American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, August 23, 2003
Republicans in California have initiated a recall against the governor, giving three reasons for their effort:

1. The state's budget has gone from a sizeable surplus to a substantial deficit in a few short years.
2. Gov. Davis did not tell the truth to voters about the state's budget and economic situation.
3. The state's economy remains in dismal shape, and the chief executive of the state is ultimately responsible for it's welfare.

If we apply these standards to a governor, then they must also be applicable to a president. The next recall effort is long overdue: a Bush recall campaign.
Friday, August 22, 2003
The Big Bad One that got away due in part to Bush-Rumsfeld incompetency
in not bringing multilateral forces on the ground in Afghanistan
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Inside story of the hunt for Bin Laden
The President has signed the recess appointment of Daniel Pipes of Pennsylvania to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace. The President nominated Mr. Pipes on April 2, 2003.
Bev Harris, a middle-aged woman who operates a small public-relations business out of her Renton home, would seem an unlikely person to be at the center of a national battle over electronic voting.

Yet in recent months her muckraking, Web-based journalism has helped energize a growing movement of citizens and computer scientists concerned about the potential for fraud in America's increasingly high-tech elections.

Harris has been vilified as a conspiracy theorist and lauded as "the Erin Brockovich of elections."
The Toronto Star newspaper said the men were arrested after a "pattern of suspicious behavior" which featured one man taking flight lessons that took him directly over an Ontario nuclear power plant.

The newspaper said two other men were considered suspicious after police found them in April 2002 outside the same nuclear plant, which sits near the shores of Lake Ontario.

Police said the detained men, who are from Pakistan, tended to "reside in clusters of 4 or 5" and changed addresses as a group, according to the newspaper.
The Australian government lied about the threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction to justify its involvement in the U.S.-led war, an official inquiry into intelligence on Iraq was told on Friday.

A former senior intelligence analyst, Andrew Wilkie, who resigned in March in protest over Australia’s case for war, said Prime Minister John Howard, a close U.S. ally, created a mythical Iraq by dropping ambiguous references in intelligence reports.

“The government lied every time it skewed, misrepresented, used selectively and fabricated the Iraq story...The exaggeration was so great it was pure dishonesty,” Wilkie, formerly of the Office of National Assessment (ONA), told the inquiry.
Thursday, August 21, 2003
The good news is that the United States government has removed Nelson Mandela, Tokyo Sexwale and Sidney Mufamadi from its list of global terrorists.

The bad news is that the removal is only for the next 10 years. George Bush, the US president, and consular officials privately informed the three men during Bush's recent visit to South Africa, according to an official US source.

The US state department is reviewing the status of hundreds of listed South Africans. Some were listed for having convictions against them for terrorism, sabotage, treason or related offences against the apartheid state. Others were members of the guerrilla army, Umkhonto we Sizwe.

One US embassy official, who preferred to remain anonymous, denied that Mandela, Sexwale and Mufamadi were listed as terrorists, but refused to clarify what they were listed as.
A former Energy Department intelligence chief who agreed with the White House claim that Iraq had reconstituted its defunct nuclear-arms program was awarded a total of $20,500 in bonuses during the build-up to the war, WorldNetDaily has learned.

Thomas Rider, as acting director of Energy's intelligence office, overruled senior intelligence officers on his staff in voting for the position at a National Foreign Intelligence Board meeting at CIA headquarters last September.

His officers argued at a pre-briefing at Energy headquarters that there was no hard evidence to support the alarming Iraq nuclear charge, and asked to join State Department's dissenting opinion, Energy officials say.

Rider ordered them to "shut up and sit down," according to sources familiar with the meeting.

As a result, State was the intelligence community's lone dissenter in the key National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, something the Bush administration is quick to remind critics of its prewar intelligence. So far no banned weapons have been found in Iraq to confirm its charges.

The secret 90-page report, prepared Oct. 1, was rushed to sway members of Congress ahead of a key vote on granting the White House war-making authority. It also formed the underlying evidence for the White House's decision to go to war.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham gave Rider a $13,000 performance bonus after the NIE report was released and just before the war, department sources say. He had received an additional $7,500 before the report.

"That's a hell of a lot of money for an intelligence director who had no experience or background in intelligence, and who'd only been running the office for nine months," said one source who requested anonymity. "Something's fishy."
This story is a few weeks old, but I don't recall it being posted here. It's also getting no play whatsoever in the media. Surely this deserves some sort of follow up.

(PS - Be sure to check out the book being pushed by WND at the end of this piece. I had to blink twice when I saw it.)
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
"According to the Center for Responsive Politics, First Energy contributed $852,915 in the 2000 election cycle, 72 percent of which went to Republicans. The company gave $1,044,807 in the 2002 election cycle, 70 percent of which went to Republicans."

In June 2001, the National Resources Defense Council issued a report called
The Bush-Cheney Energy Plan - Players, Profits and Paybacks in response to the administration's energy plan which had just been released. It's worth a retrospective look post-blackout.
The researchers claim this is the first photograph of a whale letting one go in the icy waters of Antarctica. "We got away from the bow of the ship very quickly."
"The extremely dense DU shells easily penetrate steel armor and burn on impact. The fire releases microscopic, radioactive and toxic dust particles of uranium oxide that travel with the wind and can be inhaled or ingested. They also spread contamination by seeping into the land and water.

In the human body, DU may cause harm to the internal organs due both to its chemical toxicity as a heavy metal and its release of radiation.

An otherwise useless by-product of the uranium-enrichment process, DU is attractive to military contractors because it is so cheap, often offered for free by the government.

According to the Uranium Medical Research Center, the toxic and radiological effects of uranium contamination may weaken the immune system. They may cause acute respiratory conditions like pneumonia, flu-like symptoms and severe coughs, renal or gastrointestinal illnesses.

Dr. Asaf Durakovic of UMRC explains that the initial symptoms will be mostly neurological, showing up as headaches, weakness, dizziness and muscle fatigue. The long-term effects are cancers and other radiation-related illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, joint and muscle pain, rashes, neurological and/or nerve damage, mood disturbances, infections, lung and kidney damage, vision problems, auto-immune deficiencies and severe skin conditions. It also causes increases in miscarriages, maternal mortality and genetic birth defects."

from "Another U.S. war crime? Iraqi cities 'hot' with depleted uranium"
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
"...The location for Banksy's Turf War was kept secret until just a day before the event. An email gave an address in Dalston, East London. And all of a sudden half of the East End's new media community (basically all of those who didn't go to the party the night before) were off to the venue - a disused warehouse in Kingsland Road." From the Banksy Graffiti Gallery at Art of the State.
Monday, August 18, 2003
For $5,500 to $6,000 a semester, the 32-year-old school is offering bachelor's and master's humanities degrees with a concentration in "activism and social change." Whereas schools from Vermont to Santa Cruz boast versions of do-gooding curricula, degrees in activism are hard to come by.

"Students can shape their own (activist) program at other schools," said Michael Baer, senior vice president at the American Council on Education and former provost at Northeastern University. "But to have it all together -- the theoretical and the practical -- under one roof and labeled as such is somewhat rare." Almost as rare is New College's eclectic lineup of activist instructors, a progressive all-star team that includes tree-sitting environmentalist Julia "Butterfly" Hill and "ecofeminist witch" and author Starhawk.

But New College wears its progressive stripes proudly -- Hill once delivered a commencement address by cell phone from her tree perch in the wilderness -- so school officials said it was unlikely that conservative instructors would be on hand.
Just 5 words
In Iraq, a Reuters cameraman, Mazen Dana, was deliberately shot and killed ("engaged" as the military obscenely puts it) by US troops. On MSNBC/CNBC, reporter Dawna Friesen noted that Dana had an extensive background in reporting from dangerous areas, notably the West Bank, and had been shot and beaten many times during the course of his work. She "neglected," however, to include five key words in her story - "by Israeli troops and settlers." Over on CNN, during the Lou Dobbs show, a similar report, noting that while reporting from Hebron, Dana had been "beaten and attacked." Again, no mention of who might have been responsible.

From the Committee to Protect Journalists, part of Dana's story:

In May 2000, Dana was shot in the leg with a rubber-coated bullet while filming Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. Two months later, Jewish settlers beat him unconscious while he tried to film a conflict. The next day, an Israeli police officer slammed Dana's head in the rear door of an ambulance while he was filming the evacuation of a Palestinian youth wounded in clashes. Dana was shot again last October, in the same leg, two days in a row.

Thanks to Arash from Afghan Voice, this link to video footage of Mazen Dana being shot by Israeli soldiers.

Of course, this (not so) curious omission is not limited to the broadcast media. Here's how the New York Times puts it: "During his career, Mr. Dana, who was married and had four children, had been threatened, beaten and shot at on several occasions." And don't think for a second that the Times isn't aware of who did the threatening, beating, and shooting, since they quote extensively from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Via Left I on the News

The Bush administration intends to side with a Senate Republican attempt to freeze a disputed regulatory proposal meant to strengthen the nation's aging power transmission system, which was blamed in last week's massive blackout, a senior administration official said yesterday.

via Spitting Image
Sunday, August 17, 2003
In fact, Florida, California and a handful of other states are home to hundreds of accused war criminals and torturers from all over Latin America, according to Amnesty International, a human rights group. Other suspected human rights abusers have made their way to the United States from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Vietnam, Somalia, Eastern Europe and Afghanistan, sometimes settling in the same communities as their victims. (Torture treatment centers and refugee groups claim there are roughly 500,000 torture survivors nationwide, with an estimated 40,000 in the Washington area.) Vides Casanova and Garcia received U.S. visas in 1989 after retiring from the military; Garcia was granted political asylum on the grounds that he and his children had been threatened during the war. Vides Casanova was allowed to enter the country despite a 1983 report to the State Department that he was likely "aware of, and for a time acquiesced in, the coverup" of the murders of four American churchwomen. [more]
According to the Independent on Sunday, "The (UK) Government's dossier on Iraq's weapons capability was hardened up in the days before its publication in a number of key respects that did not tally with the views of some of its most senior experts..."

This month marks 35 years since the infamous 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Hope was at a low ebb in the wake of a turbulent year that saw the assassinations of MLK and RFK. Peace activists and yippies took to the streets to protest the Viet Nam war and to nominate a pig for president. Police responded with shocking brutality. The ensuing Chicago Seven Trial was theatre of the absurd, with a colorful and prominent cast of characters. So what's changed in 35 years? Can next year's conventions be expected to generate outrage or apathy?
(repost from MetaFilter where there are additional links)

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