William Rivers Pitt – The Most Insidious of Traitors

September 30, 2003 at 3:05 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

I said yesterday that I would let you follow the rest of this story for
yourselves, and I will. But today’s column by William Rivers Pitt is too
good to pass up. He explains the ins and outs of the story, the legal
underpinnings, and gives us a rare glimpse inside the White House. Chilling
stuff.

Thanks to an alert reader for passing this on.

The Most Insidious of Traitors
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Tuesday 30 September 2003

“Even though I’m a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing
but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name
of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors.”
— George Herbert Walker Bush, 1999

    Karl Rove, senior political advisor to George W. Bush, is a very
powerful man. That is not to say he has never been in trouble. Rove was
fired from the 1992 Bush Sr. campaign for trashing Robert Mosbacher, Jr.,
who was the chief fundraiser for the campaign and an avowed Bush loyalist.
Rove accomplished this trashing of Mosbacher by planting a negative story
with columnist Bob Novak. The campaign figured out that Karl had done the
dirty deed, and he was given his walking papers…………..

–C

Wilson retraction re: Karl Rove?

September 29, 2003 at 3:10 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

This story is blowing up
at the moment so I’ll just point out the necessary and let you follow the news
for yourselves on this one.

First, Ambassador Wilson more or less
retracted his accusation about Karl Rove today, speaking to ABCNEWS’ Good Morning America today:


“In one speech I gave out in Seattle not too long ago, I mentioned the name
Karl Rove,” he said. “I think I was probably carried away by the spirit of the
moment. I don’t have any knowledge that Karl Rove himself was either the leaker
or the authorizer of the leak. But I have great confidence that, at a minimum,
he condoned it and certainly did nothing to shut it down.”


The White House categorically denies any involvement in the leak.


Meanwhile, the Washington Post says two top White House officials called a
half-dozen journalists to reveal that ex-Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s wife is a
CIA operative. For more on their coverage of the story, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17134-2003Sep29.html

Which
two White House officials did it? Will Bob Novak crack and reveal his sources?
Will an independent, unbiased investigation of the leaks be conducted, or will
it be left up to political apointee John Ashcroft? Will we ever find out the
truth, or will there be fall guys for this one too? (Does the Batman
sky-projector alert still work?)

And the White House briefing today by
spokesman Scott McClellan was downright comedic as they defended Karl Rove and
referred everything else to the Justice Department, apparently immune to the
suggestion that the investigation should be done by an independent. Over and
over, he had little to say but “Do
you have specific information to bring to my attention?” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17278-2003Sep29.html At
the moment, however, the press seems most interested in McClellan’s comment that
“The president knows that Karl Rove wasn’t involved.”


Back in heavy rotation this week, the
pop hit “What did the president know, and when did he know it?”


Let the games begin.

 

–C



—–Original
Message—–
From: Chris Nelder [mailto:chris.nelder@idiotwind.net]
Sent: Monday, September 29, 2003 1:28 PM
To:
Undisclosed Recipients
Subject: [GetRealList]: Karl Rove leaked info. about
Ambassador Wilson’s
wife


Folks,

You may recall the article
I sent around about two weeks ago on this issue,
which had yet to be picked
up by the U.S. media. Well, they’ve finally
picked it up, and some
Congressmen are investigating. Not surprisingly, the
instigator of the
investigation is George Tenet, Director of the CIA. But
unfortunately, the
guy who would have to prosecute this is John Ashcroft.
Anybody want to place
bets on whether justice will be done in this case of
national treason
committed for the benefit of Bush?

BUSH Administration Is Focus of
Inquiry – Washington Post
“Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for
revenge,” the senior official
said of the alleged leak.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A11208-2003Sep27.html

Ambassador Wilson, for his part, has commented
“At the end of the day, it’s
of keen interest to me to see whether or not we
can get Karl Rove
frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs. And trust
me, when I use
that name, I measure my words.”

Revenge begets
revenge.

For more on this and other matters related to the fradulent
weapons
“intelligence” about Iraq and 9-11, this interview with Ambassador
Wilson is
worthwhile:
http://www.pacificviews.org/archives/000094.html

And today’s Democracy Now broadcast is worth a
listen.
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/09/29/1459200 In addition to
the Ambassador Wilson topic,
they cover Kerry and Dean’s calls for the
resignations of Rumsfeld and
Wolfowitz, for selling us a bill of goods on
Iraq’s WMD. I think it’s highly
unlikely that Bush will put those guys out
to pasture, but the fact that
they’re getting some pressure now (and
returning calls from the media!) is
good indication that they’re no longer
going to be able to do whatever they
want to do, no matter what the rest of
the world
thinks.

–C

Ashcroft pushes for nationalized capital punishment

September 29, 2003 at 1:34 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


In his continuing assault on the spirit and structure of our nation’s laws (this guy really does think his wish is the nation’s command), Atty. General John Ashcroft is now attempting to snatch the states’ legal jurisdiction over capital punishment and give it to the federal courts, especially in states where they have no capital punishment. His gall is astounding. I certainly hope the state and federal courts will challenge him on this one.


Behold the Lord High Executioner

The Bush administration is so bent on juicing up the number of state-sponsored executions in the United States that apparently it is attempting to nationalize capital punishment…


–C

Karl Rove leaked info. about Ambassador Wilson\’s wife

September 29, 2003 at 1:28 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

You may recall the article I sent around about two weeks ago on this issue,
which had yet to be picked up by the U.S. media. Well, they’ve finally
picked it up, and some Congressmen are investigating. Folks,

You may recall the article I sent around about two weeks ago on this issue,
which had yet to be picked up by the U.S. media. Well, they’ve finally
picked it up, and some Congressmen are investigating. Not surprisingly, the
instigator of the investigation is George Tenet, Director of the CIA. But
unfortunately, the guy who would have to prosecute this is John Ashcroft.
Anybody want to place bets on whether justice will be done in this case of
national treason committed for the benefit of Bush?

BUSH Administration Is Focus of Inquiry – Washington Post
“Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge,” the senior official
said of the alleged leak.

Ambassador Wilson, for his part, has commented “At the end of the day, it’s
of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove
frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs. And trust me, when I use
that name, I measure my words.”

Revenge begets revenge.

For more on this and other matters related to the fradulent weapons
“intelligence” about Iraq and 9-11, this interview with Ambassador Wilson is
worthwhile:
http://www.pacificviews.org/archives/000094.html

And today’s Democracy Now broadcast is worth a listen. In addition to
the Ambassador Wilson topic, they cover Kerry and Dean’s calls for the
resignations of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, for selling us a bill of goods on
Iraq’s WMD. I think it’s highly unlikely that Bush will put those guys out
to pasture, but the fact that they’re getting some pressure now (and
returning calls from the media!) is good indication that they’re no longer
going to be able to do whatever they want to do, no matter what the rest of
the world thinks.

–C

New electronic voting machines and their corruption

September 26, 2003 at 4:18 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

 

This is a topic I’ve been meaning to tackle for some
time. The simple story is that since the botched election in Florida, most
states are converting to electronic voting. Unfortunately, the software systems
that control the voting machines are highly vulnerable to attack, closed-source,
and completely under the control of key Republican businessesmen. Several
elections using these machines have already been conducted, and the results have
been suspect. We need to start waking up to this issue before the next
Presidential election or we could be in deep trouble.

 

I hate to sound like a Luddite–especially for a guy
who’s made a living in software–but I am a firm believer in paper ballots and
checking a box with a pencil. It’s really hard to get that wrong. This
electronic voting stuff is wide-open to corruption.

 

“Could the Next Election Be Stolen at the
Ballot Box? A Look at the Electronic Voting Machine
Controversy”

Wednesday, August 13th,
2003
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/08/13/1535236

 

 


Vanishing Act
September 23, 2003
by Chris
Floyd

http://www.sptimes.ru/archive/times/904/opinion/o_10419.htm

 


How
to Rig an Election in the United States

By C.D. Sludge
Tuesday 08 July
2003
http://truthout.org/docs_03/voting.shtml


-C





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The Neo-Cons Who Ate The U.S.: PNAC

September 26, 2003 at 4:02 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

 

I know
it’s not fun, but please read this one. Even if you have written me off as a
leftist crank a long time ago.

 

By now
most of you are probably sick to death of hearing about PNAC, the Project for
the New American Century, and you know all about the key neo-conservatives who
founded that group, and who have effectively taken control of the U.S.
Government after years of working their way through the system. Most readers
also realize that the situation we’re in is, at best, only slightly the work of
G.W. Bush. He is clearly a puppet who barely knew the names of other countries,
and knew nothing about foreign policy, before taking office. Besides, he’s just
not that smart, his entire school and career record demonstrates that. But the
people who put him there, the elites of the Republican Party, chose him for the
same reason they chose Ronald Reagan: because he is a perfect foil. He can speak
simply, stay on message, and convey the desires of the party without blowing
their cover, at the same time seeming so trustworthy, and being so simple, that
nobody would think him capable of the extremely clever deceptions and
manipulations that go on behind the scenes. Perhaps for the first time in
history, the most powerful man in the White House is the Vice President, Dick
Cheney, who’s been at the game for decades.

 

PNAC,
and the elites who work behind the scenes, are the real foes of those of us who
believe in the principles of democracy and American citizenship. They have no
less an aim than to completely transform the character and law of America, into
one that is firmly Christian, and ultra-right wing. This is not your father’s
Republican Party. And a lot of people who have voted Republican in recent
decades are, for good reason, becoming increasingly uncomfortable with where
these neo-cons are taking the (formerly) conservative wing of American politics.

 

For
those of us on the Left, of course, these men are a nightmare. Our worst
nightmare.

 

But
even for those who are well-read on this subject, I think you’ll find this talk
by Bernard Weiner worthwhile reading. He does an excellent job of laying out the
heritage of these idealogues and tracing their steps to where we are today. It
lists the important characters of PNAC, reviews their written record, explains
their goals of “benevolent global hegemony” (as written by one of their key
thinkers, Bill Kristol), and traces their influence through the events of 9-11
and on into the present.

 

I
encourage you to read and forward this article.
I hope it will
reach not just those on the Left who may agree with the author, but many
American conservatives, and that they will think deeply about what their values
really are, and whether the Republican party is still representing those values.

 

I’m
curious about how often these articles get forwarded, once I send them out. If
you got this far, I would appreciate it if you sent me a quick email just to say
you read it. I promise I will not do anything but count you and delete your
mail; I will not save your email address. I’m just curious how far this will
travel. Just send a message saying “Hi, I read it!” to getreallist@yahoo.com  If you
forward this email, please keep this paragraph on it.

 

Thanks!

 

–C

 

http://www.crisispapers.org/Editorials/roadwomen.htm

Bush’s Foreign
Policy: 
“There Must Be Some Way Out of Here”
An Address to River Oaks
Area Democratic Women Houston, TX
By Bernard
Weiner
Co-Editor, “The Crisis Papers.”
September 16, 2003

 

 

Michael Moore – \"And Now a Chance to Bid Farewell to Mr. Bush\"

September 25, 2003 at 6:05 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

 

As
much of a fan as I am of Michael Moore’s work, I am becoming a bit dubious about
the value of his political commentary lately. I think he’s too much preaching to
the choir, and lacking the satirical edge that makes him great. But for what
it’s worth, here’s his note of today for your consideration.

 

–C

 

—–Original Message—–
From: mailinglist@michaelmoore.com
[mailto:mailinglist@michaelmoore.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 24,
2003 1:48 PM
Subject: “And Now a Chance to Bid Farewell to Mr. Bush”
(from Michael Moore)


“And Now a Chance to Bid Farewell to Mr. Bush” (from Michael
Moore)

September 23, 2003


Last week, over 30,000 of you from my list sent letters to Wesley Clark
urging to him to run. And, hey, um — it looks like it helped! He announced on
Wednesday and by Sunday he was #1 in the Newsweek poll on the 10 Democratic
candidates. By yesterday, according to the CNN/Time poll, he was nine points
ahead of his nearest rival — and three percentage points ahead of Bush if the
election were held today.


But now the hard part begins. In my open letter to General Clark, while
strongly encouraging him to run, I told him that I was not yet endorsing him —
I have no plans to endorse anyone at this point — yet I thought his voice
should be heard in this campaign. Why? Because I heard him say things that I
think the American public needs to hear.


My wife and I were invited over to a neighbor’s home 12 days ago where Clark
told those gathered that certain people, acting on behalf of the Bush
administration, called him immediately after the attacks on September 11th and
asked him to go on TV to tell the country that Saddam Hussein was “involved” in
the attacks. He asked them for proof, but they couldn’t provide any. He refused
their request.


Standing in that living room 12 nights ago, Clark continued to share more
private conversations. In the months leading up the Iraq War, friends of his at
the Pentagon — high-ranking career military officers — told him that the
military brass did NOT want this war in Iraq, that it violated the Powell
Doctrine of “start no war if you don’t know what your exit strategy is.” They
KNEW we would be in this mess, and they asked the General, in his role now as a
television commentator, to inform the American people of this folly. And, as
best he could, that’s what he did.


I don’t know whether I am violating any confidence here, but I think all of
you have a right to know these things — and I left there that night convinced
that this pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-affirmative action retired general
should be in the debates so that the American people can hear what I heard. The
public needs to see and hear what he’s all about so we can make up our own minds
about him. Now, thanks to all the encouragement you gave him to run, we will
have a chance to do just that.


He may very well turn out to be much less than what we thought. Or he may be
our best and greatest hope in removing George W. Bush. Whatever the outcome,
let’s all agree on one thing: There are enough Democrats running, this time
around, who stand for most of the things that we stand for. We will not find
ourselves having to choose between the “evil of two lessers” in the Democratic
primaries. When we know more about each of them and the dust has settled, then
we need to unite with each other to keep our eyes on the prize: Bush Removal in
‘04.


But removal is not enough to turn our country around. We have to stay on
these Democrats to do their jobs. We know from experience how spineless they can
be. Our job is to keep pushing them to be more progressive in their actions and
positions. And we need to continue to build independent, third party movements
on the local level which will, in part, let them know that they do not
automatically have us in their hip pocket.


That is why I am not endorsing anyone right now — and I caution you not to
throw your whole self behind any of them until they can state clearly what they
are going to do on certain issues. If we give them our support before insisting
they do this, what leverage will we have to mold them into the candidate we —
and not the political consultants — want them to be?


For instance, I sat in a room with Howard Dean a couple of months ago and
heard him say he supports the death penalty “in certain cases.” He probably
believes he needs to say this to get elected. What he needs to hear from us are
the facts about how many innocent people have been released from death row,
people who were about to be executed. We need to show Gov. Dean the right way to
address this issue — by calling for a moratorium on the death penalty until, if
ever, this problem of potentially executing the innocent can be solved.


When I watched Howard Dean give his speech announcing his candidacy, he spoke
for nearly a half hour. How many times did he say the word “Iraq?”


None.


And he’s supposed to be the anti-war candidate! Well, what I’m saying is,
let’s cut him some slack. He clearly has been against the war, even if he did
fail to mention it (the #1 issue of the day) in his speech. We cannot be so
quick to want to dismiss him or sink back into our cynicism of believing that
all politicians suck. And when Dean says he wouldn’t cut the Pentagon budget, he
just needs to be educated. So the best way to support Dean right now is to let
him know how you feel about these issues and that, if he wants your vote, he has
to state clearly that he will cut the Pentagon budget and use that money for the
things this country really needs.


Likewise, Clark’s first 24 hours as a candidate resembled a Marx Brothers
movie. His position on the war, depending on what paper you read, changed about
six dozen times. Only one thing was clear — this guy is not a professional
politician! But then, isn’t that a good thing? The press has complained that
Clinton is secretly behind him. Both right and left wing pundits have roared
over that one. Are they that out of touch with the average American that they
don’t recognize, when the word “Clinton” is mentioned these days, a wave of
wistful nostalgia sweeps through a majority of Americans? As most of you know, I
had many problems with Clinton, but I can at least realize that when Americans
think “Clinton Era,” they think of better days — regardless of just how better
they really were. So if you think that by “exposing” the Clinton connection to
Clark is going to turn people off, think again. Every time it’s reported,
Clark’s numbers go up.


But it seemed like on Day One of his campaign, General Clark was listening
too much to the Arkansas politicos and not enough to his own heart. When you’re
a Rhodes Scholar (as he is), you have to hate others trying to turn your head
into a bowl of spaghetti.


By the time Day Two rolled around, the general had heard from all of us (a
big collective “WHAT THE F#@%?!” so to speak), and he straightened things out in
an interview with the Associated Press. He said, without equivocation: “Let’s
make one thing real clear: I would never have voted for this war…. I’ve got a
very consistent record on this. There was no imminent threat. This was not a
case for preemptive war.”


Now Clark will be in his first debate this Thursday. As the others have been
campaigning and debating for months now, there is no way he will be up to their
speed. He doesn’t have to be. I hope he is just himself so we can see where he
stands on many of the issues that he has yet to weigh in on (NAFTA, health care
specifics, etc.).


The day Clark made his announcement, I was in the former Yugoslavia. Clark
was the NATO commander during the Kosovo War. If you’ve seen my film (“Bowling
for Columbine”) you know that the bombing of civilians in Kosovo is something
that bothers me to this day. That is why I put it in my movie. The 19 countries
of NATO have yet to account for this decision to bomb in this way. The New York
Times reported on Sunday that Clark wanted to use ground troops instead of
relying on the bombing (less civilians would be killed that way). Clinton and
Defense Secretary William Cohen overruled him. They didn’t want to risk having
any American casualties; they preferred the “clean” way of killing from 30,000
feet above. Clark, apparently to undermine them, went on TV and took his case to
the American people. Cohen was furious and told him to “get your (bleeping)
face” off the TV. He and the Pentagon then orchestrated his firing.


Years later, many analysts agree that the Kosovo War would have ended much
sooner — and fewer civilians would have been killed — had the White House
listened to Clark and let him use the ground troops to stop Milosevic’s genocide
of the people in Kosovo.


Is that the way it went? I’d like to know. And that’s one reason why we have
election campaigns — so we can find out things like this. I hope someone asks
General Clark the question.


What I do know is that the war we are in NOW is not called Kosovo, but Iraq.
That is the war I am trying to stop. That is the war Clark says he will stop. If
we have a former general, who may have done some things that some of us don’t
like — but he is now offering to be an advocate for peace — why would any of
us want to reject this?


And who among the other candidates does not have blood on his hands? John
Kerry? He killed people in Vietnam. Bob Graham? He executed people as governor
of Florida. Howard Dean? He says he would have voted in favor of bombing
Afghanistan (at least 3,000 civilians slaughtered) and he’s already said he
would execute people on death row. So would Edwards. Gephardt voted for both
wars. Dennis Kucinich used to vote for laws restricting a woman’s right to an
abortion, potentially forcing women back to the alley and, for many of them, to
certain death.


No one is innocent here. And yet, there is, in everyone, a chance for
redemption. John Kerry bravely led the anti-war movement when he returned from
Vietnam. Dennis Kucinich changed his position and now supports a woman’s right
to choose. Howard Dean (with Kucinich) stood alone against the Iraq War when it
was not the popular thing to do. People change. If we don’t accept this, we are
never going to get rid of Bush.


We, the voters, have a job to do right now: Remain strong and steadfast in
pushing these candidates to behave, straighten up, and do the right thing. There
will be plenty of time to get behind the one candidate who is nominated to
defeat Bush. What we should be doing now is making our voices heard so that we
can influence them to take the right positions.


Back in February, Patrick Tyler of the New York Times wrote, “there may still
be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion.”
To paraphrase him, I would say that there are now actually ELEVEN campaigns
running in this race — those of the ten announced candidates, and OURS. Those
10 who are running are up against something mightier than any of their fellow
candidates — they must face OUR collective conscience and will. That will is a
powerful force — and we shouldn’t give it up until we start hearing and seeing
things from these candidates that we expect and demand.


So, Howard Dean, if you want my vote, promise me that you’ll cut the Pentagon
budget and call for a moratorium on the death penalty. Wesley Clark, if you want
my vote, tell me how you’ll guarantee health care to every single American and
that, even though you’re a hunter, you’ll push for stronger gun control laws.
Dennis Kucinich, if it were you vs. Bush today, I’d hope that you would have
done the work needed to convince the majority of Americans to vote for you.
Carol Moseley Braun, if the moderator at the debate on Thursday ignores you for
the first 15 minutes (as George Stephanopoulos did back in the May debate), I
hope you won’t wait your turn and will just jump right in—we’re long overdue for
a woman President. And Al Sharpton, just keep being you and cutting through all
the b.s. in these debates — you produce the stinging laugh we all need right
now.


Let the games begin, and let’s all hope that the only loser in all of this is
George W. Bush.


Yours,


Michael Moore
www.michaelmoore.com

mmflint@aol.com


————————————–

Another country heard from – the Democrats!

September 25, 2003 at 5:57 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

 

After
being M.I.A. for most of the last two years, I am very refreshed to see some
Democratic pundits and politicos finally finding their feet again. Is it
possible that we might now actually have a debate about issues in this country,
after this long dark night of Bushian totalitarianism?

 

It
seems so. Finally, we’re talking about the Saudis’ role in funding terrorism and
their role in 9-11.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/sep2003/s11-s11.shtml

 

And
Congress is finally starting to ask questions about it:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,98129,00.html

 

Finally, the fraud of Iraq’s supposed WMD has been exposed:

President Bush’s Inspectors Find No Weapons to Support his Claims
about Imminent Threat http://www.misleader.org/daily_mislead/Read.asp?fn=df09252003.html

 

And
now the Bush team would very much like us to forget about that, and just pat
ourselves on the back that the world is a better place now. Oh yeah, and ignore
all those barbs they threw at the opposition about being unpatriotic and “Old
World” and start stepping up with some major moola and boots on the ground
because we can’t, in fact, as they promised us, go it alone.

 

Finally, Sen. Kennedy has called the war what it was, a fraud:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/09/19/politics/main574154.shtml

 

Although he certainly took some heat for it:

http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/09/19/kennedy.iraq/

 

Naturally, the heat consists of the favorite Republican
Trick: ignore the substance of the issue, do not address it in any way, merely
question the speaker’s patriotism and try to paint him into a corner with an
unfair characterization.

 

Well, it seems like the Left is finally figuring out
how to get around that, by simply sticking to the issue and demanding answers.
We’re not falling for that anymore. Because the Republicans’ shenanigans simply
can’t stand the light of day. All we have to do is bring them out into the open.

 

More than a few Democratic pundits are really stepping
up to the plate now. Perhaps they have drawn some courage from these issues
being daylighted in the Democratic presidential debates. Check out this update
from Texas, where William Rivers Pitt, Dennis Kucinich, Jim Hightower, and Molly
Ivins have been making themselves heard:

 

A Heartening Visit to
Texas

Bernard Weiner, The Crisis
Papers

http://www.democraticunderground.com/articles/03/09/24_texas.html

 

And
what the heck, let’s hear from Molly Ivins too, she’s always good for
a down-home chuckle: 

 

No mystery here, folks

Molly
Ivins, Star Telegram

http://www.dfw.com/mld/startelegram/news/columnists/molly_ivins/6857144.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp 


But
what was even more encouraging for me, today, was seeing Paul Krugman speak at a
book signing for his new book, The Great Unraveling. Man, that guy is
on top of his game. Here are a couple of things that stuck in my head after his
talk:

 

– In
terms of financial health, he said that per capita, our numbers are worse than
Argentina’s right now, and that fundamentally, we are insolvent. He says
we’re well on our way to becoming a banana republic.

 

– The
only way to restore our financial health and deal with the deficit is to roll
back Bush’s tax cuts – and more.

 

– With
the last round of tax cuts, more money was handed to the top 0.13%
of our nation’s wealthy citizens than to all the rest of America
combined (with our little $350 checks…thanks!) One-tenth of one percent!

 

– No
serious economist believes, or has ever believed, in the supply-side “voodoo
economics” theory of “trickle down.” Nobody. He said that if you look carefully
at the experts you might find on a Sunday political talk show who support the
tax cuts, and look at who they worked for, you won’t find any who do serious
work as neutral economists–you won’t find any of them with professorships at
Princeton. No, instead you’ll find that they all work for guys like the Heritage
Foundation, and the CATO Institute. They’re shills. Nobody serious puts any
credence in the theory that this giant tax giveaway is ever going to help the
average American joe, or create jobs.

 

– He
likened the bond market to Wile E. Coyote: as it runs off the cliff, it will
eventually look down, see that there’s no ground underneath, and plunge. That
is, interest rates will spike.


 

– He
believes that the Democratic candidate, in order to win, would have to be one
who is strongly to the left, and not too much like a softened-up Bush.

 

– I asked him if he would, in a future
column, comment on the Peak Oil theory, and he said that he didn’t know yet what
he thought about it, and he needed to do more work on it.

 

Krugman is now on book tour, as I said. If you’re so
inclined, and he’s coming to your area, check him out! See the links on this
page:


 

And finally, people are starting to openly discuss the
new McCarthyism that has stifled our democracy and our media, and a group of
Congressmen led by Kucinich is making moves to right the wrongs of the Patriot
Act:


 

We still don’t know what really happened on Sept. 11.
The chronology is useful:


http://cnparm.home.texas.net/911/911/911.htm


But there are still many, many questions to be
answered, questions the Bush administration seems anxious to stifle. But
they won’t go away, not until we have some satisfactory answers. That bit about
the environmental hazard posed to NYC residents in the aftermath of the tragedy
being stifled by the administration isn’t going to stand either, mark my words.
People will eventually find out just what in the hell they were exposed to.


People! Friends and countrymen! These are better days!
I feel that we have finally stepped out from under the clouds and are
letting a little sun shine in. We have two sides to these issues now.
Maybe now we can get down to the serious business of formulating a policy that
reflects the interests of the American people, and not just those of hard-core
right-wing elites who intimidate everyone else into silence.

 

Here’s
hoping.

 

–C

 


Global warming, Peak Oil, and energy industry propaganda

September 24, 2003 at 6:06 am
Contributed by:

Folks,

 

As you
know, U.S. energy policy is near and dear to my political heart. It’s not just
about the royal reaming that California has gotten from the energy industry
($250 per person!); it’s not just about blackouts affecting huge areas
of the country; it’s not just about massive oil spills and irreversible
environmental damage; it’s not just about rapacious frauds such as Enron sucking
out the contents of retirees’ pensions; it’s not just about Dick Cheney
letting his energy industry buddies literally write our national energy
policy; it’s not just about the Peak Oil problem, which predicts that we’re
going to be running out of reasonably cheap oil in just a few years. It’s also
about something much more damaging, irreversible, and threatening to all life on
the planet: the fact of global warming.


We now
find ourselves in a situation where all reasonable, neutral,
scientific studies acknowledge global warming and its immense eventual
impact on the environment, and where all major world bodies acknowledge it and
have taken aggressive steps to combat it. All, that is, except one: the U.S. Our
energy industries are pumping millions into propoganda to dispute global
warming, and in fact one would be hard pressed to find a single global warming
skeptic who is not backed by money from oil, gas, and coal industries. The
deception of the Bush administration is breathtaking: having finally
acknowledged that global warming is real, his policies go straight in the other
direction. For one example, his “Clear Skies” initiative touts improved controls
on three key pollutants (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury emissions),
but does nothing about carbon dioxide, the most significant “greenhouse gas.”
Not to mention the behind-the-scenes maneuvering to paint basic science as
lacking in patriotism, to undermine the research of its own scientists,
and convince Americans that everything is just fine, even as their boat is
sinking. Simply put, Bush is waging war against the truth.


Here
are a few collected articles about global warming, and discuss U.S.
policies that relate to it. It’s easy reading for the most part, and I highly
recommend it. When the proverbial shit hits the fan on global warming, it will
make no distinction about political beliefs, economic status, or geography. It
will be catastrophic for all of us. And most of the world will, rightfully,
point their fingers at us as the primary sources of the problem.


As the
alert reader who forwarded me some of this material commented:


Seems like a good time to be
thinking about this, since a huge critical piece of the arctic ice shelf just
collapsed yesterday; this
is an event which means that the greater continent
of Antarctica is going to go much
faster – this shelf is much of what keeps the larger
body of ice from moving
into the ocean and drifting until it melts.
This
will likely affect ocean currents in the Atlantic, weather patterns worldwide
and temperatures on the Eastern seaboard
and European continent.

Even hard-right ideologues such as Dixie should
be smart enough to realize it’s in their self-interest to ask how Bush going to
keep us
safe if he is not willing to acknowledge the existence of global
climate change.

But this assumes that Bush is merely skeptical – and it’s
worse than that. Bush goes beyond mere inaction; he seems determined not just to
ignore the warning signs, but to do everything in his power to squash science
that points out the dangers, as discussed in the
following interview – it
would seem that his mission is to convince the world that the problem doesn’t
exist.

Why does this President wage war against the truth about global
climate change? We’ve got a hungry grizzly bear of a problem looming
on our
backsides and he wants us to get naked and rub ourselves with
steak.

What’s it going to take to get this buffoon to face reality; a
total catastrophe? By the time that happens it’s probably going to be too

late.


Read
on…

–C

“The Position of the Bush
Administration is Truly Criminal”
– Environmental Reporter Ross Gelbspan on
George Bush, Oil and Coal

Democracy Now! – Monday, September 22nd,
2003


As reports emerge that the White
House undermined its own government scientists’ research into climate change to
play down the impact of global warming we play a speech by environmental
reporter Ross Gelbspan. [Includes transcript]


Bush’s Global Warmers by ROSS GELBSPAN

The Nation – April 9,
2001


Largest Arctic Ice Shelf Breaks Up,
Draining Freshwater Lake

The largest ice shelf in
the Arctic has broken, and scientists who have studied it closely say it is
evidence of ongoing and accelerated climate change in the north polar
region.


Science Daily – September 9,
2003




Salt of the Earth by Paul Krugman
The New
York Times – August 8, 2003

On other environmental issues — above all, global warming — America’s
ruling party is pursuing a strategy of denial and
deception.



Another Friday Outrage by Paul Krugman
The
New York Times – September 2, 2003

After market-manipulating companies bilked the average Californian out of
$250 per capita, George W. Bush’s FERC has reached a settlement with those
companies for a whopping 3 cents per capita.


Peak Oil: Presentation at the Technical University of
Clausthal


C.J.Campbell
December
2000




Revealing Statements from a Bush Insider about Peak Oil and Natural Gas Depletion


An interview with energy investment banker Matthew Simmons,
a key advisor to the Bush Administration, Vice President Cheney’s 2001
Energy Task Force and the Council on Foreign Relations.


For much more on the Peak Oil problem: see
ASPO,
THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE
STUDY OF PEAK OIL&GAS

The new McCarthyism – Chicago Tribune

September 23, 2003 at 11:30 am
Contributed by:

Folks,


By now you’ve heard about the “new McCarthyism” and the way that the Patriot Act essentially nullified most of the Bill of Rights. Well, here’s the way it looks on the ground, in the lives of ordinary people like you and me. This is not theoretical. This is not, as John Ashcroft has said, “the phantom of lost liberty.” This is you, and me (especially me!), about to be led away in cuffs and silenced by unconstrained Thought Police. It is Orwellian beyond a doubt, and it’s real. If you should suddenly stop receiving messages from my list, well, they’ve probably put me away in a cell somewhere where you can’t even ask what happened to me.


“For Those Who Wish to Dissent: Speech, Silence and Patriotism”


By Sara Paretsky


Chicago Tribune


Sunday 21 September 2003


Scary stuff.


Those that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

–Benjamin Franklin

–C

What can you do with $87 billion?

September 22, 2003 at 3:48 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


As we argue over President Bush’s request to fund the Iraq reconstruction to the tune of another $87 billion, it makes sense to consider what else we might be able to do with that money. Today we are enduring the deaths of our military service personnel on a daily basis, starving our own states of much-needed federal funding during the worst state fiscal crises in history, giving up on the unemployed, slashing funding for education, struggling to secure the homeland, and turning our backs on the environment that sustains us. $87 billion spent on worthy needs could do a world of good. Instead, we’re planning to hand it to the usual first-in-lines: defense contractors, oil industry contractors, and the military, and all to the benefit Iraq. What ever happened to the administration’s “America First” claims?


Other things you might do with $87 billion

Russell Mokhiber – CommonDreams.org

09.12.03


–C

Is pride the real reason for the Iraq war?

September 22, 2003 at 3:35 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


Here’s an interesting perspective from Newsweek writer Christopher Dickey, who argues that pride, and saving face, may be a better explanation for why we went to war in Iraq than the given (or speculated) reasons. I think the opinions of a lot of Americans give substance to his argument.


“Bush knows what a lot of his critics have forgotten: the Iraq war is not just about blood and treasure, or even about democracy or WMD or terror. It’s about American pride. And people—perfectly intelligent people—have always been willing to sacrifice sweet reason in order to save face, to protect pride. As George Orwell pointed out, they will refuse to see what’s right in front of their noses.”


Pride and Prejudices

How Americans have fooled themselves about the war in Iraq, and why they’ve had to

Newsweek Web Exclusive

Updated: 12:40 p.m. ET Sept. 26, 2003


–C

The Misleader – calculated distortions of the Bush presidency

September 22, 2003 at 3:35 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

 

This
two-page article runs down a list of the major issues on which the Bush
administration has distorted and misled the American public. It’s pretty
shocking when you see it all together like this, and it becomes quite clear that
these are not, as they would have us believe, mere “slips of the tongue,”
oversights, misunderstandings, or anything of the kind. These are calculated
distortions they have perpetrated because they know that most Americans are too
stupid, or disinterested, to call them on it. And when they are called on it, as
with the missing WMD, and the attempts to connect Saddam to 9-11, they launch a
blitzkrieg of word-parsing that makes Clinton’s parsing of the word “is” look
like child’s play. (For more on their backpedaling on that issue, see http://www.misleader.org/daily_mislead/read.asp?fn=df09192003.html)

 

“Mr. Bush’s distortions were and are
the product not of oversight or editing error, but of political calculation. The
president has pursued policies that are designed to reward special private
interests or placate his right-wing base. If admitted, these policies would not
be popular. So the president packages them in appealing wrapping, labels them
with popular names, and peddles them as something they are not. He misleads
Americans because they don’t want to go where he would take
them.”

 

http://www.misleader.org/in_the_spotlight/

The Misleader

Robert L. Borosage
September 14, 2003


The scandals surrounding
President Bush’s lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction in his State of
the Union address to the nation have overlooked the full scope of his duplicity
that night. The White House claims that State of Union addresses are carefully
vetted, suggesting that the distortions on Iraq were some kind of rare
bureaucratic snafu. In fact, for George Bush, the State of the Union address is
a form of presidential performance art. The president’s pollsters pre-test key
words and phrases. His handlers preview each practiced gesture, dramatic
whisper, narrowed eye. The speech is vetted, but as much for message and image
as for fact. And in his last State of the Union address, the gulf between word
and reality was immense and purposefully misleading.

Mr. Bush devoted
the first half of his address to domestic issues, no doubt to prove his concern
about rising unemployment and falling wages. But this placed some of the most
mendacious portions of the speech first. Consider:

“We will not pass
along our problems to other Congresses, to other presidents and other
generations,” the president began, while peddling a plan of top hat tax breaks
and wartime spending that has taken the federal government from record surplus
to record deficit in less than two years. The president’s own figures project
deficits as far as the eye can see, adding $1.9 trillion to the federal debt
over then next 5 years, while vital public investments — in schools, in energy
independence, in health care and homeland security – are starved for funds. In
fact, he will pass on to the next generation the burden of both the fiscal debt
and the investment deficit.

His “first goal,” he said, is “an economy
that grows fast enough to employ every man and woman who seeks job,” but his own
economic advisors project that his economic plan – if everything goes well –
will create fewer jobs this year than were lost in the last. In fact, George
Bush is the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over an economy that
has lost jobs, not created them – more than 2.9 million lost since 2001.


In selling his tax breaks, the president was at his most disingenuous.
“This tax relief is for everyone who pays income taxes…Ninety-two million
Americans will keep this year an average of almost $1,100 more of their own
money.” This is a perfect example of the old caution about “lies, damn lies and
statistics.” As Citizens for Tax Justice reported, 80% of Americans get less
than the president’s “average.” More than half of all taxpayers get less than
$100. Almost a third get nothing at all. Millionaires will enjoy tax breaks
averaging $90,000 a year, while middle income Americans will pocket an average
of $256. Together they make up the president’s “average.”

The president
promised “we continue to work together to keep Social Security sound and
reliable…” But the costs of his tax cuts alone exceed by three times the entire
projected shortfall in Social Security – the shortfall the president invokes to
justify cutting benefits by privatizing the program.

His “second goal,”
he announced, is “high quality, affordable health care for all Americans,” that
will put doctors not “bureaucrats and trial lawyers and HMOS” in charge of
American medicine. But in fact, his plan does nothing to extend health insurance
or to control the soaring prices. His prescription drug plan requires seniors to
move into an HMO in order to receive a drug benefit. More than one-third of all
seniors wouldn’t even have that option since HMOs aren’t available in most rural
areas. Worse, the president’s plan provides no check on soaring drug prices, and
would prohibit Medicare from negotiating the best price for seniors. In essence,
the president would provide a $400 billion subsidy not to seniors but to drug
companies, giving them a fine return on the investment they made in Republican
campaigns last year.

Incredibly, President Bush declared that his “third
goal” was “to promote energy independence for our country while dramatically
improving our environment.” In fact, the president has proposed a Big Oil energy
program that treats conservation with disdain and, by the administration’s own
estimates, would only increase our reliance on Persian Gulf oil. It was Enron
and the oil lobby that Vice President Cheney met with to draw up his plan, not
the Sierra Club.

On environmental issues, the president became simply
Orwellian in his inversion of the truth. “I have sent you Clear Skies
legislation that mandates a 70 percent cut in air pollution from power plants
over the next 15 years,” he declared to applause. In fact, his plan does nothing
to regulate carbon emissions, allows 50% more sulfur emissions and five times
more mercury emissions than enforcement of current law. Compared to alternative
legislation developed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National
Resources Defense Council estimates that the Bush “clear skies” legislation will
result in 100,000 additional premature deaths by 2020.

Similarly, his
“healthy forests” initiative used the recognized need to clear out flammable
underbrush as an excuse for giving timber companies the writ to cut down wide
swaths of protected forest.

On education, the president vowed that his
mandated testing reforms would “be carried out in every school and in every
classroom.” But he did not bother to mention that he broke his own promise to
fund the reforms, shorting them by $8 billion, while cutting after-school
programs by 40%. Worse, the president mocked his pledge to “leave no child
behind” by insisting that the Congress pass tax cuts for the wealthy rather than
avoid debilitating cuts in school and university budgets imposed by states and
localities struggling with the worst fiscal crisis in fifty years.

And
on Iraq, the president’s distortions went far beyond the lies about the purchase
of uranium in Africa, the discredited aluminum tubes, the laughable mobile labs
and flying drones. The heart of his case against Hussein was that the secular
dictator of Iraq might slip his mythical secreted weapons to the stateless
Islamic terrorists that he despises. The president did not mention that the
CIA’s official estimate was that this was likely to happen only if Hussein saw
war as inevitable and sought to exact revenge for his demise. Nor did the
president mention that this threat is surely far more likely to be posed by the
communist North Koreans who have booted out international inspectors and have
nuclear weapons, by the nuclear-armed Pakistani dictatorship that harbors al
Queda’s remnants and by the US-fortified Saudi Arabia emirate which was the
source of the funds and the terrorists of 9/11. Yet the White House chooses to
talk with the North Koreans, embrace the Pakistanis, and defend the Saudis.


In his speech, Mr. Bush scorned the alternative of continued
containment, air occupation, embargo and inspection as “trusting in the sanity
and restraint of Saddam Hussein.” This distortion was at the heart of the case
for launching a war against a country without waiting “until the threat is
imminent.” The president did not deign to provide Americans with any estimate of
the cost, scope and duration of the coming invasion and occupation, much less
warn of the potential hatreds and terrorist retributions it could engender, nor
the distraction of scarce resources and expertise from the war on terror that it
inevitably required. We were left to discover those realities only after the
fact.

Mr. Bush’s distortions were and are the product not of oversight
or editing error, but of political calculation. The president has pursued
policies that are designed to reward special private interests or placate his
right-wing base. If admitted, these policies would not be popular. So the
president packages them in appealing wrapping, labels them with popular names,
and peddles them as something they are not. He misleads Americans because they
don’t want to go where he would take them.

Some suggest this represents
the normal counterfeits and distortions of politics. But as the president says,
this is a time of large consequence and great sacrifice. When he delivered his
State of the Union address, in the midst of recession on the eve of a war,
surely the American people deserved a president who would level with them.
Instead the president chose not to lead but to mislead. And in doing so, he
squandered the trust of a nation that came together as one after the horrors of
September 11.



 




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CNN Intimidated by Bush Administration Regarding War Coverage

September 17, 2003 at 10:32 am
Contributed by:

Folks,

 

This must be a first.  “CNN’s top war correspondent, Christiane
Amanpour, says that the press muzzled itself during the Iraq war.” Recall Dan
Rather, during the war, admitting his self-censorship for fear of being
“necklaced” (metaphorically, we assume!) by the administration. But I think this
is even more shocking because it’s CNN.

 

http://truthout.org/docs_03/091603C.shtml


Anybody out there still believe we have a free, fair, and balanced press?
How about a “liberal media?” Does this sound like liberal media to you?

 

At least The People have finally been heard about the
media ownership changes made by the FCC. I’m still a bit flabbergasted that our
Senators actually went to bat for us on that one. There is still hope.

 

–C

Karl Rove leaked info. about Ambassador Wilson\’s wife

September 16, 2003 at 12:02 pm
Contributed by:

A
quick followup here, as the first link that I sent around no longer has the
story.
I assume they just didn’t want it reprinted,
because it’s still available at Al Martin’s site:

http://almartinraw.com/public/column106.html

 

as well as numerous other sites, including Aljazeera:

http://english.aljazeera.net/Articles/News/GlobalNews/White+House+played+dirty.htm

 

For more links, try a search
for ‘Ambassador Joseph Wilson Karl Rove leak’

 

Still nothing from the
mainstream media though. Hmm…

 

–C

 

 —–Original Message—–
From:
Chris Nelder [mailto:chris.nelder@idiotwind.net]
Sent: Monday,
September 15, 2003 3:15 PM
To: Undisclosed
Recipients
Subject: [GetRealList]: Karl Rove leaked info. about
Ambassador Wilson’s wife


Folks,

 

Here’s a story
with teeth that has yet to be picked up by the mainstream media. Apparently, the
source of the leak identifying Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s wife, Valerie Wilson,
as a CIA agent was none other than Karl Rove, Bush’s so-called White House
advisor. Not only this is a treasonous act with mandatory prosecution under the
1982 Intelligence Identity Protection Act, but it may expose Bush himself.

 

Maybe
this will staunch the smear tactics that the Bush administration has used so
regularly against its detractors. Smear and character assassination are one
thing, but treason is something else entirely.

 

http://www.rense.com/general41/endof.htm

http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/03/09/08_moore.html

 

–C





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Updates from the front: Cancun WTO protests

September 15, 2003 at 9:17 am
Contributed by:

Folks,


Joe Rigney, a friend and veteran WTO protester, has sent in these updates on the situation in Cancun, where protests of WTO meetings are ongoing. The U.S. news media may not see fit to give any coverage at all to these protests–indeed, they barely covered the domestic protests, and even then only in the most slanted and uncomprehending way–but the anti-globalization movement isn’t letting that stop them.


Even if you don’t think you understand the economics of globalization, you should ask yourself why so many people are willing to travel internationally at their own expense and put their bodies on the line to protest the WTO. The WTO and our political leadership would have you think they’re just a bunch of ne’er-do-wells out to protest something they don’t understand. Nothing could be further from the truth. These people are as dedicated, and driven by moral outrage, as Cesar Chavez, Ghandi, and other warriors of conscience. One protester even committed public suicide in the first Cancun protest. What’s on the line here is nothing less than freedom, justice, fairness, and a shot at a self-directed future–all American values. And the opposition should, by now, be familiar: faceless international corporations and banks, and the politicians who love them, whose motivation is anything but moral or conscience–it’s purely profit.


Check out these updates from the front.

–C
—–Original Message—–

From: Joe Rigney

Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2003 5:03 PM

Subject: Direct Action Used to Symbolically Dismantle the WTO


Direct Action Used to Symbolically Dismantle the WTO

By Joe Rigney

September 14, 2003

On Saturday, September 13, the largest demonstration against the 5th World
Trade Organization Ministerial Meeting in Cancun occurred. About 10,000
demonstrators marched to the extremely fortified fence. A diverse group of
women, farmers, anarchists, and other participants dismantled a section of
the barrier and then held a peaceful rally.

The march started from La Casa de Cultura in the morning and passed through
the streets of Cancun. Led by farmers from around the world, they carried a
banner that read in English, Spanish, and Korean, WTO Kills Farmers. Down
with WTO.

Several chants and signs made it clear why so many of the worlds people
oppose the WTO. One youth group chanted in Spanish, We want schools, we
want hospitals, we want rights, we dont want militaries. As the WTO
continues to try to privatize public services, military spending remains the
one government expenditure specifically exempted under international trade
rules.

When demonstrators reached the site where protests had occurred on the
previous Wednesday, many stopped to pay their respects to Lee Hyung-kae, the
Korean farmer who had committed suicide to protest the WTOs destruction of
his livelihood. A memorial to Mr. Lee had been erected at this site, known
as Kilometer Zero, and several street signs had been spray painted over,
declaring that the area now was called Plaza Lee.

A new, fortified fence had been erected shortly past Kilometer Zero across
the road to the Hotel Zone where the meetings were being held. The barrier
was constructed from reinforced sections of chain link fencing that created
boxes and at least three lines of fencing between the demonstrators and the
rows of riot police on the other side.

As the morning progressed, more of the marchers began to gather at the
fence. They hung banners, and some banged on the fence, which did nothing to
break down the barrier that kept them out of the meetings.

Without announcement, several men began holding hands between the
demonstrators and the fence, creating a line. Within this safe area moved
several women, who began cutting through the fence with bolt cutters and
dismantling it with wrenches. The women, indigenous and foreign, worked
diligently until a cheer was called out. The fence had been breached.

Immediately, a line of Mexican riot police approached, holding up their
shields. Seeing that they faced off with women may have given them a pause,
and the work to break apart the fence continued. An announcement was made in
English and Spanish, asking that people stay back and be patient in order to
give the women time to complete their work.

About ten minutes later, the women moved back and members of the Korean
delegation came forward with thick ropes. They climbed to the top of the
fence and began tying the rope to the struts at the top that supported the
chain link.

Once tied, the Koreans and other members of the crowd took positions and
began pulling the ropes. The first attempt had no effect except to break one
of the ropes. Undaunted, people moved in to resecure the ropes, while others
continued to tear away at the chains and U-bolts that held the sections
together.

Suddenly, as the force of dozens of arms pulled in unison at the ropes, the
top of the fence began to bend. A rope snapped and another appeared that it
would as well. The group stopped pulling and a jubilant cheer rang out from
the crowd.

As the ropes were being retied by the Koreans, other demonstrators began to
pull out the large cement blocks that were holding the barrier more securely
to the ground.

As muscles strained for a third time on the rope, a large section of the
fence tore and broke free. A wild yell rose from the crowd, who were seeing
what many had taken to be an unbreakable obstruction torn apart. Piece by
piece, the crowd was working together to dismantle the barrier that kept
them away from the WTO meetings.

Two more pulls, and a majority of the fence had been removed. Only a single
line of fence stood between the activists and the riot police. An
announcement was made that, after removing the fence peacefully, the leaders
of the direct action requested for everyone to move back and not provoke the
police. The crowd began chanting Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, and Vive los
Coreanos (Long Live the Koreans!)

After another two pulls, the final line of fence had been removed, and the
people stood face to face with the riot police who immediately moved in to
block the breach. To keep the situation from escalating, a line of activists
formed in front of the gap, creating a safe space and forestalling any
attempts at provocation.

The organizers then requested that the crowd move back and sit down. After
some shuffling, several thousand people at the front of the large crowd sat
down and talked in hushed tones. An hour long rally then ensued, translated
into Korean, English and Spanish.

One member of the Korean farmers union told the crowd that We have done a
very special thing; we have pulled down the fence with your help. We wanted
to go to the convention center to disrupt the meetings, but we could only
come here because the police blocked us.

A member of a Korean trade union association then spoke, saying, I am proud
of you because you pulled this fence down. It was YOU that pulled it down.
We have the power to destroy the WTO. The power of the people will destroy
the WTO, which is the most evil thing in the world. We will continue
struggling together.

The crowd then took up a chant of Internacionale solidaridad,
(International solidarity) followed by another mantra that had become very
popular through the weekend, Down, down, WTO.

The Koreans were followed by a speaker from Via Campisino, a farmers
organization based in Mexico. He said that We have shown today that the
laws and barriers that the WTO has established are breakable, that we are
able to break them with our collective power. They expected us to be
violent, to break through with violence, and we have shown that we can
organize and are able to keep working tomorrow against hunger and poverty.

A Korean farmer then spoke, stating that Mr. Lee was not only a friend of
the Korean delegation; he was a friend of all of the people in the world. We
will not make his death meaningless. Mr. Lee sacrificed his life to stop the
WTO and to revive the power of the people. As we destroyed the barricade of
the WTO, we will destroy the Ministry of the WTO.

The last speaker was a woman from the African delegation, who told the crowd
that Comrades, we are from Africa and we say Africa is not for sale. Today,
in Africa, people are in the streets with us.

The rally then moved into the next phase, where effigies of the WTO were
placed atop the fence and burned. Made out of sticks and grain bags filled
with newspaper, the symbolic burning of the WTO was celebrated with cheers
and clapping. A large flag from the United States was also brought out and
set on fire. The crowd began chanting Lee vive, la lucha sigue. (Lee
lives, the struggle continues).

After the burning, a final ceremony was held to celebrate the memory of Lee
Hyung-kae. Flowers were handed out, and the crowd was asked to place their
flowers in a pile in front of the riot police, within the area where the
fence had been cleared. This ultimate act of non-violence was an appropriate
end to the direct action that had successfully torn through the fence that
kept the people away from the WTO.

The demonstration then took on a festive atmosphere as people played drums
and danced in the streets. The police continued standing with their riot
shields pointing out while the crowd slowly dispersed.




—–Original Message—–


From: Joe Rigney

Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2003 9:27 PM

To: webmaster@butterflydreams.com

Subject: Everyone Welcome to Cancun


Bienvenidos a Todos a Canczn (Everyone Welcome to Canczn)

By Joe Rigney

September 11, 2003

Cancun is not the type of place I would normally spend a week of my life.
Like Key West or Maui, it is a land of opulent hotels and decadent excess.
But this week, tourists visiting Cancun were in for a big surprise as they
were greeted by fences and a dictatorial police presence that was the
opposite of the laid back ambiance most people associate with a Mexican
vacation.

But when the World Trade Organization, or WTO, has a meeting in your town,
worldwide opposition causes host countries to lock-down the streets. In this
way, corporate led globalization continues forward, despite resistance from
those whose daily lives are affected by trade liberalization.

If anyone knows first hand the negative effects of international trade
agreements, it is the campesino of Mexico. What free trade has meant to the
poor farmer is that subsidized agricultural products from the United States
and Canada can flood their country, driving down prices in an already
depressed market.

Like most of the world, real wages have dropped in Mexico since the
imposition of Free Trade agreements like the WTO. Even in the United States,
the average worker has felt the pinch of corporate globalization.

On Wednesday, September 10th 2003, Via Campesino, an organization with ties
to farmers around the world, led a march demanding that their voices be
heard. Chanting !Viva Zapata, sigue la lucha! (Long live Zapata, the
struggle continues), these campesinos brought to life the spirit of the
Mexican Revolutionary leader who gave them land reform many years ago.

Joining the group were international activists, including a contingent of
South Korean farmers. Held in thrall to United States military occupation
for over fifty years, Koreans understand not only the impacts of corporate
globalization, but the relation between imperial colonization and
militarization.

To demonstrate the sanctity of corn in their lives, a group of indigenous
farmers carried an alter with corn and soil through the streets of downtown
Cancun. Full ears and individual seeds were flanked by chalices of burning
incense and lit candles. Used by the people of Mexico for thousands of
years, corn is life; it is the living representation of their culture, the
root of their society.

For the world, Mexico is where corn originated. Yet despite a law banning
genetically modified crops from being planted, contamination of local corn
varieties was found a few years ago. The threat of cultural extinction is
being exacerbated by the WTO, where the United States is attempting to use
the trade body to declare illegal trade barriers the laws of other countries
that keep out genetically modified foods.

The march, more than 7,000 strong, advanced to the perimeter, where a large
chain link fence had been erected. A line of Mexican police in riot gear
holding shields stood behind this barrier, looking grim in the hot, tropical
sun. Undaunted by the show of force, the demonstrators stopped at the fence
and began banging it with sticks and fists, pulling and tearing.

The situation rapidly escalated as some of the most radical demonstrators
began lobbing red paint and plastic bottles, then rocks and sticks at the
police. Banners were hung, and then set on fire as provocation. The police
responded with an equal level of violence by throwing rocks back into the
crowd.

As the chaos increased, a South Korean farmer climbed the fence. I saw him
try to light a fire, which was quickly put out. Then, a moment later, he
fell from the fence into the crowd. I looked down and saw his chest covered
in blood. He was then mobbed in a media frenzy reminiscent of a shark feed.

People yelled medic, and the mob was pushed back to make room for the
fallen man. The intensity of the demonstration decreased momentarily as an
opening was made to allow the medics to carry him through.

Although I stood within a few feet of this action, it was only later that
night that I learned that the activist, Lee Kyung-hae, had committed suicide
on top of the fence that afternoon by stabbing a knife into his heart.

Locked out of the meetings, ignored by the wealthy elite who made the
decisions for his life, and faced with the destruction of his people, his
family, and his livelihood, Lee committed the ultimate act of non-violent
civil disobedience. He gave his own life as so many lives are taken everyday
by the actions of the WTO.

Shortly after his body was removed, the action at the fence continued. Using
the force of people power, the fence was breached by an opening made in one
small section. About six members of Via Campesino ran inside, and waved
forward their companions on the outside. They held up their hands, and gave
no resistance as the police surrounded them and moved them away from the
action.

The opening was quickly filled by a line of riot shields held by Mexican
police, but the relentless crowd pushed against these shields, banging them
with sticks and continuing to pelt them with rocks. The hole grew, as
demonstrators continued pulling and ripping at the metal supports and the
chain link fence.

Another section of fence was lifted and literally turned upside down,
creating more openings for confrontation. The police continued throwing
rocks back at the crowd, and I saw one woman standing next to me get pelted
with a square foot of concrete in her face, smashing her glasses. She
retreated, yelling for a medic.

I then felt the unmistakable taste of tear gas in my throat, and I expected
that at any moment the air would be filled with gas and the streets with
fleeing masses. But suddenly the Via Campesino truck approached, and through
a loudspeaker the coordinator, Rafael Alegria, began saying Compadres,
pacifico. !No piedrando! (Friends, peace. Don4t throw stones!)

Many people in the crowd began to clap and cheer in support, as the truck
moved further into the center of the action. While some of the radical
elements of the crowd booed and yelled back in anger, the majority of the
crowd definitely did not wish to see the violence continue. Members of Via
Campesino began to move their bodies between the police and the crowd,
creating a human shield of peaceful protestors.

This moment marked a definite reduction in the intensity of the action.
Although some people still threatened the police, the barrage of rocks and
sticks subsided and calm descended on both sides of the barricade.

People continued to rally in gatherings near the fence, but no further chaos
occurred. Corn seeds were placed on the street in front of the hole in the
fence, spelling out No OMC (OMC stands for Organizacisn Mundial Comercio,
the Spanish name for the WTO). The Korean group held a memorial in the place
where their comrade had sacrificed his life.

Tearing down the fence on the road leading to the conference center where
the WTO talks were being held was mostly a symbolic act. Had the
demonstrators been able to break through the police line, at least four more
fence lines faced them before they could have reached the meetings.

But breaking through the fence is one way for people to demonstrate their
anger and their desire to be heard, to participate in the pronouncements
made behind the fences that have been erected to keep them out of the
decision making process.

And in this case there was a direct effect. On the morning following the
demonstration, the entire fence line was gone. The next group of
demonstrators wishing to have their voices heard will be able to approach
that much closer to the closed doors of the trade negotiations.

For more information, go to the Cancun Independent Media Center,
http://cancun.mediosindependientes.org


—–Original Message—–

From: Joe Rigney

Sent: Friday, September 12, 2003 7:37 PM

To: webmaster@butterflydreams.com

Subject: On September 11, Activists Discuss Globalization and Militarism


On September 11 Anniversary, Activists in Cancun Discuss Globalization and
Militarism

By Joe Rigney

September 12, 2003

On the second anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks a forum was held
outside of the 5th Ministerial meeting for the World Trade Organization
(WTO) in Cancun where people from around the world explored the
relationships between globalization and militarization.

Speakers at the forum included Walden Bello and Mary Lou Malig from Focus on
the Global South, Ana Esther Ceceqa from the University of Mexico, Steven
Staples of the Polaris Institute, Pratap Chatterjee from Corpwatch, Medea
Benjamin from Global Exchange/Occupation Watch.

The forum began with an exploration of what eventually became known as IMF
riots. These upheavals occurred in countries around the world as the result
of International Monetary Fund structural adjustment programs that forced
privatization and rate increases onto social services, the effects of which
disproportionately affect the poor.

Experiencing violent repression when they demonstrated their opposition to
global trade policies, the people of the south know first hand about the
relationship between globalization and militarization. They live it
everyday.

Unfortunately, there is no way under the WTO rules for states to impose
sanctions against countries that use violence against their citizens to
enforce global trade. WTO agreements specifically disallow countries from
considering how products are produced. Even products built with slave labor
must be treated as any other product in the global economy.

While the Clinton Administration seemed to try and keep militarization under
the surface, the current Bush Administration has shown no qualms about using
armed forces to achieve global economic goals.

Globalization has not brought world peace, only more violence and war. The
Bush doctrine of preemptive invasion as a tool for international policy has
now created a new form of globalization  armed globalization.

If, as the Bush junta appears to believe, the world is an international
battleground then the U.S. Empire needs all of the worlds resources. To
attain this end, a series of bases have been set up around the world in
areas where U.S. interests appear to be at stake.

For military planners, the cold war policy of containment is over. The U.S.
is now the sole country capable of maintaining the global economy. The world
has been divided between those who are connected by globalization and those
who arent. It is into these latter countries that the military is most
likely to go.

Oil rich regions in South America and the Middle East as well as mineral and
other resource rich regions in Africa and Southeast Asia are now ringed by
U.S armed forces. In some areas, such as Iraq or the Philippines, these
forces have engaged directly in military conflicts.

Article 21 of the agreement that set up the WTO provides a specific security
exemption to world trade discussions. Any country can spend any amount
subsidizing and building up armed forces, just so long as these activities
are within the realm determined to be for security.

In this way, countries are encouraged to use military expenditures as a form
of social welfare, but they cannot subsidize other industries important to
their own economies, as such subsidies are considered barriers to trade.
Military forces are then often used to oppress dissent within the country
itself, not against some external enemy.

Multinational corporations based in the United States who profit
significantly from arms sales include Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and Raytheon.
These same corporations are also major players in the trade negotiations
going on within the WTO. Often, the U.S. trade representative speaks
directly for these corporations.

However, not all of the news is bad. For the first time in two years, George
Bushs popularity has fallen below 50%. While the president in a recent
televised speech tried to convince the people of the U.S. that the war is
being won, what people remember is the $87 billion he has asked for to
continue the war, this during a time of deepening economic crisis.

For the first time, a new sector of society in the United States has started
to speak out against the war in Iraq  military families. Promised that the
war would be quickly concluded, the daily reports of dead and wounded
soldiers is leading them to join the call to bring the troops home.

In Iraq itself, activists from the U.S. have started a new organization,
Occupation Watch, (www.occupationwatch.org) where citizens are working
directly on the ground to support an end to the military occupation and to
lobby directly for the return of economic control to the Iraqi people
themselves.

After the building of an historic anti-war movement prior to the invasion of
Iraq, corporate media called the massive movement a massive failure. What
they didnt mention was that when the war happened anyway the people who
were a part of the movement did not give up. They regrouped and developed
new strategies to confront the imperial ambitions of the U.S.

One of the most significant results of this regrouping was an international
meeting held in Jakarta, Indonesia in May of 2003. Representatives of peace
groups from 27 countries converged and signed the Jakarta Peace Consensus.
(www.focusweb.org)

Proposals in the document included:
– The beginning of an Occupation Watch in Iraq (already implemented).
– Convene an International Peoples Tribunal on Iraq to hold accountable
those who started the war
– Proposal for an anti-war assembly at the upcoming World Social Forum,
envisioned to be the largest, most representative anti-war meeting in
history

Rather than being a failure, the anti-war movement has only strengthened the
ties between international social justice activists who were already working
together to expose and fight the costs of corporate led globalization. The
movement has eroded the view that the U.S. is somehow a benign superpower
and has exposed the destructive lengths to which the Bush Administration
will go to extend its empire and guarantee U.S. hegemony in the global
economy.

—–Original Message—–

From: Joe Rigney

Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2003 5:03 PM

To: webmaster@butterflydreams.com

Subject: Direct Action Used to Symbolically Dismantle the WTO


Direct Action Used to Symbolically Dismantle the WTO

By Joe Rigney

September 14, 2003

On Saturday, September 13, the largest demonstration against the 5th World
Trade Organization Ministerial Meeting in Cancun occurred. About 10,000
demonstrators marched to the extremely fortified fence. A diverse group of
women, farmers, anarchists, and other participants dismantled a section of
the barrier and then held a peaceful rally.

The march started from La Casa de Cultura in the morning and passed through
the streets of Cancun. Led by farmers from around the world, they carried a
banner that read in English, Spanish, and Korean, WTO Kills Farmers. Down
with WTO.

Several chants and signs made it clear why so many of the worlds people
oppose the WTO. One youth group chanted in Spanish, We want schools, we
want hospitals, we want rights, we dont want militaries. As the WTO
continues to try to privatize public services, military spending remains the
one government expenditure specifically exempted under international trade
rules.

When demonstrators reached the site where protests had occurred on the
previous Wednesday, many stopped to pay their respects to Lee Hyung-kae, the
Korean farmer who had committed suicide to protest the WTOs destruction of
his livelihood. A memorial to Mr. Lee had been erected at this site, known
as Kilometer Zero, and several street signs had been spray painted over,
declaring that the area now was called Plaza Lee.

A new, fortified fence had been erected shortly past Kilometer Zero across
the road to the Hotel Zone where the meetings were being held. The barrier
was constructed from reinforced sections of chain link fencing that created
boxes and at least three lines of fencing between the demonstrators and the
rows of riot police on the other side.

As the morning progressed, more of the marchers began to gather at the
fence. They hung banners, and some banged on the fence, which did nothing to
break down the barrier that kept them out of the meetings.

Without announcement, several men began holding hands between the
demonstrators and the fence, creating a line. Within this safe area moved
several women, who began cutting through the fence with bolt cutters and
dismantling it with wrenches. The women, indigenous and foreign, worked
diligently until a cheer was called out. The fence had been breached.

Immediately, a line of Mexican riot police approached, holding up their
shields. Seeing that they faced off with women may have given them a pause,
and the work to break apart the fence continued. An announcement was made in
English and Spanish, asking that people stay back and be patient in order to
give the women time to complete their work.

About ten minutes later, the women moved back and members of the Korean
delegation came forward with thick ropes. They climbed to the top of the
fence and began tying the rope to the struts at the top that supported the
chain link.

Once tied, the Koreans and other members of the crowd took positions and
began pulling the ropes. The first attempt had no effect except to break one
of the ropes. Undaunted, people moved in to resecure the ropes, while others
continued to tear away at the chains and U-bolts that held the sections
together.

Suddenly, as the force of dozens of arms pulled in unison at the ropes, the
top of the fence began to bend. A rope snapped and another appeared that it
would as well. The group stopped pulling and a jubilant cheer rang out from
the crowd.

As the ropes were being retied by the Koreans, other demonstrators began to
pull out the large cement blocks that were holding the barrier more securely
to the ground.

As muscles strained for a third time on the rope, a large section of the
fence tore and broke free. A wild yell rose from the crowd, who were seeing
what many had taken to be an unbreakable obstruction torn apart. Piece by
piece, the crowd was working together to dismantle the barrier that kept
them away from the WTO meetings.

Two more pulls, and a majority of the fence had been removed. Only a single
line of fence stood between the activists and the riot police. An
announcement was made that, after removing the fence peacefully, the leaders
of the direct action requested for everyone to move back and not provoke the
police. The crowd began chanting Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee, and Vive los
Coreanos (Long Live the Koreans!)

After another two pulls, the final line of fence had been removed, and the
people stood face to face with the riot police who immediately moved in to
block the breach. To keep the situation from escalating, a line of activists
formed in front of the gap, creating a safe space and forestalling any
attempts at provocation.

The organizers then requested that the crowd move back and sit down. After
some shuffling, several thousand people at the front of the large crowd sat
down and talked in hushed tones. An hour long rally then ensued, translated
into Korean, English and Spanish.

One member of the Korean farmers union told the crowd that We have done a
very special thing; we have pulled down the fence with your help. We wanted
to go to the convention center to disrupt the meetings, but we could only
come here because the police blocked us.

A member of a Korean trade union association then spoke, saying, I am proud
of you because you pulled this fence down. It was YOU that pulled it down.
We have the power to destroy the WTO. The power of the people will destroy
the WTO, which is the most evil thing in the world. We will continue
struggling together.

The crowd then took up a chant of Internacionale solidaridad,
(International solidarity) followed by another mantra that had become very
popular through the weekend, Down, down, WTO.

The Koreans were followed by a speaker from Via Campisino, a farmers
organization based in Mexico. He said that We have shown today that the
laws and barriers that the WTO has established are breakable, that we are
able to break them with our collective power. They expected us to be
violent, to break through with violence, and we have shown that we can
organize and are able to keep working tomorrow against hunger and poverty.

A Korean farmer then spoke, stating that Mr. Lee was not only a friend of
the Korean delegation; he was a friend of all of the people in the world. We
will not make his death meaningless. Mr. Lee sacrificed his life to stop the
WTO and to revive the power of the people. As we destroyed the barricade of
the WTO, we will destroy the Ministry of the WTO.

The last speaker was a woman from the African delegation, who told the crowd
that Comrades, we are from Africa and we say Africa is not for sale. Today,
in Africa, people are in the streets with us.

The rally then moved into the next phase, where effigies of the WTO were
placed atop the fence and burned. Made out of sticks and grain bags filled
with newspaper, the symbolic burning of the WTO was celebrated with cheers
and clapping. A large flag from the United States was also brought out and
set on fire. The crowd began chanting Lee vive, la lucha sigue. (Lee
lives, the struggle continues).

After the burning, a final ceremony was held to celebrate the memory of Lee
Hyung-kae. Flowers were handed out, and the crowd was asked to place their
flowers in a pile in front of the riot police, within the area where the
fence had been cleared. This ultimate act of non-violence was an appropriate
end to the direct action that had successfully torn through the fence that
kept the people away from the WTO.

The demonstration then took on a festive atmosphere as people played drums
and danced in the streets. The police continued standing with their riot
shields pointing out while the crowd slowly dispersed.

Krugman interview on BuzzFlash

September 15, 2003 at 9:02 am
Contributed by:

Folks,


Paul Krugman continues to far outshine all other commentators on the Left, and this interview sheds a little light on the reasons why. First, he doesn’t seem to be too worried about losing his job, because it’s not even his identified career. Second, he’s an economist first, and a commentator second, so he’s got the goods when it comes to hard numbers and theory. Third, he’s got guts.


As the intro to this interview observed, “Interviewing Krugman was like drinking from a cool pond in 120-degree weather.”


Enjoy.


Krugman interview on BuzzFlash


–C

20 Crucial 9/11 Questions

September 12, 2003 at 7:47 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


Here is a great article from The Philadelphia Daily News, summarizing twenty key questions about 9/11 that remain unanswered. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, I think you’ll agree that these questions deserve answers. We should tolerate nothing that will keep us from it, and I, for one, would hate to see this turn into another Kennedy assassination mystery. America deserves the truth about 9/11.
WHY DON’T WE HAVE ANSWERS TO THESE 9/11 QUESTIONS?

bunchw@phillynews.com

NO EVENT IN recent history has been written about, talked about, or watched and rewatched as much as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 – two years ago today.

Not only was it the deadliest terrorist strike inside America, but the hijackings and attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington were also a seminal event for an information-soaked media age of Internet access and 24- hour news.

So, why after 730 days do we know so little about what really happened that day?

No one knows where the alleged mastermind of the attack is, and none of his accomplices has been convicted of any crime. We’re not even sure if the 19 people identified by the U.S. government as the suicide hijackers are really the right guys.

Who put deadly anthrax in the mail? Where were the jet fighters that were supposed to protect America’s skies that morning? And what was the role of our supposed allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan?

There are dozens of unanswered questions about the 2001 attacks, but we’ve narrowed them down to 20 – or 9 plus 11.

1. What did National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice tell President Bush about al Qaeda threats against the United States in a still-secret briefing on Aug. 6, 2001?

Rice has suggested in vague terms that the president’s brief – prepared daily by the CIA – included information that morning about Osama bin Laden’s methods of operation – including hijacking. But when the congressional committee probing Sept. 11 asked to see the report, Bush claimed executive privilege and refused to release it.

2. Why did Attorney General John Ashcroft and some Pentagon officials cancel commercial-airline trips before Sept. 11?

On July 26, 2001 – 47 days before the Sept. 11 attacks – CBS News reported that Ashcroft was flying expensive charters rather than commercial flights because of a “threat assessment” by the FBI. CBS said, “Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of his term.” Newsweek later reported that on Sept. 10, 2001, “a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns.”

Did either Ashcroft or the Pentagon have advance information about a 9/11-style attack and, if so, why wasn’t this shared with the American public?

3. Who made a small fortune “shorting” airline and insurance stocks before Sept. 11?

On Sept. 10, 2001, the trading ratio on United Airlines was 25 times greater than normal at the Pacific Exchange, where traders could buy “puts,” high-risk bets that the price of a company’s stock will fall sharply. The next day, two hijacked United jetliners crashed, causing the company’s shares to plummet and ultimately leading the airline into bankruptcy. CBS News later reported that at intelligence agencies, “alarm bells were sounding over unusual trading in the U.S. stock options market” on the day before the attacks.

The unusual stock trading suggests that someone with a sophisticated knowledge of finance also had advance information about the impending attack. But two years later, no one has been charged in this matter, and officials have not indicated even if the probe is still open.

4. Are all 19 people identified by the government as participants in the Sept. 11 attacks really the hijackers?

Probably not. Just 10 days after the attacks, a report by the British Broadcasting Corp. said that some of the supposed hijackers identified by the FBI appeared to be alive and well. The BBC story said Abdelaziz al-Omari, named as the pilot who crashed the jet into the World Trade Center’s North Tower, was reported by Saudi authorities to be working as an electrical engineer. He reported his passport had been stolen in Denver in 1995. Saudi officials said it was possible that another three people whose names appear on the FBI list also are alive.

The article, which can be read at Unanswered Questions, makes a persuasive case that another man was posing as Ziad Jarrah, the alleged pilot of hijacked Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, Pa. So why did this story line vanish into thin air?

5. Did any of the hijackers smuggle guns on board as reported in calls from both Flight 11 and Flight 93?

Quite possibly. An internal Federal Aviation Administration memo written at 5:30 p.m. on the day of the attacks said that a passenger aboard American Airlines Flight 11 – Israeli-American Daniel Lewin – had been shot to death by a single bullet before the jet slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The FAA insists the memo was a mistaken “first draft,” even though the

alleged shooting is described in great detail.

Aboard Flight 93, passenger Thomas Burnett told his wife, Deena, in a 9:27 a.m. cell-phone call: “The hijackers have already knifed a guy, one of them has a gun, and they are telling us there is a bomb on board.”

Why has this angle of Sept. 11 not been investigated in more detail?

6. Why did the NORAD air defense network fail to intercept the four hijacked jets?

During the depths of the Cold War, Americans went to bed with the somewhat reassuring belief that jet fighters would intercept anyone launching a first strike against the United States. That myth was shattered on 9/11, when four hijacked-jetliners-turned-into-deadly-missiles cruised the American skies with impunity for nearly two hours.

Why did the North American Aerospace Defense Command seem unaware of literally dozens of warnings that hijacked jetliners could be used as weapons? Why does NORAD claim it did not learn that Flight 11 – the first jet to strike the World Trade Center about 8:45 a.m. – had been hijacked until 8:40 a.m., some 25 minutes after the transponder was shut off and an astounding 15 minutes after flight controllers heard a hijacker say, “We have some planes…”?

Why didn’t the fighters that were finally scrambled at Otis Air Force Base in Massachusetts and Langley Air Force Base in Virginia fly at top, supersonic speeds? Why didn’t fighters immediately take off from Andrews Air Force Base, just

outside Washington, D.C.? Why was nothing done to intercept American Airlines Flight 77, which struck the Pentagon, when officials knew it had been had been hijacked some 47 minutes earlier?

And why has no one been disciplined for the worst breakdown in national defense since Pearl Harbor?

7. Why did President Bush continue reading a story to Florida grade-schoolers for nearly a half-hour during the worst attack on America in its history?

In arguably the greatest understatement in U.S. history, Bush told a questioner at a California town-hall meeting in January 2002 that 9/11 “was an interesting day.” Interesting, indeed. In the two years since the attacks, questions have only grown about the president’s bizarre behavior that morning, when he was informed in a Sarasota classroom that America was under attack.

“I couldn’t stop watching the president sitting there, listening to second-graders, while my husband was burning in a building,” World Trade Center widow Lorie van Auken, a leader of relatives of Sept. 11 victims who have raised questions about the attacks, told Gail Sheehy in the New York Observer.

Why did Bush read a children’s story about a pet goat and stay in the classroom for more than a half-hour after the first plane struck the World Trade Center and roughly 15 minutes after Chief of Staff Andrew Card told him that it had been a deliberate attack? Why didn’t he take more decisive action, and why wasn’t he hustled to a secure area while the attacks were clearly still under way?

Conspiracy advocates have cited these strange lapses as evidence that Bush knew about the attacks ahead of time, but why would anyone with advance knowledge appear so clueless?

For a fascinating read on the subject, go to: An Interesting Day.

8. How did Flight 93 crash in western Pennsylvania?

The most popular version – that heroic passengers who fought with the hijackers successfully stormed the cockpit – has become so widely accepted that people were jarred last month when an Associated Press report seemed to contradict it. The AP story took one line out of a congressional report and wrote that the FBI now believes the hijackers crashed the plane on purpose.

Many were dismayed that the FBI would change its story, but the government had never put out an official story. Some unidentified government officials had first floated the hijackers-crashed-the-plane-on-purpose theory in late 2001.

Based solely on circumstantial evidence from several cell-phone calls made by passengers, most of the public and the mainstream media have come to believe that the plane crashed because of a struggle between the passengers and the hijackers.

Meanwhile, the FBI reportedly has enough hard information about what really happened on Flight 93 to have worked up a flight-simulation video. But that video, the cockpit audio recording and the hard data from the other “black box,” the flight data recorder, is still top secret.

The issue symbolizes the government’s continuing refusal to release information about what really happened on Sept. 11. Even some relatives of Flight 93 victims are growing unhappy that more information has not been publicized.

9. Was Zacarias Moussaoui really “the 20th hijacker”?

Almost certainly not, even though the allegation has been repeated hundreds of times in the media. The Moroccan native, who has been in custody since his August 2001 arrest on immigration charges after he attended a flight-training school in Minneapolis, has admitted that he is a member of al Qaeda and wanted to commit terrorist acts in America. But he arrived here much later than the Sept. 11 hijackers and reportedly had no contacts with them.

The issue is important because some family members of Sept. 11 victims who are seeking information about what happened that day have been turned down because of the ongoing Moussaoui case.

10. Where are the planes’ “black boxes”?

Nothing is more critical to learning about air disasters than the so-called “black boxes.” They are the 30-minute audio recordings of cockpit chatter and the fight-data inputs which show the speed, direction and operational condition of the plane, and which are encased in material designed to withstand a high-speed crash. Yet the government has continued to keep a lid of secrecy on the black boxes from Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon, and from Flight 93.

FBI Director Robert Mueller has said Flight 77’s data recorder provided altitude, speed, headings and other information, but the voice recorder contained nothing useful. Why not? Why not release the information to the public? Why has a docile mainstream media not demanded this information?

And how come none of the four “indestructible” black boxes was recovered from the World Trade Center, even as investigators said that a passport belonging to one of the hijackers had been found in the rubble, undamaged, a week after the towers’s collapse?

11. Why were Donald Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials so quick to link Saddam Hussein to the attacks?

CBS News reported that the defense secretary was making notes about invading Iraq even before the fires from Flight 77 had been extinguished on the other side of the Pentagon. Rumsfeld wrote that he wanted “best info fast. Judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H.” – Saddam Hussein – “at the same time. Not only UBL” – Osama bin Laden. He added: “Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”

Rumsfeld and a number of other Bush administration officials have ties to a once-obscure policy group called the Project for a New American Century. In a 2000 white paper, PNAC – which had long urged an American invasion of Iraq – said that for the United States to assert itself properly as the world’s lone superpower, “some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor” – would be required.

That new Pearl Harbor came – two years ago today.

12.Why did 7 World Trade Center collapse?

7 World Trade Center, a 47-story building, was not struck by an aircraft on Sept. 11, yet the building mysteriously collapsed at 5:20 p.m. that afternoon. Apparently debris from the jetliner attacks on the adjacent twin towers started a fire at No. 7. But as the New York Times noted: “No building like it, a modern, steel-reinforced high-rise, had ever collapsed because of an uncontrolled fire.” Investigators have speculated that excess diesel

fuel for emergency generators fanned the flames, but the full story may never be known.

Some questions also have lingered about why the two 110-story towers collapsed. But investigators think the burning jet fuel – compounded by paper-and-electronics-laden cubicles and possibly insulation matter – burned long enough, at temperatures exceeding 1,000 degrees, to weaken the structural steel.

13. Why did the Bush administration lie about dangerously high levels of toxins and hazardous particles after the WTC collapse?

Because apparently some White House officials felt that the health of the American economy and Wall Street was more important than the health of New York City residents who lived nearby. For example, on Sept. 16, 2001, a draft press release from the Environmental Protection Agency said: “Recent samples of dust gathered by OSHA on Water Street showed higher levels of asbestos in EPA tests.” That was deleted and replaced with this: “The new samples confirm previous reports that ambient air quality meets OSHA standards and consequently is not a cause for public concern.”

A key figure in the changes was the head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, who – you can’t make this stuff up – is a lawyer who formerly represented the asbestos industry.

In fact, the EPA told workers and residents that it was safe to return to lower Manhattan at a time when some test results had not been analyzed and other key tests had not even been performed. The outcome? Key medical professionals say thousands of New Yorkers have developed respiratory illnesses associated with exposure to the dust. Symptoms include periodic gasping for air, a choking sensation and unusual sensitivity to airborne irritants, apparently from a type of “occupational asthma” called Reactive Airways Disease Syndrome.

14. Where is Dick Cheney’s undisclosed location?

We’ll never know, but a widely reported rumor was that it was right here in the Keystone State. The speculation is the vice president spent the days after the attack at Site R, a secretive Cold War-era site, also known as Alternate Joint Communications Center, deep inside Raven Rock Mountain. The mountain is in western Pennsylvania, near Waynesboro.

15. What happened to the more than $1 billion that Americans donated after the attack?

The largest recipient, the American Red Cross, says it already has used $741 million from its Liberty Fund to help more than 55,000 families cope with the death of loved ones, serious injuries, physical and mental health concerns, financial loss, homelessness and other effects of the attacks.

Of that, $596 million was in the form of direct financial assistance to families of those killed or seriously injured, as well as to displaced workers, residents and emergency personnel who were seriously affected. Depending on individual needs, this financial assistance included up to a full year’s living expenses, estate and special-circumstances cash grants, and more.

16. What was the role of Pakistan’s spy agency in the Sept. 11 attacks and the subsequent murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl?

The idea that Pakistan is considered a leading American ally in the war on terror is both ironic and a bit disturbing when one considers that there are proven links between Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the notorious ISI, and the Taliban, as well as likely ties to al Qaeda and bin Laden.

In October 2001, the Wall Street Journal and many reputable news organizations in South Asia reported that the head of the ISI, Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Ahmad, was fired after being linked to a $100,000 payment that had been wired to al Qaeda hijacker Mohamed Atta in America to pay for the Sept. 11 attacks. The New York Times said the intelligence service even used al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan to train covert operatives for use in a war of terror against India.

In recent weeks, two troubling reports have emerged. The highly regarded French journalist Bernard-Henri Levy has written that Wall Street Journal reporter Pearl had been murdered by elements of the ISI because he’d learned that al Qaeda “is largely controlled by the Pakistani secret service” and that Islamic extremists control the nation’s nuclear weapons. And investigative reporter Gerald Posner writes that bin Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaydah not only revealed a link to top Saudis but also to high-ranking Pakistani air force officer Mushaf Ali Mir. Mir, who is said to have cut protection deals in secret meetings with bin Laden, died earlier this year in a plane crash that also killed his wife and closest confidants.

17. Who killed five Americans with anthrax?

Actually, it’s not clear whether this question should even be on this list. Two years later, it’s not known whether the anthrax-laden letters that killed five Americans from Connecticut to Florida, and targeted some leading Democratic pols and TV news anchors, had anything to do with the Sept. 11 attacks. Indeed, the list of potential suspects – al Qaeda terrorists, Saddam, crackpot U.S. scientists – hasn’t been narrowed down. Our government’s utter cluelessness about a reign of terror that rattled the nation and dominated the headlines in fall 2001 is an investigative failure of epic proportions.

One man, a former Army biomedical researcher named Steven J. Hatfill, has been labeled “a person of interest” by the FBI, but nothing definitive has linked Hatfill to the crime. Just this summer, federal investigators drained a Frederick, Md., pond where they speculated the anthrax letters might have been assembled, but tests of soil samples taken after the draining yielded no evidence of biological weapons. And now Hatfill has sued the government for invading his privacy – in a case that may never be solved.

18. What happened to the probe into C-4 explosives found in a Philadelphia bus terminal in fall 2001?

Do you remember this front-page headline from Oct. 20, 2001: “In Phila. locker, a lethal find; Explosive ‘would probably have leveled’ bus depot.” You can be forgiven if you don’t. There’s been no mention in local media since late 2001 of the alarming discovery of one-third of a pound of lethal C-4 and 1,000 feet of military detonation cord in a locker at the Greyhound bus terminal in Center City, even though it’s possibly the most direct link between Philadelphia and domestic terrorism.

Investigators conceded a couple of months into their probe that the trail had gone stone-cold. They speculated that the material had been stolen from an Army base and that the culprit, who rented the locker on Sept. 29, 2001, decided that the material was too hot to handle after the Sept. 11 attacks. The truth may never be known.

19. What is in the 28 blacked-out pages of the congressional Sept. 11 report?

It’s not a total mystery. Everyone has acknowledged that the pages contain highly embarrassing information about links between the Sept. 11 hijackers and the government of Saudi Arabia, America’s supposed ally in the Middle East and home to the world’s largest oil reserves. One of those officials is said to be Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar, whose wife, Princess Haifa, indirectly funded at least two of the Sept. 11 terrorists during their time in San Diego. The prince is so close to the Bush family that he’s known, incredibly, as “Bandar Bush.” This week, Time reports that just after the Sept. 11 attacks, when U.S. commercial airspace was still closed to our citizens, Bush allowed a jet to stop at 10 U.S. cities to pick up and fly home 140 prominent Saudis, including relatives of bin Laden.

A new must-read book by investigative reporter Posner – “Why America Slept” – takes the conspiracy to the highest of levels of the Saudi government. He says a top bin Laden lieutenant, Abu Zubaydah, who was captured in March 2002, stunned investigators when – allegedly given the “truth serum” sodium pentothal – fingered three top Saudis. They were Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the Westernized owner of 2002 Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem; Prince Turki al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, the kingdom’s longtime intelligence chief, and Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabir.

The most incredible part of the story is what happened next. In an eight-day period in late July 2002, Prince Ahmed died at age 43 from a heart attack, Prince Turki died in a car crash and Prince Fahd “died of thirst.” Coincidence? What do you think?

20. Where is Osama bin Laden?

Remember how President Bush vowed on Sept. 17, 2001, that he was determined to catch bin Laden “dead or alive”? Well, the good news is that if he wants bin Laden “alive,” there’s still a chance that could happen. Intelligence experts now agree that bin Laden successfully escaped his Tora Bora hideout in Afghanistan back in December 2001 – when the U.S. failed to commit ample manpower to the chase – and that the al Qaeda leader is alive and well, and plotting new attacks.

“We don’t know where he is,” Army Col. Rodney Davis, spokesman for America’s forces in Afghanistan, said recently. But Newsweek seems to know where to find bin Laden: in the remote, mountainous – and lawless – Kunar province of Afghanistan. The magazine chillingly reported that just five short months ago, bin Laden convened the biggest terror summit since Sept. 11 at a mountain stronghold there. The participants reportedly included three top-ranking representatives from the Taliban, several senior al Qaeda operatives and leaders from radical Islamic groups in Chechnya and Uzbekistan. The topic was carrying out attacks against U.S. interests inside Iraq.

The most chilling aspect of the Newsweek report is that bin Laden has access to biological weapons and is determined to find a way to use them against the United States. A source from the Taliban told the magazine: “Osama’s next step will be unbelievable.”

But this week, ABC News reported that the hunt for bin Laden has been narrowed to a different area – a 40-square-mile section of the Waziristan region of Pakistan. The report said that local residents suspected of trying to inform Americans about bin Laden’s whereabouts were executed in broad daylight.

Krugman – Exploiting the Atrocity

September 12, 2003 at 9:39 am
Contributed by:

Folks,


As usual, Krugman knows exactly where to put the knife in. This short opinion piece is about the ways in which the Bush administration has attempted to exploit the 9-11 atrocity for political gain, its “infallibility complex,” and how all of this will affect the upcoming election. He expects the ideaological gap between left and right to widen considerably, and the lies to get even bigger. Worth a read.


Exploiting the Atrocity – Paul Krugman

–C

Were the Saudis responsible for WTC attacks?

September 11, 2003 at 6:52 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


A new book about the 9-11 attacks focuses on the connections between Al Quaeda and the Saudis. This book, Why America Slept by Gerald Posner, sounds like a good start on the topic, and it’s about time somebody broke that story open. But another book, Sleeping with the Devil by former CIA agent Robert Baer, is even more telling about the many, many connections between the Saudis, various splinter Islamic terror groups, and decades of US politicians. It’s a fascinating read, and makes one wonder how we could ever extricate ourselves from the Saudi tar-baby.
Confessions of a Terrorist

Author Gerald Posner claims an al-Qaeda leader made explosive allegations while under interrogation


–C


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