British Foreign Secretary Says US Troops Fueling Insurgency

The presence of British and US troops in Iraq is fuelling the Sunni-led insurgency which has killed hundreds of people, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said in comments published on Tuesday.


Tancredo: "Stupid, Brazen, and Uncivilized"

By even suggesting that Mecca could be bombed in retaliation for a terrorist attack, Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) has made the world a more dangerous place, writes TO contributor Dr. James J. Zogby.


Debating the Subtle Sway of the Federalist Society

In a new Washington ritual, President Bush has repeatedly drawn from the Federalist Society for cabinet members, senior aides and judges. And perhaps to deflect what many conservatives call unfair attacks by liberals, the nominees have repeatedly claimed to know little about the group's beliefs.


Gonzales Balks on Roberts Data

The documents, requested Friday by eight Democratic senators in a letter to Gonzales, touch on a variety of issues, including school desegregation, the death penalty and civil rights.


Bolton Takes On an Already Reforming United Nations

"Most of the reforms sought by the United States are well on their way to completion," said a senior administration official, speaking anonymously to avoid undercutting the rationale for the Bolton appointment.


Voting Rights Act: The Fight Continues

The 40th anniversary of the VRA is this week. Given the atrocious state of our election system, activists are not letting it pass quietly.


Residents taking mast legal action

By Jolene Hill
Bromley Newshopper

CAMPAIGNERS are launching legal action against the council over its stance on mobile phone masts.

Orpington Residents Against Masts (ORAM) is asking for a judicial review over masts on the BT building in Chislehurst Road, Orpington, which it claims was illegally put up.

It is also demanding local authorities take control of moderating low-level radiation at the moment it is up to the phone company.

ORAM has about 70 members who fear masts may have an effect on their health.

No evidence has linked mobile phone masts to ill-health but the Stewart Committee, which published a report into mast radiation in 2000, stated not enough research had been carried out to be sure.

Omega evidence is linked concerning mobile phone masts to ill-health. See further under: http://www.buergerwelle.de/body_science.html

Residents in Bromley are convinced the masts are affecting them and have carried out radiation tests in their homes.

They used an acousti-COM detector, which makes a loud noise when detecting high levels of microwave radiation and the COM monitor, which measures the signal strength from masts, with red and orange lights showing high-exposure areas.

Angela Shields, 37, of Footbury Hill Road, Orpington, lives near the BT exchange building.

Her family suffered headaches and insomnia until radiation tests showed high levels at the front of her house and she moved the furniture to the back.

Susan Green, of New Road, Orpington, says her 10-year-old son was missing school with insomnia and headaches.

Radiation tests showed the level was highest above his bed.

She moved his bed and placed metal sheets in her attic at a cost of around £500 and her son has been fine since.

Mrs Green said: "We are not anti-mast. We just want there to be some control over where they are sited.

"People also need to be aware of the health risks and how they can reduce the immediate effects."

A council spokesman said: "We have had discussions with residents. It's difficult to comment because of the potential legal issues surrounding this case.

"We will carefully examine any legal challenge which may be made and respond accordingly."

Appeal for support against mobile phone mast

This is Local London

A COMMUNITY is calling for support from residents to block construction of a mobile phone mast which the council has already rejected.

Bromley Council refused planning permission in May, because the proposed 14m telephone mast on Crofton Lane, Petts Wood, did not fit in with its surroundings.

Parents and residents objected on health grounds to the mast, which would be near Crofton Infant and Crofon Junior schools.

Telephone operator Hutchinson 3G has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, which will make a final decision on August 14.

Tina Christiansen, 39, of Crescent Drive, Petts Wood, said: "We have had tremendous backing from the community but we need ever more support."

Anyone wishing to object should email the inspector, Sue Nash, before August 12.

Email sue.nash@pins.gsi.gov.uk, quoting reference Land outside 153 Crofton Lane, Orpington, Kent, Ref.APP/G5180/A/05/1182979.

Suspect's Tale of Travel and Torture


Informant: Russ Ferriday

'Grave concern' over Roberts nomination


Informant: Ashley Smith

The plan is moving along as always


Informant: Neo Mulder

Leicester's planning application REFUSED

The residents of Elizabeth House, Leicester, would like to thank all those who sent letters of objection on their behalf. They are very grateful for your support and want you to know that the planning application was refused by every councillor on the committee, to include the committee chairman!

And that is not all! Leicester Council has woken up and it is now going to test other mast sites. This is a great day!

I also thank you for helping these people because the odds were stacked against them. Even at the eleventh hour the recommendation was to approve the application.

We have less chance of failing if we all back each other, so I really appreciate your support.



Very well done Sandi. Congratulations go to the councillors but this decision was down to you and many have a great deal to thank you for.




Thank you for your kind words but in truth I only coordinated this from afar.

It needs to be said that Phil Hendy, although quite affected by the masts, wrote letters, although he has no computer; kept in touch with me by payphone and letter, as he has no phone; took my advice; prepared portfolios for all the councillors on the planning development committee; hassled his MP and others; and personally collected the 100 signatures from Elizabeth House residents. Then other residents, although also unwell, came forward to back him at the eleventh hour.

Then there was Stuart Winter, the council officer dealing with this application. He was prepared to spend time listening to me, he communicated with me fully to guide me, and was also honest with me.

Also involved in all this were three other Leicester people who had previously called me on the advice line, whose help in getting information to me was invaluable.

So I do not take the credit for this. It was, as it should be, a case of everyone pulling together to help people in need.


The Collective Spiritual Force can turn Things around

Prepare to be scanned: Biometrics and the Surveillance Society


Urge Congress to Renew and Restore the Voting Rights Act


Call it Bush's war, not a war on terror

First published: Tuesday, August 2, 2005 It is time we stopped calling the war in Iraq a "war on terror." We know too much now to keep going along with this deceit. We know that Saddam was not behind the 9/11 attacks.

We know he didn't have a connection with the people who were behind it. We know he was not carrying out terrorist attacks on other countries, and did not, according to all the evidence, have plans to do so. We know Bush and others in his administration were planning to invade Iraq well before 9/11. We know Bush used every means he could, including misrepresentation, to induce us into going into this war.

So why don't we call it what is is, "Bush's war"? This is surely how history, looking back on these eight years, will regard it.

Mismanaged from the beginning, demeaning our country and its values by its unprovoked invasion of another country, dragging us into years of conflict with no foreseeable end, killing and maiming our countrymen, creating more and better trained terrorists as it goes along, costing billion of dollars that could be spent on the real war on terror -- this is the nightmare that will be the defining hallmark of the Bush presidency.


East Greenbush Source:


Phone fight gets political


Petition protest to stop estate’s new phone mast






Police interference


Mast expansion plans


Cancer patient’s fear over mobile mast


Elderly in fight over phone mast


Re-dialling fight against mast


Pub phone mast bid sparks bitter protest




Mast campaigners claim vital victory


Mother to fight on over mast extension


Council presses for halt on Tetra


New fears after phone mast report








Money will not change health risks


Drivers immobilised by signals from phone masts


Council rejects police radio mast


Singing protest over mobile masts


Parents in mass protest over phone mast plan near school




Pitch battle over mobile phone masts


Phone mast destroyed in arson attack


Two members of ASL have disappeared under dramatic conditions - En priorité à part d’un drame, ASL est en deuil

With the historical lawsuit day before of mass in Summary procedure against Orange, this Wednesday August 3, 2005 with 9h with the Court of Valence in public sitting, ASL is constrained to proceed, exceptionally considering the turning of the events to be treated, with several sendings of malls of information. Please by advance excuse us. By decency, we inform you in priority with share of a drama, ASL is today in mourning. (special page Internet)


Today ASL is in mourning. Good-byes with our Friends. ASL has just learned that two of its Members among most dynamic have just disappeared under dramatic conditions this 1 er August 2005. ASL is dismayed. Daniel regularly moved at Crest in order to inform himself in our buildings, to dialogue, or to take testing devices, we knew each other well. ASL gives a "logistic" support and follows since the beginning the combat of the Collective of Romanais Defense against the site of the antennas relay of the district of Golds Daniel had still recently taken part in a meeting on this topic in Valence. (Photograph) Dauphiné Libéré from this day transcribes this engagement exactly: ". . . Perhaps anxious to preserve their framework of life, the couple had been invested besides in the collective of defense of Golds which had been mobilized, it there has a few months, counters the installation of antennas of mobile telephony "These brutal ends returns to us humble and shows the state of suffering and hidden distress caused by an excessively difficult combat that we did not know to see. During this time, vis-a-vis an obvious problem of company to which, by blindness, the decision makers do not bring the good answers, and of aucuns bait themselves to make execrable by all the means by denying the obviousness, it is certain that the way is favourable with such a drama. ASL notes unfortunately that these are not only biological effects that the Residents of antennas relay undergo, but that their moral put at hard test can crack. The will to leave to leave this context and this denigration is then large open. For ASL responsible truths are thus all those which relative officially of all the virtues by wishing the good of all, to deaden the consciences as much as concerns of the Residents. In these difficult moments, the tightened throat, ASL can only present at the Family her more sincere condolences and ensure it of its entirety support.

A la veille d’un procès historique de masse en Référé contre Orange, ce Mercredi 3 Août 2005 à 9h au Tribunal de Valence en audience publique, ASL est contraint de procéder, exceptionnellement vu la tournure des événements à traiter, à plusieurs envois de mails d’information.

Veuillez par avance nous en excuser.

Par décence, nous vous informons en priorité à part d’un drame, ASL est aujourd’hui en deuil. (page spéciale internet)

School mast plan is rejected


Phone mast petitions lodged




Tied to the mast


Council wants phone mast powers


Fears that plans will cause mast hysteria


Time for rethink on mast policy


Residents relieved as mast fails


Bill would ban school phone masts




Fury as residents vow to fight mast




Mast plan is bad call say parents


'Danger in mast's shadow'


Mast's third refusal


Neighbours in mast protest


School protest over mobile phone mast










Parents concern over phone mast near school


Shoe workers in phone mast plea


Phone mast is too close for comfort


Family battle against phone mast


Anger over second mast




Phone firm defends mast planning


Government commissions new mobile phone research


Work halted amid claims phone mast is too mobile


Phone fears spark new research


Roberts Argued against Voting Rights Act


SOS: Save Our Seeds

ISIS Press Release 01/08/05

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho warns of new dangers posed by genetic engineering to the world's gene banks, already in jeopardy from years of under-funding, and stresses the importance of in situ conservation and seed saving in local communities for sustainable food systems and food security

Sources for this report are available in the ISIS members site. Full details here World genebanks and food security in jeopardy

Deteriorating conditions in the world's crop gene banks pose “a major threat to US agriculture,” says a new study published by the University of California Genetic Resources Conservation Program [1]. The report, Securing the Future of U.S. Agriculture: The Need to Conserve Collections of Crop Diversity Worldwide , notes that nearly every major crop in the United States - including soybeans, corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, oranges and apples - is battling a plethora of new or re-merging pests to which there is little or no resistance. Failure to adequately maintain crop genebank collections “could constrain agriculture's ability to avert billions of dollars in crop damage.”

These genebanks provide the diversity needed to enable the crops “to stay one step ahead of pests”, and also to improve quality, nutritional value, and yield. But lack of funding has left many of the collections in a state of decay.

Just prior to the publication of the report, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug was warning the world of a new rust epidemic from East Africa, that, if it gets loose in Asia, North America, South America and Australia, would infect half of all our grain varieties, and the stage would be set for a major disaster. This calls for ongoing research. “But when you haven't had a major epidemic in 52 years, complacency becomes a problem.” Borlaug said.

Underlying the almost $200 billion value of US agriculture's production at the farm level is a little known resource – the genebanks around the world. The report, released at a congressional briefing in Washington 28 February 2005, noted that the collections held in gene banks “represent the historic and current diversity of agriculture, without which farming in the U.S. and around the world would stagnate and flounder.”

Qualset and Henry L. Shands, director of the USDA/Agricultural Research Service's National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation, were co-authors of the report.

At the World Food Day symposium on 19 October 2004, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Director-General Jacques Diouf delivered a similar message on the importance of genebanks [2]. He said that global efforts to conserve plants and animals in genebanks, botanical gardens and zoos are vital to maintaining global biodiversity and promoting food security worldwide. In fact, the theme of the 24 th annual World Food Day was “Biodiversity for Food Security”.

Worldwide, there are nearly 5.4 million crop samples in 1 470 gene banks [3]. These are important repositories for conserving seeds and germplasm, as agricultural biodiversity has been severely eroded under industrial monoculture practised over the latter half of the last century [2] (see Box 1). Lack of biodiversity leaves major crops vulnerable to disease, causing famines and starvation. The Irish Potato famine in the 1830s was one example, when the Phytophthora potato blight destroyed the entire crop, as the farmers grew only one variety, and there was no genetic diversity in seed banks or elsewhere to fall back on. Gene banks also play a vital role in maximizing the use of wild and cultivated varieties in crop improvement through selective breeding. Box 1

Loss of agricultural biodiversity from industrial monoculture

FAO estimates that about 75 percent of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops had been lost during the last century. Farmers in the United States grew more than 7 000 varieties of apples in the 1800s; by the end of the 1900s, all but 300 were extinct. In 1949, farmers in China grew 10 000 varieties of wheat; by the 1970s, they grew just 1000. Similar losses of maize varieties have occurred in Mexico and of rice varieties in India. Of 6 500 animal breeds known today, almost one third are threatened or already extinct.

Genebanks have been in major trouble for some years; there simply is not enough money for gene banks to fulfil even their basic conservation role, let alone their other role of maximising the use of wild and domesticated varieties for crop breeding and improvement.

When dried and kept cold, some seeds will last for 30 years or longer. Others have to be grown out regularly and harvested to keep seeds fresh and alive. Tubers, roots and cuttings for plants can be kept in test tubes, usually as tissue culture, and periodically regenerated. All these cannot be done without money. Without proper care, existing seed stock will eventually lose its viability.

Prof. Jeff Waage of Imperial College's department of agricultural sciences in London, UK, had earlier reported to the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in August 2002 [3], that although the number of plant samples held in crop diversity collections has increased by 65 percent, genebank budgets have been cut back in 25 percent of the countries and remained the same in another 35 percent.

Waage's report said that one in 12 of the world's 250 000 species of flowering plants are likely to disappear before 2025. A chief culprit is modern agriculture, particularly when forests are cleared to create farmland. “Among the losses are the wild relatives of domesticated plants with as yet untapped potential,” said the report. These include wheat, soya beans, tomatoes, coffee and grapes

To add to the trouble, war in developing countries had destroyed some vital centres, other have their electricity cut off, so rare seeds are not kept in cool conditions required. Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and Romania have all lost their genebanks. Albania, Fiji and Nigeria have lost part of their collections.

In response to the crisis in gene banks, the Global Crop Diversity Trust was launched at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in 2002 (Box 2). Box 2

Global Crop Diversity Trust

The Global Crop Diversity Trust was set up in 2002 at the World Summit for Sustainable Development as a type 2 (public-private partnership) involving the FAO and the 15 “Future Harvest Centres” of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) [4, 5]. It hopes to raise US$260 million required to protect the world's most important crop species; so far, only $56 million has been committed. Among the first grants are to the N.I. Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry (VIR) based in St. Petersburg, established and named after the famous Russian plant geneticist Nicolai Vavilov, which now holds around 95 000 accessions of grain crops, over 43 000 legumes and 50 000 vegetables. Nikolai Vavilov was one of the first and most prolific collectors of plant seeds; he made more than 100 collecting missions around the world between 1915 and 1930, and was responsible for the idea of “centres of origin” for regions with a high diversity of species. Genetic engineering the new threat

A new threat to genebanks has surfaced in the events surrounding the forced merger in 2002 of Italy's gene bank in Bari – among the world's ten largest – with much smaller centres involved in genetic modification of crop plants (“Italy's gene bank at risk”, this series).

Although by far the biggest institution in the merger, its director since 1982, Prof. Pietro Perrino, was sidelined in the competition for the directorship of the merged institute, which went instead, to a professor in Naples who has yet to move to Bari. Perrino was downgraded to “manager” of Bari's germplasm collection of 84 000 accessions. But right from the first, it was obvious that the new director has little or no interest in preserving the collection. Things came to a head when the cooling system broke down and the director refused to have it repaired. In desperation, Perrino resorted to the law court to have the collection placed under his custody in order to have the cooling system repaired. But damages to the collection may have already occurred.

Perrino and his supporters are convinced that the new director and the “pro-GM lobby” are not at all interested in conserving the collection, but are using it as a pretext for getting research funding for genetic modification. More than that, Perrino and his supporters suspect that the pro-GM lobby and the GM giants really would like to see the collection destroyed.

This sounds far-fetched until one gets inside the genetic engineer's mindset. To a genetic engineer, DNA is all. Once a genome sequence is known and deposited in a database, and the DNA of the plant genome deposited in a DNA biobank, then the seed or plant is really of little or no interest. After all, DNA sequences of any gene can easily be synthesized in the laboratory and used to transform existing crop plants to make any desired GM variety, be it herbicide tolerance, insect resistance, salt or drought tolerance, improved nutritional properties, increase in yield, etc., at least in theory. That is precisely the same mentality that motivates “gene-hunting” of indigenous tribes threatened with extinction, so as to preserve their DNA before they become extinct, “for the good of humanity”.

Unfortunately, we can no more resurrect a plant from its DNA than reconstruct an extinct indigenous tribe with its distinctive language, knowledge and culture that constitute an entire way of life.

This exclusive emphasis on DNA is misplaced even for genetic engineers, especially those using marker-assisted selective breeding on existing lines to enable them to identify useful traits [6]. The genetic markers can be identified through screening the DNA; but the plants themselves will still be needed for cross-breeding.

An additional disincentive for proponents of GM to preserve germplasm in seed banks is that they are considered the natural heritage of the earth, if not of the human species, and cannot be patented for commercial exploitation if there is no genetic modification or gene isolation involved (see the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Box 3). So, as far as agribusiness is concerned, they are of no commercial value, or indeed of negative commercial value, as seed or germplasm collection allows farmers to do their own selective breeding for improving crops and livestock, instead of having to purchase patented seeds from the companies and pay royalties. That would reverse the corporate serfdom being imposed on farmers all over the world (see SiS 26), and that's precisely the reason why gene banks are important, particularly if farmers can get ready access to their collections (see below). Box 3

International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

This treaty is the outcome of the International Undertaking (IU) on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture adopted by the FAO conference in 1983. Starting in 1996, the IU was revised through negotiations to make it compatible with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and renamed the International Treaty (IT). Negotiations were finalized in November 2001, and the IT was hailed by FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf [2] as “a triumph for the indigenous farmers, herders, forest dwellers and fishing communities of the world.” It establishes a multilateral system of access and benefit sharing to ensure that plant genetic resources of the greatest importance to food security are readily available for use now and in the future, and that any benefits are shared with the countries in which they originated. It also establishes a mechanism to ensure that researchers worldwide have access to those resources. Critics note however, that it does not go far enough in protecting our common heritage from commercial exploitation and patenting (“Science for the poor, or procurer for the rich?” SiS 15). The United States is a signatory to the treaty, which entered into force in June 2004.

In situ conservation against corporate serfdom

Apart from the ex situ conservation, in situ conservation - maintaining biodiversity on farms and in nature – is equally important, if not more so, for counteracting corporate serfdom.

Jacque Diouf himself has stressed the importance of in situ conservation [2]. “The responsibility for conserving agrobiodiversity on farms in a great part of the world usually belongs to women farmers who traditionally harvest and conserve crop seeds from season to season.” Said Diouf. “This local agrodiversity is particularly important for the resilience of farming systems and communities in emergencies or humanitarian crises, such as those that affected more than 45 million people last year.” He pointed out that most of the earth's genetic diversity is found in the poor countries in the developing world; and that “it is imperative that those most responsible for its development and its preservation - the indigenous people who maintain the farms, the herds, the forests and the fishing areas - are both respected and rewarded for their efforts.”

In situ conservation and seed saving by local communities themselves is the key to recovering and safeguarding local agricultural biodiversity for genuinely sustainable food systems that involves local production and consumption, and restores self-sufficiency and autonomy to farmers and the local communities.

“There used to be many local variety seeds not only for food crops such as rice and corn, but also for beans/legumes and fruit trees.” Says Hira Jhamtani of Konphalindo, Indonesia, a public interest organisation involved in promoting sustainable agriculture. “The problem is that the knowledge is dying with the old farmers, and the younger generation has no comprehensive knowledge on seed conservation, nor do they seem to be interested. This is where scientists can play a role in documenting local seed varieties and reviving seed breeding among the younger generations based and rooted in local knowledge. The local know-how still exists in many places in Indonesia (and also the Philippines), the question is how to regenerate the biodiverse agricultural- base and revitalise this knowledge through community based activities.”

Neth Dano, associate of Third World Network in the Philippines, who has worked with local communities to develop sustainable agriculture for many years, is less than happy about a blanket call to increase funding for genebanks. “The genebank/ ex situ strategy should not be seen as a stand-alone genetic conservation strategy but should complement the in-situ /on-farm strategies of communities, institutions and civil society.” Says Dano, “This would require genebank scientists working closely with farmers and indigenous peoples in seeds conservation on farm. Increase funding for genebanks should be tied to increased funding for in-situ /on-farm conservation and utilization efforts.” This will ensure that the genebanks will not just conserve genetic resources for corporate agriculture, but first and foremost for world food security and the livelihood of those who have nurtured and are dependent on these genetic resources.

“We also have to take note that there are many cases when the ex situ conservation is not relevant at all, as in the case of the Least Developed Countries which cannot even afford to pay for electricity to keep the genebanks running after these have been built through grants or even loans that the future generation will have to pay.” Dano adds.

She also points out that even if most or all of the collections in the CGIAR genebanks are not patented, as they are “common heritage of mankind”, they remain inaccessible to farmers especially if traditional breeds have already been lost. Genebanks should make every effort to ensure that their collections are accessible to the farmers and indigenous peoples who need them, as most of the materials were collected by scientists from farming and indigenous communities in the first place. There must be concrete mechanisms to inform farmers and to facilitate farmers' access to these materials.

Seed-saving against corporate serfdom

Seed saving is an important activity that does not have to wait for massive funding, and many local communities have already started to do just that, to make sure they conserve what they still have, and not to depend on genebanks.

For example, the Henry Doubleday Research Association in the UK with 30 000 members are a major seed saver for organic gardening and farming, although it is not a gene bank. Its Heritage Seed Library conserves and makes available to members European vegetable varieties that are not widely available. Currently, 700 accessions of open-pollinated varieties are held, of which about 200 are in its Seed Catalogue sent free to members ( http://www.hdra.org.uk/hsl/index.htm ).

Navdanya (“Nine seeds”) started by Dr. Vandana Shiva of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in India is active not only in seed saving but also in revitalising indigenous knowledge and culture, in creating awareness on the hazards of genetic engineering, and in defending people's knowledge from biopiracy and people's food rights in the face of globalisation. It has its own seed bank and organic farm over an area of 20 acres in Uttranchal, north India ( http://www.navdanya.org/ ).

In Ireland, Anita Hayes founded the Irish Seed Savers Association (ISSA) in 1991 in her own home and garden. But with a core of willing helpers and seed donations, and financial aid from government bodies and many generous funders, the ISSA took off. It now has a large collection of Irish fruits, cereals and vegetables ( http://www.irishseedsavers.ie/ ).

This article can be found on the I-SIS website at


* A Keynote Address by Mel Hurtig

Association of World Citizens Conference

University of San Francisco

August 2, 2005

*words from an article by Robert S. McNamara, Foreign Policy, May/June 2005

In what follows, I acknowledge with gratitude and admiration the invaluable work of Douglas Roche , O.C. formerly Canada ’s Ambassador for Disarmament and currently Chairman of the Middle Powers Initiative. Roche’s analysis of the May, 2005 Seventh Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty is perceptive and extremely important.

While all of us in this room are fully aware of the dismaying failure of the crucial Seventh Review Conference on the Non-Proliferation Treaty which took place in New York in May, I very much doubt if one in a thousand around the world paid attention to the month-long deliberations or have any even vague idea of their importance, or the inevitable tragic consequences of the enormously disappointing Conference results.

Not only was no progress made on the vitally important issues of nuclear disarmament, proliferation, abolishing testing and the continuing upgrading and refinement of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems, but in a shocking betrayal to the world’s aspirations for peace, disarmament and redirecting arms funding to badly-needed humanitarian use, clear-cut widely agreed-to commitments made in the previous 1995 and 2000 Reviews were either ignored or repudiated.

It’s impossible not to single out the administration of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld for the Conference failure. Time and again the U.S. blocked crucial references to earlier commitments and continued to stubbornly refuse to join the widely-supported Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

While most countries wanted a strengthened Non-Proliferation Treaty, the U.S. clearly wanted it weakened.

And, while many U.S. allies, including seven NATO states called for specific steps to quicken nuclear disarmament, and almost 2,000 NGOs presented thoughtful, passionate pleas and warnings about the growing dangers of proliferation, and while well-reasoned plans for verification and the elimination of nuclear arsenals were presented and overwhelmingly supported, the U.S. frustrated any such progress towards goals almost universally supported.

Having already backed away from the vitally important ABM Treaty, having refused to back the Test Ban Treaty, having embarked on the dangerous, escalating, so-called missile defence fiasco, having already budgeted for the refinement of its nuclear weapons, having planned for the development of new nuclear weapons and the horrendous prospect of the weaponization of space, having agreed to a dangerous new provocative nuclear agreement with India, the U.S. is now clearly identifiable as the major threat to world peace and to the very survival of the human race.

The mayor of Hiroshima has eloquently warned of the terrible consequences, as have numerous others such as Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Mohamed ElBaradei, Robert McNamara, Canada ’s Douglas Roche, and John Polanyi, Sir Joseph Rotlat, and many other respected world leaders and admired authorities.

Conversely, and remarkably, not a single high-ranking U.S. official bothered to attend the New York Conference.

Meanwhile, in most Western democracies, the media has done a miserable job of informing citizens about the horrible and increasing danger of an apocalyptic nuclear Armageddon.

With the U.S., and to a somewhat lesser degree France and Britain essentially repudiating their previous commitments to the Programme of 13 Practical Steps for the elimination of their nuclear weapons, with new weapons and their delivery systems being planned by the nuclear weapon states, is it any wonder that around the world non-nuclear states (north Korea and Iran among them) are logically saying that if the major nuclear powers refuse to pay attention to the will of the overwhelming majority, to their previous clear-cut promises, or to the explicit direction of the International Court of Justice, is it any wonder that these currently non-nuclear states are concluding that their own best interests oblige them to acquire an arsenal of nuclear weapons?

And why would they not do so given the pathetic failure in New York, and the aggressive, militaristic behaviour of the Bush government and the widespread emergence of the Pakistani nuclear black market?

Bear in mind that what needs to be done has been already widely- agreed-to. A non-reversible program for the destruction of all strategic and tactical nuclear weapons is essential. A fissile material cut off treaty must be rushed into force. All strategic nuclear weapons must be promptly taken off alert status. Stockpiles of nuclear materials must be much more heavily guarded and converted for peaceful uses. While the world continues to fear the despicable, murderous terrorist activities that have shocked the U.S. , Europe, the Middle East and Asia, the inevitability of terrorist access to plutonium and/or enriched uranium has been growing for years. The potential for a massively horrendous, unprecedented slaughter of innocents is no longer a remote possibility.

In all of this, as I spelled out in my last book, it’s essential to consider the actions and responses of both Russia and China. Both countries have reacted to the aggressive posture of the U.S. and the huge increases in American military spending by increasing and modernizing their own military strength and by developing formidable new weapons. Russia is carrying out research and missile tests for new “state-of-the-art nuclear missile systems” and “a unique new generation of nuclear weapons” including “new maneuverable warheads”, increased road-mobile weapons and new ICBMs and cruise missiles. China is developing improved long-range missiles carrying multiple nuclear warheads and rapidly expanding its ballistic missile submarine force, and increasing its own number of nuclear weapons. Recent ominous Chinese threats to attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons in response to American aggression or interference re Taiwan were neither frivolous nor unplanned.

At the same time, while Russia and China conduct unprecedented joint military exercises, both have also repeatedly come down firmly on the side of peace and disarmament, repudiating the U.S. abandonment of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the plans for the weaponization of space, the failure of the U.S. to ratify the 1996 Comprehensive Test ban Treaty (now ratified by 120 countries), the Conference on Disarmament paralysis, the American proposals for the development of new nuclear weapons, the U.S. pre-emptive nuclear strike policy and the American lowering of the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, the European Union’s position and its 43 New York suggestions relating to disarmament and non-proliferation would have definitely strengthened the NPT.

As the New Agenda Coalition (Sweden, Egypt, Ireland, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa) pointed out at the New York Conference, there are now some 30,000 nuclear weapons in existence, almost as many as those that existed when the NPT came into force 35 years ago! Moreover, there is now the clear potential for a disastrous major new nuclear arms race.

The 119-member states of the Non-Aligned Movement warned that
we must all call for an end to this madness and seek the elimination and ban on all forms of nuclear weapons and testing as well as the rejection of the doctrine of nuclear deterrence.

At the end of the New York Conference, delegates described the results as “extremely regrettable” (Japan), “profoundly disappointing” ( Norway ), “unfortunate” ( Ukraine ), and they expressed “frustration” ( Chile and Brazil ).

Ambassador Paul Meyer of Canada condemned “the hubris that demands the priorities of the many be subordinated to the preferences of the few…..”

During the Conference, a massive accumulation of evidence showed how the U.S. was ignoring its previous disarmament promises and how it still plans to have over 5,000 operational nuclear weapons in 2012, how it has no plans to reduce its nuclear deployments or discontinue the maintenance of thousands of nuclear weapons on high alert, how it is currently budgeting over $22 million for research into new nuclear weapons and providing additional funding for new delivery systems, how it intends to modify and update its existing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and develop a “global strike” capacity that will facilitate the delivery of nuclear weapons, anywhere on earth, in a few hours at the most. Moreover, the U.S. is now spending some $40 billion a year on its nuclear forces, far more than the total of all military spending for most countries and a 150 per cent increase over its nuclear weapons spending during the Cold War.

And of course all of this is in addition to the over $100 billion already spent on the so-called “Missile Defense” program, which many believe is in reality a precursor for the weaponization of space.

And the result?

As The Western States Legal Foundation put is so well, “there is a growing possibility of a new nuclear confrontation that may overshadow the Cold War in its complexity.” Moreover, the American “implication that the selective use of nuclear weapons in ordinary warfare is lawful and legitimate [implies that] if it is legal and moral for one country to use nuclear weapons…. it is legitimate for any country to do so.”

As Tri-Valley CARES of Livermore, California put it

The United States is conducting a one-nation arms race against itself to upgrade its nuclear weapons and capabilities…an approach that undercuts international efforts to discourage nuclear weapons development in countries like North Korea and Iran.

Moreover, in the words of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, nations such as Egypt, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Taiwan will very likely initiate nuclear weapons programmes, increasing both the risk of the use of the weapons and the diversion of weapons and fissile materials into the hands of terrorists.

Carnegie should also have included a host of other countries, such as Brazil and South Africa.

Douglas Roche draws attention to The New York Times article by the distinguished 97-year-old Sir Joseph Rotlat, where the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize winner warns of a nuclear arms race.

To gloss over the hypocrisy of the nuclear weapons states, which are modernizing nuclear weapons and ensconcing them in their ongoing military doctrine, while urging abstinence on everyone else is stunning.

Throughout the Conference there were many excellent suggestions about the ways to diminish the threat of a nuclear catastrophe, including those by informed critics of nuclear power. Unfortunately, it’s now clear that in many ways relating to nuclear matters the world is rapidly headed down exactly the wrong path.

Among the proposals from Mohamed ElBaradei were a five-year moratorium on new uranium enrichment and plutonium separation facilities, and the conversion of all nuclear reactors now using highly enriched uranium to low grade uranium which cannot be used for bombs.

As the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War points out, the NPT has been the foundation for non-proliferation and disarmament for 35 years, and the vast majority of its members support its goals and obligations without question. But today, the Treaty is essentially in shreds, and the world is plunging towards the abyss.

Among the many eloquent recent warnings of the potential for catastrophe, one of the most forceful has come from Robert S. McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defence from 1961 to 1968 [1]

McNamara says U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons is immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary and dreadfully dangerous. U.S. policy “has only grown more dangerous and diplomatically destructive.”

The average U.S. warhead has a destructive power 20 times that of the Hiroshima bomb. 2000 are on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched on 15 minutes warning.

The whole situation seems so bizarre as to be beyond belief. On any given day, as we go about our business, the president is prepared to make a decision within 20 minutes that could launch….a nuclear holocaust.

[Our policy] raises troubling questions as to why any other state should restrain its nuclear ambitions.

In his article, McNamara describes the horrendous destruction which would be caused by only a single 1 megaton weapon. It’s chilling reading. As for U.S. policy the statement that our nuclear weapons do not target populations per se was and remains totally misleading in the sense that the so-called collateral damage of large nuclear strikes would include tens of millions of innocent civilian dead.

This in a nut shell is what nuclear weapons do: They indiscriminately blast, burn and irradiate with a speed and finality that are almost incomprehensible. This is exactly what countries like the United States and Russia, with nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert; continue to threaten every minute of every day in this new 21st century.

There is no way to effectively contain a nuclear strike – to keep it from inflicting enormous destruction on civilian life and property, and there is no guarantee against unlimited escalation once the first nuclear strike occurs.

McNamara goes on to estimate the destructive power of a U.S.-Russian nuclear exchange at at least 65,000 times that of the Hiroshima bomb. He describes current U.S. policy as "We, with the strongest conventional military force in the world, require nuclear weapons in perpetuity, but you are never to be allowed even one nuclear weapon."

He concludes with an ominous warning:

The knowledge of how to construct a simple gun-type nuclear device, like the one that was dropped on Hiroshima, is now widespread. …..Former Secretary of Defence William J. Perry said just last summer “I have never been more fearful of a nuclear detonation than now…. There is a greater than 50 percent probability of a nuclear strike on U.S. targets within a decade.

I share his fears. We are at a critical moment in human history.

I want to end my remarks here today in San Francisco with a brief description of how some of us mobilized successfully to keep Canada out of the so-called U.S. missile defence plans.

It wasn’t easy.

Long before most Canadians and most of the media had any idea of the implications, after a cabinet meeting in Ottawa, Canada ’s Minister of Defence met with Donald Rumsfeld in Washington and, in no uncertain terms, promised Canada ’s participation. When we learned about this, many of us were appalled. And the more we learned about the profound implications, the more we became determined, if at all possible, to reverse the government’s decision, a decision that had been made with virtually no public debate.

Early on, the public opinion polls, for what they were worth, sided with the Liberal government in Ottawa. Most Canadians had absolutely no idea what the dangers of the U.S. plans were. When asked questions like

Should Canada join with the U.S. in building a missile defence system which will stop rogue states from dropping a nuclear bomb on your home, destroying you and your family and friends?

most Canadian, of course, answered “yes”. Early polls were roughly 60 per cent in favour of participation, but with a surprisingly strong 40 per cent opposed. The government was firmly committed. Having stayed out of the Iraq war, much to the displeasure of the Bush administration, timid, colonial-minded politicians and bureaucrats in Ottawa were offering missile defence as a mending mea culpa.

But those of us who understood the significant danger of a new arms race, the prospects for the weaponization of space, the horrendous costs of a system that would never work, the hidden offensive military first-strike implications, the increasing possibility of a nuclear nightmare in a situation of certain escalation, destabilization and insecurity….those of us who studied and understood these dangers became even more determined to try to stop Canada’s participation.

In countries like the U.S. and Canada, with heavy degrees of media concentration in the hands of men on the far right of the political spectrum, getting the message and the truth out is never easy.

We did it in several ways, one of the most important being the internet. While the right-wing press and television essentially parroted the Ottawa and Washington official propaganda lines, we brought in our own skilled experts to new conferences, and began a steady stream of internet releases including expert testimony from some of the most brilliant scientist, economists, political scientists and others with expertise not previously available to the public.

We worked with wonderful people and organizations in Washington , such as the Center for Defense Information, physicists at MIT and many others, including our own Canadian experts. We published books, papers, studies and articles full of information most Canadians were not aware of. My own weekly e-mail to some 1,500 across the country would be recirculated to, on average, some 100,000. Many of my colleagues across the country had their own extensive lists.

And we prevailed. After several months, the polls turned in our favour. After seven consecutive polls, the last one showing 65 per cent of Canadians opposed, the government, much to the displeasure of the Prime Minister, felt that Canada ’s participation was so increasingly unpopular that it had no choice. Canada announced we would not be joining in the American plans.

There were many elements in our successful battle. But, if I had to credit one above all others, it was our success in getting expert information out over the internet that made the most difference. It’s a lesson that I know many of you will want to employ in the future, because in the end, given reliable unbiased information, the public will make the right choice, even in the face of well-financed military-industrial misinformation, ignorant editorials and myopic columnists, and concerted government propaganda.

Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. It’s a great honour and I wish you well in your continuing deliberations.

[1] Foreign Policy, May, June, 2005

Informant: Bea Bernhausen

Urge congressional representatives to re-authorize portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

From: Democracy Campaign <democracy@globalexchange.org>


(Please forward widely)

Dear Friend of Democracy,

You are among the tens of thousands of democracy activists who signed the Pledge of Action on the No Stolen Elections! website, http://www.nov3.us

On the eve of the 40th Anniversary of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965 . . .

We ask you to TAKE ACTION THIS WEEK by urging congressional representatives to re-authorize portions of the Voting Rights Act that will expire in 2007.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been key to breaking down racial barriers to voting. The renewal of its provisions for Federal oversight of historically race-biased voting districts is important both practically and symbolically. Imagine America without it.

We are joining in support of Rainbow/PUSH and others to pressure Congress to re-authorize the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by circulating online petitions and attending a Pro-Democracy March and Rally in Atlanta on Saturday, August 7th.

* * * 3 Things You Can Do NOW to Defend the Voting Rights Act of 1965!

1. MARCH and RALLY in Atlanta on Saturday, August 7: Visit http://www.rainbowpush.org to learn more about the march and rally to re-authorize the VRA of 1965 and SIGN the petition. Please forward to your friends and family in the region!

2. CALL Your Congressional Representatives TODAY and Urge them to take action to re-authorize the VRA: Capitol Switchboard: 877.762.8762 or 202.224.3121 For talking points, visit http://votejustice.org/article.php?id=138

3. WRITE a letter to the editor or an opinion editorial about the historic importance of the VRA and the need to re-authorize it by 2007. To read sample letters to the editor and opinion-editorials visit http://votejustice.org/article.php?id=170

* * * 2 Resources You Can Use To Work for Democracy

Two new exciting campaigns launched by two coordinators of the No Stolen Elections! effort:

1. VoteJustice.org is project of Global Exchange. As you will see by visiting our new website http://www.votejustice.org , VoteJustice.org is connecting people and organizations who are working to turn grassroots energy and desire for change into comprehensive electoral reform.

We encourage you to sign up for VoteJustice.org's monthly email bulletins and alerts which will cover news about key advances, challenges and opportunities to join local and national campaigns on issues ranging from local registration and voting machines to campaign finance and felon disenfranchisement. You will also be able to FIND and POST electoral reform organizations and events in your area at http://www.votejustice.org

2. The Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution is a non-profit organization rooted in the belief that the American Revolution is a living tradition whose greatest promise is democracy. Information about Liberty Tree's Democratizing Elections, Local Democracy, and Democratizing Education programs is available on our new website at: http://www.LibertyTreeFDR.org

Liberty Tree's Democratizing Elections Program strives to fundamentally transform US elections by nurturing a powerful new voting rights movement that will implement the fundamental and systemic electoral reforms defined in the Voter Bill of Rights. Check out http://www.LibertyTreeFDR.org today!

THANK YOU for all you do!

David Cobb & Ben Manski Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution Elections@LibertyTreeFDR.org

Chris Michael & Nell Greenberg Global Exchange Democracy Campaign democracy@globalexchange.org

Informant: Martin Greenhut

Bully for you

by Ian Williams


This week is the 60th anniversary of the Enola Gay dropping the bomb on Hiroshima, so perhaps it is entirely appropriate that George W. Bush has gone for the nuclear option and dropped John Bolton on the United Nations in New York. Bolton's diplomatic talents are such that he could start a shouting match in a Trappist monastery. He should make things at the U.N. go with a bang. It almost counts as tact on the part of the White House that it waited until Monday to announce Bolton's recess appointment, instead of making the announcement on Friday as soon as the limos speeding senators to Ronald Reagan airport on their ways home had left the U.S. Capitol... [subscription or ad view required]


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp


Perfidious Bill Frist

Sierra Times
by Geoff Metcalf


Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist sent shock waves through that 87-square miles surrounded by reality by endorsing a bill to make more embryonic stem-cell research eligible for federal money. It is a significant and 'expediant' [sic] break with the President who has already indicated he will veto the legislation. Dwight Eisenhower said, 'May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.' It is a classic challenge for partisans of every stripe. However, there is no confusion over the perfidious 'epiphany' of Frist. Why would a Senate Majority Leader flip off his party's president?


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

First torture them, then rig their trials

by Joshua Frank


So there you have it: first the trials at Gitmo are rigged, then the unjustly convicted are not allowed to challenge their incarcerations. All ethical considerations aside -- what we have here is a constitutional crisis of epic proportions...


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Overview of America's elections

Liberty For All
by Sharona Merel


I am a researcher ... of things hidden -- of government policy, public and private, of hidden agendas, hidden history, hidden hierarchies, and abuse of power, among other things. When one does this sort of thing, we discover a piece of the puzzle here, and a piece of the puzzle there, and we just start filling the pieces in. Then, one day, we take a step back, and see the panorama and say, 'Dear God, there's a big picture here.' So, I can tell you there's a big picture here, that vote fraud, which amounts to the deceiving of the people, is just a piece, albeit a big piece, of the puzzle, and that things are, by no means, what they seem. So, if we are serious about all we hold dear, and about preserving the precious legacy of this American Democratic Republic, in alignment with the inspired vision of the Founding Fathers, well, then, we may wish to open our minds and hearts, and hear...


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

An excerpt from BIG FAT LIARS

The Libertarian Enterprise
by Morris E. Chafetz, M.D.


Not only do you have a right to be fat, you have a right -- with one caveat -- to do unhealthy things. The one caveat is the extent to which you are responsible for others, whether, for instance, you are a parent. If you are the parent of a child who is so fat as to be unhealthy, the chances are very good that you are a bad parent. If you are so fat that you cannot be a proper parent, you're a bad parent, too. Rights invariably carry responsibilities, and self-respect demands that both be embraced equally...


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

A peace amendment to the Constitution

Liberty For All
by Joey B. King


One of my favorite anti-war pieces is War is a Racket (WIAR) by Marine Major General (MG) Smedley Butler. MG Butler was the only person to win the Congressional Medal of Honor two times, so he knew a thing or two about war. Interestingly, after he retired from the USMC, Butler came to view himself as a: 'high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.' He worked for peace in the 1930's before his death in 1940. As a warrior-turned-pacifist myself, my own sentiments are similar to Butler's...


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

America's party, again

by Thomas L. Knapp


Yes, Virginia, there are still environmentalists ... and some of them are beginning to get smart about markets. As a matter of fact, the 'Wise Use' movement's corporate cronyism and anti-market bias is beginning to show. As columnist John Tierney explains, environmental groups in the west have begun taking land out of grazing and back into a state of nature the old-fashioned way: by buying grazing permits from the farmers who hold them at market prices. And this development, of course, is driving the 'pro-market' corporate welfarists, and their shills in the Bureau of Land Management, friggin' insane. It's time for Democrats to begin pointing out that the issue is not environment versus market, but environment and market against corporate welfare, against laws which exempt polluters from responsibility for the damage they cause while transferring the costs to everyone else, and against bureaucratic regimes (which happen to be controlled by, um, Republicans at this time) who 'manage' the environment on behalf of the biggest campaign donors...


The politics of troop withdrawal

Independent Institute
by Ivan Eland


In Iraq, like everywhere else, if things don't add up, it is safe to assume that politics is involved. Although the insurgency in recent months has worsened, Gen. George W. Casey, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, astonishingly claims that security in Iraq has improved and that substantial U.S. troop withdrawals are possible by as early as next spring. What gives? The congressional elections in 2006. Although Bush administration officials have implied that demands by Democrats for a U.S. troop withdrawal timetable are 'unpatriotic' and 'aid the enemy,' when electoral politics is involved, the administration is all too willing to predict troop reductions during a specified time period...


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Suspect's tale of travel and torture

Guardian [UK]


A former London schoolboy accused of being a dedicated al-Qaida terrorist has given the first full account of the interrogation and alleged torture endured by so-called ghost detainees held at secret prisons around the world. For two and a half years US authorities moved Benyam Mohammed around a series of prisons in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan, before he was sent to Guantánamo Bay in September last year...


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Bush installs Bolton in recess appointment

USA Today


"President Bush bypassed balky Senate Democrats on Monday and used his constitutional powers to appoint John Bolton U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Bush said the diplomatic post was 'too important to leave vacant any longer, especially during a war and a vital debate about U.N. reform,' a reference to the Senate's failure to act on Bolton since Bush nominated him nearly five months ago...


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp


On the President’s Recess Appointment of John Bolton


Trouble in the Land of the Free


The National Security Act, Corporations, and the Media


Operation Withdrawal Scam


The CAFTA Capers

The people who elected Robin Hayes to Congress might be asking: "Can we change our votes, too?" No. Hayes, a Republican from Concord, can't be recalled. Whatever the economic aspects of CAFTA, it's bound to have political repercussions. Robin Hayes may be the first to find out.


Questions Linger as Bush Pushes India Nuclear Deal

A recent US-India nuclear agreement was so hastily concluded the Bush administration is only now beginning to figure out how to implement it in the face of tough questions from the US Congress and nonproliferation experts.


Prison Torture Decisions Came from the Top

The prison torture decisions "came from the top," asserts Robert Weiner, a former Clinton White House senior public affairs official. "No matter where these prisons are, so long as our policy is the same, torture will take place - closing Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib will not stop the outbreak of abuses and torture."


Update from the Field 08/01/05


Patriots Versus The Patriot Act

By Ernest Stewart
Issues and alibis web site

"I don't know what weapons World War Three will be fought with,
but World War Four will be fought with sticks and stones."
... Albert Einstein ...

Last week the US House pass by a margin of 257 -171 with 6 not voting the reauthorization of the so called "Patriot Act." An 800 page bill which appeared from out of nowhere immediately following 911 and was voted on before anyone could even read it! The Patriot Act appeared timely but had been written over about 30 years and is really just a Rethuglican/Corpo-Rat wish list of laws making us even more their slaves and which steals most of our Constitutional rights that hadn't already been stolen before and actually all but nullifies 8 articles of the Bill of Rights.

This was spoken about and debated in the magazines "Forum" section. To see who voted for this treason go to my rant; "Do One Of These Assholes Belong To You?" (If you enjoy the magazine you should really join The Forum as it covers about ten times the news & views as does the magazine) These were the provisions that were supposed to expire but are now being made permanent. You know like spying on you in the library, your medical records, warrantless searches etc. etc. etc. Simple treason voted for by traitors who should be hung by the neck until they cheer up, except of course that a mere hanging is way too good for the likes of these scum bags! [...] Read the whole 'rant' at http://www.issuesandalibis.org/ Keep scrolling down the page and you'll find it!

Another action center: Campaign for America's Future -- Our Future When I looked at it they were worrying about Tom DeLay's $1.5 Billion Big Oil giveaway. http://tinyurl.com/9ggur

© Virginia Metze

DeLay's Sweetheart Deal


Majority Leader Tom DeLay may have faded from the front pages, but he's still up to his dirty tricks. Yesterday, Rep. Henry Waxman revealed that DeLay slipped “ a $1.5 billion giveaway to the oil industry, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas ” into the energy bill. But it gets worse. The provision was "mysteriously inserted" into the text of the energy bill " after the conference was closed, so members of the conference committee had no opportunity to consider or reject this measure." DeLay has launched an assault on the democratic process. Write your representatives and demand this provision be removed from the energy bill. [...] Check out the American Progress for other warnings and tidbits: http://tinyurl.com/8yso5

Lots of interesting stuff on http://www.blackboxvoting.org/ Here is a partial list of the headlines: "Tips for Monitoring Aug. 2 Ohio election," "Mississippi, listen up: California just rejected the TSx," "Jim March on taking back his civil rights."

© Virginia Metze

Opponents Want Bush Barred From Summit

Published on Thursday, July 28, 2005
from Associated Press
Common Dreams News Center

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Opponents of President Bush launched a protest drive Wednesday urging court authorities to keep him from attending a November summit in Argentina, saying his presence would raise security concerns.

Lia Mendez, a candidate in Argentina's upcoming congressional elections, rallied with other members of the small Humanist Party outside the court complex where they sought a court order barring Bush from the Summit of the Americas.

Although analysts said the opposition drive had little chance of success, the protesters gained attention by handing out leaflets on the courthouse steps. [...] Nothing like being hated by all the other countries in the world, is there? http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0728-07.htm

© Virginia Metze

Why Dems should value - not shun - accountability

David Sirota

There is nothing so pathetic as someone who undermines a team crying when they get called onto the carpet for disloyalty. But, as expected, that's what's happening with Democrats and CAFTA. I was met this morning with a few emails from Capitol Hill Democrats who don't like that I had the nerve to tell it like it is about last night's tragic vote . The whining and crying is the perfect image of pathetic thumb-sucking weakness that has hurt Democrats throughout the heartland.

Don't worry - I've been there before with this , and it is more than a little hilarious to criticize me for supposedly being disloyal to Democrats. I long toiled in the day-to-day trenches fighting the Republicans . And, unlike many of the whiners in Washington, I've actually left the Beltway and worked on winning campaigns . Still, it never ceases to amaze me how Washington, D.C. Democrats - unlike Republicans - have no understanding of why accountability will actually help them get back into the majority. [...] Read it all at Working for Change: http://tinyurl.com/axtha

© Virginia Metze

Pelosi steps up and demands accountability

David Sirota
Working for Change

Roll Call has a new report up about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) holding an emergency meeting of the House Democratic Steering Committee tonight to discuss formal sanctions against the 15 Democrats who sold out their party and voted for the corporate-written Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Pelosi raised "the likelihood that defectors' committee assignments would be reviewed at tonight’s meeting of the Steering Committee." That's absolutely necessary - why should Democrats who undermine their party be given plum committee assignments over other, far more loyal and principled Democrats? Pelosi should be commended for her courage - and now she needs to back up her words with action.

The story goes on to note that "Several Democratic sources said Pelosi and other House leaders are particularly upset with New York Reps. Greg Meeks and Ed Towns, members of exclusive committees with safe seats, who voted for CAFTA."

Meeks had the nerve to say that he "voted my conscience" on CAFTA, despite his long history selling off his votes on trade to the highest corporate bidder . He also said while he "knows many of my colleagues are disappointed" he said he has been with Democrats "90 percent of the time" – yeah, except for on all the key economic votes that would allow the Democratic Party to actually paint the kind of serious contrast with the GOP that polls show the American people are waiting for . Roll Call goes on to lay the groundwork for supposedly "endangered" Democrats who represent swing districts to claim they had to vote for CAFTA for their re-election. But as I have earlier noted, that rationale is so dishonest it's hard to believe a Member of Congress could utter it with a straight face. [...] Read it all at: http://tinyurl.com/8d373

© Virginia Metze


By David Podvin
Make Them Accountable web site

The Supreme Court nomination of John Roberts is a deathblow aimed directly at the liberal movement. Roberts is not a jurist in any meaningful sense of the term. He is a ruthless political operative who was groomed to pervert the legal system by Kenneth Starr and was instrumental in helping George W. Bush steal the presidency. He has devoted his life to advancing the conservative cause by misapplying the law. This historic judicial appointment wasn’t a hurried selection designed to divert attention from Karl Rove’s treason. Roberts has been painstakingly vetted for the job of eliminating dissent in America.

When George W. Bush selected an überpartisan as his nominee, it was with the sole intention of slamming the high court to the extreme right. Reactionaries have long declared that dominance of the federal judiciary would enable them to defund and destroy the Democratic Party. Having already deprived Democrats of all relevant political power, Republicans are now going for the kill. [...] Read more about this on makethemaccountable.com: http://tinyurl.com/axkjh

© Virginia Metze

Fallacies about international terrorism

07/28/2005 11:01

Like all politicians, those who took part in the attack against Afghanistan and Iraq, try to justify what they did by saying that now is the time to support what they are doing [...] If you want to take a look, go to http://tinyurl.com/9xvsu

© Virginia Metze

Bush Names Bolton Ambassador to UN, Bypassing Senate

Bolton and the UN: another US slap in the world's face

Bush Names Bolton Ambassador to UN, Bypassing Senate

My Name is John Bolton, and I'm Here to Stop The Diplomacy

by Hunter
Fri Jul 29th, 2005 at 20:27:32 PDT

It's been a long, winding road of "misstatements", forged intelligence, botched diplomacy, and spectacular tales of obsessive "kick-down" middle management vengeance, but it's looking like a recess appointment of John Bolton as America's U.N. Ambassador is likely to happen in the next few days. Current reports are citing officials inside the White House saying Bush wants to get it over with before he leaves for his summer vacation. (No, I'm not kidding. It's like he's a kid packing for camp or something.)

I have mixed feelings about such an appointment. Well, not really -- at this point, I mostly welcome it, and I think most administration critics have been coming to roughly the same conclusions. If you're out to prove spectacular Bush administration incompetence and corruption, Bolton is the yellowcake-dusted gift that keeps on giving. I've grown almost fond of the rhythm of the news cycle, in which once a month or so we find out a new diplomatic effort that Bolton managed to either fantastically botch or intentionally sabotage (Libya, North Korea, nonproliferation efforts, anything remotely having to do with Iraq WMD claims). Every few months, we are treated to news reports describing another administration official who hates his ever-loving guts (Powell and Condi have both allowed themselves to be obliquely marked as being anti-Bolton, in addition to the parade of officials that testified at his hearings. Take a hint, much?)

[...] Read the whole article at
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/7/29/232732/959 or http://tinyurl.com/ded7j

© Virginia Metze

When They Knew


The Poison Sausage Factory


Comprehending Warfare


Uncle Sam’s Iron Curtain of Secrecy


Armageddon Gets No Press



The Ethos of Weeds


Reflections on the State


The Dumbest Story Ever Written

by John Chuckman

Devoted to human freedom, you must embrace even the freedom to express stupidity. So I can happily report that a week ago at this writing Thomas Friedman struck a mighty blow for freedom with one of the dumbest columns he has ever written, "Giving the Hatemongers No Place to Hide" (NY Times, July 22, 2005 ), although his regular readers may not forgive my distinguishing this column from his regular output. The theme of the column is captured by one of the pithy bromides of which he is so fond, "Guess what: words matter." To make sure that you understand, Friedman repeats this a number of times with slight variations, a favorite technique of propagandists and, for that matter, police interrogators. You can't help smiling for here is a man who has spent his entire adult life twisting and torturing words to give imperial hubris a happy face. As we will see, the words that really matter to Friedman are the ones that disagree with his view of the world and current events. Like an unpleasant, spoiled child Friedman uses a tantrum in print to get what he wants....


Burying Blair: Post-Mortem for the British PM

by Mike Whitney

No one was the least bit surprised when Tony Blair announced that the only antidote for the bombing attacks on the London subway was a fresh batch of regressive laws. Blair is a master at turning tragedy into political capital and the slaughter of 50 Londoners was no different. It only sharpened his appetite for carrying out the directives of his paymasters by further savaging civil liberties. It always astonishes how quickly the demagogues in Washington and London swing into action when there’s a chance to hack away at personal freedom. They seem to operate on the theory that people will only be safe when the country assumes the same standards of justice as, let’s say, Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Isn’t this where Blair is pointing England?


Cognitive Dimwits: The Unbearable Rightness of Being

by Leilla Matsui and Stella La Chance

Cognitive dissonance occurs when a long held assumption or existing belief is thrown into question by new or contradictory information, causing a person to reinterpret this evidence after it has been presented to justify a falsely held notion. The theory refers to the phenomenon of the mind's failure to assume its equilibrium after having to accept an unwelcome intrusion of this kind into its “comfortably held assumption zone.” It results in a willful refusal to acknowledge that a shift in perception has even occurred. When exposed to information inconsistent with his/her beliefs, such a person remains fiercely loyal to the original falsehood to prevent an increase in the magnitude of dissonance felt in the face of a humiliating confrontation with inconvenient facts. The phenomenon is most often associated with the resulting psychological struggle of cult members trying to come to terms with the failure of some cataclysmic event to occur, as predicted by the group's charismatic leader. Less committed members are more likely to acknowledge that they had been “had” and move on from there, while more fervent believers deal with the potential loss of face by reinterpreting past events to accommodate a present psychological dilemma. If the end of the world fails to materialize on schedule, it is thanks to the “power of prayer,” or newly emerging interpretations of prophecy....


An unpopular war drags on, gas prices rise and rise, as a cloud of scandal gathers over Washington D.C.

Of Karl Rove, Nixon's Gray Ghost, Pinball Proto-Fascism, Muscle Car Imperialism, and the Gong Show of the American Political System by Phil Rockstroh

An unpopular war drags on, gas prices rise and rise, as a cloud of scandal gathers over Washington D.C. At times, it seems as though the 1970s never ended: it's just Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton's Quaalude-laced, faux populist snake oil caused us to sleep through the 80s and 90s -- and now we're awakening, hungover, groggy, queasy, still in the midst of that ugly and odious era. At least that's the encrypted message I've been able to decipher, using my Super-Secret, Decoder Mood Ring, special limited, Karl Rove edition. George W. Bush and Karl Rove are as much products of the 1970s as were Naugahyde pit group sofas and outbreaks of the Herpes Simplex Retrovirus at Plato's Retreat. Historically, the world will regard The Bush Administration as the Dacron Polyester of American presidencies: its legacy will carry all the beauty, style, and enduring appeal of a powder blue Leisure Suit. George Bush, himself, will be remembered as the Pet Rock of the American plutocratic class. Accordingly, if there is any presiding spirit possessing the current zeitgeist, it is the gray ghost of Dick Nixon. During the Watergate Era, Karl Rove apprehended a fact the rest of us pushed out of our minds, due to its troubling implications: Nixon wasn't brought down because Americans were troubled by having a sick, corrupt bastard as their president -- we simply found it embarrassing to have the White House curtains pulled open, thus allowing the world to witness Nixon pacing the floors, draped in a dingy bathrobe, muttering expletives at the yellowing, West Wing wallpaper....


Preserving a horrific moment in history

In her report on Hiroshima's Peace Museum in yesterday's THE IRISH TIMES (see below) journalist Judie Crosbie includes this shocking piece of information: "In the aftermath of the bombing . . . the US prevented academic research of diseases related to radiation effects during the occupation." Best, Imelda, Cork.


"Preserving a horrific moment in history

JAPAN: Hiroshima's peace museum carefully documents the shocking events of the first time an atomic bomb was used against people, reports Judith Crosbie

There were only three pictures taken on the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Local newspaper photographer Yoshito Matsushige was too traumatised by what he saw on the morning of August 6th, 1945 to continue recording the first time such a weapon was used.

The pictures he did take that day betray the paralysis he felt - the images show people from behind, hiding the emotion that journalists usually try to convey. Still the horror is obvious: clothes blown from people's bodies; hair matted from the fierce blast; buildings crushed; utter confusion among the victims as they huddle together searching for an explanation for what just happened.

Sixty years on, the events of that day continue to shock. The Peace Memorial Museum and Park in Hiroshima stands as a testimony to what happened. Seconds after the bomber, the Enola Gay, offloaded its cargo over Hiroshima the bomb exploded in mid-air in a fireball some 280 metres in diameter. When it hit the ground it created an inferno that caused 13 square kilometres of total destruction. Houses were flattened, trees ripped up and concrete buildings wiped out. The ground temperature was 3,000 degrees celcius which meant anyone close to the hypocentre died in the fire.

The museum has carefully collected data to convey the unprecedented effects of the atomic bomb on the city. Pictures and models before the bombing show a bustling city of narrow streets packed with small wooden houses. After the bombing only a wasteland was left. Displays show clothes, some only tiny trousers and shorts worn by children, which were burnt on those close to the hypocentre. Exposed skin fell off like rags exposing flesh and bone. Glass bottles, ceramics, roof tiles and even sewing needles melted and were fused together.

Doctors, some themselves suffering from burns and radiation poisoning, were bewildered as to how to deal with the injured and had only basic burn treatments and herbal remedies. Some victims had horrific injuries as a result of burns or flying glass. Pictures at the museum show one man had part of his face blown off exposing his teeth and mouth. A young brother and sister showed no outward signs of physical injury but turned up to a clinic complaining of bleeding gums and diarrhoea. The silent effects of the radiation eventually killed them.

But the museum is also shocking for other reasons. The calculated reason for dropping the bomb on Hiroshima as a means of dissuading the Soviet Union from challenging the power of the US is documented in letters and telegrams from the day. Also well documented are the reasons the US chose Hiroshima and Nagasaki as there were no prisoner of war camps set up in these cities and the cities were of a sufficient size. The grim decision to drop the bomb without warning is also stressed.

In the aftermath of the bombing the British government controlled Hiroshima and restricted reporting of the event while the US prevented academic research of diseases related to radiation effects during the occupation.

The Korean victims - many of whom were labourers drafted into the war effort in the important port city of Hiroshima - are also remembered in one section of the museum, though after the bombing these victims were ignored.

The Peace Memorial park where the museum is located is littered with memorials to the bombing. The cenotaph in the centre of the park contains the names of all those known to have been killed in the bombing. The flame beneath it will be extinguished when the last nuclear weapons have been destroyed.

A monument to the tens of thousands of Koreans who suffered in the bomb was moved into the park in 1999. A children's memorial was erected in memory of the many children killed and specifically remembers Sadako Sasaki who died of leukaemia 10 years after the bombing at age 12 after struggling against her illness.

The remains of the imposing A-Bomb dome which was once a commercial centre to showcase industrial and cultural products of the city stands preserved just beyond the park. It was declared in 1996 a Unesco World Heritage site but some victims had hoped the only remaining structure of Hiroshima before the bombing would be destroyed given the painful memories it evokes. Because the bomb detonated right above the building some of the walls remained leaving the iron structure of the dome and part of the building.

The Hiroshima city government is keen not to forget August 6th, 1945. The Peace Memorial Museum and Park is seen as an important tool to teach people about the harmful effects of nuclear weapons and the city government has adopted the goal of ridding the world of such arms.

"No other people will be able to do what we are doing because we are the ones who experienced the atomic bombing. Hiroshima has a responsibility and a mission to do this," says Nobuyuki Teshima, director of the international peace promotion department.

The city arranges meetings for mayors around the world to come together and work out ways to put pressure on governments to abandon nuclear weapons.

Despite the ever-increasing danger from rogue states acquiring nuclear arms and perhaps the naivety in wishing an end to nuclear armaments, Hiroshima persists in its efforts.

Every time a nuclear weapon is tested the mayor sends a letter of protest to the country's leaders. Dozens have been sent to the US, China and France. Has Hiroshima ever received a response to the letters? "No, no direct response," admits Teshima."

© The Irish Times

ICNIRP guidelines “among the worst in the world”

Sierra Club of Canada calls ICNIRP guidelines “among the worst in the world” http://www.emfacts.com/weblog/?p=162




Informant: Jean Hudon


Flyby News <info@flybynews.com> wrote:

From: "Flyby News" <info@flybynews.com> To: flybynews@listserve.net Subject: Bush/Cheney INDICTED * DavidRay 9/11 Press Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2005 18:59:20 -0500

Flyby News Editor - Jonathan Mark
02 August 2005

If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest
-Thomas Jefferson

Fear is not in the habit of speaking truth
-- Publius Cornelius Tacitus

Editor's Notes:

What is going on? It was difficult enough to google to find the David Ray Griffin speech "9/11 AND THE MAINSTREAM PRESS" at the National Press Club. But what is going on with the big "I" word - INDICTED - ? - Well it is not April 1st. Tom Flocco had broken other news reports, but the censorship of the mainstream press is impressive.. but how long can this story be buried.. or that of US American democracy, or world being taken by hostage by an illegal-mind-controlling bizarre government? These are interesting times.. According to the Tom Flocco report: "Besides the Valerie Plame CIA leak case, the Fitzgerald probe is reportedly far-reaching and expanding much deeper into past White House criminal acts involving Bush-Clinton drug money laundering in Mena, Arkansas to White House involvement in 9.11; but also for sending America's young people to their deaths or to be maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan under false pretenses."

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds
-- Samuel Adams


From TomFlocco.com

A Chicago grand jury has indicted the President and Vice-President of the United States along with multiple high officials in the Bush administration

Chicago -- August 2, 2005 -- TomFlocco.com -- U.S. federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's Chicago grand jury has issued perjury and obstruction of justice indictments to the following members of the Bush Administration: President George W. Bush, Vice-President Richard Cheney, Bush Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Cheney Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, imprisoned New York Times reporter Judith Miller and former Senior Cheney advisor Mary Matalin.

There were no indications given as to whether the President and his top staff members would appear publicly before cameras at the grand jury proceedings, given the gravity of the charges.

Besides the Valerie Plame CIA leak case, the Fitzgerald probe is reportedly far-reaching and expanding much deeper into past White House criminal acts involving Bush-Clinton drug money laundering in Mena, Arkansas to White House involvement in 9.11; but also for sending America's young people to their deaths or to be maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan under false pretenses.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair was indicted for obstruction of justice and is reportedly consulting with members of Parliament and legal aides regarding how to avoid appearing in the U.S.A. for interrogation before Fitzgerald in Chicago.

The revelations emanated from sources close to the grand jury who spoke with federal whistleblower Thomas Heneghen in California who said White House Senior Advisor to the President Karl Rove was also indicted for perjury and was reportedly involved with Mary Matalin in a major Bush administration document shredding operation to cover-up evidence.

Heneghen had reported over ten days ago on a TruthRadio.com broadcast [Every Monday and Tuesday evening from 8-9 pm EST– truthradio.com --special briefing on Wednesday evening August 3 at 8 pm EST]] that his sources close to the grand jury said former Secretary of State Colin Powell had been subpoenaed and had testified against President Bush, telling the citizen panel that the President had taken the United States to war based upon lies--a capital crime involving treason under the United States Code.

Heneghen also reported a week ago that Gonzalez and Card had been subpoened and that Tony Blair had defied his subpoena after the response time limit had expired.

Sources close to the investigation report that members of the House, Senate, 9.11 Commission and other members of the media are also under investigation as potential targets by a grand jury regarding obstruction of justice and other oversight failures linked to the 9.11 attacks--indicating that citizen panelists working with Fitzgerald may be seeking a wholesale cleansing of what many have said is a crime-wracked White House and Congress.

Also last Monday, the whistleblower reported that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts was planning to obstruct justice by calling Fitzgerald for Senate hearings to question the prosecutor's motives for the far-reaching investigation.

This, giving rise to questions as to whether Roberts and other Republican legislators--some now under secret investigation--would join President Bush in seeking to fire Fitzgerald in the same manner that President Nixon had fired Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in order to obstruct justice and cut off further investigations into White House crimes.

Two weeks ago Heneghen said he had talked to sources just ten minutes prior to French and U.S. intelligence agents intercepting British intelligence agents who were attempting to bomb the subway underneath the Dirksen Federal Building where Fitzgerald was presiding over grand jury hearings.

Serious questions can also be raised as to whether intelligence forces linked to President Bush and Tony Blair had participated in a failed attempt to scuttle the Fitzgerald probe by literally blowing it up--at a time when UK reports reveal that military-grade explosives were used to blow up the London subway on July 7.

Sources say the alleged Chicago subway bombing attempt has been attributed to an underground and closeted enmity involving warring intelligence and military factions within the United States government.

Moreover, reports indicate that the disturbance occurred at the same time that the Chicago Tribune and local web blogs had reported that the subway had been evacuated for 45-50 minutes regarding a "suspicious package" late on Monday afternoon, July 18.

Also confirming the under-the-radar-screen hostilities involving agents loyal to the administration and others who are disturbed about the cover-up of government involvement in the 9.11 attacks was a recent contact made with this writer by a major New York media outlet which called seeking "names of those who could confirm its own reports of warring factions within the government which were threatening the safety of U.S. citizens."

developing.....please link or copy--and distribute widely.


Last edited by TomFlocco on Tue Aug 02, 2005 12:26 pm; edited 6 times in total


Informant: Valerie Fine



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