Censored 2003 :
The Top 25 Censored Media Stories
(#1) FCC Moves to Privatize Airwaves
April 28, 20001
Autumn 2001 volume 20, #4
Title: Global Media Giants Lobby to Privatize Entire Broadcast
Author: Jeremy Rifkin
Title: Losing Signal
Author: Brendan l. Koerner
Title: Legal Project to Challenge Media Monopoly
Author: Dorothy Kidd
Faculty evaluators: Scott Gordon
Student Researchers: Laura Huntington
For almost 70 years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
has administered and regulated the broadcast spectrum as an electronic
"commons" on behalf of the American people. The FCC issues
licenses to broadcasters that allow them, for a fee, to use, but
not own, one or more specific radio or TV frequencies. Thus, the
public has retained the ability to regulate, as well as influence,
access to broadcast communications.
Several years ago, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, in their
report The Telecom Revolution: An American Opportunity,
recommended a complete privatization of the radio frequencies, whereby
broadcasters with existing licenses would eventually gain complete
ownership of their respective frequencies. They could thereafter
develop them in markets of their choosing, or sell and trade them
to other companies. The few non-allocated bands of the radio frequency
spectrum would be sold off, as electronic real estate, to the highest
bidders. With nothing then to regulate, the FCC would eventually
be abolished. The reasoning behind this radical plan was that government
control of the airwaves has led to inefficiencies. In private hands,
the frequencies would be exchanged in the marketplace, and the forces
of free-market supply and demand would foster the most creative
(and, of course, most profitable) use of these electronic "properties."
This privatization proposal was considered too ambitious by the
Clinton administration. However, in February 2001, within months
after a more "pro-business" president took office, 37
leading US economists requested, in a joint letter, that the FCC
allow broadcasters to lease, in secondary markets, the frequencies
they currently use under their FCC license. Their thinking was that
with this groundwork laid, full national privatization would follow,
and eventually nations would be encouraged to sell off their frequencies
to global media enterprises.
Michael K. Powell, FCC Chairman, and son of Secretary of State
Colin Powell, in a recent speech compared the FCC to the Grinch,
a kind of regulatory spoilsport that could impede what he termed
a historic transformation akin to the opening of the West. "The
oppressor here is regulation," he declared. In April 2001,
Powell dismissed the FCC's historic mandate to evaluate corporate
actions based on the public interest. That standard, he said, "is
about as empty a vessel as you can accord a regulatory agency."
In other comments, Powell has signaled what kind of philosophy he
prefers to the outdated concept of public interest. During his first
visit to Capitol Hill as chairman, Powell referred to corporations
simply as "our clients."
Challenges to this proposed privatization of airways have emerged
from a number of sources. One group, the Democratic Media Legal
Project (DMLP) in San Francisco, argues that even the existing commercial
media system, aided by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, is unconstitutional
because it limits diversity of viewpoints, omits or misrepresents
most social, political, and cultural segments, and is unaccountable
to the public. Therefore, explains DMLP, advertising-based media
and the 1996 Act, which encourages mergers and cross-ownership of
media outlets to the exclusion of the vast majority of people, have
deprived the people of their right to self-governance as self
governance can occur only when we have the unimpeded and uncensored
flow of opinion and reporting that are requisite for an informed
The course of wireless broadcasting is approaching an unprecedented
and critical crossroad. The path taken by the United States, and
by the other industrialized nations that may follow our lead, will
profoundly influence the ability of the citizenry of each country
to democratically control the media.
(#2) New Trade Treaty Seeks to Privatize Global Social Services
Title: The Last Frontier
Author: Maude Barlow
Faculty evaluator: John Kramer
Student researchers: Chris Salvano, Adria Cooper
Extensive international corporate media coverage including:
Toronto Star, 3/3/02
The Herald (Glasgow) 2/27/02
The Hindu, 11/17,01
The Weekend Australian, 8/25/01
The Gazette (Montreal) 6/15/01
The Financial Times (London)
A global trade agreement now being negotiated will seek to privatize
nearly every government-provided public service and allow transnational
corporations to run them for profit.
The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is a proposed
free-trade agreement that will attempt to liberalize/dismantle barriers
that protect government provided social services. These are social
services bestowed by the government in the name of public welfare.
The GATS was established in 1994, at the conclusion of the "Uruguay
Round" of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
In 1995, the GATS agreement was adopted by the newly created World
Trade Organization (WTO).
Corporations plan to use the GATS agreement to profit from the
privatization of educational systems, health care systems, child
care, energy and municipal water services, postal services, libraries,
museums, and public transportation. If the GATS agreement is finalized,
it will lock in a privatized, for-profit model for the global economy.
GATS/WTO would make it illegal for a government with privatized
services to ever return to a publicly owned, non-profit model. Any
government that disobeys these WTO rulings will face sanctions.
What used to be areas of common heritage like seed banks, air and
water supplies, health care and education will be commodified, privatized,
and sold to the highest bidder on the open market. People who cannot
afford these privatized services will be left out.
Services are the fastest growing sector of international trade.
If GATS is implemented, corporations will reap windfall profits.
Health care, education, and water services are the most potentially
lucrative. Global expenditures on water services exceed $1 trillion
each year, on education they exceed $2 trillion, and on health care
they're over $3.5 trillion.
The WTO has hired a private company called the Global Division
for Transnational Education. This company plans to document policies
that "discriminate against foreign education providers."
The results of this 'study' will be used to pressure countries with
public education systems to relinquish them to the global privatized
The futures of accountability for public services, and of sovereign
law are at stake with the GATS decision. Foreign corporations will
have the right to establish themselves in any GATS/WTO-controlled
country and compete against non-profit or government institutions,
such as schools and hospitals, for public funds.
The current round of GATS negotiations has identified three main
priorities for future free-trade principles. First, GATS officials
are pushing for National Treatment to be applied across
the board. National Treatment would forbid governments
from favoring their domestic companies over foreign-based companies.
This idea already applies to certain services, but GATS will enforce
it to all services. This will create an expansion of mega-corporate
access to domestic markets and further diminish democratic accountability.
The economically dominant western countries would like to make it
illegal for developing countries to reverse this exclusive
access to their markets.
Second, GATS officials are seeking to place restrictions on domestic
regulations. This would limit a government's ability to enact environmental,
health, and other regulations and laws that hinder "free-trade."
The government would be required to demonstrate that its laws and
regulations were necessary to achieve a WTO-sanctioned objective,
and that no other commercially friendly alternative was available.
Third, negotiators are attempting to develop the expansion of Commercial
Presence rules. These rules allow an investor in one GATS-controlled
country to establish a presence in any other GATS country. The investor
will not only be allowed to compete against private suppliers for
business, but will also be allowed to compete against publicly funded
institutions and services for public funds.
This potential expansion of GATS/WTO authority into the day-to-day
business of governments will make it nearly impossible for citizens
to exercise democratic control over the future of traditionally
public services. One American trade official summed up the GATS/WTO
process by saying, "Basically it won't stop until foreigners
finally start to think like Americans, act like Americans, and most
of all shop like Americans."
(#3) United States' Policies in Columbia Support Mass Murder
July 1-15, 2001
Title: "Blueprints for the Colombian War"
Author: Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair
ASHEVILLE GLOBAL REPORT
October 4, 2001
Title: "Colombian Army and Police Still Working With Paramilitaries"
Author: Jim Lobe
Title: "Colombian Trade Unionists Need U.S. Help"
Authors: Dan Kovalik and Gerald Dickey
RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH NEWS
December 7, 2000
Title: Echoes of Vietnam
Author: Rachel Massey
Faculty Evaluators: Jorge Porras, Fred Fletcher,
Student Researchers: Lauren Renison, Adam Cimino, Erik Wagle, Gabrielle
Over the past two years, Colombia has been Washington's third largest
recipient of foreign aid, behind only Israel and Egypt. In July
of 2000, the U.S. Congress approved a $1.3 billion war package for
Colombia to support President Pastrana's "Plan Colombia."
Plan Colombia is a $7.5 billion counter-narcotics initiative. In
addition to this financial support, the US also trains the Colombian
Colombias annual murder rate is 30,000. It is reported that
around 19,000 of these murders are linked to illegal right-wing
paramilitary forces. Many leaders of these paramilitary groups were
once officers in the Colombian military, trained at the U.S. Military
run School of the Americas.
According to the Human Rights Watch Report, a 120-page report titled
"The Sixth Division: Military-Paramilitary Ties
and US Policy in Colombia," Colombian armed forces and police
continue to work closely with right-wing paramilitary groups. The
government of President Pastrana and the US administration have
played down evidence of this cooperation. Jim Lobe says that Human
Rights Watch holds the Pastrana administration responsible for the
current, violent situation because of its dramatic and costly failure
to take prompt, effective control of security forces, break their
persistent ties to paramilitary groups, and ensure respect for human
Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair contend that the war in
Colombia isn't about drugs. It's about the annihilation of popular
uprisings by Indian peasants fending off the ravages of oil companies,
cattle barons and mining firms. It is a counter-insurgency war,
designed to clear the way for American corporations to set up shop
Cockburn and St. Clair examined two Defense Department commissioned
reports, the RAND Report and a paper written by Gabriel Marcella,
titled "Plan Colombia: the Strategic and Operational Imperatives."
Both reports recommend that the US step up its military involvement
in Colombia. In addition, the reports make several admissions about
the paramilitaries and their links to the drug trade, regarding
human rights abuses by the US-trained Colombian military, and about
the irrationality of crop fumigation.
Throughout these past two years, Colombian citizens have been the
victims of human rights atrocities committed by the US-trained Colombian
military and linked paramilitaries. Trade unionists and human rights
activists face murder, torture, and harassment. It is reported that
Latin America remains the most dangerous place in the world for
trade unionists. Since 1986, some 4,000 trade unionists have been
murdered in Colombia. In 2000 alone, more trade unionists were killed
in Colombia than in the whole world in 1999.
Another problem resulting from the Colombian "drug war"
has been the health consequences of the US-sponsored aerial fumigation.
Since January 2001, Colombian aircraft have been spraying toxic
herbicides over Colombian fields in order to kill opium poppy and
coca plants. These sprayings are killing food crops that indigenous
Colombians depend on for survival, as well as harming their health.
The sprayings have killed fish, livestock, and have contaminated
The US provides slightly over 1 billion dollars of military aid
for what is known as "Plan Colombia," yet it is more a
war against citizens and those who are fighting for social justice.
US aid is not improving conditions for the people of Colombia, but
rather supporting the government and right-wing paramilitary groups.
According to an American member of the international steelworker
delegation, Jesse Isbell, who recently visited Columbia, "The
US says one thing to the American public when in reality it is [doing]
something totally different. Our government portrays this as a drug
war against cocaine but all we are doing is keeping an ineffective
government in power."
(#4) Bush Administration Hampered FBI Investigation into Bin
Laden Family Before 9/11
Title: "French book indicts Bush Administration"
Author: Amanda Luker
TIMES OF INDIA
November 8, 2001
Title: "Bush took FBI agents off Bin Laden family trail"
Author: Rashmee Z. Ahmed
THE GUARDIAN (London)
November 7, 2001
Title: "FBI and US spy agents say Bush spiked bin Laden probes
before 11 September"
Author: Greg Palast and David Pallister
Faculty evaluator: Catherine Nelson
Student researchers: Donald Yoon, David Immel
Corporate media coverage;
L.A. Times, 1/13/02 Part A-1, page 11
A French book Bin Laden, la verite interdite (Bin Laden, the forbidden
truth) claims that the Bush Administration halted investigations
into terrorist activities related to the bin Laden family and began
planning for a war against Afghanistan before 9-11.
The authors, Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, are French
intelligence analysts. Dasquie, an investigative reporter, publishes
Intelligence Online, which is a respected newsletter on economics
and diplomacy. Brisard worked for French secret services and in
1997 wrote a report on the Al Qaeda network.
In 1996, high-placed intelligence sources in Washington told the
Guardian, "There were always constraints on investigating the
Saudis." The authors allege that under the influence of US
oil companies, George W. Bush and his administration initially halted
investigations into terrorism, while bargaining with the Taliban
to deliver Osama bin Laden in exchange for economic aid and political
recognition. The book goes on to reveal that former FBI deputy director
John O'Neill resigned in July of 2001 in protest over the obstruction
of terrorist investigations. According to O'Neill, "The main
obstacles to investigating Islamic terrorism were US oil corporate
interests and the role played by Saudi Arabia in it." The restrictions
were said to have worsened after the Bush administration took over.
Intelligence agencies were told to "back off" from investigations
involving other members of the bin Laden family, the Saudi royals,
and possible Saudi links to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by
Pakistan. John O'Neil died on 9/11 in the World Trade Center.
An FBI file coded 199, which means a case involving national security,
records that Abdullah bin Laden, who lived in Washington, originally
had a file opened on him "because of his relationship with
the Saudi-funded World Assembly of Muslim Youth a suspected
terrorist organization." The BBC reiterated a well-known claim,
made by one of George W. Bush's former business partners, that Bush
made his first million dollars 20 years ago from a company financed
by Osama's elder brother, Salem. It has also been revealed that
both the Bushs and the bin Ladens had lucrative stakes in the Carlyle
Group, a private investment firm that has grown to be one of the
largest investors in US defense and communications contracts.
Brisard and Dasquie contend that the government's main objective
in Afghanistan was to unite the Taliban regime in order to gain
access to the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia. Brisard and
Dasquie report that the Bush government began negotiations with
the Taliban directly after coming into power and representatives
met several times in Washington, Islamabad, and Berlin.
There were also claims that the last meeting between the United
States and Taliban representatives took place only five weeks before
the attacks in New York and Washington.
Long before the September 11th attacks, the United States had decided
to invade Afghanistan in the interest of oil. In February of 1998,
at the hearing before a sub-group of the Committee on International
Relations, Congress discussed ways to deal with Afghanistan to make
way for an oil pipeline. Jane's Defense News reported in March 2001
that an invasion of Afghanistan was being planned.
Times of India reported that in June of 2001, the US Government
told India that there would be an invasion of Afghanistan in October
of that year. By July of 2001 George Arney, with the BBC, also reported
the planned invasion.
(#5) U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water System
Title: "The Secret Behind the Sanctions: How the U.S. Intentionally
Destroyed Iraq's Water Supply"
Author: Thomas J. Nagy
Faculty evaluator: Rick Luttmann
Student researchers: Adria Cooper, Erik Wagle, Adam Cimino, Chris
During the Gulf War the United States deliberately bombed Iraq's
water system. After the war, the U.S. pushed sanctions to prevent
importation of necessary supplies for water purification. These
actions resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians
many of whom were young children. Documents have been obtained from
the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which prove that the Pentagon
was fully aware of the mortal impacts on civilians in Iraq and was
actually monitoring the degradation of Iraq's water supply. The
destruction of civilian infrastructures necessary for health and
welfare is a direct violation of the Geneva Convention.
After the Gulf War, the United Nations applied sanctions against
Iraq, which denied the importation of specialized equipment and
chemicals, such as chlorine for purification of water. There are
six documents that have been partially declassified and can be found
on the Pentagon's web site at www.gulflink.osd.mil. These documents
include information that prove that the United States was fully
aware of the costs to civilians, especially children, by upholding
the sanctions against purification of Iraq's water supply.
The primary document is dated January 22, 1991 and is titled, "Iraq
Water Treatment Vulnerabilities." This document predicts what
will take place when Iraq can no longer import the vital commodities
to cleanse their water supply. It states that epidemics and disease
outbreaks may occur because of pollutants and bacteria that exist
in unpurified water. The document acknowledges the fact that without
purified drinking water, the manufacturing of food and medicine
will also be affected. The possibilities of Iraqis obtaining clean
water, despite sanctions, along with a timetable describing the
degradation of Iraq's water supply was also addressed.
The remaining five documents from the DIA confirm the Pentagon's
monitoring of the situation in Iraq. In more than one document,
discussion of the likely outbreaks of diseases and how they affect
"particularly children" is discussed in great detail.
The final document titled, "Iraq: Assessment of Current Health
Threats and Capabilities," is dated, November 15, 1991, and
discusses the development of a counter-propaganda strategy that
would blame Saddam Hussein for the lack of safe water in Iraq.
The United States insistence on using this type of sanction
against Iraq is in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. The
Geneva Convention was created in 1979 to protect the victims of
international armed conflict. It states, "It is prohibited
to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, objects indispensable
to the survival of the civilian population such as foodstuffs, crops,
livestock, drinking water installation and supplies, and irrigation
works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance
value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever
the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them
to move away, or for any other motive." The United States,
for nearly a decade, has "destroyed, removed, or rendered useless"
Iraq's "drinking water installations and supplies."
Although two Democratic Representatives, Cynthia McKinney from
Georgia and Tony Hall from Ohio, have spoken out about the degradation
of Iraq's water supply and its civilian targets, no acknowledgment
of violations has been made. The U.S. policy of destroying the water
treatment system of Iraq and preventing its re-establishment has
been pursued for more than a decade. The United Nations estimates
that more than 500,000 Iraqi children have died as a result of sanctions
and that unclean water is a major contributor to these deaths.
(#6) U.S. Government Pushing Nuclear Revival
Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists
Title: "The New-Nuke Chorus Tunes Up"
Author: Stephen I. Schwartz
Faculty Evaluator: Sasha Von Meier
Student Researcher: Erik Wagle
Corporate News Coverage:
Los Angeles Times, March 17, 2002.
USA Today, March 18, 2002.
The US Government is blazing a trail of nuclear weapon revival
leading to global nuclear dominance. A nuke-revival group, supported
by people like Stephen Younger, Associate Director for Nuclear Weapons
at Los Alamos, proposes a "mini-nuke" capable of burrowing
into underground weapon supplies and unleashing a small, but contained
nuclear explosion. This weapons advocacy group is comprised of nuclear
scientists, Department of Energy (DoE) officials, right wing analysts,
former government officials, and a congressionally appointed over-sight
panel. The group wants to ensure that the U.S. continues to develop
nuclear capacity into the next half century.
Achieving this goal of nuclear dominance will take far more than
just refurbishing existing weapons and developing new ones. A decade
long effort, that would cost in the $8 billion range, would be needed
just to bring old production sites up to standard. Billions more
would be needed to produce and maintain a new generation of nuclear
weapons. This plan has not been presented to the public for their
consideration or approval.
Part of the plan includes the building of "mini-nukes,"
which would have a highly accurate ability to penetrate underground
stockpiles of weapons and command centers. The recent interest in
such weapons is based on two premises. First, the belief that only
nuclear weapons can destroy these underground networks, so the "mini-nuke"
would deter other countries from using these underground systems.
Second, these new bombs would give government the option to launch
a nuclear strike to take out a small target while delivering minimal
civilian casualties. It is believed that these bombs could specifically
target underground headquarters or weapon stockpiles in Korea, Iraq,
Princeton theoretical physicist Robert W. Nelson has studied the
question for the Federation of American Scientists. Nelson concluded,
"No earth-burrowing missile can penetrate deep enough into
the earth to contain an explosion with a nuclear yield even as small
as 1 percent of the 15-kiloton Hiroshima weapon. The explosion simply
blows out a massive crater of radioactive dirt, which rains down
on the local region with an especially intense and deadly fallout."
Nelson used data from the Plowshares program of the 1960s and from
the 828 underground nuclear tests conducted in Nevada. The two sources
show that full containment of a 5-kiloton explosion is only possible
at 650 feet or more, while a 1-kiloton explosion must take place
at least 450 feet into the earth. These figures are taken at optimum
conditions, where weapons are placed in a specially sealed shaft
in a well understood geological environment. The "mini-nukes"
will be expected to penetrate into deeply hardened targets in unyielding
conditions. Nelson also concludes that a 10-foot missile could only
be expected to penetrate 100 feet into concrete and steel, a depth
far too shallow to contain even a very small explosion.
The Panel to Assess the Reliability, Safety, and Security of the
United States Nuclear Stockpile has recommended spending $4 billion
to $6 billion over the next decade to restore the production capabilities
of plutonium pit plants in the U.S. The DoE is currently spending
$147 million on pit production at Los Alamos this year and is requesting
$218 million for 2002. A renovated Los Alamos will be capable of
producing up to 20 pits a year by 2007. Last year the DoE received
$2 million to design a new pit plant capable of producing 450 cores
of plutonium a year. This would generate approximately half the
amount of plutonium produced during the latter period of the Cold
War. The facilities at some of these nuclear production plants are
in drastic states of disrepair.
Only 26 percent of the weapons complex buildings are in excellent
or good condition. One laboratory building at Los Alamos wraps pipes
carrying radioactive waste in plastic bags to prevent leakage. The
roofs at other facilities are allowing rainwater to seep into the
rooms where nuclear weapons are inspected and repaired.
(#7) Corporations Promote HMO Model for School Districts
Title: "Business Goes to School: The For-Profit Corporate Drive
to Run Public Schools"
Author: Barbara Miner
The Progressive Populist
November 15, 2000
Title: "Dunces of Public Education Reform"
Author: Frosty Troy
North Coast Xpress
Title: "Corporate-Sponsored Tests Aim to Standardize Our Kids"
Author: Dennis Fox
In These Times
Title: "Testing, Testing: The Miseducation of George W. Bush"
Author: Linda Lutton
Faculty Evaluators: Perry Marker, Tom Ormond, and Elaine Sundberg
Student Researchers: Lauren Fox, Derek Fieldsoe, Joshua Travers
For decades, public schools have purchased innumerable products
and services from private companiesfrom text books to bus
transportation. Within the last decade, however, privatization has
taken on a whole new meaning. Proponents of privatized education
are now interested in taking over entire school districts. "Education
today, like healthcare 30 years ago, is a vast, highly localized
industry ripe for change," says Mary Tanner, managing director
of Lehman Brothers, "The emergence of HMOs and hospital management
companies created enormous opportunities for investors. We believe
the same pattern will occur in education." So while the aptly
named Educational Management Organizations (EMO's) are being promoted
as the new answer to impoverished school districts and dilapidated
classrooms, the real emphasis is on investment returns rather than
student welfare and educational development.
According to some analysts, Bush's proposal for national standardized
testing is helping to pave the way for these EMO's. Bush wants yearly
standardized testing in reading and math for every student in the
country between the third and eighth grades. "School districts
and states that do well will be rewarded," Bush states in his
education agenda, No Child Left Behind, "Failure will be sanctioned."
The effect of Bush's testing plan will be nothing less than a total
reconstruction of curriculum and instruction across the country.
Perversely, schools with already limited resources, serving poor
and minority communities, will be those under the greatest pressure
to boost scores or face loss of funding.
Additionally, standardized testing funnels public dollars directly
to non-public schools, including religious schools, through taxpayer-supported
vouchers. School vouchers, proposed by Bush in his education plan
to increase federal education spending, will reward schools that
do well on annual standardized tests. Vouchers shunt kids out of
the public schools system and into private for-profit institutions.
Since only public school students take the standardized tests, kids
whose parents can afford private schools don't have to agonize year
after year about potential failure.
Standardized testing hits immigrant students especially hard. Bush
wants to freeze funding in 2002, despite surging enrollment of students
speaking limited English. Angelo Amador, a national policy analyst
for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, says,
"With the pulling of bilingual education funding, states with
high-stakes testing are pushing low-performing Latino students into
special education classes or out of school altogether in an effort
to keep their test scores high."
Critics charge that standardization's real goal is not to improve
public education but to disparage it while building support for
privatized, union-free alternatives. Proponents of corporate-run
education claim that, by cutting the "fat" out of the
system, they can improve student achievement with the same amount
of money, and still turn a profit (Ignoring the fact that the U.S.
is ranked ninth globally in terms of money spent on education).
The reality is that, though most EMO's have yet to show investors
a profit, they generally cut teacher salaries, eliminate remedial,
special, and bilingual education programs (mandated for public schools),
and consistently perform at or below the level of surrounding schools
in test scores.
Privatization opponents say that public education should serve
and be run by the public, especially teachers and parents, as opposed
to shareholders who run the for-profit companies.
(#8) NAFTA Destroys Farming Communities in U.S. and Abroad
Source: Fellowship of Reconciliation
Date: Dec. 2000/Jan. 2001
Title: NAFTA's devastating effects are clear in Mexico, Haiti
Author: Anita Martin
The Hightower Lowdown
Title: NAFTA gives the shafta to North America's farmers
Author: Jim Hightower
Faculty Evaluators: Tony White, Al Wahrhaftig
Student researchers: Adam Cimino, Erik Wagle, Alessandra Diana
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) are responsible for the impoverishment of and
loss of many small farms in Mexico and Haiti. NAFTA is also causing
the economic destruction of rural farming communities in the United
States and Canada. The resulting loss of rural employment has created
a landslide of socio-economic and environmental consequences that
are worsening with the continued dismantling and deregulation of
When NAFTA came before Congress in 1993, US farmers were told that
the agreement would open the borders of Mexico and Canada, enabling
them to sell their superior products and achieve previously unknown
prosperity. Corporations who operate throughout the Americas, such
as Tyson and Cargill, have since used the farming surplus to drive
down costs, pitting farmers against each other and prohibiting countries
from taking protective actions. These same corporations have entered
into massive farming ventures outside the U.S. and use NAFTA to
import cheaper agricultural products back into this country, further
undermining the small farmers in the U.S. Since the enactment of
NAFTA, 80% of foodstuffs coming into the U.S. are products that
displace crops raised here at home. NAFTA has allowed multinational
mega-corporations to increase production in Mexico, where they can
profit from much cheaper labor, as well as freely use chemicals
and pesticides banned in the U.S.
In both Mexico and Haiti, NAFTA policies have caused an exodus
from rural areas forcing people to live in urban slums and accept
low paid sweatshop labor. Farmers in Mexico, unable to compete with
the large-scale importation and chemical-intensive mass production
of U.S. agricultural corporations, are swimming in a corn surplus
that has swelled approximately 450% since NAFTA's implementation.
Haiti's deregulation of trade with the U.S. has destroyed the island's
rice industry in a similar manner. Urban slums, engorged with rural
economic refugees, are contributing to the breakdown of cultural
traditions and public authority, making the growing masses increasingly
The Mexican government clashes violently with any organized protest
of NAFTA. Dissent in Chiapas and in Central Mexico has lead to the
reported arrests, injuries, and deaths of dozens of activists. Community
leaders like Minister Lucius Walker, executive of the Interreligious
Foundation for Community Organization, state that, "The biggest
challenge facing all of us in this new millennium is to build a
citizens' movement to counter the corporate captivity of the Americas."
The1993 NAFTA agreement desolated small farming communities in
the U.S. and in Mexico and Haiti. With the scheduled 2009 lift on
tariffs and import restrictions, as well as Bush's proposed Free
Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) adding 31 more countries to the
NAFTA agreement, many additional farming communities are in danger.
(#9) U.S. Faces National Housing Crisis
In These Times
Title: "There's No Place Like Home"
Author: Randy Shaw
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Garfin
Student Researcher: Eduardo Barragan, Catherine Jensen
Corporate media coverage:
U.S. Newswire, 1/18/02
Other corporate coverage mostly limited to local and regional housing
The national housing crisis affects nearly 6 million American families
and is growing worse. Over 1.5 million low-cost housing units have
recently been lost, and millions of children are growing up in housing
that is substandard, unaffordable and dangerous.
A new crisis in affordable housing is spreading across America.
What was once a problem relegated to low income families along the
east and west coasts, is now affecting the middle-class all across
the country. Middle-class working Americans are having just as much
trouble finding affordable housing as low-income families did ten
In San Francisco, the Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) subsidizing housing for public school teachers. California
business groups complain that the States housing shortage
hinders their ability to attract skilled workers, and chambers of
commerce link lack of affordable housing to a resultant slowdown
in economic growth.
Julie Daniels earns $28,000 a year working full time as a certified
nursing assistant for Stamford, Connecticut. A member of local 1199,
Daniels and her three children have been unable to obtain affordable
housing within traveling distance of her job. The family's only
available housing option has been a homeless shelter, and the prospects
that Daniels will obtain safe and affordable housing are unlikely.
Still, politicians refuse to add federal funded housing to the
U.S. budget. Low-cost housing programs are slowly being drained
of funding. More than 100,000 federally subsidized units have been
converted to market-rate housing in the past three years. While
the $5 billion Federal Housing Administration surplus is tied up
in Washington, neither major political party seems responsive to
the current housing crisis. Neither party is addressing issues of
living wage, adequate health care, or affordable housing.
Homelessness has become the result for many families across the
nation. The economic slowdown, the welfare reform of 1996, and the
events of September 11 are pushing hard working Americans into the
street. In New York alone it is estimated that 30,000 people are
living in shelters, and many thousands more live on the street.
In Chicago, over 20,000 units of public housing units have been
removed from service and some 50,000 people now reside in the streets.
In an era when there is only one apartment for every six potential
renters in this country, Congress has taken no action to address
this problem. Corporate media has only covered this issue locally
and few corporate media reports have recognized this as a national
(#10) CIA Double Deals In Macedonia
June 14, 2001
Title: "America at War in Macedonia"
Author: Michel Chossudovsky
July 26, 2001
Title: "NATO Invades Macedonia"
Author: Michel Chossudovsky
Faculty evaluators: Elizabeth Burch, Phil Beard, John Lund
Student researchers: Alessandra Diana, David V. Immel
The CIA destabilized the political balance in Macedonia to allow
easier access for a US-British owned oil pipeline, and to prevent
Macedonia from entering the European Union (EU), thereby strengthening
the US dollar in a German deutschmark dominated region.
Without Macedonia in the EU, British and US oil companies have
an advantage over European counterparts in building oil pipelines.
Actions toward destabilization intend to impose economic control
over national currencies, and protect British-US oil companies such
as BP-Amoco-ARCO, Chevron, and Texaco against Europe's Total-Fina-Elf.
The British-US consortium controls the AMBO Trans-Balkin pipeline
project linking the Bulgarian port of Burgas to Vlore on the Albanian
Adriatic coastline. The power game is designed to increase British-US
domination in the region by distancing Bulgaria, Macedonia, and
Albania from the influence of EU countries such as Germany, Italy,
France and Belgium. It's an effort supported by Wall Street's financial
establishment, to destabilize and discredit the deutschmark and
the Euro, with hopes of imposing the US dollar as the sole currency
for the region.
The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the National Liberation Army
(NLA) were trained in Macedonia by British Special Forces and equipped
by the CIA. British military sources confirm that Gezim Ostremi,
NLA Commander, was sponsored by the UN and trained by British Special
Forces to head the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC). When Ostremi left
his job as a United Nations Officer to join the NLA, the commander
remained on the UN payroll. Attacks within Macedonia by the NLA/KLA
last year, coincided chronologically with the process of EU enlargement
and the signing of the historic Stabilization and Association Agreement
(SAA) between the EU and Macedonia. These attacks paved the way
for further US military and political presence in the region.
In a strange twist the CIA, NATO, and British Special Forces provided
weapons and training to the NLA/KLA terrorists, while at the same
time, Germany provided Macedonia's security forces with all-terrain
vehicles, advanced weapons, and equipment to protect themselves
from NLA/KLA attacks. US military advisers, on assignment to the
KLA/NLA through private mercenary companies, remained in contact
with NATO and US military and intelligence planners. It was Washington
and London who decided on the broad direction of KLA-NLA military
operations in Macedonia.
Following the August, 2001 Framework Peace Agreement, 3,500 armed
NATO troops entered Macedonia with the intent of disarming Albanian
rebels. Washington's humanitarian efforts for the NLA/KLA suggested
its intent to protect the terrorists rather then disarm them. Vice
President Dick Cheney's former firm, Halliburton Energy, is directly
linked to the AMBO's Trans-Balkans Oil Pipeline.
Last year's conflict in Macedonia is a small part of a growing
rift between the Anglo-American and European interests in the Balkans.
In the wake of the war in Yugoslavia, Britain has allied itself
with the US and severed many of its ties with Germany, France, and
Italy. Washington's design is to ensure the dominance of the US
military-industrial complex, in alliance with Britain's major defense
contractors, and British-US oil. These developments establish significant
control over strategic pipelines, transportation, and communication
corridors in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet
(#11) Bush Appoints Former Criminals to Key Government Roles
(#12) NAFTA's Chapter 11 Overrides Public Protection Laws of
The Nation "The Right and US Trade Law: Invalidating the 20th
October 15, 2001
Title: The Right and US Trade Law: Invalidating the 20th Century"
Author: William Greider,
Title: Seven Years of NAFTA
Author: David Huffman
Faculty evaluator: Elizabeth Martinez
Student Researchers: Sarah Potts, Chris Salvano
Mainstream coverage; Bill Moyers, PBS Documentary; Trading Democracy,
Washington Times, 2/4/02,
Certain investor protections in NAFTA (the North American Free
Trade Agreement) are giving business investors new power over sovereign
nations and providing an expansive new definition of property rights.
Chapter 11 of NAFTA, which allows a corporation to sue a government,
contains a particularly disturbing "regulatory takings"
clause. Under this "takings" clause, intangible property,
such as a corporation's potential future profits, is considered
private property. Any law or regulation that is imposed to protect
the public interest is considered "taking" that company's
potential to make a profit. Therefore, the government should be
required to compensate the owners for lost property/profit. This
expanded definition of private property goes beyond established
terms in US jurisprudence and supercedes domestic law. NAFTA's investor
protections and the "regulatory takings" idea mimic a
radical revision of constitutional law that the right wing has been
pushing for years.
Richard Epstein galvanized the idea of "regulatory takings"
in the 1980s with his book Takings: Private Property and the Power
of Eminent Domain. Regulations, Epstein argues, should be properly
understood as "takings" under the Fifth Amendment. This
would require governments to pay corporations whose property, tangible
or intangible, is in some way diminished by public actions. Since
any regulation will have some economic impact on private assets,
the "takings" doctrine is therefore a vehicle for shrinking
the reach of government and crippling its regulatory procedures.
This has the potential to undermine long-established social welfare
and environmental regulatory protections. "Takings" protections
will also have a chilling effect on a government's future laws and
regulatory procedures as they realize that any new legislation may
leave them vulnerable to corporate lawsuits. A government may be
confronted with enormous financial penalties simply for enacting
or upholding regulations that protect the basic health and human
rights of its citizens.
The Methanex v. United States case illustrates the type of lawsuit
made possible by Chapter 11. Methanex is a Canadian company that
manufactures the gasoline additive MTBE. Although MTBE was intended
to mitigate the air pollution caused by gasoline use, in the mid-nineties
it was identified as a hazard to California's water supplies. Even
small amounts of MTBE leaking from pipelines or storage tanks caused
water to become unfit to drink. After testing the chemical was also
found to be carcinogenic.
In 1999, California Governor Gray Davis issued an executive order
to begin the phase out of MTBE. Four months later, Methanex Co.
filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, asserting that California's
new regulations damaged their future profits, and requested $970
million in compensation. But Methanex did not pursue its case in
U.S. federal court, where the legitimacy of "potential profits"
might have been publicly questioned. NAFTA provides for a three-judge
arbitration tribunal, an offshore venue where suits can be resolved
in secrecy. Although matters vital to public welfare are being decided
in the unelected tribunals, the public is given no notice of the
proceedings unless both parties agree to disclose the case.
The Methanex vs. United States case is pending, but other companies
have already triumphed in their quest to acquire financial compensation
for the loss of potential profits. In 2000, the Metaclad Corporation
won a suit against the Mexican government. The outcome of the case
means that $16.7 million of Mexican taxpayers' money will go to
Metaclad in compensation for profits lost because the government
stopped it from building a toxic waste dump.
"Regulatory takings" laws have not yet been adopted into
US domestic law. The Supreme Court has so far declined to accept
this redefinition of the Constitution. However, NAFTA's precedent
has opened the door for the "takings" premise to become
a standard facet of international law, and corporations are working
to realize that goal.
In April of 2001, a collection of 29 major US multinational corporations
and industry organizations (including GE, Ford, GM, International
Paper, Motorola, Dow, DuPont, Chevron, Procter & Gamble and
3M) wrote to US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, urging him
to push for a Chapter 11-type provision in upcoming FTAA negotiations.
The letter applauded NAFTA's regulatory takings clause, saying it
provides "protection from regulations that diminish the value
of investors' assets." Although FTAA negotiations are not yet
complete, at present the draft of the agreement includes a provision
nearly identical to Chapter 11 that allows for "investor-to-state"
If the potential profit laws succeed to the degree that some companies
hope they will, such basic government regulations as minimum wage
and OSHA standards may become null and void in favor of corporate
profit. As Epstein writes in his Takings book, "It will be
said that my position invalidates much of the 20th century legislation,
and so it does."
(#13) Henry Kissinger and Gerald Ford Lied to the American Public
about East Timor
Asheville Global Report
Title: Documents Show US Sanctioned Invasion of East Timor
Author: Jim Lobe, (IPS)
Student researcher: Connie Lytle,
Corporate media coverage:
San Diego Union, A-29, 12/12/01
The release of previously classified documents makes it clear that
former President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger,
in a face-to-face meeting in Jakarta, gave then President Suharto
a green light for the 1975 invasion of East Timor.
According to documents released by the National Security Archive
(NSA), in December of 2001(the 26th anniversary of Indonesias
invasion of East Timor) Suharto told Ford during their talks on
December 6, 1975 that, "We want your understanding if it was
deemed necessary to take rapid or drastic action [in East Timor]."
In a previously secret memorandum, Ford replied, "We will understand
and not press you on the issue. We understand the problem and the
intentions you have." Kissinger similarly agreed, with reservations
about the use of U.S. made arms in the invasion. Kissinger went
on to say regarding the use of U.S. arms, " It depends on how
we construe it, whether it is self-defense or is a foreign operation,"
suggesting the invasion might be framed in a way acceptable to U.S.
law. Kissinger added, "It is important that whatever you do
the U.S. administration would be able to influence
the reaction in America if whatever happens after we return [to
the U.S.]. If you have made plans, we will do our best to keep everyone
quiet until the President returns home."
For years Henry Kissinger has denied that any discussion of East
Timor took place in Jakarta. The newly released dialogue between
the three adds significantly to what is known about the role the
US played in condoning the Indonesian invasion. The dialogue was
part of a batch of documents on U.S. policy effecting East Timor
obtained through the National Security Archive. Indonesia invaded
East Timor the day after Ford and Kissinger left. As many as 230,000
East Timorese died as a result of Indonesia's invasion and the 23-year
occupation of the country. As much as one third of the population
died as a result of starvation, disease, caused by counter-insurgency
operations carried out by the Indonesian army from 1976 to 1999.
According to Amnesty International, East Timor represents one of
the worst cases of genocides in the 20th century.
Under international pressure Indonesia allowed a plebiscite in
1999, in which East Timorese overwhelmingly voted for independence.
After the vote Jakarta-backed militias rampaged the territory, burning
and looting the country. The UN Security Council authorized an Australian-led
international force to restore order. East Timor is now an independent
(#14) New Laws Restrict Access to Abortions in US
September/ October 2001
Title: "The Quiet War on Abortion"
Author: Barry Yeoman
Faculty Evaluator: Greta Vollmer
Student researcher: Kara Stout
A quiet war against abortion rights is being conducted by many
local governments in the United States. Cities and counties are
placing repressive legal restrictions on abortion providers under
the guise of women's health laws. These restrictions can include:
width of hallways, jet and angle type of drinking fountains, the
heights of ceilings, and how long one must wait between initially
seeing the doctor and when the procedure can be performed.
These legal ordinances are known as TRAP laws. TRAP stands for
Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. These laws attempt to
restrict all aspects of the physical environment related to an abortion.
While called women's health laws, they are seldom applied to any
medical facility other than abortion clinics. The goal of TRAP laws
is to discourage and make extremely difficult a woman's legal right
to choose abortion. In the words of one right-to-life leader, the
idea is to create an environment "where abortion may indeed
be perfectly legal, but no one can get one."
TRAP laws have been passed in several states including Utah, Connecticut,
Louisiana, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Alabama, Colorado, Mississippi,
New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Illinois, Nebraska, and Texas. Complying
with TRAP laws can be very expensive. Remodeling modifications such
as hallway width, angle and jet types for drinking fountains, ceiling
height, doorway width, counseling room dimensions, air-circulation
rates, outdoor weed-control practices, and separate changing rooms
for men have resulted in the closing of cash-poor abortion clinics.
Sometimes the clinics are closed only temporarily, but often the
repairs are simply too expensive and the clinic is forced to cease
In 1992, when the Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling established
continued support for the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, a new stealthier
strategy was shaped by pro-life campaigners. Right-to-life advocates
began thinking about other ways to attack abortion rights that were
not so overtly challenging to the Roe v. Wade decision. By claiming
that abortions take place in dirty facilities and cause such illnesses
as depression and breast cancer, right-to-lifers have subtly moved
away from the moral and legal debate and into a nebulous realm of
Dorinda Bordlee, a right-to-life advocate and staff counsel for
Americans United for Life, says, "What's good for the child
is good for the mother. So now we're advocating legislation that
is good for women." With this reasoning, anti-abortionist make
laws sound plausible and even necessary. However, the dimensions
of a counseling room will clearly not guarantee a safe and correct
abortion. Counseling room size does not protect a woman's health,
but it does restrict the availability of abortions.
Louisiana's newest anti-abortion law, known as the civil-liability
law, would allow any woman who has had the procedure to sue the
doctor for up to 10 yearsnot just for her own injuries, but
also for "damages occasioned by the unborn child." While
still being challenged in court, this civil-liability law threatens
the viability of clinics in the entire state of Louisiana.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly supported a woman's right to abortion,
but these laws are quietly taking that right away. If these laws
remain unchallenged it may mean the end of legal abortions in the
(#15) Bush's Energy Plan Threatens Environment and Public Health
Title: The Loyal Opposition: Bushs Global-warming Smog
Author: David Corn
Environment News Service
Title: Bush Energy Plan Could Increase Pollution
Author: Cat Lazaroff
The Progressive Populist, www.populist.com/
March 15, 2002
Title: Smog Screen
Author: David Corn
Faculty evaluator: Dorothy Friedel
Student researcher: Derek Fieldsoe
The Bush administration's energy plan will actually increase air
pollution in the United States. The plan calls for increased fossil
fuel consumption, and for decreased funding for research into renewable,
clean energy development. The plan also lowers upgrade requirements
on 30- to 60-year-old power plants that often emit four to ten times
as much sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, and mercury
as newer power plants. The administration stands behind this plan
despite higher smog levels, increased respiratory related hospital
visits, and record high asthma cases on the East Coast last year,
Although Bush conceded earlier in his presidency that global warming
is underway and that steps must be taken to reduce emissions, the
U.S. is still responsible for 25% of the world's emissions. The
Bush plan puts into jeopardy the New Source Review (NSR) provision,
which is a vital part of the Clean Air Act. The NSR requires facilities
to offset pollution increases with reductions elsewhere in the facility
or demonstrate that the facility is using the best available pollution
control. Major power, coal, and oil companies who own power plants
that were built between 1940 and 1970, have sought to ease the restrictions
of the NSR claiming that the law hurts their business due to high
costs to upgrade to the best available pollution control technology.
The EPA and several states have successfully sued a number of large
utilities for violation of this NSR provision. These legal victories
have led to millions of dollars in penalties.
Power plant air pollutants in some regions are known to cause as
much damage to human lungs as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
According to Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, "President
Bush's invitation to weaken these pollution controls is an invitation
to increase asthma and other health problems triggered by power
While East Coast record smog levels have resulted in 6 million
asthma attacks and 212,000 hospital visits due to respiratory problems
last summer, George Bush claims his energy plan will be good for
the environment and the economy. After rejecting the 1997 Kyoto
accord (which was supported by every other industrialized nation
in the world), Bush declared that, "Our immediate goal is to
reduce America's greenhouse gas emissions relative to the size of
our economy." While this sounds like a positive statement,
it should be known that what the Bush energy plan actually means
is that the rate of emission production must stay below the rate
of economic growth but will result in increasing pollution by 14%
over the coming decade. So the plan calls for no immediate reduction,
only slower increases. Emission producing businesses would only
have to monitor and report their emissions to receive pollution
credits, which can then be sold to other companies to increase their
Additionally, the Bush plan calls for a slashing of funding in
research for renewable, clean forms of energy such as wind and solar
power, which can provide very effective amounts of energy for U.S.
consumption. The slashing of funding for research into clean renewable
energy and increased dependence on fossil fuels will speed up the
effects of global warming and have a detrimental effect on our health
(#16) CIA Kidnaps Suspects for Overseas Torture and Execution
February, 23, 2003, p. 1
Title: Love Letter Tracks Terrorist's Footsteps
Author: Don Greenlees
World Socialist Website: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/mar2002/cia-m20_prn.shtml
March 20, 2002
Title: U.S. Oversees Abduction, Torture, Execution of Alleged Terrorists
Author: Barry Grey
Original U.S. Source: *
The Washington Post
March 11, 2002, pg. A01
Title; U.S. Behind Secret Transfer of Terror Suspects"
Authors: Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Peter Finn, W.P. Foreign Service,
March 11, 2002, pg. A01
Faculty evaluator: Noel Byrne
Student Researcher: Sarah Potts
Corporate media coverage:
Pittsburgh Post - Gazette, 3/17/02, A-4
US agents are involved in abducting people they suspect of terrorist
activities and sending them to countries where torture during interrogation
is legal, according to US diplomatic sources. Suspects are shipped
to allied countries where they are denied legal assistance and imprisoned
without any specific charges made against them. The prisoners have
been taken to countries such as Egypt and Jordan (whose intelligence
agencies have close ties to the CIA) where they can be subjected
to interrogation tactics, including torture and threats to family,
which are illegal in the United States.
One of the abductees, Muhammad Saad Iqbal Madni was believed by
the CIA to be an al-Qaeda member with possible links to Richard
Reid, the American Airlines shoe bomber. In January, 2002 the CIA
provided Indonesian intelligence officials with information that
lead to Iqbal's arrest. A few days later, the Egyptian government
requested that Iqbalwho had carried a passport for Egypt as
well as Pakistanbe extradited in connection with terrorism,
although they did not specify the crime. Indonesian agents quickly
took him into custody, and two days later, without legal hearing
or access to a lawyer, Iqbal was put on board an unmarked, US-registered
Gulfstream V jet, arranged by the CIA, and flown from Jakarta to
Indonesian government officials told local media that Iqbal had
been sent to Egypt because of visa violations. However, a senior
Indonesian government official told reporters that revealing the
US role in Iqbal's case would have prompted criticism from Muslim-oriented
political parties in the region. "We can't be seen as cooperating
too closely with the United States," he said. Nevertheless,
the official confirmed that, "This was a US deal all along.
Egypt just provided the formalities."
According to one US diplomat, "After September 11th, these
sorts of movements have been occurring. It allows us to get information
from terrorists in a way we can't do on U.S. soil."
Although such "movements" have intensified since 9/11,
the U.S. has long been involved in this practice of kidnapping.
These abductions, known to those in the business as "rendition,"
violate local and international extradition laws as well as internationally
recognized human rights standards. According to the Post's sources,
from 1993 to 1999, suspects were rendered to the U.S. from a variety
of countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and the Philippines.
US officials have acknowledged some of these operations, but the
Washington Post's sources say that dozens of other covert renditions
occurred, the details of which remain cloaked in secrecy.
Some documented cases include reports of suspects being interrogated,
tortured, and even executed. In 1998, US agents apprehended Talaat
Fouad Qassem, the reputed leader of an Egyptian extremist organization,
in Croatia. Qassem had been traveling to Denmark, where he had been
promised political asylum. Egyptian lawyers say that the US agents
removed Quassem to a US ship stationed off the Croatian coast. On
board, he was questioned by the agents before being taken to Cairo,
where a military tribunal had already sentenced him to death in
Also in 1998, five members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad were taken
into custody by Albanian police working in tandem with CIA agents.
The five suspects were interrogated for three days before being
shipped to Egypt on a CIA-chartered plane. The U.S. alleged that
this group of people had been planning to bomb the US embassy in
Albania's capital. Two of the five people were put to death.
*The details of this covert and illegal abduction campaign were
brought to light in the U.S. by a Washington Post article printed
on March 11, 2002, entitled, "U.S. Behind Secret Transfer of
Terror Suspects." The article cites various U.S. and Indonesian
officials (sources unidentified by name) recounting and commenting
upon these violations. Although the article appeared on the Post's
front page, the story was picked up by only one other corporate
media source in the U.S., and the Post itself as of this
writing has not followed up its own story with any new information.
(#17) Corporate Media Ignores Key Issues of the Anti-Globalization
Columbia Journalism Review JR
Date: September/October 2001
Title: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: The Globalization Protests and the
Author: John Giuffo
Faculty evaluator: Suzanne Toczyski
Student researchers: Caroline Hubbard, Cathy Jensen, Derek Fieldsoe
Corporate media coverage: NY Times, 2/5/02, A-15
The US press failed to inform the public of the core underlying
issues of the major anti-globalization protests of recent years.
Dramatic images such as protesters enshrouded in tear gas, facing
down a line of police officers dressed in riot gear have come to
dominate the media coverage and overshadow the actual reasons that
thousands of people are taking to the streets.
In July of 2001, over 100,000 people went to Genoa to protest the
G-8 meetings. Corporate television gave little recognition to the
issues that were being raised by the protesters. CNN showed few
protesters actually sharing their views or reasons for protesting.
Instead, news correspondents briefly summed up the protest in terms
of who was there. This broad summary format was significantly lacking
attention to specifics of the meetings or the protests. On Fox networks,
the Genoa protesters were all but ignored.
A hard look at more than 200 stories by major news outlets including:
ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times,
The Washington Post, Time, and Newsweek, shows serious weaknesses
in the coverage of the four largest proteststhe International
Monetary Fund meeting in Prague in September 2000; the Hemispheric
Free Trade talks in Quebec City in April, 2001; the European Union
summit in Gothenburg, Sweden in June of 2001; and the G-8 meeting
that took place in Genoa in July of 2001. The problem is not so
much the focus on the small percentage of protesters who acted violently
but that the coverage lacks context.
The message that protesters are trying to get across is that they
want more democratic control (and less corporate control) over the
rules that affect the environment and labor conditions around the
world. This includes more democratic control over supranational
organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary
Fund, and the World Trade Organization, whose un-elected leaders,
the protesters argue, override democratically determined laws and
regulations in the name of development and free
There are many instances of police brutality at these large protests,
yet what tends to be emphasized by the mainstream news sources are
the few acts of violence perpetrated by the protesters. For example,
at the Genoa protest that took place last year, approximately seventy
members of an Italian SWAT team barged through the doorway of a
site where protesters were organizing. This led to the hospitalization
of sixty-one demonstrators.
However, few news sources reported the police violence, and most
sources focused on protester violence. CBS News released a Web report
that indicated that the protesters were injured during the previous
days events. European news sources and Independent News organizations,
such as Indymedia.org put out full reports of police brutality against
An article in The New York Times, written by Andrew Jacobs supports
the notion that the media coverage of anti-globalization protests
is appalling. Jacobs reports, most press accounts focused
on security concerns and the potential for violence
little room for explanations of why people were protesting in the
(#18) World's Coral Reefs Dying
Title: Shoals Of Time: Are We Witnessing The Extinction of the World's
Author: Julia Whitty
Faculty evaluator: Ervand Peterson
Student researcher: Connie Lytle
One-quarter of all coral reefs have been destroyed by pollution,
sedimentation, over-fishing, and rapid global climate change. Coral
reefs have survived enormous changes in our planet's past, but today
they are experiencing challenges from a multitude of new fronts.
Remaining reefs are in such peril that governments are preparing
for the contingency that millions of island residents will need
to be relocated.
Corals are among the simplest of invertebrate animals. They are
composed of little more than a hollow tube, the gastric cavity,
which is surrounded by a fringe of stinging tentacles with which
they capture prey. Generation after generation of new corals grow
atop the limestone skeletons of dead corals, until a reef is formed.
The growth is less than one inch per year, and the colonies can
live a thousand years or more. Coral colonies occur in the narrow
band of equatorial water at the 21°C isotherm, where the delicate
balance between sunlight, temperature, salinity, nutrients, and
gases meets the exacting requirements of the tiny coral animals,
and compose the largest aquatic architecture on the planet.
Ordinarily, more than 6.5 million zooxanthellae inhabit each square
inch of coral, and in return these algae contribute the by-products
of their photosynthesis: oxygen, carbohydrates, and alkalinity.
The corals calcium carbonate production is considered a likely
mediator of atmospheric CO2, making this collaboration between plant
and animal a contributor to the stability of our atmosphere. The
reefs contain nearly one-quarter of all marine life and, as they
are visibly altered by climatic and sea level changes, are often
called the record-keepers of the sea.
Under assault from pollution, coastal development, agricultural
runoff, overpopulation, and over-fishing, the worlds reefs
are exhibiting their vulnerability in many ways. Each year new coral
diseases are discovered, some caused by such factors as the desertification
of Africa, where huge volumes of dust in the atmosphere are dropping
viral and fungal spores onto the weakened seas.
In the last two decades, worldwide coral bleaching events associated
with higher seawater temperatures have destroyed reefs throughout
entire ocean basins. Increasing global temperatures, resulting in
a lack of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates necessary for coral
reproductive and skeleton building causes bleached corals. A 1991
bleaching event in French Polynesia led to the death of 25% of all
Acropora corals. The 1997-98 El Nino killed 70% of all corals in
the Indian Ocean from Africa to India, and the reefs of the Galapagos
Islands have yet to show signs of recovery from the bleaching event
17 years ago. Increases in ultraviolet rays entering the atmosphere
have contributed to the bleaching effect in the coral reefs worldwide.
The worldwide trade in aquarium fishing, currently worth $200 million
per year, is another source of coral reef destruction. The collection
methods of exotic fish include using poisons, primarily sodium cyanide,
which destroy entire ecosystems in order to capture the few remaining
fish on the perimeter. Blast fishery, also common in such places
as the Philippines, is a practice whereby fish for local consumption
are collected with explosives, killing the fish at the epicenter,
and incapacitating those on the perimeters. The blasts reduce the
reefs to rubble, from which they may never recover.
(#19) American Companies Exploit the Congo
Dollars and Sense
Title: The Business of War in the Democratic Republic Of Congo:
Authors: Dena Montague, Frieda Berrigan
Voice (Pioneer Valley, MA)
Title: Depopulation and Perception Management (Part 2: Central Africa)
Author: keith harmon snow
Honorable Mention: From Previous Censored Yearbook 2001
Title: U. S. Military and Corporate Recolonization of the Congo
Source: CovertAction Quarterly
Date: Summer 2000
Title: U. S. Military and Corporate Recolonization of the Congo
Author: Ellen Ray
Faculty evaluator: Philip Beard,
Student researchers: Arinze Anoruo, Chris Salvano
Western multinational corporations attempts to cash in on
the wealth of Congo's resources have resulted in what many have
called "Africa's first world war," claiming the lives
of over 3 million people. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
has been labeled "the richest patch of earth on the planet."
The valuable abundance of minerals and resources in the DRC has
made it the target of attacks from U.S.-supported neighboring African
countries Uganda and Rwanda.
The DRC is minerial rich with millions of tons of diamonds, copper,
cobalt, zinc, manganese, uranium, niobium, and tantalum also known
as coltan. Coltan has become an increasingly valuable resource to
American corporations. Coltan is used to make mobile phones, night
vision goggles, fiber optics, and capacitators used to maintain
the electrical charge in computer chips. In December of 2000 the
shortage of coltan was the main reason that the popular sale of
the Sony Play Station 2 video game came to an abrupt halt.
The DRC holds 80% of the world's coltan reserves, more than 60%
of the world's cobalt and is the world's largest supplier of high-grade
copper. With these minerals playing a major part in maintaining
US military dominance and economic growth, minerals in the Congo
are deemed vital US interests.
Historically, the U.S. government identified sources of materials
in Third World countries, and then encouraged U.S. corporations
to invest in and facilitate their production. Dating back to the
mid-1960s, the U.S. government literally installed the dictatorship
of Mobutu Sese Seko, which gave U.S. corporations access to the
Congo's minerals for more than 30 years. However, over the years
Mobutu began to limit access by Western corporations, and to control
the distribution of resources. In 1998, U.S. military-trained leaders
of Rwanda and Uganda invaded the mineral-rich areas of the Congo.
The invaders installed illegal colonial-style governments which
continue to receive millions of dollars in arms and military training
from the United States. Our government and a $5 million Citibank
loan maintains the rebel presence in the Congo. Their control of
mineral rich areas allows western corporations, such as American
Mineral Fields, to illegally mine. Rwandan and Ugandan control over
this area is beneficial for both governments and for the corporations
that continue to exploit the Congo's natural wealth.
American Mineral Fields (AMF) landed exclusive exploration rights
to an estimated 1.4 million tons of copper and 270,000 tons of cobalt.
San Francisco based engineering firm Bechtel Inc. established strong
ties in the rebel zones as well. Bechtel drew up an inventory of
the Congo's mineral resources free of charge, and also paid for
NASA satellite studies of the country for infared maps of its minerals.
Bechtel estimates that the DRC's mineral ores alone are worth $157
billion dollars. Through coltan production, the Rwandans and their
allies are bringing in $20 million revenue a month. Rwanda's diamond
exports went from 166 carats in 1998 to 30,500 in 2000. Uganda's
diamond exports jumped from approximately 1,500 carats to about
11,300. The final destination for many of these minerals is the
(#20) Novartis' Gene Research Endangers Global Plant Life
The London Observer
October 8, 2000
Title: Gene Scientists Disable Plants' Immune Systems
Author: Antony Barnett
Faculty evaluator: Albert Wahrhaftig
Student researcher: Alessandra Diana, Gabrielle Mitchell
Scientists working for Swiss food giant Novartis have developed
and patented a method for 'switching off' the immune systems of
plants, to the outrage of environmentalists and Third World charities
who believe the new technology to be the most dangerous use so far
of gene modification.
Patents filed by Novartis, manufacturers of Ovaltine, reveal that
its scientists expect to be able to use the radical biotechnology
for almost every crop on earth. Novartis claims that the new use
of genetic modification (GM) will give farmers greater control over
disease and boost production. But critics insist that it will make
Third World farmers dependent on buying the company's chemicals
each year to produce healthy harvests.
A spokeswoman for Novartis said, We are trying to help farmers,
not hinder them. We are looking at ways to improve the way plants
fight disease. She agreed that the company had discovered
a way of genetically modifying crops so that their immune systems
were disabled, but stressed that this was for research purposes
only. The process involves transferring a single DNA molecule, described
by the firm as the NIM gene, to the plant. This gene then reacts
with the plant's immune system, allowing it to be switched on selectively
by the use of chemicals when disease threatens. But the patent also
describes plants where the entire immune system has been switched
off, making them highly prone to disease.
Environmentalists fear the new technology could have a disastrous
ecological impact if crops with suppressed immune systems are allowed
to cross-pollinate with surrounding plant life. The use of GM technology,
which uses chemicals to activate genetic traits, was specifically
condemned by the UN earlier this year. It recommended that the technology
not be field-tested and called for a moratorium on its development
until the impact had been fully assessed.
The patent documents seen by The Observer suggest that Novartis
intends to use the new GM technology on barley, cucumber, tobacco,
rice, chilli, wheat, banana, and tomatos. The company cites an extensive
list of more than 80 crops, including several cereals, dozens of
fruits such as apples, pears, and strawberries, vegetables like
beans and lentils, and cash crops like cotton and tea.
Alex Wijeratna of Action Aid, a charity that works with farmers
in developing countries, said, We find it extremely frightening
that such a powerful multi-national [corporation]is working on this
type of technology, which seems aimed at protecting their profits
by threatening the rights of poor farmers.
Dr. Sue Mayer, director of Gene Watch, says, These companies
should halt development of these potentially dangerous products
until there has been a proper assessment of whether they are good
(#21) Large U.S Temp Company Undermines Union Jobs and Mistreats
The Progressive Populist
June 1, 2001
Title: Temps are Ready for Organizing If AFL-CIO Provides the Muscle
Author: Harry Kelber
Faculty/Community Evaluator: Michael Robinson
Student Researcher: Eduardo Barragan, Connie Lytle
Labor Ready Inc. is a national temporary employment agency that
employed over 700,000 people in 2000. Labor Ready has 839 offices
in 49 states and in Canada, and stands ready to place temporary
workers as strikebreakers in union labor disputes. During the recent
Northwest steal strike, it was Labor Ready who provided hundreds
of strike breakers to Kaiser Aluminum in Spokane Washington.
Labor Ready temps are often paid minimum wage for what can be very
rigorous construction work. They receive no health benefits and
can be seriously mistreated in their temporary places of employment.
Workers are required to arrive at dispatch offices between 5-6:00
A.M. and wait for daily referrals. Workers are not paid for the
waiting time at the dispatch office. Labor Ready workers have to
pay an average of $1.58 when they cash their daily paycheck at the
company's cash dispensing machines. In 1999 the company raked in
$7.7 million in fees from these machines. Labor Ready's worker injury
rate is three times the national average.
The AFL-CIO Building and Constructions Trade Department (BCTD)
has supported class action lawsuits by former Labor Ready employees,
and would like to see a national union organizing efforts to protect
temporary workers nationwide.
BCTD President, Edward Sullivan stated, "Our organizing committee
is wrestling with the growing threat posed by temporary employment
agencies, which are selling themselves as 'hiring halls without
the union' and sending thousands of construction workers out to
jobs everyday." Some 75 building and construction trades councils,
and more than 100 local unions in 30 states are participating in
BCTD's campaign to organize temporary workers. Labor Ready has been
forced to close 10% of its hiring offices because of union activities,
but there is still no noticeable improvement in wages or working
There are practical reasons a national union drive is difficult.
Many temp workers are unskilled or semi-skilled, with hourly wage
rates of less than one-third the average union scale. Only about
one-third of Labor Ready's employees work in construction. Most
workers are used in manufacturing, trucking, landscaping, yard work,
and other day-labor assignments. It is very difficult to organize
such a transitory labor force.
(#22) Fish Farms Threaten Health of Consumers and Aquatic Habitats
Mother Jones Magazine
November / December 2001
Title: Aquacultures Troubled Harvest
Author: Bruce Barcott
PEW Oceans Commission Report on Marine Aquaculture, 2001
Title: Marine Aquaculture in the United States: Environmental Impacts
and Policy Options
Authors: Rebecca J. Goldburg, Matthew S. Elliott, Rosamond L. Naylor
Faculty evaluator: Bill Crowley
Synopsis by: Anthony Sult, Adam Cimino
Farmed fish provide one-third of the seafood consumed by people
worldwide. In the US, aquaculture supplies almost all of the catfish
and trout as well as half of the shrimp and salmon. In the early
1990s, the fledgling aquaculture industry was hailed as a remedy
to the problem of marine over-fishing and the subsequent decline
in jobs for fishermen. Unfortunately, aquacultures harm to
people and surrounding environments may be greater than its highly
A recent Canadian study found that a single serving of farmed salmon
contains three to six times the World Health Organization's recommended
daily intake limit for dioxins and PBCs. A salmon farm of 200,000
fish releases an amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and fecal matter
roughly equivalent to the nutrient waste in untreated sewage from
20,000 to 25,000 people. Farmed salmon (usually called Atlantic
or cultured Atlantic salmon) are genetically modified to be larger
and have a 50 to 70 percent higher metabolic rate. When these super-fish
get into the wild they compete unfairly for food resources, causing
an increased rate of starvation among wild fish.
There is also a wide range of chemicals used in aquaculture, including
antibiotics, parasiticides, pesticides, hormones, anesthetics, minerals,
and vitamins. The use of these antibiotics is a health risk for
fish as well as people, since it promotes the spread of antibiotic-resistance
in both human and fish pathogens.
Canada is a major target for salmon farming. At first, salmon farms
were welcomed for the jobs they would bring. Within a few years,
however, large foreign corporations bought out many of the smaller
operators. As the new operators took control, farms expanded and
anchored their net pens in places where wild salmon smolts rested
and fed on their way out to sea. Shrimp fishermen began pulling
up traps full of back muck a gooey mixture of feces, excess
antibiotic-laden fish feed, and decayed salmon carcasses that had
drifted out of the pens.
Other problems persist. Piercing acoustic sirens have been installed
over salmon pens to keep seals and sea lions away, the noise has
caused killer whales to flee the Canadian archipelago. To rid their
fish of sea lice, farmers dose them with ivermectin, a potent anti-parasitic
known to kill some species of shrimp. Farmed fish contracted antibiotic-resistant
stains of furunculous, a fatal disease that produces ugly skin ulcers;
wild salmon that migrated past their pens also contacted the disease.
Said one Canadian fishing guide, "I've been catching salmon
up here all my life. I'd never seen a fish with a lesion until the
farms came in."
Glen Neidrauer, a game warden who patrols the archipelago for Canada's
department of Fisheries and Oceans, said," I can appreciate
the values of the jobs, but why would you jeopardize a place so
pristine? We're not just talking fish. All the birds, bears, and
sea mammals depend on the wild salmon. I wonder how long you can
mess with that until they finally don't return."
(#23) Horses Face Lives of Unnecessary Abuse for Drug Company
The Animals Agenda
Title: Pissing their Lives Away
Faculty Evaluator: Wendy Ostroff
Student Researchers: Kelly Hand, Adam Cimino, Haley Mueller
Premarin, the top selling hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for
menopausal women, is made from pregnant mares urine (PMU).
Estrogen is extracted from the urine and is sold in many different
forms to help with the symptoms of menopause. Approximately 9 million
women are currently taking some form of Premarin and that number
is expected to rise due to aging baby boomers. Premarin, made by
Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, a subsidiary of American Home Products,
is the only human estrogen replacement drug that is derived from
animal products, most others are derived from soy and vegetables.
The patent on Premarin, owned by Wyeth-Ayerst, is about to expire.
This may well result in the manufacture of an array of generic substitutes,
and is likely to increase the number of horses used in this industry.
Pregnant horses are four legged drug machinesbeing repeatedly
impregnated and confined to narrow stalls as their urine is collected.
Horses are kept inside for 6 months out of the year. The horses
are housed in cramped stalls 8x 3 1/2x5. Horses
are hooked up to a urine collection bag that is fixed into position
just below their tail. These urine collection devises (UCDs) are
painful and unhygienic. Urine soaks the skin of the vulva and can
cause severe infection and painful lesions. The horses are tied
with a short rope to keep them from taking more then a single step
in either direction, or from lying down. After several years on
line, the mares are shipped to slaughterhouses where they are butchered
so their meat can be exported to Europe or Japan for human consumption.
Today, there are 439 PMU farms still in existence. The majority
are in Canada and a few are in North Dakota. In 1999 there were
about 55, 000 to 65,000 mares on the pee lines. Guidelines
state that horses should be offered water no less then two times
per day. However, PMU farmers prefer to water as little as possible
to keep the concentration of estrogen in the urine high. They are
paid based on the concentration not the volume of urine collected.
Every spring, each mare gives birth to a foal. These foals spend
the first few months with their mothers and then are rounded up
in September to allow their mothers to rejoin the lines. Most of
these young horses are then taken to feed lots were they are fattened
up and sold for slaughter. The meat is then exported to European
and Asian markets for human consumption.
Ollie Bracken a retired Manitoba, Canada PMU farmer, stated in
a 1995 interview that he retired from PMU farming because, When
you have to see a colt being born and then have to destroy it, its
rough because theyre just babies. I just dont think
it was right to continue what I was doing.
According to a former PMU farmer from New York, "piss farms,"
as he called them, were located in New York and Vermont in the early
50s. Urine was collected by Wyeth-Ayerst, a subsidiary of American
Home Products in Philadelphia, and taken to Montreal where it was
processed into a powdered form and then shipped back to New York
to be made into tablets and marketed
Most of the media attention regarding PMU farms has focused primarily
on the mass production and slaughter of the foals born to the tens
of thousands of mare annually. The heightened European demand for
horse meat, due to the effects of mad cow and hoof-and-mouth disease
has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of horses slaughtered,
and has caused the price of horse meat to go up.
(#24) Wal-Mart Takes Union Busting to the State Level
Madison Capital Times
Title: Wal-Mart Ravages Workers' Rights
By John Nichols
Reprinted In Asheville Global Report 9/6/01
Faculty evaluator: Phil McGough
Student researcher: Kathy Jensen
Wal-Mart has been pouring a considerable amount of money into a
political campaign supporting a law that will reduce the wages and
benefits for workers in Oklahoma. Oklahomans voted on the right
to work law in September of 2001. The law bans labor contracts
that require workers to pay union dues or representation fees. The
law also makes it difficult for unions to negotiate solid contracts.
Wal-Mart hopes to use Oklahoma as a model for a renewed campaign
to reduce the wages and benefits for workers nation wide.
This campaign will inevitably undermine the ability of unions to
effectively organize. The right to work law has union members angered
and concerned, as expressed by a member of the International Brotherhood
of Electrical Workers "Union members across the country should
take note of Wal-Mart's support of measures like 'right to work'
before they spend any of their union wages at Wal-Mart stores."
Right to work laws were developed in the 1940s by segregationists
to keep African-Americans, Latinos, and white workers in the South
and Southwest from unionizing. Right to work laws were among the
vile legacies of an era when conservatives worked at the state and
national level to erect legal barriers to racial progress. Only
two states have passed right to work laws since the civil rights
In the 21 States with right to work laws, the medium household
income is $4,882 less than states where workers are free to organize
effective unions. These states have higher poverty rates and less
health insurance coverage than states without right to work laws.
Oklahoma rejected a right to work law in 1964, when Martin Luther
King Jr. came to campaign against the proposal. This time around
however powerful right-wing interests combined with Wal-Mart to
push the initiative. The Daily Oklahoman contributed advertising
space and Governor Frank Keating and U.S. Senator Don Nickles campaigned
in support of passage.
Nichols writes, "In a sense, it is a good investment for Wal-Mart,
which often has a hard time finding workers willing to accept low
wages paid at it stores. If the Oklahoma campaign is a success,
right-to-work advocates hope to use it as a model for passing similar
initiatives in Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, New Hampshire
and New Mexico."
Update: On September 25 the voters of Oklahoma passed the right-to-work
law by a 54% margin. Wal-Mart contributed $250,000 to the campaign.
AFL-CIO had filed legal challenges to the law.
(#25) Federal Government Bails Out Failing Private Prisons
The American Prospect
September 10, 2001
Title: Bailing Out Private Jails"
Author: Judith Greene
Faculty evaluator: Pat Jackson
Student researchers Erich Lehmann, Michelle Oliva
Corporate media coverage:
The Wall Street Journal, 11/6/01
For close to a decade the private prison industry was booming because
state legislators thought they could be both tough on crime and
fiscally conservative by contracting with private prisons. However,
private prisons have been rife with more abuse and lawsuits than
state run prisons, leading to a decline in state level support.
By last year not a single state solicited private contracts and
many contracts were rolled back or even rescinded as a result of
inefficiency and abuses.
The largest private prison in the US, The Corrections Corporation
of America (CCA), has been criticized for widespread abuses and
high rates of escape. In April of 2001, prison guards at Cibola
county Correctional Center in New Mexico teargassed 700 inmates
who had staged a daylong nonviolent protest of conditions at the
facility. Additionally a score of lawsuits have been filed for beatings
of prisoners, lack of proper medical treatment, and corruption among
staff. Other private companies have similar records. Wackenhut prisons,
the second largest private-prison company, has had many similar
problems and repeated breakouts of violence.
Problems are often the consequence of companies' attempts to hold
down costs. Prisons for profit have resulted in low pay for guards
and a high turnover rate of under-qualified staff. Whereas guards
who work for state run prisons receive benefits and are usually
union members, private prisons tend to hire less-qualified, lower-cost
While most state correctional officials are aware of the problems,
the federal government continues to expand contracts with the private
prison industry. Private prison industry officials make significant
campaign contributions and their lobbyists have spread their influence
widely in Congress. High-ranking private prison company officials
have served as directors of the Federal Bureau of Prisons under
former presidents Reagan and Bush. U.S. government pending private
prison contracts are up to over $4.6 billion for the next ten years.
With the new federal contracts, CCA, which carried more than $1
billion in outstanding debt, was able to avoid bankruptcy and continue
Harsh drug laws have increased the federal prison population but
federal immigration polices are less known. The 1996 Immigration
Reform Act expanded the list of crimes for which non-citizens could
be deported after serving their sentences. About 36,000 non-citizens
are now in federal prisons. This is close to double what it was
only seven years ago. Immigrants make up 9.3 percent of the US population,
but disproportionately compose 29 percent of the federal prison
population. About half of federal prisoners are Mexican, 10 percent
Colombian, 7 percent Cuban, and the rest are a mix of other nationalities.
Only 1.5 percent were sentenced for violent offenses compared with
15 percent in state prisons.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) is now proposing up to 7,500
low security beds in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and
Oklahoma. Additionally several thousand are being proposed elsewhere
in the nation. The private, for-profit prison industry is deemed
most likely to receive these upcoming contracts.
Prison reform advocates and correctional officers are fighting
the expansion of private prisons. Democratic Congressman Ted Strickland
of Ohio, and Republican Congressman John E. Sweeney of New York
have introduced federal legislation that would deny contracts with
private prisons from the Federal Bureau Of Prisons or by states
who contract with private prisons. Nevertheless, the federal government
is making sure the private prison industry continues.
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