Can a Dog Be Racist?
The case of the prejudiced pit bull.
By Clara Jeffery
Posted Wednesday, February 26, 2003, at 8:06 AM PT
To be an American is to receive a continuing education on race. But one does
not, perhaps, expect to receive lessons from a dog. Then along came Percy, a
young pit bull friends of mine found in Brooklyn's Fort Greene park last
summer. The couple had little dog experience between them, but Percy
appeared at that point in a relationship when increasingly large gestures of
commitment are required (the engagement would come five months later), and
he was taken in on a probationary basis. He proved to be sweet-tempered, if
excitable, goofy and energetic, easily house-trained. In balance, a lot of
fun. There's just one problem: Percy is a racist.
His prejudice was revealed in dribs and drabs. The first clue came a week
after his adoption when, while on a Brooklyn beach, he eyeballed and growled
at two fishermen a hundred yards away. They approached, lugging buckets of
fish, and he began ferociously barking and lunging. As the men gingerly
passed by, we could see that they were Hispanic.
Back to Main News Page
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Thursday 27 February 2003
"In the counsels of Government, we must guard against the acquisition of
unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military Industrial
Complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and
will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our
liberties or democratic processes."
- President Dwight Eisenhower, January 1961.
George W. Bush gave a speech Wednesday night before the Godfather of conservative
Washington think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute. In his speech, Bush quantified his
coming war with Iraq as part of a larger struggle to bring pro-western governments into power in the
Middle East. Couched in hopeful language describing peace and freedom for all, the speech was in
fact the closest articulation of the actual plan for Iraq that has yet been heard from the
In a previous truthout article from February 21, the ideological connections between an
extremist right-wing Washington think tank and the foreign policy aspirations of the Bush
administration were detailed.
The Project for a New American Century, or PNAC, is a group founded in 1997 that has been
agitating since its inception for a war with Iraq. PNAC was the driving force behind the drafting and
passage of the Iraqi Liberation Act, a bill that painted a veneer of legality over the ultimate designs
behind such a conflict. The names of every prominent PNAC member were on a letter delivered to
President Clinton in 1998 which castigated him for not implementing the Act by driving troops into
PNAC has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to a Hussein opposition group called the Iraqi
National Congress, and to Iraq's heir-apparent, Ahmed Chalabi, despite the fact that Chalabi was
sentenced in absentia by a Jordanian court to 22 years in prison on 31 counts of bank fraud.
Chalabi and the INC have, over the years, gathered support for their cause by promising oil
contracts to anyone that would help to put them in power in Iraq.
Most recently, PNAC created a new group called The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.
Staffed entirely by PNAC members, The Committee has set out to "educate" Americans via cable
news connections about the need for war in Iraq. This group met recently with National Security
Advisor Condoleezza Rice regarding the ways and means of this education.
Who is PNAC? Its members include:
* Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the PNAC founders, who served as
Secretary of Defense for Bush Sr.;
* I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's top national security assistant;
* Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, also a founding member, along
with four of his chief aides including;
* Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, arguably the ideological
father of the group;
* Eliot Abrams, prominent member of Bush's National Security Council,
who was pardoned by Bush Sr. in the Iran/Contra scandal;
* John Bolton, who serves as Undersecretary for Arms Control and
International Security in the Bush administration;
* Richard Perle, former Reagan administration official and present chairman
of the powerful Defense Policy Board;
* Randy Scheunemann, President of the Committee for the Liberation of
Iraq, who was Trent Lott's national security aide and who served as an advisor
to Rumsfeld on Iraq in 2001;
* Bruce Jackson, Chairman of PNAC, a position he took after serving for
years as vice president of weapons manufacturer Lockheed-Martin, and who
also headed the Republican Party Platform subcommittee for National Security
and Foreign Policy during the 2000 campaign. His section of the 2000 GOP
Platform explicitly called for the removal of Saddam Hussein;
* William Kristol, noted conservative writer for the Weekly Standard, a
magazine owned along with the Fox News Network by conservative media
mogul Ruppert Murdoch.
The Project for the New American Century seeks to establish what they call 'Pax Americana'
across the globe. Essentially, their goal is to transform America, the sole remaining superpower,
into a planetary empire by force of arms. A report released by PNAC in September of 2000 entitled
'Rebuilding America's Defenses' codifies this plan, which requires a massive increase in defense
spending and the fighting of several major theater wars in order to establish American dominance.
The first has been achieved in Bush's new budget plan, which calls for the exact dollar amount to
be spent on defense that was requested by PNAC in 2000. Arrangements are underway for the
fighting of the wars.
The men from PNAC are in a perfect position to see their foreign policy schemes, hatched in
1997, brought into reality. They control the White House, the Pentagon and Defense Department,
by way of this the armed forces and intelligence communities, and have at their feet a
Republican-dominated Congress that will rubber-stamp virtually everything on their wish list.
The first step towards the establishment of this Pax Americana is, and has always been, the
removal of Saddam Hussein and the establishment of an American protectorate in Iraq. The
purpose of this is threefold: 1) To acquire control of the oilheads so as to fund the entire enterprise;
2) To fire a warning shot across the bows of every leader in the Middle East; 3) To establish in Iraq
a military staging area for the eventual invasion and overthrow of several Middle Eastern regimes,
including some that are allies of the United States.
Another PNAC signatory, author Norman Podhoretz, quantified this aspect of the grand plan in
the September 2002 issue of his journal, 'Commentary'. In it, Podhoretz notes that the regimes,
"that richly deserve to be overthrown and replaced, are not confined to the three singled-out
members of the axis of evil. At a minimum, the axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and
Libya, as well as 'friends' of America like the Saudi royal family and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, along
with the Palestinian Authority, whether headed by Arafat or one of his henchmen." At bottom, for
Podhoretz, this action is about "the long-overdue internal reform and modernization of Islam."
This casts Bush's speech to AEI on Wednesday in a completely different light.
Weapons of mass destruction are a smokescreen. Paeans to the idea of Iraqi liberation and
democratization are cynical in their inception. At the end of the day, this is not even about oil. The
drive behind this war is ideological in nature, a crusade to 'reform' the religion of Islam as it exists
in both government and society within the Middle East. Once this is accomplished, the road to
empire will be open, ten lanes wide and steppin' out over the line.
At the end of the day, however, ideology is only good for bull sessions in the board room and
the bar. Something has to grease the skids, to make the whole thing worthwhile to those involved,
and entice those outside the loop to get into the game.
Thus, the payout.
It is well known by now that Dick Cheney, before becoming Vice President, served as chairman
and chief executive of the Dallas-based petroleum corporation Halliburton. During his tenure,
according to oil industry executives and United Nations records, Halliburton did a brisk $73 million
in business with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. While working face-to-face with Hussein, Cheney and
Halliburton were also moving into position to capitalize upon Hussein's removal from power. In
October of 1995, the same month Cheney was made CEO of Halliburton, that company announced
a deal that would put it first in line should war break out in Iraq. Their job: To take control of burning
oil wells, put out the fires, and prepare them for service.
Another corporation that stands to do well by a war in Iraq is Brown & Root, a subsidiary of
Halliburton. Ostensibly, Brown & Root is in the construction business, and thus has won a share
of the $900 million government contract for the rebuilding of post-war Iraqi bridges, roads and other
basic infrastructure. This is but the tip of the financial iceberg, as the oil wells will also have to be
repaired after parent-company Halliburton puts out the fires.
More ominously is Brown & Root's stock in trade: the building of permanent American military
bases. There are twelve permanent U.S. bases in Kosovo today, all built and maintained by Brown
& Root for a multi-billion dollar profit. If anyone should wonder why the administration has not
offered an exit strategy to the Iraq war plans, the presence of Brown & Root should answer them
succinctly. We do not plan on exiting. In all likelihood, Brown & Root is in Iraq to build permanent
bases there, from which attacks upon other Middle Eastern nations can be staged and managed.
Again, this casts Bush's speech on Wednesday in a new light.
Being at the center of the action is nothing new for Halliburton and Brown & Root. The two
companies have worked closely with governments in Algeria, Angola, Bosnia, Burma, Croatia,
Haiti, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Somalia during the worst chapters in those nation's histories. Many
environmental and human rights groups claim that Cheney, Halliburton and Brown & Root were, in
fact, centrally involved in these fiascos. More recently, Brown & Root was contracted by the
Defense Department to build cells for detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The bill for that one
project came to $300 million.
Cheney became involved with PNAC officially in 1997, while still profiting from deals between
Halliburton and Hussein. One year later, Cheney and PNAC began actively and publicly agitating
for war on Iraq. They have not stopped to this very day.
Another company with a vested interest in both war on Iraq and massively increased defense
spending is the Carlyle Group. Carlyle, a private global investment firm with more than $12.5 billion
in capital under management, was formed in 1987. Its interests are spread across 164 companies,
including telecommunications firms and defense contractors. It is staffed at the highest levels by
former members of the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations. Former President George H. W.
Bush is himself employed by Carlyle as a senior advisor, as is long-time Bush family advisor and
former Secretary of State James Baker III.
One company acquired by Carlyle is United Defense, a weapons manufacturer based in
Arlington, VA. United Defense provides the Defense Department with combat vehicle systems, fire
support, combat support vehicle systems, weapons delivery systems, amphibious assault
vehicles, combat support services and naval armaments. Specifically, United Defense
manufactures the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M113 armored personnel carrier, the M88A2
Recovery Vehicle, the Grizzly, the M9 ACE, the Composite Armored Vehicle, the M6 Linebacker,
the M7 BFIST, the Armored Gun System, the M4 Command and Control Vehicle, the Battle
Command Vehicle, the Paladin, the Crusader, and Electric Gun/Pulse Power weapons technology.
In other words, everything a growing Defense Department, a war in Iraq, and a burgeoning
American military empire needs.
Ironically, one group that won't profit from Carlyle's involvement in American military buildup is
the family of Osama bin Laden. The bin Laden family fortune was amassed by Mohammed bin
Laden, father of Osama, who built a multi-billion dollar construction empire through contracts with
the Saudi government. The Saudi BinLaden Group, as this company is called, was heavily invested
in Carlyle for years. Specifically, they were invested in Carlyle's Partners II Fund, which includes in
that portfolio United Defense and other weapons manufacturers.
This relationship was described in a September 27, 2001 article in the Wall Street Journal
entitled 'Bin Laden Family Could Profit From Jump in Defense Spending Due to Ties to US Bank.'
The 'bank' in question was the Carlyle Group. A follow-up article published by the Journal on
September 28 entitled ' Bin Laden Family Has Intricate Ties With Washington - Saudi Clan Has
Had Access To Influential Republicans ' further describes the relationship. In October of 2001,
Saudi BinLaden and Carlyle severed their relationship by mutual agreement. The timing is
There are a number of depths to be plumbed in all of this. The Bush administration has claimed
all along that this war with Iraq is about Saddam Hussein's connections to terrorism and weapons
of mass destruction, though through it all they have roundly failed to establish any basis for either
accusation. On Wednesday, Bush went further to claim that the war is about liberating the Iraqi
people and bringing democracy to the Middle East. This ignores cultural realities on the ground in
Iraq and throughout the region that, salted with decades of deep mistrust for American motives,
make such a democracy movement brought at the point of the sword utterly impossible to achieve.
This movement, cloaked in democracy, is in fact a PNAC-inspired push for an American global
empire. It behooves Americans to understand that there is a great difference between being the
citizen of a constitutional democracy and being a citizen of an empire. The establishment of an
empire requires some significant sacrifices.
Essential social, medical, educational and retirement services will have to be gutted so that
those funds can be directed towards a necessary military buildup. Actions taken abroad to
establish the preeminence of American power, most specifically in the Middle East, will bring a
torrent of terrorist attacks to the home front. Such attacks will bring about the final suspension of
constitutional rights and the rule of habeas corpus, as we will find ourselves under martial law. In
the end, however, this may be inevitable. An empire cannot function with the slow, cumbersome
machine of a constitutional democracy on its back. Empires must be ruled with speed and
ruthlessness, in a manner utterly antithetical to the way in which America has been governed for
And yes, of course, a great many people will die.
It would be one thing if all of this was based purely on the ideology of our leaders. It is another
thing altogether to consider the incredible profit motive behind it all. The President, his father, the
Vice President, a whole host of powerful government officials, along with stockholders and
executives from Halliburton and Carlyle, stand to make a mint off this war. Long-time corporate
sponsors from the defense, construction and petroleum industries will likewise profit enormously.
Critics of the Bush administration like to bandy about the word "fascist" when speaking of
George. The image that word conjures is of Nazi stormtroopers marching in unison towards Hitler's
Final Solution. This does not at all fit. It is better, in this matter, to view the Bush administration
through the eyes of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, dubbed 'the father of Fascism,' defined the word in
a far more pertinent fashion. "Fascism," said Mussolini, "should more properly be called
corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."
Boycott the French, the Germans, and the other 114 nations who stand against this Iraq war all
you wish. France and Germany do not oppose Bush because they are cowards, or because they
enjoy the existence of Saddam Hussein. France and Germany stand against the Bush
administration because they intend to stop this Pax Americana in its tracks if they can. They have
seen militant fascism up close and personal before, and wish never to see it again.
Would that we Americans could be so wise.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times bestselling author of two books - "War On Iraq" (with
Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in
May 2003 from Pluto Press. He teaches high school in Boston, MA.
Scott Lowery contributed research to this report.
Back to Main News Page
Manhunt for bin Laden and Top Aide, Zawahiri, Continues to Be Fruitless
By Raymond Bonner with David Johnston
New York Times
Thursday 27 February 2003
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — For months American troops and covert operatives have combed
the rugged outlands of eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan in search of Osama bin Laden
and his principal deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The fruitless manhunt serves as a reminder of the Bush administration's inability to achieve
one of the main goals of its antiterror effort, the capture of Al Qaeda's leaders. Mr. bin Laden and
Mr. Zawahiri are not only at large, but apparently are the sources of recent taped exhortations
urging followers to carry out more violence.
Pakistani officials are now saying Mr. Zawahiri fled Afghanistan in late 2001, only weeks after
the Americans began bombing Qaeda and Taliban strongholds there, an assertion strongly
rejected by American intelligence officials.
In separate interviews in the last week, two Pakistani officials said Mr. Zawahiri, an
Egyptian-born surgeon regarded as the terror network's No. 2 leader, was smuggled across the
porous border into Pakistan and escaped by boat across the Arabian Sea, possibly to the
Middle East or North Africa.
The Pakistani officials said the information about Mr. Zawahiri's escape had come to them
only in the last few weeks. They said their sources were diverse: paid informers as well as
Qaeda suspects interrogated after being picked up in recent raids in Pakistan.
According to the informers and prisoners, Mr. Zawahiri was in the small southeastern Afghan
city of Khost, a main Qaeda training center, in October 2001 when his wife and at least one of
his children were killed in the American bombings, the Pakistani officials said.
The sources said he and three aides had been taken into the Pakistani province of
Baluchistan and then down to the coast, where a boat had been waiting.
The officials also said their information had been shared with American authorities. The
Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have agents in Pakistan
searching for remnants of Al Qaeda while American troops look on the other side of the border.
American officials in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, declined to comment on the reports or
discuss whether they know anything of Mr. Zawahiri's whereabouts.
In Washington, an American intelligence official said that although Mr. Zawahiri's location
was unknown, Americans believed that he was still in hiding in the Afghan-Pakistani border
region. The official emphasized that the United States had no evidence that Mr. Zawahiri had left
the rugged tribal areas.
Another American official in Washington scoffed at the idea that Mr. Zawahiri had escaped
from the region. The official asserted that it was in the interest of Pakistani officials to deny that
Qaeda leaders were hiding in their country, but that despite such denials, the American
authorities believed Mr. bin Laden and Mr. Zawahiri to be somewhere in the tribal areas
straddling eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan.
While not as prominent as Mr. bin Laden, Mr. Zawahiri is deemed notorious enough to have a
$25 million price on his head and to be included on the short list of people whom President Bush
has authorized the C.I.A. to kill.
One American official said Mr. Zawahiri's medical training had helped him develop an
expertise in chemical and biological weapons, making him a greater danger.
In October an audiotape by a speaker identified as Mr. Zawahiri was broadcast on Al
Jazeera, the Qatar-based television network. In the message, he appeared to take credit for
planning a suicide bombing in April 2002 that killed 14 German tourists outside a synagogue in
Tunisia and a similar bombing in the Pakistani city of Karachi in which 11 French engineers
"The young holy warriors have already sent messages to Germany and France," the voice on
the tape said. "However, if these doses are not enough, we are prepared with the help of God to
increase the dosage."
The possibility that Mr. Zawahiri escaped from Afghanistan first surfaced last month, during a
former Taliban official's interview with Pakistani reporters. The former official declared that Mr.
Zawahiri was no longer in Afghanistan or Pakistan, according to a Pakistani reporter who was at
That assertion was supported in the last week in interviews with two officials from different
Pakistani government agencies. Both men have long experience monitoring the activities of
"I am convinced he is not in the region," one of the officials said of Mr. Zawahiri, although he
added that he did believe that Mr. bin Laden remained in the tribal areas.
The official said his conclusion about Mr. Zawahiri was based on interrogations of Qaeda
suspects in January. Those prisoners said that Mr. Zawahiri had fled after the bombing in Khost,
but that they did not know where he had gone, the official said.
The other official said the details of Mr. Zawahiri's flight had been provided to him recently by
an Afghan informer who was not a prisoner and who had a long history of providing reliable
intelligence on other matters. This informer, too, said that he did not know where Mr. Zawahiri
had gone in the boat, but that he believed it was to the Middle East, the second official
The official said the talk with the informer had prompted him to seek corroboration from
another source, an Arab who had fought in Afghanistan, who not only backed the account but
asserted that Mr. Zawahiri was in Algeria.
The official acknowledged that it was not possible to know whether the informers were telling
the truth, but he emphasized that they had been reliable in the past.
Mr. Zawahiri may have had an easier time escaping than Mr. bin Laden. His face is less well
known, and he would blend into a crowd better than the Qaeda leader, who is well over 6 feet
tall. Neither man would lack for help in the region; both have spent many years building a
network of hundreds of loyalists on both sides of the mountainous border.
Mr. Zawahiri has been described as the brains of Al Qaeda, the man with the ideas and
theory, while Mr. bin Laden provided the money. He was born in 1951 into a prominent Egyptian
family. An uncle was the first secretary general of the Arab League and his father was a
He joined the Muslim Brotherhood, a relatively moderate organization, as a teenager,
according to American intelligence. While a medical student in Cairo, he was a founder of the
Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which became a more radical group.
He was charged in the assassination of President Anwar el-Sadat in 1981, according to an
American intelligence official. He was never convicted, but he spent three years in prison on an
unrelated weapons charge. He said he was tortured in prison, a claim supported by human rights
After getting out of prison, the American official said, Mr. Zawahiri went to Afghanistan during
the war against the Soviet occupation and worked as a doctor, treating refugees. Years later the
Russian authorities arrested him as he tried to enter Chechnya without a visa.
The Russians never learned of his background and released him after six months, according
to a lengthy account of Mr. Zawahiri's career published last year in The Wall Street Journal.
He returned to Afghanistan, where he aligned himself with Mr. bin Laden, in 1996, American
intelligence officials said. In 1998 the two men announced the formation of the International
Islamic Front for Jihad on Jews and Crusaders. They called on every Muslim "to comply with
God's orders to kill Americans."
A few days later, two American embassies in East Africa were bombed in attacks
orchestrated by Al Qaeda. Mr. Zawahiri was indicted by a federal grand jury for his alleged role.
Terrorism experts say Mr. bin Laden and Mr. Zawahiri do not need to be together or even in
communication with each other to orchestrate terrorist attacks.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and
Back to Main News Page
EDITOR'S NOTE: What follows is a letter of resignation written by John Brady Kiesling, a
member of Bush's Foreign Service Corps and Political Counselor to the American embassy in
Greece. Kiesling has been a diplomat for twenty years, a civil servant to four Presidents. The
letter below, delivered to Secretary of State Colin Powell, is quite possibly the most eloquent
statement of dissent thus far put forth regarding the issue of Iraq. The New York Times story
which reports on this remarkable event can be found after Kiesling's letter. - wrp
Go to Original
t r u t h o u t | Letter
U.S. Diplomat John Brady Kiesling
Letter of Resignation, to:
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
ATHENS | Thursday 27 February 2003
Dear Mr. Secretary:
I am writing you to submit my resignation from the Foreign Service of the United States and
from my position as Political Counselor in U.S. Embassy Athens, effective March 7. I do so with
a heavy heart. The baggage of my upbringing included a felt obligation to give something back to
my country. Service as a U.S. diplomat was a dream job. I was paid to understand foreign
languages and cultures, to seek out diplomats, politicians, scholars and journalists, and to
persuade them that U.S. interests and theirs fundamentally coincided. My faith in my country
and its values was the most powerful weapon in my diplomatic arsenal.
It is inevitable that during twenty years with the State Department I would become more
sophisticated and cynical about the narrow and selfish bureaucratic motives that sometimes
shaped our policies. Human nature is what it is, and I was rewarded and promoted for
understanding human nature. But until this Administration it had been possible to believe that by
upholding the policies of my president I was also upholding the interests of the American people
and the world. I believe it no longer.
The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values
but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the
international legitimacy that has been America’s most potent weapon of both offense and
defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most
effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring
instability and danger, not security.
The sacrifice of global interests to domestic politics and to bureaucratic self-interest is
nothing new, and it is certainly not a uniquely American problem. Still, we have not seen such
systematic distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American opinion, since
the war in Vietnam. The September 11 tragedy left us stronger than before, rallying around us a
vast international coalition to cooperate for the first time in a systematic way against the threat of
terrorism. But rather than take credit for those successes and build on them, this Administration
has chosen to make terrorism a domestic political tool, enlisting a scattered and largely
defeated Al Qaeda as its bureaucratic ally. We spread disproportionate terror and confusion in
the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of terrorism and Iraq. The result, and
perhaps the motive, is to justify a vast misallocation of shrinking public wealth to the military and
to weaken the safeguards that protect American citizens from the heavy hand of government.
September 11 did not do as much damage to the fabric of American society as we seem
determined to so to ourselves. Is the Russia of the late Romanovs really our model, a selfish,
superstitious empire thrashing toward self-destruction in the name of a doomed status quo?
We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with
Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two years done too much to assert to our world
partners that narrow and mercenary U.S. interests override the cherished values of our partners.
Even where our aims were not in question, our consistency is at issue. The model of Afghanistan
is little comfort to allies wondering on what basis we plan to rebuild the Middle East, and in
whose image and interests. Have we indeed become blind, as Russia is blind in Chechnya, as
Israel is blind in the Occupied Territories, to our own advice, that overwhelming military power is
not the answer to terrorism? After the shambles of post-war Iraq joins the shambles in Grozny
and Ramallah, it will be a brave foreigner who forms ranks with Micronesia to follow where we
We have a coalition still, a good one. The loyalty of many of our friends is impressive, a
tribute to American moral capital built up over a century. But our closest allies are persuaded
less that war is justified than that it would be perilous to allow the U.S. to drift into complete
solipsism. Loyalty should be reciprocal. Why does our President condone the swaggering and
contemptuous approach to our friends and allies this Administration is fostering, including among
its most senior officials. Has “oderint dum metuant” really become our motto?
I urge you to listen to America’s friends around the world. Even here in Greece, purported
hotbed of European anti-Americanism, we have more and closer friends than the American
newspaper reader can possibly imagine. Even when they complain about American arrogance,
Greeks know that the world is a difficult and dangerous place, and they want a strong
international system, with the U.S. and EU in close partnership. When our friends are afraid of
us rather than for us, it is time to worry. And now they are afraid. Who will tell them convincingly
that the United States is as it was, a beacon of liberty, security, and justice for the planet?
Mr. Secretary, I have enormous respect for your character and ability. You have preserved
more international credibility for us than our policy deserves, and salvaged something positive
from the excesses of an ideological and self-serving Administration. But your loyalty to the
President goes too far. We are straining beyond its limits an international system we built with
such toil and treasure, a web of laws, treaties, organizations, and shared values that sets limits
on our foes far more effectively than it ever constrained America’s ability to defend its interests.
I am resigning because I have tried and failed to reconcile my conscience with my ability to
represent the current U.S. Administration. I have confidence that our democratic process is
ultimately self-correcting, and hope that in a small way I can contribute from outside to shaping
policies that better serve the security and prosperity of the American people and the world we
John Brady Kiesling
Go to Original
U.S. Diplomat Resigns, Protesting 'Our Fervent Pursuit of War'
By Felicity Barringer
New York Times
Thursday 27 February 2003
UNITED NATIONS — A career diplomat who has served in United States embassies from Tel
Aviv to Casablanca to Yerevan resigned this week in protest against the country's policies on
The diplomat, John Brady Kiesling, the political counselor at the United States Embassy in
Athens, said in his resignation letter, "Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to
squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both
offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson."
Mr. Kiesling, 45, who has been a diplomat for about 20 years, said in a telephone interview
tonight that he faxed the letter to Secretary of State Colin L, Powell on Monday after informing
Thomas Miller, the ambassador in Athens, of his decision.
He said he had acted alone, but "I've been comforted by the expressions of support I've
gotten afterward" from colleagues.
"No one has any illusions that the policy will be changed," he said. "Too much has been
invested in the war."
Louis Fintor, a State Department spokesman, said he had no information on Mr. Kiesling's
decision and it was department policy not to comment on personnel matters.
In his letter, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times by a friend of Mr.
Kiesling's, the diplomat wrote Mr. Powell: "We should ask ourselves why we have failed to
persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two years
done too much to assert to our world partners that narrow and mercenary U.S. interests override
the cherished values of our partners."
His letter continued: "Even where our aims were not in question, our consistency is at issue.
The model of Afghanistan is little comfort to allies wondering on what basis we plan to rebuild the
Middle East, and in whose image and interests."
It is rare but not unheard-of for a diplomat, immersed in the State Department's culture of
public support for policy, regardless of private feelings, to resign with this kind of public blast.
From 1992 to 1994, five State Department officials quit out of frustration with the Clinton
administration's Balkans policy.
Asked if his views were widely shared among his diplomatic colleagues, Mr. Kiesling said:
"No one of my colleagues is comfortable with our policy. Everyone is moving ahead with it as
good and loyal. The State Department is loaded with people who want to play the team game —
we have a very strong premium on loyalty."
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and
Back to Main News Page
Anti-War Protesters Stage 'Virtual March'
Thu Feb 27,12:04 AM ET
By VANESSA PALO, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Anti-war protesters traded marching shoes for phones, fax machines and computers Wednesday as part of a
"virtual march" on the nation's capital.
Senators, regardless of their position on a war with Iraq, were barraged with calls, as was the White
House. Outside calls to Democratic and Republican Senate offices could not be completed because
of busy circuits.
"We will let our fingers do the marching and demand that our voices be heard," said Tom Andrews,
the national director for Win Without War, the group that organized the protest.
Andrews said about 400,000 people had registered through the group's Web site for the call-in
"Well over 1 million phone calls were made in just eight hours by people from every state in the
country" on Wednesday, he said. "Every senator's office and the White House switchboard received
at least two and often more calls per minute."
White House spokeswoman Ashley Snee said the switchboard received "a lot of calls" Wednesday,
though she didn't have figures. Asked how the White House viewed the calls, she said: "It's a useful
tool for people to express their views, but it's not objective or scientific or a way to measure public
The office of Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., received more than 800 calls in a nearly four-hour span
Wednesday morning, about twice the number of calls it usually receives. Durbin has opposed
unilateral action in Iraq.
Durbin's spokesman Joe Shoemaker also said his office had received 18,000 e-mails since Tuesday
afternoon, more than five times the number it typically gets.
"A passionate, coordinated effort from citizens speaking out on an issue dear to their hearts can be
quite moving," Durbin said in a written statement. But he added, "If the goal is to tie up Congressional
phone lines and shut down the Capitol switchboard, there are better ways to get the point across."
The office of Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill., took more than 100 calls an hour from people on both sides of the issue, said
Fitzgerald's spokesman, Brian Stoller.
Fitzgerald agrees with Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) that military force must be a last resort, though "it must
be a resort if, as it appears, all our other efforts to compel Iraqi disarmament prove fruitless," Stoller said.
An aide to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said her office was also flooded with calls, and some people were unable to get
through. Feinstein voted to authorize the president to use military force to disarm Iraq if necessary but wants inspections to
"No one expressed annoyance," said Andrews, a former Democratic congressman from Maine. His group sent Senate staffers gift
baskets for handling the increased calls and faxes.
Though the White House was also targeted by protesters, Andrews said many callers could not get through because the
switchboard was clogged. House members were not targeted in Wednesday's virtual protest.
Religious leaders echoed the anti-war message Wednesday, visiting Capitol Hill to urge the Bush administration to avoid military
action in Iraq.
"Nothing I understand about Jesus Christ leads me to believe that support of war and violence are necessary or tolerable actions
for Christian people," said Jim Winkler of the United Methodist Church.
Winkler was among several church leaders from France, Germany, Scotland and the United States participating in a prayer
service and briefing organized by the National Council of Churches.
Some of the participants have already met with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder and British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news
- web sites) to voice their opposition to war. Other church leaders met with Pope John Paul (news - web sites) II Wednesday. A
meeting with President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites) of Russia is scheduled for next week.
On the Net:
Win Without War: http://www.moveon.org/
Back to Main News Page
EXEMPTION TO 100% ORGANIC FEED RULE – STATUS AND ACTION ALERT
Last week, a last minute rider was added to the omnibus 2003
bill that would permit organic livestock producers to feed their
animals conventional feed and still label the products – meat, dairy,
eggs – as organic. (See our press release for details
The rider (Section 771 of the Fiscal Year 2003 Consolidated Budget
approved by Congress, Feb. 13, 2003) would allow no funds to be used to
enforce the 100 percent organic feed requirement for certified organic
operations unless a report prepared by the Secretary of Agriculture
that organically produced feed is commercially available at no more
twice the cost of conventionally produced feed. (For exact language of
rider, see our website
This “exemption” is in direct contradiction to the Organic Foods
Act of 1990 and the National Organic Standards implemented in October
which require that for the meat, poultry, eggs, or dairy products to be
labeled as organic, the livestock must be fed 100 percent organic feed.
Senator Leahy (D-VT) is taking the lead in introducing a bill to
this rider, and is expected to do so shortly after Congress re-convenes
on February 24th. He will need co-sponsors in the Senate – both
and Democrats, and sponsors from both parties in the House.
For the repeal bill to be successful, we must generate a lot of
and public comment on the bill all across the nation. It is important
everyone – farmers, consumers, environmentalists, and the entire
industry – talk to their members of Congress and to create a buzz in
and regional media.
What You Can Do – Take Action! 1. Contact your representatives in
and demand that they repeal the language inserted into Section 771 of
Omnibus Appropriations Bill undermining the integrity of the organic
for meat, poultry, eggs and dairy.
2. Encourage your legislators to co-sponsor the bill with Senator
3. Write Op-Ed articles and letters to the editor – get in the media.
(Feel free to use the National Campaign press release as a template
your own media work).
4. Let your local health food store know what you are doing. Make
voice heard loud and clear.
5. Send us an email to let you know you took action:
The message is simple: Urge your Senators and Representatives to
efforts by Senator Patrick Leahy to repeal Section 771 of the Omnibus
Tell them: >Repealing this section is in the interest of consumers,
farmers and the environment.
>Repealing this section will encourage continued growth of organic
production in the United States, one of the bright prospects for U.S.
>Repealing this section prevents special interests from circumventing
national regulations that were in public discussion for over a decade.
For more detailed information and talking points, see the Organic
Association website: www.ota.com
Kathy Lawrence, Executive Director
National Campaign For Sustainable Agriculture P.O. Box 396, Pine Bush,
New York 12566
Phone: 845-744-8448 Fax: 845-744-8477 e-mail:
Back to Main News Page
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 16:01:06 -0800
From: Tom Winburn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Details of the Whitehouse's secret plans for the U.S. Patriot Act II
Details of the Whitehouse's secret plans for the U.S. Patriot Act II
1. Allow the government to strip citizenship from any American who
provides support for a group designated by the federal government as a
"terrorist organization" (section 501).
2. Broadened the definition of groups that could be so designated to
potentially include domestic protest organizations such as Operation Rescue
or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
3. Permitting -- without court order and at the sole discretion of the
Attorney General -- wiretapping of Americans for 15 days (sections 103, 104)
4. While the Justice Department would have to check in with a judge after
the 15 days, the information gleaned during that period could still be
retained and used against innocent Americans.
5. Statutory authority for secret detentions
6. Apply the death penalty to offenses that, because of the redefinition
of domestic terrorism in USA PATRIOT, could sweep in protest tactics that
"involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life."
7. If an anti-war protestor broke the law during a demonstration and
someone died as a result, the protestor could be subject to the death
penalty. (Section 411)
8. Make it easier for the government to initiate surveillance and
wiretapping of U.S. citizens under the shadowy, top-secret Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Court. (Sections 101, 102 and 107)
9. Shelter federal agents engaged in illegal surveillance without a court
order from criminal prosecution if they are following orders of high
Executive Branch officials. (Section 106)
10. Authorize, in statute, the Department of Justice's campaign of secret
detentions by including a provision that would preempt federal litigation
challenging non-disclosure of basic information about detainees. (Section
11. Severely restricting access to crucial information about environmental
health risks posed by facilities that use dangerous chemicals. (Section 202)
12. Reduce the ability of grand jury witnesses in terrorism investigations
to defend themselves against public accusations by gagging them from
discussing their testimony with the media or the general public. (Section
13. Allow for the sampling and cataloguing of innocent Americans' genetic
information without court order and without consent. (Sections 301-306)
Permit, without any connection to anti-terrorism efforts, sensitive personal
information about U.S. citizens to be shared with local and state law
enforcement. (Section 311)
14. Opening sensitive visa files to local police for the enforcement of
complex immigration laws. (Section 311)
15. Terminate court-approved limits on police spying, which were initially
put in place to prevent McCarthy-style law enforcement persecution based on
political or religious affiliation. (Section 312)
16. Provide an incentive for neighbor to spy on neighbor similar to
"Operation TIPS" by granting blanket immunity to businesses that phone in
false terrorism tips, even if their actions are taken with reckless
disregard for the truth. (Section 313)
17. Further criminalize association -- without any intent to commit acts
of terrorism -- with unpopular organizations labeled as terrorist by our
government. (Section 402)
18. Target undocumented workers with extended jail terms for common
immigration offenses. (Section 502)
19. Provide for summary deportations without evidence of crime or criminal
intent, even of lawful permanent residents, whom the Attorney General says
are a threat to national security. (Section 503)
20. Abolish fair hearings for lawful permanent residents convicted of
criminal offenses through an "expedited removal" procedure, and prevent any
court from questioning the government's actions by explicitly exempting
these cases from habeas corpus. Congress has not exempted any person from
habeas corpus -- a protection guaranteed by the Constitution -- since the
Civil War. (Section 504)
For a detailed section-by-section analysis of the draft bill, go to:
Back to Main News Page
In Key Test, U.S. Allows Sale of Genetically Engineered Corn
By Justin Gillis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 26, 2003; Page A01
Monsanto Co. won government approval yesterday to sell genetically
corn designed to combat the most significant pest in the largest crop
in the United States, setting up a major test of whether the plant
biotechnology industry can deliver on its long-standing promise to
the use of chemical pesticides.
The new corn is genetically engineered to resist corn rootworm disease.
problem, which plagues farmers nationwide, is the biggest single reason
apply toxic pesticides to their fields. Monsanto, of St. Louis,
that the corn could eventually be grown on 12 million acres, or 15
of the nation's cornfields.
In granting permission, the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged
that some environmental questions remain but declared that on balance
corn appears to offer more benefits than risks.
"What this decision means is that the environment will have literally
millions of pounds of very toxic pesticides not being used," said
Johnson, the assistant EPA administrator in charge of pesticide
People would be unlikely to eat much, if any, of the new corn. Like most
corn grown in North America, the new crop is likely to be used
overwhelmingly as animal feed, so people would eat it only indirectly --
poultry, beef or other meat. But a small amount might be turned into
products such as corn syrup, a sweetener.
The approval is a victory for Monsanto, a company struggling to gain
acceptance of gene-altered crops. "This is a new tool to help farmers
insects," said Robb Fraley, Monsanto's chief technology officer. "But
real beneficiary is the public, which is getting a more sustainable
agricultural system. This will allow growers to be better stewards of
For years, the backers of agricultural biotechnology, which involves
inserting new genes into plants to confer traits such as improved insect
weed resistance, have claimed that their techniques hold the potential
replace toxic herbicides and insecticides with more benign control
But big reductions in chemical use have been achieved only with
cotton. For genetically engineered crops grown as human food or animal
the data have been far murkier. Corn rootworm, nicknamed the
bug" because it costs farmers nearly $1 billion a year in lost yields
control expenses, is such a huge agricultural problem that the new
gene-altered corn is likely to serve as the definitive test of whether
chemical reductions can be achieved in a food crop.
"This is a blockbuster," said Gregory Jaffe, director of biotechnology
programs at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington
consumer group that favors the use of agricultural biotechnology under
tightly regulated conditions. "It's the first product to come down the
in a while that really could cut insecticide use and help the
Jaffe and representatives of some other watchdog groups, however,
disappointment that the EPA had yielded to Monsanto on one key issue.
Most members of a scientific advisory panel had urged the EPA to require
farmers to plant sizable "refuges," or strips of conventional corn,
the genetically altered crops to provide food for the rootworm and slow
pests' ability to develop a resistance to the new corn variety. Panel
members wanted the EPA to require that 50 percent of a farmer's
planted as refuges, while Monsanto pushed for 20 percent, similar to
requirements already in place for other crops. The EPA sided with
"What we have here is companies doing as they usually do: profiting in
short term" even if it shortens the life of the product, said Jane
senior staff scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a
Johnson, of the EPA, rejected criticism on the issue, noting that the 20
percent requirement will be in effect for only three years while the
resistance issue is studied further. New plans may be put in place if
resistance proves to be a problem, Johnson said.
Corn rootworm is the common name for the larval stage of four species of
beetles that grow in fields throughout the United States. The immature
beetles feed on the roots of corn plants, sometimes damaging them so
that the plants blow over in storms or yield little corn.
To create resistant corn, Monsanto, through molecular engineering,
a gene that contains instructions for making a protein toxic to most
varieties of the worms, but one that can be easily digested by people or
other mammals. The new crop does pose theoretical risks to some other
species, including beneficial insects, and the EPA said it would monitor
Monsanto hopes to put limited supplies of the new corn on the market for
2003 growing season, but the corn is not expected to gain wide use until
2004, when additional seed becomes available. The company intends to
the new corn with an older gene-altered corn designed to resist a lesser
worm, the European corn borer. And, in a first, Monsanto will create a
variety with three genetic modifications: the two anti-worm proteins
gene that helps farmers fight weeds.
This latter variety, designed to solve virtually all common problems
farmers confront in growing corn, may serve as the first real test of
whether large-scale, industrialized agriculture is possible in the
States without significant use of toxic chemicals.
C 2003 The Washington Post Company
Back to Main News Page
Oldest Human History
is at Risk
By Holland Cotter
Iraq has hundreds of thousands of archaeological sites. Some 10,000 have been identified, but only a fraction have been explored. Any of them could change what we know about human history, as past
excavations have done. Some have already revealed the world's earliest known villages and cities and the first examples of writing.
The country is also one of the prime centers of Islamic art and culture. It is home to some of the earliest surviving examples of Islamic architecture -- the Great Mosque at Samarra and the desert palace of Ukhaidar -- and it is also a magnet for religious pilgrimage. The tombs of Imam Ali and his son Husein, founders of the Shiite branch of Islam, at Najaf and Karbala, are two of the most revered in the Muslim world.
During the Persian Gulf war in 1991 at least one major archaeological monument, the colossal ziggurat of Ur, was bombed. Shock from explosions damaged fragile structures like the great brick vault at Ctesiphon, and the 13th-century university called the Mustansiriya in Baghdad. These are among the sites most at risk from war:
* Ur, which flourished in the third millennium B.C. and is identified in the Bible as the birthplace of Abraham. In the 1920's and 30's a British-American team excavated a royal cemetery in which members of a powerful social elite were buried with their servants and exquisitely wrought possessions. Ur's most spectacular feature, though, is its immense ramped ziggurat or tower, the best preserved in Iraq. Although excavation is more advanced here than at most other
sites in the country, it is far from complete, with many layers still to be uncovered.
* Babylon (1700-600 B.C.) is rich in historical glamor. Built on the banks of the Euphrates, it
was the capital to Hammurabi, Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great. Monumental remains like
the Ishtar Gate have been uncovered, and locations for the Tower of Babel and the Hanging
Gardens tentatively identified. As home to the captive Israelites, the city is a recurrent and potent symbol in the Judeo-Christian narrative. The site of Nippur, an important religious center of ancient Babylonia dedicated to the god Enlil, is also in this part of southern Iraq, about 100 miles south of Babylon. The spectacular site has yielded an extensive sequence of pre-Islamic pottery.
* Nineveh, far to the north, the imperial seat of the Assyrian kings Sennacherib (about 704-681 B.C.) and Ashurbanipal (668-627 B.C.). Royal palaces with magnificent sculptures have been found have more than 20,000 cuneiform tablets from Ashurbanipal's library. The biblical prophet Jonah preached there. After the gulf war the excavated palaces were looted of sculptures. Nineveh is on the World Monuments Watch list of the 100 most endangered sites.
* Ctesiphon (100 B.C. to A.D. 900) is high among architectural wonders. The audience hall is just a
shell, but its graceful vault, 120 feet high with an 83-foot span, is intact. The cracks that occurred in
1991 are believed to have been patched by Iraqi archaeologists, but more or heavier shocks from military sites in the area could bring it down.
While untold amounts of Iraq's ancient material past remains buried, its Islamic art is mostly above ground, and monuments carrying profound cultural and religious significance abound.
Baghdad itself is one of them. Once legendary for its wealth, learning and beauty -- many of the tales in the "Thousand and One Nights" are were set there -- it has been devastated many times. And while nothing remains of its original circular design, superb late medieval buildings survive, among them tombs, mosques, minarets, the university and the revered Kadhumain, mosque and shrine. Baghdad also has the country's largest archaeological museum, with a collection of the finest Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian art in the world.
Samarra, once briefly a dynastic capital, has extraordinary early Islamic buildings. The ruins of the ninth-century Great Mosque of Mutawakkil, one of the largest ever built, lies outside the modern city, its intact spiral minaret an icon of Islamic art. The city also has one of the oldest known Islamic tombs, an early caliphal palace and the only brick bridge in Iraq, dating from 1128.
Iraq's third largest city, after Basra, is Mosul, far north on the Tigris and little studied by Western scholars. It is rich in architecture, including the leaning minaret of the now destroyed mosque of Nur ad-Din. The city also attracts pilgrims to the tombs of Muslim saints and has some of the earliest Christian monasteries, dating to the fourth century. Its museum holds important Assyrian antiquities from excavations at Nineveh, Khorsabad and Assur.
Of the many Islamic monuments outside cities, one of the oldest is the eighth-century fortified palace of Ukhaidhar. No one knows why it is in so remote a spot, but the surrounding land was probably irrigated for crops and gardens, and the palace seems to have been a self-sustaining miniature city. Architecturally, it is also an example of the multicultural impulse that has always defined Islamic culture, in this case bringing together Persian, Syrian and Byzantine influences.
"If any of the holiest Shiite shrines at Karbala, Najaf or Kadhumain are hit, we can only expect a very angry reaction from Muslims everywhere," said Zainab Bahrani, who was born in Iraq and teaches
Islamic art at Columbia University. "It would be like bombing St. Peter's in Rome."
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
Back to Main News Page
DON'T TAX THE SUN!
Send an email before Thursday, February 27th...
**** ALERT - TAX ON SOLAR ENERGY THREATENED IN CALIFORNIA ****
As the U.S. considers going to war for oil, alternative energy is
more important than ever. Yet California is considering imposing a
new tax on solar energy. A decision is expected this Thursday,
February 27th. Here's some information on how you can help make
sure we don't tax the sun, from our friends at Vote Solar.
Please help if you can. Thanks!
- Peter Schurman
Feb. 24th, 2003.
DON'T TAX THE SUN!
SOLAR ENERGY'S FUTURE IN CALIFORNIA THREATENED
California's three big utilities - Southern California Edison, Pacific
Gas & Electric, and San Diego Gas & Electric - are supporting a
proposal that would penalize users of solar energy in California.
The utilities are pushing the California Public Utilities Commission to
approve new "exit fee" charges - ranging from 2 to 5 cents per
kilowatt-hour - that, among other things, would apply to electricity
generated by privately owned solar energy systems. The more clean
power customers with solar energy systems produce, the more this new
proposal would require them to pay.
The proposed fees would devastate the state's emerging solar industry
by increasing the cost of solar energy by up to 40%. Solar energy is
helping California reduce air pollution, increase energy independence
and create new jobs. It should be encouraged, not penalized.
Email the California Public Utilities Commission today and tell them to
protect solar energy from all "exit fees".
FACT: As a result pro-renewable energy policies California has put in
place, the number of large-scale (100kw - 1 megawatt) solar energy
systems being installed in California has increased by 1000% in the
last two years.
FACT: As the solar industry has grown, the cost of solar energy has
declined 81% since 1980.
FACT: California now represents two thirds of the nation's market for
solar energy and is the economic engine that will help further reduce
solar energy's costs and bring it into the mainstream in the United
Let's keep California going in the right direction. Please email the
CPUC and the Governor today.
SEND EMAILS TO:
Dear California Public Utilities Commissioners:
I am writing to you today to urge you to protect all solar energy
systems in California from the proposed utility exit fees. I strongly
support the recent state laws passed by the California Legislature and
Governor Davis to promote the use of renewable power, including solar
power, and encourage energy efficiency.
The proposed exit fees would undermine renewable energy in the state by
increasing the cost of solar energy by 20 - 40% and would devastate
California's emerging solar industry. This would be counterproductive.
California needs to be supporting solar energy development now more
than ever. The state desperately needs to reduce air pollution,
increase energy independence, and create new jobs. Solar energy is part
of the solution.
Californians who help reduce demand on the electric grid, improve air
quality and cut our consumption of fossil fuels by purchasing solar
energy systems should not be punished with new fees. The growth of the
solar industry is good for California's environment and economy. I
respectfully urge you to reject additional utility exit fees for all
solar energy customers.
For more background information on this issue go to http://www.VoteSolar.org
Back to Main News Page
Farrakhan condemns Bush
February 24, 2003
BY LUCIO GUERRERO STAFF REPORTER
In what he called his last public appearance, Minister Louis Farrakhan
condemned political leadership in the United States, homosexuals and white
In a speech that lasted a little less than three hours, the controversial
head of the Nation of Islam said the end was near for American dominance and
called on black church leaders to stop teaching the Bible the way whites
"This is a very, very dangerous time," Farrakhan told a packed UIC Pavilion
crowd during the annual Saviours' Day celebration Sunday. "During this period
of darkness, President Bush is leading America to its downfall."
He said that an American war with Iraq would be just a trigger for the
complete destruction of the United States.
"Once the bombs start falling, America will start rolling down the hill
towards destruction," he said. "The America you now know, you'll never know
The minister, who has come under fire in the past for his speeches
denouncing Jews and his views on the Middle East, said he wasn't sure if he
would be able to attend the yearly gathering of the Nation of Islam because
of his failing health.
Leaders said the minister was suffering from a bladder infection that led to
an inflammation of his lower abdomen. He was not able to walk until last
week, they said.
Farrakhan said that because of his health status, he would keep the speech
short. He didn't seem to be suffering any effects of his recent eight-day
hospitalization, as he pounded on the podium and raised his voice throughout
the speech, which was simulcast to 100 sites around the world.
A few times, he said this was his "final call" and that after Sunday's
speech he was "through." He would not say why he was leaving but indicated
that the government may try to quiet him.
"When they come, they will come under the guise of Homeland Security,"
Farrakhan said. "They'll take our property and freeze our assets."
Farrakhan has been the head of the Chicago-based Nation of Islam for more
than 25 years.
He not only chastised the United States, but pounced on Israeli leaders,
saying they are not following the true teaching of Judaism by what they are
doing to the Palestinians.
Along with warning his followers about the pending war with Iraq, he also
prompted black church leaders to begin preaching the "full gospel."
"Christians used Jesus to sanctify white supremacy," Farrakhan said. "I want
to say to President Bush that you are a radical who has hijacked
He told the crowd that white ministers selected among the "most brilliant"
blacks to become ministers, but told them what to preach.
"The preachers have always been apologetic for the evils of the white
people," the 69-year-old Farrakhan said.
He did praise a few black ministers, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson and
Democratic presidential hopeful the Rev. Al Sharpton, of whom he said, "He
will never sell you out.''
Farrakhan also warned the audience that once the war breaks out, the
government could come after African Americans. He said white leaders were
angry at blacks for introducing them to hip-hop.
"The anger of white people is growing," he said. "You are taking their
children with the hip-hop generation."
Back to Main News Page
Perpetual Death From America
By Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, PhD
Afghan-American Freelance Academic
"If they had killed us once, it would not be so bad. But what the Americans
have brought upon us is not only depriving us but our future generations of
our basic god given human right, the right to live. They will be killing us
for generations to come" (An Afghan Victim of US-UK bombing)
In Afghanistan, elders used to cite an ancient saying "we are made for death
and death is made for us" to point to the inescapable reality of facing death
sooner or later. However, when this natural phenomenon changes form from its
natural course to one tailored by humans, it becomes a tool of life
deprivation. This tailored and forced deprivation of life on millions of
people took a form of its own when used for cleansing generations of people
of their basic human right, their right to live. Specifically, for millions
in Afghanistan, their natural course of life and death took a sharp turn when
US-UK military used uranium based weapons. This violation of immense
proportion transformed the natural process of birth, growth and death into
the inescapable horrors of perpetual death.
Perpetual death is characterized by continuous murder of people of a
community, state or nation. It takes several forms. It could be exercised by
conventional means of imposing war and destruction on people. The Russians
have institutionalized this horror in Afghanistan by its invasion of the
country in 1979 and sustained perpetual death there by planting millions of
mines scattered all over country. The United States government also shares
this responsibility after it abandoned the Afghans, leaving them to death and
despair and refused to help them by clearing the millions of mines left
behind after the Sovietsí retreat. These mines have been maiming and killing
Afghans daily since the early 1980s.
However, the form that is exercised currently is the indiscriminate use of the
Weapons of Mass Destruction, namely the usage of uranium based weapons. This
mode of the perpetual death lives up to its name because it continues to
foster deaths of thousands silently and indiscriminately. In fact, the usage
of the Weapons of Mass Destruction alters the texture of the ecosystem
wherein the victims reside. This ultimately condemns the people living there
and future generations to death, and deprives them of their fundamental human
right, the right to live.
The perpetrators of this horrible crime are the governments of the United
States and that of the United Kingdom. The US and the UK are the only two
countries used these horrible weapons indiscriminately in Iraq during the
Gulf War and Balkans in the 1990s and in Afghanistan from October 7th, 2001
onward. Meanwhile, based on past experiences with victims of the US-UK
bombing in Iraq and the Balkans, every informed source suspected to have
similar situation in Afghanistan. Tragically, the US-UK armed forces have
used three times more uranium based weapons in Afghanistan than they did in
Iraq or in the Balkans. In fact, the types of Weapons of Mass Destruction
used in Afghanistan are more potent than those used in Iraq.
This became evident with the recent report by the Uranium Medical Research
Center (UMRC), establishing the presence of a mysterious metal in Afghan soil
samples and urine samples of victims. The investigation carried out by the
two teams of experts, one concentrated on the city of Jalal Abad while the
other on the capital Kabul. The two teams gathered data and established the
use of uranium-based weapons there. They discovered symptoms in population of
illnesses associated with exposure to depleted uranium contamination similar
to that in Iraq and Balkans. This added to the curiosity of the investigators
and collected soil samples from impact sites to investigate them here in the
US. The investigators were also surprised to find high concentration of
uranium in the urine of subjects from Jala Abad. In fact, the level of
uranium was 400% to 2000%, the highest level of uranium ever recorded in
civilian population. Incidentally, the uranium discovered in the urine
samples from subjects in Jala-Abad exhibited characteristics more potent than
depleted uranium. The report said the following in regards to the impact of
the uranium-based weapons:
"Dr. Asaf Durakovic, a professor of nuclear medicine and radiology and a
former science adviser to the US military, who set-up the independent UMRC,
has been testing US, British, and Canadian troops and civilians for DU and
uranium poisoning over the past few years. His findings confirm significant
amounts in the subjects' urine as much as nine years after exposure."
The above quote points to the perpetual death imposed on population of any
country where the USA and the UK had used uranium-based weapons.
"Durakovic and his team have searched for possible alternative causes, such as
geological or industrial sources, or the likelihood of Al Qaeda having
uranium reserves. But the uranium found is not consistent with the "dirty
bomb" scenario proposed by the US (in which stores of radioactive materials
might explain the findings), nor is it connected to DU, or an enriched
uranium-type dust that has been found in Iraq and Kosova."
In Iraq, it took up to five years to have any significant effects of exposure
to depleted uranium, however, in Afghanistan only after one year, the UMRC
research group suspects that 25% of newly born show symptoms of exposure to
uranium weapons. The latter factors further strengthen the hypothesis of the
UMRC that the US-UK militaries are using uranium ore in their weapons in
order to increase its destructive capability. The usage of uranium ore also
makes it difficult to trace these weapons to the US-UK militaries and creates
a distortion as if the uranium had come from the local uranium deposits. The
conclusion of the report was:
"However, marked differences between natural uranium and the uranium used in
the metal fragments found in Afghanistan was uncovered with the use of an
electron microscope, which revealed the presence of small ceramic particles
produced by the high temperatures created on impact. This method of
disguising uranium would benefit governments that are under pressure from the
growing anti-DU lobby."
"The only conclusion is that the allied forces are now possibly using milled
uranium ore in their warheads to maximise [sic] the effectiveness and
strength of their weapons, as well as to mask the uranium, hoping that it may
be discounted as part of any local natural deposits."
The destructive effects of the uranium-based weapons became evident in the
beginning of the bombardments in Afghanistan, when Reuters reported that
people died from minor injuries. Public Health Minister Mullah Abbas said:
"Our findings prove that this is true. These bombardments have radioactive
rays and chemical materials that also cause cancer." (Reuters, October 29,
The news report continued with quotes that further added credibility to the
claims of many that the US and the UK had used uranium-based weapons in
Afghanistan. Dr. Wazir a surgeon at Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital had said the
following amidst the bombardments: "We have some patients with superficial
injuries with symptoms of chemical weapons." (Reuters, October 29, 2001)
According to Dr. Wazir a 10 years old boy, who had superficial injuries died
from respiratory problems after the bombing, while another individual, a 50
years old woman also died from minor injuries. The doctor continues by citing
three of his other patients-two girls aged 12 and 15 and a boy aged 15-who
had only sustained superficial injuries from the US bombings, died hours
later from breathing difficulties and internal bleeding. Dr. Wazir continued:
"These are only three examples. There have been other cases where we suspect
chemical weapons have been used. Most of the victims have had respiratory
problems and internal bleeding for which there is no apparent cause."
(Khalifa.com, October 30, 2001)
At the fighting front north of Kabul, where Taliban forces were pounded night
and day, many dead Taliban soldiers had no visible injuries except blood
flowing out of their mouths, internal bleeding consistent with uranium based
and chemical weapons. Furthermore, many dead Taliban soldiers had severe
discoloration of the skin, orange, without being burned, while others had
their rifles melted in their hands. This aroused suspicion among Taliban and
others that weapons used by the US-UK military were not conventional weapons.
Many Taliban soldiers that survived the bombing in the north have died after
returning to their native villages in the south and southeast of the country.
They had no physical injury upon their death, however, died from internal
bleeding and other bizarre symptoms including uncontrolled vomiting,
diarrhea, and blood loss in urine and stool. Their families were shocked with
Another bizarre, yet tragic scene was reported near Rish-Khor military base in
Kabul. Multiple witnesses reported seeing dead birds on tree branches with
blood coming out of their mouths. As one witness put it:
"We were amazed to see all these birds sitting quietly on [tree] branches; but
when we shook the tree the birds fell down and we saw blood coming out of
their mouths. Then we climbed the trees to see those that were still stuck on
tree branches, all of them had bled from their mouths. Two of the birds
appeared to be partly melted into the trees branches."
These various claims by witnesses of the US-UK bombing amply establishes that
Weapon of Mass Destruction have been used. Amidst the nonstop bombing,
Taliban Public Health Minister Mullah Mohammad Abbas had expressed concerns
about the utility of depleted uranium by the US in Afghanistan. The Minister
was anxious about the long-term contamination of large areas in Afghanistan.
He was aware of the US indifference to the well being of people in other
regions and said: "They used uranium in Kosovo and our concern is that they
will do the same thing in Afghanistan."
According to Dai Williams, independent DU researcher, there has been 50 to 100
times greater health hazard in Afghanistan than had been in Balkans from the
usage of uranium based weaponsódepleted uranium, dirty uranium and uranium
ore. As pointed out above, the efforts of UMRC to expose the so-called
mystery metal used in the bombing in Afghanistan strengthened by the efforts
of other researchers aimed to explore the ongoing ëAfghan War Syndromeí
similar to the ëGulf War Syndromeí, which has caused horrific congenital
deformities in Iraq. According to the Washington based Center for Defense
Information, several hundred tones of weaponsósmart bombs and cruise
missilesóenriched with the so-called mystery metal aimed for hard targets
such as caves, bunkers and command and control installations were used in
Afghanistan. The problem becomes more severe when one compares, the hard
target weapons used in Afghanistan to the ones used in Balkans. Dai Williams
compares the weapons, namely hard target weapon in Afghanistan to that in
Balkans as follows:
"The mystery metal is 50-75% of the weight of the bombs - up to 1.5 tons in
the GBU-37 Bunker Buster bombs. If this is DU then target zones will be
50-100x more contaminated than by the pencil-sized 30 mm (0.27 kg) anti-tank
shells used in the Balkans War, and more like the DU ammunition fire in the
Gulf War. DU oxide is known to travel up to 25 miles by wind so large areas
may be affected by each bomb."
What this translates into is more deaths, morphological changes in people,
congenital deformities and various types of cancers. In this tragedy, an
intertwined horrifically fatal relationship emerges between the individual
and his/her environment. Since Afghans, as other people worldwide, live in
their respective localities, where they have lived from childhood on, are
forced to make painful choices. On the one hand, they do not want to leave
their villages and cities because those are their homes. On the other, hand,
they can not remain there out of concerns for the safety of their families
from uranium poisons as well as further bombings. Tragically, they have no
choice and no place to go. Even if they could, for the overwhelming majority
it is too late because uranium dust has already determined their fate,
diseases and inevitable death.
In their attempts to "smoke-out" the Taliban and Al Qaida, the US has bombed
these ancient tunnels and caves that villagers throughout Afghanistan have
been using for water supply. This not only worsened the existing situation
characterized by drought and lack of water, but it also permanently destroyed
the ecological centers in east, southeast and southwestern Afghanistan, and
created a perpetual source of disease and death for populations living in
those areas. According to Fred Pearceís article ëdying of Thirstí in the New
Scientist, November 17, 2001, the US military bombed the kajaki dam, which
waters land in southwestern Afghanistan that supports over 1 million people.
In the same article, Fred Pearce articulates the following:
"Afghanistan, which is in the third year of an unprecedented drought, relies
on a mixture of ancient and modern water-supply systems. As well as relying
on the Kajaki dam, the south of the country is peppered with hundreds of
water-supply tunnels, often running for tens of kilometres [sic] into
hillsides to tap water reserves deep underground. The tunnels, known in
Pashto as karez, are now a [sic] target for American warplanes. Military
strategists claim that bin Laden and Taliban troops may now be hiding out in
the karez, many of which are wide enough to accommodate companies of men.
They say the karez made impenetrable hideouts for the mujahedin during their
guerrilla war with Soviet occupiers in the 1980s."
Therefore, the traditional systems of water, Karez system of tunnels,
whereupon thousands in Afghan countryside rely, have been permanently
tailored to serve as sources of perpetual death for locals living there.
The following photos are reminders of the US-UK murderous legacy of perpetual
death experienced in Iraq but now in Afghanistan
Iraqi Baby Deformed thanks to the US-UK depleted uranium
Thanks to the Liberators - victim of the US-UK depleted uranium
Another US-UK liberated child
What would you do, if your entire family except a young sister
had perished in the US liberation attempted in Afghanistan?
These beleaguered souls are probably dead due to depleted uranium dust. If
they are alive, they will most likely die from dreadful diseases. This is one
example among thousands in the tragedy of perpetual deaths imposed on the
poor and gallant people of Afghanistan I wish to conclude with the following
quote from one of the victims of US-UK bombing in Afghanistan:
"Tell the Americans, they kill us to sustain your way of life, when they enjoy
living, they better think about the 15 members of my family. Tell them that
they are guilty. Only if they had conscience, they would know that they are
as guilty as their government."
Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, PhD
Afghan-American Interviews, December 2002
Back to Main News Page
Join the VIRTUAL MARCH, Feb.26
WIN WITHOUT WAR COALITION ORGANIZES "VIRTUAL MARCH"
Day Of Faxes, Phone Calls, and Emails
Register Now and We'll Send Your Fax on Feb. 26
(If you are already a member of TrueMajority, you can send
free faxes to your Senators by just clicking Reply and then
Send. We'll hold your faxes until Feb. 26. Please forward
this message to your friends, family and colleagues! If this
message was forwarded to you or if you'd like to edit your
letter, click this link to send your faxes:)
The New York Times reported yesterday that "global anti-war
protests have put the White House on the defensive." Between
the strong case for tough inspections and the growing
domestic and international opposition to war, the hawks in
the Bush Administration are on the run. We need to keep them
We've marched in the streets of New York. We've marched in
over 600 cities around the world. Now it's time to bring
that noise to Washington, where the President and Congress
can't escape it. On February 26th, you can join a massive
march on Washington without leaving your living room. To
learn about all the ways you can march go to:
The Virtual March on Washington is a first-of-its-kind group
effort from the Win Without War coalition. Working together,
we'll direct a steady stream of phone calls -- about one per
minute, all day -- to every Senate office in the country,
while at the same time delivering a constant stream of
emails and faxes. Think of it like a march -- one by one,
we'll be passing through our Senators' offices and the
offices of the White House to let them know how we feel
about this war.
Like a normal march, the success of this campaign depends on
how many people participate. All you need to do is make
three phone calls -- it won't take more than 15 minutes of
your time. But together with tens of thousands of others,
it'll make a huge impression: on February 26th, in every
Senate office and in the White House, the phones will be
ringing off their hooks. If you can't make calls on the 26th
you can still register today to send free faxes. We'll hold
them for you until the 26th
You can sign up for your time to call or place a free fax
right now at:
Then forward this to everyone you know who might be
Here's what Tom Andrews, a former Member of Congress and the
National Director of the Win Without War Coalition has to
say about the February 26th Virtual March: "Believe me,
political leaders in Washington will get the message when
their phones and fax machines light up -- and stay lit up --
from morning until night. They will know that there are a
lot of us, that we care deeply about this unnecessary march
to war, and that we are organized. Our message will be
heard. But, we absolutely need you to make this work."
Last Saturday, millions of us in hundreds of cities around
the world voiced our opposition to a war on Iraq. Please
help us bring this dissent to Washington on February 26th,
by taking part in the Virtual March.
Sincerely, Ben I am writing this email on my own and not on
behalf of Ben & Jerry's, which is not associated with the
Here's a copy of the letter we'll send to your Senators:
I am a constituent of yours and I write today as a
participant in Win Without War's Virtual March. I am one of
the majority of Americans concerned that President Bush's
rush to war is dangerous and unnecessary.
Our nation needs to support tough United Nations
inspections. Going to war with Iraq will kill thousands of
civilians and soldiers, create an atmosphere that breeds
terrorists, and divert money from programs that can really
create a safer and more just society.
Please do everything you can to support the inspections
process and resist our nation rushing to war.
Sincerely, (We'll add your name and address here)
Back to Main News Page
Whites Swim in Racial Preference
By Tim Wise,
February 20, 2003, AlterNet
Ask a fish what water is and you'll get no answer. Even if
fish were capable of speech, they would likely have no
explanation for the element they swim in every minute of
every day of their lives. Water simply is.
Fish take it for granted.
So too with this thing we hear so much about, "racial
While many whites seem to think the notion originated with
affirmative action programs, intended to expand
opportunities for historically marginalized people of color,
racial preference has actually had a long and very white
Affirmative action for whites was embodied in the abolition
of European indentured servitude, which left black (and
occasionally indigenous) slaves as the only unfree labor in
the colonies that would become the U.S.
Affirmative action for whites was the essence of the 1790
Naturalization Act, which allowed virtually any European
immigrant to become a full citizen, even while blacks,
Asians and American Indians could not.
Affirmative action for whites was the guiding principle of
segregation, Asian exclusion laws, and the theft of half of
Mexico for the fulfillment of Manifest Destiny.
In recent history, affirmative action for whites motivated
racially restrictive housing policies that helped 15 million
white families procure homes with FHA loans from the 1930s
to the '60s, while people of color were mostly excluded from
the same programs.
In other words, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that
white America is the biggest collective recipient of racial
preference in the history of the cosmos. It has skewed our
laws, shaped our public policy and helped create the glaring
inequalities with which we still live.
White families, on average, have a net worth that is 11
times the net worth of black families, according to a recent
study; and this gap remains substantial even when only
comparing families of like size, composition, education and
A full-time black male worker in 2003 makes less in real
dollar terms than similar white men were earning in 1967.
Such realities are not merely indicative of the
disadvantages faced by blacks, but indeed are evidence of
the preferences afforded whites - a demarcation of privilege
that is the necessary flipside of discrimination.
Indeed, the value of preferences to whites over the years is
so enormous that the current baby-boomer generation of
whites is currently in the process of inheriting between
$7-10 trillion in assets from their parents and grandparents
- property handed down by those who were able to accumulate
assets at a time when people of color by and large could
To place this in the proper perspective, we should note that
this amount of money is more than all the outstanding
mortgage debt, all the credit card debt, all the savings
account assets, all the money in IRAs and 401k retirement
plans, all the annual profits for U.S. manufacturers, and
our entire merchandise trade deficit combined.
Yet few whites have ever thought of our position as
resulting from racial preferences. Indeed, we pride
ourselves on our hard work and ambition, as if somehow we
invented the concepts.
As if we have worked harder than the folks who were forced
to pick cotton and build levies for free; harder than the
Latino immigrants who spend 10 hours a day in fields picking
strawberries or tomatoes; harder than the (mostly) women of
color who clean hotel rooms or change bedpans in hospitals,
or the (mostly) men of color who collect our garbage.
We strike the pose of self-sufficiency while ignoring the
advantages we have been afforded in every realm of activity:
housing, education, employment, criminal justice, politics,
banking and business. We ignore the fact that at almost
every turn, our hard work has been met with access to an
opportunity structure denied to millions of others.
Privilege, to us, is like water to the fish: invisible
precisely because we cannot imagine life without it.
It is that context that best explains the duplicity of the
President's recent criticisms of affirmative action at the
University of Michigan.
President Bush, himself a lifelong recipient of affirmative
action - the kind set aside for the mediocre rich - recently
proclaimed that the school's policies were examples of
unfair racial preference. Yet in doing so he not only showed
a profound ignorance of the Michigan policy, but made clear
the inability of yet another white person to grasp the
magnitude of white privilege still in operation.
The President attacked Michigan's policy of awarding 20
points (on a 150-point evaluation scale) to undergraduate
applicants who are members of underrepresented minorities
(which at U of M means blacks, Latinos and American
Indians). To many whites such a "preference" is blatantly
Bush failed to mention that greater numbers of points are
awarded for other things that amount to preferences for
whites to the exclusion of people of color.
For example, Michigan awards 20 points to any student from a
low-income background, regardless of race. Since these
points cannot be combined with those for minority status (in
other words poor blacks don't get 40 points), in effect this
is a preference for poor whites.
Then Michigan awards 16 points to students who hail from the
Upper Peninsula of the state: a rural, largely isolated, and
almost completely white area.
Of course both preferences are fair, based as they are on
the recognition that economic status and even geography (as
with race) can have a profound effect on the quality of K-12
schooling that one receives, and that no one should be
punished for things that are beyond their control. But note
that such preferences - though disproportionately awarded to
whites - remain uncriticized, while preferences for people
of color become the target for reactionary anger. Once
again, white preference remains hidden because it is more
subtle, more ingrained, and isn't called white preference,
even if that's the effect.
But that's not all. Ten points are awarded to students who
attended top-notch high schools, and another eight points
are given to students who took an especially demanding AP
and honors curriculum.
As with points for those from the Upper Peninsula, these
preferences may be race-neutral in theory, but in practice
they are anything but. Because of intense racial isolation
(and Michigan's schools are the most segregated in America
for blacks, according to research by the Harvard Civil
Rights Project), students of color will rarely attend the
"best" schools, and on average, schools serving mostly black
and Latino students offer only a third as many AP and honors
courses as schools serving mostly whites.
So even truly talented students of color will be unable to
access those extra points simply because of where they live,
their economic status and ultimately their race, which is
intertwined with both.
Four more points are awarded to students who have a parent
who attended the U of M: a kind of affirmative action with
which the President is intimately familiar, and which almost
exclusively goes to whites.
Ironically, while alumni preference could work toward the
interest of diversity if combined with aggressive race-based
affirmative action (by creating a larger number of black and
brown alums), the rollback of the latter, combined with the
almost guaranteed retention of the former, will only further
perpetuate white preference.
So the U of M offers 20 "extra" points to the typical black,
Latino or indigenous applicant, while offering various
combinations worth up to 58 extra points for students who
will almost all be white. But while the first of these are
seen as examples of racial preferences, the second are not,
hidden as they are behind the structure of social inequities
that limit where people live, where they go to school, and
the kinds of opportunities they have been afforded. White
preferences, the result of the normal workings of a racist
society, can remain out of sight and out of mind, while the
power of the state is turned against the paltry preferences
meant to offset them.
Very telling is the oft-heard comment by whites, "If I had
only been black I would have gotten into my first-choice
Such a statement not only ignores the fact that whites are
more likely than members of any other group - even with
affirmative action in place - to get into their first-choice
school, but it also presumes, as anti-racist activist Paul
Marcus explains, "that if these whites were black,
everything else about their life would have remained the
In other words, that it would have made no negative
difference as to where they went to school, what their
family income was, or anything else.
The ability to believe that being black would have made no
difference (other than a beneficial one when it came time
for college), and that being white has made no positive
difference, is rooted in privilege itself: the privilege
that allows one to not have to think about race on a daily
basis; to not have one's intelligence questioned by best-
selling books; to not have to worry about being viewed as a
"out of place" when driving, shopping, buying a home, or for
that matter, attending the University of Michigan.
So long as those privileges remain firmly in place and the
preferential treatment that flows from those privileges
continues to work to the benefit of whites, all talk of
ending affirmative action is not only premature but a slap
in the face to those who have fought, and died, for equal
[Tim Wise is an antiracist activist, essayist and lecturer.
Send email to timjwise@m.]
Back to Main News Page
How Protesters Mobilized So Many and So Nimbly
By JENNIFER 8. LEE
WASHINGTON - Before the global protests against war in Iraq
last weekend, organizers were already making conference
calls and passing out fliers for their next set of
demonstrations, including one scheduled for next Saturday,
outside the White House.
But then, the worldwide protests drew millions of people
onto the streets, from San Francisco to London, and the Bush
administration hit some diplomatic roadblocks. Sensing delay
in White House momentum, the organizers themselves paused
and decided to make a strategic move, delaying the
demonstrations from March 1 until March 15. They spread the
news the old-fashioned way, through alternative radio
stations and word of mouth, and the instantaneous way,
through Web sites and e-mail messages.
Organizing a protest is fundamentally about logistics: where
do people meet, how do they get on a bus, who will order
portable toilets. Obviously, the Internet, like fax machines
and copiers, has made the tasks easier. Before last
weekend's protests, for example, people registered online
for buses to New York. And a mass e-mail notice was sent out
to New York protesters, informing them about public
bathrooms in Midtown Manhattan and giving them a number to
call in case of arrest.
But the Internet has become more than a mere organizing
tool; it has changed protests in a more fundamental way, by
allowing mobilization to emerge from free-wheeling amorphous
groups, rather than top-down hierarchical ones.
In the 60's, the anti-Vietnam War movement grew gradually.
"It took four and a half years to multiply the size of the
Vietnam protests twentyfold," said Todd Gitlin, a sociology
professor at Columbia University and longtime liberal
The first nationwide antiwar march in 1965 attracted about
25,000 people. By 1969, the protests had grown to half a
million. But increasing the numbers required weeks and
months of planning, using snail mail, phone calls and
"This time the same thing has happened in six months," Mr.
Gitlin said. Even though momentum behind the demonstrations
didn't grow until a month ago, after Secretary of State
Colin L. Powell's presentation to the United Nations, more
than 800,000 people turned out in 150 rallies in the United
States last weekend, from 100 in Davenport, Iowa, to an
estimated 350,000 in New York City. In Europe, more than 1.5
The protests had no single identified leader and no central
headquarters. Social theorists have a name for these types
of decentralized networks: heterarchies. In contrast to
hierarchies, with top-down structures, heterarchies are made
up of previously isolated groups that can connect to one
another and coordinate.
Because no central decision-making authority exists,
protests can be localized and can appeal to new groups and
individuals who don't live in areas where social protest
information would typically reach. For example, Mothers
Acting Up was started two years ago by four women around a
kitchen table in Boulder, Colo., a liberal college town. But
with their Internet site, www.mothersactingup.org, they have
been able to reach 600 like-minded members across the
country, many of whom participated in marches last week.
Technology also spreads word of rallies to countries where
free expression is limited. In Singapore, where the
government does not allow demonstrations at the American
Embassy, cellphone text messages went out, exhorting
recipients to gather at the embassy anyway. The text
messages, which work like mass e-mail messaging to mobile
devices, attracted at least a half-dozen placard-carrying
demonstrators at the gates at the appointed time. The police
rounded them up for questioning.
"Whenever a new communications technology lowers the
threshold for groups to act collectively, new kinds of
institutions emerge," said Howard Rheingold, the author of
"Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution," which documents
self-organizing and leaderless movements. "We are seeing the
combination of network communications and social networks."
His book tells the story of how cellphone text messaging
helped bring down Joseph Estrada, the Philippine president
who was ousted after protests in 2001 over corruption. Text
messaging advertised instant rallies, encouraged people to
protest by wearing black and provided updates on the
(In the same way, cellphone messaging is potentially
alarming for the Chinese government. Officials do not have
centralized control over the network and therefore cannot
censor it, the way they do the Internet.)
E-mail lists have allowed individuals to create groups that
defy geography and time. Thousands of people have joined
hundreds of antiwar lists, and diverse streams of messages
fly back and forth quickly, vastly different from the
information flow in hierarchies. Since the beginning of the
year, 300 messages have been posted on a popular antiwar
list in Sydney, Australia, that has almost 900 members. The
notes range from solicitations for donations to United
Nations updates to appeals for local volunteers.
This is mass mobilization, but also nimble mobilization.
Protesting a war that hasn't begun requires a constant eye
on the calendar of government action. And the movement's
flexibility maximizes its impact, organizers say. A protest
date can easily be moved, timed to affect the latest
"We are trying to stay a step ahead of the administration by
our planning," said Damu Smith, chairman of Black Voices for
Peace, one of hundreds of groups involved in last week's
demonstrations. And staying ahead of the game "is absolutely
strategically central in our ability to be effective in what
we are doing."
Military theorists are fond of saying that future warfare
will revolve around social and communication networks.
Antiwar groups have found that this is true for their work
Back to Main News Page
Translation of Der Speigel article: http://www.spiegel.de
INTERNATIONAL COURT February 17, 2003
Iran sues U.S. in world court for helping Saddam kill Iranians
A strange spectacle in court: As the USA prepares for a war against Iraq, it
is being sued by Iran for its previous close relationship to Saddam Hussein.
At the International Court of Justice, Teheran is accusing the United States
of delivering dangerous chemicals and deadly viruses to Baghdad during the
The Hague - The oral deposition in Iran's suit against the United States in
the matter of the destruction of Iranian oil platforms in 1987/88 began on
Monday. The suit was presented to the highest court of the United Nations in
1992 and has been handled in writing ever since.
Teheran accuses Washington of the destruction of three oil platforms in the
Persian Gulf. The US argues that the attack was in retaliation of
Iranian attacks of ships sailing under the American flag. The court has
scheduled three weeks to hear arguments from both sides.
The Iranian representatives accuse the USA of having provided Iraq with raw
materials for chemical and biological weapons at the end of the 80's. The US
government had delivered dangerous chemicals and deadly viruses to the Iraqi
government for its war.
Washington had provided aid to Iraq in this, and other ways, in its war
against Iran, said Iran's representative at the start of the oral
Mohamat Zahedin-Labbaf, as the spokesman of the Iranian delegation,
emphasized that the US could not dispute the destruction of the platforms.
The US version, that it had been a matter of defense against Iranian missile
attacks of ships under the US flag doesn't hold water, he said.
In any case, the USA had violated the Friendship Treaty which both countries
had signed in 1955. It is this Treaty which constitutes the legal basis for
these proceedings, according to a 1996 decision by the highest court of the
United Nations. Both delegations will be able to argue their positions in
detail during the next three weeks.
Professor Bruno Summa, a German expert on international law, was sworn in as
the new judge at the beginning of the proceedings on Monday. The longtime
University Professor at the University of Munich was elected as one of the 15
regular judges of the Supreme Court in the Hague Peace Palace.
INTERNATIONALER GERICHTSHOF 17. Februar 2003
USA der Unterstützung des Iraks beschuldigt
Kurioses Schauspiel vor Gericht: Während die USA sich auf einen Krieg gegen
den Irak vorbereiten, beschuldigt der Iran die US-Regierung wegen ihrer
früheren Nähe zu Saddam Hussein. Vor dem Internationalen Gerichtshof warf
Teheran den USA vor, in den achtziger Jahren gefährliche Chemikalien und
tödliche Viren nach Bagdad geliefert zu haben.
Den Haag - Vor dem Internationalen Gerichtshof hat am Montag die mündliche
Verhandlung über die Klage Irans gegen die USA wegen der Zerstörung von
iranischen Ölanlagen 1987/88 begonnen. Die Klage war 1992 beim obersten
Gerichtshof der Vereinten Nationen eingereicht und seitdem schriftlich
behandelt worden. Teheran wirft Washington vor, drei Ölplattformen im
Persischen Golf zerstört zu haben. Nach US-Darstellung war der Angriff eine
Vergeltung für iranische Angriffe auf Schiffe unter amerikanischer Flagge.
Für die Anhörung der Argumente beider Seiten hat das Gericht drei Wochen
Die Vertreter des Irans beschuldigten die USA, Ende der 80er Jahre den Irak
mit Rohstoffen für Chemiewaffen und Biobomben unterstützt zu haben. Die
US-Regierung habe gefährliche Chemikalien und tödliche Viren für die
Kriegsführung des irakischen Regimes geliefert.
Washington habe damit und auf andere Weise den Irak im Krieg gegen Iran
unterstützt, erklärte der Vertreter Irans zu Beginn der mündlichen
Die USA könnten die Zerstörung der Plattformen nicht bestreiten, betonte
Mohamat Zahedin-Labbaf als Sprecher der iranischen Delegation. Die
US-Darstellung, dass es sich um eine Verteidigung gegen Raketenangriffe Irans
auf Schiffe unter US-Flagge gehandelt habe, sei nicht stichhaltig, erklärte er
Die USA hätten auf jeden Fall gegen den Freundschaftsvertrag verstoßen, den
beide Länder 1955 geschlossen hatten. Dieser Vertrag bildet für das oberste
Gericht der Vereinten Nationen nach einer Entscheidung von 1996 die
Rechtsgrundlage für das Verfahren. In den nächsten drei Wochen können beide
Delegationen ausführlich ihre Standpunkte darlegen.
Zu Beginn der Verhandlung am Montag wurde der deutsche Experte für
internationales Recht Professor Bruno Simma als neuer Richter vereidigt. Der
langjährige Hochschullehrer an der Universität München ist für neun Jahre zu
einem der 15 ständigen Richter des obersten Gerichtshofs im Den Haager
Friedenspalast gewählt worden.
Back to Main News Page
114 countries Urge
Sunday Herald Sun |
Sunday 23 February
IN a show of support for
Iraq coupled with appeals
for Saddam Hussein to
disarm, foreign ministers for
more than half the world
have urged Baghdad to
comply with UN resolutions
while adding their voice to
the millions of people who
A declaration prepared
for a Non-Aligned
Movement summit also
said that if Iraq continued to
cooperate with UN
inspectors in eliminating
weapons of mass
destruction, the debilitating
sanctions imposed on
Baghdad after the 1991 Gulf
War should finally be lifted.
Although the draft
declaration endorsed today
by foreign ministers
addressed US concerns by
stressing that Baghdad
must comply with Security
Council resolution 1441 -
which demands that Iraq
disarm - its overall tone left
no doubt that the
does not want to see a
Leaders of the
movement's 114 mostly
representing 55 per cent of
the world's population and
nearly two-thirds of UN
members, were expected to
endorse the declaration at
their summit starting on
US confrontations with
Iraq and North Korea -
possessing weapons of
mass destruction -
dominated preparations for
"We reiterate our
commitment to the
fundamental principles of
the non-use of force and
respect for the sovereignty,
territorial integrity, political
independence and security
of all member states," the
document on Iraq said.
There were two days of
wrangling over the
wording. The latest version
characterisation by some
Arab countries of any
conflict as "aggression".
"It is a balanced
statement because it
shows everyone is against
unilateral action against
Iraq or any other country,"
said Gholomali Khoshroo,
Iran's deputy foreign
minister. "At the same
time, they have urged Iraq
to cooperate with the
"What we want is full
compliance with Resolution
1441," said US envoy
Charles Twining, an
observer at the conference.
"It's really that simple."
Iraq is a founding
member of the Non-Aligned
Movement, which was set
up in 1955 to pave a neutral
path between the United
States and the Soviet bloc
and which regularly
opposes military action
against any Third World
The draft declaration
paid a nod to massive
anti-war protests around the
world, and came a day
before summit host
Malaysia holds a peace
rally organisers expect to
draw as many as 200,000
"We are fully cognisant
of the concerns expressed
by millions in our countries,
as well as in other parts of
the world, who reject war
and believe, like we do, that
war against Iraq would be a
destabilising factor for the
whole region," it said.
Not everyone at the
summit faulted what the
protesters perceive as US
President George W Bush's
hawkish stance on Iraq.
Nobel Peace laureate Jose
Ramos Horta said Bush's
Iraq policy deserves more
credit for boosting
Baghdad's cooperation with
UN demands to disarm.
"If President Bush had
not threatened to go to war
in a credible manner by
building forces in the
region, would Saddam
Hussein have invited the
weapons inspectors back?"
said Ramos Horta, foreign
minister for East Timor,
which will formally join the
Non-Aligned Movement on
"Did he invite them back
because of the charming
French attitude or because
of the German pacifist
attitude, or because he
knows that George W Bush
North Korea - another
non-aligned state - wanted
the final declaration to
condemn Washington for
causing its crisis over
nuclear development, but
diplomats from other
countries baulked at that
Meanwhile, North Korea
resisted calls by fellow
summit participants to
return to a key nuclear
treaty, prompting some
nations to say they feared
peace in Asia was in
"We are trying to find a
middle way where we take
note of North Korea's
withdrawal and hope they
will rejoin the
Malaysian foreign minister
Syed Hamid Albar said.
"They must accept there is
a fear of a nuclear threat
and it will jeopardise peace
He said Malaysia is
drafting wording that "we
think reflects the Korean
concern and also reflects
the concerns of non-aligned
The North Korea crisis
began in October when US
officials said that
Pyongyang admitted having
a covert nuclear program.
Washington and its allies
suspended fuel shipment to
North Korea as
Pyongyang retaliated by
expelling UN monitors and
pulling out of the treaty.
(In accordance with Title
17 U.S.C. Section 107, this
material is distributed
without profit to those who
have expressed a prior
interest in receiving the
included information for
research and educational
Back to Main News Page
Enron: Under Cover of
Dark and the War
By Matt Bivens
The Daily Times
There's not much doubt
left today that the California
energy crisis was an Enron
esque game. Just 10 days
ago, a fifth former Enron
exec entered a federal
The Enron scandal has
all but disappeared from
view. Let's check in on it,
You remember Enron: It
claimed to be making and
holding onto lots more
money than it really was; it
suckered people, including
its own employees, into
believing it was a success;
its top executives paid
themselves lavishly and
then, when the pyramid
shuddered, cashed out
That's the usual
chronology, but the
800-pound gorilla it omits is
the summer of 2001 in
California when "energy
traders'' like Enron created
a phony "energy crisis'' in
which, for the third summer
in a row, they could ransom
their energy for
There's not much doubt
left today that the California
energy crisis was an Enron
esque game. Just 10 days
ago, a fifth former Enron
exec entered a federal
guilty plea. He admits he
and his colleagues
brought about those
lucrative power outages.
Enron, of course, wasn't
alone. Traders over at
Reliant Energy (just
renamed Center point) have
been caught on tape
laughing about being the
cause of power failures
across the West Coast,
and then under cover of
dark sneaking away with
the public's hard-earned
money it was "cool'' and
So, game over, right?
There's a consensus that
55 million Californians were
ripped off by the Fraudster
500; now it's just a matter
of doling out the jail time
and the public shame,
collecting what money can
be recovered, and ordering
regulators to prevent it
Uh, no. For starters,
Americans have forgotten
Enron. We're too busy
duct-taping our windows
shut against the possibility
of a chemical, biological or
nuclear attack. The press
derides the new government
civil defence advice as
"duct and cover'' a joking
reference to the old
"duck-and-cover'' Cold War
drills, in which school kids
would hide under their
desks from Comrade Stalin
but that hasn't stopped
hoarders from buying up all
the flashlights and bottled
water in my hometown.
With no one watching,
it's back to business as
usual and the Bush
administration is eager to
do the bidding of the
oligarchy sorry, wrong
country, of its favourite
"campaign contributors.'' So
those Reliant traders who
thought themselves so
"cool'' earned their
company a playful wrist
slap: Their $13.8 million fine
equals 0.03 percent of
2001 revenues of $40.8
billion. If Reliant had jacked
a Mercedes, this would be
equivalent to a judge
ordering it to keep the car
but return any change found
behind the seat.
The fine was set by the
Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission, or FERC and
for anyone who missed the
point, the White House just
appointed a new FERC
Kelliher, a former aide to
Vice President Dick
Cheney. Kelliher was the
Enron go-to guy he was
once handed Enron's
"dream list'' of government
policies and dutifully
relayed it to Boss Cheney.
Meanwhile, the man
who used to run Enron's
corrupt energy trading
division is not only not in
trouble, he's secretary of
the US Army that,
incredibly, makes him the
man in charge of the Army
budget. Ken Lay, the former
Enron chief, is also doing
well. He's having a day in
court soon because he's
suing the US government.
He and his wife think the
US tax authorities owe
them $130,000 from the
So this is why they say
the first casualty of war is
truth. --The Moscow Times
(In accordance with Title
17 U.S.C. Section 107, this
material is distributed
without profit to those who
have expressed a prior
interest in receiving the
included information for
research and educational