default.html Issue 119
Table of Contents

School Sports Don't Keep Kids Away From Tobacco

by Aaron Levin High school athletes smoke only slightly less than their inactive classmates, but use snuff or chewing tobacco more often, says a study drawn from a national survey of American adolescents

Attacks On Iraq Pipelines Keep Oil From Flowing

by Richard Giragosian There are generally two types of these attacks: the first comprising a general looting and plundering of the oil infrastructure, including fields, pumping stations, pipelines, and refineries. In this first category, elements of organized (and unorganized) crime are involved, as demonstrated with the seizure of a barge carrying 1,000 tons of stolen Iraqi oil. Smugglers are typically shipping oil to Iran, which then re-flags and re-exports it. The second type of attacks is a much more serious threat and comes from the real insurgency, comprising members of the opposition, including Ba'ath or radical Sunni groups like Ansar al-Islam, and fringe Al-Qaeda elements

The War President

by Jack Random Undaunted and eager to secure his legacy, the president will be in search of war. The search will begin where the staff has already been planted: The Middle East. Those of us who have listened carefully have come to realize that when he speaks of terrorist ties in Iraq he is no longer summoning Al Qaeda (perhaps he never was). Rather, he is speaking of Hezbollah, the Lebanese organization most prominently known for its efforts to free Palestine from Israeli occupation. Regardless of how one assesses the organization, expanding the war on terrorism to include Hezbollah would engage the entire Arab and Islamic worlds, beginning with Syria, Lebanon and Iran. Saudi Arabia would be forced to take sides: Us or them?

Kevin Cooper Rejects Execution Rituals As He Awaits Death

by Dennis Bernstein, Leslie Kean Kevin Cooper, who is to be executed on Feb. 10, says choosing to make a life for himself on death row was the hardest decision he ever made. Cooper, who has maintained his innocence throughout his 20-year ordeal, will be taken to San Quentin's death chamber and strapped to a gurney. A doctor, who has sworn an oath to save lives, will participate in the clinical poisoning of a black man who, by all accounts, has used his decades on death row to educate himself, growing from a poorly educated street kid to a well- informed, free-thinking human being

Sick Nuclear Weapons Workers Overwhelm Energy Department

by J.R. Pegg The U.S. Energy Department predicts it will take at least three years to process all the claims of workers exposed to radioactive contamination while building atomic weapons for the government

Bomb Attacks On Kurds Add To Fear Of Civil War

by Hilmi Toros The attacks came following reports that Kurd groups had helped the United States get Saddam Hussein. They come also at a time of ferment in the 'Kurdish question' that has been dogging the region for decades

Bush Was Behind 2002 Coup Attempt, Venezuela President Says

by Humberto Marquez 'The Bush administration sees Chavez as a man put in power by democracy, who in this electoral year they can touch, but not move much, because he is standing over a goldmine of petroleum'

U.S. Media Censorship "Rampant," Top Broadcaster Says

by Gorill Hus and Guri Wiggen Self-censorship is a particular problem because of the "myth of neutrality" that surrounds Western media. "When you declare yourself neutral, everybody else seems biased," Pilger says. "But as seen in the Iraq coverage and elsewhere, journalists very often assume the culture of the media institution and all its unwritten restrictions"

Sharp Rise In Suicides By U.S. Soldiers In Iraq

The overall suicide rate among U.S. soldiers in occupied Iraq is running at an average of 13.5 per 100,000 troops -- a rate considered abnormally high -- while one in every five soldiers will suffer from chronic distress in the future, U.S. military psychiatrists

Protests Planned for March 20 Anniversary Of Invasion

by Marwaan Macan-Markar and Ranjit Devraj The March 20 protests promise to be among the largest mobilizations of public groups and citizens since the February 2003 protests by anti-war campaigners that lasted over two days and were held in 600 cities and towns around the world

Kuwait Invites In Carpetbaggers

by Sanjay Suri Kuwait has been preparing the passage to Iraq for several months now. It has passed laws to allow 100 percent owned operations of foreign banks to set up in Kuwait. Foreign companies have been invited to set up fully owned units with a ten-year tax holiday

Al-Sistani Views Represent Iraq Mainstream

by Charles Recknagel Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has emerged as a pivotal figure in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq by demanding direct elections prior to the formation of a sovereign government. Yet even as he dominates the headlines, al-Sistani remains a reclusive personality whose views on most subjects are poorly understood outside his community

A New Nuclear Proliferation

by Robert Jensen The old arms race between the former Soviet Union and the United States may be over, but has the United States -- the nuclear giant of the world, and hence the nation in the strongest position to take a leadership role -- acted in good faith to eliminate its own nuclear weapons and encourage others to do the same?

Bush's Nuclear Hypocrisy

by Thalif Deen Bush seems committed to writing a new chapter in the saga of U.S. nuclear policy: Do as we say, not as we do, claiming the right to proclaim which nations have a holy right to nuclear weapons, and which nations would be guilty of a terrible sin by acquiring nuclear weapons

Intrigue Deepens Over Pakistan's "Pardon" Of Atomic Expert

by Praful Bidwai Washington intelligence agencies have long known the Pakistan government was implicated in the clandestine commerce, but Musharraf is a far too valuable ally at the moment to be compromised. It needs him both for its Afghanistan operation and as a potential leader of a moderate Islamic state at a strategic location. Washington is driven more by its short-term tactical needs than the truth

Rich Nations Shun African Peacekeeping

by Thalif Deen The bulk of non-African troops in peacekeeping operations in Africa come from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Most of the western nations have been reluctant to provide peacekeepers for African missions

Pentagon Preparing For Crisis After Climate Collapse

by Stephen Leahy Growing scientific evidence of faster than imagined climate change means the United States needs to begin planning how to repel waves of hungry environmental refugees from Mexico, South America and the Caribbean, according to a Pentagon report

ANWR Oil Drilling Back On The Table In New Bush Budget

by J.R. Pegg The White House has again asked the U.S. Congress to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and use the profits to increase funding for renewable energy programs

Iraqis Don't Need More Propaganda

by Mark Leonard and Rouzbeh Pirouz Last May the Iraqi people celebrated the end of Saddam Hussein's stranglehold over what they saw and heard through the media. However, Washington's controlling attitude to broadcasting in the region has left many Iraqis feeling that U.S. commitments to free speech are more rhetoric than reality

Media Coverage Has Little Influence On Trial Outcomes, Book Says

by Mark Floyd Despite the growing news media fascination with murder and other high-profile trials, a new study has found that pre-trial publicity - and ongoing trial coverage - has little or no influence on the final verdict

S America Ecosystems Under Siege By Alien Invaders

by Yensi Rivero The illegal introduction and dispersion of exotic species caused by careless handling is a serious problem in Latin America and the Caribbean

U.S. Military Can't Defeat Iraq Suicide Bombers

by Franz Schurmann The recent spate of suicide bombings in Iraq shows that this horrific tactic will be a fixture in the "endless war" between the United States and Islamic extremists

Bush Appoints Right-Wing Activist To Co-Chair Iraq Intel Commission

by Jim Lobe Bush's choice to co-chair his commission to investigate intelligence failures prior to the Iraq War is a long-time, right wing political activist closely tied to the neo-conservative network that led the pro-war propaganda campaign

The Bush Brain Trust

by Jim Lobe Most analysts see three main components to the coalition behind Bush's aggressive foreign policy -- right-wing militarists, of whom Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is the exemplar; neo-conservatives, led by former Defense Policy Board (DPB) chairman Richard Perle, whose worldview is similar to that of Israel's Likud Party; and Christian Right forces whose leaders are influential with Bush's political guru, Karl Rove. While these forces are often depicted in the abstract, they constitute a network of flesh-and-blood people who have worked together closely and openly -- both in and out of government -- for more than 30 years in some cases

Mexico Issues Report Critical Of Zapatista Rule In Chiapas

by Diego Cevallos A new report by the government of Vicente Fox accuses the group of using authoritarian methods, harassing opponents, trafficking drugs, arms and undocumented immigrants, and illegally levying taxes

Iran In Political Turmoil, But Improved Ties With Neighbors

by Peyman Pejman Although Iran is facing political turmoil inside the country, its relationship with Persian Gulf and Middle Eastern countries has never been better since clerics ended 2,500 years of monarchy in 1979

"We Were Wrong" Is Start, Not End Of The Inquiry

by Molly Ivins Neither the Bush administration nor the Democrats seem much interested in getting to the bottom of why American intelligence was so bad on Iraq. The 'everybody was wrong' excuse does nothing to restore confidence in our intelligence

Give This Woman A Medal, Not Jail Time

by Molly Ivins Katharine Gun faces two years in prison for revealing that the NSA tried - and succeeded - in getting the Brits to help us with illegal spying operations at the United Nations

Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac's Big-Time Mess

by Molly Ivins What we have here is the same thing that happened after the famous S&L deregulation in the 1980s -- privatized profit and socialized risk. You may recall that little adventure in deregulation -- the universal panacea according to the right -- cost the taxpayers half a trillion dollars

A Heaping Plate Of Bait And Switch

by Molly Ivins So here we are in the middle of an outsourcing, off-shoring, downsizing economy, full of temps and part-timers. The CEOs have increased their own salaries by tens of millions of dollars while cutting benefits for the workers. So what is our only president doing about it? He's come out for a constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage

Demos Owe Howard Dean Big Thanks

by Molly Ivins What was so scary about Howard Dean? Could it be because he (and some very bright young people who worked with him) found this way to raise real money in small amounts from regular people, and that just threatened the hell out of a lot of big corporate special interests?

Let The Mudslinging Begin!

by Molly Ivins I think we need a rule calling for at least two paragraphs between spreading nasty gossip and then decrying the spreading of nasty gossip. On television and radio, 24 hours should be required. Standards must be maintained

Bush Trying To Rewrite History

by Molly Ivins These are Orwellian days, my friends, as the Bush administration attempts to either shove the history of the second Gulf War down the memory hole or to rewrite it entirely

"Little Tobacco" Firms Smoking Out Big Profits From Cigarettes

by Katherine Stapp While tobacco multinationals remain the most visible adversaries of anti-smoking activists, smaller companies flying under the radar have taken advantage of Big Tobacco's woes to boost their own profits and, some say, undercut strategies to curb smoking

Afghani Women, Girls, Still Given Away As Compensation

by Farangis Najibullah In Afghanistan, rights activists are expressing concern over the continuing practice of so-called bad marriages, an ancient Pashtun tradition. According to the tradition, when a man is killed or mutilated in a conflict with a rival tribe or family, the victor's relatives are obligated to pay a "blood price" -- and provide a bride to the victim's family. Such bad marriages are surprisingly common in Afghanistan, and are likely to stay that way: rights experts say the government and constitutional laws are powerless against Pashtun tribal customs

Ahmed Chalabi: We Misled You Into Invading Iraq

by Jim Lobe Chalabi said he was willing to take full responsibility for the INC's role in providing misleading intelligence and defectors to President Bush, Congress and the U.S. public to persuade them that Hussein posed a serious threat to the United States that had to be dealt with urgently

In Bangladesh, Rape Victims Married Off To Rapists

by Tabibul Islam Village elders cite community honor and image as reasons for their decisions. But over the last six months, an equal number of young women have committed suicide, protesting the arbitration of village leaders to marry them off to their rapists

U.S. Offers Shifting Reasons Why Ansar Al-Islam Is Behind Iraq Terror

by Ritt Goldstein The Bush administration is stepping up its efforts to link al-Qaeda with the upswing in attacks by Iraqi armed resistance. Key in this effort has been the portrayal of the ultra-orthodox Kurdish group Ansar al Islam and its alleged leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi of close links with bin Laden

Iraq Attacks Growing Bolder, Better Organized

by Valentinas Mite The most audacious assault yet on local security forces in Iraq took place on February 14. In a highly organized attack conducted in broad daylight, assailants killed 23 people and freed prisoners during a raid on a police station in the Sunni Triangle town of Al-Fallujah, west of Baghdad

Wal-Mart And Other Giant Retailers Rely On Exploitation Of Women, Report Says

by Jim Lobe Led by Wal-Mart, the world's giant retailers are demanding more and faster production from suppliers, which in turn are bypassing the rights of their workers which are mostly women

Female Genital Mutilation Still Widespread

by Emad Mekay Some two million girls face the practice every year, while an estimated 130 million girls and women worldwide have undergone genital cutting

Women Arabs Suffer Most Under Israeli Occupation, UN Says

by Thalif Deen Women have not only been subject to increasing violence, but their responsibilities within households have expanded due to the death, imprisonment or unemployment of male members of households

Vaccine Against Dangerous New Bird Flu Months Away

Although it has not happened yet, the bird flu presents a risk of evolving into 'an efficient and dangerous human pathogen,' the three world health agencies warned. A vaccine to protect humans may become available, but this is some time away

Close Wild Bird Markets To Halt Avian Flu, Experts Say

by Stephen Sautner The birds are caged in stressful, unnatural and often unhygienic conditions during transport and in the markets themselves where they are forced to stand beak to beak with both wild and domestic birds, and handled by humans - all providing the ideal conditions for transmission of disease

Dense Slums A Tinderbox For Flu Firestorm

by Mike Davis A true pandemic would probably overwhelm the world long before a vaccine could be developed and produced in large quantities. The potential accelerators of a new plague are the huge slums of Asia and Africa. Concentrated poverty, indeed, is one of the most important variables in any model of how a pandemic might grow

Bird Flu Can Fly Across World With Boeing Speed

by Sandip Roy The fast-moving chicken flu striking Asia has India and other country's on edge. Many governments' responses resemble countermeasures to terrorism, with travelers pegged as potential carriers of biological destruction

Asian Government Secrecy To Blame For Fast Spreading Bird Flu

by Marwaan Macan-Markar The bird flu crisis has already prompted Thailand's Prime Minister to venture into a role unimaginable just over a week before. He admitted last week at the start of a crisis meeting involving 10 Asian countries affected by the bird flu that "errors" and "mistakes" were made in the way Bangkok had handled this escalating crisis

New Bird Flu Outbreak Leads UN Health Orgs To Urge Fast Action

by Marwaan Macan-Markar In the wake of new outbreaks of bird flu in three Asian countries and reports of possible human-to-human transmission of the deadly virus that later proved false, more chickens in the affected countries are destined for the chopping block

Recruitment Of Suicide Bombers Sparks Debate Among More Palestinians

by Ferry Biedermann Suicide bombing has spurred a new debate among Palestinians on recruitment by militant groups. The debate has led even to questioning what one commentator calls 'the culture of death.' The debate is not so much about the morality of attacking civilian targets, it is about the effects this has within Palestinian society

Hamas Proposes 10-Year Truce For Israeli Withdrawl

Top official Abdal Aziz Al-Rantisi said Jan. 25 that the main Palestinian resistance group could declare a 10-year truce with Israel if the latter withdrew from territories occupied in 1967 and a Palestinian state was established

Rebellion Cuts Off Food, Services For Much Of Haiti

by Jane Regan Where 1,400 tons of rice once stood, only 49 sacks remain. And insecurity and violence mean social agencies are reluctant to send employees outside Port-au-Prince to flood-stricken areas, where tens of thousands have relied on the handouts

Ex-Duvalier Thugs Seize Control Of Haiti Opposition

by Jim Lobe The emergence of former paramilitary and military leaders accused of atrocities committed during Haiti's last period of military rule at the head of spreading rebellion against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has added urgency to international efforts to deal with the ongoing crisis in the Caribbean nation

White House Scrambles For Way To Stop Haiti Coup

by Jim Lobe After three years of malign neglect, Bush is scrambling to come up with a coherent policy to halt rising violence and chaos in Haiti that could still provoke a major exodus of desperate boat people seeking refuge in Florida

Bush Fears Another Wave Of Haitian Refugees

by Jim Lobe The administration of President George W. Bush appears undecided about how to deal with this week's violence and growing chaos in Haiti, and increasingly worried it could spark a new exodus of thousands of boat people onto the high seas

U.S. Claims Economic Victory In Iraq, Experts Scoff

by Emad Mekay 'Iraq is making tangible progress towards the establishment of an open, robust market economy,' said the Treasury Dept. undersecretary of international affairs. But an economic expert who monitors the economy in the capital Baghdad gave a less rosy account

In Yemen, a Benevolent Alternative to Osama bin Laden

by Greg Johnsen For many, the road to rehabilitation is a long one. It requires patient explanation from al-Hattar as well as a great deal of prayer and thought on the part of the detainees. As al-Hattar has often pointed out, the Qur'an contains 124 verses that call on Muslims to treat non-Muslims with charity and grace, and only one that urges them to fight.

U.S. Risks Indonesia Blowback With Anti-Terrorism Campaign

by Tim Shorrock In November, U.S. security experts began training a special squad of Indonesian police in counter-terrorism under an $8 million program funded by the U.S. Congress. That program has been complicated, however, by the Indonesian government's refusal to prosecute military officers charged by a UN tribunal with committing atrocities in East Timor and continued reports of human rights abuses by the Indonesian military in Papua and Aceh

Bush Still Doesn't Get It: The World Matters

by Alejandro Eggers While the White House has sporadically tried to win the support of leaders around the world, it has failed to take into account -- or care about, if Bush's comment Sunday is taken at face value -- the effect of its policies and methods on the attitudes of the general public

Iraq Violence Stymies UN Efforts To Help

by Thalif Deen Multiple suicide bombings in Iraq early this week and escalating violence against U.S.-led multi-national military forces are stymieing UN efforts to return to the war-devastated country

Once A Rare African Success Story, Zimbabwe Falling Apart

by Wilson Johwa The country's education system, long trumpeted as President Mugabe's enduring achievement, is on its knees. To appease a restless population the government has put a freeze on school fee increases, despite inflation of 600 percent.

Zimbabwe Poachers Risk Lives To Dig Up Ginger

by Stanley Karombo A 20 kilogram bucket of ginger can fetch up to $10 (about 8,000 Zimbabwean dollars) -- and baskets packed with the roots are a common sight on buses which ply the road between Harare and the eastern border city of Mutare

Monsanto, Argentina Battle Over Rights To GMO Seeds

by Marcela Valente Black market sales of GM soybean seeds continue to grow, and biotech giant Monsanto has suspended sales of the seeds in Argentina, the world's third-largest producer of soy.

Nader Is Crashing the Party Yet Again

by Robert Scheer His fans, and I once was one, know that too much is at stake in this next election to allow this out-of-touch old warrior to stumble into the fray determined to play leader

Scalia's Dishonest Duck Blind Huddle With Dick

by Robert Scheer Bizarre as it sounds, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia quacked like a duck last week during his defensive denial that a duck-hunting trip with Vice President Dick Cheney was improper. The case in question is not a legalistic quibble, and Scalia seems determined to vote in what may be a hotly contested decision with enormous political effect

War as an Excuse for Everything

by Robert Scheer If we are not at war with North Korea, Libya or Iran now that we know they got their WMD know-how from our friends in Pakistan, then whom are we at war with? Sadly, as the transcript of the Russert interview with our 43rd president shows, it is not entirely clear that even he knows for sure what is what anymore

Give Iraqis the Election They Want

by Robert Scheer If we now fail to promptly return full sovereignty to the Iraqis, inconvenient as that outcome may be, the invasion will stand exposed as nothing more than old-fashioned imperial plunder of the region's oil riches - and the continued occupation could devolve into civil war

Terror In Liberia As Militias Prowl Countryside

by Abdullah Dukuly Liberia's conflict has been characterized by arbitrary killings, extra-judicial executions, disappearances, torture, forced labor, as well as widespread rape, use of child soldiers, looting and detention

2-3 Million Colombians Have Fled Homes From Militias

by Gustavo Capdevila In addition to the serious situation in northern Colombia is the magnitude of the nationwide problem of the internally displaced -- between two and three million people in a country of 42 million have been forced from their homes. It is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today

E Timor Begs UN Peacekeepers Not To Pullout

by Thalif Deen The United Nations is planning to withdraw its 3,500 peacekeepers from East Timor in May despite calls from the government in Dili and civil society groups that the body's work in the world's newest country is not finished

Few Awarded U.S. Asylum Since 9/11

by Marty Logan The Bush administration has adopted new policies on detaining asylum seekers from 33 nations and two territories that have primarily Arab and Muslim populations as well as refugee applicants from Haiti

U.S. Mad Cow Disease Has Probably Already Spread

Mad cow disease must now be considered "indigenous to North America," and the United States can no longer consider its first mad cow "an imported case," says an international scientific panel advising the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Interior Secretary Norton Scolded For Ignoring Congress

by J.R. Pegg Interior Department Secretary Gale Norton faced harsh criticism from the Senate Energy Committee, as members from both sides of the aisle blasted her department for failing to respond to Congressional requests for information

Powell, Kay Concede WMD Threat Was Overstated

by Ron Synovitz U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has conceded that deposed President Saddam Hussein's regime might not have possessed any banned weapons at the time the U.S.-led coalition launched its war in Iraq last year. Powell's remarks come after David Kay, the retiring chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, said he thinks Iraq probably got rid of its chemical and biological weapons after the first Gulf War

Brits Call For Tony Blair To Resign Over Phony Iraq WMD Claims

by Jan Jun The government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair claimed before the war in Iraq that Baghdad could unleash chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes. Now the leader of the opposition is calling on him to resign

Gaza Palestinians Skeptical That Israel Will Withdraw

by Ferry Biedermann Some 7,500 Israeli settlers live in Gaza amidst 1.4 million Palestinians. But the settlements take up 30 percent of the surface area, including some of the best agricultural land and water resources

Will Sharon Really Evacuate Gaza Strip?

by Peter Hirschberg Sharon told the liberal daily Haaretz that he had given an order for a plan to be drawn up for the evacuation of 17 settlements in the Gaza Strip -- there are a total of 21, with a combined population of 7,500. His stated plans include also evacuation of a further three in the West Bank where more than 200,000 settlers live in some 120 settlements

Biopirates Of The Antarctic

by Stephen Leahy Antarctic bio-prospectors are acting like biopirates, plundering the continent's biological treasures before global measures to control its biodiversity can be put in place, experts warn

Scandals Swirl Around French Government

by Julio Godoy Chirac's defense of former prime minister Alain Juppe who was indicted on corruption charges last week is being held up as contempt for the rule of law. And the laws he is trying to bring in such as a ban on wearing religious symbols to schools and another that seeks ostensibly to fight organized crime replace liberty with absolutism, critics say

Kissinger Urged Chile "Regime Change" In 1970 Memo

by Jim Lobe While critics and supporters of the Bush administration's pre-emption doctrine have described it as unprecedented in U.S. diplomacy, the release of a 34-year-old memo by Henry Kissinger advocating "regime change" in Chile shows the policy has been around for quite some time

Over Half-Million Live In Texas Slums Along Border

by Mary Jo McConahay Hundreds of thousands of Texans live in substandard, lonely border settlements that appear on no map. Barbara and Carlos Jacobo dream of the day when water flows from the tap and a flick of a switch turns on the lights

Mexico Finally Sets Up Commission To Investigate Juarez Murders

by Diego Cevallos The brutal murders of 300 young women and the disappearances of 500 more during the past decade in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez have captured national and international attention. But little is said about the similar number of young men who have met the same tragic fate

Possible Iraq Civil War Now Driving U.S. Policy

by Jim Lobe Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni began warning that ousting Saddam Hussein, let alone invading Iraq, risked destabilizing the entire Middle East back in 1998, when he led U.S. Central Command and testified against the Iraq Liberation Act that made "regime change" official U.S. policy. While President George W. Bush tried hard to project a sense of confidence and control concerning Iraq and the larger Middle East in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, a careful look at the news this week suggested that Zinni's fears were not unfounded

ICC To Get Evidence Of British War Crimes In Iraq

by Sanjay Suri   The United States has stayed away from the ICC and can therefore claim immunity from any ICC procedures. But if Britain and the United States acted together, and if war crimes were committed, then there is a real question of war crimes committed by the United States that would be before the ICC. The legal team plans to make the United States liable by association by focusing its inquiries on the role of Britain, which played a strong role in supporting creation of the ICC

Captured 'Al-Qaeda Letter' Poses More Questions Than Answers

by Jim Lobe A letter purportedly written to senior al-Qaeda leaders by a key associate, Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, appears to undermine a major thesis of hard-core pro-Israel neo-conservatives who led the U.S. drive to war in Iraq

100,000 Arabs Flee N Iraq As Kurd Refugees Flood Back To Homeland

by Charles Recknagel A new UN-sponsored report says some 100,000 Arabs have fled northern Iraq since the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime in April. The flight of the Arabs -- many of whom were forcibly settled in northern Iraq by Saddam's regime in order to displace Kurds -- comes as some former Kurdish refugees now return to their homes

Charged With Fraud, Timber Company Trying To Recall Prosecutor

by Ralph Nader The owners of Pacific Lumber decided to rid themselves of this prosecution for fraud by starting a recall of the elected Paul Gallegos. So they backed a commercial signature gathering firm which is charging $8 a signature to place this recall on the ballot. It is remarkable what this artificial legal entity, called a corporation, can get away with. Imagine a real person charged with fraud trying to recall the prosecutor

Use Of Funds By Palestinian Authority Probed

by Julio Godoy In Paris, prosecutors are investigating transfer of money into two accounts held by Suha Arafat, wife of Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Yasser Arafat. The demand for an EU inquiry followed a strong campaign by the Israeli and the U.S. governments to keep Arafat out of negotiations to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories

Under-30 Crowd Gets News From John Stewart, Not Tom Brokaw

by Russell Morse The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press conducted a survey of young people to see where they're getting their election news. It turns out that only 23 percent get their updates from the nightly news, down from 39 percent in 2000. But here's the good news: 21 percent of young people ages 18 to 29 cited comedy shows like "Saturday Night Live" and Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" as their primary sources for campaign news

Demos Need To Learn From Dean's Tough Talk

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Two important parts of former presidential candidate Howard Dean's message need to be picked up by the Democrats in order to defeat Bush: his tough talk on issues important to blacks and Latinos, and his courting of the Bubba vote

With Senate Away, Bush Appoints Extremist To Appeals Court

by J.R. Pegg Pryor testified before Congress that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency "invaded the province of the States" by enforcing the Clean Air Act to prevent uncontrolled pollution increases at coal-burning power plants and oil refineries

Dean Couldn't Beat Enemies In His Own Party

by Randolph T. Holhut Years from now, folks will study the news coverage of the Dean campaign as a perfect example of how to take down a candidate with relentlessly negative reporting and imagery

Bush's Plan To Keep Discount Drugs Out Of Reach

by Christopher Brauchli In March of last year, the FDA sent a warning letter to the Store Manager of Rx Depot in Arizona telling it that it was aware of the fact that Rx was helping consumers save money by filling their prescription at Canadian pharmacies. The FDA pointed out that Rx's actions in permitting customers to acquire Canadian drugs 'present a significant risk to public health'

Evolution A "Buzz Word," Says Georgia School Chief

by Christopher Brauchli Georgia's schools superintendent Kathy Cox described the word evolution as 'a buzz word that causes a lot of negative reaction.' She said that people often associate 'evolution' with 'that monkeys-to-man sort of thing.' The teaching of evolution would be accompanied by teaching 'emerging models of change,' a concept that challenges Darwin's theory

Chaos Threatens Iraq's Fragile Secular-Religious Balance

by Peyman Pejman Is terrorism beyond control, and have recent religious outpourings spelled the death of secularism in a country that has long prided itself on achieving a balance between religion and civil society?

With Afghan Constitution Set, Taliban Step Up Attacks

by Jim Lobe That the Pentagon is preparing a major "spring offensive" against the Taliban and members of the al-Qaeda terrorist group, both in Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan, suggest Washington has opted for a pro-active strategy aimed precisely at minimizing the ability of those groups to disrupt the elections

Saddam's Sunnis In Majority After All, Study Says

For the first time since modern day Iraq was founded in 1921, the Sunnis are no longer in charge of Iraq with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Iraqis Sunnis have expressed bitter resentment at being marginalized under the new U.S.-led order in post-violence Iraq, charging that the Americans were rewarding the Kurds and the Shiites with drawing up the country's political landscape

Iraq Invasion Was Unconstitutional

by John C. Bonifaz While all of the Democratic presidential candidates (except Sen. Joseph Lieberman) criticized President George W. Bush for his unilateral recklessness in starting a war against Iraq, they are missing a larger point: The invasion was not just reckless. It was unconstitutional

Bush Pushes Internet Surveillance Treaty Forward

by Haider Rizvi The treaty criminalizes acts such as hacking and the production, sale or distribution of hacking tools, and expands criminal liability for intellectual property violations that nations must have on their books as crimes. The agreement also makes it mandatory for each participating nation to grant new powers of search and seizure to its law enforcement authorities, including the power to force an Internet service provider (ISP) to preserve a customer's usage records and to monitor his or her online activities as they occur. If approved by the Senate, experts say, U.S. police would be required to cooperate in mutual assistance requests from police in other nations to the widest extent possible

Schwarzenegger Failed First Leadership Test: Question The Death Penalty

by Michael A. Kroll California's governor had the unique opportunity to speak and act on principle regarding the execution of Kevin Cooper. Because of who he is, he would have risked little by doing so. Instead, without even the benefit of a hearing, public or private, he denied clemency in two summary sentences, concluding about the man whose life we are about to snuff out: 'He is not a case for clemency'

Deaths Of CNN Staff Raise Fresh Questions About Iraq Security For Journalists, NGOs

by Charles Recknagel The killings Jan 27 in Iraq of two employees of a U.S. news organization are raising anew the question of whether journalists and employees of NGOs operating in the country need armed guards. The incident comes as violence yesterday left at least 10 other people dead across Iraq, where U.S. officials have said attacks on coalition and associated targets are decreasing.

Iraq Civilians, Not GIs, Targets Of Choice In New Bombings

by Mark Baker This week's car bombings in Iraq appear to confirm a trend that Iraqi civilians -- not U.S. soldiers -- are becoming the target of choice for the anticoalition insurgency. While it's still unclear who's orchestrating the attacks, the bombings appear to be aimed at sowing discontent and fear among the general population

Campaign Launched For Congress To Censure Bush

by Jim Lobe The grassroots cyber-movement, which claims more than two million U.S. members, has launched a major campaign demanding that Congress formally censure President George W. Bush for deceiving it about the threat posed by Iraq

The Bloodied 2004 Primary Field Of Battle

by Alexander Cockburn Dean could still provide some exciting friction in a primary season that's threatening to become deadly dull unless Kerry and Edwards start throwing mud at each other. But it seems unlikely that the doctor from Vermont will come out of the corner in any kind of combative shape

Thanks (And No Thanks) To Rev. Al

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Sharpton deserves some credit for trying to break up the clubby white male pack of Democratic presidential contenders, and attempting to prod mainstream Democrats to do and say more on race and poverty issues in 2004. But with the presidential stakes far higher this time than in 2000, a vote for Sharpton is not only a wasted vote, it's also a dangerous one

Bush Budget A Throwback To Cold War Days

by Jim Lobe Bush is asking Congress to increase by more than $1 billion military and security assistance, particularly to key 'front-line' states in the 'war on terror.' Those two categories, which include anti-drug aid and proliferation categories, would make up nearly one-third of all U.S. foreign aid under Bush's request, roughly the same percentage of total foreign aid when the Cold War reached its height during the 1980s

When In Trouble, Blame The CIA

by Jim Lobe "This is damage control," said one Congressional aide, who added the president's re-election chances might well hinge on whether he is able to pull off the strategy. "Bush wants to get this out of the headlines and into a commission that won't say anything until he's re-elected"

Pentagon Wins, Environment Loses In Bush 2004 Budget

by J.R. Pegg The $2.4 trillion budget released by the White House on Monday doles out big increases for defense and homeland security, but cuts or holds the line on spending for much of the rest of the federal government. Seven of 15 cabinet level departments will have their budgets slashed under the Bush plan, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) facing some of the largest cuts

The Assassination Of Dean And His Message

by Bill C. Davis From the beginning as Dean became a phenomenon of popular support the only questions that headlines seemed to ask were, who is the anti-Dean? Who can stop Dean? The implication being that something is wrong with this groundswell and who will rescue us from it.

How Industry Hijacked 'Sound Science'

by Oliver Houck We refuse to list even the most dangerous toxins, dioxin among them, for want of absolute certainty. We refuse to recognize even the most endangered species, because the Farm Bureau has dug up someone who disagrees. Under EPA guidance states have halved their lists of polluted waters simply by saying that the pollution is unproved

Hard Times For California Inmates, But Not Prison Guards

by Dwight Abbott A 62-year-old inmate in a California prison finds cutbacks in prison educational and medical programs are already hurting inmates, before a state budget has even been passed. Readers should care, he says, because most prisoners will be released into communities statewide

The Deadly Lies of Reliable Sources

by Norman Solomon Extensive information, poking huge holes in key deceptions, was readily available at the time -- but major U.S. media outlets are still reporting as though Bush's pre-war claims were credible when they were made. In reality, any 'intelligence failure' was dwarfed by a contemporaneous media failure

An Odd Accusation From Ralph Nader

by Norman Solomon Of course Nader has a right to run for president. And others have no less of a right to urge that he choose not to do so. It makes no sense to claim that such urging amounts to censorship

Nader's Tin Ear

by Norman Solomon Large numbers of Americans who supported Nader's campaign in 2000 do not intend to vote for him this time. But mainstream radio and TV producers are likely to be more hospitable; their professional concerns revolve around putting on a good show, not defeating Bush

The Collapse of Howard Dean's Cyber-Bubble

by Norman Solomon There are valid complaints to be made about Dean's rough handling by major news outlets this winter. Sometimes the coverage was unfair. But what gained him media prominence in the first place was journalistic infatuation with his campaign's successful use of the Internet for outreach and fund-raising

Pakistan's Nukes-For-Sale Saga Is Far From Over

by M B Naqvi Khan's transgressions are virtually the world's first major case of the wanton spreading of the deadly knowledge and technology of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Before this, the technology had been restricted to eight states: the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, Israel, India and Pakistan

Winning With Ralph

by Alexander Cockburn Nader is saying that the Democrats are so hopelessly compromised that they don't know how to energize people to get them into the polling booths to vote against Bush. So he's going to lend a hand

Kerry A Poor Flagbearer For Demos

by Alexander Cockburn It's the kind of sublime indifference to the messy realities of politics and life that is now inspiring Democrats to rally behind Kerry, under the vacant banner, Anybody But Bush

The Machine That Flattened Dean

by Alexander Cockburn It was the party machine that pulled it out for Kerry, and once Kerry had those two crucial victories, the overwhelming eagerness of Democratic voters to anoint an uncontested champion to go up against Bush carried him forward

McNamara Sequel To Vietnam Crimes: The World Bank

by Alexander Cockburn At McNamara's direction, the World Bank would prepare five-year master country lending plans. In some cases, Rich writes, even ministers of a nation's cabinet could not obtain access to these documents, which, in smaller, poor countries, were viewed as international decrees on their economic fate. Corruption seethed. Most aid vanished into the hands of local elites who very often used the money to steal from the very poor whom the Bank was professedly seeking to help

The Tomato King's Triumphant Return To Mexico

by Diego Cevallos Andres Bermudez was a Mexican peasant when he crossed the border into the United States 30 years ago, stowed away in a car trunk. Today he is a successful commercial farmer who has returned to hometown to run for mayor and, he says, 'do what the Mexican politicians can't'

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