JANUARY 25-20, 04 Archives

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Wilsons Leather cutting 100 stores, 1,000 jobs January 25, 2004 The Associated PressWilsons The Leather Experts is closing about 100 stores, nearly 20 percent of its total, and is eliminating more than 1,000 jobs after a dismal holiday season. On Thursday, the leather apparel and accessories chain laid off 70 corporate workers, including 60 at its Brooklyn Park headquarters and distribution center. The store closings, to be completed in the next four months, will cut 950 retail jobs. dfw.com

Left behind in the U.S.A. With jobs heading overseas, trade issues resonating with many January 25, 2004 The hand-lettered sign on Pat Odell's snow-covered lawn in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is testament to a man who's trying to reinvent himself. Snow shoveling, it reads. Light construction. Just call -- cellphone or land line, it doesn't matter. Just call. Up until two years ago, Odell had a good-paying job with full benefits making printing presses at the Goss factory in town. Then one day, Goss padlocked the gates of its factory and announced that its operations were moving to China. miami.com

America's Prison Habit January 25, 2004 By Alan Elsner After 25 years of explosive growth in the U.S. prison system, is this country finally ending its love affair with incarceration? Perhaps, but as in any abusive relationship, breaking up will be hard to do. Since 1980 the U.S. prison and jail population has quadrupled in size to more than 2 million. In the process, prisons have embedded themselves into the nation's economic and social fabric. A powerful lobby has grown up around the prison system that will fight hard to protect the status quo. washingtonpost.com

Our Man in Baku January 25, 2004 ILHAM ALIYEV was inaugurated as president of the oil-rich Muslim country of Azerbaijan three months ago after an election condemned by international observers as blatantly fraudulent. When members of the opposition tried to protest, they were brutally beaten by police. There followed a massive, nationwide crackdown in which more than 1,000 people were arrested, including opposition leaders, activists from nongovernmental organizations, journalists and election officials who objected to the fraud. More than 100 remain in prison, including most of the senior opposition activists. A new report by Human Rights Watch documents numerous cases of torture, including severe beatings, electric shock, and threats of rape against the opposition leaders. Mr. Aliyev, who succeeded his strongman father, meanwhile has been consolidating dictatorial powers: Most recently he was named director of Azerbaijani radio and television. Azerbaijan, in short, might look like a good place for President Bush to start implementing his frequently declared policy of "spreading freedom" to the world -- and in particular the greater Middle East. Instead he is doing the opposite. The president and his top aides have embraced Mr. Aliyev, excused his fraud and ignored his human rights violations -- not to mention reliable reports of his personal corruption. The administration waived congressional restrictions to grant Azerbaijan $3 million in military aid and is winding up to give still more. washingtonpost.com

Kucinich says Iraq policy will lead to military draft January 25, 2004 ANNE SAUNDERS America's policy in Iraq will lead to a resumption of the military draft, Democrat Dennis Kucinich told high school and college students Saturday. "The body count keeps rising," Kucinich said, pointing to reports of more deaths in Iraq. "We are not that far away from this country moving toward a draft," he said. "It's just inevitable because the number of troops are going down and the U.S. commitments are worldwide and there is a point at which that is the next step." sfgate.com

Christian Evangelicals in Iraq: A Time-Bomb Waiting to Explode January 25, 2004 Rene L. Gonzalez I've always had a big axe to grind with these Christian evangelicals. Ever since being accosted by one fervent follower in the hallways of a building at the University of Massachusetts and pressured to "recognize Jesus as my savior", I've had a very big distaste for their kind. These "know it all" pseudo-Christians make me sick, and I'll tell you why. The British Telegraph newspaper recently featured an article on a supposed "war for souls" being waged by American Christian Evangelicals in Iraq. The article boiled my blood. My first reaction was, "How dare these religious nuts think they know better than Iraqis what their beliefs should be?" I thought the whole thing reflected a very ugly racism and paternalism about other people in the world and their traditions. First of all, they're deceptive and dishonest about their agenda in Iraq. The following quote describes the nature of this deception. "Organising in secrecy, and emphasising their humanitarian aid work, Christian groups are pouring into the country, which is 97 per cent Muslim, bearing Arabic Bibles, videos and religious tracts designed to "save" Muslims from their "false" religion."- informationclearinghouse.info

Chaos Under Heaven, and More to Come January 25, 2004 By Jim Lobe (IPS) Retired Gen Anthony Zinni began warning that ousting Saddam Hussein, let alone invading Iraq, risked destabilising the entire Middle East back in 1998, when he led U.S. Central Command and testified against the Iraq Liberation Act that made ''regime change'' official U.S. policy. And just six months before the actual invasion last March, in October 2002, he told the annual Fletcher Conference on National Security Strategy, ''we are about to do something that will ignite a fuse in this region that we will rue the day we ever started''. ipsnews.net

The Fog of Cop-Out January 25, 2004 By ALEXANDER COCKBURN My dear friend and late Nation colleague Andrew Kopkind liked to tell how, skiing in Aspen at the height of the Vietnam War, he came round a bend and saw another skier, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, alone near the edge of a precipice. This was during the period of Rolling Thunder, which ultimately saw three times as many bombs dropped on Vietnam as the Allies dropped on Europe in the Second World War. “I could have reached out with my ski pole,” Andy would say wistfully, “and pushed him over.” Alas, Andy shirked this chance to get into the history books and McNamara survived the 1960s, when he contributed more than most to the slaughter of 3.4 million Vietnamese (his own estimate). He went on to run the World Bank, where he presided over the impoverishment, eviction from their lands and death of many millions more round the world. counterpunch.org

IBM and Philips team up in radio tags January 25, 2004 AMSTERDAM (Reuters) U.S. computer giant IBM and Dutch electronics maker Philips said on Monday they would work together to sell radio tags that would displace barcodes. Philips' semiconductor unit will make the tiny radio chips that can be stuck on items from clothes to bottles of milk, while IBM will provide the computer services and systems. At a later stage a washing machine will be able to recognise that a bright colour piece of clothing has been put in the white wash. RFID chips are thin and small and send essential bits of information about a product to a receiver that can read the signals. The data could include a product description, packaging and expiry dates, colour and price. It is a more advanced way to track and describe goods than barcodes, which are now used for most products and inventory systems. The market opportunity of RFID tags is estimated at $3.1 billion by 2008, according to research group Applied Business Intelligence. usatoday.com

Stress epidemic strikes American forces in Iraq January 25, 2004 By Peter Beaumont The war's over, but the suicide rate is high and the army is riddled with acute psychiatric problems. Up to one in five of the American military personnel in Iraq will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, say senior forces' medical staff dealing with the psychiatric fallout of the war. This revelation follows the disclosure last month that more than 600 US servicemen and women have been evacuated from the country for psychiatric reasons since the conflict started last March. At least 22 US soldiers have killed themselves - a rate considered abnormally high - mostly since President George Bush declared an end to major combat on 1 May last year. guardian.co.uk

Bone-cold Bush protesters hot under the collar Hundreds show up at Owens to complain about job losses January 24, 2004 By RYAN E. SMITH The enormous, inflatable rat with red eyes and nasty claws was about as friendly toward President Bush as the rest of the crowd protesting his appearance yesterday at Owens Community College. On the vermin's chest was a sign that read: "Rats Best Friend Bush." There was a handful of Bush supporters among the 300 people who gathered a short distance down the road from the Center for Fine and Performing Arts, where the President spoke. Many in the crowd, corralled for much of the morning in a parking lot next to the college's library, were union workers who braved the cold temperatures to oppose the President's record on creating jobs. "I'm tired of our jobs going out of the United States and the economy going down the hole," said John Wagner, a journeyman carpenter with Carpenters Local 1138. toledoblade.com

Ford To Announce Layoffs Monday January 24, 2004 By Jack Wang (KSDK) Members of United Auto Workers Local 325 await word from the Ford Motor Company Monday on possible layoffs involving second shift workers at the Hazelwood assembly plant. Several workers were resigned to the possible layoffs. "We definitely don't like it, we wish we could keep the nightshift on, we hate to see anyone lose their job, says Jimmy Robinson. ksdk.com

Huge layoffs expected at Kraft Foods January 24, 2004 By Delroy Alexander Analysts also talk of plant closings at diversified food-products maker Kraft Foods Inc. is expected to announce thousands of job cuts early next week as part of Chief Executive Roger Deromedi's plan to cut costs and put more muscle into marketing. sunspot.net

Packing Plant Layoffs January 24, 2004 Des Moines  Hundreds of people in Des Moines are waking up wondering if they'll still have a job by the end of the day. That's because Des Moines' Iowa Packing Company has been sold, and half of the more than 500 employees may not get their jobs back. whotv.com

934 jobs to be lost due to Citibank decision January 24, 2004 Citibank is closing a credit-card operations center in Trevose, Pa., resulting in the loss of 934 jobs. Citibank bought Sears' credit-card operation last year and has decided that the Trevose facility is no longer needed. philadelphia.bizjournals.com

Alltel To Eliminate Up To Six Hundred Positions Nationwide January 24, 2004 Little Rock, AR - Alltel released figures today showing the little rock based corporation had a pretty good year in 2003, but it also announced it's eliminating up to 600 positions nationwide. katv.com

Motorola to close Boynton plant, with 240 laid off and 130 transferred January 24, 2004 By Marcia Heroux Pounds Ending a 20-year run, Motorola will begin in March to close its last location in Boynton Beach. Of the 370 jobs at the cell-phone plant in Quantum Park, 240 people will be laid off. sun-sentinel.com

Sears cuts 240 call center jobs January 24, 2004 Ed Green For the second time this week, hundreds of workers at a call center in Louisville are being laid off as a national company consolidates its support operations in other cities. This time, 240 workers at the Sears, Roebuck and Co. customer service and call center operation off Blankenbaker Parkway are being laid off as the retail giant eliminates the remainder of its operations at the site. louisville.bizjournals.com

Meijer cuts workers, more layoffs planned January 24, 2004 By James Prichard Associated Press Meijer Inc.'s local midlevel managers may get pink slips this weekend as the company further streamlines its operations. Some employees were notified Friday. Others will be told today, said Sande MacLeod, executive vice president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 951, which represents 30,000 Meijer employees. lsj.com

The New Reality Laid-Off Workers Just Can’t Find Comparable Jobs January 24, 2004 By Dean Reynolds Joe Stefano doesn't need the federal government to tell him it's tough to find a job. Stefano, 56, was laid off two years ago from SBC Communications after 30 years as a systems engineer — laid off from a job that had paid him close to $100,000 annually. Now Stefano holds down a part-time job at a Best Buy in suburban Chicago and freelances. His annual income? "I'll be lucky if I can crack $10,000," he said. abcnews.go.com

Under Oath, German Agent Says US Warned About 9/11 January 24, 2004 by: The Guardian The United States was warned of impending September 11 terrorist attacks by an Iranian spy, but ignored him, German secret service agents testified yesterday in the trial of an alleged al-Qaida terrorist. republicons.org

US chief Iraq arms expert quits January 24, 2004 The head of the team searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, David Kay, has resigned. Mr Kay said he did not believe Iraq possessed large stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons. He is being replaced by a former deputy head of the United Nations weapons inspections team, Charles Duelfer. news.bbc.co.uk

Bush's $5 trillion problem: Rising deficit troubles GOP January 24, 2004 Republican Party's tenet of small government has run up against a surge in domestic spending, plus war, tax cuts. Even before President Bush's next budget hits Capitol Hill, lawmakers even in his own party are mounting barricades against what many see as a spending binge that's settling into a habit. csmonitor.com

The CIA revolt against the White House January 24, 2004 By Mark Follman Former intelligence official Larry C. Johnson blasts the Bush administration's "outright pattern of bullying." For almost a year, the White House has been quietly fighting a contentious battle at home on the national security front -- against the U.S. intelligence community itself. Vocal retired intelligence officials, and anonymous active ones, have protested repeatedly that the White House has coerced intelligence agencies to rig findings and analysis to suit administration aims. salon.com

Iraq Blasts Kill Five U.S. Troops, Four Iraqis January 24, 2004 By Dean Yates BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A car bomb exploded at the entrance to an American military installation in Khaldiya in Iraq on Saturday. Three taskforce All-American soldiers were killed and six were wounded just hours after separate blasts elsewhere left two servicemen and at least four Iraqis dead. All three attacks on Saturday took place in the "Sunni triangle"

Pilots Killed as US Copter Crashes in Iraq January 24, 2004 "PA" Two pilots were killed tonight when a US Army OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter attached to the 101st Airborne Division crashed in northern Iraq, the US military said. news.scotsman.com

Democrat Edwards wants Iraq war case investigation January 24, 2004 By Mark Egan LACONIA, N.H. (Reuters) Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards called on Saturday for an independent commission to investigate if the Bush administration misled the U.S. Congress in making its case for war with Iraq and demanded an end to "war profiteering." forbes.com

Democrat Kerry could beat Bush if election held tomorrow: poll January 24, 2004 NEW YORK (AFP) Democrat John Kerry could beat President George W. Bush if the US presidential election were held today, according to a national poll. Kerry, a senator for the state of Massachusetts, would net 49 percent of the national vote against 46 percent for Bush, the Newsweek poll showed. Kerry is also in front of rivals for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, leading the field of seven with 30 percent support. story.news.yahoo.com

Halliburton wins Iraq deal despite price gouging January 24, 2004 By Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington The Bush administration knew that Halliburton had overcharged the US government on an Iraq reconstruction contract before it awarded the company a separate lucrative contract last week to repair Iraqi oilfields. news.ft.com

Report: Two Halliburton employees accepted kickbacks January 24, 2004 (AP) Two Halliburton Co. officials accepted up to $6 million in kickbacks from a Kuwaiti company that was awarded contracts to supply U.S. troops in Iraq, according to a newspaper report. Democrats bow to Bush on budget attacks January 24, 2004 By Bill Vann In another indication of their organic incapacity to offer any alternative to the policies of the Bush administration, Democrats on Capitol Hill dropped their opposition Thursday to a Republican-drafted federal budget that includes a provision depriving up to 8 million workers of the right to overtime pay. wsws.org

US democracy drive ‘hypocritical’ January 24, 2004 DAVOS: Arabs say US is ignoring Israeli WMDs and human rights abuses Arab and Muslim leaders slammed the United States’ campaign for democracy in the Middle East as hypocritical on Friday, saying Washington should first end its “double standards” in the Israeli-Arab conflict. At a public debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos, senior figures from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran accused the Bush administration of ignoring Israeli weapons of mass destruction and human rights abuses towards Palestinians while pressuring Arab and Muslim states to disarm and democratise. dailytimes.com

Of course the White House fears free elections in Iraq January 24, 2004 Naomi Klein Only an appointocracy can be trusted to accept US troops and corporations "The people of Iraq are free," declared President Bush in his state of the union address on Tuesday. The previous day, 100,000 Iraqis begged to differ. They took to Baghdad's streets, shouting: "Yes, yes to elections. No, no to selection." guardian.co.uk

'It's just wrong what we're doing' January 24, 2004 By DOUG SAUNDERS In an exclusive interview, repentant Vietnam War architect Robert McNamara breaks his silence on Iraq: The United States, he says, is making the same mistakes all over again 'Yet we were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why." theglobeandmail.com

Report: Rumsfeld considers striking Hizbullah to provoke Syria January 24, 2004 US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is considering provoking a military confrontation with Syria by attacking Hizbullah bases near the Syrian border in Lebanon, according to the authoritative London-based Jane's Intelligence Digest. jpost.com

NRDC - Says America Cannot Drill Its Way to Oil Independence; Calls for Increasing Auto Fuel Efficiency Instead of Destroying Wilderness The Bureau of Land Management's plan announced today to open the 9-million acre Northwest Planning Area of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) to oil development will produce only a modest amount of oil and ruin an area with unique cultural and wilderness values, according to the NRDC. enn.com

Patients complain of medicine shortage January 24, 2004 BAGHDAD Report, IRIN -- Since the fall of the former regime, Hanifa Ali, 68, on several occasions, has not been able to find the hypertension medicine that she used to buy for about US $2 per month from the local pharmacy in batches of 100. Now she is forced to pay 30 times as much for the same medicine. But Ali is one of the lucky ones who can afford to pay the $2 per day for a dose of three from the private pharmacy, or about $60 per month, an astronomical rise in price.

The Real State of the Union: January 24, 2004  By Jay Shaft A Nation in Crisis, an Economy in Disaster, Soaring Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness So what’s the good news George? Homelessness increased 50% in three years, poverty increased again in 2003, and more children are going hungry. 502 soldiers died in Iraq, and 100 soldiers have now died in Afghanistan. Is there any good news? scoop.co.nz

Guantanamo: a symbol of US loss of values January 24, 2004 By Richard Cohen The US does not believe the old rules apply in the war against terror. If you are about my age, you grew up on combat movies in which some American POW told an enemy interrogator that he would supply only his name, rank and serial number. In the next breath, the American would cite the Geneva Convention in demanding fair treatment of prisoners. Then, that sounded as American as apple pie. Now, we're getting that pie in our face. theage.com

Comic Prosecuted for Anti-Semitic Remarks January 24, 2004 PARIS (AP) A well-known French comic will be prosecuted for on-air antics that included dressing up as an Orthodox Jew and decrying an ``American-Zionist'' axis, the Paris prosecutor's office said Friday. Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala's performance, which drew criticism from the French prime minister, came during a prime-time TV show, ``On Ne Peut Pas Plaire a Tout le Monde,'' (``You Can't Please Everybody'') on Dec. 1. As part of the skit, the comic raised an arm and shouted ``Isra-Heil!'' - a reference to the Nazi slogan, ``Heil Hitler.'' guardian.co.uk

The Revolution Starts Here January 24, 2004 By Rixon Stewart Media analysts have been slow to recognise it, but quietly and in increasing numbers, people are beginning to lose interest in television. The novelty has gone, replaced by a steady stream of tired reruns and contrived reality shows. The cause of this slide in ratings isn’t in TV schedules and programming, little has changed there. What has changed can be spelt out in a word that was barely heard ten years ago: the Internet. 'The New High Ground' In the space of a few short years, the Internet has been transformed. From being a gadget for geeks the Internet has now become a powerful force for changing people’s perception of the world. thetruthseeker.co.uk

ARCH ENEMY January 24, 2004 By MEGAN LEHMANN LAST February, Morgan Spurlock decided to become a gastronomical guinea pig. His mission: To eat three meals a day for 30 days at McDonald's and document the impact on his health. Scores of cheeseburgers, hundreds of fries and dozens of chocolate shakes later, the formerly strapping 6-foot-2 New Yorker - who started out at a healthy 185 pounds - had packed on 25 pounds. But his supersized shape was the least of his problems. Within a few days of beginning his drive-through diet, Spurlock, 33, was vomiting out the window of his car, and doctors who examined him were shocked at how rapidly Spurlock's entire body deteriorated. "It was really crazy - my body basically fell apart over the course of 30 days," Spurlock told The Post. His liver became toxic, his cholesterol shot up from a low 165 to 230, his libido flagged and he suffered headaches and depression. nypost.com

Computer reportedly seized from Frist's office January 24, 2004 By RICHARD POWELSON Democrats say their computers were infiltrated by GOP staffers. Federal investigators reportedly have seized a staff computer in Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's office in a probe to find Republican aides who improperly accessed Democrats' memos on opposing judicial nominees. knoxnews.com

Dick Cheney Kills Birds Dead The manly veep has himself a lazy, "canned" pheasant slaughter, and we are so impressed January 24, 2004 By Mark Morford So then about a month ago the vice president of these beautiful and deeply confused United States, he of the struggling defibrillator and the shockingly nefarious wife and the gnarled calluses from working Dubya's puppet strings, he of the thin-lipped sneer that makes babies cry and women wince and foreign policies crumble like feta cheese in the freezer, well, Dick goes himself a-huntin'. Not just any ol' regular, camouflage-wearing, man-versus-nature hunt out in the wild, mind. Dick is far too fragile and unskilled and spoiled and scared of the open woods and icky furry monsters for that. Assumedly. Nossir, our man Dick, he has himself flown over, in Air Force 2, on the taxpayer's tab, accompanied by his most favoritest shotgun, to the exclusive Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier, Westmoreland County, in rural Pennsylvania, to have himself a nice, cushy "canned" pheasant hunt. This is what it was: Dick and about nine other overfed white guys sitting in a comfy luxury blind with their manly shotguns, waiting for the Westmoreland guy stationed behind them on a hill to release clusters of stunned, fat, tame game birds from a net. Then they shoot them. Lots and lots of them. And then they slap each other on the back. And they grunt and say nice shot as the birds drop like flies as dogs race back and forth hauling dead or dying birds into huge piles. Whee what fun. More than 400 birds were killed / sfgate.com

The Other America January 23, 2004 By BOB HERBERT Either the president doesn't get it, or he is deliberately ignoring the hard times that have enveloped millions of Americans on his watch. "For the sake of job growth," said Mr. Bush, to the loud applause of the Congressional bobbleheads at his State of the Union address, "the tax cuts you passed should be made permanent. "Job growth? That's the weirdest thing Mr. Bush has said since he told a CNN discussion group, "As governor of Texas, I have set high standards for our public schools, and I have met those standards." Nearly 2.5 million jobs have been lost since Mr. Bush became president, and the most recent employment statistics have made a mockery of the claim that tax cuts for the rich would be the engine of job growth for the middle and working classes. nytimes.com

Moving jobs abroad: More interest than ever from corporate America January 23, 2004 (AP) More than 150 corporate executives, many paying $1,400 a head, listened intently for tips on how to move jobs overseas effectively. Outside, on a frigid Manhattan sidewalk, a group of fewer than 20 spirited demonstrators protested the "offshore outsourcing" conference that opened Wednesday. With the loss of jobs to other countries once again being thrust into the spotlight by a presidential campaign, the newer trend of moving white-collar positions overseas has grown so controversial that attendees from major corporations such as Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. declined to discuss the conference. One speaker unexpectedly decided to bar the press from his presentation. His topic: Is offshore outsourcing unpatriotic? "I'd prefer not to comment," the speaker, Jeffrey Cohen of the big consulting firm McKinsey & Co., said impatiently when asked why the session had been closed. wcfcourier.com

In new pool of jobs, pay has taken a dive January 23, 2004 By ROBERT TRIGAUX Anybody happen to see a $5,374 paycheck lying around? Florida seems to have lost it. The Sunshine State is one of 48 states to see jobs shifting in the past few years from higher-paying industries to lower-paying ones. On average, Florida jobs in growing industries pay $29,979, or $5,374 less than jobs that paid $35,353 in contracting industries. That amounts to a 15 percent pay cut between November 2001 - the end of the recession - and November 2003. So says an analysis released this week by researchers at the Economic Policy Institute. The overall quality of newly created jobs is diminishing across Florida and the United States, says economist Michael Ettlinger, a co-author of the report. sptimes.com

RecommendedThe Color of Bush’s Sky January 23, 2004 By William Rivers Pitt It took a little less than a half hour for George W. Bush to taint the 215th State of the Union address with a bald-faced lie about Iraq. It was, in the end, merely an accent in the symphony. The nonsense began in this order: The economy is growing stronger. The tax cuts are working. Public schools are flourishing. The Patriot Act is excellent. Everything is rosy in Afghanistan. The people of Iraq are free. Throughout the vacuous peroration were more shooting-fish-in-a-barrel applause lines than has ever been heard in any major speech in American history. “I love God! I love soldiers! I love America! I love freedom!” went the drumbeat. Once upon a time, we had standards. Let’s take a few of these in order. scoop.co.nz

Bush's State of the Mess Address January 23, 2004 By Bev Conover While your first reaction may have been to reach for a barf bag while listening to George W. Bush deliver his so-called State of the Union Address with a wink-wink here and a smirk-smirk there, in retrospect there was a black humor to it. Given all he has messed up since the five felonious Supreme Court justices substituted their votes for the people's and installed him in the White House, what could he do besides playing to the neoconservatives whom he believes constitute the base of the Republican Party and, therefore, hold the key—called rigged voting—to keeping him in the White House until he and they either achieve global empire or blow up the world? onlinejournal.com

The World Trade Center Demolition and the So-Called War on Terrorism January 23, 2003 By Peter Meyer Instead of an open inquiry into what happened, and how the U.S. Air Force (with jet fighters ready to scramble just ten minutes from Washington) failed to prevent three allegedly hijacked commercial jetliners from crashing into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, there is a growing chorus of protest that we have been fed blatant lies by the Bush administration assisted by the mainstream media. The so-called 9/11 Independent Commission is a fraud which will conceal the truth, not reveal it. The major outlines of the truth can already be known by anyone whose mind is not closed and who wishes to know. Eventually it will be generally recognized and acknowledged, and those responsible will be revealed. George W. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Ashcroft, Myers, Eberhardt, Powell, Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith and the others know it, which is one reason why they launched their war on Iraq before the citizens of the U.S. (at least, those few who care about what America has traditionally stood for) could bring these traitors to justice for their crimes and thereby help to defeat the attempt to transform the U.S., and the rest of the world, into a police state and the Earth into a prison planet. serendipity.ptpi.net

A scary ordeal at U.S. immigration January 23, 2004 By Nina Bernstein NEW YORK: A German woman married to a Brooklyn schoolteacher had been told that she had all her permits when she took a quick trip to show off her infant daughter to her parents in Germany. But her return home in late December turned surreal and terrifying when Homeland Security officials at Kennedy Airport rejected her documents, confiscated her passport, then detained her and the 3-month-old for 18 hours in a room with shackled drug suspects. They let her go only after ordering her to leave the country no later than Jan. 22. After a month of desperate efforts by her American husband, their lawyers and legislators, a spokeswoman for the Homeland Security Department said late Tuesday that the woman, Antje Croton, 36, would be granted a last-minute reprieve. But Croton said she had received no written notification. "I'm in a nightmare," she said as she packed Tuesday afternoon, two days before the scheduled deadline, having abandoned hope of straightening out the problem. "I feel like I'm in the wrong movie." iht.com

The heart breaks January 23, 2004 By Gideon Levy Na'im Araj awakens every day at 4 A.M., leaves quietly by the glass door in the living room that leads directly to the cemetery, and goes to his son's grave, just to be with him. Mohammed Araj was six and a half, and carefully protected by his father; even on the day he died, he hadn't been to school, lest something bad happen to him. His father permitted him to go only as far as the front steps, and Mohammed did as his father told him. But it wasn't enough: The soldier emerged from the alley between their house and the cemetery at the edge of Balata camp, and shot him once, straight to the heart. Mohammed was eating a sandwich. Eyewitnesses say the street was quiet. The sandwich fell down and was covered with blood. Mohammed somehow got indoors and cried for his mother, then collapsed in her arms. Afterward, says the family, the soldiers barred entry to two ambulances rushing to save the child. haaretz.com

Child sobs for dead mother January 23, 2004 A woman was killed as Israeli forces demolished 25 houses and a mosque in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, continuing an operation to clamp down on militant activity that has left 400 people homeless in recent days. A Palestinian woman, 31, was fatally shot in the head during the military operation, hospital officials said. Her sister and another relative, a 13-year-old boy, were wounded. theage.com.au

Weapon of Mass Deception January 23, 2004 By DOUG THOMPSON “No one,” George W. Bush said Tuesday night in the State of the Union speech, “can ever doubt the word of America.” Say what? I damn near fell off my chair in my New Hampshire hotel room when I heard Bush utter those preposterous words. No one can ever doubt the word of America? How about no one can ever, again, trust the word of America because of George W. Bush’s reckless disregard for the truth? Does Bush really believe that anyone with an IQ above that of the average plant can buy his incredible claim that “no one can ever doubt the word of America?” capitolhillblue.com

Global Eye – Royal Flush January 23, 2004 Out of the blood and murk of Iraq, yet another sinister connection is emerging, a skein of corruption tying Dick Cheney's Halliburton, the Bush Family fortunes -- and a mysterious Kuwaiti company that peddles material for building weapons of mass destruction. Last week, Pentagon auditors called for a formal investigation of "overcharges" by Cheney's Halliburton hirelings. The well-connected corporation -- which has been the chief beneficiary of the Bush Regime's looting of the American treasury to pay for its ravaging of Iraq -- is accused of skimming $61 million in excess cream from a shady deal to import Kuwaiti gasoline into the conquered land. iraqwar.ru

U.S. made Iraq a hotbed of terrorism January 23, 2004 By Vladimir Radyuhin In its most damning indictment of the U.S war in Iraq yet, Russia accused the U.S. of putting Iraq on the brink of disintegration and turning it into a hotbed of terrorism and instability that may fuse with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "The realities of the post-war situation in Iraq are the destruction of national statehood and the resulting legal vacuum, along with the rampage of violence and crime," said the Russian Foreign Minister, Igor Ivanov, hindu.com

Dollar's dive spells China crisis January 23, 2004 Anthony Hilton THE world's business leaders now assembling in Davos for the annual World Economic Forum have currency fluctuations at, or close to the top of, the list of what they are worrying about. They see the collapse in the dollar's value as having the potential to spread economic pain throughout the world - something President Bush failed to mention in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday. thisismoney.com

Time is Running Out January 23, 2003 Norma Sherry It’s time my fellow Americans – for time is running out. It’s time to turn off FOX-TV, MSNBC, CNN, and shun the pundits. It’s time to take a good hard look at whom we are as a nation and how we are being led. It’s time to investigate, to contemplate, and to deliberate the state of our union and the condition of our beloved country. It is time my fellow Americans to question the questionable, to be unwilling to accept the double-speak, the non-language of commitment, and the avoidance of truth. We need to examine our destiny as a nation and envision our role as human-beings in a planet of other human-beings. opednews.com

White House Opens More of Alaska to Oil and Gas January 23, 2003 By J.R. Pegg January 23, 2004 (ENS) - U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton finalized a plan Thursday to open more than seven million acres of untouched land in Alaska's North Slope to oil and gas development. Norton said the decision "will help meet America's need for environmentally sound energy development" but environmentalists see it as a gift from the Bush administration to the oil and gas industry. oneworld.net

Infiltration of files seen as extensive Senate panel's GOP staff spied on Democrats January 23, 2003 By Charlie Savage Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe. From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic. boston.com

Deportee accuses US of 'subcontracting' torture January 23, 2004 By Ken Warn A Canadian citizen who was deported by the US to Syria, where he claims he was tortured, yesterday filed suit against US officials including attorney-general John Ashcroft and homeland security secretary Tom Ridge. The move came as Canada faced growing demands for a full public inquiry into its role in the case and allegations that the Canadian police were attempting to intimidate the media over the issue. Syrian-born Maher Arar, a computer engineer who lives in Ottawa, claimed in his suit that US officials deported him to Syria knowing and intending that he would be tortured there. news.ft.com

Avazov tortured to death by Karimov 'the boiler', friend of Bush the 'Texacutioner'.


Washington Trades Human Rights for Oil in Azerbaijan January 23, 2004 By Jim Lobe  The oil-rich nation of Azerbaijan, eagerly courted by the Bush administration, is suffering its worst repression since it became an independent state--after the Soviet collapse more than a decade ago--according to a new report released today by New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW). The 55-page report, "Crushing Dissent: Repression Violence and Azerbaijan's Elections," details hundreds of arbitrary arrests, widespread beatings and torture, and politically motivated firings of opposition activists and supporters following October 15 presidential elections widely denounced as unfair and fraudulent by Western and other observers. oneworld.net

Rule by the Capricious and the Corrupt Militarism vs. Democracy January 23, 2004 By WILLIAM A. COOK “More than 725 American military bases (are) spread around the world. ... Many garrisons are in foreign countries to defend oil leases from competitors or to provide police protection to oil pipelines, although they invariably claim to be doing something completely unrelated--fighting the ‘war on terrorism’ or the ‘war on drugs,’ or training foreign soldiers, or engaging in some form of ‘humanitarian’ intervention.” Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire How many Americans understand the implications of Johnson’s observation? Bush’s “State of the Union” address, with its repetitive mantra declaring America’s gift of “freedom” to the world and its on-going fight against “terrorists” (used 20 times) obscures the reality of America’s deployment of “over half a million soldiers, spies, technicians, teachers, dependents and civilian contractors in other nations” (Johnson) for purposes of protecting private investors who use American forces to protect their private interests, not the interests of American citizens. counterpunch.org

What Price Glory? January 22, 2004 By: Norma Sherry Are you better off now than you were four years ago?  Do you feel safer? Is your job more secure or are you among the more than three million workers without a job and without any hope of a job? Have you lost your pension or 401K due to corporate malfeasance? Do you have a nest egg saved for emergencies or are you one mortgage payment away from losing it all? Or are you one of the nearly two-million Americans who filed for personal bankruptcy last year? Are your children getting the finest education your taxes paid for or will they become one of the 50 million adults considered functionally illiterate? thepeoplesvoice.org

US plans to attack seven Muslim states January 22, 2004 Presidential hopeful General Wesley Clark says the White House devised a five-year plan after the 9/11 strikes to attack seven majority-Muslim countries. A former commander of NATO's forces in Europe, Clark claims he met a senior military officer in Washington in November 2001 who told him the Bush administration was planning to attack Iraq first before taking action against Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan. english.aljazeera.net

Bush’s State of the Union: Threats, lies and delusion January 22, 2004 By Bill Vann In his third State of the Union address since his installation as president, George W. Bush Tuesday night spelled out an election-year agenda consisting of stepped-up global militarism, the continued looting of the economy to augment the fortunes of America’s super-rich and an appeal to social and religious backwardness. It was a speech devoid of any new proposals and lacking even a hint of comprehension of the intense political, economic and social crises that are racking American society. Instead, behind the obvious lies and deliberate distortions, what predominated was the self-delusion of a ruling elite that has never been more distant from the problems facing the vast majority of the American people and believes that reality is whatever it claims it to be. wsws.org

Bush Pushes Plan to Permit Internet Surveillance January 22, 2004 Haider Rizvi The Bush administration is pushing to ratify an international convention that civil libertarians say would pose serious threats to privacy rights at home and abroad. After delaying for about two years, U.S. President George W. Bush recently asked the U.S. Senate to ratify the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention, a global agreement apparently created to help police worldwide cooperate to fight Internet crimes. ipsnews.net

The betrayal of U.S. voters January 22, 2004 NYT The morning after the 2000 election, Americans woke up to a disturbing realization: the United States' electoral system was too flawed to say with certainty who had won. Three years later, things may actually be worse. If this year's presidential election is at all close, there is every reason to believe that there will be another national trauma over who the rightful winner is, this time compounded by troubling new questions about the reliability of electronic voting machines. This is no way to run a democracy. iht.com

American reservists ‘were fed pipe dream on service’ January 22, 2004 IAN BRUCE THE head of the 205,000-strong US reserve forces said yesterday the Pentagon will have to be more honest with its part-time volunteers or risk a mass exodus when their enlistments expire. Lieutenant-General James Helmly said many of the 31,000 "weekend warriors" now on frontline duty in Iraq or Afghanistan had been fed "a bungled bureaucratic pipe dream" about the length of their deployment that could trigger a recruitment and retention crisis. A high proportion of those who signed up for a 12-month tour of duty in Iraq last year were told they would spend only six months abroad after training. Thousands have now had their deployment extended to 16 months, causing disruption with their civilian jobs and families. theherald.co.uk

Earth 'entering uncharted waters' January 22, 2004 By Alex Kirby The Earth has entered a new era, one in which human beings may be the dominant force, say four environmental leaders. In the International Herald Tribune, they say the uncertainty, magnitude and speed of change in many of the Earth's systems is without precedent. news.bbc.co.uk

Bomb joke student let out on bail January 22, 2004 Rebecca Allison The British student facing up to 15 years in jail after allegedly making a joke about having a bomb in her rucksack at an airport in America was last night released on bail. Samantha Marson , 21, from Bridgnorth, Shropshire, was arrested before boarding a London-bound British Airways flight from Miami on Saturday. She is alleged to have placed her hand luggage on a x-ray machine before telling the screener: "Hey, be careful, I have three bombs in here." guardian.co.uk

High Noon in America January 21, 2004 By: Philip J. Rappa Cast in the Gary Cooper role in this western drama is the American citizen, all of whom just wish to live the simple life. Unfortunately and unforgivingly, that myth is a bust. Yet, we are all living in a time when frontier- justice rules the day. With the first vote cast in the Iowa Caucus, the horserace for the presidency begins in earnest. Honestly, even the most pragmatic citizen realizes that whatever the outcome on Election Day, it will be the result of nothing more than a “Hobson’s” choice, in that we are offered a choice of taking what is offered or nothing at all. thepeoplesvoice.org

NO CHILD'S BEHIND LEFT The New Educational Eugenics in George Bush's State of the Union January 21, 2004 by Greg Palast Go ahead, George, and lie to me. Lie to my dog. Lie to my sister. But don't you ever lie to my kids. Deep into your State of the Siege lecture tonight, long after sensible adults had turned off the tube or kicked in the screen, you came after our children. "By passing the No Child Left Behind Act," you said, "We are regularly testing every child ... and making sure they have better options when schools are not performing." You said it ... and then that little tongue came out; that weird way you stick your tongue out between your lips like the little kid who knows he's fibbing. Like a snake licking a rat. I saw that snakey tongue dart out and I thought, "He knows." gregpalast.com

Defending the Undefendable January 21, 2004 In his third State of the Union speech, George W. Bush appeared more like a schoolboy who had been caught bullying, trying to defend his actions to an irate headmaster, than a president striding towards an election, summing up what was supposed to be a meaningful first period in office and presenting exciting new policies for the second. Instead, the President of the United States of America could go no further than to make a lame attempt to defend the undefendable in one of the most unconvincing and unimaginative State of the Union addresses in over two hundred years of its history. english.pravda.ru

Sell oil for gold, Mahathir tells Saudi Arabia January 21, 2004 JEDDAH (Reuters) - Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Sunday that Saudi Arabia should sell oil for gold, not dollars, to avoid being "short-changed" by a decline in the U.S. currency. forbes.com

SUFFER THE FRENCH SCHOOL CHILDREN Hatred Bush Hath Wrought January 21, 2004 TED RALL Why do they hate us? And where do they get their hatred from? These questions haunted me and three other American visitors as we studied a huge display of cartoons drawn by local schoolchildren assigned to convey their impressions of the United States. Panel after grisly panel depicted the United States, George Bush and those ubiquitous symbols of American commercial culture--McDonald's and Coke--as murderous, predatory and gleefully vicious. Obese Uncle Sams chopping up Iraqi children with a knife, their blood gushing across construction paper. A leering Statue of Liberty holding a hamburger in one hand while firing missiles at dying Afghan civilians across the ocean. The American flag, its bars transformed into prisons for the child inmates of Guantánamo. A baseball bat painted red, white and blue poised to smash a ball--which is a globe. The juxtaposition between the artwork's ferociously angry imagery and the childish drawing styles of the third graders would disturb the most jaded reader. uexpress.com

Iraq soldier 'sickened' by amputation claim January 20, 2004 KIM MUNRO A SCOTS soldier at the centre of a row over the quality of equipment supplied to British troops in Iraq last night demanded to know if his leg was amputated only because there was a lack of medical supplies. Sergeant Albert Thomson said it "sickened" him to think this could be true and confirmed that his family have hired a lawyer to investigate the claims. scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com

Language That Empowers Terrorism January 20, 2004 By: John D. Goldhammer As soon as the Bush administration declared a “War on Terror,” something disturbing happened: Dropping this verbal atomic bomb in response to the horror of September 11th the United States, a world superpower, elevated a cult leader, mass murderer, and ideological fanatic—Osama bin Laden and his band of fundamentalist clones—to the status of a nation state. We gave an already infamous terrorist renewed credibility among his followers, a tremendous PR coup and continuing recruitment bonanza for Al Qaeda, dramatically increasing the threat and spread of terrorism. A highly contagious, barbaric cluster of ideas (the Islamic face of religious Fundamentalism) was given new life, empowered to infect additional millions, with its pathological agenda of hate and murder. thepeoplesvoice.org

Bush Plans New $50B Iraq Spending Request After the Election January 20, 2004 President Bush and his aides have spent the last year and a half telling the American people that the war in Iraq would cost little. A new report by Defense News, however, says the president will propose another $50 billion, in addition to the $166 billion already spent.1,2 According to the non-partisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the request "won't come until after the Nov. 2 presidential election" - effectively concealing the spending request from public scrutiny. misleader.org

George W Bush and the real state of the Union January 20, 2004 Today the President gives his annual address. As the election battle begins, how does his first term add up? 232: Number of American combat deaths in Iraq between May 2003 and January 2004. 501: Number of American servicemen to die in Iraq from the beginning of the war - so far. 0: Number of American combat deaths in Germany after the Nazi surrender to the Allies in May 1945. 0: Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home from Iraq that the Bush administration has allowed to be photographed. 0: Number of funerals or memorials that President Bush has attended for soldiers killed in Iraq. 100: Number of fund-raisers attended by Bush or Vice-President Dick Cheney in 2003. 10 million: Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, setting an all-time record for simultaneous protest 2: Number of nations that Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into the White House. independent.co.uk

A Worker from the Mad Cow Meat Plant Speaks Out They Are Lying About Your Food January 20, 2003 By DAVE LOUTHAN My name is Dave and I work at Vern's Moses Lake Meats. I did until the day the mad cow test results on the Sunny Dene cow came back positive for BSE. That was Wednesday, December 24. On Friday, December 26, the KXLY news crew was at the end of Vern's driveway, locked out by a cable gate. The USDA had told the world that the mad cow had been slaughtered here, but it was not in the food chain. A blatant lie. counterpunch.org

100,000 demand Iraqi elections January 20, 2004 Associated Press Tens of thousands of Shia Muslims demonstrated in Baghdad today to demand prompt elections, the protest coming hours before US and Iraqi officials prepared to seek UN approval for their plans to transfer power in Iraq. Today's demonstration saw a huge crowd of Shia Muslims, estimated by reporters at up to 100,000 strong, march about three miles to the University of al-Mustansariyah, where a representative of their spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, delivered a speech directed at the parties to the meeting at the UN headquarters. guardian.co.uk

"Who will give us back our health?" January 20, 2004 Dahr Jamail Back in the 1980’s, nuclear armed Israel carried out a pre-emptive bombing of Iraq’s Al-Tuetha nuclear power station which is located just south of Baghdad. While Saddam Hussein didn’t posses nuclear weapons, his nuclear power station which was being constructed still had much radioactive waste stored in two large warehouses. The waste, stored mostly in large metal drums, sat dormant for many years. After the Anglo-American Invasion last spring the warehouses were looted, and many of the barrels containing radioactive material were carted away to be washed out in the small stream which separates the tiny rural village from Al-Tuetha. After being cleaned in the water supply for the area, the barrels were then sold to uneducated people in the village to be used for storing their drinking water. Thus, the water and now food of the entire village is contaminated with radioactive material. The health problems experienced by the people in the village are too numerous to track. Stories abound of strange tumors, rashes and illnesses. electroniciraq.net

5 million on terrorism list January 20, 2004 By TOM GODFREY, TORONTO SUN U.S. security agents have a master list of five million people worldwide thought to be potential terrorists or criminals, officials say. "The U.S. lookout index contains some five million names of known terrorists and other persons representing a potential problem," Brian Davis, a senior Canadian immigration official in Paris, said in a confidential document obtained by the Sun. canoe.ca



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