Albion Monitor Issue 134 MAY 2005

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The awkward business of Israeli spies - Why does the press ignore whistleblowers? - Anatomy of an astroturf - Pepper spray victory 404 reports

In 2003, 60 MINUTES II went inside Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and found cells equipped with a Koran, prayer beads and an arrow pointing towards Mecca, 12,793 kilometers away, a reminder of just how far the prisoners are from home
Amnesty International's annual report attacks the United States for evidence that the U.S. administration had sanctioned interrogation techniques that violate the UN convention against torture. The Bush administration's attempts to dilute the absolute ban on torture through new policies and quasi-management-speak such as 'environmental manipulation,' 'stress positions' and 'sensory manipulation,' is one of the most damaging assaults on global values, the report says. Meanwhile, the Bush administration is reacting with indignation and even suggests that terrorists are using the world's largest human rights organization


 + Guantanamo "Gulag Of Our Time" - Amnesty International

 + Bush, Cheney Attack Amnesty International

 + State Dept. Vague On U.S. Position On Torture

 + Amnesty Calls For Foreign Probe Of U.S. Prisoner Abuses

 + Still No Accountability For Abu Ghraib From Bush Admin

 + Diplomats, Rights Groups Condemn U.S. Torture Outsourcing

Nuclear Treaty Summit End With Bickering - U.S. Blamed
"There's a total disrespect for the rule of law," one NGO said of the U.S. role in negotiations

U.S. Rewards Friendly Tyrants With Tons Of Guns
Countries defined as "undemocratic" by the State Dept. are major recipients of U.S. military aid or weapons

World Bank Party For Outgoing President Turns Into Fight
Wolfensohn decade of leadership denounced as mission failure by many

U.S. Ignoring Darfur Genocide, Hosts Sudan's Spy Chief In D.C.
"It's like bringing Goering and some of those Nazis here during WWII"

Pentagon Spending Leaves Homefront Unguarded: Report
Shift $50 billion from weapons programs to civil defense, foreign aid

Homeland Dept. To Destroy $4.5 Billion In Unused Gear
Equipment hastily purchased after the 9/11 terror attacks

U.S. Immigration System Runs Hidden "Gulag" Prisons, Author Says
INS outsources most prisoners to isolated county jails and private companies

Military Draft Becoming More Likely As U.S. Forces Stretched Thin
Major influx of new recruits needed to as military losing option of relying on Reserves and National Guard

FREE! Thanks to a formerly secret memorandum published by the London Sunday Times on May 1, during the run-up to the British elections, we now have a memo which shows that even as President Bush told Americans in October 2002 that he "hope[d] the use of force will not become necessary" -- that such a decision depended on whether or not the Iraqis complied with his demands to rid themselves of their weapons of mass destruction -- the President had in fact already definitively decided, at least three months before, to choose this "last resort" of going "into battle" with Iraq. Whatever the Iraqis chose to do or not do, the President's decision to go to war had long since been made

Democrats Failing To Explain What's At Stake In Senate Filibusters
Bush will stack the judicial deck with extremists for the next 40 years

Congress To Faceoff Over Rewrite Of Endangered Species Act FREE!
Republicans charge ESA costly and ineffective despite record of saving species

Is Bush The "SOB" In Newsweek Quote?
"People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said. How could he be credible now?"

Whistleblowers Demand End To Retaliation
Seek right to sue agencies, superiors for failure to rectify misdeeds

Bloody Repression By Bush Ally In Uzbekistan
Up to 750 protesters massacred by Terror War partner

Iran Group Wanting Bush Support Accused Of Torture
Insists that it should lead a U.S.-backed effort to bring democratic rule to Iran

Border Vigilantes Vow To Return In "Tens Of Thousands"
Border patrol agents complained members of group unwittingly set off detectors

Schwarzenegger's Praise Of Vigilantes Draws Anger
Comment follows joking that he didn't mean to say borders should be closed

McCain, Kennedy Propose Visa To Legalize Undocumented Workers
3 year visa would put low-skilled foreign workers on citizen track

"Real ID" Driver's License Rule Called Unsafe, Anti-Migrant
Fed database with personal information ripe for identity theft


FREE! Almost exactly 80 years after John Thomas Scopes challenged the state of Tennessee by daring to teach evolution in a high school classroom, Darwin's theory is again on trial. The courtroom this time was a series of hearings held by Christian conservatives on the Kansas State School Board. The thinly veiled purpose of this extravaganza: To rewrite the very meaning of science by validating a biblical-based, anti-science reworking of the evidence called "intelligent design." The hearings concluded May 12 following four days of trial-like proceedings. The School Board, which is dominated by Christian conservatives, is expected to vote on the matter before summer, despite the lack of testimony from a single member of the mainstream scientific community

Terrorist Who Downed Airliner Seeking U.S. Asylum
1976 bombing killed all 73 crew members and passengers

Appeals Court Ruling Favors Cheney in Energy Task Force Case FREE!
Unanimous ruling a blow to enviros, open-government advocates

Hushing Free Speech, Crushing PBS FREE!
Reagan and Gingrich tried to eviscerate public broadcasting, but what's happening now is far worse

Haiti's Ex-Premier's Hunger Strike Spotlights Nation's Chaos
Life at risk as second month began May 17

Colombia Drug War Becoming Base For Oil War Against Venezuela
Many of the 800 U.S. military advisers in Colombia assigned to Occidental Petroleum

Germany Beginning To See Neo-Nazis As Terrorists
Nation's laws written to only prosecute leftist radicals
The Last Hunt For Living NazisFREE!
Most wanted list top is Buchenwald doctor who conducted medical experiments on prisoners

Amid Afghan Crisis, Karzai Gets Only Pat On Back From Bush
You "invited us in," so we'll do what we want
Anti-U.S. Riots Spread In Afghanistan FREE!
Over Newsweek report of U.S. abusing Koran during Guantanamo interrogation
Afghan Woman Charged With Adultery Beaten To DeathFREE!
The man in the case was publicly flogged, then freed

U.S. Women's Right To Divorce When Pregnant In Dispute
Washington state judge forced abused woman to stay married to avoid "illegitimate" birth
Capture Of "Al-Qaeda's #3" Doesn't Forecast Arrest Of Bin Laden FREE!
UPDATE: Al-Libbi not an important Al-Qaeda figure after all -- U.S. exaggerated

Bush Ducks Confronting Saudis In Crawford Meetup
Abysmal human rights record not worth mentioning in talks that focus on gas prices

Blair's Ho-Hum Victory Reflects Ongoing Damage Of Iraq War
The only political party that gained votes was the one that opposed invading Iraq, the Liberal Democrats

Schwarzenegger Seeks Emergency Powers Over Budget
Would radically change balance of power with legislature

The first reactor at Three Mile Island station remains active, but the second reactor, which used the two cooling towers seen at left, was permanently shut down following an accident in March 1979. A combination of equipment malfunctions and human error led to a loss of coolant and the most significant accident ever at a U.S. nuclear power plant
Although endorsement of nuclear power was unthinkable a few years ago, several leading environmentalists, including Fred Krupp, executive director of Environmental Defense, Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute, and James Gustave Speth, dean of Yale University's school of forestry and environmental studies, are encouraging research into the economic, safety and security, waste storage, and proliferation issues surrounding nuclear power. In a piece published this month, Stewart Brand argued that perhaps the only solution to global warming, a notion the Bush administration has not acknowledged, is nuclear power. Japan is also forging ahead with plans for new reactors, despite a series of recent harrowing accidents. But watchdog groups nervously see that Japan has also revived plans for its controversial plutonium reprocessing plant, which could rival America's nuclear stockpile within 15 years

 + New Environment Bill Would Subsidize Nuclear Development FREE!

 + Nuke Power Looks Green To Some Enviros

 + Japan Revives Plans For Plutonium Reprocessing Plant

Dow Chemical's Toxic Waste And Michigan's Coverup FREE!
Documentary on Dow's dioxin scandal ignored by local PBS stations

Closing Of First Unionized Wal-Mart Sends Warning
Retail giant has a sophisticated anti-union training process for its managers
Bush Opens Last Untouched Wilderness To Logging With New Roads FREE!
"This takes us straight back to the early 1990s, when the national forests were managed as nothing more than tree lots for the timber industry"

Chavez Forming Venezuela Militia To Defend Against "External Agression"
After Bush names new "Axis Of Evil" -- Castro and Chavez

Amazon Deforestation At Record Pace
Enviros even believe Brazil is underestimating figures

While Terri Schiavo was still alive, her parents agreed to sell their donor list to a right wing direct mail outfit, and radical right wing Christian groups were raising bundles off the case

Asia Concerned As Peak Season For Bird Flu Nears
Last lethal outbreak in July, and millions of Vietnamese poultry carry disease

Indonesia Shuns Tobacco Treaty, May Become Asia's Ashtray
Tobacco industry contributes $3.3 billion to economy

Sub-Sahara Africa Spends Money On Arms, Not Aid
30 million illegal arms are in circulation

The Race For The Last Drop
FREE! The Dept. of Energy predicts that global petroleum output will reach 120.6 million barrels per day in 2025 -- 44 million barrels more than at present and just a tad shy of the anticipated world demand of 121 million barrels per day. For this to occur, however, the major oil firms must discover massive new reserves and substantially increase their output from existing fields. However, few new large fields have been discovered during the past 40 years, and only one, the Kashagan field in the Caspian Sea, has been found in the past decade. At the same time, many older fields in North America, Russia, and the Middle East have experienced significant declines in daily production. As a result, many geologists now believe not only that the global petroleum industry will not be capable of rising to the 120 million barrel level but will fall far below it

"Person Of Interest" Label Throwing Suspects Into Limbo
Becoming widely used by law enforcement to give appearance of investigaton progress

Pharmacists In 11 States Refusing To Dispense Contraceptives
"Anti-choice movement is using prescription access to advance its agenda"

Natives Wary Of Genetic Study To Trace Roots
"We are tired of being fooled," says leader of Indians of the Brazilian Amazon

Survey: 35 Million Americans Anti-Semitic
5% rise since 2002

Survey: Most Israelis Don't Want Arabs Near Them
Only 40% don't want the government to encourage Arab citizens to leave the country

Israeli Colonies In Gaza Dig In To Fight Eviction
Major construction projects still in progress despite plans for August removal

Nepal King Lifts State Of Emergency
Nothing changed, says opposition leaders

Is Nepal's King Just Settling Old Scores?
Only charging democratic politicians with corruption and abuse of authority

Iraq News
Iraq's decaying infrastructure has resulted in open canals of wastewater and a return of cholera. Photo: Thomas Hartwell/USAID
Iraqi Kurds Quarrel, Still No Regional Government
Two factions fight as crisis enters 4th month
Iraq's Water Pollution Brings Return Of Children's Cholera FREE!
Parents warned to keep children off the streets

Iraq's "Garden Of Eden" Begins To Blossom Again
About 20 percent of the original marsh area has been reflooded
Iraq Suicide Bombers Now Everyday News FREE!
"Iraq was never such a hell as now"

Iraqis Charge U.S. Operation On Syrian Border Killed Civilians, Not Rebels
Civilians, doctors say no foreign fighters in the town

Life In Liberated Iraq A Nightmare -- Joint UN/Iraq Report
Household surveys show sharp decline since Saddam era
Iraq Has Plenty of Oil But No Gasoline FREE!
Spending $200 million a month on imports

The Media's Blackout Of What Happened In Falluja FREE!
Cameras aren't allowed in Falluja; neither are journalists. If they were then we would have first-hand proof of America's greatest war crime in the last 30 years; the Dresden-like bombardment of an entire city of 250,000

Iraq's Unions A Thorn In Side Of Occupation
Biggest obstacle blocking U.S. efforts to privatize oil and other industries

Politics As Usual
Good News: Filibuster Deal Means No Vote On William Myers FREE!
Bad news: Pryor, Brown, and Owen get on courts

Bush Playing The Race Card To Confirm Judge Brown
Same as used to get Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas confirmed in 1991

Senate Committee Declines To Endorse Bolton
Major setback for Bush

Brash As Ever, Newt Weighs Run For White House
New book positions former Speaker dogged by scandal as values candidate

Schwarzenegger Plays The Race Card As Ratings Sink
Resorting to illegal immigration issue he knows can fire up a big base of voters

FDA Nomination Stalled Over Emergency Contraceptive Issue
FDA has stalled over the counter approval of drug for years

Grim outlook on World Press Freedom Day

PHOTO: Committee to Protect Journalists
Contrary to the conventional wisdom here that U.S. media are the freest in the world, the United States has suffered 'notable setbacks' in press freedom and has slipped among countries tracked by the New York-based rights group Freedom House. The organization, in an annual survey released for the May 3rd commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, said the most restrictions were slapped on journalists in North Korea, Burma, Cuba, and Turkmenistan.

New York-based media watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also announced that the Philippines, Iraq, Colombia, Bangladesh, and Russia are the world's 'most murderous' countries in which to be a journalist. After five years of investigations beginning Jan. 2000, CPJ concluded that the vast majority of journalists killed on duty did not die in crossfire or while covering dangerous assignments

 + "Notable Setbacks" To U.S. Freedom Of The Press

 + CPJ Names Most Dangerous Places For Journalists
 + Press Under Scrutiny In Former Soviet States FREE!

 + UN Picks Top Ten Ignored News Stories
 + How To Survive As A Journalist In Uzbekistan FREE!

Domestic Terrorists Called As Dangerous As Foreign
American caught with bomb like Timothy McVeigh's given light sentence

UN Urged To Declare Human Right To Water
Private companies will soon control over 70% of water in North America and Europe alone

Robots Will Soon Replace Children As Camel Jockeys
HBO documentary brought attention to 4 year-olds working in UAE

Child Sex Abuse At Ex-Nazi's Sect Were Open Secret In Chile
Commune served as a clandestine torture and detention center during Pinochet regime

China Sweatshops Driving Africa Sweatshops Out Of Business
"We cannot let China drive the whole world out of business"

China Tags Muslims As "Terrorists" In Oil-Rich Area
Using Terror War to gain legitimacy for its repression of Uighur separatists

G8 Summit Power Brokers, Scottish Tartans, And All Those Chinese Goats
The goats were never to suspect that their migration could prove historic

They May Be Murderers, But They're Our Murderers FREE!
Should terror be used to fight terrorists? Should illegal armies be employed to destroy insurgencies?

Thirty Years After Vietnam War, The Vietnamese Diaspora Thrives
A new kind of Vietnam is forming Little Saigons around the world

Dubya, Woodrow, And Teddy
Wilson and TR figure large in the historical imagination of Bush backers

Why Are Women So Scarce On The Op/Ed Page?
A "quota of one" common at papers and magazines

Bush Trying Hard To Demonize Iran As Nuclear Power
U.S. officials telling outright lies about Iran and its nuclear program

Sibel Edmonds: I Am Gagged, But Not Dead FREE!
FBI whistleblower loses in unprecedented secret session of Appellate Court


MOLLY     IVINS Molly Ivins

 + Catapulting The Propaganda
 + Galloway And Owen: Congress Hears A Hero, Confirms A Zero
 + Senfronia Thompson Lets Loose
 + Koran Abuse Is Old News
 + Surprise: Bush Lied to Us
 + Bush Spinning Wheels In Race To Fix Energy Problems
 + Why Bush Never Talks About The Clawback

 + A Coverup As Shameful As Tillman's Death
 + A Hypocritical Church's Sex Lessons
 + U.S. Presence In Iraq Is More Problem Than Solution
 + Nationalism's Psychotic Side
 + Our Loss Was Our Gain In Vietnam

 } Robert Scheer

 + Impeachment Fever And Media Politics
 + Memorial Day Shouldn't Be Time To Rationalize War
 + Media And "The Madness Of Militarism"
 + Political Bluster And Filibuster
 + Nuclear Fundamentalism And The Iran Story

 } Norman Solomon

 + Democrats Need A Galloway
 + Join The 14 Percent Club! We Won!
 + I'd Pull The Lever For Laura
 + The Tricky Politics Of Woodpeckery

 } Alexander Cockburn

 + The Truly Responsible
 + Repetition Sells, Repetition Sells, Repetition Sells
 + Thanks, Tom, Wish We Could, But...
 + Foxing Up PBS
 } Steve Young



FREE! Newsweek once ran a sensational claim based on an anonymous source who turned out to be completely wrong. That inaccurate Newsweek report appeared in the magazine's March 17, 2003, issue, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. It read in part: "Saddam could decide to take Baghdad with him. One Arab intelligence officer interviewed by Newsweek spoke of 'the green mushroom' over Baghdad -- the modern-day caliph bidding a grotesque bio-chem farewell to the land of the living alongside thousands of his subjects as well as his enemies. Saddam wants to be remembered. He has the means and the demonic imagination. It is up to U.S. armed forces to stop him before he can achieve notoriety for all time."

Albion Monitor
Issue 134

Editor: Jeff Elliott (

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