 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=412>
ON A DIFFERENT SCALE
A pair of bills aimed at regulating genetically altered fish in food and the environment are facing a bitter fight in the California legislature. One of the proposed laws, a consumer right-to-know bill requiring the labeling of unpackaged transgenic fish in retail stores, passed the state Senate on Monday, but it must be approved by the Assembly by Saturday (the last day of the session) if it is to survive. Meanwhile, a tabled bill designed to keep live transgenic fish out of state waters was revived this week in light of a report recently released by the U.S. National Research Council warning of the dangers posed by such fish to wild populations. But both bills are opposed by the formidably strong biotechnology, grocery, and agriculture industries. If either bill passes, California would be the first state to impose such strict controls on genetically modified fish.
straight to the source: San Francisco Chronicle, Jane Kay, 28 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=413>
In a classic example of strange bedfellows, the Nature Conservancy has teamed up with Great Northern Paper, a pulp and paper mill company, to protect thousands of acres of wilderness in Maine -- and over a thousand jobs for company employees. The conservancy, whose Maine chapter was founded by legendary environmentalist Rachel Carson, provided the struggling paper company with $50 million in cash and low-interest loans in exchange for protecting 240,000 acres of land between Mount Katahdin and Baxter State Park. The exchange is a spin-off of the debt-for-nature swaps that have occurred between developed and developing countries, with the added wrinkle that both parties are based in the U.S. Kent Wommack, executive director of the Nature Conservancy in Maine, called the partnership, "the first of its kind."
straight to the source: Portland Press Herald, Joshua L. Weinstein, 28 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=414>
"Start by doing what's necessary;
then do what's possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
St. Francis of Assisi
Greenpeace USA August 2002 Newsletter:
What's new and noteworthy at http://www.greenpeaceusa.org
WSSD: Greenpeace at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg
Forests: An Update from a Rave in the Amazon, the Mahogany Confiscation at U.S. Ports and the Real Plan Behind Bush's "Healthy Forest Initiative"
Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Sue the U.S. Government on Behalf of Members Impacted by Global Warming
Yet Another Example of Bush's Corporate-Friendly Routine: Biotech Industry Pushes Ahead Without Safety Testing
Current Beaching in Cape Cod Reminds the World that Whales Need Protection from Commercial Whaling Practices
August has been a busy month and there are plenty of updates for you. From the political work going on in Africa to a rave in the Amazon, Greenpeace has been active around the globe.
WSSD: Greenpeace at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg
World leaders are meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), to discuss how to move forward while meeting the needs of developing countries and sustaining our environment.
And although Bush has opted out, deciding to instead spend time at his ranch in Texas, Greenpeace is there!
Find out about our visit from Nobel prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He stopped by to bless our ship, the Esperanza, and our crew.
Six members of that crew are now unable to return to the ship following a protest against the use of nuclear power in South Africa.
Find out all the details, get involved by sending our flash e-card and stay up-to-date as events unfold in Africa.
>> Forests: An Update from a Rave in the Amazon, the Mahogany Confiscation at U.S. Ports and the Real Plan Behind Bush's "Healthy Forest Initiative"
A rave deep in the heart of the Amazon is going on now, with proceeds benefiting Greenpeace. You can be a part of the party! Experience the music of the Amazon's electronic music festival through the online listening party August 26th through September 6th.
If you've been following the fate of the millions of dollars worth of Brazilian mahogany now confiscated and impounded at U.S. ports, you'll be happy to hear that a U.S. judge recently blocked the release of the wood to the U.S. market.
Get the full story on Brazil's historic fight to save mahogany and the Amazon:
It doesn't get more obvious. President Bush is once again pandering to industry interests, this time the timber industry, with a new initiative that will clear the road for large timber companies to engage in destructive logging of old growth trees.
Find out the real scoop behind his so-called "Healthy Forest Initiative."
Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Sue the U.S. Government on Behalf of Members Impacted by Global Warming
Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the City of Boulder Colorado are representing their members in a lawsuit against the United States government. The plaintiffs are victims of global warming, and claim that the government's use of tax dollars to fund dirty fossil fuel projects is what is driving global warming around the world.
Find out more and meet the people behind the lawsuit:
Yet Another Example of Bush's Corporate-Friendly Routine: Biotech Industry Pushes Ahead Without Safety Testing
The White House has released a new proposal to regulate genetically engineered crops. Under the Bush administration's corporate-friendly "guidance," the biotechnology industry will be allowed to push ahead with new genetically engineered crops even if the crops have not been safety tested.
Find out more:
Current Beaching in Cape Cod Reminds the World that Whales Need Protection from Commercial Whaling Practices
Earlier this month the world grieved over the 55 whales that beached themselves and died in Cape Cod, MA. Scientists aren't positive about why this happened, but the beachings were a reminder to people the world over that whales still need protection. Unfortunately, even today, more whales are lost to whale hunting, than in beachings.
Learn more about the beachings, and the continued threat to whales' prosperity:
Check for new online actions and see the results of previous online actions by visiting our online action center at:
Help Greenpeace spread the word. Forward this email to other caring individuals.
Want to do more? Become a Greenpeace member today! To give online, go to:
A Virus Of The Mind
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Susan V. Thompson, ed.
Read online or subscribe at: http://www.9-11peace.org/bulletin.php3
Introduction: Meme Warfare
The Theory of Memetics
Memes and the War on Terrorism
Memes and Activism
INTRODUCTION: MEME WARFARE
"World War III is a guerilla information war, with no division between military and civilian participation." -- Marshall McLuhan
In his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins proposed that ideas act like viruses or genes, passing from one host to another and competing for survival. Dawkins referred to ideas as "memes" (rhymes with dreams). A meme is basically a contagious idea that replicates itself, passing from mind to mind. Successful memes infect a large number of hosts, while unsuccessful ones die out. As memes replicate, they also change or mutate much as genes do. If these changes are more successful than the original memes, then they will eventually out-compete the originals.
While Dawkins didn't personally develop the concept very much, subsequent theorists have embraced and expanded upon his original concept of ideas functioning like genes. There is currently a wealth of new information being written and discussed regarding the theory of memetics, and the term "meme" has itself attained a fad-like popularity, which indicates its own current success at replicating itself.
Memes are of special interest to the activist since they help explain how some ideas take hold in the mainstream and others do not; indeed, memetics is a useful tool for understanding propaganda, beliefs, religion, and the whole of human culture. Through understanding memetics, citizens and activists can not only understand and discard memes that have infected their own minds, but also create countermemes or antimemes that will infect others. Memes such as "the war on terrorism is not just," and "peace is patriotic" can combat memes such as "this is a battle between good and evil" and "if you're not with us, you're against us." It makes sense to view the war on terrorism as it is waged on the home front as, in the final analysis, a war of memes. Therefore it is important for our movement to come up with memes that are real winners.
THE THEORY OF MEMETICS
This is a short introduction to memes which asks, "What if an idea were a virus?"
This is an introduction to memetics that very briefly highlights the originators and critics of the field, as well as the rise of memetic engineering. It is followed by an excellent annotated directory of websites, which is the perfect place to start if you'd like to do more reading into the subject. A memetic engineer is defined as a person "...who is able to isolate, study, and subtly manipulate the underlying values systems, symbolic balance and primal atavisms that unconsciously influence the individual psyche and collective identity."
If you'd like a quick reference guide dealing with terms commonly used in memetics theory, you may want to check out this brief memetics lexicon. http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/MEMLEX.html
Susan Blackmore, author of The Meme Machine, offers this introduction to memes entitled "Waking Up From the Meme Dream." Not only does she lay out the theory of memetics in basic and understandable terms, she relates it to science and fundamental philosophical questions of human identity. She also notes that the two tools most effective at destroying memes, despite the fact that they are memes themselves, are science and Zen Buddhism, which act like "meme-disinfectants, meme-eating memes, or 'meme-complex destroying meme-complexes.' " http://www.memes.org.uk/meme-lab/DART96.HTM
In this excellent article, Richard Dawkins explains memes as viruses of the mind, using the detailed example of a computer virus. He applies the theory to fads and religion, and also lists several "symptoms" of a meme-infected mind.
Aaron Lynch offers a far more quantitative and academic (and some would say credible) explanation of the "evolutionary epidemiology of ideas" which explains memes in terms of mathematics and linguistics. Interestingly, Lynch begins by tracing the theory of memes to a non-metaphoric, technical paper written prior to Dawkin's The Selfish Gene, thus disproving the criticism that the only evidence for memes is metaphorical. Lynch's definition of memes, which he calls "thought contagion," is as follows:
"1. A memory item, or portion of an organism's neurally-stored information, identified using the abstraction system of the observer, whose instantiation depended critically on causation by prior instantiation of the same memory item in one or more other organisms' nervous systems. ('Sameness' of memory items is determined with respect to the above-mentioned abstraction system of the observer.) 2. The process of repeated causation of new instantiations of memory items in which the causation of those new instantiations depended critically upon the prior instantiation of the same memory item in one or more other organisms' nervous systems."
MEMES AND THE WAR ON TERRORISM
A majority of those who have examined the war on terrorism in terms of memes have examined the memes that led the terrorists to attack the WTC and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, and tend to take the more short-sighted view that Islam is an evil religion, with evil memes (a meme in itself). Unfortunately, although perhaps not surprisingly, much less attention has been devoted to the memes being spread in favor of war, or the competition between war-oriented memes (intentionally spread and endorsed by the US government) and peace-oriented memes. One can only hope that more leftist memetic analysis of the war on terrorism will be written in the future.
One of the most common uses of memetics to explain 9-11 seems to be to characterize the "war on terrorism" as a war of Western and Islamic memes. As the author of this article contends: "...central to a symbolic interactional understanding of the attack is the view that the competition is, centrally, between free market memes on the one hand and Islamic memes on the other."
Unfortunately, while this line of thinking may have some validity, it can also collapse into little more than an argument for vengeance, since US memes are supposedly "better" than Islamic memes. Witness this example, in which the author states: "Yes, we're in a meme war. Tuesday's attack was an attack on our memes. Our beliefs. What we stand for. So, how will our memes fight back? #1, we must change their memes. How do we do that? I guess with two ways. First, we kill their men, women and children -- their meme hosts. Why? Well, these are future hosts of their memes." (You'll need to scroll down past several angry responses if you want to read the original post.)
A more instructive discussion of memes for peace activists focuses on the memes contained within President Bush's rhetoric. Liberals have long been dismayed by so-called "Bushisms." Examples of the most well-known Bushisms that have been used during the "war on terrorism" include the quickly withdrawn statement that the new war would be a "crusade against terrorism," the statement that "if you are not with us, you are with the terrorists, " and the statement (albeit written for Bush by a speechmaker) that "Iran, Iraq, and North Korea are the axis of evil." Foreign Policy in Focus rightly points out that these Bushisms are best understood as memes. According to FPIF: "the examples above show that it is not Bush's rhetorical ability that is at stake, but rather his grasp of reality. Bushisms are more than slips of the tongue: They are the 'memes' (to use the expression coined by Richard Dawkins) that make up the ideology of 'compassionate conservatism.' "
MEMES AND ACTIVISM
Adbusters notes: "In our information age, whoever has the memes has the power." Since corporations (and, although it is not specifically mentioned, politicians) control much of the dispersal of memes, that means that in our culture, they have the power. There are, however, means by which citizens can combat the dominant memes, which are listed here, and which include the Internet, "the biggest and best meme medium ever invented."
This is an excellent overview of the dispersion and control of memes, and could be viewed as a kind of handbook for meme activism. Highly recommended. Includes links to many of the most cutting edge and well-known meme activism websites.
This is a kind of informal case history of meme warfare, the center of which is the personal account of a woman who attempted to order a custom pair of Nike shoes with the word "sweatshop" emblazoned on them. She explains how this came about and the effect it had, using it as an example of some theories of social dynamics and memes in particular. The ultimate stated purpose of the document is to teach others how to use culture jamming to spread successful alternative memes. Includes charts.
This personal account of the genesis of Billionaires for Bush (or Gore) is an example of how memes can be used to actively counter political issues:
"Rushkoff's exploration of 'memes' fascinated me. But rather than viruses of clothing styles and pop heroes, I was interested in viruses of political ideas and action. For several years, as 'Minister of Culture' for the social justice group United for a Fair Economy (UFE), I experimented with various media viruses, taking on issues of taxation, sweatshops, wage inequality, and corporate welfare. In the Spring of 2000 we developed a very virulent strain: Billionaires for Bush (or Gore)."
The Meme Machine -- Susan Blackmore
Virus of the Mind -- Richard Brodie
The Selfish Gene -- Richard Dawkins
Thought Contagion: How Belief Spreads Through Society -- Aaron Lynch
Media Virus! -- Douglas Rushkoff
Health Workers Await Official Smallpox Policy
By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, NY Times, August 25, 2002
More than two months after a national advisory panel recommended vaccinating thousands of health care and emergency workers against smallpox as a precaution against a bioterrorist attack, state and local health officials are waiting for the government to announce its official policy. No vaccinations have taken place.
The advisory panel's recommendations are routinely forwarded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the secretary of health and human services. A spokesman said on Friday that Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary, had made no decision.
The government has never rejected or significantly modified any recommendation from the panel, known as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, C.D.C. officials said.
In responding to a federal government request, the advisory panel sped up the end of its deliberations to June from October. Now "it's a hurry up and wait" situation, said the panel's chairman, Dr. John F. Modlin of Dartmouth Medical School.
Responsibility for carrying out any plan and approving who gets the vaccine will fall on state and local health departments. But no state can begin until the federal government, which owns all stocks of the vaccine, releases it.
On June 20, the panel unanimously rejected a proposal to offer vaccine to every American and recommended immunizing only about 15,000 "first responders" < the health care and law enforcement workers who would be most likely to respond to a biological attack.
But in early July, some federal officials said that they would soon vaccinate 500,000 first responders.
Jerome M. Hauer, acting assistant secretary for emergency preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services, said at that time that the agency hoped to send planning documents on how best to conduct mass vaccinations to cities and states within two weeks.
Officials now say that announcement was premature.
"Jerry was jumping the gun" and the material has not been sent, said William Pierce, a spokesman for the department. The decision has been slowed in part by the vacation period and is expected within weeks, Mr. Pierce said.
Bush administration officials have debated whether to offer smallpox vaccinations to all Americans, as some people have advocated, or to limit them as the committee recommended.
President Bush faces a health issue that is believed to be a first < weighing the risks of administering a dangerous vaccine to protect against a disease that exists only as an unquantifiable threat.
Last month, Mr. Bush said that in considering his options he was concerned about calling for a national vaccination program that could cause death.
Smallpox vaccine can lead to serious and potentially fatal complications, especially in people with impaired immune systems. The virus from which the vaccine is derived, a cousin of the smallpox virus, can spread from recipients to people with whom they come in contact and can cause life-threatening complications among them.
Because the United States stopped routine smallpox vaccinations in 1972, tens of millions of younger Americans have never been vaccinated against a disease that can kill up to 30 percent of its victims. It is unclear how well protected those people who received vaccinations decades ago are.
The World Health Organization declared smallpox eradicated in 1980 and has allowed the United States and Russia each to freeze a stock of smallpox virus. But because the former Soviet Union is believed to have weaponized smallpox virus, the fear is that terrorists or a few countries like Iraq have obtained the virus.
In light of the new threat, Bush administration officials have recently taken a fresh look at data concerning the complications from vaccinations when they were routine in this country. The focus was on the risk of a vaccine recipient inadvertently transmitting the virus to other people, and the data were both reassuring and disconcerting.
The review showed that adults who were vaccinated rarely transmitted the vaccine virus to other people. But experts say they do not know how valid the findings are today when many more people are vulnerable to such infection because they have impaired immune systems from treatment for cancer, H.I.V. infection and other conditions.
More disturbing were the data concerning risks among people with a common skin condition, eczema. People with it, or who have had it, are at higher risk of complications from the smallpox vaccine. The rate was one case of complications per 100,000 vaccinations, a figure that exceeds the risk of paralysis from the oral polio vaccine. The government stopped oral polio vaccinations because it considered the risk too high.
Now state officials want "what amounts to political clearance" before vaccinating health care workers, said Dr. J. Michael Lane, a retired C.D.C. smallpox epidemiologist who now consults with the agency's bioterrorism defense program. "Everyone says we don't want to be the first, but we don't want to be the last" to begin, Dr. Lane said.
Dr. Marcelle Layton, the assistant commissioner of the New York City Department of Health for communicable diseases, said that "it's hard to plan at the detail level until the federal decision is made" and that "it's not going to be a simple thing to do regardless of what the numbers are."
Dr. Layton said her department had begun to work with its advisory panels and with the Police and Fire Departments and emergency medical services to identify the groups of workers to vaccinate. The list includes a core group of Health Department staff members who would investigate the first calls about a case of suspected smallpox and who would trace their contacts.
The list is also expected to include some medical specialists who would be the most likely to see a case < emergency room staff members, ambulance workers, dermatologists, infectious disease doctors, nurses, laboratory workers and support staff members.
No consensus has been reached, largely because until health departments learn how much vaccine they will receive, they cannot make more detailed plans, Dr. Layton said.
"Wag The Puppy" -- New Twist In Media War
By Norman Solomon, August 22, 2002
Some people are suspicious that President Bush will go for a "wag the dog" strategy -- boosting Republican prospects with a military assault on Iraq shortly before Election Day. But a modified approach now seems to be underway. Let's call it "wag the puppy."
After a number of GOP luminaries blasted his administration's war scenarios, Bush claimed to appreciate "a healthy debate." The president offered assurances that he would consult with Congress rather than take sudden action. But his handlers were simply adapting to circumstances that probably make it impractical for the Pentagon to kill a lot of Iraqis prior to Nov. 5.
Before initiating vast new carnage abroad, the White House wants its propaganda siege to take hold at home. Countless hours of airtime and huge vats of ink are needed to do the trick. Like safecrackers trying first one combination and then another, the Bush team will continue to twirl the media dials till their war-making rationales click.
The most widely publicized critics of attacking Iraq are hardly inclined to withstand the hot rhetorical winds that would accompany the first U.S. missile strikes. Objections from the likes of Dick Armey and Brent Scowcroft are apt to swiftly morph into pseudo-patriotic deference if Bush gives the order for the initial terrorizing launch of missiles against Iraqi cities. And history gives the president ample reasons to believe that most hand-wringing punditry will turn into applause when the Pentagon begins its slaughter.
Delaying war is very different than preventing it. In fact, many of the arguments marshaled in the mainstream media against a precipitous attack on Iraq appear to be accepting the need for the U.S. government to afflict that country with massive violence. Whether on Capitol Hill or in media venues, most of the criticism seems largely concerned with style, timing and tactics.
Quite a bit of flak has also come from pro-war commentators who want Bush to get his militaristic act together. The bloodthirsty editor of The Atlantic magazine, Michael Kelly, used his Aug. 21 column on The Washington Post's op-ed page to lament "the president's refusal to wage a coherent campaign to win public -- and, let's force the issue, congressional -- approval for the war."
While President Bush huddled with hawks at the top of the pecking order in Crawford, war enthusiasts were on the offensive across the nation's media landscape. Their efforts were adding to a sustained volume of valuable news coverage. The mid-summer media focus on Iraq has offered tangible benefits for Shrub's party -- including real progress in changing the subject.
The more that Iraq dominates front pages, magazine covers, news broadcasts and cable channels, the less space there is for such matters as the intensifying retirement worries of many Americans, the Wall Street scandals, and specific stories about entanglements that link Bush or Dick Cheney with malodorous corporate firms like Enron, Harken and Halliburton.
In August, the "healthy debate" over Iraq has displaced a range of negative economic stories from the top of the news. Bush's advisers would hardly mind if a similar pattern held through early November.
For the next couple of months, the president has domestic political incentives to keep "wagging the puppy" while floating a variety of unsubstantiated claims -- like references to wispy dots that implausibly connect the Iraqi dictatorship and al Qaeda.
Meanwhile, sending more ships and aircraft to the Persian Gulf region can be calculated to evoke plenty of televised support-our-troops spectacles. With Old Glory in the background as tearful good-byes are exchanged at U.S. military ports and bases, how many politicians or journalists will challenge the manipulative tactics of the commander-in-chief?
Even if the White House doesn't sic the Pentagon on Iraqi people before the November elections, its efforts to boost pre-war fever between now and then could have enormous media impacts with big dividends at the polls. This fall, our country may see something short of a "wag the dog" extravaganza provided by leading officials of the Bush administration. But unless we can stop them, the full-grown dogs of war are not far behind.
Scientists Fear 'Uncertainty' Of Genetically Altered Animals
by Elizabeth Weise, USA Today, August, 21 2002
Genetically engineered fish, shellfish and insects escaping into the wild and taking the place of their natural cousins is scientists' biggest concern associated with advances in animal biotechnology, says a report released today by the National Academy of Sciences.
A panel of 12 scientists was asked to review current research on the issue of genetically modifying animals to produce improved food or biomedical products. This year's report of goats that had been modified to produce spider silk in their milk is an example.
''There's uncertainty about what happens when transgenic animals with attributes that give them advantages over wild animals get out into the environment,'' says Michael Taylor, a member of the committee that wrote the report.
Other concerns include the possibility that transgenic-animal products might trigger allergies in people who eat them and the adverse effects of bioengineering on the animals themselves.
For example, biotech calves and lambs tend to be born later and bigger, resulting in difficult births often requiring Caesarean sections. And some biotech techniques cause an increase in the birth of deformed animals.
''Some of the results were not pretty,'' says Joseph Mendelson of the Center for Food Safety in Washington, D.C. ''You're essentially creating animals that are pretty horrific and suffer a great deal.''
The academy's report, written at the request of the Food and Drug Administration, raises questions about the adequacy of the current regulatory process for bioengineered animals. The report questions whether the agencies involved have the legal and technological capacity to deal with the issues that are sure to come up as this technology grows.
Currently, the FDA regulates transgenic animals under the New Animal Drug Approval Process. Transgenic animals themselves are considered a drug because they have been genetically engineered. But the agency is still working to craft its policies in this emerging field, says Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine.
He says the FDA is putting together policies so it can tell companies what research they will need to evaluate the safety of these animals.
In the minds of the committee members, that will most likely require added regulations, Taylor says.
''Society needs to look to see if it's given FDA the tools it needs so it can protect against whatever risks are posed,'' he says. ''Far better we ask the questions now rather than blame them five years down the road if we're not happy with the job they've done.''
As for the future prospect of a nice roast hunk of cloned beef, the panel found that there doesn't appear to be any evidence that it's dangerous to eat -- but added that there isn't a lot of data, so more research would be a good idea.
It's not something likely to come up over dinner, however, because there are no transgenic-animal products in the USA's food supply yet, though there are many in the testing phase. Policies aren't yet in place, Sundlof says. And until they are, ''we are not able to approve for commercial use any transgenic or cloned animals.''
SciTech Daily Review
A substance that has been clogging nuclear waste filters could turn out to be an effective treatment for AIDS
Other thrill-seekers have river rapids and mountain precipices. Robert Winkler is well content with his encounter with beautiful and fearsome copperheads
Stepford child: She speaks when spoken to, she's a teacher's pet ... heck, she's even got a photographic memory. But this plastic pal is just a little bit creepy
When the pen becomes as mighty as the keyboard, tablet PCs could finally spell the end of the paper trail
Einstein's hot time: Great theoreticians know that hypothesis must be confirmed with experiment (humour)
Transgenic animals escaping into the wild and taking the place of their natural cousins is scientists' biggest concern associated with advances in animal biotechnology, according to a report fron the National Academy of Sciences
Is physics watching over us? Our Universe is so unlikely that we must be missing something
THE WEEKLY SPIN, Wednesday, August 28, 2002
sponsored by PR WATCH http://www.prwatch.org
THIS WEEK'S NEWS
1. George Bush Channels George Orwell
2. Even America's Secret Courts Are Worried
3. Pentagon Calls In The Flacks
4. Weblogs Empower Everyone -- Except Reporters
5. Hitler's Filmmaker Turns 100
6. CNN To Require Celebrities To Disclose Drug Company Ties
7. Wag The Puppy
8. Fat Cat Hotel Still Open For Business
9. Heads Roll at BM-Australia
10. How PR Sold the First War With Iraq
11. Times Takes Flak on Iraq
12. PR Campaign to Promote War with Iraq
13. Shh...the Veterans Might Hear
1. GEORGE BUSH CHANNELS GEORGE ORWELL
"Can A Sitting President Be Charged With Plagiarism?" asks TomPaine.com's New York Times op-ad. "As President Bush wages his war against terrorism and moves to create a huge homeland security apparatus, he appears to be borrowing heavily, if not ripping off ideas outright, from George Orwell's 1984," writes Daniel Kurtzman, a San Francisco writer and former Washington political correspondent. "1984 was intended as a warning about the evils of totalitarianism -- not a how-to manual."
SOURCE: TomPaine.com, August 27, 2002
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2. EVEN AMERICA'S SECRET COURTS ARE WORRIED
"For many citizens, the notion of an American 'secret court' would appear a striking contradiction in terms," writes law professor Jonathan Turley. "Until last week's disclosures by Congress, few Americans were aware that our government routinely used such a court to conduct searches of its own citizens for the purpose of foreign intelligence gathering, searches that would be denied as unconstitutional by any conventional court." Under the little-known Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the secret court has operated for more than two decades, approving more than 10,000 covert seaches (and has never turned down a single request!). We're hearing about it now because the secret court itself is blowing the whistle over the Ashcroft Justice Department's Kafkaesque power grab which threatens to eliminate the distinction between spying on foreign enemies and spying on U.S. citizens.
SOURCE: Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2002
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3. PENTAGON CALLS IN THE FLACKS
It seems Washington just can't get enough PR advice these days. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently called a meeting of his "strategic communications" group to critique a "presentation on the whereabouts of terrorists around the globe." PR Week reports a dozen private-sector PR professionals "intermittently offer messaging advice to the Pentagon." According to PR Week, the presentation's purpose is to "convince someone of the need to engage 'rogue states' -- including Iraq -- that are likely to harbor terrorists." The groups includes Republican PR notable Sheila Tate, beltway lobbyists Charlie Black and Tommy Boggs, whose firm received $100,000 early this year to lobby on behalf of Saudi Arabia, and Republican spokesman cum columnist Rich Galen. Pentagon public affairs head Victoria Clarke, who used to run Hill & Knowlton's Washington DC office, is reported to have assembled the group. "They wanted to show us a declassified version of a presentation they had developed that showed where terrorist groups are situated around the world and at what stage of development those areas had weapons of mass destruction," Tate told PR Week.
SOURCE: PR Week, August 26, 2002
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4. WEBLOGS EMPOWER EVERYONE -- EXCEPT REPORTERS
MSNBC reports that weblogs -- "blogs" for short -- are "helping the Internet make good on some of its heady promises of personal empowerment." Since 1999, the number of weblogs has grown from a few dozen to nearly half a million, offering everything from film criticism to personal diaries and news commentaries, and redefining journalism in the process. According to Steven Levy, blogging "lends itself to a new kind of reporting: on-the-spot recording of events, instantly beamed to the Net. ... The A-list blogs are sufficiently integrated into the food chain now that public-relations agencies are circulating memos on how to exploit blogs to hype their clients. The next wave seems to be corporate blogs." Everyone seems to be joining the blogging trend -- except for certain journalists. In two recent separate incidents, U.S. journalists have been fired for running their own weblogs. Houston Chronicle reporter Steve Olafson got the sack because his editor thought having a weblog violated "journalistic ethics." In Los Angeles, radio reporter Ron Fineman was fired after his weblog posted critical remarks about a radio station owned by Viacom, which also owns the station where Fineman worked. British journalist Andrew Orlowski decries the U.S. "ethics Taliban" which "demands its reporters remain silent eunuchs, even when they're off-duty." And if blogging is a violation of journalistic ethics, here's a long list of other journalists who also need firing.
SOURCE: MSNBC, August 26, 2002
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5. HITLER'S FILMMAKER TURNS 100
Leni Riefenstahl, the director of Nazi propaganda films including
"Triumph of the Will," marked her 100th birthday while continuing to insist that she "just did my job" and "never intended any harm to anyone."
SOURCE: New York Times, August 24, 2002
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6. CNN TO REQUIRE CELEBRITIES TO DISCLOSE DRUG COMPANY TIES
"After learning that some celebrities who talked on its news programs about their health problems were being paid by drug companies, CNN has issued a new policy and will tell viewers about the stars' financial ties to corporations," New York Times' Melody Petersen writes. In an August 11 Times article, Petersen revealed the widespread testimonial practice. Petersen reports stars like Lauren Bacall and Kathleen Turner "had been paid to help promote drugs or other medical products" on network morning "news" programs.
SOURCE: New York Times, August 23, 2002
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7. WAG THE PUPPY
"Some people are suspicious that President Bush will go for a 'wag the dog' strategy -- boosting Republican prospects with a military assault on Iraq shortly before Election Day. But a modified approach now seems to be underway. Let's call it 'wag the puppy,'" media watcher and nationally syndicated columnist Normon Solomon writes. He suggests the appearance of a "healthy debate" on Iraq may lack real substance and may instead serve to distract attention from negative economic issues facing the Bush Administration. "Before initiating vast new carnage abroad, the White House wants its propaganda siege to take hold at home. Countless hours of airtime and huge vats of ink are needed to do the trick. Like safecrackers trying first one combination and then another, the Bush team will continue to twirl the media dials till their war-making rationales click," Solomon writes.
SOURCE: TomPaine.com, August 23, 2002
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8. FAT CAT HOTEL STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS
A recently-released list of overnight guests at the White House shows that George W. Bush is following the precedent of Bill Clinton and inviting major political donors to sleepovers at the White House. The list of guests at the Bush White House includes six "pioneers" -- Bush supporters who raised more than $100,000 for his presidential campaign.
SOURCE: Center for Public Integrity, August 22, 2002
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9. HEADS ROLL AT BM-AUSTRALIA
PR wheeler-dealer Ian Kortlang has become the new chief of Burson-Marsteller's Australian office, ousting CEO Varina Nissen. Kortlang has a reputation for backstabbing former clients, such as a local Australian winery that he represented before switching sides to represent its adversary, a well-heeled multinational corporation, in a bitter business dispute. Kortlang has also represented Shell Oil in Australia, and he did damage control for Australian radio show host John Laws during the nasty "cash-for-comment" scandal, that prompted a government inquiry after the public learned that Laws and another radio host had taken millions of dollars in secret payments from private business interests in exchange for delivering seemingly "improvised" commentary that was actually scripted by their sponsors.
SOURCE: Sydney Morning Herald, August 22, 2002
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10. HOW PR SOLD THE FIRST WAR WITH IRAQ
As the current Bush administration gears up for a second war with Iraq, now would be a good time to refresh our memories about the PR campaign used to sell the first war to the American people. In our book, Toxic Sludge Is Good For You, we showed how the first Bush administration collaborated with the Hill & Knowlton PR firm to peddle a false story about "babies removed from incubators by Iraqi soldiers," which helped swell public outrage against Saddam Hussein. Given the obvious relevance of this topic to the current buildup toward a second war against Iraq, we've added a relevant excerpt from our book to this site. (H&K staffer Lauri Fitz-Pegado, who helped prepare the "babies from incubators" story, is still trying to convince people that the story is true. PR Watch editor Sheldon Rampton recently sparred with her on the web site of O'Dwyer's PR Daily.)
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11. TIMES TAKES FLAK ON IRAQ
Conservative pundits such as Charles Krauthammer are accusing the New York Times of "liberal bias" for reporting that "Leading Republicans from Congress, the State Department and past administrations have begun to break ranks with President Bush over his administration's high-profile planning for war with Iraq." As Joshua Marshall notes, however, the Times coverage has been far more accurate than Krauthammer's own column on the subject, which is "filled with mistatements, tendentious misconstruals, intentional ignoring of awkward data, and so forth." Prominent Republicans are dissenting from Iraq war plans -- a fact which alarms the Bush administration so much that it sent GOP House Whip Tom DeLay to attack critics as "apologists for idleness" in a "campaign driven by a congenital mistrust of American principles and a consistent hostility to American action."
SOURCE: Washington Post, August 21, 2002
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12. PR CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE WAR WITH IRAQ
"The United States, faced with a survey by diplomats showing widespread foreign skepticism about their motives, is planning a public relations offensive to build international support among foreign opinion leaders for a war against Iraq," reports UPI correspondent Eli Lake. The Iraq Public Diplomacy Group, "which includes representatives from the CIA, National Security Council, Pentagon, State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development," plans to publish a brochure and hold interactive teleconferences targeting "opinion leaders" in Europe and the Middle East. Good luck, guys. You'll need it, according to USA Today, which reports that "anti-American sentiment has turned into a contagion that is spreading across the globe and infecting even the United States' most important allies." The Bush administration has "squandered" the wave of sympathy and goodwill that America encountered after September 11 with a series of unilateral moves that have enraged the rest of the world on issues ranging from global warming to support for Israel, steel tariffs, farm subsidies, and refusal to participate in the UN's international court.
SOURCE: United Press International, August 20, 2002
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13. SHH...THE VETERANS MIGHT HEAR
Last month a Bush administration appointee at the Department of Veterans' Affairs sent out a memo implementing a novel way of saving money: just stop healthcare outreach programs to vets so they won't know what services they're entitled to receive. "It's not the sort of thing you'd expect from an administration that wraps itself so tightly in the flag -- not, that is, unless you've been paying attention," writes New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. "For stories like this are popping up more and more often." The White House lionizes 9/11 firefighters while cutting funding to provide them with new equipment. Bush made a point of personally congratulating rescued coal miners in Pennsylvania, while his administration's energy plans call for major increases in coal mining, coupled with reduced funds for mine safety. "The point is that there is an inexorably growing gap between the image and the reality of the Bush administration's policies," Krugman writes. "Mr. Bush is a master of photo-op populism; his handlers seek out opportunities to show him mingling with blue-collar workers. But the reality is that this administration loves 'em while the TV crews are around, then leaves 'em when it comes to actual policy. And that reality is becoming ever harder to conceal."
SOURCE: New York Times, August 20, 2002
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Planet Ark World Environment News
US studies to look at chemicals, Parkinson's - US http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17463/story.htm
Florida man pleads guilty to smuggling caviar - US http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17464/story.htm
White House asked to reject Utah canyons drilling - US http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17465/story.htm
INTERVIEW - Earth Summit can't avoid climate - former UN expert - SOUTH AFRICA
Activists shut out at Earth Summit, blame business - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17477/story.htm
Activists charged for South Africa nuke protest - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17466/story.htm
South Africa warns would-be wreckers at Earth Summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17467/story.htm
Earth Summit opens amid "sea of poverty" - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17460/story.htm
Earth Summit chief sees action not words - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17475/story.htm
INTERVIEW - UN food body urges care in Africa GM dispute - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17479/story.htm
DIARY - Earth Summit 2002 on sustainable development - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17473/story.htm
Business shouts loudest at start of Earth Summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17472/story.htm
INTERVIEW - Statoil says access to Arctic oil and gas is vital - NORWAY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17478/story.htm
World meat demand to rise, animal disease fears - FAO - ITALY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17468/story.htm
Over 150 evacuated after flooding in north France - FRANCE http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17474/story.htm
Tanker leaks chemicals off France, no risk seen - FRANCE http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17476/story.htm
Chiefs sack head of Czech plant leaking deadly gas - CZECH REPUBLIC http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17470/story.htm
Brazil forest fire threatens rare monkey - BRAZIL http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17462/story.htm
Argentine police find some of stolen toxic chemical - ARGENTINA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17461/story.htm
Sea erosion spurs plans to move Eskimo villagers - ALASKA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17471/story.htm
Is The Trend Of Trashing Textbooks In Texas Going National?
by John F. Borowski
Remember this phrase: "Texas is clearly one of the most dominant states in setting textbook adoption standards", according to Stephen Driesler, executive director of the American Association of Publisher's school division. And this November the Texas school board inflamed by the anti-environmental science rhetoric by the likes of Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy and Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) may bring Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" to life. Recall that "Fahrenheit 451" (the temperature at which paper bursts into flames) depicts a society where independent thought is discouraged, wall- to- wall television and drugs sedate a numb population and "firemen" burn books.
With a nearly $600 million budget for textbook purchases Texas is second only to California and the potential for gutting environmental and social science books to their core is frightening. With over 200 social and ecological science books up for the review this November the Republican dominated state board of education and their "flat earth friends" at TPPF look to eviscerate topics such as global warming, acid rain and rampant population growth from textbooks. And if the recent past is a mirror of the future, Texas politics may create a firestorm nation-wide.
This past fall "book nazis" at the TPPF, led by Republican Senator Phil Gramm's wife (Wendy) and Peggy Venable, director of the 48,000 member Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy, put several environmental textbooks in their "crosshairs". Environmental Science: Toward a Sustainable Future" published by Massachusetts-based publisher Jones and Bartlett was canned due to political "incorrectness". Ms. Venable stated, "the textbook focuses on an environmental crisis that we believe doesn't exist", she added, "They go into detail saying paganism is better for the environment than Christianity." Apparently Ms. Venable chooses to ignore an 8 million square mile ozone hole, a human population that adds a net increase of almost 200,000 people a day and like her proud president, believes that the 100 plus countries attending the "Earth Summit" in South Africa are wasting their time. Two other books were suspect: "Environmental Science: How the World Works and Your Place in It", Lebel Enterprises and "Global Science: Energy, Resources, Environment", by Kendall Hunt Publishing. Instead of standing tall for intellectual freedom and the noble pursuit of creating an ecologically literate young citizenry, these books by profit minded publishers went "belly-up." They made changes and mortgaged off their credibility in the eyes of many in the education field. To his credit, Michael Stranz, editor-in-chief at Jones and Bartlett Publishers stood tall and defiant. "If there are errors of fact, we will make changes, but we will not make changes to adhere to a political agenda." Apparently the Jones and Bartlett text will not been seen in Texas schools and the students and teachers are the real losers. Nationwide, Lebel and Kendall Hunt have created a domino effect that bears ominous tidings.
TPPF Education Research Director Chris Patterson gleefully testified before the State Board of Education on November 8, 2001, the news was terrifying. She glibly explained how major publishers, some of the biggest giants in the academic field, have lined up to be co-conspirers in this attempt to censor textbooks. Industry giant, Holt, Rhinehart and Winston Publishers were akin to willow trees bending in a hard wind. "I want to extend my thanks for [TPPF's] input into this year's science textbook adoption process.The review done by your organization has been a valuable contribution to the overall process of ensuring the best possible science learning materials in our schools," John Lawyer, Senior Vice President. Others soon followed: "Texas Public Policy Foundation was willing to work with all publishers on the textbook review process to improve the books," Glencoe, McGraw Hill. "We have responded to all of TPPF's comments, including those classified as inaccuracies, bias or omissions, " Julia Fellows Osborne, Editorial Director, Prentice Hall. These "purveyors" of the truth should hold their collective heads in shame and include an introduction in each book that outlines their "deal with the devil." Emboldened by the success of their search and destroy mission, TPPF will look to remove the history from social science books this fall.
If a "Texas Federation of Republican Women's Issues and Actions newsletter" is any indication of what the 2002-2003 school year is going to spawn.look out. Parts read like a noble declaration, "During the last few months, a small group of people here in Texas has been fighting valiantly against a dangerous but very subtle, threat to our nation from within. These Texas heroes are trying to prevent science textbooks from being approved by the State Board of Education that are full of error, unsupported extremist environmental bias and the occasional anti-American rhetoric." These folks look to turn America back to the more bucolic times of racism, McCarthyism and pure denial of the truth. Along with their friends at TPPF and Ms. Venable's "Sound Economy" clan, the Federation has a list of complaints against social science books: = "Too many" pictures of minorities in books; = Slavery is portrayed "too negatively" in history books; = Women depicted carrying briefcases run counter to their idea of family values; = There is an "anti-settler" bias in many books.
Maybe Texas history classes should simply watch John Wayne movies to learn about those "Indian savages" and "Little Black Sambo" books could put a happy face on slavery and years of racial segregation.
No, what this nation faces is a whole sale "white washing" of environmental data and history. If textbooks are neutered, by powerful interests how can our children face ecological challenges and make wise problem solving decisions? Will we allow our children to ignore the slaughter of over 2 million Native Americans in less than 100 years? History cannot be re-written to soothe the conscience of those who scoff at an American history tarnished by racism and clandestine government follies. Being able to analyze the past and recognizing errors by our forefathers makes our nation stronger, not weaker. We all know that the "curse of man is that he forgets."
Add to this the growing intrusion of multinationals into education: forest education by Weyerhaeuser and Project Learning Tree (a pet timber curricula), ocean health by Exxon and the non-perils of genetically modified foods by Monsanto and the dark vision of "Fahrenheit 451" seems possible.
A passage from Mr. Bradbury's book provides a fine summation of the situation. " So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless. We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. Even fireworks, for all their prettiness, come from the chemistry of the earth. Yet somehow we think we can grow, feeding flowers and fireworks, without completing the cycle back to reality."
We as parents, defenders of the constitution and the vigilant flame-keepers of the light of democracy must rise to meet the challenge. Contact Glencoe, McGraw-Hill, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Prentice Hall and RonJon Publishing and demand that they act like elders, not obsequious lapdogs to zealots. Contact and become familiar with your local board of education and ask about textbook adoption policies. Newspapers should be flooded with opinion pieces and "dear editor" pieces urging Texas school board officials to climb out of their caves of ignorance and embrace textbooks that encourage free thought and debate. School boards nationwide should reject the policy of the giant textbook publishers to accommodate the manipulation of the truth and knock on the doors of publishers like Jones and Bartlett or others who stand behind the data they provide.uncensored and unscripted.
We should follow the words of Alfred Whitney, "Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas."
It is easy to sit back and simply state that, "Texas and their book heretics can go to hell." But unless we rise as a collective group, we may share that fiery destination with those we so despise. "The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in time of great moral crisis," Dante Alighieri
John F. Borowski is an environmental and Marine Science Teacher in Salem, Oregon. His pieces have appeared in the UTNE Reader, The New York Times, PR Watch,Commondreams, Counterpunch, Liberal Slant, Forest Voice, EducationNews.org and Z Magazine.
He can be contacted at: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Bush Seeks Secrecy For Pardon Discussions
by George Lardner Jr., The Washington Post, August 27, 2002; Page A01
President Bush's lawyers are trying to keep secret the inside stories of President Bill Clinton's last-day pardons by invoking a claim of executive privilege that extends far beyond the White House.
In pleadings filed in U.S. District Court here this month, including affidavits from White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson, the Bush administration contends that the privilege covers not only advice given to a president about individual pardons, but also government papers he has never seen and officials he has never talked to, such as the sentencing judge in a particular case.
The stance, taken in opposition to a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit group Judicial Watch for access to Clinton pardon records, represents a hard line that the government has never taken. In the past, executive privilege has been recognized for advisers who operate within the White House. Bush's lawyers say it covers officials in any part of the government who are asked for input about pardon requests.
The pardon is "a core Presidential power exclusively entrusted to, and exercised by, the President himself, and the documents generated in the process of developing and providing advice to him are squarely subject to the privilege," Assistant Attorney General Robert D. McCallum Jr. wrote in an Aug. 12 memo seeking summary dismissal of the Judicial Watch case.
A legal watchdog group that has challenged both Republican and Democratic administrations, Judicial Watch sued the Justice Department under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) last year for records concerning pardons granted or "considered" by Clinton in January 2001. The 177 pardons and commutations that he approved on his last day in office kicked up a storm, especially over the clemency he bestowed on fugitive financier Marc Rich, a man prominently listed on the government's international "lookout" list, and his business partner, Pincus Green.
"It's a bad-faith argument," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said of the government's position. "The courts have already said that executive privilege does not exist outside the White House. The Bush administration is now covering up for Bill Clinton, Marc Rich and Pinky Green."
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said: "The president has always been entitled to receive confidential advice and candid assessments from attorneys in the federal government. . . . To release such documents would have a chilling effect on the deliberative process."
In the past, even pardon recommendations sent directly to the president from the Justice Department have been routinely made public by government archivists after several years. But in response to other recent requests for historical files, separate from the Judicial Watch suit, the Justice Department under Bush is asserting the same privilege to maintain the secrecy of pardon records as far back as 75 years ago. One set being withheld on instructions from the White House deals with the clemency granted Marcus Garvey, leader of the back-to-Africa movement, who was released from prison in 1927 after his conviction for stock fraud.
Bush, himself, has yet to invoke executive privilege in the Judicial Watch case, a Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed. In the past, the courts have said he must invoke the privilege personally, but the government's pleadings do not indicate whether he intends to do so.
Thousands of documents about Clinton's final pardons are at issue in the litigation, including many "authored or solicited or received by [Justice] Department officials in the course of preparing and providing information to assist the President in the exercise of his constitutional pardon power," McCallum wrote. These would include records showing whether a government prosecutor, sentencing judge or prison warden thought clemency was warranted and what the FBI found in background investigations that are normally conducted in response to clemency applications.
McCallum invoked a broad "presidential communications privilege" for all documents. He said many of the records are also exempt under the FOIA because they are protected by a narrower subset of executive privilege, the "deliberative process" privilege, in that they reveal "advice, deliberations and recommendations comprising part of the process by which Justice Department officials assisted and advised the President in the exercise of his clemency powers."
Clinton repeatedly short-circuited the pardon process, which requires applications to the U.S. pardon attorney at the Justice Department; investigation by the FBI; consultation with interested parties, from the sentencing judge to the victim; and a report and recommendation by the pardon attorney to the president, after a review by the deputy attorney general.
In his affidavit, Thompson, the deputy attorney general, said his office was withholding from Judicial Watch documents "that are subject to executive privilege," such as memos and e-mails between his staff and the pardon attorney's office; requests for information; and summaries of selected cases, including some with handwritten notes reflecting the deputy attorney general's viewpoint. This appeared to be a reference to Clinton's deputy attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr.
Thompson said his ability to advise the president about pardons would be "greatly impaired" if these records were "subject to public disclosure."
White House counsel Gonzales said in his affidavit that he is "aware" that Justice is withholding internal documents prepared "in the course of performing their responsibility" to the president. He said the assistance of officials and staff at Justice is "critical" to the president's exclusive authority to grant pardons.
In seeking dismissal of the case, McCallum also sought to head off congressional interest in the records. "Congress," he wrote, "has no constitutional authority to exercise oversight over the President's pardon power, or, therefore, to compel public production of records relating to the President's exercise of his pardon power."
Bush has granted no pardons or commutations since taking office. As of July 31, he had denied 508 pardon petitions and 1,346 commutation requests.
Vice President Dick Cheney argued yesterday for a preemptive attack on Iraq, making the dubious argument that all other options have been exhausted in the United States' ongoing hostilities with Saddam Hussein.
Cheney's remarks, to a Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting in Nashville, reflected the growing unease of the Bush Administration with the mounting criticism of its bellicose posturing being voiced by stalwart members of the GOP.
Recent events have confirmed that the American political establishment is not united in support of the Administration's policy of forcible "regime change" in Iraq. The rest of the world, along with a good part of the American public, also seems unconvinced of the necessity of an attack.
Iraq: The Doubters Grow," from the September 2/9 issue of The Nation, outlines nine critical questions that should be asked before any possible military invasion is even considered. Clip or copy these questions and include them in letters to your representatives, friends, family and foes:
There are also numerous other ways that you can make your voice heard:
Write your Senators urging them to show restraint, prudence and respect for international opinion. You can find contact info for all your legislators at the site below:
Help make the war against Iraq a key issue in this fall's Congressional elections. See how at the website of the National Network to End the War Against Iraq, an umbrella group of more than seventy organizations:
Add your name to the national MoveOn petition:
Participate in one of the many antiwar marches and protests scheduled coast to coast. You can find an extensive list at UnitedforPeace, an excellent new site produced by Global Exchange, available at:
Sign the Campaign of Conscience Peace Pledge to Stop the Spread of War to Iraq, sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and the Fellowship of Reconciliation, among many other groups:
And don't forget to check out The Nation's special antiwar page with links, background materials, and articles by Dilip Hiro, Richard Falk, Christopher Hitchens, Robert Scheer and David Cortright.
All available at:
FAIR ACTION ALERT:
Time's Green Century Advice: Less Environmental Activism
August 27, 2002
Time's August 26 cover feature on "The Green Century" promises to explain "How to Save the Earth." The answer, according to a prominent article inside: blame environmentalists for a lack of environmental progress.
Andrew Goldstein's "Too Green for Their Own Good?" begins with this question: "How come, at a time when the environmental movement is stronger and richer than ever, our most pressing ecological problems just get worse?" One answer might be that the strength of the environmental movement is a testament to the public's concern for the declining state of the environment. But for Goldstein, it seems to be almost the opposite: Environmentalists are partly to blame, since "it's easier to protest, to hurl venom at practices you don't like, than to find new ways to do business and create change." He writes that the "dogma of traditional green activism" might be what's wrong, as it "has done little to save the planet."
Goldstein offers plenty of advice for green groups-- like "Embrace the Market" and "Business Is Not the Enemy"-- while presenting remarkably little evidence to back up his opinions. "For starters," he writes, "when companies make efforts to turn green, environmentalists shouldn't jump down their throats the minute they see any backsliding." As an example, a former Greenpeace executive turned corporate consultant criticizes environmental groups for opposing Ford Motor Co., "arguably Detroit's most environmentally friendly carmaker," during the debate over fuel-efficiency standards. But as Goldstein parenthetically notes, Ford was lobbying against raising those standards, which have not been increased since 1985. Is it really "dogma" to think that 17 years later, standards should be raised?
It's true that Ford has made a special PR effort to enhance its green reputation. One tactic: sponsoring another major Time magazine environmental series, "Heroes for the Planet." The magazine was very upfront about how Ford's sponsorship would influence its reporting: Time's international editor explained that the series would be unlikely to address auto pollution, since "we don't run airline ads next to stories about airline crashes" (Wall Street Journal, 9/21/98). Ford has two full-page ads in the August 26 issue.
Goldstein also chastises environmental groups for not supporting a Clinton-era emissions trading proposal to reduce emissions by allowing power plants to trade "pollution credits" with other companies. Environmentalists blocked the plan, he says, because they viewed it as a ruse for companies to avoid cutting back on emissions. The result of such opposition was clear to Time: "Result: Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has no ability to regulate carbon, and the old, pollution-spewing plants are still in operation."
Contrary to Goldstein's assertions, some major environmental groups, like the Environmental Defense Fund, did in fact endorse emissions-trading plans in the 1990s; such a plan was enacted to limit acid rain in 1990 and expanded in 1995. While some green groups are skeptical that such plans are the most effective way to reduce pollution, the most important opponents to the Clinton proposal were global-warming skeptics in Congress (New York Times, 11/12/00).
More importantly, Goldstein neglects a more direct interference with the EPA: the Bush administration's well-publicized decision in March 2001 to remove carbon dioxide from the list of power plant emissions that the Environmental Protection Agency would regulate. This decision was linked to the concerns of energy companies, not pressure from environmentalists (Associated Press, 4/26/02).
Goldstein has similar advice on the fight over genetically modified foods, advising environmentalists that "it's time to raise the white flag and ask the world's bioengineers for a seat at the bargaining table." Suggesting that biotechnology is the key to ending hunger, he explains, "What could be better for the environment than a cheap, simple way for farmers to double or triple their output while using fewer pesticides on less land?" That sounds nice, but the notion that biotech dramatically improves yields while lowering pesticide use is nothing if not disputed. For instance, some studies have shown that farmers planting bioengineered crops like Monsanto's Roundup Ready soy use as much as five time more pesticide than farmers using conventional crops (Rachel's Environment & Health News, 2/15/01). Studies of crop yields show marginal increases in production, which in some cases do not make up for the increased costs of the genetically modified seeds (USDA Economic Research Service, 5/16/02).
Even if one accepts, for the sake of argument, that biotech is unambiguously good at increasing farm production, would that really feed the hungry? The anti-hunger group Food First has calculated that the world's farmers already produce enough to provide every person 4.3 pounds of food per day, if only it were distributed equitably (http://www.foodfirst.org). Rather than address such analysis directly, however, Goldstein dismisses critics of biotechnology as "crop tramplers and lab burners."
The magazine closes by recommending that green groups and "an environmentally friendly media" should stop using "scare tactics" and rely instead on sound science and honest analysis. Goldstein's use of vague, misleading anecdotes to bash environmentalists isn't particularly helpful to the environment-- but it is friendly to the corporate advertisers, including auto makers and oil companies, who sponsored Time's "How to Save the Earth" issue.
ACTION: Encourage Time to hold its reporting on environmental activism to a higher standard. "Too Green for Their Own Good?" relies on weak anecdotal arguments to bash environmentalists, while ignoring or downplaying evidence that would challenge the article's thesis. Ask Time whether corporate sponsorship of its environmental coverage influenced its journalism, as it did in 1998.
CONTACT: Time Magazine mailto:email@example.com
Read the Time article for yourself at:
As always, please remember that your comments are taken more seriously if you maintain a polite tone.
Please cc mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org with your correspondence.
BLAME IT ON RIO
Just two days into the World Summit on Sustainable Development, being held this week and next in Johannesburg, South Africa, there is already a marked division between representatives of developed and developing nations. Rich and poor nations are having difficulty seeing eye-to-eye on nearly all the critical topics being discussed at the conference -- aid packages, free trade, funding for environmental protection, and improving standards of living without further damaging the global ecosystem. The conference is supposed to conclude with an action plan and a political declaration committing signatories to implement that plan, but many see the chasm between rich and poor as sufficiently deep to threaten the possibility of real action emerging from the summit. And action is the ultimate goal of the summit: Nitin Desai, the secretary-general of the WSSD, said, "At Rio, our focus was as much to try and change people's attitude toward development. In Johannesburg, what we're trying to do is change the way people act."
straight to the source: Christian Science Monitor, Nicole Itano, 27 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=404>
only in Grist: Reaching the summit -- dispatches from Johannesburg, by Tom Turner <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dearme/turner082602.asp?source=daily>
only in Grist: World Summit fever -- a day in the life of Catherine Fedorsky, WSSD Green Energy Project <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dearme/fedorsky082602.asp?source=daily>
CZECH IT OUT
A "mini-Chernobyl" -- that's how a Czech investigating commission has described the potential threat posed by a chemical plant just north of Prague that was damaged in last week's flooding in Central and Eastern Europe. The commission warned that the highly toxic chlorine released by the Spolana plant during the floods and again late last week could threaten "many human lives." Both the gas and liquid forms of chlorine have leaked into the area surrounding the plant, possibly including the Elbe river; in addition, the plant's alarm system, which was damaged in the flooding, remains out of order. Chlorine can cause respiratory problems and burn skin and eye membranes at low levels, and is lethal in high concentrations. The Spolana plant had been cited for lax safety standards even before the floods caused alarm throughout the region. A spokesperson for the plant rejected the commission's findings, calling them "exaggerated and overly harsh."
straight to the source: BBC News, 24 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=405>
FISH OUT OF WATER
The White House has declined to appeal a U.S. federal court ruling that would provide water to the agriculture industry in California's Central Valley potentially at the expense of Northern California's fish and wildlife -- a move that has provoked anger among environmentalists. In the earlier court case, the Westlands Water District, a 600,000-acre irrigation district in the western San Joaquin Valley, successfully challenged the 1992 Central Valley Water Project Improvement Act. That act provided 800,000 acre-feet of water for fish and wildlife in the San Francisco Bay/ Sacramento River and San Joaquin River Delta system. Rather than appealing the ruling, Interior Secretary Gale Norton opted to have her agency draft new rules for environmental water releases. That decision dismayed environmentalists, who said changing the rules could devastate fisheries in the affected regions. They also feared the decision would spell the end of the useful life of CalFed, a joint state and federal agency formed after passage of the 1992 act to ensure fair resource distribution and avoid endless litigation over the state's water supply.
straight to the source: San Francisco Chronicle, Glen Martin, 27 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=406>
THINK OF NEW ENGLAND
While tens of thousands of people from all over the world gather in South Africa to wrangle over global environmental issues, a far smaller coalition is meeting quietly this week to ensure that New England governors and eastern Canadian premiers follow through on their promise to combat climate change. The Connecticut Climate Action Group, a member of the New England Climate Action Project, is calling on the regional leaders to take concrete steps toward meeting the goals they set last year, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and eventually cutting such emissions by 75 to 85 percent. Coalition spokesperson Brooke Suter suggested such actions as requiring state agencies to conserve power and use alternative energy sources, and mandating emissions cuts from power plants. She also urged leaders to consider following California's lead by mandating the use of low-emissions vehicles to reduce greenhouse gases.
straight to the source: New Haven Register, Christopher Hoffman, 27 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=407>
do good: Tell Bush to tackle global warming <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/climate.asp?source=daily#kyoto>
SALMON IN THE CAN
Over the past two decades, U.S. federal agencies have pumped $3.3 billion into recovery efforts for endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest -- but there is no evidence that the money has paid off, according to a report issued yesterday by the U.S. General Accounting Office. The report is the government's first comprehensive assessment of salmon recovery costs and outcomes, and it reaches a conclusion that has been suspected by critics for years: Federal agencies cannot prove that massive funding correlates to increased numbers of fish returning to the region to spawn. Part of the difficulty lies in accounting for natural variations in salmon populations and the effects of weather and ocean conditions. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) said the report highlighted the need for greater accountability and reform of the Endangered Species Act.
straight to the source: Portland Oregonian, Jim Barnett, 27 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=408>
only in Grist: 12-step salmon recovery program -- a cartoon by Suzy Becker <http://www.gristmagazine.com/ha/ha020402.asp?source=daily>
Worldwatch webchat from Johannesburg, Friday, August 30, 11:00 AM EDT
Join us on Friday, August 30th, at 11:00 AM EDT (15:00 GMT) to talk with Worldwatch President Christopher Flavin live from the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Flavin is leading a delegation to the WSSD from the Worldwatch Institute, and will answer your questions about the issues world leaders are addressing at this important meeting.
To participate in next week's chat, go to
and click on the "Discussion on climate change..." line.
Worldwatch World Summit briefs and links
Worldwatch has published a series of policy briefs on the critical issues which the WSSD delegates are debating. These briefs are available as free PDF files for downloading at:
For more information about the Summit, please see the main Summit page at: http://www.worldwatch.org/worldsummit. On this page, you will find links to all of the official WSSD web sites, as well as a link to Worldwatch's "Path to Johannesburg" timeline, an interactive timeline with links to the major environmental events of the last 40 years
New at TomPaine.com
GEORGE BUSH CHANNELS GEORGE ORWELL
Can A Sitting President Be Charged With Plagiarism?
As President Bush wages his war against terrorism and moves to create a huge homeland security apparatus, he appears to be borrowing heavily, if not ripping off ideas outright, from George Orwell's "1984." Check out our op ad, featuring original artwork by Matt Wuerker, on the op-ed page of today's New York Times, or view it on line at:
TP.Commentary ** The essay that inspired our op ad. **
LEARNING TO LOVE BIG BROTHER
George Bush Channels George Orwell
by Daniel Kurtzman
George Orwell's prophetic novel was intended to be read as a warning about the evils of totalitarianism -- not a how-to manual.
Dispatch: Johannesburg, South Africa
EARTH SUMMIT REPORT #1
Tom Turner's First Dispatch From The World Summit On Sustainable Development.
"It looks as if this will be another conference where being American is not something one is totally proud of. The reason is the way the U.S. delegation has been acting and is expected to act during the conference: selfish is not too strong a word."
AMERICAN'S SMOKIN' ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS PARODIED
A release from The Danish '92 Group
Danish artist Jens Galschiot has created a smoke-billowing Statue of Liberty replica as a protest against the United States' global pollution and the nation's unwillingness to clean up its act.
GLOBALIZATION MADE THEM DO IT
The Once-Radical ANC Is Now Toeing The Free-Market Line
by Paul Kingsnorth
Globalization -- the process of extending the American version of consumer capitalism to every nation on Earth -- is destroying the lives of South Africa's poorest people as effectively as apartheid ever did. We've brought this article back to the top of our site since the Earth Summit has kicked off in South Africa.
This is an open letter describing our experience and an urgent call to action.
First and foremost I want to thank from the bottom of my heart the kind human beings who helped my children, my wife and me after we were pepper sprayed by the Portland Police. We were aided immediately by fellow demonstrators, the black cross and passers-by caught in the crossfire. These people shielded us with their bodies and soothed us with their treatments and words, and argued with police, putting themselves in danger, to secure our safe passage through the cordon. Their actions stand in beautiful contrast to the savage inhumanity of the police.
We brought our children to a peaceful protest, we stayed in the back and we were walking on the sidewalk. The march stopped at the intersection of 2nd and Alder we could not see why from our position on the SW corner of the
intersection. Police quickly moved up behind us and a moment or two later sprayed pepper spray into the crowd from the NE corner of the intersection. the crowd ran toward us to escape the spray. We asked the officer closest to us how we should exit the intersection. He pointed and said to exit to the NE, into the spraying police opposite him. as the crowd pressed toward us I yelled to him to let us through (south on 2nd) because we had three small children. He looked at me, and drew out his can from his hip and sprayed
directly at me. I was at an angle to him and the spray hit my right eye and our three year-old who I was holding in my right arm. In the same motion he turned the can on my wife who was holding our 10 month old baby and doused both of their heads entirely from a distance of less than 3 feet. my six
year old daughter was holding my left hand and was not hit directly. We ended up on the sidewalk a few feet down alder with fellow protesters holding my screaming children and and pouring water on our eyes. Someone
yelled that the police had said that we could pass through the cordon on
alder with the children. I picked up the baby and other protesters brought my wife and other children to the police line. We attempted to pass through but they leaned in shoulders to block us. I yelled at them to let us pass for about two minutes and finally some officer up the line nodded me and the baby through. they were not going to let my wife and other children out but after a few minutes of pleading from the crowd and another signal from up the line they let them out. As we passed the officers were laughing and said something to the effect of "that's why you shouldn't bring kids to protests".
I immediately called 911 as we moved up to the corner of 3rd and alder. I explained that a baby had been directly pepper sprayed and that I needed an ambulance. They informed me that they would not send one and that all protesters were to report to a first aid tent on the other side of the police lines. Fellow protesters aided us until Black Cross arrived. Business people brought water from the nearby offices and someone bought some juice for the children. Two KBOO staffers drove up in their Volvo and took us to Emmanuel ER. One of the protesters who had helped us from the beginning accompanied us to the hospital and waited with us until the kids were admitted (special thanks!). The children were examined for respiratory problems and chemical burns. Luckily all were only suffering "normal" pepper spray reactions that have no treatment but to wait. The Pediatrician kept us a little longer so that she could call poison control to check for other recommended procedures as she had never in her career seen an infant pepper spray victim.
On the way to the E.R. my three year old said that those guys back there were trying to get us and said we should call the police.
That is the story.
We need the help of every person who was at the corner of 2nd and Alder and witnessed, photographed, or made video of any of this. even if you are unable to testify later we need facts written down (location of police, names of officers, timelines, everything). we will keep it anon if you request. Two leads so far: the first officer on the line across the south side of 2nd was tagged as "Costello" the one who sprayed us would have been one, two or three to his right ( our left) also there was a very large african-american officer with a shotgun wrapped in yellow tape and wearing a yellow and black shell holder across his chest. He was in some capacity giving orders. a name would be great. Please help us expose this extreme, un-democratic, and brutal attack on peaceful citizens.
Thank you again to all the wonderful people who helped us.
Power to the people.
SciTech Daily Review
The world's space programs are vertically challenged. What's needed is a revolutionary low-cost way to move payloads and people into Earth orbit and then outward to the asteroids, Mars and beyond
Flying blind: The war in Afghanistan revealed a surprising new US expertise: planes that fly without pilots. Yet more startling is that these aircraft are built from off-the-shelf technology
Astronauts are preparing to study strange magnetic fluids that might one day flow in the veins of robots and help buildings resist earthquakes
The 200-year-old process of photography has been reinvented, with a new one-step method to make high-resolution colour prints from digital images
The environmentalists are wrong, insists Bjorn Lomborg: the West is prone to believe that the environment is in poor shape, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary (registration required)
The hydrogen car has been a long time coming. GM is betting $1 billion that the end of internal combustion is near
A War Only The White House Wants
by Eric Margolis
NEW YORK -- U.S. forces are rapidly massing in the Arabian Gulf to invade Iraq. Four heavy brigades have been positioned near Iraq, a huge new air complex is now operational in Qatar and American special forces are active in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The White House is hoping its threats of war will provoke a coup against Saddam Hussein by the Iraqi Army. But if one does not come, the George Bush administration shows every sign of plunging into an unprovoked war that the rest of the world will view as blatant aggression.
Even America's closest allies are appalled by the tide of warmongering and jingoism that has engulfed the United States. Bush's recently proclaimed doctrine of "pre-emptive intervention" anywhere on Earth is nothing less than a frightening revival of the old imperialist Brezhnev Doctrine of 25 years ago that called for Soviet intervention wherever socialism was threatened.
"Bush, himself the most intellectually backward American president of my political lifetime, is surrounded by advisers whose bellicosity is exceeded only by their political, military and diplomatic illiteracy." Such were the stinging words of Gerald Kaufman, highly respected former foreign affairs spokesman of Britain's ruling Labour party, America's closest ally.
Bush's accelerating campaign to invade Iraq and turn it into another U.S. oil protectorate is also provoking a storm of outrage across Europe, the Mideast and Asia, where people believe pollution and climate change are far bigger and more urgent threats than the bogeyman of Baghdad.
There are two important exceptions. First, Israel. Last week, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, sounding like he was giving orders to a subordinate, demanded Bush speed up plans to attack Iraq. Right on cue, American supporters of Sharon's far-right Likud party, led by the Bush administration's Rasputin, Richard Perle, intensified their clamor to send American GIs to fight Iraq.
Virtual monopoly on U.S. media
These bloodthirsty "neo-conservatives" - most of whom evaded military service in their own country - dominate the Pentagon and exercise a virtual monopoly on U.S. media commentary on the Mideast. They are ardently backed by loony Armageddon-seekers of the Christian far right.
Senior Republican senator Chuck Hagel spoke for many when he asked if Perle was so eager to attack, why didn't he join the first assault wave against Baghdad. Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser to Bush's father, warned an attack on Iraq would be a disastrous mistake.
Meanwhile, in Congressional hearings last week, former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter courageously stated what many Americans believe, but dare not say: "A handful of ideologues have hijacked the national security policy of the United States for their own ambitions." Ritter insisted Iraq was totally disarmed and no threat to the U.S. or the Mideast. The Bush administration - or, more precisely, the people pulling its strings - does not want renewed inspections of Iraq, Ritter said, it only wants war.
A torrent of propaganda, lies and half-truths about Iraq has been pouring from the White House in a campaign reminiscent of old Soviet agitprop. The government-appointed "defense" team representing accused 9/11 plot member Zacharias Moussaui reportedly urged him to falsely claim Iraq was behind the attacks. Moussaui refused. The head of Czech intelligence said there were no contacts in Prague between Iraq and al-Qaida, a key Bush reason for attacking Saddam. CIA veterans and European intelligence officials scoff at White House claims Iraq is a threat to the world.
The other exception to worldwide outrage over America's Mideast policies was Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida. In 1998, bin Laden carefully outlined his grand strategy to: 1) liberate Palestine; 2) drive the U.S. occupying troops from Saudi Arabia and 3) end the punishment of Iraq's people. To attain these goals, bin Laden planned to provoke the U.S. into a large number of fruitless military involvements that would wear it out and bleed its military and financial power.
Afghanistan, which costs American taxpayers $5 billion monthly, is the first step. Iraq, whose leader is hated by bin Laden - a hatred equally returned by Saddam - will be No. 2. Then, Iran, Syria, Libya - all also on Perle's hit list - and so on until a host of Lilliputian conflicts tie down the American imperial giant.
George Bush, who takes pride in not reading books, and calls Greeks "Grecians," is charging like a Texas bull into the trap set for him by both bin Laden and Gen. Sharon.
Israel has been trying for 20 years to get the U.S. to go to war against the Arabs and Iran, knowing this will permanently enlist America's vast wealth and power in its cause, and permanently alienate the U.S. from the Islamic world.
If ever the United States needed real friends, it is now. And real friends like Canada, Germany and France are trying to deter the empty, misguided George Bush and his hijacked cabinet from committing an outright aggression that risks plunging the Mideast into chaos, or even nuclear war.
EVERYTHING IN EXCESS FOR SHADY CEOS
Don Hazen, AlterNet
A new report shows that the top execs of companies under investigation earned 70 percent more than average CEOs who didn't cook the books.
James Ridgeway, Village Voice
The word in Washington is that Bush will invade Iraq right after the fall congressional elections, just in time to get the war out of the way before his own presidential campaign swings into gear.
Lucy Komisar, Pacific News Service
How to be a world-class good-guy pro-environmentalist, pro-sustainable development billionaire industrialist, while your family company is spewing poisons into the air and being sued and fined.
THE VIEW FROM JOHANNESBURG
Nat Quansah, AlterNet
Dr. Nat Quansah, a recipient of the 2000 Goldman Environmental Prize, is reporting daily from the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
WHY NOT WOUNDED KNEE?
Christian Parenti, AlterNet
To really understand the lavishly, federally funded memorial at Custer's Little Big Horn, one has to witness the poverty and stark contrast of Wounded Knee.
CONNECT THE DOTS WITH RUMSFELD
David Corn, AlterNet
Donald Rumsfeld is acting less like Defense Secretary and more like Secretary of State, hurling everything he can to build a case against Saddam, and much of it doesn't stick.
SINCE WHEN ARE UNIONS UN-AMERICAN?
Ron Bigler, In These Times
Playing national security and the war on terrorism as trump cards, Bush is branding the Longshore Workers Union un-American for rejecting an inferior contract.
RECASTING THE WEB: INFORMATION COMMONS TO CASH COW
Karen Charman, Extra!
Like other media, the Internet's content and infrastructure are being gobbled up by media corporations, threatening the model of the Web as an open forum.
*In MediaCulture: http://www.alternet.org/?IssueAreaID=19
Less Equal Than Others
Ashcroft's America has threatened everyone's civil liberties, but immigrants and Arab-Americans have been hardest hit. Hear from people who are fighting back on Tuesday's Working Assets Radio, with guest host Eva Patterson. Listen online from 10-11amPT/1-2pmET, or call in: 866-798-TALK.
Planet Ark World Environment News
UK Blair's green adviser launches stinging attack - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17454/story.htm
Johannesburg Earth Summit not just hot air - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17445/story.htm
Street protest eclipses Earth Summit countdown - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17447/story.htm
Rich nations accused of damaging Earth Summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17448/story.htm
Greens say rich nations hamper Earth Summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17451/story.htm
Depleted fisheries sound alarm for Earth Summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17452/story.htm
INTERVIEW - Earth Summit plan lacks bite - WWF - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17455/story.htm
Mbeki opens Earth Summit with call for justice - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17456/story.htm
FEATURE - Small projects to get big play at Earth Summit - NETHERLANDS http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17444/story.htm
EU probing suspected Chile salmon dumping - Nutreco - NETHERLANDS http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17453/story.htm
Heavy rain helps clear haze on Indonesian Borneo - INDONESIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17458/story.htm
FEATURE - Fiji carves its future in growing mahogany industry - FIJI http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17450/story.htm
Czech police investigate chemical leak, fears grow - CZECH REPUBLIC http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17449/story.htm
China champions developing world at Earth Summit - CHINA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17459/story.htm
Mahogany furniture for sale - BRAZIL http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17443/story.htm
Aug. 26, 2002
Panel of Experts Criticizes Water Privatization in Ghana
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - A World Bank-backed proposal to privatize the urban water system in Ghana would further drive up the price of water and ignores the plight of low-income citizens, an international delegation says in a new report.
The report stems from a May visit to Ghana of a 12-member delegation that included Public Citizen. The group studied the government's proposal, which calls for leasing the urban water system to two private-sector companies. The major bidders are large multinational water corporations and include Vivendi Environnement, Suez and Bi-Water. Final negotiations on the terms of the contracts have been mired in controversy and are dependent on major loans from the World Bank and other creditors.
"Major investment is needed to rehabilitate and expand the urban water systems in Ghana, but we're concerned that the private water companies are focused on guaranteed rates of return, not on the needs of the people," said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program.
Heated debate has surrounded the water privatization proposal in Ghana. The controversy follows similar confrontations in Argentina, Bolivia, the Philippines and South Africa. It centers on whether water, a substance essential to life, should be viewed as a market commodity or a human right.
Activists in Ghana, many of whom are organized under the Ghana National Coalition Against the Privatization of Water (National CAP of Water), are concerned that the privatization of water would place profit-making concerns above the critical need to expand access to clean and affordable water. In Ghana, about 35 percent of the population lacks access to piped water services; 78 percent of the urban poor lacks such access, leading to high rates of waterborne disease. In developing countries around the world, more than 1 billion people lack access to clean and affordable water and more than 2 million people, mostly children, die annually from diseases related to lack of clean water and sanitation services.
International donors, creditors and foreign consultants have dominated the privatization decision-making process in Ghana. Although water system privatization has not occurred, water rates already have increased.
A succession of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank loan conditions placed pressure on the government of Ghana to raise consumer prices for water and privatize the urban water system. Water fees in Ghana increased by 95 percent in May 2001 and another 40 percent this month. IMF loan documents, dated March 2002, require the implementation of an automatic tariff adjustment formula that imposes higher consumer water fees every time the domestic currency depreciates. This is a common demand of foreign corporations that don't want to see losses when they transfer their in-country earnings back to headquarters.
"This formula is a deadly poison and a prescription for death for the poor," said Patrick Apoya, a representative of the Community Pact for Health and Development in Ghana.
"The current water fees are already beyond the means of most of the population in Ghana," said Rudolf Amenga-Etego of the National CAP of Water. "How will the population be able to absorb a so-called 'market price' in the context of privatization?"
The international delegation consisted of representatives from Public Citizen, economists, representatives of human rights groups and public health professionals. The trip was sponsored by Public Citizen, Christian Aid-UK, Cordaid and Oxfam, Netherlands, in response to requests from local and international civil society organizations. A list of delegation members is available at
1. The report is available at
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
For more information, please visit http://www.Citizen.org
History," wrote James Baldwin, "does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us and are unconsciously controlled by it."
Rarely has Baldwin's insight been more forcefully confirmed than during the past decade. History has become a matter of present controversy, as Americans clash over museum presentations, documentaries, the flying of the Confederate flag and reparations for slavery.
In "Who Owns History?" Nation editorial board member and renowned historian Eric Foner examines these issues in a series of sharp and informed essays surveying globalization, social reconciliation and national identity.
For more on this new collection, including how to buy a copy (or two or ten) online, check out the URL below:
And see Foner's bio page on the Nation website for links to his most recent Nation articles. Available currently at:
The World Summit on Sustainable Development opened today in Johannesburg, South Africa, with more than 40,000 delegates gathering to discuss issues such as water, energy, health, agriculture, and biodiversity. South African President Thabo Mbeki opened the 10-day summit by urging attendees to bridge the gap between "islands of wealth" and "a sea of poverty." That's a tall order, since the conference is characterized by a dramatic gap between rich nations and poor, with the former hoping to focus during the meeting on environmental concerns and the latter more interested in discussing ways to improve standards of living. The summit has already been marked by clashes between police and protesters, and friction both within and outside of the official conference halls is expected to continue. No formal treaties will be signed at the conference, but delegates do hope to draft a "credible and meaningful" action plan to be presented to heads of state next week. More than 100 world leaders are expected to attend the summit -- not including President Bush, leader of the world's largest economy and biggest polluter.
straight to the source: BBC News, 26 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=399>
The waters of the Euphrates River gave birth to civilization and are just as valuable today -- but they are also in short supply, as people in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq battle for a share of the river. Similar struggles are taking place all over the world, from Texas to China, as water resources grow scarce and competition for them mushrooms. Less than 1 percent of the world's water supply is suitable for drinking or agriculture, and demand for it is has increased six-fold over the last 70 years; meanwhile, the supply itself might be shrinking due to the erratic weather patterns caused by global warming. Researchers estimate that by 2015, at least 40 percent of the world's population will live in countries where it is difficult or impossible to satisfy basic water needs. According to the World Bank, dwindling water supplies will inhibit economic growth, and the U.N. and a Central Intelligence Agency advisory group predict that competition for water will lead to an increasing number of conflicts worldwide.
straight to the source: New York Times, Douglas Jehl, 25 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=400>
In the first of what the Bush administration hopes will be a series of public-private partnerships to create national wildlife refuges without using taxpayer dollars, the utility company Entergy is donating 600 acres of land along Louisiana's Red River to the government. The Entergy donation could be the first parcel of a 50,000-acre Red River National Wildlife Refuge, which was authorized by Congress in 2000 but never funded. Interior Secretary Gale Norton said her department was actively looking for other contributors to buy and donate land for the planned refuge, which will be managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If the U.S. ever decides to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, Entergy will get credit for the estimated 275,000 tons of carbon dioxide that will be absorbed by trees planted on the donated land. Entergy Vice President Jim Mutch said the company was motivated by the possible carbon credits, but added, "Regardless of whether or not we get credit down the road, we just think this is the morally right thing to do."
straight to the source: Wall Street Journal, John J. Fialka, 26 Aug 2002 (access ain't free) <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=401>
MONEY DOESN'T GROW ON TREE CUTTING
Money talks. At least, that's the hope of environmentalists in Texas, who are appealing to taxpayers' economic self-interest in an effort to stop commercial logging in the state's four national forests. After 15 years of failed efforts to stop the logging through legal action, the Sierra Club turned to a different tactic, commissioning and going public with a study on the logging's economic and environmental impact. The recently released results show that Texas taxpayers lost more than $300 million because of logging in the forests between 1987 and 1999. While the U.S. Forest Service claims it has been making a pretty penny from the cutting, economists commissioned by the Sierra Club and the Texas Committee on Natural Resources accused the agency of "creative accounting," finding that costs exceeded revenues from the state's national forests by as much as $32 million, and that taxpayers took another $300 million hit from "lost recreational uses."
straight to the source: Houston Chronicle, Jim Henderson, 25 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=402>
do good: End commercial logging in national forests <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/forests.asp?source=daily#national>
UP A TREE
When Julia Butterfly Hill did it, it was a novelty. Now, it seems, it's becoming a trend: young people taking to the trees to fend off logging companies. From Santa Cruz, Calif., to the Pacific Northwest, dozens of tree-sitters are living in the canopy to protect old-growth forests from the axe -- so many that a cottage industry has grown up around them to provide food, water, clothes, company, encouragement, and publicity. Unlike the hoopla that surrounded Hill, most protestors receive little or no attention from the general public. Lumber companies know where they are but don't quite know what to do with them. Pacific Lumber Company, which has seen dissent grow even among its own ranks for its practice of aggressively targeting old-growth redwoods for cutting, characterizes some of the logging protestors as eco-terrorists. Thus far, though, the company hasn't taken any steps to remove the tree-sitters, and so up in the canopy, they are beginning to prepare for winter.
straight to the source: New York Times, Evelyn Nieves, 26 Aug 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=403>
do good: Save old-growth forests <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/forests.asp?source=daily#boise>
SciTech Daily Review
Yours faithfully ... up to a point. Monogamy is one of the rarest behaviours in nature
Anyone can sparkle in the afterlife: Now you can be brilliant and flawless forever. Of course, you do have to be cremated first (registration required)
Learning how to fly took nature millions of years of trial and error -- but a winged robot has cracked it in only a few hours, using the same evolutionary principles
What many people like best about weblogs is the unmediated one-on-one connections they allow. After all, what better way to get first-hand updates on the day-to-day life of a Brazilian soap opera vampire (registration required)?
Cryptography guru and cyberhero Bruce Schneier warns that the US's approach to protecting itself will only make matters worse. Forget "foolproof" technology -- we need systems designed to fail smartly
It makes good economic sense to save natural resources, says a UK report -- starting with the abolition of ecologically flawed subsidies for agriculture and manufacturing
REFERENDUM FOR NATURAL THERAPIES!
Say no to a worldwide ban on vitamin therapies! Go at
http://www.vitamins-for-all.com to read and sign this IMPORTANT petition.
Here is a short excerpt:
"It is with great concern that I have learned that, under pressure from the pharmaceutical industry, vitamin therapies and other natural treatments are to be banned for millions of people in Europe and throughout the world. To protect the interests of the billion-pound industry in purely symptom-oriented and often dangerous pharmaceutical drugs, my right of access to effective vitamin therapies and natural treatments and also my fundamental right to health and well-being are being seriously violated. The European Commission's "Directive on Dietary Supplements" and the UN's "Codex Alimentarius" plans solely serve the pharmaceutical industry's interest in artificially sustaining its billion-pound markets in now superfluous pharmaceutical drugs. Obviously the pharmaceutical industry lobby does not shy away from the abuse of the highest political bodies in the world in pursuit of its unscrupulous aims. These attacks on the human right to health come at a time when ever more widespread diseases and public health problems can be successfully combated by vitamin therapies and other natural treatments free of side-effects. (...) According to the statistics of the UNO, two billion people suffer worldwide from vitamin deficiency - both in industrialized and in developing countries. In light of these figures it is irresponsible for this same global organization to allow itself to be abused by the pharmaceutical industry lobby in its aim of blocking the dissemination of this vital information. The spurious argument that these censorship laws are to protect consumers from the alleged side-effects of vitamins is a lie. Worldwide, several hundred thousand people die every year from the harmful side-effects of pharmaceutical drugs - but not a single person has ever come to any harm as a result of vitamin therapies."
UK Poll: Half of Britons Oppose Iraq Action
American Support for War Against Iraq Declining, Poll Finds (August 24)
On Ousting Saddam: How Others View It
Editorialists Across The Globe Frown On Bush War Plans
Reagan Aided Iraq in War Despite Use of Gas (August 18)
A covert American program during the Reagan administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war, according to senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program. (...) Iraq's use of gas in that conflict is repeatedly cited by President Bush and, this week, by his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, as justification for "regime change" in Iraq. (...) CLIP
November Surprise?, Vacationing Bush Plots End of Iraq (August 23)
All the Facts About Iraq (August 15 - MOST EXCELLENT! A MUST READ)
The author, an esteemed foreign policy expert, wasn't allowed to testify as an expert witness for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- so she submitted this written testimony instead.
Seven Arguments Against Bombing Iraq (August 22)
The key assumptions underlying the planned war are based on dangerous fallacies that undermine the United States' moral and legal obligations as a nation.
The logic of empire - The US is now a threat to the rest of the world by George Monbiot
Bush Aides Say Iraq War Needs No Hill Vote
Some See Such Support As Politically Helpful
by Mike Allen and Juliet Eilperin Washington Post, August 26, 2002; Page A01
Lawyers for President Bush have concluded he can launch an attack on Iraq without new approval from Congress, in part because they say that permission remains in force from the 1991 resolution giving Bush's father authority to wage war in the Persian Gulf, according to administration officials.
At the same time, some administration officials are arguing internally that the president should seek lawmakers' backing anyway to build public support and to avoid souring congressional relations. If Bush took that course, he still would be likely to assert that congressional consent was not legally necessary, the officials said.
Whatever the White House decides about its obligations under the War Powers Resolution of 1973, some House and Senate leaders appear determined to push resolutions of support for ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein when Congress returns after Labor Day because they consider the issue too grave for Congress to be sidestepped. Administration officials say privately that military strikes against Hussein's regime are virtually inevitable, although all the specifics have not been decided and action is not imminent.
Bush has said repeatedly he will consult lawmakers before deciding how to proceed but has pointedly stopped short of saying he will request their approval. The difference between getting legislators' opinions, as opposed to their permission, could lead to a showdown this fall between Congress and the White House.
"We don't want to be in the legal position of asking Congress to authorize the use of force when the president already has that full authority," said a senior administration official involved in setting the strategy. "We don't want, in getting a resolution, to have conceded that one was constitutionally necessary."
Harold Hongju Koh, a professor of international law at Yale Law School who was an assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration, called it shortsighted for the administration to try to avoid a full congressional debate about such an expensive and perilous operation. "The constitutional structure tries to make war hard to get into, so the president has to show leadership and make his case to the elected representatives," Koh said. "This argument may permit them to get us into the war, but it won't give them the political support at home and abroad to sustain that effort."
Whether to secure formal congressional support is only one of many questions confronting Bush as he decides on a course of action toward Iraq. The president has strongly signaled his interest in toppling Hussein's regime, in large measure because of what administration officials describe as the country's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. But Bush has not settled on the kind of military attack to pursue, nor has he mounted a full-blown effort to line up support from allies or the U.S. public for an invasion.
Inside the White House, a full-throated debate over some of these issues has been underway for some time. In particular, White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales had his deputy, Timothy E. Flanigan, develop the administration's legal position on questions surrounding a war with Iraq.
That legal review is largely complete, officials said, with the consensus emerging that the president would not be legally bound to obtain approval for action against Iraq. In making this case, officials point first to the Constitution's designation of the president as commander-in-chief.
Administration officials also cite the 1991 Persian Gulf resolution authorizing the use of military force against Iraq. The resolution allowed the use of force to enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions, including demands that Iraq eliminate weapons of mass destruction and open the country to U.N. inspectors.
"No one thinks that Iraq has fulfilled them," an administration official said.
Administration officials said their position was bolstered by a Sept. 14 resolution -- passed 98 to 0 in the Senate and 420 to 1 in the House --endorsing a military response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. That argument would depend on linking Iraq and al Qaeda.
Although the administration has not publicly made this case in detail, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said at a July 30 news conference, "Are there al Qaeda in Iraq? Yes." Last week, U.S. intelligence officials told The Washington Post that a number of high-ranking al Qaeda members have taken refuge in Iraq.
War-powers disputes have occurred frequently since 1800, when the Supreme Court upheld President John Adams's undeclared war with France. The Constitution grants the president the duties and powers of commander-in-chief of the armed forces. But because of the framers' concern that an unchecked executive might make war because of thirst for glory or personal revenge, they gave Congress the power to declare war. The result is a murky separation of powers that has led to arguments and even litigation between the White House and Congress.
The 1973 War Powers Resolution was intended to bridge the roles by allowing the president to act unilaterally with military force for 60 to 90 days, with congressional approval required for troops to remain engaged in hostilities after that.
Every president since has objected to the resolution, beginning with Richard M. Nixon, who vetoed its creation but was overridden by lawmakers dismayed by the escalation of U.S. deployments in the undeclared war in Vietnam. Vice President Cheney, when he was a member of Congress from Wyoming, called for the repeal of the resolution, which he said was "unworkable and of dubious constitutionality."
Critics of the Bush administration's expansive view of presidential power include some leading conservatives. "George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt never claimed war powers close to what Bush is claiming," said Bruce Fein, a constitutional scholar who was associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration.
Michael J. Glennon, an international law professor at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, specifically questioned the administration's reliance on the Gulf War resolution. He said that authority "was narrowly circumscribed and was directed at reversing the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait."
Glennon said the authority apparently ended on April 6, 1991, when Iraq formalized a cease-fire with a notification to the U.N. Security Council. "Once extinguished, the authority did not revive when Iraq failed to comply with its obligations," Glennon said.
Administration officials have intensively researched President George H.W. Bush's approach as he began the buildup for Operation Desert Storm, and it appears to track the evolution of their own thinking. The elder Bush initially said the War Powers Resolution did not apply to the buildup in the Persian Gulf, triggered by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1989, because hostilities were not imminent.
Bob Woodward reported in "The Commanders" that Sen. William S. Cohen (R-Maine), later defense secretary under President Bill Clinton, told Bush during a White House meeting in 1990 that the administration should seek a vote of support for the operation "for the sake of unity between the administration and the Congress, for the sake of the troops in the desert who deserved a government unified."
The elder Bush eventually did so. While still insisting that a resolution was not necessary, his administration lobbied hard for it. In January 1991, it passed the Senate by 52 to 47 and the House by 250 to 183.
As consistently as presidents have husbanded their war-making authority, Congress has tried to preserve its role. This time, Senate leaders -- including Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.), Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) and Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), who views himself as the guardian of Senate prerogatives -- maintain that the president must come to Congress before making a massive commitment of troops to oust Hussein. Byrd recently asked a dozen constitutional scholars for their views about a president's legal authority to take military action in Iraq.
Although administration officials are adamant that no authorization is required, some have begun to argue internally that it might be desirable as a matter of politics and statesmanship.
"The legal question and the practical question may be very different," one administration official said. "There is a view that while there is not a legal necessity to seek anything further, as a matter of statesmanship and politics and practicality, it's necessary -- or at a minimum, strongly advisable -- to do it."
One compromise would be for Bush's allies in Congress to introduce a resolution of support without having the president ask for it. Administration officials said they are concerned, though, that a war-powers resolution might add conditions, such as specifying that military action in Iraq is acceptable only for the purpose of eliminating weapons of mass destruction.
House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said in a speech in Houston last week that he will "lead the effort to provide President Bush the unified support of the House of Representatives." He added yesterday on "Fox News Sunday": "He has said he's going to come to Congress when he decides what needs to be done and when it needs to be done, and I expect him to do that."
Musharraf Redraws Constitution
by David Rohde, The New York Times, August 22, 2002
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Aug. 21 -- Gen. Pervez Musharraf unilaterally redrew Pakistan's Constitution today, imposing 29 amendments that expand his control of the country he took over by coup in 1999 -- changes that undermine coming parliamentary elections meant to return the nation to democracy.
The new measures state that he may make further amendments at will and allow him to dissolve the elected Parliament and to appoint the country's military chiefs and Supreme Court justices. The changes will also institutionalize the political role of the military in politics by allotting it some seats on a newly created National Security Council.
Opposition leaders assailed the move and vowed to fight to contain the power of the general, whose early popularity in a nation disillusioned by a decade of corrupt and incompetent civilian rule has faded. They called on the United States to press him to reconsider his stand.
The Pakistani leader, who declared himself president last year, is one of Washington's closest allies in its effort against terrorism.
Frederick Jones, a spokesman at the State Department, said the department could not comment because it had not yet seen a full transcript of the announcement and news conference. But he added:
"We believe it remains critically important for Pakistan to restore democratic civilian rule. While the details of how to accomplish this are a matter for the Pakistani people to decide, we stand squarely behind the establishment of democratic civilian rule under constitutional means. We continue to look forward to the holding of free and fair national and provincial elections in October. President Musharraf reiterated his government's commitment to such elections in his National Day speech last week."
The general, appearing in military uniform at a news conference here, signalled that the new Parliament would have no power to repeal the changes he decreed today.
"This is part of the Constitution," he declared at one point, waving his hand in the air. "I am hereby making it part of the Constitution."
As the legal basis for his sweeping actions, the general cited a May 2000 Supreme Court ruling granting him the right to amend the Constitution.
Rights advocates and opposition groups dismiss that ruling as coerced. They point out that it was made after the general seized power and a group of high court judges, refusing an order to take a loyalty oath to his provisional Constitution, resigned instead. Western diplomats said the changes announced by General Musharraf, who announced a series of proposed amendments in July, were not a surprise -- that they were in fact less hard-line than some of the July proposals.
But they said the general, a former Pakistani Army commando, was showing a familiar tendency to alienate potential allies by dictating changes instead of building consensus. "If I remember correctly, the Emperor Charlemagne crowned himself too," one diplomat said here tonight. "It's the commando attitude." (In fact, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne.)
Political and rights groups said that if the United States did not try to curb the general, it would be following a long-established pattern. Washington has repeatedly turned a blind eye to military governments in Pakistan when they suited American short-term interests.
The United States supported the country's last military dictator, Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, who in turn backed an American program to arm Muslim guerrillas fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980's. But a vast network of fundamentalist Islamic schools established by General Zia produced the Taliban supporters and militants whom General Musharraf is combating today.
General Musharraf chose to side with the United States and withdraw his government's longstanding support for the Taliban after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He has allowed American forces to use Pakistani military bases and airspace to attack Afghanistan and has cracked down on Pakistani Islamic militants, who have vowed to retaliate by assassinating him.
Some of his recent actions have cost him support among the middle class. For instance, a referendum he held in April that granted him a five-year term as president was widely viewed as fixed. And opinion polls show that a majority of Pakistanis oppose most of the amendments he enacted today.
The country's two main political parties were vociferous in their disapproval. A spokesman for one of them -- the Pakistan Muslim League, the party of Nawaz Sharif, an exiled former prime minister -- said it would use "every step short of violence" to curb the president.
"He does not believe in the right of 140 million Pakistani people to rule the country through their elected representatives," said the spokesman, Sidiqul Farooq. "No single person can play with the Constitution."
But it is doubtful that the league or the other main opposition group, the Pakistan People's Party of the exiled former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, has the power to effect much change. Western and Pakistani experts say neither has enough support to challenge the general directly.
In the 1980's and 90's Mr. Sharif and Ms. Bhutto each served two terms as prime minister. Their tenures were marred by allegations of gross incompetence and staggering corruption. The opposition has yet to produce a likely successor to either of them. The general has banned both from taking part in the elections. Ms. Bhutto, who is wanted here on corruption charges, has vowed to return from London and contest the vote; General Musharraf has said he will arrest her.
But analysts predicted that the general's ramrod approach to politics could well offset the opposition's weaknesses, fueling popular anger against his leadership.
Zafarullah Khan, a Pakistani social scientist, said he understood the general's disdain for the two former prime ministers, which flared again during his news conference today.
In response to a question about why his two competitors had been barred from the election, the general snapped: "You don't think that they have looted and plundered this nation? Is that your view? I want your view. What do you think? Has the nation condoned their loot and plunder?"
But Mr. Khan also said the general's zeal to rid the country of the two former leaders might inadvertently create an opening for them. If the elections are "free and fair," the two opposition parties will win a majority of seats in Parliament and then do their best to create chaos and confrontation in the government, Mr. Khan said.
The general's announcement today only cast further doubt on the likelihood of such elections. In addition, opposition parties are increasingly complaining of coercion and intimidation.
"We are witnessing how the police are being used to influence the election, we have so many complaints of interference and pressure," said I. A. Rehman, director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. "At the moment the political parties may be disorganized, but the general has given them significant material to revive themselves."
Planet Ark World Environment News
Serbia ships out nuclear rods amid heavy security - YUGOSLAVIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17433/story.htm
Bush pushes forest thinning proposal to curb fires - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17426/story.htm
Police shield Earth Summit as negotiators wrangle- SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17423/story.htm
Firms get green Oscars for environmental whitewash - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17439/story.htm
Protesters breach security at South Africa N-plant - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17425/story.htm
INTERVIEW - Absent Bush committed to Earth Summit, US says - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17427/story.htm
World experts meet to save Earth Summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17428/story.htm
South Africa sets target for green energy by 2012 - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17440/story.htm
South Africa sets target for green energy by 2012 - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17441/story.htm
US cash row poisons Russian chemical weapon cuts - RUSSIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17438/story.htm
Storks delay filling of Portuguese reservoir - PORTUGAL http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17429/story.htm
WWF calls for Malaysia ban on tiger-based medicine - MALAYSIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17436/story.htm
Malaysia names builders for controversial mega-dam - MALAYSIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17437/story.htm
Bad air causes sniffles among HK children - survey - HONG KONG http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17430/story.htm
Czech plant leaked hundreds of kilos of deadly gas - CZECH REPUBLIC http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17424/story.htm
China peasants brace for lake flood peak, mood calm - CHINA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17431/story.htm
Brazil seeks green car deal in Johannesburg - BRAZIL http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17434/story.htm
Argentine police seek stolen cyanide derivative - ARGENTINA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17432/story.htm
Korean shippers admit to years of oil dumping - ALASKA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/17435/story.htm
Open Letter To World Trade Center Investigators
by Christopher Bollyn, American Free Press , August 24, 2002
The evidence is now compelling - the twin towers were BLOWN off their feet. The plane crashes and fires were but secondary distractions to the main event.
The towers were literally "blasted" off their footings at the beginning, and during the first phase, of their respective collapses.
The fact that the towers were seen "jumping" immediately before the collapse is documented on film by a helicopter camera that witnessed that event.
Massive explosions deep in the basements of the WTC towers clearly lifted - and dropped - the massive structures from their bases 70 feet below the surface.
The basement explosions that detached the central support columns from the bed rock, and dropped the towers, left extremely hot pools of molten steel (1535+ degrees Celsius), which persisted for days in the lowest basements (-7 level), and clear seismic tracks - that have yet to be explained.
However, the seismic evidence is quite clear: There were massive (and unexplained) releases of energy causing 2.1 and 2.3 magnitude earthquakes before ANY debris even hit the ground.
Furthermore, seismologists agree that the falling rubble would only cause minimal seismic disturbances, which it what the seismic record clearly shows it did. (e.g. Columbia University's Arthur Lerner-Lam's reports)
The largest blasts occurred during the first 5 seconds of the collapses - before any significant amount of debris even hit the ground.
As a matter of fact the impact of the "rubble" (we can no longer speak of large pieces) caused only relatively minor seismic shock wave signatures compared to what ROCKED the EARTH (2.1 and 2.3 earthquakes) at the towers' base from the beginning of the collapse until about 5 seconds into the 8 and 10 second collapses.
The massive seismic wave "spike", which occurred at about 4-5 seconds into the 8-second collapse of the North Tower was MANY times larger than the waves that marked the moment of impact when the "rubble" finally hit the ground.
DROP THE COVER-UP
Investigators: The cat is out of the bag. The game is up.
The evidence is now overwhelming and compelling. Scientists who continue to obfuscate and refuse to investigate the clear evidence of explosions in the towers will undoubtedly be considered by honest investigators, the public, and history, to be part of the cover-up. The steel evidence MUST be tested for signs of "twinning", the tracks left in steel of exposure to high-energy explosions. All steel from the basements must be tested for such twinning as well as radioactivity.
I, for one, would not want to be in the position of being involved in the criminal cover-up of this horrendous mass murder.
Those investigators who participate in the cover-up, whether actively or passively, whether by action or inaction, should expect to find themselves branded as quislings, of both their nation and their science.
The only sure path is to pursue the truth, wherever it may lead.
Respectfully submitted by Christopher Bollyn American Free Press - Washington, D.C.
FBI Said To Target Lawmakers In 9/11 Leak Probe
August 24, 2002
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI ( news - web sites) has stepped up a probe of a Sept. 11-related classified intelligence leak, asking 17 senators to turn over phone records and schedules that might reveal contact with reporters, The Washington Post reported on Saturday.
In an Aug. 7 memo sent through the Senate general counsel's office, the FBI asked all members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to hand over records from June 18 and 19, 2002, the Post said.
Those dates are the day of and the day after a classified hearing in which the director of the National Security Agency spoke to lawmakers about two highly sensitive messages the agency intercepted on Sept. 10 hinting at an impending action. It did not translate the messages until Sept. 12.
On June 19 media organizations began reporting the contents of the two messages based on the agency intercepts. The Arabic-language messages said, "The match is about to begin," and "Tomorrow is zero hour."
Sen. Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who heads the committee, said he had received the request and he and members of the committee would comply.
In June, following White House complaints about classified information being leaked, Graham asked Attorney General John Ashcroft ( news - web sites) to have the Justice Department ( news - web sites) launch an investigation.
"We felt the most appropriate way to deal with it was to have an agency like the Department of Justice ( news - web sites), which could look at all the potential sources of that week," Graham said in comments aired on ABC television. "And therefore we are fully cooperating with the FBI's review."
ABC said North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, a possible Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, had also received the request and said he would comply.
An FBI spokeswoman would not comment.
The requests suggest the FBI is focusing on senior senators who are members of a panel investigating Sept. 11, who attend most classified meetings and read the most sensitive intelligence agency communications, the Post said.
A similar request did not go to House of Representatives intelligence committee members, it added.
The information requests come at a time when some members of Congress are already disgruntled that an executive branch agency is probing the actions of legislators whose job is to oversee FBI and intelligence agencies.
In recent weeks, FBI agents finished questioning nearly 100 people, including all 37 members of separate House and Senate intelligence committees and some 60 staff members. At the conclusion of their interviews with members and staff, FBI agents typically asked them if they would be willing to take polygraph tests. Most declined, the Post said.
The National Security Agency, based at Fort Meade, Maryland, is one of the government's most secretive intelligence agencies. Much of its information carries a higher classification than other sorts of intelligence. It is illegal to release classified information.
Neither congressional historians nor legal experts could recall any situation in which the FBI was probing a leak of classified information in this way, the Post said.