Denied Permission To Sue, Feingold Still Pushes ABM Treaty Fight
by John Nichols, The Nation, June 21, 2002
The Senate Ethics Committee has denied US Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wi., permission to join a lawsuit that asks the federal courts to clarify whether it was appropriate for President Bush to unilaterally end participation by the United States in the thirty-year-old Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
But that does not mean that Feingold is giving up on the suit brought by 31 member of the House of Representatives, or the cause of pushing the Senate to assert its Constitutionally-defined authority role in deciding whether the US enters and exits international treaties.
"I wanted to be a part of the lawsuit because I think this is a fundamental issue for anyone who cares about the separation of powers. The fact that I am not going to be allowed to be a plaintiff does not make the lawsuit, or the issue, any less important," says Feingold, a lawyer who says he is considering filing an amicus brief in support of the legal action. "I am going to continue to do everything I can to help the members of Congress that are bringing the suit."
The Senate requires that members receive a Ethics Committee waiver from rules regulating gifts before accepting free legal assistance. Senators who are forced to defend themselves against lawsuits are routinely granted waivers. But committee staffers said the rules were read narrowly in regard to Feingold's request because he sought to become a plaintiff in a legal action.
Noting that the suit he sought to join raises an important Constitutional question, Feingold told The Nation, "I really was surprised that the waiver was denied in this case. It seems to me that this was a reasonable request for a waiver, which they should have granted."
The decision to prevent Feingold from joining the suit means that no senator is officially a party to the legal action. Since it is the Senate that approves treaties -- and that Thomas Jefferson and other founders of the nation said should decide when to exit treaties -- some legal observers say the suit's prospects will suffer because there is not a senator among the plaintiffs.
But Feingold says the suit remains vital and necessary.
"This is all very frustrating because none of this should be happening," the senator said of the conflict over the president's withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. "The White House shouldn't be undoing treaties without the permission of Congress. This is shifting a fundamental aspect of our system. If presidents are allowed to withdraw from treaties whenever they want, then we really are changing the relationship between the legislative and the executive branches. That makes this a very sad moment for the Constitution and the country. If this change is allowed to be made, without objection from Congress or the courts, then we will have a very hard time getting back to the proper separation of powers."
Feingold, who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution, has frequently expressed concern about the failure of Senate leaders to defend the role of Congress as it relates to oversight of the White House. In addition to making an unsuccessful attempt in early June to open a Senate debate over Bush's decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty on June 13, the Wisconsin senator has in recent weeks been saying that the administration should seek Congressional approval before declaring war on Iraq.
Feingold says his concern about Bush's withdrawal from the ABM Treaty extends beyond the Constitutional question.
"I'm very concerned about where this administration is moving in terms of arms control. For thirty years, the ABM Treaty has been the foundation for our strategic relations with the Soviet Union and Russia, and for much of the progress we've made on arms control," says Feingold, who is also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In a written statement detailing those concerns, Feingold argues, "At a time when our global strategic relationships are of paramount importance, withdrawing from the ABM Treaty risks undermining the strength and staying power of the global coalition against terrorism. Instead of withdrawing from the ABM Treaty, we should be taking further steps to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to thwart the attempts of terrorists to acquire nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the means to deliver them."
Similar sentiments motivate US Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who has spearheaded the lawsuit challenging the legality of the administration's decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty. Kucinich plans to continue to work closely with Feingold on the issue.
Even without a senator's name on the plaintiff list, Kucinich says, the suit remains appropriate and necessary. Noting that the House played a critical role in debates over presidential attempts to scrap treaties in the 19th century, Kucinich says there is plenty of precedent for objections from both chambers of the Congress.
"Look at the Declaration of Independence itself. In that document, the Continental Congress challenged King George for suspending legislatures and simply declaring that his word was law. This country was founded by people who objected to a ruler named George who thought he had the authority to roll over the legislative branch," says Kucinich, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. "We have to reassert that founding spirit. The Constitution charges Congress with establishing laws, just as it empowers the president to carry out laws. Congress approved the ABM Treaty overwhelmingly, and it was George Bush's responsibility to carry out that law. Instead, what Bush has done is unilaterally throw out a law -- in this case the ABM Treaty."
The Senate Ethics Committee has denied US Sen. Russ Feingold, D-WI., permission to join a lawsuit that asks the federal courts to clarify whether it was appropriate for President Bush to unilaterally end participation by the United States in the thirty-year-old Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
But that does not mean that Feingold, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution, is giving up on the suit brought by 31 member of the House of Representatives, or the cause of pushing the Senate to assert its Constitutionally-defined role in determining when the US enters and exits international treaties.
For the full story, read the latest installment of John Nichols' exclusive Nation feature, currently available at:
Soccer Field-Sized Asteroid Detected In A `Close Shave' With Earth
Thomas Wagner, Associated Press Writer, June 20, 2002
LONDON (AP) -- An asteroid the size of a soccer field narrowly missed the Earth by 75,000 miles -- less than a third of the distance to the moon and one of the closest known approaches by objects of this size, scientists said Thursday.
"In the unlikely event the asteroid had struck Earth in a populated area, it would have caused considerable loss of life," said scientist Grant Stokes. "The energy release would be of the magnitude of a large nuclear weapon."
Stokes is the principal investigator for the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research Project, whose New Mexico observatory spotted the object last week.
"It was a close shave," said another scientist, Brian Marsden of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. His organization gathers information on all such encounters.
The asteroid was not detected until three days after it came close to the Earth on June 14. When such asteroids are detected, they are usually spotted well out in space when they are approaching or departing Earth.
The asteroid, provisionally named 2002 MN, was traveling at more than 23,000 mph when it was spotted, Stokes said in a phone interview from Lexington, Mass., where he is associate head of the aerospace division of MIT Lincoln Laboratory.
With a diameter of between 50 and 120 yards, the asteroid was about the size of a soccer field, which tend to be about 105 yards by 75 yards, Stokes said. The size of asteroids is estimated by measuring their brightness, without knowing their composition.
Although lightweight compared with some asteroids, 2002 MN was big enough to have caused devastation similar to the impact of one in Siberia in 1908. On that occasion, an asteroid that exploded above Tunguska flattened nearly 800 square miles of forest. The asteroid's air blast was believed to have done the damage, since no crater was found.
In general, damage on the ground depends on what an asteroid is made of, varying from solid metal to a loosely bound aggregate.
"Looking statistically at the asteroid population, maybe 50 times a year a 100-meter-class asteroid passes within a lunar distance of Earth," Stokes said. "But only a handful of such asteroids that have penetrated the Moon's orbit have been spotted by asteroid search programs."
Benny Peiser, an expert on near earth objects at Liverpool John Moore's University in England, agreed that most asteroids do not come so close, but noted the latest "reminder" comes as Britain tests telescopes on the Spanish island of La Palma to search for the objects.
"Such near misses do highlight the importance of detecting these objects," he said.
Currently, there is no dedicated program searching for objects of 2002 MN's size. NASA concentrates its efforts on bodies bigger than a one kilometer (.62 of a mile) across.
"NASA has a goal of discovering and obtaining good orbits for all the near earth objects with diameters larger than 1 kilometer," said Thomas Morgan, a scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington. "Asteroids of this size could potentially destroy civilization as we know it."
Such asteroids could theoretically hit Earth every million years, or at longer intervals.
Asteroids the size of 2002 MN are estimated to hit the Earth every 100 to several hundred years, causing local damage, but no disaster to civilization or the planet's ecosystem, Stokes said.
"It's something the public should know about, but shouldn't get nervous about," he said. "Civilization has to get used to them on some level."
Asteroid Gives Earth Closest Shave In Years
Paris (AFP) June 20, 2002 - A football-pitch-sized asteroid capable of razing a major city came within a whisker of hitting the Earth on June 14, but was only spotted three days later, scientists said Thursday.
Asteroid 2002 MN, estimated at up to 120 metres (yards) long, hurtled by the Earth at a distance of 120,000 kilometers (75,000 miles), well within the orbit of the Moon and just a hair's breadth in galactic terms.
It is the closest recorded near-miss by any asteroid, with the exception of a 10-metre (33-feet) rock, 1994 XM1, which approached within 105,000 kilometers (65,000) miles on December 9, 1994, they said.
"2002 MN is a lightweight among asteroids and incapable of causing damage on a global scale, such as the object associated with the extinction of the dinosaurs," the Near Earth Object (NEO) Information Centre of Britain's National Space Centre said in a press release.
"However, if it had hit the Earth, 2002 MN may have caused local devastation similar to that which occurred in Tunguska, Siberia in 1908, when 2,000 square kilometres (800 square miles) of forest were flattened," it said.
Spokesman Kevin Yates told AFP that the asteroid was only spotted on June 17 -- three days after its flyby.
Had it collided with the Earth, "the most likely thing is that it would have detonated in the atmosphere, creating a blast wave," he said.
"You're talking in the region of 10 megatonnes -- quite a lot of energy to be released in any one place," he said.
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The risk of the Earth being hit by an asteroid or comet is very remote, and most objects never come so close as 2002 MN.
NASA's Near-Earth Object (NEO) Program website confirmed the incident and said 2002 MN was spotted by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR), a project funded by the US Air Force and NASA and located in New Mexico.
The website of the US magazine Sky et Telescope voiced alarm at the near miss.
"What is most shocking is just how close it came to Earth," it said.
"Though the exact details of an impact scenario depend on the rock's composition, had it hit the Earth, the event would have been 'Tunguska-like', with a force rivalling the largest H-bombs."
US and other astronomers are working hard to map large asteroids, greater than a kilometer (five-eighths of a mile) across, that could inflict lasting climate change.
One such monster is believed to have wacked into the Earth 65 million years ago in what is modern-day Mexico, kicking up dust and debris that swathed the planet, unleashing a prolonged winter that ended the long reign of the dinosaurs.
But many specialists are worried that little sustained effort is being made to spot smaller space wanderers, which could still unleash the energy of an arsenal of nuclear bombs if they collided with our home.
In addition, the search for dangerously asteroids is overwhelmingly conducted by telescopes in the northern hemisphere. A rock approaching from the southern hemisphere could go undetected.
Astronomers spot asteroids thanks to the light they reflect from the Sun, which means that smaller ones are frequently only discovered when they are very close to the Earth and become visible.
If one of these were on a collision course, that would leave no time to launch a rocket or missiles to try to deflect or destroy it, or even prepare cities for a potential disaster.
Asteroids are often described as the rubble left over from the building of the Solar System.
They orbit the Sun, but the paths are never eternal, for the trajectories can be deflected by gravitational pull whenever the asteroid passes by a planet or goes around the star itself.
The latest calculations of 2002 MN suggest it has an orbit of 894.9 days and is unlikely ever to be any future threat to the Earth, said Yates.
The next close flyby will be in 2061 but the distance will be much greater than in the June 14 episode, he said.
Asteroids are a very remote yet real peril, because they move at such speeds that they unleash terrific energy on impact.
The Tunguska event was caused by an object estimated to be 60 metres (200 feet) long. It exploded in the atmosphere with the force of 600 times the Hiroshima bomb.
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Tax, Slaughter And Lies
What can Arab Americans do? James Abou Rizk* offers suggestions in an abridged version of a speech he gave to the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee conference
The 2 May US House of Representatives vote, 352 to 21, expressed unqualified support for Israel. On the same day the US Senate voted 94 to 2 for the same motion. That these votes occurred at the same time the Israeli army was slaughtering Palestinians in the West Bank sent the signal that no matter what Israel did it was OK with our senators and congressmen.
I do not recall my member of congress asking me if I was in favour of patting Israel on the back for its criminal violations of international law. No one else, no average American, has been asked either.
But that is the state of American politics today. The Israeli lobby has put together so much money power that we are daily witnessing US senators and representatives bowing down low to Israel and its US lobby.
Make no mistake. The votes and bows have nothing to do with the legislators' love for Israel. They have everything to do with the money that is fed into their campaigns by members of the Israeli lobby. My estimate is that at least $6 billion flows from the American Treasury to Israel each year. That money, plus the political support the US gives Israel at the United Nations, is what allows Israel to conduct criminal operations in Palestine with impunity. While the Europeans protest loudly at Israel's actions, and at Israel's ignoring of world opinion, such protests are brushed aside by Israel because its support comes from the only country that counts, the US.
What the lobby has actually done is to intervene in our democracy, manipulating one branch of our government so that it is in conflict with the other branches. And this is done for the benefit of a foreign power. Never in our history has a foreign power had such a grip on our government. We have witnessed the lobby manipulating the American media by planting stories in the press, utilising Israel's supporters in the press, the Defence Department and in the Congress to effectively tie the hands of any administration that might want to make Israel do the right thing.
Israel has, over the years, gradually pursued a strategy to align America with their fortress mentality, so that when we became victims of a terrorist attack Israel was able to commence its long planned invasion of the West Bank. The timing was perfect: Bush was retaliating in Afghanistan and could not consistently criticise Israel for what it was doing. This criminal opportunism was brought to you by the same people who attacked and destroyed the USS Liberty, who deliberately allowed the truck bombers in Beirut to drive their explosives into the Marine Barracks there, and who paid Jonathan Pollard to steal our secrets so some of them could be sold to the Soviet Union.
Congress and the administration support Israel's crimes because of the Israeli lobby's money. By paying taxes Americans are paying for the destruction of Palestine and of Palestinians. And when the time comes to rebuild the cities and villages of the West Bank, Americans will pay for that as well.
The Israeli lobby operates in the shadows. The reason for this is that members of Congress and the mainstream media allow them to do so by not speaking or writing about the lobby.
One would think that an organisation that is as widespread as the lobby deserves some kind of press coverage, that the amount of taxpayers' money handed to Israel each year deserves some commentary. But the obvious result of exposing the lobby's activities would be that the American people demand an end to this handing over of money to criminals who are slaughtering and abusing Palestinians.
If anyone else did what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians we would send in troops to put a stop to it. We did so in Bosnia, we did so in Kosovo, and we did so in Haiti. Instead, we are sending more money so Israel can continue the slaughter.
In case you're wondering, I haven't forgotten our president, George W. Here is a man torn between two conflicting urges. One urge is to keep good relations with the Arab oil countries so his family and his friends can be taken care of. The other urge is to kiss the feet of the Israelis.
Do we remember when George W first "ordered" Sharon to withdraw from the West Bank? Do we remember when Sharon effectively told the president of the most powerful country in the world to stick it up his nose?
Those who say George W is dumb had better review how quickly he learned who was the real boss of the world -- Ariel Sharon. And if you think what members of Congress have been doing is undignified, compare that to the disgraceful retreat George W conducted when Sharon told him to. This is truly an example of the tail wagging the dog, and is not befitting the man who presumably leads us, and who did not ask our permission to have him kowtow to the war criminal, Sharon.
George W Bush lied to the Arab American community during his election campaign when he said, in Michigan, that he was against the policy of using secret evidence to convict Arab Americans or to have them deported. He needed Michigan's Arab American votes and based on that policy statement, he got them.
Now that he is safely in office we see a different George Bush. When FBI and CIA shortfallings recently became public, he sent out members of his administration to say that there was no way they could have known about the World Trade Centre bombing ahead of time. Dick Cheney said that the duty of the president and himself was to make certain it wouldn't happen again. The vice-president was lying when he said that. He and Bush are not doing all they can to prevent another such attack. What they are doing is making certain that there will be another attack by announcing their support for Ariel Sharon and Israel's continued brutality against the Palestinians. They are continuing to send money, and the political support they've given Israel is criminal complicity itself. Don't kid yourself. They know what they're doing by giving some terrorist somewhere more reasons to attack the US, our citizens, and American interests somewhere around the world.
It's no secret that people around the world are distraught at our support for Israel and what it's doing to Palestinians, which is the single greatest grievance people in the Arab countries and in Moslem countries have against us. It is not, as some of the propagandists try to say, that these people hate America because we have freedoms here. Anyone who knows anyone in the Arab world will tell you that they love our freedoms. It is our policies they hate, because it is our policies that cause so much suffering in Palestine and other places.
It's appropriate now to discuss some of the other stars of the administration and the Congress. Each political party in Congress elects its own leader. In the case of the Republican House members, they elected Congressman Dick Armey. You remember him. He's the fellow who stood up on television and recommended ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.
Then there's Vice President Cheney, who said he sympathised with Israel in its trouble trying to occupy the West Bank. In the past he couldn't say enough nice things about Arabs when he was head of the Haliburton Company, and both he and Haliburton have gotten rich doing business with the Arab oil countries. And don't forget Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, both of whom believe that Sharon is not tough enough on the Palestinians.
We must remember, too, Attorney General John Ashcroft, who has given new meaning to the word "fascist". How else can you describe what he's done since 11 September? He has single handedly destroyed more civil liberties in this great country of ours than any other government official since Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln abolished habeas corpus during the civil war, but Ashcroft has carried that to ridiculous heights. He has authorised the wiretapping of conversations between attorneys and their clients, a little loophole that has resulted in the arrest of attorney Lynn Stewart, indicted on flimsy charges arising from the FBI listening in on her conversations with her imprisoned client, Sheikh Omar Abdel- Rahman. He has, too, supervised mass arrests of Arabs in this country, without charges and without allowing them to consult a lawyer.
Secretary Colin Powell, who seemed to have the only level head in the administration, was on television the other day telling America that, "Yes, the settlements are going to be a big problem in settling this conflict." His attitude in that respect is very much like the piano player in the house of prostitution who claims he has no idea what's going on upstairs. Here is the secretary of state of the United States, which provides Israel with some $6 billion in aid who pretends he doesn't know that it is our money that is building settlements, and that it is our money that is buying the tanks, fighter jets, and helicopter gunships for Israel to allow them to build and hold onto settlements.
But George W Bush and his administration have discovered that when our country goes into crisis, as happened on 11 September, the president's popularity polls go upward. Do you think that explains why Bush wants his war on terrorism extended forever, or at least until after the congressional elections this year and his own re-election in 2004? And when I say re- election, I do not concede that he was elected in 2000. Not to say that Al Gore would have been any better on the Middle East conflict, but at least he got more votes than Bush did.
We now know that the FBI had several strong hints that the attack was planned ahead of time, but did nothing with it. My wife's brother, who is a simple farmer in Northern Syria, has had difficulty getting a visa to visit me in South Dakota, but Mohamed Atta, the reputed ringleader of 11 September hijackers, was granted the courtesy of having his visa extension delivered to him by the INS some six months after he flew a plane into the World Trade Centre.
Bad things have been happening to us as Arab Americans for at least two reasons: first of all, we have failed to organise ourselves into a powerful political force, which is the best protection we can have against governmental abuse. And secondly, we have failed to organise ourselves to combat the depredations of Israel and its lobby.
But we cannot shy away from exposing the Israeli lobby for what it is, the lobby of a foreign government that forces Congress to act against American interest. And it does so in the shadows, which prevents the public from knowing what they and our members of congress are doing. The lobby has intimidated politicians, the press and even our president.
We will never put a stop to that until we organise and raise enough money to combat what the lobby is doing. By exposing how much money the lobby is taking from us each year we can make great progress to defend ourselves from the government and the lobby.
If the American media were doing its job reporting on the Israeli lobby and on what is happening in Palestine, it would be much easier to discuss this with the American public. But all we get from cable news networks is the one-sided trash they put out that passes for news programmes.
I want to tell you about the first time I visited the Middle East. It was in 1973, shortly after the 1973 War, and not long after I began serving in the US Senate. I spoke with every Arab leader in the area, with the exception of Saddam Hussein. To a man they told me that if Israel would withdraw to 1967 borders, allow the Palestinians a state in the West Bank, they would then sign a peace treaty and recognise Israel. That is the same proposal that Crown Prince Abdullah put on the table. But back then there was no reaction from either the US or Israel. I made a speech at the Federal Press Club about my trip, telling those attending about the offer from Arab leaders. There was a journalist in the audience who rose and asked me several hostile questions, after which he got up and left. His name was Wolf Blitzer, and he wrote a nasty article attacking me, saying, "Abou Rizk has sold out to the Arabs." You remember Blitzer -- he also wrote a book advocating that the US government release Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy.
I also want to tell you what happened in Los Angeles recently, in addition to Dr Abdel-Karim being arrested for taking humanitarian aid to Palestinians. When I was in Los Angeles two or three weeks ago on other business I was contacted by people who represented what was described as a new coalition of Palestinian groups in the area. I was told they were having a meeting to raise money for ambulances in the West Bank, and asked if I would speak to them. I readily agreed to do it, and was preparing for the appearance when, the next day, I was contacted and told that my speech was cancelled because one of the groups had non-profit, tax free status, and that they were afraid if I spoke Ashcroft would have their tax- free status revoked.
My point in telling you this is that Ashcroft's objective is to frighten Arab Americans into silence, so they can't protest giving money to Israel and so they can't try to counter the Israeli lobby. I'm here to tell you that it is a fatal mistake to allow Ashcroft to frighten you. We still have the courts in this great nation to act as a shield against such fascist activities. I know it's difficult, but you need to be aggressive in your protests against the Israeli lobby and against wrong-headed government policies. If we do not stand up for our rights, no one else will stand up for us. We have to do it ourselves, no matter how much pain and suffering it causes us. We must do it for our children and for our grandchildren. We do not want to leave them a legacy of fear and of oppression.
In closing, I'm going to tell you how to stop the suicide bombings in Palestine. There are two ways to do it.
Give the Palestinians the same weapons that the US has given Israel, the same fighter jets, the same tanks, and the same rockets and other small arms. Then the suicide bombers will no longer find it necessary to bomb pizza parlours and passover celebrations. Providing such weapons will no longer make it necessary for Palestinians to martyr themselves. They can then shoot it out with the Israeli army on an equal basis.
The second option is for Israel and the US to get the hell out of the West Bank. We must acknowledge that Israel stole most of Palestine, but that if they will relinquish what is now only the West Bank the war will be over. There would be no more suicide bombers. And the Palestinian people would be able to have some sort of peace that they deserve and that has been owed to them ever since 1948.
* The writer is a former member of the US Senate.
Amidst the US preoccupation with its 'war on terror' and new allegations about Israel's nuclear capabilities, Ayman El-Amir* argues that the international order is moving further away from the principles embodied by the UN Charter
News reports this week that Israel's three Dolphin-class submarines are equipped with nuclear-armed cruise missiles give the appearance of being messages destined for Iran and Pakistan. Both countries have recently tested new long-range missiles, capable of carrying nuclear warheads and which put Israel within their reach.
The reports on the submarines undermine Egypt's decade-long effort to make the Middle East a nuclear-free zone, and they mark the dawn of a new phase in the post- Berlin Wall world order: the revival of the nuclear arms race. Once again, the world is on a razor's edge. But this time, in the context of a unipolar world; responsibility for the direction of the world order rests squarely with the United States.
In 1945, when the Allied Forces had achieved their victory, the world breathed a sigh of relief. Fascism had been defeated, the old colonial powers were weakened and it seemed possible that a new, more egalitarian world order might be established. Henry Luce, the co-founder of Time magazine and the media magnate who was prominent in US politics for much of the 1950s and 1960s, believed that the new order would be dominated by the US. He called the new era "The American Century".
Luce's vision was not far-fetched. In the ensuing 50 years, the US played a major role in shaping and setting the pace of global developments. It was undeterred by its sometimes ill-considered involvement in foreign wars or by the challenges of the Cold War. In less than five decades, the American Century was crowned by yet another historic victory when communism, its arch-enemy, crumbled with the Berlin Wall. With the defeat of Iraq following its invasion of Kuwait in 1991 and the bombing into submission of Milosevic's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, which put an end to "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo, Luce's words appeared apt. At the dawn of the 21st century, the US is not only the world's sole superpower but also a new imperial power. However, as students of history know, imperial powers invariably sow the seeds of their own demise. The US is no exception to this rule. From the vantage point of the beginning of the third millennium, many observers acknowledge that the future may well be most "un-American", indeed.
In the new scheme of things, the old order of the post-World War II era has all but vanished. The collapse of the former Soviet Union and the communist bloc it commanded created a power vacuum, which the US quickly filled. In less than a decade after the demise of the Soviet Union, the US has all but eroded the pillars of the old bi-polar system. Shaped by the difficult lessons of internecine continental, global wars and foreign conquest, the United Nation's vision for a post-World War II rested on four main pillars. Those pillars are the United Nations' charter, the decisions of the International Court of Justice, the tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principles of international law. The UN Charter looked forward to an era in which all peoples would see their standard of living improved and their freedom expanded.
Two years into the new millennium, the optimism implied in the UN Charter with those principles has all but disappeared. Those principles have effectively been superseded by a new, superpower doctrine based on claims of "moral superiority". The new doctrine sanctions unbridled military intervention by the Western alliance, marginalises the role and authority of the United Nations and views with contempt any international judicial system, including the International Criminal Court. The doctrine has made globalisation the cornerstone of the new international economic order. It backs away from nuclear disarmament, gives the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) a new and aggressive role and undermines the international consensus on environmental protection. The new supreme power has substituted the "rule of law" by a doctrine of "ruling above the law".
Two landmark developments defined the new world order. First, in October 1999, the United States Senate, acting against the recommendation of President Bill Clinton, refused to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), thus weakening the underpinnings of global security arrangements. This gave existing and aspiring nuclear powers the green light to resume nuclear testing and undermined the principles of non-proliferation. Successive US administrations, wanting to maintain the prevailing monopoly on nuclear arms, had consistently bullied the US's non- nuclear allies into endorsing the CTBT, and refused to tolerate any questions on the matter of Israel's nuclear arsenal.
The Bush administration has recently announced its withdrawal from the 1972 SALT II treaty with the former Soviet Union, which limited the deployment of anti- ballistic missiles. Last week, the Russian government responded by abolishing the treaty. Successful medium- and long-range missile tests by Pakistan and Iran last month were defensible in light of US actions. China, Russia, Israel and India will probably now feel free to undertake nuclear and missile testing to fine tune their nuclear arms systems. According to Western military sources, Israeli nuclear-armed submarines have been deployed in the Persian Gulf, having previously been based in the Red Sea for easy deployment near Iran. The probable outcome of these developments is that the nuclear arms race will once again proceed at full swing.
The other major development, which occurred six months earlier, was the NATO member states' ratification in Washington of a US proposal to modify the defensive nature of the organisation. In accordance with the US proposal, NATO gave itself the right to intervene militarily in the affairs of any sovereign state without authorisation of the UN Security Council. This changed mandate provided advance justification for the bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a "humanitarian intervention".
Although NATO's new role clearly violates one of the cardinal principles of the UN Charter -- resort to the threat of or the use of force unless authorised by the Security Council -- it was comfortably endorsed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. After the recent expansion of NATO to incorporate the former countries of the Eastern Bloc and the associate status bestowed upon Russia, NATO's mandate was further strengthened when it adopted the fight against terrorism as its principal mission. Following a consultative meeting last week, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that NATO might launch strikes against targets without having incontrovertible evidence of their involvement in terrorism. This suggests that the US might launch preemptive strikes on the mere suspicion that a terrorist plot is afoot -- a new turn in international relations.
If there had been anything left of the post-1945 world order, it was shattered by the terrorist attacks of 11 September. Since the world's superpower suffered a blow it has been obsessed with retaliation. Consequently, in the new spirit of international relations, the global fight against terrorism is the highest order. Neither dissent nor even critical discussion of the matter are permitted. In its pursuit of terrorism, the new superpower is both extraterritorial and extrajudicial.
The new world order is very much a divided entity. A wide gap separates the superpower, which has renounced all checks and balances, from an underdeveloped world that largely suffers from political, economic and social injustice. This gap is to an extent bridged by a group of manipulative countries with shifting allegiances.
At the beginning of the third millennium, the global picture is dismal. Of the world's six billion people, more than two billion live in abject poverty. Less than 10 per cent of the world's population lives comfortably, while 5.5 billion persons live in constant need. More than one billion of them are unemployed or under employed and 300 million children live and work in conditions of unprecedented brutality, reminiscent of the early days of capitalism. Globalisation is wreaking economic, social and political havoc. It is destabilising political regimes and social systems. It has turned countries and peoples into businesses to be bought, held or sold. The new era is supposed to mark the triumph of justice, freedom and democracy. However, the world is dominated by totalitarian regimes, media censorship is appearing in new forms and individual freedoms and civil liberties are increasingly proscribed.
The preoccupation with the all-out war on terrorism has circumscribed the global agenda. A number of explosive regional crises are being given only the most limited attention. The crisis in the Middle East, the impending war between India and Pakistan, the deteriorating international financial situation, the rise of transnational crime and the explosion of crushing global poverty and pandemic diseases are but few examples. Only the most urgent of crises -- the Indo-Pakistani situation and that in the Middle East --have captured the attention of the world's sole superpower, but only from the narrow perspective of combating terrorism.
The new world order is at a crossroads. The Clinton administration had divided it into "allies" and "rogue states", leaving some space in between for countries with other political opinions. The Bush administration has defined the world as comprising a "coalition against terrorism" and an "axis of evil", with nothing in between. Washington's insistence on a high-powered militarism and political hounding is creating a new class of "rebel states" in the Middle East and elsewhere -- a loose alliance that is determined to halt US extraterritorialism. These factors appear set to define a new system of international relations in which the rebel states and the superpower are continually at loggerheads. Samuel Huntington, who developed the controversial clash of civilisations theory, said as much in his article "The Lonely Superpower" (Foreign Affairs, March-April 1999).
However, this dangerous course of action is neither desirable nor inevitable. If it wishes, the world's sole superpower could lead a drive towards establishing a new global contract for peace and development aiming to realise the objectives stated by the UN Charter. A new and courageous dialogue is needed -- a dialogue that will not shy away from giving weight to the causes of terrorism and not only the "war" against it. The dialogue should not be monopolised or manipulated by governments, but should be led by the genuine voices of civil society. It's only when the world's superpower begins to listen, rather than talk, to heed rather than instruct, that the promise of a new, just and equitable order could begin to be realised.
* The writer is former correspondent for Al- Ahram in Washington DC. He has also served as director of United Nations Radio and Television in New York.
A Second Age Of Reason
An explosive mix of discontent and fundamentalism is brewing within the context of a new world order.
by Rushdi Said
A new world order is emerging in which the United States wields disproportionate power. Never before has a single state or empire gained dominance over virtually every corner of the earth. With a combination of military power, technological prowess and political influence, the United States has so far managed to eclipse other powers on the international scene like Russia, China and the EU, intimidate smaller nations and manipulate an impressive array of international organisations, namely, the UN, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The world has known dominant empires before, but their geographical reach was never so complete and they were eventually challenged by lesser powers lurking about their edges. In this respect the cases of Rome and the Germanic tribes, the Byzantine Empire and the Arabs, and the Baghdad caliphate and the Moguls are instructive. The technological gap between the ancient empires and their neighbours was never all that great, which worked in favour of emerging powers. Now, the scene is more complicated. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has dominated the international scene with its extensive media reach, banking and investment prowess, military edge and political clout. In every continent, the United States has local allies who are capable of and willing to further its aims. In most countries there are businessmen, decision-makers and academics who have links with transnational businesses and who are willing to defend, or acquiesce to, US political and economic choices.
But there are chinks in the armour. The new world order may have an extensive reach and powerful agents, but it also has its challengers and internal contradictions. Even in the United States, the rise of the religious right is a potential hazard to political stability, for it opposes the two fundamental tenets of Western civilisation: reason and moral responsibility. The encroachment of the church, represented by the religious right, in state affairs introduces an element of irrationality in government decisions. Individuals and states are classified as good and evil depending on whether they are with us or against us. Values become a matter of ritual rather than responsible moral behaviour. Business corruption, like the Enron scandal, is becoming more frequent. Concern about the less fortunate is no longer a public priority. The rise of religious fundamentalism in the United States explains, at least partly, the US Congress's increasing bias towards Israel. The terrible events of 11 September have complicated the situation. The urge to protect the United States against further terrorist attacks has given rise to a series of laws and regulations restricting individual freedoms, which had previously been a strong point of the American system. These developments make the current situation a far cry from that in the aftermath of World War II when the United States assumed moral leadership in the formation of the United Nations and the drafting of the international declaration on human rights. A moral reversal has taken place over the past few decades, and not only in the United States. Countries that had abolished the death penalty are reinstating it. Young men and women whose parents shunned intelligence services in the 1960s and 1970s are now eagerly seeking careers with the CIA and the FBI.
A further challenge to the new world order is the increasingly marginal role played by human beings in the process of production due to technological advances. Less people are needed to run farms and factories and even to fight wars. As a result, many people are marginalised despite the exponential growth of the service sector. Illegal activities such as arms smuggling and drug dealing have witnessed considerable growth. The magnitude of illegal trade is difficult to gauge, but it is estimated in the hundreds of billions of dollars each year.
The globalisation of investment has failed to bring about a globalisation of prosperity. Countries such as Sierra Leone, Sudan, Somalia and Rwanda have fallen by the technological wayside. The pace and direction of the development of the global economy have made many people in the industrially advanced world disgruntled. A sizeable number of those have taken their discontent to the streets of Seattle, Genoa, New York and Washington. The ideological vacuum created by capitalism led to the rise of fundamentalism worldwide. From Israel to the Gulf states, from Pakistan to India and even in the United States, religious fundamentalists are reshaping the structure of vital sections of the state like the judiciary and key services like social security, health care and education.
The only hope for reforming the new world order is through a return to the age of reason, to the separation of church and state and to affirmative action on behalf of the less powerful sections of the international community.
* The writer is a Washington-based political analyst and former head of the Egyptian Geological Survey Authority.
Planet Ark World Environment News
US Senate climate warming hearing delayed until July - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16489/story.htm
Republican will head US energy bill negotiations - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16490/story.htm
North Carolina gives incentive to cut utility pollution - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16496/story.htm
US firm designs airship to rain on forest fires - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16488/story.htm
Sellafield children have increased cancer risk - study - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16491/story.htm
South Korean firm to build Oman diesel plant - OMAN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16497/story.htm
Greenpeace blocks Dutch nuclear waste train - NETHERLANDS http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16492/story.htm
Brazil fines Shell for toxic pesticide pollution - BRAZIL http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16493/story.htm
Solvay, Kobe Steel to set up PVC recycling plants - BELGIUM http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16498/story.htm
FEATURE - Wild "super dogs" hunt Australian livestock - AUSTRALIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16494/story.htm
Public Citizen issued the following press releases today:
1) Variety of Groups Join Members of Congress to Advocate Spending for People, Not Corporations, When Writing Final Energy Bill
2) Free Air Time Needed to Break Special Interest Stranglehold
June 19, 2002
Variety of Groups Join Members of Congress to Advocate Spending for People, Not Corporations, When Writing Final Energy Bill
Groups: Fuel Social Programs, Don't Give to Wealthy Polluters
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Members of Congress joined consumer, environmental and public interest groups at a press conference today in response to the naming last week of conferees in the U.S. House of Representatives for upcoming House-Senate negotiations on energy legislation.
Press conference participants demanded that the conferees not sell out the American public as proposed by House energy legislation, which offers nearly $34 billion in tax breaks and subsidies to wealthy and polluting oil, nuclear and coal companies. Nearly a dozen lawmakers stressed the importance of prioritizing people over wealthy corporations.
"One provision in the House bill would let companies that want to drill for oil and gas in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico forego paying royalties to the American people. The owners of these resources, the American people, get nothing. Zero. Zilch. That is unacceptable," said Rep. Nick Rahall, ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Resources. "If you are an executive of a major oil company, you would love the House energy bill. But if you are just plain folks, a person who pays for gas for your vehicle, you have to wonder why you should be gouged twice - at the pump and at the U.S. Treasury."
Congress is currently struggling to find an additional $7 billion dollars to fund the commitments it made recently in the education reform bill. It will also need between $350 and $700 billion for a Medicare prescription drug plan. Yet the House measure offers, in subsidies and tax breaks, $2.6 billion to the nuclear industry, $5.8 billion to the coal industry, $5.8 billion to the private electric utility industry and $19.5 billion to the oil and gas industry.
A February 2002 report prepared by the minority staff special investigations division of the House Committee on Government Reform calculated the campaign contributions made by those industries in the 2000 election cycle and compared them to the dollar amount of the benefits the industries would receive in the House bill. The rate of return on the industries' investment was 47,700 percent.
The House energy measure also provides the industries with other special breaks. The government - not the coal industry - would pay the cost of industry applications to mine on federal land. The nuclear industry would get a boost by a provision that would promote the idea of building new nuclear plants on Department of Energy land. And auto manufacturers would get a huge break by not having to boost fuel efficiency of sport utility vehicles. Further, the bill does little to promote energy conservation or renewable energy sources.
"The House energy bill is yet another tax cut for the rich that does little to nothing to secure America's long-term energy needs," said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.). "While President Bush and House Republican leaders are giving tens of billions in tax cuts to energy companies, they are cutting federal support to elementary and secondary schools by $90 million from last year. Their energy bill and their priorities are wrong for America."
Added Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), ranking member on the Science Subcommittee on Energy and a conferee for the energy bill, "The answer to America's energy needs is conservation and increased use of renewable energy. Our number one priority must be the future of America's working families. We must develop energy alternatives to stop our dependence on dirty, exhaustible fossil fuels, and in that way we will provide a healthy, secure future for our children."
Also speaking at the event were U.S. Reps. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Hilda Solis (D-Calif.).
June 19, 2002
Free Air Time Needed to Break Special Interest Stranglehold
Statement of Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook (This statement was given at a press conference attended by Sens. John McCain, Russ Feingold and Robert Torricelli)
Free TV and radio air time for congressional candidates would significantly strengthen our democracy. Candidates wishing to represent the interests of the great majority of our people, not be beholden to corporate PACs, would find it feasible to run for office. Challengers, who lack officeholders' power to extract campaign cash from wealthy special interests, would have the capacity to communicate their ideas to voters.
Free air time would give the public wider choices. It's just not healthy for American democracy that in the last election we had an incumbent re-election rate of 98 percent in the House and 80 percent in the Senate.
Public Citizen has long supported free air time as an ingredient of comprehensive campaign finance reform that would include voluntary spending limits and public financing. Since public financing of congressional elections is not imminent, Congress should quickly pass free air time legislation to make congressional races more competitive and reduce candidate dependence on special interest money.
The biggest obstacle to this sensible reform is the broadcast lobby. The tens of millions that broadcasters spend to curry favor with politicians and lobby Congress have placed them in a privileged position. But it's time for them to be required to meet their public service obligations by allocating a small fraction of time on the public airwaves to facilitate competitive elections. After all, that's what happens in virtually every other industrial democracy in the world.
We plan to work with Congress and the many citizens' groups that are part of this coalition to fashion the strongest possible legislative proposal and mobilize the public behind it.
Public Citizen is a consumer advocacy organization with 150,000 members nationwide.
For more information, please visit http://www.citizen.org
To the shores of Hollywood
by David Robb
When filmmakers ask the Defense Department for help, they have to submit their screenplays to Phil Strub, the head of the department's film and TV liaison office in Washington. He reviews them for accuracy and to determine whether they will help the military's recruiting efforts. Hollywood's top producers regularly trek to Strub's office, pleading for assistance. Strub has clout. If he likes a script, he can recommend that the Pentagon give the movie's producers access to billions of dollars' worth of military hardware - ships, airplanes and tanks. But if he doesn't like a script, the producers will have to make the changes he recommends if they want the military's assistance.
For the full story on the new movie "Windtalkers," and to learn whose vision made it to the screen, see:
Love all that has been created by God, both the whole and every grain of sand. Love every leaf and every ray of light. Love the beasts and the birds, love the plants, love every separate fragment. If you love each separate fragment, you will understand the mystery of the whole resting in God.
A Road Map To Peace in The India-Pakistan Conflict
by L. Ramdas and Arjun Makhijani
India and Pakistan stand at the brink of nuclear catastrophe. Infiltration of terrorists from across the Pakistani side of the Line of Control (LoC), the massing of troops at the border by both countries, and the increasing exchanges of artillery fire matched only by the verbal volleys exchanged between the leadership of both countries, could escalate quickly into a full-scale war. This, in turn poses the threat of a nuclear exchange.
India and Pakistan signed the Shimla Agreement in 1972 and the Lahore Agreement in 1999. In both these accords, they agreed to renounce the use of force and to resolve all outstanding issues between them by peaceful means. Never has there been a time more urgent to respect the letter and spirit of those agreements than now.
We urge the governments of both Pakistan and India to immediately step back from the brink of war and nuclear holocaust by committing themselves to the following eight-point peace plan:
1) An immediate ceasefire by Indian and Pakistani forces along the LoC.
2) Pervez Musharraf must take immediate, firm, and demonstrable steps to stop cross-border infiltration from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir into the Indian-controlled side. To ensure that these steps are being taken, an International Anti-terrorist Monitoring Group should be formed and deployed. Pakistan and India should agree to full cooperation with this group.
3) If these measures are agreed to, India in turn should make a commitment not to cross the LoC.
4) Pakistan should adopt the no-first-use policy of nuclear weapons, which has already been adopted by India. These measures should be urgently instituted within a time-frame of a few weeks. Thereafter, three further steps can be taken to ensure long-term peace. These three steps are:
5) India and Pakistan should thin down their military deployments along their common border and return to pre-December 13, 2001, levels.
6) India and Pakistan should resume their dialogue on all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, in the spirit of the Shimla and Lahore agreements, and pick up the threads where they left off at Agra barely 10 months ago.
7) As a part of the dialogue process, India and Pakistan should form a joint technical commission to explore and recommend how the mutual commitment to no-first-use of nuclear weapons can be verified and maintained.
8) Why not a Shimla-II? It would be truly fitting if this could take place on July 12, 2002, the 13th anniversary of the historic Shimla agreement.
*L. Ramdas is former Chief of Naval Staff of India and Arjun Makhijani is president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Maryland.
9/11 delivers a jump in newspaper readership
Most of the USA's biggest daily newspapers experienced circulation gains after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This, despite an overall 0.6 percent drop in readership between October 2001 and March 2002 from the corresponding period in 2000-2001, which has been part of a decade-old trend. The average weekday circulation (in thousands, unless otherwise noted) for the top 10 papers, with the difference in gain or loss from the preceding year:
1. USA Today, 2.2 million; -3.4%
2. The Wall Street Journal, 1.8 million; +0.05%
3. The New York Times, 1.2 million; +3.8%
4. The Los Angeles Times, 985,000; -5.3%
5. The Washington Post, 811,000; +0.7%
6. New York Daily News, 733,000; +2.2%
7. Chicago Tribune, 628,000; +0.7%
8. Newsday of New York's Long Island, 577,000; +0.1%
9. New York Post, 562,000; +15.4%
10. Houston Chronicle, 545,000; +0.1%
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations
"The great powers of the world may have done wonders in giving the world an industrial and military look, but the great gift still has to come from Africa - giving the world a more human face."
Steve Biko (1946-1977)
Greenpeace's Positive Energy
Time for Greenpeace's CLEAN ENERGY NOW! campaign's weekly good news update!!!!
-- Victory! Los Angeles Community College District Commits to Solar Want Your College or University to Go Solar? Here's How
Action Update: Victory for Los Angeles Community College District and for the Planet!
Thanks to all of you who took action and sent letters to the Board of Trustees Los Angeles Community College District. On Wednesday June 19, 2002, the Board of Trustees for the Los Angles Community College District (LACCD), the largest network of community colleges in the U.S., unanimously voted in favor of strong renewable energy standards for the 40-50 new buildings being constructed with Proposition A funding. All of the new buildings will use at least 15-25% clean renewable energy and a minimum of 10% of the energy will be generated on-site with solar photovoltaic panels.
Read all about it:
Want to Study in a Clean Energy Environment? Start Your Own Campaign
Students working at their universities can make a huge difference and help curb the impacts of global warming by their university to utilize energy from clean, renewable resources. In many cases, doing so will not only help to protect the environment, but also save money that can be better spent improving the quality of education.
It is up to us to show our government and the world that people in the U.S. are concerned about global warming and are doing something to stop it, with or without our government. You can help lead the way.
Download our action kit by going to:
The "Positive Energy" newsletter and our web site,
will give you good news about ways to achieve clean air, climate justice, and renewable energy solutions to our ongoing energy crisis.
Want to do more? Become a Greenpeace member today!
To give online, go to:
Worm Turns For US Cotton Farmers
The larvae of the species destroy the crop
by Stephen Evans, BBC North America Business Correspondent
A quiet battle between genetic engineers is underway in the cotton fields of Arizona.
At a secret location there, genetically modified pink bollworms (Pectinophora gossypiella) have just been released to see how they behave in the wild.
They are the first GM insects to be released anywhere, and they have been freed under netting. But if the experiment is deemed a success, the insects will be further modified and released into the great wide spaces where they will breed but produce no offspring that survive.
In effect, they will have been modified to destroy their own species - which is where the competition between engineers comes in.
High price to pay
Such a mutant insect would be bad news for Monsanto; the chemical company already sells genetically engineered cotton plants to farmers who complain bitterly about the price.
Monsanto's modified cotton is resistant to the bollworm which devours cotton.
So, the farmers are backing the alternative genetic modification of the insect itself.
At the moment, farmers can use chemical sprays to kill the insects, or they can irradiate them in a laboratory -radiation makes the insects sterile.
Both measures are expensive. To find a cheaper way, the idea is to alter the insect's genes so the bug is sterile.
In a laboratory in Phoenix, insects have been modified, initially in a harmless way: they have been released under netting just to see whether they survive, whether they thrive even, whether they mate.
The idea then is to introduce a new gene from a fly into their make-up, and this gene will make them non-productive. The insects will mate as normal but no destructive off-spring will result.
If that works, the farmers would then not have to buy modified cotton plants from Monsanto. But will it work, and will it be safe?
The scientists involved say the strictest safeguards are in place.
Opponents say that already there are questions about the ability of insects to pass mutations to bacteria in the soil, for example. And once bacteria mutate, the mutation could take on unpredictable paths, they claim.
The difficulty is that there are no certain ways of predicting consequences. It is a matter of balancing risk.
On the one hand, the benefits of cheaper cotton are huge, not just for American farmers but for poorer farmers in India or Mexico, and for consumers the world over.
On the other, though, the cost of getting it wrong in terms of destroyed ecosystems could be high.
Much depends on how tough the United States Department of Agriculture decides to be in its monitoring of the tests.
There is intense pressure from the farmers to get the modified insects approved.
The unanswerable question is whether the USDA would stand against the producers if doubts about potential danger started to surface in the tests that are now underway.
If you plop a twist of lime into your beer bottle, drink the beer, and then want to recycle the bottle, will the lime interfere with the recycling process? It's questions like that that make us love our readers -- and make our readers love Umbra, the world's finest environmental advice columnist. In this month's installment of Ask Umbra, the Lady of the Stacks takes on the finer points of environmentally correct booze drinking, plus other curious topics from curious readers, only on the Grist Magazine website.
only in Grist: Message in a bottle -- sage advice on swimming pools, bottle recycling, and more <http://www.gristmagazine.com/ask/ask062102.asp?source=daily>
THE NAME OF THE HAZE
The U.S. National Weather Service has long maintained the tradition of giving names to hurricanes, but in Toronto, the environmental organization Greenpeace is taking matters one step further by naming excessively smoggy days after national politicians. The program is designed to call attention to the failure of the Canadian government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and shame politicians into action. The naming kicked off yesterday with Smog Day Augustine, named after Parliament Member Jean Augustine, who "for nine years ... has taken Toronto's votes but done nothing to clean Toronto's air," said Greenpeace Executive Director Peter Tabuns. Tabuns would not say which Canadian politician will be (dis)honored next.
straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, 21 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=222>
do good: Take action to call for clean energy in Canada <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/climate.asp?source=daily#canada>
Global climate change isn't just going to make our planet hotter -- it's going to make it sicker. That was the finding of a wide-ranging study of world ecosystems, published in today's issue of Science and showing that warmer temperatures have sparked a plague of epidemics in plants and animals. From oysters to oak trees, species are suffering from new diseases or more virulent versions of old ones as warm temperatures enable disease-bearing organisms to survive longer or migrate to new latitudes and elevations. Scientists first proposed the link between climate change and disease over a decade ago, but the connection has been a controversial one, especially vis a vis human diseases. The spread of illness among humans is complicated by so many factors, including poverty, sanitation, and the quality of the public health infrastructure in the affected area, that many scientists have been reluctant to view global warming as a significant element. The new study largely sidesteps that issue by focusing primarily on plants and non-human animals, but some scientists find its implications for world ecological health sobering.
straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Usha Lee McFarling, 21 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=223>
OH, I'M GLAD I'M NOT IN THE LAND OF COTTON
For the first time, genetically modified insects have been released in the wild, in a secret location in the cotton fields of Arizona. The insects, pink bollworms, were modified by scientists to effectively destroy their own species; they are designed to be sterile, so that when they mate with natural bollworms, no offspring will result. Concern about the development is coming from an unlikely corner: the pro-GM chemical giant Monsanto. Monsanto sells genetically modified, bollworm-resistant cotton at prices farmers say are exorbitant. So the farmers are backing the GM version of the bollworm instead, which, if successful, would enable them to plant regular cotton and save money on chemical pesticides. Critics of genetic engineering have bigger fish to fry. They say the mutations could take unpredictable paths, and that the health of entire ecosystems are at stake. Although the experimental batch of bollworms has been released under netting, some dread that the experiment will go awry and the modified insects will wreak havoc in the wild.
straight to the source: BBC News, Stephen Evans, 20 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=224>
only in Grist: The look, the feel, of "cotton" -- a cartoon by Suzy Becker <http://www.gristmagazine.com/ha/ha061702.asp?source=daily>
THE SLUDGE REPORT
From the department of You've Got To Be Kidding: An internal U.S. EPA document alleges that the 200,000 tons of toxic sludge dumped by the Army Corps of Engineers into the Potomac River every year is actually good for fish, because it forces them to flee the polluted area -- and escape from anglers in the bargain. It is not a "ridiculous possibility," according to the document, that the sludge "actually protects the fish in that they are not inclined to bite (and get eaten by humans) but they go ahead with their upstream movement and egg laying." The Corps began dumping the sludge in 1989 under an EPA permit that expired in 1993. Not so the dumping, which continued until this year. The National Wilderness Institute is suing the EPA to stop the discharges, which many claim violate the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. The House Resources Committee is holding hearings this week about the sludge dumping. Rep. George Radanovich (R-Calif.) said, "To suggest that toxic sludge is good for fish because it prevents them from being caught by man is like suggesting that we club baby seals to death to prevent them from being eaten by sharks."
straight to the source: Washington Times, Audrey Hudson, 19 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=225>
do good: Take action to hold the Defense Department to environmental laws <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/politics.asp?source=daily#defense>
Also in GRIST MAGAZINE this week:
Say what? -- toxic sludge is good for you -- wacky quotes on the environment <http://www.gristmagazine.com/saywhat/saywhat2002.asp?source=daily#radanovich>
There's a tear on my beer -- a day in the life of Crayne Horton, Fish Brewing Company <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dearme/horton062002.asp?source=daily>
Getting the sack -- shouldering the burden of our environmental impact -- in our Global Citizen section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/citizen/citizen061002.asp?source=daily>
t r u t h o u t | 06.22
Cheney Calls for the Destruction of His Client, Hussein
At Least 3 Palestinians Are Killed as Israelis Fire on a Jenin Market
Palestinians Kill 5 Israeli Settlers in Raid on a Home
Senate Votes to Lift Ban on Privately Financed Abortions at Military Hospitals Abroad
Paul Krugman | Fear of All Sums
Dollar Hits a 2-Year Low Against Euro
Mary McGrory | Dirty-Bomb Politics
'New' FBI, Same Old Problems
by Doug Ireland
What do you do with a federal agency of notorious incompetence that is also famous for regularly trampling on the Constitution?
If youre George W. Bush, you give it more money and power.
Thats exactly what happened when the reorganization of the FBI was announced on May 29 by Attorney General John Ashcroft. By giving the FBI carte blanche to spy on speech and ideasfrom libraries to the Internet, from religious groups to political meetingsand by opening its files and agents to unprecedented levels of cooperation with the CIA (heretofore prohibited from domestic spying), the Bush administration has taken another giant step toward turning this nation into a garrison state.
Legal wiretap spying on Americans had already increased in the first year of the Bush administration by 25 percent, according to the annual report of the federal court system. Federal and state police legally intercepted approximately 2.3 million conversations and pager communications in 2001 (and this number does not include all U.S. Customs surveillancemany of its records were lost in the destruction of the World Trade Centeror the secret investigations done under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act).
Now, under the new Ashcroft guidelines, FBI agents will be able to monitor what you say in Web chatrooms, or in religious and political meetings, without any court order, without any evidence of a potential crime, even without approval from FBI headquarters. For the first time, the FBI also will be able to use commercial databases to monitor the books you buy, the publications you subscribe to, where you travel, your credit profile, and a wide swath of other data.
Even medical privacy is no longer sacrosanctunder new regulations to be promulgated in October by Bushs Department of Health and Human Services, doctors and hospitals will be required to open medical records to HHS and other government agencies (including the FBI) any time they ask, without so much as a court order. It will also be illegal to enter into a contract with your doctor to protect your health information from the feds, and HHS will create a database for every possible ailment, coded down to your individual visits.
This awesome aggregation of new surveillance powers, rivaling those of the Soviet KGB at its height, is all the more disturbing because the FBI has long been the federal governments version of the Keystone Kops. Remember Richard Jewell, the security guard falsely accused by the FBIin deliberate press leaksof the bombing at the Atlanta Summer Olympics? Then FBI director Louis Freeh, in his grudging public apology to the innocent Jewell, blamed FBI field agents for a major error in judgment.
Now field agents will be able to go on fishing expeditions of their own without seeking approval from the Washington hierarchy. Yet the FBI recently has given ample proof of its inability to carry out even the simplest of investigative and analytical tasks, let alone distinguish the guilty from the innocent. Consider everything from Waco to Wen Ho Lee, from the missing FBI files in the case of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh to the failure (even after unmasking CIA traitor Aldrich Ames) to administer regular mandatory polygraph tests that could have discovered the Russian spy in the bureaus midst, Robert Hanssen.
Yet when these hydra-headed errors have been exposed, the insular, secretive and self-protective culture that characterizes the FBI has led to brazen cover-ups. Thus, when FBI scientist Frederic Whitehurst told his superiors how the bureaus own crime labs had so little quality control that hundreds of prosecutions were questionable, the denizens of the J. Edgar Hoover Building suspended and transferred Whitehurst, instead of adopting his proposed reforms.
The new FBI guidelines take us straight back to the days of domestic spying under COINTELPRO, the bureaus counterintelligence program in the 50s, 60s and 70s. According to the Senates Select Committee to Study Government Operations, COINTELPRO was a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of First Amendment rights of speech and association.
COINTELPRO infiltrated radical and dissident groups engaged in lawful dissent; used agents provocateurs to push dissenters into extremist and unlawful actions; engaged in disinformation campaigns and harassment of protest organizations, including those of the civil rights movement; and in the process drove thousands of radical activists toward burnout and despair, as they blamed themselves for problems and errors that were the result of the FBIs disruptions. Given this history, the notion that the bureau will limit itself to passive domestic spying under the new guidelines stretches credulity to the breaking point.
The previous guidelines, which have now been thrown out the window by Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Muellerand which required the bureau to show evidence of a crime before engaging in domestic spyingwere promulgated by Ford administration Attorney General Edward Levi to prevent another COINTELPRO and other abuses of civil rights and liberties. But even the Levi guidelines didnt prevent the FBI from going off on its own. In 1987, a decade after they went into effect, the Center for Constitutional Rights exposed the CISPES investigation of activists opposed to U.S. policy in Central America. The FBI had been keeping files on lawful dissenters and infiltrating peace groups to weaken opposition to U.S. government support for dictatorships and death squads in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Nearly as scandalous as the new Ashcroft guidelines has been the failure of the Democrats poll-driven congressional leadership to denounce them. (A Gallup Poll shows two-thirds of Americans view the FBI favorablyand 8 in 10 surveyed continue to approve of Bush.)
The alarm has been sounded, but, as of this writing, only by a few constitutionally minded Republicans. House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin told CNNs Novak, Hunt, & Shields show: I get very, very queasy when federal law enforcement is effectively going back to the bad old days when the FBI was spying on Martin Luther King. ... The Levi guidelines were designed to prevent that from happening again, and nothing has told me that adherence to the Levi guidelines were what caused 9/11. (As the widely publicized Phoenix and Rowley memos revealed, the FBI could not even digest and act on the information it had accumulated on the terrorists under the Levi guidelines before 9/11.)
By contrast, neither Tom Daschle nor Dick Gephardt (mindful of their presidential ambitions) has uttered a word of criticism of the Aschcroft guidelines. (Gephardts opportunism knows no bounds: In a major foreign policy address on June 4, he even leaped on the attack-Iraq bandwagon, giving Bush a green light for this new military adventure at a time when the military has signaled its opposition.)
The Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Vermonts Patrick Leahy, has given a blanket endorsement to FBI Director Mueller (who has been assiduous in courting his oversight as chairman); and in TV appearances after Ashcroft announced the new guidelines, Leahy showed himself as toothless as he was when he led Senate approval of the civil liberties-shredding USA PATRIOT Act.
The polls also have silenced the journalistic eunuchs of the mass media, who have been remarkably quiescent on the new threat to our civil liberties (with a few notable exceptions, like conservative New York Times columnist William Safire). Within 36 hours after Ashcroft unveiled the seismic policy changes, the story had effectively disappeared from the radar screen.
What all this means is that we are now entering a period that Sam Smith, editor of The Progressive Review, rightly describes as Post-Constitutional America. And in the present jingoistic climate, once our Bill of Rights protections against government abuse of power are given away, one by one, we wont get them back. Thats arguably the terrorists greatest victory to date.
UTNE WEB WATCH
The Best of the Alternative Web
'NEW' FBI, SAME OLD PROBLEMS
by Doug Ireland, In These Times
--American rights and liberties took a blow last month when Attorney General John Ashcroft announced a "reorganization" of the FBI.
HISTORY HAPPENED HERE: A TASTE OF THE WINE COUNTRY
by Carla Davidson, American Heritage
-- Sonoma County's immigrant past lingers in the winemaking of today.
THE MUSEUM OF MENSTRUATION
Web site review by Julie Madsen
-- Whether you refer to it as the "blessed event" or "the red menace," here you can throw discretion aside and find essays, artifacts, history, and answers to common questions about this often-secret subject.
Links to the above articles: http://www.utne.com/webwatch
"The matrix of Buddahood permeates all sentient beings.
All beings are therefore Buddhas in themselves."
California Make Micro-Pollution Standards World's Strictest
June 21, 2002
EL MONTE, Calif. (AP) _ The state's anti-smog board has adopted the world's stiffest air quality standards for particles of soot and dirt tinier than a human hair but dangerous enough to damage lungs.
The California Air Resources Board voted unanimously Thursday to limit the quantity of the pollutant known as PM10, named because they are smaller than 10 microns in diameter.
A reduction of the particles would prevent about 6,500 deaths a year, 340,000 asthma attacks and 2.8 million lost work days, according to a review of state data and health studies.
The decision does not regulate polluters, and experts said it may be a decade before technology permits California to meet all the standards.
However, the board generally adopts overall limits on a pollutant as a first step to regulating the sources.
``We're extremely pleased,'' said Bonnie Holmes-Gen, a lobbyist for the American Lung Association of California. ``From our perspective, the most important action that the board can take this decade is to adopt these standards and implement them.''
The particles are one-seventh the diameter of human hair or smaller. They can lodge in human airways, constrict breathing and causing heart and lung damage.
The pollutant is produced by a variety of sources, including car exhaust, power plants, construction work and farming.
Last year, as many as 2,431 tons of the particles were emitted daily in California, according to the air resources board.
Industry representatives pleaded with the board Thursday to reject the standards or at least put off a decision until further review.
The California standard would be stricter than those adopted by the federal government and lead to new regulations that could crush the state trucking industry, argued Stephanie Williams, vice president of the California Trucking Association.
``We are being ignored. The California trucking industry is not being represented before this board,'' she said.
But board member Matthew McKinnon said health was the issue.
``It's about particles and whether they make people sick,'' he said.
The limits, which could take effect next year, would be the tightest in the world, although the European Union tentatively has adopted the same standards for the year 2010.
TERRORISTS, THE INDISPENSABLE ENEMY...
...And Other Observations From Our Roving Critic
"As long as Democrats march in lockstep on the war, they will not be able to gain any traction on any of the issues that they are praying will damage the GOP's chances this November."
WHY THE 'FRIENDLY SKIES'?
The Auto-Air Age Pollutes Skyways And Clogs Roadways
by Jane Holtz Kay
The four freedoms of flight: freedom to fill the skies with noisy aircraft. Freedom to seize our nail clippers. Freedom to pollute the airways. And freedom to support sprawl-breeding, habitat-wrecking airports.
Dispatch: New Jersey
'A' IS FOR ADVERTISING
Pushing Products To Schoolkids
by Rebecca Rojer
"We're not only handed free logo book covers and textbooks with ads, but we even watch drug company-sponsored health films."
Dispatch: Hoover Dam
WATER WARS IN THE AMERICAN WEST
While Warriors Celebrate, Others Voice Worries
by Shepherd Bliss
The dam drowned out thousands of miles of rivers, degrading healthy watersheds and ecosystems, pressing them into the service of humans. Development and agribusiness prevailed over wildlife and native peoples.
Trigger Issue: THE WORLD'S GUN DUMP
China, Japan And Brazil Export To Us The Guns Prohibited At Home
by Tom Diaz
The eruption of Chinese imports in the U.S. of paramilitary rifles caused one of the greatest single escalations of civilian firearms lethality in the history of the United States.
THE FASTEST WAY TO A BISHOP'S EAR IS THROUGH HIS PURSE STRINGS
A Lesson Equally Applicable To Politicians And CEOs
by Michael Ryan
"People are simply refusing to be dictated to by self-appointed autocrats who demand their obedience -- and their money -- without accountability and without responsibility."
SciTech Daily Review
Deep within the cells we're made of, squishy skeletons feel the effects of gravity ... and respond in unexpected ways
On the 220th anniversary of its adoption the US national emblem, Robert Winkler considers the decline and resurgence of the bald eagle
After four months of entertaining humans, Gaak the predator robot did what all the best robots do in science fiction: he copied his masters' most basic instinct and made a dash for freedom
Scientists fear the romantic serenades of whales are doomed to disappear from the deep, drowned out by manmade noises
The case of the peppered moth is a striking example of evolution, which is commonly cited in biology textbooks. But the untold story behind the photos has creationists crowing (registration required)
Cogito, Ergo Sum is Richard Watson's highly personal, wildly opinionated, and generously informative biography of René Descartes: "a proud, excitable, egotistic little man ... acid in his wit ... dogmatic about his own views"
Instead of one universal evolutionary tree, imagine a three-trunk stand sharing a communal root system. Carl Woese's new theory of cellular evolution presents just such a picture ... [more]
Every dial you take: The FBI is asking for more information about what Americans do on the phone, and no one seems to be saying no
Of clones and clowns: Distinguished molecular biologist Robert A Weinberg discusses the "cloning circus" and the damage it is doing to serious research
Homeland Security Dir. Tom Ridge testifies
Ridge Testifies Twice Today on Capitol Hill Homeland Security Dir. Tom Ridge testifies on the President's plan to create a cabinet-level House Hearing on Homeland Security Department LINKS TO WATCH:
View the Department of Homeland Security reorganization chart, with links to affected agencies.
TALK ABOUT DOUBLE SPEAK! (Just look at Rep. Waxman's face after Ridge talks about the Homeland Security Plan) House Hearing on Homeland Security Department - Part 2 WATCH:
Bush sends homeland security plan to Congress
March On The FBI And Justice Department June 29 In Washington, D.C.
Beauty In The Eye Of Hubble
The Hubble telescope reveals a rainbow of colors in this dying star, called IC 4406. Like many other so-called planetary nebulae, IC 4406 exhibits a high degree of symmetry. The nebula's left and right halves are nearly mirror images of the other. If we could fly around IC 4406 in a spaceship, we would see that the gas and dust form a vast donut of material streaming outward from the dying star. We don't see the donut shape in this photograph because we are viewing IC 4406 from the Earth-orbiting Hubble telescope. From this vantage point, we are seeing the side of the donut. This side view allows us to see the intricate tendrils of material that have been compared to the eye's retina. In fact, IC 4406 is dubbed the "Retina Nebula."
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE
"We Cover the Earth For You"
U.S. MAYORS DISAGREE WITH PARTS OF BUSH AGENDA
By Cat Lazaroff
MADISON, Wisconsin, June 20, 2002 (ENS) - The nation's mayors disagree with the Bush administration on a number of environmental issues, judging by the resolutions made at their 70th annual meeting over the weekend. The U.S. Conference of Mayors resolved to oppose cross country nuclear shipments, and to support action on global warming and power plant emissions.
EL SALVADOR DECLARES DENGUE FEVER EMERGENCY
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, June 20, 2002 (ENS) - The government of El Salvador has declared a state of emergency and general calamity due to the increased number of dengue fever cases. Six children have died, four of whom are confirmed to have contracted the viral disease, and two of whom are still being studied.
OIL COMPANY FINED FOR STORAGE TANK VIOLATIONS
SAN FRANCISCO, California, June 20, 2002 (ENS) - Oil giant BP-ARCO will spend $45.8 million to settle charges that it installed inadequate underground storage tanks in at least 59 Arco gas stations in California. The leaky tanks may have allowed gasoline and the additive MTBE to leak into soil and groundwater, prosecutors charged.
BUSH CALLS FOR FITNESS ACTIVITIES ON PUBLIC LANDS
WASHINGTON, DC, June 20, 2002 (ENS) - Federal agencies will waive use fees at national parks, forests and other areas this weekend as part of President George W. Bush's Healthier US Initiative, unveiled today. Saying physical activity is the key to better health, Bush promoted the use of public lands and water for recreation, and pledged support for maintaining the nation's rivers and trails.
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE AMERISCAN: JUNE 20, 2002
Abraham: U.S. Must Not Be Held Hostage by Oil Need
Giant Dumbells on Trucks? It's Radioactive Waste!
Arizona, Colorado Towns Evacuated Ahead of Fires
L.L. Bean Funds Buses in Acadia National Park
Birder's Hudson River Paradise Now a Park
Bioengineered Tomato Fights Cancer
Common Bacteria Killing Florida's Elkhorn Coral
Federal/NGO Team Restores Coastal Ecosystems
Please be advised that June 2002 letters have been posted on our website,
We appreciate you for your continuing efforts to promote healing and justice in our world. And we appreciate those of you who encourage others to join EAN.
webmaster, Earth Action Network
Planet Ark World Environment News
Old US power plants emit twice as much pollution - report - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16515/story.htm
US animal rights group opposes USDA agency transfer - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16508/story.htm
DC's muddy water, elusive fish rile US lawmakers - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16513/story.htm
IBM supercomputer to model world's oceans - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16522/story.htm
UK Energy Minister to meet MOD over wind turbines - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16502/story.htm
Origin of UK foot-and-mouth epidemic a mystery - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16521/story.htm
Seagulls not welcome in Garden of Eden - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16519/story.htm
UK carbon emissions prices rise as trade picks up - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16518/story.htm
Virus kills over 600 seals in Sweden, Denmark - SWEDEN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16517/story.htm
FEATURE - Spanish islands buffeted by storm over "eco-tax" - SPAIN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16512/story.htm
South Africa to get tough on earth summit protests - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16510/story.htm
Norway sees minor risk of oil spill from trawler - NORWAY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16516/story.htm
NAFTA group to study transgenic corn in Mexico - MEXICO http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16506/story.htm
Uganda's Museveni blasts power dam critics - KENYA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16501/story.htm
Siemens in US wind farm deal with Danish NEG Micon - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16504/story.htm
Polish wind power seen blooming after EU enlargement - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16503/story.htm
US mulls WTO action to lift EU block on GM crops - EU http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16509/story.htm
Smoggy days in Canada now named after politicians - CANADA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16507/story.htm
Brazil cane industry pushes for new alcohol program - BRAZIL http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16520/story.htm
Australia's uranium mines come under spotlight - AUSTRALIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16505/story.htm
Australia bill rejects GM crop exclusion zones - AUSTRALIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16511/story.htm
Congratulations to our partners at Tolerance.org on their Webby Award for best activist Web site! (Sure, AlterNet was nominated in the same category, but we're thrilled to see the Webby go to a site that encourages people to fight hate and promote tolerance.) Giving her required five-word acceptance speech at the ceremony, Tolerance.org producer Ashley Day urged the audience to "Examine Your Hidden Bias!"
Visit http://www.tolerance.org/ to see how.
NEW BUSH AIDS PLAN OUTRAGES ACTIVISTS
Jim Lobe, AlterNet
AIDS activists and their supporters are calling Bush's global AIDS plan a hoax that has all the earmarkings of shady alliances and backdoor tactics.
THE SECRET WAR ON FBI WHISTLE-BLOWERS
Geoffrey Gray, Village Voice
A whistle-blower's story often ends years later with a subtle game of bureaucratic payback, a bitter finale the public rarely gets to witness.
LOST IN AMERICA
Geov Parrish, AlterNet
An intrepid reporter braves tiger pits, marathoners, and countless umlauts to get to the bottom of the Biggest Box -- Ikea.
Hussein Ibish, AlterNet
President Bush's absurd plan for an interim Palestinian state will not resolve the bloody stalemate produced by suicide bombings and Israeli reprisals.
THE TROUBLE WITH FRIDA KAHLO
Stephanie Mencimer, Washington Monthly
All the hype surrounding the late Mexican painter-cum-icon dodges certain uncomfortable truths about this season's hottest female artist.
ADDICTED TO OIL: CONFRONTING AMERICA'S WORST HABIT
Ryan Singel, LiP Magazine
The relationship with America's most popular liquid has long since become self-destructive. It's time to re-examine the nature of gasoline.
Janelle Brown, Salon
Lizzy Borden, whose ultraviolent films feature women being beaten, raped and doused in vomit, insists that she is a gender pioneer whose repellent movies are morality tales.
R.I.P., Politically Incorrect
Arianna Huffington, AlterNet
As 'Politically Incorrect' ends its remarkable run, the appropriate farewell is not a eulogy, but a celebration of the show's rare willingness to speak truth to power.
STRIPPING AWAY BIG PHARMA'S FIGLEAF
Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, AlterNet Prescription drug prices are outrageously high, and the justifications for keeping them there are based on faulty assumptions and disinformation.
Six-time winner of the Foreign Correspondent of the Year award Robert Fisk talks about the war on terrorism and the crisis in the Middle East on Friday's Working Assets Radio. Listen online from 10-11amPT/1-2pmET, or call in: 866-798-TALK.
THE STORY OF MY LIFE -- NO, REALLY
Dennis Loy Johnson, MobyLives
Some literary critics charge that recent works of nonfiction, particularly memoirs, are fabrications being passed off as truth.
SUNNY SIDE UP
Anthony Arnove, AlterNet
Indie film icon John Sayles and his partner Maggie Renzi discuss careers, collaboration and commercialization -- and their new film, "Sunshine State."
Whale Watching Is A Killer, US Studies Show
by Chris Stetkiewicz, June 4, 2002
SEATTLE - The hundreds of whale watchers who go out aboard motorized boats each day to watch northwest U.S. killer whales are actually helping to push the massive mammals closer to extinction, whale advocates said yesterday.
Three separate studies show noisy boat traffic makes it harder for killer whales, or orcas, to find food by using underwater sound waves, forcing them to swim harder and burn off more blubber, which is tainted with harmful chemicals.
"The presence of the whale watch fleet decreases sonar efficiency by 95-99 percent, while increasing food requirements; the resulting starvation forces the whales to draw down toxin-laden blubber, and they die," said Mark Anderson President of Orca Relief Citizens' Alliance (ORCA).
The studies were conducted by Seattle area researchers and funded by ORCA, formed five years ago to investigate the decline of the local killer whale population, which has shrunk 20 percent since 1995.
The whales' food supply, mainly salmon, appears to have declined in recent years and the fish that they do eat often contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other toxins.
University of Washington researchers reported noise from boat traffic may degrade the orcas' sonar efficiency by 95 percent to 99 percent. Another University of Washington study found a "strong statistical correlation between whale population decline and boat activity."
The third study, conducted by an ORCA official, concluded that adult whales were burning nearly 20 percent more energy than they did before whale watching became popular. Nearly 100 boats follow the local pods each day.
Ironically, whale watching has raised public awareness and support for local orcas, which spend eight months a year feeding in waters off the San Juan Islands between Washington state and British Columbia.
Last month U.S. marine officials agreed to rescue a sick adolescent orca near Seattle and return it to its home waters in Canada amid a public outcry that drowned out calls to let nature take its course.
Boats ferrying dozens of camera-toting tourists depart from Victoria, B.C., Seattle and other Washington state cities each day. Larger boats are expected to keep a safe distance, but many smaller private boats often creep within yards of the striking, black-and-white giants.
Q & A
CURIOUS GEORGE GETS THE JOB
An Interview With New Host Of 'This Week' George Stephanopoulos
by John Moyers
"There is a lot of talk all week long, and we have to make sure on Sunday mornings that we bring something more. Whether it's deeper analysis, more context, more history, more focus on a single issue when it's necessary."
CUBICLE CULTURE'S INTELLIGENCE FAILURE
Connecting The Dots Starts With Connecting The People
by John Garn
The Bush administration wants a new superagency to fight terror in the United States. But instead of merging dozens of agencies, how about tearing down the walls that now exist inside the bureaucracies?
ENEMIES BY ANY OTHER NAME WOULD SMELL AS SWEET
by M. W. Guzy
Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is a breeding ground of radical Islam that sponsors madrassas. Cuba is a poor agrarian nation that's having trouble feeding itself. Guess which country is on the State Department's list of terrorist nations.
ARMY PEACEKEEPING INSTITUTE SENT PACKING
Don't Peace Operations Have A Place At The Pentagon?
by Jim Lobe
The Bush administration is saying it wants the U.S. out of peacekeeping in every way, shape or form.
ECONOMICS REPORTING REVIEW: June 8 - June 14, 2002
A Weekly Compendium and Commentary
by Dean Baker
Moving to Bermuda...Post-Enron Controls...The Estate Tax...May Employment Report...and more...
Greenpeace USA June 2002 Newsletter:
What's new and noteworthy at http://www.greenpeaceusa.org
Environmental History in the Making
Are U.S. Chemical Companies the Weakest Link Against Terrorist Attacks?
Consumers Target Grocery Stores Across America in Protest of Genetically Engineered Foods
World Summit on Sustainable Development Coming Up
On the Streets Where You Live
Environmental History in the Making
Right now, California is on the verge of passing the first bill in the country to regulate C02 emissions of passenger cars and trucks-a major contributor to global warming. If passed, this bill would set a precedent for other states to follow.
Don't miss out on this opportunity to give California your support, and to show President Bush that the U.S. can take positive steps to stop global warming!
Find out more,
Are U.S. Chemical Companies the Weakest Link Against Terrorist Attacks?
On May 30th, "The Wall Street Journal" featured Greenpeace in a front page story about chemical plant security following September 11. The article, entitled, "Debate Over Exposing Chemical Risks: Industry Cites Terror Fears; Environmentalists Want the Word Out," exposes the vulnerability of the chemical plants in the U.S. to terrorism, and reveals the lack of urgency the industry places on this threat.
On June 4th, Greenpeace released more "worst case scenario" maps to educate the public about the potential hazards of plants in their neighborhoods.
Find out more,
Consumers Target Grocery Stores Across America in Protest of Genetically Engineered Foods
On Saturday, June 8th, activists and consumers across the country told supermarket managers: "Stop Selling Foods with Genetically Engineered Ingredients!" Whether you leafleted in front of a supermarket, sent a letter to a CEO or called your supermarket that day, thank you for joining the movement to end the genetic experiment with our food supply.
Check out photos sent to us from activists across the country who participated in this national day of action,
World Summit on Sustainable Development Coming Up
This year the United Nations (UN) will hold the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) or "Earth Summit 2002" in Johannesburg, South Africa, from August 26 to September 4.
The summit marks the 10th anniversary of the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992, where world leaders adopted an action plan for achieving global sustainable development to help solve some of the world's most pressing environmental problems.
To find out more about WSSD please visit,
On the Streets Where You Live
Our street fundraising and outreach program is in full summer-swing. We have representatives in more than 17 cities across the country who are working hard to sign up new monthly donors and spread the word about our work.
Please stop and say "hi" to our representatives the next time they ask, "Do you have a minute for Greenpeace?"
Find out more about the program, which cities we are in, send us your feedback, or sign up as a new donor, by going to:
Want to do more? Become a Greenpeace Member today!
"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.."
t r u t h o u t | 06.21
William Rivers Pitt | All Along the Watchtower
National Security Agency Is Under Scrutiny for Overlooked Messages
San Francisco Attorney: Bush Allowed 9/11
Supreme Court Restricts Students Right to Sue
High Court to Consider Net Filters
Bob Herbert | No Margin for Error
Deal Gave Europe's Troops Immunity
Pentagon Cadavers Meet "The Bone Guys"
by Carol A. Valentine
President, http://www.Public-Action.com, June, 2002
"When remains of the Waco dead or 9/11 Pentagon victims or Desert Storm casualties -- or most recently Chandra Levy -- need to be studied, the bone guys at the Smithsonian are called in . . . "
-- "Skeleton Keys," Washington Post May 31, 2002, pg. C1.
June 20, 2002 -- Read the feature story cited above. It tells the story of those amazing forensic anthropologists at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History, whom the Post dubs as "bone guys." The article mentions three, but I want to focus on just two: Drs. Douglas Owsley and Douglas Ubelaker.
Ubelaker's and Owsley's specialty seems to be making politically dictated statements about high profile deaths; that involves covering up murders committed by the US government, of course. Nasty work, but someone's got to do it.
Now they've been called in to work on the Pentagon cadavers, but Owsley and Ubelaker were the two "bone guys" who helped the FBI cover up the murder/mutilation deaths of the Branch Davidians. So when the cover-up gang is called in for the Pentagon job, that raises my eyebrows. Why? Let me tell you a little about what these two "bone guys" did at Waco.
Many of the Davidian moms and kids were killed prior to the FBI fake rescue on April 19, 1993. They were (1) killed on February 28 raid, or (2) died later from wounds suffered that day, or (3) were slaughtered shortly before the "rescue" of April 19.
A local incompetent, Nizam Peerwani, medical examiner of Tarrant County, was ostensibly put in charge of the autopsy work. Owsley and Ubelaker were sent down to Waco to lend credibility to the local effort.
As forensic anthropologists, Ubelaker and Owsley should have personally recovered the Davidian remains from the Mt. Carmel Center themselves, as they lay in situ (at the site). Who says they should have done it that way? Dr. Ubelaker says, that's who. Ubelaker is a renowned expert who has written a popular book about forensic science, "Bones, A Forensic Detective's Casebook" (Edward Burlingame Books, 1992). Read it, and you will learn that, at Waco, Owsley and Ubelaker freely violated the professional standards described in Ubelaker's book.
So instead of Ubelaker and Owsley studying the remains in situ, the state cops just shoveled the discombobulated skulls, torsos, fetuses, detached kids' feet in sneakers, etc., into bags and hauled the whole mess into the mortuary, where Owsley and Ubelaker sat waiting. Owsley and Ubelaker sorted the bones as they tumbled out of the bags, and tried to figure things out.
Murderers often try to destroy evidence of their crime, of course. Destruction of the body can obscure the circumstances surrounding the victim's death, and even the victim's identity. The bodies found at the Mt. Carmel Center after the fire were variously hacked up, decapitated, and/or selectively incinerated. The condition of the bodies should have sent Ubelaker and Owsley down the morgue hallways screaming "MURDER! MURDER!" But shhhh, no, they never uttered a word.
Ubelaker and Owsley preserved deniability by keeping well away from the crime scene. "Geez-all-we-wuz-asked-to-do-was-sort-the-bones-out-in-the-morgue," type-thing.
Fraudulent autopsy reports were written up. Owsley and Ubelaker put their names on those reports, stating they had done the forensic anthropology examinations. Voila! Or maybe not . . .
One of the reasons dreamed up to explain the deaths of the moms and kids was this: The moms and kids died as a result of crushing injuries suffered when a concrete room collapsed. The problem? Widely published photos in newsmagazines and newspapers, taken from the ground and the air, show that the concrete room did not collapse.
And both Owsley and Ubelaker had their names right there, right on the fraudulent reports citing "structural collapse" as the cause of death. For discussion of some Ubelaker-Owsley tainted autopsy reports, see:
For an overall summary of how the death scene was altered:
The forensic evidence described in the autopsy reports and other data suggests that some of the remains at the Mt. Carmel Center of were NOT those of Branch Davidians, and that the bodies/body parts were trucked in from other bone yards (government mortuaries) and placed at the site. This is indicated by the fact that some of the ages and sexes of the bodies did not match the ages and sexes of those on the casualty list.
Other anomalies: There were not enough bodies/body parts to account for the 80-odd Davidian victims. In fact, some of the identities on the Branch Davidian casualty list were not assigned any body parts at all. Later, the bodies of those alleged victims were said to have "vaporized." There were also body parts that were never identified --no one knows who those people may have been.
With the prestige of the Smithsonian Institution and their professional reputations, Owsley and Ubelaker supported other lies, too, beside the "structural collapse" lie. If you want the details, go to:
http://www.Public-Action.com/SkyWriter/Waco Museum and put "Owsley" and "Ubelaker" into the search engine.
In particular, Owsley covered up the murders of these children:
Cyrus Howell Koresh, 8 years old. Star Howell Koresh, 6 years old. Hollywood Sylvia, 1 year old. Paiges Gent, a baby girl. Melissa Morrison, 8 years old.
For details, see "Waco Meets The Kennewick Man (And Dr. Owsley Sorted The Bones, Oh!)" at:
With the track records of Drs. Douglas Ubelaker and Owsley, how much trust would you put in their words on the Pentagon victims? They will say whatever the government wants them to say.
But why were the "bone guys" called in for the Pentagon victims? The Washington Post article does not mention that. Supposedly, a Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon, a fire broke out, the building collapsed, and the victims died on impact or in the fire. On September 11, Donald Rumsfeld declared all the missing persons to be dead, without having seen one body.
The identity of each victim was known. Cause of death, date of death, circumstances of death -- all were established. The FBI has a DNA lab. What mysteries required the services of the Smithsonian "bone guys"?
Ah! When you check out the history of Owsley and Ubelaker, the lights come on! The bone guys use the magic of their prestige to turn a wish into a fact. Want a headless corpse to have died of suffocation? You got it. Want a political assassination in Toledo to look like a fire victim at the Pentagon? You got it. Want an autopsy report that no other medical examiner in the world would question? You got it. Just ask the Smithsonian "bone guys" to sign off on whatever autopsy report you wish to write, and politics becomes scientific fact.
P.S. How do we know that the Davidians did not murder each other? Well, the government has not bothered to make that case. No Davidians have been charged with the murders of other Davidians.
Carol A. Valentine
President, Public Action, Inc.
School's out and you know what that means: It's time for your summer reading list. Relax, we won't make you take notes on "To Kill a Mockingbird" or "The Grapes of Wrath"; Grist's got a different set of stories in mind. This month, Wired chronicles the tale of a former heroin addict and dumpster diver who goes to the rescue of old computer equipment; Outside Magazine gets the inside scoop on Interior Secretary Gale Norton; and the Nation looks at the race that pits Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), arguably the nation's most environmentally friendly senator, against the Green party's dream candidate. There's more where those came from, so check out what we're reading (and what you should be) in Best of the Rest, only on the Grist Magazine website.
only in Grist: Wild reads from TomPaine.com, the Nation, Sierra, and more -- in Best of the Rest <http://www.gristmagazine.com/best/best062002.asp?source=daily>
GOING, GOING ...
Yeah, you've probably heard it before: We're in the middle of a massive extinction era on a par with the one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago -- only this one is our own doing. By the middle of this century, human activities will have erased up to 30 percent of all species on Earth, according to many biologists. Many of those species will have come and gone without so much as a blip on the human radar screen, meaning their ecological role and potential usefulness to people will remain forever unknown. In an effort to minimize the number of species that fall into that mystery category, scientists are undertaking a massive effort to create a comprehensive "family tree" of life on Earth -- from wooly mammoths to itty-bitty bacteria. The projects' backers say it will help scientists understand how organisms function within their niches, shed light on evolution, and even help track acts of bioterrorism. The project is being funded by the National Science Foundation to the tune of $10 to $12 million per year and could take up to 15 years to complete.
straight to the source: Christian Science Monitor, Peter N. Spotts, 20 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=218>
In an apparent effort to give Republican candidate Bill Simon, Jr., an edge over incumbent Gray Davis (D) in the California governor race, the Bush administration questioned Davis' commitment to protect his state's coastline and agreed to work with Simon to end offshore drilling. After visiting the White House yesterday, Simon said he had won the administration's support for negotiating an end to oil rigs on the California coast. Moreover, he walked away from the visit with a letter from Interior Secretary Gale Norton stating that Davis had played a role in approving 193 offshore oil wells. Davis and his supporters rejected that claim, saying the governor had no legal discretion to block the drilling. And they challenged both Simon's and the White House's commitment to ending such drilling, since both have close ties to the oil industry. "I'm not so sure that Californians want an oil-and-gas man like Bill Simon and an oil-and-gas administration negotiating on offshore drilling in California," said Davis reelection campaign spokesman Roger Salazar.
straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Michael Finnegan and Mark Z. Barabak, 20 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=219>
In other news from the Golden State, California could soon have the world's toughest standards for emissions of microscopic pollutants. Regulations currently being considered by the state Air Resources Board target pollutants composed of particles of dust and soot that are smaller than 10 microns in diameter, or about one-seventh the diameter of a human hair. Such particles come from the agriculture industry and combustion in cars and power plants, and can contain heavy metals that contribute to lung, heart, and other health problems. Because of their tiny size, current filtering systems are not effective against them. The Air Resources Board estimates that 99 percent of Californians are exposed to unhealthy particle levels every day -- but even if the board approves the strict regulations, the technology to keep such particles out of the air could take a decade or more to perfect.
straight to the source: San Francisco Chronicle, Associated Press, Laura Wides, 20 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=220>
THE SONG DOESN'T REMAIN THE SAME
Whales are the largest animals on Earth, not to mention among the most famous crooners -- but scientists fear that whale songs will soon become as obscure as 12th century lute music. According to new research, whale sounds might be no match for ambient underwater noise from commercial shipping, military sonar, and seismic surveys. That ever-increasing artificial din could reduce the distance over which whale songs can be heard. That's bad news for species like the blue whale and the fin whale. Scientists think that the male members of these species use low-frequency love songs (which can travel thousands of miles underwater) to attract mates -- so if the songs go unheard, the survival of the species could be threatened.
straight to the source: BBC News, Helen Briggs, 19 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=221>
The customer-is-always-right whale -- a cartoon by Suzy Becker <http://www.gristmagazine.com/ha/ha031901.stm?source=daily>
Justice May Probe Leaked Pre-9/11 Intercepts
Arabic Message Warned 'Tomorrow Is Zero Hour'
by David Ensor, Kate Snow, Kelly Wallace Dana Bash, June 21, 2002
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Leaders of a joint congressional panel probing pre-September 11 intelligence lapses have asked the attorney general to investigate who leaked cryptic intercepts that hinted of imminent attacks.
The White House said Thursday that President Bush has "deep concerns" about the release of the information, which came from communications intercepted by the National Security Agency. And in a written statement Thursday, the Justice Department said it would "expeditiously review this matter and take any appropriate action."
Rep. Porter Goss, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he and Sen. Bob Graham, his counterpart on the Senate panel, have asked the Justice Department to investigate the leak. Goss, R-Florida; Graham, D-Florida; and the ranking members of each committee signed a letter asking for an investigation.
Goss said the letter "asks for an investigation of those leaks, with particular concern that if there is any inappropriate leak coming from the United States Congress that we be so advised so we may take appropriate action."
The September 10 intercepts, details of which were provided to CNN on Wednesday, came from conversations in Arabic between individuals in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia that U.S. officials believe were connected to al Qaeda. The intercepts, however, were not analyzed until September 12, the day after terrorist attacks on New York and Washington killed more than 3,000 people.
Congressional and other sources said that in one communication intercepted by the NSA, a person said, "The match begins tomorrow." In another intercept that same day, a different person said, "Tomorrow is zero hour." In both instances, the two people who said those words were in Afghanistan, speaking to others in Saudi Arabia.
To this day, officials say, they do not know for sure the identities of the two people who spoke.
Vice President Dick Cheney phoned the House and Senate committee chairmen Thursday to complain about the leaks. Cheney thinks an investigation by the attorney general is a "good idea," a senior administration official told CNN.
Bush signaled his displeasure with the leak of the "alarmingly specific" information about the intercepts and asked Cheney to phone the key intelligence committee chairs to register his concerns, according to White House press secretary Ari Fleischer.
"The president does have very deep concerns about anything that would be inappropriately leaked that could in any way endanger America's ability to gather intelligence information, and even that could harm our ability to maintain sources and methods and anything that could interfere with America's ability to fight the war on terrorism," Fleischer said.
The official said the idea for an investigation came from Congress and was discussed generally during Cheney's conversations with the committee leaders.
Shelby: Public needs to know committee findings
"This is something the Congress, to its credit, these four leaders, feel strongly about," the senior official said. "It is a federal crime to disclose information of this type, and Congress made it a crime because of the impact such disclosure can have on national security."
In 1998, according to Fleischer, an "unauthorized disclosure" of information about Osama bin Laden's use of a satellite phone undermined U.S. intelligence gathering efforts.
"As soon as it was publicly revealed, we never heard from that source again," Fleischer said. "We never again heard from that satellite phone."
But Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking minority member on Senate Intelligence Committee, said the public needed to know about the lapses -- even though he signed the letter sent to Attorney General John Ashcroft.
"I do believe that the American people need to know a lot about the shortcomings of our intelligence community, but they also need to know the good things that are going on, and what we are going to do in this investigation, I believe, is bring out the best of both," Shelby, R-Alabama, said.
The NSA, which is the nation's eavesdropping intelligence agency, intercepts literally millions of communications each day and must prioritize which intercepts to translate immediately, which within days, and which within weeks.
U.S. officials said the communications intercepted September 10 would have been translated within 48 hours even if the attacks had not occurred, given the high level of interest in al Qaeda's activities.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said how the intercepts were handled underscores the need to reform intelligence-gathering operations.
"It again demonstrates why we have to address the infrastructure of our intelligence-gathering analysis and the actions that are taken as a result of that analysis," said Daschle, D-South Dakota. "We've got a lot of work to do, and this is just the most recent reminder that we've got a problem here and it's got to be fixed and it's got to be done this year."
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, said it was "disconcerting that we did have some kind of warning." He added that it was unfortunate the United States apparently believed it had an "aura" that would protect it against terrorist attacks.
In the future, Hastert predicted, the United States would be more efficient at analyzing threats.
His Holliness The Dalai Lama
1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R's: Respect for self, respect for others, responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone everyday.
9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then, when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation.
14. Don't bring up the past.
15. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
16. Be gentle with the earth.
17. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
18. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
19. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
20. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.
California Reaches $45.8 million Settlement With BP
by Michael Kahn, Reuters, June 20, 2002
SAN FRANCISCO Oil giant BP has agreed to a $45.8 million settlement with California over allegations BP-owned Atlantic Richfield Co. failed to meet state law requiring upgrades of underground fuel storage tanks, the attorney general's office announced Wednesday. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said the company, which cooperated with state officials, will pay $25 million in fines and must show it made $20.8 million in improvements to the storage tanks at 59 gas stations across California.
The total value of the settlement, which also involved the San Francisco city attorney's office, was the largest ever in the nation for this type of case, state officials said.
A spokeswoman for BP, the No. 2 integrated oil company, said all of its gas stations in California have underground tanks that currently go beyond state regulations to prevent leakage. Atlantic Richfield was bought by BP Amoco in April 2000. "We have been working cooperatively with the attorney general," BP spokeswoman Cheryl Burnett said. "We are pleased to put this behind us and move forward."
The attorney general's investigation centered on BP's alleged failure to upgrade tanks at gas stations during a 10-year window that began in 1987 when the state implemented stronger guidelines for improving underground storage tanks. The new regulations beefed up standards for corrosion protection, leak detection, and spill prevention in the tanks that hold the fuel until they get pumped into cars.
But the attorney general said the gas stations operated by the oil company allegedly misrepresented work that was done on some of the underground tanks or simply ignored the new requirements to avoid temporary shutdowns.
The settlement, in which the company also agreed to monitoring and inspections at more than 900 of its gas stations in California, does not affect any local enforcement actions pending in Orange County or other jurisdictions throughout the state, the attorney general added.
EMS Update - June 20, 2002
Chemical Plants Vulnerable to Terrorist Attack
At an EMS Press Breakfast today in Washington, D.C., Senator Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) discussed legislation to protect millions of Americans from terrorist attacks and accidents at chemical plant sites and technical and health experts briefed the press on possible outcomes of an attack.
Fast facts, expert contacts and links to news articles and additional resources are available at http://www.ems.org, as are success stories about chemical facilities that have reduced or eliminated the hazards they pose to communities. A press release about today's event will be online this afternoon.
EMS.org Updated Daily
Every day, Monday through Friday, we update our homepage with breaking news and add to and revise our backgrounders and links pages. Email Updates we send to you reflect only a small portion of our website updates, so be sure to visit the website frequently to stay acquainted with our offerings.
Environmental topics at EMS.org: http://www.ems.org/topics.html
Toppling A Totalitarian Regime In America. What can be done?
By John Stanton and Wayne Madsen
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpation's, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security US Declaration of Independence1776
As July 4, 2002 approaches, Americans can no longer afford to practice armchair democracy and checkbook citizenship. If the public does not rise out of its feeble and hypnotic state, it puts the lives of its children and grandchildren at the disposal of utilitarian political, corporate and military leaders who view flesh and blood as human capital, easily usable and disposable in the march for the accumulation of wealth, power and resources. In June 2002, the United States of America resembles the Animal Farm eerily portrayed by George Orwell in 1946--a "farm" run by Mr. Pilkington and the "Pigs".
From November 2000 to June 2002 those who record such events will note that the Bush Regime rushed the United States to the heretofore unseen Stygian depths of greed and corruption, ushered in Gestapo-like treatment and profiling of US resident aliens and US citizens, pillaged the environment, education and infrastructure budgets, closed Peacekeeping Operations in the Pentagon, adopted an aggressive nuclear weapons testing and first-use doctrine, swept aside the checks and balances of the US Constitution--most notably judicial branch rulings critical of its detainment of anti-US rebels, and used specious terror warnings to defuse controversy over its Draconian policies.
In a scene out of classic thriller Seven Days in May, Bush asked the broadcast networks for airtime on the evening of June 6, 2002 to announce sweeping changes to the nations intelligence and law enforcement bureaucracy, creating a Cabinet-level homeland security department. So, on the 58th anniversary of the Allied invasion of France to liberate Europe from the yoke of fascism, we have a president chiseling into the marbled government infrastructure in Washington the words homeland security. The term homeland was used and promoted by the very nation D-Day was meant to eliminate from the planet. Homeland was also a favorite term of South Africas brutal apartheid regime. That government confined its majority African population to sham countries it described as homelands.
This action and others calls for counteraction by the public and select leaders who should recall the fate of many who dared sign the US Declaration of Independence.
According to bethlehempaonline.com, 5 signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. 12 had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had 2 sons captured. 9 of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War 25 were lawyers or jurists. 11 were merchants. 9 were farmers or large plantation owners. One was a teacher, one a musician, and one a printer. These were men of means and education, yet they signed the Declaration of Independence, knowing full well that the penalty could be death if they were captured. And they were mostly 20 to 40 year old men. Are there any leaders like these in 2002 who can grapple with the insidious leadership of the country and the sickness that pervades American Society?
Abuses, Usurpation's and Negligence
Agence France Press: " The three-prong National Security Entry/Exit Registration System is in response from the US Justice Department to a mandate issued by Congress to track "virtually all" of the 35 million foreign visitors who land in the United States annually Such visitors will be fingerprinted and photographed at the border, be required to register "periodically" if they stay in the United States for 30 days or longer Unfortunately, policies that single out particular religious and ethnic groups create a false sense of security and end up further damaging America's image and reputation around the world The Hartford Courant: Three separate courts have told the U.S. Justice Department that its secrecy policy regarding the arrest of 1,200 Muslim immigrants after Sept. 11 is illegal. Yet the department, in particular its Immigration and Naturalization Service, has failed to heed the message
The Miami Herald: Luciano Martins, Brazil's ambassador to Cuba, wrote about what he called ''Bush's imperial unilateralism,'' which he said has unleashed ''intolerable and politically indefensible'' U.S. reactions to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, such as the invasion of Afghanistan. ''The [U.S.] irrationality and arrogance may not be just personal attributes of temporary rulers, but may also turn into a collective attitude. As it happened in Nazi Germany and now seems to be happening in Israel,'' Martins wrote. ``The current silence of the Democratic Party and most American intellectuals . . . seems to suggest that Bush somehow expresses a collective sentiment.''
The CIA Factbook: development of a two-tier labor market in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households Long-term problems [for the USA] include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical costs of an aging population, sizable trade deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups
The National Center for Children in Poverty: 37 percent of American children (27 million children) live in low-income families (40 percent of U.S. children under age six9 million children), in families with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty line ($27,722 for a family of three). Many of the concerns of near poor low-income families overlap with those of the poor, such as the need for well-paying jobs and access to affordable quality childcare and health care. 16 percent of children (over 11 million children) live in poverty (17 percent of children under age six4 million children), in families with incomes below the federal poverty line ($13,861 for a family of three in 2000). About the same number of children lived in poverty in 1980.
The United States child poverty rate is substantially higheroften two-to-three times higherthan that of most other major Western industrialized nations. The child poverty rate is highest for African-American (30 percent) and Latino (28 percent) children. The child poverty rate for white children is 9 percent. The poverty rate for children under age six follows a similar pattern: 33 percent for African-American children under age six, 29 percent for Latino young children, and 10 percent for white young children. 6 percent of Americas children (5 million) live in extreme poverty (8 percent under age six2 million children), in families with incomes below half the poverty line. (In 2000, the extreme poverty line was $6,930 for a family of three.)
Council for a Livable World: The Administration is requesting a military budget of $396.1 billion in fiscal 2003, a 1-year increase of $45.3. This will be the largest increase in military budget authority since fiscal 1966 at the height of the Vietnam War. The increase alone is larger that the military budget of all other countries beside Japan, whose budget is $45.6 billion. In fiscal 2007, the National Defense budget is slated to increase to $469.6 billion. While the budget is being touted for fighting terrorism, the bulk of the funding goes for buying weapons and a force structure designed during the Cold War, not for transformation systems such as precision-guided bombs and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Business Week: PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts that 11,000 companies will file for Chapter 11 protection in 2002, up from a record 10,442 in 2001. WorkingForAmerica.com: Since January 1, 2002, there have been 555,783 layoffs with Hewlett Packard announcing up to 15,000. US unemployment was 6 percent in April 2002 The states face budget shortfalls totaling $27 billion June 2002. American Society for Civil Engineers: D+ for US infrastructure $1.3 trillion needed to fix roads, sewage systems, drinking water, schools, roads, bridges . The United Nations: global warming of between 1 and 3.5 degrees C over the coming century. This may not sound like cause for concern, but the global average temperature has changed by no more than one degree C up or down for the past ten thousand years. Industrialized countries, with roughly 20 per cent of the global population, account for 60 per cent of annual emissions of carbon dioxide, and the biggest emitter, the United States, alone accounts for over 20 per cent. Of cumulative CO2 emissions from 1950 to 1992 --these gases stay in the atmosphere for years --industrialized countries account for 74 per cent and the US for 28 per cent. Emissions by developing countries, although growing rapidly, are not expected to equal those of industrialized countries until 2035.
SentencingProject.org: Roughly 2 million inmates crowd US prisons and jails. The US incarcerates 690 out of every 100,000 Americans. This makes the USA the world leader in incarceration ahead of Russia which jails 676 per 100,000. These figures exclude the millions on probation, house arrest, illegally detained under the guise of the War on Terrorism and War on Drugs, and the disproportionate number of African Americans, Latino Americans and Central Asian/Middle Eastern Americans imprisoned.
AmnestyInternational.org: 111 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. 7 countries since 1990 are known to have executed prisoners who were under 18 years old at the time of the crime - Congo (Democratic Republic), Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, USA and Yemen. The country which carried out the greatest number of known executions of child offenders was the USA (15 since 1990). Amnesty International recorded three executions of child offenders in 2001: one in Iran, one in Pakistan and one in the USA.
Islam-usa.co (Shahid Athar, Associate ProfessorIndiana University): Yes we are number one. We are number one not only as a superpower and being the wealthiest and strongest nation, but the highest in crime as well. For 100,000 people, the U.S. has a homicide rate of 9.4 while that of the U.K. is 2, and Japan 1.2 for comparison. Though we are number one among those who believe in the commandment thou shalt not steal, we have also the highest number of robberies. For 100,000 population, the figure for the U.S. is 45; U.K. 9; Japan 1. We are also number one in the number of drug offenders. For 100,000 population, the U.S. has 346 drug offenders as compared to the U.K. of 56, and Japan of 1. More American women are raped than any other country in the world. For 100,000 women, the rape incidents are 114 in the U.S., 9 in the U.K., and 7 in Japan. 4 million women are physically abused every year by their husbands or boyfriends and forced to seek emergency treatment. Domestic violence leads to the death of 2000 women every year. 25% of all attempted suicide by women is by those who were battered.
What Can be Done?
The US Constitution makes no reference to the two party system. The current anticompetitive duopoly has failed to represent, protect and safeguard the American people from corporate and personal greed, and from foreign enemies domestic and foreign. A viable fourth party--the Greens having established themselves as the thirdmust be founded. Pillars of such a party could be progressives such as John McCain, John Conyers, Russ Feingold, Cynthia McKinney, Barbara Lee, Paul Wellstone, Bernie Sanders, John Corzine, Dennis Kucinich, Jim Jeffords and like-minded individuals within the established order. Millions of Americans would devote time, energy and votes to a party that included these luminaries.
The Electoral College should be eliminated, as its presence is as sinister as the interests and money that has corrupted the US political process. As pointed out in the San Francisco Chronicle, to persuade southern colonies to join the new union, they [the founding fathers] had to recognize the South's right to perpetuate a slave system that treated human beings as chattel. After months of dickering, they found a way around this political impasse. Their decision to base congressional representation on each state's population worked just fine for the more populous North, but not for the slave states, where only a small number of free whites lived. So they devised an ingenious solution, appropriately called the Great Compromise. All free men - plus three-fifths of all slaves - would count toward the apportionment of representatives. What this meant is that a handful of free slaveholding southern white men would now be well represented in Congress because they could count three-fifths of their slaves as part of their state's population. That solved one problem. But the founding fathers faced yet another political dilemma. If the colonists decided to elect their president by direct vote, the South would have been vastly outnumbered by the more populous northern colonies. As they drafted the constitution, James Madison of Virginia worried that a popular vote would undermine the political power of the southern colonies.
Indeed the reliance on such an antediluvian system that also involves walking to a voting booth is entirely dysfunctional in a time of commonplace Internet-based banking and stock trading, telework, teleconferencing, automated battlespace management. Moreover, it puts voters at risk. Why chance walking a city street or assembling under the watchful eyes of hidden cameras or spiteful officials? Why risk votes not being counted in the electoral process? Why must the individual put herself in danger when the elected and unelected CYA themselves at the first sign of danger? Are they worth more than the individuals that make up the public? An automated registering and voting process adopting processes used for Internet-based financial transactions must be implemented. If the US is to retain its damaged electoral system, then United Nations appointed observers must be enlisted to monitor US polling places.
And as the US Capitol, White House and Federal Buildings become off-limits to the publicand their occupants safely secure and governing from remote and alternative locationsits seems pointless other than for quaintness to assemble the governing organizations in one central point in Washington, DC. The US Capitol is now symbol, not substance, and, as such, national governance could be conducted through regional gatherings where those elected and appointed would be forced to face constituents 24 x 7.
The US Constitution must be amended to include national referenda and confidence measures that collar and leash those in power to the public. To begin this and other changes to the US system of government, a national petition-for-change drive must be undertaken via the Internet in conjunction with a nonviolent change-movement involving nationwide demonstrations. These efforts can be organized through Indymedia and the hundreds of nonprofits that include Americans from every walk of life.
Instead of targeting nations for preemptive nuclear and conventional attack, US governing leaders should call a worldwide summit at a neutral location to address global inequities that lead to despair, hatred and hunger. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford would do the nation a great service by immediately calling for such a meeting. Invitees must include those nations who have most suffered most from ill conceived US and Western European policies. Critics of such calls are fond of dismissing diplomacy, but aggressively remind of the noble US effort to rebuild Europe after WWII. They would do well to support such a cause that includes the non-white resource-rich playgrounds of empires new and old. Brutish capitalism must give way to reasoned generosity, along with enlightened US reentrance into the global community to be evidenced by adoption of protocols and treaties gutted by the current Regime and left to languish by the Clinton Administration. For starters, the US must sign-on to the International Criminal Court, Convention on the Banning of Landmines, Conventions on Children in War, and the Kyoto Protocols.
Additionally, the dividing line that once stood between US civilian and military elements must be reestablished and widened. The "revolving door" that places retired military officers in charge of US diplomacy and national "Blue Ribbon Panels", places them on the boards of major corporations who seek defense contracts--and allows them to spin media coverage of events and advocate military/industrial policies - should be shut down. And many of these retired military officers are advocates of using federal troops to police the United States, ostensibly for Homeland Defense. But there are some enlightened dissenters among them.
Dr. William Burcham, a former US Navy officer - and a member of a group that opposes the establishment of the US Army's Northern "Homeland" Command - indicates that it is time to counteract the efforts of the Bush Regime. "Since 911 there has been a steady pressure exerted by some in the current administration to infringe upon the civil liberties of US citizens in attempts to make their own functions easier to accomplish. Now is not the time to stand by and allow further erosion of the US Constitution for the benefit of these few. Anxious times make for poor policy decisions. US constitutional tradition and years of political wisdom, combined with national experience, clearly indicate the people do not support the use of federal troops for law enforcement purposes."
Orwell sounded such a warning 56 years ago through his characters in Animal Farm: " Then there came a moment when the first shock had worn off and when, in spite of everythingin spite of the habit, developed through long years, of never complaining, never criticizing, no matter what happenedthey might have uttered some word of protest " But they didn't.
John Stanton is a Virginia-based writer on national security affairs and Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist who writes and comments frequently on civil liberties and human rights issues.
Seeds of Secrecy
The Mexican government has tried to silence scientists who discovered genetically modified corn where it doesn't belong.
by Kristi Coale, MotherJones.com, May/June 2002
An empty office building in a rough section of Mexico City was not the place where Ignacio Chapela expected to be on a rainy evening early last September. The microbial ecologist from the University of California at Berkeley had traveled to the capital to meet with Mexican scientists who were working to verify some disturbing findings that had turned up in his research. DNA from genetically modified corn, Chapela discovered, is contaminating local varieties developed over centuries in the remote mountains of Oaxaca. The implications are far-reaching: If GM corn can find its way into such an isolated region, scientists warn, then it can go anywhere.
The discovery was especially startling because Mexico has banned the planting of GM corn for nearly four years while it considers how best to safeguard the natural varieties grown in Oaxaca. But instead of sounding the alarm over Chapela's findings, a government official named Fernando Ortiz Monasterio summoned him to the deserted building. There, to Chapela's surprise, Ortiz suggested he withhold his research. Mexico's biosafety commission, Ortiz explained, was preparing new rules that would end the government moratorium on planting GM corn. "Everything is going fine, except we have this one hurdle," Chapela recalls Ortiz telling him, "and that one hurdle is you."
The warning rattled Chapela. "For him to say this to me in an empty building was intimidating," he says. He ignored the pressure, however, and published his findings in the November 29 issue of the journal Nature.
The Mexican government, for its part, has continued its efforts to squelch the news. When scientists from Mexico's biodiversity commission and the National Institute of Ecology found the spread of GM corn to be even more extensive than Chapela reported, top-level officials pressured them to keep quiet. Three government scientists who helped verify Chapela's findings told Mother Jones that they have been told not to discuss their research. "The biosafety commission and other parts of the government have said this is something we shouldn't be talking about," says Jorge Soberon, director of Mexico's biodiversity commission.
The Mexican government did not respond to requests for interviews, but documents show that officials are more concerned about preventing publicity than addressing the findings. In a letter to Chapela last November, Mexico's then-undersecretary for agriculture, Víctor Manuel Villalobos, said the government was working to undo "the damage to agriculture and the economy caused by the publication" in Nature.
A major issue in the debate over genetically modified foods is whether consumers and farmers can choose unaltered seeds and food products. But if GM corn has spread to Oaxaca, the region where corn originated, choice may be on its way to irrelevancy. Agrochemical companies acknowledged last summer that they can't guarantee the conventional seed they sell is free of genetic modification, and organic crops labeled "GM Free" are testing positive for altered DNA.
The Oaxaca discovery has sparked a new drive for labeling and segregating crops and food products in Mexico. Opponents of lifting the ban on GM corn in Mexico are also pushing the government to further examine the extent of the contamination. "We have been telling the government that this is technology we can't control," says Soberon.
Free thinking, non-conforming, investigative reporting
From the Editor:
Nearly four years ago, the Mexican government adopted a moratorium on planting genetically-modified corn. So it came as a shock when two scientists discovered modified genes contaminating native corn in the Mexican state of Oaxaca -- considered the birthplace of maize. As Kristi Coale reports, however, the real shock came when the scientists presented their findings to Mexican officials.
News - Breaking Up the Bakassi Boys - Two human rights groups are calling on Nigeria to crack down on a vigilante group known both for its brutality and its close ties to powerful politicians.
Cartoon - The Other Loya Jirga - Ancient feuds, rivalrous fiefdoms and bellicose bureaucrats.
Updates - 7UP No Longer Laughing, Breaking Up the Bakassi Boys, Easing Access to Bush's Texas Records
Daily Briefing - The Next Argentina?; Banking on Apartheid?; Little Mistake, Big Fire; Lieberman on Deck; The Home Ownership Card; Ventura Bows Out
FROM THE MAGAZINE
Seeds of Secrecy - The Mexican government has tried to silence scientists who discovered genetically modified corn where it doesn't belong.
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE
RUSSIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS BECOME U.S. NUCLEAR FUEL
WASHINGTON, DC, June 19, 2002 (ENS) - The U.S. Department of Energy signed an agreement with a publicly traded corporation, the United States Enrichment Corporation, late yesterday that mandates the company to take delivery of highly enriched uranium derived from Russian nuclear weapons.
CANADA IMPOSES NEW MINING RULES TO BENEFIT FISH
OTTAWA, June 19, 2002 (ENS) - Canada will implement new environmental regulations to reduce pollution entering waterways from metal mines across the country, Environment Minister David Anderson announced today. The new rules impose limits on releases of cyanide, metals, and suspended solids, and prohibit the discharge of effluent that is lethal to fish.
MBEKI STEPS IN TO FIRM UP SOUTH AFRICAN SUMMIT
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, June 19, 2002 (ENS) - With only 69 days to go before the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development opens in Johannesburg, South African President Thabo Mbeki told Parliament Tuesday that he is assuming more responsibility for the success of the summit.
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE AMERISCAN: June 19, 2002
HALO Trust Celebrates Removing One Million Mines
No Military Exemptions, Grassroots Groups Demand
California Fire Claims Three Lives
Lawsuit Forces Tennesse to Issue Power Plant Permits
Unique Carnivore Rediscovered in Tanzania
Boston Drinking Water Supply Protected
Noisy Oceans Shrink Whales' World
UTNE WEB WATCH
The Best of the Alternative Web
THE NEW SEX SCRIBES
by Eric Hoover, The Chronicle of Higher Education
-- From racy sexual techniques to frank discussions of communication, female columnists at college newspapers are raising both controversy and awareness.
THE TIGERTAIL VIRTUAL ART MUSEUM
Web site review by Julie Madsen
-- Stroll around and get lost in the Tigertail's impressive array of Egyptian, Renaissance, Modern, and 20th-century art.
THE NEW REVOLUTION -- URBAN AGRICULTURE IN CUBA
by Spring Gillard, Urban Agriculture Notes
-- An urban agriculture devotee travels to Cuba and sees Havana's path to agricultural recovery first hand.
Links to the above articles: http://www.utne.com/webwatch
SciTech Daily Review
Ever wonder if a new acquaintance is lying to you? It's pretty likely -- but don't take it personally. You're probably telling a few fibs yourself
Criminal gangs that smuggle drugs and arms are also the key to the illegal animal trade, says a new report
While scientists research new and more effective drugs to treat arthritis, Russian researchers are touting a cheap, natural, and ancient treatment leeches
Beneath the dry statistical surface of demography, there teems an irresistible Pandora's box of paranoia, nationalism, racism, rivalry, misanthropy and apocalyptic dread http://www.newstatesman.co.uk/200206100028.htm
Of clones and clowns: Distinguished molecular biologist Robert A Weinberg discusses the "cloning circus" and the damage it is doing to serious research
There are many new books of interest available now from NationBooks, an imprint dedicated to continuing the long tradition of progressive, independent critical thought in America.
PERPETUAL WAR FOR PERPETUAL PEACE
By Gore Vidal
Called the "master essayist of our age" by The Washington Post, Gore Vidal has also been a longtime voice of reason with his incisive political commentary, both in the US and abroad.
Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Vidal's most recent collection of essays became an instant best-seller across Europe with its provocative analysis of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the reasons why so much of the world seems to currently hate America.
Recently published by NationBooks, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace is now available in the United States. A high-quality paperback, the book is very reasonably priced at $10.00. So buy a copy (or two or ten) today. They make terrific gifts.
Never shy about expressing his opinion, Vidal's acerbic wit makes for both entertaining and enlightening reading. So please check out the link below, find out more about the book, and consider sharing Vidal's singular voice with friends, family and foes. http://www.nationbooks.org/perp.shtml
A JUST RESPONSE Edited by Katrina vanden Heuvel with an introduction by Jonathan Schell.
A Just Response features commentary from some of the most respected figures on the progressive left, in a series of thoughtful, informed, and provocative essays looking at the causes and consequences of September 11 and speaking out against "Fascism with an Islamic face," jingoism, the undermining of civil rights, phony multilateralism, the confusion between dissent and treason and much more.
Contributors include Christopher Hitchens, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Edward Said, Richard Falk, Katha Pollitt, William Greider, John LeCarre, Ahmed Rashid, Eric Alterman, David Corn, Mary Kaldor, Patricia J. Williams and Alexander Cockburn, among many others.
MOUNT RUSHMORE: An Icon Reconsidered By Jesse Larner
Conceived in the 1920s as a tourist attraction, Mount Rushmore was quickly recast by the sculptor into an icon of democracy, freedom, and hope. The history of the Black Hills and the sense of manifest destiny that haunts the monument, however, render the faces more ironic than iconic. In a compelling travel narrative combining personal experience in the American West with extensive primary research, Jesse Larner investigates the complex stories that have been edited out of the standard guidebooks on one of America's most well-known but least understood national icons.
WOMAN'S INHUMANITY TO WOMAN
By Phyllis Chesler
We are all familiar with the phrase, "Man's Inhumanity to Man." Until now, a profound silence has prevailed about woman's inhumanity to woman. This groundbreaking, readable book breaks that silence. In a provocative distillation of numerous currents, Chesler draws on the most important studies in psychology, human aggression, anthropology, childhood developmental theory, primatology, evolutionary theory, psychoanalytic theory, myths and fairy tales, literature, plays, biography, autobiography, memoirs, and studies of revolutionary movements, including Feminism.
Power Deregulation Fueled Pollution
by Robert Melnbardis, June 19, 2002
MONTREAL - North American power companies, the continent's biggest polluters, slashed spending on energy efficiency programs by 42 percent between 1995 and 1999, in part because of the deregulation of electricity markets, an environmental watchdog said this week.
In a 45-page report on the continent's electricity market, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, a Montreal-based agency created under the North American Free Trade Agreement, said power companies cut expenditures on energy efficiency measures to $1.4 billion in 1999 from $2.4 billion in 1995.
That added to air pollution in the United States, Canada and Mexico, which hurts both the environment and human health, the agency said.
Power companies made the cuts largely because of the restructuring of the electricity industry, which includes the privatization of public utilities, the commission said.
"Much of the electricity demand growth during this period could have been significantly moderated by energy efficiency measures, thus avoiding the associated air pollution and other environmental impacts, had these programs not been left to languish under restructuring," the report said.
The study came just two days after the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush said it would relax costly air pollution rules when utilities are repaired or expanded. The move triggered a storm of protest from environmental groups, who warned that would increase air pollution and worsen respiratory ailments such as asthma.
DEREGULATION RAISES RISKS
Janine Ferretti, the commission's executive director, said deregulation has left power utilities with less incentive to implement energy conservation measures. Ongoing efforts to deregulate the sector add to the risk and uncertainty of investing heavily in energy efficiency, she added.
"It's hard for them to make those investments with that kind of uncertainty and risk," she told Reuters.
"There needs to be some sort of effort to minimize those uncertainties and risks so that the behavior and pattern of companies is one that is consistent with meeting environmental outcomes."
As electricity markets deregulate in the three countries and the cross-border trade in power rises, environmental considerations will be even more important, Ferretti said.
Critics have blamed the deregulation of California's power market for last year's electricity shortage, which sparked brownouts in the state and a subsequent flurry of investigations and lawsuits.
Ontario has abandoned a planned C$5.5 billion ($3.5 billion) sale of Hydro One, the provincially owned electricity transmission grid, after its plan faced a public backlash and was blocked in court.
ELECTRICITY SECTOR A TOP POLLUTER
According to research by the commission, North America's electricity sector is the top polluter because of the use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas in many power plants.
In 1999, the year for which the most recent data is available, power plants reported the largest toxic releases of all industrial sectors. They emitted 450,000 tonnes of pollutants to air, land and water, the agency said.
In the United States, the electricity sector produces one-quarter of all air emissions of nitrogen oxides, 70 percent of the sulfur dioxide, 25 percent of mercury and 35 percent of carbon dioxide. Some of the gases contribute to air pollution effects such as acid rain, as well rising levels of greenhouse gases, which researchers say are a key factor in global warming.
Furthermore, forecasts call for growth in electricity demand of 21 percent in the United States, 14 percent in Canada and 66 percent in Mexico from 2000 to 2009, the agency said. There are plans to build nearly 2,000 new generating units in North America by 2007, a 50 percent increase over current installed capacity.
Even if only a fraction of that is built, governments will have to grapple with the implications for the environment, Ferretti said.
"It's hard to tell what fuel source will be used and this is why it is important that the three countries work together to address any kind of possible negative implications," she said.
DOWNWIND FOR THE COUNT
Thousands of "downwinders" -- people living in the path of radiation releases from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation -- scored a legal victory yesterday when a federal appeals court ordered a lower court to reconsider two lawsuits against five former Hanford contractors. From 1944 to 1989, Hanford produced most of the nation's plutonium for warheads; research conducted in the late '80s suggested that people living in the vicinity had been exposed to harmful radiation, particularly from iodine-131, which is linked to thyroid disease. The downwinders sued, but in 1998, the U.S. District Court in Eastern Washington reduced the number of plaintiffs who had standing in the case to those who could prove that their risk of contracting cancer had doubled due to radiation from Hanford. But yesterday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that standard, saying plaintiffs only needed to show that radiation exposure at levels comparable to Hanford's would cause health problems in the general population. The plaintiffs -- about 5,000 of them -- are seeking damages, including medical expenses and compensation for pain and suffering.
straight to the source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Lisa Stiffler, 19 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=213>
The sins of the fathers (etc.) shall be visited on the children -- at least when the sins are environmental and the children are in China. A recent survey of more than 11,000 schoolchildren in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen found that nearly two-thirds suffered from lead poisoning. Such poisoning, when untreated, can cause damage to the brain, nervous, and reproductive systems; mental retardation; behavioral problems; stunted growth; anemia; high blood pressure; and, in extreme cases, death. Sadly, Shenzhen is not atypical of Chinese cities; studies done in Beijing showed that about 20 percent of youth had excessive lead levels in their blood, and in Taiyuan, the industrial capital of central Shanxi province, 64 percent had lead poisoning. Overall, experts estimate that lead poisoning could afflict half of all urban Chinese youth. Ironically, Shenzhen was honored this year by the U.N. as one of the world's 500 most environmentally progressive cities.
straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Henry Chu, 19 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=214>
The stars are twinkling over Nevada's Yucca Mountain -- movie stars and pop stars, that is. In the battle over the Bush administration's proposal to bury high-level radioactive waste below the mountain, the glitterati are siding against the president. Barbra Streisand, Bonnie Raitt, Martin Sheen, Melissa Gilbert, Tim Robbins, Alec Baldwin, Morgan Freeman -- the cast of characters assembled in opposition to the Yucca Mountain project reads like the credit sequence of a blockbuster. David Blee, a Reagan-era Energy Department official and a current PR consultant to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (which supports the project) acknowledged ruefully that, "There is no Charlton Heston on our side." But the pro-Yucca Mountain side does have the support of plenty of senators who would rather see the nuclear waste in someone else's backyard -- and all things considered, the politicos are probably more powerful than the culture gods and goddesses.
straight to the source: Washington Post, Eric Pianin, 16 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=215>
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>
MONEY SHAVING STEPS
Many enviros have suspected for a while that the deregulation of electricity markets is bad for the environment. Now here's some proof: Spending on energy efficiency programs by North American power companies -- the biggest polluters on the continent -- dropped by 42 percent between 1995 and 1999, largely because of deregulation. The findings were made public this week in a report by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, a Montreal-based agency created under the North American Free Trade Agreement. The drop in spending, from $2.4 billion to $1.4 billion, led to increased air pollution in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, affecting both human and environmental health. Janine Ferretti, executive director of the commission, said deregulation offers utilities fewer incentives to implement conservation measures. The report came just two days after President Bush announced that he would relax rules requiring utilities to install state-of-the-art pollution-control equipment when repairing or expanding power plants, a move that triggered a storm of protest from environmental groups.
straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Robert Melnbardis, 19 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=216>
only in Grist: Alternative energy crisis -- when it comes to renewable energy, the DOE is DOA -- by Amanda Griscom in our Powers That Be section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/powers/powers061102.asp>
do good: Take action to do a home energy audit <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/climate.asp?source=daily#audit>
An international coalition of conservation organizations is seeking protection for a 74 million-acre, species-rich tropical corridor between Peru and Bolivia. Conservation International and Peru's National Institute of Natural Resources are working with local authorities to try to protect the region from mining, oil and gas exploitation, road and dam construction, and logging. The corridor includes 15 pre-existing protected areas and spans the transition zone from the high-mountain ecosystems of the Andes to the tropical forests and waterways of the Amazon. The corridor is part of an area designated an ecological "hotspot" because of its high biodiversity and equally high risk from human encroachment. The project is expected to be something of an administrative headache, as the Bolivian side alone encompasses 57 municipalities and four agencies that play a role in land management. Still, enviros are heartened by letters of support from the presidents of both countries and an increasing worldwide recognition of the importance of cross-border conservation projects.
straight to the source: BBC News, Andrew Enever, 18 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=217>
only in Grist: Now you see them, now you don't -- in the Andes Mountains, the pace of climate change is far from glacial -- in our Main Dish section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/maindish/wehner042202.asp?source=daily>
do good: Take action to stop illegal logging in Peru <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/forests.asp?source=daily#tahuamanu>
by Arianna Huffington, June 17, 2002
The last episode of "Politically Incorrect" will be broadcast on June 28. I'm going to be on it one last time, and I've promised myself I won't cry on the air. Once the cameras go off -- well, that's another story.
You see, the show has been a touchstone for me over the last nine years -- both in the evolution of my political ideas and the changes in my personal life.
My first appearance was in November 1993, when the show was on Comedy Central and taping in New York. I was on with Harry Shearer, Rep. Jim Traficant, and Dr. Peter Kramer, who had just published "Listening To Prozac." Since then, Shearer -- the brilliant satirist, and voice of half 'The Simpsons' characters -- has become a close friend and co-conspirator, Traficant has been convicted of racketeering, and I've gone on to launch a mini-crusade disagreeing with Dr. Kramer's rosy assessment of the miraculous effects of Prozac.
Doing "PI" was always a stimulating two-way street. Sometimes it gave me the chance to mount my soapbox and sound off on subjects I care passionately about, and sometimes it opened my mind to new topics and ideas that I then went on to write about.
For that initial appearance, I had flown up from Washington, where I was living with my Republican congressman husband and our two preschool daughters. When I do the last PI next week, it will be from Los Angeles, where, after a divorce from my husband and the Republican party, I now live as a registered independent, with my 5-foot-6-inch teen-age daughter and her tweener sister.
In between, I made a few dozen appearances on PI, crossing swords -- sometimes playfully, sometimes earnestly -- with everyone from Michael Douglas to Jesse Jackson to Cindy Crawford to Chevy Chase to G. Gordon Liddy to Tom Arnold to Coolio. PI's appeal has always been the simple notion of bringing together eclectic groups of pundits, politicians, and performers and letting the fur fly.
In the process, the show challenged the larger shibboleths of 'proper' comment and debate in America. People tend to talk mostly to like-minded people who communicate in the same way. We naturally tend to fall into clichÈ. PI was about breaking those clichÈs, and the best moments came from unexpected juxtapositions: when a comedian popped the balloon of a pontificating politico, when a rapper had the last word on campaign finance reform, or when Jerry Falwell revealed -- yes, it's true -- a playful sense of humor.
In fact, the show was responsible for unleashing my own long-suppressed inner clown. In bed, no less. In 1996, during the Republican and Democratic national conventions, Bill Maher lured Al Franken and me between the sheets to do political commentary from a specially constructed bed for a segment called "Strange Bedfellows." It was the beginning of an oddball act of the same name that Al and I took on the road, trading barbs and double entendres at colleges, conventions, and trade shows. As an added bonus, I was probably the only woman in my profession to claim a tax deduction for lingerie. (I'm not sure whether Al deducted for his or not).
Another thing I'll miss is traveling around the country -- to places like New Orleans, San Francisco, Aspen and San Diego -- to tape special on-location editions of PI. It was on one of these road shows that Chris Rock and I covered an Al Sharpton rally in Chicago, chanting "No justice, no peace" in our Greek accents (O.K., maybe that was just me.)
For nine years, PI has been the best place on television to find edgy, political satire. But, because it's a comedy show, people often forget the fact that it also offered a rare forum for certain "orphan issues" --important topics overlooked by the mainstream media.
PI delved into such knotty matters as the ongoing madness of the war on drugs and the destructive role of money in politics not just once in a blue moon, but night in and night out. I regularly marveled at the ardor and wonkish knowledge Bill brought to these issues. In fact, he gave two rousing speeches on these topics at the 2000 Shadow Conventions that rivaled the experts in detail and far exceeded them in entertainment value. It is this blend of skills that makes him a first class satirist in the tradition of Jonathan Swift, wielding his savage wit in the service of passionate conviction.
For some weird reason, I always ended up doing PI on emotionally charged days in my life, including the show we taped the day I moved in to my post-divorce home in LA. The movers were still carting in boxes when I hurried off to the studio. Then there was the now infamous show I did a few days after Sept. 11. It was the first post-attack PI, and showed Bill at his best: respectful of what truly mattered but courageously challenging everything else.
As "Politically Incorrect" ends its remarkable 1,600-plus show run, the appropriate farewell is not a eulogy but a 21-pun salute to a man -- and a show -- that encapsulate what our culture needs now more than ever: independence, fearlessness, and an increasingly rare willingness to speak truth to power.
On the personal side, it's also a time to celebrate a treasured friendship that, thankfully, isn't at the mercy of the whims of skittish sponsors and network executives.
Bill has said that he considers his last show not so much an end as a new beginning -- "kind of like being transferred to another diocese." Well, my friend, you can count on me to sing in your choir, whatever parish you wind up in.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at:
t r u t h o u t
The Lawyers Behind Bush's Attack on Civil Liberties
Israel Acts to Seize Palestinian Land After 20 Die in Blast
Bush to Propose Palestinian State Soon
Bernard Weiner | A Peek Inside Dick Cheney's Personal Diary
Maureen Dowd | From 'Cats' to Cicero
Arianna Huffington | "R.I.P., P.I."
Microsoft Snubs Sun, Will Not Support Java
Federal Judge Orders South Carolina Governor To Not Block Plutonium Shipments
AIKEN, S.C. (AP) _ A federal judge Tuesday prohibited Gov. Jim Hodges from blocking government shipments of bomb-grade plutonium to South Carolina that could begin as early as this weekend.
``It is a sad day for South Carolina when the governor, who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, must be ordered by a court to obey it,'' U.S. District Judge Cameron Currie said.
On Friday, Hodges sent state police to the government's Savannah River Site weapons installation near the Georgia state line to stop any vehicles carrying the radioactive material, which is to be brought in from the closed Rocky Flats weapons plant in Colorado.
The governor said he would abide by the judge's order.
``Against our will, the blockade is over,'' Hodges said. ``I don't apologize for our efforts, our suit or our blockade.''
The Energy Department wants to move about 6 1/2 tons of plutonium to Savannah River as part of the agency's effort to clean up and close Rocky Flats. Energy Department spokesman Joe Davis said the shipments could begin as early as Saturday.
Federal officials said the material will be converted at the Savannah River Site into fuel for nuclear reactors. But Hodges has warned that the conversion program might never be funded and that the plutonium might be stored permanently in South Carolina.
Hodges sued last month to prevent the shipments, saying the plutonium poses too many environmental risks. The Democratic governor, who is up for re-election this fall, had threatened to lie down in the road if necessary to block the trucks.
Last Thursday, Currie rejected Hodges' arguments that the Energy Department was violating federal environmental policy, opening the door for shipments to begin immediately. Hodges has taken his case to a federal appeals court.
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
Flight 11 stewardess' kin to sue American Airlines Lawyers say family members 'no longer trust' carrier 'to tell truth' about Flight 11 hijackings
by Paul Sperry, WorldNetDaily.com
WASHINGTON Relatives of a flight attendant who may have been knifed to death by hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 11 "no longer trust" the carrier to tell them the truth about what happened to her, and have retained lawyers to investigate and sue American for negligence, WorldNetDaily has learned.
The planned litigation would mark the first lawsuit filed against an airline by relatives of a crewmember slain in the Sept. 11 hijackings.
"It nags them that they do not know what the actual real fate of their loved one was," said a member of the law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei Guilford & Schiavo, which is handling the case. "They no longer trust American Airlines to tell them the truth."
He says the family wants "answers" more than money.
The unique case led by Baum Hedlund partner Mary F. Schiavo, a former Transportation Department inspector general is one of several new Sept. 11 lawsuits the Los Angeles firm, which also has offices here, is preparing to file over the next few weeks. The personal-injury firm, which specializes in major accidents, already represents 32 families of passengers killed in the hijackings.
The Baum Hedlund source would not name the slain American flight attendant, but says her sister has information indicating she was murdered by hijackers in a struggle aboard Flight 11, which hit Tower One after leaving Boston.
From accounts of a chilling phone call made from the plane, hijackers slit the throats of two flight attendants who tried to bar them from entering the cockpit, as WorldNetDaily first reported late Sept. 11.
Madeline Amy Sweeney, in a frantic conversation with her American supervisor, Michael Woodward, on the ground at Logan International Airport, identified the slain attendants by their crew numbers.
Head flight attendant Karen Martin was one of the brave women who tried to protect the pilots. The other has yet to be publicly named, and American has withheld information from relatives seeking confirmation, the law firm source says.
He says Shiavo plans to ask for Woodward's original notes of his conversation with Sweeney, which apparently was not recorded, as part of discovery in the case.
American spokesman John Hotard says he does not know where the original notes are.
"I've never seen them. I don't know if they went to the FBI, or if a copy went to the FBI," he said in a recent WorldNetDaily interview. "But the FBI got a hold of them very quickly, and wrote a summary."
A confidential Federal Aviation Administration executive summary of the hijackings, written Sept. 11, mentions two crew members being stabbed, but then goes on to detail the shooting of a passenger naming both the hijacker, who allegedly fired a single shot, and the victim, as WorldNetDaily also first reported.
Families members have complained to lawyers that the FBI has been as tight-lipped as American with information.
"The FBI has not been forthcoming," the Baum Hedlund source said.
He says Shiavo also plans to depose Woodward.
WorldNetDaily has learned that the American flight-services manager has not returned to work after taking extended leave last year. Woodward is still so traumatized by the horrific phone call from Sweeney that he won't take phone calls to his Boston-area home even from concerned fellow employees, a colleague says.
Lawyers also will seek a tape recording of a phone call from another American flight attendant aboard the doomed plane Betty Ong who called the carrier's system operation control center at its Fort Worth headquarters. Ong, who spoke with an American manager on duty that morning, apparently corroborated what Sweeney reported.
The other flight attendants aboard Flight 11 were Sara Low, Barbara Arestegui, Jean Roger, Dianne Snyder, Kathleen Nicosia and Jeffrey Collman.
Roger's father, Tom Roger, is vice president of Families of September 11 Inc.
Saudi plaintiffs hit 100
That organization is leading a class-action wrongful-death suit against members of the Saudi royal family and Saudi banks, as well as Islamic charities, that allegedly helped finance al-Qaida terrorists and their operations.
The group has hired noted Washington investigator Terry Lenzner to gather proof to back its claims.
"Under every stone we turn, we find more evidence of major Saudi fund-raising for the terrorists," said Stephen Push, founder of Families of September 11.
Push, whose wife died in the American Airlines Flight 77 hijacking here, says lawyers retained by the group have lined up some 100 plaintiffs.
They plan to file their suit in U.S. District Court here, not an international court. He says Saudi royals are not protected by "foreign sovereignty," because the deaths occurred in the U.S.
Push, in a WorldNetDaily interview, also said: "We're pretty confident we can collect if we win a judgment," explaining that the court can seize Saudi-owned real estate and other financial assets in America.
"If they start moving assets during our litigation," he said, "we'll seek a restraining order to stop them."
Push argues that the Saudis would be loath not to cooperate with the court in paying a judgment, given their desire to maintain good public relations with the U.S. government.
An appeal to the Media, to Congress, and to Govt. worldwide
UNANSWERED QUESTIONS.ORG AUDIO OF PRESS CONFERENCE ONLINE! Listen to the June 11, 2002 press conference. Thanks to Indymedia and their partner loudeye for hosting this audio for us.
UnEarthly Glow at the Pentagon
News item from September 11, 2001 - you're gonna love this
PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS OF PETITIONER-DEFENDANT, TIMOTHY JAMES McVEIGH AND BRIEF IN SUPPORT OVERVIEW
The McVeigh defense, based upon the material provided to it, suggests the following hypothesis: A foreign power, probably Iraq, but not excluding the possibility of another foreign state, planned a terrorist attack(s) in the United States and that one of those targets was the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. The Murrah Building was chosen either because of lack of security (i.e. it was a "soft target"), or because of available resources such as Iraqi POW's who had been admitted into the United States were located in Oklahoma City, or possibly because the location of the building was important to American neo-Nazis such as those individuals who supported Richard Snell who was executed in Arkansas on April 19, 1995.
"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do." - Edward Everett Hale
SciTech Daily Review
Australian scientists report that they have successfully ''teleported'' a laser beam encoded with data, breaking it up and reconstructing an exact replica a yard away
Some trees manage to get enough essential calcium from poor soil with the help of rock-eating fungi
A device which could supplement or even replace failing lungs in humans has been tested successfully in animals
Here's a radical solution for dealing with the glut of old computers, cell phones, DVDs and other electronic waste: throw it into a really, really big hole and mine it
Cat whisperer Sonya Fitzpatrick thinks she can reveal your pet's innermost thoughts. Who'd have thought cats' inner lives were so banal?
Mind your language: Non-English speakers now outnumber native English speakers in terms of online users. It's time to brush up on your Bafaw-Balong
Economic experts predict that we will be five times as rich in a hundred years' time. If we were willing to postpone that prosperity by just two years, we could fix global warming into the bargain, claim climate scientist Stephen Schneider and energy economist Christian Azar
Dead clade walking: In the game of evolution, survival doesn't necessarily equal success
Press Release: June 13, 2002 : For Immediate & Wide Release
Listen to the June 11, 2002 press conference.
Washington, DC Press Conference A Major Success New Allegations Connect More Dots In The 9/11 Puzzle
(Washington, DC) UnansweredQuestions.org, an independent, non-partisan network of citizens concerned about the growing number of issues surrounding September 11, as yet un-addressed or unresolved, launched its new website at the first press conference dealing with 9/11 issues other than airline safety on June 10, 2002 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Thoroughly-sourced research and some disturbing new allegations were woven into a series of presentations that will undoubtedly lay the groundwork for placing more pieces into the 9/11 puzzle.
Former Bush I Administration Asst. Secretary of Housing, Catherine Austin Fitts, and Kyle F. Hence, co-chair of UnansweredQuestions.org, opened the conference with probing event background and an intro to questions that remain unanswered. Lorna Brett -- PR Director of the Nolan Law Group representing Ellen Mariani who lost her husband, Julie Sweeney, making a impassioned plea for answers, and her attorney Mary Schiavo -- former Inspector General for U.S. Department of Transportation and lawyer for 32 families from all 9/11 hijacked planes, presented a case for egregious negligence linked to airline safety and shocking yearly statistics of 672 hijackings globally since 1972.
Three 9/11 victim family groups were represented: Ryan Amundson and Derrill Bodley (Peaceful Tomorrows.org); Monica Gabrielle (Skyscraper Safety Campaign); and Steven Alderman and his wife, Elizabeth (co-chair of Families of September 11th Memorial Committee). They posed pointed questions and expressed appreciation for the conference.
From the Wilderness', Mike Ruppert, speaking by phone from British Columbia while on speaking tour, characterized a pre-9/11 pattern of government behavior that exceeded mere incompetence. Author, John Judge addressed the failure of U.S. air defenses unable to protect the Pentagon, and Journalist Tom Flocco offered several new intriguing lines in inquiry into suspicious dealings involving Deutsche Bank and Enron and recent 9/11-linked FBI stock trading indictments. J. Michael Springmann, Esq, former Visa Chief at U.S. Saudi Embassy, revealed that State Department forced him to issue Visas to known terrorists --then shredded his "unsafe" list after he left. Dr. Steve Camarota, Research Director for Center for Immigration Studies, offered analysis of how lax border control invites terrorists, researcher Richard Ochs proposed that there was a specific political agenda in the timing of the Anthrax attacks and Jennifer Van Bergen, contributing editor with Truthout.org addressed the Constitutional implications of the Patriot Act.
UPI, CNN, NHK: Japan TV, Philadelphia Inquirer, American Free Press, Financial Times, Vanity Fair, Intelligence Online (Paris), Accuracy In Media, International Currency Review, and numerous investigative journalists and researchers attended the press conference.
Order a 3-Hour un-edited VIDEO of the entire press conference: Send check or money order for $19. (includes shipping/handling via first class mail) made out to Kyle F. Hence, UnansweredQuestions.org, P.O. Box 1255, Newport, RI 02840 *** A follow-up in New York is now being planned.
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE
"We Cover the Earth For You"
JUDGE HOLDS FAST TO BAN ON MINING PERMITS
CHARLESTON, West Virginia, June 18, 2002 (ENS) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may not issue permits allowing rock and dirt from mountaintop removal coal mines to be disposed of in streams, a federal judge confirmed Monday. U.S. District Judge Charles Haden denied a request by the Corps that he lift his injunction against so-called valley fill permits.
GLOBAL ACTION AGAINST INCINERATORS TARGETS TOXICS
LONDON, UK, June 18, 2002 (ENS) - On Monday, some 125 environmental and citizen groups from 54 countries launched the first Global Day of Action Against Waste Incineration. Events around the world continue throughout the week.
ORGANIZED CRIMINAL GANGS DEAL WILDLIFE AND DRUGS
LONDON, United Kingdom, June 18, 2002 (ENS) - While conservation groups are working hard and spending millions to save endangered species, their efforts are being undermined by organized gangs conducting a hybrid drug and wildlife trade. Live snakes stuffed with condoms full of cocaine are shipped across borders; live snails packed with heroin travel by air. Drug money is laundered through pirate timber companies.
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE AMERISCAN: JUNE 18, 2002
Klamath Basin Farmers Get $50 Million in Aid
Missouri River Management Reforms Stalled
Bill Would Sell Federal Land to Church Group
Alabama Power Updates Emissions Controls
Solar Power Promoted at Annual Conference
Los Alamos Team Wins Recycling Award
Insects Used to Control Washington Weeds
Scented Flakes Confuse Gypsy Moths
Planet Ark World Environment News
New York settles for trees in idling trucks pact - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16476/story.htm
Californians near nuke plants to get iodide pills - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16484/story.htm
US residents can sue for nuke exposure - court - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16483/story.htm
Judge strikes down South Carolina plutonium blockade - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16477/story.htm
World Bank responds to Uganda dam project concerns - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16469/story.htm
LIPA launches summer energy conservation program - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16475/story.htm
China to build plant to turn coal into oil products - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16472/story.htm
Human feces may kill Caribbean coral, study finds - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16471/story.htm
US congressmen moved by words of Gulf War widow - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16485/story.htm
Earth Summit must set real targets, say experts - SWEDEN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16473/story.htm
South Africa's Mbeki vows to rescue Earth Summit - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16478/story.htm
German onshore wind plant build seen peaking in 02 - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16474/story.htm
Greenpeace stops nuclear waste train in France - FRANCE http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16480/story.htm
China health ministry seeks opinions on GMO rules - CHINA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16479/story.htm
UPDATE - China fears flood toll tops 500, more rain to come - CHINA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16481/story.htm
Power deregulation fueled pollution - NAFTA agency - CANADA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16482/story.htm
Aventis told to destroy Belgian GMO field - BELGIUM http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16470/story.htm
Why are villagers in the Aceh province of Indonesia worrying about contributions from Exxon Mobil to George W. Bush and the Republicans?
Read the latest installment of Capital Games, David Corn's exclusive Nation web feature, for the full story on possible Exxon Mobil-sponsored terrorism in Indonesia.
Currently available at:
And don't miss "The 9/11 X-Files," Corn's recent examination of the numerous conspiracy theories that have spread since September 11 purporting to explain the attacks and the continued war on terrorism.
Still available at:
t r u t h o u t | 06.19
DOJ E-Malis Show Lindh Case Weak
Bipartisan House Judiciary Call for Hearings on PATRIOT Act
Suicide Bomber Hits Jerusalem Bus, Killing at Least 20
GAO: Federal Regulators Failed, and Continue to Fail
Lynne Stewart Makes Motion for Dismissal
Paul Krugman | Politicians on Drugs
White House Stonewall: Day 116
Only 9 percent of private-sector American workers currently belong to unions -- a smaller share than when John Sweeney's "new voices" leadership team took over the AFL-CIO seven years ago, and lower even than a century ago.
The failure to grow membership is not just labor's fault, and certainly does not reflect the views of US workers, millions of whom desire representation at work. American unions operate under a uniquely unfavorable labor law. They face the most union-hostile business community in the world. And for all their PAC giving and get-out-the-vote drives, they are still limited politically to a Democratic party that regularly gets more excited about fighting for free-trade agreements than for worker rights.
These are all important parts of the reason that organized labor has failed to reach the workers who desire representation, and they are not likely to change anytime soon. And change itself probably requires more union members pushing for it.
So how, under present circumstances, can unions then increase membership? Richard Freeman and Nation contributing editor Joel Rogers argue in the June 24, 2002 issue of the The Nation for a change in labor's basic definition of membership making it open to workers without union majorities at their workplace, and organized along occupational or regional lines. They believe such sorts of membership, which labor has used effectively in the past, can powerfully combine with Internet outreach to new members. They call the new mix "Open Source Unionism," and claim that OSU could increase union membership, quickly, by millions if seriously tried.
For the fuller case for Open Source Unionism, read Freeman and Rogers, "A Proposal to American Labor" now.
Currently available at:
World Water Supply Dropping
Contributed By: New York IMC Articles, June 3, 2002
Its the essence of life as we know it. And its everywhere. But, increasingly for much of humanity, theres hardly a drop to drink.
The water crisis is definitely getting worse, warns Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project in Amherst, Massachusetts. The basic issue is the fact that water is renewable but finite; any place where population grows, youll have a diminished supply per person.
Less than one percent of the earths water is accessible freshwater, contained in aquifers, rivers, swamps and atmospheric vapor. According to one estimate, all the worlds freshwater would fill a cube less than 100 miles on a side. As the human population has exploded, so has the demand for water. We already scoop up over half the available run-off. Its estimated 1.2 billion people currently lack access to clean water and twice that many lack basic sanitation.
Waterborne diseases such as dysentery and cholera claim over 5 million lives a year, mainly children. Yet in the U.S., where relatively few lack drinking water, over $5 billion a year is spent on bottled water.
The causes of water shortage are myriad. Aquifers are being sucked dry from central China to North Africa to the heart of the American grain belt in the plains states. Much of it goes to the 17 percent of irrigated cropland that produces 40 percent of the worlds food supply. And the poisons dumped on our crops leech into local watersheds, further reducing the supply or demanding costly clean-ups.
Deforestation greatly reduces the ability of earth to hold water; the resulting soil erosion in turn chokes rivers, killing much of the aquatic life and degrading its potability.
In many cases, water scarcity is a result of conquest and war. The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is stoked by Israels coveting of plentiful aquifers in the West Bank. Over 2 million Palestinians live there, but the 200,000 settlers who live in suburban fortresses complete with swimming pools and green lawns use 80 percent of the water.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, the Euphrates is at the center of conflicts between Turkey and Iraq and Syria, while in Africa, water shortages are sparking confrontations in the Niger, Nile, Volta and Zambezi basins.
Hundreds of millions of people are dependent on rivers, but many are already tapped out in the dry season, says Postel. The Ganges, Indus, Colorado, Nile and Yellow Rivers are among the most affected.
In anticipation of growing conflict, water has been labeled the oil of the 21st century a resource to be privatized, traded and hoarded. One of the most notorious privatization attempts was Bechtels plan in Cochabamba, Bolivia. It was pushed on Bolivia by the International Monetary Fund, but ended in early 2000 when triple-digit price hikes sparked protests that forced the government to void the agreement.
North America is by no means immune to similar schemes. In one case, Sunbelt Water Inc. is suing the British Colombia government under provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement for $10.5 billion in damages for lost business opportunities. The California-based Sunbelt claims it was only trying to supply the drought-stricken Golden State with water, while the BC government countered that it just wants to protect its own freshwater supplies.
But its human-induced climate change that will have the most severe impact on water usage. Global warming will literally change the hydrology of every major river basin in the world, especially in Asia, says Postel. Snow in the mountains will be dramatically affected, she notes. Snowpacks, a natural reservoir of water, will not precipitate as snow in the first place but as rainfall, flooding lower regions, the waters of which will be largely unsanitary and unmanageable.
In New York, the complete absence of snowpack from the Catskills Mountains this year is intensifying the drought that has gripped the region. Already the city is in a Stage 1 drought alert and even above-normal rainfall this year wont overcome the deficit of a missing spring melt.
With rising temperatures, whatever mountain snowpack remains will melt earlier in the season, reducing runoff for the spring and summer months. Moisture evaporation in soil and aquifers would speed up, as would transpiration in plants. Many regions could be transformed into deserts or become semi-arid, and already existing deserts would be uninhabitable. The Western U.S., the Andes and the Alps regions are vulnerable to these climactic changes.
Rising sea levels caused by thermal expansion of water and disappearing landbound glaciers will push salt water inland, decreasing freshwater availability. In the U.S., Long Island, Nantucket, Marthas Vineyard, Florida, the Carolinas and central coastal California would be especially vulnerable.
Misuse of water can also lead to a vicious cycle of declining supplies that alter local climates, thereby creating further water shortages. The Aral Sea in Asia, like Lake Chad in Africa, has shrunk dramatically in the last three decades.
The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest body of inland water. It has lost two-thirds of its original volume and 24 native fish species have disappeared. As the Aral Sea shrinks, summers are becoming shorter and hotter, while the winters are colder and longer, with little precipitation for the next harvest.
Lake Chad is one-twentieth the size it was 35 years ago. Bordered by Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon, the lake has been pumped excessively for irrigation and other use. In addition, the region is becoming increasingly drier, with serious decline in rainfall since the early 60s. Michael T. Coe of the University of Wisconsin is pessimistic: Lake Chad will be a puddle. It will be completely managed. Youll get crops and drinking water out of it, but youll have no ecosystem left to speak of.
Debate Commission Apologizes To Ralph Nader
Contributed By: Green Party of the United States Articles, June 3, 2002
Washington, D.C. - On the eve of trial in federal district court in Boston, Janet Brown, the executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), and Paul Kirk and Frank Fahrenkopf, the CPD's Democratic and Republican co-chairs, have sent a letter of apology to Ralph Nader and made a monetary payment to his attorneys in order to settle the case Nader filed against them for the events on October 3, 2000, the night of the first presidential debate. The Commission's security consultant during the first debate has also sent a letter of apology and is also paying a portion of Nader's attorneys' fees.
On the night of the first debate, Nader had a valid ticket to an auxiliary viewing room and an interview with Fox News, but he was met at the university campus by the CPD's security consultant and state police and forced to leave the event under threat of arrest. The CPD had instructed the consultant that Mr. Nader could not attend the debate, but Nader was attempting to attend a separate viewing event that was sponsored by the University of Massachusetts, not the CPD presidential debate. Others allowed on campus without any ticket were invited to attend the university event. Nader promptly sued the CPD on October 17, 2000.
Reacting to the letters of apology, Nader said, "This expression of contrition was what I asked for in a letter to the Commission soon after the expulsion on October 3, 2000, and this is what the Commission finally agreed to, however delayed. After our victory, they will think thrice before doing this again to any ticketed third-party candidates in the future." Nader has repeatedly accused the CPD of being a deplorable, exclusionary tool of the two-party duopoly, performing an antidemocratic screening function in our system, and forcing excluded candidates to the sidelines in media attention and public appraisal."
The Commission on Presidential Debates was formed in 1987 to replace the non-partisan League of Women Voters, which included independent candidate John Anderson in the first 1980 presidential debate and prohibited the major party candidates from selecting the debate panelists in 1984. Frank Fahrenkopf, then chairman of the Republican National Committee and now the leading lobbyist for the gambling industry, and Paul Kirk, then chairman of the Democratic National Committee and now a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry, created The Commission on Presidential Debates.
Financed by Anheuser-Busch, Philip Morris and other multinational corporations, the Commission on Presidential Debates has excluded popular third-party candidates, most of whom are critical of the Big Business agenda. Although he received $29 million in public funds, captured 19 percent of the popular vote in the previous 1992 election, and 76 percent of eligible voters wanted him included, Ross Perot was excluded by the two parties from the 1996 presidential debates. Both Pat Buchanan, who collected over $12 million in federal matching funds, and Ralph Nader, who attracted the largest paid audiences during his campaign appearances, were excluded from the 2000 presidential debates, although in a national poll, 64 percent of eligible voters wanted them included.
Nader's legal team survived three motions to dismiss, two summary judgment motions by the Commission defendants and was prepared to go to trial today in Boston. During preparation for trial, it became clear that the lawyer for the allegedly "non-partisan" CPD had created a "face sheet" that was distributed to security personnel to bar several well-known third-party presidential and vice-presidential candidates from attending the debate. Howard Friedman, Nader's lead counsel, said "the Massachusetts civil rights law does not allow a corporation through police power to use threats, intimidation, or force to violate the First Amendment rights of people because they disagree with the Commission."
Green Jam on Saturday, June 22
Drop the Rock Hits Harlem
Greens Support Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights
Crashing the Party
Lethal Force Authorized for G-8 Summit
Morrill Stands Up For Working People
Debate Commission Apologizes to Nader
Students Won't buy McCollege
World Water Supply Dropping
NY Greens Nominate Stanley Aronowitz for Governor
Global Warming Is A Costly Reality In Alaska
by Timothy Egan, The New York Times
ANCHOR POINT, Alaska To live in Alaska when the average temperature has risen about 7 degrees over 30 years means learning to cope with a landscape that can sink, catch fire or break apart in the turn of a season.
In Shishmaref, on the Chukchi Sea just south of the Arctic Circle, it means high water eating away so many houses and buildings that people will vote next month on whether to move the entire village inland.
In Barrow, the northernmost city in North America, it means coping with mosquitoes in a place where they once were nonexistent, and rescuing hunters trapped on breakaway ice at a time of year when such things once were unheard of.
In Fairbanks, where wildfires have been burning off and on since mid-May, it means living with hydraulic jacks to keep houses from slouching on foundations that used to be frozen all year. Permafrost, they say, no longer is permanent.
On the Kenai Peninsula, a recreation wonderland south of Anchorage, it means living in a 4 million-acre spruce forest that has been killed by beetles, the largest loss of trees to insects ever recorded in North America, federal officials say. Government scientists tied the event to rising temperatures, which allow the beetles to reproduce at twice their normal rate.
In Alaska, rising temperatures, whether caused by greenhouse-gas emissions or nature in a prolonged mood swing, are not a topic of debate or an abstraction. Mean temperatures have risen by 5 degrees in summer and 10 degrees in winter since the 1970s, federal officials say.
While President Bush was dismissive of a report the government recently released on how global warming will affect the nation, the leading Republican in this state, Sen. Ted Stevens, says that no place is experiencing more startling changes from rising temperatures than Alaska. Among the consequences, Stevens says, are sagging roads, crumbling villages, dead forests, catastrophic fires and possible disruption of marine wildlife. These problems will cost Alaska hundreds of millions of dollars.
"Alaska is harder hit by global climate change than any place in the world," Stevens said.
The social costs of higher temperatures have been mostly negative, people in the state say. The Bush administration report, drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), also found few positives to Alaska's thermal rise. But it said climate change would bring a longer growing season and open ice-free seas in the Arctic for shipping.
"There can no longer be any doubt that major changes in the climate have occurred in recent decades in the region, with visible and measurable consequences," the government reported to the United Nations last month.
On the Kenai Peninsula, a forest nearly twice the size of Yellowstone National Park is in the last phases of a graphic death. Century-old spruce trees stand silvered and cinnamon-colored as they bleed sap.
A sign at Anchor River Recreation Area near the town of Anchor Point poses a question many tourists have been asking, "What's up with all the dead spruce trees on the Kenai Peninsula?" The population of spruce bark beetles, which have long fed on these evergreen trees, exploded as temperatures rose, foresters now say.
Throughout the Kenai, people are clearing some of the 38 million dead trees, answering the call from officials to create a "defensible space" around houses for fire protection. Last year, two major fires occurred on this peninsula, and with temperatures in the 80s in mid-May this year, officials say fire is imminent.
"It's just a matter of time before we have a very large, possibly catastrophic forest fire," said Ed Holsten of the Forest Service.
Joe Perletti, who lives in Kasilof in the Kenai Peninsula, has rented a bulldozer to clear dead trees from the 10 acres where he lives.
"It's scary what's going on," Perletti said. "I never realized the extent of global warming, but we're living it now. I worry about how it will affect my children."
Perletti, an insurance agent, said some insurers no longer sold fire policies to Kenai Peninsula homeowners in some areas surrounded by dead spruce.
Another homeowner, Larry Rude, has cut a few trees, but has decided to take his chances at the house he owns near Anchor Point. Rude says he no longer recognizes Alaska weather.
"This year, we had a real quick melt of the snow, and it seemed like it was just one week between snowmobiling in the mountains and riding around in the boat in shirt-sleeve weather," Rude said.
Other forests, farther north, appear to be sinking or drowning as melting permafrost forces water up. Alaskans call the phenomenon "drunken trees."
For villages that hug the shores of the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas, melting ice is the enemy. Sea ice off the Alaska coast has retreated by 14 percent since 1978, and thinned by 40 percent since the mid-1960s, the federal report said. Climate models predict Alaska temperatures will continue to rise over this century, by up to 18 degrees.
North of Fairbanks, roads have buckled, telephone poles have started to tilt, and homeowners have learned to live in houses that are more than a few bubbles off plumb. Everyone, it seems, has a story.
"We've had so many strange events, things are so different than they used to be, that I think most Alaskans now believe something profound is going on," said Glenn Juday, an authority on climate change at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
"We're experiencing indisputable climate warming. The positive changes from this take a long time, but the negative changes are happening real fast."
Experts to Discuss Chemical Plant Risks
At an EMS Press Breakfast Thursday in Washington, D.C., Senator Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), with a panel of technical and health experts, will discuss legislation to protect millions of Americans from terrorist attacks and accidents at chemical plant sites.
Media advisory: http://www.ems.org/chemical_plants/advisory.html
"No Water Bill Without Corps of Engineers Reform"
American Rivers President Rebecca R. Wodder today called on the Senate to block a huge water development bill unless it includes critical reforms of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "Congress must step in because the Corps has made it entirely clear that it is unwilling or unable to reform itself," Wodder said.
Press release: http://www.enn.com/direct/display-release.asp?id=7141
SciTech Daily Review
A device which could supplement or even replace failing lungs in humans has been tested successfully in animals
Here's a radical solution for dealing with the glut of old computers, cell phones, DVDs and other electronic waste: throw it into a really, really big hole and mine it
Ever since 1902, when Hans Spemann first split a two-celled salamander embryo and discovered that each cell developed into a baby salamander, genetics research has marched slowly but surely into an ethical swamp
The long-awaited wireless world is almost here. But ubiquitous internet access and information overload could leave users oddly isolated from the flesh-and-blood world around them
Please Forward Far & Wide
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! National Lawyers Guild Post-911 Project
I. What rights do I have?
Whether or not you're a citizen, you have these constitutional rights:
The Right to Remain Silent. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives every person the right not to answer questions asked by a police officer or government agent.
The Right to be Free from "Unreasonable Searches and Seizures". The Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect your privacy. Without a warrant, police or government agents may not search your home or office without your consent, and you have the right to refuse to let them in. They can enter and search without a warrant in an emergency. New laws have expanded the government's authority to conduct surveillance. It is possible that your e-mail, cell and other telephone calls, and conversations in your home, office, car or meeting place are being monitored without your knowledge.
The Right to Advocate for Change. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of groups and individuals who advocate changes in laws, government practices, and even the form of government. However, the INS can target non-citizens for deportation because of their First Amendment activities, as long as it could deport them for other reasons.
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS CANNOT BE SUSPENDED EVEN DURING A STATE OF EMERGENCY OR WARTIME-- AND THEY HAVE NOT BEEN SUSPENDED BY THE "USA PATRIOT ACT" OR OTHER RECENT LEGISLATION!
II. What if the police or FBI contact me?
What if agents come to question me?
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TALK TO THE POLICE, FBI, INS, OR ANY OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENT OR INVESTIGATOR. You can't lawfully be arrested for refusing to identify yourself on the street, although this may make the police suspicious, and police and other agents do not always follow the law. If you are driving a vehicle, you must show your license and registration. Otherwise, you do not have to talk to anyone: on the street, at your home or office, if you've been arrested, or even if you're in jail. Only a judge has the legal authority to order you to answer questions.
Do I need a lawyer?
IF YOU ARE CONTACTED, TELL THE AGENT YOU WANT TO TALK TO A LAWYER. Once you say this, they should stop trying to question you and should make any further contact through your lawyer. You have the right to say that you want to talk to a lawyer even if you do not already have one. Remember to get the name, agency, and telephone number of any investigator who calls or visits you, and call the NLG, or a criminal or immigration lawyer, before deciding whether to answer questions. If you do agree to be interviewed, you have the right to have a lawyer present. The government does not have to provide you with a free lawyer unless you are charged with a crime, but the NLG or another organization may be able to find you a lawyer for free or a reduced rate.
If I refuse to answer questions or if I say I want a lawyer, won't it seem like I have something to hide?
TALKING TO THE FBI OR OTHER AGENTS CAN BE DANGEROUS. You can never tell how a seemingly harmless bit of information might be used to hurt you or someone else. That is why the right not to talk is a fundamental right under our Constitution. The FBI is not just trying to find terrorists, but is gathering information on immigrants and activists who have done nothing wrong. And keep in mind that even though they are allowed to and do lie to you, lying to a federal agent is a crime. The safest things to say are "I am going to remain silent", "I want to speak to my lawyer", and "I do not consent to a search."
Can agents search my home, apartment or office?
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LET POLICE OR OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS INTO YOUR HOME OR OFFICE UNLESS THEY HAVE A SEARCH WARRANT. However, your roommate or guest can legally consent to a search of your house if the police believe that person has the authority to give consent and your employer can consent to a search of your office. Do not try to physically interfere with the police or agents, even if the search is illegal, or you will likely be arrested. Say "I do not consent to a search." Do not answer any questions. Call the NLG or a criminal lawyer.
If agents come to arrest me in my home, can they search my home?
They can search the area near where you are arrested but not your entire house, unless they have a search warrant.
What if I am not at home?
Under the new "USA Patriot Act", under certain circumstances agents may surreptitiously search and not notify you until afterward, perhaps a long time afterward. It is uncertain whether this provision will stand up in light of the Fourth Amendment. If you suspect your home or office has been searched or that you are being surveilled, contact the NLG or a criminal lawyer.
What if they do have a search warrant?
DEMAND TO SEE THE WARRANT. The warrant must tell in detail the places to be searched and the people or things to be seized. If the police have a warrant, you cannot stop them from entering and searching, but you should still tell them that you do not consent to a search. This will limit them to search only where the warrant authorizes. Ask if you are allowed to watch the search and if so, watch and take notes including names, badge numbers, and what agency the officers are from. Have friends act as witnesses. Give this information to your lawyer. If the officers ask you to give them documents, your computer, or anything else, look to see if the item is listed in the warrant. If it is not, do not consent to them taking it without talking to a lawyer. Even if they have a search warrant, you still do not have to answer any questions. Call the NLG for help getting a criminal lawyer.
What if the police stop me on the street?
ASK IF YOU ARE FREE TO GO. If they say yes, walk away. If you are not free to go, you are being detained, but this does not necessarily mean you will be arrested. They are entitled to frisk you. A frisk is a pat down on the outside of your clothing. Do not consent to any further search. But if they continue, or in some other way violate your rights, stay calm and don't physically resist police or agents. You will only be hurt and arrested. Stick to "I don't consent, I want to speak to my lawyer"; get the officer's name, badge number, and agency; and call a lawyer or the NLG at your first opportunity. You do not have to answer questions or give a statement if you are detained or even if you are arrested.
Do I have to give my name?
Legally, you do not have to give your name unless they suspect you of a crime, but refusing to give your name is likely to arouse suspicion. Be aware that police/ agents may be carrying a list of deportable aliens. Giving a false name could be a crime. If you are driving a car, you must show them your license, registration and proof of insurance, but you do not have to consent to a search, although the police may have legal grounds to search your car anyway.
What if the police or FBI threaten me with a grand jury subpoena if I refuse to talk?
A grand jury subpoena is a written order for you to go to court and testify about information you may have. It is common for the FBI to threaten you with a subpoena to get you to talk to them. Don't be intimidated. This is frequently an empty threat, and if they are going to subpoena you, they will do so anyway. Receiving a subpoena to testify before a grand jury doesn't mean that you are suspected of a crime. And you may have legal grounds to stop the subpoena or to refuse to answer questions before the grand jury. If you do receive a subpoena, call the NLG or a criminal lawyer right away.
What if I am treated badly by the police or FBI?
Try to remember the officer's badge number and/or name. You have the right to ask the officer to identify himself. Write down everything as soon as you can and try to find witnesses. If you are injured, see a doctor and take pictures of the injuries as soon as possible. Call the NLG or one of the other organizations listed on the front as soon as possible.
III. What if I am not a citizen and the INS contacts me?
Assert your rights. If you do not demand your rights or if you sign papers waiving your rights, the INS may deport you before you see a lawyer or an immigration judge.
Talk to a lawyer. Always carry with you the name and telephone number of an immigration lawyer and who will take your calls. You must carry your immigration papers such as "green card", I-94, work authorization with you as well. The immigration laws are hard to understand and there have been many changes since September 11. More changes are likely. INS will not explain your options to you. As soon as you encounter an INS agent, call your attorney. If you cant do it right away, keep trying.
Always talk to an immigration lawyer before leaving the U.S. Even some legal permanent residents and applicants for LPR can be barred from returning.
Based on today's laws, non-citizens usually have the rights below, no matter what your immigration status. However, this information may change, which is why it's important to talk to an immigration lawyer. Also, foreign nationals trying to enter the U.S. at the border or airport do not have all of these same rights.
You usually have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any questions or signing any papers. You have the right to call an attorney or your family if you are detained, and you have the right to be visited by an attorney in detention. You have the right to have your attorney with you at any hearing before an immigration judge. You do not have the right to a government-appointed attorney, so you must hire one or find someone who will represent you for free. Call the numbers listed on the front for help finding an attorney.
You do not have to answer questions about your immigration status or any other questions. You are better off talking to a lawyer first.
If you are arrested or detained, the INS must decide in 48 hours whether to put you into immigration proceedings and whether to keep you in custody or to release you on bond. However, under new laws, the INS has an "additional reasonable period of time" past 48 hours in the event of "an emergency or other extraordinary circumstance" to decide whether to keep you in custody. Make sure your attorney talks to national immigration rights organizations if the INS is keeping you in detention on the basis of these new laws (see the contact numbers on the front.)
In most cases, you have the right to ask for release from detention by paying a bond, or to ask for a bond hearing before an immigration judge. You have these rights even if you have not been charged by the INS. The law does not say when an immigration judge must hear your case. The judge may order you to stay in detention if he or she finds that you are a danger to society or might try to get away. In some cases, the law says you can't be released if you are charged with terrorism or have certain criminal convictions.
In most cases, you have the right to a hearing before an immigration judge before you can be deported. But if you waive (give up) your rights or take "voluntary departure" (agree to leave), you could be deported without a hearing. If this happens, you may never be able to enter the U.S. legally again or get legal immigration status. If you have criminal convictions, were arrested at the border, or have been ordered deported in the past, you must talk to an attorney about whether you have this right and what other legal alternatives you might have.
If you are a foreign national arrested in the U.S., you have the right to call your consulate or to have the police inform the consulate of your arrest. The police must allow your consul to visit or speak with you. Your consul might assist you in finding a lawyer or offer other help, such as contacting your family. You also have the right to refuse help from your consulate.
IV. What are my rights at airports?
You gave airport personnel permission to scan you and your bags by buying a ticket and going to the airport. They can do additional random searches of persons and property regardless of whether the initial scan turns up anything suspicious. If the scan does disclose something that might be a weapon, the law is unclear whether you have the right to leave the airport rather than being searched. The airplane pilot can refuse to fly a passenger if he or she believes the passenger is a threat to the safety of the flight. And if you are entering the country, the U.S. Customs Service has the right to stop and search every person and item. But you should not be barred from flying or subjected to special searches or harassment on the basis of your race, sex, religion, national origin, or political beliefs. If you believe this is the case, call one of the organizations on the front.
V. What if I am under 18?
Do I have to answer questions?
No. Minors too have the right to remain silent. You do not have to talk to the police, probation officers, or school officials.
What if I am detained?
If you are detained at a community detention facility or Juvenile Hall, you normally must be released to a parent or guardian. If charges are filed against you, you have the right to have a lawyer appointed to represent you at no cost.
Do I have rights at school?
Public school students have the First Amendment right to politically organize at school by passing out leaflets, holding meetings, publishing independent newspapers, etc., just so long as those activities do not disrupt classes. Students can be suspended or expelled from school only if they violate the law or disrupt school activities. You have the right to a hearing, with your parents and an attorney present, before being suspended or expelled.
Students can have their backpacks and lockers searched by school officials without a warrant, if they suspect that you are involved in criminal activity or carrying drugs or weapons. Do not consent to the police or school officials searching your property, but do not physically resist or you may face criminal charges. Students can be stopped and questioned by school officials at school, for example if you are not in class. However, they should not stop and question you for engaging in political activity or because of your ethnicity or religion. If you think your rights have been violated, call one of the organizations on the front.
Help finding criminal lawyers and help for lawyers and organizers
NLG National Immigration Project
Help finding immigration attorneys and help for lawyers
American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
Report hate crimes and harassment against Arabs and Muslims, help for non-citizens and attorneys
American Immigration Lawyers Association
referral to immigration attorneys and resources for immigration attorneys
1-800-954-0254 ------------This pamphlet was produced by the National Lawyers Guild, which is solely responsible for its content. Nothing herein is intended to interfere with any legitimate law enforcement investigation.
The National Lawyers Guild is a 65 year old membership organization of progressive lawyers, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers fighting for social justice. Donations for printing this pamphlet and to help those targeted in the wake of 9-11 can be made out to NLG, earmarked "Post-911 Project", and sent to NLG, 126 University Place, 5th fl., New York, NY 10003.
Revised January 8, 2002
Source: National Lawyers Guild-LA
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism
A Changed President-- or a New Repression?
June 17, 2002
President Bush's June 14 commencement address at Ohio State University was a sign of a "revived" presidency, according to Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank. "Bush basked in the adulation of 55,000 people who treated him to waves of standing ovations in Ohio Stadium as he received an honorary doctorate," according to the paper (6/15/02). "If there was a protest in the stadium, it was not visible to reporters."
In contrast, wrote Milbank, when Bush received an honorary degree last year from Yale University, "he was booed, heckled and greeted with a sea of protest signs." While pointing out that Yale and Ohio State are different places, the Post reporter asserted that "the real cause of the difference in reception is the transformation of Bush and his presidency since the September 11 terrorist attacks."
There may have been no protests visible to the Post reporter, but, as other media reported, there may have been other reasons for this in addition to "adulation" for Bush. According to the Columbus Dispatch (6/15/02), students were warned ahead of time they faced arrest if they showed any signs of dissent: "Graduates had been warned during rehearsal on Thursday that they faced arrest if-- as was rumored-- some stood up and turned their backs on Bush during his speech." The warning continued on the day of the event as well, according to the Associated Press (6/14/02): "Immediately before class members filed into the giant football stadium, an announcer instructed the crowd that all the university's speakers deserve to be treated with respect and that anyone demonstrating or heckling would be subject to expulsion and arrest. The announcer urged that Bush be greeted with a 'thunderous' ovation."
And some observers did, in fact, notice protests during the ceremony. As reported in The Lantern (6/14/02), Ohio State University's campus paper, "Three graduates and six audience members-- one draped in a Palestinian flag-- actually did turn their backs but were hardly noticed by the crowd of about 60,000." A demonstration held outside the stadium attracted a small group of protesters as well (Columbus Dispatch, 6/15/02).
None of this information made it into Milbank's report.
ACTION: Please contact the Washington Post and ask them why attempts to stifle dissent at George W. Bush's commencement address at Ohio State University were not newsworthy.
CONTACT: Washington Post
Michael Getler, Ombudsman
As always, please remember that your comments are taken more seriously if you maintain a polite tone.
Please cc firstname.lastname@example.org with your correspondence.
t r u t h o u t
Bob Woodward | Bush Order to Topple Saddam is in Effect
Jennifer Van Bergen | Lynne Stewart: Terrorist or Scapegoat?
Bush Mideast Plan a Tough Sell
Bob Herbert | Isn't Democracy Worth It?
Maureen Dowd | Secrets of the Yo-Yo's
Alaska, No Longer So Frigid, Starts to Crack, Burn and Sag
White House Stonewall: Day 115
In Alaska, some 4,000 miles from Capitol Hill, global warming is neither an abstraction nor up for debate. It's simply a reality -- and not, generally speaking, a pleasant one. High water is eating away houses and buildings, mosquitoes are invading where once they were unheard of, hunters are getting trapped on breakaway ice, permafrost is no longer permanent (meaning building foundations are slouching and buckling), and on the Kenai Peninsula, a 4 million acre spruce forest has been killed by hot-weather-happy beetles in the largest forest loss ever recorded in North America. Sen. Ted Stevens, a Republican, can hardly take the party line on climate change when he's witnessed the sagging roads, crumbling towns, dead forests, and catastrophic fires that are devastating his home state. Mean temperatures in Alaska have risen by 5 degrees in summer and 10 degrees in winter since the 1970's, federal officials say, and climate models predict that temperatures will continue to increase over this century, by up to 18 degrees.
straight to the source: New York Times, Timothy Egan, 16 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=205>
only in Grist: Pret-a-poor taste -- climate change is, like, inevitable, dude -- animation by Mark Fiore in our Soapbox section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/soapbox/fiore061002.asp?source=daily>
Who knows what goes on at all those bureaucrat-level United Nations climate change meetings? Jason Anderson, for one, energy specialist at Climate Network Europe and Grist correspondent extraordinaire. In his latest dispatch, Anderson reports on the unofficial agenda of the latest Conference of the Parties: the World Cup. Inspired by the mania of the fans, conference participants decided soccer could be the key to finally getting something done about climate change. Unfortunately, the whole concept hit an old, familiar adversary: the United States. The rest of the world could go ahead with the soccer plan, but the Bush administration had its own idea -- baseball. Sound wacky? Well, somebody's tongue might have been in the vicinity of his cheek during the last conference. Help yourself to a little dose of satire, only on the Grist Magazine website.
only in Grist: Climate hooligans -- does the World Cup hold the key to climate policy? -- by Jason Anderson in our Soapbox section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/soapbox/anderson061702.asp?source=daily>
One hundred years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Reclamation Act, creating a new government agency charged with making the desert bloom. The goal of the act, which gave birth to the Bureau of Reclamation, was to bring water to family farms in the West and lift the region out of the depression of the 1890s. But a century later, family farms have all but disappeared, and the West is home to a complicated web of large-scale industry, agriculture, booming cities, Native American tribes -- and, of course, a wide range of plants and animals, some of them endangered. The Bureau of Reclamation is preparing for its centennial by planning a big party near the Hoover Dam (its signature achievement), but not everyone's in the mood to celebrate. Some say the agency can't meet the needs of the 21st century because it hasn't altered its 19th century policies (best expressed by Franklin Lane, interior secretary from 1913 to 1920, who said it was a crime to let one drop of water flow unused to the sea). And they blame the agency with, essentially, designing and planning the environmental destruction of the West.
straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Jeff Barnard, 16 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=206>
do good: Take action on rivers and dams issues <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/rivers.asp?source=daily>
WE'VE GOT MAIL
Looking for a little lively interchange during your coffee break? Check out our latest batch of letters to the editor. Who or what is really killing the killer whales? How do you maintain hope in the face of despair? What's the best way to ensure fair access to water for impoverished people? Is nuclear energy really anything to worry about? And is that new Grist columnist Umbra Fisk a goddess or what? We don't have the answers, but some of you do. Check out the yackety-yak, only on the Grist Magazine website.
only in Grist: Whale watcher watching and other words from readers -- in our letters section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/letters/letters061702.asp?source=daily>
MAYOR MAY NOT
Weighing in on the debate over storing nuclear waste at Nevada's Yucca Mountain, mayors from across the country stated over the weekend that they do not want high-level radioactive waste shipped through cities until the safety of communities along the transport routes can be assured. The resolution was drafted by the energy committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and urges adequate funding, training, and equipment for communities along the nuclear path for at least three years before shipping begins. The roughly 300 mayors attending the annual meeting are expected to formally approve the resolution today. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said the Bush administration had deemed the shipments safe, and that there might be a greater danger in leaving nuclear waste at power plants across the country.
straight to the source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Richard P. Jones, 15 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=207>
do good: Take action to block the nuke waste plan for Yucca Mountain <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/toxic.asp?source=daily#yuccatrain>
Appearing in The New York Times...
ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL
Is The Push For Aviation Security Leaving Washington Insecure?
by Jennifer Bauduy and John Moyers
The expanded Air Marshal Service may be solving one problem -- the need for airline security -- but is it creating another?
The federal government's push to increase aviation security is draining experienced officers from other law enforcement agencies, including those that protect government leaders and facilities like the U.S. Capitol and the White House.
With so many officers leaving their posts to ensure that planes are secure, the skies may be safer, but what about the ground? Does the loss of so many officers mean that the U.S. Capitol, the White House, or other federal facilities are more vulnerable to attack?
FEATURE ARTICLE: http://www.tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/5787
OP AD LINK: http://www.tompaine.com/op_ads/opad.cfm/ID/5791
For further coverage of this article check out our compendium...
CAPITOL POLICE, NATIONAL SECURITY
A Compendium Of Coverage
by TomPaine.com Staff
Capitol Hill's newspaper, The Hill, and Rep. Steny Hoyer have been shouting from the rooftops to draw attention to a potential security problem brewing in the nation's capital: the attrition of police forces.
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S DIRTY LITTLE SECRET
Bush Policies Don't Protect Nuclear Material From Terrorist Theft
by William Hartung
The dirty bomb case highlights the Bush administration's dirty little secret: They still don't have their priorities straight when it comes to preventing the most damaging terror attacks on U.S. soil.
The Loyal Opposition:
REPORTERS BLINDED BY FBI FIREWORKS
Sen. Cantwell's Proposed FBI Ombudsman Overlooked
by David Corn
Journalists were in no mood to listen when one senator, Maria Cantwell, proposed an unusual idea to protect civil liberties. No one could envision a headline: "Senator Proposes Civil Liberties Director for FBI."
And from out CHECK IT OUT! department...
BUSH COZIES UP TO KING COAL
On June 13, the Bush administration proposed changing air pollution rules to give utilities more leeway in modernizing power plants without also having to update their pollution-control equipment. The proposed rule change, which would not take effect for at least three years, will allow approximately 17,000 of the country's biggest polluting facilities -- including old coal-fired power plants, oil refineries, and chemical plants -- to escape rules that require them to install modern pollution controls when they renovate and modernize their plants.
The issue at hand is a component of the Clean Air Act called "new source review," which requires that facilities install modern pollution control technology whenever industrial plants undergo renovations beyond "routine maintenance." The new rule change would "clarify" the definition of "routine," in what public interest groups are claiming would be a major victory for industry.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) claims that the move will "gut the new source review program," which has up until this point served to regulate the levels of pollution emitted primarily from older facilities, particularly coal-burning power plants. Under the new rule many of these would be exempted from this kind of federal regulation.
CHECK IT OUT!
How stupid is too stupid?
by Sean Monkhouse, June 14, 2002
(YellowTimes.org) During a 1992 photo-op at a New Jersey elementary school, Dan Quayle urged a student to add an "e" to the word potato. Even though Quayle was reading from a misspelled flashcard and had been guilty of several more-serious blunders, it was enough to confirm the suspicions of many Americans that Quayle was indeed a bumbling idiot not fit to be in office.
That simple spelling mistake became the basis of a national pastime that endures to this day: making vicious fun of Dan Quayle. William Figueroa, the ill-advised student, summarized America's sentiment when he told reporters the incident "showed that the rumors about the Vice President are true - that he's an idiot." Even the former VP himself has acknowledged that the "potato factor" seemed to be his biggest hurdle during two unsuccessful presidential bids.
Oh what a difference a war can make.
Ten years later and President George W. Bush is busy making Dan Quayle look like a brain surgeon and "We the People" are letting him. During his short presidency, Bush has trounced Quayle's record of misspelling and misspeaking and he is positively off the charts when it comes to his lack of world knowledge and basic social skills.
Despite the daily reminders of this idiocy, the press and the people remain silent. When Bush fumbles the first line of an important speech, or forgets what he is talking about or to whom he is talking, half of us nod in approval while the other half quietly grimace in disgrace.
Granted, with all that's going on today, it might seem trivial or untimely to focus on the President's IQ. After all, we still have terrorists to kill. But if George W. Bush can leave America in the middle of a "war" for European photo-ops and a meaningless treaty, we can take a little time away from criticizing his policies and get down to the man himself.
What better time to demand a smart president than when America needs one the most? Besides, I've always been a big fan of getting to the source of a problem. It must be the Libertarian in me.
Before the war, back when you could criticize the President without being condemned as an enemy of the state, public questioning about his IQ usually resulted in one of two responses: supporters defending him by claiming that he really was smart, in his own special way; and everyone else excusing his lack of intelligence because he appeared to be surrounded by brainy subordinates. Now, thanks to the war on terror, people aren't being bothered by those pesky IQ questions anymore. Even when the evidence of Bush's fourth-grade intellect smacks us in the face, we ignore it.
Take Bush's recent trip to Europe, where he visited several world leaders, signed a nuclear treaty with Russia's President Putin, and had an audience with the Pope. The administration, its proponents, and the American media have hailed Bush's trip to Europe as a great achievement on every level.
As Bush's tour concluded, Colin Powell proclaimed that it had been "a most successful and historic trip." They must not have been paying attention. Bush's behavior in Europe, while historic, cannot possibly be considered a success.
While meeting and greeting our nation's most important allies and negotiating with our former nemesis, President Putin of Russia, President Bush's behavior ranged from the frat-boy humor that left many people awkwardly staring at the ground - like his thanking President Putin for mowing the lawn - to repeatedly forgetting what country he was in.
Some of his minor screw-ups included his declaration on day two of his trip that he intended to "securitize" Russia's dismantled nuclear weapons. Other blunders were a bit more profound as exemplified by a video clip widely played in Europe that shows the President of the United States spitting out his gum into his hand before signing the "historic" Treaty of Moscow. This must be the simple, down-home brand of skill and grace his supporters refer to.
Then there were the impromptu speaking engagements that surprised Bush and quickly put an uneasy hush on co-speakers and audiences alike. During one such moment in France, Bush childishly lambasted an American reporter for asking Jacques Chirac a question in, of all languages, French.
Bush angrily interrupted the reporter, suggesting that he was only speaking French to show off. When the reporter offered to continue, Bush defensively blurted "Que Bueno" and proceeded to claim that he was bilingual too.
Gerard Baker described the scene for the Financial Times, "Reporters shuffled their notebooks and looked at their feet, embarrassed by this spectacle of an American president jeering at a fellow American for speaking their host's language." No wonder Bush's handlers won't let him address the public without a well-written, well-rehearsed script. Que bueno indeed Mr. President.
I've heard most of the excuses for these and his other Euro-blunders -jet lag, old age, brutal schedule, and even the admission that more than once during his trip, the President was up past his bedtime. But perhaps his antics in Europe have more to do with the fact that he rarely ventures out of his own mental or physical back yard.
The man who clumsily speaks of bringing free trade to the world and the importance of a global coalition just does not seem to find other countries or cultures very interesting. Not as a flunking undergrad or flunking graduate student, not as the CIA Director's son or the President's son, not as a rich drunk or Governor of Texas. Not exactly the best characteristic for the leader of the free world. A world that is quickly getting smaller as it watches India and Pakistan rush closer to a nuclear war. Remember that it was only last year that Bush could not name the president of Pakistan.
Bush's show of stupidity in Europe, humiliating as it was, doesn't even come close to the depths of idiocy reported last week by the German paper Der Spiegel. According to the article, during a meeting with Fernando Cardoso, Bush asked the following question to the 71-year-old President of Brazil: "Do you have blacks too?"
Let that sink in for a second.
"Do you have blacks too?"
President Cardoso, a sociologist, author and speaker of four languages, had little time to display his shock and horror before National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, tried to come to the rescue by explaining to Bush that Brazil did indeed "have blacks" and in fact, was home to one of the largest black populations outside of Africa. Reports suggest that Rice was surprised and a bit panicked by the question. No doubt.
I can't think of single reason that would absolve Bush of his blatant stupidity in this instance. If he were joking, which he wasn't, it would have been horribly tasteless and inappropriate at the very least. If he seriously didn't know that Brazil "has blacks," but suddenly found himself interested in the subject, most would hope that some synapse in that little brain of his would have fired and he would have said to himself, "oh, this might not be the best time."
At the very least, he could have whispered the question to Rice and avoided the embarrassment and apprehensive grins that followed. Hell, he could have waited and looked it up online for himself. But no. Bush doesn't seem to care enough to go to that kind of trouble. Instead, he makes an ass out of himself and the country he leads.
Bush, with his non-existent education and his lack of desire to attain one, doesn't prep himself before meeting the leaders of the world or even express the faintest interest in other countries or their citizens. But right now, no one seems to mind. He can thank America's patriotic stupor for not calling him on such a moronic, telling, and unexplainable question as "Do you have blacks too?" I'd like to see a new headline on Newsweek's cover, "The President Didnt Know!"
And how could he not know? Brazil is by far the largest and most populous country in South America and ranks second in the western hemisphere only to the U.S., both in terms of land mass and population. Brazil has over 175 million people making it the fifth largest country in the world. Six percent of Brazilians are "black," and 38 percent are identified as "a white and black mix." So, by American standards, Condoleezza Rice was correct when she explained that Brazil was the nation with the largest "black" population outside of Africa. By the way, Rice is "black" and Africa is not a "nation."
Of course this incident is not receiving much media play in the States, but if it was, many people would undoubtedly respond with the "different not inferior" defense. Meanwhile, my 11-year-old son has known for years that people from African descent live all over the planet and lots of them live in Brazil (remember Pelé?). These Americans would also say that all this is ridiculous, that I am getting caught up in the kind of meaningless statistics that ignore Bush's larger foreign policy skills. They would say that such an incident was being taken out of context.
But oh, it is important and context is everything. But don't take my word for it, ask the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), an advisory panel made up of major U.S. investors, corporate executives and business lobbyists. When it comes to foreign policy, if Bush has a handler, it is the CFR.
In an open letter to Bush the Council strenuously reminded him "Brazil is too important to everything that is going to happen in South America for a policy of benign neglect." The letter is primarily focused on Brazil's pivotal role in the battle for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
Brazil's $580 billion dollar economy overshadows all others in South America. For the economists in the room, that means that Brazil could be the biggest consumer of American goods in the hemisphere. Its cooperation with the FTAA is so crucial that it will end up making or breaking the entire deal.
Brazil's decisions about America's War on Drugs and War on Terror will be equally as influential - and make no mistake, the leaders of Brazil are undecided. In short, Brazil is poised to be America's new best friend. Much of it depends on subtleties like personal diplomacy, the ancient art of instilling trust, and simple skills like tact.
On some level I can sympathize with Bush because I like to consider myself a moderately intelligent person, but I'm not so good with remembering detail and I am by no means a public speaker. But then again, I don't have to be - I am not the President of the United States.
I don't want or need to be smarter than the man who runs my country and my 11-year-old son should not be able to top his knowledge of world geography, English grammar, or basic etiquette. I happen to believe that America's President should be smarter than the average Joe and Jane Q. Publics. Hell, he should be one of the smartest. We Americans seem to have a choice, either we dummy it down quite a bit, or we start electing smarter Presidents.
Sean Monkhouse encourages your comments: email@example.com
UTNE WEB WATCH
The Best of the Alternative Web
DENTISTS TARGETED FOR MERCURY POLLUTION
by Beth Daley, the Boston Globe
-- No one dumps more toxic metal into the nation's wastewater treatment plants than U.S. dentists, and activists are demanding that they start cleaning up after themselves.
Web site review by Sara Buckwitz
-- Is it a tool to plan your vacation or to build a media empire? You decide.
KEEP ENROLLING: IN DEFENSE OF POLITICS IN THE CLASSROOM
by Richard Just, The American Prospect
-- How do we decide when and where the teaching of political opinion is appropriate in schools?
Links to the above articles: http://www.utne.com/webwatch
SciTech Daily Review
After 15 years of looking, a top planet-hunting team has finally found a distant planetary system that reminds them of home
For years, instrument makers and scientists have tried to uncover the secrets of the extraordinary Stradivarius violins. Now reproduction of that legendary sound may be within reach
Starstruck celebrities could help make space tourism a profitable proposition
A US study sends a message to web designers: If you want a site to be effective, you need to think like an ordinary surfer
When you delete a file, is it lost forever ... or can anyone quickly restore it? It all depends on which tools you use
The scientific boycott of Israel has gone too far, says Science editor Donald Kennedy, and some current practices violate the policies commonly understood in the research community
Until recently, medicine was governed by the educated guess. But a new emphasis on data is challenging that tradition -- with profound implications for both doctors and patients (registration required)
South Carolina Orders Police To stop Plutonium
Gov. Jim Hodges, June 15, 2002
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) -- South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges declared an emergency Friday and ordered police to block federal plutonium shipments from entering the state.
The federal Energy Department is scheduled to ship the plutonium from the Rocky Flats weapons plant in Colorado -- which is being closed -- to South Carolina's Savannah River nuclear weapons complex, where it would be used as fuel for a nuclear power plant.
Trucks carrying shipments of the deadly radioactive material could begin arriving at the state line as soon as this weekend.
"As governor, when I believe danger exists to our state, I am empowered to declare an emergency and to take measures to maintain peace and safety in South Carolina," Hodges said.
"For these reasons, I have today issued an executive order that an emergency exists in South Carolina. I order that the transportation of plutonium on South Carolina roads and highways be prohibited."
Planet Ark World Environment News
US EPA seen proposing more chemical plant security - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16441/story.htm
US rescuers net sick young orca, begin treatment - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16448/story.htm
Shark! Danger exaggerated, say US experts - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16446/story.htm
Minnesota floods claim 300,000 acres of farmland - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16445/story.htm
Colorado wildfire grows, reinforcements arrive - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16444/story.htm
ANALYSIS - World earth summit all set for major flop - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16442/story.htm
Taiwan punishes 22 for faulty work on nuclear plant - TAIWAN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16437/story.htm
African states seek lifting ban on ivory trade - SWITZERLAND http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16435/story.htm
Drink coffee... save a bat? - NORWAY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16447/story.htm
Mexico's sea turtles in danger - Greenpeace - MEXICO http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16434/story.htm
Nuclear antidotes on offer in tense South Asia - INDIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16438/story.htm
Blind calves born near India's nuclear tests site - INDIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16436/story.htm
Canada to protect G8 leaders from bombs, bears - CANADA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16443/story.htm
UPDATE - EU to look into EU-wide nitrofen controls - BELGIUM http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16449/story.htm
Bangladesh launches greenery campaign - BANGLADESH http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16440/story.htm
The Mystery Surrounding The Death Of John O'Neill:
The Propaganda Preparation For 9/11
by Chaim Kupferberg, Centre for Research on Globalisation, June 13, 2002
In the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the World Trade Center, the finger of guilt was directed toward the only plausible author for such a sophisticated and ruthless act of terror - Osama bin Laden.
In bits and pieces throughout the late '90's - punctuated by various acts of terror perpetrated against overseas American interests - we were informed that bin Laden had declared war on America by reason of the American military presence on Saudi soil in the wake of the Persian Gulf War. We were told how bin Laden, ensconced in Afghanistan, headed up a world-wide terror franchise whose sophistication and global reach dwarfed that of the Iranian-financed Hizballah or Islamic Jihad (previously, the most widely known of the terror organizations among the masses in the Middle East). From the beginning, this terror entity, al-Qaida, was presented to us as something entirely new in the annals of terrorism - a far-flung, sophisticated empire of terror, possessing - possibly - weapons of mass destruction, while having no clear or viable state sponsor behind it (as the Afghani Taliban were merely its resident protectors).
More disturbingly, Americans were presented with an apocalyptic nemesis whose animosities could not be curbed by any rational political considerations or alignments. In short, by September 11, the United States now had a bona fide enemy - and, as they say in criminal justice parlance, a suspect with motive, means, and opportunity.
And while I was a bit taken at how quickly - and confidently - the fingers were pointing only hours after the 9/11 bombings, I was positively shaken by the first red flag that popped up. His name was John O'Neill - or more precisely, he is the seam that shows. Dated September 12, in a Washington Post article by Vernon Loeb, it was revealed that O'Neill, who died in his capacity as head of security for the World Trade Center, was also formerly the New York FBI Counterterror chief responsible for the investigation into Osama bin Laden. That could perhaps be written off as one of those freak synchronicities. It was the other items - reported quite blandly, in that "there's nothing to see here, folks" tone - that gave me that sinking feeling. Apparently, O'Neill had a falling-out with the Ambassador to Yemen over his investigative style and was banned from returning there. But then there was that other nugget that I had trouble digesting - that O'Neill had resigned from a thirty-year career in the FBI "under a cloud" over an incident in Tampa - and then left to take up the security position at the WTC (only two weeks before!).
The seam that shows...
For the bulk of his career, like most of his FBI colleagues, John O'Neill was largely unknown to the public at large - respected in his circle, to be sure, yet scarcely meriting much mention in the media - beyond being referenced now and then as an expert on counterterrorism. Yet in the few months leading up to September 11, O'Neill was now suddenly the subject of a series of seemingly unrelated controversies - the first, in July, involving his dispute with the State Department over the conduct of the bin Laden investigation in Yemen; and the second, in August, in which he was reported to be under an FBI probe for misplacing a briefcase of classified documents during an FBI convention in Tampa.
In the light of the aftermath of this second controversy - the documents were found, "untouched", a few hours later - one wonders why this seemingly minor news would merit such lengthy coverage in the Washington Post and New York Times. Keeping in mind the fact that these latter articles on O'Neill appeared a mere three weeks before he was to die in the rubble of the Twin Towers, one wonders if this wasn't a well-orchestrated smear campaign against O'Neill, with a bit of unintended "blowback" - as this now-discredited counterterror chief in charge of all bin Laden bombings would finally make the news as a fatal casualty of bin Laden's final bombing. Coincidence? Or was there something more here that would bear investigating?
My gut told me that, in the months preceding September 11, somebody was out to discredit John O'Neill, yet this public campaign would come back to haunt the planners in the light of John O'Neill's ultimate demise. Was a mistake made - one pointing the way toward a plan whose scope goes well beyond the designs of Osama bin Laden? In other words, could we spot the telltale fingerprints of a domestic conspiracy?
Well, as they say, a hypothesis is only as good as its usefulness in ferreting out reality. My hypothesis: that the events of September 11 were planned by those who not only had the motive, means, and opportunity to carry out the plan, but also were best placed to manage the consequences stemming from it, as well as managing the flow of information. If this were an "inside job", the first thing to do was to look at who conveyed specific information on bin Laden before - and I stress, before - 9/11, for they were most likely involved wittingly or not with those who masterminded it. In other words, circumstantial evidence of a propaganda campaign, pre-9/11, to present Osama bin Laden as America's foremost nemesis would also provide the circumstantial case against the propaganda planners in taking down the World Trade Towers. So I monitored CNN and other media in the days immediately after, taking note of those trotted out - Judith Miller, Paul Bremer, James Risen, Vincent Cannistraro, etc. - to provide instant commentary on bin Laden. Moreover, I trolled through past articles on bin Laden - noting the wire service uniformity of information as well as sources.
But first there was the John O'Neill conundrum. If my hypothesis were correct, it wouldn't make much sense to draw public attention on September 12 - however blandly stated - to the fact that O'Neill had left the FBI "under a cloud" and that he had been banned from the bin Laden investigation in Yemen. It was a September 4 article in the Washington Post by Vernon Loeb that gave me my answer. That article, involving the Yemen investigation, mentioned briefly about O'Neill being banned by the Ambassador as well as O'Neill's travails with the briefcase incident. This was a full week before the WTC attack. It was perhaps conceivable that, upon hearing of O'Neill's demise, someone would dig up the September 4 item and smell a rat. Thus, the September 12 follow-up with its "nothing shady here" tone - employing, virtually word-for-word, the incriminating information revealed on September 4, but providing no more details than that. An almost obligatory coda to paper over a thoughtless oversight. Presumably, Loeb - the national security correspondent for the Post - had no inkling of what was to come in the week ahead, so the oversight can most probably be laid at the feet of his confidential source. In any case, the credulous tone of that follow-up reportage succeeded in the psychological trick of "normalizing" an apparent anomaly - a standard propaganda trick known as a "limited hang-out."
There's more. The evidence implicating bin Laden was now pouring in. Virtually the first "smoking gun" was presented the day after 9/11, when Vernon Loeb and Dan Eggen reported in the Post that Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the Al-Quds al Arabi newspaper in London, "received information that he [bin Laden] planned very, very big attacks against American interests" only three weeks before 9/11. Moreover, the article reported that Atwan "was convinced that Islamic fundamentalists aligned with bin Laden were 'almost certainly' behind the attacks." Incidentally, Atwan had personally interviewed bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1996 - among the very few to do so. As reported by Michael Evans in the August 24, 1998 issue of The Times, Atwan "is trusted by bin Laden."
Curious, perhaps, that Atwan seemed to be one of the major "point men" used in elaborating the Osama bin Laden "legend", as they say in intelligence parlance. In a U.S. News article dated August 31, 1998, Atwan informs us that bin Laden "is a humble man who lives simply, eating fried eggs, tasteless low-fat cheese, and bread gritty with sand. He hates America." No flash in the pan, this interviewer. Apparently, bin Laden kept Atwan's business card tucked away in his toga pocket. "Bin Laden phoned this newspaper, phoned me last Friday," Atwan revealed in an ABC News LateLine Transcript dated August 25, 1998. We'll come back to ABC News shortly.
While solidly implicating bin Laden the day after 9/11, Atwan was also the media's "go-to" guy back in 1998 when he informed us, after President Clinton bombed tool sheds in Afghanistan, that bin Laden issued this threat against the United States: "The battle has not started yet. The response will be with action and not words." In the same article (which I took from Nando Times), ABC News is the source for an additional threat called in by Ayman al-Zawahiri, a senior bin Laden aide: "The war has just started. The Americans should wait for the answer." Only a few months before that, ABC had conducted its televised interview of bin Laden. By the summer of 1998, primed by Atwan, ABC NEWS, and a surprisingly small clique of well-worn sources, we had come to know bin Laden as America's latest "Saddam", "Qaddafi", "Noriega" - take your pick and set your bomb sites. To be fair to ABC NEWS, they did include the comments of the Honourary Consul of Afghanistan in the above-noted 1998 LateLine transcript: "There is a pattern developing - I'm not quite sure about the rest of the world, but in Afghanistan that has been the case for the past 20 years. That the intelligence service they put together they create somebody [sic], and they turn them into a monster and then they attack this very same creation, they destroy that creation and then they reinvent another creation."
By October 2000, when the U.S.S. Cole was bombed in Yemen, in case there was any doubt, Atwan offered Reuters his helpful analysis with regards to the source of blame: "I do not rule out that this was undertaken by Osama bin Laden. Yemeni groups don't have the experience to carry out this kind of operation." Still, to assure us that a bin Laden connection to the Yemen incident was at least plausible, Atwan recalled, in the same interview with Reuters, how, "in the early 1990's [bin Laden] had hoped U.S. soldiers would stop off in Aden during their peacekeeping deployment in Somalia, exposing themselves to attack from his Yemen-based followers." Also, Atwan informed Reuters that bin Laden "was unlikely to claim direct responsibility for Thursday's attack for fear of U.S. reprisals." One can imagine, then, that Atwan gave his trusting phone mate cause for many a sleepless night. With friends like these...
Leading up to 9/11, by the Spring of 2001, an incriminating wedding videotape, apparently implicating bin Laden in the Yemen bombing, was circulating around the Middle East after being broadcast on the ubiquitous al-Jazeera television station (reconstituted from the BBC TV Arabic Service - more on them later). In the video, bin Laden, according to the Saudi-owned al-Hayat newspaper (more on them later, too), recited a poem celebrating the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole (shades of deja vu here?) This from the ABCNEWS.com site dated March 1: "Al-Hayat, which carried a photo of bin Laden and his son at the wedding, said its correspondent was the only journalist at the ceremony, also attended by bin Laden's mother, two brothers and sister who flew to Kandahar from Saudi Arabia." Last I heard, the official story was that bin Laden was on the outs with his family. Well, maybe they just don't invite him to the seders anymore.
And yes, here, too, Atwan offers his thoughtful review of the bin Laden video, courtesy of PTI, datelined London June 22, 2001: "[Atwan] said the video was proof that the fugitive Saudi millionaire [the Bruce Wayne of terrorists] was fit, well equipped and confident enough to send out a call to arms." Why this sudden need for proof? According to Atwan in the same article: "There have been rumours that he is ill and that he is being contained by the Taliban in Afghanistan. It is quite clear from the film that he is in good health to the point where he can fire a rifle, and is free to operate as he chooses." In other words, limber enough for his starring role in the months ahead.
So who is Abdel Bari Atwan and why is he anxious to tell us so much? According to the Winter 1999 issue of INEAS (Institute of Near Eastern and African Studies), Abdel Bari Atwan, a Palestinian, was born in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip in 1950. Educated at the American University of Cairo, Atwan moved to Saudi Arabia and worked as a writer for the al-Madina newspaper. In 1978, he moved to London, where he became a correspondent for the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. In 1988, after shuffling around between Saudi-owned papers, Atwan was offered a position as editor of al-Quds al-Arabi. By his account, he was offered a position as the executive editor of the Saudi-owned al-Hayat (of the bin Laden wedding video coup), yet turned it down to produce a more independent newspaper as a challenge to the "empires" of the Saudi-dominated dailies.
Al-Quds began production in April 1989. A little more than a year later, Saddam invaded Kuwait and al-Quds stood alone as the only Arab newspaper opposed to the Persian Gulf War - at least by Atwan's account. According to Atwan: "Without the Gulf War, we wouldn't have taken such political lines, which made us well recognized and well respected." In November 1996, Bari-Atwan braved a twelve-hour car ride through muddy roads, attired in shabby Afghani rags in below-zero weather, and gave us the early scoop on bin Laden, conducting a one-on-one interview in bin Laden's [bat]cave. From then on, the mainstream media - CNN, ABC, BBC, Sky News - looked to Bari-Atwan and al-Quds as the "independent" voice of the Arab street.
Incidentally, in a discussion concerning the matter of Saudi domination of the Arabic media, taken from the Carryon.oneworld.org site, Atwan, as editor of his struggling independent, was facing off against Jihad Khazen, the editor of the Saudi-owned al-Hayat. As Atwan proudly related in support of his independence: "One day I was called by the BBC-TV Arabic service [whose staff later reconstituted itself as al-Jazeera television]: 'There's a story on your front page today, saying such and such. Is it true?' I asked why he should doubt it and he replied: 'It's not published in al-Hayat [his job offer] or al-Sharq al-Awsat [his alma mater].' " Atwan boasts: "At least I can say we are 95 to 96 per cent independent" - leaving out the 4 to 5 per cent spent on bin Laden, I presume. Whether or not al-Quds truly is independent, this is the cover story the mainstream media buys into when they come trolling for their "independent" evidence.
So, to elaborate further on this (so far) fruitful hypothesis, it is my contention that al-Qaida and bin Laden are elaborate "legends" set up to promote a plausibly sophisticated and ferocious enemy to stand against American interests. I am not, however, implying that bin Laden himself is a total fabrication. Rather, it is my contention that confederates, believing themselves to act on behalf of bin Laden, are being set up in a "false flag operation" to perform operations as their controllers see fit. And who are these controllers? If they're anything resembling the folks who brought you Hizbullah and Hamas, you wouldn't be sweating the suitcase nukes (made in America), the Ames strain anthrax (made in America), the MI5-like "sleeper agents" and coded "go" messages. Instead, you would be dodging primitive nail bombs and road mines - and not needing Abdel Bari Atwan to feed you the lowdown on the blame.
In view of the fact that bin Laden is of Saudi origin, that much of the "evidence" on the Arab side initially originated from Saudi-owned or Gulf Anglo-client state sources, and that Saudi Arabia is the major financial sponsor of the Taliban brand of fundamentalism in Afghanistan (as a counter-point to Iran), I believe it is fair to say that Saudi Arabia might possibly be implicated. But why only take my word for it? Just reference French security expert Jean-Charles Brisard, who in his book quoted John O'Neill as saying, "All the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden's organization can be found in Saudi Arabia ." Most likely, the Saudis performed their roles as subservient proxies. We'll get to the ultimate controllers soon enough (if you haven't already guessed where this is going). And now, to fill out the picture further, it is necessary to name an equally essential partner as proxy - Pakistan, or, more specifically, Pakistan's version of the CIA - the ISI (Interservices Intelligence Directorate).
And this is where we begin to "close the circle" of our closed-knit pre-9/11 propaganda clique. Returning again to the above-mentioned Dan Eggen and Vernon Loeb Post article of September 12, we're offered - in a powerful little side-bar - more critical evidence implicating bin Laden for the attacks the day before. This time, the bombshell is offered by Palestinian journalist Jamal Ismail, Abu Dhabi Television's bureau chief in Islamabad. According to Ismail, a bin Laden aide called him "early Wednesday on a satellite telephone from a hide-out in Afghanistan," praising the attack yet denying any responsibility for it. By now thoroughly cynical and looking askance at anyone providing incriminating "evidence" so soon in the day, I decided to have a look at any interesting synchronicities I might find involving Ismail. As it turns out, Ismail was also among the select few to conduct his very own bin Laden interview, published by Newsweek (owned by the Washington Post) in its April 1, 1999 issue. Here is how Newsweek described Ismail's good fortune: "Palestinian journalist Jamal Ismail's mobile phone rang just before prayers on December 18. 'Peace be upon you, ' said the voice on the line. 'You may not recognize me, but I know you.' " And thus was Jamal Ismail invited on his own mud-soaked incursion to the bin Laden [bat]cave.
Searching deeper, I found an interesting obscure article penned by respected Pakistani journalist Rahimullah Yusufszai in The News Jang, and dated May 3 2000. It details the detention of two men of Kurdish origin, accused by the Taliban of spying for American and Israeli intelligence. As Yusufszai relates it, he spoke to the only journalists allowed by the Taliban to interview the detained men - Jamal Ismail and his cameraman. Apparently, Ismail had a special relationship with the Taliban, allowing him this rare privilege above other journalists. And, as we shall shortly see, so does Yusufszai. One wonders who debriefs them at the end of a workday. But more interestingly, by May 5, as reported by Kathy Gannon for the Associated Press, the story acquires - as they say - "new legs." Not only are the basic elements of the Yusufszai story mentioned, but the article leads off with the bombshell that one of the detained men revealed that he was recruited by the United States to find Osama bin Laden. It finishes with a little coda implicating bin Laden in the 1998 embassy bombings. Thus, in the space of two days, Yusufszai's Pakistani "spy" article sprouts a bin Laden addition when fertilized by the American Associated Press - and nicely provides a plausible explanation as to why a Kurd would be prowling around Afghanistan on behalf of the United States.
Yusufszai, incidentally, moonlighted as an ABC News producer, charged with guiding ABC News correspondent John Miller through the Afghani marshes to the bin Laden [bat]cave - the only American journalist to be accorded such an honour (and also, as it happens, a good friend of bin Laden arch-foe John O'Neill. But not chummy enough to direct O'Neill on to bin Laden's hideaway). Moreover, Ismail and Yusufszai are mentioned together in a CNN article posted January 4, 1999 - the former for his Newsweek interview, the latter for his own bin Laden dialogue for TIME Magazine the day later.
Rahimullah Yusufszai, regarded by New York Times reporters John Burns and Steve LeVine as "one man who has seen more of the Taliban than any other outsider," is also named by The Nation, in its article of January 27, 1997, as "one of the favourite journalists of [Pakistan's] ISI...one of the organizations funding and arming the Taliban. "
It's a small world after all. In the September 29, 2001 article of PressPlus, Yusufszai's ABC colleague, John Miller, mused about running into his buddy John O'Neill in Yemen while reporting on the U.S.S. Cole bombing the year before. "He said, 'So this is the Elaine's of Yemen.' "
"There is a terrible irony to all this," Miller said. I'll say: Miller, the only American who can give a first-hand account of bin Laden, bumps into his friend, bin Laden's chief investigator while both are investigating a bombing in Yemen that will later be tagged onto bin Laden - and only a year before O'Neill dies at the hands of... allegedly ...bin Laden.
Now, following the logic of my hypothesis, if the bin Laden threat was, pre-9/11, a closed-knit propaganda campaign, one would expect to find the same names showing up repeatedly in combination with one another. This, too, applies to the American commentators. Let us return to the August 1998 American bombings of bin Laden's tool sheds as an example. The night of the bombing, Rahimullah Yusufszai received a call from bin Laden aide Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a report from the Associated Press. Later, Yusufszai obtained for ABC News exclusive photos of the damage to bin Laden's camp. Further commentary describing the layout of the bin Laden camp was furnished to the Washington Post by former CIA analyst and terrorism expert Kenneth Katzman, as well as Harvey Kushner of Long Island University. Only little more than a week before that, Katzman and Kushner were offering their assessment of bin Laden's culpability for the embassy bombings in Africa in a Washington Post article penned by Vernon Loeb and Walter Pincus (who once admitted to a prior CIA connection). They were joined in this effort by Vincent Cannistraro, the ABC news analyst who provided running commentary in the days immediately following 9/11. Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism chief, provided covert aid to the Afghani mujaheddin in the late '80's, as well as supervised CIA operations with the contras. He was also one of the point men in the notoriously circumspect investigation at Lockerbie. In the above-noted Loeb and Pincus article - in which bin Laden is quoted from the ABC News Miller and Yusufszai interview - Cannistraro weighs in with his assessment of the embassy bombings: "I believe Osama bin Laden is the sponsor of this operation, and I think all of the indications are pointing that way."
9/11 ATTACK ON AMERICA [APFN]
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The Propaganda Preparation for 9/11 The mystery surrounding the death of John O'Neill:
by Chaim Kupferberg
S.F. Attorney: Bush Allowed 9/11
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San Francisco Attorney: Bush Allowed 911
by David Kiefer, San Francisco ExaminerJune 11, 2002
Stanley Hilton now figures his case is stronger because of a coalition of attorneys, victims' families and bipartisan legislators who gathered in Washington on Monday to condemn the government's lack of action in preventing the Sept. 11 attacks.
Hilton is the San Francisco attorney who filed a $7 billion lawsuit in U.S. District Court on June 3 against President Bush and other government officials for "allowing" the terrorist attacks to occur.
Among Hilton's allegations: Bush conspired to create the Sept. 11 attacks for his own political gain and has been using Osama bin Laden as a scapegoat.
Hilton said he has information that bin Laden died several years ago of kidney failure.
"I hope it will expose the fact that there are numbers of people in the government, including Bush and his top assistants, who wanted this to happen," Hilton said.
His class-action suit named 10 defendants, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. Hilton said he represents the families of 14 victims and that 400 plaintiffs are involved nationwide.
White House spokesman Ken Macias and Department of Justice public affairs officer Charles Miller each said their departments were unaware of the lawsuit.
Hilton, Sen. Bob Dole's former aide, has been publicly critical of conservatives in books he has written about Dole and the Clinton sex scandal. Hilton, who said he has sources within the FBI, CIA, the National Security Agency and Naval intelligence, demands Bush's impeachment and believes the truth will come out in trial.
Hilton claims the Bush administration ignored intelligence information, refused to round up suspected terrorists beforehand, and during the hijackings refused to disable pilot controls and switch to a ground-based remote system.
He claims the government benefited from installing a puppet Afghan government friendly to U.S. oil interests.
Hilton also says Bush used bin Laden's antagonist image to create a public frenzy, which allowed the Bush administration to tighten its political grip.
David Kiefer: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
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General Suspects September 11th Plot Was Wider
by Tu Thanh Ha, June 13, 2002; Page A1
MONTREAL -- A Canadian general who is deputy commander of NORAD has revived the spectre of more than just four commercial airliners targeted for hijacking on Sept. 11.
"We suspect there might have been more than just the four aircraft involved," Lieutenant-General Ken Pennie, the Canadian second-in-command of the North American Aerospace Defence Command, said yesterday.
He said the information stemmed from the fact that suspicious passengers left a grounded plane on Sept. 11, somewhere in North America.
"From our perception, we think our reaction on that day was sufficiently quick that we may well have precluded at least one other hijacking. We may not have. We don't know for sure," Gen. Pennie said.
In the minutes after the attacks, control of the continent's airspace was turned over to NORAD.
Gen. Pennie's comments were made during an impromptu session with reporters before a luncheon speech at Montreal's International Relations Council.
The general would not give more details, saying it was classified information from another source. "When someone classifies something, someone else can't declassify it," he said.
Gen. Pennie apparently was alluding to a Los Angeles-bound flight grounded at New York's John F. Kennedy airport on Sept. 11, on which three Middle-Eastern passengers angrily demanded that the flight proceed and then were kicked off the plane, vanishing before police showed up.
United Airlines Flight 23 was bound for the West Coast and full of fuel.
"We are looking at the possibility there may have been more than four planes targeted for hijacking," U.S. Attorney-General John Ashcroft said at the time. However, U.S. officials have not issued more information about the incident, suggesting investigators had put it to rest.
In the weeks after Sept. 11, several other flights were investigated as possible targets for terrorism, but despite the largest criminal investigation in U.S. history, no one has ever been charged in connection with another potential suicide highjacking.
"We don't know; it's not confirmed; there are just possible suspicions," Gen. Pennie said in French. "We think that we had at least another plane that was involved, trying to do the same thing. I don't know the target or other details but we were lucky."
The operations officer at the time that control of North America's airspace was transferred to NORAD happened to be a Canadian naval captain, Gen. Pennie said.
Asked whether the Canadian government, including the Prime Minister and the defence minister, were consulted before NORAD went into active operations on Sept. 11, the general said that communications between NORAD and Ottawa were more laborious than with Washington on Sept. 11.
Gen. Pennie said NORAD has a secure hot-line connection to both Ottawa and Washington but "we had some challenges here. . . . Our connectivity with Ottawa is not as robust as with Washington."
NORAD has been responsible since 1958 for Canada-U.S. air defence co-operation. Its role is now under scrutiny amid potential closer defence relationships between Canada and the United States.
In the largest overhaul of its defence structure since the end of the Second World War, the United States has created a new integrated military zone whose sphere of responsibility spans from the Arctic to Mexico.
It remains unclear whether Canada will join the new command, as it did with NORAD.
The new Northern Command is to become effective in October but little will change at first, Gen. Pennie said, because a lot remains to be planned and negotiated.
He added that much of Northcom's eventual makeup depends on who is chosen to lead it.
U.S. President George W. Bush named U.S. Air Force General Ralph Eberhart, the current NORAD commander, as Northcom's first commander but his nomination still has to be ratified by Congress.
Ohio State Fascism
As I sit here before you, I must admit I am truly exhausted from a full day. I've read the thread about Ohio State on LBN, and I am here to tell you it is true...and then some. I'll try to hit all the details.
And what happened to us is truly unbelieveable.
We arrived at Ohio Stadium at 6am. A rally was scheduled at the Jesse Owens memorial site for that time, and the graduates were to be at their places by 630am. Family and friends were permitted to enter at that time as well.
I didn't get close enough to the 6am rally, but in my search for an organizer of Turn Your Back On Bush, I did indeed hear the announcement. Graduating students were told that they would be expelled and arrested if they turned their backs. they were alerted that dozens of staff memebers and police officers would be watching the stands, as well as the Secret Service. A few students asked for the definition of expulsion....did it mean removal from the stadium or refusal of their diplomas, or both? One of the persons at the front said "Both. And what will your parents do when they are paged from the crowd to bail out their son?" I do not know if this person had an official capacity with the Ohio State University or any police department.
I must say, I did not hear that exchange. I was informed of it later when I found outside the stadium protesting. To tell these ADULTS that after 4 years and 80,000 dollars that they would be tossed aside if they didn't face a certain direction?????
I began to wonder how many of those students went to find their friends who were graduating pre-law.....
We entered the stadium later with family and friends, and similar statements swirled around the crowd. "Please make sure you stand and loudly cheer our President. Our graduates have been requested to do the same, and have agreed to give a loud cheer for Mr. Bush", etc.....
Once inside, we decided that it might not be a good idea to be too close to the front. We saw the lines of people waiting to get in the stadium.....and yes, we saw the yellow buses that carted them all in. I asked one of them where they were from. The woman replied "Upper Arlington". However, she could not provide a zip code when I asked her for it (the main zip code for UA is 43221). Figuring on the masses of bussed-in people, we knew it might not be wise to be up front.
We went behind the graduates and looked for peace signs on the mortar boards (a sign that was meant to ID the Turn-Your-Backers). It was really difficult to get an accurate count, but there were a LOT of peace signs. I was sure that we weren't the only ones counting peace signs.
It didn't take long for our stomachs to turn....the first speaker (I believe teh OSU President) began spouting about how proud they were to have Bush there. He said "We have a long tradition of inviting great men and women to speak at our commencements." I quickly responded "but since we couldn't get one, here's Georgie".
That got the attention of the state trooper in front of us. His eyes were on me the rest of the time.
The speech continued to mention that Chimpy was "a tireless worker in the field of education" and "a man who unified this country after the terrible events of 9/11". It was interesting to note that it took a LONG time for the 9/11 applause to turn into a standing ovation....they held out for that one, not continuing the speech intentionally.
About 10 minutes later, Shrub was introduced to speak. Before he even got to the stage, we did our about-face. I looked over my shoulder to see how many graduates were doing the same. However, everybody was standing at that point, and in pure black robes, it was impossible to see who was facoing what direction. Furthermore, over that same shoulder, I saw one of Columbus' Finest heading our way.
We never got to see how many students participated. We were being led out of Ohio Stadium. To the officers' credit, he realized there was a 3-year-old in my arms and was not at all hostile. I asked him if I was under arrest, and he did not answer me. When we reached the exit, I asked the SS man why we had been ejected, and he told me we were being charged with disturbing the peace. If we chose to leave, the charges would be dropped immediately.
With our daughter in mind, we chose not to fight it. I am sure we will regret it someday when Bush's fabulous economy strikes us and we need a few million in a lawsuit. But our daughter did not need any more irritation on this day.
On this day, June 14th, 2002, I came to the realization that we no longer live in a free society. This is rapidly heading in the same way Nazi Germany headed. Questioning our leaders is no longer the most outrageous crime you can be charged with. Not paying attention to them is.
As you take in this message I give to you, I would like to add a footnote. Next time, I will not leave quietly. Next time, I will not allow you to intimidate my fellow Americans who wish to speak out. Next time I will not be so blind when I confront you. Next time we meet, I will have more people with me to oppose you. Next time, I will have brought voter registration cards for people whose eyes I will open to your oppression.
And next time, I will have a babysitter.
Not In Our Name
US Artists Damn 'War Without Limit'
by Duncan Campbell
A group of leading American writers, actors and academics have signed a statement strongly criticizing their government's policies since September 11. It is an indication of a growing feeling that the administration is promoting its own agenda on the back of the attacks.
In a statement called Not In Our Name, the signatories say the government has "declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures of repression". They also criticize the media for failing to challenge the direction the government has taken.
They include the musicians Laurie Anderson and Mos Def, the actors Ossie Davis and Ed Asner, the writers Alice Walker, Russell Banks, Barbara Kingsolver and Grace Paley, and the playwrights Eve Ensler and Tony Kushner.
Martin Luther King III, Gloria Steinem, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said and Rabbi Michael Lerner have added their names, making this the widest ranging group of opponents of government policy since September 11.
Jeremy Pikser, one of the organizers of the statement, said yesterday that he had been concerned that the rest of the world was under the impression that there was no dissent in the US to the bombing of Afghanistan and the plans for a war against Iraq.
Pikser, a screenwriter who wrote Bulworth, a satire on American politics in which Warren Beatty played a politician who finally decided to speak his mind, said some people had been reluctant to add their names. "A lot of people haven't signed it, although they agree with it, because they think it might jeopardize other things they're involved in."
Clark Kissinger, another of the organizers, said they had been heartened by the number of people wanting to sign.
Mr Kissinger, one of the organizers of the first anti-Vietnam war marches on Washington in 1965, said he was receiving about 60 emails a day from people who wanted to add their name to the list.
"It's a shame that there's not a voice of opposition coming out of the United States."
The statement, which the signatories hope will be published by the American media, says: "We must take the highest officers of the land seriously when they talk of a war that will last a generation and when they speak of a new domestic order.
"We are confronting a new openly imperial policy towards the world and a domestic policy that manufactures and manipulates fear to curtail rights."
Support for the president's policies remains high, however, and those who appear critical of them have been accused of lacking patriotism.
It was announced last week that Bill Maher, host of the television show Politically Incorrect, has not had his contract renewed by ABC.
Maher was criticized for an exchange six days after September 11 in which he and a guest agreed that whatever else the hijackers were, they were not "cowardly."
İ Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002
Not In Our Name A Statement of Conscience
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.
The signers of this statement call on the people of the U.S. to resist the policies and overall political direction that have emerged since September 11, 2001, and which pose grave dangers to the people of the world.
We believe that peoples and nations have the right to determine their own destiny, free from military coercion by great powers. We believe that all persons detained or prosecuted by the United States government should have the same rights of due process. We believe that questioning, criticism, and dissent must be valued and protected. We understand that such rights and values are always contested and must be fought for.
We believe that people of conscience must take responsibility for what their own governments do -- we must first of all oppose the injustice that is done in our own name. Thus we call on all Americans to RESIST the war and repression that has been loosed on the world by the Bush administration. It is unjust, immoral, and illegitimate. We choose to make common cause with the people of the world.
We too watched with shock the horrific events of September 11, 2001. We too mourned the thousands of innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible scenes of carnage --even as we recalled similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City, and, a generation ago, Vietnam. We too joined the anguished questioning of millions of Americans who asked why such a thing could happen.
But the mourning had barely begun, when the highest leaders of the land unleashed a spirit of revenge. They put out a simplistic script of "good vs. evil" that was taken up by a pliant and intimidated media. They told us that asking why these terrible events had happened verged on treason. There was to be no debate. There were by definition no valid political or moral questions. The only possible answer was to be war abroad and repression at home.
In our name, the Bush administration, with near unanimity from Congress, not only attacked Afghanistan but arrogated to itself and its allies the right to rain down military force anywhere and anytime. The brutal repercussions have been felt from the Philippines to Palestine, where Israeli tanks and bulldozers have left a terrible trail of death and destruction. The government now openly prepares to wage all-out war on Iraq -- a country which has no connection to the horror of September 11. What kind of world will this become if the U.S. government has a blank check to drop commandos, assassins, and bombs wherever it wants?
In our name, within the U.S., the government has created two classes of people: those to whom the basic rights of the U.S. legal system are at least promised, and those who now seem to have no rights at all. The government rounded up over 1,000 immigrants and detained them in secret and indefinitely. Hundreds have been deported and hundreds of others still languish today in prison. This smacks of the infamous concentration camps for Japanese-Americans in World War 2. For the first time in decades, immigration procedures single out certain nationalities for unequal treatment.
In our name, the government has brought down a pall of repression over society. The PresidentĠs spokesperson warns people to "watch what they say." Dissident artists, intellectuals, and professors find their views distorted, attacked, and suppressed. The so-called Patriot Act -- along with a host of similar measures on the state level -- gives police sweeping new powers of search and seizure, supervised if at all by secret proceedings before secret courts.
In our name, the executive has steadily usurped the roles and functions of the other branches of government. Military tribunals with lax rules of evidence and no right to appeal to the regular courts are put in place by executive order. Groups are declared "terrorist" at the stroke of a presidential pen.
We must take the highest officers of the land seriously when they talk of a war that will last a generation and when they speak of a new domestic order. We are confronting a new openly imperial policy towards the world and a domestic policy that manufactures and manipulates fear to curtail rights.
There is a deadly trajectory to the events of the past months that must be seen for what it is and resisted. Too many times in history people have waited until it was too late to resist.
President Bush has declared: "youĠre either with us or against us." Here is our answer: We refuse to allow you to speak for all the American people. We will not give up our right to question. We will not hand over our consciences in return for a hollow promise of safety. We say NOT IN OUR NAME. We refuse to be party to these wars and we repudiate any inference that they are being waged in our name or for our welfare. We extend a hand to those around the world suffering from these policies; we will show our solidarity in word and deed.
We who sign this statement call on all Americans to join together to rise to this challenge. We applaud and support the questioning and protest now going on, even as we recognize the need for much, much more to actually stop this juggernaut. We draw inspiration from the Israeli reservists who, at great personal risk, declare "there IS a limit" and refuse to serve in the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
We also draw on the many examples of resistance and conscience from the past of the United States: from those who fought slavery with rebellions and the underground railroad, to those who defied the Vietnam war by refusing orders, resisting the draft, and standing in solidarity with resisters.
Let us not allow the watching world today to despair of our silence and our failure to act. Instead, let the world hear our pledge: we will resist the machinery of war and repression and rally others to do everything possible to stop it.
Michael Albert Laurie Anderson Edward Asner, actor Rosalyn Baxandall, historian Russell Banks, writer Jessica Blank, actor/playwright Medea Benjamin, Global Exchange William Blum, author Mark Elsis, Lovearth.net Theresa Bonpane, executive director, Office of the Americas Blase Bonpane, director, Office of the Americas Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ Leslie Cagan Henry Chalfant, author/filmmaker Bell Chevigny, writer Paul Chevigny, professor of law, NYU Noam Chomsky Robbie Conal, visual artist Stephanie Coontz, historian, Evergreen State College Kimberly Crenshaw, Professor of Law, Columbia, UCLA Kia Corthron, playwright Kevin Danaher, Global Exchange Ossie Davis Mos Def Carol Downer, board of directors, Chico (CA) Feminist Women's Health Center Eve Ensler Leo Estrada, UCLA professor, Urban Planning John Gillis, writer, professor of history, Rutgers Jeremy Matthew Glick, editor of Another World Is Possible Suheir Hammad, writer Rakaa Iriscience, hip hop artist David Harvey, distinguished professor of anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center Erik Jensen, actor/playwright Casey Kasem Robin D.G. Kelly Martin Luther King III, president, Southern Christian Leadership Conference Barbara Kingsolver C. Clark Kissinger, Refuse & Resist! Jodie Kliman, psychologist Yuri Kochiyama, activist Annisette & Thomas Koppel, singers/composers. Savage Rose Dave Korten, author Tony Kushner James Lafferty, executive director, National Lawyers Guild/L.A. Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, TIKKUN Magazine Barbara Lubin, Middle East Childrens Alliance Staughton Lynd Anuradha Mittal, co-director, Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First Malaquias Montoya, visual artist Robert Nichols, writer Rev. E. Randall Osburn, exec. v.p., Southern Christian Leadership Conference Grace Paley Jeremy Pikser, screenwriter Juan Gmez Quiñones, historian, UCLA Michael Ratner, president, Center for Constitutional Rights Adrienne Rich, poet Boots Riley, hip hop artist, The Coup David Riker, filmmaker Edward Said Starhawk Michael Steven Smith, National Lawyers Guild Bob Stein, publisher Gloria Steinem Alice Walker Naomi Wallace, playwright Rev. George Webber, president emeritus, NY Theological Seminary Leonard Weinglass, attorney John Edgar Wideman Saul Williams, spoken word artist Howard Zinn, historian
Organizations for identification only (signers as of 6/1/02) Contact the Not In Our Name statement at: email@example.com
Bojinka The Dog That Didn't Bark
by Jim Rarey, June 18, 2002
Sir Arthur Conan Doyleıs fictional hero Sherlock Holmes once solved a case because a dog that would have been expected to bark didnıt. Something is missing from the numerous allegations about the governmentıs foreknowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attack. That thing is any mention of "Project Bojinka" by government officials and most of the national media.
Those members of the media who do mention the project carefully avoid giving a full description of the plot with one exception, Bill Gertz of the Washington Times. But this was after the 9/11 disaster. Before that terrorist attack, even the alternative media had no information on the diabolical plot; it was a closely held secret by the government, first in the Clinton administration and then the Bush administration that followed (with mostly Clinton holdovers).
In the Philippines in January of 1995, a fire broke out in an apartment 200 yards from the Vaticanıs embassy in Manila. This was two weeks before a scheduled visit of the Pope to the Philippines. When police investigated they found bomb making material and other items suggesting a plot to assassinate the Pontiff. They also found computer disks containing the details of Project Bojinka (big bang).
The Philippines police determined that at least three operatives were involved in the plots with ties to Al Queda, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. Abdul Hakim Murad was arrested when he returned to the apartment, apparently to retrieve the computer disks. Wali Khan Amin Shah, an Afghani, was arrested in Malaysia. Ramzi Yousef, the alleged mastermind of Bojinka, was arrested in Pakistan and returned to New York by FBI agent John OıNeill (then FBI counter-terrorism chief whose main focus was on Osama bin Laden and Al Queda). More about OıNeill later.
The terrorist actions detailed on the computer disks comprised three separate elements. The first, for which the three were tried and convicted in 1996, was a plot to leave bombs on 11 U.S. commercial flights departing from various cities in the far East to be destroyed simultaneously on the same day.
The FBI said Yousef staged a trial run in 1994 leaving a bomb on a Philippine flight that killed a Japanese businessman. Yousef was also charged as the mastermind of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and was later tried and convicted of that terrorist strike in which four others were already serving life sentences.
The second element was a plan to load a small plane with explosives and fly it into CIA headquarters in Virginia. Abdul Murad admitted he had trained as a pilot in North Carolina and was slated to be the suicide pilot on that mission. This element of Bojinka has received some exposure in the national media.
The third element of Bojinka had by far the most potential for catastrophic casualties and impact on the American public. It involved the simultaneous hijacking of several commercial domestic flights and crashing them into selected targets that included the Pentagon, the Sears Tower and the World Trade Center. Obviously, the plot required a member of each hijacking team to be capable of flying the big jets. No commercial pilot could be expected to deliberately fly his plane into such targets even with a pistol at his head or a knife (box cutter) at his throat.
The details of Project Bojinka were furnished by Philippine police to the American Embassy in Manila and to the CIA and FBI. Yet, to this day, high government officials in the administration and congress maintain they had no idea that such a plot was contemplated, much less possible. But Project Bojinka was not the first red flag raised on the 9/11 scenario.
In a 1993 book, "Target America: Terrorism in the U.S." author and terrorism expert Yossef Bodansky detailed the training of suicide pilots in Iran for just such missions beginning in the early 1980ıs. A terrorist training school had been set up at an airfield in Wakilabad, Iran for the training. Iran Air (the national airline) maintained a Boeing 707 and 727 at the airfield (built by western companies) and occasionally furnished a Boeing 747 for that training. Bodansky says the main support for the operation came from Iran and Syria although the volunteers were from a broad spectrum of Islamic terrorist groups. Many were Afghani mujahideen trained in Pakistan (by the CIA). Some had fought in Afghanistan.
An obscure company, Shapolsky Publishers with close ties to organizations supporting Israel, distributed the book. Indeed, some speculate that Bodanskyıs information may come from Mossad, the highly efficient Israeli intelligence agency. Nevertheless, the information contained was what the spooks call "open source intelligence." There is another reason Bodanskyıs warning in that book and a subsequent offering in 1996 entitled, "Terrorism: The inside story of the Terrorist Conspiracy in America" should have been heeded.
Yossef Bodansky is the director of the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare for the U.S. Congress. He is also a former consultant to the Department of Defense and the State Department. He has testified in many closed sessions of the congressı intelligence committees. He most certainly would have elaborated on his public description in his second book on the terrorist network already established in the U.S. This includes safe houses in major cities, weapons, ammunition, money, systems to provide medical and legal aid, false identity papers, and intelligence for the operatives. Bodansky warned that the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center was, "but a prelude to an escalation of Islamic terror in the United States."
While top officials in Washington continue to deny they had any inkling of the 9/11 targets or tactics to be used, we now know that lower levels in the CIA and FBI were actively monitoring suspects at flight schools in at least four states for at least the two years preceding 9/11. Daniel Hopsicker, author and brilliant investigative journalist, has written a series of articles on the sinister activities at the Huffman flight school in Venice, Florida. He calls it the "Venice Flying Circus." Needless to say, the major media has not picked them up.
If the recent revelations of suspicious characters taking flight training by a Phoenix FBI agent and the highly sensationalized story of Coleen Rowley, a Minnesota FBI legal operative, are not part of the "itıs just incompetence and the culture spin" they might prove another point. If Rowley had linked her request for a search warrant to look at the contents of Zacarias Moussaoui"s computer with Project Bojinka, denying the request would have been political suicide. Either Rowley did not know about Bojinka (along with a lot of other field agents) or she chose not to invoke it.
So who in the government was in a position where they knew, or should have known about Bojinka? Certainly the heads of the FBI and CIA should have known. FBI Director Louis Freeh resigned just two months before 9/11 two years before the end of his ten-year term. Congressional investigators seem to have no interest in hearing testimony from him.
CIA Director John Deutch also resigned earlier. He had been accused of having unauthorized classified information on his laptop computer. He was cleared of any wrong doing by a woman in the CIA IG office who then resigned to take a position as a vice president at CitiBank. Deutch followed and was awarded a professorship at MIT and a seat on the CitiGroup board of directors as well as CMS energy, currently enmeshed in the energy company trading scandals. Deutch has not been called on to testify either.
Surely FBI terrorism expert John OıNeill would have known the details of Bojinka having investigated the 1993 WTC bombing and the plot to blow up 11 airliners. OıNeillıs departure from the FBI was started when he tangled with the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen over the investigation of the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. She banned him from Yemen. OıNeillıs reputation was further stained when his laptop computer went missing for several hours when he was called away to the telephone during a conference in Tampa, Florida. As a result of that unexplained incident, he was told he would not get a position in the National Security Agency (NSA) that he believed he had earned.
OıNeill became the Director of Public Safety at the WTC after he resigned and died mysteriously during the 9/11 attack. He had phoned his wife after the first tower was hit to inform her he was safe.
There is no direct evidence (so far) that Bush officials had knowledge of Project Bojinka before or after the 9/11 attack. However, the administrationıs actions (and lack thereof) have raided serious questions that have yet to be answered.
Perhaps the best example of this is the pathetic performance of General Richard B. Myers at his confirmation hearing to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff held two days after the attack. Myers was asked when Air Force planes were first scrambled during the emergency. He said he wasnıt sure but confirmed it was after the Pentagon was hit, more than an hour after the first hit on the WTC and well after the FAA had reported four planes had been hijacked.
Myers, as much as anyone, is familiar with the standard operating procedure for the immediate scrambling of air force fighters as soon as an airplane is reported to have lost contact with the tower or the hijack signal has been given. Myers, from August 1998 to February 2000 was Commander in Chief of the North American Aerospace Defense Command that has integrated procedures with the FAA. For 18 months prior to his nomination as Chief, he was Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
Nevertheless, notwithstanding his apparent ignorance on the most important event of his adult career, Myers was easily confirmed.
These and other unanswered questions have led to several theories that Bush let the attack happen. One being as an excuse to remove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan which was considered an obstacle to exploitation of Caspian Sea oil. Another may have been to grease the path for draconian measures through the congress. Some, including this writer, believe it to be a combination of the two.
That there is a huge coverup in progress by the government and the media is obvious. However, there are two words that have not come from the lips of even Bushıs most virulent critics, the left-wing Democrats. Those two words are Project Bojinka.
Permission is granted to reproduce this article in its entirety.
The author, Jim Rarey, is a free lance writer based in Romulus, Michigan. He is a former newspaper editor and investigative reporter, a retired customs administrator, accountant, and a student of history and the U.S. Constitution.
Jim Rarey: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
GREEN TRAGEDY: THE BLIGHT OF ECO-TOURISM
David Nicholson-Lord, Resurgence
Can anyone who flies halfway around the world in a jet powered by subsidized fossil fuel and puffing out greenhouse gases qualify as an eco-tourist?
Ben Cohen, AlterNet
The genius behind Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey asks why the Defense Department needs $400 billion to fight enemies armed with $5 box cutters.
BUSH'S BOMB SADDAM BRIGADE
Bill Berkowitz, WorkingForChange.com
A group of influential neocons in the White House is beating the attack-Iraq war drum again.
R. KELLY'S TUNES DON'T SOUND SO GOOD ANYMORE
Kevin Weston, Pacific News Service
The singer made the nastiest thing sound smooth -- but when singers' lifestyles match their predatory lyrics, it's time for both whites and blacks to take note.
*In MediaCulture: http://www.alternet.org/?IssueAreaID=19
BUSH'S POLICE STATE KICKS INTO GEAR
Ted Rall, AlterNet
The treatment of U.S. citizen Jose Padilla is turning into a Kafkaesque spectacle that should make all Americans nervous.
Christina Waters, Metro Santa Cruz
Summer calls and American women respond by having spaz attacks over food, bathing suit readiness and food.
Brooke Shelby Biggs, AlterNet
Today John Trudell acts in movies and makes albums -- but the FBI once considered the American Indian activist one of the most dangerous social agitators in America.
PRISONER RAPE ISN'T FUNNY
Sabrina Qutb and Lara Stemple, AlterNet
A recent 7-Up commercial reveals how sexual violence against prisoners is an accepted part of locker-room humor.
A WATCHER FOR THE WATCHERS
David Corn, AlterNet
Sen. Maria Cantwell makes a bold proposal to create a director of privacy and civil liberties accountability, in the wake of new FBI domestic spying guidelines.
BLESS YOUR COUNTINGS
It's back! In the fine tradition of vampires, phoenixes, and the rest of the undead and reborn, the Counter Culture column has returned to the pages of Grist. We are pleased to welcome back this popular feature -- think of that other index, only greener. This month's Counter Culture highlights the fate of the world's coral reefs. Less than one-fourth of 1 percent of all the world's oceans is occupied by coral reefs -- yet reefs are home to more than 25 percent of all known marine fish species. Unfortunately, the reefs aren't in great shape, to say the least. Want the specifics? That's what the Counter Culture is all about, so check it out -- only on the Grist Magazine website.
only in Grist: Coral-ations, by Christian Layke <http://www.gristmagazine.com/counter/counter061802.asp?source=daily>
only in Grist: Not O.K. coral -- taking stock of the world's coral reefs, by Jonathan Lash <http://www.gristmagazine.com/counter/counter_reefs.asp?source=daily>
A new kind of battle is taking place in Cambodia, this one between conservationists and international paper companies. Cambodia's central Cardamom Mountains were a stronghold of the Khmer Rouge, and as such were avoided by timber companies and others who feared being kidnapped or killed. With the Khmer Rouge largely subdued, however, timber companies have started to make good on current logging concessions and pressure the government for new ones. Meanwhile, international aid agencies and development banks, which together provide Cambodia with about $500 million in assistance every year, are urging strict conservation measures. To date, protected areas exist only on paper, and the impoverished country is rife with illegal logging of valuable hardwoods and poaching of wildlife. The Cardamom Mountains are home to dozens of threatened plant and animal species and a water system that supplies as much as half the country's annual fish catch.
straight to the source: New York Times, Andrew C. Revkin, 18 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=208>
TEXAS TOAST Like John and Yoko, industry and politics in the U.S. have climbed into bed together and just refuse to get out. Nowhere is that more evident than in Texas, homeland of the Bush clan and the most polluted state in the country. Let's spell it out: Texas is the number one spewer of toxic chemicals and carcinogens into the air, number one in chemical spills, number one in ozone pollution, number one in carbon-dioxide and mercury emissions, number one in clean-water violations, and number one in the production of hazardous waste. How did it get that way? Largely because of the oil industry, which all but owns Texas -- and made a bid to own the entire country by using Vice President Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force to shape national energy policy. Can the knot be untangled? Not easily, after 50 years of intimate relations between energy barons and the Bush dynasty (which has had a family member in a governor's mansion, on Capitol Hill, and/or in the White House for the last 50 years).
straight to the source: London Observer, Ed Vulliamy, 16 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=209>
do good: Take action to tell Bush to stop letting corporations rewrite environmental laws <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/politics.asp?source=daily#takeback>
NATURAL BORN WATT KILLERS
Are you one of those people who obsessively turns off lights and other electric appliances when leaving the room? If so, it might be time to look for a job with the State of New Hampshire, where Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) is now offering up to $10,000 to state employees who devise innovative ways to cut the state's annual $18.5 million energy bill. The initiative was born out of a long-ignored 1983 state law that permits the governor's office to offer cash incentives to workers who go above and beyond the call of duty to save money for the state. Implemented at the beginning of this month, the Kill-A-Watt contest will reward the three "E-Teams" that produce the most impressive energy savings in government buildings by Nov. 1. The program is the brainchild of New Hampshire energy czar Hamilton McLean, who was hired to reduce power bills in a state that has no comprehensive list of how many buildings it owns, what types of fuel they use, or how much energy they burn.
straight to the source: Concord Monitor, Jim Graham, 18 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=210>
do good: Take action to change an energy habit <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/climate.asp?source=daily#tips>
The threat of nuclear war between India and Pakistan seems to have abated slightly -- for the moment -- but what about the consequences of India's nuclear testing? Four years after the country exploded nuclear devices in underground tests in the Thar desert near the Pakistan border, villagers are questioning the government's pat assurance that no radioactivity was released. In Khetolai, a village about two miles from the military test range, cows are giving birth to blind and diseased calves. In an area where no crops can grow, the cows are the villagers' livelihood; they cannot survive without them. But the government hasn't compensated them for their losses, and what little money did come in after the testing ($100 to $200 to fix cracks in homes and water cisterns) was insufficient. Residents weren't evacuated during the nuclear testing, and little to no medical examinations and care have been offered.
straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Paul Holmes, 18 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id=211>
do good: Take action to promote nuclear disarmament <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/toxic.asp?source=daily#blowit>
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE
FOREST SERVICE EMPLOYEE CHARGED WITH COLORADO FIRE
DENVER, Colorado, June 17, 2002 (ENS) - An employee of the U.S. Forest Service has been charged with starting the largest wildland fire in Colorado history, the Hayman fire southwest of Denver that has now charred 102,895 acres.
DRUG TRACES PROMPT CLOSER LOOK AT FARMED SEAFOOD
WASHINGTON, DC, June 17, 2002 (ENS) - The Food and Drug Administration has boosted its sampling of imported shrimp and crawfish over concerns that the products may be contaminated by a powerful antibiotic. Low levels of the drug, chloramphenicol, have been detected by some states and other countries.
GLOBAL CLIMATE SHIFT FEEDS SPREADING DESERTS
NEW YORK, New York, June 17, 2002 (ENS) - Over the next 20 years some 60 million people in northern Africa are expected to leave the Sahelian region if desertification there is not halted, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today. June 17 is the day set aside each year by the UN as World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, twin problems that must be solved if world hunger is to be relieved, Annan said.
NUCLEAR FUSION TOP RESEARCH PRIORITY FOR EUROPE
BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 17, 2002 (ENS) - Europe is investing ? 1.230 billion in nuclear research, the European Commission announced today. Most of the funds will go towards research and development of nuclear fusion, the same reaction that takes place within the Sun.
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE AMERISCAN: JUNE 17, 2002
DOE Steps Up Plans for Plutonium Shipments
Companies Solicited to Produce Medical Isotopes
16 Species Added to Possible Protection List
Bumper Crop of Florida Panthers Born
Illegal Waste Disposal Has Serious Consequences
Hotels Can Compare Energy Performance Nationwide
Critical Habitat Proposed for Hawaiian Moth
Environmental Groups Launch Orphan Orca Fund
Planet Ark World Environment News
US nuclear plants can survive plane attack - report - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16456/story.htm
EU to spend billion euros on nuclear power research - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16454/story.htm
UK may face scrap car fiasco while EU funds unclear - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16455/story.htm
Environmentalists finally KO world wrestlers - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16465/story.htm
INTERVIEW - UN environment chief wants action, not promises - SWEDEN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16463/story.htm
UN marks 30th anniversary of landmark green summit - SWEDEN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16466/story.htm
FEATURE - Water woes plague US-Mexico border - MEXICO http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16464/story.htm
CORRECTED - Blind calves born near India's nuclear site - INDIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16459/story.htm
Tainted feed still being found on German farms - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16467/story.htm
EdF asks for 5-pct rise in French home power bills - FRANCE http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16460/story.htm
Denmark seen extending wind power subsidies - DENMARK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16458/story.htm
Greenpeace to protest nuclear fuel shipment to UK - CHINA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16461/story.htm
Austrians hope to reopen Czech nuclear plant saga - AUSTRIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16457/story.htm
Michelago, ANZ pursue wind power - AUSTRALIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/16462/story.htm
Pollution Is A Sin, Say Church Leaders At Sea
by Geoffrey Lean on board the 'Festos Palace'
Like a latter-day Noah's Ark, a nine-story ferry is nosing its way up the Adriatic this weekend on a voyage to ecclesiastical and ecological history.
Spiritually skippered by the Eastern Orthodox "Pope" and packed with his bishops, Roman Catholic cardinals, top scientists and environmentalists the 34,000-ton Festos Palace completes its pilgrimage tomorrow in Venice with an unprecedented joint initiative by the heads of the long-warring Catholic and Orthodox churches.
Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Bartholomew will together sign a declaration warning that the world faces an environmental and social crisis, asserting that Christians have a particular responsibility to combat it, welcoming the rise of environmental consciousness and laying the foundations for developing a joint "environmental ethos". Senior clerics say it is the first time that two church leaders have signed a joint declaration of action of this kind.
Originally they were to meet in the magnificent Palazzo Ducale from which a 13th-century Doge diverted a crusade to sack Constantinople, marking the nadir of relations between the two halves of Christendom to sign the declaration together. But due to the Pope's failing health and energy, he is now to stay in Rome, from where he will address the Patriarch's party, and simultaneously sign the declaration on television.
Today, in another unprecedented gesture of reconciliation, Patriarch Bartholomew will celebrate mass in the sixth-century Byzantine-style but Catholic Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo in Classe, near Ravenna. It is thought to be the first time that an Orthodox Patriarch has celebrated a mass in a Catholic church.
The service and the signing come at the climax of a series of floating symposia during the last seven years, the brainchild of the Patriarch, whose enthusiasm for environmental issues has led to him being dubbed the "Green Pope". He first took another ferry through the Aegean to the island of Patmos in 1995 for the 1,900th anniversary of the writing of the Book of Revelation. There the Orthodox Church formally declared pollution to be a sin. Subsequent voyages have included a circumnavigation of the Black Sea and a voyage down the Danube immediately after the Kosovo war.
For the past two years the organizers have been wondering how to involve Pope John Paul II in this crusade. The text to be signed tomorrow is being kept secret, but the Orthodox Church has been discussing whether it should include a joint declaration of the sinfulness of degrading the environment. The Patriarch starkly warned the delegates who include Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London that "we witness death approaching on account of trespassing against limits that God placed on our proper use of creation".
Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan warned it might too late to prevent catastrophic environmental damage.
"Environmental crises like climate change won't wait while we procrastinate for 'conclusive' scientific data," he said.
As the ferry steamed up the Adriatic, stopping in six countries from Greece to Italy, senior politicians came aboard. Albania's leaders were taken to task for failing to fence a former factory site where children play among deadly lindane and chromium. And yet the delegates also heard how the recently warring nations of the former Yugoslavia were beginning to put together joint initiatives to clean up their environment.