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Censored 2004 :

The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2002~2003

 

(#1) The Neoconservative Plan for Global Dominance

Sources:
The Sunday Herald
September 15, 2002
Title: "Bush Planned Iraq 'regime change' before becoming President"
Author: Neil Mackay

Harper's Magazine
October 2002
Title: "Dick Cheney's Song of America"
Author: David Armstrong

Mother Jones
March 2003
Title: "The 30 Year Itch"
Author: Robert Dreyfuss

Pilger.com
December 12, 2002
Title: "Hidden Agendas"
Author: John Pilger

Random Lengths News
October 4, 2002
Title: "Iraq Attack-The Aims and Origins of Bush's Plans"
Author: Paul Rosenberg

Project Censored wishes to acknowledge that Jim Lobe, the Washington, D.C. correspondent for Inter Press Service (IPS), has been covering the ways in which neo-conservatives, using the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) among other mechanisms, used the 9/11 attacks to pursue their own agenda of global dominance and reshaping the Middle East virtually from the outset of the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism.” For more information, please vist the following link: http://www.ipsnews.net/focus/neo-cons/index.asp

Faculty Evaluators: Phil Beard Ph.D. and Tom Lough Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Dylan Citrin Cummins

Corporate Media Partial Coverage:
Atlantic Journal Constitution, 9/29/02, The President's Real goal in Iraq, By Jay Bookman

Over the last year corporate media have made much of Saddam Hussein and his stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Rarely did the press or, especially, television address the possibility that larger strategies might also have driven the decision to invade Iraq. Broad political strategies regarding foreign policy do indeed exist and are part of the public record. The following is a summary of the current strategies that have formed over the last 30 years; strategies that eclipse the pursuit of oil and that preceded Hussein's rise to power:

In the 1970s, the United States and the Middle East were embroiled in a tug-of-war over oil. At the time, American military presence in the Gulf was fairly insignificant and the prospect of seizing control of Arab oil fields by force was pretty unattainable. Still, the idea of this level of dominance was very attractive to a group of hard-line, pro-military Washington insiders that included both Democrats and Republicans. Eventually labeled "neoconservatives," this circle of influential strategists played important roles in the Defense Departments of Ford, Reagan and Bush Sr., at conservative think tanks throughout the '80s and '90s, and today occupies several key posts in the White House, Pentagon, and State Department. Most principal among them are:

·Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, our current Vice-President and Defense Secretary respectively, who have been closely aligned since they served with the Ford administration in the 1970s;
·Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, the key architect of the post-war reconstruction of Iraq;
·Richard Perle, past-chairman and still-member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board that has great influence over foreign military policies;
·William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and founder of the powerful, neo-conservative think-tank, Project for a New American Century.

In the 1970s, however, neither high-level politicos, nor the American people, shared the priorities of this small group of military strategists. In 1979 the Shah of Iran fell and U.S. political sway in the region was greatly jeopardized. In 1980, the Carter Doctrine declared the Gulf "a zone of U.S. influence." It warned (especially the Soviets) that any attempt to gain control of the Persian Gulf region would be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the U.S. and repelled by any means necessary, including military force. This was followed by the creation of the Rapid Deployment Force — a military program specifically designed to rush several thousand U.S. troops to the Gulf on short notice.

Under President Reagan, the Rapid Deployment Force was transformed into the U.S. Central Command that oversaw the area from eastern Africa to Afghanistan. Bases and support facilities were established throughout the Gulf region, and alliances were expanded with countries such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

Since the first Gulf War, the U.S. has built a network of military bases that now almost completely encircle the oil fields of the Persian Gulf.

In 1989, following the end of the Cold War and just prior to the Gulf War, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and Paul Wolfowitz produced the 'Defense Planning Guidance' report advocating U.S. military dominance around the globe. The Plan called for the United States to maintain and grow in military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge us on the world stage. Using words like 'preemptive' and military 'forward presence,’ the plan called for the U.S. to be dominant over friends and foes alike. It concluded with the assertion that the U.S. can best attain this position by making itself 'absolutely powerful.'

The 1989 plan was spawned after the fall of the Soviet Union. Without the traditional threat to national security, Cheney, Powell and Wolfowitz knew that the military budget would dwindle without new enemies and threats. In an attempt to salvage defense funding, Cheney and company constructed a plan to fill the 'threat blank'. On August 2, 1990 President Bush called a press conference. He explained that the threat of global war had significantly receded, but in its wake a new danger arose. This unforeseen threat to national security could come from any angle and from any power.

Iraq, by a remarkable coincidence, invaded Northern Kuwait later the same day.

Cheney et al. were out of political power for the eight years of Clinton’s presidency. During this time the neo-conservatives founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). The most influential product of the PNAC was a report entitled "Rebuilding America's Defense," (www.newamericancentury.org) which called for U.S. military dominance and control of global economic markets.

With the election of George W. Bush, the authors of the plan were returned to power: Cheney as vice president, Powell as Secretary of State, and Wolfowitz in the number two spot at the Pentagon. With the old Defense Planning Guidance as the skeleton, the three went back to the drawing board. When their new plan was complete, it included contributions from Wolfowitz's boss Donald Rumsfeld. The old 'preemptive' attacks have now become 'unwarned attacks.' The Powell-Cheney doctrine of military 'forward presence' has been replaced by 'forward deterrence.' The U.S. stands ready to invade any country deemed a possible threat to our economic interests.

 

(#2) Homeland Security Threatens Civil Liberty

Sources:
, , 2-11-03 and Global Outlook, Volume 4
Title: "Secret Patriot II Destroys Remaining US Liberty"
Author: Alex Jones

Global Outlook
Winter 2003
Title: "Homeland Defense: Pentagon Declares War on America"
Author: Frank Morales

Center for Public Integrity (publicintegrity.org)
Title: "Justice Department Drafts Sweeping Expansion of Terrorism Act"
Author: Charles Lewis and Adam Mayle

Faculty evaluators: Robert Manning, Rashmi Singh Ph.D., Andrew Botterell Ph.D.
Student researchers: Sherry Grant, Dylan Citrin Cummins

Corporate Media partial coverage:
Atlanta Journal-constitution, 5/11/03/, Patriot Act II, by E. Moscoso, and N.Achrati
The Tampa Tribune, 3/28/03, Patriot Act II, by Cassio Furtado
Baltimore Sun, 2/21/03, patriot Act Squel Worse than First, by Rajeev Goyle

As reported widely in the mainstream press, the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) represents the most extensive restructuring of the U.S. government since 1947 — the year the Department of War was combined with the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Air Force, to create the Department of Defense. The new Department of Homeland Security combines over one hundred separate entities of the executive branch, including the Secret Service, the Coast Guard, and the Border Patrol, among others. The DHS employs over 170,000 federal workers and commands a total annual budget of $37 billion. But what does this mean for the people of the United States? What sort of long-term implications will it have on the day to day lives of average Americans? These questions have received scant attention in the corporate media.

The concept of Homeland Security was thrown around the Pentagon long before the events of 9/11. Originally titled "Homeland Defense," it was placed within the Pentagon's "Operations Other Than War (OOTW)" command, under the stand-alone civil disturbance plan called the "Garden Plot." Over the years, homeland defense has been extended by a host of Presidential Decision Directives and Executive Orders. Now, following the events of 9/11, the initial concept has ballooned into a vast, powerful, and far-reaching department.

One DHS mandate largely ignored by the press requires the FBI, CIA, state, and local governments to share intelligence reports with the department upon command, without explanation. Civil rights activists claim that this endangers the rights and freedoms of law-abiding Americans by blurring the lines between foreign and domestic spying (as occurred during the CointelPro plan of the '60s and '70s). According to the ACLU, the Department of Homeland Security will be "100% secret and 0% accountable." Meanwhile, the gathering, retention, and use of information collected is a central focus of the Bush administration's new agenda. Officially established to track down terrorists, information can be collected on any dissenter, American citizen or not, violent or not. The classification of recent peace marches and protests as "terrorist events" within DOD and FEMA documents is one example of the dangerous potential of these mandates.

As part of Homeland Security, the PATRIOT Act of 2001 allows the government increased and unprecedented access to the lives of American citizens and represents an unrestrained imposition on our civil liberties. Wiretaps, previously confined to one phone, can now follow a person from place to place at the behest of government agents and people can now be detained on the vague suspicion that they might be a terrorist — or assisting one. Detainees can also be denied the right to legal representation (or the right of private counsel when they are allowed to meet with their attorneys).

William Safire, a writer for the New York Times, defined the first Patriot Act as a Presidential effort to seize dictatorial control. No member of Congress was given sufficient time to study the first Patriot Act that was passed by the house on October 27, 2001. In some cases, while driving the Act through Congress, Vice-President Cheney would not allow the legislation to be read; publicly threatening members of Congress that they would be blamed for the next terrorist attack if they did not vote for the Patriot Act.

The “Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003” (AKA Patriot Act II) poses even greater hazards to civil liberties. The draft proposal of Patriot Act II was leaked from Ashcroft's staff in February of 2003 and is stamped 'Confidential — Not for Distribution.' Patriot Act II was widely editorialized against in the U.S. media but full disclosure on the contents, implications and motivations were under developed. In particular, there are three glaring areas that warranted greater coverage by the American media:

The second Patriot Act proposes to place the entire Federal government and many areas of state government under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Justice department, the Office of Homeland Security and the FEMA NORTHCOM military command.

Under section 501, a U.S. citizen engaging in lawful activity can be picked off the streets or from home and taken to a secret military tribunal with no access to or notification of a lawyer, the press, or family. This would be considered "justified" if the agent 'inferred from conduct' suspicious intention. One proposed option is that any violation of Federal or State law could designate a U.S. citizen as an 'enemy combatant' and allow him or her to be stripped of citizenship.

Section 102 states that any information gathering can be considered as the pursuit of covert intelligence for a foreign power — even legal intelligence gathering by a U.S. reporter. This provision could make newsgathering illegal, and therefore an act of terrorism.

In addition, the Bush administration is calling for a repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, a law passed after the Civil War to prohibit the deployment of federal military forces onto American streets to control civil action — otherwise known as Martial Law.

One fear among civil rights activists is that, now that the details of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act/Patriotic Act II have been revealed, the proposals contained therein will be taken apart, renamed, and incorporated into other, broader pieces of legislation within the Department of Homeland Security.

 

(#3) US Illegally Removes Pages from Iraq UN Report

Source:
The Humanist and ArtVoice
March/April 2003
Title: "What bush didn't want you to know about Iraq"
Author: Michael I. Niman

Faculty Evaluator: Thom Lough Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Lindsey Brage, Licia Marshall

First covered by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!

Throughout the winter of 2002, the Bush administration publicly accused Iraqi weapons declarations of being incomplete. The almost unbelievable reality of this situation is that it was the United States itself that had removed over 8,000 pages of the 11,800 page original report.

This came as no surprise to Europeans however, as Iraq had made extra copies of the complete weapons declaration report and unofficially distributed them to journalists throughout Europe. The Berlin newspaper Die Tageszetung broke the story on December 19, 2002 in an article by Andreas Zumach.

At the same time, according to the investigation by Michael Niman, the Iraq government sent out official copies of the report on November 3, 2002. One, classified as "secret," was sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency, another copy went to the UN Security Council. The U.S. convinced Colombia, chair of the Security Council and current target of U.S. military occupation and financial aid, to look the other way while the report was removed, edited, and returned. Other members of the Security Council such as Britain, France, China and Russia, were implicated in the missing pages as well (China and Russia were still arming Iraq) and had little desire to expose the United States' transgression. So all members accepted the new, abbreviated version.

But what was in the missing pages that the Bush administration felt was so threatening that they had to be removed? What information were Europeans privy to that Americans were not?

According to Niman, "The missing pages implicated twenty-four U.S.-based corporations and the successive Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. administration in connection with the illegal supplying of Saddam Hussein government with myriad weapons of mass destruction and the training to use them." Groups documented in the original report that were supporting Iraq's weapons programs prior to Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait included:

- Eastman Kodak, Dupont, Honeywell, Rockwell, Sperry, Hewlett-Packard, and Bechtel,
- U.S. government agencies such as the Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture and Department of Defense,
- Nuclear weapons labs such as Lawrence-Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia.
Beginning in 1983, the U.S. was involved in eighty shipments of biological and chemical components, including strains of botulism toxin, anthrax, gangrene bacteria, West Nile fever virus, and Dengue fever virus. These shipments continued even after Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran in 1984. Later, in 1988 Iraq used the chemical weapons against the Kurds.

But perhaps most importantly, the missing pages contain information that could potentially make a case for war crimes against officials within the Reagan and the Bush Sr. administrations. This includes the current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld — for his collaboration with Saddam Hussein leading up to the massacres of Iraqi Kurds and acting as liaison for U.S. military aid during the war between Iraq and Iran.

 

(#4) Rumsfeld's Plan to Provoke Terrorists

Source:
CounterPunch (www.counterpunch.org/floyd101.html)
November 1, 2002
Title: "Into the Dark"
Author: Chris Floyd
Evaluator: Catherine Nelson Ph.D., Meri Storino Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Jennifer Scanlan

Corporate Media Coverage:
Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2002, "The Secret War", by William Arkin

According to a classified document, "Special Operations and Joint Forces in Countering Terrorism" prepared for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board, a new organization has been created to thwart potential terrorist attacks on the United States. This counter-terror operations group— the "Proactive Preemptive Operations Group" (P2OG) will require 100 people and at least $100 million a year. The team of covert counter-intelligence agents will be responsible for secret missions designed to target terrorist leaders. The secret missions are designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.

This means that the United States government is planning to use secret military operations in order to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. In a strange twist of logic, it seems the plan is to somehow combat terrorism by causing it. According to the report, other strategies include stealing money from terrorist cells or tricking them with fake communications. The Defense Department already maintains a secretive counter-terror operations group known as Delta Force that is called in when a crisis happens.

Exactly what type of actions would be required to "stimulate reactions" by terrorist groups has yet to be revealed. When asked questions regarding what measures would be taken, Pentagon sources responded with, "Their sovereignty will be at risk."

The current P2OG program is not entirely new to the United States. One similar program was Operation Northwoods. In 1963, America's top military brass presented a plan to President John Kennedy that called for a fake terrorist campaign — complete with bombings, hijackings, plane crashes and dead Americans — to provide "justification" for an invasion of Cuba, a Mafia/corporate fiefdom which had recently been lost to Castro. Kennedy rejected the plan, and was killed a few months later. Now Rumsfeld has resurrected Northwoods, but on a far grander scale, with resources at his disposal undreamed of by his predecessors, and no counterbalancing global rival to restrain him.

Former president Nixon wanted such a group, but congress denied it; President Reagan tried to use the National Security Council instead, but ran into trouble with the Iran-Contra affair. Now, President Bush may finally realize the dream.

 

(#4) Rumsfeld's Plan to Provoke Terrorists

Source:
CounterPunch (www.counterpunch.org/floyd101.html)
November 1, 2002
Title: "Into the Dark"
Author: Chris Floyd
Evaluator: Catherine Nelson Ph.D., Meri Storino Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Jennifer Scanlan

Corporate Media Coverage:
Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2002, "The Secret War", by William Arkin

According to a classified document, "Special Operations and Joint Forces in Countering Terrorism" prepared for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board, a new organization has been created to thwart potential terrorist attacks on the United States. This counter-terror operations group— the "Proactive Preemptive Operations Group" (P2OG) will require 100 people and at least $100 million a year. The team of covert counter-intelligence agents will be responsible for secret missions designed to target terrorist leaders. The secret missions are designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.

This means that the United States government is planning to use secret military operations in order to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. In a strange twist of logic, it seems the plan is to somehow combat terrorism by causing it. According to the report, other strategies include stealing money from terrorist cells or tricking them with fake communications. The Defense Department already maintains a secretive counter-terror operations group known as Delta Force that is called in when a crisis happens.

Exactly what type of actions would be required to "stimulate reactions" by terrorist groups has yet to be revealed. When asked questions regarding what measures would be taken, Pentagon sources responded with, "Their sovereignty will be at risk."

The current P2OG program is not entirely new to the United States. One similar program was Operation Northwoods. In 1963, America's top military brass presented a plan to President John Kennedy that called for a fake terrorist campaign — complete with bombings, hijackings, plane crashes and dead Americans — to provide "justification" for an invasion of Cuba, a Mafia/corporate fiefdom which had recently been lost to Castro. Kennedy rejected the plan, and was killed a few months later. Now Rumsfeld has resurrected Northwoods, but on a far grander scale, with resources at his disposal undreamed of by his predecessors, and no counterbalancing global rival to restrain him.

Former president Nixon wanted such a group, but congress denied it; President Reagan tried to use the National Security Council instead, but ran into trouble with the Iran-Contra affair. Now, President Bush may finally realize the dream.

 

(#6) Closing Access to Information Technology

Source: Dollars and Sense, September 2002
Title: "Slamming Shut Open Access"
Author: Arthur Stamoulis
Evaluator: Scott Gordon Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Daryl Khoo

Technological changes, coupled with deregulation, may soon radically limit diversity on the Internet.

The 7,000 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) still available today are quickly dwindling to just two or three for any one locale. They are being bought out by large monopolies that also control your local phone, cable, and possibly, satellite internet.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress are currently overturning the public-interest rules that have encouraged the expansion of the Internet up until now. Much of this is due to the lobbying tactics that cable and phone industries use to mute the competition, take advantage of technological changes and push for deregulation to consolidate market control.

A policy of open access currently makes it possible for people to choose between long-distance phone providers. This open access policy has also allowed one to choose between AOL, MSN, Jimmy's Internet Shack, and thousands of other ISPs for dial-up Internet access. Phone companies would like to use their monopoly ownership of the phone wires to have total control over phone-based Internet services as well, but telecom regulations are in place that prevent them from blocking out other companies.

Unfortunately, as the general shift from dial-up to broadband Internet access gets underway, the FCC is moving in with a series of actions that threaten to shut down open access. In 2002 the FCC decided to characterize high-speed cable Internet connection —largely controlled by AOL-Time Warner, AT&T Broadband, and other large corporate players—as an "information service" rather than a "telecommunications service." This designation frees cable broadband from telecom rules, giving the cable companies that own broadband lines the ability to deny smaller ISP companies access over their cable lines. Cable itself is a monopoly in most towns; so anyone who signs up for cable internet will typically have no choice other than to use the cable company's own ISP.

Such degree of market control spells trouble for freedom of information on the Internet. Cable and phone monopolies would become clearinghouses for information. Corporations and government agencies will hold tremendous power to filter and censor content. ISPs already have the capability to privilege, or block out, content traveling through their web servers. With the demise of open access regulations, Internet content will likely resemble the "monotonous diet of corporate content" that viewers now receive with cable television.

The monopoly power being handed over to the cable and phone companies will enable them to sell different levels of Internet access, much like they do with cable television. For one price, you could access only certain pre-approved sites; for a higher price, you could access a wider selection of sites; and only for the highest price could you access the entire World Wide Web. This is already the way that many wireless Internet packages operate. It's clear that "marginal" content that isn't associated with e-commerce, big business, or government would have a hard time making it into the first-tier, "basic" packages. This isn't censorship, we'll be told. It's just that there is only so much bandwidth to go around, and customers would rather see CNN, the Disney Channel, and porn, than community-based websites, such as www.indymedia.org.

 

(#7) Treaty Busting By the United States

Sources:
Connections, June 2002
Title: "Rule of power or rule of law?"
Authors: Marylia Kelly and Nicole Deller

The Nation, April 2002
Title: "Unsigning the ICC"
Author: John B. Anderson

Ashville Global Report, June 20-26, 2002
Title: "U.S. Invasion Proposal Shocks the Netherlands"
Compiled by: Eamon Martin

Global Outlook, Summer 2002
Title: "Nuclear Nightmare"
Author: John Valleau

Faculty Evaluators: Lynn Cominsky Ph.D., Rick Luttmann Ph.D., Mary Gomes Ph.D.
Robert MacNamara Ph.D., Diana Grant Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Pat Spiva, Tara Spreng

The United States is a signatory to nine multilateral treaties that it has either blatantly violated or gradually subverted. The Bush Administration is now outright rejecting a number of those treaties, and in doing so places global security in jeopardy as other nations feel entitled to do the same. The rejected treaties include: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Treaty Banning Antipersonnel Mines, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), a protocol to create a compliance regime for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM). The U.S. is also not complying with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Commission (CWC), the BWC, and the UN framework Convention on Climate Change.

The ABM Treaty alone is a crucial factor in national security; letting Bush get away with facilitating its demise will destroy the balance of powers carefully crafted in our Constitution. The Bush Administration has no legitimate excuse for nullifying the ABM Treaty since the events that have threatened the security of the United States have not involved ballistic missiles, and none of them are in any way related to the subject matter of the ABM Treaty. Bush's withdrawal violates the U.S. Constitution, international law, and Article XV of the ABM Treaty itself. The Bush Administration says it needs to get rid of the ABM Treaty so it can test the SPY radar on the Aegis cruisers against Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) and so that it can build a new test facility at Fort Greely, Alaska. In addition, some conservatives have willingly dismissed the ABM Treaty because it stands as the major obstacle towards development of a "Star Wars" missile defense system. Discarding treaty constraints and putting weapons in space is nothing short of pursuing absolute military superiority.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is crucial to global security because it bars the spread of nuclear weapons. The U.S. is currently in noncompliance with the NPT requirements, as demonstrated in the January 2002 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review. Moreover, critics charge that the National Ignition Facility (NIF) under construction at Livermore lab violates the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which the U.S. signed in 1996 but has not ratified. The CTBT bans nuclear explosions, and its language does not contain any "exceptions allowing laboratory thermonuclear explosions."

The twentieth century was the bloodiest in human history, with a total of 174 million people killed in genocide and war. The world increasingly needs an international legal framework from which the people of the world can be protected from heinous criminal acts, such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. This reasoning explains the votes of the 139 countries that signed the Rome Treaty, and the 67 ratifications that have resulted in the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Former U.S. president, Bill Clinton, signed the Rome Treaty supporting the ICC when he held office. However, in an unprecedented action, George W. Bush actually erased Clinton's signature (a United States president has never before 'unsigned' a treaty). Moreover, his Administration has declared it has no intention whatsoever of cooperating with the ICC.

Furthermore, in what is being called The Hague Invasion Act, or the Services Members' Protection Act, the G.O.P.-controlled House Appropriations Committee voted to authorize the use of military force to "rescue" any American brought before the ICC. Erica Terpstra, a parliamentary representative in the Netherlands where The Hague and ICC is located, states that this "is not only a gesture against the Netherlands…but against the entire international community."

While proponents of ICC consider it the most important development in international law since the Nazi war crimes Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II, the Bush Administration insists it would limit U.S. sovereignty and interfere with actions of the U.S. military.

This unprecedented rejection of and rapid retreat from global treaties that have in effect kept the peace through the decades will not only continue to isolate U.S. policy, but will also render these treaties and conventions invalid without the support and participation of the world's foremost superpower.

Additional Information from:
Space and Security News, February 2002, "The ABM Treaty: Dead or Alive?"
By Dr. Robert Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF (ret)


(#8) US/British Forces Continue Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons Despite Massive Evidence of Negative Health Effects

Sources:
The Sunday Herald
March 30, 2003
Title: "US Forces' Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons is 'Illegal'"
Author: Neil Mackay

Hustler Magazine
June 2003
Title: "Toxic Troops: What our Soldiers Can Expect in Gulf War II"
Author: Dan Kaplevitz

Children of War
March 2003
Title: "The Hidden Killer"
Author: Reese Erlich

Faculty Evaluator: Rick Williams JD
Student Researcher: Darrel Jacks, Jason Spencer

British and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq and deliberately flouting a UN resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction.

Nobel Peace Prize candidate, Helen Caldicott, states that the tiny radioactive particles created when a DU weapon hits a target are easily inhaled through gas masks. The particles, which lodge in the lung, can be transferred to the kidney and other vital organs. Gulf War veterans are excreting uranium in their urine and semen, leading to chromosomal damage. DU has a half-life of 4.1 billion years. The negative effects found in one generation of US veterans could be the fate of all future generations of Iraqi people.

An August 2002 UN report states that the use of the DU weapons is in violation of numerous laws and UN conventions. Doug Rokke, ex-director of the Pentagons DU project says "We must do what is right for the citizens of the world- ban DU." Reportedly, more than 9600 Gulf War veterans have died since serving in Iraq during the first gulf war, a statistical anomaly. The Pentagon has blamed the extraordinary number of illnesses and deaths on a variety of factors, including stress, pesticides, vaccines and oil-well fire smoke. However, according to top-level U.S. Army reports and military contractors, "short-term effects of high doses (of DU) can result in death, while long-term effects of low doses have been implicated in cancer." Our own soldiers in the first Gulf War were often required to enter radioactive battlefields unprotected and were never warned of the dangers of DU. In effect, George Bush Sr. used weapons of mass destruction on his own soldiers. The internal cover-up of the dangers of DU has been intentional and widespread.

In addition to Doug Rocke, the Pentagon's original expert on DU, ex-army nurse Carol Picou has been outspoken about the negative effects of DU on herself and other veterans. She has compiled extensive documentation on the birth defects found among the Iraqi people and the children of our own Gulf War veterans. She was threatened in anonymous phone calls on the eve of her testimony to congress. Subsequently, her car, which contained sensitive information on DU, was mysteriously destroyed.

 

(#9) In Afghanistan: Poverty, Women's Rights and Civil Disruption Worse then Ever

Sources:
THE NATION, October 14, 2002
Title: "Afghanistan Imperiled"
Author: Ahmed Rashid

LEFT TURN, February/March 2003
Title: "Afghanistan: Lies & Horrible Truths"
Author: Pranjal Tiwari

THE NATION, April 29, 2002
Title: "An Uneasy Peace"
Author: Jan Goodwin

MOTHER JONES, July/August 2002
Title: "Childhood Burdens"
Authors: Photo Essay by Chien-Min Chung/Saba, Text by Scott Carrier

Mainstream Coverage:
TORONTO STAR, March 2, 2003, "Afghanistan Documentary Exposes Bush's Promises" by Michele Landsburg

Faculty Evaluators: Richard Zimmer Ph.D , Greta Vollmer Ph.D., Rick Williams JD, and Maureen Buckley Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Kathleen Glover and Dylan Citrin Cummings

While all eyes have been turned to Iraq, the people of Afghanistan have continued to suffer in silence in what is considered to be their worst poverty in decades. The promised democratic government is too concerned with assassination attempts to worry about the suffering of its people. They still have no new constitution, no new laws and little food. Ethnic and political rivalries plague the country and the military power of the warlords has increased. While the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the 4,500-strong foreign peacekeeping unit is assigned to defend only the capital. Private armies of an estimated 700,000 people roam Afghanistan continuing a traditional system of fiefdoms.

The Nation covered the failure of women's rights to materialize after the U.S. invasion. Despite the fanfare (stripping the Burqa, the signing of the "Declaration of Essential Rights of Afghan Women"), little has changed for the average Afghani woman. Many women have yet to stop wearing the burqa due to fear of persecution and the new Interior Ministry still requires women to receive permission from their male relatives before they travel. According to former Women's Affairs Minister Dr. Sima Samar, the ministry is severely under-funded. As of April 2002 Dr. Samar had no access to the Internet and was unable to afford to operate her satellite phone. She was also receiving many death threats. Dr. Samar resigned later that year and is currently working as a human rights commissioner. Hafiza Rasouli, a UNICEF project officer, stated, "We felt safer under the Taliban." As for the future loya jirga, or grand council, that will help determine governmental policies, only 160 seats out of 1,450 have been guaranteed to women.

As of July 2002 the life expectancy for the people of Afghanistan is forty-six years. The average yearly income per capita is $280. As for the children, 90 percent are not in school. After 23 years of war, the adult male population has been decimated, many children have taken the place of their fathers and mothers as the breadwinners in their families. Some scavenge for scrap metal, wood, or bricks, while others hammer sheet metal, fill potholes, or build coffins. They are lucky to earn five cents an hour. More than one out of every four children in Afghanistan will die before their fifth birthday. The growth of more than half these children is moderately or severely stunted from malnutrition. A UNICEF study has found that the majority of children are highly traumatized and expect to die before reaching adulthood. Beyond this, the region is just overcoming a three-year drought, which killed half the crops and 80 percent of livestock in some areas.

In January 2002, the Tokyo conference pledged $4.5 billion for reconstruction, of which donor nations promised $1.8 billion this year. Nearly one year later, barely 30 percent of what was promised had been delivered. The U.S. government's own contribution has been half that of the European Union. The $300 million granted in 2002 was quickly spent. The US government has been hesitant to put funding into the ISFA or reconstruction-oriented groups and has been more focused on building an Afghan national army. However, the simultaneous funding of local warlords, now being referred to as "regional leaders" is undermining this work.

 

(#10) Africa Faces New Threat of New Colonialism

Source: Left Turn, July/August, 2002
Title: “NEPAD: Repackaging Colonialism in Africa”
Author: Michelle Robidoux
Evaluator: Heidi LaMoreaux

Briarpatch, Vol. 32, No. 1, Excerpted from The CCPA Monitor, October 2002
Title: "Ravaging Africa"
Author: Asad Ismi

New Internationalist, Jan/Feb 2003
Title: "How (not) to Feed Africa"
Author: Dr. Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher

Faculty evaluators: Heidi LaMoreaux, Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Kathleen Glover, Laura Huntington, Kagiso Molefhe, Dana Balicki

Today, Africa is the most war-torn continent in the world. Over the past fifteen years, thirty-two of the fifty-three African countries experienced violent conflict. During the cold war years (1950-1989), the U.S. sent $1.5 billion in arms and training to Africa thus setting the stage for the current round of conflicts. From 1991-1995 the U.S. increased the amount of weapons and other military assistance to fifty of the total fifty-three African countries. Over the years these U.S. funded wars have been responsible for the deaths of millions of Africans, and the subsequent displacement, disease, and starvation of many millions more.

In June of 2002, leaders from the eight most powerful countries in the world (the G8) met to form a New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as an "anti-poverty" campaign. One glaring omission, however, is the consultation and representation of the African nations. Not one of the eight leaders was from Africa. The danger of the NEPAD proposal is that it fails to protect Africa from exploitation of its resources. NEPAD is akin to Plan Columbia in its attempt to employ Western development techniques to provide economic opportunities for international investment. Welcomed by the G8 nations, this development plan reads like a mad dash to grab up as much of Africa’s remaining resources as possible.

According to Robert Murphy of the US State Department’s Office of African Analysis, Africa is important to “the diversification of our sources of imported oil” away from the Middle East. The U.S. currently gets 15% of its total oil imports from the African continent. By 2015, that figure will be 25%. Rather than a plan to reduce African poverty, NEPAD is a mechanism for ensuring that U.S. and other Western investments are protected.

All over Africa activists, trade unionists, and women’s organizations are mobilizing against NEPAD. It is clear to them that the "solutions" put forward by NEPAD are in direct contradiction to that which is really needed to deal with the problems faced by Africa today. The objective of NEPAD will be to provide "increased aid to developing countries that embrace the required development model." The harrowing effects of IMF and World Bank debt on the African continent will neither be addressed nor revoked by the new program. Under NEPAD, Africa's natural riches will continue to be bought and sold by the autonomous Western powers-that-be under the namesake of "development" and with the feigned support of the African people.

Meanwhile, the food shortage in Africa is now widespread. Dr. Tewolde Behran Gebre Egziabher, General Manager of the Environmental Protection Authority in Ethiopia, explains that drought is not the cause of famine in Africa. Storage and transport are the two big problems. The year before last in Ethiopia, when there was a surplus of food, farmers could not sell their produce (locally or on the foreign market) and thus did not get the capital they needed for future crops. One hundred kilos of maize would sell for as little as $4 and Saudi Arabia wanted to buy this cheap maize. However, by the time the maize got to the port its price would have tripled because transport costs are so high. It was marginally cheaper for Saudi Arabia to instead buy maize that came all the way from the U.S. The U.S. is underselling starving nations and the food shortages are actually exasperated by this practice.

Loans provided by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and G8 have traditionally included strategies known as Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) which came in to effect in Africa in 1980. SAPs require that governments reduce public spending (especially on health, education and food/storage) in order to pay Western Banks. They must also increase exports of raw materials to the West, encourage foreign investment and privatize state enterprises. Instead of reducing the debt, since 1980 SAPs have increased African debt by 500 percent, creating a domino effect of disasters (prolonged famine, conflict, abject poverty, environmental exploitation) linked to an estimated 21 million deaths and, in the process, transferring hundreds of billion dollars to the West.

 

(#11) U.S. Implicated in Taliban Massacre

Sources:
ASHEVILLE GLOBAL REPORT, No. 179, June 20-26, 2002
Title: "Documentary Implicates U.S. Troops in Taliban Prisoner Deaths"
Compiled by: Kendra Sarvadi

IN THESE TIMES, Sept 2, 2002
Title: "Secret History?"
Author: Adam Porter

Faculty Evaluator: Maureen Buckley Ph.D., Ray Castro Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Tara Spreng, Emilio Licea

A documentary entitled Massacre at Mazar released in 2002 by Scottish film producer, Jamie Doran, implicates U.S. troops in the torturing and deaths of approximately 3,000 men from Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan.

Doran's documentary follows the finding of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), that concluded that there was evidence of the disposal of human remains at two mass gravesites near Mazar-i-Sharif. In the documentary, two witnesses claim that they were forced to drive into the desert with hundreds of Taliban prisoners who were held in sealed cargo containers. The witnesses alleged that the orders came from a local U.S. commander. Prisoners, who had not yet suffocated to death inside the vans, were shot by Northern Alliance gunmen, while 30 to 40 U.S. soldiers stood watching.

Irfan Azgar Ali, a survivor of the trip, informed the London Guardian newspaper, "They crammed us into sealed shipping containers. We had no water for 20 hours. We banged on the side of the container. There was no air and it was very hot. There were 300 of us in my container. By the time we arrived in Sheberghan, only 10 of us were alive." One Afghani truck driver, forced to drive the containers, says the prisoners began to beg for air. "Northern Alliance commanders told us to stop the trucks and we came down," he said. "After that, they shot into the containers to make air holes. Blood came pouring out. They were screaming inside." Another driver in the convoy estimated that an average of 150 to 160 people died in each container. When the containers were unlocked at Sheberghan, the bodies of the dead tumbled out. Another witness states they observed a U.S. soldier break an Afghani prisoner's neck and pour acid on others.

In addition to bodies of Taliban prisoners, the filmmakers allege that thousands of Afghanis, Pakistanis, Uzbeks, Chechens, and Tajiks may also be buried there.

Afghani warlord General Abdul Rashid Dostum, the man whose forces allegedly carried out the killings, admits there were only 200 such deaths and that the prisoners died before the transfer.

One Northern Alliance soldier who spoke to Doran claims that U.S. troops masterminded a cover-up. The soldier informed Doran, "The Americans told the Sheberghan people to get rid of them [the bodies] before satellite pictures could be taken." One witness told the London Guardian that an U.S. Special Forces vehicle was parked at the scene as bulldozers buried the dead. Doran's footage showed areas of compacted red sand, apparently caked with blood, as well as "clothing, bits of skull, matted hair, jaws, femurs, and ribs jutting out of the sand, despite a sloppy attempt to remove evidence after the fact" (Melbourne Sunday Herald Sun, 2/9/03). Additionally, bullet casings littered the site, offering a grim testimony that some Taliban prisoners, who were still alive, were executed before being dumped in the desert. United Nations (UN) and human rights officials have found the grave, but have not estimated the number of bodies it contains.

Says Doran, "I took the footage to the European Parliament because … I have a great fear that the graves may be tampered with. I had to take it to the highest level in Europe." According to the Glasgow Herald (December 19, 2002), Doran stated "They're hiding behind a wall of secrecy, hoping this story will go away, but it won't." Doran also feared for the safety of the witnesses, two of whom have subsequently been murdered. Doran's key researcher, Najibullah Quarishi, was almost beaten to death in an unsuccessful attempt to gain a copy of incriminating footage.

The screening of the film at the European Parliament prompted calls for an international commission to investigate the charges. Andrew McEntree, former chairman of Amnesty International, said that "very credible evidence" in the documentary needed to be investigated. McEntree said that he believed that war crimes had been committed not only under international law, but also under U.S. law.

A Pentagon spokesman denied the allegations, "U.S. Central Command looked into it...when allegations first surfaced that there were graves discovered in the area of Sheberghan prison. They looked into it and did not substantiate any knowledge, presence, or participation of U.S. service members." A U.S. Embassy spokesperson in Berlin also rejected the allegations made in the documentary saying, "The claims are completely false that American soldiers were involved in the torture, execution, and disappearance of Taliban prisoners. In no way did U.S. troops participate or witness any human rights violations." But in a statement to United Press International wire service (August 29, 2002), Doran said, "It is beyond doubt that a number of American soldiers were at Sheberghan Prison. Either they walked around blindfolded with earmuffs for eight days or they saw what was going on."

 

(#12) Bush Administration Behind Failed Military Coup in Venezuela

Sources:
THE LONDON GUARDIAN
April 22, 2002
Title: "The Coup"
Author: Duncan Campbell
May 13, 2002
Title: “OPEC Chief Warned Chavez about Coup”
Author: Greg Palast

GLOBAL OUTLOOK, Summer 2002
Title: “Venezuela: Bush Administration Behind Failed Coup”
Author: Joe Taglieri

PEOPLE'S WEEKLY WORLD, July 27, 2002
Title: “Coup-making in Venezuela: the Bush and Oil factors”
Author: Karen Talbot

NACLA REPORT ON THE AMERICAS, JULY/AUGUST, 2002
Title: “Venezuela: The Revolution will not be Televised”
Author: Jon Beasley-Murray

Evaluators: Carol Tremmel M.A., Robert Manning, Andrew Botterell Ph.D.,
Tamara Falicov M.A., Sally Hurtado Ph.D., Elizabeth Martinez Ph.D.
Student Researchers: David Immel, Licia Marshall, Scott Frazier, Effren Trejo, Sherry Grant, Josh Sisco

The April 11, 2002 military coup in Venezuela was supported by the United States government. As early as last June, American military attaches had been in touch with members of the Venezuelan military to examine the possibility of a coup. During the coup, U.S military were stationed at the Colombia-Venezuela border to provide support, and to evacuate U.S. citizens if there were problems. According to intelligence analyst, Wayne Madsen, the CIA actively organized the coup. "The CIA provided Special Operations Group personnel, headed by a lieutenant colonel on loan from the U.S. Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to help organize the coup against Chavez,” he said.

Since his 1998 election, President Hugo Chavez has increasingly socialized the Venezuelan government. One of his most controversial moves was to nationalize Venezuela's oil company PDVSA. Venezuela is the fourth largest oil-producing nation, and the third largest oil provider to the U.S. As the leader of OPEC, Chavez has encouraged lowering oil production to raise prices. He also changed a 60 year-old agreement with oil companies that raised royalties for Venezuela.

Chavez has irritated the U.S. in many ways. He changed the Venezuelan Constitution in 1999, granting more land rights to the poor, who make up over half of the 24 million people in Venezuela. Chavez refused to allow U.S. planes to fly over Venezuela during their military activities in Colombia. President Chavez was also the first head of state to visit Saddam Hussein in Iraq since the embargoes in 1990.

Because of the close relationship that many of Venezuela’s wealthy have with the United States, the coup took place with little opposition from Venezuela’s long-established business and political community. The Bush administration was quick to endorse the change in government, which put Pedro Carmona, a wealthy businessman and former business associate of George Bush Sr., into office. Carmona's first move as president was to "dissolve the Constitution, national legislature, Supreme Court, attorney general's office, and comptroller's office."

In the United States, corporate press covered the coup from a sympathetic anti- Chavez perspective. The April 11th killing of 17 anti-Chavez protesters by snipers was pointed to as justification for Chavez's removal. Yet the two following days, which resulted in the killing of as many as 40 pro-Chavez protesters, the deaths were hardly mentioned.

Television stations in Venezuela refused to cover the anti-coup protests, choosing instead to run their regular program schedule. Five out of the six major networks are owned by a single owner, who supported U.S. involvement in Venezuela. CIA Special Operations psychological warfare (PSYOPs) produced television announcements, purportedly by Venezuelan political and business leaders, saying Chavez 'provoked' the crisis by ordering his supporters to fire on peaceful protestors in Caracas."

Despite the distorted media coverage in Venezuela, a huge anti-coup civil protest involving hundreds of thousands of people began. Several branches of the Venezuelan military join the anti-coup forces. The streets of Caracas were flooded with protestors and soldiers vehemently chanting anti-Carmona slogans. Within two days Carmona stepped down and Chavez returned to power.

 

(#13) Corporate Personhood Challenged

Sources:
COMMONDREAMS, January 1, 2003 &
IMPACT PRESS, Feb/Mar, 2003
Title: “Now Corporations Claim the Right to ‘Lie’”
Author: Thom Hartmann

WILD MATTERS, February 2003
Title: “Americans Revolt in Pennsylvania: New Battle Lines Are Drawn”
Author: Thom Hartmann

THE HIGHTOWER LOWDOWN, April 2003
Title: "How a Clerical Error Made Corporations 'People'"
Author: Jim Hightower

Faculty Evaluators: Mary Gomes Ph.D. , Ken Marcus Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Chris Salvano, Sherry Grant, Melissa Jones

Partial Mainstream Coverage: The New York Times, The LA Times, USA Today, Fortune Magazine, The Ottawa Citizen.

Since the founding of our country, a debate has raged over the nature of corporations and whether they should be entitled to the same right to legal “personhood” as actual people. This idea of corporate personhood has recently come under scrutiny.

It was back in 1886 that a Supreme Court decision (Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company) ostensibly led to corporate personhood and free speech rights, thereby guaranteeing protections under the 1st and 14th amendments. However, according to Thom Hartmann, the relatively mundane court case never actually granted these personhood rights to corporations. In fact, Chief Justice Morrison Waite wrote, “We avoided meeting the Constitutional question in the decision.” Yet, when writing up the case summary —that has no legal status—the Court reporter, a former railroad president named J.C. Bancroft Davis, declared: “The defendant Corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which forbids a state to deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” But the Court had made no such legal determination. It was the clerk’s opinion and misrepresentation of the case in the headnote upon which current claims of corporate personhood and free speech entitlements now rests.

In 1978, however, the Supreme Court further entrenched the idea of corporate personhood by deciding that corporations were entitled to the free speech right to give money to political causes – linking free speech with financial clout. Interestingly, in a dissent to the decision, Chief Justice William Rehnquist pointed out the flawed 1886 precedent and criticized its interpretation over the years saying, “This Court decided at an early date, with neither argument nor discussion, that a business corporation is a ‘person’ entitled to the protection of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

But more recently, in December 2002, Porter Township, Pennsylvania unanimously passed an ordinance denying corporate claims to personhood. The Township is the first and only local government in the United States to deny these civil and constitutional rights to corporations. Porter Township and neighboring Rush Township have laws that govern the local dumping of Pittsburgh-generated sludge by charging the dumping companies a “tipping fee.” In 2000, Synagro Corporation, one of the largest dumping companies in the nation, sued Rush Township, claiming that as a corporate citizen, the Township violated Synagro’s 14th amendment rights. In response, Porter Township, passed its precedent-setting ordinance claiming that the dumping company, or any corporation within its jurisdiction, may not wield personhood and free speech privileges.

A more high-profile challenge to corporate personhood involves a lawsuit against Nike and its claims on third-world labor practices. In 1998, Nike CEO Phil Knight wrote a New York Times op-ed piece responding to criticisms of Nike’s Asian labor practices. As was widely reported in the mainstream press in mid-April of this year, San Francisco consumer advocate Marc Kasky filed a lawsuit against Nike believing the company misled the public about its labor practices. Nike, however, claims that the First Amendment protects Nike’s statements, making it irrelevant whether the statements are true or false.

In May 2002, the California Supreme Court ruled against Nike saying its statements were commercial speech, and can therefore be regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. This ruling, writes Justice Joyce L. Kennard, “means only that when a business enterprise, to promote and defend its sales and profits, makes factual representations about its own product or its own operations, it must speak truthfully.”

On April 26, 2003, the Ottawa Citizen provided some pro-Nike coverage of the current case against Nike saying, “The case began some years ago when anti-globalizers accused Nike of exploiting workers at its factories abroad. The Nike-bashing was unrelenting, and the company fought back.” Hartmann’s article also notes The New York Times’ editorial support for Nike saying, “In a real democracy, even the people you disagree with get to have their say.” That’s true says Hartmann, but Nike is not a person—it’s a corporation.

By the release of Censored 2004, the Nike case will probably be a settled issue. It is likely that Porter Township’s ordinance will be challenged in higher courts in the near future. However, Hartmann’s research and writings show that the legality on which corporate claims to personhood and free speech rights rests is dubious.

 

(#14) Unwanted Refugees a Global Problem

Sources:
IN THESE TIMES, 10/14/02
Title: "The World Isn't Watching – The Forgotten Refugee Crisis"
Author: Daniel Swift

MOTHER JONES, March/2003
Title: "Outback Nightmares and Refugee Dreams"
Author: Charles Bowden

BULLETIN OF ATOMIC SCIENTISTS, Nov/Dec, 2002
Title: "Neglect is Never Benign"
Author: Bill Frelick

Faculty Evaluators: Richard Zimmer Ph.D., Charlene Tung Ph.D., Diana Grant Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Tara Spreng, Sherry Grant

In the last ten years, the number of displaced people has exploded. Known as refugees, asylum seekers, illegal aliens, or unauthorized economic migrants, many are the indigenous of their region and almost all are the poorest of the poor.
According to the 2002 World Refugee Survey, there are as many as 40 million displaced people throughout the world. 15 million are seeking asylum in other countries. In addition, there at least 22 million "internally displaced" within their country of origin, who are not protected by international law and are therefore at even greater risk of oppression and abuse.

The terrorist attacks of September 11 and the subsequent war on terrorism launched by the United States and its allies have had a spillover effect on the lives of refugees worldwide.

Failed states, where warlords, gangsters and terrorists can operate with impunity, are producing hopeless and desperate people, who are often a dangerous breeding ground for political and religious fanaticism. Often, the international response to terrorist acts is to blame the refugees, even when they themselves are the victims.

The international community is unwilling to devote necessary resources to help resolve those conflicts, or at least to fully address the social and humanitarian issues.

Living in the margins of unwilling host communities, long-term refugees are victims not only of the war and persecution that forced them from their homes, but of the neglect that denies them hope of political settlements that would resolve the underlying causes of their affliction. Herded into huge refugee camps, where the prospect of emigration is slim, they can be deported at any time.

Corporate profiteers from developed countries are finding ways of benefiting from this global misfortune. Wackenhut, one of the largest operators of for-profit prisons is now setting up, with local subsidies, for-profit internment camps that charge penniless exiles a daily fee and then deport them when they are unable to pay.

The cycle of political upheaval, economic flight and expatriation that leads to international terrorism is unlikely to resolve itself if the people of the rich nations in the world continue the neglect the world's homeless.

 

(#14) Unwanted Refugees a Global Problem

Sources:
IN THESE TIMES, 10/14/02
Title: "The World Isn't Watching – The Forgotten Refugee Crisis"
Author: Daniel Swift

MOTHER JONES, March/2003
Title: "Outback Nightmares and Refugee Dreams"
Author: Charles Bowden

BULLETIN OF ATOMIC SCIENTISTS, Nov/Dec, 2002
Title: "Neglect is Never Benign"
Author: Bill Frelick

Faculty Evaluators: Richard Zimmer Ph.D., Charlene Tung Ph.D., Diana Grant Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Tara Spreng, Sherry Grant

In the last ten years, the number of displaced people has exploded. Known as refugees, asylum seekers, illegal aliens, or unauthorized economic migrants, many are the indigenous of their region and almost all are the poorest of the poor.
According to the 2002 World Refugee Survey, there are as many as 40 million displaced people throughout the world. 15 million are seeking asylum in other countries. In addition, there at least 22 million "internally displaced" within their country of origin, who are not protected by international law and are therefore at even greater risk of oppression and abuse.

The terrorist attacks of September 11 and the subsequent war on terrorism launched by the United States and its allies have had a spillover effect on the lives of refugees worldwide.

Failed states, where warlords, gangsters and terrorists can operate with impunity, are producing hopeless and desperate people, who are often a dangerous breeding ground for political and religious fanaticism. Often, the international response to terrorist acts is to blame the refugees, even when they themselves are the victims.

The international community is unwilling to devote necessary resources to help resolve those conflicts, or at least to fully address the social and humanitarian issues.

Living in the margins of unwilling host communities, long-term refugees are victims not only of the war and persecution that forced them from their homes, but of the neglect that denies them hope of political settlements that would resolve the underlying causes of their affliction. Herded into huge refugee camps, where the prospect of emigration is slim, they can be deported at any time.

Corporate profiteers from developed countries are finding ways of benefiting from this global misfortune. Wackenhut, one of the largest operators of for-profit prisons is now setting up, with local subsidies, for-profit internment camps that charge penniless exiles a daily fee and then deport them when they are unable to pay.

The cycle of political upheaval, economic flight and expatriation that leads to international terrorism is unlikely to resolve itself if the people of the rich nations in the world continue the neglect the world's homeless.


(#15) U.S. Military's War on the Earth

Sources:
DOLLARS & SENSE, March/April, 2003
Title: "War on Earth"
Author: Bob Feldman

WASHINGTON FREE PRESS, Sep/Oct 2002
Title: "Disobeying Orders"
Author: David S. Mann and Glenn Milner

WILD MATTERS, October 2002
Title: "Military Dumping"
Author: John Passacantando

Faculty Evaluators: Bill Crowley Ph.D., Mary Gomes Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Jen Scanlan, Grayson Kent

The U.S. military is waging a war on planet Earth. "Homeland security" has become the new mantra since September 11, 2001, and has been the justification for increasing U.S. military expansion around the world. Part of this campaign has been the varied and persistent appeals by the Pentagon to Congress for exemptions from a range of environmental regulations and wildlife treaties.

The world's largest polluter, the U.S. military, generates 750,000 tons of toxic waste material annually, more than the five largest chemical companies in the U.S. combined. This pollution occurs globally as the U.S. maintains bases in dozens countries. In the U.S. there are 27,000 toxic hot spots on 8,500 military properties inside Washington's Fairchild Air Force Base is the number one producer of hazardous waste, generating over 13 million pounds of waste in 1997. Not only is the military emitting toxic material directly into the air and water, it's poisoning the land of nearby communities resulting in increased rates of cancer, kidney disease, increasing birth defects, low birth weight, and miscarriage.

The military currently manages 25 million acres of land providing habitat for some 300 threatened or endangered species. Groups such as Defenders of Wildlife have sued the military for damage done to endangered animal populations by bomb tests. The testing of Low-Frequency Sonar technology is accused of having played a role in the stranding death of whales around the world.

Rather than working to remedy these problems, the pentagon claims that the burden of regulations is undercutting troop readiness. The Pentagon already operates military bases in and outside of the U.S. as "federal reservations" which fall outside of normal regulation. Yet the DOD is seeking further exemptions in congress from the Migratory Bird Treaties Act, the Wildlife Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
The Pentagon now employs 10,000 people with an annual budget of 2 billion dollars to deal with the legalities that arise from the Military's toxic droppings. New Justice Department policies frustrate attempts by the public to obtain knowledge. In one case the U.S. Navy demanded $1500 for the release of documents related to compliance with environmental laws at the Trident nuclear submarine base in the Puget Sound. Other requests are simply not processed and attempts at legal countermeasures are thwarted. The Pentagon has also won reductions in military whistleblower protection laws. These measures disregard the Freedom of Information Act and obstruct the notion of a Democratic State.

 

(#16) Plan Puebla-Panama and the FTAA

Sources:
CORPWATCH.ORG, 9/19/2002
Title: "PPP: Plan Puebla Panama, or Private Plans for Profit?"
Author: Miguel Pickard

PUBLIC CITIZEN'S TRADE WATCH, 2002 Report
Title: "Unveiling 'NAFTA for the Americas' "
Author: Timi Gerson

LABORNOTES, April 02, 2002
Title: "Plan Puebla Panama: The Next Step in Corporate Globalization"
Author: Tom Hansen & Jason Wallach

ASHEVILLE GLOBAL REPORT/EXTRA! Feb. 03, 2003
Title: "The FTAA is none of your business"
Author: Rachel Coen

Faculty Evaluators: Francisco Vasquez Ph.D., Richard Zimmer Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Jessie Esquivel, Dana Balicki

The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is a trade agreement intended to spread NAFTA's trade rules to an additional 31 Latin American nations by 2005. Working in conjunction with FTAA is Plan Puebla-Panama (PPP) a multi-billion dollar development plan in progress that would turn southern Mexico and all of Central America into a colossal free trade zone, competing in the world wide race to drain wages, working conditions, environmental protection and human rights.

PPP is the brainchild of Mexican president, and former Coca-Cola executive, Vicente Fox. Fox set priorities when first he took office stating, "My government is by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs." Not surprisingly then, the PPP emerges not as a strategy to end the endemic poverty in this region, but rather to induce private investment/colonization as it turns over control of the area's vast natural resources— including water, oil, minerals, timber and ecological biodiversity—to the private sector, mostly multinational corporations. Seven hundred and eighty companies of all sizes (Harkin, Union Pacific-Southern, International Paper, Exxon, Mobil, Dow Chemical of Mexico, Union Carbide, and Monsanto) sent representatives to the PPP informational meeting in Yucatan during the summer of 2002.

The ideas for the PPP area consist of: the construction of new ports, airports, railroads, bridges, 25 dams for hydroelectric generation, upgrading telecommunications facilities, including a fiber-optic network, upgrading electrical grids, highway construction and creating wildlife reserves to help facilitate "bioprospecting" by various multinational seed, chemical, and pharmaceutical companies.

The Inter-American Development bank (IDB) is the main backer of the Plan Puebla-Panama. The cost of $3.5 billion, which is 84% of the funds, will initially go for massive road construction and improvement on two stretches of highways. One of the highways will be from the Central America's Caribbean coast up 1,745 km to the Mexican Border with Texas, and the other highway will run 3,150 km from central Mexico going into Panama city. These two highways are intended as trade routes, to open the entire Mexican and Central American corridor for business. The taxpayers of the eight PPP countries will be the ones paying for the development of the public-works projects that will benefit private transnational capital and assure profits for corporate investors.

Fox wants to transplant the maquiladora, production-for-export model that has been applied with disastrous results in northern Mexico. The American isthmus, the narrowest part of the Americas, will be turned into a state-of-the-art foreign product assembly station. Twenty-first century commodities are increasingly produced in the Pacific Rim, with China's 1.2 billion people leading the way with the largest and lowest-paid workforce in the world. But transportation is a problem, when the largest consumer bases are located on the U.S. Atlantic Coast and in the upper Midwest. It is much Cheaper to ship these goods unassembled, using modern containerized shipping, but they still must be assembled into finished products before reaching the market. Thus the isthmus offers unique strategic advantages as the shortest land route between Pacific production and Atlantic consumption.

According to Pickard this project will 9nine southern Mexico states and all of Central America into a massive free trade zone, competing in the world wide race to the bottom of wages, working conditions, lax environmental regulation and disregard for human rights.

Under the FTAA, multinational corporations could leverage exploited workers in Mexico against even more desperate workers in Haiti, Guatemala or Brazil. The FTAA would intensify NAFTA's "race to the bottom" and deepen the negative effects of NAFTA already seen in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. PPP is one more "development" plan, instituted by transnational corporations and international financial institutions that will benefit the corporate bottom line but result in more poverty and displacement. More than 18 percent of the inhabitants of the future PPP area belong to indigenous communities, 40 percent are under age 15, and the majority live below the poverty line.

 

(#17) Clear Channel Monopoly Draws Criticism

Sources:
MEDIA FILE, September 2002
Title: “Clear Channel Stumbles”
Author: Jeff Perlstein

Faculty Evaluator: Scott Gordon Ph.D., Jorge Porras Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Melissa Jones, Chris Salvano

Corporate Media Partial Coverage: Now With Bill Moyers, April 26, 2002 and April 4, 2003; The New York Times, January 30, 2003 and February 3, 2003; The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2003

Clear Channel Communications of San Antonio, Texas may not yet be a household name, but in the past seven years the radio station conglomerate has rocketed to a place alongside NBC and Gannett as one of the largest media companies in the United States.

Before passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, a company could not own more than 40 radio stations in the entire country. With the Act’s sweeping relaxation of ownership limits, the cap on radio ownership was eliminated. As a result, Clear Channel has dominated the industry by growing from 40 radio stations nationally in the mid-90s, to approximately 1225 stations nationally by 2003. The station also dominates the audience share in 100 of 112 major markets. In addition to its radio stations, Clear Channel also owns television station affiliates, billboards, outdoor advertising, and owns or exclusively books the vast majority of concert venues, amphitheaters, and clubs in the country. According to NOW with Bill Moyers, in 2000 Clear Channel purchased the nation’s largest concert and events promoter, and in 2001, the Clear Channel did 70% of national ticket sales.

In 2001, Denver concert promoter, Jesse Morreale, sued Clear Channel. Morreale’s suit claims that Clear Channel's use of its billboards to advertise Clear Channel-booked shows at Clear Channel-owned music is in essence a monopoly. The suit also alleges that Clear Channel stations have threatened to withdraw certain music from rotation unless the artist's book concerts through Clear Channel and play at Clear Channel-owned music venues.

Clear Channel has also drawn criticism for using "voice tracking." Voice tracking is when one DJ produces a standardized national broadcast and formats it into their radio stations nationwide- giving the semblance of a local broadcast. By this process, Clear Channel can produce its radio format in San Antonio, Texas and play it on its 1225 radio stations without regard to local music, culture, or issues.

In January 2002, a train carrying 10,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia derailed in the town of Minot, causing a spill and a toxic cloud. Authorities attempted to warn the residents of Minot to stay indoors and to avoid the spill. But when the authorities called six of the seven radio stations in Minot to issue the warning, no one answered the phones. As it turned out, Clear Channel owned all six of the stations and none of the station's personnel were available at the time.

Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota grilled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell over the consolidation of media in the U.S., using the Minot incident as a warning and an example. At a Senate Commerce Committee meeting Dorgan warned that as large media companies, like Clear Channel, buy up the last remaining independent media outlets across the country, the public suffers. According to chairman Powell, there is strong evidence that a lot of times local independent run stations cannot afford to produce quality local news. However, a recent study by Columbia University's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that TV stations owned by smaller media firms generally produce better newscasts.

Such branding and consolidation is counter to the FCC's mandate of encouraging media diversity. The FCC is doing very little about the results of increased media concentration. This may be a result of the relationship that exits between the FCC commissioners and the broadcast companies and their lobbyists. According to the Center for Public Integrity (CPI), media companies and lobbyists developed a very cozy relationship. As Chuck Lewis of CPI notes, "We found that 1400 trips [by FCC commissioners]— all expense paid trips — were paid for by broadcasters. How can the FCC judge and discuss media ownership if they're taking trips from these guys?"

The FCC is in fact investigating one complaint made against Clear Channel. An advertiser in Ohio claims that Clear Channel is circumventing existing ownership limits by operating stations through shell companies in a practice known as “parking” or “warehousing” stations. Clear Channel has sold off stations to alleged front companies, which allows Clear Channel to continue operating the properties while also providing an easy way to buy back the stations, now that the FCC has further relax ownership limits.

On June 2, 2003, the FCC approved new ownership limit caps giving a green light for further media consolidation. (see chapter 2 #1 2003 and Amy Goodman's Introduction)

 

(#18) Charter Forest Proposal Threatens Access to Public Lands

Sources:
EARTH FIRST! Eostar 2002
Title: "Privatization's Trojan Horse"
Edited by: Scott Silver

AMERICAN PROSPECT, 9/9/2002
Title: "Park Wars"
Author: Jon Margolis

Faculty Evaluator: Eric McGuckin Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Dana Balicki, Lisa Badenfort

Corporate Media Partial Coverage: Ventura County Star, 5/15/02, "Charter Forests Spell Trouble."
Washington Post, Park Wars, Jon Margolis, 9/9/02, p.29

The Bush Administration's Charter Forest Proposal is an attempt to privatize and profit from public forestland. Under this proposal, public land management will be transferred from public hands to local privately controlled oversight boards. The Charter Forest Plan is the Bush administration's attempt to further commodify and privatize the collective public domain of national forests by implementing ideas formulated by the American Recreation Coalition (ARC). ARC represents resort developers, more than 100 motorized recreation industries and touts the Walt Disney Corporation as their most prominent member. According to its own description, the ARC "strives to catalyze public/private partnerships for outdoor recreation opportunities." The ARC guided the development of President Clinton's Fee Demonstration Program as well as the current Charter Forest Proposal.

The Charter Forest Plan would transfer authority of some national forests from the U.S. Forest Service to local "trusts" (board of trustees) consisting largely of "user groups." This plan will decentralize forest management, allowing industry and local governments to wrest control of public lands from the federal government. Public domain makes up a third of the country and includes national parks, national forests and wilderness areas.

This Charter Forest Proposal promotes a "free-market environmentalism" which makes market demand the determiner for how public lands will be used. A chartered forest board of trustees, left on its own to raise revenue and manage a natural area, "discovers" that they can raise more money by charging $20 a night for a developed campground site, versus six dollars a night for an undeveloped space. Advertising would target wealthy patrons, offering "forest-based” lodging with a wide variety of items for purchase at convenient and tastefully rustic shops.

The charter forest concept goes hand in hand with the Clinton era Recreational Fee Program, charging people high fees to enjoy public lands; in essence imposing "double taxation" on areas for which Americans already pay taxes (for the management of these public forestlands). This is a pay-to-play plan requiring citizens to pay for access to national forests at hundreds of sites across the U.S. These proposals would allow corporations to decide through their boards of directors who uses the land and how. The ARC already shares responsibility with the Forest Service for the implementation of the Fee Program, through the Challenge Cost Share Agreement of 1996. Under this agreement they are in charge of preparing and distributing all press releases and fact sheets regarding the privatization and development of natural forest areas.

The ARC represents resort developers and strives to create new, highly profitable outdoor recreation opportunities for businesses, such as the Walt Disney Corporation. Local boards would have complete control over these lands and would be categorized as a corporation. The lands are to be privatized, developed, and outdoor recreation will be their product for sale (at up to $50 a day).

Francis Pandolfi (former Chair of ARC's Recreation Roundtable before he was chosen as chief of staff of the Forest Service) stated at a 1997 FS staff meeting, "the next step is to use the recreation fee pilot project to pull together a first class business management plan…For the first time, we are selling a product." As incorporated entities, the boards would also have the freedom to grant logging and mining contracts. The new proposal would obstruct the legal avenues currently available to environmental groups seeking to preserve public lands.

Wild Wilderness, an environmental organization is working to prevent this occurrence. Scott Silver, executive director of Wild Wilderness states, "Rec-fees and the Charter Forest Proposal are just the first visible manifestations of an entirely new federal land management paradigm, one that strongly emphasizes and promotes highly developed, intensively motorized recreation."

 

(#19) U.S. Dollar vs. the Euro: Another Reason for the Invasion of Iraq

Sources:
THE SIERRA TIMES, February 9, 2003
Title: "The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War with Iraq"
Author: William Clark

FEASTA, January 2003
Title: "Oil, Currency, and the War on Iraq"
Author: CóilÍn Nunan

THE NATION, September 23, 2002
Title: The End of Empire
Author: William Greider

Faculty Evaluators: Wingham Liddell Ph.D, Tony White Ph.D , Phil Beard Ph.D.,
Thom Lough Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Effren Trejo, Kathleen Glover, Dylan Citrin-Cummins

President Richard Nixon removed U.S. currency from the gold standard in 1971. Since then, the world's supply of oil has been traded in U.S. fiat dollars, making the dollar the dominant world reserve currency. Countries must provide the United States with goods and services for dollars — which the United States can freely print. To purchase energy and pay off any IMF debts, countries must hold vast dollar reserves. The world is attached to a currency that one country can produce at will. This means that — in addition to controlling world trade – the United States is importing substantial quantities of goods and services for very low relative costs.

The Euro has begun to emerge as a serious threat to dollar hegemony and U.S. economic dominance. The dollar may prevail throughout the Western Hemisphere, but the Euro and dollar are clashing in the former Soviet Union, Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East.

In November 2000, Iraq became the first OPEC nation to begin selling its oil for Euros. Since then, the value of the Euro has increased 17%, and the dollar has begun to decline. One important reason for the invasion and installation of a U.S. dominated government in Iraq was to force the country back to the dollar. Another reason for the invasion is to dissuade further OPEC momentum toward the Euro, especially from Iran- the second largest OPEC producer, who was actively discussing a switch to Euros for its oil exports.

It is estimated that the dollar is currently overvalued by at least 40%, burdening the United States with a huge trade deficit. Conversely, the euro-zone does not run huge deficits, uses higher interest rates, and has an increasingly larger share of world trade. As the euro establishes its durability and comes into wider use, the dollar will no longer be the world’s only option. At that point, it would be easier for other nations to exercise financial leverage against the United States without damaging themselves or the global financial system as a whole.

Faced with waning international economic power, military superiority is the United States’ only tool for world domination. Although, the expense of this military control is unsustainable, says William Clark, "one of the dirty little secrets of today's international order is that the rest of the globe could topple the United States from its hegemonic status whenever they so choose with a concerted abandonment of the dollar standard. This is America's preeminent, inescapable Achilles Heel." If American power is ever perceived globally as a greater liability than the dangers of toppling the international order, the U.S. systems of control can be eliminated and collapsed. When acting against world opinion – as in Iraq – an international consensus could brand the United States as a “rogue nation.”

 

(#20) Pentagon Increases Private Military Contracts

Sources:
FORTUNE, 3/3/03
Title: "The Pentagon’s Private Army"
Author: Nelson D. Schwartz

CORPWATCH.ORG, March 20, 2003
Title: "Halliburton Makes a Killing on Iraq War"
Author: Pratap Chatterjee

THE LONDON OBSERVER, April 13, 2003
Title: "Battle for Iraq: Scandal-hit U.S. Firm Wins Key Contracts"
Author: Antony Barnett

Faculty Evaluator: Tom Lough Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Josh Sisco

President Dwight Eisenhower’s final remarks upon vacating the White House were “Beware the military-industrial complex.” With the war on Iraq, the government rapidly increased the already growing privatization of much of its military operations. Staffed largely by ex-military and Defense Department officials, private companies — such as Kellogg, Brown & Root, DynCorp, Cubic, ITT, and MPRI — have been aggressively snatching up government contracts. One estimate, cited by Nelson Schwartz in Fortune magazine, says that 8%, or $30 billion, of the Pentagon’s total budget for 2003 will go to private companies. Following 9/11, the Defense Department released a study that concluded, “Only those functions that must be performed by the Defense Department should be kept by the Defense Department. Any function that can be provided by the private sector is not a core government function.” The U.S. military has contracted with private military companies on everything from kitchen and laundry duty to domestic recruiting efforts.

Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) is a subsidiary of Halliburton, the energy company formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. By the time Cheney left Halliburton for the vice presidency, the company had extensive involvement with the Pentagon. While Secretary of Defense for Bush Senior, Cheney awarded Halliburton a $3.9 million contract to “study and then implement the privatization of routine army functions.” Retired Admiral Joe Lopez, former commander in chief for US forces in Southern Europe, as well as Cheney’s aid under the elder Bush, is now the Senior Vice President at KBR and responsible for military contracting.

KBR was given a 10-year contract entitled Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP). This is a “cost-plus-award-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity service,” – an open ended mandate for privatization anywhere in the world, according to Chatterjee. Whereas it used to take 120-180 days to deploy private companies to foreign military bases, a 72-hour notice is now all that is required. KBR was also given $16 million to build a 408-bed prison for Afghanistan’s enemy combatants in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Last year, DynCorp won a State Department contract to protect Afghan President Hamid Kharzi. The protection force consists of former members of Delta Force and other elite military units. DynCorp, in conjunction with several other companies such as Airscan and Northrop Grumman, receives roughly $1.2 billion a year to spray suspected coca fields in Columbia.

This past April, DynCorp was also awarded a multi-million dollar contract to build a private police force in post-Sadaam Iraq. Potential officers do not need to speak Arabic and must be a US citizen and a current or former police officer, according to the London Observer. Private police provided by DynCorp working for the UN in Bosnia were accused of buying and selling prostitutes, including a 12-year-old girl. Others were accused of videotaping the rape of one of the women. Ecuadorian peasants are suing the company, alleging that chemicals sprayed over Columbia spread into Ecuador killing legal crops and children. DynCorp has been accused of destroying legal crops, and serious human rights violations.

 

(#21) 3rd World Austerity Policies : Coming Soon To a City Near You

Sources:
HARPER'S MAGAZINE, March 2003
Title: "Resolved to Ruin"
Author: Greg Palast

COVERT ACTION QUARTERLY, Spring 2002
Title: "Global Rollback"
Author: Michael Parenti

THE TEXAS OBSERVER, 1/17/03
Title: "Mistakes Were Made" (a book review of Globalization and Its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz)
Author: Gabriella Bocagrande

Evaluators: Eric McGuckin Ph.D., Linda Nowak Ph.D.
Researched by: Tony Cullen, Scott Frazier

Policies traditionally carried out overseas by “international lending institutions” such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund (IMF) are quickly becoming part of the U.S. domestic economy. Privatization, loss of social services, bifurcation of the economy and an overall decline in the lives of working people are an ongoing reality in the U.S.

Officially, IMF and World Bank measures were imposed to curb inflation, increase exports and strengthen the fiscal condition of debtor nations, allowing them to pay back their loans. In actuality, however, the common result of structural adjustments has been depressed wages, reduced consumer purchase-power, and environmental degradation, while boosting profit rates for multinational investors. Small farmers, having lost their subsidies and import protections, are driven off their land into overcrowded cities. According to a number of economists, including the former chief economist for the Wold Bank, as western investment in the Third World increased throughout the '90s, so did poverty and social instability.

The World Bank and IMF have a four-step "reform" formula for each country. The formula includes Capital-market liberalization, privatization, market-based pricing, and, finally, the introduction of “free trade.” In step one, capital is freed up to flow in and out across the borders. Generally the result is the increased flow of capital out to external businesses with no guarantee that the money will flow in through foreign investment.

Privatization is the second step. This refers to the transfer of traditionally state-run services and utilities like gas, oil, roads, water, post offices, and banks to private companies. The problem, say critics, is that private ownership of a country’s framework leaves it unable to protect its citizens or natural resources from abuses of power.

Step three of the program, market-based pricing, is the point at which consumer purchase-power drops and the local economy really begins to suffer. The country’s political leaders no longer have the ability to place local controls on economic trends and the country and its citizens become vulnerable to the whims of the global market.

The final step in the formula is free trade. But “free” is a relative term when referring to import/export values and global trade agreements. Third World nations are not on the same economic footing as their industrialized trade partners. Industrialized countries, influenced by their corporate backers, usually override attempts at import protections by Third World countries in order to procure local industries, cheap labor, and natural resources.

Many of these policies had been established slowly in the United States over a number of years, but the intensity and speed with which they are now emerging is unprecedented. After 9-11, with much of the public distracted by terrorism and the desire for national defense, business litigators and anti-labor politicians stepped up the process of rolling back laws enacted over the last 100 years to protect workers, the public, and the environment from the excesses of industry. Just as with World Bank/IMF policies in other countries, the goal is to privatize profits and socialize losses. The vast majority of profits made by a company will be concentrated in a few private hands, while economic losses will be borne by the taxpayers through increased taxation and denial of social benefits. This is a trend that represents a huge shift in social and economic policy in the United States, with long lasting implications.

 

(#22) Welfare Reform Up For Reauthorization But Still No Safety Net

Sources:
MOTHER JONES, May/June 2002
Title: Without a Safety Net
Authors: Barbara Ehrenreich, Frances Fox Piven

IN THESE TIMES, Sept 2, 2002
Title: "Bad to Worse"
Author: Neil deMause

THE AMERICAN PROSPECT, Summer 2002
Title: "What Does Minnesota Know?"
Author: Dave Hage

DOLLARS AND CENTS, September/October 2002
Title: Good Times, Bad Times: Recession the Welfare Debate
Author: Heather Boushey

Faculty Evaluators: Maureen Buckley Ph.D., Barbara Bloom Ph.D.,
Wingham Liddell Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Jen Scanlan, Jessie Esquivel, Sarah Zisman, Alyssa Speaker

In 1996, President Bill Clinton enacted legislation that ended sixty-one years of federal aid designed to lift families out of poverty and ushered in a commitment to lower welfare rolls and forcing recipients to work. The 1996 law, entitled Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), is set to be reviewed in the summer of 2003. Poverty and unemployment are on the rise in the U.S. and the welfare safety net for needy children no longer meets basic needs. Yet the Bush administration is seeking to reduce the safety net even more.

The White House has proposed new work requirements as part of its plan to reauthorize TANF that promise to exacerbate the plight of the unemployed by undercutting state programs that managed to make partial successes of the 1996 bill. Under the 1996 provisions states had the right to adopt local policies to accommodate the job training and education needs of clients. New rules being proposed in Washington would replace state level policies with more rigid, mechanistic limitations imposed by the federal government. Programs like employment skills training, guided job searches, and bilingual education would be constricted or discontinued altogether.

Although the new burdens placed on the states back in '96 were initially a challenge, most were able to figure out plans that worked for some families. Prior to 1996, the federal government had matched a percentage of the state's welfare spending. With the passage of TANF, it gave each state an annual grant of a set amount. Some states were able to take the grant and work with client families to move them from assistance to reasonable employment and out of poverty, but in most states as the welfare rolls declined, poverty actually increased.

While the 1996 welfare law required parents to work in order to receive TANF benefits, in practice a good bit of leeway remained for parents to attend school and job training programs. But now, with very little input from state agencies, the White House has decided to impose new restrictions that would eliminate states' flexibility regarding the application of their yearly grants. States would be required to verify that 70 percent of their welfare clients worked 40 hours a week
A study released by the Christian Science Monitor indicated that mothers on welfare received an average of $13,000 a year, well below the poverty line. Since government assistance diminishes as job income rises, recipients are still unable to cover food, rent, and utilities. One-fifth of all mothers in the study had to cut the size of meals they serve their children because they could not afford to buy more food. To earn more money, the mothers work more hours, leaving the kids without their mother for longer periods at a time. This also means that mothers have to pay more for childcare.

According to a recent survey by the National Governors Association, the new welfare requirements will "dismantle effective programs that reduce non-marital births, improve job retention, encourage completion of secondary education by teenagers and young adults, and reduce substance abuse." Many state legislators are angry that they were never consulted before the push for the new rules began. This move toward the imposition of big government over states’ rights seems an ironic policy for a conservative Republican administration.

In 1996 the assumptions underlying welfare reform were that a job could lift a family out of poverty and that there were enough jobs for anyone willing to work. In today's economy, families living close to the poverty line are increasingly likely to fall over the edge.

 

(#23) Argentina Crisis Sparks Cooperative Growth

Sources:
YES! MAGAZINE, Fall 2002
Title: "Starting Over"
Author: Lisa Garrigues

UTNE MAGAZINE, Jan-Feb 2003
Title: "Don't Cry For Argentina"
Author: Leif Utne

Evaluator: Patricia Leigh Gibbs Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Emilio Licea, Jennifer Scanlan, Dana Balicki

The citizens of Argentina are cooperatively rebuilding their country, rising above the financial devastation caused by decades of privatization and military leadership. In December 2001 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recipe had gone sour destroying currency values and employment levels. The IMF "recipe" had used loans to prop up an overvalued peso, as well push the multinational privatization of Argentine companies.
The resulting crisis left thousands of people unemployed. Fearing a run on the banks, the government froze accounts, enraging a public that was already nervous about losing their life savings. Millions took to the streets throughout the country shouting "Que se vayan todos!" (roughly "throw the bums out!")
The president resigned and within a month Argentina defaulted on $132 billion of foreign debt, suffered a 25 percent unemployment rate, a middle class rapidly slipping into poverty, widespread hunger and mounting crime. What had once been the world's seventh richest nation found itself in complete economic, political, and social collapse.
Alva Sotelo was a seamstress at a Brukman Factory in Buenos Aires, where like many other debt-burdened factories the owners cut their losses and abandoned the plant. With the idea of survival fueling the factory's "former" employees, they began sleeping in the factory hoping their employers would come back and pay their salaries. Eventually the workers at Brukman and hundreds of other previously employed factory workers, having no other alternative, began to slowly run the factory themselves. The workers at Brukman elected a six-member commission to coordinate the work; they managed to pay off the debts with factory profits and managed to pay workers an equal amount by dividing the remaining profits.
The middle and lower classes have joined in a grassroots movement to take back the country. The power vacuum is being filled by an array of grassroots democratic organizations. Asambleas populares (popular assemblies) are occurring all over the country including over 200 neighborhoods in Buenos Aires alone. These assemblies consist of people gathering in parks or plazas to address problems facing their communities: food distribution, health care, day care, welfare, and transportation. "The spirit on the streets and in the assemblies is that people can govern themselves," notes SIC magazine. According to one poll, one third of Argentines have attended a popular assembly, and "35 percent say the assemblies constitute 'a new form of political organization.'" Many people have even disengaged themselves from the formal peso economy by joining "barter clubs" -neighborhood-based economic networks, often with their own currency, that let citizens trade goods and services without dealing with the banks. The barter system now accounts for $400-600 million worth of business.
The spirit of the cooperative is alive and well in cities, rural areas and neighborhoods all over Argentina. Neighborhood assemblies have organized alternative forms of survival such as street corner soup kitchens. Food donations are now replacing money as the price of entrance to cultural events. Community gardens are prospering.
The most extraordinary of these new forms of survival are worker cooperatives like the Brukman factory. There are about 100 legal, worker-owned cooperatives in Argentina, which range in size from eight employees to over a thousand. Roughly 10 businesses a month are being taken over and run by the employees. Most of them share a model similar to Brukman's, where the workers elect the managers of the company and the profits are split among the workers. The original owners often attempt to evict workers, but are unsuccessful either because they are legally challenged or because members of the local neighborhood assemblies show up and hold nonviolent protests and vigils against the eviction of the workers.

 

(#24) U.S. Aid to Israel Fuels Repressive Occupation in Palestine

Sources:
COVERT ACTION QUARTERLY, Spring 2002, No. 72
Title: "Palestine in the Crosshairs: U.S. Policy and the struggle for Nationhood"
Author: John Steinbach,

LEFT TURN, 3/4/02
Title: “U.S. Aid Lifeblood of the Occupation”
Author: Matt Bowles

WARTIMES, April 2003
Title: “Israel Erecting ‘Great Wall’ Around Palestine”
Author: Bob Wing

Evaluator: Rabbi Michael Robinson
Student Researchers: Kathleen Glover, Josh Sisco, Lindsey Brage, Dana Balicki,
Allyssa Speaker, Colin Umphryes

U.S. aid to Israel over the course of its fifty-four years of nationhood has fueled the illegal occupation of Palestinian land superceding Palestinian rights to self-government.

Jimmy Carter raised the ire of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and other Zionist pressure groups when he expressed support for a “Palestinian Homeland” and criticized Israel’s settlement policies. However, he never favored the creation of a Palestinian State and did nothing to slow the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. U.S. support of Israel was greatly increased during the Reagan era, which represented “a quantum leap in efforts to promote Israel and delegitimize the Palestinians in the United States.” Illicit arms technology transfers to Israel resulted in a greatly enhanced Israeli military.

Under the Clinton administration even while the "peace process" and the Final Status Talks were ongoing between the Palestinians and Israel U.S. economic and military aid to Israel continued to accelerate. U.S. aid to Israel (pop. 4.8 million) from 1949 to 1997 totaled over $134 billion. The total US foreign aid to Israel for the same period exceeded the total aid to all of Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean combined (pop. 486 million).

During the last 25 years U.S. aid to Israel has been about 60% military aid and 40% economic aid. There is a new plan to phase out all economic aid by 2008 in order to have all the aid going to military. Israel receives about $3 billion a year in direct aid and $3 billion a year in indirect aid in the form of special loans and grants. Under the Arms Export Control Act the U.S. can only supply weapons that are used "for legitimate self defense". The US Foreign Assistance Act prohibits military assistance to any country "which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights". The Proxmire Amendment bans military assistance to any government that refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities. All three of these laws are currently being broken with aid to Israel.

Since 1982 the aid to Israel has been transferred in a one lump sum at the beginning of each fiscal year. Aid to other countries is distributed in quarterly installments throughout the year and they must account for specific purchases. Israel is not required to account for the specific purchases that the aid is being used for; it can be spent on anything — including expansion of colonial settlement projects.

It is with this aid that Israel has been able to continue the comprehensive and unrelenting occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Today, Israel is bulldozing Palestinian farmers’ olive trees in order to build an encompassing 30-foot high cement wall with gun towers and electric fencing to imprison Palestinians and the entire West Bank. Israeli forces have commandeered the Western Aquifer (which constitutes 50% of the West Bank water supply) and thousands of acres of Palestinian agricultural land. The wall around Jerusalem will bring the now divided Holy City fully under Israeli control and effectively strangle West Bank economy and agriculture. The wall includes a 15-foot deep, 20-foot wide trench (Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! reported it would be filled with raw sewage), a dirt path that will be a “killing zone” for Palestinians who try to access it, an electrified fence, and a two-lane Israeli patrol road.

Since Israel barred most Palestinians from working inside Israel, unemployment in the West Bank has soared to over 50 percent. Agriculture is therefore more important than ever. Square foot by square foot, olive tree by olive tree, village by village, Israel is relentlessly taking over Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza with the full support of the American taxpayer.

(#25) Convicted Corporations Receive Perks Instead of Punishment

Sources:
ASHEVILLE GLOBAL REPORT, No. 183, July 18-24, 2002
Title: “Corrupt Corporations Still at Work in Developing World”
Author: Emad Mekay

MOTHER JONES, May/June 2002
Title: "Unjust Rewards"
Author: Ken Silverstein

Faculty Evaluator: Laurie Dawson Ph.D., Diana Grant Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Lindsey Brage, Terri Freedman

American energy giant, Enron, and telecommunications company, WorldCom, committed massive corporate fraud and illegal acts. Declaring bankruptcy in December 2001, they left thousands of American workers jobless and without pensions. The Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. and Corpwatch, a multinational watchdog group, has uncovered evidence of bribery scandals, environmental degradation and violations of international and labor laws. Yet Enron still has 25% interest in a Bolivian oil company called Transredes. Working with Shell Oil, the company is building a pipeline through Bolivia's Chaco Forest region, an area internationally known for its biodiversity, endangered species and the ancestral homeland of the indigenous Guarani and Guianeck peoples. In December 2002, Transredes was granted $220 million in loans from the International Development Bank, to be backed by U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Enron was also responsible for cutting down the last intact, dry tropical forest in the world, Bolivia‘s 15-million acre Chiquitano Forest, for another gas pipeline. The Chiquitano Forest was home to the endangered marsh deer, maned wolf, jaguar, ocelot and the hyacinth macaw. The World Wildlife Fund ranked the area one of the world’s 200 most endangered eco-regions. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), during the Clinton administration in 1999, approved loans for Enron's pipeline, which could have skirted the forest at an additional expense to the company. Officially, OPIC is mandated to protect ecologically sensitive areas.

WorldCom still profits from its extensive telephone and internet networks throughout Latin American, Asia, Europe and Africa. Enron has additional business interests throughout Central and South America. In northwest India a power plant, which they co-own with Bechtel and General Electric, is so controversial that Enron officials face threats of being arrested on the spot if they enter the country. According to Nadia Martinez of the Institute for Policy Studies, "Enron and WorldCom are just symptoms of the way companies are able to do business without accountability."

In 2000, Clinton issued an order that provide clear guidelines regarding the awarding of federal contracts. The new “contractor responsibility rule” specified that federal officers should weigh “evidence of repeated, pervasive or significant violations of the law,” for example cheating on prior contracts, violating environmental and safety laws, labor rights, consumer protection laws, and antitrust activities. President Bush quietly killed the rule requiring officials to ban federal contractors with a record of violations of workplace safety and other laws.

The Congressional Research Service issued an opinion concluding that the secret suspension of the rule (no issuing of public notice or soliciting of comments) was probably illegal, but the move went virtually unreported in the media. The government does not maintain a central database to store information on contractors' records of compliance with the law. The EPA and OSHA maintain their own lists of corporate violations, but parent companies are not always linked to their subsidiaries. "There's no process built into the review system," says Gary Bass, executive director of OMB watch, a Washington-based advocate of government accountability.

A six-month investigation by Mother Jones of the nation's 200 largest contractors found that the government continues to award lucrative contracts to dozens of companies that it has repeatedly cited for serious workplace and environmental violations. Among the findings: forty-six of the biggest contractors were prosecuted by the Justice Department and ordered to pay cleanup costs after they refused to take responsibility for dumping hazardous waste and various other environmental violations. General Electric-which received nearly $9.8 billion from the government, making it the nation's 10th largest contractor-topped the list with 27 cases of pollution for which it was held solely or jointly liable. Subsequently GE was fined total of only $369,363 for its combined EPA (27) and OSHA (48) violations.


 



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