default.html Issue 125
Table of Contents

Leading Source Of Children's Books Partners With Big Oil

by John F. Borowski Acting as an educational carpetbagger with the assistance of Scholastic enables this petroleum based Trojan horse unlimited access to children. Scholastic's own website claims that Scholastic's products are virtually in every public school in the United States. API's spin- doctors must drool when they consider the possibilities of debunking ecological concerns that rightfully so haunt their industry

Pakistan Keeping Taliban Alive, Analysts Say

by Ron Synovitz Islamabad's recent efforts in the war on terrorism have focused on Al-Qaeda fighters. But now there are growing calls from Western diplomats, the Afghan government and the United Nations for Pakistan to rein in Taliban militants who have fled from Afghanistan into Pakistan since late 2001

Not Scared Yet? Try Connecting These Dots

by Ray McGovern When John Ashcroft fired the opening shot in this campaign to raise the specter of a "pre-election" terrorist event, it seemed to me that the administration might be beginning to prepare the American people to accept postponement or cancellation of the November election as a reasonable option

Talk Radio Says "Fahrenheit 911" Illegal, Or At Least, Offensive

by Steve Young Citizens United filed a claim against Michael Moore saying that he is in violation of McCain-Feingold campaign finance laws. Seems using the likeness of the President sixty days before an election is a no-no. Messrs Hannity, Limbaugh and other Lords of Loud were just beside themselves with righteous indignation. How unfair that Moore was allowed to skirt the law by hiding behind the pretense of entertainment. Thank God for Talk Radio

Hell Freezes Over: Listeners Complain About Talk Radio Tactics

by Steve Young Finally the audience has realized that talk radio has reduced debate to a 'who is louder wins' polemic; that all these years the listeners have been belittled; fed pablum that goes down easy because it ONLY supports their side of the argument; that the Lords of Loud do not trust the listeners with ALL the truth

Iran Abruptly Ends Trial Into Canadian Journalist's Death

Iran's hard-line judiciary has abruptly ended the trial of an intelligence agent accused of killing Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian journalist of Iranian origin. Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, who is leading the team of lawyers representing Kazemi's family, has accused the judge of ignoring or covering up key testimony

A Different World Inside Privately-Run Prison

by Dannie M. Martin CCA now runs the sixth-largest prison system in the nation, behind only the federal government and four states. It's the founder of the private corrections industry. They have 66,000 beds in 65 facilities, and they hold inmates under contract to 20 states and the federal government

What is so Radical about Iraq's Rebel Cleric?

by Sharif Hikmat Nashashibi While death and insecurity reigned after Baghdad fell, Sadr supporters took control of many aspects of life in the Shia sectors, appointing clerics to mosques, guarding hospitals, collecting garbage, operating orphanages, and supplying food to Iraqis hit by the hardships of war. I cannot imagine anything less radical than collecting garbage especially since the occupation authorities failed in their responsibility under international law to provide such basic and vital services

Arab Leaders Wary Of Sending Troops To Iraq

by Dahr Jamail Allawi told reporters that Arab states considering deploying troops to Iraq should not be deterred by the ongoing kidnappings. His remarks, however, seemed to do little to change policies or perceptions in neighboring states

Revolt Against Microsoft Monopoly Spreads Through European Governments

by Julio Godoy Munich became the first major city administration to switch to free software. With more than a million inhabitants it is the third largest city in Germany. Fearing a snowball effect from Munich, Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer had personally tried to persuade the city administration to keep using Microsoft systems. Ballmer has more reasons to worry. Late last month the municipality of the Norwegian city Bergen followed Munich's example. In Paris official sources say the municipality is waiting for further price reductions from Microsoft. 'We are sure that Microsoft fears losing us'

Alan Keyes Candidacy No Laughing Matter

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Don't count out hardcore black conservative Alan Keyes in his run against rising Democratic star Barack Obama. The telegenic and articulate Keyes could tie down Democratic resources better spent on electing John Kerry

Israel's Bedouin Arab Minority May Be Next Intifada

by Am Johal The unrecognized villages do not appear on the official maps of the state of Israel and are not included in the figures for the central bureau of statistics. Since the villages are not recognized, there is no legal responsibility to provide even basic services. The lands are classified as agricultural, rendering all buildings erected as illegal

Polluted U.S. Beaches Closing in Record Numbers

by J.R. Pegg The study, based on federal and state data, finds 2003 was the worst year for beach closings and advisories since the environmental organization began monitoring beach water pollution 14 years ago

DuPont Denies It Withheld Studies Showing Teflon Health Risks

Dupont is the only American manufacturer of PFOA and has denied any health risks from the chemical, which is used to make dozens of popular consumer products, including Teflon and other non-stick coated cookware, carpet protectors, clothing, fast food packaging, and various cleaning, textile and paper products. Studies of PFOA have raised a number of potential toxicity concerns because it has been found to accumulate in human blood and does not appear to break down in the environment

The Hand-Over that Wasn't

by Antonia Juhasz With few reconstruction projects underway, and with Bremer's rules favoring U.S. corporations, there has been little opportunity for Iraqis to go back to work, leaving nearly two million unemployed one and a half years after the invasion

Olympics Planners Ignored Environmental Measures

by Sanjay Suri The environmental cost of holding an Olympics event was calculated at Salt Lake City in the United States and more than compensated. But such a move has not even been considered in Athens within a European Union regarded as far more progressive than the United States in matters environmental

For Worse, Fox News Can't Be Ignored

by Edward Wasserman Fox's influence far exceeds its reach. Just as USA Today, by introducing four-color packaging and finger-food to newspapers transformed an American press that despised it, so Fox News poses an outsized challenge

Fox News Just Part Of The Murdoch Spin

by Eric Alterman Fox's distorted broadcasts are in some ways less worrisome in what they actually say than in what they represent. CNN, MSNBC and even to some degree, the broadcast networks have taken up the cause of flashy, content-light reporting, even aping much of Fox's conservative slant

"Outfoxed" Warns: Fair And Balanced Doesn't Count For Many

by Randolph T. Holhut As Greenwald's film masterfully shows, conservative media, for the most part, is focused not on what is true, but rather what can advance the cause. Unencumbered by the traditional notions of journalism, FNC can shamelessly promote themselves as being fair and balanced, while either attacking, marginalizing or altogether avoiding opposing points of view

Minorities Rarely Seen Working In U.S. Newsrooms

by Jade Sanchez-Ventura The media industry is fundamentally flawed by the lack of diversity in the staffs of newspapers, TV and radio, Juan Gonzalez, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists declared in his speech. Two historic studies have equated quality journalism with diversity of both staff and story, he added. One was the Kerner Commission. The other was the Hutchins Commission of 1947

Iraq Anger Against Americans Growing Despite Hand-Over

by Ferry Biedermann The latest round of fighting in Iraq is the first real test for the country's new government after it took over from the U.S. and British-led occupation authority in the last days of June. The initial relative calm that greeted the handover has been slowly disintegrating across the country. The opposition against the new authorities has been powerful from the start

Should The Bones Of Rwanda Be Silenced?

by Jean Ruremesha A decade after the genocide in Rwanda, citizens of the country are divided over whether victims' remains should be preserved at the sites where they can still be viewed. Some believe that the remains must be kept as they are, in an ongoing memorial to the 1994 tragedy

Business Near Standstill In Baghdad, Merchants Complain

by Peyman Pejman A year ago, the streets of Baghdad were bustling with commercial activities. Now, it appears, those days are gone

Supreme Court Rules "Enemy Combatants" Have Rights

by Elena Shore Despite Bush's pro-immigrant rhetoric, Latinos have seen raids in their communities, a climate of fear among immigrants, deportations to Mexico and the blocking of immigration reform bills

Bush Support Eroding Among Florida's Cubans

by Jim Lobe A major reason for the erosion in support for Bush, especially among Cuban-Americans who arrived after 1980, is the unpopularity of recent regulations that have cut back the freedom of Cuban-Americans to visit their homeland and to send money and other supplies to their relatives there, the survey found.

New Book Documents Rise Of The Neo-Cons

by Jim Lobe The authors join a number of other critics, particularly on the right, in rejecting the notion that neo-conservatives can really be considered conservative at all. Not only are they reckless in favoring the use of military power, but their advocacy of nation-building or transforming the Middle East belies, the authors say, an arrogance that is entirely foreign to the core conservative conviction that free or democratic societies are the product of centuries of organic development

Why Venezuela's Chavez Won a Landslide Victory

by Medea Benjamin When the rule of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was reaffirmed in a landslide 58-42 percent victory on Sunday, the opposition who put the recall vote on the ballot was stunned. They obviously don't spend much time in the nation's poor neighborhoods

Neither U.S. Or NATO Willing To Be Responsible For Fair Afgan Elections

by Ahto Lobjakas With Afghan presidential elections less than two months away, NATO and the U.S.-led coalition find themselves committed to two conflicting objectives. Both worry about the future of democracy in Afghanistan and insist the elections must be free and fair. Yet, at the same time, neither is willing to take full responsibility for security at the elections. This in turn has forced international organizations to not send observer missions, for fear of the safety of their staff

USDA Cheated Black Farmers Out Of Muti-Billion Dollar Settlement

by Katherine Stapp Five years ago, facing a class-action lawsuit, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) conceded it had given unequal treatment to black farmers seeking assistance and promised to pay up to $2.3 billion in restitution. But a new analysis by the Environmental Working Group and the National Black Farmers Association found the agency ultimately denied the claims of 86 percent, or 81,000 of 94,000, African American farmers who sought payments

Charges That Australia Funded Covert Indonesia "Disruption" Program

by Bob Burton Calls for a judicial inquiry into the sinking of a refugee boat on its way to Australia three years ago have been re-kindled following allegations in a new book that the boat may have been the victim of a shadowy Australian government funded 'disruption' program in Indonesia

Candidates' Wives Still Trivialized By Press

by Sheila Gibbons Detroit News columnist Laura Berman, writing in 2001, said, 'No first lady has ever seemed more blandly appropriate for the position than Laura Bush. If the cliche of the first lady is that of the supportive wife enhanced by careful dress, Mona Lisa-like smile, aptitude for background poses and well-chosen causes, Laura Bush fits and then some'

More Black, Brown Faces To Be Seen At GOP Convention

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Civil rights leaders and black Democrats mercilessly ridicule the Republicans for their plans to parade black gospel choirs, mariachi strollers and American Indian dance groups across the stage at the Republican National Convention in 2000. They call it a cheap publicity stunt to woo black and Latino voters. They're wrong

The Warning Of The Ghost Shirts

by Mike Davis Since the inauguration of George W. Bush in January 2001, 350,000 textile jobs -- almost a third of the total -- have been lost. Another 400,000 jobs are expected to disappear by the end of the decade. This almost invisible tragedy -- who talks about plant closures on Fox News or CNBC? -- is part of a larger global jobs catastrophe that follows in the wake of trade liberalization. The final quota barriers protecting American textile and garment jobs will be dismantled next January

We Are All Protectionists Now

by Mark Weisbrot Most of our well-off professionals are doing well not just because they have skills or work hard -- the same can be said of many mechanics, carpenters, or skilled factory workers. The main difference is that these professionals benefit from protectionism that keeps their salaries from being driven down by international competition

"Productivity" A Straw Man In The Outsourcing Debate

by Thom Hartmann Many corporations don't put offshore labor onto their balance sheets as a labor expense. Because they hire offshore companies as subcontractors to do work previously done by their own employees, they get to reduce the number and cost of their employees while having an only slightly increased line-item on their P&L for the subcontractor. The result is that it looks like their remaining employees are getting more done, because the offshore employees are no longer counted in the productivity figures

The China Price

by Ralph Nader U.S. corporations -- pampered for years with lower taxes, de-regulation, and taxpayer subsidies of various kinds -- aggressively turning their backs on America and American workers in favor of production facilities inside a communist dictatorship

America's Boom Industry: Outsourcing

by Sarah Anderson and John Cavanagh 40 percent of Fortune 1,000 firms have already outsourced some work and that at least another 3 million service jobs will leave the United States by 2015, led by information technology work. A study by the University of California, Berkeley estimates that 14 million U.S. jobs (11 percent of the total work force) are vulnerable to being outsourced

Jobs In Spain Shifting To Eastern Europe

by Alicia Fraerman The plant closing by Levi Strauss is just one more in a long line that have already occurred: two electronics giants, South Korea's Samsung, and the Netherlands-based Philips, and the U.S. toy manufacturer Hasbro have already moved some of their operations out of Spain, many of them to Eastern Europe

India Making $12 Billion/Year Via Outsourcing

by Ranjit Devraj According to figures released by an umbrella business association, IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) together earned India $12 billion this past year and is slated to touch $148 billion by 2012. Estimates put at 200,000 the number of people employed in the BPO sector

On Hold With A Call Center In India

by Sandip Roy I hear that you and your friends are having all kinds of health problems -- insomnia, fatigue, indigestion, even symptoms of split personalities. But that's a small price to pay for being up at night so I can install my software by day, isn't it?

Training My Overseas Replacement

by Body Taing A young assemblyline worker in Silicon Valley tells of the arrival of Chinese workers at his company, and the reaction of a workforce fearful, resentful and in some cases apathetic about impending layoffs

Dubya's Vietnam Years Deserve "Swift Boat Scrutiny"

by Molly Ivins The Swift Boat Liars are of interest only as a perfect case for those in media studies to see exactly how this stuff spreads, although it does dig up yet again the issue of how George W. Bush spent the Vietnam War

Thank Bush For Lost Right To Overtime

by Molly Ivins Congratulations, if you make between $23,660 and $100,000, you have just very likely lost your right to overtime pay, courtesy of the Bush administration. If this comes as news to you, thank your friendly media, who are much too busy reporting lies abut John Kerry's heroism in Vietnam to bother with this story affecting your life.

Kerry Must Answer Iraq Questions Bush Can't

by Molly Ivins What we need to figure out is why so many of us then became so invested in this awful enterprise. As the president says, fool me once, shame on, uh, somebody or other. John Kerry isn't going to remind any of us we were wrong -- that would be rude. (Sooner or later, someone is going to ask Kerry the question he so famously asked about Vietnam: 'How do you ask someone to be the last man to die for a mistake?' He'd better have an answer ready.)

Keep A Wary Eye On Florida

by Molly Ivins One tries not to be alarmist, one tries not to be paranoid, but this doth smelleth. Is there any Republican who would be happy if the role of the parties were reversed here and only Hispanic felons had been on Jebbie Bush's little list, but no blacks? Come on. The Republican Party in Florida is now urging its voters to use absentee ballots so they will have a paper trail in case of a recount. Hey, if it's good enough for Republicans ...

Canada: Living Next Door To The Simpsons

by Molly Ivins Of the many stupid things our country has done lately, alienating the best neighbor any country ever had ranks fairly high on the All Time Stupid list. So I have been at some pains to try to answer the ever-so-delicately phrased questions: Are you people actually going to re-elect that nincompoop?

Venezuela President Chavez Easily Defeats Recall Vote

by Humberto Marquez Chavez won with 58 percent, or nearly 5 million votes. The opposition drew 42 percent of the vote, or less than 3.6 million. Nobel Peace laureate and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, one of the international observers, said the Carter Center had monitored nearly 50 elections around the world and that he had never before seen such a turnout. It is believed that 8.5 million of Venezuela's 14 million registered voters went to the polls

N Iraq Land Disputes Could Be Next Flashpoint

by Jim Lobe Unresolved land claims between Kurds, Turkomans and Arabs in oil-rich northern Iraq could erupt into violent conflict if they are not addressed fast enough, warns a leading international human rights organization

White House Revealed Identity of Key Spy In Al-Qaeda

by Jim Lobe One of the purportedly greatest coups in Washington's nearly three-year war against al-Qaeda has turned a bit sour with reports that the White House prematurely exposed the identity of a key source whose contacts and communication with the terrorist group's operational masterminds had yet to be fully exploited

Japan's Nuke Accident Stirs Anger

by Suvendrini Kakuchi Japan's worst accident at a nuclear power plant has shaken public confidence in the industry's safety record, with activists blaming the country's regulations for the mishap that killed four and injured seven others

They're Back: Neo-cons Revive Committee on the Present Danger

by Jim Lobe A bipartisan group of 41 mainly neoconservative foreign-policy hawks has launched the latest incarnation of the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), whose previous two incarnations mobilized public support for rolling back Soviet-led communism but whose new enemy will be winning 'the war on global terrorism -- terrorism carried out by radical Islamists opposed to freedom and democracy'

U.S. Soldier Files Lawsuit Over Extended Service Catch-22

by Andrew Tully The stop-loss policy is now being legally challenged by a U.S. Marine. The soldier says he was kept in Iraq longer than his scheduled tour of duty. Later, he was allowed to resign from the Marines in exchange for a year of service in the United States as a member of the Army National Guard. But now his National Guard service is being extended by as much as two years. Moreover, he could face another tour of duty in Iraq

With No Money or Military, Afghanistan's Lone Female Presidential Candidate Fights For Votes

by Laura Winter Afghanistan's presidential race is starting to heat up, with most of the attention being given to the rivalry between the country's two top candidates -- the sitting president Hamid Karzai and his former Education Minister Yunis Qanooni. But Afghanistan's only female candidate is also drawing attention

Rape Is "Weapon Of War" In Darfur Region Of Sudan

by Joyce Mulama According to Amnesty International, rape has been used as a systematic way to dehumanize women, including pregnant ones. In many cases, the Janjaweed have raped women in public, in the open air, in front of their husbands, relatives or the wider community to humiliate, punish, control, inflict fear and displace their community

Bush Must Reverse Course On Iran, Former Diplomats Urge

by Ricardo Grassi Washington is considering tough new policies to punish Iran for its alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons -- as well as probing possible links between Tehran and the 9/11 attacks. But a group of former senior U.S. officials say lack of engagement with Iran is threatening U.S. interests in vital areas, including nuclear nonproliferation, Iraq and Afghanistan

Aid Groups Charge U.S. With Extortion Tactics In Afghanistan

by Thalif Deen In May last year, MSF complained to the United States and other coalition forces about the distribution of a leaflet in southern Afghanistan that included a picture of a young Afghan girl carrying a bag of wheat. The leaflet said that if humanitarian assistance was to continue, Afghans needed to pass information to the soldiers about all insurgent forces in the country

U.S. On Verge Of Winning Battle Of Najaf, But Again Losing The War

by Jim Lobe Once again, U.S. armed forces appear on the verge of winning a decisive military victory in Iraq -- this time in the holy city of Najaf. And once again, they appear closer to losing the larger wars for a stable and friendly Iraq and for an Islamic world that will cease producing anti-U.S. terrorism

Japan Honors WWII Dead, Including War Criminals

by Suvendrini Kakuchi On the 59th anniversary of the end of World War II, four Japanese government ministers visited Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine. This Shinto site honors the nation's nearly 2.5 million war dead, but many of them are considered war criminals, including 14 people judged as Class-A war criminals

Bush Pick To Head CIA Unlikely To Reform Agency

by Jim Lobe Several retired CIA officials agreed that Goss has been both too close to the CIA and to the administration to be a credible director. Goss' role as the Bush-Cheney campaign's choice to criticize Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's speech on national-security issues in early June also did little to endear him to Democrats; indeed, it prompted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to rule out the possibility of supporting him for CIA director

Colombia's Bloody War Ignored By Media

by Constanza Vieira Press reports say some 17,000 troops are participating in Plan Patriot, which was carried out in total silence until it was revealed to the public by FARC in April. The United States is financing the operation, and providing it with logistical support and military advisers, but the American media has ignored the offensive

Chalabi Gives Bush Another Sucker Punch

by Robert Scheer For those keeping score at home, that's two indicted Chalabis, one huge black eye for the Bush administration and a healthy dose of vindication for the CIA and the State Department

Kerry's Great Strength: Patriotic Protest

by Robert Scheer The Republicans have tried to turn John Kerry's military service against him with repeated derogatory references to his 1971 testimony on behalf of Vietnam Veterans Against the War before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But this negative tactic could backfire. If voters were actually to read what the young war hero said 33 years ago, most would come away with increased respect for Kerry's prescience, his patriotism and his willingness to speak truth to power

Iraqi Soccer Stars Give Bush A Swift Kick

by Robert Scheer In an eerie echo of previous presidents who knowingly lied us into the Vietnam horror, Bush's latest campaign ads prematurely declare Afghanistan and Iraq as the world's newest democracies

Kerry Made a Bush League Error on Iraq

by Robert Scheer Instead of smacking that hanging curveball out of the park by denouncing the Bush administration for deceiving Congress and the nation into a war, Kerry inexplicably said yes. To win the debates and the election, Kerry needs to establish himself as the clear alternative to a president who has lied us into a quagmire.

Poll: Iraq War Top Concern Of Voters

by Eli Clifton The war in Iraq and other foreign affairs are more important to voters in the coming presidential election than the economy, marking the first time since the Vietnam War that U.S. citizens are putting more weight on foreign policy than domestic concerns

AJustice Dept. Covered Up FBI Link To Al-Qaeda Operative

by Peter Dale Scott The name "Ali Mohamed" came up briefly in 9/11 Commission hearings. Had commission members done their homework, they could have probed the links between Mohamed and the FBI, which likely release the terrorist years ago in a bungle that may have contributed to the loss of hundreds of lives

Private Contractors Have Become Hidden Branch Of Military In Iraq

by Katherine Stapp Despite scandals over alleged human rights abuses and war profiteering, private military contractors are expanding their presence overseas, and may even be involved in helping to draft the next U.S. defense budget

'Fetal Pain' Law Next Goal Of Anti-Abortion Groups

by Cynthia L. Cooper In May, anti-choice legislators introduced the proposed legislation that requires doctors to read a standard statement about a fetus' capacity to experience pain to women about to undergo abortions. Around the same time last spring, the U.S. Justice Department was making fetal pain a centerpiece of its defense in cases brought by reproductive rights organizations challenging the constitutionality of a federal abortion ban signed by President Bush in 2003 in federal courts in three states

Ships Face Renewed Risk Of Pirates

by Don Hill If you thought that maritime piracy was a thing of the past, you were wrong. Pirates still menace the world's shipping, and the problem is getting worse

Demonstrators Remind GOP That Ground Zero Still Toxic

As the Republican Convention opens, demonstrators are holding a daily vigil at the site where the World Trade Center Towers once stood to inform the nation that the area is still contaminated with toxics spread when the buildings collapsed in the terrorist attacks of 9/11

Already Charges Of Fraud As Afghan Election Campaign Begin

by Laura Winter With just a few days to go before Afghan officials announce a final list of candidates for presidential elections in October, some in the capital Kabul are alleging registration fraud. The controversy surrounds a registration requirement that each candidate submit photocopies of 10,000 voter-registration cards to prove he or she has sufficient public support. Now there's concern that government employees are being told whom to give their copies to -- and that some copies are being shared between the candidates

Oil Found Off Cuba Shores, But No Windfall For Castro

by Patricia Grogg Despite all the talk and high expectations, Castro made no mention of any oil discovery during his July 26 speech at the anniversary celebrations for National Revolution Day. Cubans who dream of such an announcement is that they could do with a strong injection of optimism watched the president's face closely for signs. 'He looked happy yesterday, so there might be good news'

Massive Protest March As GOP Convention Begins

Carrying 1,000 flag-draped cardboard boxes resembling coffins to symbolize U.S. troops killed in Iraq, the marchers accused President George W. Bush of waging an unjust war over Middle East oil. They charged that the Bush administration is stripping away the country's environmental protections in favor of handing natural resources to corporate supporters

Peaceful 5-Hour March Caps Three Days Of Demonstrations

by Haider Rizvi None of the mayhem predicted by police and some media came to pass, although there were about 130 arrests in scattered incidents. The city deployed more than 25,000 armed policemen and hundreds of vehicles in anticipation of possible clashes

Anti-Bush Marchers May Not Be Pro-Kerry Voters

by Michelle Chen The protesters all agreed that Bush had to go, one way or the other. But it was difficult to tell how many of the gatherers would be going to the polls in November. While the activists shared a happy solidarity on this summer day, they were clearly divided on how to work the system

Times Square Billboard Battle Ends In Compromise

by Katherine Stapp Anti-war messages are up in Manhattan's Times Square in time for the Republican Party convention after the company that owns the billboards, media giant Clear Channel, backed down from its refusal to carry them

'Staggering Amount' of Cash Missing In Iraq

by Emad Mekay Three U.S. senators have called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to account for $8.8 billion entrusted to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq earlier this year but now gone missing

"Blood Diamond" Smuggling Continues Despite Clamp Down

by Lansana Fofana "The monitors are doing their best in tracking smugglers, and we have seen several positive strides made by them. I can only say that they are ill-equipped and poorly paid -- and without incentives you don't expect them to perform excellently." Ministry of Mineral Resources spokesman Abdul Sanu sentiments were echoed by mine monitors whose monthly pay amounted to less than a hundred dollars. "We get paid such a pittance to track down smugglers of millions of dollars worth of diamonds. We don't even have vehicles"

Growing Fears Of Cancelled, Postponed Election

by Ritt Goldstein A recently unearthed government memorandum prepared for the U.S. Congress purportedly addresses the power of the administration to postpone elections. But more notably, it reviews actions the executive branch might take that could preclude large numbers of Americans from casting a ballot in the coming presidential vote

Bush Announces Largest Troop Redeployment Since WWII

by Eli Clifton Under the plan, some soldiers would be sent home, while most would be moved to cheaper bases in Bulgaria and Romania, closer to the oil-rich Caucasus and the Middle East. The strategy is, largely, an update of the controversial 1992 draft Defense Planning Guidance (DPG) written under the auspices of current Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff and national security adviser, Lewis Libby -- both of whom played key roles in the Bush administration's oft-questioned decision to invade Iraq

Olympics, UN, U.S. Shun Burma After Year Of Broken Promises

by Sonny Inbaraj The Burmese generals have also been put in the same league as the regime lead by Belarus's Aleksandr Lukashenko whom Western governments accuse of trampling on democracy and organizing Latin American-type death squads to get rid of political opponents

Bush Stands Behind Colombia President Despite Ties to Drug Kingpin

by Jim Lobe The Bush administration on August 2 rallied behind Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in the face of allegations contained in a 13-year-old Pentagon intelligence report that he was a close personal friend of drug lord Pablo Escobar and had worked for his Medellin drug cartel

Vast Number Of Aliens In Prisons Run by Private U.S. Contractors

by Charles Munnell & Nestor Rodriguez The Abu Ghraib suit deals with the tip of an iceberg. There is a vastly larger class of alien prisoners incarcerated by American corporations. A recent study by the University of Houston Center for Immigration Research reveals that many of the issues raised by the Abu Ghraib lawsuit are also present in the network of immigrant prisons run by private companies and local governments under contract to the United States government.

Police Expanding Powers By Collecting DNA From Arrestees

by Marcelo Ballve Nationwide, collection of DNA samples by law enforcement is expanding, from collecting the DNA of convicted felons, which most states already require, to taking DNA samples of arrestees. Californians will vote on a "DNA fingerprinting" initiative this November. Civil libertarians say privacy and the presumption of innocence are in jeopardy

Violence Needed Against Chavez, Venezuela Opposition Leader Says

by Martin Sanchez, Venezuelan opposition leader and two-time president Carlos Andres Perez made a series of statements calling for violence and hinting at an eventual dictatorial period that the Venezuelan opposition must implement if current President Hugo Chavez is to be removed from office

Chavez Sees Mandate For Progressive Social Programs

by Alejandro Kirk Chavez proposed to give permanent institutional form to his government's successful programs in the areas of education, health, and economic and social development, which were initially put into effect as stop-gap measures aimed at filling the vacuum left by previous ineffective and corrupt Venezuelan governments

Bush Must Love Hawkish Democratic Party Platform

by Stephen Zunes The abrupt resignation of CIA Director George Tenet adds new grist to Washington's The only thing the 2004 Democratic Party platform could offer opponents of the war is a sentence which acknowledges"People of good will disagree about whether America should have gone to war in Iraq." As the Los Angeles Times editorialized,"Indeed they do. That is why we have elections, and it would have been nice if the opposition party had the guts to actually oppose it."

UN Wary Of Returning To Supervise Iraq Elections

by Thalif Deen The UN, which is supposed to prepare the groundwork for nation-wide elections in Iraq next January, is unlikely to send an electoral team to supervise the polls unless its workers are heavily protected in the war-riven country

Obama Likely To Be Senate's Only Black For Years To Come

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The Senate's glaring diversity problem goes far beyond African Americans. There are no Hispanics, no openly gay members, and only one American Indian (who is retiring), one Chinese American, one Japanese American and 14 women in the Senate -- out of 100 senators. It remains a clubby good ol' boy network of mostly rich, white males

Cheney Speaks to the Reptile Brain

by Thom Hartmann When Dick Cheney recently took John Kerry's comment about sensitivity in the war on terror out of context and spun it for his audiences, he was performing a psychologically masterful bit manipulation of all three brains

Corporate Welfare for Jumbo Shrimp

by Andrew Wells-Dang Over the last decade, shrimp have evolved from a delicacy only the rich could afford to the most popular seafood in America. The problem is, Gulf Coast trawlers can only catch 10 percent of the country's demand. The rest comes from imports, and 230 U.S. companies, joined together in the Southern Shrimp Alliance, feel that is unfair

Despite "Hand-Over," Iraqis Have Little Control Over Security

by Peyman Pejman U.S. forces are still handling the bulk of the fighting in troublesome areas of Iraq such as Faluja and Najaf. Iraqi government officials says that is how they want it because Iraqi security forces are still unable to protect their country

Neo-Cons, Realists, Fight Over Iran Policy

by Jim Lobe If the internal balance of power on Iraq favors the realists, the situation regarding Iran is less clear. While few analysts believe Washington would launch a military strike on Tehran before the November elections, speculation that a second Bush term would make 'regime change' in Iran a top priority has been persistent

Frightened Iraqi Christians Flee To Syria

by George Baghdadi Scared of lawlessness and the crumbling secular atmosphere within Iraq, thousands of Christians have fled to Syria. Saddam Hussein had enforced secularism with often brutal purges of Islamic groups. Now Christians fear the day might come when they are no longer welcome in Iraq

Bush Administration Quietly Admits Global Warming Real

Buried in a regular report on federal climate research delivered to Congress this week is evidence that President George W. Bush has modified his long-standing resistance to recognizing the human contributions to global warming that has kept the United States from ratifying the Kyoto Protocol

Oceans Have Used Up Third Of Capacity To Absorb Carbon Emissions

Human activities have used up about one-third of the potential of the world's oceans to absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide generated by human activities such as burning coal for electricity and gasoline for transportation, according to the first comprehensive study of the problem

FBI Investigating GOP Convention Protesters

by Marty Logan According to media reports this week, Bardwell is one of possibly dozens of protesters that FBI agents have questioned in recent weeks, an act that has provoked peals of protest country-wide from those who say the visits violate the freedoms guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution

The Fearful American Empire

by Franz Schurmann The shining star of American democracy may be fading as America responds to threats with fear and economic self-interest. Worldwide, democracy may also be on the retreat

Unanswered Questions Of "Fahrenheit 9/11"

by Joyce Marcel All the decks are stacked against us. People accustomed to power do not surrender it easily

Oil, Gas Giants Pouring $$ Into Bush Campaign

by Eli Clifton Mllions of dollars are at play behind the scenes, involving major actors in the U.S. oil and gas industry. Leading the way is privately-held Koch Industries, which has contributed more than half a million dollars in the 2004 election cycle, and just under $5.5 million to election campaigns since 1989, 90 percent of that money going to members of Bush's Republican Party

Palestinians Living In Iraq On Hard Times Since Saddam's Fall

by Ferry Biedermann The camp on the Jordanian-Iraqi border is one of the most visible testaments to the fate of the Palestinians in Iraq after the removal of Saddam Hussein, who was to a degree at least a benefactor and protector. Almost the moment the first phase of the war was over, Iraqi landlords evicted Palestinians by the thousands

Iraq Avoids UN Dues By Crying Poverty

by Thalif Deen Iraq's U.S.-installed interim government, which is planning to spend some two billion dollars on its military this year, has declared it is too poor to pay $14.6 million it owes the United Nations

Attica And Abu Ghraib In Your Own Backyard

by Norman Solomon Like Attica, Abu Ghraib was also about class and race. Meanwhile, back in the USA, a third of a century after the Attica uprising, just about every jail and prison continues to be a lot about class and a lot about race. With more than 2 million people now behind bars -- 63 percent black or Latino -- the incarcerated population is vastly skewed toward low income and dark skin

First Iraq Assembly Turns Into Fight Over Najaf

by Peyman Pejman Instead of debating topics on the agenda, much of the discussions turned into heated debates about fighting in Najaf, where followers of the firebrand Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr have been battling U.S. and Iraqi government forces

How the Press Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Rumsfeld

by Norman Solomon For three years, the elan of Rumsfeld's media stardom has been welded to fear and killing. After a couple of months in the media doghouse following revelations about torture at the Abu Ghraib prison, he is now openly romancing the journalistic pack with his inimitable style of tough love as he growls and romps across TV screens

Woodstock Redux: A Time of Butterflies and Bombers

by Norman Solomon A Woodstock reunion, scheduled for Aug. 20-22 in the town of Bethel, NY, comes while the gap between the nation's commander in chief and huge numbers of its citizens is enormous

Networks' Shameful Excuses For Poor Convention Coverage

by Norman Solomon The same broadcast networks that eagerly devote endless prime-time hours to vacuous sitcoms and unreal "reality shows" couldn't spare a total of more than a few hours last week for live coverage of the Democratic National Convention

Beyond Hero-Worship

by Norman Solomon With the election scarcely two months away, the media spotlight is largely focused on military backgrounds. The partisan crossfire has put the big propaganda guns in the hands of veterans. Someday, the news media may get around to re-examining the assumption that killing foreigners in their own country is the best patriotic credential imaginable

Not Even A Dime's Worth Of Difference

by Alexander Cockburn Absolutely nothing separates Kerry from Bush's positions on Iraq except he claims he would have lied more efficiently and somehow wheedled the United Nations and NATO into giving support

Kerry Makes A Strong Case For Nader

by Alexander Cockburn For all the interminable thundering about the evils of George Bush, the man has done a very respectable job of sabotaging the American Empire, which is probably why so many liberals hate him. They think he's a national embarrassment, hurling Imperial America over his handlebars, landing on its ass amid world derision

Kerry Gets Free Pass From Anybody But Bush Crowd

by Alexander Cockburn There's a strong case for arguing that the importance of these presidential contests is disastrously exaggerated. As always, a monocular obsession with getting behind the Democratic nominee means quitting vital battlefields. In the 1996 and 2000 campaigns, the AFL-CIO pulled many of its field organizers off its issue campaigns, to work for Clinton and Gore, the very architects of the Agreeements that these labor organizers had spent the previous three years fighting

As Many As 40 Migrant Workers Dead In Building Olympic Site

by Sanjay Suri Contractors seem to have their reason for silencing migrant workers. Fourteen workers have died at construction sites for Olympics projects and more than 100 have been injured, according to official records. The Greek Construction Workers Union says the total could be as high as 40 dead. One person had died in the construction projects for the Sydney Olympics in 2000

Incomplete Sentences, Talk Radio's Greatest Weapon

by Steve Young Forget Campaign-Finance. Forget 527's. There ought to be a law against editing out the parts of sentences, paragraphs and statements which make a so-called truth, a complete fabrication

Talk Radio's Latest Low: Military Duty As "Resume Padding"

by Steve Young John Kerry is not only a flip-flopping liberal, he's also a plotting clairvoyant. Going to war to pad your resume? Wow. That take colossal heaps of foresight, guts...and a heap o'stupidity

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