For Immediate Release
Chicago Passes Anti-War Resolution
46-1 Vote Follows Extensive and Personal
Debate (Chicago, Jan. 16, 2003)
After one of the most mesmerizing, impassioned
and personal debates ever to occur in Chicago's
City Council Chamber, Chicago has become the largest
and most prominent city in the nation to formally
oppose a unilateral pre-emptive strike on Iraq.
One by one, black and white, Latino and Jewish, men and
women, the Aldermen stood to draw attention to their
own particular concerns with the current path of the
Bush Administration. Many pointed out that the real
dangers this nation faces today are the rising rates of
unemployment and economic stagnation. Others were
concerned about the double standard the administration
is showing with respect to North Korea. And some drew
attention to the prospect of young sons and daughters
coming home in body bags from an ill-conceived war.
The Committee of Human Relations of the Chicago City
Council sent the "Resolution Opposing Pre-emptive U.S.
Military Strikes on Iraq" to the full council today
after a vote yesterday.
"It is our sons and daughters who will be recruited--
perhaps even conscripted--to fight in this war," said
Ald. Joseph Moore (49th), chief sponsor of the
resolution. Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) was concerned
that the "cost of the war will dry up federal funding
for domestic programs for a war that has yet to be
Judith Kossy of Chicagoans Against the War on Iraq said
she and her organization were deeply moved by the
leadership of Ald. Joe Moore, Ald. Helen Shiller, Ald.
Ricardo Munoz, Ald. Leslie Hairston and by the action
taken today the City Council. "Two out of three people
in the nation oppose a unilateral war. It's important
for local leaders to articulate their constituent's
feelings to President Bush and to the world," Kossy
The full resolution follows: RESOLUTION OPPOSING A PRE-
EMPTIVE U.S. MILITARY ATTACK ON IRAQ
WHEREAS, the issues between Iraq and the world
community have not proven to be irresoluble by
traditional diplomatic efforts; and
WHEREAS, while Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who should be
removed from power, both for the good of the Iraqi
people and for the security of Iraq's neighboring
countries, it is not at all clear that a unilateral
U.S. military action would result in the installation
of a free and democratic Iraqi government; and
WHEREAS, U.S. military actions would risk the deaths of
thousands of Iraqi civilians without guaranteeing the
safety and security of U.S. citizens; and
WHEREAS, a pre-emptive and unilateral U.S. military
attack would violate international law and our
commitments under the U.N. Charter and further isolate
the U.S. from the rest of the world; and
WHEREAS, the Congressional Budget Office estimates a
military action against Iraq will cost our nation
between $9 and $13 billion a month, likely resulting in
further cuts in federally funded projects and programs
that benefit our city and its residents; and
WHEREAS, a U.S.-led war in Iraq would compromise our
current action in Afghanistan, and require years of
nation-building activities in Iraq; and
WHEREAS, the Bush administration has failed to
articulate a clear strategic objective or outcome of a
military attack against Iraq, and such an attack fails
to enjoy the support of many of our important allies;
WHEREAS, we give our unconditional support to U.S.
military personnel serving at home and abroad in their
tireless battle against global terrorism, and should
our military forces be sent to Iraq, we give our
unyielding support to our young men and women serving
in our nation's military, even if we oppose the policy
that sent them there;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the members of
the City Council of the City of Chicago, oppose a pre-
emptive U.S. military attack on Iraq unless it is
demonstrated that Iraq poses a real and imminent threat
to the security and safety of the United States; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support a return of
U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq, enhanced by sufficient
police support to guarantee unfettered access to all
targeted sites; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the U.S. to work
through the U.N. Security Council and reaffirm our
nation's commitment to the rule of law in all
international relationships; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution
be forwarded to the Illinois congressional delegation
and the President of the United States.
Back to Main News Page
Why Bush Will Lose: The Demographics of His Defeat
By Nathan Newman
SPECIAL to the Progressive Populist, February 15th,
I remember back in California in1994, after an election
where both state chambers were taken over by the
Republicans and the Republican Governor, Pete Wilson,
had handily won reelection promoting the anti-immigrant
Prop 187 initiative. Yet to me it was clear that this
was a pyrrhic victory for California Republicans and
wrote a piece, called "The Future Belongs to Us", which
predicted based on coming changing demographics, "when
the results are broken down, they promise a much more
progressive future for California." And within a few
years, as Latinos and Asians registered in large
numbers, Republicans in California have become an
National Attacks on Immigrants: Today, just as new
immigrants were activated by the anti-immigrant attacks
in California, they are being spurred to becoming
citizens nationally in the wake of post-911 assaults on
civil liberties across the country and their votes
could well decide the next election. While this
demographic change is not the only issue going against
Bush, it is a large and significant reason both Bush
and the GOP are in deep political danger. Just as the
Trent Lott affair reflected the party's increasing
inability to straddle coded appeals to racism while
smiling at non-racist moderate voters, Bush will find
it increasingly hard to straddle appeals to anti-
immigrant Republicans while making empty pledges of
outreach to the Latino and Asian communities.
At the most basic level, each year the GOP faces a
demographic shift in the voting population as greater
and greater numbers of non-white teenagers gain the
right to vote. In the 2000 census, 14-17 year olds were
36.4% non-white, while the general voting population
that year was only 28% non-white. An additional 6
million non-whites will reach the age of 18 between
2000 and 2004.
The Citizenship Explosion: Now, not all of those new
18-year olds will have the right to vote (although many
more of them will than their parents, since they often
will have been born in this country and automatically
qualify for citizenship). But that is why the more
general upsurge in naturalization applications since
911 is so significant. In the eight-month period after
911, applications for citizenship soared. There were
519,523 new applications for citizenship between Oct.
1, 2001, and May 31, 2002 - 65 percent more than the
314,971 applications received over the same period
beginning in 2000. INS spokesmen compare this to the
upsurge in applications in the mid-90s following Prop
187 and other anti-immigrant attacks:
Another similarity between today and the mid-90s is a
wave of anti-immigrant sentiment, an INS spokesperson
recently noted. ''There was a lot of anti-immigration
rhetoric and legislation, which became a catalyst for
people to realize they needed to protect themselves.''
After that naturalization wave in the mid-90s,
concentrated in California, Latino voting surged.
Latinos grew to 11 percent of California voters, up
from 8 percent in 1992. They went from 10 to 16 percent
of Texas voters, and from 5 to 12 percent of Florida
voters. The Bush INS has been using post-911 security
excuses to slow granting citizenship, but they can only
delay, not stop the wave of new citizens that will be
able to register and vote in the next two years.
The Durability of Latino Partisanship: While Bush has
avoided the more overt rhetoric against immigrants (a
reason he was a candidate for President in 2000 and
California's Pete Wilson was a pariah who no Republican
wanted to be seen with), it is still unlikely he can
make serious inroads into the Latino population,
especially post-911 with the new attacks on immigrants
by his Justice Department and his backing away from
promises of amnesty.
A widely cited conservative analysis by the Center for
Immigration Studies recently argued that not only do
Democrats lead Republicans by a comfortable margin in
the partisan identification of Latino voters, but the
gap is even wider among immigrant Latinos who are now
just becoming citizens. As many of these non-citizens
naturalize, the political affiliation of Latinos is
likely to shift still further toward the Democratic
Party. More generally, Latinos become more Democratic,
not less, with increasing education and tenure in the
United States and, even when they get wealthier, Latino
partisanship does not substantially change. The
problem for the GOP is that Latinos' partisanship is
tied not merely to immigration issues but to
identification with the core of Democratic economic and
Asians Turn Progressive: And this GOP problem with
immigrant communities is expanding rapidly to include
the Asian American community. Attacks on Latino
immigrants in the mid-90s led to a surge in Asian
American naturalization and voting as well and a shift
towards the Democrats. Clinton got just 29% of Asian-
American vote in 1992, while Gore got 54% of Asian vote
(and Nader surprisingly scored his largest percentage
base with Asian Americans with 4% of them voting for
him, for a total of 58% progressive vote among Asian
Americans in 2000.)
And post-911 attacks on parts of the Asian community,
especially South Asians, just accelerated these trends.
Exit polls in New York City in 2002 showed that only
22% of Asian voters polled gave favorable ratings to
Bush. And across the country, the potential of the
Asian American vote is tremendous, since in many areas
less than 20% of eligible Asian Americans turned out to
vote. Part of this is due to the continual violations
of law by many election officials that refuse to stock
bilingual ballots or offer assistance. The U.S.
Commission on Civil Rights last year released a report
on the 2000 voting debacle in Florida, finding that
many people for whom English is a second language were
unable to vote because election officials refused to
offer bilingual assistance. If progressives can push
for greater bilingual support for voters, the
significance of the Asian American shift in voting
towards Democrats will only be accentuated.
And there has been a large expansion of voter outreach
to new immigrants across the country. New organizations
are forming and expanding efforts to naturalize,
register and get out the vote among these new immigrant
Labor Backs New Immigrant Voters: One key tactic for
progressives is to not allow Bush to straddle his
verbal outreach to new immigrant communities while
attacking them through anti-immigrant roundups and
denial of rights. A new movement plans "Freedom Rides"
this Spring for legalization of immigrants,
deliberately evoking the history of the freedom rides
that demanded the right to vote for blacks denied equal
status. This effort is backed by major church,
community and union groups such as the Hotel Employees
& Restaurant Employees union. This builds on the AFL-
CIO officially changing its national policy in 2000 to
support amnesty and legalization for undocumented
With union mobilization reinforcing the ongoing upsurge
in new immigrant, Latino and Asian American voting,
Bush will be facing millions of new voters seeking his
defeat in 2004. By supporting bilingual outreach and
amnesty efforts like the Freedom Rides for
legalization, progressives can help accelerate these
trends supporting progressive electoral victories in
Nathan Newman is a union lawyer, longtime community
activist, a Vice President of the NYC National Lawyers
Guild and author of the just published book NET LOSS
(Penn State Press) on Internet policy and economic
inequality. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or see
Back to Main News Page
2002: Anomalous Stories in Review
Where Are They Now?
The following are (aside from one speech) various stories that I
found online and had book marked throughout the year, but forgot
about until making a frivolous attempt to organize my favorites
file. While most of them are focused around the September 11th
investigation, others are just anomalous stories that broke in the
mainstream press then inexplicably vanished. I have not included
stories that, while proven anomalous (i.e. the Sniper Case), got
significant media coverage. What I am including below are those
stories that -- despite their mainstream coverage and considerable
implications -- seemed to have fallen off the face of the Earth. In
my opinion, some of these stories should have in the least garnered
public concern or outcry, while others certainly warranted further
investigation; but, for whatever reason, they simply fizzled out or
disappeared altogether -- some of the links are even dead now.
I'm also curious to know if any of you have follow-up to these
stories and would also appreciate any others you might have to add:
MORE DOCUMENTED 9-11 FOREKNOWLEDGE
The Orlando Sentinel
Inmate Says He Told FBI About Danger to New York
by Doris Bloodsworth
January 6, 2002
"Walid Arkeh contends that, during a late-summer interview that
federal officials acknowledge took place, FBI agents scoffed at his
promise to exchange more details for freedom, asylum and protection.
"But since Sept. 11, the 35-year-old Jordanian national from
Altamonte Springs has been grilled by federal agents and whisked to
an undisclosed location by state corrections officials. His name and
photo -- all traces of his presence in the system -- have been
removed from the Department of Corrections Web site." (archives:
MYSTERIOUS MURDER SURROUNDING 9-11
FBI probes death of driver's license examiner
Woman gave licenses to men being checked for terrorist links
February 15, 2002 Posted: 11:19 PM EST (0419 GMT)
"Katherine Smith was found burned to death in her car early Sunday, a
day before she was to be arraigned on federal charges she helped five
Middle Eastern men and one juvenile get fake driver's licenses
earlier this month. The five adults are under investigation for
possible ties to the September 11 terrorist attacks, law enforcement
officials said." http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/02/15/inv.licenser.death/
CIA DIRECTOR'S ADMISSION OF 9-11 FOREKNOWLEDGE
[This speech given by CIA Deputy Director, Jim Pavitt, is one of the
most head-scratching, contradictory speeches I've ever read regarding
9-11. Pavitt starts by basically admitting the CIA had foreknowledge
of the attacks, stating that "we warned that Al Qaeda was planning a
major strike," but then rushes to say they didn't have the "tactical
intelligence" to stop them. But then Pavitt flip-flops again,
stating the CIA "were there well before the 11th of September." He
then contradicts himself again by stating the CIA was the first on
the ground "within days" after the attacks (wait a minute, I thought
they never left?). And now, according to Pavitt, while (in 2002) the
CIA had "more spies stealing more secrets than at any time in the
history of the CIA," they can't do anything to stop "the next
terrorist attack"? Amazing! Still, the most mind-boggling statement
of Pavitt's speech has to be: "...the United States as a whole could
not neither prevent or precisely predict the devastating tragedy of
the September 11th attacks." Doesn't that double-negative mean that
they COULD have prevented the attacks?!]
Jim Pavitt, Deputy Director for Operations
Address to Duke University Law School Conference
April 11, 2002
"(...)I think it's important to note tonight that we did not discover
terrorism on the 12th of September. For many of us the war commenced
many many years earlier."
"Teams of my paramilitary operations officers...were among the first
on the ground in Afghanistan...We were on the ground within days of
that terrible attack."
"...the fact remains...that we in the government of the United States
as a whole could not neither prevent or precisely predict the
devastating tragedy of the September 11th attacks."
"...On September 10th we were devoting more and more resources
against the terrorist target than at any other intelligence challenge
"We had very, very good intelligence of the general structure and
strategies of the al Qaeda terrorist organization. We knew and we
warned that al Qaeda was planning a major strike. There need be no
question about that."
"We never found the tactical intelligence, never uncovered the
specifics that could have stopped those tragic strikes that we all
remember so well."
"If you hear somebody say...the CIA abandoned Afghanistan after the
Soviets left and that we never paid any attention to that place until
September 11th, I would implore you to ask those people how we were
able to accomplish all we did since the Soviets departed...we were
there well before the 11th of September."
"Today, the year 2002, I have more spies stealing more secrets than
at any time in the history of the CIA....We're stealing more secrets,
providing our leadership with more intelligence than we've ever done
"...Despite the best efforts of so much of the world, the next
terrorist attack?it's not a question of if, it's a question of
With so many possible targets and an enemy more than willing to die,
the perfect defense isn't possible."
"STAR WARS" GETS THE THUMBS UP
Bush wins the final battle for star wars
· Kremlin abandons bitter opposition
· Construction starts in Alaska within weeks
Ian Traynor in Moscow and Julian Borger in Washington
Thursday May 16, 2002
"The Pentagon is to start construction work on NMD in Alaska within
weeks following a frenzy of intense diplomacy that this week has
resulted in the announcement of a major arms control treaty with
Russia and a new deal between Nato and Russia that allows Moscow
inside the alliance's councils for the first time.
"The Americans are capitalising on the new spirit of partnership to
sweep away opposition to the missile shield scheme and co-opt the
world's second nuclear power.
"With Washington and Moscow apparently bent on forging a new
partnership, Presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin have agreed to
set up a joint committee on NMD, a senior Russian official revealed
yesterday, to head off Russian opposition.
"The agreement is in turn expected to undermine resistance to the
project in western Europe.
"The initiative will be unveiled next week when Mr Bush visits Russia
for the first time for a summit with Mr Putin. "
WHICH WAY DID THEY GO?
Police Seize Rental Truck With TNT Traces
Monday, May 13, 2002
By Carl Cameron
"A Budget truck was pulled over in Oak Harbor, Wash., last Tuesday
near the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and found to have traces of
TNT on the gearshift and traces of RDX plastic explosive on the
steering wheel, Fox News has learned.
"Documents read to Fox News indicate that both driver and passenger
were Israeli nationals. Investigators say a roadside check of the
national database of immigration records indicated that one of the
men had not entered the country legally, and the other was in
violation of his visa. Both men were taken into custody for
YET MORE 9-11 FOREKNOWLEDGE:
June 12, 2002
Moroccan secret agent 'predicted New York attack'
By Daniel McGrory
"A MOROCCAN secret service agent says that for two years he
successfully infiltrated al-Qaeda before breaking cover last summer
to warn his bosses that the terror group was plotting 'something
spectacular' in New York
"Reports from Casablanca say that Mr Dabou was flown in secret to
Washington, where he was co-operating with US intelligence agents
when the hijackers struck.
"Growing evidence of al-Qaeda's Moroccan links was not followed up by
Western agencies last summer. Informers and minor figures arrested in
Europe had revealed their associations with a number of Moroccans
allied to radical Islamic groups, but the pattern was ignored."
MORE MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARING ISRAELIS
The White Van
Were Israelis Detained on Sept. 11 Spies?
June 21, 2002
"The driver of the van, Sivan Kurzberg, told the officers, 'We are
Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The
Palestinians are the problem.' The other passengers were his brother
Paul Kurzberg, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari.
"When the men were transferred to jail, the case was transferred out
of the FBI's Criminal Division, and into the bureau's Foreign
Counterintelligence Section, which is responsible for espionage
cases, ABCNEWS has learned.
"The reason for the shift, sources told ABCNEWS, was that the FBI
believed Urban Moving may have been providing cover for an Israeli
After the five men were arrested, the FBI got a warrant and searched
Urban Moving's Weehawken, N.J., offices.
"The FBI searched Urban Moving's offices for several hours, removing
boxes of documents and a dozen computer hard drives. The FBI also
questioned Urban Moving's owner. His attorney insists that his client
answered all of the FBI's questions. But when FBI agents tried to
interview him again a few days later, he was gone."
BROWN RECLUSE, OR ANTHRAX?
Spider Bites -- Or Something More Dangerous?
8:13 a.m. EDT July 3, 2002 - John King and Artie Gabriellini were
strangers until doctors told them they have something in common: They
believe both men were bitten by the rare brown recluse spider.
"There's been an unusually high incidence of similar bites in recent
weeks -- five cases, when they usually see about one per year."
"The uncertainty has led the Suffolk County Health Department to call
for anthrax testing of all five Mather patients."
ALMOST A YEAR LATER, STILL SECURITY BREECHES
Airlines Alerted to Impostors
Thieves Take Uniforms; Crews Report Stalkings
By Greg Schneider
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 10, 2002; Page A01
"The Transportation Security Administration has warned airlines to be
on the lookout for impostors wearing stolen uniforms trying to gain
access to planes or airports, citing a series of recent thefts from
"Agency officials would not comment on the confidential warning,
which was issued July 22 -- a week after burglars took airline
uniforms, keys and identification tags from the New York apartment of
two Delta Airlines flight attendants.
"The warning does not cite any particular case, saying only that the
TSA 'continues to receive reports' about such thefts. It adds
that 'recent reporting also suggests a possible trend in the thefts
of uniforms, vehicles and other items used by police, firefighters
and emergency response personnel.'
"Terrorists have been known to impersonate authority figures in other
countries, such as when Palestinian attackers dressed as Israeli
soldiers and bombed a bus last month in Israel."
YET MORE CIA FOREKNOWLEDGE:
September 11 hijacker questioned in January 2001
Sources: CIA was interested in his travels in Afghanistan
August 1, 2002 Posted: 8:24 PM EDT (0024 GMT)
By Sheila MacVicar and Caroline Faraj
"The CIA suspected Ziad Jarrah had been in Afghanistan and wanted him
questioned because of 'his suspected involvement in terrorist
activities,' UAE sources said.
"A CIA spokesman vigorously denied that the CIA knew anything about
Jarrah before September 11 or had anything do with his questioning in
"UAE and European intelligence sources told CNN that the questioning
of Jarrah fits a pattern of a CIA operation begun in 1999 to track
suspected al Qaeda operatives who were traveling through the United
Arab Emirates. These sources told CNN that UAE officials were often
told in advance by U.S. officials which persons were coming through
the country and whom they wanted questioned.
"One source provided CNN a drawing of the Dubai airport and described
how people wanted for questioning were intercepted, most often at a
transit desk. U.S. officials declined to comment on whether the CIA
operated this way at the Dubai airport.
"A month after the hijackings, U.S. authorities also discovered a
letter written by Jarrah to his girlfriend in Germany and postmarked
September 10. In the letter -- which was mistakenly addressed and
returned to the United States, where authorities found it -- Jarrah
told his girlfriend he had done his duty."
NATIONAL GUARD CALLED UP BY HOMELAND SECURITY -- WHY?!?!
Guard Battalion called to service
By Kristin Buehner, Of The Globe Gazette and the Associated Press
Thu Aug 22 16:51:38 CDT 2002
"FORT DODGE (AP) - The Iowa Army National Guard's 1st Battalion,
194th Field Artillery, will be ordered to federal active duty, the
Department of Defense and the National Guard Bureau in Washington,
D.C., have announced.
"The battalion, headquartered in Fort Dodge, will deploy to locations
within the United States for homeland security missions as part of
Operation Noble Eagle II, Col. Robert King, public affairs officer
for the Iowa National Guard, said Wednesday in a news release. The
battalion includes units in Algona, Estherville, Spencer and Storm
"Duty locations are not being announced."
MORE EVIDENCE MIRACULOUSLY SHOWS UP IN WRECKAGE!
U.S. sees Moussaoui link to hijacker
September 24, 2002
"Prosecutors for the first time Tuesday revealed evidence that they
claimed directly linked conspiracy suspect Zacarias Moussaoui with
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, alleging that a telephone number
Moussaoui called was scrawled on a business card belonging to one of
the hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed into a
"The Government said Tuesday that the business card, which was found
in the wreckage of the crash site in Shanksville, Pa., belonged to
Ziad Jarrah, one of the suspected pilots of Flight 93."
"In response, the pleading said, 'Jarrah's role as a hijacker on
Flight 93 is important to the government's evidence linking defendant
to the conspiracy, because a telephone number that defendant called
during the conspiracy was scrawled on a business card belonging to
Jarrah, which was found at the crash site in Pennsylvania.'" (from
the archives of unansweredquestions.org:
Alleged photo from Ziad Jarrah's burned passport recovered in flight
93's wreckage (note that the CNN "passport photo" and this "passport
photo" are different):
ONCE AGAIN, 9-11 MONEY TRAIL GETS A ROADBLOCK
9-11 Hijackers: A Saudi Money Trail?
The Feds probe a possible new Saudi link to Al Qaeda
By Michael Isikoff
NEWSWEEK WEB EXCLUSIVE
"(...)sources describe the financial records as 'explosive' and say
the information has spurred an intense, behind-the-scenes battle
between congressional leaders and the Bush administration over
whether evidence highly embarrassing to the Saudi government should
be publicly disclosed?especially at a time that the White House
aggressively seeking Saudi support for a possible war against
Iraq. 'This is a matter of the foreign-policy interests of the United
States,' said another administration official, who cited the need to
prevent a rift in the U.S.-Saudi relationship."
"The leaders of a joint House-Senate Intelligence Committees
investigation have vigorously pushed for the release of a classified
report that lays out the evidence of the Saudi money flow. But Bush
administration officials, led by Attorney General John Ashcroft and
FBI Director Robert Mueller, have adamantly refused to declassify the
evidence upon which the report is based." (get it while it's still
PIPELINE? WHAT PIPELINE?
Pakistani, Turkmen, Afghan leaders to sign $3.2 billion pipeline deal
BAGILA BUKHARBAYEVA, Associated Press Writer
Thursday, December 26, 2002
(12-26) 05:59 PST ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) -- Leaders from
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan met Thursday to work out the
final details of an ambitious deal to build a gas pipeline through
The long-delayed $3.2-billion natural gas pipeline, known as the
Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, would carry gas from energy-rich
Turkmenistan to Pakistan. It would be one of the first major
investment projects in Afghanistan in decades.
Turkmenistan, which possesses the fifth largest gas reserves in the
world, would get a badly needed alternative route for gas exports. In
1994 Russia refused to transport gas from this former Soviet republic
via the pipelines running through its territory.
"Once the contract is signed tomorrow, different private companies
and consortiums can take interest in the project should there be
interest in it," said Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah. "It is a
project which is good for prosperity of all three countries."
The pipeline was originally launched in 1997 by a consortium led by
U.S. energy giant Unocal Corp. but abandoned after the United States
fired cruise missiles into Afghanistan in 1998 in pursuit of Osama
bin Laden's al-Qaida network.
to Main News Page
THE MAN BEHIND THE REGULATORY CURTAIN
by Jim Hightower
The eight most frightening words coming out of our nation's capitol these days
are: "The Bush administration has announced revised standards for..."
It doesn't matter "for what" – you just know that it's going to be awful news,
because the Bushites are zealously taking their ideological, pro-corporate
chainsaws to every rule on the books that protects us regular Joes and Janes
from the overbearing greed of corporate power. Whether it's a rule to protect
our health, our jobs, the purity of our air and water, our pensions, our privacy,
our natural resources, our citizenship rights – you name it, Bush & Co. are
ripping up the current legal standards so it will be easier for corporations to get
After all, these special interests have pumped millions of dollars into Bush's
campaign coffers, so George has a big debt to pay. Going to congress to get
these special favors can be too iffy, too public, too messy – so Bush's prefered
way of delivering to his contributors is through executive orders and the
backroom rewriting of regulatory standards.
There are so many of these anti-democratic "revisions" of regulations that the
media does little more than announce them, but the overall impact is to rewrite
the terms of our democratic soverneignty, further enthroning a few profiteers
to rule over us.
Of course, in the Brave New Language of Bushspeak, such removal of our
public protections is done in the name of "protecting" us. For example, a recent
Bush ruling sets new standards for the horrendous pollution being caused in
rural America by huge factory farms. "This is a major step forward to protect
our nation's waters," declared a Bushite. But far from protecting the public,
Bush's new standards protect the polluters – under revised standards, the
corporate operators of these factories get to write their own pollution-control
plans... and keep the plans secret from the public!
This is Jim Hightower saying... Pay attention to the man behind the regulatory
curtain – he's a fraud.
Back to Main News Page
BILL BOROSKI'S FINAL DAYS: His body
went, then his brain
Family, town help S.C. man as rare ailment saps his life
Shelley Emling - Cox New York Correspondent
Sunday, January 12, 2003
Summerville, S.C. --- The cozy living room boils with stir-crazy kids trying to get
the best of each other. The adults busy themselves in the kitchen, where the
countertop is barely visible under a mountain of homemade pies and diet soft
Seven-year-old Suzy, a round-cheeked girl with short bouncy hair, bounds into
the room and leans close to her mother.
''Papa can't say my name any more,'' she whispers grimly.
''Papa'' is Bill Boroski, grandpa extraordinaire to the four children in the living
room and one-time Mensa member whose quick-witted, smart-alecky spirit is
On Tuesday he still could call Suzy by her nickname: "Q." Now it's Wednesday
and he can't.
In early November the active 58-year-old was paying bills, teaching graduate
courses in computer resources management, and running 30 minutes a day on
the treadmill to the sounds of Tom Petty.
Today he can't roll over by himself. His deterioration has happened so fast,
family friends worry he might not make it through the weekend.
Doctors think Boroski suffers from the classic form of a rare disease known as
Creutzfeldt-Jakob, which strikes one person in every million worldwide. But
there's a chance he could suffer from a new variant of the disease that has been
linked to eating tainted meat. There have been 100 victims of this new variant ---
which may be related to mad cow disease --- in the United Kingdom and Europe.
There has not been a confirmed case that has originated in America.
And no one can be 100 percent sure until a brain autopsy is performed.
Either way, Boroski's disease --- which doctors describe as Alzheimer's on fast
forward --- is fatal.
''The average survival rate is less than six months from the time of the first
symptoms,'' said Dr. Justin McArthur, vice chairman of neurology at the Johns
Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
McArthur, who's treating Boroski, called Creutzfeldt-Jakob a ''mysterious
disease,'' one so rare that most neurologists don't see more than a handful of
cases throughout their entire careers.
Tracie Kedzierski, who records cases for the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
Foundation, said she has confirmed six cases of the disease in Georgia since
Bill's wife, Edna, quietly recalls the day --- the Tuesday before Thanksgiving ---
that she first heard a doctor say the words ''Creutzfeldt-Jakob.''
After a battery of tests, the doctor said Bill could be suffering from just about
anything --- anxiety, schizophrenia or even ''something as bad as
''What's that?'' Edna asked. ''Can you spell it?''
He did. He also said it was fatal --- but very, very rare.
A self-described Pollyanna, Edna couldn't believe it. After all, Bill had never been
seriously ill. He had stopped smoking 28 years ago and was so committed to
good health that he was a stickler about eating roughage, taking baby aspirin
and always getting to bed at the same time. And then there was Bill's mother,
who at 81 is still a practicing nurse in Ohio.
Edna kept telling herself that it just couldn't be. After 37 years of marriage, Bill is
her whole world.
They met in 1965 in Columbus, Ohio, at Jerry's Drive-In. He was a dashing sailor
on break who had been through the Panama Canal. At 18, she'd been outside
Ohio only once, to visit New York.
She wanted to see the world, and he wanted to be the one to show it to her. Six
weeks later they were married in Hawaii with only a handful of shipmates
Soon they had two children. Natalie came first, then Sonya three years later.
Bill spent the years supporting the swift ballistic missile submarines built to
serve as a strategic deterrent during the Cold War. He transferred to South
Carolina in 1975, and the family has been there ever since.
Today the Boroskis' tidy brick house is a lot like the others on the edge of
Summerville, a Mayberry-like town of 25,000, just north of Charleston.
The walls provide a testament to the couple's devotion to family. Almost every
square inch is covered with photographs.
When asked what's kept them so close all these years, Edna replies that they're
both ''perpetual students'' who love to travel.
By the time they hit their 50s, the pair had amassed an impressive collection of
They became full-time instructors at Trident Technical College --- he's also a
part-time instructor at Webster University --- and in their time off saw the world,
carting their grandchildren along with them.
Bill has been so adept at managing their affairs that Edna didn't know where to
find the coupon book for mortgage payments when he became sick.
She never thought she'd have to find it --- until her world started to crumble the
third week of October.
It was 6:30 one morning when Edna happened to see her husband falter in the
''You're stumbling, Bill,'' she told him.
He shrugged it off.
''Happens sometimes,'' he replied. ''It's no big thing.''
But it was.
As the days went on the staggering became more pronounced, with co-workers
commenting Bill couldn't seem to walk a straight line.
Then one evening Bill's right arm shook for more than 30 minutes. Two days later
he spilled hot coffee on his hand and didn't seem to notice. One afternoon he
forgot that his 14-year-old granddaughter, Elena, was coming over and locked
her out of the house.
A doctor ordered an MRI scan, then an ultrasound on Bill's neck arteries, but
they revealed nothing conclusive.
In November, Bill agreed to see a neurologist, who poked and prodded some
more. He ordered blood work to rule out diabetes.
''By now we're in a tailspin because we can see that something terribly wrong is
happening,'' Edna said.
Bill's vision started to blur. His speech started to slow. In mid-November he
picked up an exam to grade it, but couldn't remember how.
Edna felt she was losing her own mind.
''I'm asking everyone I know if they know of anybody who could help us,'' she
says. ''Finally I find a friend who knows someone who works at Johns Hopkins.''
There, doctors ran even more tests. The results of a second MRI done in South
Carolina showed definite brain damage. Then came the missing piece of the
puzzle. A spinal draw to test for the diagnostic protein called 14-3-3 came back
Experts say the actual cause of death most often results from swallowing
problems, resulting in aspirating, which is followed by pneumonia. The doctors
say all that's left to do is to make Bill as comfortable as possible and keep ''firing
his neurons'' with conversation.
That's exactly what his family and friends are trying to do.
On Wednesday, Bill was in his hospice bed --- as he is every day --- surrounded
by the trappings of a baby nursery: blankets, baby wipes, and Johnson's baby
A visitor found Bill covered with a sheet up to his chest. Its whiteness made the
yellowness of his skin stand out. His fingers were curling inward, so his
grandchildren had placed balls in his hands to keep them spread apart.
Always, there is talking.
''Blink your eyes if this feels good,'' said Elena as she massaged his arm. Elena
had made a sign with the day of week in case Bill forgets.
''I love you, Daddy,'' said Natalie. ''You're priceless.''
Natalie turned to explain that when his symptoms began, Bill used to call
himself useless, ''so now I constantly tell him he's priceless, because he is.''
Sometimes Bill's face tensed up as if he were about to say something, but after
a few seconds it relaxed again as if he had given up.
On those days when he is lucid, he's more likely to remember the motor scooter
he had when he was 15 than what he ate for lunch.
Besides the family, Edna is blessed with a support group of 150 to 200 people ---
many from the Boroskis' church --- who provide the family with nightly meals and
Bill with around-the-clock company.
One friend, David Bowers, has made a spreadsheet so that everyone is aware of
the visiting schedule.
At 2 p.m. Bill's friend Tom Brady arrived.
''I'm the Wednesday afternoon guy,'' he proclaimed.
He walked into the bedroom and Bill uttered a barely audible ''Tom.'' Edna looked
Later she wept as she marveled at the generosity of their friends.
''Bill would always get riled every time he heard Hillary [Rodham] Clinton say that
it takes a village to raise a child. He'd yell that all it takes is some responsible
parenting. But I couldn't get through this without all this support,'' she said.
Edna clearly has a ''great faith,'' but is still trying to make sense of a disease
she'd never heard of before November. She remembers that Bill spent a lot of
time in Scotland --- where many people have fallen ill from the variant form of
Creutzfeldt-Jakob --- in the early 1980s, and that he has always loved red meat.
No one in the family knows what to make of it.
Edna said she would give anything to go back to the days when all she had to
worry about was how she could lose 10 pounds.
Now she has so much more to wonder about --- like whether each time Bill forms
a word, it might be his last.
> ON THE WEB:
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation: www.cjdfoundation.org
Back to Main News Page
"Pamela Basheer" <email@example.com>
> Tavis Smiley's Black Think Tank:
> 1. The first Americans or native Americans going back to 13,000 BC were
> black! Look up the Folsom people who lived in Arizona.
> 2. Best reason to stop our use of the term African American and say Black.
> A white person who was born in Africa, who moves to America is an African
> American and qualifies for financial aid, etc., but will get the jobs/pay
> privileges afforded to whites.
> 3. Look up the Slavery Law of 1665 (which stayed in effect until 1968) and
> the Maryland Doctrine of Exclusion (1638): both laws state that blacks
> must be excluded from the benefits afforded whites and that blacks must
> Noncompetitive with whites, except in sports and entertainment.
> 4. Two white men: Bill Gates and Larry Elision, combined have more wealth
> than the combined wealth of all 36 million blacks in America.
> Civil Rights did not change the economic landscape or the balance of power
> in America.
> 5. Asians received 80% of all government minority set aside contracts.
> 6. Blacks eat more fish than whites by a four to one margin. For every
> dollar whites spend on fish, blacks spend nine dollars on fish. Fish sold
> wholesale for $1 will retail at $2.50 --$3.00. Guess what business we
> should be in as Blacks?
> 7. There are no black owned national cable or major network television
> stations. The black woman who owns our only black owned radio stations,
> plans to sell to white owners after hearing the deal Bob Johnson received
> for selling BET. (Cathy Hughes is from OMAHA, ya'll!)
> 8. There are no black owned companies on the Wall Street Stock Exchange
> where blacks own the majority or controlling interest of the stock.!
> 9. 96% of all black inmates are men.
> 10. Over the next two years 440,000 black inmates will be released from
> prison. The State has no place to put them as they reenter society.
> (Halfway house business!)
> 11. In 1860, 98% of all Blacks in America worked for White people. 2001,
> 98% of all Blacks in America still work for white people.
> 12. In 1860, blacks in America had a combined net worth of half of one
> percentage point. Guess what in 2001, after Civil Rights, Jesse Jackson,
> Oprah, Shaq, NAACP, and Urban League, our combined net worth is half a
> percentage point.
> 13. For every dollar earned by a Jewish person, that dollar touches 12-18
> Jewish hands before it leaves their community. For every dollar earned by
> a black person it leaves the community as soon as he or she earns it.
> 14. Last week in Washington, DC, black teenagers were arrested and booked
> for eating McDonalds on the metro subway. Cops cited the recent 5-4 court
> decision as the permission to arrest lawbreakers even for minor offenses.
> 15. 67% of all hate crimes in America are against blacks. After we get
> through being pleased that we have carpet in our office, a secretary, our
> name on the door and make six figures, we do not own anything. What will
> happen if you miss six months of work without pay? All we have left for
> our children is debt not an inheritance. You cannot pass welfare or food
> onto our kids as a nest egg! We are not even in the race. By the way, the
> word "race" hit the English language in the 16th century when Europeans
> held a contest to see who will win the race to gather the most wealth
> through exploitation of blacks.
> You must read Powernomics by Claude Anderson. This is our blueprint to
> create wealth, not just have a job, but be a business owner, so you can
> hire people, be listed on the stock exchange, develop businesses to meet
> our needs. This is "Good Food" for thought. Print this and put it on your
> wall, tell your children and your grand children and please, please, pass
> it on to
> all of your "Black Friends"
Back to Main News Page
News? In the eyes of the beholder
January 15, 2003
by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min Muhammad, writer for www.MuhammadFarms.com
For those of us who still want to believe that we can depend on the news media for the "facts", I just ran across something that may help contradict such naiveté. The January 14, 2003 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had an article on page 18 entitled "Iraq must act, inspector says". The article is accompanied by a photo with the caption, "Dr. James E. Jennings of Atlanta, head of a U.S. academic delegation to Baghdad and former history professor at Illinois University, speaks to parents at Saddam Children’s Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq, on Monday."
Nothing is said in the article about why he was there nor what he said. The article focuses on the U.N. inspectors and what they may or may not have found, but does not give an indication of Dr. Jennings views. One is left to assume what one wants.
We must also remember that in the wake of the "9/11" attacks America admitted that they would bring in Hollywood movie producers into the Pentagon to help develop anti-terrorist strategies. Of course one such strategy involved setting up an office of "Strategic Information" which would control the information sent and "leaked" to the media.
In our "News" section of www.Muhammadfarms.com we linked our readers to a January 14, 2003 Washington Post article entitled, "Activists Bring War Protests to Baghdad". In that article they quote James Jennings, "’Don't do it. It doesn't make sense. There are other ways to resolve this disagreement,' " said James Jennings, the president of Conscience International, an anti-war group based in Atlanta.
Now "a U.S. academic delegation" is a far cry from "an anti-war group". The two newspapers do not contradict each other in "fact". The "fact" is probably that Dr. Jennings was the head of "an anti-war U.S. academic delegation" that wanted to stop the U.S. from bombing Iraq. Dr. Jennings was speaking to the American public and not to just "parents" in Baghdad. However, by partially reporting the "facts" two different pictures are painted in the "eye of the beholder".
"News" is therefore always subjective, and presented in a manner to affect your opinions.
Back to Main News Page
Activists Bring War Protests to Baghdad
The Washington Post
Copyright 2003, The Washington Post Co. All Rights Reserved
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 13 -- With tens of thousands of U.S. troops mobilizing for a possible invasion, waves of
anti-war activists have descended on Baghdad in recent days to plead for a peaceful solution to the showdown
between the Bush administration and President Saddam Hussein's government.
They include Italian legislators, South African Muslims, German musicians and a flurry of Americans, from church
leaders and professors to four women who lost relatives in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. They have reasoned
that the backdrop of Baghdad, where scars are still visible from the 1991 confrontation with the United States, will
give added currency to their appeals for peace.
Although most said they plan to leave by this weekend, others claiming to represent several hundred protesters
from Europe, the United States and neighboring Arab nations said they intend to arrive later in the month to
engage in a far riskier form of activism: They plan to act as human shields, hunkering down in hospitals,
water-treatment plants and other civilian installations to dissuade U.S. commanders from targeting those
The peace delegations and the impending influx of human shields have delighted Iraqi officials, who have given
some of the visitors VIP treatment, including arranging conversations with senior government officials, banquet
meals and trips to hospitals and schools. The government even helped the South Africans organize a brief
demonstration in front of the local U.N. headquarters.
"Not in Hanoi or Panama or Baghdad last time, or anywhere else for that matter, has there been this many people
coming to a city that probably will be bombed to bits saying, 'Don't do it. It doesn't make sense. There are other
ways to resolve this disagreement,' " said James Jennings, the president of Conscience International, an anti-war
group based in Atlanta.
For all the trouble and expense involved in traveling here, the activists appear split on whether their trips will help
prevent a war. Jennings said that a U.S. invasion seems inevitable, while others expressed hope that there is still
time for a change of heart in Washington.
"We wouldn't be here if we didn't think there would be a point to it," said Keith Watenpaugh, a history professor at
Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., who came here Sunday night with a 35-person delegation of American
academics and activists that is led by Jennings and includes Bianca Jagger, the longtime human rights advocate
and former wife of Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones.
"We're going to go back to our schools and our communities to tell them what's happening here," Watenpaugh
said. "People in America need to see people who think it's okay to oppose this war."
Most of the activists have not waited to return before beginning their lobbying efforts. With the encouragement and
sometimes the assistance of their Iraqi hosts, they have sought out foreign journalists through news conferences
and photo opportunities.
Several activists said that even if they fail to sway the White House, they hope their efforts will complicate the
Pentagon's war plans and lead European nations to sit out the action, spoiling the Bush administration's hope for
an international coalition against Hussein. In most West European nations, including Britain, France and
Germany, a majority of people questioned in opinion surveys oppose participation in an attack.
That is also the logic behind the Iraqi government's decision to welcome the activists. "It helps us to strengthen
public opinion in Europe," said Abdelrazak Hashimi, director of the Organization for Friendship, Peace and
Solidarity, a quasi-governmental group that coordinates visiting delegations. "It proves we are not alone . . . and it
has an effect."
Although the Iraqi government has offered to pay for hotels, food and, in some cases, airline tickets, the leaders
of each of the large peace groups here over the past week said they financed their trips independently. But unlike
journalists and many others who want to visit Iraq, the activists had no problems getting visas, sometimes
receiving them in just a day or two.
Hashimi said his government also will eagerly admit people who want to serve as human shields. "If we can
prevent the war any way we can, we have the privilege and the right to do it," he said.
One group of human shields is being organized by Ken Nichols O'Keefe, a former U.S. Marine living in the
Netherlands who fought in the 1991 Persian Gulf War but subsequently relinquished his American citizenship.
Islamic groups in neighboring Jordan are assembling another group.
During the Gulf War, the Iraqi government placed Westerners captured in Kuwait next to sensitive installations in
an effort to keep the structures from being bombed by U.S. warplanes.
Despite President Bush's persistent call for Hussein to relinquish weapons of mass destruction, the activists did
not appear overly worried about U.S. allegations that the Iraqi government is holding onto biological and chemical
arms. Some said they did not think Hussein would use them against the United States if unprovoked. Others said
dialogue, despite nearly 12 years of attempts by the United Nations to persuade Iraq to disarm, still is the best
way to resolve the issue.
"The inspections seem to be working," said Terry Kay Rockefeller of Arlington, Mass., a member of Peaceful
Tomorrows, an anti-war advocacy group made up of relatives of Sept. 11 victims.
"Why not let them continue?" said Rockefeller, whose sister, Laura Rockefeller, died in the attack on the World
Trade Center. "Why are we rushing into a war?"
She and three other members of Peaceful Tomorrows, like many of the peace groups who have traveled here,
were taken by government escorts on tours intended to highlight the devastation of the Gulf War and the
economic sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. They saw a Baghdad bomb shelter that was
incinerated by a U.S. cruise missile. They visited the cancer ward of a children's hospital where doctors say they
lack adequate chemotherapy drugs. And they saw a school that lacks electricity and running water.
"I truly believe if people understood the actual conditions and the extent of the suffering, people would want to see
something different than what they are proposing to do," said Kristina Olsen, a singer from Newburyport, Mass.,
whose sister, Laurie Neira, was aboard the American Airlines plane that crashed into the World Trade Center's
None of the activists said they support Hussein's authoritarian government, and several said they were troubled by
an inability to ask political questions to ordinary people they met.
"We're here out of no love for the current regime," Watenpaugh said. "But we're also opposed to the arrogant
American position that we know what's best for the Iraqi people."
Back to Main News Page
In Ryan's Words: "I Must Act" (Complete Text)
[The following is the prepared text of Gov. George Ryan's Jan. 11
speech at Northwestern University College of Law. about his
decision to commute the sentences of all prisoners on the state's
Four years ago I was sworn in as the 39th Governor of Illinois.
That was just four short years ago; that's when I was a firm
believer in the American System of Justice and the death penalty.
I believed that the ultimate penalty for the taking of a life was
administrated in a just and fair manner.
Today, 3 days before I end my term as Governor, I stand before you
to explain my frustrations and deep concerns about both the
administration and the penalty of death. It is fitting that we are
gathered here today at Northwestern University with the students,
teachers, lawyers and investigators who first shed light on the
sorrowful condition of Illinois' death penalty system. Professors
Larry Marshall, Dave Protess have and their students along with
investigators Paul Ciolino have gone above the call. They freed
the falsely accused Ford Heights Four, they saved Anthony Porter's
life, they fought for Rolando Cruz and Alex Hernandez. They
devoted time and effort on behalf of Aaron Patterson, a young man
who lost 15 years of his youth sitting among the condemned, and
LeRoy Orange, who lost 17 of the best years of his life on death
row. It is also proper that we are together with dedicated people
like Andrea Lyon who has labored on the front lines trying capital
cases for many years and who is now devoting her passion to
creating an innocence center at De Paul University. You saved
Madison Hobley's life.
Together you spared the lives and secured the freedom of 17 men ?
men who were wrongfully convicted and rotting in the condemned
units of our state prisons. What you have achieved is of the
highest calling ? Thank You!
Yes, it is right that I am here with you, where, in a manner of
speaking, my journey from staunch supporters of capital punishment
to reformer all began. But I must tell you ? since the beginning
of our journey ? my thoughts and feelings about the death penalty
have changed many, many times. I realize that over the course of
my reviews I had said that I would not do blanket commutation. I
have also said it was an option that was there and I would
consider all options.
During my time in public office I have always reserved my right to
change my mind if I believed it to be in the best public interest,
whether it be about taxes, abortions or the death penalty. But I
must confess that the debate with myself has been the toughest
concerning the death penalty. I suppose the reason the death
penalty has been the toughest is because it is so final ? the only
public policy that determines who lives and who dies. In addition
it is the only issue that attracts most of the legal minds across
the country. I have received more advice on this issue than any
other policy issue I have dealt with in my 35 years of public
service. I have kept an open mind on both sides of the issues of
commutation for life or death.
I have read, listened to and discussed the issue with the families
of the victims as well as the families of the condemned. I know
that any decision I make will not be accepted by one side or the
other. I know that my decision will be just that - my decision ?
based on all the facts I could gather over the past 3 years. I may
never be comfortable with my final decision, but I will know in my
heart, that I did my very best to do the right thing.
Having said that I want to share a story with you:
I grew up in Kankakee which even today is still a small midwestern
town, a place where people tend to know each other. Steve Small
was a neighbor. I watched him grow up. He would babysit my young
children ? which was not for the faint of heart since Lura Lynn
and I had six children, 5 of them under the age of 3. He was a
bright young man who helped run the family business. He got
married and he and his wife had three children of their own. Lura
Lynn was especially close to him and his family. We took comfort
in knowing he was there for us and we for him.
One September midnight he received a call at his home. There had
been a break-in at the nearby house he was renovating. But as he
left his house, he was seized at gunpoint by kidnappers. His
captors buried him alive in a shallow hole. He suffocated to death
before police could find him.
His killer led investigators to where Steve's body was buried. The
killer, Danny Edward was also from my hometown. He now sits on
death row. I also know his family. I share this story with you so
that you know I do not come to this as a neophyte without having
experienced a small bit of the bitter pill the survivors of murder
My responsibilities and obligations are more than my neighbors and
my family. I represent all the people of Illinois, like it or not.
The decision I make about our criminal justice system is felt not
only here, but the world over.
The other day, I received a call from former South African
President Nelson Mandela who reminded me that the United States
sets the example for justice and fairness for the rest of the
world. Today the United States is not in league with most of our
major allies: Europe, Canada, Mexico, most of South and Central
America. These countries rejected the death penalty. We are
partners in death with several third world countries. Even Russia
has called a moratorium.
The death penalty has been abolished in 12 states. In none of
these states has the homicide rate increased. In Illinois last
year we had about 1000 murders, only 2 percent of that 1000 were
sentenced to death. Where is the fairness and equality in that?
The death penalty in Illinois is not imposed fairly or uniformly
because of the absence of standards for the 102 Illinois State
Attorneys, who must decide whether to request the death sentence.
Should geography be a factor in determining who gets the death
sentence? I don't think so but in Illinois it makes a difference.
You are 5 times more likely to get a death sentence for first
degree murder in the rural area of Illinois than you are in Cook
County. Where is the justice and fairness in that ? where is the
The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu wrote to me this week stating that
"to take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, it is not
justice. He says justice allows for mercy, clemency and
compassion. These virtues are not weakness."
"In fact the most glaring weakness is that no matter how efficient
and fair the death penalty may seem in theory, in actual practice
it is primarily inflicted upon the weak, the poor, the ignorant
and against racial minorities. " That was a quote from Former
California Governor Pat Brown. He wrote that in his book ? Public
Justice, Private Mercy he wrote that nearly 50 years ago ? nothing
has changed in nearly 50 years.
I never intended to be an activist on this issue. I watched in
surprise as freed death row inmate Anthony Porter was released
from jail. A free man, he ran into the arms of Northwestern
University Professor Dave Protess who poured his heart and soul
into proving Porter's innocence with his journalism students.
He was 48 hours away from being wheeled into the execution chamber
where the state would kill him.
It would all be so antiseptic and most of us would not have even
paused, except that Anthony Porter was innocent of the double
murder for which he had been condemned to die.
After Mr. Porter's case there was the report by Chicago Tribune
reporters Steve Mills and Ken Armstrong documenting the systemic
failures of our capital punishment system. Half of the nearly 300
capital cases in Illinois had been reversed for a new trial or
33 of the death row inmates were represented at trial by an
attorney who had later been disbarred or at some point suspended
from practicing law.
Of the more than 160 death row inmates, 35 were African American
defendants who had been convicted or condemned to die by all-white
More than two-thirds of the inmates on death row were African
46 inmates were convicted on the basis of testimony from jailhouse
I can recall looking at these cases and the information from the
Mills/Armstrong series and asking my staff: How does that happen?
How in God's name does that happen? I'm not a lawyer, so somebody
explain it to me.
But no one could. Not to this day.
Then over the next few months. There were three more exonerated
men, freed because their sentence hinged on a jailhouse informant
or new DNA technology proved beyond a shadow of doubt their
We then had the dubious distinction of exonerating more men than
we had executed. 13 men found innocent, 12 executed.
As I reported yesterday, there is not a doubt in my mind that the
number of innocent men freed from our Death Row stands at 17, with
the pardons of Aaron Patterson, Madison Hobley, Stanley Howard and
That is an absolute embarrassment. 17 exonerated death row inmates
is nothing short of a catastrophic failure. But the 13, now 17
men, is just the beginning of our sad arithmetic in prosecuting
murder cases. During the time we have had capital punishment in
Illinois, there were at least 33 other people wrongly convicted on
murder charges and exonerated. Since we reinstated the death
penalty there are also 93 people ? 93 ? where our criminal justice
system imposed the most severe sanction and later rescinded the
sentence or even released them from custody because they were
How many more cases of wrongful conviction have to occur before we
can all agree that the system is broken?
Throughout this process, I have heard many different points of
view expressed. I have had the opportunity to review all of the
cases involving the inmates on death row. I have conducted private
group meetings, one in Springfield and one in Chicago, with the
surviving family members of homicide victims. Everyone in the room
who wanted to speak had the opportunity to do so. Some wanted to
express their grief, others wanted to express their anger. I took
it all in.
My commission and my staff had been reviewing each and every case
for three years. But, I redoubled my effort to review each case
personally in order to respond to the concerns of prosecutors and
victims' families. This individual review also naturally resulted
in a collective examination of our entire death penalty system.
I also had a meeting with a group of people who are less often
heard from, and who are not as popular with the media. The family
members of death row inmates have a special challenge to face. I
spent an afternoon with those family members at a Catholic church
here in Chicago. At that meeting, I heard a different kind of pain
expressed. Many of these families live with the twin pain of
knowing not only that, in some cases, their family member may have
been responsible for inflicting a terrible trauma on another
family, but also the pain of knowing that society has called for
another killing. These parents, siblings and children are not to
blame for the crime committed, yet these innocent stand to have
their loved ones killed by the state. As Mr. Mandela told me, they
are also branded and scarred for life because of the awful crime
committed by their family member.
Others were even more tormented by the fact that their loved one
was another victim, that they were truly innocent of the crime for
which they were sentenced to die.
It was at this meeting that I looked into the face of Claude Lee,
the father of Eric Lee, who was convicted of killing Kankakee
police officer Anthony Samfay a few years ago. It was a traumatic
moment, once again, for my hometown. A brave officer, part of that
thin blue line that protects each of us, was struck down by wanton
violence. If you will kill a police officer, you have absolutely
no respect for the laws of man or God.
I've know the Lee family for a number of years. There does not
appear to be much question that Eric was guilty of killing the
officer. However, I can say now after our review, there is also
not much question that Eric is seriously ill, with a history of
treatment for mental illness going back a number of years.
The crime he committed was a terrible one ? killing a police
officer. Society demands that the highest penalty be paid.
But I had to ask myself ? could I send another man's son to death
under the deeply flawed system of capital punishment we have in
Illinois? A troubled young man, with a history of mental illness?
Could I rely on the system of justice we have in Illinois not to
make another horrible mistake? Could I rely on a fair sentencing?
In the United States the overwhelming majority of those executed
are psychotic, alcoholic, drug addicted or mentally unstable. The
frequently are raised in an impoverished and abusive environment.
Seldom are people with money or prestige convicted of capital
offenses, even more seldom are they executed.
To quote Governor Brown again, he said "society has both the right
and the moral duty to protect itself against its enemies. This
natural and prehistoric axiom has never successfully been refuted.
If by ordered death, society is really protected and our homes and
institutions guarded, then even the most extreme of all penalties
can be justified."
"Beyond its honor and incredibility, it has neither protected the
innocent nor deterred the killers. Publicly sanctioned killing has
cheapened human life and dignity without the redeeming grace which
comes from justice metered out swiftly, evenly, humanely."
At stake throughout the clemency process, was whether some, all or
none of these inmates on death row would have their sentences
commuted from death to life without the possibility parole.
One of the things discussed with family members was life without
parole was seen as a life filled with perks and benefits.
Some inmates on death row don't want a sentence of life without
parole. Danny Edwards wrote me and told me not to do him any
favors because he didn't want to face a prospect of a life in
prison without parole. They will be confined in a cell that is
about 5-feet-by-12 feet, usually double-bunked. Our prisons have
no air conditioning, except at our supermax facility where inmates
are kept in their cell 23 hours a day. In summer months,
temperatures in these prisons exceed one hundred degrees. It is a
stark and dreary existence. They can think about their crimes.
Life without parole has even, at times, been described by
prosecutors as a fate worse than death.
Yesterday, I mentioned a lawsuit in Livingston County where a
judge ruled the state corrections department cannot force feed two
corrections inmates who are on a hunger strike. The judge ruled
that suicide by hunger strike was not an irrational action by the
inmates, given what their future holds.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court held that it is
unconstitutional and cruel and unusual punishment to execute the
mentally retarded. It is now the law of the land. How many people
have we already executed who were mentally retarded and are now
dead and buried? Although we now know that they have been killed
by the state unconstitutionally and illegally. Is that fair? Is
This court decision was last spring. The General Assembly failed
to pass any measure defining what constitutes mental retardation.
We are a rudderless ship because they failed to act.
This is even after the Illinois Supreme Court also told lawmakers
that it is their job and it must be done.
I started with this issue concerned about innocence. But once I
studied, once I pondered what had become of our justice system, I
came to care above all about fairness. Fairness is fundamental to
the American system of justice and our way of life.
The facts I have seen in reviewing each and every one of these
cases raised questions not only about the innocence of people on
death row, but about the fairness of the death penalty system as a
If the system was making so many errors in determining whether
someone was guilty in the first place, how fairly and accurately
was it determining which guilty defendants deserved to live and
which deserved to die? What effect was race having? What effect
was poverty having?
And in almost every one of the exonerated 17, we not only have
breakdowns in the system with police, prosecutors and judges, we
have terrible cases of shabby defense lawyers. There is just no
way to sugar coat it. There are defense attorneys that did not
consult with their clients, did not investigate the case and were
completely unqualified to handle complex death penalty cases. They
often didn't put much effort into fighting a death sentence. If
your life is on the line, your lawyer ought to be fighting for
you. As I have said before, there is more than enough blame to go
I had more questions.
In Illinois, I have learned, we have 102 decision makers. Each of
them are politically elected, each beholden to the demands of
their community and, in some cases, to the media or especially
vocal victims' families. In cases that have the attention of the
media and the public, are decisions to seek the death penalty more
likely to occur? What standards are these prosecutors using?
Some people have assailed my power to commute sentences, a power
that literally hundreds of legal scholars from across the country
have defended. But prosecutors in Illinois have the ultimate
commutation power, a power that is exercised every day. They
decide who will be subject to the death penalty, who will get a
plea deal or even who may get a complete pass on prosecution. By
what objective standards do they make these decisions? We do not
know, they are not public. There were more than 1000 murders last
year in Illinois. There is no doubt that all murders are horrific
and cruel. Yet, less than 2 percent of those murder defendants
will receive the death penalty. That means more than 98% of
victims families do not get, and will not receive whatever
satisfaction can be derived from the execution of the murderer.
Moreover, if you look at the cases, as I have done ? both
individually and collectively -- a killing with the same
circumstances might get 40 years in one county and death in
another county. I have also seen where co-defendants who are
equally or even more culpable get sentenced to a term of years,
while another less culpable defendant ends up on death row. In my
case-by-case review, I found three people that fell into this
category, Mario Flores, Montel Johnson and William Franklin. Today
I have commuted their sentences to a term of 40 years to bring
their sentences into line with their co-defendants and to reflect
the other extraordinary circumstances of these cases.
Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart has said that the imposition
of the death penalty on defendants in this country is as freakish
and arbitrary as who gets hit by a bolt of lightning.
For years the criminal justice system defended and upheld the
imposition of the death penalty for the 17 exonerated inmates from
Illinois Death row. Yet when the real killers are charged,
prosecutors have often sought sentences of less than death. In the
Ford Heights Four Case, Verneal Jimerson and Dennis Williams
fought the death sentences imposed upon them for 18 years before
they were exonerated. Later, Cook County prosecutors sought life
in prison for two of the real killers and a sentence of 80 years
for a third.
What made the murder for which the Ford Heights Four were
sentenced to die less heinous and worthy of the death penalty
twenty years later with a new set of defendants?
We have come very close to having our state Supreme Court rule our
death penalty statute - the one that I helped enact in 1977 -
unconstitutional. Former State Supreme Court Justice Seymour Simon
wrote to me that it was only happenstance that our statute was not
struck down by the state's high court. When he joined the bench in
1980, three other justices had already said Illinois' death
penalty was unconstitutional. But they got cold feet when a case
came along to revisit the question. One judge wrote that he wanted
to wait and see if the Supreme Court of the United States would
rule on the constitutionality of the new Illinois law. Another
said precedent required him to follow the old state Supreme Court
ruling with which he disagreed.
Even a pharmacist knows that doesn't make sense. We wouldn't have
a death penalty today, and we all wouldn't be struggling with this
issue, if those votes had been different. How arbitrary.
Several years after we enacted our death penalty statute, Girvies
Davis was executed. Justice Simon writes that he was executed
because of this unconstitutional aspect of the Illinois law -- the
wide latitude that each Illinois State's Attorney has to determine
what cases qualify for the death penalty. One State's Attorney
waived his request for the death sentence when Davis' first
sentencing was sent back to the trial court for a new sentencing
hearing. The prosecutor was going to seek a life sentence. But in
the interim, a new State's Attorney took office and changed
directions. He once again sought and secured a death sentence.
Davies was executed.
How fair is that?
After the flaws in our system were exposed, the Supreme Court of
Illinois took it upon itself to begin to reform its' rules and
improve the trial of capital cases. It changed the rule to require
that State's Attorney's give advance notice to defendants that
they plan to seek the death penalty to require notice before trial
instead of after conviction. The Supreme Court also enacted new
discovery rules designed to prevent trials by ambush and to allow
for better investigation of cases from the beginning.
But shouldn't that mean if you were tried or sentenced before the
rules changed, you ought to get a new trial or sentencing with the
new safeguards of the rules? This issue has divided our Supreme
Court, some saying yes, a majority saying no. These justices have
a lifetime of experience with the criminal justice system and it
concerns me that these great minds so strenuously differ on an
issue of such importance, especially where life or death hangs in
What are we to make of the studies that showed that more than 50%
of Illinois jurors could not understand the confusing and obscure
sentencing instructions that were being used? What effect did that
problem have on the trustworthiness of death sentences? A review
of the cases shows that often even the lawyers and judges are
confused about the instructions - let alone the jurors sitting in
judgment. Cases still come before the Supreme Court with arguments
about whether the jury instructions were proper.
I spent a good deal of time reviewing these death row cases. My
staff, many of whom are lawyers, spent busy days and many
sleepless nights answering my questions, providing me with
information, giving me advice. It became clear to me that whatever
decision I made, I would be criticized. It also became clear to me
that it was impossible to make reliable choices about whether our
capital punishment system had really done its job.
As I came closer to my decision, I knew that I was going to have
to face the question of whether I believed so completely in the
choice I wanted to make that I could face the prospect of even
commuting the death sentence of Daniel Edwards ? the man who had
killed a close family friend of mine. I discussed it with my wife,
Lura Lynn, who has stood by me all these years. She was angry and
disappointed at my decision like many of the families of other
victims will be.
I was struck by the anger of the families of murder victims. To a
family they talked about closure. They pleaded with me to allow
the state to kill an inmate in its name to provide the families
with closure. But is that the purpose of capital punishment? Is it
to soothe the families? And is that truly what the families
I cannot imagine losing a family member to murder. Nor can I
imagine spending every waking day for 20 years with a single
minded focus to execute the killer. The system of death in
Illinois is so unsure that it is not unusual for cases to take 20
years before they are resolved. And thank God. If it had moved any
faster, then Anthony Porter, the Ford Heights Four, Ronald Jones,
Madison Hobley and the other innocent men we've exonerated might
be dead and buried.
But it is cruel and unusual punishment for family members to go
through this pain, this legal limbo for 20 years. Perhaps it would
be less cruel if we sentenced the killers to TAMS to life, and
used our resources to better serve victims.
My heart ached when I heard one grandmother who lost children in
an arson fire. She said she could not afford proper grave markers
for her grandchildren who died. Why can't the state help families
provide a proper burial?
Another crime victim came to our family meetings. He believes an
inmate sent to death row for another crime also shot and paralyzed
him. The inmate he says gets free health care while the victim is
struggling to pay his substantial medical bills and, as a result,
he has forgone getting proper medical care to alleviate the
physical pain he endures.
What kind of victims services are we providing? Are all of our
resources geared toward providing this notion of closure by
execution instead of tending to the physical and social service
needs of victim families? And what kind of values are we
instilling in these wounded families and in the young people? As
Gandhi said, an eye for an eye only leaves the whole world blind.
President Lincoln often talked of binding up wounds as he sought
to preserve the Union. "We are not enemies, but friends. We must
not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not
break our bonds of affection."
I have had to consider not only the horrible nature of the crimes
that put men on death row in the first place, the terrible
suffering of the surviving family members of the victims, the
despair of the family members of the inmates, but I have also had
to watch in frustration as members of the Illinois General
Assembly failed to pass even one substantive death penalty reform.
Not one. They couldn't even agree on ONE. How much more evidence
is needed before the General Assembly will take its responsibility
in this area seriously?
The fact is that the failure of the General Assembly to act is
merely a symptom of the larger problem. Many people express the
desire to have capital punishment. Few, however, seem prepared to
address the tough questions that arise when the system fails. It
is easier and more comfortable for politicians to be tough on
crime and support the death penalty. It wins votes. But when it
comes to admitting that we have a problem, most run for cover.
Prosecutors across our state continue to deny that our death
penalty system is broken ? or they say if there is a problem, it
is really a small one and we can fix it somehow. It is difficult
to see how the system can be fixed when not a single one of the
reforms proposed by my Capital Punishment Commission has been
adopted. Even the reforms the prosecutors agree with haven't been
So when will the system be fixed? How much more risk can we
afford? Will we actually have to execute an innocent person before
the tragedy that is our capital punishment system in Illinois is
really understood? This summer, a United States District court
judge held the federal death penalty was unconstitutional and
noted that with the number of recent exonerations based on DNA and
new scientific technology we undoubtedly executed innocent people
before this technology emerged.
As I prepare to leave office, I had to ask myself whether I could
really live with the prospect of knowing that I had the
opportunity to act, but that I failed to do so because I might be
criticized. Could I take the chance that our capital punishment
system might be reformed, that wrongful convictions might not
occur, that enterprising journalism students might free more men
from death row? A system that's so fragile that it depends on
young journalism students is seriously flawed.
"There is no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy.
There is nothing good in war. Except its ending."
That's what Abraham Lincoln said about the bloody war between the
states. It was a war fought to end the sorriest chapter in
American history--the institution of slavery. While we are not in
a civil war now, we are facing what is shaping up to be one of the
great civil rights struggles of our time. Stephen Bright of the
Southern Center for Human Rights has taken the position that the
death penalty is being sought with increasing frequency in some
states against the poor and minorities.
Our own study showed that juries were more likely to sentence to
death if the victim were white than if the victim were black--
three-and-a-half times more likely to be exact. We are not alone.
Just this month Maryland released a study of their death penalty
system and racial disparities exist there too.
This week, Mamie Till died. Her son Emmett was lynched in
Mississippi in the 1950s. She was a strong advocate for civil
rights and reconciliation. In fact just three weeks ago, she was
the keynote speaker at the Murder Victims' Families for
Reconciliation Event in Chicago. This group, many of whom I've
met, opposes the death penalty even though their family members
have been lost to senseless killing. Mamie's strength and grace
not only ignited the civil rights movement--including inspiring
Rosa Parks to refuse to go to the back of the bus--but inspired
murder victims' families until her dying day.
Is our system fair to all? Is justice blind? These are important
human rights issues.
Another issue that came up in my individual, case-by-case review
was the issue of international law. The Vienna Convention protects
U.S. citizens abroad and foreign nationals in the United States.
It provides that if you arrested, you should be afforded the
opportunity to contact your consulate. There are five men on death
row who were denied that internationally recognized human right.
Mexico's President Vicente Fox contacted me to express his deep
concern for the Vienna Convention violations. If we do not uphold
international law here, we cannot expect our citizens to be
protected outside the United States.
My Commission recommended the Supreme Court conduct a
proportionality review of our system in Illinois. While our
appellate courts perform a case by case review of the appellate
record, they have not done such a big picture study. Instead, we
tinker with a case-by-case review as each appeal lands on their
In 1994, near the end of his distinguished career on the Supreme
Court of the United States, Justice Harry Blackmun wrote an
influential dissent in the body of law on capital punishment. 20
years earlier he was part of the court that issued the landmark
Furman decision. The Court decided that the death penalty statutes
in use throughout the country were fraught with severe flaws that
rendered them unconstitutional. Quite frankly, they were the same
problems we see here in Illinois. To many, it looked liked the
Furman decision meant the end of the death penalty in the United
This was not the case. Many states responded to Furman by
developing and enacting new and improved death penalty statutes.
In 1976, four years after it had decided Furman, Justice Blackmun
joined the majority of the United States Supreme Court in deciding
to give the States a chance with these new and improved death
penalty statutes. There was great optimism in the air.
This was the climate in 1977, when the Illinois legislature was
faced with the momentous decision of whether to reinstate the
death penalty in Illinois. I was a member of the General Assembly
at that time and when I pushed the green button in favor of
reinstating the death penalty in this great State, I did so with
the belief that whatever problems had plagued the capital
punishment system in the past were now being cured. I am sure that
most of my colleagues who voted with me that day shared that view.
But 20 years later, after affirming hundreds of death penalty
decisions, Justice Blackmun came to the realization, in the
twilight of his distinguished career that the death penalty
remains fraught with arbitrariness, discrimination, caprice and
mistake." He expressed frustration with a 20-year struggle to
develop procedural and substantive safeguards. In a now famous
dissent he wrote in 1994, " From this day forward, I no longer
shall tinker with the machinery of death."
One of the few disappointments of my legislative and executive
career is that the General Assembly failed to work with me to
reform our deeply flawed system.
I don't know why legislators could not heed the rising voices of
reform. I don't know how many more systemic flaws we needed to
uncover before they would be spurred to action.
Three times I proposed reforming the system with a package that
would restrict the use of jailhouse snitches, create a statewide
panel to determine death eligible cases, and reduce the number of
crimes eligible for death. These reforms would not have created a
perfect system, but they would have dramatically reduced the
chance for error in the administration of the ultimate penalty.
The Governor has the constitutional role in our state of acting in
the interest of justice and fairness. Our state constitution
provides broad power to the Governor to issue reprieves, pardons
and commutations. Our Supreme Court has reminded inmates
petitioning them that the last resort for relief is the governor.
At times the executive clemency power has perhaps been a crutch
for courts to avoid making the kind of major change that I believe
our system needs.
Our systemic case-by-case review has found more cases of innocent
men wrongfully sentenced to death row. Because our three year
study has found only more questions about the fairness of the
sentencing; because of the spectacular failure to reform the
system; because we have seen justice delayed for countless death
row inmates with potentially meritorious claims; because the
Illinois death penalty system is arbitrary and capricious - and
therefore immoral - I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of
I cannot say it more eloquently than Justice Blackmun.
The legislature couldn't reform it.
Lawmakers won't repeal it.
But I will not stand for it.
I must act.
Our capital system is haunted by the demon of error, error in
determining guilt, and error in determining who among the guilty
deserves to die. Because of all of these reasons today I am
commuting the sentences of all death row inmates.
This is a blanket commutation. I realize it will draw ridicule,
scorn and anger from many who oppose this decision. They will say
I am usurping the decisions of judges and juries and state
legislators. But as I have said, the people of our state have
vested in me to act in the interest of justice. Even if the
exercise of my power becomes my burden I will bear it. Our
constitution compels it. I sought this office, and even in my
final days of holding it I cannot shrink from the obligations to
justice and fairness that it demands.
There have been many nights where my staff and I have been
deprived of sleep in order to conduct our exhaustive review of the
system. But I can tell you this: I will sleep well knowing I made
the right decision.
As I said when I declared the moratorium, it is time for a
rational discussion on the death penalty. While our experience in
Illinois has indeed sparked a debate, we have fallen short of a
rational discussion. Yet if I did not take this action, I feared
that there would be no comprehensive and thorough inquiry into the
guilt of the individuals on death row or of the fairness of the
To say it plainly one more time- the Illinois capital punishment
system is broken. It has taken innocent men to a hair's breadth
escape from their unjust execution. Legislatures past have refused
to fix it. Our new legislature and our new Governor must act to
rid our state of the shame of threatening the innocent with
execution and the guilty with unfairness.
In the days ahead, I will pray that we can open our hearts and
provide something for victims' families other than the hope of
revenge. Lincoln once said: " I have always found that mercy bears
richer fruits than strict justice." I can only hope that will be
so. God bless you. And God bless the people of Illinois.
Back to Main News Page
Future Hope column, January 14, 2003
An Ill-Conceived Proposal
By Ted Glick
The first Democrat I heard calling for a reinstitution of the military draft was Frank
Lautenberg last November during my Green Party campaign for the U.S. Senate seat from New
Jersey that he ended up winning. This was perhaps the most dramatic of his efforts to
counter the charge of Republican candidate Doug Forrester that he was wimpish when it came
to supporting and spending money on the military.
Charles Rangel and, surprisingly, John Conyers, seem to have drunk from the same political
water as Lautenberg as they have recently come out in favor of the same thing. The
difference, however, is that they are doing so, in Rangel’s words in the N.Y. Times of
December 31, 2002, “to help bring a greater appreciation of the consequences of decisions
to go to war.”
I was shocked when I read Rangel’s piece and even more shocked when I heard
more-progressive John Conyers on the radio defending this position. To me this is
disturbingly reminiscent of the Bill Clinton/Joe Lieberman/DLC approach of “if you can’t
beat ‘em, join ‘em,” the adoption of Republican positions on major issues.
Rangel seems to think that he’s being slick with what he sees as an outflanking maneuver,
that his efforts to reinstitute the draft will lead to heightened anti-war sentiment as
all sectors and classes of society experience “shared sacrifice.”
This is a dangerous, highly questionable proposition.
It would be as if the civil right movement of the 50’s and 60’s had called for the
expansion to all voters of poll taxes, literacy tests and other impediments to African
Americans’ voting—“shared sacrifice.”
It would be like the women’s movement demanding not personal choice on the issue of
abortion but, instead, government surveillance and police action to crack down on
abortions that women with money were able to get illegally before the passage of Roe v.
Wade in 1973—more “shared sacrifice.”
Or it would be as if the peace movement trying to stop the Vietnam War had advocated not
U.S. withdrawal but expansion of the war to every country in the world where alleged
communists were trying to overthrow unjust and repressive governments.
Rangel is really playing with fire, and a close reading of his Times piece makes that
clear. At one point he makes the argument that the so-called war on terrorism “will
severely strain military resources already burdened.” He refers to “long-term troop
commitments” and “military trainers” throughout the world, including such countries as the
Philippines, Colombia and Korea. Significantly, he does not question any of those
commitments or trainers, instead saying, “we can expect the evolving global war on
terrorism to drain our military resources even more, stretching them to the limit.”
He concludes with these ominous words: “Those who would lead us into war have the
obligation to support an all-out mobilization of Americans for the war effort, including
mandatory national service that asks something of us all.”
Just what we need: a Bushite-led, or perhaps a Lieberman-led, repressive government of
empire being given the power to mobilize and conscript the entire country in support of
their imperialist designs.
I know it may seem naive, and maybe I’m just not sophisticated enough to get it, but
wouldn’t it make more sense to introduce legislation to deal with the poverty draft--the
realities of racism, unemployment, poor housing, miseducation and little hope--that lead
many low-income and working-class people to join the armed forces in the first place?
Or has the Bill Clinton, “as Republican as the Republicans” approach to politics spread so
far and so deep within the Democratic Party that we can no longer count on leading members
of the Congressional Black Caucus to do the right thing on the major, clear-cut issues of
It is urgent that all of us speak up loudly and clearly against this ill-conceived
Ted Glick is the National Coordinator of the Independent Progressive Politics Network
(www.ippn.org) and a former Green Party of New Jersey candidate for the U.S. Senate
(www.glickforsenate.org). He can be reached at futurehopeTG@aol.com or P.O. Box 1132,
Bloomfield, N.J. 07003.
Back to Main News Page
Smallpox in America: Into the Garden of Delights
By Jennifer Van Bergen
t r u t h o u t | Report
Tuesday 14 January 2003
[Coleridge] said ... there were only three things which the government had brought into
that garden of delights, namely itch, pox, and famine.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson, English Traits(1856)
We are told that there is new grave threat to our welfare. Smallpox.
If we are indeed in danger of a smallpox outbreak (which is contradicted by medical testimony), the
threat is not as grave as we are told. The disease is readily recognizable and can be adequately treated by
A far more grave threat, however, is the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA,
MEHPA, or EHPA), portions of which were incorporated into the Homeland Security Act (HSA). The EHPA
provides for forced vaccinations and confiscation or destruction of personal property under the mere threat
of a threat of an outbreak.
Representative Ron Paul (R.-TX.), who also is a medical doctor, writes:
When we give government the power to make medical decisions for us, we in essence accept
that the state owns our bodies. The possibility that the federal government could order
vaccines is real. Provisions buried in the 500-page homeland security bill give federal health
bureaucrats virtually unchecked power to declare health emergencies.
Specifically, it gives the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services _ in
my view one of the worst of all federal agencies _ power to declare actual or potential
bioterrorist emergencies; to administer forced "countermeasures," including vaccines, to
individuals or whole groups; and to extend the emergency declaration indefinitely.
These provisions mirror those found in the Model Emergency Health Powers Act
[MEHPA], a troubling proposal that was rejected by most state legislatures last year. That
Act would have given state governors broad powers to suspend civil liberties and declare
health emergencies. Yet now we're giving virtually the same power to the Secretary of HHS.
Equally troubling is the immunity from civil suit granted to vaccine manufacturers in the
homeland security bill, which potentially could leave individuals who get sick from a bad batch
of vaccines without legal recourse.(2)
Rep. Paul omits that the smallpox vaccine can be fatal. The MEHPA sounds almost like
state-sponsored population control. But this is not only population control via, say, contraception. It is by
state-mandated and enforced, vaccine-induced illness and death.
That is frightening. In the name of fighting terrorism, we are now going to kill off a small percentage of
our own people.
Health and welfare issues have traditionally been state issues. Since 1824, the so-called "police
power," which includes "the authority to provide for the public health, safety, and morals," has been the
exclusive province of the states.(3)
Sandy Mintz, who writes on Vaccination News, states: "The Homeland Security Bill as now written,
however, appears to be an effort to circumvent states' rights, by federalizing declared emergencies related
to "public health". It seems to have been decided that declaring a federal emergency using federal law
would allow states' rights to be by-passed." (4)
She continues, "This effort seems to be, at least in part, a reaction to the failure of all states to pass, or
in some cases to even consider passing thus far, an MEHPA bill."
Florida and The Model Emergency Health Powers Act
The MEHPA has been passed in only one state: Florida.(5) Adopted home of Jeb Bush. Land of
electoral madness. Home to alligators and other swamp creatures. The garden of delights.
Joanna Rohrback, a health activist in Broward County, Florida, who has been trying to raise awareness
about the Florida EHPA, says: "Some of the worst ramifications would include forced vaccinations on the
WHOLE population as well as the ability to seize our property and quarantine us."(6)
Mintz writes that the dubiously titled Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, which, as I
understand it, is identical to the Florida EHPA, "give[s] the power of life and death over citizens to each
Mintz delineates a few specific things the MEHPA does:
1. Grant the governor of each state power to declare a "public health emergency"
as defined in the act, with or without consulting anyone. (Article IV, Section 401)
2. Require medical examination and/or testing and force isolation or quarantine if
it is deemed that refusal "poses a danger to public health". (Article VI, Section 602(c))
3. Require treatment and/or vaccination and "isolate or quarantine" those
"unwilling or unable" to do so. (Article VI, (Article VI, Sections 603(a)(3) and 603(b)(3))
4. Constitute as a misdemeanor, "failure to obey these provisions" (for
examination, testing, isolation or quarantine). (Article VI, Sections 604(a) and 604(c))
5. Provide that there be no liability for any "State or local official" causing harm
to individuals in their efforts to comply with the provisions of the act, unless there is
"gross negligence or willful misconduct". (Article VIII, Section 804(a))
6. Provide for similar absence of liability for "any private person, firm or
corporation" and their "employees" or "agents". (Article VIII, Section 804(b)(2) and
7. Allow for the destruction of property without compensation if "there is
reasonable cause to believe that [the property] may endanger the public health
pursuant to Section 501". (Article V, Sections 506 and 507)
8. Limit legal recourse. (Article VI, Section 605)
9. Allow for "the public safety authority (to) request assistance from the organized
militia in enforcing the orders of the public health authority." (Article IV, Section
In other words, martial law. If you have not seen "Minority Report" or read Orwell's "1984," you might
want to do so now.
The MEHPA, which was enacted as the Florida EHPA, is the model for those provisions in the
Homeland Security Act that deal with emergency health issues.
Conflicts and Dangers
Toni Krehel of Vaccine Awareness of Florida writes that the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
"attempted to rush anti-terrorism legislation through state legislatures" giving power to the state to impose
"medical procedures on people, using any means necessary, including the kind of restraining methods that
law enforcement use to apprehend criminals (guns, militia)."7
Rohrback reports that the CDC, along with the National Health Institute, will be receiving "extraordinary
funding" under the Homeland Security Act. Rohrback points out that, according to the Congressional
Committee for Government Reform back in 1999, there were numerous "conflicts of interest" in the CDC's
endorsement of these laws. One blatant example is that the "Chairman of CDC's advisory committee until
recently owned 600 shares of stock in Merck, a pharmaceutical company with an active vaccine
division."(8) That was 1999 and the conflicts of interest have continued.
Dr. Marcia Angell, in an interview on ABC Lateline in which she discussed the control that the drug
industry has taken of medical research, said that the drug companies use medical researchers "as though
they were hired guns." Researchers are paid to do what these companies want them to do. "[D]rug
companies increasingly design the studies," and "don't even let the researchers see the data."(9)
Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz, President and Publisher of Tetrahedron Publishing Group, wrote in a June 6,
2002 letter to a CDC Working Group: "The little known fact is that the primary smallpox vaccine producers,
Aventis and Baxter corporations, or their parent companies, are highly untrustworthy. They have been
implicated on more than one occasion in committing genocide. *** Both firms settled out of court ..."(10)
Horowitz further remarks that "Baxter is a subsidiary of American Home Products (AHP)," and AHP,
"like Bayer, Hoechst and BASF, is a progeny of I.G. Farben - Germany's leading industrial organization
that virtually directed the Third Reich and Hitler's economic war engine." He adds that Aventis is a
subsidiary of Hoechst.
Horowitz pleads: "Please, for the sake of millions of people, public healthy, medical respectability, and
the future of this great nation, DO NOT SUPPORT ANY POLICY REQUIRING FORCED SMALLPOX
Dr. Tom Mack of the University of Southern California School of Medicine, whose "credentials include
probably spending more time working up population-based outbreaks of smallpox than virtually anybody
ever has," spoke at the Meeting of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on June
19-20, 2002. Remarking that "I made the arrogant assumption that you might actually be interested in my
opinion about the three questions that are open to you, and so I'm going to give it," Dr. Mack said that
"were there no smallpox eradication program, my guess is that smallpox would have died out
One report states that: "By the 1920s, several British medical researchers documented that smallpox
was not only more common among the VACCINATED, but that the DEATH RATE from smallpox was
actually higher among those who had been vaccinated."(12)
Dr. Mack states that the smallpox vaccine is "the single most dangerous live vaccine."
While these doctors state that smallpox vaccinations are dangerous, they are also clear that the threat
of bio-attacks is slim and that even if there is bio-attack, it can be readily contained and mass vaccinations
thus are not justified.
Dr Mack -- asking, "What do we expect if there were a terrorist introduction?" - concludes: "I would
expect a small number of cases. I don't think suicide dissemination is a very likely possibility because of
the severity of the disease. I think that airborne spread would be relatively inefficient and I don't think many
cases would occur."
Informed Consent & Lack of Logic
The National Vaccination Information Center (NVIC) maintains that Section 304 of the Homeland
Security Act is the "fulfillment of a federal plan in development for several years to allow public health
officials to force vaccination and medical treatment on Americans without their informed consent while
removing all accountability from drug companies and those who participate in enforcement of the
The legal doctrine of "informed consent" requires that a person who is being subjected to any medical
procedure be informed of the nature and risks of that procedure so that s/he can weigh the risks against the
benefits and decide whether to consent to allowing the physician to carry out the procedure.
Medical procedures, including vaccinations, involve some type of intrusion on the body, as well as
various risks. Without informed consent, any medical procedure is actually technically a battery. In civil
law, battery involves intentionally "harmful or offensive" touching of any part of the body. In criminal law,
battery involves "unlawful application of force to the person of another."
NVIC states that "a voluntary decision about whether to take the risk has been the centerpiece of
bioethics ever since the Nuremberg Code was adopted after World War II and the doctrine of informed
consent was introduced into U.S. case law in 1957."
Two major hospitals have already refused to vaccinate their employees because "the risk of dangerous
side effects of the vaccine and inadvertent transmission to patients outweighs the remote threat of an
attack with a virus."(14) The Boston Globe reported that the decisions "underscore the reluctance of some
health workers to return to a decades-old vaccine known for its serious side effects. In rare instances, the
vaccine has caused life-threatening cases of encephalitis and some deaths."
''There is a lack of logic to the current proposal,'' said Dr. Richard Wenzel, chairman of the department
of internal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth. ''If our government in all its intelligence thinks smallpox
exists in enemy hands, why would we creep up on that policy? We would rush to vaccinate everybody right
The MEHPA provides for military intervention. According to one news report: "The Bush administration
is taking initial steps to plan for a potential military role in enforcing a massive quarantine, if smallpox or
another highly contagious virus were to break out somewhere in the United States."(16) Remarkably,
according to this report: "The possibility of a biological attack on the United States is receiving increased
attention as the nation contemplates war against Iraq, which experts fear may have 'weaponized' smallpox,
anthrax or other biowarfare agents."
This report also states that "some federal officials, public health analysts and national security experts
anticipate a large-scale quarantine would almost surely incite public panic and could require the use of
federal troops to restore order."
The Bush Administration says it is going to war with Iraq in order to ensure our safety, but experts fear
that Saddam may counterattack with bio-weapons, which means we must forcibly inoculate several million
people here with a dangerous vaccine, causing mass panic that will require restoring order with the military.
This surely is the way to make America safe.
Yesterday I, along with several other members of the ad hoc Broward Bill of Rights Defense Coalition,
met with a County Commissioner here in Broward County to discuss passing a resolution asking for the
repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act. This Commissioner told me that she was ready to give up the Bill of
Rights in exchange for safety. She felt we were in grave danger. As an example of what she would accept,
she told me that an airport search was "an unreasonable search and seizure."
Search and seizure law is immensely complex and the "rules" for what is a reasonable search vary
according to the context. Airport searches of persons entering the boarding area have been deemed
constitutional since 1973, as long as the intrusiveness is limited by the administrative need (which is, in
this case, flight safety) and the passenger is able to avoid search by electing not to fly. Searches that are
minimally intrusive and intended to protect passengers are not violations of the Fourth Amendment. More
importantly, we do not give up ANY individual rights by consenting to an airport search. (I am not
discussing reports of excessively intrusive and embarrassing public searches that have occurred since
9/11, which, in my opinion, are unreasonable as well as unnecessary.)
If, however, we allow such laws as the PATRIOT Act, the Homeland Security Act, and the Emergency
Health Powers Act to stay on the books, we HAVE thrown away our Bill of Rights. We have made the
United States Constitution a nullity.
This Administration is taking us down a perilous road. This Administration is putting its own citizenry in
grave danger. Forced vaccinations benefit only the producers of those vaccines.
If we genuinely want peace and safety, then unlawfully invading foreign lands, unlawfully assassinating
targeted people overseas, unlawfully divesting our own citizens of their rights and invading their persons -- in
other words, violating the most sacred and certain of domestic and international laws -- will not do it.
These unlawful methods cannot continue long without bringing world war. Bin Laden did not attack us
because we have a Bill of Rights. He attacked us, as he himself declared, because we had invaded sacred
Muslim lands. There is no justification for Bin Laden's attacks on innocent Americans, but neither is there
any justification for the United States to invade lands that do not belong to it, or the bodies of persons it
does not and cannot ever own.
Our bodies belong to us, not our government. There is no genuine power without consent. Any power
obtained through force is illegitimate and eventually rebounds back on those who apply it.
While in the short term, Bush might maintain "order" (a term hauntingly reminiscent of the Nazi
aphorism "Alles in Ordnung") by forcing his will and his way on the world, it will not last, and we Americans
will be the ones to suffer for his mistakes.
There is no replacement for the Bill of Rights or the Constitution of the United States. Whatever "garden
of delights" we have enjoyed will be forever lost.
1 (Into the Garden of Delights, From Title) Grateful thanks to Joanna Rohrback for her assistance in
researching and writing about this topic. A health advocate and activist in Broward County, Florida, Ms.
Rohrback is a former social worker with the Florida Health & Rehabilitative Services and has a Bachelor of
Health Services, specializing in Health Administration, from Florida Atlantic University. She heads the
Citizen's For Democracy group in Broward and has a patented fitness program called Prancercise(r). Her
report on the MSEHPA (hereafter Rohrback Report) is available at:
http://184.108.40.206/jvb/reff.ART/Model_to_Monstrosity.doc or via email from me.
3 Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc. 501 U.S. 560 (1991). The landmark case that determined that states
retain full authority to legislate in any field and to achieve any objective, subject only to the limitations
imposed in the Constitution itself is Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. (9 Wheat.) 1 (1824). Chief Justice John
Marshall wrote that such powers included "that immense mass of legislation, which embraces every thing
within the territory of a state, not surrendered to the general government; all of which can be most
advantageously exercised by the states themselves. Inspection laws, quarantine laws, health laws of
every description, as well as laws for regulating the internal commerce of a state ... are component parts of
this mass." In 1827, Marshall dubbed this power "the police power." Brown v. Maryland, 25 U.S. (12
Wheat.) 419. In 1878, the Supreme Court decided that the states may not bargain away their police power
to corporations. Boston Beer Co. v. Massachusetts, 97 U.S. 25. But not every state law enacted in the
purported interests of public health, safety, welfare, and morals, is automatically presumed to be
Constitutional. Where a police power enactment infringes on rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, a
federal court may strike down a state law. U.S. v. Carolene Products Co., 304 U.S. 144 (1938).
Additionally, the General Welfare Clause (Article I, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution) empowers Congress
to "collect taxes ... to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United
States." This has traditionally been interpreted as a federal taxing power only, but also permitted the
Supreme Court in 1937 to sustain the Social Security Act. Steward Machine Co. v. Davis, 301 U.S. 548.
4 http://www.vaccinationnews.com/Scandals/Nov_22_02/Scandal43.htm (All citations to Mintz are to
5 Rohrback Report, p. 4.
6 Email from Joanna Rohrback to JVB, 26 December 2002.
8 Rohrback Report, pp. 1 & 2. See this Report for other examples.
9 www.vaccinationnews.com/DailyNews/August2001/ConflictInt&Vax.htm (cited in Rohrback Report, p.
10 Leonard G. Horowitz to ACIP-NVAC Smallpox Working Group, CDC, June 6, 2002,
www.wahale.to/a/horowitz.html. See also: www.tetrahedron.org.
12 www.vaclib.org/basic/twenty.htm (citing a 1993 book or article titled "Vaccination" by Dr. Viera
13 www.909shot.com/Newsletters/spsmallpox.htm; http://ohsr.od.nih.gov/nuremberg.php3 (cited in
Rohrback Report, p. 8) (further quotes from NVIC are from the same)
16 Inside the Pentagon, Elaine Grossman, Dec. 12, 2002. (Posted on elist without URL.)
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