default.html Issue 69
Table of Contents

Seattle ' 99, Chicago '68

by Jeff Elliott The Battle of Seattle begins at 9:54AM on November 30, when the police donned gas masks at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Union Street. The crowd fell silent long enough to cover their own faces with scarves or bandannas, pitifully inadequate protections against the choking tear gas

The Siege of Seattle

by Roni Krouzman Seattle looked more like a war zone than a major American city today, as tens of thousands of demonstrators seized a large section of downtown, securing at least 13 key intersections and forcing the cancellation of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) opening ceremony

Inside the Bunker

by Mark D. Fefer Tired and impatient ministers were trapped for several hours, with no food or water, as they waited -- in vain -- for the WTO's opening festivities to begin. As demonstrators began to swarm the streets, hotels instituted a security lockdown. TV sets inside the theater began broadcasting pictures of the tear gas. There was no place to go"

Time for a Global Pro-Democracy Movement

by Norman Solomon The law-enforcement partners of the WTO pursued the goal of routing protesters in much the same way that top officials of the WTO go about reaching trade agreements. They want to do whatever it takes -- to maintain control and preserve the power of elites

Summit Was Doomed Before it Began

by Roger Downey As the real possibility of chaos inside the high-security meeting room as well as in the streets outside finally penetrated the U.S. trade delegation and the White House, Bill Clinton made a last ditch effort to at least save appearances, privately trying to persuade presidents and prime ministers of some of the most powerful WTO member nations to come to Seattle and whip their troops into shape. He got a polite refusal from every single one of them

The Battle Joined

by Harold Meyerson Most astonishing, there was the intermingling of all these disparate movements, generations, nations and lifestyles. There were the kids blocking the WTO delegates, who parted like the Red Sea to make way for a group of Steelworkers, identifiable by their blue-poncho rain gear as members of the most ubiquitous of the protesting unions this week. There was Amparo Reyes, a single mother who puts in a 74-hour week (for a lordly $69) at her local maquiladora, shouting "Long live the Zapatistas!" at the official AFL-CIO rally. And amid Teamsters chanting "Hoffa! Hoffa!" and baby-faced animal rightsters chanting "No violence! No violence!" there was the sign that proclaimed, "Teamsters and Turtles -- Together at Last!"

The People vs. the WTO

by Donella H. Meadows Yep, they're scared, these power-brokers of world trade, and they should be. If the big media (themselves a part of Corporate America) make any serious effort to transmit the views of the demonstrators outside the Seattle meeting hall, the WTO will gain no public support

WTO: Environment at Stake

by Cat Lazaroff At stake: billions of dollars in imports and exports, and crucial protections for commercially traded plant and animal species, their habitats, and some innocent bystanders

WTO Undermines Protection Against Toxics

by Danielle Knight "To trade or not to trade is not the question," said a report from the Basel Action Network and Asia Pacific Environmental Exchange, two Seattle- based groups who have worked to end the international trade and dumping of toxic waste. Waiting until damage is substantially proven before action was taken as currently employed under the international trade body was "tantamount to running an uncontrolled experiment using human subjects," the report said

WTO Agreement Could Spell Doom to Forests

by Victor Menotti The WTO's Global Free Logging Agreement (FLA) would accelerate the logging of native forests, weaken environmental protections, and open the door to invasive species. No environmentalists, workers, or community leaders were represented at the FLA discussions. The FLA is seen as such a threat that more than 130 groups have signed a letter demanding an immediate halt to the FLA negotiations. U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky has told Congress that the FLA is a "top negotiating priority." Barschfsky's advisors include executives from logging giants like Weyerhaeuser, Boise Cascade, International Paper, and Georgia-Pacific

Canada Tries to Block WTO Jurisdiction Over its Water

by Mark Bourrie The Canadian government, in a move to keep water exports from the Great Lakes out of the jurisdiction of the WTO is enshrining a ban in its treaty with the United States. Concern over the possibility of WTO rules forcing Canada into allowing water exports has been growing here since the warmer weather of the last decade reduced the levels of the Great Lakes to record lows -- about three feet below those of 1980

Where's the Media Coverage of These Crucial Issues?

by Peter Phillips Why haven't the pros and cons of the proposed WTO agenda been reviewed on the front pages of every newspaper in the U.S? As the Seattle area gears up for some 5,000 WTO delegates and perhaps ten times as many activists, local media has had fairly extensive coverage on the upcoming events, but little on the issues. However, media throughout the rest of the U.S. has almost completely failed to cover the issues on this globally important event

10 Reasons to Dismantle the WTO

by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman Some of these problems, such as the WTO's penchant for secrecy, could potentially be fixed, but the core problems -- prioritization of commercial over other values, the constraints on democratic decision-making and the bias against local economies -- cannot, for they are inherent in the WTO itself

Error 404: News Not Found in Your Daily Paper

WTO SPECIAL: Ignoring the protest of the century; how the press will lie to you; protesters hoax Seattle paper; the biggest guy has the most rights.

Bill Bradley: Wall Street's Favorite Guy

by Jim Hightower The claim is that Bill Bradley is the progressive surprise in the 2000 Cracker Jack box, that he's a maverick with a liberal heart who'll shake things up if he makes it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It's pointed out that he's talking about campaign finance reform, that he's filled with sincerity about racial healing, and that he really cares about poor people. Good for him! But it's a measure of how faint the flicker of progressivism has become in the Democratic Party that we're thrilled when a candidate sounds even slightly progressive. We've been suckered by these same sounds before

Washington Awash in Money Corruption

by David Corn In recent weeks, there's been an avalanche of evidence that the nation's capital reeks of institutional corruption. Granted, that's no news flash. Almost daily, the campus paper, The Washington Post, exposes a money-and-politics outrage. Yet there is little anger, and, consequently, little change

Presidential Aptitude Test Not Bad Idea

by Judith Gorman With the slimmest record of accomplishment of any man ever to seek the presidency of the United States, Governor Bush has aroused an understandable curiosity about his suitability to assume higher office. Except for Republican lobbyists and former family friends out of work for the past eight years, what most Americans see on George W.'s curriculum vitae is a history of ascension through a shrewd combination of family money and paternal influence

The Week That Gore Lost the Presidency

by David Corn There are moments in presidential campaigns that we later look back upon and say: That was when it became obvious that candidate such-and-such had no chance of becoming the nation's top dog. There's a chance the Naomi Wolf eruption -- which dominated political chat last week -- will be the we-knew-it-then moment for Al Gore's campaign

The War on Wolf

by TJ Walker The only sure "bet" is that when there is an opportunity to smear a feminist or a liberal or a Gore consultant, then the Post and much of the mass media will run with it -- the facts be damned. Of course, it's important to get the facts straight if a biographer writes something critical on George Bush. But if the whole media establishment wants to create a Wolf caricature out of thin air, well that's just good fun

GOP Tries to Scare up Old Ghosts

by Steve Chapman Sometimes it's hard to remember which decade we're in. Last week, a photo of George Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl was splashed on front pages across the land, making me wonder if I had accidentally picked up a 1989 newspaper. And, in a rerun from the mid-70s, there is currently an uproar in Washington among conservatives vehemently opposed to giving away the Panama Canal

Mozambique, the poorest paradise

by Andrea Granahan The world's poorest country may well also be the world's most beautiful. Now recovering from a thirty year civil war ending 400 years of oppression, the nation finds itself with more than $5 billion in debt, two million land mines buried in the countryside -- but still has a remarkably cheerful attitude

Poverty Kills 11 Children Every Hour In Mozambique

by Delfina Mugabe An average of 11 children die every hour in Mozambique as a result of the extreme poverty in which hundreds of thousands of Mozambican families live

Hearing Offers Glimpse of Secretive "Private Banking" World

by Mark Bourrie Citibank, one of at least a dozen U.S. banks with private banking departments, has some 40,000 private bank accounts. Of these, the bank has stated, 350 were held by senior foreign government officials or their families

World Bank, IMF Policies Leave Poorest Countries Without Hope

by Lucy Komisar There is widespread condemnation of IMF-led policies that have worsened Third World living standards. Indeed, critical studies say the IMF, which makes concessional loans to poor countries that adopt Fund policies, has in 75 percent of cases enforced policies that increased recipient countries' poverty

"Devastating" Evidence of E Timor Atrocities

by Farhan Haq Three UN human rights officials said last week that they had received substantial evidence of murder, torture, rape and other abuses in East Timor after they voted Aug 30 to be independent of Indonesia. "I think what we are seeing is devastating," said Asma Jahangir, UN special rapporteur on extra judicial and summary executions

New Banking Deregulation Places Public at Risk, Says Nader

by Scott Harris In a decade-long effort to deregulate the country's financial system, the banking, insurance and securities industries have lobbied hard in the halls of Congress. Since 1997, the nation's largest financial institutions have spent more than $300 million in campaign contributions to influence legislators

Native Groups Win Major Victory in Biopiracy War

by Danielle Knight The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month canceled the patent on the plant which had been issued to a U.S. citizen in 1986. The plant in immediate question -- known as Ayahuasca or Yage is "sacred" to thousands of Native people in the Amazon region of South America who used it in traditional religious and healing ceremonies

Serbs, Albanians Fight War of Allegations in Kosovo

by Vesna Peric-Zimonjic Once again, information on alleged abuses and discrimination against the remaining Serbian community in Kosovo is matched by atrocities committed by the Serbs in Kosovo during the 11-week NATO air war between March and June

Parts of S America Turning Desert, UN Warns

by Jorge Pina About a million square miles in Latin America are already considered arid and another million sq. miles are semi-arid. A global conference on the issue was held last week in Recife, Brazil, where it was announced that the drought in Brazil's impoverished northeast is no longer an annual phenomenon, but has apparently become a permanent situation and is turning the region into a desert

UN Health Org Fights Back as Tobacco Companies Target Asian Women

by Ranjit Dev Raj According to the study compiled by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare, only 8.6 percent of Japanese women smoked in 1986 but now that figure has risen to an estimated 13.4 percent. The rise among Japanese women in the 20-29 age group is even more remarkable with 23.2 percent admitting to smoking compared to only 10.5 percent in 1986

Japanese Government Addicted to Tobacco Profits

by Ranjit Dev Raj Annual revenue from tobacco taxes in 1997 stood at $20.3 billion and the government has not so far considered raising taxes for fear of reducing consumption

10 Years After Fall of Berlin Wall, Germans Still Divided

by Yojana Sharma In the east, "Ostalgia," a kind of yearning for the past, has replaced the euphoria of the post-reunification years

Peru Hires PR Agency to Combat U.S. Charges of Torture, Abuse

by Abraham Lama After U.S. censure, Pres. Fujimori contracts the services of two legal firms to convince the United States that his government respects human rights

Global Warming Will Have Major Impact in Northwest U.S. by Midcentury

by Vince Stricherz and Sandra Hines Can Washington, Oregon and Idaho handle average temperatures more than 5 degrees warmer, 5 percent more annual precipitation, one-third less winter snowpack and a mountain snow line as much as 1,500 feet higher?

Common Insecticide is Highly Risky, EPA Now Says

by Cat Lazaroff A common, popular insecticide used on crops, lawns and Christmas trees poses higher risks to human health and the environment than previously believed, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed October 27

Amateur Stock Traders Victims of Fraud and Deception

by Alex Freemon With the advent of the Internet, there's a new type of investor in the markets: the info-dupe. From high-stakes day traders to retirees maintaining their savings online, the Internet has given rise to legions of new investors who are bringing the gullibility threshold to new lows

Market Research in Schools Becoming Common

by Mieke H. Bomann As corporations become ever more sophisticated in their marketing techniques to children, critics are calling for increased vigilance in schools and government officials are starting to pay attention

Should Apes Have Human Rights?

by Rachel Nowak A few summers ago, a chimpanzee fell into the moat at Detroit Zoo and started to drown. Rick Swope, a visitor to the zoo, jumped in and pulled the animal back onto the only piece of dry land he could reach, an area already occupied by another dangerously agitated chimp. When asked why he took such a risk, Swope replied: "I looked into [the drowning chimp's] eyes. And it was like looking into the eyes of a man"

LA Times Stepped Over the Ethical Line

by Allan R. Andrews Otis Chandler's five-page letter, read aloud from atop a desk to the most of the Times' newsroom by city editor Bill Boyarsky, called the Staples deal "the most serious single threat to the future survival and growth of this great newspaper during my more than 50 years of being associated with the Times." The gravity of the incident, I think, goes even deeper. In this case, the Times is the largest showcase of a newspaper involved in the great experiment of breaking down the wall between editorial and business departments

The Next 111 Years of Kip Kinkel

by Russell Morse A psychiatrist, testifying for the defense, contended that Kip Kinkel had struggled with mental illness for years -- a reality that went unrecognized. So it may be that Kipland Kinkel is not the heartless, ruthless beast he's been portrayed as. Maybe he's a sick, conflicted boy who needs help before he needs 111 years. As it is, Kip is so full of "self-loathing and deterioration" that he'll probably tie a bedsheet as a noose around his neck before he sees 18

Bill Clinton, WTO Booster

by Molly Ivins Don't know how many of you heard President Clinton's speech at the World Trade Organization. Except for C-SPAN junkies, I doubt anyone was watching. But it is high time somebody said the obvious out loud: The son of a gun is good

WTO Summit Already in Disarray

by Molly Ivins The big corporations will have enough clout at the coming WTO meeting. The good news is that an awful lot of people power will be there, too

The Rise of Irrationalism

by Molly Ivins I do think it would help if we had a public voice attacking the excesses of religion equivalent to the great 19th-century atheist Robert Ingersoll (who was once the Republican vice presidential candidate; try to think of a prominent atheist politician today). Madalyn Murray O'Hair was both so angry and batty that my reaction was, "Thanks, I'll take the Baptists"

A "Shortcoming," Not a "Crisis"

by Molly Ivins Shortcomings will always be with us. You can't cure shortcomings by throwing money at them. A policy on shortcomings will not make it into candidate debates. You can't even get a good fight going over shortcomings: "President Opposes Shortcomings: Congress Is in Favor;" "Democrats Demand Action on Shortcomings, Republicans See Shortcomings as Personal Responsibility." Meanwhile, I keep hearing the stories

Uproar in South Carolina

by Molly Ivins What a dandy state it is politically. You may recall that in 1990, a sizable portion of the legislature got busted for bribery during Operation Lost Trust, an Abscam-style sting. South Carolinians inured to the political peculiarities of their state were embarrassed, not because the legislators were bribed but because they sold out so cheaply

Playing Politics With Nuclear Test Ban

by Molly Ivins Trent Lott, Senate majority leader, scheduled a vote on the long-back-burnered treaty with two days' notice and one day of hearings. To stop the treaty from being voted on, the 45 Senate Democrats needed at least six Republican votes. Lott and Jesse Helms, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wanted a written request from Clinton formally asking that a vote on the treaty be postponed and a promise that he would not bring it up again during his presidency. The only point of this gambit was to make Clinton crawl

A Great Hero is Gone

by Molly Ivins One of the great heroes is gone. Jacobo Timerman, the Argentine journalist and great warrior for human rights, has died. I would call Timerman a fearless man, but he wasn't fearless. He was brave

A Nasty, Ineffectual Congress

by Molly Ivins No review of congressional nastiness is complete without a special salute to Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina. What a busy few weeks he's had. First, he scuttled the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty because we're so much better off with nuclear bombs going off all over the globe. Then he did his best to scuttle the ambassadorial nomination of former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, a black woman, because she once had the temerity to object to the Confederate flag in a federal patent. ("I'm going to sing 'Dixie' to her until she cries," Helms told another senator after getting on an elevator with Moseley-Braun during that flap)

Some Real Questions to Ask the Candidates

by Molly Ivins You may have noticed a certain ... ah ... frothiness in the coverage of the 2000 presidential race to date. I don't know about you, but The Unbearable Lightness of the Political Beat is really starting to chap me

The Happy Face of Free Trade Peels Off

by Norman Solomon While Western banks collect huge interest on loans to poor countries, the suffering -- and the links between wealth and poverty -- go largely unreported. That's how 20,000 children worldwide continue to die each day from preventable diseases

A Beautiful Few Moments

by Norman Solomon For half an hour, five days a week, Fred Rogers looks into the camera and into the hearts of viewers -- mostly preschoolers -- who hear about simple and humanistic values. Mister Rogers explores how feelings matter. He doesn't talk down. He doesn't dodge tangled emotions. And he engages in plenty of fun

Will U.S. Media Report WTO Dissent Fairly?

by Norman Solomon When thousands of protesters converge on Seattle at the end of this month to challenge the global summit of the World Trade Organization, they're unlikely to get a fair hearing from America's mass media

The Twain That Most Americans Never Meet

by Norman Solomon The renowned author's fiery political statements are a very different matter. They reached many people in his lifetime -- but not in ours. Today, few Americans are aware of Twain's outspoken views on social justice and foreign policy. As his fame grew, so did his willingness to challenge the high and mighty

Nixon's Loathing of Gays

by Alexander Cockburn Amid the latest batch of Nixon tapes, there's a ripe one from May 13, 1971, recently described by James Warren in the Chicago Tribune. Discussing welfare reform with Haldeman and Ehrlichman, the president snarls about the "little Negro bastards," before remarking indulgently that "I have the greatest affection for them, but I know they're not going to make it for 500 years." The leader of the Free World and his senior advisers then drift into a chat about homosexuality

Honor the Victim, Squelch Free Speech

by Alexander Cockburn Before the Aaron McKinney trial in Wyoming gets boxed away in the national memory, we should linger on some very disturbing features of the plea agreement, starting with the successful demand by Matthew Shepard's parents, Dennis and Judy, that neither McKinney nor any members of his defense team ever speak to the press about the trial

The Gulag Paradigm

by Alexander Cockburn Can anyone curb the power of the prison guards? Don't look to Gov. Gray Davis. He collected an endorsement plus $2.3 million from the guards' union for his successful 1998 campaign, and more since. He's also said "thank you." Davis has vetoed a bill that would have shifted parole violators to community-based programs (which would have meant a lowered prison population, and hence, less needs for guards). He also vetoed a rescinding of the ban on journalists interviewing inmates face to face. He narrowly failed in a bid to give their union $4 million in public money for its legal defense fund

How Risky is it to be a Cop?

by Alexander Cockburn Every time a cop gets shot in the line of duty, we see the equivalent of a state funeral, the rhetorical trappings of which are intended to convey that the folk in blue live lives of peculiar danger, and that each time a cop blows someone away for no good reason, we should bear in mind that his finger had sound reasons to be itchy on the trigger. But there are far more perilous jobs

Comments? Send a letter to the editor.

Albion Monitor Issue 69 (

All Rights Reserved.

Contact for permission to use in any format.