Censored 2005 :
The Top 25 Censored Media Stories
(#1) Wealth Inequality in 21st Century Threatens Economy and
MULTINATIONAL MONITOR, May 2003, Vol. 24, No. 5
Title: "The Wealth Divide" (An interview with Edward Wolff)
Author: Robert Weissman
BUZZFLASH, March 26 and 29, 2004
Title: A Buzzflash Interview, Parts I & II" (with
David Cay Johnston)
Author: Buzzflash Staff
LONDON GUARDIAN, October 4, 2003
Title: "Every third person will be a slum dweller within 30
years, UN agency warns"
Author: John Vidal
MULTINATIONAL MONITOR, July/August, 2003
Title: Grotesque Inequality
Author: Robert Weissman
Faculty Evaluators: Greg Storino, Phil Beard Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Caitlyn Pardue, David Sonnenberg, Sita Khalsa
THE DOMESTIC TREND
In the late 1700s, issues of fairness and equality were topics
of great debate
equality under the law, equality of opportunity, etc. Considered
by the framers of the Constitution to be one of the most important
aspects of a democratic system, the word equality is
featured prominently throughout the document. In the 200+ years
since, most industrialized nations have succeeded in decreasing
the gap between rich and poor.
However, since the late 1970s wealth inequality, while stabilizing
or increasing slightly in other industrialized nations, has increased
sharply and dramatically in the United States. While it is no secret
that such a trend is taking place, it is rare to see a TV news program
announce that the top 1% of the U.S. population now owns about a
third of the wealth in the country. Discussion of this trend takes
place, for the most part, behind closed doors.
During the short boom of the late 1990s, conservative analysts
asserted that, yes, the gap between rich and poor was growing, but
that incomes for the poor were still increasing over previous levels.
Today most economists, regardless of their political persuasion,
agree that the data over the last 25 to 30 years is unequivocal.
The top 5% is capturing an increasingly greater portion of the pie
while the bottom 95% is clearly losing ground, and the highly touted
American middle class is fast disappearing.
According to economic journalist, David Cay Johnston, author of
Perfectly Legal, this trend is not the result of some
naturally occurring, social Darwinist survival of the fittest.
It is the product of legislative policies carefully crafted and
lobbied for by corporations and the super-rich over the past 25
New tax shelters in the 1980s shifted the tax burden off capital
and onto labor. As tax shelters rose, the amount of federal revenue
coming from corporations fell (from 35% during the Eisenhower years
to 10% in 2002). During the deregulation wave of the 80s and
the 90s, members of Congress passed legislation (often without
reading it) that deregulated much of the financial industry. These
laws took away, for example, the powerful incentives for accountants
to behave with integrity or for companies to put away a reasonable
amount in pension plans for their employeesresulting in the
well-publicized (too late) scandals involving Enron, Global Crossing,
THE GLOBAL IMPACT
As always, Americas economic trends have a global footprintand
this time, it is a crater. Today the top 400 income earners in the
U.S. make as much in a year as the entire population of the 20 poorest
countries in Africa (over 300 million people). But in America, national
leaders and mainstream media tell us that the only way out of our
own economic hole is through increasing and endless growthfueled
by the resources of other countries.
A series of reports released in 2003 by the UN and other global
economy analysis groups warn that further increases in the imbalance
in wealth throughout the world will have catastrophic effects if
left unchecked. UN-habitat reports that unless governments work
to control the current unprecedented spread in urban growth, a third
of the world's population will be slum dwellers within 30 years.
Currently, almost one-sixth of the world's population lives in slum-like
conditions. The UN warns that unplanned, unsanitary settlements
threaten both political and fiscal stability within third world
countries, where urban slums are growing faster than expected. The
balance of poverty is shifting quickly from rural to urban areas
as the world's population moves from the countryside to the city.
As rich countries, strip poorer countries of their natural resources
in an attempt to re-stabilize their own, the people of poor countries
become increasingly desperate. This deteriorating situation, besides
pressuring rich countries to allow increased immigration, further
exacerbates already stretched political tensions and threatens global
political and economic security.
UN economists blame "free-trade" practices and the neo-liberal
policies of international lending institutions like the IMF and
WTO, and the industrialized countries that lead them, for much of
the damage caused to Third World countries over the past 20 years.
Many of these policies are now being implemented in the U.S., allowing
for an acceleration of wealth consolidation. And even the IMF has
issued a report warning the U.S. about the consequences for its
appetite for excess and overspending.
In developing countries, the concentration of key industries profitable
to foreign investors requires that people move to cities while forced
privatization of public services strip them of the ability to become
stable or move up financially once they arrive. Meanwhile, the strict
repayment schedules mandated by the global institutions make it
virtually impossible for poor countries to move out from under their
burden of debt. "In a form of colonialisation that is probably
more stringent than the original, many developing countries have
become suppliers of raw commodities to the world, and fall further
and further behind," says one UN analyst. World economists
conclude that if enough of the worlds nations reach a point
of economic failure, such a situation could collapse the entire
(#2) Ashcroft vs. the Human Rights Law that Holds Corporations
ONE WORLD.NET and ASHEVILLE GLOBAL REPORT, May 19, 2003
Title: Ashcroft goes after 200-year-old human rights law
Author: Jim Lobe
Faculty Evaluator: Meri Storino, Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Brian Ferguson, Lawren Lutrin
Attorney General John Ashcroft is seeking to strike down one of
the worlds oldest human rights laws, the Alien Torts Claim
Act (ATCA) which holds government leaders, corporations, and senior
military officials liable for human rights abuses taking place in
foreign countries. Organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW)
vehemently oppose the removal of this law, as it is one of the few
legal defenses victims of human rights violations can claim against
powerful organizations such as governments or multinational corporations.
The attempt to dismiss the law comes less than a year after the
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Unocal Corporation could
be held liable for human rights abuses committed against Burmese
peasants near a pipeline the company was building. By attempting
to throw out this law, the Bush Administration is effectively opening
the door for human rights abuses to continue under the veil of foreign
The ATCA dates back to 1789 when George Washington signed legislation
for an anti-piracy bill. An obscure segment of the bill gave foreign
citizens the right to sue in United States courts over violations
of international law. After being used only twice in its first two
hundred years of existence, the law has been the basis of some 100
lawsuits since 1980. A landmark ruling in that same year awarded
a Paraguayan woman $10 million dollars for the torture and murder
of her brother committed by a Paraguayan police official, who was
living illegally in the U.S. That ruling effectively opened the
door for foreign citizens to seek justice through litigation in
Business groups argue that human rights lawyers and courts that
interpret the ATCA too broadly have wrongly exploited the law. The
Bush Administration agrees stating the law interferes with foreign
policy. Non-citizens would be allowed to file lawsuits that could
potentially embarrass foreign governments the U.S. needs cooperation
from in the war on terrorism. Critics of recent ATCA suits also
argue that the original statute provides no actual authority to
file suit and only paves the way for Congress to do so should
it adopt a separate act defining which violations can be addressed
According to a Wall Street Journal article, upholding the law could
jeopardize aspects of the war on terrorism. "A U.S. government
employee or contractor working in a high-risk law enforcement, intelligence
of military operation could be sued for their participation,"
says Mark Rosen, a retired U.S. Navy captain and specialist in defense
and homeland-security issues.
(#3) Bush Administration Manipulates Science and Censors Scientists
THE NATION, March 8, 2004
Title: The Junk Science of George W. Bush
Author: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
CENSORSHIP NEWS: THE NATIONAL COALITION AGAINST CENSORSHIP NEWSLETTER,
Fall 2003, #91
Title: Censoring Scientific Information
ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE and ONEWORLD.NET, February 20, 2004
Title: Ranking Scientists Warn Bush Science Policy Lacks Integrity
Author: Sunny Lewis
OFFICE OF U.S. REPRESENTATIVE HENRY A. WAXMAN, August 2003
Title: Politics And Science In The Bush Administration
Prepared by: Committee on Government Reform - Minority Staff
(Updated November 13, 2003)
Faculty Evaluator: Dolly Friedel, Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Sita Khalsa, Jeni Green
Critics charge that the Bush Administration is purging, censoring,
and manipulating scientific information in order to push forward
its pro-business, anti-environmental agenda. In Washington, D.C.
more than 60 of the nations top scientists, including 20 Nobel
laureates, leading medical experts, and former federal agency directors,
issued a statement on February 18, 2004 accusing the Bush Administration
of deliberately distorting scientific results for political ends
and calling for regulatory and legislative action to restore scientific
integrity to federal policymaking.
Under the current administration, the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has blacklisted qualified scientists who pose a threat
to its pro-business ideology. When a team of biologists working
for the EPA indicated that there had been a violation of the Endangered
Species Act by the Army Corps of Engineers, the group was
replaced with a corporate-friendly panel. In addition,
a nationally respected biologist, Dr. James Zahn, was ordered by
EPA representatives not to publish a study identifying a health
endangering bacteria in industrial hog farms.
The Bush Administration is appointing unqualified scientists with
close industry ties to the advisory boards. The Office of Human
Services appointed several individuals with ties to the lead industry.
One of their appointees testified that lead levels, seven times
the current limit, are safe for children.
In the case of global warming, the Bush Administration has made
efforts to stall actions by Congress designed to control industrial
emissions. The EPA altered a report on the environmental damage
of a hydraulic fracturing process developed by Halliburton, Dick
Cheneys former company. Hydraulic fracturing involves the
injection of benzene into the ground, which in turn contaminates
ground water supplies over the federal limit.
In December 2002, the EPA weakened a Clean Air Act regulation,
known as the New Source Review (NSR), to make it easier for coal
fired utilities to generate more power without having to install
additional emissions controls. The Bush Administration halted the
prosecution of some 50 power plants that were alleged to be in violation
of the of the old NSR rule while at the same time drastically reducing
funding for the Superfund toxic cleanup program. In October 2003,
the General Accounting Office, Congress investigative arm,
reported that the revised NSR rule could limit assurance of
the publics access to data about and input on decisions to
modify facilities in ways that affect emissions. Essentially,
this makes it more difficult for the public to monitor local emissions,
health risks, and NSR compliance.
In June 2003, the Administration published its comprehensive
report on the environment -- that contained no information on climate
change and did not address global warming.
The EPA claimed a few days after the 9/11 catastrophe that the
air quality was safe in the security zone surrounding the World
Trade Center. An Inspector Generals report released in August
2003 revealed that press releases were being drafted or doctored
by White House officials in order to quickly reopen Wall Street.
A study conducted by the EPA found that high levels of atrazine,
a carcinogen, were discovered in drinking water, well over the government
standard allotment. When the findings were reported, the Bush Administration
did not address the level of atrazine, but instead moved the research
to a company in Switzerland, taking environmental control away from
In January 2003, President Bush appointed marketing consultant
Jerry Thacker to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
Mr. Thacker has referred to homosexuality derogatorily and has described
AIDS as the gay plague. In May 2003, the New York Times
reported that Health and Human Services (HHS) may be applying unusual
scrutiny to grants that used key words such as men who
sleep with men, gay, and homosexual.
Princeton University scientist Michael Oppenheimer states, "If
you believe in a rational universe, in enlightenment, in knowledge
and in a search for the truth, this White House is an absolute disaster."
(#4) High Uranium Levels Found in Troops and Civilians
URANIUM MEDICAL RESEARCH CENTER, January 2003
Title: UMRCs Preliminary Findings from Afghanistan &
Operation Enduring Freedom
Afghan Field Trip #2 Report: Precision Destruction- Indiscriminate
Author: Tedd Weyman, UMRC Research Team
AWAKENED WOMAN, January 2004
Title: Scientists Uncover Radioactive Trail in Afghanistan
Author: Stephanie Hiller
DISSIDENT VOICE, March 2004
Title: There Are No Words
Radiation in Iraq Equals 250,000
Author: Bob Nichols
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, April 5,2004
Author: Juan Gonzalez
INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE, March 2004
Title: International Criminal Tribune For Afghanistan At Tokyo,
The People vs. George Bush
Author: Professor Ms Niloufer Bhagwat J.
Evaluator: Jennifer Lillig, Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Kenny Crosbie
Civilian populations in Afghanistan and Iraq and occupying troops
have been contaminated with astounding levels of radioactive depleted
and non-depleted uranium as a result of post-9/11 United States
use of tons of uranium munitions. Researchers say surrounding countries
are bound to feel the effects as well.
In 2003 scientists from the Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC)
studied urine samples of Afghan civilians and found that 100% of
the samples taken had levels of non-depleted uranium (NDU) 400%
to 2000% higher than normal levels. The UMRC research team studied
six sites, two in Kabul and others in the Jalalabad area. The civilians
were tested four months after the attacks in Afghanistan by the
United States and its allies.
NDU is more radioactive than depleted uranium (DU), which itself
is charged with causing many cancers and severe birth defects in
the Iraqi populationespecially childrenover the past
ten years. Four million pounds of radioactive uranium was dropped
on Iraq in 2003 alone. Uranium dust will be in the bodies of our
returning armed forces. Nine soldiers from the 442nd Military Police
serving in Iraq were tested for DU contamination in December 2003.
Conducted at the request of The News, as the U.S. government considers
the cost of $1,000 per affected soldier prohibitive, the test found
that four of the nine men were contaminated with high levels of
DU, likely caused by inhaling dust from depleted uranium shells
fired by U.S. troops. Several of the men had traces of another uranium
isotope, U-236, that are produced only in a nuclear reaction process.
Most American weapons (missiles, smart bombs, dumb bombs, bullets,
tank shells, cruise missiles, etc.) contain high amounts of radioactive
uranium. Depleted or non-depleted, these types of weapons, on detonation,
release a radioactive dust which, when inhaled, goes into the body
and stays there. It has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. Basically,
its a permanently available contaminant, distributed in the
environment, where dust storms or any water nearby can disperse
it. Once ingested, it releases subatomic particles that slice through
UMRCs Field Team found several hundred Afghan civilians with
acute symptoms of radiation poisoning along with chronic symptoms
of internal uranium contamination, including congenital problems
in newborns. Local civilians reported large, dense dust clouds and
smoke plumes rising from the point of impact, an acrid smell, followed
by burning of the nasal passages, throat and upper respiratory tract.
Subjects in all locations presented identical symptom profiles and
chronologies. The victims reported symptoms including pain in the
cervical column, upper shoulders and basal area of the skull, lower
back/kidney pain, joint and muscle weakness, sleeping difficulties,
headaches, memory problems and disorientation.
At the Uranium Weapons Conference held October 2003 in Hamburg,
Germany, independent scientists from around the world testified
to a huge increase in birth deformities and cancers wherever NDU
and DU had been used. Professor Katsuma Yagasaki, a scientist at
the Ryukyus University, Okinawa calculated that the 800 tons of
DU used in Afghanistan is the radioactive equivalent of 83,000 Nagasaki
bombs. The amount of DU used in Iraq is equivalent to 250,000 Nagasaki
At the Uranium Weapons Conference, a demonstration by British-trained
oncologist Dr. Jawad Al-Ali showed photographs of the kinds of birth
deformities and tumors he had observed at the Saddam Teaching Hospital
in Basra just before the 2003 war. Cancer rates had increased dramatically
over the previous fifteen years. In 1989 there were 11 abnormalities
per 100,000 births; in 2001 there were 116 per 100,000an increase
of over a thousand percent. In 1989 34 people died of cancer; in
2001 there were 603 cancer deaths. The 2003 war has increased these
At a meeting of the International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan
held December 2003 in Tokyo, the U.S. was indicted for multiple
war crimes in Afghanistan, among them the use of DU. Leuren Moret,
President of Scientists for Indigenous People and Environmental
Commissioner for the City of Berkeley, testified that because radioactive
contaminants from uranium weapons travel through air, water, and
food sources, the effects of U.S. deployment in Afghanistan will
be felt in Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Russia,
Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China and India. Countries affected
by the use of uranium weapons in Iraq include Saudi Arabia, Syria,
Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, and Iran.
(#5) The Wholesale Giveaway of Our Natural Resources
IN THESE TIMES, November 23, 2003
Title: Liquidation of the Commons
Author: Adam Werbach
HIGH COUNTRY NEWS, Vol. 35, No. 11, June 9, 2003
Title: Giant Sequoias Could Get the Ax
Author: Matt Weiser
Evaluator: Mary Gomes Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Gina Dunch
Not since the McKinley era of the late 1800s has there been such
a drastic move to scale back preservation of the environment. In
1896 President William McKinley was extremely pro-industry in terms
of forests and mining interest giveaways. Mark Hanna, McKinleys
partner against American populist William Jennings Bryan, raised
more than $4 million in campaign contributions stating that only
a government that catered first to the needs of corporate interests
could serve the needs of the people.
The Bush Administrations environmental policies are destroying
much of the environmental progress made over the past 30 years.
A prime example is the Bush Administrations Clean Skies Initiative.
The Clean Air Act of 1970 has made skies over most cities cleaner
by cutting back pollution let out by major power companies. However,
the Clean Skies Initiative allows power plants to emit more than
five times more mercury, twice as much sulfur dioxide, and over
one and a half times more nitrogen oxides than the Clean Air Act.
Another example is in Gillette, Wyoming where a significant amount
of natural gas (coal bed methane) exists. The only way to extract
the gas is by draining groundwater to the level of the coal in order
to release it. The Bureau of Land Management estimates that if all
goes ahead as planned, the miners will discard more than 700 million
gallons of publicly owned water a year. The mining of coal bed methane
is as expensive as it is wasteful, and the industry has received
promises from Congress of a $3 billion tax credit to help them on
their way. It makes little economic sense to drill for marginal
coal bed methane when larger deposits are elsewhere. Meanwhile,
the U.S. government agencies normally responsible for protecting
the land now serve as customer relations organizations for mining
Bush's Healthy Forests Initiative is funding projects for logging
companies to gain access to old growth trees and paying them for
brush clearing. Matt Weiser discusses the new draft for the Forest
Service management plan, which allows logging of up to 10 million
board feet of lumber each year. President Bushs plan could
even include removal of the very trees the monument was established
to preserve the giant sequoias, which are found nowhere else
in such abundance.
The administration poses the problem as one of unnecessary regulations
that oppose tree thinning. Yet U.S. Forest Service records show
that in the four national forests in Southern California that burned
in early November 2003, environmentalists had not filed a single
appeal to stop Forest Service tree-thinning projects to reduce fire
risk since 1997. And, when Gov. Davis requested money to remove
unhealthy trees throughout Californias forests, the request
for emergency funds went unanswered by the Bush Administration until
the end of Octoberand then, it was denied.
President Bush appointed Vice President Cheney to head a secretive
energy task force to craft the administrations energy policy,
which constituted the same types of give aways as McKinleys.
Not only are corporate interests put first, but taxpayers are now
paying to clean up the mess left behind. The Bush Administration
has cut the Superfund budget, and Congress is shifting the burden
of clean up from polluters to the American taxpayer.
Some administration officials still have active ties to corporate
interests. Undersecretary of the Interior, J. Steven Griles, a former
industrial lobbyist, is still being paid by his former employer,
National Environmental Strategies (NES). NES lobbies for coal, oil,
gas, and electric companies.
Coal bed methane development, the Clear Skies Initiative, and the
Healthy Forests Initiative are just a few examples of the Bush Administrations
efforts to undo 30 years of environmental progress. With the Senate
approval of Gov. Mike Leavitt of Utah (an individual who is acquiescent
to the Bush Administrations environmental policies) as the
head of the Environmental Protection Agency, the situation can only
(#6) The Sale of Electoral Politics
IN THESE TIMES, December 2003
Title: Voting Machines Gone Wild
Author: Mark Lewellen-Biddle
INDEPENDENT/UK, October 13, 2003
Title: All The President's Votes?
Author: Andrew Gumbel
DEMOCRACY NOW!, September 4, 2003
Title: Will Bush Backers Manipulate Votes to Deliver GW Another
Reporter: Amy Goodman and the staff of Democracy Now!
Evaluator: Andy Merrifield Ph.D., Wendy Ostroff, Ph.D., Scott Gordon,
Student Researcher: Adam Stutz
Conflicts of interest exist between the largest suppliers of electronic
voting machines in the United States and key leaders of the Republican
Party. While the technical problems with the voting machines themselves
have received a certain amount of coverage in the mainstream media,
the political conflicts of interest, though well documented, have
received almost none. Election analysts on both sides of the fence
are charging that while particular industries have traditionally
formed alliances with one or another of the parties, political affiliations
within the voting machine industry are inappropriate and have
dangerous implications for our democratic process.
Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Diebold, and Sequoia
are the companies primarily involved in implementing the new, often
faulty, technology at voting stations throughout the country. All
three have strong ties to the Bush Administration and other Republican
leaders, along with major defense contractors in the United States.
ES&S and Diebold, owned by brothers Bob and Todd Urosevich,
will be counting about 80% of the votes cast in 2004. Each one of
the three companies has a past plagued by financial scandal and
In 1999 the Justice Department filed federal charges against Sequoia
alleging that employees paid out more than 8 million dollars in
bribes. Shortly thereafter, election officials for Pinellas County,
Florida, cancelled a fifteen-million-dollar contract with Sequoia
after it was discovered that Phil Foster, a Sequoia executive, faced
indictment for money laundering and bribery.
* Michael McCarthy, owner of ES&S (formerly known as American
Information Systems), served as Senator Chuck Hagel's campaign manager
in both the 1996 and 2002 elections. Senator Hagel owns close to
$5 million in stock in the ES&S parent company. In 1996 and
2002 eighty percent of Senator Hagel's votes were counted by ES&S.
* Diebold, the most well known of these three major groups, is under
scrutiny for a memo that Diebold's CEO, Walden O'Dell, sent out
promising Ohio's votes to Bush in the 2004 election. Beyond this
faux pas, intra-office memos were circulated on the Internet stating
that Diebold employees were aware of bugs within their systems and
that the network is poorly guarded against hackers.
Diebold has now taken steps to use an outside organization, Scientific
Applications International Corporation (SAIC) of San Diego, to take
responsibility for security issues within their software. But this
presents yet another conflict of interest. A majority of officials
on the board are former members of either the Pentagon or the CIA,
many of whom are closely allied with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Members of the board of directors include:
* Army Gen. Wayne Downing, former chief counter-terrorism expert
on the National Security Council;
* Former CIA Director Bobby Ray Inman;
* Retired Adm. William Owens, who served as former vice chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and now sits on Donald Rumsfeld's Defense
* Robert Gates, former director of the CIA and veteran of the Iran
Additionally, SAIC has had a plethora of charges brought against
them including indictments by the Justice Department for the mismanagement
of a Superfund toxic cleanup and misappropriation of funds in the
purchase of F-15 fighter jets.
Some of the most generous contributors to Republican campaigns
are also some of the largest investors in ES&S, Sequoia, and
Diebold. Most notable of these are government defense contractors
Northrup-Grumman, Lockheed-Martin, Electronic Data Systems (EDS)
and Accenture, a member of the U.S. Coalition of Service Industries
and a major proponent of privatization and Free Trade of services
provided by the WTO and GATT. None of these contractors are politically
neutral, and all have high stakes in the construction of electronic
voting systems. Accenture was involved in financial scandals, and
charged with incompetence in both Canada and the US throughout the
'90s and 2000s.
Under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) passed in October of 2002,
states have been required to submit plans to make the switch from
punch cards to a primarily electronic system in time for the 2004
elections. It should be noted that the voting machine companies
continue to hold title to the software even after implementation.
Populex, the company contracted to provide voting systems in Illinois
has former Defense Secretary, Frank Carlucci, on its advisory board.
(#7) Conservative Organization Drives Judicial Appointments
THE AMERICAN PROSPECT, Vol. 14, Issue 3, March 1, 2003
Title: A Hostile Takeover: How the Federalist Society is Capturing
the Federal Courts
Author: Martin Garbus
Title: Courts Vs. Citizens
Author: Jamin Raskin
Faculty Evaluator: Barbara Bloom, Ph.D., Tony White, Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Liz Medley
In 2001 George W. Bush eliminated the longstanding role of the
American Bar Association (ABA) in the evaluation of prospective
federal judges. ABAs judicial ratings had long kept extremists
from the right and left, off the bench. In its place, Bush has been
using The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studiesa
national organization whose mission is to advance a conservative
agenda by moving the countrys legal system to the right.
The Federalist Society was started in 1982 by a small group of
radically conservative University of Chicago law studentsSteven
Calabresi, David McIntosh, and Lee Liberman Otis. Reagans
Attorney General Edwin Meese was an early sponsor of the society.
The society today includes over 40,000 lawyers, judges, and law
professors. Well-known members include: John Ashcroft, Solicitor
General Theodore Olson, Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and
Antonin Scalia, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch,
and Federal Appellate Judge Frank Easterbrook. Under both Bush Administrations,
judicial appointments have been coordinated by the office
of the [legal] counsel to the president. The counsels
staff is comprised mainly of federalists.
Jamin B. Raskin writes that traditional concerns about conservative
judges are that they will fail to protect the rights of political
minorities from an attack by an overzealous majority. Raskin
says the concern is now the opposite. These judges are a political
minority undermining the democratic rights of the people."
With the help of the Federalist Society, Bush has the capability
to turn the courts over to ultra right-wing ideologues. The Federalists
intend to control all Federal circuit courts, which will be devoted
to fulfilling the radical rights agenda on race, religion,
class, money, morality, abortion, and power. Currently, anti-abortion
judges control seven of the twelve federal circuit courts.
Federal judges enjoy lifetime appointments, and approximately 40
percent of Bush appointees are members of the Federalist Society.
The federal circuit courts are the spawning ground for Supreme Court
nominees and some of these judges will be given this highest of
judicial nominations. In an attempt to ensure a continuation of
a conservative agenda, Bush is appointing younger judges. Justice
Scalia, who was fifty years old when appointed to the Supreme Court,
has already served for 17 years. There has not been a vacancy on
the Court for the past 11 years.
The Federalist Society which heads this conservative judicial movement
has been very aggressive in attacking judges they do not agree with.
Former Senator Bob Dole spoke out against 3rd Circuit Judge H. Lee
Sarokin, placing him in a judicial hall of shame along
with some of his colleagues. This hostility forced Sarokin to resign.
I see my lifes work and reputation being disparaged
on an almost daily basis, and I find myself unable to ignore it.
One of the legal theories the Federalists are now operating under
could make many federal regulations unconstitutional. Federalist
Society publications, strategy sessions, and panel discussions attack
cases that place individual rights above property rights, agencies
that regulate business, and judges who seek to expand federal civil-rights
laws and gender-equality protections. The Federalist Society sponsors
practice groups to shape their policy. They have organized
groups in areas such as, religious liberty, national security, cyberspace,
corporate law, and environmental law.
(#8) Secrets of Cheney's Energy Task Force Come to Light
JUDICIAL WATCH, July 17,2003
Title: Cheney Energy Task Force Documents Feature Map of Iraqi Oilfields
Author: Judicial Watch staff
FOREIGN POLICY IN FOCUS, January 2004
Title: Bush-Cheney Energy Strategy:Procuring the Rest of the
Author: Michael Klare
Faculty Evaluators: James Carr, Ph.D., Alexandra Von Meier, Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Cassie Cypher, Shannon Arthur
Documents turned over in the summer of 2003 by the Commerce Department
as a result of the Sierra Clubs and Judicial Watchs
Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, concerning the activities of
the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields,
pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as two charts detailing
Iraqi oil and gas projects, and Foreign Suitors for Iraqi
Oilfield Contracts. The documents, dated March 2001, also
feature maps of Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates oilfields,
pipelines, refineries and tanker terminals. There are supporting
charts with details of the major oil and gas development projects
in each country that provide information on the projects costs,
capacity, oil company and status or completion date.
Documented plans of occupation and exploitation predating September
11 confirm heightened suspicion that U.S. policy is driven by the
dictates of the energy industry. According to Judicial Watch President,
Tom Fitton, These documents show the importance of the Energy
Task Force and why its operations should be open to the public.
When first assuming office in early 2001, President Bush's top
foreign policy priority was not to prevent terrorism or to curb
the spread of weapons of mass destructionor any of the other
goals he espoused later that year following 9-11. Rather, it was
to increase the flow of petroleum from suppliers abroad to U.S.
markets. In the months before he became president, the United States
had experienced severe oil and natural gas shortages in many parts
of the country, along with periodic electrical power blackouts in
California. In addition, oil imports rose to more than 50% of total
consumption for the first time in history, provoking great anxiety
about the security of the country's long-term energy supply. Bush
asserted that addressing the nation's "energy crisis"
was his most important task as president.
The energy turmoil of 2000-01 prompted Bush to establish a task
force charged with developing a long-range plan to meet U.S. energy
requirements. With the advice of his close friend and largest campaign
contributor, Enron CEO, Ken Lay, Bush picked Vice President Dick
Cheney, former Halliburton CEO, to head this group. In 2001 the
Task Force formulated the National Energy Policy (NEP), or Cheney
Report, bypassing possibilities for energy independence and reduced
oil consumption with a declaration of ambitions to establish new
sources of oil.
The Bush Administrations struggle to keep secret the workings
of Cheneys Energy Task Force has been ongoing since early
in the Presidents tenure. The General Accounting Office, the
investigative arm of Congress, requested information in spring of
2001 about which industry executives and lobbyists the Task Force
was meeting with in developing the Bush Administration's energy
plan. When Cheney refused disclosure, Congress was pressed to sue
for the right to examine Task Force records, but lost. Later, amid
political pressure building over improprieties regarding Enrons
colossal collapse, Cheney's office released limited information
revealing six Task Force meetings with Enron executives.
With multiple lawsuits currently pending, the Bush Administration
asserts that its right to secrecy is a matter of executive privilege
in regard to White House records. But because the White House staffed
the Task Force with employees from the Department of Energy and
elsewhere, it cannot pretend that its documents are White House
records. A 2001 case, in which the Justice Department has four times
appealed federal court rulings that the Vice President release task
force records, has been brought before the Supreme Court. The case
Richard B Cheney v. U.S. District Court for the District of Colombia,
No. 03-475, to be heard by Cheneys friend and duck hunting
partner, Justice Scalia, is now pending. Cases based on the Federal
Advisory Committee Act and Freedom of Information Act which require
the Task Force a balanced membership, open meetings, and public
records, are attempting to beat the Bush Administration in its battle
to keep its internal workings secret.
(#9) Widow Brings RICO Case Against U.S. Government for 9/11
SCOOP.CO.NZ, November 2003
Title: 911 Victims Wife Files RICO Case Against GW Bush
Author: Philip J. Berg
SCOOP.CO.NZ, December 2003
Title: Widows Bush Treason Suit Vanishes
Author: W. David Kubiak
Faculty Evaluator: Andy Merrifield, Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Amelia Strommen
Ellen Mariani lost her husband, Louis Neil Mariani, on 9/11 and
is refusing the governments million-dollar settlement offer.
Louis Neil Mariani, a passenger, died when United Air Lines flight
175 was flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
Ellen Mariani has studied the facts of the day for nearly two years
and has come to believe that the White House intentionally
allowed 9/11 to happen in order to launch the War on
Terrorism. Her lawyer, Phillip Berg, former Deputy Attorney
General of Pennsylvania, who filed a 62-page complaint in federal
district court charging that President Bush and officials, including
but not limited to, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Ashcroft: (1) had
adequate foreknowledge of 911, yet failed to warn the country or
attempt to prevent it; (2) have since been covering up the truth
of that day; (3) have therefore abetted the murder of plaintiffs
husband and violated the Constitution and multiple laws of the United
States; and (4) are thus being sued under the Civil Racketeering,
Influences, and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act for malfeasant conspiracy,
obstruction of justice and wrongful death.
Berg plans to call former federal employees with firsthand knowledge
and expertise in military intelligence to provide a foundation for
the RICO Act charge. Mariani intends to prove that the defendants
have engaged in a pattern of criminal activity and obstruction
of justice in violation of the public trust and laws of the
United States, thrusting our nation into an endless war on terror
in order to achieve personal and financial gains.
The suit documents the detailed forewarnings from foreign governments
and FBI agents; the unprecedented delinquency of our air defense;
the inexplicable half hour dawdle of our Commander in Chief at a
primary school after hearing the nation was under deadly attack;
the incessant invocation of national security and executive privilege
to suppress the facts; and the obstruction of all subsequent efforts
to investigate the disaster. It concludes that compelling evidence
will be presented in this case, through discovery, subpoena power
and testimony, that defendants failed to act to prevent 9/11, knowing
the attacks would lead to an international war on terror.
Berg believes that Defendant Bush is invoking a long standard operating
procedure of national security and executive privilege claims to
suppress the basis of this lawsuit.
On November 26, 2003, a press conference was set up to discuss
the full implications of these charges. Only FOX News attended the
conference and taped 40 minutes, however, the film was never aired.
W. David Kubiak asks, When you present documented charges
of official treachery behind the greatest national security disaster
in modern history, and the press doesnt show, doesnt
listen, and doesnt write, what is being communicated?
(#10) New Nuke Plants: Taxpayers Support, Industry Profits
NUCLEAR INFORMATION AND RESOURCE SERVICE, November 17, 2003
Title: Nuclear Energy Would Get $7.5 Billion in Tax Subsides,
US Taxpayers Would Fund Nuclear Relapse If Energy Bill Passes
Authors: Cindy Folkers and Michael Mariotte
WISE/NIRS NUCLEAR MONITOR, August 2003
Title: US Senate Passes Pro-Nuclear Energy Bill
Authors: Cindy Folkers and Michael Mariotte
Faculty Evaluators: Lynn Cominsky, Ph.D., Tamara Falicov, Ph. D.
Student Researchers: Andrea Martini and John Hernandez
Senator Peter Domenici (R-NM), along with the Bush Administration,
is looking to give the nuclear power industry a huge boost through
the new Energy Policy Act. The Domenici-sponsored bill will give
nuclear power plants a production credit for each unit of energy
produced. This provision, costing taxpayers an estimated 7.5 billion
dollars, will be used to build six new privately owned, for-profit,
reactors across the country. This is in addition to the $4 billion
already provided for other nuclear energy programs.
Through the Energy Policy Act, Senator Domenici intends to create
more incentives for nuclear power. It gives 1.1 billion dollars
for the production of hydrogen fuel and 2.7 billion for research
and development of new reactors under the Nuclear Power 2010 program.
The Nuclear Power 2010 program is a joint government/industry effort
to identify sites for new nuclear power plants and develop advanced
nuclear technologies. In 2003 Congress approved an amendment to
the Senate energy legislation, giving approximately $35 million
to the Nuclear Power 2010 program. The program's aim is to advance
and expand the nuclear industrys Vision 2020 policy, which
has, as its goal, the addition of 50,000 megawatts of atomic power
generation (i.e. 50 new reactors) by the year 2020. Toward this
effort, the bill provides new regulations and subsidies to promote
private sector investment by 2005 in order to get new power plants
deployed in the U.S. by 2010.
Total capital investment for a new nuclear reactor could be in
excess of $1.6 bilion dollars. The bill up for vote in Congress,
will establish a "preferred equity investment" provision
requiring taxpayers to back private investment in new facilities
up to $200 million. The Nuclear Power bill provides a set volume
at which the government will buy power from nuclear companies. Nuclear
companies would charge the government 50 percent above the market
price and the government would in turn resell the power to taxpayers
at higher than normal rates to make up for the difference.
Domenicis will allow leach mining of uranium and push for
more uranium enrichment facilities, maintaining that they are necessary
for energy production. Although a new revision of the bill addresses
some of the environmental concerns of a number of Senators, the
charge is that this has been done simply to push the Nuclear Program
forward. The new bill still allows depleted uranium to be treated
as low level waste and requires the Department of Energy
to take possession and dispose of waste generated at privately owned
facilities (at no cost to the owner). The bill makes it easy to
construct enrichment facilities by speeding up the process and easing
The Energy Policy Acts promotion of enrichment facilities
is likely to benefit Louisiana Energy Services, which is run by
a European corporation, Erenco. This corporation has made unsuccessful
attempts to build private uranium enrichment plants in Louisiana
and Tennessee and is looking to get a license to build an enrichment
plant in New Mexico, Domenici's home state.
Finally, the bill will repeal a ban on exporting highly enriched
uranium to other countries, ignoring provisions made in the House
that protect against terrorist attacks. The chance that nuclear
bomb material could fall into terrorist hands would be much increased
with an open market for highly enriched uranium. Also, more reactors
in the United States provide terrorists with more targets. The current
Administration supports the expansion of nuclear energy, yet has
made no attempt to provide for its safety or oversight under Homeland
(#11) The Media Can Legally Lie
CMW REPORT, Spring 2003
Title: Court Ruled That Media Can Legally Lie
Author: Liane Casten
ORGANIC CONSUMER ASSOCIATION, March 7, 2004
Title: "Florida Appeals Court Orders Akre-Wilson Must Pay Trial
Costs for $24.3 Billion Fox Television; Couple Warns Journalists
of Danger to Free Speech, Whistle Blower Protection"
Author: Al Krebs
Faculty Evaluator: Liz Burch, Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Sara Brunner
In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed
with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting
or falsifying the news in the United States.
Back in December of 1996, Jane Akre and her husband, Steve Wilson,
were hired by FOX as a part of the Fox Investigators
team at WTVT in Tampa Bay, Florida. In 1997 the team began work
on a story about bovine growth hormone (BGH), a controversial substance
manufactured by Monsanto Corporation. The couple produced a four-part
series revealing that there were many health risks related to BGH
and that Florida supermarket chains did little to avoid selling
milk from cows treated with the hormone, despite assuring customers
According to Akre and Wilson, the station was initially very excited
about the series. But within a week, Fox executives and their attorneys
wanted the reporters to use statements from Monsanto representatives
that the reporters knew were false and to make other revisions to
the story that were in direct conflict with the facts. Fox editors
then tried to force Akre and Wilson to continue to produce the distorted
story. When they refused and threatened to report Fox's actions
to the FCC, they were both fired.(Project Censored #12 1997)
Akre and Wilson sued the Fox station and on August 18, 2000, a
Florida jury unanimously decided that Akre was wrongfully fired
by Fox Television when she refused to broadcast (in the jury's words)
a false, distorted or slanted story about the widespread
use of BGH in dairy cows. They further maintained that she deserved
protection under Florida's whistle blower law. Akre was awarded
a $425,000 settlement. Inexplicably, however, the court decided
that Steve Wilson, her partner in the case, was ruled not wronged
by the same actions taken by FOX.
FOX appealed the case, and on February 14, 2003 the Florida Second
District Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the settlement
awarded to Akre. The Court held that Akres threat to report
the stations actions to the FCC did not deserve protection
under Floridas whistle blower statute, because Floridas
whistle blower law states that an employer must violate an adopted
law, rule, or regulation." In a stunningly narrow interpretation
of FCC rules, the Florida Appeals court claimed that the FCC policy
against falsification of the news does not rise to the level of
a "law, rule, or regulation," it was simply a "policy."
Therefore, it is up to the station whether or not it wants to report
During their appeal, FOX asserted that there are no written rules
against distorting news in the media. They argued that, under the
First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately
distort news reports on public airwaves. Fox attorneys did not dispute
Akres claim that they pressured her to broadcast a false story,
they simply maintained that it was their right to do so. After the
appeal verdict WTVT general manager Bob Linger commented, Its
vindication for WTVT, and were very pleased
the case weve been making for two years. She never had a legal
(#12) The Destabilization of Haiti
KPFA RADIO-FLASHPOINTS, April 1, 2004
Title: Interview with Aristides lawyer, Brian Concannon
Reporter: Dennis Bernstein
GLOBALRESEARCH.CA, February 29, 2004
Title: The destabilization of Haiti
Author: Michel Chossudovsky
DOLLARS AND SENSE, September/October 2003
Title: Still Up Against the Death Plan in Haiti
Author: Tom Reeves
KPFA - DEMOCRACY NOW!, March 17, 2004
Title: Aristide talks with Democracy Now! About the leaders
of the coup and US funding of the opposition in Haiti
Reporter: Amy Goodman
ASSOCIATED PRESS, March 16, 2004
Title: Aristide Backers Left Out of Coalition
Author: Ian James
Faculty Evaluator: Tony White, Ph.D., Richard Zimmer, Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Brooke Finley and Jocelyn Boreta
On February 29, 2004, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced
into exile by American military. While the Bush Administration and
the corporate press implied that Aristide left willingly, Aristide
was able to give a detailed account of his American military led
kidnapping to a Haitian journalist in the United States via cell
phone, who in turn, broadcast his speech on Pacifica Radios
Flashpoints News, KPFA. While the U.S. was forced to acknowledge
the kidnapping allegations, they were quick to discredit them and
deny responsibility. The circumstances underlying the current situation
in Haiti, as well as the history of U.S. involvement, is being ignored
by U.S. officials and mainstream media.
In 1990 after the brutal 15-year rule of dictator Baby Doc
Duvalier, 70 percent of Haitis people voted for Aristide in
their first democratic election. During his first term, Aristide
began to make good on his populist platform, revising the tax code
to require import fees and income based taxation on the rich and
pressing for an increase in the minimum wage. He was, however, soon
under pressure from International Financial Institutions (IFIs)
and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to reverse
these proposals. A few months later, Aristide was overthrown by
the rebel paramilitary army known as the Front for the Advancement
and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH). FRAPH had been trained and sponsored
by the CIA. In fact, several FRAPH leaders were on the CIA payroll.
During the coup period, from 1991-1994, Aristides 1990 presidential
opponent, former World Bank official Marc Bazin, was appointed Prime
Minister by the military junta, and the exploitation and terrorization
of the country continued as it had during the Duvalier period. Under
Bazin 4,000 civilians were executed, and more than 60,000 refugees
fled. It was in this context of CIA supported FRAPH killings that
Bazin became a poster boy for World Bank, IMF, and Washington Consensus
With the help of the Clinton Administration, Aristide returned
to his position as President of Haiti in 1994. His return was conditional,
based on his support of IMF and World Bank proposals implemented
during his years in exile. During that time, Haiti had racked up
huge amounts of external debt and was forced to turn to the IMF
and World Bank for loans. In response, the IMF formed the Economic
Recovery Program. Supposedly intended to help Haiti get back
on its feet, the program instead imposed a budget reform program
that reduced the size of Haitis civil service and ultimately
led to the collapse of Haitis state system. Aristide served
until the end of his presidential term in 1996.
Aristide was re-elected in Haitis 2000 presidential elections,
the same year that George W. Bush entered office. Aristide won with
92 percent of the vote in an election declared free and fair by
the Organization of American States, of which the U.S. is a member.
However, shortly after Bushs own tainted election, his administration
questioned the election of seven senators from Aristides Fanmi
Lavalas party. Despite the resignation of the senators, the Bush
Administration used these inflated allegations to justify the withdrawal
of $512 million in Inter-American Development Bank loans to Haiti.
The Administration pressured the World Bank, the IMF, and the European
Union to follow with reduction of other planned assistance.
While obstructing aid and loans, the U.S. spent millions to fund
the Democratic Platform of Civil Society Organizations and
Opposition Political Parties. The Democratic Platform, developed
by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and funded by the
International Republican Institute, combines the Democratic
Convergence and The Group of 184 Civil Society Organizations
(G-184) in opposition to the Aristides government. The DC
consists of 200 small political organizations ranging from Maoists
to free market liberals and ultra-right wing Duvalierists, who refuse
participation in electoral processes and who are responsible for
violent attacks on the Haitian government. The G-184 is a group
of civil society organizations headed by Andre Apaid, U.S. citizen
and owner of Alpha Industries, one of Haitis largest cheap
labor exporters producing for a number of U.S. firms including IBM,
Sperry/Unisys, Remington and Honeywell.
After the forced removal of Aristide, the National Liberation and
Reconstruction Front, the new paramilitary group comprised of former
FRAPH members, is collaborating with the Democratic Platform in
the form of neo-liberal structural adjustment. Their intent is to
assist civilian political parties and non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) with the installation of American style democracy/corporate
domination. Incidentally, NED also provided funds to the Democratic
Coordination, another civil society organization
based in Venezuela, which initiated the attempted coup against President
These opposition groups, funded, trained and supplied by U.S. forces,
are waging a contra style war against Haiti. The new government,
led by Interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, is made up of human
rights criminals, drug dealers, and thugs involved in the 1990 and
2004 insurrections. A consistent and systematic campaign of terror
and violence is being carried out by the likes of Guy Philippe,
Louis Jodel Chamblain, and Jean Tatoune. Philippe, a drug dealer
and former police chief, plucked from the Haitian army to be specially
trained by U.S. forces in Ecuador, organized the Haitian opposition
from the Dominican Republic where he was required to check in with
the CIA two to three times a month. Chamblain, former number two
man in FRAPH, sentenced twice for murder, convicted in the 1994
Raboteau massacre and in the 1993 assasination of democracy-activist
Antoine Izmery, joins Philippe to lead seminars on democratic
opposition with machine guns slung over their shoulders. Tatoune,
another FRAPH leader also convicted of massacre in Raboteau and
identified by victims as having shot several civilians, arrived
in an U.S. helicopter to stand next to the de facto prime minister
as a freedom fighter.
While Haitis economy was bankrupted by IMF reforms, the narcotics
transshipment trade still thrives. As the hub of Caribbean drug
traffic, important in the transport of cocaine from Colombia to
the U.S., Haiti is responsible for an estimated 14 percent of all
cocaine entering the U.S. The CIA protected this trade during the
Duvalier era as well as during the military dictatorship of 1991-1994.
The money from the drug transshipment trade flows out of Haiti to
criminal intermediaries in the wholesale and retail trade, to the
intelligence agencies, which protect the trade and to the financial
and banking institutions where the proceeds are laundered. Wall
Street and European banks have a vested interest in installing democracy
in order to protect investment in Haitis transshipment trade
Since Bush senior's presidency, the U.S. has worked hard to forge
an opposition against Aristide and his administration. This opposition
has been fueled by Aristides refusal to privatize Haitis
public enterprises, and his increase of the minimum wage. When Aristide
returned to Haiti in 1994, U.S. officials expected that many of
its public enterprises (the telephone company, electrical company,
airport, port, three banks, a cement factory and flourmill) would
be sold to private corporations, preferably U.S. multinationals
working in partnership with the Haitian elite. Aristide refused,
prompting the withdrawal of $500 million in promised international
aid. In February 2003, Aristide moved, again against strong opposition
from the business sector, to double the minimum wage. This increase
affected more than 20,000 assembly line workers contracted by corporations
such as Disney and Wal-Mart.
Haitis government worked for alternatives to neo-liberal
development, corporate domination, and essentially U.S. hegemony,
joining with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to form a trade bloc
against the FTAA and other initiatives. They established cooperative
projects with Venezuela and Cuba, securing regular shipments of
oil from Venezuela at very reduced prices and substantial medical
assistance from Cuba. CARICOM has called for an investigation into
the abduction of President Aristide, and President Hugo Chavez has
offered Aristide asylum in Venezuela. After two weeks exile in the
Central African Republic, Aristide has been granted temporary asylum
in Jamaica, only about 130 miles from Haiti.
(#13) Schwarzenegger Met with Enron's Key Lay Before the California
COMMON DREAMS, August 17, 2003
Title: Ahnuld, Ken Lay, George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Gray
Author: Jason Leopold
THE LONDON OBSERVER, October 6, 2003
Title: Arnold Unplugged Its Hasta la Vista to
Author: Greg Palast
San Francisco Chronicle and CommonDreams, October 11,2003
Title: Schwarzenegger Electricity Plan Fuels Fears of Another
Author: Zachary Coile
San Francisco Chronicle, May 26, 2001
Title: Enrons Secret Bid to Save Deregulation: Private
Meeting With Prominent Californians
Authors: Christian Berthelsen, Scott Winokur, Chronicle Staff Writers
Faculty Evaluators: Laurie Dawson, John Lund
Student Researchers: Karina Pinon, Chris Bui and Josh Sisco
Arnold Schwarzeneggers solutions to Californias
energy woes reflect those of former Enron chief Ken Lay. On
May 17, 2001, in the midst of Californias energy crisis, which
was largely caused by Enrons scandalous energy market manipulation,
Schwarzenegger met with Lay to discuss fixing Californias
energy crisis. Plans to get deregulation right this time
called for more rate increases, an end to state and federal investigations,
and less regulation. While California Governor Gray Davis and Lieutenant
Governor Cruz Bustamante were taking direct action to re-regulate
Califonias energy and get back the $9 billion that was vacuumed
out of California by Enron and other energy companies, Schwarzenegger
was being groomed to overthrow Davis in the recall. Thus canceling
plans to re-regulate and recoup the $9 billion.
After the Californias energy debacle of 2000, Davis and Bustamante
filed suit under Californias unique Civil Code provision 17200,
the Unfair Business Practices Act, which would order
all power companies, including Enron, to repay the nearly $9 billion
they extorted from California citizens. The single biggest opponent
of the suit, with the most to lose, was Enrons CEO, Ken Lay.
Lay, a very close friend and long time associate of President Bush
and Vice-president Cheney, and one of their largest campaign contributors,
hastily assembled a meeting with prominent Californians (confirmed
by the release of 34 pages of internal Enron email) to strategize
opposition to the Davis-Bustamante campaign and garner influential
support for energy deregulation.
Included in the meeting were Michael Milken, junk bond king
convicted of fraud in 1990 who currently runs a think tank in Santa
Monica that focuses on global and regional economies; Ray Irani,
Chief Executive of Occidental Petroleum; former Los Angeles Mayor
Richard Riordan; and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Riordan
and Schwarzenegger were at that time being courted as GOP gubernatorial
Attendees of the meeting received a small four-page packet entitled
Comprehensive Solution for California. The packet called
for an end to the federal and state investigations into Enrons
role in Californias energy crisis and proposed saddling consumers
with the $9 billion loss. Discussions further focused on preventing
Daviss proposed re-regulation of energy markets.
With Davis in office and Bustamante his natural successor, there
would be little chance of dismissing rock-solid charges of fraudulent
reporting of sales transactions, fake power delivery scheduling,
and blatant conspiracy. The grooming of a governor amenable to a
laissez-faire and corrupt energy market was essential. Recalling
Davis and replacing him with Schwarzenegger was the solution. With
Governor Schwarzenegger in office, Bustamantes case is dead,
as few judges will let a case go to trial to protect a state whose
governor has allowed the matter to be settled.
Governor Schwarzenegger is currently preparing a push to deregulate
Californias electricity markets with an energy strategy driven
by some of the same members of former Gov. Pete Wilsons team
who led the push for energy deregulations in the 1990s.
Consumer groups are warning that the Governors proposals
would expose electricity users to greater fluctuations in prices
while limiting state oversight of power tradinga combination
that could allow the type of market manipulation that plagued California
during the states energy crisis of 2000-01.
Deregulation has already cost the state $50 billion, give
or take, said Mike Florio, senior attorney for the Utility
reform Network, Why on earth anyone would want to do that
again is mystifying to us.
(#14) New Bill Threatens Intellectual Freedom in Area Studies
YALE DAILY NEWS, November 6, 2003
Title: New Bill threatens intellectual freedom in area studies
Author: Benita Singh
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, March 11, 2004
Title: Speaking in Approved Tongues
Author: Kimberly Chase
Faculty Evaluator: Robert Manning
Student Researchers: David Sonnenberg, Josh Sisco
The International Studies in Higher Education Act of 2003 threatens
the freedom of education and classroom curriculum. In 1996 the Solomon
Amendment was passed, denying federal funding to any institution
of higher learning that refused to allow military recruiters on
private and public university campuses. On September 17 of 2003
Congress passed House Resolution 3077, the International Studies
in Higher Education Act of 2003.
The Bill was first proposed in a June 2003 congressional hearing
called International Programs in Higher Education and Questions
about Bias. It was authored by Rep. Peter Hoekstra R-Mi, Chairman
of the House of Subcommittee on Select Education and Chairman of
the House Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence. He
states the changes would let the government keep closer track
of how the money is spent.
The bill portrays academic institutions as hotbeds for anti-American
sentiment, specifically area studies programs. It proposes an advisory
board that would be responsible for evaluating the curricula taught
at Title VI institutions, course materials assigned in class, and
even the faculty who are hired in institutions that accept Title
VI funding. The advisory board would report to the Secretary of
Education and make funding recommendations based on their findings.
Included in the monumental Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI prohibits
any discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national
origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.
Both college leaders and lobbyists stated that the complaints of
bias were inaccurate and that the new board would be used to interfere
with curricular decisions on their campuses. Rep. Peter Hoekstra
tried to alleviate those concerns by adding to the bill language
that would bar the advisory board from mandating, directing,
or controlling the curriculums of such college programs.
However, some Democratic lawmakers feel that even greater
protections were needed in the bill to ensure that the advisory
board would not be used to intimidate scholars to toe an ideological
line (The Chronicle of Higher Education October 31, 2003).
Professors fear not what such a board is supposed to do, but what
it would try to do.
Conservative academic Stanley Kurtz testified in support of HR
3077 and the advisory board. Kurtz stated that "the ruling
intellectual paradigm in academic area studies is "post-colonial
theory. His problem with this idea is that The core
premise of post-colonial theory is that it is immoral for a scholar
to put his knowledge of foreign languages and culture at the service
of American power. According to Singh, Kurtz argues that the
root of anti-Americanism, is not our repeated missteps abroad, unilateral
occupation, or the continuing deaths of innocent civilians, but
rather, post-colonial scholarship. He feels that post-colonial
theory is the cause for bias against America, driving his conclusion
that Title VI programs are putting national security at risk as
they indoctrinate their students with a hatred of America.
With the ratification of H. R. 3077, any academic discipline that
includes cultural studies will be under the scrutiny of the advisory
board. These include African, European, Latin American and Iberian,
Middle Eastern and East Asian studies departments as well as any
language program. To add to this horrific agenda for control, professors
whose ideological principles may not support U.S. practices abroad
can have their appointments terminated, any part of a courses
curriculum containing criticism of U.S. foreign policy can be censored,
and any course deemed entirely anti-American can be barred from
ever being taught.
Proponents of HR 3077 insist that no one is forced to agree
with government policies unless they want government money
(Michael Bellesiles, Sunday Gazette: Jan 11, 2004). To add to this,
the government states that schools with Title VI funding must also
push students within the areas of study listed above into government
security jobs. If they do not, they could be denied government funding.
According to an editorial written by UC Berkeley history Professor
Beshara Doumani, The driving forces behind the provision of this
bill, are the same individuals who have been promoting the war on
Iraq. Their aim is to defend the foreign policy of the Bush Administration
by stifling critical and informed discussions on U.S. College campuses
(Seattle Post-Intelligencer p.7 on 04/02/2004). All this is
doing is placing anyone in international studies under a stricter
control of the government. (Michael Bellesiles , Sunday Gazette:
Jan 11, 2004)
With the ratification of House Resolution 3077, the bill would
rob our society of the open exchange of ideas on college campuses
that is vital to our democracy (Seattle Post-Intelligencer
p.7, 04/02/2004). This bill could allow the government to begin
programming and censoring what students are being taught at institutes
of higher education that receive Title VI funding. Singh states
that Kurtz comments indicate the American and Euro-centric
ideology that the study of foreign languages and cultures serves
no greater purpose than serving American interests.
(#15) U.S. Develops Lethal New Bio-weapon Viruses
The New Scientist, October 29, 2003
Title: "US develops lethal new viruses"
Author: Debora MacKenzie
Faculty Evaluator: Lynn Cominsky Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Brian Pederson
Mainstream media coverage:
CBS News, November 1, 2003
CNN News, October 31, 2003
Scientists funded by the US government have developed a way to
make pox viruses incredibly deadly. Ostensibly, this research is
being conducted as part of the plan to fight possible bio-terror
attacks. The new virus kills all mice even if they have been given
antiviral drugs along with a vaccine that would normally protect
the victim from death. Mark Buller of the University of St. Louis
has managed to modify mousepox, rabbitpox, and cowpox viruses so
that they are deadly to vaccinated mice nearly 100% of the time
through the introduction of an immunosuppressant protein called
Interleukin-4 (IL-4). The modified pox viruses eliminate the immune
systems cell-mediated response. They are now immune to the
antiviral drug Cidofovir, known to be the last line of defense in
treating resistant viruses.
Scientists at the Australian National University in Canberra made
the original discovery by accident, though their virus only killed
off sixty percent of infected mice. As a side effect of introducing
IL-4 into pox viruses, the virus becomes species specific and non-communicable,
though no one is quite sure why this is the case.
The implications of this discovery and their disclosure are staggering.
IL-4 is a protein common in genetic research and as such is available
on the Internet for as low as sixty dollars. Furthermore the procedure
is simple, something that a biology graduate student should be able
to manage without trouble. The bio-terrorist potential for an IL-4
modified pox virus that infects humans is extraordinary. Like anthrax,
only those who come into contact with the virus itself would become
infected. The virus would not spread and infect the attackers. Neither
would it require state of the art scientific facilities to create
such a virus. Buller and his team are currently working on a drug
to resist the new viruses, but have so far been unsuccessful in
making it 100% effective.
(#16) Law Enforcement Agencies Spy on Innocent Citizens
Agenda, July--August 2003
Title: Big Brother Gets Bigger--Domestic Spying & the
Global Intelligence Working Group
Author: Michelle J. Kinnucan
Community Alliance, April 2003
Title: Police Infiltrate Local Groups
Author: Mark Schlosberg
CovertAction Quarterly, Fall 2003
Title: Denver Police Keeping Files On Peace Groups
Author: Loring Wirbel
SF Indymedia, October 4, 2003
URL: http://sfbay.indymedia.org/news/2003/10/1650550.php (first
publish of Rhodes article)
Title: "Local Peace Group Infiltrated by Government Agent"
Author: Mike Rhodes
Reprinted: Community Alliance, November 2003
North Bay Progressive, Volume 2 # 8, October 2003
Title: Fresno Peace group Infiltrated by Government Agent
Author: Mike Rhodes
World Socialist Web Site, www.wsws.org, 1/10/04
Title: Bush Administration Expands Police Spying Powers
Author: Kate Randall
Faculty Evaluator: Andrew Botterell
Student Researcher: Joni Wallent
With virtually no media coverage or public scrutiny, a major reorganization
of the US domestic law enforcement intelligence apparatus is well
underway and, in fact, is partially completed. The effort to create
a new national intelligence collection, analysis, and sharing system
has frightening implications for privacy and other civil liberties.
In the aftermath of 9/11, the International Association of Chiefs
of Police (IACP) with Department of Justice (DOJ) assistance decided
to organize a summit in early 2002; the topic was Criminal
Intelligence Sharing: Overcoming Barriers to Enhance Domestic Security.
At the summit, a select group of 100 criminal intelligence
experts and VIPs from local, state, and federal agenciesincluding
the militaryformulated what came to be known as the National
Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan (NCISP).
The IACP summit report calls for the creation of a Criminal
Intelligence Coordinating Council (CICC). The Global Intelligence
Working Group became operational under the umbrella of John Ashcrofts
Department of Justice (DOJ) as the first incarnation of the CICC
in the fall of 2002.
While they invoke the terror of 9/11, the NCISP and related documents
offer no argument that 9/11 could have been prevented with better
intelligence sharing between federal and state/local law enforcement.
The IACP summit report simply asserts While September 11 highlighted
urgency in improving the capacity of law enforcement agencies
to share terrorism-relevant intelligence data
the real need
is to share all--not just terrorism-related--criminal intelligence.
Information would be shared though out all channels of enforcement
agencies. State and local agencies are to act as partners in the
participation of collection, analysis, dissemination, and ultimately
resulting in police infiltration collecting criminal intelligence.
Several police departments have increased surveillance and intelligence
gathering activity against innocent citizens exercising their constitutional
rights to participate in religious and social protests. The Denver
Police were collecting criminal intelligence data on American citizens
participating in political, religious and social gatherings.
The Denver Police Intelligence Bureau has conducted infiltration
and observation on groups such as: American Friends Service Committee,
Citizens for Peace in Space, and Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission.
Records on participants of these events were filed and shared between
undercover police groups in Denver and national agencies
American Civil Liberties Unions (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against
the city of Denver and the police admitted to maintaining files
on 3,200 individuals and 208 organizations.
In Fresno, California a local peace and justice group discovered
that they had been infiltrated by an undercover law enforcement
officer. Fresno Sheriff Aaron Kilner, known to the Peace Fresno
group as Aaron Stokes, attended several peace meetings and anti-war
vigils. Peace Fresno found out about the infiltration when a local
obituary reported the death of Officer Kilner in a motorcycle accident.
Officer Kilner was listed in the obituary as working for the Joint
Terrorism Task Force.
On the same day that Saddam Hussein was captured, President Bush
sign into law the Intelligence Authorization Act for 2004. The act
essentially expanded the Patriot Act by allowing government to request
personal information on individual citizens from stockbrokers, car
dealerships, credit card companies and any other businesses where
cash transactions occur. By broadening definitions of financial
institutions, the Bush administration expanded the 2001 USA Patriot
Act. The FBI does not have to appear before a judge nor demonstrate
"probable cause." Moreover, a national Security Letter
comes attached with a gag order thereby preventing businesses from
informing their clients that their records have been surrendered
to the FBI.
The intentions of current intelligence gathering activities have
little use in the prevention of terrorist attacks, and have more
to do with the reconstruction of local, state, federal, and private
enforcement agencies with unrestricted access to citizen records.
(#17) U.S. Government Represses Labor Unions in Iraq in Quest for
The Progressive, December 2003
Title: Saddam's labor laws live on
Author: David Bacon
Left Turn, March/April 2004, v. 12
Title: "Ambitions of Empire: The Radical Reconstruction of
Author: Antonia Juhasz
Faculty Evaluators: Haidi LaMoreaux Ph.D., Susan Garfin Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Katie Drewieske, Adam Stutz
In the Wall Street Journal on May 1, 2003 an article leaked the
confidential Bush Administration documents outlining sweeping
plans to remake Iraqs economy in the US image. Hoping to establish
a free-market economy in Iraq the US is calling for the privatization
of state-owned industries such as parts of the oil sector. This
all-inclusive plan for mass privatization of Iraq is divided into
three stages. In the first stage corporations are not only able
to establish their businesses in Iraq, they are also able to own
Iraqi resources, including two of the most precious Iraqi resources:
oil and water. In the second stage, all Iraqi resources would be
turned over to private ownership. The final stage includes the establishment
of a Free Trade Area in the Middle East paving the way for US domination
of the entire region.
The beginning of the corporate invasion was signaled by the many
multi-million dollar contracts that were handed to corporations
via the Bush administration. The US Agency for International Development
(USAID) secretly sent out bids for contracts. Iraqis, humanitarian
organizations, the United Nations and any non-US led business were
left out of the contract bids. Although Halliburton and Bechtel
are some of the most well known corporations that have received
these contracts, there are a plethora of others that have been included
in these secret bids:
DynCorp/Computer Sciences Corp
Creative Associates International Inc.
Research Triangle Institute
With Halliburton now responsible for the extraction and redistribution
of oil, Bechtel has been handed the contract to oversee the management
of water systems and waste water management. Being the largest private
company in the world responsible for water management, (it is involved
in over 200 water and waste water treatment plants around the world)
Bechtels contract has been extended to include the distribution
of water just as Halliburtons was for oil. With this in mind,
the private ownership of Iraqi water supplies could have devastating
consequences for the Iraqi population.
In addition to the privatization of the Iraqi resources, the U.S.-led
Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq has kept in place
many of Saddam Husseins anti-labor practices.
In 1977, Saddam Hussein purged unions and made radical parties
illegal. Many labor leaders were executed or fled the country to
live in exile. Ten years later, Hussein reclassified the people
who worked in large state enterprises as civil servants. That meant
that the government employed 70 percent of Iraqi workers, and made
it illegal for them to form unions or to bargain for better working
Since the Hussein regime fell last April 2003, workplace-organizing
activity has exploded. Union organizers emerged quickly, spearheading
a drive for better wages. A worker strike was held in Basra two
days after British troops arrived. Workers demanded the right to
organize and protested the appointment of a Baath party official
as the new mayor. Similar demonstrations have been going on throughout
the country. 400 union activists met in Baghdad in June 2003 to
form the Workers Democratic Trade Union Federation, and planned
to reorganize unions in many of Iraqs major industries.
But the CPA, while striking down almost all of Husseins other
laws, has kept the ban on unions, keeping wages low and unemployment
high (at about 70 percent). They are privatizing the state enterprises
that employed most of the workers. As of December 2003, 138 of the
600 state-owned businesses were being offered for sale.
On Sept. 19, 2003, the CPA published Order No. 37, which suspends
income and property taxes for a year and limits future taxes to
15 percent. Later that day, they issued Order No. 39, permitting
100 percent foreign ownership of businesses (except oil) and allowing
repatriation of profits. Outright ownership of, access to, and profits
from Iraqi oil fields is still under dispute although it
is likely that U.S. interests will prevail.
The CPA has set an emergency pay scale for Iraqi workers
wages, which for most is $60 a month. This is the same wage scale
that workers had under the Hussein regime. Benefits under Hussein
included frequent bonuses, profit sharing, medical coverage, and
food subsidies. There is no overtime pay under the CPA, no benefits,
and an increase in the exchange rate has made imports and essential
items very expensive. Workers have had a drastic cut in income since
April 2003 as a result of CPA decisions.
Low wages arent the only problems unions hope to combat.
Working conditions are exhausting and dangerous. Under the Hussein
regime, the workday was seven hours long. Now a day shift is 11
hours, a night shift is 13 hours. Safety glasses and other safety
equipment are virtually unknown in most industries. If workers get
sick or hurt, they must pay for their own medical care and also
lose pay for the time they miss. Life has gotten much worse,
said one worker. Everything is controlled by the coalition.
We dont control anything.
Workers in the businesses to be privatized could face even more
problems in the future. If they have no legal union, no right to
bargain and no contracts, they may not be able to oppose the privatization
of their plants and potential huge job losses. A plant manager in
one industry seemed willing to talk to the union in his factory,
but since finances and wages are controlled by the CPA, he is not
able to sign any kind of contract with the group.
The factory manager pointed out that under the Hussein regime,
the 3,000 workers were guaranteed jobs for life. He was not allowed
to lay off anyone. But if his business were privatized he would
have to fire about 1,500 people in order to make a profit; since
there is no unemployment insurance, he will be killing those workers
and their families.
Iraqi Labor Undersecretary Nuri Jafer says he would like to start
an unemployment insurance program, but so far no country is willing
to help fund it. Meanwhile, none of the $87 billion that Congress
allotted for Iraq will go to increase wages or implement a large
A delegation from U.S. Labor Against War a group of American
union and labor councils visited Iraq in October to investigate
conditions. They asked Jafer repeatedly whether or not the 1987
law banning unions would be repealed, but he would not answer the
question. The British CPA representative at the Labor Ministry also
refused to answer, and complained that the foreign union delegations
that visited the ministry were wasting the Labor Ministers
(#18) Media and Government Ignore Dwindling Oil Supplies
NEW INTERNATIONALIST, October 31, 2003
Title: Running on empty; Oil is disappearing fast
Author: Adam Porter
GUARDIAN UNLIMITED, December 2, 2003
Title: Bottom of the Barrel
Author: George Monbiot
Faculty Evaluator: Rick Luttmann Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Philip Rynning, Julie Mayeda, Anna Miranda
If the former industry executives, geologists, and statisticians
in the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) are correct,
oil may have already reached its highest levels of production potential.
But U.S. leaders, and the mainstream media, refuse to acknowledge
that we are headed for an inevitable oil crisis with extreme consequences
sure to impact every aspect of our lives. As the peak is reached,
oil prices will start to rise (as they have every year since 2000).
As the oil decline accelerates, prices will rise even faster.
The problem is that our lives have become hard-wired to the oil
economy. Oil powers the machinery of modern society and lubricates
its engines. Materials need to be transported and companies need
working people to make them. Workers in turn need to run a car,
pay for electricity to heat their house, buy food (that is packaged
in plastic). High transportation prices mean high food prices. Oil
is the main ingredient in plastics and polyester: the clothes we
wear, the carpets we walk on, frames for our computers, seats to
sit on, bottles to drink from, and band-aids to salve our wounds.
What will replace them, and who will be able to afford them, as
the price of oil starts to rise? This story isnt about the
end of oil as it is often portrayed; it is the beginning
of the end of oil. But this still means a paradigmatic shift at
a level not seen since the Industrial Revolution.
Our government has yet to begin diversifying our energy. Head of
the energy investment bank Simmons & Co. International, Matthew
Simmons said, I am an advisor to the Bush Administration.
Although, Im not sure they are listening. What I basically
told them is that we had some looming energy problems: that we were
barreling into a really nasty energy crisis. We need a new energy.
But a viable alternative has yet to be developed. These economic
problems will be exacerbated by the direct connection between the
price of oil and the rate of unemployment. The last five recessions
in the US were all preceded by a rise in the oil price.
Alternative energy, such as hydrogen, which President Bush mentioned
in his State of the Union speech in January of 2004, has its own
complexities and system requirements. Hydrogen, natural gas, bio-diesel,
and nuclear energy sources are all considered alternative fuels.
Wind and solar power are considered renewable energy resources.
The viability of these options depends directly on how we plan to
The only rational response to both the impending end of the oil
age and the menace of global warming is to redesign our cities,
our farming, and our lives. But this will not happen without massive
political pressure, and our problem is that no one ever rioted for
austerity. People tend to take to the streets because they want
to consume more, not less.
Author Adam Porter offers these tips: Eliminate non-essential energy
use, and encourage others to do the same. Move towards renewable
sources. Drive only when necessary. Buy local to defray the strain
from transportation consumption. Get involved locally to plan within
the community. Write your local paper as well as your representatives.
The greater the demand for public discourse, the sooner the U.S.
government will supply a solution. In 1976, President Jimmy Carter
said, We must face the prospect of changing our basic ways
of living. This change will either be made on our own initiative
in a planned way, or forced on us with chaos and suffering by the
inexorable laws of nature.
(#19) Global Food Cartel Fast Becoming the World's Supermarket
LEFT TURN, August/September 2003
Title: Concentration in the Agri-Food System
Author: Hilary Mertaugh
Evaluator: John Lund
Student Researcher: Anna Miranda
Over the last two decades, agribusiness and food retail mergers,
acquisitions, joint ventures, and informal contract agreements have
transformed the agri-food system into a powerful network of transnational
corporations that have the power to control the worlds food
supply at every stage of food productionfrom gene to market
shelf. By cooperating with one another rather than competing, transnational
corporations escape the scrutiny of federal anti-trust regulators
and manipulate the market through non-merger alliances.
In April 2002, the worlds two largest seed corporations, DuPont
and Monsanto announced that they would agree to swap their key patented
agricultural technologies and drop all outstanding patent lawsuits.
The flurry of mergers and acquisitions throughout the agri-food
system has created highly concentrated markets as agribusinesses
expand their dominance by diversifying their commodities. Cargill
is among the top five companies in the US market for flour milling,
grain and oilseed processing, salt production, corn and soybean
exports, turkey production and processing, pork processing, and
As fewer corporations control each stage of food production, farming
is becoming a kind of serfdom. Consolidation among suppliers and
processors leave farmers with few choices of who to buy from and
who to sell to. Dominant agribusinesses have the ability to drive
up the prices they charge for inputs while watering down the prices
they pay for outputs. Furthermore, the rise of patented seed varieties
places farmers in an even worse position, as agricultural biotech
companies gain ownership of the germplasm itself.
Consolidation in the food system is not limited to the production
and processing side. Consolidation activity among food retailers
has catalyzed a domino effect of mergers and acquisitions. ConAgra,
a company few Americans have heard of, is a major force in food
production in the US and has continued to aggressively acquire small
rivals while expanding its operation worldwide. It is estimated
to be the #3 seller of retail food products in the world. Although
consumers might be unfamiliar with the name ConAgra, they will recognize
some, if not all, of ConAgras popular brand names: Armour,
Butterball, Chef Boyardee, Healthy Choice, La Choy, Orville Reddenbacher,
Parkay and Hebrew National, just to name a few. ConAgra is also
known for a recall of 19 million pounds of tainted beef after 47
people were sickened and one died from E. coli poisoning in 2002.
The top five supermarket chains capture one half of all food sales
in the US, and it is widely predicted that there will soon be only
six major retail supermarkets selling the majority of the worlds
food. Because it is necessary for each and every one of us to eat
and drink, we will pay what it takes to make sure we do not go hungry
or thirsty. Although food may appear to be cheap with
fewer and fewer retailers, lack of competition will ultimately lead
to higher prices, lack of choice, and poorly paid employees. Wal-Mart
typically sells grocery products at prices 14% lower than competing
grocers, in part because the company is a non-union employer that
hires clerks at below-poverty wages.
Food corporations rely on the consumers lack of knowledge
as to where their food comes from, how it is produced, and who wins
the profits. The trend toward consolidation at every stage along
the food production chain has dramatically impacted the global economy
and distribution of income and wealth. Given the complexities of
the domestic policy-making and legislative processes, and the numerous
mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and non-merger mergers,
it is not surprising that few people are aware of the degree to
which food companies influence food safety policies, competition
and decide where and how food is produced and how much it will cost.
Prior to committing suicide as an act of political protest on September
10, 2003 against the World Trade Organization in Cancun, Mexico,
Lee Kyung-Hae, a 56-year old farmer from South Korea circulated
the following statement. My warning goes to all citizens that
human beings are in an endangered situation in which uncontrolled
multinational corporations and a small number of big WTO official
members are leading undesirable globalization of inhumane, environmentally
degrading, farmer-killing and undemocratic policies. It should be
stopped immediately, otherwise the false logic of neo-liberalism
will perish the diversities of global agriculture with disastrous
consequences to all human beings.
(#20) Extreme Weather Prompts New Warning from UN
UK INDEPENDENT, July 2003
Title: Extreme Weather Prompts Unprecedented Global Warming
Mainstream media coverage: CNN July 3, 2003; USA Today October
29, 2003; The New York Times December 17, 2003
Faculty Evaluator: Ervand Peterson Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Shannon Arthur, Cassie Cyphers, Melissa Jones
The UNs World Meteorological Organization (WMO) views the
events of 2003 in Europe, America and Asia as so astonishing that
the world needs to be made aware of it immediately. The WMO reports
extreme weather and climate occurrences all over the world. Reports
on record high and low temperatures, record rainfall, and record
storms in different parts of the world are consistent with the predictions
of global warming. The significance of this particular report is
that it comes from the highly respected UN organization known for
its conservative predictions and statements. Based in Geneva, the
WMO collects its information from the weather services of 185 countries.
Supercomputer models show that, as the atmosphere warms, the climate
is not only becoming hotter, but very unstable, with the number
of extreme events more likely to increase. In southern France record
temperatures were recorded in June 2003. Temperatures rose above
104ºF (40°C) in some places, which is 9 to 13º F above
average. In Switzerland, it was the hottest June in over 250 years.
In Geneva, daytime temperatures made it the hottest June ever recorded.
In the United States there were 562 tornadoes in the month of May,
causing 41 deaths. This years pre-monsoon heat wave in India
brought about temperatures of 113ºF (45°C), which is 4
to 9ºF above normal. This extreme heat was responsible for
at least 1,400 deaths. In Sri Lanka, heavy rainfall from tropical
Cyclone 01B resulted in floods and landslides, killing at least
300 people. The infrastructure and the economy of southwest Sri
Lanka were heavily damaged. England and Wales experienced the warmest
June since 1976 with average temperatures of 61ºF (16°C).
A WMO representative said, New record extreme events occur
every year somewhere in the globe, but in recent years the number
of such extremes has been increasing." Extreme heat waves that
scorched Europe in August 2003 were responsible for tens of thousands
of deaths. The Earth Policy Institute reports there were 35, 118
deaths. Most of the deaths occurred in France with 14,802 fatalities,
followed by Germany with 7,000 and Spain and Italy each suffering
over 4,000 losses. The United Kingdom, Netherlands, Portugal and
Belgium combined had over 4,000 deaths.
According to recent reports of the joint WMO/United Nations Environmental
Panel on Climate Change, the global average surface temperature
has increased around 1°F since 1861. New analyses of proxy data
for the Northern Hemisphere indicate that in the 21st century increases
are likely to be the largest in any century over the past 1,000
years. Average global land and sea surface temperatures in May 2003
were the second highest since records began in 1880. The ten hottest
years in the 143-year-old global temperature record have all been
since 1990, with the three hottest being 1998, 2001 and 2002.
(#21) Forcing a World Market for GMOs
Inter Press Service (www.ipsnews.net), 12/3/03
Title: "Agriculture: Biotech Boom Linked to Development Dollars
Author: Katherine Stapp
Inter Press Service (IPS) News Agency, May 14, 2003
Title: U.S. WTO Dispute Could Bend Poor Nations to GMOs-Groups
Author: Emad Mekay
CMW Report, Summer 2003
Title: A Rebuttal to the Tribune
Author: Liane Casten
SF Weekly, June 2-8, 2004
Title: Bioscience Warfare
Author: Alison Pierce
Faculty Evaluator: Al Wahrhaftig Ph.D., Eric McGuckin Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Larissa Heeren
The Bush Administration, on behalf of the biotech industry, intends
to force the European Union (EU) to drop trade barriers against
genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Their claim is that such
a trade barrier is illegal under World Trade Organization (WTO)
rules and that the distribution of GMOs is a necessary part of the
campaign to end world hunger. However, the reason behind U.S. governmental
support for GMOs may have more to do with heavy lobbying, campaign
contributions and the close relationships between government agencies
and biotech companies than actual science and the war against hunger.
U.S. industry loses some $300 million a year of possible GMO exports
to the EU. Biotechnology promoters like Monsanto and agri-business
have strenuously lobbied the administration to bring a formal WTO
case against the EU while suppressing studies that show GMOs may
have adverse effects on health and the environment.
The connections between biotech companies and US regulatory agencies
are deep. According to globalinfo.org, Ann Veneman, US Department
of Agriculture Secretary, used to serve on the board of Calgene,
the company that brought us the biotech tomato. She also used to
head Agracetus, a subsidiary of Monsanto. In another example of
the revolving door between biotech companies and regulatory
agencies, the person who wrote the GMO regulations for the Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) was a lawyer who previously
represented biotech-giant Monsanto. After writing the FDA legislation,
the lawyer returned to work for Monsanto.
Another factor that has powerfully influenced the growth of the
GMO industry throughout the world is the link between international
development organizations (such as the World Bank) and the biotech
industry. Under an approved staff exchange program the
World Bank trades its employees with employees from companies like
Dow, ARD, and Aventis. There are also exchanges with academic institutions,
governments, and UN development agencies. One startling example
involves Eija Pehu, a senior scientist with the World Banks
department of agriculture and rural development. The former president
of a Finnish biotech company, Pehu is also listed as a board member
for the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech
Applications (ISAAA), an influential lobbying organization whose
funding comes from companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, and Bayer.
The ISAAAs objective is the transfer and delivery of
appropriate biotechnology applications to developing countries.
They have successfully pursued this program with projects in at
least 12 developing nations.
The U.S. has a history of attempting to push GMOs on developing
nations through the use of food aid. Yet, despite enormous pressure
and Washington PR campaigns, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique have
turned down shipments of U.S. GMO aid because of health and environmental
concerns. Ronnie Cummins, national director of Organic Consumers,
says the real aim of the United States is to frighten poor developing
nations into complying and opening their markets for controversial
But while GMO companies continue to open new markets abroad, the
jury is still out on whether or not their products are likely to
provide any real benefits. Controversy and scandal surround the
biotech industry and charges that it manipulates the results of
research performed on GMOs. Biotech companies create relationships
with universities that conduct research on their products by providing
sorely needed funding for university research departments. (Over
the last three decades, funding provided to U.S. universities by
the industrial sector grew faster than any other source.) Researchers
who have come forward with evidence showing that GMOs can be harmful
claim they have experienced pressure from university research alliances
to alter results. Some assert that the priorities of private sponsors
influence what should have been impartial findings. One researcher
who found less than desirable results, and discussed them publicly,
had the misfortune of being blacklisted and the target of a powerful
GMO PR campaign to discredit his work. In 1998, Arpad Pusztai, a
scientist at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland
discovered that genetically modified potatoes caused inflammations
and tumors in the lining of stomachs of lab rodents. After publishing
his story, his home was burglarized, his research was stolen, he
lost his job at Rowett after 30 years of employment, and he was
maligned by the Royal Medical Society (after his research was published
in the reputable scientific journal Lancet). This story was Censored
#7 in 2001.
The European Union denies that it has enacted a trade moratorium
and says it simply needed more time to develop systems for tracing
and labeling GM foods and feed. However, even if the EU were to
abide by the WTOs rules, there is no way in hell they
can force the European consumers, supermarkets, or farmers to stock
GMO tainted crops, says Ronnie Cummins.
Meanwhile, the anti-GMO movement in the United States is rapidly
gaining steam. In March 2004, Mendocino, California became the first
county in the U.S. to ban the growing of genetically modified crops
(#22) Exporting Censorship to Iraq
The American Prospect, Volume 14, Issue 9, October 1, 2003
Title: Exporting Censorship to Iraq
Author: Alex Gourevitch
Asheville Global Report, May 12, 2003
Title: U.S Army Major Refuses Order to Seize Iraq TV Station
Author: Charlie Thomas
Faculty Evaluator: Jeffrey Holtzman Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Sara Brunner, Doug Reynolds
Soon after Coalition forces toppled the Saddam Hussein regime in
Iraq, occupying Chief L. Paul Bremer III, reflecting on the new
freedom in Iraq, told journalists that they were no longer constrained
by the government and were now free to criticize whoever,
or whatever, you want. But he was not telling the truth. Everything
changed very quickly when Bremer was the person coming under that
When negative critiques of his policies appeared on the Iraqi Media
Network (IMN), Bremer placed controls on its content. IMN was an
American-run outfit contracted by the Pentagon to put out news after
the fall of Saddam. IMNs mission was two-fold: to be both
a PBS-style broadcaster and a means for the occupying authorities
to communicate with the Iraqis. Bremer issued a nine-point list
of prohibited activity that included incitement to violence,
support for the Baath Party, and publishing material that is patently
false and calculated to promote opposition to the occupying authority.
He clamped down further on the independent media in Iraq by closing
down a number of Iraqi-run newspapers and radio and television stations.
The IMN was bound to find a conflict in encouraging democratic values
while under pressure to go along with the coalition forces ruling
From the beginning, Pentagon decisions seemed to run counter to
its well-publicized intention to create a free Iraqi society. Early
last year, rather than hiring a media outlet to run the IMN, the
Pentagon chose a defense contractor, Scientific Applications International
Corp. (SAIC), instead. With SAICs orientation leaning more
toward information control than information dissemination, it is
hard to see how they were going to create a public broadcasting-style
multimedia operation in post-war Iraq. The IMN was created in April,
2003, and it was not long before journalists hired by the SAIC realized
their double role. The occupying authority told them to stop conducting
man-on-the-street interviews, because some were too critical of
the American presence, and to stop including readings from the Koran
as part of cultural programming. IMN TV was also forced to run an
hour-long program on recently issued occupying authority laws despite
objections from Don North, a senior TV advisor to the IMN station.
Additionally, coalition forces were ordered to seize the only TV
station in Mosel Iraq because they had televised some programs from
the network Al-Jazeera in its broadcast. The independent station
had lost its cameras to looters so they had turned to a mix of Arabic
news channels and NBC to continue broadcasting. The Commander of
the 101st Airborne Division, Maj. Gen. David Petraeus gave the order
to seize the station. But in a surprising show of bravery and professional
ethics, Major Charmaine Means, the head of the Army public affairs
office in Mosul, would not agree to the seizure, saying that to
do so would mean the station would be intimidated into airing only
material approved by the U.S. Military. She refused twice to follow
her superior officers orders, after which she was relieved
of her duties. The station was eventually taken over by coalition
forces. IMN has said that it would like to take over the offices
in Mosul. IMN's having direct control over the facilities would
give the American authority a broadcasting foothold in northern
The Occupying authority is now developing an independent media
commission run by journalists rather than the U.S. Army to enforce
Bremers rules more judiciously and to develop a more rational
set of media regulations.
(#23) Brazil Holds Back in FTAA Talks, But Provides Little Comfort
for the Poor of South America
Inter Press Service (www.ipsnews.net), November 15, 2003
Title: "Trade: US Moves to Squeeze FTAA Opponents"
Author: Emad Mekay
Left Turn, Mar/Apr, 2004
Title: "Lula's First Year"
Author: Brian Campbell
Faculty Evaluators: Robert Girling Ph.D. LeiLani Nishime Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Hilton Jones, Chris Cox
The Free Trade Agreement of the America's (FTAA) could become the
biggest trading block in history, expanding NAFTA to 34 countries
from Canada to the bottom of South America. This deal is unlikely
to meet its January 2005 deadline, now that the second largest player
in the negotiations, Brazil, is holding back. Brazil played an important
part in the November, 2003, Cancun WTO meeting. Led by President
Lula, a 20-country coalition that opposed the agenda of the northern
countries caused the meeting to end abruptly and collapse.
The United States has reacted swiftly by making bilateral agreements
with individual Central and South American countries and threatening
to restrict their access to U.S. markets if they refuse to cooperate.
In many cases, these poorer countries have no choice but to agree
to the very strict and unfair agreements that the United States
demands. Countries such as Peru, Panama, the Dominican Republic,
Colombia, Ecuador, and many other Central American nations involved
in the FTAA want access to U.S. markets, even if it means relaxing
anti-trust laws and workers rights. This tactic of coerced
bilateral agreements has, so far, been successful in hindering Brazil
from building coalitions with neighboring countries. Brazil is the
fifth largest nation in the world, both in size and population.
Boasting a consumer market of 182 million people, the United States
desperately wants in.
Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva, the President of Brazil,
has taken a very anti-Washington stance in the recent talks on the
FTAA. All 34 countries had demands put upon them in a two-tier system.
Since the United States and Brazil both sit comfortably in the top
tier, they are able to opt out of any negotiations not favorable
to them. This has allowed the United States to keep its farm subsidies,
which is the only way the U.S. sugar industry can compete with the
largest sugar exporter in the world, Brazil. In return, Brazil is
not obligated to open up any of its service industry and government
contracts to foreign competition.
Since NAFTA did little to stop jobs in Mexico from going overseas,
particularly to China, where wages and operating costs are even
cheaper than Mexico, Brazilian politicians are very hesitant to
sign up for Washington's latest economic plan. A poll by the University
of Miami indicated that 76 percent of Latin American business people,
journalists, academics, and government officials believe that the
FTAA plan would benefit the United States and not Brazil. This is
one reason President Lula is staying away from the FTAA and bolstering
talks abroad with India and China that focus on technology and natural
(#24) Reinstating the Draft
SALON, November 3, 2003
Title: "Oiling up the Draft Machine?"
Author: Dave Lindorff
BUZZFLASH.COM, November 11, 2003
Title: "Would a Second Bush Term Mean a Return to Conscription?'
Author: Maureen Farrell
WAR TIMES, October-November, 2003
Title: "Military Targets Latino Youth"
Author: Jorge Mariscal
Evaluator: Robert Manning
Student Researchers: Jenifer Green, Adam Stutz
The Selective Service System, the Bush Administration, and the
Pentagon have been quietly moving to fill draft board vacancies
nationwide in order to prepare for a military draft that could start
as early as June 15, 2005. In preparation several million dollars
have been added to the 2004 Selective Service System (SSS) budget.
The SSS Administration must report to Bush on March 31, 2005 that
the system, which has lain dormant for decades, is ready for activation.
The Pentagon has quietly begun a public campaign to fill all 10,350
draft board positions and 11,070 appeals board slots nationwide.
An unpopular election year topic, military experts and influential
members of Congress are suggesting that if Rumsfelds prediction
of a long, hard slog in Iraq and Afghanistan (and a
permanent state of war on terrorism) proves accurate,
the U.S. may have no choice but to draft.
Congress brought twin bills, S. 89 and H.R. 163 forward in 2003,
introduced by Democratic Representative Charles Rangel and Democratic
Senator Fritz Hollings. Entitled the Universal National Service
Act of 2003, their aim is To provide for the common defense
by requiring that all young persons (age 18-26) in the United States,
including women, perform a period of military service or a period
of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland
security, and for other purposes. These active bills currently
sit in the Committee on Armed Services.
Dodging the draft will be more difficult than those from the Vietnam
era remember. College and Canada will no longer be options. In December
2001, Canada and the US signed a Smart Border Declaration,
which could be used to contain would-be draft dodgers. The declaration
involves a 30-point plan which implements, among other things, a
pre-clearance agreement of people entering and departing
each country. Reforms aimed at making the draft more equitable along
gender and class lines also eliminate higher education as a shelter.
Underclassmen would only be able to postpone service until the end
of their current semester. Seniors would have until the end of the
In May 2000, Delaware was the first state to enact legislation
requiring that drivers license information be sent to the
SSS. By August 2003, thirty-two states, two territories and the
District of Columbia followed suit. Non-compliance with sending
information to the SSS has always been punishable by up to five
years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Up to now, the government has
never acted on these measures, but levied punishment would bar violators
from federal employment and student loans. The SSS has altered its
website (www.sss.gov) to include a front-page denial of a draft
resurrection, but continues to post the twenty-four page Annual
Performance Plan which includes its June 15 deadline still intact.
In addition to the possibility of a draft, the continual recruitment
of Latinos into the armed forces has been creating volatile reactions
from anti-recruitment advocates. The target recruitment of Latinos
began during Clintons tenure in office. Louis Caldera, then
Secretary of the Army, was able to discern that Latinos were the
fastest growing group of military-age individuals in the United
States. In May of 2003, the military was involved in a diplomatic
dispute when recruiters made their way across the border. The headmaster
of a Tijuana high school threw out the recruiter, and the Mexican
government was vehemently upset. The Pentagon has preyed on the
fact that Latinos and Latinas often enter the military in search
of civilian skills they can apply in the workforce.
In 2001, Department of Defense statistics showed that while 10%
of military forces are comprised of Latinos, 17.7% of this group
occupies frontline positions. This includes, infantry,
gun crews, and seamanship. With the armys continual
banter about educational subsidies of up to $30,000 for college
and completion of GED requirements, the glitz and glamour
of the military has enhanced misconceptions about the nature of
military service for Latinos.
Charles Pena, director of defense studies at the libertarian Cato
Institute presents a comparable conflict between the United States
and the Middle East and the British and Northern Ireland where the
occupying army encountered hostile opposition from civilian populations.
In that situation the occupying army needed a ratio of 10 or 20
soldiers per 1,000 population, ...If you transfer that to
Iraq, it would mean youd need at least 240,000 troops and
maybe as many as 480,000. With no sign of retreat or resolution
and every indication of increasing opposition in locations occupied
by troops, it will likely be deemed necessary to increase and maintain
military presence. Additionally, there is the massive exodus of
ally troops and aid from areas of occupation and combat. The US
has been unable to draw major assistance from other countries and
high enlistment bonuses have been both ineffective and expensive
in light of the rapidly growing debt. Add to the growing list of
unfavorable realities an unwillingness of soldiers to re-enlist,
and the US is unable to meet the soldier quotient needed to continue
occupation of Iraq alone; excluding the probability of troops expanding
occupied territory and the White House promise of war in multiple
(#25) Wal-Mart Brings Inequality and Low Prices to the World
MULTINATIONAL MONITOR, October 2003
Title: Welcome to Wal-World
Author: Andy Rowell
Faculty Evaluators: Phil McGough, Laurie Dawson
Student Researcher: Mariah Wegener-Vernagallo, Doug Reynolds
Country by country, the world is discovering the great value
of shopping at Wal-Mart, says John Menzer, president of the
international division of Wal-Mart, the worlds largest retailer.
Menzers vision is one where Wal-Mart becomes a global brand,
just like McDonalds or Coca- Cola, monopolizing the global
What Menzer fails to tell shareholders is the fact that Wal-Mart
is also facing lots of consumer pressure both at home and abroad
for some of their business activities. Wal-Marts strategy
of corporate takeovers in other countries has come into question.
When entering a new market, the company never opens directly to
the public; instead they buy into an already fully operational company
and slowly take control. First, a large competitor is eliminated,
then Wal-Mart gains real estate and employees creating a massive
presence in its targeted location.
In addition, by taking over existing stores rather than opening
new ones, Wal-Mart avoids the community opposition that it faces
in the U.S. Al Norman, the founder of Sprawl-Busters, who has been
described by CBSs 60 Minutes as the guru of the
anti-Wal-Mart movement says. What Wal-Mart did in Mexico was
very instructive. Mexico was a testing ground for the method of
operation. They basically acquired existing stores. They moved into
Mexico and that became the theme in other countries like the UK,
Germany, and Japan. They would buy into an existing operation, rather
then start from scratch.
Wal-Mart opposition overseas has been from unions (over low pay),
local regulators (over predatory pricing), and small businesses
that face financial ruin. Recently, the company has also come under
pressure from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in the
US for not allowing union representation in their superstores. With
new superstores opening that contain groceries as well as all other
Wal-Mart amenities, competitor supermarket chains with unions are
worried about their future revenues.
Just as Wal-Mart exports sprawl, it exports bad labor practices.
Uni-Comerce, the global trade union for commercial workers, characterizes
Wal-Mart as an obsessively anti-union company at home and
abroad. The company builds its competitive advantage
on low wages, poor benefits, and a squeeze on producers. Through
predatory pricing, it can force both large and small competitors
out of business, according to Uni-Commerce. Worldwide,
Wal-Mart is the most serious threat to employment, wages, and working
conditions in commerce. The problem with low pay and unions
is one of the main obstacles the company faces in its international
expansion plans. The rift between unions and Wal-Mart, say financial
analysts Fallstreet.com, is intensifying with each global
step the company makes.
Wal-Mart also threatens small shops in countries in which it does
not even operate. In 1998 the Irish government adopted a cap on
the size of stores. But companies like Swedish furniture retailer
IKEA and Wal-Mart are believed to be pressuring government officials
to lift the cap. The only place such large stores would be built
would be out of town, creating sprawl. Any country that has
predominantly smaller stores will be shocked by the superstore format,
In five or six years, you could be talking about 5,000 to
6,000 Wal-Mart stores outside of the United States, says Norman.
Wal-Mart is Americanizing retailing around the world. It is
a really undesirable outcome both culturally and economically for
a U.S. company to be exercising so much power.
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