(If you want to help force the NY Times to print the story the rest of
the world's media is all over, please write a letter -or just forward
Pressure on the Times resulted in them re-writing their coverage of
the 10/26/02 march on Washington -revising their crowd estimate from
20,000 to 100-200,000. See http://traprockpeace.org/fair102602.html
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 11:48:27 -0800
From: Norman Solomon <email@example.com>
Subject: Media Dodging U.N. Surveillance Story
AMERICAN MEDIA DODGING U.N. SURVEILLANCE STORY
By Norman Solomon / Creators Syndicate
Three days after a British newspaper revealed a memo about U.S.
spying on U.N. Security Council delegations, I asked Daniel Ellsberg to
assess the importance of the story. "This leak," he replied, "is more
timely and potentially more important than the Pentagon Papers."
The key word is "timely." Publication of the secret Pentagon Papers
in 1971, made possible by Ellsberg's heroic decision to leak those
documents, came after the Vietnam War had already been underway for many
years. But with all-out war on Iraq still in the future, the leak about
spying at the United Nations could erode the Bush administration's
already slim chances of getting a war resolution through the Security
"As part of its battle to win votes in favor of war against Iraq,"
the London-based Observer reported on March 2, the U.S. government
developed an "aggressive surveillance operation, which involves
interception of the home and office telephones and the e-mails of U.N.
delegates." The smoking gun was "a memorandum written by a top official
at the National Security Agency -- the U.S. body which intercepts
communications around the world -- and circulated to both senior agents
in his organization and to a friendly foreign intelligence agency."
The Observer added: "The leaked memorandum makes clear that the
target of the heightened surveillance efforts are the delegations from
Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Mexico, Guinea and Pakistan at the U.N.
headquarters in New York -- the so-called 'Middle Six' delegations whose
votes are being fought over by the pro-war party, led by the U.S. and
Britain, and the party arguing for more time for U.N. inspections, led
by France, China and Russia."
The NSA memo, dated Jan. 31, outlines the wide scope of the
surveillance activities, seeking any information useful to push a war
resolution through the Security Council -- "the whole gamut of
information that could give U.S. policymakers an edge in obtaining
results favorable to U.S. goals or to head off surprises."
Three days after the memo came to light, the Times of London
printed an article noting that the Bush administration "finds itself
isolated" in its zeal for war on Iraq. "In the most recent setback," the
newspaper reported, "a memorandum by the U.S. National Security Agency,
leaked to the Observer, revealed that American spies were ordered to
eavesdrop on the conversations of the six undecided countries on the
United Nations Security Council."
The London Times article called it an "embarrassing disclosure."
And the embarrassment was nearly worldwide. From Russia to France to
Chile to Japan to Australia, the story was big mainstream news. But not
in the United States.
Several days after the "embarrassing disclosure," not a word about
it had appeared in America's supposed paper of record. The New York
Times -- the single most influential media outlet in the United
States -- still had not printed anything about the story. How could that
"Well, it's not that we haven't been interested," New York Times
deputy foreign editor Alison Smale said Wednesday night, nearly 96 hours
after the Observer broke the story. "We could get no confirmation or
comment" on the memo from U.S. officials.
The Times opted not to relay the Observer's account, Smale told me.
"We would normally expect to do our own intelligence reporting." She
added: "We are still definitely looking into it. It's not that we're
Belated coverage would be better than none at all. But readers
should be suspicious of the failure of the New York Times to cover this
story during the crucial first days after it broke. At some moments in
history, when war and peace hang in the balance, journalism delayed is
Overall, the sparse U.S. coverage that did take place seemed eager
to downplay the significance of the Observer's revelations. On March 4,
the Washington Post ran a back-page 514-word article headlined "Spying
Report No Shock to U.N.," while the Los Angeles Times published a longer
piece that began by emphasizing that U.S. spy activities at the United
Nations are "long-standing."
The U.S. media treatment has contrasted sharply with coverage on
other continents. "While some have taken a ho-hum attitude in the U.S.,
many around the world are furious," says Ed Vulliamy, one of the
Observer reporters who wrote the March 2 article. "Still, almost all
governments are extremely reluctant to speak up against the espionage.
This further illustrates their vulnerability to the U.S. government."
To Daniel Ellsberg, the leaking of the NSA memo was a hopeful sign.
"Truth-telling like this can stop a war," he said. Time is short for
insiders at intelligence agencies "to tell the truth and save many many
lives." But major news outlets must stop dodging the information that
Norman Solomon is co-author of the new book "Target Iraq: What the News
Media Didn't Tell You," published by Context Books
Background link: http://www.accuracy.org/press_releases/PR030403.htm
Evan Ravitz 303 440 6838 firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Initiative: http://vote.org
Photo Adventures: http://vote.org/photos
Back to Main News Page
The 3rd World Water Forum: A Civil Society Backgrounder
by Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians
From March 16-22 of this year, an estimated 8,000 people from all over the
world will gather in Kyoto, Japan, to attend the 3rd World Water Forum. There,
decisions will be made about the future of the world's freshwater resources
that will affect every living being on the planet. This memo is offered as a
brief history of the events and players instrumental in the lead-up to this
forum and is a critique of the private sector interests that have developed
around the control of water.
The world is running out of fresh water. Humanity is polluting, diverting and
depleting the finite wellspring of life at a startling rate. Our per capita use
of water is doubling every 20 years, at more than twice the rate of human
population growth. A legacy of factory farming, flood irrigation, the
construction of massive dams, toxic dumping, wetland and forest destruction and
urban and industrial pollution has damaged the earth's surface water so badly
that we are now mining the underground water reserves far faster than nature
can replenish them.
Quite simply, unless we dramatically change our ways, between one-half and two-
thirds of humanity will be living with severe fresh water shortages within the
next quarter century. The global fresh water crisis looms as one of the
greatest threats ever to the survival of our planet.
Tragically, this global call for action comes in an era guided by the free-
market principles of what has been called the "Washington Consensus." This
includes an unprecedented assault on the commons. Everything is now for sale,
even those areas of life, such as social services and natural resources, that
were once considered the common heritage of humanity. Faced with the suddenly
well-documented fresh water crisis, governments and international institutions
are advocating the privatization and commodification of water. Price water,
they say in chorus; put it up for sale and let the market determine its
At the same time, governments are signing away their control over domestic
water supplies to regional trade agreements like NAFTA and the World Trade
Organization (WTO). These global trade institutions effectively give
transnational corporations unprecedented access to the fresh water resources of
signatory countries. Already, corporations have started to sue governments in
order to gain access to domestic water sources and, armed with the protection
of these international trade agreements, are setting their sights on the
commercialization of water.
The Corporate Players
There are ten major corporate players now delivering freshwater services for
profit. Between them, the two biggest - Vivendi and Suez of France - deliver
private water and wastewater services to over 200 million customers in 150
countries, and are in a race, along with the others such as Bouygues SAUR, RWE-
Thames Water and Bechtel-United Utilities, to expand to every corner of the
The performance of these companies in Europe and the developing world has been
well documented: huge profits, higher prices for water, cut-offs to customers
who cannot pay, little transparency in their dealings, reduced water quality,
bribery and corruption. They are aggressively accelerating their operations in
Third World countries where debt-struck governments are forced to abandon
public water services and hand over control of local water supplies to private
interests. Based on the market policy known as "full cost recovery," the water
companies are able to impose rate hikes that are devastating to millions of
poor people who cannot afford privatized water.
A new type of water consortium has emerged in Germany which may be a prototype
for the future. Companies such as AquaMundo put together giant investment pools
using overseas government aid, private bank investments and public utilities
funds in the recipient country. Then, in an arrangement called "cross-border
leasing," they hire local contractors to run the water services. Some keep
their money in tax havens, thus allowing them to avoid paying national taxes;
this lets them offer a "deal" to local cash-strapped municipalities.
Transnational water companies have become so powerful that they now share in
decision making with governments in international meetings. United under the
banner of the corporate lobby group, Business Action for Sustainable
Development, the water companies played a pivotal role at the World Summit on
Sustainable Development that was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, last
August 26-September 4. There, with governments and the United Nations, they
launched a "new" strategy for the delivery of efficient water and sanitation
services to the world's poor which accelerates public-private partnerships,
guaranteeing the companies a steady profit from public funds.
Water for profit takes a number of other forms. The bottled water industry is
growing at an annual rate of 20 percent. Last year, nearly 100 billion litres
of bottled water were sold around the world - most of it in non-reusable
plastic containers, bringing in profits of $22 billion to this highly-polluting
industry. Fierce disputes, especially in the Third World, are being waged
between local communities and companies like CocaCola and Nestle, aggressively
seeking new supplies of "boutique water." As one company explains, water is now
"a rationed necessity that may be taken by force."
Corporations are now involved in the construction of massive pipelines to carry
freshwater long distances for commercial sale while others are constructing
supertankers and giant sealed water bags to transport vast amounts of water
across the ocean to paying customers. The mass movement of bulk water could
have catalytic environmental impacts. Nevertheless, the World Bank says that,
"One way or another, water will soon be moved around the world as oil is now."
The Institutional Players
Private water companies are aided and abetted by a number of powerful
international institutions with whom they work closely. The main source of
financing of private water services in the Third World comes from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), which demands private water services in
exchange for debt relief, the World Bank, which can withhold project funds
unless a country cooperates, and a myriad of regional banks, such as the
European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian
Development Bank, and the African Development Bank.
The World Bank serves the interests of water companies through the
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which provides loans to
governments and can impose conditions in exchange for money, and the
International Finance Corporation, which provides direct capital funding.
The World Trade Organization is another powerful institution that promotes the
commodification of water. The WTO is mandated to remove tariff and non-tariff
barriers to the free flow of goods, including water, across national borders
and is negotiating free trade in water services through the General Agreement
on Trade in Services (GATS). The big water corporations have strategically
positioned themselves to play an effective role in the WTO through two powerful
lobby groups - the U.S. Coalition of Service Industries and the European Forum
The United Nations has also been working closely with the big water
corporations. In July, 2000, the UN announced a "Global Compact" with a number
of global transnational companies, including Suez. And it is through UN
conferences and forums that three important new international organizations
promoting water-for-profit have been created.
The Global Water Partnership was established in 1996 to reform water utility
systems and water resource management around the world and is funded in part by
the World Bank. The World Water Council, also formed in 1996, sees itself as a
policy think tank whose main task is to provide decision makers with advice and
assistance on global water issues. Made up of 175 member groups, the WWC
organized the 2nd World Water Forum in The Hague in March, 2000.
The World Commission on Water for the 21st Century, formed in 1998, is composed
of 21 "eminent" persons and is mandated with fostering sustainable use of water
Representatives of the global water corporations are strategically placed at
the top levels of all three of these agencies. Their industry association, the
International Private Water Association, works closely with the World Water
Council, the World Bank and the UN.
The 2nd World Water Forum
All of the above were major players at the 2nd World Water Forum held in The
Hague in March, 2000, and are intimately involved in preparations for the 3rd
World Water Forum to be held in Japan in March, 2003. From the beginning, the
2nd World Water Forum, which was attended by over 5,000 people, was designed to
be a showcase for public-private partnerships and to create a "consensus" among
all the "stakeholders" that privatization and full cost recovery are the
answers for the world's water crisis. World Bank and water corporation
officials dominated the positions of power in every session; civil society
groups were not even given a place to meet. Translation services for the myriad
of non-English speaking delegates were non-existent.
The World Water Council presented its pre-written World Water Vision report
endorsing an aggressive water-privatization agenda to the Forum as a "fait
accompli." The Vision, which also recommended a corporate model of agriculture,
was adopted by the powers that ran the event, even though the statement was
opposed by the majority of civil society groups present.
As well, pushed by corporate representatives, the 140 governments officials who
attended the Ministerial Conference attached to the Forum, agreed to weaken
their final declaration. Instead of water being declared a "basic human right"
(which would mean that governments were responsible for ensuring that all their
citizens have access to water on a not-for-profit basis), the government
delegates agreed only that water is a "basic human need," thereby opening up
the water market to companies on a for-profit basis.
However, it was not so simple for the organizers of the event. A new
international coalition of civil society organizations and trade unions came
together in the Hague to challenge the corporate "consensus." The Blue Planet
Project, made up of groups from many countries, launched an "international
effort to stop the privatization of the world's fresh water" and challenged the
Forum organizers from the floor, at press conferences, and with a "NGO Major
Group Statement" to the Ministerial Conference. This statement rejected the
World Water Council's Vision, asserted that water is a basic human right and
called for the decommodification of water.
The 3rd World Water Forum
Since The Hague, civil society groups have been growing and consolidating their
work. They met at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre in January, 2002, and
at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, in August,
2002. With international groups present, Japanese civil society organizations
met in March, 2002, to plan their strategy toward the 3rd World Water Forum.
There, they agreed to participate in the Forum as long as the goal was to put
forward a clear alternative vision and strategy to the World Water Council.
This planning was further evolved at an international strategy meeting held in
Ottawa in October, 2002. Here participants agreed that the main goals would be
to split the World Water Council "consensus" on a corporate model of water
governance and to promote a new democracy model of water governance. It was
understood that the Forum, unlike a meeting of the World Bank or the WTO, will
attract thousands of people who might actually agree with the emerging civil
society consensus around water and that it is essential to put forward an
alternative vision at the event.
The 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto will play a major role in determining the
future of the world's freshwater resources. Civil society must be there in
strength. Future generations depend on it.
Back to Main News Page
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2003
San Francisco Bay View newspaper
BLACK JOURNALISTS ARRESTED AT PEACE MARCH
Oakland - March 5 marked the day for the National Student Strike against
the war. High school and college students from San Francisco, Oakland,
Berkeley and around the Bay Area walked out of classes today in support of
Instead of protecting this peaceful protest, however, Oakland Police
marred the day by brutally attacking the youth and several elderly people
accompanying them. Gathering in downtown Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza,
the protest began peacefully with police looking on. As 300 to 400 students,
most from local high schools, marched peacefully down Broadway toward
Jack London Square, carrying a banner, singing and chanting in the tradition
of nonviolent protest, members of the Oakland Police Department began
following the protesters, and the number of officers steadily increased.
Once the students reached Jack London Square, police began attacking
them, running into the demonstrators with their motorcycles. Ra'shida Askey,
managing editor and staff writer for the San Francisco Bay View
newspaper, asked officers why they were running over the young marchers. In
response, a black female police officer grabbed Ra'shida by the neck and
in a chokehold. The Bay View's associate editor, JR Valrey, who was also
covering the march, came to his colleague's aid. At this point, several
swarmed both JR and Ra'shida, knocking them to the ground and beating
them both. Ra'shida sustained the most injuries.
JR and Ra'shida were placed in a paddy wagon. When another arrested
demonstrator, Kelly Duncan, joined them, the Black woman police officer
holding her remarked, "It was three of them! I should have been able to
use my gun."
The two Bay View journalists are currently being detained at the Oakland
City Jail and have been refused release on their own recognizance. They
are being charged with obstructing and battering a police officer and
resisting arrest. The extent of their injuries is unknown.
These unprovoked attacks are yet another example of the out of control
conduct of the Oakland Police Department and police departments across
the nation. The ferocity and severity of the attack on these two Black
journalists, representing a Black newspaper, and on young demonstrators
- predominantly Black high school students - looks suspiciously like a
case of racial profiling. In the Bay Area, known for racial diversity,
activism and overwhelming opposition to U.S. plans for war, such attacks
on freedom of speech and of the press are intolerable.
In a show of support, please share this information widely and make your
opinions known to the Oakland Mayor's Office at (510) 238-3141 and the
Oakland Chief of Police at (510) 238-3365.
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Please Visit Store.FinalCall.Com E-Store Where Knowledge Is The Key!
Gary North's REALITY CHECK
Issue 220 March 4, 2003
GUN OWNERSHIP IN IRAQ
I have twice seen the same film clip on CBS news: an
Iraqi citizen buying what looks like a machine gun
(Kalashnikov), and another citizen trying out a semi-
automatic pistol's slide action. Both times, the voice-
over warned of Iraqis preparing to defend themselves.
Nobody mentions the obvious: unless the film clip was
staged, Saddam Hussein lets Iraqis buy guns and ammo.
This testifies against the theory that Saddam fears an
organized uprising. If he fears assassination -- his
supposed use of look-alikes in public -- he doesn't fear it
enough to impose complete gun control.
He claims that he has no weapons of mass destruction.
In a recent article posted on the generally hawkish World
Net Daily, physicist Gordon Prather cites long-suppressed
evidence from a top Iraqi defector that there are no WMD in
Iraq. The defector was General Hussein Kamal. He was
Saddam Hussein's son-in-law. He was assassinated when he
later returned to Iraq.
Separately, Kamal was interviewed by Rolf Ekeus,
chairman of the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq
and Chief Inspector Maurizio Zifferero of the
International Atomic Energy Action Team, both
established by the U.N. Security Council to
implement UNSC disarmament resolutions.
Newsweek has obtained the U.N. document, verified
its authenticity and reports in its current issue
that Kamal told the same story to the CIA and to
Immediately after the Gulf War ceasefire, but
before the U.N. inspectors had arrived in Iraq,
Kamal said he ordered the destruction of all
chemical and biological weapons stocks and the
missiles to deliver them. . . .
The UNSCOM-IAEA inspectors -- and hence all U.N.
Security Council members -- have known for at
least four years that, as best the U.N.
inspectors could subsequently discover, Kamal did
tell the truth, when, in response to the question
posed by UNSCOM inspector Nikita Smidovich:
Smidovich: Were weapons and agents
Kamal: Nothing remained.
Smidovich: Was it before or after
Kamal: After visits of inspection teams. You
have an important role in Iraq with this.
You should not underestimate yourself. You
are very effective in Iraq.
So, according to Kamal, himself, not only were
all chembio "weapons and agents destroyed", but
U.N. inspectors had been "very effective" in
ferreting out what the Iraqis had done.
This information was kept secret until NEWSWEEK
published it on February 24 of this year. You might think
that this story would have been front-page news in every
newspaper in the world. It wasn't.
As I have repeatedly said, the coming war in Iraq
isn't about al-Qaeda. It's also not about weapons of mass
destruction. It's about the control of the price of oil at
the margin and placing U.S. troops in the Middle East to
keep the pipelines open.
If Iraq has no WMD, then the invasion should be a
cakewalk. But there is a wild card: the willingness and
the ability of Iraqis to defend themselves from attack,
house by house.
Urban warfare is no picnic if the residents are
willing to die, taking an invading soldier with them, one
by one. (Unless, of course, the invader uses gas.)
This raises the issue of the distribution of guns in
HITLER'S GUN CONTROL LAW OF 1938
The media's talking heads constantly cite the
government's accusation that Saddam is another Hitler. In
one crucial sense, he is nothing like Hitler. Nazi
Germany's 1938 gun control law was signed into law on March
The following information is posted on the Web site of
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, a pro-
Second Amendment organization. If you want to know why
there are Jewish supporters of this organization, which has
been around a long time, read the following. You may be
Until 1943-44, the German government published
its laws and regulations in the
'Reichsgesetzblatt,' roughly the equivalent of
the U.S. Federal Register. Carefully shelved by
law librarians, the 1938 issues of this German
government publication had gathered a lot of
dust. In the 'Reichsgesetzblatt' issue for the
week of March 21, 1938, was the official text of
the Weapons Law (March 18, 1938). It gave
Hitler's Nazi party a stranglehold on the
Germans, many of whom did not support the Nazis.
We found that the Nazis did not invent "gun
control" in Germany. The Nazis inherited gun
control and then perfected it: they invented
The Nazi Weapons Law of 1938 replaced a Law on
Firearms and Ammunition of April 13, 1928. The
1928 law was enacted by a center-right, freely
elected German government that wanted to curb
"gang activity," violent street fights between
Nazi party and Communist party thugs. All firearm
owners and their firearms had to be registered.
Sound familiar? "Gun control" did not save
democracy in Germany. It helped to make sure that
the toughest criminals, the Nazis, prevailed.
The Nazis inherited lists of firearm owners and
their firearms when they 'lawfully' took over in
March 1933. The Nazis used these inherited
registration lists to seize privately held
firearms from persons who were not "reliable."
Knowing exactly who owned which firearms, the
Nazis had only to revoke the annual ownership
permits or decline to renew them.
In 1938, five years after taking power, the Nazis
enhanced the 1928 law. The Nazi Weapons Law
introduced handgun control. Firearms ownership
was restricted to Nazi party members and other
The 1938 Nazi law barred Jews from businesses
involving firearms. On November 10. 1938 -- one
day after the Nazi party terror squads (the SS)
savaged thousands of Jews, synagogues and Jewish
businesses throughout Germany -- new regulations
under the Weapons Law specifically barred Jews
from owning any weapons, even clubs or knives.
The site goes on to show that the 1938 German law was,
passage by passage, copied into the U.S. Gun Control Act of
The parallels between the Nazi law and GCA '68
will leap at you from the page. For example, law
abiding firearm owners in Illinois, Massachusetts
and New Jersey must carry identification cards
based on formats from the Nazi Weapons Law.
The article goes on to identify the most likely
political suspect in having copied the Nazi's code into
ours. He was a Democrat and a liberal. His son now holds
his seat in the Senate. Click through.
Of special interest to Jews is the extension of the
gun control law, which was signed into law on November 11,
1938. Historians will recall the previous evening: Kristal
night, when the windows of stores owned by Jews were
smashed by the Nazis. Highlights of the law include:
#1 Jews (#5 of the First Regulations of the
German Citizenship Law of 14 November 1935,
Reichsgesetzblatt 1, p. 1332) are prohibited from
acquiring, possessing, and carrying firearms and
ammunition, as well as truncheons or stabbing
weapons. Those now possessing weapons and
ammunition are at once to turn them over to the
local police authority.
#2 Firearms and ammunition found in a Jew's
possession will be forfeited to the government
This story is well known within the Second Amendment
movement. It was JPFO's Aaron Zelman who first gave wide
publicity to the 1938-1968 connection. His book translates
the 1938 law and then compares it, passage by passage, to
the 1968 act.
Needless to say, liberals have not acknowledged the
error of their ways in continuing to support the 1968 Act
and its subsequent modifications. The 1938-1968 connection
has been tossed down the memory hole. But JPFO keeps
dredging it back up. The Web now helps keep the story
AN ARMED CITIZENRY
From what the U.S. media report, citizens of Baghdad
are armed. An armed citizenry threatens American troops.
For a decade, the U.S. military has trained to deal with
urban occupation, but a real-life situation has yet to
If their city is still standing, they may defend their
homes from invading forces. If they don't defend, then
some of them may later use their guns to shoot occupying
troops. It's one thing for Iraqis to approve of Saddam's
removal by the U.S. It's another thing entirely to think
that they will submit to long-term occupation of their
country by U.S. troops.
There is no democratic tradition in Iraq. The
peaceful succession of elected governments is not part of
If Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, he has
hidden them well. His son-in-law thought they had been
destroyed, we now learn. If they really were destroyed,
then casualties to U.S. troops will be imposed by defending
troops and armed citizens.
This raises the question of legitimacy. For two
centuries, the United States has gained enormous
international legitimacy as the world's beacon of freedom.
(Switzerland has freedom, but it is a closed society --
closed to immigrants.) This nation has been seen as
defending the rights of the oppressed. But an invasion of
a nation across the planet and without the ability to
inflict damage on this nation will be seen by a billion
Muslims and maybe an equal number of non-Muslims as an
unwarranted extension of our military power: the reversal
of Woodrow Wilson's heralded right of national self-
Cooperation is not a free resource. It is most
inexpensively gained through voluntarism. When it must be
coerced, it gets very expensive for the coercer. This is
why all empires eventually contract or are overthrown.
The world cooperates with us through market exchange.
It also cooperates by allowing U.S. troops inside their
borders: an estimated 130 countries. But a pre-emptive
strike against a nation that must defend itself from a
superpower will not be seen as a legitimate act. If Saddam
doesn't use WMD against us, then the Administration will
find itself removed permanently from the high moral ground.
If Saddam doesn't use WMD, the Administration will
lose face. It will be seen as an aggressor nation. If
there is widespread armed resistance by Iraqi citizens, it
will cost the United States more than the lives of our
At that point, international cooperation will
dissipate -- not overnight, but steadily. People don't
like bullies. They will take steps to increase their
ability to resist.
The Administration will soon be in Catch-22. If our
troops enjoy a cakewalk, then the justification for going
in -- Iraq's WMD -- will evaporate. If Iraq does use WMD
(VX gas), then our troops will have a tough time of it.
The cost of victory will be higher than in 1991. If
citizens resist at the cost of their lives, morale will
collapse in the military. Warriors do not gain honor by
killing people who are merely defending their homes.
THE PRICE TAG
How much will it cost to win in Iraq? Lawrence
Lindsey was the Administration's senior economic advisor
when he estimated $100 billion to $200 billion. Then he
was sacked. Career-wise men learn. With no evidence
presented, the Director of the Office of Management and
Budget now says $50 billion to $60 billion. Here is a NEW
YORK TIMES story (Jan. 2).
Bush Administration Official Lowers Estimate of
Cost for War With Iraq
BY ELISABETH BUMILLER
WASHINGTON -- The administration's top budget
official estimated Monday that the cost of a war
with Iraq could be in the range of $50 billion to
$60 billion, a figure that is well below earlier
estimates from White House officials.
Mitchell Daniels Jr., the director of the
Office of Management and Budget, also said that
there was likely to be a deficit in the fiscal
2004 budget, though he declined to specify how
large it would be. The Bush administration is
scheduled to present its budget to Congress on
Daniels would not provide specific costs for
either a long or a short military campaign
against Saddam Hussein. But he said the
administration was budgeting for both, and that
earlier projections of $100 billion to $200
billion in Iraq war costs by Lawrence Lindsey,
President Bush's former chief economic adviser,
were too high.
Daniels' projections place the cost of an
Iraq war in line with the 1991 Persian Gulf War,
which cost nearly $60 billion, or about $80
billion in current dollars. But the United States
paid for only a small portion of that conflict,
with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Japan bearing the
brunt of the costs. This time, diplomats say,
Americans would likely bear most of the costs. .
. . .
The budget director's projections Monday
served as a corrective to figures put forth by
Lindsey in September, when he said that a war
with Iraq might amount to 1 percent to 2 percent
of the gross domestic product, or $100 billion to
Lindsey was criticized for putting forth such
a large number, which helped pave the way for his
ouster earlier this month.
According to the most recent report from the Treasury,
the Federal budget deficit for fiscal 2003 is $97.6 for the
first four months. A year ago, the figure was a surplus of
$8.4 billion. (AP story, Feb. 24).
The war has not yet begun.
There are lots of predictions about the de-
stabilization of Arab governments if the U.S. invades. I
don't pretend to know how accurate these forecasts are.
Some things are obvious. Most Muslims are opposed, and
these are the people the terrorists recruit.
The stock market will not do well if there is strong
resistance in Iraq. The voters are not prepared for a
drawn-out war, which would imply civilian resistance. But
starving out civilians by quarantining Baghdad will win
America no laurels. It will win the undying hostility of a
Americans expect another 1991. But the price of
obtaining this will be the Administration's loss of
legitimacy in the eyes of the world -- immediately -- and
the eyes of swing voters (2004). Another 1991 will mean
that there were no WMD. It will mean that the war was
about stealing oil and avenging a father's decision to quit
on the battlefield.
Costs somewhere between 1991's costs and the de-
stabilization of the entire region are likely. If costs
are low, the President loses legitimacy: "No WMD after
all." If they are high, he will also lose legitimacy: "He
failed to warn us!" He needs a Goldilocks solution: just
right. How many dead American troops are too many? In my
view, one. But I'm obviously an extremist. When it comes
to the Middle East, and also the Balkans, I concur with
Bismarck's assessment of the Balkans: "Not worth the life
of one Pomeranian grenadier."
Back to Main News Page
Advisors Warn Bush He Faces "Humiliating" Defeat on UN Resolution
Capitol Hill Blue
Tuesday 4 March 2003
Senior aides to President George W. Bush say he faces a humiliating defeat before the United
Nations Security Council next week.
And signs emerged today that the U.S. may withdraw the resolution from security council
Secretary of State Colin Powell, fresh from his latest round of meetings with representatives of
countries on the Security Council, delivered the bad news to Bush on Monday.
"You will lose, Mr. President," Powell told Bush. "You will lose badly and the United States
will be humiliated on the world stage."
Powell told Bush he has only four of the nine votes needed for approval of a second
resolution. As a result, some White House advisors are now urging the President to back off his
tough stance on war with Iraq and give UN weapons inspectors more time.
"We have no other choice," admits one Bush advisor. "We don't have the votes. We don't
have the support."
Presidential spokesman Ari Fleisher, in today's press briefing, appeared to signal a U.S.
retreat from demanding a vote next week, saying "the president has said he believes that a vote
is desirable. It is not mandatory."
John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said that while it is too early for
the United States to withdraw the resolution, "we haven't crossed that bridge," Negroponte said.
Powell told Bush on Monday that Turkey's refusal to allow U.S. troops to stage at the
country's border with Iraq doomed any chance of consensus at the UN.
"Many were watching Turkey," Powell told Bush. "Had they agreed, it might have helped us
sway critical votes."
Powell met privately today with Mexico Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez to try and
"parse" new language for the second resolution to satisfy a Mexican request to modify the text
and extend the deadline for weapons inspections.
"It (the meeting) did not produce results," a Powell spokesman said afterwards.
Publicly, Powell is leaving the door open for the U.S. to withdraw the resolutions saying,
telling a German television interviewer: "At the start of next week we'll decide when, depending
on what we have heard, we will vote on a resolution. It will be a difficult vote for the U.N. Security
Some Bush aides now admit privately that the President, for all his tough talk, may have to
back down and postpone his plans to invade Iraq in the near future, delaying any invasion until
April or May at the earliest.
"The vote in Turkey fucked things up big time," grumbles one White House aide. "It pushes
our timetable back. On the other hand, it might give us a chance to save face."
"Saving face" could mean backing away from a showdown with the UN Security Council next
week and agreeing to let the weapons inspection process run its course.
"The arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed gives us some breathing room," says a Bush
strategist. "We can concentrate on the favorable publicity generated by the arrest and the
valuable intelligence we have gained from that event."
Mohammed, arrested in Pakistan, masterminded the 9-11 terrorist attacks. CIA agents found
computer files, memos and other materials which pointed to plans for new attacks against the
"The prudent thing to do would be to let Iraq cool off on a back burner and concentrate on
Mohammed," says Republican strategist Arnold Beckins. "Saddam isn't going anywhere. There's
too much heat on him right now for him to pull something."
Right now, only the U.S., Britain and Spain favor immediate military action against Iraq. With
most of the other allies lining up against the U.S., Bush faces both a diplomatic and public
relations nightmare if he proceeds against Hussein without UN backing.
"We've always needed an exit strategy," admits a White House aide. "Circumstances have
given us one. Perhaps we shouldn't ignore it."
Back to Main News Page
> NIGHTLINE: CONSPIRACY THEORY: Blueprint for War
> Date: 3/5/03 12:33:52 PM Mountain Standard Time
> From: <A
> Sent from the Internet (Details)
> TONIGHT'S FOCUS: Several years ago, when President Clinton was still in
> the White House, and 9/11 was still not even a nightmare in anyone's mind,
> group of mostly Republicans wrote a letter outlining a foreign policy
> that involved regime change in Iraq, by force if necessary. Now that
> of those Republicans are in key positions in the Administration, some
> of the White House's current Iraq polic smell something fishy.
> The Project for the New American Century. Never heard of it? Well, don't
> feel bad. Few have. But have you heard of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld or
> Paul Wolfowitz? Back in 1997, those three out-of-office politicians and
> several other like-minded, mostly conservatives, were frustrated with
> American foreign policy. So they formed this new organization and a year
> later wrote a letter to then-President Bill Clinton calling for a
> "comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam
> his regime."
> Today, a 76-page paper written by the organization reads like a blueprint
> the policy being carried out largely by Vice President Dick Cheney,
> Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. In
> fact, of the 40 people who signed that letter, 10 are currently in the
> Is this a case of democracy in action? Influential thinkers who became
> policy makers? Or is it, as some international critics of the White
> policy on Iraq have argued, a secretive organization pulling the strings
> the President, with an imperialistic goal of dominating the world? Are
> criticisms legitimate?
> Tonight ABC News correspondent Jackie Judd will explore this conspiracy
> theory, and the influence and role of the Project for the New American
> Century. Ted Koppel will then speak with the Project's founder and
> Bill Kristol, who served in both the first Bush and the Reagan
> Also tonight we'll have another report from correspondent Mike Cerre with
> Marine Company Fox 2/5 in Kuwait. After 19 days in the desert, they got a
> shower and a hot meal. But more importantly, they also received their
> for their role in an invasion, if and when one is ordered. After months of
> training for war, they now know just what they're going to do.
> And finally, Nightline's Chris Bury is in Kuwait this evening, the main
> staging area for the American invasion should it come. He'll give us the
> latest news of the military's preparations.
> We hope you'll join us.
> Sara Just and the Nightline staff
> Senior Producer
> ABC News NIGHTLINE
> If you have questions or comments regarding this message or a recent
> "Nightline" broadcast, please do not hit reply; simply click on this link
> to send your message directly to the "Nightline" staff:
> Or log on to the new "Nightline" Message Board:
> Chat with "Nightline" guests and find articles, transcripts and video
> excerpts on our Web site at:
Back to Main News Page
Capture hits home for N.C. colleges
Professors at A&T, Chowan recall suspect as 'conscientious'
Moni Basu - Staff
Tuesday, March 4, 2003
Greensboro, N.C. --- In the seven-story brick building named for astronaut Ronald McNair, fresh flowers adorn a bronze bust of the school's biggest hero, the man who died in the 1986 Challenger tragedy.
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has other heroes as well. Among them are the Greensboro Four, the African-American freshmen who bravely challenged segregation in Greensboro in 1960.
Now the school is also known for a decided anti-hero, alleged al-Qaida plotter Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who graduated in 1986.
At McNair Hall, which houses the school's engineering department, one professor mused Monday about how he might have inadvertently trained Mohammed for terrorism. "I was in complete disbelief," said David Klett, an engineering professor who advised and taught Mohammed in the mid-'80s. "How could this be? It's a shock."
Klett taught Mohammed thermodynamics --- the basics of power plants, combustion reactions and jet engines.
"We try to train our students to be problem-solvers," Klett said. "Just that in itself would have been useful to him. It's hard to say what courses he drew most heavily from. I think he found useful the overall education he got in this department."
Others who taught Mohammed at A&T, or at Chowan College in Murfreesboro, which Mohammed also attended, were equally stunned.
"He is responsible for the lives of 3,000 people. It makes you feel terrible," said Garth Faile, chairman of the science department at Chowan. "At the time he was like any of our other students. He could just have easily won the Nobel."
Kuwaiti-born Mohammed, 37, is said to have masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks. He has been linked to several incidents including the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen.
Tiny Chowan College, a small Baptist school, offered Mohammed his first glimpse of the West.
"He was a B-type student," Faile said. "He was "very conscientious."
At the time, Chowan was a two-year college. Mohammed went from there to A&T in order to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. He was one of the first students to take classes in the newly built McNair Hall,
Classmate Sammy Zitawi described him as a quiet, unassuming man. "He kept very much to himself," said Zitawi, also a native of Kuwait who sometimes met Mohammed for coffee or lunch at a Burger King.
In the 1980s, it was not unusual to hear Arabic spoken on campuses at Chowan or A&T.
Clayton Lewis, former dean of students at Chowan, said he actively recruited international students to diversify the institution. He said area colleges became somewhat of a magnet for students from oil-rich lands who naturally wanted to pursue careers in engineering.
"Students like Mohammed were excellent math and science students," Lewis said. "They really enhanced our programs."
Though Chowan required students including Mohammed to attend weekly Christian services, the school also tried to accommodate the needs of Muslim students, Lewis said.
"We provided a place for them to worship on campus," he said. "I remember we all got along very well."
He said sometimes the shoes of student worshippers, left outside in accordance to tradition, would be swiped and thrown in the lake as a prank pulled by the locals on the "Abbie Dahbies," as the Arabs were known.
Mohammed met with a more serious atmosphere at A&T when he enrolled in 1985. He was part of a sizeable Middle Eastern contingent, who watched soccer instead of football, socialized mostly among themselves and lived off campus.
Mohammed graduated Dec. 18, 1986, in a class of 28 mechanical engineers, almost a third of whom were Arabs. He left North Carolina for Pakistan.
A Kuwaiti newspaper reported that he went to work as secretary to an Afghan warlord. He also reportedly taught at a university and a nearby refugee camp in Peshawar. His first known involvement in terrorism was in 1992, when he sent money to his nephew Ramzi Yousef, who was plotting the first attack of the World Trade Center.
Seventeen years after Mohammed left North Carolina, few remain on either campus who have personal recollections of him.
Lewis, the former dean at Chowan, wondered aloud how his school might have turned out such evil.
"I would love to talk to this man now," he said. "I would like to know what causes
a person to go this way."
Back to Main News Page
Man Arrested for Wearing Peace T-Shirt
By DAMITA CHAMBERS
.c The Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A man was charged with trespassing in a mall after he
refused to take off a T-shirt that said ``Peace on Earth'' and ``Give peace a
Mall security approached Stephen Downs, 61, and his 31-year-old son, Roger,
on Monday night after they were spotted wearing the T-shirts at Crossgates
Mall in a suburb of Albany, the men said.
The two said they were asked to remove the shirts made at a store there, or
leave the mall. They refused.
The guards returned with a police officer who repeated the ultimatum. The son
took his T-shirt off, but the father refused.
``'I said, `All right then, arrest me if you have to,''' Downs said. ``So
that's what they did. They put the handcuffs on and took me away.''
Downs pleaded innocent to the charges Monday night. The New York Civil
Liberties Union said it would help with his case if asked.
Police Chief James Murley said his officers were just responding to a
complaint by mall security.
``We don't care what they have on their shirts, but they were asked to leave
the property, and it's private property,'' Murley said.
A mall spokeswoman did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment.
Monday's arrest came less than three months after about 20 peace activists
wearing similar T-shirts were told to leave by mall security and police.
There were no arrests.
03/05/03 01:00 EST
Back to Main News Page
Bush's Arab and Muslim Propaganda Chief Quits
Monday 3 March 2003
U.S. official: 'She didn't do anything that worked'
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The mastermind of U.S. public diplomacy efforts in the wake of the
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 resigned from her State Department post Monday.
Charlotte Beers, a former top advertising executive who joined the department shortly after
September 11, is leaving shortly "for health reasons," Secretary of State Colin Powell said in a
Another U.S. official told CNN that her departure was connected to problems she encountered
in the job.
Beers, 67, took office to spearhead a public diplomacy campaign aimed at winning the hearts
and minds of the Arab and Muslim world. But she attracted little praise for her efforts, and was
attacked in the media and by various think tanks and members of Congress.
Privately, U.S. officials also complained that though Beers spent a lot of money on slickly
produced media ads, she did not understand her target audience: Arab and Muslim-majority
countries where anti-American sentiment runs high.
"She was failing," the official said. "She didn't do anything that worked."
Beers, whose title was undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, acknowledged to a
Senate committee Thursday that her task was daunting, The Associated Press reported.
"The gap between who we are and how we wish to be seen, and how we are in fact seen, is
frighteningly wide," Beers told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
Beers' "Shared Values" campaign -- television ads portraying Muslim-Americans in their daily
life -- was criticized in the few countries it was introduced. The series was eventually suspended
when several Arab countries refused to broadcast the ads.
"The administration waited until the fallout from the Shared Values campaign ended," the
official said, citing several critical media reports about Beers. "But we have been looking for an
honorable exit for her for some time."
The official said the White House, which has established its Office of Global Communications
to distribute U.S. propaganda as the United States readies for a possible war with Iraq, "has
been distancing itself from Charlotte since day one."
According to her State Department biography, Beers was the only person to serve as
chairman of two of the top 10 worldwide advertising agencies: J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy &
Beers' resignation will take effect in about two weeks. Patricia Harrison, assistant secretary
of state for education and cultural affairs, will temporarily fill Beers' post, the official said.
Powell, in his written statement, said Beers "brought new energy, new ideas, and new
enthusiasm to our interaction with the public in America and throughout the world. ... At a critical
and stressful time for our nation, she and her team sharpened our policy advocacy and took our
values and our ideas to mass audiences in countries which hadn't heard from us in a concerted
way for years.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and
Back to Main News Page
Organizers of Antiwar Movement Plan to Go Beyond Protests
By Glenn Frankel Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, March 3, 2003; Page A14
LONDON, March 2 -- The people who helped organize the largest worldwide
peace demonstration in history last month say they are not through yet.
More than 120 activists from 28 countries emerged from an all-day strategy
session here this weekend with plans not just to protest a prospective U.S.-led
war against Iraq but to prevent it from happening. They want to intensify
political pressure on the Bush administration's closest allies -- the leaders of
Britain, Italy and Spain -- and force them to withdraw their support, leaving
the United States, if it chooses to fight, to go it alone. And they intend to
further disrupt war plans with acts of civil disobedience against U.S. military
bases, supply depots and transports throughout Europe.
Finally, if war breaks out, they say, they will demonstrate in towns and
cities around the world on the evening of the first day, and hold a worldwide
rally on the following Saturday that they hope will rival or surpass their
efforts of Feb. 15.
"We still believe we can stop this war before it begins," said Chris
Nineham, one of the British organizers of this weekend's conference, held at the
Stop the War Coalition's offices in northeast London. "But if not, we're putting
the warmongers on notice that there will be massive protests on the day war
breaks out and the following weekend."
In interviews last week, several of the organizers of the Feb. 15 protests
traced the origins of the antiwar movement, described how they put together that
event and discussed where they go from here. For the most part, the
organizations are tiny, shoestring operations -- the London-based coalition
operates out of two cubbyhole offices with four desktop computers, a handful of
phone lines and a half-dozen paid staff members. But they use the Internet, cell
phones and their connections with trade unions and local governments to
establish links and coordinate with other organizations around the world.
Their plans might sound grandiose. But these are the same activists who
pulled off the stunning success of two weeks ago, when between 6 million and 12
million protesters gathered in about 75 countries to oppose military action.
"We've never really seen a movement like this before -- it's unpredictable
because it's so unprecedented," said Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at
Bradford University in Britain. "But it does seem that a large proportion of the
people who participated two weeks ago are becoming quite politicized just by
going on the demonstration. If war begins, and it doesn't have U.N. approval, we
could see mass demonstrations again."
The huge turnouts that day in cities including Rome, London, Madrid, Berlin,
Paris and New York reflected popular disaffection with U.S. military power and
the prospect of war among a broad swath of the public -- from political radicals
to church groups, trade unions and ordinary citizens. But it was organized for
the most part by a small network of activists from the ideological left, the
anti-globalization movement and peace groups. For years these activists have
stood on picket lines and organized demonstrations seeking ways to ignite mass
popular support, with mixed results at best. But the increasing likelihood of
war has given them an issue that resonates with public opinion throughout the
Many of the organizers confess that they were stunned by the size and scope
of the demonstrations two weeks ago. "A big part of our meeting was about
digesting the shock of the earthquake that was February 15," said Larry Holmes,
an organizer in New York for International ANSWER, one of the U.S. groups
organizing the rallies. "We were just as surprised as everyone else. But you're
seeing a new sense of confidence among organizations. People don't want this
war, and they're giving us a mandate to do whatever it takes to stop it."
The organizers say the February rallies were first agreed upon at a small
strategy session in Florence in November. But their roots go back to the days
just after Sept. 11, 2001, when activists say they began meeting to map out
opposition to what they anticipated would be the U.S. military response to the
terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
In Britain, according to organizer John Rees, several hundred activists
first got together the weekend after Sept. 11. Most were from the hard core of
the British left -- the Socialist Workers Party, the Campaign for Nuclear
Disarmament and the anti-capitalist organization Globalized Resistance, along
with Labor Party legislators Jeremy Corbyn and George Galloway. Within weeks,
they had combined with representatives from two more important elements --
Britain's growing Muslim community and its militant trade unions. By October
they had a name: the Stop the War Coalition.
More than 50,000 demonstrators came out in London for an October 2001 peace
rally; the same numbers protested in November against the U.S.-led invasion of
Afghanistan. A demonstration last Sept. 28 brought several hundred thousand
people to Hyde Park in London to protest war in Iraq and demand "Freedom for
Palestine." After that, activists decided to push for a worldwide demonstration.
About 30 organizers from 11 European countries met on a Saturday morning,
Nov. 9, at the Fortezza da Basso, a 16th-century fortress in the northwestern
part of Florence, as part of a week of protest activities sponsored by the
European Social Forum, an anti-globalization network. The Italians pushed for a
date in December, Rees recalled. But British representatives persuaded them to
wait until Feb. 15, when the Christmas holidays would be over and universities
would be back in session throughout Europe.
Originally, the activists believed the Feb. 15 protests might be confined to
a few European capitals. But at a follow-up meeting in Copenhagen in December,
representatives of peace groups based in the United States and the Philippines
pledged their support for the February date. In Cairo that same month, 400
representatives from several Middle Eastern and Asian countries joined in
signing a declaration of support for the Iraqi and Palestinian people and
appointed a coordinating committee headed by former Algerian president Ahmed Ben
Bella that pledged to join in the February rallies. Finally, in late January,
the activists got together once more for a gathering of the World Social Forum
in Porto Alegre, Brazil, where the number of countries from which people agreed
to take part on Feb. 15 rose from 30 to 74.
"We realized then that this had evolved into a worldwide coalition," said an
Italian organizer who insisted on anonymity.
Since Feb. 15, the activists have sought to keep up the pressure, especially
in Britain, where Prime Minister Tony Blair is ranked as President Bush's top
international supporter. While the House of Commons debated Blair's stance on
Wednesday, dozens of activists protested outside St. Stephen's Gate at
Parliament and lobbied Labor Party lawmakers, seeking their commitment to oppose
Blair. The prime minister won the vote that day in the face of a large revolt by
Labor backbenchers that has left him wounded politically. Hundreds more
activists visited lawmakers this weekend at their local offices.
"We know that a lot of [lawmakers] were really rattled by the February 15
demonstration," said Ghada Razuki, a British Iraqi activist who led Wednesday's
protest. "We want to keep the pressure on to get them off the fence."
Campaigns to disrupt U.S. forces have also been launched. Besides the dozens
of activists who have traveled to Baghdad to volunteer as "human shields"
against a U.S. attack, nine Dutch antiwar activists were arrested Tuesday for
chaining themselves to the gates of a U.S. military center outside Rotterdam. In
Italy, hundreds of protesters occupied train stations and railway tracks for
nearly a week to delay trains carrying U.S. military equipment from northern
Italy to the Camp Darby military base near Pisa. Irish protesters broke through
the perimeter fence at Shannon airport in January and damaged a U.S. Navy plane,
causing other planes to divert their flights and refuel elsewhere. Trade union
movements in Italy and France are pledging work disruptions and considering
general strikes if war breaks out.
Organizers say they would like to find a way to channel the newfound
enthusiasm and activism into a worldwide political movement. But they say the
disparate nature of those participating would make such a movement difficult if
"This was caused by social forces, and it's not something that organizations
produced," said Andrew Burgin, a member of the coalition's British steering
committee. "They're not in our control. . . . You don't lead a movement like
this, the movement leads you."
© 2003 The Washington Post Company
Back to Main News Page
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 15:00:18 -0500
Subject: !*"Another Side of Black History Month" by Mumia Abu-Jamal
ANOTHER SIDE OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH
[Col. Writ. 2/16/03] Copyright 2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal
The idea of Black History Month has always filled me with
On the one hand, there is understandable pride in the
accomplishments of one's ancestors; people for fought long and hard
for their place in the sun, against monstrous odds, and indeed,
against American white supremacist terrorism. They used every
means imaginable to sustain themselves against a system that was
predicated and dedicated to their spiritual, psychological, and material
destruction. When one studies the life of Harriet Tubman, or other
freedom fighters like her, it is almost impossible not to be moved.
On the other hand, the institutionalization of Black History Month,
by corporate, and political America, has resulted in a kind of 'dead
history', by which I mean the uses of advertising and even stamps, to
promote historical figures, many from the distant past, who portray a
'safe' side to a history that was, and is, anything but safe.
This has resulted in the promotion of Black historical figures as
one-dimensional icons, or advertising gimmicks, that reduce them
to familiar names, but little else of substance. Thus, Martin Luther
King, Jr. becomes the icon of choice, used by everything from
insurance companies to dry cleaners to drum up business among the
burgeoning black middle and working class. It has contributed to
the *selling* of Black history, as something that looks, almost
endearingly, to the past, as if there is not an awful lot of Black
history to be made today. There is also a deep, troubling bourgeois
factor in popular black history that seems to remember the
well-to-do, yet ignores those who struggled from among the ranks
of the poor, who didn't wear clean suits every day, and didn't think
that the vote represented the end-all or be-all of the Struggle.
I speak of the forgotten ones; those people who fought for freedom
and Black Liberation, not at news conferences, or in editorial board
meetings with bored journalists, but in the fields, in the shops, in
the streets, among the people.
In this new kind of bourgeois, safe, corporate Black history, people
such as these make no real appearances. It's almost as if these
agencies strive to create a kind of 'black history lite', that will
not disturb the sleep or the stomachs of white Americans.
This is a shame, and a disservice to both white, and black
Americans, and all who really want to know about the history of
It is therefore fitting to recall those names of people who lived
in the hearts and minds of their people, and who, in their own way,
fought for freedom, but are rarely mentioned in most history books,
and won't be seen on U.S. postage stamps (at least anytime soon,
for capitalism, if anything, learns how to co-opt almost everything
for profit, eh?). Here are a few:
*Ola Mae Quarterman*: Long before the famed Rosa Parks refused
to take a seat in the back of a Montgomery, Alabama bus, Ms.
Quarterman, a bright, sensitive 18-year old girl boarded a bus in Albany,
Georgia, and refused to move when the white driver ordered her to.
She responded, "I paid my damn ten cents, and I'll sit where I
please." When the segregationist-trained driver began to wag his
finger in her face, she quite rationally responded, "Get your damn
finger out of my face." What happened next was in some ways similar
to what happened in Montgomery, and in other ways different.
Ms. Quarterman was convicted of violating the segregationist
laws, and sentenced to 30 days in jail. Dr. King even brought his
fledgling organization down to Albany to respond to a campaign
that was beginning to brew against this outrage. The differences were
critical, however, for in Albany, the movement was divided. The
president of the local college where Ms. Quarterman was enrolled
expelled her, and the local support was so splintered that a
disgusted King quit the city for home. Ms. Quarterman, alone, and
without support, drifted into despair and depression. Her life
options severely restricted in the apartheid South, she suffered
what was diagnosed as "paranoid schizophrenia", committed to
a mental institution, where she presumably remains to this day.
(Question: Was *she* schizophrenic, or was the *system* of racial
segregation and white supremacy?). Her life teaches us, not the
impotence of resistance, but the necessity of united action in
resistance to social wrongs. She was right; those who failed to
support her, for any reason, were wrong.
There are, of course, others whom we will doubtful glimpse on U.S.
postage stamps; like Margaret Morgan, a fugitive captive who fled
to Pennsylvania in the 1840s, and was seized by a slavecatcher,
Edward Prigg under the draconian Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. Legal
scholars may recognize the slavecatcher's name as a famous caption
in the case, *Prigg v. Pennsylvania* (1842), but most Americans, if
asked the identity of Ms. Morgan, would probably ask, "What picture did
she star in?" She was at the center of the case, for her freedom
hinged on the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. 'Justice' Joseph
Story (of Massachusetts) held on the side of the slavecatchers, and
gave judicial blessing to the return of Margaret Morgan to a bitter
bondage in the South -- *with her children--the youngest born into a
'free' state*. The lesson? That freedom proceeds from the struggle
for freedom, not from the courts of the rich and influential.
Will there be any postage stamps to honor the historical
contributions of Dr. Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther
Party? To Ramona Africa, the courageous fighter and resister who
survived an urban holocaust on May 13th,1985? To George (or
Jonathan?) Jackson? To Ruchell Magee-- a brilliant jailhouse
lawyer whose work has led to the freedom of over 40 young(er)
men, but who is perhaps the longest-held Black political prisoner
in the Americas? To the great Seminole warrior, Coacoochee
(also called "Wild Cat") who fought for Red and Black freedom
from the American slavers, and his brother fighter, John Horse
(Coacoochee & Horse fought over 400 American outlaws, soldiers
and bandits in 1851 in northern Mexico, and beat them, with 60
Seminole warriors)? We think not.
Black History isn't 'safe', it's challenging, and troubling, and
speaks to the lives we live now, under the illusion of "freedom". It
ain't MLK alone, but the many who followed, and the many who did
Why not jettison Black History Month, just as Black History Week
Why not a Black Liberation Month? That would concentrate our
minds, not only on history, but on the sometimes painful lessons
of history; but more importantly, it would point us to the undiscovered
land that beckons us all -- the future.
Copyright 2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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Energy Report Claims Vast Cheating of State
Evidence to Feds Cites $7.5 Billion in Overcharges
Mark Martin, Christian Berthelsen
San Francisco Chronicle
Saturday 01 March 2003
A report to be delivered to federal energy regulators Monday will provide new and extensive
evidence backing up claims that a wide range of power companies manipulated California's energy
markets and reaped at least $7. 5 billion in unfair profits, sources told The Chronicle.
Compiled by a team of California lawyers who have had unprecedented access to internal
company records for the last three months, the report will show that power traders used
Enron-style manipulation strategies to gouge the state during the energy crisis. Costs to the
state's consumers also soared because power plants were deliberately idled to drive up prices,
according to the report, which will be filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Sources said the evidence backs up many claims California officials have made since the
beginning of the energy crisis, which caused blackouts throughout the state in 2000 and 2001 and
led to record-high rate increases that Californians are still paying.
It may provide a strong rebuttal to a FERC judge's ruling in December that the state actually
owed money to generators over unpaid bills stemming from the crisis.
The federal commission will consider the judge's ruling, the state's report and rebuttals from
power companies when it makes a final ruling on California's claim that it is owed billions in
refunds. That decision could come as early as this month.
BENDING, BREAKING RULES
New evidence will show that companies took advantage of tight energy supplies and a
disastrously designed market to bend and break rules to bolster profits, a source who is familiar
with the state's report said.
"The market misconduct was widespread. It involved most participants in the California energy
market," the source said.
The new evidence has been amassed during a special discovery period granted by FERC that
has allowed lawyers from three state agencies and two utilities to depose power company
officials, listen to tape-recorded conversations among energy traders and pore over thousands of
pages of company documents. The team, among other things, has questioned employees of big
power companies like Reliant Resources and Mirant Corp., subpoenaed information from a
Montana utility and interviewed officials with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
All of that will be submitted Monday in what may be California's last chance to convince FERC
that a primary cause of the state's power woes was unscrupulous corporate behavior.
Among the discoveries:
-- Internal memos from several companies show power traders
developed complicated trading strategies that resemble some of the
schemes Enron used in California. In separate proceedings, two Enron
traders have pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud over the
company's colorfully named market games like "Death Star" and "Get
Shorty." Several strategies involved zapping megawatts around the West
Coast to create transmission congestion -- or the appearance of congestion
-- and volatility in the marketplace, driving up prices.
Some companies partnered with municipal utilities within California on the gaming strategies,
the report shows.
-- Electricity generators purposely shut down power plants in California
to take advantage of shortages and earn more money selling alternative
megawatts. Two companies -- Reliant Resources and Williams Cos. -- have
been forced to turn over money after tape recordings revealed power plant
operators and traders discussing turning off plants to boost profits, and a
source said the state had uncovered other examples similar to cases
brought against Reliant and Williams.
-- Energy market manipulation between May 2000 and June 2001 allowed
power companies to earn more than $7.5 billion in profits they wouldn't
have seen under fair market conditions.
-- For at least part of the crisis, market manipulation led to energy prices
that were double what they should have been, according to one source.
From May to October 2000, the average price California paid for power was
$100 per megawatt hour, when fair market conditions should have had
power going for $50.
The report, due to FERC on Monday, will not be made public unless the commission decides
to reverse a protective order. Sources familiar with the report refused to name which companies
are accused of wrongdoing.
Some of the biggest energy providers in California continued to insist Friday that they had
behaved properly during the crisis.
"We look forward to seeing what they file," said Duke Energy's Pat Mullen. "We have and
always will operate within the market rules."
Most companies, including Duke, have told FERC they did not utilize the same schemes
Enron employed in California. And several past attempts by the state to show a widespread effort
to shut down power plants for profit have not provided definitive proof.
How FERC will handle the new report remains to be seen.
Generators will have until March 20 to submit rebuttals to the state's case.
The commission's first meeting after that date is March 26, and a FERC spokesman said
there could be some decision on the refund issue then or at meetings in April.
In a preliminary decision in December, a FERC judge concluded that California had been
overcharged by $1.8 billion between October 2000 and June 2001. But the judge also ruled the
state owed energy companies $3 billion.
The ruling was a stunning blow to Gov. Gray Davis, who has said the state is owed about $8.9
billion for unjust prices between January 2000 and June 2001.
The judge's decision did not take into account market manipulation, however, and dealt with a
narrower time frame.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and
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Turkey's Refusal Stuns US
"They did what?" blurted one State Department official
By Matthew Lee
March 1, 2003, Agence France Presse
WASHINGTON -- US officials appeared stunned by the Turkish
parliament's refusal Saturday to allow the deployment of 62
000 US troops for a possible war with Iraq.
After it became clear the vote had failed, one US official
said the earlier State Department language was "no longer
operative".The officials, who had been prepared to hail the
parliament's approval of the deployment based on initial
reports that the vote had succeeded, expressed consternation
when told that it had in fact been defeated.
They did what?" blurted one State Department official. That
official and others declined to comment on the nullification
of the close vote and were seeking clarification from the US
embassy in Ankara as well as Turkish authorities. "We are
seeking clarification and waiting to see what the Turkish
parliament's decision is," said Tara Rigler, a department
In Ankara, the embassy said US ties with Turkey would not be
threatened by the vote, calling it democratic and one that
would be respected by Washington.
Look elsewhere "We respect this as a democratic result,"
embassy spokesperson Joseph Pennington said. "We will live
with that. US ties with Turkey are not threatened in any
Washington had placed great importance on the vote and had
lobbied the Turks relentlessly to approve the deployment,
sweetening the pot by offering some $6bn in aid to the
Muslim nation, where public opposition to a possible war
with Iraq is overwhelming. On Friday, the State Department
said negotiations over the aid package were "substantially
completed" and could not be revised much further, making
clear Washington was losing patience with repeated delays in
"It's now up to Prime Minister (Abdullah) Gul and his
cabinet to complete the Turkish political process,"
spokesperson Richard Boucher said.
He would not say whether Washington had set down a deadline
for the vote, but a senior department official said if it
was postponed any longer it would be in effect "too late"
and would force troops now massing in the region to consider
"If they wait longer than Saturday, we're going to have to
look elsewhere," the official said. After hearing the first
incorrect reports on Saturday that the parliament had
approved access for US troops, Washington was set to laud
the move and praise the Turkish government for its courage,
according to a reaction prepared by the State Department.
'No longer operative' "We warmly welcome the decision of the
Turkish parliament to permit US forces to enter Turkey for
possible military operations towards Iraq," it said. "We
applaud the courageous leadership of the Turkish
"This vote is a further sign of the strong strategic
partnership between our countries and our joint commitment
to ensure that the Iraqi regime complies with UN Security
Council Resolution 1441 and eliminates its weapons of mass
"The United States and Turkey share a common vision of an
Iraq free of all forms of oppression on the way to a free,
peaceful and prosperous future in accordance with the
principles of the UN charter," it said.
After it became clear the vote had failed, one US official
said the earlier State Department language was "no longer
The speaker of the Turkish parliament, Bulent Arinc, said
the motion to allow the deployment had failed because it had
not received the necessary majority of MPs present in the
Of the 533 MPs present for the vote, 264 supported the
motion, 250 voted against it and 19 abstained, Arinc
Copyright 2003 AFP
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