Albion Monitor Issue 168 APRIL 2008
Albion Monitor
Next Issue Previous Issue



FREE! According to the CDC, 76 million Americans -- one in four -- come down with food poisoning every year. Among the most common is E. coli, a byproduct of the system of industrialized animal agribusiness. Americans have a common perception that the problem stems from food coming from outside the country -- from China, say, or Mexico. Instead, it's our food that's the problem.

Instead of cleaning up its own act, the American meat industry has shifted responsibility to the consumer -- not just in the United States, but also in countries where U.S. meat is exported. The United States is using bilateral trade agreements to arm-twist weaker countries into accepting its food safety standards as a tool to expand the market control of U.S. corporations. South Korea is the latest victim.

With Korea, the United States has been insisting that no free trade deal is possible unless Korea changes its food safety import regulations for beef, recognizes U.S. beef inspections as equivalent, and opens its market to cheap U.S. beef imports. Most Koreans are dead set against these U.S. demands: a recent poll found that 87 percent of Korean housewives believe American meat is "unsafe." Koreans not only want to protect their local farmers, who will, with the implementation of the FTA, face competition from tariff-free subsidized U.S. beef imports. They are also justifiably concerned about the safety of U.S. meat, especially when it comes to BSE or Mad Cow Disease.

The U.S.-Korea ag-biotech agreement also obliges Korea to restrict its risk assessment of imported GM products for food, feed, or processing to their "intended" use. In other words, if local farmers sow GM maize kernels from the United States that were meant for cooking, the U.S. companies responsible for the transfer of the kernels are free of any liability. This is precisely how Mexico's indigenous maize crop got contaminated

Poll Finds Economy Beats Terrorism

Complete flip in foreign policy concerns from six months ago

Non-Presidential Putin Shifting to be Russia's Cheney

New power structure with regional "envoys" that answer to him

Karzai Assassination Attempt Part of Ongoing Afghan Security Collapse

3 reports last week warned of a worsening security situation this year

CIA Stonewalls Release of 7,000+ Torture, Rendition Papers

But first time the CIA has admitted cache of documents on abuses

U.S. Planning to Deport All Undocumented Immigrants by 2012

"Operation Endgame" by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) police ramping up

Panic Buying in Asia as Rice Costs Skyrocket

Already the number of people at risk of hunger or starvation has more than doubled

China Lashes out at Olympic Torch Protesters

Widespread protests in China of protests in France in protest of Tibet occupation

Pope's U.S. Visit Underscores Church Hypocrisy

Decries sex abuse by priests, but policies still protect pedophiles

Israeli Soldiers Targeted Slain Reuters Photographer, Witnesses Say

Israeli tank also destroyed press vehicle

Maliki Sabotaged U.S. Plan For Showdown Battle With Mahdi Army

Cheney trip in March backfired, when VP reportedly pressured Maliki to go along with Basra operation

N Korea Facing Another Famine Year

"Now it takes a third of a month's salary just to buy a few days worth of rice"

Israel Snubs Jimmy Carter

Even refuses ex-U.S. president police protection

Bush Climate Plan a Joke, Say Enviros

Stop CO2 emission growth by 2025, but increases ok until then

Food Shortages, Rising Prices, a Global Emergency, Says UN

Global food prices up 65% in four months, more than all of last year

Bush to Troops: You're in Iraq for the Duration of my Presidency

Petraeus says he needs more time to fix it

U.S. Needs to Make Deal With Iran for Stable Middle East

Iran's regional influence is unquestionable and rolling Iran back out of Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, and perhaps even Gaza may no longer be realistic.



Sean Bell memorial Memorial at site of Sean Bell shooting (PHOTO: Nazimul Razack)

The Rev. Al Sharpton vowed to "close this city down" the day after three New York City police officers were aquitted April 25 in the killing of Sean Bell, who died in a hail of fifty bullets the night before his wedding.

The November 2006 shooting of Bell and the wounding of two of his friends, ignited public fury and protests. At first glance, there was good reason to think that the cops that fired the volley of shots that killed Bell would be convicted. An anguished New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg publicly questioned the shooting. Two of Bell's companions gave eyewitness testimony that the officers acted like Wild West cowboys and opened up without warning. And most importantly Bell was unarmed and seemingly posed no threat to the officers.

Defense attorneys for the New York cops requested and got a bench trial. But this wasn't a disadvantage to the defense. In a racially and emotionally charged case such as the Bell shooting, they figured they'd stand a better chance trying to massage and hone their evidence and testimony to a judge, arguing that the officers feared for their lives when they fired. In his initial call to a supervising police lieutenant one of the charged officers, Gescard Isnora, said he thought one of the suspects had a gun, made a suspicious move, and that the car they were in bumped him.

The verdict is also a blow to Barack Obama, his candidacy already mired in the racial machinations of his opponents. Obama will find himself having to maneuver between the need to speak out on the most egregious, high-profile example of institutional racism and police brutality since the Rodney King beating and the need to deflect Clinton and McCain's racialized attacks aimed at fomenting white fear of blacks and other non-whites.


Sean Bell Verdict Complicates Things for Obama

Sean Bell Cops Acquitted in Classic Police Shooting Defense

Convictions Unlikely for Cops in Sean Bell Killing

Chinese Unite to Defend Olympic Torch

Protests and the backlash have united the Chinese in a way they have not been since WWII, when they faced Japanese invaders

U.S. Must Make Deal With Taliban, Arab Press Says

Afghans have lost confidence in NATO and the United States, many now willing to overlook the Taliban's rigid interpretation of Islam

IMF Predicts 2 Years of U.S. Recession

"Largest financial shock since the Great Depression"

Jordan was Hub for U.S. Renditions, Report Says

Prisoners were reportedly hidden from Red Cross

China Clamps Down on Another Minority as Protests Spread

100,000 protest in predominantly Muslim province

Iraq Violence Resurgence a Wake-Up Call to Candidates

Simple "pull out" or "stay the course" positions on Iraq, Afghanistan, no longer so simple

Top Members of Congress Have Investments With War Contractors

Senator John Kerry has up to $38 million invested

U.S. Planned to Overthrow Palestinian Government in Summer 2007

Vanity Fair: Hamas' takeover of Gaza was prompted by a secret U.S. plan to overthrow fair Palestinian election

European Mountain Top Vanishes

Glacier disappears in weeks

Neo-Nazis on Trial in Portugal

36 members in small but active local chapter of an international white supremacist org

El Salvador Using Mara Gangs as Scapegoats for Mafia, Criminal Cops

Gang size, involvement with organized crime said to be exaggerated

Pakistan's Child Suicide Bombers Created by Religious Schools FREE!

"These young boys are as much the victims of terrorism as those they kill"


Muqtada al-Sadr Now Running Iraq's Main Humanitarian Org

Sunni-run Sahwa militias also major charity

Falluja Starts 5th Year of Lockdown

Many residents refer to it as a big jail

Shiite Infighting Spreads to Baqouba

Even as Sunni forces also vying for control of city

Embarrassed U.S. Starts to Disown Basra Operation

Believed Sadr and the Mahdi Army was no longer capable of a coordinated military operation


Supreme Court Voter ID Decision Helps Repubs

Studies show that it blocks about 1 in 5 Blacks and youths from casting ballots

New GOP Anti-Obama Ads Made by Infamous Wille Horton Ad Team

Planning to run TV spots in states with upcoming primaries

"Anybody but Obama" Racism Apparent in Penn. Primary

Jim Crow apparent in comments by some blue-collar whites

Hillary's Gender and Generation Gap

"That and his change didn't get him Pennsylvania," snapped a middle-aged white woman on her way with others to taunt the Obama supporters

Religious Right Tearing Apart in Generation Gap

For the 2008 elections, it appears that voters who self-identify as Christian evangelicals are up for grabs, perhaps for the first time since Reagan

Vets Ask Why McCain Won't Stand Behind New GI Bill

McCain's voting record rarely in line with the interests of veterans' organizations

Rev. Wright Controversy Was Mostly Media Creation, Critics Say

Endless replay of out-of-context soundbite a textbook example of propaganda


FREE! The World Bank's carbon-offset deals have produced meager results for greenhouse emissions cuts, a fact that has trust fund contributors scrambling for carbon credits before the first Kyoto Protocol commitment period expires in 2012. Donors that are worried about keeping their promises to reduce emissions have, with the help of the World Bank, shifted a portion of their money to "low hanging fruit" -- projects that yield cheap, easy and abundant emissions. But the bumper crop of cut-rate emissions reductions is undercutting the competitiveness of renewable energy and small-scale projects, which are already more expensive and pose higher investment risks.

The World Bank's plan to use its existing carbon-offset portfolio as the model from which to scale up to a "low carbon" economy should sound alarms for anyone seriously concerned about avoiding climate chaos. The Bank's foray into the carbon market paves the way for business-as-usual, while short-changing clean, renewable energy, the poor, and ultimately the climate. The Bank, on the other hand, stands to gain enormously

  Albion Monitor graphic
Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Bush at a crucial Pentagon meeting, September 12, 2001

FREE! Any attempt to "take stock of the War on Terror" must begin with the sad fact that the story of that war has largely become the story of the war in Iraq as well, and the story of the Iraq War (all discussion of the so-called Surge aside) has been pretty much an unmitigated disaster for U.S. security and for the United States position in the Middle East and the world. Which means that telling the story of the War on Terror, a half dozen years on -- and "taking stock" of that War -- merges inevitably with the sad tale of how that so-called war, strange and multiform beast that it is, became subsumed in a bold and utterly incompetent attempt to occupy and remake a major Arab country.

That broader story comes down to a matter of two strategies and two generals: General Osama bin Laden and General George W. Bush. Why did General George W. Bush do it? Lacking in legitimacy and on the political defensive, the President and his administration moved instantly to transform the War on Terror into an ideological crusade, one implicitly crafted as a New Cold War. "They hate our freedoms," Bush told Congress and the nation a few days after the 9/11 attacks.

In September 2001, the United States faced a grave threat. The attacks that have become synonymous with that date were unprecedented in their destructiveness, in their lethality, in the pure apocalyptic shock of their spectacle. But in their aftermath, American policymakers, partly through ideological blindness and preening exaggeration of American power, partly through blindness brought about by political opportunism, made decisions that led to a defeat only their own actions -- that only American power itself -- could have brought about.

Trials of Muslim Charities Compared to Witch-hunts

6 year prosecution of charity ended in deadlock jury, but U.S. vows to retry

40 Years Later, Many Still Ask Who Killed Martin Luther King

Who really killed Martin Luther King Jr?

Questions continue to linger about the government's involvement

Gore Launches $300 Million Media Campaign on Climate

Also aims to make climate change a major election year issue

Bush Calls Surge in Iraq Deaths a "Positive Moment"

488 killed and over 900 wounded as Mahdi Army wakes up

Book Charges Albanians Murdered Serbs for Organs

Former chief war crimes prosecutor alleges some 300 Serbs abducted and killed for organ trafficking in 1999

Endangered Species Sold in Mexico Markets

Trafficking of wildlife in Mexico is threatening to drive many species to extinction

Mexico Catholic Church Uproar Over Drug Mafia Charity

Bishop sees no problem with taking $$ as long as traffickers also seeking spiritual guidance from priests

New Jewish Lobby Seeks to Show "Pro-Israel" Not Same as "Pro-Neo-Con"

New group seeks two-state solution

Israel Runs Drill to Simulate Massive Attack

Simulated attack on area packed with factories using hazardous chemicals

JDL Regroups to Back Far-Far Right Israeli Politico

Wants all Muslims banned from Israel

Israel's Extremists Outraged Over Public Sale of Bread

Forcing inspectors to require restaurants comply with Passover "law"

Recession May End Anti-Sweatshop Efforts

Asian nations that paid fair wage expect to lose U.S. trade to sweatshop havens like China and Vietnam

Climate Change Transforming Yucatan

Soaring temperatures, locust invasions and forest fires

Japan to Consider Law Against Possession of Child Porn

'Child porno' widely available, even sold in megastores

Want to End Poverty? Close Tax Havens, Experts Say

Africa alone lost $607 billion - 5x the amount it has received in development aid

Can Bernanke Keep Greenspan's Economy From Sinking?

Like the next president, his career will mostly involve cleaning up his predecessor's mess


Joe Conason Why Celebrate Rev. Wrong?

The Ritual Flaying of Jimmy Carter

Whose Elitism is Worse?

Are We Closer to "Victory?"

He's 'McSame' on Social Security, Too


Robert Scheer No Country for Old Men

The Clintons Learned Their Lessons Well

McCain, the Man Who Would Be Bush

What His President Wants to Hear

Trillion$ Wasted on Pentagon Contracts


Alexander Cockburn Rev. Wright a Breath of Fresh Air

Real Clear Numbers: 101,000 U.S. Casualties a Year

Hillary's Ball and Chain

C'est Terrible

Again the Brits Get an "F" in Technology


Steve Young Wright and the Right

Judge Ye by Their Friends

It's Not Politics Anymore - It's Sport

Dittoheads for Hillary

Bill USO'Reilly Picks His Patriots

In my own mental TiVo, the great John Adams is to John Yoo what the intelligent 'John Adams' TV series is to a different program on Fox, that sordid reality game show, 'The Moment of Truth'
FREE! In the television version of the irascible Mr. Adams' saga, democracy triumphs. Still, while watching it, I can't help but be a little depressed by the thought that while the Founding Fathers sought to build a government of laws rather than men and were crafting such worthy documents as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the current administration's legacy to history will be a series of documents that chose to subvert the very Constitution that Adams, Jefferson, and the others battled so hard to create. These documents reveal themselves slowly and reluctantly, as if to acknowledge that those who wrote them know deep in their souls that what they have done is wrong and antithetical to the ways of a republic
Albion Monitor
Issue 168

Editor: Jeff Elliott (

The Albion Monitor is currently published as an ongoing newspaper by Wayward Press Inc, POB 1733, Sebastopol, CA 95473

Subscriptions $9.95/yr