Bush is abusing financial audits to punish an HIV prevention organization for oppositing Bush policies.
A Russian TV magnate who is an enemy of President Putin has been arrested in Greece.
It would not surprise me if he is guilty of some corrupt practices. At the same time, it is dangerous that Putin has essentially eliminated all independent TV in Russia.
A Palestinian suicide bombing and an Israeli missile attack torpedoed the cease-fire.
Uri Avneri explains how Sharon arranged for something like this to happen.
Bush plans to appoint a strong supporter of increased pollution to head the EPA.
Bush plans to let electric generators increase pollution.
The New York Times published a prominent story saying that more deregulation is the way to prevent the power blackouts caused by past deregulation.
They did not say that the many of experts cited in the story work for, represent or own the electric companies that caused the problem.
Shiites in the Baghdad suburb of Sadr City demanded that Bush forces leave the area. This follows a gunfight that broke out between a large number of protesters and the Bush forces there.
If you know what happened there subsequently, please send me mail.
The Burma Campaign UK has published a " dirty list" of companies that have invested in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi, who was elected president in Burma but prevented by the generals from taking office, asks all countries to impose trade sanctions, and asks people to penalize companies that do business there. (All businesses operating in Burma must provide money to the dictators.)
They have also published a " clean list" of companies that stopped doing business in Burma.
Other reports say that some of the companies in the dirty list are already cutting their ties with Burma.
The Blair administration changed its statements about Iraq at the last minute, distorting them to support the goal of war against Iraq.
An intelligence officer in the UK was complaining about this distortion as early as September 2002.
How the US twists and disregards international treaties: rogues, as defined arbitrarily by the US, have no right to self-defense.
25 civilians per day are being shot in Baghdad. Some are being killed by the Bush forces, and others in battles with robbers.
It is almost 3 months since Dubya declared victory. If this rate of killing keeps up for a year, it will add up to 9000 murders per year.
New York Times journalist Judith Miller appears to have beeen systematically planting falsehoods to help Dubya's policies.
Amina Lawal, who was sentenced to death by stoning for having sex while not married, is having an appeal.
The appeal may save Amina from execution, but will not cure the root cause of the problem: sharia law. This barbaric cruelty should not be tolerated anywhere.
Bush has targeted African oil now.
We can expect Bush to arrange for his friends in the oil business to make most of the money off the oil extracted from Africa, while the people of the countries the oil comes from remain poor (and get flooded by global warming).
Increased local generating capacity is a way to reduce the danger of catastrophic failures of the power grid.
One of the causes of the blackout was that many nuclear power plants shut down. Reportedly they shut down automatically after losing power.
Since these plants generate electricity, I am not sure how they can "lose power" while still operating. Does anyone understand what's going on here? Also, if they need for some reason to have an external source of power available, why don't they have backup generators to do that job?
Dennis Kucinich, who is now running for president, started his political carreer by opposing privatization of electric power in Cleveland. If you were blacked out last week, vote for Kucinich!
Sabotage of oil pipelines is preventing the Bush forces from exporting Iraqi oil to pay for the occupation.
Iraqis bombed the UN compound in Baghdad, perhaps in an attempt to make the UN refuse to participate in the occupation.
Iraqis who support Saddam Hussein, if there are any, would not have done this, and neither would Iraqis who just want Bush out of their country. The UN refused to authorize Bush's war, and the UN could possibly offer Bush an easier way withdraw from Iraq; those Iraqis would want to invite the UN in, not scare it away. So I can only suppose it was done by religious fanatics, whose goal is to defeat the whole West rather than to kick Bush out.
So I think that Bush's dishonest and unnecessary war will turn out to be a disaster in terms of encouraging terrorism. A disaster for Americans, that is. Bush, on the other hand, may find it useful, since he could point to the danger of terrorism to excuse further attacks on freedom in the US.
Mergers, deregulation, and blackouts: the causes of the Northeast power failure fall on Bush administration policies.
US companies are using foreign visa programs to bring foreign workers to the US at a time when many in the US, in high tech fields, are unemployed. It's a convenient way to move jobs permanently so they can pay their workers less.
EFF founder (and free software contributor) John Gilmore was kicked off a plane for wearing a button saying "Suspected Terrorist".
His point is that in the US today everyone is treated as a suspected terrorist, and no particular justification is needed.
Gilmore is also suing the government and airlines to abolish the requirement for airline passengers to show identification. I think he's doing this also for trains and buses. (I don't ride Amtrak because they demand ID before selling a ticket.)
If you do e-commerce (which I don't, because I don't like the fact that it isn't anonymous), you can get your own "Suspected Terrorist" button from here.
I partly disagree with Gilmore--I think that searching air travelers for weapons is legitimate, and that even if the searches are just 80% reliable (say), that would be enough to put a crimp in plans to hijack a plane that way.
Cheney is being paid a million dollars a year by Halliburton, and is aiding his former company in various corrupt ways.
Thorough scientific studies show astrology is completely false.
The study of the lives of people who born at the same time and place is noteworthy because changing the details of the astrological system cannot rescue it. Any system that claims people's lives or personalities depend on the time and place of birth, regardless of the details, must be false.
The study which asked astrologers to match people with their charts is noteworthy because it shows that whatever inchoate knowledge astrologers possess does not help.
How the USA PATRIOT act and the Homeland Security Act have laid unprecedented groundwork for a police state in the US.
Argentina has overturned a law that shielded the military government's torturers and murderers.
The US senate is considering a plan to bail out companies that owe damages to asbestos victims--at taxpayer expense. Halliburton, which is Vice President Cheney's former company, would receive a $3.5 billion handout.
An interview with Sherman Austin, who has been imprisoned for the contents of his web site.
"The Anarchist's Cookbook" used to be easily available in print. I wonder if it still is.
Many Bush appointees are the subjects of ethics probes for their links with industry.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban are getting stronger again.
The Zapatistas in Chiapas have formalized an end to armed conflict with the Mexican government, and unilaterally implemented the unratified accords which gave them local autonomy.
For years, Voices in the Wilderness delivered food and medicine to Iraq, violating US sanctions. Bush is trying to fine them for that.
You can sign the petition against this prosecution.
Voices in the Wilderness plans to continue delivering food and medicine to Iraq, despite the state of emergency which Bush recently renewed.
I guess Bush-style "freedom and democracy" does not include eating.
Bush planned to express his support for his troops in Iraq by cutting their pay.
Over the last 30 years, controls on carbon monoxide emissions have saved 11,000 lives in the US. That equals almost 4 September 11 attacks.
Police in Dublin aided an illegal eviction of squatters carried out by men with no identification or legal grounds for an eviction.
Dublin, like many other cities, has a shortage of housing.
The General Agreement on Trade in Services is a treaty designed by corporations to pressure governments into privatization of water, schools, etc., and prohibit them from undoing it when the people object.
"We now know that the EU, with the agreement of the UK Government, has chosen to target working state and not-for profit service provision, for submission to the ultra free-market rules of this agreement. This is most notably in water but they have also made extensive demands for access to energy, transport and telecommunications markets in poor countries. In some cases they are targeting countries where European companies have actually already been booted out by the government or by public protest."
The lawyer for British citizens held by Bush in Guantanamo threatens to boycott their military kangaroo court to protest its unfairness. She has not been allowed to speak with the defendants she is supposed to represent.
A psychological study identifies neuroses that can lead to conservative political views.
A thorough analysis of what is known or reported about what Bush and Norad were doing on September 11 shows many contradictions among the reports.
In February, Colin Powell made a speech at the UN with a long list of accusations against Saddam Hussein, meant to justify the war. Comparing them now against the facts, most can be seen to have been false.
The Bush forces in Iraq were attacked, and then shot randomly at civilians.
An article argues that the Israeli security wall is a non-issue, a distraction from the fact that the leaders on both sides do not try to achieve peace, and that the US doesn't really care.
I think he is right that there are deeper issues than the wall. But when the wall cuts people off from their farmland or from other towns, that is a real issue.
There is evidence that CIA director Tenet knew before 9-11 that attacks with airliners were likely, and told Bush before 9-11 also.
A new web site tracks Dubya's special-interest campaign contributions.
German police attacked protesters near Cologne, who were planning to protest against a neo-Nazi march.
An article from 2001 reported that the US deployed tactical nuclear weapons near Afghanistan and was prepared to be the first to use them.
A racist Israeli law prohibits Israel-Palestinian married couples from living together--either in Israel or in Palestine.
Meanwhile, Israeli settlements in the West Bank have taken most of the available water. Now Palestinians find it hard to get water to drink or wash.
The number of homeless and hungry people in the US is increasing, as 30% of the population is close to poverty. At the same time, cities that find homeless people to be ugly and inconvenient for the wealthy are adopting laws to punish the homeless people and drive them away. (Where will they go? To the cemetary?)
I've been expecting this result from the Reagan/Clinton economic policies, including treaties such as GATT and NAFTA that were designed to drive wages down. Instead of making things worse with the FTAA, the US should repudiate GATT and NAFTA.
Depleted uranium munitions are causing severe illness and death for thousands--including US veterans, civilians in the US, and civilians in countries where US forces have fought, such as Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Americans: the primary purpose of the US army is to defend our country from attack. Do you want it to pollute the US permanently by doing so? Wouldn't you rather it get rid of these DU munitions, so it won't have to destroy the country in order to "save" it?
Niger-Iraq whistleblower accuses Bush of "dirty tricks" campaign.
A thorough sonar survey of Loch Ness shows there isn't any monster in the lake.
When the US overthrew the democratic government of Mossadegh in Iran, it laid the groundwork for the 9/11 attacks.
As a result, when the US government talks about promoting democracy in the Middle East, it is hard for anyone there to take this seriously.
90% of the loggerhead turtles population in Queensland, Australia disappeared between 1976 and 1997, largely due to pollution. Only 300 remain.
Australia has started a program to protect them. These programs sometimes work but are far from certain.
An FBI agent framed several NASA employees for corruption charges in 1992, says another agent who wants to clear his conscience. He also says that the FBI's leadership knew about it.
Al Gore, from whom one might not have expected it, made a hart-hitting speech accusing Bush of thoroughgoing dishonesty and hostility to democracy.
An Iraqi weapons scientist who tried to cooperate with the US is being held under arrest in Kuwait because his information was not what Bush wanted to hear.
The Bush forces are subjecting prisoners in Iraq to torture and inhuman cruelty. Some were found looting, some are political prisoners, and some were arrested just for being in the wrong place.
The Transportation Security Agency admits having a list of non-criminals to search and harrass at airports--a list that is known to include American political activists with no connection to terrorism.
A Bush executive order gives oil companies operating in Iraq legal immunity from a wide variety of lawsuits, including for violating the human rights of civilians.
Farmed salmon has high levels of toxic PCBs, which they get from the fish they eat.
With California's peculiar recall law, if the voters vote the same way as they did in the last election, Governor Davis will be replaced by another candidate who gets fewer votes.
The victory preventing a home in Qalquliya from being made into a "security area", so that its residents are forbidden to go out the door, was short-lived. Here's more information from Gush Shalom.
The cost of "rebuilding" (and occupying) Iraq is increasing, and the idea of using oil to pay for it is not working out.
Israeli peace activists blocked the building of the separation wall through the Amer family's front yard. If the wall is built, they will be forbidden to leave their house without an army permit.
I just listened to a radio discussion about the Pentagon's canceled plan to establish a futures market for predictions about political developments in the Middle East. The person who set up this research project said it would be a way the US might add a little to its intelligence about the region.
The absurd thing is that this is just a side issue. The best way the US can improve its intelligence about the Middle East is to stop Bush from distorting it by "cherry-picking" the reports that supports the conclusions he prefers.
Attacks against the Bush forces in Iraq are running at 10 to 20 per day. On July 27 they once again fired at protesting Iraqis.
The Economist condemns the Bush plan for military trials instead of real courts.
Bush is pushing a plan for a pipeline in Peru that would enrich his cronies while endangering the ecosystem.
Here's a joke I received in the mail:
Attorney General John Ashcroft visited an elementary school to give a civics presentation. After he finished, he asked the young boys and girls, "Are there any questions?"
Bobby raised his hand and said, "I have three questions. How did Bush win the election with fewer votes than Gore? Are you using the Patriot Act to limit civil liberties? And why haven't you caught Osama bin Laden yet?"
Just then, the bell rang and the teacher announced it was recess. Half an hour later, the children returned. Ashcroft said, "Let's start where we left off. Are there any more questions?"
A girl raised her hand and asked, "Is it really legal to hold suspected terrorists without letting them talk to attorneys? Why did the recess bell go off 10 minutes early? And where did Bobby go?"
British troops occupying Basra are not facing guerrilla war--not much, at least--but the city is still in violent chaos with no sort of civil authority.
A tetanus vaccine used in the Philippines also contained substances that might make women infertile, according to the Philippine Medical Association.
I see a couple of loose ends in the suggestion that this was a deliberate plan to test a vaccine against pregnancy. For one thing, if only 20% of the samples include the contaminant that might prevent pregnancy, the experiment would not be very effective. Why did they not put it in 100%? Second, if someone has a vaccine that really works to prevent pregnancy, why not test it openly and honestly? There are plenty of women who get sterilized because they don't want more children, and many might be glad to try a non-surgical method.
Human Rights Watch reports that the warlords who rule most of Afghanistan are behaving cruelly, and in particular stopping girls from going to school, destroying one of the gains that resulted from the US invasion.
Violent chaos is spreading in Iraq, as Bush claims of restoring a functioning society turn out to be window dressing.
40 Bush lies listed and debunked.
US corporations are still overestimating their earnings despite insufficient post-Enron reforms.
Dick Cheney's believe it or not.
Iraqis say (Bush) troops are too eager to shoot, and kill harmless civilians.
A raid meant to kill Saddam Hussein killed many civilians instead.
The start of the deportation hearing for Amer Jubran, a Palestinian human rights activist in the US, was marked by unfair conduct by the judge.
Previously the government tried intimidating witnesses for the defense.
Bush forces turn a raid to capture Saddam into a massacre of civilians.
Project Censored lists the 25 most important buried news stories of 2001-2002.
Bush has denied and obstructed access by the 9/11 inquiry to many different kinds of crucial information.
The inquiry's delayed report shows that either the Bush White House knew about the potential of terrorists flying airplanes into skyscrapers, or the CIA (which did know) failed to tell the White House. But which? Some of the documents Bush refused to show to the inquiry would have shown which.
There is a strange correlation between falls in Bush's poll ratings and terror alerts--suggesting that the real purpose of these terror alerts is only to manipulate public opinion.
The Israeli Army has a tradition of applying the highest standards to itself, but due to the prolonged occupation these standards have turned into hypocrasy. Palestinial children are frequently shot even when there is no fighting going on, and then the army denies the facts.
US colonel takes family of Iraqi general hostage. This is a war crime, according to treaties the US has signed.
Greek lawyers have taken a case against Tony Blair to the International Criminal Court for war crimes against Iraqi civilians.
Dubya is accused of delaying a congressional report on 9/11 because it mentioned the fact that there was no link to Iraq.
White House vs CIA: who is telling the truth?
Mugabe's supporters are wiping out wildlife in preserves in Zimbabwe.
Scientists in the UK report that there is no knowledge about how use of genetically modified crops might affect wildlife. The danger is that the use of high-power weed killers with crops engineered to be immune to them could wipe out wild plants and the animals that depend on them.
Scott Ritter (former UN weapons inspector) says that the UK has had a special group to produce distorted intelligence reports about Iraq ever since 1991.
Condoleezza Rice has been proved to be either incompetent or dishonest in handling the fraudulent Iraq-Niger uranium evidence. She was also telling people in the government back in July 2002 that the decision to attack Iraq had already been made. This confirms the impression we had that all the "evidence" and "reasons" were just for show.
Dick Cheney is also facing accusations of deceiving the public and distorting the intelligence system, from Melvin Goodman, a former CIA agent.
As Japan presses for an increase in hunting of whales, it turns out there is so little demand for whale meat in Japan that it's being used for dogfood.
24 deceptions in 704 words: analyzing Dubya's 2003 State of the Union address.
A Coke plant in India sucks so much water out of the ground that local people's wells have run dry. They can't afford to buy the bottled drinking water that coke sells.
The Coca Cola plant has tried to help local farmers by providing some of its wastes for them to use as fertilizer. Unfortunately it contains toxic metals including lead.
Russia is trying to extradite a Chechen exile from the UK, claiming that he is a "terrorist". Now it turns out that a main Russian witness was tortured by the Russians and forced to lie.
Officials in the US are trying to prevent a meeting of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement.
The UK human rights group Liberty says that UK police in 2003 repeatedly used "anti-terrorism" laws to crush protests.
See this [pdf]. Note that each "page" of that file contains two side-by-side pages of the report.
The Bush administration is offering corporate criminals plea bargains so that they can escape real punishment for their crimes.
"Designer clothes" made by the inmates of a Berlin prison are being bought by many Europeans who consider them chic.
The article reveals that the inmates make only 12.5 euros per day, around 15 dollars. Do the purchasers of these clothes really want to buy from sweatshops?
I believe there are treaties against exporting goods made by prison labor; it could be useful for people in Germany to study whether the export of these clothes violates them.
How schools in New York pressure pregnant students to drop out.
The Bush forces in Iraq are arresting people, even people who opposed Saddam, without paying much attention to guilt or innocence, without notifying their relatives or their nations' consulates. And some of the prisoners are being tortured in various ways.
This isn't as bad as what Saddam did, but it's getting there. Just give them time to establish some military "courts" and we may see executions as well.
Meanwhile, it seems that Saddam's sons were killed by the Bush forces. I have no sympathy for them, since from all reports they were nasty tyrants, but I don't think their death is going to alter Iraqi resentment towards the occupying forces.
Sharon knows he must publicly give the appearance of cooperating with Bush's roadmap for peace, but his real actions give the Palestinians next to nothing in exchange for their cease fire. It's only a matter of time before they decide that the cease fire is a failure.
Israel used to say that it needed true peace with Arab countries, not just peace in name. Now the Palestinians need real peace with Israel, not just peace in name.
Bush made a public statement that Saddam Hussein had refused to admit UN weapons inspectors.
"The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in."
As we all know, that's not true. Either Bush is an extremely audacious liar, or he is good at creating a fantasy world which he then believes.
More evidence that his administration has a high capacity for self delusion is the fact that the Bush forces made no real plans for what to do in Iraq after the war. They expected to be welcomed as liberators and to install Challabi to rule for them. When it became clear that wouldn't work, they were at a loss.
The Association of Civil Rights in Israel accused the Israeli government of an effort to " undermine the foundations of democracy" in Isreal.
A New Deck of Cards: Operation Hidden Agenda.
Israel is about to deport eight international peace activists, in an attempt to crush nonviolent resistance to the occupation.
Coral reefs in the Carribean are 80% dead, due to human activity.
As the US tramples human rights in its little piece of Cuba, and proposes to impose severe punishmemts without real trials, the Castro regime is doing likewise in the rest of Cuba.
And the Castro regime cites the US to say "We're not so bad".
Isn't it a shame that Bush has lowered the US to a level where Castro can point to it for this purpose?
A Canadian journalist in Iran, who was arrested just for taking pictures of a prison, died while in custody from a blow to the head.
David Kelly, the inside source who told the BBC that Blair's administration had exaggerated its claims about Saddam Hussein's supposed weapons of mass destruction, appears to have killed himself. Before he died he blamed the government, not the BBC, for making his role public.
Some people are speculating that Kelly was murdered, because of the absence of any suicide note. However, his family seem to believe it was suicide.
Although the cease-fire has brought an end to suicide bombings in Israel, Israeli troops continue acts of terror against Palestinians.
The so-called "worst of the worst", imprisoned without trial by Bush in Guantanamo Bay, include three children of ages 13 to 15.
The US government is developing systems for tracking your movements everywhere, by car or by foot.
Award-winning journalists report on the extent of corporate censorship in US news media.
An article argues that Americans have realized all along that Bush & co are deceiving them, but they want to be deceived.
A major newspaper in Belarus has been shut for three months for criticizing the government.
Censorship is not limited to Belarus. Simon Shaw was arrested in Edinburgh for displaying "Fuck Bush" and a swastika on an upside-down American flag.
Shaw is not a Nazi; rather he was comparing Bush to a Nazi. But he was perversely accused of "inciting racial hatred". There is a campaign to support him by sending "Fuck Bush" postcards to the police who arrested him, and to display signs at his trial.
I must confess I feel somewhat uncomfortable with that slogan. I'd rather not describe what I feel about Dubya using a word that refers to making love.
Zacharias Moussaoui is accused of planning to participate in the September 11 attacks. The judge in his trial ruled he has a right to call witnesses, including a prisoner in US custody, Binalshibh. But the US government refuses to let Binalshibh testify.
Of course, they say this is for "national security", which is the standard excuse, but here it is absurd. Security from whom? Al Qa'ida already knows whatever Binalshibh was planning. The only thing they don't know is how much he has told the US, but they must know what he could tell, and they are smart enough to have planned for the worst case. So this has to be just an excuse for undermining the trial.
A proposed US law would make it a felony to distribute even one song through a peer-to-peer music sharing network.
The record companies, and the legislators who serve them, will stop at nothing to keep the public divided and helpless. US citizens, please call or write to your congressional representatives and say that music sharing should be legal.
Bush created a "shadow intelligence network" to provide reports skewed to suit Bush policies. The reports from the professionals in the CIA were too objective for him.
The military non-trials that Bush plans for prisoners in Guantanamo supposedly offer them the possibility to use a civilian lawyer. But any lawyer who agrees to do this would become almost a prisoner himself. The possibility is simply a fraud.
Metallica defends its legal action claiming exclusive rights to use the E and F chords together.
It's a hoax; there's no real legal action. But some real copyright and patent claims are just as ridiculous as this--and all software patents are just as outrageous. (See http://softwarepatents.co.uk.)
UK minister Jack Straw misleadingly cited 12-year-old Iraq nuclear activities (before the first gulf war) to give the impression they were recent.
The 9/11 investigation accuses the Bush administration of stonewalling and trying to intimidate witnesses.
The CIA knew of the Iraq-Niger forgeries a long time ago and told various people in the Bush administration. Now they are trying to blame CIA director Tenet for not telling Bush before Bush referred to this as truth.
However, another article says that Tenet in fact informed the White House about this in October.
The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity talk about what Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney knew and when.
Bethlehem sees little change after Israeli "pullout".
The Observer, in London, suggests that the "war on drugs" has failed and should be abandoned.
Europe is not bowing down to US pressure to market genetically organisms under the table.
It is noteworthy that the US government wants the World Trade Organization to rule that Europeans are not allowed to know whether their food is genetically modified. This illustrates why the World Trade Organization must be abolished.
Former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson investigated the Iraq-Niger uranium documents and told the CIA, state department and Cheney's office they were forged--before Dubya referred to them in the State of the Union Address.
Korean activists are on hunger strike to protest against a large government database collecting information about students.
While South Korea's government is nowhere near as bad as North Korea's, we must not let the contrast make us assume that South Korea's government fully respects freedom and human rights.
An Israeli helicopter pilot trainee was cashiered and the army won't say why, but he believes it is because he expressed qualms of conscience about killing civilians. The commander who cashiered him said he feels nothing at all when he drops a bomb that will kill people.
Why bother with Faux News or Commercial-Nationalist News? Get your patriotic news about Iraq straight from the people who make it up, in the Ministry of Truth.
Three conservative foundations have paid to produce and air a show on PBS which is designed to disguise the conservative party line as careful academic thought. It brings on dissenters but carefully arranges for them to lose. It also violates the PBS funding rules.
The show's name is "Think Tank", but "Septic Tank" might be more appropriate.
Amnesty International reports that US agents have used various forms of torture against suspected Al Qa'ida members: beating them, throwing them against walls, depriving them of sleep, and tying them in painful positions. In Guantanamo Bay, 25 prisoners have tried to commit suicide. (Amnesty Now, Summer 2003 issue.)
Is this the behavior of a civilized country?
A Guantanamo Bay prisoner who was released is demanding compensation from the US government for the way he was treated there.
Elections in the US can easily and tracelessly be rigged by the Republican-controlled companies that make the voting machines. Journalist Bev Harris has nailed down the possibility.
Greg Palast investigated the favoritism that got Dubya into the Air National Guard, so he could avoid going to Vietnam.
The UK is increasing its military support for Colombian government despite that government's support for death squads.
Colin Powell was pressured into endorsing bogus claims about Iraq. He called the speech he was asked to read " bullshit".
The US is once again trying to impose deadly patent restrictions on poor African countries.
Clinton had Gore doing the same thing, until he realized it would look bad for the 2000 election.
A group of Iraqi leaders met and called for self-rule, and criticized US plans to continue dominating Iraq.
A Briton facing a military court in Guantanamo Bay is expected to face a stark choice: plead guilty or die.
The choice of citizens of various allies as the first batch to be threatened with execution seems to be a calculated gesture of contempt towards those countries, a demonstration to them that they have to take a kick in the teeth from the US. I hope that the pressure in the UK builds up to the point that Blair will be unable to keep supporting Bush.
Another Briton plans to sue the city of New York after police chained him and dragged him along the ground. He was arrested for not paying the fare on the bus-- they were not interested in looking at his receipt.
I find this report entirely believable, because my personal experience is that many police are ready to make false accusations without the slightest qualm. Their power has corrupted them.
Arms control experts now accuse the Bush regime of distorting intelligence information to justify attacking Iraq.
The US-supported Afghan government has banned a newspaper and arrested its editor for "blasphemy".
Americans, that is your tax dollars at work.
Hong Kong's government delayed an anti-democracy bill after half a million people protested.
A New York school principal forced students to get tested for pregnancy after they went to a party.
The specter of Vietnam hangs over Iraq today, and not just because of the gradually increasing guerilla resistance.
A town in Michigan erupted in flames in June, after police callously murdered a local man and then crowed about what they had done.
Both the Republican and Democratic parties accept money from corporate criminals.
Police in Montreal removed and arrested activists who were protesting for affordable housing.
It gets very cold in Montreal in the winter. I would hate to have to sleep on the streets there.
An important former UK judge calls for marijuana to be treated like tobacco and alcohol.
Actually, tobacco and alcohol seem to be more dangerous than marijuana, because they are addictive with physical withdrawal symptoms (not the case for marijuana), and many people use them very heavily.
Senator Byrd demands Bush account for the deception over Iraq.
Israel is continuing non-stop expansion of its settlements on Palestinian territory despite the "withdrawal" of troops from parts of the Gaza Strip.
When MEP Martin Schulz criticized Berlusconi, Berlusconi responded by saying Schmidt would be great for the movie part of a concentration camp commander.
This was interpreted as a terrible insult, and many officials pressed Berlusconi to apologize. He refused, then said something people took to be an apology. But now he says it was not an apology.
I think I understand why Berlusconi feels he does not need to apologize. It is because he did not mean the comparison with fascism as a criticism. In his mind, it was a compliment.
A controversial study finds that "passive smoking" does not cause heart disease or cancer.
I have not studied the details and I cannot form a scientific opinion of the validity of this or other studies; I hope the question will be studied carefully and objectively.
Regardless of the issue of passive smoking, I support prohibition of smoking in most public indoor spaces, for two reasons. One is that dense smoke can be quite painful for nonsmokers. The other is that bars and music venues, where many young people go and nearly everyone smokes, probably pressure many into taking up smoking, or smoking more often. It is wrong to prohibit recreational drugs, even dangerous ones like tobacco, but discouraging people from taking up dangerous drugs should have very high priority.
Will the palestinian cease-fire last? Uri Avnery's commentary.
Just as Bush is preventing the EPA from talking about global warming, the World Meteorological Organisation has announced that "extreme weather events" such as tornadoes are increasing, a consequence of global warming, and that record high temperatures are being observed in many places around the world.
A man in Oklahoma has been sentenced to life in prison for spitting at a polceman.
If a policeman hits you and your blood gets on him, would you be sentenced to life in prison?
The US State of Maine has adopted a law to reduce CO2 emissions.
An article argues that the real movers and shakers in the US have decided to dump Bush.
The Bush government proposed to solve the problems of the Middle East with a new "free" trade zone.
These "free trade" agreements, like GATT and NAFTA, typically subordinate democracy, the environment, public health, and labor standards to the dictates of megacorporations. Putting aside the issues mentioned in that article, I expect that such a treaty would impose unjust laws on the countries that sign it.
A French judge who has fought corruption wrote a book about her experiences. The book has been banned in French.
The UK government decided not to prosecute a woman with multiple sclerosis who provided marijuana to others with the same condition. Only marijuana relieves the pain. She is disappointed with the decision, because she wanted to use the trial to publicize the issue.
I can understand her intention to commit suicide. Multiple sclerosis can leave a person permanently helpless, and she can remain so for years since it is not directly fatal. It's not unusual for people in this situation to ask for help in killing themselves.
Several Palestinian militant groups have announced a temporary end to attacks on Israelis, even against settlers stealing their land.
The question now is whether Sharon will take steps that allow Palestinians who are not involved in violence a decent life.
The Bush forces canceled an election in the Iraqi town of Najaf because they were unhappy with who they thought would get elected.
There you have it--Bush league democracy, Florida style.
To join Bush's "most wanted" deck of cards, now there's a "most wanted" deck of cards for war profiteers.
A peaceful British protester in Greece was beaten by police, then framed with a planted bag of explosives [pdf].
California's Supreme Court exonerated an ex-Intel employee who sent critical emails to other Intel employees. Intel claimed he had committed "trespass" on Intel's computers.
The real reason for Dubya's attack on Iraq has been revealed: he thinks God told him to do it. All the reasons he gave us were actually irrelevant.
The Indian government developed its plans to send troops for the occupation of Iraq secretly, without informing the Indian people.
Violence against women in Pakistan is at terrible levels.
Students in the Chinese University of Hong Kong are asking for support for their campaign for democracy in Hong Kong.
Just as reports were circulating that Hamas might agree to a truce, Israeli forces used rockets to attack a Hamas activist, killing several bystanders.
Dubya's nominee to run the DEA flees from woman in wheelchair.
Police in the UK have been criticized by a judge for bugging conversations between suspects and their lawyers.
In the US, on the other hand, Bush gave orders to do this.
Dubya has nominated another caveman for a federal appeals court. Refreshingly, the Democratic Party is organizing opposition.
The nominee is quoted as saying that if the choice of a sexual partner were protected by the Constitution, "prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia" also would be. He is probably mistaken, legally--but that is unfortunate. All of these acts should be legal as long as no one is coerced. They are illegal only because of prejudice and narrowmindedness.
Some rules might be called for when these acts directly affect other people's interests. For incest, contraception could be mandatory to avoid risk of inbreeding. For prostitution, a license should be required to ensure prostitutes get regular medical check-ups, and they should have training and support in insisting on use of condoms. This will be an advance in public health, compared with the situation today.
For necrophilia, it might be necessary to ask the next of kin for permission if the decedent's will did not authorize it. Necrophilia would be my second choice for what should be done with my corpse, the first being scientific or medical use. Once my dead body is no longer of any use to me, it may as well be of some use to someone. Besides, I often enjoy rhinophytonecrophilia (nasal sex with dead plants).
A large study reports that Marijuana has no major long-term effects on the brain.
The UK government is accused of building a DNA database by stealth.
Meanwhile, they recently proposed to enter all newborn babies in their DNA database as a matter of course. I guess babies are not terribly concerned about governmemt surveillance.
Bush dominates a nation of victims using the same sort of verbal abuse that other bullies use.
I had not noticed these specifics myself, but I had noticed that the tone of what Bush says is often hectoring and cruel. Other nations need to start defying Bush's bullying--not just quietly, but publicly, so that they can stir up defiance elsewhere. Quiet resistance may win a specific battle but does not tend to stiffen others' resistance.
A former WTO negotiator says, "Free market trade policies hurt the poor. The IMF and World Bank orthodoxy is increasing global poverty."
Superweeds evolve resistance to Roundup, casting doubt on whether the expensive Roundup-resistant GM seeds will really do what they are supposed to do.
Bush made the EPA censor a report to omit discussion of global warming.
Another American has been secretly arrested as part of Dubya's war on human rights. This time he supposedly had a trial-- a secret trial.
A secret trial is a sham trial. Even in trials that meet all the usual standards of fairness, dishonest authorities can often railroad innocent people--they suppress evidence, they buy testimony from convicts, etc. But the defense lawyer and public scrutiny can act as a check on injustice. The government's story of what happened in this secret trial cannot be verified. Did he really plead guilty, or did they just decide to pretend he did?
Global fishing has reduced the number of large predatory fish by 90% in a few decades--and the few that remain are small. The world's fish populations are in great danger.
Burma has put its elected president, Aung San Suu Kyi, in prison again. They used a mob attack on her followers as the excuse.
An Israeli writer explains the distorted language that is used to disguise the realities of the occupation of Palestine.
Israel has been steadily taking away the Palestinians' water resources. The checkpoints and walls that block travel make it hard for many Palestinians to obtain the little water available to them.
The Israeli water minister says it's all the fault of Palestinians who tap Israeli pipes and drill illegal wells. This is transparently absurd--what else should they do, when their water has been stolen?
UK MP Galloway, who strongly opposed war with Iraq, was accused by two newspapers of being on Saddam's payroll. One of them has now apologized, after determining that the documentary evidence against him was forged.
Sharon made a show of fake toughness in dismantling a one-house illegal settler outpost. The army made the job look difficult on TV by not trying its usual effective methods.
The only way to end the violence is to end the occupation that crushes all Palestinians.
UNOCAL is being sued in the US for its use of the Burmese military government to impose brutal security for UNOCAL's pipeline in Burma.
A BBC camera team was ejected from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and some of its recordings were erased.
To prove how cruel it is, the Blair regime plans to imprison people for 14 years for having a party where someone smokes pot.
The tyrannical nature of this law lies in its attempt to conscript people as enforcers and punish them for failing to restrict others.
The new head of the Republican National Committee is a corporate lobbyist who worked for Enron. Later, after the collapse of Enron, he lobbied against regulation of accountants to make similar fraud less likely.
A British official warns of chaos in Iraq; troops may have to stay for 4 years, and reconstruction efforts are inadequate.
A part of Pakistan has adopted the injustice of Islamic law.
Senator Levin accused the CIA of sandbagging UN weapons inspectors with bad intelligence.
Bush is now citing the looting of Iraqi ministries as the excuse for why the Bush forces have not found any of the supposed WMDs.
One has to wonder why Bush didn't order his forces to prevent the looting, which continued systematically for some days.
The UK proposes to offer gay couples a legal relationship equivalent to marriage.
It is not formally considered "marriage", so these relationships may not be recognized by other countries.
UK ministers accuse Blair of lying about Iraqi weapons.
One of these ministers called it an "honorable deception", apparently meaning to say that it is honorable to lie to the public to stir up a war if it is the way to suck up to a great power. A strange idea of honor, that.
Senator Hatch advocates "destroying the computers" of people who share music on the internet.
It is no accident that harsh and tyrannical measures are proposed for this, because the goal is completely wrong to begin with. Sharing music on the internet is not wrong and it should be legal. It does not even hurt musicians (except for a few rich ones who will do fine anyway, because most musicians get zero money when you buy their CDs.
Music sharing perhaps hurts the record companies, the companies that mistreat both the musicans and the listeners. If so, that is another argument in its favor.
The US took a step away from being a free society, as a US appeals court approved Dubya's secret arrests which were carried out en masse after September 11.
Protests in Iran against the religious government continue.
46 people are being freed from prison in Texas because it was determined that charges brought against them were fabricated by a dishonest cop.
The point that struck me most is that so many people pled guilty to false charges that had no evidence to support them. They must have believed that defending themselves in court was not a real option. They may figure that the system is biased against them. Their court-appointed lawyers may have told them not even to think about it, and may have assumed their clients were guilty.
A UK citizen is in jail in Japan and faces a long sentence for drug smuggling. He was pressured to sign a statement he could not even read, which turned out to be a confession. The court refused to listen to evidence that could have proved he was duped by a traveling companion.
Another article said he was pressured to sign the confession through being kept in solitary confinement for months.
Sentences like this for people who really smuggle drugs are part of the harm done by prohibition of drugs. Conviction through an unfair trial is icing on the cake.
The parents of Tom Hurndall, who was shot and turned into a vegetable by Israeli troops while he was protecting unarmed Palestinians, met with the British foreign secretary, putting him under pressure to reject the phony Israeli description of how they shot Hurndall.
Iranians are protesting because the French government raided an Iranian opposition group and confiscated its funds. One protester in London set himself on fire.
Aren't the People's Mujaheddin freedom fighters? When did they become "terrorists"? Just goes to show, one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist.
A Bush forces helicopter was shot down by opposition in Iraq.
One Bush commander reports having "made significant progress" in restoring security. In Vietnam they typically said that too, whether it was true or not.
The invasion of Iraq provided the occasion for some nuclear waste materials to disappear. Some were taken by people who lived in the area and who now may be getting sick from it. Some may be in the hands of careful thieves who might now pass it on to terrorists.
An Israeli newspaper reports Bush put a certain amount of pressure on Sharon to cooperate with the Palestinians.
But it came to nothing, as we all know. Sharon's attacks started a renewed cycle of violence.
Chomsky discusses the implications of the Iraq war.
The Colombian government, along with its widespread paramilitary terrorism (in which US-trained officers play a big role), is now trying to crush the unions of state employees.
A detailed report on the failure of Bush's search for the fabled Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
The exaggeration of the Iraqi threat follows a pattern of US exaggeration of the military capabilities of adversaries. For instance, Paul Wolfowitz (an important Bush advisor) exaggerated Soviet military capabilities too.
If catching Osama bin Laden doesn't really matter, if catching Saddam Hussein doesn't really matter, if the supposed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction don't really matter, is there anything left that matters?
The principal characteristics of fascism--so you can rate the government of your country.
The UN extended a special exception for the US, that US troops are immune from prosecution for war crimes.
Given the belligerence of the US, US troops are particularly likely to engage in war crimes--for instance, dropping cluster bombs on inhabited areas in Iraq.
Barbershop wisdom says that Bush is in trouble on Iraq. Perhaps he will never be elected president.
The Democratic Party is accusing Republicans of blocking an investigation of the basis for the statements that Bush made to justify the attack.
The UK government claims that satellite surveillance of all cars will be the only way to prevent road congestion. There is another way: build trains instead of highways, leading to subsequent development that encourages train travel instead of car travel. But instead of doing this, the UK government is planning expensive new highways that go through areas that don't want them.
A Palestinian argues that Palestinians should abandon the idea of a separate state, and instead use nonviolent resistance to demand equal rights. I'm not entirely convinced, but it is worth thinking about.
Part of his argument is that the Israel will never allow a Palestinian state to control its own resources. It seems valid that Palestinian state would indeed be doomed to poverty if Isreal keeps control of all the water, for instance. However, one possible conclusion is simply that establishing a Palestinian state must involve giving it control over the water resources of the occupied territories.
Also, in order for nonviolent protest to do any good, there needs to be a government that isn't prepared to crush it with brutaliy. Israel has not hesitated to use violence against unarmed civilians and has closed off Palestinian areas to both foreign and Israeli witnesses and reporters.
An EPA report says that violation of the Clean Water Act are common and fines for violations are tiny.
A large fraction of humanity, in both rich and poor countries, gets its water supplies from underground aquifers. A UN report says that these aquifers are being depleted rapidly.
Wolfowitz admits that the evanescent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were just a convenient excuse for war.
As explained in previous notes, Wolfowitz and other Bush advisors belong to a clique that has been pushing for years for a US attack on Iraq.
The AAA lobbies for road building, and against pollution control and car safety requirements.
There is an alternative called www.betterworldclub.com which doesn't do this.
The Blair government has effectively admitted distorting intelligence reports to deceive the public.
I find a fallacy in the article's argument that, because people urged continuing arms inspections rather than war, we cannot attach any significance to the failure of the Bush forces to find any Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The arms inspectors were limited in the number of sites they could visit per day, and had to deal with Saddam; Bush can send as many inspectors as he wants to, and Saddam is no longer in control. And whereas Bush did not give the UN inspectors useful information, his own forces presumably have the advantage of the great US intelligence.
Sharon plans to dismantle a number settler "outposts"--typically uninhabited trailers placed on a site to indicate the intent to establish a settlement later. This seems to be the full extent of his "concessions" to the Palestinians for peace: a retraction of some, but not all, future possible seizure of their land.
The settlers have announced they will just make more outposts to replace those that are removed.
Prison guards are on trial in the US for attacking prisoners.
Dozens of nonviolent protesters at the School of the Americas (officially renamed WHISC) have been sentenced to months in prison.
The School of the Americas is the US training institution for torture and terrorism.
Nowadays murderers trained there are very active in Colombia.
Monbiot compares Afghanistan's support for Al Qa'ida with US support for the School of the Americas. We who supported the war against the Taliban could hardly criticize a South American power for attacking the School of the Americas now. This hypothetical South American power would not even need to adopt a bellicose foreign policy like Bush's, which calls for attacking any country that might perhaps be a threat. The US has already sponsored terrorism in their region and is continuing to do so.
Iraqis are protesting Bush rule every day.
Another article about related events shows that Bush has given up on having Iraqis select a provisional government. Now Bush's temporary administration is going to do that.
Ed Rosenthal, the medical marijuana grower convicted under federal law by a jury that was kept in the dark about the facts, was sentenced to just one day in prison.
While this will relieve the guilt of the jury members, most of whom publicly apologized for what they were tricked into doing, it does not remove the danger that other juries will be tricked the same way.
If you are on the jury in the trial of someone who grows pot, remember: the purpose of the jury is to stop the government from imprisoning people when the public is against it. No matter what the law says, you can vote to acquit the person. And if his "crime" is growing pot, that's exactly what you ought to do.
Religious fanatics in the US are opposing Palestinian statehood on grounds of biblical prophecy. It would be amusing if not for the fact that Dubya is closely tied to these fanatics.
Anglo American, the mining company, is being sued for involvement with paramilitary killings in Colombia.
The record companies, acting through their instrument the RIAA, threatened a bogus lawsuit against a student for developing a program that might, among other things, be used to copy music. They stole his entire life savings.
Some people are taking up a collection for the student, but I don't think that is the right way to help. I agree with comments some have made that we should contribute to legal battle against the record companies, not towards paying tribute to them.
The record companies treat musicians like dirt: when you buy the typical commercial CD, the amount of money that goes to the musicians is zero. The record companies poison music by stuffing it with hype. So don't believe them when they claim to be acting for the benefit of musicians or music--sharing music is not wrong. (See www.digitalspeech.org and www.publicknowledge.org.)
Remember that the record companies are everyone's enemies. Don't buy corrupt CDs!
Abas Amini, an Iranian asylum-seeker in the UK, a dissident who faced torture if he went home, sewed his eyes, lips and ears shut to call attention to his case. He was ultimately granted asylum--but he remains on hunger strike on behalf of other refugees.
Note especially how the government spokesman denies that Amini's protest had any influence on the decision. For government bureaucrats, imposing their rules (whether just or not) is the highest value. To be influenced by anything else--whether it be public opinion, justice, or human decency--is the ultimate defeat.
There were large protests against the meeting of the G8 in Geneva.
Australian protesters against marijuana prohibition have been sentenced to long prison terms.
The Australian government is pushing a law to let the government arbitrarily declare any organization "terrorist" and then imprison its members. People who simply repeat what the organization said could be imprisoned as well.
How the neoconservatives planned for the opportunity that Bush and 9/11 gave them--and how to criticize their work in a way that can persuade conservatives to oppose Bush.
15 years ago, millions of Americans in manufacturing jobs discovered those jobs were gone forever. Now the same thing is happening in software and many other technology fields. These jobs are moving to poor countries where people are paid much less.
I am not quick to make predictions about the future, but I think this marks the end of the days when most Americans were middle-class. Henceforth most Americans will be working-class and struggling.
I'd like to repeat that I do not see this issue from a nationalist point of view. I have no objection to people in India or Russia's having programming jobs, any more than I object to buying things made by people in Mexico or China. However, when moving jobs to another country is just an excuse to cut pay, then I object.
Keep in mind that these changes are not natural phenomena; they are no accident. The US governments has been pushing for this sort of change for many years.
UN weapons inspector Hans Blix questions whether we can depend on the report of weapons inspectors working for Bush; he also says that US intelligence help, which the US gave him only after a few months had gone by, was worthless.
The most amazing thing in this article is the statement by commentator Max Boot that the apparent worthlessness of US intelligence about Iraq "actually makes the case for preventive war that much stronger." He's saying that merely not knowing what a country is doing is reason to attack it.
Bush only proposed to attack countries for developing armed forces that might someday challenge US power. Boot proposes to attack countries whenever it isn't certain they aren't doing that.
A close aide to Berlusconi gave the mafia a protection deal.
This could be why his party won all the seats in Sicily.
Mugabe's forces continue to use violence to suppress protests in Zimbabwe, but the opposition stands firm.
Troops went so far as to force workers to get on the train to go to work. But even the police are abandoning Mugabe.
An ABC News story reports that "officials" admit that the talk about Saddam's weapons was just an excuse for a war they sought for other reasons. Supposedly the purpose was to discourage terrorists.
If that was truly the purpose, it is likely to backfire, as the war itself created hatred for the US around the world and especially in Arab countries. Resistance against US occupation in Iraq continues.
Veteran US intelligence agents are now accusing Bush of "cooking the intelligence".
An article on CNN suggests that Bush lied to the public about Iraqi weapons and distorted intelligence reports about Iraq when talking to Congress; and asserts that this would be grounds for impeachment.
I take issue with a few points in the article. One is the statement that Enron was not Bush's doing. There is reason to suspect that the administration aided Enron in various ways, whether or not it knew specifically about the fraudulent accounting. Another, more important, is the idea that people should give the President the benefit of the doubt in what he says. Various presidents, of both parties, show a pattern of lying to the public, and this president also stole the election.
I doubt that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives would vote for impeachment even if Bush were to admit that he lied. Impeachment nowadays is reserved for Democrats who lie about their private lives.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Cheney pressured the CIA to distort its findings. He too should be impeached.
Meanwhile, Tony Blair is trying to blame "rogue spies" in the UK intelligence service for the accusation that he manipulated their findings. I guess anyone who admits this would be a "rogue" from Blair's point of view.
Blair's spokesman argues, in effect, that Blair has so much ex officio credibility that accusations from lesser men are never reason to doubt his word. This resembles the argument I criticized above. In any case, it is not just people but also facts that weigh in on the issue.
And a UK official accused Blair and Bush of going for the oil.
There is increasing demand for a public inquiry into Blair's conduct. Perhaps both of these liars will fall from power due to their lies.
There is pressure on Australian Prime Minister Howard as well.
And an Australian intelligence analyst resigned in protest because of the distortion he saw was going on.
The AFL-CIO accuses Comcast of trying to intimidate workers who are planning to form a union.
An Anarchist prisoner in Oregon is being treated cruelly after he convinced the state government it had to overturn a prohibition on his receiving anarchist publications. It appears the prison system is punishing him for winning a legal battle with them.
The cruelty includes "losing" his property and denying him medical care.
Interesting Bush quotes:
"I don't want to be the world's policeman"-George W. Bush (2000 election debates)
"We cannot be all things to all people"-George W. Bush (2000 election debates)
"I think the United States must be humble, and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course"-George W. Bush (2000 election debates)
"Too much use of American power overseas causes the nation to look like 'the ugly American'."-George W. Bush (2000 election campaign)
Blair continues to insist that falsified Iraqi evidence was real.
Apparently he thinks that he can get away with any lie as long as he never admits it was a lie.
The House of Representatives votes to exempt the DOD from some environmental laws--something that the DOD does not really need, but Bush wants. The Senate voted against. The decision rests with a conference committee.
Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the UK, has denounced Tony Blair for lying about the supposed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
The government of Zimbabwe is arresting opposition leaders for holding protests. All protests have been banned.
In other articles I've read that the Zimbabwe opposition called for a national strike and closure of businesses, that it was very effective, and that the government is forcing shop owners to open their shops.
Note that "draconian security laws allowing the government to ban any gathering" also exist, practically speaking, in the US. Protests are often banned.
The reports of a former soldier who escaped from North Korea.
The roadmap for peace seems to have induced both Sharon and Abu Mazen to make substantial concessions.
Blair is under pressure for lying about supposed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. People in the UK are realizing that they went to war because they were lied to.
Record companies are suing Streamcast for making internal preparations to launch an internet broadcasting service. The motive appears to be that they lost another lawsuit against Streamcast over its peer to peer software.
Record companies treat most musicians like dirt, then, in the name of those same musicans, demand power to impose copy restriction on the public. Making and selling records is not wrong, but today's record companies deserve to be eliminated.
A leading Scottish lawyer calls for legalization of all drugs.
I don't advocate full legalization of addictive drugs. Perhaps it is better for doctors to prescribe them to anyone who is addicted--that would wipe out the profits of the sellers, and take the crushing burden of the law off of users, without letting businesses sell and advertise them.
Bush puts the duh in double-you.
A Bush supporter has made a fictional movie about September 11, falsely portraying Bush as attempting, at least in spirit, to oppose the terrorist attacks.
For comparison here's what Bush really did on that day.
The spymasters in the CIA are angry at Bush, because he distorted their intelligence reports about Iraq so as to fabricate an excuse for war.
What De Toqueville had to say about Dubya.
Friends become enemies, as the US arranges regime change after regime change.
In Honduras, loggers have made death threats against environmental activists.
Reports in the British Medical Journal explain how big drug companies use their money to distort medical research, and manipulate journals, govrnments, doctors, and patients.
For the BMJ articles, see this and this.
The UK government knew that its use of cluster bombs in inhabited areas was a war crime.
Part of the reason that the FCC is planning to betray the public interest to give concessions to big media companies could be that media companies give lots of favors to the FCC commissioners and staff.
They may also figure that the public mostly gets its news through those same media companies--which means the unfavorable coverage of this change will be limited. Media concentration in the US has gone so far that we need to do more than just resist further changes. The US needs to break up its media conglomerates.
Sean Penn explains his opposition to Dubya's invasion of Iraq.
The Bush regime is making absurd accusations against Iran much like those made previously against Iraq. This suggests that Dubya is planning another war.
Yitzhak Frankenthal, whose son was killed in a fight with Palestinians, calls on the Israeli right wing to make peace, rather than cause more deaths for the sake of the occupation.
Indonesian soldiers recently arrested and shot 18 unarmed men and boys in Aceh.
Exxon-Mobil is being sued for hiring the Indonesian Army as mercenaries to terrorize citizens in Aceh.
The UK is trying out a system that automatically stops cars from going faster than the speed limit.
The system's intended purpose is bad enough, but the implementation is even worse. It is based on keeping track of the car's position at all times. The system could easily remember your movements permanently, and the police could check.
They say the system is not going to be mandatory for all cars, but we can hardly trust them not to change their minds.
Trainspotters--railway buffs who photograph trains and record which ones go where-- are being treated in the UK as potential terrorists.
This anti-terrorism measure, like many, reflects idiotic paranoia. If terrorists ever want to attack a train, they don't need to take photos conspicuously in a train station to do it.
But it would make no sense for terrorists to attack a long-distance train, when a bomb could kill a lot more people in the London Underground. This security measure is like locking the window while the door is wide open.
Blair is accused of breaking a promise not to tap the phones of members of Parliament.
The story of Hiba, 19, a suicide bomber.
You can look at this as an illustration of how religion can drive people crazy, or as an example of desperation produced by oppression.
Bush plans to execute prisoners in Guantanamo Bay (without giving them fair trials, of course).
The purpose of such executions would be to terrorize opponents of the empire--justice plays no part. For this purpose, trials are unnecessary. Punishing someone falsely accused would be just as effective for terror as punishing someone actually guilty. Punishing people simply for being enemies of the US would be...capital.
Bush's war on women is being carried out quietly, without demanding legislation, but it is devastating.
The Indian government says it cannot afford to provide drinking water to the public, but it has money to subsidize the water megacorporations in privatization.
Dubya's cuts in spending for the poor are starting to really hurt Americans.
A fact-finding mission to investigate the consequences of the BP pipeline deal was constantly shadowed by Turkish police, and sometimes arrested. They did not dare inverview local inhabitants for fear those would be punished for talking to them.
Senator Byrd is one of the few US legislators to persistently oppose the invasion of Iraq and denounce Dubya's lies. Here's a moving speech.
The Pentagon is developing a radar system to identify people by their pattern of body motions.
This system is Big Brother's dream, a system that can be deployed eventually on every street corner to record everyone's movements. (It may take five years to be cheap enough for quantity deployment.) Put this together with the statement that TIA (formerly Total Information Awareness) will only use "lawfully acquired" data, and you see that that statement is no reassurance at all. If the US government deploys this system, it will certainly deem the data to be "lawfully acquired".
Characteristically, the developers said what engineers always say when they have switched off their consciences: "How this is used is not my department".
The UK is planning a censorship law that would prohibit "giving a (so-called) child anything that relates to sexual activity or contains a reference to such activity". This clearly includes most novels that you can buy in an ordinary book store.
As usual, the term "child" is used as a form of deception, since it includes teenagers of an age at which a large fraction of people are sexually active nowadays. People we would not normally call children.
The law would also prohibit "encouraging a (so-called) child to take part in sexual activity." I think that everyone age 14 or above ought to take part in sex, though not indiscriminately. (Some people are ready earlier.) It is unnatural for humans to abstain from sex past puberty, and while I wouldn't try to pressure anyone to participate, I certainly encourage everyone to do so.
This web site is currently hosted in the UK. If the law is adopted, will my web site be a crime? I will have to talk with the people who host the site about whether I should move it to another country.
(The hosting company responded that I don't need to move.)
A UN envoy reports that Israel has violated treaties by systematically destroying Palestinian housing and other facilities.
Amnesty International has denounced a pipeline deal to build a pipeline through Turkey to the Caspian Sea.
It's not that the pipeline is bad in itself. Rather, British Petrolium has exacted a heavy price for deigning to do business in Turkey, a price measured not just in money but in human rights. The deal sets aside European human rights principles and gives BP special privileges. It also indemnifies BP against whatever costs it may incur due to protection of the rights of anyone else, in effect placing BP above the citizens of Turkey.
NAFTA does this, and the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas does the same, which is why it must be rejected entirely.
Sharon talks about willingness to make peace, when someone wants to hear that, but he does (and says) the opposite.
This resembles what Israel for a long time accused the PLO of doing: saying it was willing to make peace, while elsewhere calling for the destruction of Israel and expulsion of the Jews. The Israeli policy is to say it is willing to make peace, while in fact engineering the expulsion of the Palestinians.
The UN security council caved in and gave Bush more or less what he wants in Iraq.
Far from saving the UN from irrelevance, this means the UN is drifting towards uselessness. The only possible utility today for an international body is to resist the US empire and protect the rights of the general world public.
The governor of Maryland signed a medical marijuana bill, defying pressure from the Drug Czar. Let's hope this czar's brutal regime will come to an end soon.
The accusations against the activists arrested in the infamous "scuola Diaz" raid were dropped because the activists did not resist the police.
A BBC video of a journalist being beaten up by the police was handed to the judges dealing with the case against the police.
Colin Powell said that Saddam had biological weapons factories in railroad cars, but the Bush forces (as of May 11) had not even bothered to ask Iraqi railroad personnell about them.
Perhaps they knew there was nothing to look for.
An FBI agent in a car deliberately drove it into Steven Hatfill, who was taking a picture of him. Instead of arresting the FBI agent, the DC police then gave Hatfill a ticket.
Steven Hatfill is suspected of being involved in the anthrax attacks of 2001, but there is no proof. Tomorrow the suspect could be you. You need not actually do anything wrong to be suspected.
When the police can commit violence against suspects with impunity, when the victim is punished and the perpetrator is not even arrested, they are far more dangerous than anthrax.
Bush is Top Gun when it comes to destroying jobs in the US. More generally, Republican presidents are much worse than Democrats when it comes to creating jobs.
I should note that the jobs created during Clinton's presidency were mostly McJobs, aside from the ones in the .com bubble. That is because of business-driven globalization.
The US army recognizes the danger of depleted uranium ammunition to the point of telling troops to stay away from targets that were hit with them. By contrast, Iraqi civilians are given no protection at all.
Any country that thinks of the US as an ally that would come to its aid against an attack had better be concerned about the fallout damage that US "conventional" weapons might cause to the population in the course of "defending" it.
A profile of Canadian journalist Barrie Zwicker, who seriously examines the evidence that Bush was involved in some sort of conspiracy about 9/11.
Michele Landsberg wrote a follow-up about a response to that article.
The Pentagon is trying to continue with Total Information Awareness, but to protect us from surveillance, it is changing the name.
They say that this system "will only analyze legally acquired information". This is hardly any limitation, since the USA PAT RIOT act made it easy for the government to legally acquire commercial records about individuals on a wholesale basis.
Moreover, the US and the UK have a long-standing deal where each one spies on the citizens of the other and then they trade. This way they can superficially comply with laws such as the one prohibiting the CIA to spy within the US, while actually making a mockery of it.
The UK, with the goal of preventing prostitution, has adopted a policy that certain people can be arrested merely for being on a street. It is now a crime for a certain citizen to go anywhere on foot.
In theory she is not subject to house arrest. She could travel by taxi, if she can get between the taxi and the destination before the police see her. But she probably cannot afford to actually do this. In effect, this is a sentence of house arrest, but pretending not to be one.
I wonder how she is supposed to get food to eat. Even if she can get money to buy some, she can't go to the store.
A commentator suggests that US interventionism means, paradoxically, that Israel will cease to be important to the US.
However, this argument may fall down if the the religious fanatics who control the US government care more about their fanaticism than about power politics.
Time To Question the U.S. Role In Saudi Arabia.
The nuclear "arms reduction" treaty proposed by Bush and Putin is so weak that it is a sham.
Amnesty International's observers have rejected Israeli demands to sign documents saying that Israel has no responsibility for killings and destruction committed by its army. As a result, its observers have been excluded from Gaza.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed in Baghdad since the end of combat there, by other Iraqis.
The Bush forces are not directly responsible for the individual killings, since they did not do or order these killings. However, the Bush invasion and the subsequent failure to establish order are responsible for them overall.
US bank lobbyists made a deal in 1996 to "temporarily" prohibit states from giving greater protection for individuals' financial records. Ralph Nader warns that now they're trying to cheat on the deal by making this permanent.
Links to varios pages about the state of emergency in Serbia.
Israel now hardly hesitates to murder foreigners who nonviolently try to prevent atrocities, or even reporters who try to cover them. The reason is that other governments support Israel against the Palestinians--and support Isreal so strongly that they treat their own citizens as enemies if they get in Israel's way.
The FCC is charging ahead with rule changes that would increase corporate control over mass media in the US.
The US coverage of the war shows that US broadcasters are already under tight control. But there is always room for this sort of thing to get worse.
The recent terrorist bombings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco demonstrate that the war in Iraq had little effect in terms of fighting terrorism. It may have made things worse--it may have boosted Islamist fanatics, by taking away the only competing secular alternative for Arab resistance to US power.
Meanwhile, 300,000 Iraqi children now face death from malnutrition.
Some supporters of the war argued that it was a way to lift the burden of sanctions from Iraqi children. In fact the sanctions system was supposed to allow import of the food and medicine they needed, but the US persistently distorted the workings of the system in order to block them; hence the burden on Iraqi children.
Israel has quietly stopped imprisoning reservists who refuse to serve in the occupied territories.
These refuseniks generally remain willing to fight if Israel were attacked militarily, but they are unwilling to participate in oppressing helpless civilians.
Mobile phones with video capability are already putting the principle of the secret ballot at risk. The Mafia is using them to buy votes.
Activist Roberto Verzola is on hunger strike to oppose the use of genetically modified corn in the Philippines.
I'm not totally opposed to genetically modified crops; in proper circumstances, and if properly tested, they may someday be able to help billions of poor people to live better.
However, it would take years to do careful testing, and corporations refuse to take the time. Meanwhile, when these seeds are priced beyond the resources of poor people, they can only be of use to agribusiness. The effect on billions of poor tends to be harmful, since they can neither compete with agribusiness nor buy its products.
Supposed "lifting" of "closure" in occupied Palestine, Israeli policy continues to impose constant cruelty.
The cruelty, which officials often refuse to acknowledge, bears no relation to maintaining security. The victims are not chosen because of any suspicion that they did or will attack anyone. The policy makes sense only as a tool for ethnic cleansing: a plan to force Palestinians into exile by making their lives permanent hell.
This article provides background information on the political views of Shiites in Iraq.
What I've read elsewhere accords with this. For instance, the assumption of power in Iran by Shiite cleric Khomeini, far from being in accord with Shiite tradition, actually turned it upside down.
Police in Croatia arrested anti-globalization protesters for chanting slogans.
An interesting profile of Laura Gordon, a Jew who visited Israel and then Gaza, and joined the International Solidarity Movement because of what she saw.
The Bush forces are blocking the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq.
In a conversation between Iraqi citizens and US students, the Iraqis overwhelmingly took the position that the US is an occupier, not their liberator.
Commentary on Israel's attacks on the International Solidarity Movement.
A month after Bush conquered Iraq, Baghdad is still in a state of looting and violence. They have not repaired the water system, so cholera is spreading.
The teams searching in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction are planning to give up, with still no evidence found.
The article indicates a pattern of mishandling of this search by the Bush forces. It is either a case of extreme incompetence, or perhaps Bush decided to let these sites be looted in order to create an excuse for the expected failure to find anything.
The Bush roadmap for peace between Israel and Palestine is running into a severe obstacle at the outset, about whether Palestinian refugees have the right to return.
Two articles about the issue: here and here.
Henry Norr, a reporter fired by the San Francisco Chronicle for participating in an anti-war protest, remains defiant.
He and his union are going to fight the decision.
Israel is systematically arresting the ISM "human shield" activists who have witnessed Israeli government violence against Palestinians and often nonviolently blocked it with their bodies.
The article mentions that foreigners are now prohibited from entering Gaza without Israeli government permission. It does not mention that Israeli citizens were already prohibited. The result is that nobody but Palestinians can be in Gaza without Israeli permission.
The areas where atrocities are committed, including the area of Rafah where all the houses are being demolished, the area where Rachel Corrie was crushed by a bulldozer protecting one, have been declared "closed military zones". In other words, the Army has a "no witnesses" policy.
When the Israeli government says that ISM activists interfere with army actions, that is true in a way. The ISM's nonviolent resistance tactics have often blocked acts of violence against unarmed people. But when the army says it "fears" that more ISM activists may be killed by the army, that is completely dishonest. "I'm afraid I may kill you if you get in my way" expresses menace, not concern.
Palestinians have sometimes lied about the magnitude of Israeli violence; the Israeli government points to those instances as an excuse to deny all reports of atrocities that come from Palestinians. Foreigners have provided an independent witness to events. Now there will be no witness for whatever the Israeli army chooses to do. It will be in a position to murder people by the dozens and bulldoze houses by the score every day, and call the reports lies. Their plan is to turn Palestine into a black hole from which news cannot escape.
People have sometimes criticized the Palestinians for failing to try nonviolent resistance. In fact, they are trying it; the International Solidarity Movement is a nonviolent resistance movement organized and carried out by Palestinians and foreigners together. If Israel uses repression to crush nonviolent Palestinian resistance, that also crushes the justification for criticizing Palestinians for using violence.
The whole US is rushing to adopt the vulnerable system which Bush used in Florida to block many Blacks from voting.
Dubya wants to spend billions of taxpayer's dollars on building nuclear power plants. (Utilities don't want to build them with their own money.)
A European Union report says that European governments have responded to 9/11 with hasty and unnecessary elimination of civil liberties.
(I first saw this article in the Independent.)
Here's more information about Dubya's obstruction of the investigation into the 9/11 attacks.
Another article goes into more details of what is known and what answers Bush is hiding.
A sociological report on how people resist surveillance.
At Kent State University, at a protest marking the anniversary of the 1970 massacre of students by US troops, police went on a spree of arrests against peaceful protesters.
The City of Chicago has to pay a million dollars for encouraging off-duty cops to beat up citizens.
In other words, the reason unjustifiable police violence is so common is that the government system systematically condones and encourages it.
The "smoking dolphin" shows the harm that "free trade" treaties do to environmental protection.
The harmful effects are no accident. They come directly from a rule that countries cannot treat physically identical goods (in this case, tuna) differently according to the manner in which they were caught, harvested or processed. Treaties that prohibit environmental protection requirements, or public health requirements, or fair labor standards requirements, must be overturned.
Bush continues to obstruct release of information about why his administration failed to prevent the 9/11 attacks. Naturally, the reason given for this obstruction is "national security."
Read Dubya's resume.
When US troops shot peaceful protesters in Falluja, Iraq, they also killed someone who was just passing by. Now his nephew speaks of joining Al Qa'ida for revenge.
Joining Al Qa'ida was nearly impossible for Iraqis while Saddam Hussein's grip was in place, but it will be very difficult for a US military government to prevent them. They would need to set up an indigenous dictator who would have to build up a machine of repression much like Saddam's.
I will not say that Bush has intended all along to replace Saddam with another Saddam. Perhaps he expects that a less brutal tyranny will suffice to keep Iraq in line. But I think that won't actually work, and when it fails, I think Bush will turn to a new Saddam on the grounds that it is the only way to keep the resistance in check. (The same excuse was probably used to justify the first Saddam.)
Meanwhile, an Arab journalist reports that Palestinians regard the newly published "road map" as a failure before it starts.
The US government criticized Israel for killing civilians in its attacks against Palestinians.
A US student articulately reports on the pro-war bias of the classes in her school.
It calls to mind the racist and militarist attitudes tought by schools in Japan through the end of World War II, and the poisonous attitude taught by US-funded school textbooks in Afghanistan.
A couple of US citizens who made the mistake of eating in an Indian restaurant in New York were threatened with being arrested and kept incommunicado.
That's the PAT-RIOT act for you. And note how the taxi driver, also a US citizen, was afraid that he would be punished if anyone stood up for his rights.
On the unnecessary state of emergency in Serbia, and how the assassination of the president was used as an excuse to crack down on people that the government did not like.
When US President Kennedy was assassinated, the US did not arrest dissidents, ban strikes, etc.
Bush forces shot protesters in Iraq, and made the standard excuse that someone was shooting at them. But there were no bulletholes in the building that was behind them.
(I heard subsequently on the radio that this happened a second time, with troops shooting at people who were protesting the first shootings.)
Bush's plans for democracy in Iraq don't seem to include
letting the Iraqi people decide their own copyright laws.
US record companies think they are going to make the decision.
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