November 13, 2003

The Gaian Consciousness Files #2: The Growing Campaign for a Better World

Hello everyone

History in the making! If you read through this compilation, that's what you'll see, with the usual villains doing their best to wreck the planet and the usual good people gradually discovering their power - unity in diversity style - to turn the odds in favor of a much better future for all.

Take a front-row armchair, and even better!... jump on the ice and join the growing ranks of those who have decided they will no longer remain silent ostriches in the faces of mounting infamies and outright evil.

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

This compilation is archived at

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"The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Remaining silent about the destruction of nature is an endorsement of that destruction."

- Redwood Mary (a.k.a. Mary Rose)


IV Encuentro de la Red Iberoamericana de Luz
Our Spanish-speaking subscribers will be interested to review information about this important meeting of Lightworkers from Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica and Venezuela taking place in Colombia from November 17 to 23. More details also at (Scroll down and click on IV Encuentro de la Red Iberoamericana de Luz)

Tens of thousands of activists converge to forge new vision of Europe PARIS (Nov 12)
Tens of thousands of activists opposed to war, capitalism, pollution and sexual inequality gathered here Wednesday at the opening of an international forum to outline their vision of a future Europe. Four simultaneous events in Paris and its suburbs on Wednesday night were to kick off the second annual European Social Forum (ESF), a smorgasbord of seminars and workshops expected to attract up to 60,000 participants from more than 60 countries, according to organizers. Declaring the "heart" of the debates was "the Europe that the citizens want to build and live in," organizers said more than 1,500 European organizations had helped organize the independent forum, which is partially financed by the French government. Leading the long list of participating non-governmental organizations (NGOs), associations and unions were such high-profile names as Amnesty International, Greenpeace and Oxfam. The sheer size of this year's ESF highlights the growing momentum of an alternative left movement, itself bolstered by one of globalization's very own tools: the Internet. (...) The event winds up Saturday with a protest parade through the French capital under the banner of "For a Europe of rights in a world without war!" The regional European forums sprang from a world process launched by the Porto Alegre World Social Forum, first held in January 2001 in the Brazilian city as a counterpoint to the World Economic Forum, a summit of the global business elite. The next World Social Forum will be held in India on January 16-21, 2004.

Activists gather for Paris forum (Nov 12)

European Social Forum Seeks Alternative to Globalization (Nov 10)

European Social Forum (this one was on November 7-10 last year)
FORTY-THOUSAND PEOPLE from all over Europe flooded into Florence, Italy, for the European Social Forum, nearly double the number the organisers had been expecting. They were mostly young, taking part in three days of political discussion and debate, culminating in the biggest anti-war demonstration so far. The right-wing Berlusconi government in Italy tried unsuccessfully to stop the Forum from taking place in Florence. In the days running up to the event, the media was used to try and whip up fears of thousands of violent protesters invading and destroying the historic city. In fact both the Forum and the anti-war demonstration - which attracted up to one million protesters passed off totally peacefully. CLIP

Forget the spin you have been reading about the "failure" of the World Trade Organization meeting in Cancun. It was one of the most successful international meetings in years because it redefined how trade can benefit the poor and how the developing world can be real players in these negotiations. In fact, if policymakers and global trade negotiators were paying attention, Cancun could lead to trade talks that actually bring about fair trade, and the benefits to both the developing and the developed world that have long been promised. What did we learn in Cancun? Three things: First, that equitable and effective global trade agreements can't be negotiated when the balance of power rests exclusively with the wealthiest nations. Second, that civil society has a legitimate and useful role in these discussions. And third, that fair trade, trade that ensures that producers are paid a fair price and workers are paid fair wages, is the world's best hope for a sustainable trading environment. The most remarkable success in Cancun was the WTO meeting itself. What happened was simply that most of the countries refused to go along with the demands made by the cabal that has been running things up until now. It was the first time that the World Trade Organization began to feel like a truly global organization--not just an extension of the US government's foreign and domestic economic policy. In previous Ministerial meetings, there have been small hints of shifting power relations at the WTO, but Cancun was a breakthrough: a giant shift in the balance of forces in global politics. CLIP

PROTEST AT THE BUSH UK VISIT ! (Must see pictures)
"BURNING PLANET" MARCH AGAINST BUSH Tuesday November 18th, as Bush arrives for his 'state visit' to the UK. Assemble 6 pm, Lincoln's Inn Fields (Holborn Tube) March via the ExxonMobil ("Esso") offices, Aldwych, through central London to the US embassy (for around 8.30 pm). Unwelcome Bush just as he arrives .....and make sure the world knows we're still angry about the havoc he's wreaking on the global environment ! Bush represents OIL MONEY and CORPORATE GREED, which are not only contributing to the agony of Iraq, but also to the catastrophic destabilisation of global climate, which threatens millions all round the world and even the future of humanity itself. ExxonMobil ("Esso") are 'Number One' amongst Bush's 'BIG OIL' backers and have waged a cynical campaign of disinformation on climate change, putting oil profits before the future of humankind. CLIP - CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE REAL WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION!


1. Democratic Debate Needed on Missile Defence
2. New UN report condemns Israeli violations of the right to food
3. Ashcroft vs. Greenpeace
4. Will Your Vote Count in the Next (US) Election?
5. Anti-patriot Act resolution expected to come to the floor of the LA City Council
6. US unleashes renewed bombing raids on Iraqi towns
7. The perfect weapon

See also:

Soros pledges $US15.5 million to oust Bush (Nov 12)
George Soros, one of the world's richest men has given away nearly $US5 billion ($7 billion) to promote democracy in the former Soviet bloc, Africa and Asia. Now he has a new project: beating President George Bush. "It is the central focus of my life," he said. The 2004 presidential race is "a matter of life and death". Mr Soros, who has financed efforts to promote open societies in more than 50 countries around the world, is bringing the fight home, he said. He and a partner have committed up to $US5 million to, a liberal activist group, bringing to $US15.5 million the total of his personal contributions to oust Mr Bush. Overnight, Mr Soros, 74, has become the major financial player of the Left. He has elicited cries of foul play from the Right. With a tight nod, he pledged, "If necessary, I would give more money." "America, under Bush, is a danger to the world," he said. Then he smiled: "And I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is." Mr Soros says a "supremacist ideology" guides the White House. He hears echoes in its rhetoric of his childhood in occupied Hungary: "When I hear Bush say, 'You're either with us or against us,' it reminds me of the Germans." (...) The neoconservatives, he said, were exploiting the September 11 terrorist attacks to promote a pre-existing agenda of pre-emptive war and world dominion. "Bush feels that on September 11, he was anointed by God," Mr Soros said. "Rather than defeating terrorism, he's leading the US and the world toward a vicious circle of escalating violence." Mr Soros said he had been waking at 3 am, his thoughts shaking him "like an alarm clock". He wrote down his ideas. In January, they will be published as a book, The Bubble of American Supremacy, which argues for a collective approach to security, more foreign aid and constructive rather than military action abroad. (...) Asked whether he would trade his $US7 billion fortune to unseat the President, Mr Soros opened his mouth. Then he closed it. He wrinkled his brow. The proposal hung in the air: Would he become poor to beat Mr Bush? "If someone guaranteed it," he said.

Swiss Economist Says World Stocks Heading for Crash
Source: Malik On Management Rumor Mill 11-6-3 World Stock Markets Are Heading For A 'Crash-Like Collapse' states Swiss economics professor Fredmund Malik of St. Gallen University. In his latest monthly newsletter he warns his customers, that in view of the developments on stock markets in the recent months, he views "a crash-like collapse of stock prices as very likely, actually within the next days or weeks." All indicators are pointing in this direction, he says. Among the investors and the financial media he recognizes an "extreme bullishness", typical for the last days before the bursting of a financial bubble. "The mood is grotesque and in full contradiction to economic reality." Investors and the media are revealing an incredible "blindness in respect to facts". They are "covering up every single [bit of] information that could disturb the good feelings." In an interview with the German news weekly Spiegel in early September, Malik stated that US government figures for GDP and productivity growth were being "systematically massaged upwards". Thereby the US government contributed to generating the greatest hoax in economic history, that is the speculative bubble around the "new economy". He then noted that the overwhelming majority of economists were unable to reveal the hoax in time, because they are notoriously uncritical of US economic affairs, in particular as many of them even had been financed by the asset bubble.

U.S. and Italian Sites Rocked by Bombs in Iraq: 25 Dead (Nov 12)

CIA: Iraq Security to Get Worse (Nov 12)

US Crackdown on bioterror is backfiring (Nov 5)

Bush and Blair did everything necessary to prevent the outbreak of peace (Nov 11)
By George Monbiot - Those who would take us to war must first shut down the public imagination. They must convince us that there is no other means of preventing invasion, or conquering terrorism, or even defending human rights. When information is scarce, imagination is easy to control. As intelligence gathering and diplomacy are conducted in secret, we seldom discover - until it is too late - how plausible the alternatives may be. So those of us who called for peace before the wars with Iraq and Afghanistan were mocked as effeminate dreamers. The intelligence our governments released suggested that Saddam Hussein and the Taliban were immune to diplomacy or negotiation. Faced with such enemies, what would we do?, the hawks asked, and our responses felt timid beside the clanking rigours of war. To the columnist David Aaronovitch, we were "indulging ... in a cosmic whinge".1 To the Daily Telegraph, we had become "Osama bin Laden's useful idiots".2

'They Were All Non-Starters': The Thwarted Iraqi Peace Proposals
The breaking story about efforts by Iraq's Baathist regime to avoid U.S. invasion and occupation reveals a scandal greater than those which have preceded it. Four recent articles inform us that the Bush administration was so hell-bent on attacking Iraq (for reasons bearing no relation to the stated casus belli) that it not only [did] mislead the American people, but resisted the abjectly humiliating efforts of Iraqi authorities to comply with almost all stated U.S. demands...

Powell Says 'Everyone Here' Uses Addictive Sleep-Med Ambien... 'Everyone Here'?

58 years after dropping Hiroshima bomb, Enola Gay ignites new outrage (Nov 10)
(...) Anti-war protesters claim that US authorities have demanded a rolling "exclusion zone" around President George Bush during his visit, as well as a ban on marches in parts of central London. The Stop The War Coalition said yesterday that it had been told by the police that it would not be allowed to demonstrate in Parliament Square and Whitehall next Thursday - a ban it said it was determined to resist. The coalition says that it has also been told by British officials that American officials want a distance kept between Mr Bush and protesters, for security reasons and to prevent their appearance in the same television shots. (...) It is reported that Mr Bush's entourage will number around 500 with up to 200 members of the security service. The Americans are also said to be bringing a US Marine Corps Sea King helicopter, a Black Hawk helicopter and 15 sniffer dogs. Organisers say they expect between 50,000 and 70,000 people for the biggest protest against a visiting head of state. Andrew Burgin, of the Anti-War Coalition, said: "We have refused to sign off the agreement over Parliament Square and Whitehall, and we shall certainly also refuse to do so on this whole idea of an exclusion zone." He said: "If there is no agreement by next week, we have a potentially highly risky situation with so many protesters in the centre of London."

Met says it will not shield Bush from protests (Nov 12)
President George Bush will not be shielded from "embarrassing" anti-war and anti-American protesters during his three-day state visit to Britain, Scotland Yard said last night.

Yard fury over Bush visit (Nov 10)
White House security demands covering President George Bush's controversial state visit to Britain have provoked a serious row with Scotland Yard. American officials want a virtual three-day shutdown of central London in a bid to foil disruption of the visit by anti-war protestors. They are demanding that police ban all marches and seal off the city centre. But senior Yard officers say the powers requested by US security chiefs would be unprecedented on British soil. While the Met wants to prevent violence, it is sensitive to accusations of trying to curtail legitimate protest. Met officers came in for heavy criticism when banners were torn down and demonstrators prevented from coming within sight of Chinese President Jiang Zemin during his visit in 1999. But with tens of thousands of protestors from around the UK set to join blockades and marches during the Bush trip, US officials are reportedly insisting on an "exclusion zone". They say terrorists could use the crowds as cover to attack the President. Secrecy surrounds his itinerary during the trip, which starts on 19 November. He will stay at Buckingham Palace and his staff want The Mall, Whitehall and part of the City closed. Besides provoking a civil liberties backlash, the Met fears such a move would cause traffic chaos and incur huge loss of business across the capital.

HAARP To Quadruple Its Power (Nov 11)

Analysis: Guantánamo Case About Federal Turf
WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 In its decision to accept the Guantánamo Bay prisoners' appeals despite the Bush administration's objections, the Supreme Court brushed past the "judges keep out" fence the administration had tried to erect around its open-ended detention policy. No matter how the court eventually rules, that action alone may well come to define a singular moment in the relationship between the White House and the Supreme Court, two inherently powerful institutions that for the last several years have been in alpha mode, each intent on exercising its power to the maximum extent possible. Though it may not have been clear that the court was ready to join the post-Sept. 11 debate, it now appears that the administration laid down a challenge the justices were unwilling to ignore. This was a moment long in coming: the imperial presidency meets the imperial judiciary.

Small-Scale Farmers Are Going "Beyond Organic" to Push Local Foods -Once the perceived purview of hippies and wackos, organic food has become so mainstream that you can purchase Safeway-brand organic frozen peas. But is buying organic enough? That oh-so-healthy pesticide-free mango you bought in Minneapolis sure as heck didn't grow in your neighbor's back 40; in fact, the average food product in the United States travels 1,500 to 2,500 miles from farm to table. That makes for a lot of burned fossil fuels -- and food that's not fresh. To counteract this trend, a loose network of farmers, consumers, and advocacy groups is trying to push agriculture one step closer to sustainability by urging consumers to go "beyond organic."

Could Red Jellyfish Help Save the World's Rainforests?
If you're talking about the gelatinous sea creature, the answer is no. But if you're talking about the eco-friendly Internet service provider, well, then, sure. We at Grist aren't generally in the business of making product endorsements, but Red Jellyfish is doing good work so we thought we'd pass on the word. For each person who subscribes to the company's home Internet service, Red Jellyfish protects 6,000 square feet of rainforest a year through the Nature Conservancy. If you're looking for an Internet service provider you can feel good about, try them out: The first month's free and they'll throw in a complimentary Red Jellyfish tote bag (made of organic cotton, of course) -- only if you click on the link below.

UK Cuts Rainforest Funding to Meet Iraq Costs (Nov 12)
Britain is to slash its aid programme aimed at saving the Amazon rainforest and preserving the culture of its people to meet the soaring cost of rebuilding Iraq. Environmentalists fear the Government's decision to review its £16m contribution to the international community's efforts to protect Amazonia could lead to further ecological and cultural devastation. Britain is one of the leading backers of the G7 Pilot Programme for the Conservation of the Brazilian Rainforests, which helps indigenous peoples to manage the forest in a sustainable way and counter the effects of illegal logging. (...) The Brazilian Amazon covers 5.2 million sqkm (2 million square miles), more than 60 per cent of the country. It contains about a third of the world's rainforest, and some 30 per cent of the world's biodiversity. Greenpeace warned of an environmental catastrophe if countries around the world withdrew aid for the Amazon. John Sauven, campaign director, said: "This is a flagship project. Withdrawing funding would be a serious blow and undermines the Government's commitment to stop biodiversity loss. "The Amazon contains 20 to 50 per cent of the world's land-based resources. It is the most important area for biodiversity in the world. I find it quite incredible that these vital resources are being diverted to rebuild Iraq." CLIP


Sent: November 11, 2003
Subject: Democratic Debate Needed on Missile Defence

If you have problems viewing my letter go to

Maude Barlow - Author and volunteer Chair of the Council of Canadians

November 12, 2003
Dear friends

Within days a federal cabinet decision could trap Canada into permanently supporting the U.S. military's missile defence scheme.

And Canadians won't know what hit them because Defence Minister John McCallum is keeping the negotiations under wraps.

In May, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien promised, "There will be a debate in the House of Commons . . . we want to know everyone's position."

For Canada's sake let's insist that Chrétien fulfills his promise. Visit right now to send your letter to the Prime Minister asking for a debate in Parliament.

Without your voice Chrétien will let McCallum get away with quietly locking Canada into George W. Bush's missile defence program. They'll forge ahead knowing full well this military extravaganza will be more costly, more dangerous, and just as grotesquely unworkable as the original Ronald Reagan Star Wars scheme.

Don't be surprised. The decision is coming down the pike and will be made in secret. Why secret? Because the government knows that Canadians oppose missile defence.

But we can stop this crazy idea. Canadians are well aware that this U.S. military program endangers our security and will waste billions of dollars - money that needs to be allocated to social programs like health care, housing and alleviating poverty.

That's why I'm asking you to visit today. You can get more information and take action now.

Sadly, the decision to cuddle up to this military scheme will be made to appease global corporations and the American far right after having opposed their war on Iraq.

But even more worrisome, adopting missile defence is just one piece of an even larger agenda - deep integration between Canada and the United States. This idea is being championed by some of the same folks who brought us free trade and who now want Canada to adopt the U.S. dollar and further integrate our economies.

We need to let Prime Minister Chrétien and incoming Prime Minister Paul Martin know that we oppose missile defence.

We've already surrendered our sovereignty in areas such as energy, natural resources, social policy, and so-called harmonization of visa and immigration policy.

Now, Canada will give up even more sovereignty over our country's defence and security by handing decision-making powers to the Pentagon.

We ought to remember that George W. Bush said he considers Canada's water as part of his country's security policy. Thus "deep integration" should come as no surprise - the U.S. President and his Canadian free trade supporters seem to believe Canada is nothing more than a U.S. resource supplier. And it 's unlikely that Paul Martin will stand up for Canada.

Yet there is a growing wave of democratic power that Martin and Chrétien cannot ignore.

Canadians do not want further integration with  U.S. social, political and military policies. We believe in our health care. We believe in peacekeeping and not wielding a big stick. We believe in our country. And we believe that we are much safer engaging with the rest of the world instead of forcing our will upon them.

I'm confident that Martin and Chrétien will change their minds when Canadians boldly speak up in favour of Canadian security and Canadian priorities.

Missile defence will be a disaster for Canada. It will undermine our sovereignty and security. It will likely force Canada to spend more money on the military, and on the wrong kind of military priorities at that (war-fighting instead of peacekeeping).

That's why I hope you'll join me and visit to send a letter to Prime Minister Chrétien and copy it to Paul Martin, letting them know that missile defence is unacceptable. And, at the very minimum, let them know they need to be brave enough to make the decision in public and not behind closed doors.

Sincerely yours, 

Maude Barlow


NOTE FROM JEAN: Here is the text of the letter to Prime minister Jean Chrétien (a man I greatly respect especially for his strong stand against the US war in Iraq) through the website. I urge all Canadians on the list to take a couple minutes and do likewise now using their form letter.

Dear Prime Minister Chrétien:

I am indeed very concerned that in a matter of days your Cabinet will likely approve an agreement for Canada to join the Bush administration's ill-considered national missile defence system and I strenuously urge you to PLEASE reconsider this in the light of the long-standing desire by all Canadians for a peaceful role of Canada in the world. No matter the geopolitic pressures at play here, do not leave us with such a poisonous legacy that would tarnish your name and reputation and contradict so much the courageous stand you've taken to oppose the criminal and illegal war in Iraq waged by our dangerous empire-building, war-mongering neighbor south of the Canadian/US border.

Negotiations between the Canadian and American militaries have been going on for months now, but your government has released little information to Canadians.

Too many questions remain unanswered: Will this require new U.S. military installations in Canada? How much money will be denied to our social programs to pay for our military's contribution? Have the Americans agreed to never use space-based weapons as part of the system?

Prime Minister Chrétien, in May you promised to bring the issue of missile defence before Canadians. You told Parliament that 'There will be a debate in the House of Commons . . . before a decision is reached.'

I urge you to ensure that Canadians have sufficient time to discuss the issue and that Parliament is able to hold a full debate before a final decision is made.... and I trust you will not let crooked politicians and lobbyists decide for all Canadians what is supposed to be "good" for us...

I await your reply.

Jean Hudon, Quebec

cc. Honourable Paul Martin



Forwarded by "Mark Graffis">

Date: November 11, 2003
Subject: New UN report condemns Israeli violations of the right to food

Dear all,

The Center for Economic and Social Rights is hosting a press conference tomorrow at the United Nations for the public release of a new report by Jean Ziegler, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. The press release below provides details of the event and of Mr. Ziegler's outstanding and important human rights report. Please circulate the report to anyone who might be interested. The report is at:

In solidarity

Roger Normand
Executive Director



Palestinian society faces the possibility of "physical, social and psychological destruction"

Press Contacts:
Roger Normand, Executive Director, Center for Economic and Social Rights, (718) 237-9145 ext. 12

New York, November 11, 2003 - At a press briefing on November 12, Jean Ziegler, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, will discuss the findings of a new report condemning Israel for denying the right to food and water to 3.8 million Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The report is at:

"Behind the headlines of escalating violence, there is the hidden danger of escalating physical, social and psychological destruction of a very ancient society," said Ziegler. "This tragedy is being largely ignored by world public opinion, the mass media, and the international community of nations."

Among the main findings of his report:

- 22% of Palestinian children under five are suffering from malnutrition - a three-fold increase from 2000.
- 9.3% suffer acute malnutrition - an eight-fold increase from 2000.
- 15.6% suffer acute anemia, which can lead to permanent impairment of physical and mental development.
- Food consumption has fallen 30% per capita; 60% of Palestinian households now live in acute poverty; and 50% are dependent on international food aid.

"According to the World Bank, the main causes of this humanitarian tragedy are Israeli practices of closures, curfews, and denial of free movement - even at times to sick persons and relief organizations," said Ziegler. "These practices are rooted in an overall policy of occupation that continues to expand Jewish settlements in the OPT, isolate Palestinian communities from one another, and destroy Palestinian homes and farmland. Population transfer from the occupying state to occupied territory is expressly prohibited by Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention, yet over 400,000 Israeli citizens now live in the OPT, including East Jerusalem."

Mr. Ziegler is the first UN human rights representative whose mission was officially welcomed and facilitated by the Israeli government. As a prominent sociology professor in Switzerland, he is well known for his research exposing the complicity of Swiss banks in exploiting Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

From 3-12 July, 2003, he met Israeli political leaders and military commanders, Palestinian officials, UN officials and relief workers, and representatives from Israeli, Palestinian and international NGOs.

Ziegler reported frank and open conversations with Israeli military staff responsible for the OPT, many of whom acknowledged that Israel's occupation policies may be contributing to the humanitarian crisis, yet insisted that the security requirements of Israeli citizens, both inside the Green Line and in the OPT, necessitated drastic measures.

"The Israeli government has the right and obligation to assure the security of its citizens," said Ziegler. "As any other sensible human being, I deeply regret the violence that has cost the lives of over 800 Israelis and 2700 Palestinians in the past 3 years. But the widespread denial of adequate food and water to an occupied people constitutes an act of collective punishment prohibited under international law. If the Israeli government is allowed to continue these policies, particularly the ongoing construction of the separation wall in the OPT, there will be no possibility for a future Palestinian state to guarantee the right to food for its citizens. The international community has a vital interest in taking effective action to safeguard all the human rights of Palestinians and Israelis alike."

At the press conference, Mr. Ziegler will be introduced by Roger Normand, Executive Director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights. CESR is a UN-accredited NGO with a longstanding focus on promoting human rights and international law to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As the first group to document economic and social rights violations in the OPT, CESR has worked with a broad range of local and international organizations to demand full respect for human rights from both Israeli and Palestinian authorities.


This message was sent from the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) email list. For more information on CESR, see our website:


See also:

UN Committee: Human Rights Abuses in Palestinian Territories Worst Since Occupation Began
A UN committee monitoring human rights abuses of Palestinians has concluded after 35 years of investigations that the situation in the Israeli-occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank was the worst ever last year." Mustafa Barghouti comments on one town, surrounded entirely by the 'separation wall': "Qalqilya is a city that is 46,000 people, surrounded now by a wall from all directions with one gate, which is eight meters width. And the gate has a key and the soldiers have the key. And they shut all the gates every night at 6:00 p.m. and they open it at 6:00 in the morning and sometimes they decide to shut off the city for several days, like has happened last month. So, imagine a whole city with a gate surrounded by the wall. You know, the people of Qalqilya called me the other day and said, 'You know, we don't see the sunset anymore because the wall is high enough to prevent us from seeing the sun set.'

Israel: a racist apartheid state?
BISHOP DESMOND TUTU, the South African Nobel Prize winner, described how he saw on his visit to Israel "much like what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about" (1). Comparisons between apartheid South Africa and Israel/Palestine have often been made, but not always clearly explained. Many factors have made the comparison attractive.


Forwarded by>

From: "John Passacantando"
Date: October 29, 2003
Subject: Ashcroft vs. Greenpeace

From: John Passacantando, executive director Greenpeace USA
Re: The Justice Department's Unprecedented Attack on Greenpeace

In the past you have been there to support Greenpeace. Now we need you to make your voices heard. It's important that you know about a serious battle we are facing to continue to do the work you support us for: taking action to stop crimes against our environment.

Yesterday, MV Esperanza, arrived in Miami Florida. However, rather than pulling into port, as Greenpeace ships do throughout the world, she will remain at anchor.

The Port of Miami has refused us entry because John Ashcroft's Justice Department is prosecuting us for a protest action last year. The prosecution is unprecedented. Never before in U.S. history has an entire organization been prosecuted for a peaceful protest of its supporters.

As you know, for years we have worked to end environmental destruction and human rights abuses in Brazil's Amazon rainforest. Destruction of these habitats threatens clean air and water, animal and plant species, and the people and cultures who depend on forests for their way of life. Large criminal enterprises, using bribery, extortion, slavery, and murder, continue to ravage the Amazon and export their contraband.

Last year, two Greenpeace activists climbed aboard a ship carrying Amazon mahogany wood. They held a banner that said "President Bush: Stop Illegal Logging."

Amazingly, instead of halting the shipment, the government is prosecuting Greenpeace in federal court in Miami. It has charged Greenpeace under an obscure 19th century law never intended for this purpose. A trial is now set for December.

Leading legal experts, quoted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and publications around the world, agree that this prosecution is disturbing and poses a threat to free speech.

From the Boston Tea Party to the civil rights movement, public protest actions have helped bring positive change in the U.S.

Our actions worldwide have played a critical role in, for example, stopping atmospheric nuclear testing, protecting Antarctica from exploitation, and banning radioactive waste dumping at sea.

But if this prosecution succeeds, non-violent protest may become yet another casualty of John Ashcroft's attack on civil liberties.

Please help us to ensure that freedom of speech isn't taken away from all of us.
-- Take action:

Contact President Bush and John Ashcroft and tell them to prosecute illegal loggers, not Greenpeace:

Contact the authorities in Miami and tell them that they should allow the Esperanza to dock in Miami:

For more information and to stay updated as events unfold, visit:


John Passacantando

Executive Director

Greenpeace USA


From: Larry Morningstar>
Date: 6 Nov 2003
Subject: Socio-Political: Will Your Vote Count in the Next Election?


Will Your Vote Count in the Next Election?

Maybe not! How will we even know? Help Pass HR2239

A growing concern over the inadequacies of election equipment in the United States has recently been heightened by the problems of the 2000 Presidential election. Added to the mix is the election reform mandated by recent federal legislation attempting to address the concerns. The result is that many states are scurrying to replace their older equipment with new electronic voting computers.

Unfortunately, election technology has not advanced to the point where it can provide us with electronic systems that are reliable enough to trust with our democracy. In other words, we just aren't there yet.

Here are the facts:

* Computer experts say today's voting machines are prone to errors and vulnerable to fraud.

* Defective hardware and bugs in software could decide who wins an election.

* Even thorough testing cant reveal malicious programs that could subvert an election.

* Many election officials don't realize the risks inherent in using electronic voting machines.

* Courts have ruled that secret software can be used to record and count our votes.

* Manual recounts will be impossible in districts that don't allow voters to inspect a paper record of their votes.

>What does this mean about the 2004 election?

* Americans will use voting computers with secret software that has not been sufficiently scrutinized, just as they have in past elections. * They will have to trust computers to record and count their votes correctly -- computers that are not advanced enough to ensure the security and accuracy that could justify their trust. * If something odd occurs, manual recounts of the original ballots will be impossible, because the only record of the votes will be in electronic form, which will, of course, match the questionable tally.

HAVA isn't a solution

In response to the 2000 Florida debacle, Congress passed a law, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which mandates voting process reform in all the states. Unfortunately, many are interpreting the requirements in a way that does not provide the safeguards necessary to ensure integrity in our elections.

*HAVA requires that voters be able to verify their ballots before they are cast and counted.

*HAVA requires that all voting machines provide a "permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity" and that the voter must be given the "opportunity to change the ballot or correct any error before the permanent paper is produced."

Mr. Darryl R. Wold, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) believes that HAVA requires a voter-verifiable paper trail. However, many proponents of touch screen voting systems are claiming that the HAVA requirement does not mean the system must allow the voter to verify the paper record. They claim the HAVA requirements are met if the voter verifies a screen version of the ballot, and if a paper report can be printed later for audit purposes. However, if the voters cannot verify the actual audit record in the voting booth, meaningful recounts are impossible since the recount would simply be an identical re-tabulation of the original count that was in question. Since HAVA remains open to this kind of interpretation, it does not provide a solution.

Fixing software isn't a solution

In July 2003, computer researchers from Johns Hopkins and Rice Universities published a scathing review of one of the most widely used electronic voting computers, the Diebold touch screen. Their analysis showed that the software was badly designed, full of errors, and open to fraud.

Some people say that the manufacturers could simply fix the software, and the problem will be solved. However, they fail to see that the solution is not that simple. There are two unfixable problems with electronic voting machines:

*No one knows how to write bug-free software. The more complex the software, the more difficult it is to find the bugs, and election software is very complex. * Malicious code embedded into the software could go undetected. Neither close inspection of the code nor thorough testing of the computer could ensure that malicious software has not slipped through the cracks.

Here's a solution!

Representative Rush Holt has already proposed a solution, in the form of a bill introduced into the House. The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (H.R. 2239) would mandate the necessary safeguards for U.S. elections in every state. Now we need to get the bill out of the Committee on House Administration and bring it to action on the floor.

When enacted, this federal law would require all states to use election equipment that provides a voter-verifiable paper audit trail.

*This means that voters could check a paper ballot or paper record of the ballot for accuracy before casting the vote -- without having to trust the voting machine. Voter verification of ballots is crucial, because only the voter can check whether the ballot is accurate.

*A paper audit trail makes it possible to reconstruct the election results from the original voter-verified records, without having to trust the election equipment. In other words, it is possible to do a meaningful recount if an election is in dispute.

Working together with others across the nation, we must convince our Congress to pass H.R.2239. To find out how you can help, go to:

But ...

Just in case our representatives in Congress don't take this problem as seriously as they really should, we can address the problem state by state and county by county.

Working together with others in our states, we must convince our state legislatures to take action to safeguard our elections. To find out how you can help, go to:


National: Join Martin Luther King III, ActForChange and over 38,000 voters to support the need for paper trail. All US voters please sign this National petition now:

National: Support Legislation HR 2239 requiring Voter-Verified Paper Trail for 2004 Elections All US voters please sign this National petition as well.

National: Help research where your Congressperson stands on HR 2239

To Help Pass HR2239, go to:


About's Founder:

David L. Dill is a Professor of Computer Science and, by courtesy, Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He has been on the faculty at Stanford since 1987. He has an S.B. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1979), and an M.S and Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon University (1982 and 1987). He is on the California Secretary of State's Ad Hoc Touch Screen Task Force and travels around the Country speaking and educating on the inherent dangers of current DRE and voting machines.


Courtesy of Alicia Bay Laurel

Larry Morningstar
The Socio-Political Report


From: "Leonard Spade">
Subject: Anti-patriot Act resolution expected to come to the floor of the LA City Council Date: 8 Nov 2003

Patriotic Challenge

A resolution supporting repeal of portions of the USA PATRIOT Act is expected to come to the floor of the City Council in the next month. If the council passes it and Mayor James K. Hahn signs it, Los Angeles would be the nation's largest city to go on record against civil liberties abuses that critics say are integral to the bill swiftly passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in the weeks after 9/11.

About 200 cities, including Chicago, plus the states of Alaska, Hawaii and Vermont have passed resolutions calling for repeal of laws that permit law-enforcement agents to enter a home without a warrant and take other unprecedented actions in the name of homeland security.

Councilwoman Jan Perry introduced the Los Angeles motion and won the immediate backing of members Eric Garcetti, Cindy Miscikowski, Tony Cardenas and Ed Reyes. The motion was slated to be heard in the Rules Committee, whose chairman, council president Alex Padilla, has not yet decided whether to support it.

Padilla voted "no" earlier this year on the council's motion to oppose unilateral war on Iraq, explaining that the subject was not within the council's purview. Political observers suggested at the time that Padilla wanted to remain a viable candidate for statewide office in the future and did not want to be haunted by his vote when campaigning in more conservative corners of California.

Padilla would have had to weigh in on the PATRIOT Act motion in committee before his colleagues went on record. But he instead steered the motion away from his Rules Committee to an unlikely venue - the Arts, Parks and Aging Committee. His spokesman said the committee assignment made sense since the panel covers libraries and since the PATRIOT Act, among other things, requires librarians to turn over data on patrons' book choices.

- Robert Greene

From the LAWeekly, access their pages at



US unleashes renewed bombing raids on Iraqi towns

By Richard Phillips

11 November 2003

The US military launched bombing strikes against Iraqi civilians last weekend for the first time since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1. The air campaign, involving F-16 bombers, targeted two towns, Tikrit and Fallujah, which have become centers of popular resistance to the US occupation. It was aimed at terrorizing the Iraqi people in response to the escalating number and sophistication of attacks on American troops in the last weeks.

While American officials, from President Bush down to senior military commanders, continue to claim that “progress” is being made, the reality on the ground is that the US is sinking into an ever-deepening quagmire. Washington’s answer to growing popular hostility and increasingly well-organised resistance is to revive the methods used by US forces during the Vietnam war: mass roundups, death squads and the wholesale destruction of villages and towns.

Lt. Col. George Krivo, a spokesman for the US command, told the media that military action was being intensified against all “noncompliant forces”. The campaign, code-named “Operation Ivy Cyclone”, began last Friday night with air bombing raids, coordinated ground-troop assaults and mass arrests. According to media reports, the US Army has so far admitted to killing five Iraqis and arresting 140 people.

A US officer speaking on condition of anonymity said the army was on “offensive operations” and that the attacks would continue for several days. “You can expect to see an increase in the level of intensity and the amount of activity,” he said. In a chilling reminder of US terror in Vietnam, the officer continued: “Part of warfare is coercion and affecting the hearts and minds of the enemy”.

In the first week of November alone, 34 US troops were killed, the highest losses since the American-led occupation began on March 21, and more than the total fatalities in all of October. Over 150 American soldiers have been killed in combat since May 1.

Sixteen US soldiers lost their lives on November 2 when guerilla fighters downed a Chinook helicopter in Fallujah. This was followed by the death of six American troops on Friday November 7 when a Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Tikrit.

Two of those killed on Friday were from the Department of the Army headquarters at the Pentagon and an American major general travelling in another helicopter narrowly escaped death. This was the third US helicopter hit in the last two weeks.

Washington responded to the Black Hawk crash with an extended assault on Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s home town, beginning at midnight and lasting until just before dawn on Saturday. US troops bombarded the area near the helicopter crash site with mortar fire and then attacked a warehouse and two houses with rockets, missiles and heavy-machine guns, claiming that anti-coalition forces were using the properties as hideouts. F-16 jets then dropped three 227-kilogram laser guided bombs to completely destroy the buildings.

Lt. Col. Steven Russell of the 4th Infantry Division who led the raid told Associated Press: “We want to remind this town that we have teeth and claws and we will use them.” According to the press agency, “soldiers yelled, ‘knock, knock’ and ‘good morning’ in celebration as the structure crumbled amid plumes of dust and smoke.”

US military officials have attempted to blame the mounting resistance on “Saddam Hussein loyalists, criminals and foreign fighters”. But claims about “foreign fighters” are beginning to wear thin. Russell admitted to the press last weekend that US forces are “yet to kill or capture a foreign fighter in Tikrit.”

In fact, the US military, conscious of the widespread and popular character of the resistance, is increasingly directing its repression against the Iraqi population as a whole.

In Al Auja, a Tikrit suburb and the birthplace of Saddam Hussein, the US has established virtual concentration camp conditions. Surrounded by almost eight kilometres of razor wire the 3,000-strong community is permanently guarded and patrolled by heavily armed US troops. No one is allowed in or out of the area without US Army permission, and US troops have interrogated nearly every male in the suburb. Last Friday US soldiers poured into Al Auja before dawn and ordered all residents 18 years and older to register for identity cards.

Fallujah targetted

Like Tigrit, Fallujah has become another key target. Since April, when American troops opened fire on a crowd of protesters, killing 15 people, the town has become a major centre of resistance to the US occupation.

Late on Saturday, US troops and airforce planes began bombarding parts of Fallujah after three paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division in the area were wounded. The US military has provided little details about the attack, but at least three 227-kilogram bombs were dropped on the town and scores of Iraqis detained.

Hours before the bombing, General John Abizaid, chief of US Central Command, threatened community officials and tribal chiefs from a nearby province who were meeting in Fallujah. He described the province as a “hot area” and warned that unless officials cooperated with the US military there “might be another policy”.

Fallujah mayor Taha Bedawi quoted the general as saying: “Irresponsible behaviour such as explosions and strikes against coalition forces were prohibited and we will take measures. We have the capabilities and the equipment.”

While the US military claims “Operation Ivy Cyclone” is having the “desired effect”, resistance attacks have continued unabated throughout the country, with at least three Americans and one British soldier killed since the weekend. Two US soldiers were fatally wounded on patrol in Fallujah when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb, and a rocket-propelled grenade killed a US military police officer in Iskandariyah, 60 kilometres south of Baghdad.

Mortar bombings on the west side of the Tigris River, where the Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters and other key occupation facilities are located, are also conducted on a daily basis. Several loud explosions echoed across Baghdad on Sunday night when mortars hit properties in the area. At the same time, patrolling US troops came under small arms fire in Baghdad’s Kamal Jumblatt Square and immediately fled the scene.

In the midst of the new American onslaught, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage admitted during a heavily guarded visit to Baghdad, that the US military confronted major problems in Iraq. “[I]t’s not a secret to anyone that in the Baghdad, Tikrit, Ramadi, Fallujah area, we’ve got a security problem [and] we’re sobered by the problem,” he told the press.

Armitage made clear, however, there would be no letting up in US violence. The military had “a very solid plan to go out and get these people,” he said. “We’re going to take this fight to the enemy”.

These threats are in line with recent comments by Republican Senator Trent Lott who declared: “If we have to, we just mow the whole place down, see what happens. You’re dealing with insane suicide bombers who are killing our people and we need to be very aggressive in taking them out.”

Far from intimidating the resistance, such methods will only produce deepening hostility to the illegal occupation.

Commenting on the Tikrit bombings local resident Najih Latif Abbas told Associated Press: “Neither America, nor the father of America, scares us”. Abbas said his 17 children were terrified as bombs shook their house. “Iraqi men are striking at Americans and they retaliate by terrifying our children.”

Sixty-year old farmer, Fakhri Fayadh, insisted that the US reprisals “will only increase our spite and hatred of them. If they think they will scare us, they are wrong. Day after day, Americans will be harmed and attacks against them will increase.”


See Also:

Bush vows decades of war for "democracy" in the Middle East (November 8)
In a speech before the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) Thursday President Bush portrayed the military occupation of Iraq as only the first stage in a US crusade for “democracy” in the region that will continue “for decades to come.” Making clear that he will be deterred neither by the rising toll of American military casualties—30 more US soldiers have been killed this week—nor the proliferation of opinion polls showing growing domestic opposition to the war, Bush declared that Washington “has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East.” He indicated that his administration’s plans for future military interventions in the region are already at an advanced stage. (...) Throughout the period of the Cold War, Washington depicted every act of aggression—from the killing of 3 million people in the Vietnam War to the series of fascist-military coups that plunged most of Latin America into dictatorship—as a blow for “democracy.” Never, however, has there been a more hypocritical invocation of democracy than Bush’s speech before the NED—a body that was set up by the Reagan administration to provide a cover for acts of counterrevolutionary subversion that were previously done covertly by the CIA. Under conditions in which the US has conducted an unlawful war of aggression against Iraq and is ruling the country under a regime of military occupation, for Bush to pose as the champion of democratic liberation is an act of breathtaking arrogance and cynicism. It is also a warning that Washington has assumed the right to bring “democracy” to whatever nation it chooses, using similar methods. National sovereignty, international law and concern for civilian casualties will not be allowed to stand in its way. CLIP -THIS IS A MUST READ!

UN: No Evidence Iran Was Making Nukes (Nov 10)

U.S. Commander in Iraq Outlines Tougher Strategy
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 11 — Stung by the deaths of nearly 40 American soldiers over the past 10 days, the top American military commander in Iraq spoke of a "turning point" in the conflict on Tuesday and outlined a new get-tough approach to combat operations in areas north and west of Baghdad, strongholds for loyalists of Saddam Hussein. (...) "Although the coalition can be benevolent, this is the same lethal instrument that removed the previous regime, and we will not hesitate to employ the appropriate levels of combat power," he said in prepared remarks. In response to questions, he added, "What we are embarking on here is the absolute necessity to defeat the enemy," in pursuit of which the "application of all combat power that is available to us" would be used. CLIP

In BushWorld, the Grander the Rhetoric, the Bigger the Lie
Bush's address before the National Endowment of Democracy is an insult to all Americans. He speaks of liberty, freedom and democracy while he and his minions are doing everything they can to destroy the democracy he swore to protect and defend. ... In Bush's America, democracy is something we impose on others whether they ask for it or not just as long as they vote the way Bush wants. Liberty is something that has to take a back seat when we are at war (in a war that will never end). And freedom is another word for nothing left to lose, except the democracy we once treasured and that Bush swore to uphold." (The National Endowment for Democracy is a shadow operation of the CIA's Directorate of Operations. The NED has been involved in criminal operations such as Iran-Contra.)

A Multigenerational Bush Family Saga? Absolutely!!
Rightwinger Michael Medved writes, "Why not consider a major, multicharacter generational saga about the utterly amazing Bush family,beginning with the current president's much maligned but altogether extraordinary grandfather, Sen. Prescott Bush?" Absolutely! We'd love to see Prescott getting rich by trading with the Nazis, exploiting slave labor at Auschwitz, having his companies' assets seized for "trading with the enemy", helping Nazis resettle overseas, and hiding his activities from the FBI and Connecticut voters while launching a political dynasty... Segue to GHWB and whatever ugly CIA business he did - before, during, and after his appointment as CIA director... Segue to GWB at Skull & Bones, 3 arrests in college, dodging Vietnam, going AWOL from the National Guard, drunk as a skunk until 40, one business failure after another... Throw in other family crooks like Neil (Silverado) and Marvin... "The Bushes" would make "The Sopranos" look like "The Sound of Music"!

Over 7,000 Wounded US Soldiers Treated at One Hospital in Germany - BushFeld are crubbing the Carnage in Iraq
Veterans for Common Sense writes, "The international media needs to report this grim statistic far and wide: More than 7,000 wounded US soldiers have been treated at a single US military hospital in Germany. The counts of wounded treated at other US military hospitals is unknown. An investigation should be launched immediately to determine how and why the US military is downplaying (at best) or concealing (at worst) the high number of wounded from the US - Iraq War


Forwarded by "Mark Graffis">


The perfect weapon

Our love affair with depleted uranium masks a war crime in progress


"You can't clean it up!" Doug Rokke, a career soldier who describes himself variously as a peace warrior and the ultimate garbage man, repeats this phrase with escalating amazement, lest anyone fail to get it.

When he speaks, he burns like a flare. He knows too much; it's eating him alive. He has seen the future of war crime he has breathed it into his own lungs. You can't clean it up.

"It" is depleted uranium the perfect weapon. At 1.6 times the density of lead, DU shells are the last word in penetration power: locomotives compressed to the size of bullets. The shells ignite the instant they're fired and explode on impact. "I mean it's absolute kill," Rokke said. "Inside the vehicle is a giant firestorm."

What's not to love, if you're the Pentagon? We pounded Saddam's army with DU ammo in Gulf War I and destroyed it on the ground. Maybe you've seen pictures of what we did to it; GIs cleaning up afterward coined the term "crispy critters" to describe the fried corpses they found inside Iraqi tanks and trucks. Talk about kill power.

DU's awesome; it laughs at steel. Nothing stops it. For good reason, then, the Defense Department's standing order about this stuff is simple: See no evil.

So, OK, "depleted uranium" isn't really depleted of anything. It's dirty: U-238, the low-level radioactive byproduct of the uranium enrichment process. And when the ammo explodes, poof, it vaporizes into particles so fine a single micron in diameter, small enough to fit inside red blood cells that, well, "conventional gas mask filters are like a barn door."

Rokke knows what he's talking about; indeed, he knows as much about DU as anyone alive. In 1991, he was Gen. Schwarzkopf's go-to guy for environmental messes: the garbage man. A specialist in preventive medicine (nuclear, chemical, biological), he was tapped to head up cleanup efforts in Kuwait. A number of U.S. tanks and troop transports had been taken out by friendly fire and Rokke and his team of several hundred men a good 30 of whom are now dead of cancer, with many more, like Rokke himself, seriously ill were supposed to ready them to be sent back to the States. "We were scraping brains off Abrams tanks."

The garbage man. He doesn't mince words. To hear him speak as I did the other day in Chicago you get the feeling there's no time for it. He was one of the presenters at a conference at the University of Illinois/Chicago on war and health, sponsored, appropriately enough, by the School of Nursing. His message is so urgent it's incandescent.

And his message is this: War is obsolete. Its technology is out of control. And nothing, short of all-out nuclear war, is more dangerous than the widespread use of depleted uranium. Some 375 tons of it were left in the desert and cities of Iraq in '91, and a dozen years later, a quarter of a million vets, more than a third of Gen. Schwarzkopf's army, including Schwarzkopf himself, are combat-disabled, battling cancer and neurological and respiratory illnesses. More than 10,000 are dead. Since then, we've sewn pulverized DU across Kosovo and Afghanistan, and now, once again, Iraq. This time, 2,000 tons of it. "That's the solid estimate." Two thousand tons. And you can't clean it up. This is a long-term public health disaster of fearful proportions for Iraqis.

But even those of you who have a hard time caring about their fate surely see that it is also an imminent disaster for our own men and women in uniform. They are utterly unprotected from DU contamination. To take precautions would be to concede that DU is dangerous; if the Pentagon did that, its perfect weapon would become "politically unacceptable." Ergo, it ain't dangerous. If you hear otherwise, it's Iraqi propaganda. Meanwhile, 7,000 GIs have been sent home on medical evacuation, Rokke says; 30 percent of the women are experiencing gynecological problems. And the barracks where many of our sick and wounded are warehoused are a disgrace "so bad I wouldn't put a hog in there," he says. DU rounds are going off right this moment.

This is a war crime in progress.

"Our world faces a crisis as yet unperceived by those possessing the power to make great decisions for good and evil. The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe."

- Albert Einstein

ABOUT BOB KOEHLER Robert Koehler, an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist, is an editor at Tribune Media Services and nationally syndicated writer. You can respond to this column at


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