Saturday, September 18, 2004

Censorship and now harrassment for Howard's rival

Big Brother sends in the hit squads to clean up national security threat
By Deborah Snow
September 18, 2004
Sydney Morning Herald

Patricia Wilkie is a nurse in Tamworth. Her brother David is a teacher in the same town. Her other brother recently published a book.

Two weeks ago a team from the federal Attorney-General's Department turned up to "cleanse" Patricia and David's home computers of material said to be so sensitive that it could jeopardise the very security of the nation. A Sydney documentary maker, Carmel Travers, also got a visit, as did a small Melbourne publishing company, Black Inc, and the Melbourne academic and Herald columnist Robert Manne.

What do these people have in common? Each was emailed early drafts of a book by Andrew Wilkie, the former analyst with the Office of National Assessments who resigned spectacularly last year in opposition to Australia's involvement in Iraq and who is now standing as a Greens candidate against the Prime Minister, John Howard, in his seat of Bennelong.

Mr Wilkie's book, Axis of Deceit, argues that the Government took Australia to war on a lie by distorting intelligence. Just before the book's publication in June a manuscript was given - without Mr Wilkie's or the publisher's consent - to the Attorney-General's Department, which ordered the purging of some sections.

Recipients of earlier drafts were told it was insufficient to delete the offending passages from their computers. "Fragments" might linger inside their hard drives, enabling some unspecified party to pry the information from their machines.

Full Story

Friday, September 17, 2004

British Brutality, US Industrial State Terrorism

John Pilger hears Blair echo Mussolini
at New Statesman

an extract:

Let's look at a few examples of the way the world is presented and the way it really is. The occupation of Iraq is presented as "a mess": a blundering, incompetent American military up against Islamic fanatics. In truth, the occupation is a systematic, murderous assault on a civilian population by a corrupt American officer class, given licence by its superiors in Washington. In May, the US marines used battle tanks and helicopter gunships to attack the slums of Fallujah. They admitted killing 600 people, a figure far greater than the total number of civilians killed by the "insurgents" during the past year. The generals were candid; this futile slaughter was an act of revenge for the killing of three US mercenaries. Sixty years earlier, the SS Das Reich division killed 600 French civilians at Oradour-sur-Glane as revenge for the kidnapping of a German officer by the resistance. Is there a difference?

These days, the Americans routinely fire missiles into Fallujah and other dense urban areas; they murder whole families. If the word terrorism has any modern application, it is this industrial state terrorism. The British have a different style. There are more than 40 known cases of Iraqis having died at the hands of British soldiers; just one soldier has been charged. In the current issue of the NUJ magazine, The Journalist, Lee Gordon, a freelance reporter, wrote: "Working as a Brit in Iraq is hazardous, particularly in the south where our troops have a reputation (unreported at home) for brutality."

Neither is the growing disaffection among British troops reported at home. This is so worrying the Ministry of Defence that it has moved to placate the family of the 17-year-old soldier David McBride by taking him off the AWL list after he refused to fight in Iraq. Almost all the families of soldiers killed in Iraq have denounced the occupation and Blair, all of which is unprecedented.

Full Story at New Statesman

Bush's Harvard Tutor Reminisces

Yoshi Tsurumi, the Harvard professor who had the dubious privilege of being Bush's tutor is interviewed at Salon.com. Tsurumi, who has also spoken on Air America, says he remembers the best and worst of his students and that Bush was one of the latter. Tsurumi's recollections are very revealing:

Bush once sneered at Tsurumi for showing the film "The Grapes of Wrath," based on John Steinbeck's novel of the Depression. "We were in a discussion of the New Deal, and he called Franklin Roosevelt's policies 'socialism.' He denounced labor unions, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Medicare, Social Security, you name it. He denounced the civil rights movement as socialism. To him, socialism and communism were the same thing. And when challenged to explain his prejudice, he could not defend his argument, either ideologically, polemically or academically."

Students who challenged and embarrassed Bush in class would then become the subject of a whispering campaign by him, Tsurumi said. "In class, he couldn't challenge them. But after class, he sometimes came up to me in the hallway and started bad-mouthing those students who had challenged him. He would complain that someone was drinking too much. It was innuendo and lies. So that's how I knew, behind his smile and his smirk, that he was a very insecure, cunning and vengeful guy."

Full Story at Salon.com

Larium casualties not counted as war casualties

US Army refuse to investigate disorders that implicate anti-malaria drug Larium

According to a UPI investigation, up to 17,000 troops medically evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan are absent from public Pentagon casualty reports.

These casualties include 5,375 troops who have been diagnosed with mental problems. 800 of them have been diagnosed as psychotic.

By not counting these troops as war casualties the authorities are effectively evading inquiry into the effects of the anti-malaria drug Larium, a drug known to cause depression, suicidal and violent behaviour, hallucinations, convulsions, anxiety, diarrhea, rash, headaches, trembling, intensely vivid and disturbing dreams, night sweats and balance disorders. These effects can persist long after the individual has stopped taking the drug. Personal accounts of the Larium experience can be found at
Larium Action USA.

Larium (also known as mefloquine) was originally developed by The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. The Army then licensed the drug to Hoffman-La Roche. Roche claim there is "no credible scientific evidence" linking the drug with "violent criminal behavior.", but,
as UPI note, aggression is listed under the Adverse Reactions section of the official product label.

Both Roche and the Army are seeking to downplay the frequency of Larium related mental disorders. Both have had a vested interest in its use. In the year ending October 2003 the US Army issued 45,000 prescriptions for the drug.


I have personally known one person who was prescribed Larium, and they did indeed suffer from severe depression and hallucinations. That was over 10 years ago. The individual was no longer taking Larium, did not know of the potential side effects and thought they were going mad. It is likely that there are troops who are not associating these symptoms with a drug they are no longer taking, or are attributing its effects to post-traumatic stress disorder, which has similar symptoms.

In June 2004 UPI reported that the Department of Veteran Affairs had warned doctors to be on the look out for these symptoms. Veterans’ advocates noted that Investigations have not been helped by the Pentagon’s apparent failure to keep any records of who has been given Larium, even though they are required to do so by law. This has made it difficult to ascertain what role Larium may have played in Gulf War Syndrome during the first Gulf war. The DoD originally denied that Larium was being used in Iraq, but has since confessed that its use was widespread.

The Army has also recently admitted giving false information to congress last year, when it claimed that only four soldiers who committed suicide had taken the drug. It has since stopped prescribing malaria drugs to troops in Iraq, and has changed its anti-malaria drug of choice in Afghanistan to doxycycline. Suicide rates have since fallen from the spike that occurred whilst Larium was being prescribed, even though combat and length of tours of duty have increased.

In recent years there have been numerous incidents that bear the hallmarks of an adverse reaction to Larium. In 2002 four wives were killed by their soldier husbands at Fort Bragg within a six week period. Two of the soldiers then killed themselves. All of the men involved had been prescribed Larium and three of them had recently returned from Afghanistan.


The Army have chosen not to include pharmaceutical usage in their investigations into the suicides, saying "Assessing the impact of any medications, including mefloquine, on suicides rates was beyond the team's capability."

Since then there have been more suicides amongst special forces troops who took Larium. UPI investigators
Mark Benjamin and Dan Olmsted point out that:

Special Forces soldiers are highly trained and psychologically vetted. An Army study in 2000 showed Special Forces soldiers produce more of a chemical in the brain that helps them cope with and recover from extreme duress.

"It's just antithetical to their whole practice of their craft to suddenly lose control, become depressed, paranoid, hallucinate and become suicidal," said Dr. Paul Ragan, associate professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University and a former military psychiatrist. "You have to look for some exogenous factor, some outside factor, something new in the mix that will change how they've otherwise been able to operate."

The journalists gave examples of three suicides by soldiers known to have taken Larium:

- A 43-year-old Special Forces weapons sergeant killed himself in 1997 in Ecuador, where he was helping train Ecuadorian Special Forces. Engaged to be married, he smilingly picked up a gun and shot himself in the head in front of two fellow soldiers.

- A Special Forces sergeant killed himself in July 2003 in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Va. Happily married and expecting his first child, Tyler Whiffen, 32, went to the woods behind his condominium and shot himself in the head. "He wasn't depressed at all," said Karla Whiffen, his widow and mother of his 6-month-old son. "In fact, I have never known anyone to enjoy life so much. For him to take his life was so out of the blue. Nothing has surfaced that would make this anything but this drug." Whiffen took Lariam in Afghanistan.

- The most recent case involved Special Forces Chief Warrant Officer William Howell, 36, who served in Iraq and killed himself after returning to Fort Carson, Colo. His wife, Laura, also reported no marital problems. He killed himself in March after stalking her around their yard with a gun and pointing it in her face. He shot himself when police arrived.

"I knew my husband, I knew who he was. I know what he was," said Laura Howell. "The only difference was one pill. A little white pill that he took. There was nothing else in his life that was different, in his job, nothing. And there was no accumulative effect of anything in his life that would lead to suicide."

Larium was prescribed to soldiers serving in Somalia. Many of the personal accounts at Larium Action USA are from this time.

During the Somalia operation in the early 1990s, a Canadian army corporal, Clayton Matchee, allegedly led a group of soldiers who tortured and killed a teenage boy who had snuck into the compound. The incident occurred on what troops called Psycho Tuesday, the day they took their weekly Lariam dose. Matchee subsequently attempted suicide by hanging and suffered permanent brain damage.

Despite the authorities reluctance to implicate Larium, the journalists report that:

This summer, a Navy doctor at a Pentagon treatment facility in San Diego has begun to diagnose service members with permanent brain-stem damage and fingered Lariam as the apparent culprit. One Special Forces soldier diagnosed with that permanent damage said Lariam has given him homicidal and suicidal urges.

"I can tell you from my own personal experience that it goes from zero to 100 very quickly," said this active-duty soldier, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. "You're ready to take that plunge into hurting someone or hurting and killing yourself, and it comes on unbelievably quickly. It's just a sudden thought it's the right thing to do. You'll get a mental picture, and it's in full color."



.



Latin America Has Had Enough of Bush

by Diego Cevallos
Published on Thursday, September 16, 2004
by Inter Press Service

MEXICO CITY - ”No More Bush”: it has become a slogan echoed with increasing frequency, on signs and banners carried by protesters and painted on walls throughout Latin America.

Today, with the U.S. presidential election drawing near, this sentiment has come to be shared by the majority of the region's politicians, intellectuals, and even heads of state.

Since Bush took office in 2001, the proportion of people with negative opinions towards the United States in Latin America and the Caribbean has doubled, according to surveys carried out by Latinobarometro, a Chile-based firm.

An international poll conducted by GlobeScan of Toronto, Canada and the University of Maryland in the United States revealed that 42.5 percent of those surveyed in nine Latin American countries would like to see Democratic Party candidate John Kerry win the Nov. 2 election, while only 19 percent support the re-election of Bush, a Republican.

This anti-Bush stance was clearly expressed back in March, when tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets throughout Latin America, voicing their opposition to the U.S. president and his invasion of Iraq exactly one year earlier.

According to some observers, a win by Kerry would not do much to change Washington's current policies towards the region, and there are even those who believe things could worsen.

However, in the view of Venezuelan historian Samuel Moncada, ”Anything is better than Bush.” Moncada, who is close to the left-leaning government of President Hugo Chávez, told IPS, ”We believe Bush is a fanatic, a fundamentalist. He thinks he talks to God. He is dangerous, and we have felt the sting firsthand.”

Full Story at Common Dreams

US gives conflicting accounts of rocket attack that killed 13 dead

By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
16 September 2004
The Independent

The US sought yesterday to defend the two helicopter pilots who fired seven rockets into a crowd on Sunday killing 13 people and wounding 41, saying they had come under "well-aimed ground fire". This is different from the first statement by the US military claiming that they had opened fire with rockets in order to prevent a Bradley fighting vehicle hit by a bomb from being looted of arms and ammunition.

Col Jim McConville, the head of the First Cavalry Division's aviation brigade, said two helicopters armed with heavy machine guns had swooped over a crowd when they were shot at from near the Bradley. Both helicopters then attacked.

The US account of the incident in which Mazen al-Tomeizi, a Palestinian television producer working for al-Arabiya satellite channel was killed, was contradicted by the film taken by his cameraman at the moment the rocket struck. There is no sound of firing from the crowd in the moments before the helicopters attacked.

The US military's accounts of incidents in which it claims to have targeted insurgents but only civilians have died are frequently discredited by Arab television pictures of the incident which US officers apparently do not watch before issuing statements.

Full Story

Thursday, September 16, 2004

"If we do not suppress the Detroit vote we're going to have a tough time in this election."

Protect the Vote
By BOB HERBERT

Published: September 13, 2004
The New York Times

More than 80 percent of the population of Detroit is black. This is very well understood by John Pappageorge, who is white and a Republican state legislator in Michigan. "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote," said Mr. Pappageorge, "we're going to have a tough time in this election."

Oops! Republicans aren't supposed to actually say they want to suppress black votes. That's so retro. It's so Jim Crow. This is the 21st century, and the thing now is to do the dastardly deed, but never ever acknowledge it.

Full Story

Afghan court jails US bounty hunter who claims to have tracked down Bin Laden

By Nick Meo in Kabul
16 September 2004
The Independent

The extraordinary case of the bounty hunters, their private torture chamber and the journalist making a film about his one-man hunt for Osama bin Laden came to an end in a Kabul courtroom yesterday with long sentences in Afghanistan's dreadful prisons.

Jonathan "Jack" Idema, a former Green Beret and a convicted fraudster, insisted that he had been working all along for Donald Rumsfeld, and had been in contact with the Pentagon and high-ranking Afghan officials throughout his vigilante career, exposed during the trial as part of the murky underside of the war on terror.

Idema, who smoked cigarettes in the dock and lectured the judge about the meaning of democracy, was led away to serve his sentence in his self- designed uniform muttering obscenities, denouncing the judges as Taliban, and complaining about America.

"I knew that the American government wasn't going to help me," he said.

Earlier he had melodramatically attempted to become a Muslim before the court, recounting the Koranic verses of those seeking to convert to the faith, and trying to swear an oath on the holy book.

The judge did not disguise his irritation with Idema and seemed bemused by the aggressive style of the US trial lawyers flown in by the alleged bounty hunter.

Idema had shown video footage of himself with senior Afghan officials and claimed the FBI had confiscated all his evidence, including faxes.

It remains unclear whether he was a fantasist or whether he really did have connections at the highest levels.

Idema was sentenced to 10 years prison after being found guilty of torture, kidnapping and entering the country illegally. His right-hand man, Brent Bennett, was also jailed for 10 years and the award-winning New York film maker Edward Caraballo received eight years.

Four Afghans were sentenced to jail terms ranging from one to five years.

Caraballo appeared shell-shocked and was silent throughout the proceedings.

It was unclear where the three will be imprisoned. So far they have been held in secret police detention.

Full Story

Man-made rainforest baffles scientists

A hopeful story (for a change)

By Charles Arthur Technology Editor
16 September 2004

The Independent

A Man-Made rainforest that should have taken millennia to evolve has baffled scientists by springing up in just 150 years.

Rainforests should take millions of years to develop the highly complex, interactive ecosystems for which they are famed, in which every species fills an essential niche.

But the forest on Green Mountain, Ascension Island, in the mid-Atlantic sprung up chaotically from a mixed bag of botanical scrap brought in by the Royal Navy in 1843.

And the introduced species have thrived at a rate that has stunned experts and could trigger a rethink of conventional ecological theory, New Scientist magazine reports today.

When Charles Darwin stopped off at Ascension Island in 1836 on the home stretch of his long journey on the Beagle, he described it then as "entirely destitute of trees". Lying 1,200 miles from the nearest continent, the volcanic island was almost barren because of its remoteness, with only about 20 plant species, mainly ferns.

But in 1843, an ambitious British scheme for revitalising the island began, with Royal Navy troops planting thousands of trees a year, using seedlings from Argentina, South Africa, and the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.

Soon the bare white mountain was cloaked in vegetation and renamed Green Mountain. By the early 20th century the mountain's slopes were covered in guava, banana, wild ginger, the white-flowered Cleroden drum, Madagascan periwinkle and eucalyptus from Australia. A thick bamboo forest crowned the summit.

Now Green Mountain is a thriving tropical forest, yet it grew from species collected randomly. Conventional theory suggests complex ecosystems only emerge through a slow evolution in which different organisms develop in tandem to fill particular niches.

But Green Mountain suggests that natural rainforests may be constructed more by chance than by evolution.

Dissident theorists call this "ecological fitting". It says species do not so much evolve to create ecosystems as make the best of what they have.

More

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Fired for backing Kerry, hired by Kerry himself!

From Salon.com's War room:

Perhaps that's the latest addition to wronged Alabama worker Lynne Gobbell's bumper sticker collection? The former employee of the company Enviromate, who, as War Room noted yesterday, was fired by her Bush-loving boss Phil Geddes for refusing to remove a pro-Kerry bumper sticker from her car, has been offered a new gig by none other than John Kerry himself.

As Slate's Timothy Noah reports today, a wave of blogger and media attention on the issue has prompted Geddes to step down from his pro-Bush bully pulpit and offer a well-deserved apology to Gobbell. But it's too little, too late:

"By this morning, Geddes, who has declined to comment publicly on the matter, had apparently had enough of the bad publicity. Through an intermediary, he offered Gobbell an apology and said she could have her old job back. But Gobbell said she wouldn't return without some written guarantee that Geddes wouldn't turn around and fire her once he was out of the spotlight.

Then, late this afternoon, Kerry himself phoned Gobbell. 'He was telling me how proud he was that I stood up,' Gobbell told me. 'He'd read the part where Phil said I could either work for him or work for John Kerry. He said, You let him know you're working for me as of today. I was just so shocked.'"

Full Story

Sinn Fein Says Bug Found at N.Irish Party Office

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (Reuters) - Sinn Fein, political ally of the Irish Republican Army, has found a bugging device at offices in Northern Ireland used by leader Gerry Adams, party sources said Tuesday.

The allegation comes two days before crucial talks in England billed by London and Dublin as a last chance to salvage the province's 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.

Sharon hints that Arafat may be killed

Chris McGreal in Jerusalem
Wednesday September 15, 2004
The Guardian

Ariel Sharon has threatened that Yasser Arafat will meet the same fate as Hamas leaders who were assassinated earlier this year by the Israeli military.

In ambiguous comments to Israeli newspapers to mark the Jewish new year, the prime minister said he intends to force the Palestinian leader into exile. But he also hinted that Mr Arafat might be killed.

Speaking to Ma'ariv newspaper, Mr Sharon made direct reference to the Hamas spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated by a missile in Gaza in March, and his successor as the Islamic resistance movement's leader, Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi, who was killed by the Israelis the following month.

Full Story

Contractor's Bag Full of Explosives at JFK

Wednesday September 15, 2004 2:16 AM
By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN
Associated Press Writer
The Guardian

NEW YORK (AP) - A government contractor brought highly explosive Soviet munitions on his trip home from Afghanistan that were not detected until he arrived at John F. Kennedy airport, federal officials said.

Shaun Marshall, a medic for defense contractor DynCorp, arrived at Kennedy Aug. 19 from the United Arab Emirates. He was trying to board a United Airlines flight home to California when he was pulled aside for a routine security check.

A search of his bags by federal screeners found what police bomb technicians described in an FBI complaint as a Soviet ``projectile point detonating fuse'' and a ``surface-to-air and air-to-air cartridge.''

Federal officials said they could not comment Tuesday on the risk that the munitions posed to the flight. But the city police bomb squad determined the munitions were ``highly explosive,'' according to the FBI complaint.

Marshall also had five .50-caliber bullets and four small arms cartridges, which he did not declare to United as required by law, according to the complaint made public Tuesday.

Full Story

Amnesty object to US' increasing racial harassment

Firstly, an example:

African American Muslim, U.S. Marine Veteran With Impeccable Record Declared Security Risk
(original story Wednesday, August 25, 2004)

African American Muslim, U.S. Marine Veteran With Impeccable Record Declared Security Risk by Homeland Security And Losing Transportation Job…..Why?

MAS Freedom Foundation Presses Secretary Ridge for Answer and contacts NAACP, Congressional Black Caucus and Civil Rights Groups

(Washington, 8/25/04) Bilal Mahmud, an African American Muslim father of three and former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran has had his livelihood of 28 years taken away from him by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration TSA informed Mahmud on July 30, 2004 that he “posed a security threat” pursuant to Title 49C.F.R. section 1572.107. This ambiguous classification “precludes individual from holding a hazardous materials endorsement on a CDL (commercial driver’s license).

If the TSA determines or suspects an individual of being a threat to National Security, to transportation security, or of terrorism.” The notification has forced Mr. Mahmud to surrender his commercial driver’s license to the state of Georgia department of Motor Vehicles and to lose his career of 28 years as a commercial truck driver. The department of Homeland Security has refused to inform Mahmud how or why he has been classified as a security threat.

Mahmud has no criminal record, is a model citizen and has been an exemplary employee of the same company for over 20 years. “I have not had as much as traffic ticket in 17 years. I served this country and risked my life to protect it; I pay my taxes and vote. I do everything a good citizen is supposed to do and this is how I am treated. I truly don’t understand how they determine who is a threat and who is not. Does being a Muslim and believing in God make you a threat to the United States?
Full Story

Amnesty points out that this is far from an isolated incident:

Racial Profiling Both Wrong and Counter-Productive, Says Amnesty
Jim LobeOneWorld US
Tue., Sep. 14, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sep 14 (OneWorld) - The practice of racial profiling by U.S. law-enforcement agencies not only violates the human rights of its targets, according to a new report released here Monday by Amnesty International, but it is often counter-productive.

Released at the launch of a campaign against racial profiling, the 50-page report, 'Threat and Humiliation,' charges that the practice has actually grown since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon despite a pledge by President George W. Bush early in his tenure to end it. Amnesty is urging Congress to enact the End Racial Profiling Act of 2004 that has so far been endorsed by a bipartisan group of 140 lawmakers.

"The government's reliance on racial profiling has grown dramatically since the September 11th attacks," said Curt Goering, the senior deputy executive director of the U.S. section of Amnesty. "Amnesty International's review of existing data shows that an estimated 32 million Americans -- a number equivalent to the population of Canada -- have been subjected to profiling and that 87 million Americans -- almost one of every three people -- are at high risk for such abuse," he said.

Moreover, according to the report, the practice may be counter-productive, as the recent cases of the so-called "American Taliban," John Walker Lindh, and British "shoe bomber" Richard Reid illustrate. Neither individuals fit the profile used by programs like the National Security Entry Exit Registration System (NSEERS) and US-VISIT that target Arab, Muslim, and South Asian men and boys.

The report also points to the cases of Timothy McVeigh, who eluded arrest while law enforcement agencies searched for Arab suspects in the 1993 Oklahoma City federal building bombing, or as far back as 1901, when President William McKinley's assassin, a white man born in Michigan slipped past Secret Service agents who were on the lookout for a "dark complexioned man with a moustache."

Similarly, investigators lost valuable time in tracking down the "Washington sniper" responsible for a dozen shootings in 2002 in part because the two black men convicted of the attacks failed to fit the profile of a serial killer -- an anti-social white male.

"This is a practice that has actually impeded effective law enforcement for many years, as any competent and experienced law enforcement official will tell you," said retired federal Judge Timothy K. Lewis who chaired a series of hearings on racial profiling that took place under Amnesty's auspices in a number of U.S. cities over the past year.

"Obviously, focusing first and foremost, or worse, solely upon such characteristics ...as race, ethnicity, national origin or religion in deciding whom to investigate, arrest, and prosecute ...diverts attention from actual criminal behavior and from the actual perpetrator of a crime."

Cathy Harris, a former Customs Service official who in 1998 blew the whistle on abuses in profiling practices against African American and Hispanic women at border crossings, noted that the drug arrests by Customs increased by 300 percent when profiling ceased in the late 1990s. Since 9/11, however, she noted US Customs, now under the control of the Department of Homeland Security, "is slowly going back to its old ways" with the targeting of Arab and Muslim citizens and travelers.

Amid negative publicity about the practice, Bush promised during his 2000 election campaign to end it and, ironically, helped boost his standing among Arab-American voters that year by complaining during a debate that they were too often singled out by immigration agencies that used "secret evidence" against them.

He followed that up with a February, 2001, policy directive that not only lacks any enforcement provisions, but fails to apply to state and local police or profiling on the basis of national origin or religion, and includes a blanket exception for "national security" and "border integrity" -- "a loophole big enough to drive a truck through," according to the report.

Moreover, according to Goering, state laws regulating the practice are "woefully inadequate." Twenty-seven of the 50 states have no laws banning racial profiling, and only four states ban religious profiling.

The result, combined with the aftershocks of the 9/11 attacks, has been an explosion in profiling, according to the report. "Prior to 9/11, racial profiling was frequently referred to as 'driving while black,'" the report noted. "Now, the practice can be more accurately characterized as driving, flying, walking, worshipping, shopping or staying at home while Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, Muslim or of Middle-Eastern appearance."

A poll conducted last month by Bendixon & Associations and co-sponsored by Amnesty found that Arab Americans were found three times more likely to have experienced racial profiling than the rest of the non-Hispanic white population and that Muslims were more likely to have experienced profiling since 9/11. Nearly half of Arab and Muslim Americans said they believe the government is using racial profiling to screen individuals for security purposes.

Among the more egregious examples cited in the report was that of an eight-year-old Muslim Boy Scout from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who was separated from his family while airport security officials search him and dismantled his soap box derby car. The boy is now routinely stopped and searched at airports.

In another case, Kimberly "Asma" Al-Hamsi, an observant white American Muslim who wears a hijab and walks with a crutch due to multiple sclerosis, was accosted with her son, who is deaf and has cerebral palsy, at a mall in Grapevine, Texas, by a man and two women who told her she did not belong in the country.

According to her testimony at one of the Amnesty hearings, plainclothes police intervened and told her she was being charged with terrorism, hate crimes and disorderly conduct. FBI agents were called and questioned her about her ethnicity and views on the war in Iraq, questioning to which thousands of Arab and South Asian immigrants have been subject over the past several years.

But profiling goes far beyond Muslims, Arab Americans or South Asians, according to the report. African American motorists continue to be pulled over by police all over the country, as do the cars of Native Americans in some states because of the tribal tags displayed on their cars. Similarly, African Americans are frequently singled out by security in major department and other retail stores, while Asian-American in big cities find themselves detained by police who apparently suspect gang activity.

In addition to humiliating and embarrassing the victims of profiling, such practices also generate fear and reluctance to call law enforcement agencies even in the case of genuine emergencies, according to the report. "We learned at our hearings about a Hindu-Punjabi Indian woman in her mid-60s who put out a fire in her kitchen by herself because she feared calling the fire department and a Pakistan-Muslim woman with a heart condition who said she would not dial 911 if she were having a heart attack.


DU: Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weapons of Self Destruction

Washington's secret nuclear war
By Shaheen Chughtai
Tuesday 14 September 2004, 22:17 Makka Time, 19:17 GMT
Aljazeera

Illegal weapons of mass destruction have not only been found in Iraq but have been used against Iraqis and have even killed US troops.

But Washington and its allies have tried to cover up this outrage because the chief culprit is the US itself, argue American and other experts trying to expose what they say is a war crime.

The WMD in question is depleted uranium (DU). A radioactive by-product of uranium enrichment, DU is used to coat ammunition such as tank shells and "bunker busting" missiles because its density makes it ideal for piercing armour.

Thousands of DU shells and bombs have been used in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and - both during the 1990-91 Gulf war and the ongoing conflict - in Iraq.

"They're using it now, they're using it in Falluja, Baghdad is chock-a-block with DU - it's all over the place," says Major Doug Rokke, director of the US army's DU project in 1994-95.

Scientists say even a tiny particle can have disastrous results once ingested, including various cancers and degenerative diseases, paralysis, birth deformities and death.

And as tiny DU particles are blown across the Middle East and beyond like a radioactive poison gas, the long-term implications for the world - DU has a shelf-life of 4.5 billion years - are deeply disturbing.

Sick soldiers

Only 467 US soldiers were officially wounded during the 1990-91 Gulf war.
But according to Terry Jemison at the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), of the more than 592,560 discharged personnel who served there, at least 179,310 - one third - are receiving disability compensation and over 24,760 cases were pending by in September 2004.


This does not include personnel still active and receiving care from the military, or those who have died.

And among 168,528 veterans of the current conflict in Iraq who have left active duty, 16% (27,571) had already sought treatment from the VA by July 2004.

"That's astronomical," says Rokke, whose team studied how to provide medical care for victims, how to clean contaminated sites, and how to train those using DU weapons.

Rokke admits the exact cause for these casualties cannot be confirmed. But he insists the evidence pointing to DU is compelling.

"There were no chemical or biological weapons there, no big oil well fires," he says. "So what's left?"

Cradle to grave

Dr Jenan Ali, a senior Iraqi doctor at Basra hospital's College of Medicine, says her studies show a 100% rise in child leukaemia in the region in the decade after the first Gulf war, with a 242% increase in all types of malignancies.

The director of the Afghan DU and Recovery Fund, Dr Daud Miraki, says his field researchers found evidence of DU's effect on civilians in eastern and southeastern Afghanistan in 2003 although local conditions make rigorous statistical analysis difficult.

"Many children are born with no eyes, no limbs, or tumours protruding from their mouths and eyes," Miraki told Aljazeera.net. Some newborns are barely recognisable as human, he says. Many do not survive.

Afghan and Iraqi children continue to play amid radioactive debris. But the US army will not even label contaminated equipment or sites because doing so would be an admission that DU is hazardous.

Full Story

DU Weapons: 40% of 2003 troop unit developing cancer

Depleted uranium: Dirty bombs, dirty missiles, dirty bullets
A death sentence here and abroad
by Leuren Moret

Vietnam was a chemical war for oil, permanently contaminating large regions and countries downriver with Agent Orange, and environmentally the most devastating war in world history. But since 1991, the U.S. has staged four nuclear wars using depleted uranium weaponry, which, like Agent Orange, meets the U.S. government definition of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Vast regions in the Middle East and Central Asia have been permanently contaminated with radiation.

And what about our soldiers? Terry Jemison of the Department of Veterans Affairs reported this week to the American Free Press that “Gulf-era veterans” now on medical disability since 1991 number 518,739, with only 7,035 reported wounded in Iraq in that same 14-year period.

This week the American Free Press dropped a “dirty bomb” on the Pentagon by reporting that eight out of 20 men who served in one unit in the 2003 U.S. military offensive in Iraq now have malignancies. That means that 40 percent of the soldiers in that unit have developed malignancies in just 16 months.

Since these soldiers were exposed to vaccines and depleted uranium (DU) only, this is strong evidence for researchers and scientists working on this issue, that DU is the definitive cause of Gulf War Syndrome. Vaccines are not known to cause cancer. One of the first published researchers on Gulf War Syndrome, who also served in 1991 in Iraq, Dr. Andras Korényi-Both, is in agreement with Barbara Goodno from the Department of Defense’s Deployment Health Support Directorate, that in this war soldiers were not exposed to chemicals, pesticides, bioagents or other suspect causes this time to confuse the issue.

This powerful new evidence is blowing holes in the cover-up perpetrated by the Pentagon and three presidential administrations ever since DU was first used in 1991 in the Persian Gulf War. Fourteen years after the introduction of DU on the battlefield in 1991, the long-term effects have revealed that DU is a death sentence and very nasty stuff.

Scientists studying the biological effects of uranium in the 1960s reported that it targets the DNA. Marion Fulk, a nuclear physical chemist retired from the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab and formerly involved with the Manhattan Project, interprets the new and rapid malignancies in soldiers from the 2003 war as “spectacular … and a matter of concern.”

This evidence shows that of the three effects which DU has on biological systems - radiation, chemical and particulate – the particulate effect from nano-size particles is the most dominant one immediately after exposure and targets the Master Code in the DNA. This is bad news, but it explains why DU causes a myriad of diseases which are difficult to define.

In simple words, DU “trashes the body.” When asked if the main purpose for using it was for destroying things and killing people, Fulk was more specific: “I would say that it is the perfect weapon for killing lots of people.”

Soldiers developing malignancies so quickly since 2003 can be expected to develop multiple cancers from independent causes. This phenomenon has been reported by doctors in hospitals treating civilians following NATO bombing with DU in Yugoslavia in 1998-1999 and the U.S. military invasion of Iraq using DU for the first time in 1991. Medical experts report that this phenomenon of multiple malignancies from unrelated causes has been unknown until now and is a new syndrome associated with internal DU exposure.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

As President Blocks Ban and Refuses to Meet With Police, Half a Million Urge Bush, Congressional Leaders to Renew Assault Weapons Ban

Ignoring expert advice to pursue their own agenda is a way of life for these people. It should be borne in mind that unlike library books, gun purchase records are exempt from Homeland Security dept. access.

Petitions, Being Delivered Today, Are Another Indication Of Strong Support For Renewal of the Ban, As Deadline Approaches, Momentum In Favor of Ban Continues to Build

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 500,000 petitions are being delivered later today to President George W. Bush, Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Bill Frist asking them to stop blocking renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban.

President Bush has so far opted to block the ban's renewal via a strategy of silence, forcing the ban to simply expire next week rather than ask Congressional leaders to vote on its renewal. The hundreds of thousands of petitions were gathered by a variety of groups, including StopTheNRA.com, TomsPetition.org, MoveOn.org and True Majority.

On Friday morning, the White House officially refused to meet with law enforcement leaders about saving the assault weapons ban. The International Association of Chiefs of Police had requested a meeting, offering to send police chiefs to meet with the President on any date that the White House chose. The White House response said the President would not meet with the police due to a "scheduling conflict." (Again, the IACP had not requested any specific date or time for the meeting.)

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Monday, September 13, 2004

Recommended Reading:Bernard Chazelle on Anti-Americanism

A beautifully written piece at Counterpunch

"...In popular US anthropology, humans come in two varieties: the lucky folks who are American and the unfortunate ones who wish they were. Sticklers for logic will point to a third category: foreigners with no aspiration to join in the American dream. These wretched souls bear the cardinal sin of anti-Americanism, which is to deny the Homo Americanus his self-perception as the unique final destination of human civilization..."

Bush deliberately risked lives of New Yorkers

9/11 pollution 'could cause more deaths than attack'
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
12 September 2004
The Independent

Up to 400,000 New Yorkers breathed in the most toxic polluting cloud ever recorded after the twin towers were brought down three years ago, but no proper effort has been made to find out how their health has been affected, according to an official report.

The US government study provides the latest evidence of a systematic cover-up of the health toll from pollution after the 9/11 disaster, which doctors fear will cause more deaths than the attacks themselves.

The Bush administration suppressed evidence of increasing danger and officially announced that the air around the felled buildings was "safe to breathe". Another report reveals that it has since failed at least a dozen times to correct its assurances, even when it became clear that people were becoming sick.

The official report - sent to Congress last week by the US Government Accountability Office - says that between 250,000 and 400,000 people in lower Manhattan were exposed to the pollution on 11 September 2001. But it shows that the government has yet to make a comprehensive effort to study the effects on their health.

And it reveals that there is no systematic effort to adequately monitor the well-being of those affected, give them physical examinations or provide treatment.

Scientific studies have shown that the cloud of pulverised debris from the skyscrapers was uniquely dangerous. The US government's own figures show that it contained the highest levels of deadly dioxins ever recorded - about 1,500 times normal levels. Unprecedented levels of acids, sulphur, fine particles, heavy metals and other dangerous materials were also measured.
Asbestos was found at 27 times acceptable levels, and scientists found about 400 organic alkanes, phthalates and polyaromatic hydrocarbons - many suspected of causing cancer and other long-term diseases.

The site at Ground Zero went on smouldering, becoming what scientists describe as a "chemical factory", creating new dangerous substances.

US kill journalist making live broadcast

US missile attack kills 13 civilians in Iraq
By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
13 September 2004
The Independent

"I am a journalist. I'm dying, I'm dying," screamed Mazen al-Tumeizi, a correspondent for the Arabic television channel al-Arabiya, after shrapnel from a rocket fired by an American helicopter interrupted his live broadcast and slammed into his back.

Twelve others were killed and 61 wounded by rockets from two US helicopters on Haifa Street in central Baghdad. They had fired into a crowd milling around a burning Bradley fighting vehicle that had been hit by a rocket or bomb hours before.

It comes on one of Iraq's bloodiest days for weeks in which at least 110 people died in clashes around the country. The Health Ministry said the worst casualties were in Baghdad and in Tal Afar near the Syrian border, where 51 people died.

"The helicopter fired on the Bradley to destroy it after it had been hit earlier and it was on fire," said Major Phil Smith of the 1st Cavalry Division. "It was for the safety of the people around it." Mr Tumeizi, a Palestinian, was the sixth Arab journalist to be killed by American troops since Baghdad was captured last year. The videotape of his last moments shows how Mr Tumeizi was killed during a live television broadcast, with the Bradley blazing in the distance and a crowd of young men celebrating its destruction, but it shows no reason why the helicopters should open fire.

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Colin Powell in four-letter neo-con 'crazies' row

Martin Bright
Sunday September 12, 2004
The Observer

A furious row has broken out over claims in a new book by BBC broadcaster James Naughtie that US Secretary of State Colin Powell described neo-conservatives in the Bush administration as 'fucking crazies' during the build-up to war in Iraq.

Powell's extraordinary outburst is alleged to have taken place during a telephone conversation with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. The two became close friends during the intense negotiations in the summer of 2002 to build an international coalition for intervention via the United Nations. The 'crazies' are said to be Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz.

Last week, the offices of Powell and Straw contacted Public Affairs, the US publishers of Naughtie's book, to say they would vigorously deny the claims if publication went ahead. But as no legal action was threatened, the US launch of the book, The Accidental American: Tony Blair and the Presidency, will proceed as planned this week.

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Bush team 'knew of abuse' at Guantánamo

Oliver Burkeman in Washington
Monday September 13, 2004
The Guardian

Evidence of prisoner abuse and possible war crimes at Guantánamo Bay reached the highest levels of the Bush administration as early as autumn 2002, but Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, chose to do nothing about it, according to a new investigation published exclusively in the Guardian today.

The investigation, by the veteran journalist Seymour Hersh, quotes one former marine at the camp recalling sessions in which guards would "fuck with [detainees] as much as we could" by inflicting pain on them.

The Bush administration repeatedly assured critics that inmates were granted recreation periods, but one Pentagon adviser told Hersh how, for some prisoners, they consisted of being left in straitjackets in intense sunlight with hoods over their heads.

Hersh provides details of how President George Bush signed off on the establishment of a secret unit that was given advance approval to kill or capture and interrogate "high-value" suspects - considered by many to be in defiance of international law - an officially "unacknowledged" programme that was eventually transferred wholesale from Guantánamo to the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Hersh, who broke the story of the My Lai massacre in the Vietnam war, makes his revelations in a new book, Chain of Command, which leaves senior figures in the Bush administration far more seriously implicated in the torture scandal than had been previously apparent.

A CIA analyst visited Guantánamo in summer 2002 and returned "convinced that we were committing war crimes" and that "more than half the people there didn't belong there. He found people lying in their own faeces," a CIA source told Hersh.

The analyst submitted a report to General John Gordon, an aide to Condoleezza Rice, Mr Bush's national security adviser.

Gen Gordon was troubled, and, one former administration official told Hersh "that if the actions at Guantánamo ever became public, it'd be damaging to the president".

Ms Rice saw the document by autumn of the same year, and called a high-level meeting at which she asked Mr Rumsfeld, to deal with the problem.

But after he vowed to act, "the Pentagon went into a full-court stall", a former White House official is quoted as saying. "Why didn't Condi do more? She made the same mistake I made. She got the secretary of defence to say he's going to take care of it."

The investigation further suggests that CIA and FBI staff had already witnessed incidents at Guantánamo just as extreme as those that would subsequently be alleged by freed inmates.

A senior intelligence official told Hersh: "I was told [by FBI agents] that the military guards were slapping prisoners, stripping them, pouring cold water over them and making them stand until they got hypothermia."

The secret "special access programme" facilitating much of the mistreatment of prisoners, widely held to have contravened the Geneva convention, was established following a direct order from the president.



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