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Table of Contents

Colombia: A Primer

by Jeff Elliott With every year, the U.S. deepens its involvement with Colombia, although parallels abound to the early days of our involvement in Southeast Asia. We are intervening in a long-running civil war; aerial spraying of defoliants is ravaging the countryside; terrorized peasants are being driven from their lands; and our involvement is spilling one country's problems over the borders of adjoining nations. Colombia is fast becoming the Vietnamese War that we can drive to

2000 Top Stories Chosen by Project Censored

25th Anniversary Edition

Bush Policy Likely To Spur Mideast Crisis

by Jim Lobe Most Mideast specialists here believe that it is only a matter of time -- and probably a very short amount of time at that -- before Bush is faced with a new crisis in the simmering, six-month-old Palestinian "Intifada II" that will force Washington to plunge back into the fray to get the two parties talking again

Japan's New History Texts Called Revisionist

by Suvendrini Kakuchi The Japanese government has earned the ire of its neighbors with a decision to authorize new textbooks that portray the country's colonization of Asia decades ago as a liberation movement. The books contain several changes that critics say cover up Japan's wartime atrocities against countries it occupied, and distort history. Not surprisingly, the revised books have been met with bitterness in China and Korea, which already nurse long-standing suspicions of Tokyo and are considering joint action on the matter. Reports of the textbooks' approval also do not sit well with other countries that Japan invaded, which include Indonesia and the Philippines

Masked Chiapas Rebels Address Mexico Congress

by Pilar Franco Addressing Mexico's Chamber of Deputies, Zapatista Commander Esther told the assembled delegates that guerrilla leaders were ready to talk with the government and draft an agreement to bring peace to the southern state of Chiapas. "My name doesn't matter. I am a Zapatista, and that doesn't matter either. I am an indigenous person and a woman, and that is what really matters," said the guerrilla leader

Mideast Wars Over Water Coming, UN Warns

by Mithre J. Sandrasagra Deadly conflicts could erupt around the globe, and especially in the Middle East, over access to water if people are not careful with the precious resource, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned

Bush Slashes Budget for Environment, Clean Energy

by Cat Lazaroff The $2 trillion spending plan boosts spending for education, social services, international affairs and the national defense. But smart growth programs, natural resources and the environment, agriculture, energy and transportation all face substantial cuts

The Right-Wing Map to Outlawing Abortion

by James Ridgeway Abortion foes have mapped a two-part strategy to chip away at reproductive rights, as a first step to doing away with them all. The plan begins with stacking the judiciary with antiabortion judges and ends with a string of state and federal legislation that puts services out of reach for many of the most vulnerable Americans. The government's message, says Cindy Pearson, director of the National Women's Health Network in Washington, is that "if you're not middle-class and a legal adult, we're going to make it harder and harder to get an abortion." Fearing the worst, pro-choice groups are racing to mount a counterattack against what they anticipate to be a surge of Bush administration initiatives aimed at gutting Roe v. Wade

U.S. Still Hasn't Paid Overdue UN Dues

by Thalif Deen According to the latest figures, unpaid UN assessments totalled a hefty $2.2 billion at the end of last year, about $500 million more than the previous year. One member state -- the United States -- is responsible for more than half those arrears, says Gerard Ho of Singapore. Accusing Washington of falling back on its pledge to pay its arrears, Ho told the UN's Administrative and Budgetary Committee that the 189-member General Assembly "bent over backwards" to accommodate U.S. concerns during negotiations to change the scale of assessments about three months ago

Sino-American Conflict Just Beginning

by Jim Lobe While Washington and Beijing have successfully defused a major threat to bilateral ties, there is clearly no lack of differences which could precipitate new crises in the future, beginning later this month when President George W. Bush must decide on what arms systems to sell to Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province

Right-Wing Alliance Pushing For Cold War Against China

by Jim Lobe 10 years after their coalition began falling apart over the Gulf War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, various strands of the right-wing alliance behind the Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s are coming back together to mobilize public opinion against a new enemy: China

Beijing Talks Of War Against "Little Bush"

by Antoaneta Bezlova A sense of anger over the Belgrade bombing is still acutely felt here, and the tough line taken by Chinese leaders on the plane crash is a reflection of their determination not to repeat the experience of 1999. The U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was felt very much as a loss of face here and then-president Bill Clinton had to apologize in person

Japan Faces Dilemma If U.S.-China Crisis Escalates

by Suvendrini Kakuchi Simmering tension between the United States and China over the collision of an American spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet is turning out to be a diplomatic nightmare for Japan

Mohawks Vow To Help Protesters Get To Canada

by Darryl Leroux In solidarity with the hundreds of groups all over the Americas protesting the FTAA, the Mohawks of Akwesasne (adjacent to Cornwall, Ontario) have pledged to open the Three Nations Bridge Crossing between New York State and Ontario on April 19th, to allow safe passage into Canada for U.S. activists making their way to Quebec

Sudan Waging Genocide To Help Oil Companies, Groups Say

by Katy Salmon Across the oil-rich areas of Sudan, government troops are terrorizing, raping, killing and displacing thousands of ordinary people to facilitate the extraction of the country's "black gold," rights groups say

Milosevic Stuns Yugoslavia With Money Claim

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic In the appeal, printed in all Serbian newspapers, Milosevic made a startling claim that the money he has been accused of stealing was not used for private gain, but to finance Serb nationalist armies in Croatia and Bosnia. Milosevic said he financed the purchase "of weapons, ammunition and other needs" for the Bosnian Serb and Croatian Serb armies. "These expenses could not, as a state secret, be accounted for in the state budget," he said. It was the first time that Milosevic broke his silence on the collapse of the former Yugoslav federation in the 1990s. More than 200,000 people were killed and three million driven from their homes in those wars

Bush Anti-Environmental Extremism Spurs Panic

by Jim Lobe The environmental community has been stunned by the onslaught of bad news coming out of the administration. "We knew it was not going to be a great administration for us, but we didn't think it would be quite this bad either," said one lobbyist who suggested that Bush's early steps suggested a policy worse than that of former president Ronald Reagan

Bush Budget Leaves Kids Behind

by Derek Alger Bush may pride himself on claiming that he's a compassionate conservative -- one who pledged during his campaign to leave no child behind -- but Alan Brenner doesn't see it that way, especially when it comes to providing adequate funding to investigate child abuse. Brenner is a former detective with the Bronx District Attorney's office who specialized in child abuse cases. He was amazed to learn that Bush has proposed significant cuts to child aid programs as part of his upcoming budget, including an 18 percent reduction in programs dealing with child abuse

Why Is The Press Ignoring Bush Scandals?

by Jeff Cohen Imagine that in support of President Clinton's top policy initiative, the Democrats had staged an elaborate photo-opportunity timed for the evening news -- with an embarrassing memo surfacing to expose a Democratic plan to deceive the media and the public. One could imagine the national press and pundit corps howling like wolves about the deviousness of the administration and its supporters. Indeed, a deceptive memo recently leaked to the Washington Post, but it wasn't the work of the Clintonites. The memo was circulated by the National Association of Manufacturers in response to a call from the office of Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert. It urged corporate lobbyists to camouflage themselves as working class folks for a GOP rally on Capitol Hill in support of Bush's tax cut plan

The Global Warming President

by Joshua Karliner G. W. Bush has moved quickly and decisively to burn his initials onto the most serious environmental issue the world has ever faced. He has made it clear for all to see that unless he dramatically reverses course, it's going to be "G" for global, "W" for warming, Bush from now on

McCain-Feingold: Much Ado About Not Much

by Marty Jezer The McCain-Feingold bill that just passed in the Senate, is being promoted, in the words of the Associated Press, as "the most sweeping overhaul of campaign finance law in a quarter-century." While historically true, at least in terms of the federal government which has not tackled campaign finance reform since the Federal Election Campaign Acts of the early 1970s, the bill, in substance, does very little to alter the system of legalized bribery by which political candidates get elected

Mud-Slingers Pressure Congress To Block Reform

by Arianna Huffington If McCain-Feingold were the law of the land, 99.5 percent of independent expenditure ads run in the last 60 days of Election 2000 would have had to come clean about who was behind them, as they were clearly aimed at electing specific candidates and not at illuminating ideas and issues. The bill would also substantially reduce the toxicity of the political environment since the study proves that the most negative ads are run by groups hiding behind sham names and committees. People are a lot keener to throw mud when they can do it anonymously. As a result 72 percent of interest-group ads were attack ads, while the vast majority of ads paid for by candidates were used to puff up their images

U.S. Embassies Given To Key Bush Money Men

by Jim Hightower About 50 people are in line to get ambassadorial appointments from George W and that it's a very diverse group, including men and women, all ethnic groups, and every section of the country. But nearly all of them do have one thing in common: They raised big bucks for Bush's presidential run

Bush Gives Top Latin Post To Notorious Right-Winger

by Jim Lobe The nomination by President George W. Bush of Otto Reich, a Cuban exile who played a controversial role boosting the Nicaraguan contras, to the State Department's top post for Latin America marks a major victory for hard-line anti-Castro and other right-wing forces in the new administration. They lobbied hard for Reich's appointment as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs as payback in part for the role played by Cuban-American exiles in delivering the critical state of Florida -- and, with it, the election of Bush

Washington Fibs, Whoppers, and Prevarications

by David Corn How can you take official Washington seriously when such an occurrence is routine? Fibbing goes on relentlessly. It is not the exclusive domain of one party or another

Streisand Gives The Demos A Swift Kick

by David Corn The big political news of the week: Barbra Streisand is upset with Republicans and disappointed by Democrats

Wasteful Spy Spending

by David Corn Conservatives often rail against government projects they deem wasteful, like shrimp farms in Arizona. But wouldn't you rather see taxpayer dollars misspent on shrimp than on the murder plots, biased analyses and cloak-and-dagger tomfoolery of the CIA?

Demos Steal Tax-Cut Spotlight From Bush

by David Corn The Democrats got smart -- sort of. They realized Bush was pulling a fast one by suggesting his back-loaded tax cuts could rev up the economy in the short term, and they decided to outbid him. They proposed tapping this year's budget surplus to pump $60 billion in tax rebates into the economy. Trying to hijack the Bush rhetoric that "everybody deserves tax relief," they called for cutting $300 checks to all taxpayers

Archive of Chemical Industry Secrets Goes Online

The Environmental Working Group has posted online 50 years and 25,000 pages of insider documents that reveal, in their own words, how chemical executives knowingly exposed workers and the public to cancer-causing chemicals, polluted whole communities and devoted vast resources to covering up the truth

Biotech PR Uses Western Liberal Guilt To Peddle "Golden Rice"

by Brooke Shelby Biggs According to libertarian Reason magazine, "A lifesaving grain is being held hostage by anti-science activists." Similarly, the right-wing Center for Global Food Issues recently issued a press release charging that "radical environmentalists see a life-saving technology, and try to destroy it with propaganda." Of course, it is hardly that simple. Even the Rockefeller Foundation, which along with the Swiss government funded the development of golden rice technology, says claims about the potential of golden rice have "gone too far." The problems with golden rice run deep. According to Pollan, a child would have to eat 15 pounds of the stuff a day to get a day's minimum dietary requirement of vitamin A

Russian TB Called Epidemic

by Ramesh Jaura With tuberculosis taking on epidemic proportions throughout Russia, Germany's leading service enterprise for development cooperation, GTZ, has joined hands with the World Health Organization to treat all new infections on a priority basis

U.S. Vetoes UN Observers To Protect Palestinians

by Thalif Deen The 114-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), whose proposal for a UN observer force in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza was vetoed by the United States, is planning to take its case before the General Assembly. A NAM spokesman told IPS that the world at large should know that the biggest stumbling block for a UN force is just one single country with veto-power: the United States

U.S. Economy More Important Than Global Warming, Bush Says

by Jim Lobe Smarting from attacks both here and abroad on his unilateral abandonment of the Kyoto Protocol to curb global warming, President George W. Bush today insisted that the world will benefit from a stronger U.S. economy unhampered by restrictions on greenhouse-gas emissions

Orangutans Facing Extinction Within Decade

by Stephen Sautner The orangutan -- the only great ape found in Asia --may vanish from the wild within a decade, unless illegal logging of its habitat and poaching can be greatly reduced, according to research

Little Streams Play Vital Role in Clean Water Supply

Human activities, such as fertilizer application and the burning of fossil fuels, result in excess nitrogen entering streams, changing water quality downstream, such as in the Chesapeake Bay or Gulf of Mexico. Streams are not gutters that simply deliver nutrients to lakes, oceans and bays. Streams are vibrant ecosystems, and the smallest streams remove as much as half of the inorganic nitrogen that enters them

Pentagon Touts Microwave "Ray Gun"

by Martin A. Lee Last month the PR-conscious Pentagon proudly unveiled what is supposed to be the perfect nonlethal crowd control device -- a high-powered energy beam that can disperse an unruly mob without killing, maiming, or harming anyone. Military brass are touting it as the biggest breakthrough in war technology since the nuclear bomb

The Selling Of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Julianne Malveaux They've taken a classic speech and turned it into a commercial moment, taken a moment in history and attempted to turn it into sales. To be sure, they paid for it, and so they should not necessarily be condemned. The fact that King was for sale, though, ought to be cause of condemnation. A moment of conscience has been turned into a commercial construct

Greed And Newspapering

by Randolph T. Holhut Knight Ridder, which has also ordered cutbacks at its other papers such as The Kansas City Star, The Akron Beacon Journal and The Philadelphia Inquirer, saw its profit slip to 20.8 percent in 2000. That's why the recent resignation of Jay Harris, publisher of the San Jose Mercury News, became a big story. Harris chose to quit rather than carry out the cutbacks ordered by Knight Ridder, the paper's owner, to meet 22 percent profit margin they demanded. The Mercury News has been one of Knight Ridder's most profitable papers in recent years, but it's been hit hard in the past year by the dot-com collapse

Ten Reasons for U.S. Slavery Reparations

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Conservative muckraker David Horowitz has been verbally mugged for peddling an ad to college newspapers giving ten reasons why reparations are racist. But the name callers have done little more than canonize Horowitz as a martyr for truth and free speech. Even worse, they've failed miserably to tell why reparations merit a serious look. There are ten compelling reasons it does

Harvey Wasserman Debunks Energy Crisis

by Molly Ivins Wasserman waded in with a will, describing the dastardly tale of ruthless utility companies determined to unload the "stranded costs" of their monumental folly in building nuclear plants -- $20 billion worth in California's case -- on the ratepayers. Given that utility lobbyists literally wrote the California deregulation bill, it's quite a reach to blame it on anyone else

Handling China In True Texas Fashion

by Molly Ivins All the cable news networks promptly gave this "crisis" its own logo and a near-Dead-Diana amount of air time. This is not helpful. Meanwhile, President Bush tried to revive his pat campaign phrase about China being "not a strategic partner but a competitor." Unfortunately, he got it backward. It not only helps not to be dumb -- it helps not to sound dumb

Texas Reversing Bush Economics

by Molly Ivins We still have an agenda dominated by George W. Bush, but it's Bush-in-reverse. Pretty much whatever George W. stood for, the Legislature is now undoing as fast as it can, and whatever he was against is now getting done. It's a striking symmetry

Repubs And Dubya In Denial

by Molly Ivins In almost every speech, Bush says, "I was elected because the people expected me to (do X, Y or Z)." Or his staff says after yet another controversial call, "People knew this was what he stood for when they voted for him." But they didn't. If you will recall, the polls consistently favored Al Gore on most issues, even though Bush carefully presented himself as a moderate, not a right-winger

A Small Victory Is Still A Victory

by Molly Ivins Some righteous people dropped their support for McCain-Feingold after the hard money cap got goosed so badly, including Public Campaign, the nonprofit, nonpartisan campaign finance reform group. As Bob Bullock used to say, "Always take half a loaf." The key to political success is sustaining your energy and your passion long enough to go back and get the other half

Back To The (Polluted) Future

by Molly Ivins The concept of investing in renewable energy resources -- solar, hydro, steam, wind -- seems not to impinge on our current leadership. Yet it is perfectly feasible and much cheaper than such pets of the extractive industries as mining shale oil

Gen X Women Remake The Sexual Revolution

by Molly Ivins According to a new book by Paula Kamen, young women now in their 20s and early 30s are not likely to wait around politely asking for help. They rather tend to seize what they want by the throat

Texas Quietly Blaming Bush For State Budget Disaster

by Molly Ivins What a strange session the Texas Legislature is having. Other states are in budget freefall, with revenues dropping so sharply services have to be cut. In Texas, we publicly admit to being in a budget crunch, but not a crisis. Everybody at the capitol, and you can take this for nigh universal, blames George W. Bush for this in private, but almost no one does so in public, it being bad form to knock "our president"

The Republican Assault Begins

by Molly Ivins As the stock market continued to tank, we got three primo examples out of Washington of how not to govern

Bush Dragging Us Forward Into The Past

by Molly Ivins President Let's-Bring-Back-the-1950s thinks the 1942 standard for arsenic in drinking water is plenty good enough for government work, and so has decided not to enforce the new standard that called for an 80 percent reduction in arsenic in drinking water. Arsenic causes cancer. This led to the fetching sight of Sen. Frank Murkowski of Alaska defending the right of mining companies to dump arsenic into the water table

Put Up Or Shut Up Time For Democrats

by Molly Ivins The Democrats in the U.S. Senate have an unusual opportunity coming up in the next few weeks. One could even call it unique, if unique were not a forbidden word in newspapers. The Democrats can prove that everybody who voted for Ralph Nader was right. It's not often that a party gets to do a thing like that. The McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform bill hit the Senate floor this week with Democrats wobbling all over God's little acre

No Shortage Of Anti-China Media Spin

by Norman Solomon It's not easy to look at ourselves as others might see us. For a country, the need is especially acute in times of international crisis -- but that's when nationalism and other reflexive biases are most likely to become pivotal. One of the ways to test for media slant is to put the shoe on the other foot. A current big story provides an opportunity for inquiry in the world of intense media spin

Murdoch's Militant Media

by Norman Solomon The real heroics began a week into the standoff, led by a pair of media battalions under the command of magnate Rupert Murdoch. His influential magazine The Weekly Standard denounced American policymakers for "weakness" and even "capitulation." With that salvo hot off the press, top editor William Kristol shuttled to the Fox Television department of the Murdoch media forces

Digital Hype and Promises

by Norman Solomon History tells cautionary tales. After the first rudimentary telegraph went into operation 207 years ago in Europe, media analyst Armand Mattelart says, "long-distance communication technology was promoted as a guarantee of the revival of democracy." During the next several decades, a powerful concept took hold -- "the ideology of redemption through networks"

Time For Media Finance Reform

by Norman Solomon Midway through the Senate debate on the McCain-Feingold bill, a Washington Post editorial declared: "The goal should be to reduce the flow of funds, the extent to which offices and policies now are all but openly bought by the interest groups that the policies affect." The newspaper added that with so much big money flowing into the coffers of senators, "There is no way they cannot be beholden." That's true. And when you consider America's major media outlets -- and the massive corporate ownership and advertising involved -- the same conclusion should be inescapable. "There is no way they cannot be beholden"

Stones And Glass Houses

by Alexander Cockburn Here's a parable about what is intellectually respectable and politically safe in this country, and what is not. It concerns two of this country's best known public intellectuals, Edward Said and Susan Sontag

The Noise On I-40

by Alexander Cockburn The new chairman of the FCC, Colin Powell's son Michael, has just made life even easier for Clear Channel and the other big groups. On March 12 he approved 32 mergers and kindred transactions in 26 markets. Three days later, at the instigation of the FCC, cops burst into Free Radio Cascadia in Eugene, Ore., seized broadcasting equipment and shut FRC down. Michael Powell is clearly aiming for higher things than the FCC

The Great Global Warming Delusion

by Alexander Cockburn Do all those gloomsters about global warming really know what they're talking about? Remember those dud forecasts of a blizzard-of-the-century in the northeast United States earlier this month? If the weather folk can't figure out what's happening for the rest of the week, why do they think they can tell us what the climate will be across the next decade, the next 50 years or the next century?

Choosing When To Eat Crow

by Alexander Cockburn Many entertaining passages in international relations concern detention and poor treatment of diplomats, spies or simple travelers. The nineteenth century is replete with incidents where local despots twisted the tail of the British imperial lion, often with impunity

The Angina Monologues

by Jennifer C. Berkshire Just look at poor Cheney. A lifetime of rib eyes, roasts and rump steaks has taken its toll on the Vice Presidential ticker. The VP, who is said to love a thick juicy steak, even on a fishing trip, has suffered four heart attacks since he turned 37, and had to be hospitalized again this spring due to a rapidly closing artery. "Cheney's taste for blood is literally killing him," says Bruce Friedrich, a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, sounding more than a little gleeful. "Unless he stops with the steaks, he won't be around to advocate his programs much longer"

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