FEBRUARY 20-13, 03 Archives

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WILL LONDON BE BLITZED? February 20, 2003 by R.B. Ham There has been much talk among those of us who suspect that 9-11 was a modern "Operation Northwoods" that there is another false flag terrorist attack in the works. Most seem to think that it will occur somewhere in the United States. Some others speculate that it may involve an attack on the troops currently jammed into Kuwait like sardines. I myself am starting to think otherwise. My warning is for the people of London : you may be next. If we take it as a given that 9-11 was perpetrated by the New World Order to manipulate public opinion for an imperialist war that would serve their interests, and to coincidentally allow the American Government to begin to slowly implement a domestic police state, it follows that the current world wide opposition to the NWO's plans for global War is a thorn that must be removed from their paw. The only question for these Imperialist thugs is, how best to remove that thorn? I really don't believe that another overt terrorist attack will occur again on U.S. soil. Now that the Homeland Security Department is up and running and the Patriot Act is operational, the Bush Administration can't afford to be seen as failing at protecting the American people. Even fixed voting machines may not help them then. members.shaw

Americans Abroad Find Anger at U.S. Brings Discomfort and Risk February 20, 2003 By JANE PERLEZ JAKARTA, Indonesia These are uneasy, tense times for Americans living abroad. As the possibility of war against Iraq rises, especially a war that the United States may fight virtually alone, so does anti-Americanism in the streets, newspapers and cafes of foreign cities. Interviewed around the world, Americans expressed confidence that people nearly everywhere tried to distinguish between them and their government. But they acknowledged that anger over American policies — and resentment of American power — had translated into varying degrees of wariness, discomfort and even risk for Americans living in different parts of the world. nytimes.com

Protesters: NYPD Used Violence February 20, 2003 By Melanie Lefkowitz Police officers at Saturday’s anti-war rally squirted pepper spray into the eyes of penned-in protesters and backed kicking horses into crowds of people, according to video footage aired Tuesday by the rally’s organizers. “That makes you feel good, doesn’t it?” one officer yelled during the pepper-spraying, as demonstrators who seemed to be trapped between crowds of people on one side and metal barricades on the other screamed, “I can’t breathe!” and “My eyes!” newsday.com

GOP threats halted GAO Cheney suit February 20, 2003 By Peter Brand and Alexander Bolton Threats by Republicans to cut the General Accounting Office (GAO) budget influenced its decision to abandon a lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney, The Hill has learned. Sources familiar with high-level discussions at the GAO said Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, met with GAO Comptroller General David Walker earlier this year and “unambiguously” pressured him to drop the suit or face cuts in his $440 million budget. thehill.com

In Legal First, Groups Urge High Court to Review Secret Court Ruling on Government Spying February 20, 2003 In an unprecedented legal move, a coalition of civil liberties and Arab-American groups today urged the U.S. Supreme Court to review an extraordinary decision by a secret appeals court that broadly expanded the government’s powers to spy on U.S. citizens. The case offers the first opportunity for the Justices to consider government actions in the wake of September 11 that severely restrict civil liberties in the name of national security. "On behalf of all Americans, we are urging the Supreme Court to reject the extreme notion that Attorney General Ashcroft can suspend the ordinary requirements of the Fourth Amendment to listen in on phone calls, read e-mails, and conduct secret searches of Americans’ homes and offices," said Ann Beeson, Associate Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. aclu.org

They Thought They Were Free February 19, 2003 by  Milton  Mayer "What no one seemed to notice," said a colleague of mine, a philologist, "was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know it doesn't make people close to their government to be told that this is a people's government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote.  All this has little, really nothing to do with knowing one is governing. What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if he people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security.  And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it. "This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter. thirdreich.net

Bush Says War Protesters Won't Deter Him February 19, 2003 President Bush declared on Tuesday that he wouldn't be deterred by global protests against war with Iraq, saying "I respectfully disagree" with those who doubt that Saddam Hussein is a threat to peace. He said such a war remains a final resort, but "the risk of doing nothing is even a worse option as far as I'm concerned." Despite heavy opposition at the United Nations and protests around the world, the Bush administration appeared ready to push ahead this week for a new Security Council resolution that could open the way for war. Bush said that the size of the protests against a possible U.S.-led war against Iraq was irrelevant. abcnews.go.com

Ashcroft tried to prevent NYC protests February 19, 2003 As several readers pointed out to me, Ashcroft's Justice Department filed an amicus brief to uphold NYC's (wildly unsuccessful) ban of yesterday's anti-war protests. In other words, the Bush Administration did everything in its legal power to ban a protest against its policies. dailykos.com

Free Speech Trampled in Standstill February 19, 2003 There's a peace march scheduled in New York City today. But it will be more like a peace standstill. Unlike the 602 cities around the globe where protesters plan to march together to protest a war on Iraq, New York authorities won't allow it. The Bloomberg administration made the decision well before last week's heightened security alert. A federal three-judge panel affirmed it - even though The New York Times reported a police commander told a federal judge that he had no reason to expect violence. The Homeland Security Department alerted the country that there's a possible threat, but urged Americans to go on with our lives. Anyone considering marching with 100,000 other people can decide for themselves whether to take the risk. But there's more to it than that. The Bush administration - which is in the midst of trying to sell the war to the public - filed a brief urging the judges to uphold denial of the permit. And the Bloomberg administration has no intention of forcing a St. Patrick's Day standstill instead of a parade - even though it's bigger and likely more raucous. "The court bought, hook, line and sinker, the undifferentiated-fear factor," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which argued marches are a vital form of free speech. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a speaker at the rally said, "I really cannot believe that a major city in the leading democracy in the world can refuse people this particular right." syracuse.com

Canada says will not join solo U.S. attack on Iraq February 19, 2003 OTTAWA, "Canada says will not join solo U.S. attack on Iraq." last week Ottawa announced it would be sending up to 2,000 troops for a year to take part in a U.N. peacekeeping mission based in Kabul." Corrects to Kabul from Baghdad. A corrected repetition follows. Canada toughened its line on the Iraq crisis on Tuesday, saying it had no intention of contributing to a possible U.S.-led attack that had not been blessed by the United Nations Security Council. U.S. President George W. Bush says if the U.N. backs away from the idea of authorizing force to disarm Baghdad, he is prepared to wage war with what he calls a "coalition of the willing". Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien has until now refused to rule out contributing forces to a possible unilateral U.S. attack, but on Tuesday he told Parliament this was not an option. "We have not been asked and we do not intend to participate in a group of the willing," he said in reply to a question asking whether Canada would join "a coalition of willing countries". alertnet.org

Europeans angry and disgusted with Bush, Feel insulted by comments, mistrust motives February 16, 2003 Anna Badkhen This story was reported by Chronicle staff writer Anna Badkhen in Moscow, and Chronicle Foreign Service correspondents Veronique Mistiaen in London, Elizabeth Bryant in Paris and Jody K. Biehl in Berlin. With the clock ticking ever closer toward a possible war against Iraq, the gulf between the Bush administration and the public in Europe's most powerful nations continues to widen. Interviews conducted over the past few days in England, France and Germany show mounting anger and disgust with the administration's perceived determination to push the Iraq crisis to a military conclusion regardless of world opinion. Russians, meanwhile, seem largely indifferent to the unfolding drama. Criticism of President Bush and his inner circle for what Europeans consider an obsession with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein does not extend to the American people themselves, who are spoken of with some affection and are widely considered to be dupes of their own government. sfgate.com

US seeks 'German regime change' over Berlin's anti-war stance: February 19, 2003 Berlin, IRNA – The United States government is pursuing a 'regime change in Germany', following Berlin's hardline anti-Iraq war stance, the weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported Monday. It cited a recent article by prominent US journalist William Pfaff in the International Herald Tribune in which he said that the US administration 'is seeking the political destruction of (German) Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and a regime change in Germany'. "This is the first time that a German government has taken a stand against Washington and refused to back down. A chancellor who does this must not, in the current view, be allowed to get away with it," Pfaff added. He stressed that Schroeder's ouster was 'the real current priority of the Bush administration'. irna.com

US plan for new nuclear arsenal Secret talks may lead to breaking treaties February 19, 2003 Julian Borger The Bush administration is planning a secret meeting in August to discuss the construction of a new generation of nuclear weapons, including "mini-nukes", "bunker-busters" and neutron bombs designed to destroy chemical or biological agents, according to a leaked Pentagon document. The meeting of senior military officials and US nuclear scientists at the Omaha headquarters of the US Strategic Command would also decide whether to restart nuclear testing and how to convince the American public that the new weapons are necessary. The leaked preparations for the meeting are the clearest sign yet that the administration is determined to overhaul its nuclear arsenal so that it could be used as part of the new "Bush doctrine" of pre-emption, to strike the stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons of rogue states. guardian.co.uk

U.S. Orders 28,000 More Troops to Gulf Region February 19, 2003 By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Defense Department has ordered a further 28,000 troops to the Gulf region as the United States builds a military force of more than 200,000 for a possible war with Iraq, military officials said on Tuesday. The 5,200 soldiers of the highly mobile U.S. Army 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Carson in Colorado, are included in the deployment order signed in recent days, the officials said. The United States now has 182,000 troops in and near the Gulf in case President Bush orders an invasion of Iraq, said a defense official speaking on condition of anonymity. Tens of thousands of more troops are heading toward the region in the coming weeks. dailynews.att.net

Columbia Tape Shows Network Competition February 19, 2003 By DAVID BAUDER NEW YORK (AP) - During coverage of the space shuttle Columbia's disintegration, the folks in CNN's control room thought the picture they saw on rival Fox News Channel looked familiar. So they tried a little experiment. The producers superimposed a tiny "CNN" logo on the upper left corner of the network's screen as it showed the shuttle breaking into pieces. Blip! The same logo appeared on Fox News Channel. Then they decided to abruptly switch cameras so a picture of correspondent Miles O'Brien appeared. For two seconds - until it was hurriedly replaced with a view of NASA's mission control - it looked like O'Brien was working for Fox, too. apnews.excite.co

US Has Three Additional Wars Planned After Iraq February 18, 2003 by Conspiracy of One Syria, Iran will be dealt with after Iraq war U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said in meetings with Israeli officials on Monday that he has no doubt America will attack Iraq, and that it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea afterwards. Bolton, who is undersecretary for arms control and international security, is in Israel for meetings about preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. In a meeting with Bolton on Monday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that Israel is concerned about the security threat posed by Iran. It's important to deal with Iran even while American attention is turned toward Iraq, Sharon said. Bolton also met with Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Housing and Construction Minister Natan Sharansky. indymedia.org

Environment under fire: Republicans stuff riders into omnibus spending bill February 18, 2003 THE BUSH administration has never been the least bit shy about taking full advantage of an emergency to forward its anti-environmental agenda. Amid the bureaucratic panic and chaos surrounding last year's budget appropriations process - already four months overdue - congressional Republicans inserted several chillingly destructive environmental riders into the omnibus spending bill that is expected to pass in Congress in the next few days. The riders include a provision that would dramatically expand the administration's dangerously vague forest stewardship program, now in the pilot stage, which allows timber companies to harvest trees as payment in kind for other projects like road clearing or the thinning of underbrush to prevent forest fires. Others would provide funding for the surveys needed in advance of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, despite the fact that drilling there is still illegal; suspend environmental reviews of private grazing operations on public lands, and make it more difficult for the public to challenge aggressive logging or unfavorable administration decisions on wilderness protections in the Tongass and Chugach national forests in Alaska. Yet another excludes the public from commenting on the renewal of the Trans-Alaska pipeline system. registerguard.com

Their master's voice February 18, 2003 Rupert Murdoch argued strongly for a war with Iraq in an interview this week. Which might explain why his 175 editors around the world are backing it too, writes Roy Greenslade What a guy! You have got to admit that Rupert Murdoch is one canny press tycoon because he has an unerring ability to choose editors across the world who think just like him. How else can we explain the extraordinary unity of thought in his newspaper empire about the need to make war on Iraq? After an exhaustive survey of the highest-selling and most influential papers across the world owned by Murdoch's News Corporation, it is clear that all are singing from the same hymn sheet. Some are bellicose baritone soloists who relish the fight. Some prefer a less strident, if more subtle, role in the chorus. But none, whether fortissimo or pianissimo, has dared to croon the anti-war tune. Their master's voice has never been questioned. guardian.co.uk

CAN'T BUY AN ANTI-WAR AD February 18, 2003 VIACOM, one of the biggest media organizations in the world, the owner of CBS and MTV, also owns Viacom Outdoor, the largest billboard outfit in North America. They won't sell billboard space to MoveOn.org, which has raised money for a sign: INSPECTIONS WORK. WAR WON'T. stratiawire.com

Washington shrugs off war protests February 17, 2003 By Joshua Levitt in Madrid and Edward Alden Millions of protesters rallied at the weekend in Europe, Asia and the US to oppose American plans to attack Iraq, in the largest anti-war demonstrations since the Vietnam war era. The rallies brought out more than 2m people in Italy and 2m in Spain, with similarly large turnouts in the UK, Germany and France. But US officials on Sunday dismissed the growing popular opposition, insisting that the administration of President George W.Bush would continue to prepare for war with Iraq in the coming weeks. Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, said the demonstrations would not alter US determination to confront Saddam Hussein and help the Iraqi people, either with broad international support or with a narrower "coalition of the willing". news.ft.com

Smirk On Orange Alert! The Rest of the World and Most of America Turns Against War February 17, 2003 by the Pundit Pap Team NEW YORK (APJP) -- The morning papers were dominated by news of yesterday's worldwide protests against former Texas governor George W. Bush's push to go to war against Saddam Hussein. This is extraordinarily bad news for the Doofus-in-Chief and his gang of mostly "chicken hawk" handlers -- especially after Colin Powell managed in a single week to present a pretty lousy case against Iraq to the UN Security Council, only to be followed days later by testimony from chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix and International Atomic Energy Administration chairman Muhammad al-Baradei indicating progress in inspections of Iraq and arguing a strong case for letting inspections continue. Worse yet, the decision to raise the "terror alert" status to orange backfired miserably -- along with suggestions from the newly-established Department of Homeland Security that households stock up on duct tape and plastic sheeting. The public is getting fed up with the scare tactics of the present occupants of the White House -- and ex-governor Tom Ridge was put on the hot seat this pundit Sunday americanpolitics.com

Alert elevation based on a lie Feb 17, 2003 By DOUG THOMPSON After a week of warning Americans to get ready for an imminent terrorist attack, a chagrined Bush administration now admits a key source of information for that attack was fabricated by a captured al Qaida operative. "We've wondering just how much egg we have on our face," says one unhappy White House source. "Right now, the worst thing that could occur for the administration's credibility is that nothing happens this weekend. I know that sounds terrible but we've got a lot riding on this." The administration elevated the nation's threat level to orange last week, the second-highest rating. At the time, Capitol Hill Blue reported that some intelligence professionals felt the elevation was not justified because intelligence reports were contradictory. capitolhillblue.com

NAACP Slams Bush Administration Policies; Decries Attacks on Affirmative Action, Judicial Extremists, War in Iraq NEW YORK, Feb.17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) concluded its 94th Annual Meeting by issuing a battery of criticisms of policies hostile to civil rights. The conference, which included the quarterly NAACP National Board of Directors meeting, was held Feb. 13-15, 2003. "President Bush continues to nominate right-wing extremists to the federal bench," said Kweisi Mfume, NAACP president and CEO. "The NAACP must stand in firm opposition to the confirmation of any and all nominees, whose judicial record gives rise to suspicion about their ability to render impartial judgment and fair interpretation of federal law." usnewswire.com

World Wide Antiwar Rallies February 16, 2003 By Charles Sullivan There are huge antiwar rallies taking place all over the world today. An estimated 3.6 million people are demonstrating for peace in Lebanon and Beirut; two million strong in Italy; a million in England; Melbourne, Australia over two hundred thousand; Madrid, Spain three quarters of a million (92% of citizens opposed to war); the crowd extends fifty-nine blocks in New York City; according to police estimates there are over half a million demonstrators taking part in the antiwar rally; protest organizers say there are over a million.
     “If you control what people know you can control what they do.” - Harry Belafonte
     If after these unprecedented worldwide demonstrations, George Bush pushes ahead with his war on Iraq, what does it say about the state of our government? A great majority of the American people opposes this war; the UN has not sanctioned it; and the world is telling George Bush and Tony Blair to stand down. If they refuse, and rain death down upon the Iraqi people, in defiance of the will of the people they have sworn to serve—the people must take action to remove them from power as quickly as possible. The Congress must be forced to draw up articles of impeachment against Bush and the key members of his regime. A good case could be made to try them for treason.
     You can be sure that inside the Bush regime there is anger, fear and loathing that so many citizens have mobilized and marched against war. Nothing concerns them more than when large numbers of citizens amass against them and their policies and threaten their hold on power. The Bush people would love nothing more than to ignore the will of the people, and the mandates of the UN; however, they know that it will be risky for them to do so. To bomb Iraq against clear world wide opposition may well increase the protests and demonstrations, further catalyzing the people against them; rapidly weakening and even disintegrating their hold on power. The Bush people thus find themselves in a precarious situation. I doubt whether they anticipated protests and demonstrations on this scale. Each rally has gotten progressively larger than the previous ones. Millions of American citizens, and millions more people world wide, are joining the protests. They come from all walks of life, across a wide spectrum of age groups. You can be sure that the Bush people are very nervous; they may soon be looking for a way out of this whole mess without losing face.
     There is tremendous pressure being exerted on them by their corporate backers—especially the oil companies. They have invested millions in the Bush regime and they are anxious to see results. It cost a lot of money to buy an entire administration and they want a return on their investment. On the other hand, public opposition to the Bush policies is powerful and gaining strength. You know that Bush is in solidarity with big oil, but he is afraid of the growing anger and resentment of the restless public that knows what he is up to. They aren’t buying the lies and propaganda being proffered in the corporate media in an attempt to justify holocaust... disc.server.com

TOTAL POLICE STATE TAKEOVER The Secret Patriot Act II Destroys What Is Left of American Liberty February 16, 2003 A Brief Analysis of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act 2003, Also Known as Patriot Act II By Alex Jones Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex) told the Washington Times that no member of Congress was allowed to read the first Patriot Act that was passed by the House on October 27, 2001. The first Patriot Act was universally decried by civil libertarians and Constitutional scholars from across the political spectrum. William Safire, while writing for the New York Times, described the first Patriot Act's powers by saying that President Bush was seizing dictatorial control. On February 7, 2003 the Center for Public Integrity, a non-partisan public interest think-tank in DC, revealed the full text of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003. The classified document had been leaked to them by an unnamed source inside the Federal government. The document consisted of a 33-page section by section analysis of the accompanying 87-page bill. thepeoplesvoice.org

GE, Microsoft Bring Bigotry to Life Hate-talk host Michael Savage hired by MSNBC February 15, 2003 The latest hire by the cable news network MSNBC-- co-owned by General Electric/NBC and Microsoft-- is Michael Savage, a radio talkshow host noted for his unabashed bigotry. Savage is scheduled to have his own weekly one-hour show on MSNBC beginning in March. Savage routinely refers to non-white countries as "turd world nations" and charges that the U.S. "is being taken over by the freaks, the cripples, the perverts and the mental defectives" (San Francisco Bay Guardian, 9/20/00). In a recent broadcast he justified ethnic slurs as a national security tool: "We need racist stereotypes right now of our enemy in order to encourage our warriors to kill the enemy," he explained (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/6/03). "Turd world" immigrants are a frequent target of Savage's anger: "You open the door to them, and the next thing you know, they are defecating on your country and breeding out of control" (Oregonian, 4/24/02). At times Savage's arguments echo the conspiratorial scapegoating of the white supremacist movement: "With the [Latino] population that has emerged, since they breed like rabbits, in many cases the whites will become a minority in their own nation... The white people don't breed as often for whatever reason. I guess many homosexuals are involved. That is also part of the grand plan, to push homosexuality to cut down on the white race" (San Francisco Bay Guardian, 9/20/00). Commenting on the "Million Mom March" in favor of gun control (which he dubbed the "Million Dyke March"), he dismissed organizers' reference to American children killed by guns (5/15/00): "They’re not kids, they’re ghetto slime... they’re the same kids that are in Sierra Leone toting AK47s." fair.org

Bush budget plan attacks public education Last of five articles on Bush’s 2004 budget proposal February 15, 2003 By Patrick Martin This is the final part in a series of five articles on the social implications and political significance of the Bush administration’s fiscal 2004 budget plan. Part one, “The Bush budget: blueprint for a right-wing assault on the working class”, was posted on February 11. Part two, “Welfare for the wealthy: the Bush tax plan”, was posted on February 12. Part three, “Bush budget targets the poor”, was posted on February 13. Part four, “The Bush budget: subverting Medicare and Medicaid”, was posted on February 14. 
     As a candidate and now as president, George W. Bush has sought to identify himself as an advocate of improved education, despite the fact that there is no basis for it in his record as governor of Texas. On the contrary, the Bush administration has combined pro-education rhetoric with the most deliberate effort to undermine the public schools since the public education system was first established in the nineteenth century. Last year Bush joined forces with congressional Democrats like Senator Edward Kennedy to push through the No Child Left Behind Act, a piece of legislation that lent “liberal” credibility to Bush’s lip service to education. The bill imposed sweeping testing requirements on school children, while offering the promise of increased funding for so-called failing schools. The actual spending on education in the 2003 budget and the amount proposed in 2004 give the lie to this posturing. The Bush administration requested $5 billion less in education spending for the current year than was authorized by the No Child Left Behind Act. In a series of votes in early January, the US Senate beat back amendments that would have restored full funding. In the fiscal 2004 budget, the gap between authorization and appropriation is even larger: the White House has requested $6 billion less than proposed in the legislation. The proposed budget is actually $100 million lower than for 2003, despite the increase in the number of school children and the growing financial burdens on public education. There is a $1 billion increase in special education funding, but this comes at the expense of other school programs, with $1.5 billion cut through the elimination of 45 separate programs, including rural education, dropout prevention and physical education. wsws.org

The American Way of Torture February 15, 2003 'If We're Not in the Room, Who Is to Say?'American intelligence agents have been torturing terrorist suspects, or engaging in practices pretty close to torture. They have also been handing over suspects to countries, such as Egypt, whose intelligence agencies have a reputation for brutality. —The Economist, London, January 11 The picture that emerges is of a brass-knuckled quest for information . . . in which the traditional lines between right and wrong, legal and inhumane, are evolving and blurred. —The Washington Post, December 26 U.S. officials who take part in torture, authorize it, or even close their eyes to it, can be prosecuted by courts anywhere in the world. —Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch On December 26, Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, which reports on human rights abuses in some 70 countries, wrote a letter to George W. Bush, with copies to Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, and Condoleezza Rice: villagevoice.com

Anti-Americanism in Europe deepens 'New generation of U.S.-haters being created' February 15, 2003 LONDON, England (CNN) More than 500,000 anti-war protesters are expected to take to the streets of London on Saturday, with 100,000 each in Paris and Rome and 80,000 in Germany. CNN Senior International Correspondent Walter Rodgers reports on what is being seen as a new, deeper breed of anti-Americanism: After two generations of guilt, young Germans demonstrating against the United States and against war now feel good about themselves because it is the United States, not Germany, that is seen by many as the aggressive warmonger. "I think it is good we said 'no' and we don't follow the U.S.," one German protester says. This anti-Americanism is believed to be much worse than what has gone before. Analysts warn that a whole generation of America-haters is being created, a European generation which they say believes Americans deliberately bomb civilians and kill Arab babies. asia.cnn.com

CIA 'sabotaged inspections and hid weapons details' February 15, 2003 By Andrew Buncombe 3 Senior democrats have accused the CIA of sabotaging weapons inspections in Iraq by refusing to co-operate fully with the UN and withholding crucial information about Saddam Hussein's arsenal. Led by Senator Carl Levin, the Democrats accused the CIA of making an assessment that the inspections were unlikely to be a success and then ensuring they would not be. They have accused the CIA director of lying about what information on the suspected location of weapons of mass destruction had been passed on. The row is of heightened significance given the Bush administration's preparations to argue later today before the UN Security Council that the inspections have run their course and it is now time to move to military action. independent.co.uk

Neocons Want to Win The "Big One" February 15, 2003  Hugh Conrad Why are the neo-conservatives like Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld -- now joined by Secretary of State Colin Powell -- beating the drums of war so incessantly? A study of 20th Century history illustrates that the Republicans, while ostensibly so tough on national security issues in that period, have yet to win what those in athletic pursuits call "The Big One": They have not won a "World" war... fp.enter.net

MEDIA ADVISORY: Muted Response to Ashcroft's Sneak Attack on Liberties February 15, 2003 In an attempt to further increase the government's surveillance and law enforcement powers, and decrease judicial review and protections of civil liberties, the Department of Justice has secretly drafted a sweeping sequel to the USA Patriot Act of 2001. Despite the draft legislation's authoritarian provisions-- including one that would empower the government to strip Americans of their citizenship if they participate in the lawful activities of any group that the attorney general labels "terrorist"-- mainstream U.S. media have responded with only a handful of news stories. The news was broken on February 7 by the Center for Public Integrity, which obtained and published a full copy of the DOJ's draft "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003" or "Patriot Act II" legislation (http://www.public-i.org). According to CPI, the January 9, 2003 draft was prepared by Attorney General John Ashcroft's staff and has not been officially released by the DOJ. Elected officials were kept in the dark about Ashcroft's initiative, says CPI: "Senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee minority staff have inquired about Patriot II for months and have been told as recently as this week that there is no such legislation being planned." http://www.fair.org/press-releases/patriot-sequel.html

Sean Penn sues over anti-war 'blacklist' Producer Steve Bing contests £6m claim February 15, 2003 Duncan Campbell The actor and director Sean Penn has accused the producer Steve Bing of bringing back the days of the Hollywood blacklist by firing him from a film for his anti-war views. Bing denies the charge, and claims that Penn is trying to extort $10m (£6m) from him by threatening to damage his reputation in Hollywood. The dispute is over a film called Why Men Shouldn't Marry, a comedy written by Bing and which he is due to direct and partly finance. Penn had been asked to play a leading role, and shooting was meant to start this year, with Woody Allen also associated with the project. However, Penn and Bing have fallen out, and the result is two civil lawsuits filed in Los Angeles superior court this week. Penn is claiming that Bing did not want him on the film because of his very public anti-war stance. The actor recently visited Baghdad and took out a full-page advert in the Washington Post, in which he criticised President George Bush for his war plans. guardian.co.uk

School nurses around state get budget axe February 15, 2003 By Jay Lindsay BOSTON (AP) The greeting cards covering school nurse Donna Hanks desk on Friday offered a bittersweet mix of Valentine's Day greetings and best wishes on her last day of work. Hanks is one of hundreds of school nurses across Massachusetts who've been laid off since Gov. Mitt Romney's emergency budget cuts early this month. Friday was her last day at Beebe Elementary School in Melrose. ''It's been very difficult,'' she said. ''I get worried about the safety of the kids.'' Nursing advocates say the cuts will be devastating, weakening emergency response, eroding front-line health care for many children and ultimately costing the state more money by forcing special-needs kids into specialized settings. boston.com

ACCOUNTING INSANITY February 14, 2003 by Dan Dvorak It seems like pure insanity or even ignorance to suggest that giving “incentives” and tax breaks to corporations and rich people will somehow magically STIMULATE the economy. STUPID comes to mind. For business to make investment in their companies there must be demand for products. For business to hire more employees there will have to be a need for more employees, like demand for business and products. Can you picture General Motors hiring MORE workers when they can’t sell cars? Can you imagine Ford buying and building more equipment when they can’t sell the cars they manufacture  with  existing equipment. Where do they get this stuff? Who came up with this “trickle down economics” anyway? It’s not new. It happens every time a Republican gets elected. Better question is how do they sell this crap to the press, the Congress and the almost half the people who vote? Someone somewhere is having themselves a good laugh. thepeoplesvoice.org

The Bush budget: subverting Medicare and Medicaid Part four of five articles on Bush’s 2004 budget proposal February 14, 2003 By Patrick Martin In the guise of extending benefits and making programs more flexible, the Bush administration is proposing changes that would effectively undermine both Medicare and Medicaid, the two large federal health care programs that provide services to the elderly and to the poor, respectively. Medicare will be hit by further cuts in reimbursements to providers, which will deepen their financial crisis and cause many providers to refuse Medicare patients altogether. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission recommended a freeze on payments to nursing homes and home health care agencies and a reduction in the scheduled cost-of-living allowances for hospitals. Payments were already cut 4.9 percent to home health care agencies and 10 percent to nursing homes on October 1. The number of people receiving such care through Medicare has dropped from 3.5 million in 1997 to 2.2 million in 2001, despite an increase in the elderly population, because agencies have cut back admissions or abandoned serving Medicare patients entirely. In most cases these are the most vulnerable of the elderly—those whose health is so poor they cannot take care of themselves without such assistance. The most important change in Medicare, however, is Bush’s proposed $400 billion plan to add a prescription drug benefit. Given that the elderly will spend an estimated $2 trillion on prescription drugs over the next 10 years, a plan on the scale of the administration’s, covering only 20 percent of the projected cost, cannot be considered a serious effort to meet the social need. wsws.org

10 million join world protest rallies February 14, 2003 John Vidal From Africa to Antarctica, people prepare to march for peace Up to 10 million people on five continents are expected to demonstrate against the probable war in Iraq on Saturday, in some of the largest peace marches ever known. Yesterday, up to 400 cities in 60 countries, from Antarctica to Pacific islands, confirmed that peace rallies, vigils and marches would take place. Of all major countries, only China is absent from the growing list which includes more than 300 cities in Europe and north America, 50 in Asia and Latin America, 10 in Africa and 20 in Australia and Oceania. Many countries will witness the largest demonstrations against war they have ever seen. The majority will be small but 500,000 people are expected in London and Barcelona, and more than 100,000 in Rome, Paris, Berlin and other European capitals. In the US, organisers were yesterday anticipating 200,000 marching in New York if permission is given. A further 100,000 are expected to march in 140 other American cities. guardian.co.uk

90 US Cities Have Passed Anti-War Resolutions February 14, 2003 By Alan Elsner WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some 90 U.S. city councils have passed resolutions opposing military actions against Iraq, with many arguing that such a war would devastate their economies, organizers of the campaign said on Thursday. Representatives of many of these cities, which include Chicago and Philadelphia among others, gathered in Washington to deliver their resolutions to the White House. "War will be financed by deficit spending and drastic cuts in domestic spending. The sons and daughters of American cities will be recruited to fight and even die in that war," Chicago alderman Joe Moore said. The city representatives told a news conference that resources in their jurisdictions were already severely stretched and the country could not afford a war. "In my city, our homeless shelters are jammed. In fact we are turning people away nightly," said Detroit councilwoman Maryann Mahaffey. rense.com

The US terror alert - Washington employs fear and panic as instruments of war February 14, 2003 By Bill Vann The Bush administration, together with the government of Tony Blair in Britain, has over the past week launched a concerted campaign to sow fear and terror among the American and British people in an effort to overcome widespread opposition to the impending invasion of Iraq. Following the Homeland Security Department’s declaration of a “code orange” terror alert in the US, humvees mounted with anti-aircraft batteries have been deployed in the shadows of the Washington Monument and the US Capitol, while machine-gun toting SWAT teams have been sent into the streets of New York City. In London, tanks and combat troops are patrolling Heathrow Airport. Why has “code orange,” signifying a “high” threat of terrorist attacks, been declared? No US official has offered a specific or credible reason. Vague references are made to “increased chatter” overheard by intelligence agencies, the end of the Haj in Mecca, etc. There is not a single verifiable fact. wsws.org

It's the Dawning Age of the Apocalypse . . . February 14, 2003 By Walter Russell Mead How quickly things change. Ten years ago, we read professor Francis Fukuyama's essay and toasted the end of history. That was followed by professor Samuel Huntington's musings on clashing civilizations. Now it's worse: We're being warned to worry not just about the clash of civilizations, but the end of civilization as we know it, the end, perhaps, of the world itself. Last week was a pretty typical one in this new age of the apocalypse. Last Sunday, White House chief of staff Andrew Card refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons by the United States against Iraq, perhaps preemptively, vowing that "the United States will use whatever means necessary to protect us and the world from a holocaust." On Monday, Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes threatened that Pakistan would be "erased from the world map" if it were to launch a nuclear attack on India. On Tuesday, Pyongyang Broadcasting Station said that "the United States is in danger of falling into the grave that it has dug" and if it does, it "will never again survive." washingtonpost.com

Bush budget targets the poor Part three of five articles on Bush’s 2004 budget proposal February 13, 2003 By Patrick Martin While seeking an unprecedented $1.5 trillion in new tax cuts, largely benefiting the richest Americans, the Bush administration has used its 2004 budget plan to propose a wide array of attacks on the poorest sections of the working class, with outright cuts in some programs, tightened eligibility requirements for others, and the shifting of much of the remaining social welfare system from federal to state responsibility. The new budget incorporates proposals for a crackdown on the poorest American families, with stepped-up enforcement of eligibility requirements for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), school lunches, Medicaid and other means-tested programs, under conditions where, even without such measures, millions who are eligible for these benefits do not at present receive them. One item in the budget plan speaks volumes about the class interests served by the Bush program. The Internal Revenue Service is to spend an additional $100 million and hire 650 more officers to go after tax cheats. The target is not millionaire fraudsters or corporations that shift their headquarters to Bermuda or the Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes, but rather the millions of low-paid workers who collect the Earned Income Tax Credit—a tax subsidy available only to those who are working but still not making enough to live on. wsws.org

Welfare for the wealthy: the Bush tax plan Part two of five articles on Bush’s 2004 budget proposal February 13, 2003 By Patrick Martin The centerpiece of the Bush administration’s budget is its $670 billion tax cut, largely targeted to the wealthy. The outlines of the plan were announced last month, in the week leading up to Bush’s State of the Union speech. Since then, as the details have been fleshed out and the proposal subjected to more careful analysis, the staggering dimensions of the plan and its reactionary social implications have become more clear. While there are a few provisions in the tax package that spread benefits more widely, such as the increase in the child tax credit to $1,000, the bulk of the tax cut is narrowly focused on the wealthiest Americans. Of the total of $670 billion in cuts, $364 billion, more than half, arises from the elimination of taxation on most corporate dividends. The tens of millions of working and middle-class people with 401(k) plans gain nothing from the measure, because the dividends paid for shares held by the plans’ mutual funds are already tax-free. The entire gain from this measure will be reaped by those who individually own large blocks of stock—the top 1 percent of American society. wsws.org

Reckless Administration May Reap Disastrous Consequences February 13, 2003 by US Senator Robert Byrd Senate Floor Speech - Wednesday, To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences. On this February day, as this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of war. Yet, this Chamber is, for the most part, silent -- ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing. We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events. Only on the editorial pages of our newspapers is there much substantive discussion of the prudence or imprudence of engaging in this particular war. And this is no small conflagration we contemplate. This is no simple attempt to defang a villain. No. This coming battle, if it materializes, represents a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and possibly a turning point in the recent history of the world. This nation is about to embark upon the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time. The doctrine of preemption -- the idea that the United States or any other nation can legitimately attack a nation that is not imminently threatening but may be threatening in the future -- is a radical new twist on the traditional idea of self defense. It appears to be in contravention of international law and the UN Charter. And it is being tested at a time of world-wide terrorism, making many countries around the globe wonder if they will soon be on our -- or some other nation's -- hit list commondreams.org



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