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U.S. News

U.S. News postings beginning May 1, 2002

Posted April 30, 2002

U.S. Military Seeks Broad Exemptions from Environmental Laws
(Cat Lazaroff, Environment News Service, April 25, 2002)
Defense department officials argued that the U.S. military needs blanket exemptions from environmental laws for almost all military activities in order to protect national security. Conservation groups lashed back in a press conference this afternoon, calling the proposal "unacceptable" and warning that the military is asking for carte blanche to pollute. . . . The DoD is seeking exemptions from some of the nation's most important environmental statutes, including the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Superfund law, among others. . . . "We firmly believe no government should be above the law including the laws that protect the air and water in and around our military facilities, the health of the people who live on bases and nearby, and America's wildlife and public lands," . . . The amendments offered by the DoD could prevent the enforcement of most environmental statutes on military bases. . . . In addition, the military would not be required to clean up contamination on a base, or stop its migration, until someone documented that the pollution had moved beyond the boundaries of a military site. That could allow extensive pollution of underground drinking water . . . Environmental experts at today's press conference noted that there has never been a case where the Clean Air Act, the Superfund law, or any of a myriad of other environmental statutes have kept the military from training

Quietly Florida Admits 2000 Election Fraud
(The Associated Press, April 26, 2002)
A federal judge has approved a settlement between Leon County and civil rights groups that sued over widespread voting problems in the 2000 presidential election in Florida. . . . The state and six other counties remain in the case brought by the NAACP and four other groups who sued in a dispute that grew out of the long-uncertain results of Florida's vote for president. . . . "There was nothing they were seeking that was impossible to achieve," Ion Sancho, Leon County supervisor of elections, said Friday. "I've been a proponent of settlement from the moment the lawsuit was filed." . . . The groups that sued agreed that the settlement "achieves some if not all of the relief" they could have obtained at trial, according to the court order dropping Leon from the lawsuit last week. . . . The county agreed to address disputes over voting, voter registration and voting lists and will meet with community groups to boost registration, with special efforts targeting minorities and college students. . . . Statewide, the largest numbers of voting problems were found in precincts with high proportions of black and elderly voters. . . . Under the settlement, both sides will work to restore voters who were wrongly removed from voters lists in the 2000 election. Many law-abiding voters across the state said their names were dropped because they were mistakenly pegged as ex-cons, who generally aren't allowed to vote in Florida.

Bush Seeking to Squeeze School Loan Program
(Philip Shenon, t r u t h o u t, April 28, 2002)
The Bush administration is seeking to ease its budget shortfalls by squeezing $1.3 billion from a federal student loan program, administration and Congressional officials said today. The proposal would prevent millions of college students and graduates from consolidating their education loans to lock in low interest rates. . . . Democratic Congressional leaders are expected to fiercely oppose the move, which is projected to save an estimated $1.3 billion for the government this year, as unfair to the millions of Americans who depend on federal student loans. . . . The president and his budget director are finally being honest about their misguided priorities - more tax cuts for Enron paid for by effectively raising taxes on middle-class students and their families,"

Policy Divide Thwarts Powell in Mideast Effort - Defense Dept.'s Influence Frustrates State Dept.
(Alan Sipress, t r u t h o u t, April 26, 2002)
State Department officials say Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has been repeatedly undercut by other senior policymakers in his effort to break the Middle East deadlock, warning this has left U.S. diplomacy paralyzed at an especially volatile moment. . . . They partly fault what they said was the administration's unwillingness to stand behind Powell, especially in pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to withdraw his forces from West Bank cities and hold accelerated talks with the Palestinians. . . . Many in the State Department cite resistance to their diplomatic efforts coming from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who has more of a voice in shaping Middle East policy than his predecessors. . . . The opinions of Rumsfeld and his key lieutenants, notably Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith, figure prominently because the Pentagon has been given a seat at interagency discussions over the Middle East conflict. In recent years, the peace process was largely the purview of the State Department and the White House. . . . The rift in President Bush's inner circle, some State Department officials said, has left the administration's policy "dead in the water." These officials use words like "despondent" and "disheartened" to describe the mood in Foggy Bottom, saying they cannot remember a time in recent years when they have felt so badly beaten up. . . . With Powell back from the region, Bush has yet to resolve what a former State Department official called the "battle royal" between Defense and State, delaying the adoption of a plan on how to proceed.




Posted April 28, 2002

The Case for Bush Administration Advance Knowledge of 9-11 Attacks
(Michael C. Ruppert, April 22, 2002)
A dispassionate examination of existing reliable, open-source evidence on advance warnings of the Sept. 11 attacks provides strong and sustainable grounds to conclude the Bush Administration was in possession of sufficient advance intelligence to have prevented the attacks, had it wished to do so. . . . the German intelligence service, the BND, warned both the CIA and Israel that Middle Eastern terrorists were "planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture." The story specifically referred to an electronic eavesdropping system known as Echelon, wherein a number of countries tap cell phone and electronic communications in partner countries and then pool the information. The BND warnings were also passed to the United Kingdom. . . . Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that he had ordered Russian intelligence to warn the USG "in the strongest possible terms" of imminent assaults on airports and government buildings before the attacks on Sept. 11. . . . Rather than viewing each of the four listed areas as a separate piece of evidence, they should be considered as a body, in the exact same way exhibits presented to a jury in a criminal trial are viewed as a body. By viewing the evidence in this manner, an unavoidable conclusion is reached -- the USG knew 25 suicide hijackers during the week of Sept. 9 were going to use United and American airlines commercial planes, some of them likely originating in Boston, to attack the WTC and the Pentagon.

 

Posted April 26, 2002

On Stopping Open-ended, Permanent War on Terrorism
(Congressman Dennis Kucinich)
Congress authorized a police action to apprehend the conspirators behind the September 11 attack. Congress did not declare war because the President did not ask Congress to declare war. Yet, the Administration is conducting itself as if it were engaged in a declared war, sending military special operations forces to many new countries and ramping up defense spending. . . . This war footing will ultimately make the world a more dangerous place. . . . The USA Patriot Act, which 65 of my colleagues and I opposed, allows widespread wiretapping and internet surveillance without judicial supervision. It also allows secret searches without a warrant and gives the Attorney General the power to determine what is and isn't a domestic terrorist group. The law allows the U.S. government to imprison suspected terrorists for an indefinite period of time without due process or access to family members or lawyers. Last November, the President announced his intention to establish military tribunals as well.

 

Posted April 25, 2002

The End Of America's Prestige
(Charley Reese, PalestineChronicle.com, April 24 2002)
We are living in the ruins of a once-great republic. Now an empire utterly devoid of moral authority, the United States has nothing left but its military power and its capacity to consume on credit. . . . Where the world's great leaders will come from in the future, I don't know, but they will not be Americans. . . . Mediocrity in full bloom. Weak men with ambition but no principles. They are devious men, skilled at concealing their personal ambition in patriotic or compassionate rhetoric, depending on which constituency they are trying to bamboozle at the moment. . . . Powell has disgraced himself. . . . He has not uttered a single word of public criticism of Israel, while Amnesty International, the United Nations Human Rights Commission and even Israeli human-rights groups have leveled blistering criticism at Israel's beastly policy and actions. . . . Robert Fisk, the great correspondent of The Independent in London, wrote recently: "Mr. Powell's weakness, his failure of nerve, his cowardice are now likely to set off an Israeli-Palestinian war even more terrible than what we have witnessed so far. ... Thanks to Mr. Powell, President Bush and Mr. Sharon, America's credibility has been shattered. Israel, it turns out, does indeed run U.S. policy in the region. The Secretary of State sings from the Israeli songbook." . . . The repercussions of this will be unpleasant for the American people. . . . We had a president once who vowed to make the world safe for democracy. We now have one who is busily making the world unsafe for Americans and who doesn't have a clue as to how ridiculous he now appears in the eyes of the world.

Posted April 24, 2002

CIVIL LIBERTIES - The New War on Freedom by Gore Vidal
(Gore Vidal, San Francisco Chronicle, April 21, 2002)
[Six years ago last week] Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, "antiterrorism" legislation which not only gives the attorney general the power to use the armed services against the civilian population, neatly nullifying the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (which prohibited the use of federal troops for civilian law enforcement), but also selectively suspends habeas corpus, the heart of Anglo-American liberty. As he signed it into law, Clinton attacked critics of the bill as "unpatriotic": "There is nothing patriotic about pretending that you can love your country but despise your government." This is breathtaking since it includes, at one time or another, most of us. Put another way, was a German in 1939 who said that he detested the Nazi dictatorship unpatriotic? . . . The Federation of American Scientists has catalogued nearly 200 such military incursions since 1945 initiated by the United States. . . . The Anti- Terrorist Act of 1996 and the recent USA PATRIOT Act (still being written after it was passed, and thus unread by the Congress which passed it), which among other things grants additional special powers to wiretap without judicial order and to deport lawful permanent residents, visitors and undocumented immigrants without due process. Even before signing the Anti- Terrorist Act, President Clinton revealed his disregard for the Bill of Rights: "We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans." . . . Once alienated, an "unalienable right" is apt to be forever lost, in which case we are no longer even remotely the last best hope of Earth but merely a seedy imperial state whose citizens are kept in line by SWAT teams and whose way of death, not life, is universally imitated.

Drowning Children, Palestinians, and American Responsibility
(Todd May, Media Monitors Network, April 24, 2002)
Two facts are clear: that Israelis have needlessly killed many Palestinians civilians in their recent incursion into the West Bank and that the United States has greatly assisted in those killings. . . . The question is: what is the responsibility of American citizens in all of this? I'm not talking about the U.S. government, which is clearly culpable, but regular citizens, folks who just go to work, raise their families, and, of course, pay taxes. . . . Recall also that our tax dollars and our military equipment are contributing to the killing of innocent civilians, not marginally but centrally. . . . The moral lesson is clear. We Americans, primarily through our tax dollars and military equipment but also through some of our private corporations, have contributed to the killing of innocent Palestinians, many of them children. We might not be able to stop the killings, at least immediately, but since it is our resources that are being used, we are responsible to try to stop it at least to the extent of contacting those who supply those resources and urging them to cease doing so. . . . Otherwise, the blood is on our hands too.

Posted April 23, 2002

Israeli Spy Operation in the U.S. Exposed
(John F Sugg, Weekly Planet (Tampa), March 20, 2002)
A major international espionage saga is unfolding across the United States. It's been pretty hush-hush so far, largely because the implications could be a major embarrassment for the government. . . . The basis of the spy allegations is a 60-page document -- a compilation of field reports by Drug Enforcement Administration agents and other U.S. law enforcement officials. . . . The larger report has not been produced because of the volatile nature of suggesting that Israel spies on America's deepest secrets. . . . in the United States, the media ignored the original Fox broadcast, and only a handful of publications have aggressively pursued the story in recent weeks. . . . Jane's Information Group, on March 13 chided: "It is rather strange that the U.S. media with one notable exception seem to be ignoring what may well prove to be the most explosive story since the 11 September attack, the alleged breakup of a major Israeli espionage operation in the United States which aimed to infiltrate both the Justice and Defense departments . . . Much of the Israeli activity, according to the report, centered on Florida. In addition to attempting to gain access to government installations, the document states that the Israelis approached many intelligence agents, prosecutors and federal marshals at their homes . . . Israel in the past has belligerently denied wrongdoing until long after the truth was obvious. Israel claimed Jonathan Pollard -- a super spy who did horrendous, deadly damage to the United States until arrested in 1985 -- wasn't an agent. And, Israel has stubbornly contended its 1967 attack on the USS Liberty, in which 35 American sailors were slaughtered, was an accident -- a lie exposed in recent reports including one last fall on the History Channel. A recent authoritative book, Body of Secrets, by James Bamford, concludes that National Security Agency officials "were virtually unanimous in their belief that the attack was deliberate."

US Congress Considers Increasing Military Aid to Israel
(Barbara Ferguson, Palestine Chronicle, April 23 2002)
Congressional supporters of Israel are considering this week to go over President Bush's head and give Israel additional military aid. These Congressmen are currently deliberating on how they can get funds from the president's $27.1 billion emergency appropriations request for homeland security, economic recovery and the global war on terrorism. . . . Israel has certainly grown fat on US aid. The 2002 foreign aid program that Bush signed into law in January provides Israel with $2.04 billion in military aid and $730 million in financial assistance, nearly one-fifth of total US aid to the world. . . . "The amount of aid given to Israel is $3 billion in direct aid, and $3 billion in indirect aid, which equals a $14,630 sum annually to each Israeli citizen." . . . the question of more funding, "didn't come up over night, this has been going back and forth between the US and Israel for several months."

Posted April 22, 2002

Alice's New Adventures In Medialand - Venezuelan Coups and Brooklyn Jews
(Norman Solomon, Znet.org, April 22, 2002)
It was a Friday (April 12) when the military in Venezuela pushed out the president. On Saturday, a New York Times front-page headline said "Venezuela's Chief Forced to Resign," and the first of more than 30 paragraphs referred to "a sudden end to the turbulent three-year reign of a mercurial strongman." The entire article used the word "coup" only once -- reporting that "Cuba called the change-over a coup." . . . In a Tuesday editorial, the Times indicated that three days earlier it had suffered from temporary amnesia, forgetting the transcendent virtues of democracy. . . . in contrast to the highly publicized case of John Walker Lindh, what about other Americans who also have been moved by religious fervor to go abroad and take up arms for a foreign government? Relocating from homes in such areas as Brooklyn, N.Y., quite a few Americans went to Israel and now serve that country's military. . . . some of them have been part of the Israeli offensive in the West Bank. It is curious indeed that the same U.S. news outlets fascinated with the "American Taliban" are so uninterested in scrutinizing those Americans, who strengthen the ranks of the Israeli armed forces as they participate in the killing of Palestinian men and women and children.

Posted April 21, 2002

"Stupid" Stays at #1 on NY Times List, 4 Weeks in a Row - News from Michael Moore
(Michael Moore, April 15, 2002)
Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation is now in its 19th printing. Also, it remains #1 in Canada, and it has gone to #1 this week in Britain and Ireland, according to the Sunday Times of London. . . . All this has occurred in spite of a virtual press blackout on the book. Or maybe because of it. The more the book is ignored by the media, the better it does. . . . the convention of Florida's Democrats on Saturday in Orlando . . . About 2,500 Floridians were in attendance. . . . But in Tampa, on that same night, I was looking out from the stage at the Sun Dome at a crowd of nearly 7,000 people who had come to the "Democracy Rising" rally organized by Ralph Nader. . . . it NO LONGER MATTERS that most of the media ignores the real news. It no longer matters because much of the media has chosen to make itself irrelevant through its lazy reporting, sleazy presentation, its obedience to the corporate agenda, and all the blowhard pundits who scream out their useless opinions. A political shift has occurred in the country and the media has completely missed it. . . . The majority of Americans now call themselves pro-environment, pro-choice, pro-labor, and anti-Big Business. 154 million out of the 200 million voters in this country did NOT cast a vote for George W. Bush. That is the America in which we now live. Liberal, progressive, and sick of the stupid white men who run the country. . . . The Democrats have spent their time trying to act like Republicans, thinking that's how they will win back the House this November. Note to Democrats: You will not win the House by being your usual weak, lame-o selves. The Greens will deny you the chance you have had to take charge. Until you get a clue, the Greens will thrive and grow. You want to avoid a repeat of 2000? Fight for the working people of this country! You want to stop the Greens? Act like a real Democrat! Stand up for something! Do the math: A couple of thousand in Orlando come to see the stars of the Democratic Party, while, at the same exact moment, nearly three times that number is in Tampa to cheer on a progressive agenda - which is greater? If the Democrats can't add 2+2, then they are doomed.

[Editor's Note: The following came to us in an email that has been making its way around the Net.]

Social Security and the Congressional Rip-off
Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years. Our Senators and Congressmen do not pay into Social Security and, of course, they do not collect from it. Social Security benefits were not suitable for persons of their rare elevation in society.

They felt they should have a special plan for themselves. Many years ago they voted in their own benefit plan. In more recent years, no congressperson has felt the need to change it. After all, it is a great plan.
For all practical purposes their plan works like this: When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die, except it may increase from time to time for cost of living adjustments.

For example, former Senator Byrd and Congressman White and their wives may expect to draw $7,800,000.00 (that's Seven Million, Eight-Hundred Thousand), with their wives drawing $275,000.00 during the last years of their lives. This is calculated on an average life span for each.

Their cost for this excellent plan is $00.00. Nada. Zilch. This little perk they voted for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan.

The funds for this fine retirement plan come directly from the General Funds--our tax dollars at work!
From our own Social Security Plan, which you and I pay (or have paid) into--every payday until we retire (which amount is matched by our employer)--we can expect to get an average $1,000 per month after retirement. Or, in other words, we would have to collect our average of $1,000. monthly benefits for 68 years and one (l) month AFTER RETIRING in ordrer to equal Bradley's benefits!

Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made. And that change would be to jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan from under the Senators and Congressmen. Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us and then watch how fast they would fix it.

If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe good changes will evolve.

Victory for the Arctic - U.S. Senate rejects rape of Artic Wildlife Refuge
(Genevieve Roja, Alternet.org, April 19, 2002)
The United States Senate voted 54-46 against opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas drilling . . . "The Senate's overwhelming rejection of oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge sends a strong message to President Bush that Americans want clean energy and a clean environment," . . . "When faced with a choice between protecting our natural resources for the public good and giving in to the White House's call to exploit them for private gain, the Senate chose the public good." . . . Republicans were decidedly bitter . . . "The solution is not in the Arctic," said Kerry, who said more Republicans should have supported the fuel efficiency measure to avoid the push for drilling.

Demonstrators Rally to Palestinian Cause - Arab Americans, Supporters Drown Out Other Issues
(Manny Fernandez, Washington Post, April 21, 2002)
Tens of thousands converged on downtown Washington yesterday to demonstrate for a variety of causes, but it was the numbers and passion of busloads of Arab Americans and their supporters that dominated the streets. . . . Arab and Muslim families marched and chanted for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel, overwhelming the messages of those with other causes in a peaceful day of downtown rallies and marches. . . . "The message here is we must support the Palestinian people against a military occupation and an apartheid state," . . . District police officials said the crowds were larger than they had anticipated and put the number at about 75,000. . . . Organizers of the Palestinian-rights rally at the Ellipse said the gathering was the largest demonstration for Palestine in U.S. history. . . . Organizers at the march privately urged participants to strike swastikas from their posters, but few complied. It was a running debate among many participants, though several swastikas appeared on signs in reference to Sharon by the end of the day. . . . The effect of the pro-Palestinian demonstrators became evident when their smaller march joined anti-globalization forces outside the World Bank and IMF.



Posted April 17, 2002

McKinney Mouths Off - calls for an investigation of 9-11
(Gabrielle Banks, Alternet.org, April 15, 2002)
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney seems to have triggered a raw nerve among lawmakers with her recent suggestion on a Berkeley radio station that Congress should investigate whether the Bush Administration had prior knowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. . . . "Instead of congress investigating what went wrong, President Bush placed a phone call to Majority leader Tom Daschle asking him not to investigate the events of Sept. 11. And hot on the heels of the president's phone call was another phone call from the vice president asking that Tom Daschle not investigate," McKinney told Flashpoints host Dennis Bernstein. "My question is what do they have to hide?" . . . McKinney's statement has struck a welcome chord with the man on the street, or some of them anyway. While lawmakers pushed their way to the podium to submit indictments of the congresswoman, aides at McKinney's office said they've entertained a barrage of calls from enthusiastic constituents. . . . Why then does the Administration remain steadfast in its opposition to an investigation into the biggest terrorism attack upon our nation?" . . . In the aftermath of the Trade Center tragedy, any criticism of the Bush Administration is frowned upon. You're for the war or you're un-American. You support racial profiling or you support the terrorists. . . . There's no harm in questioning our leaders. After all, we elected them. Didn't we?

Fear and learning in America - A first-hand report by Robert Fisk
(Robert Fisk, The Indepentent, April 17, 2002)
[Editor's Note: As an outspoken critic of US policy in the Middle East, Fisk expected a hostile reception when he paid his first visit to the American Midwest since 11 September. He couldn't have been more mistaken.]
And for the first time in more than a decade of lecturing in the United States, I was shocked. Not by the passivity of Americans - the all-accepting, patriotic notion that the President knows best - nor by the dangerous self-absorption of the United States since 11 September and the constant, all-consuming fear of criticising Israel. What shocked me was the extraordinary new American refusal to go along with the official line, the growing, angry awareness among Americans that they were being lied to and deceived. . . . For the first time, it wasn't my lectures they objected to, but the lectures they received from their President and the lectures they read in their press about Israel's "war on terror" and the need always, uncritically, to support everything that America's little Middle Eastern ally says and does. . . . Never before have I been asked by Americans: "How can we make our press report the Middle East fairly?" or - much more disturbingly - "How can we make our government reflect our views?" . . . the fact that these questions could be asked - usually by middle-aged Americans with no family origins in the Middle East - suggested a profound change in a hitherto docile population. . . . Maybe California is organically different from the rest of the United States, but its journalists as well as its students seemed a tad smarter than the Midwest of America. . . . A rabbi was the first to tell me afterwards that the Palestinians were victims, that they should be given a real state.

Posted April 16, 2002

Bush Administration May Have Preferred Chavez Ouster - Oil at Issue
(REUTERS, April 15, 2002)
The United States, which had become increasingly annoyed by Chavez's anti-American rhetoric and ties to its enemies, did not denounce his initial removal and instead blamed him for the violence that led to his removal by the military top brass. . . . In a dramatic reversal, Chavez returned to the presidency on Sunday after street protests and troop mutinies against their generals forced interim President Pedro Carmona, brought to power by a military coup, to resign. . . . The U.S. failure to condemn the ouster of an elected leader in Venezuela will hurt Washington's credibility as a defender of democracy in Latin America . . . It did not even acknowledge that this was an irregular series of events,"

Posted April 13, 2002

Democrat Implies Sept. 11 Administration Plot to Benefit Carlyle and Others
Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) is calling for an investigation into whether President Bush and other government officials had advance notice of terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 but did nothing to prevent them. She added that "persons close to this administration are poised to make huge profits off America's new war." . . . "We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11th. . . . What did this administration know and when did it know it, about the events of September 11th? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered? . . . What do they have to hide?" . . . In 2000, she charged, Bush forces "stole from America our most precious right of all, the right to free and fair elections." With the September attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, McKinney said, "an administration of questionable legitimacy has been given unprecedented power." . . . She suggested that the administration was serving the interests of a Washington-based investment firm, the Carlyle Group . . . the war on terrorism has enriched Carlyle Group investors by enhancing the value of a military contractor partly owned by the firm. . . . "What is undeniable is that corporations close to the administration have directly benefited from the increased defense spending arising from the aftermath of September 11th,"

Posted April 11, 2002

Sharon rallies Congress against Bush - CNN acts as Israel's propaganda arm
(Ahmed Amr, Media Monitors Network, April 13, 2002)
On MSNBC and FOX interviews, [Netenyahu] had the audacity to suggest that America should ignore Europe and pretty much the rest of the world, in favor of his self-serving counsel. . . . Netenyahu assured his listeners that Bush would be back on track after a few Israeli lectures on the 'Bush Doctrine'. On Hardball, Chris Mathews made it clear that he had canceled another guest because Netanyahu decided to drop in to market Sharon's war crimes. . . . American journalists advocating on behalf of war crimes on prime time. Is this good family entertainment? . . . Ask CNN's Rudy Bakhtiar why she is so enthusiastic about the Israeli 'incursion,' which CNN makes sound like a necessary trip to the dentist. On one of the most intense days of shedding Palestinian blood, the CNN cameras went out to explore Tel Aviv night life. . . . Their ought to be a law against journalists who advocate the slaughter of innocents or consistently lie to improve the image of a repressive military occupation. If we had a law like that, I am certain CNN would have to go off shore to Tel Aviv. . . . The Yiddish supremacists are so arrogant about their political power that they deemed Powell's trip a failure before he landed in Jerusalem. . . . the central campaign by these Sharon worshiping thugs centers on equating America's battles in Afghanistan with Israel's war against the Palestinians. . . . Netenyahu constantly equates the Palestinians with the Taliban. In America, we did not even equate the Afghans to the Taliban. . . . Powell and Bush appear to be stumped by this 'Palestine is our Afghanistan' argument. The ditzy anchors who let Netenyahu roll over them with this nonsense appear to buy into it. Some are stupid, others are complicit and still others, a bit of both. . . . And now, Bush is doing his number for the campaign season, while another Palestinian catastrophe comes to a fast boil. . . . Did it occur to the Bush administration to ask the networks to stop subverting American foriegn policy by cutting Netenyahu's air time? Is Netenyahu dictating American policy on behalf of the Sharon government?

Posted April 10, 2002

Nevada Governor Vetoes Nuclear Waste Dump Site
(Tom Gorman, Los Angeles Times, April 9 2002)
Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn on Monday vetoed the use of Yucca Mountain as the nation's underground repository of highly radioactive nuclear waste, declaring that the $60-billion proposal is "based on bad science, bad law and bad public policy." . . . "Let me make one thing clear, crystal clear in fact. Yucca Mountain is not inevitable," Guinn told supporters Monday at the University of Nevada. "We will expose the Department of Energy's dirty little secrets about Yucca Mountain," Guinn said, charging that the government had not studied the dangers of transporting the waste across the country. . . . Government scientists initially believed that the geology of Yucca Mountain was sufficient to contain radioactivity. They have now concluded that it will provide little more than a web of underground storage tunnels and that protection from radiation will depend on the millenniums-long durability of man-made containers to protect the material from, among other things, corrosive moisture and the possibility of earthquakes. . . . senators may wince at the notion of trains and trucks transporting nuclear waste across their states, where it could be vulnerable to accident or attack.

Arctic Drilling in Trouble in Senate
(Associated Press, April 9, 2002)
Senate Republicans are having trouble getting a majority to support drilling in an Arctic wildlife refuge, although the administration hopes Saddam Hussein's call for an oil embargo may rally lawmakers to the pro-drilling side. . . . If support doesn't pick up, some Republican senators have considered abandoning a Senate vote on drilling in the refuge . . . The House energy legislation, approved last summer, already includes opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil companies. . . . Senate opponents to drilling argue that oil would not flow from ANWR for a decade and even then do little to curb oil imports that are expected to continue to grow in the years ahead. A recent Energy Department study concluded imports would decline only slightly over what they would otherwise be if the refuge's oil were made available. . . . At least six Republicans have gone on record opposing drilling in the refuge and so far only four Democrats have publicly said they favor oil and gas development there.

Admiral Thomas Moorer says Israel is Running the U.S. Government
"I've never seen a president --I don't care who he is-- stand up to them [the
Israelis]. It just boggles your mind. They always get what they want. The
Israelis know what's going on all the time. I got to the point where I wasn't
writing anything down. If the American people understood what grip those people
have on our government, they would rise up in arms.
Our citizens don't have any
idea what goes on."
—Admiral Thomas Moorer of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

.
(See Washington Report 12/1999, p.124 quoting from Andrew Hurley's book,
One Nation Under Israel)




Posted April 9, 2002

Federal Regulators Say Ohio Nuclear Plant Hole Should Have Been Found Earlier
(John Seewer, Associated Press, Apr 5, 2002)
An acid leak that ate through a steel cap over a nuclear plant's reactor vessel should have been spotted as long as four years ago, according to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report released Friday. . . . The NRC said it was the most extensive corrosion ever found on top of a U.S. nuclear plant reactor. Inspectors spotted a second cavity - 1 3/4 inch deep - two weeks later. . . . Significant corrosion began at least four years ago, according to preliminary findings of an NRC inspection. Inspectors said it was caused by cracked control rod nozzles. . . . FirstEnergy Corp., which operates the plant, said it was not surprised by the findings and that its own investigators came to the same conclusion . . . corrosion was overlooked because plant staff and management for years did not realize the significance of boric acid deposits on top of the vessel head . . . The damage to the reactor's steel cap will keep the plant shut down until at least June. . . . The plant is along Lake Erie and about 25 miles east of Toledo.

Posted April 8, 2002

America's War Incorporated: Weapons and Wars 'R' US
(John Stanton and Wayne Madsen, Counterpunch, April 1, 2002)
Eisenhower's seminal speech in which he uncannily predicted the threat the "US military industrial complex" would pose to America and the world. . . . "[Eisenhower] Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together..." . . . It took just forty-two years for the War Corporation to eliminate the dividing line between the U.S. military and U.S. industry . . . The War Corporation has its tentacles in every element of the American political, military, economic and cultural milieu, and it affects the lives of every citizen in every country on the planet. . . . From 1961 to 2002, the War Corporation has fueled the fires of death and destruction in every corner of the globe in order to make the world safe-for-profit, using the clever ruses of freedom and democracy.
How many wars will a society tolerate until it says no more? . . . the American citizenry refuses to heed Eisenhower's warning and has taken its liberty "for granted," placing its trust in U.S. officials who see "evil" and threats in every corner. . . . the American people have now brought upon themselves the militarization of American society that Eisenhower so feared . . . Just a fraction of what is spent on defense might--probably would--eliminate many of the conditions that breed terrorists in today's world. . . . The U.S. Department of State is completely militarized under the regime of Colin Powell _ who helped whitewash the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, , his deputy [is] Richard Armitage -- a former U.S. Special Forces and CIA dirty tricks operator in Southeast Asia . . . These so-called "diplomats" are the major U.S. players ostensibly responsible for bringing "peace" to the [Middle East].

Posted April 4, 2002

[Editor's Note: This commentary was written before 9-11 yet reads as if it was written yesterday.]
The Truth About Israel - Average Americans Hate It
(Bill White, 3/20/01)
A poll today that claims that Americans overwhelmingly support Israel. Well, I hate to burst the bubble, but none of this is true. . . . The pro-Israel demonstration was muted, and several of the mostly-young people I saw in its periphery looked like they were about to cry. . . . People driving by were honking their horns and giving thumbs up to the Palestinians, many of whose leftist supporters looked uncomfortable as the same passer-bys shouted anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish epithets at the pro-Sharon contingent. . . . Since this weird, anti-Constitutional segment of the Jewish community seems to dominate almost every [Jewish] newspaper, radio and television station in the large cities, it is easy to keep the Jewish population isolated from mainstream America.

Posted April 3, 2002

March on Washington, D.C. April 20th, 2002
The "War on Terrorism" Breeds More Terror
     The White House promises a war without end. Under the pretext of strengthening security, our democratic rights are being further eroded, hundreds of people have been "disappeared" into jails and prisons, and corporate interests are shamelessly trying to use this crisis to their advantage. It is clear: unless we, the people of this country, rise up and come together now, the future for us and for people around the world is very bleak. But united, as we have done in the past, WE CAN MAKE CHANGE! There is an alternative!

     Join us on April 20th to demand:

  • A U.S. foreign policy based upon social and economic justice, not military and corporate oppression.
  • An end to racial profiling and military recruitment targeting youth of color and working class youth.
  • Government funding for programs to benefit the economic victims of the 9-11 attacks and the recession.
  • An end to the degrading and secret imprisonment of immigrants.
  • Increased funding for non-military-based financial aid for education
  • Full disclosure of military contracts with universities.

[Read more]

Posted April 2, 2002

What Has the Supreme Court Been Smoking?
(Arianna Huffington, April 1, 2002)
Chew on that for a second. The highest judicial body in the land has said -- unanimously -- that it's OK to toss people who the court acknowledges are innocent out of their houses for crimes they didn't commit and didn't even know about. . . . "One Strike and You're Out" calling it "reasonable," "unambiguous" and "not absurd." . . . But try to tell Pearlie Rucker that the law's not absurd. She was the named defendant in the case the court ruled on, a 63-year old great-grandmother who found herself and everyone living with her facing eviction when her mentally disabled daughter was caught possessing cocaine -- three blocks away from Rucker's apartment. . . . Surely even the most brutal and utilitarian calculus would at least balance the cost of punishing so many blameless victims against whatever perceived good is achieved. . . . In adopting such one-sided reasoning and hyperbolic "Reefer Madness" rhetoric the Supreme Court is following in the fear-mongering footsteps of the administration, whose latest whack-o anti-drug ad campaign tried to draw a link between teenage drug use and violent acts of terrorism. . . . In reality, two of the four plaintiffs in the case before the court were elderly women whose grandchildren were caught smoking pot in a housing project parking lot. I have a feeling the grandkids were far more interested in the munchies than in murder and mayhem. . . . "A tenant who cannot control drug crime," wrote Justice Rehnquist in the majority opinion, "is a threat to other residents and the project." I wonder if the Chief Justice would apply the same condemnatory logic to Gov. Jeb Bush, who also lives in public housing and was also unable to control his troubled daughter.

A Less Democratic Nation
(Ruth Rosen, San Francisco Chronicle, March 21, 2002)
Nothing is normal. Beneath the routine sounds and sights of daily life lurks the stark, unsettling fact that our society is not as democratic as it was last summer. . . . nothing -- absolutely nothing -- justifies the secrecy that has shrouded the Bush presidency, its gratuitous violation of civil liberties, or its corrosive constraints on our most cherished democratic practices. . . . Bush has repeatedly invoked executive privilege and refused congressional requests for information. He created a shadow government without informing congressional leaders. He overturned the Presidential Records Act of 1978 and gave himself the right to seal past presidential papers since 1980. He deposited his own gubernatorial papers in his father's presidential library where they are inaccessible to the public. . . . The president has extended the war on terrorism to Yemen, Georgia and the Philippines without a declaration of war or congressional approval. He even declared a new unilateralist Bush Doctrine: The United States reserves the right to enter any nation to pursue terrorists or destroy weapons of mass destruction, whether or not it is invited by a head of state and without seeking approval from the U.N. Security Council. . . . Congress must do more to restore its check on an increasingly imperious presidency. The Bush administration is using the threat of terrorism to curtail civil liberties, bully legislators, scatter troops across the world and intimidate Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya and Syria with the threat of pre-emptive tactical nuclear strikes. . . . George W. Bush should remember that he lost the popular vote and never received a mandate from the American people for these policies. His current approval ratings, according to many political analysts, rest more on fear than on a national consensus. . . . He should tread carefully.

Repeal the USA Patriot Act
(Jennifer Van Bergen, t r u t h o u t | April 1, 2002)
This Act, passed in response to the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on our country, was passed hastily and in a time of fear. It affects all of us in some very basic and important ways. . . . Part I of this series states briefly why we should demand the immediate repeal or amendment of the USA Patriot Act. . . . The USA Patriot Act is an insult to Americans. The name, itself, is insulting, given what the Act contains and what it will someday be known for: its complete abdication of democratic law and principles. It should be called the Constitution Shredding Act. . . . This law is dangerous. It's a travesty. . . . If you think this law applies only to the bad guys who attacked our nation, think again. Many provisions in this law apply to and will affect Americans, in many, bad ways. . . . There is no way that the USA Patriot Act came into existence solely in response to September 11th. In fact, it is clear from prior legislative and case history that law enforcement and intelligence have been trying for many years to obtain these powers. It is only the unreasoning "bunker mentality" that followed September 11th that allowed its planners to pass it. . . . One must wonder whether congress- persons were in their right minds. If they were not, this law cannot be valid. . . . they do much to undermine the Constitution and violate the rights of both immigrants and American citizens alike. . . . As the ACLU analysis of this section states, this simple little clause is being used "as an end-run around the Fourth Amendment." It is a "power grab [that] will sweep in Americans" as well as aliens.

World Backlash Builds Against Bush - "Blood In The Water" Part 1 of a two-part series
by William Thomas
For every precipitous action there is an equal, opposing reaction. Whether Taliban fanatics blowing up the world's oldest Buddhas and executing women for the "crime" of being feminine - or a quick-draw Texan ripping up his country's Constitution and threatening to blast everything in sight - the Koran and the Bible sternly warn, "You will reap whatever whirlwind you sew." These are laws of physics and karma. There are no exceptions. . . . Like father, like son. With G. W. Bush, there are no subtleties of state craft. Suddenly this shoot-first, think-later president is in everyone's face. . . . In late June 2001, the US and Russia reached a decision to invade Afghanistan. ["US 'Planned Attack on the Taleban'" BBC Sept. 18, 2001] . . . Two months before the events of Sept. 11 provided a pretext for seizing access to the world's last major oil, natural gas and heroin supplies, Naik learned that Washington would launch its operation from bases in Tajikistan, where American advisers were already in place. . . . French insiders are charging that the present administration, "just shortly after assuming office slowed down FBI investigations of al Qaeda and terrorism in Afghanistan in order to do a deal with the Taliban on oil - an oil pipeline across Afghanistan." . . . It turns out that President Bush knew of the World Trade Center air strike before departing for the Booker School on that fateful morning. . . . An outraged Judicial Watch chair and general counsel Larry Klayman told the press, "The idea of the President's father, an ex-president himself, doing business with a company under investigation by the FBI in the terror attacks of Sept. 11 is horrible. President Bush should not ask, but demand, that his father pull out of the Carlyle Group." . . . Soon after the anthrax scare began, Michigan's Bioport Corp. landed an exclusive $29 million contract with the Department of Defense to "manufacture, test, bottle and store the anthrax vaccine." Founded by Fuad El-Hibri, a Saudi financier and close personal friend of the bin Laden family - and run by a former US Navy Admiral who had supplied anthrax to Saddam Hussein - Bioport was on Fort Detrick's distribution chain for Ames Iowa anthrax. . . . In Nov., the White House ordered to the FBI to drop its investigations of US firms known to be working with anthrax. . . . The New York Times confirmed that the FBI "held back its own agents last Aug. from opening a criminal investigations of a man who investigators now suspect was meant to be the 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11 attacks."

Posted April 1, 2002

Putting Israel First - Bush ignores US national interest, kowtows to Israel
(Justin Raimondo, Media Monitors Network, April 1, 2002)
As the IDF's idea of Easter programming attests, the Israeli offensive projects the essential character of the degraded Israeli "democracy" - a lust for domination. . . . After all, why does a robber, having already looted the till and gone halfway out the door, turn and shoot his victim? Because he can. For one moment, he is a god, his power to inflict death, at will, is orgasmic proof of his omnipotence. However, for a certain type of killer there is no such thing as a clean kill: he must torture his victim until the last moment, extracting every ounce of perverted pleasure out of the experience. This sadistic impulse is what drives the IDF and the Sharon government forward - and gives their American amen corner a really cheap thrill. . . . PALESTINIAN KRISTALLNACHT . . . Germany, too, was a democracy prior to World War II: Hitler was elected Chancellor, and was recognized as such by all the other powers. Did his "democratic" mandate ameliorate the crimes of Kristallnacht? . . . Lacking any coherence, American policy in the region is effectively placed in the service of Israel's present government. As American-bought tanks roll over the Palestinians, and Bush demands that Arafat - on the verge of being taken into custody or killed - "stop the violence," Sharon's strategic goal has been effectively accomplished. It is now the US and Israel versus the entire Arab-Muslim world. What began as a war against an extremist fringe sect of Islam has turned into a religious and civilizational conflict. . . . Our "war on terrorism" - marketed, at first, as a war on Osama bin Laden and the perpetrators of 9/11 - has now become a war on a billion-plus Arabs and Muslims worldwide. It is a war in which the US will have few dependable allies: perhaps only Israel can be counted on. And that's just the way the Israeli lobby likes it. . . . It's a disgrace, really, how American interests are being ignored and derailed in the Middle East, while our policy benefits only the interests of a belligerent little settler colony based on religious obscurantism and an outdated paranoia.


U.S. news postings from February 27 - March 31, 2002

 


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