"FREE AL SHARPTON AND THE VIEQUES PROTESTORS!"
Open letters to both, President Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft Expresses
Congresswomanâ?Ts "deep disappointment" in decision to prosecute the
May 29, 2001
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Dear Mr. President:
I write to express my deep disappointment at the recent decision by the
Department of Justice to prosecute Mr. Al Sharpton and the three other
Vieques protesters: New York City Councilman Adolfo Carrion, New York State
Legislator Jose Rivera, and Bronx County Democratic Party Chairman Roberto
Ramirez. Their actions were nonviolent, posed no threat to national
and, really only amounted to symbolic protests aimed at raising public
awareness to the damage being caused in Vieques by the United States Navy.
like many other Americans, find the decision to prosecute and imprison them
as something which is not only repugnant to the spirit and values upon which
this nation is founded, but also, something which can only be described as
excessive and vengeful act by our government against some of its citizens.
I find it tragically ironic that while our State Department publicly
the excesses of the People's Republic of China for its ongoing arrests and
imprisonment of members of the nonviolent Falun Gong society, our own
Department of Justice and military are similarly arresting and imprisoning
U.S. citizens who are guilty of committing nothing more than minor civil
trespass and nonviolent public protests against our government. Our
government's harsh actions against Mr.
Mr. George W. Bush
President of the United States
Sharpton and others must only serve to strengthen the Chinese government's
resolve to act brutally against its own people.
For two centuries our country has fought to recognize the importance of
speech and the right to protest even against the government itself. These
considered sacred rights in our society and rights for which tens of
thousands of brave Americans have readily given their lives for in the
battlefields of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The society that we enjoy
today has come at a great cost to our nation. We have learned through bitter
and hard fought wars against totalitarian regimes that by tolerating public
protests and aggressively limiting the power of our own government to act
against its citizens that we have afforded future generations of Americans
protection against the emergence of oppressive governments.
Mr. Sharpton and the other protesters are part of a courageous group of
Americans who choose to act and generate public comment about important
social issues. They are not enemies of our nation who should be arrested and
imprisoned. On the contrary, they embody the very best characteristics of
nation: free speech, public protest, and social activism.
Robert Kennedy noted that there were too few men and women of good
in our society. He said that "[f]ew are willing to brave the disapproval of
their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society.
Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great
intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek
to change a world that yields most painfully to change."
I believe that Mr. Sharpton and the other Vieques protesters are among the
brave few that Robert Kennedy was referring to.
Mr. President, I respectfully request that you examine closely the conduct
the Department of Justice prosecutions of Mr. Sharpton and others. In
particular, could you please review the Department of Justice guidelines
respect to the prosecution of nonviolent public protests. I also request
you consider the merits of instructing your office in supporting a review of
the prison sentences given to Mr. Sharpton and others.
Although we each have our duty to do, me in Congress and you as President,
our combined duty to this nation binds us together. I sincerely hope that we
can work together, not Democrats and Republicans, but as Americans, and that
together we can make our nation a better and more inclusive society which is
mature enough and courageous enough to tolerate the turbulence of free
and public protest.
Given that Mr. Sharpton and others are currently serving prison sentences I
would be grateful if you would treat this letter with some urgency. I look
forward to your advice.
Member of Congress
Back to Main News Page
Farrakhan to speak at major hip hop summit
by Saeed Shabazz
NEW YORK (FinalCall.com)—For two days, June 12-13, the New York Hilton will be the site of a National Hip Hop Summit. Russell Simmons of Rush Communications and Def Jam Records has called together leading artists, record company producers and the NAACP to inspire the hip hop community "to reach for new heights."
The industry movers and shakers will discuss hip hop’s problems, how to fix them and how to clean up the music’s violent image.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, will deliver the keynote address. Min. Benjamin Muhammad, special assistant to Min. Farrakhan and national director of the Million Family Movement, will serve as the moderator.
"I am very excited about this summit," Mr. Simmons told The Final Call during a telephone interview from his New York City office. One of the points the hip hop mogul wanted to stress was the importance of NAACP involvement. "The NAACP signing on as a co-sponsor shows the interest in the hip hop industry from the outside world and that is an interesting statement," commented Mr. Simmons.
According to Mr. Simmons, other co-sponsors include Sean Combs of Bad Boy Records, Master P, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Doug E Fresh, Eve, Queen Latifah, Jazzy Z, Talib Kweli, Scarface, Q-Tip and KRS-ONE.
"We are coming to the National Hip Hop Summit to document our genre in a positive light," KRS-One told The Final Call. "Too many times we see hip hop on trial—this one shooting at that one—some scandal, some gossip, but those are strange, bizarre stories and we want to make that clear," he added.
Mr. Simmons, in a May 16 MTV interview, said, "We’re preparing a list of things of how we plan to police ourselves in terms of how we market the music." Proponents of hip hop culture have complained that the media has criminalized the culture to the detriment of millions of youth worldwide.
"There are people who say that they are concerned about the language used in rap music and in time we will work that out, but right now I am more concerned about ideas. I want these young people to vote—to choose the next president," Mr. Simmons said.
Rap is about society’s downtrodden, insisted Mr. Simmons.
"Rap has done more to breakdown the barriers of racism and there are those who don’t want to see the youth united," he added. "That is why Min. Farrakhan’s address at the summit is important. Min. Farrakhan will inspire the youth of America to a higher level of understanding."
Min. Farrakhan is not new to issues confronting the hip hop community. In 1997, the Minister held a hip hop summit in Chicago, bringing together the East and West Coast factions of the industry. Min. Farrakhan is credited with helping to curb violence that had reached its pinnacle with the shooting deaths of Tupac Shakur in 1996 and Notorious Bigg aka Biggie Smalls in 1997.
"Black youth are very conscious young brothers and sisters and the music/cultural phenomena called hip hop is an evolutionary outgrowth of the struggle for freedom, justice and equality," said Min. Benjamin.
He called the summit a "blessing from God" and predicted that it will have a global impact.
No one can deny hip hop’s worldwide appeal, performers with names like Nasty Boys, Big Doggy Posse, PBS, Da Molly Krew, Kadig and Yaw T perform in the clubs in countries like Senegal, France and Belgium.
"The whole hip hop world will be cheering us on June 12 and 13," KRS-One said. "We won’t hear about it right away—but there will be a chain reaction around the globe—an electric reaction to what we do in New York," he said.
There will be a special June 14 press conference to announce a plan of action, according to summit organizers.
Peace and One Love,
Back to Main News Page
Worldwide spying network is revealed
(1) MEPs confirm eavesdropping by Echelon electronic network
(2) Report Urges More Encryption
MEPs confirm eavesdropping by Echelon electronic network
By Stuart Millar, Richard Norton-Taylor and Ian Black
May 26, 2001 The Guardian
For years it has been the subject of bitter controversy,
its existence repeatedly claimed but never officially
At last, the leaked draft of a report to be published next
week by the European parliament removes any lingering
doubt: Echelon, a shadowy, US-led worldwide electronic
spying network, is a reality.
Echelon is part of an Anglo-Saxon club set up by secret
treaty in 1947, whereby the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and
New Zealand, divided the world between them to share the
product of global eavesdropping. Agencies from the five
countries exchange intercepts using supercomputers to
identify key words.
The intercepts are picked up by ground stations, including
the US base at Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, and GCHQ's
listening post at Morwenstow in Cornwall.
In the cold war, eavesdropping - signals intelligence, or
Sigint as it is known in the trade - was aimed at military
and diplomatic communications. Helped by increasingly
sophisticated computers, it has now switched to
industrial, commercial targets - and private individuals.
Echelon computers can store millions of records on
individuals, intercepting faxes, phone calls, and emails.
The MEP's report - which faced opposition from the British
and American governments and their respective security
services - was prompted by claims that the US was using
Echelon to spy on European companies on behalf of American
France, deeply suspicious of Britain's uniquely close
intelligence links with the US, seized on reports that
Echelon cost Airbus Industrie an œ8bn contract with Saudi
Arabia in 1994, after the US intercepted communications
between Riyadh and the Toulouse headquarters of Airbus -
in which British firms hold a 20% stake.
The MEPs admitted they had been unable to find conclusive
proof of industrial espionage. The claim has been
dismissed by all the Echelon governments and in a new book
by an intelligence expert, James Bamford.
More disturbing, as Mr Bamford and the MEPs pointed out,
was the threat Echelon posed to privacy. "The real issue
is whether Echelon is doing away with individual privacy -
a basic human right," he said. The MEPs looked at
statements from former members of the intelligence
services, who provided compelling evidence of Echelon's
existence, and the potential scope of its activities.
One former member of the Canadian intelligence service,
the CSE, claimed that every day millions of emails, faxes
and phone conversations were intercepted. The name and
phone number of one woman, he said, was added to the CSE's
list of potential terrorists after she used an ambiguous
word in an innocent call to a friend.
"Disembodied snippets of conversations are snatched from
the ether, perhaps out of context, and may be
misinterpreted by an analyst who then secretly transmits
them to spy agencies and law enforcement offices around
the world," Mr Bamford said.
The "misleading information", he said, "is then placed in
NSA's near-bottomless computer storage system, a system
capable of storing 5 trillion pages of text, a stack of
paper 150 miles high".
Unlike information on US citizens, which officially cannot
be kept longer than a year, information on foreigners can
he held "eternally", he said.
The MEP's draft report concludes the system cannot be as
extensive as reports have assumed. It is limited by being
based on worldwide interception of satellite
communications, which account for a small part of
communications. Eavesdropping on other messages requires
either tapping cables or intercepting radio signals, but
the states involved in Echelon, the draft report found,
had access to a limited proportion of radio and cable
But independent privacy groups claimed Britain, the US and
their Echelon partners, were developing eavesdropping
systems to cope with the explosion in communications on
email and internet.
In Britain, the government last year brought in the
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which allowed
authorities to monitor email and internet traffic through
"black boxes" placed inside service providers' systems. It
gave police authority to order companies or individuals
using encryption to protect their communications, to
hand over the encryption keys. Failure to do so was
punishable by a sentence of up to two years.
The act has been condemned by civil liberties campaigners,
but there are signs the authorities are keen to secure
more far reaching powers to monitor internet traffic.
Last week, the London-based group, Statewatch, published
leaked documents saying the EU's 15 member states were
lobbying the European commission to require that service
providers kept all phone, fax, email and internet data in
case they were needed in criminal investigations.
Guardian Unlimited c Guardian Newspapers Limited 2001
(2) Report Urges More Encryption
Associated Press Writer
May 29, 2001 Los Angeles Times
BRUSSELS, Belgium--Europeans should make more use of
encryption software to protect themselves against a
U.S.-led spy network known as Echelon, according to a
European Parliament report released Tuesday.
The 108 -page report, prepared after seven months of
testimony from communications and security experts,
concluded the worldwide spy network does exist, despite
official U.S. denials.
But the Parliament's vice president, Gerhard Schmid,
conceded the committee had no solid evidence that
Americans were passing on European trade secrets to give
U.S. businesses a competitive advantage.
"What we cannot deny or prove is that information is
passed on to companies," Schmid said. "The problem is
there are no tracks or traces of interception."
He said the committee's investigation did come up with
evidence that Echelon, reportedly run by the United States
in cooperation with Britain, Canada, Australia and New
Zealand, is operating.
According to the report and testimony, Echelon was set up
at the beginning of the Cold War for intelligence
gathering and has grown into a network of intercept
stations across the globe. Its primary purpose, the report
said, is to intercept private and commercial
communications, not military intelligence.
"That a global system for intercepting communications
exists ... is no longer in doubt," the report concluded.
"They do tap into private, civilian and corporate
telecommunications," Schmid said. The report collected
testimony from Australia, Canada and New Zealand which
verifies the existence of a "very close alliance," he
U.S. officials have refused to acknowledge the existence
of such a system, and have denied American agencies engage
in industrial espionage. The EU committee went to
Washington this month to meet with U.S. officials and
agencies responsible for intelligence.
However, both the CIA and the National Security Agency,
believed to be responsible for Echelon, refused to meet
Former CIA director James Woolsey has acknowledged the
United States secretly collects information on non-U.S.
companies, but said it was only done in cases where
companies were suspected of violating sanctions or
offering bribes to gain business.
"We need to ensure the privacy of citizens are protected
and of course those of companies," said Elly Plooij-Van
Gorsel, vice-chairwoman of the committee, in calling for
Europeans to create software to protect their
The report also called on those who send sensitive
information by e-mail to start encrypting the messages.
The report called on Britain, a member of the 15 -nation
EU, to reconsider its link to Echelon, adding it could be
violating European human rights laws and its commitment to
its EU partners.
"The Brits have a special relationship with the U.S. ...
It could be a problem," said EU committee member Jan
The report, which now goes to the EU Assembly for review,
urged Washington to sign an international agreement on
civil and political rights, guaranteeing privacy
protection for citizens.
The report did deny that the spy network listens in and
intercepts "billions of messages per hour," including
telephone calls, fax transmissions and private e-mails, as
was concluded in a parliamentary study last year.
The report said "only a very small portion" of global
telephone, e-mail and fax communications were being
- - - - -
On the Net: European Parliament Temporary Committee on
Back to Main News Page
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 29, 2001
CONTACT: Arnoldo Garcia
ph:079.578.6742 From US dial: 011.41.79.578.6742
Numbers of US NGOs Concerned About
Government Role in World Conference Preparation
Groups Call On US Government to Stop Bullying on World Stage
Concerned about the US government's threats that it will
downgrade its participation in the UN World Conference
Against Racism (WCAR) process if discussions of the Middle
East and reparations for the Trans-Atlantic slave trade do
not fit its policy interests, a number of US NGOs are asking
their government to stop the threats, commit to a fully
democratic process, and to reaffirm its commitment to the
“It's a particularly ironic position for the US to take
given its commitment to fully airing all positions on race,
including those of racist groups,” observes legal scholar
Kimberle Crenshaw, a law professor and director of the
African American Policy Forum. “To suppress full discussion
seems remarkably Anti-American.”
Arnoldo Garcia of the National Network for Immigrant and
Refugee Rights agrees. “The government’s position seems very
disingenuous and can undermine the conference’s mandate to
build strategies to end racism and xenophobia worldwide.
They want to make sure they get what they want whether they
have the votes or not.”
At issue are recent statements, including those in a US
government “non paper”, that if discussions of reparations
and Zionism are allowed to occur at the upcoming World
Conference Against Racism this September, the government
will significantly reduce its participation. Given the fact
that the Conference is attempting to strike a delicate
balance between many countries with many interests on the
touchy subject of race, a number of US NGOs are calling on
the government to play a more positive role.
“The Bush Administration has an opportunity to show real
leadership here,” says Grace McDonough of the Leadership
Conference on Civil Rights, a national coalition of more
than 180 civil rights and social justice groups in the US.
“Instead of backing away from tedious issues, the
Administration should be committing to the process. They
should allocate more resources and play a role in bridge
building on the difficult issues.”
Recent events, including the removal of the US from the UN
Human Rights Commission and US Congress' subsequent refusal
to pay UN dues are contributing to the government’s negative
image, says Sister Florence Deacon of Franciscans
International. “It’s time for the Government to rethink the
role it's playing on the world stage. Clearly, it’s time
for something new.”
Deacon, who represents 1.2 million Franciscans worldwide at
the United Nations, is urging people to contact their
government. "Our government needs to understand how
important it is that we are engaged in this World Conference
Against Racism. Citizens should write their government
representatives to urge full US participation." She says
the new Senate leadership may provide fresh opportunities to
reverse recent anti UN decisions if representatives hear
from their constituents.
Resources are also an important issue as some NGOs are
concerned that these most recent threats are part of a
pattern of government downsizing in the human rights arena.
“When you compare the resources allocated to the Beijing
Women’s Conference to spending on the World Conference
Against Racism, it’s unfortunate and shortsighted,” observes
Rinku Sen of the Transnational Racial Justice Initiative.
“The government estimates that it spent nearly 6 million
dollars on the Beijing process. So far, not even one tenth
of that amount has been allocated to the World Conference
Against Racism. That seems to me a clear signal of the
government's commitment to issues of racial justice.”
For Juana Majel, Secretary of the National Congress of
American Indians and a member of the Pauma-Yuima Band of
Luiseño Indians, the World Conference must be an open,
democratic forum. “An agreement must be reached soon that
this process, a process that is supposed to examine and
address racism and injustice, must be open and
participatory. Regardless of where we may be on an issue,
we must support the right to have an open discussion with
the fullest participation possible.”
Back to Main News Page
New bill for funding subversion in cuba
Cuba is not Poland
By Gabriel Molina
May 22, 2001
ON May 16, Republican Senator Jesse Helms presented a
new bill, anticipated for three months by Jorge Mas
Santos, president of the Cuban-American National
Foundation (CANF), to distribute $100 million USD among
groups considered as potential instruments against the
According to Helms, by means of this bill, the U.S.
president would be authorized to send money,
particularly to self-employed workers on the island.
According to Reuters, approval of the initiative would
lead to Washington providing direct funding for the
first time in 40 years for dissident groups in Cuba. In
fact, for some years now, it has been no secret that
Washington has been financing subversive activities
against the Cuban government since 1959. On February 7,
Mas Santos outlined CANF's plan for President George
Bush II, to be presented by Helms, head of the Foreign
Relations Committee, and other congress members, to the
Inter-American Foundation. This group enjoys a fat
income, officially supplied by the Cuban-American lobby
created 15 years ago by Ronald Reagan, president at the
In his presentation, the son of Mas Canosa revealed that
the plan had been drawn up to counteract those people
(in diverse sectors of the United States), who are
really more interested in preserving what they call
stability on the island. He added that to those ends,
they would cultivate an emerging civil society, with
financial and other means of support. The CANF president
also revealed that his intention is to act like the
Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations, which financed and
utilized other methods to back "democratic opposition"
Presenting the bill, Helms disclosed (in line with Mas
Santos' scenario) that he wants to instigate an act
similar to the one passed in the 1980's by the United
States to help the anti-Communist 'Solidarity' movement
in Poland, the news agencies reported.
Senator Helms drew up the 1996 legislation that, among
other regulations described as extraterritorial,
prohibits Washington from normalizing relations with
Cuba without the U.S. Congress certifying that a
'democratic government' exists in Havana. That bill was
drafted by lawyers working for the Cuban-American
Bacard, Fanjui, and Mas Canosa families, as on this
In his diatribe, Mas Santos stated that programs should
be devised that would provide direct funding and
material resources to the democraticopposition and
independence groups and individuals in Cuba such as
computers, printers, telephones, cellular phones, fax
machines, Internet devices and the latest communications
equipment, as well as cordless technology, satellites
Helms' bill, following that line, and upping the stakes,
would authorize the channeling of $100 million USD over
a four-year period, in cash, foodstuffs, medicines,
computers, telephones, fax and other office supplies and
education materials for opposition groups and non-
governmental organizations on the island, EFE, AFP and
Supporting Helms' bill, called Act of Solidarity with
Cuba, are Senator Joseph Lieberman, Democrat Al Gore's
vice presidential running mate in the recent elections;
and other senators like Robert Torricelli, Bob Graham,
George Allen and John Ensign. Congress members Lincoln
Daz Balart and Iliana Ros Lehtinen will take up the task
in the House of Representatives.
In February, Mas Santos also revealed other aspects of
the plan, which he now prefers to manage with more
discretion, according to generally well- informed
sources. He stated that the new policy should promote
free enterprise in Cuba, by fortifying and expanding the
combative and heavily repressed self-employed sector and
private property owners of family restaurants and
lodgings, independent campesinos, private day care
centers, refugees taken in by the Church and other
independently financed enterprises.
He also declared that these sectors should be exempt
from the blockade and that a U.S. fund, directed by
recognized non-governmental organizations, with the
purpose of granting loans for establishing private
businesses, should be established. Another fund would be
utilized to offer scholarships for study grants and
business administration training. It was acknowledged
that those sources are central to their subversive
According to The New York Times, Cubans eligible to
receive such funding would extend from self-employed
workers to "political" prisoners, dissidents,
independent economists, journalists and members of
religious groups, as well as agricultural groups that in
this way could buy and sell on the U.S. market.
Critics of the bill in the United States stated that aid
would make those sectors assisted look like Washington's
paid agents, given that U.S. treats Cuba as its enemy.
Those people would come to be enemy agents and face the
consequences as such. The bill contains provisions to
invest in counteracting the blocking of Radio Mart and
TV Mart, (U.S. government broadcasting stations) by the
Cuban government, as well as trade unions on the island.
The program advanced by Mas Santos also anticipates the
purchasing of more powerful transmitters for those two
stations and to help groups of Cubans to organize trade
unions in cooperation with the AFL-CIO, a trade union
organization seen as having been neutralized years ago
by the U.S. system. Aspects perhaps forgotten at one
point but now incorporated, would oblige President
George W. Bush's government to seek UN approval of a
resolution calling on Cuba to respect human rights, free
political prisoners, and to hold free elections. The new
proposal by Helms and the other Congress members
benefiting from customary monetary contributions, is
considered as a new effort to distance political debate
on the blockade, which has come under intense pressure
from companies interested in trading with Cuba,
especially in the pharmaceutical, agricultural and food
sectors, Reuters recognized.
It is expected that critics of the real economic warfare
imposed by Washington for 40 years and of this recent
initiative, like Senator Christopher Dodd, the highest-
ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee,
will vigorously oppose the bill which, according to its
authors, has the support of George W. Bush. Dodd stated
that the important thing is to help the Cuban people by
ending the economic blockade and the prohibition on
travel to Cuba.
Helms commented that his new proposal does not intensify
or relax the so-called embargo imposed on Cuba, although
it would allow the Bush administration to grant licenses
for donations from U.S. citizens with the objective of
securing them. Forestalling the opposition, he didn't
hesitate to observe that this is an investment which
would reap benefits for the U.S. economy, in the same
way as investments made in Eastern Europe, which have
resulted in immeasurable benefits.
Fellow Senator Charles Schumer made a wise comment on
that, by stating that Cuba is not Poland.
Back to Main News Page
AUSTRALIA: Consumers turn from fastfood to healthier
30 May 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team
As Australian consumers work longer hours their tastes are changing, and hamburgers have become the first casualty of a trend that favours healthier fast foods.
Addressing the Foodweek conference in Sydney, the managing director of analyst BIS Shrapnel, Gary Tilsley explained how tastes are becoming more sophisticated while at the same time people have less time or inclination to cook meals at home.
Wholesome prepared foods are the way forward for this market, he said, explaining that these foods are nutritionally complex. He added that tastes are becoming more diverse, as the effects of multiculturalism are felt within the range of foods available.
At the conference he explained: "Australians ate 11 hamburgers per head in 2000, two fewer than in 1997. [This equates to] a decline of 15% and represents some 40m fewer hamburgers."
Discussing market research that has studied the evolution of the fastfood sector over the past three to four years, Tilsley revealed that revenue within the sector eased off 0.3% last year, to A$6.35bn. There is no shortage of consumers purchasing quick meals outside the home however, indeed people are increasingly opting to eat smaller amounts more frequently rather than the traditional three meals a day approach, and for the cafes and restaurants providing healthier options, revenue increased by around 10%, to A$8.55bn.
Back to Main News Page
THAILAND: Nestlé accused of using Thai children as
"guinea pigs" in GM trial
29 May 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team
Greenpeace Southeast Asia has blamed multinational food behemoth Nestlé for using Thai children as "guinea pigs" with the publication of a report that highlights the possibility of GE contamination in baby foods. The Swiss company has again been accused of "double standards," and using Asia as a “dumping ground” for the GE ingredients it would not use in Europe.
Many Nestlé-manufactured baby food brands are sold in Thailand, and a new Greenpeace report states that these, which include Cerelac, Milo breakfast cereal, Carnation powdered milk and Bear Brand milk, could well be harbouring GE
ingredients. There are many health concerns currently related to GE foods, including the possibility of triggering allergic reactions, and affecting other antibiotic treatments.
Auaiporn Suthonthanyakorn, a campaigner for Greenpeace, commented: "The Thai public would be sorry if we didn't do something to protect our children from GE food at the moment."
Joining other activists in pre-dawn action at a Nestlé factory in Hong Kong, Suthonthanyakorn urged the Thai government to speed up a mandatory GM labelling policy.
Back to Main News Page
Date: Sat, 26 May 2001 07:25:31 +0800
Subject: Malcolm X: A Peoples' Victory
A Peoples' Victory
May 19th : Malcolm X Was Not for Sale
Preparing for Class Struggle In Harlem
On the 76th Anniversary of the birth of Malcolm X, the people of Harlem,
New York, led by the Malcolm X New Millennium Committee (MX), defended the
legacy of Malcolm X from a well orchestrated and financed attempt to turn
this African hero's birthday into just another corporate sale day. This
conspiracy to destroy a 12 year tradition of closing Harlem's central
business district in honor of Bro. Malcolm and building towards a real
peoples' holiday, was organized by the same White financial and corporate
forces that have targeted Harlem for gentrification, re-colonization, and
It was just after the 36th Commemoration of the death of Malcolm X, on
February 21st, when the MX New Millennium Committee first learned that the
125th Street Business Improvement District, B.I.D. had planned to hold a
Malcolm X birthday celebration of their own, and had conspired with
Giuliani's police department to deny the MX committee the regular permits we
receive for our 12 year old Black Power / Shut'em Down March. It was soon
after that we learned to what scale the 125th BID had organized what they
hoped would be a death blow to the authority and power that had built over
the years in Black people's hands, demanding that businesses close out of
respect for our community's honoring our hero's.
>From local Muslim Mosque to elected officials; from poverty program
bureaucrats to the very family of Malcolm X, this attack on the
self-determination of the Black community was led by Dave Barko, Senior Con
Edison official, Chairman of 125th St. B.I.D., and White corporate power
broker for banking and corporate interest leading the Harlem takeover.
Conservative estimates put the price tag at over $100, 000 that was fronted
for Radio and newspaper advertisements in the Black press, Posters, buttons,
stickers, sound equipment, and renting the Harlem State office Building
Plaza itself, all to knock grassroots peoples' power out of the box.
On May 19, 2001 all their elaborate, well-financed plans went up in smoke.
Under the heat of the Malcolm X New Millennium Committee*, who, keeping
Malcolm's vision of principle unity and struggle in our hearts, joined hands
refusing numerous attempts to divide us, and stayed the course. Defeating
the corporate sponsored Malcolm X for Sale Celebration, whose only purpose
was to keep the stores open.
The corporations and banks failed on three levels. First, in spite of the
usual "House Negro sellouts and traitors", it failed to rally Black people
to this celebration fraud. Second, the stores, although not closing in the
numbers as seen in past years, did close in the main, if not just to front
they were closing. And Thirdly, the attempt to place Malcolm's family at the
leadership of a historical movement who've respected, honored, and believed
in Malcolm's principles, without any concrete practice over the years around
the issues for which Malcolm lived and died, could not stand the light of
The White corporate attack on the legacy of Malcolm did accomplish four
key things. First, it joined the Black Nationalist patriotism of those who
are outraged at the corporate takeover of Harlem, closer to the masses of
our people suffering the direct affects of this onslaught. Secondly, it
questions the motives of a people like Claude Sharrief-Frazier, owner of
Windows Over Harlem Restaurant, in the Harlem State Office Building. He
organized Malcolm X's daughters into this corporate sponsored celebration
and its' basic organizing and program plan. We do know that Mr. Frazier
recently was awarded a long-term contract with the Harlem State Office
Building for his restaurant. A similar case would be that of Professor
Manning Marable of Columbia University. We know that on February 21st
Commemoration of the death of Malcolm X this year, it was publicly announced
that Columbia University by arrangement between Professor Marable and Betty
Shabazz's daughters, was to be the depository of the literary works of
Malcolm X. It is our understanding that Professor Marable was instrumental
in arranging this marriage between Betty's daughters and Columbia
University. This event happening at a time when there has been a major
grassroots effort to build a Malcolm X Museum in Harlem. Does not these
events mirror the classic " House and Field Negro" distinctions that Malcolm
so eloquently lectured on.
Thirdly, the corporate celebration awoke the people of Harlem in the value
of our traditions. In the value of fighting for what we believe. And in so
gallantly defending Brother Malcolm, the people of Harlem launched the first
salvo of a renewed war to defend Our Harlem from the same predatory forces
of globalization that are destroying and subjugating the people of Harlem,
and the Harlem's all over the world.
We will keep our promise to hold Harlem, USA accountable for disrespecting
Malcolm's birthday, and its' role in gentrifying Harlem, while we as people
struggle in favor of businesses that can speak to the sustainable
development of the masses of Harlem's people, and not a just a Black elite.
This campaign will be organized and carried out.
And along with Malcolm X, we can think of no greater hero to carry the
torch of Black pride and self-determination than our Brother Marcus Garvey.
So on August 17th of this year, along with the Garvey family we will call
for a shut down and Black power march in the Central Harlem Business
District in Honor of the Birthday of Honorable Marcus Garvey.
Forward ever, Backwards never.
By any means necessary.
Omowale Clay for the Malcolm X New Millennium Committee.
*Made up of the Organization of Afro-American Unity and Malcolm X
Commemoration Committee, who have led the 36th year tradition of the
pilgrimage to Malcolm X's gravesite, the December 12th Movement who've led
the 12 year Black Power / Shut'em Down March, and the People of the Sun, who
have the traditional evening cultural celebration at Medgar Evers College.
to Main News Page
JAPAN: Japan food recall revives StarLink biotech scare
25 May 2001
By Jae Hur
TOKYO, May 25 (Reuters) - A nationwide recall of potato snacks by a Japanese food maker has rekindled concerns over unapproved gene-spliced StarLink corn, prompting importers once again to shun U.S. grain, traders said on Friday.
The Health Ministry on Thursday ordered Osaka-based House Foods Corp to recall some of its snack products, called O'ZACK, after the ministry found traces of unapproved genetically modified (GM) NewLeaf Plus potato in the products.
The recall is Japan's first after the imposition of stricter rules for imports of biotech products in April, when the ministry introduced checks for unapproved GM crops in food imports at unloading ports and in food products on the domestic market.
The new rules established zero tolerance for imports containing unapproved gene-altered products and required mandatory labelling for approved GM products.
NewLeaf Plus, developed by leading U.S. agricultural biotech firm Monsanto Co to protect potatoes from insects and the potato leafroll virus, has not been approved in Japan. In 1998, Monsanto's Japan unit applied for approval of NewLeaf Plus in Japan.
"It's a shock," a trader with a major trading house said. "We'd thought about the possibility of a food recall following the new rules against GM crops, but now it has happened for real."
The recall, reminiscent of the StarLink furore late last year, has again hit Japanese appetite for U.S. corn, which had been picking up as the controversy died down, another trader said.
Japan imports four million tonnes of corn for food use each year and another 12 million tonnes for feed use.
The discovery of StarLink in food products last October by a consumer group had prompted Japan, where StarLink is not approved even for animal feed, to cut its U.S. corn buying. It also drove importers to find alternative supply sources.
StarLink, developed by Franco-German biotech firm Aventis SA to fight a destructive pest known as the European corn borer, has not been approved by U.S. regulators for human consumption because of concerns over potential allergic reactions.
On Friday, House Foods said it had halted production and sales of the snack products until it could secure raw ingredients that were confirmed as safe. The company decided to delay the launch of new O'ZACK products that had been set for June.
"We started removing two O'ZACK items following the government order and one Cheddar cheese item voluntarily from domestic store selves," a spokesman said.
The recall will cost the company about 300 million yen ($2.5 million), he said.
Sales turnover for O'ZACK snacks was about three billion yen in the year to last March, against total sales of 180 billion yen. The products are House Foods' second-biggest earner among its snack range, he said.
House Foods imported ingredients for O'ZACK snacks from three suppliers in the United States and one in Canada with certificates that showed non-GM products, he said.
House Foods shares closed up 0.36 percent at 1,385 yen after falling 40 yen to 1,330 earlier.
(C) Reuters Limited 2001.
Back to Main News Page
UK: vCJD deaths reach 100, scientists unsure on scale
25 May 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team
e-mail this to a colleague
send us some feedback
The number of deaths due to vCJD, the human form of mad cow disease, has now exceeded 100, according to
government figures revealed yesterday.
In the first five months of this year, 16 confirmed or suspected new cases of vCJD have come to light, raising fears
amongst scientist that the death toll is set to continue rising. If new cases emerge at the same rate, another 28 cases can
be expected by the end of the year.
Government advisors are also warning that the epidemic could actually be far worse than thought because of the number
of elderly patients who die undiagnosed. They are suggesting that post mortems should be carried out on elderly patients
who die with suspected dementia, a symptom of the brain wasting vCJD. Generally, the deaths have occurred in people
aged in their 20s and 30s.
Prof Roy Anderson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College, London, and a member of the government advisory body the
Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC), had predicted that the number of vCJD deaths would be
between 100 and 10,000.
Others modelled more conservative patterns for the disease however, and there is some shock amongst professional
bodies that the death toll has reached 100. Prof Peter Smith, SEAC chairman, commented: "It is an arbitrary landmark, but
obviously every additional case is of great concern. But it has reached 100 and some of the earlier predictions were that
it would not reach 100. We don't know how it's going to evolve."
SEAC called for more post mortem examinations to be conducted on elderly people who die with suspected dementia, in
case vCJD is being misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's or senility.
Back to Main News Page
UK: Foot and mouth burial craters increase risk of BSE
25 May 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team
The enormous burial craters for some of the 469,000 cattle casualties of the foot and mouth crisis may cause increased
incidence of BSE, according to the government’s scientific advisors.
Professor Peter Smith, chairman of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) warned
yesterday that among those slaughtered because of the foot and mouth cull are many animals over the age of five years,
which are at increased risk of harbouring BSE. Burying these animals could spread the infection through the soil in the
countryside, and into the ground water.
SEAC is due to advise the government next month that each burial site including cattle over five years old will need to be
assessed according to a number of factors, to gauge whether the carcasses will need to be exhumed and burned.
Back to Main News Page