August 6, 2002

Miscellaneous Subjects #151: Rampaging, Warmongering, Earth-Spoiling Guess Who?

Hello everyone

Lots of important stuff in this one!

In 1945 it was Hiroshima. Today it's the world!...

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator


1. Mega Pork-Barrel Fest in the U.S. Senate
2. The logic of empire: The US is now a threat to the rest of the world
3. Take The Pledge to Oppose War with Iraq, 9-11 PEACE EVENTS, Hug for Peace, etc.
4. Sharon orders probe against Gush Shalom
5. Byrd blasts fast track for homeland security bill
6. Thai prison uses vegetarian diet and meditation course to reform inmates
7. Grizzly Bear and Bald Eagle Habitat Threatened!
8. Mysterious String of Strandings

See also:

BBC Video: Angola's children suffer starvation (REALLY HEART-WRENCHING!)
"Right in front of you, you can see the children here struggle for life. Often they do not even have the strength to drink the liquid their bodies need and crave."

UN ban on feasts during famine (6 August)
No lavish entertaining during Earth Summit. About 13 million people are at risk of starvation in seven countries across southern Africa.

Ashcroft's Master Plan to Spy on Us

After Sept. 11, a Legal Battle Over Limits of Civil Liberty

UK Poll: Half of Britons Oppose Iraq Action

The 90/10 divide
The development of drugs is so skewed towards the needs of rich countries that only 1% of new treatments — just 16 drugs — developed over the past 25 years were for diseases such as malaria, sleeping sickness, and tuberculosis, found mainly in the developing world.

Waiting to treat AIDS is a crime
New data reasserts the feasibility of antiretroviral treatment in resource-poor settings. Governments still refuse to commit funds for life-extending medicines.

Up to 30,000 Afghans remain stuck on Pakistan border
Basic living standards for the refugees present threat of cholera outbreak. Conditions are so appalling the refugees recently went on strike, refusing even the limited assistance currently available to them. For more information about Afghan refugees and the conditions in refugee camps see...



Look what is scheduled for the U.S. Senate to deliberate on during the anniversary of 9/11...

Wednesday, Sep. 11, 2002 1:30 p.m.
Meeting of conferees, in closed session. on H.R.4546, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2003 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe personnel strengths for such fiscal year for the Armed Forces.

S-211, Capitol

Sent by "Ariel Ky" <>



The logic of empire

The US is now a threat to the rest of the world. The sensible response is non-cooperation

George Monbiot


August 6, 2002

There is something almost comical about the prospect of George Bush waging war on another nation because that nation has defied international law. Since Bush came to office, the United States government has torn up more international treaties and disregarded more UN conventions than the rest of the world has in 20 years.

It has scuppered the biological weapons convention while experimenting, illegally, with biological weapons of its own. It has refused to grant chemical weapons inspectors full access to its laboratories, and has destroyed attempts to launch chemical inspections in Iraq. It has ripped up the anti-ballistic missile treaty, and appears to be ready to violate the nuclear test ban treaty. It has permitted CIA hit squads to recommence covert operations of the kind that included, in the past, the assassination of foreign heads of state. It has sabotaged the small arms treaty, undermined the international criminal court, refused to sign the climate change protocol and, last month, sought to immobilise the UN convention against torture so that it could keep foreign observers out of its prison camp in Guantanamo Bay. Even its preparedness to go to war with Iraq without a mandate from the UN security council is a defiance of international law far graver than Saddam Hussein's non-compliance with UN weapons inspectors.

But the US government's declaration of impending war has, in truth, nothing to do with weapons inspections. On Saturday John Bolton, the US official charged, hilariously, with "arms control", told the Today programme that "our policy ... insists on regime change in Baghdad and that policy will not be altered, whether inspectors go in or not". The US government's justification for whupping Saddam has now changed twice. At first, Iraq was named as a potential target because it was "assisting al-Qaida". This turned out to be untrue. Then the US government claimed that Iraq had to be attacked because it could be developing weapons of mass destruction, and was refusing to allow the weapons inspectors to find out if this were so. Now, as the promised evidence has failed to materialise, the weapons issue has been dropped. The new reason for war is Saddam Hussein's very existence. This, at least, has the advantage of being verifiable. It should surely be obvious by now that the decision to wage war on Iraq came first, and the justification later.

Other than the age-old issue of oil supply, this is a war without strategic purpose. The US government is not afraid of Saddam Hussein, however hard it tries to scare its own people. There is no evidence that Iraq is sponsoring terrorism against America. Saddam is well aware that if he attacks another nation with weapons of mass destruction, he can expect to be nuked. He presents no more of a threat to the world now than he has done for the past 10 years.

But the US government has several pressing domestic reasons for going to war. The first is that attacking Iraq gives the impression that the flagging "war on terror" is going somewhere. The second is that the people of all super-dominant nations love war. As Bush found in Afghanistan, whacking foreigners wins votes. Allied to this concern is the need to distract attention from the financial scandals in which both the president and vice-president are enmeshed. Already, in this respect, the impending war seems to be working rather well.

The United States also possesses a vast military-industrial complex that is in constant need of conflict in order to justify its staggeringly expensive existence. Perhaps more importantly than any of these factors, the hawks who control the White House perceive that perpetual war results in the perpetual demand for their services. And there is scarcely a better formula for perpetual war, with both terrorists and other Arab nations, than the invasion of Iraq. The hawks know that they will win, whoever loses. In other words, if the US were not preparing to attack Iraq, it would be preparing to attack another nation. The US will go to war with that country because it needs a country with which to go to war.

Tony Blair also has several pressing reasons for supporting an invasion. By appeasing George Bush, he placates Britain's rightwing press. Standing on Bush's shoulders, he can assert a claim to global leadership more credible than that of other European leaders, while defending Britain's anomalous position as a permanent member of the UN security council. Within Europe, his relationship with the president grants him the eminent role of broker and interpreter of power.

By invoking the "special relationship", Blair also avoids the greatest challenge any prime minister has faced since the second world war. This challenge is to recognise and act upon the conclusion of any objective analysis of global power: namely that the greatest threat to world peace is not Saddam Hussein, but George Bush. The nation that in the past has been our firmest friend is becoming instead our foremost enemy.

As the US government discovers that it can threaten and attack other nations with impunity, it will surely soon begin to threaten countries that have numbered among its allies. As its insatiable demand for resources prompts ever bolder colonial adventures, it will come to interfere directly with the strategic interests of other quasi-imperial states. As it refuses to take responsibility for the consequences of the use of those resources, it threatens the rest of the world with environmental disaster. It has become openly contemptuous of other governments and prepared to dispose of any treaty or agreement that impedes its strategic objectives. It is starting to construct a new generation of nuclear weapons, and appears to be ready to use them pre-emptively. It could be about to ignite an inferno in the Middle East, into which the rest of the world would be sucked.

The United States, in other words, behaves like any other imperial power. Imperial powers expand their empires until they meet with overwhelming resistance.

For Britain to abandon the special relationship would be to accept that this is happening. To accept that the US presents a danger to the rest of the world would be to acknowledge the need to resist it. Resisting the United States would be the most daring reversal of policy a British government has undertaken for over 60 years.

We can resist the US neither by military nor economic means, but we can resist it diplomatically. The only safe and sensible response to American power is a policy of non-cooperation. Britain and the rest of Europe should impede, at the diplomatic level, all US attempts to act unilaterally. We should launch independent efforts to resolve the Iraq crisis and the conflict between Israel and Palestine. And we should cross our fingers and hope that a combination of economic mismanagement, gangster capitalism and excessive military spending will reduce America's power to the extent that it ceases to use the rest of the world as its doormat. Only when the US can accept its role as a nation whose interests must be balanced with those of all other nations can we resume a friendship that was once, if briefly, founded upon the principles of justice.


See also:

Berlin, Paris Reject Iraq Attack Without UN Mandate



Take The Pledge to Oppose War with Iraq

The Bush Administration is considering pursuing military action against as many as 40 countries suspected of harboring terrorists. Iraq remains a prime target. In the past 11 years the US has led a devastating economic and air assault on that country in an effort to weaken Saddam Hussein. This war has - according to UN estimates - killed over a million people (including an estimated average of 150 children a day). The US rationalizes escalation of the war against Iraq as part of a general war on terrorism although no links to the Sept. 11 attack have been disclosed, nor are they likely. Outgoing Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, told incoming President George Bush in January 2001, "Iraq no longer poses a military threat to its neighbors." Iraq is willing to let weapons inspectors return if the bombing and economic sanctions are lifted (Iraqi Ambassador to UN al-Douri, BBC Nov. 29, 2001), a solution that would promote international security and the welfare of the Iraqi people.

Join others pledging opposition to the war against Iraq in a powerful, pro-active peace movement, promoting a more peaceful and just global community.

"A time has come when silence is betrayal. That time is now." Martin Luther King Jr.

To take the pledge:



Peace and healing will be themes of events to commemorate the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks

San Francisco, CA-U.S. peace and human rights groups have formed a coalition called United for Peace, whose mission is to promote events about peace, justice and healing to commemorate the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. "The response to this idea has been overwhelming," said Medea Benjamin, founding director of San Francisco's Global Exchange and a founder of United for Peace. "We're going to show the world that in hundreds of U.S. cities, people are claiming the anniversary of 9/11 as a time to say YES, a peaceful, just world IS possible, and we are building it."


As you know since September 11 the world has irreversibly changed. We at the "World's Biggest Hug for Peace" feel that the lessons of this tragedy have not yet been learned. The same problems we face every day on our streets are translating to the unresolved fear and hatred that currently divides nations.

We would like to transform September 11, 2002 into an anniversary of peace. A day when every person advances the process of reconciliation and peace within themselves. It is a simple concept that "Peace begins with Me": no matter what we do, the first steps to lasting world peace begin in our homes, our schools and then finally, our governments.

'We must be the change we wish to see' - M.K. Gandhi

The World's Biggest Hug for Peace already has united thousands of people around the globe in the simplest possible expression of peace and unity - a hug.

Can you help?

Pledge-A-Hug now!


Rights and Freedoms
I Am More Frightened Than Ever
By Robert Dushay, PhD

I just heard on the news tonight that Tom Ridge, our shadowy director of homeland insecurity, has asked that Congress review the Posse Comitatus Law, which forbids the military from serving as police.

I have not done more than mutter when our public servants imprisoned an unknown number of people for no known crime and kept them incommunicado, because that was when we were still afraid after 9/11.

I have not protested as much as I should when the monstrous PATRIOT act was passed, giving government authorities unprecedented powers to search anybody in the country, and basic civil liberties were removed or suspended.

I was deeply angered by the administration's insistence on having the power to try foreign nationals before military tribunals instead of through our justice system. But when I heard about using the military as police, I am more frightened than ever.


From: "Mark Graffis" <>
Subject: Sharon orders probe against Gush Shalom
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2002

This time we have to ask you to support us - Gush Shalom - by sending protest letters.

A storm of mostly negative public attention continues to surround the letters sent by Gush Shalom to individual officers in the Israeli army - with copies to the Chief-of Staff and Defence Ministry [see today's Ha'aretz article in the end of this mail].

What is all the fuss about? The content of the letters was a warning that specific actions which the addressee had been boasting about in the media may constitute violations of international law. Why the army and the government chose this particular moment for giving enormous publicity to these letters we can only guess. Actually, the letters have been sent months ago. Since then military personnel who give interviews to the media no longer give their names - according to new instructions which were explicitly motivated as a precauttion against officers being charged at the new international war crimes court...

Maybe we achieved that at least there is a beginning awareness now that one has to be careful; that even when one gets an order, one has to think for oneself whether this order could be considered illegal.

We got an enormous lot of mails and telephone calls - a nice number of supportive ones, some decent but critical, and also a huge number of the most disgusting sort.

If you want to support us, please make clear as follows or in your own words that:

"Gush Shalom, by sending warning letters to officers who have been actually boasting about acts which are violating the Geneva Conventions, has made use of its democratic rights, and fulfilled in a way a civilian duty: guarding moral and legal principles. A government which starts legal procedures against a peace group for alerting them, does create the suspicion that it has something to hide - an impression which already rose by its keeping the press away."

and send it by email AND, if possible, also to the fax or snail mail addresses:

To: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon <>
Spokesperson of the Prime Minister <>
Defence Minister Benjamin Beneliezer <>
Spokesperson Defence Ministry <>
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres <>

Copy to:

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon:
The Office of the Prime Minister, Kiryat
Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem, Israel; Office
ph 972-2-6705555/10
fx: 972-2-566-4838/6705415;

Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres:
HaKirya Romema Jerusalem 91950
ph: 972 2 5303531/3631/530
fx (+972-2) 5303506 /5303896 5303367

Israeli Defense Minister, Benyamin Ben Eliezer:
HaKirya Kaplan Street, Tel-Aviv 64734
ph: 6955476 // 6975220
fx: +972-3-6916940, 6976990


August 05, 2002


Sharon tells AG to weigh court proceedings against Gush Shalom

By Amos Harel and Gideon Alon

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday ordered Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein to look into reports that activists from the Gush Shalom peace organization are monitoring IDF officers in order to report them to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

At yesterday's cabinet meeting, Sharon said it was "inconceivable" that a political organization could try to deter reservists from carrying out their orders in the territories by threatening them with legal action in an international court.

Ministers Limor Livnat and Dan Naveh (Likud) joined Sharon in calling on the attorney-general to look into taking legal steps against the Gush Shalom activists. Naveh said it was extremely grave that Israeli citizens were undermining the IDF in times of war.

In response, Rubinstein said the State Prosecutor's Office had been looking into the case for several months, but had yet to decide whether legal steps could be taken.

In a statement issued later yesterday, Gush Shalom said it would "not be detered by Sharon's threats. By collating information on violations of international law by IDF troops in the occupied territories, we have committed no crime."

In the last few months Gush Shalom has sent letters to IDF officers on duty in the territories. The letters claim the officers are guilty of offenses tantamount to war crimes. The officers have been warned that the movement is monitoring their actions, and that Gush Shalom intends to compile information against them which will be submitted to the International Criminal Court.

These letters have been signed by "Gush Shalom's team for the collection of evidence against war criminals."

The letters were sent to 15 IDF officers with ranks between lieutenant colonel and brigadier general. Gush Shalom identified the officers on the basis of interviews which they gave to local media during IDF operations in the territories. As a result of these operations, Palestinian residents in the territories lodged complaints about IDF behavior; the peace movement based its letters on these complaints.

Full transcript of the war crimes panel available on the Gush site

For English


Palestinian life under occupation, reports and letters at:

Why are the volunteer international observers important? Because the United Nations didn't send its protection force. Information about the International Solidarity Movement - and how to support it in different ways - at

If you want to support Gush Shalom's activities you can send a cheque or cash, wrapped well in an extra piece of paper, to:

Gush Shalom pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033

or ask us for charities in your country which receive donations on behalf of Gush Shalom

(Please, add your email address where to send our confirmation of receipt. More official receipts at request only.)

For more about Gush Shalom you are invited to visit our website:

If you got this forwarded and you want to subscribe, send mail to

and write "subscribe" in the subject line.

For assistance:


See also:

UN: No Israeli Massacre in Jenin but Grave Abuses (August 2)



Byrd blasts fast track for homeland security bill

July 31, 2002

By Paul J. Nyden <>

As the Bush administration increased pressure on Congress to create the presidents version of the new Department of Homeland Security, Sen. Robert C. Byrd is saying those plans endanger the constitutional rights of all Americans.

Byrd, D-W.Va., issued that warning in a speech to the US Senate on Tuesday, saying that congressional oversight is essential to maintaining democracy and freedom.

Byrd successfully urged the Senate to slow down in its effort to create the new department.

The House rushed to pass its version of the bill Friday, before its recess began. The Senate, whose recess begins this Friday, was expected to debate the issue this week. But on Tuesday, the Senate decided not to vote on any Homeland Security bill until it returns from its recess after Labor Day.

Earlier this month, Bush told federal workers he needs the freedom to manage the new department. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said, We need all of the flexibility we can get. Ridge added that close congressional oversight could cripple the new departments efforts to combat terrorism.

Byrd said, That kind of a statement from an administration official ought to make us all very nervous.

Mitch Daniels, director of the Office of Management and Budget, also insisted the new agency must be free to do what it wants. Our adversaries are not encumbered by a lot of rules. Al-Qaida doesnt have a 3-foot-thick code. This department is going to need to be nimble, he said.

Byrd said those remarks by Daniels are incredibly ignorant. ... Rules like holding this new department accountable to the Congress and the American people, Mr. OMB Director? Al-Qaida may not be encumbered by constitutional limitations on its powers, but, unlike the OMB director, I would scarcely argue that al-Qaida sets an example for this government to follow.

For all of their blustering about how al-Qaida is determined to strike at our freedoms, this administration shows little appreciation for the constitutional doctrines and processes that have preserved those freedoms for more than two centuries, Byrd said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Byrd said, Congress seems unwilling to resist the stampede moving it toward the creation of this new department. Indeed, the momentum behind the idea seems almost unstoppable.

After Byrd and other senators raised questions, the momentum was slowed.

Byrd said, With the level of endorsement the Congress has given to this idea, you would think that the proposal for a new Homeland Security Department had been engraved in the stone tablets that were handed down to Moses at Mount Sinai.

But in reality, the idea was developed by four presidential staffers in the basement of the White House. For all we know, it could have been drafted on the back of a cocktail napkin.

Byrd criticized the Bush administration for failing to consult with members of Congress. We were not asked for our input. The week the president unveiled his proposal to the American people, only a select circle of Washington insiders were even aware of its existence.

Byrd, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, the ranking Republican on the committee, both asked Ridge to appear before their committee earlier this year. Bush and Ridge ignored their repeated requests.

The presidents proposal was crafted in the bowels of the White House, cloaked in secrecy, and presented by an administration trying to regain political ground, Byrd said.

Those are hardly the conditions that should inspire the Congress to rally around a presidential proposal. But thats exactly what is happening.

On Tuesday, Byrd also asked whether a massive governmental reorganization ... is desirable or even necessary.

Byrd specifically criticized those in Congress who want to rush debate so the new department can be created before the anniversary of the tragic attacks last Sept. 11.

Last week, the House rushed to comply with Bushs requests by passing a bill last week that mirrored his proposed legislation. Their final version was not given to the Senate until Monday afternoon, giving that body only four days to consider it.

Have we all completely taken leave of our senses? Byrd asked Tuesday morning. If ever there was a need for the Senate to throw a bucket of cold water on an overheated legislative process that is spinning out of control, it is now.

The bill sent to the Senate on Monday would be the largest government restructuring in our nations history, Byrd said, merging parts of 22 agencies with as many as 200,000 employees.

Byrd also expressed fears that the new system would be chaotic and create serious gaps in existing homeland defenses.

Byrd cited warnings from the Brookings Institution, a private research institute, that a new agency would have top managers preoccupied for months, if not years, with getting the reorganization right, thus giving insufficient attention to their real job: taking concrete action to counter the terrorist threat at home.

Bush said a major new department and its funding must be designed carefully.

There is the rub, Mr. President, Byrd said. It cannot be done with the kind of creative accounting gimmicks you might expect to find at Haliburton Co. and Harken Energy Corp.

Byrd also criticized Bushs request that the new Homeland Security Department receive a waiver from current federal civil service laws.

Finally, Byrd again questioned Bushs plans to invade Iraq. The administration has been secretly planning to introduce special operations troops into Iraq without the consent of the Congress. ...

The greatest risk in moving too quickly is that we will grant unprecedented powers to this administration that would weaken our constitutional system of government.

Byrd, the Senates leading critic of operating in secrecy, closed by saying, Im not the only senator who believes that this process is moving along too quickly. Were all talking about this in the privacy of our offices, behind the closed doors of elevators and in our hideaways.

But we ought to come out onto the Senate floor and discuss it before the American people, Byrd said. The legislative branch needs to protect our constitutional system and consider what will truly protect the homeland and the safety of our people.

To contact staff writer Paul J. Nyden, use e-mail or call 348-5164.


Sent by "Mark Graffis" <>

Thai prison uses vegetarian diet and meditation course to reform inmates

By SUTIN WANNABOVORN, Associated Press

BANGKOK, Thailand (August 5, 2002) - Inmates at a Thai prison responded so positively to an Indian guru's vegetarian diet and meditation course, the Corrections Department plans to expand the program nationwide, Thai officials said Monday.

The inmates - 50 men and 50 women serving time for drug offenses at a prison in provincial Thailand - participated in a program in which they practiced meditation at 4:30 a.m., ate vegetarian meals and listened to tapes of chanting.

"We found that it changed the behavior of the prisoners, it made them aware of right and wrong," said Surang Ekkachote of Thailand's Office of Correctional Inspectors.

Ten-day courses were taught to the inmates by followers of Indian guru S. N. Goenka.

The trial program at the Klong Pai Prison in Nakorn Ratchasima province, about 130 miles northeast of Bangkok, proved so popular that most participants continued their daily meditation after completing the course, Surang said.

The Corrections Department plans to expand the program to prisons in other regions, she said.

She said she was inspired to allow the program after watching a videotape of inmates meditating at an Indian prison.

"The program began with people convicted in drug-related cases but we plan to expand it to all kinds of prisoners in the future," Surang said.



From: "Georgette Bingisser" <>
Subject: Grizzly Bear and Bald Eagle Habitat Threatened!
Date: 6 Aug 2002

Alaska's grizzlies need your help!

A recent "preservation" plan for Alaska's Tongass National Forest will open up over 9 million acres to logging and mining development, threatening grizzlies and bald eagles. You Can Help Save The Tongass:

The Tongass wilderness houses salmon spawning grounds, prime grizzly bear habitat, and the world's densest population of bald eagles. Yet, over 30 pending large-scale timber sales threaten the region and its wildlife.

Please tell the Forest Service today that you want this area protected.

Deadline: August 17th!

Background: Because of the unique nature of the Tongass, a federal court required the Bush Administration to review all roadless areas for permanent protection. Unfortunately, a variety of sound environmental options were rejected. Instead, a proposal was put forward that heavily favors the commercial timber industry! The so-called permanent protection proposal recommends NO PROTECTION for roadless areas and offers no new wilderness designations.

The eco-friendly alternative, the Alaska Rainforest Conservation Proposal, Alternative 6, SAFEGUARDS VALUABLE OLD GROWTH STANDS and other pristine areas of the Tongass.

The Forest Service has asked for your opinion in a special public comment period. So please tell them today that you want this area protected. DEADLINE AUGUST 17th!

Help Now, it's FREE:

Our national forests are national treasures and once they're gone, they're gone forever.

Thank you for your help!

Rachel Saunders
Eco-Activism Manager


Date: Mon, 05 Aug 2002
From: Cheryl Magill <>
Subject: Mysterious String of Strandings

Dear Jean,

We have several strandings which we are following. Please discover that strandings occurred in a 48 hour period last week at

Those include 55 pilot whales in Cape Cod Bay. 56 False (Pygmy) Killer Whales near Perth, Australia. 14 Rough Toothed Dolphins on Wreck Island off the Virginia Coast. Three Cuvier's
Beaked Whales on Pico Island in the Azores.

In addition to the strandings described at the site, please note that we will soon be adding information about the strandings which also occurred in the following locations:

1. A Humpback whale off New York
2. A Stranding near Norfolk, VA which we have yet to confirm
3. Rare Beaked whale stranded in South Africa

At this time, we do not have any confirmation of US Navy contributions to these events. However, we do have a report from NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) and HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) that the US Navy bombed the area North of Cape Cod a few weeks before, blowing a baby right whale to bits, severing it's body in half.

Best regards,

Cheryl A. Magill