Albion Monitor Issue 133 APRIL 2005

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Army enviro poster EARTH DAY'S DEVOLUTION
The U.S. Army has unveiled its brand new Earth Day catchphrase, "Sustaining the Environment for a Secure Future," attempting to focus public attention upon those relatively insignificant, generally painless, and sometimes fun things that we all can do to improve the environment. They make no mention that the Department of Defense has sought immunity from the Clean Air Act, Superfund Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act and several other keystone environmental laws. They most certainly make no mention of the fact that the U.S. military is amongst the worst environmental offenders on Earth

Winners And Losers On Earth DayFREE!
Where's the infrastructure and funding to build a green-wing movement?

Over $1 Billion Needed To Contain Ghosts Of Chernobyl
Original concrete block "sarcophagus" must be enclosed
Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough With Palm-Sized Device FREE!
A smaller version could be injected into the human body to zap cancer

Israel Fears 'Civil War' Over Gaza Pullout Plans
Extremists plan widespread actions to distract Israeli forces from dismantling colonies

Dodging the ugly news about Iraq - Bush abandons important treaty for spite - God's banker and the Pope's covert war - The Vatican's forgotten scandal 404 reports

Pentagon Seeks To Drop Geneva Rules On Prisoners
Wants to deny human rights to anyone designated 'enemy combatant'

Annan Faces UN Staff To Boost Morale
No secretary-general has been under siege as Annan

Annan's Blueprint For UN Reform Shows U.S. Pressure
Including drop of any discussion of "state terrorism," usually meaning military strikes by Israel or the U.S.

This week, as the Senate contemplates whether to send to the United Nations one of the most hostile imaginable neanderthals to represent the United States, it would serve us well to step back and take a long view of the neo-conservative game concerning the UN, and the very concepts of international governance and law

Japan Union Blames Company Pressure On Train Operators For Crash
Company harsh on employees responsible for train delays
EPA Program To Detect Bioterror A Flop, Warns Inspector General FREE!
Early-warning system designed to detect the release of biological agents in the air

Much-Hyped Mexico Border Vigilante Patrol A Bust
Under 100 Minuteman volunteers, mostly elderly, no planes or helicopters.
EPA Nominee Drops Controversial Pesticide Study On Children FREE!
"[The] pesticide industry wants to use human testing to trump animal studies so as to justify relaxed exposure limits"
Chile's Private Pensions Were Disaster For Retirees FREE!
Lessons for Bush's proposed Social Security reform

U.S. Should Be Sympathetic To China's Anti-Japan Protests
Why is it so hard for Westerners to understand China's rage about Japanese efforts to rewrite history?

China Media Blackout Of Anti-Japan Protests In Beijing
Resentment over Japanese aid, Japan bid for UN Security Council seat
All over China, rock-throwing, window-smashing crowds have gathered in recent weeks to attack diplomatic offices, Japanese electronics shops, Japanese restaurants (mostly owned by Chinese), exchange students, anything and anyone associated with the Land of the Rising Sun. But there's nothing new about anti-Japanese demonstrations in China, a mostly rational response to a long record of abuses

ChevronTexaco CEO Closes Investor's Meeting To Silence Enviro FREE!
Amazon Watch director attempting to present oil company's own data showing contamination

Tax Activist Movement Demands Big Business Pay Fair Share
About $11.5 trillion of assets held offshore

Shareholder Activists Demand Changes From Big Oil
Making the case for "serious financial consequences for investors if it isn't well managed"

Texas Refinery Blast Raises Safety Questions
Houston plant just one of hundreds that each put at least 100,000 people at risk

Exxon, Free-Trade Skeptics Still Trying To Undermine Kyoto Treaty
Anti-global warming seminar featured U.S. chief climate change negotiator
Australia To Shoot Wild Camels From Helicopters FREE!
Imported in the 19th century, now 700,000 feral camels across Australia

Doctors Link Junk Food To Rise In Childhood Asthma
Rates doubled in five years

Few U.S. War Resisters Heading For Canada
Pentagon not yet hunting down 5-6,000 soldiers who are AWOL

"Ghost" Prisoner Resurfaces At Guantanamo
Not seen since he was snatched from 5-star Cairo hotel in 2002

Dick Cheney, a long-time beneficiary of World Bank largess, has moved to take ownership of the world's development coffers through his man, Wolfowitz. For his part, Wolfowitz will have a chance to extend his Iraq reconstruction theories to the global level. These concepts mostly involve U.S. control over energy resources. While the Bank, over which the U.S. holds de facto veto power, has done a lot for the nation's oil interests over the years, his nomination is a clear signal that the administration craves more

Pope Benedict XVI
The election of Josef Ratzinger, the German cardinal who was the righthand man of Pope John Paul II could mean that the church will become even more centralist and conservative than it was under John Paul II. Ratzinger wants to cleanse the Church of "filthiness," reinforce the doctrinal and moral formation of the clergy, and bring a new missionary campaign.

But Benedict XVI, who was chief of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is unpopular with large sections of the Church for his antimodernist positions and for methodically persecuting and silencing dissenters. In the l980s, he powerfully confronted the fast-moving tide of liberation theology, an intellectual and popular movement that linked Catholic theology and political activism in everyday issues of social justice and human rights. Officially, Ratzinger reversed the tide, forbidding certain Catholic theologians to publish in what was called a "silencing." Ratzinger issued a 1984 document with something like the force of law called an "Instruction," defining Rome's opposition to liberation theology's "fundamental threat" and weighing in on naming conservative Latin bishops.


 + Selection Of Ratzinger Shows Regressive Wing Of Church In Charge

 + Ratzinger Crushed Latin Church - Will He Listen As Pope?

 + Right-Wing Catholic Order Launches "Megamission"

 + "Liberation Theology" Survived Despite Reactionary Vatican

 + With John Paul Gone, Hope For A Vatican II Renaissance

Conservative Islam, Christianity Join In Hatred Of Condoms
U.S. AIDS program also restricts condoms to high risk groups, such as prostitutes

U.S. Breaks 1994 UN Agreement On Birth Control
International anger at Bush's latest pandering to America's religious right

Evangelist James Kennedy Bids To Lead Culture War
Has quietly radicalized christian moderates with TV ministry

Fallout From Schiavo Case Hits Hospice Movement
Dying unsettled by comments that Schiavo "starved to death" and "died of thirst"

Tsunami aftermatn
One hundred days after the tsunami killed 280,000, Southeast Asia wonders if it will ever recover. Many beach resorts on the Thai island of Phuket are ready for tourists, but few are coming. Locals say that's because spirits of those who died in the tsunami are walking the shores. Fear is palpable and hangs heavily in the air everywhere among Sumatra's 700,000 people. Anything made of brick and mortar or concrete -- houses, buildings, bridges, churches, schools, mosques and community halls have collapsed or are so severely damaged that they have to be pulled down. UN officials say that soon there will be nothing left standing on the island -- which once was a thriving trading center. Scores of people -- old women, children and young men -- are huddled in makeshift sheds on the hill that overlooks the Indian Ocean. The views are spectacular with the majestic surfs rushing ashore, but not a single tourist is in sight to ride the world-renowned giant waves on their surfboards. The houses and cottages that dot the beach and until recently crowded with people, are all now empty

 + Remember Those Big Tsunami Pledges? Most Countries Don't

 + New Quake Leaves Indonesians Distrustful Of Government

 + Tsunami Women Survivors Still Abused

 + Ghosts Keep Tourists Away From Phuket

 + Weavers Return To Work After Tsunami

 + New Sri Lanka Fighting Puts Tsunami Aid At Risk

That Wartime Feeling Returns To Lebanon
Militias form as nation still armed to the teeth 15 years after the end of the civil war

Lebanon Fears Return To Bad Old Days
After excitement of Syria's withdrawl fades, groups will again face one another
Don't Credit Bush For Lebanon's Ouster Of Syrian Forces FREE!
As White House claims Iraq election started domino effect in Middle East

Haiti Uneasy As Elections Near
Thousands marching through streets demanding Aristide's return

Haiti's Political Personality Cults
Lavalas party devoted to Aristide, but "angry monster" faction heavily armed

Only Fraction Of Money Pledged To Haiti Actually Paid
Major cause of nation's continued slide towards chaos

American activist sought to force Pentagon to reveal Iraq deaths
 + On Saturday April 16, 28-year-old Marla Ruzicka of Lakeport, California, was killed when a car bomb exploded on the streets of Baghdad. She fought to obtain recognition and compensation for Iraqis injured in U.S. military attacks, and did not live to see all her goals accomplished. But a week before the bomb took her life and that of her Iraqi co-workers, Ruzicka wrote a toughly worded essay. In it, she contradicted senior Pentagon officials, stating that military commanders do keep track of Iraqi civilians killed by U.S. forces and that the number is important.

After Ruzicka's funeral, the Los Angeles Times noted that "her efforts, carried in Congress by Sen. Patrick Leahy, resulted in an unprecedented $30 million in aid to victims." But Congress has just put about $80 billion more into the war pipeline, and there's a lot more of such supplemental funding on the horizon. Today, the formula in place provides for millions of dollars to "compensate" for deaths and wounds inflicted on Iraqi people -- and billions of dollars to keep killing and wounding them.

 + Remembering Marla Ruzicka FREE!

 + Activist's Death Leads To New Call For Iraq Body Count Disclosure

 + Norman Solomon: Pentagon Saw Marla Ruzicka As Ally
 + Marla Ruzicka, Rachel Corrie, And Revolution of Heart FREE!

U.S. Behind Coups In Central America 25 Years Ago, Central Asia Today FREE!
U.S. pumped $31 million last year into Kyrgyzstan alone under the Freedom Support Act

Fall Of Another Post-Soviet Regime Shocks Central Asia
Kyrghyzstan government falls after violent demonstrations
Why Hasn't Bush Opposed Nepal's Coup? FREE!
U.S. ramping up military support as India and England boycott

Dust Bowl Conditions Across Asia
Desertification of Korea, China

China's Quest For Oil Moves To Central Asia
Launching one of the biggest energy projects in the world in Pakistan

Vietnamese Girls Sold To Chinese Men For "Instant Marriages"
Sold at Singapore fair for $600 each

Bush Threatens Asian Stability With Fighter Jet Sales To Pakistan
"I know that we want to be friends with Pakistan because of the terrorism thing, but you don't fight terrorism with F-16s"

Sharon Prepares Prison-State For Palestine FREE!
A new apartheid, locked into a series of cells called a 'state'

Besides Israeli Conflict, Palestinian Women Also Victims Of Their Own Society
Report cites damage caused to the fabric of Palestinian society
Book Reveals Cruelty Of Israel's Military Justice System FREE!
One lawyer suggests that his role is simply to beg for mercy in a merciless environment

U.S. Turns Historic Fort Near Mexico Border Into Mercenary School
Training of many of the interrogators in Iraq

UAE Latest Gulf Nation To Say "Enough"
Calls for democracy, or at least more representative governments

Iraq News
Corruption Draining Iraq's Oil Industry FREE!
Nearly half of Iraqi oil going to black market

Pentagon Audits Shows $212 Million Overcharge By Halliburton
Total amount overbilled now totals two billion dollars
The Mystery Hostages Of Madain, Iraq FREE!
Iraq and U.S. forces raid town where up to 150 Shi'ites weren't hostages

Record Number of Injuries, Fatalities For U.S. Women Soldiers In Iraq
Even though Pentagon blocks women from direct combat roles
Iraq Terror Spills Over To Kuwait FREE!
Government reluctant to crack down on Islamist movement with wide support

Top U.S. Commander Approved Iraq Prisoner Abuse
Other memos show soldiers told to "beat the fuck out of" detainees

Iraq's New Government First Order Of Business: How To Deal With U.S. Military
Risk that U.S. troops will become "enforcers" for unstable government

Michael Chertoff, who replaced Tom Ridge as the administration's new chief of the homeland security department, has been praised by the president as a "brilliant thinker" and a tough prosecutor. But his record on immigration cases as an appeals court judge and head of the Justice Department's criminal division under Attorney General John Ashcroft shows an anti-immigrant bias that has many human rights advocates worried

Politics As Usual

Alarming patterns have emerged in the new Homeland Security State, among them an increase in the intrusion of military, intelligence, and "security" agencies into the civilian sector of American society. One is the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive which distributes posters that echo Soviet East Germany: "America's Security is Your Responsibility. Observe and Report." These posters hint at the direction our Homeland Security State is heading, and that future includes settling old scores; another poster warns of spies with a collage of those convicted of being foreign agents, but the most prominent bad guy on the poster is no spy or traitor - it's hated CIA whistleblower Philip Agee, who exposed the Agency's abuses in the 1960s

PART I: The Military Half
PART II: The Civilian Half

Delay On Bolton Vote Marks Defeat For Hawks
No Republican during heated debate offered a reason to support Bolton
Liberal Hawks Ally With Neo-Con PNAC FREE!
Endorsing substantial boost in size of U.S. military

Wiretaps Up Sharply As Congress Debates Patriot Act Renewal
1,754 special warrants for secret wiretaps last year
John Bolton And The Western Sahara FREE!
Bolton uses work in little-known African colony to defend his record at UN

John Bolton Plays Nice At Senate Hearing
John Kerry: "I'm surprised the nominee wants the job he's been nominated for, given the many negative things he's had to say about the UN"
WMD Commission -- Yet Another Intelligence Failure FREE!
Became an effective political tool to deflect blame from White House while undermining CIA

GOP Courting Black Evangelicals
Helped tip Ohio and the White House to Bush

Attempts To Lift Bush Veil Of Government Secrecy
4 Democratic senators introduce "Restore FOIA Act"

The murders of Ciudad Juarez
Since 1993, hundreds of women have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez, directly across the border from El Paso. Almost all of them were raped before they were killed -- gang-raped in many cases -- and also showed signs of having been tortured.

Theories on the motives behind these murders abound, encompassing everything from satanic cults to the porn industry and snuff films. There is also a line of investigation delving into a possible connection with the trafficking of human organs. Other leads include a network of private computer schools, bars, and businesses operating in both the downtowns of Juarez and Chihuahua City; police officers from different agencies; drug traffickers; wealthy businessmen; politicians; immigrant smugglers; El Paso residents; and elements within the same law enforcement agency supposedly probing the women's murders.

Chihuahua's new governor took office October 3 but things have not gotten off to a good start. Within hours of his inauguration, a woman's body was discovered in Chihuahua City. In the next several weeks, 5 other women and girls were killed in Chihuahua City and Juarez as if a macabre message were being delivered

 + The Juarez Women's Murders FREE!

 + The City Of Murder

 + Juarez Murders Just Tip Of Iceberg

 + Violence Against Women In Latin America Rarely Reported

U.S. Envoy Played Key Role In Ecuador's Latest Regime Change
Also resigning was police head with key role in U.S. anti-drug Plan Colombia

Bush's New "Axis Of Evil" -- Castro And Chavez
Rumsfeld says he can't see why Venezuela would want to stock up on AK-47s

Chavez Seizes Large Venezuela Ranch Under Land Reform
"Unproductive" land to be given to squatters who have lived there for years

As Soy Farming Booms, Argentina's Forests Vanish
Also drinking water shortages as only 2% of watershed forests left

Argentina's Radioactive Groundwater
No actions taken for 40 years

Canada Offers Hard-Core Junkies Free Heroin In Study
Switzerland and the Netherlands have same program
Canada Ranchers Sue Government Over Mad Cow FREE!
Also: former USDA inspector says testing was botched in 1990s

Seal kill
Activists say the special club used to kill seals is difficult to use on the shifting, slippery ice or in bad weather, and many animals are skinned alive
Canada's Bloody Seal Hunt Expands To Ice Floes
Canadian government maintains seal hunt akin to fishing, not an animal rights issue

Russia's Media Freedoms Under Attack
Journalists "prefer to censor themselves" because most media receive federal subsidies

Russia Crackdown On Beer
Average life expectancy for a Russian male is about 59

AIDS Spreading In Russia At Alarming Pace
1 out of 100 infected, according to some estimates

India's AIDS Funds Being Stolen By Militants On Burma Border
World Bank money lost to extortion from gangster orgs that control remote state

TB And AIDS An Increasingly Toxic Mix
Neglect by rich nations has made a completely curable disease a nightmare for the world's poor

Swiss Company Fined $375k For Selling Unauthorized GM Corn
"No one looks into the bags of seeds to see if what's inside is the same as what's on the label"
GM Corn Sent To Europe Leads To Antibiotic Resistance FREE!
Company said it only recently discovered the "unintended event" after 4 years

Genetic Crops Harm Wildlife, Study Finds
Kills weeds favored by wildlife, leaves the kinds they shun

Emission Traders Cash In, But Don't Cut Pollution
Swapping credits, not cleaning up dirty smokestacks

Cigarettes, Not Bird Flu, Is Vietnam's Big Killer
The Marlboro man has become the symbol of luxury

Huge Bottled Water Industry Plays On Fear Of Faucets
$50 billion a year for Nestle, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Danone

Bill Gates and the Corporatization of American "Public" Schools FREE!
The real crisis in our schools reflects the most serious crisis in our democracy

Is Bush's Call For Democracy Helping Islamist Recruiters?
Don't believe call for democracy is sincere because clerics would win most elections

Boycott Of LA Times Shows Advertising's Power Over MediaFREE!
General Motors lashes out after newspaper critc calls car "a sales flop"

From The Vatican To Neverland FREE!
Enablers of pedophilia prevail in the catholic church and the courtroom


MOLLY     IVINS Molly Ivins

 + People Who Work For A Living Get The Short End
 + God, The Repubs, And The Filibuster
 + Repubs Defending Bolton Show Character Doesn't Matter
 + It's All Just A Conspiracy To Get Tom DeLay
 + Tax System Subsidizes Bush's Pals
 + Bush Won't Dare Go After Real Tax Cheats
 + The Oil-For-Food Non-Scandal Scandal
 + Bush's Tiresome Lying On Energy Problems

 + What Price Empire?
 + GOP Gays And The 'Finkelstein Phenomenon'
 + Pope Didn't Buy Bush's Iraq Scam
 + Bush Threw Us A 'Curveball'
 + A Con Job By Pakistan's Pal, George Bush

 } Robert Scheer

 + The Media's Pope Problem
 + When The Advertiser - Media Marriage Goes Sour
 + Another Cost Of War: Closed Libraries
 + A Quarterly Report From Bush-Cheney Media Enterprises

 } Norman Solomon

 + Marla Ruzicka And Rachel Corrie
 + A Suicide In Kerala
 + Coca-Cola Plant Brings Misery To India
 + Death, Depression, Prozac

 } Alexander Cockburn

 + The LA Times' Daring Gambit
 + I Want To Be On The Cover Of TIME
 + Talkers Mum On Real Obscenity: How Repubs Screwed The Vets
 + Lots Of Bad News To Spin
 + Air America Afloat After Sink Or Swim Birth
 } Steve Young



The Roman Catholic Church now has a Pope who grew up in Nazi Germany. Though he was briefly forced into the Hitler Youth, his biographe says the Pope was strongly anti-Nazi. "Having seen fascism in action, Ratzinger believes that the best antidote to political totalitarianism is ecclesiastical totalitarianism." In the U.S., in the Catholic Church, and all over the world, many people of strong faith resist totalitarian political trends, just as some did in the Nazi era. However, there is one big difference between the 1930s and the 21st century. Now, the faithful who stand up for political freedom are less likely to buy the new Pope's argument. They are more likely to stand up for religious freedom, too, because they realize one simple truth: You can't expect people to cherish freedom of conscience in the political arena if you make them check their free conscience at the church door

Albion Monitor
Issue 133

Editor: Jeff Elliott (

The Albion Monitor is currently published as an ongoing newspaper by Wayward Press, POB 1733, Sebastopol, CA 95473

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