Top 25 Censored Stories of 2006
#1 Bush Administration Moves to Eliminate Open Government
#2 Media Coverage Fails on Iraq: Fallujah and the Civilian Death
#3 Another Year of Distorted Election Coverage
#4 Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In
#5 U.S. Uses Tsunami to Military Advantage in Southeast Asia
#6 The Real Oil for Food Scam
#7 Journalists Face Unprecedented Dangers to Life and Livelihood
#8 Iraqi Farmers Threatened By Bremer’s Mandates
#9 Iran’s New Oil Trade System Challenges U.S. Currency
#12 Military in Iraq Contracts Human Rights Violators
#13 Rich Countries Fail to Live up to Global Pledges
#14 Corporations Win Big on Tort Reform, Justice Suffers
#15 Conservative Plan to Override Academic Freedom in the Classroom
#16 U.S. Plans for Hemispheric Integration Include Canada
#17 U.S. Uses South American Military Bases to Expand Control of the Region
#18 Little Known Stock Fraud Could Weaken U.S. Economy
#19 Child Wards of the State Used in AIDS Experiments
#20 American Indians Sue for Resources; Compensation Provided to Others
#21 New Immigration Plan Favors Business Over People
#22 Nanotechnology Offers Exciting Possibilities But Health Effects Need Scrutiny
#23 Plight of Palestinian Child Detainees Highlights Global Problem
#24 Ethiopian Indigenous Victims of Corporate and Government Resource Aspirations
#25 Homeland Security Was Designed to Fail
The Top Censored Stories of 2004 to 2005
#1 Bush Administration Moves to Eliminate Open Government
Common Dreams, September 14, 2004. Press release.
Title: “New Report Details Bush Administration Secrecy”
Author: Karen Lightfoot
Faculty Evaluator: Yvonne Clarke, MA
Student Researcher: Jessica Froiland
the 1980s, Project Censored highlighted a number of alarming reductions
to government access and accountability (see Censored 1982 #6, 1984 #8,
1985 #3 and 1986 #2). It tracked the small but systematic changes made
to existing laws and the executive orders introduced. It now appears
that these actions may have been little more than a prelude to the
virtual lock box against access that is being constructed around the
Bush Administration has an obsession with secrecy,” says Representative
Henry Waxman, the Democrat from California who, in September 2004,
commissioned a congressional report on secrecy in the Bush
Administration. “It has repeatedly rewritten laws and changed practices
to reduce public and congressional scrutiny of its activities. The
cumulative effect is an unprecedented assault on the laws that make our
government open and accountable.”
Changes to Laws that Provide Public Access
to Federal Records
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives citizens the ability to file a
request for specific information from a government agency and provides
recourse in federal court if that agency fails to comply with FOIA
requirements. Over the last two decades, beginning with Reagan, this
law has become increasingly diluted and circumvented by each succeeding
the Bush Administration, agencies make extensive and arbitrary use of
FOIA exemptions (such as those for classified information, privileged
attorney-client documents and certain information compiled for law
enforcement purposes) often inappropriately or with inadequate
justification. Recent evidence shows agencies making frivolous (and
sometimes ludicrous) exemption claims, abusing the deliberative process
privilege, abusing the law enforcement exemption, and withholding data
on telephone service outages.
commonly, the Bush Administration simply fails to respond to FOIA
requests at all. Whether this is simply an inordinate delay or an
unstated final refusal to respond to the request, the requesting party
is never told. But the effect is the same: the public is denied access
to the information.
Bush Administration also engages in an aggressive policy of
questioning, challenging and denying FOIA requesters’ eligibility for
fee waivers, using a variety of tactics. Measures include narrowing the
definition of “representative of news media,” claiming information
would not contribute to public understanding.
years ago, federal agencies were required to release documents through
FOIA––even if technical grounds for refusal existed––unless
“foreseeable harm” would result from doing so. But, according to the
Waxman report, an October 2001 memo by Attorney General John Ashcroft
instructs and encourages agencies to withhold information if there are
any technical grounds for withholding it under FOIA.
2003, the Bush Administration won a new legislative exemption from FOIA
for all National Security Agency “operational files.” The
Administration’s main rationale for this new exemption is that
conducting FOIA searches diverts resources from the agency’s mission.
Of course, this rationale could apply to every agency. As NSA has
operated subject to FOIA for decades, it is not clear why the agency
now needs this exemption.
Presidential Records Act ensures that after a president leaves office,
the public will have full access to White House documents used to
develop public policy. Under the law and an executive order by Ronald
Reagan, the presumption has been that most documents would be released.
However, President Bush issued an executive order that establishes a
process that generally blocks the release of presidential papers.
Changes to Laws that Restrict Public Access
to Federal Records
Bush Administration has dramatically increased the volume of government
information concealed from public view. In a March 2003 executive
order, President Bush expanded the use of the national security
classification. The order eliminated the presumption of disclosure,
postponed or avoided automatic declassification, protected foreign
government information, reclassified some information, weakened the
panel that decides to exempt documents from declassification and
adjudicates classification challenges, and exempted vice presidential
records from mandatory declassification review.
Bush Administration has also obtained unprecedented authority to
conduct government operations in secret, with little or no judicial
oversight. Under expanded law enforcement authority in the Patriot Act,
the Justice Department can more easily use secret orders to obtain
library and other private records, obtain “sneak-and-peek” warrants to
conduct secret searches, and conduct secret wiretaps. In addition, the
Bush Administration has used novel legal interpretations to expand its
authority to detain, try, and deport individuals in secret. Since the
September 11, 2001 attacks, the Bush Administration has asserted
unprecedented authority to detain anyone whom the executive branch
labels an “enemy combatant” indefinitely and secretly. It has
authorized military trials that can be closed not only to the public
but also to the defendants and their own attorneys. And the
Administration has authorized procedures for the secret detention and
deportation of aliens residing in the United States.
Congressional Access to Information
to previous administrations, the Bush Administration has operated with
remarkably little congressional oversight. This is partially
attributable to the alignment of the parties. The Republican majorities
in the House and the Senate have refrained from investigating
allegations of misconduct by the White House. Another major factor has
been the Administration’s resistance to oversight. The Bush
Administration has consistently refused to provide to members of
Congress, the Government Accountability Office, and congressional
commissions the information necessary for meaningful investigation and
review of the Administration’s activities.
example, the Administration has contested in court the power of the
Government Accountability Office to conduct independent investigations
and has refused to comply with the rule that allows members of the
House Government Reform Committee to obtain information from the
executive branch, forcing the members to go to court to enforce their
rights under the law. It has also ignored and rebuffed numerous
requests for information made by members of Congress attempting to
exercise their oversight responsibilities with respect to executive
branch activities, and repeatedly withheld information from the
investigative commission established by Congress to investigate the
September 11 attacks.
Rep. Waxman’s companion bill, HR 5073 IH, the Restore Open Government
Act of 2004, was not heard by Congress before the Winter Recess in
December, and the bill was not reintroduced in the Opening Session in
January 2005. However, on February 16, after the commencement of the
109th Congress, John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
introduced a bill entitled the Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our
National Government Act of 2005, S. 394 (the Cornyn-Leahy bill), which
according to their joint statement “is designed to strengthen laws
governing access to government information, particularly the Freedom of
Information Act.” On the same day, an identical bill, H.R. 867, was
introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.).1
For more information on Rep. Waxman’s legislation and work on open government, site, please visit www.democrats.reform.house.gov.
1. St. Petersburg Times (Florida), February 18, 2005, “Improving access to information.”
#2 Media Coverage Fails on Iraq:
Fallujah and the Civilian Deathtoll
part 1: Fallujah—War Crimes Go Unreported
Peacework, December 2004–January 2005
Title: “The Invasion of Fallujah: A Study in the Subversion of Truth”
Authors: Mary Trotochaud and Rick McDowell
World Socialist Web Site, November 17, 2004
Title: “U.S. Media Applauds Destruction of Fallujah”
Author: David Walsh
The NewStandard, December 3, 2004
Title: “Fallujah Refugees Tell of Life and Death in the Kill Zone”
Author: Dahr Jamail
Faculty Evaluators: Bill Crowley, Ph. D., Sherril Jaffe, Ph. D.
Student Researcher: Brian K. Lanphear
the past two years, the United States has conducted two major sieges
against Fallujah, a city in Iraq. The first attempted siege of Fallujah
(a city of 300,000 people) resulted in a defeat for Coalition forces.
As a result, the United States gave the citizens of Fallujah two
choices prior to the second siege: leave the city or risk dying as
enemy insurgents. Faced with this ultimatum, approximately 250,000
citizens, or 83 percent of the population of Fallujah, fled the city.
The people had nowhere to flee and ended up as refugees. Many families
were forced to survive in fields, vacant lots, and abandoned buildings
without access to shelter, water, electricity, food or medical care.
The 50,000 citizens who either chose to remain in the city or who were
unable to leave were trapped by Coalition forces and were cut off from
food, water and medical supplies. The United States military claimed
that there were a few thousand enemy insurgents remaining among those
who stayed in the city and conducted the invasion as if all the people
remaining were enemy combatants.
Fasa’a, an Iraqi journalist, said Americans grew easily frustrated with
Iraqis who could not speak English. “Americans did not have
interpreters with them, so they entered houses and killed people
because they didn’t speak English. They entered the house where I was
with 26 people, and shot people because [the people] didn’t obey [the
soldiers’] orders, even just because the people couldn’t understand a
word of English.” Abu Hammad, a resident of Fallujah, told the Inter
Press Service that he saw people attempt to swim across the Euphrates
to escape the siege. “The Americans shot them with rifles from the
shore. Even if some of them were holding a white flag or white clothes
over their head to show they are not fighters, they were all shot.”
Furthermore, “even the wound[ed] people were killed. The Americans made
announcements for people to come to one mosque if they wanted to leave
Fallujah, and even the people who went there carrying white flags were
killed.” Former residents of Fallujah recall other tragic methods of
killing the wounded. “I watched them [U.S. Forces] roll over wounded
people in the street with tanks… …This happened so many times.”
estimates as of December of 2004 revealed that at least 6,000 Iraqi
citizens in Fallujah had been killed, and one-third of the city had
Mary Trotochaud and Rick McDowell assert that the continuous slaughter
in Fallujah is greatly contributing to escalating violence in other
regions of the country such as Mosul, Baquba, Hilla, and Baghdad. The
violence prompted by the U.S. invasion has resulted in the
assassinations of at least 338 Iraqi’s who were associated with Iraq’s
U.S. invasion of Iraq, and more specifically Fallujah, is causing an
incredible humanitarian disaster among those who have no specific
involvement with the war. The International Committee for the Red Cross
reported on December 23, 2004 that three of the city’s water
purification plants had been destroyed and the fourth badly damaged.
Civilians are running short on food and are unable to receive help from
those who are willing to make a positive difference. Aid organizations
have been repeatedly denied access to the city, hospitals, and refugee
populations in the surrounding areas.
Hamid Salim, spokesman for the Iraqi Red Crescent in Baghdad, told
Inter Press Service that none of their relief teams had been allowed
into Fallujah three weeks after the invasion. Salim declared that
“there is still heavy fighting in Fallujah. And the Americans won’t let
us in so we can help people.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour voiced a deep
concern for the civilians caught up in the fighting. Louise Arbour
emphasized that all those guilty of violations of international
humanitarian and human rights laws must be brought to justice. Arbour
claimed that all violations of these laws should be investigated,
including “the deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate and
disproportionate attacks, the killing of injured persons and the use of
Cohn, executive vice president of the National Lawyers Guild, and the
U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American
Association of Jurists, has noted that the U.S. invasion of Fallujah is
a violation of international law that the U.S. had specifically
ratified: “They [U.S. Forces] stormed and occupied the Fallujah General
Hospital, and have not agreed to allow doctors and ambulances to go
inside the main part of the city to help the wounded, in direct
violation of the Geneva Conventions.”
to David Walsh, the American media also seems to contribute to the
subversion of truth in Fallujah. Although, in many cases, journalists
are prevented from entering the city and are denied access to the
wounded, corporate media showed little concern regarding their denied
access. There has been little or no mention of the immorality or
legality of the attacks the United States has waged against Iraq. With
few independent journalists reporting on the carnage, the international
humanitarian community in exile, and the Red Cross and Red Crescent
prevented from entering the besieged city, the world is forced to rely
on reporting from journalists embedded with U.S. forces. In the U.S.
press, we see casualties reported for Fallujah as follows: number of
U.S. soldiers dead, number of Iraqi soldiers dead, number of
“guerillas” or “insurgents” dead. Nowhere were the civilian casualties
reported in the first weeks of the invasion. An accurate count of
civilian casualties to date has yet to be published in the mainstream
part 2: Civilian Death Toll Is Ignored
The Lancet, October 29, 2004
Title: “Mortality Before and After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq”
Authors: Les Roberts, Riyadh Lafta, Richard Garfield, Jamal Khudhairi and Gilbert Burnham
The Lancet, October 29, 2004
Title: “The War in Iraq: Civilian Casualties, Political Responsibilities”
Author: Richard Horton
The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 4, 2005
Title: “Lost Count”
Author: Lila Guterman
FAIR, April 15, 2004
Title: “CNN to Al Jazeera: Why Report Civilian Deaths?”
Author: Julie Hollar
Faculty Evaluator: Sherril Jaffe, Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Melissa Waybright
late October, 2004, a peer reviewed study was published in The Lancet,
a British medical journal, concluding that at least 100,000 civilians
have been killed in Iraq since it was invaded by a United States-led
coalition in March 2003. Previously, the number of Iraqis that had
died, due to conflict or sanctions since the 1991 Gulf War, had been
uncertain. Claims ranging from denial of increased mortality to
millions of excess deaths have been made. In the absence of any
surveys, however, they relied on Ministry of Health records.
Morgue-based surveillance data indicate the post-invasion homicide rate
is many times higher than the pre-invasion rate.
the present setting of insecurity and limited availability of health
information, researchers, headed by Dr. Les Roberts of Johns Hopkins
University, undertook a national survey to estimate mortality during
the 14.6 months before the invasion (Jan 1, 2002, to March 18, 2003)
and to compare it with the period from March 19, 2003, to the date of
the interview, between Sept 8 and 20, 2004. Iraqi households were
informed about the purpose of the survey, assured that their name would
not be recorded, and told that there would be no benefits or penalties
for refusing or agreeing to participate.
survey indicates that the death toll associated with the invasion and
occupation of Iraq is in reality about 100,000 people, and may be much
higher. The major public health problem in Iraq has been identified as
violence. However, despite widespread Iraqi casualties, household
interview data do not show evidence of widespread wrongdoing on the
part of individual soldiers on the ground. Ninety-five percent of
reported killings (all attributed to U.S. forces by interviewees) were
caused by helicopter gunships, rockets, or other forms of aerial
study was released on the eve of a contentious presidential
election—fought in part over U.S. policy on Iraq. Many American
newspapers and television news programs ignored the study or buried
reports about it far from the top headlines. “What went wrong this
time? Perhaps the rush by researchers and The Lancet to put the study
in front of American voters before the election accomplished precisely
the opposite result, drowning out a valuable study in the clamor of the
presidential campaign.” (Lila Guterman, Chronicle of Higher Education)
study’s results promptly flooded though the worldwide media—everywhere
except the United States, where there was barely a whisper about the
study, followed by stark silence. “The Lancet released the paper on
October 29, the Friday before the election, when many reporters were
busy with political stories. That day the Los Angeles Times and the
Chicago Tribune each dedicated only about 400 words to the study and
placed the stories inside their front section, on pages A4 and A11,
respectively. (The news media in Europe gave the study much more play;
many newspapers put articles about it on their front pages.)
a short article about the study on page A8, the New York Times noted
that the Iraqi Body Count, a project to tally civilian deaths reported
in the news media, had put the maximum death count at around 17,000.
The new study, the article said, “is certain to generate intense
controversy.” But the Times has not published any further news articles
about the paper. The Washington Post, perhaps most damagingly to the
study’s reputation, quoted Marc E. Garlasco, a senior military analyst
at Human Rights Watch, as saying, “These numbers seem to be inflated.”
Mr. Garlasco says now that he hadn’t read the paper at the time and
calls his quote in the Post “really unfortunate.” (Lila Guterman,
Chronicle of Higher Education).
so, nobody else in American corporate media bothered to pick up the
story and inform our citizens how many Iraqi citizens are being killed
at the hands of a coalition led by our government. The study was never
mentioned on television news, and the truth remains unheard by those
who may need to hear it most. The U.S. government had no comment at the
time and remains silent about Iraqi civilian deaths. “The only thing we
keep track of is casualties for U.S. troops and civilians,” a Defense
Department spokesman told The Chronicle.
CNN anchor Daryn Kagan did have the opportunity to interview the Al
Jazeera network editor-in-chief Ahmed Al-Sheik—a rare opportunity to
get independent information about events in Fallujah—she used the
occasion to badger Al-Sheik about whether the civilian deaths were
really “the story” in Fallujah. CNN’s argument was that a bigger story
than civilian deaths is “what the Iraqi insurgents are doing” to
provoke a U.S. “response” is startling. “When reports from the ground
are describing hundreds of civilians being killed by U.S. forces, CNN
should be looking to Al Jazeera’s footage to see if it corroborates
those accounts—not badgering Al Jazeera’s editor about why he doesn’t
suppress that footage.” (MediaWatch, Asheville Global Report)
researchers concluded that several limitations exist with this study,
predominantly because the quality of data received is dependent on the
accuracy of the interviews. However, interviewers believed that certain
essential charcteristics of Iraqi culture make it unlikely that
respondents would have fabricated their reports of the deaths. The
Geneva Conventions have clear guidance about the responsibilities of
occupying armies to the civilian population they control. “With the
admitted benefit of hindsight and from a purely public health
perspective, it is clear that whatever planning did take place was
grievously in error. The invasion of Iraq, the displacement of a cruel
dictator, and an attempt to impose a liberal democracy by force have,
by themselves, been insufficient to bring peace and security to the
illegal, heavy handed tactics practiced by the U.S. military in Iraq
evident in these news stories have become what appears to be their
standard operating procedure in occupied Iraq. Countless violations of
international law and crimes against humanity occurred in Fallujah
during the November massacre.
by the mass slaughtering of Iraqis and the use of illegal weapons such
as cluster bombs, napalm, uranium munitions and chemical weapons during
the November siege of Fallujah when the entire city was declared a
“free fire zone” by military leaders, the brutality of the U.S.
military has only increased throughout Iraq as the occupation drags on.
to Iraqis inside the city, at least 60 percent of Fallujah went on to
be totally destroyed in the siege, and eight months after the siege
entire districts of the city remained without electricity or water.
Israeli style checkpoints were set up in the city, prohibiting anyone
from entering who did not live inside the city. Of course non-embedded
media were not allowed in the city.
Since these stories were published, countless other incidents of
illegal weapons and tactics being used by the U.S. military in Iraq
“Operation Spear” on June 17th, 2005, U.S.-led forces attacked the
small cities of Al-Qa’im and Karabla near the Syrian border. U.S.
warplanes dropped 2,000 pound bombs in residential areas and claimed to
have killed scores of “militants” while locals and doctors claimed that
only civilians were killed.
in Fallujah, residents were denied access to the city in order to
obtain medical aid, while those left inside the city claimed Iraqi
civilians were being regularly targeted by U.S. snipers.
to an IRIN news report, Firdos al-Abadi from the Iraqi Red Crescent
Society stated that 7,000 people from Karabla were camped in the desert
outside the city, suffering from lack of food and medical aid while 150
homes were totally destroyed by the U.S. military.
Iraqi doctor reported on the same day that he witnessed, “crimes in the
west area of the country…the American troops destroyed one of our
hospitals, they burned the whole store of medication, they killed the
patient in the ward…they prevented us from helping the people in
like Fallujah, a doctor at the General Hospital of al-Qa’im stated that
entire families remained buried under the rubble of their homes, yet
medical personnel were unable to reach them due to American snipers.
civilians in Haditha had similar experiences during “Operation Open
Market” when they claimed U.S. snipers shot anyone in the streets for
days on end, and U.S. and Iraqi forces raided homes detaining any man
media reported on the “liberation” of Fallujah, as well as quoting
military sources on the number of “militants” killed. Any mention of
civilian casualties, heavy-handed tactics or illegal munitions was
either brief or non-existent, and continues to be as of June 2005.
For additional information:
those interested in following these stories, it is possible to obtain
information by visiting the English Al-Jazeera website at http://english.aljazeera. net/HomePage, my website at www.dahrjamailiraq.com, The World Tribunal on Iraq at www.worldtribunal.org, Peacework Magazine at www.afsc.org/pwork/0412/041204.htm , and other alternative/independent news websites.
#3 Another Year of Distorted Election Coverage
In These Times, 02/15/05
Title: “A Corrupted Election”
Authors: Steve Freeman and Josh Mitteldorf
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 26, 2005
Title: “Jim Crow Returns To The Voting Booth”
Authors: Greg Palast, Rev. Jesse Jackson
www.freepress.org, Nov. 23, 2004
Title: “How a Republican Election Supervisor Manipulated the 2004 Central Ohio Vote”
Authors: Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman
Faculty Evaluator: Ann Neel, MA
Student Researcher: Mike Osipoff
analysts have long counted on exit polls to be a reliable predictor of
actual vote counts. The unusual discrepancy between exit poll data and
the actual vote count in the 2004 election challenges that reliability.
However, despite evidence of technological vulnerabilities in the
voting system and a higher incidence of irregularities in swing states,
this discrepancy was not scrutinized in the mainstream media. They
simply parroted the partisan declarations of “sour grapes” and “let’s
move on” instead of providing any meaningful analysis of a highly
official vote count for the 2004 election showed that George W. Bush
won by three million votes. But exit polls projected a victory margin
of five million votes for John Kerry. This eight-million-vote
discrepancy is much greater than the error margin. The overall margin
of error should statistically have been under one percent. But the
official result deviated from the poll projections by more than five
percent—a statistical impossibility.
Media Research and Mitofsky International, the two companies hired to
do the polling for the Nation Election Pool (a consortium of the
nation’s five major broadcasters and the Associated Press), did not
immediately provide an explanation for how this could have occurred.
They waited until January 19, the eve of the inauguration.
and Mitofsky’s “inaugural” report, “Evaluation of Edison/Mitofsky
Election System 2004,” stated that the discrepancy was “most likely due
to Kerry voters participating in the exit polls at a higher rate than
Bush voters.” The media widely reported that this report proved the
accuracy of the official count and a Bush victory. The body of the
report, however, offers no data to substantiate this position. In fact,
the report shows that Bush voters were more likely to complete the
survey than Kerry voters. The report also states that the difference
between exit polls and official tallies was far too great to be
explained by sampling error, and that a systematic bias is implicated.
Edison and Mitofsky report dismisses the possibility that the official
vote count was wrong, stating that precincts with electronic voting
systems had the same error rates as precincts with punch-card systems.
This is true. However, it merely points to the unreliability of
punch-card and electronic systems, both of which are slated for
termination under the Helping America Vote Act of 2002. According to
the report, only in precincts that used old-fashioned, hand-counted
paper ballots did the official count and the exit poll data fall within
the normal margin of error.
the report shows, the discrepancy between the exit polls and the
official count was considerably greater in the critical swing states.
And while this fact is consistent with allegations of fraud, Mitofsky
and Edison suggest, without providing any data or theory to back up
their claim, that this discrepancy is somehow related to media coverage.
precincts that were at least 80 percent for Bush, the average
within-precinct error (WPE) was a whopping 10.0 percent—the numerical
difference between the exit poll predictions and the official count.
Also, in Bush strongholds, Kerry received only about two-thirds of the
votes predicted by exit polls. In Kerry strongholds, exit polls matched
the official count almost exactly (an average WPE of 0.3).
exit poll data is a strong indicator of a corrupted election. But the
case grows stronger if these exit poll discrepancies are interpreted in
the context of more than 100,000 officially logged reports of
irregularities and possible fraud during Election Day 2004.
campaign officials compiled a 1,886-name “caging list,” which included
the names and addresses of predominantly black voters in the
traditionally Democratic Jacksonville, Florida. While Bush campaign
spokespersons stated that the list was a returned mail log, they did
not deny that such a list could be used to challenge voters on Election
Day. In fact, the county elections supervisor says that he could see no
other purpose for compiling such a list.
Franklin County Ohio, Columbus voters faced one of the longest ballot
lines in history. In many inner city precincts, voters sometimes had
three-hour waits to get to the poll before being required to cast
ballots within five minutes, as demanded by the Republican-run Board of
Elections. Seventy-seven out of the county’s 2,866 voting machines
malfunctioned on Election Day. One machine registered 4,258 votes for
Bush in a precinct where only 638 people voted. At least 125 machines
were held back at the opening of the polls, and another 68 were never
deployed. While voters were rushed through the process, 29 percent of
the precincts had fewer voting machines than in the 2000 election
despite a 25 percent increase in turnout.
together, these problems point to an election that requires scrutiny.
Even if the discrepancy between exit polls and actual vote counts is
simply a fluke, other flaws and questionable practices in the voting
process make one wonder whether or not the people’s voice was actually
heard and if we are truly a working democracy.
by Josh Mitteldorf: Some news is too important to report. People might
get upset, and the smooth functioning of our democracy would be
jeopardized. Thus the media has collectively done the responsible
thing, and refrained—at great cost to themselves, be assured—from
publicizing doubts about the legitimacy of the 2004 election, in order
to help assure the “orderly succession of power.”
some internet sites such as Commondreams.org and Freepress.org do not
realize their obligations to the commonwealth, and have thus been less
responsible in maintaining silence. And there’s an upbeat radio voice
from Vermont, Thom Hartmann, who would be fun to listen to if only he
didn’t insist on relating so many discomfiting truths.
so long as you stay away from these isolated derelicts, you will be
gratified to receive a reassuringly consistent story line: George Bush
won the 2004 election fair and square. It’s time to stop asking
pointless questions. Get with the program!
by Greg Palast and Reverend Jessie Jackson: There are conspiracy nuts
out there on the Internet who think that John Kerry defeated George
Bush in Ohio and other states. I know, because I wrote “Kerry Won” for
TomPaine.com two days after the election.
Won” was the latest in a series coming out of a five-year
investigation, begun in November 2000, for BBC Television Newsnight and
Britain’s Guardian papers, dissecting that greasy sausage called
American electoral democracy.
November 11, a week after TomPaine.com put the report out on the ‘Net,
I received an email from the New York Times Washington Bureau. Hot on
the investigation of the veracity of the vote, the Times reporter asked
me pointed questions:
Question #1: Are you a “sore loser”?
Question #2: Are you a “conspiracy nut”?
was no third question. Investigation of the vote was, apparently,
complete. The next day, their thorough analysis of the evidence yielded
a front-page story, “VOTE FRAUD THEORIES, SPREAD BY BLOGS, ARE QUICKLY
Here’s a bit of what the Paper of Record failed to record.
June 2004, well before the election, my co-author of “Jim Crow” Rev.
Jesse Jackson brought me to Chicago. We had breakfast with
Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards. The Reverend asked the
Senator to read my report of the “spoilage” of Black votes—one million
African Americans who cast ballots in 2000 but did not have their votes
register on the machines.
said he’d read it over after he’d had his bagel. Jackson snatched away
his bagel. No read, no bagel. A hungry Senator was genuinely
concerned—these were, after all, Democrats whose votes did not tally,
and he shot the information to John Kerry. A couple of weeks later,
Kerry told the NAACP convention that one million African-American votes
were not counted in 2000, but in 2004 he would not let it happen again.
But he did let it happen again. More than a million votes in 2004 were cast and not counted.
a reporter, it’s not my job to help the Democratic Party learn to tie
its shoes. And, as a nonpartisan journalist, I’m not out to expose the
Republican Party’s new elaborate campaign to prevent voters from
voting—but I must report it. However, editors and news producers in my
home country, the USA, seem less than interested. Indeed, they are
downright hostile to reporting this story of the shoplifting of our
has an apartheid voting system, denying African-Americans, Hispanics
and American Natives the assurance their ballots will count. Worse,
America has an apartheid media which denies racial disenfranchisement a
seat at the front of the news bus.
was in November 2000 I first ran into the U.S. news lord’s benign
neglect of the “new Jim Crow” methods of denying citizens of color
their vote. While working with the British Guardian papers just days
before the 2000 presidential election, I discovered that Governor Jeb
Bush and his Secretary of State, Katharine Harris, had wrongly purged
tens of thousands of Black citizens from voter rolls as “felons”—when
in fact their only crime had been V.W.B.: Voting While Black.
appeared in the U.S. press. However, I admit that the Florida purge
story was picked up by the New York Times … fofur years later.
before the November 2004 election, BBC television Newsnight discovered
new, confidential “caging lists” which we got our hands on from inside
the Republican National Committee headquarters. These were rosters of
thousands of minority voters targeted to prevent them from voting on
election day: a violation of federal law. It was big news in Europe and
South America. In the USA, there was nothing except an attack on BBC’s
report by ABC’s web site. ABC’s only listed source for their attack on
the BBC was the Republican Party.
story of the purge of Black voters, the million missing Black ballots
cast but not counted, the caging lists, and other games used to deny
the vote to the dark-skinned and the poor, would have been buried long
ago if not for BBC Television, Harper’s Magazine (may it last a
thousand years), Britain’s Guardian and Observer, The Nation, the op-ed
editors at the San Francisco Chronicle and Seattle Post-Intelligencer
and, provocatively, Hustler Magazine. Even if ignored or actively
‘dissed by U.S. “mainstream” media, the story will be continue to be
reported, due to the passionate insistence of Reverend Jackson, from a
to GeorgeBush.com for capturing the ‘caging lists.’ And bless the
blogs, for they shall set the truth free: TomPaine.com, Buzzflash,
Working-for-Change and other Internet sites carried the story over the
electronic Berlin Wall.
my gratitude to our indefatigable investigative team, particularly
Oliver Shykles and Matt Pascarella for their work on this story—on
which they continue today—and to Meirion Jones, producer nonpareil at
BBC television’s Newsnight.
For Additional Documentation of Voter Fraud 2004 See Chapters 2 and 3.
#4 Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In
Information Management Journal, Mar/Apr 2004
Title: “PATRIOT Act’s Reach Expanded Despite Part Being Struck Down”
Author: Nikki Swartz
LiP Magazine, Winter 2004
Title: “Grave New World”
Author: Anna Samson Miranda
Capitol Hill Blue, June 7, 2004
Title: “Where Big Brother Snoops on Americans 24/7”
Authors: Teresa Hampton and Doug Thompson
Faculty Evaluator: John Steiner, Ph. D.
Student Researcher: Sandy Brown, Michelle Jesolva
the evening news rolled footage of Saddam being checked for head lice,
the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 was quietly
signed into law.”1
December 13, 2003, President George W. Bush, with little fanfare and no
mainstream media coverage, signed into law the controversial
Intelligence Authorization Act while most of America toasted the
victory of U.S. forces in Iraq and Saddam’s capture. None of the
corporate press covered the signing of this legislation, which
increases the funding for intelligence agencies, dramatically expands
the definition of surveillable financial institutions, and authorizes
the FBI to acquire private records of those individuals suspected of
criminal activity without a judicial review. American civil liberties
are once again under attack.
has provided precedent for such actions. Throughout the 1990s, erosions
of these protections were taking place. As part of the 1996
Anti-Terrorism bill adopted in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing,
the Justice Department was required to publish statistics going back to
1990 on threats or actual crimes against federal, state and local
employees and their immediate families when the wrongdoing related to
the workers’ official duties. The numbers were then to be kept up to
date with an annual report.2 Members of congress, concerned with the
threat this type of legislation posed to American civil liberties, were
able to strike down much of what the bill proposed, including modified
requirements regarding wiretap regulations.
“atmosphere of fear” generated by recent terrorist attacks, both
foreign and domestic, provides administrations the support necessary to
adopt stringent new legislation. In response to the September 11
attacks, new agencies, programs and bureaucracies have been created.
The Total Information Office is a branch of the United States
Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It
has a mission to “imagine, develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate and
transition information technologies, components and prototype,
closed-loop, information systems that will counter asymmetric threats
by achieving total information awareness.”3 Another intelligence
gathering governmental agency, The Information Awareness Office, has a
mission to gather as much information as possible about everyone in a
centralized location for easy perusal by the United States government.
Information mining has become the business of government.
November 2002, the New York Times reported that the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was developing a tracking system
called “Total Information Awareness” (TIA), which was intended to
detect terrorists through analyzing troves of information. The system,
developed under the direction of John Poindexter, then-director of
DARPA’s Information Awareness Office, was envisioned to give law
enforcement access to private data without suspicion of wrongdoing or a
warrant.4 The “Total Information Awareness” program’s name was changed
to “Terrorist Information Awareness” on May 20, 2003 ostensibly to
clarify the program’s intent to gather information on presumed
terrorists rather than compile dossiers on U.S. citizens.
this name change, a Senate Defense Appropriations bill passed
unanimously on July 18, 2003, expressly denying any funding to
Terrorist Information Awareness research. In response, the Pentagon
proposed The Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange, or MATRIX,
a program devised by longtime Bush family friend Hank Asher as a pilot
effort to increase and enhance the exchange of sensitive terrorism and
other criminal activity information between local, state, and federal
law enforcement agencies. The MATRIX, as devised by the Pentagon, is a
State run information generating tool, thereby circumventing congress’
concern regarding the appropriation of federal funds for the
development of this controversial database. Although most states have
refused to adopt these Orwellian strategies, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
Connecticut and Florida have all jumped on the TIA band wagon.
somehow, after the apparent successful dismantling of TIA, expressed
concern by Representatives Mark Udall of Colorado, Betty McCollum of
Minnesota, Ron Paul of Texas and Dennis Moore of Kansas, and heightened
public awareness of the MATRIX, the Intelligence Authorization Act was
signed into law December 13, 2003.5
Thursday, November 20, 2003 Minnesota Representative Betty McCollum
stated that, “The Republican Leadership inserted a controversial
provision in the FY04 Intelligence Authorization Report that will
expand the already far-reaching USA Patriot Act, threatening to further
erode our cherished civil liberties. This provision gives the FBI power
to demand financial and other records, without a judge’s approval, from
post offices, real estate agents, car dealers, travel agents,
pawnbrokers and many other businesses. This provision was included with
little or no public debate, including no consideration by the House
Judiciary Committee, which is the committee of jurisdiction. It came as
a surprise to most Members of this body.”6
to LiP Magazine, “Governmental and law-enforcement agencies and MATRIX
contractors across the nation will gain extensive and unprecedented
access to financial records, medical records, court records, voter
registration, travel history, group and religious affiliations, names
and addresses of family members, purchases made and books read.”7
Jennings, in an ABC original report, explored the commercial
applications of this accumulated information. Journalist and author
Peter O’Harrow, who collaborated with ABC News on the broadcast “Peter
Jennings Reporting: No Place to Hide,” states “…marketers—and now,
perhaps government investigators—can study what people are likely to
do, what kind of attitudes they have, what they buy at the grocery
store.”8 Although this program aired on prime-time mainstream
television, there was no mention of the potential for misuse of this
personal information network or of the controversy surrounding the
issues of privacy and civil liberties violations concerning citizens
and civil servants alike. Again, the sharing of this kind of personal
information is not without precedent.
November 12, 1999, Clinton signed into law the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act,
which permits financial institutions to share personal customer
information with affiliates within the holding company. The
Intelligence Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2004 expands the
definition of a surveillable financial institution to include real
estate agencies, insurance companies, travel agencies, Internet service
providers, post offices, casinos and other businesses as well. Due to
massive corporate mergers and the acquisition of reams of newly
acquired information, personal consumer data has been made readily
available to any agency interested in obtaining it, both commercial and
the application of emerging new technologies such as Radio Frequency
Identification chips or RFIDs, small individualized computer chips
capable of communicating with a receiving computer, consumer behavior
can literally be tracked from the point of purchase to the kitchen
cupboard, and can be monitored by all interested parties.
by Anna Miranda: The United States is at risk of turning into a
full-fledged surveillance society. The tremendous explosion in
surveillance-enabling technologies, combined with the ongoing weakening
in legal restraints that protect our privacy mean that we are drifting
toward a surveillance society. The good news is that it can be stopped.
Unfortunately, right now the big picture is grim.—ACLU9
The PATRIOT Act
‘sunset’ provisions in the PATRIOT Act are set to expire at the end of
2005. One amendment, the “library provision” went before Congress in
June. Despite President Bush’s threat to veto, lawmakers, including 38
Republicans, voted 238 to 187 to overturn the provision, which
previously allowed law enforcement officials to request and obtain
information from libraries without obtaining a search warrant. Although
inspectors still have the “right” to search library records, they must
get a judge’s approval first.
General Alberto Gonzales informed Congress in April that this provision
has never been used to acquire information, although the American
Library Association recently reported that over 200 requests for
information were submitted since the PATRIOT Act was signed into law in
overturning of the library provision has been seen as a small victory
in the fight to reclaim privacy rights. Rep. Saunders, who was
responsible for almost successfully having the provision repealed last
year, commented that “conservative groups have been joining progressive
organizations to call for changes.”10
fight to the right for privacy continues to wage on with more
successes, as the MATRIX program was officially shut down on April 15,
2005. The program, which consisted of 13 states—and only had four
states remaining prior to its closure, received $12 million in funding
from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security.
By utilizing a system called FACTS (Factual Analysis Criminal Threat
Solution), law enforcement officials from participating states were
able to share information with one another and utilized this program as
an investigative tool to help solve and prevent crimes. According to
the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, “Between July 2003 and April
2005, there have been 1,866,202 queries to the FACTS application.”11 However, of these queries, only 2.6 percent involved terrorism or national security.
the MATRIX has been shut down, Florida law enforcement officials are
pursuing continuing the program and rebuilding it. Officials have sent
out a call for information from vendors beginning a competitive bidding
RFID Technology and the REAL ID Act
May 10, 2005, President Bush secretly signed into law the REAL ID Act,
requiring states within the next three years to issue federally
approved electronic identification cards. Attached as an amendment to
an emergency spending bill funding troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, the
REAL ID Act passed without the scrutiny and debate of Congress.
of the main concerns of the electronic identification card is identity
theft. The Act mandates the cards to have anti-counterfeiting measures,
such as an electronically readable magnetic strip or RFID chip. Privacy
advocates argue that RFID chips can be read from “unauthorized”
scanners allowing third parties or the general public to gather and/or
steal private information about an individual. Amidst growing concerns
about identity theft, the REAL ID Act has given no consideration to
privacy concerns regarding the electronic identification card is the
use of information by third parties once they’ve scanned the cards and
accessed the information. At this time, the Act does not specify what
can be done with the information. A company or organization scanning
your identification card could potentially sell your personal
information if strict guidelines on what to do with the information are
to conform over the next three years will leave citizens and residents
of the United States paralyzed. Identification cards that do not meet
the federally mandated standards will not be accepted as identification
for travel, opening a bank account, receiving social security checks,
or participating in government benefits, among other things.
1. LiP Magazine. http://www.lipmagazine.org/.
2. The Washington Post December 01, 1997, Final Edition.
Privacy Information Center http://www.epic.org/privacy/profiling/tia/.
Information Awareness Office, See HR 2417.
6. Congressional Record: November 22,2003 pg.E2399.
7. LiP Magazine. http://www.lipmagazine.org/.
8. ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Primetime/story.
#5 U.S. Uses Tsunami to Military Advantage in Southeast Asia
Jane’s Foreign Report (Jane’s Defence), February 15, 2005
Title: “U.S. Turns Tsunami into Military Strategy”
The Irish Times, February 8, 2005
Title: “U.S. Has Used Tsunami to Boost Aims in Stricken Area”
Author: Rahul Bedi
Inter Press Service, January, 18 2005
Title: “Bush Uses Tsunami Aid to Regain Foothold in Indonesia”
Author: Jim Lobe
Faculty Evaluator: Tony White, Ph. D., Craig Winston, Ph. D.
Student Researcher: Ned Patterson
tragic and devastating power of 2004’s post holiday tsunami was
plastered across the cover of practically every newspaper around the
world for the better part of a month. As the death toll rose by the
thousands every day, countries struggled to keep pace with the rapidly
increasing need for aid across the Indian Ocean Basin.
the same time that U.S. aid was widely publicized domestically, our
coinciding military motives were virtually ignored by the press. While
supplying our aid (which when compared proportionately to that of
other, less wealthy countries, was an insulting pittance), we
simultaneously bolstered military alliances with regional powers in,
and began expanding our bases throughout, the Indian Ocean region.
viewed as a highly strategic location for U.S. interests, our desire to
curtail China’s burgeoning economic and military might is contingent
upon our control of this area. In the months following the tsunami,
writes Rahul Bedi in The Irish Times, the U.S. revived the Utapao
military base in Thailand it had used during the Vietnam War. Task
force 536 is to be moved there to establish a forward positioning site
for the U.S. Air Force.
subsequent tsunami relief operations, the U.S. reactivated its military
co-operation agreements with Thailand and the Visiting Forces Agreement
with the Philippines. U.S. Navy also vessels utilized facilities in
Singapore, keeping with previous treaties. Further, the U.S. marines
and the navy arrived in Sri Lanka to bolster relief measures despite
the tsunami-hit island’s initial reluctance to permit their entry.
U.S. also stepped up their survey of the Malacca Straits, over which
China exercises considerable influence, and through which 90 percent of
Japan’s oil supplies pass. The United States has had trouble expanding
its military influence in the region largely due to suspicions by
Indonesia and Malaysia that the U.S. is disguising imperial aims under
the goal of waging war against terror. The two countries have opposed
an American plan to tighten security in the vital Malacca Straits
shipping lanes, which might have involved U.S. troops stationed nearby.
Secretary of State Colin Powell declared that U.S. relief to the
tsunami-affected region would assist the war against terror and
introduce “American values to the region.” The Bush Administration is
also reviving its hopes of normalizing military ties with Indonesia,
writes Jim Lobe for InterPress Service. The world’s most populous
Muslim nation, its strategically located archipelago, critical sea
lanes, and historic distrust of China have made it an ideal partner for
a January 2005 visit to Jakarta, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul
Wolfowitz told reporters, “I think if we’re interested in military
reform here, and certainly this Indonesian government is and our
government is, I think we need to possibly reconsider a bit where we
are at this point in history moving forward.”
to an article in the Asheville Global Report, the following month the
U.S. State Department made a decision to renew the International
Education and Military Training (IMET) program for Indonesia, despite
considerable human rights issues.
to Bedi, Washington has long wanted a navel presence in Trincomalee,
eastern Sri Lanka, or alternatively in Galle, further south, to shorten
the supply chain from its major regional military base in distant Diego
Garcia, which the British Ocean Territory leased to the U.S. in 1966
for the length of fifty years. The use of these bases would ring China,
giving the U.S. added control over that country’s activities.
Garcia’s geostrategic location in the Indian Ocean and its full range
of naval, military and communications facilities gives it a critical
role supporting the U.S. Navy’s forward presence in the North Arabian
Sea and the Indian Ocean Region. However, because of the bases’
remoteness and the fact that its lease from Britain expires in 2016,
the U.S. seeks an alternative location in the region. “Clearly these
new bases will strengthen Washington’s military logistical support in
the region,” says Professor Anuradha Chenoy at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru
University. She went on to emphasize that an alternative to the Diego
Garcia base must be found soon, as the lease from Britain will soon
before the tsunami struck, an article dated April 21, 2003, by Josy
Joseph on Rediff.com explained that a classified report commissioned by
the United States Department of Defense expresses a desire for access
to Indian bases and military infrastructures. The United States Air
Force specifically wants to establish bases in India. The report,
entitled “Indo-U.S. Military Relations: Expectations and Perceptions,”
was distributed amongst high-ranking U.S. officials and a handful of
senior members within the Indian government. It continues on about the
Defense Department’s desire to have “access closer to areas of
report says, “American military officers are candid in their plans to
eventually seek access to Indian bases and military infrastructure.
India’s strategic location in the centre of Asia, astride the
frequently traveled Sea Lanes Of Communication (SLOC) linking the
Middle East and East Asia, makes India particularly attractive to the
report also quotes U.S. Lieutenant Generals as saying that the access
to Indian bases would enable the U.S. military “to be able to touch the
rest of the world” and to “respond rapidly to regional crisis.” A South
Asia Area Officer of the U.S. State Department has been quoted as
saying, “India’s strategic importance increases if existing U.S.
relationships with Asia fail.”
Post-tsunami U.S. actions in the Indian Ocean illustrate its intention to move this agenda forward sooner rather than later.
Josy; “Target Next: Indian Military Bases”; rediff.com, April 21, 2003;
and Lobe, Jim; “Skepticism over renewed military ties with Indonesia”;
Asheville Global Report, March 10–16, 2005.
#6 The Real Oil for Food Scam
Harper’s Magazine, December 2004
Title: “The UN is Us: Exposing Saddam Hussein’s silent partner”
Author: Joy Gordon
Independent/UK, December 12, 2004
Title: “The oil for Food ‘Scandal’ is a Cynical Smokescreen”
Author: Scott Ritter
Faculty Evaluator: Robert McNamara, Ph. D.
Student Researcher: Deanna Murrell
U.S. has accused UN officials of corruption in Iraq’s oil for food
program. According to Joy Gordon and Scott Ritter the charge was
actually an attempt to disguise and cover up long term U.S. government
complicity in this corruption. Ritter says, “this posturing is nothing
more than a hypocritical charade, designed to shift attention away from
the debacle of George Bush’s self-made quagmire in Iraq, and legitimize
the invasion of Iraq by using Iraqi corruption and not the now-missing
weapons of mass destruction, as the excuse.” Gordon arrives at the
conclusion that, “perhaps it is unsurprising that today the only role
its seems the United States expects the UN to play in the continuing
drama of Iraq is that of scapegoat.”
to Gordon the charges laid by the U.S. accounting office are bogus.
There is plenty of evidence of corruption in the “oil-for-food”
program, but the trail of evidence leads not to the UN but to the U.S.
“The fifteen members of the Security Council—of which the United States
was by far the most influential—determined how income from oil proceeds
would be handled, and what the funds could be used for.” Contrary to
popular understanding, the Security Council is not the same thing as
the UN. It is part of it, but operates largely independently of the
larger body. The UN’s personnel “simply executed the program that was
designed by the members of the Security Council.”
claim in the corporate media was that the UN allowed Saddam Hussein to
steal billions of dollars from oil sales. If we look, as Gordon does,
at who actually had control over the oil and who’s hands held the
money, a very different picture emerges. “If Hussain did indeed smuggle
$6 billion worth of oil in the ‘the richest rip off in world history,’
he didn’t do it with the complicity of the UN. He did it on the watch
of the U.S. Navy.” explains Gordon.
monetary transaction was approved by the U.S. through its dominant role
on the Security Council. Ritter explains, “the Americans were able to
authorize a $1 billion exemption concerning the export of Iraqi oil for
Jordan, as well as legitimize the billion-dollar illegal oil smuggling
trade over the Turkish border.” In another instance, a Russian oil
company “bought oil from Iraq under ‘oil for food’ at a heavy discount,
and then sold it at full market value to primarily U.S. companies,
splitting the difference evenly between [the Russian company] and the
Iraqis. This U.S. sponsored deal resulted in profits of hundreds of
millions of dollars for both the Russians and the Iraqis, outside the
control of ‘oil for food.’ It has been estimated that 80 percent of the
oil illegally smuggled out of Iraq under ‘oil for food’ ended up in the
only were criminals enriched in this nefarious scheme, it also ended up
sabotaging the original purpose of “oil for food.” Gordon explains,
“How Iraq sold its oil was also under scrutiny, and the United States
did act on what it perceived to be skimming by Hussain in these deals.
The solution that it enacted, however, succeeded in almost bankrupting
the entire Oil for Food Program within months.”
Security Council policy not only succeeded in enriching the dishonest,
it also virtually destroyed the program. According to Gordon, the U.S.
and UK attempted to prevent kickbacks resulting from artificially low
prices: “Instead of approving prices at the beginning of each sales
period (usually a month), in accordance with normal commercial
practices, the two allies would simply withhold their approval [of the
price] until after the oil was sold—creating a bizarre scenario in
which buyers had to sign contracts without knowing what the price would
be.” The result was “oil sales collapsed by forty percent, and along
with them the funds for critical humanitarian imports.”
we have here, according to Gordon and Ritter, is a bare-faced attempt
by criminals to shift blame to the innocent. Gordon concludes, “Little
of the blame can credibly be laid at the feet of ‘the UN bureaucracy.’
Far more of the fault lies with policies and decisions of the Security
Council in which the United States played a central role.”
by Joy Gordon: The accusations against the Oil for Food Program have
served as a springboard for general attacks on the credibility of the
United Nations as a whole, as well as personal attacks on Kofi Annan.
For the most part the mainstream media has seized on the accusations
and repeated them, without doing any of the research that would give
the discussion more integrity. For example, “the United Nations” is
criticized for “its” failures, and the Secretary General is then blamed
because these events “happened on his watch.” What was not mentioned at
all for the first year of media coverage is that “the UN” is made up of
several different parts, and that the part that designed and oversaw
the Oil for Food Program was the Security Council, whose decisions
cannot be overridden or modified in any way by the Secretary General.
Not only that, while the most vitriolic accusations against the UN have
come from the United States, the U.S. is in fact the most dominant
member of the Security Council. The U.S. agreed to all the decisions
and procedures of the Oil for Food Program that are now being so
harshly criticized as “failures of the United Nations.”
mainstream press, for the most part, has repeated that the Oil for Food
Program lacked accountability, oversight, or transparency. What is most
striking about this is that the elaborate structure of oversight that
was in fact in place—and is never mentioned at all—is so easily
available. It is on the program’s web site in complete detail along
with huge amounts of information, making the program in fact highly
transparent. Yet the mainstream press coverage reflects none of this.
fall we saw the beginnings of some acknowledgement of the U.S.
responsibility for Iraq’s ongoing smuggling, as some Democrats
introduced evidence in hearings that all three U.S. administrations
knew of and supported Iraq’s illicit trade with Jordan and Turkey, two
key U.S. allies. The press picked that up, but little else.
my article came out, there has been a good deal of press coverage from
public radio stations and from foreign press. In addition, I have
testified twice before Congressional committees, where the members of
Congress were incredulous to hear that in fact the program operated
very differently than they had been told—even though the information I
provided them was obvious, basic, publicly available, and easily
For additional information:
Organizations actively addressing these issues include the UN Association and the UN Foundation.
Information about the accusations against the program can be found at the following sites: http://www.oilforfoodfacts.org/
UN web site on Oil for Food program: http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/
The Volcker Committee investigating the accusations: http://www.iic-offp.org/
#7 Journalists Face Unprecedented Dangers to Life and Livelihood
www.truthout.org, Feb. 28, 2005
Title: “Dead Messengers: How the U.S. Military Threatens Journalists”
Author: Steve Weissman
Title: “Media Repression in ‘Liberated’ Land”
InterPress Service, November 18, 2004
Author: Dahr Jamail
Faculty Evaluator: Elizabeth Burch, Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Michelle Jesolva
to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)1, 2004 was the
deadliest year for reporters since 1980, when records began to be kept.
Over a 12-month span, 129 media workers were killed and 49 of those
deaths occurred in the Iraqi conflict. According to independent
journalist Dahr Jamail, journalists are increasingly being detained and
threatened by the U.S.-installed interim government in Iraq. When the
only safety for a reporter is being embedded with the U.S. military,
the reported stories tend to have a positive spin. Non-embedded
reporters suffer the great risk of being identified as enemy targets by
most blatant attack on journalists occurred the morning of April 8,
2004, when the Third Infantry fired on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad
killing cameramen Jose Couso and Taras Protsyuk and injuring three
others. The hotel served as headquarters for some 100 reporters and
other media workers. The Pentagon officials knew that the Palestine
Hotel was full of journalists and had assured the Associated Press that
the U.S. would not target the building. According to Truthout, the Army
had refused to release the records of its investigation. The Committee
to Protect Journalists, created in 1981 in order to protect colleagues
abroad from governments and others who have no use for free and
independent media, filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act to
force the Army to release its results. The sanitized copy of the
releasable results showed nothing more than a Commander inquiry.
with the U.S. military’s investigation, Reporters Without Borders, an
international organization that works to improve the legal and physical
safety of journalists worldwide, conducted their own investigation.
They gathered evidence from journalists in the Palestine Hotel at the
time of the attacks. These were eye witness accounts that the military
neglected to include in their report. The Reporters Without Borders
report also provided information disclosed by others embedded within
the U.S. Army, including the U.S. military soldiers and officers
directly involved in the attack. The report stated that the U.S.
officials first lied about what had happened during the Palestine Hotel
attack and then, in an official statement four months later, exonerated
the U.S. Army from any mistake of error in judgment. The investigation
found that the soldiers in the field did not know that the hotel was
full of journalists. Olga Rodriguez, a journalist present at the
Palestine Hotel during the attack, stated on KPFA’s Democracy Now! that
the soldiers and tanks were present at the hotel 36 hours before the
firing and that they had even communicated with the soldiers.
There have been several other unusual journalist attacks, including:
22, 2003: Terry Lloyd, a reporter for British TV station ITN, was
killed when his convoy crossed into Iraq from Kuwait. French cameraman
Frederic Nerac and Lebanese interpreter Hussein Osman, both in the
convoy, disappeared at the same time.2
2003: According to Dahr Jamail, within days of the ‘handover’ of power
to an interim Iraqi government in 2003, al-Jazeera had been accused of
inaccurate reporting and was banned for one month from reporting out of
Iraq. The ban was later extended to “indefinitely” and the interim
government announced that any al-Jazeera journalist found reporting in
Iraq would be detained. Corentin Fleury, a French freelance
photographer, and his interpreter Bahktiyar Abdulla Hadad, were
detained by the U.S. military when they were leaving Fallujah before
the siege of the city began. They were both held in a military
detention facility outside of the city and were questioned about the
photos that were taken of bomb-stricken Fallujah. Fleury was released
after five days but his interpreter, Bahktiyar Abdulla Hadad, remained.
8, 2004: The same day of the attack on the Palestine Hotel, Truthout
writes, the U.S. bombed the Baghdad offices of Abu Dhabi TV and
Al-Jazeera while they were preparing to broadcast, killing Al-Jazeera
correspondent Tariq Ayyoub. August 17, 2004: Mazen Dana was killed
while filming (with permission) a prison, guarded by the U.S. military
in a Baghdad suburb. According to Truthout’s Steve Weissman, the
Pentagon issued a statement one month later claiming that the troops
had acted within the rules of engagement.3
4, 2005: Nicola Calipari, one of Italyís highest ranking intelligence
officials, was shot dead by U.S. troops. He was driving with Italian
journalist Guiliana Sgrena, who had just been released from captivity
and was on her way to Baghdad’s airport. Sgrena survived the attack.
She stated in an interview with Amy Goodman on KPFA’s Democracy Now!
that the troops “shot at us without any advertising, any intention, any
attempt to stop us before” and they appeared to have shot the back of
all cases, little investigation has been conducted, no findings have
been released and all soldiers involved have been exonerated.
the World Economic Forum, on a panel titled: “Will Democracy Survive
the Media?,” Eason Jordan, a CNN news chief, commented that the U.S.
commanders encourage hostility toward the media and fail to protect
journalists, especially those who choose not to embed themselves under
military control. According to Truthout, during a discussion about the
number of journalists killed during the Iraq war, Jordan stated that he
knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by U.S. troops, but
had been targeted. Jordan also insisted that U.S. soldiers had
deliberately shot at journalists. After the forum, Jordan recanted the
statements and was forced to resign his job of 23 years at CNN.
a matter of military doctrine, the U.S. military dominates, at all
costs, every element of battle, including our perception of what they
do. The need for control leads the Pentagon to urge journalists to
embed themselves within the military, where they can go where they are
told and film and tell stories only from a pro-American point of view.
The Pentagon offers embedded journalists a great deal of protection. As
the Pentagon sees it, non-embedded eyes and ears do not have any
military significance, and unless Congress and the American people stop
them, the military will continue to target independent journalists.
Admirals and generals see the world one way, reporters another; the
clash leads to the deaths of too many journalists.
by Steve Weissman: When Truthout boss Marc Ash asked me earlier this
year to look into the Pentagon’s killing of journalists, many reporters
believed that the military was purposely targeting them. But, as I
quickly found, the crime was more systemic and in many ways worse. As
far as anyone has yet proved, no commanding officer ever ordered a
subordinate to fire on journalists as such. Not at Baghdad’s Palestine
Hotel in April 2003. Not at the Baghdad checkpoint where soldiers
wounded Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena and killed her Secret
Service protector in March 2005. Andnot anywhere else in Iraq or
How, then, did the U.S. military end up killing journalists?
started with a simple decision—the Pentagon’s absolute refusal to take
any responsibility for the lives of journalists who chose to work
independently rather than embed themselves in a British or American
military unit. Despite repeated requests from Reuters and other major
news organizations, Pentagon officials still refuse to take the steps
needed to reduce the threat to independent journalists:
military must be forced to respect the work that independent
journalists do, protect them where possible, and train soldiers to
recognize the obvious differences between rocket launchers and TV
2. Commanders need to pass on information about the whereabouts of journalists with a direct order not to shoot at them.
soldiers do kill journalists, the Pentagon needs to hold them
responsible, something that no military investigation has yet done.
the military tries to forcibly exclude journalists and otherwise
prevent “hostile information” about its operations, such as its
destruction of Falujah, Congress and the media need to step in and
force the Pentagon to back off.
other problem needs urgent attention. Military intelligence regularly
monitors the uplink equipment that reporters use to transmit their
stories and communicate by satellite phone. But, as the BBC’s Nik
Gowing discovered, the electronic intelligence mavens make no effort to
distinguish between journalistic communications and those of enemy
forces. All the sensing devices do is look for electronic traffic
between the monitored uplinks and known enemies.
Gowing’s view, this led the Americans to order a rocket attack on the
Kabul office of the Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera, whose journalists kept
regular contact with the Taliban as part of their journalistic coverage.
date, neither Congress nor the military have done what they need to do
to protect unembedded journalists and the information they provide.
More shamefully, the mass media continues to underplay the story.
for those who want it, reliable information is easily available, either
from the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters without Borders,
or the International Federation of Journalists.
2. “Missing ITN Crew May Have Come Under ‘Friendly Fire,’” www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/ Story/0,2763,919832,00.html, March 23, 2003.
Now! March 23, 2005, Wounded Spanish Journalist Olga Rodriguez
describes the U.S. Attack on the Palestine Hotel that killed two of her
4. Democracy Now! April 27, 2005, Giuliana Sgrena Blasts U.S. Cover Up, Calls for U.S. and Italy to leave Iraq.
#8 Iraqi Farmers Threatened By Bremer’s Mandates
Grain, October 2004
Title: “Iraq’s New Patent Law: A Declaration of War against Farmers”
Authors: Focus on the Global South and GRAIN
TomPaine.com, October 26, 2004
Title: “Adventure Capitalism”
Author: Greg Palast
The Ecologist, February 4, 2005
Title: “U.S. Seeking to Totally Re-engineer Iraqi Traditional Farming System into a U.S.-style Corporate Agribusiness”
Author: Jeremy Smith
Faculty Evaluator: John Wingard, Ph. D.
Student Researcher: Cary Barker
his article “Adventure Capitalism,” Greg Palast exposes the contents of
a secret plan for “imposing a new regime of low taxes on big business,
and quick sales of Iraq’s banks and bridges—in fact, ‘ALL state
enterprises’—to foreign operators.” This economy makeover plan, he
claims, “goes boldly where no invasion plan has gone before.”
highly detailed program, which began years before the tanks rolled,
outlines the small print of doing business under occupation. One of the
goals is to impose intellectual property laws favorable to
multinationals. Palast calls this “history’s first military assault
plan appended to a program for toughening the target nation’s copyright
also turns out that those of us who may have thought it was all about
the oil were mostly right. “The plan makes it clear that—even if we
didn’t go in for the oil—we certainly won’t leave without it.”
an interview with Palast, Grover Norquist, the “ capo di capi of the
lobbyist army of the right,” makes the plans even more clear when he
responds, “The right to trade, property rights, these things are not to
be determined by some democratic election.” No, these things were to be
determined by the Coalition Provisional Authority, the interim
government lead by the U.S.
he left his position, CPA administrator Paul Bremer, “the leader of the
Coalition Provisional Authority issued exactly 100 orders that remade
Iraq in the image of the Economy Plan.” These orders effectively
changed Iraqi law.
good example of this business invasion involves agriculture. The
details of this part of the “market make-over” are laid out in the
Grain website article called “Iraq’s new Patent Law: a declaration of
war against farmers.”
81” of the 100 is entitled “Patent, Industrial Design, Undisclosed
Information, Integrated Circuits and Plant Variety.” According to Grain
staff writers, this order “made it illegal for Iraqi farmers to re-use
seeds harvested from new varieties registered under the law.” Plant
Variety Protection (PVP)is the tool used for defining which seeds are
re-useable and which are not. PVP “is an intellectual property right or
a kind of patent for plant varieties which gives an exclusive monopoly
right on planting material to a plant breeder who claims to have
discovered or developed a new variety. So the “protection” in PVP has
nothing to do with conservation, but refers to safeguarding of the
commercial interests of private breeders (usually large corporations)
claiming to have created the new plants.”
with this order is a plan to “re-educate farmers” in order to increase
their production. As part of a $107 million “project” facilitated by
Texas A&M, farmers will be given equipment and new high-yielding
PVP protected seeds. Jeremy Smith from the Ecologist points out that,
“After one year, farmers will see soaring production levels. Many will
be only too willing to abandon their old ways in favor of the new
technologies. Out will go traditional methods. In will come imported
American seeds.” Then, based on the new patent laws, “any ‘client’ (or
‘farmer’ as they were once known) wishing to grow one of their seeds,
‘pays a licensing fee for each variety’.”
explains that “Under the guise of helping Iraq back on its feet, the
U.S. setting out to re-engineer the country’s traditional farming
system into a U.S.-style corporate agribusiness.” In that traditional
system, “97 percent of Iraqi farmers used their own saved seed or
bought seed from local markets.” He continues, “Unfortunately, this
vital heritage and knowledge base is now believed lost, the victim of
the current campaign and the many years of conflict that preceded it.”
course, this project will also introduce “new chemicals—pesticides,
herbicides, fungicides, all sold to the Iraqis by corporations such as
Monsanto, Cargill and Dow.”
Grain staff writers point out, “over the past decade, many countries of
the South have been compelled to adopt seed patent laws through
bilateral treaties” with the U.S. The Iraqi situation, however, is
different in that “the adoption of the patent law was not part of
negotiations between sovereign countries. Nor did a sovereign
law-making body enact it as reflecting the will of the Iraqi people.”
Essentially, the U.S. has reneged on its promise of freedom for the
Iraqi people. The actions of the U.S. clearly show that the will of the
Iraqi people is not relevant. Paul Bremer’s 100 orders make sure it
will stay that way. Grain argues “Iraq’s freedom and sovereignty will
remain questionable for as long as Iraqis do not have control over what
they sow, grow, reap and eat.” Palast says poignantly, “The free market
paradise in Iraq is not free.”
by Greg Palast: In February 2003, White House spokesman Ari Fleisher
announced the preparations for “Operation Iraqi Liberation”—O.I.L.
I can’t make these things up.
not one of the those people who believes George Bush led us into Iraq
for the oil but, from the documents I’ve obtained, it’s clear that we
sure as hell aren’t leaving without it.
BBC Television Newsnight, which has granted me journalistic asylum from
the commercially-crazed madhouse of the American news market, we ran
Fleisher’s announcement of operation O.I.L. (later corrected to
Operation Iraqi Freedom—OIF!). More importantly, we ran a series of
stories—which I also developed for Harper’s Magazine in the USA—on the
pre-invasion plans to slice up and sell off Iraq’s assets, “especially
the oil,” in the terms of one State Department secret document.
we got our hands on the confidential document to “Move Iraq’s Economy
Forward”—i.e. sell off its oil—we at BBC put General Jay Garner on the
air. Garner, whom the president appointed as viceroy over the
newly-conquered Iraq, confirmed the plan to sell off Iraq’s oil—and his
refusal to carry out the deed. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
fired him and smeared him for his dissent. This was big, big news in
Europe where I reported it—but in the U.S. the story was buried.
later discovered that the plan to sell off Iraq’s oil was replaced by
another confidential plan. This one, 323 pages long and literally
written by oil industry consultants, was obtained by BBC and Harper’s
after a protracted legal war with the State Department. We discovered,
interestingly, that this industry plan to create a state oil company
favorable to OPEC was first conceived in February 2001. In other words,
invasion was in the works, including stratagems for controlling Iraq’s
oil, within week’s of George Bush’s first inauguration and well before
the September 11 attack.
discovery of this plan for Iraq’s oil, received exactly zero coverage
by the U.S. “mainstream” press. Only Harper’s Magazine gave it full
play along with those wonderful internet sites (Buzzflash, Guerrilla
News, WorkingForChange, CommonDreams, Alternet and more ) that cussedly
insist on printing news from abroad not approved by the Powers That Be.
Bless them. They, Project Censored, and Harper’s, have my deepest thanks for bringing my words back home.
to see the television you’re not supposed to see? The British
Broadcasting Corporation has graciously kept my reports available as
Internet video archives. Go to www.GregPalast.com and click on the
“Watch BBC” buttons for the stories effectively censored by the U.S.
news lords and the Bush Administration’s chorus of journalist castrati.
I must give special thanks to our team’s special investigator on Iraq,
Leni von Eckardt, to brilliant BBC producer Meirion Jones, to the
stalwart editors of Harper’s Magazine who withstood legal threats to
publish the story, and to TomPaine.com, which has always provided a
refuge for the best investigative reporting American newspapers won’t
#9 Iran’s New Oil Trade System Challenges U.S. Currency
GlobalResearch.ca, October 27
Title: “Iran Next U.S. Target”
Author: William Clark
Faculty Evaluator: Phil Beard, Ph. D.
Student Researcher: Brian Miller
U.S. media tells us that Iran may be the next target of U.S.
aggression. The anticipated excuse is Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons
program. William Clark tells us that economic reasons may have more to
do with U.S. concerns over Iran than any weapons of mass destruction.
mid-2003 Iran broke from tradition and began accepting eurodollars as
payment for its oil exports from its E.U. and Asian customers. Saddam
Hussein attempted a similar bold step back in 2000 and was met with a
devastating reaction from the U.S. Iraq now has no choice about using
U.S. dollars for oil sales (Censored 2004 #19). However, Iraq's plan to
open an international oil exchange market for trading oil in the euro
currency is a much larger threat to U.S. dollar supremacy than Iraq’s
switch to euros.
the dollar is still the standard currency for trading international oil
sales, in 2006 Iran intends to set up an oil exchange (or bourse) that
would facilitate global trading of oil between industrialized and
developing countries by pricing sales in the euro, or “petroeuro.” To
this end, they are creating a euro-denominated Internet-based oil
exchange system for global oil sales. This is a direct challenge to
U.S. dollar supremacy in the global oil market. It is widely speculated
that the U.S. dollar has been inflated for some time now because of the
monopoly position of “petrodollars” in oil trades. With the level of
national debt, the value of the dollar has been held artificially high
compared to other currencies.
vast majority of the world’s oil is traded on the New York NYMEX
(Mercantile Exchange) and the London IPE (International Petroleum
Exchange), and, as mentioned by Clark, both exchanges are owned by U.S.
corporations. Both of these oil exchanges transact oil trades in U.S.
currency. Iran’s plan to create a new oil exchange would facilitate
trading oil on the world market in euros. The euro has become a
somewhat stronger and more stable trading medium than the U.S. dollar
in recent years. Perhaps this is why Russia, Venezuela, and some
members of OPEC have expressed interest in moving towards a petroeuro
system for oil transactions. Without a doubt, a successful Iranian oil
bourse may create momentum for other industrialized countries to stop
exchanging their own currencies for petrodollars in order to buy oil. A
shift away from U.S. dollars to euros in the oil market would cause the
demand for petrodollars to drop, perhaps causing the value of the
dollar to plummet. A precipitous drop in the value of the U.S. dollar
would undermine the U.S. position as a world economic leader.
is a major exporter to the United States, and its trade surplus with
the U.S. means that China has become the world’s second largest holder
of U.S. currency reserves (Japan is the largest holder with $800
billion, and China holds over $600 billion in T-bills). China would
lose enormously if they were still holding vast amounts of U.S.
currency when the dollar collapsed and assumed a more realistic value.
Maintaining the U.S. as a market for their goods is a pre-eminent goal
of Chinese financial policy, but they are increasingly dependent on
Iran for their vital oil and gas imports. The Chinese government is
careful to maintain the value of the yuan linked with the U.S. dollar
(8.28 yuan to 1 dollar). This artificial linking makes them,
effectively, one currency. But the Chinese government has indicated
interest in de-linking the dollar-yuan arrangement, which could result
in an immediate fall in the dollar. More worrisome is the potentiality
of China to abandon its ongoing prolific purchase of U.S.
Treasuries/debt—should they become displeased with U.S. policies
situations cannot be expected to remain static. It is reasonable to
expect that the Chinese are hedging their bets. It is unreasonable to
expect that they plan to be left holding devalued dollars after a
sudden decline in their value. It is possible that the artificial
situation could continue for some time, but this will be due largely to
the fact that the Chinese want it that way. Regardless, China seems to
be in the process of unloading some of its U.S. dollar reserves in the
world market to purchase oil reserves, and most recently attempted to
buy Unocal, a California-based oil company.
irony is that apparent U.S. plans to invade Iran put pressure on the
Chinese to abandon their support of the dollar. Clark warns that “a
unilateral U.S. military strike on Iran would further isolate the U.S.
government, and it is conceivable that such an overt action could
provoke other industrialized nations to abandon the dollar en masse.”
Perhaps the U.S. planners think that they can corner the market in oil
militarily. But from Clark's point of view, “a U.S. intervention in
Iran is likely to prove disastrous for the United States, making
matters much worse regarding international terrorism, not to mention
potential adverse effects on the U.S. economy.” The more likely outcome
of an Iran invasion would be that, just as in Iraq, Iranian oil exports
would dry up, regardless of what currency they are denominated in, and
China would be compelled to abandon the dollar and buy oil from
Russia—likely in euros. The conclusion is that U.S. leaders seem to
have no idea what they are doing. Clark points out that, “World oil
production is now flat out, and a major interruption would escalate oil
prices to a level that would set off a global depression.”
by William Clark: Following the completion of my essay in October 2004,
three important stories appeared that dramatically raised the
geopolitical stakes for the Bush Administration. First, on October 28,
2004, Iran and China signed a huge oil and gas trade agreement (valued
between $70 and $100 billion dollars.)1 It should also be noted that
China currently receives 13 percent of its oil imports from Iran. The
Chinese government effectively drew a “line in the sand” around Iran
when it signed this huge oil and gas deal. Despite desires by U.S.
elites to enforce petrodollar hegemony by force, the geopolitical risks
of a U.S. attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would surely create a
serious crisis between Washington and Beijing.
article that addressed some of the strategic risks appeared in the
December 2004 edition of the Atlantic Monthly.2 This story by James
Fallows outlined the military war games against Iran that were
conducted during the summer and autumn of 2004. These
war-gaming sessions were led by Colonel Sam Gardiner, a retired Air
Force colonel who for more than two decades ran war games at the
National War College and other military institutions. Each scenario led
to a dangerous escalation in both Iran and Iraq. Indeed, Col. Gardiner
summarized the war games with the following conclusion, “After all this
effort, I am left with two simple sentences for policymakers: You have
no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make
third and final news item that revealed the Bush Administration’s
intent to attack Iran was provided by investigative reporter Seymour
Hersh. The January 2005 issue of The New Yorker (“The Coming Wars”)
included interviews with high-level U.S. intelligence sources who
repeatedly told Hersh that Iran was indeed the next strategic target.4
However, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China will
likely veto any U.S. resolution calling for military action against
Iran. A unilateral military strike on Iran would isolate the U.S.
government in the eyes of the world community, and it is conceivable
that such an overt action could provoke other industrialized nations to
abandon the dollar in droves. I refer to this in my book as the “rogue
central bankers throughout the world community would be extremely
reluctant to “dump the dollar,” the reasons for any such drastic
reaction are likely straightforward from their perspective—the global
community is dependent on the oil and gas energy supplies found in the
Persian Gulf. Numerous oil geologists are warning that global oil
production is now running “flat out.” Hence, any such efforts by the
international community that resulted in a dollar currency crisis would
be undertaken—not to cripple the U.S. dollar and economy as punishment
towards the American people per se—but rather to thwart further
unilateral warfare and its potentially destructive effects on the
critical oil production and shipping infrastructure in the Persian
Gulf. Barring a U.S. attack, it appears imminent that Iran’s
euro-denominated oil bourse will open in March, 2006.5 Logically, the
most appropriate U.S. strategy is compromise with the E.U. and OPEC
towards a dual-currency system for international oil trades.
additional information: Readers interested in learning more about the
dollar/euro oil currency conflict and the upcoming geological
phenomenon referred to as Peak Oil can read William Clark’s new book,
Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar. Available
from New Society Publishers: www.newsociety.com, www.amazon.com or from
your local book store.
1. “China, Iran sign biggest oil & gas deal,” China Daily, October 31, 2004. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-10/31/content_387140.htm.
2. James Fallows, “Will Iran be Next?,” Atlantic Monthly, December 2004, pgs. 97-110.
3. James Fallows, ibid.
Hersh, “The Coming Wars,” The New Yorker, January 24th-31st issue,
2005, pgs. 40-47. Posted online January 17, 2005. Online: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?050124fa_fact
5. “Oil bourse closer to reality,” IranMania.com, December 28, 2004. Online: http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?ArchiveNews=Yes&NewsCode=28176&NewsKind=BusinessEconomy.
#10 Mountaintop Removal Threatens Ecosystem and Economy
Earthfirst! Nov-Dec 2004
Title: “See You in the Mountains: Katuah Earth First! Confronts Mountaintop Removal”
Author: John Conner
Faculty Evaluator: Ervand Peterson, Ph. D.
Student Researcher: Angela Sciortino
removal is a new form of coal mining in which companies dynamite the
tops of mountains to collect the coal underneath. Multiple peaks are
blown off and dumped onto highland watersheds, destroying entire
mountain ranges. More than 1,000 miles of streams have been destroyed
by this practice in West Virginia alone. Mountain top removal endangers
and destroys entire communities with massive sediment dams and non-stop
to Fred Mooney, an active member of the Mountain Faction of Katuah
Earth First!, “MTR is an ecocidal mining practice in which greedy coal
companies use millions of pounds of dynamite a day (three million
pounds a day in the southwest Virginia alone) to blow up entire
mountain ranges in order to extract a small amount of coal.” He goes on
to say that “Then as if that wasn’t bad enough, they dump the waste
into valleys and riverbeds. The combination of these elements
effectively kills everything in the ecosystems.”
states are responsible for permitting and regulating mining operations
under the Surface Mining Control Act. Now MTR is trying to break into
Tennessee, specifically Zeb Mountain in the northeast. Because
Tennessee did such a poor job in the ’70s, the state renounced control,
and all mining is now regulated under the federal Office of Surface
Mining. This makes Tennessee unique because activists have recourse in
the federal courts to stop mountaintop removal.
coal industry has coined many less menacing names for mountaintop
removal, such as cross range mining, surface mining and others. But
regardless of the euphemism, MTR remains among the most pernicious
forms of mining ever conceived. Blasting mountain tops with dynamite is
cheaper than hiring miners who belong to a union. More than 40,000 have
been lost to MTR in West Virginia alone.
new coal plants are being planned for construction throughout the U.S.
Demand for coal will increase as these new facilities are completed.
Oil is starting to run out and there are no concrete plans for a
transition to renewable resources such as wind and solar energy. Coal
companies therefore will be well-positioned to capitalize on their
growing market. Katuah Earth First! (KEF!) is one of several groups
coal taken from Zeb Mountain is being burned by the Tennessee Valley
Authority, and continues to cause environmental damage. KEF! wants to
raise awareness and direct attention to the perpetrators—TVA and the
Office of Surface Mining (OSM). KEF! emphasized that “the issue of
mountain top removal is not just a local one. It is intertwined with
many global issues such as corporate domination of communities, the
homogenization of local cultures and the over consumption of our
federal agencies that review applications for coal mines have entered
an agreement that would give state governments an option that could
speed up the process. The Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental
Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service and Office of Surface
Mining said that the agreement was intended to streamline the
procedures companies go through when applying for permits to start
surface coal mines, including those that remove entire mountaintops to
groups are beginning to challenge these policies in federal district
court. The current program allows the Army Corps of Engineers to issue
a general permit for a category of activities under the Clean Water Act
if they “will cause only minimal adverse environmental effects”
according to federal regulation. Coal companies then also must seek
individual “authorizations” from the Corps for the projects for which
they have received a general permit.2
to the Bush Administration, the federal judge who blocked the
streamline permitting of new mountaintop removal coal mines has
overstepped his authority. Lawyers for the Army Corps of Engineers
asked a federal appeals court to overturn the July 2004 ruling by U.S.
District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin. Industry lawyers criticized Goodwin’s
decision as the “latest unwarranted and impermissible dismantling” of
mountaintop removal regulations by federal judges in Southern West
by John Conner: The destructions of highland watersheds are a crime
against the very future. The Appalachian Mountains are some of the most
diverse in the world. Areas incredibly rich in biodiversity are being
turned into the biological equivalent of parking lots. It is the final
solution for 200 million-year-old mountains. Since dynamite is cheaper
than people, MTR has broken the back of the mining unions in West
Virginia, massive sediment dams threaten to bury entire communities,
water tables are destroyed, and wells dry up. It is a form of cultural
genocide driving a mountain people from their hills—then destroying the
has been a direct impact on Marsh Fork Elementary, where a massive
sediment dam looms above the elementary school. Over 18 people have
been arrested for non-violent civil disobedience trying to protect the
children of that school. Additionally, Mountain Justice Summer has
begun a campaign modeled on Redwood and Mississippi Summers, where
folks from all over North America have come to our region to help us
defend our mountains.
the Martin County coal impoundment burst, it released more than 20
times the waste volume into a community than the Exxon Valdez spill—yet
the coal industry successfully suppressed the story. The coal industry
is incredibly powerful, and there exists a glass ceiling on how far our
stories go. The story of the folks committing civil disobedience for
the first time in history in West Virginia to resist Mountain Top
Removal was placed on the AP—but virtually no outlets outside of West
Virginia picked it up.
People can get more information on this issue at mountainjusticesummer.org.
site has everything—links, pictures, and state-by-state activities.
From there you can sign yourself up for our electronic newsletter and
find out what is going on in all the states under attack by Mountain
Energy with Federal lands, February 7, 2005,”Environmentalists sue to
block process for Ky. Mountaintop mining operations.”
2. Associated Press, February 11, 2005, “Federal agencies will work together to speed up mining permits.”
3. Charleston Gazette (West Virginia), March 22, 2005, Tuesday, “Bush, Industry seek reversal of mining ruling.”
#11 Universal Mental Screening Program Usurps Parental Rights
Asheville Global Report (British Medical Journal),No. 284, June 24-30, 2004
Title: “Bush Plans To Screen Whole U.S. Population For Mental Illness”
Author: Jeanne Lenzer
Truth News, September 13,2004
Title: “Forcing Kids Into a Mental Health Ghetto”
Congressman Ron Paul
Faculty Evaluator: David Van Nuys Ph.D.
Student Researchers: John Ferritto, Matt Johnson
April of 2002, President Bush appointed a 22 member commission called
the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health in order to
“identify policies that could be implemented by Federal, State and
local governments to maximize the utility of existing resources,
improve coordination of treatments and services, and promote successful
community integration for adults with a serious mental illness and
children with a serious emotional disturbance.”1 Members of this
commission include physicians in the mental health field and at least
one (Robert N. Postlethwait) former employee of pharmaceutical giant
Ely Lilly and Co.
July of 2003 the commission published the results of their study. They
found that mental health disorders often go undiagnosed and recommended
to the President that there should be more comprehensive screening for
mental illnesses for people of all ages, including pre-school age
children. In accordance with their findings, the commission recommended
that schools were in a “key position” to screen the 52 million students
and 6 million adult employees of our nation’s schools.2
commission also recommended linking the screenings with treatment and
support. They recommended using the Texas Medication Algorithm Project
(TMAP) as a model treatment system.3 TMAP, which was implemented in
Texas’ publicly funded mental health care system while George W. Bush
was governor of Texas,4 is a disease management program that aids
physicians in prescribing drugs to patients based on clinical history,
background, symptoms, and previous results. It was the first program in
the United States aimed at establishing medication guidelines for
treating mental health illnesses.5 Basically, it is an algorithm that
recommends specific drugs which should be used to treat specific
diseases. Funding for TMAP was provided by a Robert Wood-Johnson Grant
as well as several major drug companies. The project began in 1995 as
an alliance of individuals from pharmaceutical companies, the
University of Texas, and the mental health and corrections systems of
of mental health screening and TMAP claim that it is a payoff to
Pharmaceutical companies. Many cite Allen Jones, a former employee of
the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General. He was fired when he
revealed that many key officials who have influence over the medication
plan in his state received monetary perks and benefits from
pharmaceutical companies, which benefited from their drugs being in the
medication algorithm. TMAP also promotes the use of newer, more
expensive anti-psychotic drugs. Results of studies conducted in the
United States and Great Britain found that using the older, more
established anti-psychotic drugs as a front line treatment rather than
the newer experimental drugs makes more sense. Under TMAP, the Ely
Lilly drug olanzapine, a new atypical antipsychotic drug, is used as a
first line treatment rather than a more typical anti-psychotic
medication. Perhaps it is because Ely Lilly has several ties to the
Bush family, where George Bush Sr. was a member of the board of
directors. George W. Bush also appointed Ely Lilly C.E.O. Sidney Taurel
to a seat on the Homeland Security Council. Of Ely Lilly’s $1.6 million
political contributions in 2000, 82 percent went to Republicans and
George W. Bush.7
November of 2004, Congress appropriated $20 million8 to implement the
findings of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. This would
include mandatory screening by schools for mental health illnesses.
Congressman Ron Paul, R-Texas introduced an amendment to the
appropriations bills which would withhold funding for mandatory mental
health screenings and require parental consent and notification. His
amendment, however, was voted down by a wide margin (95-315 in the
House of Representatives).9 Paul, a doctor and long-time member of the
American Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) states, “At
issue is the fundamental right of parents to decide what medical
treatment is appropriate for their children. The notion of federal
bureaucrats ordering potentially millions of youngsters to take
psychotropic drugs like Ritalin strikes an emotional chord with
American parents.” Paul says the allegation “that we have a nation of
children with undiagnosed mental disorders crying out for treatment is
patently false,” and warns that mental health screening could be used
to label children whose attitudes, religious beliefs, and political
views conflict with established doctrine. Paul further warns that an
obvious major beneficiary of this legislation is the pharmaceutical
industry. The AAPS has decried this legislation, which they say will
lead to mandatory psychological testing of every child in America
without parental consent, and “heap even more coercive pressure on
parents to medicate children with potentially dangerous side effects.”
by Jeanne Lenzer: Whether it’s the pills we take or the oil we use, it
would be reassuring to know that the information used to develop new
medicines or to utilize natural resources wisely is based on
science—not corporate spin.
blandishments from Big Pharma to politicians and doctors have a
profound effect on health care in the U.S., making medical research
closer to propaganda than science at times.
way drug companies, in collusion with doctors, increase their market
share is to expand the definition of diseases. When diagnostic criteria
were liberalized for attention deficit disorder in 1991, the number of
children diagnosed jumped by about 60 percent.
American Psychiatric Association (APA) acknowledged in the July 2004
issue of Advocacy News that, “The BMJ story has gained some traction in
derivative reports on the Internet.” But, they boasted, “mainstream
media have not touched the story, in part thanks to APA’s work, for
which the [Bush] Administration is appreciative.”10
APA’s boast is curious. The article was the most downloaded article in
the history of the BMJ. It clearly struck a nerve with a public wary of
doctors and politicians whose pockets are lined with drug company money.
the interest in the BMJ story, it would seem that the APA, instead of
attempting to keep the story out of the mainstream media, would be
anxious to counter the widely circulated statements in the article. It
would also seem that the mainstream press could provide the
Administration and the APA the best possible vehicle to counter these
supposed factual errors in the BMJ article.
the facts might prove difficult to square with the public. More than
one in every 100 toddlers and preschoolers in the United States are on
powerful psychiatric drugs, such as Ritalin and Prozac, according to a
study published in the February 2000 issue of the Journal of the
American Medical Association.
T. Coyle, M.D., wrote in an accompanying editorial, “It appears that
behaviorally disturbed children are now increasingly subjected to quick
and inexpensive pharmacologic fixes, as opposed to informed mutimodal
therapy.” He concluded, “These disturbing prescription practices
suggest a growing crisis in mental health services to children and
demand more thorough investigation.”
instead of issuing warnings about overmedication or inappropriate
prescribing, the experts on the New Freedom Commission warn ominously
that too few children are receiving treatment for mental illness. They
cite escalating numbers of toddlers expelled from daycare as evidence
of potentially serious psychological problems—problems to be diagnosed
and cured with mental health screening and pills. Social and economic
reasons for the rise in kiddie expulsions are left unexamined.
bad as this is for those put on drugs and labeled “mentally ill,” the
far bigger concern is the creation of a disease for every drug, a
situation made possible by the hand-in-glove relationship between
industry and the government.
10. See Medicating Aliah: http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2005/05/medicating_ aliah.html.
Alliance for Human Research Protection “http://www.ahrp.org” www.ahrp.org http://www.psych.org/join_apa/mb/newsletters/advocacy/AdvNewsJuly2004.htm#21.
#12 Military in Iraq Contracts Human Rights Violators
Mother Jones, November/December 2004
“Dirty Warriors: How South African Hitmen, Serbian Paramilitaries, and
Other Human Rights Violators Became Guns for Hire for Military
Contractors in Iraq”
Author: Barry Yeoman
www.corpwatch.org, March 7, 2005
Title: “Intelligence, Inc.”
Author: Pratap Chatterjee
www.law.com, May 11, 2004
Title: “Untested Law Key in Iraqi Abuse Scandal”
Author: Jonathan Groner
Faculty Evaluator: Rick Williams, JD
Student Researcher: Danielle Hallstein
United States government is contracting private firms to recruit, hire,
and train civilians to perform duties normally done by military
personnel. These corporate employees are sent to fill empty positions
as prison guards, military police, and interrogators at United States
military bases worldwide, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Cuba.
Independent of the United States military, these employees are not held
accountable by military law. Many of the recruits are citizens with
prior experience as policemen or soldiers. However, a number of the
employees have backgrounds as mercenaries and soldiers who fought for
repressive regimes throughout the world, such as in South Africa,
Chile, and Yugoslavia. Employees from some of these firms have recently
been indicated in prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Pentagon claims that it can no longer fight the war on terror without
enlisting the help of private contractors. The reason for this
inability is that the number of active troops in the United States
military has dropped from 2.1 million to 1.4 million since the end of
the Cold War. This puts a lot of pressure on companies to fill
positions as quickly as possible. One negative consequence of this
rushed hiring is the lack of in-depth background checks on applicants.
Many recruits have been implicated in past human rights violations,
including torture and killing. One of these ex-soldier-turned-United
States employees was Gary Branfield, who was killed in a firefight with
Iraqi soldiers in the spring of 2004. In the 1980s he was a covert
operations specialist working for the South African apartheid
government. Branfield’s mission was to track down and assassinate
members of the African National Congress living outside of South
Africa. Mysteriously, this information failed to appear during
background checks performed by Branfield’s employer, Hart Group. Hart
Group has been hired by the United States to guard Iraqi energy
facilities and to protect the engineers rebuilding Iraq’s electricity
network. Retired justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa
Richard Goldstone comments, “The mercenaries we’re talking about worked
for security forces that were synonymous with murder and torture.”
Titan Corporation, which claims to provide “comprehensive information
and communications products, solutions, and services for National
has a contract with the U.S. to supply translators for the Abu Ghraib
prison in Iraq. A 2004 military investigation into prisoner abuses at
Abu Ghraib concluded that “Titan employees actively participated in
detainee abuse, including assault and possibly rape” (Mother Jones,
2004). However, the only legal action taken against Titan as of yet is
in the U.S. district court for the Southern district of California,
where the Abu Ghraib prisoners have filed a class action suit against
the employees of Titan. Employees of California Analysis Center
Incorporated (CACI) were also found to have participated in the abuse.
Plaintiffs in this suit are demanding a jury trial, but the process is
moving slowly. Jeffrey Ellefante, executive vice president at CACI,
says that CACI has yet to be informed of the specific accusations
against its employees. Oddly enough, the soldiers implicated in the
abuse have already been court martialed under the Military Code of
why is there a discrepancy between the punishment of soldiers and that
of independent employees for the same crime? The answer is legal
ramifications. While United States military personnel are subject to
the Uniform Code of Military Justice, independent contractors working
through the Pentagon as civilians are not. Because of this, Congress
passed the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) in 2000 to
enable the prosecution of civilians “employed by or accompanying U.S.
armed forces” (www.law.com). Unfortunately, MEJA can only be applied to
civilian employees who are contracted through the Department of Defense
(DOD), and to crimes committed overseas that would merit a minimum
one-year sentence under Federal law. Currently there is an
investigation into the deaths of Iraqi prisoners after having been
questioned by private interrogators hired by the CIA. If found guilty,
these interrogators may be let off on a technicality because they work
for the CIA, not the DOD, like MEJA requires.
begs the question, under whose jurisdiction do these crimes fall? In an
attempt to answer this, the Defense Department proposed new regulation
earlier this year that “would require DOD contractors to make sure
their employees comply with the Uniform Code of Military Justice where
applicable” (www.law.com.) Debate over this proposal will open on May
24, 2005. Critic Daniel Guttman, fellow at John Hopkins University,
questions the “where applicable” phrase saying, “it says the Uniform
Code applies where applicable, but when is that?...They seem to be
making policy on the run” (www.law.com). As for now, the Pentagon
claims that it, “is not in the business of policing contractors’ hiring
practices,” therefore it may take many more cases like Abu Ghraib
before the U.S. government steps in to regulate the unlimited power
that these private contractors are brandishing.
by Barry Yeoman: This was the first major article to systemically link
the issues of military privatization with human rights abuses. We
explained how the recent growth of a private security industry, fueled
by the invasion of Iraq, necessitated the hiring of former soldiers and
police officers trained and experienced in assassination and torture in
formerly repressive countries.
radio stations have interviewed me about this article. Among the radio
shows are “Political Thought,” WMAR, Poughkeepsie NY; “The Morning
Zone,” KGAB, Cheyenne WY; and Ian Masters’ Background Briefing,
KPFK-FM, Los Angeles CA. The last of these interviews can be accessed
column called “Coalition of Willing is Dwindling” in the Paradise Post
(CA) quoted from it. I have done extensive interviews with a European
television network, which is producing a documentary on the subject.
International has a petition drive seeking accountability for private
contractors at Abu Ghraib: http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/action/
are several excellent resources on the growth of this industry: Peter
Singer’s book “Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military
Industry” (Cornell University Press, 2003) and the Center for Public
Integrity’s 11-part investigation “Making a Killing: The Business of
War” http://www. publicintegrity.org/bow/ are but a few.
#13 Rich Countries Fail to Live up to Global Pledges
Oxfam Press Release, December 6, 2004
Title: “Poor Are Paying the Price of Rich Countries’ Failure”
Author: Caroline Green
InterPress Service, OneWorld U.S., December 6, 2004
Title: “45 Million Children to Die in Next Decade Due to Rich Countries’ Miserliness”
Author: Jim Lobe
Faculty Evaluator: Maureen Buckley, Ph. D.
Student Researcher: Paige Dumont
million children will needlessly die between now and the year 2015,
reveals the report by Oxfam, “Poor Are Paying the Price of Rich
Countries’ Failure.” According to this report, 97 million more children
will be denied access to an education by the year 2015 and 53 million
more people will lack proper sanitation facilities. Ending poverty will
require assistance on many levels. For third world countries, economic
growth is undermined by unfair trade rules. Without finance and
support, these countries will not be able to take advantage of global
trade, investment opportunities, or protect basic human rights.
countries such as the U.S., Germany, Japan, and the UK have promised to
provide a very small fraction of their wealth to third world countries.
By offering .7 percent of their gross national income, they could
reduce poverty and end the burden of debt that makes low income
countries pay up to $100 million per day to creditors. In the years
1960-65, wealthy countries spent on average 0.48 percent of their
combined national incomes on official development assistance but by the
year 2003 the proportion had dropped to 0.24 percent. Vital
poverty-reduction programs are failing for the lack of finance.
Cambodia and Tanzania are among the poorest countries in the world, yet
they will require at least double the level of external financing that
they currently receive if they are to achieve their poverty-reduction
initiatives to enable poor countries to develop provisional education
and combat HIV/AIDS are starved of cash. Despite the fact that HIV
infection rates are rising in sub-Saharan Africa, the global fund to
fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria is assured of only one quarter of
the funds that it needs for 2005. Poor countries continue to spend more
paying back their creditors than they do on essential public services.
Low-income countries paid $39 billion in debt payments and interest in
2003, while they received only $27 billion in aid.
countries can easily afford to deliver the necessary aid and debt
relief. For wealthy countries such as the U.S. to spend merely 0.7
percent of gross national income on humanitarian aid is equal to
one-fifth of its expenditure on defense and one half of what it spends
on domestic farm subsidies. The U.S., at just 0.14 percent, is the
least generous provider of aid in proportion to national income of any
developed country. By comparison, Norway is the most generous provider
at 0.92 percent. The U.S. is spending more than twice as much on the
war in Iraq as it would cost to increase its aid budget to 0.7 percent,
and six times more on its military program. Canceling the debts of the
32 poorest countries would be small change for the wealthy nations.
of children are now in school in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, and
Zambia, thanks to money provided by foreign aid and debt relief.
Because of these relief funds, Ugandans no longer have to pay for basic
health care. A policy was implemented that resulted in an increase of
50 to 100 percent in attendance at Ugandan health clinics and doubled
the rate on immunities. History also shows that aid has been necessary
in eradicating global diseases as well as rebuilding countries
devastated by war.
wealthiest of nations have continuously signed international statements
pledging to increase foreign aid to 0.7 percent of their gross national
income in order to eliminate the crippling debts of third world
countries. Repeatedly, they have broken their promises.
#14 Corporations Win Big on Tort Reform, Justice Suffers
Dollars and Sense, Issue #252, March/April 2004
Title: “Supremes Limit Punitive Damages”
Author: Jamie Court
Democracy now! Feb 4, 2005
Title: “Tort reform: The Big Payoff for Corporations, Curbing the Lawsuits that Hold Them Accountable”
Author: Amy Goodman et al (Juan Gonzalez interview with Joanne Doroshow)
Faculty Evaluator: Perry Marker, Ph. D.
Student Researcher: Chris Bui
February 18, 2005, President Bush signed into law the most sweeping
federal tort reform measure in more than a decade. The Class Action
Fairness Act puts into effect a tort reform that will take away
people’s access to the courts, undermining the constitutional right to
trial by jury. These reforms weaken consumer and worker protections,
denying due process of law in civil cases to all but the wealthiest in
our society. The act will move many civil lawsuits from state to
federal courts in an attempt to end so-called “forum shopping” by trial
lawyers seeking districts most hospitable to multi-party suits against
has been lost in all the partisan rhetoric is the fact that class
action suits are most often lawsuits brought by people who have been
hurt by HMO abuses, civil rights violations, or workplace injuries and
violations. These are the suits that allow for compensation when large
numbers of people are hurt by companies in the pursuit of profit.
Although, at times, individual injuries may be relatively small, they
represent a pattern of behavior on the part of the defendant. While
legal recourse may not be available on an individual level, by joining
together at the state level, people have been able to affect
responsible change in the conduct of corporations. Federal courts are
not expert in these cases, are already overburdened, and are much
smaller than state courts. Critics claim that the real intention of
this law is to make sure these cases get buried quickly and are
to this bill is a mass tort section that will severely restrict large
class action suits against pharmaceutical companies and paves the way
for medical malpractice reform, effectively immunizing abusive or
negligent corporations from liability.
reform sets a cap of $250,000 per lawsuit while shielding drug
companies from responsibility for punitive damages and lawsuits where
the drug had been approved by the FDA. One woman who was taking the FDA
approved drug Vioxx, for example, had a stroke and continued taking the
drug because she wasn’t warned of its major side effect—stroke. She
went on to have a second stroke. The new reform would limit her
settlement to $250,000 for a lifetime of disabilities. Under this new
legislation corporations will not be held accountable for their faulty
products and will only be punished with a slap on the wrist in terms of
by Jamie Court: The Supreme Court ruling in Campbell seems to be an
eye-glazing experience for the mainstream media. For example, the press
ignored the significance of the ruling in covering the Congressional
debate over 2005 legislation signed into law by President Bush that
created new hurdles to class action lawsuits. Given the Campbell
ruling’s limits, the new class action restrictions give a virtual
guarantee to banks, insurers, drug makers, and other big industries
that no matter how egregious their conduct, the penalty will always be
financially manageable. Indeed if the media had taken more notice of
the ruling, President Bush’s campaign plank of limiting lawsuits of all
kind would be seen in a far different light.
Read the State Farm v. Campbell case at http://www.supremecourtus.gov/.
#15 Conservative Plan to Override Academic Freedom in the Classroom
Source: The Nation
Title: “The New PC”
Author: Russell Jacoby
Date of Publication: April 4, 2005
Student Researchers: Vanessa Dern, Theodora Ruhs
centuries, the higher education classroom has been a haven for honest
debate and protected academic freedom. The college professor, one of
the last “rugged individualists,” had the freedom to teach a given
subject in his or her own manner, as he or she saw it. The
interpretation of the subject matter was the professors own, not a
representation of a “liberal” or “conservative” dogma.
halls of academia have included a wide variety of perspectives, from
Newt Gingrich and William F. Buckley Jr. to Noam Chomsky and Albert
his article “The New PC,” Russell Jacoby addresses a new extremist
conservative movement to bring what they say is “political balance” to
higher education. These conservatives see academia as a hotbed of
liberal activity that is working to indoctrinate America’s youth with
leftwing ideology, citing studies that conclude that faculty of most
universities are overwhelmingly liberal. They fear that these liberal
faculty members are abusing students who profess conservative belief
systems, and to remedy this they are pushing for regulation of the
academic world to monitor professors’ _expression of theory and opinion.
the forefront of this movement is David Horowitz and his academic
watchdog organization, Students for Academic Freedom (SAF). SAF
counsels its student members that, when they come across an ‘abuse’
like controversial material in a course, they are to write down the
date, class and name of the professor. They are advised to accumulate a
list of incidents or quotes, obtain witnesses, and lodge a complaint.
Many in the academic world see these actions as a new McCarthy-ism—an
effort to sniff out those who do not subscribe to the ‘dominant’ belief
structure of the nation.
his student watch group, Horowitz is also championing a “Student Bill
of Rights.” Ironically, this bill claims to protect academic freedom.
It proposes some ideas that are commonsense, such as, “students will be
graded solely on the basis of their reasoned answers and appropriate
knowledge of the subjects and disciplines they study, not on the basis
of their political or religious beliefs.”1 But Jacoby warns that
academic freedoms extended to students easily turn into the end of
freedom for teachers. In Horowitz’s society of rights, students would
have the right to hear all sides of all subjects all the time.
Principle #4 of Horowitz’s academic bill of rights states that
curricula and reading lists “should reflect the uncertainty and
unsettled character of all human knowledge,” and provide “students with
dissenting sources and viewpoints where appropriate.” The bill does
not, however, distinguish when or where dissenting viewpoints are, or
are not, appropriate.
SAF website has a section for students to post ‘abuses’ and complaints
about their academic experiences. Perusing these postings, Jacoby found
one student reporting an ‘abuse’ in an introductory Peace Studies and
Conflict Resolution class, “where military approaches were derided. The
student complained that ‘the only studying of conflict resolution that
we did was to enforce the idea that non-violent means were the only
legitimate sources of self-defense.” Jacoby points out the irony,
“presumably the professor of ‘peace studies’ should be ordered to give
equal time to ‘war studies.’ By this principle, should the United
States Army War College be required to teach pacifism?” From this point
the movement seems to be rendered ridiculous.
authors, including Jacoby, point out the hypocrisy of Horowitz’s focus
on the humanities and education in general. The conservatives who feel
such an urgency to protect the freedoms of conservative students in the
humanities and to balance out the ratio of liberal to conservative
faculty are in no rush to sort out the inequalities in business schools
where the trend often appears to be the opposite, with the liberals in
the minority. And as Jacoby points out, “of course, they do not address
such imbalances in the police force, Pentagon, FBI, CIA, and other
government outfits where the stakes seem far higher and where,
presumably, followers of Michael Moore are short in supply.”
the apparent circus, this movement poses a real threat to the academic
world. Whether or not the Student Bill of Rights passes in any of the
state legislatures, where it stands as of Spring 2005, is not as
important as how it influences public opinion. Already this movement
has led to attacks and firings of a number of professors for their left
leaning viewpoints. Ward Churchill, from the University of Colorado,
was threatened with termination for using the term “little Eichmanns”
to describe World Trade Center workers.2 Oneida Mernato, a political
science professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver, was also
harassed for her liberal bias in class.3 And more recently,
self-proclaimed anarchist David Graeber was fired, he believes, for his
personal political activity, and for standing up for a student
organizer who he felt was being treated unfairly.4,5
also aims to affect other areas of government involvement in academia,
specifically funding. Proclaiming that academics are “a privileged
elite that work between six to nine hours a week, eight months a year
for an annual salary of about $150,000 a year,”6 Horowitz further
claims that he is “dedicated to exposing the cowards who run our
universities to the alumni and taxpayers who pay their salaries. State
Senator Larry Mumper argues, “Why should we, as fairly moderate to
conservative legislators, continue to support universities that turn
out students who rail against the very policies that their parents
voted us in for?”7
1. Students for Academic Freedom. “The Student Bill of Rights.” http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org/essays/sbor.html.
5. “Early Exit” http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/05/18/yale.
6. Mattson, Kevin.
7. Mattson. Kevin.
#16 U.S. Plans for Hemispheric Integration Include Canada
Centre for Research on Globalisation, November 23, 2004
Title: “Is the Annexation of Canada Part of Bush’s Military Agenda?”
Author: Michel Chossudovsky
Canadian Dimension, Jan/Feb 2005, Winnipeg: Vol.39, Iss.1; pg. 12
Title: “Canada’s Chance to Keep Space for Peace”
Author: Bruce K. Gagnon
Faculty Evaluator: Sherril Jaffe, Ph. D.
Student Researcher: Christina Reski
U.S. and Canada have been sharing national information since the
creation of NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) in 1958.
This bi-national agreement to provide aerospace warning and control for
North America is scheduled to expire in May 2006. In preparation for
the renewal of this contract, the U.S. and Canadian commanders are
proposing to expand the integration of the two countries, including
cooperation in the “Star Wars” program, cross-national integration of
military command structures, immigration, law enforcement, and
intelligence gathering and sharing under the new title of NORTHCOM,
U.S. Northern Command.
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien refused to join NORTHCOM. To
circumvent his decision, this “illusive transitional military” (aka
NORAD/NORTHCOM) formed an interim military authority in December 2002,
called the Bi-National Planning Group (BPG.) The command structure is
fully integrated between NORAD, NORTHCOM and the BPG. The BPG is
neither accountable to the U.S. Congress nor the Canadian House of
Commons. The BPG is also scheduled to expire in May 2006. Hence, the
push for Canada to join NORTHCOM.
Rumsfeld said that U.S. Northern Command would have jurisdiction over
the entire North American region. NORTHCOM’s jurisdiction, outlined by
the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), includes all of Canada, Mexico,
parts of the Caribbean, contiguous waters in the Atlantic and Pacific
oceans up to 500 miles of the Mexican, U.S. and Canadian coastlines as
well as the Canadian Artic.
NORTHCOM, Canada’s military command structures would be subordinated to
those of the Pentagon and the DoD. In December 2001, the Canadian
government reached an agreement with the head of Homeland Security Tom
Ridge, entitled the “Canada-U.S. Smart Border Declaration.” This
agreement essentially hands over confidential information on Canadian
citizens and residents to the U.S. Department of Homeland. It also
provides U.S. authorities with access to tax records of Canadians. The
National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004, currently debated in the U.S.
Senate, centers on a so-called ‘Information Sharing Network’ to
coordinate data from ‘all available sources.’”
BPG is the interim military for NORTHCOM. Part of the BPG’s agenda is
the Civil Assistance Plan (CAP) which supports the ongoing
militarization of the civilian law enforcement and judicial functions
in both the U.S. and Canada. Military commanders would “provide
bi-national military assistance to civil authorities.” The U.S.
military would have jurisdiction over Canadian territory from coast to
coast, extending from the St. Laurence Valley to the Parry Island in
the Canadian Arctic.
appears that some Canadian leaders are in full support of this program.
In the summer 2004, Canada agreed to amend the NORAD treaty to allow
sharing satellite and radar data with the ballistic missile defense
program based in Colorado. This operation center will control the 40
interceptor rockets planned for Alaska, California and at sea.
February 22, 2005, at the NATO summit in Brussels, Canadian Prime
Minister Paul Martin declared that his people would not participate in
the controversial Missile Defense Shield. Contradicting this message,
Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. (and former board member of the Caryle
Group) Frank McKenna, said “We are part of it now.”
August 2, 2004, the U.S. Air Force quietly published a new doctrine
called “Counterspace Operations.” The development of offensive
counterspace capabilities provides combatant commanders with new tools
for counterspace operations…that may be utilized throughout the
spectrum of conflict and may achieve a variety of effects from
temporary denial to complete destruction of the adversary’s space
capability. It has also been noted that Canadian Military personnel are
taking part in large scale American space war games designed to prepare
for combat in orbit.
an integrated North American Command, Canada would be forced to embrace
Washington’s pre-emptive military doctrine, including the use of
nuclear warheads as a means of self defense, which was ratified by the
U.S. Senate in December 2003.
bi-national negotiations are being conducted with Mexico. U.S. military
could exert strategic control over air space, land mass and contiguous
territorial waters extending from the Yucatan peninsula in southern
Mexico to the Canadian Arctic, representing 12 percent of the world’s
land mass. The militarization of South America under the “Andean Trade
Preference Act” as well as the signing of a “parallel” military
cooperation protocol by 27 countries of the Americas (the so-called
Declaration of Manaus) is an integral part of the process of
hemispheric integration (see story #17).
N. Haass, of the U.S. Department of State, said at the 2002 Arthur Ross
Lecture, “In the 21st century, the principal aim of American foreign
policy is to integrate other countries and organizations into
arrangements that will sustain a world consistent with U.S. interests
and values, and thereby promote peace, prosperity and justice as widely
as possible. Integration reflects not merely a hope for the future, but
the emerging reality of the Bush Administration’s foreign policy.”
#17 U.S. Uses South American Military Bases to Expand Control of the Region
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Jan/Feb 2005
Title: “What’s the Deal at Manta”
Author: Michael Flynn
NACLA Report on the Americas, Nov/Dec 2004
Title: “Creeping Militarization in the Americas”
Authors: Adam Isacson, Lisa Haugaard and Joy Olson
Z Magazine, December 29, 2004
Title: “Colombia—A Shill (proxy) Country For U.S. Intervention In Venezuela”
Authors: Sohan Sharma and Surinder Kumar
Faculty Evaluator: Jorge Porras, Ph. D.
Student Researchers: Adrienne Smith, Sarah Kintz
United States has a military base in Manta, Ecuador, one of the three
military bases located in Latin America. According to the United
States, we are there to help the citizens of Manta, but an article in
the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists says that many people tell a
to Miguel Moran, head of a group called Movimiento Tohalli, which
opposes the Manta military base, “Manta is part of a broader U.S.
imperialist strategy aimed at exploiting the continent’s natural
resources, suppressing popular movements, and ultimately invading
neighboring Colombia.” Michael Flynn reported that the military base in
Ecuador is an “integral part of the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in
Colombia—and is a potential staging ground for direct American
involvement in the conflict there. Ecuadorians worry that the U.S.
could ultimately pull their country into conflict.” Flynn goes on to
say that “the base is also at the center of a growing controversy
regarding the U.S. efforts to block mass emigration from Ecuador [to
the U.S.].” Policy makers have diminished the difference between police
roles and military roles, stating that a police force is a body
designed to protect a population through minimal use of force and the
military, which aims to defeat an enemy through use of force.
to a ten-year lease agreement between Ecuador and the United States,
“... U.S. activities at the base are to be limited to counter-narcotics
surveillance flights (the agreements for the other two Latin American
Forward Operating Locations contain similar restrictions).” Ecuadorian
citizens are not pleased with the lease or the way the U.S. has abused
it. “A coalition of social and labor organizations has called for the
termination of the U.S. lease in Manta on the grounds that the United
States has violated both the terms of the agreement and Ecuadorian law.”
U.S., says Flynn, is intervening in Colombia through private
corporations and organizations. Most of the military operations and the
spraying of biochemical agents are contracted out to private firms and
private armies. In 2003, according to the article in Z Magazine, the
U.S. State Department said, “...there are seventeen primary contracting
companies working in Colombia, initially receiving $3.5 million.” One
of these private American defense contractors, DynCorp, runs the
military base at Manta. “The Pentagon’s decision to give DynCorp—a
company that many Latin Americans closely associate with U.S.
activities in Colombia—the contract to administer the base reinforced
fears that the United States had more than drug interdiction in mind
when it set up shop in Manta,” says Flynn.
addition, say Sharma and Kumar, DynCorp was awarded a “$600 million
contract to carry out aerial spraying to eliminate coca crops which
also contaminates maize, Yucca, and plantains-staple foods of the
population; children and adults develop skin rashes.” The chemical, the
foundation for the herbicide Roundup, is sprayed in Ecuador in a manner
that would be illegal in the United States.
to the NACLA report, in 2004, the Pentagon began installing 3
substitute logistics centers (now under construction) in the provinces
of Guayas, Azuay, and Sucumbios, and is currently militarizing the
Ecuadorian police who are receiving “anti-terrorist” training by the
FBI. The U.S. military is also aiding Colombia’s “war on drugs.”
Isacson, Haugaard and Olson write that, “increased militarization of
antinarcotics operation is a pretext for stepped up counterinsurgency
action and extending the war against them by the U.S.” Washington also
has seven security offices in Ecuador: defense (DAO), drug enforcement
(DEA), military aid (MAAG), internal security, national security (NSA),
the U.S. Agency for Internal Development (USAID), the Peace Corps, and
the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). According to the Bush
Administration they are mixing military and police roles to “...govern
its counter-terror efforts in the hemisphere.”
Flynn offers this quote from an Ecuadorian writer as another example of
the United States intervening in the operations of another country to
further its own agenda: “The U.S. invasion of Iraq and the pressure on
Ecuador to sign the interdiction agreement form part of a policy aimed
at consolidating a unipolar world with one hegemonic superpower.”
by Michael Flynn: I think one important aspect of my story about the
Manta base is that it shows the arrogance that often characterizes U.S.
relations with its southern neighbors. This arrogance comes with a
heavy price, which the U.S. is paying now as South American leaders
express an ever greater willingness to take an independent path in
their affairs and reject the U.S. lead. This fact was clearly revealed
recently when the Organization of American States soundly rejected a
U.S. proposal to set up a mechanism to review the state of democracy in
the Americas. Manta is a small part of this much larger picture. U.S.
ambassadors, the head of Southcom, even representatives in Congress
have shown a disregard for Ecuadorian concerns about operations at the
Manta base, which has helped fan criticism of the base, and has turned
into a lightning rod of criticism of U.S. policies. And this is only
one of among dozens of similar bases spread out across the globe—what
impact are they having on U.S. relations?
equally important issue touched on in my story is the U.S. reaction to
the migration crises that has gripped several Latin countries in recent
years. Manta is a sort of quasi-outpost of the U.S. southern border,
which has shown remarkable flexibility in recent years. The fact is,
the border itself ceased long ago to be the front line in the effort to
stop unwanted migration. The United States uses military bases located
in host countries as staging grounds for detention efforts. It has
funded detention centers in places like Guatemala City, and it has
teamed up with law enforcement officials from other countries to carry
out multi-lateral operations aimed at breaking up migrant smuggling
activities. Manta is one piece in this larger puzzle.
my knowledge, the mainstream press has not picked up on the precise
story lines covered in my article. On the other hand, the press has not
altogether ignored these issues either. Ginger Thompson of the New York
Times has tracked the plight of migrants in several Latin American
countries, and last year she teamed up with an Ecaudorean journalist to
produce a remarkable story about the harrowing experience of migrants
who dare to board the smuggling vessels leaving Ecuadorean shores. They
did not, however, scrutinize Manta’s role in interdicting these
migrants, or address the many problematic aspects of U.S. overseas
interdiction practices. Regarding U.S. overseas military bases, the
recent turmoil in Uzbekistan has drawn the attention of the U.S. press
to contradictions in U.S. policy that have emerged between its desire
to have bases in strategic spots around the world and President Bush’s
promise to advocate democratic change across the globe. Also, Dana
Priest of the Washington Post has done excellent work reporting on the
role of U.S. bases and military commanders around the globe. See, for
example, Priest’s The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with
America’s Military (New York: Norton, 2003). Several alternative press
outlets have also tracked this issue, including for example Mother
Jones magazine, which ran a story by Chalmers Johnson on this issue,
and the Nation Institute’s Tom Engelhardt, who has run a number of
pieces in his TomDispatch touching on U.S. overseas bases.
additional information: For those interested in following up on the
Manta base, the best source of information online is the web site of
the Ecuadorean daily: El Universo at http://www.eluniverso.com/.
would also suggest looking at the studies about U.S. forward operation
locations published by the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute at
find out more about U.S. cross-border interdiction policies, a story
that has been woefully under-reported in the United States, I suggest
taking a look at other stories I have written on this subject, some of
which are available on the web site of the International Reporting
to get a global perspective of U.S. basing ambitions, I suggest
perusing the May 2005 report of the U.S. Overseas Basing Commission,
which is available online at http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/dod/obc.pdf.
by Lisa Haugaard: While the nation is focused on events in Iraq and
Afghanistan, 9/11 has also had a disturbing impact on U.S. policy
toward Latin America. But the growth in U.S. military programs towards
Latin America and the unfortunate emphasis by the United States on
encouraging non-defense related roles for militaries is part of a more
general trend that the Center for International Policy, Latin America
Working Group Education Fund and Washington Office on Latin America
have been documenting since 1997. Latin American civil society
organizations, individuals and governmental leaders have struggled hard
to strictly limit their militaries’ involvement in civilian affairs,
given that many militaries in the region had exercised severe
repression, carried out military coups and maintained political control
during several turbulent decades. After this painful history, it is
troubling for the United States to be encouraging militaries to once
again adopt non-defense related roles, as is the growing weight of U.S.
military, rather than regional development aid in U.S. relations.
are seeing a continuation of the general trend of declining U.S.
development assistance and stable military aid to the region as well as
the United States encouraging actions that blur the line between
civilian police and military roles. We are also witnessing efforts by
the Defense Department to exercise greater control over “security
assistance”(foreign military aid programs) worldwide, which were once
overseen exclusively by the State Department. This almost invisible
shift-—by no means limited to Latin America—is disturbing because it
removes the State Department as the lead agency in deciding where
foreign military aid and training is appropriate as part of U.S.
foreign policy. It will lead to less stringent oversight of military
programs and less emphasis upon human rights conditionality.
Our report, which we published in Spanish, received good coverage from
the Latin American press. Mainstream U.S. newspapers regularly use our
military aid database. The larger story about the general trends in
U.S. military aid in Latin America and changes in oversight of foreign
military programs, however, is one that has been covered by only a few
major media outlets.
see our military aid database, reports and other information (a
collaborative project by the three organizations) see our “Just the
Facts” website, http://www.ciponline.org/facts. See also our organizations’ websites: Washington Office on Latin America, www.wola.org; Center for International Policy, www. ciponline.org; and Latin America Working Group Education Fund, www.lawg.org.
welcome efforts by journalists, scholars and nongovernmental
organizations to insist upon greater transparency and public oversight
of U.S. military training programs, not just in Latin America but
#18 Little Known Stock Fraud Could Weaken U.S. Economy
San Antonio Express-News—March 2, 2005
Title: “Naked Short Selling Is A Plague For Businesses And Investors”
Author: David Hendricks
TheMotleyFool.com—March 30, 2005
Title: “Who’s Behind Naked Shorting?”
Author: Karl Thiel
Financial Wire—Stockgate Today Series
Title: “SEC’s Donaldson Addresses Liquidity Fraud,” September 20, 2004;
“Dateline NBC Cancelled and Attorney Accuses DTCC of Cheap Thuggery,” April 7, 2005
Author: Dave Patch
Faculty Evaluator: Wingham Liddell, Ph.D.
Student Researcher: David Stolowitz
negligence of government regulatory agencies and the media is becoming
worrisome as a major scandal, unknown outside the financial community,
is bankrupting small businesses and investors and having a negative
effect on the economy.
the balance of supply and demand is a fairly well known principle of
economic health, a related and similar relationship exists between
liquidity—the availability of liquid, spendable assets such as cash,
stocks and bonds—and security—the stability, endurance and
trustworthiness of more long-term financial mechanisms.
healthy economy requires both enough access to liquid assets to ensure
a smooth and flexible flow of money and a system that guarantees enough
stability, protection and security for investors to take a reasonable
measure of risk without having excessive fears of losing their money.
Unreasonable emphasis on the first requirement and not enough attention
to the second is a trend that has developed in the last decade and may
have more to do with ideology than sound economic policy. Liquidity
fraud and naked shorting abuses as described in this article are a
symptom of a greater problem within our economic culture. This lopsided
philosophy of economic regulation is a significant factor in creating
the kind of climate that has produced company scandals like Enron and
WorldCom, as well as a careless attitude towards free trade and
globalization that may create more costs than benefits in the name of
scandal coined “Stockgate” by the Financial Wire involves the abuse of
a practice called “short selling.” As opposed to a traditional approach
to investing in which stocks are researched and bought on the hope they
will rise over the “long” term, going “short” involves a bet that a
stock is about to go down in value. In a short sale, an investor sells
stock that he or she technically doesn’t own. The investor borrows
these shares of stock from their broker, who in turn may likely borrow
the shares himself from a financial clearinghouse like a brokerage firm
or hedge fund. Hoping that the price of the stock will drop, the
investor is obligated to eventually “close” the short by buying back
the sold shares at a hopefully lower price, thus making a profit from
the fall of the stock. When the time runs out for “covering” the short
and the price hasn’t dropped, the investor is forced to buy back the
shares at a loss and take a financial hit. The short sale of stocks is
a risky bet, usually not recommended except for speculation or
hedging—to protect long-term financial positions with short-term
offsets. As short-selling is a sale of stocks not owned, but loaned, it
is an example of buying on margin—a category of practices whose abuses
stand out clearly in many people’s minds as a significant factor in the
Stock Market Crash of 1929 which ushered in the Great Depression.
shorting is an illegal abuse of short selling in which investors
short-sell stock that they have no intention or ability to ever cover.
When allowed to occur, naked shorting drives the stock value of a
company down by creating more stock shares flowing around the market
than actual shares of stock that the company can back with their
current earnings. Companies, their shareholders, and indeed the entire
economy are hurt financially by naked shorting, as it reduces the money
available to support economic growth. According to activist Dave Patch,
”Naked shorting steals some of the greatest ideas, products, and
services in America. Small micro-cap companies are driven out of
business by this abuse and we are left with the unknowns of what these
companies and their employees had to offer our futures. The
opportunities for the next Microsoft may never be felt as naked
shorting snuffed out that creativity before it was ever brought to
fruition. Ultimately, naked shorting steals from the very foundation of
our nation as it steals the American dream of opportunity.”
and other investors hurt by or concerned about the consequences of
naked shorting organized, petitioned and investigated the background
surrounding the Stockgate scandal. What they found was not merely a
series of noteworthy cases of extravagant abuse by individual investors
and professionals, but a systemic pattern of negligence by regulators
that allowed the abuse to go by largely unchecked. A whole series of
checks and balances was originally designed to prevent abuses like
naked shorting. Yet, as their research has shown, every regulator along
the way has failed its duty and led to both widespread and high-figure
abuse. While investors have lost hundreds of billions of dollars in
savings, the Wall Street Firms responsible for the abuse saw negligible
fines that had no appreciable impact on their stock values. Some
executives were even given raises in the midst of their negligence and
more pressure has been brought against regulatory agencies to stop the
fraud and enforce rules, an opposition has come forth that actually
favors allowing the illegal practice to continue unchecked. These
critics argue that all short sales, including illegal naked shorts,
help bust the hype that can surround micro-cap companies. Excitement
over new but untried ideas can artificially inflate stock prices,
causing eventual losses to companies and investors when the bubble
bursts, as in the case of the dot-com boom of the ’90s.
it is true, as the critics argue, that removing naked shorting could in
some cases allow hyped prices to climb further, such an effect is
vastly overrated. The argument does not take many other financial
factors into account, such as the increased efficiency in the flow of
information and shares that eliminating naked shorting would create or
the fact that legal short selling could provide the same protections.
Many securities analysts say it is fallacious to assert that the only
recourse to the adjustment in hype and price securities is to allow an
illegal practice to continue.
same enforcement of already existing rules by regulators could curb
hype just as much as it curbs naked shorts. A proactive stance by the
financial community in informing and educating the public could also
prevent the pump and dump schemes that such critics say would be the
consequence of ending naked shorting.
it is the very organizations that did little to stop the dot-com
problem from getting out of hand while it was occurring that now cry
out at the prospect of the SEC stepping up to protect small investors
from naked shorting. Of particular interest is the fact that much of
this criticism comes out of the Depository Trust Commission (DTCC),
which takes a share of profits from every short sale and is currently
fighting off lawsuits accusing it of impropriety in a number of areas.
The DTCC is also alleged to have brought pressure to bear on media
corporations such as General Electric to suppress the story from being
reported. GE’s NBC Dateline program obtained an exclusivity contract to
cover the Stockgate scandal over a year ago, and then postponed the
episode indefinitely. Officially, Dateline claims that a slew of more
important stories than this widespread financial scandal have caused
the delay. At the time of this writing, however, they are preparing to
air an Al Roker interview with an American Idol finalist.
Sedore, “Hedge Fund Assets Frozen”: March 4, 2005; “Hedge Fund
Virtually Bare”: March 12, 2005; etc. The Palm Beach Post—KL Financial
Media Network, “First American Scientific Corp. Takes Counter Measures
to Stop ‘Naked Shorting’ of its Stock”—December 17, 2004.
#19 Child Wards of the State Used in AIDS Experiments
Title: “GlaxoSmithKline Allegedly Used Children as Laboratory Animals”
Author: Antony Barnett
Democracy Now! December 2004
Title: “Guinea Pig Kids: How New York City is Using Children to Test Experimental AIDS Drugs.”
Mainstream Media Coverage: Fox News Network, The O’Reilley Factor, March 10, 2004, CBS Morning News, February 2, 2005.
Faculty Evaluator: Jeanette Koshar, Ph. D.
Student Researcher: Mike Cattivera, Kiel Eorio
as young as three months old were used as test subjects in AIDS drug
trials in New York’s Incarnation Children’s Center. The Center, which
is run by Catholic Charities, specializes in treating HIV sufferers,
and the drug trials were performed on children with HIV or who were
born to HIV-positive mothers. The New York City Health Department is
looking into claims that more than 100 children at Incarnation were
used in as many as 36 experiments. Most of these experiments were
sponsored by federal agencies such as the National Institute of Allergy
and Infectious Diseases.
obtained by the UK Observer have implicated British pharmaceutical
giant GlaxoSmithKline’s involvement in at least four experiments
conducted at Incarnation since 1995 using black and Hispanic children.
Several trials were conducted to test the toxicity of AIDS drugs. In
one trial, children as young as four received a high-dosage cocktail of
seven drugs; another tested the reaction of six-month-olds to a double
dosage of a measles vaccine. Other studies conducted on children
included testing AZT, which can carry dangerous side effects, as well
as testing the long term safety of anti-bacterial drugs on six-month
old babies. GlaxoSmithKline also used children to “obtain tolerance,
safety and pharmacokinetic data” for Herpes drugs.
trials were conducted by Columbia University Medical Center doctors. A
spokesperson for Columbia University said that there have been no
trials at Incarnation since 2000, and that the consent for using the
children as test subjects was provided by the Administration for
Children’s Services. Consent was based upon a panel of doctors and
lawyers who decided whether or not the benefits of allowing the child
to receive the drugs outweighed the risks (although it was unclear what
recipient “benefits” referred to). Though GlaxoSmithKline has
acknowledged their involvement in the trials at Incarnation, they deny
any wrongdoing. According to their spokesperson: “These studies were
implemented by the U.S. Aids Clinical Trial Group, a clinical research
network paid for by the National Institutes of Health. Glaxo’s
involvement in such studies would have been to provide study drugs or
funding but we would have no interactions with the patients.”
medical community has defended these studies, saying it enabled
children, normally without access to treatment, the opportunity to
receive AIDS drugs. However, many, outraged at these studies, argue
there is a difference between providing children with the latest AIDS
drugs and using them for experimentation. According to Antony Barnett,
several experiments were considered to be Phase 1 trials, which are
among the most dangerous. These drugs are similar to those used in
chemotherapy and carry serious side effects. Critics also argue that it
is difficult to test babies for HIV, and results are often incorrect;
therefore many of these trials may have been conducted on babies or
children not actually infected with HIV.
trials at New York’s Incarnation Children’s Center were part of a
broader series of HIV and AIDS drug trials that were conducted in at
least seven states on foster children. Some children died during the
trials. However, government officials have so far found no evidence
that their deaths could be directly connected to the experiments.1
#20 American Indians Sue for Resources; Compensation Provided to Others
LiP, Winter 2004
Title: “Trust Us, We’re the Government: How to Make $137 Billion of Indian Money Disappear.”
Author: Brian Awehali
News from Indian Country, March 8, 2004
Title: “Despite Wealth of Resources, Many Tribes Still Live in Poverty”
Author: Angie Wagner
Mainstream Media Coverage: New York Times, April 7, 2004, and the Washington Post, March 14, 2004
Community Evaluator: Keith Pike MA
Student Researcher: Kiel Eorio
Americans, after more than two centuries, are still being cheated by
the government and U.S. companies. Oil companies operate at Montezuma
Creek in Utah. Montezuma Creek lies on a Navajo Reservation. The
companies have under-compensated the Native Americans for the right to
their natural resources since the 1950s. District court-appointed
invesigator Alan Balaran discovered that non-Native Americans in the
same area received royalties that amounted to more than 20 times the
amount of the Native Americans on the reservation.
American reservations are filled with natural resources, but the
government has routinely allowed energy companies to short-change the
tribes. In Balaran’s findings it shows that the government owes Native
Americans as much as $137.5 billion in back royalties. The issue of the
government keeping funds from Native Americans dates back to the Dawes
Act of 1887. The Dawes act created a trust fund for Native Americans
over the years; since then the government has grossly mismanaged
revenues from oil, timber and mineral leases on tribal land.
to Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet tribe, many Native
Americans depend on these royalty checks for the bare necessities. The
Navajo Nation has more than 140,000 members and is the country’s
largest tribe. It is also one of the poorest. More than 40 percent of
its people live in poverty while the median household annual income is
$20,000, less than half of the national median. Mary Johnson, a Navajo
tribe member, who lives in a one bedroom stone house off the main
highway, once received a royalty check for $5.30. These required checks
are commonly paid out in sporadic intervals.
Martinez, a 68-year-old Navajo, lives out of a trailer that is pulled
by his pickup truck. His “home” is just yards away from where gas
pipelines sit on the family land. He has no running water and sometimes
no electricity. There are even times when he doesn’t have any food. At
night he builds a fire to keep him and his dogs warm. Sometimes he has
received checks for only a few cents.
1994, Congress passed the American Indian Trust Reform Act. This
required the Interior Department to account for all the money in the
trust fund and clean up the accounting process. The Individual Indian
Monies case, also known as Cobell V. Norton, is the largest class
action suit ever filed against the federal government. Filed in 1996,
Elouise Cobell is at the center of the suit that involves more than 100
years of revenues generated by government leases on Native American
land held “in trust” for mining as well as oil and gas exploration. For
years she has tried to get an accurate accounting of funds held in
trust by the U.S. Government for individual Native American land leased
by the federal government for natural resource stripping. The defendant
in the Cobell V. Norton case is Interior Department Secretary Gale
Norton. She has been held in contempt by Federal Judge Royce C.
Lamberth for ignoring his orders to account for the fund. Lamberth
stated that he had never seen greater government incompetence than the
Interior Department had shown in administrating the money and
representing itself in court.
early of 2001, Alan Balaran, the investigator in the case, made a
surprise visit to the Government’s warehouse. There he found papers
from a shredder, which had records concerning the money paid out of the
trust fund. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, which resides under the
Interior Department, stated that similar documents were being shredded
March of 2004, Lamberth ordered a shutdown for the Interior
Department’s internet connections due to security holes that could have
allowed hackers to access hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties
from Native American lands managed by the agency, according to
Balaran’s findings. This was the third internet shutdown in three
years. This particular shutdown was ordered after the Interior
Department refused to sign sworn certificates that it had fixed major
security flaws. This is the same system that processes hundreds of
millions of dollars annually for Native Americans.
April of 2004, Alan Balaran resigned under pressure as the investigator
in the case. He states that the Bush Administration has been pursuing
his refusal to silence criticisms of the Interior Department’s handling
of individual Native American accounts. Balaran’s findings show that
the Bush Administration knowingly allowed energy companies to continue
to pay Native Americans far less than non-Native Americans for natural
resources. Judge Royce C. Lamberth has ordered the government to
complete a historic accounting for all funds in the case by January 6,
Mountain News, August 21, 2003 “Indians Underpaid for Land Leases,
Official Charges; Appraisal Program Under Norton Targeted” by M.E.
Bismarck Tribune, April 7, 2004, “Investigator: Interior Favored Companies” by Robert Gehrke.
Newswire, February 24, 2005 “Cobell Litigation Team: U.S. District
Court Reissues Structural Injunction in Cobell V. Norton Indian Trust
Case-Full Accounting to Be Complete by January 6, 2008.”
by Brian Awehali: The Cobell v. Norton case is important because the
government is colossally and obviously wrong. This is evident in light
of the success of Eloise Cobell’s team in successive court victories.
The sheer scope of the case, its possible precedent-setting resolution,
and the ways in which it highlights the current limitations of Native
Americans’ dependent-yet-sovereign status, all provide opportunities
for real reform and long-term re-examination of the terms of
U.S.-to-Native, government-to-government relations.
coverage of this story has largely suffered from two main challenges.
The first challenge has been the massive bureaucratic complexities of
the case, which I believe insulated it from quite a lot of daily news
coverage. The second, and subtler, challenge is the average American’s
lack of understanding of Native sovereignty. Without a clear
understanding of this, Americans literally have no meaningful framework
to fit the story into, and it simply disappears.
security flaws in the Department of the Interior’s trust accounting
systems have continued for a ridiculously long time. Despite failure
after failure to amend security flaws that allow for manipulation of
records, and in spite of repeated documented instances of bureaucratic
ill will resulting in massive theft and “loss” from trust accounts, the
Department of the Interior is still in charge of them. Another
investigative story on SmartMoney.com (December 3, 2004) reported that
“officials in the Bush Administration had detailed knowledge of
fraudulent practices that allowed energy companies to cheat
impoverished Native Americans out of vast sums over dozens of years.”
Country Today also reported that behind the scenes negotiations might
already be happening between the White House and Congress—but not with
the plaintiffs in the case. The piece also warns of the possibility of
another “midnight rider” on an appropriations bill that would
effectively defer justice for yet another year.
recent developments in this case have centered mostly around court
motions and abstruse legal machinations, there hasn’t been much hard
“news” for the mainstream press to grab onto. Without new and breaking
“hooks,” I think the perception is that this is an old story, rather
than the very urgent and pressing one that it is. I also believe the
government’s strategy—stall, obfuscate and deceive—is a deliberate
attempt to keep media attention largely surface and scattershot.
The best places to go for information about the case are the following sites: http://www.indiantrust.com, Indian Country Today: http://www.indiancountry.com, The Friends Committee on National Legislation: http://www.fcnl.org/issues/item.php?item_id=1266&issue_id=112
#21 New Immigration Plan Favors Business Over People
Interhemispheric Resource Center IRC,
November 16, 2004,
Washington Free Press, Nov/Dec, 2004
Title: How U.S. Corporations Won the Debate Over Immigration
Author: David Bacon
MotherJones.com, November 11, 2004
Title: “Migrants No More”
Author: Maggie Jones
Faculty Evaluator: Francisco Vazquez, Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Joseph F. Davis
bi-partisan effort from the Federal government is emerging to close the
borders with Mexico by increasing barriers that keep “illegal”
immigrants from traveling to and from Mexico, and in turn creating a
guest worker program with specific time limits for residency.
Reminiscent of the defunct bracero program, the status of “guest
worker” has reappeared as the preferred name for Mexican nationals
working in this country.
leading organization behind the guest worker legislation is The
Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC), which was organized in
1999, while Bill Clinton was still president. The group quickly grew to
include 36 of the country’s most powerful employer associations, headed
by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The National Association of Chain Drug
Stores—including Wal Mart (which was sanctioned for employing
undocumented workers last year)—belongs, as do the American Health Care
Association, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the National
Council of Chain Restaurants, the National Restaurant Association, and
the National Retail Federation. Each of these associations represents
employers who depend on a workforce almost entirely without benefits
and working at (or below) minimum wage.
Kennedy, Democrat, and John McCain, Republican, are promoting a
bi-partisan bill that would create the designation of “guest worker”
for a three
year period. About half a million
workers would be eligible for the status if they are sponsored by
American businesses and pay five hundred dollars. The over ten million
undocumented workers residing in the United States who are not
sponsored by businesses would be encouraged to come forward and pay a
two-thousand-dollar fine to receive the new status. The guest worker
category can be renewed after three years, or businesses could sponsor
workers for green cards.
proposed legislation does not address the growing problem of
undocumented workers residing in the United States. Because of the
nature of the work being offered under this program, most guest workers
will be left with little more than minimum wage employment. There are
no benefits or health care offered under the new program. The
two-thousand-dollar price tag for uninvited potential guest workers
means that most of the more than ten million undocumented workers will
be unwilling to come forth. Historically, millions of Mexican laborers
would return to Mexico during off-seasons to visit family. Today, with
tighter border restrictions and the cost of paying a labor smuggler up
to $300, few people return to Mexico, resulting in permanent
under-class poverty communities spread out throughout the country.
has been no serious discussion on Capitol Hill on realistically dealing
with the undocumented worker situation in this country because U.S.
corporations will continue to benefit from cheap labor sources from
outside and inside the borders of the United States.
official bracero program, negotiated in 1942 between the U.S. and
Mexican governments was ended in 1964. Ernesto Galarza, a labor
organizer, former diplomat and early hero of the Chicano movement, was
its greatest opponent in Washington. But Cesar Chavez was also an early
voice calling for abolition. Chavez later said he could never have
organized the United Farm Workers until growers could no longer hire
braceros during strikes. In fact, the great five-year grape strike in
which the UFW was born began the year after the bracero program ended.
According to the UFW’s Mark Grossman, “Chavez believed agribusiness’
chief farm labor strategy for decades was maintaining a surplus labor
supply to keep wages and benefits depressed, and fight unionization.”
organization of veterans of the bracero program, with chapters in both
the U.S. and Mexico, was even more critical. “We’re totally opposed to
the institution of new guest worker programs,” explained Ventura
Gutierrez, head of the Union Sin Fronteras. “People who lived through
the old program know the abuse they will cause.” One former bracero,
Manual Herrera, told the Associated Press’s Julianna Barbassa, “they
rented us, got our work, then sent us back when they had no more use
for us.” Thousands of former braceros are still trying to collect money
deducted from their pay during the 1940s and 1950s.
that was supposedly held in trust to ensure they completed work
contracts, but never turned over to them. Bush’s proposal contains a
similar provision. “If we accept, then our grandsons and
great-grandsons will go through what we went through,” ex-bracero
Florentino Lararios told Barbassa. U.S. labor opposition focused on the
lack of a real amnesty. Eliseo Medina, executive vice president of the
Service Employees International Union, and one of the AFL-CIO’s key
policy makers on immigration, said, “Bush tells immigrants you have no
right to earn citizenship, but tells corporations you have the right to
exploit workers, both American and immigrant….” This proposal allows
hard-working, tax-paying immigrants to become a legitimate part of our
economy, but it keeps them from fully participating in our
democracy—making immigrants a permanent sub-class of our society.
by David Bacon: “How Corporations Won the Debate over Immigration”
broke a story of national importance—how the largest U.S. corporations,
dependent on a steady supply of immigrant workers, got the President
and Congress to introduce legislation giving them a vastly expanded
guest worker program. This program, like the old “bracero” program of
the 1940s and ’50s, used a system of contract labor to exploit
immigrant workers and deny them their rights, while creating an
oversupply of labor to drive down wages for all workers, immigrant and
story was originally published in the fall of 2004. By the spring of
2005, corporate pressure for expanded guestworker programs had grown so
strong that even bipartisan proposals for immigration reform included
them. The word in Washington DC is now that no immigration reform is
worth discussing unless corporate America gets what it wants. In
mid-May, a new bill was introduced by Senators Edward Kennedy and John
McCain, which includes a program even larger than that proposed by Bush.
President’s program calls for 300,000 people to be given temporary
visas for three years, renewable for another three. The Kennedy/McCain
bill calls for 400,000 temporary visas. In addition, the bill calls for
requiring the 9 million currently undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
to enroll as guestworkers for six years to qualify for making
application for a green card, and to pay a $2000 fine. Increased
enforcement of employer sanctions, the law that makes it a federal
crime for an undocumented worker to hold a job, would be used to force
people into the program by making it even more risky to try to work
without becoming a guest worker.
these draconian provisions, the bill won the sponsorship of many
Democrats, and almost no Republicans. In the meantime, Texas Senator
Cornyn annouunced his intention to introduce an even more conservative
bill in mid-July. The Cornyn bill is regarded as the legislative
embodiment of the President’s program. It is a straight temporary
worker bill, with no provisions for legalization.
matter whether sponsored by Democrats or Republicans, the corporate
lobby for temporary workers has legislation which corresponds to its
the meantime, however, a much more liberal bill has been introduced by
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and members of the Congressional Black
Caucus. Instead of increasing job competition and pitting one group of
low-wage workers against another, the bill tries to balance the needs
of all low-wage workers. African-American and other minority
communities suffering high unemployment would receive job training and
creation programs. The bill would set up a legalization program for
undocumented immigrants based on their residency, rather than
employment status. It has provisions to strengthen protection for the
rights of immigrant workers, ends discrimination against immigrants
from countries like Haiti and Liberia, and has no guest worker program.
and many Democrats have derided the Jackson Lee bill as incompatible
with the atmosphere in Congress, which seeks both to reward
corporations and increase punitive measures against immigrants,
especially the undocumented. But a rising tide of protest in immigrant
communities and other communities of color around the country has
criticized the growing wave of anti-immigrant legislation, and is
callling for a movement to defend their rights instead.
the story of corporate sponsorship of the guest worker proposals has
been ignored by the mainstream media. Reports on the Kennedy-McCain and
Bush proposals have treated them as “pro-immigrant” because they would
allow workers to cross the border legally. They’ve ignored the actual
conditions for immigrants under current guest worker programs, as well
as the money and influence trail leading back from these proposals to
the corporate lobby, the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition. They
have also ignored the Jackson-Lee bill, even though it presents the
unprecedented political situation in which the country’s most
progressive immigration legislation is being proposed by
African-American Congress members.
who want more information about the overall situation of immigrants and
legislation which affects them can contact the National Network for
Immigrant and Refugee Rights, at 510-465-1984, www.nnirr.org.
More information on pending immigration legislation and the Jackson Lee
bill is available from Nolan Rappaport, minority counsel to the House
Immigration Subcommittee, 202-225-2329.
#22 Nanotechnology Offers Exciting Possibilities But Health Effects Need Scrutiny
The Chronicle of Higher Education September 10, 2004
Title: “The Dark Side of Small”
Author: Richard Monastersky
Faculty Evaluator: Scott Gordon, Ph. D., Jennifer Lillig Whiles, Ph. D.
Student Researcher: Jason Piepmeier
science of nanotechnology is rapidly advancing, but there is little
research to show whether or not nano-sized molecules are safe for
people and the environment.
is the science of using molecules that are virtually impossible to see;
one blood cell measures at 7,000 nanometers in width. Nanotechnology
has virtually unlimited potential. Products such as stainless, wrinkle
free pants use nanotechnology as well as transparent sunscreens and
tennis balls that keep their bounce. The U.S. government spent close to
$1 billion in 2004 on research and development in nanotechnology.
only 1 percent of it is going towards research for risk assessment,
despite the fact that nanotechnology also has the potential to cause
harm to people and the environment. The nano-sized molecules can
damage, or kill, the skin cells of humans and also kill valuable
bacteria in water. The reason little money is given to research the
risks is nanotechnology’s huge upside; some estimates predict that the
nanotech market will reach $1 trillion in a decade.
of papers have come out touting different developments in nanoscience,
but fewer than fifty have examined how engineered nanoparticles will
affect people and the environment. The studies that have been conducted
to determine if nano-molecules are safe paint a grim picture for
nanotechnology. In the spring of 2004, Eva Oberdorster, an adjunct
scientist at Duke University, made headlines with potentially
disturbing news about highly praised a nanoparticle called
“fullerness,” named for the inventor R. Buckminister Fuller.
“fullerness” is made of 60 carbon atoms, bonded together like a
molecular soccer ball. Oberdorster put a solution of “fullerness” into
a tank with large-mouthed bass and later examined different organs in
the fish. She found signs of oxidative damage in their brains and
speculated that the nanoparticles had stimulated the production of free
radicals, highly reactive compounds that can cause cellular damage.
“Normally,” she said, “particles can’t get into the brains of fish or
people because a protective structure called the blood-brain barrier
keeps out harmful materials.” But Oberdorster’s, and other experiments
show that nano-size particles can slip through that barrier by
traveling up nerve cells into the brain.
father also studies the effects of nanoparticles. Dr. Gunter
Oberdorster, a professor of toxicology in environmental medicine at the
University of Rochester, received a $5.5 million, five-year grant from
the Department of Defense to study the effects of nanoparticles.
Scientists at the University of Rochester looked at the titanium
dioxide nanoparticles that are used as pigments in white paint. Rats
and mice inhaled particles ranging in size from 12 nanometers up to 250
nanometers. The smaller particles were found to cause more inflammation
than an equal amount of larger particles. “The smaller particles react
differently from the larger ones,” he says, “because nano-size
materials evade the normal defense system in the lungs, the macrophage
cells that gobble up the irritants and clear them out.” Once
nanoparticles get deep into the lungs, they can cross over into the
blood stream and from there can into any organ in the body. Inhaling
the nano-sized particles in titanium dioxide, which is on the market
now, is unlikely because they are captured in liquid substances.
However, Dr. Oberdoester suggests that it may be possible for
nanoparticles to cross over through the skin.
Another study, run by Anna A. Shevedova, an adjunct associate professor
at West Virginia and a senior staff scientist at the National Institute
for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), found that carbon nanotubes
generated dangerous free radicals in cultures of human skin cells. Her
research team reported that the nanotubes caused oxidative damage that
triggered the deaths of cells.
everybody involved in nanotechnology says it is too soon to tell
whether and how these materials might harm people or the environment.
But early studies show that this is something that should be looked
into more seriously. In a survey conducted by North Carolina State
University, public perception of nanotechnology remains fairly
positive. As has happened with new technologies in the past, this
optimism may become accusations and lawsuits if the side effects of
nanotechnology outweigh the benefits.
#23 Plight of Palestinian Child Detainees Highlights Global Problem
Left Turn, December 2004
Title: “Control & Resistance: Palestinian Child Prisoners”
Authors: Catherine Cook, Adah Kay, Adam Hanieh
The Guardian, August 28, 2004
Title: “Palestinians Want an End to Their Solitary Confinement”
Author: Karma Nabulsi
Faculty Evaluator: Carolyn Epple, Ph. D. Maureen Buckley, Ph. D.
Student Researcher: Shatae Jones
to Catherine Cook, Adah Kay, and Adam Hanieh, approximately 350
Palestinian children ages 12-18, are currently being held in Israeli
prisons. Over 2,000 children have been arrested since the beginning of
the second Intifada, a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli
occupation. This number corresponds with number given in a report by
the human rights organization Defense for Children International, which
adds that another 170 children are held in military detention centers.
at the testimonies from hundreds of detained children, Cook et al found
a pattern in the children’s experience of arrest, interrogation,
sentencing and prison conditions. The children overwhelmingly reported
abuse during their experience in either prison or detention camp. The
consistency of these reports reveals that these patterns of abuse are
not just the actions of a few bad soldiers, but perhaps reveals a
broader policy. Virtually every child interviewed describes a
deliberate pattern of behavior by Israeli soldiers or police
characterized by violence, physical and psychological threats, and
overwhelming force, often in the middle of the night. Cook, Kay and
Hanieh believe that the similarity in testimonies from child prisoners
points to a systematic approach to child abuse, calculated to exploit
children’s vulnerability and create feelings of fear, intimidation and
testimony in their study states, “Because there was no one I could talk
to and I felt incredibly frightened and scared, I tried to commit
suicide while being in solitary confinement. On October 12, 2003, I was
moved to Ofer Military Prison Camp. When I arrived the soldiers asked
me to take off my clothes. They used a metal detector on my naked body.
One hand was holding the metal detector, while the other hand touched
my naked body, concentrating mainly on my back and bottom.”
without the abuses by personnel, the living conditions that children
are put in are bad enough. The report by Karma Nabulsi tells us that
children are “locked in cells for hours on end with, in some cases,
only 45 minutes outdoor exercise allowed every two days. Many are
forced to sleep on the floor due to overcrowding. Windows are boarded
up with iron panels, which block out the light and intensify the heat
in the rooms.” Practices, such as these, have been well documented in
other troubled areas around the world, but are only beginning to be
documented within occupied territories.
noticeable is a lack of decent healthcare. Cook, Kay and Hanieh see the
abuse of children during interrogation, the notoriously poor sanitary
conditions within Israeli prisons, and denial of adequate medical
treatment as ways to pressure child detainees into collaboration. When
conducting a series of interviews with 60 ex-prisoners from Bethlehem
in 1994, the authors found that “90 percent of those interviewed
claimed that the administration used the denial of medical treatment as
a way of recruiting collaborators.” One former child prisoner asserted
that prisoners were well aware that the prison hospitals were using the
threat of withholding treatment to force detainees to collaborate.
to the DCI report, “In many areas, Israel does not reach the standards
demanded by the minimum rules [of the UN Convention of the Rights of a
Child]. For instance, it is not possible for a youth in detention to
work, and there are no educational facilities. In the territories, the
situation is even worse.” This statement implies that the rights of all
children (Israeli as well as Palestinian) are not being attended to by
Israeli authorities. It seems that in Israel there is a problem in the
attitude toward child welfare in general. But, according to Project
Censored evaluator Maureen Buckley, “this story represents just a small
piece of the larger picture of the ongoing, worldwide failure to
protect the rights of children.”
DCI Israel Children’s Rights Monitor, 2004 Report “International Standards.”
by Catherine Cook, Adah Kay and Adam Hanieh: In the 15 months since
this article was written in spring 2004, little has changed for child
prisoners, and the issue has been largely boycotted by the mainstream
press. But the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, including
children under 18, in Israeli detention centers and jails remain high
on the political agenda. The Israeli government still uses prisoners as
a key bargaining chip in the so called “peace process.” But relevant
human rights and international standards play no part in this ritual;
Palestinian negotiators could not secure the unconditional release of
all child prisoners as an issue separate from negotiations over adult
prisoners. So the recent second tranche of prisoners released at the
end of May included only 14 children. As in the past, most of the other
384 prisoners, had almost completed their sentences.
year saw the revelations of U.S. torture of Iraqi prisoners including
children dubbed the biggest story of the Iraqi war by William Rivers
Pitt in his article “Torturing Children.”1 Like Israel, the U.S.
administration and military attempted to present this as rogue
practice, but the evidence pointed to systemic abuse. We and others
tried at the time to highlight the striking similarities to the abuse
meted out over decades to Palestinian prisoners including children.2
But again, these parallels largely escaped the mainstream press.
out of around 7,500 Palestinian detainees, about 280 are children
(including 30 boy administrative detainees held indefinitely without
formal trial or charge). DCI/PS,3 who represent the majority of child
prisoners, report a dramatic increase in arrests of 12-14 year-olds,
most for throwing stones last year. There has also been an increase
last year in the numbers of children arrested from the northern West
Bank (e.g.Nablus and Jenin), in part reflecting the continued use of
mass arrests as a method of control. They also note harsher sentencing
policies, such as doubling of sentences of more than three years
compared with 2003—only partly due to some of the charges being more
has been no improvement in detention conditions with particularly poor
provision in detention/interrogation centers—bare cells and inadequate
food served on bits of paper with no cutlery. In prisons,4 girls are
still housed in cells with adult women prisoners with little natural
light, and they get no formal education. Boys also receive no
education, except in one of the prisons; many are still beaten and
punished by having family visits refused or solitary confinement.
August 2004, in protest against harsh prison conditions, Palestinian
prisoners launched their largest hunger strike in decades. The Israeli
prison administration did their best to undermine this by confiscating
liquids and salts, setting up barbeques outside cells, raiding cells,
beating up prisoners, placing them in isolation and refusing medical
treatment until the strike ended. Eventually the strike petered out. As
with so many other Palestinian issues, this action was largely ignored
by the mainstream press.
last year has seen Israel’s position, tacitly supported by the U.S.
government, strengthened against the Palestinians. Under cover of its
promise of unilateral disengagement from Gaza, Israel continues to
entrench itself in the West Bank and extends its system of suppression
and control in which arrest and prison play such a key role.
For additional information:
Defence for Children International/Palestine Section, Research and International Advocacy Unit, RIA@dci-pal.org, www.dci-pal.org
Adameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association, www.addameer.org, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sumoud http://sumoud.tao.ca; Email email@example.com
1. William Rivers Pitt, “Torturing Children,” Truthout July 20, 2004.
Cook, “Torture of Iraqi Prisoners Spotlights Israeli Treatment of
Palestinian Prisoners,” Information Brief # 106, May 11, 2004.
3. Defence for Children International (Palestine Section) Annual Review 2004.
Legal department regularly visits prisons, detention and interrogation
centres in the West Bank and in Israel to monitor prison conditions for
children and intercede on their behalf with the Israeli prison
#24 Ethiopian Indigenous Victims of Corporate and Government Resource Aspirations
World War 4 Report, Issue 97, April 2004
“State Terror in Ethiopia: Another Secret War for Oil?”
Z Magazine Online, May 2004
Author: keith harmon snow
Faculty Evaluator: Tom Lough, Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Thedoria Grayson
to a report by keith harmon snow, after conducting Field observations
in January, the U.S.-based organizations Genocide Watch and Survivor’s
Rights International released a conclusive report on February 22, 2004.
This report provides evidence that Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary
Defense Front (EPRDF) soldiers and “Highlander” militias in the Anuak
territory of Ethiopia have killed thousands of native civilians. The
Highlanders are predominantly Tigray and Amhara peoples who resettled
in Anuak territory in 1974. The Highlanders are on a quest to force the
Anuak from the region. Ethiopia is the latest U.S. ally in the “War on
Terror” to turn its back on its own indigenous peoples. The Annuak
territory is a zone coveted by corporate interests for its oil and
gold. EPRDF soldiers and settlers from Ethiopian highlands initiated a
campaign of massacres, repressions, and mass rape, deliberately
targeting the Anuak minority.
to Snow, the U.S. government was informed about the unfolding violence
in the Gambella region as early as December 16, 2003. Massacres were
reportedly ordered by the commander of the Ethiopian army in Gambella,
Nagu Beyene, with the authorization of Gebrehad Barnabas, Regional
Affairs Minister of the Ethiopian government.
to Anuak sources relying on sympathetic oppositionists within the
regime, the EPRDF plans to procure the petroleum of Gambella were laid
out at a top-level cabinet meeting in Addis Ababa (the capital of
Ethiopia) in September 2003. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi chaired the
meeting, at which the militant ethnic cleansing of the Anuaks was
reportedly openly discussed. December 13, 2003 marked the start of a
coordinated military operation to systematically eliminate Anuaks.
Sources from inside the military government’s police and intelligence
network say that the code name of the military operation was:
“OPERATION SUNNY MOUNTAIN.”
killing of eight UN officials and Ethiopian government officials whose
van was ambushed on December 13, 2003 sparked the recent conflict.
Although there is no specific evidence about the ethnicity of the
killers, the targets of the attacks have been mainly Anuaks. After this
attack, EPRDF soldiers used automatic weapons and hand grenades, then
attacked the Anuak villages, summarily executing civilians, burning
dwellings (sometimes with people inside), and looting property. Some
424 Anuak people were reportedly killed, with over 200 more wounded.
Numerous sources report that there have been regular massacres of the
Anuak since 1980. Discrimination against the Anuak has been detailed in
six reports published in the Cultural Survival Quarterly beginning in
1981(see e.g.: “Oil Development in Ethiopia: A Threat to the Anuak of
Gambella,” Issue 25.3, 2001). There is no evidence of previous communal
violence between the two indigenous groups (Anuaks and the local Nuer)
as was claimed and reported by the NYT and other media, and by the
As of November 4, 2004, at least 1,500 and perhaps as many as 2,500
Anuak civilians have died in the recent fighting. Intellectuals,
leaders, students and other educated classes have been intentionally
targeted. Hundreds of people remain unaccounted for and many have
mysteriously “disappeared.” Thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of
Anuak homes have reportedly been burned.
Anuak men have been killed, arrested, or displaced, leaving thousands
of women and children vulnerable. Anuak women and girls are routinely
raped, gang-raped and kept as sexual slaves by EPRDF forces, often at
gunpoint. Girls have been shot for resisting rape, and summary
executions for girls held captive for prolonged periods as sexual
slaves have been reported. Reports from non-Anuak police officials in
Gambella indicate an average of up to seven rapes per day. Due to the
isolation of women and girls in rural areas, rapes remain
under-reported. Some 6,000 to 8,000 Anuak remain at refugee camps in
Pochalla, Sudan, and there are an estimated 1,000 annual refugees in
Kenya. In August 2004, approximately 25 percent (roughly 50,000 people)
of Gambella’s population had been displaced.
the Anuak and other indigenous peoples of southwestern Ethiopia, the
government of Prime minister Meles Zenawi is a ruthless military
dictatorship. Almost everyone links “the problem” to Gambella’s oil.
“Since the problem, we are not able to farm or to fish,” said one Anuak
survivor who was shot three times. He is shy, but he will show you
where one bullet entered and exited his wrist. He was shot December 13,
2003—the day the EPRDF and local highlander militias launched their
genocidal war on the Anuaks. “Many men ran away into the bushes and
were killed since the problem began,” says one witness. “They are
raping many girls. They keep some women by force.” The violence has
almost completely disrupted this year’s planting season, and people
believe that famine in the coming winter months (October-March, 2005)
will be exacerbated by the destruction of milling machines and food
August 2003, the U.S. committed $28,000,000 to international trade
enhancements with Ethiopia. Beginning July 2003, forces from the
Pentagon’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) held a
three-month bilateral training exercise with Ethiopian forces at the
Hurso Training Camp, northwest of Dire Dawa. The U.S. Army’s 10th
Mountain Division recently completed a three-month program to train an
Ethiopian army division in counter-terrorism attacks. Operations are
coordinated through the CJTF-HOA regional base in Djibouti, where the
Halliburton subsidiary KBR is the prime contractor.
Ethiopia is considered to be an essential partner of the U.S. in its
“War on Terrorism,” the U.S. provided some $1,835,000 in International
Military and Educational Training (IMET) to Ethiopia between 1995–2000.
Some 115 Ethiopian officers were trained under the IMET program from
1991–2001. Approximately 4,000 Ethiopian soldiers have participated in
IMET and Foreign Military Sales and Deliveries programs. The U.S. also
equipped, trained, and supported Ethiopian troops under the Africa
Regional Peacekeeping program. Ethiopia has remained a participant of
the IMET program in 2000–2004. A U.S. AID representative asked Congress
to approve some $80,000,000 in funding for Ethiopia’s programs in the
Fiscal Year of 2005. Ethiopia was described as a “top priority” of the
2000, Texas-based Sicor Inc. signed a $1.4 billion dollar deal with
Ethiopia for the “Gazoil” joint venture to exploit oil and gas in the
southeast Ogaden Basin. Hunt Oil Company of Dallas, Texas is also
involved in the Ogaden Basin through the subsidiary Ethiopia Hunt Oil
Company. Hunt Oil’s chairman of the board and CEO Ray L. Hunt is also
director of Halliburton Company. U.S. Cal Tech International Corp. is
also reportedly negotiating a joint venture with the China National
Petroleum Corp. to operate in the same regions. The Anuak are also gold
miners in the Gambella district. U.S. based Canyon Resources has gold
operations in southern Ethiopia. The interest of multinational gold and
oil corporations indicate alterior motives in the terror campaign
against the Anuaks.
sources in Gambella state: “The Anuak people have not been involved in
the discussions about the oil, our leaders have not agreed on these
projects, and they will not hire any Anuaks for these jobs. If any
Anuaks say anything about the oil, he will be arrested.”
by keith harmon snow: It is important to recognize that the U.S. public
is subject to an ongoing institutionalization of “truth” and “reality”
that is premised on total information warfare. This is nowhere so
starkly evident as with the stereotypes, mythologies and deceptions
doled out to the U.S. public on the subject of Africa (the Arab world,
and all things Islamic, run a close second). This includes mainstream
reportage, policy debates, scholarly journals, tabloids, radio shows,
and print magazines—from WIRED to National Geographic. This is also
evident in supposed “alternative” media sources like The Nation and
films like Hotel Rwanda.
To what? Virtually all available media fall on a spectrum that serves
up topics and frameworks that are tolerated and allowed, where “healthy
debate,” “exposés” and (perceived) “hostility” (to what people in other
countries are calling EMPIRE), are even encouraged. Hence we have
Seymour Hersh offering us revealing exposés on torture in Abu Ghraib,
but saying nothing about the profits being made over the dead bodies
due to U.S. sponsored covert operations and destabilization in Congo
during and since the Clinton regime.
editor Katrina Van de Heuvel will steer sharply away from any challenge
to the “humanitarian” actions of the International Rescue Committee
(IRC), a strong proponent of military intervention—allied with the
other two big humanitarian agencies CARE and Refugees International—in
the recent massive lobbying effort to “stop genocide” in Darfur, Sudan.
Is there genocide in Darfur? If so, or even not so, why has it received
overwhelming press attention while the Anuak genocide has received
none? What about nearby Congo? And Rwanda?
de Heuvel has ties with Henry Kissinger, a member of an IRC board, and
one of the few U.S. officials to be publicly labeled as a war criminal.
The IRC is a powerful faction in Congo, Rwanda and Sudan, and the
Congolese accused them of espionage. CARE’s “partners” include
aerospace and defense corporation Lockheed-Martin, who is also a major
underwriter of Seymour Hersh’s regular print venue, the war advocacy
journal Atlantic Monthly.
truly “investigative” journalist might hack through the propaganda of
Hotel Rwanda to get to United Artists parent company Metro Goldwyn
Meyer, whose directors, not surprisingly, given what the film does not
tell you about the U.S.-sponsored invasion of Rwanda (1990–1994),
include current United Technologies director and U.S. General (Ret.)
Alexander Haig. Recall that “I’m in charge here” Al Haig served under a
Hollywood actor named Ronald Reagan. Hotel Rwanda took off from the now
celebrated but wholly mythologized book We Regret To Inform You That
Tomorrow We Will Be Killed by Philip Gourevitch, the New Yorker’s
premier Africanist, and whose brother-in-law, Jamie Rubin, was
Madeleine Albright’s leading man. The Nation runs the standard nonsense
on Rwanda, usually by Victoria Britain. Another pro-military
interventionist on Darfur, Samantha Power could surely satisfy The
Nation, given her selective and patriotic journalism on Rwanda and the
Balkans, for which she won a Pulitzer.
the mass hysteria whipped up in the post-September 11th America are the
dirty little and not-so-little but secret wars whipped up in defense of
predatory capitalism and empire in “uncivilized” and “savage” places
like Djibouti, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo and (Gambella)
February 21, 2002, the U.S. DOD had already purchased 79 RQ-1 Predators
from General Atomics, for a per unit price of about $7 million, or some
$553 million dollars. “State Terror in Ethiopia” was the first report,
and WW4 Report the first venue, to illuminate the U.S. military
alliance with the Ethiopian regime and the regional base of U.S. covert
operations in Hurso, Ethiopia as well as the presence of RQ-1 Predator
Drones being operated over the entire Horn region by the Central
Intelligence Agency. Smith College students recently working to “stop
genocide” in Darfur held a letter-writing campaign demanding that
George Bush authorize that unmanned Predator drones—impersonal,
indiscriminate killing robots—be launched against Arabs on horses, and
other “undefined” targets, in Darfur.
takes more than one party to wage a war. From Chad, Uganda and Ethiopia
come weapons and logistical support for the enemies of the Islamic
regime in Khartoum. At the same time, the Bush gang has reportedly
“allied” with the Sudan government in its “war on terror”—if we believe
the Ken Silverstein “exposé” in the L.A. Times (which is merely being
expedient in its truth-telling). Off the agenda are any discussions of
the U.S. regimes of terror in Uganda or Cameroon, for example, or U.S.
support for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and other warring
militias and factions in Darfur, Chad, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Congo.
nearby Chad, Ethiopia has become a favored territory from which
transnational corporate interests can be served by launching
clandestine terror operations against Islamic governments, Al Queda
phantoms, and other hostile enemies. The latter category, of course,
includes Arabs on horseback, machete-wielding Hutus, Mai-Mai “wearing
bathroom fixtures” on their heads, innocent men, women and children all
over Africa, and, of course, the Anuaks of Ethiopia who, like the
Ogonis in Nigeria and the Fur of Darfur, have the audacity to be living
over someone else’s oil.
after “State Terror in Ethiopia” appeared in WW4 Report and Z Magazine,
Marc Lacey, Nairobi Bureau Chief for the New York Times, ran some
damage control, and reported from Gambella with a nasty little
blame-the-victims story that deflected attention from the undesirable
details: “Amid Ethiopia’s Strife, a Bathing Spot and Peace” (New York
Times, 6/11/04). There was hardly a word about oil or U.S. interests,
and Lacey framed the story to suggest that peace had returned to
Gambella, an area rife with ancient tribal animosity, he declared,
where the Anuaks “once went naked and ate rats.” (Curiously, not one
New York Times link to this story is active today, perhaps because it
has been widely noted for its racism, and so it is being electronically
McGill of the McGill Report has done some wonderful and consistent work
to report on the Anuak story. World War 4 Report also published a
second follow-up story titled “Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia.” Soon
after this appeared, Human Rights Watch finally published a major
report on the Anuak genocide based on the field investigations “Today
is the Day of Killing Anuaks” and “Operation Sunny Mountain?”
(undertaken for Survivor’s Rights International and Genocide Watch by
this author, as an unpaid volunteer). While their researcher received a
copy of “Operation Sunny Mountain?” several months prior to its formal
release and before traveling to Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch never
cited their sources or contacts.
U.S.-supported regime of Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia is going to fall,
imminently, as widespread domestic dissent and protest, which remain
underreported, further escalate. June 2005 saw massive government
repression, troops firing on crowds, and torture spreading across
Ethiopia after the people protested obvious election-rigging
(sanctioned by Jimmy Carter and election monitors). Ethiopia’s secret
U.S.-sponsored war (2000) against Eritrea has destabilized the border
region, causing untold death and despair. Murder, extra-judicial
execution, rape, disappearances, arrest and imprisonment of Anuaks,
Oromos, Nuers and other indigenous Ethiopian people continue. What
makes “State Terror in Ethiopia” so poignant is its sharp juxtaposition
to the stories of genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur, which
received widespread attention, and to Congo, which is mostly off the
Darfur, what is really at issue is not genocide, and it is not about
“humanitarian” anything, or there wouldn’t be so many people dead
already—and still dying. It is about regime change, and some people
will do anything to get us to support that. In Congo, the death toll
has struck seven million since the U.S. invasion began, and the war
rages on while both Clinton and Bush factions profit from diamond and
gold and other hundreds-of-multimillion-dollars-a-month material
thefts. Next to the holy wars of Congo and Darfur, the Anuaks are a
mere thorn in the side of Empire. Such is the political economy of
#25 Homeland Security Was Designed to Fail
Mother Jones, September/October 2004
Title: “Red Alert”
Author: Matthew Brzezinski
NPR, September 24, 2004
Title: “Fortress America: On the Front Lines of Homeland Security” (an interview with Matthew Brzezinski)
Author Matthew Brzezinski
Faculty Evaluators: Greg and Meri Storino
Student Researcher: Joey Tabares
was billed as America’s frontline defense against terrorism. But badly
under-funded, crippled by special interests, and ignored by the White
House, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been relegated to
bureaucratic obscurity. Unveiled on March 1, 2003, the Department of
Homeland Security had been touted as the Bush Administration’s bold
response to the new threats facing America in the post-Cold War world
of global terrorism. It is currently composed of 22 formerly separate
federal agencies and it boasts 186,200 employees. Its operations are
funded by a budget of nearly $27 billion.
are 15,000 industrial plants in the United States that produce toxic
chemicals. According to the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), about
100 of these plants could endanger up to a million lives with poisonous
clouds of ammonia, chlorine, or carbon disulfide that could be released
into the atmosphere over densely populated areas by a terror attack.
Unprotected chemical plants are possible candidates for future attacks
by terrorists. These are some of the most vulnerable pieces of
infrastructure in America.
9/11 there was a big push to increase security at all chemical plants
in the United States. Democrats put forth a Chemical Security Act, the
purpose of which was to codify parameters for site security, ensure
safe transport of toxic materials, and prevent further accidents from
happening. But Republicans defeated the bill after oil companies pumped
millions of dollars into lobbying campaigns to stop it.
Brzezinski’s article in Mother Jones asserts that President Bush
doesn’t put much importance, if any at all, on Homeland Security
reports. Security spending has risen just 4 percent since 9/11, and
most of that increase was only to cover higher insurance programs.
There are many chemical plants that have no fencing requirements,
cameras, and no guards. The article points out the spending needed to
insure the safety of U.S. citizens and compares it (unfavorably) to the
amount spent in Iraq over the same time period.
from being hamstrung by its reluctant architects, DHS simply has not
been able to compete with Iraq in the battle for resources. With the
President’s tax cuts trimming government revenues, and budget deficits
reaching levels not seen since the Vietnam War, money is tight for
programs the White House does not see as top priorities. The truth of
the matter is that Homeland Security is very much a shoestring
operation—so much so that worried Democrats in Congress keep trying to
throw more money at it.
recent author of “Fortress America” and former Wall Street
correspondent, suggests the Department of Homeland Security needs a
serious reassessment of its goals and operations to better protect
Americans. He says the White House has decided that the Homeland
Security intelligence unit should rank lower than the FBI and the CIA.
Seven Republican Senators that had previously endorsed the Chemical
Security Act later withdrew their support. $5.7 million in
contributions from the petrochemical campaign (led by the American
Petroleum Institute) helped to ensure that Republicans took the Senate
in the 2002 midterm elections and that the Chemical Security Act die
out. People opposing the act emphasized the economic impact of the
Security Act. The argument was that Chlorine and its derivatives went
into products that account for 45 percent of the nations GDP, and
reductions to its production would hurt the economy.
years after 9/11 almost anybody can still gain entry into thousands of
chemical sites across the country. If a factory spends lots of money on
security spending upgrades, its products can’t compete with other
factories that spend nothing. Only legislation can level the playing
failure of the mainstream media to acknowledge the fact that Homeland
Security has been a complete washout further signifies the cozy
relationship it enjoys with the halls of power. Protection of the
homeland has been an area where the president has received consistently
high marks from the country—ostensibly because this is the one area
where he has stayed strong and focused. It would have been helpful for
the country to know if this wasn’t true.
Judy Clark, Oil and Gas Journal, June 23, 2003, “Government, Industry Forge Partnerships for Security Enhancement.”
Primedia, August 1, 2003, “An Overlooked Vulnerability?”