Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2002 05:28:08 -0500
Subject: Forced Vaccinations & BioWarfare

Orchestrating Health Crises: Forced Vaccinations and the Totalitarian State

Under legislation submitted to states throughout the US, medical providers
will be required to administer smallpox vaccines to the population whether
people want it or not. The doctors will also fill out forms enabling the
federal government to track those inoculated with smallpox vaccines.

According to the sample forms in the legislation, there are four different
experimental vaccines. With a declaration of public health “emergency” the
vaccines will be mandatory; several types will be genetically engineered and
previously untested on human beings; and the state will establish what amount
to internment or quarantine camps for those who have contracted smallpox
(either through exposure or by reaction to the vaccine itself), or who refuse
to allow themselves to be vaccinated.

New York's version, which is similar to that introduced in legislatures across
the country, establishes a Public Health Authority that may “isolate or
quarantine … any person whose refusal of medical examination or testing
results in uncertainty regarding whether such person has been exposed to or is
infected with a contagious or possibly contagious disease, or otherwise poses
a danger to public health.”

The Bill goes on to say: “The Public Health Authority may isolate or
quarantine … persons who are unable or unwilling for reasons of health,
religion or conscience to undergo vaccination … or treatment.”

The hysteria generated around orchestrated "health emergencies" has now gone
from West Nile Virus, to Anthrax, to Smallpox. In each case, more and more
authoritarian infrastructure has been established that, without the hysteria,
would have been much more strongly opposed by most people.

In September 1999, New York City began a program of indiscriminately spraying
toxic pesticides over urban areas, supposedly to prevent the spread of West
Nile viral encephalitis. However, if the Centers for Disease Control's own
assessment is to be believed, West Nile virus threatened very few people. Far
more people have already been made sick, some seriously, from the pesticides
being sprayed. (See http;/// for much more information on

The policy to spray over urban populations and ecosystems is now being
promoted nationally for areas that have not even had any indication of West
Nile Virus, by the Office of Homeland Security and other federal agencies.
They assert that this is a means for fighting bio-terrorism, an absurd
rationalization for giving away of millions of taxpayer dollars to the
pesticide industry and giant pharmaceutical corporations; it has also turned
out to be an essential component in establishing a 1984-type surveillance
infrastructure, in the name of "health" and "fighting bioterrorism". Absurd as
the rationalizations are, every urban area is being told to spray pesticides
on its population and environment, whether or not the area has experienced a
West Nile viral outbreak -- just as they are being ordered to mass-inoculate
the citizenry for smallpox.

The author of that policy is Jerome Hauer, former head of the Office of
Emergency Management in New York City which oversaw the entire pesticide spray
program from ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani's now destroyed “bunker” on the 23rd floor
of #7 World Trade Center -- a building which, unbeknownst to most of us, also
housed the largest CIA offices outside of Langley, Virginia. After a stint
with Kroll Associates, Inc. as coordinator of security for the World Trade
Center at the time of the attacks in 2001, Hauer, with long ties to the US
military’s secret biological warfare development programs, now heads the new
federal Office of Public Health Preparedness, created in October 2001 to get
these involuntary programs in place under the auspices of developing and
coordinating federal plans to counter bioterrorist attacks and manage public
health crises.

Hauer counts on the political assistance of “America’s Mayor” and
soon-to-be-Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, whose national speaking tour
is underwritten by pharmaceutical companies headed by Eli Lilly. Written into
the now-passed Homeland Security Act is specific language limiting Eli Lilly's
and other pharmaceutical companies’ liability from lawsuits brought against
them from people suffering negative reactions to vaccinations! The smallpox
vaccines have in the past proven to be among the most dangerous; the vaccine
has caused relatively high incidences of serious illness and death.

Hauer is also one of the key individuals to be promoting model legislation
known as the Emergency Health Powers Act, which has been introduced into state
legislatures across the country and which calls for the establishment of
quarantine facilities – very similar to internment camps -- for those who fall
victim to smallpox and other weaponized diseases, as well as for those who
refuse to take the vaccinations prescribed for them. The plan: To round up
vaccine-resisters and put them in the same facility as people who have
contracted smallpox.

Meanwhile, the unquestioning acceptance of all aspects of these viral epidemic
theories is resulting in restrictions of civil liberties far beyond the actual
damage the diseases cause. Necessary discussions about whether the viral
theory is even correct, whether it is West Nile virus that has caused the
eight deaths attributed to it in the New York area over three years and around
fifty deaths overall across the country are being suppressed.

The mass, indiscriminate pesticide spraying purportedly for West Nile Virus
that began in New York City two years before 9-11 – in early September 1999
and which is now recommended policy for urban areas throughout the country --
was and remains an important but neglected piece in understanding the way
concerns about public health are being orchestrated in order to gain
acceptance for putting in place extremely repressive measures, and for pouring
enormous amounts of funds into the pharmaceutical and biological warfare

For more information, please go to

Mitchel Cohen is the editor of “Green Politix,” the national newspaper of the
Greens/Green Party USA, and is a founder of the No Spray Coalition.


USA: Contamination incidents fuel GM debate
15 Nov 2002

US biotech company ProdiGene is facing federal investigations into two incidents in which the company accidentally
contaminated crops in Nebraska and Iowa.

ProdiGene has been criticised for its failure to keep separate its plant-produced pharmaceuticals from crops destined
for the US food supply.

On Wednesday this week, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) quarantined 500,000 bushels of soybeans in
Nebraska on concerns that a small amount of ProdiGene bio-corn may have been mixed with the soybean harvest. The
soybeans, which are valued at US$2.7m, had been growing in a field where ProdiGene bio-corn had previously been

A similar incident occurred in Iowa in September. The USDA said on Thursday that in that incident ProdiGene had been
ordered to destroy 155 acres of crop.

Food companies have now urged the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop biotech firms using
food crops to make proteins and compounds for pharmaceuticals. It is feared by some environmental groups that
humans could suffer allergic reactions and other health problems if the biotech crops, which have not been approved
for human consumption, are ingested.

The National Food Processors Association said the federal government should halt plantings of gene-altered crops for
pharmaceuticals until it imposes tougher regulations to prevent future incidents.

The Grocery Manufacturers of America, whose members include major food makers such as General Mills, Kellogg and
Del Monte, said it was “deeply concerned” about the ProdiGene incidents.

"We strongly urge the biotech industry to direct its substantial research capabilities into investigating the use of nonfood
crops for the development of pharmaceuticals," Karil Kochenderfer, the group's environment director, was reported as
saying by Reuters.

The USDA and FDA are now trying to decide whether or not ProdiGene has violated any federal regulation. If the
company is found to have contravened regulations, it could face fines of $500,000 for each violation.

Back to Main News Page


[Excerpted from Congressional Record of 11/14/02] 

Thursday, 14 November 14, 2002 

Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan: 

" Senator Byrd has said so many times on the floor, we need to look at details. We need to know
what is in this bill. It is a different bill that came back. I was deeply disturbed as I looked through it. I want
to support homeland security. I support developing a department. We all share that. This is not a partisan
issue. We want to have maximum safety, security and ability, communicate it effectively and efficiently,
and create the kind of confidence people expect us to create in terms of the ability to respond and ideally
prevent attacks. But my fear is that under the name of homeland security we are saying special interest
provisions are put in this bill which are outrageous and should not have the light of day. I think it is our
responsibility to shine the light of day on those provisions." 

Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia: 

"I remember years ago, when I was in the House of Representatives, sending out a little booklet to the
people in my then-congressional district of how our laws are made ...[describes the process of hearings,
committees, debate, reports, etc. etc.]... we all remember how those laws are made according to the script
as prepared there in those handsome little booklets that we send out. That is how the American people
expect this Congress to operate. That is the way we are supposed to operate. 

But the way this bill was brought in here, less than 48 hours ago, a brand-new bill. It had not been
before any committee. It had undergone no hearings, not this bill. It is a bill on our desks that has 484
pages. There are 484 pages in this bill. 

It has not been before any committee. There have been no hearings on this bill. There have been no
witnesses who were asked to appear to testify on behalf of the bill or in opposition to it. It did not undergo
any such scrutiny. 

It was just placed on the Senate Calendar. It was offered as an amendment here. And so here it is
before the Senate now. There it is. That is not the way in which our children are taught how we make our
laws--not at all. 

The American people expect us to provide our best judgment and our best insight into such
monumental decisions. This is a far, far cry from being our best. This is not our best. As a matter of fact, it
is a mere shadow of our best. Yet we are being asked, as the elected representatives of the American
people, those of us who are sent here by our respective States are being asked on tomorrow to invoke
closure on these 484 pages. 

If I had to go before the bar of judgment tomorrow and were asked by the eternal God what is in this bill,
I could not answer God. If I were asked by the people of West Virginia, Senator Byrd, what is in that bill, I
could not answer. I could not tell the people of West Virginia what is in this bill. 

There are a few things that I know are in it by virtue of the fact that I have had 48 hours, sleeping time
included, in which to study this monstrosity, 484 pages. If there ever were a monstrosity, this is it. I hold it
in my hand, a monstrosity. I don't know what is in it. I know a few things that are in it, and a few things that
I know are in it that I don't think the American people would approve of if they knew what was in there. 

Even Senator Lieberman, who is chairman of the committee which has jurisdiction over this subject
matter, even he saw new provisions in this legislation as he looked through it yesterday and today. As his
staff looked through it, they saw provisions they had not seen before, that they had not discussed before,
that had not been before their committee before. 

Yet we are being asked on tomorrow to invoke cloture on that which means we are not going to debate
in the normal course of things. We are going to have 30 hours of debate. That is it, 30 hours. That is all, 30
hours; 100 Senators, 30 hours of debate. 

And this is one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation I have seen in my 50 years. I will have been
in Congress 50 years come January 3... Never have I seen such a monstrous piece of legislation sent to
this body. And we are being asked to vote on that 484 pages tomorrow. Our poor staffs were up most of the
night studying it. They know some of the things that are in there, but they don't know all of them. It is a
sham and it is a shame. 

We are all complicit in going along with it. I read in the paper that nobody will have the courage to vote
against it. Well, ROBERT BYRD is going to vote against it because I don't know what I am voting for. That
is one thing. And No. 2, it has not had the scrutiny that we tell our young people, that we tell these sweet
pages here, boys and girls who come up here, we tell them our laws should have. 

Listen, my friends: I am an old meatcutter. I used to make sausage. Let me tell you, I never made
sausage like this thing was made. You don't know what is in it. At least I knew what was in the sausage. I
don't know what is in this bill. I am not going to vote for it when I don't know what is in it. I trust that people
tomorrow will turn thumbs down on that motion to invoke cloture. It is our duty. 

We ought to demand that this piece of legislation stay around here a while so we can study it, so our
staffs can study it, so we know what is in it, so we can have an opportunity to amend it where it needs

Several Senators have indicated, Senator Lieberman among them, that there are areas in here that
ought to be amended. What the people of the United States really care about is their security. That is what
we are talking about. We don't know when another tragic event is going to be visited upon this country. It
can be this evening, it can be tomorrow, or whatever. But this legislation is not going to be worth a
continental dime if it happens tonight, tomorrow, a month from tomorrow; it is not going to be worth a dime.
There are people out there working now to secure this country and the people. They are the same people
who are already on the payroll. They are doing their duty right now to secure this country. 

This is a hoax. This is a hoax. To tell the American people they are going to be safer when we pass this
is to hoax. We ought to tell the people the truth. They are not going to be any safer with that. That is not
the truth. I was one of the first in the Senate to say we need a new Department of Homeland Security. I
meant that. But I didn't mean this particular hoax that this administration is trying to pander off to the
American people, telling them this is homeland security. That is not homeland security. Mr. President, the
Attorney General and Director of Homeland Security have told Americans repeatedly there is an imminent
risk of another terrorist attack. Just within the past day, or few hours, the FBI has put hospitals in the
Washington area, Houston, San Francisco, and Chicago on notice of a possible terrorist threat. 

This bill does nothing--not a thing--to make our citizens more secure today or tomorrow. This bill does
not even go into effect for up to 12 months. It will be 12 months before this goes into effect. The bill just
moves around on an organizational chart. That is what it does--moves around on an organizational chart. 

The Senate Appropriations Committee, on which Senator Stevens and I sit, along with 27 other
Senators, including the distinguished Senator who presides over the Chamber at this moment, the Senator
from Rhode Island, Mr. Reed, tried to provide funds to programs to hire more FBI agents, to hire more
border patrol agents, to equip and train our first responders, to improve security at our nuclear powerplants,
to improve bomb detection at our airports. That committee of 29 Senators--15 Democrats and 14
Republicans--voted to provide the funds for these homeland security needs. Those funds have been in bills
that have been out there for 4 months. 

But the President said no--no, he would not sign it. President Bush is the man I am talking about. He
would not sign that as an emergency. These moneys have been reported by a unanimous Appropriations
Committee. But this administration said no. So that is what happened. These are actions that would make
America more secure today. Did the President help us to approve these funds? No. Instead, the President
forced us--forced us--to reduce homeland security funding by $8.9 billion, and he delayed another $5 billion.
This is shameful; this is cynical; this is being irresponsible. It is unfair to the American people. And then to
tell them Congress ought to pass that homeland security bill--that is passing the buck. 

Mr. President, I call attention to a column in the New York Times. This is entitled ``You Are A Suspect.''
It is by William Safire. I will read it: 

"If the homeland security act is not amended before passage, here is what will happen to you:" Listen,
Senators. This is what William Safire is saying in the New York Times of November 14, 2002. That is
today. This is what the New York Times is saying to you, to me, to us: "If the Homeland Security Act is not
amended before passage, here is what will happen to you: Every purchase you make"-- Hear me now--
"Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical
prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you
receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend--all these
transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as ``a virtual,
centralized grand database.'' ... "Political awareness can overcome "Total Information Awareness," the
combined force of commercial and government snooping. In a similar overreach, Attorney General Ashcroft
tried his Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS), but public outrage at the use of gossips and
postal workers as snoops caused the House to shoot it down. The Senate should now do the same to this
other exploitation of fear." [ see complete Safire article at -- Byrd reads the entire article to the Senate] 

If the American people, if the American public is to believe what they read in this week's newspapers,
the Congress stands ready to pass legislation to create a new Department of Homeland Security. Not with
my vote. Passage of such legislation would be the answer to the universal battle cry that this administration
adopted shortly after the September 11 attacks: Reorganize the Federal Government. 

How is it that the Bush administration's No. 1 priority has evolved into a plan to create a giant, huge
bureaucracy? How is it that the Congress bought into the belief that to take a plethora of Federal agencies
and departments and shuffle them around would make us safer from future terrorist attacks?..."

Back to Main News Page


Conspiracies, Plots and Other Anti-Democratic Notions 

by Peter Phillips

Published on Saturday, November 9, 2002 by 

Paul Wellstone's plane crash wasn't an accident. The
CIA bought stock options on United Airlines before 9-11
making millions in profits. The military sprays
low-level bio-weapons on the public through airtanker
contrails. The tobacco industry plotted to deceive the
public on the negative health effects of smoking. Lee
Harvey Oswald alone didn't assassinate John Kennedy.
The FBI deliberately caused the fire in the Branch
Davidian compound. Planted bombs from within the
structure destroyed the federal building in Oklahoma
City. AIDs was created in a government research lab.
Mass inoculations are designed for citizen mind
control. General Motors and Firestone conspired to
destroy public transit in the U.S. The Bush White House
interfered with FBI investigations into the bin Laden
family before 9-11.

Conspiracy theories abound in America and are directly
related to the lack of investigative reporting by the
mainstream corporate media. The public knows more about
Winona Ryder's shop lifting trial then about the
weather conditions and circumstances of Paul
Wellstone's air crash. The Los Angeles Times printed 83
column feet on OJ Simpson during his trial, but has
ignored for decades the deliberate and successful plot
before World War II to dismantle LA's public transit
system by General Motors and Firestone. Oliver Stone's
interpretation of the Kennedy assassination has been
mostly dismissed as "conspiracy theory" by corporate
media. Questions regarding the veracity or falseness of
seemingly important conspiracies and plots often go
unreported by mainstream media.

The ten big corporations that now dominate media in
America are principally in the entertainment business.
While the corporate media is narrowing its content,
with news reports often looking very much the same, the
public's access to the vastland of the internet is
amplifying, and informational snippets and unanswered
questions leading to conspiracy beliefs are
increasingly available on-line.

The First Amendment provides for freedom of the press
and was established to protect our democratic process
by guaranteeing an informed electorate. Yet we just
completed a national election with an all time low
voter turn out. Millions of voters refused to
participate in the electoral process. We denigrated and
blamed non-voters for being uncaring citizens, yet the
corporate media has failed to address core issues
affecting most people in this country. Voter
participation levels are directly related to issues
that the citizenry feels are important. Many people no
longer trust the corporate media to provide the full
truth. This opens people's susceptibilities to
believing in conspiracies and plots to explain
unanswered questions. Cynicism has deterred voting for

How can we free ourselves from this dilemma? First off,
We can think of conspiracies as actions by small groups
of individuals instead of massive collective plots by
governments and corporations. Small groups can be
dangerous, especially when the individuals have
significant power in huge public and private
bureaucracies, but they can not possibly be interlinked
in a macro way bridging the gaps between thousand of
corporations and government bureaucracies. Micro-plots
may well be the answer to some of the conspiracies
floating in our circles of cynicism. However, without
accurate through investigations we only stew in our
distrust and experience widening alienation from our
democratic process.

Additionally, we can advocate strongly for mainstream
media to invest in democracy by supporting
investigative reporting on key issues. The Director of
the Chicago Office of the FBI, Tom Kneir, admitted on
August 17 at the American Sociological meetings that
the FBI conducted an investigation into the pre-9-11
stock options, but he refused to disclose who bought
the stock. Mainstream media needs to pursue this issue
using our freedom of information laws to put the
conspiracy questions to rest.

Finally, we can advocate for full and clear reporting
on the policies and plans emerging from the public and
private policy circles of the American corporate and
governmental elites. Full analysis and disclosure of
the published plans of the Trilateral Commission, The
Council on Foreign Relations, The Hoover Institute, The
Heritage Foundation, The Cato Institute, The World
Bank, and the Project for the New American Century,
would go a long way in showing the roadmaps that the
policy elites are building for the world. We don't need
macro-conspiracy theories to understand that powerful
people sit in rooms and plan for global change with
private advantage in mind.

If open debate on socio-political policies were offered
nationwide it would certainly draw widespread citizen
voter participation. Imagine a computer programmer
thinking about social policies that would prevent
outsourcing of his job to foreign firms. Imagine his
enthusiasm voting for representatives that would work
to protect his livelihood. Imagine millions of
reawakened citizens informed and active in a real
democratic process.

Peter Phillips is an Associate Professor of Sociology
at Sonoma State University and Director of Project

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Osama is Under Your Bed 
By William Rivers Pitt 
t r u t h o u t | Perspective 

Monday, 18 November, 2002 

It's been a nervous week. Every night before bed, I've taken a broom handle and thrust it under my bed.
Each time, I'm waiting for the "Oof!" Osama is under there, I just know it. If the President says it, it must be
true, right? One of these nights, I'll bust that Osama in the ribs with my handle. Just you wait. I'm keeping
my feet under the covers, though. You know, just in case. 

It happens like clockwork these days: A significant piece of legislation comes before Congress that was
ostensibly drafted to help defend the nation against terrorism. Line items within the legislation do away with
previously sacrosanct personal freedoms outlined within the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Should said
legislation pass, the power of the federal government to arrest and detain citizens without trial or access to
attorney, to search private homes without warrant or notice, to tap telephone and computer
communications, and to keep vital information secreted away from the eyes of the public, would be greatly

In the days leading up to the mandated Congressional debate regarding said legislation, terror warnings
suddenly bloom like nightshade. The White House or the FBI or the CIA, or all three in concert, ratchet up
the national tension level with forecasts of doom and death and fire from unknown quarters. Said legislation
passes without so much as leaving a wake in its path, nothing explodes, and everyone goes on with their
lives in the belief that they just narrowly dodged a bullet. At the conclusion of the process, the foundations
of American freedom have been redacted, edited, clipped and round-filed. 

The PATRIOT Act was passed in such a fashion. When that bill came up, the entire country was
collecting its mail with oven mitts on to avoid exposure to anthrax, despite the fact that Democratic
Senators like Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle were the intended targets of this assassination attempt. The
media got its dose of the poison, ensuring that all publicly aired conversation regarding the legislation would
be coated with a veneer of hysteria. All of us were going to get 'thraxed, and so let us pass this ruinously
contra-constitutional legislation without even reading it. I'd bet some serious folding green that many of the
Senators who voted the thing into existence a year ago still haven't read it. 

Sometimes, this has happened when no legislation is pending. Sometimes, this happens when Mr.
Bush and his pals feel they have too much light on them. When Time and Newsweek came out with blazing
cover stories, and the headline "Bush Knew," when word got out that the administration had been warned
specifically and in detail about terrorist plans to hijack airplanes and slam them into buildings, all of a
sudden the threat siren began howling. They're going to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge! They're going to blow
up the Statue of Liberty! Run for your lives! 

Needless to say, those structures still stand. No one is talking about "Bush Knew" anymore, though. 


Like clockwork this happens. Cut this phenomenon with Occam's Razor - "all things being equal, the
simplest explanation is usually the correct one" - and the word 'coincidence' becomes hard to spit out. 

It happened again last week. 

Legislation to create a Department of Homeland Security has wended its way towards Congressional
approval. If passed, this legislation would signal the largest reorganization of the federal government since
the passage of the National Security Act in 1947. Line items within the legislation: 

* Eliminate vital aspects of the Freedom of Information Act, allowing the
government and private corporate contractors to operate completely in secret and
beyond citizen oversight; 

* Create something called a 'Total Information Awareness' program within the
Defense Department. Conservative columnist and former Nixon aide William Safire
summed up succinctly what this will do. "Every purchase you make with a credit
card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every
Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you
receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you
attend - all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense
Department describes as 'a virtual, centralized grand database.' To this
computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece
of information that government has about you -- passport application, driver's license
and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce records, complaints from nosy neighbors
to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance." 

* Redefines the term 'Terrorism.' Before, 'Terrorism' involved explosions, murder,
kidnapping and any activity that used violence to frighten civilians and change the
manner in which a government functioned. Under the new legislation, the definition
of 'Terrorism' is expanded. Now, 'Terrorism' is defined as an act that, "Is a violation
of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State or other subdivision of the
United States," or "Appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian
population." Protests against the government or against a private contractor involved
with the government are intended to 'coerce' the civilian population. Loitering is a
criminal offense. If you do either of these from now on, you may consider yourself
welcomed into the ranks of international terrorism. Seriously. 

* Deletes any possibility of an effective independent investigation into what went
wrong on September 11th, thanks to the aforementioned FOIA restrictions. 

One would think so profound a sea change in the essential rights and freedoms of the citizenry would
be subject to intense Congressional debate, no? After all, it took Congress two years of discussion to nail
down the specifics and the fine print of the National Security Act. This is important stuff here. 

Like clockwork comes the klaxon CNN headline on November 15th: 'FBI Warns al Qaeda Planning
"Spectacular" Attack.' 

Spectacular, no less. 

Like clockwork comes the voice of Osama, prophesying death and doom from beyond the grave. Wasn't
he dead for a while? This fellow has made more comebacks than Elvis, and always in time to redirect the
national dialogue away from discussing the ways and means of incredibly important legislation. 

All 484 pages of the Homeland Security Department legislation will pass through Congress soon, likely
unread by a majority of those casting the votes. At some point, the teeth of this legislation will sink in, but
it will be too late to do much of anything about it. If anyone tries, you can be sure of a new burst of
incredibly dire warnings coming down from on high. Osama bin Laden is under your bed. He's alive again,
and planning to eat your children. Head for the hills, and never mind your constitutional rights. 

They will keep doing this until someone calls them on it, out loud and in public. 

------- William Rivers Pitt is a teacher from Boston, MA. He is the author of two books - "War On Iraq"
(with Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in
April 2003 from Pluto Press

Back to Main News Page


Agriculture's Enron is coming

Agriculture's own, perfectly legal, public scandal won't be over subsidies

By Dan Looker
Business Editor

Harold Breimyer has been dead more than a year. And he's still right. It's uncanny. 
Born on a modest farm in Ohio in 1914, Breimyer was a brilliant economist who began a long USDA
career by driving country roads to sell New Deal farm programs in 1933. He retired as a nationally
respected professor at the University of Missouri in 1984. Almost to his death in 2001, Breimyer
wrote a clear, blunt newsletter called On The Economy. 

Years ahead of Ken Cook

His newsletter recognized the stock market bubble early and predicted failure for the Freedom to
Farm bill.

Breimyer called the 1996 Farm Bill the worst ever. “What is worst of all . . . and indefensible, is the
paying out of big bucks (1) irrespective of the level of market prices, and (2) without necessarily
requiring performance on the farmer's part. The former is often put in terms of seriously
weakening the safety net that has long been a distinguishing feature of farm programs.”

He wrote that back in March 1996, before grain prices collapsed and long before Ken Cook's
Environmental Working Group put your USDA payments on the Internet. 

Don't think Breimyer was a mystical seer who could predict the future. He was a smart man who
saw through political BS and kept his Jeffersonian dream of opportunity for farmers. 

I can imagine what he would say about the latest farm bill. He might like its new conservation
emphasis and efforts to protect you better from low prices. Yet, I'll bet the plainspoken Missouri
professor would give it a D.

The reason? There's no food security in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002.
Breimyer knew that conservation and food reserves are crucial to gaining public support for help
for farmers.

Just as our federal government has been filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to ready for war
with Iraq, corn supplies are shrinking. Even with a normal 2003 crop, Iowa State University
economist Bob Wisner expects a corn carryover below 700 million bushels by next September. 

The coming food crisis

The 1996 Farm Bill killed the farmer-owned reserve that used to pay you to store grain. The federal
government no longer controls big supplies as it did during the early 1980s. Like the rest of our
economy, agriculture has gone to a just-in-time delivery system. It sticks farmers with the cost of
being the nation's granary.

This year is a taste of what's to come. If we have another drought as bad as the one of 1988 -
when some Iowa counties had the least rainfall in recorded history - watch out.

Prices could get so high that you'll finally have something to put in the bank. Hang onto it.

Those prices will also hurt your customers - cattle feedlots, ethanol, and ultimately, consumers.
After the 1988 drought, the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute estimated what would
have happened if USDA hadn't had 4.3 billion bushels of corn on hand. With just 2.3 billion bushels
in storage consumers would've paid $40 billion more for food from 1989 through 1996. (September
corn stocks this year were just 1.6 billion bushels.)

University of Tennessee economist Daryll Ray shares Breimyer's view that reserves of grain make
good sense. As he said in his July 22 column on our Web site, @griculture Online™, “Low grain
prices appeal to livestock feeders, and high prices appeal to crop farmers. But could it be that we
are better off with relatively stable prices that moderate the booms so that busts are less likely to

Junking a divine inspiration

Mandatory set-asides in the old farm program didn't work well. (I like the idea of voluntary
set-asides.) But we ditched the farmer-owned reserve at great risk. What if we had a drought
worse than 1988? Civilizations have fallen to climate change before.

Breimyer's Depression-era contemporary, Agriculture Secretary Henry Wallace, got Congress to
create his “ever-normal granary” in 1938. His idea of storing surplus crops for lean years came
from Joseph's advice to the Egyptians in the Bible.

The Chinese had a similar system of paying farmers for surplus grain to store for lean times. It
lasted 1,400 years. Congress killed our food security after just 58 years. Angry consumers may
one day ask why.

© Copyright Meredith Corporation 1997-2002. All rights reserved.

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Making a Killing: The Business of War


In February 2002, Belgian authorities issued an
international arrest warrant for Russian arms dealer
Victor Bout on charges of money laundering and
conspiracy. Days later, Bout -- who allegedly also
supplied weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan --
sauntered into the studios of a Moscow radio station a
few blocks from the Kremlin to protest his innocence.

'What should I be afraid of?' he asked, live on air, as
Russian police claimed they could not find him.

Bout believed he was untouchable, and with reason. In
order to operate one of the largest arms-trafficking
networks in the world, he had cultivated influential
friends -- from African heads of state to senior
figures in Russia's post-Soviet intelligence world.

Bout's swagger is not altogether unique. He epitomizes
a new breed of opportunists that has come to dominate
the global landscape of conflicts since the end of the
Cold War. Gone is the superpower ideological divide
that once gave a strange sort of order to the world's
wars. In its place are entrepreneurs, selling arms or
military expertise and support, and companies, whose
drilling and mining in some of the hottest spots often
prolong conflict and instability. Additionally, the
military downsizing that followed the end of the Cold
War and the collapse of the Soviet Union flooded the
market with surplus arms and trained soldiers looking
for a job.

As Pete Singer, an Olin Fellow in the Foreign Policy
Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, said:
'This incredible dump of goods and services has made it
much easier for non-state actors to fight a war.'

A nearly two-year investigation by the Center for
Public Integrity's International Consortium of
Investigative Journalists into the business of war has
found that these non-state actors -- despite their
appearance of being freelancers -- have copious
connections to intelligence services, multinational
corporations, political figures and criminal syndicates
in the United States, Western and Eastern Europe,
Russia, Africa and the Middle East. Often, they work as
proxies for national or corporate interests whose
involvement is buried under layers of secrecy.

'Western chancelleries have not renounced their self-
proclaimed right to influence the course of events,'
the French political scientist Jean-Francois Bayart
wrote in the journal African Affairs in April 2000.
'But they now prefer to act through private operators,
including both commercial companies and non-
governmental organizations, and even in the field of

Private military companies, or PMCs as the new world
order's mercenaries have come to be known, allow
governments to pursue policies in tough corners of the
world with the distance and comfort of plausible
deniability. The ICIJ investigation uncovered the
existence of at least 90 private military companies
that have operated in 110 countries worldwide. These
corporate armies, often providing services normally
carried out by a national military force, offer
specialized skills in high-tech warfare, including
communications and signals intelligence and aerial
surveillance, as well as pilots, logistical support,
battlefield planning and training. They have been hired
both by governments and multinational corporations to
further their policies or protect their interests.

These companies do not represent the dark underbelly of
war commerce and, indeed, their supporters argue that
PMCs save lives and bolster security, all while being
more cost-efficient than national militaries or
international peacekeeping operations. But many operate
in the same black hole of information that allows war
profiteers like Bout to work with impunity.

War or criminality?

Much of what has been called war during the past decade
-- especially in places like Sierra Leone and

Angola -- is merely an extreme form of criminality.
Some of the arms dealers and entrepreneurs tracked in
the ICIJ investigation crossed regularly between the
secretive worlds of war commerce, organized crime and

One measure of their influence is the deadly trade in
arms. Compared to the legal trade in arms, the number
of weapons shipped illegally is small -- about 10
percent of total world sales. But small arms have been
the weapons of choice in 90 percent of the conflicts
since 1990 and were responsible for almost 100 percent
of the killing.

Arms dealers such as Bout, Leonid Minin and Jacques
Monsieur have been at the forefront of the most
extensive yard sale in history -- a massive unregulated
sell off of low price surplus armaments into the most
fragile, conflict-ridden corners of the Earth.

The weapons, mostly from state-owned Eastern European
factories, have found their way to Angola, Sudan,
Ethiopia, Colombia, Congo-Brazzaville, Sri Lanka,
Burundi and Afghanistan -- conflicts in which up to an
estimated 10 million people have died during the past

It is hard to imagine that a few individuals could have
such influence, but as Tom Ofcansky, a specialist at
the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and
Research, pointed out: 'The impact of a few planeloads
of arms, as we've seen repeatedly in Africa, had a
devastating impact on fragile African societies.' Two
helicopter gunships piloted by South African
mercenaries, for example, altered the balance of war in
Sierra Leone in 1999 in favor of the government.

Arms shipments were bolstered by highly trained
soldiers and pilots -- war veterans from apartheid
South Africa, the Ukraine, the Israeli Defense Force,
U.S. Special Forces and the British Special Air
Services -- who came onto the market, selling their

The entrepreneurs and their sponsors did not invent
this world. Large parts of Africa and parts of South
Asia and Latin America have experienced state collapse,
where leaders are no longer able to impose law and
order. However, developed nations have aided or, at a
minimum, turned a blind eye to the activities of their
nationals which are fueling wars.

'You have situations, where states are collapsing or
completely out of control,' said Johan Peleman, a
Belgian arms investigator. 'They invite the sort of
investors that thrive on this lack of oversight, on
this lack of control, on this lack of interest in the
background of the investor.'

Some African governments are little more than criminal
syndicates -- warlords such as Charles Taylor, the
president of Liberia, or more sophisticated elites,
such as the rulers of Angola. But to sell diamonds and
timber and oil onto the world market requires foreign

The people doing the extracting, the bribing, the arms
dealing, and the deal-making are South African,
Belgian, American, Israeli, French, Ukrainian,
Lebanese, Canadian, British, Russian, Malaysian, and
Syrian. They are a class of entrepreneur that operates
beyond borders, often unaccountable to shareholders and
unfettered by the regulation they would encounter in
their own countries. They have become influential
political players in the countries in which they

'You have presidents that then attract investors that
are just out to make a quick few million, mostly at the
expense of the local population or the long-term
situation of that country,' says Peleman. 'At the same
time, real Mafia organizations and organized crime are
attracted to this kind of situation.'

The end of the Cold War led to a profound disengagement
of the United States and its allies from formal
involvement in the wars of the developing world. The
West's reluctance to intervene in small wars was driven
by the 1993 debacle in Somalia, when 19 U.S. soldiers
and 1,000 Somalis died in a disastrous attempt at
ridding the country of the warlord and food profiteer,
Mohammed Farrah Aideed.

Even the notable exception to this trend, the Balkans,
was left to fester for years before American and NATO
power was brought to bear on the thuggish regime of
Slobodan Milosevic, despite the fact that the former
Yugoslavia was on Europe's doorstep and its implosion
threatened the integrity of the Atlantic alliance.

In most instances, the big powers withdrew their direct
sponsorship of rebel movements and regimes, which in
turn had to become self-financing businesses to pay for
the weapons, training and mercenaries they needed to
overthrow governments or protect their tenuous hold on

When Jonas Savimbi, the leader of Angola's rebel UNITA
forces, refused to accept his defeat in elections in
Angola 1992, he paid for his arms by seizing the
diamond fields in the northeast of the country. He
created an elaborate mining operation and buying system
and imported a workforce from neighboring Zaire (now
Congo). He also recruited a network of Belgian and
South African diamond dealers, a structure that was
replicated in Sierra Leone.

Wars that had been shaped by U.S.-Soviet competition
were overtaken by wars in which governments, guerrilla
groups and criminal organizations-sometimes
interchangeable-battled it out for access to wealth,
potential wealth or trafficking routes. Often the
conflicts reached a point of equilibrium at which both
sides could loot and profiteer.

David Keen of the London School of Economics wrote in
an International Committee of the Red Cross book on
war, money and survival that the perception of a civil
war in which the combatants actively seek to win the
war is increasingly faulty. 'Civil wars spawn their own
political economy, from which all sides of the conflict
might benefit. As a result, some parties may become
more anxious to prolong a war than to win it.'

The Democratic Republic of the Congo went back to war
in 1998 over political differences between President
Laurent Kabila and his erstwhile mentors in Rwanda and
Uganda. Yet the original cause of the conflict was
obscured and forgotten as occupying armies on both
sides looted the country's resources. War brought no
one closer to developing the Congo. It could only
support a plunder economy, the most basic of mining
operations -- digging for coltan or diamonds or
stripping forests.

An orphan child

There have been notable attempts -- in France,
Switzerland and Italy -- to clamp down on criminal
networks that have profited from war. But these have
been hampered by a lack of intelligence and law
enforcement coordination.

When Minin, a Ukrainian arms dealer, was arrested with
bags of cocaine and diamonds in his pockets and
prostitutes on his lap in a hotel room in Monza, Italy,
it took weeks for the authorities to find out that he
already had been convicted of fraud in Germany, banned
from Switzerland and Monaco, that there were bulging
files on his criminal activities in Belgium and France,
and that he was, in fact, wanted by the Italian police
in connection with alleged Mafia activities and drugs
and arms trafficking.

'The African arms trafficking issue was an orphan child
in the greater scheme of things,' Ofcansky, the U.S.
State Department arms specialist, said.

The United States, despite having the best anti-arms
trafficking legislation in the world, lost interest in
the global trade outside its borders just as that trade
was mushrooming, according to a senior U.S. Customs
official who spent decades investigating the black
market in weapons. Up until 1995, Customs agents
tracked international weapons trafficking through
intelligence and undercover operations, he said. During
the Clinton administration, there was a change in
emphasis -- one that extended to the Bush
administration. 'The change of attitude by the
administration severely restricted us in our work,' the
agent told ICIJ. 'People were basically saying, why are
we sticking our noses in these matters? Okay, there's a
guy from Russia selling weapons to Ethiopia. Why should
we care?'

Monitoring arms trafficking to Africa, one law
enforcement official said, was a part-time job at

International arms embargoes, meanwhile, were
ineffective and seldom enforced. Although the United
Nations resorted to publicly outing culprits like Bout,
no one was prosecuted for violating U.N. arms
embargoes. And Western intelligence agencies adopted a
tolerant attitude when it suited them.

In September 2000, Monsieur, a Belgian arms dealer,
told a French judge of having been contacted in
Brussels by the CIA and, with the blessing of the
French civilian intelligence agency, of having sent
tens of millions of dollars in weapons to Croatia. From
1991 to 1995, he found his best markets in Croatia and
Bosnia, even though the two countries were under a U.N.
arms embargo to which the United States paid public lip
service. Monsieur also dealt arms in Iran, Qatar,
Zaire, Burundi and Congo-Brazzaville.

Indeed, the failure of intelligence agencies to share
information hindered law enforcement. 'Despite the fact
that it is a secret world, we were at least able to
find out some very interesting inner workings of the
arms trafficking trade,' said Ofcansky. 'But, again,
what does one do with that information? Much of it is
highly classified and cannot be shared. I think this is
another challenge facing the West in this proliferation
of secret worlds. And there's going to have to be a
rethink, a more generous declassification process
eventually, to help come to terms with some of these

The arms dealers cannot be viewed in isolation,
however. The diamond industry took little action to
police itself as gemstones became one of the prime
currencies in Africa's wars and, it was later revealed,
for terrorists. With so-called conflict diamonds being
laundered through the exchanges of Antwerp and Tel
Aviv, the industry responded only after it was
challenged by nongovernmental organizations such as
Global Witness, whose campaign against blood diamonds
created so much bad publicity that the industry was
forced to devise measures to clamp down on stones from
conflict zones.

Blue chip corporations were squeamish about investing
in lawless societies, but large oil companies, which
followed the natural deposits, had no choice but to
engage. Most turned a blind eye to how their
involvement helped fund various despots or conflicts.
But, according to numerous court cases, statements by
former officials and press exposis in France, the now-
defunct French state oil company, Elf Aquitaine, went
beyond indifference, financing the purchase of weapons
and hedging its bets in Congo-Brazzaville and Angola by
supporting and helping arm both sides.

September 11

The failed states within whose boundaries the wars were
conducted helped launch new and dangerous movements,
which thrived in a world of lax banking rules,
secretive arms networks, and surreptitious financing

Michael Westphal, the deputy assistant U.S. defense
secretary for African affairs, warned in April 2002
that 40 out of 48 African states were too weak to
prevent members of al Qaeda or other terrorist
organizations from transiting, stationing themselves,
or raising funds and planning operations from their

'I think the September 11 tragedy underscored the fact
that the West could no longer afford to ignore or give
a very low priority to failed states,' Ofcansky said.
'These are breeding grounds not only of arms
traffickers, organized crime, but also of terrorists.'

The aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
on the United States showed what could be achieved with
greater political will. Bout, the Russian arms
trafficker, operated with impunity for years in
Africa's conflict zones.

Even when the United Nations cited him frequently in
its reports on individuals and companies involved in
the shady world of arms and diamonds dealing in Africa
in 2000, Bout continued to ply his trade.

If he felt uncomfortable or under scrutiny, he would
simply move his planes to a new base -- from Belgium to
South Africa to Swaziland to Equatorial Guinea. For
years, his head office was in the United Arab Emirates
because the free trade zone allowed him to come and go
at will with very little oversight.

U.S. authorities in 1999 became aware that Bout was
also supplying weapons to the Taliban and sought the
assistance of Belgium and South Africa in investigating
him. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bout was more than
a bad guy, he was an enemy in the war on terrorism. He
fled back to Moscow where, although he remains at
large, his operation appears to be largely crippled.

Bush administration officials initially opposed
international moves to impose strict controls on the
purchase and sale of diamonds, but softened their
stance after reports that Osama bin Laden made good use
of the diamond trade in West Africa, employing the
dealers and networks that had helped to fund rebel
forces in Angola and Sierra Leone. U.S Rep. Tony Hall,
an Ohio Democrat who sponsored legislation to place
trade sanctions on countries that sell diamonds to
finance war or terrorism, said after the legislation
was approved that reports on Bin Laden's role in the
trade 'put us over the edge.'

But the ability to launder conflict diamonds through
the official system remains. A U.S. government report
in February 2002 found that the new process the
industry has devised to police itself is inherently

And the evidence seems to suggest there will be less,
not more, effort devoted to policing criminal networks
trafficking in the war zones of the world.

While the wars in Angola and Sierra Leone ended in
2002, fresh conflict erupted in Liberia, Congo-
Brazzaville, the Central African Republic, and fighting
continues in Sudan and the Congo. Afghanistan continues
to threaten a return to warlordism, and the United
Nations, fearing a resumption of hostilities in Sierra
Leone, has extended its peacekeeping mandate there.

Ofcansky, the U.S. State Department official, said
there is a crying need for international law
enforcement aimed at curbing global criminals.

'What are needed are U.N. inspection teams in ports and
airports, with the authority to detain aircraft or
ships, or arrest people -- that requires a significant
change in the international system. But that's not
going to happen anytime soon.'

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