Political notes from 2003: July - October

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  • 31 October 2003 (Dubya costume)

    Going trick-or-treating or to a costume party on Halloween? How about dressing up as Dubya? He's as dangerous as any vampire or ghoul, and what's even scarier, he really exists!

    I don't know whether there are Dubya costumes available. But if you call your local costume store now and ask if they have a Dubya costume, they may decide there's enough demand to make them for next year.

  • 31 October 2003 (editor convicted)

    The Indonesian government convicted an editor for headlines that condemn the President. The stories under those headlines criticized government policies.

    If I can live with being insulted, any politician ought to be able to learn how.

  • 30 October 2003 (Canada threatening)

    Canada is threatening to deport a number of people who are accused of supporting terrorists, and keeping them in prison for a long time, but presenting no evidence against them. They did not even violate immigration rules, as they have valid visas to be in Canada.

    Of course, the US is doing even worse, but that is no excuse.

  • 30 October 2003 (pipeline)

    US-sponsored pipeline through the Caucasus threatens environmental damage and will be a magnet for terrorism.

  • 30 October 2003 (civil war)

    The UN decides not to report on the companies that fuel the civil war in the Congo.

  • 29 October 2003 (Wal-Mart)

    Wal-mart isn't satisfied with the poverty wages that it pays to employees -- it contracts out cleaning so it can pay cleaners even less.

  • 29 October 2003 (Mumia)

    Mumia on the Corporate Party and NAFTA.

  • 28 October 2003 (lies about Iraq)

    US senators fight over who to blame for lies about Iraq: Bush or the CIA.

  • 28 October 2003 (civilians killed)

    The Israeli army refuses to acknowledge that it killed civilians with missile attacks in Gaza, despite the many Palestinian and foreign witnesses. Uri Avnery explains how trying to evade criticism for the policies of the occupation has made the Israeli army abandon its former standards of honesty, and lose its credibility, even with Israelis.

  • 27 October 2003 (US `elite')

    An elite US unit in Vietnam committed repeated massacres of civilians, according to fomerly-secret reports from the troops in that unit.

  • 25 October 2003 (Senator Byrd)

    Senator Byrd condemned and voted against funding the occupation of Iraq.

    Speaking to the australian senate, Bush was heckled by senators.

  • 25 October 2003 (presidency)

    Honey, I Shrunk the Presidency

  • 24 October 2003 (distorted)

    Cheney presented a distorted version of an opinion poll in Iraq, giving an impression of support for the Bush forces which contradicts the actual poll results.

  • 24 October 2003 (rampage)

    Rampage by Israeli forces in Gaza causes over 100 casualties, mostly civilian. The only significant difference between this and suicide bombing is that the pilots don't commit suicide.

  • 24 October 2003 (Bush attack!)

    Bush's plan for several wars is undaunted by the costs and reverses of Iraq. He was planning back in 2001 to attack several countries, and is still planning to.

  • 24 October 2003 (mismanagement)

    Common Cause reports on mismanagement of the funds spent for rebuilding Iraq.

  • 24 October 2003 (Diebold DMCA)

    Diebold, a company that makes electronic voting machines suspected of being easy to manipulate to commit election fraud, is using the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to suppress internal memos which show how vulnerable its machines are.

    Bush is trying to use the FTAA to impose laws like the DMCA on all the western hemisphere. He is also trying to use FTAA to mostly abolish the right of fair use under copyright, which is the reason why publication of memos such as these is arguably lawful today.

  • 24 October 2003 (courage)

    6 US states have refused to cooperate with a US database project called Matrix, claiming it attacks the privacy of citizens.

    Six cheers for their courage.

  • 24 October 2003 (anti-war)

    Australian anti-war protesters sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for "malicious damage": spray painting the Sydney Opera House with easily removable paint.

  • 24 October 2003 (Arnold)

    Groping Arnold plans to attack California women's (and men's) purses as well as their genitals. He is likely to drop state lawsuits against the electric power companies, companies that used California's electricity deregulation to cause a power shortage and make big profits.

    A previous note reports that Arnold's ties with these companies go back to the decision to push for a recall election.

  • 24 October 2003 (environmental impact)

    Bush is trying to abolish environmental impact statements, which prevent many environmental problems before they happen.

  • 24 October 2003 (Unicef)

    A UNICEF report says that a billion children and young people are in poverty, kept there by the system of global trade that lets business move to whichever country lets business treat workers the worst.

  • 24 October 2003 (lying)

    Through the courage of an Australian intelligence analyst who exposed the government's lies about Iraq, the Australian senate has censured the prime minister for lying.

  • 24 October 2003 (coffin coverage banned)

    Bush bans media coverage of coffins coming home from Iraq.

  • 23 October 2003 (supermarket strike)

    Supermarket workers are on strike in California.

  • 23 October 2003 (son of Osama)

    We are seeing accusations that Iran is harboring a son of Osama bin Laden, and letting him direct terrorism.

    It could be true that the Iranian mullahs are supporting Al Qa'ida in this way. On the other hand, it could be only propaganda from Bush to lay the groundwork for another unnecessary war. Like the boy who cried "wolf", the president who cried "terrorist" can't be trusted, even though he may occasionally denounce a real terrorist.

  • 22 October 2003 (Enron email)

    Microsoft releases an email system designed just for Enron.

    Even when not equipped with nasty features, Microsoft's software is unethical because it does not respect the user's freedom to share and change software.

  • 22 October 2003 (skeleton)

    An important archaeological discovery, a skeleton more than 4,000 years old, discovered in Florida, will be reburied instead of saved for scientific investigation. Even photographs, from which something might be learned later, will not be made. What a senseless waste! If we want to show respect to the person whose skeleton this was, then since we could only guess at what views he would have if he knew the situation, let's do so by giving him the chance to contribute to knowledge of his times and people.

    The Indian tribes in Florida today have as much connection with this skeleton as an Egyptian living today--or anyone with ancestors from the Middle East, including presumably me--has with an Egyptian mummy of the same date.

    Scientists should stop legitimizing the policy of excluding human remains in the US from scientific study, and start denouncing it roundly until it is changed. If a skeleton in the ground is old enough that there is no way to relate it to any particular living people, it should belong to science.

  • 22 October 2003 (Mother Teresa)

    India has no reason to be grateful to Mother Teresa, given what she really did there.

  • 22 October 2003 (reservists)

    US reservists who developed strange ailments while part of the Bush forces in Iraq are being held in squalid conditions, and wait weeks between doctors' appointments.

  • 22 October 2003 (solar system)

    To revitalize the International Space Station project, it should stop claiming that its primary goal is scientific research, and adopt the goal of furthering the manned exploration of the Solar System.

  • 20 October 2003 (Lozada resigned)

    Bolivian President Lozada has resigned.

    During the protests that overthrew Lozada, a soldier was shot for refusing to shoot protesters.

  • 20 October 2003 (peace plan)

    Here is a report on some of the provisions of an unofficial peace plan agreed on by some Israelis and some Palestinians.

    The plan looks fair to me. The question is, could this or any fair plan receive official approval?

  • 19 October 2003 (FBI)

    In the US, heated words in class, even reading a book, can get you questioned by the FBI nowadays--or by local police, as restraints on their activities crumble. And following the administration's policy of preemptively attacking anyone who could be imagined as an enemy, protest leaders are being arrested before the protest begins.

  • 19 October 2003 (SunnComm)

    Alex Jackson, after reading my previous note on SunnComm, pointed this out:

    Here's a direct quote from the CNET article referenced on your page:

    Future versions of the SunnComm software would include ways that the copy-protecting files would change their name on different computers, making them harder to find, [SunnComm CEO] Jacobs said. Moreover, the company will distribute the technology along with third-party software, so that it doesn't always come off a protected CD, he added.

    In other words, SunnComm intends to distribute software that (a) installs itself on a computer without the computer owner's knowledge or consent, by "piggybacking" on other software, (b) deliberately obfuscates itself in order to make it difficult for the owner to remove or even recognize its presence, and (c) has no purpose except to cripple the computer on which it is unwittingly installed. In short, SunnComm intends to distribute a computer virus.

    It's not exactly a virus, since it doesn't automatically copy itself from one machine to others. On the other hand, this mechanism of inclusion in other software without your knowing it is just as nasty as a virus.

    The solution is, don't ever trust a non-free program. If the software is not free, you can't tell what's in it, you can only put blind faith in the developers. And as SunnComm knows, many developers don't deserve that faith.

  • 19 October 2003 (natural gas)

    There have been massive protests in Bolivia over a plan to let foreign companies sell of Bolivia's natural gas to the US. It's not that they don't want to sell the gas; rather they want to make sure that the country and the people benefit from the sale.

    The Bolivian government, supported by the US, tried labeling protesting coca growers as "terrorists".

    protesters are now demanding the resignation of President Lozada, who ordered troops to shoot protesters.

    One of President Lozada's coalition partners stopped supporting him.

  • 19 October 2003 (GM crops)

    Monsanto says it will pull many operations out of Europe because of its opposition to GM crops.

    This should be seen as a sign of victory, but I have a feeling it is meant to punish Europe. Now, any government or legislators that feel pressured by something as minor as a matter of a few hundred jobs must be a coward. But it would not surprise me to see European legislators giving weight even to this minor act of revenge.

  • 19 October 2003 (bogus letters)

    A series of identical letters to the editor, praising the achievements of the Bush forces in Iraq, have been sent to various US newspapers in the name of various soldiers in the Bush forces. Some of these soldiers did not even know letters were being sent in their names.

    The letters say that in Kirkuk everything is going pretty well, and the soldiers say they agree with that. It may be true, in Kirkuk, but that doesn't generalize to the rest of Iraq. Kirkuk is inhabited to a large extent by Kurds, and was retaken first by the Kurdish forces.

  • 18 October 2003 (starting to fight)

    Shiites in Iraq are starting to fight the Bush forces.

  • 18 October 2003 (rebuilding)

    Bush is prepared to spend money to rebuild the Iraqi electicity infrastructure (even though it's likely to be blown up by rebels), but puts rebuilding of the shaky US electric infrastructure on the back burner.

  • 18 October 2003 (development aid?)

    The rich countries' plan for "development aid" for Africa is actually a plan to extract Africa's resources and won't do anything to reduce poverty in Africa.

  • 18 October 2003 (GM foods)

    Genetic engineering companies "tried to lie" to Europeans about genetically modified foods.

  • 18 October 2003 (surveillance)

    UK plans for total phone and internet surveillance will be challenged as a violation of EU laws.

  • 18 October 2003 (obesity)

    Obesity growing throughout the developed world, due to lack of exercise and fattening packaged food, is a major health risk.

  • 17 October 2003 (new safety requirements)

    The US government has been fighting to stop Europe from adopting new safety requirements for testing chemicals before they are sold.

  • 16 October 2003 (lion hunting)

    Big-fee lion-hunting in Africa has reduced the lion population to just 1/3 of what it was a decade ago. Botswana decided to end lion hunting, but rich trophy-seekers such as Bush I want to bring it back.

  • 16 October 2003 (joke)

    This joke is circulating on the net.

    Up in Heaven, Alexander the Great, Frederick the Great and Napoleon are looking down on events in Iraq.

    Alexander says, "Wow, if I had just one of Bush's armored divisions, I would definitely have conquered India."

    Frederick the Great states, "Surely if I only had a few squadrons of Bush's air force I would have won the Seven Years War decisively in a matter of weeks."

    There is a long pause as three continue to watch events. Then Napoleon speaks, "And if I only had that Fox News, no one would have ever known that I lost the Russia campaign."

  • 16 October 2003 (Gaza Strip)

    Ha'aretz describes the Israeli raids in the Gaza Strip, which found three smuggling tunnels by destroying the housing of 120 families.

  • 16 October 2003 (sonar killing whales)

    Powerful sonar systems kill whales by making them surface so fast that they get the bends.

  • 15 October 2003 (9/11 investigation)

    The 9/11 investigation is still seeking access to key documents from the Bush administration.

  • 15 October 2003 (endangered tropical fish)

    The trade in tropical fish for aquariums is endangering some of the species that people want to exhibit.

  • 14 October 2003 (power companies)

    Bush has close ties with electric power companies, and gets a lot of money from them. Bush appointees gave false information to Congress to weaken EPA pollution limits.

  • 14 October 2003 (arrested for harvesting)

    Palestinian farmers and their international shields arrested for harvesting.

  • 14 October 2003 (resistance fighters)

    A journalist reports on conversations with Iraqi resistance fighters, including nationalists who don't like Saddam Hussein, Tikritis who support him, and Islamists.

  • 14 October 2003 (medicine)

    When the NIH in the US develops a drug, it typically gives some large company an exclusive license. The details are kept secret-- but in the case of taxol, the company pays next to nothing.

    Drugs that deal with major world health problems tend to be developed with publicly-funded research, not by corporate research. I think the NIH should sell licenses to its patents for the rich countries only, and a condition of the license should be that the companies that buy the licenses not use their patents to stop poor countries from producing medicine cheaply for each other.

  • 14 October 2003 (Ramallah)

    Uri Avnery describes three tense days in Ramallah, as Israeli human shields went to protect Yassir Arafat.

  • 13 October 2003 (SunnComm)

    SunnComm, the company that used the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to threaten a student who explained how to read certain Corrupt Discs (that is, fake CDs) into a computer running Windows, decided not to sue him.

    However, I think the person who commended this company for "looking past the bottom line" misinterpreted the situation. I expect that SunnComm made this decision based entirely on the bottom line, realizing that such a suit would get them bad publicity while doing nothing to make their system more effective.

    It should not be necessary for them to sue, to get bad publicity. SunnComm, and the record companies that use these methods, deserve bad publicity merely for trying to stop you from reading music disks into your computer.

    I think that a useful way to push back on the record companies would be to start regularly picketing record stores, handing out leaflets explaining why people should refuse to buy Corrupt Discs, how the record companies treat musicians like dirt, etc. The leaflet could also list popular Corrupt Discs that the buyer should avoid buying.

    If you do this, even on your own, for an hour every few days or week, I think you will be able to recruit some of the passers-by to join the effort, and thus gradually increase the scope of the effort until you are doing it for maybe ten hours a week.

    Now is a great time to start, since in two months you could expand the effort enough to cause real pressure on the store during the holiday selling season. Please email me if you do this--I think it will be useful to keep in touch, so as to perhaps organize a larger effort later.

  • 13 October 2003 (suicide bomber)

    A Palestinian suicide bomber destroyed a restaurant where Jews and Arabs ate together. (I've read elsewhere that some of the victims of the bombing were Arabs, too.) The restaurant was a small hope for peace, and an especially sad choice of target.

    The Israeli "response", to attack a so-called terrorist camp in Syria which wasn't really one, clearly has nothing to do with the suicide bombing. The bombing provided an excuse for an attack on Syria that they had planned for other reasons, just as September 11 was the excuse for an attack on freedom that Bush and his men had planned for other reasons.

  • 13 October 2003 (Catholic lies)

    The Catholic Church is telling the public that condoms don't stop AIDS.

    Some lies can kill.

  • 13 October 2003 (9/11)

    The Philadelphia Daily News report on 20 important questions about the 9/11 attacks that Bush isn't helping us answer.

  • 13 October 2003 (7 questions)

    Michael Moore presented his list of 7 questions in the Guardian.

  • 13 October 2003 (9/11 warnings)

    Gore Vidal explains some of the warnings that the Bush administration received and ignored before 9/11, and some of the possible motives for doing so.

  • 13 October 2003 (suing US government)

    Ellen Mariani, whose husband was killed in the World Trade Center, is suing the US government for failing to maintain proper security.

  • 13 October 2003 (Mark Twain)

    Mark Twain's words for the Battle Hymn of the Republic are even more appropriate today.

  • 12 October 2003 (CPD)

    The CPD, which runs the official presidential debates in the US, is run by people with close ties to major corporations and has a history of selling privileges to corporations for money.

  • 12 October 2003 (election)

    Moscow's candidate wins election for president of Chechnya, after his main rivals were driven out of the race.

  • 12 October 2003 (women of Afghanistan)

    Amnesty International reports that the US-installed Afghan regime does not deliver justice and safety for the women of Afghanistan.

  • 12 October 2003 (lions in danger)

    Trophy-hunters are killing so many African lions that the species is in danger

  • 12 October 2003 (Russian gov't report)

    The Russian government reported to the US government, some ten years ago, that Reagan & Bush were bidding against President Carter in 1980 to buy the support of Iranian hostage-takers.

  • 12 October 2003 (teak forests)

    The Burmese government is cutting down teak forests at a rapid rate that can exhaust them.

    Although Global Witness declines to say "Don't import Burmese timber under any circumstances", that's what Aung San Suu Kyi says. Back when she could still communicate, she asked the rest of the world to impose complete economic sanctions and not import anything from Burma, because the military government gets the money to stay in power from its foreign trade.

    The military government renamed Burma to "Myanmar" and Rangoon to "Yangon". Using the new names is a mark of respect for the military government, and supporters of the Burmese democracy movement reject them.

    See the full report

  • 12 October 2003 (Operation Candyman)

    A US court ruled that the FBI lied to judges to get thousands of search warrants after inviting them to download so-called child pornography.

  • 12 October 2003 (Bir Zeit university)

    Israeli soldiers closed off Bir Zeit university, then shot at students for no reason.

  • 11 October 2003 (Saddam)

    Iraqis rioted and fought with Bush troops and their Iraqi police, while saying they want Saddam back.

    The occupation must be pretty bad if it makes Saddam look good.

  • 11 October 2003 (DMCA)

    The Digital Millenium Copyright Act is being used again to intimidate a student who published trivial instructions for how to bypass the copy-restriction software included in a fake CD.

    (Note the misleading description of the DVD-playing program DeCSS, which was censored under the DMCA, as "software code that helped in the process of copying DVDs." DeCSS can be used for copying, but its primary purpose is to enable you to to watch the film.)

    Copying music noncommercially should be legal for everyone. Laws that prohibit this are unjust concessions to predatory record companies, which mistreat the public and musicians alike.

    The US is still trying to use the FTAA to impose such laws on the rest of the Western Hemisphere.

  • 11 October 2003 (pesticide)

    A pesticide plant in India is polluting its neighborhood and causing deaths.

  • 11 October 2003 (colonies)

    Israel plans to continue increasing its colonies in the Palestinian west bank.

    The Israeli settlements in the occupied territory were intended from the start as a plan for annexation of the occupied territory and preventing the creation of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel. We can hardly expect Palestinians (or anyone) to sit still for the continuing theft of their land and water. If Israel wants the violence to end, it has to remove the settlements.

  • 10 October 2003 (solar cells)

    A European company recently announced that a year from now it will be making solar cells so cheap that they would make fossil fuel electric plants obsolete. If this is true, it would be a tremendous step forward for humanity, and could help reduce global warming even as it makes electricity available to billions of poor people.

    But we must be skeptical whenever a business says it's going to do something in the future. It may really happen, or it may be an exaggeration. We should not take this for granted until we have more facts to go on.

  • 10 October 2003 (blackboxvoting.org)

    The web site blackboxvoting.org, which describes the potential for fraud in electronic voting systems, was inexplicably kept inaccessible for 10 days leading up to the California recall election.

    Questions are Raised on Awarding of Contracts in Iraq

  • 9 October 2003 (ignored report)

    Bush officials ignored a Pentagon report that it would be hard to export oil from Iraq, and assured the US that this would be easy.

  • 8 October 2003 (estate tax)

    Bush supporter compares the estate tax with the holocaust.

  • 8 October 2003 (biology journal)

    The Public Library of Science is launching a new freely-redistributable biology journal, as part of its campaign to liberate access to scientific literature.

  • 6 October 2003 (freedom to assemble)

    A Reclaim the Streets protest in Osaka criticized a new Japanese law restricting the freedom to assemble.

    If anyone can tell me more details of this attack on democratic freedom in Japan, I would like to post them here.

  • 6 October 2003 (energy stores)

    A scientific study says world oil and gas reserves are much smaller than was previously believed, so that the price is likely to start going up in about a decade.

    This means there is no time to lose in converting to alternative power sources, or to more efficient ways of life. Europeans use far less energy per capita and still have comfortable lives, because they have oriented their society in this direction. The US could do it too, if it didn't have a president whose goal is to boost oil company profits.

  • 6 October 2003 (Robin Cook)

    Robin Cook, who resigned from the UK government in opposition to the war, reports that immediately before the war Tony Blair did not appear to believe his statements about the threat from Iraq.

  • 6 October 2003 (Information Society)

    The second meeting of the World Summit on the Information Society is planned for Tunisia--ominously, a country that has imposed tight political censorship on the internet.

    For details, see the Tunisia section of this long report.

  • 5 October 2003 (global warming)

    Global warming is killing so many people that it should be considered a weapon of mass destruction.

    An unprecedented heat-wave in France this summer probably killed 10,000 people.

    The main opponent of measures to reduce global warming is the US government. Apparently this weapon is being wielded by the US against the rest of the world.

  • 5 October 2003 (Where's Dubya?)

    Police have made a practice of forcing protesters to stand so far away from Dubya that he can't even see them.

  • 5 October 2003 (Amina Lawal)

    Amina Lawal's conviction for adultery has been overturned; she had been sentenced to death under Islamic law. But the law itself continues to be active, and other women are threatened with execution.

  • 5 October 2003 (security wall)

    Effects of putting the Israeli security wall in the wrong place.

  • 5 October 2003 (mass destruction)

    The Bush forces have found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and only small signs of programs that might someday have developed any.

    Bush and Blair responded to this report by saying that it proves the justification for the war.

    Apparently the reason for the war was that Saddam did not have dangerous weapons. If he had really had them, as North Korea does, that would be a reason not to attack.

  • 5 October 2003 (censorship)

    The US bullied the government of Qatar into censoring Al Jazeera.

    It is hard for freedom of the press to exist in a world where one country is too powerful.

  • 5 October 2003 (sex prevention)

    Indonesia may soon prohibit living together, visiting a prostitute, advocating communism, and black magic.

    Other articles say that gay sex and oral sex will be prohibited too.

  • 30 September 2003 (left to die)

    The Palestine Monitor reports that Israeli fighters in Gaza shot 17-year-old Mohammad al-Husni as he walked past a checkpoint doing nothing in particular. Subsequently, as he lay on the ground wounded, they kept the ambulance away while shooting him again from time time. By the next morning he was dead from many wounds.

    This reports such extreme cruelty that I wondered if it might be exaggerated, so I contacted Gush Shalom to check. They said they have no way to check this particular story, but that they know the Palestine Monitor as a credible source.

  • 29 September 2003 (clean air)

    The US government asked the Supreme Court to overturn California's clean air regulations. When there's a conflict between any state and Dubya's friends in the oil business, you know what side he's on.

  • 29 September 2003 (euthanasia)

    French mother faces prosecution for granting her blind, paralyzed son's wish to die.

  • 29 September 2003 (censored stories)

    In Project Censored's list of the top 25 censored stories in the US in 2003, first place goes to the story that Bush and his cronies planned the invasion of Iraq even before he lost the election.

  • 28 September 2003 (killing Arafat)

    Uri Avnery: what killing Arafat will lead to--and why Sharon wants it.

  • 28 September 2003 (Schwarzenegger)

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, who advocates harsh policies towards illegal immigrants, violated the terms of his visa when he first moved to the US, by working for a salary.

  • 28 September 2003 (UN Evacuation)

    The UN has evacuated most non-Iraqi workers from Iraq, following several attacks against UN personnel there.

    At this point, even if Bush (or his possible replacement) is willing to stop trying to turn Iraq into a colony and let the UN take control, the UN might be either unwilling or unable to take over. I don't know of any other force in Iran that might be able to do so, aside from religious groups. Ironically, thus, the effect of Bush's war may be to bring about a theocratic Iraq, just the sort that would be inclined to support terrorism against the US.

    The longer the occupation goes on, the worse it will be afterwards.

  • 28 September 2003 (Halliburton Profits)

    One third of money spent by the Bush forces in Iraq goes to contractors--and much of it goes to Halliburton.

  • 28 September 2003 (report altered)

    Blair's chief of staff intervened at the last minute to alter an intelligence report on Iraq, to give an impression that Iraq posed a threat to attack using chemical and biological weapons. Blair then used the altered report to justify the plan to attack Iraq.

    After 5 months of searching, the Bush forces have found no trace of such weapons.

  • 28 September 2003 (spying)

    The Muslim chaplain for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has been accused of spying.

  • 28 September 2003 (blackouts)

    Americans: want more power blackouts? The Senate voted to eliminate the Space Environment Center, which forecasts "space weather" (I think they mean solar flares)--which sometimes knock out electric power transmission.

  • 28 September 2003 (carbon dioxide)

    Carbon dioxide produced by burning of fossil fuels is getting into the ocean, and slowly making it more acidic.

  • 28 September 2003 (farm raid)

    The Bush forces raided an Iraqi farm with only civilians in it, started shooting for no obvious reason, called in air strikes, and killed several civilians.

    A spokesman for the Bush forces calls the dead farmers "enemy dead".

  • 28 September 2003 (GM crops)

    British public discussion of GM crops yields almost total opposition, with people initially neutral becoming opposed as they learned more.

  • 27 September 2003 (climate change)

    Large Arctic ice shelf has cracked due to climate change.

    Many Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves have disappeared. Since they were floating on the ocean, this did not change global sea level. But we have no way of knowing at what point this will affect ice caps on Greenland and Antarctica. If a substantial part of them melts, the ocean will rise--maybe a few feet, maybe hundreds of feet. The usual prediction is for a rise of several feet.

    The US government doesn't seem to recognize the danger. The new federal court house in Boston was built just a few feet above the water of the harbor. It was probably built to last for many decades, but it could have to be abandoned.

  • 27 September 2003 (new weapons)

    The House of Representatives appropriated $368 billion for Pentagon, including development of new weapons of mass destruction, expensive new fighter planes for aerial combat against a nonexistent enemy air force, submarines to attack a nonexistent enemy navy, and spying on Dubya's real enemy: US citizens who disagree with the government.

  • 27 September 2003 (insufficient force)

    Six weeks after insisting the U. S. had "sufficient force to do what is required" in Iraq, the Bush Administration admitted yesterday more reservists likely will be sent to the frontlines.

  • 27 September 2003 (casualty estimate)

    An Iraqi whose family has suffered under the Saddam regime and the Bush regime has made a careful estimate of Iraqi civilian casualties due to the war: around 37,000. The total population of Iraq is around 23 million, so this is almost .2% of the population.

    For comparison, US casualties in the entire decade of the Viet Nam war were only a little larger (55000), and came from a total population about ten times bigger.

  • 26 September 2003 (pat-riot act)

    Ashcroft, praising the pat-riot act in New York, was met by protesters including relatives of those killed in the 9/11 attack.

  • 26 September 2003 (slogans)

    Bush/Cheney campaign slogans.

  • 26 September 2003 (refusing to attack)

    27 Israeli army pilots, some active and some in the reserves, including a former general, have signed a statement refusing to attack populated areas in the occupied territories.

    These pilots are defending what I was taught in the 1960s was the spirit of Israel.

    By the way, I've seen how narrow Israel is at its narrowest point, and I still don't believe that Israel's safety requires taking the Palestinian's remaining land. Israel survived almost 20 years within its 1967 borders even though all the major Arab countries vowed war. Living alongside a Palestine not allowed to have an air force, in a future where none of these countries wants a war, Israel and Israelis would be much safer than they are now.

  • 26 September 2003 (walking while black)

    The poetry professor who wrote about his arrest for "walking while black" was falsely arrested again, and accused of being a terrorist and insane.

    His article shows how the jails in New York regularly break their own rules in mistreating arrested people.

  • 25 September 2003 (Cheney lies)

    Cheney lies about his continued income from Halliburton.

  • 25 September 2003 (beaten, then arrested)

    A Jewish peace activist was beaten, and then arrested, for throwing a kosher pie at an Israeli government minister who was visiting the US.

  • 25 September 2003 (Iraq for sale)

    Bush puts Iraq up for sale.

  • 25 September 2003 (Saddam not a threat)

    Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice both admitted in 2001 that Saddam Hussein was no threat. After 9/11 offered an opportunity to attack Iraq, they turned around and said the opposite.

  • 25 September 2003 (electronic voting)

    Elections appear to have been rigged in several states of the US using electronic voting machines. This casts doubt on the possibility of an honest election in 2004.

  • 25 September 2003 (Bush forces)

    What it's like in the Bush forces in Iraq today.

  • 25 September 2003 (Cancun WTO negotiation)

    A thorough analysis of why the Cancun WTO negotiation collapsed.

    The reasons presented here, manipulation of the negotiations behind closed doors by the richest countries, is a good reason for other delegates to walk out, but it is not the deepest reason to reject the WTO.

  • 24 September 2003 (Bush criticism)

    Bush is increasingly criticized from the US military and military families for foolish planning about the occupation of Iraq.

    But note that the beginning of the article is somewhat mistaken: Bush really owes his presidency to the disenfranchisement of some 50,000 voters in Florida who were falsely labeled as felons.

  • 24 September 2003 (pollution allowed)

    Bush visits a power plant and praises it as a model of clean generation, at the same time he propose policies so that it can continue to pollute.

  • 23 September 2003 (prison slavery)

    The Campaign Against Prison Slavery aims to put an end to the use of prisoners as slave labor to produce consumer products.

    When prisoners can be paid next to nothing to produce goods, it is hard for people outside prison to get paid any more than that. Unable to get work, they tend to end up in prison too, thus increasing the size of the population available for slave labor.

  • 23 September 2003 (choose)

    The former speaker of the Israeli parliament says: Israel must shed its illusions and choose between racist oppression and democracy.

  • 23 September 2003 (globalization)

    Business-dominated globalization is reaching its natural conclusion as all kinds of good jobs are outsourced from the US to places where people will work for peanuts and are treated like slaves.

    At that point, either the masses of unemployed will elect politicians that will abolish the WTO and rein in the corporations, or they will be permanently disenfranchised.

  • 23 September 2003 (refusal)

    Over 500 members of the Israeli armed forces have put their names down as refusing to participate in the occupation, on the grounds that it violates the principles of Israel and it armed forces.

    A group of Israeli fighter pilots is planning to refuse to carry out non-military assassination missions.

  • 21 September 2003 (marijuana)

    Seattle voters approved a ballot resolution to give punishment of marijuana possession the lowest priority for the city's police.

    Critics called this a "veiled" attempt to condone use of marijuana. I don't think it was veiled, but it was not explicit. I suspect that the reason it was not more explicit was to make it have some tangible effect at the city level. Since the prohibition of marijuana is a state law, a city ordinance cannot override or invalidate it; what the city can in principle do is reduce its cooperation in arresting violators of that law.

  • 20 September 2003 (treating pain)

    Some states are changing their laws to allow doctors to treat chronic pain without being imprisoned.

  • 20 September 2003 (polluting Alaska's lakes)

    Salmon may be polluting Alaska's lakes--because humans have polluted the whole ocean.

  • 20 September 2003 (WTO negotiations)

    The World Trade Organization negotiations broke down after poor countries refused the demands of the US and EU to give corporations more power.

    Note how the article begins with a quote from an Australian who claims that the poor countries acted "against their national interest", but the concept of "national interest" (typically measured by the total amount of trade or production) is of little relevance to today's trade issues. WTO is designed to increase the power of global corporation, while turning production (whichever country it may be in) into sweatshops. It is "good for the global economy" only if "good" means more millionaires and lower wages, world wide. In every country, including the US, most people stand to lose.

    A Korean farm activist leader committed suicide as a protest.

    The talks broke down because the poor countries united and thus gained the strength to resist US demands.

    I'm glad to see the poor countries unite, but if they give increased agricultural exports higher priority than defending their sovereignty against corporate rule, their new-found strength will be wasted. No agreement at all is a pretty good outcome for these talks; but even better would be less than no agreement: for a large number of countries to leave the WTO, and abolish it.

    President Chavez of Venezuela said he specifically aims for that goal.

    Note how the article absurdly compares this policy (not too different from what was followed in US a few decades ago) to Cuban Communism, which is completely different.

  • 19 September 2003 (weapons destroyed)

    Hans Blix, formerly chief UN weapons inspector, says that Saddam Hussein destroyed his weapons of mass destruction ten years ago, and suggests that he blocked inspectors' access several years ago to give the impression he still had some, as a deterrent to attack.

    This would explain why Iraq started cooperating with UN weapons inspectors once Saddam realized Bush would use the noncooperation as grounds to attack Iraq. Unfortunately, as we have seen, this was just an excuse for Bush, since the decision to attack Iraq had already been made, weapons of mass destruction or no.

  • 18 September 2003 (censorship)

    CNN journalist says there was a climate of censorship regarding the war.

  • 18 September 2003 (attack sleeping)

    At least 30 policemen and other officials who participated in the attack on sleeping protesters in Genoa are now being prosecuted for it.

    One aspect of this article is not clear to me. When it says that some people have been notified that "investigations have been closed", does that mean those people will not be charged, or that they have been charged?

  • 18 September 2003 (invasion)

    Wesley Clark expressed some reservations about the invasion of Iraq, but came around to support it.

  • 18 September 2003 (Bush misled)

    A site that details how Bush has misled the public.

  • 18 September 2003 (silence)

    A moment of silence...or more than one?

  • 15 September 2003 (Wesley Clark)

    Michael Moore says positive things about Wesley Clark as a candidate for president.

    I continue supporting Kucinich, but I could consider Clark as a second choice.

  • 15 September 2003 (asteroid watch)

    NASA is searching for asteroids over 1km in diameter that might hit the Earth. Now there is a plan for a follow-on program to find nearly all asteroids 140 meters across.

    Although the chance of an asteroid impact in any year is less than 0.01 percent, the damage one would cause is tremendous. Thus, the average rate of loss due to asteroid impacts is at least millions of dollars a year. (I think it is more like hundreds of millions per year, but I don't remember--please send me the figure and a reference if you can find it.) Even on the narrowest financial criteria, it is worth spending money to find these asteroids, so that we learn about any coming collision with enough advance notice to shift the asteroid's course and prevent it.

  • 15 September 2003 (superstition)

    A prominent Egyptian archaeologist is planning experiments to see if there is actually anything potentially dangerous in ancient Egyptian tombs, in an attempt to refute a widespread supersition.

    I've read that nothing in Tutankhamun's tomb spoke of cursing those who might enter it, and the people who excavated it mostly did not die soon after.

  • 15 September 2003 (human shields)

    Uri Avneri and other Israelis volunteered as human shields for Arafat, after the Israeli government said it plans to "remove" him. They pointed out that "remove" could easily mean "assassinate".

    Subsequently some Israeli officials spoke in favor of an assassination, which means Avneri was right.

  • 15 September 2003 (extinction)

    Some 700 species of vertebrates are close to extinction and not protected at all. Another 900 species (it's not clear whether these include only vertebrates) are being protected, but in areas too small to give them a good chance of survival.

    This doesn't count the invertebrates and plants that are endangered too. The number of those species must be at least in the tens of thousands.

    I don't know whether the 700 include sharks, but sharks in the North Atlantic have been nearly wiped out.

  • 15 September 2003 (pacification)

    How "pacification" operated in Viet Nam, and how its failure has lessons for Iraq.

  • 14 September 2003 (media corruption)

    How the corporate media gently buys the independent heart of journalists.

  • 14 September 2003 (failed assassination)

    Failed Israeli assassination attempt ensures Hamas will reject peace.

  • 14 September 2003 (newspapers shut down)

    Al Jazeera has protested that the Bush forces arrest and shoot at its correspondents.

    The Bush forces in Iraq have closed at least five newspapers. In July they closed Al-Mustaqilla ("the independent"), taking its money and computers, and arresting its chairman. They did not say why.

    If you can tell me what happened since then, I will post it here.

  • 14 September 2003 (distorted `intelligence')

    Two senior UK intelligence officials accuse Tony Blair of distorting intelligence about Iraq to justify a war.

    In addition, UK intelligence warned that attacking Iraq could increase the danger of terrorism. When Blair said that the war would protect against terrorism, he was disregarding his own spies' advice.

    Here's analysis of how the "war on terror" is being conducted in ways that increase the danger of terrorism.

    Another Blair, Eric Blair, might wonder if this is no accident--if the people who run the "war on terror" want to ensure that the need for this war never goes away.

  • 14 September 2003 (resignation)

    Bush resignation hailed by world leaders. (Not.)

  • 14 September 2003 (GM crops)

    Information about the corporations that are pushing for genetically modified crops.

  • 12 September 2003 (he started it)

    A University of Massachusetts policeman first pushed Professor Van Der Meer, then when he objected to that, attacked him and arrested him for "assaulting an officer". This occurred after Professor Van Der Meer objected because an army recruiter told the professor and a protesting student that they should be shot in the head like Martin Luther King.

    Making false accusations against citizens with is standard practice for police, which is why some of them coined the term "testilying" to describe what they do in court. What's especially outrageous is that the chief of the campus police is defending the practice. He should be fired, and replaced by someone who will charge the policeman with battery.

  • 12 September 2003 (media concentration)

    How concentrated are the world's media? As of 1997, just 9 companies dominated the world. Some details may have changed (and I'd like to see an updated version of this report), but the basic picture is surely the same.

  • 11 September 2003 (freedom?)

    US gets low grade for freedom of the press

    Before the war in Iraq, the Bush forces threatened independent journalists that it would kill them.

    This has happened several times. Just a few weeks ago, the Bush forces shot and killed a journalist. Of course, the generals said it was a tragic accident, but other journalists in the TV crew said the killer knew they were all journalists.

  • 11 September 2003 (senate vote)

    A senate committee voted for rolling back the FCC's media concentration policy.

    But since Bush favors the policy (his administration pushed for it), he is going to try to convince the full senate to defeat it. Your senators need to hear from you now.

  • 11 September 2003 (87 billion)

    What useful jobs could we do with 87 billion dollars?

  • 11 September 2003 (stricter punishment)

    A coalition of civil liberties and consumer groups opposes a new proposed directive for stricter punishment for copyright and patent infringement.

    I agree with what they say, but the statement accepts too much that it ought to criticize. EU law is already too restrictive, and simply to prevent further changes is not enough. It is wrong to stop people from sharing music and other published works, and only draconian laws could possibly do the job, so it's no surprise to see they are being proposed. But opposing this directive without criticizing its unjust motivation is insufficient. Even using the term "intellectual property" is a point of weakness, because this is a propaganda term for those who want to restrict the public.

  • 11 September 2003 (withdrawn)

    An extremist Bush appointee for federal appeals court judge has withdrawn his name, after seeing that Democrats in the Senate were resolved to oppose his nomination.

  • 11 September 2003 (houses demolished)

    The Kabul government demolishes houses, Palestine-style, with the families' possessions still inside.

  • 11 September 2003 (health problems)

    Medical tests carried out on thousands of people who worked at the WTC site after 9/11 find that almost half now have lasting health problems.

    If half of the tens of thousands of people who were in the area have similar health problems, Bush's order to the EPA to conceal the danger has permanently injured far more people than were killed by the terrorists.

  • 10 September 2003 (corporate-friendly)

    Corporations have been running a decades-long propaganda campaign to get the public to take for granted certain corporate-friendly assumptions.

  • 9 September 2003 (protester hit)

    UK police saw a car hit a protester, then summoned the protester but let the driver go.

  • 8 September 2003 (expansionist intent)

    A former British cabinet minister under Tony Blair charges that the "War on Terrorism" pursued by his own government and the US government is bogus, that 9/11 was used as a pretext for expansionist plans laid in advance.

  • 8 September 2003 (arresting dissidents)

    The government of Turkmenistan is arresting dissidents, and even the family of dissidents, and sentencing them to forced relocation without trial.

    Turkmenistan's president Niyazov rejected the title of "president for life" that his obviously subservient legislature offered him, choosing instead to express his megalomania by having the month of January renamed in his honor.

  • 8 September 2003 (council)

    Bush's Iraq "governing council" appoints ministers--but even many of those invited to join the council consider it a puppet.

  • 8 September 2003 (ethical standards)

    Drug companies, helped by the US government are trying to weaken doctors' ethical standards.

  • 8 September 2003 (rebuilt)

    Israelis, Palestinians and visiting foreigners have together rebuilt a house that has been demolished by Israeli forces.

    ICAHD works in various ways against the Israeli system of collective punishment by house demolishion.

  • 7 September 2003 (sonar)

    A US court restricted the use of a new sonar system whose extremely strong beams are dangerous to whales and fish.

    This is a victory for environmental movement. However, Republicans are trying to give the military a blanket exemption from environmental protection laws, so that it can freely endanger not just whales and fish, but also the civilians it claims to protect.

  • 7 September 2003 (dirty list)

    The Burma Campaign publishes a "dirty list" of companies that do business in Burma, against the wishes of the Burmese democracy movement and its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now reported to be on hunger strike. Companies that do business in Burma are a major pillar of support for the military government, while the workers get next to nothing.

    Some of the companies that were criticized are now starting to pull out from Burma.

  • 7 September 2003 (voting)

    Two of the companies that make voting machines in the US have close ties with Bush--and there is evidence that one of them has a secret illegal back door into the machines.

  • 7 September 2003 (don't warn)

    Bush told the EPA not to warn New Yorkers about the danger from the fumes, chemicals and asbestos in the air around the burning World Trade Center. The eventual casualties from this callous decision may be numerous.

  • 6 September 2003 (unprepared)

    The latest news on figuring out why the US was unprepared for 9/11.

  • 6 September 2003 (murder)

    The murder of a Shiite cleric who cooperated with the Bush forces is variously being blamed on Saddam Hussein loyalists and Al Qa'ida. A tape purporting to come from Saddam Hussein says he did not do it. Whoever did it, it will tend to cause problems for the Bush forces.

  • 6 September 2003 (marijuana possession)

    An Alaska court has overturned the law against possession of marijuana.

  • 6 September 2003 (carbon dioxide emissions)

    The EPA ruled that it cannot regulate carbon dioxide emissions, twisting the law to suit the corporations that the US government normally works for.

  • 6 September 2003 (Iraq democracy)

    Here is a proposal for how to establish democracy in Iraq that at least tries to take account of the difficulties of the situation. http://troydavis.blogspot.com

  • 6 September 2003 (Exxon-Mobil)

    While Exxon-Mobil says that it takes the threat of global warming seriously, it is funding several organizations that oppose efforts to slow down global warming.

  • 5 September 2003 (Climate Stewardship Act)

    US citizens: through the Union of Concerned Scientists, you can send mail to your senators to urge support for the Climate Stewardship Act.

    Also, ask the senate to reject a plan to delay regulations to clean up car exhaust and reduce smog.

  • 4 September 2003 (corporate state)

    Mussolini, who originated fascism, defined it as "the merger of state and corporate power." The US government still formally operates as a democracy, but in practice, it fits Mussolini's definition pretty well.

  • 4 September 2003 (name released)

    Blair admits he was responsible for releasing Dr Kelly's name to the public--and that he previously lied about this.

  • 4 September 2003 (wounded)

    Almost 10 Americans per day are being wounded in action, while serving in Iraq as part of the Bush forces.

    The Bush spokesmen are trying to distract attention from this by not talking about it.

  • 3 September 2003 (oil mortgage)

    Bush is considering a plan to mortgage Iraqi oil--which is effectively equivalent to seizing it outright.

  • 3 September 2003 (original German)

    "Finally, a candidate who can explain the Bush administration's positions on civil liberties in the original German."

  • 2 September 2003 (face-recognition)

    The city of Tampa, Florida has scrapped its face-recognition software. But the officials say it's because the system didn't work, not out of concern for the dangers of government surveillance.

    In other words, this initiative for orwellian total surveillance may have failed, but governments in the US and elsewhere will keep trying.

  • 2 September 2003 (insane)

    The right-wingers who castigated Clinton for having sex with a willing intern are now supporting Arnold Schwarzeneger for governor of California, disregarding his history of trying to pressure unwilling women into sex.

    Either this is a double standard, or what they dislike about Clinton is that he asked.

    The same article also discloses that Schwarzeneger has been considering a political carrer since the 70s, contrary to some of his recent statements.

  • 2 September 2003 (no affordable drugs)

    The US government has been fighting for years, on behalf of the big pharmaceutical companies, to stop poor countries from making cheap medicines that their citizens can afford. However, step by step it has been forced back. Its first concession was to allow poor countries to make medicine for their own use, but many poor countries have no facilities to do it, and the US has since been fighting to stop poor countries from selling cheap medicines to other poor countries.

    Now the US has agreed to a compromise allowing poor countries to make cheap medicine for each other, but problems remain: the compromise imposes bureaucracy that Oxfam says will be disastrous.

  • 2 September 2003 (Canada deals)

    The Canadian government has begun selling marijuana to medical patients who need it. They no longer have to buy it on the street.

  • 29 August 2003 (HIV)

    Bush is abusing financial audits to punish an HIV prevention organization for oppositing Bush policies.

  • 29 August 2003 (arrest)

    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.

  • 29 August 2003 (attacks)

    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.

  • 29 August 2003 (more pollution please)

    Bush plans to appoint a strong supporter of increased pollution to head the EPA.

  • 27 August 2003 (pollution please)

    Bush plans to let electric generators increase pollution.

  • 24 August 2003 (more deregulation)

    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.

  • 24 August 2003 (Bush, leave!)

    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.

  • 24 August 2003 (dirty list)

    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.

  • 23 August 2003 (distortion)

    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.

  • 23 August 2003 (international treaties disregarded)

    How the US twists and disregards international treaties: rogues, as defined arbitrarily by the US, have no right to self-defense.

  • 23 August 2003 (civilians being shot)

    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.

  • 23 August 2003 (Judith Miller)

    New York Times journalist Judith Miller appears to have beeen systematically planting falsehoods to help Dubya's policies.

  • 23 August 2003 (sharia law)

    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.

  • 23 August 2003 (African oil)

    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).

  • 22 August 2003 (power failure)

    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?

  • 22 August 2003 (Kucinich)

    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!

  • 22 August 2003 (pipeline sabotage)

    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.

  • 22 August 2003 (power failure)

    Mergers, deregulation, and blackouts: the causes of the Northeast power failure fall on Bush administration policies.

  • 22 August 2003 (foreign visa programs)

    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.

  • 22 August 2003 (suspected terrorist)

    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.

  • 20 August 2003 (Halliburton)

    Cheney is being paid a million dollars a year by Halliburton, and is aiding his former company in various corrupt ways.

  • 20 August 2003 (astrology false)

    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.

  • 19 August 2003 (police state)

    How the USA PATRIOT act and the Homeland Security Act have laid unprecedented groundwork for a police state in the US.

  • 19 August 2003 (law overturned)

    Argentina has overturned a law that shielded the military government's torturers and murderers.

  • 19 August 2003 (asbestos)

    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.

  • 19 August 2003 (Sherman Austin)

    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.

  • 19 August 2003 (ethics probes)

    Many Bush appointees are the subjects of ethics probes for their links with industry.

  • 19 August 2003 (Taliban)

    In Afghanistan, the Taliban are getting stronger again.

  • 19 August 2003 (end to armed conflict)

    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.

  • 18 August 2003 (Voices in the Wilderness)

    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.

  • 18 August 2003 (pay cut)

    Bush planned to express his support for his troops in Iraq by cutting their pay.

  • 18 August 2003 (carbon monoxide)

    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.

  • 18 August 2003 (illegal eviction)

    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.

  • 18 August 2003 (privatization)

    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."

  • 16 August 2003 (held by Bush)

    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.

  • 16 August 2003 (conservative)

    A psychological study identifies neuroses that can lead to conservative political views.

  • 16 August 2003 (contradictions)

    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.

  • 16 August 2003 (false accusations)

    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.

  • 13 August 2003 (shot randomly at civilians)

    The Bush forces in Iraq were attacked, and then shot randomly at civilians.

  • 13 August 2003 (security wall)

    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.

  • 13 August 2003 (attacks with airliners)

    There is evidence that CIA director Tenet knew before 9-11 that attacks with airliners were likely, and told Bush before 9-11 also.

  • 13 August 2003 (dash for cash)

    A new web site tracks Dubya's special-interest campaign contributions.

  • 13 August 2003 (protesters attacked)

    German police attacked protesters near Cologne, who were planning to protest against a neo-Nazi march.

  • 13 August 2003 (nuclear threat)

    An article from 2001 reported that the US deployed tactical nuclear weapons near Afghanistan and was prepared to be the first to use them.

  • 13 August 2003 (racism)

    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.

  • 11 August 2003 (poverty increasing)

    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.

  • 11 August 2003 (depleted uranium related illness)

    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?

  • 10 August 2003 (dirty tricks campaign)

    Niger-Iraq whistleblower accuses Bush of "dirty tricks" campaign.

  • 10 August 2003 (no Loch Ness monster)

    A thorough sonar survey of Loch Ness shows there isn't any monster in the lake.

  • 10 August 2003 (9/11)

    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.

  • 10 August 2003 (loggerhead turtles)

    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.

  • 9 August 2003 (NASA employees framed)

    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.

  • 8 August 2003 ()

    Al Gore, from whom one might not have expected it, made a hart-hitting speech accusing Bush of thoroughgoing dishonesty and hostility to democracy.

  • 8 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 8 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 8 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 8 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 5 August 2003 ()

    Farmed salmon has high levels of toxic PCBs, which they get from the fish they eat.

  • 5 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 5 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 5 August 2003 ()

    The cost of "rebuilding" (and occupying) Iraq is increasing, and the idea of using oil to pay for it is not working out.

  • 4 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 4 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 4 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 4 August 2003 ()

    The Economist condemns the Bush plan for military trials instead of real courts.

  • 4 August 2003 ()

    Bush is pushing a plan for a pipeline in Peru that would enrich his cronies while endangering the ecosystem.

  • 4 August 2003 ()

    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?"

  • 4 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 3 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 3 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 3 August 2003 ()

    Violent chaos is spreading in Iraq, as Bush claims of restoring a functioning society turn out to be window dressing.

  • 3 August 2003 ()

    40 Bush lies listed and debunked.

  • 3 August 2003 ()

    US corporations are still overestimating their earnings despite insufficient post-Enron reforms.

  • 3 August 2003 ()

    Dick Cheney's believe it or not.

  • 3 August 2003 ()

    Iraqis say (Bush) troops are too eager to shoot, and kill harmless civilians.

    A raid meant to kill Saddam Hussein killed many civilians instead.

  • 3 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 2 August 2003 ()

    Bush forces turn a raid to capture Saddam into a massacre of civilians.

  • 2 August 2003 ()

    Project Censored lists the 25 most important buried news stories of 2001-2002.

  • 2 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 2 August 2003 ()

    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.

  • 2 August 2003 ()

    US colonel takes family of Iraqi general hostage. This is a war crime, according to treaties the US has signed.

  • 31 July 2003 ()

    Greek lawyers have taken a case against Tony Blair to the International Criminal Court for war crimes against Iraqi civilians.

  • 31 July 2003 ()

    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?

  • 30 July 2003 ()

    Mugabe's supporters are wiping out wildlife in preserves in Zimbabwe.

  • 29 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 29 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 29 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 29 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 29 July 2003 ()

    24 deceptions in 704 words: analyzing Dubya's 2003 State of the Union address.

  • 29 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 28 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 27 July 2003 ()

    Officials in the US are trying to prevent a meeting of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement.

  • 27 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 27 July 2003 ()

    The Bush administration is offering corporate criminals plea bargains so that they can escape real punishment for their crimes.

  • 27 July 2003 ()

    "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.

  • 25 July 2003 ()

    How schools in New York pressure pregnant students to drop out.

  • 24 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 24 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 24 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 23 July 2003 ()

    The Association of Civil Rights in Israel accused the Israeli government of an effort to " undermine the foundations of democracy" in Isreal.

  • 23 July 2003 ()

    A New Deck of Cards: Operation Hidden Agenda.

  • 23 July 2003 ()

    Israel is about to deport eight international peace activists, in an attempt to crush nonviolent resistance to the occupation.

  • 23 July 2003 ()

    Coral reefs in the Carribean are 80% dead, due to human activity.

  • 23 July 2003 ()

    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?

  • 23 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 22 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 21 July 2003 ()

    Although the cease-fire has brought an end to suicide bombings in Israel, Israeli troops continue acts of terror against Palestinians.

  • 21 July 2003 ()

    The so-called "worst of the worst", imprisoned without trial by Bush in Guantanamo Bay, include three children of ages 13 to 15.

  • 21 July 2003 ()

    The US government is developing systems for tracking your movements everywhere, by car or by foot.

  • 21 July 2003 ()

    Award-winning journalists report on the extent of corporate censorship in US news media.

  • 21 July 2003 ()

    An article argues that Americans have realized all along that Bush & co are deceiving them, but they want to be deceived.

  • 19 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 19 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 18 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 18 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 18 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 18 July 2003 ()

    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.)

  • 18 July 2003 ()

    UK minister Jack Straw misleadingly cited 12-year-old Iraq nuclear activities (before the first gulf war) to give the impression they were recent.

  • 15 July 2003 ()

    The 9/11 investigation accuses the Bush administration of stonewalling and trying to intimidate witnesses.

  • 15 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 15 July 2003 ()

    Bethlehem sees little change after Israeli "pullout".

  • 14 July 2003 ()

    The Observer, in London, suggests that the "war on drugs" has failed and should be abandoned.

  • 14 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 14 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 14 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 13 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 13 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 13 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 12 July 2003 ()

    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?

  • 12 July 2003 ()

    A Guantanamo Bay prisoner who was released is demanding compensation from the US government for the way he was treated there.

  • 12 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 12 July 2003 ()

    Greg Palast investigated the favoritism that got Dubya into the Air National Guard, so he could avoid going to Vietnam.

  • 11 July 2003 ()

    The UK is increasing its military support for Colombian government despite that government's support for death squads.

  • 11 July 2003 ()

    Colin Powell was pressured into endorsing bogus claims about Iraq. He called the speech he was asked to read " bullshit".

  • 10 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 10 July 2003 ()

    A group of Iraqi leaders met and called for self-rule, and criticized US plans to continue dominating Iraq.

  • 10 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 10 July 2003 ()

    Arms control experts now accuse the Bush regime of distorting intelligence information to justify attacking Iraq.

  • 10 July 2003 ()

    The US-supported Afghan government has banned a newspaper and arrested its editor for "blasphemy".

    Americans, that is your tax dollars at work.

  • 10 July 2003 ()

    Hong Kong's government delayed an anti-democracy bill after half a million people protested.

  • 10 July 2003 ()

    A New York school principal forced students to get tested for pregnancy after they went to a party.

  • 9 July 2003 ()

    The specter of Vietnam hangs over Iraq today, and not just because of the gradually increasing guerilla resistance.

  • 9 July 2003 ()

    A town in Michigan erupted in flames in June, after police callously murdered a local man and then crowed about what they had done.

  • 9 July 2003 ()

    Both the Republican and Democratic parties accept money from corporate criminals.

  • 8 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 8 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 8 July 2003 ()

    Senator Byrd demands Bush account for the deception over Iraq.

  • 8 July 2003 ()

    Israel is continuing non-stop expansion of its settlements on Palestinian territory despite the "withdrawal" of troops from parts of the Gaza Strip.

  • 6 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 6 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 6 July 2003 ()

    Will the palestinian cease-fire last? Uri Avnery's commentary.

  • 6 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 5 July 2003 ()

    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?

  • 5 July 2003 ()

    The US State of Maine has adopted a law to reduce CO2 emissions.

  • 4 July 2003 ()

    An article argues that the real movers and shakers in the US have decided to dump Bush.

  • 4 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 4 July 2003 ()

    A French judge who has fought corruption wrote a book about her experiences. The book has been banned in French.

  • 4 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 4 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 4 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 4 July 2003 ()

    To join Bush's "most wanted" deck of cards, now there's a "most wanted" deck of cards for war profiteers.

  • 3 July 2003 ()

    A peaceful British protester in Greece was beaten by police, then framed with a planted bag of explosives [pdf].

  • 3 July 2003 (intel emails)

    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.

  • 2 July 2003 ()

    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.

  • 2 July 2003 ()

    The Indian government developed its plans to send troops for the occupation of Iraq secretly, without informing the Indian people.

  • 2 July 2003 ()

    Violence against women in Pakistan is at terrible levels.

  • 2 July 2003 ()

    Students in the Chinese University of Hong Kong are asking for support for their campaign for democracy in Hong Kong.

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