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Table of Contents

The Headwaters' Deal: Hurwitz's Final Play

by Alexander Cockburn This deal was a disgraceful and entirely unnecessary surrender to Hurwitz. The amount of money pledged to Hurwitz was four times the highest estimate of government appraisers figuring out what the timber would be worth if converted into lumber. Environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act, if enforced, would have stopped Hurwitz's fallers from cutting in most of the ancient groves

Scandal, Violence, Weather Top 1998 U.S. TV Attractions

by Jim Lobe Scandal, violence, and extreme weather conditions --- mostly confined to the United States -- dominated TV news broadcasts across America in 1998, according to a comprehensive new survey. While 1998 is likely to be remembered in much of the world as the year in which the Asian financial crisis deepened and spread to other emerging markets and the Russian economy collapsed altogether, the main TV newscasts virtually ignored both events

Colombia, U.S. Pin Blame For Murder of Native Activists

Activists included two Native women and one non-Native man. Ingrid Washinawatok, was a Sioux, "a great fighter for ethnic issues." Washinawatok and Laheenae Gay, from Hawaii, had come to the U'wa territory, in November on an invitation from Terence Freitas, another activist who had worked in the zone before

A Sad Milestone in Native Rights Movement

by Jacqueline Keeler The death of Ingrid Washinawatok apparently marks a sad milestone -- the first time that a Native North American woman has died doing human rights work among Native people in South America

Colombia Rebels Admit Murder of Activists

by Maria Isabel Garcia The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which admitted the "error" of killing three Native rights activists from the United States, said it will bring the culprits to justice itself

Women in U.S. Prisons Tortured, Sexually Abused

Amnesty International found 96 cases since 1992 in which guards have been either criminally convicted, fired or disciplined in some other way for sexually abusing women inmates. But cases in which strong action by the authorities followed abuse may be the exception rather than the rule as women who report abuse often suffer retribution. In one case, guards sold male inmates access to three women being held in the high-security unit of Dublin federal facility in California. The women were raped and sodomized

Controversy Over Pinochet Defense Funds

by Gustavo Gonzalez Concern over Pinochet's legal expenses and the cost of his family's stay in London, where they are renting a mansion in the exclusive Virginia Waters district, is growing among Pinochet's supporters. The anti-Castro business community in Miami, which has reportedly met Pinochet Hiriart, appears to be more interested in seeing the legal action against the former Chilean dictator prosper, in order to set a precedent that could eventually be used against Cuban President Fidel Castro

Kissinger Encouraged Chile's Brutal Repression, New Documents Show

by Lucy Komisar A newly declassified memorandum about Kissinger's only meeting with Pinochet, in 1976, details just how hard the former Secretary of State under President Gerald Ford tried to shield the Chilean general from criticism in the months and years following the 1973 coup, Kissinger covered up U.S. information about atrocities in Chile and sought to persuade Pinochet that the U.S. government did not consider his behavior a major problem

The Bush Files

by Michael King By all accounts, Bush remains the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. With a reputation as an affable GOP "moderate" (i.e., not as xenophobic as Pat Buchanan, nor quite as stupid as Dan Quayle, nor as goofy as Steve Forbes), a complacent national press, and certainly plenty of money, Bush remains a reasonable bet to follow his father into the White House. Should he indeed take up in residence on Pennsylvania Avenue, Dubya can also give thanks to his randy predecessor -- for giving political scandal a bad name, at least for a term or two. For chances are that the federal office of independent prosecutor will not survive the endless Starr/Clinton debacle. Bush will once again thank his lucky stars -- because an independent prosecutor of the second Bush presidency would have plenty of work to do

Washington's Selective Outrage

by David Corn Why care if U.S. covert operators got the better of Hussein? Well, it was done at a tremendous cost: the discrediting of the premise of international weapons inspections. Why should any government, let alone Hussein's, ever again allow a supposedly multilateral UN inspection team to poke about? For the sake of military intelligence, which the United States could use in its one-sided undeclared war against Iraq, it compromised a system that was not the United States' to jeopardize

Monica's Story on Starr

by TJ Walker Monica's book is largely drivel, but I carefully read every page with the name Ken Starr printed on it. Here, Lewinsky has performed an admirable service of providing a permanent and public record of the grotesque abuses of power committed by Starr and his many henchmen. "Does it bother you that I'm wearing a gun?" asked one of Lewinsky's interrogators

... and Dumber

by David Corn At a meeting with the President, Sen. Majority Leader Trent Lott and House Majority Leader Dick Armey said they wouldn't work with Clinton on Social Security and Medicare unless he assured them that the Democrats would never use the issues against Republicans in the 2000 elections. Aren't Republicans the ones who are supposed to relish and have faith in markets, including the marketplace of ideas?

Post-Mortem Ad Nauseam

by David Corn Paul Weyrich, the Christian right leader, declared Clinton's acquittal an unqualified defeat of the social right: "I think we are caught up in a cultural collapse of historic proportions ... If there really were a moral majority out there, Bill Clinton would have been driven out of office months ago..." He called on social conservatives to "quarantine" themselves from "this hostile culture" and advocated they withdraw from mainstream society, yank their kids out of the school systems and create their own radio networks and "private courts" -- anything to escape what he calls "Cultural Marxism." In other words, America -- hate it and leave it.

Error 404: News Not Found in Your Daily Paper

Operation Urban Warrior prepares for martial law; Pinochet's career as arms merchant; Roberto Calvi autopsy #4; the saga of the blackbirds of Loudoun County

AIDS Cure Linked to Endangered Rainforest

by Danielle Knight A major scientific breakthrough in AIDS research, linking the virus to an endangered chimpanzee found in west-central Africa, has sparked calls by scientists and environmentalists for an end to poaching of the animal and logging of its disappearing rainforest habitat

GAP Boycott Over Sweatshops Using "Made in USA" Guise

by Farhan Haq Labor rights activists are targeting the major U.S. clothing retailer The Gap in their effort to step up pressure against the labor practices of some U.S. companies operating in the Pacific commonwealth territory of Saipan. This is the first campaign over Saipan's conditions, although many other major firms -- including Nordstrom, Sears, Wal-Mart and Express -- also retail clothiers manufactured on the island

U.S. Company Using NAFTA to Sue Canada for Water

by Mark Bourrie Sunbelt Ltd., a U.S. company, filed a lawsuit against the Canadian government late in 1998 declaring it was against NAFTA rules to refuse it permission to ship fresh water from a British Columbia river to the U.S. The water would have come from streams that are in areas claimed as Native territory, and part of one of the most important salmon spawning grounds on the Pacific Coast

U.S. Sued Over Genetic Crops

by Danielle Knight Coalition of environmental, farmer and consumer groups took the U.S. government to court on Feb. 18 for registering genetically modified crops without adequate research on possible environmental and health impacts

Australia Using "Dirty Tricks" to Block Criticism of Controversial Uranium Mine

by Andrew Nette The Australian government is resorting to a 'dirty tricks' campaign to stop an embarrassing proposal to list as a World Heritage site "in danger" a national park eyed for uranium mining, critics say. Leaked documents show the government has spent nearly $1 million on a concerted effort to lobby the 21 member states of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee against an unfavorable ruling

Mexico City Sinking Fast

by Diego Cevallos Mexico's capital is nearing the brink of collapse, with the city sinking around three inches per year as its aquifers are tapped to supply more than 20 million people with water, experts warned

NH May Enact First State Tax

by Randolph T. Holhut In New Hampshire, there is something called "The Pledge." First instituted by the late William Loeb, the reactionary publisher of the Manchester Union Leader, it is a vow taken by candidates not to enact a broad-based income, sales or statewide property tax. Anyone who does not make this promise usually doesn't get elected and earns the eternal scorn of the Union Leader. But the decades-old tradition has fallen after a state high court ruling in 1997 concluded that its reliance on local property taxes -- which provide 90 percent of the total cost of education -- does not provide an adequate education for the state's children

Congressman Calls For Investigation of U.S. Oil Companies in Nigeria

by Danielle Knight The role played by U.S. oil giants in the many incidents of human rights abuses, killings of civilians and harassment of environmental activists in Nigeria should be the subject of a Congressional investigation, said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat from Ohio

Are Whales Singing Grammatically?

by Charles Seife Scientists in Massachusetts are analyzing the "grammar" of whale calls with information theory in hopes that this approach will tell them more about the purpose of the animals' clicks and squeals. Researcher John Buck says the whales' calls hints that they may have a hierarchical grammar, in which one sound is varied to agree with a sound quite far back in a sequence, the same as found in human languages

Japan Expected to Approve New Military Force

by Suvendrini Kakuchi Experts point out that North Korea's missile test over Japanese airspace in August 1998 changed public complacency. The Defense Agency, amid a wave of public support based on what many saw as a "real" threat of a North Korean attack, launched a debate for emergency legislation. It argued that relying on existing security arrangements with the U.S were insufficient to protect Japan if attacked. The Defense Agency has included in the emergency debate future themes that include the development of an armed SDF given a guerrilla attack on Japan's nuclear power plants, as well as a discussion on ballistic missile countermeasures

Mulan's Sisters and the Disney Sweatshops

by Sarah Cox Disney excels at this blurring of fact and fiction, and the February 23 shareholder meeting is no exception. While almost 1,200 stockholders -- from children to octogenarians wheeling oxygen tanks -- mingle with some of Disney's most celebrated characters, the song "It's a Small World" trills in the background. It's an ironic musical choice given item number four on the day's business agenda, a shareholder resolution which aims to improve working conditions in the 18,000 factories around the world that produce Disney apparel, toys, books, and software products

Why U.S. Thrives: Not Dependent on Global Economy

by Mark Weisbrot Every now and then economists blurt out the truth about things that our political leaders would prefer they didn't talk about. "International trade isn't so important for the U.S. that we couldn't get by without the rest of the world," Harvard's N. Gregory Mankiw told the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview. Mankiw -- one of the country's leading macro-economists -- is right. The Journal was quick to note that he was not advocating such a thing, but his statement still stood in sharp contrast to the "globaloney" that saturates the media

Coming to Terms With the GOP's Fury

by Donella Meadows Conservatives assume that we are all capable of moral perfection but also of being lured into degradation. The moral order is fragile, endangered by every lapse. Liberals assume that we are all flawed but redeemable, that the moral order is strong though individually we are sometimes weak. Clinton's faults are regrettable but ordinary, no threat to anyone but himself and his family. Liberals are more alarmed by his prosecutors, especially by the ways laws and procedures and civil rights have been bent to inflict punishment. The danger is not that lenience will unleash a burst of depravity, but that harshness will lead to intolerance and overweening state power. The problem is not Clinton's deviance, but Starr's inquisition

U.S. Spy Agency Had Back Door to Most Global Secrets

By Charles J. Reid Investigative article reveals that for decades, the U.S. routinely intercepted and deciphered top secret encrypted messages of 120 countries. These nations had bought the world's most sophisticated and supposedly secure commercial encryption technology from Crypto AG, a Swiss company that staked its reputation and the security concerns of its clients on its neutrality

Mercury Poisoning Found in Amazon Natives

by Fred Pearce "Minamata disease" has been diagnosed outside the Japanese town of the same name for the first time. In the past, most cases of mercury poisoning in the Amazon have been among the million gold miners in Brazil, who use mercury to purify gold, and their families. Many had directly inhaled mercury fumes. The Minamata cases, however, involve methyl mercury, and the sufferers live hundreds of kilometres from the nearest mine

Asthmatown, U.S.A.

by David Bacon In Vernon, California, the noise from the foundry starts at 2AM each morning, sometimes even two hours earlier. The air begins to smell bad and acrid fumes make people cough in their sleep. The families are increasingly concerned that living in Asthmatown is not good for their kids. They worry when they find a silvery dust on the sidewalk in the mornings, or when a coarse mist hugs the ground

Old Arsenic Weapons Poisoning Arctic

by Judith Perera and Andrei Ivanov Arctic waters became the dumping grounds for radioactive wastes, including reactors from obsolete nuclear submarines, and now high levels of arsenic also have been detected. Mustard gas and Lewisite (which contains arsenic) were dumped in the 1950s and 1960s to make storage room for new-generation chemical weapons such as nerve gas

Earth Out of Balance: Interview with Mark Hertsgaard

by Don Hazen Hertsgaard is a fine journalist. His book, "On Bended Knee," exposed the enormously effective manipulation of the media by the Reagan administration's political machine. But with "Earth Odyssey" Hertsgaard raises the stakes and forces us to examine the totality of our future on the globe. He traveled the world, on and off for 6 years, to see for himself, from the bottom up, what the situation was. His quest: To gather information and decide if our species would survive for the next hundred years. The news is not good

U.S. Unprepared for Baby Boomers' Retirement

by Bob Calverley Unless more resources are devoted to research and prevention of the diseases of aging, the next millennium will be characterized by millions of poor and frail older Americans, and the health of an aging population will directly affect far more than just medical costs

The Undeserving Old

by Barbara Ehrenreich First welfare, now Social Security. We can expect that, as in the case of welfare, there will be an all-out propaganda effort to demonize the program's recipients. In the build-up to welfare "reform," people on welfare were consistently portrayed as promiscuous, substance-abusing, child-neglecting layabouts. If the same tactics prevail, we will soon be hearing chilling stories about geezers mugging teenagers and squandering their Social Security checks on Viagra and vodka

News Industry Laments the End of Monicagate

by Danny Schechter So what will the professional Clinton haters and their right wing media echo chamber do now? Despite their setbacks, they are unlikely to restrain the attack politics so deeply engrained in their personalities and political culture. Perhaps that's why Rupert Murdoch's man in DC, William Kristol, editor of the rabid Weekly Standard vows, "It ain't over, not by a long shot." Perhaps that's why Oliver North was just added to the line up on MSNBC

What Do Newspaper Readers Really Want?

by Allan R. Andrews Charles Layton, a former Philadelphia Inquirer editor and now a freelance writer and book editor, lays part of the blame at the feet of journalists who bought into or were overwhelmed by the iconoclastic newspaper philosophy of Al Neuharth and his bold venture with USAToday. Layton implies that much marketing research fails to support some of Neuharth's most cherished maxims, such as less world news, no front-page jumps and shorter stories

Who Murdered James Byrd, Jr?

by Michael A. Kroll The verdict in Jasper, Texas, holding John William King guilty of the gruesome murder of James Byrd, Jr. is like some of President Clinton's statements -- literally true, but incomplete and misleading. A true verdict would have found all of us bear some responsibility for Byrd's violent death

Keeping Mickey Mouse Private

by Norman Solomon After half a century, Mickey Mouse is trapped by contradictions. On the one hand, Disney proclaims that the big-eared icon is an integral part of Americana. On the other, Disney insists that Mickey is entirely private property -- the head honcho of a cartoon menagerie that fully belongs to the corporation, which retains legal power to prevent any unauthorized use, even when the aim is to raise issues about politics and culture

Big Media Peddles "All You Need to Know"

by Norman Solomon We've all heard that knowledge is power. But ultimate power can flow from being a big gatekeeper -- deciding what information will be widely distributed. In practice, a few media companies determine what most Americans "need to know" on a daily basis

More "Culture War" Bombast Coming

by Norman Solomon You may be tired of hearing about a "culture war," but such talk is just getting started. On the media battlefield, righteous warriors are lining up to fight the infidels in the first big political conflict of the 21st century

Wag the Bomb

by Alexander Cockburn "Wag The Dog" certainly had its parallels to President Clinton's propensity to bomb foreign countries whenever things looked rough on the impeachment front. So ask yourself, who is going to do well out of an atom spy scandal?

U.S. Supports Chinese Slave Labor

by Alexander Cockburn While the U.S. postures on human rights, U.S. firms flood into China to take advantage of cheap labor, child labor, prison labor and slave labor. Of course, the niceties have to be observed. To take one example, Disney has a splendid code of corporate conduct, which recommends compliance with China's labor laws. These, on paper, stipulate a 40-hour work week, two days rest a week and a maximum of three hours overtime a day. Meanwhile, investigators from the Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee recently described the Disney code as "just a piece of paper. It is not seriously respected in many factories which produce Disney's products"

Racism and the British Police

by Alexander Cockburn The London police badly messed up the investigation of a stabbing death of an 18-year-old black student by white youths. It has prompted a retired judge to accuse them in his official report of "institutional racism," a phrase first given wide currency 30 years ago by the late Stokely Carmichael. The police permitted the probable white perpetrators to remain at liberty and destroy evidence while they initially focused on a friend of the dead youth who also happened to be black

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