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Table of Contents
The Killers of Teresa Macias

The Killers of Teresa Macias

by Tanya Brannan On Monday, June 17, 2002, trial began in San Francisco in one of the most important federal civil rights cases in recent history. Dramatic testimony from the mother of a domestic violence homicide victim was heard, detailing her daughter's fear of her estranged husband, her vain attempts to have the laws enforced that should have protected her; and a moment-by-moment account of her murder. Before the second day was over, jurors and courtroom observers sat in shock at the announcement the County had agreed to pay $1 million to end the lawsuit -- the first time in history a law enforcement agency has paid damages for their role in a domestic violence homicide of Maria Teresa Macias. Here is the story behind this landmark women's rights case

Rights Group Finds No Massacre, But War Crimes Likely

by Jim Lobe The HRW report, which had findings similar to those of Amnesty's recent mission, said it could confirm only 52 Palestinian dead, not the hundreds the Palestinians claimed had died in the offensive. It acknowledged, however, that more bodies might be found in the rubble of the more than 340 buildings that were either completely leveled or severely damaged by Israeli bulldozers, tanks, and rockets. The report also found many examples of indiscriminate and excessive force used by the IDF in the densely populated camp, which housed some 14,000 people before the offensive began Apr. 3. It said the IDF used Palestinians as human shields in violation of international humanitarian law

Israel Travel Crackdown Threatens UN Relief Ops

by Thalif Deen Travel restrictions imposed by Israel threaten to bring to a halt UN relief operations in the Israeli-occupied territories, says the UN Relief and Works Agency. UNRWA has fewer than 100 international staffers but some 14,000 Palestinians working in occupied territories. The agency employs another 22,000 Palestinians throughout the Middle East providing education, health and social services to refugees. The new Israeli measures also bar Palestinians holding Jerusalem identity cards from travelling to the occupied territories

Israel's Hefty Defense Budget Has High Social Cost

by Ferry Biedermann Battered by the high cost of fighting the Palestinian uprising, the crisis in the high-tech sector and the general slowdown in global trade, Israel's economy has nose-dived. Belts have been tightened all round -- except on the defense budget. Finance Minister Silvan Shalom has defended his measures, saying it was a "just division of the burden" and a "clear preference for the middle class who serve in the army." Many of the cuts will hit those who do not serve in the army, such as ultra-orthodox Jewish religious students

Tensions Rising Between Arafat and Palestinian Militants

by N. Janardhan The rising number of recent suicide missions point to the extent of divisions within the ranks of the Palestinian groups on how to confront Israeli occupation. At least two of the attacks have been claimed by the al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. But Palestinian MP Hanan Ashrawi, who has been sidelined in the present administration but is likely to gain prominence in a new Palestinian dispensation, feels that the disagreement is healthy and shows that "a debate is taking place publicly and behind doors"

Israeli, Palestinians Take War Break to Clean House

by Ferry Biedermann In both cases, the focus on domestic politics is a result of a struggle for power. Arafat is trying to defend himself against efforts from outside and within to whittle away at his personal authority. In the case of the Likud, the vote had more to do with the rivalry between Sharon and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than with the actual issues. According to polls the majority of Likud voters believe a Palestinian state is inevitable. The call for a serious overhaul of the Palestinian Authority has grown louder since the end of the Israeli offensive on the West Bank, earlier this month

The Road To Yucca Mountain Nuke Dump Leads Through Skull Valley

by J.A. Savage The only way the Department of Energy could get a lease for this halfway-to-Yucca storage site so quietly and efficiently is because it is owned by Native Americans -- the Goshute Tribe, whose Skull Valley members number about 130. Of that, 70 are voting members with authority over 18,000 acres. Fifteen have filed litigation to stop the proposed radioactive dump

Anti-Smoking Youth Ads Designed to Promote Cigarettes

by Wallace Ravven A 1991 Philip Morris document stating that the success of the "youth initiatives" would be determined by whether they led to a "reduction in legislation introduced and passed restricting or banning our sales and marketing activities" as well as "passage of legislation favorable to the industry"

Tobacco Companies Illegally Spied on Health Orgs

by Maureen McInaney The tobacco industry engaged in aggressive intelligence gathering to combat tobacco control groups -- including the use of intermediaries to obtain materials under false pretenses, sending public relations spies to public health organization meetings, and covertly taping strategy sessions

Big Tobacco Undermined Public Smoking Bans

by Katherine Stapp Through generous financial contributions to the "hospitality industry" -- mainly bar, restaurant and hotel associations -- tobacco companies led by U.S.-based Philip Morris have been quietly fighting legislation outlawing smoking in public spaces

Big Tobacco Bribes, Undermines World Restrictions

by Gustavo Capdevila Consumer and health activists accuse transnational cigarette companies of interfering in the negotiations of the international Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

Bush Gets Big Hike in Foreign Army Training Funding

by Jim Lobe Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, however, military training has become a key component in Bush's war on terrorism. The overall SOF budget grew from $2.4 billion in 1991 to $3.4 billion in 1997. The Bush administration, encouraged by the special forces' performance in the Afghan campaign, has asked Congress to approve $4.9 billion for next year's operations

Drug Industry Finds Itself Under Fire In D.C.

by Arianna Huffington Thanks to mega-millions spent on campaign contributions and lobbying, the pharmaceutical industry has long been Washington's 800-pound gorilla -- able to skirt government oversight of its patent-extending and price-gouging schemes by muscling politicians into doing its bidding. But now it's payback time for the big ape as drug companies find themselves under fire on a series of fronts -- assailed by Congress, federal prosecutors, federal regulators, human rights activists and international health organizations

Ultra Hawks Promote Muddled Plan For Iraq

by David Corn What's the Perle Plan? I asked. "Forty thousand troops." he said. To take Baghdad? Nah, he replied. To take control of the north and the south, particularly the north, where the oil fields are. Cut off Saddam's oil, make him a pauper, that should do the trick. "We don't need anyone else," he said, in a distinctly imperial fashion. This was illuminating, for here was a top Pentagon adviser, a comrade of the get-Saddam ideologues of the Defense Department, asserting the United States could de-Saddamize Iraq with a relatively small force and without asking any other nation for assistance. Was anyone else at the Pentagon on this same page? Might Perle be reflecting proposals already drawn up there?

Why is Bush Stonewalling 9/11 Probe?

by Randolph T. Holhut There are some who say that the Bush administration allowed the attacks to happen, knowing the political gain that would come from it. That President Bush allowed the attacks to happen can't be proven, but we know that he and the Republican Party -- aided by the general spinelessness of the Democratic Party -- have used the Sept. 11 attacks for huge political gain. We also know the Carlyle Group and other defense interests have profited nicely from the "war on terror"

The Bush Sept. 11 Coverup

by David Corn Is there anything else the White House is not telling us? Bush and his lieutenants kept word of the CIA briefing secret for eight months. Why did they not disclose this earlier? In January and February, The Washington Post published an eight-part series by Bob Woodward and Dan Balz on how the President and his aides responded to the September 11 attacks. The articles -- a mostly positive account -- were largely drawn from interviews with Bush and senior officials. Funny, none of them mentioned that a month before the attacks, the CIA had told the President, via the daily briefing it prepares for him, there was reason to worry about a Bin Laden action. It is a good bet that at one point on that awful day the President or the other aides who generally have access to the CIA's daily briefing -- Vice President Dick Cheney, CIA director George Tenet, national security adviser Condoleeza Rice, and chief of staff Andrew Card -- recalled that warning

Bush SEC Head Protecting Cronies, Not Investors

by Arianna Huffington With big business in such a sorry state, what we need more than ever is a courageous crusader at the helm of the Securities and Exchange Commission, someone who will do everything in his power as America's top securities cop to root out corporate corruption and restore the public's trust. Instead, we have Harvey Pitt

D.C. Tells States: Don't Invesitgate Enron-Like Scandals

by Arianna Huffington Surprise, surprise, Spitzer is now being told to back off and leave the matter to the big boys in Washington. While being careful not to cross jurisdictional swords, SEC chairman Harvey Pitt gently reminded Spitzer that "only the federal government can set nationwide standards." And Rep. Richard Baker, whose Capital Markets subcommittee held hearings on conflicts of interest on Wall Street, cautioned Spitzer: "It is essential that the SEC now lead the concluding phase of this inquiry." Concluding phase? Baker thinks the inquiry is wrapping up while Spitzer, who is after fundamental reform, knows it has barely begun

Bush-Euro Relations Chill Over U.S. Support Of Sharon

by Jim Lobe Neo-conservatives, who are particularly influential among the political appointees at the Pentagon and in Vice President Dick Cheney's office, charge that European criticism of Israeli policies is motivated by anti-Semitism and should be dismissed. "What we are seeing is pent-up anti-Semitism, the release -- with Israel as the trigger -- of a millennium-old urge that powerfully infected and shaped European history," according to nationally syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, a leading neo-conservative close to both the Pentagon's leadership and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud Party

Anti Arafat Ads Blanket D.C. TV

by Jim Lobe The script opens with its title, "The Suicide Strategy" in bold letters and continues, "It was used by terrorists against America on Sept. 11. It's being used by terrorists against Israel day after day," as the video flashes to a hellish scene immediately after a suicide bombing. "If we let the suicide strategy succeed anywhere in the world, it will succeed everywhere," the narrator continues as the video shows Palestinian children dressed up as suicide bombers at a Hamas demonstration. The Center for Security Policy (CSP), whose board is dominated by executives of major military contractors and prominent rightwing activists, also has put out a series of ads, the latest of which features flag-burnings, an ever-growing picture of bin Laden, and Arafat supposedly exhorting a crowd, "Jihad, jihad, jihad, jihad." The narrator says Saddam Hussein "pays Palestinian children to become suicide bombers"

Christian Right Lobbying Hard For Ariel Sharon

by Jim Lobe Since Sharon's election one year ago, the Israeli embassy has regularly briefed leaders and lobbyists of evangelical groups. On a recent visit lasting some two weeks, Netanyahu met numerous times with Christian Right leaders and urged them to speak out against U.S. pressure to rein in Sharon. It appears the evangelicals' support for Israel, like Billy Graham's, is based on Biblical prophecy rather than respect for Jews or Judaism

Ashcroft's Anti-Choice Views Guiding FBI, Justice Dept

by Jim Lobe Clayton Waagner began posting messages on the Internet detailing his plans for a killing spree. "It doesn't matter to me if you're a nurse, receptionist, bookkeeper, or janitor," Waagner wrote. "If you work for the murderous abortionist I'm going to kill you." Pro-choice leaders wanted Ashcroft to make a public statement against anti-abortion violence, to post a reward for Waagner's capture and to place him on the FBI's most-wanted list. "We asked for it in writing, we asked for it over the telephone, we asked for it in personal meetings [with Ashcroft aides] over a matter of months," and were repeatedly told, Saporta says, "The timing's not right"

Probe of Venezuela Coup Attempt Stalls

by Jose Zambrano Mutual finger-pointing in a highly-polarized country -- with a virtual vacuum at the political center -- is making the investigation into the April killings an uphill struggle amidst the struggle for power, agree observers. Rumors of possible military uprisings have reappeared this month in the wake of television broadcasts of statements by supposed military officials whose faces are covered by hoods

More Patients Die in For-Profit Hospitals

by John Della Contrada A study of data from more than 26,000 U.S. hospitals has shown that people treated in private for-profit hospitals in the U.S. have a greater risk of dying than those cared for in private not-for-profit hospitals

Occidental Backs Off Plans To Oil Drill On U'wa Homeland

by Gabrielle Banks With no great fanfare, Occidental Petroleum, the multinational giant that has gained infamy in environmental circles, announced at its annual shareholder meeting in Santa Monica, Calif. that it was relinquishing control of Siriri, the oil block in Colombia on the ancestral land of the U'wa people

It's Official: Yuppies Are China's New Role Models

by Antoaneta Bezlova In a major turnabout since the days of early Communist China when Chairman Mao Zedong extolled the masses to struggle against their class enemies, the party these days has abandoned the notion of "class struggle." On May Day, the All China Federation of Trade Unions awarded Labor Medals to four private businessmen, and declared another 17 entrepreneurs in the northwestern province of Shaanxi "model workers"

Is Earth Near C02 Limit?

by Dennis Meredith According to a new study, the world may soon see the end of the "free ride," in which carbon absorption by natural ecosystems ameliorates the rise in atmospheric CO2 due to fossil fuel burning and loss of forest

Arafat, by Feeding on Martyrdom, Dooms His People

by Robert Scheer Arafat should step aside, not because the cause of Palestinian statehood as defined in the Saudi proposal is wrong, but rather because his consistent failure to hold the moral high ground is an impediment to its realization

We've Had Enough Witch Hunts

by Robert Scheer Suddenly, everyone wants to grant the FBI and other intelligence agencies even more power despite the fact that they failed so spectacularly to utilize the expansive powers they had to head off terrorism before Sept. 11. In a sign of mass impotent rage, liberal columnists and politicians are joining right-wing talk show blatherers in insisting the FBI not be "hamstrung" by the restraints of civil liberty. First to go? Freedom from discrimination based on ethnicity, race or nationality

The Job Has Become Too Big for Ashcroft

by Robert Scheer The good news is the FBI has some very good agents who picked up these troubling signs. The bad news is that these warnings stalled in a chain of command that included Ashcroft and never made it to the president. Meanwhile, the clues picked up inside the country were meshing in frightening ways with those gathered beyond our borders. In late June, Osama bin Laden promised a major attack on the United States in an interview with the Arabic television channel MBC. Ashcroft later said he was unaware of any such specific threats at that time. Two weeks later, however, a top FBI official issued a grim warning

Hiding Behind a Veil of Executive Privilege

by Robert Scheer The administration simply was not focused on terrorism until it was too late. There was a blizzard of warnings leading up to Sept. 11 that was ignored. It's a poor excuse for Rice to complain that the CIA warning was "thin." Real-time coordination of intelligence information on such a high-level problem is the responsibility of the national security advisor

Lights Out on Bush's Excuses

by Robert Scheer California officials were spending billions of taxpayer dollars to secure power to keep vital services functioning, while inside Enron a memo admitted that the company "may have contributed" to a Stage 2 power emergency, pushing the state to the brink of widespread blackout. If some wacko damages a transformer in a hospital to cause a power outage, it's jail time. But these Enron characters deliberately denied Californians energy needed to sustain life while Bush blithely covered for them

Pakistan Nuke Missles Linked to N Korea

by Ranjit Devraj Missile tests conducted by Pakistan last weekend gave India another opportunity to harp on its neighbor's "clandestine" acquisition of nuclear and missile technology from North Korea. North Korean involvement in Pakistan's nuclear and missile program became known through the mysterious June 1998 murder in Islamabad of Kim Sin-ae, wife of Kang Thae-yun, a key figure in the missiles-for-nuclear-technology deal between Islamabad and Pyongyang. Newspapers cited diplomatic sources as saying that Kim was killed by North Korean agents working at Pakistan's Khan Research Laboratories on suspicion of having provided details of the strategic weapons deals to Western intelligence agencies

India, Pakistan Dispute Over Water Rights Behind War Fever

by Ranjit Devraj Nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan may wage the millennium's first war over water, if New Delhi abrogates the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty as part of punitive diplomatic and economic responses to suicide strikes it blames on Islamabad

Russia Moves Against "Political Extremists"

by Sergei Blagov Russian authorities have been expressing concern over extremist threats for some time now, particularly in the wake of a series of anti-Semitic incidents. President Vladimir Putin said in his State of the Nation address in April that the police lack effective powers to tackle organized neo-Nazi gangs and others. However, critics say the definition of "extremism" is overly broad and vague, covering a wide range of activities aimed at violent seizure of power, terrorism, incitement of ethnic and religious hatred, and hindering the legitimate activities of authorities

Jury Awards $4.4 Million Damages to Bari and Cherney

by Nicholas Wilson A Bay Area jury today unanimously found three FBI agents and three OPD officers liable for violations of Earth First! organizers Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney's rights under the First and Fourth Amendments. The jury awarded the pair $4.4 million in damages, 80% of which was for violation of their free speech rights

After 12 Years, Judi Bari Has Her Day In Court

by Nicholas Wilson Two nights before she was bombed, Bari went to a meeting she had organized in Willits with owners of small logging companies "to work out peaceful relations with them. We were being publicly threatened and were trying to establish a rapport and make them understand that we weren't going to sabotage their equipment or direct our protests at them." In early May, Bari had been asked by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to come to their meeting to explain what was going to happen in Redwood Summer. She went to the meeting bringing written death threats she had received, and she displayed and talked about them. Some of the small logging company owners stood up at that meeting and publicly threatened the environmentalists

Jury Begins Fourth Week of Deliberations

by Nicholas Wilson The jury in the Bari vs. FBI civil rights trial finished ten days of deliberations Friday, May 31 without reaching unanimous verdicts on all claims. They recessed for the weekend an hour early after a juror said she felt ill and needed to go home. Deliberations will resume Monday, June 3, which will be the start of their third week. Attorneys on both sides of the case said it was one of the longest jury deliberations in memory. There has been day-by-day speculation that a verdict was imminent, but all have proved incorrect

Police, FBI Call For Mistrial After Rally

by Nicholas Wilson Lawyers for Cherney and Bari vowed to appeal the dismissal, along with earlier decisions by Judge Wilken letting virtually all the FBI higher-ups out of the case, particularly Richard W. Held, chief of the San Francisco FBI office at the time of the bombing. Held was a veteran of the FBI's secret COINTELPRO operations against the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, and the Puerto Rican independence movement

The Case Goes to Jury

by Nicholas Wilson Lawyers for Cherney and Bari vowed to appeal the dismissal, along with earlier decisions by Judge Wilken letting virtually all the FBI higher-ups out of the case, particularly Richard W. Held, chief of the San Francisco FBI office at the time of the bombing. Held was a veteran of the FBI's secret COINTELPRO operations against the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, and the Puerto Rican independence movement

Tony Serra Makes The Case

by Nicholas Wilson As closing arguments began Thursday, May 17, famed San Francisco criminal defense lawyer spoke for Darryl Cherney and the late Judi Bari. He told the story of the bombing and its aftermath eloquently and with great passion, framing the issues and painting the picture in broad strokes, relying on colleagues who came afterwards to fill in the details

Why the Bari Trial is Historic

by Nicholas Wilson Representatives of several member groups of the Judi Bari Solidarity Coalition gathered outside the Federal Courthouse in Oakland May 2 to speak briefly at a post-court press conference in support of Bari and Cherney's civil rights lawsuit against the FBI and Oakland police. They also discussed the larger implications of the suit for civil rights in America

Darryl Cherney Testifies

by Nicholas Wilson Cherney's testimony would range over his personal background, his relationship with Judi Bari, the pair's involvement with Earth First!, their organizing for Redwood Summer, the events immediately preceding the bombing, his recollections of the explosion in Bari's car, his subsequent treatment by police and FBI, and the impact of the sustained police accusations on him, Bari, Redwood Summer, and the Forests Forever ballot initiative. The defense would quiz him about nonviolence, tree spiking, and the songs on his music cassettes. Cherney's testimony had a surprise ending, but it was not the surprise that Cherney had planned

"I Relied On The FBI -- They Were Experts"

by Nicholas Wilson After a pipe bomb under her driver's seat ripped Judi Bari's body on May 24, 1990, key decisions fell on the shoulders of Oakland Police Department (OPD) Sgt. Michael Sitterud. Now retired, Sitterud was a homicide investigator assigned as chief investigator of the incident. When he arrived at the bombing scene he had no idea whether Bari and Darryl Cherney were victims or perpetrators. The FBI quickly steered him to their interpretation of events

Congressional Hearings Target Enviro Activists as "Terrorists"

by Hank Hoffman Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colorado) chairman of the House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health and hearings organizer, has made a fight against eco-terrorism his new crusade. He made waves last fall when he sent a letter, signed by several other Republicans, to eight mainstream environmental groups -- Greenpeace, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice and League of Conservation Voters. Waving the bloody shirt of September 11, he challenged them to "publicly disavow the actions of eco-terrorist organizations" like ELF and ALF

Robert Mueller, Sept. 11 Fall Guy

by David Corn The 9/11 blame game has shifted from the White House to the House that Hoover Built -- the FBI. The top G-man, Robert Mueller III, held a long press conference to announce a dramatic reorganization, in which he acknowledged that the FBI -- which he took over a week before the attacks -- had not effectively handled relevant leads and that it was possible the Bureau might have been able to thwart all or part of Osama bin Laden's Sept. 11 plot had it performed better

Washington Ignoring Economic Meltdown

by Arianna Huffington In the last two years, 433 public companies -- including Enron, Global Crossing, and Kmart -- have declared bankruptcy. Two million Americans have lost their jobs. Four trillion dollars in market value has been lost on Wall Street. And each day brings a fresh, stomach-turning revelation of the rampant corruption infecting corporate America. Despite these ominous flashing red lights, it now appears almost certain that no real reform legislation will come out of Congress before the November elections

John Bolton, Point Man at State Dept for Right Wing

by Ian Williams Jesse Helms, when endorsing his nomination, said, "John Bolton is the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at Armageddon, if it should be my lot to be on hand for what is forecast to be the final battle between good and evil in this world." His statement may well prove ironic. If Bolton has his way, there are serious grounds for thinking that Armageddon is closer than the rest of us would like. Bolton's title has an Orwellian ring to it: Here's an undersecretary of state for disarmament who is pushing for a U.S. armed to its teeth

Sept. 11 Probe Leads To Bush Failures

by Randolph T. Holhut The truth here is pretty simple and clear cut. The Bush administration had specific information from a variety of sources that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda was planning some sort of airplane-based attack on American targets. Nothing was done with the information. Instead of getting the truth, we are getting demagoguery from the Bush administration that's straight from the Nixon playbook: deny and hedge your responses, accuse your critics of being "partisan" or even "disloyal," and change the subject if things start getting too hot. But, as Nixon found out, you can only keep doing these things for so long before the truth eventually breaks through

Philip Morris Threatens Thailand Over Warnings On Cigarette Packs

by Marwaan Macan-Markar An Iraqi analyst said Baghdad has finally woken up to the Bush administration's avowed intention to topple Saddam Hussein and is trying to internationalize its standoff with Washington. "Iraq may have been able to add Arab backing to European opposition to a U.S. attack on the grounds that it would throw the Middle East into turmoil, but Washington feels that ousting Saddam is a goal worth defying world opinion for"

Exodus of Foreigners From India Heightens Nuke Fears

by Ranjit Devraj As the United Nations and major diplomatic missions pack off their non-essential staff and families and advise their citizens to leave here, fearing a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, the reality of the situation is beginning to sink in for residents of the national capital

Hungry Kids Prone to Suicide, Flunking

by Susan S. Lang Researchers found that young people, ages 15 to 16, in homes where there is not always enough to eat, are five times more likely to attempt suicide. They also are four times more likely to suffer from chronic, low-grade depression and are almost twice as likely to have been suspended from school, as well as having more problems getting along with their peers

Burma Dictatorship Releases Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi

by Geov Parrish Like the Taliban before Sept. 11, Burma's military junta practices its tyranny in relative isolation. Neighboring countries deal with (or exploit) its refugees, and western democracies look the other way, preferring to target evil-doers in countries with more interesting spoils to divvy up

Unique Matriarch Society Documented in New Book

by Pam Kosty After years of research among the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra, Indonesia, Anthropologist Peggy Reeves Sanday has accepted that group's own self-labeling, as a "matriarchate," or matriarchy

Burma Watchers Ponder Junta's Reason For Activist's Release

by Marwaan Macan-Markar Burma watchers have been watching a string of unexpected events and statements from Rangoon since early March. The most dramatic was the Mar. 7 arrest of four members of Burma's "untouchable elite" -- the son-in-law and three grandsons of former dictator Gen. Ne Win, who had ruled the country for 26 years

Tanker Oil Spill Decimated Galapagos Iguanas

by Cat Lazaroff The consequences of the spill in the Galapagos World Heritage site had been thought to be relatively mild because strong currents dispersed the oil. About one liter (one quart) of oil came ashore per square meter (1.2 square yards) on Santa Fe, and a few dozen sea lions and sea birds were killed in the region in the immediate aftermath of the accident. But over the following year, the population of iguanas on Santa Fe island fell from about 25,000 to 10,000

Greenspan for Dummies

by James A. Thompson The Chairman suggested that a proper grasp of baseball statistics -- numeric concepts that taught him basic arithmetic when he was younger and were the basis for his legendary statistical acumen -- were the key to financial literacy. I can't help but think of this presentation on financial literacy as the Chairman's "you consumers are a bunch of dummies" speech. "Education," he continued, "can help provide individuals with the financial knowledge necessary to create household budgets, initiate savings plans, manage debt, and make strategic investment decisions for their retirement or their children's education." But really it matters little how financially literate the investor is when our markets are so rife with crooks

How Can I Never Repay You? The CEO Loan Racket

by Arianna Huffington To the ever-growing mountain of evidence that corporate kingpins live in an entirely different world from the rest of us we can now add the latest revelations about the gargantuan loans CEOs receive from their companies. Often the busy CEO need not even dust off his calculator to try and figure out how much it will cost to pay off the umpteen millions he owes the company, as he would with a real loan. That's because CEO loan packages are routinely forgiven -- written off as a corporate expense

U.S. Rejects "Right to Food" Concept at Global Summit

by Hilmi Toros This represents no movement from the declaration at the first summit in Rome six years ago which spoke of "the right of everyone to have access to safe sand nutritious food, consistent with the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger." The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which is hosting the summit says this agreement does not require the State to feed its people, but only that "the State must respect and protect the right of individuals to feed themselves." The U.S. government feared that a firm and formal "right to food" could expose governments to a legal challenge from their hungry

Hello, Help Me Sneak Away my Dishonest Fortune

by Walter M. Brasch I quickly received other emails, most poorly-written, all with a hard-luck story, all with a lot of money to invest. Dennis Odife, claiming to be a manager with the Eco-Bank of Lagos, Nigeria, told me about a German national who died in an air crash and left $35.5 million and no heirs. He knew I was a "reliable person" since he got that information from the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce. All I had to do to earn $7 million was to become a "distant relative" in this matter which, Mr. Odife assured me, was "100% safe and risk-free"

S America Irate Over U.S. Farm Bill

by Raul Pierri The passage of a new farm bill increasing agriculture subsidies by nearly 80 percent in the United States, a self-proclaimed champion of free trade, has unleashed a wave of indignation in South America and Europe

Near Kashmir Border, India Villages Brace for War

by Rahul Bedi Over one million India and Pakistani soldiers stand locked in a stand-off along roughly 2,000 kms of their common frontier that stretches from the Siachen glacier to the burning deserts of western Rajasthan. Troops have been massing along the border since last December's suicide attack on India's parliament that New Delhi blamed on Islamabad

Blame Church Arrogance, Not Society

by Robert Scheer Rather than scapegoat gay men -- or sex outside marriage, pornography, masturbation, short skirts, precocious children, Hollywood films and so on -- the Roman Catholic Church might be best served by reciting the wisdom of Pogo at every vespers: "We have met the enemy and he is us"

Texas GOP Convention Hears The Golden Oldies

by Molly Ivins Texas Republicans are still split between the Christian-right and the "country club Republicans," meaning those who are economic conservatives but more socially liberal than the Christian right -- many even drink. The Christian right theoretically took over the party in 1994, but many of its members feel both betrayed and powerless. Their big win was undermined by Karl Rove, President Bush's political shot-caller. He simply re-routed the big money contributions around the state party and straight to Bush until he had regained control

Bush Handed Over Consumer Protection to Big Industry

by Molly Ivins John Graham said in a recent speech: "There is no grandiose plot to roll back safeguards. This administration is pursuing an agenda of smarter regulation." Ah, smarter regulation; well, that's different. The Journal appends a handy graph showing that on Czar Graham's watch, the Bush administration has rejected rules at the highest rate since President Reagan's first term

Cheney Business Scandal Finally Gets Some Attention

by Molly Ivins Dick Cheney's record at Halliburton is one of the most under-covered stories of the past three years. When you consider all the time and ink spent on Whitewater, the neglect of the Cheney-Halliburton story is unfathomable

Bush Do-Nothing Solution for Global Warming

by Molly Ivins I'm damned if I know what else to say about the news that the Bush administration has decided that global warming is indeed taking place and they are planning to do exactly nothing about it. "Adapt to the inevitable changes?" The changes are not inevitable. The changes, according to scientists, can be mitigated, the effects ameliorated and at the very least we can stop aggravating the potential catastrophe. The First Rule of Holes is that when you are in one, you should stop digging. To keep right on doing what is already causing disastrous consequences is either insane or profoundly stupid

Financial Fraud And Fakery, Part III

by Molly Ivins It is raining evidence these days. The newspaper business sections are turning into the Daily Fraud Update. Deloitte & Touche is now under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for its role in the unpleasant doings at Adelphia, energy CEOs keep biting the dust -- first at CMS, then at Dynegy -- the Arthur Andersen trial in Houston gets more depressing by the day, and corporate evildoers are suddenly ubiquitous. OK, I promise that I'm only going to do this once, but ... we did tell you so

Financial Fraud And Fakery, Part II

by Molly Ivins In case you hadn't noticed, a mentality of crookedness has pretty much taken over many of the advanced reaches of capitalism. Or as The Wall Street Journal noted almost parenthetically on its front page last Thursday, "The failures of Wall Street's compliance efforts are coming under intense scrutiny -- part of a growing awareness of how deeply flawed the U.S. financial markets really are. (Emphasis added)

Financial Fraud And Fakery, Part I

by Molly Ivins The financial industry is so greed-driven it doesn't have the sense God gave a duck. It's always pushing for something ruinous to itself and everybody else, like savings and loan deregulation or doing away with Glass-Steagall, so now insurance companies, securities firms and banks can marry each other. Naturally, they'll be "too big to fail" when they go under, so the taxpayers will have to bail them out

Bush Rightwingers Clueless on Cuba

by Molly Ivins OK, we knew when Bush won the coin toss in 2000 that he was no genius on foreign affairs. Nobody asked him to find Malaysia on a map, but where are his briefers? Where are these great advisers who were going to make up for his lack of knowledge? This was supposed to be the "crack foreign policy team" with all the experience that was going to prevent the foreign-policy impaired president from making an ass of himself. Looks like we need to start with the fundamentals with this team. Peace is better than war. We like peace. We try to promote peace. Peace is good. When Jimmy Carter is down in Cuba jawing with the Old Bearded One (and getting in some great licks for our side), the smart thing would be to seize the chance to make progress

The Predators of Juarez

by Molly Ivins The brave Mexican women who have organized, and protested, and marched, and demonstrated about the murders in Juarez need help. The women in El Paso who have joined them can make contacts and translate. You can reach the Coalition Against Violence Toward Women and Families on the border by e-mail at Is this our fight? More so, I believe, than was even the case with the women of Afghanistan under the Taliban. Until our country's policies changed so radically after Sept. 11, the ability of American women to change anything in Afghanistan was painfully limited. In this case, we have clout. Look at the names on the maquiladoras -- Ford, Alcoa, General Motors, DuPont, Contico

Surreal Views Of Bush And Sharon

by Molly Ivins Assuming Arafat is not himself the head terrorist, as Sharon claims, with what, exactly, is he supposed to do about anything? Sharon has been destroying Arafat's Palestinian Authority piece by piece for months now and has just finished an attack that demolished the last elements. Even assuming he had the will, Arafat has no way. Sharon has put Hamas and Hezbollah in charge. Anyone who is surprised by the result probably thinks Sharon IS a man of peace

Karen Hughes And Women's Choices

by Molly Ivins Everybody gets to have an opinion about Karen Hughes' resignation, as though we were somehow entitled to sit in judgment of her. Feminists supposedly feel (although I haven't been able to find one who does) that Hughes somehow "let down the side" by resigning, as though she had some obligation to prove she could handle a high-profile political career and mom-dom. Anti-feminists supposedly feel great vindication: This proves no one can do it and stay-at-home moms are best

The Bushies' Motto: "We Have No Idea What To Do"

by Molly Ivins It takes no great detective to see the pattern here. Before Sept. 11, Bush's entire foreign policy consisted of being Not Clinton. If Clinton was for something, Bush was against it, and vice versa. This did not, you may have noticed, lead to an effective foreign policy

Nuclear Weapons and Media Fog

by Norman Solomon When it comes to nuclear weapons, the mainstream American press has scant emotional range or professional zeal to scrutinize the progression of atomic perils. From the start of the nuclear era, each man in the Oval Office has carefully attended to public relations, with major media rarely questioning the proclaimed humanitarian goals

Press Learned Few Lessons From Watergate

by Norman Solomon 30 years have passed since Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein began to cover the Watergate story. The investigative journalism that they did back then still stands out as exceptional. Unfortunately

Threat of Nuclear Horror Contrast to Hyped "War on Terror"

by Norman Solomon By now, America's "war on terrorism" often seems to be a war of narcissism. The world view is so extremely self-engrossed -- and so widely accepted by news media -- that the movers and shakers of the Fourth Estate usually don't bat an eye even when rationales get positively loopy

Media Strategy Memo to George, Dick, and John

by Norman Solomon The main thing is, stay on message. Change the subject whenever necessary. At this point, do FDR one better: The only thing to fear is not enough fear. When in doubt, scare the stuffing out of the public. Especially if fearful, they want father figures running the show in Washington, protecting and defending

The Case of the 9-11 Photo

by Norman Solomon Unhappy that the Republicans are marketing the set of 9-11 photos for a minimal $150 contribution, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd complained bitterly: "With all the class of a 1:30AM infomercial for an electronic ab stimulator, the GOP pitched donors, for a bargain price, a pictorial triptych of W.'s 'defining moments.'" But much of the media backlash seems due to sentiment that exploitation of Sept. 11 should be less tacky and more subtle. The photo fund-raising gambit lacks the sort of propagandistic refinement that graces numerous Bush speeches, which continue to gain Democratic nods and media plaudits while invoking 9-11 to back up visions of an ever-mightier Pentagon as a pivotal solution to the world's problems

From Barbie To Botox

by Norman Solomon Large amounts of dollars pour in from advertisers hell-bent on stoking women's unhappiness with their bodies and promising relief if only the female is willing to part with some cash. Meanwhile, media outlets rarely challenge the unspoken assumptions and manipulations behind advertising

Is it Anti-Semitic to Criticize Israel?

by Alexander Cockburn Over the past 20 years, I've learned there's a quick way of figuring just how badly Israel is behaving. There's a brisk uptick in the number of articles here by Jews accusing the left of anti-Semitism

Don't Forget U.S. Was Bioweapon Pioneer

by Alexander Cockburn The towns of Savannah, Ga., and Avon Park, Fla., were targets of repeated army bio-weapons experiments in 1956 and 1957. Army Chemical and Biological Warfare (CBW) researchers released millions of mosquitoes on the two towns in order to test the ability of insects to carry and deliver dengue and yellow fever. Hundreds fell ill with fevers, respiratory distress, still births and encephalitis. Several died. This was the high tide of secret experiments by government agencies on unsuspecting or coerced human guinea pigs, otherwise known as citizens of the United States

Greens as "Spoilers," Already?

by Alexander Cockburn Minnesota liberals are now screaming about "the spoiler," who takes the form of Ed McGaa, a Sioux born on the Pine Ridge Reservation, a Marine Corps vet of the wars in both Korea and Vietnam, an attorney and the author of numerous books on Native American religion. The Minnesota Green Party picked him as its candidate on May 18 at a convention of some 600, a lively affair in which real politics actually took place in the form of debates, resolutions, nomination fights and the kindred impedimenta of democracy

Bread, Coffee, Beer

by Alexander Cockburn I like to remind the younger crowd of some of the less-trumpeted legacies of the Sixties. Better food. Better bread. The visionary radical hippies had a lot to do with that, touting organic food and the grains that now find their way into the health pages of the Sunday papers

Sharon's Final Solution For Palestine

by Alexander Cockburn According to Van Creveld, Sharon's plan is to drive two million Palestinians across the Jordan using the pretext of a U.S. attack on Iraq or a terrorist strike in Israel. This could trigger a vast mobilization to clear the occupied territories of their two million Arabs

Dick Armey Tells Palestinians: Get Out

by Alexander Cockburn Armey said flatly that the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel -- in East Jerusalem, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- are Israel. Palestinians living in the West Bank should be removed

Bush's Wag-the-Dog Policy on Iraq

by Robert Scheer The attempt to blame Sept. 11 on both a fanatic Muslim, Osama bin Laden, and the secular Hussein, never made much sense. As Saudi Arabia's former chief of intelligence, Prince Turki bin Faisal, put it, Bin Laden viewed Hussein "as an apostate, an infidel, or someone who is not worthy of being a fellow Muslim." Moreover, the hijackers were not from Iraq nor did the money trail lead to Baghdad. Instead, investigators found a cash highway emerging from the wealthy fundamentalists of Saudi Arabia

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