From William Buster

SON OF LUMUMBA PUT BELGIUM ON TRAIL

The family of Patrice Lumumba are sueing the Belgium government for the 
murder of Congo's independence hero

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Days after burying one assassinated leader, the Democratic Republic of Congo 
is to rake over the bones of another. The son of the murdered independence leader Patrice Lumumba went to court in  Kinshasa last week to sue Belgium, Congo’s former colonial master, for  killing his father.

The hearing was originally due on January 17, the 40th anniversary of  Lumumba’s death, but it was delayed by the assassination of president  Laurent Desiré Kabila, who always claimed that he had modelled himself as one Congo’s first elected prime minister.

The parallel case was due to be heard in a Belgian court this week.

Roland Lumumba (43), the nationalist leader’s youngest son, says he is  bringing the action against Belgium, several Belgian individuals and a CIA  officer in an effort to establish the truth about his father’s death.

It has long been suspected that Belgium ordered Lumumba’s death, and its  role has been highlighted recently by a film and several books.

The Assassination of Lumumba, by the Flemish expert on Africa, Lugo de  Witte, claimed that Patrice Lumumba was assaulted in the presence of Belgian  officers, tortured in a villa guarded by Belgian troops, and shot by an  execution squad supervised by a Belgian captain.

His body was later exhumed by a Belgian police commissioner, Gerard Soete,  and dissolved in acid. Soete admitted on Belgian television last year that  he had kept two of the victim’s teeth, prompting calls for their return to  Congo. He insisted that he had later thrown them into the North Sea.

“We are doing this not for revenge but to know the truth,” said Roland  Lumumba, whose case is being funded by the Belgian organisation Affaire  Patrice Emery Lumumba. “They have hidden it for 40 years and that is now  enough.”

Patrice Lumumba, a postal worker who became an inspirational  anti-colonialist leader, was released from jail in 1960 to help negotiate  independence terms. Six months later he became Congo’s first elected prime  minister at the age of 35, charged with holding together a country the size  of Western Europe.

“Before Lumumba there were only tribal and ethnic movements in Congo,” said  Roland Lumumba. “He began the fight for freedom and unity.”

Belgium, hoping to extend its influence in Congo to exploit its natural  resources, preferred the country weak and divided, and encouraged the  province of Katanga, rich in copper and diamonds, to secede.

As Soviet troops began to arrive in Kinshasa, Patrice Lumumba’s protege and 
army chief, Colonel Joseph-Desiré Mobutu (who later became known as Mobutu 
Sésé Séko), turned to the United States instead, then seized power, 
beginning a corrupt 32-year dictatorship.

Patrice Lumumba was murdered together with two political followers, whose 
families are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Embarrassed by the media interest, Belgium set up a parliamentary commission 
last year to examine the various claims that it had ordered and carried out 
Patrice Lumumba’s murder.

“A group of experts, mainly historians, is examining documents to establish 
the responsibility of Belgium and maybe others,” said Michel Malherbe, 
deputy representative of the Belgian Foreign Ministry. “It will be a 
long-term process and there are definitely no plans for a report any time 
soon.”

He said he was unaware of the legal actions in Congo and Belgium.

Roland Lumumba hopes his case will force the commission’s pace.

“Though we don’t expect a lot from them, it is a start,” he said. “But we 
hope they will now produce the documents.”

It was natural that in the case of someone of Patrice Lumumba’s calibre, 
“who died doing his duty”, and “with accusations flying here and there”, 
someone should demand a trial to find out exactly what happened.

Mbu ne Letang Ntwa-Me-Zo, Roland Lumumba’s lawyer, said: “The death of 
Lumumba was the origin of our problems over 40 years.

“We want this trial to force the Belgium government to give us all the 
evidence surrounding the assassination. The truth will be established and 
sanctions will follow.” The families of Lumumba and the men murdered with 
him are suing for a nominal sum, but they say they reserve the right to 
amend this as more evidence comes to light.

But the case is not about money, says Roland Lumumba.

“If this was about money we would have gone to Mobutu: he knew how to give 
money away,” he said — a reference to the dictator’s legendary corruption.

“Lumumba said the history of Congo will be written not in New York or Paris 
but here, and we are trying to learn that history. For me this is not 
personal.

“We have a duty to our children at least to try to find out the truth.”



-- The Mail&Guardian, February 6, 2001.

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Can we take open markets for granted?

Remarks by John J. Sweeney,
World Economic Forum - Davos, Switerland

January 28, 2000

<http://www.zmag.org/LaborWatch.htm>

Thank you, Chairman Barnevik. I am delighted to join the distinguished members of this panel to express the views of working families in the United States including 40
million people who live in union households about the future of open markets and free trade.

Surely, whatever our disagreements, we can all agree that neither the existence of open markets nor their value can or should be taken for granted. The rules must be
defined; the benefits must be demonstrated. We must ask ourselves: what is the fundamental test of globalization?

It's not whether markets are more open or less open. That mistakes the means for the end. The end is human development. The fundamental question is whether
globalization is helping to lift the poor from poverty; whether it is empowering the many, not just the few; whether its blessings are shared widely; whether it works
for working people.

The global market that has been forged in the last decades is now being called to account. The recent global financial crisis was an economic five-alarm fire. Seattle
provided a political wake-up call. Both suggest the current course cannot be taken for granted, and should not be.

Yes, globalization is creating vast new wealth, but financial crises are growing more frequent and severe, and inequality is rising, as the UN reports, both among
and within nations. This means that the seeds for rejection of globalization are in every political system, in developed nations as well as developing nations.

Freedom, as Nobel prize-winner Amartya Sen teaches us, is
both the object and the means of development. Yet more direct private investment goes to developing nations that are not democratic than to those that are even when China is not counted in the calculation.

That is why Seattle is so important. The protests in the streets by workers, environmentalists, farmers, and students from across the world were mirrored by the anger inside the hall from developing country delegates who felt just as locked out as the demonstrators. As Joseph Stiglitz reminds us, if we care about equitable,
sustainable development, then the impact on people not only incomes, but the environment, health, food safety and democratic participation as well as 
urgent issues such as debt forgiveness, can no longer simply be left to chance.

Understand the message of Seattle. It wasn't an isolationist rejection of open markets; it was a call for new global rules. Workers North and South marched together. And the many different voices made one clear statement: the current course cannot be sustained; fundamental reform is needed.

Clearly, we have to do better. If we do not if the global system continues to generate growing inequality, environmental destruction and a race to the bottom for working people then I can assure you, it will generate an increasingly volatile reaction that will make Seattle look tame.

All of us need to think anew. Leaders of the global institutions face a legitimacy crisis that cannot be solved by better public relations. Their institutions will become more accountable, or more irrelevant. Leaders of developing nations face a growing inequality of income and hope. They should not be forced into one economic
strait-jacket. For they will either find ways to empower workers and protect the environment, or face growing popular resistance.

Global non-governmental organizations raise fundamental concerns. Now it is important for the NGOs to go from opposing what is, to proposing what can be. They must not assume that the price of development requires cashing in
basic human rights. Heads of global corporations and banks must not be misled by their own rhetoric. They will be held accountable for how they do business by
consumers, by workers, by governments. Leaders of the corporate community should join the effort to build enforceable laws that put limits on cut-throat competition. It is in the self-interest of multinational corporations and the governments that regulate them to
have rules that are agreed upon by all. Labor leaders across the world also must change to meet the new challenges. At the AFL-CIO, we know that we have to
deepen our own growing internationalism, and develop new sophistication in bargaining and organizing across national lines. We also recognize that we must join our voices with those in developing countries calling for high-road development strategies. We must work to ensure that developing countries are no longer crippled by unpayable debt burdens, and that they have the resources they need to engage in trade negotiations on an equal footing as well as the technical support to implement and enforce labor and environmental standards.

Seattle marked a crossroads. Now, joined by millions of others across the world, we pledge not to rest, but to continue to press for core workers' rights that are the basis of economic freedom and equitable development. In this panel, in this conference, I realize I raise a minority voice. But these views are shared by a broad and growing majority both in the United States, where voters overwhelmingly believe that workers' rights and environmental protections should be enforced in the global economy, and across the world, by working people whose voices too often go unheard in meeting halls such as this one.

Here, let us all agree on one thing: that business as usual cannot be the order of the day. This global economy will either be reformed or face ever greater resistance.

(John L. Sweeney is the President of the AFL-CIO.)

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From Ted Glick, IPPN

USA Today, February 5, 2001

Spoiler-free elections

Life isn't very happy these days for the ''spoilers'' from November's
elections.

As reported by USA TODAY last week, Democrats in Congress are shunning
their old consumer-advocate comrade in arms, Ralph Nader, because he
siphoned off enough voters to cost Al Gore the election. If just a
fraction of Nader backers in Florida and New Hampshire had gone for
Gore, he would have won both states, and a majority of the Electoral
College.

While not widely reported, GOP renegade Patrick Buchanan played a
similar role. Bush lost New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin and Oregon by
margins so small that Buchanan's votes could have given him victory. If
Bush hadn't eked out a court-ordered edge in Florida, Republicans would
be denouncing Buchanan just as Democrats do Nader.

Clearly, both parties have a stake in changing the system - ideally
without making it harder for third-party and independent candidates to
get on the ballot.

Some states, notably in the South, already require runoffs between the
top two candidates if no one gets 50% of the vote in a primary or
election for state office. Many other countries elect presidents that
way. Thus whoever wins can legitimately claim to have majority support.
But second campaigns are expensive and would result in even more
special-interest money tainting the process.

Two California cities, Oakland and San Leandro, just adopted a better
way for local elections, called ''instant runoff voting.'' Under it,
voters rank the candidates 1, 2, 3 in order of preference. Voters thus
could support both a Nader and a Gore, both a Buchanan and a Bush, or
any other combination.

If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the count is
over and that candidate wins. If not, the last-place finisher is
eliminated. Ballots cast for that candidate are counted for voters' next
choice, until someone has a clear majority. Australia and Ireland have
used the system for decades.

In Alaska, instant runoff is to be on the ballot for voter approval in
2002. Similar efforts are underway in New Mexico, Vermont, Washington
and elsewhere in California.

Changing presidential elections on a nationwide basis would require a
constitutional amendment, though states could adopt such changes on
their own.

Third-party candidates ought to be able to run without being labeled
spoilers, and officeholders ought to be able to say they have the
support of a clear majority of the public. Getting there, though, will
require both major parties' support for change.

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BRAZIL: Canada beef ban buries America's free trade
9 Feb 2001
Source: Reuters 



SAO PAULO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Canada's decision to ban imports of Brazilian beef on mad cow disease fears has derailed negotiations to create a free trade area spanning the Americas, a top Brazilian trade official said on Thursday.

Brazil and Latin American nations are in negotiations with Canada, Mexico and the United States - which together form the NAFTA free trade bloc - to speed up plans to erase trade barriers from the Canadian Arctic to the southern tip of
South America.

But Canada's decision Friday to ban Brazilian beef, which obliged NAFTA partners Mexico and the United States to follow suit, may have thrown a spanner in the works, slowing plans to create the Free Trade Area of the Americas, or
FTAA.

"My great doubt is how this relates to the FTAA...I think this attitude of Canada has buried the FTAA," said Brazil's Agriculture Minister Marcus Vinicius Pratini de Moraes, in a live interview with Globo television news.

Brazil, home to the world's largest cattle herd, has lashed out against Canada's ban, calling it "unacceptable and arbitrary." Brazil has never had a case of mad cow disease.

Outspoken Pratini, recently back from talks in the United States over the beef ban, said he was convinced that Canada's decision was sparked by a festering trade spat between the two.

Brazil and Canada are engaged in a five-year battle over Brazilian government subsidies to aircraft maker Embraer , arch rival of Canada's Bombardier Inc. .

"There is not the slightest doubt that this is a set-up that responds to other interests," he said. The Canadian government has refuted such allegations.

Pratini had sought to convince the U.S. government to revoke the ban before Canada does, but returned home without a clear response. Mexico said the ban could last six weeks.

Pratini said the beef ban was the latest attempt by trading partners to knock Brazil back when it encroaches on new turf.

"Brazil says, 'I am going to export soluble coffee,' wham, shoes, wham, steel, wham, more beef, wham. It's always going to be like that," he said, waving his hands.

Canada plans to send a trade mission to Brazil to inspect beef installations, a move Brazil said was a "positive step" and a return to a civilised way of looking at things.

(C) Reuters Limited 2001. 

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USA: US food, agri-stocks on mad cow watch
7 Feb 2001
Source: Reuters 

By Deborah Cohen

CHICAGO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Europe's mad cow disease scare has yet to spook the U.S. investment herd away from food and agribusiness stocks, but if American consumers turn their backs on beef, there could be a stampede.

For worldwide hamburger giant McDonald's Corp., the disease has already hurt sales in one of its largest markets. But Archer Daniels Midland Co., a large producer of grain-based feed, has seen a short-term boost in its stock price on increased demand for feeds that are not beef-based.

"I think this is an evolving process," said Merrill Lynch food analyst Leonard Teitelbaum. "I don't know if it's (mad cow disease scare) stopped growing and is in decline or if it's only on its first leg."

The brain-wasting disorder, known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), has been found in European cattle and eating tainted beef is believed to have caused the deaths of more than 90 people there.

BSE has never been found in the U.S. and since 1997 the government has banned the feeding of ruminant animal parts back to cattle because this practice is believed to have helped transmit the disease in Europe.

But analysts say no matter how good a company is at quality control, the uncertainty over the future of the disease must be factored into stock prices.

And for a host of U.S. companies largely dependent on consumer confidence in the domestic beef supply, the verdict depends largely on events beyond their immediate control.

The biggest problem companies now face is the emotional reaction of consumers to media reports of the disease. Because individual cases of the disease often take a long time to show up, the risk for companies dependent on beef products cannot be fully measured, analysts said.

"The risk is that this fear is continuing," said Prudential Securities food analyst Jeffrey Kanter. "I see 30 reports on this thing a day. If it really starts to gain momentum in the (U.S.) public eye, you could see some adverse behavior on beef."

Investors are already skittish. McDonald's shares fell sharply following a recent earnings report that revealed European sales had suffered in the fourth quarter due to consumers' aversion toward hamburgers. The company uses muscle meat, believed to be safe, to make its products. That is the meat for steaks and roasts, versus variety meats, which include liver and other organs.

"There's a gap between reality and perception," said Salomon Smith Barney analyst Mark Kalinowski. Salomon believes concern among U.S. investors has heightened enough to warrant a special Tuesday conference call it hosted on the issue.

Among the panelists was Susan Combs, Texas Commissioner of Agriculture and a rancher, who assured investors of U.S. beef safeguards, including the 1989 ban on the import of meat-and-bone meal feeds from countries reporting BSE.

"We've not fed ruminant feed to cattle in years...I don't think we're going to see BSE in this country," said Combs on the call. "We have a firewall."

Still, Salomon has named a host of U.S.-based restaurants, including Wendy's International Inc., Darden Restaurants Inc. and Taco Bell parent Tricon Global Restaurants Inc. as stocks to watch.

Along with McDonald's, analysts believe that No. 2 U.S. hamburger maker Burger King Co., a unit of U.K.-based food conglomerate Diageo Plc, has suffered. The chain, which is readying for an initial stock offering, might see investors'
appetite wane, should the public sentiment carry across the Atlantic, analysts said.

Sara Lee Corp., a large multinational which sells processed meat in Europe, had said it saw some adverse affect on its European sales. But public confidence in the U.S. beef supply has sustained the stocks of large meat packers such as IBP Inc. and ConAgra Foods Inc..

"So far, I don't think it's had an impact on our stocks," said Prudential's Kanter. In a recent report, however, he stressed that "should the U.S. consumer begin to lose their appetite for beef, companies like ConAgra, IBP and Cargill could be in for
some difficult times." Cargill is one of the world's largest privately-held companies.

Advocates of the U.S. beef industry, including the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, have begun vigilant public awareness efforts to show that the government and the industry have developed a range of safeguards to ensure the disease never crosses U.S. borders. Last week, the U.S. joined Canada and Mexico in banning imports of Brazilian beef as a precaution, though no mad cow has been reported there.

But the American public is so dependent on beef that even moderate sales downturn of one or two percent could be devastating to markets, analysts said. Last year, on average, Americans ate about 66.2 pounds of beef per person.

"I think it could really have a major impact," said Robert Goldin, a consultant with Technomic Inc., a market research firm focused on food industry trends. "I wouldn't be to quick to dismiss it having an impact in the U.S."

What is bad news for some U.S. companies could be a windfall for others. Feed makers ADM and Corn Products International Inc. have seen demand for their grain-based feed exports to Europe rise, following Europe's December switch to non-animal based feeds.

Midwest Research food analyst Christine McCracken said that chicken producer Tyson Foods Inc. and pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc. could also get a boost if demand for non-beef exports to markets typically served by Europe rises as
European consumers eat more locally-produced chicken and pork.

A host of other companies, such as those who create the tests for mad cow disease, and companies that use rendered animal products, such as paint makers and other industrial companies, might gain, should a glut of rendered meat-and-bone-meal hit the market and drive prices lower. For now, though, it's largely a wait-and-see game, analysts said.

"If this issue continues to play out for a long time, I think it could be detrimental to many more companies," said Edward Jones analyst Patrick Schumann. 

(C) Reuters Limited 2001

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CANADA: Scientists tell Canada to be more cautious on GM food
6 Feb 2001
Source: Reuters 


By Julie Remy

TORONTO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Canada should improve testing of genetically modified food products and ensure the public is more engaged in their regulation, a panel of scientists recommended on Monday.

The 15-member panel, created in December 1999 at Ottawa's request, said the attitude of the federal government's health department, Health Canada, towards the new GM industry was not sufficiently cautious and that it was too close to major
biotech companies.

"There is a definite lack of transparency in the current process," said Dr. Brian Ellis, co-chair of the Royal Society of Canada panel and professor of biotechnology at the University of British Columbia.

He criticized the secrecy surrounding testing and regulations enacted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which he said also carries out a promotional role for biotech products. "There is a perception of conflict there, and it seems very
inappropriate to us," he said in an interview.

The 260-page report recommended creation of an independent review panel to try to ensure that experiments approved by regulatory agencies are meeting scientific standards.

As one of the world's major grain exporters, Canada is already the third most important user of transgenic crops - after the United States and Argentina - and Ellis said that half of the processed food in Canada contains extracts of transgenic
canola, soybeans and corn.

Ellis underlined the need for a long-term monitoring program and for the public to become more engaged in the process.

Health Canada official Karen Dodds told Reuters the department was examining ways to improve transparency, but was confronted with confidentiality laws that are stronger in Canada than in the United States.

"Health Canada agrees with the intention of being more transparent. It's a matter of how far we can go given current
legislation," she said.

Dodds said the government was trying to establish a surveillance system to monitor GM's long-term health effects.

Ellis regretted that Canada has not taken Europe's wait-and-see approach and has approved GM products before having all the data. "Changes are taking place so fast that we don't even have baseline data that we can compare to. We are already playing catch-up."

(C) Reuters Limited 2001.

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"Bad Hair" Year for Biotech & Factory Farming

Corporate agribusiness and the biotech industry had a "bad hair" year in 2000. After promising Wall Street that genetic engineering and American-style factory farming were about to conquer the world and that free trade, monopoly patents on living organisms, and the enforcement powers of the World Trade Organization were going to whip consumers and the world's 2.4 billion farmers and rural villagers into line, Year One of the Biotech Century turned out to be something of a disaster. Behind the bravado of public relations and the reassurances of government bureaucrats, the food industry and the Gene Giants are in serious disarray. For the first time in five years the amount of global acreage devoted to biotech crops has leveled off and appears headed in 2001 for significant decreases. Longstanding industrial agriculture
practices such as feeding antibiotics and rendered animal protein to animals are being banned in Europe and are generating controversy even in the US. The second wave of the Mad Cow crisis is sweeping across Europe, prompting a massive decline in beef sales--with recent revelations suggesting that North America may be heading for a similar crisis of its own. As Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety states, a "funny thing has happened" on the way to the hi-tech future of industrial agriculture:

"Despite untold billions spent in research and advertising, the public en masse has begun to reject this vision of industrial food and all that accompanies it. We have begun to understand that these chemical and biological techno-fixes come with hidden and terrible costs to human health and to the environment. We have seen cancer epidemics, widespread pollution of water and air, exponential loss of topsoil and biodiversity, terrible cruelty to animals and, most directly, tasteless and unhealthy food. Tens of millions of Americans have decided to vote, day after day, with their food dollars. More of us are eating organic than ever before, and organic food production is the fastest-growing segment in US agriculture today." (The Kimbrell quote is
from our new book, Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers by Ronnie Cummins & Ben Lilliston)... 

More at: http://www.purefood.org/newsletter/biod31.cfm

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Slave labor means big bucks for U.S. corporations

January 31, 2001
By Michael Schwartz
Daily Bruin
U. California-Los Angeles

(U-WIRE) LOS ANGELES -- It seemed like a normal factory closing. U.S.
Technologies sold its electronics plant in Austin, Texas, leaving its
150 workers unemployed. Everyone figured they were moving the plant to
Mexico, where they would employ workers at half the cost. But six weeks
later, the electronics plant reopened in Austin in a nearby prison.

At the same time, the United States blasts China for the the use of
prison slave labor, engaging in the same practice itself. Prison labor
is a pot of gold. No strikes, union organizing, health benefits,
unemployment insurance or workers' compensation to pay. As if exploiting
the labor of prison inmates was not bad enough, it is legal in the
United States to use slave labor. The 13th Amendment of the Constitution
states that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a
punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted
shall exist within the United States."

There are approximately 2 million people behind bars in the United
States -- more than three times the number of prisoners in 1980. The
United States now imprisons more people than any other country in the
world. In fact, in the last 20 years California has constructed 21 new
prisons while in the same amount of time, it has built only one new
university. That statistic is even more astounding when we think about
the fact that it took California almost 150 years to build its first 12
prisons. Another five new prisons are under construction and plans are
in the works to build another 10.

The question that needs to be answered is -- why? Why are prisons
such a booming business? The answer lies in the prison industrial
complex. At the same time that prisons clear the streets of those you
feel are a "threat" to society, prisons also offer jobs in construction,
guarding, administration, health, education and food service.

Prisons in impoverished areas often end up with inmates from the
local area who had previously worked in the community. Often they were
laid off from a factory job that moved overseas and they turned to
alcohol or drugs, which ultimately landed them in prison. Others are
luckier and get a job in the prison. One of the fastest-growing sectors
of the prison industrial complex is private corrections companies.
Private prisons also have an incentive to gain as many prisoners as
possible and to keep them there as long as possible.

Many corporations, whose products we consume on a daily basis, have
learned that prison labor can be as profitable as using sweatshop labor
in developing nations. You might have had a first-hand experience with a
prison laborer if you have ever booked a flight on Trans World Airlines,
since many of the workers making the phone reservations are prisoners.
Other companies that use prison labor are Chevron, IBM, Motorola,
Compaq, Texas Instruments, Honeywell, Microsoft, Victoria's Secret and
Boeing. Federal prisons operate under the trade name Unicor and use
their prisoners to make everything from lawn furniture to congressional
desks. Their Web site proudly displays "where the government shops
first."

Federal safety and health standards do not protect prison labor, nor
do the National Labor Relations Board policies. The corporations do not
even have to pay minimum wage. In California, inmates who work for the
Prison Industrial Authority earn wages between 30 and 95 cents per hour
before required deductions for restitutions and fines.

State Corrections agencies are even advertising their prisoners to
corporations by asking these questions: "Are you experiencing high
employee turnover? Worried about the cost of employee benefits? Getting
hit by overseas competition? Having trouble motivating your work force?
Thinking about expansion space? Then the Washington State Department of
Corrections Private Sector Partnerships is for you."

Prisons are being filled largely with the poor, the mentally ill,
people of color, drug addicts and many combinations of these
characteristics. They are not reserved for violent people who are
extremely dangerous to society.

In fact, of the nearly 2 million prisoners, about 150,000 are armed
robbers, 125,000 are murderers and 100,000 are sex offenders. Prisons
are certainly not filled with corporate criminals who make up only 1
percent of our nation's prisons.

In California, then-Gov. Pete Wilson signed the "three strikes and
you're out" law in 1994. The law states that if an offender has two or
more previous serious or violent felony convictions, the mandatory
sentence for any new felony conviction is 25 years to life. Though
people thought the three-strikes law was intended to protect society
from dangerous career criminals, the actual enactment of the law has
been dramatically different.

Kendall Cooke was convicted under the three-strikes law for stealing
one can of beer with two previous convictions of theft. Clarence
Malbrough was sentenced to 25 years to life for stealing batteries, a
crime that would usually send someone to jail for about 30 days. Eddie
Jordan stole a shirt from a JC Penney store, Juan Murro attempted to
steal wooden pallets from a parking lot and Michael Garcia stole a
package of steaks from a grocery store. All of these people are facing
life in prison for petty theft. They are fueling the prison industry.
They are not the exception, either.

Eighty-five percent of those sentenced under the law in California
faced prison for a nonviolent offense. Two years after the law went into
effect, there were twice as many people imprisoned under the
three-strikes law for possession of marijuana as for murder, rape and
kidnapping combined. More than 80 percent of those sentenced under the
three-strikes law are African-American and Latino.

In the 1980s, Congress established several different mandatory
minimum sentences. These laws require offenders of certain crimes to receive
fixed sentences without parole. Mandatory sentences, especially for
drugs, are largely responsible for the ever-increasing number of people
behind bars in the United States. In May of 1998, drug defendants made
up 60 percent of the federal prison population, up from 25 percent in
1980. The disproportionate number of African Americans being sent to
prison for drug use, however, is largely due to racism in the actual
mandatory minimum laws themselves.

Though crack and powdered cocaine are virtually the same drug (crack
is powder cocaine mixed with baking soda) possession of five grams of
crack gets you a mandatory five years in jail, while it takes 500 grams
of powdered cocaine to get this same sentence. The U.S. Sentencing
Commission reported that in 1995, whites accounted for 52 percent of all
crack users and African Americans, 38 percent. But just 4.1 percent of
those sentenced for crack offenses are white, while 88 percent are
African Americans. Seventy percent of our nation's prisons are made up
of African Americans.

You now know that they are there through a variety of unjust racist
laws. Corporations are happily using these people for slave labor, which
is perfectly legal under the constitution. Almost 2 million human beings
are now locked up in our nation's prisons. The vast majority are not
there because they are murderers, rapists or other violent people. They are
there because prisons are a business in this country, whether we're
talking about private prisons or private companies using prison labor.
The next time you think of prison slave labor you don't have to think of
China, think of the United States. And go take a look at the 13th
Amendment.

(C) 2001 Daily Bruin via U-WIRE

AMENDMENT XIII - SECTION 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment
for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist
within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

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JANUARY 30, 14:19 EST

Breast Feeding May Cut Cancer Risk

By DIANE SCARPONI

Associated Press Writer

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Women who breast fed their babies for two years or longer reduced their risk of breast cancer by 50 percent, a study of women in rural China found.

The study by Yale University researchers bolsters other studies in China and in the United States, and finds that the benefits are similar whether the cancer strikes before or after menopause.

Researchers said they hope the study will change cultural attitudes and encourage more American women to breast-feed for longer periods of time.

On average, less than one-third of American women continue breast-feeding until their babies are 6 months old, government statistics show. A tiny percentage of American women continue to nurse until the child is 2 years old, but in China and many other developing countries, breast-feeding for two years or more is the norm.

Researcher Tongzhang Zheng said that women cannot control many risk factors for breast cancer, such as family history and environmental factors.

``It's one factor people may be able to change,'' said Zheng, anassociate professor of epidemiology and public health at the YaleSchool of Medicine.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, looked at the medical history of 808 Chinese women in rural Shandong province from 1997 to 1999. Half of the women — who ranged in age from 30 to 80 — had had breast cancer, half had not.

The number of babies a woman breast-fed and her age at her first breast-feeding did not appear to be factors in breast cancer risk, Zheng said.

The study did not explore reasons why breast-feeding lowers the risk of breast cancer. One theory is that breast-feeding reduces exposure to estrogen and the regular female hormone cycles, Zheng said. Another theory is that fat-soluble carcinogens and pollutants are not stored as much in lactating breasts.

The study is compatible with other studies done over the years in other countries, said Dr. Ruth A. Lawrence, who teaches pediatrics at the University of Rochester.

``It's extremely valuable to do these studies and confirm studies that have been done earlier and in different populations,'' Lawrence said. She said the study was particularly interesting because it showed a reduced risk for post-menopausal women, since other studies had focused on benefits for younger women.

Research has long shown that breast-feeding also is good for babies, providing better nutrition, strengthened immune systems and fewer illnesses than a formula diet.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast-feeding for the first year of life. UNICEF and the World Health Organization recommend breast-feeding at least until age 2, supplemented with other foods.

Still, a stigma persists in the United States that discourages breast-feeding. Women who try to breast feed are subjected to leers, rude remarks and criticism, said

Katherine A. Dettwyler, an associate professor of anthropology and nutrition at Texas A&M University who has studied long-term breast-feeding.

``As long as our culture views breasts as sex objects, it's going to be difficult for women to breast-feed and have real lives,'' Dettwyler said. ``In most of the world, breasts are just for feeding babies.''

La Leche League, a breast-feeding advocacy group, encourages mothers to breast-feed for as long as the mother and baby want.

 

==========================================================

From: Boyle, Francis > fboyle@law.uiuc.edu                                                        Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2001 1:53 PM

To: 'AALS Section on Minority Grps. mailing list' (E-mail)                                  Subject: FW: Biowar in Apartheid South Africa

Dear Colleagues: I am circulating this not only to further document the international crimes of apartheid, but also because of the U.S. Government's involvement therein. (See my Defending Civil Resistance under International Law, at Amazon.com for $10). Basson rarely presented himself as a military man. At times, he was a medical researcher - that worked well enough, in 1984, to persuade the Centers for Disease Control, in Atlanta, to send eight shipments of Ebola, Marburg, and Rift Valley viruses to South Africa (and, thus, to Roodeplaat), according to "Plague Wars," a recent book by Tom Mangold......

Francis A. Boyle  Law Building504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.  Champaign, IL 61820 USA

217-333-7954(voice)       217-244-1478(fax)

fboyle@law.uiuc.edu <mailto:fboyle@law.uiuc.edu>

THE POISON KEEPER

Biowarrior, brilliant cardiologist, war criminal, spy - can a landmark trial

in South Africa reveal who Wouter Basson really was?

By William Finnegan

The New Yorker

January 15, 2001

South Africans call him Dr. Death. He is regularly compared by the local press, never very persuasively, to Josef Mengele. His name is Wouter Basson. He's a decorated former Army brigadier and, in civilian life, an eminent cardiologist, and he was the founder and leader of Project Coast, a top-secret chemical and biological-warfare program that Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called "the most diabolical aspect of apartheid." This theological metaphor gets closer to the truth about Wouter Basson, who, in his smooth impenitence and incorrigibility, seems at times like an Afrikaner Mephistopheles.

South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which Tutu chairs, and which has been giving victims and perpetrators of violence under apartheid an opportunity to speak publicly - seeking acknowledgment and forgiveness, respectively - held a special round of hearings on Project Coast in 1998. Some of the project's top scientists testified. Some applied for amnesty from prosecution in exchange for describing their activities. Tutu later wrote that he found their stories "devastating" and "shattering." There were revelations of research into a race-specific bacterial weapon; a project to find ways to sterilize the country's black population; discussions of deliberate spreading of cholera through the water supply; large-scale production of dangerous drugs; the fatal poisoning of anti-apartheid leaders, captured guerrillas, and suspected security risks; even a plot to slip thallium, a toxic heavy metal that can permanently impair brain function, into Nelson Mandela's medication before his release from prison in 1990.

Story Continued at:   Biowarfare in S. Africa

 

=========================================================

Yahoo -- last of the Internet revolution? 

A series of mega-mergers in the media industry, such as
the creation of AOL Time Warner, and the precipitous 
decline in Internet stock valuations have put pressure 
on Yahoo -- what direction will it choose?

Mega-mergers threaten to fence off Internet

WILL THE REVOLUTION DIE IF YAHOO LOSES ITS
INDEPENDENCE?

BY MICHAEL CLOUGH

An intense struggle to shape the future of the Internet
is under way -- and one of the most important factors
in how it turns out could be the fate of Yahoo, the
Internet guide created in the spring of 1994 by two
Stanford University graduate students.

Since then, Yahoo has evolved from a relatively simple
catalog of Web sites into one of the world's most
visited (and valuable) Internet properties. But a
series of mega-mergers in the media industry --
especially the recently approved creation of AOL Time
Warner -- and the precipitous decline in Internet stock
valuations have put pressure on Yahoo to make a major
strategic move.

Recent speculation has focused on the possibility that
Viacom Inc. or the Walt Disney Co. might try to acquire
Yahoo, transforming the independent-minded company into
part of yet another media conglomerate.

Yahoo's executives have consistently denied these kinds
of rumors. But they could be forced to think seriously
about such a move as investors become increasingly
concerned about the ability of pure Internet companies
to generate earnings and as ``old media'' companies
push to turn the Internet into a controlled
distribution channel for their news, music, books and
films.

A Yahoo merger would have major -- and negative --
impacts on the Internet and Silicon Valley: It would
substantially increase the risk that the Internet will
be divided into so-called ``walled gardens'' that seek
to capture and hold Internet users rather than enabling
them to range widely across the World Wide Web.

For consumers, that could mean being forced to become
members of branded networks of news and entertainment.
For small and medium-sized retailers, that could mean
being put at a greater disadvantage against big
corporate rivals. Independent artists, writers and
filmmakers would face the possibility of becoming even
more dependent on the major television networks,
publishing companies and film studios; and activist
groups could lose some of their access to the worldwide
public.

For Silicon Valley's innovators, the loss of an
independent Yahoo could mean seeing New York and Los
Angeles, the capitals of the old-media world, become
the new centers of the Internet revolution. Leaders
there could then begin to drive the direction of
technological change.

In short, much of the Internet's revolutionary promise
could be lost.

Full Story:

Yahoo

========================================================

BioDemocracy News #31 (Jan. 2001) America's Food Safety Crisis

News & Analysis on Genetic Engineering, Factory Farming, & Organics
by: Ronnie Cummins
BioDemocracy News is a publication of the Organic Consumers Association
<www.purefood.org> <www.organicconsumers.org


Quotes of the Month:

"She is an independent thinker of sound judgment and vast experience. She knows the science, the politics, and she knows how to make a sound decision on complicated and difficult issues. We are delighted with her selection, it is hard to imagine a better choice."

Biotechnology Industry Organization <www.bio.org> commenting on the nomination of former agbiotech executive Ann Veneman as George Bush's Secretary of Agriculture

"The StarLink controversy in the United States could cost the food industry billions of dollars and has thrown the future of genetically modified foods into doubt... Already, 70 per cent of Americans told a Reuters poll last year that (genetically modified) GM foods should be treated with caution." Stuart Laidlaw, "StarLink Fallout Could Cost Billions," The Toronto Star, Jan. 9, 2001

"agribusiness... fight any effort to tell consumers more about how their food is made...
stories about our food system that do get out don't do much for the appetite. There's the one about how genetically engineered StarLink corn deemed unfit for human consumption somehow found its way into tacos and breakfast cereal. Then there's the mad-cow story, which brought us the disquieting news that beef cattle in this country routinely dine not only on hormones and antibiotics but also on bits of other beef cattle (not to mention pellets made from their own manure)." Michael Pollan, "Produce Politics," The New York Times Magazine, Jan. 14, 2001
_________________________________________________________________ 

"Bad Hair" Year for Biotech & Factory Farming

Corporate agribusiness and the biotech industry had a "bad hair" year in 2000. After promising Wall Street that genetic engineering and American-style factory farming were about to conquer the world and that free trade, monopoly patents on living organisms, and the enforcement powers of the World Trade Organization were going to whip consumers and the world's 2.4 billion farmers and rural villagers into line, Year One of the Biotech Century turned out to be something of a disaster. Behind the bravado of public relations and the reassurances of government bureaucrats, the food industry and the Gene Giants are in serious disarray. For the first time in five years the amount of global acreage devoted to biotech crops has leveled off and appears headed in 2001 for significant decreases. Longstanding industrial agriculture practices such as feeding antibiotics and rendered animal protein to animals are being banned
in Europe and are generating controversy even in the US. The second wave of the Mad Cow crisis is sweeping across Europe, prompting a massive decline in beef sales--with recent revelations suggesting that North America may be heading for a similar crisis of its own. As Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety states, a "funny thing has happened" on the way to thehi-tech future of industrial agriculture:

"Despite untold billions spent in research and advertising, the public en masse has begun to reject this vision of industrial food and all that accompanies it. We have begun to understand that these chemical and biological techno-fixes come with hidden and terrible costs to human health and to the environment. We have seen cancer epidemics, widespread pollution of water and air, exponential loss of topsoil and biodiversity, terrible cruelty to animals and, most directly, tasteless and unhealthy food. Tens of millions of Americans have decided to vote, day after day, with their food dollars. More of us are eating organic than ever before, and organic food production is the fastest-growing segment in US agriculture today." (The Kimbrell quote is from our new book, Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers by Ronnie Cummins & Ben Lilliston). 

Full Story at:

http://www.purefood.org/newsletter/biod31.cfm

========================================================


ATTN: Nike Wearers
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 14:18:17 -0500
From: Black_Family_Day <postmaster@blackfamilyday.com>

On Tuesday, January 9, at 8:00 am over 850 workers making college apparel for Nike staged a work stoppage, took over the factory, and began controlling the gates at the Kukdong International Mexico factory in the small city of Atlixco, Puebla in southern Mexico. Kukdong makes sweatshirts for the Universities of North Carolina, Maryland, Michigan, Arizona, Penn State, Georgetown, Michigan State, Oregon and others. It is located in southern Mexico. 
Workers walked out to protest the firing of five workers for protesting rotten food in the cafeteria, low wages (75 cents an hour), and the failure of the company to pay the Christmas bonus in accordance with Mexican labor law. 

In independent interviews with members of United Students Against Sweatshops, workers also report physical and verbal abuse, the unwillingness of the company to pay maternity benefits, failure by the company to pay extra wages for overtime hours, attempts by the company to impose forced overtime, and serious safety and health violations. 

The company does not provide protective gear uniformly, or mandate its use and many workers report cases of throat, nose and lung irritation as well as conjunctivitis. The company provided food frequently leads to diarrhea, and a few workers report being hospitalized due to infections caused by the food. According to all workers, the food often is raw, rancid, or has worms. 

The workers at Kukdong have responded to their exploitation by forming a democratic, independent union, the Kukdong Workers' Coalition, and demanding to be recognized to bargain new wages and conditions at the factory. Previously, the company -- like many in Mexico -- had selected its own union, bargained its own "protection contract" behind closed doors and without consent of the workers, and required all employees to affiliate with the company union (the FROC CROC) and accept the protection contract or be fired. The striking workers have placed four demands to Kukdong: 

1) That the company recognize the independent workers' organization, the Kuk Dong Workers' Coalition, as the legitimate representative of the workers and agree to deal with them as such. 
2) That Kukdong reinstate all illegally fired workers. 

3) That Kukdong agree not to fire or take reprisals against anyone for having participated in the stoppage or other protests. 

4) That Kukdong drop the bogus charges it has filed against at least 6 leaders of the protest for kidnapping the workers who occupied the factory last week and causing economic damage to the company.

Workers were supported by their parents (most of the workers are young women and teenagers from rural villages surrounding Atlixco) and by unions from the Volkswagen plant in the nearby city of Puebla. 
On Thursday January 12, 2001 at around 10:30pm police in full riot gear attacked the 300 workers that were guarding the Kukdong factory that night. Once the workers saw the approaching police officers, they threw their arms up in the air and retreated to the exits. The group of workers included pregnant women as well as minors. They were hit, pulled, pushed and insulted. At least 15 workers ended up in the hospital and were later released. 

Nike has so far responded by the conflict by refusing to take responsibility for the situation. They have tried to say that the conflict is about a "dispute over catering/food contract" and have hinted at the possibility that they would end their production at Kukdong, throwing hundreds of workers out onto the street. 


Peace and One Love,
Amon

========================================================

Green Left Weekly

January 24, 2001 (Issue #433)

IRAQ: Lift The Sanctions Now!

By Margaret Allum

On January 12, a delegation of 50 US activists and
scientists, led by US former attorney general Ramsey Clark,
boarded a flight to Bagdad. The plane also carried US $1.5
million worth of medical aid and school supplies. The
delegation's aim is to investigate the effects on the Iraqi
people of the depleted uranium weapons used by the US/UN
military during and after the 1991 Gulf War.

It was the fourth such visit organised by the US-based
International Action Center (IAC), although the first by
air. The participants included activists, teachers, social
workers, lawyers and scientists from the US and seven other
countries.

The flight was only one of a number that have entered Iraq
recently in defiance of the sanctions imposed on Iraq since
1991.

January 16 marked the 10th anniversary of the beginning of
the Gulf War. On top of the massive damage caused to Iraq's
basic infrastructure by the US bombs and firepower in the
1991 blitzkrieg, more than 10 years of crippling economic
sanctions have left a devastating legacy for the people 
of Iraq. Close to 2 million have died as a result.

Full Story at:

http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2001/433/433p26.htm

========================================================

Bush, Abortion and Racial Eugenics:

The Real Story

by Robert Lederman

(718) 743-3722

artistpres@aol.com

January 5, 2001

Was Lincoln wrong when he said you can't fool all the people all the time? In an election with more tricks than a three card monte game, the biggest trick of all may have been getting millions of pro-lifers to vote for GW Bush - a candidate whose family has been in the vanguard of the pro-abortion and eugenics movements since the early years of the 20th Century.

Pro-choice or pro-life, there's bad news in store from this administration for living things generally. GW Bush's appointment of pro-life advocate John Ashcroft as Attorney General is intended to divert attention from this administration's eugenics-based population control agenda.

Many of the corporate-funded right-wing foundations promoting family values in America -which are the sponsors of GW Bush and virtually all of his cabinet nominees - are advocates of eugenics, or as it is variously known, population control or scientific racism. The true picture of their own and the Bush families' views on abortion and race - and of their direct links to groups like Planned Parenthood - is one of the least reported on news stories of the past few decades.

At the dawn of the Twentieth Century American industrialists became alarmed at the rate of population growth among minorities and the poor. Millions of immigrants were arriving each year in America, dramatically changing the racial and ethnic profile of this nation. At the same time, southern Blacks were migrating north in unprecedented numbers. Fearful of the emerging union and social rights movements, of minorities vastly outnumbering white Americans or of a Marxist revolution, these industrialists saw eugenics as the solution. Men like Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan, Andrew Mellon, Averell Harriman, the Pioneer Fund's General W. Draper and Prescott Bush began funding a movement to promote abortion, sterilization and euthanasia as a means of addressing this emerging "problem".

Full Story at:

http://baltech.org/lederman/spray/bush-eugenics-1-9-01.html

 

========================================================

Rice Genome Called a Crop Breakthrough                   January 27, 2001

By ANDREW POLLACK with CAROL KAESUK YOON

The sequencing of the genetic code of rice, announced yesterday by two companies, was hailed by experts as a major achievement that could pave the way for improvements in a crop that is the staple food for half the world's population. But at the same time, some said the accomplishment raised concerns that corporations were gaining more control over agricultural research and of the world's food supply.

"One thing people could argue is how can a company own the most important food crop in the world?" said Dr. Rod Wing, director of the Clemson University Genomics Institute, who is participating in a publicly financed rice genome project that is not expected to finish until 2003 at the earliest...

Full story at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/27/science/27RICE.html?pagewanted=1

 

========================================================

ITALY: BSE could spread worldwide, warns UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation
26 Jan 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team 


The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that mad cow disease could spread worldwide. 

The Rome-based organisation said on Friday all countries that had imported cattle or meat and bone meal (MBM) from western
Europe - especially Britain - since the 1980s, could be considered at risk. The crisis has spread to most countries in Europe, with
Germany and Spain reporting their first cases of BSE last year, and Italy reported its first domestic case last week. The fear for
most nations is the unknown factor of whether imports of beef or animal feed from European countries contain the BSE virus. 

The Middle East, eastern Europe, North Africa and India were pinpointed as the highest risk by the FAO, and Governments
worldwide must take steps to prevent the disease reaching humans throughout the world.

"There is an increasingly grave situation developing in the European Union, with BSE being identified in cattle in several
member-states of the EU which have, until recently, been regarded as free from the disease," said the FAO in a statement.

In the UK, more than 170,000 cattle have been diagnosed with BSE and about 1,300 more cases have been confirmed in
Belgium, Denmark, France, the Republic of Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland.

========================================================

USA: GMA: FDA proposal for biotech labeling and product approval 'a victory for
consumers'
18 Jan 2001
Source: Press Release 


Today's release by the Food and Drug Administration of proposed rules affecting the way biotech food products are approved and labeled should reinforce consumer confidence said the Grocery Manufacturers of America. 

``This is a victory for consumers,'' said Lisa Katic, a registered dietitian and GMA's Director of Scientific and Nutrition Policy. ``This will make an already effective regulatory system more open and transparent. Most importantly, there is again
renewed acknowledgement that food biotechnology is safe.'' 

``The new labeling guidance is also a win for consumers,'' added Katic. ``It allows the maximum amount of individual choice while ensuring that food manufacturers claims are truthful and not misleading. ''Consumers want to know that there is a standard,`` observed Katic. ''And these rules make it clear that -- just as with claims made for conventional foods -- information provided to consumers about the use or non-use of food biotechnology must be truthful and substantiated.`` 

Katic concluded noting that there is still a need to educate the public about the science behind and the benefits that will be achieved through biotechnology. ``GMA and its members have been leaders in the effort to educate the public on biotech through information on web pages, 800 numbers and consumer brochures. However, to ensure the public continues to support biotechnology, an education effort must be done through a cooperative effort among the business community, government, academia and consumer groups.'' 

========================================================

Volume 4, Number 5                                    January 17, 2001

The Farmer

----------------------------------------------------------------

BFAA endorses Voters’ Bill of Rights  by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad

On January 20, 2001 the Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association (BFAA) will send representatives to participate in the Day of Resistance Shadow Inauguration event in DC, which is going to the Supreme Court: The gathering time will be 10:00 A.M. at, Stanton Park, and there will be a rally and ceremony beginning at 11:00 A.M.

The assembly location will be on the 6th St. side of the park, near Imani Temple Church. This is in the NE section, a few blocks from the Supreme Court and from Union Station.

The conveners for the march and rally include Reverend Al Sharpton and Ron Daniels. A press release by The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) headed by Ron Daniels states:

"The Center for Constitutional Rights ...will focus its energies on the nation's capital on January 20th. As an institution devoted to racial justice, we are particularly hopeful that thousands of African Americans and other people of color, as the groups who disproportionately bore the brunt of disenfranchisement in the November election, will mobilize in massive numbers to be present for the Day of Resistance in Washington, DC. Accordingly, as Executive Director of CCR, I will be supporting and participating in the Shadow Inaugural March and Rally at the Supreme Court being organized by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network. The Supreme Court, the scene of what can only be described as an infamous decision, is the right place to be on this Day of Resistance." (complete press release at: http://muhammadfarms.com/News.htm#Ron daniels )

Gary Grant, President of BFAA, states, "For all who have come to these shores, America is the land of freedom, of hope, of opportunity for all, except the African people."

BFAA has led the fight for justice for Black farmers in their struggle against the discriminatory and destructive behavior of the USDA. Mr. Grant released this statement to the press to explain BFAA’s endorsement and support of pro-democracy efforts:

"The independence of Black America has always been based on three primary factors: the right to vote as symbolized by participation in the governmental authority; the right to an equal opportunity to pursue educational aspirations to the highest as symbolized by America's so called ‘historically Black institutions;’ and finally the right to own land as symbolized by Black family farms. Despite our gains in Civil Rights and voting rights, which now are under vicious attack, and our major strides in equal opportunity in education, we have been unable to maintain our right to own land. Land ownership is essential in establishing a sound base of political and economic power which can guarantee Black independence now and in future generations. Black farmers will continue to participate in demonstrations that seek equal Voting power for all until ‘justice is done.’"

The issue of voters’ rights are spelled out in a ten point platform coming out of the second annual Progressive Dialogue conference held in DC in December of 2000. The Voters’ Bill of Rights is an integral part of a Pro-Democracy Campaign that has now been endorsed by over 75 progressive organizations.

The Voters’ Bill of Rights calls for: 1. Strict Enforcement and Extension of the Voting Rights Act, 2. Abolition of the Electoral College, 3. Clean Money Elections, 4. Instant Runoff Voting, 5. Proportional Representation, 6. Voting Rights for Former Prisoners, 7. Make Voting Easier and More Reliable, 8. Easier Access to the Ballot, the Media and Debates for Candidates, 9. Create Independent and Non-Partisan Election Administration Bodies, 10. Statehood for District of Columbia. (Full details can be viewed at: http://ippn.org/BofR.htm )

It seems quite appropriate that Washington, DC should be the scene for these demonstrations and the launching of a renewed spirit of "Pro-Democracy", since its hundreds of thousands of citizens still live under the cloud of "Taxation Without Representation" in the new millennium. White people in this country watched her as she stole a whole people from their native land, ran the indigenous people off their land, fought to deny freedom to her slaves that worked the land, stole back the land after her former slaves bought the land, denied the right to vote to her dark people of the land and just now stole the vote of her citizens across the land. Now it seems that white people may finally be experiencing how it feels to be robbed.

Mr. Grant closed by saying, "Look for the BFAA flags at the Day of Resistance Shadow Inauguration event in DC on January 20th."

 

========================================================

Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2001 13:26:48 -0800
From: kcamm23063@aol.com
Subject: Kabila Reported Shot


Kabila reported shot, badly wounded by bodyguard
By Tom Tshibangu

KINSHASA, Jan 16 (Reuters) - President Laurent Kabila of Democratic Congo
was shot and seriously wounded by one of his own bodyguards on Tuesday and was
flown to a hospital in Kinshasa by helicopter, a source close to the presidency said.

"The president took two bullets, one in the back, another in the leg. He's seriously wounded and was taken to hospital by helicopter," the source said,
denying an earlier report the Kabila had been killed in a coup attempt.

Interior Minister Gaetan Kakudji, a close ally of Kabila, went on state television in the evening to say that Kabila himself had ordered a general state of alert in the capital, where an overnight curfew would be enforced.

Separately, Congo's ambassador to Belgium was quoted by the Belga news agency
as saying that Kabila was alive.

"Something has happened (to Kabila)," Ambassador Albert Kisonga Mazakala told
Belga. "But I cannot tell you more for the moment except that the president is alive.

"Power has not changed hands," he said without providing more details.

Earlier a senior intelligence source in Uganda, which along with Rwanda supports Congolese rebels who have been fighting to overthrow Kabila since August 1998, said the president had been killed in a coup attempt.

"He has died. He was shot by unknown people...earlier today ...I am 101 percent sure he is dead," the senior intelligence source in Kampala told Reuters by telephone, saying his information came from intelligence sources in Kinshasa.

"The situation now is very unclear," he said, adding that he did not know who
was in control of the city.

South Africa's Foreign Ministry said its mission in Kinshasa had reported a coup attempt, adding that Kabila's fate remained uncertain.

APPEAL FOR CALM

Earlier, Kabila's personal chief of staff, Colonel Edy Kapend, read a message
on state television saying the airport and river border had been closed and appealing directly to senior commanders to fire no shots without prior order.

Congolese television continued broadcasts of music and cultural programmes, interrupted occasionally by a still picture of Kabila.

Kabila took power in the mineral-rich former Belgian colony of Zaire in 1997,
ousting veteran dictator Mobutu Sese Seko after a seven-month rebellion with
the backing of Rwanda and Uganda.

The country is rich in diamonds and gold, as well as copper and cobalt, and blessed with rivers able to generate enough power to light up the whole continent.

Kabila later fell out with his former allies, who now back rebels controlling
most of the north and east of Africa's third largest country. Fighting on Kabila's side are Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia, while the rebels are backed by Rwanda and Uganda.

TROOP MOVEMENTS

Witnesses saw armoured cars and detachments of troops moving on streets near
the presidential palace. Soldiers turned back people who tried to approach the building without giving an explanation.

Residents reported gunfire near the palace earlier in the day but said it appeared to have quietened down.

There were no signs of panic in streets away from the palace, although people
hurried home from work.

Attempts to end the war in Congo have been shredded by renewed fighting, and
analysts feared the conflict would escalate as warring sides jostled for ground and power.

Eighteen months after a peace accord was signed in the Zambian capital Lusaka, there is still no end in sight to the Democratic Republic of the Congo's 29-month-long war.

Up to two million people have been displaced by the fighting and a quarter of a million have fled to neighbouring countries as refugees.

Herman Hannekom of the Africa Institute in South Africa's capital Pretoria said Kabila had lost the support of many in his country through his consistent failure to pursue a peace deal.

"Morale in the Congolese army was apparently very low. That triggers resistance and war fatigue. I think Kabila was the major obstacle to peace-making," he said

========================================================

ITALY: Cremonini mad cow brings consumer crisis and scientific re-evaluation
17 Jan 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team 


Despite the confident assurances of both meat processing giant Cremonini and the
Italian government just months ago ("Italian meat - safe and guaranteed," read the
adverts), the ministry of health was forced to confirm yesterday (16 January) that the
country was facing its first confirmed incidence of BSE. 

Mandatory testing of cattle over the age of 30 months began just a fortnight ago on 1
January and that a diseased cow could have been discovered so soon is heralding a massive crisis of confidence among carnivore consumers. 

Indeed, authorities admit that the Cremonini plant cow that tested positive for mad cow disease would more than likely ended up a tasty roast if it had boarded the lorry for the slaughterhouse in northern Italy just two weeks earlier.

Cremonini shares plummeted a further 4.1% with news of the indigenous BSE discovery, totalling their overall slump to 42% since July 2000, and concern was widespread as consumers studied the vast portfolio of buyers for Cremonini
meat.

The family-controlled firm exports to the tune of d82.3m (nearly a quarter of its production during H1 of 2000) and is an exclusive supplier to the Italian subsidiaries of US fastfood behemoth McDonald's and Diageo owned UK chain Burger King. It also provides beef to Autogrill restaurants; supermarket giants Auchan, Coop, Carrefour, and Wal-Mart, among others; Sheraton, Forte, Club Mediterranee and Jolly hotels; Eurostar trains across Europe; Moby Line ferries and food giants Nestle, Unilever and Kraft. 

This is not counting the own-name chain of restaurants, which are reported to serve 57m diners annually. And it was only last September that the company announced a 60-steakhouse joint venture with Florida company RoadHouseGrill. 

Beef is so obviously Cremonini's core business that is hard to understand how it will recover from the BSE shock. According to the secretary of the Italian Butchers Union (Fiesa-Confesercenti), Gaetano Pergamo, sales of beef slumped a further 30% nationwide on the first Monday after the case was revealed in the newspaper. Some analysts are suggesting the company could become a "buying opportunity," however. Fund manager at Banco di Napoli Asset Management, Francesco De Astis pointed out: "The level of meat consumption now is so low that it's difficult for it to drop
even further."

It could take a while for the company to recover from the shock. Carlo Bonizzi, secretary of the cattle farmers association (AIA) revealed that the cow had arrived from a farm near Brescia, which stopped using ruminants-based livestock feed
in 1989, five years before the cow was born. And as this remains the scientific focus in the search for a cause of BSE, the latest mad cow will no doubt open a few doubts in the minds of scientists and authorities, as well as consumers.

========================================================

ITALY: McDonald's rushes to reassure beef is safe despite BSE revelation at
Italian supplier
16 Jan 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team 


McDonald's has rushed to reassure consumers after its major Italian meat supplier revealed that it killed a cow suspected of having BSE. 

The Italian health ministry reported the case at meat processor last Saturday (13 January), and by Monday morning, outlets of the fastfood behemoth were being told to reassure consumers that the patties in burger products are completely safe. A spokeswoman said that beef used by McDonald's did not come from the particular plant where the cow was discovered, the second largest slaughterhouse in Europe.

Nevertheless, many restaurants were scarce of customers.

McDonalds have always acted to remain one step ahead of the BSE crisis. In 1996, it revealed British beef was off the menu as fears of mad cow disease swept the UK, and marketing campaigns stressing safety and control have been stepped up across Europe in recent months as consumer panic saw beef sales plummet.

A direct link to the cattle disease spells a potential crisis for the US chain, however. If consumers make the association between the McDonald's icon and BSE its reputation could be damaged. 

A report produced in April last year by the European Commission criticised the Italian governments veterinary surveillance at the Cremonini plant for failing to carry out basic BSE checks. The abattoir gates are believed by many to be the best place to screen BSE infected cattle, because the journey to the slaughterhouse will exacerbate the symptoms of the disease, stumbling and weakness. However, the Italian health ministry admitted that checks were inadequate and revealed that more vets would be assigned to the farm.

========================================================

http://www.just-food.com/features_detail.asp?art=347

Functional Food: Meeting the Marketing Challenge
15 Jan 2001
Author: Rajiv Desai 


There is a deep-rooted belief that foods and herbs have health-giving and curative properties. Advances in science and technical development have begun to clarify a link between nutrition and healthier living. Research has shown that basic foods like fruits and vegetables contain natural chemical components that if consumed at the right levels can have a beneficial preventative function in maintaining human health. 

Awareness of these beneficial properties has trickled down to the consumer. Consumers are more motivated to seek alternative remedies that are thought to be beneficial or preventive of disease and the maintenance of health. The growth of a healthy eating lifestyle has taken off since the 1970's, first with the rise of vitamin supplementation, the growth of health food shops and in the 1980's with the consumption of low fat-, low salt- and high fiber-foods. Traditional food is no longer enough to satisfy consumer requirements, they are instead looking for food and drink that provide a nutritive value while also fitting alongside their lifestyle trends and normal eating habits. 

The increasing willingness of consumers to buy products with health benefits is being recognized by many of the world's major food manufacturers who have predictably responded by developing new products that are prebiotics, probiotics, tailored fats/oils, and vitamin-, mineral-, or phytochemical-enriched. Functional foods is the collective term by which these foods have become to be known. 

A clear economic argument for functional food exists. Rising health costs in developed countries can be countered by changes in the diet that can help against disease prevention. Heart disease costs the UK about £10bn a year in lost production and £1.6bn in medical costs. Hospital care accounts for 54% of these costs, buying drugs a further 32%, while only 1% is spent on prevention (British Heart Foundation). Unilever estimates that plant sterol-enriched margarines have the potential ability to save the UK health service almost £90m a year. For public health and economic
reasons it is essential that the concept of functional foods is not a passing fad. 

Leatherhead Food RA estimates the global market for functional food is currently worth more than US$30bn with the US accounting for US$15bn and Japan US$14bn (this definition of the market includes a wide range of healthy products not necessarily making health claims, but often perceived as functional foods), and it is estimated that the market will eventually reach 5% of total developed world food expenditure. 

A broad spectrum of functional foods is evident in these markets, some of which are well established and others which loosely fit the category including medical foods, dietetic foods, fortified foods, sports foods, foods for the elderly, foods for pregnancy or lactation, and infant foods. 

The term however is new to the consumer and even now there is confusion over a correct definition for functional foods. The US National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine stated in 1994 that functional foods include "any modified food or food ingredient which may provide a health benefit beyond the traditional nutrients it contains." Another popular definition identifies functional foods as 'any food or food ingredient that has a positive impact on an individual's health, physical performance or state of mind, in addition to its nutritive value.'

(More)

=======================================================

http://just-food.com/news_detail.asp?art=22111

USA: Georgia Department of Agriculture announces company recalls chicken
patties and nuggets
15 Jan 2001
Source: Press Release 


Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin announced today that a Wisconsin company is recalling 483,000 pounds of fully cooked breaded chicken nuggets and patties because they may be contaminated with plastic. 

The products were manufactured and distributed by Brakebush Brothers, Inc. of Westfield, Wisconsin, andwere sold nationwide to institutional facilities such as hospitals, schools and restaurants. They were not sold at the retail level in Georgia. 

"We have instructed our sanitarians to check all wholesale food sales establishments for the implicated products during their routine inspections," said Commissioner Irvin. ``If they find any for sale, they will place it under a 'withhold from sale order' for pickup by the distributor." 

The recalled products were produced from August 8 through November 27, 2000. Each box has a 9-digit code starting with the Julian code 221 through 332 corresponding to August 8 through November 27. 

=======================================================

January 11, 2001

Inaugural Day Protests Target Neoliberal Agenda of Both Parties

By Frances M. Beal <fmbeal@igc.org>

From the moment of Gore's concession speech when he
implored his followers to accept the election outcome in the
name of respect for America's legal institutions and the good 
of the commonwealth, there has been a growing chasm among
America's political leaders. On one side stand Republicans
and Democrats alike who want to get on with business as
usual. On the other side stand those who are outraged that
massive voter fraud and the disenfranchisement of tens of
thousands of African Americans will result in anointing a
right-wing president bent on the destruction of democracy 
as we know it.

This chasm was highlighted when the Congressional 
Black Caucus (CBC) raised a ruckus and walked out of the
congressional session called to rubber stamp the vote of the
Electoral College on January 6th. The courageous action once
again underscores the pivotal role that Black politics plays
in advancing and protecting U.S. democracy for the entire
nation. It is a lesson that was thrust before the American
people and witnessed by millions in living color. And the
fact that not a single senator had the courage to join 
the CBC to challenge the electoral votes from Florida due 
to massive irregularities and voter disenfranchisement,
similarly exposed the impotence of the Democratic Party 
as an instrument for safeguarding the interests of its
traditional constituency.

That abyss was further widened by dissimilar
reactions to Bush's string of ultra-right appointments for
his cabinet. The first words out of Sen. Biden's mouth, for
example, on John Ashcroft's nomination as attorney general,
were a blase comment that he would probably be confirmed
because the Senate "traditionally" did not oppose its
colleagues. On the other hand, the CBC and the entire civil
rights community is outraged and determined to derail this
choice that would give the extreme right its most cherished
prize - the power to undermine decades of progress in civil
rights, free speech and abortion rights.

More ominous for the Democrats is Rep. Jesse
Jackson, Jr.'s recent attack on the Democratic Leadership
Council (DLC) and bipartisanship based on "building bridges
to essentially conservative southern Blue Dog, Yellow Dog, 
New Dog or DLC Democrats." This is the most overt and most
profound critique of the DLC's move to the right and its
neoliberal agenda that has yet come from within party ranks.
It is a signal that some sections of the African American
community are taking off their gloves in the fight against
the reactionary politics that hold sway among Democratic
leaders and the fight to take on the racist anti-people
policies of the GOP administration.

The next battles in this war are scheduled for
Inauguration week. Jesse Jackson and other liberal Black
leaders have called for a rally in Tallahassee, Florida 
on Inauguration Day to protest the voter fraud and dis-
enfranchisement of African Americans in that state. While
all protests are to be encouraged, one cannot help but
speculate about this inauspicious site. The entire nation
and the international community will have their eyes focused
on the nation's capital. No protest at all would further
erode Jackson's standing in the Black community, but any mass 
demonstration away from the seat of power is strategically
indefensible. This concession strongly suggests that Jackson
and the Black liberal leaders are more beholden to the
Democratic Party than to African American interests, and do
not want to engage in any activity that will alienate them
from the DLC leadership or their do-nothing, business as
usual line.

There are other African American forces, however,
that have seized the time and are joining hands with other
progressive forces to descend on Washington, D.C. in record
numbers. The Independent Political Action Network has called
for a Pro-Democracy Week starting on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s
birthday, January 15th, and culminating in massive protests
and rallies on January 20th to protest the illegal coronation 
of Bush as president, to demand fundamental reforms in our
electoral system and to provide a show of force against the
reactionary policies of the incoming administration. The
Rev. Al Sharpton and others are planning a march and 
rally to the U.S. Supreme Court and others will raise 
their banners at the Capitol and along the inaugural 
parade route.

Pro-Democracy Week activities have also been planned
for Northern California. The traditional MLK day observance
has been turned into a protest over the elections and the
anti-people policies promised by the incoming administration. 
The evening of January 15th, the Black Radical Congress is
sponsoring a forum on Electoral Racism in Oakland. On Saturday
January 20th, the International Action Center with hundreds of
endorsing organizations will gather at the Civic Center in
San Francisco for a march and rally at Jefferson Park. In
Sacramento, people will gather on the West steps of the
state capitol to show their opposition to the electoral
fraud and for a people's agenda.

This upsurge in agitation and mobilization is very
encouraging. The problems we have been witnessing - the
increasing polarization of wealth, the stolen elections, 
or police violence in our cities - are not manifestations 
of bad behavior, but rather manifestations of a parasitic
system and resistance is essential. Among too many Blacks,
the notion of organized, progressive resistance to oppression 
is often treated as old-hat. Yet, in the face of the November 
travesty, thousands of ordinary people have been mobilized in 
defense of democracy, often way ahead of so-called and actual 
leaders. This anger and willingness to act can be harnessed.

Inauguration Day is a good time to act. Black people
cannot forgive and forget. It is not a time for so-called
national unity, but a time to join with other people of good
will and show popular resistance to the charlatanism of the
political Right in both parties and their vision of the
brave new world of the 21st century.

--

Frances M. Beal is a columnist for the San Francisco Bay
View newspaper and the National Secretary of the Black
Radical Congress. The views and opinions expressed in 
this article are her own.

Copyright (c) 2001 Frances M. Beal. All Rights Reserved.

=======================================================

Here is the e-mail address: IT IS FOR REAL and please forward on to your 
e-mail list?



The address for questions to President Clinton is 
smokefilledroom@cbsnews.com 

The USDA and the DOJ have implemented the settlement of Pigford v Glickman 
in the same way that USDA has treated the Black farmer in the past which 
caused this law suit to be filed in the first place. Why have you allowed 
the USDA and DOJ to handle the settlement of the Black farmers in such an 
unsavory and drastic way? Why are you leaving office with so many cases 
unsettled that will now be tied up for years? If you felt our pain, then why 
are we still bleeding?

Gary R. Grant, President
Black Farmers & Agriculturalists Association

=======================================================



January 12, 2001

How Southern Violations of States Rights Caused the Civil War

By Nathan Newman <nathan@newman.org>

The comments of Interior Secretary nominee Gale Norton
talking about the "loss" of states rights due to the Civil
War just once more highlights the lie that the Civil War was
fought over states rights, rather than fought to preserve
slavery.

In fact, if anything, the Civil War was caused by Southern
States using their control of the Congress and the Supreme
Court to use federal law against Northern states which
resisted slavery within their own territory.

The primary example of this was the Fugitive Slave Law used
by the federal government to force free states to return
runaway slaves to their masters in the South.

In fact, Southerners took this law and assumed the right not
only to go to court to force the return of slaves but would
go into Northern states and kidnap blacks, often not even
slaves, while claiming that they had the right of "self-help"
in recovering their "property."

In 1842, the US Supreme Court in Prigg v. Pennsylvania, 41
U.S. 536, made this right of southerners to defy Northern
laws against self-help kidnappings IN NORTHERN STATES a
constitutional right. The decision explicitly repudiated
Northern states' rights to regulate their own affairs in
regard to kidnapping in their own borders. This repudiation
of states rights is clear, as Justice Story wrote: "It is
scarely conceivable, that the slave-holding states would
have been satisfied with leaving to the legislation of the
non-slave holding states, a power of regulation, in the
abscense of that of Congress." Where Southern interests in
slavery mattered, they were all for extinguishing local
state power in favor of that of the federal government.

The next blow to Northern states rights was of course the
much more famous 1857 Dred Scott decision which declared
that Southerns were free to bring slaves to free states,
and yet keep those slaves as slaves in defiance of Northern
anti-slavery laws. The Court declared that no state had the
right to grant freedom and citizenship to such slaves or
prevent them from being brought in to their states. The
case makes a big deal how such control is vested solely
in the federal government.

It was the South that declared war on states rights in the
North, using the Congress and the US Supreme Court to de
facto extend slavery into Northern states. It was the
reaction in the North that three years after Dred Scott
elected Abraham Lincoln into office, not on a platform of
abolishing slavery in the South, but of refusing to allow
the South to extend it anymore to the North.

And the South reacted to this threat to slavery, NOT TO ANY
THREAT TO STATES RIGHTS, by seceding. It was the South that
had abused states rights to support slavery and when it
looked like they could no longer do so, they protected
slavery by seceding.

It was all about slavery and racism. Nothing more, except
possibly the North being the ones asserting their states
rights against the abusive power of the federal government
that had been controlled by the slave states.

In a similar manner, those who talk about "states rights"
are the ones who are the first to support a rightwing US
Supreme court intervening in the Florida election, the first
to support federal government in interfering in state tort
claims, the first to support the federal government in
overturning laws like the Massachusetts Burma law to
resist buying goods from that country.

Conservatives talk about states rights, but when local
governments do anything they don't like, they are the first
to invoke federal power to overturn those state laws. This
is usually done for the sake of property rights, and that
is the real tradition of the Confederacy - the supremacy
of property rights over human rights.

Copyright (c) 2001 Nathan Newman. All Rights Reserved.

=======================================================

The Toronto Star

January 9, 2001, Tuesday, Edition 1

STARLINK FALLOUT COULD COST BILLIONS

By Stuart Laidlaw

The StarLink controversy in the United States could cost the food industry billions of dollars and has thrown the future of genetically modified foods into doubt, a report by a food industry consultant says.

The mix-up will lead to dozens of lawsuits over the costs of cleaning up the mess, while giving consumers more reasons to worry about the safety of genetically modified foods, the co-author of the 74-page report said.

"This is going to come back to haunt the regulators and the food industry," said Don Westfall, vice-president of Promar International, a consulting company based in a Washington, D.C., suburb.

Corn mix-up could haunt regulators Hundreds of brands of taco shells and tortillas were recalled last fall after StarLink corn, which is approved in the United States as animal feed only, got into the food chain.


Westfall would not release a copy of his report, which is being sold to food companies at $5,000 (U.S.) a copy. Sample pages and a table of contents are available at the firm's Web site, www.promarinternational.com.

The company's client list includes all the world's major food businesses such as Kellogg Co., ConAgra Foods Inc., Unilever NV and Aventis SA, the company that made StarLink.

Westfall, who supports the development of genetically modified, or GM, foods, warns that the future of such crops may well depend on how the StarLink situation is handled.

If it is handled badly, he said, consumer resistance to GM foods is likely to grow.

(More)

=======================================================

Bio-TERRORISM
Who or What, is The Threat?

John Galt 
Exclusive to The Jubilee 


In the early 1940’s it was nuclear fision, today it is biological technology, an out of control Manhattan Project hemorrhaging sinuously upon the world scene like a nuclear mushroom, caught in the winds of scientific whimsy. Urgent U.S. defense preparations are underway to cope with this emerging technology, using strategic war plans computer systems, or artificial intelligence, to predict what the first fallout will be and where it will occur. 

The discovery of synthetic lab-created retroviruses designed to attack the very nature of human immunity is in the hands of every major country in the world. So is the antidote. While the stalemate continues, people go about their ordinary lives, and
governments ponder who will use it first; will it be used for good or evil? It can be used to seek out and detect cancer causing  viruses, or as a biological weapon. 

The technology is complicated for dissemination to the general public, civilians are not educated on the subject, thus scare tactics by the government and the media are falling upon fertile minds. The New York Times reported on April 24th that Bill Clinton,
after reading The Cobra Event, a fictional book based on scientific fact about a biological attack on New York City, immediately convened a panel of experts to brief him on preparations for biological warfare. A subsequent report suggested stockpiling
vaccines, antibiotics and antidotes, and setting up mechanisms to make large quantities in a hurry. 

A secret drill simulating a germ warfare attack in which a small pox hybrid virus was dropped along the Mexican-American border showed the U.S. government is unprepared to deal with such a crisis. Officials who participated in the drill soon found
themselves overwhelmed by a panicked population, short of antibiotics and vaccines, hampered by antiquated quarantine laws, and unable to get trained, immunized medical personnel to the scene, the Times reported. 

The technology IS scary, to be sure, and that doesn’t change the fact of its existence, however people can educate themselves on the options. Patrick Henry once said, (on the brink of the American revolution): Excerpted: “We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts — For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.” 

(Full Story)

=======================================================

December 1, 2000 

The World Bank's Impacts on Education: The World Bank
versus the World 

By C. George Caffentzis <gcaffentz@aol.com> 

The World Bank, founded along with the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1944, began as a
"reconstruction and development" bank in the immediate
post-WWII years. Its role was largely devoted to
financing big civil engineering projects -- dams,
highways, electric grids, etc. -- for almost thirty
years. But the debt crisis of the early 1980s gave the
World Bank the power to engage in social engineering
on a grand scale in heavily indebted countries of the
Americas, Africa and Asia. The World Bank gave this
policy a chiropractic name, "structural adjustment,"
and one of its targets was to commodify education.
Consequently, we now have a bank dictating education
policy throughout what was the former colonial world
and repressing one of the primary social demands of
the planet: greater access to education on all levels.
SAPs in Education 

Since the early 1980s, dozens of indebted countries
were granted structural adjustment loans (which often
merely paid the interest on other loans) on the
condition that, among other draconian measures, the
national governments totally restructure their
education systems by: 

(a) reducing state expenditures on education,
especially in tertiary institutions; 

(b) charging tuition fees throughout all levels of
the educational system, from primary schools to 
universities; 

(c) promoting a reduction of departments in tertiary 
institutions (and in some cases completely closing 
colleges and universities) and emphasizing
"regional centers of excellence." 

This led to a deep contradiction. The World Bank's
official ideology has been that knowledge and
education is the most important element in economic
development. However, its structural adjustment
programs (SAPs) are designed in a way that lower
educational entitlements and force students from
working class families (who cannot afford the tuition
fees) out of the education system. 



The Results of SAPs 

World Bank officials continually repress this
contradiction and feign surprise when they review
their SAPs' dramatically negative consequences for
educational systems throughout the Third World, most
especially for Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
For with the end of colonialism in the 1950s, there
was a tremendous increase in educational attainment
and access in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Education
systems arose literally from nothing on the basis of
the work and enthusiasm of the anti-colonial movement.
But the World Bank's (and IMF's) structural adjustment
regime halted and even reversed this progress in the
former colonial countries. 

The gap between educational opportunities for young
people in those areas versus those in "high income"
(often colonizing) countries widened dramatically
again in the 1980s and 1990s. For example, according
to recent UNESCO statistics, the percentage of young
people in high income countries going on to tertiary
education between 1980 and 1995 increased from 35% to
57% while the level of investment per student
increased by 10% during that period. But in "low and
middle income" (mostly colonized) countries, which
were most affected by structural adjustment between
1980 and 1995, the expenditure per student on the
tertiary level fell by nearly 50% while enrollment on
that level has largely stagnated in most "middle
income" countries as well in the low income countries
of Latin America, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia.


The most upsetting result of structural adjustment,
however, has been its impact on primary school
enrollment and investment. The World Bank justified
its SAPs in education by arguing that Third World
countries should reduce their investment in tertiary
level institutions in order to increase their
investment in primary schooling. But this has not
happened in many of the most vulnerable areas of the
world. For example, between 1980 and 1995 expenditure
per primary school student fell in Sub-Saharan Africa
by 20%, in East Asia and the Pacific by 25% and in
Latin America by 2%. Indeed, in one region in this
period, Sub-Saharan Africa, the actual enrollment in
primary school fell by about 4%. 

The Anti-SAP Student Movement 

A new anti-SAP student movement throughout Africa,
Asia and the Americas has organized thousands of
demonstrations and strikes since the mid-1980s
demanding the end of policies making education a
commodity out of reach of the children of the working
class. This movement (reminiscent of the anti-colonial
student movement) launched itself in the face of
massive and direct police repression (whose tools are
never begrudged by the World Bank to indebted
governments). In Africa, literally hundreds of
students have been killed in anti-SAP demonstrations
in Nigeria, Mobuto's Zaire, Uganda, Kenya, and South
Africa. In the Americas, the students in Mexico,
Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Argentine have carried out
some of the largest (involving hundreds of thousands
of students) and longest (lasting for almost a year)
student strikes in history to protest SAPs. The young
people who spearheaded the anti-World Bank/IMF
demonstrations in Washington DC in April 2000 were
simply the latest expression of a new movement of
students and youth around the planet who have spoken
for themselves and have definitively concluded with
their bodies and their lives that the World Bank's
education policies must be reversed. 

-- 

George Caffentzis, Coordinator, Committee for
Academic Freedom in Africa, c/o Department of
Philosophy, University of Southern Maine, P.O. Box
9300, Portland, ME 04104-9300, USA, email:
<gcaffentz@aol.com>. 

Copyright (c) 2000 George Caffentzis. All Rights
Reserved. 

=======================================================

January 14, 2001 

Stringent Steps Taken by U.S. on Cow Illness

By SANDRA BLAKESLEE

A s panic over the spread of mad cow disease grips Western Europe, American health
officials say they have been taking stringent steps to prevent the disease from taking hold in the United States.

The brains of sick cattle are routinely tested for the disease. Imports of beef and certain beef products are banned. No one who lived in Britain since the late 1980's,
when the epidemic became known, is allowed to donate blood.

"We are doing our best to not be complacent," said Dr. Linda Detwiler, a veterinarian with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at the United States Department of Agriculture. Pointing out that some European countries were sure they had no risk, but now find themselves caught up in the epidemic, she said, "We have tried to learn from their mistakes."

So far, they appear to have succeeded. Mad cow disease and its human analogue, the new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, have not been found to have killed any cattle or been identified in people on this side of the Atlantic. Given the small number of human cases in Europe and that mad cow disease has never been proved to exist in American cattle, most experts agree that the risk for most Americans remains extremely low.

Yet experts on mad cow disease say that there is cause for concern. Despite a decade-long ban on British imports of meat and bone meal — a form of animal feed rendered from cows that is blamed for spreading the epidemic in Europe — the United States still imports tons of bovine byproducts and manufactured goods containing bovine materials from Britain and other European nations. 

The disease, formally called bovine spongiform encephalopathy because of the spongelike holes that appear in the brain and other nervous tissue, can also develop spontaneously. Although mad cow disease has not been detected in cattle in the United States, a related malady called chronic wasting disease is spreading rapidly among deer and elk herds, captive and wild, in six Western states and in Canada. In laboratory dish experiments, chronic wasting disease has been shown to infect human cells; in principle, hunters who ate infected deer or elk meat could have the disease and, if they donate blood, could pass it on.

At 11 Midwestern farms, scores of captive mink developed a form of mad cow disease after being fed meat from "downer cows" — animals bred in America that died of unknown causes, possibly cases of mad cow disease that were never diagnosed. At various times, 45 states have had sheep that are infected with scrapie, another malady related to mad cow disease.

It is not known whether eating infected sheep, deer or elk causes any form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, but the infectious agent, misfolded proteins called prions, has been shown to cross barriers between species.

Moreover, government officials acknowledge they are still finding and filling gaps in the wall designed to protect the American food supply from the disease. On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration reported that hundreds of feed manufacturers and rendering companies were not complying with regulations intended to ensure the safety of domestically produced feed.

The United States' ban on risky British meat products, adopted in 1991 and extended to imports from other countries, contains many loopholes and exceptions that could leave the door open to infected products, says a report by a scientific advisory panel to the European Union on the risk of mad cow disease in America. 

Missteps by European governments, too, have made the United States more vulnerable to the disease, said Dr. Maura Ricketts of the World Health Organization's animal- and food-related health risks unit.

Even though Britain and the United States banned the practice of feeding cows to cows in the early 1990's, some British renderers continued to make and ship contaminated meat and bone meal around the world while some European farmers knowingly used such products until November because the products were cheap, Dr. Ricketts said. Public health officials suspect that infected meat was repackaged and resold as having come from countries presumed free of mad cow disease.

"The murky movement of live cattle and rendered animals around the world," Dr. Ricketts said, means mad cow disease has gone global.

A few weeks ago, the United Nations estimated that at the height of the mad cow epidemic in Britain at least 500,000 tons of untrackable bovine byproducts were exported from Britain to Western Europe and other nations around the world, including the United States.

British export statistics show that 20 tons of "meals of meat or offal" that were "unfit for human consumption" and probably intended for animals were sent to the United States in 1989. And 37 tons were exported to the United States in 1997, well after the government banned imports of such risky meat. No one has tried to trace this meat or to determine whether it was allowed into the United States.

In an exception to the import ban, many health supplements contain glandular material from animals whose health status cannot be determined. While acknowledging that the risk is very small, experts on mad cow disease note that glandular material is more likely to be infected with prions, the disease's infectious agent, than most other tissue. Products must have labels listing ingredients like bovine pituitaries and adrenals, but
manufacturers are not required to list the country of origin.

Other beef byproducts that are still allowed in the country include milk, blood, fat, gelatin, tallow, bone mineral extracts, collagen, semen, amniotic fluid, serum albumin and other parts of European cattle that are widely used in American products, including vaccines and medicines. The federal Agriculture Department states that these tissues are not believed to contain dangerous levels of prions, but acknowledges that not all have been tested to prove that they pose no risk.

United States health officials are just now closing some of these regulatory gaps, documents posted on their Web sites say. One year ago, the Agriculture Department told supplement manufacturers to avoid neural and glandular material from domestic and foreign sheep flocks infected with scrapie. Compliance is voluntary. 

Although cud-chewing animals, or ruminants, are the known carriers of mad cow disease, the Agriculture Department last month temporarily barred European feed supplements made from nonruminant animals like chickens or pigs. This is because, through November, many European farmers were still giving feed made from potentially infected cows to chickens and pigs and were then feeding chickens and pigs back to cows. This practice is now banned in Europe, and Agriculture Department
officials are worried that European feed manufacturers will slash prices and try to dump their products on American farmers. In theory, prions could be spread in this feed.

On Dec. 23, the Food and Drug Administration told American drug manufacturers to stop using bovine serum from countries where mad cow disease has been found for making vaccines against flu, hepatitis A and diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus, but vaccines made from the materials are still being used. The agency maintains these vaccines are safe. An F.D.A. committee will meet this month to discuss extending restrictions on who can donate blood to include people who lived in Europe for six or more months in the 1990's. The committee is also expected to discuss whether to ban donations from deer and elk hunters.
 

(More)

=======================================================

USA: 'The Best Broccoli' has high levels of cancer-preventing compound
12 Jan 2001
Source: Press Release 


Which types of broccoli plants are "the best broccoli" in preventing some types of cancer? When scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) wanted to be able to tell consumers how to select broccoli with cancer-fighting antioxidants, they teamed up with experts at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine -- the same scientists who identified the benefits of broccoli sprouts, now marketed as "BroccoSprouts®." 

The results of the USDA/Johns Hopkins research was highlighted by the USDA last week, and an Associated Press story nationwide has focused new attention on the research, prompting new interest from vegetable consumers. 

Although scientists have known for some time that broccoli contains a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent some cancers, recent research at the USDA and Johns Hopkins showed that not all broccoli has the same concentrations of
these compounds. 

In fact, when the scientists grew 71 varieties of broccoli in two consecutive years, they found that only a few were extraordinarily high in content of sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS), the natural compound that boosts the body's own ability to detoxify and eliminate carcinogens. 

Furthermore, they found that agricultural conditions such as water, temperature and soil had a tremendous influence on the levels, and even the best types of broccoli varied from year to year. In addition, there is no visual sign that allows consumers to identify which broccoli is the "best broccoli." The study was published in the "Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science." 

Fortunately, there is a solution: broccoli sprouts. These same scientists at Johns Hopkins found that 3-day old broccoli plants -- baby sprouts -- naturally contained at least 20 times the concentration of the long lasting antioxidant SGS. And,
because sprouts are grown indoors with only light and water and from particular selected seeds, with sprouts, consumers can be sure they are receiving a consistent amount of SGS. 

"Among the varieties of broccoli that are available, the most potent are selected and used to grow BroccoSprouts. In addition, BroccoSprouts are regularly tested to ensure the content of SGS," stated Johns Hopkins scientist Dr. Jed Fahey,
who teamed with an USDA researcher to conduct the study. Because of this, the consumer can be sure that each ounce of BroccoSprouts contains the same amount of SGS as found in one and one-quarter pounds of average adult broccoli --
a 20-times concentration! 

Only BroccoSprouts broccoli sprouts are patented and licensed from Johns Hopkins University and are grown under strict conditions to ensure potency and quality. BroccoSprouts have a zesty taste and make a delicious addition to
sandwiches, salads, soups, omelets and other fresh vegetable dishes. 

BroccoSprouts are available in the fresh produce section of most major supermarkets across the country including Safeway, Kroger, King Soopers, Wegman's, SuperFresh, Whole Foods, Dominick's, Jewel, Albertson's, Shaw's, and
Harris-Teeter. For more information on availability, please call toll-free 877-747-1277 or check www.broccosprouts.com.
A four-ounce package (4 servings) costs about $2.99. Nineteen growers nationwide are certified by BroccoSprouts to produce the sprouts on a daily basis in local markets.

=======================================================

Helms Urges Foreign Aid Be Handled by Charities
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/12/world/12HELM.html

January 12, 2001 


By ERIC SCHMITT

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 — Senator Jesse Helms, the most powerful critic of foreign aid in Congress, said today that he would champion an increase in international assistance — but only if all future United States aid was funneled to the needy through
private charities and religious groups instead of a government agency.

Mr. Helms, a North Carolina Republican who will return to lead the Foreign Relations
Committee on Jan. 20, said he modeled his proposal after President-elect George W.
Bush's campaign theme of empowering private relief groups to help the poor. If adopted by the administration and Congress, Mr. Helms's plan would mark the most decisive shift in 40 years in how America helps the world's downtrodden. 

"The time has come to reject what President Bush correctly labels the `failed compassion of towering, distant bureaucracies' and, instead, empower private and faith-based groups who care most about those in need," Mr. Helms said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group. 

Gen. Colin L. Powell, Mr. Bush's choice for secretary of state, met with Mr. Helms earlier this week, and while General Powell expressed support for increasing foreign aid, an aide said he was not briefed on details of the senator's proposal. 

A spokesman for General Powell, F. William Smullen, was noncommittal tonight: "We've now seen the senator's comments, and we welcome his ideas and his contribution to the debate. We obviously need to study a variety of different issues." 

In his wide-ranging speech, Mr. Helms called on Mr. Bush to isolate and
weaken Fidel Castro's government in Cuba, equip Taiwan's military with
more advanced weapons, ratchet up pressure on President Saddam
Hussein of Iraq, and ensure that Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are invited
to join NATO. 

But his most provocative proposal was to abolish the Agency for
International Development and shift responsibility for overseeing $7
billion a year in economic and humanitarian aid to a quasi-governmental
foundation, which would deliver grants to private and community relief
groups. 

========================================================

Monkey Born With Genetically Engineered Cells
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/12/health/12GENE.html

January 12, 2001 Single-Page Format 

By GINA KOLATA

S cientists in Portland, Ore., report that they have inserted a foreign gene into a monkey egg, fertilized the egg and produced a baby monkey with the added gene
in its cells. 

The scientists say they believe that this is the first time researchers have used techniques of genetic engineering to alter an unfertilized egg of a primate, intending that the change be passed on to future generations.

The gene, which comes from a jellyfish, is only a marker — it causes cells to make a protein that glows under a fluorescent light. And in this case, though the monkey's cells have the gene, they are not making the protein, the researchers report. Further, it is
too soon to tell whether the monkey's sperm will contain the added gene.

========================================================

Volume 4, Number 4                                       January 11, 2001

The Farmer

Black farmers lawsuit: A bunch of crap

by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad

 

The average Black farmer in Georgia in 1978 owned 150 acres of land. At today's prices ($1,673 per acre) that represents $250,950 in terms of land, buildings and equipment. It was just that, land, buildings and equipment, that was confiscated from them with the help of the USDA. So on a national basis, $7 billion would be closer to what was taken from these 30,000 or more farmers. Actually in 1978 there were over 30,000 Black farmers in the US who owned land. We don't know how many there are now because the Census of Agriculture conveniently stopped defining farmers according to race in the early '80's.

In 1978 according to the Census of Agriculture there were 31 Black farms in Terrell County, GA averaging 148 acres each. However of the 10 Black farmers that were still alive in 1998 only six (6) still owned land and none were actively farming. The average size of land holdings was now 13.84, an average loss of 134.16 acres. This represented an average loss of $224,450 in terms of land, buildings and equipment at today's prices ($1,673 per acre). In other words the Black farmers in Terrell county lost about everything from 1978 to 1998. What happened?

We compared these 10 Black farmers who at least got one FmHA loan to 10 white farmers who got loans from FmHA. First of all when I asked Black farmers to identify white farmers that got FmHA loans they were right about one half the time. I had to start out with a list of over 20 white farmers to find 10 that had loans from FmHA. Many times the white farmers would get guaranteed loans or loans from banks, production credit associations and land banks. The Black farmers told me that sometimes when they would go to the FmHA office and there were white farmers in the office before them, they would let the white farmers out the back door making it impossible for the Black farmers to find out what was being offered to white farmers.

In 1998 according to the tax records the 10 Black farmers owned a total of 138.41 acres of land with a tax value (40% of market value) of $349,969, while the 10 white farmers owned 2725.83 acres valued at $2,503,939. The Black farms averaged 13.8 acres, while the white farmers averaged 272 acres. Now if we compare the number of loans received by each farmer according to the UCC-1 records at the courthouse, we see that Black farmers received an average of 4.3 loans from 1978 to 1994, while white farmers received twice that amount, 8.2. But what is more shocking is that none of these Black farmers got any of the 3% loans that were supposedly set aside for them in 1978 and 1979. Instead, 5 white farmers received a total of $943,480 of 3% loans in 1978 and 1979. In fact one white farmer alone received $532,850.

Now Al Pires the lead attorney for the Black farmers lawsuit knows that a national study was done comparing USDA loans and service delivery between white farmers and Black farmers. That report would show on a national level just what I found in Terrell County. The USDA who had the report done is now denying that it exists and has put a gag order on the firm that did the study until after the lawsuit. Al Pires did not force the government’s hand on this issue which would have "proved" discrimination by the USDA, and thereby each member in the "class" could have gotten paid instead of each member having to prove discrimination all over again every time.

Now according to a November, 2000 Harper’s magazine article, "Making the case for racial reparations", Al Pires has gotten himself involved with the reparations movement.. Alexander (Al) Pires, Jr. is recognized to have "won a $1 billion settlement for black farmers in their discrimination case against the US Department of Agriculture and is currently working on a multibillion-dollar class-action suit on behalf of Native Americans." (p.38). Watch your back, Native Americans and the Black reparations movement.

Here are the facts: as of December 21, 2000 according to the USDA website a total of $491,950,000 has been paid out and $8,304,148 in USDA debts have been canceled. This is half of the $1 billion mentioned in the article and one sixth of the $3 billion touted in the newspapers by the lawyers when the case was "settled" back in 1998.

But here is where the crap hits the fan. According to a USA Today article on January 8, 2001 entitled "Study: Lawsuit awards dropped off in 2000", there were at least 10 individual lawsuits settled in the US last year of over $100 million dollars each. The largest award was $474.7 to an 1993 Playboy Playmate for being cut out of her late husband’s will. The second largest $341.7 million was won by Terry Anderson against Iran for holding him hostage for seven years. Remember now that this is money paid out to individuals whereas, the Black farmers as a class received less than $500 million, total. The white individuals that were awarded millions were just that, individuals, while the Black farmers represent and industry that was taken from a people.

We will never know how the Black farmers may have done if they had the lawyers representing those individuals instead of Al Pires. Because of the weak provisions in the lawsuit 39.6% of the applicants have been denied. Stories of FBI agents harassing those that did get the $50,000 are surfacing. And the USDA is in the process of foreclosing on thousands of Black farmers’ land even though there is supposedly a moratorium on such actions.

The Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association (BFAA) wants the Black farmers who have been denied to contact them and give the nature of their denials, so that the national organization can take further steps to bring about a just settlement of their claims. The new administration in Washington must be given the facts and the public needs to know.

To register your complaints go to the BFAA website at:

http://www.coax.net/people/lwf/bfaa.htm

To get up to date facts and statistics about the lawsuit go to:

http://www.muhammadfarms.com/Perfect%20Crime.htm

 

========================================================

Chance Killer Virus Sparks Bioweapon Fears Scientists Say U.N. Bioweapons Convention Needs Policing

By Paul Tait

S Y D N E Y, Jan. 11 — Australian scientists who inadvertently created a killer mouse virus said today the global Biological Weapons Convention must be given teeth to prevent such discoveries falling into the wrong hands.

The scientists, using technology that could be applied to biological warfare, had been seeking a biological contraceptive to halt mouse and rat plagues when they genetically modified a virus akin to smallpox with fatal results — for mice.

Annabelle Duncan, who was deputy leader of a U.N. team which investigated biowarfare agents in Iraq after the Gulf War, said the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BCW) urgently needed updating.

"It's not that you shouldn't do the research because you're going to cut off a lot of beneficial discoveries … it's making sure that it's very, very hard for anybody to abuse the results," she told Reuters.

"At the moment the convention says don't make biological weapons," she said. "There's no way of policing it, so if you think somebody is cheating you can't do anything about it."

Global Warning

Duncan is molecular science chief at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), which created the virus.

The genetically modified mouse virus, revealed by New Scientist magazine on Wednesday, is harmless to humans but it kills mice by wiping out part of their immune system.

Its creators say that the same technique could be used to make human diseases such as smallpox even more lethal.

New Scientist said the discovery highlighted a growing international problem — how to stop terrorists using scientific research to create deadly new weapons.

A total of 140 countries have ratified the BCW pact, a relic of the Cold War which bans the development, production and stockpiling of bacteriological and toxin weapons.

Negotiations to strengthen the convention have made slow progress over the past four years. Duncan hoped member states would agree to set up a U.N.-backed body with policing powers to monitor biological research.

The CSIRO scientists and colleagues at the Australian National University told Australia's Defence Department about their research before they submitted it for formal publication next month in the U.S. Journal of Virology.

They wanted the rest of the world as well as the scientific community to be aware of this type of technology and its implications.

"In the course of science you sometimes make unexpected discoveries — penicillin is one example," said Bob Seamark, director of CSIRO's Cooperative Research Centre for Biological Control of Pest Animals.

"In this case, we've found that certain changes to a mouse virus can render it more lethal and harder to immunize against. The best protection against any misuse of this technique was to issue a worldwide warning," he added.

The team created the virus by inserting a gene that produces a molecule called interleukin 4 (IL-4) into mousepox, a virus similar to smallpox.

Instead of producing antibodies to attack a mouse's eggs and make it infertile, all the mice, stripped of part of their immune system, died within nine days.

But Seamark also hoped that the Australian technology would help researchers elsewhere to design better, more effective vaccines.

Copyright 2001 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

========================================================

January 11, 2001        NYtimes.com

Droughts Might Speed Climate Changes

By JAMES GLANZ

Droughts caused by global warming could
set off a biochemical process in northern
soils that would release large amounts of
carbon dioxide into the air and possibly speed
changes in the climate, researchers are
reporting today in the journal Nature.

The researchers, led by Dr. Chris Freeman of the University of Wales in
Bangor, said the increase in droughts predicted by some climate models
could abruptly activate a dormant enzyme in moist, peaty northern soils,
triggering decomposition of their organic matter.

This decay would release large amounts of carbon dioxide, a
"greenhouse gas" thought to cause global warming. The soils are believed
to hold 460 billion tons of carbon, or about 60 percent of the amount in
the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

"It is an enormous reservoir that potentially can be released into the
atmosphere as another climate change factor," said Dr. Robert G.
Wetzel, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Alabama in
Tuscaloosa.

Dr. Wetzel, who was not involved in the research, said the mechanism
identified by Dr. Freeman "would accelerate the release from this
enormous pool."

But he and other scientists cautioned that the possibility outlined in the
study depended on predictions based on uncertain climate models.

Dr. Sandra Brown, an ecologist, said, "The best predictions I've seen say
it will be a warmer and drier climate." But Dr. Brown added, "I always
worry when I see these papers making broad extrapolations across the
entire world."

Dr. Brown, of Winrock International, a private environmental
organization in Arlington, Va., is a member of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, an organization of hundreds of scientists that
was created by the United Nations.

Still, several scientists said that the findings would make it even more
urgent to try to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Late last year at
The Hague, negotiations on a worldwide treaty to reduce global warming
collapsed in part because of disagreements over the role of natural
ecosystems like forests in sopping up carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere and reducing warming.

========================================================

Depleted uranium scandal sweeps NATO
by Peter Beaumont

London Observer
January 7, 2001

Commandant Frank Cop is an angry man and a formidable
opponent. A soldier in the Belgian army for 30 years,
his career was cut short by illness two months after
returning from duty as a peace monitor with the UN and
the EU during the Bosnian war.

In five years, says Cop, aged 50, he has been beset by a
series of devastating ailments. He suffers headaches and
muscle aches, debilitating lethargy and skin complaints
so serious he finds it uncomfortable to bathe. Blood
tests recorded abnormally high levels of white cells.
Invalided out of the armed forces on a reduced pension,
Cop embarked on a one-man campaign on behalf of Belgian
veterans of the Balkans: victims, he claims, of a
mysterious 'Balkans Syndrome', similar in its symptoms
to the Gulf war Syndrome claimed by veterans of the war
against Iraq.

Cop is convinced he knows what has made him ill. He
believes he was contaminated by the highly toxic residue
from the three tonnes of depleted uranium (DU)
ammunition fired by US aircraft against the Serbs during
the Bosnian war.

Last week Cop - one of the first peacekeepers to claim
he was suffering from Balkans Syndrome - found himself
at the centre of one of Nato's biggest peacetime crises,
a scandal gripping the armed forces of a dozen European
countries, as military chiefs across a continent ordered
urgent checks on the health of soldiers allegedly
exposed to depleted uranium in the Balkans.

A week after the announcement by the Italian Defence
Ministry that it was investigating the deaths from
leukaemia of six of its Kosovo peacekeepers for links to
depleted uranium, scores of former Balkans peacekeepers
- from Hull to Lisbon - are now claiming they are
suffering from unexplained ailments, as the media from
Rome to Berlin has daily turned up new cases of
peacekeepers who died from cancers after returning from
the Balkans.

========================================================

SUSPENSION RATES HIGHER AMONG MINORITY STUDENTS A STATEWIDE REPORT SHOWS BLACK MALES ARE NEARLY THREE TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE SUSPENDED FOR AT LEAST 10 DAYS.

Greensboro News Record; Greensboro, N.C.; Jan 5, 2001; JOHN NEWSOM Staff Writer;

Copyright Greensboro News Company Jan 5, 2001

Minority students are punished more often than white students for serious breaches of school rules, according to a new state report on public school discipline.

In North Carolina\'s public schools, 63 percent of all students who got long-term suspensions in the past three years were minorities. But minorities make up only 38 percent of the state\'s public school enrollment.

The North Carolina report shows that:

Black males, who got 43 percent of all long-term suspensions in the past three years, are nearly three times more likely than any other group to get this extended punishment

Males were three times more likely than females to get long-term suspensions

About one-third of all students who receive long-term suspensions are ninth-graders

Seventy percent of suspended students were referred to alternative schooling programs

In Guilford County, the area\'s largest school districts, almost half of all students are minorities. But minority students there got nearly 70 percent of all long-term suspensions since 1997.

(Full Story)

========================================================

-----------------------------------------------------------------
This is a Press Release/Statement from the Black Radical Congress
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Black Radical Congress (BRC)

For Immediate Release

January 9, 2001

Contact: BRC National Co-Chair, Manning Marable; 
mm247@columbia.edu or jdj16@columbia.edu;
212-854-1489 or 212-854-7010

RACISM AND THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY

The biggest loser in the presidential election of
November, 2000 was the principle of democracy. The electoral
contest between the two major candidates of the capitalist
parties, George W. Bush and Al Gore, was essentially decided
not by the people, but by the Republican-controlled Florida
State Legislature and by five conservative justices on the
U.S. Supreme Court. In effect, Gore was elected by the
voters, while Bush was selected by the courts.

Evidence of massive voter fraud and the deliberate
disenfranchisement of Black voters continues to mount.
Hundreds of African-American voters were turned away at
various polling places, when sheriff's deputies checking
voter IDs falsely asserted that the race indicated on the
card did not match the race of the person trying to vote. In
predominantly Black Florida precincts, roadblocks were set
up only a few hundred yards from voting places, where police
demanded that African Americans get out of their automobiles
and show identification. Over 8,000 voters in Florida were
denied the right to cast ballots because they were erroneously 
listed as ex-felons, who are not permitted to vote in that
state. In at least four minority schools in Miami that had
been used as polling places, ballot boxes full of votes were
left behind, and only discovered by school employees a day
after the election. Similar instances of Republican inspired
voter irregularities and "dirty tricks" once made infamous
by the Nixon administration have also been documented. In
Michigan, Virginia, and Florida, for example, thousands of
black households received telephone calls the weekend before
the election from people claiming to represent the NAACP,
urging them to vote for George W. Bush. Since the NAACP 
is officially nonpartisan, such calls obviously were
orchestrated by the Bush campaign.

Despite such illegal tactics and widespread racial
disenfranchisement, African Americans turned out to vote
against the Republican agenda in record numbers. Black
voters supported Gore over Bush by 90 to 8 percent. Bush's
dismal performance with African-American voters was the
worst in recent history, with the sole exception of Barry
Goldwater's puny 6 percent of the Black vote back in 1964.
And African-American voters in Texas, the Black folk who
knew Bush better than anybody else, gave their governor 
only 5 percent of their votes.

In many states, African Americans were the 
core constituency that led successful struggles to defeat
conservative Republicans. Whites nationwide favored Bush
over Gore by 53 to 42 percent, and generally voted for
Republicans in senatorial and gubernatorial races.

But in race after race, Blacks represented 
the critical margin of victory. In Maryland, for example, 
white voters favored Bush over Gore by 51 to 45 percent. But 
Black voters endorsed Gore by 90 percent, and their overall
turnout surged to 22 percent of Maryland's total vote. With
this crucial Black support, Gore won easily by 17 percent.
The identical pattern occurred in Michigan, where whites
supported Bush 51 to 46 percent, but African Americans
endorsed Gore by 90 percent, thus giving the state to the
Democrats. In Florida alone, African-American turnout
increased from 527,000 in 1996 to 952,000 in 2000.

From the vantage point of Black radicalism, this
remarkable political response by the African-American
community in the 2000 elections did not represent an
endorsement of the political agenda of "New Democrats" like
Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. It was not a sign of approval for
the devastating policies of the Clinton administration, such
as the 1996 Welfare Act. It was the unambiguous and clearly
recognized act of self-interest and self-preservation. It
was the defeat of the politics we oppose the most, rather
than the triumph of the politics which we truly want. Black
people understood that the parade of black and brown faces
at the Republican convention last summer was a farce, the
"illusion of inclusion." Most knew that Bush opposes
affirmative action, and presides over a state that has a
minimum wage of only $3.15 an hour. They knew that he had
picked a running mate who had voted against releasing Nelson
Mandela from prison, and who had opposed sanctions against
apartheid. The Republican ticket was the symbolic party of
white supremacy, and that's why millions of our people
waited patiently on long lines, from St. Louis to Harlem,
from Jacksonville to Oakland, to vote our own interests.

In an honest election, the Right would have been
easily defeated. But because we do not live in a genuine
democracy, the minority reflecting the interests and
"lifestyles of the rich and shameless" used the courts 
to steal the election. Nationwide, 4.2 million American
citizens, including 1.8 million African Americans, have been
disenfranchised for life due to prior felony convictions.
Institutional barriers and electoral restrictions make it
difficult for millions of other citizens to vote. Several
million ballots are routinely discarded, not counted or even
destroyed in presidential contests, and the media and major
capitalist parties do virtually nothing about it. Our winner- 
take-all election system makes it virtually impossible for
third parties that reflect the real interests of African
Americans, Latinos, working class and poor people to have
any meaningful impact on national and Congressional races.

For these reasons, the Black Radical Congress
believes that the Black Freedom Movement and our progressive
allies must ground our political struggle against the 
illegitimate Bush regime around the fight for democracy.
This is the fundamental political division that confronts
the American people. The Far Right and the corporations 
hate and fear real democracy. This is why there remain 
so many institutional barriers to ballot access, and the
undemocratic disenfranchisement of millions of poor and
minority voters.

The Black Radical Congress endorses and supports
efforts by organizations such as the Independent Progressive
Politics Network to promote a "Voters' Bill of Rights," and
a national campaign for democracy. Our first demand in such
a campaign must be the strong enforcement of the Voting
Rights Act. Section Two of that Act makes it illegal for any
state or local government to use election procedures that in
effect disenfranchise racial or ethnic minority voters. The
provisions of the Voting Rights Act that require federal
observers and complaints examiners to investigate widespread
cases of racist voter fraud should be immediately instituted
in Florida and other states. Local elections officials who
have been found to intimidate and exclude Black voters must
be vigorously prosecuted.

The Black Radical Congress calls for a ban on all
"soft money" contributions in elections, the billions of
dollars that routinely control the outcomes in most races.
We support the extension of full voting rights to every
citizen-to every prisoner currently incarcerated, and to 
all ex-felons. We believe that voting should be made much
easier. Moving elections to weekends or making them national
holidays would encourage greater voter participation. State
laws should be liberalized to permit smaller Third Parties
to gain ballot access. We also need to move away from the
anti-democratic winner-take-all system toward the goal of
proportional representation voting. The only way that
minority groups will gain their fair share of seats in a
city council, state legislature or in Congress is through
some form of proportional voting.

The Black Radical Congress believes that the most
blatant and indefensible violation of democracy in the U.S.
today is represented by Washington, D.C. The District of
Columbia has more voters than several states, but has no
voting representation in Congress. We say D.C. must have
complete home rule and statehood!

The Black Radical Congress joins with 
other progressive organizations, including all racial, 
ethnic, gender and class groups, who are committed to the 
struggle for democracy. The time for action is now. We must
demonstrate in Washington, D.C. on January 20th, to tell the
world that Black America will not tolerate the dismantling
of our hard-fought democratic rights. The BRC declares that
the Bush regime is illegal, fraudulent, and based on the
rampant racist exclusion of millions of Black voters. We are
committed to building a broad-based pro-democracy movement
that has the capacity to achieve real democracy in the U.S.


-30-

Black Radical Congress
National Office
Columbia University Station
P.O. Box 250791
New York, NY 10025-1509
Phone: (212) 969-0348
Email: blackradicalcongress@email.com
Web: http://www.blackradicalcongress.org

========================================================

Published on Tuesday, January 9, 2001 in the Boston 
Globe 
Black Caucus Sends a Message About Justice 
by James Carroll 


THE AMERICAN Heritage Dictionary defines ''epiphany'' 
as a ''sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning 
of something.'' Last Saturday was the Christian feast 
of the Epiphany - Three Kings Day - but on that day an 
equally dramatic manifestation occurred in the chamber 
of the United States Congress. Electoral College votes 
for president and vice president were solemnly 
registered, sealing the ascendancy of George W. Bush 
and Richard Cheney. 

What should have been a mere formality turned out to 
be an emphatic recapitulation of the election drama as 
members of the Congressional Black Caucus rose, one 
after the other, to protest the filing of the 
electoral votes from Florida. 


As the presiding officer, Al Gore was obliged to 
overrule the protests. Other vice presidents, having 
lost bids to succeed to the highest office, have had 
to wield the gavel against themselves in such a 
setting, but Gore's doing so seemed especially 
poignant. That is so, first, because the Black Caucus 
members, in speaking out for Floridians whose votes 
were not counted, were speaking out for him, making 
explicit the awkward fact that he, not Bush, was the 
true winner of the election. 


When Gore gaveled them out of order, staunchly 
defending the spirit of amity that now reigns between 
Democrats and Republicans, it seemed a tragic replay 
of the worst aspect of Gore's fall campaign against 
Bush, the pretense that nothing really separated the 
Democrat from the Republican. 


Gore's awful mantra was, ''I agree with you'' - awful 
because he so clearly did not. As he had been 
throughout his two terms as Clinton's vice president, 
Gore was once more thrust against his will into the 
role of obfuscater, instead of truth-teller. The truth 
is that something wrong has happened in this election 
- even if the American system is proving itself 
incapable of redressing it. Gore's loyalty to that 
system is admirable, but it has also put him in a box, 
a locked box if ever there was one. 


Every adult knows that there are some circumstances in 
which rules take precedence over truth. When Maxine 
Waters, Democrat of California, vented her frustration 
by announcing that she did not care about the 
procedure that made her protest inadmissible, Gore 
replied from the podium, ''The chair would advise that 
the rules do care.'' 


There were chuckles from the (white) legislators, but 
Americans watching on television were not seeing 
something that was funny. 


Yes, sometimes there is a gap between what rules 
require and what is clearly true. Mostly we live with 
it. But one of the things that made the counting of 
the Electoral College vote an epiphany is that it was 
the Black Caucus, and the Black Caucus alone, that 
showed itself sensitive to that gap in this case, 
laying bare the fact that the wound of race has been 
opened by this dispute, whether white people see it or 
not. 


What does it say that even the most left-wing of white 
congressmen and senators have adjusted themselves to 
the problematic Bush election, while the Congressional 
Black Caucus has not? 


Blacks have had far more experience than whites of the 
gap between rules and truth, since the rules, first, 
of slavery, then of segregation, then of class have 
denied the truth that black Americans are equal to 
white. Additionally, whites as a group, including 
liberals, can be more sanguine toward what the rules 
require, even if they accept the truth that Bush's 
election is wrong, because the privilege-protecting 
Bush administration will be protecting them. 


White liberals may object to Bush policies, but they 
won't be burdened by them in any way comparable to 
blacks. 


Who will disproportionately benefit from the coming 
tax cuts? Who will disproportionately suffer as the 
Bush glorification of capital punishment goes 
national? Who will carry the weight of further 
government withdrawal from programs designed to 
advance minorities, support cities, protect the 
impoverished? The epiphany is in who has found it easy 
to accept the dubious outcome of the election, and who 
has found it nearly impossible. 


Al Gore tried hard the other day to preserve the 
spirit of friendly cooperation that has descended on 
Washington. ''Let us put the rancor behind us,'' Henry 
Hyde, Republican of Illinois, pleaded in a show of the 
new love that has, with the exception of the literally 
unruly blacks, swept the nation's capital. 


But perhaps the Black Caucus registered its protest as 
a way of bringing forward an ancient epiphany, one 
that predates even the journey of the Magi: those who 
sit atop the social and economic pyramid always speak 
of love, while those at the bottom always speak of 
justice. 

========================================================

UK: Europe's new tests unearth more mad cow than expected
10 Jan 2001
Source: Reuters 

LONDON, Jan 09 (Reuters) - European officials grappling with tough new measures to combat the spread of mad cow disease said Tuesday they had unearthed more cases than expected.

Increased testing of higher-risk cattle over 30 months old, part of a package of measures agreed by members of the European Union late last year, had been expected to show a low rate of infection and restore consumer confidence in beef across Europe.


But in Belgium, where only 19 cases of bovine had previously been confirmed, a food
watchdog said test results suggested a suspected rate of infection five times higher than anticipated.

In France, where the latest consumer scare started in October over potentially tainted beef on supermarket shelves, tests have yielded a possible case in an animal born after 1996 when earlier tough controls had been put in place.

The Belgian Federal Agency for Food Safety reported 161 cases of BSE in 2000, more than five times the number detected in 1999.

In the first week of testing of meat from cattle over 30 months, said it had found 14 suspected cases of the brain-wasting disorder out of 2,762 animals tested.

This suggested that one out of every 200 cows in Belgium could be infected with the brain-wasting disease, linked to the human equivalent new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

"Before we started this testing, the scientists here in Belgium thought that one case in 1,000 would be positive," a spokeswoman for the health ministry told Reuters in Brussels.

She said the government would talk to scientists to determine why the rate of infection was higher than had been thought if the cases were confirmed by three rounds of testing.

POSSIBLE NEW CASE IN FRANCE 
Catherine Geslain-Laneelle, general director of food at the French farm ministry, said a new testing scheme had uncovered a case of BSE in an animal born in March 1998.

"We received word yesterday of a suspect case in the Calvados region (in Normandy). The sample has been sent to the AFSSA (food safety agency) laboratory for further testing," Geslain-Laneelle told a news conference in Paris.

She said the herd had been placed under supervision.

The second finding of BSE in an animal born after 1996, if confirmed, could lend support to a theory that animal feed made from ground-up carcasses is not the only means of transmitting the disease.

Denmark also detected a new case of BSE Tuesday, the third in a decade. The first officially reported case was in 1992, and in February 2000 a whole herd of cattle in north Jutland was destroyed after the disease was detected.

In the Netherlands, however, all tests for mad cow disease have come out negative since the launch of a new program last week, the Dutch agriculture ministry said.

Eight cases of BSE have been discovered in the Netherlands, two each over the previous four years.

DISEASE SPREAD ACROSS EUROPE 
An export ban was imposed on British beef in 1996, when scientists found the link between BSE and its human equivalent 10 years after it first hit British herds.

More than 80 people in Britain and two in France have died from vCJD. Since the height of Britain's epidemic in the late 1980s, the disease has spread across Europe.

Some European countries, desperate to restore consumer confidence, have struggled to implement the new measures.

Italian farmers have decided to take direct action and vowed to claim compensation for delays in testing.

Luigi Scordamalia, secretary-general of Italian meat industry association Assocarni, said around 10,000-12,000 cattle due for slaughter remained in cowsheds in the first week of January because the tests were delayed.

"No one is accepting responsibility," he said in Rome.

In France, where protesting cattle dealers brought gridlock to roads around Paris Tuesday, the meat industry said it deplored what it described the confusion surrounding the testing program.

"We are giving consumers the impression that the situation is not under control. I don't think we can solve the crisis rapidly. It will take time," CIV Director Louis Orenga told Reuters in Paris.

Meat has been piling up in storage pending the results of the tests and producers reported a backlog of older animals ontheir farms after France certified only 18 laboratories, compared with the 30 originally forecast.

"This testing system, which in fact should have been a positive thing for the consumer, will be negative," Orenga said.

(C) Reuters Limited 2001.

========================================================

1/09/01- Updated 11:14 AM ET

Conned investors may never see refunds

By Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY

The Securities and Exchange Commission has fallen badly behind in its
collections of illegal gains from stock swindlers and other scam artists, leaving
many fraud victims waiting for refunds that might never come, a USA
TODAY analysis of SEC records shows. The SEC, the federal government's
investment industry regulator, collected just 16.9% of the more than $1.7
billion in illegal gains that financial violators have been ordered to hand over
since 1995. The recovery rate — about $1.69 of every $10 owed —
represents a sharp drop from the 50% collection success found in a review of
1987-94 collections by the General Accounting Office (GAO), the
investigative arm of Congress.

The SEC does not maintain comprehensive records of how much has been
repaid to fraud victims, even though the agency has worked to boost its
investor-friendly image and the GAO report recommended such a tracking
system.

Besides the low collection rate overall, the USA TODAY analysis found the
SEC has not collected one penny in 10 large cases involving violators who
collectively owe $540 million under so-called disgorgement orders.

Additionally, only in October 1999 did the SEC appoint its first collections
administrator, an executive assigned to keep track of hundreds of cases
scattered across the country as lawyers change jobs within the agency or
leave for positions elsewhere.

As a result, thousands of investors who say they were scammed in financial
frauds worry whether they will ever recover even a portion of their
investments.

========================================================

January 9, 2001 

Governor Pledges to Save California From
Power Crisis

By JAMES STERNGOLD

SACRAMENTO, Jan. 8 — Calling
California's two-year experiment in
electricity deregulation a "colossal and
dangerous failure," Gov. Gray Davis proposed
several major steps today to reassert the state's
control over its power market, including the
creation of a new state energy authority that
could buy generating plants from private utilities
and build new plants. 

In his annual address to the California
legislature, Mr. Davis, a Democrat, also
promised that he would not allow California's
two largest private utilities to continue their
recent slide toward bankruptcy, saying that he
would use all the state's powers, including
taking control of power plants and transmission
grids if necessary, to keep the system working. 

"We will regain control over the power that's
generated in California and commit it to the
public good," he said in his speech this evening
in the Assembly chambers here.

Mr. Davis's proposals will now be debated by a
state legislature that has already been
considering even stronger measures to tame
soaring wholesale electricity prices and power
shortages in many parts of the state.

The governor's plans represent a startling
turnaround from the mood that existed four
years ago when the deregulation plan passed
the legislature unanimously on promises that
market forces would bring power costs down
— a drastic miscalculation, as it turned out. 

Mr. Davis's proposals are bolder than many
political experts had anticipated from a centrist
governor who has made his mark as a cautious
pragmatist more likely to believe in market
forces than state control. But some members of
the state's heavily Democratic legislature said
they were inclined to move even further than the creation of a state power
authority that could become a major electricity generator.

"That's something we've already been pushing and we'll consider other
measures, too," said John Burton, president of the State Senate. "Drastic
times call for bold measures."

Governor Davis suggested that, if necessary, he would consider far
stronger measures. "Everyone should understand that there are other, more
drastic measures that I am prepared to take if I have to," he said.

In his speech, the governor left unstated precisely what he would do in the
short term to prop up the state's two largest utilities, Pacific Gas and
Electric and Southern California Edison.

But, as he has in the past, he focused most of his venom at the out-
of-state companies that sell power into the deregulated market here, as
well as the federal government, which last month lifted the cap on
wholesale prices for electricity. 

"I reject the irresponsible notion that we can afford to allow our major
utilities to go bankrupt," he said. "Our fate is tied to their fate."

The power utilities have been caught in a dangerous vise as they pay
soaring prices for power on the wholesale market but can charge
consumers far less than their costs because of state price caps.

The utilities have said that they have lost more than $11 billion already
because of this situation, and that the gap will drive them into bankruptcy if
they do not receive some government relief.

Governor Davis and other state officials are scheduled to meet at the
White House Tuesday afternoon with top federal energy and economic
officials in an effort to win federal help in creating a new cap on wholesale
power prices. 

========================================================

Granma
January 5, 2001 

President Fox to visit Cuba this year

JORGE Castañeda, Mexican secretary of foreign relations, confirmed today 
that President Vicente Fox would visit Cuba during the first half of this 
year.

In a press conference at the Foreign Ministry, Castañeda said that the 
Mexican leader would travel to the island of Cuba on an official visit, as 
part of a tight schedule responding to commitments he has made.
He stated that the trip to Havana, whose exact date has not been set, is 
among Fox's priorities, having come out on various occasions in favor of 
reactivating economic and commercial relations with Cuba.

INVESTMENT PROTECTION AGREEMENT PREPARED

The Mexican ambassador in Havana, Ricardo Pascoe Pierce, has announced 
that Mexico and Cuba are preparing a reciprocal investment protection and 
promotion agreement, to stimulate the interest in Cuba on the part of large
Mexican companies, according to Notimex.

The diplomat commented that the agreement may be signed during Fox's visit 
to Havana, with the goal of strengthening bilateral relations.
"Several Mexican entrepreneurs, such as Carlos Slim [owner of Teléfonos de 
México] and others from the Monterrey Group are interested in investing in 
Cuba, but they need the Mexican government's political support to do so," 
stressed Pascoe.

He stated that the U.S. economic blockade imposed on Cuba since 1962 and 
stepped up by the Helms-Burton Act in 1996, represents an obstacle to the 
influx of large Mexican capital.

"Therein lies the importance of signing the investment protection agreement? 
since it will generate confidence on the part of Mexican business," Pascoe 
noted. He recalled that there was a drop in trade between the two countries 
five years ago, due to stagnant relations during the Zedillo administration. 
The Mexican ambassador added that another topic that Fidel and Fox will cover 
is Cuba's membership in the San José Pact, a mechanism whereby Mexico and 
Venezuela supply oil under preferential terms to countries in Central America 
and the Caribbean. The Cuban government is interested in specifying the 
conditions for membership in the Pact, which is now being studied by the 
Mexican government, Pascoe explained.

He reiterated the Cuban president's interest in rebuilding longstanding 
relations with Mexico and maintaining direct contact with President Fox, 
which Pascoe said already exists.

FOX TO REACTIVATE GROUP OF THREE, ALONG WITH CHAVEZ 
AND PASTRANA

Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda has announced that the president of 
Mexico plans to reactivate the Group of Three (G-3), which will be made up of 
himself, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Colombian President Andrés 
Pastrana, EFE reported.

At a press conference, Castañeda stated that Venezuela and Colombia "are 
countries with which we have had very close relations." In the case of 
Venezuela, it has cooperated with Mexico on the oil export policy, and 
Colombia has worked with Mexico in the fight against drug trafficking.
Castañeda also reported that Fox would meet with U.S. President George W. 
Bush in the period between late January and April, "although there is still 
no exact date for that encounter."

Castañeda explained U.S. authorities did not invite President Fox to Bush's 
inauguration, scheduled for January 20.

"There was some confusion, but the United States never invites anyone to 
their inaugurations; that's their decision, that's the way they are."


portside (the left side in nautical parlance) is a news, discussion and debate service of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. It aims to provide varied material of interest to people on the left.

========================================================

Mad Cow update 

from: http://www.just-food.com/

IRELAND: Government acts against BSE
8 Jan 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team 

Agricultural officials in Ireland today will begin to slaughter all cattle more than thirty months old, which have not been tested for BSE, or mad cow disease.

The scheme, under which the officials say up to six-hundred-thousand cows are expected to be killed, is intended to restore consumer confidence in one of the country's biggest industries. Last year Ireland had a record number of cases of BSE, all involving older animals.

AUSTRAILIA: BSE ban comes into force, fears for negative impact on home beef
sales
8 Jan 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team 


Supermarkets have already begun removing potentially lethal European beef products before a nationwide ban comes into effect. Health authorities imposed the ban on the sale and importation of such goods to remove any threat to Australian consumers of developing the fatal human form of Mad Cow Disease.

The ban is expected to last several years and could be extended to cover bovine-derived medical and beauty products. From tomorrow, retailers will be required by law to remove all stock containing European beef -– including ingredients used by Australian manufacturers in goods such goods as pasta sauces and stock
cubes.

Consumers have been warned to check the labels on any imported food that may contain beef from a European country as the withdrawal of all banned products from stores is expected to take several days. Suspect goods include European frankfurters, corned beef, soups, hot dogs, luncheon meats, salami and pate. 

Australian health officials confirmed they are contemplating extending the ban to drugs and cosmetics that contain beef extracts from European countries in which mad cow disease and its human equivalent have arisen. 

Thirty European countries are involved in the ban and include Albania, Croatia, Iceland, Ireland and Greece. The ban affects more than 1000 tonnes of European beef imported annually and 250 products. Milk, gelatine and tallow products will not be banned because of the extensive processing involved in their manufacture. The ban was imposed by the Australian and New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA).

ANZFA managing director Ian Lindemayer said: "Australia and New Zealand have one of the safest food supplies in the world and the current steps are intended to keep it that way. We have written to major retail organisations asking them to identify processed beef products from Europe and remove them from shelves as soon as possible."

There are still concerns that fears of beef contamination may influence consumer behaviour. David Palmer, of Meat and Livestock Australia, suggested that Australians might turn from beef to other products in a bid to escape fears of infection with bovine spongiform encephalopath. His fears were echoed by New South Wales farmer, David Fearon, who claims that the Australian Government's decision to ban the import of all European beef products is unnecessary, and may have a negative impact on the beef industry in Australia.

No cases of BSE have been recorded in Australia

=========================================================

Brain Damage

Wall Street Journal     January 5, 2001

Brain damage like Parkinson's resulted when mice were exposed to a combination of the common pesticides paraquat and maneb, a University of Rochester study found.  The work appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.

=========================================================

DC Statehood?

USA Today    January 5, 2001

"Clinton has placed a new D.C. license plate bearing the motto 'Taxation without Representation' on the presidential limousine.  The motto protests Washington's lack of a voting member of Congress.  The GOP favors the status quo for the heavily Democratic City.

========================================================


Black leaders to mobilize on MLK's Birthday

By Stacy Gilliam
BET.com Staff Writer

Posted Jan. 5, 2001 — Civil rights leaders still smarting from the outcome of the
presidential election Thursday called for African-Americans and others to mobilize on
Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday in defense of voting rights. 

At an "emergency summit" held at Howard University Law School in Washington,
D.C., to discuss what to do in wake of the election that saw the U.S. Supreme
Court determine the outcome in favor of a candidate who only 10 percent of voting
Blacks suppoted, leaders said the key recourse is a massive voter registration drive
and voter education programs. They also promised to fight President-elect Bush's
Cabinet nominees who are judged to be anti-civil rights. 

The summit was sponsored by the National Black Leadership Roundtable, which is
headed by former Washington, D.C., delegate Walter Fauntroy. "We need to
transform our anger into action," said Martin Luther King III, president of the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who with activist Joe Madison is heading
up a national voter registration drive, specifically in low-income, underserved
communities. "We must mobilize our constituency. We have to register everyone we
know." 

As part of that effort, leaders plan to target areas with particularly low numbers of
registered Black voters for intensive registration drives on King's birthday, Jan. 15,
and a march in Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day. The leaders also will attend
U.S. Civil Rights Commission hearings into apparent violations of the Voting Rights
Act beginning next week in Florida. 

The leaders also promised to pay close attention to President-elect Bush's Cabinet
choices. "The Republicans sold us diversity when we were looking for progressive
ideology," said Ron Walters, a University of Maryland political science professor.
"That's how we got Clarence Thomas. We did not question his politics." 

King III told the audience of more than 200 people to write to their senators about
questionable Bush nominees, including Republican Missouri Sen. John Ashcroft, who
Bush has nominated for U.S. attorney general. Civil rights leaders have vowed to
oppose Ashcroft primarily for his vigorous opposition of African American Judge
Ronnie White's nomination to the federal bench. White's nomination was defeated in
the Senate. 

"We've got a big job to do," King III said. "We need to mobilize like never before on
Jan. 20. Let's recommit our lives to finishing the unfinished work of Martin Luther
King." Here's a list of some planned efforts and events: 

* Nationwide voter registration drive on Jan. 15, 2001, Martin Luther King Jr.'s
birthday. For more information, contact the National Black Leadership Roundtable at
202-296-0250. 

* On Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, at 10 a.m., the Rev. Al Sharpton and his National
Action Network is to hold a protest march from Stanton Park to the U. S. Supreme
Court in Washington, D.C.. At 11 a.m., marchers will take an oath to recommit
themselves to the struggle to secure voting rights for all Americans. Contact the
National Action Network at 212-987-5020 or www.nationalaction.net. 

* The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is conducting a year-long study into alleged
voting irregularities during the presidential election. It will analyze voting practices
across the country, looking at equipment, counting methods, disability access, etc.
On Jan. 11 and 12, the commission will hold a public hearing in Tallahassee, Fla., at
the Holiday Inn Select Hotel. They will take sworn testimony from people who
experienced discrimination at the polls. Click www.usccr.gov/regional.html for
contact numbers. 

* The Coalition on Black Civic Participation plans to train new, young activists;
educate voters about voting rights; collaborate efforts with other organizations;
and work on election reform on the national, state and local levels. Contact the
Coalition of Black Civic Participation by e-mail at ncbvp@aol.com or its Web site,
www.bigvote.org. 

========================================================


PELTIER CLEMENCY UPDATE   January 7, 2001

Dear Friends,

Below is an editorial published in the LA Times, written by journalist Kevin
McKiernan, who witnessed several aspects of the Pine Ridge Reign of Terror.
Also in this message, you will find an exerpt from Friday's press briefing
at the White House indicating that the next round of clemency decisions will
not likely occur until the last minute (just before January 20).

If true, this leaves us with about ten more days to continue the emergency
campaign. Many supporters have expressed a desire to do much more than
work on the White House phone call campaign during this truly critical time
and have asked what more can be done. If you are one of these people, there
is a lot you can do with that nervous energy! Make emergency phone calls to
your local human and civil rights organizations, churches, unions, and
members of congress. Ask the heads of these groups to make a personal call
to the White House to express support for clemency.

Also, you can help dispel the FBI's disinformation in your community by
distributing literature on the case to the general public. Email us to
receive a simple FAQ and background sheet to hand out. Set up literature
tables at public events and/or in crowded areas. Hold video showings and
encourage more people to call and fax the White House daily. Alert your
community radio stations about the urgency of this case and ask them to make
regular announcements encouraging folks to call the White House daily.

We will inform you as soon as we know anything. Hang tight!

In Solidarity,

--- LPDC

------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
January 5, 2001

PRESS BRIEFING BY JAKE SIEWERT

The James S. Brady Briefing Room

12:20 P.M. EST
[.]

Q : Jake, are more pardons likely, and, if so, how soon?

MR. SIEWERT: I would not expect anything until towards the end. I expect
that -- he's asked to review some more; Counsel's Office is looking at them
and I think they'll probably present a package to him at some point. But I
think that would be very much towards the end. I wouldn't expect anything at
the early part of next week or over this weekend.
[.]

--------------------------------------------------------------------

LA Times
Sunday, January 7, 2001
Put a Close to This Sad Chapter

By KEVIN MCKIERNAN
http://www.latimes.com/news/comment/20010107/t000001689.html


SANTA BARBARA--I don't know which American Indian killed FBI agents
Jack
Coler and Ronald Williams in a notorious South Dakota shoot-out 25 years
ago.
Nor do I know the identity of the federal lawman who shot and killed Joe
Stuntz, the American Indian Movement (AIM) member, whose body I photographed
afterward. But I was there on June 25, 1975, outside the Jumping Bull ranch
on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, when some of the bullets were flying.
A
stray round hit my pickup, and my memory is still fresh of crouching low
behind the truck with my portable tape deck, recording the exchange of
gunfire for a National Public Radio broadcast.

The government has never produced an eyewitness in the deaths of the
agents, and prosecutors admit they still don't know who actually killed
Coler
and Williams. But AIM leader Leonard Peltier, one of the estimated two dozen
Indians present on the 40-acre reservation that day, has admitted that he
participated in the firefight. A U.S. appellate court upheld his murder
conviction as an aider and abettor, but the court chastised the FBI for its
use of "fabricated" evidence in securing Peltier's extradition from Canada
and for withholding from the jury an exculpatory ballistics test conducted
on
a rifle attributed to Peltier.

Amnesty International maintains that Peltier, who is 56 and has been
in
jail for the last 25 years, did not get a fair trial. Now, in the waning
days
of the Clinton administration, the organization is one of several groups
petitioning the president to commute Peltier's sentence.

Two other AIM members were acquitted in the case, on grounds of
self-defense, despite testimony that they had fired in the direction of the
agents. The jury also heard evidence about COINTELPRO, the FBI's
counterinsurgency program used against AIM, and a representative of the U.S.
Civil Rights Commission testified to the "climate of fear" on the
reservation
before the 1975 shootings. Other testimony challenged FBI assertions of
neutrality in the tribal civil war that followed AIM's takeover of the
historic reservation village of Wounded Knee two years earlier. Two Indians
were shot to death at Wounded Knee; a dozen Indians and two lawmen also
received gunshot injuries during the 10-week takeover.

There have long been allegations that the FBI chose sides in the
internecineconflict that took place from 1973-75 be tween AIM-led
traditionalists and a vigilante group of mostly mixed bloods who called
themselves the GOONs (Guardians of the Oglala Nation). But testimony
concerning FBI activities on the reservation before the 1975 killings was
excluded by the judge in the case of Peltier, who was tried separately from
the other two defendants.

In fact, the climate of fear back then was all too real, and it
matched
anything I have experienced reporting from war zones like El Salvador and
the
Middle East. In those days, the reservation seemed like the Wild West, and
almost everyone was armed. I once was threatened with guns in my face when I
tried to film a GOON squad roadblock; another time I was slammed up against
a
wall by GOONs, who tended to perceive the entire press corps as AIM
sympathizers. The brakes on my car were cut, and, on one occasion, a
high-powered rifle blew a hole in an automobile in which I was riding. My
experiences pale by comparison to the beatings, fire-bombings and drive-by
shootings were common during the period; at least 25 murders of Indians
still
remain unsolved. Former South Dakota state Sen. James Abourzek said that the
near-lawless atmosphere on the reservation approached "total anarchy."

District U.S. Judge Fred Nichol, who tried many of the Wounded Knee
cases, once told me in a filmed interview that "The FBI and the GOON squad
worked pretty much together . . . because they were against AIM." In a 1984
televised interview, which I conducted for PBS's "Frontline," a leader of
the
GOON squad claimed that FBI agents provided his group with intelligence on
AIM and, in one instance, "armor piercing" bullets for use against AIM
members who, like the GOONs, were heavily armed at the time.

A few years ago, Gerald W. Heaney, chief judge of the U.S. Court of
Appeals that upheld Peltier's conviction, petitioned the White House to
commute Peltier's sentence. Heaney stated in a letter that the FBI shared
the
blame for the two agents and one Indian killed in the South Dakota
shoot-out.
He said that the government "overreacted" to the 1973 occupation at Wounded
Knee. Instead of "carefully considering the legitimate grievances of Native
Americans," he said, "the response was essentially a military one that
culminated in a deadly firefight on June 26, 1975.

Before he leaves office, President Bill Clinton can provide closure to
a
difficult and divisive period in Indian history. As Heaney wrote in his
clemency plea, "At some time, the healing process must begin. We as a nation
must recognize their unique culture and their great contribution to our
nation."

- - -

Kevin Mckiernan Covered the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for National
Public
Radio From 1973-1976. he Was the Co-producer of the Pbs "Frontline" Program
"The Spirit of Crazy Horse."



Call the White House Comments Line Daily
Demand Justice for Leonard Peltier! 202-456-1111

Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
PO Box 583
Lawrence, KS 66044
785-842-5774
www.freepeltier.org
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========================================================

Congress makes Bush victory official

MSNBC

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 — A deeply divided Congress
formally counted the electoral votes in the
presidential election Saturday and declared
George W. Bush the winner. In a last spasm of
partisan bitterness over the court battle that
decided the presidency, black Democrats
dramatically walked out of the joint session of
Congress, where Al Gore presided over his own
defeat by overruling repeated Democratic
maneuvers to put him in the White House.

THE JOINT SESSION, mandated by the
Constitution, began at 1:10 p.m. ET. The first objection
came just two minutes later as Rep. Peter Deutsch, D-Fla.,
took the floor to begin a speech to protest the contested
election in Florida. 
Gore, who as vice president serves as presiding officer
of the Senate, cut him off after one sentence, ruling, “No
debate is allowed in the joint session.” Deutsch tried to
continue, but Gore gaveled him down again. “The gentleman
will suspend,” the vice president said.
Deutsch then said not enough lawmakers were present
to constitute a quorum, but Gore ruled “on the advice of the
parliamentarian” that his objection was among those that
could not be considered unless it was presented by both a
House member and a senator.
The proceedings got under way after Deutsch
acknowledged, “I don’t have a senator.”

BLACK LAWMAKERS OBJECT
Deutsch’s was but the first of a series of objections, all
sunk by the lack of even a single Democratic senator willing
to sign on to the effort to overturn Bush’s election. Indeed,
only six Democratic senators could be seen in attendance at
Saturday’s session. 


More than 20 representatives, most of them members
of the Congressional Black Caucus, followed Rep. Alcee
Hastings, D-Fla., to microphones to protest “the unfairness
of the counting” of votes in Florida, where a month of
election contests was settled only after the second
intervention of the Supreme Court in Bush’s behalf.
“This is the one we’ve all been waiting for,” Rep.
Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., one of six members of Congress
serving as a clerk for the ceremony, said as he rose to
present the Florida results.
Black lawmakers contend that undercounting and
obstacles to voting in many minority areas prevented Gore
from capturing Florida and thus winning the national
election.
However, like Deutsch’s procedural point, such
objections were improper without signatures from a
member of both the House and the Senate. Lawmaker after
lawmaker rose to complain about the contest in Florida,
only to acknowledge that no senator had joined their
objections. Time after time, Gore politely ruled them out of
order.
Several House members sharply complained about the
refusal of senators to join the objections. “I don’t care that a
senator wouldn’t sign” the objection, said Rep. Maxine
Waters, D-Calif. 
“The chair will advise that the rules do care,” Gore
responded, to applause.

SYMBOLIC EFFORTS 


Waters told NBC that Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa,
considered joining the House members’ protest, but he
ultimately declined, NBC’s Mike Viqueira reported.
Democrats acknowledged beforehand that their
protests were largely symbolic, designed to highlight their
anger at the bitter struggle in Florida. 
Other Democrats, led by Rep. Cynthia McKinney,
D-Ga., tried another tack, but they were ruled out of order
when they made motions that the House withdraw from the
proceedings pending an investigation in Florida.
As soon as Gore declared the Florida results official at
1:45 p.m. ET, most of the members of the black caucus
lined up and marched out of the chamber in protest.
Calling the demonstration “a proud moment for the
conscience of the House of Representatives,” Hastings,
speaking at a news conference even as his congressional
colleagues remained in session, said the black caucus
abandoned the meeting “because of the overwhelming
evidence of misconduct, deliberate fraud and attempts to
suppress minority turnout by unlawful means” in Florida.

http://www.msnbc.com/news/491164.asp#BODY

========================================================

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jocco Baccus
January 5, 2001 (202) 225-1605
Email: Jocco.Baccus@mail.house.gov


ADVISORY

CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS MEMBERS CHALLENGE
ACCEPTANCE OF PRESIDENTAL ELECTORS FROM FLORIDA

"The right to vote is sacrosanct and that right should be protected"

(Washington, DC) Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) and Members of the 
Congressional Black Caucus will file an official challenge against Florida's 
25 electoral votes for George W. Bush. "In light of the events in Florida a 
new form of black voter suppression reared it’s ugly head, and the people’s 
will was denied," stated McKinney. The challenge will take place on the floor 
of the House of Representatives. There will be a press conference after the 
challenge. 

What: Press Conference
Challenge acceptance of presidential Electors from Florida

When: Saturday, January 6, 2001

Where: House Radio and TV Gallery
U.S. Capitol

Time: 2:00 p.m.

========================================================

FREE RADICAL: CHRONICLE OF THE NEW UNREST
an online column by L.A. KAUFFMAN
www.free-radical.org
--------------------------------------------------------
[to subscribe, write freeradical-request@lists.riseup.net
with the word subscribe in the email subject or body]
========================================================
INAUGURATION SPECIAL . . . . . . . . . . . . .Issue #14

Many are calling 2000 the "year of the protest,"
after people took to the streets from Seattle to
Belgrade and beyond to demand fundamental change.
Now, in the United States at least, the year 2001
promises to begin with an outright insurrection.

The upcoming demonstrations against the inauguration
of GOP coup leader George W. Bush will bring together
an unprecedented mix of movements-on-the-rise,
heralding yet another surge in activism in this
already volatile time.

Public outrage over the Republican theft of
America's presidential election and the systematic
denial of African-American voting rights has sparked
a vast array of organizing efforts by everyone from
revolutionary anarchists opposing "the entire state
system" to Democratic voters questioning the fairness
of American democracy for the first time. Most
significantly, Bush's coronation is sparking a
revival of grassroots organizing by the black
civil rights movement.

The players in the unfolding inauguration drama
are so numerous and varied, and the pace of
preparations so harried, that it hasn't been easy
to get a handle on what will go down on January 20.
Here, then, is a guide to the scenario and
cast of characters for the inauguration protests.


SCENARIO

Many of the details concerning the actual Inauguration,
like the exact parade route, have yet to be announced,
but the basic outline of the day is set. The
swearing-in ceremony will take place on the west side
of the U.S. Capitol building beginning at 11:30 AM.
Bush is scheduled to take the oath of office at noon.
The ceremony will be followed by the traditional
inaugural parade, which begins at 2:00 PM.

For more information on official preparations,
see the official web site, www.inauguration-2001.org.
Other good resources are www.presidential-inaugural.com
and the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee's "frequently
asked questions" page: www.afic.army.mil/FAQs/FAQs_page1.htm.
If you've got many hundreds of dollars to spare,
you can buy a scalped ticket to one or more
inaugural events, from the swearing-in ceremony to
various inaugural balls; one source for these is
www.inauguralevents.com.

There are three different announced meeting points
and times for anti-inaugural protests.

1) At 10:00 AM, people will meet at Dupont Circle
for the Voter March rally and protest (www.votermarch.org),
which will culminate in a march to the Supreme Court.
The organizers of this event, which has a moderate tone
and good-government agenda, have received a permit
from the D.C. police.

2) Also at 10:00 AM, folks of a more radical disposition
will meet at Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street,
responding to calls put out by the socialist
International Action Center (www.iacenter.org) and the
anarchist Revolutionary Anti-Authoritarian Block
(www.infoshop.org/coronation.html). The anarchists will
meet beneath a "Class War" banner. Presumably this march
will also go to the Supreme Court, though there's been
no public announcement of the route.

3) At noon, the Reverend Al Sharpton, with the support
of other African-American leaders, has called for people
to meet at Stanton Park, at 4th and Maryland. From there,
there will be a march to the Supreme Court for a "Shadow
Inauguration," in which Sharpton will administer a
"Citizen's Oath" pledging action to safeguard voting rights.

(Full story: Chronicle of the New Unrest)

 

========================================================

Cocaine Tied to 25% of Heart
Attacks in Young 

Study: Regular use threatens people under
45 

By Edward Edelson
HealthScout Reporter 

TUESDAY, Jan. 2
(HealthScout) -- Regular
cocaine use poses a major
threat to the young heart,
accounting for a quarter of
nonfatal heart attacks that occur before age 45, a
study finds. 

The finding is of "major social importance, because
a lot of people think that cocaine should be
legalized. This study goes a long way in providing
evidence that regular cocaine use increases the
risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality,"
says Dr. Adnan I. Qureshi, assistant professor of
neurosurgery at the University at Buffalo in New
York. 

The finding, reported in the latest edition of
Circulation: Journal of the American Heart
Association, is based on data from the most
recent National Health and Nutrition Examination
Survey, which questioned 40,000 Americans
between 1988 and 1994.

Source:  http://www.healthscout.com

========================================================

January 2, 2001

Statement by Ron Daniels, Executive Director, Center for Constitutional
Rights

For Immediate Release

Born out of the struggle against apartheid in the South in the '60s, the
Center for Constitutional Rights has a longstanding interest in and
commitment to voting rights and the enfranchisement of Blacks and other
minorities in our society. Consistent with that commitment, CCR has
litigated scores of cases in defense of disenfranchised or under-
represented voters in the South and across the country. We believe that
the right to vote is an indispensable pillar of our democracy which must
be vigorously and scrupulously protected. To fail to do so is to
undermine faith in our system of government and sow the seeds of
distrust and discontent. 

It is in that vein that we are compelled to express our outrage at the
massive disenfranchisement of voters in Florida and around the country
during the recent presidential election - an egregious process which
disproportionately affected Black voters and other people of color. The
U.S. Supreme Court decision - which halted the counting of a portion of
the ballots (the undercount) in Florida, amidst widespread
irregularities and flaws which resulted in untold thousands of ballots
being cast aside in that state - sent a message that the will of the
people can be circumvented and ignored by judicial decree. In effect the
Supreme Court of the United States, by disenfranchising voters in
Florida, sanctioned the "election" of an illegitimate President. It is
an outcome that civil rights and human rights organizations like the
Center for Constitutional Rights and people who believe in authentic
democracy cannot accept in good conscience.

Therefore, in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, we endorse
the idea of a Day of Resistance in Washington D.C. on January 20,
Inauguration Day, to protest the installation of an illegitimate
regime. The entire nation and the world must know that there are large
numbers of people in this country who are dissatisfied with and do not
accept the outcome of a flawed election. In this regard we applaud the
mobilization of the International Action Center and other groups who are
working to bring thousands of people to Washington D.C. on January
20th. Let a myriad of marches, demonstrations, rallies and vigils bloom
on this historic day. We would also like to acknowledge the efforts of
Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Black Leadership Forum who will be holding a
major march and rally in Tallahassee, Florida on that day. 

The Center for Constitutional Rights, however, will focus its energies
on the nation's capital on January 20th. As an institution devoted to
racial justice, we are particularly hopeful that thousands of African
Americans and other people of color, as the groups who
disproportionately bore the brunt of disenfranchisement in the November
election, will mobilize in massive numbers to be present for the Day of
Resistance in Washington, D.C. Accordingly, as Executive Director of
CCR, I will be supporting and participating in the Shadow Inaugural 
March and Rally at the Supreme Court being organized by Rev. Al Sharpton
and the National Action Network. The Supreme Court, the scene of what
can only be described as an infamous decision, is the right place to be
on this Day of Resistance.

We also recognize that protest by itself is not enough. We must also act
to blunt the effects of policies which we deem detrimental to people of
color, women and poor and working people, and at the same time embrace
initiatives for reform that will lead to authentic democracy. Therefore,
we join with the NAACP in opposing the nomination of former Senator John
Ashcroft of Missouri as Attorney General of the United States. We
believe that his attitude and record on a broad range of issues as it
relates to civil rights, judicial appointments and criminal justice
concerns pose serious questions about his suitability to hold a position
which directly affects the interests and aspirations of people of color,
women and the poor in our country. Professor David Cole, CCR Volunteer
Attorney and Board member, will have more to say about the importance of
the office of the Attorney General in his statement.

Beyond our opposition to the nomination of John Ashcroft, CCR would like
to announce its endorsement and support for the Voter Bill of Rights and
Pro-Democracy Campaign which a number of local, regional and national
organizations have devised. We are hopeful that the proposals contained
within the Voter Bill of Rights will serve as a guide to advocates for
reform and to legislators at the local, state and national level who are
pressing for the enactment of legislation and other initiatives designed
to ensure that the catastrophe of Election 2000 does not occur again.
The Voter Bill of Rights also envisions the adoption of remedies which
will create an authentic participatory democracy in our nation. CCR is
also committed to working collaboratively with the National Black
Leadership Roundtable, under the leadership of Rev. Walter Fauntroy, to
assist with the formulation and implementation of a legislative, legal
and community based agenda for electoral reform and voter empowerment.

At the Center for Constitutional Rights, it is our conviction that we
must seize the moment to protest the installation of an illegitimate
administration and mobilize/organize to vigorously promote a
Pro-Democracy Campaign that can fundamentally transform the essence and
substance of citizen engagement and participation for all the people who
live in our society. Out of the tragedy of disenfranchisement and
illegitimacy of Election 2000, our mission

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Thanks! And please visit www.ippn.org for information on the
Jan. 15-20 Pro-Democracy Week of Action!]

=======================================================

January 2, 2001 

Tyson to Acquire IBP in $3.2 Billion Deal

By DAVID BARBOZA and ANDREW ROSS SORKIN

yson Foods Inc., the poultry giant,
reached an agreement yesterday to
acquire IBP Inc. in a $3.2 billion deal that
would create the world's largest meat
producer and processor, with revenue of
about $23 billion. 

The cash-and-stock acquisition ends a battle
between Tyson and Smithfield Foods for
control of IBP, the nation's biggest packer of
fresh beef and a leading pork processor.

Tyson executives say that in capturing IBP,
they will have greater power in dealing with
retailers and food service companies that have
combined in recent years. And because Tyson will have poultry, beef and
pork operations, the deal will put the company at the center of nearly
every dinner plate, executives said.

Tyson, which is based in Springdale, Ark., is expected to face federal
antitrust scrutiny of its deal. Farmers, ranchers and pork and poultry
producers have grown increasingly worried about the size of food
companies, and they fear a shrinking number of outlets to sell their
products. Tyson said it did not expect antitrust questions to block the
deal.

In making the deal, Tyson will be diversifying, re-entering the pork
business just years after it sold some poorly performing pork operations
and vowed to "focus on feathers."

The company would have leading positions in producing and processing
poultry and beef, and the No. 2 position as a pork processor after
Smithfield, which is based in Smithfield, Va.

Tyson said that IBP, which is based in Dakota Dunes, S.D., would
operate as a wholly owned subsidiary and continue its recent efforts to
move further into brand-name beef delivered directly to the supermarket
meat case.

"We will have an unparalleled ability to develop innovative, branded food
products and market them successfully through all the distribution
channels," John Tyson, chairman and chief executive of Tyson, said in a
statement. 

The deal ends a brawl for control of IBP that took several twists and
turns over the holiday weekend.

On Thursday, Tyson, which had offered $26 a share in cash and stock
over a month ago, raised its bid to $27 a share. Smithfield responded on
Friday, raising its bid from $25 a share to $30, all in stock. Tyson then
offered $28.50 in cash and stock.

On Sunday afternoon, Smithfield riposted with a $32 stock bid. That
evening, Tyson raised its ante to $30 in cash and stock plus the
assumption of $1.5 billion in debt.

Shares of IBP closed at $26.75 on Friday on the New York Stock
Exchange. Tyson's stock closed at $12.75.

IBP's board accepted Tyson's bid yesterday, even though it is lower than
Smithfield's all-stock deal, because half was in cash and therefore the
deal was less subject to market volatility.

Nonetheless, Smithfield may not lose out completely. It will walk away
with a $95 million profit as a result of Tyson's deal because it had bought
6.6 percent of IBP stock before it first made its offer in November.

The bidding war got under way after IBP announced in October that its
management, the Archer Daniels Midland Company and a private
equity fund controlled by Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, the company's
longtime investment banker, had proposed a $2.4 billion private buyout
of the company for $22.25 a share in cash. Six weeks later, Smithfield
made a bid for IBP. Then came Tyson's offer and the ensuing volley of
bids.

Donaldson, now part of Credit Suisse First Boston, would also come
away with something from yesterday's deal. The fee for breaking up the
deal that would have taken IBP private was $59 million.

========================================================


Jesse Jackson says groups
launching campaign against
Ashcroft 

By LARRY MARGASAK
The Associated Press
1/2/01 7:30 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Civil rights groups opposing
President-elect Bush's choice for attorney general, John
Ashcroft, are demanding that Democratic senators
abandon the tradition of supporting former colleagues and
vote against the nomination. 

The organizations will join with organized labor to confront
Democrats at public events in their home states to win
commitments of a "no" vote, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said
in an interview Monday. 

He said the campaign also would target New Jersey Gov.
Christie Whitman, Bush's nominee to head the
Environmental Protection Agency. 

Jackson said Democratic senators "will be challenged very
publicly" at events such as Martin Luther King Day
celebrations this month. "Those who are with the civil
rights agenda must not choose collegiality over civil rights
and social justice," he said. 

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle signaled a
willingness Tuesday to "ask all the tough questions that
need to be asked" of Ashcroft. 

"The most important question is" whether Ashcroft will
enforce laws that "he's acknowledged publicly he
disagrees with," said Daschle, appearing on ABC's "Good
Morning America." The Democratic senator cited laws on
women's rights and civil rights. 

Ashcroft is a conservative Republican senator from
Missouri who lost re-election on Nov. 7 to Democratic Gov.
Mel Carnahan, whose name remained on the ballot after he
was killed in a plane crash. Carnahan's widow, Jean, was
appointed to the seat. 

Senators are known for supporting nominations of former
colleagues -- and Jackson's comment about collegiality
was aimed at that tradition. The new Senate will be split
50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, although the
vice president-to-be, Dick Cheney, will be able to break
any tie votes in his role as president of the Senate. 

Ashcroft has drawn opposition for his anti-abortion views
and for leading a drive to defeat the nomination of a black
Missouri Supreme Court judge, Ronnie White, to the
federal bench. 

Whitman has drawn the ire of blacks because of racial
profiling by the New Jersey state police and because of a
photograph of the governor personally frisking a black
youth. 

Ashcroft has countered the criticism by noting he
supported 23 of the 26 nominations of black judges that
came up for a vote during his Senate tenure. 

As Missouri governor from 1985 to 1993, he signed into law
a state holiday honoring King; established musician Scott
Joplin's house as Missouri's only historic site honoring a
black individual; created an award honoring black educator
George Washington Carver; named a black woman to a
state judgeship; and led a fight to save Lincoln University,
which was founded by black soldiers. 

Whitman is a moderate Republican who supports abortion
rights. Regarding racial profiling, she repeatedly has
defended her administration by saying hers was the first to
admit to the practice and to take steps to eliminate it.
Critics said minorities were involved in a disproportionate
number of traffic stops, searches and arrests by state
troopers. 

Last year, a picture was released showing her frisking a
black youth during a police tour in Camden, N.J., in 1996. 

"Did I step over a line from being an observer to a
participant that I shouldn't have and didn't need to in that
instance? Yes," Whitman said in an interview last July.
"But, unfortunately, that is my nature. When they said, 'Do
you want to do it?' I said 'Sure,' without thinking, and I
should have thought." 

Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

========================================================

Gulf War Syndrome Not
Imagined 

Brain scans show evidence of damage in vets
exposed to nerve gas 

By Nancy A. Melville
HealthScout Reporter 

MONDAY, Jan. 1
(HealthScout) -- While debate
over the possible causes of
Gulf War syndrome continues,
researchers now say
state-of-the-art brain scans link
veterans' symptoms with actual
brain damage. 

The proof is in the form of
brain scans made with
magnetic resonance
spectroscopy (MRS), which
shows chemical levels in the brain. 

When compared with the scans of 18 healthy veterans,
the MRS scans of 12 veterans with the most severe
symptoms of Gulf War syndrome showed significant
brain cell losses in specific areas of the brain that
correlate with symptoms the veterans have experienced. 

The results were presented at a recent meeting of the
Radiological Society of North America in Chicago. 

Specifically, the scans showed damage to the right side
of the brain, which is believed to be linked to symptoms
such as an impaired sense of direction, memory lapses
and depression. 

And damage to areas of the left side appears to have
caused the veterans a more general state of confusion,
and difficulties in tasks like understanding directions,
reading, solving problems and making decisions. 

"With this research, we've correlated the degree of
symptoms and abnormality on neurological exams with
the degree of brain damage," says Dr. James
Fleckenstein, a professor of radiology at the University
of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. 

Significantly, the brain cell damage seen in the veterans
was not consistent with the types of chemical
differences associated with post-traumatic stress or
major depression. 

That's important because the crux of the debate over
Gulf War syndrome has centered on whether symptoms
are the result of post-traumatic stress or exposure to
toxic chemicals, such as nerve gas. 

Evidence boosting the latter argument includes research
showing veterans with the most severe types of Gulf
War syndrome, known as Haley syndrome 2, have been
been eight times more likely than those without
symptoms to report exposure to nerve gas and up to 32
times more likely to have experienced severe side
effects after taking anti-nerve gas tablets. 

More than 100,000 American service members sent to
the Persian Gulf in 1990 and 1991 have reported
experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain,
memory loss and sleep disorders. Collectively, the
symptoms have come to be known as Gulf War
syndrome. 

According to Dr. Brian Ross, director of the MRS Unit
at the Huntington Medical Research Institute in
California, one of the remarkable aspects of the study is
that it underscores the benefit of MRS scanning. It
shows damage that normally would not be seen on
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is the current
standard for brain scans. 

"MRI consists of measuring magnetic signal and is based
on the water content of the brain, while MRS measures
the chemical composition of the brain, so it's very helpful
in identifying conditions like Alzheimer's disease or early
brain tumors," he explains. "And when you get into a
controversial area like Gulf War syndrome, MRS can
really help answer some questions." 

Fleckenstein agrees the technology could play a central
role in solving the mystery of Gulf War syndrome. 

"MRS scanning continues to validate an organic basis for
Gulf War patients' complaints and disabilities, and in a
more specific way than older tests in past research," he
says. "The fact that findings on MRS mirror patients'
signs and symptoms underscores the power of this tool in
evaluating patients with these kinds of problems." 

========================================================

 

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