American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, May 18, 2002

"The sky is the ultimate art gallery just above us."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

International Dark Sky Association

Terrorist's Use of Planes as Missiles Predicted by Library of Congress Analyst

A September 1999 report, FRD--THE SOCIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY OF TERRORISM written for the National Intelligence Council (CIA.gov/nic) by Library of Congress' Federal Research Division (FRD) analyst Rex A. Hudson, predicted that "suicide bomber(s) belonging to al-Qaida's Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House," and pointed out that "Ramzi Yousef had planned to do this against the CIA headquarters."

While only two sentences in a 100+ page graylit report trying to second guess terrorist's methods, it sharply contradicted National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's statement Thursday that, "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."

Biotech Bias on the Editorial Pages of Major United States Newspapers and News Magazines
Taken together, the results of this investigation lead us to a real concern that the news media is playing a biased role in opinion formation.† Rather than taking a balanced view of facts and arguments for both pro- and con- positions on the issue of GM foods and crops, the media appears to follow the lead of industry advertising and public relations in a lock-step fashion.† This, we believe, is a significant disservice to the American public, who in the end, are the ones who must make the key decisions, through the democratic process, concerning the future of these controversial technologies.
White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security
Final Report to President Clinton, February 12, 1997


Dear Mr. President,

We are pleased to present you with the report of the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. You established this Commission by issuing Executive Order 13015 on August 22, 1996 with a charter to study matters involving aviation safety and security, including air traffic control and to develop a strategy to improve aviation safety and security, both domestically and internationally.

During the past six months, we have conducted an intensive inquiry into civil aviation safety, security and air traffic control modernization. Commission and staff have gathered information from a broad range of aviation specialists, Federal Agencies, consumer groups, and industry leaders.

After many months of deliberations we have agreed on a set of recommendations which we believe will serve to enhance and ensure the continued safety and security of our air transportation system.

We are privileged to submit these recommendations herewith.

Sincerely,

Vice President Al Gore, Chairman
Let's not forget India and Pakistan.

Indian, Pak troops exchange fire in Kashmir

Indian and Pakistani troops, massed on the border since mid-December, exchanged heavy fire for the second successive day in Kashmir, an Indian defence official said on Saturday.
[more]

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Dicing with Armageddon
The latest terrorist outrage in Kashmir has pushed India and Pakistan a little closer to the brink. Could this spark the first war between nuclear powers?
Fazal Sheikh. "...In 2001 the writer/photographer Fazal Sheikh, with support from the Swiss-based Volkart Foundation, conceived of a series of book projects which would further the awareness of human rights issues around the world. This site has been mounted to coincide with the publication of the first two volumes in the series, A Camel for the Son and Ramadan Moon, which concern the situation of women refugees from Somalia. As part of the ideology behind the series, the books are being offered in their entirety on-line, where they may be read free of charge."
Friday, May 17, 2002
The Responsible Parents Guide To Healthy Mood Booster For The Entire Family
"Could we live happily ever after? Perhaps. One's interest in the genetically pre-programmed states of sublimity sketched in The Hedonistic Imperative is tempered by the knowledge that one is unlikely to be around to enjoy them. It's all very well being told our descendants will experience every moment of their lives as a magical epiphany. For emotional primitives and our loved ones at present, most of life's moments bring nothing of the sort. In centuries to come, our baseline of emotional well-being may indeed surpass anything today's legacy wetware can even contemplate. Right now, however, a future Post-Darwinian Era of paradise-engineering can seem an awfully long way off. Mainstream society today has a desperately underdeveloped conception of mental health."
"Evolutionary Love" by Charles S. Peirce, 1893:
Well, political economy has its formula of redemption, too. It is this: Intelligence in the service of greed ensures the justest prices, the fairest contracts, the most enlightened conduct of all the dealings between men, and leads to the summum bonum, food in plenty and perfect comfort. Food for whom? Why, for the greedy master of intelligence. I do not mean to say that this is one of the legitimate conclusions of political economy, the scientific character of which I fully acknowledge. But the study of doctrines, themselves true, will often temporarily encourage generalizations extremely false, as the study of physics has encouraged necessitarianism. What I say, then, is that the great attention paid to economical questions during our century has induced an exaggeration of the beneficial effects of greed and of the unfortunate results of sentiment, until there has resulted a philosophy which comes unwittingly to this, that greed is the great agent in the elevation of the human race and in the evolution of the universe.
108 Rabbis-to-Be Sign in Sympathy With Palestinians
Before me on my desk is a powerful document, a letter to American Jewish leaders calling on them to recognize the suffering that Israel has caused the Palestinians during its 35-year occupation of the West Bank. But the body of the letter is not as powerful as its second page, which is filled with the names of 108 rabbinical students. The letter represents a challenge to mainstream Jewish opinion on the Middle East from the very heart of the community, from the young people training to be rabbis. It is more of an act than a statement, and a brave act at that, which has gone unreported outside the Jewish press.
LA DA tells Cardinal Mahony -provide full info or face a grand jury

"They make the tobacco boys look like choirboys", Anonymous LAPD source on the archdiocese of LA. This story just gets sicker and sicker. A pedophile priest admits to Cardinal Mahony that he was having sex with pre-teen boys, the Cardinal actively blocks telling the police, now says he could do nothing because the priest had not been convicted of a crime. Conveniently forgetting that the police didn't know because he refused to tell them. When this story first broke, Mahony said there were maybe 4-8 priests involved. According to the LA Times there are currently at least 30 priests in the LA archdiocese under criminal investigation for sexual abuse. And, of course, Mahony had to have known this. The deceit and lies steadily coming from Mahony do, in fact, make Philip Morris look ethical.
Thursday, May 16, 2002
In hipstep with that last great link via the wonderful Mr. Woods, I give you: Hypocritical Hyperbole via the also wonderful Molly Ivins:
Mahathir Mohamad is a far more brutal ruler than Castro ever dreamed of being. His party has been in power since 1957 (love those free elections). He's been in office since 1981 and the subject of denunciations by human-rights groups the entire time. His ruling faction is far ahead of Castro on bloodshed points. And we're offering Mohamad whatever he wants.
I dare say: hypocrisy is one of the biggest memes of this administration's marketing strategy, yes? Or is it simply unseen because the corporate media machines are not pointing it out? The Amazing Anesthetizing Techniques of the Big Media in America coupled with the US Educational Conformity System are perhaps the number one reason why so many Americans are ignorant of international affairs, thus ethnocentric, apathetic and easily prone to jingo-ism. We need a meme-virus to light their fire--their neuron-fire to go rat-a-tat-tat against that good long nite.
Bush's Selective Distaste For Dictators
A Welcome For Our New Friend From Malaysia



"He is repressive and he ought to have free elections, and he ought to have a free press, and he ought to free his prisoners," our president said as he sat next to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed in the Oval Office on Tuesday, May 14. An apt description, though it might have seemed to be a jaw-dropping breech of diplomatic etiquette.
But Mr. Bush wasn't talking about Dr. Mahathir. He was talking about Fidel Castro (in response to a question about Jimmy Carter's trip to Cuba). One wonders, though, what the Malaysian leader must have been thinking as he heard the description.
"My message to the Cuban people," Mr. Bush concluded, "is demand freedom and you will have a president that stands with you."

Demand freedom in Malaysia and you're likely to wind up in prison and, no, George W. Bush won't be standing with you. He's standing instead with Dr. Mahathir, a repressive bigot who is another of our new best friends in the War on Terrorism.
Normon Solomon presents: A Basic Matter of Democracy
The fact that the U.S. Senate is fundamentally undemocratic is a complete nonissue among politicians and journalists alike.
Taking the "Bark" out of Barkley

Yes, many know him to be the "loveable" and outspoken NBA meathead (pun intended) who would rather put down and intimidate fellow olympians abroad then act the graceful diplomat, who would often curse out and give fans the royal "Sir Charles" finger out his deep respect for their ticket purchases and then trumpet the idea that "he's not a role model" all over national television, or as the Alabama gubernatorial hopeful, and most recently the black man who donned chains for a Sports Illustrated cover portraying him as a slave, but last night's TBS antics by Charles Barkley may have taken the cake.

Responding to PETA's success in getting the NCAA to acknowledge that it should and will switch from real leather basketballs to the better-bouncing and animal-free "pleather" balls (the WNBA has already switched over), Barkley took the opportunity as a TBS commentator for the NBA playoffs to have a hamburger orgy on camera -- "This is what I think of PETA," he said. But he went further: "Animals are only good for two things: eating them and testing on them to make my life better!" Pleased with himself, he then uttered it a second time and then legitmated his behavior by appealing to McDonald's. "Look, they say they've got 60,000,000,000 served -- that many people can't be wrong!" TBS, in typical fashion, tried to distance itself from Barkley's tirade and highlight the moment with humor, cutting to a contrasting shot of Barkley with Wimpy (of Popeye) holding a hamburger. Not to be denied a potential Bush cabinet appointment as Secretary of the Interior, however, Barkley growled, "If I see any of those PETA people outside tonight, I'm gonna run 'em over like dogs with my truck." And the segment ended...thankfully.

Look, I don't mean to come down on Barkley -- what he thinks or does or says is not going to make or break the social justice movement. But, deny it though he may, he is a role model and what he says counts and must be held accountable. He cannot just shrug off the effects of his actions, like his good friend Michael Jordan did in denying that his own relationship to NIKE (and their many third-world sweatshops) was political -- "I'm just the product," said MJ, "they tell me what to say and I say it to get paid." Or maybe he can, why? Because no one is willing to hold the NBA and its related media accomplices accountable for being politically regressive! What must Jimmy the Greek have been thinking as he watched Charles cross every line of good taste -- if Barkley can explain why animals and leftists should be run over why couldn't the Greek talk about the black body? Or how about John Rocker, the pitcher whom a few years back blasted every possible minority group imaginable with venemous hate-speech, I bet he's calling TBS for his own comedy hour right now!

Please join me in sending a question to TBS asking when they will take responsibility for this right-wing reactionary nonsense and force Barkley to apologize to the public-at-large and the animals he craves...
The sale of an entire town is extremely rare in corporate and environmental history.
"[Cheshire, Ohio] would have been an ordinary little town except for the bizarre blue plume that periodically emerged from the gigantic power plant and stalked through the streets, leaving townspeople complaining of raspy throats, burning eyes, sore lips, mouth blisters and grime everywhere. . . Over the next few months, all 221 residents of Cheshire will pack up and leave. The 90 homeowners here will get checks for about three times the value of houses they probably could not have sold anyway. In return, they have signed pledges never to sue the power company for property damage or health problems."
NY Times/registration required.
Water privatization.
They privatized energy, and we got Enron, now they want to privatize water. In Cochabamba Bolivia, Bechtel tried to privatize water, prices tripled, and the city erupted in protest. In southern California, Cadiz wants to privatize water by pumping public water in their private aquifers. then selling it back to the cities. These attempts at water privatization are happening worldwide spearheaded by large powerful corporations. Public Citizen has excellent info on this, and how to stop them.
Wired News and Science News reported this week, that meteorological researchers have discovered commercial jet contrails produce a measurable change in the weather. By comparing temperatures during the three days commercial traffic was grounded in September to the temperatures when flights resumed. It, "...emerged that the American climate was indeed noticeably different during those three days without air travel."

Some people have been saying for a few years they already knew contrails affected the weather, and a lot more. But not in the same way the atmospheric scientists claim they do...
Wednesday, May 15, 2002
Bush Was Told of Hijacking Dangers

President Bush and his top advisers were informed by the CIA early last August that terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden had discussed the possibility of hijacking airplanes, according to reliable sources.

The information, given to Bush as part of his daily intelligence report, lacked specific details about how the terrorist plans would be carried out, the sources said. The White House said last night that law enforcement agencies were quietly placed on alert as a result of the intelligence.
[more]

Surprise, surprise!
Gov't Weed Sucks
It's unconscionable that they would be giving this marijuana to patients," said Dale Gieringer, state coordinator for NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "It's stale, low-potency ditch weed."
Upton Sinclair and the Contradictions of Capitalist Journalism
"Yet while The Jungle remains a staple of American literature, The Brass Check has been all but forgotten. This is the case despite its groundbreaking critique of the structural basis of U.S. journalism, arguably the first such systematic critique ever made. Anticipating much of the best in more recent structural media criticism, Sinclair explained the class bias built into journalism in a four-part systemic model emphasizing the importance of owners, advertisers, public relations, and the web of economic interests tied into the media system, and invested in its control of public opinion. Integrating the critique of the press into the larger history of Progressive Era activism, Sinclair pointed to the centrality of the media in all of the problems of social injustice which attended the rise of modern capitalism."
Pre-Attack Memo Cited Bin Laden by David Johnston
The classified memorandum written by an F.B.I. agent in Phoenix last summer urging bureau headquarters to investigate Middle Eastern men enrolled in American flight schools also cited Osama bin Laden by name and suggested that his followers could use the schools to train for terror operations, government officials said for the first time today.

The memorandum said terrorist groups like Mr. bin Laden's might be sending students to the schools as the first step in what could be a concerted effort to place Islamic militants in the civil aviation industry around the world as pilots, security guards or aircraft-maintenance workers.

The memorandum's existence has been known for months, but few details were available until recent weeks, when some lawmakers and Congressional staff members were allowed to read it. Before today government officials had not revealed that the memorandum included direct references to Mr. bin Laden.

I wonder what else they know, but haven't revealed?
Tom Huck... Chili Dogs, Chicks and Monster Trucks (1999, woodcut, From the 14 Rural Absurdities Suite). "...One of Huck's friends noted of the woodcut exhibited here, Chili Dogs, Chicks and Monster Trucks from the 14 Rural Absurdities Suite, 'You make Dürer clouds' - which Huck was happy to acknowledge." From Dürer's Echo: Five Centuries of Influence.
Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Corporations are inventing people to rubbish their opponents on the internet. "While, in the past, companies have created fake citizens' groups to campaign in favour of trashing forests or polluting rivers, now they create fake citizens. Messages purporting to come from disinterested punters are planted on listservers at critical moments, disseminating misleading information in the hope of recruiting real people to the cause."
Monday, May 13, 2002
Soccerís World Cup: Let the battles begin
Soccerís World Cup now rivals the Olympics as the biggest sporting event. But only weeks before the finals kick off on May 31st, top officials of FIFA, the sportís governing body, are embroiled in a public row that threatens to destroy its credibility. It is time the organisation dumped its reputation for cronyism in favour of greater transparency
Rageboy (Chris Locke) in The Guardian

Capitalism has to engage with society. At the moment, companies don't have to look at social effects in their cost of sales. That thinking has to change. You know, if the whole fucking planet melts down, how good was your business plan?

He has such a fantastic ability to get to the core of the matter. Simple, but entirely correct.
Sunday, May 12, 2002
Famine Looms for Southern Africa
Officials in the region say as many as 20 million people are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. The U.N. World Food Program is already feeding more than 2.6 million people in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and other countries in the region, and agency officials say that number will at least double in the coming months as peasants finish off the meager yields from this season's harvest.

Overall, relief workers anticipate they will need roughly 145,000 tons of food, worth about $69 million, to plug the immediate shortfall in domestic crop production in the region. So far, donors have pledged only about $3 million.

While the world's attention is focused on hot-spots such as Israel and Palestine, and America's War on Terrorism, the greatest human suffering is undoubtedly in Africa. AIDS, famine, and brutal wars are all consuming Africa, and while the problems are not easily solved, the amounts of money involved are relatively small in comparison to other areas. Some say that foreign aid is not the answer in the long run, but with so much excess wealth in the world's rich countries it seems absurd not to prevent large-scale human suffering when possible.
A couple interesting paragraphs buried toward the end of a limp New York Times account, detailing the casual attitude towards security at American governmental labs:

The Agriculture Department review found that even after the anthrax attacks by mail last year, several agency labs did not keep accurate records of potentially dangerous biological agents, had no centralized inventory system and kept vials without labels.

In several cases, there were either more or fewer vials on hand than in inventories, and one facility lost track of a vial containing 3 billion doses of Vesicular stomatitis virus, which can cause a flu-like illness in humans as well as fever and lesions in animals that can lead to malnutrition.

Excuse me, 3 billion doses? I'm not sure what amazes me most about that figure. That a single vial can potentially infect half the earth's population, or that a lab presumably staffed by professionals could lose it and not seem all that concerned.

Perhaps I'm overreacting. There may well be nothing all that alarming about a few billion potential biowar infections. But that leads me to what I find most bizarre about this matter-of-fact revelation... the Times doesn't even bother to explain the tidbit's significance, it simply drops the matter entirely.

This seems like an opportunity to remind everyone that the "investigation" into the Anthrax letters last fall is currently being pursued with the same urgency as the search for Judge Crater... As Barbara Hatch Rosenberg reports, investigators may well be dragging their feet because they know American labs contracted by the government (and quite possibly some of their employees) were in fact the source.

::New York Times, Lax Federal Safeguards Found
::Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, Federation of American Scientists: Analysis of Anthrax Attacks
PM loses Likud vote on Palestinian state

The Likud Central Committee last night turned down Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's request to postpone any decision on a binding resolution against a Palestinian state, voting nearly 60 percent against and then, in an overwhelming show of hands, passing a resolution saying that "no Palestinian state will be established west of the Jordan River."
[more]

Maybe this will open some eyes. Then again, maybe not.
Christians For Cannabis. "ChristiansForCannabis believe that the laws that prohibit the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana/cannabis are immoral and unjust and the Christian support of these laws to be in violation of God's word. We base our position on: the inerrancy of the Bible; God's creatorship of the earth and all that is in it, including the seed bearing plant we call cannabis or marijuana; Jesus's commands to not judge anything before the appointed time and to love as he loved; and how love does no harm to its neighbor." (via Post-Atomic)

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