October 12, 2001 

House Approves Senate Anti-Terrorism Bill 

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

Filed at 6:43 p.m. ET 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House on Friday quickly approved anti-terrorist legislation pushed by the Senate and White House to increase the government's power to spy on, detain and punish suspected terrorists. 

Before passage, however, the House insisted on changing the Senate package to put a
five-year expiration deadline on the most intrusive of the new measures, including roving wiretaps, because of misgivings about civil liberties. It also dumped a Senate money-laundering provision, which is moving separately through the House. 

House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said he hoped the Senate would accept the House changes and send the bill to President Bush. 

Bush was pleased with the House passage, on a 337-79 vote. 

"I commend the House for passing anti-terrorism legislation just one day after the Senate took action," he said in a statement. 

"The House and Senate bills are virtually identical. I urge the Congress to quickly get the bill to my desk. We must strengthen the hand of law enforcement to help safeguard America and prevent future attacks -- and we must do it now." 

Despite the presidential plea, possible delays loomed. "We will not support a counterterrorism bill that does not have money-laundering provisions in it," Sen. Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said. "Whether it's done in conference or whether it's done in the House of Representatives, it must be done, and we will insist that it be done." 

The Senate approved its version 96-1 late Thursday night. 

Both the House and Senate anti-terrorism measures would expand the FBI's wiretapping authority, impose stronger penalties on those who harbor or finance terrorists and increase punishment of terrorists. 

Members of the House Judiciary Committee were unwilling to give police some of the powers the Senate did, however, such as allowing secret "sneak and peak" searches of suspects' homes. 

Until Friday, the House also had put the burden on the government to prove that an alien suspect was a terrorist instead of making the suspect prove he was not. Also dropped was an earlier House insistence that police get a court order before seizing business and phone records in terrorism investigations. 

The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the legislation. "Most Americans do not
recognize that Congress has just passed a bill that would give the government expanded power to invade our privacy, imprison people without due process and punish dissent," said Laura Murphy, director of the the group's Washington office. 

With the Senate gone for the weekend and no final resolution possible, Democrats argued that the House should wait until Monday before passing the 175-page bill so that members could read it. 

"This could be the Gulf of Tonkin resolution for civil liberties, instead of a measure meant to fight terrorism," said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. Because of a reported attack on two U.S. warships, Congress gave President Johnson a free hand in August 1964 to strike back at attacks on U.S. forces in Southeast Asia, which Johnson used to greatly expand the Vietnam War. 

With the government daily looking at new terrorist threats, however, Republicans argued there was no time to wait. 

"This is the same bill that the Senate passed last night. It's the same bill that has been
available for a few weeks," said Rep. David Weldon, R-Fla. "These are not new issues." 

Differences probably will have to be worked out among House, Senate and White House negotiators, but key lawmakers promised finding a compromise won't require the year it took to finish anti-terrorism legislation after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. "We will complete that conference quickly," said the Senate Judiciary chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. 

House Republicans continued to balk at considering legislation Bush requested for improving security at airports and aboard airliners. 

The Senate passed legislation Thursday that would make passenger and security gate
baggage screeners at all major airports federal employees. Some House GOP leaders vigorously oppose the idea but admit they have fewer votes than those who support it. 

"I'm not taking the Senate bill up, period," said Transportation Committee Chairman Don Young, R-Alaska. 

After Bush administration officials agreed earlier to the Senate language on federalizing
aviation security workers, White House officials said Friday they now don't like it and want the Senate to reconsider. 

"It's fair to say the president has broad authority here, and if the Congress is unable to act, the president does want to make certain that aviation security is attended to," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. 

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., head of the Transportation aviation subcommittee, said he would introduce his own bill that puts the federal government in charge of supervising but not hiring airport screeners. 

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KEY ADDRESS BY DR. FIDEL CASTRO RUZ,
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA,
AT A MASSIVE DEMONSTRATION
COMMEMORATING THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE TERRORIST ACT AGAINST A CUBANA
JETLINER OFF THE COAST OF BARBADOS.

REVOLUTION SQUARE
OCTOBER 6, 2001

Fellow countrymen:

History can be unpredictable and move along strange
labyrinths. Twenty-five years ago, in this very same square,
we bid a final farewell to a small number of coffins. They
contained tiny fragments of human remains and personal
belongings of some of the 57 Cubans, 11 Guyanese --most of
them students on scholarships in Cuba-- and five North Korean
cultural officials who were the victims of a brutal and
inconceivable act of terrorism. What was particularly moving
was the death of almost the entire Cuban juvenile fencing
team, both women and men, coming home with every single one of
the gold medals awarded in this sport at a Central American
and Caribbean tournament. A million of our fellow countrymen,
with tears filling their eyes and running down their cheeks,
gathered here to bid a more symbolic than actual farewell to
our brothers and sisters whose bodies rested on the ocean
floor.

Nobody, except for a group of friendly personalities and
institutions, shared our pain and sorrow. There was no
upheaval around the world, no acute political crises, no
United Nations meetings, nor the imminent threat of war.

Perhaps, few people in the world understood the terrible
significance of that event. How important could it be that a
Cuban jetliner was blown up in mid-flight with 73 people
aboard? It was almost a common occurrence. Thousands of Cubans
had already died in La Coubre, the Escambray Mountains, the
Bay of Pigs, and in hundreds of other terrorist acts, pirate
attacks and similar actions, had they not? Who could pay any
attention to the denunciations of this tiny country? All that
was needed, apparently, was a simple denial from the powerful
neighbor and their media, which inundate the world, and the
matter was forgotten.

Who could have predicted that almost exactly 25 years later, a
war with totally unpredictable consequences would be on the
verge of breaking out as a result of an equally heinous
terrorist attack, which claimed the lives of thousands of
innocent people in the United States? Back then, in what now
appears to be a tragic omen, innocent people from various
countries died; this time, there were victims from 86 nations.

Then, as now, there was hardly anything left of the victims.
In Barbados, not a single body could be recovered and in New
York, only a few were and not all of them identifiable. In
both cases, the families were left with an appalling emptiness
and infinite grief; a deep indignation and an unbearable
sorrow was brought on the peoples of both nations. It had not
been an accident, a mechanical failure or a human error; these
were both deliberate acts, planned and executed in cold blood.

There were, however, a few differences between the monstrous
crime in Barbados and the abhorrent, unimaginable terrorist
attack against the American people. In the United States, the
act was the work of fanatics willing to die alongside their
victims, while in Barbados it was the work of mercenaries who
did not run the slightest risk. In the United States, the main
goal of the perpetrators was not that of killing the
passengers. They hijacked the planes to attack the Twin Towers
and the Pentagon, albeit absolutely mindless of the death of
the innocent traveling with them. In Barbados, the basic
objective of the mercenaries was to kill the passengers. In
both cases, the anguish suffered by the travelers in those
final minutes of their lives, particularly the passengers on
the fourth plane hijacked in the United States -who already
knew what had happened in New York and Washington- must have
been unbearable, the same as that of the crew and passengers
of the Cuban plane during the desperate attempt to land when
it was clearly impossible for them to do so. There were clear
demonstrations of courage and determination in both cases as
well: in Barbados, we learned of them through the recorded
voices of the Cuban crew; in the United States, through
subsequent reports on the attitude assumed by the passengers.
There is moving filmed footage of the horrific events in New
York. As for the explosion of the plane off the coasts of
Barbados and its plunge into the sea, there could not be, and
there is not, so much as a photograph. The only testimony
lefts are the recordings of the dramatic communications
between the crew of the doomed aircraft and the Barbados
airport control tower.

This was the first time in the history of Latin America that
such an act had been promoted from abroad. Actually, the
systematic use of such politically motivated ruthless and
fearsome practices and procedures was initiated in this
hemisphere against our country. But, it was preceded in 1959
by another equally absurd and irresponsible practice: that of
hijacking and diverting planes in mid-flight, a phenomenon
that was practically unknown in the world at the time. The
first of such acts involved a DC-3 passenger plane bound from
Havana to the Isle of Youth. It was hijacked by a few former
members of Batista's tyranny repressive corps, who forced the
pilot to change course and fly them to Miami. This happened on
April 16, 1959, less than four months after the triumph of the
Revolution. The perpetrators were never punished.

Between 1959 and 2001, a total of 51 Cuban jetliners were
hijacked and most of them diverted to the United States. Many
of these hijacked aircraft were never returned to our country
despite the fact that not a few pilots, guards and other
people were murdered or injured. Also, several planes were
destroyed or seriously damaged in frustrated hijacking
attempts. The consequence of this was that the plague of
"skyjacking" soon spread throughout the United States itself.
For the most varied reasons, a number of individuals -the vast
majority of them mentally unbalanced, thrill-seekers or common
criminals, from both the United States and Latin America-
started to hijack airplanes using guns, knives, Molotov
cocktails, and on a number of occasions, simple bottles of
water, which they claimed contained gasoline and would be used
to set fire to the plane. Thanks to the painstaking care of
our authorities, not a single accident occurred upon landing.
The passengers always received proper treatment and were
immediately returned to their places of origin.

The majority of hijackings and diversions of Cuban aircraft
took place between 1959 and 1973. Faced with the risk of a
major catastrophe in the United States or Cuba -given that
there were even hijackers who, once they had the plane under
control, threatened to fly it into the Oak Ridge nuclear power
station [in the United States] if their demands were not met-
the Government of Cuba took the initiative of approaching the
Government of the United States --led at the time by President
Richard Nixon, with William Rogers as Secretary of State-- and
proposing an agreement to deal with cases of aircraft
hijacking and maritime piracy. The proposal was accepted, and
the agreement was quickly drawn up and signed by
representatives of both governments on February 16, 1973. It
was also immediately published in our country's press and
given wide coverage. That rational and well thought-out
agreement established heavy sanctions against hijackers of
planes and boats, and it did serve as a deterrent. From that
date forward, there was a considerable reduction in the
hijacking of Cuban planes, and for more than ten years, every
attempted hijacking in our country was foiled. However, the
brutal terrorist attack that led to the explosion of the Cuban
plane in mid-flight dealt a devastating blow to that exemplary
and effective agreement. The Cuban government, faced with this
inconceivable act of aggression that had taken place as part
of a new wave of terrorist acts unleashed against Cuba in late
1975, denounced the agreement, in full accordance with the
clauses stipulated therein. Nevertheless, it did continue to
abide by the procedures set forth to prevent the hijackings of
U.S. planes, including the application of heavy sanctions,
which had been considerably stepped up as a result of the
agreement, with sentences of up to 20 years imprisonment. Even
before the agreement was signed, Cuban courts had been
applying the sanctions provided in our own Penal Code against
hijackers, although these had been less severe.

Despite the rigorous application of sanctions, a few other
American jetliners were hijacked and diverted to our country.
Then, the Government of Cuba, after issuing duly advanced
warnings, decided to return two hijackers to the United
States; thus, on September 18, 1980, they were delivered to
the authorities of that country.

Our records show that between September 1968 and December
1984, there were 71 cases of airplanes hijacked and diverted
to Cuba. Sixty-nine participants in these hijackings faced
trials in courts of law and were given prison sentences
ranging between three and five years. Subsequently, after the
signing of the 1973 agreement, sentences ranged between 10 and
20 years. As a result of these measures adopted by Cuba, the
fact is that for the last 17 years there has not been a single
further hijacking or diversion of an U.S. plane to Cuba.

On the other hand, what has been the stance of successive U.S.
administrations? Since 1959, until today, the U.S. authorities
have not sanctioned a single one of the hundreds of
individuals who have hijacked and diverted dozens of Cuban
aircraft to that country, not even those have committed murder
in the course of the hijacking.

It is impossible to conceive of a greater lack of basic
reciprocity, or a greater incitement to the hijacking of
planes and boats. This unbending policy has remained unchanged
throughout more than four decades and continues to be
maintained today, without a single exception.

The constructive agreement on the hijacking of planes and
boats signed between the governments of Cuba and the United
States, whose results were immediately evident, was seemingly
accepted by the top leaders of the terrorist groups. Some had
actively cooperated or participated in the organization of
irregular warfare through armed gangs that, at times, had
expanded to the six former provinces of Cuba. The majority of
them had been recruited by the U.S. government in the days of
the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Missile Crisis, and in later
years. They participated in all manner of violent actions,
particularly assassination plots and terrorist attacks, that
did not leave out a single sphere of the country's economic
and social life, a single method, a single procedure, a single
weapon.

They were taken to all kinds of institutions, schools and
training programs, sometimes to be trained, sometimes to be
kept busy.

Dramatic events like the assassination of President Kennedy
led to in-depth investigations, like that carried out by an
U.S. Senate Committee. The embarrassing situations and major
scandals that resulted forced a change in tactics, although
there was never really any change in the policy towards Cuba.
As a consequence, after periods of relative calm, new waves of
terrorism have continued to break out.

This is exactly what happened in late 1975. The Church
Commission had presented its famous report on assassination
plots against the leaders of Cuba and other countries on
November 20 of that year, therefore, the Central Intelligence
Agency could not continue assuming direct responsibility for
assassination plots and terrorist acts against Cuba. The
solution was simple: their most trustworthy and best-trained
terrorist personnel would adopt the form of independent
groups, which would act on their own behalf and under their
own responsibility. This led to the sudden emergence of a
bizarre coordinating organization, called the CORU, and made
up by the main terrorist groups in operation, which as a rule
were fiercely divided, due to leadership ambitions and
personal interests. A wave of violent terrorist actions was
then unleashed. To mention just a few, chosen from among the
numerous and significant terrorist acts carried out during
this new stage, I could point out the following that took
place in a period of just four months:

- A pirate attack by speedboats from Florida against two
fishing boats, leading to the death of a fisherman and serious
damage to the boats, on April 6, 1976.

- A bomb planted in the Cuban embassy in Portugal, which
caused the death of two diplomatic officials, serious injuries
to others, and the total destruction of the premises, on April
22.

- An explosive attack against the UN Cuban Mission, causing
serious material damages, on June 5.

- The explosion of a bomb on the cart carrying the luggage
that was about to be loaded on a Cubana Airlines flight at the
Kingston, Jamaica, airport on July 9.

- The explosion of a bomb in the British West Indies Air Ways
offices in Barbados, which represented Cubana Airlines in that
country, on July 10.

- The murder of a fishing industry specialist during the
attempted kidnapping of the Cuban Consul in Mérida, Mexico, on
July 24.

- The abduction and vanishing of two Cuban embassy officials
in Argentina, on August 9; both disappeared without a trace.

- The explosion of a bomb in the Cubana Airlines offices in
Panama City, causing considerable damage, on August 18.

Obviously, this was real war. Numerous attacks were aimed at
commercial airlines. Even the New York Times and the U.S. News
and World Report described it as a new wave of terrorism
against Cuba. The groups that made up the CORU, which began to
operate in the first months of 1976, although it was not
officially founded until June of that year, issued public
statements in the United States claiming responsibility for
every one of the terrorist acts they perpetrated. They sent
their war dispatches -as they themselves called them- from
Costa Rica to the Miami press. One of their publications
printed an article entitled "War Dispatch" recounting the
destruction of a Cuban embassy. That was the day they did not
hesitate in publishing a particularly significant communiqué
signed by the five terrorist groups that made up the CORU:
"Very soon we will attack airplanes in mid-flight."

To carry out their attacks, the CORU terrorists freely used as
the main bases for their operations the territories of the
United States, Puerto Rico, Somoza's Nicaragua, and Pinochet's
Chile.

Only eight weeks later, the Cuban jetliner would be blown up
in mid-flight off the coasts of Barbados with 73 people
aboard.

Hernán Ricardo and Freddy Lugo were the two Venezuelan
mercenaries who planted the bomb during the Trinidad and
Tobago-Barbados leg of the flight. They got off the plane in
Barbados and returned to Trinidad, where they were arrested
and immediately confessed to their involvement.

The Barbados police commissioner declared before an
investigative committee that Ricardo and Lugo had confessed
that they were working for the CIA. He added that Ricardo had
pulled out a CIA card and another one where the rules for the
use of C-4 plastic explosives were described.

On October 24, 1976, The New York Times indicated that "the
terrorists who launched a wave of attacks in seven countries
during the last two years were the product and instruments of
the CIA."

The Washington Post noted that confirmed contacts with the
U.S. embassy in Venezuela "cast doubt" on the statement issued
on October 15 by U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, with
regard to the claim that "no one related to the U.S.
government had anything to do with the sabotage of the
airplane" from Cuba. A correspondent from the Mexican daily
Excelsior commented from Port of Spain that "with the
confession made by Hernán Ricardo Lozano, the Venezuelan
detained here in Trinidad, about his responsibility in the
attack on a Cubana aircraft that crashed off the coast of
Barbados with 73 people aboard, a major anti-Castro terrorist
network that is somehow linked with the CIA is on the verge of
exposure."

Le Monde wrote that the CIA connection with Cuban-born
terrorist groups that moved about freely on U.S. soil was
public knowledge.

Many of the world's most respected news publications expressed
the same view.

Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, who masterminded the
terrorist crime, had links with the CIA dating back to 1960.
They were arrested and submitted to a dubious trial plagued
with irregularities amidst enormous pressures. The Venezuelan
magistrate, Dr. Delia Estaba Moreno, initiated legal
proceedings against them for murder, manufacture and use of
firearms, and forging and carrying of false documents. But,
her honesty and integrity provoked a violent reaction among
the extreme right-wing political mobsters.

General Elio García Barrios, the presiding judge of the
Military Appeal Court, maintained a steadfast and determined
stance, thanks to which the two terrorists were forced to
spend a number of years in prison. But, the Miami terrorist
mob took revenge by riddling one of his sons with bullets in
1983.

Posada Carriles was rescued by the Cuban-American National
Foundation, that sent 50,000 dollars via Panama to finance his
escape, which was successfully carried out on August 18, 1985.
In a matter of hours, he turned up in El Salvador. He was
visited there, having barely arrived, by the top leaders of
the Foundation. Those were the days of the dirty war in
Nicaragua. He immediately began to execute important tasks
under direct orders of the White House, in the air supply of
weapons and explosives to the Contras in Nicaragua. The cold
figure of 73 innocent people murdered in Barbados could not
possibly express the significance and magnitude of the
tragedy.

Certainly, Americans will better understand by comparing the
population of Cuba 25 years ago with that of the United States
on September 11, 2001. The death of 73 people aboard a Cuban
jetliner blown up in mid-flight is to the U.S. people as if
seven American jetliners, with over 300 hundred passengers
each, had been destroyed in full flight the same day, at the
same time, by a terrorist conspiracy.

We could still go further and say that if we were to consider
the 3,478 Cubans who have perished in over four decades as a
result of acts of aggression --including the invasion by the
Bay of Pigs as well as all the other terrorist acts sustained
by Cuba, which originated in the United States-- it would be
as if 88,434 people had died in that country, that is, a
figure almost similar to the number of Americans who died in
the Korean and Vietnam wars combined.

This denunciation we are making here today is not inspired in
either hate or rancor. I understand that American officials do
not even want to hear us raise these embarrassing issues. They
say that we simply should look ahead.

However, it would be senseless not to look back at the sources
of errors whose repetition should be avoided, and at the
causes of major human tragedies, wars and other calamities
that, perhaps, could have been prevented. There should not be
innocent deaths anywhere in the world.

This massive demonstration against terrorism has been called
to pay homage and tribute to the memory of our brothers and
sisters who died off the coasts of Barbados 25 years ago, but
also to express our solidarity with the thousands of innocent
people who died in New York and Washington. We are here to
condemn the brutal crime committed against them while
supporting the search for ways conducive to a real and lasting
eradication of terrorism, to the prevalence of peace and
against the development of a bloody and open-ended war.

I am deeply convinced that relations between the terrorist
groups created by the United States in the first 15 years of
the Revolution, to act against Cuba, and the U.S authorities
have never been severed.

In a day such as this, it is only right that we ask what will
be done about Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, the main
culprits of the obnoxious terrorist act perpetrated in
Barbados; and what about those who planned and financed the
bombs that were set up in hotels of the country's capital and
have been restlessly trying, for over four decades, to murder
Cuban leaders.

It is not too much to ask that justice be done, for these
professional terrorists, acting from inside the very territory
of the United States, have not ceased to apply their
despicable methods against our people to sow terror and to
destroy the economy of a harassed and blockaded nation, one
from which terrorist devices have never come --not even a gram
of explosives-- to blast in the United States. Never has an
American been injured or killed, nor has a facility big or
small in that large and rich country ever suffered the least
damage from any action coming from Cuba. As we are involved in
the worldwide struggle against terrorism, --committed to take
part alongside the United Nations and the rest of the
international community-- we have the full moral authority and
the right to demand the end of terrorism against Cuba. The
economic warfare, itself a genocide and a brutal act to which
our people have been subjected for more than 40 years, should
also end.

Our brothers and sisters who died in Barbados are no longer
only our martyrs, they are also symbols in the struggle
against terrorism. They rise today like giants in this
historic battle for the eradication of terrorism from Earth,
that repulsive procedure that has caused so much damage and
brought so much suffering to their closest relatives and their
people that have already written unprecedented pages in the
history of their Homeland and their times.

The sacrifice of their lives has not been useless. Injustice
starts to shake before the eyes of a forceful and virile
nation that 25 years ago cried out of indignation and sorrow,
and that today cry out of emotion, of hope and pride in
remembering them.

History, that can be unpredictable, has wanted it that way.

On behalf of the martyrs of that day in Barbados, let us say:

Socialism or Death!

Homeland or Death!

We shall overcome!

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CANADA/DENMARK: Scientists create Environpigs to cut
farming costs and save the environment
10 Oct 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team


Canadian and Danish researchers have developed GM Enviropigs, which efficiently
digest dietary phosphorus and thus solve the biggest environmental problem facing hog
producers. 

Animals who digest dietary phosphorus in their regular diet excrete around 50% less
phosphorus. Farmers use high-phosphorus pig manure for fertilizer, but it pollutes lakes and streams and promotes algae growth, and therefore many buy costly phosphorus feed supplements.

At the Canadian University of Guelph, Profs Cecil Forsberg and John Phillips, with
graduate Serguei Golovan, constructed developed the GM pigs by splicing the
promoter-enhancer region from a mouse salivary gland protein gene together with the
enzyme phytase, which allows animals to digest phosphorus. This composite gene,
designed to direct the secretion of phytase into the saliva of pigs, was first tested in
mice and found to be successful. 

Danish researchers from the Institute for Molecular and Structural Biology of the
University of Aarhus "borrowed" a gene from the E. Coli bacteria, combined it with
mouse DNA and implanted the transgene into pig embryos, which were transferred into surrogate sows. 

The experiment produced 33 piglets last summer, which produce phytase in their saliva. 

As well as reducing the costs for farmers, the level of environmentally hazardous
phosphorus in their manure is greatly reduced, making them environmentally friendly. 

Phillips and Forsberg stressed however that the real test will come this spring, when the first baby Enviropigs will be born. If these offspring carry the transgene from their
parents, then the research team will test their Enviropig herd to determine how
successful the pigs are at recovering phosphorus from their feed, and identify any
possible side effects to the genetic modification. 

By Penny Leese, just-food.com correspondent

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US House votes US$50bn boost in farm subsidies
08 Oct 2001
Source: Reuters

By Charles Abbott

The House of Representatives passed a $73 billion overhaul of U.S. farm policy on
Friday that would assure growers of a vast increase in crop subsidies, plus billions of
dollars more whenever markets slump.

Grain, cotton and soybean growers would be guaranteed an additional $49 billion in
subsidies over 10 years, an unprecedentedly long life for a farm bill. The House wants
to replace the 1996 "Freedom to Farm" law a year early.

The bill now goes to the Senate, which has yet to write its version. Senate Agriculture
Committee Chairman Tom Harkin supports "green" payments of up to $50,000 a year to
farmers who make conservation a daily part of their work.

It would put the farm program, which relies on crop supports to bolster farm income, on
a new path. Prospects for change in direction were dimmed, however, when the House
refused, 226-200, to raid crop supports so conservation spending could be tripled.

Lawmakers rebuffed the White House as well when they passed the bill, 291-120. The
administration has endorsed green payments and warned earlier this week the farm bill
unwisely would lock in high crop subsidies when money might be needed for national
security or economic stimulus following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Written every few years, farm bills set federal policy on crop subsidies, public nutrition,
exports, conservation, food safety and agricultural research programs.

"I would love to see this bill become law," House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry
Combest said. House passage "certainly (puts) pressure on the Senate to act ... We
could put the farm bill into law this year."

Private analyst Randy Russell said it was unclear how much longer Congress would be
in session. If it is only a few more weeks, "it just makes it harder" to enact a new law
this year.

Under the House bill, farmers would receive an additional $49 billion in guaranteed
annual subsidies through 2011, a 64 percent boost from current levels. A tool from the
past, "target prices," would trigger additional billions of dollars whenever market prices
slumped.

"It's a major step away from 'Freedom to Farm,'" said Combest, a Texas Republican,
because the new supports would undergird farm income after four years of low grain
prices.

Critics described the bill as a throwback to open-ended, expensive subsidies of the
past. They said a $16 billion increase in conservation was inadequate to meet
environmental needs.

Larger conservation spending, which supporters argue is a fairer way to reach a larger
number of farmers and to encourage stewardship, became the major alternative,
although it was rejected.

"Probably next time, we'll deal with it," said New York Republican Sherwood Boehlert,
who offered an amendment that was defeated which would have tripled conservation
spending. "The big guys are getting too much, even under our program."

Large farmers in the South and in the Plains states get the lion's share of crop subsidies
because supports are based on volume of grain, cotton and oilseed output. Ranchers
and fruit and vegetable growers are not eligible for direct benefits.

The Bush administration had said the House bill "misses the opportunity to modernize the
nation's farm programs through market-oriented tools, innovative environmental
programs, including extending benefits to working lands, and aid programs that are
consistent with our trade agenda."

Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman told reporters the administration wanted a farm bill
"that really takes a broader approach."

"I think certainly the administration's preference would have been to hold off on voting on
the House bill," she said. "And certainly, we hope to have enough time to work with the
Senate to get a very thoughtful approach to farm policy."

Harkin might unveil his farm bill before the end of next week, a farm lobbyist said, A
spokesman for the Iowa Democrat declined to set a date for a bill and reiterated that
Harkin wanted strong conservation language in the next farm law.

Any program of conservation payments on working lands could affect the more than
900 million acres, or 1.4 million square miles (364 million hectares), in farm, range and
forest land.

Work on the farm bill was dogged by attempts to create dairy compacts in 25 Northeast
and Southeastern states. Some lawmakers voted for Boehlert's amendment, which
would have diverted money outside the Midwest, Plains and South, as a protest of being
denied a vote on their issue.

A protracted struggle over compacts, which snarled a farm bailout last summer, could
slow the farm bill.

Compacts allow regional boards to set the price of "fresh" milk bound for grocery stores
above the federal level.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said, despite the boost in crop subsidies, the House
bill did not provide an adequate safety net for farmers. The South Dakota Democrat
called for "fair competition" rules for farmers dealing with agribusinesses.

Minnesota-based analyst Alan Roebke said the House bill "doesn't address the problem"
of low prices and high cost to taxpayers. 


© Reuters 2001.

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Rapid City Journal: Opinions Column
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/
October 8, 2001

Native American Day
By The Journal editorial board


While other states mark this day on their calendar as Columbus Day, here in
South Dakota we call it Native American Day. Our unique holiday honors our
state's largest minority and got its start in 1990, the centennial year of
the Wounded Knee Massacre that ended with brutal finality the wars against
the Plains Indians.

Some might say, indeed many have said, that the Indian wars never really
ended, that American Indians fight their own battles for respect,
recognition and equality each and every day. It was just 22 months ago that
the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a hearing in Rapid City in which
many Indian speakers told of the prejudice they experience in their everyday
lives.

South Dakota began celebrating Native American Day in the hope of improving
race relations. We hope that has been a positive result of the holiday. Of
course, it takes more than changing the name of a holiday to make real
progress in race relations.

Indians make up only 8.3 percent of the state and statewide number a little
more than the population of Rapid City, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
But our state's heritage is certainly much richer because of its Indian
population.

That rich cultural heritage was celebrated at this weekend's 15th annual
Black Hills Powwow at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Those who stopped by
participate or just to look were treated to a colorful display of regalia,
traditional songs, drums and dances, and unique artistry.

Setting aside one day in the year to honor American Indians and their
contributions to our American mosaic isn't enough by itself to improve race
relations. Native American Day does, however, serve to remind ourselves that
we should treat everyone equally while respecting our differences.

---
Copyright 2001, Rapid City Journal

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