MAY LOVE PREVAIL ON EARTH
September 3, 2004
The Writing on the Wall Series #31: The Undeniable Facts About U.S Politics
As usual with the return of September, the level of vital information that comes to my attention is increasing.
See my usual short comments below interspersed in this compilation.
Lots of stuff here the Bush/Cheney Corporate servants would never dare to publicly admit...
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
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"Forever Oneness, who sings to us in silence, who teaches us through each other. Guide my steps with strength and wisdom. May I see the lessons as I walk, honor the Purpose of all things. Help me touch with respect, always speak from behind my eyes. Let me observe, not judge. May I cause no harm, and leave music and beauty after my visit. When I return to forever may the circle be closed and the spiral be broader."
- Bee Lake (an aboriginal poet) - Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" email@example.com">
"Someone drifting off on a 47-year nap in 1957, when nuclear war seemed inevitable, might wake today startled to find that those crimes against the future have so far been held at bay. Our nuclear arsenal peaked at 30,000 weapons in 1966, and has stood at about 10,000 for the past five years. We have -- so far -- spared ourselves that future, mainly because of the hard work and clear thinking of two generations of leaders who understood what the wreckage at Frenchman Flat meant."
- Taken from "The Museum of Attempted Suicide" below
"Freedom has never, and will never, be defended or maintained by restricting civil liberties or waging preemptive war. Such fascist acts are the antithesis of democracy. In the grand tradition of patriots, suffragists, and activists - liberal and progressive anti-fascists must rid the World of conservative fascism in order to embark upon an era of ecological sustainability, social justice and international mechanisms to end terrorism and militarism. There are immediate actions required to overthrow fascist corporate control of America and the world."
- Taken from "President Bush Threatens the Earth and Human Society with Ruin" below
Worthy of Your Attention
Subject: Awesome 8/31 Frances visible image animation
That's Puerto Rico in the lower left. You'll need broadband to load this - it takes a couple minutes to load even with broadband. Recommended by "Mark Graffis" firstname.lastname@example.org">
We Are Everywhere - The Irresistible Rise of Global Anticapitalism
Something that has never occurred in history before is happening. People from different cultures, different belief systems and social circumstances are uniting around the world for a new kind of democracy. Our Comment, this time, is extracted from We are Everywhere, a new book by a collective of writers calling themselves Notes from Nowhere. "In the last decade, a 'movement of movements' has sprung up on every continent, from Chiapas to Genoa, Seattle to Porto Alegre, Bangalore to Soweto. The movement is a web of interconnected strands, of recurring themes and discernible patterns. Autonomy. Participation. Democracy. Diversity. The reinvention of power. The importance of creativity and subjectivity. Access to the 'commons' - whether water, public space, software, seeds or the manufacture of medicines. And constant questioning and innovation. "The idea of a revolutionary movement that genuinely listens is itself a paradox. Yet the idea of listening is central to many of these movements. The movement is characterized by the ability to admit to being wrong, to stop and question everything; by the desire to dissolve the vertical structures of power and replace them with radical horizontality and real popular participation; by the willingness to listen, the wisdom to grow, the commitment to transform. Getting lost 'without a path' might even be an important part of the process. Making mistakes, having profound doubt, perhaps for sustained periods - this is part of learning to walk. "So let's have the courage, let's have the heart that lies in the roots of the word courage, le coeur, the courage to demand nothing for us, but everything for everyone; the courage to keep the spaces that this movement of movements has created radically open, rebelliously inviting, and profoundly popular. For when 'we' are truly everywhere, we will be nowhere - for we will be everyone." This edited extract from We are Everywhere published by Verso is 'copy left and can be reproduced for non-profit purposes. http://www.WeAreEverywhere.org -- NOTE FROM JEAN: This website is a MUST SEE!
1. Feedback RE: Turning Tide of History #16: Calamities Ahead and New Hopes
2. War Making Headlines, but Peace Breaks Out
3. A revolution is taking place in NYC
4. Planning for World's End
5. The Museum of Attempted Suicide
6. President Bush Threatens the Earth and Human Society with Ruin
7. Censored! The 10 big stories the national news media ignore
8. Tortured at Abu Ghraib: The scandal they cant hide
9. Need for carbon sink technologies
10. Plan B: A Plan for the Future
IRAQ: Gripped by an uprising the US can't defeat
"The smell of burnt flesh filled the air and blood smeared the deserted streets of Najaf's Old City after heavy US air strikes on Shiite militia positions around Iraq's revered Imam Ali shrine", reported Agence France-Presse on August 25. This situation in Najaf has made it clear that "post-handover" Iraq is still a US-occupied country. The Pentagon's attempts to re-label the resistance as "anti-Iraqi forces" from "Saddam loyalists" can't disguise the reality of Shiite and Sunni Iraqis rising up against the US all over the country.The US response - using AC-130 gunships, Apache attack helicopters and 500-pound-bomb-bearing fighter jets - has done irreparable damage to the image of its puppet government, the Interim Government of Iraq (IGI). This is particularly true of its assault on the resistance forces in the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf.
Palestinian Prisoners End Hunger Strike (Sept 2)
JERUSALEM - Thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel ended an 18-day hunger strike on Thursday, with representatives saying that Israel had agreed to meet demands for improving their conditions. Israeli authorities confirmed that the strike was winding down, but denied giving in to any Palestinian demands. About 4,000 prisoners launched the strike on Aug. 15. The prisoners had presented a list of demands to improve their conditions, but the main thrust of the strike was to protest Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip (news - web sites). Issa Karake, head of the Palestinian prisoners' association, said roughly 3,500 prisoners had halted the strike on Thursday, and that the remaining holdouts were expected to resume eating by the end of the day. "It's over today," said Karake. Hisham Abdel Razek, the Palestinian minister for prison affairs, scheduled a news conference later in the day. Karake said Israeli authorities had given in to many important demands, including an end to strip searches, allowing prisoners to talk to their families on the phone, and removing glass partitions between prisoners and visiting relatives. CLIP
Israel killed 436 Palestinians in past 'quiet' six months (31 August 2004)
Anyone following the mainstream media couldn't miss the news today. CNNr eported that two suicide bombers set off almost simultaneous blasts on buses in Beer Sheva, killing 16 people in addition to themselves. At least 93 people were wounded. Usually, such attacks are followed with a wide range of condemnations. Ariel Sharon said: Israel will continue fighting terror with all its might." The U.S. State Department, as well as the European Union, through its foreign policy chief Javier Solana, and the United Nations, through Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in addition to Andrey Denisov, the current president of the Security Council condemned the bombings. Most news reports stated that Palestinian groups had not carried out a major attack inside Israel since March 14, when 11 Israelis were killed in the port of Ashdod. Only a few referred to the Israeli assassinations of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and his successor Abdel Aziz Rantisi afterwards. None, however,referred to the number of Palestinians, mostly civilians, killed in the months between. None referred to Israel's military assault on Rafah in May 2004, when Israeli forces killed 44 Palestinians, including 18 children,and destroyed 400 homes, and Beit Hanoun from June to August.
Spy Probe Scans Neo-cons' Israel Ties (02 September 2004)
(THERE IS A VERY TELLING "MUST SEE" PICTURE AT THIS URL BELOW!)
The growing scandal over claims that a Pentagon official passed highly classified secrets to a Zionist lobby group appears to be part of a much broader set of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Pentagon investigations of close collaboration between prominent US neo-conservatives and Israel dating back some 30 years. According to knowledgeable sources, who asked to not be identified, the FBI has been intensively reviewing a series of past counter-intelligence probes that were started against several high-profile neo-cons, but which were never followed up with prosecutions, to the great frustration of counter-intelligence officers, in some cases. Some of these past investigations involve top current officials, including Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz; Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, whose office appears to be the focus of the most recently disclosed inquiry; and Richard Perle, who resigned as Defense Policy Board (DPB) chairman last year. All three were the subject of a lengthy investigative story by Stephen Green, published by Counterpunch in February. Green is the author of two books on US-Israeli relations, including Taking Sides: America's Secret Relations with a Militant Israel, which relies heavily on interviews with former Pentagon and counter-intelligence officials. At the same time, another Pentagon office concerned with the transfer of sensitive military and dual-use technologies has been examining the acquisition, modification and sales of key hi-tech military equipment by Israel obtained from the US, in some cases with the help of prominent neo-conservatives who were then serving in the government. Some of that equipment has been sold by Israel - which in the past 20 years has become a top exporter of the world's most sophisticated hi-tech information and weapons technology - or by Israeli middlemen, to Russia, China and other potential US strategic rivals. Some of it has also found its way onto the black market, where terrorist groups - possibly including al-Qaeda - obtained bootlegged copies, according to these sources. CLIP
Israeli-American relationship gone out of control
Another American intelligence official has been caught spying for Israel,passing on top secrets about Iran to empower Israel into manipulating United States military action against that country.The American-Israeli spy is not the first and certainly not alone in stealing American secrets in order to influence US policies for the benefit of Israel. He is not even the most important. Scores of Israeli supporters spying for Israel occupy the highest posts in the American administration. CLIP
Guantanamo Farce (02 September 2004)
The Bush administration is ignoring, if not defying outright, the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that all terror suspects must be able to challenge their imprisonment. The opening round of detainee military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay last week resembled something between a Mel Brooks farce and the kangaroo courts of former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Maybe Captain Kangaroo courts. The proceedings didn't look anything like justice, military or otherwise. Meanwhile, two U.S. citizens still sit in military brigs, isolated from their lawyers and months if not years away from the hearings the high court says they deserve. The U.S. criminal justice system, including its military stepchild, is supposed to stand for due process, impartiality and openness. These are the same principles, after all, that U.S. troops are fighting - and dying - to seed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the slapdash preliminary hearings for the first four of some 600 Guantanamo detainees violated basic tenets of fairness. CLIP
The War on Terror is a Fraud (September 01, 2004)
(...) The "war on terror" is an absolute fraud. It is a war designed specifically to mask the injustices and inequalities which afflict millions of Americans by aggravating and amplifying the injustices and inequalities inflicted upon millions of non-Americans. Its very existence represents continuous and ever-expanding victory for only the most vicious, opportunistic, and hateful elements among humanity, who will impose upon us tragedy upon tragedy, and terror upon terror, until we break cleanly and completely from the rotted chains of mindless fealty to false national leaders and forge links with those abroad whose friendships we have forgone for far too long.
New U.S. Government Report Acknowledges Human-Caused Climate Change
President Bush famously dismissed a 2002 U.S. government report that acknowledged the human causes of climate change as something "put out by the bureaucracy." Well, it looks like the bureaucracy's at it again: A new administration report to Congress indicates that human production of heat-trapping greenhouse gases is likely behind the rapid climate change of the past three decades. According to James R. Mahoney, director of government climate research, the report reflects "the best possible scientific information" on climate change. The White House, which has regularly followed the lead of industry groups in emphasizing the uncertainty of climate science, may have difficulty dismissing this report, as it is signed by the secretaries of energy and commerce and Bush's top science adviser, but you never know.
The New York Times, Andrew C. Revkin, 26 Aug 2004
Our Changing Planet
The destroyer (Sept 1)
George Bush's war on terror may have made the world a more dangerous place. But it is his atrocious record on the environment that poses the greatest threat, says Graydon Carter, in the second exclusive extract from his new book Wednesday September 1, 2004The Guardian 'Prosperity will mean little," declared George W Bush while on the stump as presidential candidate, "if we leave to future generations a world of polluted air, toxic lakes and rivers, and vanished forests." By the time Bush departed his job as governor of Texas in December 2000, Texas had - according to a report from within the ranks of his own party - become the number-one state in the nation in manufacturing-plant emissions of toxic chemicals, in the release of industrial airborne toxins, in violations of clean water discharge standards and the release of toxic waste into underground wells. Under Bush's governorship, Houston had even passed Los Angeles to become the city with the worst air quality in America. The Republicans for Environmental Protection (REP) study could find not a single initiative by Bush during his term as governor that sought to improve either the state's air or its water. What would he do as president? CLIP
Bush EPA Rolls Back Endangered Species Act, Pesticide Protection (Sept 2)
The Bush administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found a subtle way to sidestep the Endangered Species Act. New rules, announced in late July, allow EPA to approve new pesticides without consulting the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service to determine possible harm to wildlife.  The new rules greatly favor industries that produce pesticides. As reported by Bush Greenwatch, a special chemical industry task force has used insider access to the EPA to achieve this rule change.
Michael Ruppert 08/31/04 speech - US was behind 911 http://www.fromthewilderness.com/PDF/Commonwealth.pdf
IT IS A STRAIGHTFORWARD FACT THAT IF GLOBAL OIL PRODUCTION STARTS TO DECLINE BUT U.S. CONSUMPTION DOES NOT, EVERYONE ELSE WILL BE REQUIRED TO CUT PURCHASES AND USES OF OIL. BUT HOW CAN OIL PRICES BE HELD STABLE FOR AMERICANS YET BE MADE TO RISE FOR EVERYONE ELSE? ONLY BY A POLICY OF CONTINUING DEPRECIATION IN EVERYONE ELSE'S CURRENCY. SUCH A POLICY OF DOLLAR HEGEMONY AMID WORLDWIDE FINANCIAL INSTABILITY, OF CRUSHING DEBT BURDENS AND DEFLATION THROUGHOUT THE DEVELOPING WORLD, IS PERVERSE. IT WILL MAKE OUR TRADING PARTNERS' EXPORTS CHEAP, RENDER THEIR IMPORTS DEAR AND KEEP THEIR REAL WAGES LOW. IT WILL PRICE AMERICAN GOODS OUT OF WORLD MARKETS AND LEAD TO UNSUSTAINABLE DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN CAPITAL. IT WILL BE A POLICY, IN SHORT, OF BEGGAR-ALL-OF-OUR-NEIGHBORS WHILE WE LIVE ALONE, IN INCREASING IDLENESS AND INSIDE THE DOLLAR BUBBLE. THIS IS THE POLICY THAT BUSH AND CHENEY ARE ACTUALLY IMPOSING ON THE REST OF THE WORLD. CLIP
Swift Boat Vet Got $40M Contract From Bush
Rear Admiral William L. Schachte Jr., the man who claims Kerry was not under fire when he received his first Purple Heart, is a top lobbyist for ad efense contractor that recently won a $40 million grant from the Bush administration. According to a March 18 legal filing by Schachte's firm, Blank Rome, Schachte was one of the lobbyists working for FastShip's effort to secure federal contracts. On Feb. 2, FastShip announced the Bush administration had awarded it $40 million.
Right on Schedule: Saudis Rig Drop in Oil Prices for Opening Day of GOP Convention
Oil, guns and money (Sept 2)
What's really behind the recent redeployment of U.S. military forces? Making sure no one messes with American access to global energy resources. An excerpt from "Oil: Anatomy of an Industry."
Navy's Use of Sonar Suspected in Near-Stranding of Whales Hawaii incident intensifies debate on ocean noise (September 1, 2004)
The Navy has acknowledged that vessels on maneuver off Hawaii in July used their sonar periodically in the 20 hours before a large pod of melon-headed whales unexpectedly came to shore in the area. The acknowledgment added to an already contentious debate over whether the sound from sonar has been causing marine mammals to strand.
Omega-News Collection 31. August 2004
THIS MESSAGE WAS POSTED ON THE ERN GUESTBOOK ON 2004-09-01
by Ilona Ireland email@example.com">
Namaste to all. I am grateful for the depth of information that is presented by the Earth Rainbow Network. Some material almost makes me fall to the floor in deep grief and yet I know that I must hold my small light in connection with all the other lights and loving consciousnesses that seek to heal this planet and all sentient beings. May all beings be well, May all beings be happy, May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering, May all beings be at Peace.
From: "Leonard" firstname.lastname@example.org">
Subject: Feedback RE: Turning Tide of History #16: Calamities Ahead and New Hopes
Date: 31 Aug 2004
Regarding the article (http://news.independent.co.uk/world/environment/story.jsp?story=556266) below Thomas Malthus, in his law of diminishing return, postulated that we would outstrip our capacity for production and eventually overpopulation would kill off a major part of the population of the planet. Malthus has been continuously been proven wrong due to discoveries that demonstrate that productivity produces enough to consistently outstrip our needs. The problem at this time is that we are not availing ourselves of the increased production that we could get using sustainable methods in farming. The result is that the soil cannot function properly, even when fortified with chemicals, as well as it can when micro life is present. All we have to do is rejuvenate the soil and combine that with productive farming technologies and we can more than feed the whole planet. Maybe we could even export food to aliens and begin intergalactic commerce.
Date: 31 Aug 2004
From: Palden email@example.com">
Subject: Peace is Breaking Out!
War Making Headlines, but Peace Breaks Out
By CHARLES J. HANLEY,
AP Special Correspondent
The chilling sights and sounds of war fill newspapers and television screens worldwide, but war itself is in decline, peace researchers report.
In fact, the number killed in battle has fallen to its lowest point in the post-World War II period, dipping below 20,000 a year by one measure. Peacemaking missions, meantime, are growing in number.
"International engagement is blossoming," said American scholar Monty G. Marshall. "There's been an enormous amount of activity to try to end these conflicts."
For months the battle reports and casualty tolls from Iraq and Afghanistan have put war in the headlines, but Swedish and Canadian non-governmental groups tracking armed conflict globally find a general decline in numbers from peaks in the 1990s.
The authoritative Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in a 2004 Yearbook report obtained by The Associated Press in advance of publication, says 19 major armed conflicts were under way worldwide in 2003, a sharp drop from 33 wars counted in 1991.
The Canadian organization Project Ploughshares, using broader criteria to define armed conflict, says in its new annual report that the number of conflicts declined to 36 in 2003, from a peak of 44 in 1995.
The Stockholm institute counts continuing wars that have produced 1,000 or more battle-related deaths in any single year. Project Ploughshares counts any armed conflict that produces 1,000 such deaths cumulatively.
The Stockholm report, to be released in September, notes three wars ended as of 2003 - in Angola, Rwanda and Somalia - and a fourth, the separatist war in India's Assam state, was dropped from the "major" category after casualties were recalculated.
It lists three new wars in 2003 - in Liberia and in Sudan's western region of Darfur, along with the U.S.-British invasion of Iraq. These joined such long-running conflicts as the Kashmiri insurgency in India, the leftist guerrilla war in Colombia, and the separatist war in Russia's Chechnya region.
Other major armed conflicts listed by the Stockholm researchers were in Algeria, Burundi, Peru, Indonesia's Aceh province, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Israel, and Turkey. Their list also includes the U.S.-al- Qaida war, mainly in Afghanistan, the unresolved India-Pakistan conflict, and two insurgencies in the Philippines.
"Not only are the numbers declining, but the intensity" - the bloodshed in each conflict - "is declining," said Marshall, founder of a University of Maryland program studying political violence.
The continuing wars in Algeria, Chechnya and Turkey are among those that have subsided into low-intensity conflicts. At Canada's University of British Columbia, scholars at the Human Security Center are quantifying this by tackling the difficult task of calculating war casualties worldwide for their Human Security Report, to be released late in 2004.
A collaboration with Sweden's Uppsala University, that report will conservatively estimate battle-related deaths worldwide at 15,000 in 2002 and, because of the Iraq war, rising to 20,000 in 2003. Those estimates are sharply down from annual tolls ranging from 40,000 to 100,000 in the 1990s, a time of major costly conflicts in such places as the former Zaire and southern Sudan, and from a post-World War II peak of 700,000 in 1951.
The Canadian center's director, Andrew Mack, said the figures don't include deaths from war-induced starvation and disease, deaths from ethnic conflicts not involving states, or unopposed massacres, such as in Rwanda in 1994.
Why the declines? Peace scholars point to crosscurrents of global events.
For one thing, the Cold War's end and breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989-91 ignited civil and separatist wars in the old East bloc and elsewhere, as the superpowers' hands were lifted in places where they'd long held allies in check. Those wars surged in the early 1990s.
"The decline over the past decade measures the move away from that unusual period," said Ernie Regehr, director of Project Ploughshares.
At the same time, however, the U.S.-Russian thaw worked against war as well, scholars said, by removing superpower support in "proxy wars," as in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Cambodia. With dwindling money and arms, warmakers had to seek peace.
The United Nations and regional bodies, meanwhile, were mobilizing for more effective peacemaking worldwide.
"The end of the Cold War liberated the U.N." - historically paralyzed by U.S.-Soviet antagonism - "to do what its founders had originally intended and more," Mack said.
In 2003 alone, from Ivory Coast to the Solomon Islands, 14 multilateral missions were launched to protect or reinforce peace settlements, the highest number of new peace missions begun in a single year since the Cold War, the Stockholm institute will report.
The recent record shows "conflicts don't end without some form of intervention from outside," said Renata Dwan, who heads the institute's program on armed conflict and conflict management.
Most new missions, half of which were in Africa, were undertaken by regional organizations or coalitions of states, often with U.N. sanction.
The idea of U.N. primacy in world peace and security took a "bruising" at U.S. hands in 2003, when Washington circumvented the U.N. Security Council to invade Iraq, Dwan noted. But meanwhile, elsewhere, the world body was deploying a monthly average of 38,500 military peacekeepers in 2003 - triple the level of 1999.
By year's end, the institute yearbook will conclude, "the U.N. was arguably in a stronger position than at any time in recent years."
NOTE: This article also appeared in at least 610 other newspapers as a Google search indicates...
U.S. and Russia Still Dominate Arms Market, but World Total Falls (30 August 2004)
WASHINGTON - The United States and Russia continued to dominate the global arms market last year, especially when measured in weapons deals to developing nations, although the total value of arms sales worldwide tumbled for the third consecutive year, according to a new Congressional study. The United States maintained its lead in worldwide weapons sales in 2003, signing deals worth more than $14.5 billion, or 56.7 percent of all arms agreements, up from $13.6 billion in 2002, the study showed. Russia ranked second, signing agreements worth $4.3 billion, or 16.8 percent of all global arms sales deals in 2003. That figure was down from nearly $6 billion in 2002. Germany was the third largest merchant in the global arms market for 2003, signing deals worth $1.4 billion. The report, "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations," is published each year by the Congressional Research Service, part of the Library of Congress. The unclassified study is considered the most authoritative compilation of statistics on global sales of conventional weapons that is available to the public. CLIP
Date: 1 Sep 2004
From: Patty-Lynne Herlevi firstname.lastname@example.org">
Subject: A revolution is taking place in NYC
I thought you might be interested in this mail that was forwarded to me. A revolution is taking place in NYC.
Subject: Urgent Update: Right now in NYC!
PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY TO YOUR EMAIL LISTS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY
You wouldn't know it from watching the news, but right now New York City is delivering a powerful NO to Bush and all he represents. There is broad support from the citizens of New York who are pouring out of their apartments and workplaces, witnessing the protests, denouncing the arrests of protesters, grabbing up progressive and revolutionary literature faster than it can be distributed, telling the RNC delegates to go home, monitoring the police practice maneuvers and brutality and shouting "No Police State!" All the RNC protest benefit shows and progressive art events are sold out. ALTHOUGH BUSH PLANNED TO BE IN NYC FOR FOUR DAYS, HE IS NOW ONLY GOING TO BE FLYING IN TO GIVE HIS SPEECH AND FLYING OUT RIGHT AFTERWARDS. HE WILL BE IN NYC FOR A TOTAL OF ONLY TWO HOURS!
As you may have heard, August 29 saw at least half a million people take the streets in the mass march, followed by thousands of people occupying Central Park, Union Square, and other areas of the city. These are the biggest protests against a political convention in the history of the U.S. and the size is over double that of the largest anti-war protests in this country on Feb 15.
Today, Tues, Aug 31, was a day of nonviolent civil disobedience and direct action. At least 1,000 people have been arrested since August 29, the majority of them on Tuesday. We don't know the details of what happened at every action, but there were various actions throughout the day at different locations spread all across the city. To see a listing of events and groups that participated, go to www.a31.org
When hundreds of protesters with the War Resisters League and the School of the Americas Watch, including clergy, attempted to go from the World Trade Center site to the convention center, they were stopped by police before getting too close to the Center. At that point a few hundred of the protesters decided to do a die-in. They were quickly surrounded and arrested. In this, and other direct actions, police have been using a tactic of surrounding groups of people, park spaces, and even whole city blocks, with orange netting. Then they arrest everyone inside. Witnesses have reported that sometimes they are told to disperse, but then blocked from dispersing, or allowed to disperse single file. Then the police arrest them regardless. The police are blindfolding some people upon arrest. A group of Seattle medics report that some arrestees are being pepper sprayed in the face while handcuffed. The police also attacked at least three groups by spraying the crowds with pepper spray. Some protesters are also being chased down and beaten with clubs and flashlights when they try to leave the orange nets. There have also been reports of police purposefully riding scooters as a way to attack and disperse groups of protesters. People training to be police are being deputized and sent out into the streets with nothing but t-shirts that say POLICE and flashlights.
Let us take a moment to say that the lack of media coverage of this historic event is shameful. The protests, the mass arrests, police marching in formation--all this is happening right outside the windows of this country's major media outlets. Yet all we see on the television is the Republican Convention on every channel. Protesters report that mainstream media cameras are filming much of the action. Where is this footage going if it is not being broadcast?
At least 5 protesters in affinity with Seattle Not In Our Name have been arrested, two of them street medics who were there to administer basic care to protesters who were overheated or injured. The protesters are being held at a pier that was formerly used as a parking lot. The pier is reportedly a large open space, but cordoned off into caged sections with fencing and barbed wire. As you can imagine, the place is being called "Guantanamo on the Hudson. See info below if you would like to make a donation to support any bail or legal expenses. We do need your support!
An interview from the streets of New York with one of the protesters who was arrested, along with other participants and local organizers will be aired on WED AT 8:30 PM ON SOCIAL JUSTICE TELEVISION, a program that airs on your local cable access station, which is channel 77 or 29, depending on where you live within Seattle.
In spite of the police-state climate, people's spirits are high. People who phoned us from New York City described the scene as "electric" with everyone in the city talking to each other on the subways and street corners, milling about the streets talking to their neighbors, wanting to know what's next and how they can be a part of it, and what all this means for the future!!!
There will be many actions in the next two days, a mass permitted rally called by ANSWER, a candlelight vigil and a prisoner support action called by UFPJ, and more direct actions and civil disobedience.
In the spirit of making this a city-wide protest, Not In Our Name and other groups are calling for an action that all New Yorkers and visitors can participate in on Thursday when Bush flies into the city:
JOIN THE CITY OF NEW YORK IN DELIVERING A HUGE, UNMISTAKABLE NO!! TO THE BUSH AGENDA!!
This past Sunday, 750,000 people flowed past Madison Square Garden, and many thousand turned up in Central Park, in spite of police harassment and a denial of a rally permit. The mood was defiant and celebratory.
Thursday, Bush is coming to NYC to be crowned the Republican nominee.
We have an enormous opportunity to ride this wave of momentum to continue delivering a huge NO to Bush and the entire Republican agenda.
People are looking for a way to act together, and we must flood the city with NO, to show the world that Bush and the Republicans are most unwelcome in New York City.
This week culminates with Bush's speech on Thursday night. We must continue resisting in these next two days, we must create a NO that spreads far and wide; that reaches way beyond the movement, to all the thousands who are so disgusted by the Republicans and all they represent.
Everywhere you look, on tens of thousands of T-Shirts, on stickers, posters, hanging from banners and written on walls, in many different and creative ways, must be the simple and defiant word NO! Some had the opportunity to protest in the streets. For those, and for the millions who were not in the streets, but were affected and inspired by the massive rejection of the Bush agenda seen on Sunday, we suggest:
Wear a T-Shirt with the word NO. Buy one, or make your own. Hang a poster in your window Chalk NO on the streets Write NO on your rooftop Organize your neighborhood to shout NO! at 8 pm when Bush will deliver his "coronation speech" Participate in one of the many protest events organized for that day.
Dream up your own creative, visual piece of resistance using the word NO and let us know!!
For more information on this effort, contact The Not in Our Name Project at (212) 760-1722 Email: email@example.com
Not In Our Name Project-Seattle
At Least 900 Arrested in City as Protesters Clash With Police (Sept 1)
A series of demonstrations rippled across Manhattan last night when protesters tried to converge on the Republican National Convention, as a day of planned civil disobedience erupted into clashes with police officers and led to the arrest of more than 900 people. The wave of confrontations - which included a brawl with the police at the New York Public Library, marauding crowds cursing at delegates in Midtown and the detention of hundreds of protesters near ground zero - created a day of disorder in a convention week already marked by sustained protests against the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. Yesterday's incidents stood in contrast to the enormous, mostly orderly antiwar march that drew hundreds of thousands of people to Manhattan on Sunday. Many of those protesting yesterday had purposefully avoided seeking permits for their rallies but had publicized their plans well in advance, leading hordes of police officers in cars, bikes, scooters and vans to flood various parts of the city primed to pre-empt disorder before it could occur. The day's arrests brought the convention-related total to more than 1,460. CLIP
Convention Protests Target Bush Policies (September 2, 2004)
NEW YORK (AP) - Protesters waved symbolic pink slips along a three-mile "unemployment line,'' labor unions demanded better treatment of workers and a group of AIDS activists infiltrated the site of the Republican convention Wednesday, as arrest totals soared beyond 1,700 for the past week.The arrests, including several Wednesday, far surpass those made in much more violent circumstances at Chicago's 1968 Democratic convention. Two well-known figures from that era alleged that police are now using more subtle tactics to stifle dissent. "Chicago Seven'' veteran Tom Hayden spoke with activist lawyer Leonard Weinglass on Wednesday outside a holding facility for suspects awaiting the trip to central booking - many of them yet to be processed from Tuesday evening, when more than 1,000 people were arrested. CLIP
More Than 500,000 Say No To The Bush Agenda At NYC March (August 29)
NEW YORK, NY - In the largest protest ever held during apolitical convention, more than 500,000 people from all over the United States marched past Madison Square Garden, site of the Republican National Convention, to express their opposition to the Bush agenda and the war against Iraq. "This march brought together people from every sector of society and every possible background, because we all understood that we had to shine a spotlight on the issues that the Republicans won't bring to the stage at their convention - the ongoing chaos and violence in Iraq,the unprecedented roll-back of environmental protections, the assault on a woman's right to choose and so many other issues that Americans deeply care about," said Leslie Cagan, national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice, the national anti-war coalition that organized the march. CLIP
"We the People Say No to Bush" (30 August 2004 - Excellent article on an amazing event!)
Hundreds of thousands of protesters filled the New York streets Sunday. Clash songs blasted, anarchists taunted "Aida"-goers, and moms, queers and Wall Street bankers told the Bush administration it must go.
William Rivers Pitt | Nausea in New York
Zogby: Half of New Yorkers Believe U.S. Leaders Knew About 9-11 Attacks
COMPLETELY FRIGHTENING, IN RETROSPECT. IT IS TRULY A MIRACLE THAT THEY DID NOT BLOW UP THE PLANET...
August 12, 2004
Planning for World's End
By Tom Engelhardt
On August 12, 1960, while involved in preparations for developing the American military's initial Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), Admiral Arleigh Burke met with Secretary of the Navy William B. Franke for a blunt discussion. He was disturbed that SIOP strategic planning would be lodged at Offutt Air Force Base because of its "vaunted computer capabilities." Bitter, and fearing that the Air Force was trying to take over all nuclear forces, he referred to his Air Force opposites as "smart and ruthless." As he told Franke, Air Force leaders were using "exactly the same techniques as the Communists" to win Pentagon power struggles. "As a matter of fact [the Air Force's textbooks], originally about ten years ago, were built on the textbooks of the Communists, how to control these things.'"
So what exactly were those Communists flyboys trying to control and dominate? As it happens, Burke was discussing operational planning for world's end. The SIOP -- and the United States has had one of these ever since -- was a full-scale operational plan for a "preemptive" nuclear attack not just on the Soviet Union, but on the Communist world, which was simply to be obliterated. Though inter-service nuking was the order of the day, and much of the back-and-forth was done in an anesthetized language, some military figures were disturbed. At one point, for instance, Marine Corps Commandant David Shoup asked General Thomas Power, Director of Strategic Target Planning, "what would happen if Beijing [slated to be wiped out] was not fighting; was there an option to leave Chinese targets out of the attack plan? Power was reported to have said that he hoped no one would think of that 'because it would really screw up the plan' -- that is, the plan was supposed to be executed as a whole. Apparently Shoup then observed that 'any plan that kills millions of Chinese when it isn't even their war is not a good plan. This is not the American way.'"
The SIOP in preparation even frightened "the devil out of" then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower. And little wonder, the preemptive attack, according to recently declassified documents just posted at the website of the heroic National Security Archive (and carefully sorted out and interpreted by William Burr), was to deliver over 3,200 nuclear weapons to 1,060 targets in the Communist world, including at least 130 cities which would then, if all went well, cease to exist. Official estimates of casualties, Burr tells us, ran to 285 million dead and 40 million injured (and this may have underestimated radiation effects). Army and Navy officials "worried about the lethal impact of downwind fallout, with the Army explicitly concerned about limiting exposure of 'friendly forces and people' to radioactive fallout. By contrast, the Air Force saw no need for additional constraints [on surface nuclear blasts]."
Commander-in-Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC) Harry Felt, considering the massive global fallout that would be engendered by such a strike, offered the reasonable fear "that our weapons can be a hazard to ourselves as well as our enemy." After such a war, of course, "victory" would have been meaningless. There would have been no enemy territory safe enough for us to occupy, just the charred ruins of a world.
In the 1950s, Americans, at the highest levels, endlessly thinking about the "unthinkable," plunged into a future charnel-house planet. Not just military but civilian policy makers soon found themselves writing obsessive science fiction scenarios, not for public consumption but for each other, about a possible "global war of annihilation." In these new combat scenarios, the United States was left on the horns of an unbearable dilemma. It could either forswear meaningful victory -- or strike first, taking on an uncivilized and treacherous role long reserved in our history for the enemy. Early in these years, in secret directives like NSC (National Security Council) 68 or NSC141, these men began to plan for the possibility that 100 atomic bombs landing on targets in the United States would kill or injure 22 million Americans, or that an American "blow" might result in the "complete destruction" of the Soviet Union.
Welcome to sunny Cold War America, those "golden years" of Ozzie and Harriet and Father Knows Best, a time when species-suicide lay on the brain just below the consumer wonders of television or the frozen TV dinner you could eat on a specially produced tray while watching it. This was a time when, on a lazy afternoon in the East you could stay home and catch CBS TV's Walter Cronkite from News Nob at the Nevada Test Site, narrating an atomic test in real time ("ten
), or listen to the young Morley Safer reporting from the frontlines where troops in trenches waiting only miles from the blast were then to "take" the nuclearized battlefield. (The only sponsors -- I wonder why -- were public service civil defense ads and the like.) Or you could turn to a Disney special, Our Friend the Atom -- such shows, plugging "the peaceful Atom," invariably had portentous male voiceovers invoking humanity's "choice" between eternal (atomic) doom and (atomic) paradise -- to view animated farm animals and plants sparkling like so many Tinkerbells with irradiated promise; or you might play with your H2O Missile, a water-powered "ICBM" (though there was something so palpably unplayful about "nuclear toys").
If the real toll at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was largely hidden from the American public, in private dreams and popular culture a lack of information, of atomic "realism," only led to a splurge of apocalyptic fantasies in which ever more bizarre mutant futures were imagined, all of which put a deformed ending on anything resembling an American tale. Meanwhile, school children periodically huddled under their desks with sirens howling outside for the atomic equivalents of fire drills and learned, amid the stories of their fathers' triumphs, how to imagine ashes where there were burgeoning suburbs.
It's forgotten today that, almost with his first words, John F. Kennedy launched his presidency under the sign of the bomb, invoking its "power to abolish
all forms of human life." The Bomb (capitalized in those days when it had no world-ending competition) was the presiding deity of his inaugural address, its unlimited horror invoked six times in a few brief minutes ("
before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction
"); while the most famous radical organization of the 1960s, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), launched its "new form of politics" in 1962 with the Port Huron Statement in which the bomb also reigned supreme. References to it riddled the text ("
a lifetime saturation with horror
the possibility of limited war becoming illimitable holocaust
"), and then there was this poignant reminder that every strategy for creating a better America these young activists could imagine might prove pointless: "Our work is guided by the sense that we may be the last generation in the experiment with living."
Meanwhile, out in Nevada and in atolls in the Pacific, the military was enacting a cumulative SIOP in real, if extended, time. Before the bomb (and its tests) went underground in 1963 (and Vietnam, that "limited war," took center stage), the U.S. military conducted at least 216 atmospheric as well as underwater nuclear tests (including, despite denials at the time, tests of H-bombs in the American West). These ranged from bombs with a yield of only 197 tons ("Wheeler," Operation PLUMBOB, 1957, Nevada Test Site) to 15 Megatons ("Bravo," Operation CASTLE, 1954, Nam Island off Bikini Atoll), which is almost unimaginable. However, if you want to try to imagine it for a moment, a useful aid might be a remarkable, completely eerie, and eerily beautiful book that came out a year ago, Michael Light's 100 Suns. A coffee-table sized book of 100 stunningly reproduced photos of bomb tests (or sometimes of witnesses to them and soldiers put in their path) from the 1950s and early 1960s, declassified from the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the U.S. National Archives in Maryland, some are in black-and-white, but it's the ones in color that impossible to take your eyes off of. These exist, like early Technicolor, in a completely coherent, thoroughly lurid yet mesmerizing color schema which bears almost no resemblance to any we know. It is an unforgettable record of a future that we have, possibly barely, so far avoided.
In the third of Tomdispatch's nuclear posts, Jon Else, the maker of the film The Day After Trinity, recently returned to the Nevada Test Site to start in on a new atomic documentary and in the process, took a moment, to contemplate an artifact of "Priscilla," a 1957 atomic test, and consider, with just a touch of hope, the perilous world those of us of a certain age lived through, most of the time only half aware.
Of course, the Pentagon still has a SIOP and an arsenal of approximately 10,000 nuclear weapons to go with it (as does our former superpower enemy) about whose degree of madness we can know nothing whatsoever. As William Burr comments, "Some evidence exists that after the Cold War ended, Strategic Air Command commander-in-chief General Lee Butler tried to curb what he saw as the SIOP's 'grotesque excesses' by paring down the huge target lists. Security classification, however, hides whether General Butler's reforms took hold or whether the SIOP remains an instrument of overkill."
Read more dispatches by Tom Engelhardt at http://www.Tomdispatch.com, a web log of The Nation Institute.
Book review of 100 Suns
(...) Light's closing essay and the captions for each photo feature phrases like "an explosion greater than all those of World Wars I and II combined" with numbing frequency. In their dry way, with their litany of desert towns ravaged by tumors, islanders relocated and official deceit and denial at every turn, the captions illuminate the lunacy that surrounded the whole nuclear enterprise. The victims of nuclear testing the town of St. George, Utah; the still uninhabitable Bikini Atoll; the Japanese trawler Daigo Fukuryu Maru; John Wayne, Susan Hayward and other members of the cast and crew of The Conqueror their fate is one that once seemed to threaten us all.Of course, there would be a place for a Soviet and Chinese "100 Suns," with their own catalogs of casualties and cover-ups. CLIP
More reviews at http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=100+suns+pictures&btnG=Google+Search&meta=
See some of the actual pictures at http://www.hosfeltgallery.com/MichaelLight/
(REALLY ASTOUNDING PICTURES!)
MORE ON THIS UTTER MADNESS
The Museum of Attempted Suicide
In these edgy times, when the possibility of nuclear war seems a thing of the past, a visit to the Nevada Test Site should be a requirement for holding public office in America.
By Jon Else
August 12, 2004
An enormous Mosler bank vault sits abandoned and forgotten on the dry lake bed of Frenchman Flat. It is ugly, and rusting, a big cookie jar from Hell -- yet it is in some sense America's greatest monument to hope and clear thinking.
That giant safe at the Nevada Test Site is a relic of an Atomic Energy Commission experiment in 1957 ("Response of Protective Vaults to Blast Loading"). Filled with stocks and bonds, gold and silver, cash and insurance policies, it confirmed that our official valuables, contracts and financial instruments, could survive nuclear war. The test must have seemed like a good idea at the time, a masterpiece of steel-and-concrete realpolitik. After all, safes had tested well -- quite by accident -- at Hiroshima in 1945, when four Mosler vaults in the basement of the Teikoku Bank near Ground Zero were discovered in the ruins with their contents miraculously intact. In fact, American troops entering Hiroshima some weeks after the bombing, reported hundreds of small safes resting in the city's ashes.
Today at the Nevada Site all that remains of the vault's reinforced concrete "bank building," itself specially constructed for the test, are a few shards of blasted concrete and a tangle of rusting, arm-thick steel reinforcing rod, swept back like so many cat's whiskers in the wind.
Just before dawn on June 24 1957, a 37-kiloton fission bomb, code-named "Priscilla," was suspended from a helium balloon about half a mile from where the big safe stands. In the path of Priscilla's shock wave the Atomic Energy Commission had built its own tiny twentieth century city. Priscilla rocked that mini-civilization in southern Nevada with twice the explosive force of the bomb that leveled Hiroshima. Its flash -- far brighter than the sun -- was reflected back off the moon, and soldiers covering their eyes in trenches two miles away claim they were able to see the bones in their hands.
Domed shelters of 2-inch thick aluminum alloy were flattened like so many soda pop cans stamped flat on a job site. The shock wave hammered reinforced concrete shelters, industrial buildings, cars in an underground parking garage, community shelters, a railroad trestle, a 55-ton diesel locomotive, parked airplanes, dummies in Russian and Chinese protective clothing, and a man-made pine forest rooted in concrete on the desert floor. Anesthetized Cheshire pigs in little protective suits were roasted alive in Priscilla's thermal pulse. We'll never know for sure but Priscilla's heat, like that of the Hiroshima bomb, must have instantly incinerated unsuspecting ravens in mid-flight. Later that morning, the fallout cloud drifted eastward, where in the months to come it mingled with residual radioactive products from other atmospheric tests and eventually dispersed around the globe. Today, anyone in the world born after 1957 carries in his or her bones at least a few atoms of Strontium-90 fallout from Priscilla.
In 1957, at about the moment that human self-extinction first became possible, many policy-makers already believed all-out nuclear war with the Soviets to be an inevitability. In fact, some of those planning the Priscilla shot, and assumedly curious to discover whether our stock and insurance certificates could survive it, must have known that full-scale nuclear war could theoretically end all life on earth. That year, hardly a decade after the atomic bomb had been but an exotic laboratory device, it was already a commodity; Priscilla was just one of 6,744 nuclear weapons in the U.S. stockpile. (The Soviets had 660.)
Here at Frenchman Flat we rehearsed our failed attempt at global suicide. It would have been a grand, charismatic gesture, spectacular pornography -- the human species going out with a great bang, nothing dreary and plodding like AIDS or global climate change. It would have been visible throughout the solar system; and as Priscilla did indeed show, our valuables, safely locked away, would indeed have survived us.
The Nevada Test Site, a particularly desolate thousand square miles of the Great Basin, was chosen in 1951 for our nuclear tests partly because it's ringed by low mountains, naturally shielded from the prying eyes of the outside world. Today, if you stand amid the charmless wreckage at Frenchman Flat, another thing is clear: It is also impossible to see out of the basin; the place is disconnected from the rest of Nevada, from America, from civilization itself. It is a lifeless, humorless, Planet of the Apes location. These could have been the ruins of a future we stopped in its tracks -- the ruins of Las Vegas, Vienna, or Tokyo, your town or my town, bombed back to the Stone Age.
Today, as we sweat over whether North Korea has four bombs or six, or whether Iran has any at all, remember that in 1957, only 12 years after the Trinity test, the United States was manufacturing ten nuclear bombs per day, 3000 fission and fusion bombs every year. The largest in our '57 arsenal was the 5-megaton Mark 21, powerful enough to flatten 400 Hiroshimas (or Fallujas or Oaklands) at a pop.
Filling that vault with stocks and bonds in 1957 now seems a surreal gesture of hope, a vain defense against a future that never happened: Imagine the survivors -- a hairless, sterilized post-nuclear Adam and Eve, dry heaving (like the radioactive feral dogs that roamed the deserted streets of Chernobyl) -- crawling toward the bank vault in their bloody rags, trying to remember the combination, praying for their Chrysler stock, or grandpa's gold watch, or their Prudential personal liability policies.
Or imagine another future, one in which no humans remain to open the vault. This is the Twelve Monkeys future in which the global suicide only rehearsed at the Nevada Test Site in 1957 actually succeeds and no one mops up the radioactive slop or collects the insurance -- with only ants and cockroaches left to puzzle over a warm, blasted vault on the radioactive sands of what was once Nevada.
But cooler heads prevailed. Someone drifting off on a 47-year nap in 1957, when nuclear war seemed inevitable, might wake today startled to find that those crimes against the future have so far been held at bay. Our nuclear arsenal peaked at 30,000 weapons in 1966, and has stood at about 10,000 for the past five years. We have -- so far -- spared ourselves that future, mainly because of the hard work and clear thinking of two generations of leaders who understood what the wreckage at Frenchman Flat meant. Give them credit. Give credit to Dwight D. Eisenhower and Henry Cabot Lodge for introducing a plan for nuclear disarmament in 1957, only weeks after the Priscilla shot; and give credit to JFK for the Atmospheric Test Ban Treaty; to Richard Nixon for the SALT and ABM treaties; to Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev for negotiating START I and START II. Give credit to Carter and Ford for signing strategic arms limitation agreements with Brezhnev. Give credit to thousands of dissident scientists, activists and ordinary citizens whose relentless pressure helped tip the balance away from madness. Above all, give credit to hundreds of clear thinking selfless men and women in the U.S. and Russia who recognized a slippery slope to Hell when they saw one, and were willing to do the hard work of negotiation and compromise.
The insects and sagebrush have returned to the silent desert at the Nevada Test Site, and ravens once again circle above the vault. But the nuclear dog sleeps with one eye open. Weapons far larger than Priscilla are on alert today, no more anachronistic than rifles or anthrax. Twenty miles north of Frenchman Flat, the tower for "Ice Cap," a shot put on hold in '92 when George Herbert Walker Bush suspended American nuclear testing, still stands patiently ready to receive its bomb. As mandated in George W. Bush's current "Nuclear Posture Review," the Nevada Test Site is today in the process of ramping up its "ready status" from 2 years to 18 months.
Meanwhile, the United States and 70 other nations maintain thousands of deeply buried, hardened underground bunkers for their top military and civilian officials, a defense against future nuclear war. This is the Frenchman Flat vault scenario writ large. And just in case -- after withdrawing support for the ABM treaty -- the Bush administration is aggressively pursuing the development of "usable bunker busters," the first new generation of nuclear weapons since the Cold War. On the grounds of the Nevada Test Site, five miles west of the bank vault, stands the just finished $100,000,000 Device Assembly Facility, poised for either the disassembly of weapons from our stockpile, or for the assembly of new weapons.
In these edgy times, when the possibility of nuclear war seems a thing of the past, a visit to Frenchman Flat should be a requirement for holding public office in America. To stand amid the rusty junk, amid the ruins of a ghastly future that was turned back -- deliberately and methodically turned back by statesmen -- is to reach a deep understanding of what is possible. This is the bone yard of a very bad idea, recognized for what it was.
How Soon Will the U.S. or Israel Bomb Iran? (02 September 2004)
What should Iran do? What would you do if you were an Iranian Ayatollah? The President of the United States has branded Iran part of the "Axis of Evil." He has demanded that Iran "abandon her nuclear ambitions." He has claimed the right to wage pre-emptive war against any enemy he chooses. To add weight to these threats, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on May 6, 2004, calling on the president "to use all appropriate means to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons." The vote was overwhelming: 376 for, three against. On July 22, the Senate passed a similar resolution with wording only slight less inflammatory. The Americans now have nearly 150,000 troops just across the border in Iraq. They also have aircraft and missiles in easy striking distance, as do the Israelis, who - as the New Yorker's Sy Hersh reported - are currently working with the Kurds to make raids into Iran. Put yourself in Israel's shoes. The Iranians are building a major nuclear industry, with the ability to enrich bomb-grade Uranium-238 and reprocess plutonium from spent nuclear fuel rods. Iran has facilities in Tehran, Bushehr, Natanz, and Arak, and could soon produce 15-20 nuclear weapons a year, according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The International Atomic Energy Agency has already found traces of the bomb-grade U-238 in Natanz and Tehran. The Iranians say this is only contamination from used centrifuges they bought from other countries. An Iranian Bomb would challenge Israel's nuclear monopoly in the Middle East, creating a short-range, hair-trigger stand-off that would continually encourage each side to strike first before the other could. CLIP
HARD-HITTING TRUTHS ABOUT BUSH AND THE ECOCIDAL AMERICAN WAY OF "LIFE"...
President Bush Threatens the Earth and Human Society with Ruin
by Dr. Glen Barry
August 28, 2004
This essay strongly asserts that America has gone drastically wrong, and that conservative fascism has arisen that threatens America, the world and the Earth's existence as we know them.
There is no agreed upon and authoritative one-sentence definition for Fascism. I define it as authoritarian, hierarchical and militaristic government; based upon governance for corporate interests, holding itself up as the only adequate response to an urgent threat, while scapegoating some segments of society.
Key features of this definition are present in contemporary America - particularly the authoritarian blending of corporations/industry with the state. The United States of America is being run by, of and for corporations. Energy industry interests have been foremost in foreign, environmental, human right and other policy realms.
And any good fascist requires a good scapegoat. "Extremist" environmentalists and indeed the natural world itself fit the bill nicely. America's fascism is using liberalism as a straw puppet and anti-terrorism as its crucible.
Liberal is now a dirty word. Forget humanity's unprecedented advances under the banner of liberal democracy. Liberty, equality, and fraternity - the basis of America's government, constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights - are monumental liberal achievements.
Without American liberalism workers would remain relegated to sweat shops and extreme racial injustice would persist.
Conservatives are against progress and change - extremist conservative fascists all the more so.
As in the past, America's flavor of conservative fascism gains its support primarily from angry and anxious people, frustrated with the chaos and uncertainty implicit in a modern democracy based upon liberal democratic principles. Many are Christian fanatics who are no less dangerous than their counterparts from other religions, which believe as they do, that the way to God is to force their spirituality upon others.
I am aghast at the Bush record. In virtually every sphere of policy America has abdicated leadership. During a time of nuclear proliferation and criminal terrorist acts you want more international law, not less.
Civil rights, natural forests and a functional atmosphere are being lost - perhaps forever.
President Bush has undone decades of environmental policy, leaving a legacy of unmatched ecocidal violence against the Earth's natural systems.
At a time when there exists unprecedented wealth to address environmental issues, President Bush has chosen instead to launch a holy war.
There can never be absolute security in a free and open society. Belligerent, taunting militarism will not make America or the world safer.
Not only has Bush lied about justification for a state of perma-war, he lies by stating usurpation of civil liberties will maintain freedom. Secret prison camps, torture, spying on peaceful protesters and certainly preemptive war are fascist - the antithesis of liberal democracy.
It is time for America to get over 911. This dastardly event must not be allowed to change America for the worse, nor halt future efforts to make America even greater. The focus should be upon bringing the criminals responsible to justice in order to stop future attacks without undermining American liberties and our position in the world. Indeed, overreaction may be worse than moderate action. Restraint and thoughtfulness are signs of wisdom and strength.
There are much greater threats to American and global security than terrorism. Americans are living in fear largely because their lives and society are exploitative, inequitable, unjust, and unsustainable. Americans standard of living is not universalizeable. These inequities are at the root of America's feeling of insecurity.
If Americans do not want to live in barricaded terror for the rest of their life they will need to learn how to share and play by a set of fair global rules. Americans must empathize and work to alleviate suffering in the rest of world; as most of humanity strives to meet basic human needs in the midst of abject poverty, environmental collapse, American sponsored militarism and commercialism, and rampant preventable disease.
Freedom has never, and will never, be defended or maintained by restricting civil liberties or waging preemptive war. Such fascist acts are the antithesis of democracy. In the grand tradition of patriots, suffragists, and activists - liberal and progressive anti-fascists must rid the World of conservative fascism in order to embark upon an era of ecological sustainability, social justice and international mechanisms to end terrorism and militarism.
There are immediate actions required to overthrow fascist corporate control of America and the world. First and foremost, the U.S. must withdraw swiftly from Iraq. Strength and resolve against criminal terrorists does not mean a great nation can not admit a mistake at the hands of tyrant leadership. Other countries have dealt with illegitimate, authoritarian leaders - emerging better for having done so - and the U.S. can too.
America will only reenter the circle of civilized, progressive nations by placing a short timetable on withdrawal and doing the best we can to stabilize things before then, and after. And it is crucial that America's current leader be deposed at the ballet box; or if necessary, through impeachment, an International Court of Justice indictment and/or an international war crimes tribunal.
Further, the U.S. is the only country likely to marshal the resources and technology necessary to lead on climate change, water scarcity and other imminent environmental catastrophes. The Earth's ecosystems are collapsing around us. As the ecological fabric of being frays, conditions conducive for life can no longer be assured. Bush's militarism makes this leadership impossible and global ecological Armageddon all the more likely.
The purpose of this rant is not to incite any sort of lawless action. However the American people do retain the rights of all free peoples to protest and overthrow tyranny. Godspeed to the brave protesters in New York this week as they peacefully highlight the importance of dumping Bush, in order to start building a bright green, equitable, just and free world for all.
THE REALITIES CORPORATE MEDIA AROUND THE WORLD ARE (MOSTLY) HIDING FROM US ALL
Also from http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/090304D.shtm
(To access the links for all the source material mentioned under each item below, please go at the URLs above)
By Camille T. Taiara
The San Francisco Bay Guardian
01-08 September 2004 Edition
The 10 big stories the national news media ignore.
In late July more than 600 people showed up in Monterey to speak at a Federal Communications Commission hearing on ownership concentration in the news media. The participants were a diverse group, young and old, activists and workers, but they had a single consistent message: the mainstream news media have been doing a deplorable job of covering the day's most important stories.
That's no surprise: consolidation of the media in the hands of a few corporate Goliaths has resulted in fewer people creating more of the content we see, hear, and read. One impact has been a narrower range of perspectives. Another is the virtual disappearance of hard-hitting, original, investigative reporting.
"Corporate media has abdicated their responsibility to the First Amendment to keep the American electorate informed about important issues in society and instead serves up a pabulum of junk-food news," says Peter Phillips, head of Sonoma State University's Project Censored.
Every year researchers at Project Censored pick through volumes of print and broadcast news to see which of the past year's most important stories aren't receiving the kind of attention they deserve. Phillips and his team acknowledge that many of these stories weren't "censored" in the traditional sense of the word: No government agency blocked their publication. And some even appeared - briefly and without follow-up - in mainstream journals.
But every one of this year's picks merited prominent placement on the evening news and the dailies' front pages. Instead they went virtually ignored.
This list speaks directly to the point FCC critics have raised: stories that address fundamental issues of wealth concentration and big-business dominance of the political agenda are almost entirely missing from the national debate. From the dramatic increase in wealth inequality in the United States, to the wholesale giveaway of the nation's natural resources, to the Bush administration's attack on corporate and political accountability, events and trends that ought to be dominating the presidential campaign and the national dialogue are missing from the front pages.
Here are Project Censored's 10 biggest examples of major stories that have been relegated to the most obscure corners of the media world.
1. Wealth inequality in 21st century threatens economy and democracy.
As the mainstream news media recite the official line about the nation's supposed economic recovery, a key point has been missing: wealth inequality in the United States has almost doubled over the past 30 years.
In fact, the Federal Reserve Board's most recent "Survey of Consumer Finances" supplement on high-income families shows that in 1998, the richest 1 percent of households owned 38 percent of the nation's wealth. The top 5 percent owned almost 60 percent of the wealth.
"We are much more unequal than any other advanced industrial country," New York University economics professor Edward Wolff told Third World Traveler.
But that's just part of the problem. "Most Americans believe we take from people at the top to benefit those below," Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times investigative reporter David Cay Johnston said in a BuzzFlash.com interview. But our tax system is actually set up such that "people who make $30,000 to $500,000 ... give relief to those who make millions, or tens and hundreds of millions, of dollars a year."
The United States isn't alone: Today, almost one-sixth of the world's population - 940 million people - "already live in squalid, unhealthy areas, mostly without water, sanitation, public services, or legal security," John Vidal wrote in the U.K. Guardian. A recent United Nations report predicted that, absent drastic change to reverse "a form of colonialism that is probably more stringent than the original," one in every three people worldwide will live in slums within 30 years. That's a bigger threat to democracy and global stability than al-Qaeda and international terrorism.
Sources: "The Wealth Divide" (interview with Edward Wolff), Multinational Monitor, May 2003. "A BuzzFlash Interview, Parts I and II" (with David Cay Johnson), BuzzFlash staff, BuzzFlash.com, March 26 and 29, 2004. "Every Third Person Will Be a Slum Dweller within 30 Years, UN Agency Warns," John Vidal, Guardian (U.K.), Oct. 4, 2003. "Grotesque Inequality," Robert Weissman, Multinational Monitor, July-August 2003.
2. Ashcroft versus human rights law that holds corporations accountable.
For decades the United States has trained right-wing insurgents and torturers, toppled democratically elected governments, and propped up brutal dictatorships abroad - all in the interest of corporate profits. But rarely are the agents of repression ever held accountable for the tens of thousands of deaths and the brutal cycles of poverty, subjugation, environmental destruction, and violence they leave in their wake. Indeed, many foreign tyrants go on to enjoy plush retirement right here in the United States.
But recently lawyers have found a way to seek at least a modicum of justice for victims. The Alien Tort Claims Act, a 215-year-old law originally passed to prosecute pirates for crimes committed on the high seas, allows noncitizens to sue any individual or corporation present on U.S. soil.
Human rights lawyers have pursued 100 cases under the ATCA since 1980. Defendants have included former high-ranking government and military officials from El Salvador, Guatemala, Argentina, Paraguay, the Philippines (including ex-president Ferdinand Marcos), Indonesia, Bosnia, Ethiopia, and elsewhere. And although the law can only be used to pursue monetary damages rather than prison time, it has often resulted in victims being awarded millions of dollars - and in the perpetrators sometimes fleeing the country rather than paying up.
Ten years ago victims began using the act to go after corporate profiteers too: it was thanks to the ATCA, for example, that Holocaust survivors were able to seek redress from the Swiss banks and companies that profited from the slave labor of concentration camp internees during World War II.
But Attorney General John Ashcroft's Justice Department has set its sights on the act, claiming in a brief last year that the law threatens "important foreign policy interests" associated with the war on terrorism. Yet hardly a word has been written in the mainstream media about the Bush administration's attack on the main legal recourse left in the United States for victims to seek redress for human rights violations carried out abroad.
Source: "Ashcroft Goes after 200-Year-Old Human Rights Law," Jim Lobe, OneWorld.net and Asheville Global Report, May 19, 2003.
3. Bush administration manipulates science and censors scientists.
Tampering with data that threatens corporate profits is much more widespread under Bush than we've been led to believe. And the Environmental Protection Agency has emerged as one of the administration's primary targets.
One of the first White House moves - on the day Bush was inaugurated - was to fire engineer Tony Oppegard, the leader of a federal team investigating a 300-million-gallon slurry spill at a coal-mining site in Kentucky. "Black lava-like toxic sludge containing 60 poisonous chemicals choked and sterilized up to 100 miles of rivers and creeks," environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote in the Nation. The EPA dubbed it "the greatest environmental catastrophe in the history of the Eastern United States."
Bush then appointed industry insiders to top EPA posts in charge of mine safety and health.
In another case, a week after the EPA released a study to congressional staff about the toxic effects on groundwater of hydraulic fracturing - a process of injecting benzene into the ground to extract oil and gas, used by Halliburton, Vice President Dick Cheney's former company - the agency revised its findings in response to "industry feedback" to indicate that the practice posed no threat after all.
In the days and months following the World Trade Center attack, the EPA released more than a dozen statements claiming the air quality in the surrounding "control zone" was safe - despite evidence that asbestos dust was present in quantities well above the 1 percent safety benchmark. The agency opened up the area to the public a mere week after the attack, allowing Wall Street to reopen and cleanup activities to begin. As a result, 88 percent of rescue workers suffered ear, nose, and throat ailments, and 78 percent suffered lung maladies, according to a Mt. Sinai School of Medicine study. Half suffered persistent respiratory problems up to a year later.
In November the EPA arranged for Syngenta, the Swiss manufacturer of Atrazine, to take over federal research of its product, the most widely used weed killer in the United States. This occurred despite evidence that high concentrations of Atrazine in groundwater may be responsible for 50-percent-below-normal semen counts in men in U.S. farming communities, is associated with high incidences of prostate cancer, and has resulted in grotesque deformities in frogs when present "at one-thirtieth the government's 'safe' three parts per billion level," Kennedy wrote.
The administration has also suppressed scientific findings on global warming in a dozen major government studies over the past two years, according to Kennedy.
The problem isn't limited to the EPA. In fact, government interference in scientific research has gotten so bad that 60 of the country's top scientists - including 20 Nobel laureates - issued a statement in February citing the ways the Bush administration has distorted scientific data "for partisan political ends" and calling for regulatory action.
There have been dozens of scientists willing to blow the whistle - normally a reporter's dream come true. But news coverage hasn't come close to reflecting the gravity of the problem.
Sources: "The Junk Science of George W. Bush," Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Nation, March 8, 2004. "Censoring Scientific Information," Censorship News: The National Coalition Against Censorship Newsletter, fall 2003. "Ranking Scientists Warn Bush Science Policy Lacks Integrity," Environmental News Service correspondents, OneWorld.net, Feb. 20, 2004. "Politics and Science in the Bush Administration," Committee on Government Reform - minority staff, office of Rep. Henry A. Waxman, August 2003 (updated Nov. 13, 2003).
4. High uranium levels found in troops and civilians.
Last year Project Censored included the United States' and Great Britain's continued use of depleted-uranium weapons - despite ample evidence of their acute health effects - among its top 10 underreported stories. Almost 10,000 U.S. troops died within 10 years of serving in the first Gulf War, researchers had found. And more than a third of those still alive had filed Gulf War Syndrome-related claims.
In study after study, research pointed to the use of depleted uranium in U.S. and British weaponry as the culprit. But authorities concentrated their efforts into obfuscating the problem - downplaying its reach, discrediting scientists and ailing military personnel, and erecting a smoke screen around the root causes of the "syndrome."
More recently, the Uranium Medical Research Center, an independent group of U.S. and Canadian scientists that has conducted studies of Afghan civilians, found overwhelming evidence that the United States is also using nondepleted uranium in its weapons, which is far more radioactive than depleted uranium. "If the use of NDU indicates experimental application of new nuclear weapons, as the UMRC suggests, then it should alert the public that proliferation of small nuclear weaponry, proposed for some future use, has in fact already begun," Stephanie Hiller wrote in Awakened Woman.
At the International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan in Tokyo in December, a team of attorneys from Japan, the United States, and Germany indicted Bush on a number of war crimes charges - among them the use of depleted-uranium weapons. Leuren Moret, president of Scientists for Indigenous People, testified at the trial and later reported that a U.S. government study conducted on the babies of Gulf War veterans conceived after the soldiers returned home found that a full two-thirds suffered from serious birth defects or illnesses, including being born without eyes or ears, or with missing or malformed organs or limbs. In Iraq, Moret said, the defects are even worse. But those are just some of the images of war we never see on the evening news.
Sources: "UMRC's Preliminary Findings from Afghanistan and Operation Enduring Freedom" and "Afghan Field Trip #2 Report: Precision Destruction, Indiscriminate Effects," Tedd Weyman, UMRC Research Team, Uranium Medical Research Center, January 2003. "Scientists Uncover Radioactive Trail in Afghanistan," Stephanie Hiller, Awakened Woman, January 2004. "There Are No Words ... Radiation in Iraq Equals 250,000 Nagasaki Bombs," Bob Nichols, Dissident Voice, March 2004. "Poisoned?," Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News, April 2004. "International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan at Tokyo: The People vs. George Bush," Niloufer Bhagwat J., Information Clearinghouse, March 2004.
5. Wholesale giveaway of our natural resources.
Adam Werbach, executive director of the Common Assets Defense Fund and former Sierra Club president, reviewed the Bush administration's environmental policy record and came to a disturbing conclusion: the record is not only bad - it's "akin to an affirmative action program for corporate polluters," he wrote in In These Times.
Cheney's infamous, secretive, industry-laden energy task force produced what can be boiled down to two main recommendations, "lower the environmental bar and pay corporations to jump over it," Werbach wrote.
For example, Congress has promised $3 billion in tax cuts to mining corporations to help them access natural gas embedded in underground coal deposits in Georgia's Powder River Basin. The Bureau of Land Management has calculated that miners will waste a full 700 million gallons of publicly owned water a year in the process - thereby sucking the region's underground aquifers dry and decimating local farms and wildlife.
The Bush administration's Healthy Forests Initiative essentially entails granting logging companies access to old-growth trees - and then subsidizing them for brush clearing. And even the giant sequoias former president Bill Clinton sought to protect, by creating a 327,000-acre national monument in the southern Sierra Nevada just four years ago, are at risk for being logged at a rate of 10 million board-feet of lumber a year - a higher rate than allowed on surrounding national forest lands - in the name of "forest management."
All in all, the administration has launched the greatest giveaway of public natural resources in more than a century. Yet few in the mainstream media have bothered to analyze these plans and uncover the lies behind the administration's rhetorical manipulations.
Sources: "Liquidation of the Commons," Adam Werbach, In These Times, Nov. 23, 2003. "Giant Sequoias Could Get the Ax," Matt Weiser, High Country News, June 9, 2003.
6. Sale of electoral politics.
The Help America Vote Act required that states submit their blueprints for switching over to electronic voting systems by Jan. 1, 2004, and implement those plans in time for the 2006 elections. Some regions are already using the machines. But those who've bothered to look into the new systems are sending up serious warning flares. Critics say that if Americans don't want a repeat of the 2000 Florida election fiasco - on a much grander scale - the administration's plans must be halted in their tracks.
A switch to electronic voting might seem innocent enough at first - until you look at who's implementing it, and how. Indeed, the transfer represents the privatization of the voting process in the hands of a select few fervent GOP supporters who've insisted on keeping their operating systems and codes a trade secret - meaning they enjoy absolute control over the entire voting process, including ballot counting and oversight. There's no paper trail.
One prime example is Diebold, one of the nation's top electronic voting machine manufacturers, whose equipment was responsible for the Florida debacle. Diebold already operates more than 40,000 machines in 37 states across the country. Many of these are in Georgia, which in November became the first state to conduct an election entirely with touch-screen machines. Oddly enough, incumbent Democratic governor Roy Barnes lost to Republican candidate Sonny Perdue, 46 percent to 51 percent - "a swing from as much as 16 percentage points from the last opinion polls," Andrew Gumbel wrote in the U.K. Independent. In the same election, incumbent Democratic senator Max Cleland lost to his Republican challenger, Saxby Chambliss, thanks to "a last-minute swing of 9 to 12 points." And in and around Atlanta, 77 memory cards went missing or were otherwise temporarily unaccounted for before the votes they'd registered could be counted.
Similar upsets occurred "in Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, and New Hampshire - all in races that had been flagged as key partisan battlegrounds, and all won by the Republican Party," Gumbel continued.
"It makes it really hard to show their product has been tampered with if it's a felony to inspect it," Rebecca Mercuri, a voting systems specialist and research fellow at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, told the Independent.
The other top two electronic voting machine manufacturers, Sequoia and Election Systems and Software, are equally suspect. Several of their executives have troubling track records of corruption and conflict of interest. All three companies are prominent Republican Party donors.
Sources: "Voting Machines Gone Wild," Mark Lewellen-Biddle, In These Times, December 2003. "All the President's Votes?," Andrew Gumbel, Independent (U.K.), Oct. 13, 2003. "Will Bush Backers Manipulate Votes to Deliver G.W. Another Election?," Amy Goodman and the staff of Democracy Now!, Sept. 4, 2003.
7. Conservative organization drives judicial appointments.
Ever since the Reagan administration, the neoconservatives have pursued an aggressive campaign to stack the federal courts with right-wing judges. Their main vehicle: the Federalist Society of Law and Public Policy, an organization founded in 1982 by a small group of radically conservative law students at the University of Chicago.
The effort has been a resounding success. With the help of Republicans in Congress, 85 extra federal judgeships were created under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush; 9 were created under Clinton. Now 7 out of 12 circuit courts are antiabortion. Seven of the 9 Supreme Court justices are Republican appointees - and it's been 11 years since a post has opened up, meaning another right-winger or two could be appointed sometime soon. During Bush Sr.'s tenure, one White House insider boasted that no one who wasn't a Federalist ever received a judicial appointment from the president.
One of George W.'s earliest moves in office was to consolidate the Federalist Society's power even further: he "simply eliminated the long-standing role in the evaluation of prospective judges by the resolutely centrist American Bar Association, whose ratings had long kept extremists and incompetents off the bench," Martin Garbus wrote in the American Prospect. "Today the Federalists have more influence in judicial selection than the ABA ever had."
The Federalist Society now counts Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and prominent members of the conservative American Enterprise Institute among its leadership. Ashcroft, Interior Secretary Gale Norton, Solicitor General Theodore Olson, and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez - charged with approving judicial nominations before passing them on to Congress - are all members.
As one might expect, the Federalists have consistently acted in favor of business deregulation, creationist teachings, property rights over the rights of individuals, and much of the rest of the right-wing agenda. But one of the principal victims has been the democratic process itself: remember, it was the Supreme Court that stopped a hand count of 175,000 uncounted (largely Democratic) ballots in Florida, which could have cost Bush the 2000 presidential election. Conservative jurists have interfered with redistricting efforts to reverse the deliberate segregation of African American and Latino voters and have erected barriers to the participation of third-party candidates in the electoral process.
Unless liberals miraculously bring about a radical turnaround in how federal judges - who enjoy lifetime terms - are appointed, one of George W.'s most long-standing legacies may very well be a hard-right judiciary that lasts for decades to come.
Sources: "A Hostile Takeover: How the Federalist Society Is Capturing the Federal Courts," Martin Garbus, American Prospect, March 1, 2003. "Courts vs. Citizens," Jamin Raskin, American Prospect, March 1, 2003.
8. Secrets of Cheney's energy task force come to light.
As the Bush administration continues to protect the iron wall of secrecy it's erected around Cheney's energy task force, at least two documents confirm long-standing suspicions that the administration's foreign policy is being driven by the dictates of the energy industry.
When Bush took office in January 2001, he said tackling the country's energy crisis would be a top priority. The United States faced nationwide oil and natural gas shortages, and a series of electrical blackouts were rolling across California. The president established the National Energy Policy Development Group and appointed former Halliburton CEO Cheney as its head.
One of the big issues on the table was oil, which accounted for 40 percent of the nation's energy supply and provided fuel for the vast majority of the country's transportation - as well as its expansive war machine. And for the first time in history, the United States had become reliant on foreign imports for more than 50 percent of its oil supply.
But rather than lay the groundwork for converting the economy to alternative, renewable sources, the task force's report, later released by Bush as the "National Energy Policy" report in May 2001, promoted a central goal of "mak[ing] energy security a priority of our trade and foreign policy." In other words, Cheney's group wanted to find additional sources of oil overseas and ensure U.S. access to that oil - whatever it took.
Documents recently obtained from the task force as the result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by public interest group Judicial Watch indicate Cheney and his colleagues had their sights on the black gold under the Iraqi desert well before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
In July 2003 the Commerce Department finally turned over records that included "a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries, and terminals, as well as two charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and 'Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts,' " according to Judicial Watch's subsequent press release. There were also similar maps and charts for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The documents were dated March 2001.
"The major news media are beginning to pay much closer attention to the links between political turmoil abroad and the economies of oil at home," Michael Klare wrote in Censored 2005: The Top 25 Censored Stories. "Still, the media remains reluctant to explain the close link between the energy policies of the Bush Administration and US military strategy."
Sources: "Cheney Energy Task Force Documents Feature Map of Iraqi Oilfields," Judicial Watch staff, Judicial Watch, July 17, 2003. "Bush-Cheney Energy Strategy: Procuring the Rest of the World's Oil," Michael Klare, Foreign Policy in Focus, January 2004.
9. Widow brings RICO case against U.S. government for 9/11.
As the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, completed its first year, Ellen Mariani and her attorney held a press conference on the steps of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to announce her own startling conclusions. Mariani, wife of Louis Neil Mariani, who died when terrorists flew United Airlines Flight 175 into the World Trade Center's south tower, had come to believe top American officials - including Bush, Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and others - had foreknowledge of the attacks, purposefully failed to prevent them, and had since taken pains to cover up the truth.
The administration, she argues in a federal lawsuit, allowed 9/11 to happen so Bush and company could launch their seemingly endless, global "war on terror" for their own personal and financial gain. The suit uses the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act - a law created to go after the Mafia - to charge the nation's leaders with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and wrongful death.
Her lawyer, Philip J. Berg, a former deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania, filed a 62-page complaint that included 40 pages of evidence. "Compelling evidence ... will be presented in this case through discovery, subpoena power by this Court, and testimony at trial," he wrote in a press release sent to 3,000 print and broadcast journalists announcing the lawsuit and a press conference on the court steps that day.
At the very least, the case has the potential to uncover and publicize critical documents and testimony about the Bush administration's handling of the al-Qaeda threat and its aftermath. But only Fox News showed up to the press conference, and it never ran anything on the topic.
Sources: "911 Victim's Wife Files RICO Case Against GW Bush," Philip Berg, Scoop (scoop.co.nz), Nov. 26, 2003. "Widow's Bush Treason Suit Vanishes," W. David Kubiak, Scoop, Dec. 3, 2003.
10. New nuke plants: taxpayers support, industry profits.
If you thought nuclear energy was dead, think again: the Bush administration's energy bill - yet another product of Cheney's industry-stacked energy task force - provides taxpayer cash for companies that build new nukes.
A secretly crafted provision of the bill, released late on a Saturday night in November, offers energy companies as much as $7.5 billion in tax credits to build six nuclear reactors. This is in addition to almost $4 billion set aside for other nuclear energy programs.
"Nuclear power already has had 50 years of subsidy totaling over $140 billion," Nuclear Information and Resource Service's Cindy Folkers reported.
The administration also removed terrorism protection provisions included in the House version of the bill and reversed a previous ban on the export of enriched uranium, which may be used to construct nuclear bombs.
The press has been "woefully silent on the bill's nuclear provisions" Folkers and Michael Mariotte wrote in their update for Project Censored's new book, Censored 2005: The Top 25 Censored Stories. And while both Democrats and Republicans managed to defeat the version of the bill NIRS warned about last fall, supporters - particularly Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) - are still trying to push those provisions through, in some cases as riders on other bills. Estimates on the amount of tax credits being considered have since risen to "as much as $15 or even $19 billion."
Sources: "Nuclear Energy Would Get $7.5 Billion in Tax Subsidies, US Taxpayers Would Fund Nuclear Monitor Relapse If Energy Bill Passes," Cindy Folkers and Michael Mariotte, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Nov. 17, 2003. "US Senate Passes Pro-Nuclear Energy Bill," Cindy Folkers and Michael Mariotte, WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor, Aug. 22, 2003.
Tortured at Abu Ghraib: The scandal they cant hide
By Nicole Colson
September 3, 2004
THE BUSH administration claims that the torture carried out in Iraqs Abu Ghraib prison was the work of a "few bad apples." But a pair of reports released last week--one by an outside panel, and one by Army generals--shows that the scandal goes much deeper.
Former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, who led the outside panel, told reporters that approximately 300 cases of abuse are being investigated--at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in addition to Abu Ghraib. "So the abuses were not limited to a few individuals," Schlesinger said.
The panels found that the sickening abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere included acts of sodomy, beatings, nudity and lengthy isolation. In one horrific "game" played by military police (MP) at Abu Ghraib, dogs were used to terrify prisoners as young as 15 years old into urinating and defecating in fear.
The Bush administration has blamed the torture scandal all along on a handful of "immoral" soldiers. But both reports pin plenty of responsibility on military intelligence (MI) officials.
The Army generals investigation concluded that in at least 16 cases--more than a third of the 44 cases the generals documented--"abuse by the MP soldiers was, or was alleged to have been, requested, encouraged, condoned or solicited by MI personnel."
The report also found that the interrogation tactics of military intelligence officers set the stage for the further escalation of abuse and torture. Staff Sgt. Ivan Frederick--one of those charged with torture--recently described how the abuse was encouraged by higher-ups.
"On the one hand, I was full of rage that this prisoner had injured a soldier," Frederick told the German magazine Der Spiegel. "And they'd told me, humiliate them." Frederick said he was encouraged by intelligence officers to break down prisoners for interrogation, by any means.
"It was about concrete results, and they werent interested how they were achieved," he said. "There are definitely more people responsible for what occurred in Abu Ghraib, and many of them have not been charged." Some of those include CIA personnel.
According to the Army generals report, CIA agents insisted that at least eight of their detainees be kept out of prison records--turning them into "ghost detainees" hidden from human rights groups, a violation of international law. At least one died.
All of this points to a pattern of abuse and torture that goes far beyond just a "small group" of sadistic soldiers. "The abuses were not just the failure of some individuals to follow known standards, and they are more than the failure of a few leaders to enforce proper discipline," concludes one report. "There is both institutional and personal responsibility at higher levels."
For example, the use of painful "stress" positions, nudity and dogs were not approved interrogation tactics--yet one report says that Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the former senior commander in Iraq, approved such techniques.
Despite this, both panels refused to fault the Bush administration or military higher-ups. Instead, the reports say that a lack of "planning" and breakdowns in leadership fostered the environment in which the abuse occurred.
Schlesingers investigation says that Pentagon officials--including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs of Staff--failed to exercise proper "oversight" over detention policies, which "contributed" to an environment in which prisoners were abused. One panel recommends more and better-trained military police and intelligence specialists--and that all prisoners be treated in "a way consistent with U.S. jurisprudence and military doctrine, and with U.S. interpretation of the Geneva Conventions."
This isnt justice. After all, the Bush administration has already declared that "U.S. interpretation" of the Geneva Conventions includes "stress and duress" in interrogation techniques. Real justice for the detainees at Abu Ghraib wont come until George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of Washingtons war makers are held accountable for their crimes.
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" firstname.lastname@example.org">
Need for carbon sink technologies
By Carolyn Fry in Stockholm
Governments should consider setting lower targets for levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and investigate ways to extract surplus amounts of the greenhouse gas from circulation, say climate scientists.
Before the industrial revolution, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was around 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv) but that has risen to around 380ppmv due to our burning of fossil fuels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is focusing its efforts on emission scenarios that lead to concentrations of no less than 450ppmv while the UK government is working towards a concentration target of around double pre-industrial levels, at 550ppmv.
If concentrations stabilise at 550ppmv, the corresponding global average temperature rise brought about by the greenhouse effect could still be as high as 5.5C, sufficient to melt the Greenland Ice Sheet and prompt a rise in sea level of six metres.
Scientists speaking here at EuroScience Open Forum 2004 said governments should be exploring the potential of Negative Emissions Technologies (NETs) which could actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere and stabilise atmospheric concentrations of the gas at much lower levels. "The current stabilisation targets are a social construction," said Professor Christian Azar, of Goteborg University's Department of Physical Resource Theory.
"Governments are not looking at NETs because part of the cost of doing so will fall on certain industry sectors and they are powerful enough to protest."
Current CO2 emissions vary greatly between countries of the developed and developing world.
In 1998, the US released 5.4 tonnes of carbon per capita, European countries averaged around 1.9 tonnes and Africa emitted 0.3 tonnes. To meet a global concentration target of about 350-400ppmv would require a cross-the-board emission level of no more than 0.4 tonnes of carbon per person per year.
In the developed world this would require per capita emissions to be cut to the level of Africa or Asia, while the people of the developing world would never be able to use the same amount of fossil fuels that the industrialised countries have to achieve the equivalent standard of living. The proposal closely resembles an idea developed by the UK-based Global Commons Institute, which has gained wide support among scientists and policymakers, called contraction and convergence.
"Contraction" means cutting the world's output of greenhouse gases, and "convergence" means sharing out between countries the amount of climate pollution which scientists say the Earth can tolerate, so that by perhaps 2050 everyone in the world is entitled to emit the same amount of pollution. Leakage rules NETs offer a means of cutting emissions without the need for immediate extreme lifestyle changes.
They ideally involve using biomass from planted forests to produce energy and then capturing the CO2 produced, or alternatively extracting CO2 directly from the atmosphere. Recovered CO2 would then be injected into deep underground or sub-sea stores to remove it from circulation.
Opponents of the technologies suggest such methods would be costly and that CO2 could still leak back into the environment, with unknown consequences. However, modelling the various options for achieving emissions targets of between 350ppmv and 450ppmv between 1990 and 2200 at the least cost, Professor Azar found not only that it was feasible but that in certain cases the cost barely exceeded that of running large fossil fuel plants. "The capture and storage of CO2 offers a great opportunity to get lower stabilisation targets at lower cost," he said.
"We need a regulatory framework on how to deal with carbon capture and storage. It should include rules for leakage and how to deal with capture from biomass.
"We also need to support technological development so that solar and other renewables can come to the marketplace and become viable options."
Plan B: A Plan for the Future
We can build an economy that does not destroy its natural support systems; a global community where the basic needs of all the earths people are satisfied and a world that will allow us to think of ourselves as civilized, said Lester Brown, author of Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble. The Plan includes a massive mobilization, a worldwide effort at wartime speed to stabilize population and climate, and to raise water productivity.
Restructuring the world economy to achieve these goals is an enormous undertaking, he says, but the cost of not doing so is unacceptably high. The challenge is not just to alleviate poverty, essential though this is, but to build an economy that is compatible with the earths natural systems an eco-economy that can sustain progress. Since the publication of Plan B, hundreds of enthusiastic readers have purchased additional copies for distribution to friends, colleagues and opinion leaders. Reah Janise Kauffman, Vice President of the Earth Policy Institute, says: We have designated those who bought five or more copies members of our Plan B Team. Like me, these readers sense that our modern civilization is in trouble and they want to do something about it.
Leading the Plan B Team is Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, who has bought and distributed more than 3,500 copies. Altogether over 400 individuals have purchased five copies or more, distributing them to friends, colleagues and political representatives.
This economic restructuring depends on tax restructuring, on getting the market to be ecologically honest. It is easy to spend hundreds of billions in response to terrorist threats, says Lester Brown, but the reality is that the resources needed to disrupt a modern economy are small, and a Department of Homeland Security, however heavily funded, provides only minimal protection from suicidal terrorists. The challenge is not just to provide a high tech military response to terrorism, but also to build a global society that is environmentally sustainable, socially equitable and democratically based one where there is hope for everyone. This would more effectively undermine the spread of terrorism than a doubling of military expenditures.
Given the wealth that exists in the world today, we can satisfy the basic needs of people everywhere. Indeed, we cannot afford not to do so. It isnt a hand-out, its an investment in our future.
Gianfranco Bologna of the World Wildlife Fund Italy said: Plan B is a clear and remarkable summation of a new plan for society.
See also the other interesting articles in the September issue of Global Village News and Resources at http://www.gvnr.com/90
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