Environmentalists Against War
Home | Say NO! To War | Action! | Information | Media Center | Who We Are

 

 

 

I Do Not Wish to Be Associated With Torture

April 30th, 2006 - by admin

Ray McGovern / t r u t h o u t – 2006-04-30 23:59:51

Hon. Pete Hoekstra, Chair
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
Washington, DC

Dear Congressman Hoekstra:

WASHINGTON (March 2, 2006) — As a matter of conscience, I am returning the Intelligence Commendation Award medallion given me for “especially commendable service” during my 27-year career in CIA.

The issue is torture, which inhabits the same category as rape and slavery — intrinsically evil. I do not wish to be associated, however remotely, with an agency engaged in torture.

Reports in recent years that CIA personnel were torturing detainees were highly disturbing. Confirmation of a sort came last fall, when CIA Director Porter Goss and Dick Cheney — dubbed by the Washington Post “Vice President for Torture” — descended on Sen. John McCain to demand that the CIA be exempted from his amendment’s ban on torture. Subsequent reports implicated agency personnel in several cases of prisoner abuse in Iraq, including a few in which detainees died during interrogation.

The obeisance of CIA directors George Tenet and Porter Goss in heeding illegal White House directives has done irreparable harm to the CIA and the country — not to mention those tortured and killed.

That you, as Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, show more deference to the White House than dedication to your oversight responsibilities under the Constitution is another profound disappointment.

How can you and your counterpart, Sen. Pat Roberts, turn a blind eye to torture — letting some people get away, literally, with murder – and square that with your conscience?

If German officials who were ordered to do such things in the 1930s had spoken out early and loudly enough, the German people might have been alerted to the atrocities being perpetrated in their name and tried harder to stop them.

When my grandchildren ask, “What did you do, Grandpa, to stop the torture,” I want to be able to tell them that I tried to honor my oath, taken both as an Army officer and an intelligence officer, to defend the Constitution of the United States — and that I not only spoke out strongly against the torture, but also sought a symbolic way to dissociate myself from it.

We Americans have become accustomed to letting our institutions do our sinning for us. I abhor the corruption of the CIA in the past several years, believe it to be beyond repair, and do not want my name on any medallion associated with it. Please destroy this one.

Yours truly,
Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern works for Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. He was an analyst at the CIA for 27 years, and is on the Steering Group of VIPS.

he United States of Israel

April 30th, 2006 - by admin

Robert Fisk / CounterPunch – 2006-04-30 00:33:46

http://www.counterpunch.com/fisk04272006.html

The United States of Israel
Robert Fisk / CounterPunch

(April 27, 2006 ) — Stephen Walt towers over me as we walk in the Harvard sunshine past Eliot Street, a big man who needs to be big right now (he’s one of two authors of an academic paper on the influence of America’s Jewish lobby) but whose fame, or notoriety, depending on your point of view, is of no interest to him.

“John and I have deliberately avoided the television shows because we don’t think we can discuss these important issues in 10 minutes. It would become ‘J’ and ‘S’, the personalities who wrote about the lobby — and we want to open the way to serious discussion about this, to encourage a broader discussion of the forces shaping US foreign policy in the Middle East.”

“John” is John Mearsheimer, a political scientist at the University of Chicago. Walt is a 50-year-old tenured professor at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

The two men have caused one of the most extraordinary political storms over the Middle East in recent American history by stating what to many non-Americans is obvious: that the US has been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of Israel, that Israel is a liability in the “war on terror”, that the biggest Israeli lobby group, Aipac (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), is in fact the agent of a foreign government and has a stranglehold on Congress — so much so that US policy towards Israel is not debated there — and that the lobby monitors and condemns academics who are critical of Israel.

“Anyone who criticises Israel’s actions or argues that pro-Israel groups have significant influence over US Middle East policy,” the authors have written, “…stands a good chance of being labelled an anti-Semite.

Indeed, anyone who merely claims that there is an Israeli lobby runs the risk of being charged with anti-Semitism … Anti-Semitism is something no-one wants to be accused of.” This is strong stuff in a country where — to quote the late Edward Said — the “last taboo” (now that anyone can talk about blacks, gays and lesbians) is any serious discussion of America’s relationship with Israel.

Walt is already the author of an elegantly written account of the resistance to US world political dominance, a work that includes more than 50 pages of references. Indeed, those who have read his Taming Political Power: The Global Response to US Primacy will note that the Israeli lobby gets a thumping in this earlier volume because Aipac “has repeatedly targeted members of Congress whom it deemed insufficiently friendly to Israel and helped drive them from office, often by channelling money to their opponents.”

But how many people in America are putting their own heads above the parapet, now that Mearsheimer and Walt have launched a missile that would fall to the ground unexploded in any other country but which is detonating here at high speed? Not a lot. For a while, the mainstream US press and television — as pro-Israeli, biased and gutless as the two academics infer them to be – did not know whether to report on their conclusions (originally written for The Atlantic Monthly, whose editors apparently took fright, and subsequently reprinted in the London Review of Books in slightly truncated form) or to remain submissively silent.

The New York Times, for example, only got round to covering the affair in depth well over two weeks after the report’s publication, and then buried its article in the education section on page 19. The academic essay, according to the paper’s headline, had created a “debate” about the lobby’s influence.

They can say that again. Dore Gold, a former ambassador to the UN, who now heads an Israeli lobby group, kicked off by unwittingly proving that the Mearsheimer-Walt theory of “anti-Semitism” abuse is correct. “I believe,” he said, “that anti-Semitism may be partly defined as asserting a Jewish conspiracy for doing the same thing non-Jews engage in.” Congressman Eliot Engel of New York said that the study itself was “anti-Semitic” and deserved the American public’s contempt.

Walt has no time for this argument. “We are not saying there is a conspiracy, or a cabal. The Israeli lobby has every right to carry on its work — all Americans like to lobby. What we are saying is that this lobby has a negative influence on US national interests and that this should be discussed. There are vexing problems out in the Middle East and we need to be able to discuss them openly. The Hamas government, for example — how do we deal with this? There may not be complete solutions, but we have to try and have all the information available.”

Walt doesn’t exactly admit to being shocked by some of the responses to his work – it’s all part of his desire to keep “discourse” in the academic arena, I suspect, though it probably won’t work. But no-one could be anything but angered by his Harvard colleague, Alan Dershowitz, who announced that the two scholars recycled accusations that “would be seized on by bigots to promote their anti-Semitic agendas”.

The two are preparing a reply to Dershowitz’s 45-page attack, but could probably have done without praise from the white supremacist and ex-Ku Klux Klan head David Duke — adulation which allowed newspapers to lump the name of Duke with the names of Mearsheimer and Walt. “Of Israel, Harvard and David Duke,” ran the Washington Post’s reprehensible headline.

The Wall Street Journal, ever Israel’s friend in the American press, took an even weirder line on the case. “As Ex-Lobbyists of Pro-Israel Group Face Court, Article Queries Sway on Mideast Policy” its headline proclaimed to astonished readers. Neither Mearsheimer nor Walt had mentioned the trial of two Aipac lobbyists — due to begin next month — who are charged under the Espionage Act with receiving and disseminating classified information provided by a former Pentagon Middle East analyst.

The defence team for Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman has indicated that it may call Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley to the stand.

Almost a third of the Journal‘s report is taken up with the Rosen-Weissman trial, adding that the indictment details how the two men “allegedly sought to promote a hawkish US policy toward Iran by trading favours with a number of senior US officials.

Lawrence Franklin, the former Pentagon official, has pleaded guilty to misusing classified information. Mr Franklin was charged with orally passing on information about a draft National Security Council paper on Iran to the two lobbyists… as well as other classified information. Mr Franklin was sentenced in December to nearly 13 years in prison…”

The Wall Street Journal report goes on to say that lawyers and “many Jewish leaders” – who are not identified — “say the actions of the former Aipac employees were no different from how thousands of Washington lobbyists work. They say the indictment marks the first time in US history that American citizens… have been charged with receiving and disseminating state secrets in conversations.”

The paper goes on to say that “several members of Congress have expressed concern about the case since it broke in 2004, fearing that the Justice Department may be targeting pro-Israel lobbying groups, such as Aipac. These officials (sic) say they’re eager to see the legal process run its course, but are concerned about the lack of transparency in the case.”

As far as Dershowitz is concerned, it isn’t hard for me to sympathise with the terrible pair. He it was who shouted abuse at me during an Irish radio interview when I said that we had to ask the question “Why?” after the 11 September 2001 international crimes against humanity. I was a “dangerous man”, Dershowitz shouted over the air, adding that to be “anti-American” — my thought-crime for asking the “Why?” question — was the same as being anti-Semitic.

I must, however, also acknowledge another interest. Twelve years ago, one of the Israeli lobby groups that Mearsheimer and Walt fingers prevented any second showing of a film series on Muslims in which I participated for Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel — by stating that my “claim” that Israel was building large Jewish settlements on Arab land was “an egregious falsehood”.

I was, according to another Israeli support group, “a Henry Higgins with fangs”, who was “drooling venom into the living rooms of America.”

Such nonsense continues to this day. In Australia to launch my new book on the Middle East, for instance, I repeatedly stated that Israel — contrary to the anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists — was not responsible for the crimes of 11 September 2001. Yet the Australian Jewish News claimed that I “stopped just millimetres short of suggesting that Israel was the cause of the 9/11 attacks. The audience reportedly (and predictably) showered him in accolades.”

This was untrue. There was no applause and no accolades and I never stopped “millimetres” short of accusing Israel of these crimes against humanity. The story in the Australian Jewish News is a lie.

So I have to say that – from my own humble experience — Mearsheimer and Walt have a point. And for a man who says he has not been to Israel for 20 years – or Egypt, though he says he had a “great time” in both countries — Walt rightly doesn’t claim any on-the-ground expertise. “I’ve never flown into Afghanistan on a rickety plane, or stood at a checkpoint and seen a bus coming and not known if there is a suicide bomber aboard,” he says.

Noam Chomsky, America’s foremost moral philosopher and linguistics academic – so critical of Israel that he does not even have a regular newspaper column — does travel widely in the region and acknowledges the ruthlessness of the Israeli lobby. But he suggests that American corporate business has more to do with US policy in the Middle East than Israel’s supporters — proving, I suppose, that the Left in the United States has an infinite capacity for fratricide.

Walt doesn’t say he’s on the left, but he and Mearsheimer objected to the invasion of Iraq, a once lonely stand that now appears to be as politically acceptable as they hope – rather forlornly – that discussion of the Israeli lobby will become.

Walt sits in a Malaysian restaurant with me, patiently (though I can hear the irritation in his voice) explaining that the conspiracy theories about him are nonsense. His stepping down as dean of the Kennedy School was a decision taken before the publication of his report, he says. No one is throwing him out.

The much-publicised Harvard disclaimer of ownership to the essay — far from being a gesture of fear and criticism by the university as his would-be supporters have claimed — was mainly drafted by Walt himself, since Mearsheimer, a friend as well as colleague, was a Chicago scholar, not a Harvard don.

But something surely has to give.

Across the United States, there is growing evidence that the Israeli and neo-conservative lobbies are acquiring ever greater power. The cancellation by a New York theatre company of My Name is Rachel Corrie — a play based on the writings of the young American girl crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003 — has deeply shocked liberal Jewish Americans, not least because it was Jewish American complaints that got the performance pulled.

“How can the West condemn the Islamic world for not accepting Mohamed cartoons,” Philip Weiss asked in The Nation, “when a Western writer who speaks out on behalf of Palestinians is silenced? And why is it that Europe and Israel itself have a healthier debate over Palestinian human rights than we can have here?” Corrie died trying to prevent the destruction of a Palestinian home.

Enemies of the play falsely claim that she was trying to stop the Israelis from collapsing a tunnel used to smuggle weapons. Hateful e-mails were written about Corrie. Weiss quotes one that reads: “Rachel Corrie won’t get 72 virgins but she got what she wanted.”

Saree Makdisi — a close relative of the late Edward Said — has revealed how a right-wing website is offering cash for University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) students who report on the political leanings of their professors, especially their views on the Middle East.

Those in need of dirty money at UCLA should be aware that class notes, handouts and illicit recordings of lectures will now receive a bounty of $100. “I earned my own inaccurate and defamatory ‘profile’,” Makdisi says, “…not for what I have said in my classes on English poets such as Wordsworth and Blake — my academic speciality, which the website avoids mentioning — but rather for what I have written in newspapers about Middle Eastern politics.”

Mearsheimer and Walt include a study of such tactics in their report. “In September 2002,” they write, “Martin Kramer and Daniel Pipes, two passionately pro-Israel neo-conservatives, established a website (www.campus-watch.org) that posted dossiers on suspect academics and encouraged students to report behaviour that might be considered hostile to Israel… the website still invites students to report ‘anti-Israel’ activity.”

Perhaps the most incendiary paragraph in the essay — albeit one whose contents have been confirmed in the Israeli press — discusses Israel’s pressure on the United States to invade Iraq. “Israeli intelligence officials had given Washington a variety of alarming reports about Iraq’s WMD programmes,” the two academics write, quoting a retired Israeli general as saying: “Israeli intelligence was a full partner to the picture presented by American and British intelligence regarding Iraq’s non-conventional capabilities.”

Walt says he might take a year’s sabbatical — though he doesn’t want to get typecast as a “lobby” critic — because he needs a rest after his recent administrative post. There will be Israeli lobbyists, no doubt, who would he happy if he made that sabbatical a permanent one. I somehow doubt he will.

Robert Fisk writes for the London Independent.

“Diplomacy”, the Smokescreen for Savagery

April 30th, 2006 - by admin

Ghali Hassan / GlobalResearch.ca – 2006-04-30 00:20:44

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle=HAS20060427=2340

(April 27, 2006 ) — Open any Western newspaper and you are struck by the abundant use of the word “diplomacy”. It is the second-most-used word after “democracy”. However, careful analysis shows that the US version of diplomacy has become the favorite smokescreen of the US war of aggression. Iraq and Iran provide the best cases.

In relation to Iran, the Bush Administration alleges that it is using “diplomacy” to convince Iran to give up her rights to nuclear technology. President Bush frequently says that “we are working with our European allies” to use diplomacy to avert a nuclear impasse with Iran. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that a “diplomatic solution” will be found to the Iranian nuclear crisis. The reality is the opposite.

By accusing Iran of intending to manufacture nuclear weapons, the US and its European vassals are using so-called “diplomacy” to coerce as many nations as possible to report Iran to the UN Security Council and pave the way for sanctions and most likely a war of aggression against Iran.

The US version of diplomacy is accompanied by a vicious propaganda campaign to demonise and portray the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in a very unfavourable way. Western mainstream media, led by the New York Times, the BBC and the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), have fabricated allegations against President Ahmedinejad. They allege that President Ahmedinejad denied the Jewish holocaust took place and threatened to “wipe Israel off the map”. In fact, none of President Ahmedinejad’ speeches (in Farsi) contain anything close to what has been magnified.

However, without any proof, Western leaders, led by Bush and Blair, Western journalists and the intellectual elites were quick to take advantage of the lie and unashamedly use it to justify their attacks on the Iranian President. The cliché of “anti-Semitism” provided the perfect bullying tool not only for the Israeli government but also for those who follow in their footsteps. (See Fikentscher & Neumann). President Ahmedinejad is now threatened with assassination by Israeli-sponsored state terrorism. The threat against a democratically elected head of state passed without condemnation in Western capitals.

Furthermore, President Ahmedinejad was democratically elected and he cannot be considered as a Western-imposed “tyrant” or a “dictator”. Iran had a democracy from 1951-1953 before the US staged a coup d’etat against Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadeq and imposed the vicious dictatorship of the Shah on Iran. The US version of “democracy” is a colonial dictatorship masked with fraudulent elections.

Iran has made numerous diplomatic efforts to address the various issues. While accusing Iran of aspiring to produce nuclear weapons, the US turns a blind eye to Israel’s violence against the Palestinian people, Israeli threats in the region and to Israeli’s huge arsenal of nuclear weapons. Other countries such as Australia, Brazil and Japan, all have advanced nuclear programs ready to produce nuclear weapons within short notice. It seems, the US has become obsessed with Muslims’ independent development, and prefers to keep Muslim nations under its imperialist thumb.

The Iran nuclear issue is nothing more and nothing less than a pretext used by the US against Iran. The current US-engineered crisis is reminiscent of the fabricated pretext of Weapons of Mass Destructions (WMDs) that the US used to instigate a war of aggression against Iraq. Iran is signatory to the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has the rights to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful use. Indeed, the NPT encourages other nations to assist Iran in its quest for nuclear technology. However, this doesn’t stop the US from accusing Iran of “aspiring” to possess WMDs and interfering in Iran’s domestic affairs; instead, the US rejects diplomacy and continues to beat the drums of war. The alleged threat posed by Iran is a falsehood. An attack on Iran would be an unprovoked act of aggression in violations of international laws.

Throughout the history of US imperialism, the US has always concentrated its war propaganda on one individual in the target nation. For example presidents Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein and Hugo Chávez are made the epitomes of hatred. They are demonised to the highest point in order to make the American people feel obliged to support war against the target nation.

The US creates an illusion that the native population are suffering and helpless, and they need “our” help. As American author Stephen Kinzer writes; “Americans love to have a demon, a certain person who is the symbol of all the evil and tyranny in the regime that we want to attack”. For example, Saddam has become synonymous with evil and provided justification to commit greater evil against the people of Iraq. The US Administration writes Kinzer, “play[s] on the American compassion to achieve support for interventions” and commits war crimes against the Iraqi people.

In 1991, the US rejected every peaceful proposal to resolve the Kuwait-Iraq crisis. The US flatly rejected all proposals advanced by Yugoslavia, the USSR, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, France, Jordan and Iraq. Instead, the US used the diplomacy of coercion to bribe those who voted for the war and punished those nations who insisted on diplomacy.

At the end, Kuwait was just a pretext for premeditated mass murder and gross war crimes against the Iraqi people. The war followed by 13-years-long criminal sanctions that needlessly killed more than 1.6 million Iraqi civilians–a third of them children under the age of five.

For more than 13 years, the US rejected all diplomatic solutions to end its war on the Iraqi people. Annoyed by the severity of the sanctions, France and Russia introduced a peaceful resolution to end the sanctions against Iraq in return for Iraq’s continued cooperation regarding WMDs, but the resolution was vetoed by the US In March 2003 and after outright rejections of all diplomatic solutions, the US illegally invaded Iraq on the pretext – non-existence – of WMDs.

Since then, US forces and mercenaries have indiscriminately killed – in cold blood – hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children. In addition to the deliberate and planned destruction of Iraq as a functioning state, the US is turning Iraq into a purely sectarian state and encouraging the erosion of Iraqi national identity that prevailed throughout Iraq’s history.

Furthermore, the US continues to occupy Iraq against the wishes of the majority of the Iraqi people. The US also continues to impose a victor (American) culture on the Iraqi people. In addition, the US is denying Iraqis their democratic rights by imposing (by force) a puppet regime or a façade – consisting of a collection of thugs and criminals – programmed to serve US corporate interests.

Like the US version of “democracy”, the US version of “diplomacy” has become the favourite smokescreen for US foreign policy. There can be no doubt that democracy is the perfect alibi for state repressive powers. It is used to serve US corporate interests. The US version of “democracy” in Iraq is meant to ignite war and bloodshed. Iran must be encouraged to reject US diktats and pursue her own development for the benefit of the Iranian people.

While the US and its European vassals pretend to solve the Iranian nuclear crisis through “diplomacy”, they are embarking on a path that leads only to a war of aggression against Iran. Resistance to US imperialism through peaceful struggle is the only way to stop US aggression and violence.

Global Research Contributing Editor Ghali Hassan lives in Perth, Western Australia.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

The Centre for Research on Globalization, www.globalresearch.ca grants

© Copyright Ghali Hassan, GlobalResearch.ca, 2006

Reporter Sent to Mental Prison for Warning that Iraq Was “No Threat”

April 30th, 2006 - by admin

Greg Szymanski / American Free Press – 2006-04-30 00:18:02

( April 27, 2006) — The story of another American political prisoner needs to be told, a story about journalist Susan Lindauer illegally jailed and placed under psychiatric evaluation for urging the US government not to attack Iraq since it had no weapons of mass destruction.

As bizarre as it sounds, it’s true according to Mark Bilk, J. Buford Fields and Janet Phelan, three concerned citizens and activists trying to get Lindauer released from a federal correctional center.

Lindauer, 42, an ex-Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter, former US Congressional aide and a cousin of White House Chief of Staff, Andrew Card, was charged in March 2004 with espionage for conspiring to act as a spy and being an unregistered Iraqi agent.

Although the espionage charge has since been dropped, US prosecutors originally alleged the antiwar activist accepted $10,000 from Hussein’s intelligence unit over five years and sought to support resistance groups after the US invasion of Iraq.

Lindauer always had categorically denied accepting Iraqi money, saying she was framed for wanting to go public about sensitive information she possessed about the illegal Iraqi invasion, as well as information she was going to publish clearly demonstrating that Pan Am Flight 103 was an inside government job and blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, by Syrians, not Libyans as the US insists.

Lindauer has recently been charged with posing as an unregistered lobbyist, but jailed six months ago even though she has not been convicted of a crime, technically being held for psychiatric observation.

Although the Arctic Beacon has tried to interview Lindauer this week, federal authorities are not allowing her to talk to the media, as she remains essentially a political prisoner, according to the trio of activists fighting for her release, at MCC NEW YORK METROPOLITAN CORRECTIONAL CENTER, 150 PARK ROW, NEW YORK, NY under the inmate number of 56064-054.

“She’s been imprisoned by the federal government for six months for psychiatric evaluation, despite the fact that she was found to be quite sane by a court-appointed psychiatrist who had many sessions with her before her imprisonment,” said Bilk Wednesday on Greg Szymanski’s popular radio show, The Investigative Journal, making a case for Lindauer’s immediate release.

“We are urgently seeking legal representation for Susan Lindauer, a journalist who met with some Iraqis associated with the UN delegation, and then through her cousin Andrew Card, the White House Chief of Staff, urged the US government not to attack Iraq since it had no weapons of mass destruction.

“She has not been tried, much less convicted of a crime. She’s now being held in a New York City federal prison. She’s scheduled for a hearing as early as May 2, next week, to determine whether she should be forcibly drugged.”

The trio of activists finally decided to take to the airwaves on Szymanski’s radio show after becoming fruistrated with the mainstream media who has ignored the case, downplaying its importance.

Lindauer has been jailed since last October for psychiatric evaluation despite the fact she was found mentally competent by a court-appointed psychiatrist who evaluated Landauer numerous times before her imprisonment.

She is schedule for a May 4 competency hearing in a New York courtroom and Bilk and the others fear she’ll be “locked away as insane” to avoid a trial or public debate on the charges. Further, the hearing is being held to determine if the state will be allowed to forcibly continue administering drugs without her consent.

“I think our only hope is to find a good lawyer before the hearing,” added Bilk.

Janet Phelan, a journalist who became aware of the Lindauer’s struggles, alerting both Bilk and Fields to her political persecution, said Lindauer was trying to use her intelligence sources to warn government officials the Iraqi War was wrong, but it backfired when forces inside the government turned their attack on her.

“Now they want to label her mentally incompetent in order to discredit her,” said Phelan on the Investigative Journal radio broadcast.

Ex-CIA Agent Corroborates Lindauer’s
Charge on Lockerbie Bombing

Besides the Iraqi connection regarding sensitive WMD information and her family ties to the White House Chief of Staff, Lindauer became embroiled with former CIA agent. Dr. Richard Fuisz, who claimed Libya was not responsible for the Lockerbie bombing.

In 2000, a gag order was placed on Dr. Fuisz by the US government under state secrecy laws, facing 10 years in prison if he revealed any information about the terrorist attack.

According to a Sunday Herald article one month before a court order was served on him by the US government gagging him from speaking on the grounds of national security, he spoke to US congressional aide Susan Lindauer, telling her he knew the identities of the Lockerbie bombers and claiming they were not Libyan.

The 2000 article, appearing in London but not here, went on to say:

“In her affidavit, she goes on: “Dr Fuisz has told me that he can identify who orchestrated and executed the bombing. Dr Fuisz has said that he can confirm absolutely that no Libyan national was involved in planning or executing the bombing of Pan Am 103, either in any technical or advisory capacity whatsoever.”

“Fuisz’s statements to Lindauer support the claims of the two Libyan accused who are to incriminate a number of terrorist organisations, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, which had strong links to Syria and Iran.”

The article went on to say that Lindauer said Fuisz told her he could provide information on Middle Eastern terrorists, and referred to Lockerbie as an “example of an unsolved bombing case that he said he has the immediate capability to resolve”.

Lindauer also said that Fuisz told her CIA staff had destroyed reports he sent them on Lockerbie. Lindauer also refers in her affidavit to speculation that the USA shifted any connection to Lockerbie away from Syria to Libya in return for its support during the Gulf war.

“She added that Fuisz told her: “If the [US] government would let me, I could identify the men behind this attack today. I could do the right thing … I could go into any crowded restaurant and pick out these men … I can tell you their home addresses … You won’t find [them] anywhere in Libya. You will only find [them] in Damascus. I was investigating on the ground and I know.”

Regarding her recent connections leading to espionage charges in conspiring with Iraqi terrorists, a charge since dropped, J. Fields who is helping to get Lindauer set free said her publicly defender has “failed to mount any serious defense.”

Writing on a web site compiling a case on her behalf at www.radio4houston.com/Lindauer, Fields added:

“Susan is not charged with espionage or treason. She is charged with being an unregistered lobbyist, and the Justice Department flowered up the indictment. They alleged that she conspired with the sons of the Iraq diplomat representing Iraq in weapons inspection talks. Those sons were not convicted of anything, but were shipped out of the country on immigration charges. Susan’s attorney, I’m told, has no depositions even from them, and he had plenty of time to get the job done before they were deported.

“Susan has witnesses who know her thoughts during the FBI’s attempted counter intelligence sting operation. She told the FBI agent that she knew he was no intelligence officer from Libya, and said same to Park Godfrey, an IT professor who now lives in Toronto, who boarded with her at the time. This is one of her witnesses that her lawyer has refused to interview.

“Her lawyer wants to claim in court that Susan’s insistence that she was trying to work as an asset (or was doing so) for American intelligence agencies is delusional.

“Unfortunately for him, Susan’s connections were well documented by the Scottish court during the Lockerbie trial, where it seems our government, or at least its political leadership, was so eager to not look impotent that they knowingly prosecuted Libyans instead of the Syrians who Susan claimed Dr. Fuisz, reportedly the former Syria CIA station chief, told Susan he knew had planned and executed it.

“Susan provided a deposition to the court, and it is in the Scottish press and court documents, the PDF of the CIA’s letter, not equivocating about Dr. Fuisz’s employment status one bit, but releasing him from his oath of silence in that matter.

“From my point of view, Susan told anybody she could what she was up to. Given the notorious lack of human intelligence assets in Iraq, it seems to me that the likelihood that the CIA was ignorant of what Andy Card’s cousin was up to, is very unlikely. The fact that she did have access to senior diplomats, and the fact that she was Andy Card’s cousin all fits pretty well to argue against delusion. With such access and connections, any peace activist might feel compelled to engage.

“Susan’s Psychiatric records during pre-trial counseling are posted on the website. You will see that the doctor directly addresses the question of psychosis and finds contrary to what her lawyer and the prosecution are alleging.”

For rest of story and more informative articles, go to www.arcticbeacon.com

Greg Szymanski also has his own daily show on the Republic Broadcast Network. Go to www.rbnlive.com Greg Szymanski is an independent investigative journalist and his articles can been seen at www.LewisNews.com. He also writes for American Free Press and has his own site www.arcticbeacon.com

Listen to my Radio Broadcast live Monday night at 8pm Pacific time on LewisNews, returning Jan. 1 2006 Radio http://webs.lewisnews.com/radio/index.htm. Greg is also regular on Rense.com the first Thursday of every month at 9-10 pm pacific time.

GI’s Beware of Radioactive Showers!

April 30th, 2006 - by admin

Irving Wesley Hall / Notinkansas.us – 2006-04-30 00:10:32

http://www.countercurrents.org/us-hall280406.htm

(April 28, 2006) — Bush’s impending, insane nuclear attack on Iran has provoked an unprecedented rebellion within the top leadership of the United States military. At the same time, depleted uranium (DU) is steadily taking down our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s time for the soldiers to follow the lead of their commanders in order to end the war.

Was Army Sergeant Michael Lee Tosto the first American victim of the Bush Administration’s March 2003 “Shock and Awe” attack on Iraq? The 24-year old North Carolina tank operator died “mysteriously” in Baghdad on June 17, 2003.

The Iraqi capital was saturated with radioactive dust from the initial explosions of 1,500 American bombs and missiles, many of them made from solid depleted uranium. After the saturation bombing, the city was the scene of street battles with M-1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, A-10 Warthog attack jets and Apache helicopters, all firing DU munitions.

The army told Sergeant Tosto’s family that he died from pulmonary edema and pericardial effusion, or cardiac failure, after showing flu-like symptoms.

Young Michael Tosto believed George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice. He believed he had been deployed to Iraq to stop Saddam Hussein from nuking the United States. Michael died before we all learned that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld are nuking the world.
Michael Tosto died, young and innocent, when they nuked him.

After Michael ‘s funeral, a fellow soldier contacted Michael’s wife Stephanie and told her that his buddy started coughing up blood, his lips turned blue, and he was dead within 48 hours after the first symptoms.

According to Tom Flocco, upon whose story this account is based,
“. . . the Tostos say their GI was in excellent health–in his prime of life. And Stephanie Tosto told United Press International, ‘When my husband died, the casualty officer asked me, ‘Is it possible that Michael had heart problems?’ Michael did not have heart problems. One other time they asked me if he had asthma. He was never sick.”
Inhaling depleted uranium causes pulmonary edema. Symptoms include bleeding lungs, bronchial pneumonia, and vomited blood. Pericardial effusion is a common cause of death among leukemia patients. Michael’s mother, Janet Tosto, reported that military officials told her that her son Michael’s military autopsy exhibited elevated levels of white blood cells. Exposure to depleted uranium can cause Lymphocytic leukemia.

Tom Flocco consulted Dr. Garth Nicolson of the Institute for Molecular Medicine in Huntington Beach, California who said, “Just one microscopic particle–let alone thousands–trapped in a soldier’s pulmonary system for one year can result in 272 times the annual whole body radiation dose permitted U.S. radiation workers.”

Gulf War Illness: the Sequel

It is happening again to a new generation of veterans. Some of today’s soldiers were in day care centers in 1991 when Dick Cheney first authorized the wholesale use of radioactive munitions. It is happening again despite the fact that 70% of all Gulf War I veterans are on medical disability fifteen years after the end of the first war against Saddam Hussein.
We are witnessing the same symptoms of radioactive poisoning today as fifteen years ago. We are hearing the same denial of reality from Donald Rumsfeld’s Department of Defense (DoD).

The government spokesman in Michael’s death claimed, “We don’t think depleted uranium has anything to do with it.”

After the publication of “Depleted Uranium For Dummies” last month, a reader emailed me with a demand. “You claim that half million soldiers are sick because of the tons of depleted uranium used in 1991. I’d like to hear the government’s side of the story.”
Well, the Department of Defense’s estimate, as you might expect, is lower. Much lower.

According to the Pentagon, depleted uranium hasn’t caused even one GI’s illness or a single veteran’s death.

If you still believe that the Bush Administration doesn’t lie to its citizens or Rumsfeld’s Department of Defense doesn’t lie to the troops, please click to another website. I don’t want to be the first to break the news to you.

Soon you might begin to doubt Condoleezza Rice’s warning about Saddam Hussein’s imminent nuclear attack on America or Dick Cheney’s claim that Hussein was responsible for taking down the Twin Towers. You might question why on 9/11 acting Commander-in-Chief Dick Cheney couldn’t find one available U.S. fighter jet to send aloft during the hour that, allegedly, nineteen Saudis and Egyptians with box cutters were crisscrossing the East Coast in hijacked commercial airliners!

These are the stories Sergeant Tosto took to his grave. But no one ever told him that the depleted uranium munitions packed into his tank could kill him.

That’s right. As far as the Department of Defense is concerned, depleted uranium is “40 percent less radioactive than natural uranium,” is “not a serious external radiation hazard,” and thus is not considered dangerous According to the military’s pamphlet, “Depleted Uranium Information for Clinicians”revised on September 17, 2004, a year and a half after Michael Tosto’s death, “Findings have shown no kidney damage, leukemia, bone or lung cancer, or other uranium-related adverse health outcomes.”

The Pentagon commissioned several studies in the ‘nineties as hundreds of thousands of Gulf War vets were becoming “mysteriously” sick. One published in 2000, concluded that DU “could pose a chemical hazard” but that Gulf War veterans “did not experience intakes high enough to affect their health.”

According to Pentagon spokesman Austin Camacho, the only soldiers meriting the military’s concern are those wounded by depleted uranium shrapnel or those who were inside tanks during an explosion, and “studies of about 70 such cases from the first Gulf War showed no long-term health problems.”

This stupefying— vets call it criminal—DoD denial helps explain the military’s reaction to Michael Tosto’s death. They would not allow Stephanie Tosto to see her husband’s body until after the autopsy in Germany and after he was packed in a casket for burial.
Dan Tosto, the dead soldier’s father, wondered why Michael was wearing white gloves, appropriate for dress blues but not for Michael’s green burial uniform. At the funeral, Stephanie reached under a glove and found Michael’s wedding ring missing. The army later explained that the dead soldier’s belongings were possibly contaminated.

Wedding Ring Contaminated With What?

Perhaps the mysterious metal “contamination” explains why the Army sent the family brand-new dog tags, rather than Michael’s original set, and why they didn’t immediately call his wife at the emergency phone number he was carrying.

After the tank driver was buried, Stephanie received her husband’s medical records. They described his arms as red and swollen, classic signs of exposure to depleted uranium dust.
Dr. Rosalie Bertell, Secretary General of the International Commission of Health Professionals, and President of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health, commented on Michael Tosto’s symptoms. She said that the armed services investigation was incomplete without a thorough “testing for potential depleted uranium [which] includes chemical analysis of uranium in urine, feces, blood and hair; tests of damage to kidneys, including analysis for protein, glucose and non-protein nitrogen in urine; radioactivity counting; or more invasive tests such a surgical biopsy of lung or bone marrow.”

As you will read in the next installment, according to the DoD’s own Regulation #700-48, such tests are mandatory. Surprised? Wait until you read next time how the government responds to living contaminated soldiers who request tests for radiation poisoning.

We cited Dr. Doug Rokke in previous installments of the “Over the Rainbow” blog. He was the military’s top expert on all aspects of depleted uranium, until he was fired for telling the truth. He was the chief biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons safety officer in the first Gulf War, and he reports that many American deaths were from “friendly-fire” DU weapons. The Tosto family will never know if this was Michael’s fate.
According to Gay Alcorn of The Age, “Rokke was ordered to decontaminate shot-up vehicles and tanks and to investigate health effects on troops. Dressed in protective gear and masks, he and his team crawled over tanks and other vehicles, sending some back to the US. Those considered too radioactive to move were buried in a giant hole in the ground.

“The US Army made me their expert,” Rokke told reporter Julie Flint. “I went into the project with the total intent to ensure they could use uranium munitions in war, because I’m a warrior. What I saw as director of the project led me to one conclusion: uranium munitions must be banned from the planet, for eternity, and medical care must be provided for everyone – those on the firing end and those on the receiving end.”

According to Flint, Rokke “suffers from serious health problems including brain lesions and lung and kidney damage. When government doctors finally agreed to test him in November 1994, three-and-a-half years after he fell ill, while he was director of the Pentagon’s Depleted Uranium Project, he was found to have 5,000 times the permissible level of radiation in his body – enough to light up a small village.”

Rokke’s crew — 100 employees — was devastated by exposure to the fine dust. “When we went to the Gulf, we were all really healthy,” Rokke said. “However, after performing clean-up operations in the desert. . .30 staff members died, and most others — including Rokke himself –developed serious health problems. Rokke now has reactive airway disease, neurological damage, cataracts, and kidney problems.”

I conducted a telephone interview with Doug Rokke last month, after sending him “Dummies” to fact-check. He described the permanent rashes on his arms. “They’re weeping as we speak,” he said. I recalled Michael Tosto’s autopsy report. What was hidden under the white gloves?

The papers Rokke wrote describing his findings are sobering. He recorded levels of contamination that were 15 times the army’s permissible levels in tanks hit by DU, and up to 4.5 times such levels in clothing exposed to DU.

Rokke told Alcorn, “After everything I’ve seen, everything I’ve done, it became very clear to me that you just can’t take radioactive wastes from one nation and just throw it into another nation. It’s wrong. It’s simply wrong. . .”One way or another, the Pentagon will pay a price. DU is a war crime. It’s that simple. Once you’ve scattered all this stuff around, and then refuse to clean it up, you’ve committed a war crime.”

According to Gulf War vet and retired Air Force Major, Denise Nichols, there are many reasons why Rumsfeld’s Department of Defense won’t admit that DU is harmful.
“They don’t want to assume responsibility for the astronomical healthcare costs of so many poisoned veterans. . .and they don’t want the rest of the world to know that they have essentially poisoned two entire nations.”

If They Admit It’s Killing Our Troops, They Can’t Use It

Doug Rokke gave journalist Vince Guarisco another reason. “We warned the Department of Defense in 1991 after the Gulf War. Their arrogance is beyond comprehension. Once they acknowledge that there are actual health effects of depleted uranium munitions, then they can’t use them any more; the house of cards falls apart.”

Now, can you understand the DoD’s secrecy about the details of Michael Tosto’s death? Can you understand the strange silence last month of Maj. Richard J. McNorton, the CENTCOM’s special officer in charge of helping bloggers obtain accurate information? He is still ignoring my requests to confirm or to allow me to disprove the following account in “Dummies”:

“An official June 2005 United States Central Command communiqué reported that soldiers of the 62nd Quartermaster Company from Fort Hood, Texas were supplying Camp Forward Danger’s water from the Tigris River. . .it seems that it is not tested for radioactivity.

“Our men and women of the New York State National Guard have just spent six months taking radioactive showers and washing small open wounds in a depleted uranium broth. They’ve eaten over 500 meals with food, plates, and silverware washed with hot water, in two senses of the word. . . without knowing it.”

Given the serious implications for my neighbors in the Rainbow Division, they expected a prompt response from McNorton. Not a word.

Does it still seem strange to you that the Pentagon maintains that, from 1991 to 2005, only 7,035 Gulf War vets—were “wounded” in the conflict?

In the opinion of those now responsible for defending our country, the discrepancy between 7,000 and 518,000 vets on disability (many with Gulf War Illness’s “ill defined symptoms”) is just a “mystery.”

What is no mystery is that, within the last month, seven high-ranking retired military officers have publicly called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Most are immediate retirees high in the chain of command in the Middle East deeply involved in Cheney and Rumsfeld’s war.

On Democracy Now! April 17, 2006, retired Col. Sam Gardiner, respected lecturer at several United States military war colleges, called these denunciations “unprecedented in United States history.”

Unprecedented Officers’ Revolt

The military revolt against the Bush Administration’s catastrophic Middle East policies surfaced last November when previously hawkish Pennsylvania congressman John Murtha channeled the top brass’s opposition to the war. Col. Gardiner suggested that the seven recently retired officers were being encouraged to speak out by those still in service. The brass is horrified by the military consequences of bringing Iran into a war we’ve already lost. Nothing like this happened even during the military’s darkest days when Nixon secretly invaded neighboring Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

In another first, a group of West Point graduates, has denounced the war. The graduates pledged to refuse to serve in Iraq. Additional reports suggest that the Joint Chiefs have made clear that they oppose an attack on Iran. Another group of officers has threatened to resign if the United States continues its plans to expand the war in the Middle East to a second major oil producer. Think about that next time you pump gas.

It’s time for the troops to seize this brief opportunity to transform American history. Why? Let’s examine the price our brave citizen-soldiers are paying for the arrogance of the Bush Administration and Donald Rumsfeld’s DoD. In future articles we’ll show in detail what the troops in Iraq can do legally when we review the recent documentary, “Sir! No Sir!” It shows the critical role of Vietnam GIs in ending that earlier war of aggression against a people who posed no threat to the United States.

Last February, Juan Gonzales of the New York Daily News reported that “nearly 120,000 veterans – more than one of every four who served in Iraq and Afghanistan – have already sought treatment at Veterans Health Administration hospitals for a wide range of illnesses, according to an internal study the VHA completed late last year.

“An additional 35,000 – more than 29% of the total – were diagnosed with ‘ill-defined conditions,’ according to the study, which was prepared in October by VHA epidemiologist Dr. Han Kang but has yet to be publicly released.”

“‘Those numbers are way higher than during the Persian Gulf War for ‘ill-defined’ symptoms,'” said one Department of Veterans Affairs official who asked not to be identified.”

As we detailed in “Dummies,” depleted uranium contamination causes virtually every known illness from acute skin rashes, severe headaches, muscle and joint pain, and general fatigue, to major birth defects, liver infection, kidney failure, depression, cardiovascular disease, brain tumors, and almost every type of cancer. In fact, the figure of 35,000 sick vets coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with “ill-defined conditions” may be too low.

Gonzalez reported that, “more than 30% of those sick veterans are afflicted with some type of mental disorder, mostly post-traumatic stress and depression. . . a far higher rate of mental problems among our troops than during the Persian Gulf War, and levels comparable to what was found among U.S. troops during the Vietnam War.”

Two previous military studies of combat troops in Iraq found that 17% to 25% of U.S. soldiers suffer from major depression or combat stress.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is defined as a debilitating change in the brain’s chemistry that includes flashbacks, sleep disorders, panic attacks, acute anxiety, emotional numbness, and violent outbursts. Dozens of soldiers have committed suicide or murdered their spouses, Can PTSD, in some cases, be another phrase for Gulf War Illness?

Sara Flounders reported in August 2003, shortly after Michael Tosto’s death, “For years the government described Gulf War Syndrome as a post-traumatic stress disorder. It was labeled a psychological problem or simply dismissed as mysterious unrelated ailments. In this same way the Pentagon and the Veterans Administration treated the health problems of Vietnam vets suffering from Agent Orange poisoning.”

Dr. Leuren Moret reports that a medical doctor in Northern California told her that he and other doctors, trained by the Pentagon before the 2003 war, were advised to diagnose and treat soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq for mental problems only.

What’s Going To Happen To All These Sick Vets?

How can so many get the specialized care they need? The half million Gulf War vets who are already on medical disability have never received adequate care from the VA.
Paul Rieckhoff is a former lieutenant with the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq and founder and executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Juan Gonzalez quoted him as saying, “With numbers this high, the problem is going to grow fast. We’re seeing system wide there are major problems. Most local VAs [Veterans Administration centers] just aren’t prepared for the influx of sick veterans.”

In February the U.S. General Accounting Office reported that the Department of Veterans Affairs “does not have sufficient capacity to meet the needs of new combat veterans while still providing for veterans of past wars.”

What’s worse is that, since 1998, veterans are eligible for free health care for only the first two years after being demobilized. After that, an ailing veteran has to prove his or her illness is service-connected. In the next article we’ll describe what that burden has meant to ailing Iraq vets.

Medical professionals in hospitals and facilities treating returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan have been threatened with $10,000 fines and jail if they talk about the soldiers or their medical problems.

Reporters have been prevented access to more than 14,000 medically evacuated soldiers flown nightly from Germany to Walter Reed Hospital near Washington, D.C. What is the DoD hiding?

As you know from reading “Depleted Uranium For Dummies,” all of us may eventually become victims of Bush’s “Shock and Awe” campaign against the Iraqi people, because the radioactive fallout has already permeated the world’s atmosphere. We reported the February findings of Dr. Chris Busby, scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, who was able to obtain official UK readings of the astounding spike in European radiation levels after the massive bombings in Iraq.

Depleted uranium particles traveled 2400 miles in nine days from Iraq to Aldermaston England. The invisible cloud quadrupled Europe’s atmospheric radiation. According to Dr. Busby, “This research shows that rather than remaining near the target, as claimed by the military, depleted uranium weapons contaminate both locals and whole populations hundreds to thousands of miles away.”

Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld’s “time-release poison” from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan took only a year to mix completely into the world’s atmosphere. Take a deep breath, and recall your initial reaction to the stunning TV images of a city of five million people engulfed in a firestorm, with mushroom-shaped clouds of radioactive debris illuminating the skyline.

Take a minute to check on your kids playing outside the window in the fresh spring air. Dr. Katsuma Yagasaki, a Japanese physicist, has estimated that depleted uranium munitions since Cheney’s 1991 Gulf War has contaminated the global atmosphere with radiation equivalent of 400,000 Nagasaki bombs. Greenpeace has just estimated that 93,000 deaths occurred because of the 1986 meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine.

UK environmental scientist Busby was quoted as saying, “To my mind, it’s a human rights issue. Originally, it was an issue relating to whether or not it should be used in Iraq and if the population of Iraq is being contaminated and possibly the Gulf War veterans being contaminated, but now we are seeing that everybody is being contaminated. We are all Gulf War veterans.”

Soldier Says Bush Worse Than Bin Laden

Veterans and soldiers have been contacting “Over the Rainbow” after we guaranteed anonymity. A soldier serving in Iraq, already showing the symptoms of Gulf War Illness, expressed his bitterness.

“I came over here thinking I was fighting to protect our freedoms. It was all bullshit. I’m sick and probably dying. I want to come home. But, that’s really scary because I’m contagious. If I come home I’ll give this shit to my wife and kids. “This was a suicide mission for all of us. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the bunch of them are no better than Osama bin Laden and those sleezebags. The government took patriots and turned us into terrorists.

“It’s just like Osama bin Laden and 9/11. They sent us over here on a suicide mission to murder innocent people.

“Actually our government is worse than bin Laden. At least when a car bomber volunteers, they tell the guy the truth. He knows he will die quickly and painlessly. When he’s blown to bits, he knows his people will take care of his wife and kids.
“Nobody told me I was volunteering to be nuked by DU. The recruiter never said I was going die slowly and painfully. And when I’m dead they’ll dump on my family just like they’re dumping on the people over here.”

The soldier asked if I had heard from public relations officer, Maj. Richard J. McNorton, about the radioactive showers at Camp Forward Danger.

I wonder if the major thinks he lives a charmed life. He’s sucking up depleted uranium particles from Iraq whether he’s stationed downwind in CentCom headquarters in Qatar or across the Atlantic in Florida. Right now GI’s in Iraq and Afghanistan are hunkered down as Cheney’s bloody adventure collapses around them. Our men and women are primarily concerned about looking out for each other. Who is McNorton looking out for?
Obviously Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wants to keep depleted uranium and the radioactive showers a secret from the officers and troops. If the Jews of Europe had known the Nazi shower rooms were poison gas chambers, it would have been much harder to get them to board the trains.

DU must be the stuff of nightmares for Bush, Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and Rumsfeld. Can you imagine the four of them trying to corral United States Army, Reserves and National Guard troops into transport planes bound for Iraq after they find out about depleted uranium?

This is the fourth in a comprehensive series on depleted uranium dedicated to the New York National Guard to appear on the website We’re Not in Kansas Anymore, where you will find sources, a bibliography, and suggestions for citizen action to eliminate DU munitions. www.notinkansas.us.

Copyright 2006 Irving Wesley Hall.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommcercial, educational purposes.

Have a Koch and a Smile

April 28th, 2006 - by admin

Jason Miller / Special to EAW – 2006-04-28 23:05:04

Have a Koch and a Smile:
Free Markets and Property Rights Trump Humanity and the Environment!

Much of humanity is shackled by poverty and besieged by the violence of war. Earth is experiencing a slow, agonizing death. Animal and plant species are disappearing at an alarming rate. Despite these tragic and inevitable consequences, the United States persists in spreading the cancers of Americanized Capitalism and Democracy.

America’s wealthiest owe a significant debt of gratitude to their patron saint, Charles G. Koch. Mr. Koch’s Herculean efforts have virtually ensured that the US plutocracy and its complimentary corporatocracy will continue their reign in America’s highly dysfunctional democracy. Blessed with a significant number of Americans still rendered somnambulant by a mass media machine, Koch and his fellow patricians are riding high.

Mr. Koch has virtually endless resources at his disposal to keep “his people”in power. Charles owns 40% of the shares of the largest privately held company in the world. Koch Enterprises generated revenues of $40 billion in 2004.

Koch recently acquired gargantuan lumber and paper producer Georgia Pacific, which significantly expands his empire of oil, pipeline, fiber, and chemical enterprises. By shunning public sale of Koch Enterprise stock, Charles Koch has maintained a tight-fisted grip on his company while cloaking its finances behind a veil of secrecy.

Causes enhancing the power of America’s Capitalist elites are a Koch clan obsession. They live to pursue lower taxes on corporations and the wealthy, shifting the burden of subsidizing America’s burgeoning military, oil, pharma, and prison industrial complexes to the middle class and poor.

As they press to defang consumer, labor and environmental protection laws to shelter corporations from liability and increase their profit-making capacity, the Koch family vigorously toils to enhance corporate power.

Consider that Fred Koch, Charles’s father, was a charter member of the John Birch Society, which pushed for the repeal of income taxes and civil rights legislation. Practicing a racist agenda on behalf of the White wealthy elite, the JBS was formed on the pretext of fighting Communism. Fred’s interest in the JBS allegedly stemmed from having witnessed the Purges under Stalin in the 1930‚s. Despite his concern for Stalin’s victims, Fred still remained in Russia to make money by upgrading Communist oil refineries. A true Capitalist.

Happiness is not for sale, but in America, power and influence are

David Koch, Charles‚ brother, founded the Cato Institute in 1977 and was a presidential candidate in 1980 as a Libertarian. Charles, David and Cato are no friends to America’s working class or minorities. Staunch supporters of social security privatization and property rights, Cato strongly opposes affirmative action and government regulation. With such an obviously biased agenda, it is rather curious that the “liberal”mainstream media often cites Cato as a neutral source.

In 1996, the Cato Institute itself wrote:

“Dozens of huge corporations, eager to roll back government regulatory powers, are among Cato’s largest donors.”

With the backing of one of the wealthiest families in America, Koch Family Foundations provides funding to several think tanks similar to Cato, each of which “nobly”crusades for the rights of the “oppressed”upper class and fights for the freedom of corporate America.

According to the Nation (in a 1996 article documenting Bob Dole’s incestuous relationship with the Koch group) the reverse Robin Hoods from Wichita, Kansas have “lavished tens of millions of dollars in the past decade on ‘free market’ advocacy institutions in and around Washington.”

In 2004, Koch Industries made $587,000 in campaign donations, more than any other oil company. From 1998 to 2004 the Koch family and its enterprises gave $3.9 million in political contributions. Compare that to the $3.8 million contributed by Exxon Mobile, which is six times the size of Koch. During that same period, the Koch boys spent $2.4 million lobbying Congress to pass “humanitarian”legislation that would repeal the estate tax and significantly reduce the capacity of consumers to sue.

Particularly noteworthy is the fact that 79% of Koch’s campaign funding in 2004 went to Republicans, including $121,000 to Todd Tiahrt, the US Congressman representing Wichita (where Koch Enterprises is head-quartered); $109,000 to George Bush; and $53,000 to the Hammer, Tom DeLay. Evidently Charles and David forgot that one is often judged by the company one keeps. Or perhaps they simply don’t care.

For people with such a professed aversion to government, it seems a bit odd that Charles Koch and kin would part with their beloved greenbacks so readily to participate in political activities. Slicing through their rhetoric, it appears they are far more interested in manipulating the United States government than in minimizing it.

In 1996, Triad Management, a shell corporation with little purpose or substance, began influencing federal elections by airing attack ads. Since Triad did not publicly disclose the source of its funding, wealthy individuals could exceed legal limits on campaign contributions by donating to Triad. In essence, Triad was a vehicle for laundering money.

One of its chief beneficiaries was Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, who defeated Jill Docking in the 1996 Senatorial race with a Triad-financed anti-Semitic ad campaign. Evidence indicates that Koch was Brownback’s primary financier, through Triad of course. In exchange, Brownback has represented Koch interests so well that he has earned a 100% rating from the Cato Institute.

Of major theft, environmental crime, and wrongful death

In their relentless pursuit of the sacred tenets of free markets and deregulation, the Koch brothers and their multi-tentacled corporate entities have committed several egregiously immoral and criminal acts. Fortunately for Charles and David, the Gods of Capitalism have smiled upon them. Leaving carcinogenic pollutants and death in its wake, Koch Enterprises has emerged relatively unscathed.

In 2000, Bill Koch, another of Fred’s sons, appeared on 60 Minutes II and characterized Koch Enterprises like this:

“It was ˆ was my family company. I was out of it,” he says. “But that’s what appalled me so much… I did not want my family, my legacy, my father’s legacy to be based upon organized crime.”

When he made that statement, Bill Koch had already parted ways with his brothers and filed a federal lawsuit alleging that much of Koch Industry’s oil profit was derived from theft and fraud. In December of 1999 a jury decided that Koch stole oil 24,000 times by “adjusting”the volume they had collected. Koch’s own records showed that their “adjustments for errors”translated into at least 300 million gallons of oil in their favor. Koch Industries eventually settled the suit for $25 million.

Koch Industries has the largest network of gas and oil pipelines in the United States. Quite an achievement. Unfortunately, Koch chose increased profits over the environment. In 2000, it paid $30 million for violating federal environmental laws. Koch had caused over 300 oil spills in seven states because it didn’t maintain its pipelines properly.

In 1996, Danielle Smalley and Jason Stone died tragically before they reached their twentieth birthdays. These Texas teens were in the vicinity of a Koch high-pressure gas line that was leaking when it suddenly exploded. Danielle and Jason were incinerated, their bodies burned beyond recognition. Danielle’s family won a $296 million wrongful death judgment as a result of Koch’s criminal negligence. Koch eventually paid the Smalleys an undisclosed settlement.

Does Bill Koch think about the charred remains of Danielle and Jason when he writes checks to Cato and its ilk?

Bill Koch again captured the essence of Koch when he commented:

“Koch Industries has a philosophy that profits are above everything else.”

As the 2000 election approached, the Koch brothers‚ political contributions proved to be money very well spent. It seems that the Koch conglomerate had dumped 91 metric tons of benzene, a cancer-causing agent, near its refinery in Corpus Christi.

They added insult to injury by attempting to conceal their crime. Facing a 97 count indictment, possible prison time for company executives, and potential fines of $352 million, Charles and David needed a “white knight”to ride to their rescue.

Enter George Bush, who “won”the election with the aid of $800,000 worth of Koch donations. Striking a blow for the free market, Attorney General Ashcroft dropped almost all of the charges. Koch Industries pled guilty to falsifying documents and paid a settlement of a mere $20 million. No one served jail time.

Putting outsiders in and bringing insiders out

To ensure the continued success of their malignant influence on the United States government, in 2005 Koch hired a “Beltway insider.” Matt Schlapp became their director of Washington lobbying. Schlapp had been working in the White House’s Office of Political Affairs.

Disturbingly, Elizabeth Stolpe, a former Koch lobbyist, now holds a significant position on the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Another former Koch employee, Alex Beehler (who reported to David Koch), exerts influence on federal environmental policy from his position with Environment, Safety and Occupational Health.

Charles Koch has covered his political bets going both ways. Very impressive, in a Machiavellian way.

A criminal by any other name…

Charles Koch also gets an “A”for somehow manufacturing a respectable public image. On 3/13/06 Forbes ran a story about Koch entitled “Mr. Big”. Much to the discredit of the publication, Forbes writer Daniel Fisher focused almost exclusively on the buyout of Georgia Pacific and the “Capitalistic virtues”of Charles Koch, a man who belongs in prison.

Charles Koch is indeed an “American success story”by the measure of those who still believe in the real American Way, which is the suffering of the many for the pleasure of the few.

For those who know the American Dream is a nightmare, Charles Koch puts a human face on the ruthlessness of Capitalism as it is practiced in the United States. Born into America’s de facto aristocracy, Koch is one of the privileged top 1% of Americans who hold a significant portion of the world’s wealth.

While the poor and working class of the world bleed, sweat, cry, and die to keep the money flowing from the spigot for such men, Koch, his friends, and his progeny reside comfortably in their secure castles and counting houses.

No wonder Mr. Big smiled so brightly for the Forbes photo.

Jason Miller is a 39 year old sociopolitical essayist with a degree in liberal arts and an extensive self-education (derived from an insatiable appetite for reading). He is a member of Amnesty International and an avid supporter of Oxfam International and Human Rights Watch. He welcomes responses at willpowerful@hotmail.com or comments on his blog, Thomas Paine’s Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/.

ACTION ALERT: Bush Seeks Funds for Anti-Satellite Weapons

April 28th, 2006 - by admin

Women’s Action for New Directions – 2006-04-28 22:57:31

http://capwiz.com/wand/issues/alert/?alertid=8710131&type=TA

Say “No” to Weapons in Space

(April 27, 2006) — Space is not the place for weapons or for fighting wars, but if the Bush Administration has its way, the world will head that direction all too soon. This Administration entered office in 2001 determined to reverse decades of U.S. space policy.

Four years later, in 2005, official Air Force doctrine included a “requirement” to deploy US weapons to “dominate” and “control” space.

The president’s FY07 budget request contains a small but very significant step toward that goal: $5.7 million to deliberately fire a ground-based laser at a satellite.
In other words, we would be testing a system designed specifically to attack a satellite. If this test goes forward, it would break a long-standing moratorium on ASAT testing and push the world closer to warfighting in space.

It is a short road from testing ASATs to deploying weapons and fighting wars in space that could endanger current satellites and even threaten the use of space by future generations. If that happens, we will all be losers. Satellites enhance our lives all day long, enabling instant banking, improved weather prediction, faster search and rescue, and safer airplane navigation, not to mention television broadcasting!

Yet putting weapons in space and attacking satellites with ASATs would put at risk these systems that are essential to civil and economic life, as well as to keeping US troops safe. Full-scale war in space could so pollute the environment as to prohibit any future human spacefaring activities.

The Subcommittees listed here will be considering this issue soon. If your Member of Congress is listed, it’s particularly important for you to take action. But even if your Member isn’t here, it’s worth sending a message to Congress. We all need to speak out about this sooner rather than later. Thanks!

Senate Armed Services Committee Strategic Forces Subcommittee
• Jeff Sessions (R-AL), • Jim Inhofe (R-OK), • Pat Roberts (R-KS), • Lindsey Graham (R-SC), • John Cornyn (R-TX), • John Thune (R-SD), • Bill Nelson (D-FL), • Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), • Jack Reed (D-RI), • Ben Nelson (D-NE), • Mark Dayton (D-MN)

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
• Ted Stevens (R-AK), • Thad Cochran (R-MS), • Arlen Specter (R-PA), • Pete Domenici (R-NM), • Kit Bond (R-MO), • Mitch McConnell (R-KY), • Richard Shelby (R-AL), • Judd Gregg (R-NH), • Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), • Conrad Burns (R-MT), • Daniel Inouye (D-HI), • Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), • Patrick Leahy (D-VT), • Tom Harkin (D-IA), • Byron Dorgan (D-ND), • Dick Durbin (D-IL), • Harry Reid (D-NV), • Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), • Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)

House Armed Services Committee Strategic Subcommittee
• Terry Everett (R-AL), • Mac Thornberry (R-TX), • Trent Franks (R- AZ), • Michael Turner (R-OH), • Mike Rogers (R-AL), • Joe Schwarz (R-MI), • Cathy McMorris (R-WA), • Geoff Davis (R-KY), • Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), • John Spratt (D-SC), • Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), • Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), • Rick Larsen (D-WA), • Jim Cooper (D-TN)

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
• Bill Young (R-FL), • David Hobson (D-OH), • Henry Bonilla (R-TX), • Tom DeLay (R-TX), • Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), • Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), • Roger Wicker (R-MS), • Jack Kingston (R-GA), • Jack Murtha (D-PA), • Norm Dicks (D-WA), • Martin Sabo (D-MN), • Pete Visclosky (D-IN), • Jim Moran (D-VA), • Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, PO Box 652, Brunswick, ME 04011; (207) 729-0517
globalnet@mindspring.com
http://www.space4peace.org
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)

Rummy Shelled for Afghanistan War

April 28th, 2006 - by admin

Conn Hallinan / Berkeley Daily Planet – 2006-04-28 22:52:38

http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/article.cfm?issue=04-28-06&storyID=24007

BERKELEY, CA (April 28, 2006) — There are any number of reasons why half a dozen retired generals have turned on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, but a major one was a disastrous week in the spring of 2002 when several battalions of the 101 Airborne Division attacked insurgents in the Shahikot Valley of Afghanistan.

Called “Operation Anaconda,” it was a test for Rumsfeld’s New Model Army, a lightly armed, high tech, slice and dice military that relies on spy planes and satellites to map the terrain and identify the enemy. On March 2, about 2,000 airborne troops were airlifted into the valley, where satellites indicated there were some 200 Taliban holed up in villages.

The troops were sent in without artillery, because under Rumsfeld’s “transformation army” that job was left to “precision bombing” by the Air Force. But there weren’t 200 Taliban, there were at least 1,000. And they weren’t in the villages, but in the mountains overlooking the valley. Unlike the airborne, the Afghans had plenty of artillery, which they proceeded to rain down on the 101st.

It also turned out that the satellites didn’t do a very good job of preparing the troops for the terrain, which was far rougher and nastier than they expected. And when the “precision air strikes” came in, the enemy had either moved or gone to ground, a tactic they learned during their long war with the Soviets.

In short, the whole operation was bungled from start to finish, largely because Rummy’s “transformation” military has more to do with winning elections here at home than fighting battles abroad. Anaconda might have been short on personnel and common sense basics like artillery, but it was hardly war on the cheap.

Every time the United States tried to root out the Afghans with a AGM-84H air to ground missile, Boeing rang up $475,000.

For every GBU-24 Paveway laser-guided bomb (lots of those used), Raytheon banked $55,600.

Alliant Techsystems, with its GBU-87 cluster bombs at $14,000 a bang, also did well.

The battle was a little rough on the 101st and the Afghans, but it was clover for Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and the arms corporations that supplied the aircraft, the satellites, and the communication equipment (which didn’t work very well).

Grateful for the silver that “transformation’ has rained down on them, the companies respond by pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into elections, 65 percent of which goes to Republicans. Between lobbying and direct contributions, it’s pure “shock and awe” come election time.

The Army and the Marines don’t think much of the “transformation” military because both rely more on manpower than on high tech firepower (for the Navy and the Air Force, Rummy’s military is pure gravy). The Army is falling apart and hemorrhaging officers at an unprecedented rate.

More than one-third of its West Point graduates are refusing to re-enlist, as are reserve officers trained at university programs, another reason the generals have gone after Rumsfeld.

As investigative journalist Greg Palast points out in The Guardian, however, their fire is off target. Rumsfeld might be an arrogant thug (Nixon called him a “mean little bastard”), but he doesn’t make decisions like restructuring the military or invading Iraq. Those decisions are made by the president and the vice president

“Even the generals’ complaint — that Rumsfeld didn’t give them enough troops — was ultimately a decision by the cowboy from Crawford,” writes Palast. He also dismisses the “not enough boots on the ground” argument: “The problem was not that we lacked troops — the problem was that we lacked the moral authority to occupy this nation. A million troops would not be enough — the insurgents would just have had more targets.”

Note: Palast will be in Berkeley, California on June 7 as part of his Armed Madhouse Tour.

• For a full accounting of Operation Anaconda, see Not A Good Day To Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda, by Sean Naylor.

Goldman Prize Goes to Activist For Work on Weapons Disposal

April 28th, 2006 - by admin

Jim Carlton / Wall Street Journal Online – 2006-04-28 22:49:49

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114584829966733869.html

SAN FRANCISCO (April 24, 2006) — A Vietnam War veteran who helped pressure the Pentagon into cleaning up its method of disposing chemical weapons is among this year’s winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize, the environmental world’s equivalent of an Oscar.

Craig Williams, 58 years old, is being honored at a Goldman awards ceremony here today for his work in getting the Pentagon to set aside plans to incinerate chemical weapons at four of the eight storage facilities in the US where almost 30,000 tons of nerve gases and mustard blister agents have been stockpiled since the end of the Cold War.

For much of the past 20 years, Mr. Williams has led grass-roots efforts in the US opposing the incineration plans as harmful to nearby communities and the environment. Those efforts, which included lawsuits and public demonstrations, helped persuade Congress in 1996 to order the Defense Department to consider alternatives. As a result, the Pentagon has dropped incineration plans at four of the sites, while using the technique at four others.

“We went up against the biggest bureaucracy on the planet, the Pentagon, and had them actually change their minds,” said Mr. Williams, from Berea, Ky., who formed the grass-roots Chemical Weapons Working Group in 1991.

The Goldmans being presented to Mr. Williams and others are sponsored by a foundation headed by San Francisco philanthropist Richard Goldman, who started the awards in 1990 along with his wife, Rhoda, as a way to honor grassroots environmental activists around the world. Each award has a $125,000 cash value.

Other Goldman winners this year are being recognized for their work in getting local governments to take action on environmental problems. In Brazil, for example, activist Tarcisio Feitosa, 35, led a campaign against rampant logging in the Amazon that resulted in his government establishing a rain-forest protection zone larger than Minnesota. Mr. Feitosa, who organized peasants whose lands were affected by the logging, said he worked closely with Dorothy Stang, a 74-year-old American nun who Brazilian authorities say was murdered last year while conducting a similar campaign in the Amazon.

Meanwhile, 26-year-old Olya Melen of Ukraine used her training as a lawyer to file suits that forced her government to scale back a large canal project, which she and other environmental activists warned would have imperiled protected wetlands. And Yu Xiaogang, 55, of China used his reports on the damage caused by the country’s new dams to villages and the countryside to persuade government officials to try to reduce the impact of future projects.

The other two winners are Silas Siakor, 36, of Liberia, whose documentation showing how logging was being used to help fund the country’s 14-year civil war led the United Nations Security Council to ban the export of Liberian timber; and 32-year-old Anne Kajir of Papua New Guinea, a lawyer who got a court to order logging companies to pay peasant landowners for damages to their property.

Posted in accordance with Tite 17, US Code, for noncommercial, eduational purposes.

Country Abandons Bush

April 28th, 2006 - by admin

Mark Jordan / The Commercial Appeal & John Gerome / Associated Press – 2006-04-28 11:45:59

Haggard’s Dismayed by Political Events
Mark Jordan / The Commercial Appeal

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (April 21, 2006) — Forty-six years into one of the most celebrated careers in country music, there is still a fightin’ side to Merle Haggard. Except these days it comes out in ways that people might not expect from the singer-songwriter who became a champion of traditional American values in the ’70s through such mom-and-apple-pie anthems as “Okie From Muskogee” and “Fightin’ Side of Me.”

“I am not happy with America right now,” says Haggard from his tour bus, sprinting along I-69 toward Oklahoma, his parent’s home state and the location of Muskogee. “In fact, I don’t think America has very much to be happy about. I think we’ve been sold out by the current administration. And I don’t think there’s any other way to look at it.”

Haggard, who’ll play the Orpheum in Downtown Memphis with Bob Dylan Monday and Tuesday nights, is dismayed by what he sees as the betrayal of the American public and military by the Bush administration and by what he perceives as a pervasive jingoism that silences anyone — including artists like the Dixie Chicks and Linda Ronstadt — who speaks out against the party line.

“I don’t understand the response that they got,” Haggard says of the backlash both Ronstadt and the Chicks received when they spoke out in concerts against the war in Iraq. “But it’s scary to say the least. I don’t think they’d get the same response today. But to have the whole country say, ‘We can’t have you making any statements about your beliefs. We got to have ya doing music only.'”

Except for the track “America First” off his 2005 CD Chicago Wind, an inoffensive plea to get out of Iraq and concentrate on fixing what’s wrong at home, these days Haggard mostly keeps his politics and his vocation separate, preferring to voice his opinions in interviews and on his Web site, where he has posted a vigorous defense of the Dixie Chicks. He’s learned a lot of hard lessons in his career, and besides, he says, times have changed since “Okie From Muskogee” and its like.

“Those records sold,” he explains. “They deleted what we’ll call my pop culture following. We were doing pretty good in the rock-and-roll pop market at that time. And it immediately categorized us as totally country.” Haggard laughs as he says this, still surprised that a hard-core honky-tonker like him could ever be considered anything but.

“It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do,” he adds. “But over the years most of the people who were against it have said you probably knew as much about it as we did. The Vietnam War, we find out now, we were lied to about that as well. . . . So what’s new?” As he is much of the year, Haggard is on the road, squeezing in a few solo dates before rejoining Dylan on their critically acclaimed tour. The two have been touring partners for a little over a year now, presenting a show that teams the greatest rock songwriter of the ’60s with the greatest country songwriter of the ’60s. But except for a few backstage encounters and Dylan’s occasional inclusion of “Sing Me Back Home” into his set, there has been little fraternizing between the two legends.

“It’s not like it used to be,” Haggard says, lamenting the days when artists like him and Buck Owens and Willie Nelson would hang out until all hours. “There’s not a lot of that goes on anymore. It’s one town after the next and I do my show and he does his and that’s about it. …” “[Dylan] did tell me the other day he was working on a song called ‘Working Man’s Blues, Number 2,'” he continues, referring to one of his own best-loved hits. “And I joked with him that I was working on ‘Blowin’ In The Wind, Number 2.'”

Haggard was born in 1937 in Southern California, the son of Dust Bowl emigres. After his father died when he was 9, Haggard embarked on the twin tracks that would dominate his young life: music and crime. In and out of juvenile facilities most of his adolescence, Haggard spent his free time learning the music of Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams Sr.

Though as a young man he was beginning to make his mark in music, playing with Frizzell and a young Buck Owens among others, Haggard’s problems with the law followed him into adulthood, and eventually landed him in San Quentin Prison. Even there he was torn between crime and music, dabbling in gambling, home brewing, and escapes while playing in the prison band. He was in the audience when Johnny Cash played his famous concert at San Quentin.

After his release in 1960, Haggard set about putting his criminal past behind him and making a living as a musician. He moved back to Bakersfield, Calif., and in short order became part of a group of musicians — Owens, Wynn Stewart, Tommy Collins — who reinvigorated country music with a rocking honky tonk edge called the Bakersfield Sound.

Almost a half-century after he began his career in earnest, Haggard, who, as one half of the “Pancho & Lefty” duo with Willie Nelson, also found himself associated with the Outlaw country movement, now finds himself a treasured American institution. At February’s Grammy Awards he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy.

And with so many of his friends and fellow country superstars gone — Cash, who first encouraged Haggard to be open about his criminal past, and most recently his friend, former boss and business partner Owens, with whom Haggard shares an ex-wife (his longtime duet partner Bonnie Owens) and several godchildren — Haggard finds himself in the odd position of being one of country’s elder statesmen.

“It’s odd because I don’t have any opinion on country music today,” he says. “I don’t listen to it. I haven’t listened to it since Garth Brooks started. I think Garth is really a great artist, but I don’t care much about the smoke and the videos. If the song ain’t good enough without the video, it ain’t much of a song. I don’t like to watch music. I still like to listen to it.”


Dixie Chicks ‘Not Ready to Make Nice’
John Gerome / Associated Press

• Listen to ‘Not Ready to Make Nice’ at:
www.dixiechicks.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 24, 2006) — Country radio may be ready to make nice with the Dixie Chicks.

Many country stations have stopped playing the Dixie Chicks since their anti-Bush comment in 2003. The grudge dates back to 2003 when many country stations stopped playing the popular trio after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized President Bush.

But the Chicks’ new single, “Not Ready to Make Nice,” is now in rotation in several major markets, pushing it to No. 36 on Billboard’s country singles chart after its first full week of airplay. Other stations, however, have been slower to embrace it.

“I think a lot of people are in a wait-and-see mode,” said Wade Jessen, director of Billboard’s country charts. “The next couple of weeks are really going to tell the tale.” Maines told a London audience on the eve of the war in Iraq that the group was “ashamed” the president was from their home state of Texas.

Back in the US, their music was boycotted and the Chicks said they received death threats, leading them to install metal detectors at their shows. Maines later said she regretted the phrasing of her remark, but remained passionately against the war. In January she told Entertainment Weekly magazine that she was disappointed with country music and that she’s “pretty much done” with the genre.

In stores May 23, the new album, “Taking the Long Way,” is produced by Rick Rubin, primarily a rock and rap producer who also crafted Johnny Cash’s last albums. The record has been described as more rock-oriented, featuring musicians from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tom Petty’s band, the Heartbreakers.

The first single, which starts with a lone acoustic guitar and then builds in intensity, was co-written by the trio – which also includes banjo and guitar player Emily Robison and fiddle and mandolin player Martie Maguire.

It addresses the controversy head on, with Maines singing in the chorus, “I’m not ready to make nice. I’m not ready to back down. I’m still mad as hell and I don’t have time to go round and round and round.” She also sings, “How in the world can the words that I said send somebody so over the edge,” and “I made my bed and I sleep like a baby.”

The group declined to comment for this story, but Robison said in a statement on their Web site that “the stakes were definitely higher on that song. We knew it was special because it was so autobiographical, and we had to get it right. And once we had that song done, it freed us up to do the rest of the album without that burden.”

Jessen said the song was played at least once on 41 of the 123 country stations Billboard monitors to compile the chart, with frequent airplay in Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Minneapolis and Cleveland — large markets that can strongly influence chart position.


Neil Young Turns against Bush and Iraq War with New Album
Bruce Deachman / Ottawa Citizen / Vancouver Sun

OTTAWA (April 18, 2006) — With his upcoming album, Neil Young is set to add his voice to the ever-growing list of anti-Bush musicians, joining the likes of the Dixie Chicks, Rolling Stones, Lou Reed and Steve Earle.

In a posting on his official website, Young announced he has completed Living With War, a 10-track album recorded over three days earlier this month.

He describes the album as a “power trio with trumpet and 100 voices” and “a metal version of Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan.”

In an e-mail message to music magazine Harp, meanwhile, filmmaker Jonathan Demme, who recently produced the Neil Young documentary Heart of Gold, called Living With War a “brilliant electric assault, accompanied by a 100-voice choir, on Bush and the war in Iraq…. Truly mind-blowing.”

The Canadian rocker’s attack on US President George W. Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq may come as a surprise to those who recall his post-9/11 song, Let’s Roll, which honoured the United Airlines Flight 93 passengers, who apparently struggled with their hijackers, forcing their plane to crash in a Pennsylvania field rather than the White House. At the time, Young spoke in favour of the Patriot Act, telling a Hollywood awards banquet audience that “to protect our freedoms, it seems we’re going to have to relinquish some of our freedoms for a short period of time.”

Yet Young’s support of Bush’s administration was already faltering by 2003 when he released Greendale. In an interview then with Rolling Stone magazine, he said: “This is a time, I believe, of great inner turmoil for the majority of the American people. There is a new morality coming out of this administration — fundamentalist religious views; a holier-than-thou attitude towards the rest of the world — that is not classically American.”

Archives by Month:

 

 

Stay Connected
Sign up to receive our weekly updates. We promise not to sell, trade or give away your email address.
Email Address:
Full Name:
 

Home | Say NO! To War | Action! | Information | Media Center | Who We Are