Albion Monitor Issue 140 NOVEMBER 2005

Monitor archives:


Albion Monitor
Next Issue Previous Issue

The President's Protective Bubble and the Serial Abuser of Air Force One 404 reports
Most Americans, knowing next to nothing about our global bases or the Pentagon's basing policies, would undoubtedly be surprised to learn that ours is an empire of bases. Put in historical terms, in the last decade-plus, as the pace of our foreign wars has picked up, we've left behind, after each of them, a new set of bases like the droppings of some giant beast marking the scene with its scent. Bases were dropped into Saudi Arabia and the small Gulf emirates after our first Gulf War in 1991; into the former Yugoslavia after the Kosovo air war of 1999; into Pakistan, Afghanistan, and those former Central Asian SSRs after the Afghan war of 2001; and into Iraq after the invasion of 2003. War in Iraq, in turn, has spawned at least 106 bases of various sizes and shapes; while a low-level but ongoing guerilla conflict in Afghanistan has produced a plethora of fire bases, outposts, air bases, and detention centers of every sort. It's a matter of bases and prisons where there is opposition. Just bases where there isn't. This, it seems, is now the American way in the world.

In South America there is Paraguay's Mariscal Estigarribia air base, where some 500 special forces arrived July 1 for a three-month counterterrorism training exercise. There U.S.-financed mercenary armies are doing everything from training the military in Paraguay and Ecuador to calling in air attacks against guerillas in Colombia. Indeed, it is feeling a little like the run up to the '60s and '70s, when Washington-sponsored military dictatorships dominated most of the continent, and dark armies ruled the night.

And then there are the "black sites," where the U.S. is accused of holding an unknown number of prisoners in dozens of secret detention centers around the world as part of its Terror War. Virtually nothing is known outside elite political and intelligence circles about the black sites, including who is detained and how long prisoners are held. A recent Washington Post article said that "the arrangement has been increasingly debated within the CIA, where considerable concern lingers about the legality, morality and practicality of holding even unrepentant terrorists in such isolation and secrecy, perhaps for the duration of their lives"

 + Outposts Of Empire FREE!
 + U.S. Building Up Bases In South America FREE!

 + Torture Widespread In U.S. "Black Site" Prisons, Says AI

 + UN, Europe Seek Probe Of U.S. "Black Site" Prisons

 + U.S. Suspected Of Running Dozens Of Secret Detention Centers Worldwide

Bush Outlines Iraq Victory Strategy: Stay The Course, Trust Us
We're winning, honest

Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Penn.) during heated Nov. 18 House debate on Iraq policy
Top Democrat Hawk Calls For Immediate Iraq Pullout
Rep. Murtha warns that the "future of our military is at risk"

Bush: Blame The Democrats For Believing Me On WMDs
Pathetic attempts to blame Kerry and many of his fellow Democrats who stumbled haplessly into the Iraq trap laid for them by the White House

Cheney Calls Senate Critics "Dishonest And Reprehensible"
Neo-con audience among 19% that still have favorable view of Veep

White House Launches Major Attack On Attackers
Cheney, Bush, insist the buck stops with Democrats, not them

Hopeful Signs Of New Realism At White House
Awareness that way out of Iraq leads through Iran

White House Denies Al-Jazeera Bombing Was Planned
Bush reportedly considered attacking broadcaster during 2004 Falluja assault
Blair Backs Away From Kyoto Protocol FREE!
"The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge"

Countries Meet On Kyoto Protocol, Most Determined To Undermine It
"No one is coming to Montreal to reach a new agreement on what to do"
Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide At 650,000 Year High FREE!
Natural climate cycles in the distant past were smaller than what is now unfolding
Best Climate Model Yet Predicts Dramatic Changes FREE!
More extreme heat, dry spells in much of U.S.

Struggle over future of Internet
A protoype of the $100 laptop was demonstrated at the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis. PHOTO: ITU / H. Dridi
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) summit drew over 18,000 to a unique conference on the state of the Internet, although the gathering began under a cloud as hopes for international control were dashed when the U.S. fought back a challenge over control over the Internet. The conference celebrated the computer's power in the dissemination of human knowledge, even as freedom to publish on the Internet comes under attack worldwide; on Oct. 7, two Singapore bloggers were sentenced under the Sedition Act.

What media coverage that was available highlighted the gadgetry on display, particularly a simple $100 laptop powered by a wind-up crank that could be sold by the millions in the developing world within a year. But will providing Internet access or mobile phones to more people help end the poverty that disables millions in so many nations? The 'digital divide' that separates the rich from the poor also separates, in many countries, men from women. "While the gender gap has recently vanished in a few countries with high Internet penetration, such as Canada and the United States, this is not the case among other countries well known for their info states, such as Norway, Luxembourg and the UK," says a conference report

 + U.S. Retains Control Of Internet

 + Internet Summit Ignores "Digital Divide"

 + More Internet, Less Poverty?

 + The Little Green Laptop That Could

 + Internet Freedoms Under Attack Worldwide

 + Navajo Nation Goes Global

 + Gender Gap Another Part Of Digital Divide

 + Internet Summit Ends On Mixed Note

Big Oil Claims Record Profits, High Prices Not Price Gouging
Groups want ExxonMobil to use some of its record profits to finally pay Exxon Valdez damages

As Expected, Bolton Causing UN Havoc
Threatening to undermine United Nations with separate U.S. agreements

Far-Right Prepares All-Out Attack On UN
Hudson Institute's "EYE on the UN" seeks to gather wide range of UN-haters

Hurricanes Spawn Oil Industry Scams FREE!
Exploiting disasters to pressure Congress into environmental rollbacks

Cars, as well as homes were completely submerged in New Orleans, where mold has now reached dangerous levels even outdoors. PHOTO: Marvin Nauman/FEMA
First New Orleans Air Tests Show Dangerous Levels Of Mold FREE!
Federal officials have ignored risks even in outdoor areas

NY Times Allows Judy Miller To Resign -- Finally
Thanks for the war and going to jail, though

Ken Tomlinson Just The Tip Of CPB's Scandal FREE!
Placed conservative idealogues into top posts of public TV and radio

The Nurse Who Whupped The Governator
Rose Ann DeMoro and the California Nurses Association get most credit for Schwarzenegger's landslide defeat

France in flames


Bouna Traore, 15, and Zyed Benna, 17, the two youths electrocuted Oct. 27 in the impoverished Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois
In France the powder keg is in the banlieues, suburban neighborhoods conceived at the beginning of the 1950s to provide modern housing to low and moderate-income families. But yesterday's brilliant solution has become today's nightmare. On the night of Oct. 27, two immigrant children died accidentally in a high-voltage electricity facility in Clichy-sous-Bois. In the face of rumors that they were being chased by the police - which the police deny - angry youths went on the rampage. The police reacted with force, in one instance hurling tear-gas grenades into a mosque. Most residents of the Parisian outskirts where the unrest began are Muslims.

Making matters worse was Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who first said the children were fleeing after a burglary, but the justice department later denied that any crime had taken place. The right-wing Sarkozy also said that people resorting to violence in the low-income districts surrounding Paris were "racaille," meaning "rabble" or "scum," which inflamed the already explosive situation.

All the elements for the outbreak of youth rebellion are present throughout Western Europe. Hardly unique to France are the marginalized second or third generation immigrants out of place in their parents' old countries but not fully accepted by their own. So are unemployment, social discrimination and underclasses packed in dismal neighborhoods of despair. The question is where the next conflagration will be, and when

 + Is France Ready For Affirmative Action?

 + Europe Uneasy As France's Riots Spread

 + Will France Riots Set Europe On Fire?

 + Arab Media Compares France Riots To Palestinian Intifada

 + Paris Riots Spread Into Rebellion

 + French Politician's Racist Comments Inflame Immigrants

 + Auto Arson Center To France Riots

Al Qaeda, the Next Generation
Top government officials are increasingly turning their attention to Zarqawi's Iraq and away from bin Laden's al-Qaida to anticipate what one called "the bleed out" of hundreds or thousands of Iraq-trained jihadis back to their home countries throughout the Middle East and Western Europe: "It's a new piece of a new equation," a former senior Bush administration official said

Sharon Minus Likud Equals... What?
Israel's right-wing party left floundering

Bosnia City Salutes Kung-Fu Fighter Bruce Lee As Icon Of Peace
Selected because he had absolutely no link to Balkans

Argentinan police clash with tens of thousands of protesters against Bush and FTAA talks
Protesters March In Argentina Against FTAA, Bush
As Venezuela's Chavez jokes that he might sneak up on Bush to scare him

Summit Of The Americas Leaves Region More Polarized
Fraying U.S. ties to Latin America evident at Argentina conference

Rumsfeld Won't Let UN Interview Guantanamo Prisoners
Insists lengthy hunger strike is just a publicity stunt, not to worry
500,000 Himalaya Quake Survivors Face Winter Without Shelter FREE!
Race against time as Red Cross, aid agencies run out of money

Extremists Earn Legitimacy Through Pakistan Quake Relief
Providing emergency medical aid that the government isn't
Pakistan Quake Victims Mob Hospitals As Freezing Weather Sets In FREE!
UN choppers with shelter kits grounded

Supporting Corrupt Pakistan The Main Reason For U.S. Quake Aid FREE!
Another lost outreach opportunity to Muslims

Is the threat of a Bird Flu pandemic real?
Chickens culled in Vietnam, where small, backyard operations worry health officials
Days after Bush announced a $7 billion bird flu-fighting plan on November 1, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Japan all reported new cases, with two human deaths. Officials acted quickly; Japan killed 82,000 chickens and on November 6, China culled six million birds in Liaoning province on a single day.

So far most of the illness has been found at factory farms rather than among free-range birds, but it's the likelihood of unreported cases that worry global health authorities. Small, backyard poultry flocks are found throughout Asia, and owners have proven reluctant to report sick animals, which brings with it the risk of authorities killing the birds that provide food and income. Even if the case is reported, local officials in China -- fearing the negative impact of an epidemic emerging in their areas -- often try to suppress the news and deal with it internally rather than report it to Beijing.

 + World Bank Picks Patents Over People In Bird Flu Vaccine Case

 + Factory Farm Vs. Free Range Chickens In Bird Flu Dispute

 + Concerns Over How China Would Handle Bird Flu Outbreak

 + Europe Bans Russia Birds After Flu Cases

Legalize Afghan Opium, Study Says FREE!
Licensed farms said to be only viable option for economy

How Your French Fries Are Endangering Orangutans
Palm oil also in ice creams, detergents, bread, lipstick and soap

China Tells Bush To Mind His Own Business
Thanks, but we'll pass on the democracy stuff

Bush: Clueless In Beijing
Western media also missed the mark

Russia The Odd Man Out At U.S. And China Meet
Putin has refused to negotiate oil, natural gas rights

Schwarzenegger's China Trip: Pumping Up The Personal Profile
Unpopular governator probably eyeing return to showbiz

China Keeping Details Of Mega-Dam Secret
Cascade of 13 hydropower stations planned on designated World Heritage site

Japan, China Continue Sabre-Rattling
Both countries unwilling to back away from historical feuds

Chinese Loggers Decimate Burma Forests
As illegal deforestation is curtailed in most other Asian countries

Burma Prepares For Regime Turnover
Most dramatic since the military seized power 17 years ago

In the end, we will spend $1 trillion or more for an outcome that is inimical to our interests: an Islamic state aligned with Iran, an independent Kurdistan and a rump Sunni state around Baghdad that might well become a haven for terrorists

Iraq News
Doctors Say U.S. Soldiers Trashing Ramadi Hospitals
U.S. forces charged with targeting hospitals, accusations of aiding terrorists

Joe Conason: What Way Out?
Both leaving and staying seem likely to result in disaster

Iraq Faces To Lose Billions In U.S.-Brokered Oil Deal
Would Put 2/3 of country's oil reserves in control of foreign firms

Chalabi In U.S. To Lay Groundwork For Iraq Control
Odds-on favorite to win prime minister in the upcoming elections

Iraq Reconstruction Plans In Shambles, Reports Find
Water, power, gasoline supplies all failing

Unlike Vietnam, Iraq Is A Religious War, Official Says
Reaction, not revolution in Iraq's future
Iraq Unions Under Attack From All Sides FREE!
Rebels target labor leaders as government rules set by U.S. occupation block union actions

Witnesses Describe Ballot Fraud In Key Iraq Province
Supports Sunni charges of fraudulent vote totals in the province

Politics As Usual
No Question Alito Is Activist Judge
A judge who rules in favor of big business reflexively

Cheney Becomes Political Albatross
"You can say that the influence of the VP is going to decrease, but it's hard to decrease from zero"
Woodward Gambit: Latest Move In The Plame Game FREE!
White House smokescreen defense discredits famed Watergate reporter

Republicans Cut And Run From Iraq, Bush
Puts adminstration on short leash for Iraq, demands regular reports and pullout goals

Ballot Wins For Democrats Add To GOP Gloom
Bush's intervention in Virginia governor race apparently doomed Repub candidate

Scooter Libby Replacements Tied To Iraq Deceptions
One was main White House contact for Ahmad Chalabi's group

Bush Hopes To Save Face With New Court Pick
Effort to rally extremist base as administration under fire on all fronts

Congress Of The Callous
Proposed budget cuts in food stamps, health care, student loans
Bush Governing By Gut And God FREE!
Incurious, inarticulate and insulated from people and information that might contradict his "gut feelings" or religious beliefs

Peru's authoritarian ruler from 1990 - 2000
Peru sought the extradition of former president Alberto Fujimori from Japan for 5 years
For five years, Peru sought the extradition of former president Alberto Fujimori to face justice on 21 charges, the most serious involving two massacres in which a total of 25 people -- including a young boy -- were killed. From the safety of Japan, Fujimori taunted the courts and his political opponents with a weekly radio show and website, where he posted daily messages that he will return to Lima "on a date that will surprise everyone" and run for office again.

But even his devoted core of "Fujimorista" followers were surprised earlier this month when he flew to nearby Chile, where he faces extradition to Peru. It is believed that the former president will use his two-month stay in Chile -- the estimated duration of his extradition trial -- to organize a campaign aimed at allowing him to run for president, despite a Congressional ban barring him from holding public office until 2010, and disqualifying him from running again for the presidency.

It appears that the former president believes his presence in or near Peru will inspire an upsurge in popular support, leading to public pressure that would force the national electoral authorities into accepting his candidacy. Opinion polls show he is significantly more popular than President Alejandro Toledo. Analysts have speculated that the former president's plan seems to involve a high-profile role in the April elections in Peru, even if he himself is unable to stand as a candidate and has to observe the elections from behind prison bars. His hopes would be for a victory for a "Si cumple" candidate, who would then go on to clear Fujimori's name and ensure that all charges against him are dropped.

 + Peru Prosecutors Prepare Cases Against Fujimori

 + Fujimori's Trip To Chile First Step Towards Peru Return

 + Peru Ex-President Fujimori Arrested In Chile
 + Japan's Shameful Protection Of Fujimori FREE!

 + Exiled Fujimori Says He'll Return To Peru, Run For President

Black Youth Given Harsh Jail Terms 10x More Often Than Whites
22x more likely to get life-without-parole sentences in California

Groups Want UN To Ban Genetic Engineered Rice From Asia
As activists fear a shift within the UN system toward GE foods

Water Privatization Often Leads Poor To Use Dirty Water Sources
European companies now own about 5 percent of the world's water

Africa Migration Crisis Reaches "Biblical" Proportions
Sub-Saharan African immigrants dying in attempts to cross over into Spanish territory

UN: Get Ready For Millions Of "Environmental Refugees"
More are already displaced by environmental disasters than war
Russia's Richest Man En Route To Labor Camp FREE!
Khodorkovsky may spend weeks on trains headed for Siberia or other remote area

Fitzgerald Investigation Has Long Way To Go FREE!
Has power to ask questions such on deception of Congress, War Crimes Act, and more

Finally, Cold War Is Ending In Korea
Despite Washington's refusal to accept changing realities on the Korean peninsula

Schwarzenegger Could Do Right By "Tookie" Williams
Virginia governor shows clemency not a political death sentence

The Real Rosa Parks FREE!
Parks didn't make a spur-of-the-moment decision, but was part of a movement at a time when success was far from certain


MOLLY     IVINS Molly Ivins

 + Lots Of Lemons For Lemonade
 + Cowardly White House Labels Others As Cowards
 + Gov't Of The Crony, By The Crony, For...
 + Are They Stupid, Or Lying?
 + The Right-To-Torture Nation
 + Time For The Heckuva Job Brownie Prize
 + Graceless W. Bush
 + How To Make Things Right, Part 3

 + Cheney's Shameful Smears
 + The Big-Lie President
 + Another Declassified Report Shows White House Lied Its Way To War
 + Judy Miller Obstructed Justice And Journalism

 } Robert Scheer

 + Dishing Up The Usual Thanksgiving Media Leftovers
 + Tehran And Washington Need Each Other

 } Norman Solomon

 + Speaking Truth To War Power
 + First The Lying, Then The Pardon
 + Did Libby's Lies Swing The 2004 Election?
 + Alito Another Rancid Right-Winger

 } Alexander Cockburn

 + Progressive Talk Needs A Dose Of HBO
 + Boycott Bill
 + Hail To The Ostrich
 + 2000 Deaths And Counting...One At A Time
 } Steve Young

Let's be clear. Get Rich or Die Tryin, the semi-autobiographical movie that tracks the life of gangster Rap icon Curtis "Fifty Cent" Jackson from street thug to musical superstar, isn't going to send young blacks sprinting from the theaters to commit murder and mayhem in their neighborhoods. It's a movie, and there's no smoking- gun connection between the violence on the big screen and bodies in the streets.

Black critics blame Hollywood for the stereotypes that these movies reinforce, and why not? It's a soft target. Most studio executives know nothing about life in 'the hood.' So long as they can turn the thuggish image of the ghetto into dollars, they don't want to know. The young rappers also bear responsibility for promoting the thug image. But so long as it sells, don't expect any apologies or change. In fact, Fifty Cent went one better and sneered that protests of the movie's ad campaign 'help me.' The sarcastic and sardonic quip says it all

Albion Monitor
Issue 140

Editor: Jeff Elliott (

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

Subscriptions $9.95