default.html Issue 103
Table of Contents

The Top Censored Stories of 2001 & 2002

by Peter Phillips and Project Censored Washington sex scandals, celebrity exposes, gruesome murders, schoolyard attacks, gangs, crime, corruption, and conspicuous consumption fill the airwaves and newspapers. Media representatives say they need to protect their bottom-line, and that these types of news stories increase ratings. Corporate media seem to have abdicated their First Amendment responsibility to keep the public informed

Welcome to my Nightmare

by Clarence Brown No one knows what is happening in the world. Planes fly over. Whose? The water runs for only an hour a day. One thing is sure. Iraq is no longer a threat to world peace. Saddam had himself photographed in the Oval Office, wearing his idiotic Homburg and sporting an automatic weapon

Bush Ends UNESCO Boycott Started by Reagan

by Jim Lobe Bush's unexpected announcement Sept. 12 that the United States will rejoin the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) ends an 18-year U.S. boycott of the Paris-based agency that was initiated by his closest spiritual predecessor, former President Ronald Reagan. Opposition to UNESCO still exists, but it is confined primarily to the Christian Right which, although influential in the Republican-led House, is more inclined to save its political ammunition for other foreign-policy debates.

Oil and the Permanent War

by Lucy Komisar Oil's critical role in global hot spots is not usually acknowledged by governments. They prefer to speak about defending liberty, not economic interests. But it was a subject at a private gathering of American and European business people, diplomats, journalists and scholars in Divonne, France, this spring. There, at Forum 21, an annual event organized by two Americans, Paul and Abby Hirsch Weinstein, one could hear the subtexts of the disputes roiling the globe. Among them, the frank comments of two oilmen and a Kuwaiti policy analyst were trenchant and enlightening

Bush Not Following Rules on Colombia Aid Set by Congress

by Jim Lobe Bush is ignoring conditions that Congress placed last year on $100 million in military aid to Colombia, say three prominent U.S. human rights groups

Coffee Workers Face Ruin as Market Collapses

by Sanjay Suri Oxfam says 25 million coffee farmers in 45 countries are facing economic ruin, and many are going hungry because of collapsing world coffee prices. Oxfam's global campaign aims to force corporate giants who dominate the $60 billion industry to pay a better price. Oxfam's campaign is particularly targeting the largest four companies -- Kraft, Nestle, Sara Lee and Procter & Gamble -- who buy nearly half the world's coffee crop

Post-Sept. 11 Military Deals Result in China Encircled

by Rahul Bedi Through a complex web of alliances, ostensibly to fight the scourge of terrorism, backed by economic sops and clever strategic agreements, the world's lone superpower has manoeuvred not only to exploit the Central Asian republics' vast energy resources, but also to encircle China, its potential economic and military rival

Arafat Power Base Eroding -- Which May Be Good For Palestine

by N Janardhan Many believe that given the present mood, change certainly lies ahead. For more than 30 years, Palestinian leader Arafat has dreamt of being the first president of a Palestinian state, and is unlikely to give that up even if he has to make a few compromises. He remains the dominant figure in Palestinian politics and so far, no leading politician has declared readiness to challenge him. But critics say that if Arafat ignores the writing on the wall, he will be inviting further erosion of his popularity and power, and fueling further calls for his resignation

Sparks Fly at Hearing on Bush Fire Plan

by Cat Lazaroff Under the Bush plan, most forest thinning and restoration projects performed in the name of fire management would be exempted from the public and environmental reviews now required by federal law. The Bush plan would also authorize long term stewardship contracts, under which logging companies would perform forest thinning and restoration projects in exchange for access to federal timber

ICC Unlikely to Touch Military Environmental Crime

The International Criminal Court is not likely to prosecute environmental crimes due to military actions, a new report prepared for the U.S. Army Environmental Policy Institute concludes. It examines the possibilities of environmental damage during military action becoming a criminal liability for military personnel and/or their contractors before the newly formed International Criminal Court (ICC)

Israel Taxes Humanitarian Aid to Palestine, UN Says

by Thalif Deen United Nations has accused Israel of imposing arbitrary taxes on humanitarian relief supplies -- including food and medicine -- being ferried to Palestinians in occupied territories. The levies charged by Israel were "unreasonable and unique," Peter Hansen, commissioner general of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees, told a meeting of donors

Palestinian Town Faces Collapse as Israeli Siege Wears On

by Kevin Mohan International organizations, operating in conjunction with the Nablus Food Emergency Committee Warehouse, are trying desperately to offer relief. Yet, curfews and closures maintained by Israeli military operations over this northern West Bank city continue to severely intensify the hunger struggle. The complete lockdown of Nablus has taken this problem to a boiling point by preventing employees from reaching jobs even within the city limits. "For over 80 days now, Nablus has faced continuous curfew with only small interruptions"

Sept. 11 Made Life Harder For Palestinians

by Ferry Biedermann Palestinians widely believe that the government of Ariel Sharon received a 'green light' from the Bush administration to deal firmly with the Palestinians mainly because of the events of September 11. "The U.S. was desperately looking for allies in its fight against terrorism and Israel has always been a strategic ally," says Abu Amr. "Sharon pretty much has a free hand to do as he likes now"

Bush Shifts Farther Right For Iraq War Rationale

by Emad Mekay "It may be excusable as a fantasy of some Israelis reacting to the trauma of the Second Intifada. As American policy, however, it crosses the line between neo-conservative and neo-crazy," said Anthony Cordesman, a Mideast specialist at the conservative Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He was speaking about the latest rationale offered with increasing insistence by forces both within the administration of President George W. Bush and outside it for invading Iraq: the notion that ousting President Saddam Hussein would result in a flourishing of democracy, not just in Iraq but through the entire Middle East

Bush Shifts Farther Right For Iraq War Rationale

by Jim Lobe "It may be excusable as a fantasy of some Israelis reacting to the trauma of the Second Intifada. As American policy, however, it crosses the line between neo-conservative and neo-crazy," said Anthony Cordesman, a Mideast specialist at the conservative Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He was speaking about the latest rationale offered with increasing insistence by forces both within the administration of President George W. Bush and outside it for invading Iraq: the notion that ousting President Saddam Hussein would result in a flourishing of democracy, not just in Iraq but through the entire Middle East

Bush Forces Rush Decision on Iraq War

by Jim Lobe Despite the stakes, Congress has given itself very little time to consider the full implications of whatever decision it makes

Bush Ultra-Hawks May Have Overplayed Iraq Bluster

by Jim Lobe The most visible sign that the hawks may have lost momentum came last week when the White House announced that Bush will seek formal Congressional authorization for an invasion of Iraq. The announcement seemed to pull the rug out from under Vice President Dick Cheney, who only a few days before, said Bush saw no need for Congressional action before a military attack

Barbara Lee Was Right

by Randolph T. Holhut In its haste to be seen as good, red-blooded patriotic Americans, Congress gave President Bush the power to wage a war that has no geographic limits, no clearly defined enemies, no clearly defined goals and no clear beginning or end. But too few people voiced this opinion last September and those who did were effectively drowned out in the flag-waving, hyper-patriotic fervor after the attacks. Eleven months later, Lee now looks like a visionary as the Bush administration plans for a war wider than any sane person would have imagined last fall

How America's Really Changed Since Sept. 11

by Randolph T. Holhut The nine months before the Sept. 11 attacks were marked by the Bush administration snubbing the world as they rejected or refused to take action on more international agreements than any administration in memory. There was no reexamination of U.S. foreign policy after Sept. 11, starting with considering the reasons why America is so hated and mistrusted by the rest of the world. Or why was so much energy devoted to building an anti-ballistic missile system when 19 guys with box cutters and razor blades turned four jetliners into suicide bombs. Or why we stopped caring about the Mideast peace process until it was too late to avert a bloodbath?

Pinochet's Feared Covert Squad Reactivated, Rights Groups Say

by Gustavo Gonzalez According to human rights activists, the Comando Conjunto has been revived to help block legal action in the courts against security agents accused of human rights abuses during Pinochet's 1973-90 regime

Farm Bill Hurts Everyone Except Big Agribusiness, Report Says

by Emad Mekay With help from institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), Third World countries are forced to open their markets to U.S. agricultural exports. With the farm bill depressing prices to below the cost of production, those firms can out-compete local farmers at the marketplace. The result is dumping of subsidized imports on Third World countries, which collapses local agricultural markets and destroys the livelihoods of family farmers, while exacerbating hunger and food insecurity, says the report

Tobacco Companies Targeted Asian-Americans

by Bob Burton Tobacco company strategies included emphasis on "Asian-owned stores, direct marketing of specific cigarette brands through community cultural events, youth-orientated promotions, and corporate sponsorship"

Japan - N Korea Breakthrough Upsets Bush Hawks

by Jim Lobe The historic breakthrough achieved by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's unprecedented trip to North Korea yesterday may cause new tensions in the Bush administration. Senior State Department officials have been urging Washington for months to send an envoy to Pyongyang to begin a serious dialogue. But such a move has been blocked by hawks in the Pentagon and Vice President Dick Cheney's office, especially since last January's State of the Union speech, when President George W. Bush lumped North Korea in with Iraq and Iran as an "axis of evil"

The Boom or Bush Cycle

by Robert Scheer The Bushes are, as a matter of breeding, terminally irresponsible. And while being a loose cannon can sometimes be useful in making war, it is stability and pragmatism that breed prosperity. The Bushes' contempt for government regulation of capitalism has allowed corporate piracy to drive the nation toward financial ruin. The American public now stares in disbelief as our infamous boom-Bush cycle wreaks havoc on its retirement plans and endangers its jobs. Meanwhile, yet another President George seeks to distract us with patriotic-sounding gibberish

Bush Jumps the Gun With Preemptive Strikes

by Robert Scheer Bush's haste to make war on Iraq is understandable only as a ploy to avoid dealing with the struggling U.S. economy, a still-shadowy Al Qaeda leadership that has not been brought to heel yet and the alarming disintegration of the Mideast peace process. There simply is no evidence that Iraq had anything to do with the tragedy that has so traumatized this nation. Why then a sudden policy shift threatening preemptive strikes against any nation producing weapons of mass destruction when advanced weaponry played no role in our troubles?

Dick Cheney's Nightmare of Peace

by Robert Scheer In one fantasy, he leads a victorious U.S. Army to a hero's welcome through the crowded streets of Baghdad, cheered wildly for having been the most outspoken proponent of war against Saddam Hussein. In his nightmares, meanwhile, he is led off in handcuffs, accused of crimes committed while CEO of Halliburton

Business Is Safe but Baseball Strikes Out

by Robert Scheer Isn't it odd that Bush's statement that he would be "furious" at a baseball strike is far more passionate a response than his smug nonchalance over Enron and other corporations profiteering during the California energy crisis last year?

Bin Laden: a Known Monster Before Sept. 11

by Robert Scheer Some have suggested that the Bush administration was starting to wake up to the threat of Al Qaeda, but we'll never know now. What we do know is that in the last year the deaths of Sept. 11 have been used over and over again as a rationale for eroding the Constitution, reorganizing the federal government and launching a preemptive, unilateral strike against a nation not implicated in the attacks

Pakistan - U.S. "War on Terror" Alliance Falling Apart

by Mushahid Hussain Musharraf's arrival in the United States was heralded by two public expositions of U.S. concerns: one, an official statement criticizing the military government in Islamabad and the other, reports that al-Qaeda presence is growing in Pakistan

French Corp Giants Push for Water Takeover

by Julio Godoy Two major French private companies, Vivendi and Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, are part of the driving force behind the controversial privatization of water worldwide, according to the firms' own figures.

One Year After 9/11, Pakistan's Religious Schools Unchanged

by Jim Lobe Reform efforts today have been complicated by western pressure on reforming madrasah due to the view that they encourage militancy. Sensing foreign and western forces behind current reforms, the religious lobby here is digging in

As U.S. Attention Turns to Iraq, Afghanistan Slides Toward Chaos

by Jim Lobe  The foiled assassination attempt Sept. 5 against Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and blasts in the capital Kabul that reportedly killed at least 10 people give weight to critics of Bush's apparent determination to go to war against Baghdad who say Washington should consolidate its victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan before moving on to other military adventures

Israel Threatens War With Lebanon Over Water Project

by N Janardhan Israel opposes Lebanon's plans to divert to around 20 southern villages the waters of the Wazzani -- a tributary of the Hasbani River -- that flows from Lebanon into the Sea of Galilee, Israel's main source of drinking water. The situation is explosive also due to the presence in the religion of the Shiite Muslim resistance force Hezbollah, largely credited with forcing Israel out of south Lebanon in May 2000 after a 22-year occupation. The Israeli army has been monitoring the project, notably after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned a week ago that Israel could go to war over the issue. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres described Lebanon's project as an "unnecessary provocation"

Saudi Royals On Tightrope Between Islamists, Moderates

by N Janardhan The Saudi royal family is weathering the biggest challenge to its rule since it founded the kingdom about 70 years ago. But the task is harder without a definite roadmap to guide it through the post-Sept. 11 pressure aimed at diluting the influence of the puritan Wahabism brand of Islam in daily life. Today, the country where Islam emerged 14 centuries ago and houses the holy sites of Mecca and Medina is struggling to curb militancy without confronting the religious powerhouses or inviting the wrath of the public, especially after it transpired that 15 of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11 were Saudi nationals

Ethics Showdown Over GM Seed Focus on Africa

by Anthony Stoppard Most African governments have resisted accepting genetically modified crops -- including those that are facing widespread famine. There are also a number of non-governmental organizations at the summit who are campaigning hard against the use of genetically modified organisms. BioWatch South Africa -- a non-governmental organization -- warns that the use of genetically modified crops will make small African farmers dependent on expensive seeds and chemicals developed by large international companiesvc

2 is Orange but Two is Blue

by David F. Salisbury For nearly 300 years, people who claimed to hear colors, feel sounds or taste shapes risked being dismissed as having overactive imaginations. Last year, however, several scientific studies of this rare condition produced compelling evidence that it is a genuine perceptual phenomenon

Countries Used Sept. 11 as Excuse to Censor Internet

by Julio Godoy In Germany the argument of a "terrorist threat" has been used by the government of Gerhard Schroeder to pass "security laws" that go beyond the country's needs and restrict the freedom of electronic exchange of information, the report says. Other European countries such as Spain, Denmark, France and Italy have also adopted exaggerated security measures that restrict freedom of communication and information through the Internet, the report says

Zimbabwe Gives White Farmers One Week Eviction Notice

by Lewis Machipisa A new law, which was hurried through parliament this week, will make it easy for the government of President Robert Mugabe to seize land from white farmers

Future Looks Rosy, Oil Industry Says

by Mario Osava Demand for petroleum will grow an average of 1.9 percent annually until 2020, when this fuel will still make up 40 percent of the global energy matrix. These projections appear to confirm the lost ground of environmentalists who have been pushing for renewable energy over the use of fossil fuels. Efforts to obtain timetables for reducing dependency on oil were soundly defeated at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which closed yesterday in the South African city of Johannesburg

The Bush Gang Dreams of Empire

by Randolph T. Holhut It's now official. The United States now reserves the right to attack any nation at any time for any reason. The plan is actually a reprise of an earlier strategic proposal drawn up for the Pentagon by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Cheney's chief of staff Lewis Libby in the early 1990s. That plan envisioned a world where the guiding principle of U.S. foreign policy is establishing permanent U.S. dominance over the Persian Gulf region and any other part of the world where U.S. interests lie

Bush Plays the Old Shell Game

by Molly Ivins Nothing like a lot of distracting saber-rattling to get you to take your eyes off the shell with the pea under it

The Sickness of Infectious Greed

by Molly Ivins The most commonly asked political question in America today is, "Where the hell are the Democrats?" The answer is they're also corrupted by campaign financing, but since they are the only ones likely to do anything about this mess, I suggest the gutless wonders that pass for an opposition party in Washington get up off their fat duffs and get to work

The Creepy Bush Plan for World Domination

by Molly Ivins All the experts tell us anti-Americanism thrives on the perception that we are arrogant, that we care nothing for what the rest of the world thinks. Even our innocent mistakes are often blamed on obnoxious triumphalism. The announced plan of this administration for world domination reinforces every paranoid, anti-American prejudice on this earth. This plan is guaranteed to produce more terrorists. Even if this country were to become some insane, 21st century version of Sparta -- armed to teeth, guards on every foot of our borders -- we would still not be safe. Have the Israelis been able to stop terrorism with their tactics?

Fearless Leader Won't be Deterred

by Molly Ivins If you step back and look at this debate, it just gets stranger and stranger. For one thing, all the evidence is that the administration has already made up its mind and we're going into Iraq this winter. President Bush went to the United Nations and demanded they back him, he's going to Congress to demand they back him, and there it is. This is not a debate, it's Bush in his "You're either with us or against us" mode. It is not a discussion of whether invading Iraq is either necessary or wise

Billie Carr, Godmother of Texas Liberals

by Molly Ivins I love Texas, but it is a nasty old rawhide mother in the way it bears down on the people who have the fewest defenses. Not many can claim a better record for justice and freedom -- Billie Carr was there for the workers and the unions, she was there for the African-Americans, she was there for the Hispanics, she was there for the women, she was there for the gays. And this wasn't all high-minded or we-should-all-be-kinder-to-one another. This was tough, down, gritty, political trench warfare -- money against people. She bulled her way to the table of power, and then she used that place to get everybody else there, too. If you ain't ready to sweat, and you ain't smart enough to deal, you can't play in her league

Bankrupcy Bill Reveals a Corrupt Congress

by Molly Ivins Congress is on the verge of taking a final vote on the bankruptcy bill, the product of a five-year effort by credit-card companies to stack the law in their favor and against average citizens. But you will be relieved to learn that our lawmakers have thoughtfully included a loophole that leaves six states, including Florida and Texas, free to continue providing extraordinary advantages to rich citizens from all over the country who need to shelter their gelt from bankruptcy proceedings. The millionaire protection amendment

What People Power Looks Like

by Molly Ivins If you've forgotten what people power looks like, go to an IAF rally. Democracy only works if people work at it, and these folks do. It's actually a grand thing to see politicians forced to answer questions specifically -- no ducking, dodging or bull. Do you support us on this issue, yes or no? Will you work with us on it, yes or no?

Cheney's Scam

by Molly Ivins So if Saddam is "the world's worst leader," how come Cheney sold him the equipment to get his dilapidated oil fields up and running so he to could afford to build weapons of mass destruction?

Public Relations on a Grand Scale

by Molly Ivins As the U.S. distinguishes itself by being by being all-but-absent from the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, Africa, --- we sent a "low-level" delegation --- of course we are reminded of the words of our peerless leader on the subject of global warming: "We'll get used to it," said Bush

Media Snoozed, Bush Jogged

by Molly Ivins The media have achieved such a perfect he-said/she-said knot of confusion on the story of Bush and Harken energy, it would be a wonder if the public ever gets any of it straight. Even though the Center for Public Integrity has posted the relevant documents from Harken on its Web site, the news has been buried under a scrum of pundits shouting, "It's old news" or "Is not, it's new news." All I can say is, if Slick Willie Clinton had ever eeled out from under information like this, Rush Limbaugh would've had a heart attack

What If We Didn't Need Labor Day?

by Norman Solomon If media outlets can keep us so closely informed about stock prices every day, they could also keep us posted on exactly which industrial workplaces are killing and injuring America's workers. Much of the toll is less than obvious: Researchers have found that for each American killed by a workplace injury, nearly 10 job-related deaths occur due to disease

Determined Journalists Can Challenge Injustice

by Norman Solomon In a documentary called "Deadly Decisions," from American RadioWorks, correspondent Alan Berlow found that "jurors may be influenced by their own fears and prejudices when they sentence people to death." Meticulously researched, the special report devoted a full hour to scrutinizing what happens under the surface of official accounts, easy narratives and quick soundbites. The result was exemplary journalism that explained how people can be put to death by a legal system that's theoretically equitable but functionally skewed against defendants without white skin or financial resources. Combining well-ordered factual information and vivid interviews (see, the "Deadly Decisions" report built a logical case for some very disturbing conclusions

Spinning Media Gears for a Faraway War

by Norman Solomon Now, as with years of sanctions, top officials in Washington -- making a "very hard choice" for all-out war -- evidently figure "the price is worth it." Geopolitical talk and strategic analyses dominate media coverage, while moral dimensions get short shrift

Baghdad, Autumn 2002: City of Doom

by Norman Solomon Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz described the box that Washington has meticulously constructed for Iraq, he put it this way: "Doomed if you do, doomed if you don't"

Don't Mistake Colin Powell for Peacenik

by Norman Solomon Powell's "moderate" approach is in sync with the outlook of Fareed Zakaria, former managing editor of the elite periodical Foreign Affairs, who shares Powell's interest in urging the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq -- a good PR step in the quest for a confrontation leading to war

Bush Forest Plan: Log it All

by Alexander Cockburn In the name of fire prevention, Bush wants to OK the timber industry to log off more than 2.5 million acres of federal forest over the next 10 years. He wants it done quickly and without any interference from pesky statutes such as the Endangered Species Act. Bush called his plan "the Healthy Forests Initiative." But it's nothing more than a giveaway to big timber that comes at a high price to the taxpayer and forest ecosystems

A Year of the War on Terror

by Alexander Cockburn The terrorists in those planes a year ago nourished specific grievances, all available for study in the speeches and messages of Osama bin Laden. They wanted U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia. They saw the United States as Israel's prime backer and financier in the oppression of Palestinians. They railed against the sanctions grinding down upon the civilian population of Iraq

An Entire Class of Thieves

by Alexander Cockburn The scale of looting? Prodigious. This orgy of thievery, without parallel in the history of capitalism, was condoned and abetted year after year by the archbishop of our economy, Alan Greenspan, a man with a finely honed sense of distinction between the scale of reproof merited by the very rich and those less powerful. When Ron Carey led the Teamsters to victory in 1997, Greenspan rushed to denounce the "inflationary" potential of modestly improved wage packets. Even though declared innocent by a jury of his peers, Carey was forbidden ever to run in a union election again. Where are the sermons from Greenspan about the inflationary potential of stock-option fortunes lofted on the hot air of crooked accountancy and kindred conspiracies?

Bush Should Worry About Greenspan, Not Saddam

by Alexander Cockburn Now the economic horizon is darker by far than you'd ever guess from the pundits. Sure, we've had the implosion of the telecoms, the humiliation of the mightiest corporate names of the Bubble years, World.Com, Enron, Qwest, but the problems run far deeper than the chasm between "pro forma" balance sheets issued to lure investors and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, used for later filings with the SEC

The Most Dangerous Man in Washington

by Alexander Cockburn The Defense Secretary is currently trying to get the Pentagon greater authority to carry out covert ops. He also wants Congress to agree to have a new undersecretary of defense, responsible for all intelligence matters. A defense undersecretary may soon be able to target YOU, (or the anti-war couple in the apartment next door), bug your phone and computer, burglarize the place, grab you, stick you in prison and let you rot. All legally. That's what we call military government

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