Files Reveal: Bush Knew Firm's Plight Before Stock Sale
by Mike Allen, The Washington Post, July 21, 2002; Page A07
As a businessman in 1990, George W. Bush was deluged with confidential information about the financial plight of a Texas oil company before he sold the majority of his holdings and triggered a federal investigation, according to Securities and Exchange Commission records.
President Bush has refused to authorize the SEC to open the full file on his investigation, but selected documents have been released under the Freedom of Information Act. The president's business dealings have come under more scrutiny as he tries to restore confidence in markets hurt by business scandals. Nearly half of 1,004 respondents in a Newsweek poll released yesterday said they thought Bush took advantage of the system for personal gain with the 1990 stock sale.
The documents show that four months before Bush sold most of his stake in Harken Energy Corp., he and other board members received a letter from management calling the previous year's profits disappointing and warning that the company would "continue to be severely limited in our activities due to cash constraints." The letter said that "as indicated at the December board meeting," the failure of a deal involving a subsidiary had "left the company with little cash flow flexibility."
A management letter to the board in July 1990, a month after Bush's $848,560 stock sale, portrayed the company as enduring months of turmoil. "Due to the nature of our tasks through this past quarter the stress level is beginning to show," the letter said.
The documents, released Friday by the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity, show that analysts following Harken were shocked by the losses reported for the quarter that ended eight days after Bush's sale. Harken President Mikel D. Faulkner told board members that he had received many calls from brokers, shareholders and creditors and had provided "as positive a response as is possible."
The White House has said Bush knew the company would record losses but did not know how large they would be. Harken's stock price initially plunged, then recovered and rose.
The SEC's investigation of Bush was closed after officials determined he did not have enough insider information before his stock sale to warrant a case.
SEC Chairman Harvey L. Pitt said last week that he would release the records if Bush asked him to. In response to a question about whether he would ask the SEC to release the file, Bush replied Wednesday that "the key document said there is no case."
The 150 pages of minutes and other board documents released Friday tie Bush to the company's sale of Aloha Petroleum Ltd., which was recorded in such a way that Harken masked massive losses, leading critics to compare the accounting to methods used by Enron Corp. The SEC forced Harken to restate the transaction.
The documents show Bush was proposed as chairman of a special committee of the board with duties that included reviewing Aloha-related debt. An analysis by the Center for Public Integrity said the documents "do not unambiguously resolve the question of what Bush knew about Harken's reporting of the sale."
Reflecting growing White House concern about the impact on the fall elections of corporate wrongdoing and falling stock markets, Bush used his radio address yesterday to promise that his administration "will do everything in its power to ensure business integrity and long-term growth."
t r u t h o u t | 07.22
Files Reveal: Bush Knew Firm's Plight Before Stock Sale
Frank Rich | The Road to Perdition
Halliburton Probe Is Growing Worry for Bush, Hill Republicans
Simple Shift in Bush Aid Budget Would Leverage Nearly $700 Million for Health, Environment Problems in Poorest Countries - At No Extra Cost to U.S.
2nd California Officer Removed From Duty in Videotaped Beating Case
The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: A Model of Explanation
The following is excerpted, and posted, in its entirety at
by Vincent J. Salandria, Attorney
"While the researchers have preoccupied themselves with how the assassination was accomplished, there has been almost no systematic thinking on why President Kennedy was killed."
(Based on an address at the conference of the New England Branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 23, 1971.)
For almost eight years the American people have failed to address themselves to the crucial issue of why President John F. Kennedy was killed. Much valuable time has been lost; it is becoming increasingly clear that our delay has cost mankind dearly. I urge that no one drop this question, for to do so is to abandon the serious search for peace internationally and for domestic tranquility.
Government Evidence Cries Conspiracy
New Rulers Timed Diffusion of Evidence
Lone Assassin Myth Suggests Governmental Guilt
A Warning to Opponents
Silence of Kennedys Points to Top-Level Coup
A. Which Group Was Responsible?
1. J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI?
2. The Left?
3. The Right?
4. President Johnson and Friends?
5. President Kennedy's Own Estimate of a Possible Military Takeover
Was the American military on its own capable of this degree of sophistication? It does seem rather beyond the intelligence of the American military to have accomplished this crime alone. But it is not inconceivable to imagine the American military as having been involved in a plot to eliminate Kennedy, in order to ensure the continuation of the Cold War. Kennedy himself did not regard a military take-over as implausible. We have an excellent articulation of his feeling on this matter in a discussion with Paul B. Fay, Jr.  This colloquy occurred one summer weekend in 1962 on the Honey Fitz, the Kennedy yacht. The President was asked what he thought of the possibility of a military takeover in the United States. The discussion grew out of the book Seven Days in May by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey.
President Kennedy said: "It's possible. It could happen in this country, but the conditions would have to be just right."
The conditions outlined by the President were as follows:
1.The country would have to be led by a young President.
2.There would be a Bay of Pigs.
3.Military criticism of the President would follow.
4.Then, if there were another Bay of Pigs, the military would consider overthrowing the elected establishment, and finally,
5."...if there were a third Bay of Pigs, it could happen."
Mr. Fay concluded this episode by describing how the President, "pausing long enough for all of us to assess the significance of his comment ... concluded with an old Navy phrase, 'But it won't happen on my watch.'"
These conditions were approximated during the Kennedy administration. President Kennedy was in fact a young President. There was a Bay of Pigs. The missile crisis which followed resulted not in the bombing of Cuba ---as the military advisors had urged upon the President --- but rather in a detente with Russia. This has followed by a nuclear test ban treaty which "...the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared themselves opposed to under almost any terms." 
The American University speech by President Kennedy following his reexamination of the Vietnamese policy, completely fulfilled the conditions set forth by President Kennedy for a take-over to happen on his watch.
Evidence for Military Involvement in the Assassination
There is much evidence to indicate military involvement in the assassination. There was the startling and incriminating action of the then Commander James J. Humes, the head of the Navy Bethesda autopsy team, who took the original autopsy notes --- and then burned them.  The autopsy was under the control of an army general who was not trained in medicine.  The autopsy was never completed.  The findings of the autopsy were contrary to the findings of the non-military physicians at Parkland Hospital. The pathologists were directed not to look at the Kennedy neck wound.  The x-rays were never turned over to the Commission by the military. The burning of the notes by Commander Humes did not deter the military from promoting him to Captain.
Military-ClA Interests Coincided
Although at the time of the assassination the interests of the CIA and the military coincided, now evidence of a CIA-military rift abounds. The Boston Globe of July 20, 1971 stated that the Pentagon Papers revealed that "one agency ...comes out ... with a record for calling its shots correctly." So Ellsberg did not do badly by his "ex" employer. The Boston Globe of July 3 offered an item which indicates the "ex"-Pentagon people are hitting back at the "ex"-CIA Ellsberg. "A former Pentagon liaison officer with the Central Intelligence Agency said in London that President Kennedy engendered the hate of the CIA by trying to curb the agency's power. He also said he did not think Lee Harvey Oswald 'by himself killed President Kennedy.'"
"L. Fletcher Prouty, a retired Air Force colonel and the director of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962 and 1963, said Kennedy issued two directives in 1961 to limit the CIA's power but the documents never surfaced and were not implemented."
Jack Anderson on April 21 1971 said:
"International espionage is seldom as efficient as the inter-departmental spying that goes on in Washington.
"... the Central Intelligence Agency never makes a move without the Defense Intelligence Agency keeping close surveillance.
"... Government agencies in the best cloak-and-dagger tradition snoop upon one another." 
I view the American military's motive for involving itself in the killing of Kennedy as perversely patriotic in nature. But at that period of time there was, as we will demonstrate, a congruence of interests between the American military and the CIA. Kennedy was the enemy of both power groups at the time he was killed.
The Pentagon Papers -- a CIA Jab at Military?
6. Did the CIA Kill President Kennedy?
The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: A Model of Explanation
This complete report:
Senate Vote does not mean End to Yucca Mountain Fight!
Plans include more Congressional actions, legal suits, protests, and blockades!
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kevin Kamps, 202.328.0002
July 9, 2002 cell: 202.262.9518
Michael Mariotte, 202.328.0002
The outrageous 60-39 U.S. Senate vote on July 9, 2002, to override Nevada's veto of the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level nuclear waste dump does not mean Yucca Mountain ever will open. Instead, it simply sets the stage for years of courtroom activity, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing proceedings, continued Congressional action, and an increased likelihood of large protests and blockades of highways and railways.
"Today's Senate vote accomplished only one thing," said Michael Mariotte, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS). "It proved that 60 members of the U.S. Senate caved in to the nuclear power industry and put those interests above the interests of the American people. By approving this project, the Senate has assured that this multi-billion dollar waste of taxpayer and ratepayer money will continue for now. But that doesn't mean Yucca is a done deal."
"The increased opposition to Yucca Mountain from previous votes should be a clear warning to the NRC and future Congresses that there is a great deal of doubt about Yucca Mountain, and they must be prepared to stop this project at anytime," said Kevin Kamps of NIRS' Radioactive Waste Project.
"The State of Nevada and environmental groups will be continuing to mount lawsuits against the project, on numerous grounds, including the failure of the project to meet the environmental regulations established to protect the public. Instead, the Department of Energy, NRC and Environmental Protection Agency all have weakened public protection standards in recent years to accommodate the ill-chosen site, rather than rejecting the site as should have been done," said Kamps.
NIRS expressed no confidence in the NRC to conduct a fair licensing process. "The NRC may be an 'independent' agency, but it is staffed entirely by nuclear advocates who want to see a new future for this obsolete technology," explained Mariotte. "Since its establishment in 1975, the NRC has rejected only two license applications of the thousands of it has received, and one of those, at the Byron nuclear complex in Illinois, was overturned on appeal. Only a 1996 decision by an Atomic Safety Licensing Board, which rejected on environmental racism grounds a uranium enrichment plant proposed by a company called Louisiana Energy Services (LES), ever stood. And the NRC then took steps to limit the public's right in such licensing hearings, to be sure that never happens again. Indeed, LES is on the verge of announcing a new effort to build such a plant."
NIRS pointed out that Yucca Mountain does little to solve the nation's growing radioactive waste problem. "Yucca Mountain is legally limited in how much high-level atomic waste it can accept," said Kamps. "Even if it opened, it would only be able to accept about half the waste expected to be generated by the nation's nuclear reactors. The rest will remain where it is now, on-site at every nuclear reactor in the country, and the Energy Department will be out there looking for another politically-weak state to dump the waste on."
"Meanwhile, the DOE is encouraging the construction of still more nuclear reactors that will have no place to store their lethal waste," said Mariotte. "Just two weeks ago, Secretary Abraham announced that he will give $17 million of taxpayer money to three wealthy nuclear utilities to begin the process of licensing new reactors. This is not only an unacceptable use of tax money, it gives the lie to any belief that DOE even cares about the nuclear waste problem. Where does Abraham propose this waste will go-under the DOE's Forrestal Building in downtown Washington, D.C.?"
"Yucca Mountain already is projected to cost some $58 Billion, and the costs seem to rise daily," said Mariotte. "And if Abraham and the nuclear utilities get their way, we're going to have to start this process all over again, with a new site, and tens of billions more dollars spent to support this unnecessary and dangerous source of electricity. It simply boggles the mind that any public official could propose such a plan. It is past time to aggressively promote sustainable energy technologies-that's where we should be spending our money, not on more nuclear power."
Mariotte said NIRS would now step up its preparations for large protests and blockades of highways and railways if the transport of high-level waste actually begins in the U.S. NIRS and grassroots environmental organizations have been training people in non-violent resistance to such shipments since 1997, and has sent activists to Germany to learn from the massive protests there in the past few years.
"Germany has made six shipments of nuclear waste casks since 1995," said Kamps, who was in Germany earlier this year to view a shipment. "It now requires some 30,000 police and $100 million to move a cask just 250 miles, disrupts the transportation network of much of the country, and requires a police state in large parts of northern Germany. The U.S. is talking about thousands of shipments, averaging 2,000 miles. There will be thousands of protestors along these routes," he predicted.
Mariotte also warned that some members of Congress may again attempt to open an "interim" storage site at Yucca Mountain next session, and begin the transportation of radioactive waste as soon as possible. "We expect Congress would reject such an attempt," he said, "but we will be ready if it does not."
To find out each Senators' vote on this issue, see:
Earth's Ice Melting Faster Than Projected
by Lester R. Brown
Several new studies report that the earth's ice cover is melting faster than projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its landmark report released in early 2001. Among other things, this means that the IPCC team, which did not have the ice melt data through the 1990s, will need to revise upward its projected rise in sea level for this century--currently estimated to range from 0.09 meters to 0.88 meters (from 4 to 35 inches).
A study by two scientists from the University of Colorado's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research shows that melting of the large glaciers on the west coast of Alaska and in northern Canada is accelerating. Earlier data indicated that the melting of glaciers in these areas was raising sea level by 0.14 millimeters per year, but the new data for the 1990s indicate that the more rapid melting is now raising sea level by 0.32 millimeters a year, more than twice as fast.
The Colorado study is reinforced by a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study, which indicates glaciers are now shrinking in all 11 of Alaska's glaciated mountain ranges. An earlier USGS study reported that the number of glaciers in Glacier National Park in the United States has dwindled from 150 in 1850 to fewer than 50 today. They project the remaining glaciers will disappear within 30 years.
Another team of USGS scientists, which uses satellite data to measure changes in the area covered by glaciers, describes an accelerated melting of glaciers in several mountainous regions, including the South American Andes, the Swiss Alps, and the French and Spanish Pyrenees.
Glaciers are shrinking faster throughout the Andes. Professor Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University reports that for the Qori Kalis glacier, which is located on the west side of the Quelccaya ice cap in the Peruvian Andes, the annual shrinkage from 1998 to 2000 was three times that which occurred between 1995 and 1998. And that, in turn, was nearly double the annual rate of retreat from 1993 to 1995. Thompson also projects that the large Quelccaya ice cap will disappear entirely between 2010 and 2020.
The vast snow/ice mass in the Himalayas, which ranks third in fresh water stored, after Antarctica and Greenland, is also retreating. Although data are not widely available for the Himalayan glaciers, those that have been studied indicate an accelerating retreat. For example, data for the 1990s show that the Dokriani Bamak Glacier in the Indian Himalayas retreated by 20 meters in 1998, more than during the preceding five years.
Thompson has also studied Kilimanjaro, observing that between 1989 and 2000, Kilimanjaro lost 33 percent of its ice field. He projects that it could disappear entirely within the next 15 years. (See table http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/Update8.htm.)
Both the North and the South Poles are showing the effects of climate change. The South Pole is covered by a continent the size of the United States. The Antarctic ice sheet, which is 1.5 miles thick in some places, contains over 90 percent of the world's fresh water.
While this vast ice sheet is relatively stable, the ice shelves--the portions of the ice sheet that extend into the surrounding seas--are fast disappearing. A team of U.S. and British scientists reported in 1999 that the ice shelves on either side of the Antarctic Peninsula are in full retreat. From mid-century through 1997, these areas lost 7,000 square kilometers as the ice sheet disintegrated. But then within scarcely one year they lost another 3,000 square kilometers. Delaware-sized icebergs that have broken off are a threat to ships in the area. The scientists attribute the accelerated ice melting to a regional temperature rise of 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1940.
While the South Pole is covered by a huge continent, the North Pole is covered by the Arctic Ocean. Arctic sea ice is melting fast. Over the last 35 years, the ice has thinned 42 percent--from an average of 3.1 meters to 1.8 meters. It has also shrunk by 6 percent since 1978. Together, thinning and shrinking have reduced the mass of sea ice by half. A team of Norwegian scientists projects that the Arctic Sea could be entirely ice-free during the summer by mid-century, if not before.
If this melting materializes as projected, the early explorers' dream of a northwest passage--a shortcut from Europe to Asia--could be realized. Unfortunately, what was a dream for them could be a nightmare for us.
If the Arctic Ocean becomes ice-free in the summer, it would not affect sea level because the ice is already in the water, but it would alter the regional heat balance. When sunlight strikes ice and snow, most of it is reflected back into space, but if it instead strikes land or open water, then much of the energy in the light is absorbed and converted into heat, leading to higher temperatures. This is what computer modelers refer to as a positive feedback loop, a situation where a trend creates conditions that reinforce itself.
Richard Kerr, writing in Science, says summer "would convert the Arctic Ocean from a brilliantly white reflector sending 80 percent of solar energy back into space into a heat collector absorbing 80 percent of [incoming sunlight]." The discovery of open water at the North Pole by an ice breaker cruise ship in August 2000 provides further evidence that the melting process may now be feeding on itself.
This prospect of much warmer summers in the Arctic is of concern because Greenland, which has the world's second largest ice sheet, is largely within the Arctic Circle. In a Science article in 2000, a team of U.S. scientists from NASA reported that the vast Greenland ice sheet is starting to melt. Greenland is gaining some ice in higher elevations in its northern reaches, but it is losing much more at the lower elevations along its southern and southeastern coasts. This huge island of 2.2 million square kilometers--three times the size of Texas--is experiencing a net loss of 51 billion cubic meters of ice each year, which is raising sea level by 0.13 millimeters per year, according to the NASA team.
The team also reports that the melting there appears to be accelerating because the ice sheet on its southern and eastern edges has thinned by more than a meter a year since 1993. If all the ice on Greenland were to melt, it would raise sea level by 7 meters (23 feet), but even under a high temperature rise scenario, it could take many centuries for it to melt completely.
The accelerated melting of ice, particularly during the last decade or so, is consistent with the accelerating rise in temperature that has occurred since 1980. With the IPCC projecting global average temperature to rise by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius (2.5 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit) during this century, the melting of ice will likely continue to gain momentum.
Our generation is the first to have the capacity to alter the earth's climate. We are also, therefore, the first to wrestle with the ethical question of whether the capacity to change the planet's climate gives us the right to do so.
t r u t h o u t | 07.21
Dow Plunges 390; Stocks Continue Four-Month Rout
John W. Dean | Predicting Presidential Scandals: Looking at Bush's New Vulnerability
Florida Justice Dept Give Cops Broad New Power
Alaska Glaciers Melting More Rapidly
California Gov. Davis To Sign Landmark Global Warming Law On Monday
Julia Butterfly Hill Was Arrested in Ecuador and Deported
Updated press release: July 18, 2002
Contacts: Lucy Braham (510) 419-0617 or cellular (310) 420- 8245 Alexandra Almeida, Acción Ecologíca in Ecuador, 011 593 2-254-7516
Midnight decision to deport Julia Butterfly Ecuadorian Government preempts her fair trial in oil protest
(Quito, Ecuador) -- Immigration police announced late last night that activist Julia Butterfly Hill will be deported to the United States early this morning. The deportation is set to occur just two hours before a scheduled Habeas Corpus hearing for Ms. Hill and the seven Ecuadorian activists with whom she was arrested Tuesday during a peaceful protest outside Occidental Petroleum (OXY)¹s Quito offices.
Ms. Hill has been in Ecuador since July 9, joining the national struggle to resist Ecuador¹s new OCP pipeline. Speaking after the deportation decision from Quito¹s Provisional Detention Center, where she and the other seven protesters have been held since their arrest, she said:
"I remain deeply committed to support the Ecuadorian communities engaged in this struggle. I will continue to do what I can from the US to work for the release of those arrested with me, and to fight this devastating pipeline project."
"The decision to deny due process to Julia Butterfly is clearly influenced by a desire on the part of the Ecuadorian government and OCP to avoid the spotlight being shined on the OCP pipeline," declared Atossa Soltani, Executive Director of Amazon Watch. "Those pushing this destructive project know that it will not bear being exposed to international scrutiny."
The OCP pipeline has been mired in controversy since its inception, with hundreds of protests over the last few months along its route, which crosses fragile ecosystems and 11 protected areas. Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum is a key member of the OCP consortium, and is planning significant expansion of its Ecuador operations in pristine Amazon ecosystems, in expectation of the pipeline¹s completion. At the Tuesday protest where the arrests took place, 50 community members from Mindo, Lago Agrio, Esmeraldas and Shushufindi, who are adversely affected by the new pipeline, rallied outside the offices of Occidental and the OCP to demand an end to the escalating destruction of their lands.
Seven people were also arrested yesterday in the Amazonian province of Sucumbios in another show of resistance against the OCP pipeline. Members of two local farming families near Lago Agrio were dispersed with tear gas by police. Two children were among those detained.
On Monday Julia Butterfly, best known for her 738 day tree sit 200 feet atop a 2000-year old threatened California old-growth redwood tree, accompanied Mindo community members to re-occupy OCP¹s construction site in the Mindo Nambillo Cloudforest Reserve. Construction has now illegally advanced 200 meters inside community-owned property. A judge will visit the site Friday, accompanied by local community members, to issue a ruling on the property demarcation.
Lead financer of the project, German bank WestLB, has come under intense fire for syndicating a $900 million loan to the OCP in violation of its own lending policies. The loan, which does not meet minimum World Bank environmental guidelines has sparked public outrage in the German state of North Rhine Westphalia (NWR), which holds a 43 percent stake in WestLB. US bank, Citigroup has also been highlighted as a top lender to consortium members.
The majority of Amazon crude that will flow through the pipeline is destined for US West Coast markets. The OCP Consortium includes: Alberta Energy (Canada), Occidental Petroleum (OXY- USA), AGIP (Italy), Repsol-YPF (Spain), Perez Companc (Argentina), and Techint (Argentina). JP Morgan Chase is financial advisor for the project.
Multinational Firms Corrupt Practices Continue In Developing World
by Emad Mekay, Inter Press Service, July 12, 2002
WASHINGTON - The multinational firms recently fingered for corrupt practices in the United States may be practicing similar operations on a larger scale in developing countries, say long-time corporate watchdogs.
Investors, shareholders, the U.S. administration, and economists world-wide are still reeling from the string of corporate frauds that includes U.S. energy giant Enron and WorldCom, the international telecommunications company. Allegations of misconduct have surfaced against several company executives, including U.S. President George W. Bush from his days as a director of an oil company.
While the United States and its northern neighbors have focused on the impact of such scandals on investor trust in wealthy nations, the anti-globalization movement cautions that the corruption scourge could be several times more harmful to the economies of developing countries.
They argue that many global companies operate freely in poor nations, protected by conditions dictated by international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and the political might of Northern governments.
"Enron and WorldCom are just symptoms of the way companies are able to do business without too much accountability," said Nadia Martinez, research associate at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies.
"It is even worse in the developing world," she added. "It happens here and everyone goes up in arms. But in reality this has been happening in the developing world for decades with the support of Northern governments in many instances and with the support of our taxpayers' money by way of international institutions like the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank."
Multinational watchdog Corpwatch says that these firms violate international law on many counts, including social and environmental violations and with flagrant corruption.
"Corruption is one of the many levels in which these companies very arrogantly come into a country and act like they own it and they do whatever they want," said Julie Light, managing editor of Corpwatch.org. "They can buy off the politicians and they can hire private security forces or pay the local police."
Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported on corruption in the 550 million dollar Bujagali power project on the Nile River in Uganda. One of the contractors, the U.S. power producer AES, bribed a Ugandan official to hasten the dam's approval, said the report.
Martinez says that the shamed Enron, a now bankrupt firm with dubious off-balance sheet transactions, continues to operate internationally and is still seeking public funding for its non-scrutinized global projects.
Enron holds 25 percent of Transredes, a company seeking a 125 million-dollar loan from the International Development Bank (IDB) to expand a Bolivian gas pipeline. The Bank is expected to decide on the loan in September.
In research for the Institute for Policy Studies, Martinez says Enron's assets in Latin America alone include concerns in a pipeline in Colombia, gas and electricity companies in Venezuela and Brazil, and other operations in Panama, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico.
Public institutions, including the World Bank and the European Investment Bank have provided Enron with financing of about seven billion dollars, she adds.
WorldCom, a firm accused of cooking its books so it could overstate profits by 3.8 billion dollars, also has a presence in many developing countries. The company often boasted that its business interests span from everyday phone calls to advanced Internet-based networks in Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Africa.
Although activists like Martinez and Light have been calling attention to the practices of corporations in the South for years, they now say developing countries are more vulnerable than ever, because of diminishing monitoring. The IMF has been urging deregulation in the South for the past two decades.
"What the IMF, the WTO (World Trade Organization) and the World Bank have been saying to the third world is 'trust the market, deregulate, get the government out of the way, take the teeth out of the regulatory agencies, let corporate officials run government agencies, let them privatize'," said Danaher. "It's been a whole-package."
Poor nations stand defenseless before the mammoth-like corporations, some whose budgets are bigger than the spending of many poor nations combined, they add.
"If these corporations can wreck the United States, destroy our economy, take over the government, and bankrupt it in their interest, what are they going to do in Bolivia, Chad or Niger where there are not so many constitutional rights?" asked Danaher.
The activists say the cozy relationship between politics and business is partly to blame. Several officials of the Bush administration are former company executives, including the president himself and Vice President Dick Cheney.
"We need to close the revolving door of corporate leaders going into government, building up their Rolodex, finding out where the money is and then going back into the corporate world sucking public money out of government," said Danaher. "We need to build a firewall between money and policy making."
"It's time civil society groups started policing the corporations and holding them accountable on high-standards of international law, human rights law and local law," added Light.
Should We All Be Vegetarians? (July 15, 2002)
Would we be healthier? Would the planet? The risks and benefits of a meat-free life
(...) Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, sees most of the meat and dairy lobby's arguments as desperate, disingenuous scare stories. "It unmasks the industry's self-interest," he says, "when it voices concern about B12 while hundreds of thousands of people are dying prematurely because of too much saturated fat from meat and dairy products." Indeed, according to David Pimentel, a Cornell ecologist, the average American consumes 112 grams of protein a day, twice the amount recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. "This has implications for cancer risks and stress on the urinary system," says Pimentel. "And with this protein comes a lot of fat. Fully 40% of our calories-and heavy cardiovascular risks-come from fat."
Pimentel argues that vegetarianism is much more environment-friendly than diets revolving around meat. "In terms of caloric content, the grain consumed by American livestock could feed 800 million people-and, if exported, would boost the U.S. trade balance by $80 billion a year." Grain-fed livestock consume 100,000 liters of water for every kilogram of food they produce, compared with 2,000 liters for soybeans. Animal protein also demands tremendous expenditures of fossil-fuel energy-eight times as much as for a comparable amount of plant protein. Put another way, says Pimentel, the average omnivore diet burns the equivalent of a gallon of gas per day-twice what it takes to produce a vegan diet. And the U.S. livestock population-cattle, chickens, turkeys, lambs, pigs and the rest-consumes five times as much grain as the U.S. human population. But then there are 7 billion of them; they outnumber us 25 to 1. CLIP
Summer Of Mistrust (Jul. 14, 2002)
Scamming CEOs have accomplished what Osama bin Laden could not - denting our spirit. Can anything restore our faith in the markets? (...) The corporate criminals among us, the swindlers and profiteers, are now described in language once saved for bin Laden's legions. Business professors are staggered by the suicidal audacity of top executives - did they really think they would not be caught? - and marvel at the damage done. "It's as if we have given the CEOs weapons of mass destruction - at least economically," says accounting professor Brian Shapiro at the University of Minnesota. "The companies they run are bigger than ever. When something happens, thousands can lose their jobs - and more people than ever are invested in them. So a few can do a lot of damage." And that damage may be lasting. A new TIME/CNN poll finds that fewer than one-third of Americans expect the economy to improve in the next year. It is not just that we have confronted in WorldCom the worst case of fraud in U.S. corporate history; today the bluest of chips, from Merck to General Electric, are being challenged about their bookkeeping. The perception of deception is so widespread, the stakes so high and the costs so great that investors are choosing to forfeit a game they now think is rigged. The markets skidded last week straight past their 9/11 lows into the most bearish forests in a generation. The dollar sank ever lower, and the Dow dropped through 9,000 toward a 7.4% loss for one week alone. Financial planners say many people won't open their 401(k) statements; they just can't look. CLIP
The Rap on Bush and Cheney
Can the White House lead a cleanup crusade when it has had dubious deals of its own? You be the judge. (...) Bush's business dealings were legal but on the wrong side of the new corporate morality he is now preaching. How could the President chastise executives for doing the same kinds of things he did as a director, without apology? Bush received subsidized loans from Harken to buy company stock-a practice he now wants to ban. In 1989 Harken concealed losses by selling most of a subsidiary to an off-the-books entity controlled by company insiders. Bush was on the audit committee, which, at least in theory, approved the deal. It's the same tactic used by Enron-on a massive, more pernicious scale-before it imploded. CLIP
Harken Papers Offer Details on Bush Knowledge
Steps to Wealth: How Bush got rich through Harken
NY Times: Halliburton Profits From Terror War
Bush Administration May Cause Failure of Environmental Summit
US Planning to Recruit One in 24 Americans as Citizen Spies
Postal Service Won't Join TIPS Program
Why Bush Is in No Hurry on Iraq (Jul. 09, 2002) Bush says he wants to remove Saddam - eventually. But key allies at home and abroad remain unconvinced over the need for a war. (...) Despite September 11, the Afghan campaign and the "axis of evil" speech, it's not hard to see why there's no rush to war with Iraq. While no significant constituency at home or abroad is comfortable accepting Saddam Hussein's continued brutal reign, there are few takers for launching a war in order to oust him. That's not only because victory may be neither cheap nor easy, but also because some of the stakeholders fear that victory itself may create a situation that's even less tolerable and stable than the present one. CLIP
More of the U.S. War plan in Iraq at
Suggested by Nicolas Rousseau <email@example.com>
Here is a link which I think is very useful for people of the Earth Rainbow Network list, since, in our quest for truth, we are often presented with conspiracy theories. The Political Research Associate organization works at exposing lies, myths and illogical thinking. More precisely, the Political Research Associate organization's mission is to look for accurate information and to analyze the strategies and claims (like scapegoating, conspiracism, etc.) used by some in ways that perpetuate oppression. Political Research Associate wants to denounce such claims to quickfix solutions that are detrimental to a deeper analysis of the structural problems and that harmful to the research of fair solutions.
Check it out at: http://www.publiceye.org/
U.S. Warplanes Strike Iraq Facility
by Waiel Falen, Associated Press Writer, July 19, 2002
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.S. and British warplanes destroyed a military communications facility in southern Iraq, the U.S. military said Friday. Iraq said the missile strike killed five people, including a couple and their children.
The Iraqi claim could not be independently verified.
The planes, patrolling the no-fly zone over southern Iraq, used precision-guided weapons to destroy the military site Thursday, U.S. Central Command said in a statement. The strikes came in response to continued Iraqi hostile actions toward coalition airplanes, it said.
Air Force Brig. Gen. John W. Rosa Jr. said Monday that Iraq had increased its challenges to coalition aircraft in the northern and southern no-fly zones. The two zones were created after the 1991 Gulf War ( news - web sites) to protect Kurds and minority Shiite Muslims from Iraqi military forces.
The Iraqi military said the coalition planes bombed "civilian and service installations" in Qadissiya province, 155 miles south of Baghdad, on Thursday night.
The attack hit two nearby homes, destroying one and damaging the other, killing five people and injuring 17 others, the military said in a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency.
Among the dead were a husband, wife and their two children, the agency said. A 60-year-old man who was also killed was thought to be a relative.
U.S. military officials say they take great care to avoid civilians when making retaliatory strikes in Iraq.
Funerals for the air raid victims were held Friday in Diwaniya, the capital of Qadissiya province, the agency said. Government officials and members of Saddam Hussein ( news - web sites)'s ruling Baath Party attended. Mourners shouted "Down with Bush" and "Down with America," while others demanded Saddam extract revenge.
Iraq has never recognized the no-fly zones and frequently tries to shoot down planes patrolling them.
The rhetoric over Iraq is reaching a dangerous pitch
18 July 2002
President Saddam Hussein lashed out defiantly yesterday, returning the Bush Administration's axis of evil rhetoric in kind and vowing that "evil tyrants and oppressors" would never defeat him. There are many reasons not to feel sympathy with him, starting with the suffering he has brought on his people by diverting cash from permitted oil sales away from the needy. Yet the shameless sabre-rattling that is issuing from Washington and being echoed from London should be just as worrying as the defiance from Baghdad, if not more so.
Where President Saddam is posturing from a position of weakness, Washington is piling up threats that it has the capacity to act upon. The British Prime Minister breathes hot and cold. Questioned by a Commons committee on Tuesday, he appeared to stand full square behind the Washington hawks. In Parliament yesterday, he said that Iraq's weapons had to be dealt with, but that any action would comply with international law.
Whatever Mr Blair said yesterday about no decision having been taken on military action, the impression created recently in Washington and London has been quite the opposite. We have been treated to elaborate details of a leaked Pentagon plan for a US-led assault on Iraq. We have been told of top-secret US and British special agents already in place in Iraq. We have watched prominent Iraqi exiles in the United States lavish interviews on the media about their readiness to topple President Saddam. And we have witnessed a huge gathering of Iraqi exiles in London, who formed a co-ordinating committee to the selfsame end.
The most positive interpretation would be that Washington is merely trying to scare Baghdad, in the hope perhaps of triggering a revolt among the top brass or scaring Saddam Hussein into complying with the UN weapons inspection regime. The unconcealed joy in Washington over the latest failure of UN-Iraq talks, however, suggests that Iraqi compliance is not high on US priorities. Which leaves open the possibility that the US is preparing action against Iraq as a contingency to save Mr Bush's political skin and that of his Republican Party at the autumn mid-term Congressional elections. Such cynical application of military force would be recklessness of the highest order. That this prospect seems more than marginally plausible is the severest of indictments on the image that the Bush regime has projected abroad.
Public Citizen issued the following two press releases today:
1) Lawsuit Prompts White House to Release Reagan-Bush Records; Unlawful Delay Prompted Challenge; Other Records Are Still Being Withheld
2) Brand-Name Drug Industry Overwhelms Generic in Campaign Contributions and Lobbying Spending
July 19, 2002
Lawsuit Prompts White House to Release Reagan-Bush Records
Unlawful Delay Prompted Challenge; Other Records Are Still Being Withheld
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The White House has approved the release of records of former President Ronald Reagan and former Vice President George H.W. Bush - records that were required by law to be released more than a year ago. The delay in releasing the records, as well as an unlawful executive order that purports to authorize the delay, was challenged by Public Citizen and a coalition of other groups in federal district court here. The Justice Department notified the Public Citizen Litigation Group of the White House's decision in a letter today. Although the lawsuit spurred the release, other documents, including about 1,600 pages about which former President Reagan's representatives have expressed unknown "concerns," remain under wraps.
The records to be released include approximately 150 pages of Reagan documents, the last of a group of about 68,000 pages of records that were supposed to be released in January 2001 under the Presidential Records Act, which governs access to records of former presidents and vice presidents. Most of the 150 pages, which the lawsuit's plaintiffs have not yet seen, are believed to consist of memoranda concerning Supreme Court appointments and other presidential appointments to federal office.
The Bush White House blocked release of the Reagan records in early 2001 and then issued an executive order in November 2001 that claimed to give former presidents and vice presidents, as well as the incumbent president, the power to veto the release of records by claiming "executive privilege." After Public Citizen and a coalition of historians and journalists filed a lawsuit in December challenging the executive order, the White House approved release of most of the 68,000 pages of Reagan records in March, but 150 pages that were considered especially sensitive were held back for further review, which resulted in another four months of delay in their release.
"The disclosure that the White House has finally decided to release these documents is a clear indication that they realize they can't make a claim of 'executive privilege' stick so many years after President Reagan left office," said Public Citizen attorney Scott L. Nelson. "And with the pressure of a lawsuit, they also knew they couldn't keep stalling indefinitely on the pretext that they were still 'reviewing' the documents."
Nelson added that he expects the government now to argue that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the Reagan documents will soon be released. "The White House desperately wants to avoid having a court decide whether its executive order is lawful, so it has made every effort to dodge the issue," he said. "But the government is continuing to implement the executive order and is using it to hold up release of other documents, so the legal challenge to the order remains a live issue."
In particular, Public Citizen has recently learned that there are another 1,654 pages of Reagan records, whose existence was not previously disclosed by the National Archives, that were supposed to be released in January 2001. But the Archives, apparently in deference to "concerns" expressed about the documents by Reagan's representatives, did not include them with the 68,000 pages that initially gave rise to the executive order and the litigation.
Only after Public Citizen raised questions about the handling of the additional 1,654 pages did the Archives belatedly notify the White House and Reagan in June that it intended to release them. The release of those documents, the contents of which are completely unknown, is currently being held up pending review by the former president's staff and the White House under the executive order.
The White House decision today also authorizes the release of about 40 pages of records of former Vice President Bush. Those pages, which were not part of the 68,000 pages of Reagan records, were among 884 pages of Bush vice presidential documents that were supposed to be released under the Presidential Records Act in January 2001. They, too, were held back until Public Citizen raised questions about their status. In June, 844 pages were released, but 40 pages remained under review pursuant to the executive order. Like the 150 pages of Reagan documents whose release has just been authorized, the 40 pages of Bush documents are said by the Archives to relate to appointments to federal office. So in all, the government plans to release 190 pages.
"Prying these documents loose has been like pulling teeth," said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. "We intend to keep fighting to overturn President Bush's illegal executive order on presidential records so that the unimpeded public access that the Presidential Records Act was designed to bring about is a reality."
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
For more information, please visit http;//www.Citizen.org
July 19, 2002
Brand-Name Drug Industry Overwhelms Generic in Campaign Contributions and Lobbying Spending
Debate Over Quicker Access to Generic Drugs Showcases the Money and Influence of the Brand-Name Drug Industry
WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the U.S. Senate considers legislation opposed by the brand-name drug industry to provide consumers with faster access to cheaper generic drugs, a new Public Citizen study shows how the brand-name prescription drug industry has outspent the much smaller generic drug industry by a 40-to-1 margin on campaign contributions and lobbying.
Public Citizen's analysis of campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures from the past three election cycles shows how the brand-name drug industry is overpowering the generic drug industry when it comes to currying favor with members of Congress. In its attempts to influence Congress, the brand-name industry has spent more than $423 million on lobbying and campaign contributions during the past three election cycles, while the generic drug industry has spent about $10 million, or 2 percent of what the brand-name industry spent.
Each side has much at stake as the Senate debates the Greater Access to Affordable Pharmaceuticals (GAAP) Act, which closes loopholes that allow brand-name drug companies to keep generic drugs off the market. The Senate is debating this bill for two weeks and is also considering amendments to the bill that would add prescription drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries.
"The lopsided spending is staggering," said Frank Clemente, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch. "On every front - lobbying, campaign contributions, advertising - the brand-name drug industry overwhelms the generic drug industry, as well as consumers and seniors groups. With this firepower one is left to simply hope that senators will have the courage to vote with their constituents and not with the drug lobbyists."
Findings from the study include:
§ Generic drug companies and their trade groups have been overwhelmed on the lobbying front for the past five years and spent less than 2 percent of what the brand-name companies shelled out during that time. From 1997 to 2001, brand-name companies and their trade groups spent $388.8 million on lobbying compared to generic companies' $6.8 million.
§ In 2001 (the most recent year for which lobby disclosure reports are available), brand-name companies and their trade associations accounted for 97 percent of all pharmaceutical lobbying spending ($75.5 million out of a $78 million total). Brand-name companies also employed nine lobbyists for every one employed by generic companies.
§ The brand-name companies' trade group, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), spent more than $11.2 million on lobbying in 2001 while the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) spent less than half a million. In 2001, PhRMA spent more on lobbying and hired more lobbyists (82) than any drug company or pharmaceutical trade group.
§ From 1997 to 2002, brand-name companies and their trade group contributed $34.5 million to federal candidates and parties while generic companies contributed $3.4 million.
§ In terms of "soft money" - the unlimited corporate and individual donations to the national political parties - brand-name companies and their trade group have given $23.2 million since 1997 while generic drug companies and their trade group have contributed $3.1 million in that time.
§ Drug companies also contribute heavily to soft money "527 political groups," which are incorporated to influence elections. Again, brand-name companies dominate this type of giving. Since July 2000 (when disclosure was first required), brand-name drug companies and their trade group contributed $914,947 to the largest 527 groups controlled by politicians and interest groups, while generic companies have given $65,000.
A copy of Public Citizen's analysis 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
Perhaps you are interested in some or all of these items.
They are the newest postings to the IEER web site.
Peace Plan for India and Pakistan
by Admiral L Ramdas, former chief of the Indian Navy July 18, 2002
Also see his op-ed in The Hindu:
Nuclear Dangers and the State of Security Treaties
Conference: New transcripts added July 12, 2002
Past and Future of Nuclear War
April 29, 2002, talk given by Arjun Makhijani at American University
Cleanup Standards for Future Generations / COGEMA: Above the Law?
Science for Democratic Action, vol. 10 no. 3, May 2002
http://www.ieer.org/sdafiles/vol_10/sda10-3.pdf [PDF only; 317KB]
Multilateral Treaties Are Fundamental Tools for Protecting Global Security
IEER/LCNP fact sheet, June 2002
Radiological Warfare Suspicions Point Up Need for Materials Accounting and Reporting to Enhance Security
Press release, June 10, 2002
Could Asian Nuclear War Radioactivity Reach North America?
Earthfiles.com interview with Arjun Makhijani, June 4, 2002
Independent Institute Recommends Alternative Nuclear Waste Plan
Press release, June 4, 2002
Independent, Commercial-free Public Affairs Reporting and Commentary
PRESIDENT BUSH SPARES JOHN WALKER LINDH
The First Sign Of Compassion In This Conservative Is For An Al Qaeda Fighter
by Michael Ryan
Bush has sent to death teenagers, battered women, and convicts who were mentally retarded. How is it, then, that this tough-on-crime President took such a personal interest in sparing Mr. Lindh?
THE SPY WHO READS YOUR METER
Ashcroft's Plan To Turn Your Neighbors Into Snoops
by Jennifer Bauduy
Civil-liberties groups say the TIPS government informant operation harkens back to George Orwell's 1984. Is it really a nationwide spy program intended to stifle dissent?
The Loyal Opposition:
CLINTON'S AIDS APOLOGY TO AFRICA
Too Little, Too Late
by David Corn
When Bill Clinton had the chance -- and the power -- to address the devastation in Africa, he took a pass. Now, Clinton should do more than issue apologies to help the 40 million Africans infected with AIDS.
Dispatch: Duluth, Minn.
JAPANESE SYSTEM TO PROVIDE CHEAP HOUSING?
'Lego Block' Houses Could Mean More Affordable Homes
by Stephanie Hemphill
With assembly a matter mostly of matching parts, the house-building system invented by Kato Sangyo may be the next step in helping the working poor find a place of their own.
HOMELAND SECURITY: UPSIDES AND DOWNSIDES
Beyond The Politics Are Issues Americans Will Live With For Years To Come
by Ehsan Ahrari
As the Senate takes up the White House's Homeland Security proposal, let's hope it debates issues that will affect ordinary Americans for years to come.
And from our CHECK IT OUT! section:
Since last December, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has held more than 200 Haitian refugees in Florida detention centers as part of a new policy to discourage Haitians from seeking asylum, according to World Policy Institute Senior Fellow Michele Wucker. The INS insists that the intent of the policy is to prevent other Haitians from risking the high seas in leaky boats. However, refugees from other nations with plausible asylum claims are released within three to five days.
In May, a Florida district court judge denied human rights groups' pleas to reverse the policy and treat the Haitian asylum-seekers fairly. But lawyers are planning an appeal.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has called the policy discriminatory and illegal under international human rights law. Haitians are planning a protest in Boston on July 25 in front of the Boston Federal Building.
CHECK IT OUT! http://www.tompaine.com/check_it_out/
Alaska's glaciers have been melting faster than previously thought and are responsible for more meltwater over the last half century than any other spot on Earth, according to a study published in today's edition of Science. The 10-year study, conducted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, found that meltwater from the state's glaciers raised global sea levels as much as about one-hundredth of an inch per year during the 1990s. That might not sound like much, but it means that melting Alaskan glaciers have accounted for fully 8 percent of the recent rise in the world's sea levels. (The Columbia Glacier alone has been losing about 25 feet of height per year and dumping more than 1.8 trillion gallons of water into Columbia Bay.) The findings suggest that scientists might be underestimating how much sea levels will keep rising, which could be very, very bad news for the world's population living in coastal areas. Is climate change at fault?
straight to the source: Anchorage Daily News, Doug O'Harra, 19 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=273>
straight to the source: Washington Post, Eric Pianin, 19 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=274>
only in Grist: This just in -- the latest climate change news -- in our Heat Beat section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/heatbeat/thisjustin071802.asp?source=daily>
Over here in the lofty halls of Grist Magazine, we've just finished collating our most recent batch of letters to the editor, and we've concluded that Grist readers are inordinately fond of beer. Or at least that's our best explanation for what can only be described as an unusually high volume of letters concerning the lime-in-a-bottle problem addressed last month by Umbra, environmental advice guru extraordinaire. (For those of you who missed it, the gist was, What are the recycling implications of a lime wedge stuck in a beer bottle? Please, don't send us your thoughts.) We've printed a selection of letters about limes -- not to mention a few about all those other enviro issues, e.g. renewable energy, electric vehicles, and the state of the Columbia River. Grab a cold one and check 'em out, only on the Grist Magazine website.
only in Grist: A man, a plan, a ... -- thoughts from Grist readers, in our Letters section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/letters/letters071902.asp?source=daily>
Eighteen months ago, throngs of Filipinos gathered at a religious shrine for a rally that ended in the resignation of corrupt then-president Joseph Estrada. The massive turnout was widely attributed to mobile texting, with hundreds of thousands of Filipinos passing along messages encouraging people to attend. Now, the cell-phone-happy people of the Philippines are turning to text messaging to fight a different enemy: air pollution. The nonprofit organization Bantay Kalikasan, or Environmental Watchdog, has launched a campaign to get dirty trucks and buses off the streets of Manila, among the most polluted cities in Asia. People with cell phones are encouraged to report, via mobile text, any vehicles they see emitting black smoke; BK then sends lists of vehicles that have five or more complaints filed against them to the government agency responsible for issuing licenses to trucking and commercial vehicle companies, and the agency summons the owners for emissions testing. In the first two weeks of the campaign alone, 123 vehicle owners were called in. BK's ultimate goal is to get the government to enforce its Clean Air Act, enacted in 1999, so that cell-phone owners can go back to texting their friends.
straight to the source: Christian Science Monitor, Abby Tan, 19 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=275>
WHERE THE SUN DON'T SHINE
Confirming fears of those opposed to genetic engineering, researchers in Great Britain reported this week that DNA from transgenic crops can find its way into the bacteria that dwell in the human intestines. In a study by scientists at the University of Newcastle, seven volunteers (all of whom had earlier had their lower bowels removed in unrelated surgeries) were given a single meal consisting of a burger and milkshake containing genetically modified soy. Intestinal bacteria from three of the seven volunteers later tested positive for trace levels of an herbicide-resistance gene from the soy. Although most GM material in foods is not thought to pose a risk to human health, many GM crops contain antibiotic-resistant marker genes as well, which critics fear could compromise the human immune system. Britain's Food Standards Agency, which commissioned the study, dismissed such fears, saying the cross-over DNA was only found in trace levels, but Friends of the Earth said the report raised serious concerns about the safety of GM food and called for its withdrawal from the market until further testing could be done.
straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, 19 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=276>
do good: Take action to fight against Frankenfoods <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/food.asp?source=daily#frankenfood>
If Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) has his way, a part of his state's share of the national tobacco settlement will be used to fund alternative energy projects. On Wednesday, Vilsack suggested spending $50 million of the $438 million settlement to help cities in Iowa build renewable energy plants such as wind turbines. The governor said his goal was to develop statewide energy resources, reduce how much money Iowa spends on buying out-of-state energy, and ultimately reverse the tables, with Iowa selling excess energy to other states. Vilsack's energy proposal, which is part of a plan to raise per capita income in Iowa, was heavily criticized by Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Gross. Gross said the funding source would be temporary and asked, "What would happen in year two?" But a spokesperson for the governor noted that energy plants don't require recurring funding sources: "You don't rebuild a wind farm every year."
straight to the source: Des Moines Register, Thomas Beaumont, 18 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=277>
do good: Take action to plead for a world run on renewable energy <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/climate.asp?source=daily#positive>
Court Protects Marijuana Use With Doctors' OK
by Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times, July 19, 2002
Law: A patient who grows or smokes marijuana for personal health reasons, with a doctor's OK, cannot be prosecuted in state court, California justices rule.
Californians who use or grow marijuana for personal medical use are protected from prosecution in state court as long as they have doctors' approval, the California Supreme Court decided unanimously Thursday.
In its first review of the medical marijuana initiative, which was approved by voters in 1996, the court said a medical user who is arrested can get the charges dismissed without a trial if the patient has a note on a prescription pad or any other evidence of a doctor's approval.
The ruling overturns the felony conviction of a blind man with diabetes who was arrested after police spotted 31 marijuana plants growing in the frontyard of his home in Twain Harte in Tuolumne County.
Under the state law, "the possession and cultivation of marijuana is no more criminal--so long as its conditions are satisfied--than the possession and acquisition of any prescription drug with a physician's prescription," Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote for the court.
The decision widens the gap between the treatment of marijuana cases in California's state courts and in federal courts in the state.
Until Thursday, all major rulings on Proposition 215, the state's medical marijuana law, have been made by federal courts and based on federal law.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a case on the California initiative, ruled that there is no medical exception for the use of marijuana under federal law. As a result, people can still be prosecuted in federal court, regardless of the state law.
But individual users and growers in California are generally prosecuted in state courts, which are required to follow Thursday's ruling.
Gerald Uelmen, a University of Santa Clara law professor who argued the case for defendant Myron Carlyle Mower, 40, said the decision would reduce prosecutions throughout the state.
Since 56% of voters approved Proposition 215, dozens of Californians have been arrested on marijuana charges despite claims of medical need, he said.
"It is a wonderful victory for patients," Uelmen said.
He said he hoped the ruling would discourage police from arresting those who grow marijuana and have doctors' notes recommending its use.
"I don't think police are interested in arresting people who are not going to be prosecuted," he said.
Ann Brick, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which also argued for Mower, praised the court for being "quite protective of the rights of medical marijuana patients."
"The court is making very clear that it understands the people of California wanted to confer real protection to the medical users of marijuana, and this decision helps make that possible," Brick said.
The state attorney general's office, which represented Tuolumne County prosecutors in the appeal, said it was reviewing the decision.
California is one of nine states with medical marijuana laws. The decision was the first by a state high court on such a law, Uelmen said.
After Mower's conviction, a state appeals court said the voter initiative had merely given defendants the right to present a medical defense during a trial.
That ruling, by a Court of Appeal in Fresno, also said that users or growers must show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that they had the marijuana solely for medical purposes.
Under Thursday's ruling, by contrast, a grower or user can ask a judge to dismiss the charges without trial.
If the amount of marijuana involved is considered large or the doctor's approval questionable, the defendant might still face a trial to determine whether the marijuana was purely for the defendant's medical use.
But the ruling also made it easier for such defendants to win if a case goes to court. Under the court's ruling, the defendant does not have to prove that the marijuana is solely for medical use. If there is any reasonable doubt about the marijuana's use, the defendant wins. "Most similar is the defense of possession of a dangerous or restricted drug with a physician's prescription, against a charge of unlawful possession of such a drug," George wrote.
"For that defense, a defendant need raise only a reasonable doubt as to his or her possession of the drug in question with a physician's prescription."
The court cited a provision in the initiative that says criminal penalties "shall not apply to a patient, or to a patient's primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician."
"The provision," the court said in People v. Mower, S094490, "renders possession and cultivation of marijuana noncriminal" when it is done for medical purposes.
Mower, who has had diabetes since he was 8 years old, testified that the 31 plants would supply him with 5 pounds of marijuana in a year and estimated his consumption at eight grams a day.
An expert witness for the defense testified that the plants would yield 4.35 pounds a year, but an expert for the prosecution countered that the plants would produce 31 to 62 pounds.
"Had the jury properly been instructed that defendant was required merely to raise a reasonable doubt about his purposes ... it might have found him not guilty," George wrote for the court. "We come to this conclusion because the jury might have found that defendant raised a reasonable doubt--to wit, whether the 31 plants would yield a harvest of only about 5 pounds for a year's supply."
Mower, who said he cannot maintain his weight without using marijuana, had been sentenced to five years' probation for growing the plants.
"I have a doctor who completely agrees with me that I need to have this," Mower said. "I have nausea all the time and wasting syndrome. And if I smoke a little, I am in the kitchen looking for something to eat and drink."
He said marijuana also puts him in a good mood and gives him stamina.
The issue in Mower's case was the number of plants he was growing. A Tuolumne County police policy says medical users may have three plants.
"They pulled out all but three of the worst plants and two weeks later took us to jail, booked me and kept my wife overnight," Mower said.
He said he now hopes to return to court and ask a judge to permit him to grow more than three plants, which are "not anywhere near enough." He said he needs to smoke about six or seven marijuana cigarettes a day and has been forced to buy from an illicit dealer.
"Those drug houses are dangerous places to be," he said.
Counties around the state have different policies about how many plants a medical user may grow. The permitted amounts range from three plants to 99. The ruling did not address the variance in policies.
"That's a bit of a disappointment," said Uelmen, Mower's lawyer, "because it is an issue of a grave statewide concern and a cause of a lot of confusion....We need a statewide standard, but that will have to wait for another day."
For users who are not advised to smoke marijuana for medical reasons, possession of less than an ounce in California is a misdemeanor punishable by a $100 fine. Cultivation is a felony.
Lael Rubin, special counsel to the Los Angeles County district attorney, said the district attorney's office does not prosecute growers unless they have at least 25 plants and there is evidence of a commercial purpose, such as scales and plastic bags. Other cases are treated as misdemeanors and referred to the city attorney, she said.
t r u t h o u t | 07.20
White House Still Selling Privatization of Social Security
Judge: U.S. Must Explain Detention
Rangel Harshly Critical of Trade Bill; "Blatant Protectionism"
Nicholas D. Kristof | Case of the Missing Anthrax
David Corn | Bush and the Billionaire: How Insider Capitalism Benefited W.
Court Protects Marijuana Use With Doctors' OK
Did George Soros know George W. Bush back in 1986 when a company he owned, Harken, bought up Spectrum 7, Bush's failed oil business? "I didn't know him," Soros said. "He was supposed to bring in the Gulf connection. But it didn't come to anything. We were buying political influence. That was it. He was not much of a businessman."
For the full story of Bush and the Billionaire, read the latest installment of David Corn's Capital Games now at:
And don't miss Jason Leopold's related editorial showing how Bush's current refusal to be open about his past business practices is in line with a long pattern of stonewalling dating back to four different incidents over the course of a decade.
Exclusively available at:
Also of related interest is John Nichols' look at why US Rep. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent who has for years been one of Congress' most consistent critics of corporate excess, is worried about the current controversy over corporate governance.
Exclusively available at:
Bush And The Billionaire: How Insider Capitalism Benefited W.
by David Corn, The Nation, July 17, 2002
It's awfully tough to be Mr. Corporate Responsibility after you have profited from the actions of an irresponsible corporation that engaged in a shady deal. George W. Bush is finding that out, for as he tries desperately to stay ahead of the assorted corporate scandals, his own past as a failed oil man has emerged as an issue for reporters, columnists, and the cable-news crowd. What's drawn the most attention is Bush's handling of his 1990 Harken stock deal. Much of that story was public during the presidential election of 2000 (and it had been a minor issue when Bush first ran for governor of Texas in 1994). But two years ago, few seemed to care that Bush had made a bundle through his association with an oil company that employed phony accounting, that he benefited by selling shares in this troubled company (in which he happened to be a director) before these problems became known publicly, and that he failed to meet the federal deadline for disclosing this stock dump (as well as several others).
Now, reporters jump on any new factoid they can unearth. A few days ago, it was reported Bush had received a "flash report" in early June 1990--sixteen days before he sold his Harken holdings--that might have indicated the company was facing a huge loss. The White House says Bush believed the company was going to lose $9 million that quarter--not $23 million, as the losses turned out to be. The latest news, courtesy of Associated Press, is that Bush signed a "lockup" letter on April 3, 1990, pledging not to sell his Harken stock for six months after a proposed public stock offering. Yet two months later, he cashed out his Harken shares for nearly $850,000--a transaction that bolstered his financial position at a crucial time, for he had to cover a loan he earlier used to purchase the Texas Ranger baseball team.
With the public offering unconsummated at that point, perhaps Bush had a loophole to slide through. But here's another question: who bought his Harken securities? Supposedly, an institutional investor that has not been identified. The White House maintains it is in no position to release the minutes of Harken board meetings from this period, but it has not explained what prevents Bush from publicly requesting that Harken disclose these records or that the institution that purchased his stock identify itself.
At the end of two weeks of Harken-ish news (and don't forget Vice President Dick Cheney's troubles, as Halliburton, the company he once chaired, faces investigation for accounting irregularities), conservative journalist William Kristol was left saying (hoping?) it was unlikely Bush would suffer political repercussions, for the recent details did not prove the Harken deal was illegal. (Remember when conservatives scoffed at an it-wasn't-illegal standard for the president?)
Details, of course, matter. But the story is already complete enough to justify a judgment, for the issue isn't merely the legality of Bush's Harken stock sale. It's Bush's record as a beneficiary of insider capitalism. Whether he sold his Harken stock due to insider knowledge or not, he was only in a position to conduct this transaction because Harken had rescued his sinking oil business. In 1986, Bush's own oil firm, Spectrum 7, was collapsing. Before it went belly-up, Harken purchased Spectrum for $2.25 million worth of Harken stock and made Bush a Harken director and consultant. That is, Harken saved Bush from ruin.
Why? It wasn't Bush's record as an oil man. He had run two oil companies into the ground. Could it have been Bush's insider credentials as the son of a vice president?
At the time, Harken was owned by global billionaire George Soros, the Harvard Management Corporation, and others. A few weeks ago, I was at the opening of the new Washington offices of the Open Society Institute, a nonprofit policy and advocacy organization founded by Soros. OSI reflects the left-of-center beliefs of Soros. In the United States and overseas, it promotes campaign finance reform, government openness, drug policy reform, abolition of the death penalty and many other issues. At the party, practically the entire liberal policy community of the capital was present. Well-wishers (and grant-seekers?) were eagerly congratulating Soros. While chatting with one of his employees, I said to her, "One day, you should ask Soros what he knew about the Harken deal and why his company took on Bush." She blanched and mumbled that she could never raise that with Soros.
Later, when I saw the billionaire almost alone, I sidled up to him. "Nice offices," I said. "But can I ask you about some ancient history?" Sure, he said, with a good-natured smile. What was the deal with Harken buying up Spectrum 7? I inquired. Did Soros know Bush back then?
"I didn't know him," Soros replied. "He was supposed to bring in the Gulf connection. But it didn't come to anything. We were buying political influence. That was it. He was not much of a businessman."
Then my time with the billionaire was up. If Soros--who disagrees with most Bush policies--is telling the truth, it means Bush only survived in the corporate jungle because of his surname and connections. Yes, that hardly comes as a surprise. But it does render Bush a purebred embodiment of the central issue of the current business scandals: those on the inside play by a different set of rules than the rest of Americans (including workers and small investors). The market works for Bush--as well as for Martha Stewart and the execs of WorldCom and Enron--in ways others can only imagine, or read about, once in a great while, in an indictment.
Had it not been for Soros and his Harken partners, what might have become of George the Younger? Because a liberal billionaire and his corporate allies sought political juice in 1986--for they knew the business world is no meritocracy--Bush's corporate career was artificially inflated. Consequently, he was able to enter politics, citing his business experience, and land in a position where he could implement policies that make Soros gag. (O. Henry would enjoy this turnabout.)
Even if Bush did not trade on inside information, he fully exploited insider capitalism. If it takes a crony to bust up crony capitalism, the nation has the right man for the job.
How The CIA Tried To Thwart Crop Circles And Colin Andrews
by Michael Irving, World-Action, July 19, 2002
Colin Andrews was the world's leading authority on Crop Patterns, right from the time this amazing phenomenon came onto the world's stage in the mid 1980s. I knew Colin personally, and I am totally sure the plan described by Colin, below, was later completely executed. Colin Andrews now wouldn't be able to tell you the truth on the ET origins of Crop Patterns even he wanted to. If he did, he'd probably have the shortest life expectancy of anyone on Earth.
I, myself, was 'taken out' by character defamation. Pat Delgado was set up, and his spirit never recovered. Colin Andrews was forced out, as described below.
'Cosmic Top Secret' - The Unseen Agenda By Jon King Editor of UFO Reality (UK) 1998/1999. New English Library Hodder & Stoughton ISBN 0 340 70822 0 Pages: 279-287 ___
File 28: Appendix 01 Part 2 Case Profile: Cosmic Top-X32 'The CIA And The Crop Circles'
[JK = Jon King, CA = Colin Andrews]
JK: So, Colin. Can you think of any other instances where government agents have become involved in the crop circles research programme?
CA: Yes, yes, I can. One instance in particular comes to mind. A man who announced himself as working for the CIA back in, I think, June or July of 1989, approached me and said he had been assigned to 'bring me into a plan', or more precisely, 'buy me into a plan'. He said this was the sole reason he'd come to England - that his assignment was to implement and execute this plan in which I was to be involved.
JK: And did he tell you what this plan was?
CA: He did, yes. He told me that certain individuals, all of whom you know, Jon -Richard Andrews, Terence Meaden, Pat Delgado, to name a few - he told me that the CIA were about to promote each major researcher in turn and then publicly debunk them. He said this was a ploy that was frequently used. He said they would give them a stage, encourage them to declare their hand and, one by one, take them out. He said that I would then be left with a 'role' that he later revealed to me.
JK: How did this man make his approach? How did he contact you?
CA: Well, when he first arrived, Pat and I were asked to go up to Pebble Mill television studios in Birmingham to take part in a programme called Daytime Live. It was a kind of live TV debate situation. They were going to air the sequence that contained the mysterious sound detected in a crop formation and recorded by the BBC - the sound that destroyed a hundred thousand pounds' worth of TV camera one sunny afternoon at a crop circle site in Wiltshire! As we came on air, they were running this particular sequence. Anyway, on the morning of the programme we were in our hotel, and we received a phone call from David Morgenstern of the BBC who said that they had received some communication from a man who claimed he had actually seen a crop circle being formed, and what questions should they ask that would allow them to know if he was telling the truth? So we gave them some questions that we thought would be helpful. When we arrived at the studios we were told that this man had been flown directly in to Birmingham and that we would not be able to meet him because they wanted it to be an absolutely first-time contact on air. As we came on air they panned to the studio audience, and this man described what he'd seen, live on TV.
JK: What exactly did he say?
CA: That he'd been out studying foxes in Scotland, and that one of the foxes on this particular night had refused to follow its regular path which, he explained, was not consistent with the usual behaviour of foxes. I don't know if this is right or not, but it sounded plausible. The fox apparently refused to go any further and instead went back the way it had come. The man then apparently heard some rustling, and then he described the way this circle formed. What he was saying is that the fox had presumably sensed something strange and that after it had scampered off he witnessed the formation of this circle. But the point is that his live TV appearance seemed to legitimize him.
JK: You think this was his way of becoming accepted on the crop circle scene?
CA: Right. From that moment on his being seen in the presence of the crop circle researchers - myself and Pat in particular - became acceptable. It was his 'way in', so to speak.
JK: So what happened next?
CA: Well, some weeks later there was a rap on my door, and when I answered it I immediately recognized the man standing there. It was the 'fox-study' man. He said that he'd come to tell me something ... he wanted me to get Pat Delgado over to my place because he wanted to talk to both of us. Pat lived about seventeen miles away. It was late at night but I phoned him and he agreed to come over. When he arrived the man spent all evening into the early hours with both of us, asking question after question. He appeared to be comparing the answers I gave against those that Pat gave. Well, perhaps not surprisingly, Pat eventually grew more and more frustrated, and said to the man: 'Look, exactly what have you come to tell us?' But the man just shook his head, as if to say: 'I'm not ready to tell you yet.' So Pat just stood up and said something like: 'Well, I've got better things to do with my time,' and headed out the door and went home. He was very angry. The guy accompanied me to the door to see Pat out (I didn't know whether he was going to leave as well - I was rather hoping he would, because I was pretty bloody angry about it, too) but as Pat left and I closed the door the man just spun round on me and said: 'Get your jacket on. I want to tell you something.' So against my better judgement I went through into the front room and told my wife I was popping out for a few minutes (I wanted to tell her so she didn't become worried). We then went out.
JK: Where did you go at that time of night?
CA: We wandered down towards Andover town centre, then back up Salisbury Road, back and forth, back and forth, questions and more questions, most of a fairly general nature, but none of the questions were about me. Rather they were to do with things like, you know: Where were the circles? Who were we in touch with? What did we know, particularly about the Russians? That kind of thing. He was asking every question you could possibly think of that an intelligence agent would probably ask. But the conversation wasn't going anywhere at all. As for myself I was furious, but I didn't quite have the courage to walk away.
JK: But presumably at some point he told you what it was he'd come to tell you?
CA: Yes. When we eventually started to walk back towards my home he stopped on the pavement and said: 'You are now one of us.' So I said: 'What do you mean by that?' He said, simply: 'CIA.' When I asked him for ID he just laughed and said: 'You really think a CIA agent would carry identification?' And then he laughed again. He told me I would never see his boss, and that he never saw his boss's boss. He said that was the way it worked. He said that from here on in I was 'one of them'. He gave me no say in the matter whatever. He never asked me if I wanted to be associated with the CIA - he just told me that from then on I was to consider myself one of them. Following this he named a lot of people - most of whom were my colleagues in crop circle research - who were to be eliminated from the research programme (he did not mean that they were to be killed or anything quite like that, but they were nevertheless to be taken off the stage, so to speak). And they have been. I have watched the process in operation for some years now - a process he openly told me about on that night. And every name he named that night has since been 'got at', and everything that he said would happen has happened.
JK: Could you give us an example?
CA: Well, for instance, the following year Terence Meaden was never out of the newspapers. Nobody else could get a look in. This is exactly what he told me would happen. But where is Terence Meaden now? Who knows what Terence Meaden's latest ideas are? Answer: no one. Because, presumably, his stage has been taken from him - he's been 'taken out'. Pat Delgado was next, and we all know what happened to him.
[Author's note: sadly, Pat Delgado was so taken in by the 'Doug And Dave' episode, and so distraught because of it, that he retired from crop circle research soon thereafter.]
JK: Do you think there was a reason why you weren't 'taken out', too? Did this man indicate why you should be singled out from the rest?
CA: He did, yes. The CIA guy told me that, so far as they were concerned, I seemed to have a particular affinity and contact with the public. 'You have a way,' is what he said. The public identify with you.'
JK: And at the time, of course, you were getting a lot of media coverage.
CA: Yes, I was. There were really only two people in those days, Pat and myself. We'd written a book and it had sold a lot of copies. We were getting a lot of TV and radio coverage. But a decision seemed to be made that night that I was the one. I mean, if you look at it logically, it could have been either one of us. So this man must have been in a position to make a decision. He must have carried some authority within his agency.
CA: So he chose me to go with this 'role' ...
JK: And what was this 'role'?
CA: Once they had taken these other researchers out of the frame, so to speak, they wanted me to do something for them. He said I was to carry on being Colin Andrews, researching the phenomenon, just doing my thing, and at some point in the near future I would be asked to do one interview which would enjoy maximum, saturated media coverage. During the course of this interview I was to make one statement, and one statement only. They wanted me to state publicly that the crop circle phenomenon was a hoax. When we got back to my home he said that he would show me how to say it and what to say. In return for this I was offered a bank account in Switzerland, in which would be enough money that I would never need to even think about money ever again. On top of this he said that they were in possession of some kind of 'instrument' which they would send to me within two weeks. He said that this instrument would allow me to identify immediately a real crop circle from a hoax - something that, presumably, could measure some or other microwave residue, or some other residual effect. He told me: 'You will then be in a privileged position, and we will put you right out there as the number one crop circle expert.' He then said that they would send me to a certain college. . . (which I know to be a government establishment, so my ears pricked up at this point). . . where you will be familiarized with coding structures. I mean, this is an absolute bloody horror story I'm hearing ... I mean, I was . . . God, no one will ever know how I felt that night. I was terrified. I even cried. I was completely and utterly bloody freaked. I even saw my daughter the next day and I broke down while I was talking to her, too. I said to her: 'Darling, I want you to forget everything I've ever told you about crop circles. I think I'm in terrible trouble. You know, I'm in bloody trouble.' Of course, she didn't know what I was talking about but I just wanted my family out of it. It took everything I knew to get over that ordeal and carry on a relatively normal life . . . (At this point Colin took a few moments to himself. It was obvious that the ordeal had affected him very deeply - indeed, that the memory was as painful as the ordeal itself. A short while later we resumed.)
CA: ... So anyway ... I was told that there would be another couple of contacts made and that these would be 'voice-only' contacts via the telephone. And sure enough they phoned me, but by this time I'd had time to think about the situation and I'd decided I was going to take his head off, you know. There was no way I was going to give them what they wanted.
JK: So what did you do?
CA: I was given a contact number at the Ministry of Defence and I rang that number and told them that I'd had this approach, but I was told they had no jurisdiction. Can you believe that? A British subject was being harassed by a member of US Intelligence and the MoD had no jurisdiction to protect me! My God! I mean, it really made me ashamed to be British. Anyway, they also told me that I was not to be concerned, that I should simply refuse to cooperate with them. They said that if I refused to go along with it there should not be any danger to me. Hah! I thought: Thanks for the invaluable assistance!'
JK: And is that what you did?
CA: In the event, yes. That's precisely what I did. I literally ignored the phone calls. And I guess, in retrospect, it might just have saved my life, the fact that I'd contacted the MoD. Perhaps they have a little more jurisdiction than they admitted to. Perhaps the fact that I contacted the MoD meant that the CIA dared not harm me in any way.
JK: So how did you know which calls to ignore? How did you know it was them?
CA: Oh, it was them, all right. The guy was on the answer machine saying: 'Pick up the phone. Pick up the phone.' But I didn't. I just let it go. Then the voice said: 'Ring me back at this number.' And then they gave a number, but I didn't ring back. A few days later they phoned again, and this time what they said was vile, and frightening. But my answer was: 'Sorry, I'm not playing.' And that was that so far as I was concerned. Like I said, perhaps they knew I'd contacted the MoD. Maybe, just maybe, this was enough for them to leave me alone.
JK: Have you had similar approaches since you moved to America?
CA: Well, nothing quite like that. But I have certainly been approached, yes. A computer analyst at the Pentagon, for example, approached me with a person called [name deleted] Pretty soon this woman, [name deleted], sought [name deleted] out and asked to see her in her office. Now this meant that my new office - which I used to share with [name deleted] - had already been infiltrated by people who we now know for sure were CIA. I have since had several approaches by both of these people.
JK: Sounds like someone was pretty desperate to gain access to your database.
CA: Absolutely. That's the only possible answer. Well, I know that's what it was all about. They told me so. For instance, [name deleted], who is an author in the US, offered that I should co-author a book with her and she went to every extreme in order to get me to agree. She wanted to work with me on the project in my office here in Connecticut, which of course would have allowed her unlimited access to my database. But again, I turned the offer down.
JK: Well, thank you for being so frank, Colin. I'm sure you've opened a lot of people's minds about the ways in which the world's intelligence agencies work and about just how seriously they view the UFO and crop circle phenomena. Thanks once again.
CA: My pleasure.
WHAT HAPPENED TO COLIN
They got to him. Colin Andrews was taken out of the Crop Pattern scene. All of us in the Wiltshire area of southern England knew that ET was making the original Crop Patterns and, at the end of the 1980s, even though Colin was being very scientifically cautious, we knew that he knew too - and we were just waiting for him to reveal to the world the immediate presence of ET in and around the Earth -everywhere. They must have found some way to get to Colin. In the mid 1990s, it was revealed that Colin had suddenly started working for a Rockefeller foundation and had been given a vast fund and/or salary. Colin was a man of principle - that is why we all liked him so much. Obviously they found a way to coerce Colin to keep quiet about the ET connection. Colin travelled to the USA a lot. Perhaps it was during one of these USA visits. Colin had to be silenced. 100s of millions of people worldwide had become interested in the 'out-of-this-world' Crop Patterns -they were not going to waste 50 years concerted effort to confuse us about the reality we live in, to let just one single man change the course of history.
World-Action British Isles: http://www.world-action.co.uk
UTNE WEB WATCH
The Best of the Alternative Web
WE NEED A GLOBAL DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE
by Wade Davis, The Toronto Globe and Mail
-- If Americans really want to know "Why they hate us," we must start looking elsewhere for clues.
CAMPAIGNING FOR A LIVING WAGE
Web site review by Rebecca Wienbar
-- When people who are willing and able to work full-time are living below the poverty line, it's time for change. In Chatham County, Georgia, that's exactly what's happening.
Web site review by Julie Madsen
-- Though billed as "Your guide to modern living and intersex relationships," the site offers more entertaining diversions than practical advice.
Links to the above articles: http://www.utne.com/webwatch
SciTech Daily Review
Want to know on what date van Gogh composed White House at Night? Or how Paul Revere managed to slip past a British warship on a moonlit night? Multidisciplinary astronomer Donald Olson tells all
China is reported to have cloned more than 30 human embryos, a feat that has made it the first country in the world to have an abundant supply of embryonic stem cells
A global array of microphones that detect low frequency rumbles could help avert nuclear war
Scientists believe they may have uncovered one reason why women live longer than men -- they are better sleepers
Who's afraid of 1984? George Orwell's nightmare vision of technology wedded to tyranny had a fatal flaw
The dot-com bubble may have burst, but multimedia art is still thriving online
Like a bad genetic copy of a bad genetic copy, the official account of the US President's Council on Bioethics' cloning report is a double distortion, says William Saletan
A NASA-commissioned survey calls for a decade's worth of bold robotic space missions, from a big-ticket mission to Europa to sending a probe to the Kuiper Belt and Pluto
Claims by a Japanese surgeon that computer games can damage the brain have been greeted with scepticism by psychologists and neuroscientists
Air Force Kills Wind Farm On Nevada Test Site
LAS VEGAS, Nevada, July 18, 2002 (ENS) - A $130 million wind farm planned for land that is part of the Nevada Test Site about 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas has been abruptly canceled by a federal agency due to military concerns.
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Nevada Operations Office has terminated the siting process for the wind farm based on objections raised by officials at the adjacent Nellis Air Force Base.
Air Force officials said the whirling turbine blades might interfere with radar signals. They said the interference would impact testing, training and tactics development on the nearby Nevada Test and Training Range.
Planes from Nellis Air Force Base fly a training mission over the Nevada Test Site (Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force)
Kathleen Carlson, manager of the Nevada Operations Office, made the final decision with review and concurrence by NNSA Administrator John Gordon.
We had clearly hoped this project could come to fruition," said Carlson. "However, we must support the mission requirements of the Air Force to train, test and develop tactics in an unfettered environment.
The wind farm was a project of MNS Wind Power, a private company composed of M&N Wind Power Inc. of La Jolla, California and Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia. It was to have been built and operated in partnership with the Nevada Test Site Development Corporation, a nonprofit corporation that works with the U.S. Department of Energy to promote the growth of science and technology in Nevada.
Nevada Test Site Development Corporation CEO and president George Ormiston declined to comment on the halt to wind farm development.
Two years in the planning, the wind farm would have covered 1,069 acres with up to 545 wind turbines, and generated up to 600 megawatts of electricity. One megawatt is enough to power 1,000 typical homes.
Siting in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act had been going on about seven months with experts looking for the windiest location in an area called Shoshone Peak.
The wind project was part of a Clinton administration plan to purchase three percent of federal energy requirements from renewable sources by 2005.
Nuclear test fired October 26, 1958 at the Nevada Test Site. After July 1962, all NTS weapons tests were underground. (Photo courtesy DOE)
More than 1,100 support buildings and laboratories are spread across the 1,350 square mile nuclear test site. Established as the Atomic Energy Commission's proving ground, the Nevada Test Site has seen more than four decades of aboveground and underground nuclear weapons testing, until the nuclear weapons test moratorium was implemented in 1992.
Subcritical nuclear weapons tests, which do not produce an atomic chain reaction, are still conducted there.
Now under the direction of the Department of Energy, the test site is used for high explosive experiments, hazardous chemical spill testing, emergency response training, conventional weapons testing, and waste management and environmental technology studies.
A 100,000 square foot nuclear explosive Device Assembly Facility originally built to consolidate all U.S. nuclear explosive assembly functions, may now be used for disassembly of nuclear weapons retired from the U.S. stockpile.
The Energy Department announced Wednesday that it will award $300,000 to the Nevada Test Site Development Corporation (NTSDC). This block grant is earmarked for "administrative support for rural economic development, renewable energy, aerospace activities, asset management and business incubation," the DOE said.
"The Energy Department is a good neighbor to the communities surrounding our sites," Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said. "Working with the NTSDC and other community reuse rganizations around the country, the department has retained, expanded or created over 25,000 jobs for workers affected by restructuring efforts at DOE sites."
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE
REGISTRY TO TRACK PEOPLE EXPOSED TO WTC COLLAPSE
NEW YORK, New York, July 18, 2002 (ENS) - State and federal agencies are creating a registry of people who may have been exposed to the World Trade Center site, either from working, living, or cleaning up in the area affected by the disaster caused by the terrorist strikes of September 11.
AIR FORCE KILLS WINDFARM ON NEVADA TEST SITE
LAS VEGAS, Nevada, July 18, 2002 (ENS) - A $130 million windfarm planned for land that is part of the Nevada Test Site about 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas has been abruptly canceled by a federal agency due to military concerns.
WEST NILE VIRUS SPREADS WESTWARD INTO 26 STATES
ITHACA, New York, July 18, 2002 (ENS) - This year, the West Nile virus has been discovered over a much wider area and than in previous years, and it has spread farther west, according to a risk analysis issued today by Cornell University. The virus, which made its first U.S. appearance on Long Island in 1999, is now found in 26 states and three Canadian provinces. Last year the virus was confined to eight states.
WORLD SUMMIT ATMOSPHERE THAWS AT FRIENDS MEETING
NEW YORK, New York, July 18, 2002 (ENS) - Countries edged closer toward agreement on the toughest issues blocking consensus the outcome of next month's World Summit on Sustainable Development. The talks concluded late last night with indications that convergence is near on many of the most contentious issues - trade and finance, and the setting of new targets and timetables for progress in poverty alleviation and environmental protection.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge.
It is the preview of life's coming attractions."
Michelle Chihara, AlterNet
Married priests are an organized, vocal and dedicated group. Though at the margins of Catholic life in the U.S., they may represent the Church's best hope for the future.
YOUR NEIGHBOR IS WATCHING
Peter Y. Sussman, AlterNet
The government plans to recruit millions of informers to snoop on fellow citizens. Operation Snitch is coming to a neighborhood near you.
DOS AND DON'TS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
Ana Marie Cox, In These Times
More women are winning elections but that doesn't mean it's easy to be a female candidate.
FACTORY FARMS FANCY SECRECY
Bill Berkowitz, WorkingForChange.com
Recent farm bills in Illinois and Missouri show the agribusiness industry throwing up fences to keep the truth from getting out.
*In EnviroHealth: http://www.alternet.org/?IssueAreaID=18
THE NEW WAR ON FREEDOM
Gore Vidal, AlterNet
With the steady erosion of our basic rights, we're in danger of becoming a seedy imperial state whose citizens are kept in line by SWAT teams.
Sharon Lerner, Village Voice
With the release of the Women's Health Initiative report on the dangers of hormone replacement therapy, the medical establishment's most marginalized critics are finally proven right.
THE ECONOMIC HANGOVER
David Turnley, AlterNet
President Bush tells Americans that what the economy needs is two aspirins and lots of fluids. It's not a crisis -- just a giant hangover.
Liza Featherstone, author of the new book "Students Against Sweatshops," discusses the current state of youth activism on AlterNet's sister site, WireTap.
ARGENTINES PROTEST U.S. BANKS
Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, Pacific News Service Since December's financial collapse, the lifetime savings of millions of Argentines have been frozen under government-enforced banking curbs.
*In Global Affairs: http://www.alternet.org/?IssueAreaID=31
WEDDING BELLS AND WELFARE BUCKS
Alana Kumbier, HipMama.com
Bush's plan to fund marriage initiative and abstinence-only education programs with welfare dollars is his administration's idea of the perfect wedding.
All Eyes on the Media
Citizen spies, Iraq invasion plans, and fear of an HIV-positive Muppet. Top reporters rate the week's coverage on Friday's Working Assets Radio with Laura Flanders.
Listen online from 10-11amPT/1-2pmET, or call in: 866-798-TALK.
Planet Ark World Environment News
US, Alaska endorse new leases for Alaska pipeline - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16936/story.htm
Jury clears Exxon Mobil of additional Valdez costs - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16930/story.htm
States criticize Bush plan to fight global warming - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16931/story.htm
LA chemical spill closes mall, highway - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16932/story.htm
US Northeast utilities urge coservation during heat - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16942/story.htm
NY utility puts conservation message on pizza boxes - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16939/story.htm
API confident bill will allow Alaska drilling - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16945/story.htm
Envoys make headway as Johannesburg summit nears - UNITED NATIONS http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16937/story.htm
UK study finds genes from GM crops in human gut - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16941/story.htm
Mexico to improve cash offer for airport project land - MEXICO http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16935/story.htm
Japan govt, car,energy firms in fuel cell projects - JAPAN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16933/story.htm
Hormone scare hurts Europe farmers, feed makers - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16938/story.htm
Up to 60 missing in Ecuador landslide - ECUADOR http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16943/story.htm
Canadian firm says set to slash solar-power costs - CANADA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16934/story.htm
Orphaned whale strays from Canada pod, seeks boats - CANADA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16944/story.htm
New EU green soft-touch opens door for PVC deal - BELGIUM http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16940/story.htm
Record numbers of humpback whales off Australia - AUSTRALIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16929/story.htm
July 18, 2002
Special Counsel Needed to Investigate Army Secretary Thomas White's Role in California Energy Scams and Possible Insider Trading
Statement by Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook
In testimony today before the Senate Commerce Committee, Army Secretary Thomas White stated that he has not been contacted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) about his possible involvement in the manipulation of California's deregulated energy market while he headed Enron Energy Services. He also confirmed that he has not been contacted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about whether he profited from the sale of Enron stock because of insider information.
Given these statements by Mr. White, it does not appear that these regulatory agencies, both headed by appointees of President Bush, are serious about determining whether the Army secretary committed any wrongdoing during his tenure at Enron. We, as many others, are concerned about the diligence with which these agencies are pursuing those corporate leaders whose actions have been called into question during the evolving corporate crime wave.
If the SEC launches an insider trading investigation of Martha Stewart based on the fact that she made one or two phone calls to an insider at ImClone and then sold her 4,000 shares of stock, it seems obvious that if Mr. White had 77 conversations with Enron employees and sold $12 million in stock prior to the company's collapse, someone should look into it.
In addition, documents have been made public that raise serious questions about whether Enron Energy Services, the Enron unit headed by White between 1998 and 2001, was involved in schemes, with nicknames such as "Fat Boy" and "Get Shorty," to manipulate California's deregulated energy markets during an electricity crisis that cost consumers and the state treasury billions of dollars and drove the state's largest electricity utility into bankruptcy. FERC records show that despite White's testimony that his Enron division was a retail seller of electricity, Enron Energy Services was registered as a wholesale energy trader and did conduct trades with other Enron units that served to drive up prices.
President Bush should call for, and Attorney General John Ashcroft should appoint, a special counsel to investigate whether White participated in or knew about possibly illegal market manipulation and whether he benefited from stock sales based on insider knowledge or committed any other crimes.
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
For more information, please visit: http://www.Citizen.org
July 18, 2002
Campaign to Deregulate Set the Stage for Corporate Scandals
Crime Wave in Boardrooms Springs From Weak Oversight, Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook Tells Lawmakers
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The recent wave of corporate scandals results directly from a decades-long campaign waged by Corporate America to diminish or eliminate executive accountability and dismantle vital safeguards for consumers, workers and pensioners, Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook told lawmakers today.
The Bush administration and Congress are talking tough about cleaning up corporate crime, but unless the deregulatory drive is stopped, meaningful reforms are made and members of the administration - most notably Army Secretary Thomas White - are held accountable for their actions in the corporate world, those words will ring hollow, Claybrook said.
"To put an end to the crime wave, Congress and the White House must stand up to the corporate lobbyists and start legislating and governing on behalf of the American people," Claybrook said. "We need strong regulation of corporations - standards that will prevent wrongdoing and punish executives who violate the public trust."
The cascade of corporate criminal accounting scandals and its negative impact on Wall Street are forcing members of Congress for the first time in decades to pass strong financial accounting legislation long blocked by the industry, Claybrook said.
During testimony before the subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Foreign Commerce and Tourism of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Claybrook renewed her call for the resignation of White, whom she called a "poster boy for corporate abuse." White headed an Enron Corp. subsidiary that manipulated energy markets and prices during the California energy crisis and used questionable accounting methods to inflate profits. He also has been late in reporting stock sales to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as required by law, was slow to divest his Enron holdings, and flew on an Army jet at taxpayer expense to sign papers on the sale of his Colorado estate.
Claybrook praised the Sarbanes accounting reform bill, passed by the Senate on July 15 but said it should be stronger. While Public Citizen supports the bill and many of its reforms, it still allows many consulting services to be performed by companies in charge of audits, at the very least creating conflicts of interest for accountants.
Claybrook released a new Public Citizen analysis of consulting fees paid by the top 20 companies in the United States and another 29 companies that are embroiled in accounting scandals. The analysis found that there was a close parallel between these two groups in terms of the percentage of total accounting fees that went to non-audit consulting. In 2001, the top 20 group paid a total of $880 million to accounting firms, and of that, $636 million, or 72 percent, went for consulting services rather than auditing. The 29 companies in trouble paid a total of $378 million in fees - 75 percent of which went for non-audit services. Arthur Levitt, former head of the SEC, sought to end this conflict in the 1990s, but amid the deregulatory climate and a hailstorm of lobbying and campaign contributions by accounting firms, his proposal was quashed.
"The weak financial regulatory system has failed the American people," Claybrook said. "But we have seen politicians of both parties rush to assuage their campaign contributors by whittling away vital protections at the behest of the powerful corporate entities that fill their campaign coffers."
Many of the scandals now coming to light would not have occurred without the poor enforcement of some existing regulations, the sharp curtailment of others and the stymieing of new regulations by well-funded corporate lobbying campaigns. Not nearly enough is being done to slow the deregulatory drive, Claybrook said. For example:
· Recently approved Senate energy legislation would repeal the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA), currently the most important protection the federal government provides for electricity consumers. The act restricts utility companies from investing ratepayers' money in areas that do not contribute directly to the provision of reliable, affordable electricity. Had the act not been punched with loopholes at the encouragement of Enron, undermined by a 1992 deregulation law and poorly enforced by the SEC, Enron's fraud against shareholders and consumers could not have occurred.
· The Sarbanes bill doesn't address one of the major underlying incentives for crooked executives to cook the books - the practice of granting stock options. Current laws do not require that these be counted as expenses on profit and loss statements, resulting in vast amounts being distributed to executives, who then have enormous incentives to create short-term increases in stock prices so they can cash out the options before prices plummet.
· Victims of securities fraud lost a vital tool in the 1990s with the gutting of their rights under liability laws. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, passed after the Republican takeover of Congress in 1995, gave protection to accounting firms that approved false earning statements and allowed immunity from private lawsuits for accountants that failed to spot or disclose fraud. Laws passed in 1996 and 1998 severely limited the possibility of recovery by defrauded investors and forced class actions to be tried in federal courts under weakened federal laws.
Claybrook made specific recommendations to improve investor recovery for fraud, limit corporate executives' abuses of stock options and increase their accountability, increase auditor responsibility, prevent pension abuses so that employees will not lose their life savings because of executive corruption, and increase the staffing and funding of the SEC, while ensuring the transparency of the agency's actions.
A copy of the testimony is available on the Web at:
The analysis of fees paid for non-auditing services 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
PRESS RELEASE: Blame Misplaced for 9/11
MEDIA BYPASS-The Uncensored National News!
BLAME MISPLACED FOR 9/11
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, July 18, 2002
Yesterday, the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism issued a report placing much of the blame for the devastating September 11 attacks on the shoulders of the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the National Security Agency.
Boiling down the 140-page report, the committee - headed by Rep. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) -- suggested that the C.I.A. failed to predict 9/11 accurately because it does not have enough spies in its network.
The F.B.I. failed because it is ". . .focused more on investigating crimes than preventing them." Both, the committee urged, need more organization and more technological capabilities to infiltrate and monitor terrorist networks. And, of course, they need more money.
We have a different opinion. We do not believe that more money, more spies--and, we hasten to add, the loss of more Americans' freedoms -is the answer. We suggest that the same Congress that is now embarking on all these (and related) pointless endeavors instead consider the REAL reasons why the terrible events of 9/11 were made possible.
At the top of the list is our nation's suicidal immigration policy. In the name of cheap votes for Democrats, cheap labor for Republicans and political correctness for all, our nation's borders have become a laughing stock. Most of those tagged for the dastardly deeds of 9/11 should never have been allowed in the U.S.; let alone allowed to learn how to pilot (and hijack) a plane right here in the good old U.S. of A.
What do our "leaders" have to say about this? The U.S. House recently passed yet another amnesty for illegal aliens. The agencies charged with securing our borders are about to get a lot more money, to make sure the floods of humanity are "processed" in a more orderly fashion. In the process, many more Mohammad Atta's will join those already here planning the next attacks.
Folks, it's our view that--in trying to solve a problem--you don't attack the symptoms. All the spies and money in the world won't stop future terrorist attacks, as long as this nation remains a willing receptacle for unlimited immigration. Until the Congress addresses this in a substantive rather than cosmetic way, all that is being accomplished is that America is being transformed into a police state, ostensibly to keep us "safe."
Is that want you want?
For more information on Media Bypass magazine, visit
To schedule an interview with the Editor, call Beth at (800) 4BYPASS.
Congress damns US intelligence agencies
Urging Americans To Snitch On Each Other
by Marjorie Cohn, July 18, 2002
'Watch out for well-meaning men of zeal!" These words penned 74 years ago by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis are no less relevant today.
Brandeis was dissenting from a ruling that exempted wiretapping from the protections of the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court later reversed its decision and held that the government must follow the Fourth Amendment when it electronically seizes our conversations.
But under the guise of the "war on terror," the zealous men in Washington have launched a major new assault on our constitutional rights. The most recent manifestation of this dangerous zeal is the new TIPS program.
Under the Terrorism Information and Prevention System, the Department of Justice seeks to recruit millions of Americans to spy on each other. Beginning in August, volunteers, including letter carriers, utility employees, truck drivers and train conductors, will be asked to report "suspicious activity" to the government.
Initiated in the nation's 10 largest cities, the Justice Department hopes to recruit 1 million informants for a total population of almost 24 million. Informant reports will then enter databases from which the government can create dossiers on its citizens.
TIPS follows a consistent and steady pattern by Attorney General John Ashcroft and the FBI to intimidate Americans and emasculate their civil liberties. Since the horrific attacks on Sept. 11, Ashcroft has rammed the USA PATRIOT Act through a timid Congress, afraid to be accused of being unpatriotic in this time of xenophobic flag-waiving.
The USA PATRIOT Act significantly lowers the standards for surveillance of telephone and computer communications. It authorizes the government to spy on us more easily through its aptly named Carnivore surveillance, which intercepts all communications flowing through an Internet service provider's network, not just those who are targeted.
The FBI is developing another new Internet spying software called "Magic Lantern," which will surreptitiously enter an individual's computer, record every key stroke and transmit that data back to the G-men and G-women, in violation of the federal wiretapping statute and the Fourth Amendment.
Ashcroft has inaugurated a new program of COINTELPRO-style surveillance activities, which were banned by Congress in the 1970s after civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. were targeted.
Ashcroft has also urged federal agencies to resist Freedom of Information Act requests. The FOIA, enacted in the wake of the Watergate scandal, is one of our most significant democratic reforms. It permits citizens to hold the government accountable by allowing them to request, receive and publicize public records.
And Ashcroft has ordered his agents to eavesdrop on conversations between attorneys and their clients, defying the oldest and one of the most important privileges in our society.
Operation TIPS not only helps the government spy on us more effectively. It will encourage neighbors to snitch on neighbors and won't distinguish between real and fabricated tips. Anyone with a grudge or vendetta against another can provide false information to the government, which will then enter the national database.
Even The Washington Post, in a recent editorial, was alarmed by the prospect of TIPS: "Americans should not be subjecting themselves to law enforcement scrutiny merely by having cable lines installed, mail delivered or meters read."
The government seeks to use private citizens to circumvent the dictates of the Fourth Amendment. As the Post editorial says, "Police cannot routinely enter people's houses without either permission or a warrant. They should not be using utility workers to conduct surveillance they could not lawfully conduct themselves."
It is essential that people feel safe and secure in these perilous times. But we must be vigilant to safeguard the liberties and freedoms that under gird a democracy. If we uncritically succumb to the government's frightening surveillance campaign, we will find ourselves on the brink of a totalitarian dictatorship.
Cohn, an associate professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, is on the executive committee of the National Lawyers Guild.
t r u t h o u t
Major Poll: Bush-Business Cause Jitters
Bush Sends Pitt to Prosecute His Former Clients
Postal Service Won't Join TIPS Program
Army Secretary Defends Enron Record
Arianna Huffington | Crime And (Very Little) Punishment
FERC Orders Enron Pipeline to Pay Refunds in California
Libertarians blast new Bush program to create network of citizen informers
WASHINGTON, DC -- A new government program that seeks to recruit millions of mail carriers, utility workers and others with access to private homes as citizen-informants should be terminated immediately, Libertarians say..
"Big Brother is watching you -- and he just might be your cable guy," said Steve Dasbach, Libertarian Party executive director. "This program will undermine the American traditions of freedom and privacy, and make us more like the nations that we abhor."
A pilot program for TIPS -- the Terrorism Information and Prevention System -- is scheduled to start next month in 10 cities. Its goal: Recruiting 1 million people with access to Americans' homes, such as letter carriers and utility workers, to report "suspicious, and potentially terrorist-related activity."
The network of citizen-informers is a component of President Bush's volunteer Citizens Corps program, which advises Americans on how to "keep their neighborhoods safe."
But the problem with TIPS is that it goes far beyond any reasonable steps to prevent terrorism and smacks of a police state, said Dasbach..
"By deputizing utility workers, delivery drivers and other private employees as de facto government agents, the government has created a way to search your home without a warrant," Dasbach said. "The only reason the government wants to recruit private citizen-spies is that they can do things the government can't do legally, such as monitor your private behavior with absolutely no suspicion that you've done anything wrong..
"These were standard tactics for the Stasi -- the East German secret police -- but they should be repugnant to every American."
When TIPS is fully operational, the United States would have a higher percentage of government informers than the former communist East Germany, according to an analysis by investigative journalist Ritt Goldstein..
"Assuming the pilot program is initiated in the 10 largest cities, about one out of 24 Americans -- or 4 percent of the population --would become citizen-spies," Dasbach noted. "It's time to ask all Americans: Should you trust a government that doesn't trust you?"
Equally disturbing, Dasbach noted, is that the TIPS program mandates that all data collected by the citizen-informants be entered into a Justice Department database and made available to state and local law enforcement agencies.
"It's frightening to think that your plumber, UPS driver or handyman might have the power to label you "suspicious" and insert your name into a government database without your knowledge," Dasbach said..
"Informant reports are also notoriously inaccurate. A 1992 report by Harvard University's Project on Justice found that many informants routinely embellish the truth or even fabricate reports..
"Thanks to the TIPS program, you could wind up having to explain your private behavior to an FBI agent simply because the cable guy noticed something "suspicious" or a neighbor doesn't like you. Aren't those the kinds of tactics employed by the nations that we're fighting in the War on Terrorism?
"Here's a TIP for Mr. Bush: Abolish this program immediately. The U.S. government has no business spying on its own citizens."
Source: The Libertarian Party http://www.lp.org/
Shrimp, those yummy (so we hear) pink crustaceans, gave us a whole new synonym for small things -- but in much of the world's coastal areas, the little critters are causing big problems. Ever since the World Bank underwrote the first Southeast Asian shrimp farm a generation ago, almost every country with a warm coastline has been hit by the fever for pink gold. But the industry has turned out to be a questionable investment and an almost unrelieved environmental nightmare: Shrimp farms have destroyed millions of acres of coastal cactus and mangrove forests, and they've turned many of the world's pristine estuaries into shrimp toilets. In Mexico, where small communities often welcome shrimp farms into the neighborhood, the number of shrimp producers nearly doubled between 1993 and 1998. But at what price? Writer Michelle Nijhuis looks for the answers, only on the Grist Magazine website.
only in Grist: Prawn but not forgotten -- on the Mexican coast, little shrimp are causing big trouble -- in our Main Dish section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/maindish/nijhuis071802.asp?source=daily>
DREDGERS, DREDGE THYSELF!
In a sort of bureaucratic version of the ancient dictum, "Physician, heal thyself!", the troubled U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced a plan to cleanse itself from within. Its leaders, including Civil Works Director Maj. Gen. Robert Griffin, have unveiled a three-tiered program to improve the Corps' economic and environmental planning by enhancing internal training, using nationally accepted economic models, and creating regional teams of specialists to work on complex projects. In recent months, the Corps has come under fire for sloppy, misleading, and self-serving economic analyses of its projects; its critics have included such heavy hitters as the General Accounting Office, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the White House Office of Management and Budget, and internal Pentagon investigators. Not to mention environmentalists, who also question the current overhaul, fearing the Corps is just trying to look busy so that lawmakers don't take reform of the institution into their own hands.
straight to the source: Washington Post, Michael Grunwald, 18 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=270>
HOT OFF THE PRESSES
It's time for Grist Magazine's monthly update on climate affairs. Let's start with the bad stuff: Coral bleaching is occurring so rapidly it might be irreversible, important ice shelves are disintegrating into the sea, and disease vectors are going ga-ga in a wide range of species. Meanwhile, on the political front, the Bush administration rushed to distance itself from a middle-of-the-road report written by its own agencies that (gasp!) acknowledged the existence and human roots of climate change. In better news, though, the entire European Union and Japan have now ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, bringing to 80-plus the number of nations that have signed on. For more up-to-the-nanosecond news on the politics and science of everybody's favorite global environmental crisis, check out "This Just In," only on the Grist Magazine website.
only in Grist: This just in -- the latest news from the climate front -- in our Heat Beat section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/heatbeat/thisjustin071802.asp?source=daily>
only in Grist: How's the weather? -- taking the Earth's temperature -- in our Heat Beat section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/heatbeat/weather071802.asp?source=daily>
A CARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE
It's like a question some curious Grist reader might ask of Umbra, green guru extraordinaire: When your printer runs out of ink, what should you do with the empty cartridge? Turns out, plenty of schools and nonprofit organizations are collecting cartridges for recycling, motivated as much by good deals as good citizenship. Companies known as remanufacturers overhaul and refill inkjet and laser cartridges, then sell them at lower rates than the originals. One organization behind the recycling trend, the Funding Factory, says it has signed up 22,000 institutions, most of them schools, to send in empty ink cartridges (and also, more recently, cell phones). The institutions earn points for how many items they supply, and can redeem the points for cash, computers, or other school supplies. Overall, the Funding Factory program has given schools about $3 million in cash and equipment to date, and expects the number to rise to as much as $5 million by the end of the year. Other programs use similar setups to donate food to impoverished people.
straight to the source: New York Times, David F. Gallagher, 18 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=271>
only in Grist: Ask Umbra, green guru, your environmental question of the day <http://www.gristmagazine.com/ask/email_umbra.asp?source=daily>
HILL'S TREE BLUES
Just as some butterfly species head south every year, so apparently did Julia Butterfly Hill, the environmental activist who became an international cause celebre after she lived in a redwood tree in California for two years to protest planned logging in the area. Most butterflies don't wind up in prison, but that's precisely where the environmental activist is; Hill and seven others were jailed in Ecuador earlier this week for protesting a proposed oil pipeline that would cut through a virgin Andean cloud forest. The demonstrators were gathered outside of Occidental Petroleum, a U.S. oil company that is part of the consortium planning the 300-mile pipeline from the Amazon Basin to the Pacific Coast port city of Esmeraldas. About 95 miles of the pipeline would slice through Ecuador's Mindo-Nambillo Reserve, home to more than 450 bird species, 46 of them endangered. Hill underwent a four-hour deportation hearing yesterday, and a decision on her case is expected soon.
straight to the source: San Francisco Chronicle, Glen Martin, 18 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=272>
Independent, Commercial-free Public Affairs Reporting and Commentary
HARKEN HARBINGERS, DEMOCRATS IN NAME ONLY...
...And Other Observations From Our Roving Commentator
Sen. Joe Lieberman and the DLC's Al From insist on "painting more gloss over this mess even as the escalating scandals steadily sandblast it off.... but I'm with ex-Republican Kevin Phillips: 'Wise progressives attack privileges, malefactors, elites and corruption.'"
Dispatch: Santa Monica
FIGHTING FOR A LIVING WAGE
Workers And Taxpayers Versus Low-Wage Employers
by Vivian Rothstein and Madeline Janis-Aparicio
Voters in this wealthy seaside town will decide in November: Should taxpayers underwrite the creation of jobs that pay poverty level wages?
THE GREENS VERSUS WELLSTONE...
...Or, Handing The Senate Back To Trent Lott
by Steve Cobble
"My plea to the Minnesota Greens: Take a breath, put aside your anger at the Democrats, and act in your own best interest as well as the nation's. Reconsider your challenge to Senator Wellstone."
ASSESSING THE SENATE'S ACCOUNTING REFORMS
An Interview With Brett Trueman Of The Center for Financial Reporting
by Steven Rosenfeld
Whether or not the Senate's accounting reforms bring real change, says one observer, "companies already realize that investors are discounting stock prices of those firms whose accounting is murky."
PUBLIC OPINION WATCH
by Ruy Teixeira for the Century Foundation (www.TCF.org)
The public is getting downright surly about corporate wrongdoing, but how will it play out politically?
News - Killing the Messenger - An academic disagreement over a research team's report has exploded into a proxy fight over the benefits of biotechnology.
Cartoon - Full Disclosure - The Department of Corporateland Security: Keeping American politicians safe.
Updates - 7UP No Longer Laughing, Breaking Up the Bakassi Boys, Easing Access to Bush's Texas Records
Daily Briefing - Jakarta on Trial; Exporting Colombia's War; 'Fish Laundering' in the Pacific; Survivor: The White House; Corporate Reform Stillborn?; Why the EPA Is AWOL
Open Season On Open Space - The Bush administration has made energy development on public lands its priority number one. The wild West will never be the same.
SciTech Daily Review
The Bush administration is allowing the US Navy to use a powerful low-frequency sonar that can detect enemy submarines but which environmentalists fear will harm whales, dolphins and other marine mammals
Samples of fire moss that travel onboard the space shuttle do something odd: they spiral. Scientists say it's a clue to the fundamental inner workings of plant cells
It slices! It dices!: In the last decade, the cylindrical molecule of carbon known as a nanotube has become a do-all, wonder substance
Villagers in India who have never even seen a computer are getting their first taste of the internet thanks to an innovative Computer on Wheels project
Hormone replacement therapycan do more harm than good, according to a major US study -- and the voices of long-marginalized critics of the menopause industry are finally being heard ... [more] But many doctors say that for women to turn their backs on hormone replacement therapy would be a gross overreaction
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE
UN PROBES URGENT PALESTINIAN ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
JERUSALEM, Israel, July 17, 2002 (ENS) - The environmental needs of the Occupied Palestinian Territories will be investigated by a United Nations team headed by the same person who headed the Balkans Task Force after the Kosovo conflict.
NAVY OKd FOR SONAR BLASTS THAT COULD HARM WHALES
WASHINGTON, DC, July 17, 2002 (ENS) - The U.S. Navy has been given permission to "harass marine mammals" in the course of operating low frequency sonar used to detect submarines while remaining outside the range of their onboard weapons. The Navy has been approved to deploy two ships that use the sonar system in spite of continuing controversy over whether the loud signals it emits cause injury to whales, dolphins and seals.
EUROPE: VOLUNTARY AGREEMENTS SUPPLANT LEGISLATION
BRUSSELS, Belgium, July 17, 2002 (ENS) - The European Commission today proposed comprehensive rules for drawing up voluntary agreements with industry sectors across the European Union to achieve environmental goals without recourse to legislation.
WESTERN GOVERNORS SEEK FUNDS FOR FIRE MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, DC, July 17, 2002 (ENS) - The governors of Western states swept by wildfires this season are urging Congress to allocate emergency supplemental funding to the Forest Service and Department of the Interior for wildland fire management.
The following article was sent to you from CorpWatch:
Things DON'T go better with Coke, unless death is better?
No Water? Drink Coke!
On 22 April, 2002, more than 2000 irate protestors, consisting mostly of indigenous people and dalits (oppressed castes), gathered at the gates of the Hindustan Coca Cola factory in Plachimada, Palghat district, Kerala. Residents from the villages surrounding Cokes greenfield soft-drink bottling factory here say that Cokes indiscriminate mining of groundwater has dried up many wells, and contaminated the remainder.
Here is a calm so deep, grasses cease waving... wonderful how completely everything in wild nature fits in to us, as if truly part and parents of us. The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past us, but through us, thrilling tingling vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies making them glide and sing.
Planet ArkWorld Environment News
Vietnam seeks to contain oil spill from ship - VIETNAM http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16909/story.htm
Group says US Navy sonar is threat to whales - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16910/story.htm
US utility pollution cases going forward - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16911/story.htm
US extends mining pollution comment period to Oct - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16912/story.htm
Earth Summit may not yield concrete plan - US aide - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16920/story.htm
State officials want Bush to act on global warming - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16918/story.htm
Congress, Bush differ on funding to fight fires - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16919/story.htm
Emirates to launch global data bank on environment - UAE http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16915/story.htm
Ireland says "serious errors" led to EU food scare - REPUBLIC OF IRELAND http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16921/story.htm
Cold snap killing Peru's llamas, alpacas - PERU http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16924/story.htm
Malaysia launches coral reef conservation project - MALAYSIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16914/story.htm
Japan approves biotec corn, soy varieties for food - JAPAN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16917/story.htm
Landslide buries cars in Ecuador - ECUADOR http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16923/story.htm
Belgium calls for more info on US plutonium request - BELGIUM http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16913/story.htm
Coal rights awarded in Australia's Latrobe Valley - AUSTRALIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16922/story.htm
Australia live trade seen unscathed by export bans - AUSTRALIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16916/story.htm
July 17, 2002
Cadiz Proposal Has Serious Flaws, Groups Tell Water District
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. - The Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) should oppose the proposed Cadiz water storage project because its financing is questionable, some key project facts have been overstated and the groundwater's ownership is in question, representatives of Public Citizen told the MWDOC board today.
Faramarz Nabavi and John Earl, field representatives for Public Citizen, a nonprofit organization that fights for government and corporate accountability, appeared before the MWDOC board. They spoke in opposition to the proposed Mojave Desert project, which would subsidize a financially troubled corporation, harm the desert environment and potentially cause Southern California water rates to soar.
Under pressure to secure water resources for its growing 17 million customer base, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) has given preliminary approval to a plan that would allow Cadiz, Inc. to sell water stored in an aquifer underlying the ecologically fragile Mojave Desert. The proposal calls for construction of a $150 million, 35-mile pipeline to transport Colorado River water to the Cadiz aquifer for storage and allows the resale of the water by Cadiz to Southern California residents, including those in Orange County, for a profit. The tentative plan would also permit Cadiz to extract native groundwater to sell, although there is great uncertainty about how much groundwater can be drawn out without permanently depleting the aquifer.
Cadiz has given more than $275,000 in campaign contributions to Gov. Gray Davis since 1998, and the company's CEO, Keith Brackpool, has become one of the governor's most trusted advisors on water policy. Now Brackpool is aiming to cash in on his connections for profit, Earl said. Despite the ravished financial condition of the company and the potential financial burden the deal would create for taxpayers and ratepayers, the project is a front-runner at the MWD. There is speculation that Brackpool's significant political connections account for this.
According to Public Citizen, the MWDOC should oppose the Cadiz project for at least three reasons:
1. The project's financing is highly questionable. Cadiz, Inc. has never made a profit and is in serious financial trouble, casting doubts on its ability to live up to its proposed agreement with MWD. Between 1993 and 2001, Cadiz posted more than $105 million in losses, and as of the end of last year was $141.5 million in debt to creditors. In the past several weeks, a cash infusion by a Saudi corporation fell through, leaving Cadiz without badly needed equity and causing stock value to plummet. Currently, Cadiz would be unable to pay its fair share of $150 million in infrastructure costs of the project, leaving ratepayers to pick up the entire tab if it goes through.
2. The capacity and replenishment rates for the aquifer's native groundwater have been overstated. Cadiz claims that the aquifer underneath its Mojave Desert property can yield and replenish up to 30,000 acre-feet per year, but scientists for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) put the amount at about 3,000 acre-feet per year. The economics of the Cadiz project cannot be effectively evaluated until a credible estimate of the native groundwater yield is available. According to the USGS recharge projections, the project does not make economic sense. Its costs will be significantly higher than projected and will create a burden for the MWD's customers.
3. The ownership of the native groundwater is in question. Although the aquifer lies directly beneath Cadiz property, it feeds from other underground water sources in the Fenner Valley, making ownership difficult to determine and adding to the uncertainty about actual availability of native groundwater.
This project is the first private storage project of any size for the MWD. This is an arena fraught with risks for ratepayers and the general public, Earl and Nabavi said. Cadiz proponents tout the project as a way to ensure an adequate water supply in dry years, but environmental and consumer experts see it as another special interest boondoggle that brings up recent nightmares such as electricity deregulation and the Oracle scandal. In short, approval of Cadiz would set a dangerous precedent that would imperil the desert environment, rob consumers' pocket books and take away the public's control of its water resources, Public Citizen maintains.
Public Citizen is a national nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. with offices in Oakland, Calif.
For more information, please visit http://www.citizen.org
t r u t h o u t
Jennifer Van Bergen | Special Agent John Walker Lindh
House Panel Mulls Bush Security Plan
Bush Signed Stock 'Lockup' Letter
Bernard Weiner | Inside Bush's Diary: The Sucking Sound of Quicksand
Energy Companies Exploited California Market, GAO Says
For Cheney, Tarnish From Halliburton
Poll Suggests Concern About Economy Chipping Away at Bush's Support
US evangelicals financing settlements in Israel
Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza have been among the most significant benficiaries of the Christian support. "We've seen financial support...to the settlements double the past 21 months," said Sondra oster Baras, an Orthodox Jew and director of the Israel office of the Colorado-based Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, which runs an "Adopt-a-Settlement Program."
To read the entire feature article, go to:
"Welfare Reform that Doesn't Punish the Poor"
by Martina Gillis
Welfare is an income-support program designed to help if you've lost your job or are otherwise down on your luck, and you and your children have run through all of your savings and have little money left to pay the rent or feed yourselves.
To read the entire essay, go to:
"Welfare Proposals Bad for Business"
By A. Lee Blitch, Theresa Feeley, and Andy Van Kleunen
Why is this proposal bad for business? Employers want to hire welfare recipients who are prepared to go to work and have the skills to stay and succeed on the job. Employers lose money and confidence if they hire someone off the welfare rolls who does not possess the necessary job skills. If the public and nonprofit systems are no longer able to provide welfare recipients with basic education or skills training, employers will cease to tap into this important labor pool.
To read the entire essay, go to:
A poll reflecting the US public's impressions of corporate business shows:
*25% say most corporate executives are honest.
*57% say white collar crime occurs very often in US business.
*79% say questionable accounting practices are widespread.
*6% say they have a lot of confidence in business.
*71% say the federal gov't should do more to regulate accounting practices
*58% say big business has too much influence on the Bush administration
Source: CBS New Poll, July, 2002
Robbery With A Fountain Pen
by Jim Wallis
Every day brings new reports of more corporations that have been "cooking" their books - using accounting tricks to mask expenses, hide losses, and inflate profits. When investigators finally step in, thousands of people are left jobless or without their retirement funds, while top executives walk away with millions.
The recent list includes Adelphia Communications, Xerox, WorldCom, and, of course, the continuing saga of Enron. It's been reported that in 2001 alone, 270 corporations "restated" the numbers in their financial statements. From 1997-2001, a total of 1,089 companies have apparently done so. These transactions have cost investors quite dearly. In just the last 30 months the U.S. stock markets have lost almost 7 trillion dollars.
Americans have a love-hate relationship with government and business. The climate seems to shift like a pendulum between eras of an "anything goes" mentality and periods of government regulation. The excesses of the 1920s, leading to the Great Depression, were followed by the reforms of Franklin Roosevelt, particularly the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Beginning with the Reagan administration and culminating in the Gingrich "revolution" of 1994, many of these regulations were relaxed. Congress passed legislation shielding accounting and law firms from liability for false reporting and made shareholder suits more difficult. The trend has continued through the Bush administration's close relationship with the corporate world, appointing a new fraternity of former corporate executives to oversee the businesses they used to run.
The president's speech on July 9 was delivered with a high moral tone: "There's no capitalism without conscience. There is no wealth without character." But he had very little to offer in the way of concrete solutions.
For the president, the problem is a few bad apples. He fails to see that a tree whose growth is all at the top, with bare branches at the bottom, is in real danger of falling over. And at a deeper level, Bush doesn't seem to grasp that the tree of the American economy is rooted in the toxic soil of unbridled materialism, a culture which extols greed, a false standard of values which puts short-term profits over societal health, and a distorted calculus that measures human worth by personal income instead of character and integrity.
Last week, the U.S. Senate passed unanimously a series of accounting measures considerably tougher than what the president had suggested. They included a new chapter in the criminal code that makes any "scheme or artifice" to defraud stockholders a criminal offense. "If you steal a $500 television set, you can go to jail. Apparently if you steal $500 million from your corporation and your pension holders and everyone else, then nothing happens. This makes sure something will happen," said Sen. Patrick Leahy.
Amen to that. Corporate CEOs, no less than everyone else, have a responsibility to the common good, not just to the bottom line. The entrepreneurial spirit and social innovation fostered by a market economy has benefited many, and should not be overly encumbered by stifling regulations. But left to its own devices, and human weakness (okay, let's call it sin), the market will too often disintegrate into greed and corruption. Capitalism needs rules, or it easily becomes destructive. A healthy balancing relationship between "free enterprise" and public accountability is morally and practically essential.
Sen. Leahy is right - let's call theft theft. And when there is theft, let us hope that "something happens." As folksinger Woody Guthrie reminded us a long time ago: "Some will rob you with a six gun, and some with a fountain pen."
I'LL HAVE TO SPEAK WITH MY ATTORNEY
In a letter being sent today to President Bush, 11 state attorneys general criticize the president for his failure to impose strong federal measures to limit emissions of greenhouse gases and control global warming. In addition to condemning the "regulatory void" created by the absence of federal action, the letter contends that environmental policies proposed by the Bush administration would worsen climate change and harm the economy. The letter was spearheaded by Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly, and signed by his colleagues from Alaska, California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont -- all of them Democrats. Although the letter does not specify desired policy changes, Reilly said the group was seeking, at a minimum, increases in automobile fuel efficiency and caps on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, power plants account for 40 percent of CO2 emissions and automobiles for 25 percent.
straight to the source: New York Times, James Sterngold, 17 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=265>
only in Grist: Bush attacked on climate change -- read the letter from the attorneys general -- in our Muckraker section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/muck/muck071702.asp?source=daily>
do good: Take action to tell Bush to tackle global warming <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/climate.asp?source=daily#kyoto>
AROUND THE UNDERWORLD IN ...
If Don Delillo and Jules Verne had ever collaborated on a novel, they might have written the story that's currently reaching its denouement in Pennsylvania: "Around the World with 14,855 Tons of Trash." That's how much garbage left Pennsylvania 16 years ago, destined to earn a reputation as the best-traveled and least-wanted waste in the world. The trash, in the form of ash generated by incinerating waste from curbside pickup, would have overflowed a landfill near Philadelphia, so it was shipped to an island in the Bahamas instead. In an eleventh-hour change of heart, the Bahamian government denied the ship permission to dock, leaving it to sail the seas for two years, during which time its cargo was spurned by at least 11 countries on four continents. Eventually, 4,000 tons of the ash were unloaded in Haiti; the rest was ultimately, and illegally, dumped into the ocean. The ash in Haiti languished on a beach for over a decade, until the U.S. State Department, the city of Philadelphia, and the New York City Trade Waste Commission agreed to bring it back to the U.S. -- and, eventually, to the Mountain View Reclamation landfill, about 120 miles outside of Philadelphia.
straight to the source: Washington Post, Bruce E. Beans, 17 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=266>
In other news about trash, the U.S. is making significant strides in the reuse and recycling of rubber tires. Last year, Americans got rid of about 281 million tires -- some 5.7 million tons worth. In 1990, just one out of every 10 discarded tires was reused; now, that number has risen to nearly eight in 10. Some are burned to generate electricity; some are mixed with asphalt to pave roads; some are made into rubber mats, construction materials, or playground surfaces; and still others live out their lives at landfill, but in a special capacity -- as a drainage layer underneath the dump. Currently, 43 states have programs to handle old tires, and some stockpiles are decreasing. In part, that's because states are paying more attention to the problem, concerned that old tires are a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and an irresistible target for vandals. In 1999, two men started a tire fire that burned a fifth of the estimated 25 million tires at an Ohio landfill, filling the sky with smoke and sending oil from the melting tires into nearby creeks.
straight to the source: San Francisco Chronicle, Associated Press, John Seewer, 17 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=267>
only in Grist: Burning rubber -- fun with stats on tires -- in our Counter Culture column <http://www.gristmagazine.com/counter/counter101300.stm?source=daily>
only in Grist: A new resource for tire recyclers? -- a cartoon by Suzy Becker <http://www.gristmagazine.com/ha/ha082701.asp?source=daily>
The Montes Azules jungle in Mexico, near the Guatemala border, is one of the largest remaining pockets of tropical rainforest in North America -- and the battle to save it has created unusual political bedfellows, to say the least. The Lacandon people, who have lived in Montes Azules for centuries and legally own much of the reserve, have squared off against other indigenous people from the nearby highlands, who have moved into the area and begun carving farms out of the wilderness. Conservation International is backing the Lacandon, saying the incoming farmers are destroying the land and ultimately imperiling their own livelihoods, because the soil in the area can yield crops for only a few seasons. Meanwhile, the Zapatistas, who have sometimes suspected environmentalists of fronting for corporations planning to exploit the jungle, are backing settlement in the region, saying indigenous farmers are the best protectors of the rainforest. So far, the most likely losers seem to be the 340 species of birds and dozens of endangered plants and animals that call the reserve home.
straight to the source: MSNBC.com, Eduardo Verdugo, 17 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=268>
WHISTLEBLOW WHILE YOU WORK
Citing laws designed to protect institutional whistleblowers, the Labor Department has ordered the U.S. EPA to reinstate a former investigator to "ombudsman-related duties." The department concluded that EPA policy analyst Hugh Kaufman was removed from those duties in retaliation for complaining about the agency -- in other words, for doing his job too well. As an assistant to former EPA Ombudsman Robert Martin, Kaufman investigated complaints against the EPA's handling of hazardous waste sites under the Superfund program. That job inevitably made him a nuisance to his coworkers -- and to his superiors -- because it involved challenging their decisions, sometimes in embarrassing and high-profile cases. In December 2000, the agency stripped Kaufman of ombudsman duties, claiming, among other things, that he tried to humiliate EPA officials and was biased against the agency. Kaufman challenged the decision; now, the agency plans to challenge the Labor Department ruling before an administrative law judge.
straight to the source: Washington Post, Brian Faler, 17 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=269>
only in Grist: U.S. EPA ombudsperson resigns -- read Robert Martin's letter of resignation -- in our Muckraker section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/muck/muck042302.asp?source=daily>
Are Your Beauty Products Killing You?
by Matt Wheeland, AlterNet.org, July 4, 2002
If you got out of the shower this morning, blow-dried your hair and gave your 'do a spritz of VO5 hairspray, you've just poisoned yourself a little bit. If you do this every morning as your regular routine, you are accumulating these poisons by the bucketful.
But it's not just VO5 that could make you sick. Try Secret Sheer Dry deodorant, or the suitably named Poison, a perfume by Christian Dior. In fact, 52 popular cosmetics are now proven to have toxic components in varying concentrations -- and they're all over the place.
A report released jointly July 10 by Coming Clean, the Environmental Working Group and Health Care Without Harm details the extent to which a toxic family of chemicals known as phthalates (THAY-lates) are used in everyday household products, especially beauty products like nail polish, lipstick and perfumes.
The report, titled "Not Too Pretty: Pthalates, Beauty Products and the FDA," has its basis in a 1999 FDA study of toxins in the general population of the U.S. From a sample of 1,029 people, every one of them tested positive for phthalates in their blood or urine. Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control singled out a subgroup of 289 people with a particularly high incidence of phthalates: women of childbearing age. These women were found to have daily exposures of phthalates ranging from 2.5 to 22 times the normal for the rest of the general population, with 5 percent showing levels of 75 percent or higher of the acceptable daily amounts.
Judging from the 5 percent of women with dangerously high test results, it can be assumed that every day, as many as two million women of childbearing age are exposed to toxic levels of phthalates.
Phthalates have been shown to cause a wide array of health problems, from liver and kidney failure to heart, lung and blood pressure problems. The most worrisome aspect by far is the phthalates' effect on the reproductive development of fetuses and infants, particularly the reproductive tracts of males.
Phthalates are metabolized in humans once ingested or absorbed through the skin. In pregnant women, phthalates pass through the placenta to be absorbed by the fetus. In nursing women, phthalates are found in breast milk, which means infants are ingesting these chemicals as they develop. In male fetuses -- and infants especially -- the phthalates have been shown to cause testicular atrophy and a reduced sperm count, among other serious health problems.
Dr. Stephen Safe of Texas A&M University notes that some in the medical community have expressed concerns about phthalate exposure and human health. "It's hard to be specific until more medical data is available," Dr. Safe says, "but if people have concerns, they should limit their use of these products."
The HCWH report is the first to document and link the deleterious effects of phthalates to male reproductive development. Women of childbearing age were shown to be the most at-risk demographic, and it is reasonable to attribute this in large part to one fact: the beauty industry. According to Charlotte Brody, executive director of HCWH, "With all the variables involved, the only one that doesn't apply on a large scale to both men and women is the use of cosmetics."
Phthalates are plasticizers. In cosmetics, they are used to add texture and luster to the product. Ninety percent of the world's plasticizers are used to soften PVC (vinyl) and make it pliable. The other 10 percent have been used in many kinds of manufacturing for 30 years, beginning with medical products like IV bags, gloves and blood bags, but also paints, lubricants, adhesives, toys, food containers, and, of course, cosmetics.
The use of phthalates in manufacturing is widespread, and has such a long history that phthalates have wormed their way into every corner of the globe. Traces are present in virtually every person on the planet. The phthalate DEHP has been found in Antarctica and in deep-sea jellyfish 3,000 feet below the ocean's surface.
Different phthalates can be found in consumer products like shower curtains, umbrellas, adhesives, children's toys, and countless other manufactured goods. PVC, being incredibly cheap to produce, is the preferred product for the world's manufacturers. With phthalates, you can easily turn PVC into any number of products.
Turning the Tide
Since the FDA does not regulate the use of pthalates in cosmetics and beauty aids, manufacturers are not required to disclose them as ingredients.
Says the report: "Taken as a whole, the lab results indicate that a substantial fraction of cosmetics companies may be hiding phthalates on store shelves within the containers of their products, with no warning for pregnant women who might want to avoid purchasing products that contain chemicals linked to birth defects."
DEHP, the primary phthalate found in medical supplies, has been found toxic in studies of patients who spend considerable amounts of time in hospitals, mainly newborns and the elderly. But other phthalates, including DEP, DBP, BBP, DCP, DOP and DINP, were last studied nearly 20 years ago.
According to FDA spokesperson Kimberly Rawlings, "Phthalates were shown to be safe for topical use in 1984, and there have been no further studies by the FDA on this subject since then."
In a recent Dallas Morning News story on phthalates and the cosmetics industry, Rod Irvin, a spokesman for the American Chemistry Council's Phthalate Esters Panel, said that "[p]hthalates are among the most-studied products out there. They have a long record of safe use, with no reports or evidence of harm to human health." Additionally, the industry group has spent "millions" studying the compounds and has found no reason for concern.
In November 2000, the Environmental Working Group released a report that stated, "Phthalates are recognized as toxic substances under environmental law, but companies are free to use unlimited amounts in cosmetics."
The FDA in the past has considered each of these phthalates separately when studying their toxicity. If you're a dialysis patient, then you're at risk for poisoning because you're getting twice the amount of DEHP recommended with each visit. That's bad. But if you're a dialysis patient and you wear a lot of makeup and spend a lot of time playing with your grandchildren and their toys, your exposure could be deadly.
Not in the many-faceted eyes of the FDA, though. Its consideration of disparate exposure to phthalates is the main loophole manufacturers use to claim that phthalates are safe. Without recognizing that all members of the phthalate family accumulate to cause the same health problems, phthalate manufacturers are able to claim that each individual chemical is not harmful at the documented levels.
HCWH tested 72 of the following kinds of cosmetics: Nail polish, fragrances (perfumes, body oils, etc.), hairsprays, deodorants and lotions. Fifty-two of these contained phthalates as ingredients, though none were listed on the labels. Most of the pthalate-containing products are household names: Aqua Net Professional Hair Spray; Degree Original Solid Deodorant; Nivea Créme lotion; Elizabeth Arden's Red Door fragrance; Calvin Klein's Eternity perfume.
As Brody of HCWH points out, this is just the beginning: "It's impossible to know without testing which products contain phthalates. Just because some of the lotions we tried tested negative doesn't mean [all lotions are] clean." Until the manufacturers are required to label phthalates, there's no way to know for sure.
This is only the latest in a long series of warnings about the dangers of phthalates, which have been used extensively since the early 1970s. The biggest commotion over phthalates came in 1998, when the Danish government issued a well-publicized ban on toys containing phthalates because of concern that children were being exposed to toxic chemicals when they put toys in their mouths. Lego, the Danish toymaker, quickly responded by reformulating its toy factories to phase out the use of phthalates in production of its toys.
Since then, there has been steadily growing awareness of the dangers of phthalates. Network news programs have discussed the dangers in toys, cosmetics and beauty products, and even in fish that live in polluted waters. Despite all this, the battle against phthalates has been a stalemate: The EU continues to extend its temporary ban on toys for children aged 3 and under, but European manufacturers are lobbying to institute a voluntary reporting system for all other products similar to what is in place in the U.S.
Stacy Malkan of HCWH is urging people to distribute the lists of phthalate-containing products far and wide, to discuss the topic of phthalates in cosmetics and medical supplies with their health care provider, and to contact the FDA to demand an industry-wide ban on phthalates in cosmetic products. In addition, the groups releasing the report are preparing to launch a national ad campaign.
As the report makes clear, non-toxic alternatives are readily available: "The limited testing done for Not Too Pretty reveals that the same big companies that produce phthalate-laced beauty products, also make similar products without phthalates ... L'Oreal markets Jet Set nail polish without DBP but puts the phthalate in its Maybelline brand."
Without public pressure, however, there will be no incentive for the $20 billion-a-year cosmetics industry to phase out all phthalates. And women who continue to douse themselves in Christian Dior's Poison may be helping the perfume live up to its name.
For more information and the complete list of tested products, go to:
Matt Wheeland is an editorial intern at http://www.AlterNet.org
"Gender Benders" Cause Sperm Burn Out
Claire Ainsworth, NewScientist.com, July 3, 2002
The first direct evidence that "gender bender" chemicals affect the fertilising ability of sperm has been revealed - but it is unclear whether this would boost or harm fertility.
Researchers told the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Vienna that chemicals that mimic the effects of the female sex hormone oestrogen can prime sperm into becoming prematurely active, burning out before they have a chance to meet an egg.
"It's certainly very exciting work," says Chris Barratt at the University of Birmingham. "Sperm and the fertilisation process may be much more sensitive to artificial oestrogens than we thought."
Chemicals that mimic action of oestrogen abound in food and the environment. Many occur naturally in plants such as soy and hops, and are eliminated from the body within a few hours. Others take the form of synthetic chemicals such as pesticides and plasticisers, and build up in body tissues.
Research had already suggested a link between environmental oestrogens, testicular problems and low sperm counts, but this is the first time anyone has looked at their effect on sperm function, according to Lynn Fraser at King's College London, who led the new study.
Oestrogen in semen and in the vagina is vital for fertilisation because it literally turns sperm on. The hormone stimulates a sperm to swim, and triggers physical changes that prime it for meeting with an egg - a process called capacitation.
Once a primed sperm docks with the egg, the cap on its head ruptures and releases a cocktail of enzymes that help it burrow inside and fertilise the egg. Normally, proteins in semen restrain this process, making sure it does not occur too soon.
If it does, the sperm will be unable to enter the egg. "Once they have undergone this reaction, they cannot fertilise, no matter how much they wiggle," explains Fraser.
Fraser and her team tested the effect of oestrogen and three oestrogen mimics - genistein, found in soya, 8-prenylnaringen, found in hops, and nonylphenol, found in paints, herbicides and pesticides.
They mixed the chemicals with mouse sperm and found all the compounds triggered capacitation and enzyme release. But the oestrogen mimics were far more powerful, triggering capacitation at concentrations a thousand times lower than oestrogen itself.
What's more, when the team tested the compounds on sperm that had already capacitated, they found that the oestrogen mimics triggered the premature release of the enzymes, whereas oestrogen did not.
However, when researchers mixed sperm with eggs and then treated them with the compounds, the number of eggs fertilised was doubled. This could be a benefit for IVF techniques, said Fraser.
"At first sight, these results might suggest that oestrogens, particularly those found in the environment, could help fertility. However, the responses we have seen could have negative effects over time," said Fraser.
Asked if oestrogen mimics could harm fertility in real life, Fraser said: "The potential answer to that question would be yes." Premature capacitation and enzyme release of sperm might not be a serious problem for normal fertile men, but it could be for men with lower sperm counts.
On the other hand, if the proteins that normally keep sperm under control still do their job, then the extra oestrogen-like activity could actually make sperm more fertile by increasing the numbers primed for fertilisation.
Barratt agrees that the jury is out until more research is done. But he adds that human sperm is known to be more sensitive than mouse sperm to progesterone, a hormone in the same class as oestrogen, meaning that oestrogen mimics could in theory have an even greater effect on humans.
Earth First!er Judi Bari Avenged At Last
by Josh Richman
Federal court finds FBI and police violated activists' free speech
SciTech Daily Review
A hundred years of hummmm: Air conditioning helped shape the 20th century. For that, we have Willis Haviland Carrier to thank
The first direct evidence that "gender bender" chemicals affect the fertilising ability of sperm has been revealed -- but it is unclear whether this would boost or harm fertility
About 60,000 mice in Tennessee are about to get a brand new house. But before they can move in, they have to be reborn
The Oxford Companion to the Body is a prodigious multidisciplinary attempt to comprehend the human body -- head to toe, abdomen to zygote, mind as well as matter
Whatever the final verdict on Toumae, the skull that may represent the oldest known hominid ancestor, there is a lesson in the discovery: We should never assume a lack of evidence means the evidence doesn't exist
A recent report linking birth defects and health risks with a chemical commonly used in cosmetics is a wake-up call to regulators, consumers and the beauty industry
UTNE WEB WATCH
The Best of the Alternative Web
EARTH FIRSTER! JUDI BARI AVENGED AT LAST
by Josh Richman, High Country News
-- After more than 10 years of persistence, Earth First! activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney squashed the FBI and Oakland police department in the courtroom.
by Bill Baue, Killing the Buddha
-- Though roots musician Gillian Welch may not follow the gospel formula in her art, some argue she brings her listeners closer to God.
JUNKBUSTER ANTI-TELEMARKETING SCRIPT
by Junkbusters Corp
-- Now it's time for YOU to ask THEM the questions.
Links to the above articles: http://www.utne.com/webwatch
GO TO PAGE AND PUT IN LINKS TO THE VIDEOS
Harrison Ford Ad Highlights Biodiversity Hotspots
WASHINGTON, DC, July 16, 2002 (ENS) - Comparing the human heart to the Earth's most vital biological regions, actor and conservationist Harrison Ford explains how biodiversity is essential for a healthy planet in a public service ad campaign launched this week by Conservation International.
"The human heart. Only one percent of your body weight, but critical to your survival. Our Earth has places, just over one percent of its surface, which are critical to our survival," says Ford in the ad.
"They're called biodiversity hotspots, and Conservation International is fighting to protect them before they disappear forever. These hotspots are home to over 60 percent of the world's species. Plants and animals that provide food and medicine that clean our air and water. That keep our planet alive," he says.
The 25 biodiversity hotspots cover just 1.4 percent of the Earth's land surface, yet claim more than 60 percent of total terrestrial species diversity. Under extreme threat, many hotspots have lost more than 90 percent of their original natural habitat.
Conservation International (CI) is a global, field based environmental group that works to protect biological diversity. By working through local and international partnerships, CI uses a strategic, scientific approach targeting the biodiversity hotspots, tropical wilderness areas and key marine ecosystems.
"Conservation International's message is positive, and I while think people need to understand the urgency of species extinctions, they also need to see that there is a solution that they can help support," said Ford.
Ford has served on Conservation International Board of Directors for more than 10 years and has actively participated in the strategic design and growth of the organization. Ford has been honored with a number of environmental awards including, most recently, the 2002 Global Environmental Citizen Award bestowed by the Harvard Medical School.
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE
"We Cover the Earth For You"
SECRET U.S. BIOPHARMS GROWING EXPERIMENTAL DRUGS
WASHINGTON, DC, July 16, 2002 (ENS) - Experimental plants engineered to produce pharmaceuticals are being grown at over 300 secret locations nationwide, a new report has revealed. Biotechnology firms are conducting experiments with corn, soy, rice and tobacco that are genetically manipulated to produce drugs designed to act as vaccines and contraceptives, induce abortions, generate growth hormones, create blood clots, produce industrial enzymes and propagate allergenic enzymes.
NATION'S GOVERNORS MAY UNITE ON ELECTRICITY ISSUES
BOISE, Idaho, July 16, 2002 (ENS) - The National Governors Association (NGA) today named Kentucky Governor Paul Patton as its new chairman at the closing session of the its annual meeting in Boise. Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne was named vice chairman. "The strength of this association is the ability we have as governors to unite around our commonalities and leave our political differences at home," Patton said in his acceptance speech.
NEPAL FLOODS AND LANDSLIDES CLAIM 43 LIVES
KATHMANDU, Nepal, July 16, 2002 (ENS) - Heavy monsoon rains that started late Sunday night have triggered massive landslides in two villages in the mountainous Khotang District of eastern Nepal about 300 kilometres east of the capital, Kathmandu. Some 43 people are known to have died, and 150 others are missing. Rescue workers have recovered 40 bodies, the Himalayan News Service reported today.
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE AMERISCAN: JULY 16, 2002
U.S. CHEMICAL PLANTS GET ANTI-TERRORISM TREATMENT
TAXPAYERS STUCK WITH FOREST ROAD MAINTENANCE
STINGING JELLYFISH FORECASTS FOR CHESAPEAKE BAY
MEDICAL STERILIZATION FIRM DIRTIES ILLINOIS AIR
URBAN TREE FARM PLANTED IN DALLAS
ENVIROS WIN LEGAL PROTECTION FOR NEW MEXICO RIVERS
BRONX ZOO LAUNCHES EMERGENCY GORILLA RESCUE FUND
HARRISON FORD AD HIGHLIGHTS BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOTS
8. BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO PROMOTES ITS "CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY"; CRITIC SAY IT'S JUST PR
"British American Tobacco (BAT) has vowed to plow on with its corporate social responsibility program (CSR) -- despite criticism that its first-ever CSR report is simply a PR exercise," PR Week writes. BAT's released its CSR report last week "after a series of face-to-face forums designed to establish dialogue with its critics." But according to PR Week, more than 130 organizations targeted by BAT refused to participate in the dialogue. The UK anti-smoking group Action on Smoking called BAT's initiative "worthless" and "a PR exercise." PR Week reports no other tobacco company has published a CSR report.
SOURCE: PR Week, July 15, 2002
9. APCO HELPS WORLDCOM WITH "TRANSPARENCY INITATIVE"
WorldCom has hired APCO Worldwide to do damage control concerning the company's $3.8 billion accounting fraud reports PR Week. "The commitment initially was to being forthright, open and honest," APCO CEO Margery Kraus said referring to talks between WorldCom and APCO about a PR strategy before the crisis. "That commitment has certainly increased because that is an important way for the company to operate," Kraus said. According to PR Week, part of APCO's WorldCom strategy is "emphasizing that its current woes were the responsibility of the prior management team."
SOURCE: PR Week, July 15, 2002
10. PHRMA SUPPORTS SENIORS WHO SUPPORT PHRMA
PR giant Weber Shandwick (WS) is helping the United Senior Association (USA), a 1.5 million member organization, with its PR needs. USA is backing the prescription drug bill that was passed by the House on June 28. O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports, "That bill is backed by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), which has made 'educational grants' to USA. PhRMA supports the House measure because it bans the government from setting prices for prescription drugs. It is against a more expansive drug plan that is being introduced in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Tim Ryan, a former PhRMA staffer, is the WS executive in charge of the USA account. He said WS created ads in support of the House measure, but would not go into detail about overall strategy." O'Dwyer's also reports that the AARP, a 35 million member group, is critical of the House bill, saying it has a serious "coverage gap."
SOURCE: O'Dwyer's PR Daily, July 15, 2002
11. SNAKE OIL SEARCH ENGINES
Despite a complaint by Commercial Alert and threats of legal action from the Federal Trade Commission, most of the Web's largest search engines have not yet complied with federal requirements that they inform users about deceptive "pay for placement" deals that smuggle commercial placements into search results. (One bright exception, according to USA Today, is Google.com, whose founders have "fiercely protected Google's editorial integrity.")
SOURCE: USA Today, July 12, 2002
More web links related to this story are available at:
12. TV DRUG PUSHERS INCLUDE MEDIA AND ADVERTISING LOBBYISTS
"Madison Avenue, facing growing legislative threats to one of the advertising industry's most lucrative categories, is stepping up the fight to protect its freedom to pitch prescription drugs directly to consumers. Drug companies, agencies and their media allies who have benefited handsomely from the flood of ads beat back one recent measure in the House of Representatives. ... The category of direct-to-consumer ads did not even exist until five years ago. Before 1997, broad curbs prevented pharmaceutical makers from mounting any significant efforts, and they aimed most of their spending directly at health care professionals. But since the Food and Drug Administration loosened its strictures against those ads, primarily by making it much easier to promote drugs with commercials, the category has boomed. ... Indeed, in a survey last month...25 percent of respondents said they had been prompted by direct-to-consumer ads to call or visit a doctor to discuss the product being advertised. ... The agencies are being joined by lobbyists for media that would lose ad revenue if Congress tightened rules for direct-to-consumer ads." A critical look at such ads is found at the Boston Women's Health Book Collective website.
SOURCE: New York Times, July 12, 2002
More web links related to this story are available at:
13. BUSHOLOGY INTERACTIVE
Investigative journalist Dan Moldea has created a web service providing links to public-information sources for investigating members of the Bush family and their political and financial interests, including lots of information that has been under-reported in the mass media.
More web links related to this story are available at:
14. 'MAD DEER DISEASE' -- IS IT IN THE FEED?
An Associated Press story speculates today that Wisconsin hunters, having killed deer in the area of the state known to be infected with mad cow-like Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), might have spread the disease around the state by taking carcasses back to their homes and dumping them in the environment. Yes, that is a possibility, but not the most obvious possibility. Feeding rendered byproducts is a much more obvious threat to spread CWD around the state, the nation and to other livestock. Extensive supplement feeding of wild deer to grow big antlers has gone on in Wisconsin's CWD eradication zone, and in fact all over much of the US. The supplements contain protein, minerals, and binders (fat), much of it from rendered slaughterhouse waste, the same stuff that amplified and spread mad cow disease in England. In Wisconsin in 1995 alone over 26,000 road-killed deer were rendered into meat and bone meal used in animal feed. Unlike Britain and Europe, the US still feeds billions of pounds of mammalian rendered byproduct back to livestock. As we document in our book Mad Cow USA, US feed regulations are so weak that cattle blood is used in calf feed. Such policies are inviting a disaster that could dwarf Britain's mad cow crisis since the US is the biggest meat producing country in the world.
SOURCE: Associated Press, July 11, 2002
More web links related to this story are available at:
1. PR WATCH TAKES ON BIG BROTHER, INC.
The Second Quarter 2002 issue of PR Watch is now available online. This issue features a look at corporate spies that specializing in infiltrating citizen groups, along with other PR strategies for "managing activism." Stories include:
* Big Brother Incorporated
* Dumpster Diving to Trash Activists
* Ecos Corp's 'Win-Win' Spin for Corporate Environmentalism
* Managing Activism: Book Review
More web links related to this story are available at:
2. OFF THE BOOKS
If you think corporations are doing a bad job of disclosing their internal finances, what kind of job do you think they're doing of reporting on their public health, social and environmental impacts? Attorney Sanford Lewis has been stalking the corporate social responsibility front for years, and now he's made a movie about it: a 30-minute documentary that "describes the potential and limits of an enforceable, disclosure-based strategy for corporate accountability." Lewis is also working with the Corporate Sunshine Working Group, an "alliance of investors, environmental organizations, unions, and public interest groups working to enforce and expand SEC corporate social and environmental disclosure requirements."
More web links related to this story are available at:
3. FRAUD, INC.
If you're having trouble keeping up with all the corporate scandals, CNN and Money Magazine have created a special web feature called "Fraud Inc." The White House has also launched a website meant to give the impression that the Bush Administration is taking a tough stance against corporate evildoers. The site highlights Bush's executive order last week that creates a Corporate Fraud Task Force in the Justice Department, but it does not mention the fact that the person designated to head the task force, Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson, has an embarrassing link himself to corporate fraud.
More web links related to this story are available at:
4. THE WATCHDOG DIDN'T BARK
According to Harold Evans, the real mystery surrounding the president's shady stock dealings with Harken Energy is "why the watchdog media didn't bark during the 2000 presidential election, when new unflattering evidence emerged in the month before the vote. ... During the presidential election, a more thorough investigation was carried out by a group of journalists at a time when Bush was saying he would run the White House like a business corporation. The reporters' conclusion was that candidate Bush's own business model was uncomfortably close to today's increasingly scandalous business practices. The general public, however, was not enabled to weigh this conclusion before it went to vote for president, because the press, print and electronic, signally failed to publicize the facts. ... Why? Why was a press that for years flogged the dead horse of Whitewater so indifferent to a much bigger, fresher story?"
SOURCE: Salon.com, July 16, 2002
More web links related to this story are available at:
5. PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS ADVISES UZBEKISTAN
"PricewaterhouseCoopers is providing government relations services to Uzbekistan, the Central Asian country that is a prime ally in President Bush's 'War on Terror,'" O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports. "It is giving 'strategic advice and assistance' to Uzbekistan about dealing with the U.S. Congress, and Executive Branch on economic and trade relations, according to PWC's 'engagement letter.' The firm is receiving $300,000 a-year for its counsel." According to O'Dwyer's, former Republican Congressman and chair of the House Ways and Means committee Bill Archer will be "heading the work."
SOURCE: O'Dwyer's PR Daily, July 16, 2002
6. STATE VS. NATIONAL REVIEW
Richard Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review, has written a letter protesting the U.S. State Department's "slipshod, deceptive, and, now, even thuggish" treatment of one of its reporters. Richard Mowbray was detained by State Department personnel in an apparent attempt to intimidate him into giving up the identity of a whistleblower who has provided Mowbray with confidential documents about "Visa Express," the controversial policy through which citizens of Saudi Arabia (including three of the 9/11 hijackers) have been able to obtain expedited U.S. visas. According to the Wall Street Journal, Mowbray's harassment "is of a piece with State's refusal to press Saudi Arabia on the plight of American women held in that country against their will. State's instinct is always to attack Americans who raise questions, instead of pressuring the Saudis on behalf of U.S. interests."
SOURCE: National Review, July 15, 2002
More web links related to this story are available at:
7. DON'T SCRUTINIZE THE PENTAGON
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is pushing a series of sweeping proposals that would weaken congressional oversight of the Pentagon. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Pentagon officials also are drafting proposals to ban strikes by contract workers, eliminate federal personnel rules protecting civilian workers at the Pentagon and bypass environmentalists in Congress. Some proposals are more provocative. They include allowing the Pentagon to send its initiatives directly to Capitol Hill before other agencies could review them. Once there, the legislation would require Congress to vote quickly, with only limited debate." Cindy Williams, a former director of national security studies for the Congressional Budget Office, notes that these proposals are coming from "an administration that for a year and a half has been consistently secretive about everything, and has a record of trying to preserve their secrets even from people within the government who should know them, so this has to be seen within that context."
SOURCE: Los Angeles Times, July 15, 2002
Advice To Green Team: Take Off The Gloves
by John Borowski, CommonDreams.org, July 16, 2002
Stung by the documentation of children manipulation, defenders of those powers who abuse resources and try to hoodwink teachers into using manufactured lies about old growth forests or global warming have struck back with vicious accusations. An expose titled, Bastion of Ecological Literacy Under Siege: Our Public Schools, offered insights into the powerful Wise Use movements foray into environmental education and documented their fabrications, allegiance to corporate polluters and utter shamelessness in using children as mere pawns to further their agenda.
Having penned this piece, I have received blistering email. There is a common thread in these diatribes, a redundant use of words like communist, socialist, eco-maniac, and wacko-environmentalist. My favorite was a commentary written by Alan Caruba for CNSNews.com entitled, Specious Science in Our Schools. And the outcome was predictable and seems to take on a well-worn, yet effective pattern: use aggressive language, invent data, and ignore scientific truth and defend rape and pillage of nature as humankinds birth- right.
As an ex-iron worker, now teacher of environmental science for two decades, I have come to a gut felt conclusion: despite their lies, the friends of environmental despoilers play hardball. They make no excuses, they stay on message, they use fiery rhetoric, and they give no apologies for misinformation or inaccuracies. Some members of the environmental community, especially the environmental education community, have chastised me for what they call, playing the bad guys game or using inflammatory responses. Based on the current state of globes ill health, I say, Take off the gloves green team. When your childrens future is being mortgaged, when corporate America sees your children as part of a cost/benefit analysis that justifies profit over illness and the sanctity of public school is threatened to be flooded by the worst of PR campaigns to purport the myth of sustainable growth, it is time to say: no more.
Pragmatists in the environmental movement, an eclectic hodgepodge of entities that rarely agree on any forceful strategy to combat those who defend tobacco or DDT needs to make a comeback, will claim; woe is us. The bad guys have appurtenance beyond a calculators count, intoxicating arrogance of having one too many politicians in their stables, and surrogate mouthpieces galore on the television and radio. Yes, their propaganda ability is legendary and they have clones that preach the doctrine of ecological illiteracy. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Alan Caruba, Steve Milloy, John Stossel, and Tony Snow form a puppet troupe that predictable refute the danger of climate change, our mass extinction of species and our shrinking supply of drinkable fresh water.
I pray a clarion call will rise from parents. Their maternal and paternal instincts will trigger a mass response to the theft of their childrens inheritance and this document may be the catalyst.
One reasonable glance at the World Wildlife Federations Living Planet Report 2002 a remarkable document by an environmental organization with some backbone illuminates scientific trends that are undeniable sobering:
Human economic activity has reduced by 35% the number of surviving animal and bird species, as well as freshwater and marine fish species. Led by the United States consumptive prone lifestyle, we are using the worlds resources by more than 20% higher than replacement levels. Within 50 years the planet will face a sharp drop in living standards.
This ominous set of facts is no surprise for the ecologically literate. And you can be sure that industrys Pinocchios (Hannity, Limbaugh, and their merry band of obfuscators and illusionists) will put the best spin on this information.
The mean, anti-green team has as Achilles heel of immense proportions, and now is the time to sever it. Despite their bite, pundits like Caruba and Stossel have weakness in their commonly used arsenal. They are woefully ignorant in ecological science and never will deal with hard questions. I have emailed a number of these charlatans and they never address the direct questions.
I call it the Project Learning Tree strategy (Project Learning Tree is the vehicle for the timber industry to avoid answering hard questions in schools) or the worst type of a lie is omission. The Alliance for America, who defends the likes of Weyerhaeuser, Peabody Coal, and Exxon will not answer my questions about why they are mute on the 1872 Mining Law, massive timber subsidies and illegal timber cutting on public lands and the slaughter of predators on federal lands. And their silence speaks volumes about the contempt they have for common working people, their health, their communities, their children and their right to a sustained planet. When was the last time you saw or heard an educated environmentalist on the talk show circuit? Why because once confronted with the truth, these pundits dry up and blow away. John Stossel will not answer questions about using children to further his anti-environmental education mantra, even though his own producers tried to dupe me into being on his Tampering With Nature debacle and lied several times when questioned.
Environmental activists need to turn up the heat on these empty suits, and show them for what they are: highly paid liars and cheats. Parents must demand that environmental science be a prerequisite for graduation of high school, citizens must boycott television stations that refuse to have rational discussions on pressing issues like extinction or corporate sponsored educational materials in schools. Politicians who use the Congressman John Kyl approach (Kyl glibly stated that environmentalists are to blame for forest fires on national forests, and when he found out his data was wrong, he didnt apologize) must be shamed in public and held to the highest standards of representing the will of the people, not the will of their corporate task masters.
There are no win-win scenarios, to be found with those who spike tobacco or justify poisoning children to sell pesticides for profit, there is no compromise to be made with those who are liquidating our childrens options in the future. We must act like elders and protect our offspring and we must start now.
There are those who question the act of standing up in defiance of tyranny. And they say, put your trust in God. I do. I walk in the shadow of my savior. And when Jesus stated, turn the other cheek, he didnt intend for us to take a beating. This action meant, I am not afraid of you, and you will acknowledge me. And for those who twist religious words, I say shame. Matthew stated in the bible, No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. In protecting children, we serve God and our duty to be loving parents. In protecting the creation, we fulfill a promise to be the stewards of creation. Only the educated and motivated masses can tear down the idols of greed and deceit that falsely shape our economic and cultural status. Knowledge can be the sword and the eyes of our children our shield.
The road to sanity will begin with a solitary stare and the message that the gloves are off. Anything less is morally inexcusable.
John F. Borowski is an environmental and marine science teacher of two decades who lives in Philomath, Oregon. firstname.lastname@example.org. His pieces have appeared in the UTNE Reader, N.Y. Times, PR Watch, Forest Voice, CommonDreams.org, Liberal Slant, and CounterPunch.
Planet Ark World Environment News
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US Senator Bingaman sees no ANWR in final energy bill - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16902/story.htm
Man charged in Yellowstone bison gore, animal free - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16894/story.htm
British Energy to accept lower nuclear prices - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16889/story.htm
UK nuclear waste cleanup costs rise 2 bln stg - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16888/story.htm
UK says will fund sustainable farming plan - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16898/story.htm
INTERVIEW - South Africa minister vows Earth Summit to go ahead - SOUTH AFRICA
Palestinians see $800 million in physical damage - PALESTINE http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16899/story.htm
Greenpeace ship heads to Oslo to fight CO2 dumping - NORWAY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16901/story.htm
Dutch farmers plan legal action on hormone feed - NETHERLANDS http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16895/story.htm
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HK to toughen litter squad with martial arts classes - CHINA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16893/story.htm
Australia bans some live trade after cattle deaths - AUSTRALIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16892/story.htm
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Bush Job Performance Drops 7 Points To 62%
Monday, July 15, 2002
President George W. Bush's overall job performance rating has taken a seven percentage point drop in July to 62%, latest Zogby America results reveal.
The poll, conducted July 12-15 of 1,109 likely voters nationwide shows voters now giving Bush a 62% positive, 38% negative job performance rating, a new low mark since the September 11th terrorist attacks. In June, Bush received a 69% positive, 28% negative job performance rating, and a 70% positive, 30% negative, rating in May.
In February, voters gave Bush a 74% positive, 25% negative rating. The week before the attacks, voters gave Bush a 50% positive, 49% negative job performance rating.
The poll has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.1%.
Steps To Wealth
by Paul Krugman, The New York Times, 16 July, 2002
Why are George W. Bush's business dealings relevant? Given that his aides tout his "character," the public deserves to know that he became wealthy entirely through patronage and connections. But more important, those dealings foreshadow many characteristics of his administration, such as its obsession with secrecy and its intermingling of public policy with private interest.
As the unanswered questions about Harken Energy pile up -- what's in those documents the White House won't release? Who was the mystery buyer of Mr. Bush's stock? -- let me now turn to how Mr. Bush, who got by with a lot of help from his friends in the 1980's, became wealthy in the 1990's. He invested $606,000 as part of a syndicate that bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in 1989 -- borrowing the money and repaying the loan with the proceeds from his Harken stock sale -- then saw that grow to $14.9 million over the next nine years. What made his investment so successful?
First, the city of Arlington built the Rangers a new stadium, on terms extraordinarily favorable to Mr. Bush's syndicate, eventually subsidizing Mr. Bush and his partners with more than $150 million in taxpayer money. The city was obliged to raise taxes substantially as a result. Soon after the stadium was completed, Mr. Bush ran successfully for governor of Texas on the theme of self-reliance rather than reliance on government.
Mr. Bush's syndicate eventually resold the Rangers, for triple the original price. The price-is-no-object buyer was a deal maker named Tom Hicks. And thereby hangs a tale.
The University of Texas, though a state institution, has a large endowment. As governor, Mr. Bush changed the rules governing that endowment, eliminating the requirements to disclose "all details concerning the investments made and income realized," and to have "a well-recognized performance measurement service" assess investment results. That is, government officials no longer had to tell the public what they were doing with public money, or allow an independent performance assessment. Then Mr. Bush "privatized" (his term) $9 billion in university assets, transferring them to a nonprofit corporation known as Utimco that could make investment decisions behind closed doors.
In effect, the money was put under the control of Utimco's chairman: Tom Hicks. Under his direction, at least $450 million was invested in private funds managed by Mr. Hicks's business associates and major Republican Party donors. The managers of such funds earn big fees. Due to Mr. Bush's change in the rules, these investments were hidden from public view; an employee of Utimco who alerted university auditors was summarily fired. Even now, it's hard to find out how these investments turned out, though they seem to have done quite badly.
Eventually Mr. Hicks's investment style created a public furor, and he did not seek to retain his position at Utimco when his term expired in 1999.
One last item: Mr. Bush, who put up 1.8 percent of the Rangers syndicate's original capital, was entitled to about $2.3 million from that sale. But his partners voluntarily gave up some of their share, and Mr. Bush received 12 percent of the proceeds -- $14.9 million. So a group of businessmen, presumably with some interest in government decisions, gave a sitting governor a $12 million gift. Shouldn't that have raised a few eyebrows?
All of this showed Mr. Bush's characteristic style. First there's the penchant for secrecy, for denying the public information about decisions taken in its name. So it's no surprise that the proposed Homeland Security Department will be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and from whistle-blower protection.
Then there's the conversion of institutions traditionally insulated from politics into tools for rewarding your friends and reinforcing your political control. Yesterday the University of Texas endowment; today the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; tomorrow those Social Security "personal accounts"?
Finally, there's the indifference to conflicts of interest. In Austin, Governor Bush saw nothing wrong with profiting personally from a deal with Tom Hicks; in Washington, he sees nothing wrong with having the Pentagon sign what look like sweetheart deals with Dick Cheney's former employer Halliburton.
So the style of a future Bush administration was easily predictable, given Mr. Bush's career history.
t r u t h o u t | 07.17
William Rivers Pitt | A Cancer on the Presidency
Andrew Cohen | 20 Years For Lindh
Paul Krugman | Steps to Wealth
Battered Market Threatens Many Americans' Dreams
Bush Shatters Fund - Raising Record
Why US Press Didn't Give Bush a Burning
Bush Job Performance Drops 7 Points To 62%
Public Citizen issued the following two press releases today:
1) New Report Unmasks United Seniors Association as Hired Gun for Drug Industry
2) GAO Report Confirms Criticisms of Meat Inspection System
July 16, 2002
New Report Unmasks United Seniors Association as Hired Gun for Drug Industry
Drug Companies Appear to Have Given Seniors Group Nearly $10 Million to Push Medicare Drug Bill Favored by Industry
WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the U.S. Senate prepares for a showdown on proposals to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, the pharmaceutical industry is using a seniors group to run a multimillion-dollar issue ad campaign promoting GOP legislation favored by drug companies, according to a new Public Citizen report.
In the report released today, United Seniors Association: Hired Guns for PhRMA and Other Corporate Interests, Public Citizen reveals how the United Seniors Association (USA) has acted as a shill for major industries, especially pharmaceutical companies, seeking to influence federal policy and elections. This highly partisan organization was criticized for years for its overblown scare tactics in direct-mail fundraising letters. But during the past two years, USA has shifted its emphasis to TV and radio "issue" ads - underwritten by large corporate donations.
Public Citizen estimates that USA has spent $12 million on issue ads during the past 17 months. The lion's share of this spending - $9.6 million - was used to promote President Bush and House Republican leaders' prescription drug plan. Their plan, which is favored by the drug industry, would provide Medicare beneficiaries with subsidies to buy private insurance rather than create a comprehensive drug coverage program through Medicare - the favored proposal of most seniors and consumer groups. This level of spending would make USA the biggest ad buyer in this Congress (2001-2002) - despite the fact that the group appears to not have spent a cent on issue ads during the last election cycle.
The issue ad tactics are similar to those used during the 2000 election when USA joined Citizens for Better Medicare (CBM), a drug-industry front group created by the brand name drug companies' trade association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). CBM spent approximately $65 million on television advertising - a large chunk dedicated to electioneering "issue" ads - during the 2000 cycle. But this year, PhRMA has turned to USA, which already existed, to promote its agenda on the airwaves.
"By concealing its identity behind this seniors group, the pharmaceutical industry is using the elderly to push a plan that provides weak coverage while protecting the huge profits of drug companies," said Frank Clemente, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch. "During the last election, drug makers financed Citizens for Better Medicare. This election, they are renting the United Seniors Association."
Findings from the report include:
§ USA's largest issue ad war is a $9.6 million campaign focusing on Medicare prescription drug issues. The latest wave is a $2 million ad-buy that began in early July 2002 and thanks 29 representatives for supporting the House GOP prescription drug bill. Just prior to these newest ads, USA ran a $4.6 million TV ad campaign in May and June to coincide with House Republican leaders' push for legislative action on a Medicare drug bill. And earlier in the legislative session, in August 2001, USA's first set of TV ads on Medicare drug benefit issues began with a $3 million ad-buy in 19 congressional districts.
§ PhRMA has admitted to funding much, if not all, of the $4.6 million ad-buy in May and June through an "unrestricted educational grant." PhRMA and USA would neither confirm nor deny that the industry paid for the entire $9.6 million. But the similar messages contained in the ads and significant overlap in the districts where they ran means it is quite likely that PhRMA's funding and strategy is behind them all.
§ USA's ad spending appears to highlight a major expansion in the size and scope of the group's activities. The $9.6 million spent on ads over the last 12 months is more than the group's $9 million total budget in 2000, the last year for which information is available. Searches of media reports and the group's financial disclosure reports show no signs of ad spending prior to 2001.
§ Behind the pharmaceutical ads are people with long connections to drug industry front groups and GOP politics. Ads in August and September 2001 focusing on the Medicare prescription drug issue were produced by Cold Harbor Films, which is headed by Alex Castellanos, who produced ads in 2000 for presidential candidate George W. Bush, the Republican National Committee and CBM. The May/June 2002 ad wave was produced by Tim Ryan, who worked as PhRMA's marketing director until he was tapped to lead CBM during the last election cycle.
Speaking at a press conference held to unveil the report were Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.); and Reps. Marion Berry (D-Ark.) and Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.).
"It's time Congress listens to the America public instead of the drug industry and other powerful special interests," Kennedy said. "I applaud Public Citizen's efforts to unmask this latest fraud played on America's seniors by the drug industry."
Added Stabenow, "It is our hope that Americans will see through these misleading ads and recognize them for what they really are - an attempt to trick them into supporting legislation that offers little more than empty promises and inadequate coverage."
A copy of Public Citizen's report is available at
To find issue ads that may be running in your state, please go to
scroll down and click on the link next to the member of Congress.
July 16, 2002
GAO Report Confirms Criticisms of Meat Inspection System
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new draft General Accounting Office (GAO) report on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) meat and poultry inspection system, a copy of which has been obtained by the Government Accountability Project (GAP) and Public Citizen, provides dramatic confirmation of the Washington-based public interest groups' ongoing warnings about the program. The GAO report underlines many of the problems GAP and Public Citizen have previously identified in the reports, The Jungle 2000 and Hamburger Hell: The Flip Side of USDA's Salmonella Testing Program.
The draft report by the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, confirms that the HACCP program is riddled with design, management and implementation problems and is putting the public's health at risk. Many of the problems described in the report were first identified by the USDA's own Office of Inspector General (OIG) in the summer of 2000.
The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) promotes the HACCP program as "science-based," but this latest report demonstrates that there is little scientific basis to the program. The report details serious flaws in meat company "HACCP plans" written by meat companies to anticipate and prevent food safety hazards. The GAO estimates that it would take years before the FSIS could complete even an initial review of all company plans, yet under HACCP, the vast majority of the USDA's inspection activities in meat plants are based on these plans.
This reliance on HACCP means that in plants with inadequate plans, government inspectors are dispatched on useless inspection activities, while the plants keep shipping potentially dangerous products to market. To make matters worse, the FSIS has made clear that it will not review the scientific validity of company plans unless the plant repeatedly violates food safety laws or there is other evidence of hazard, such as a recall of dangerous products.
"Since the inception of this program in 1997, inspectors have repeatedly asked FSIS management for training, especially on how to determine the adequacy of company HACCP plans," said Paul Johnson, acting chairman of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals. "The agency has told us that evaluating company HACCP plans is not the government's role."
Added Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program, "The Food Safety and Inspection Service's failure to approve, or even examine, company HACCP plans is a critical gap in oversight. This report confirms that FSIS management has not given the inspectors clear instructions or the training they need to do their job in the plants, and consumers are the ones that suffer."
The GAO report also documents systemic confusion about basic enforcement issues. Since 1997, meat inspectors have repeatedly asked FSIS for clarification of the most basic enforcement concepts - such as "What constitutes a repetitive violation?" - but the agency has yet to provide any clear guidance for inspectors or supervisors. This confusion was cited in 2000 by both the OIG, and GAP and Public Citizen in The Jungle 2000. The GAO found that as recently as this year, FSIS supervisors still have widely divergent interpretations about this specific issue. In the meantime, plants with poor enforcement records continue to produce as inspectors on the front line are forced to grapple with these unknowns.
The GAO report also confirms GAP and Public Citizen's most recent findings about HACCP's microbial testing program, released this spring in a report called Hamburger Hell. The groups found that ground beef plants that have repeatedly failed the government's routine testing program for salmonella continue to operate for months before the agency demands corrective action. This means that tons of potentially contaminated meat are reaching the market - with a USDA stamp of approval. The FSIS has recently presented new draft directives and policies to address this and other problems with the testing program, but these are even less specific and more noncommittal than the instructions they replace.
Since the beginning of the HACCP inspection program, GAP and Public Citizen have worked with USDA whistleblowers, individually and collectively, to alert the public to the same problems identified in this GAO report. Ironically, the agency has consistently accused these public servants, who risked their jobs by coming forward, of trying only to protect their jobs.
"Without congressional hearings and a strong demand for FSIS accountability, the GAO report will likely find itself on the scrap heap. In the past, the FSIS has ignored the most compelling evidence of problems, whether identified by its own inspectors in the field or outside reviewers. On each occasion it has responded with little more than a reiteration of its previous empty rhetoric and misleading statistics," said Felicia Nestor, food safety program director for GAP. "When thousands of Americans still die each year from contaminated meat and poultry and in an era when national food safety security is more important than ever, the American public deserves strong action from Congress and real reform of this food inspection system. To date, it appears that taxpayer dollars are doing little more than paying for an inventive but inaccurate public relations blitz by FSIS headquarters. It is time for real reform."
Hamburger Hell http://www.citizen.org/documents/salmonellareport.PDF
The Jungle 2000 http://www.citizen.org/documents/TheJungle2000.PDF
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
For more information, please visit http://www.Citizen.org
Target Iraq: U.S. Plans For Major War
by Larry Everest
"Tens of thousands of marines and soldiers [will invade Iraq] from Kuwait. Hundreds of warplanes based in as many as eight countries, possibly including Turkey and Qatar, would unleash a huge air assault against thousands of targets, including airfields, roadways and fiber-optics communications sites. Special operations forces or covert CIA operatives would strike at depots or laboratories storing or manufacturing Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to launch them." New York Times , July 5, 2002
This isn't a fictional scenario from a Tom Clancy novel. It's a real scenario from "CentCom Courses of Action"--the latest U.S. plan for war on Iraq.
Leaked to the New York Times, the plan calls for attacks on Iraq by U.S. air, land, and sea- based forces from the north, south, and west, in coordination with covert operations inside Iraq by the CIA and various Iraqi groups. As many as 250,000 U.S. troops could be involved. The goal: to overthrow the Iraqi government and install a pro-U.S. regime.
In the 1991 Gulf War, the U.S.-led coalition killed between 100,000 and 200,000 Iraqis. A new U.S. war carried to Baghdad could make that bloodbath pale in comparison.
The Central Command plan reveals the rulers' determination to wage war on Iraq, and how advanced their planning is. Yet the establishment treated their disclosure as routine -- as if the U.S. has an undisputed right to openly plot wars on whomever, whenever.
No big outcry came from Congress -- leading Democrats vocally support "regime change" in Iraq. One Republican backed congressional hearings "as a way of building public support for potential military action." Mainstream editorials focused on tactics and timing - not justice.
Military Preparations Underway
Since September 11 there has been intense discussion within the ruling class over how to seize upon the attacks to advance U.S. global interests. Much of this discussion has focused on Iraq - most of it behind closed doors.
The options reportedly being considered include a CIA-organized coup against the Hussein regime; a campaign--modeled after the U.S. war in Afghanistan--involving a combination of air strikes, a limited number of U.S. Special Forces, and anti-Hussein forces in Iraq; a full-scale U.S. invasion; and various combinations of all three.
The New York Times notes that "Courses of Action" may indicate that war planners favor a large-scale invasion: "Most military and administration officials believe that a coup in Iraq would be unlikely to succeed, and that a proxy battle using local forces would not be enough to drive the Iraqi leader from power."
Meanwhile, the U.S. has been actively preparing for battle. The Washington Post (6/16) reports that earlier this year, Bush "signed an intelligence order directing the CIA to undertake a comprehensive, covert program to topple Saddam Hussein, including authority to use lethal force to capture the Iraqi president." One official told the Post that these plans were not a substitute for war but "should be viewed largely as `preparatory' to a military strike."
In the wake of the 1991 Gulf War, the U.S. built up an extensive network of military bases throughout the region. Today there are some 20,000 U.S. troops in Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait and another 5,000 in Saudi Arabia. These bases are being beefed up, expanded, and readied.
The New York Times reports, "Thousands of marines from the First Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif., the marine unit designated for the Gulf, have stepped up their mock assault drills," and the "Air Force is stockpiling weapons, ammunition and spare parts, like airplane engines, at depots in the United States and in the Middle East." Troops are reportedly arriving in Turkey, and military aid to Jordan is being increased.
U.S. officials have been touring the pro-U.S. regimes in the area to line up support--Defense Secretary Rumsfeld visited Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar in June. In April the CIA brought officials from Kurdish groups based in northern Iraq to the U.S. for secret meetings. Some 70 former Iraqi military officers met in London during the week of July 8 to discuss their role in a U.S. war. And U.S. support for Israel's brutal invasions of the West Bank and Gaza--as well as hypocritical and empty words about a Palestinian "state"--are aimed at extinguishing the fires of the Palestinian uprising in preparation for war against Iraq.
According to the New York Times (7/10), "Once a consensus is reached on the concept, the steps toward assembling a final war plan and the element of timing for ground deployments and launching an air war represent the final decisions for President Bush to make." The Times also reports (7/5) that "senior administration officials continue to say that any offensive would probably be delayed until early next year, allowing time to create the right military, economic and diplomatic conditions." Of course, such timetables are speculative and subject to change by global events.
War preparations are also well underway on the propaganda front. At his July 8 press conference, Bush declared, "The world would be safer, more peaceful if there is a regime change" in Iraq. The U.S. accuses Iraq of possessing or developing "weapons of mass destruction." Yet a number of former UN arms inspectors say that Iraq has largely been disarmed, and even Pentagon officials admit that Iraq's current military is only one-third its 1990 size.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is boosting its already staggering military budget by another $50 billion, and now embraces preemptive wars and first use of nuclear weapons. The U.S. has troops stationed in every corner of the globe and is at this moment bombing Afghanistan, organizing counterinsurgency campaigns in the Philippines and elsewhere, and backing Israel's murderous assaults on Palestinians.
The Bush administration demands that Iraq accept intrusive, U.S.-controlled arms inspections - in other words spies must be allowed to roam throughout Iraq as the U.S. prepares its war. After talks between Iraq and the UN on return of arms inspectors recently broke off, the State Department called Iraq "a threat to regional security, to the nations in the region."
Iraq argues that any agreement on arms inspection must be part of an overall agreement on exactly what constitutes compliance with all UN resolutions. Such terms have never been clearly spelled out -- allowing the U.S. to claim Iraq is "non-compliant" no matter what steps it takes.
This is the prime U.S. excuse for maintaining sanctions, which were extended again in May. In 1999, UNICEF found that one Iraqi child in seven dies before the age of 5. This means that 5,000 more children in Iraq die each month today than before the U.S. war and sanctions. UNICEF also reported that 22 percent of Iraq's young children are chronically malnourished.
An Imperialist Agenda
After September 11, the U.S. rulers aggressively pushed forward their pre-existing agenda of recasting global relations to extend and solidify U.S. global dominance. And waging war on Iraq has been central to this whole vision.
The Wall Street Journal (6/14) revealed that within days of the September attacks, top Bush advisers "argued over whether to launch a strike on Iraq"-- even though there was "no real evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had anything to do with the terror attacks."
In the view of those running the empire, Iraq's defiance undermines U.S. hegemony in the oil-rich Middle East and tarnishes its standing as the world's dominant superpower.
By toppling the current Iraqi government and installing a pro-U.S. regime, the U.S. hopes to tighten its grip on Persian Gulf oil--and all who depend on it. These global predators view war on Iraq as key to redrawing the region's political map and intimidating anti-U.S. resistance. According to the New York Times, top officials argue that "an Iraq under new governance could become a new Western ally, helping to reduce American dependency on bases in Saudi Arabia, to secure Israel's eastern flank and act as a wedge between Iran and Syria."
Waging war on Iraq is also seen as a crucial test of the so-called "Bush doctrine" of pre-emptive wars against any the U.S. considers a threat. Those running the empire are determined to show the world that the U.S. is willing and able to crush any challenger, or sweep away any impediment to its power.
U.S. plans for war against Iraq--and the whole "Bush doctrine"--have nothing to do with "protecting the world" or "saving the lives of American people." They're about naked imperialist power politics--gangsterism on a global scale.
In 1991, on the eve of "Operation Desert Storm," George Bush Sr. declared, "We have no argument with the people of Iraq; indeed, we have only friendship for the people there." Eleven years later, over one million Iraqis are dead thanks to U.S. bombs and sanctions.
Any new U.S. war on Iraq will no doubt be undertaken in the name of helping Iraq's people. But such a war will once again inflict enormous destruction, suffering, and death on ordinary Iraqis.
People around the world -- especially those of us who live in the U.S. itself -- must oppose such an unjust and cruel war with all our hearts.
Larry Everest is a correspondent for the Revolutionary Worker newspaper and the author of Behind the Poison Cloud: Union Carbide's Bhopal Massacre. He traveled to Iraq in 1991 and shot the video Iraq: War Against the People.
He can be reached at mailto:email@example.com
His articles can be found at http://www.rwor.org
"How many times must a man look up, before he can see the sky?
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have, before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died?
The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind."
Warning Over Dolphin 'Extinction'
The dolphins attract thousands of visitors to Scotland Bottle-nosed dolphins could become extinct in British waters within a decade, a report has warned.
An organisation which represents 47 wildlife trusts across the UK said the mammals are dying out as increasing numbers are caught in fishing nets.
The bottle-nosed dolphin population in Scotland's Moray Firth is estimated to have fallen to about 130 - and is believed to be facing further decline.
The population in waters off Cornwall, in south west England, is believed to have dropped by two-thirds in the last 10 years to about 350.
Now, The Wildlife Trusts are calling for tougher laws to protect the species and its habitats.
Director general, Dr Simon Lyster, said: "Our marine environment is in much more trouble than people realise.
"We are still fishing in ways that result in the deaths of hundreds of dolphins and porpoises each year, and in the destruction of precious and rare marine habitats."
The report said that a record 500 dolphins were found stranded on UK shores in the last year.
Post mortem examinations found that the majority had been injured or drowned in nets.
The Wildlife Trusts' marine policy director, Joan Edwards, said: "The system of marine conservation in the UK is woefully deficient.
"The enormity of these problems demands immediate action and commitment from national and local government to ensure effective protection of the marine environment."
The report - entitled Our Dying Seas? - also calls for the creation of a single government ministry to manage marine resources.
There have been several warnings in recent years about the threat to the future of Scotland's dolphin population and the dangers posed by fishing nets.
The dolphins attract thousands of tourists to the Moray Firth area each year, bringing with them about £750,000 for the local economy.
Last month, police said salmon poachers' nets were the main threat to the dolphin pod.
Pollution and overfishing have also been highlighted as threats to the dolphins.
A fishing ministry spokesman said many of the proposals suggested by The Wildlife Trusts were covered by a package of initiatives announced in May.
"We are working to deliver a vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas," he said.
"The government recognises the sense of urgency expressed by this report, and welcomes The Wildlife Trusts' work to highlight these issues.
"But to develop a strategy to safeguard the marine environment for generations to come involves consultation and discussion with all stakeholders."
'Extinction' Claim Over North Sea Cod
by Alex Kirby BBC News Online environment correspondent
Overfishing has driven the cod to virtually vanish from the North Sea, conservationists say.
They say it is now commercially extinct, meaning it makes no economic sense to try to catch it.
Scientists have warned for years that this was likely to happen.
But the claim marks the first time anyone has suggested that cod stocks have actually fallen to so low a level.
It comes from the Wildlife Trusts, a partnership of the 47 county trusts which work and campaign for wildlife protection across the UK.
Damaged beyond repair
Joan Edwards, of the Trusts, told BBC News Online: "The cod really have gone commercially. Most of the cod we eat in the UK now come from Iceland."
In a report, Our Dying Seas?, the Trusts decry the continued commercial fishing for species like the sandeel, on which many food fish and wild species depend.
The report says another species at severe risk is the unique horse mussel, found in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.
It says: "The once vast horse mussel colonies on the seabed that formed a vital habitat for a wide diversity of species have been almost irreparably damaged by commercial dredging for queen scallops."
It blames fishing practices for the plight of several small cetacean species in UK waters:
fishing for bass in the western English Channel by trawlers operating in pairs, which in one recent study recorded 53 common dolphins caught in 12 net hauls. The Trusts are campaigning for the practice to be banned; the deep-water gill net hake fishery, using thin nets floating just above the sea bed. The report estimates the harbour porpoise annual mortality this is said to cause around Cornwall at 6.2%, which it says is unsustainable; the use of monofilament gill nets, which the report says "may have created a direct conflict with species such as the bottlenose dolphin"; the introduction of "rockhopper" trawls, spring-loaded nets able to cope with previously undisturbed reef areas that are home to rare species like the pink seafan and the sunset coral.
The report says the number of dolphins drowned or injured in fishing nets is "dramatically increasing", with a record 500 animals stranded this year, most through contact with nets.
It says bottlenose dolphins off Cornwall have probably declined by almost two-thirds in the last ten years, with possibly only 350 left in UK waters. The species, it estimates, could become extinct here by 2012.
It also wants more protection for basking sharks, the sea's second largest fish at 10 metres in maturity.
And now that leatherback turtles are recognised as part of the UK's native fauna, rather than occasional vagrants, the report urges better protection for them from fishing gear.
The sea returns
It says 100 hectares of salt marsh are lost annually in southern and eastern England to coastal development and erosion. This destroys a habitat for migrating birds and fish.
The Trusts have bought a coastal farm in Essex where the sea defences will be breached, permitting the creation of more than 80 ha of salt marsh and mudflat.
The report criticises salmon farming in Scotland, which it says produces large amounts of polluting nutrients.
The Trusts say the future lies in ecosystem management, a process they call integrated marine stewardship. They want the government to issue a policy statement, to introduce new laws, and to unify the management of marine resources.
Navy Cleared To Use A Sonar Despite Fears Of Injuring Whales
by Marc Kaufman, The Washington Post, July 16, 2002; Page A03
The Navy won approval yesterday to deploy two ships that use controversial low-frequency sonar to detect faraway submarines, despite continuing questions about whether the system's loud blasts will injure whales and other ocean mammals.
The ruling by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grants the Navy an exemption from federal rules that guard marine mammals from incidental injury. The agency concluded that protective measures required of the Navy will ensure that the effects of the sonar will be "negligible" and will not undermine the long-term health of whales and other ocean mammals.
However, the five-year authorization requires the Navy to investigate unanswered questions regarding how the low-frequency sonar affects whale behavior, and whether it can silence the songs of large whales in particular. It also forbids the Navy from using the system when ocean mammals are within 1.1 nautical miles, since the force of the noise can damage their hearing and disrupt their activities within that range.
The decision was a blow to environmentalists who fear that growing noise pollution in the oceans will harm whales, dolphins, porpoises and other sea creatures that have been at the center of global preservation efforts. It was welcomed by those worried about how environmental and endangered-species laws have been affecting military preparedness.
"The monitoring will be extensive and research will continue," said Rebecca Lent, deputy assistant administrator with NOAA Fisheries. "The goal is to make sure that marine mammals are protected as much as [is] feasible."
The long-awaited ruling is not expected to settle the issue. Environmental groups have strongly opposed the low-frequency sonar plan, and Michael Jasny of the Natural Resources Defense Council said his group is actively considering a lawsuit to stop it. The NRDC's protests helped stop the Navy's early low-frequency sonar experiments and led to the Navy's 1999 request for an exemption from the Marine Mammal Act.
Jasny yesterday criticized the agency for "permitting global use of the system without assessing its potential to kill marine mammals and without providing any effective way of ensuring that none are killed."
A lawsuit, however, could also result in congressional action to move ahead anyway. The Bush administration has been exploring legislation to make sure that environmental and animal protection rules not be allowed to supersede military preparedness.
According to Lt. Cmdr. Pauline Storum, the Navy expects to receive its formal permission to begin using the sonar in a month, and hopes to deploy the system soon after. She said the Navy "remains committed to the environmentally responsible deployment" of the sonar "to balance the national imperatives of military readiness and environmental conservation."
The new sonar, part of the Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS), would allow the Navy to detect and track quiet submarines --which don't create the noise that can be followed through "passive" sonar --and to do it at a much longer range. The low frequencies are essential to the system because they travel much farther underwater than the higher frequencies now employed.
The new sonar system creates a noise roughly equivalent to that of a Boeing 747 engine at takeoff, and would clearly injure many marine mammals if they were close by. But under the NOAA permit, the Navy would use visual sighting, and the kind of passive sonar used by commercial fishing fleets, to make sure no marine mammals are within the prohibited zone around the noise blast. The sonar would also not be allowed within 12 nautical miles of coastlines.
The permit issued yesterday gives the Navy permission to injure some whales and other ocean mammals should its monitoring system fail. But NOAA officials said they did not expect that to happen.
NOAA officials acknowledged they still don't have answers to some key questions regarding how the sonar system will affect these whales and their long-term behavior. According to Roger Gentry, coordinator of the NOAA acoustics team, large whales -- including blue, fin and humpback --communicate at the same low frequencies as the new sonar, and so their ears would be particularly sensitive to it.
Concern about noise pollution in the oceans has grown as researchers learn more about how marine mammals rely on sound to avoid dangers, to find food and to interact with each other. Much of the problematic noise comes from commercial shipping and underwater oil and gas exploration, but Navy sonar has also proven to be deadly.
That became clear after the March 2000 stranding of 17 whales and dolphins in the Bahamas. The Navy initially denied its sonar caused the subsequent deaths of six beaked whales, but later acknowledged responsibility after unusual tests -- made possible by the freezing of several dead whales --showed the animals had suffered internal injuries from the noise. The Navy and NOAA said the Bahamas incident involved mid-frequency sonar, which is more harmful under certain unusual circumstances than the low-frequency sonar now permitted.
The Navy had initially requested a permit to deploy four ships with the low-frequency sonar, but yesterday's permit allows two. One ship has been completed and one is under construction.
In a triumph of the military over the environment, the U.S. Navy yesterday won approval to deploy two ships that use low-frequency sonar to detect distant submarines, despite ongoing fears that the system could injure whales and other marine mammals. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration granted the Navy an exemption from federal rules protecting marine mammals, saying the likely effects of the sonar would be "negligible" as long as protective measures were followed. The new sonar system creates a noise similar to a Boeing 747 at takeoff, a sound everyone agrees would injure nearby marine mammals. The NOAA ruling, however, requires the Navy to use visual sighting and passive sonar to make sure that no mammals are within 1.1 nautical miles when the sonar is used. But environmentalists question whether that will sufficiently protect whales, dolphins, and other sea creatures; the Natural Resources Defense Council said it might sue to overturn the ruling.
straight to the source: Washington Post, Marc Kaufman, 16 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=260>
only in Grist: To know a whale -- a cartoon by Suzy Becker <http://www.gristmagazine.com/ha/ha011601.stm?source=daily>
THE KINGSOLVER AND I
Thanks to a string of wildly successful novels and a stint on Oprah's Book Club, Barbara Kingsolver can count on attracting a lot of readers to just about anything she writes. That's good news for environmentalists, according to reviewer Jonna Higgins-Freese, because Kingsolver's new essay collection, "Small Wonder," makes the case for living lightly on the land. From thoughts about how the United States' profligate use of natural resources contributed to the events of Sept. 11 to reflections on her daughter's relationship with a rooster, Kingsolver engages with the world as it is and as it should be -- while offering thoughts on how to get from here to there. If there is something environmentalists can learn from this book, writes Higgins-Freese, it is how to do a better job communicating the importance of the work they do. Read the complete review, only on the Grist Magazine website.
only in Grist: The Kingsolver and I -- a review of "Small Wonder" by Barbara Kingsolver -- in our Books Unbound section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/books/books071602.asp?source=daily>
WHAT ABOUT TUPPERWARE?
Now that the U.S. Senate has given the go-ahead to store the nation's most highly radioactive nuclear waste at Nevada's Yucca Mountain, new questions loom: What kind of containers can protect the waste for 10,000 years, and who will provide them? Those are high-stakes issues, given that the Department of Energy plans to buy about 10,000 storage containers at roughly $500,000 a pop. So far, the DOE is looking at conventional containers made of steel alloyed with chrome, molybdenum, and nickel, and covered by a titanium tent. But some scientists question whether anything made of metal can withstand long-term storage without rusting -- especially since water percolates through the rocks under Yucca Mountain. Ceramics and polymers have been proposed as alternative materials, but experts say the DOE is likely to opt for familiar materials over experimental ones.
straight to the source: New York Times, Matthew L. Wald, 16 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=261>
only in Grist: Yucky Mountain -- a cartoon by Suzy Becker <http://www.gristmagazine.com/ha/ha030402.asp?source=daily>
do good: Take action to block the nuke waste plan for Yucca Mountain <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/toxic.asp?source=daily#yuccatrain>
COD IS DEAD
In a development that scientists have predicted for years, cod have virtually vanished from the North Sea due to overfishing, according to a report by the U.K.-based Wildlife Trusts. The species is now commercially extinct, meaning it no longer makes economic sense to try to catch it. The report also chronicles the decline of other species, ranging from the horse mussel to the sunset coral. Especially at risk is the bottle-nosed dolphin, which could become extinct in British waters within a decade. The dolphin population has already declined precipitously -- in some areas, by as much as two-thirds -- with many dolphins falling victim to fishing nets. Wildlife Trusts is calling for stricter fishing laws to protect the bottle-nosed dolphin and other species.
straight to the source: BBC News, Alex Kirby, 16 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=262>
straight to the source: BBC News, 16 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=263>
do good: Take action to boost dwindling fish stocks <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/oceans.asp?source=daily#fisheries>
ALCOA CAN WAIT
And now, some news from a place you seldom hear about: Iceland, which is forming the backdrop for the latest skirmish in the battle between conservationists and power companies. The country's Vatnajokull Glacier is Europe's second-largest wilderness, and is graced with mountains, lakes, canyons, rivers, and abundant wildlife. Iceland's national power company wants to harness the billions of gallons of glacial melt off Vatnajokull by building a $3 billion hydropower plant. (That's about a third of the country's gross domestic product, by the way.) The plant will have precisely one customer: a smelter owned by Alcoa, the world's largest aluminum company. Alcoa defends its entry into the Icelandic power market, saying hydropower is at least cleaner than coal. But, noting that the plan would entail damming two of the area's three virgin rivers, environmentalists say the cost to the pristine region is not worth the handful of jobs the plant and smelter would provide.
straight to the source: New York Times, Donald G. McNeil, Jr., 16 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=264>
do good: Take action to save Brazil's Araguaia River from another Alcoa project <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/rivers.asp?source=daily#araguaia>
FEMA Preparing For Mass Destruction Attacks On Cities
John O. Edwards, July 15, 2002
FEMA, the federal agency charged with disaster preparedness, is engaged in a crash effort to prepare for multiple mass destruction attacks on U.S. cities - including the creation of sprawling temporary cities to handle millions of displaced persons, NewsMax has learned.
FEMA is readying for nuclear, biological and chemical attacks against U.S. cities, including the possibility of multiple attacks with mass destruction weapons.
The agency has already notified vendors, contractors and consultants that it needs to be prepared to handle the logistics of aiding millions of displaced Americans who will flee from urban areas that may be attacked.
The agency plans to create emergency, makeshift cities that could house hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans who may have to flee their urban homes if their cities are attacked.
Ominously, FEMA has been given a deadline of having the cities ready to go by January 2003 in about six months.
A source familiar with the deadline believes the effort is related to making the U.S. prepared for counterattacks if the U.S. invades Iraq sometime next year.
FEMA is currently seeking bids from major real estate management firms, and plans to name three firms in the near future to handle the logistics and planning for these temporary cities.
FEMA officials have told these firms they already have tents and trailers ordered. The tents and trailers would provide shelter for displaced populations.
The real estate firms are expected to provide engineers and architects to lay the plans for emergency infrastructure needs, such as sewage and electricity.
"You can blame people who knock things over in the dark, or you can begin to light candles.
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE
"We Cover the Earth For You"
WILDFIRES PLAGUE TINDER DRY WESTERN STATES
BOISE, Idaho, July 15, 2002 (ENS) - Hot, dry conditions which have fueled raging wildfires in several western states this summer, are expected to hang on through September, according to the latest seasonal outlook from NOAA's National Weather Service.
REEF FISH LAUNDERING HIDES PACIFIC OVERFISHING
AVARUA, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, July 15, 2002 (ENS) - Money laundering gets the headlines from Majuro to Paris. But an untold story of fish laundering and reef destruction has become a major concern in the Pacific, conservationists told regional journalists in Rarotonga on Thursday.
OPINION: BEWARE CARCINOGENS, PHTHALATES IN COSMETICS
By Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
CHICAGO, Illinois, July 15, 2002 (ENS) - In October 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal scientists reported on the identification of phthalates in the urine of adults, with the highest levels in premenopausal women. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responded that it would "consider" this information.
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE AMERISCAN: JULY 15, 2002
IDAHO NATIONAL LAB TO BE NUCLEAR R&D CENTER
FASTER CLEANUP OF SAVANNAH NUCLEAR SITE FUNDED
BUSH SENDS U.S.-RUSSIA POLAR BEAR PACT TO SENATE
ARCO HIT WITH $2 MILLION SUPERFUND LAWSUIT
DIAZINON FOUND IN BOISE WASTEWATER
BOATERS ENCOURAGED TO BUY LOW POLLUTING OUTBOARDS
BOSTON BUSES BUSTED FOR IDLING
ENVIROS SEEK TO SPEAK FOR THE OREGON TREES
SciTech Daily Review
The largest ever clinical trial of hormone replacement therapy for healthy post-menopausal women has been halted early because the risks clearly outweigh the benefits
People who like to spend their sunny summer days in the great outdoors will soon be able to stock their picnic hampers with compostable potato plates
We're wired for sound: Tiny babies recognise melodies -- and music can aid the rehabilitation of stroke patients
Life, the universe and a game of chequers: Stephen Wolfram demonstrates both the pros and the cons of working outside the scientific system in his theory of everything, A New Kind of Science ...
The whirlwind convergence of science fact and fiction begs the question: Is a sense of the impossible becoming passé? Even paranoia isn't what it used to be
The editor of Psychology Today has a theory that you can learn to fall in love, and he's using himself as a guinea pig of passion
A Police State In Stars And Stripes
Why Jose Padilla Matters
by M. W. Guzy
When Allied troops stormed the beaches on D-Day, they headed for Berlin. Nobody knew when -- or whether -- they'd get there, but it was generally understood if the city fell, the German Reich would fall with it. In the war on terror, no correspondingly distinct benchmark for victory exists. That's because we're combating an abstraction.
Had we declared war on Al Qaeda, it might have been possible to define success. However, I'm not the first to point out that "terrorism" is a methodology. It's a way of doing things that justifies violent criminal means by appealing to lofty ends. As that definition covers events ranging from the Boston Tea Party to the LAX shootings, it's clear that any campaign mounted against "terrorism" will likely be a long one. Which brings us to the troubling matter of "dirty bomb suspect" Jose Padilla.
A small-time criminal who underwent a jailhouse conversion to Islam and changed his name to Abdullah Al Muhajir, he was arrested upon return from South Asia, where he allegedly plotted to build a radioactive weapon. The president subsequently declared him an enemy combatant. He's now in a Navy brig pending the cessation of hostilities, which, as we've seen, aren't about to end anytime soon.
Obviously, the government has a duty to protect the nation from its enemies. This case, however, brings to mind the favorite adage of a former law instructor: "when you change the facts, you change the law" applicable to them.
The other two nominal Americans nabbed thus far in the present conflict, John Walker Lindh and Yaser Esam Hambi, arguably forfeited their claim to citizenship by fighting on behalf of a foreign power. Each was captured by military forces in a combat zone.
Padilla, on the other hand, was born in Brooklyn, raised in Chicago and arrested by civilian authorities at O'Hare Airport. As we're all equal before the law, his legal status is the same as any other citizen's. If he can be forever detained by executive order without so much as a hearing before an independent magistrate, so can anybody else. When your liberty is insured solely by the goodwill and competence of those in charge, you live in a police state.
Because the erosion of rights tends to occur gradually, it's easier seen at a distance. A cabal of Roman Senators, for instance, assassinated Julius Caesar because they feared his growing power. When his successor, Augustus, finally consolidated imperial might, the Senate didn't disband but rather devolved into a ceremonial vestige of the erstwhile Republic. The civil rights of Romans slowly atrophied from inalienable guarantees under the law to mere traditions enjoyed at the pleasure of the emperor.
Meanwhile, conservative critics ask why I would go to bat for this guy and question where my loyalties lie. The answer to the latter inquiry is that they lie with the American Republic and its rule of law. Which is why Padilla matters.
M. W. Guzy is a former police detective and school teacher who now writes a weekly column for the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
A POLICE STATE IN STARS AND STRIPES
Why Jose Padilla Matters
by M. W. Guzy
If Padilla can be forever detained by executive order, so can anybody else. When your liberty is insured solely by the goodwill of those in charge, you live in a police state.
THE HIDDEN COST OF SPRAWL
by Lester Graham
Economists and urban planners find there are hidden costs that are not paid by the people who live in those suburbs. Instead, much of the costs are paid by the majority of us who don't live there.
DEBUNKING THE MYTHS OF BOTTLED WATER
An Excerpt From Blue Gold
by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke
In contrast to the market image of "pure spring water" that is projected by the industry, bottled water is not always safer than tap water and in some instances it is less so.
ECONOMICS REPORTING REVIEW:
July 6 - July 12
A Weekly Compendium And Commentary
by Dean Baker
The Stock Market Slide ... Health Insurance Premiums ... The State of the Economy ... U.S. Spending on AIDS in Africa ... Recycling Bottles and Cans ... and more.
SLAVERY IN THE NAME OF FREE MARKETS
Intense public pressure from the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s convinced the U.S. government to divest from companies that benefitted from South Africa's racist political system. In the same way, a House amendment passed by a vote of 422 to 2 last year to prohibit foreign companies from raising capital in the United States so long as they remain in business with the brutal Sudanese government in oil development. But at a June 5 hearing of the House International Relations Committee, both Democrats and Republicans wanted to know why the Bush administration continues to fervently oppose the amendment to the Sudan Peace Act.
"The ravages of slavery in the south have been compounded by ethnic cleansing in areas where the Khartoum government, in partnership with international oil companies, is reaping large and growing profits from the oil fields," writes The Village Voice's Nat Hentoff in a recent column. "Aware of that, [conservative Republican Spencer] Bachus came up with the only realistic way to convince the National Islamic Front to end ... the enslavement of black Christians and animists in the south of Sudan, implemented by the National Islamic Front government in the north."
Walter Kansteiner, assistant secretary of state for African affairs and loyal member of the Bush administration, told the committee that the horrors of Sudan, including the documented rape, beating and executions of slaves, have not gone "far enough" to justify capital market sanctions. California Democrat Tom Lantos, a fierce human rights advocate, asked, "Are you living in this world, Mr. Kansteiner?"
CHECK IT OUT! http://www.tompaine.com/check_it_out/
Planet Ark World Environment News
FEATURE - 3M relaunches "greener" Scotchgard - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16879/story.htm
UK state-owned nuclear firm in record loss - report - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16873/story.htm
Ten rare crocodiles seized at London airport - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16881/story.htm
Forest fires blaze in central Portugal - PORTUGAL http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16871/story.htm
Cold snap kills five in southern Peru - PERU http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16882/story.htm
UPDATE - Japan braces for Halong, second typhoon in a week - JAPAN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16876/story.htm
Toyota to cut eco-friendly China peat to cool roofs - JAPAN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16878/story.htm
Russia shrugs off US pressure over Iran reactor - IRAN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16874/story.htm
Indonesia set to train judges on environment issues - INDONESIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16875/story.htm
German renewable revenues rose 35 pct in 2001 - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16872/story.htm
Orphan orca swims to freedom in Canada - CANADA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16880/story.htm
CIA Director Warned Congress About 9/11 Attacks
The Memory Hole has just posted an important audio clip regarding the 9/11 attacks.
It's certainly one of the most disturbing and important indications that the government knew the attacks of September 11, 2001, were coming. On that morning, National Public Radio (NPR) was presenting live coverage of the attacks on its show Morning Edition. Host Bob Edwards went to a reporter in the field--David Welna, NPR's Congressional correspondent--who was in the Capitol building as it was being evacuated. Here is the crucial portion of Welna's report:
"I spoke with Congressman Ike Skelton--a Democrat from Missouri and a member of the Armed Services Committee--who said that just recently the Director of the CIA warned that there could be an attack--an imminent attack--on the United States of this nature. So this is not entirely unexpected."
To hear this audio in MP3 format (or as streaming Real Audio), head to:
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Listen to individual stories:
World Trade Center Attack #1
Breaking News of the Attack on the World Trade Center.
The Great Charade
As the West Prepares For an Assault on Iraq, The 'War On Terror' is a Smokescreen Created by the Ultimate Terrorist... America Itself
by John Pilger, Observer of London, July 14, 2002
It is 10 months since 11 September, and still the great charade plays on. Having appropriated our shocked response to that momentous day, the rulers of the world have since ground our language into a paean of cliches and lies about the 'war on terrorism' -when the most enduring menace, and source of terror, is them.
The fanatics who attacked America came from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. No bombs fell on these American protectorates. Instead, more than 5,000 civilians have been bombed to death in stricken Afghanistan, the latest a wedding party of 40 people, mostly women and children. Not a single al-Qaeda leader of importance has been caught.
Following this 'stunning victory', hundreds of prisoners were shipped to an American concentration camp in Cuba, where they have been held against all the conventions of war and international law. No evidence of their alleged crimes has been produced, and the FBI confirms only one is a genuine suspect. In the United States, more than 1,000 people of Muslim background have 'disappeared'; none has been charged. Under the draconian Patriot Act, the FBI's new powers include the authority to go into libraries and ask who is reading what.
Meanwhile, the Blair government has made fools of the British Army by insisting they pursue warring tribesmen: exactly what squaddies in putties and pith helmets did over a century ago when Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, described Afghanistan as one of the 'pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a great game for the domination of the world'.
There is no war on terrorism; it is the great game speeded up. The difference is the rampant nature of the superpower, ensuring infinite dangers for us all.
Having swept the Palestinians into the arms of the supreme terrorist Ariel Sharon, the Christian Right fundamentalists running the plutocracy in Washington, now replenish their arsenal in preparation for an attack on the 22 million suffering people of Iraq. Should anyone need reminding, Iraq is a nation held hostage to an American-led embargo every bit as barbaric as the dictatorship over which Iraqis have no control. Contrary to propaganda orchestrated from Washington and London, the coming attack has nothing to do with Saddam Hussein's 'weapons of mass destruction', if these exist at all. The reason is that America wants a more compliant thug to run the world's second greatest source of oil.
The drum-beaters rarely mention this truth, and the people of Iraq. Everyone is Saddam Hussein, the demon of demons. Four years ago, the Pentagon warned President Clinton that an all-out attack on Iraq might kill 'at least' 10,000 civilians: that, too, is unmentionable. In a sustained propaganda campaign to justify this outrage, journalists on both sides of the Atlantic have been used as channels, 'conduits', for a stream of rumors and lies. These have ranged from false claims about an Iraqi connection with the anthrax attacks in America to a discredited link between the leader of the 11 September hijacks and Iraqi intelligence. When the attack comes, these consorting journalists will share responsibility for the crime.
It was Tony Blair who served notice that imperialism's return journey to respectability was under way. Hark, the Christian gentleman-bomber's vision of a better world for 'the starving, the wretched, the dispossessed, the ignorant, those living in want and squalor from the deserts of northern Africa to the slums of Gaza to the mountain ranges of Afghanistan.' Hark, his 'abiding' concern for the 'human rights of the suffering women of Afghanistan' as he colluded with Bush who, as the New York Times reported, 'demanded the elimination of truck convoys that provide much of the food and other supplies to Afghanistan's civilian population'. Hark his compassion for the 'dispossessed' in the 'slums of Gaza', where Israeli gunships, manufactured with vital British parts, fire their missiles into crowded civilian areas.
As Frank Furedi reminds us in The New Ideology of Imperialism , it is not long ago 'that the moral claims of imperialism were seldom questioned in the West. Imperialism and the global expansion of the western powers were represented in unambiguously positive terms as a major contributor to human civilization.' The quest went wrong when it was clear that fascism was imperialism, too, and the word vanished from academic discourse. In the best Stalinist tradition, imperialism no longer existed. Today, the preferred euphemism is civilization.'; or if an adjective is required, 'cultural'.
From Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, an ally of crypto-fascists, to impeccably liberal commentators, the new imperialists share a concept whose true meaning relies on a xenophobic or racist comparison with those who are deemed uncivilized, culturally inferior and might challenge the 'values' of the West. Watch the 'debates' on Newsnight. The question is how best 'we' can deal with the problem of 'them'.
For much of the western media, especially those commentators in thrall to and neutered by the supercult of America, the most salient truths remain taboos. Professor Richard Falk, of Cornell university, put it succinctly some years ago. Western foreign policy, he wrote, is propagated in the media 'through a self righteous, one-way moral/legal screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted violence'.
Perhaps the most important taboo is the longevity of the United States as both a terrorist state and a haven for terrorists. That the US is the only state on record to have been condemned by the World Court for international terrorism (in Nicaragua) and has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling on governments to observe international law, is unmentionable.
'In the war against terrorism,' said Bush from his bunker following 11 September, 'we're going to hunt down these evil-doers wherever they are, no matter how long it takes.'
Strictly speaking, it should not take long, as more terrorists are given training and sanctuary in the United States than anywhere on earth. They include mass murderers, torturers, former and future tyrants and assorted international criminals. This is virtually unknown to the American public, thanks to the freest media on earth.
There is no terrorist sanctuary to compare with Florida, currently governed by the President's brother, Jeb Bush. In his book Rogue State , former senior State Department official Bill Blum describes a typical Florida trial of three anti-Castro terrorists, who hijacked a plane to Miami at knifepoint. 'Even though the kidnapped pilot was brought back from Cuba to testify against the men,' he wrote, 'the defense simply told the jurors the man was lying, and the jury deliberated for less than an hour before acquitting the defendants.'
General Jose Guillermo Garcia has lived comfortably in Florida since the 1990s. He was head of El Salvador's military during the 1980s when death squads with ties to the army murdered thousands of people. General Prosper Avril, the Haitian dictator, liked to display the bloodied victims of his torture on television. When he was overthrown, he was flown to Florida by the US Government. Thiounn Prasith, Pol Pot's henchman and apologist at the United Nations, lives in New York. General Mansour Moharari, who ran the Shah of Iran's notorious prisons, is wanted in Iran, but untroubled in the United States.
Al-Qaeda's training camps in Afghanistan were kindergartens compared with the world's leading university of terrorism at Fort Benning in Georgia. Known until recently as the School of the Americas, it trained tyrants and some 60,000 Latin American special forces, paramilitaries and intelligence agents in the black arts of terrorism.
In 1993, the UN Truth Commission on El Salvador named the army officers who had committed the worst atrocities of the civil war; two-thirds of them had been trained at Fort Benning. In Chile, the school's graduates ran Pinochet's secret police and three principal concentration camps. In 1996, the US government was forced to release copies of the school's training manuals, which recommended blackmail, torture, execution and the arrest of witnesses' relatives.
In recent months, the Bush regime has torn up the Kyoto treaty, which would ease global warming, to which the United States is the greatest contributor. It has threatened the use of nuclear weapons in 'pre-emptive' strikes (a threat echoed by Defense Minister Geoffrey Hoon). It has tried to abort the birth of an international criminal court. It has further undermined the United Nations by blocking a UN investigation of the Israeli assault on a Palestinian refugee camp; and it has ordered the Palestinians to replace their elected leader with an American stooge. At summit conferences in Canada and Indonesia, Bush's people have blocked hundreds of millions of dollars going to the most deprived people on earth, those without clean water and electricity.
These facts will no doubt beckon the inane slur of 'anti-Americanism'. This is the imperial prerogative: the last refuge of those whose contortion of intellect and morality demands a loyalty oath. As Noam Chomsky has pointed out, the Nazis silenced argument and criticism with 'anti German' slurs. Of course, the United States is not Germany; it is the home of some of history's greatest civil rights movements, such as the epic movement in the 1960s and 1970s.
I was in the US last week and glimpsed that other America, the one rarely seen among the media and Hollywood stereotypes, and what was clear was that it was stirring again. The other day, in an open letter to their compatriots and the world, almost 100 of America's most distinguished names in art, literature and education wrote this:
'Let it not be said that people in the United States did nothing when their government declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures of repression. We believe that questioning, criticism and dissent must be valued and protected. Such rights are always contested and must be fought for. We, too, watched with shock the horrific events of September 11. But the mourning had barely begun when our leaders launched a spirit of revenge. The government now openly prepares to wage war on Iraq - a country that has no connection with September 11.
'We say this to the world. Too many times in history people have waited until it was too late to resist. We draw on the inspiration of those who fought slavery and all those other great causes of freedom that began with dissent. We call on all like-minded people around the world to join us.'
It is time we joined them.
This is a revised extract from The New Rulers of the World , by John Pilger, published by Verso.
AlterNet Relaunches EnviroHealth Site
Visit our newly reinvigorated Environmental Health page to read "Are Your Beauty Products Killing You?" -- an AlterNet exclusive about toxic chemicals widely used in popular cosmetics. You'll also find the latest news, opinion and analysis about the state of the environment, from climate change and sustainable development to food and medical news.
SEEKING REFUGE FROM THE DRUG WAR
Ross Crockford, AlterNet
Persecuted medical marijuana advocates are seeking refugee status in Canada to evade punitive sentences for cultivation in the U.S.
THE SEXIEST ANTIDEPRESSANT
Liz Langley, AlterNet
A new study suggests that women whose partners don't wear condoms are happier than women whose partners do -- could it be that semen makes you happy?
CRIME AND (VERY LITTLE) PUNISHMENT
Arianna Huffington, AlterNet
All of official Washington is high on corporate punishment. But if past is prologue, then very few of the robber barons will ever see the inside of a jail cell.
THE MIX IS THE MESSAGE V: DRUG WAR EXPLOSIONS
Don Hazen, AlterNet
In the latest crushing blow dealt by the feds, a medical marijuana user in California faces a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for a pot conviction.
REQUIEM FOR A PRESIDENT:
DISSECTING DUBYA'S CORPORATE CRIME PLAN
James A. Thompson, AlterNet
With confidence in corporate America at an all-time low, Bush's July 9 speech could have restored lost trust. But his Wall Street remedy was wide of the mark by a mile.
Bruce Shapiro, LA Weekly
The Attorney General's trigger-happy record on the death penalty is running against the tide of public and judicial opinion.
* In Rights & Liberties: http://www.alternet.org/?IssueAreaID=33
ACCOUNTABILITY IGNORED IN KAKRAK ERRANT BOMBING
David Corn, AlterNet
The latest U.S. military mishap in Afghanistan proved once again that neither the Pentagon nor the Bush administration care to evaluate claims, determine guilt or even apologize.
ZIG ZAG ZEN
Douglas Cruickshank, Salon
A book about Buddhism and psychedelics asks whether it's best, when seeking higher consciousness, to take the stairs or the elevator.
IS THE INGLEWOOD BEATING REALLY ANOTHER RODNEY KING?
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, AlterNet
The beating of Donovan Jackson should send a signal to police officials that they must act swiftly and firmly against those officers who still act as if above the law.
Nagy Visit On Iraq Sanctions Takes Denmark
by Storm by Norbert Payne and Coilín ÓhAiseadha, July 15, 2002
While US plans for the production of Gulf War II rumble on relentlessly, the Danish campaign to abolish the sanctions against Iraq was given a huge boost by the visit of Professor Tom Nagy at the start of June. Here, Nagy presented unshakeable documentation for how the sanctions have been applied to ban the import of water purification equipment and chemicals, thus provoking epidemics of diseases such as cholera, hepatitis and typhoid fever.
Nagys current position is Associate Professor in the school of business and public management at George Washington University, and has previously held full-time research posts in the area of public health.
While searching on the Pentagons Gulflink site for data that might shed some light on Gulf syndrome, Professor Nagy almost accidentally entered the search term water, and was horrified by one of the reports he turned up. Headed Iraq water treatment vulnerabilities and dated January 1991, the Defense Intelligence Agency report details the difficulties the civilian population of Iraq were predicted to experience in finding potable water in the presence of restrictions on the import of water purification equipment and chemicals.
Like a warder doing his rounds to ensure that all doors are securely locked, the report addresses, point by point, the various sources of water that might be considered, explaining why each one is precluded:
Most of Iraqs water supply is heavily mineralized and frequently brackish to saline. Precipitation occurs in Iraq during the winter and spring, but it falls primarily in the northern mountains. Iraq's rivers "contain biological materials, pollutants, and are laden with bacteria.
The document states: Unless water treatment supplies are exempted from the UN sanctions for humanitarian reasons, no adequate solution exists for Iraq's water purification dilemma ... And it explicitly presents the expected consequences for the civilian population: Unless the water is purified with chlorine, epidemics of such diseases as cholera, hepatitis, and typhoid could occur.
A series of six related reports document the degradation of the Iraqi water supply that took place in the first half of 1991. Predictions were made of outbreaks or epidemics of hepatitis and cholera, and the fulfillment of these predictions was subsequently documented in detail.
In an article published in The Progressive magazine, Nagy quoted Representative Tony Hall, Democrat of Ohio, who wrote to then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, expressing his concern about blocks and holds placed on contracts for import of water purification equipment and chemicals in the UN Security Council. Holds on seventeen out of eighteen contracts were placed by the United States, and the last was placed by the United Kingdom.
Professor Nagys article, The Secret Behind the Sanctions, has been nominated by Project Censored as one of the top ten censored stories of the year 2001. In contrast, Nagy was overwhelmed by the level of attention he received in the Danish media. Two national newspapers and one of the foremost current affairs programs on national radio lined up for in-depth interviews.
And the reception from the Danish public was equally powerful. The audience at a meeting entitled Stop the Cholera War, held at Copenhagen University on June 4, was by turns curious, appalled, moved, and many of those present were ultimately inspired to participate in an ongoing campaign to abolish the sanctions.
Nagys presentation was remarkably up-beat, culminating in a patriotic proposal that the US make atonement for its inhumane policies of the past by investing in a global clean water project: "According to the World Health Organization, 2.3 million children under the age of five are dying every year as a result of water-borne diseases. This could be globally prevented for the sum of nine billion dollars annually. The United States should pay this sum as a memorial to the children who have died in Iraq, and as a sign of remorse." This measure, he argued, would likely be more valuable in countering terrorism than any increase in military expenditure.
The next day was Constitution Day, on which Danes traditionally take a half day off to listen to elected representatives making cheerful speeches about the thriving state of Danish democracy. First stop for Nagy was the Christiansborg Peace Watch, which has been standing in protest outside the Danish house of parliament every day since Denmark entered the War on Terrorism on October 19 last year. An interview for the radio was followed by a photo session for one of the newspapers and a train ride to the provincial capital of Odense, for a Constitution Day meeting with a distinctly different flavor.
Coverage in the newspapers and on radio over the next weekend and into the following week was very gratifying for the visiting professor. A double-page spread appeared in the Sunday edition of the daily Politiken, under the heading: When Water is a Weapon. The Monday interview in the independent intellectual broadsheet, Information, bore the heading: US Deliberately Lets Children Die.
A follow-up article in Information, under the title Denmark Shuts Its Eyes, presented the responses of the foreign policy spokespersons of a range of Danish political parties. Perhaps most significantly, the press secretary of the Conservative Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that the minister was unable to make a statement, as the ministry was unaware of documentation for the assertion that the United States has banned the import of water purification equipment.
Clearly, the Danish Committee for Peace and Development in Iraq has a significant level of ignorance to address. But with the success of Tom Nagys visit behind it, the committee is confident that an October visit from former UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Hans-Christof von Sponeck, will do much to create enlightenment.
Meanwhile, Professor Nagy has returned to Washington more than content with a level of media coverage that currently seems almost unimaginable within the United States. But perhaps it is still possible that he will be recognized as a prophet in his own land. Norbert Payne is a technical writer who regularly does logistical support in the field, including water supply and purification in refugee camps, for a medical NGO.
Coilín ÓhAiseadha is a medical doctor with clinical experience in Northern Ireland. Currently self-employed as a full-time freelance translator. Contact: Coilín ÓhAiseadha: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Both authors are Irish, but living in Copenhagen, Denmark, and active members of the Peace Watch, which has stood in protest outside the Danish house of parliament since Denmark entered the War on Terrorism, on October 19, 2001.
Justice For Bhopal: Corporate Crimes And Their Bodycount
by Rahul Mahajan, CommonDreams.org, July 15, 2002
Recently, Americans have been focused on corporate crimes that cheated stockholders and taxpayers out of money to benefit executives and politicians.
This week we must focus on a crime that cost thousands their lives, as executives and politicians try to cut a deal to escape what little accountability remains.
To persuade us of its importance, Rashida Bi -- one victim of that corporate crime -- is risking her life on hunger strike -- for constant updates on the hunger strike, as well as details about the strikers' demands, see:
The story began goes back to the 1984 Union Carbide accident in Bhopal, India, which released a cloud of methyl isocyanate (MIC), hydrogen cyanide, and other toxins. Somewhere between 4000 and 8000 people died at the time, and victims' advocates estimate that in total over 20,000 have died as a result of this largest industrial accident ever, with 150,000 suffering continuing injuries and medical problems.
The cause was extreme corporate malfeasance. The plant was not up to minimal Union Carbide safety standards -- large quantities of MIC were unwisely stored in a heavily populated area, the refrigeration unit for the MIC (which is supposed to kept at temperatures below 32 F) was deliberately kept turned off to save $40 per day in Freon costs, the safety systems were dismantled, and the alarm system was turned off. This even though the same plant had earlier suffered potentially lethal accidental releases of gases like the deadly nerve agent phosgene. Both civil and criminal charges were filed, including a charge of culpable homicide against Warren Anderson, then Carbide's CEO.
The civil case was settled, after extreme obstructionism on the part of Carbide, for a paltry $470 million -- a few hundred dollars each for victims still suffering a nightmarish array of cancer, tuberculosis, severe birth defects, reproductive and menstrual abnormalities, eye problems, and more. The settlement, reached without consulting the victims, was so favorable that when it transpired Carbide's stock jumped two points.
Carbide's callousness is so extreme that it has disclosed neither the exact chemical composition of the gas cloud, calling it a "trade secret," nor the results of its own medical studies on the effects of MIC. As a result, the few doctors available to help the victims have great difficult working out the best methods of treatment.
The U.S. government has consistently refused to honor its own extradition treaty with India, which requires it to send Anderson to be tried in India for his reckless indifference to human life.
Dow Chemical, which acquired Union Carbide in 2001, refuses to admit any liability for Carbide's actions. Dow also plans to mass-market Dursban, a product banned by the EPA in 2000 because it can cause severe neurological damage (especially to children), to Indians as a household insecticide see:
This happy state of affairs, however, is not enough for Dow. It has also pressured the Vajpayee government in India to reduce the charges on Anderson and others from "culpable homicide" to "hurt by negligence," a non-extraditable offense -- and also to use part of the pathetically low compensation to victims for cleanup of the area, shifting liability from the polluter to the victims of the pollution. The final decision on some charges will be made on July 17.
Rashida, another victim named Tara Bai, and activist Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Action and Information are ready to fast to the death to prevent these moves. Although the fast is just into its third week, because of the extreme heat in Delhi and the crippling effects of gas injuries, Rashida and Tara are failing fast.
The fast is also intended to draw world attention to the continuing exigent circumstances of Carbide's victims. For years, none of the victims had access to any sustained affordable medical care. More recently, the Sambhavna trust (http://www.bhopal.org), a nonprofit NGO, provides some care to about 10,000, barely 6% of the total number of surviving victims. At least 5000 families must still regularly drink water contaminated by mercury and roughly a dozen volatile organic compounds as a result of the accident.
It is easy to focus on the shameful complicity of the Indian government, which has consistently shown more interest in courting foreign investors than in the health of its citizens -- and activists are calling for Americans to complain to the Indian ambassador -- see:
It's also clear that Dow must be held accountable.
But let's not forget the actions of our own government, which consistently goes to bat for U.S. corporations, no matter how disgusting their actions. Enron was a major beneficiary, with both Clinton and Bush officials on numerous occasions pressuring India, Mozambique, Argentina, and countless other countries into signing sweetheart deals that benefited Enron stockholders and not their own people see:
Enron was hardly unusual, however; U.S. corporations count on this kind of coercion in their international dealings. Although this latest initiative is still new, and there is as yet no direct evidence in the news that U.S. government officials are running interference for Dow, whatever we find out later -- presumably after the hunger strikers are dead -- will hardly come as a surprise, with the most pro-corporate administration in U.S. history currently in power.
Recent scandals make it very clear that we are governed by politicians who are little more than corporate shills, enriching themselves as they defraud the public. This is no mere matter of individuals, but a cancer at the heart of our political system. Rashida and her associates remind us that these scandals are not just about ill-gotten gains for a few folks like George W. Bush. They have a body count.
Rahul Mahajan is the Green Party http://www.txgreens.org candidate for Governor of Texas. He is a member of the Nowar Collective http://www.nowarcollective.com and serves on the National Board of Peace Action.
He is the author of "The New Crusade: America's War on Terrorism,"
Other work can be seen at http://www.rahulmahajan.com
He can be reached at mailto:email@example.com
Bolivia's Leftwing Upstart Alarms US
by Duncan Campbell, July 15, 2002
The United States government is actively intervening in Bolivia's choice of new president next month, warning that US aid will be withdrawn if the socialist Evo Morales is appointed.
It is the latest in a series of recent interventions by the US in Latin American elections in an attempt to keep leftwing politicians from power.
Congress will elect the president from the two leading candidates in the elections of two weeks ago: Mr Morales and the rightwing ex-president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada.
Otto Reich, the Cuban-American appointed by President George Bush as his assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, warned that American aid to the country would be in danger if Mr Morales was chosen on August 3.
Mr Morales is leader of the country's coca-growers and is opposed to the coca eradication program sponsored by the US as part of the "war on drugs" on the continent.
"We do not believe we could have normal relations with someone who espouses these kinds of policies," Mr Reich said on a visit to Buenos Aires.
The US ambassador to Bolivia, Manuel Rocha, had already issued a similar warning, suggesting that if Mr Morales was elected US aid would be cut off.
"The Bolivian electorate must consider the consequences of choosing leaders somehow connected with drug trafficking and terrorism," said Mr Rocha in a speech last month. "I want to remind the Bolivian electorate that if they vote for those who want Bolivia to return to exporting cocaine, that will seriously jeopardize any future aid to Bolivia from the United States."
But the comments appeared to infuriate Bolivians and enhanced the popularity of Mr Morales who called the ambassador his "best campaign chief".
Mr Reich's intervention is the latest in a series of moves to influence politics in the region. He has been criticized for the way the US administration was seen as giving the green light to the military coup in Venezuela in April which would have removed the leftwing president, Hugo Chavez. Mr Chavez was returned to power after 48 hours but is still thought to be at risk from another possible coup attempt.
Last year, the US intervened in the Nicaraguan elections, warning that if the Sandinista leader, Daniel Ortega, won, there would be disastrous financial consequences for the country. A US state department official, Lino Gutierrez, visited the country to urge the conservative parties running against Mr Ortega to bury their differences to defeat him. Mr Ortega lost the election heavily although the US intervention was far from the decisive factor.
Mr Reich is a controversial figure in Latin-American politics. Under Ronald Reagan, he was the head of the office of public diplomacy at the state department and used his position to promote the cause of the "contras" in their war against the Sandinistas.
In an investigation in 1987 by the comptroller-general of the US he was found to have abused his office which had been engaged in "prohibited, covert propaganda activities... beyond the range of acceptable public information activities".
He was appointed to his current post despite strong opposition from Democrats on the foreign relations committee.
Humanity's footprint is crushing the Earth
Press release on the Living Planet Report 2002
Humans running up huge 'overdraft' with the planet says new WWF report.
Redefining Progress is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that develops policies and tools that reorient the economy to care for people and nature first.
Poll finds little support for Bush's global warming policy
76 Percent of Voters Say that Voluntary Pollution Cuts Won't Work
Clear and Present Danger
The $2 billion dollars per year the World Bank Group has invested in oil, gas, and mining projects in poor and developing countries presents a "clear and present danger" to the global environment.
Global Warming and Climate Change Full Coverage
Severe U.S. Weather Full Coverage
t r u t h o u t | 07.16
Bush Says U.S. Economy Has a "Hangover"
Stocks Slump for Sixth Straight Day
John Walker Lindh Pleads Guilty
BBC | Pearl Murderer Defiant After Verdict
Bush Administration May Cause Failure of Environmental Summit
US Planning to Recruit One in 24 Americans as Citizen Spies
Public Citizen - July 15, 2002
Bush Campaign Contributors Try to Railroad Amtrak Passengers
Privatization Plan Smacks of More Crony Capitalism
WASHINGTON, D.C.- The Bush administration and Amtrak recently reached a financial deal to allow the passenger train service to continue operating. But looming over that agreement is the administration's proposal to eliminate rail passenger service in many parts of the country and turn over federal funds used for rail passenger service to private contractors who are campaign contributors and would cherry pick the most profitable routes, according to a Public Citizen analysis.
Citing the rail passenger carrier's struggling finances, the administration has called for eliminating federal funds for Amtrak, farming intercity routes out to private companies and divesting the carrier from ownership of stations and tracks. Lawmakers this week are scheduled to discuss a supplemental spending bill that includes $205 million for Amtrak. Public Citizen urges lawmakers to keep the Amtrak money in the measure.
Amtrak does not make a profit. Nor does any other rail passenger system in the world. What Amtrak does do is allow hundreds of thousands of commuters and other rail passengers to get to work without cramming the roadways with hundreds of thousands of cars. By putting the routes at risk through a privatization scheme, the administration is inviting dirtier air, increased fuel consumption and longer commutes. Drilling for oil in Alaska's pristine wilderness is a Bush administration priority; encouraging efficient mass transportation isn't.
"The administration's Amtrak proposal resembles other Bush agenda items, particularly energy policy, in that it appears to be heavily influenced by generous campaign contributions made by corporate cronies close to the administration," said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program.
The administration's proposal is nearly identical to proposals pushed by rail industry-backed lobbyists and think tanks, particularly a privatization plan put out by the conservative Discovery Institute in 1995. When Congress established an Amtrak Reform Council in the mid-1990s, its membership was stacked with anti-Amtrak voices, including the president of the Discovery Institute. The council's plan, released earlier this year, closely followed the Discovery Institute's and subsequently served as the basis for recommendations outlined by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.
The Public Citizen analysis tracks how architects of Amtrak privatization are lobbyists for or have close business ties with rail interests who stand to profit from Amtrak's privatization, including the National Rail Construction and Maintenance Association, and Norfolk Southern Railroad.
Many of those interests provided tens of thousands of dollars in hard money contributions to Republican campaigns in the 2000 election cycle. Union Pacific, one of the largest freight railroads-and whose corporate board formerly included Vice President Dick Cheney - contributed more than three-quarters of a million dollars to Republican campaigns in the last election cycle. This year alone, the nation's leading freight railroads, some of whom stand to benefit if passenger rail is taken off their freight lines, have contributed more than a half-million dollars to the Republican National Committee.
"It is so very, very painfully clear to the public right now that corporations and their leading executives will rush to cut corners, cook books and do whatever else possible to enrich a mere handful of powerful tycoons," said Hauter. "Rail passenger service is just that - a service. It should be run efficiently and safely for the good of the communities it serves. It should not be held to a naked standard of profitability and then, for failing to attain an unrealistic goal, be thrown to corporate cannibals hungry for public subsidies and willing to put profits before people. Amtrak needs to protected and strengthened, not gutted."
A copy of the analysis is available on the Web at:
Public Citizen is a national nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
For more information, please visit http://www.Citizen.org
TEACHING OUR CHILDREN WELL
The three Rs could soon include "renewable" if Massachusetts has its way. Concerned about rising energy costs and student health, the state is offering financial incentives to districts to build environmentally friendly, health-conscious "green schools." Through a partnership with the Renewable Energy Trust, districts are being encouraged to make use of technologies, such as solar heating and natural lighting, that simultaneously save on energy bills and make schools better environments in which to teach and learn. The move is part of a national trend to improve energy efficiency in public buildings. That trend could be particularly appealing to educators, says Jeff Wulfson, associate commissioner for school finance with the Massachusetts Department of Education, because "[a]nything you spend on oil bills and gas bills is money you are taking away from the classroom."
straight to the source: Boston Globe, Laura Pappano, 15 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=257>
Arsenic has a long and glorious history in the annals of crime fiction, but for the people of Bangladesh, poisoning by arsenic is all too real. With 35 million people drinking arsenic-tainted water, the country is in the midst of what the World Health Organization is calling the "largest mass poisoning of a population in history." Ironically, the problem has its source in an ostensible solution: For two decades, the government and various international aid groups worked to wean the nation's poor off of pond water, often the breeding ground for lethal diseases, urging them instead to install wells. But it turns out that many of the underground aquifers from which the wells draw water are contaminated with arsenic, which is causing "the highest environmental cancer risk ever found," according to Allan Smith, an arsenic expert at the University of California at Berkeley.
straight to the source: New York Times, Barry Bearak, 14 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=255>
do good: Take action to give fresh water to those who need it <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/air.asp?source=daily#water>
THE DAILY LOAD
The Bush administration could slash a key program of the Clean Water Act requiring federal oversight of states' efforts to restore polluted bodies of water. About 300,000 miles of rivers and shorelines and 5 million acres of lakes in the U.S. are categorized as "impaired water bodies" in need of remediation, but for decades, some states neglected their cleanup. That began to shift in July 2000, when the Clinton administration took steps to beef up federal enforcement of the cleanups, in response to lawsuits from environmentalists. But farm groups, timber companies, and others who feared tight restrictions on pollution runoff were outraged by the move, and the rule has been kept on hold by the Bush administration. Now, internal U.S. EPA documents suggest the agency will change the rule to "trust states" to clean up their acts. Daniel Rosenberg, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, is skeptical: "The Bush EPA must be suffering from collective amnesia. The states had three decades to implement this program and failed."
straight to the source: Washington Post, Michael Grunwald, 13 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=258>
do good: Take action to warn swimmers about sewage in public waters <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/air.asp?source=daily#seasewage>
I'LL DO THE THINNING AROUND HERE, BABA LOOEY
Fanning a different kind of flame, Republican lawmakers are blaming environmental groups for contributing to the fires that destroyed more than 3.1 million acres of U.S. forests this year by blocking federal projects to thin undergrowth. Thinning removes brush and dead trees from the forest understory, thereby eliminating some of the dry matter and reducing the risk of wildfires, but enviros and timber industry reps have long disagreed on which forests should be thinned. Environmentalists say a minority of federal thinning projects are near homes or other buildings at risk from wildfires, and that many of the projects are just an excuse for logging. They further argue that commercial logging poses just as much of a threat by leaving flammable debris behind. The U.S. Forest Service claims that as many as 50 percent of all thinning projects are challenged in court, but the General Accounting Office found the actual number was less than 2 percent.
straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Christopher Doering, 15 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=259>
only in Grist: In the line of fire -- life in the Stupid Zone -- in our Soapbox section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/soapbox/nijhuis071102.asp?source=daily>
A standoff between farmers and the Mexican government over the construction of a new international airport is threatening to become a national crisis. The $2.5 billion, six-runway project has irked environmentalists since it was first proposed, because the airport is slated to be built on a former lake bed that is an important nesting ground for birds and is expected to worsen problems of urban sprawl. Environmentalists aren't the only ones who are upset: Area farmers have taken 15 hostages and are refusing to release them until the airport construction plans are halted. The government has offered the farmers about $3,100 per acre to vacate their land, but the farmers say the price is below market value. The standoff is widely seen as a litmus test for President Vicente Fox, who faces the difficult task of maintaining peace and stimulating economic growth without further alienating environmentalists, social welfare advocates, and the country's poor.
straight to the source: Christian Science Monitor, Gretchen Peters, 15 Jul 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=256>
"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; if I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain. Or help one fainting robin into his nest again, I shall not live in vain."
"Accounting scandals dominated the headlines last week, and publicity-hungry politicians from both the House and Senate enjoyed acting self-righteous while grilling WorldCom executives. However, the message that Congress will clamp down on corporate accounting practices rings hollow...."
To read "What About Government Accountability?" issued today by Congressman Ron Paul, go to
Phil Donahue, a friend of The Nation, makes his return to TV tonight on MSNBC. The show, which airs every weekday night in primetime at 8pm and 11pm EST, will feature issues, viewpoints and advocates not regularly seen on commercial TV. Please spread the word. A strong audience can help prove to TV news execs that there is a large potential audience for progressive views on television.
The Phil Donahue Show, founded in 1967, was the first audience-participation talk show in American history. "Donahue" on MSNBC will resemble this original format by fostering legitimate debates on the issues of the day. He won't wander among the studio audience as he did for decades on daytime TV, but he is planning shows outside the studio --including one from WorldCom headquarters in Mississippi, where he plans to talk to laid-off workers.
Tonight's premiere episode features a one-on-one debate on the Pledge of Allegiance between Donahue and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan as well as a segment on possible US plans for invading Iraq and assassinating Saddam Hussein.
For more info, check out the show's website at:
And for an idea of what kind of media Donahue values, check out his contribution to The Nation's special issue on Big Media from the magazine's January 7/14, 2002 issue.
Currently available at:
Planes May Have Almost Toppled World Trade Center Towers On Impact
by Professor of Physics Frank Moscatelli, Swarthmore College, July 10, 2002
The hijacked jetliners might have come close to toppling the World Trade Center Towers on impact on Sept. 11, according to new calculations by a Swarthmore College physics professor. This counters the views of most experts and a recent federally funded engineering study that concluded the planes lacked sufficient force to knock the towers down on impact.
"Certainly the loss of approximately 2,830 people in a single event is a tragedy," says Professor of Physics Frank Moscatelli, a native New Yorker. "But assuming an occupancy of 40,000 to 50,000 people in the towers alone at the time of impact, we could have had a catastrophe well beyond what we actually experienced last September."
The federal report, released last month, concluded the buildings could have remained standing if not for the enormous fires that broke out after they were struck by the hijacked airplanes. The report, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Society of Civil Engineers, supports statements made on the recent NOVA special Why the Towers Fell.
But Moscatelli contends that the report's conclusions and similar expert opinions err by focusing solely on force. "You must also compare the torque, which is a physical measure of 'twist' produced by the planes with that due to the wind load the towers were designed to withstand," Moscatelli says. "Comparing the static weights of the buildings and planes is wrong. The planes were moving, and that clearly changes the problem. The buildings did not have to bear the weight of the planes; they had to stop the planes."
Moscatelli calculated that the torque applied by the planes' impact -- 7.7 million ft. tons -- actually exceeded the amount the towers were designed to resist due to wind load -- 7.4 million ft. tons. "So they could have immediately collapsed, if not for the fact that neither object is a rigid body and that the towers flexed quite a bit upon impact with the planes," he says. "If they had not at least bent temporarily, they would have been in danger of instantly toppling."
Moscatelli also determined that the 11,000 tons of force required by the towers to resist the wind barely exceeded the 7,000 tons of force required to stop the planes. "In fact, the stopping force for the plane scales as the square of its velocity, so if the plane was traveling at 564 mph these forces would be equal," he says. "This is probably why the terrorist pilots flew at such an uncommonly high speed for that aircraft, at that altitude, for that particular maneuver. They flew as if they wanted to knock them down, and I think we cannot conclude that they were so far off from doing just that."
Moscatelli previously calculated that of the three sources of energy delivered to the twin towers on September 11 -- exploded jet fuel, kinetic energy due to the motion of two aircraft, and gravitational potential energy due to the falling building material -- the last was the most devastating. This is supported by the extensive damage caused to surrounding buildings, as noted in the federal report.
"My calculations show that the largest component by far was the latter," Moscatelli says. "This is due to the large mass and height of the towers. The airplanes destroyed 20 stories of the buildings, and gravity did the rest. Their splendor was their undoing."
Located near Philadelphia, Swarthmore is a highly selective liberal arts college with an enrollment of 1,450. Swarthmore is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country.
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Swarthmore College for journalists and other members of the public. If you wish to quote from any part of this story, please credit Swarthmore College as the original source. You may also wish to include the following link in any citation:
Acid Rain Threatens Forests In More Ways Than Previously Thought
University Of California - Riverside, July 10, 2002
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - University of California Riverside Earth Scientist Martin Kennedy and colleagues report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that acid rain, by leaching essential metal nutrients (such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium) from topsoil, may pose a far graver threat to forests than has been previously estimated. This result would especially interest ecologists, biologists, geologists, and policy makers.
"Our work shows that in unperturbed natural ecosystems a very small pool of these nutrients is available and this comes from the atmosphere, mostly as dilute amounts dissolved in rain that then get deposited in topsoil," said Kennedy. "The tight budget of these nutrients is a concern because if the budget is perturbed, the forests are at risk."
If deprived of a certain critical nutrient, such as calcium, a tree faces the risk of dying. In parts of Germany, for example, trees are already dying not from the direct effects of the acid, but from magnesium deficiency, this magnesium loss from the soil stemming from leaching by acid rain. Such leaching results in the loss of topsoil nutrients to groundwater and eventually to rivers.
Kennedy noted that plant roots cannot access all nutrient elements in the soil; some elements are bound in minerals and rocks. "In our study, we were attempting to determine what fraction of the total elements available in the soil the plants could access. We found it was a very small proportion."
It has long been thought that trees obtain their essential metal nutrients from weathered rock particles deep in the soil. But by demonstrating that the trees obtain these nutrients almost exclusively from atmospheric sources, Kennedy and colleagues suggest that the trees cycle a small pool of nutrients that are continually replaced by dilute atmospheric sources.
The scientists experimented on trees in the unpolluted forests of southern Chile (see Fig. 1). "We went to the cleanest atmosphere on earth and looked for a stable ecosystem so that we could find the closest thing to a long-term sustainable forest," Kennedy said (see Fig. 2). "There, we sampled soils, stream water, rain and plants, and analyzed the strontium isotope composition."
Strontium isotopes indicate very accurately which fraction came from the rain and which fraction came from the rock. "We found that in the dominant tree species - the southern Beech - approximately 90% of the strontium, and thus other similar nutrient elements, were brought in by the rain and did not come from soils or rocks, as just about everyone had assumed," said Kennedy.
The researchers also applied a distinctive artificial chemical tracer to the soils in a small portion of the Chilean forest. The tracer mimics the natural nutrients in the soils and trees with the advantage that it can be measured and observed as it moves throughout the soil plant system. By sampling the trees and soil over time and by analyzing the samples for the tracer, the scientists found that within three years most of the tracer was quickly leached from the topsoil. The loss of this element within such a short amount of time surprised the researchers because it implies that a far smaller pool of nutrients is available to the trees from the upper soil than they had imagined.
"The small size of this upper soil nutrient pool has important implications for industrially influenced forests in the northeastern United States and in Europe," said Kennedy. "These forests may be more vulnerable to the effects of acid rain than we had previously thought."
Hydrogen ions from the acid in acid rain replace the nutrient elements in the soil. For every unit of acid added to the soil, an equivalent amount of nutrient elements is removed. As a result, more nutrients get leached from the soil than arrive from weathering of rocks or precipitation (see Fig. 3).
Kennedy explained that the Chilean site was invaluable for the research because the cleanest forests indicate how the system should work if left alone. In forests in the northeast United States on the other hand, the system is already disturbed.
"Our study not only challenges the dominant paradigm that rocks and soil mineral weathering provide a majority of some important plant nutrients like calcium and potassium," said Kennedy, "but it also proposes that our 'stable' old growth forests are the most at risk from acid rain, and that it is a bigger problem, potentially, than we ever imagined."
NEW WAY FOUND TO SEE LIGHT THROUGH NOVEL PROTEIN IDENTIFIED BY DARTMOUTH GENETICISTS
Dartmouth Medical School geneticists have discovered a new class of proteins that see light, revealing a previously unknown system for how light works. The novel photoreceptors are part of the gears that drive biological clocks, the cellular timekeepers of the circadian rhythm, which paces life's daily ebb and flow in a 24-hour light-dark cycle. Their identification also opens a window for genetically engineered drug delivery systems that exploit the properties of these newfound molecules.
GENOMIC CLUES TO THE EVOLUTION OF PHOTOSYNTHESIS
When early microbes evolved, some species developed ways to convert sunlight into cellular energy and to use that energy to capture carbon from the atmosphere. The origin of this process, known as photosynthesis, was crucial to the later evolution of plants. The publication of the analysis of the complete genome sequence of an unusual photosynthetic microbe provides important insights into studies of how that light harvesting mechanism evolved and how it works today.
JEFFERSON LAB FREE-ELECTRON LASER UPGRADE COULD INDUCE COMPLETELY NEW PHENOMENA IN MATERIALS
History doesn't record the moment when fully conscious humans asked the first question. The incessant push of human curiosity has nevertheless changed the world. Even so, despite the seemingly inexorable march of science and technology into the current century, questions don't seem in short supply. Gwyn Williams, basic research program manager for Jefferson Lab's Free-Electron Laser (FEL), suspects some important answers may be forthcoming as a result of the FEL upgrade currently underway.
CHILDREN WITH ASTHMA PLAGUED BY SMOKERS AND PETS
Two important triggers of asthma attacks are rarely removed from homes of children with asthma, according to a new study by researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center.
DEFORMED FROGS FORM WHEN PARASITES AND PESTICIDES COMBINE Deformities in Pennsylvania wood frogs are linked to the combination of their infection by parasites and a weakening of their immune system caused by exposure to pesticides, according to a study by Penn State researchers to be published in the 9 July issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
VESSEL REPORTING A WEAK LINK IN NATIONAL STRATEGY TO STEM THE FLOW OF ALIEN ORGANISMS TO THE U.S.
Of the estimated 100,000 ships entering U.S. ports from foreign waters each year, only 30 percent reported their ballast water management practices during the first two years that the U.S. Coast Guard mandated them to under the National Invasive Species Act of 1996 (NISA). The finding has prompted the Secretary of Transportation to recommend, in a report to Congress, that future noncompliance carry a penalty.
ACID RAIN THREATENS FORESTS IN MORE WAYS THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT
UC Riverside Earth Scientist Martin Kennedy and colleagues report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that acid rain, by leaching essential metal nutrients (such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium) from topsoil, may pose a far graver threat to forests than has been previously estimated. This result would especially interest ecologists, biologists, geologists, and policy makers.
LIVERMORE SCIENTISTS CREATE HIGHEST RESOLUTION GLOBAL CLIMATE SIMULATIONS TO DATE
Atmospheric scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have performed the first global climate simulations with spatial resolutions of roughly 50 km (30 miles). This capability will be used to assess climate change and its societal impacts.
SATELLITE SEES DOUBLE ZONES OF CONVERGING TROPICAL WINDS AROUND THE WORLD
NASA's Quick Scatterometer satellite has confirmed a 30-year-old, largely unproven theory that there are two areas near the equator where the winds converge year after year and drive ocean circulation south of the equator. By observing ocean winds, Quick Scatterometer, also known as Quikscat, has found a year-round southern and northern Intertropical Convergence Zone. This find is important to climate modelers and weather forecasters because it provides more detail on how the oceans and atmosphere interact near the equator.
ASPIRIN WITHIN TWO DAYS OF ISCHEMIC STROKE REDUCES DEATHS
Giving patients aspirin within 48 hours of the onset of an acute ischemic stroke can reduce death and severity of stroke, according to a joint scientific statement from the American Stroke Association and the American Academy of Neurology.
CALORIC RESTRICTION RESEARCH: MOVING FROM LAB ANIMALS TO HUMANS For more than 60 years scientists have known that restricting the caloric intake in several species of animals can extend life span and slow down the aging process. The prevalence of obesity in America has prompted scientists to consider caloric restriction (CR) research for humans as a way to get America in shape and living longer.
CONSTRUCTION UNDER WAY ON ADVANCED PROPULSION LAB AT MARSHALL
NASA held a ceremonial ground-breaking event Monday at the site of its state-of-the-art Propulsion Research Laboratory. The facility, part of the Marshall Center, will play a key role in NASA's efforts to develop propulsion technologies to send future missions to the edges of the solar system and, eventually, beyond it.
PLANES MAY HAVE ALMOST TOPPLED WORLD TRADE CENTER TOWERS ON IMPACT
The hijacked jetliners might have come close to toppling the World Trade Center Towers on impact on Sept. 11, according to new calculations by a Swarthmore College physics professor. This counters the views of most experts and a recent federally funded engineering study that concluded the planes lacked sufficient force to knock the towers down on impact.
VIRUS IN BABIES MAY CAUSE ASTHMA LATER ON
While most scientists believe that allergies cause asthma, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are uncovering a second potential cause for this common respiratory illness. Their new model suggests that a viral infection in the first years of life may leave a lasting mark on the immune system, causing chronic respiratory problems later on.
PATHFINDER MISSIONS TO ENHANCE OUR UNDERSTANDING OF EARTH
As part of the Earth System Science Pathfinder small-satellite program, NASA has selected two new space mission proposals that will yield fresh insight into our home planet's carbon cycle and how oceans affect and respond to climate change -- knowledge that will help better life here on Earth.
NANOSENSORS FOR ASTRONAUTS: TINY DEVICES WILL FIT INSIDE CELLS; MONITOR SIGNS OF RADIATION DAMAGE OR INFECTION
Along with space suits, freeze-dried food and barf bags, tomorrow's astronauts may travel with nanomolecular devices inside their white blood cells to detect early signs of damage from dangerous radiation or infection.
RESEARCHER IS USING NATURE'S COMMAND AND CONTROL NETWORK TO DEVELOP WAYS TO ENGINEER ORGANISMS
Peter Kennelly, a professor of biochemistry at Virginia Tech, is probing nature's own command and control network to understand how it functions and to develop new strategies for genetically engineering organisms. By mapping the mechanisms already in place to find the switch that controls a certain action, Kennelly is working to find ways to turn on processes that normally would not be active.
CONVERGING TECHNOLOGIES CAN IMPROVE HUMAN PERFORMANCE, REPORT SAYS
The convergence of nanoscale research with other sciences and technologies has created a vast opportunity to enhance human performance, scientists say in a report released today titled "Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance." The report, issued by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Commerce, examines the integrated role of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science in improving mental and physical performance.
MEASURING EARTHSHINE: HOW NEW TERRA DATA ARE IMPROVING WEATHER AND CLIMATE FORECAST MODELS
A sensor aboard NASA's Terra satellite is helping scientists map how much sunlight the Earth's surface reflects back up into the atmosphere, and this new detailed information should help to greatly improve weather and forecast models.
STROKE PATIENTS WITH HIGH BLOOD SUGAR AT HIGHER RISK OF DEATH
Stroke patients who have hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) at the time of admission to the hospital for treatment of the stroke are at higher risk of death than stroke patients with normal blood sugar levels, according to a study published in the July 9 issue of the journal Neurology by researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center and the Regenstrief Institute for Health Care.
STUDY FINDS COMMON KNEE SURGERY NO BETTER THAN PLACEBO
Patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who underwent placebo arthroscopic surgery were just as likely to report pain relief as those who received the real procedure, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Baylor College of Medicine study published in the July 11 New England Journal of Medicine.
FULLY INTEGRATED SCRAMJET MISSILE ENGINE TESTED AT MACH 6.5
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) successfully conducted the first-ever ground test of a full-scale, fully integrated hypersonic cruise missile engine using conventional liquid hydrocarbon fuel on May 30, 2002. The test, performed in a wind tunnel at NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., demonstrated robust operation of the engine at simulated hypersonic cruise conditions (Mach 6.5 at 90,000 feet altitude).
CORRODING PLUMBING MATERIALS PRODUCING ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS
Many factors influence the quality of drinking water and a burgeoning new problem is raising concern. Metallic plumbing materials, capable of lasting for centuries, are occasionally corroding at a very fast rate. This deterioration is producing some extraordinary costs and environmental problems to consumers and to industry.
"ROCK-PAPER-SCISSORS" PRESERVES BIODIVERSITY IN BACTERIAL NEIGHBORHOODS
The hand game of "rock-paper-scissors" is perpetual one-upmanship: rock crushes scissors, scissors cut paper and paper covers rock. In the July 11 issue of the journal Nature, researchers at Stanford and Yale report that certain bacteria can play their own version of that game. Populations chase each other around the petri dish in a set of incessant skirmishes that lack a clear victor but conserve biodiversity of the overall ecosystem. But biodiversity breaks down in the uniform environment of a well-mixed flask - demonstrating that spatial separation may be necessary for different populations to coexist.
SciTech Daily Review
Using nothing more than genetic sequence information from public databases and readily available technology, researchers have recreated the polio virus
Scientists in China are preparing a drastic rescue plan for one of the planet's rarest animals: a dolphin with the misfortune of living in one of China's busiest and most polluted rivers
A Bangladeshi scientist is due to launch a cheap low-tech filter which could prove a major breakthrough in the battle against arsenic poisoning
Scientists in northern Chad have unearthed the skull of a previously unknown hominid that lived six to seven million years ago -- making it the oldest known ancestor of humans ... [more] But rival palaeontologists have dismissed the find as being something quite different
High-definition digital cameras, feared by some directors, could end the careers of those unable to make the transition. George Lucas is urging his colleagues to go digital (registration required)
Feeling our way: How do we think? Psychologist Peter Hobson, author of The Cradle of Thought [review], says the key is the way we relate to each other as babies
Showdown in cyberspace: If online role-playing games are ever going to break out of the hardcore gamer ghetto, they'll have to do more than please the geeks
Stephen Jay Gould's final tome, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, is a platitudinous parcel of impenetrable ponderosity, regrettably but manifestly lacking in clarifying conciseness or concatenated cogency, says David P Barash. Yet Gould remains one of the greatest polemicists in the history of biology
John Gilmore, original "cypherpunk" and all-around Internet supergeek, says the organization that runs the Internet is broken beyond repair, and it's time for ICANN to go
Crime and nourishment: Improving the diet of young offenders could reduce their criminal tendencies, says Dr John Briffa
Bush Recount Troops Land Plum D.C. Jobs
Many of president's appointees fought Gore's bid to take Florida, White House
by Carol Rosenberg, July 14, 2002
John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control, caused a stir in May by accusing the Cuban government of transferring bioweapons technology to rogue nations. Nineteen months ago, he caused a different stir -- bursting into a Tallahassee library on behalf of the Bush-Cheney campaign to stop a recount of Miami-Dade County ballots.
Matt Schlapp, a former congressional aide, is currently White House special assistant to the president and deputy director of political affairs. In November 2000, he was part of the supposedly spontaneous window-pounding protest at Miami-Dade County Hall that brought to an end the first recount of Miami-Dade ballots.
Sue Cobb, a Coral Gables developer, today is the U.S. ambassador to Jamaica. Twenty months ago, the generous Republican donor volunteered her legal skills to the Bush-Cheney campaign -- working as part of the legal team that contested recounts in Miami-Dade.
Although they now serve President George W. Bush in sharply different roles, the three share a common experience. They are among more than 50 political appointees found by The Herald to have served as troops in the frantic Florida recount battle that followed the Nov. 7, 2000 election.
Political patronage has long been a reward for campaign loyalty. But the distribution of plum jobs to those who worked in Florida after the 2000 election suggests that service became a kind of political merit badge that carried a special benefit.
''Work on the recount is the indispensable connection for work at the Bush administration,'' said Jeffrey Toobin, author of Too Close to Call: The 36-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election.
Just how many Bush appointees actually served the Bush-Cheney campaign here is not clear. The White House declined to provide a list of who in the administration actually worked for the campaign in Florida. Florida lawyer Barry Richard, a Democrat who was hired by the Bush campaign to fight its legal battle over the recount, said there were 192 lawyers of record on various court cases around the state.
To identify the appointees, The Herald conducted dozens of interviews and studied White House nominations and government staff directories -- then matched names to news accounts, photo captions and several books about the episode. In addition, some appointees included their recount roles in news releases, or accounts in university and law journals.
LAWYERS IN KEY ROLES
White House says Bush
tapped `bright minds'
Most were lawyers who worked all-nighters in Tallahassee and across South Florida as ballot observers and political operatives as well as litigators and behind-the-scenes writers of legal briefs.
White House officials defended the appointments, noting that many appointees take big pay cuts when they move into government jobs. Appointees with Florida service to the Bush-Cheney recount effort make from $52,300 a year to 166,700 for Attorney General John Ashcroft, who also passed through Tallahassee during the recount.
''The finest legal minds in the country were brought in on both sides,'' saidWhite House spokeswoman Jeanie Mamo. ``It's only logical that an administration would tap some of those same bright minds to hold legal positions throughout the administration.''
Mamo, a former Capitol Hill press secretary who now earns $62,760, was among those who came to Florida for the recount. Already with the Bush-Cheney campaign, she worked as part of the GOP's media team. Other GOP press aides who went from the Florida recount to the White House include Nicolle Devenish, Tucker Eskew, Ken Lisaius and Scott McClellan.
Several of the people who served as political operatives and attorneys said there was no explicit quid pro quo in their decision to come to Florida to do battle with the forces of Democratic candidates Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. But they also acknowledged that the service helped them draw the attention of the Bush team.
Lawyer R. Ted Cruz, a Bush-Cheney campaign worker and former clerk to U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist, arrived in Tallahassee for the first time in his life within 24 hours of the election to work on briefs. He became part of an early inner circle that included more nationally prominent Republican lawyers such as George J. Terwilliger III and Benjamin L. Ginsberg, who had been an outside counsel to the campaign.
''It did give an opportunity for lawyers who had been supporting Bush to shine, to demonstrate what they were capable of,'' Cruz said. ``On a day-to-day basis, a campaign does not deal with senior constitutional litigators that often. It was an opportunity for the senior people on the campaign to see firsthand the abilities of these lawyers.''
Today, Cruz is director of policy and planning at the Federal Trade Commission, earning $138,200. Earlier, he did a stint as a Bush administration lawyer at the Justice Department, working on the transition to Ashcroft from former Attorney General Janet Reno.
WORKING `BY INSTINCT'
Diplomat says he received
no assurance of a reward
Bolton, the U.S. diplomat now responsible for arms control issues, said no payoff was promised for his decision to join the post-election fray. He had worked for the first Bush administration and, finding himself in South Korea on election night, contacted former Secretary of State James Baker in Texas to see how he might lend a hand. The reply: Go to Florida.
''I think, frankly, most of the people who did it just went down there by instinct,'' Bolton said. He said he received no legal fees, although the campaign paid his hotel bills and other expenses.
Bolton was part of the legal team and a ballot observer in Palm Beach County. Then he rushed to Tallahassee as the recount battle reached higher courts. It was his role, on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2000, to burst into a library where workers were recounting Miami-Dade ballots andrelay news of the U.S. Supreme Court's stay in the on-again, off-again presidential recount.
''I'm with the Bush-Cheney team, and I'm here to stop the count,'' he was quoted as saying in news reports at the time.
The Florida fraternity included major figures in the Bush administration, notably Theodore Olson, the current solicitor general, who worked on the case in both Tallahassee and Miami, then argued candidate Bush's case before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Robert Zoellick, now the U.S. trade representative, who served as a virtual chief of staff to Baker, Bush's main Florida strategist.
TEAM WAS VERSATILE
Roles included researching,
writing and demonstrating
But there are many whose roles in Florida went largely unremarked on at the time:
â¢ Five lawyers who did research and wrote briefs to fight Florida court challenges are now deputies in the White House counsel's office.
â¢ Three senior strategists in Tallahassee now hold $130,000-a-year jobs as general counsels to Cabinet departments: David D. Aufhauser, now at Treasury, supervised a unit of lawyers that ran Bush's military and overseas ballot campaign; Alex M. Azar, now at Health and Human Services, was part of the so-called ''revolving brain trust'' that tackled different legal theories in Tallahassee; and Kirk Van Tine, now at Transportation, came from Baker's Texas law firm, Baker Botts, to run a war room of bright young lawyers who cranked out various motions.
â¢ Three members of the window-pounding crowd that on Thanksgiving Eve helped persuade the Miami-Dade County canvassing board to abandon the recount are now members of the White House staff: Matt Schlapp, now a special assistant to the president; Garry Malphrus, deputy director of the president's Domestic Policy Council; and Joel Kaplan, also a special assistant to the president.
Schlapp and Malphrus, both of whom declined to talk to The Herald, were first identified in 2000 in The Washington Post as part of the Miami-Dade demonstration. Kaplan described his role in a lecture at the Harvard University Institute of Politics, calling the demonstration the ''Brooks Brothers Protest,'' a reference to the way the demonstrators were dressed.
â¢ Former Texas Transportation System Chairman David Laney left his Austin law firm to serve as a ballot recount observer in Volusia County. Bush appointed him recently to Amtrak's seven-member board of directors. The directorship is a federal post touted by Laney's firm as a ''leadership role in the transportation arena.'' It has no salary but pays a per diem and travel expenses.
â¢ Kevin Martin, now a $130,000-a-year commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, was one of the first national Bush-Cheney people to arrive in Miami from Washington, on Nov. 8. He had been a deputy general counsel for the Bush campaign and before that worked for Ken Starr, the independent counsel in the Monica Lewinsky affair.
â¢ New York lawyer Brad Blakeman, who helped organize protests in South Florida and appeared in one Associated Press dispatch at the time as a ''Broward County GOP volunteer,'' today is director of White House scheduling.
â¢ Associate Deputy Attorney General Stuart A. Levey represented Bush-Cheney in Martin County. He was with Baker's Texas law firm at the time.
â¢ Boca Raton developer Ned L. Siegel, long a generous donor to the GOP, has been nominated by Bush to serve as a director of the Overseas Private Investment Corp. During the recount crisis, he sued Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore in a bid to stop the manual recount of the troubled butterfly ballots on constitutional grounds.
â¢ Private lawyer Marcos JimÃ©nez joined the Bush-Cheney legal team in Florida and is now awaiting confirmation as U.S. attorney for Florida's Southern District. His brother, Frank, took two weeks of unpaid leave from his job as acting general counsel to Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother, to assist the Bush-Cheney campaign in the recount battle. He was recently tapped to become chief of staff for U.S. Housing Secretary Mel Martinez of Orlando.
â¢ Miami lawyer Mark Wallace, who fought on behalf of the GOP in Palm Beach County during the butterfly ballot brouhaha, is today acting general counsel at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, run by Joe Allbaugh, the Bush-Cheney campaign manager.
DEMOCRAT AMONG THEM
He takes 'less cynical' view
of the Bush appointments
Many of the lawyers who worked in Florida are members of The Federalist Society, a network of legal conservatives who, in a string of telephone calls, summoned former Supreme Court clerks and other experts to Florida.
Barry Richard, the Democrat from the Greenberg Traurig law firm who was hired for the recount by the Bush-Cheney campaign, said he is not surprised that the path to posts in the Bush administration wound through Florida.
''The less cynical way and probably more legitimate way to see this is that the reason these people are around [Bush] is because he thought they were good at what they did,'' Richard said.
``Almost all the individuals who went into the administration --maybe all of them -- were involved in the Bush campaign during the campaign itself and were also longtime participants with the Republican Party. And I think that probably their involvement with the administration was not related to their participation in the litigation itself but their connection to the Bush team.''
As for his own role in the recount, Richard said no one ever suggested that his work would win him a Bush administration post.
''Nobody offered me anything,'' he said, ``and I never expressed any interest in anything.''
Carol Rosenberg: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
US Planning To Recruit One In 24 Americans As Citizen Spies
by Ritt Goldstein
The Bush Administration aims to recruit millions of United States citizens as domestic informants in a program likely to alarm civil liberties groups.
The Terrorism Information and Prevention System, or TIPS, means the US will have a higher percentage of citizen informants than the former East Germany through the infamous Stasi secret police. The program would use a minimum of 4 per cent of Americans to report "suspicious activity".
Civil liberties groups have already warned that, with the passage earlier this year of the Patriot Act, there is potential for abusive, large-scale investigations of US citizens.
As with the Patriot Act, TIPS is being pursued as part of the so-called war against terrorism. It is a Department of Justice project.
Highlighting the scope of the surveillance network, TIPS volunteers are being recruited primarily from among those whose work provides access to homes, businesses or transport systems. Letter carriers, utility employees, truck drivers and train conductors are among those named as targeted recruits.
A pilot program, described on the government Web site www.citizencorps.gov, is scheduled to start next month in 10 cities, with 1 million informants participating in the first stage. Assuming the program is initiated in the 10 largest US cities, that will be 1 million informants for a total population of almost 24 million, or one in 24 people.
Historically, informant systems have been the tools of non-democratic states. According to a 1992 report by Harvard University's Project on Justice, the accuracy of informant reports is problematic, with some informants having embellished the truth, and others suspected of having fabricated their reports.
Present Justice Department procedures mean that informant reports will enter databases for future reference and/or action. The information will then be broadly available within the department, related agencies and local police forces. The targeted individual will remain unaware of the existence of the report and of its contents.
The Patriot Act already provides for a person's home to be searched without that person being informed that a search was ever performed, or of any surveillance devices that were implanted.
At state and local levels the TIPS program will be co-ordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was given sweeping new powers, including internment, as part of the Reagan Administration's national security initiatives. Many key figures of the Reagan era are part of the Bush Administration.
The creation of a US "shadow government", operating in secret, was another Reagan national security initiative.
Ritt Goldstein is an investigative journalist and a former leader in the movement for US law enforcement accountability. He has lived in Sweden since 1997, seeking political asylum there, saying he was the victim of life-threatening assaults in retaliation for his accountability efforts. His application has been supported by the European Parliament, five of Sweden's seven big political parties, clergy, and Amnesty and other rights groups.
Planet Ark World Environment News
Exxon Mobil to phase out MTBE in California early - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16850/story.htm
Georgia power plant catches fire near Atlanta - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16861/story.htm
Democrats say Bush global warming plan "baloney" - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16855/story.htm
USDA allows emergency haying, grazing in 18 US states - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16854/story.htm
Green groups share blame for US fires - Republicans - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16852/story.htm
Maryland says northern snakeheads were pets - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16851/story.htm
FEATURE - Company pushes hydrogen power for homes - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16846/story.htm
GM to mass-produce fuel-cell cars in 2008 - Nikkei - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16845/story.htm
US farmers could get $200 mln conservation funds - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16840/story.htm
Environmental groups seek prairie dog protection - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16839/story.htm
UK's new electricity market drives up CO2 emissions - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16841/story.htm
EU slams France over poor ship inspection record - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16847/story.htm
China adds nuclear power plants on east coast - SINGAPORE http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16844/story.htm
Ireland halts waste shipments in EU food scare - REPUBLIC OF IRELAND http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16858/story.htm
Portugal OKs killing in bullfights in one village - PORTUGAL http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16856/story.htm
EU says hormone food contamination could spread - NETHERLANDS http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16862/story.htm
Malaria epidemic kills 294 in western Kenya - KENYA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16864/story.htm
Chubu Electric reports new leakage at reactor - JAPAN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16838/story.htm
WRAPUP - Five dead in Japan as typhoon heads north - JAPAN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16859/story.htm
Storm lashes Berlin before Love Parade, 7 dead - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16860/story.htm
US "very concerned" over EU stance on GMOs - EU http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16857/story.htm
Beijing to mix conservation, renewal for Olympics - CHINA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16848/story.htm
HK monks win battle against big business, for now - CHINA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16849/story.htm
Ontario legislates end to Toronto garbage strike - CANADA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16863/story.htm
Belgium split by US plutonium recycling bid - BELGIUM http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16843/story.htm
Environmental groups fight Tessenderlo unit licence - BELGIUM http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16842/story.htm
Clandestine suicide squad.
Gene Kan was murdered not suicide
Sun Jul 14 16:04:33 2002 188.8.131.52
Clandestine suicide squad....
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2002 03:26:40 -0700 From: email@example.com
Gene Kan was murdered not suicide. Posted by voxfux on July 12, 2002
The latest victim of the clandestine suicide squad, is the visionary Gene Kan. He was the 25 year old eloquent soft spoken yet highly idological designer behind the Gnutella explosion. His raison d'etre was to build a communication (peer to peer) network which would be IMPOSSIBLE for any government agency or oppressive force to control.
Key technologically related activist groups (cypherpunks, encryption specialists, open source community, linux community) saw within the Gnutella networking scheme the key to freeing information FOREVER. Not just MP3's. It was primarily designed to create intellectual and political liberation and was the only protocol currently availible or anywhere to be seen on the distant horizon which held such promise. He was Suicided with a perforating gunshot wound to the head 10 days ago. He was creamated shortly thereafter. The coroner said. "It was suicide." Friends say, "no way did he commit suicide, he was at the top of his game." It appears that groups committing these suicidings now enjoy almost total unrestrained, activity.
They are so brazen that they are sending VERY CLEAR messages to anyone who promises to intefere with this TITANIC POWER SHIFT underway, that they will be killed. As well as intimidating any disident voices, at the same time they also simply throw to the ignorant masses a bone to appease their sense of evidence - That bone comes in the form of a suicide note or staged suicide which as long as there is a coroner who will say the person comitted suicide - most people and "Journalists" will simply think, case closed.
The associated press release is a direct plant from whatever intelligence group (private or military/governmental) who did the hit. Find out who put this release into the wire and you have your murderer (group of murderers). Of course the intelligence groups governmental and otherwise have direct pipelines to the so called newswires. Excerpts from Associated press interview prior to his murder. "There is no head to the Gnutella dragon. It is like a disease. It's a good one. It's going to help the evolution of humans," said Kan, who believes Gnutella will revolutionize Internet use by making material available immediately at no cost.
Gene Kan smiles at Gnutella's engineering center at his home in Belmont, Calif., April 6, 2000, with computers showing the Gnutella web page and various Gnutella software products. Kan, a pioneering developer of the music-swapping Web site Gnutella, has died. He was 25. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Date: July 14, 2002 @ 7:59 AM I'm pretty sure now that Gene Kan was murdered... Just look at this interview! Peer-to-Peer An e-mail exchange with Gnutella developer Gene Kan
I knew Gene not through articles or interviews
Gnutella Developer Gene Kan, 25, Commits Suicide Tue Jul 9, 8:00 PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Gene Kan, one of the key programmers behind the popular file-sharing technology known as Gnutella, has died in an apparent suicide, officials said on Tuesday. He was 25.
San Mateo County Coroner spokeswoman Sue Turner said Kan was found last week at his northern California home.
"The cause of death was a perforating gunshot wound to the head," Tuner said. "It was a suicide."
A spokeswoman for Kan said he died on June 29 and was cremated on July 5. Further details were being withheld at the request of the family.
Kan helped develop an open source version of the Gnutella protocol, which marked a further step in popularizing the peer-to-peer file-sharing revolution pioneered by the Napster song-swapping service.
The Gnutella computer code emerged as Napster's legal problems mounted and its millions of users were looking for new ways to swap songs for free on the Internet.
Kan and a few fellow programmers did not create Gnutella, but tweaked the Gnutella protocol so it could be replicated by other programmers around the world, unleashing massive music, video and software file-sharing.
Kan and his group brought Gnutella into the limelight after an early version of the program was released briefly on the Web by an employee of America Online.
Kan, who came to be known as the unofficial spokesman for Gnutella, often said the technology differed from Napster because it had no company to sue or central computer to shut down.
Unlike Napster, which allowed people to trade songs through centralized computer servers, Gnutella simply transfers files from one personal computer to another -- making it much more difficult to monitor.
In June 2000, Kan started California-based InfraSearch Inc., a peer-to-peer search engine technology company, that eventually attracted high-profile investors such as Netscape alumni Marc Andreessen and Mike Homer.
InfraSearch was acquired by Sun Microsystems in March 2001. Kan also joined the company at that time to work on Sun's peer-to-peer project known as Project JXTA. More recently he had been working on advanced development projects around distributed computing.
"Gene contributed much to the industry, specifically in the peer-to-peer space," Sun said in the statement. "Gene brought new ideas to the organization and stretched our thinking. Gene was a trusted friend and colleague, and we will miss him greatly."
Kan graduated from the University of California, Berkeley's College of Engineering, in 1997 with degrees in electrical engineering and computer science.
Posted by: gnujunkie Date: July 14, 2002 @ 8:00 AM I'm pretty sure now that Gene Kan was murdered and the reason for that is because he was trying to make the gnutella protocol more anonymous! (He wanted to change the file transfering part of the gnutella protocol so that you would not be connecting directly to the person who is uploading the file.)
I'm sure that the recording industry mafia set up a conspiracy so that Gene Kan would be given medication that would make him become more depressed. After a while, they sent a hitman to kill him and make it look like suacide...
They say Gene Kan commited suacide with a gun! But Gene Kan doesn't OWN a gun!!! How can he commit suacide with a gun when he has no gun? It was a hitman that pumped a bullet into Gene Kan's head and then placed the gun in his hand to make it look like suacide... I'm sure the police was involved in the conspiracy too. Just look at how hurriedly they cremated Gene Kan's body!!!
I'm not kidding! I'm sure this is what really happened!!! After all, they ARE the MAFIA!!! (Do you have any idea how much of the recording industry is run by the Italian mafia?)
BREAKING: DOJ LOSES 9/11 EVIDENCE CONTROL ATTEMPT
Subject: BREAKING: DOJ LOSES 9/11 EVIDENCE CONTROL ATTEMPT
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2002 07:41:52 EDT
Meet the key players in a 9/11 lawsuit story I broke nationally overnight, beating the New York Times by about 3 hours. (Note the day is one day ahead in New Zealand, the point of origin for Scoop Media.) Please feel free to use if you find the story of value for your readers:
DOJ Loses 9/11 Evidence Control Attempt
PS: Sometimes the news is good. The Judge was fair. And this will be a huge case; however, Ashcroft's offfice will likely contest every important document and piece of evidence. But the JUDGE will do the deciding. NOT the Bush Justice Department.
BTW--MY HARKEN STORY FROM 2 DAYS AGO: (MOST HITS EVER FOR ME):
Read My Lips: Oil Was Well with Harken
TERROR IN AMERICA Sept. 11, 2001
Tearful FBI Agent Apologizes To Sept. 11 Families and Victims
Clandestine suicide squad. Gene Kan was murdered not suicide
Freedom in the United States is in Danger!
Advances in technology have created a threat to everyones freedom.
Illegal surveillance, harassment with sound projection and microwave hearing, and attacks with acoustic and microwave nonlethal weapons put all of us at risk. Who is using this technology? It is believed to be a rogue element within our own government, using this technology to promote its own agenda. They believe they can terrorize anyone into accepting their commands, and enforce their sense of deranged morality on everyone. Civil Rights mean nothing to this group, including your right to privacy, the right to live where you want, the right to your own religious beliefs, the right to pursue your desired career.
GO HERE FOR FULL STORY:
Clandestine suicide squad. Gene Kan was murdered not suicide - redorman
colorado to sue air force for drying state(chem trails) - trail lawyer
World sees U.S. Government as Being Totally Corrupt.
IS THIS THE SAME 'SALLY DENTON'? - ENVAX
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lighly upon you, and posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
-Samuel Adams, speech at the Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776.
t r u t h o u t | 07.15
Harken Papers Offer Details on Bush Knowledge
Jennifer Van Bergen | The Spirit of Liberty
Neo - Nazi Fires Shot as Chirac Leads Bastille Parade
Democratic Radio Response: Defending the US Economy
Anthony Lewis | Silencing a Palestinian Moderate
Market Fearing 'Capitulation.' As Stock Prices Fall, So Do Investors' Hopes