True Patriots Networking
Friday, 22 November, 2002
With advances in technology and ever-increasing government surveillance, the
situation has worsened since Orwell's imaginings of the future. --John Whitehead, the
Rutherford Institute, November 4, 2002
Despite the self-satisfaction of George W. Bush and John Ashcroft, and the somnolence of the press,
there is rising resistance around the country to the serial abuses of our liberties. More Americans are
becoming aware of what Wisconsin Democratic senator Russ Feingold prophesied from the Senate floor on
October 11, 2001, when he was the only Senator to vote against Ashcroft's USA Patriot Act: "There is no
doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch terrorists. If we lived in a country where
police were allowed to search your home at any time for any reason; if we lived in a country where the
government is entitled to open your mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your e-mail
communications; if we lived in a country where people could be held in jail indefinitely based on what they
write or think, or based on mere suspicion that they are up to no good, the government would probably
discover more terrorists or would-be terrorists, just as it would find more lawbreakers generally. But that
wouldn't be a country in which we would want to live."
Some of that warning has come to pass. What has become more specifically evident is underlined by
Lincoln Caplan in the November-December issue of Legal Affairs (A Magazine of Yale Law School): "The
[USA Patriot Act] . . . authorized law enforcement agencies to inspect the most personal kinds of
information--medical records, bank statements, college transcripts, even church memberships. But what is
more startling than the scope of these new powers is that the government can use them on people who
aren't suspected of committing a crime."
As then house majority leader Dick Armey--a conservative Republican libertarian--told Georgetown
University law professor Jeffrey Rosen in the October 21 New Republic: "The Justice Department . . .
seems to be running amok and out of control. . . . This agency right now is the biggest threat to personal
liberty in the country." (The Defense Department is an even bigger threat, with its Orwellian plan to place all
of us under surveillance--more on that in a later column.)
One sign of the growing fear of losing our Bill of Rights protections against an out-of-control government
came from the heartland. On September 8 of this year, the Journal Gazette, a daily newspaper in Fort
Wayne, Indiana, published a full-page, five-column editorial--its first such broadside in nearly 20 years. The
headline was "Attacks on Liberty": "In the name of national security, President Bush, Attorney General
John Ashcroft, and even Congress have pulled strand after strand out of the constitutional fabric that
distinguishes the United States from other nations. . . .
"Actions taken over the past year are eerily reminiscent of tyranny portrayed in the most nightmarish
works of fiction. The power to demand reading lists from libraries could have been drawn from the pages of
Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. . . . The sudden suspension of due process for immigrants rounded up into
jails is familiar to readers of Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here."
But what is most encouraging is the continued growth in cities and towns throughout the nation of Bill of
Rights Defense Committees or their equivalents, a number of which are working with ACLU affiliates. The
first BORDC, as reported here, was formed in February this year in Northampton, Massachusetts, when
about 300 doctors, nurses, lawyers, students, teachers, and retirees formed a group to protect the citizens
of that town from the USA Patriot Act and the subsequent unilateral attacks on our liberties by John
After the Northampton city council unanimously passed in May a resolution officially supporting the
protests of the BORDC, other towns and cities learned how to organize similar committees through the
Northampton group's Web site: www.bordc.org.
Fourteen town or city councils--from Takoma Park, Maryland, and Alachua County, Florida, to Santa
Fe, New Mexico, and Berkeley, California--have now passed, sometimes unanimously, similar resolutions
originated by local BORDC organizations. Other proposals are pending before local government bodies in
40 more cities and towns, in 24 states. One BORDC is in formation in New York City.
Next week: The details of some of these resolutions that involve city and state police and local
members of Congress. The roots of the Bill of Rights Defense Committees, it is important to remember, are
in the pre-revolutionary committees of correspondence, initiated by Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty in
Boston in 1754.
In 1805, in Boston, there was published Mercy Otis Warren's History of the Rise and Progress and
Termination of the American Revolution. A historian, playwright, and political pamphleteer, she wrote in
this, her major work: "Perhaps no single step contributed so much to cement the union of the colonies, and
the final acquisition of independence, as the establishment of committees of correspondence. This
supported a chain of communication from New Hampshire to Georgia that produced unanimity and energy
throughout the continent." Sam Adams and other patriots continuously spread the news of attacks on the
liberties of these new Americans by the King, his ministers, and his governors and officers in the colonies.
These committees, as Supreme Court Justice William Brennan once told me, were a precipitating
cause of the American Revolution. Yet John Ashcroft accuses his critics--among the most active of which
are the Bill of Rights Defense Committees--of "capitulating" to the enemy. More Americans are coming to
agree with Dick Armey that Ashcroft's Justice Department "is the biggest threat to personal liberty in the
country." Who, then, are the American patriots now?
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
Back to Main News Page
Kissinger, "Dracula in charge of the blood bank"
Evan D Ravitz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tonight on PBS' Newshour, commentator Mark Shields said Kissinger as head of the 9/11 "Independent"
Commission was like "Winona Ryder in charge of security at Bloomingdales or Dracula in charge of the blood
bank." Here's 4 articles on the perfect man to help cover up what happened on 9/11: 1. The Latest Kissinger
Outrage 2. Henry's revenge 3. Kissinger, The Secret Keeper 4. The Kissinger Commission The Latest
Kissinger Outrage Why is a proven liar and wanted man in charge of the 9/11 investigation? By Christopher
Hitchens, Slate, November 27, 2002 The Bush administration has been saying in public for several months that it
does not desire an independent inquiry into the gross "failures of intelligence" that left U.S. society defenseless
14 months ago. By announcing that Henry Kissinger will be chairing the inquiry that it did not want, the
president has now made the same point in a different way. But the cynicism of the decision and the gross insult
to democracy and to the families of the victims that it represents has to be analyzed to be believed. 1) We
already know quite a lot, thanks all the same, about who was behind the attacks. Most notable in incubating
al-Qaida were the rotten client-state regimes of the Saudi Arabian oligarchy and the Pakistani military and
police elite. Henry Kissinger is now, and always has been, an errand boy and apologist for such regimes. 2)
When in office, Henry Kissinger organized massive deceptions of Congress and public opinion. The most
notorious case concerned the "secret bombing" of Cambodia and Laos, and the unleashing of unconstitutional
methods by Nixon and Kissinger to repress dissent from this illegal and atrocious policy. But Sen. Frank
Church's commission of inquiry into the abuses of U.S. intelligence, which focused on illegal assassinations and
the subversion of democratic governments overseas, was given incomplete and misleading information by
Kissinger, especially on the matter of Chile. Rep. Otis Pike's parallel inquiry in the House (which brought to
light Kissinger's personal role in the not-insignificant matter of the betrayal of the Iraqi Kurds, among other
offenses) was thwarted by Kissinger at every turn, and its eventual findings were classified. In other words, the
new "commission" will be chaired by a man with a long, proven record of concealing evidence and of lying t o
Congress, the press, and the public. 3) In his second career as an obfuscator and a falsifier, Kissinger
appropriated the records of his time at the State Department and took them on a truck to the Rockefeller family
estate in New York. He has since been successfully sued for the return of much of this public property, but
meanwhile he produced, for profit, three volumes of memoirs that purported to give a full account of his tenure.
In several crucial instances, such as his rendering of U.S. diplomacy with China over Vietnam, with apartheid
South Africa over Angola, and with Indonesia over the invasion of East Timor (to cite only some of the most
conspicuous), declassified documents have since shown him to be a bald- faced liar. Does he deserve a third try
at presenting a truthful record, after being caught twice as a fabricator? And on such a grave matter as this? 4)
Kissinger's "consulting" firm, Kissinger Associates, is a privately held concern that does not publish a client list
and that compels its clients to sign confidentiality agreements. Nonetheless, it has been established that
Kissinger's business dealings with, say, the Chinese Communist leadership have closely matched his public
pronouncements on such things as the massacre of Chinese students. Given the strong ties between himself, his
partners Lawrence Eagleburger and Brent Scowcroft, and the oil oligarchies of the Gulf, it must be time for at
least a full disclosure of his interests in the region. This thought does not seem to have occurred to the president
or to the other friends of Prince Bandar and Prince Bandar's wife, who helped in the evacuation of the Bin
Laden family from American soil, without an interrogation, in the week after Sept. 11. 5) On Memorial Day
2001, Kissinger was visited by the police in the Ritz Hotel in Paris and handed a warrant, issued by Judge Roger
LeLoire, requesting his testimony in the matter of disappeared French citizens in Pinochet's Chile. Kissinger
chose to leave town rather than appear at the Palais de Justice as requested. He has since been summoned as
a witness by senior magistrates in Chile and Argentina who are investigating the international terrorist network
that went under the name "Operation Condor" and that conducted assassinations, kidnappings, and bombings in
several countries. The most spectacular such incident occurred in rush-hour traffic in downtown Washington,
D.C., in September 1976, killing a senior Chilean dissident and his American companion. Until recently, this was
the worst incident of externally sponsored criminal violence conducted on American soil. The order for the
attack was given by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who has been vigorously defended from prosecution by Henry
Kissinger. Moreover, on Sept. 10, 2001, a civil suit was filed in a Washington, D.C., federal court, charging
Kissinger with murder. The suit, brought by the survivors of Gen. Rene Schneider of Chile, asserts that
Kissinger gave the order for the elimination of this constitutional officer of a democratic country because he
refused to endorse plans for a military coup. Every single document in the prosecution case is a
U.S.-government declassified paper. And the target of this devastating lawsuit is being invited to review the
shortcomings of the "intelligence community"? In late 2001, the Brazilian government canceled an invitation for
Kissinger to speak in Sao Paulo because it could no longer guarantee his immunity. Earlier this year, a London
court agreed to hear an application for Kissinger's imprisonment on war crimes charges while he was briefly in
the United Kingdom. It is known that there are many countries to which he cannot travel at all, and it is also
known that he takes legal advice before traveling anywhere. Does the Bush administration feel proud of
appointing a man who is wanted in so many places, and wanted furthermore for his association with terrorism
and crimes against humanity? Or does it hope to limit the scope of the inquiry to those areas where Kissinger
has clients? There is a tendency, some of it paranoid and disreputable, for the citizens of other countries and
cultures to regard President Bush's "war on terror" as opportunist and even as contrived. I myself don't take
any stock in such propaganda. But can Congress and the media be expected to swallow the appointment of a
proven coverup artist, a discredited historian, a busted liar, and a man who is wanted in many jurisdictions for
the vilest of offenses? The shame of this, and the open contempt for the families of our victims, ought to be the
cause of a storm of protest. This man is regarded by many outside the US as a war criminal. There are
countries he can't travel to for fear of arrest. Why has George Bush just given him a major job? Julian Borger
on the Phoenix-like rise of Henry Kissinger. Henry's revenge by Julian Borger, The Guardian, November 29,
2002 The vastly different reactions on each side of the Atlantic to Henry Kissinger's return to the political
centre stage says a lot about the constantly widening gap in political perceptions between the US and Europe.
Those Europeans who were aware that the old cold warrior was still alive could be forgiven for assuming he
was in a cell somewhere awaiting war crimes charges, or living the life of a fugitive, never sleeping in the same
bed twice lest human rights investigators track him down. In the US, the overwhelming response to Kissinger's
appointment, at the age of 79, to head the investigation into the catastrophic intelligence failure that led to
September 11 has been one of relief mixed with nostalgic affection. For many Americans, he is the avuncular
wise man with the funny accent, secretary of state under presidents Nixon and Ford, the only man ever to serve
as secretary of state and national security adviser, and a Nobel Peace Price winner to boot, who is now coming
to the rescue bringing half a century of international experience to bear on fixing the holes in national security.
From the point of view of the average citizen who has taken even a passing interest in international affairs,
Kissinger has never really been away. Since September 11, he has been a regular on television talk shows and
in the opinion pages of the major newspapers, holding forth on the "war on terror". His views are held in such
high esteem that a row broke out during the summer over the correct interpretation of a commentary he had
written on policy towards Iraq. He gave overwhelming approval to the decision to confront Saddam Hussein
over weapons of mass destruction, but advised the Bush administration to seek as broad an international
consensus as possible before going to war. The New York Times interpreted this note of caution as opposition,
and was roundly lambasted on the right for doing so. While Kissinger's place in the Washington mainstream has
never seriously been challenged, his principal detractor, the Washington-based British journalist Christopher
Hitchens, who chronicled the legal case against him in his book, The Trials of Henry Kissinger, is generally
treated here as an oddball curiosity. His arguments have scant media attention, certainly in comparison with
their reception in Europe. Kissinger has been canny in maintaining his celebrity status, appearing in a string of
advertisements, alongside the likes of Woody Allen, intended to bring tourism back to New York. In Kissinger's
ad, he is seen running around the bases in an empty New York Yankees baseball stadium, clearly imagining
himself to be scoring a home run. The message was that the Big Apple was somewhere to live out your
dreams. The prophet of realpolitik, who once famously claimed that power was the ultimate aphrodisiac, now
has a chance to live out his dreams again - a man of ideas whose time has come once more in the harsh light of
post-September 11 politics. In that light, the secret bombing of Cambodia, which he orchestrated with Richard
Nixon, could be argued to be the ultimate act of preemption, a concept on which the Bush administration's new
national security doctrine is based. The same goes for his role in helping oust Salvador Allende from power in
Chile, and his replacement by General Augusto Pinochet. The prevailing climate in national security circles in
the age of terrorism favours early action against potential threats, before they pose direct danger. It is a climate
that makes it politically risky to criticise even such a controversial personality, and the chronically risk-averse
Democrats have mostly stood to attention behind Kissinger's nomination. "He brings a stature to it, which is
important," Sandy Berger, Bill Clinton's national security adviser, told the New York Times. "He brings
historical perspective, which I think is equally important. And I think that he has a wide-ranging experience,
which is relevant... It is a very good choice." Privately, the Democrats are consoling themselves that their own
elder statesman, former senator George Mitchell, will be at Kissinger's side in an attempt to ensure that the
inquiry is not a total whitewash. They realise that Kissinger is such an old hand at national security policy that
he knows it is ultimately subordinate to domestic politics. There is convincing evidence that he played a role in
convincing the South Vietnamese to reject a peace deal being negotiated by Lyndon Johnson in the dying
months of his administration, which might have saved the Democrats in the 1968 elections. Instead, the collapse
of the talks helped elect Kissinger's man, Nixon. Kissinger now has another chance to be a player in the great
game of international strategy, a game in which truth will inevitably be traded off against perceived national
interest, a barter at which the American Machiavelli is a master. At the heart of his deliberations will be the role
of Saudi Arabia, and the mysterious relationship between the kingdom's royal family, its intelligence services
and the 9/11 hijackers, 15 out of 19 of whom were Saudi nationals. On the other hand, the Saudi government is
a long-term strategic ally, which has facilities near-essential to a war against Iraq, provides a major source of
oil, and is a friend of the Bush family. It is a dilemma few would enjoy as much as Kissinger. The German-born
statesman is also well placed to appreciate the interplay of big money and politics, an alchemy that is at the
heart of the Bush administration. At the head of Kissinger Associates since 1982, he has sold his expertise in
the workings of the Washington policy machine and his international contacts to corporate clients, most of
whom choose to remain anonymous, but who are thought to include Exxon Mobil, Arco and American Express.
Kissinger is also on the "European Strategy Board" of a Dallas investment company called Hicks, Muse, Tate
& Furst, one of the biggest financial contributors to George Bush's political career. Tom Hicks, one of its
partners, was instrumental in Bush's rise: his purchase of the Texas Rangers baseball team, in which the
president had a stake, helped make him a millionaire. All of the above may help explain why Kissinger is not a
surprising choice for the Bush administration. However, it does not explain the popular acceptance, and even
acclaim, his nomination has so far received. This almost certainly has something to do with the national mood
since September 11, which has been defensive for obvious reasons, and particularly ill-disposed to introspection
and self-doubt. There is no longer an appetite for the sort of harsh reassessment of the US role in the world that
was so prevalent in the 80s and early 90s in the form of books and films about Vietnam and Latin America,
Kissinger's old stomping ground. In Hollywood's most recent Vietnam movie, the US is the hero once more.
Meanwhile, the CIA's adventures in Chile, El Salvador and Nicaragua are largely forgotten. It is worth
remembering that Kissinger is not the sole beneficiary of this particular form of national amnesia. Earlier this
month, Admiral John Poindexter, one of the central figures in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 80s, was appointed
the head of a new Pentagon intelligence service, with Big Brother-style access to the personal information of
ordinary Americans. Poindexter was formerly better known for destroying data than collecting it, having
admitted to Congress that he destroyed a document bearing Ronald Reagan's signature authorising the sale of
arms to Iran in return for the release of American hostages. The revenue was used to fund Contra guerrillas
fighting the Nicaraguan government without the knowledge of Congress. Poindexter was convicted for his role
but later won an appeal on a legal technicality. The motto of his new office is scientia est potentia - knowledge
is power. Meanwhile, his celebrated subordinate, Colonel Oliver North, who carried out much of the shredding
of embarrassing documents and who took the legal rap for the scandal, is also back on the Washington A list, as
a television talk-show host and pundit. Another Iran-Contra veteran, Elliott Abrams, who as assistant secretary
of state under Reagan was convicted of misleading Congress, is now back in the national security council. Otto
Reich, who masterminded pro-Contra propaganda, has also risen again, as an assistant secretary of state.
Consider, too, the strange career of G Gordon Liddy, the Watergate burglar who went to jail for breaking into
the Democratic Party offices at the behest of Kissinger's boss, Nixon. He emerged from prison a born-again
Christian and is now a radio talk-show host with a faithful following. His book of conservative rants again gun
control and other liberal infringements on liberty, entitled When I Was a Kid, This Was a Free Country, was
treated with reverence on CNN. The financial news anchor, Lou Dobbs, recommended it to his viewers "as a
celebration of sorts of a time when boys could go hunting with a pal, make their own fireworks and just burn
leaves on an autumn afternoon." When he famously remarked that "there are no second acts in American
lives", F Scott Fitzgerald could not have conceived of the modern American right, which - unlike its liberal
adversaries - does not leave its wounded on the political battlefield. Like Liddy, Poindexter and North, Kissinger
has been helped back from eternal obscurity by a deep desire on the part of the nation's conservatives to
avenge past humiliations, when men they saw as heroes were forced to answer to the law, and sometimes go to
jail. Kissinger's second act is sweeter than most - his murky past has not only gone unpunished, it now looks like
the unsettling prologue for US policy in years to come. Kissinger, The Secret Keeper by Paul Vitello, Newsday,
November 28, 2002 Henry Kissinger was appointed yesterday as chairman of a commission to investigate the
terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. One may wish him well. But no less-likely prominent American could have been
found to shed light on what happened in this country's darkest hour. Kissinger, 79, comes with hefty credentials.
Between 1969 and 1975, during the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, he was
national security adviser and later secretary of state. But in all those years of public service, Kissinger was
famous for secrets. He was the architect of secret diplomacy with China, secret peace talks with Vietnam, a
secret war against Cambodia, a secret bombing of Laos. Kissinger's biographers have dubbed him a genius of
secrets - a man who played in-house politics better than any other official of his time. His control over the
information of state reached the level of obsession. Leaks were cause for investigation - unless they were leaks
made by himself. He was said to be a true artist of the media leak. He was, and in some ways remains, a
secretary of state in the truest sense: a keeper and feeder of the secrets of state. He has fought battles in and
out of office to keep the public from knowing things. Whether this background makes him the best choice to
lead this commission - whose purpose is supposedly to explore and expose the potential failures of the
government's intelligence services - is a fair question. "I honestly don't think he has a stellar track record for this
[assignment]," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, an
organization that sued Kissinger over access to his official papers as national security adviser and secretary of
state, and lost in the U.S. Supreme Court. "One would hope the American public will learn what went wrong on
Sept. 11," she said. "My concern is his propensity for secrecy, which unfortunately fits too well the pattern of
the current White House." It is not clear what aspects of the attacks the commission is to investigate. When
first proposed by members of Congress, the Sept. 11 commission was supposed to probe how American
intelligence agencies failed in the weeks and months prior to the attacks - and to propose how they might be
better prepared to head off the next attack. When President George W. Bush announced Kissinger's
appointment yesterday, he said the commission would study "the methods of America's enemies and the nature
of the threats we face." Whether that is the same thing or not, or whether the president's phrase seems like a
softer focus for the investigation, probably doesn't matter that much. The investigation will go where the 10
members of the commission - five appointed by Republicans, five by Democrats - tell it to go. Under the rules
agreed upon during intense negotiations between the White House and congressional Democrats, the
commission will have the power to subpoena witnesses - but only if six members agree. In the negotiations,
Bush insisted on, and won, the right to appoint the commission's chairman. In Kissinger, he has appointed a man
who understands the prerogatives of power, and who would seem to believe in strict limits on the public's right
to know what powerful people do or don't do behind closed doors. In his memoirs, Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, former
commander of naval forces in Vietnam, wrote of his frustration with the efforts of Kissinger and Nixon "to
conceal, sometimes by simple silence, more often by articulate deceit, their real policies about the most critical
matters of national security." That could be a problem in the chairman of a truth commission. Then, there is
Kissinger's potential conflict of interest. Since leaving public office, Kissinger has become wealthy as a
consultant to international corporations seeking to do business with foreign governments. His firm, Kissinger
Associates, has employed many former presidents, including the first Bush, and many former secretaries of
state and national security advisers, including Brent Scowcroft, the architect of the Gulf War. All these men
may have an ox gored, potentially, by the 9/11 commission. But worse, among the various clients Kissinger
Associates have helped are oil companies and engineering firms that sought contracts with the oil sheikdoms of
the Middle East. Kuwait Petroleum Corp., a Kuwait government-owned company, was once a client.
Multinational companies doing business with members of the Saudi royal family have been clients, as have
members of the Saudi royal family themselves. What if the commission's investigation - of an attack in which 15
of 19 terrorists were Saudi citizens - leads to members of the Saudi royal family? Will this place Chairman
Kissinger in conflict with his interests as a founding partner of Kissinger Associates? "I think it's a good
appointment," said Steve Push, co-chairman of Families of Sept. 11, a survivors organization that was
instrumental in lobbying for the establishment of the commission. "We're optimistic. Obviously it's gonna be
important who the other nine appointees are." Whoever the appointees are, among the many questions they will
face in their investigation of Sept. 11, the first and foremost will be the question of the man who is their
chairman. The Kissinger Commission The New York Times, November 29, 2002 In naming Henry Kissinger to
direct a comprehensive examination of the government's failure to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush
has selected a consummate Washington insider. Mr. Kissinger obviously has a keen intellect and vast
experience in national security matters. Unfortunately, his affinity for power and the commercial interests he
has cultivated since leaving government may make him less than the staunchly independent figure that is needed
for this critical post. Indeed, it is tempting to wonder if the choice of Mr. Kissinger is not a clever maneuver by
the White House to contain an investigation it long opposed. It seems improbable to expect Mr. Kissinger to
report unflinchingly on the conduct of the government, including that of Mr. Bush. He would have to challenge
the established order and risk sundering old friendships and business relationships. The Kissinger commission, in
theory, should provide the definitive account of how a raft of government agencies - including the White House,
Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation - left the nation so vulnerable to terrorist
attack. That final reckoning is overdue and so far absent from the narrower inquiries done by Congress and
individual agencies. It is essential to ensuring that past mistakes are not repeated. The new inquiry will be
undone if the 10-member panel is hesitant to call government organizations and officials to account. There can
be no place for the kind of political calculation and court flattery that Mr. Kissinger practiced so assiduously
during his tenure as Richard Nixon's national security adviser and secretary of state. Nor is there any tolerance
for the kind of cynicism that Mr. Kissinger applied to the prosecution of the Vietnam War. The commission will
be made up of five Republicans and five Democrats. Choosing its remaining members and staff director wisely
will also be vital to its success. They must be fiercely independent and unafraid to challenge some of
Washington's most powerful institutions. We were mildly encouraged to hear Mr. Kissinger say that he would
"accept no restrictions" on the commission's work. To deliver on that promise, Mr. Kissinger must start by
severing all ties to Kissinger Associates, the lucrative consulting business he has built up during the past two
decades. As a consultant, Mr. Kissinger offered not just his own foreign policy expertise, but his famously easy
access to the powerful and well connected. Not long after Mr. Bush announced the appointment of Mr.
Kissinger on Wednesday, Democratic Congressional leaders picked one of their brethren, former Senator
George Mitchell, to serve as vice chairman. Like Mr. Kissinger, Mr. Mitchell has great experience and an
understanding of how the world works - and is not known for rocking established institutions. The commission
offers both men a chance for the kind of career-crowning legacy that many public personages dream of. But
that would require rising above Washington's usual hedging and horse-trading. If they succeed, they could help
the nation recover from the grievous wounds of Sept. 11 and make sure the country is never so vulnerable
Back to Main News Page
Little resistance to smallpox shots expected
By Dave Moniz, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — When the
Pentagon begins inoculating troops with smallpox vaccine in the
next few weeks, it is unlikely to encounter the resistance that
erupted when the services administered anthrax vaccinations,
military analysts say.
Facing an uncertain threat from the
deadly smallpox virus, sources in the White House say Bush
soon will announce plans to vaccinate 500,000 military personnel
and 510,000 civilian medical workers.
Troops considered at highest risk are those who could be assigned to the Middle
East in the event of war with Iraq, which is suspected of maintaining stocks of the
smallpox virus. The initial vaccination plan also would cover troops in key
homeland security roles.
"I think it would be a very small percentage of folks who would not want to take
the shots," says Jim Martin, a retired Army colonel who teaches courses on
military culture at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. "Most troops at this stage
would consider this a natural consequence of military service."
Smallpox vaccine is administered in one injection. For every 1 million people
vaccinated, 1,000 have adverse reactions that are not life-threatening; one or two
Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recommended that up to
500,000 U.S. troops be vaccinated for smallpox.
The Pentagon's experience administering anthrax vaccine to troops beginning in
1998 was mixed. The overwhelming majority of those ordered to take the vaccine
did so and suffered no health problems, but the Defense Department's policy
created a miniature revolt in the National Guard and Reserves.
Dozens of Air Force Reserve members and a handful of active-duty troops
refused to take the vaccine, which is given in a series of six shots. Those refusing
to take the anthrax vaccine claimed it had never been properly tested and could
have adverse side effects.
Critics said as many as 400 Guard and Reserve officers refused to take the
vaccine. Instead of protesting publicly, many quietly left the service rather than
re-enlist. Two years ago, amid a congressional inquiry and controversy over plans
to inoculate all 1.4 million active-duty troops, the Pentagon began to run out of
vaccine and suspended the program. Inoculations resumed this year for a number
of troops headed overseas.
Defense analysts and former military officers anticipate no revolt with the
smallpox vaccine, for several reasons:
Virtually every service member over 30 got a smallpox vaccination as a
child. That familiarity, experts say, will go a long way to calming the fears
of younger troops.
The domestic anthrax attacks after Sept. 11 changed the attitudes of many
military personnel about the threat from biological weapons. Until then,
many Americans considered anthrax attacks only a remote possibility.
The potential threat from smallpox and other biological and chemical
weapons is underscored by the return of U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq
"We know that Saddam Hussein has ordered a bunch of antibiotics and huge
quantities of Atropine, so biological and chemical weapons are a real threat," says
David Grange, a retired Army general who served in the Persian Gulf War in
1991. "If I was going to be deployed over there, I'd want the smallpox shot."
Atropine and the antibiotic Cipro are recommended treatments for exposure to
chemical and biological weapons, including anthrax. Iraq's large-scale purchase of
antidotes to chemical and biological weapons has heightened fears that Saddam is
willing to use such terror weapons against U.S. troops.
There is no cure for smallpox, a pathogen that kills about 30% of those infected.
There have been no cases of smallpox since the late 1970s, but a handful of
countries, including Iraq, are believed to have developed strains of the disease as a
Back to Main News Page
Black farmers' protest shuts down USDA office
The Associated Press
November 26, 2002
LAKE PROVIDENCE, La. A protest by about 60 black
farmers from 12 states shut down a small federal
Agriculture Department office Monday. After the office
closed, about half of the protesters moved 13 miles to
the next parish, where the USDA Service Center was
open. Heavy rains during the harvest season, a tropical
storm and a hurricane have hit Louisiana farmers hard
this year and the farmers said they were protesting the
way federal loans are distributed. Black farmers and
members of Congress say that, even though USDA is
paying out more than $600 million to settle
discrimination claims, white farmers are still more
likely to get federal loans and to get them faster.
"We're just trying to get justice," Eddie Kennedy, a
sweet potato farmer from West Carroll Parish, said
outside the Oak Grove office. Arnie Armstrong, district
director in Oak Grove, said the agency decided on a
Monday closing in Lake Providence when officials
learned a protest was planned. "Based on similar events
that have occurred in the past, we felt that it was in
our best interest to close the office until further
notice," Armstrong said. She referred protest questions
to Washington. The local farmers had planned to go into
the office, apply for loans and ask to see their
records, and farmers from 11 other states were there to
support them, said Tom Burrell of Covington, Tenn.,
president of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists
Back to Main News Page
Eaters of the World, Unite
Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown
November 25, 2002
Harry Truman said: "No man should be president who doesn't understand hogs."
The problem with our recent presidents, however (including los dos Bushes
and Bill Clinton) is that, while they certainly don't know pig stuff about
the four-legged varieties, they are expert on the care and feeding of those
two-legged oinkers who are the CEOs and lobbyists of global agribusiness
With an oink-oink here and a ton of campaign cash there, agribusiness giants
are able to dictate America's food and farm policies in both Republican and
Democratic administrations. This is why our present policies are so
bass-ackwards, discombobulated . . . and stupid.
Ag policy is not written for farmers and consumers, the two groups whose
well-being logically would be the rationale for having any policy at all.
Nor is it written in the interests of workers, conservation, small business,
rural communities, good health or even good food. Instead, it's written for
the profit and global expansion of names like ADM, Cargill, McDonald's,
Monsanto, Nestlé, Phillip Morris, Tyson, Unilever and Wal-Mart. These powers
have none of the dirt and grease of honest farm toil under their
fingernails. They're well-manicured, soft-hands people who work in faraway
executive suites, genetic-engineering labs, banks and the backrooms of
governments. With the complicity of our presidents and Congress critters,
they've industrialized, conglomeratized and globalized food, a substance
that, by its very nature, is agrarian, small-scale and local.
Here are some products of this perverse policy:
*Out of each dollar you spend on groceries, only 19 cents goes to the
farmer, with corporate middlemen grabbing the rest.
*Thousands of efficient family farmers are driven out of business each year
by rising costs and falling commodity prices.
*As farm prices continue to fall, consumer prices keep going up, creating
windfall profits for conglomerate shippers, processors and retailers.
*An $8-billion-a-year federal farm program delivers zero dollars to
thousands of farmers, while feeding some $500,000 a year to the likes of
Charles Schwab, the gabillionaire stockbroker who gets taxpayer subsidies to
grow rice at his California duck- hunting club (the rice paddies attract
migrating ducks for his friends to shoot).
*Agribusiness dumps 8 billion pounds of pesticides on farmlands each year,
with the result that 45 percent of America's groundwater is dangerously
polluted, while farm families, farm workers and people living next to the
fields suffer poisonings, cancers, birth defects and death.
*A handful of corporations monopolize each and every aspect of the food
economy, from seeds to chemicals, grain shipping to cotton trading,
processing to retailing.
*Workers in fields, processing plants and supermarkets are routinely paid
poverty wages, exposed to injury and death, harassed, fired without cause
and denied the right to organize.
*Food itself has become a clear and present danger, as quick-profit
agriculture has given us mad-cow disease, feces contaminants,
irradiation, infusion of sexual hormones, genetic manipulation, a toxic stew
of chemical additives and an epidemic overdose of fats and sugars.
*The typical food product in any supermarket has traveled more than 1,500
miles to get there, wasting tankfuls of energy, destroying both freshness
and nutrition and denying shelf space to local producers.
And Now, The Good News
That's the bad news about dinner, but there's good news, too, and it's
beginning to outweigh the bad. As we gather around Thanksgiving tables this
year, we can be thankful that, while the profiteers and politicians are
headed one way with our food system, We the People are headed in quite
Whether it's called "sustainable," "organic," "beyond organic," "pure food"
or just plain common sense, there is a mass movement and a growing coalition
among consumers, farmers, workers, entrepreneurs, communities,
conservationists, nutritionists, chefs, food activists and others to take
back control of America's food economy and food culture.
Despite ongoing, big-money assaults to kill this movement, I believe that
it's unstoppable. After all, it's food we're talking about, not widgets or
just some other consumer "product." Food is essence; corporations that mess
with food mess with the inner us.
The first big rebellion against the corporate messers has come in the
marketplace, where there has been a surging demand for organic food. What
began in the late '60s as a fringe market operating out of funky health-food
stores and VW busses is now mainstream. Sales are topping $10 billion this
year and growing 20 percent annually as major supermarkets rush to stock
their shelves with organics. In addition, our top export markets, especially
Europe, Japan, and Latin America, are even more insistent on organic
Producing organically is economically viable for struggling farmers, and
it's environmentally essential, so this is the future. The question is no
longer whether "organic" will become the major force in the food economy,
but rather what it means to say "organic" and who will control it.
While the big boys can't kill the movement, they are working mightily to
co-opt it, primarily by trying to have "organic" defined strictly in terms
of minimal production standards. Last month, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture promulgated its new green and white "USDA Organic" label, an
official seal of approval that assures us shoppers that foods with that
label have been produced without toxic chemicals, artificial fertilizers,
antibiotics, growth hormones, GMOs, irradiation and the other brutish
techniques of agribusiness.
Getting this label was no small battle. The food giants vehemently opposed
it at first, and when the public beat them in that fight, their lobbyists
snuck around back and got the Clinton administration to include genetic
modification, irradiation, and even the use of toxic sludge as approved
"organic" methods in the first draft of the labeling rules. However, the
people roared back, en masse. USDA got more protests against this perversion
than any federal agency ever received on a proposed rule and had to back
But the USDA label is only a first step, and it will actually be a hindrance
to the pure-food movement if we stop there. The label defines "organic"
merely as a technical process, rather than as a structural concept centered
on the culture of agriculture.
For example, under USDA's definition, our nation's food supply would be
considered organic even if: (1) all of the production is controlled by
General Mills; (2) it's produced 7,000 miles away on Chinese state farms
using forced labor, and (3) its sales are monopolized by Wal-Mart.
This is not a paranoid scenario. Indeed, corporations that ridiculed organic
production only a couple of years ago now are grabbing for the green label:
General Mills, Mars Inc., Tyson, ADM, Procter & Gamble and Pillsbury are
among the global players that have bought out such organic brands as
Cascadian Farms, Horizon, Seeds of Change, Nature's Farm, Knudsen and Muir
Glen. Likewise, Wal-Mart, which has gone from a start-up supermarket a
decade ago to the world's largest grocery seller now, is bringing its
labor-exploiting, farmer-squeezing management ethic to organic retailing.
And farms in China already are applying for organic certification to sell in
This corporate grab is nothing but profiteering dressed up in a new suit. To
be truly organic is to embrace and enrich the whole, not the few. It refers
to a social organism with the complexity of a living thing in which the
parts are unified, connected not only to each other but also to something
larger, specifically, to our democratic ideals. It's more about fairness and
respect than it is about stock options and parts-per-billion of pesticide
America's Food Pioneers
Here again, there is a cornucopia of good news. All across the country,
grassroots pioneers are broadening America's organic possibilities by
developing successful models for the common good.
"Locally grown" is developing the cachet of wholesomeness that "organically
grown" once carried. These days, there's hardly a city of any size that
doesn't boast a handful to a few hundred farmers selling directly to local
grocers, restaurants or individual consumers. The main appeal is the
good-and-good-for-you freshness of having local goods delivered to you right
from the field at prime ripeness. But a close second in appeal is knowing
these farm families personally, and realizing that buying from them makes
you part of an economic loop that sustains your community
There's a wonderful example of this high-touch agriculture right here in my
hometown of Austin, where Larry Butler and Carol Ann Sayle are community
treasures. Their five-acre Boggy Creek Farm (www.boggycreekfarm.com) dates
back to the Texas revolutionary period of the 1830s, when the place was out
in the countryside. The farm now finds itself smack in the middle of a city,
but being on the poor side of town, this patch of deep, fertile bottom land
never got developed.
Larry and Carol Ann came across it a decade ago, cleared it, and brought it
back to life, creating a jewel of urban agriculture that turns out glorious
organic produce, herbs, flowers, farm eggs, jams, salsa, and anything else
that strikes the fancy of these two dirt geniuses. All of this is sold
locally, delivered with the morning dew still on it. Their farm stand, open
year-round, is a regular stop for Austinites, and restaurants vie to put
"Boggy Creek Tomatoes!" on their menus.
This farm couple is not only in Austin, they are immersed in it. When a
person or group needs help, Larry and Carol Ann are there with their big
straw hats, big laughs, and big hearts. They are all-around more popular
than any politician in our capital city.
When a storm crashed a tree into their farmhouse last spring, chefs,
customers, and friends showed up from all across town with food, tools, and
plenty of this country's great barn-raising spirit to help make them whole.
Folks wouldn't do that for a Wal-Mart.
I know many farmers like this, true pioneers in an entrepreneurial
agriculture that's rooted in both economic and ecological reality. And
they're having a ball!
For example, there's Joel Salatin, who calls himself a "grass farmer,"
because on only 100 acres of well-nurtured pastureland in Virginia's
Shenandoah Valley, he produces 30,000 pounds of beef, 60,000 pounds of pork,
12,000 chickens, 600,000 eggs, 1,000 rabbits, and 600 turkeys each year! He
does it by choreographing his various animals in an amicable, symbiotic
waltz that has to be seen to be believed. His Polyface Farm
(www.ecofriendly.com) is in rhythm with nature and is a sustainable and
profitable model that would boggle the dull industrial mind of any Tyson
Or check out the astonishing work of Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch
(www.fourseasonfarm.com), who, as impossible as it may seem, farm only in
the winter months in Maine. Yes, in the dark days of the brutal winters on
Maine's Penobscot Bay, from October to May, they gaily produce a bounty of
organic vegetables in three greenhouses, marketing all of their fabulous
produce within 40 miles of their remote and remarkable place.
For 30 years, they've worked to perfect the science and art of cold-weather,
sustainable greenhouse farming, and now they have a replicable model that
can return an annual profit of more than $40,000 to farmers anywhere. Even
in cities, they say.
Chicago is a city with a plan. Mayor Richard Daley is allocating tens of
millions of dollars to make Chi-town the "Greenest City in America," and an
innovative group of community activists and visionaries are developing a
bold plan to make it "The Land of Organic Opportunity."
Far more than a few farmers' markets, they're talking about a comprehensive
regional organic-food system that will involve and enrich the whole Chicago
area, from farmers to community gardeners, chefs to the homeless,
entrepreneurs to school kitchens.
Jim Slama, publisher of Conscious Choice and founder of Sustain, has been
one of the key sparkplugs in launching a city-wide planning process called
the Local Organic Initiative (www.localorganic.org). LOI starts with the
realization that, while organic sales are now about $80 million a year in
the metro region, 97 percent of this food is being shipped in from
California, Mexico, the Netherlands, and beyond, and Chicagoans are shipping
out their organic dollars. Why not capture this growing market for locals,
and get fresher food in the bargain? The plan:
*Increase the area's organic production with a crash program to train
farmers and transition to organic methods; extend the growing season
through greenhouse farming; expand and connect the community gardens
throughout Chicago; foster urban production through vacant-lot and
rooftop farming; and encourage immigrants with farm skills to put their
know-how to work.
*Invest in trucking, warehousing, and management businesses to create a
reliable, year-round distribution infrastructure.
*Finance organic food-processing businesses, with an emphasis on
enterprises located in the inner-city and owned by local entrepreneurs
and co-ops, and on firms that pay good wages, provide training, and offer
growth opportunities for employees.
*Invest in markets, including opening more organic, locally supplied
farmers' markets; creating a prominent year-round market in Chicago's
central commercial area; developing co-op buying clubs among restaurants and
consumers and a supply chain for schools, hospitals, jails, and other
public institutions; and educating the public, including school kids, about
the benefits and availability of locally grown organics.
*Elements of the LOI are now in place or under development, including some
of the more innovative aspects. For example, Les Brown of the Chicago
Coalition for the Homeless is spearheading a project called "Growing Home"
( http://www.growinghomeinc.org ) to grow organic food for homeless shelters
as to sell to restaurants and other outlets. It'll be staffed by the
homeless, who'll get good pay, good skills, and a good chance to better
Restaurants, grocers, co-ops and direct farmer-to-consumer sales are
bringing local organic goods within reach of nearly all of us these days.
Alice Waters of Berkeley, Calif. was the pioneer restaurateur who, 30 years
ago, first hit the back roads around the Bay Area to forage among local
farmers and food artisans, getting them to supply top-quality organic
edibles for her seminal restaurant, Chez Panisse (www.chezpanisse.com). Now,
in cities everywhere there are restaurants following in Alice's steps,
providing a market for more and more local producers.
Nora Poullion has gone the extra mile. Her Restaurant Nora in Washington, DC
(www.noras.com) doesn't just serve locally grown, organic food; the
restaurant itself is certified as organic, the first such in America.
But you don't have to go to a high-dollar restaurant to get the goodies.
Some 2,800 farmers' markets are flourishing across the country
(www.localharvest.org), with nearly 20,000 farmers reaching hundreds of
thousands of people in all kinds of neighborhoods. The Japanese have a term,
teikei, that means putting the "face of the farmer on the food," and
farmers' markets do just that. They link growers and consumers in the same
social fabric, while offering a phenomenal variety of wholesome,
just-harvested food at good prices.
Cities typically have a central market, then several neighborhood markets,
and more and more of these are able to accept food stamps and WIC coupons,
so low-income folks can also get better food at cheaper prices than
supermarkets charge. The food money we spend at these markets stays in our
communities and keeps the farm economy vital.
From the slaves of old to today's migrants, from rural poultry factories to
suburban Wal-Marts, America's food economy has been built on exploited
labor. Injustice can't be part of an organic system, and here, too, change
is coming, led by activist unions that are organizing aggressively and
forging coalitions with consumers, students, responsible businesses, and
One example is out in the apple country of Washington State, where some
60,000 farm workers toil in abysmal conditions for poverty wages. For years,
the workers and growers have battled each other, but the United Farm Workers
have recently taken another tack, saying to some of the farmers: Wait a
minute, neither of us is getting a fair shake.
Indeed, out of each dollar we consumers spend for apples, the workers get 4
cents and the grower gets 7 cents. Twenty-one cents goes to the wholesalers
and transporters, but the big hog is now the retail sector, dominated by
such giants as Wal-Mart, Kroger and Safeway. They take 68 cents out of the
"It's time to take on the retailers," says UFW's regional director, Lupe
Gamboa. To do so, the union has teamed up with some apple growers and co-op
grocers to offer "Fair Trade Apples." As little as a nickel more per pound
makes this system work. The retailers agree to pay this premium to farmers
who sign a contract with UFW, providing better wages, a pension, and safety
protections for workers. In turn, the farmers get a premium price, and the
grocers get to sell apples bearing the UFW's black-eagle symbol, certifying
to consumers that they're produced by labor and farmers who are getting a
fair return. The bet is that you and I will "vote" with our dollars and
reach for the Fair Trade Apples (http://www.ufw.org/apple.htm).
Steadily, and sooner than the corporate powers thought possible, We the
People are redirecting the food economy to fit our values rather than
theirs. "We're not consumers, we're creators," says Andy Tembrill of the
Center for Food Safety (http://www.organicandbeyond.com). Here are a few of
Despite a relentless push by Monsanto and other genetic polluters, people
worldwide are saying no to Frankenfoods, or at least demanding that these
genetic perversions be labeled (http://www.thecampaign.org); prominent chefs
stepped forward on a range of pure-food issues, from rejecting GMO salmon to
supporting low-income gardens (http://www.chefnet.com/cc2000); farmers are
organizing co-ops to bypass monopolistic marketers (www.organicvalley.com);
United Food and Commercial Workers is taking on the murderous treatment of
the thousands (largely immigrants) who work in unspeakable conditions in
meat-processing plants; rural-urban coalitions are fighting to stop the loss
of irreplaceable farmland (we lose two acres a minute) and keep farmers on
the land by buying development rights from farm families
and STOP (a group of families whose loved ones are among the 5,000 Americans
killed each year by our contaminated meat supply) is pushing to shut down
the big profiteers who are killing us (http://www.stop-usa.org).
This can be a happy Thanksgiving, and next year's even happier, if we commit
to using our dollars and activism in support of a food system geared to the
common good, rather than corporate greed. Bon appetit!
Back to Main News Page
Horowitz - Vaccine Injury,
Homeland Security And Culpability
By Leonard G. Horowitz, DMD, MA, MPH