Environmental news from GRIST MAGAZINE
N'YUK, N'YUK, N'YUCCA
All the effort by the feds to determine whether Nevada's Yucca Mountain would be a suitable place to permanently store the country's nuclear waste can be summed up as "a failed scientific process," according to a draft report by the General Accounting Office, the congressional watchdog agency. The report, which has been obtained by several newspapers, comes at a difficult time for the Bush administration, which was expected to throw its weight behind the Yucca proposal this winter and push for the storage space to be opened by 2010. The GAO report says the Energy Department "is unlikely to achieve its goal of opening a repository at Yucca Mountain by 2010 and has no reliable estimate of when, and at what cost, such a repository could be opened."
straight to the source: Las Vegas Review-Journal, Steve Tetreault, 30 Nov 2001 <http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2001/Nov-30-Fri-2001/news/17565454.html>
straight to the source: Washington Post, Eric Pianin, 30 Nov 2001 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A36269-2001Nov29.html>
THE SKIPPER TOO?
The niftily named Carson wandering skipper -- a butterfly that is no bigger than a thumbnail -- has been given emergency protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The feds took the step yesterday to help preserve the butterfly's habitat in two counties along the northern border of Nevada and California. Bob Williams of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said officials were concerned that if water export proposals in the region went forward, the insect would go the way of the dodo. The wandering skipper was once plentiful in the region, but development has destroyed most of the butterfly's habitat.
straight to the source: Reno Gazette-Journal, Jeff DeLong, 30 Nov 2001 <http://www.rgj.com/news/stories/news/1007184774.php>
PASS THE JOINT VENTURE
Ford and Toyota are considering whether to jointly produce a gas-electric hybrid in North America. No deal has been signed yet, but the two companies have already selected the kind of vehicle and the technology that would be used, says John Wallace, executive director of Ford's alternative-propulsion division. Both companies have incentives to seal the deal. Toyota executive Shin Kanada said collaborating with Ford would "expand economies of scale in hybrids," bringing big cost savings to Toyota. Ford, meanwhile, has pledged to improve the fuel-efficiency of its SUVs 25 percent by 2005; partnering with Toyota, which has a head start in hybrid technology, could help the American automaker meet that goal.
straight to the source: Wall Street Journal, Norihiko Shirouzu, 30 Nov 2001 (access ain't free) <http://interactive.wsj.com/archive/retrieve.cgi?id=SB1007073188358101440.djm>
do good: Take action and pledge to buy an eco-friendly car <http://www.gristmagazine.com/grist/dogood/autos.asp?source=daily#pledge>
Activists are targeting 300 Esso gas stations in the U.K. tomorrow for boycotts, urging drivers to fill up their tanks elsewhere because Esso's parent company, the oil giant ExxonMobil, opposes the Kyoto treaty on climate change. Groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are helping to lead the StopEsso campaign, which has the support of such high-profile celebs as Bianca Jagger and Annie Lennox The campaign's coordinator, Lorne Stockman, predicted that the Saturday boycotts would be the largest global warming protest ever held in the country. He added, "It will be a very fluffy, peaceful, family-oriented demonstration."
straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Stenfano Ambrogi, 30 Nov 2001 <http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13507/story.htm>
GREENPEACE HALTS OIL TANKER OFF THE COAST OF SYDNEY
On Monday November 26, 2001, Greenpeace Australia took action against an oil shipment from the controversial Stuart Oil Shale Project near Gladstone, Queensland. Activists locked onto the port and starboard sides of the oil tanker Bow de Jin off Sydney's Port Botany, to prevent it from docking. The Stuart project is an attempt by Australian companies, Southern Pacific Petroleum and Central Pacific Minerals (SPP/CPM), to extract oil from shale rock. Greenpeace has been campaigning against the development of a shale oil industry in Australia since 1998 because of its greenhouse gas emissions and the need to phase out fossil fuels to stop dangerous climate change.
For more information, go to:
The Nation, America's oldest weekly magazine, helped pioneer what has become, for better or worse, art criticism as a cultural institution in the United States.
Since the magazine's founding in 1865, celebrated writers on art, including Bernard Berenson, Clement Greenberg, Lawrence Alloway, Hilton Kramer, Max Kozloff, John Berger and Arthur Danto gave readers first-hand accounts of the destruction of Diego Rivera's Rockefeller Center murals; the culture war battles waged over arts funding and free expression and the debuts of artists like John Singer Sargent, Jackson Pollock and Willem deKooning. A youthful Henry James even reported on the famous lawsuit pitting John Ruskin against James McNeill Whistler.
Now, for the first time ever, all this material and much, much more has been collected in one place:
"Brushes With History," edited by Peter G. Meyer with an introduction by Arthur Danto, is a 500-page plus anthology of the best writings on art and the politics of art in the 136-year history of The Nation.
The collection also includes P.T. Barnum on museums, Christopher Hitchens on "degenerate art," Heywood Broun on the Artists Congress of 1936, Katherine Anne Porter on children's art, Katha Pollitt on the Brooklyn Museum of Art's "Sensation" show and Frank Lloyd Wright on skyscrapers. All material drawn directly from the pages of The Nation.
"Brushes" makes a great holiday present, and it's a terrific bargain at only $19.95. So buy two (or ten) today. You can order online at a sharp discount now at:
And, with the holidays fast approaching, consider these other recent Nation Books releases for all those literate types on your gift list:
CINEMA NATION: The Best Writing on Film from The Nation Edited by Carl Bromley . Intro by Stuart Klawans . Foreword by Peter Biskind
THE BEST OF THE NATION: 1990-2000 Edited by Victor Navasky and Katrina vanden Heuvel
THE BETRAYAL OF AMERICA: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President Vincent Bugliosi . Forewords by Molly Ivins and Gerry Spence
CHANGE THE WORLD! Local Ways to Transform the Global Economy Edited by Mike Prokosch and Lara Raymond . Introduction by Naomi Klein
THE ZAPATISTA READER: A Literary Anthology Edited and Introduced by Tom Hayden
You can find further info on all of the above titles and more at the NationBooks website, directly accessible at:
And don't forget to check The Nation's site for regularly updated coverage of Afghanistan, the Beltway, the domestic front, and much, much more. All available currently at:
Global Cease-Fire Day 21st September 2002
I am writing to thank you for signing the petition on the website http://www.peaceoneday.org in support of the creation of the first ever Global Cease-Fire Day. Your support fuelled the vision.
I am delighted to let you know that the Day has now been established. On 7th September 2001, a resolution put forward by the UK and Costa Rican governments, was unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly establishing the United Nations International Day of Peace as an annual Global Cease-Fire Day with a fixed calendar date - 21st September - for people of all nations and faiths to know and observe.
Since the day has been formally established, our commitment now is to raise global awareness, and to initiate and support the coordination of life-saving activities on the Day. We have already received commitments from all over the world, indicating the involvement of hundreds of thousands of people on the Day (please website for details).
Respectfully, therefore, I would also like to ask if you would be willing to mark the Global Cease-Fire Day on 21st September 2002 in some way and communicate your commitment to us at mailto:email@example.com Would you also be willing to contact 7 individuals (or organisations) with whom you are familiar, asking them to mark the Day and contact us with the details? All commitments will be placed on the website to inspire others to act similarly. Its not so much about the scale of the planned activity, its really about a commitment to act together as a global community.
Peace One Day continues to document this entire campaign on film, the full-length version of which will be distributed as widely as possible throughout the world contributing significantly to our global awareness campaign.
Please do not hesitate to contact us on the details below should you require any further information. Thank you for being a part of this undertaking. Your contribution is making a difference.
Yours sincerely, In peace
Jeremy Gilley Founder, Peace One Day
Peace One Day
Tel: +44 (0) 207 456 9180
Fax: +44 (0) 207 375 2007
UTNE WEB WATCH
PAYDAY PROFITEERS: PAYDAY LENDERS TARGET THE WORKING POOR
by Kari Lydersen, Multinational Monitor
-- Only a decade ago payday lenders were relatively rare, now the industry records a profit of more than $9 billion each year. How do they make so much money? Over a year-long period a borrower may pay as much as $4,000 on a $200 loan.
NERVE.COM'S FAVORITE MOVIE SEX SCENES
Web site review by Kate Garsombke
-- A list of favorite movie sex scenes from the sensual Nerve.com proves the best scenes need not involve sex nor animate objects.
CAPITOL EXHAUSTS ITS FLAG SUPPLY
by Ethan Wallison, Roll Call
-- A surge in the demand for American flags has faced Congress with filling 30,000 flag requests and a six-month backlog.
Links to the above articles: http://www.utne.com/webwatch
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE
INFLATED CHINESE FISHERIES DATA MASKS GLOBAL FISH DECLINE
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada, November 29, 2001 (ENS) - Contrary tostatistics published by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), which indicate that the global fisheries catch is stable, Canadian fisheries scientists have documented evidence that catches have been declining for over a decade.
EUROPE SETS BINDING LIMITS ON DIOXIN IN FOODS
BRUSSELS, Belgium, November 29, 2001 (ENS) - European Union Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne today welcomed the adoption by the European Council of a rule setting legally binding limits on the presence of dioxin and other contaminants in food.
KENYA SEEKS ENERGY SOURCES AS POWER FIRM POSTS RECORD LOSS
By Tom Osanjo
NAIROBI, Kenya, November 29, 2001 (ENS)- The government of Kenya has signed an exploration treaty with a British firm in a move that will see the world's deepest oil wells drilled off the East African coast. The deal is an attempt to expand the country's fuel supply as Kenya's dominant power firm announced the biggest loss in its history.
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE AMERISCAN: NOVEMBER 29, 2001
EPA's Citizen Complaint Office Paired with Inspector General
Anglers Recycle Fishing Line Before It Strangles Wildlife
Budget Shortfall Leaves Salmon Exposed
Bush Administration to Generate Green Power on Public Lands
Lawsuit Filed to Safeguard California State Fish
For full text and graphics visit:
NEW ON MOTHERJONES.COM
* Far-Right Recruiting Drive * - Web Exclusive: A range of racist and anti-immigrant groups are trying to turn the Sept. 11 terror attacks into a marketing tool.
* Olympic Windfall * - Magazine: With help from his allies in Congress, a Utah businessman cashes in on the Winter Games.
* The All-Purpose Excuse * - Web Exclusive: Cartoon: Whatever your pet program is, war means we need it.
* Beyond the Blasts * - Web Exclusive: Could North Korea be next?; military action misses the point; the Northern Alliance's dirty work; anti-terror appliances; Afghanistan's nervous neighbors; troop buildups in Turkey and Iraq; and the economic winner is ... China?; more ... http://www.motherjones.com/web_exclusives/features/news/blast12.html#112001
* Bush Files * - Web Exclusive: Bush sued over presidential records; DOJ out of the loop on tribunals; administration OK's human pesticide testing; Congress demanding to be consulted; feminism of convenience?; creeping theocracy; more ...
* Discuss * - Economists have called on Congress to pass a stimulus package that can kick-start the nation's economy, which is now in recession. The plan pushed through by House Republicans and quietly supported by the White House features a broad array of open-ended tax breaks. Can such an approach provide the short-term economic boost called for?
Why US, rest of world differ on threat posed by Iraq
By Abraham McLaughlin | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
WASHINGTON - Saddam Hussein, at least to many in America, is a nefarious terrorist-harboring leader itching to use weapons of mass destruction against the US and Israel. Elsewhere in the world, including much of Europe, the Iraqi leader is viewed as an oil-rich dictator who has far more bluster than bite - and a knack for losing wars.
Which view is closer to the truth will help determine whether the United States - now contemplating the shape of Phase 2 of the war on terrorism - begins a major push to topple Mr. Hussein's regime.
At the least, Bush administration officials -from the president on down - are letting it be known that they've been thinking hard about Hussein since Sept. 11. That dark day made all realize the ruthlessness of unbridled terrorism - and that it's no longer enough simply to try to contain Hussein under the current UN sanctions, which are likely to be extended today. Just crossing one's fingers in the hope that the Iraqi leader won't use chemical or biological weapons has become an inadequate response, some argue.
Then, too, defense "hawks" within the administration - longtime advocates of ousting Hussein - are eager to use the momentum of the Afghanistan campaign to make a move to bring him down, perhaps in a sort of "Desert Storm 2."
"There's momentum building, and people are saying, 'Let's take on the entire beast' " of terrorism, including Iraq - "even if it means some extra expenditure of blood and treasure," says Michael Hudson, a professor of international relations at Georgetown University here.
The costs of confronting Saddam - either militarily or via diplomacy -could be huge for the US. In deciding whether a fight is worth the price, two things matter greatly: what weapons he has or could have in the near future, and under what circumstances he might use them.
Although United Nations inspectors have not been in Iraq for three years, some things are known about Saddam's weapons-building capability and history:
Iraq acknowledged in 1995 that it had produced 29,526 liters (about 6,500 gallons) of biological agents, including anthrax and botulism toxins. UN inspectors also discovered sprayer nozzles and several coffin-shaped boxes that can be used to "aerosolize," or "weaponize," anthrax and other bacteria. Iraq insisted, plausibly, that the equipment made pesticides. The inspectors also say Iraq's major biological-weapons facility, al Hakum, was destroyed during their watch.
A CIA report to Congress in early September disclosed that Iraq is working on an unmanned drone airplane, the L-29, that could deliver toxic weapons.
Iraq has used profits from oil sales to develop a vast equipment-buying network in "at least 20 different countries," according to a sensitive UN report published in July's Commentary magazine. On Iraq's shopping list were "full-sized production lines, industrial know-how, high-tech spare parts, and raw materials" - all aimed at building weapons of mass destruction, according to the report.
UN inspectors discovered that at one point Iraq had loaded biological and chemical weapons into missile warheads, although missiles it fired during the Gulf War did not contain such toxic weapons.
The consensus among experts is that Iraq doesn't have atomic weapons yet - but not for lack of trying. A 1996 memo discovered by UN weapons inspector Tim McCarthy denied any members of Iraq's nuclear-weapons team the ability to "to retire, move, transfer, change housing, etc." without official permission. It's evidence, Mr. McCarthy says, that Saddam intends to keep his atomic-weapons team together. German intelligence predicted in February that Iraq will have nuclear weapons within three years.
Two recent Iraqi defectors reportedly say they worked at a terrorist camp, which teaches assassination, hijacking, and kidnapping. They say non-Iraqi Arabs were frequently at the Baghdad camp. Iraqi intelligence officials are also reported to have met at least once with Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta.
Iraq has been trying to build weapons of mass destruction since the late 1970s. It had made great strides by 1991. But after the Gulf War, UN inspectors did slow it down.
"They have a relatively small existing capability and a very lethal 'breakout' capability" - meaning they can "really crank up production," says McCarthy, who works at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. He says Iraq is now much more self-sufficient in producing such weapons than in the past.
All this raises the question of whether Iraq would use these weapons - and against whom. Saddam used chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war and against Iraqi Kurds in 1988. But he did not employ them in the Gulf War - perhaps because then-US Secretary of State James Baker warned of dire consequences.
Observers differ on what this history means today. Some say Iraq's decision not to use toxic weapons in the Gulf War proves Saddam is ultimately rational - and more concerned about his own survival than any crusade to wreak havoc on America or Israel. If true, then the threat of massive retaliation could continue to hold Saddam in check.
Supporters of this view include Iraqi neighbors such as Jordan, Syria, and even Russia, whose businesses have profited from selling goods and services to the embargo-encircled nation. This support is one of the great obstacles the US would face if it confronts Saddam.
"The international community essentially disagrees with the US on the nature of the threat," says Shibley Telhami, a professor at the University of Maryland in College Park.
In America, though, the view is increasingly that Iraq's history of using toxic weapons - and supporting terrorists - hints at a willingness to at least supply these weapons for terrorist strikes. This prospect is probably what worries US officials most.
It's perhaps why President Bush recently called Saddam "evil" - a word previously reserved for Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.
Yet to date, Bush has demanded only that Saddam allow UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq. This appears to leave open the possibilities for whether and how to confront Saddam - especially as Phase 1 of the war continues in Afghanistan.
t r u t h o u t | 11.30
SENATOR JOHN F. KERRY | A Better Definition of Patriotism
SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER | Questioning the President's Authority
WILLIAM SAFIRE | Enemy of My Enemy
Russian Soldiers Set Up Camp In Center Of Kabul
Ex-FBI Officials Criticize Tactics On Terrorism Detention of Suspects Not Effective, They Say
Bush, House GOP Leadership Aim to Scuddle New Farmbill
*NEW* t r u t h o u t / Zogby Bush-O-Meter | Tracking Mr. Bush Daily
A Better Definition Of Patriotism Senator
John F. Kerry
Op-Ed, Bangor Daily News, November 29, 2001
In the days following the attacks of September 11 consumers reported cases of price gouging when they drove in to fill up their car. Some consumers even reported the price of gasoline soaring to five dollars a gallon. Even as millions of Americans pulled together, a few cynics hoped to profit from a shocked and apprehensive public. Today there's a different kind of opportunism at work in our nation's capitol. Under the guise of national security and economic stimulus, some want to scare Americans into drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Destroying a wildlife refuge won't make America any safer. There must be a better definition of patriotism than tapping public anxiety to pass bad public policy. Now is a time to summon our nation's hopes and strengths; not a time to play on it fears.
What's needed in a debate too often characterized by an instinct for the symbolic, is truth. America does face serious energy challenges. Our dependence on oil makes us susceptible to price spikes, entangles us in distant disputes and puts our military in harm's way. And oil money surely funds terrorism. But drilling in the Arctic Refuge won't change any of this.
Those who insist on portraying drilling in the Arctic Refuge as an urgent matter of national security do a disservice to the American public. Arguing that the wildlife refuge may produce as much oil as we import from Saudi Arabia- home to patrons of terrorism and a potentially unreliable exporter - is simply false. Under even the most optimistic scenarios in which the Refuge produces 1 million barrels per day starting in 2020, we and the world will continue to buy billions of dollars of oil from Saudi Arabia.
Drilling in the Refuge is also incorrectly characterized as a matter of economic security. Proponents cite a 10-year old report funded by the American Petroleum Institute predict that drilling will create more than 700,000 jobs. This claim is based largely on that has been contradicted by independent assessments, including from the Congressional Research Service. More likely, drilling will create a tiny fraction of the jobs predicted by the oil industry. And most importantly, it won't help lift the economy outof recession.
Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge won't make Americans safer, and it won't make our economy stronger. We can't drill our way to national or economic security. But neither can we stand by and merely condemn short-sighted policy proposals. Americans deserve - and our national security and economic needs demand - an energy policy for the future.
Our only long term answer, however, is to promote true energy independence - and to do so requires innovation. In World War II America printed a poster with the banner "INVENT FOR VICTORY." The nation must once again be challenged to make innovation a weapon in our national defense -- investing in a Manhattan Project that accelerates the development of breakthrough technologies like hydrogen fuel cells which hold the greatest promise to revolutionize our energy system. Fuel cell technology to power cars, trucks, buses, ships and trains exists today. The challenge is making them affordable and deploying them throughout the economy.
Making this mission a success will make America safer -- it will also make us more prosperous. America can create more jobs investing in efficient and renewable energy technologies than investing in oil. The Tellus Institute estimates that 900,000 jobs can be created from investments in efficient transportation. The Energy and Resources Group at the University of California estimates that generating 10 percent of our electricity from renewable energy sources will create more than 2 million jobs - good jobs designing, machining, manufacturing, distributing, building and maintaining a domestic energy system.
Honesty must drive a comprehensive energy plan for the nation: neither drilling nor conservation, efficiency and renewable energy will bring immediate national or economic security. There are no easy answers. The country needs to increase domestic oil production, but given its limited benefits we should expand production in an environmentally sound manner -protecting the Wildlife Refuge but exploring the more than 25 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico open for drilling today but not developed. We can also reduce our dependence on oil and susceptibility to price spikes through efficiency: making our transportation system more efficient by investing in fuel efficient cars, rail and public transit and diversifying our fuel base, particularly in the transportation sector by relying more on natural gas, especially in commercial and government vehicles; pressing ahead aggressively with domestic renewable fuels like biomass ethanol. But just as the war on terrorism tests American resolve, so too must we be prepared for a long and sustained effort in changing our energy policy.
It's time to call on America's strength, ingenuity, creativity and invention, to open a new front in the war on terrorism - and to support it with a national effort that rivals President Kennedy's challenge to put a man on the moon. Rather than put false hopes in largely symbolic acts like drilling in the Arctic Refuge, a real marketplace for renewable energy must be created to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and prepare us for a different - and far less predictable -geopolitical landscape.
World Trade Center: Did the government know before the attack?
Did the government have knowledge before the attack?
"How nothing could have been picked up [by U.S. intelligence agencies regarding the coming attack] is beyond me."
- Kenneth Katzman, Terrorism Expert, Congressional Research Service
According to the information provided by the mainstream media the attack upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon caught the U.S. government by complete surprise. There were no efforts to prevent the attack before it was launched and no steps taken to stop it after it was underway. But a surprising amount of information has come to light since September 11 that supports the conclusion that the government knew quite a bit about the attack beforehand. Was it a massive failure of our intelligence capability or was the failure to act intentional?
1.. David Schippers, The Democrat from Chicago, who served as Counsel to the House Managers during the Clinton impeachment proceedings, was interviewed on October 10, 2001. He represents a group of FBI agents in Chicago and Minnesota who state that they are not being permitted to arrest certain terrorists. They warned that there was going to be an attack on lower Manhattan. They were willing to testify under oath about the information that they had uncovered. Schippers called top government officials in Washington before September 11. All said they would get back to him but he heard nothing from any of them. The transcript of the interview is at:
1.. Although the media has said little about it, there is abundant and clear evidence that forewarned investors profited handsomely from their knowledge of the WTC attack by large purchases of options. "Put options" provide the holder a highly leveraged profit potential where stocks drop in price. There were heavy purchases of put options on stocks that were particularly harmed by the WTC attack on the days just before the attack. Morgan Stanley's main office was in the WTC and heavy purchases of put options were made just a few days before the attack. The two airlines, American and United, which had planes destroyed in the attack were the subject of heavy option purchases just before the attack.
"Shares in Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Co. which occupied 22 floors of the 110 story Two World Trade Center, experienced pre-attack option trading of more than 25 times the usual volume in put options, according to Bloomberg data."
"One day before two American Airlines jets were hijacked and crashed, 1,535 contracts [each contract is for 100 options] changed hands on options that let investors profit if AMR stock falls below $30.00 per share before Oct. 20. That was almost five times the total number of those put options traded before Sept. 10. AMR shares fell $11.70 [on the first day of trading after the attack] to $18."
The connection with the CIA and Deutsche Bank's Alex Brown unit that handled at least one of the trades - which has been left unclaimed with a profit of $2.5 million - is reported by Michael C. Ruppert. See his report at:
Bush Administration Quietly Overturning Environmental Rules in Name of Security
In the last two months, the Bush administration has proceeded with several regulations, legal settlements and legislative measures intended to reverse Clinton-era environmental policies.
America's Oil Habit Helped Turn U.S. Citizens Into Targets
Connecting the Dots | A Hard Look at the Road to 9-11
FBI Is Building a 'Magic Lantern'
Software Would Allow Agency to Monitor Computer Use
LOTS of info on 8,500 companies and their 14,000 brands
Journal Axes Gene Research On Jews And Palestinians
by Robin McKie
A keynote research paper showing that Middle Eastern Jews and Palestinians are genetically almost identical has been pulled from a leading journal.
Academics who have already received copies of Human Immunology have been urged to rip out the offending pages and throw them away.
Such a drastic act of self-censorship is unprecedented in research publishing and has created widespread disquiet, generating fears that it may involve the suppression of scientific work that questions Biblical dogma.
'I have authored several hundred scientific papers, some for Nature and Science, and this has never happened to me before,' said the article's lead author, Spanish geneticist Professor Antonio Arnaiz-Villena, of Complutense University in Madrid. 'I am stunned.'
British geneticist Sir Walter Bodmer added: 'If the journal didn't like the paper, they shouldn't have published it in the first place. Why wait until it has appeared before acting like this?'
The journal's editor, Nicole Sucio-Foca, of Columbia University, New York, claims the article provoked such a welter of complaints over its extreme political writing that she was forced to repudiate it. The article has been removed from Human Immunology's website, while letters have been written to libraries and universities throughout the world asking them to ignore or 'preferably to physically remove the relevant pages'. Arnaiz-Villena has been sacked from the journal's editorial board.
Dolly Tyan, president of the American Society of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics, which runs the journal, told subscribers that the society is 'offended and embarrassed'.
The paper, 'The Origin of Palestinians and their Genetic Relatedness with other Mediterranean Populations', involved studying genetic variations in immune system genes among people in the Middle East.
In common with earlier studies, the team found no data to support the idea that Jewish people were genetically distinct from other people in the region. In doing so, the team's research challenges claims that Jews are a special, chosen people and that Judaism can only be inherited.
Jews and Palestinians in the Middle East share a very similar gene pool and must be considered closely related and not genetically separate, the authors state. Rivalry between the two races is therefore based 'in cultural and religious, but not in genetic differences', they conclude.
But the journal, having accepted the paper earlier this year, now claims the article was politically biased and was written using 'inappropriate' remarks about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its editor told the journal Nature last week that she was threatened by mass resignations from members if she did not retract the article.
Arnaiz-Villena says he has not seen a single one of the accusations made against him, despite being promised the opportunity to look at the letters sent to the journal.
He accepts he used terms in the article that laid him open to criticism. There is one reference to Jewish 'colonists' living in the Gaza strip, and another that refers to Palestinian people living in 'concentration' camps.
'Perhaps I should have used the words settlers instead of colonists, but really, what is the difference?' he said.
'And clearly, I should have said refugee, not concentration, camps, but given that I was referring to settlements outside of Israel - in Syria and Lebanon - that scarcely makes me anti-Jewish. References to the history of the region, the ones that are supposed to be politically offensive, were taken from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and other text books.'
In the wake of the journal's actions, and claims of mass protests about the article, several scientists have now written to the society to support Arnaiz-Villena and to protest about their heavy-handedness.
One of them said: 'If Arnaiz-Villena had found evidence that Jewish people were genetically very special, instead of ordinary, you can be sure no one would have objected to the phrases he used in his article. This is a very sad business.'
Planet Ark World Environment News
WTO pact seen boosting Bush trade bill prospects - VENEZUELA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13516/story.htm
US socially-screened investments grow despite market slump - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13523/story.htm
Alaska oil-search plans favor western North Slope - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13520/story.htm
EPA gives refiner relief in making low-sulfur fuel - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13515/story.htm
US group joins push to identify key bird habitats - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13509/story.htm
UPDATE - UK to set up national nuclear liabilities body - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13513/story.htm
'Slash and burn' key to growing mahogany trees - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13510/story.htm
Greens to protest at 300 Exxon UK filling stations - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13507/story.htm
Scientists find GM material in native Mexican corn - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13522/story.htm
World zoos to help beastly Kabul menagerie - SWITZERLAND http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13524/story.htm
Earth Summit in S.Africa hit by Sept 11 events - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13514/story.htm
Ukraine's Kuchma dismisses EBRD nuclear loan terms - RUSSIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13512/story.htm
Kyoto pact could see weak NZ economic growth - NBNZ - NEW ZEALAND http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13519/story.htm
Mexico City's foul air damages young lungs - study - MEXICO http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13506/story.htm
Lithuanian officials investigating Butinge oil leak - LITHUANIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13508/story.htm
German CHP law misses parliamentary vote deadline - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13517/story.htm
UPDATE - Belgium presses for radical reform of EU - EU http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13518/story.htm
Austria, Czechs reach accord on Temelin plant - EU - EU http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13511/story.htm
Manatees, sloths fly from Guyana to Billund Airport - DENMARK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13525/story.htm
Western Canadian beetle epidemic spreading rapidly - CANADA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13521/story.htm
Save the Date! AlterNet's first live Web Cast, a discussion of "Visions for a Safer World," will air on Thursday, Dec. 6, 4:30 PST.
ALTERNET READERS CREATE ONLINE TOOL FOR PEACE A group of activists and programmers, who met through AlterNet's message boards, have created a tool that allows users to send "E-Cards for Peace." If you want to help spread a message of progressive patriotism -- or just want to read the inspiring story of how the project was born -- visit:
Or check out the message boards where it all began:
CONFOUNDING CARNIVORE: HOW TO PROTECT YOUR ONLINE PRIVACY
Omar J. Pahati, AlterNet
Recent anti-terrorism legislation has given Carnivore -- the FBI's online snooping tool -- increased powers. But privacy-minded citizens can foil the Feds with a few simple tools.
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION EASIER TO GET THAN EVER
Tamara Straus, AlterNet
The end of the Cold War was supposed to mark the end of the arms race. Instead, weapons of mass destruction are proliferating. After 9-11, this reality is getting harder to ignore.
LATTE LIBERALS DROPPING THEIR SUVS AFTER 9/11
Michelle Chihara, AlterNet
In an act of guilty patriotism, liberal SUV owners are finally swapping their gas-guzzling behemoths to help reduce America's unsustainable dependence on foreign oil.
AFGHANISTAN SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF AN AID WORKER
Bob Geary, Independent Weekly
The Rev. Ray Buchanan was in Northern Afghanistan last month at a time when American B-52 bombers were still trying to dislodge Taliban troops from the hills near the Northern Alliance headquarters at Khojja Boddin.
MEDIA MASH: THE DILDO BANDITO; HOME DEPOT CENSORSHIP?
Don Hazen, AlterNet
This week from the Masher: The Dildo Bandito strikes Boulder ... The timely film "Focus" ... Mark Green, media victim ... Arsenic ads censored due to Home Depot ties?
HOW THE MILITARY TRIBUNALS WILL REALLY WORK
David Turnley, AlterNet
A list of shocking rules for Bush's military tribunals, including "If a lawyer cannot be found for the defendant a suitable chimpanzee will serve as counsel."
Danny Schechter, MediaChannel.org
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman blasted TV coverage of economic issues for ignoring "the whole picture," a reminder of what U.S. business reporting often overlooks.
* In Media Culture: http://www.alternet.org/?IssueAreaID=19
WHAT WERE THEY SMOKING?
Daniel Forbes, Salon
A Texas Clear Channel radio station agreed to host a show on marijuana decriminalization. It has never made it on the air.
* In Drug Reporter: http://www.alternet.org/?IssueAreaID=17
FAR-RIGHT RECRUITING DRIVE
Yigal Schleifer, MotherJones.com
A range of racist and anti-immigrant groups are trying to turn the Sept. 11 terror attacks into a marketing tool.
*In Human Rights USA: http://www.alternet.org/?IssueAreaID=22
EMS Update - Nov. 29, 2001
New Labeling System Aims to Protect Coral Reefs
A new certification system unveiled by the Marine Aquarium Council enables aquarium hobbyists to more easily shop for fish and other organisms that were collected in a sustainable way and handled to ensure optimal health.
Fact sheets and resources:
House Passes Price-Anderson Act
Public interest groups reacted angrily when the House passed the Price-Anderson Act this week by voice vote with few members actually present. The act, which still faces a Senate vote, limits the liability of nuclear plants in the event of an accident by transferring costs to taxpayers.
Safe Energy Communication Council press release:
Taxpayers for Common Sense statement:
SojoNet News Daily Headlines
U.N. Deadlocked on Anti-Terrorism Treaty
The key sticking points in the draft treaty revolve round several politically sensitive issues: How to define terrorism, distinguish terrorist organisations from liberation movements, and handle activities of national armed forces perceived as acts of terrorism.
U.S. Food Sale Is Hailed by Cuban Minister
Though emergency U.S. food sales have been approved to aid Cuban victims of Hurricane Michelle, the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for an end to the U.S. embargo by a vote of 167 to 3, with only the United States, Israel and the Marshall Islands opposed.
U.S., Allies at Odds Over Aid Strategy
A rift has opened between the United States and its key allies over the Bush administration's reluctance to deploy allied troops in Afghanistan to help safeguard the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Al Qaeda Link Seen in Only a Handful of 1,200 Detainees
"Initially, it was a huge sweep, and it seemed like there was some basis for thinking these people might have some information on the terrorists. But as things have gone on, it has come to seem very broad and overreaching, a fishing expedition instead of a targeted law enforcement effort."
New technology could make for more fuel efficient cars--and soldiers
New technology unveiled this week could pave the way for a new generation of significantly more fuel efficient and quieter automobiles, generators and power plants. The Pentagon is also particularly interested because, as it produces almost no detectable noise or electrical pollution, the device would aid covert operations.
House OKs 'Conflict Diamonds' Bill
The House approved a bill Wednesday that seeks to stem the sale of "conflict diamonds" used to fund civil wars in Africa.
The hostage nation
The most recent report of the UN secretary-general, in October 2001, says that the US and UK governments' blocking of $4 billion of humanitarian supplies is by far the greatest constraint on the implementation of the oil-for-food program.
Economic Stimulus Package: Pork in Sheep's Clothing
The 'Economic Stimulus Package' talk making its way around Washington is just old-style pork hiding out with the flock of campaign-contribution-concubines (Congress). It's not capitalist economics, it's corporate socialism.
Don't Be Fooled: Dynegy Still Wins, Consumers Lose With "Collapse" of Dynegy/Enron Merger
Dynegy Seeks Control of Enron's Pipelines, Guaranteeing Monopolistic Control
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Public Citizen warned today that unless government regulators block Dynegy's acquisition of Enron's Northern Natural Gas Co., millions of consumers will be vulnerable to noncompetitive pricing in electricity and natural gas. The acquisition would make Dynegy America's newest and largest vertically integrated energy company.
Although Dynegy's acquisition of Enron was called off, Dynegy still is trying to acquire Enron's most lucrative asset. Comprising two-thirds of Enron's 25,000 thousand miles of domestic natural gas pipelines, the Northern Natural Gas line runs from fields in Texas' Permian Basin to 14 states throughout the Midwest, Southwest and West.
According to news reports, Dynegy used $1.5 billion from its part owner, ChevronTexaco, to provide liquidity to Enron after the merger was announced. Now, Dynegy says it plans to claim 100 percent of the equity in Northern Natural Gas, which was used as collateral for the transaction. BusinessWeek recently estimated the pipeline is worth $2.25 billion.
Although the pipeline subsidiary is saddled with debt and recent flat profits, the 16,500 miles of Northern's pipeline will connect ChevronTexaco's domestic natural gas production (ChevronTexaco controlled 15 percent of the nation's natural gas production in 2000) and Dynegy's electricity generation and power marketing capacity, providing unlimited profiteering opportunities.
"The Dynegy/Enron merger has not collapsed, because Dynegy has gotten the only thing it wanted all along: Enron's natural gas pipelines," said Tyson Slocum, research director for Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy & Environment Program. "Now ChevronTexaco can connect the dots between its nearly three billion cubic feet of daily domestic natural gas production and Dynegy's 23,500 megawatts of electricity generation, since two-thirds of its electricity is generated by natural gas. This synergy of collusion will create America's largest vertically integrated energy company, enabling Dynegy to charge its customers higher prices for natural gas and electricity, and force its power generation competitors to pay monopolistic prices for natural gas."
Public Citizen is a consumer advocacy organization with 150,000 members. For more information on energy and other consumer issues, please visit;
China, U.N. challenged Over fish
MSNBC STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
Nov. 28 Challenging China as well as a United Nations agency, scientists writing in the journal Nature calculated that a numbers game is misrepresenting fish stocks worldwide. Misreporting by countries with large fisheries is creating a false sense that oceans are still abundant, they wrote.
BASED AT THE University of British Columbia at Vancouver, the scientists found that global catches, which were thought to be increasing during the 1990s by 700 million pounds of fish per year, actually have been decreasing by nearly 800 million pounds annually. Just one group, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, compiles global fisheries statistics, but it relies on voluntary reporting of catches from countries to estimate the amount of fish the oceans hold. The new studies being announced Thursday call into question the veracity of FAO figures and its reporting system. FAO must generally rely on the statistics provided by member countries, even if it is doubtful that these correspond to reality, authors Reg Watson and Daniel Pauly said. Moreover, by subtracting just one fish from the equation, the abundant Peruvian anchoveta, which is used only for fish meal and whose population fluctuates due to El Nino, an even more striking decrease was apparent: 1.5 billion pounds a year less seafood available for human consumption. Misreporting by countries with large fisheries, combined with the large and widely fluctuating catch of species such as the Peruvian anchoveta, can cause globally spurious trends, Watson and Pauly wrote.
TRACKING A DECLINE Since 1988, when the worlds seafood supply peaked at 34 pounds a person each year, the combined effects of overfishing and increasing human populations have reduced the amount of fish and shellfish available on Earth to only about 25 pounds a person each year, according to the findings. And this trend is projected to continue rapidly downward to less than 17 pounds a person each year by 2020. Using statistics gathered by the FAO since 1950, the scientists created maps of world fisheries catches and then built a computer model to predict catch size in different ocean regions. The model showed Chinas reported catches were unrealistically high when compared with catches from other ocean areas that have similar characteristics such as depth, temperature and biological productivity. The greatest impact of inlated global catch statistics is the complacency that it engenders, the scientists concluded. There seems little need for public concern, or intervention by international agencies, if the worlds fisheries are keeping pace with peoples needs. If, however, as the adjusted figures demonstrate, the catches of world fisheries are in general decline, then there is a clear need to act.
STANDING UP TO CHINA The findings came as little surprise to Lee Alverson, a global fisheries consultant in Seattle who headed research for the National Marine Fisheries Service in the Northwest and Alaska from 1970 to 1980. It takes a lot of nerve to make the sort of accusation they did about China, but there were a lot of scientists who felt nervous about those numbers, Alverson said. If any of the nations are putting bogus numbers into the accounting process, then our ability to assess if overfishing is going on is in jeopardy. Pauly said the world community must end overfishing if it is to meet future food demands. The new studies, he said, are dashing hopes that the sea can continue to meet our growing demand for fish.
BILL BEFORE CONGRESS A U.S.-based conservation group urged officials and lawmakers to take notice of the study. This is a wake-up call to all fisheries managers especially those in the U.S. you cant make good management decisions based on poor data and thats exactly what wešve been doing here, Gerald Leape, director of the Marine Conservation Program, said in a statement. Right now, we dont even know the status of two-thirds of all the fish stocks in U.S. waters. There is currently legislation, The Fisheries Recovery Act of 2001, before Congress that would eliminate this problem, he added. This crisis deserves the immediate and full attention of Congress. And a study being published Friday in the journal Science found that protecting marine reserves offers a realistic way of enhancing fish stocks. The study provides new evidence that marine reserves really can enhance nearby fisheries, said study co-author Callum Roberts, a professor at Britains University of York. It provides critically needed data that shows marine reserves can deliver the gains to fisheries that have long been predicted by theory, he told MSNBC.com.
The Associated Press and MSNBC.coms Miguel Llanos contributed to this report.
Environmental news from GRIST MAGAZINE <http://www.gristmagazine.com>
FEELING HOT, HOT, HOT
Unless you live in Greenland, you've probably already figured out that it's been an unusually warm couple of months here on Planet Earth. How warm? Well, September and October were hotter this year than ever before, and so far, 2001 is the second-warmest year overall, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. What's it all mean? Climate expert Leonie Haimson takes the earth's temperature, only on the Grist Magazine website.
only in Grist: How's the weather? -- in our Heat Beat section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/grist/heatbeat/weather112801.asp>
Global fish stocks are dramatically lower than reported by the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization, scientists at the University of British Columbia announced today in an article in the journal Nature. The scientists' findings -- that global catches are decreasing by nearly 800 million pounds per year -- directly contradict those of the FAO, the body responsible for determining fish stocks, which concluded that catches were increasing by 700 million pounds per year. The Nature article accuses China of dramatically inflating its catch numbers, thereby distorting global figures. The truth, the authors say, is that overfishing and population expansion have led to a decrease in total available seafood from 34 pounds per person per year in 1988 to only about 25 pounds per person per year today. They predict a drop to less than 17 pounds by 2020.
straight to the source: MSNBC.com, 28 Nov 2001 <http://www.msnbc.com/news/664237.asp>
do good: Take action to help the oceans <http://www.gristmagazine.com/grist/dogood/oceans.asp?source=daily>
The outlook is grim for the Northern right whale, one of the most endangered animals in the world, but simple measures could bring the species back from the brink of extinction, according to a report released today. The authors of the report, scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, concluded that if just two female right whales escaped needless death per year, the species -- which currently boasts just 300 members -- could survive. The whales migrate from the eastern seaboard of the U.S. to the Gulf of Mexico, through some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. As a result, they are susceptible to death by collision or entanglement in fishing nets. The scientists said that modest steps such as designing nets from which the whales could break free could help save the species.
straight to the source: BBC News, 28 Nov 2001 <http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1681000/1681532.stm>
UTNE WEB WATCH
NATTERING NETWORKS: HOW MASS MEDIA FAILS DEMOCRACY
by Jessica Clark, LiP Magazine
-- Media companies' competing interests have affected the coverage of the war in Afghanistan and the meaning of democracy in the United States.
EXPANDED CONSERVATION ASSISTANCE FOR FAMILY FARMERS?
by Environmental Working Group
-- Proposed farm legislation may open up subsidies to smaller farmers, paving the way for increased conservation practices in agriculture.
FORGET THE JOKES, FRUITCAKE IS SERIOUS BUSINESS
by Jason Zasky, Failure Magazine
-- Failure magazine writer, Jason Zasky travels to the Fruitcake Capital of America, Claxton, Georgia, to get the scoop on fruitcake.
Links to the above articles: http://www.utne.com/webwatch
FDA Ignoring Evidence That New Chemicals Created in Irradiated Food Could Be Harmful
Groups Urge FDA to Halt Irradiated Food Approvals Until New Chemicals Are Tested for Safety
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ignored growing evidence that a new class of chemicals formed when food is irradiated could be harmful, according to a report released today by Public Citizen and the Center for Food Safety. The groups are urging the FDA to refrain from legalizing irradiation for any additional types of food until the new chemicals are tested for safety.
The chemicals, called cyclobutanones, do not occur naturally anywhere on Earth. They recently were found to cause genetic damage in rats, and genetic and cellular damage in human and rat cells. The groups' report, Hidden Harm, details how the FDA has ignored this unique class of chemicals, which are created in many irradiated foods that the agency has legalized for sale in this country - including beef, pork, chicken, lamb, eggs, mangoes and papayas. It is expected that cyclobutanones also would be formed in many other foods the FDA is currently considering to legalize for irradiation.
The organizations today also released a sworn affidavit of toxicologist William Au, who was retained by the groups to independently review the risks posed by cyclobutanones and other chemicals formed by irradiation that could cause genetic damage.
Along with a letter outlining numerous health concerns caused by food irradiation, the groups filed Hidden Harm and Au's affidavit with the FDA to oppose pending petitions to legalize irradiation for processed foods, which comprise 37 percent of the typical American's diet; molluscan shellfish, such as clams and oysters; crustacean shellfish, such as lobsters and shrimp; and meat products. A fifth petition seeks to double the maximum dose of radiation to which poultry can legally be exposed.
"The risk that the FDA is taking with the health of the American people cannot be overstated," said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program. "If government officials knowingly allow people to eat food that contains these chemicals, they are courting a major public health disaster."
Though federal regulations require the FDA to determine whether food additives proposed for human consumption are likely to cause cancer, birth defects or other health problems, the agency has not done so for cyclobutanones, nor have agency officials explained why they have failed to do so. Under federal law, irradiation is considered a food additive.
Americans likely are unwittingly eating irradiated foods containing cyclobutanones. Though most irradiated food sold in stores must be labeled, there is no such requirement for restaurants, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other institutional settings. And there is no labeling requirement for foods with irradiated ingredients, except those containing irradiated meat. Moreover, due to a lack of reporting requirements for food companies, it is unknown how much irradiated food is sold in the U.S., or where.
"Children are likely to be especially vulnerable to the risks of these untested chemicals in their food," said Peter T. Jenkins, policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety. "It is beyond me why the FDA would take a chance by exposing American children in this way. The science is against it."
Au, an environmental toxicology professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, is internationally recognized for his work on the toxicological mechanisms that induce human disease. For more than 20 years he has taught, published peer-reviewed research and served on expert committees. He has received numerous awards, and has published or co-published more than 100 articles.
"An emphasis should be placed on the products that are unique to the irradiation process and that are potentially mutagenic, e.g. 2-DCB [2-dodecylcyclobutanone]," Dr. Au wrote in the affidavit. "Without conclusive evidence regarding the safety of these products, the safety of irradiated food cannot be assured." Au urged the FDA to "seriously and explicitly" consider "repeated observations" of genetic damage and reproductive toxicity in feeding experiments.
Though cyclobutanones were first identified in irradiated food in 1971, it was not until 1998 that German government scientists discovered that one type of cyclobutanone, 2-DCB, caused genetic damage in rats, and genetic and cellular damage in human and rat cells. Subsequently, the scientists found that two other types of cyclobutanones - 2-TCB and 2-TDCB - caused genetic and cellular damage in human cells. Rat feeding studies of these two chemicals are expected to be completed soon.
Despite these findings, the FDA not only has failed to publicly acknowledge the potential risks posed by cyclobutanones, but the agency proceeded to legalize irradiation for three classes of food even after the first two German studies were made public. Last year, the FDA legalized the irradiation of eggs, juice and sprouting seeds despite the fact that several high-ranking agency officials four months earlier had attended an international conference in Beijing at which the 2-DCB toxicity findings were presented and discussed.
Ironically, cyclobutanones are so easily detectable and have been known to remain in food for such lengthy periods - more than a decade - that they are commonly used as "markers" to determine whether food has been exposed to ionizing radiation.
The groups are calling on the FDA to take several steps: refrain from legalizing irradiation for any additional foods until comprehensive, published, peer-reviewed research is conducted on cyclobutanones; conduct a comprehensive analysis of the cyclobutanone levels in foods covered by irradiation petitions already approved by or pending before the FDA; and convene public hearings to thoroughly explore the potential health effects of cyclobutanones.
Hidden Harm can be viewed at
Au's affidavit is at
For more information about Public Citizen, visit
For more information about the Center for Food Safety, visit
No More Undeclared Wars
by Pat Buchanan
FDR "lied us into war because he did not have the political courage to lead us into it," Rep. Clare Luce blurted out in 1944.
The target of Luce's accusation was a president who by then had entered the pantheon alongside Lincoln and Washington. FDR's courtiers savaged the lady for maligning the Great Man, but few could credibly deny the truth of what she had said.
No matter the justice and nobility of America's cause in World War II, FDR had lied us into war. Even as he soothingly reassured the mothers and fathers of America ("I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars"), he was stoking war, and provoking Germany and Japan.
FDR lied about the secret war he had ordered U.S. warships to conduct against German U-boats. He lied about who fired the first shots when the U.S. destroyers Greer and Kearney were attacked. He lied about having discovered Hitler's plans for the conquest of South America and the Nazification of Christianity. No such plans existed except in the fertile and creative minds of British intelligence.
FDR sent picket ships out into the path of the Japanese fleet in the hope they would be sunk. He gave Lord Halifax secret, but unconstitutional, assurances America would defend His Majesty's colonies in the Pacific. He spurned a secret peace offer from Japan's Prince Konoye and issued a secret ultimatum to Tojo's regime on Nov. 26, 1941.
As Secretary of War Henry Stimson wrote in his diary two weeks before Pearl Harbor, "We should maneuver them into ... firing the first shot." FDR was guilty of impeachable high crimes. But as Field Marshal Moltke told Admiral Tirpitz, as he ordered the German army to invade neutral Belgium in 1914, "Success alone justifies war."
And America succeeded absolutely. And with FDR's death on the eve of total victory in the "Good War" in 1945, people no longer cared how the war had begun. Yet, our politics were poisoned by Roosevelt's mendacity, as it would be by Truman's undeclared war in Korea ("a police action") and by Vietnam, when senators learned they had been deceived in the Tonkin Gulf incident.
Today, America is being stampeded into a new undeclared war, against Iraq. Thus it is a time for truth a time for Congress to do its duty, and debate and decide on war or peace. We do not need to have our politics poisoned for yet another generation by the mutual recriminations of a War Party and a Peace Party in the aftermath of yet another undeclared war. Questions need answering.
Was Saddam involved in the massacres of Sept. 11? Was he behind the anthrax attacks? Is he harboring terrorist cells of al-Qaida? Is he preparing nuclear or bio-terror weapons to attack us? If the answer is "Yes," let Congress lay out the evidence before the nation and empower the president to take us to war.
Henry Hyde and Joe Biden, chairmen respectively of the House and Senate foreign relations committees, should assume their duty to the nation and history, and assert Congress' rightful role in the decision on war or peace. Both have said that they oppose a war on Iraq. But that is not enough.
On Sunday, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice seemed to assert that President Bush had the justification and right to take us to war against Saddam, should he so choose. But where did he get this authority? When did Congress cede it to him, or authorize U.S. attacks on the other Arab states on the War Party's enemies list?
While the United States could launch air strikes on Iraq at any moment, the ground troops needed for an invasion are not in place. And given the halving of U.S. forces since Desert Storm, it would take months before they are ready to march time enough for reasoned debate.
Indeed, the semi-hysteria of the War Party suggests it does not have the evidence to convict Saddam of Sept. 11, and a war on Iraq is but the next move on the little chessboards of empire they carry about in their book bags. But a war on Iraq could ravage our relations with Britain, Russia and NATO; shatter the Afghan war coalition; inflame the Arab street; and destabilize our Arab allies, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Should the Saudi monarchy fall to a revolution as a result of an attack on Iraq, Bush would have lost the oil storehouse his father went to war to defend in 1991.
It's time for Congress to debate again Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Is it to be containment or war? If it is to be war, we have a right to know why, and to hold accountable those who take us into war. No more Munichs, no more Yaltas, Bush said. Right he is. But let us add:
No more undeclared wars. No more presidential wars.
UTNE WEB WATCH
The Best of the Alternative Web
Web site down due to malicious hacker
If you noticed in the last few days that you couldn't access Utne Online, you may have wondered what happened. Well, our site got hacked. On Sunday our entire site was erased, and we've spent the last few days working on getting it back online. We're sorry for the inconvenience.
Below you will find the Utne Web Watch from Monday. Stay tuned for Wednesday's Web Watch. You should find it in your inbox in the next few hours. Thank you for your patience.
-Sara Buckwitz, Utne Online Coordinator
BOMBS AWAY: PRO-MILITARY TIMES DAMPEN VIEQUES PROTESTS
by Marcelo Ballve, Pacific News Service
-- Before September 11, Puerto Rican activists had made progress in their efforts to stop the U.S. Navy bombing practice on the island of Vieques, but after the attacks, protests have died, and activists worry that Congress "may turn its back on the tiny island."
LIFE IN THE TRASH LANE
by Keith David Hamm, FrictionMagazine.com
-- In Cuernavaca, Mexico, entire families scavenge though the municipal landfill in search of anything to resell. For the online publication FrictionMagazine.com, writer Keith Hamm describes how they manage to survive.
ONE-STOP SHOPPING FOR GLOBAL PEACE ACTIVISM
Web site review by Rebecca McGee, Peace.Protest.net
-- A project of Protest.Net, the Web site peace.protest.net is a clearinghouse of information about pro-peace and anti-racism activities taking place around the globe.
t r u t h o u t | 11.29
Germany-Egypt Warn Bush | Caution on Iraq
Swiss Police | Anthrax Letter from NY
KENNEDY | "Preserving Our Freedoms While Defending Against Terrorism"
DASCHLE | Briefing, Afghanistan -- Stimulus Package
BBC Nightly Video | American CIA Agent Killed in Afghanistan
Consumer Confidence Hits 7 1/2 Year Low
Planet Ark World Environment News
US working on proposals for 2002 Chile trade talks - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13475/story.htm
California conservation group hits PG&E reorganization - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13477/story.htm
NY sets hearing on proposed TransGas power plant - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13478/story.htm
Technology could make for more fuel efficient cars - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13486/story.htm
US sets another monthly record for ethanol output - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13487/story.htm
UPDATE - UK to set up national nuclear liabilities body - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13474/story.htm
Ethanol development in Mexico seen facing major snags - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13483/story.htm
SimsMetal UK to open refrigerator recycling plant - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13484/story.htm
Soccer-World Cup teams to get dog butchery pictures from Bardot - S KOREA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13482/story.htm
Bollywood star calls for end to elephant killings - INDIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13473/story.htm
US expert believed behind anthrax attacks - report - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13479/story.htm
E.ON says CHP law not binding if changed - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13480/story.htm
UPDATE - EU to challenge Germany's eco-tax waivers - EU http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13481/story.htm
EU approves UK pollution trading, may seek changes - EU http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13485/story.htm
Pacific Hydro to select wind turbine maker - AUSTRALIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13476/story.htm
New at TomPaine.com
THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT
Combating Terrorism vs. Exorcizing Demons
by M. W. Guzy
Bush's pledge to eradicate the evil that spawns terrorism rings about as true as the "actual" exorcism featured on "Dateline NBC." He'd do better to focus on terrorism's earthly roots, starting with Saudi-sponsored madrassas.
ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE: A PIG IN FLEECE
The Corporate Captains Elbow into the Bread Line
by Geo Beach
"The 'Economic Stimulus Package' talk making its way around Washington is just old-style pork hiding out with the flock of campaign-contribution-concubines (Congress). It's not capitalist economics, it's corporate socialism."
GREENING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY
by Mike VanBuren
Republican Theodore Roosevelt called conservation "a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of ensuring safety and continuance of the nation." Today, of course, many in his party -- hello, Rush? -- would call him an "environmental whacko."
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP
Fifty Nobel Laureates Sign in Support of AMB Treaty
by The Federation of American Scientists
"In the interest of national security, we urge you to deny funding for any program, project, or activity that is inconsistent with the Anti-Balistic Missile Treaty."
Sprawling Out: Highways to Nowhere
by Jim Motavalli
Suburban sprawl ate up America's open spaces largely as a result of lobbying by powerful pro-automobile organizations. Fortunately, citizen groups across the country are now successfully supplanting sprawl with smart growth.
REFLECTIONS ON A TROUBLED AUTUMN
by Gary Margolis
"Who would have thought/At the turn of the century/We would step back into/Another?"
COLLATERAL DAMAGE IN THE PESTICIDE WARS
The Troubling Story of Dr. Omar Shafey
by Karen Charman
What happens when a whistle-blower refuses to cover up pesticide poisonings?
CHECK IT OUT!
Tips, Leads, and Links
by The TomPaine.com Staff
Private Business, Public Policy ... Save Harry from Coke ... Polling for Power ... Nominations for Corporations ... Let's Not Talk About Arsenic ... and more.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Our Readers React
Snipes and Dismay ... Humanizing Foreign Policy ... Angry Anyone? ... Jenga ... What is Just Cause? ... Get A Grip! ... Capitalizing On Terror ... and more!
by Ralph Nader
U. S. corporations aren't even subtle about it. Waving a flag and carrying a big shovel, corporate interests are scooping up government benefits and taxpayer money in an unprecedented fashion while the public is preoccupied with the September 11 attacks and the war in Afghanistan. Shamelessly, the Bush Administration and Congress have taken advantage of the patriotic outpouring to fulfill the wish lists of their most generous corporate campaign donors. Not only is the Treasury being raided, but regulations protecting everything from personal privacy to environmental safeguards are under attack by well-heeled lobbyists who want to stampede Congress to act while the media and citizens are distracted.
Only a handful in the Congress--members like Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin and Representatives Peter DeFazio of Oregon and Barbara Lee of California -- have shown the courage to question the giveaways and the quick wipeout of civil liberties and other citizen protections. In most cases, such as the $15 billion airline bailout and corporate tax breaks, legislation has been pushed to the forefront with little or no hearings and only fleeting consideration on the floor of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
One of the boldest grabs for cash has been by corporations seeking to eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which was enacted during the Reagan Administration to prevent profitable corporations from escaping all tax liability through various loopholes. Not only do the corporations want relief from the current year's AMT taxes, but they are seeking a retroactive refund of all AMT taxes paid since 1986. This giveaway, as passed by the House of Representatives, would make corporations eligible for $25 billion in tax refunds. Just 14 corporations would receive $6.3 billion of the refund. IBM gets $1.4 billion; General Motors, $833 million; General Electric $671 million; Daimler-Chrysler $600 million; Chevron-Texaco $572 million. The 14 biggest beneficiaries of the minimum tax repeal gave $14,769,785 in "soft money" to the national committees of the Democratic and Republican parties in recent years.
Soon to join the bailout parade is the nation's insurance industry, which is lobbying the Congress to have the federal government pick up the tab for future losses like those stemming from the attack on the World Trade Center. Proposals are on the table for taxpayers to either pick up losses above certain levels or to provide loans or loan guarantees for reinsurance.
The insurance companies want federal bailouts, but they continue to insist on regulation only by underfunded, poorly staffed state insurance departments, most of which are dominated by the industry. Any bailout or loan program involving the insurance companies must include provisions which ensure that insurance companies cannot refuse to write policies and make investments in low, moderate and minority neighborhoods. Allegations about insurance company "redlining" or discrimination against citizens in these areas have been prevalent for many years. It would be a terrible injustice for citizens to be forced to pay taxes to help bail out insurance companies that discriminate against them. Congress needs to address this issue before it even considers public assistance for the industry.
People-concerns have been missing in all the bailouts. When the airline companies walked off with $15 billion plus in bailout money, the thousands of laid-off employees -- airline attendants, maintenance crews, baggage handlers and ticket counter employees --received not a dime. Attempts to include health benefits and other help for these employees were shouted down on the floor of the House of Representatives. Last month, more than 400,000 employees lost their jobs nationwide and the national unemployment rate rose to 5.4 percent, the highest level since 1996. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said roughly a fourth of the lost jobs were the direct result of the terrorist attacks of September 11. Bailouts, benefits or other aid for these victims of the attacks? No, that's reserved just for the corporations under the policies of the Bush Administration and the present Congress.
Yet it is the workers in the low-wage jobs -- like those in restaurants, hotels, retailing and transportation -- who are bearing the brunt of the layoffs in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center, according to a report from the New York State Department of Labor. Almost 25,000 people told the department that they lost their jobs because of the trade center disaster. An analysis by the department of the first 22,000 of the claims found that 16 percent worked at bars, 14 percent worked at hotels, 5 percent worked in air transportation and 21 percent in a category termed "business services." Only 4 percent worked at Wall Street brokerage firms.
While more workers lose jobs, the Administration is pushing for authority to expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) under new "fast-track" authority. The Department of Commerce concedes that at least 360,000 jobs have been lost under NAFTA, and private research groups estimate the total may be twice that number. Now, with unemployment rising to alarming levels, the Administration decides to cave to pro-NAFTA corporate demands which will only make the labor picture worse. No bailout for laid off workers, just a hard crack across the knees.
As Bill Moyers, the author and national journalist, commented: "They (the corporations) are counting on your patriotism to distract you from their plunder. They're counting on you to stand at attention with your hand over your heart, pledging allegiance to the flag, while they pick your pocket."
The present crisis cries out for shared sacrifice -- not the opportunism so blatantly displayed by the nation's corporate interests. President Bush and the Congress must summon the courage to resist the self-serving demands --the kind of courage and shared sacrifice that guided the brave rescue workers on September 11.
U.S. Will Use Once-Banned Human Tests
Pesticides: EPA says it will accept industry data gathered by giving paid subjects chemical doses
by Elizabeth Shogren
WASHINGTON -- Three years ago, in response to mounting criticism from environmentalists and physicians, the Clinton administration stopped using information from industry studies conducted on humans to determine the amount of pesticides that could be applied to fruits, vegetables and other crops. Now the Bush administration, siding with manufacturers on whether such studies are ethical and scientifically valid, has told the pesticide industry it will use data from such tests, in which paid volunteers swallow small doses of the products.
The new policy, which the Environmental Protection Agency has not announced, also appears to disregard the recommendations of a scientific panel the agency assembled in late 1998. Two panel members called for a ban on human testing of pesticides, while the 16 others said such tests must be very limited. The panel of doctors, bioethicists and clinical scientists urged the EPA to adopt a clear policy on human testing, one that would require adherence to rigorous standards and pre-approval by an independent review board.
"The force of the report was, in general, that it shouldn't be done. There should be a very high threshold," said panel member Samuel Gorovitz, a professor of philosophy and public administration at Syracuse University.
The new policy could have a significant impact because it comes as the government is beginning to reassess about 9,000 pesticide safety levels to reflect their impact on children. In general, children can tolerate smaller amounts of pesticides, medicines and other substances than adults.
Federal regulators determine the amount of certain pesticides that people can tolerate on foods, in water and in agricultural jobs without harming their health. Too much exposure can result in neurological damage, cancer or other serious illnesses.
Though details of the new policy are unclear, industry officials welcome the shift. Without human tests, the government uses the results of animal testing and multiplies that exposure level by 10 to establish an exposure level considered safe for humans. The companies argue that human tests provide more accurate results, allowing pesticides to be applied to crops in larger quantities and closer to delivery to supermarkets.
Without human tests, regulations "end up being more conservative and more restrictive than they need to be," said Ray McAllister, vice president for science and regulatory affairs for the pesticide trade association.
If human subjects are not used, "you may be denying benefits not only to the grower producing the crop but also to society that needs the food at a reasonable price," he said. "There are secondary public health consequences if you don't have good crop protection."
Industry officials also noted that human volunteers are regularly used to test the effects of air pollution.
The administration first signaled the policy switch last month, when a top EPA official told the annual meeting of the American Crop Protection Assn. that the agency would consider the results of clinical tests on humans.
Assistant Administrator Stephen L. Johnson "indicated the agency would be looking at the human data that were submitted," McAllister said.
Also, documents on at least three pesticides submitted to the EPA in recent weeks for re-registration plainly state that the agency is considering data from tests on humans. The re-registration is mandated by the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act, which requires the EPA to reassess 9,000 currently registered pesticides for their impact on children.
An EPA official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed Johnson's remarks to the trade group, and other EPA officials acknowledged that the administration is developing a new policy on human testing of pesticides. But officials said they did not have approval from top political appointees to talk about it.
In its 10-month tenure, the Bush administration has weakened an array of Clinton administration environmental regulations and proposals, agreeing with industry and angering environmentalists. The rollbacks range from loosening energy efficiency standards for air conditioners to erasing a provision that would have allowed federal land managers to reject certain types of mines if they would cause irreparable damage to public land.
The administration also halted the implementation of new, stricter standards for arsenic in drinking water. After conducting its own tests, and under pressure from Congress, the EPA announced last month that it would adopt the Clinton administration standard.
In the decade before 1996, when the law requiring retesting of pesticides was passed, the EPA received only a handful of human tests. In the three years that followed, the agency received 14 new, unsolicited human subject studies on 10 pesticides.
The controversy over human testing of pesticides erupted in 1998, when Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based investigative environmental organization, published a report on the plethora of human test results arriving at the EPA for pesticide evaluations.
Then-EPA Administrator Carol Browner harshly criticized the practice, launched the study and temporarily halted the use of such data. The moratorium deterred companies from sponsoring and submitting results from such tests. But because the Clinton administration never formalized the policy, Bush administration regulators could change their practices without a new formal policy.
The majority of human studies considered by the EPA in the past were conducted in other countries. But in 1999, 60 volunteers in Nebraska participated in a test of a pesticide called chlorpyrifos, which is marketed as Lorsban or Dursban. It has been used for 30 years to keep insects off most major crops grown in the United States.
The volunteers were paid $460. Some of them swallowed chlorpyrifos-laced tablets, while others took placebos. Some members of both groups experienced headaches or vomiting. Garry Hamlin, spokesman for chlorpyrifos manufacturer Dow AgroSciences, said the results of his company's tests showed no signs of toxicity from the pesticide.
"The clinical test was a way of bridging the gap from a considerable amount of existing data that would help us understand how this product functioned in the human body, how the body metabolized it and how quickly it excreted it," he said.
But the EPA panel of scientists found that human testing is almost never needed for pesticides already in use because studies are already available of agriculture workers and fruit and vegetable eaters who have been exposed to the pesticides.
The panel suggested that at least some human subject tests used by the EPA in the past had not met the demands of good science, saying that "bad science is always unethical." Panel members were concerned, for example, that previous human tests were too small to assess the risks of pesticide exposure to the broader population or to more vulnerable individuals.
Human testing of pesticides cannot be justified "to facilitate the interests of industry or of agriculture," the panel concluded in its final report, delivered in February 2000. Such studies are acceptable only if they "promise reasonable health benefits to the individual or society at large," it said.
Human studies could be appropriate for new pesticides, the panel concluded, if there was no way to protect human health by testing on rats, dogs and other laboratory animals.
Panel members were concerned that human testing of pesticides could become widespread, especially because the 1996 law required the EPA to give closer scrutiny to pesticides originally registered before 1984.
Recent documents regarding the pesticides phosmet, azinphos-methyl and chlorpyrifos--insecticides used on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables--show that the EPA is evaluating data from human tests as well as a variety of tests on laboratory animals to determine exposure levels.
Pesticide manufacturers want to use human tests to reduce or eliminate regulators' current assessment method: determining safe exposure levels for laboratory animals and then multiplying that risk factor by 10 to ensure safety for humans.
In the midst of the dispute over federal policy, California's Department of Pesticide Regulation drafted its own policy on human testing. The state agency considers human test data if the tests were conducted under specific ethical and scientific guidelines.
The state agency has considered two or three human-subject tests over the last five years, according to Glenn Brank, spokesman for California's Department of Pesticide Regulation. One such test, for the azinphos-methyl, persuaded regulators that humans and animals respond in the same way to the toxins in the pesticide.
As a result, the agency allowed growers of apricots and other pitted fruits to apply the pesticide closer to harvest time, Brank said.
Lynn Goldman, who headed the pesticide program at EPA for five years during the Clinton administration, opposes the use of human subject tests and strongly believes that EPA can safely regulate pesticides with tests on animals.
She said she is "very troubled" by the use of human testing for pesticides, because there is no possible healthful effect from taking a pesticide-laced tablet, as there usually is for testing a pharmaceutical. The only justification for conducting the tests is to make more money for the pharmaceutical companies, she said.
"If they were doing something to benefit us you might look at it differently," said Goldman, now a professor of environmental sciences at Johns Hopkins University. "For industry, there is an enormous amount of money in the balance; one study could make the difference of tens of millions of dollars. That's one of the troubling ethical issues."
Goldman also finds it disturbing that test subjects are given money to take the pesticide tablets, saying that encourages students and low-income individuals to participate.
Goldman said she believed that pressure from the industry prevented the Clinton administration from finalizing a policy governing human testing.
"When it came to new regulations or new policies like this one--and especially around the Food Quality Protection Act that had such a major impact on the world--we had a whole lot of push-back through the White House from industry, and a lot of it would come at us from Congress," she said.
SojoNet News Daily Headlines
Rights Report Holds Mexico Responsible for Torture
To the dismay of relatives who have sought justice for years, the report does not identify an estimated 74 former government officials who the right commission believes may have ordered or taken part in the disappearances.
IMF Mulls New Protection For Debt-Stricken Nations
The International Monetary Fund is moving toward adopting a dramatic new approach to financial crises: providing a form of "bankruptcy protection" to countries overburdened with debt, according to a top IMF official.
Afghan bandits force aid trucks to withdraw
Some relief groups say that lawlessness and banditry have so eroded their security in northern Afghanistan that they have been forced to curtail deliveries of badly needed food and housing supplies.
Injustice seen as fertile soil for terrorists
As the immediate shock of the attacks on New York and Washington fades, some European leaders are beginning to look for the root causes of terrorism. And they are blaming poverty and injustice as much as anything else.
Ex-FBI Officials Criticize Tactics On Terrorism
The officials, including a former director, said the Ashcroft plan will inevitably force the bureau to close terrorism investigations prematurely, before agents can identify all members of a terrorist cell. They said the Justice Department is resurrecting tactics the government rejected in the late 1970s because they did not prevent terrorism and led to abuses of civil liberties.
A MORAL RESPONSE TO TERRORISM: CONSCIENCE IN A TIME OF WAR
A new study series by the editors of Sojourners magazine.
This study guide - designed for use in classrooms, Sunday school sessions, small groups, and study circles - will be available next week. For a table of contents and to pre-order your copy, go to:
Many people saying bad things
Remember: You must not be skeptical. You must think the right thoughts. If you do not know the right thoughts, a list will be provided to you.
This war is not just
The crucial judgment about a war's "proportionality," central to any conclusion about its being "just," simply cannot be made on the basis of information available at present.
Ramadan Hunger in Palestine
Most Palestinians are hungering during the day because they are observing a religious fast, hoping to grow closer to God, and remembering with compassion all those who are poor and hungry. Some Palestinians are hungering because they are unable to buy enough food to feed their families. All Palestinians are hungering, day and night, for justice.
My return to Ramadan
In my fasts, I find pockets of meditative silence from my body's protests for food. There, Ramadan provokes not only empathy and charity, as my teta said, but also frustration and thankfulness.
There is little evidence to suggest that President Bush was ever particularly drawn to American constitutional history as a source of inspiration or insight.
But, if the president is unfamiliar with the work of the founders, they were not unfamiliar with him -- or, at least, with his ilk. America's framers spent considerable energy considering the dangers of a President who imagined himself all-powerful -- especially in times of war.
Such, now, are the times, and such is the executive.
Read John Nichols's special new Online Beat report for the full story. Exclusively available currently at:
And don't miss other recent Nation web articles by Joel Rogers & Katrina vanden Heuvel, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., Doug Henwood, Robert Scheer, Steve Cobble, Gayle Foreman, Matt Bivens and Jordan Green & Chris Kromm.
All available now at:
http://www.thenation.com There is little evidence to suggest that President Bush was ever particularly drawn to American constitutional history as a source of inspiration or insight.
But, if the president is unfamiliar with the work of the founders, they were not unfamiliar with him -- or, at least, with his ilk. America's framers spent considerable energy considering the dangers of a President who imagined himself all-powerful -- especially in times of war.
Such, now, are the times, and such is the executive.
Read John Nichols's special new Online Beat report for the full story. Exclusively available currently at:
And don't miss other recent Nation web articles by Joel Rogers & Katrina vanden Heuvel, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., Doug Henwood, Robert Scheer, Steve Cobble, Gayle Foreman, Matt Bivens and Jordan Green & Chris Kromm.
All available now at:
No thumbprint, no rental car
by Julia Scheeres
Dollar Rent A Car is currently making customers give a thumbprint before they give them the keys, another example of biometrics being used for ID purposes. To read more, push your thumb on the mouse here:
Plans for a wider war
by Jim Wallis
The war in Afghanistan rages on with growing numbers of U.S. ground troops entering the country and engaging in combat. If the Taliban retreat from the cities, back into their mountain caves, signaling a protracted guerrilla war, those troops will likely be on the ground for some time.
And it's becoming clearer that actions in Afghanistan will be followed by further military actions against other countries believed to have connections with terrorist networks. Last Wednesday at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, President Bush said: "Afghanistan is just the beginning on the war against terror. There are other terrorists who threaten America and our friends, and there are other nations willing to sponsor them. We will not be secure as a nation until all of these threats are defeated. Across the world and across the years, we will fight these evil ones, and we will win."
The London Sunday Times reported from "senior sources" in London and Washington that Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan -countries believed to contain al Qaeda bases or networks -are the next targets, and that military preparations are under way in all three places. The Times reports British sources as saying the new offensives could begin as early as January. In the U.S., attacking Iraq continues to be openly discussed. For weeks, conservative political voices have been making the case that Iraq must be the next stop in the war on terrorism.
But the risks and potential consequences of widening the campaign against terrorism into a war with other countries are serious. These would clearly be wars against nations and, inevitably, their people. Their goal would be to defeat and replace governments, not just to root out terrorist networks. In the military operations required for such a task, it would be virtually impossible to effectively distinguish between military targets and civilian casualties. The destruction and loss of life could easily backfire - increasing the danger of further terrorist attacks, followed by further retaliation, and risking a cycle of violence that could spiral out of control.
There are many governments that harbor antagonism toward the United States. And it must be tempting for some in this administration to use the campaign against terrorism as the moment for settling other old scores. Saddam Hussein remains a real threat, especially in his appetite for weapons of mass destruction. Yet, U.S.-led attacks on Iraq or other Arab countries could put our Arab allies in difficult internal situations by seriously polarizing the Arab and Muslim world against the West.
In Afghanistan, the U.S. could make the case that the Taliban regime and the al Qaeda network were integrally connected. The repressive regime not only refused to turn over the terrorists, but was dependent upon them for their power. But even there, civilian casualties were mounting and the U.S. bombing campaign was losing Arab hearts and minds until the Taliban began to flee - most of the world was happy to see the Afghan people free of Taliban tyranny. However, new and humanly costly wars against countries that may contain terrorist bases or training camps, but where the government is not synonymous with those networks, would inevitably raise serious international legal, political, and, of course, moral questions. The more innocent people who die in our campaign against terrorism, the more we lose our moral purpose and compass.
Combating terrorism should focus on terrorists. Our goal must be to find those who perpetrated the September 11 attacks and, most critically, to prevent further attacks. Wars against whole nations, even ones with repressive governments, are a blunt instrument in defeating terrorism. What we continue to need are targeted political, diplomatic, legal, intelligence, security, policing, and financial strategies against the networks of terror to achieve our objectives.
A widening American war in the Arab and Muslim world is a scenario we must steadfastly prevent. In addition to the deep moral implications about the human costs, a wider war is just not the most effective way to defeat terrorism, and it risks many unforeseen consequences.
A MORAL RESPONSE TO TERRORISM: CONSCIENCE IN A TIME OF WAR
A new study packet by the editors of Sojourners magazine.
This 5-session, 48-page study guide - designed for use in classrooms, Sunday school sessions, small groups, and study circles - is now available. For a table of contents or to order your copy, go to:
Lawmakers Bow to Wishes of Nuclear Industry
House Approved Nuclear Industry Subsidy With Almost No Debate Allowed and no Recorded Vote
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House approval of a measure that heavily subsidizes the nuclear industry shows that lawmakers' allegiances lie with the nuclear industry, not consumers, Public Citizen said today. The House late Tuesday voted to reauthorize the Price-Anderson Act, which limits liability for nuclear operators in the event of a serious accident or terrorist attack and shifts much of the burden to taxpayers. Lawmakers passed the bill, H.R. 2983, by a voice vote despite opposition from a broad coalition of public interest and environmental groups.
"Democrats and Republicans alike capitulated to nuclear industry lobbyists in allowing this flawed legislation to pass," said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program. "Apparently this House is more concerned with securing campaign contributions from the nuclear industry than protecting public health and safety."
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee that marked up H.R. 2983, received $131,590 from electric utilities in the last election cycle, making them his top campaign contributor. Electric utilities are also the top contributor to the committee's top Democrat, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), who received $109,679 leading up to the 2000 election.
The Price-Anderson Act, first enacted in 1957, establishes a taxpayer-backed insurance regime for nuclear power plants. It reduces the amount of insurance required for nuclear reactors, saving the industry billions of dollars in premiums. H.R. 2983 extends the Price-Anderson subsidy for another 15 years.
The House leadership put the bill on its suspension calendar late last week after many Capitol Hill staff members had left for the Thanksgiving holiday. The suspension calendar usually is reserved for non-controversial matters such as naming new post offices; debate is limited and amendments are prohibited. Many lawmakers expected Price-Anderson to be subject to a roll call vote to be held at night, but legislation opponents failed to call for such a vote, so many House members were absent when the act was considered.
"Price-Anderson raises too many critical issues to be treated as a formality," Hauter said. "To force the measure through a restricted legislative process that doesn't allow for full debate is an insult to the democratic process."
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
For more information, please visit http://www.citizen.org
"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect."
"WHAT NOW? by WILLIAM THOMAS
Posted By: hobie Date: Saturday, 24 November 2001, 12:38 a.m.
Excerpt: ALL FALL DOWN:
The Politics of Terror and Mass Persuasion by William Thomas
"Nothing would be what it is. Because everything would be what it isnt. And contrary-wise -what it is, it wouldnt be. And what it wouldnt be, it would. You see?' - Alice in Wonderland
WHAT NOW? by William Thomas
Rightly or wrongly, Alice had it right. Or, as that great Yogi named Berra once said, When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
Confuse people long enough (about 25 seconds for the average TV viewer) - and they will click channels, tune into less arduous distractions, and reset their brains to snooz control.
Its a time-tested formula. Everyone who runs a scam for personal, political or financial gain relies on their audiences fractured attention to get away with story lines that seem absolutely compelling in the heat of some manufactured moment - but collapse into complete nonsense if we run the tape back and view it frame-by-frame.
Take the events Sept. 11, 2001. Absolutely riveting video, relentlessly repeated. Authoritative news anchors looking dazed and grim, throwing out official statements like lifelines to millions of dazed and desperate viewers drowning in shock and disorientation.
It couldnt be real, but it had to be true.
* * *
So we bought it. Or most of it anyway. We didnt ask why intelligence agencies who couldnt catch a whiff of the most complex hit since the invasion of Normandy knew the names of 19 cremated hijackers and their renal-challenged ringleader within 48 hours of attacks that killed 50,000, no 25,000, no 6,000, no 2,500 people..
We didnt ask how frightened young men who couldnt fly Cessnas could navigate and steer heavy jets into their targets. Or why none of their names turned up on the passenger lists of the four airplanes they were supposed to have commandeered. (Total number of Middle Easterners among 257 passengers and crew: zero.)
We didnt ask what the United and American pilots (three of them military veterans) were doing while men armed with quarter-inch knives demanded death to fellow Americans, why their cockpit conversations were never released, why eight indestructible black boxes holding the keys to so many questions were rendered inoperable while hijackers paper passports escaped explosions and fire unscathed.
We didnt ask why a plane supposedly driven by its passengers into two separate crash sites in the Pennsylvania countryside came apart in mid-air. Or why the president of the United States remained more interested in the story of a pet goat than reports of airliners crashing into Manhattan skyscrapers and the Pentagon.
We didnt ask why U.S. forces were poised to attack across the Tajikistan border into Afghanistan in an assault announced last June - but could not scramble a single fighter to defend the U.S. capitol before three airliners hit their targets on a sunny morning in September.
We didnt ask why the CIA met with an ailing Osama bin Laden in an American hospital as the biggest British battle fleet since the Falklands sailed for waters off Afghanistan, why Washington gave the Taliban $43 millions in May, or why the FBI and Attorney General of the United States repeatedly ignored warnings and blocked investigations into the impending attacks.
We didnt ask what the CIA was doing in the upper echelons of Big Banks that profited hugely from short-selling United and American Airlines stocks in the final days before someone dialed 9.11
We didnt ask why the head of the WTC arson investigation told reporters there were explosive devices in the building, why so few survivors were burned, or why New York firefighters were dragged away from Ground Zero just when the site was becoming safe and they were getting close to the bottom of things.
* * *
We did not ask because we were not told what had really happened.
Like good Germans in Hitlers heyday, we looked the other way when more than 1,100 not-quite-white people bearing Middle Eastern names were thrown into U.S. prisons, interrogated, abused, held without notifying their families or lawyers - without ever being charged with terrorist acts. We were sure it couldnt happen to us.
Anthrax held us enthralled. Instead of asking what a weaponized strain of a decades old Made In The USA bacteria was doing in silent letter bombs, we clamored for risky antidotes and even more dangerous vaccines without stopping to consider that anthrax is not contagious, easily treated, rarely fatal - and that bee stings pose a far more serious threat to most Americans.
Like frightened Germans after the Reichstag fire, we demanded that authorities do something. They did. A Constitution generations of Americans had given their lives to defend was suspended. Laws were quickly passed permitting surveillance, assets seizure, arrest and detention of suspects - without formal charges or judicial oversight. Evidence will be sealed. Special tribunals will hear these cases. Forcible quarantine and inoculations are next.
A president who told Americans the day he took office - If this were a dictatorship, itd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as Im the dictator - appointed himself supreme ruler of a his new Supreme National Security Council. A hundred thousand troops were called up for internal security. And we said thank God, not realizing that soon perhaps we could be busted for that, too.
* * *
Everyone knows the score by now.
FEMA is only for hurricanes, the Florida recount can wait, Timothy McVeigh blew up a big building with the same sort of fertilizer used to cover up his cohorts, Osama bin Laden is an ungrateful madman just like Saddam and Noriega and all the other thugs weve hugged, Bushs War on Drugs is just as urgent and honest as his War on Terrorism. And kids as precious as our own being blown up in Afghanistan should just get out of the way.
We have to get bin Laden. Or maybe we dont. Its no longer clear. For sure, we have to topple the Taliban. What theyre doing to women must be stopped. But now our leaders say maybe it would be okay if they rule the southern half of the country and let us take the rest where the pipelines have to go through.
Pakistan is our ally. They are sending troops to fight on the side of the Taliban. They have nukes. The general who heads their intelligence service sent $100,000 to a fanatic the FBI says led the suicide planes against Manhattan. But its okay now. The FBI complained and the general has resigned.
* * *
Already the vultures are gathering.
On Oct. 10, 2001 U.S. Ambassador Wendy Chamberlain called on the Pakistani oil minister to get moving on the stalled Unocal pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to a Pakistani port. Selling oil and gas to China is back on the table she says, in view of recent geopolitical developments. In the context of appeasing China, Chamberlain is an interesting name.
In the context of Sept. 11, Chinas ascension to the WTO before the WTCs dust had settled seemed almost scripted. Like some kind of quid pro quo - you give us oil and a seat on the organization divvying up the world, we do something for you.
What could that be? At least 15,000 Chinese Muslim troops have been sent to the defense of the Taliban.
Some people think President Bush IIs second modern crusade is a contest between Allah and Christ. They are dangerously wrong. This war is being fought to reinstate the real god - gold, oil and drugs.
You and I can switch to bicycles or electric cars. But militaries cannot convert to battery-operated battleships or B-52s. The hi-tech allied armed forces needed to keep a lid on people being ripped off - which includes just about everyone on the planet - is running out of oil. The worlds biggest remaining oil reserves are in the Caspian basin. A 20- billion barrel transfusion must begin flowing through 48-inch arteries just as soon as they can be laid across Afghanistan - and injected into the industrialized veins of increasingly desperate oil addicts.
Forget global warming, catastrophic climate change, the oppressed women of Afghanistan, the starving millions shivering with the onset of winter, and millions more moderate Muslims who are beginning to believe that Osama bin Laden is right. Were talking serious money here: $3 to $5 trillion worth of oil and natural gas, and hundreds of billions more in that other addiction supplied by a country called Afghanistan.
An American administration intimately linked to the international drug trade and the banks that launder its dirty money has been beside itself since the Taliban declared poppy-growing against Shariah Islamic law. Maybe the mullahs were miffed at the CIA for cranking up Afghanistans heroin production to finance Osama bin Laden.
Their decree was issued 19 months ago. The fields are fallow; 60% of U.S. heroin imports have been shut off. Junkies are having withdrawals almost as bad as the White House, where some $250 billion a year in illicit drug money waters Wall Street, Big Banks, and various Bushes.
On the scale of national budgets, the only usable amounts of cash are in the drug trade. Everything else is a digital dream. If the drugs stop flowing, the world economy will instantly collapse.
The shadow administration hopes Columbia can pick up the slack. But a few dedicated drug enforcement officials havent gotten the word. They keep cracking down on drug lords like Lehder linked to people with names like Cheney and Bush.
All the details are in the lawsuits brought by a former Green Beret, a Contra drugs-for-arms dealer and smugglers gone straight.
But the media ignores the news.
* * *
Its imperative that the Taliban get turfed and fresh poppies planted. Dont get confused. These arent the poppies for Remembrance Day. Though in a way they are. Americans have been conned into wars for oil and drug profits beyond their knowledge or imagination since the U.S. Navy tracked the Japanese carriers steaming toward Pearl Harbor, the Maddox fought phantom Viet Cong gunboats in the Gulf of Tonkin, and Iraqi soldiers ignored the incubator babies in Kuwait.
The documentation is voluminous. Much it comes from government sources. Does anyone really believe the puppeteers behind the Sept. 11 attackers do not have a similar agenda?
You decide. Search the Internet. Check the references in the back of this book. Cultivate independent news sources. Evaluate. Read the evidence presented in All Fall Down: The Politics of Terror and Mass Persuasion. See if it resonates.
Ask yourself: Who benefits? Who gains?
Well, says David Icke, "The Illuminati want a world government and army, a world currency and centralized global financial dictatorship and control. They want micro-chipped people and a society based on constant surveillance of all kinds at all times. And they want a frightened, docile, subservient, people who give their power away to the authorities who can save them from what they have been manipulated to fear."
That pretty well nails it down.
* * *
Ted Rall has traveled extensively through Central Asia. His cartoons are savagely astute. So is his analysis. Rall writes that the Sept. 11 attacks have provided Washington with the perfect excuse to do what the U.S. has wanted all along - invade Afghanistan and install a puppet pipeline regime in Kabul.
Amend that to: puppet poppy pipeline regime.
Michael Ruppert is a former LAPD investigator. He has submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Intelligence. After investigating the events leading up to Sept. 11, Ruppert responds, I absolutely believe, at this moment, that the United States government had foreknowledge of the attacks and allowed them to occur.
Dr. Len Horowitz, the man who wrote the books on Washingtons complicity in a cull, says of Sept. 11: There is a conspiracy within our own government - a conspiracy of silence at minimum.
After two solid months on this case, after evaluating gigabytes of corroborative information, after presenting the patterns formed by that evidence in this book, All Fall Down - I fully concur. There can be zero doubt that the attacks of Sept. 11 were foreseen and facilitated by agents and agencies within the United States government.
I did not say, initiated. I have no evidence of that yet.
But in any courtroom worthy of that name, accomplices to mass murder are no different from those who pull the triggers. Or fly the suicide planes.
* * *
So what to do?
In a media-branded terrorist camp in the British Columbia interior, where armed native warriors were preparing to defend their Shaman and their land against heavily armed tactical police, their leader pointed to the campfire we were sitting around and told me that he welcomed a massacre that would spark an uprising across Canada.
Wolverine knew that provoking a heavy-handed response to one small band occupying ancestral lands would scatter the embers among the far-flung dry tinder of long-held resentments and rage.
Osama bin Laden knows this too. The Iraqis, Jordanians and Saudis I met during the Gulf War were businessmen troubled by American terror from the skies. They come from a tribal people with long memories. Even the more moderate Koran they follow teaches the absolute obligation of the faithful to avenge the killing of innocents -unless acceptable reparations and apologies are made.
Killing one million Iraqis - mostly children under the age of 15 - through bombings, radiations and epidemic-sparking sanctions then bombing people with the lowest per-person calorie intake in the world and killing millions more in the coming cold of a mountain winter is not a wise policy for anyone this side of such a vast gulf in history and perception.
Not if we want to keep opening letters, boarding airliners and working in tall buildings.
We certainly want to reduce the level of terror, certainly not escalate it, Noam Chomsky told a San Francisco peace rally. There is one easy way to do that and therefore it is never discussed. Namely stop participating in it. That would automatically reduce the level of terror enormously.
Beyond that, we should rethink the kinds of policies, and Afghanistan is not the only one, in which we organize and train terrorist armies. Rethink the policies that are creating a reservoir of support, Chomsky adds.
Want to stop terrorism dead in its tracks? Stop looking the other way. Stop arming people with heavy grievances and their own agendas. Take out the training camps, from Fort Benning, Georgia to the Bekaa Valley. Give angry, hungry kids in refugee camps a home, a homeland, an education, a stake in a worthwhile future.
Give them respect.
Listen to what they are saying. Before they feel driven to say it with 30-pounds of explosives strapped to their chests. The biggest thing I learned before bullets started flying at Gustafsen Lake is that people with grievances just want to be heard.
* * *
Bill Moyers has another startling suggestion. Reduce our need for oil. In a keynote address to the Environmental Grantmakers Association on October 16, 2001 Moyers asked, "Do we want to send the terrorists a message? Go for conservation. Go for clean, home-grown energy."
He said, "As for national security, well, its time to expose the energy plan before Congress for the dinosaur it is. Everyone knows America needs to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel. But this energy plan is more of the same: more subsidies for the rich, more pollution, more waste, more inefficiency... America's unchecked consumption of oil has become our Achilles heel. It leaves our economy dangerously vulnerable to price shocks. It invites environmental degradation, ecological disasters, and potentially catastrophic climate change."
* * *
Feeling used, enslaved, scammed, betrayed, lied to, burned out, bummed out. manipulated, screwed over, mind controlled, emotionally blackmailed, tantalized, toyed with, jerked around, ripped off, threatened, harassed, patronized, exhorted, extorted, attacked by powerful interests who keep telling you it's all "for your own good" and that there is no such thing as conspiracy at high and hidden levels?
Take heart! In September, 2001 more than 50 million North Americans accessed the Internet from their homes. An online community of real flesh and blood brothers and sisters is coming together very quickly now. Nothing is hidden, all is being rapidly revealed. Despite the complacent complicity of media mesmerizers, the first mass-marketed war to come up against the worldwide web is being undone by hundreds of millions of people bypassing its contradictions and coercions to share solidarity and insights on the net.
From North, South, East and West people of all persuasions are coming together in a rapidly coalescing consciousness. Each new participant brings another vital piece of personal perspective that is already forming a new world view that is inclusive, respectful, compassionate and celebratory of its differences and diversity.
We can turn this around.
We've all been traumatized. Were all mad as New Yorkers. And were smarter and more generous than our fear and anger.
People know whats going on. Even those who dont have access to alternative information sense that there is much more to motives and events than they are being told. By the grace of a wired world and the spirit within us all, we are joining together to pull the plug on cynical profiteers whose only god is the payouts they receive in gold, oil and drugs.
Here are some things we can do:
Remember the children.
Unplug all brainwashing broadcast machines within eye and earshot.
If someone tries to sell you a box of bombs and flags. Just say, "Forget it. I'm not buying until I read the label."
Buy only necessities.
Do not sign up, do not subscribe, do not join the party line. It leads to a gulag. Then over a cliff.
Do not look down.
Try spreading your wings instead.
Move always toward the light.
Call home immediately. Remember that prayer is more powerful than any weapon or ill intention every devised.
Listen to each others stories. There is more wisdom in personal experience than any agenda-serving analysis.
Hug someone you care about right now
Whenever you feel love and gratitude, express it out loud. Do this often. The whole universe hears you. Every creature who benefits will bless you for your gift.
Resist much. Obey little. Think for yourself.
When they come with retina scans, wear contacts inscribed with your favorite slogan.
THINK LIKE SOMEONE IN A COUNTRY OCCUPIED BY A FOREGIN POWER ACT LIKE SOMEONE SHARING A PLANET OCCUPIED BY A FOREIGN POWER REMEMER THAT YOU HAVE THE POWER
We must depart the script prepared for us. Reality is consensual. We can all change our minds. If we stand together in the face of tyranny, if we laugh at fear and choose to walk away from this scam - it all falls down.
Then we can build a saner, more compassionate, more joyful world together. - William Thomas
All statements excerpted from Chapter 9 above are fully described and documented in:
ALL FALL DOWN: The Politics of Terror and Mass Persuasion by William Thomas
225 p. $30 inc.shipping free electronic updates, please include an email address
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Environmental news from GRIST MAGAZINE
NOT JUST INTEL INSIDE
Aging computers are fast becoming one of the nation's thorniest waste management problems, but U.S high-tech companies are lagging behind on recycling efforts. A report issued Monday by the Computer Take Back Coalition gave high environmental marks to Japanese companies such as Canon, Sony, Fujitsu, and Toshiba for recycling old machines, limiting use of hazardous materials in computer construction, and protecting workers from toxics. U.S. companies, however, fared poorly, with only IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Apple scoring in the top 10, while Dell, Gateway, and others received low marks. Computer monitors contain about four pounds of lead each, while other components contain mercury, cadmium, and other harmful substances. Given that 24 million computers became obsolete in 1999 alone, the e-toxics add up fast.
straight to the source: San Jose Mercury News, Paul Rogers, 26 Nov 2001 <http://www0.mercurycenter.com/business/top/006414.htm>
do good: Take action and tell your computer manufacturer to recycle <http://www.gristmagazine.com/grist/dogood/waste.asp#computer>
THE ENDS OF THE EARTH SUMMIT?
The aftershocks of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States are reaching halfway around the world, rendering uncertain the planning and financing for the World Summit On Sustainable Development, to be held next year in South Africa. The event, which is organized by the United Nations and is better known as the Earth Summit, will mark the 10-year anniversary of the first environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro. The upcoming gathering was originally scheduled to end on Sept. 11, 2002, but conference dates are now up in the air. Financing for the event, which could cost as much as $55.7 million, is also on shaky ground, as potential sponsors worry about global economic slowdown. The conference is expected to draw more than 60,000 delegates, activists, journalists, and heads-of-state, and will focus on establishing timelines and targets for sound environmental management.
straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Brendan Boyle, 28 Nov 2001 <http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13470/story.htm>
STING LIKE A BUTTERFLY
Every year, millions of migrating Monarch butterflies make their way from Canada to central Mexico, where they reproduce and overwinter in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Trouble is, 60 percent of that reserve has disappeared in the last few decades due to logging. Now Mexican officials say they are getting serious about protecting the reserve, assigning 60 inspectors to patrol for illegal loggers, many of whom are financed by urban businesses that use the wood to make boxes and pallets for the fruit and vegetable industry. Two sting operations this year, in which authorities seized some 300 truckloads of illegally logged wood, were so successful that the government decided to make the official presence permanent.
straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Fiona Ortiz, 28 Nov 2001 <http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13455/story.htm>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 28th, 2001
NASA has set a 40-mile no-fly zone around Cape Canaveral prior to the space shuttle launch tomorrow morning -- but what about the nuclear power plant no-fly zones? Why were those no-fly zones much smaller, and why were they temporary?
As far as I can recall hearing, terrorists have never made a credible threat against our space program (although, since they often launch military payloads, I suppose it goes without saying that the space shuttles would be considered legitimate military targets by any aggressor nation).
But if the shuttle is a threatened target, well, guess what? SO ARE THE NUKES. Osama, as well as many other terrorists, have repeatedly threatened to attack our nuclear power facilities, and killing bin Laden won't stop his threat -- it might even increase the risk if it makes him a martyr to his suicidal, maniacal followers. They also threatened, prior to 9-11, to hijack multiple planes at the same time. There is no question that we should take terrorist threats seriously.
But let's be balanced and fair about our risks. We lost a shuttle and the Nation moved on. But to lose a nuclear power plant would be a disaster with unending painful repercussions for this nation. Just look at the ever-widening "dead-zone" around Chernobyl, where probably 10,000 or more have already died (mostly children). But even Chernobyl was hardly a "worst case scenario": A nuclear accident could be much, much worse.
A nuclear power plant is an easier, more effective target than the space shuttle. For one thing, nuclear power plants are stationary. Soon after launch, the shuttle is traveling "faster than a speeding bullet" and a lot "higher than a kite". It's a lousy target, unless it's the victim of an inside job.
But every day, our nuclear power plants sit, running on the edge of disaster, inviting attack, and meanwhile, creating piles and piles of new nuclear waste, every ounce of which presents juicy new targets for terrorists.
Russell Hoffman Concerned Citizen Carlsbad, CA
For a list of nuclear power plants in America by state:
For a list of 200 nuke-related books and videos:
MediaChannel.org - news, reports, resources and opinion. Featuring content from more than 800 media-issues groups worldwide.
DAILY MEDIA NEWS Breaking news stories about the international media, from mainstream and alternative sources.
Global conflict coverage exclusively from Globalvision News Network.
WORLD IN CRISIS, MEDIA IN CONFLICT
The war in Afghanistan becomes a deadly reality show as pictures from the frontlines fill the world's TV screens and newspapers. Our special coverage continues, including:
* Media, Democracy And War: A MediaChannel interview with Afghanistan expert Michael Griffin.
* Mariella Li Bergoli on propaganda in Italian war coverage.
* An art project uses defense department data for an unwinnable video game.
* The hip hop antiwar movement .and much more. PLUS: browse the thematic archives.
MAKING WORLD NEWS MATTER
Despite the usual conclusions of TV executives, increased TV news coverage of the developing world CAN interest Western audiences. (From UNESCO Courier)
PHOTOGRAPHY AND TRUTH
What do advances in digital photo manipulation mean for virtual child pornography, hoaxers - and journalists? (From Media Awareness Network)
TAKING ACTION AGAINST DEREGULATION
New online tools to fight media concentration, lawyers and scholars debate media ownership and activists confront UK plans for policy reform in the latest from MediaChannel's Concentration Watch.
NEWS DISSECTOR: "ALTERNATE REALITY"
Danny Schechter responds to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's attacks on TV coverage of economics.
ZIMBABWE: PRESS ATTACKS ESCALATE
President Mugabe is turning to new legislation and regulation in his ongoing battle against the press. (From IFEX, All Africa, others)
MEDIA MYTHS AND HOW THEY SPREAD
A speech by President Clinton meets with both media distortions and neglect. (From Spinsanity, The Black World Today)
Public Citizen Sues to Block Implementation of Executive Order on Presidential Records
Order Would Illegally Limit Access to Records of Former Presidents
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Public Citizen today filed suit in a federal court in Washington, D.C., to overturn an executive order issued by President Bush that limits access to the records of former presidents. Public Citizen contends that the executive order violates a federal law, the Presidential Records Act, which opens most presidential records to public access 12 years after a president leaves office.
Public Citizen filed the lawsuit on behalf of Public Citizen, the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the National Security Archive, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and eminent presidential historians Hugh Graham and Stanley Kutler. The suit seeks to compel the National Archives to abide by the terms of the Presidential Records Act and to release to the public some 68,000 pages of records of former President Ronald Reagan, which should have been released last January, 12 years after President Reagan left office. A copy of the complaint is at www.citizen.org.
The Bush executive order jeopardizes access to those records, and those of other former presidents, by providing that whenever a former president asserts a claim of "executive privilege," the Archives may not open records to the public even if the claim of privilege is legally invalid. This echoes an earlier attempt by the Reagan Justice Department to require the Archives to defer to any claim of privilege made by a former president. That Justice Department directive also led to a lawsuit by Public Citizen, Public Citizen v. Burke, which resulted in a 1988 appellate court ruling that the Justice Department's attempt to give former presidents veto authority over release of their papers was unlawful.
"Bush's executive order violates not only the spirit but the letter of the law," said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. "We will not stand by while the administration tramples on the people's right to find out about their own government. The president should not have the ability to arbitrarily withhold public information to hide wrongdoing or avoid embarrassment."
Added Public Citizen attorney Scott Nelson, "This new executive order is unlawful for exactly the same reasons as was the Justice Department directive in Public Citizen v. Burke. We expect the courts once again will reject this attempt to give former presidents the keys to lock up their records."
The executive order also raises barriers to vice presidential records - including the vice presidential records of President Bush's father - by providing for the first time that a vice president may claim a vice presidential "executive privilege," which the Archives is also required by the Bush executive order to honor.
"This concept lacks any foundation in American constitutional law," Nelson said. "It's interesting that the first beneficiary of this new doctrine would be the father of the man who announced it."
Under the Presidential Records Act, passed in 1978 in the wake of controversy over the control of documents and tape recordings of former President Richard Nixon, the records of presidents and vice presidents are public property, and the Archives must make them available to the public as quickly as practical after a president leaves office. Former presidents and vice presidents can restrict access to some categories of records, including confidential communications with their advisers, for up to 12 years, but after the 12-year period is over, the act requires that such materials be made public. The act makes exceptions for classified materials that could damage national security.
The 12-year restriction on Reagan's presidential documents housed at the National Archives' Reagan Presidential Library expired earlier this year. When the Archives informed the White House that it intended to release the documents to the public, the White House first directed the Archives to wait eight months while it studied the issue and earlier this month promulgated the executive order.
Under the order, both a former president and incumbent president have an unlimited amount of time to review any documents the Archives proposes to release after the 12-year restriction period expires. If the former president objects to the release of any materials, the order provides that the incumbent president will concur with the former president's wishes unless there are "compelling circumstances" that favor disclosure. But even if the sitting president finds that there are "compelling circumstances" and disagrees with the former president, the order requires that the Archives abide by the direction of the former president and keep the documents secret.
"In effect, the executive order makes the release of records dependent on the good graces of the former president," said Nelson. "The whole point of the Presidential Records Act was to take control of access out of the hands of the former presidents. By giving presidents back the power to cover up inconvenient documents, the executive order has inevitably made people wonder what they may be trying to hide."
Note: Hugh Davis Graham is a Vanderbilt University history professor and prolific author specializing in postwar federal domestic policy. One of the nation's foremost scholars on Ronald Reagan's presidency, Graham has done extensive research on the Reagan administration's civil rights policy and is co-editor of a forthcoming volume of papers to be entitled The Reagan Presidency. Stanley I. Kutler is professor emeritus of history and law at the University of Wisconsin and is widely recognized as a leading presidential historian. With Public Citizen, he spearheaded litigation leading to a settlement providing access to the tape recordings of Richard Nixon, transcripts of which he published in the 1997 book Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes.
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
For more information, please visit http://www.Citizen.org
Russia, Oil, And Conspiracy Theories
by Anne Applebaum
Down, down, down slide the oil prices. Last year they soared above $30 a barrel. This year, thanks to the international economic slowdown, they've dropped as low as $11. At the moment, they're hovering around $17-$18 a barrel. OPEC is trying to raise prices by cutting production and is browbeating non-OPEC members around the world to go along. Norway has agreed. So has Mexico. So has Oman.
Russia has not agreed howevermaking it the only major oil exporter not to have pledged a significant decrease in production. To date, Russia has offered a cut of 50,000 barrels, well below the half-million barrel-cut that OPEC wants. Without Russia's cooperation, OPEC won't go ahead with its own. Without Russia's cooperation, oil prices will stay low. Without Russia's cooperation, in fact, even Russia suffers: Crude-oil exports account for a quarter of Russian government revenues, and every $1 decrease in the price of an oil barrel cuts almost $1 billion in Russian earnings. Why, then, won't Russia cooperate?
Those who prefer the deepest, darkest, most dramatic answers to this question already suspect the existence of a plot: a Russian conspiracy to destroy OPEC in general and to destabilize Saudi Arabia in particular, the better to increase Russian market share. If this is the case, Russia may well win any game of chicken: Russia's 2002 budget is being written on the basis of a price of $18.50, but could survive, with some borrowing, if prices stay above $15 (or, according to some, above $12). The Saudi budget, on the other hand, is in trouble at anything lower than $21. Publicly, there is no love lost between the two countries or between Russia and OPEC. An economic adviser to the Russian president said recently that OPEC is a "historically doomed organization" and that "Russia is in a much more advantageous position." This week, a senior Saudi oil official also expressed diplomatically worded anger at the lack of Russian cooperation, warning of a price drop so severe that it is "difficult to speculate on its extent."
An advanced version of this conspiracy theory has the United States in on the plot to destroy the Saudis. Admittedly, such an intrigue would have a certain historical symmetry to it: There are those who believe that the United States, in league with Saudi Arabia, also tried (successfully) to destroy the Soviet Union in the 1980s by lowering oil prices. And certainly it is true that in the wake of Sept. 11 America's close relationship with the Saudis is under tough scrutiny. OK, they're our alliesbut who needs an ally whose citizens fly airplanes into American buildings? Destabilizing the regime is a dangerous game, but how much worse could its replacement be? Osama Bin Laden is Saudi after alland so is his money.
Of course, even if the game isn't the out-and-out destruction of Saudi Arabia, the existence of tacit U.S.-Russian cooperation can't be ruled out. If it suits the Russians to produce more oil at the moment, it also suits the recession-stricken United States to buy oil at lower prices. In the long term, the United States is quite keen, for political reasons, to reduce its dependency on Middle Eastern oil. Russia is equally keen, for political reasons, to make everyone more dependent on Russia. Those who believe that there is U.S.-Russian collusion to increase oil exports from Russia and other ex-Soviet nations to the West can also point to the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, the first successful Russian-Western-Kazakh pipeline venture, which just happens to kick in this month.
There may be more pipeline possibilities as well. I have no patience whatsoever for those who claim the U.S. government is fighting in Afghanistan because it wants to build a pipeline across the country, largely because there is no evidence that, before Sept. 11, anyone in the U.S. government even remembered Afghanistan's existence. On the other hand, I doubt whether the Russians ever forgot about the idea. Visions of a new pipeline from Turkmenistan to the Indian Ocean may well have been behind their decisions to arm, feed, and provide ammunition to the Northern Allianceand in Russia's recent, unilateral decision to recognize the Northern Alliance as the "legitimate government" of Afghanistan. If we had not only Russian and Kazakh oil but Turkmen oil as well, would we need OPEC at all?
There is a third possibility, of course, which is that the Russian government has so little influence over its oil producers that it couldn't cut production even if it wanted to. A few weeks ago, a Russian government minister did actually admit that the slump in crude prices meant it was "time to think about [cutting] the budget." He was immediately hushed up by a colleague, who described his comments as "politically unacceptable."
Perhapsbut they may also have been factually accurate. The truth is that whatever the government thinks about it, high production levels, even coupled with lower prices, suit the powerful oil barons very well indeed. Many of them have invested heavily in exploration and new production in recent years and are trying to raise production from the post-Soviet slump. Many are also consciously trying to clean up their public images in preparation for the flotation of their companies on Western stock exchanges. Presumably the companies are worth moreand the owners' shares are worth moreif their production capacity is higher. Given the choice between the welfare of their countrymen and the size of their wallets, Russian oligarchs have never had much trouble making up their minds.
t r u t h o u t | 11.28
Bush Proposes Heavily Arming Egypt
Rangel-US Congress Act on Illicit Diamonds
Congress Will Challenge, Bush and Ashcroft on Secret Tribunals
EU May Not Extradite Terrorists | Secret Tribunals Unacceptable
BBC Nightly Video | Amnesty International Calls for Probe Into Killing of Taliban Prisoners
Planet Ark World Environment News
UPDATE - Ashcroft says US got threat against natgas sector - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13461/story.htm
Animal clones as food source face US scrutiny - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13471/story.htm
NY sets hearings on proposed Calpine power plant - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13464/story.htm
Bush administration to sharpen farm bill views - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13462/story.htm
UPDATE - US Senate leader sees energy bill vote next year - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13456/story.htm
UPDATE - Green groups renew bid to stop UK nuke fuel plant - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13453/story.htm
Mexico offers to stage WTO conference in 2003 - SWITZERLAND http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13465/story.htm
September 11 attacks weigh on Earth Summit plans - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13470/story.htm
UPDATE - China rule on GMO soy may not come this week - SINGAPORE http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13467/story.htm
UPDATE - Norway oilmin seeks talks with Russia on oil price - NORWAY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13457/story.htm
Mexico plans to develop beach resort in Baja - MEXICO http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13463/story.htm
Mexico moves to protect Monarch butterfly reserve - MEXICO http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13455/story.htm
Lebanese child killed by mine explosion - LEBANON http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13458/story.htm
German minister says green goals may harm economy - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13468/story.htm
Full GM separation may double prices - US farmers - EU http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13466/story.htm
Czech, Austrian leaders set to meet on nuclear row - CZECH REPUBLIC http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13459/story.htm
China police nab endangered animal-hide smugglers - CHINA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13472/story.htm
Candidates would benefit from EU environment laws - BELGIUM http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13454/story.htm
IAEA says Czech Temelin n-plant safe to operate - AUSTRIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13460/story.htm
Biotechnology may improve Australian sugarcane - AUSTRALIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13469/story.htm
Widow Presses FBI To Release Flight 93 Hijack Cockpit Tape
by Andrew Quinn
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Passengers killed in the hijack crash of United Airlines Flight 93 have become heroes of the Sept. 11 attacks --everyday Americans who apparently fought back, sacrificing themselves to stop yet another plane being used as a weapon of terror.
But family members of some of those lost on Flight 93 are now pushing for more complete accounting of what actually occurred on the aircraft, asking the FBI to release the cockpit voice recording of the plane's final minutes.
"I lie awake at night wondering what he thought and what he felt and what his experience was," Deena Burnett, whose husband Thomas was among those aboard the plane, said on Monday.
"I think that by hearing what happened in the last moment of his life perhaps that would provide a little bit more of a picture."
United's Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco was one of four jets hijacked on Sept. 11. But while two were sent crashing into New York's World Trade Center and the third slammed into the Pentagon, Flight 93 crashed in a Pennsylvania field, apparently brought down by a passenger revolt.
The Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have so far declined to release even an edited transcript of Flight 93's cockpit voice recorder, saying that it is evidence in a criminal investigation.
But Burnett and at least one other family member say they deserve to hear the recording -- if only to answer once and for all what happened as the last hijacked jet veered off course and crashed, killing all 45 people aboard.
"We might be able to shed some light for investigators," Alice Hoglan, whose son Mark Bingham was aboard Flight 93, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We might be able to identify, for example, Mark's voice. Some of the other family members might be able to do that as well. We'd welcome that chance."
The public already has a picture of what many believe happened on Flight 93: a band of heroic passengers, after learning of the hijack attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, stormed the cockpit to prevent their hijacked jet from hitting another target and possibly causing even greater damage.
The story has been pieced together through bits of telephone conversations that passengers had with people on the ground and cockpit communications overheard by air traffic controllers.
In one exchange just before the Boeing 757 crashed, Todd Beamer, a passenger, called from a phone on board and told the air phone operator a group of passengers was going to try to stop the hijackers. He recited the Lord's Prayer with the operator and was then heard saying "Let's roll" -- words President Bush later quoted as a battle cry for the nation as it wages its war on terrorism.
LAST WORDS -- LAST CLUES
Grieving family members like Burnett and Hoglan, both of whom believe their family members were among those who made the last-ditch assault on the cockpit, say the voice recorder could shed important light on what happened as the aircraft streaked through the sky. "I expect my husband's voice to be on (the tape), and for that reason I believe that it would put one more piece in the puzzle, for me," Burnett told one interviewer.
Victims rights groups concur, saying that family members often need to assemble as much information as possible as they come to grips with their loss.
"There is this tremendous need to know, and if a family members wants to have the information, then I believe that they should get it," said Gail Dunham, president of the National Air Disaster Alliance/Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.
Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, who represents Burnett's California district, has joined the fight, writing to FBI Director Robert Mueller urging him to allow Burnett to listen to the cockpit recorder "to respect and honor the family of this American hero."
Dunham said tapes from earlier crashes had been released upon court order, or after prosecutors conclude that there is no information in them crucial to building a criminal case.
"There is a character to each crash, and Flight 93 will always be the heroes," Dunham said. "This could give the family members a sense of peace, that under these horrific circumstances their loved ones were still making the right decisions."
Who Attacked The USA?
NEWS EMBARGO AFTER ISRAELI LINK LEAK
by David Stern, Intel (Canada)
Stern-Intel (Canada) - A US military intelligence source revealed details of an internal intelligence memo that points to the Israeli Mossad intelligence service having links to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. The intelligence source, who requested his name be withheld, confirmed the internal US intelligence memo circulated four weeks ago described information that pointed to the threat of a covert Israeli operation on US soil to turn mass public opinion against Palestinian Arabs via an apparent terrorist attack on US interests that would give Israel the green light to implement a large scale military onslaught against the Palestinian Arab population.
The 11 September attack has been described experts as being too sophisticated for a lone terrorist group to execute.
If verified, the news of Israel's involvement in the US attack will come as no surprise to intelligence experts. The state of Israel has a long history of covert operations against Western targets with attacks on the King David Hotel, USS Liberty, murder of a Scandinavian UN envoy as well as espionage against the US during the Jonathan Pollard case.
On Wednesday the US defense department issued a warning to its officials to halt the leak of information on the investigation which it says is happening on a daily basis since the attacks occurred.
ON THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM:
EDITORIAL | What's Left? A New Life for Progressivism
by KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL & JOEL ROGERS
September 11 and its aftermath create a tremendous opening for progressives.
ARTICLE | Is the US Training Terrorists?
by JORDAN GREEN & CHRIS KROMM
This year's protest against the School of the Americas marked a standoff between a galvanized peace movement and the continuing militarization of US foreign policy.
EDITORIAL | Post-Taliban Afghanistan
by NATION EDITORS
The rise of bin Ladenism reflects the failure of reactionary Arab states to provide for their citizens' basic needs. (from the December 10, 2001 issue)
ARTICLE | The Afghan Humanitarian Crisis
by MATT BIVENS
In pursuing the goal of smashing the Taliban, Washington has been remarkably cavalier about the danger of mass starvation. (web only)
ARTICLE | Women in War
by GAYLE FORMAN
Women's participation in the peace process is crucial to insuring peace and stability for all of Afghanistan.
ARTICLE | Saudis and Americans
by KEN SILVERSTEIN
Is the Washington-Riyadh friendship in serious trouble? Don't bet on it. (from the December 3, 2001 issue)
ARTICLE | A Hard Look at Sanctions
by DAVID CORTRIGHT
Changing American policy in Iraq is an urgent priority, both for humanitarian reasons and as a means of addressing an intensely felt political grievance against the US. (from the December 3, 2001 issue)
ARTICLE | Voices From the United Nations
by DANIEL T. ARAP MOI, JOSCHKA FISCHER, TANG JIAXUAN, ROBERTO ROJAS
Excerpts from speeches to the General Assembly. (web only)
ON GENOMES AND CLONING:
ARTICLE | Governing the Genome
by RALPH BRAVE
Which genetic modifications should be encouraged and which outlawed? (from the December 10, 2001 issue)
ARTICLE | PR for the 'Book of Life'
by JACKIE STEVENS
An international group of profit-minded biotech advocates has been pushing error-laden predictions re genomes in mainstream exhibit halls, books and articles.
ON ELECTORAL REFORM:
ARTICLE | For a Voting Rights Amendment
by JESSE JACKSON JR.
Every sound idea for improving our voting processes will be stymied until the states' rights limitations of the Tenth Amendment are fully addressed.
ARTICLE | Recount Counterspin
by STEVE COBBLE
The purpose of an election is not to be a horse race for the entertainment of the media and political class.
EDITORIAL | Dust-Up in Doha
by WILLIAM GREIDER
The lesson from Doha is that zesty, conscientious and honest dialogues across the vast space of global indifference can yield real results. (from the December 10, 2001 issue)
ARTICLE | Terrorism and Globalization
by DOUG HENWOOD
Agenda-setters and activists sometimes seem to inhabit parallel worlds that never quite meet.
THE ONLINE BEAT
And don't forget to regularly check in with the Online Beat, John Nichols's exclusive web feature. Currently you can examine background on America's own terroist training facility -- the notorious School of the Americas look at the way some of the media has handled the Election 2000 recount story and read about John Conyers's fight to defend civil liberties in the US. All this and more available at:
Consumer choice drives green power market
By Environmental News Network
Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels will only occur when consumers are given the choice of a green power option, researchers from two national laboratories have found.
The team of scientists from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado and the Berkeley National Lab's Environmental Energy Technology Division discovered that consumers will choose cleaner sources of power such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass, if they have the choice.
"Our study shows that giving consumers energy supply choices can be a powerful mechanism for moving renewable energy into the marketplace," says Blair Swezey of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a coauthor of the study entitled, "Forecasting the Growth of Green Power Markets in the United States."
"Market research consistently shows that consumers prefer to receive their power from clean energy sources," Swezey says.
Under the best conditions, use of green power could grow 40 percent in less than a decade, to a capacity of 7,000 megawatts. But slow growth of renewable energy choices will be the actual scenario, the study concludes.
Reaching a high growth pattern for adoption of green power sources requires that "restructuring proceed without delay, that market rules in restructured markets are conducive to competition, that consumer awareness and acceptance of green power shows significant growth, and that the premium spread between the cost of renewable and competing generation technologies continues to narrow."
But the California energy crunch that started late in 2000 has set the green power market back across the country. California was a state that deregulated its power market, allowing consumers to choose which electricity company would supply their energy. More than 70,000 Californians chose energy generated by geothermal, wind and solar power.
But the green power market in California collapsed after the past year's energy crunch, and consumer choice was suspended. The study's coauthor Ryan Wiser of the Berkeley Lab says, "the California experience shows that the transition to competitive retail power markets will not be smooth."
A nationwide reaction to public utility deregulation followed, with states turning away from plans to deregulate their own electricity markets.
To take the California experience and its effects into account, Wiser and Swezy decided to include "restructuring regrets" and "restructuring meltdown" scenarios for the future of green power markets in their computer forecasting models.
They constructed low-growth and high-growth models by studying the actual penetration of green power markets to date and by taking into account a range of other factors, including public policy.
To gain insight into the progress of green products in the marketplace, they reviewed the history of consumer goods such as bottled water, organic food, and compact fluorescent bulbs, and to activities such as recycling and socially responsible investing.
The most relevant lesson was that "it often takes some time for markets to build." Even with something so familiar as long distance telephone service, the researchers note, it took 15 years for AT&T to lose half of its market share after competition appeared on the scene.
Wiser and Swezy conclude that the size of the green power market remains small but that there are prospects for sizable growth. Slow, steady growth in the early years is normal, they conclude, but also say that green power could substantially impact means of power production overall.
To make a real change from reliance of fossil fuels, green power must not only be available, it might have to be aggressively promoted and its costs reduced or supported by government subsidies, Wiser and Swezey advise.
Vigorous promotion and education are essential to success of green power, and market options alone cannot do the job of increasing reliance of renewable energy sources, they say, and if competitive retail markets fail to materialize, utility programs must pick up the slack.
SojoNet News Daily Headlines
Blood, tears, terror and tragedy behind the lines
"I saw my house disappear. It was a big plane that spat smoke and soaked the ground with fire." For a man who couldn't read and had never left Kandahar province in all his life, it was a chilling enough description of the Spectre, the American "bumble bee" aircraft that picks off militiamen and civilians with equal ferocity.
US targets three more countries
The war on terrorism is to be extended to three new countries as soon as the campaign in Afghanistan is over. Targets linked to Osama Bin Laden in Somalia, Sudan and Yemen will be at the top of the hit list, according to senior sources in London and Washington.
Next Target in Terror War: Bush Says It Could Be Iraq
Bush seems to have broadened his definition of terrorism to include the development of weapons that would "terrorize nations," a significant departure from the definition he used in an address to Congress in September about the purpose of the war.
Afghans wary of warlord rule
Some Afghanis say the warlords who replaced the Taliban have done nothing to curb crime, including the looting of homes, offices, and aid agencies. In fact, they say, militiamen are often the ones engaged in looting. Others point to abuses of power, including arbitrary arrests, intimidation, and whippings in the streets.
A MORAL RESPONSE TO TERRORISM: CONSCIENCE IN A TIME OF WAR
A new study series by the editors of Sojourners magazine.
This study guide - designed for use in classrooms, Sunday school sessions, small groups, and study circles - will be available next week. For a table of contents and to pre-order your copy, go to:
Afghan women at the peace table
Empowering Afghan women is not a matter of granting them any special or slightly patronizing "favors." It is, rather, to give all Afghans--male and female--the best chance they have to shake off their lengthy legacy of civil strife, impoverishment, and despair.
A Hard Look at Iraq Sanctions
As we work to change US policy and relieve the pain of the Iraqi people, it is important that we use accurate figures and acknowledge the shifting pattern of responsibility for the continuing crisis.
Get a grip you bunch of tree-hugging losers. Would you rather someone like Osama just run from cave to cave and never get his head blown off for what he has done?
Highway Safety, National Security Are at Heart of Mexican Truck Debate
Statement of Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook
The Senate's Mexican truck provisions do not violate NAFTA. The real issues driving the legislation are highway safety and national security to protect the public.
To protect safety and security, certain questions must be answered before the border is opened. How thoroughly will we inspect trucks crossing from Mexico? Will we know when hazardous materials are being trucked into this country? Will we just take the word of a new trucking company that sets up shop in Mexico, applies for a license to operate in the United States and claims to be a well-run, safety- conscious carrier? Or will we physically inspect its facilities to ensure it is not a terrorist-run or unsafe outfit? The Senate-approved measure answers many of these questions because it provides for the orderly, safe and secure opening of the border. We strongly urge House and Senate conferees to adopt this measure and ignore the White House's short-sighted opposition.
Here's why a debate over Mexican trucking is also a debate over national security: If President Bush were to have his way, Mexico-domiciled trucks would be permitted to travel through the United States for 18 months based mainly on the word of Mexican trucking companies that their rigs are safe. A Mexican carrier could fill out a form and get permission to travel throughout the United States without any on-site verification of the carrier's credentials for at least 18 months. This means that any well- financed terrorist cell could easily set up a company in Mexico and truck hazardous materials into the United States with little likelihood of a thorough inspection at the border. We need not expound on this scenario to understand how devastating it could be.
Further, it has been well-documented that the Mexico-domiciled carriers now allowed into the 20- mile border zone chronically fail to adhere to U.S. hazardous materials regulations. Carriers can exploit another loophole in U.S. law ¯ if after being granted operating authority, a Mexico-domiciled carrier decides to transport hazardous materials, nothing compels that carrier to alert the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. What a perfect opportunity for a terrorist. Again, this emphasizes the need for the kind of thorough, on-site inspections and border inspection facilities called for by the Senate.
A debate over Mexican trucking also means a debate over highway safety. Evidence exists that not only are Mexican rigs less safe than U.S. rigs, but Mexican safety regulations are lax. Mexico's patchwork of poorly enforced standards is still being phased in and applies only to federal highways - just 10 percent of Mexico's roads. Safety defects that here would put a truck out of service (such as balding tires, exposed wires or leaking hazardous cargo) trigger only a ticket in Mexico. Mexico doesn't cap the number of hours a trucker can drive, as the U.S. does, which means that bleary-eyed truckers can stay behind the wheel.
As we've said, the Senate plan does not violate NAFTA. NAFTA requires Mexico-domiciled trucks operating in the United States to meet U.S. safety standards. NAFTA's arbitration panel ruled in February that to address safety concerns, the United States may evaluate Mexican carriers on a case-by- case basis and use different inspection and application requirements than exist for other carriers. The Senate does not hold Mexico to higher safety standards; it simply provides for comprehensive inspections to ensure trucks crossing the border meet U.S. safety requirements.
A truck crash is an equal-opportunity killer. Already more than 5,000 people are killed and another 140,000 injured each year in truck crashes in the United States. We shouldn't invite more grief and devastation on the highways, and we shouldn't help terrorists destroy our cities and families. NAFTA is a trade pact, not a suicide pact.
(Note: This statement was made today at a Washington, D.C. press conference)
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
For more information, please visit http://www.citizen.org
SHOO, FLY, DON'T BOTHER US
Which is the lesser of two evils -- malaria or DDT? The former kills a million people per year in Africa, many of them infants and children; the latter is the most effective weapon against the virulent disease, but is lethal to fish and wildlife, and thought to be hazardous to humans as well. Two years ago, South Africa opted to fight malaria with DDT -- a decision one government official called "a horrible choice" -- and infections and fatalities are dropping. Neighboring Mozambique has eschewed DDT, fearing that floods such as those that recently devastated the country could spread the toxic chemical and create worse health problems than the one it is meant to control. In the meantime, though, malaria remains the nation's leading cause of death for children.
straight to the source: BBC News, Mike Donkin, 26 Nov 2001 <http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/africa/newsid_1677000/1677073.stm>
OH MAW GRACIOUS!
More than 31 million acres of forest in the southern United States will disappear into the maw of urban development in the next four decades, according to a report released yesterday by the U.S. Forest Service in collaboration with other federal agencies. Wildlife and water and air quality will suffer as trees make way for sprawling growth and timber harvests increase by half, the report found. That's bad news, but environmentalists say it's not bad enough; they criticize the report as going too light on the timber and paper industries, noting that paper mills alone annually destroy 5 million acres of forests in the South. They also point out that the net loss of forested areas -- which the report places at about 2 percent by 2040 -- would be much greater if pine plantations and other tree farms were not counted as true forestland.
straight to the source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Charles Seabrook, 27 Nov 2001 <http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/news/1127forests.html>
The Bush administration has promised the pesticide industry that it will overturn a Clinton-era policy that prohibited using information obtained from industry studies on human subjects to determine pesticide limits. Under the new policy, which hasn't yet been officially announced, the U.S. EPA would be able to set limits based on data from tests in which paid volunteers ingest small amounts of pesticides, despite ethical and safety concerns raised by environmentalists and physicians. The about-face would also defy recommendations made to the agency by a scientific panel in 1998. Two panel members called for an absolute ban on human testing of pesticides, while the 16 other members said such tests should be very limited. For its part, the industry claims that animal testing doesn't provide an accurate enough picture of how safe pesticides are for humans and results in overly strict restrictions on pesticide use.
straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Elizabeth Shogren, 27 Nov 2001 <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-112701tests.story>
Someone asked me for a list of all the nuclear power plants and their counties, so they could look at cancer rates. I couldn't exactly find that list, but in the course of looking I decided it was high time to make a table of them of my own online, so I did. For those plants which I know activists are working on, and for those I happened to have written something about already, I've added links to web sites, people, etc. If anyone else would like to be included for a specific site, please let me know.
Here's where the table of nukes is:
US planned war in Afghanistan long before September 11
by Patrick Martin
Use this version to print | Send this link by email | Email the author
Insider accounts published in the British, French and Indian media have revealed that US officials threatened war against Afghanistan during the summer of 2001. These reports include the prediction, made in July, that if the military action went ahead, it would take place before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest. The Bush administration began its bombing strikes on the hapless, poverty-stricken country October 7, and ground attacks by US Special Forces began October 19.
It is not an accident that these revelations have appeared overseas, rather than in the US. The ruling classes in these countries have their own economic and political interests to look after, which do not coincide, and in some cases directly clash, with the drive by the American ruling elite to seize control of oil-rich territory in Central Asia.
The American media has conducted a systematic cover-up of the real economic and strategic interests that underlie the war against Afghanistan, in order to sustain the pretense that the war emerged overnight, full-blown, in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11.
The pundits for the American television networks and major daily newspapers celebrate the rapid military defeat of the Taliban regime as an unexpected stroke of good fortune. They distract public attention from the conclusion that any serious observer would be compelled to draw from the events of the past two weeks: that the speedy victory of the US-backed forces reveals careful planning and preparation by the American military, which must have begun well before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The official American myth is that everything changed on the day four airliners were hijacked and nearly 5,000 people murdered. The US military intervention in Afghanistan, by this account, was hastily improvised in less than a month. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, in a television interview November 18, actually claimed that only three weeks went into planning the military onslaught.
This is only one of countless lies emanating from the Pentagon and White House about the war against Afghanistan. The truth is that the US intervention was planned in detail and carefully prepared long before the terrorist attacks provided the pretext for setting it in motion. If history had skipped over September 11, and the events of that day had never happened, it is very likely that the United States would have gone to war in Afghanistan anyway, and on much the same schedule.
Afghanistan and the scramble for oil
The United States ruling elite has been contemplating war in Central Asia for at least a decade. As long ago as 1991, following the defeat of Iraq in the Persian Gulf War, Newsweek magazine published an article headlined Operation Steppe Shield? It reported that the US military was preparing an operation in Kazakhstan modeled on the Operation Desert Shield deployment in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.
If the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union provided the opportunity for the projection of American power into Central Asia, the discovery of vast oil and gas reserves provided the incentive. While the Caspian Sea coast of Azerbaijan (Baku) has been an oil production center for a century, it was only in the past decade that huge new reserves were discovered in the northwest Caspian (Kazakhstan) and in Turkmenistan, near the southwest Caspian.
American oil companies have acquired rights to as much as 75 percent of the output of these new fields, and US government officials have hailed the Caspian and Central Asia as a potential alternative to dependence on oil from the unstable Persian Gulf region. American troops have followed in the wake of these contracts. US Special Forces began joint operations with Kazakhstan in 1997 and with Uzbekistan a year later, training for intervention especially in the mountainous southern region that includes Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and northern Afghanistan.
The major problem in exploiting the energy riches of Central Asia is how to get the oil and gas from the landlocked region to the world market. US officials have opposed using either the Russian pipeline system or the easiest available land route, across Iran to the Persian Gulf. Instead, over the past decade, US oil companies and government officials have explored a series of alternative pipeline routeswest through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to the Mediterranean; east through Kazakhstan and China to the Pacific; and, most relevant to the current crisis, south from Turkmenistan across western Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean.
The Afghanistan pipeline route was pushed by the US-based Unocal oil company, which engaged in intensive negotiations with the Taliban regime. These talks, however, ended in disarray in 1998, as US relations with Afghanistan were inflamed by the bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, for which Osama bin Laden was held responsible. In August 1998, the Clinton administration launched cruise missile attacks on alleged bin Laden training camps in eastern Afghanistan. The US government demanded that the Taliban hand over bin Laden and imposed economic sanctions. The pipeline talks languished.
Subverting the Taliban
Throughout 1999 the US pressure on Afghanistan increased. On February 3 of that year, Assistant Secretary of State Karl E. Inderfurth and State Department counterterrorism chief Michael Sheehan traveled to Islamabad, Pakistan, to meet the Talibans deputy foreign minister, Abdul Jalil. They warned him that the US would hold the government of Afghanistan responsible for any further terrorist acts by bin Laden.
According to a report in the Washington Post (October 3, 2001), the Clinton administration and Nawaz Sharif, then prime minister of Pakistan, agreed on a joint covert operation to kill Osama bin Laden in 1999. The US would supply satellite intelligence, air support and financing, while Pakistan supplied the Pushtun-speaking operatives who would penetrate southern Afghanistan and carry out the actual killing.
The Pakistani commando team was up and running and ready to strike by October 1999, the Post reported. One former official told the newspaper, It was an enterprise. It was proceeding. Clinton aides were delighted at the prospect of a successful assassination, with one declaring, It was like Christmas.
The attack was aborted on October 12, 1999, when Sharif was overthrown in a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf, who halted the proposed covert operation. The Clinton administration had to settle for a UN Security Council resolution that demanded the Taliban turn over bin Laden to appropriate authorities, but did not require he be handed over to the United States.
McFarlane and Abdul Haq
US subversion against the Taliban continued in 2000, according to an account published November 2 in the Wall Street Journal, written by Robert McFarlane, former national security adviser in the Reagan administration. McFarlane was hired by two wealthy Chicago commodity speculators, Joseph and James Ritchie, to assist them in recruiting and organizing anti-Taliban guerrillas among Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Their principal Afghan contact was Abdul Haq, the former mujahedin leader who was executed by the Taliban last month after an unsuccessful attempt to spark a revolt in his home province.
McFarlane held meetings with Abdul Haq and other former mujahedin in the course of the fall and winter of 2000. After the Bush administration took office, McFarlane parlayed his Republican connections into a series of meetings with State Department, Pentagon and even White House officials. All encouraged the preparation of an anti-Taliban military campaign.
During the summer, long before the United States launched airstrikes on the Taliban, James Ritchie traveled to Tajikistan with Abdul Haq and Peter Tomsen, who had been the US special envoy to the Afghan opposition during the first Bush administration. There they met with Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance, with the goal of coordinating their Pakistan-based attacks with the only military force still offering resistance to the Taliban.
Finally, according to McFarlane, Abdul Haq decided in mid-August to go ahead and launch operations in Afghanistan. He returned to Peshawar, Pakistan, to make final preparations. In other words, this phase of the anti-Taliban war was under way well before September 11.
While the Ritchies have been portrayed in the American media as freelance operators motivated by emotional ties to Afghanistan, a country they lived in briefly while their father worked as a civil engineer in the 1950s, at least one report suggests a link to the oil pipeline discussions with the Taliban. In 1998 James Ritchie visited Afghanistan to discuss with the Taliban a plan to sponsor small businesses there. He was accompanied by an official from Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia, which was seeking to build a gas pipeline across Afghanistan in partnership with an Argentine firm.
A CIA secret war
McFarlanes revelations come in the course of a bitter diatribe against the CIA for betraying Abdul Haq, failing to back his operations in Afghanistan, and leaving him to die at the hands of the Taliban. The CIA evidently regarded both McFarlane and Abdul Haq as less than reliableand it had its own secret war going on in the same region, the southern half of Afghanistan where the population is predominantly Pushtun-speaking.
According to a front-page article in the Washington Post November 18, the CIA has been mounting paramilitary operations in southern Afghanistan since 1997. The article carries the byline of Bob Woodward, the Post writer made famous by Watergate, who is a frequent conduit for leaks from top-level military and intelligence officials.
Woodward provides details about the CIAs role in the current military conflict, which includes the deployment of a secret paramilitary unit, the Special Activities Division. This force began combat on September 27, using both operatives on the ground and Predator surveillance drones equipped with missiles that could be launched by remote control.
The Special Activities Division, Woodward reports, consists of teams of about half a dozen men who do not wear military uniforms. The division has about 150 fighters, pilots and specialists, and is made up mostly of hardened veterans who have retired from the US military.
For the last 18 months, the CIA has been working with tribes and warlords in southern Afghanistan, and the divisions units have helped create a significant new network in the region of the Talibans greatest strength.
This means that the US spy agency was engaged in attacks against the Afghan regimewhat under other circumstances the American government would call terrorismfrom the spring of 2000, more than a year before the suicide hijackings that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon.
War plans take shape
With the installation of George Bush in the White House, the focus of American policy in Afghanistan shifted from a limited incursion to kill or capture bin Laden to preparing a more robust military intervention directed at the Taliban regime as a whole.
The British-based Janes International Security reported March 15, 2001 that the new American administration was working with India, Iran and Russia in a concerted front against Afghanistans Taliban regime. India was supplying the Northern Alliance with military equipment, advisers and helicopter technicians, the magazine said, and both India and Russia were using bases in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for their operations.
The magazine added: Several recent meetings between the newly instituted Indo-US and Indo-Russian joint working groups on terrorism led to this effort to tactically and logistically counter the Taliban. Intelligence sources in Delhi said that while India, Russia and Iran were leading the anti-Taliban campaign on the ground, Washington was giving the Northern Alliance information and logistic support.
On May 23, the White House announced the appointment of Zalmay Khalilzad to a position on the National Security Council as special assistant to the president and senior director for Gulf, Southwest Asia and Other Regional Issues. Khalilzad is a former official in the Reagan and the first Bush administrations. After leaving the government, he went to work for Unocal.
On June 26 of this year, the magazine IndiaReacts reported more details of the cooperative efforts of the US, India, Russia and Iran against the Taliban regime. India and Iran will facilitate US and Russian plans for limited military action against the Taliban if the contemplated tough new economic sanctions dont bend Afghanistans fundamentalist regime, the magazine said.
At this stage of military planning, the US and Russia were to supply direct military assistance to the Northern Alliance, working through Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, in order to roll back the Taliban lines toward the city of Mazar-e-Sharifa scenario strikingly similar to what actually took place over the past two weeks. An unnamed third country supplied the Northern Alliance with anti-tank rockets that had already been put to use against the Taliban in early June.
Diplomats say that the anti-Taliban move followed a meeting between US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and later between Powell and Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh in Washington, the magazine added. Russia, Iran and India have also held a series of discussions and more diplomatic activity is expected.
Unlike the current campaign, the original plan involved the use of military forces from both Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, as well as Russia itself. IndiaReacts said that in early June Russian President Vladimir Putin told a meeting of the Confederation of Independent States, which includes many of the former Soviet republics, that military action against the Taliban was in the offing. One effect of September 11 was to create the conditions for the United States to intervene on its own, without any direct participation by the military forces of the Soviet successor states, and thus claim an undisputed American right to dictate the shape of a settlement in Afghanistan.
The US threatens warbefore September 11
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, two reports appeared in the British media indicating that the US government had threatened military action against Afghanistan several months before September 11.
The BBCs George Arney reported September 18 that American officials had told former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik in mid-July of plans for military action against the Taliban regime:
Mr. Naik said US officials told him of the plan at a UN-sponsored international contact group on Afghanistan which took place in Berlin.
Mr. Naik told the BBC that at the meeting the US representatives told him that unless Bin Laden was handed over swiftly America would take military action to kill or capture both Bin Laden and the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar.
The wider objective, according to Mr. Naik, would be to topple the Taliban regime and install a transitional government of moderate Afghans in its placepossibly under the leadership of the former Afghan King Zahir Shah.
Mr. Naik was told that Washington would launch its operation from bases in Tajikistan, where American advisers were already in place.
He was told that Uzbekistan would also participate in the operation and that 17,000 Russian troops were on standby.
Mr. Naik was told that if the military action went ahead it would take place before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.
Four days later, on September 22, the Guardian newspaper confirmed this account. The warnings to Afghanistan came out of a four-day meeting of senior US, Russian, Iranian and Pakistani officials at a hotel in Berlin in mid-July, the third in a series of back-channel conferences dubbed brainstorming on Afghanistan.
The participants included Naik, together with three Pakistani generals; former Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Saeed Rajai Khorassani; Abdullah Abdullah, foreign minister of the Northern Alliance; Nikolai Kozyrev, former Russian special envoy to Afghanistan, and several other Russian officials; and three Americans: Tom Simons, a former US ambassador to Pakistan; Karl Inderfurth, a former assistant secretary of state for south Asian affairs; and Lee Coldren, who headed the office of Pakistan, Afghan and Bangladesh affairs in the State Department until 1997.
The meeting was convened by Francesc Vendrell, then and now the deputy chief UN representative for Afghanistan. While the nominal purpose of the conference was to discuss the possible outline of a political settlement in Afghanistan, the Taliban refused to attend. The Americans discussed the shift in policy toward Afghanistan from Clinton to Bush, and strongly suggested that military action was an option.
While all three American former officials denied making any specific threats, Coldren told the Guardian, there was some discussion of the fact that the United States was so disgusted with the Taliban that they might be considering some military action. Naik, however, cited one American declaring that action against bin Laden was imminent: This time they were very sure. They had all the intelligence and would not miss him this time. It would be aerial action, maybe helicopter gunships, and not only overt, but from very close proximity to Afghanistan.
The Guardian summarized: The threats of war unless the Taliban surrendered Osama bin Laden were passed to the regime in Afghanistan by the Pakistani government, senior diplomatic sources revealed yesterday. The Taliban refused to comply but the serious nature of what they were told raises the possibility that Bin Laden, far from launching the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon out of the blue 10 days ago, was launching a pre-emptive strike in response to what he saw as US threats.
Bush, oil and Taliban
Further light on secret contacts between the Bush administration and the Taliban regime is shed by a book released November 15 in France, entitled Bin Laden, the Forbidden Truth, written by Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie. Brisard is a former French secret service agent, author of a previous report on bin Ladens Al Qaeda network, and former director of strategy for the French corporation Vivendi, while Dasquie is an investigative journalist.
The two French authors write that the Bush administration was willing to accept the Taliban regime, despite the charges of sponsoring terrorism, if it cooperated with plans for the development of the oil resources of Central Asia.
Until August, they claim, the US government saw the Taliban as a source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of an oil pipeline across Central Asia. It was only when the Taliban refused to accept US conditions that this rationale of energy security changed into a military one.
By way of corroboration, one should note the curious fact that neither the Clinton administration nor the Bush administration ever placed Afghanistan on the official State Department list of states charged with sponsoring terrorism, despite the acknowledged presence of Osama bin Laden as a guest of the Taliban regime. Such a designation would have made it impossible for an American oil or construction company to sign a deal with Kabul for a pipeline to the Central Asian oil and gas fields.
Talks between the Bush administration and the Taliban began in February 2001, shortly after Bushs inauguration. A Taliban emissary arrived in Washington in March with presents for the new chief executive, including an expensive Afghan carpet. But the talks themselves were less than cordial. Brisard said, At one moment during the negotiations, the US representatives told the Taliban, either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.
As long as the possibility of a pipeline deal remained, the White House stalled any further investigation into the activities of Osama bin Laden, Brisard and Dasquie write. They report that John ONeill, deputy director of the FBI, resigned in July in protest over this obstruction. ONeill told them in an interview, the main obstacles to investigate Islamic terrorism were US oil corporate interests and the role played by Saudi Arabia in it. In a strange coincidence, ONeill accepted a position as security chief of the World Trade Center after leaving the FBI, and was killed on September 11.
Confirming Naiz Naiks account of the secret Berlin meeting, the two French authors add that there was open discussion of the need for the Taliban to facilitate a pipeline from Kazakhstan in order to insure US and international recognition. The increasingly acrimonious US-Taliban talks were broken off August 2, after a final meeting between US envoy Christina Rocca and a Taliban representative in Islamabad. Two months later the United States was bombing Kabul.
The politics of provocation
This account of the preparations for war against Afghanistan brings us to September 11 itself. The terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon was an important link in the chain of causality that produced the US attack on Afghanistan. The US government had planned the war well in advance, but the shock of September 11 made it politically feasible, by stupefying public opinion at home and giving Washington essential leverage on reluctant allies abroad.
Both the American public and dozens of foreign governments were stampeded into supporting military action against Afghanistan, in the name of the fight against terrorism. The Bush administration targeted Kabul without presenting any evidence that either bin Laden or the Taliban regime was responsible for the World Trade Center atrocity. It seized on September 11 as the occasion for advancing longstanding ambitions to assert American power in Central Asia.
There is no reason to think that September 11 was merely a fortuitous occurrence. Every other detail of the war in Afghanistan was carefully prepared. It is unlikely that the American government left to chance the question of providing a suitable pretext for military action.
In the immediate aftermath of September 11, there were press reportsagain, largely overseasthat US intelligence agencies had received specific warnings about large-scale terrorist attacks, including the use of hijacked airplanes. It is quite possible that a decision was made at the highest levels of the American state to allow such an attack to proceed, perhaps without imagining the actual scale of the damage, in order to provide the necessary spark for war in Afghanistan.
How otherwise to explain such well-established facts as the decision of top officials at the FBI to block an investigation into Zaccarias Massaoui, the Franco-Moroccan immigrant who came under suspicion after he allegedly sought training from a US flight school on how to steer a commercial airliner, but not to take off or land?
The Minneapolis field office had Massaoui arrested in early August, and asked FBI headquarters for permission to conduct further inquiries, including a search of the hard drive of his computer. The FBI tops refused, on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence of criminal intent on Massaouis partan astonishing decision for an agency not known for its tenderness on the subject of civil liberties.
This is not to say that the American government deliberately planned every detail of the terrorist attacks or anticipated that nearly 5,000 people would be killed. But the least likely explanation of September 11 is the official one: that dozens of Islamic fundamentalists, many with known ties to Osama bin Laden, were able to carry out a wide-ranging conspiracy on three continents, targeting the most prominent symbols of American power, without any US intelligence agency having the slightest idea of what they were doing.
"Citizen, Can I See Your ID."
by Al Martin
What has not been explained to the American people is the reason why 35,000 Army Reservists and 65,000 National Guard have been called up. It is to maintain internal checkpoints. It has nothing to do with the external "War on Terrorism."
MEDIA DEPT.: According to a reliable inside source, all the mainstream media outlets have received a confidential memorandum from the White House asking that they change the monikers they're using "Homeland Security" to "Home Front Security." Apparently they believe that "Home Front Security" sounds more patriotic and less sinister than "Home Land Security."
They have also asked the media not to show any more footage of the urban training and internal security checkpoints and to minimize the coverage of any "future" troop movements within the United States.
The implication is that when these internal security checkpoints get set up, there will be a lot of movement of troops, helicopters, etc. So as not to disturb the domestic tranquility of the people by telling the people the truth, the government is asking the media to limit coverage of any domestic troop movements.
All the media will comply because they're all dying to jump on the government line. MSNBC has in fact changed their moniker form "Homeland Security" to "Home Front Security." "Home Front" is more homey sounding and much more patriotic. It strikes a chord with a lot of people especially older people who remember this being so extensively used for security measures put in place during the Second World War.
OF COURSE THE PENTAGON DENIED THIS - AS SEEN ON CNN (NOV 24)
A Mysterious Airlift Evacuates International Islamist Fighters from Kunduz
Amazingly, I discovered in a French newspaper today (Saturday, Nov 24) that there has been an unreported (in the English newsmedia at least - so far) airlift of hundreds of islamist fighters (Jihad zealots from Pakistan, through Pakistani airplanes flown by the Aryana company and also hardcore foreign Taliban fighters from several other countries airlifted by helicopters of unknown origin - possibly US helicopters!!) from the surrounded town of Kunduz in Afghanistan over the last few days. Several witnesses living near the airport in Kunduz reported to a French journalist (from the "Le Temps" newspaper in Paris) similar stories of airplanes and helicopters coming and going in the middle of the night and seeing afterwards long convoys of empty cars and vans parked on a road near the airport. This so-called "exfiltration" of hundreds of fighters, especially those from Pakistan, who recently went to fight with the Taliban with the alleged support of the Pakistani army and secret service (according to this French news report), comes as no surprise since they are useful military assets that need to be retrieved by Pakistan for future use in other battlefields such as in Kashmir. Also, according to this French newspaper, this whole operation would necessarily have to be done with the active support of the US military who control the entire Afghan airspace.
More details (in French) at:
Pakistan Airlifting Taliban Fighters to Safety
With all due respect, it appears to me that your friend Jim would use the existence of the Taliban as "the most flagrant perpetrators of "crimes against humanity" " to excuse anything Bush and his war team might do, including -- no quotes needed here -- crimes against humanity:
1) "Random" bombing of Red Cross Warehouses, an Al Jazeera News Office, schools, homes, mosques, etc. etc. This guy Jim wants to wait to reassess this terror tactic of Bush's. There is no way all these "misses" were accidental.
2) Use of "Daisy Cutters", and "long sticks" and "carpet bombing", all of which should be banned by the Geneva Convention and certainly are unnecessary under the present circumstances.
3) Failure to air-freight metal detectors to the Northern Alliance prison guards, which has resulted in at least 600 deaths including perhaps dozens of NA forces.
4) Failure to decide, from the beginning, that getting Osama bin Laden TO COURT was the goal, not killing him. I understand the Taliban have put a $50,000,000 price on President Bush (doubling the price Bush put on bin Laden). I don't think they'll have any takers, but what I don't understand is, if the man is crazy, why do we need him dead? Why did we need Timothy McVie dead? I am not for capital punishment, and I don't know yet know who bombed us on 9-11. I sure would like to see the evidence against Mr. bin Laden. And I know that if the U. S. Government decided it had had enough of some Mafia kingpin, say, one that was stealing garbage from the WTC site (it's been reported that hundreds of truckloads never make it to their destination), I would applaud their decision, but NOT if they decided to use "daisy cutters", "long sticks", and "carpet bombing" on the five boroughs of NYC, which is undoubtedly where that kingpin creep is hanging out. What did the oppressed women and children of Afghanistan do to us, anyway? Does your friend Jim have an answer for that?
Sure he does. Collateral damage. Is that why U.S. wounded are Medivaced out and NA troops are patched up on site (Taliban wounded, it seems, are nearly always shot and their bodies left to rot.)
I wonder how bad it would get before Jim would switch sides and denounce this fighting as unholy?
The answer probably is that he would never switch sides. Did you happen to catch Geraldo Rivera the other night? A Taliban general switched sides, and Geraldo called him a "turncoat".
I guess it doesn't matter to Geraldo that this guy switched from being on the side of (what we believe are -- ) maniacal, suicidal, cutthroat followers of a perverted interpretation of some religious book, to the side of logic and reason and compassion and sweetness and light and all that stuff (that is to say, our side), and what does Geraldo have to say about the man? That he's a "turncoat".
So don't expect anything you say to help. In the end, because people's passions cannot be changed very easily, we have established a system of courts, and government agencies, and media, and voting, and so forth, none of which work very well, but which, in the end, are simply there to allow sane people to accept the rule of others so that dispassionate, disinterested people can decide the facts about a case, having had those facts presented by both sides as best they each can.
Hence all the lawyers, lobbyists, spin doctors, briefs, dockets, cases, concluding remarks, activists' manifestos, email missives, web sites, and 1000 other minutia of life. Not to change the mind of someone whose mind is set. But to be sure new people are not fooled by the illogic of the other side when they are first introduced to the battle.
Share these comments with your friend if you like. If he wants, he can find some other statements about our choices of weapons at my web site:
Russell Hoffman Carlsbad, CA
BUSH'S HOLLOW VICTORY
David Corn, AlterNet
Once the Taliban is decimated, what will Bush do to keep his promise that the War on Terrorism must be waged for years to come?
TIME TO ELEVATE: HIP-HOP RESISTS TERROR AND WAR
Jeff Chang, AlterNet
The Hip-Hop generation is poised to take on added importance after 9-11. Can activists and artists of color lead the generation through the crisis?
JESUS LOVES POLYGAMY, THIS I KNOW
Kate Silver, Las Vegas Weekly
Polygamy was once thought to be the exclusvie domain of Mormons. But a growing group of conservative Christians is showing that they, too, are up to the task of multiple wives.
CHEAP LIVES: THE EAST ST. LOUIS MURDERS
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, AlterNet
Thirteen deaths too late, St. Louis police are finally allowing FBI agents to assist in tracking down a serial killer.
STOP THE PRESSES
Alan Pittman, Eugene Weekly
In "America's New War" the first U.S. casualty may be the First Amendment. The military, Bush administration propaganda and the media itself have squelched news post-Sept. 11.
HUFFINGTON: GIRL POWER COMES TO AFGHANISTAN
Arianna Huffington, AlterNet
It will be rather foolhardy to wage a war against terrorism if women, more than half of the population of Afghanistan, are not allowed to join the battle.
Well, it's been a few weeks now... where is the data? What happened? Why did the tail tear off the way it did? The peculiar rips in the metal need to be explained.
As to why they don't make those darned black boxes tougher (we don't have a single one of the ten possible, from any of the last five crashes, do we?), I think the real question is why do they use them at all? All they really have to do is transmit the data in real-time to ground stations which immediately store the data on a multiple-disk drive, distributed, redundant backup system. Furthermore it could also transmit the data into the 50 or 100 phones that are connected throughout the plane, so that each of them stored a copy of, say, the last ten minutes of flight at all times. That way, there would almost surely be one or two with chips which survived and could be read -- and that's only needed if the main transmission failed.
Such systems would ultimately be cheaper than those stupid "black boxes" because there would be a lot less hardware.
Those black boxes are very heavy and built like little brick... little bricks. They are always at the tail of the plane. I wonder if they have ever broken loose and killed passengers by flying forward down the cabin? We should get rid of them! Are we a nation that can build technology or a not?
t r u t h o u t | 11.26
Its Official, We're in a Recession
Spain Rejects Tribunals Refuses Extraditions
WILLIAM SAFIRE | Kangaroo Courts
Ashcroft Silence Exacerbates Hill, White House Tensions
New Anti-Terrorism Bill Alarms Native American Groups
BBC Nightly Video | US Marines in Action Near Kandahar
Scientists finding fungi a valuable ally in habitatrestoration
Mushrooms prove mettle breaking down pesticide and oil contamination
by Leslie R. Guttman, Chronicle Staff Writer
An offhand experiment in decontamination by a curious mushroom expert has led to technology that environmental scientists say could make dramatic repairs to the torn fabric of the globe's ecosystems.
When E. coli contamination threatened Paul Stamets' inlet in Olympia, Wash., the mycologist -- on a lark -- laid down some mushroom beds upland to filter the water. A year later, the coliform count had nearly disappeared.
Those mushroom mats have evolved into promising technology called mycoremediation, in which fungi work as eco-warriors to rapidly break down waste. Stamets partnered with a group of scientists at Pacific Northwest National Labs (PNNL) to create the technology.
Environmentalists call mycoremediation an elegant dance with the natural world that is radical in its simplicity.
Mushrooms, or fungi, feed off dead plants and animals, decomposing them in the process. Because the origin of many contaminants, including oil and gasoline, is in the natural world, their chemical structure is not so different than the normal fodder that mushrooms thrive on.
In mycoremediation, scientists train various fungal strains, alone or in combinations, to speed up the decomposition process and make it more efficient.
PNNL scientists Susan Thomas and Meg Pinza believe mycoremediation shows significant promise for cleaning up sites contaminated by pesticides and petroleum-based products, including shorelines damaged by the approximately 24,000 oil spills that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, occur in the United States each year.
A 1998 field experiment with the Washington State Department of Transportation showed mycoremediation's promise. Scientists collected soil contaminated with oil and other petroleum compounds from the grubby floor of a maintenance yard in Bellingham, Wash. The dirt was divided into four piles, testing one with fungi, the other three with more traditional techniques.
About four weeks later, the tarps were pulled back. On the mound treated with fungi, oyster mushrooms were sprouting, the smell of oil had disappeared, the asphalt chunks were gone and there were no signs of tar and oil. The other mounds showed little change.
About eight weeks later, came another surprise on the now apparently nontoxic fungi mound: Flies came to hold a banquet on decaying mushrooms and other insects followed, attracting birds that brought seeds. A minihabitat was born.
Because chemical analysis later showed the oil was mixed unevenly through each original mound, Pinza and Thomas say they have to be more cautious than Stamets about calling the fungal-treated mound a complete success. But additional tests showed the mound treated with fungi was clean enough after the experiment to be used for landscaping.
Washington scientist Jack Word, one of the original researchers on the mycoremediation project, says the fungi appear to work so well that one day, it's conceivable you could eat a mushroom grown in an area once contaminated by nerve gas and not get sick.
The technology, experts say, also appears highly promising for cleaning up agricultural runoff, one of California's biggest environmental hurdles. Numerous state and local agencies, for example, are struggling to stem the damage caused by the Central Valley's polluted irrigation runoff. Cal-Fed, the joint state and federal agency trying to resolve California's long-running water wars, is spending $150 million over seven years in ecosystem restoration to protect the habitat for at least 20 species, including salmon.
Thomas, who heads up the Pacific Northwest mycoremediation team, says there are a handful of companies doing similar work around the world, but it's still a relatively new frontier. What makes their approach stand out, she says, is the strains are tailored to each site and are selected from a diverse biological library.
But licensing the technology, Thomas and Pinza say, is similar to getting a pharmaceutical drug approved. Its fate rests on getting funding to do evaluations that pass muster with federal, state and local regulators. Because mycoremediation's uses are so broad, the scientists say, that could take months to years, depending on the job.
Washington state EPA attorney Ann Prezyna wants to use the technology in waterways in Idaho, Oregon and Washington that have been contaminated by agricultural runoff, which threatens salmon restoration.
Mycoremediation "restores the natural community quite readily . . . quickly and cheaply. There just seems to be no downside," says Prezyna. "It's elegant."
Locally, Anna Moore, an environmental specialist in University of California at Berkeley's Department of Environment, Health and Safety, is working on a proposal to use the technology at the university's Richmond Field Station -- a 120-acre piece of property used for research studies, with contamination ranging from diesel spills to heavy metals and PCBs. Moore also believes mycoremediation could clean up elevated levels of mercury, leftover from the gold-mining days, in sediment in the San Francisco Bay.
"From what I know, the costs are going to be low compared to digging (waste) up and disposing of it at formal waste contamination sites," says Moore. "And digging in the marsh and disturbing old sediment layers is not a good idea. Mycoremediation might actually take care of the problem in place."
Moore and her colleagues are now assessing the costs of cleaning up the site. Because Stamets' technology is so new, with relatively little proven commercial use, Moore is concerned her proposal will be a hard sell over traditional methods such as incineration and landfill disposal. But, Moore says, "I'm not going to give up."
"If you send something away to a landfill, you haven't lost the liability," said Moore. "Liability is forever."
email Leslie Guttman at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
To: Vladimir Putin, c/o NPR News
(forwarded to the Russian Embassy -- pl. forward to Mr. Putin -- rdh)
Dear Mr. President:
Russia's nuclear record is horrible. You have scores of rusting nuclear subs which you apparently can't afford to decommission. You have nuclear waste piles all over the place, you've spilled more nuclear waste into the environment than just about anyone (except maybe England, the US, France and Japan), you've left about two dozen nuclear reactors in Earth orbit, where they might be broken apart by the Leonids this weekend while-you-watch, and did I mention you have had lots of accidents along the way, such as Chernobyl and the Kursk, and probably a nuclear waste explosion in the Ural Mountains, too, and lots more?
This is just what we in the West know about. I'm sure the whole truth is a lot worse.
You also infiltrated America's fledgling anti-nuclear movement in the 50s and 60s, which, it turned out, suited the American pro-nuclear movement just fine. But it didn't suit truth one little bit. What will you do to undo those efforts?
Russian and American high-level military brass COLLUDE to keep the public at ease about these weapons, when we should all be revolting! Will you help this revolution for peace and an environmentally clean future? For what use is one without the other?
So my question to you, Mr. Putin, is this: If you are a president of the Russian people, as opposed to one serving only the war machine, why are you siding with the military leaders who wish to destroy the planet through radioactive poisons? America bombed Afghanistan with Depleted Uranium weapons and you said nothing. Before that we bombed Kosovo with them, and before that, Iraq. Now we have created three new nuclear wastelands.
Even if Bush's plan goes through, 10 years from now we'll still have 1700 to 2200 nuclear weapons we can aim at you in a blink of an eye and launch in half a blink. That doesn't seem to bother you. What, are you crazy?
And, there are still over 430 nuclear power plants operating in the world -- many are yours, with configurations which wouldn't be licensed here in America (not that that is much assurance of safety!). When will you close these risky dinosaurs?
Russell D. Hoffman Concerned U.S. Citizen P. O. Box 1936 Carlsbad, CA 92018
P. S. Please visit my web site: http://www.animatedsoftware.com
Planet Ark World Environment News
British Energy, AMEC mull Scottish wind farms - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13450/story.htm
FEATURE - Sea-going water bags to quench world thirst? - NORWAY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13449/story.htm
Spill keeps Lithuanian Baltic terminal closed - LITHUANIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13444/story.htm
UPDATE - German Greens back using troops for Afghan campaign - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13445/story.htm
German EnBW to increase wind energy to 10 MW Dec - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13451/story.htm
Greens look to 2002 vote after saving Schroeder - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13452/story.htm
Chile - US trade round avoids labor, environment - CHILE http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13446/story.htm
OPG to spend C$250 million to cut smog emissions - CANADA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13443/story.htm
Rio oil spill is Guanabara Bay's second biggest - BRAZIL http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13442/story.htm
Bahrain's BAPCO opens $29.5 mln refinery unit - BAHRAIN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13448/story.htm
Landowners shut PNG Ok Tedi copper mine - radio - AUSTRALIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13447/story.htm
Public Citizen issued the following three press releases today:
Lawmakers to Vote on Nuclear Power Subsidy With Virtually No Debate
Price-Anderson Act Being Rammed Through the House; Act Promotes New Reactors, Subsidizes Nuclear Industry in Event of Accident or Terrorist Attack
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives should not vote on the Price-Anderson Act - which establishes a subsidy for the nuclear industry - as scheduled Tuesday because lawmakers will have no opportunity to amend it and virtually no time to debate it, Public Citizen said today.
The act allows the nuclear power industry to operate with only a sliver of private-sector insurance coverage relative to the enormous costs that would be incurred in the event of an accident at a commercial reactor. The act establishes a taxpayer-backed insurance regime for nuclear power plants that limits the liability of nuclear operators in the event of an accident and reduces the amount of insurance they are required to carry on operating reactors. Those limits are far below the potential cost of an accident, so taxpayers could pay billions of dollars if a meltdown occurs or a reactor is attacked by terrorists. Such taxpayer support reduces the incentive for the nuclear industry to increase security.
H.R. 2983 would reauthorize the act, which was first passed in 1957 and has been reauthorized throughout the years. The law is scheduled to expire next year, but nuclear industry proponents contend it must be extended now to cover a new generation of nuclear power plants or those plants won't be built.
The House leadership has placed H.R. 2983 on the suspension calendar, a legislative device normally reserved for non-controversial measures virtually certain to pass, such as bills to name post offices and courthouses or resolutions expressing congressional support for holidays. By considering the bill under a suspension of the rules, House members are not allowed to amend it, and just 20 minutes of debate are permitted per side.
"This country needs to have a broad, deep discussion about its energy future," said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program. "Yet the leadership in the House of Representatives is pretending that national energy policy is no more important than naming a courthouse."
To be lifted from the suspension calendar, 145 members of the House would have to vote to return H.R. 2983 to the normal legislative process, where the merits of promoting nuclear power could be debated and amendments could be introduced.
A full debate on the wisdom of the United States encouraging more nuclear plants - which could be terrorist targets - is particularly important after Sept. 11. Since that time, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced a comprehensive review of security safeguards at nuclear plants, National Guard troops have been summoned to bolster security at several plants, and Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have announced they intend to introduce legislation to federalize security forces at nuclear power plants.
Citing security concerns, a coalition of citizens and political and civic leaders in New York have petitioned for the closing of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which is located only about 25 miles from New York City. And associates of Osama bin Laden have been quoted in media reports about the desire to attack a nuclear power plant in the United States. Should a plant be attacked, radiation could spread widely, killing countless numbers of people, making more people sick and rendering whole cities uninhabitable.
Even before Sept. 11, the White House sparked vigorous debate and protest by proposing a far-reaching energy program loaded with subsidies for industries close to the administration, including the nuclear power industry. The Senate is expected to take up that controversial legislation early next year.
But in the House, Hauter said, heightened interest in energy policy, heightened concern for security at nuclear plants and heightened awareness of the relationship between the two don't appear important enough to warrant democratic debate.
"If House members vote to build new nuclear power plants - and make no mistake, that's what Price-Anderson reauthorization is all about - with virtually no debate, they are depriving the nation of exactly the type of vigorous democratic discussion we've asked our military forces to defend," Hauter said.
Nov. 26, 2001
California Appeals Court Upholds Free Speech Right to Criticize Public Companies on the Internet
Court Agrees with Public Citizen That Decision Should Have Precedential Effect Protecting All Californians
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A California appellate court has decided for the first time that criticism of public companies on Internet message boards are protected from frivolous litigation by California'santi-SLAPP statute. This echoes the position taken by Public Citizen -- that companies should not be permitted to use lawsuits, or the threat of lawsuits, to silence Internet critics.
In March 2000, Computer XPress, a California company that sells computer-related products, sued one of its competitors over, among other things, criticisms expressed on Internet bulletin boards and in a complaint to the SEC. The trial judge decided that none of the issues in the case pertained to issues of public interest that were within the protection of the anti-SLAPP statute (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation). That law recognizes that First Amendment rights are threatened by the financial hardship and chilling effect of defending a frivolous lawsuit.
Under the law, cases filed to deter public participation must be dismissed immediately, and the plaintiff (usually a company) must pay the defendant's attorney fees unless the company can show a reasonable probability that it can win the case. The promise of a quick dismissal, with a payment of attorney fees, was seen by the California legislature as critical to ensuring that people would not refrain from speaking to avoid a lawsuit even if they could win their cases in the end.
In an unpublished decision issued earlier this year, the Court of Appeal in Riverside decided, in agreement with a Los Angeles federal trial judge, that statements made on an Internet bulletin board about a company whose stock is publicly traded are a matter of public interest and thus are protected by the anti- SLAPP statute. The court further decided that the mere fact that the speaker may be a competitor of the plaintiff does not mean that it is not expressing its free speech rights.
Attorneys for Public Citizen, which had not previously been involved in the case, intervened to ask the Court of Appeal to publish its decision so all citizens of California could benefit from the holding. Under California law, unpublished appellate decisions cannot be cited as precedent, but published rulings of an appellate court in one part of the state are binding on state court trial judges throughout the state.
In a Nov. 15 decision, the court reconsidered its prior ruling and decided to make its position binding precedent. The new ruling, Computer XPress, Inc. v. Jackson, No. E027841 (Cal. App., 4th Dist. Div. 2), is available at
The ruling represents an important protection of the public's free speech rights, said Public Citizen attorney Paul Alan Levy, who has defended a number of individuals sued over their Internet postings.
"Many public companies have used litigation and the threat of litigation to intimidate individual investors and other members of the public who might have the audacity to criticize them," Levy said. "It is too easy for companies to allege that their critics are ill-motivated as a way of avoiding coverage by the anti-SLAPP statute."
In that same opinion, the Court of Appeal reconsidered its original decision that, if even one part of a complaint can be upheld as outside the protection of the anti-SLAPP statute, the defendants lose their right to have their fees paid by the plaintiff. Under the new ruling, fees must be paid for that part of the case that has been stricken under the anti-SLAPP statute.
"This part of the ruling forces companies to choose their claims carefully and sue a critic only when they are sure that they have a good chance of proving that the speaker abused his free speech rights," Levy said.
The defendants in the Computer XPress case were represented by Yvonne Renfrew, a lawyer in Los Angeles. Public Citizen asked to have the ruling published because the organization champions free speech rights. Public Citizen recently represented two people who posted criticisms about Hollis-Eden Pharmaceutical Company on a Yahoo! bulletin board. The rulings in that case, which supported Public Citizen's position, are on appeal.
In another Public Citizen case, Dendrite International v. Doe, the New Jersey Appellate Division decided in July that a corporate plaintiff cannot learn the names of its Internet critics unless it can prove that its complaint has a reasonable chance of success that outweighs the critics' First Amendment right to speak anonymously. Public Citizen's Internet free speech cases can be viewed on its Web site at
Fourth Circuit Decision on Arbitration a Setback for Employee Rights
Ruling in North Carolina Case Demonstrates Need for Reform; Pending Legislation Would Address Problems With Arbitration System
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A recent decision by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals was a setback for North Carolinians' ability to vindicate workplace rights and further underscores the need for legislative reform, Public Citizen said today.
In the Fourth Circuit ruling, issued Nov. 14, the court held that restaurant employee Eddie Hightower had consented to arbitration of any discrimination claims against GMRI Inc. simply by showing up for work.
Hightower was the culinary manager of an Olive Garden restaurant in Fayetteville, N.C. In the summer of 1988, Olive Garden management told its employees that anyone coming to work after Aug. 3 would be considered to have agreed to binding arbitration of any future workplace disputes. After he was fired in November 1998, Hightower sued, alleging discriminatory conduct under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. GMRI argued that Hightower had agreed to give up his right to sue and had to submit any disputes to arbitration. The district judge ruled against the company, saying Hightower had not consented to arbitration. The Fourth Circuit reversed this decision, holding that an employee who continues to work after management imposes arbitration has implicitly agreed to give up his right to sue.
"This decision is disturbing for several reasons," said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. "It's absurd for the court to suggest that people are voluntarily agreeing to arbitration simply by showing up for work the next day. How many people are in a position to walk off a job over this? With more and more employers doing it, there's really nowhere else to go if you object."
Added Jackson Williams, legislative counsel for Public Citizen's Congress Watch, "It allows employers to take away entirely your right to a public trial by jury. And it lets them seriously diminish your right to be free from workplace discrimination, because it's so much harder to prevail in arbitration than in court."
Arbitration is a private judicial system in which disputes between employees and employers, or consumers and companies, are handled by an arbitrator - rather than a court. Arbitration clauses benefit companies because arbitration fees are paid by complainants, and those fees are much higher than court fees. The costs alone often discourage consumers and employees from pursuing complaints. Also, arbitration rulings generally favor businesses because arbitrators seek repeat business and so tend to side with companies.
Companies are increasingly inserting mandatory arbitration clauses into the fine print of employment and purchase contracts, including mortgage and credit card agreements, without the knowledge of employees and customers. Many people who want to take disputes to court find that they have unwittingly given up their right to do so. Stock market investors, franchisees and farmers also are increasingly forced to give up their right to sue as a condition of doing business with large corporations.
Legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress to provide relief from arbitration for workers. The measures would prohibit employers from imposing arbitration on non-union workers. The bills are S. 163, the Civil Rights Procedures Protection Act, introduced by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), and H.R. 2282, the Preservation of Civil Rights Protections Act of 2001, introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio).
Also, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) this week is expected to introduce an amendment to farm policy legislation that would ban agribusiness giants from imposing arbitration on farmers. This will be especially important to contract poultry growers in North Carolina, Williams said.
To read the Fourth Circuit's ruling, go to
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
For more information, please visit http://www.citizen.org
Health Bill Endangers Civil Rights
Bush Pushes Plan to Expand Control in Bioweapon Attack
by Bernadette Tansey, Chronicle Staff Writer
Worried that decades-old public health laws could prevent authorities from battling a 21st century bioterror plague, the Bush administration is urging states to grant health officials sweeping powers in such an epidemic. The administration wants all 50 states to adopt a law allowing public health authorities to take over hospitals, seize drug supplies, quarantine people exposed to infectious pathogens, draft doctors to treat them, force patients to be vaccinated, and order police to restrain residents from leaving contaminated areas.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rushed out the proposed legislation, at the request of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, within weeks after the Sept. 11 hijackings and the ensuing anthrax attacks.
In California, Assemblyman Keith Richman, D-Granada Hills, has drafted a measure nearly identical to the CDC model and plans to introduce it early next year.
The restrictions on civil liberties that his bill would allow during a bioterror attack are bound to raise controversy, Richman acknowledged. But he said health officials must be allowed to resort to them if the nation faces an outbreak of smallpox, one of the worst possible biological weapons.
"Upwards of a third of the people who contract smallpox could potentially die," said Richman, a physician with a degree in public health. "We should have a public health law in place that could minimize that situation as much as possible."
Critics of the CDC proposal, however, say it threatens to create a public health "police state" that could spur people to panic and flee, helping to spread deadly germs farther afield.
"This law treats American citizens as if they are the enemy," said George Annas, chairman of the Health Law Department at the Boston University School of Public Health.
CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said the agency commissioned the model statute well before Sept. 11 because a patchwork of antiquated state laws needed to be updated. It accelerated the process after the attacks and anthrax mailings.
Simulations of bioterror attacks have indicated that an outbreak could result in confusion, interjurisdictional conflict and civil disorder, Skinner said.
One such simulation was the Dark Winter exercise conducted in June at Andrews Air Force Base, in which a mock president and National Security Council had to grapple with a fictional terrorist release of smallpox in Oklahoma. Within two weeks, the simulated outbreak had mushroomed to 16,000 "cases" in 25 states, hundreds of people were dead and panic riots were breaking out.
In that exercise, state leaders proved unprepared to invoke sweeping public health controls. Conflicts erupted between federal authorities favoring central command and state officials who felt they should decide whether to impose quarantines, order vaccinations and shut down transportation.
INEFFECTIVE STATE LAWS Lawrence Gostin, the Georgetown University law professor who helped draft the CDC model, said many state public health laws not only lack the powers that officials would need, but would actually make it harder to carry out such crucial steps as making sure suspected bioterror victims are reported to health authorities.
At the same time, he said, many of the laws dating from the late 19th or early 20th centuries do not include up-to-date civil rights safeguards.
"This (model) law gives far more protection of civil liberties than there is in existing law," he said.
Civil rights protections, however, are exactly what opponents find lacking. The kind of public health emergency that would trigger extraordinary powers for health officers is defined so broadly that it could include AIDS, HIV infection or a severe flu epidemic, said Tanya Ehrmann, director of public policy at the activist group AIDS Action in Washington, D.C.
Annas said that under the legislation, people could be detained without a court order and isolated in stadiums or clinics without an adequate process to challenge the decision. The proposed law would also shield health officers from liability, along with anyone working at their direction, for deaths or health damage suffered by quarantined bioterror victims, he said.
Under the measure, "if you kill people or hurt them, that's tough," said Annas, one of 10 New England health law scholars urging Thompson to change the draft law. "The families can't sue, nobody can sue."
Joanne Hustead, senior counsel at the Health Privacy Project at Georgetown University, said the CDC proposal is an important effort to strengthen public health laws. But she said the broad definition of a health emergency would allow the collection and sharing of protected private health information under circumstances that don't involve bioterrorism.
In California, such issues could be worked out as Richman's bill is considered in the Legislature, said Bruce Pomer, executive director of the Health Officers Association of California.
Existing California laws authorize health officers to take measures such as quarantining tuberculosis patients who fail to take medication, or requiring certain vaccinations for schoolchildren. But Pomer said the state may need to reconsider civil rights safeguards that could hamper health officials in a bioterror attack.
PRIVACY CONCERNS Placer County public health Director Richard Burton, president of the Health Officers Association, said AIDS and HIV-positive patients have won safeguards against having their identities revealed to health authorities, and that such protections should be spelled out for them in Richman's legislation.
Kevin Reilly, deputy director for prevention services at the state Department of Health Services, said the agency is reviewing the model law and has not yet taken a position on it. Gostin and his co-authors are reviewing comments on the draft law and will release a modified version by Dec. 12.
Mohammad Akhter, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said the organization will consider its position on the CDC model law at a Dec. 17 meeting. But he said that in general, public health officials need more resources rather than more legislation.
"If you don't have the early warning system, the training of doctors, nurses and paramedics, and the capability of hospitals to take care of patients exposed, no amount of legislation is going to protect our people," Akhter said. "You have to focus on the right things."
SojoNet News Daily Headlines
Rightist Gunmen Said to Kill Colombian Indian Leader
Colombia's 84 indigenous groups are falling victim to killings, kidnappings and attacks carried out by illegal armed groups on the left and the right fighting in a war which has killed 40,000 civilians in the last decade.
Indonesian Human Rights Court to Start Next Month
Indonesia will set up a special court next month to try suspects accused of human rights abuses over the past few decades, including those responsible for the East Timor bloodbath two years ago.
As Attacks' Impact Recedes, a Return to Religion as Usual
Americans, who after the attacks turned to religion in an outpouring that some religious leaders hailed as a spiritual "great awakening," have now mostly returned to their former habits.
New push to pump oil from Alaska refuge
The Bush administration and its friends in Congress are using the recent terrorist attacks and war in Afghanistan to push for more domestic oil drilling--especially in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska and other public land.
The True Cost of Oil
There are no pure one-to-one causes and effects in life. But it is abundantly clear that the need for imported energy has kept the United States more deeply entangled with decadent regimes of the greater Middle East--and with their deepening contradictions--than many Americans realize or would want.
Bush's advisers assure him that a fearful majority will cheer his assumption of dictatorial power to ignore our courts. They failed to warn him, however, that his denial of traditional American human rights to non-citizens would backfire and in practice actually weaken the war on terror.
Philip Morris to Change Name to Altria; Lung Cancer to Change Name to Philip Morris
"Philip Morris" ensures instant, worldwide comprehension. It needs no translation. When you hear Philip Morris, you think lung cancer, no matter if you speak English or German or Cantonese.
CHEMISTS CREATE WORLD'S FIRST PLASTIC MAGNET
A team of chemists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have created the world's first plastic magnets. It took 13 years of painstaking investigation, but Andrzej Rajca, a professor of chemistry, Suchada Rajca, his wife and research partner as a research assistant professor at Nebraska, and doctoral candidate Jirawat Wongsriratanakul finally achieved success earlier this year. The results of that research, funded by the National Science Foundation with support from NU's Center for Materials Research and Analysis, will be published in the Nov. 16 issue of Science.
WHAT PROTECTS US FROM RADIATION? SOME ANSWERS ARE FOUND IN MORE THAN 100 YEAST GENES
A novel search of 3,760 "nonessential" yeast genes has revealed 107 new genes that may determine how we resist, or are hurt by, radiation -- and whether we succumb to, or survive, cancer. More than tripling the number of mutant genes known to influence radiation damage, the work was carried out at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and reported in the journal Nature Genetics. Previously, fewer than 30 such genes were known.
NANOPARTICLES IN AIR BAD NEWS FOR PEOPLE
Tiny airborne particles too small to see are more plentiful and may pose a greater health hazard than previously thought, says an Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher studying airborne particles in the Great Smoky Mountains and beyond.
SIGNALS FROM NERVOUS SYSTEM INFLUENCE IMMUNE SYSTEM, STUDY SHOWS
In a discovery that demonstrates a clear link between the mind and body at a molecular level, scientists have shown that a chemical signal which normally allows nerve cells to communicate with each other to alter sleep cycles, for example -- can also re-direct actions of the immune system.
POTENTIAL OF TAILORING DRUGS TO GENETIC MAKEUP CONFIRMED, BUT CHALLENGES REMAIN
At a time when harmful drug reactions are thought to rank just after strokes as a leading cause of death in the U.S., the potential benefits of tailoring drugs to a patients genetic makeup have been confirmed in a systematic study led by University of California, San Francisco scientists.
ENGINEERS CREATE "STRUCTURAL RADAR" TO MONITOR AIRCRAFT, VEHICLES
Engineers are developing a system that could save lives and billions of dollars in maintenance costs by using radar-like signals to detect when structures and mechanical parts, such as those in aircraft, are about to fail.
NEW UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO ELECTRON MICROSCOPES PROVIDE CELL IMAGES NEVER SEEN BEFORE
The University of Colorado at Boulder has acquired two new state-of-the-art electron microscopes and a suite of complementing computers that are providing three-dimensional images of cellular structures that have never been seen before.
SCIENCE FRICTION: LUBRICANTS FOR MINUSCULE MACHINES
People say that water and oil dont mix. They can, however, co-exist as two separate molecules on the same surface. And therein lie both opportunities and challenges for National Institute of Standards and Technology researchers who are aiding industry efforts to develop surface protecting and lubricating films that will shield super-small machines and their even tinier components from friction and wear.
EARTH'S ECOSYSTEMS SLOWED GREENHOUSE GAS BUILDUP IN 1990S, CLIMATE CHANGES COULD SPEED IT UP AGAIN
The earth's land-based ecosystems absorbed all of the carbon released by deforestation plus another 1.4 billion tons emitted by fossil fuel burning during the 1990s, but we can't rely on this convenient uptake to head off global warming in the future, according to a new study published this week in the journal Nature. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas entering the atmosphere from human activities.
EFFICIENT FERTILIZER USE COULD BENEFIT RIVER WITHOUT HURTING CROP YIELDS
A computational study on nitrogen inputs to the Mississippi River Basin from the 1950s to the 1990s suggests that better use of the fertilizer such as not over-applying it could substantially reduce the amount of nitrates flowing down river without compromising crop yields.
GLOBAL WARMING PERIODS MORE COMMON THAN THOUGHT, DEEP-SEA DRILLING OFF JAPAN NOW DEMONSTRATES
Core samples from a deep-sea drilling expedition in the western Pacific clearly show multiple episodes of warming that date back as far as 135 million years, according to one of the projects lead scientists. Analysis of the samples indicates warming events on Earth were more common than researchers previously believed.
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS SET CRITERIA FOR RECOGNIZING EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE
For as long as people have gazed at the night sky, they have wondered if neighboring planets could be populated by living things. In fact, recent explorations of our solar system have relayed several enticing hints that the life-supporting conditions on Earth may not be so unique. But this pursuit is nagged by an uncertainty: We have never seen our extraterrestrial cousins before. How will we recognize them if we meet face to face? Peter Buseck and Martha McCartney, new members of ASU's arm of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, are among many scientists who predict the best clues are to be found in lowly bacteria.
CORNELL'S DIGITAL EARTH PROJECT OFFERS GLOBAL DATABASE AND MAPPING TOOL FOR GEOLOGISTS, STUDENTS AND TEACHERS
An institute at Cornell University is building a "digital Earth" that will become an important resource for geoscience researchers and also will provide easy-to-use teaching tools for educators from elementary school through college.
URGENT! Price-Anderson on House Floor Tuesday
Michael Mariotte mailto:email@example.com
This Tuesday evening, November 27, the U.S. House is scheduled to vote on reauthorization of the Price-Anderson Act (HR 2983), the nuclear industry's unique scheme to avoid liability for its actions (HR 2983). The vote is slated to take place under suspension of the rules, a procedure normally used for noncontroversial legislation. No amendments are allowed, and there is only a limited debate. However, the bill must pass by a 2/3 margin--which means we only need 1/3 of the House to vote against it to defeat it! Your calls and faxes can make the difference!
Please contact your House members Monday and Tuesday. Capitol Switchboard, 202-224-3121 or 225-3121. Urge them to OPPOSE Price-Anderson reauthorization--if for no other reason than that such controversial legislation should receive full and broad debate.
REASONS TO OPPOSE PRICE ANDERSON (PA) 1) PA provides a 3.4 billion dollar annual insurance subsidy to the nuclear power industry, a develop, mature industry which should be able to hold its own in a supposed free-market economy. 2) Current reactors are covered by PA whether or not it is reauthorized. The only incentive for voting to extend PA coverage is for a NEW generation of INHERENTLY UNSAFE reactors such as the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) which are designed and can only function without a containment building. Because of public opposition to nuclear power, "new" reactors will most likely be built on existing reactor sites. Even Vice-President Cheney admits that without Price-Anderson there would likely be no new nuclear reactors in the US because of liability concerns. 4) Terrorist attacks on nuclear power facilities are a glaring concern in light of September 11, 2001 and a reactor without containment is an unnecessarily tempting target-no matter how well-guarded. 5) Price-Anderson would cap nuclear liability at 9.5 Billion while the US Government estimates a reactor accident can cost from 24 Billion to 590 Billion dollars.
WHAT YOU CAN DO!
*Please call/e-mail/fax your Representatives and demand THAT THEY VOTE NO ON 2983; the reauthorization of Price-Anderson.
It is the height of arrogance--and folly--for the nuclear industry and its backers to push a major nuclear bill at this time without even debate, when National Guard troops are being sent to new reactor sites daily and when every atomic reactor is a potential and horrifying target.
Please fax/email or call your representative's DC office Please also fax/email your local offices as well.
Do not bother mailing letters at this point, since the mail delivery situation to Congress is still unclear.
*After you've contacted your member, please contact your friends and colleagues and urge them to do the same. The key is to organize, organize, organize. If your representatives are not hearing from you, they will certainly vote for the industry.
*Contact your local media and let them know this is going on. A sample letter to the editor (and sample letter to congress members for fax/e-mail) is posted on NIRS' website
House and Senate fax and e-mail information plus a comment section can be found at
Michael Mariotte & Cindy Folkers Nuclear Information and Resource Service
HAARP and explosions
I just received this emailed article from Krsaana Duran of http://www.timestar.org and felt you might like to pass this information on HAARP along to your global network soon. It seems the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon have the capability, and inclination, to use HAARP, and similar installations, including one in Israel, as a tactical beam weapon, capable of creating extensive damage comparable to a tactical nuclear weapon, without the radiation. They can use this beam weapon, bouncing radiation off the Moon, into underground bunkers, killing all inside. Let the People of the World know this monstrous technology is now in the hands of the Bush League, and their Pentagon cronies.
HAARP array may use Moon as a reflector to reach distant targets on Earth to create Nuclear-Sized Explosions Without Radiation!
By Guy Cramer
As political and military experts on News talk shows discuss with all seriousness, the potential for a tactical nuclear response from the U.S. for the mounting bio-terror attacks, it should be pointed out that geophysics warfare weapons such as HAARP are making nuclear retaliation obsolete.
This military array in Alaska and others like it around the world have the potential to deliver an equivalent nuclear detonation to a long-range target without warning, without the missile and without the radiation. One of 12 U.S. HAARP patents is titled: U.S. Patent 4873928: Nuclear-Sized Explosions Without Radiation
HAARP was constructed under the SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) other wise known as "Star Wars".
The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) is a congressionally initiated program jointly managed by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. Using 3 gigawatts of power (3 billion watts) from a 23-acre site in Gakona, Alaska, it is considered the most powerful array on Earth.
Another ability of an array such as HAARP could be used to heat-radiate people within a large yet distant target, even a buried underground bunker or cave network. This would minimize public and international opposition to such a response as the effects, although not as visual as tactical nuclear detonations, provides a similar broad termination of targets. The world may not even realize anything had happened and thus large-scale enemy losses in one location without physical munitions detonations may be played down or passed off as conventional combat or Special Forces action.
The trick to using such a weapon with underground targets is to find the target in the first place. The same array that may be used to deliver the effect can also be used to penetrate deep into the ground to find the target. HAARP can in effect be used for Earth-penetrating tomography, which can reveal the existence of underground installations.
Read the rest at http://www.yfiles.com/HAARP-Moon.htm
Who's Got the Anthrax?
I have been outraged at what feels like a bad comic book scenario being played out in the U.S. government. Unfortunately it's all too real and the people of Afghanistan are bearing the brunt of it.
It's time for us to become spiritual warriors. We can't bury our heads in the sand and just focus on our inner life and staying at peace within. Everyone has to come to grips with themselves and what role they are going to play in how we create what happens in this century. Even New Age Spirituality can be used as the "opiate of the masses" for those who would like to create a police state under our noses.
Senator Russell Feingold cast the lone dissenting vote against the recently passed Anti-Terrorism Bill. On October 11, he spoke eloquently to consider the impact on civil liberties of some of the sweeping measures in the bill. On October 17, two of his staff tested positive for anthrax bacteria. Since then, the Senate Office Building has been closed while supposedly thorough anthrax testing has been done. One of the Senators for my state, Diane Feinstein, had a message on her website urging constituents to contact their local state offices instead of the Senate office because there were stacks of unopened mail in Washington. I can imagine how long it will take to test all that mail for anthrax.
It's difficult not to see a connection between the anthrax episode in Senator Feingold's office and his opposition to the sweeping powers being vested in the current administration. What an effective method to stifle any opposing voice!
How many constituents are aware that their mail is not reaching their Senators and that their offices in Washington have been closed down? Is this more evidence of a military coup taking over our legitimate government? It certainly is an erosion of representative government at a critical time.
I want to applaud Senator Feingold for his courageous stance. Please take the time to read the following statement that he made against the anti-terrorism bill.
OPENING STATEMENT OF U.S. SENATOR RUSS FEINGOLD
At the Debate of the Anti-Terrosim Bill
From the Senate Floor October 11, 2001
There is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch terrorists. If we lived in a country where the police were allowed to search your home at any time for any reason; if we lived in a country where the government was entitled to open your mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your email communications; if we lived in a country where people could be held in jail indefinitely based on what they write or think, or based on mere suspicion that they were up to no good, the government would probably discover and arrest more terrorists, or would be terrorists, just as it would find more lawbreakers generally. But that would not be a country in which we would want to live, and it would not be a country for which we could, in good conscience, ask our young people to fight and die. In short, that country would not be America.
I think it is important to remember that the Constitution was written in 1789 by men who had recently won the Revolutionary War. They did not live in comfortable and easy times of hypothetical enemies. They wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to protect individual liberties in times of war as well as in times of peace.
There have been periods in our nation's history when civil liberties have taken a back seat to what appeared at the time to be the legitimate exigencies of war. Our national consciousness still bears the stain and the scars of those events: The Alien and Sedition Acts, the suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the injustices perpetrated against German-Americans and Italian-Americans, the blacklisting of supposed communist sympathizers during the McCarthy era, and the surveillance and harassment of antiwar protesters, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the Vietnam war. We must not allow this piece of our past to become prologue.
Preserving our freedom is the reason we are now engaged in this new war on terrorism. We will lose that war without a shot being fired if we sacrifice the liberties of the American people in the belief that by doing so we will stop the terrorists.
That is why this exercise of considering the administration's proposed legislation and fine tuning it to minimize the infringement of civil liberties is so necessary and so important. And this is a job that only the Congress can do. We cannot simply rely on the Supreme Court to protect us from laws that sacrifice our freedoms. We took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. In these difficult times that oath becomes all the more significant.
Environmental news from GRIST MAGAZINE <http://www.gristmagazine.com>
FEET OF CLAY
The Ford Motor Company might have to eat its words if its fleet of sport utility vehicles continues to gobble gas. Last summer, company reps promised to improve SUV fuel efficiency 25 percent by 2005. Not willing to be outdone, the two other Big Three automakers -- General Motors and DaimlerChrysler -- said they'd keep pace with Ford. Now, though, they question whether the goal is attainable. New CEO William Clay Ford, Jr., is known for his unusually eco-friendly outlook, but his company's entire fleet of vehicles currently averages just 23.9 miles per gallon. (G.M. averages 24.2 mpg, while DaimlerChrysler averages 23.1 mpg.) The auto industry intends to use technological innovations such as hybrid electric-gas engines and other, more incremental improvements like lighter vehicles and better transmissions to improve fuel efficiency, but they caution that the changes won't be as swift as Ford predicted.
straight to the source: New York Times, Danny Hakim, 23 Nov 2001 <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/23/business/23AUTO.html>
Environmental negotiations with 10 Eastern European countries hoping to join the European Union by 2004 will near completion by the end of the year, E.U. officials announced Thursday. Environmental protection is considered one of the biggest obstacles facing Eastern European nations interested in joining the E.U.; for the 10 countries -- Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia -- the total price tag for meeting E.U. environmental standards is expected to come to about $105.4 billion. European Commission Environment Directorate head Jean-Francois Verstrynge urged the candidate nations to see that money as an investment in public health. He and E.U. environmental protection ministers are meeting with their colleagues in applicant countries this week in Brussels.
straight to the source: CNN.com, Reuters, 25 Nov 2001 <http://www.cnn.com/2001/TECH/science/11/25/eu.candidates.reut/index.html>
In 1997, Randy Walli, a pipe fitter at the Hanford nuclear power plant in Washington state, was told to help build a pipeline using valves that would be subjected to more pressure than specified by the manufacturer. Concerned about the possible impact on himself, his fellow workers, and the environment, Walli blew the whistle. The result? Walli and four members of his crew were laid off. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the layoffs violated its rules protecting whistle-blowers from illegal firings. All five were rehired, then subjected to hostility from coworkers, made to perform more dangerous jobs than before, and fired again within a year. OSHA ruled in the workers' favor again, but the contractor running Hanford appealed, and this time the workers are taking their case to the courts. Meanwhile, instead of cracking down on the contractor for firing whistle-blowers, the Department of Energy is paying its legal fees -- using nearly $1 million in taxpayer money.
straight to the source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Lisa Stiffler, 26 Nov 2001 <http://seattlep-i.nwsource.com/local/48166_whistle26.shtml>
Dear EmailNation Subscriber,
Congress is pondering ways to shore up security and safety at the nation's nuclear power plants, from stockpiling medicines for radiation poisioning to expanding emergency evacuation plans. But the dark horse coming up fast is something else: an industry-favored piece of legislation that, in the unfortunate event of a nuclear catastrophe, makes damn sure that someone else foots the cost.
The Price-Anderson Act, originally enacted by Congress in 1957, limits the liability of the nuclear industry in the event of a nuclear accident in the United States. The Act covers large and small power, research and test reactors, fuel reprocessing plants and enrichment facilities. It covers incidents that occur through operation of nuclear plants as well as transportation and storage of nuclear fuel and radioactive wastes.
Price-Anderson was last ammended in 1988 and is scheduled to be renewed by August 1, 2002. But, as many critics charge, the Act has discouraged the development of safer, less costly sources of energy than nuclear power, while functioning essentially as a massive subsidy without which the nuclear power industry could not likely exist.
For the full story read Matt Bivens's new exclusive web report. Available currently at:
And join your voice to those calling for Congress to repeal Price-Anderson by signing this online citizens' petition today. Debate starts tomorrow in the House so time is short to express your opposition. The petition is available at:
Codex - URGENT!
On Monday, the Codex Alimentarius is meeting in Germany to remove our worldwide rights on vitamins, all natural supplements, and natural health care. The drug companies want to take control of it all, thus either eliminating products altogether or making them very expensive and only available through a prescription, and pharmaceutically made with synthetics (this has already happened in Germany).
Please go to this website and send your protest and get this to as many people as you possibly can. It only takes a minute and is very easy to do - the protest letters go directly to this committee. The website is
t r u t h o u t | 11.26
LEAHY Will Call Ashcroft to Senate Hearing
"The Attorney General Owes the Country, Certainly Owes the Congress, an Explanation,"
Jim Hoagland | The True Cost of Oil
"America's Oil Habit Helped Turn U.S. Citizens Into Targets"
Connecting the Dots | A Hard Look at the Road to 9-11
60 Israelis on Tourist Visas Detained Since Sept. 11
BBC Nightly Video | Hundreds of Foriegn Taliban Fighters believed
Dead in Prison Revolt
Planet Ark World Environment News
CAF loans Ecuador $13 million for waste project - VENEZUELA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13441/story.htm
Investigators seek clues in Connecticut anthrax death - USA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13436/story.htm
British agency campaigns for chickens' rights - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13431/story.htm
Irish advert urges UK - "Close Sellafield" - UK http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13434/story.htm
South Africa plastic ban to wipe out profits-retailers - SOUTH AFRICA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13437/story.htm
ANALYSIS - Norway govt keen to get clean gas power - NORWAY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13438/story.htm
Lithuanian Baltic oil terminal shut due oil leak - LITHUANIA http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13439/story.htm
France-bound German nuclear waste found contaminated - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13430/story.htm
UPDATE - German Greens debate war, future in government - GERMANY http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13432/story.htm
Czechs say IAEA approves Temelin nuclear restart - CZECH REPUBLIC http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13433/story.htm
Brazil officials assess oil spill in scenic Rio bay - BRAZIL http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13435/story.htm
War veteran lion slumbers in Kabul's frontline zoo - AFGHANISTAN http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13440/story.htm