default.html Issue 90
Table of Contents

Dispatch From Genoa: Terror, Rumors, and Propaganda

by Eddie Yuen The police are hunting down activists all over the country, picking up 30 "suspected" anarchists in a small town on Monday, beating and arresting people in Parma yesterday while yelling "this is the end of your communism," and raiding the homes of people's families as far away as Napoli. This repression has not been seen in "democratic" Europe since the 1970s in Italy, and in fact it reminds many people here of precisely that era

The Stakes Are Raised

by Randolph T. Holhut Since the demonstrations at the World Trade Organization's meeting in Seattle in 1999, the police presence needed to protect each succeeding gathering of those who want to plunder the world for profit has been increased. And the helmeted, club wielding protectors of the rulers have no interest in upholding the right to protest

In Genoa's Wake

by Geov Parrish Genoa is reminiscent of nothing so much as Kent State, where, after hundreds of thousands (at least) of deaths in Southeast Asia, it took the deaths of four young, privileged American students on a Midwest campus in May 1970 to galvanize opposition and transform the U.S. anti-war movement into a force that shut down campuses across the country for a full season. At the time of Kent State, the general public's opinion, shaped by contemptuous politicians and a judgmental media, was that the Guardsmen acted properly and that the Kent State students were anti-American thugs who had it coming. This time, unlike at Kent, the violence was planned and approved by the highest levels of government

U.S. Media Downplays Genoa Violence

by FAIR This trend was particularly noticeable on the three major television networks' nightly newscasts, which all managed to focus on the violence without seriously investigating its causes; when questions of tactics arose, it was usually in the context of whether protesters were too violent, not police. In addition, only superficial attention was paid to the substantive policy issues behind the summit and the demonstrations

Drilling in Alaska: Over Dead Gwich'in Bodies

by Jon Lurie Before 1950, most Gwich'in didn't speak English and families lived a nomadic existence, hunting and fishing as they moved freely throughout their homeland. Today they promise to fight back if the Bush administration continues its push for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Protesters Blocked From November WTO Summit

by Knute Berger In response to the Seattle protests, the WTO promised to be more open, inclusive, and transparent. Many leaders, including then-President Bill Clinton, claimed to have heard the voices of protest on the streets. In response, they've demonstrated their new resolve by holding their open meeting in a closed country

Biotech Industry Ignoring Ecosystem Risk, Says New Report

by Danielle Knight Debate on genetically modified organisms seems destined to intensify following the release of a report arguing that some bio-engineered life forms could have profound impacts on the environment because the complex interactions between genes and ecosystems have not been adequately studied. The U.S.-based think-tank argues in its report, released today, that there is a serious gap in the understanding of how the entire genetic structure of a living being functions within an ecosystem

Pentagon Rigged Missile Defense Test

by Joe Conason The Pentagon and the Bush administration are determined to sell the American people a national missile defense system that will probably increase tensions with allies and adversaries and will surely cost more than $100 billion. Their latest marketing exercise took place on the evening of July 14, when a "kill vehicle" launched from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific smashed into a rocket sent up from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Precisely according to plan, the target was instantly vaporized on impact -- and along with it, or so the Pentagon's uniformed salesmen hoped, the perennial concern that missile defense won't work. There was only one thing that all the happy salesmen forgot to mention about their latest test drive. The rocket fired from Vandenberg was carrying a global positioning satellite beacon that guided the kill vehicle toward it

Bush Seeks To Broaden Drug War In Colombia Region

by Jason Vest As violence and drug production spills over Colombia's borders, the Bush administration has decided to broaden Plan Colombia. Congress is giving the Bush administration an additional $676 million to fund what is now called the Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI) -- an effort that would send more drug war cash to Colombia, and, now, its neighbors

Enviros Praise Bush For Promoting Global Lending Rules

by Danielle Knight George W. Bush, usually the target of environmentalists' criticism, has won praise for promoting strong common environmental standards for export credit agencies

Post Office Workers Told To Report "Suspicious" Customers

by Jim Hightower Through a special surveillance program called "Under the Eagle's Eye," clerks are being trained to watch for "suspicious activity" and to file a report on such customers

Investigators Probe Mexico's Covert "Dirty War"

by Diego Cevallos In the 1970s and 1980s, approximately 600 people were detained-disappeared by government agents. President Vicente Fox, the first non-PRI president in the last seven decades, has yet to decide if his administration will set up a Truth Commission to dig into the nation's past, as he had promised during his electoral campaign

EPA Stalling On "Roundup" Health Risk Study

by James Ridgeway For seven months, the Environmental Protection Agency sat on a call to investigate the coca-defoliation program in Colombia. Presented by one of the agency's own internal boards, the letter asked for a study of harm to people and the environment posed by the U.S.-backed spraying of Roundup Ultra, a chemical critics compare to Agent Orange

ExxonMobil: Facing a Boycott

by Evan Woodward ExxonMobil is the only remaining major oil firm that disputes the need to seek out energy alternatives. In addition to the complaints against ExxonMobil's environmental record, critics are questioning the corporation's role in international political disputes

Philip Morris' Pro-Death Study Was Landmark

by Wayne Grytting After decades of sticking their heads in the sand about the hazards of tobacco, Philip Morris has found a new tactic -- promoting the benefits to society of premature deaths from smoking. A study produced for them by Arthur D. Little, one of the "foremost management consulting firms," found the early deaths of smokers has "positive effects" for society that more than counteract the medical costs of treating smoking induced cancer, etc.

Mexico Blocks Corporation From Bid To Patent Corn

by Diego Cevallos The Mexican government has stepped in to halt a patent for the maize variety known as Optium, produced by the agricultural bio-tech giant Dupont, arguing that the grain originated in this Latin American country and cannot be claimed as property

Israeli Militants Raise Tensions By Effort To Rebuild Biblical Temple

by Virginia Quirke The resolute group tried again last month, on the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar, when religious Jews commemorate the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BC and the Second Temple in 70 AD. And once the demonstrators approached the vicinity of the mount with their symbolic "cornerstone for the third temple," the stage was set for confrontation. Muslim worshippers praying on the compound could not ignore Salomon. They lobbed stones and plastic bottles onto the heads of Jews praying at the Wailing Wall below, before Israeli police stormed the sanctuary wielding stun grenades and tear gas. Dozens of people were injured

Arab League Reactivates Israel Boycott

by George Baghdadi At a two-day meeting in the Syrian capital Damascus, 13 Arab countries resolved to abide by the rules guiding the Arab world's boycott of Israel, which has slackened since the launching of the Middle East peace process in the early 1990s

Brisk Trade In Flags Of Militant Groups

by Virginia Quirke The Palestinian Intifada -- or uprising -- against Israeli occupation erupted last Sept. 28 in Jerusalem. As the violence between the two intensified and the death toll mounted at an alarming rate, Abu Dayyeh put away his "peace" souvenirs. Instead he followed the political trend and enjoyed a brisk trade in more popular items; the flags of the Islamic militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah

Israel Steps Up Hate Campaign Against Yasser Arafat

by Ben Lynfield Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is stepping up a campaign to vilify Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, comparing him with the exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, wanted by the U.S. for bombings of two embassies in Africa in 1998. This marked an escalation of previous rhetoric denouncing Arafat as "a pathological liar and murderer"

Anti-Bush Web Sites Flourishing

by Tamara Straus Log onto the web and type "anti-Bush," and you will be faced with a different vision of American public opinion. There are now approximately 800 sites whose mission is to analyze, attack and especially ridicule the 43rd president of the United States. Anti-Bush web sites may not be visited by all the Americans of the Fox News poll, but they do show the Internet has become home to the largest, most underreported political coalition in the United States

Bush Consumer Safety Advocate An Industry Shill

by Arianna Huffington In her 10 years on the commission, Mary Sheila Gall voted against regulating baby walkers, infant bath seats, flammable pajamas and children's bunk beds. She even adopted a "Let them eat marbles" stance on the need for toy labeling, voting against choke hazard warnings on marbles, small balls and balloons. Consumers, she argued, "know that marbles are not intended for very young children." In other words, if a kid chokes on a small toy, it's because the parent is defective not the product

Media Shares Blame For Election 2000 Fraud

by Randolph T. Holhut George W. Bush is president, and that happened thanks to a press corps that bought into the spin churned out by the conservative media that Bush was the legitimately elected candidate and Gore was a interloper threatening American democracy by challenging the outcome of what we now see was a blatantly crooked election

Carter-Ford Election Report Falls Short

by Evan Woodward Progressive election reformers have given cautious approval to a recent report about improving federal elections. Many critics, however, point to several obstacles that remain in the way of free and fair elections throughout the United States

Bush Shedding Treaties Like Dandruff

by Robert Scheer At a time when the U.S. president is out of sync with virtually every other nation in the world, it ill behooves smart-alecky columnists to join in the chorus of disapproval. A bit of empathy, please, for a leader who is so painfully and publicly struggling with an extremely steep learning curve. Nor is he doing all that badly for one who never cared to travel abroad and rarely read up on foreign policy issues before the Supreme Court suddenly anointed him president

Eerie Parallels Between Bush And Harding Administrations

by David Helvarg It's not just that Harding was an affable but not too bright politician chosen for office by "fifteen men in a smoke filled room," or that his campaign slogan, "Back to normalcy," reflected his tendency to mangle the English language (he'd meant to say, "normality"). Harding also filled his cabinet with a combination of old cronies and top industry officials

Bush's Clueless Anti-Conservatism

by Arianna Huffington What should have Karl Rove and Karen Hughes waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night are the recent polls showing not just that the public overwhelmingly supports energy conservation efforts over the massive build-up of new power plants but that Republicans do as well. By a ratio of more than two-to-one. And a core group of disgruntled Republicans are not just ritually shaking their heads -- they're speaking out

The Annual Flag-Burning Amendment Fuss

by Steve Chapman The drive began back in 1989, after the Supreme Court surprised the nation by overturning a Texas law forbidding such insults to the flag, which the justices concluded are an exercise of free speech. An angry Congress then passed a federal law containing the same prohibition, and the court responded by overturning it as well. So the only avenue open to those who want to punish flag desecration is to overrule the court -- by amending the Constitution. On Tuesday, 298 members of the House voted to do just that

Media Dreams Of Chandra And Gary

by David Corn There isn't much nobility in covering this episode. There is no question of tremendous public significance here. Discerning Levy's whereabouts is indeed important, as is doing the same for the scores of other Washington adults who have gone missing. But "forcing out the truth" in this regard, as Dowd advocates, is not about locating Levy and bringing comfort to her distraught family. It is about getting the lowdown

The Have-A-Nice-Day President

by David Corn Before Congress let out for summer recess, George W. Bush's political lieutenants were fretting. The chief was having trouble controlling the agenda of Washington. Sure, earlier in the year he had passed a relieve-the-rich tax cut that gobbled up the available surplus. (Of the trillions of dollars in surpluses projected over the next nine years, the Bush tax cut will leave untouched only $14 billion.) But what, his advisers worried, had he done lately?

How Clinton Could Buy Back His Reputation

by David Corn Clinton has said that one of his post-presidency priorities is fighting AIDS in Africa. He could prove his sincerity -- and impress a whole lot of people -- by donating his book advance to the international AIDS fund that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has established. Annan is looking for $7 billion to $10 billion in funding. The Bush Administration first agreed to kick in a stingy $200 million (about the amount Bush spent on his presidential campaign) and then grudgingly upped that to $300 million. Imagine if Clinton said he was contributing, on his own, 5 percent of the original Bush amount

How The Establishment Says Goodbye

by David Corn This is how the Establishment works. The executive editor of the Post has drinks with the CIA director at the University Club to discuss whether the public should be informed about a touchy matter. The President calls the publisher. She gives him the benefit of the doubt. Kissinger wages a corrupt war, Graham opposes it, and they go to the movies together

Are You Being Watched By Your Cell Phone?

by David Corn Will marketeers keep track of our movements and use that information in solicitations? ("As a frequent visitor to Victoria's Secret in Union Station during your lunch hour, we know you have a deep interest in...") When you drive past a billboard, will a computer note your location and flash a personalized ad at you? ("David Corn have we got a deal for you!)"

Global Warming Will Happen Faster Than Earlier Predictions

A new analysis by scientists in the United States and England shows that there's a 90 percent likelihood that global average temperatures will rise 3-9 degrees Fahrenheit over the coming century, with an average increase slightly over five degrees

Pinochet Declared Unfit For Trial

by Gustavo Gonzalez A divided Appeals Court has halted legal proceedings against former dictator Augusto Pinochet for crimes against humanity. Pinochet is thus free of the charges without having proven himself innocent, while judge Guzman continues forward with proceedings against retired Gen. Sergio Arellano and other top officials involved in the "caravan of death" nearly 30 years ago

Argentina's Ex-Dictator Charged For Operation Condor

by Marcela Valente Argentina's Jorge Rafael Videla has become the first former Latin American dictator to be indicted for Operation Condor, the joint intelligence and assassination missions carried out by the South American dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s, with apparent backing from the United States

Los Angeles' Victorian Side Revealed

by Steve Chapman In Southern California, home of the Playboy mansion, Frederick's of Hollywood and the video pornography industry, locals are currently taken aback by a work of art that offends their standards of modesty. A depiction of male nudes in the granite floor of the American Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport has caused shock and anger among Angelenos accustomed to the puritanical standards of dress that prevail throughout the region

Indonesia Military May Regain Lead Role

by Kafil Yamin In recent years, and especially during Wahid's term, many Indonesians have become fed up with prolonged conflicts among politicians. Some of these have sparked violent clashes among their constituents and did little to help Indonesia's painful economic problems. "People are getting tired of political quarrels that even hamper economic recovery. They remember the 'normal' situation under military power"

Ban On Commercial Whale Hunting At Risk

by Samanta Sen Thousands of the world's whales are still safe after the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), but environmentalists fear that safety might last only another year or so. In a year's time, they say, the commission could find itself looking at increased pressure for the reversal of a current ban on the commercial hunting of whales

Report: Plan Colombia Targets Oil, Not Drugs

by James E. Garcia According to a team of investigative journalists assigned by the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity, American military and civilian personnel in Latin America are embroiled today in the biggest guerrilla war since Vietnam. But according to CPI's news team, Plan Colombia is also about protecting U.S. oil and trade interests

Coca Cola To Be Sued For Ties To Colombia Death Squads

by Jim Lobe Charges that Coke, by failing to prevent its bottlers in Colombia from bringing in right-wing paramilitary death squads to break up unions at its plants, bears responsibility for the abuses, including murder and torture, under both U.S. and state law

Coca Cola To Be Sued For Ties To Colombia Death Squads

by Jim Lobe Charges that Coke, by failing to prevent its bottlers in Colombia from bringing in right-wing paramilitary death squads to break up unions at its plants, bears responsibility for the abuses, including murder and torture, under both U.S. and state law

Bush Trying To Gut Clean Air Act

by Danielle Knight Bush's request to review the Clean Air Act -- considered one of the most important U.S. environmental laws -- could halt government efforts to stop some of the world's largest energy companies from polluting, warn health and environmental advocates

China's Good News, Bad News: Food Surplus Up, Rapid Desertification

by Antoaneta Bezlova As agricultural issues continue to complicate China's bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), a May report by an American environmentalist has again presented a dire picture of China's future food needs

The Accomplices Of Andrea Yates

by Cindy Hasz Andrea Yates was going down for the final time. They all suspected it. Her husband knew it. She needed someone to throw her a lifejacket. But no one cared enough to intervene

Corporations Grabbing For Your Tax Rebate

by Alicia Rebensdorf No sooner are Bush's self-congratulatory bribes in the mail than the corporate money grubbing has begun. Companies like Home Depot and Wal-Mart have already started advertising their (entirely selfless, of course) recommendations of how to spend all that free money

Next To Cash In On Bush Election: Media Giants

by Robert Scheer The people who run the huge communications conglomerates were very aware that the issue of media concentration was hanging in the balance in the last presidential election. The Bush camp had signaled that it intended to end such regulations, while Al Gore supported the Clinton administration's policy of retaining rules aimed at preventing monopoly control of any one market. But as important as this issue was to CEOs and the lobbyists who represent them, it was scarcely covered in election news reports

Condit/Levy: We Do It All For You

by Steve Young We rounded up every damn correspondent, pundit, and politico this side of Robert Novak's comb over. We asked them every question we could think of and when we ran out of those questions we asked them again. We asked polygraph experts and people who had once seen a polygraph expert. We asked her neighbors, we asked doormen, we asked airline stewardesses, we asked former boyfriends, we asked former girlfriends, we asked gardeners and locksmiths, we asked interns, congressmen and senators. If we could have afforded Monica, we would have asked her. And we asked the Washington Police Chief until even we were sick of him

Big Employer Is Watching

by Molly Ivins 80 percent of U.S. corporations now keep their employees under regular surveillance-by-computer, including retail stores, restaurants, trucking firms and hospitals. Nor do they have to notify the employees that they are being snooped upon

Dark Days For The First Amendment

by Molly Ivins You would think the First Amendment's directions on freedom of speech and of the press ("Congress shall make no law") would be pretty clear to everyone by now. But here we are in the middle of 2001 with a journalist in jail in Texas and another citizen in prison for writing his thoughts in a private journal

GOP Clueless About Women's Issues

by Molly Ivins One of the most notable deformities in our country is the utter failure of government to respond to the fact that women work. The GOP is funded by businesspeople who won't even think about a six-month paid maternity leave, as is common in Europe, or federal funding for child care. There's a weird Republican schizophrenia: They want welfare mothers to work and working mothers to stay home. Among the Republican women we see most -- who are more often the wives of, rather than senators or representatives -- there is some kind of weird time warp, in which the women uniformly resemble Beaver's mom, Mrs. Cleaver, who always wore pearls and high heels to vacuum

Inhuman Working Conditions Right Here At Home

by Molly Ivins The most common pattern is 12-hour shifts, with a three-day weekend every other week. The stress on workers is grueling. Have you ever worked an eight-hour shift in a factory? Any idea what that feels like when you're getting on toward 65?

Bush Plans Put Social Security At Risk

by Molly Ivins You will hear more lies, damn lies and statistics about the state of Social Security in the coming months and years than even Mark Twin could have dreamed of. The Social Security trustees, on whose numbers the Bush commission relied, are using an exceedingly grim forecast. Nevertheless, it makes more sense to use those forecasts than to use Rosy Scenario and assume there's nothing we need to do about it

Bush Gives Arms Control To Right Wing Idealogues

by Molly Ivins As we are finding increasingly often, the second- and third-tier appointments in this administration are right-wing ideologues and the guy Bush named undersecretary of state for arms control and international security is John Bolton, a former lobbyist for Taiwan. Bolton is the guy who was doing the Charles Heston impersonation at the UN Conference, opposing an effective weapons trafficking treaty on the curious grounds that it might somehow affect the Second Amendment in the United States. Come on, this is black helicopter bull, this is conspiracy-nut country

Bush Immigrant Amnesty Gets Mixed Reviews

by Molly Ivins Americans are mostly ambivalent about Mexican immigration. Sometimes it is portrayed as dread menace, a sea of brown feet moving north, imposing nothing but a staggering burden on us (medical care, education, welfare -- poor us, think of the taxes). Other times we recognize the more complicated truth that much of our economy, not to mention our comforts and luxuries, rests on the brown backs of exploited illegal workers, who do, in fact, pay taxes

America's Snit Over Castro Continues

by Molly Ivins America has been in a snit about Castro since shortly after the Earth's crust cooled. It has led the country into some of its most memorable follies, including the Bay of Pigs and the time the CIA tried to make Castro's beard fall out

No North, Just Dakota

by Molly Ivins Just Dakota is a whole state where you can't find a cappucino. Still home to the seven-jello marshmellow, cottage-cheese surprise. Just Dakota is also the site of Buffalo Commons, the splendid effort to return the High Plains to the pristine state they knew before we made the monumental mistake of putting a plough into that dry earth. I know vegetarians don't like to hear this, but God made an awful lot of land that's good for nothing but grazing. That and windmill farms

Stem Cells And Slippery Slopes

by Molly Ivins The depressing part of the Bush administration's lengthy indecision over what is a no-brainer to those without the theological commitment to the fertilized-egg-as-human-being position is the political motive. It has been widely reported that Karl Rove, a.k.a., "Bush's brain," wants to outlaw stem cell research as part of his grand strategy to win Catholic voters over to the Republican Party permanently. This doesn't do anything to help those with Alzheimer's, but it would help the Republicans. That's some morality

U.S. Press Hides Eyes From Police Violence In Genoa

by Norman Solomon In Genoa, assaults by Italian police were systematic and widespread, causing hundreds of serious injuries. But American news accounts tended to be cryptic

What You Won't Find In Clinton's Memoirs

by Norman Solomon "When I took early flak about gay rights in the military, I caved. But I knew what to fight for. I went to the mat for NAFTA, and then for the GATT treaty forming the World Trade Organization. That boosted my stock among media elites"

Will The Greens Run For President in 2004?

by Norman Solomon Looking ahead, media attention to a Green Party presidential drive in 2004 would be substantial. That high-profile scenario alone may make fielding a national ticket seem irresistible. But one of the worst mistakes that the Green Party could make in the next few years would be to glide, as if on automatic pilot, into another campaign for the presidency

Media Mania Over Condit Scandal

by Norman Solomon To hear some bombastic media pros tell it, the Condit scandal is a crucial litmus test for human morality in our nation. On the right-wing Fox News Channel, the network's star Bill O'Reilly has been in seventh heaven. "This is about honesty and cruelty," he proclaimed

Katharine Graham: Slanting the First Draft of History

by Norman Solomon Prior to her admirable support for the Post's breakthrough reporting on Watergate nearly 30 years ago, Graham was a key player in the June 1971 battle over the Pentagon Papers. But such journalistic fortitude came late in the Vietnam War. During most of the bloodshed, the Post gave consistent editorial boosts to the war and routinely regurgitated propaganda in the guise of objective reporting. Graham's book never comes close to acknowledging that her newspaper mainly functioned as a helpmate to the war-makers

The Shameless Bruce Babbitt

by Alexander Cockburn Before leaving the Department of Interior, Babbitt promised that he wouldn't cash in on his years of government service by becoming a high-priced DC lawyer. Then he promptly took a job with Latham and Watkins, a big Washington law firm whose clients include some of the roughest environmental pillagers in the business

The President's Hometown

by Alexander Cockburn George Bush arrived in 1948, later recalling that "We all just wanted to make a lot of money quick." He never did make a big pile out of oil, and neither did George W., who spent the fifties in Midland as a boy, and returned there between 1975 and 1986 to try to make his pile

Katharine Graham Needed Fewer Friends

by Alexander Cockburn Katharine Graham has been hailed for declining to strong-arm her staff into promoting her views. Maybe she didn't send out peremptory memos in the manner of William Randolph Hearst, but in any newspaper, editors and reporters are not slow to pick up clues as to the disposition of the person who pays the wages, and Mrs. Graham sent out plenty of those

Amazing Prison Strike

by Alexander Cockburn In an amazing feat of organization, about 900 prisoners in solitary confinement in the infamous California prisons of Pelican Bay and Corcoran staged a hunger strike in the first week of July. The hunger strike concerned the policy of the California Department of Corrections, whereby those designated as prison gang members are removed from the general population and isolated in Security Housing Units ("SHUs"), confined for 22 hours per day for years on end in 8x10 foot windowless cells

Lie Detector Nonsense

by Alexander Cockburn The ghastly stories of federal employees abused by the machine and its operators are numerous. It's also worth noting that the Walker brothers and Aldrich Ames both beat the polygraph with no sweat. Kim Philby settled himself with a dollop of Valium before breezing through his polygraph exams

The Persecution of Wen Ho Lee, Redux

by Robert Scheer The Times did the most of any media outlet to advance the unsubstantiated accusations against Lee, and it is highly likely that the paper will come in for criticism by Lee in his book. It is thus unseemly for the newspaper to suggest now that his effort to clear his name is itself a violation of national security

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