December 27, 2003

Miscellaneous Subjects #199: We Will Not Get Fooled Again

Hello everyone

I know I was not supposed to send you anything else this year and I wish I could avoid sending you what follows but there is just too much that came to my attention in the past few days that seems rather urgent and thus can't wait for another week.

See my comment below at the top of item #1 "Bush's Christmas Terror Alert" as to why this can't wait.

Now is certainly not the time to get fooled again by another all-too-transparent plot and to allow ourselves to go into "fear" thinking.

Peace, Light and Love will prevail!

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

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Beside Condi, Who Else Had Foreknowledge Of 911?
(...) Martial Law is just 'around the corner' in America, and our group have decided to request Americans to use their last chance to express their views freely by writing to us regarding the subject: OUTSIDE OF CONDI, WHO ELSE HAD FOREKNOWLEDGE OF 911? (...) Americans! ... you took the most wonderful country in the world, and turned it into something which is little different today than a Nazi camp. Did you try to fly lately? and the White House announced today that all tourists to the USA will be photographed AND fingerprinted starting in January! All that, to maintain the fictional 'war on terrorism'! Your nation was the flame of freedom for the rest of the world, and now you are forcing us to slide into hell with you. You are too stupid to realise it, but, you WILL realise it soon, very soon. Just listen to CNN 'predicting' that the second 911 is coming! And your government EVEN said that it may be much worse than the first one.

Bush Concealed Iraqi Chemical Weapons Plant in Florida which shipped WMD to Saddam Just Prior to Gulf War I

Both recommended by Ken (

"A modern dictator with the resources of science at his disposal can easily lead the public on from day to day, destroying all persistency of thought and aim, so that memory is blurred by the multiplicity of daily news and judgement baffled by its perversion."

- Winston Churchill

"President Bush is an intelligent man. He is not going to declare an economic war against Iraq. I admire your extraordinary efforts to rebuild your country. I know you need funds. We understand that, and our opinion is that you should have the opportunity to rebuild your country. But we have no opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts like your border disagreement with Kuwait. James Baker [US Secretary of State] has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction. .... "

- April Glaspie, US Ambassador to Iraq, in conversation with Saddam Hussein, US State Department transcripts, 25th July 1990, eight days before the invasion.

Worthy of Your Attention

An extremely effective presentation of the 9-11 deception
"There is a war going on; it is a war against freedom, and we have to get involved," says the physicist Michael Elliot, who manages , and who is here interviewed for Radio Free America. Recommended by "Boudewijn Wegerif">

CDC Study Raises Level of Suspicion (Dec 23 -- ABSOLUTE MUST READ!!)
CDC coverup: Children likely poisoned by mandatory vaccines - Canned tuna or canned poison? That was the teaser for a CBS 2 News "HealthWatch" Report of Nov. 22 that focused on high levels of mercury found in tuna and the possible health risks associated with them. CBS 2 News reporter Paul Moniz quoted a number of physicians, who observed of the toxic substance that, "Once it gets into our bodies, a substantial part of it will end up in our nervous system, in our brains, and it's there that it causes a variety of symptoms." A pediatrician is quoted as saying, "We know that high levels of mercury can impair the cognitive development as well as the growth and development of a young child." What the report appears to be revealing is that while overweight Americans may flee to fish to lose unwanted pounds, too much of that tasty tuna could reduce the IQ more than the waistline. What the critics of mercury in vaccines find provocative about this report is the acknowledgement by physicians that the high levels of mercury ingested from canned tuna can cause severe health risks. One such critic, the mother of an autistic child, wonders "why everyone gets up in arms over ingesting small amounts of mercury from fish or from breaking a thermometer but finds it acceptable to inject an even more toxic form of mercury directly into the bloodstream of infants. The evidence is overwhelming that hundreds of thousands of children were damaged by gross overexposure to mercury through vaccines [containing thimerosal] and millions more were and continue to be put at risk, yet network news has not addressed this in any significant way. The public needs and deserves to know the truth - not only about the biggest medical bungling in our history, but also about the extraordinary efforts of both the pharmaceutical industry and government agencies to cover it up." A pharmaceutical and government cover-up? It is a familiar enough accusation, and this time the fuse was lit by yet another study from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this one titled Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Databases. The report concluded that "no consistent significant associations were found between TCVs [thimerosal-containing vaccines] and neurodevelopment outcomes." Critics scoff at such a conclusion. "Sure," laughs one, "they say you can't eat tuna because the level of mercury you ingest isn't good for you, but there's no health risk associated with injecting high levels of mercury directly into a newborn baby?" The CDC study, released in the November 2003 issue of Pediatrics, seemed to puzzle news media, with most who took note of it making at least a mention of the fact that the lead author, Thomas Verstraeten, was an employee of GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical giant and vaccine manufacturer, when he submitted the study for publication. (...) The data used in this first phase actually revealed a significant association between TCVs administered to infants and later developmental abnormalities such as speech and language delays and neurodevelopment problems in general, such as tics and the alleged hyperactivity symptoms of attention-deficit disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. However, this conclusion was not included in the final draft; it was only made public afterward when Verstraeten's notes were revealed in another forum, according to specialists. The notes, not published with the CDC study, showed that the "relative risk" for autism was 2.48 times higher for children who received 62.5 micrograms or more of mercury from TCVs by 3 months of age. (...) "We went to Atlanta," he continues, "to the CDC, and looked at the VSD data. There is thimerosal-containing DTaP [diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine] and thimerosal-free DTaP, so we asked a question: Among children that got a minimum of either three consecutive thimerosal-containing DTaPs or three consecutive thimerosal-free DTaPs, was there a difference in the number of autism cases in the two groups? We found mega differences. More than 20 times higher. The rate of autism in the children that got more than three doses of thimerosal-containing DTaP vaccines was much, much higher. Almost all the children that have autism in that group were the ones that got the thimerosal-containing DTaP vaccine. The more thimerosal the greater the cases of autism." Mark Geier says, "Believe us, there is no scientific issue here. This is fraud. The CDC and the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] know what is happening. They just can't admit it because it is one of the worst things ever to have happened to this United States. If a terrorist had done this, we wouldn't attack them, we'd nuke them. We're talking about one in eight children in the U.S. that currently are in special education, and that number is going to change to about one in five. What percentage of our young population can we destroy before we realize how serious this is?" CLIP


1. Bush's Christmas Terror Alert
2. The Martial Plan
3. Liz Michael for Senate - Ghost of Christmas Future
4. Peace and the U.S. petro-city
5. Kucinich Releasing World Peace
6. Initiative Diesel soot is big factor in global warming
7. IT'S NOT SADDAM: A story calling for investigation
8. America's War for Global Domination
9. Demolitions started at Akaba - Protest may still make a difference

See also:

US media, government scramble to obscure criminal dealings with Hussein (Dec 24, 2003)
Despite the orgy of self-congratulation that greeted the capture of Saddam Hussein, this is yet another “victory” that is proving to have unforeseen and bitter consequences for the Bush administration. As reports begin to seep into the press of the history of dirty dealings between the former Iraqi president and the administrations of Reagan and Bush senior, one must suspect that the present occupant of the White House, not to mention his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, regret that the military forces that located Hussein did not shoot him on the spot rather than take him into custody. Now the administration confronts the danger that a trial of Hussein—especially one held under international auspices that affords the ex-president the opportunity to mount a genuine legal defense—will expose the direct and deep involvement of the United States government in the most serious crimes of which Hussein stands accused, particularly the use of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. Recently declassified national security documents draw a devastating portrait of Washington’s use of Hussein in pursuit of its geopolitical interests in the Middle East. Even as it became aware that Iraq was using chemical weapons against Iranian troops and Iraqi Kurdish insurgents, the US government continued shifting its policy to provide critical political, military and economic support to Hussein’s regime. This history exposes the administration’s rationale for invading and occupying Iraq and placing Hussein on trial as utterly false and hypocritical. Iraq’s use of chemical weapons, alongside its alleged possession of other so-called weapons of mass destruction, was a principal justification for the war. The documents establish irrefutably that key figures in the Reagan and Bush administrations were Hussein’s enablers and accomplices in his crimes. CLIP

Chomsky: Selective memory and a dishonest doctrine (Dec 21)
(...) Last December, Jack Straw, Britain's foreign secretary, released a dossier of Saddam's crimes drawn almost entirely from the period of firm U.S.-British support of Saddam. With the usual display of moral integrity, Straw's report and Washington's reaction overlooked that support. Such practices reflect a trap deeply rooted in the intellectual culture generally - a trap sometimes called the doctrine of change of course, invoked in the United States every two or three years. The content of the doctrine is: "Yes, in the past we did some wrong things because of innocence or inadvertence. But now that's all over, so let's not waste any more time on this boring, stale stuff."Last December, Jack Straw, Britain's foreign secretary, released a dossier of Saddam's crimes drawn almost entirely from the period of firm U.S.-British support of Saddam. With the usual display of moral integrity, Straw's report and Washington's reaction overlooked that support. Such practices reflect a trap deeply rooted in the intellectual culture generally - a trap sometimes called the doctrine of change of course, invoked in the United States every two or three years. The content of the doctrine is: "Yes, in the past we did some wrong things because of innocence or inadvertence. But now that's all over, so let's not waste any more time on this boring, stale stuff."

Games and deception: The war-year in review
IT WAS THE worst of times, and it was the worst of times. The 12 months labeled, stored, and referenced as "2003" will be forever remembered as a "war year." And wars are the worst of things upon which to waste years. In January, the nation passed the halfway mark of the court-appointed Bush administration. A hardy lot, Americans had survived two years and a day of excruciating corruption, skullduggery, and embarrassment. It was about to get worse. All the best halftime shows took place at peace rallies. The media's electronic war drumbeat was providing George W. Bush with the kind of cacophonous distraction he needed to defy logic, decency, public opinion, and constitutional law. All winter, Bush considered exactly zero outside opinions as he stuck his head in the sand about his war in the desert. No matter how much bottled water it took, he was hell-bent on quagmire. On January 15, the littlest prez said, in full cowboy bluster, "Time is running out on Saddam Hussein - he must disarm. I'm sick and tired of games and deception."

If Libya Can Disarm...Why Not Israel? We Can No Longer Ignore The World's Fifth-Largest Nuclear Power (Dec 22),3604,1111554,00.html
There's a logic to these things. Muammar Gadafy, growing older, and his isolated Libya, growing poorer, were getting nothing worthwhile from the atomic bomb they hadn't built yet or chemicals they had scant residual use for. Logic - and common sense - meant changing tack. Good for logic. But logic doesn't stop there. What next? If weapons of mass destruction are a menace in unstable regions such as the Middle East, if their availability must be reduced, then logic begins to move us closer to the confrontation we never seek with the nuclear power we - let alone Messrs Bush and Blair - seldom mention: Israel. Nobody, including the Knesset, quite knows what happens inside the Dimona complex, but if you put together a compote of usually reliable sources (the Federation of American Scientists, Jane's Intelligence Review, the Stockholm Institute), a tolerably clear picture emerges. Ariel Sharon probably has more than 200 nuclear warheads this morning - more if the 17 years since Mordechai Vanunu's kidnapping have been devoted to building stockpiles. That makes Israel the world's fifth largest nuclear power, boasting more bangs from Washington's bucks than Blair's Britain. And over in the other WMD basket, nobody much dissents when a report by the office of technology assessment for the US Congress concludes that Israel has "undeclared offensive chemical warfare capabilities" and is "generally reported as having an undeclared offensive biological warfare programme". Bombs, missiles, delivery systems, gases, germs? Tel Aviv has the lot. We only forget to remember because it's not a suitable subject for polite diplomatic conversation. (...) An Israel bristling with nuclear hardware it cannot talk about and chemical horrors it could negotiate away does not make itself, or the world, any safer. On the contrary, it makes a hypocritical farce of too much Washington bargaining, buries too many initiatives deep down Hypocrisy Gulch and gives rogue groupings in ex-rogue states every reason to carry on developing, stealing or buying the devices that keep Mr Blair awake at night. Does Tel Aviv see that connection? Does it want to bring a whole region in from the cold? Such things are becoming possible. But first we need the honesty to follow where logic leads; and begin to talk about them.

Time's "Person of the Year" selection is appropriate - if we're talking about which person got screwed over the worst in 2003 (Dec 22, 2003)
Time magazine has named its annual Person of the Year and it is - get this - "The American Soldier." Are the people at Time really this clueless, or is this supposed to be some kind of sick joke? I mean, is having a fake honor bestowed upon them by a large media conglomerate supposed to make up for the fact that American soldiers are getting screwed out of their benefits, serving longer tours of duty than they ever signed up for, waiting in big concrete warehouses for months for medical care after they're wounded, paying their own airfare home for their alleged "leaves," and watching their comrades commit suicide in record numbers, not to mention the enormous number getting wounded and killed? CLIP

Once again doing what he does best (Dec 23)
Listening to this arrogant unelected son of a liar go on about the crimes of another un-elected liar is enough to make one vomit. G.W. Bush, the man who would be President, Navy action figure, Conqueror of Babylon, and Thanksgiving Day turkey is once again doing what he does best, being a hypocrite. With Saddam Hussein in custody, Mr. Bush is calling for his head. Speaking of Saddam's many crimes, the wannabe President can't wait till Saddam is tried and convicted, so he can once again swagger up to the podium at the White House press room to take credit for saving civilization. However, what no-one in the corporate-controlled press is talking about is the fact that according to international law, Mr. Bush, his administration, Congress, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are all war criminals. International law states that a country that attacks another country without provocation is indeed in violation, and its leaders guilty of war crimes. Mr. Bush believes his policy of attacking any country on earth, for what he and his advisors see as being a potential threat sometime in the future, is totally justified. What is particularly damning to Bush's policy of preemption is the fact that none of the weapons of mass destruction, the rationale for war on Iraq, have been found, further criminalizing this enterprise. So we now witness the spectacle of war criminal Bush and his Democratic war criminal rivals, most of whom voted for the war in public debate, now completely ignoring any personal responsibility for the ongoing violence, chaos, death, and mutilation of Afghans, Iraqis and American servicemen. Adding to this foreign policy debacle is an "economic recovery," as Bush likes to call this sinking ship that has lost, and continues to lose, millions of jobs paying a livable wage ˜ replaced with a Wal-Mart job market where the few benefit while the many suffer. Americans neither want nor need a government which is totally corrupt and immoral, who would commit war crimes and support the war crimes of its few remaining allies in the name of the American people.

Starting this week, the nation's largest discount retailer will quietly begin selling tracking-chipped products to clueless shoppers. The first volley in their war against our privacy is set to start at their Brockton, Massachusetts store. Wal-Mart will put Radio Frequency I.D. sensors on shelves stocked with RFID-tagged Gillette products, but they'd rather you didn't know about it, because, hey, you might not like it, and then you might make noise and then they'd have a big PR mess on their hands. You might even stop buying Gillette products or, say, refuse to shop at Wal-Mart. These chips, researched at M.I.T.'s Auto-ID Center are about the size of a grain of sand. Chipsters say the technology will only be used to help retailers keep track of inventory - like bar codes. But privacy-loving consumers question the very concept of a device that sends out radio waves to "readers" that not only identify the article, but where and with whom it's going. The Big Brother implications of this thing need little hyping to get your skin crawling. Wal-Mart's putting the pressure on its top 100 suppliers to make sure their inventory is all chipped by the end of next year. CLIP

A Repressive Embarrassment (Dec 18)
Anyone who thinks the administration and its law enforcement chief, Attorney General John Ashcroft, aren't out to impede a free press need only hear how the federal government is treating foreign journalists coming to this country on assignment. Without notification to foreign media outlets, the immigration and customs people are arresting, detaining, and deporting journalists arriving here without special visas. This is so even when they come from nations whose citizens can stay for up to 90 days without a visa if they are arriving as tourists or on business. If that threatening form of registration is not enough, members of the press arriving without the visas, which no one told them they needed, are treated like criminals, handcuffed as they're marched through airports, photographed, fingerprinted, and their DNA taken.

Drought Has West in Chokehold,1,357836.story
States take drastic measures as reservoirs fall and economic losses rise. Relief is uncertain.- LAS VEGAS - After five years of distressingly low rain and snowfall, a
drought is hammering the West harder than ever, causing multibillion-dollar economic losses and prompting unprecedented measures in many states to cope with less water. With the start of winter, little optimism exists that the coming months will fix the problems. Weather forecasts are equivocal. Explosive population growth, environmental lawsuits to divert water for wildlife and below-average precipitation have put a strain on the big federal reservoirs that supply the West but were designed decades ago when the outlook was far different.

Bushes send greetings to a select 1.5m (Dec 24),12271,1112494,00.html
(...) But Vice-President Dick Cheney has been less careful and embellished his greetings with the brazen use of a taboo word. His card quotes one of the nation's founders, Benjamin Franklin, declaring: "And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?" What empire might that be, the critics would like to know. Meanwhile, America's wildlife protectors have focused on the mention of a falling sparrow. They point to Mr Cheney's taste for downing birds in huge numbers, by shooting them in circumstances when it is hard to miss. On a November bird-hunting trip to the exclusive Rolling Rock Club in Pennsylvania, 500 pheasants were released directly in front of the vice-president and his 10-strong party. Only 100 of the birds survived the experience. Mr Cheney, who was under close secret service protection during the hunt, killed 70. America's Humane Society complained that the odds had been so heavily stacked against the pheasants that the event was more of a "mass killing" than a hunt.

DUDE, Where's my hydrogen?
Michael Moore debunks another myth in a dream that's also a wake-up call. (...) the party's over and the game's definitely up in this, Moore's eerie vision of a post-oil era in which bewildered children ask not: "What did you do in the war, daddy?" but "What did you do in the battle to save the planet, daddy and mummy?" And so it is that Michael Moore finds himself chatting to little Anne - anno 2054 - about oil, the 'die-off' and the hydrogen fuel cell wash-out - here's an excerpt: Anne: What was it like when you couldn't breathe because of the dirty air caused by burning what you called gasoline? ... Michael: Ooh, ooh, that smell. It was nature's way of telling you something's wrong. What were we thinking?.. Anne: But it was poisoning you. And you didn't have breathing stations like we do now, so what did you do? Michael: People would just have to suck it up and breathe it in. This caused millions of people to breathe and die. No one wanted to say it was air pollution from burning fossil fuels that was making it hard to breathe.. (......) A: My sixth grade teacher told us one of your leaders believed "hydrogen fuel cells" would replace gasoline cars but they didn't. That was crazy! Today every kid knows that hydrogen is hard to get.Sure it's in H20, but it takes a lot of energy to break off the hydrogen - and a lot of energy was what you didn't have. Duh! M: You're right, Anne, we were all hepped up on so much Prozac and cable television we always believed what our leaders told us. We even believed them when they said that "hydrogen was the Second Coming - limitless, pollution-free energy that will soon replace oil!" We spent so much money on our military to make sure we had access to oil that our schools were falling apart, making everyone grow up dumb and dumber - and therefore, no one realised that hydrogen was not even a fuel at all! It got so bad , most college graduates didn't even know what H20 stood for! Soon things really got bad. We ran low on oil, and there wasn't any hydrogen to run our cars, so people got really mad. But it was too late. That's when the die-off began.  (...) Moore's Law states that: "People Power doubles every 18 months - once people wake up to the abuse of power by government, the media and giant corporations."

On the Web, an Amateur Audience Creates Anti-Bush Ads (December 21)

G.I. Joke Action Figure (Hilarious!)

Humor: George W. Bush found in a dirt-tunnel hideout, 20 feet beneath the White House

Lead Iraq weapons seeker 'to quit' (Dec 19)
The man leading the US hunt for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq is to resign, according to reports. The loss of David Kay is being interpreted by many analysts as signalling the end of the major effort to discover any hidden weapons.

Amnesty says Miami police may have broken UN laws (Dec 19)
MIAMI - Police in Miami may have violated various international laws and covenants on civil rights and use of force when they crushed protests against a free trade meeting last month, rights group Amnesty International said.

African countries 'ignoring ban on ivory trade' (Dec 16)
More than four tons of illegal ivory is on sale in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal, which have failed to regulate a trade that encourages poaching and threatens the survival of elephants, wildlife conservation groups say. The three nations - which have nearly wiped out their elephant populations - have virtually ignored a world ban on the ivory trade and their flourishing illegal markets are "driving elephant poaching" in West and Central Africa, according to a report released yesterday by Traffic, an organisation which monitors trade in endangered species, and the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Mapuche Lands in Patagonia Taken Over by Benetton Wool Farms (November 25 )
In Patagonia, turquoise rivers divided by wire fences are a common sight. The snow capped mountain range in the southern Andes that runs along the border of Argentina and Chile, or the Cordillera as the locals call it, is one of the most pristine in the world. Under the mountains lies flat earth filled with bushes and vegetation that sheep and cattle graze on. The gold and quartz inside the mountains of Argentina's southern province of Chubut have recently brought in mining companies such as Meridian Gold, and now Benetton, for its exploitable and vast plains - perfect for the mass production of wool. To the Mapuche Indians in southern Argentina, the Italian clothing manufacturer Benetton is the newest conquistador in 10,000 years of land struggles in Patagonia. Today Benetton is the largest landholder in Argentina, owning 900,000 hectares (2.2 million acres) in the resource-rich region of Patagonia. With 9% of Patagonia's most cultivatable land, their holdings amount to 40 times the size of the capital city of Buenos Aires, the second largest city in Latin America. CLIP - This is confirmed in "Land of the Living Wind" at
Once the sole domain of sheep farmers, the wind-whipped tip of South America is drawing a new generation of pioneers and adventure seekers.

U.S. House of Reps. Approves Bill to Censor American Citizens fromVoicing Opposition to U.S. War on Drugs
Washington -- December 9, 2003 -- A little-known provision buried within the omnibus federal spending bill that the U.S. House of Representatives approved yesterday would take away federal grants from local and state transportation authorities that allow citizens to run advertising on buses, trains, or subways in support of reforming our nation's drug laws. If enacted, the provision could effectively silence community groups around the country that are using advertising to educate Americans about medical marijuana and other drug policy reforms. Meanwhile, this same bill gives the White House $145 million in taxpayer money to run anti-marijuana ads next year.



Date: 26 Dec 2003
From: "">
Subject: Bush's Christmas Terror Alert


by Michel Chossudovsky

24 December 2003

The URL of this article is:

This calculated decision of the military-intelligence apparatus was taken at a time when families and friends, with small children and the elderly meet and rejoice.

Christmas, celebrated around the World by both Christians and Non-Christians, is the coming of peace between fellow human beings. It is the pursuit of peace and tolerance.

Bush's Christmas terror alert strikes with unreserved cynicism at the very heart of the "Spirit of Christmas".

* * * 

As people around the World prepare to celebrate Christmas, in a a spirit of peace and communion, the Bush Administration has put America on high risk terror alert.

On December 21st, four days before Christmas, the Homeland Security Department, raised "the national threat level from an elevated to high risk of terrorist attack". ( )

In his pre-Christmas Press Conference, Homeland Security Department Secretary Tom Ridge confirmed that

"the U.S. intelligence community has received a substantial increase in the volume of threat-related intelligence reports".

According to Tom Ridge, these "credible [intelligence] sources" raise "the possibility of attacks against the homeland, around the holiday season..." (For complete statement of Secretary Tom Ridge, 21 December 2003, )

Needless to say an atmosphere of collective fear and confusion has been created across America, which goes against the very "Spirit of Christmas". According to the media reports, the high-level terror alert is to "hang over the holidays and usher in the new year".

"Terrorists still threaten our country and we remain engaged in a dangerous - to be sure - difficult war and it will not be over soon," warned Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. "They can attack at any time and at any place."

"With America on high terror alert for the Christmas holiday season, intelligence officials fear al-Qaeda is eager to stage a spectacular attack - possibly hijacking a foreign airliner or cargo jet and crashing it into a high-profile target inside the United States." ( Boston Globe, 24 December 2003)

The official Christmas announcement by the Homeland Security Department dispelled any lingering doubts regarding the threat level:

"the risk [during the Christmas period] is perhaps greater now than at any point since September 11, 2001;"

It also warned Americans, in no uncertain terms, but without supporting evidence, that there are:

"indications that [the] near-term attacks ... will either rival or exceed the [9/11] attacks".

"And it's pretty clear that the nation's capital and New York city would be on any list..."

Following Secretary Ridge's announcement, anti-aircraft missile batteries were set up in Washington:

"And the Pentagon said today, more combat air patrols will now be flying over select cities and facilities, with some airbases placed on higher alert." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: "You ask, 'Is it serious?' Yes, you bet your life. People don't do that unless it's a serious situation." (ABC News, 23 December 2003)

According to an official statement (quoted by ABC News, 23 December):

"intelligence indicates that Al Qaeda-trained pilots may be working for overseas airlines and ready to carry out suicide attacks."

On Christmas eve 24th of December, several flights out of Paris were cancelled in response to "credible threats" that Al Qaeda operatives may be boarding the planes.


This is the fifth time the Bush Administration has put the country on Orange Code terror alert since September 11, 2001.

Orange Code Alert was ordered on 7 February 2003, one day after Colin Powell's flopped presentation on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction to the UN Security Council.

Powell's intelligence dossier had been politely dismissed. The rebuttal came from UN Inspector Hans Blix, who showed that the intelligence used as a pretext to wage war on Iraq had been blatantly fabricated.

Colin Powell addressed the Security council on the 6th. On the 7th, the Bush administration declared an Orange Code‚ Terror Alert. This "save face operation" contributed to appeasing an impending scandal, while also upholding the Pentagon's planned invasion of Iraq.

Media attention was immediately shifted from Colin Powell's blunders at the UN Security Council to an (alleged) impending terrorist attack on America.

The United States raised its terrorist threat alert to the second-highest level -- code orange -- based on significant intelligence reports warning of a "high risk" of a terrorist attack from the international terrorist group al-Qaeda, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said on February 7.

"After conferring this morning with the Homeland Security Council, the decision has been made to increase the threat condition designation, currently classified at 'elevated' risk,... to the 'high' risk category," Ashcroft said. "This decision for an increased threat condition designation is based on specific intelligence received and analyzed by the full intelligence community. This information has been corroborated by multiple intelligence sources."


"The call that we've made today, which Americans have certainly heard before, is based on our knowledge and our conviction that heightened awareness and readiness deters terrorism and saves lives," Ridge said. (State Department Dispatch, 7 February 2003)

Following this February 7 Orange Code announcement, anti-aircraft missiles were immediately deployed around Washington. The media became inundated with stories on Iraqi support to an impending Al Qaeda attack.

The objective was to present Iraq as the aggressor. According to the New York Post, (11 February 2003):

"The nation is now on Orange Alert because intelligence intercepts and simple logic both suggest that our Islamic enemies know the best way to strike at us is through terrorism on U.S. soil."

Another story allegedly emanating from the CIA on so-called Œradioactive dirty bombs‚ had been planted in the news chain (ABC News, 13 Feb 2003). Secretary Powell warned that "it would be easy for terrorists to cook up radioactive Œdirty‚ bombs to explode inside the U.S. - "How likely it is, I can't say... But I think it is wise for us to at least let the American people know of this possibility."(ABC News, 9 Feb. 2003).

Meanwhile, network TV warned that "American hotels, shopping malls or apartment buildings could be al Qaeda's targets as soon as next week".

The hidden agenda in the weeks leading up to the war was not only to link Baghdad to Al Qaeda, the intent was to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, which would muster unbending support for President Bush and weaken the anti-war protest movement. Following the announcement, tens of thousands of Americans rushed to purchase duct tape, plastic sheets and gas-masks.

It later transpired that the terrorist alert was fabricated by the CIA, in all likelihood in consultation with the upper echelons of the State Department (ABC News, 13 Feb. 2003, ).

The FBI, for the first time had pointed its finger at the CIA.

This piece of that puzzle turns out to be fabricated and therefore the reason for a lot of the alarm, particularly in Washington this week, has been dissipated after they found out that this information was not true," said Vince Cannistraro, former CIA counter-terrorism chief and ABCNEWS consultant.


According to officials, the FBI and the CIA are pointing fingers at each other. An FBI spokesperson told ABCNEWS today he was "not familiar with the scenario," but did not think it was accurate. (Ibid)

While tacitly acknowledging that the alert was a fake, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge decided to maintain the ŒOrange Code‚ alert:

"Despite the fabricated report, there are no plans to change the threat level. Officials said other intelligence has been validated and that the high level of precautions is fully warranted." ((Ibid)

A few days later, in another failed propaganda initiative, a mysterious Osama bin Laden audio tape was presented by Sec. Colin Powell to the US Congress as evidence‚ that the Islamic terrorists "are making common cause with a brutal dictator". (US official quoted in The Toronto Star, 12 Feb. 2003). Curiously, the audio tape was in Colin Powell's possession prior to its broadcast by the Al Jazeera TV Network. (Ibid.) ,


Is the Bush administration telling the truth regarding the risk of a terror attack during the Christmas holiday?

While the circumstances and timing are different, Secretary Tom Ridge's December 21 statement has all the appearances of a "copy and paste" (Déjà Vu) version of his February 7 announcement, which according to the FBI was a hoax.

Al Qaeda is once again identified in the December 21st statement as "the Outside Enemy", without of course mentioning that Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA and is an "intelligence asset" controlled by the US. (See Selected References at

In other words, what is "the credibility" of an Administration which, according to the FBI is on record for having (in February 2003), deliberately fabricated a terror alert in violation of US laws?

What is disturbing in the December 21 statement is the fact that an "actual" or "attempted" Al Qaeda terrorist attack seems already to be in the official pipeline.


In October, former CENTCOM Commander, General Tommy Franks, hinted that an Al Qaeda sponsored terrorist attack could in fact lead to the suspension of democracy in America.

Franks was alluding to a so-called "Pearl Harbor type event" which would be used as a justification for declaring a State of emergency, leading to the establishment of a military government:

"a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event [will occur] somewhere in the Western world - it may be in the United States of America ˆ that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event."

The "terrorist massive casualty-producing event" is presented by General Franks as a crucial political turning point. The resulting crisis and social turmoil are intended to facilitate a major shift in US political, social and institutional structures.

In the words of David Rockefeller:

"We are on the verge of global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order."

A similar statement was made by Zbigniew Brzezinski in the Grand Chessboard:

"As America becomes an increasingly multicultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstances of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat."

The NeoCons' Project for the New American Century (PNAC), published in September 2000, barely two months before the presidential elections, called for:

"some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor."

(See )

Needless to say, the statement of the NeoCons in the PNAC is consistent with that of Secretary Tom Ridge.

The day following Secretary Ridge's announcement (December 21st), President Bush was briefed by his "top anti-terror advisors" in closed door sessions at the White House. Later in the day, the Homeland Security Council (HSC) met, also at the White House. The executive body of the HSC, the so-called Principals Committee (HSC/PC), headed by Secretary Tom Ridge. includes Donald Rumsfeld, CIA Director George Tenet, Attorney General John Ashcroft , FBI Director Robert Mueller and Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary, Emergency Preparedness and Response, who overseas the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In the wake of the HSC meeting held on 22 December, Secretary Ridge confirmed that:

"we reviewed the specific plans and the specific action we have taken and will continue to take"

According to the official statement, which must be taken seriously, an "actual terrorist attack" in the near future on American soil would lead to a Red Code Alert. The latter in turn, would create conditions for the (temporary) suspension of the normal functions of civilian government, as foreseen by General Tommy Franks. This scenario was envisaged by Secretary Tom Ridge in a CBS News Interview on December 22, 2003:

"If we simply go to red ... it basically shuts down the country," meaning that civilian government bodies would be closed down and taken over by and Emergency Administration. The scenario is presented in detail at the Homeland department's Ready.Gov website at

Moreover, in recent months (May 2003) the Homeland department has conducted an "anti-terrorist exercise" entitled TOPOFF 2. The latter is described as "the largest and most comprehensive terrorism response and homeland security exercise ever conducted in the United States.

In a Strangelovian logic, this "national response capability" translated into a military style exercise by federal, State and local level governments, including Canadian participants, establishes various "scenarios" under a Red Code Alert. In essence, it was conducted on the same assumption as military exercises in anticipation of an actual theater war, examining various WMD attack scenarios and the institutional response of State and local governments:

"It assessed how responders, leaders, and other authorities would react to the simulated release of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in two U. S. cities, Seattle, WA and Chicago, IL. The exercise scenario depicted a fictitious, foreign terrorist organization that detonated a simulated radiological dispersal device (RDD or dirty bomb) in Seattle and released the pneumonic plague in several Chicago metropolitan area locations. There was also significant pre-exercise intelligence play, a cyber-attack, and credible terrorism threats against other locations." (For full text see, Department of Homeland Security, Summary Conclusions From National Exercise, Office of the Press Secretary, December 19, 2003, )

What will happen under Code Orange terror alert during the Christmas holiday, remains to be seen.

The Administration has already simulated the Orange Code and Red Code scenarios, of an actual terror attack. The perspective, and assumptions, however, have changed markedly since the February 7 Orange Alert.

We are no longer strictly dealing with a fear and disinformation campaign. "Mass casualty producing events" --or "Pearl Harbor type events" to use the PNAC's expression-- constitute the basic premise and driving force behind the Homeland Emergency response system, including its Ready.Gov instructions to citizens, its "anti-terrorist" legal framework under the Second Patriot Act, etc. According to Frank Morales:

"Homeland defense", as we experience it today, has been percolating in the bowels of the Pentagon and corporate think tanks like the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Council on Foreign Relations, along with their Congressional counterparts, for nearly a decade. What it required was an emergency situation. The "homeland security" apparatus presently being constructed is modeled roughly after the military's "combatant command structure" and is --in the wake of 9/11ˆ set within the context of the "laws and customs of war", hence the introduction of military courts and the shifting of jurisdictions for so-called "crimes associated with terrorism". The Northern Command, based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, whose job as of October 1st is to patrol America, will head up this homeland defense "command structure".

In short, what we are dealing with is "the Roadmap to a Police State".

This Administration has chosen the Christmas holiday to wage a campaign of fear and intimidation. Its ultimate objective consists in manipulating Americans into accepting a de facto military government, as a means to "protect their civil liberties".

This calculated decision of the military-intelligence apparatus was taken at a time when families and friends, with small children and the elderly meet and rejoice.

Christmas, celebrated around the World by both Christians and Non-Christians, is the coming of peace between fellow human beings. It is the pursuit of peace and tolerance.

Bush's Christmas terror alert strikes with unreserved cynicism at the very heart of the "Spirit of Christmas".


See also:

(BOO! Be afraid! We'll protect you!) Soldiers patrol city streets as Americans are warned of imminent terrorist threat (23 December 2003)
The red and white of Father Christmas mingled with the black steel of semi-automatic gun barrels on Fifth Avenue yesterday as New York deployed heavily armed police officers at strategic locations in the face of a newly heightened threat of terror attacks. Officials across the United States responded to the decision on Sunday from the Department of Homeland Security to elevate the national terror alert level to orange, the second highest level. It was an indication of serious concern in the intelligence community that al-Qa'ida was preparing to strike again. Police and National Guard soldiers were patrolling airports, railway stations, bridges and other busy landmarks in most large American cities. It is the fifth time that America has been put on orange alert since the colour-coded system was introduced after the 11 September attacks in 2001.



The Martial Plan

By James Ridgeway

Village Voice

24 December 2003

Police State Tactics Transform a Nation-Our Own

WASHINGTON—Every day the U.S. looks more like a police state.

An internal Justice Department probe, based on surveillance videos made by the government inside federal detention facilities, shows that the U.S. harassed, beat, and kept in solitary confinement without access to family or lawyers men it picked up off the streets of New York after 9-11. More likely than not, these men were seized on grounds that some cop or FBI agent thought they looked like Osama followers. Or that a business partner or neighbor decided he could get the man's money or property by charging him first with theft and then telling the cops, "Oh, by the way, I think the guy is Al Qaeda," a claim that one magistrate after another accepted as the reason to set bails so high no one but a millionaire could pay to get out.

And this doesn't even scratch the surface of what's been going on. Lawyers were not told the numbers of courtrooms to where their clients were being shuttled because the room locations were secret. Members of Congress, government, the press, and the judiciary knew from the very get-go that any FBI agent, acting on his or her own, could make an affidavit asserting that any individual was a suspected terrorist.

Every day, Ashcroft and Bush work the country toward something like martial law, though the administration has suffered setbacks, like last week's rulings by two federal appellate courts in Padilla v. Rumsfeld and Gherebi v. Bush. Both of those decisions, for now at least, hamper the government's ability to simply lock up suspects indefinitely.

But the government has other targets and other ways of dealing with them. The most recent crackdown seems to be on the foreign press—the source of much of the substantial critique of its policies.

U.S. immigration authorities are detaining foreign correspondents on grounds they have not obtained special visas permitting them to operate here, reports the Associated Press. True, there is a law stipulating a special visa for journalists, but few have ever heard of it and it is seldom enforced. No more. No one ever told the visiting journalists it had suddenly been revived. As a result, immigration officials aren't allowing reporters from abroad to come in under ordinary 90-day tourist visa waivers.

Peter Krobath, chief editor for the Austrian movie magazine Skip, was seized and held overnight in a cold room with 45 others who landed without visas. Is he an Osama follower? A disguised fedayeen from Saddam's clan? No. He is guilty of flying to the U.S. to interview Ben Affleck.

Thomas Sjoerup, a photographer for the Danish paper Ekstra Bladet, had to give the American authorities fingerprints, a mug shot, and a DNA sample, and he was promptly sent back home anyway.

Six French journalists were marched across a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport in handcuffs, having had their belts and shoelaces removed. The International Press Institute, based in Vienna, along with the International Federation of Journalists, headquartered in Brussels, is protesting this treatment.

The U.S. response? An embassy official in Vienna insisted that the government was only acting in accordance with the letter of the law.


From: "Liz Michael">
Subject: Liz Michael for Senate - Ghost of Christmas Future
Date: 25 Dec 2003

Good day. I am the Ghost of Christmas Future. I want to take you forward in time. The year is 2005. George W. Bush has just been reelected winning 38 states in what the pundits are calling a "mandate". The Republicans have won 60 seats in the Senate: they have a veto proof majority. They added 30 new members to the House of Representatives. The Democratic Party is all but kaput.

You know that increase in the economy just before the 2004 election? Remember that? Well, it's gone. It wasn't real. The economy has plummeted as more jobs have been shipped overseas, and Americans cannot afford the lavish spending they once engaged in. The American auto industry is in near collapse. Home prices have begun to reverse themselves, and many of those new housing developments that the major real estate developers have specialized in are unsaleable. Medical care is scarce now that HMO's and drug companies have cornered all markets and public medical facilities have been privatized or driven out of business.

An increase in terrorism has resulted in the passage of PATRIOT Act III, which has all but criminalized dissent against the government. Anyone involved in left wing activity has found it impossible to fly, as "banned lists" have been extended to all manner of peaceful activist, and even some Congressmen have been refused flights. Ground travel is more difficult, as any agency can detain any driver and his passengers on the mere suspicion of "terrorist activity". The IRS has been used to audit and terrorize political opponents.

Internationally, Taiwan has been overrun by Communist Chinese troops, and President Bush did nothing, the first expansion of Communism since the fall of the Soviet Union. Enlistment in the armed services has plummeted, due to the duplicity of the administration in the handling of its troops. And veteran's benefits have received the ax.


The good news is, none of this has yet to happen. But if we ignore the 2004 elections, it very well could happen. Already, the Republicans under strategist Karl Rove have set out to destroy the Democratic Party, by hijacking their issue concerns, but using them to line the pockets of big business. Who made this revelation? James Carville? Terry McAuliffe? Howard Dean? No.

Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh has been telling his audiences ever since the prescription drug bill controversy that the positioning that George W. Bush is taking is designed specifically to destroy the Democratic Party. He acts like he's giving you something. Now. But it's going to be taken away when power is coalesced. How do we know. Simple economics. We can't afford it.

And with the Republicans tending toward bigger government and more profligate spending, someone in the Democratic Party has to stand up for conservative, responsible spending in government programs. Someone in the Democratic Party has to endorse true classical liberal principles of people like Thomas Jefferson and John C. Calhoun, and true free enterprise principles such as those of Grover Cleveland.

The Presidency is important. Of paramount importance. But so is the Congress. And most importantly, the Senate. Because the Senate is where that veto-proof majority can literally run roughshod over every freedom we have, and appoint any judge the President so chooses to the federal bench and the Supreme Court.

And we must go after the Presidency, and after seats, in states that the so-called "experts" think are safe. Otherwise, we may very well be routed in both the Presidency and the Senate. Arizona is one such state, Liz Michael is running for the Senate here.


On her website at, Liz Michael offers personal commentary and commentary from guest columnists supporting freedom. She argues for genuine liberation of the people, from both government power and corporate greed. Accordingly, she take stands you don't see Democrats often take, and stands you should see Democrats take. CLIP

There are plenty of almost-too-hot-to-handle articles and opinions archived there...



Forwarded by "Mark Graffis"> on Dec 26, 2003

From Culture Change: A project of the Sustainable Energy Institute - Promoting eco-democracy since 1988


Culture Change e-Letter #47

Peace and the U.S. petro-city

by Jan Lundberg

Like an animal leaving the safety of the forest - which describes me - the sight of San Francisco skyscrapers, all lit up in the darkness as the Greyhound bus hurtles over the Bay Bridge, frightens and revolts me. At one time, I felt impressed by the engineering marvels and sophisticated people buzzing about "The City." Despite the fact that almost half of them are smart enough to have voted for a progressive Green candidate for mayor December 9, this time I felt disgusted and sad for the rats-in-a-cage scurrying around polluting with or without their cars.

This is a fairly recent feeling. Since I began to make a home in the redwood forest - enjoying having very few material things, being almost at one with all the creatures - I've felt less affinity for cities and their toxic filth and strained social relationships. The feeling is getting stronger as I look about any U.S. town's streets with their lifeless, oily, hard surfaces, seeing the alienated members of society busily working to survive. People's interactions and city dwellers' relation to the land appear stranger and stranger to me as the grand goal seems to be to fulfill artificial needs created largely by unnecessary competition.

The artificial environment is foreboding and evil, with all the cold steel, concrete, glass and miscellaneous substances and structures. Dreams are as limited as the freedoms there are to walk freely and think with an open mind. I have a name for most U.S. cities I've frequented: the admittedly liberal city snobbily referred to as "The City" - never "Frisco" - I call Sham FranPsycho. The place deserves it especially when the whole metro area is compared favorably against smelL.A., unfairly so, when both are sprawled-out disasters.

Compensating for fear

Urban acts of kindness are infinite, bestowed as constant therapy, as much for the giver as the receiver. Meanwhile, diversion and short-term gratification are industries to compensate for the disunity and slavery that are predominant. A city tells itself there is nothing greater than the art created and that's displayed usually for a price. Unless the art speaks to us of truth, it serves to distract and tranquilize.

Progress has the biggest price, and some of us who don't work hard enough or who are substance abusers just don't make it. Homeless people, therefore, are a significant part of an ever-scarier cityscape. Not surprisingly, nothing is offered by society's big-moneyed rulers to eradicate the root causes of homelessness.

The populace is controlled significantly through fear. Our recent report on brain control via pollutants covered some issues regarding the limiting of mass behavior including propaganda and commercialism. Fear-mongering and terrorizing the citizenry are alive and well in America as essential components of propagandizing: When the population is alerted by the mass media to, for some examples, lurking serial killers who are Moslem or the possibility of a "terrorist attack" or a rash of kidnappings, this conveniently diverts people from dealing with real threats that the mass media do not bother with: corporate polluters causing cancer and war. People are kept off balance through new fears and alarming reports, which squelches the organizing necessary to change society rationally. Hence, a caged city. The omnipresent walls and fences attest to privatization driven by fear and greed. Besides locks for every gate and door, there are always more security measures - often high-tech with potential for abuse, courtesy of non-accountable corporations and government agencies.

As reactions to fear and paranoia intrude on almost every aspect of life, friends and families lose cohesiveness. For example, someone in need in an emergency is shockingly not assisted by a person normally assumed to be counted on. It may be because there is the chance of credit-card fraud in providing emergency assistance using telecommunications. So much for society's vaunted techno progress and the added shopping convenience foisted on us for our busy, modern lives.

Some blame the police for most of their unhappiness, but it is only logical that police would be inevitable, and arguably indispensable, for a large population. People are too numerous and in close quarters for some tribal-village code, and to their credit city dwellers are fairly nice almost always. They increasingly sense that they should stay in line, and look the other way when protesters are met by militarized robocops who all too often stomp on civil rights and lie in court. The police, like the military, are bound to increasingly become tools of the state which mainly exists for the rich. One shouldn't focus so much on the police as the actual agents of reaction, but instead should remember that an overpopulated "Nazi Babylon" is not able to be a grouping of eco-villagers surrounded by their cultivated and wild land. Well, actually, let's try that, and anticipate its development on its own in due course.

Cities on oil

Did I mention petroleum? Like a vampire, the city wickedly guzzles its fill and knows no moderation in sucking the world's collective life-blood. Others must die that it may live. This is not intended, as much as petro-domination is a consequence - of "progress" and the justifications of corporate profitability and U.S. national security. Iraqis, Columbians, Mesoamericans, Afghanis and Nigerians die every day at the hands of the U.S. petroleum machine and blessed consumerism. Whether the petroleum consumption is by a corporation, a farm or an individual, oil and natural gas usage is a diet based inextricably on killing people and driving extinct countless species. The fact that the red, white and blue flag is waved and stands for freedom (for moneyed citizens) excuses the unbridled waste of resources for modern convenience and material wealth.

When the red, white and blue waves over oil refineries across the bay from cities such as San Francisco, chemical emissions (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, hydrocarbons, particulates, and heavy metals) are released into the air to soil the fluttering flag. This aspect of the city is left out of the postcards and our mental image of our great cities, as if nearby refineries are off in Timbuktoo. Paying the price, residents near the refineries' airborne toxins frequently develop breathing difficulties, asthma, and lung cancer. Since these residents are lower income and/or African descent, their medical conditions are more easily ignored. A refinery bringing the citizenry today's common conveniences and luxuries is a link in the exploration, extraction, export, byproducts and production/sales of the multicorporate (Halliburton, DuPont, Exxon, et al) petrochemical complex of the US empire.

The lumbering giant, the petroleum-mainlining USA (United States of Asphalt), is about to fall. While that sounds unthinkable or bad, conservation and good ol' 'merican ingenuity will see us on though to a sustainable society - after, uhh, a massive die-off due to the failure of petroleum-agriculture/distribution in a collapsing petro-economy. As the average North American city today has an ecological footprint of 25 acres per one acre of actual city, we can picture this suddenly becoming a one-to-one eco-footprint through urban gardens that lack petroleum for still reliable food production/distribution - much like Havana, Cuba today.

Sorry, but the 50%-less energy-use level in Western Europe is not an available option for the U.S. This is because the prime energy glutton of the planet has, for too many decades, squandered its chance to plan for and bring about a manageable transition to an efficient economy. So, shouldn't we prepare, starting now, for a softer landing, eh? This is the main point of these essays.

Christmastime for death culture: just shop!

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas." A can of foam is sprayed on the bus station glass doors around the sides to resemble frost. How cozy and toxic. An apartment next to the freeway beams its electric Christmas tree out of its little window, reminding us of what - gifts wrapped with what will join millions of tons of trash? or homeless Semites giving birth in mangers? or greenhouse gases from pointless fossil-fuel use? In the distance, the fancy houses on the hill beam their global-warming beacons, reminding us that one can enjoy life as long as there is money.

There's room at the top they are telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill - Working Class Hero, John Lennon

When one person is robbed of nature and of freedom (the two losses are often one and the same), everyone is robbed and infringed upon. To create material wealth, the idea is always to rob many, not just one person. The theft and exploitation of our bodies, land, water and climate have been in full swing for so long that our culture is all about it. Nowadays, even families prey upon each other, typically in the most "advanced" of the civilized nations: the USA. Even if without obvious theft and oppression, the simple, happy worker "getting ahead" who's living life to the fullest - ingesting carcinogens and having no time to pursue dreams - is still surrounded by pavement and technological systems of coercion. Swarms of drones try too hard to get through each day.

This false bill of goods is sold to over a hundred million hapless U.S. citizens who are often at best products of a public education system that supports the status quo. All this is becoming clear to more and more of us.

Whether one is houseless and has thereby contemplated the economic system's unseemly wonders, or one has erected a little fortress of consumption (cutting oneself off from most of humanity and the universe), the paltry rewards of materialism are evident. But one is allowed to drive! In the stress of the motorized city, that which is painted as pleasure tends to become transparent as a grinding imposition, whether it is an intercity trip to see family or the creation of family as in sexual love. It is for naive children and young people that myths of attainable joy and fulfillment are promoted and sold. False values help sell, for example, the frivolous pursuits of enjoying a popular derrière, whether one's own or someone else's.

Peace if you really want it

Before one's life is half over, if not first slaughtered by war, car or cancer, one senses that the demands and pressures of city life render the metropolis to be somewhat less than it's cracked up to be. We often marry for awhile and, if we're advantaged, we have a mortgage (the root word of which is death), but the dream rapidly deflates. So we seek extra meaning - such as having an affair or losing oneself in an obsessive hobby. Meanwhile, the real cures are considered unrealistic or too radical. Living in peace with our neighbors, doing as we please each day in a creative, cooperative fashion, and having a society that serves all its members equally, have lately been unpursued except by the occasional do-gooder nuts. Fortunately, these folk often find each other and their common cause, lending one another support. With the power of culture truth, they are not under many illusions.

Many of us are thinking outside the U.S. box of consumerism. We take some action, as we are stimulated in part by the perhaps imminent collapse of the petro-cities. We're all coping the best we can, whatever our viewpoint or awareness. The quest for intermittent sanity is often undertaken amidst dwindling nature reserves. This is laudable and necessary when cities reject the wild. Unfortunately, cars and petroleum are main companions in venturing out of the caged cities of oblivion. This individualistic choice is justifiable during the absence of a major urban movement visibly active every day. Yet, let us pay heed to creating human-free wilderness preservers. For my part, I will keep my car-free vigil from my vantage point outside the privatized fortress called town, and keep sharing my thoughts and songs.


Let the wildness reign: As Henry David Thoreau stated, "In wildness is the preservation of the world."

Jan Lundberg's columns are protected by copyright; however, non-commercial use of the material is permitted as long as full attribution is given with a link to this website, and he is informed of the re-publishing:



Kucinich Releasing World Peace Initiative

December 24, 2003

Democratic Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich will be releasing a multi-part World Peace Initiative. The first piece, being released today, addresses the elimination of nuclear weapons through a 12-point program.

Today Kucinich released this statement:

"The holiday season is a time of common aspiration for peace on Earth, but this holiday season the Bush Administration is taking us in the opposite direction, undermining international efforts to stop the spread of nuclear arms. Our government is now developing new nuclear weapons. The Administration is putting the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty in jeopardy, thereby increasing the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons.

"According to an article published yesterday in the Los Angeles Times, diplomats and non-proliferation experts are saying that the Bush Administration's efforts to develop new nuclear weapons while simultaneously condemning such development by other countries creates a double standard which will undermine efforts to curb nuclear arms.

"In this season of peace, the Administration is conjuring nuclear war. This is why I feel it's imperative to announce the first part of a World Peace Initiative, one dealing with the threat of nuclear weapons to world peace."

World Peace Initiative

Part 1: Nuclear Weapons

As President, Dennis Kucinich will work to achieve the following steps to promote world peace:

1. Leading the way toward the complete elimination of nuclear weapons from the earth. Kucinich's goal as president will be a steady movement toward complete nuclear disarmament.

2. Renouncing first-strike policy. Kucinich will set aside the Bush Administration's Nuclear Posture Review, which is a strategy for nuclear proliferation. He will assure the world community that the United States will not be the first to use nuclear weapons.

3. Cancellation of all U.S. nuclear weapons programs. Kucinich will work to put an end to the development of any new nuclear weapons, to the manufacture of any nuclear weapons, and to any plans to test nuclear weapons.

4. Stopping the use of all depleted uranium munitions. Kucinich will order an end to the United States' use of depleted uranium munitions. He will lead an international effort to recover depleted uranium. He will promote environmental remediation. He will develop a program to provide care and restitution for people suffering as a result of the United States' use of depleted uranium munitions, nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons production, nuclear testing, and uranium mining.

5. Banning all nuclear weapons testing by the United States. Kucinich will enact a new policy banning nuclear testing and will work to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

6. Opening talks with all nuclear powers. Kucinich will begin new talks with Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Israel, and Pakistan to develop a plan aimed at the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The first step will be to suspend all "readiness" levels of nuclear weapons systems, including those of the United States.

7. Encouraging participation in the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. Kucinich will encourage all nations to actively participate in the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, and will meet personally with the leaders of India, Israel, and Pakistan to request that they sign as non-nuclear weapons states. He will also meet personally with Kim Jong Il to encourage North Korea to re-join the community of nations through reaffirming its participation as a non-nuclear weapons state.

8. Discouraging nations from acquiring nuclear weapons. Kucinich will work with the nations of North Korea, Iran, Algeria, Sudan, Syria, and others to discourage the acquisition of nuclear weapons capability.

9. Reinstating the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and Canceling the Ballistic Missile Defense. Kucinich will work with Russian President Vladimir Putin to reinstate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The treaty prevents both the United States and Russia from developing nationwide ABM defense systems and limits employment of new ABM technologies. Consequently, the ballistic missile defense program will be cancelled.

10. Meeting all requirements of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. Kucinich will work to ensure that the United States leads the world again in fulfilling all requirements of the treaty. This means the United States must negotiate the complete elimination of its nuclear arsenal.

11. Committing to greatly expanding inspections. Kucinich will work with the 188 signatories of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency to greatly expand the use of inspections in all nations.

12. Leading an international effort to bring terrorists to justice. Kucinich will cause the United States to participate in a cooperative world effort to track down terrorists who are seeking to acquire nuclear weapons capability.

For Rep. Kucinich's Schedule:

Contact: David Swanson 202-329-7847

Contact us: Kucinich for President
11808 Lorain Avenue - Cleveland, OH 44111
216-889-2004 / 866-413-3664 (toll-free) Privacy Policy


Forwarded by "Mark Graffis">


Diesel soot is big factor in global warming

December 23, 2003

By John Heilprin, Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Soot mostly from diesel engines is blocking snow and ice from reflecting sunlight, which is contributing to "near worldwide melting of ice" and as much as a quarter of all observed global warming, top NASA scientists say.

The findings about the snow and ice albedos - their power to reflect light falling on the surface - raise new questions about human-caused climate change from the Arctic to the Alps.

"We suggest that soot is a more all-around `bad actor' than has been appreciated," NASA scientists James Hansen and Larissa Nazarenko wrote in a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Soot comprises carbon particles that are, along with salts and dust, byproducts of burning fossil fuels and vegetation. In developed countries, the biggest source is diesel fuel. Elsewhere, burning wood, animal dung, vegetable oil and other biofuels is a major source of soot.

Hansen, director of National Aeronautic and Space Administration's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and Nazarenko, a staff associate there, found soot is twice as potent as carbon dioxide in changing global surface air temperatures in the Arctic and the Northern Hemisphere. Greenland may be an exception, they said, because it is downwind from Canadian forests and has little manmade pollution.

In response to questions from The Associated Press, Hansen said Monday that the authors estimate the soot effect is equivalent to putting a 1-watt bulb, the size of a miniature Christmas tree bulb, over every two square yards in the Northern Hemisphere. The effect is greater in northernmost snow regions, and about zero in the tropics.

Levels of airborne soot as high as about 100 parts per billion were found in the Alps, enough to reduce the snow's ability to reflect light rather than absorb it from about 98 down to between 80 and 90 percent, Hansen said. In the spring and summer, as the snow melts and some soot accumulates as crud on the surface, the remaining snow is even darker, he said.

The scientists suggest in their paper that the same could occur in the Himalaya range of South Asia, where prevailing winds might deposit fossil fuel and biofuel soot carried in a brown haze from India.

Scientists thought until recently that only carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have global reach and effect. They now are finding the same thing with these microscopic, suspended particles of pollutants, generically known as aerosols, that settle on ground hours later.

Soot particles, which absorb toxic organic material, are minute enough to penetrate skin when breathed in. Soot is the aerosol most responsible for the haze in rapidly developing countries such as India and China, the scientists said.

Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton professor and expert on climate policy, called the study "an interesting early calculation" that could prove to be important.

"It means that - if it's right - we need to keep an eye on it," he said. "When we think about all these greenhouse gases, we ought also to think about controlling these particles that are also changing the climate." The Bush administration ordered in 2001 pollution cuts from heavy-duty diesel engines and diesel fuel used in highway trucks and buses. This year it proposed requiring a 90 percent reduction in pollution from diesel-powered construction and other off-road equipment starting with 2008 models.


See also:

Rewiring' the world's energy (Dec 21)
CLIMATE CHANGE isn't just another issue in this complicated world of proliferating issues. It's the issue that -- unchecked -- will swamp all others. Unfortunately, the urgency of the climate crisis is overwhelmed by competition from other major problems. We are under attack from terrorists. We are apprehensive about the aftermath of the Iraq war. Our trick-or-treat economy is as unnerving to investors as it is cruel to workers. These diverse challenges may be susceptible to a common solution -- a rapid worldwide transition to clean energy. A clean energy revolution would reduce our dependence on oil and our exposure to the political volatility in the Middle East. Conversely, since it generates a quarter of the world's carbon emissions, America's continuing indifference will likely guarantee more attacks from people whose crops are destroyed by weather extremes, whose homelands are going under from rising seas and whose borders are overrun by environmental refugees, according to the head of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri. Any meaningful deterrent to anti-US terrorism requires a major change in our posture toward developing countries. Energy investments in poor countries generate far more wealth and jobs than equivalent investments in other sectors. Transferring clean energy to poor countries would begin to address the economic desperation that fuels most anti-US sentiment. A public works program to rewire the globe with clean energy would accelerate economic development around the world. Our coal and oil burning attack the systems that have made this planet hospitable for 10,000 years. We are heating the deep oceans, melting ice caps, triggering a wave of chaotic weather, and changing the timing of the seasons. We are living on an increasingly narrow margin of stability. Nature's non-negotiable demand requires humanity cut its use of carbon fuels by 70 percent in a very short time, according to more than 2,000 scientists reporting to the UN panel. CLIP


From: "SI Media Service">
Subject: IT'S NOT SADDAM: A story calling for investigation
Date: 21 Dec 2003



December 21, 2003

In a news release sent to media worldwide on April 8, 2003, Share International magazine published information that Saddam Hussein had been injured in the first bombing of Iraq on March 20, 2003 and died two days later from his injuries. Also according to our information, Hussein was buried quickly after his death by his sons, in accordance with Muslim tradition.

So who has now been captured by American forces? According to the latest press release from Share International:

"In our view certainly not Saddam Hussein but an obvious stand-in, of whom we understand there are at least three: two cousins and a close friend all with similar family characteristics. We believe he is the same man – a cousin - seen on Iraqi television on April 4, 2003, who picked up a child and laughed and waved to the crowds. His body language was completely different from that of Saddam Hussein. The end of his nose was much broader than that of Saddam and he had moles on his temple and forehead – identical with the captured person. At that time commentators were perfectly ready to question the identity of the man seen on video. Now everyone seems conveniently to have dropped any enquiry or second thoughts.

"The Americans claim that DNA samples taken from the captive relate to that of Saddam Hussein. How do they know? With what are they comparing them? In any case, a cousin would obviously share some of Saddam's genetic features. >From the beginning of the Iraq conflict the proven lies from this US administration, particularly about the weapons of mass destruction, give little confidence that their information should be believed.

"We are convinced that eventually the truth will emerge - that this confused man now captured is not Saddam Hussein, but a double who may well have been part of a plot to keep the fact of Saddam's death from the Iraqi people for as long as possible."

We include here the links to the two news releases regarding Saddam Hussein sent out by Share International magazine's London office to the world's media as well as background information on Share International.

December: April:
war Background:

We also include a link to an ABC News story dated March 21, 2003, indicating that Saddam was seen being removed on a gurney after a bombing early in the war, witnessed by a U.S. observer.

In addition, Saddam's death early in the war was discussed by John Luftus in an interview on MSNBC July 25, 2003:
Luftus, a former Justice Department prosecutor, once held some of the highest security clearances in the world.

More recently, other media reports question the identity of the man captured by US forces: The Globe and Mail – Iraqis doubt real Hussein behind bars -

Iraqi Resistance Stiffens Amidst Claims Saddam's Capture was a Hoax - Analysis of Saddam Hussein's Real Pictures, his Doubles and that of the Supposedly Captured Iraqi Leader


Share International
Media Service


See also:

Saddam, Prisoner Of Carlyle Group (By Sherman H. Skolnick 12-16-3)
As usual, the Liars and Whores of the Press promote the Big Lie as to the secret team that snatched Saddam Hussein. Some claim the unit was not fully informed, other than they had a high priority target. And there are contentions that the unit, part of the American CIA, came within a few seconds of misguidedly hurling a grenade down into the "spider hole" in which Saddam was kept as a prisoner. Left unsaid by the oil-soaked, spy-riddled monopoly press is that Saddam was being kept as a prisoner buried in a grave-like hole, breathing air through a tube to the surface, rather than the media fairy tal that he was simply hiding.

Israel denies Qatari report saying Sharon secretly met Saddam in Baghdad following arrest
(Dec 17)
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon paid a brief visit Sunday to Baghdad to secretly meet former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, a Qatari newspaper reported Tuesday. Al-Raya, citing Nasser Mahmoud ˆ a top Iraqi politician with close links to the interim council, reported that "Sharon, accompanied by intelligence officers, landed at around 20:00 at the Baghdad airport." According to the report, top civil administrator Paul L. Bremer received the Israeli leader and accompanied him during the meeting with Saddam Hussein.

Jim McDermott Bravely Asks about the Timing of Saddam's Capture,0,2235697,print.story?coll=sns-ap-politics-headlines
Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., told a Seattle radio station Monday the U.S. military could have found Saddam 'a long time ago if they wanted...There's too much by happenstance for it to be just a coincidental thing...'I don't know that it was definitely planned on this weekend, but I know they've been in contact with people all along who knew basically where he was. It was just a matter of time till they'd find him. It's funny,' McDermott added, 'when they're having all this trouble, suddenly they have to roll out something.'

Rep. Ray LaHood Said Two Weeks Ago that Saddam Would Be Caught Soon
The first interesting question that occurs to me is, for how long did we know we were closing in on Hussein? Less than two weeks ago, Joshua Marshall reported that Ray LaHood, a congressman on the House Intelligence Committee, had predicted in talking to a local paper that Saddam would be caught soon. And within days, the Iraqi Governing Council suddenly moved to create a war crimes tribunal, which now will apparently be used to try Hussein.

Rumsfeld and His 'Old Friend' Saddam



Date: 22 Dec 2003
From: "">
Subject: America's War for Global Domination


5- 22 December 2003

The United States' Global Military Crusade (1945-2003), Eric Waddell

America's War for Global Domination , Michel Chossudovsky

Assembling The Legend of 9/11 , Chaim Kupferberg

9/11: Stacking The Patsies of 9/11, Chaim Kupferberg

Disarming the New World Order, Video featuring Michel Chossudovsky, produced by Snowshoe Films

Capture of Saddam Hussein: Was the Photographic Evidence Manipulated?

War Propaganda and the Capture of Saddam Hussein, Michel Chossudovsky

Saddam Hussein‚s capture: Bush administration's desperate propaganda end run, Larry Chin

Key Articles: Doubts regarding the Capture of Saddam

Capture of Saddam Hussein: Pyrrhic Victory? Marjorie Cohn

Saddam Hussein, CIA interrogation techniques

Americans capture former CIA Asset - Saddam Hussein

While Saddam was Captured: Stealth enactment of the "Patriot II" legislation

The WTC Towers Collapse: an Enormous Insurance Scam

Jail Wesley Clark! Free Milosevic! ICDSM

War Propaganda: The Demonization of Slobodan Milosovic, Michael Parenti

Criminalization of International Law: War Criminal to Testify at The Hague "War Crimes" Tribunal , Toronto Lawyers

The 1948 Truman Doctrine: From "Containment" to "Pre-emptive" War. Declassified Top Secret Policy Planning Document

Propaganda System Number One, Edward Herman

Canadian Lawyer defending Guantanamo detainee quits after death threat, Oliver Moore

Humor: George W. Bush found in a dirt-tunnel hideout, 20 feet beneath the White House

Just released from Global Outlook:

THE GLOBALIZATION OF POVERTY AND THE NEW WORLD ORDER, 2nd Edition, 2003, by Michel Chossudovsky

In this new and expanded edition of Chossudovsky's international best-seller, the author outlines the contours of a New World Order which feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife and undermines the rights of women. The result as his detailed examples from all parts of the world show so convincingly, is a globalization of poverty.

In this new enlarged edition -which includes ten new chapters and a new introduction-- the author reviews the causes and consequences of famine in Sub-Saharan Africa, the dramatic meltdown of financial markets, the demise of State social programs and the devastation resulting from corporate downsizing and trade liberalization.

For ordering details click:


For details on our Quarterly Magazine GLOBAL OUTLOOK

To visit our website click:
Centre for Research on Globalization
Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation

To subscribe from Global Research (Canada): Feature Articles, send email to:>


From: Gush Shalom (Israeli Peace Bloc)>
Sent: December 24, 2003
Subject: Demolitions started at Akaba - Protest may still make a difference

GUSH SHALOM pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033

Demolitions started at Akaba Your protest can still make a difference

International alert

"The soldiers have arrived, they are destroying houses!". It was Haj Sami Sadek from from the tiny Palestinian village of Akaba, sourth-east of Jenin.

This is the same village about which we sent an alarm, October 23, when the demolition of 12 houses seemed imminent. With your help we succeeded then to arouse a wave of protest letters, and win time. But the authorities thought that meanwhile everybody may have forgotten about Akaba.

Yesterday, two houses were demolished "because they had been built without a permit". As we wrote before, the inhabitants of Akaba would have gladly built legally on their lands - but since 1976 the Israeli authorities refused to issue any building permits there. Two families - altogether four adults and twelve children - are left homeless in the middle of winter, in a cold mountain region. And the army official in charge anounced upon his departure that they would be back "in five days" in order to demolish ten more houses, including Akabah's mosque and kindergarten.

Why this sudden interest in Akaba village? During these months the army revived old demolition orders which had lain dormant for years and issued new ones. Also they started conducting searches and intimidating patrols, in one of which armed soldiers entered the kindergarten and greatly frightened the children there. There seems no obvious reason. No violent activity of any kind occured in Akaba in the entire 36 years of Israeli rule. However, some unofficial maps of Sharon's Separation Fence show the village of Akaba to be straight in its route...

Whatever the reason for the threat to Akaba's houses, the threat is direct and immediate. For a community of some 250 , altoghether living in 18 houses plus some shacks and tents, the destruction of twelve of the houses will be a mortal blow. Efforts are presently made to save what can be saved and otbtain a judicial injunction preventing further demolitions. This is the context which can make your renewed protest meaningful.


Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz
Spokesperson Defense Ministry
Foreign Minister Silwan Shalom

and/or via the Israeli embassy in your
environment; addresses of Israeli
embassies at

with copies to:

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan,
US President George W. Bush>
"Secretary of State, Colin Powell",
Mr. Terje Rod Larsen,
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
European Union

If possible send in addition a fax or hardcopy letter to:

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,
Office of the Prime Minister
3 Kaplan Street, P O Box 187
Jerusalem 91919, Israel
Fax: +972 2 6705475

Please, send copies to:

Haj Sami Sadek, Mayor of Akaba
Phone/Fax 972-09-2572201
phone 972-55-795286 / 972-59-208512

Israeli Committee Against House Demolition:

Gush Shalom:

And - last but not least: phone to the
Commander, Civil Administration +972-(0)2-9977341

You can use the following sample letter or compose your own.

Dear Sir

I am deeply shocked at the demolition by the Israeli army of two houses in the occupied village of Akaba southeast of Jenin, on December 23, and even more so by the threat to destroy another ten houses. This village has never caused a security problem. The IDF apparently wants to destroy the whole village (the entire village contains no more that 18 houses) with demolition orders even for the mosque and the kindergarten.

In the much-publicized prime minsterial speech at Herzlia, a plegae was made that Israel would abide by its obligations under the Roadmap for Peace. The destruction of a village days after such a speech would cast grave doubts, to say the least, on whatever international credibility the government of Israeli still has.

I call upon you to act immediately to prevent any further demolitions and to grant the people of Akaba permits to build houses for themselves on their own land.

[your name and address]

-- Read about factories exit from the occupied territories in 2nd part of following article

(Akiva Eldar in Ha'aretz Dec.23 2003) -- If you want to be among those from all over the world who prepare to welcome Mordechai Vanunu ("the nuclear whistleblower ") upon his release in April (imprisoned since 1986), write to:>

-- (English)


See also:

No justice for killers of Rachel Corrie (Dec 11)
I can't imagine how hard this holiday season is for the Corrie family. The men who killed their daughter have never been punished, and their government refuses to take action. Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old college student from Washington state, was killed on March 16. She was run over and backed over by a Caterpillar bulldozer as she tried to protect a family's house from demolition. According to eyewitnesses, two soldiers in the bulldozer had her in direct view as they rolled over her body. Corrie was killed in the Gaza Strip, the land Israel has occupied in defiance of the U.N. Security Council for 35 years. She was trying to stop the home of a Palestinian doctor from being destroyed. There has never been a claim that the doctor was a terrorist or a criminal. Israel has knocked down the homes of 10,000 Palestinians since it took over the West Bank and Gaza, according to Amnesty International. Danny Rubenstein, in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, states that 5 percent of the homes were knocked down as punishment for terrorism. That means 9,500 houses were knocked down because the Israeli government wanted the land for other purposes: settlements, roads, security features. The 10,000 families were not given other housing. They were left on their own.

Bethlehem Celebrates Christmas, Rafah Counts the Dead (December 25, 2003)
Israeli occupation forces left the center of Rafah, although as is normal the Israelis remain at the border they have created. The Wall the Israelis are building with armoured machines is overshadowed only by its many sniper posts. Israeli soldiers remain daily to shoot and shell into the homes at whatever is the latest point in the "border." The line changes as the Israelis demolish more houses, turning what once was the center of the city into the border. The Israelis killed ten Palestinians in Rafah yesterday. Forty Palestinians are in the hospital. The number of demolished homes is yet to be determined as Israeli tanks and bulldozers have just left the Yibna Camp where they attacked heavily yesterday. Palestinian medical and search crews are beginning to dig through the rubble looking for bodies, as several people report fears that there is a family still inside one of the demolished houses. Israeli occupation forces not only destroyed more people's homes, but demolished the UNWRA (United Nations Relief Works Agency) Clinic as well. The Israelis continue to target the United Nations unchallenged.

Israel troops fire on peace rally
Israeli soldiers have opened fire on a demonstration in the West Bank, injuring two peace activists. The incident took place when about 100 protesters demonstrated near the Palestinian village of Mahase against the barrier Israel is constructing. One Israeli man and one foreign woman were wounded.

Geha, Gaza incidents cap week of violence (Dec 26)
The terror strike at the Geha junction and the assassination of Islamic Jihad militant Makled Hamid in Gaza yesterday capped the worst stretch of violence since the attack on a Haifa restaurant that killed 21 people in October. More than 20 Palestinians and 5 Israelis were killed this week.


Date: 27 Dec 2003
From: "Carolyn">
Subject: Thieves in the Night.....House Republicans bend rules, press for votes during wee hours...


By Sherrod Brown
U.S. Democratic Congressman from Ohio St. Louis
December 11, 2003


House Republicans bend rules, press for votes during wee hours to escape the light of accountability.

Never before has the House of Representatives operated in such secrecy:

At 2:54 a.m. on a Friday in March, the House cut veterans benefits by three votes.

At 2:39 a.m. on a Friday in April, the House slashed education and health care by five votes.

At 1:56 a.m. on a Friday in May, the House passed the Leave No Millionaire Behind tax-cut bill by a handful of votes.

At 2:33 a.m. on a Friday in June, the House passed the Medicare privatization and prescription drug bill by one vote.

At 12:57 a.m. on a Friday in July, the House eviscerated Head Start by one vote.

And then, after returning from summer recess, at 12:12 a.m. on a Friday in October, the House voted $87 billion for Iraq.

Always in the middle of the night. Always after the press had passed their deadlines. Always after the American people had turned off the news and gone to bed.

What did the public see? At best, Americans read a small story with a brief explanation of the bill and the vote count in Saturday's papers.

But what did the public miss? They didn't see the House votes, which normally take no more than 20 minutes, dragging on for as long as an hour as members of the Republican leadership trolled for enough votes to cobble together a majority.

They didn't see GOP leaders stalking the floor for whoever was not in line. They didn't see Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Tom DeLay coerce enough Republican members into switching their votes to produce the desired result.

In other words, they didn't see the subversion of democracy.

And late last month, they did it again. The most sweeping changes to Medicare in its 38-year history were forced through the House at 5:55 on a Saturday morning.

The debate started at midnight. The roll call began at 3:00 a.m. Most of us voted within the typical 20 minutes. Normally, the speaker would have gaveled the vote closed. But not this time; the Republican-driven bill was losing.

By 4 a.m., the bill had been defeated 216-218, with only one member, Democrat David Wu, not voting. Still, the speaker refused to gavel the vote closed.

Then the assault began.

Hastert, DeLay, Republican Whip Roy Blount, Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas, Energy and Commerce Chairman Billy Tauzin -- all searched the floor for stray Republicans to bully.

I watched them surround Cincinnati's Steve Chabot, trying first a carrot, then a stick; but he remained defiant. Next, they aimed at retiring Michigan congressman Nick Smith, whose son is running to succeed him. They promised support if he changed his vote to yes and threatened his son's future if he refused. He stood his ground.

Many of the two dozen Republicans who voted against the bill had fled the floor. One Republican hid in the Democratic cloakroom.

By 4:30, the browbeating had moved into the Republican cloakroom, out of sight of C-SPAN cameras and the insomniac public. Republican leaders woke President George W. Bush, and a White House aide passed a cell phone from one recalcitrant member to another in the cloakroom.

At 5:55, two hours and 55 minutes after the roll call had begun -- twice as long as any previous vote in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives -- two obscure western Republicans emerged from the cloakroom. They walked, ashen and cowed, down the aisle to the front of the chamber, scrawled their names and district numbers on green cards to change their votes and surrendered the cards to the clerk.

The speaker gaveled the vote closed; Medicare privatization had passed.

You can do a lot in the middle of the night, under the cover of darkness.


U.S. Congressman Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, is the ranking member on the Committee on Energy and the Commerce Subcommittee on Health.


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