To see where Greed and Evil meet, climb into the Catbird Seat.
Part III – THE PREY
~ ~ ~
Most governments have been based, practically, on the denial of equal rights of men . . . ours began by affirming those rights. They said, some men are too ignorant, and vicious, to share in government. Possibly so, said we; and, by your system, you would always keep them ignorant and vicious. We proposed to give all a chance; and we expected the weak to grow stronger, the ignorant, wiser; and all better, and happier together. . . . As labor is the common burden of our race, so the effort of some to shift their share of the burden onto the shoulders of others is the great durable curse of the race.
— Abraham Lincoln – July 1, 1854
~ ~ ~
IT IS AN OLD, OLD STORY. It goes by various names: Survival of the fittest. Eat or be eaten. The law of the jungle. Might makes right. It is based on an ideology that says taking is better than giving, that compassion is a sign of weakness, that I am better than you.
It is the story of GREED, and to what desperate lengths some men will go to gain power over others. It is the story of royalty and their subjects, of masters and servants, of the fabulously rich and the starving poor. It is the story of discrimination, of wars, of crime and corruption. It is the story of the right to kill versus the right to life. It is the story of the predators and their prey.
I have seen the prey and, as Pogo might have said, they are us!
The irony of it all is that many of us do not realize that we’re the prey until its too late. We may come to that rude realization only after we lose our jobs through “downsizing” due to a corporate merger; or when our company closes its U.S. operations and moves lock, stock and factory to Mexico, China or other nations where it is still legal to hire young children at “slave” wages.
Or, perhaps it is when we invest our money in seemingly prospering companies, only to have the value of our investment rapidly fly south due to some secret “insider manipulations” by top management personnel who have just feathered their own nests.
Or, perhaps it is when we buy life insurance or annuities from a large, supposedly reputable company — only to lose it when massive fraud causes the company to go under.
Or, perhaps saddest of all, it is the age-old story of politicians who promise us that, if elected, they will faithfully serve our interests and protect our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — only to turn around, once in office, and take away these very rights. They become the MASTERS. We become their SERVANTS . . . or their SLAVES.
So are we powerless to change this age-old system — this “pecking order” where the few, but powerful, birds of prey peck away at the world’s resources to their heart’s content, leaving little crumbs, if anything, to the populous sparrows? No, not powerless. But as long as you and I, and enough other “ordinary” citizens, don’t wake up and begin to question, and to challenge, the hollow lies and propaganda that we are fed daily, we will continue to be the prey.
~ ~ ~
WARNING – some scenes which follow are not for the squeamish or faint of heart. Victims are seldom a pretty sight. Poverty and pain and death are sometimes difficult to behold – especially if the victims are women and children, as they often are. But, if you are up to it, prepare to view …
/ / /
Africa – The second largest continent on Earth.
From The New York Times, 4/6/00, by Norimitsu Onishi:
In the Heart of Africa, Darkness
KINSHASA, Congo — So the doctor was in the middle of surgery, in no less a place than this country’s largest hospital, when the lights went out.
But Dr. Kabamba Mbwebwe, chief of Kinshasa General Hospital’s emergency room, didn’t blink; he was used to working in semi-obscurity, relying on the natural light that filtered through the dirty windowpanes. Perhaps the hospital … had not paid its electricity bill?
The patient managed to survive, just as this hospital and country in the heart of Africa, plundered for more than a century, have survived– seemingly defying their own deaths with a resourcefulness born of desperation.
The light was still out a few hours later, when the doctor slumped in an armchair in his tiny office. The air-conditioner was silent, not doing its job of keeping out the smell of the waiting room just outside Dr. Mbwebwe’s door, where a half dozen Congolese lay on beds with no sheets.
It was the unmistakable smell of an African hospital in wartime, of death and decay, of bodies and floors scrubbed with water and nothing else. If the hospital lacked even detergent, it obviously did not have medical supplies. One day, the doctor recalled, two children came in for surgery; by the time a supply of blood had been found, the children were dead. . . .
Hell, as imagined by the outsider, has long found a place in the Congo. The Congo is the setting of Joseph Conrad’s indictment of colonialism, “Heart of Darkness,” written a few years after King Leopold II of Belgium claimed the country as his own property and Europeans carved up the rest of the continent for themselves. . . .
But the metaphorical descent into hell was not so far from the truth. From the late 1870’s, when King Leopold commissioned the American journalist, Henry Stanley, to explore the Congo, through the next four decades, perhaps as many as 10 million Congolese were killed.
Long before rebels in Sierra Leone grabbed headlines in recent years by chopping off civilians’ hands, the Belgians had perfected the practice here….
The legacies of colonialism and the Cold War are particularly fresh here. “Americans and Europeans, leave us in peace,” reads a sign put up by Kinshasa’s city hall . . .
This city is a corpse. Skyscrapers erected by Cold War rivals vying for Mobutu’s loyalty stand empty. … The French-built, C.C.I. Zaire — World Trade Center Zaire — is reduced to serving as a TV antenna. . . .
“The United States was founded on democratic principles, but why does it support dictatorships in other parts of the world?” said Louis Muamba, a professor of psychology at the University of Kinshasa. “The only thing we ask of the United States is to live up to its ideals.”
It would be easy to dismiss such comments as hopelessly naive, if it were not America’s history in the Congo. It was, after all, the Central Intelligence Agency that took part in assassinating Congo’s first Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, who was a little too independent-minded, and in installing Mobutu Sese Seko.
Even as millions of Congolese suffered under Mobutu’s mis-rule, he was received at the White House through the Bush presidency. Surely Conrad was right in pointing out that the Congo often brought out the worst in people.
“The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much,” Conrad wrote about the European colonial powers.
But after Africa’s independence four decades ago, Mobutu and other African leaders — who sent their children to be educated in Europe and America, who flew in private jets to be treated in the West’s best hospitals — pillaged their own countries.
Today, the Congo has again inaugurated a new era in Africa: other African nations, including Rwanda, Uganda, Angola and Zimbabwe, are busy plundering the Congo, along with the government headed by President Laurent Kabila here.
Kinshasa’s General Hospital, built by the Belgians in 1912, was once Central Africa’s most prestigious hospital … With 2,000 beds, it is still the largest. Flush with money from the West, Mobutu kept the hospital working well through the late 1970’s– until corruption began taking its toll.
After the Cold War ended and foreign money dried up, the hospital fell to its present state, surviving on payments from patients. Doctors and nurses, not paid regularly by the government, have left to take up farming . . .
“You cannot separate the problems of this hospital with the problems of this country,” said Dr. Mbwebwe … “They are inextricably linked.” . . .
The stench was getting stronger inside. Then the power returned. The air-conditioner hummed back to life.
“This is a good sign,” the doctor said with the faintest of smiles.
“Maybe there is hope.”
* * *
Africa’s Gems: Warfare’s Best Friend.
Exploiting a Continent
The New York Times
April 6, 2000 – The miseries of modern Africa are, in many ways, a legacy of its history.
In the case of both Angola and Congo, colonialism obliterated whatever political culture may have predated the arrival of Europeans. … To make their nation-building pay, colonialists used force to haul off everything from ivory to rubber to human beings.
In Congo, the Belgian colonial state was famously greedy and cruel. Its agents set impossible quotas for production of rubber and ivory, killing or chopping off the hands of villagers who failed to meet them. The novelist Joseph Conrad called it “the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience.”
In Angola, the Portuguese were less brutal, but no less toxic.
At independence in 1975, several hundred thousand Portuguese residents, virtually the entire educated population, abandoned the country. Some took even their doorknobs with them. They left behind a place where almost no Angolans had any training in statecraft, business or agriculture.
For the better part of the last 50 years, the cold war and the white-minority governments of southern Africa injected cash and arms into regional wars.
The Central Intelligence Agency, for instance, supported Unita (an acronym in Portuguese for the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) in the early 1970’s and again in the late 1980’s. The Marxist government of Angola received military assistance from the Soviet Union and up to 50,000 troops from Cuba. When the C.I.A. was hot helping Unita, the rebels got military backup from white-ruled South Africa.
Sierra Leone, a small country in West Africa, had a more benign colonial history under British rule. But since the 1940’s, predators who smuggle diamonds have warped every aspect of the nation’s economic and political life.
The meddling of colonialists, superpowers and white governments all but stopped at the start of the 1990’s, leaving diamonds, oil and other natural resources as the primary forage for rebels and governments.
In those countries where there was nothing to trade for weapons– as in Mozambique, where post-apartheid South Africa stopped financing rebellion and post-Communist Eastern Europe stopped financing the government– war simply fizzled out.
But Angola, Congo and Sierra Leone had plenty of diamonds left over to excite greed, fuel war and to buy favors.
The United Nations report on the embargo against Unita described how Mr. Savimbi gave a “passport sized” packet of diamonds to the president of Togo, Gnassingbe Eyadema, as payment for allowing his children to live in Togo and to go to school there. Togo has denied it.
Mr. Savimbi “sealed” his friendship with the president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, by giving him a number of envelopes full of diamonds, as well as contributing to his political campaign and helping his government pay debts, according to the report. In return, it said, Burkina Faso sent Mr. Savimbi three flights of diesel fuel. . . .
“Oh, the diamonds, diamonds, diamonds,” said a character in Graham Greene’s “The Heart of the Matter,” a 1948 novel set in Sierra Leone.
“You cannot understand how many bribes are necessary.”
Arkansas State Teachers’ Fund – Hey, teach, do you know where your retirement funds are?
From: The Progressive Review: Clinton Scandal Clips Part 15:
PENSION FUND INVESTS IN CHINA – The Clinton crowd, which almost caused a disaster in the Arkansas state pension fund in the mid-1980s by its risky investments, is at it again according to Investor’s Business Daily and the American Spectator.
The Arkansas State Teachers’ Fund has put large sums into four companies with strong links to Chinese intelligence and the People’s Liberation Army, including the China Ocean Shipping Co., China North Industries, China Resources Enterprises and China Travel.
Some of these firms are also linked to Indonesian Clinton crony Mochtar Riady. The system owns nearly $2 million worth of stock in a COSCO subsidiary.
Says Charles Altmon of the highly rated Growth Stock Outlook newsletter … the pension fund investments are “downright foolish.”
For more, GO TO > > > The Great Nest Egg Robberies; The Indonesian Connection
Bernice Pauahi Bishop – Princess Pauahi was an ali`i in Hawaii, the last in the royal lineage of Kamehameha the Great,
conqueror and first king of the Hawaiian Islands.
As was the custom for Hawaiian royalty, it had been planned from childhood that Pauahi would marry her hanai brother, Lot Kamehameha. But although she admired and cherished her brother, she declined to take him as a husband. Instead, the attractive young Pauahi met and fell in love with a commoner, a foreigner from Sandy Hill, New York — Charles Reed Bishop.
The love between Princess Pauahi and the foreigner withstood great opposition from her family, other ali’i and members of the community. But the young princess was intelligent and independent, and she soon married the young “haole” businessman. The Princess and her husband eventually won over many of their critics and their relationship came to be admired by Hawaiians and westerners alike. Likewise, she eventually reconciled with her family and the other ali’i.
Pauahi grew and developed as a young matron and counselor to her people. At the age of 25, she inherited over 16,000 acres of land from her parents. Other inheritances followed as other members of the royal family passed away. The greatest of the inheritances came from Princess Ruth, her first cousin. Ruth had declared Pauahi sole heir to her entire estate. The amount of land was mind-boggling: about 353,000 acres.
Ruth’s gift to Pauahi made her the largest landowner and the richest woman in the Kingdom. At the same time, she presented Pauahi with the greatest challenge and responsibility of her life. Pauahi now owned a giant estate, and she would have to decide how it would be used.
The Bishops had a multitude of blessings, except one. They never had children of their own. Possibly from this emptiness came the inspiration to create schools for all the children of Hawaii. Pauahi’s heirs would be the students of the Kamehameha Schools.
* * *
The full and sordid story of the looting of the estate is too long to relate here. To give you an idea of the magnitude of the financial losses, however, the Master’s Report on the 109th Annual Account of the Trustees revealed that the Estate’s investment portfolio suffered substantial losses in 1994, the year under review. The records relating to the various investments showed that combined losses and loss reserves of $264,090,257 were recognized in fiscal year 1994 alone.
The short story is that, after long and hard-fought court battles, the five former trustees were forced to resign, and five interim trustees were selected to take their places until a new trustee selection process could be created and implemented. The removal of the five former trustees was one of the non-negotiable conditions of the IRS to prevent the loss of the estate’s tax-exempt status.
The removal of the incumbent trustees was good news, hailed by many as the beginning of the healing process.
* * *
So, is this the happy ending to the story of the last Hawaiian princess — the ending where all her children live happily ever after? Unfortunately, that may not be the case.
There is still a secretive, hidden, dark side to this saga. Many may not realize that the removal of the five trustees was accomplished only because the higher-ups — the super-rich power elite — decided that the secret activities at the estate had been exposed to such a degree that they could no longer sweep them under the political rug. The trustees had to be sacrificed to save the estate. Not to save the estate for the children, mind you, but to preserve it for the same politicians and power elite who have controlled and looted its vast fortunes over the past decades.
Many of the key players in the conspiracy are still in place. . . .
For more, GO TO > > > Dirty Money, Dirty Politics and Bishop Estate
Bikini – An atoll in the Pacific; location of U.S. atomic tests in the 40’s and 50’s.
For more, GO TO > > > Uncle Sam’s Gullible Guinea Pigs
Borneo – A large island in the East Indies, southwest of the Philippines.
From Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3/10/01, by Michael Klare:
Destruction of Holy Forests is Behind Borneo Fighting
Portrayed as an inexplicable outbreak of primitive tribal behavior – “A New Generation of Headhunters” read one Washington Post headline – recent fighting in Kalimantan, the Indonesian section of Borneo, is in fact part of a concerted effort to get revenge.
It is true, the rebels in Borneo have inflicted gruesome violence on their victims, but the outburst is neither hard to explain nor random. Rather, after nearly four decades of abuse by Indonesia’s venal and autocratic rulers, they have seized this moment, when the leadership is weak, to attack those seen as instruments of their systematic oppression.
Until the mid-1960s, Kalimantan was a wilderness inhabited almost exclusively by the Dayak – an assortment of native tribes that practiced slash-and-burn agriculture. Like the indigenous inhabitants of Amazonia, the Dayak ascribed spiritual powers to the forest and its creatures – viewing any form of willful destruction as sacrilege.
Then came the Suharto regime. To reward his senior generals and other close associates, Suharto gave them timber concessions to vast swaths of the Borneo forest. With global demand for timber growing at a rapid pace, the generals and their business partners set out to harvest the trees of Kalimantan.
Between 1982 and 1990 alone, 12 percent of the region’s total forest cover disappeared, producing billions of dollars in revenue for Suharto and his cronies. The Dayak, meanwhile, were forced to live in ever-diminishing sections of forest or to settle in slums around the few towns and cities.
To clear the forests and then operate the palm oil and pulpwood plantations that replaced them, the Indonesian leadership subsidized the resettlement in Kalimantan of impoverished migrants from Madura – a small but densely populated island off the west coast of Java. Tens of thousands of Madurese took advantage of this unusual program.
This resettlement plan solved several problems for Suharto. It reduced the risk of political unrest arising from population pressure and high unemployment on Madura and provide labor for the palm and pulpwood plantations – and a loyal buffer against the Dayak, who opposed the clearing of the forests.
The resettlement produced enormous resentment for other reasons as well. The Madurese brought alien influences (they are predominantly Muslim, while the Dayak are Christian or animist) but they also formed the shock troops in what the Dayak viewed as a war against their homeland. To make matters worse, settlers often used fire to clear the forests and establish their plantations, destroying everything the Dayak considered vital and holy.
The Dayak petitioned the government for relief and organized non-violent protests – efforts routinely ignored by the leadership in Jakarta. Instead, more and more Madurese were brought in at government expense as the generals sought to convert Kalimantan into one huge palm oil and pulpwood plantation.
The Dayak grew increasingly desperate until finally, in 1997, they rebelled, attacking timber mills, Madurese settlements and government installations. The weapon choice in this conflict was fire: The Madurese burned the forests to drive off the Dayak, and the Dayak burned Madurese farms and settlements. As the area was especially dry due to the El Nino effect, this produced massive fires that burned out of control for weeks, blanketing much of Southeast Asia with smoke and ash.
On that occasion, and again in 1999, Indonesian troops stepped in and achieved some degree of stability. The government canceled subsidies for the resettlement and made some effort to slow the tempo of deforestation. But Jakarta has never accepted responsibility for displacement of the Dayak or provided adequate compensation for the destruction of their homeland. Hence, resentment of the Madurese and the government has not diminished.
Officials disagree as to what ignited the current violence, but anger has clearly been building for a long time, and the perceived weakness of the current leadership in Jakarta provided a tempting opportunity.
Using machetes and blowpipes, Dayak militants attacked remote Madurese communities and attempted to drive the settlers out. Tens of thousands of Madurese have abandoned the countryside and fled to government compounds in terror. The army, which initially stood by helplessly, now appears to have restored some measure of calm.
Both the Dayaks and the Madurese are victims. The Dayaks, like indigenous peoples everywhere, were driven off their ancestral lands when it proved convenient to those in power to do so: the Madurese were cannon fodder in a war they did not provoke.
Deployment of additional troops to Kalimantan will no doubt quell the fighting, but lasting peace is impossible until the government makes some effort to accommodate the needs and wishes of both groups.
See also: Timor
California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) – Like other states that have accumulated large amounts
of money in their employees’ pension plans, this state’s huge pension fund provides a tremendous feeding ground that the
power elite find irresistible. Usually the feeding frenzy is done under cover of darkness so that the prey is not aware of what
is happening. Once in a while, however, one of the predators is exposed and we can get a glimpse of what financial carnage is
In 1997, CalPERS invested $100 million with Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, an investment partnership with close relationships with George Bush and George W. Bush, Jr., after a recommendation was made by an outside consultant, Christopher J. Bower. A second $100 million investment was approved after less than two years. It was later discovered that Tom Hicks, the founder of Hicks, Muse, had purchased a yacht from Bower for $300,000. This price was $45,000 more than Bower had originally paid for the used boat, and Hicks had made the purchase without ever seeing the vessel.
The pension fund’s lawyers ruled that there was no serious conflict of interest in the purchase.
* * *
From Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3/11/97: Nomura Scandal …
Nomura Securities revealed last week that two managing directors improperly channeled trading profits to select clients. Those clients have been linked to “sokaiya” organized crime groups by NHK public television and the Nihon Keizai newspaper. . . .
The California pension fund, known as Calpers, said it will review its $724 million fund-management contract with Nomura Capital. . . .
* * *
For more, GO TO > > > The Great Nest Egg Robberies
China – The world’s largest country.
From Midweek, 11/8/00, by Michelle Malkin:
China’s Brutal One-Child Policy
“BOYCOTT THE PHARMACEUTICAL BUTCHERS OF BEIJING!” Is there a protester out there brave enough to wear that phrase on a T-shirt? Search high and low, but you will not find any … activists criticizing communist China’s peddlers of RU-486, the abortion pill.
The Washington Post reported recently that the Hua Lian Pharmaceutical Co, a govt-owned firm outside of Shanghai, will manufacture Mifepristone– the raw compound for RU-486– for sale in the United States. The firm is one of three in China that makes the drug. It won U.S. approval to produce and export abortion drug ingredients here thanks to financial help from population control fanatics at the Rockefeller Foundation.
Pro-abortion groups are ecstatic. But while American women celebrate their newly-acquired “choice,” millions of pregnant women in China are forced to swallow the poison pill against their will. It is no small coincidence that RU-486 was originally developed by a drug company whose parent corporation manufactured Zyklon B– the poison gas used in Nazi concentration camps to destroy millions of unwanted lives.
Family-planning propagandists in China slyly echo the liberating rhetoric of their U.S. counterparts. “RU-486 has given women more choices, and it’s been beneficial to women’s health,” Gao Ersheng, director of the Shanghai Institute of Planned Parenthood Research, told the Post. “Most unmarried women prefer Mifepristone, which is less painful and more private than surgical abortions,” Gao told The New York Times.
Preferences? Pain? Privacy? Since when did Chinese family-planning bureaucrats care about any of those things? Certainly not since they instituted the one-child policy in 1979. An army of 200,000 officials and a million volunteers who comprise “street committees” snoop on the fertility of Chinese citizens. The government keeps dossiers tracking women’s menstrual cycles.
All women who “choose” to undergo surgical abortions “prefer” to do so without anesthesia.
Out of an estimated 10 million abortions performed in China each year, the Washington Post reports, about half of those that are performed in the cities use RU-486. The other five million women undergo such methods as saline injections to induce miscarriage; Ribalor injections, which cause congestive heart failure in the unborn baby, who is then delivered dead; or partial-birth abortions in which doctors inject formaldehyde into a baby’s soft spot as the child crowns during delivery.
“Neither abortion nor RU-486 is a subject for moral debate in China in the way it is in the United States,” the Post noted. There is no debate in China about anything. When a family disagrees with the government’s diagnosis, the consequences are hellish– ranging from back-breaking fines and forced sterilization to mass infanticide. . . .
If you think government-sponsored baby-killing no longer happens in 21st century China, you missed last month’s international headlines: “Chinese officials drown baby in front of parents.” Huang Quisheng, a rural farmer, told London reporters how family planners had tried to induce a miscarriage in his eight-months-pregnant wife by injecting saline solution into her womb.
Against the odds, their baby son survived and was born healthy.
But, as Huang recounted: “They grabbed him from me and threw him to the floor and kicked him several times. We were ordered to go home as they took him to the back of the government building and drowned him . . .”
The enforcers of this brutal regime will now reap profits by selling their deadly abortion pills to the United States. Feminists embrace them; the White House toasts them; a bipartisan Congress rewards them with a multibillion-dollar trade deal. The laboratories of an evil empire churn and bellow as millions of Chinese parents mourn.
And where are America’s human rights activists? Boycotting Happy Meals, sneakers and Kathie Lee. . . .
See also: The Unborn
* * *
Human Rights in China
Sophia Woodman in Hong Kong: 852.2710.8021; Judy Chen in New York: 212-239-4495; International Rivers Network: Doris Shen in California: (510) 848-1155 ext 317
October 3, 2000 – As violence grows in the Three Gorges resettlement areas, international NGOs call for immediate action by government and investors to address affected peoples’ grievances.
Reports from the areas to be flooded by the mammoth Three Gorges Dam tell of an alarming rise in violent incidents sparked by resentment against resettlement. Officials summoned troops to quell one protest.
On Friday, Sept 29, the South China Morning Post reported that long-standing complaints that resettlement plans are ill-conceived, funds inadequate and that monies allocated for this purpose have been embezzled by corrupt officials continue to be ignored, while the date for filling the reservoir grows ever nearer. In many cases, years of peaceful petitioning has brought no relief, and frustrated residents are increasingly resorting to public protests, sometimes resulting in clashes with police or local officials. The homes of between 1.2 to 1.9 million people are to be flooded.
Reports of growing tension and violence contradict official statements that the first stage of resettlement is proceeding smoothly. They also demonstrate that the Chinese government’s resettlement regulations and policies, praised by the World Bank as a model for the developing world, are often nothing but empty promises for displaced people. In addition, they reveal the serious inadequacy of complaints mechanisms in China, where the constitutional right to petition the authorities for the redress of grievances generally means little in practice.
A number of recent examples of disturbances illustrate the seriousness of the problems in the Three Gorges area. In mid-September, about 300 peasants from Gaoyang Township in Yunyang County attacked officials in charge of the county Resettlement Bureau, injuring at least one. In another protest in September, farmers hurled objects that injured some officials, including the deputy party chief, who was hit with a brick. Officials summoned troops to quell the violence. Earlier this year in Gaoyang, more than 1,000 peasants staged a protest and demanded a meeting with county leaders to demand more equitable compensation and access to official policy documents detailing the terms and conditions of resettlement.
A group of 300 farmers resettled in Zhanjiang in Jiangsu Province is returning to the Three Gorges area because each household had received the pitiful sum of only 9,000 yuan ($1,200 dollars) to build new houses. Last week, another group of 300 farmers sent to Taofu state farm in Hubei Province returned to Gaoyang and assaulted local resettlement bureau officials, accusing them of embezzling money earmarked for the construction of their new homes.
Farmers have signed dozens of petitions to complain that their representatives had been detained and threatened by local officials and even charging that petitioner representatives had been knifed by local gangsters on the orders of a local official. These are just a few among a catalogue of incidents resulting from severely inadequate resettlement planning, endemic corruption and mismanagement, problems the International Rivers Network and Human Rights in China have been warning for some years create an explosive situation in the Three Gorges area as large numbers of people began to be moved under the resettlement program.
For over eight years, the International Rivers Network has been lobbying financial institutions to ensure they will not support the project. “We call on the international community to cease involvement in Three Gorges Dam until abuses of civil rights are addressed. By financing the project, U.S. banks are aiding in the creation of the most development refugees for a single project ever. Until Morgan Stanley Dean Witter implements necessary environmental and social policies governing core business operations, International Rivers Network is spearheading a consumer boycott of the firm’s Discover Card and Choice brokerage services.
“Financial institutions don’t deserve our business if they don’t take responsibility for their environmental and social impacts” said Doris Shen, IRN program officer. Since 1995, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter’s joint venture, China International Capital Corporation based in Hong Kong, has served as the Three Gorges Project Development Corporation’s advisor on raising overseas capital. In May 1997 and 1999, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter helped underwrite $830 million in bonds for the China Development Bank (CDB). Three Gorges Dam is listed as CDB’s top loan commitment. (see www.floodwallstreet.org for more details)
Human Rights in China is disturbed at the evident failure of the authorities at all levels to address the grievances of people forced to move by the Three Gorges Dam. “As in so many cases, promises made to people displaced for hydropower projects are proving to be not worth the paper they are written on,” said Sophia Woodman, HRIC research director. “People whose rights are ignored have no effective means of redress, and their efforts to organize to protect their interests are met only with repression. This kind of approach is a recipe for instability and unrest. In the Three Gorges, it could mean out-and-out violence as the resettlement program advances.”
“We call on the Chinese government to act immediately to ensure that the rights of people displaced by the dam are fully respected, and to undertake serious, good faith investigation of all complaints. We recommend that foreign investors suspend their involvement in the Three Gorges Dam project until these problems have been satisfactorily addressed,” Woodman added.
Companies that are currently involved in the project include: GEC Alsthom of France, ABB of Switzerland and Sweden, Agra Monenco of Canada, GE Canada, and Voith Hydro and Siemens of Germany.
Financing firms involved in financing include: Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, China International Capital Corporation, Merrill Lynch, Salomon Smith Barney of Citigroup, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Credit Suisse First Boston.
For a complete list of foreign involvement in Three Gorges: http://www.probeinternational.org/probeint/ThreeGorges/who.html
Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association – From Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3/11/97: Nomura Scandal … The
Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association, another Nomura Capital client, said it had studied information provided by
Nomura Capital and that it was satisfied that the money manager was not involved in any way with the trading scandal. . . .
For more, GO TO > > > The Great Nest Egg Robberies
Connecticut State Taxpayers – From ctnow.com, 2/22/00, by Jon Lender: Silvester Probe May Involve Millions –
The state treasurer and attorney general want Connecticut taxpayers to recover the illicit proceeds of former state Treasurer Paul Silvester’s criminal conspiracy, now that federal prosecutors have begun trying to seize some of those funds….
Current Treasurer Denise Nappier and Atty Gen Richard Blumenthal wrote last week to U.S. Atty Stephen Robinson, whose office is conducting a corruption probe after obtaining guilty pleas to conspiracy and racketeering charges Sept 23 from Silvester and two others.
“As you know, the principal victims of the wrongdoing by Mr. Silvester and his criminal associates were the state of Connecticut and its taxpayers. We ask that any money or items of value seized or forfeited in connection with this investigation, to the extent permitted by law, be made available to the state of Connecticut. . . .”
An underlying question in the Silvester scandal has always been: What will happen to the hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of dollars in tainted assets involved?
The question surfaced Feb 2, when Robinson’s office filed a civil forfeiture complaint aimed at seizing $209,879 in kickback money that Silvester’s brother-in-law was holding for him when investigators snared them. The federal government would take that money if a judge approves. . . .
Robinson’s office is working with the FBI and IRS in a criminal probe into multimillion-dollar pension-fund deals that Silvester made with investment companies as treasurer from mid-1997 to January 1999. Those companies paid millions in finder’s fees and other compensation to politically connected individuals and companies. . . .
Prosecutors say Silvester demanded a kickback from as least one person whom he got an investment firm to pay a finder’s fee. Depending on what the federal investigation digs up, there could be additional defendants – with, potentially, thousands or millions of dollars worth of assets subject to seizure under federal laws. . . .
* * *
For more of the story of the politicians and power brokers who preyed on the taxpayers of Connecticut and the rest of US . . .
GO TO > > > A Connecticut Yankee in King Kamehameha’s Court
Guam – A U.S. Trust territory in the Pacific.
February 21, 1999
A Modern American Tragedy
Guam’s Commonwealth Act is a big disappointment.
By Tony Artero, Pacific News Bureau
AGANA, Guam – This week the people of Guam were again forced to confront a policy of the U.S. Congress that destroys
individual initiative and subverts the American Dream of owning your own land. This policy was instituted here by the U.S. Navy
following World War II.
Another U. S. Congressional delegation arrived on the island of Guam Tuesday. Talks were held with Island officials about the Island’s Commonwealth status. Remarks given to the press following the meeting on issues affecting our lives and the future of this Island, lacked substance, as usual.
This is an American tragedy for Pascual Saez Artero, and his descendants. Through hard work, he acquired ownership of real property on Guam and operated various businesses prior to World War II. His son, Antonio Cruz Artero was his right-hand man who managed to harbor Mr. George Ray Tweed, the Navy radioman who, like some of us, endured and survived the Japanese occupation of Guam from 8 December 1941 through 21 July 1944.
Antonio Cruz Artero received the Congressional Medal of Freedom after the war. He accepted the medal with dignity, but in his heart he considered the medal a grim reminder of his destroyed lands, and the family’s lost livelihood destroyed by the war and its aftermath. Worse yet, he was charged for property tax on the remainder of his lands that were being used for a U.S. Navy dump for its hazardous waste.
Once Upon A Time, before WWII, the Stars and Stripes were proudly waving over the little island of Guam. It was a model democratic community in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean. I know these facts because Pascual Saez Artero was my grandfather and Antonio Cruz Artero was my father and because I have inherited a valid claim against the United States Congress for the return of private property seized by them without just compensation.
The name “Guam” is believed to be a derivative of “Guaha ham,” meaning, we have. Corn, citrus, tropical fruits and vegetables, sugarcane, and even tobacco and cocoa were grown. Chickens, pigs, other domesticated livestock and wild games were usually in surplus. Viable commercial ventures included copra, cattle grazing, a slaughter house, auto repair shops, and even a sawmill, to mention a few.
At the same time, the land, the streams, the beaches, and the drinking water were clean, without the myriad of laws we have today that seems to only enlarge the problem. The native people were industrious, resilient, and lived a healthy long life on an island that was in balance with nature. No one needed to be on foodstamps, welfare, or in public housing as the islanders took great pride in their ability to bounce back, on their own, from any and all natural or manmade disasters.
The balance today, if any, found in our political status quo of more than 50 years, is only in the argument by some that they are owned by our federal government, which resulted from the destruction of private property interests since the end of WWII when federal welfare handouts got a political foothold. Those people have actually given up totally and have acquired the belief they are conquered. I question, however, their definition of being a “free” American on American soil.
In fact, many people on Guam since WWII have been in a constant struggle between two conflicting orientations: The common belief that a person must earn his or her keep v.s. the pervasive influence of government handouts, which now includes concrete homes for a dollar, and land for a dollar a year for 99 years for a chosen few.
Those are the products of “hard work” by government “leaders” without any planning, yet, are all considered “politically correct,” even if fraudulent like that of the “I Ta-No’Ta Land Use Plan.”
“I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” as reported by the Pacific Daily News front page story of February 23, 1997, on public housing. “People are lucky. They’re well-taken care of, they live here until they die. The only thing I can do is help provide the facilities for their success, hoping to promote self-sufficiency.” quoting a Government official.
With handouts? It’s got to be the joke entering the new millennium. These unfunded mandates together with abortion, the wetland and wildlife regulations, are a cancer slowly eating away our family and community values. I view this abuse as a naked aggression driven by greed, the culprit in the ruin of the cohesiveness of the beautifully structured Chamorro culture of pre WWII Guam and the reason why people today are screaming for help. Our “leaders’ have been very consistent in maintaining the integrity of the status quo since WWII, swelling the government and handouts.
All our life, we hear, “Guam Is Where America’s Day Begins.” But Guam is also where injustice, waste, and abuse begin. That has been the true state of Guam since WWII, regardless of which party is in office. The actions of those in power are repugnant, to say the least, to freedom loving people everywhere. The deck has always been stacked against the working class, which is why many people today have grown bitter and are questioning the celebration of Independence Day and Liberation Day.
To add insult to injury, our government provided opportunity and tax rebates to the Japanese, our former enemy, so that they can improve their quality of life, while suppressing the economic freedoms of our own people and showering them with handouts. Democracy is a sacred trust for future generations. However, for American taxpayers on Guam, there is no trust and the future is in doubt. Those in power have made a travesty of our fundamental rights and equal justice.
The government has no business in business, yet, government is the biggest business on Guam since WWII.
GovGuam now owns the largest real estate dealership headed by a retired career politician. Similarly, the U.S. Navy lays claim to a very profitable McDonald’s fast food restaurant, off-base, on land taken by force, not to mention without just compensation, taking business away from the private sector. These are the “Thank Yous” to our parents’ sacrifice of life and property in the wars America was in.
We paid our dues, but, today, there is no sense of a future for Western democracy. Guam, to this very day, is denied aviation and ground transportation safety with the airport to be at Northwest Field and a spine highway inland, extending north-south. The excuse has always been, “We cannot afford it.” Yet, billions of dollars have already been wasted, the problem ignored, and has compounded. A really comprehensive land use plan would have addressed safety, conservation in land use, development in harmony with the environment, a sustainable economic growth for the future, and the preservation of our democratic values.
The belief that one is owned by our federal government contradicts President Lincoln’s words, “We cannot have a society when one man owns another,” and more so when the government taketh away. Being chattel is as absurd as the forceful land-taking by a government that champions freedom. I will never accept that I’m conquered. And I will continue to fight and will fight to the finish, if necessary, for my economic freedom.
Changing Guam’s political status to that of commonwealth, statehood, or even independence is no magic bullet for curing more than 50 years of common greed still running rampant. I regard this push for a change in Guam’s political status as nothing more than buying time to maintain the status quo. Isn’t ten years long enough? Guam’s dilemma requires Americans to unite and in one voice shout, at the government, ‘Right the Wrong. Restore and protect the Sanctity of Private Property,’ with or without Commonwealth status.
The most recent governmental arrogance and insensitivity is the reoccupation of Tiyan, a potentially lucrative money making asset. Hundreds of billions of revenue dollars could be created with the private use of the old NAS land. Guam is not as crowded as other places, yet, we feel hemmed in and crowded while thousands of acres are held hostage. On Guam today toxic landfills threaten the supply of drinking water, which shortens our life span. Guam’s highways are dangerously engineered traffic hazards and too many people are dying pointlessly. Increasing crime and failure of the criminal justice system only encourages lawlessness.
This is all evidence that federal and local governmental actions are fraudulent and particularly in dealing with the legacy of Guam’s native people and with private property interests on Guam. We are well aware that since WWII, the people who are benefiting and prospering from the present U.S. status, are those in power. Indeed, we have met the enemy and our enemies are career politicians and bureaucrats who force the native people of Guam into subservient lives of quiet desperation generation after generation.
There have been numerous scoping meetings on Guam conducted by federal officials over the years. The conclusion on every one of them suggest inexplicable barbarism. In fact, I heard the good Senator Dan Inouye from the State of Hawaii, after one of such meetings said, “Guam is crying out for justice.”
Not so much where are the indictments of all those investigations, but why does the problem continue to be ignored? Is it because people at the top are involved in the land scam? After more than 50 years of finger pointing between local and federal government officials, protecting each other’s turf, the excuse on the land issue now, amidst the downsizing, is that the federal government will not return land to its rightful owner, only to another government entity.
But we also know that to be false because many people have already had their lands returned. That explains how GovGuam becomes the largest real estate dealership on Guam. Because privately owned lands were taken by force and orchestrally covered up all these years, the question for the new millennium is simply: Can anyone find in any of the documents that America and Guam hold sacred that when Party A (the federal government) takes property from Party B (the Guam property owners), then gives it to Party C (GovGuam), Party B is now reconciled? Of course not!
What makes anyone think that a new political status adds to anyone’s long-term good health, wealth, and to the island a holistic land use plan? India was decolonized more than fifty years, but government greed remains intact, which made the largest democratic country in the world the epitome of impoverishment, in spite of all its natural resources.
Both history and reason suggest that individual liberty is the key to social progress. The greater the people’s freedom, the greater the chance of discovering better ways of life. The lands must be returned to the rightful owners now! If no one is demanding, then I am demanding that our elected “leaders” stop ignoring the problem and take this wake-up call seriously once and for all before we find ourselves amidst a civil war on Guam where America’s day will end.
Present and future leaders of our country must understand that land is vital to life regardless of who you are. Without property rights, liberty, and justice there is nothing safe anywhere because order is absent as in the Dark Ages. Everything we have been hearing on Guam since WWII is political rhetoric that is full of baloney, similar to all the talk about commonwealth status.
“Leaders” having anything to do with Guam have abandoned ideals and have compromised principles. No one has yet to deal with Guam in a balanced way. The only thing that will be accomplished from these talks in Washington D.C. will be more time and money spent, at the tax payers expense, for naught.
Governmental leaders must understand that the love of democracy is that of equality, liberty, and justice for all and it begins at our homeland, not at political status talks. You must remind yourselves the purpose of the Boston Tea Party, of John Paul Jones, of Susan B. Anthony, of Martin Luther King, Jr. and of the Constitution of our great nation. Stay the course and keep it noble. Help foster a greater understanding of private property rights in our country and help right the wrongs of the past.
What is good for Guam is also good for the nation as in the goose and the gander. Helter skelter development on Guam is government’s doing and is prompted by greed, not by the lack of a political status. Greed must be replaced by a plan that is wholesome and complete in order to restore any kind of a balance. Understand that with economic freedom, liberty, and justice Guam will have sustainable economic growth and prosperity, law and order. All the above will help balance the budget. The reverse is terrifying.
We can do what is right on Guam just like what the ancient Chamorros did without the help of a Commission of Self-determination, a Chamorro land Trust Commission, an Ancestral Landowners Commission, a Decolonization Commission, and many other commissions, authorities, bureaus, and agencies doing absolutely nothing, but spending the tax payers’ money while serving their own interests.
As I have repeatedly said over the years, changing Guam’s political status to a commonwealth will not magically remove the dilemma caused by more than 50 years of common greed still running rampant. Solutions are now fragmented and even the experts are confused.
Still, the wrong, of fraudulent land-taking and abusive use of the land have to be righted before we can genuinely “Move Forward,” regardless of what flag is flying over Guam.
[Mr. Atero is the Bureau Chief for the Pacific News Bureau of the Daily Republican Newspaper on Guam. He testified before the House of Representatives Resource Commission on October 19, 1997 on pending HR 100 – Guam’s Commonwealth Act. He is a retired U.S. Navy Submariner, and a Real Estate executive on Guam.]
Copyright © 1999 The Daily Republican Newspaper Co. All rights reserved.
For more, GO TO > > > Broken Trust
Guatemala – A country in Central America; home to the native Mayan’s.
From Derailing Democracy:
The America the Media Don’t Want You to See
A U.N. sponsored truth commission report has concluded that the United States gave money and training to a Guatemalan military that committed “acts of genocide” against the Mayan people during the most brutal armed conflict in Latin America history – Guatemala’s 36-year civil war [1960-1996].
The report of the independent Historical Clarification Commission … contradicts years of official denial about the torture, kidnaping and execution of thousands of civilians in a war that the commission estimates killed more than 200,000 Guatemalans.” — New York Times, Feb 26, 1999. . . .
In one of the most well-documented cases of CIA complicity in state-sponsored slaughter, the United States trained, armed, and funded the military apparatus of our client state for years while it engaged in the wholesale torture and killing of tens of thousands of its people.
The vast majority of those killed by the U.S.-backed Guatemalan government were Mayan Indians, thereby paying tribute to that time-honored American tradition of conducting acts of genocide against indigenous peoples.
Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System – From Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 9/12/97: Ex-Justice Nakamura dies: . . . Former
labor attorney and state Supreme Court Justice Edward Nakamura, widely regarded as a man of integrity unafraid to criticize
abuses of power, died early yesterday at Queen’s Hospital after undergoing open heart surgery. . . .
Even after retirement in 1989 … Nakamura remained an influential figure. He played a key behind-the-scenes role in the crafting of the Aug 9 “Broken Trust” opinion piece in the Star-Bulletin that spurred Gov Ben Cayetano to order an investigation of the $10 billion Bishop Estate . . .
“It was only after three meetings with Ed over pancakes at the Like Like Drive Inn that I started to see ‘the whole picture,'” said University of Hawaii law Professor Randall Roth, one of the five authors of the essay. “Without his guidance, the project might never have gotten off the ground.”
Nakamura provided insight into how things worked. “It was an insider’s look at the Democratic power structure,” Roth said. “He was fed up with the way things have evolved. He felt some people in recent years betrayed what the ideals of the Democratic revolution (of the 1950s) were all about. They were watching out for themselves rather than the ideals of their predecessors.”
Roth added: “In his quiet but firm way, Ed always followed his conscience, even when that was certain to displease powerful people.”
In 1993, Nakamura opposed then-Gov. John Waihee’s nomination of attorney Sharon Himeno to the state Supreme Court, which drew fire because of her political connections and because her law firm represented her father, developer Stanley Himeno, in a questionable business deal involving the state pension fund.
Nakamura advised attorney who publicly opposed Himeno’s nomination, which was rejected by the Senate.
Resigned from Board. That same year, Nakamura testified in the Senate’s special investigation into the management of the state pension fund. He said that during his tenure as a fund trustee, a golf course deal was pushed by the then-chairman of the Employees’ Retirement System, Gordon Uyeda, that would have provided a financial windfall for Uyeda’s friend, developer Rodney Inaba.
When the pension board voted to purchase the Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley, Calif., Nakamura resigned in protest.
But the $31 million deal quickly unraveled with Waihee apparently playing a role in getting trustees to abandon the project. . . .
Retired state appellate Judge Walter Heen, another co-author of the “Broken Trust” opinion piece, said: “Justice Nakamura will stand out in the history of Hawaii as one of its finest legal minds and one who possessed the highest concern for principle. His opinions reflect both those characteristics.” . . .
Nakamura’s nephew, attorney James Kawashima … added: “He was very principled and always ethical. Sometimes that’s rare in people and lawyers both.”
* * *
From Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3/11/97: Nomura scandal spurs isle concern. . . . Trustees of the $7 billion state Employees’ Retirement System plan to discuss their dealings next month with Nomura Capital Management Inc. whose Japanese parent company, Nomura Securities Inc., is embroiled in a major scandal over unauthorized trading.
Stanley Siu, the ERS’s administrator, said that Nomura Capital executives in New York called him yesterday to assure him that questionable trades do not involve the retirement system’s investments. … Nomura Capital manages about $185 million of ERS’s investments in Asia …
Siu noted that Nomura Capital’s investments for the ERS in Asia declined 3.8% in 1996 due largely to Japan’s sagging stock market. . . .
For more, GO TO > > > The Great Nest Egg Robberies.
Iraq – The latest takeover target for the U.S. and a coalition of the “willing to do anything for a price.”
From Derailing Democracy: . . .
The U.S. media have become quite adept at sterilizing war, shamelessly blurring the line between war and entertainment. The cable news networks in particular have pioneered the presentation of armed conflict as part video game and part mini-series, complete with theme music and logos. . . .
Year: 1990- ?
Estimated Deaths: 1,500,000+
Overview: A six-week aerial bombardment directed at the civilian infrastructure featured the use of fuel-air bombs, depleted uranium, napalm, cluster bombs, cruise missiles, and “smart bombs.” Followed by nearly a decade of exceedingly harsh economic sanctions and periodic bombings.
Bonus Points: Featured extensive use of radioactive DU weaponry, which has resulted in alarmingly high cancer rates and birth abnormalities.
~ ~ ~
“The 6-week war in 1991 resulted in the large-scale destruction of military and civilian infrastructures alike. … The sanctions imposed on Iraq and related circumstances have prevented the country from repairing all of its damaged or destroyed infrastructure … This has affected the quality of life of countless Iraqi citizens … The vast majority of the country’s population has been on a semi-starvation diet for years. … Diseases such as malaria, typhoid and cholera, which were once almost under control, have rebounded since 1991 at epidemic levels, with the health sector as a helpless witness …”
— The World Health Organization – March, 1996
~ ~ ~
“Sanctions have taken the lives of well over one million persons, 60% of whom are children under five years of age. The 1991 bombing campaign destroyed electric, water and sewage plants, as well as agricultural, food and medical production facilities. All of these structures continue to be inoperative, or function as sub-minimal levels, because the sanctions have made it impossible to buy spare parts for their repair. The bombing campaign, together with the total embargo in place since August 1990 was, and is, an attack against the civilian population of Iraq.”
— U.S. Bishops Statement on Iraq – Jan, 1998 – (Signed by 53 Catholic bishops)
~ ~ ~
“4,500 children under the age of five are dying each month from hunger and disease. … Many are living on the very margin of survival.”
— UNICEF – Oct, 1996
~ ~ ~
“One of the clearest examples of the U.S.A.’s changing attitude to human rights violations in different circumstances is that of Iraq. During the 1980s, Iraqi forces committed gross and widespread abuses … Amnesty International repeatedly appealed for action, yet neither the U.S. authorities nor the UN responded … After Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990 … the U.S.A. repeatedly cited the Iraqi government’s appalling human rights record to gather support for UN military intervention in the Gulf.”
— Amnesty International – October, 1998
~ ~ ~
“More than one million Iraqis have died– 567,000 of them children– as a direct consequence of economic sanctions … As many as 12 percent of the children surveyed in Baghdad are wasted, 28 percent stunted and 29 percent underweight.”
— United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization – Dec, 1995
~ ~ ~
Lesley Stahl: “We have heard that half a million children have died. That is more than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”
Secretary of State Madeleline Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice. But the price– we think the price is worth it.”
— An exchange on CBS’s 60 Minutes – May, 1996
~ ~ ~
“We are not interested in seeing a relaxation of sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein is in power.”
— Secretary of State James Baker – May, 1991
~ ~ ~
“There is no difference between my policy and the policy of the (Bush) Administration … I have no intention of normalizing relations with him.”
— President-Elect Bill Clinton – Jan, 1993
~ ~ ~
“We do not agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted. Our view, which is unshakable, is that Iraq must prove its peaceful intentions … And the evidence is overwhelming that Saddam Hussein’s intentions will never be peaceful.”
— Secretary of State Madeleine Albright – March, 1997
~ ~ ~
“Sanctions may stay on in perpetuity.”
— U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson – Aug, 1997
~ ~ ~
“What he has just done is to ensure that the sanctions will be there until the end of time . . .”
— President Bill Clinton – Nov, 1997
~ ~ ~
Beginning in the Gulf War, U.S. military forces began using a new type of weapon whose attributes are rarely discussed in the American press.
These are sometimes referred to euphemistically as “tank killers” or “anti-tank rounds,” though what it is that renders them so effective for this purpose is never mentioned. These rounds are credited with destroying some 1,400 Iraqi tanks, performing well above Pentagon expectations and thereby assuring their continued use in future U.S. wars of aggression, as their deployment in both Bosnia and Kosovo clearly demonstrates.
Composed of an extremely dense metal, these weapons are able to concentrate an enormous amount of weight at the point of impact, giving them unprecedented penetrating power As an added bonus, the material from which these tank killers are manufactured is pyrophoric, fragmenting and igniting upon impact. And best of all, the material is cheap and readily available. In fact, prior to its recently discovered military use, vast stockpiles of it sat unused for years, decades even.
Of course, in those days it had a different name than it does today. Back then we knew it simply as “nuclear waste.”
Today, the military knows it as DU, or depleted uranium.
It is, in fact, a radioactive byproduct of the nuclear weapons and power industries, which previously had presented these industries with long-term storage problems.
But not anymore. Thanks to the ingenuity of U.S. weapons designers, we are now able to dump our radioactive waste on “rogue” nations such as Serbia and Iraq.
In “Operation Desert Storm” alone, some 940,000 small-caliber DU rounds were fired into Iraq and Kuwait from such aircraft as the A10 Warthog and the Apache helicopter. In addition, anywhere from 6,000 to 14,000 large-caliber DU rounds were fired from U.S. tanks.
All told, anywhere from 40 to 300 tons of radioactive uranium were left lettering the battlefields of the Gulf war, several times the 25 tons that a report by Britain’s Atomic Energy Authority concluded could cause “500,000 potential deaths.” . . .
~ ~ ~
“The Committee concludes that it is unlikely that health effects reports by Gulf War Veterans today are the result of exposure to depleted uranium during the Gulf War.”
— Presidential Advisory Committee of Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses, “Final Report.” — Dec, 1996
~ ~ ~
“Inhaled insoluble oxides stay in the lungs longer and pose a potential cancer risk due to radiation. Ingested DU dust can also pose both a radioactive and a toxicity risk.”
— U.S. General Accounting Office, “Operation Desert Storm Army Not Adequately Prepared to Deal with Depleted Uranium Contamination” — Jan, 1993
~ ~ ~
“DU is inherently toxic. This toxicity can be managed, but it cannot be changed.”
— Army Environmental Policy Institute, “Health and Environmental Consequences of Depleted Uranium Use in the U.S. Army” — June, 1995
~ ~ ~
“Short-term effects of high doses can result in death, while long-term effects of low doses have been implicated in cancer.”
— AMMCOM, “Kinetic Energy Penetrator Long Term Strategy Study” — July, 1990
~ ~ ~
“The Pentagon’s assertion that no Gulf War veterans could be ill from exposure to DU … contradicts numerous pre- and post-war reports, some form the U.S. Army itself.”
— Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI), Sept, 1998
~ ~ ~
“The number of cancer cases and birth defects among Iraqi civilians in Basra, Al-Amarah, An-Nasiriyah and Ad-Diwaniyah has grown at least threefold since the 1991 Persian Gulf War, according to Iraqi doctors and medical records. … Most alarming, doctors say, is a sharp rise in leukemia cases among children, including some who were born more than nine months after the end of the war, suggesting that some environmental carcinogens may have lingered long after the war ended or that some war-related contaminants may be causing genetic damage. . . .”
— San Jose Mercury News — Mar 19, 1998
* * *
Iraq says U.S.-British Air Strike Kills 23; Allies Deny Charge
by Aleksandar Vasovic, Associated Press
June 21, 2001 (AP) – Iraq’s state-run television claimed yesterday that a U.S.-British air strike killed 23 people during a soccer game and showed children reportedly injured in the attack.
U.S. officials blamed a malfunctioning Iraqi anti-aircraft missile.
The Iraqi News Agency said allied planes attacked Tall Afar, 275 miles northwest of Baghdad. The victims were said to be buried yesterday.
Eleven others were injured, the agency said. . . .
For more, GO TO >>> The Peacemakers
Jews – From The Buying of the President 2000: . . . If it wasn’t the “greatest robbery in the history of mankind,” it certainly
will go down as one of the most morally reprehensible.
Switzerland — the Swiss National Bank and its private banks– took in more looted Nazi gold than anyone ever remotely imagined, at least an estimated $4 billion in today’s money. It has been suggested … that World War II may have been prolonged by months as a result.
Nearly all of the gold stolen by the Nazis came from central banks in occupied countries or Germany, but one-sixth came from individuals, including Jews who were systematically murdered in Nazi concentration camps. Gold was melted down from wedding rings and gold teeth extracted from corpses at Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. . . .
In 1995 this story exploded around the world, and soon the United States– with the largest number of Holocaust survivors in the world– became a hotbed of reactivity for the jittery Swiss.
The Swiss were concerned about being shut out of U.S. markets. They faced class-action lawsuits and were threatened with sanctions from hundreds of local U.S. officials in New York, California, and Pennsylvania. And they were up against Senate and House Banking Committee investigations.
By late 1996 the Swiss government was reeling from revelations, and the field of action had become the U.S. Congress. Republican Alfonse D’Amato of New York, then the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, had presented acutely embarrassing information about the Swiss banks in April and October, and hundreds of journalists from all over the world pursued him and his aides in a feeding frenzy. The Swiss were already represented by at least one prominent law firm in Washington, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, but clearly they needed more political muscle in the United States.
And to whom did the descendants of “Adolf Hitler’s money launderers” turn for help?
The Swiss government retained the lobbying firm of Haley Barbour, the chairman of the National Republican Committee, for $20,000 a month. In a letter of agreement with Ambassador Carlo Jagmetti at the embassy of Switzerland, Lanny Griffith, Barbour’s partner, wrote, “We are eager to assist the Swiss government managing the controversy arising out of allegations of Swiss banking practices before, during, and after World War II and relating to the Holocaust.”
“Maybe they thought if they get the former Republican National Committee chairman, he would have influence over us,” Gregg Rickman, then an aide to D’Amato who directed the Senate Banking Committee’s investigation, … told the Center for Public Integrity. . . .
~ ~ ~
Barbour’s firm began representing the Swiss during his final weeks as the chairman of the Republican National Committee. But the firm, in correspondence to the Justice Department, tried to hide Barbour’s financial ties to the controversial foreign client.
But behind the subterfuge was a more serious matter. In December 1996, when Barbour’s lobbying firm informed the Justice Department of its new client, papers were also filed there showing that Barbour owned a full, equal partnership in the company. This was not illegal, but it did reveal for the first time that Barbour had lied to the public and his fellow Republicans for four years. . . .
Kevin Ives and Don Henry – The “Boys on the Tracks“
From The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: . . .
Kevin Ives was spending the night at the home of his friend Don Henry. At about 12:30 AM the two boys had apparently gone out “spotlight” hunting for deer in a wooded area near the railway tracks. . . .
At 4:25 AM the three drivers of a Union Pacific train coming up from Shreveport caught sight of an obstruction on the line. They jammed on the breaks but there was no chance of stopping the immense freight train in time. As they got closer they could see two bodies lying across the tracks, heads inside the rails, partly covered with a tarpaulin. . . .
The Arkansas medical examiner, Fahmy Malak, ruled the deaths an accident. He said the boys had smoked twenty marijuana joints and fallen into a trance on the railway tracks, side by side.
How he reached this astounding conclusion was a mystery because the state crime labs never tested the concentration of marijuana in their blood. . . .
Malak, an Egyptian with poor command of English, did not inspire confidence. In his most creative ruling he concluded that a James “Dewey” Milam had died of an ulcer and then been decapitated by the family dog. According to Malak, the animal had eaten the entire head and then vomited, leaving traces of half-digested brain matter. To Malak’s chagrin, however, the man’s skull was later recovered. No bites were taken out of it. The man had been decapitated with a sharp knife. . . .
“That Malak survived in Arkansas is a testament to Clinton’s power,” wrote Meredith Oakley in her dispassionate Clinton biography On the Make. “He repeatedly lied about his credentials, misconstrued his findings, and misrepresented autopsy procedures. In the lab, he misplaced bodies and destroyed evidence. On the witness stand, he was a prosecutor’s dream.” . . .
Over the years, outraged families had tried to expose Fahmy Malak for what he was, a pseudo-scientific servant of power. But the doctor finally met his match in the immovable American spirit of Linda Ives. A buxom housewife with blue eyes and bushy blond hair, aged 38 when her son was killed, she had never been involved in politics. Nor had her husband, Larry, an engineer on the Union Pacific. “Our lives were going to the ballpark, going out to the lake … until the ‘machine’ reached into our lives.” . . .
Linda declared war on Fahmy Malak and created such a stir that a county grand jury was called to investigate the case. The bodies were exhumed. In April 1988 a second autopsy was conducted by the Atlanta medical examiner Dr. Joseph Burton. . . . He found a “v” shaped “penetrating wound” into the “thoracic and left lower chest cavity” of Don Henry. . . . He also found that Kevin Ives had been smashed in the head with a rifle butt . . .
There was “considerable reaction within the lungs of both boys” indicating that they had not died immediately. The level of marijuana in Kevin’s blood was 97.9 nanograms per milliliter, consistent with having smoked two marijuana cigarettes over the previous few hours. Don Henry’s level was slightly higher, but not nearly enough to induce collapse. . . .
“The preponderance of evidence in this case indicates that Kevin Ives and Don Henry sustained injuries prior to impact with the train, that these injuries were inflicted on them by another individual or individuals, that their bodies were placed on the track.”
See in Part I: Dan Harmon; Dan Lasater; Don Tyson; William Clinton.
Read: The Boys on the Tracks; The Secret Life of Bill Clinton; Compromised – Clinton, Bush and the CIA
View a shocking documentary on this betrayal of justice at The Law Party website: www.thelawparty.org
Kosovo – Ethical ethnic cleansing?
From Derailing Democracy: . . .
Kosovo — The Sacrificial Lamb?
April, 1999 — As the United States and its NATO allies proceed to rain indiscriminate death down upon the largely defenseless but nevertheless proud and defiant people of Yugoslavia, making it the fourth sovereign nation in the last seven months to be the recipient of a flagrantly illegal bombing campaign by the United States, the time has clearly come for the American people to take an honest and unflinching look at the course this country is currently on. This is, unfortunately, a task made extraordinarily difficult by a mainstream press that functions as the most vastly efficient propaganda machine the world has ever seen.
And like all propaganda, the information flooding the U.S. airwaves is designed to preempt independent thought, dissent, or meaningful discussion. . . .
Foremost among the “official” reasons for the necessity of this bombing campaign has been the humanitarian goal of stopping the allegedly genocidal policies of the Serbian regime directed at the Albanian population Kosovo, which have resulted in the estimated deaths of 2,000 ethnic Albanians in the past year. The U.S., we are expected to believe, has suddenly developed a conscience and a concern for the human rights of oppressed minorities.
Yet, where was this concern just a few short years ago when a genocide of truly epic proportions was being waged against the Tutsi population of Rwanda, with the full knowledge of the United States and its UN and NATO allies? In what many consider to be one of the most brutally efficient acts of genocide ever perpetrated by man, an estimated 800,000 men, women and children were rounded up and slaughtered in just 100 days. . . .
Implicit in the rhetoric of “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” is the assumption that what is occurring is a one-sided, barbaric attack against a civilian population. Yet this is directly contradicted by statements made by top U.S. officials.
The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), now warmly embraced as some sort of Reaganesque “freedom fighters,” were only a year ago described by the U.S. State Department as “without question a terrorist group.” Just two months before the bombs began to fall, CIA Director George Tenet, speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, said: “The Kosovo Liberation Army will emerge from the winter better trained, better equipped and better led than last year. . . .
We assess that if fighting escalates in the spring– as we expect– it will be bloodier than last year’s. … Both sides likely will step up attacks on civilians.
Unstated by the CIA Director was precisely how the KLA had gotten better trained, armed and led, though Mr. Tenet’s organization has been known to provide such services. . . .
We are also being told, as we were to justify the genocidal war with Iraq, that Serbia’s leader, Slobodan Milosevic, is evil incarnate, the heir apparent to Adolph Hitler. From this we are to deduce that Milosevic is a madman bent on global imperialism and genocidal actions of horrendous proportions, and with the resources to achieve his goals. This analogy could not possibly be any more absurd.
Far from presiding over an expanding power base, the Serbian regime has for the last decade watched its empire fracture and crumble. None of the Serb military actions of the last decade were aimed at expansion of the Yugoslav republic, but rather at preventing the further contraction of its borders.
In fact, in 1995, several hundred thousand Serbs were themselves the victims of “ethnic cleansing,” being forced from their homes by the U.S.-armed-and-trained army of Croatia. In truth, Milosevic is nothing more than the ruler of a rapidly fragmenting, militarily insignificant republic that is also notably light on industry for a would-be superpower….
As further justification for the U.S. offensive, the American people have been told repeatedly that it is imperative for the continued credibility of NATO that this action be taken. Indeed, our commitment to NATO requires that this action be taken, or so we have been led to believe. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. . . .
NATO was founded for the express purpose of defending member nations from acts of foreign aggression, particularly by the former Soviet Union. No longer having an evil empire to defend itself from, the NATO alliance has found a new purpose in life– humanitarian bombing. This despite the fact that Serbia has not conducted or even threatened any acts of aggression against any NATO member, or against any sovereign nation for that matter. . . .
The U.S. clearly sees NATO as an organization which can be more easily manipulated to serve the cynical goals of the White House than can the United Nations. … It should be noted here that it is the UN, and only the UN, that is authorized by international law to sanction the use of force. NATO has no such legal authority, making the current air war, conducted without UN Security Council approval, a clear violation of international law. . . .
There are, to be sure, other U.S. goals being pursued in the Balkans. One of these is to provide additional justification for greatly increasing the U.S. military budget, already grotesquely bloated . . .
Hidden deep beneath the rhetoric of U.S. policy makers lurk far more ominous U.S. goals in the Balkin crisis. Well known among State Department and intelligence personnel, though not among the American people, is the U.S. desire to unleash the power of tactical nuclear weapons upon the world.
The White House has been trying for some time now, unsuccessfully, to set up a pretext to use these weapons against the Hussein regime in Iraq. Repeated and sustained bombing missions, occurring sometimes daily, though virtually ignored by the U.S. press, have been intended to provoke attacks by Iraqi forces on the Turkish and Saudi air bases from which these “sorties” are being flown.
Though Iraq would be arguably justified by international law in launching such attacks, for the legitimate purpose of acting in its own self-defense, the U.S. could quickly seize upon such an occurrence to escalate the war to a nuclear level. . . .
Frustratingly for U.S. officials, Hussein has stubbornly refused to take the bait …
And so it is entirely possible that the U.S. has shifted its nuclear testing grounds to Serbia. The most likely pretext here would be the necessity of stopping the Albanian “genocide,” presumably at any cost. . . .
The world’s first humanitarian use of nuclear weapons. . . .
Mariana Islands – A chain of islands in the Pacific, east of the Philippines. Formerly a Japanese mandate, now under United
Sweatshop Watch Press Release, 01/13/99:
15,000 Workers Living in Indentured Servitude While Producing Goods
“Made in the USA”
In the first-ever attempt to hold U.S. retailers and manufacturers accountable for mistreatment of workers in foreign-owned factories operating on U.S. soil, litigation was filed today in California and Saipan against 18 high-profile U.S. clothing manufacturers and retailers, including The Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, The Limited, J.C. Penney, May Company, Sears and Wal-Mart.
These companies are accused of violating federal law by engaging in a “racketeering conspiracy” using indentured labor — predominantly young women from Asia — to produce clothing on the island of Saipan. (Saipan is part of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. Commonwealth in the South Pacific.)
Their foreign-owned garment contractors in Saipan are also charged with failing to pay overtime and ongoing intolerable work and living conditions. In the last five years, contractors in Saipan have received more than 1,000 citations for violating U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, many of which characterized capable of causing death or serious injury.
Two federal class action lawsuits were filed on behalf of more than 50,000 workers from China, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Thailand. The workers were allegedly drawn to Saipan with the promises of high pay and quality work in the United States. Instead, they found themselves working up to 12-hour days, seven days a week, often “off the clock” without receiving any pay or overtime.
A third companion lawsuit was filed in California state court by four labor and human rights groups (Sweatshop Watch, Global Exchange, Asian Law Caucus, and UNITE). The lawsuit accuses the retailers and manufacturers of using misleading advertising and trafficking in “hot goods” manufactured in violation of U.S. labor laws.
Together, the three lawsuits are seeking more than a billion dollars in damages, disgorgement of profits and unpaid wages.
“To allow such squalid conditions to persist on American soil is both patently unlawful and morally reprehensible,” said Al Meyerhoff, one of the lead attorneys. “Saipan is America’s worst sweatshop.”. . .
For more information on sweatshop conditions in the Northern Mariana Islands, visit the Sweatshop Watch web site.
CorpWatch URL: http://www.corpwatch.org
For more, GO TO > > > Broken Trust
Native Americans – The people who were here first.
From An Impossible Dream?:
Stealing from Indians – Inside the Bureau of Indian Affairs, an Expose of Corruption, Massive Fraud and Justice Denied.
Federal employees are in a unique position to see what really goes on inside our bureaus and agencies and, in situations where ethical standards demand it, have a responsibility to point out fraud and corruption.
So it was with Dave Henry, a CPA employed by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), who in his internal audit reports sounded a clear alarm about huge cash shortages in the Trust Funds held for our Native Americans by the BIA, along with other similar BIA funds.
You may have heard about that issue recently, or other disturbing news about the BIA. U.S. News & World Report magazine (11/28/94) described the BIA as “The Worst Federal Agency,” bar none. At a congressional hearing (House Report-499), the Inspector General of Interior described the BIA as “a multifaceted monster” and “an organizational nightmare,” and further stated that “the BIA is a tinder box simply waiting for a spark.”
Dave Henry is this “spark” who has for ten year been trying to get this fraud exposed to the public and he demands reform in the agency that controls so much of the lives of our Native American citizens. He was fired by BIA for speaking honest words, and went through years of fruitless appeals with an alphabet-soup of federal agencies, none of which would grant a hearing on the merits of his case.
This is a common pattern for federal whistleblowers, the chance of a hearing is less that one in a thousand. . . .
For more, GO TO > > > Bureau of Indian Affairs
Nigeria – A country in west central Africa, on the Gulf of Guinea; a former British colony and protectorate.
From the Associated Press, 10/28/01, by Glenn McMenzie:
Frequent Ethnic Battles Leave Nigeria Bloodied
AGASHA, Nigeria – Moses Mbaissa fled his home after an attack by fighters from a rival tribe. He took refuge in another town only to find more bloodshed. Soldiers were gunning down unarmed villagers.
A longtime ethnic conflict between Tivs and Jukuns has heated up in recent weeks, with tribal fighters hacking off the limbs of women and children, and burning villages.
Last week, government soldiers sent to quiet the violence entered the fray, burning down at least several mainly Tiv villages and shooting at least 150 civilians.
At a camp in Agasha for some 2,500 displaced civilians set up in a school, Mbaissa, a 30-year-old farmer, told yesterday how he and his family fled a Jukun attack on his home village of Dooshima nearly two weeks ago.
He reached the village of Zaki-Biam just one day before soldiers arrived there Monday.
The soldiers gathered up Zaki-Biam residents, telling them to “stay quiet while we keep the peace.” Then they started shooting and an unknow number were killed, Mbaissa said.
Witnesses have related similar grisly tales from several other villages, saying hundreds were killed – many shot execution-style at point-blank range.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is riven with ethnic, religious and political divides that frequently flare into violence.
Fighting between Tivs and Jukuns – mainly over farmland – has raged intermittently for more than a decade. . . .
Uniformed troops traveling in armored personnel carriers destroyed seven towns over three days starting Monday – killing 130 people in just one village . . .
State officials say the soldiers attacked in reprisal for the abduction and killing of 19 soldiers by Tiv tribal fighters earlier this month. . . .
At a funeral for the soldiers shortly before the massacre began, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo vowed to punish those responsible for the soldiers’ deaths.
But defense officials deny they ordered any revenge attacks. Obasanjo’s 2-year-old elected government has promised to “restrain” soldiers if any are discovered to have committed excesses.
On Friday, George Suswam, a member of the House of Representatives, accused Obasanjo of ordering the killings and called for an international investigation. . . .
Journalists, on a Friday visit to Gbeji, saw a dozen freshly dug shallow graves where residents said more than 60 people had been hurriedly buried. Another 90 bodies were buried elsewhere, residents said.
The smell of decaying flesh drifted through the air, and dry blood stained the ground. . . .
For more on the predators in Nigeria, GO TO > > > Part II – The Nests
North Korea – A country on a peninsula in eastern Asia, west of Japan; previously occupied by Japan (1910-1945), since
1948 divided into two republics. War between North and South (June, 1950) saw the UN supporting South Korea; truce signed
From the Los Angeles Times, 12/30/00, by Carla Garapedian, producer of “Children of the Secret State” in Britain:
PRESIDENT CLINTON was wise in deciding not to visit North Korea. Sure, he might have persuaded North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong II, to sign a ballistic-missile treaty. But he also would have rewarded him for the deaths of at least 3 million people for an avoidable famine. The remainder of the population has been driven to acts of unspeakable barbarism not seen since Pol Pot’s Cambodia.
I’ve witnessed the horror. Despite the strict controls on foreign journalists, I recently led a British TV documentary team that managed to sneak footage out of North Korea, the most secretive state in the world. Our cameraman, Ahn Chol (a pseudonym), is a North Korean who lost both his parents to the famine and escaped to neighboring China two years ago. Risking execution, he ventured back into North Korea to secretly film what’s really going on there for us.
His footage is shocking. Starving children abandoned by the state. Orphans thrown into state asylums and left to die.
Our other cameraman risked his life to film U.S. aid sacks being sold on the North Korean black market, with emaciated children begging for food close by. The labels on the sacks read, “A present from America.”
These aren’t the well-fed tots sent out to parade with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Pyongyang in October to assure us that U.S. aid was getting through.
There are 200,000 orphans believed to be starving, despite the fact that North Korea receives more food aid per capita than all but one country in the world.
“The international aid is being channeled to the military,” Ahn Chol says.
Clinton should know about Jang Gil-Su, a 15-year-old who risked being shot as he escaped to China. He and 14 members of his family are in hiding there, desperate to avoid the Chinese police who return North Korean refugees to face punishment, even death.
Jang’s is a chilling case. Over the past three years, he has drawn and annotated 120 pictures of everyday life in his country. . . . [These drawings] have been published in Seoul in book form.
They show families eating anything to survive: pine bark, snakes, rats.
A man at a market stall- “Man selling human flesh at a farmers market in Hoeroung city,” writes Jang.
“Saram hoki” (cannibalism), other refugees tell us.
All of the North Koreans we interviewed knew about it.
Gil-Su’s picture of a dismembered child in a cooking pot says more than any of the numbing statistics. . . .
“There are many cases of killing people and eating the flesh,” a refugee told us.
“You eat it without knowing it’s human flesh,” a teen-age orphan added.
“You’re so hungry, you just eat it.”
The starvation is no accident.
North Korea has done nothing to address its food crisis, said Lee Min Bok, a former top North Korean agricultural expert. Natural disasters are blamed, but the regime’s Stalinist agricultural policy is the main culprit. Lee should know; he went to prison in North Korea for proposing reform.
At the same time, North Korea is supplying Americans with a quick fix.
One farmer told us that he and other farmers were ordered by the state to stop growing food and to grow opium instead. The opium would then be processed by the state into heroin and sold abroad. The proceeds would go to arm the military.
This farmer could be killed if he were caught talking to us. “I have to let the world know what’s going on,” he said.
Survivors of North Korea’s prison camps present an even bleaker picture. Eyewitnesses attest to 12 of these camps, with a total population of 200,000. A former prison guard told us that whole families are incarcerated in these camps. Women are sexually abused and tortured. Children are forced to do hard labor in mines.
Many children died this way, says Kang Chul-hwan, who was imprisoned when he was 9 years old. Nine! Why? Imprisoning families for something a father, husband or son may have said against the state- however trivial- is how the dictatorship controls dissent.
“There hasn’t been a single demonstration in North Korea for the last 50 years,” Kang says. “Who would dare dissent if you know your family will be taken away?”
Despite international reports of these horrors, the Clinton administration is silent on North Korean human rights, tiptoeing around Kim Jong II.
But as the victims of this brutal regime would attest, Kim’s reign has been psychopathic, perverted.
Can any democratic leader shake hands with a dictator who imprisons little children and who has driven his people to cannibalism?
Philippines – A group of 7,083 islands in the Pacific, northeast of Borneo; formerly under the jurisdiction of the United
States until 1946.
From When Corporations Rule the World, by David C. Korten:
GROWTH AND THE POOR
For centuries, the indigenous Igorot (“people of the mountains”) of Benguet province, Philippines, have engaged in small-scale “pocket mining” of the rich gold veins found on their ancestral lands. The men dug small, round caves into the mountain. Women and children hammered the gold-bearing rocks into nuggets the size of corn kernels.
The lands of the Igorot are now dominated by huge open-pit mines operated by the Benguet Corporation – owned in approximately equal shares by wealthy Filipinos, the Philippine government, and U.S. investors – to produce gold for export.
Dozens of bulldozers, cranes, and trucks cut deep gashes into the mountain, stripping away the trees and topsoil and dumping enormous piles of rocky waste into the riverbeds. The local people tell visitors how, with their water sources destroyed, they can no longer grow rice and bananas and must go to the other side of the mountain for water to drink and bathe. Even their mining grounds are threatened, and their rights ignored.
Instead of using water to separate the gold from the rock, as the Igorot do, the mining company uses toxic chemicals, including cyanide compounds, and flushes them down the river, poisoning the water and killing the cattle that drink it.
Downstream, rice farmers in the affected area of Panasinan province are losing an estimated 250 million pesos a year as the mine tailings cover their irrigated fields and cause sharp declines in yields, resulting in a net population exodus.
Further down the river, fisherfolk in the gulf report substantial reductions in their catch as tailings smother the coral reefs.
It’s good for growth. Benguet and the other major mining companies involved earn combined net profits of 1.1 billion pesos a year – a massive resource transfer from the poor to the rich. Countless such stories are told wherever mining companies operate.
The poor suffer similar consequences when timber companies move in to strip their forests bare, usually without regard for the rights of local people.
As a young peasant woman in a remote community of San Fernando in the southern Philippine province of Bukidnon explained to visitors, “Without trees there is no food and with food, no life.”
An old man explained that before the logging trucks came to his village, “There was plenty of fish, plenty of corn, and plenty of rice.”
People went on to describe how their rivers have changed shape, turned muddier, shallower. During the monsoons, the river now overflows its banks and swallows adjacent fertile fields in formerly flood-free areas. Creeks that once nourished the fields during the dry season have disappeared; landslides have become common during the rainy season.
The rat population, which previously found food in the forests and was kept in check by forest predators, now ravages farmers’ fields at night. In a once prosperous community, more than four out of five children suffer some degree of malnutrition.”
In the name of promoting economic growth, such devastation is often heavily supported by public subsidies. For each ton of mine tailings they produce, the typical Philippine mining company earns 96.73 pesos and pays 0.5 pesos of taxes. . . .
Those who call for expanding the economic pie as the answer to poverty overlook an important reality. Whether or not a person has access to the resources required for survival depends less on absolute income than on relative income. In a free-market economy, each individual is in competition for access to the limited environmental space, and the person with the most money invariably wins. . . .
Without concurrent redistribution, an expanding pie brings far greater benefit to the wealthy than to the poor, increases the absolute gap between rich and poor, and further increases the power advantage of the former over the latter.
This advantage becomes a life-and-death issue in a resource scarce world in which the rich and poor are locked in mortal competition for a depleting resource base.
If the prophets of illusion who promote growth as the answer to poverty are really concerned with the plight of the poor, let them advocate measures that directly increase the ability of the poor to meet their basic needs – not tax breaks for the rich….
For more about Benquet Corporation, GO TO > > > The Un-American Insurance Group
* * *
Human Rights Judgment of US $2 Billion.
During dictator Marcos’ rule, the political opposition was suppressed and massive human rights abuses were inflicted on a large number of mainly poor Filipinos. After Marcos fled the Philippines, nearly 10,000 human rights victims and their relatives brought a class action against Marcos (and ultimately his Estate) for summary execution, torture, disappearance and arbitrary detention. . . .
Dictator Marcos, who lived in Hawaii until his death in 1989, claimed that he was immune from any civil suit for torture because his actions were carried out when he was a head of state recognized by the US Government. But the US courts rejected the idea that Marcos could take advantage of this immunity especially because the new Philippines Government had stated its foreign relations with the United States would not be adversely affected if the claims against Marcos were litigated in the United States.
In a trial that ended in 1996 a jury in Hawaii awarded the Plaintiffs US $1.2 billion for punitive damages and US $775 million for suffering. The long legal battle that involved eight federal courts appeals and legal actions in courts in the Philippines and Switzerland appeared to have succeeded. But as of today, the human rights victims have collected an insignificant part of the monies on their US judgment.
All efforts to collect on the judgment … have been frustrated.
* * *
MARTIAL LAW: TALES OF TORTURE
“It was never about money”
by Lorna Kalaw-Tirot, The Philippine Daily Inquirer
Sept. 21, 1999 – They were jubilant when the Hawaii Federal District Court declared in Sept 1992 that Ferdinand E. Marcos was guilty of charges of the involuntary disappearance, summary execution and torture of some 10,000 Filipinos during his regime, and ordered that the victims be paid indemnification.
To the victims of human rights violation during the Marcos dictatorship and their survivors, the pronouncement of Marcos’ guilt was victory enough.
The case set a precedent in the fields of human rights and international law. . . .
Five years later, that legal victory was rendered sweeter when the judgment became final and executory despite last-minute appeals by the Marcos family.
Today, however, many victims and their families are pained and outraged that their triumph in Hawaii has been diluted by an increasingly complex scenario concerning the settlement of the indemnification.
As worse, that the issue seems to have been reduced to money.
That is what Imelda Marcos and her children have been claiming. That is what the Estrada administration appears to believe….
“We are dismayed because they are squabbling over money like fighting over 30 pieces of silver,” Reginaldo and Thelma Arceo say.
The Arceos were victims of the dictatorship. Their eldest son, Ferdinand, was killed by the military in Iloilo in 1973. Their other son, Bobby, was himself a political detainee. Their daughter, Connie, was interrogated and placed under military surveillance.
“I don’t think money is the problem,” says Cristina V. Rodriguez, who was tortured and detained twice. “Nobody ever thought about payment or compensation when he or she joined the struggle in the Seventies.” . . .
“It was never about money,” the Arceos insist.
* * *
Multi-awarded writer Jose F. Lacaba, who was tortured and kept in prison for two years, admits he is “confused” about the issue.
When the Hawaii court’s verdict came out, he says, he took it as a “moral victory” . . .
Today, he says: “I have friends among both those who defend and those who denounce the deal, and I don’t know what to think. I could be a million dollars richer, but if the Marcoses are absolved of their crimes against humanity, then what I wrote about how I was tortured would turn out to be a lie, a figment of my overheated imagination.” . . .
* * *
Lumbera warns about a supposed compromise agreement with the Marcoses: “The proviso that the Marcoses will be absolved of all their crimes and offenses once the compensation deal is sealed, is the most abhorrent feature of this compromise agreement. It makes a mockery of all the blood and tears that the dictatorship extracted from the Filipino people. It trivializes the shame and guilt and remorse of all those people who succumbed to the temptations of sinecure and patronage laid out by a regime that exploited weaknesses and insecurities to stabilize itself.
Leaders who are now inveigling their followers to condone the crimes of the Marcos regime in exchange for a quick resolution of the impasse ought to think of the consequences of their rush to compensation.
“That the perpetrators of the corrupt and callous dictatorship are having the last laugh is a thought that for me represents a final triumph of fascist cynicism.”
* * *
“The reasons we were tortured still exist, and are in fact worsening, like cronyism, the VFA, Imelda’s extravagance, the attacks on press freedom. It is a nightmare, the cast is practically to same.”
* * *
And so the Marcoses remain– extravagant, arrogant, unrepentant….
* * *
See in Part I: Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos
Russia – The story of the looting of Russia is just beginning to unfold — and the full story will probably never be told.
From Newsweek, Oct. 4, 1999, by Bill Powell and Mark Hosengall:
The Incredible Fleecing of Russia
As investigators probe the country’s financial collapse, the story becomes only more complex . . .
In July 1998 the International Monetary Fund was preparing a new “tranche” of financial aid to Russia. It amounted to $4.8 billion, and in a departure from its usual practice, the IMF planned to send $1 billion directly to the Russian Finance Ministry for use in the country’s budget. The rest would be added to Russia’s hard-currency reserves, where it would be available to privately owned banks trading rubles for dollars in an effort to defend the ruble’s value. . . .the $3.8 billion was added to the hard-currency reserves of Russia’s Central Bank.
The rest is history. . . .
The next month, Russia defaulted on much of its foreign debt, and the ruble collapsed. The IMF insists that its money was handled properly . . . But some portion of the IMF loan is effectively unaccounted for . . . since Russia’s banks moved billions of dollars abroad in the months after the crash.
According to sources familiar with the investigation, $4.2 billion alone poured through Benex, a company that specializes in funneling Russian money offshore, into the Bank of New York.
Meanwhile, President Boris Yeltsin and his family are being dragged deeper into the unfolding financial scandal. In the end, probes in the United States and Switzerland are likely to show that Russia has been comprehensively fleeced.
At the heart of the scandal is a tale of the many ways in which Russia’s citizens — and foreign investors — have been burned during Yeltsin’s final years. . . .
As Congress began hearings on the matter last week, Republicans blamed the Clinton administration for allowing the Russians to waste — or loot — billions of dollars in aid.
Rep. Dick Armey, the House majority leader, called the administration’s handling of Russia “the biggest foreign-policy failure since Vietnam.” …
NEWSWEEK has learned that two major U.S. investigations related to Russian money laundering are now reaching critical stages. In one, the Manhattan district attorney in New York City is trying to extradite two lawyers from Britain in connection with a suspected scheme to launder money for Benex.
In a separate case, the U.S. Customs Service is monitoring the activities of a mysterious Russian emigre’ based in Philadelphia (officials won’t divulge his name). Over the past two years, sources say, the Russian has moved an estimated $500 million through accounts in 15 to 20 banks in the Northeast.
The money comes from Russia, spends a day or two in American banks and then is transferred to tax havens offshore. Sources told NEWSWEEK that some of the funds handled by the Russian may have been diverted from the Kremlin’s coffers. . . .
The Yeltsen family is connected to the scandal partly through a Swiss construction company called Mabetex, which is owned by businessman Behgjet Pacolli, an Albanian Kosovar.
Swiss investigators are looking into charges that Mabetex paid $10 million in bribes in exchange for $300 million in contracts to renovate the Kremlin and other official buildings in Moscow.
Last January Swiss authorities raided Mabetex’s headquarters in Lugano and found records documenting credit-card purchases in the names of Boris Yeltsin, his daughter and close adviser Tatyana Daychenko, and her older sister, Yelena Okulova.
The bills for the American Express card in Yeltsin’s name were small, but the Eurocards purportedly held by the daughters ran up charges of nearly $600,000 in 1993 and 1994. . . .
There is no sign that any laws were broken in the disposition of the vast sums received from the IMF. The purpose of the July 1998 loan was to increase the amount of dollars Russia’s Central
Bank had on hand to support the ruble and pay creditors.
A recent review by the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that the $3.8 billion went, as planned, to the Central Bank, which later sold $4.1 billion of hard currency to about 20 of Russia’s major private banks, though most of them were virtually insolvent by then.
Apparently the IMF — and the Clinton administration, which pressured the IMF into making the loan to Russia — were naive enough to think that it would stave off devaluation of the ruble.
With the West sending good money after bad, Russia’s wealth was simply frittered away….
* * *
A chart entitled The Money Trail: Where Did Billions in IMF Aid to Russia End Up?, which accompanied this article, states:
“… $2.9 billion of the remaining money is unaccounted for.”
“Some of it no doubt remained in the accounts of Russian banks held at banks in the West, most likely including the Bank of New York.”
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers: “These are normal procedures — the IMF money wasn’t stolen. . . .”
* * *
For more, GO TO > > > What Price Waterhouse?
Rwanda – African home of the Tutsu.
From Derailing Democracy: . . .
The United States, we are expected to believe, has suddenly developed a conscience and a concern for the human rights of oppressed minorities. Yet where was this concern just a few short years ago when a genocide of truly epic proportions was being waged against the Tutsi population of Rwanda, with the full knowledge of the United States and its U.N. and NATO allies?
In what many consider to be one of the most brutally efficient acts of genocide ever perpetrated by man, an estimated 800,000 men, women and children were rounded up and slaughtered in just 100 days….
* * *
US warned about Rwanda genocide
The US did not want to use the term ‘genocide’
(BBC News) – Newly declassified documents show that the United States knew in advance that the 1994 Rwandan genocide was likely to happen but nevertheless insisted that United Nations peacekeepers should be withdrawn.
Around 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred in a four-month campaign by Hutu extremists allied to the Rwandan army.
Three weeks into the genocide, a senior US official called up one of the men alleged to have orchestrated the killing, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, and urged him to call a halt.
Mr Bagosora is currently awaiting trial at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
At the time, he was the Permanent Secretary in Rwanda’s Defence Ministry.
The documents were obtained by the National Security Archive, a non-governmental organisation interested in US foreign policy.
Five days after the massacres began, a Pentagon official wrote to Undersecretary of Defense, Frank Wisner, warning that, “unless both sides can be convinced to return to the peace process, a massive (hundreds of thousands of deaths) bloodbath will ensue that would likely spill over into Burundi.”
The declassified documents show what the US knew
Burundi, like Rwanda, has an ethnic mix of majority Hutus and minority Tutsis.
“In addition, millions of refugees will flee into neighboring Uganda, Tanzania, and Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), far exceeding the absorptive capacity of those nations,” the official wrote on 11 April, 1994.
On 14 April, the State Department urged the UN to withdraw its peacekeepers arguing that “there is insufficient justification to retain a UN peacekeeping presence in Rwanda”.
A week later, the UN Security Council voted to withdraw its troops from Rwanda.
In May, a Pentagon memo cautioned against using the term “genocide” to describe the Rwandan massacres, as under the 1948 Genocide Treaty, this could legally oblige the UN, and by extension the US, to act.
Some two million people fled into Zaire, now DRC
“Genocide finding could commit USG (US Government) to actually ‘do something’,” the memo warned.
At the time of the massacres, the US was still smarting from its humiliating intervention in Somalia which saw the bodies of US troops dragged through the streets of Mogadishu by militiamen.
Correspondents say this made US policy-makers reluctant to get involved in another African conflict.
The genocide only ended when the mainly Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front of current President Paul Kagame, entered the capital Kigali in July 1994.
As predicted, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Hutus fled Rwanda fearing revenge attacks.
Some still remain across the border in the DR Congo, launching raids against the RPF government in Rwanda.
Rwanda uses these incursions to justify its involvement in the on-going war in the DR Congo.
* * *
Several U.S. companies with close links to the U.S. Dept of Defense are now offering military training and other services that used to be provided only by governments.
For instance, a U.S. company has received a substantial contract to help train and organize the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In Saudi Arabia numerous U.S. companies are training every branch of the armed forces. In 1998, one U.S. company had over 1,000 employees in Saudi Arabia, mostly former U.S. army and special forces personnel, to “modernize” the National Guard …
Sometimes, both U.S. government and private military contractors have provided training and other support for foreign armed forces whose members are committing human rights abuses.
This was the case, for example, in Rwanda from 1996 to 1998. . . .
— Amnesty International, “United States of America – Rights for All” – October, 1998.
* * *
For more, GO TO > > > The Mercenaries
Sierra Leone, West Africa – From Human Rights Watch: . . . The Sierra Leonean civil war began in March 1991, when the
Revolutionary United Front (RUF) entered Sierra Leone from Liberia, launching a rebellion to overthrow the one-party rule of
the All Peoples Congress (APC). The RUF accused the APC, which had been in power since 1967, of rampant corruption,
nepotism, and fiscal mismanagement.
Despite the fact that Sierra Leone is extremely resource-rich, with large deposits of diamonds, gold, rutile, and bauxite, it is estimated to be one of the poorest countries in the world. . . .
From 1991 until the present, the RUF has fought with great brutality to overthrow the successive governments of both military and elected civilian regimes. . . .
In June 1997, Nigerian troops, claiming to act under a defense pact with the Sierra Leonean Monitoring Group, moved to reinforce colleagues from the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) already based at the Freetown airport to defend it from RUF rebels, where they remained based throughout the AFRC regime. . . .
In March 1998, President Kabbah was reinstated as president and over the next several months ECOMOG forces were able to establish control over roughly two-thirds of the country . . .
However, once expelled from the capital, the rebels tried to consolidate their own positions in other parts of the country and through a series of offensives toward the end of 1998, managed to gain control of the diamond-rich Kono district and several other strategic towns and areas. . .
By the end of 1998, the rebels had gained the upper hand militarily and were in control of over half of the country … From this position, the RUF launched the January 1999 attack on Freetown. . . .
The war in Sierra Leone has seen considerable involvement of both foreign governments and mercenary forces which have usually provided support in exchange for lucrative contracts and mining concessions. . . .
In the early hours of January 6, 1999, rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) launched an offensive against the Sierra Leonean capital, Freetown, capturing it from government troops and the soldiers of the Nigerian-led peacekeeping force known as ECOMOG . . .
The battle for Freetown and the ensuing three week rebel occupation of the capital was characterized by the systematic and widespread perpetration of all classes of atrocities against the civilian population, of over one million inhabitants, and marked the most intensive and concentrated period of human rights violations in Sierra Leone’s eight-year civil war. . . .
As the rebels took control of street after street, they turned their weapons on the civilian population. By the end of January, both government and independent sources estimated that several thousands of civilians had been killed.
The rebels dragged entire family units out of their homes and murdered them, hacked off the hands of children and adults, burned people alive in their houses, and rounded up hundreds of young women, took them to urban rebel bases, and sexually abused them.
As the ECOMOG forces counterattacked and the RUF retreated through the capital, the rebels set fire to neighborhoods, leaving entire city blocks in ashes and over 51,000 people homeless.
And, while the RUF took with them almost no prisoners of war, they withdrew to the hills with thousands of abductees, mostly children and young women. . . .
This latest rebel offensive brought to the capital the same class of atrocities witnessed in Sierra Leone’s rural provinces over the last eight years and is the latest cycle of violence in an armed conflict that has claimed an estimated 50,000 lives and caused the displacement of more than one million Sierra Leoneans. Since launching the rebellion in 1991, the RUF has fought to overthrow successive governments it accuses of widespread corruption, nepotism, and mismanagement of the country’s vast diamond and mineral resources. However, since its inception, the RUF has failed publicly and clearly to articulate an alternative political agenda and has consistently committed gross and large scale atrocities against civilians. . . .
The RUF’s incursion into Freetown was built around the use of civilian human shields . . .
Upon gaining control of a neighborhood or suburb, the rebels went on systematic looting raids in which families were hit by wave after wave of rebels demanding money and valuables. Those who didn’t have what the rebels demanded were frequently murdered.
Civilians were also executed for resisting rape or abduction, trying to flee, trying to protect a friend or family member, or for refusing to follow instructions…
The largest number of killings took place within the context of attacks on civilians gathered in houses, compounds, and places of refuge such as churches and mosques. A study carried out in Freetown’s biggest hospital found that some 80 percent of all war-wounded were survivors of mass killings and massacres.
Human Rights Watch took testimonies from scores of witnesses to such atrocities including a January 6 attack on a family in which all but one of their seven children were killed; a January 19 attack on the church of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star in Wellington, in which twelve people were gunned down; a January 21 attack on a compound in Kissy in which seventeen people were murdered and later burned; and a January 22 attack on the Rogbalan Mosque in Kissy, in which sixty-six people were massacred. . . .
There were also frequent accounts of people being burned alive in their houses, often after having been wounded. Children and the elderly were particularly vulnerable. Witnesses described rebels throwing civilians, sometimes children, into burning houses and shooting at those trying to escape. Family members trying to rescue their children or other relatives from a burning house were threatened with death and forced to abandon them to the fire. . . .
The rebels carried out large numbers of mutilations, in particular amputation of hands, arms, legs, and other parts of the body….
In Freetown, several hundred people, mostly men, but also women and children, were killed and maimed in this way. Hospitals registered ninety-seven victims of hand and arm amputation, including twenty-six civilians both of whose hands were hacked off.
Among those who had reached a hospital were a two-year-old toddler who had lost one arm, and at least twelve children under the age of eleven who had either lost a limb or suffered serious lacerations from these attacks. . . .
Throughout the occupation, the rebels perpetrated organized and widespread sexual violence against girls and women. . . .
The sexual abuse was frequently characterized by extreme brutality. Young girls under seventeen, and particularly virgins, were specifically targeted, and hundreds of them were later abducted by the rebels. . . .
While most victims were seemingly chosen at random, the rebels directly targeted a few groups, namely Nigerian nationals, unarmed policemen, and journalists. At least sixty-three Nigerians, most of whom were traders or businessmen, were hunted down and murdered in particularly brutal ways. The rebels also killed at least eighty-five unarmed police officers, and several local and one international journalist. . . .
The Catholic archbishop, four Xavierian fathers, and six Sisters of Charity were abducted and held for over ten days. The rebels later killed four of the sisters and wounded one Xavierian father. . . .
During the rebel incursion, children were both the victims of serious abuses committed by all parties to the conflict and, in some cases, the perpetrators of these abuses.
RUF rebels raped girls as young as eight, singled out children for mutilation, and murdered children alone and with other family members. RUF child combatants, armed with pistols, rifles, and machetes, were witnessed actively participating in killings and amputations. . . .
Since the January occupation of Freetown, there have been the first signs … of a possible negotiated resolution the conflict. … there was considerable diplomatic activity among a number of parties interested in the resolution of the conflict in Sierra Leone, including the current chairman of ECOWAS, Pres. Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo; the ECOMOG troop-contributing countries, namely Nigeria, Guinea, Ghana, and Maile; the governments of the U.K. and the USA (the USA being represented by the United States presidential special envoy for the promotion of democracy in Africa, the Rev. Jesse Jackson); and the U.N. secretary-general’s special representative for Sierra Leone, Francis G. Okelo.
~ ~ ~
Human Rights Watch concluded that the “unthinkable atrocities” conducted during the RUF offensive against Freetown and ECOMOG’s counterattack “constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
[Catbird Musing: … Perhaps I missed it in the news, but I don’t recall the Rev. Jesse Jackson making a big issue of these crimes against humanity, or of any desperate plea to the American citizenry to help these people who are suffering unthinkable atrocities. I do remember the Reverend Jackson making a grand media event out of a few kids being expelled from school because they were involved in a riot at a football game . . . Why are the feathers on the back of my neck rising???…]
Taxpayers – You know who you are.
From Cutting Corporate Welfare, by Ralph Nader:
Government Research and Development
The federal government (a.k.a. US Taxpayers) invests tens of billions of dollars annually in research and development (R&D), most prominently through the Dept of Defense, the Dept of Energy, and the Dept of Health and Human Services.
These investments lead to new inventions and the awarding of thousands of patents– publicly financed, and frequently publicly owned intellectual property.
Since the early 1980s, the government has routinely given away the fruits of the research it sponsors, granting private corporations exclusive, royalty-free rights to commercialize government-financed inventions while failing to include and/or enforce reasonable pricing requirements in the licenses.
The result: a corporate welfare bonanza for biotech, computer, aerospace, pharmaceutical, and other firms.
In the critical area of pharmaceuticals, for example, this research giveaway policy leads to superprofiteering by giant drug manufacturers, who charge unconscionably high prices for important medicines– costing consumers, and often resulting in the denial of treatments to consumers who are unable to pay high prices.
In an irony that must keep the staff of the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Association in stitches, perhaps the largest ripped-off consumer is the federal government– the same federal government that paid for the drugs’ invention– which must pay extravagant fees through the Veterans’ Administration and Medicaid . . .
It wasn’t always so.
Following the creation of a major federal role in research sponsorship in World War II, the Justice Dept concluded in 1947 that “where patentable inventions are made in the course of performing a Government-financed contract for research and development, the public interest requires that all rights to such inventions be assigned to the Government and not left to the private ownership of the contractor.”
The Justice Dept recommended also that “as a basic policy, all Government-owned inventions should be made fully, freely and unconditionally available to the public without charge, by public dedication or by royalty-free, non-exclusive licensing.”
The Justice Dept offered what remains a compelling case for non-exclusive licensing: “Public control will assure free and equal availability of the inventions to American industry and science; will eliminate any competitive advantage to the contractor chosen to perform the research work; will avoid undue concentration of economic power in the hands of a few large corporations; will tend to increase and diversify available research facilities within the United States to the advantage of the Government and of the national economy; and will thus strengthen our American system of free, competitive enterprise.” . . .
In the ensuing decades, government policy evolved unevenly between different agencies, with some gradual increase in exclusive rights transfers to private parties. The various agency policies favoring exclusive licensing were done without Congressional authorization. . . .
Beginning in the mid-1970s, however, big business, in collaboration with partners at major research universities, began lobbying for a major transformation in government patent policy. Based on highly questionable evidence, the business-university alliance argued that exclusive licensing was necessary to spur private sector innovation and development of government-funded inventions.
The concerted business-university campaign succeeded in 1980 with passage of the Bayh-Dole Act, which transferred exclusive control over many government-sponsored inventions to universities and small business contractors. Universities were in turn permitted to exclusively license to private corporations, including big businesses. . . .
In 1983, President Reagan issued a Presidential memorandum that instructed executive agencies to grant exclusive rights to inventions to contractors of all sizes.
In 1986, Congress passed the Federal Technology Transfer Act, which authorized federal laboratories to enter into exclusive contracts with corporations to develop and market inventions originating in the federal labs. The federal labs have enormous discretion in working out exclusive licensing arrangements and … have given away hugely profitable taxpayer-financed inventions with no public return either in the form of royalties or, more importantly, meaningful restraints on company pricing.
THE TAXOL CASE
Consider the case of Taxol, a leading anti-cancer drug.
In Jan 1991, the National Cancer Institute licensed Taxol to Bristol-Myers Squibb.
In the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, NCI agreed to abandon its model “reasonable pricing” language. . . .
(The revised) phrasing set the stage for Briston-Myers Squibb’s profiteering.
Bristol-Myers Squibb now markets Taxol at a wholesale price that is nearly 20 times its manufacturing cost. A single injection of Taxol can cost patients considerably more than $2,000– and treatment requires multiple injections.
That NCI gave such total control of pricing decisions to Bristol-Myers Squibb is all the more remarkable because of the extraordinarily minor contribution that the company made to the development of the drug. …
NCI discovered, manufactured, and tested Taxol in humans. BMS’s only contribution to the New Drug Application (NDA) to the Food and Drug Administration was to provide 17 kilograms of Taxol to NCI and to process paperwork . . .
Bristol-Myers did not pay any fee to NCI in entering into the CRADA, and it does not pay royalties to the U.S. government on its billion dollar annual sales revenue from Taxol.
Bristol-Myers Squibb is now leading a major effort – in the United States and around the world – to extend the period during which it maintains exclusive control over the data submitted to receive FDA approval. A National Economic Research Associates study found the consumer cost of an additional two years of Bristol-Meyers market exclusivity for Taxol will be $1.27 billion, including $288 million paid by Medicare.
Some of those without insurance are simply unable to afford the drug. The cost of preventing generic competition throughout much of the rest of the world is to deny most patients access to the medicine altogether. . .
The Children – The most defenseless prey of all.
From The Sisters Community (http://www.do4self.org
On September 11, 2001 35,615 children also died through hunger.
Here’s the statistics…
Victims: 35,615 (according to FAO)
Location: THE POOREST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD
Special TV reports on the tragedy: NONE
Newspaper articles: NONE
Messages from heads of states: NONE
Appeals by organizations against the crisis: NONE
Solidarity messages: NONE
Minutes of silence: NONE
Homages to the victims: NONE
Special forums organized: NONE
Messages from the Pope: NONE
Stock exchanges: SITUATION NORMAL
Alarm level: NONE
Mobilization of armed forces: NONE
Media speculation over the identity of the perpetrators of this crime: NONE
Those responsible for this crime?
ALL OF US
The Farmers – Perhaps you have never lived on a farm and your mental image of small farmers and ranchers being driven
off their lands by the railroads and wealthy land barons comes from old western movies. Surely, such behavior would not be
tolerated in today’s democratic society.
From PBS Frontline: . . .
Interview with Donna Wong
Donna Wong is a Kailua, Hawaii, neighborhood board member who happened to be on an organized hike with Gene Lum when a group of horsemen stole nearby rancher Leonard Wong’s cattle and slaughtered his prize bull. Wong and others also filed a 1989 Federal Elections Commission complaint alleging illegal foreign contributions to local politicians. Five years later, FEC investigators found more than 100 violations of federal campaign law.
Q: What are the purposes of neighborhood boards here on the island?
Wong: To look at land issues, development, how things are changing, what is needed in the community, what is going on, what is good and what is bad.
Q: So it tends to look at things such as zoning restrictions . . .
Wong: Absolutely, yes. . . .
Q: Did the sort of cases you were considering remain constant? Or did they vary?
Wong: Well … not very many big issues came up in our small town of Kailua, except when a golf course was proposed in a very pristine valley . . . We learned that a foreign Japanese entity was looking at purchasing over 1,000 acres and putting in two golf courses. And that was a shock: Where’d the golf course come from? Why a golf course in Kailua, and just basically what is going on? . . .
Q: It’s not land that was earmarked for golf course development?
Wong: No, it was agricultural land. And until there was a change in the law in 1986, golf courses had to go through a permitting system. And then the laws was changed and golf courses were automatically permitted on agricultural land, and then we came smack up against that, like what do we do now? .
Q: Why was the law changed?
Wong: Well, what we’ve come to learn now is to smooth the way for this Royal Hawaiian Country Club golf course in Kailua.
Q: So the Royal Hawaiian interests were locally powerful and prominent Hawaiians who were well enough connected to get the law changed?
Wong: Well … some lived in Hawaii, some acted as consultants, some acted as attorneys for the foreign investment money.
Q: What was at stake?
Wong: What was at stake is there happened to be farmers on this land … 150 acres for each golf course, and there were two that were being proposed . . . So what happens to these farmers?
Q: And what had the new landowner and the developers proposed be done with these farmers?
Wong: Well, there was a conditional use permit that said the farmers had first right of refusal for relocation. And the neighborhood board and others worked real hard to get that in so that there would be a safety net for the farmers.
Q: So that at least if they’re going to be moved, and their land is going to be made into a golf course, they would have someplace else to live and presumably, to farm.
Wong: Right. . . . and so we felt assured that they were sort of taken of … until someone came up to me personally and said, “Donna, we got an eviction notice. Don’t we have any rights?” And so I proceeded to tell them, what about the conditional use permit? Well, neither the landowner nor the state had told them about this permit or about any of their rights. They just went in with this eviction notice and said, “You’ve got to get out of here.”
Q: And were they evicted?
Wong: Thankfully, the community stepped in and raised the issue, and they would have been evicted if lawsuits had not been filed to stay off an eviction. Eventually, after four or five years they were evicted.
Q: So you all were able at least to hold up the eviction, and therefore hold up the development of this golf course for a few years. Is it at this point that Gene and Nora Lum enter the deal as fixers for the people who have tens of millions of dollars at stake in the project?
Wong: They enter at the beginning. . . . There is an Old Government Road that runs through the valley, and Gene was brought in at this time. This is one of my first contacts with him, on a hike that was put together by the director of the state Dept of Land and Natural Resources. It was exchanging this Old Government Road for this insufficient trail, but he was trying to convince everyone that this was a good deal.
Q: And he represents himself how, as being a representative of this development company?
Wong: Oh, he did, yes.. . .
Q: Do you tink the Lums were instrumental at all in the political maneuvering that was necessary to changing the law?
Wong: Sure. It was surprising to see Gene representing the developer at the hike, as an attorney, and then to see him show up at the city council working for the city council chair of the planning committee. . . .
Q: Where did the Lums fit into the “grease” game?
Wong: They came right at the beginning of the Japanese money boom. And so that just started a whole snowball of money and all that the money bought, whether it was permits or anything else like that. . . .
Q: . . . What happened to the farmers?
Wong: They were evicted, and it wasn’t an easy eviction.
Q: How so?
Wong: They were, well, sort of put on notice that any minute now they’re going to come in and they’re just going to bulldoze down their homes. They sort of had a 24-hour watch to start up a phone tree to call and say, okay, they’re coming. And then one day they just did.
You would have though it was a war zone. There were marshals, there were sheriffs, there were police. Helicopters. You know, there were elderly people, working class people, kids. It was terrible. They just went in and packed up all their belongings in moving trucks, held everybody else at bay, and then went in and just bulldozed their houses.
Q: Were they armed?
Wong: Oh yeah, lots of guns.
Q: So you have this small armed posse coming in to forcefully remove people from the places they’ve lived and made their living.
Wong: Yeah, for no reason. And it’s a foreign entity that’s been aided by our local Hawaiian attorneys, consultants, politicians. These are dispensable people. These are small people. They could go.
Q: So you have these middle men, these enablers, these fixers . . . people such as the Lums, who helped to grease the way, both politically and otherwise. Are they ever held accountable?
Wong: We tried. We tried going after the mayor, we tried the governor, we tried the DNLR … and we were ignored. The powers to be to get this golf course through were just way too much for just small people.
Q: And at the end of the day it came down to money.
Wong: Yeah. There was a lot of money to be made. . . .
Q: Is this when the Wong’s bull was butchered?
Wong: That was before the eviction, but the Lums were definitely involved. . . . Gene was on the hike that day. I was hiking right behind him . . . Shots were fired, pantiolos were riding on this little trail. I said, “What are these guys doing on this trail? We’re hiking.” “Oh, they’re here to protect you from the cattle.”
Q: I assume it’s not the usual thing one runs into on a nature hike.
Wong: No, not at all. And to hear gun shots, no. But afterwards, we learned that’s when they were stealing the Wongs’ cattle and shot the bull.
Q: Were there any environmental issue at stake?
Wong: Oh, there’s a lot of environmental issues at stake. This watershed, 11.5 miles, is the main water source for Kawainui Marsh, which is the largest freshwater marsh in this state. The golf course came in and they were allowed to channelize the streams … so it cut down on this water source to this significant marsh. Bulldozing, of course, caused a lot of runoff, which eventually ends up in this marsh, as do the pesticides and the herbicides and the fertilizers and all the chemicals that are used on a golf course.
Q: And you have no state environmental protection agency?
Wong: Well, we do. We have those departments, and we have very good environmental and land use laws, but just not one ever enforces them . . .
Q: And how did the people who built this golf course fare?
Wong: Well, I don’t know how they fared individually, but the golf course went bankrupt. . . .
Q: And what happened to the people who were moved off their land?
Wong: They had to go picket in front of the governor’s house to get their belongings out of storage … and then they just scattered. Some have gone to the Philippines, some have moved to other islands, and they just haven’t done well. And they had a very close community. It was a rural community in an urban setting.
Q: It just ceased to exist.
Wong: It was bulldozed out of existence.
Q: And the Lums?
Wong: Oh, they went on to what they consider was greener pastures when they went to the Big Island with another golf course. . . .
Q: I get the impression that the favored procedure was to channel money from foreign investors through people like the Lums, who would pass it on to local politicians and facilitate whatever needed to be done.
Wong: Absolutely . . .
Q: It was money from the foreign nationals going to whom?
Wong: It went to the mayor, to the governor, to senators, representatives. . . .
Q: That Gene and Nora Lum would come to develop a relationship and ultimately a political union, with the head of the Democratic party, and move to Washington, and run in those circles and meet the President of the United States and attend his inaugural and so on. Does that come as a surprise?
Wong: No, it doesn’t come as a surprise to me. Nora sought opportunities, and she knew opportunities when she saw them . . .
See also in Part I: Gene and Nora Lum; Ron Brown
* * *
From Associated Press, 08/09/01:
Mexican Farmers Stage Huge Protest
MEXICO CITY – Thousands of farmers marched through the Mexican capital demanding subsidies and a halt to free trade – posing the most direct challenge yet to President Vincente Fox’s 8-month-old administration. . . .
Young and old marched in a sea of straw hats and baseball caps, cowboy boots and dusty tennis shoes. Families with small children with toy noisemakers joined men and women waving banners reading “United States out” and “Fox means misery.” . . .
The farmers are suffering from a prolonged drought that has withered crops in northern Mexico and lowered prices . . .
“With the trade opening and in the framework of globalization, the government took the easy way out, saying, ‘It’s easier to buy cheap imports than to support expensive domestic production,'” Lopez Rios said.
Fox drew the battle lines sharply Tuesday when he encouraged farmers to modernize, adopt new crops and rely less on government. He said he wanted to end “corruption, paternalism, political favoritism and bureaucracy” in farm policy.
But he showed no sign of stepping away from the two things that angered protesters most: his commitment to free-trade agreements that have let in cheap foreign grain, and his close relationship with the United States.
“The United States and Canada protect their farmers with tariffs and subsidies,” Martin Altorre, a 51-year-old banana and sugar cane farmer from southern Morelos state, said at a protest at Mexico City’s Revolution monument. . . .
Fox said Mexico does not have the money to compete in a subsidy race with developed countries and that farmers should leave behind corn and change to crops where they have an advantage – like the winter-vegetable exports that made Fox’s family wealthy. . . .
He has offered to clear up Mexico’s historic land-title problems so farmers can qualify for loans to modernize. But such measures may also tend to break up communal farms, whose owners were only recently allowed individual titles to their lots.
Such policies may prove difficult to implement in a country where corn is king and small farms are viewed as the prized legacy of the revolution.
* * *
From When Corporations Rule the World, by David C. Korten: . . .
AGRICULTURE has been a major subject in trade negotiations, with U.S. trade negotiators making a strong appeal for reducing barriers to free trade in agricultural commodities and eliminating protection for small farmers in Europe and Japan.
The story of U.S. agriculture reveals why U.S. agribusiness corporations are so enthusiastically calling for the “freeing” of agricultural markets. It is part of the process of restructuring global agriculture into a two-tiered system controlled by the agribusiness giants.
From 1935 to 1989, the number of small farms in the United States declined from 6.8 million to under 2.1 million; a period during which the U.S. population roughly doubled. As farmers have gone out of business, so too have the local suppliers, implement dealers, and other small businesses that once supported them. Entire rural communities have disappeared.
Meanwhile, agribusiness corporations have grown and consolidated their power. The top ten “farms” in the United States are now international agribusiness corporations with names like Tyson Foods, ConAgra, Gold Kist, Continental Grain, Perdue Farms, Pilgrims Pride and Cargill – each with annual farm products sales ranging from $310 million to $1.7 billion.
Two grain companies – Cargill and ConAgra – control 50% of U.S. grain exports.
Three companies – Iowa Beef Processors (IBP), Cargill and ConAgra – slaughter nearly 80% of U.S. beef.
One company – Campbell’s – controls nearly 80% of the U.S. soup market.
Four companies – ConAgra, ADM Milling, Cargill and Pillsbury – mill nearly 60% of U.S. flour.
This concentration is in part the consequence of 4,100 food industry mergers and leveraged buyouts in the United States between 1982 and 1990 – and the consolidation process continues. . . .
For more, GO TO > > > The World Trade Organization
The Human Race – From Awake!, 3/8/00:
A WELL-KEPT SECRET
“NO ONE SHALL BE HELD IN SLAVERY OR SERVITUDE;
SLAVERY AND THE SLAVE TRADE SHALL BE PROHIBITED IN ALL THEIR FORMS.”
— Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The next time you put sugar in your coffee, think of Prevot, a Haitian who was promised a good job in another Caribbean country. Instead, he was sold for eight dollars.
Prevot shared the lot of thousands of his enslaved countrymen who are forced to cut sugarcane for six or seven months for little or no money. These captives are held in crowded, filthy conditions. After their belongings are taken, they are handed machetes. To obtain food, they must work. If they attempt to escape, they may be beaten.
Consider the case of Lin-Lin, a girl from Southeast Asia. She was 13 when her mother died. A job placement agency bought her from her father for $480, promising her a good job. The price paid for her was termed “an advance on her earnings” … Instead of being given a decent job, Lin-Lin was taken to a brothel, where clients pay the owner $4 an hour for her. . . .
Liberty for All?
Most people think that slavery no longer exists. Indeed, after numerous conventions, declarations, and acts, it has been officially declared abolished in most countries. Loathing for slavery is strongly professed everywhere. . . .
Yet, slavery is alive and flourishing– even though to some it is a well-kept secret.
From Phnom Penh to Paris, from Mumbai to Brasilia, millions of our fellow humans– men, women, and children– are forced to live and work as slaves or in slavelike conditions. London-based Anti-Slavery International, the world’s oldest monitor of forced labor, puts the number of people in bondage in the hundreds of millions.
Indeed, there may be more slaves in the world today than ever before! . . .
Forced labor, servile marriage, debt bondage, child labor, and often prostitution are just some of the more pronounced contemporary forms of slavery. Slaves might be concubines, camel jockeys, cane cutters, carpet weavers, or builders of roads. True, the vast majority are not sold at a public auction, but they are really no better off than were their predecessors. In some cases their lives are even more tragic.
Who becomes slaves? How do they become slaves? What is being done to help them? . . .
Who Are Slaves Today?
Just think of the numbers. It is estimated that between 200 and 250 million children under the age of 15 spend most of their waking hours at work. A quarter of a million children, some as young as seven, were drawn into armed combat during 1995 and 1996 alone … The number of women and children sold as slaves each year is estimated to be more than a million.
But cold numbers cannot possibly reveal the desperation of these individuals.
For example, in a northern African country, writer Elinor Burkett met Fatma, a young woman who managed to escape her cruel master. However, after speaking with her, Burkett realized that Fatma “will be a slave forever, in her own mind.” … “She cannot project beyond the dawn,” says Burkett. “The future is one of the many abstract concepts she lacks.”
Merchants of Flesh
The tourist brochure circulating in the United States could not be more straightforward:
“Sex tours to Thailand. Real girls. Real sex. Real cheap. … Did you know you can actually buy a virgin girl for as little as $200?”
What the brochure did not tell is that these “virgins” have likely been kidnapped or forcibly sold into brothels, where they average some 10 to 20 customers a day. If they do not provide sexual services, they are beaten.
When a fire broke out in a brothel on Phuket Island, a resort in southern Thailand, five prostitutes burned to death. Why? Because their owners had chained them to their beds to keep them from escaping their bondage.
Where do these young women come from? Reportedly, this sector of the sex industry is being filled by millions of girls and women around the world who have been kidnapped, coerced, and sold into prostitution.
The international sex trade flourishes because of a combination of poverty in developing countries, affluence in wealthy countries, and laws that wink at international trafficking and indentured servitude.
Women’s organizations in Southeast Asia have estimated that from the mid-1970’s to the early 1990’s, 30 million women were sold worldwide.
Traffickers in flesh scour train stations, poor villages, and urban streets looking for young girls and women who appear vulnerable. Usually the victims are uneducated, orphaned, abandoned, or destitute. They are given fraudulent promises of work, transported across borders, and then sold into brothels.
Since the breakup of the Communist bloc in 1991, a whole new population of impoverished girls and women has been created. Deregulation, privatization, and growing class inequality have resulted in increased crime, poverty, and unemployment. Many Russian and Eastern European women and girls have now become grist for the mill of international organized prostitution. …
In one small carpet factory in Asia, children as young as five are working from 4 o’clock in the morning until 11 o’clock at night without pay. In many cases child laborers like these face grave health hazards: unsafe machinery, long hours in a poorly lit and poorly ventilated environment, and exposure to dangerous chemicals used in manufacturing.”
Why are children so keenly sought as laborers? Because child labor is cheap and because by nature children are docile, easy to discipline, and too frightened to complain. Their small physique and nimble fingers are seen by unscrupulous employers as assets for doing certain kinds of work, such as carpet weaving. Often such children are given jobs, while their parents sit at home, unemployed.
To add to their misery, domestic child workers are particularly vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse. Many children are kidnapped, held in remote camps, and chained at night to prevent their escape. By day, they may be put to work building roads and quarrying stone.
Another way that childhood is lost is through servile marriage. Anti-Slavery International explains a typical case: “A 12-year-old girl is told that her family has arranged her marriage to a 60-year-old man. Ostensibly she has the right to refuse, but in practice she has no opportunity to exercise that right and is unaware that she can do so.”
Slaves of Debt
Hundreds of thousands of laborers are held in bondage to their employers and places of employment because of loans that they or their parents have been given. Traditionally, bonded labor occurs mainly in agricultural areas, where laborers work as general servants or as farmers. In some cases, debts are passed on from one generation to the next, ensuring that members of a family remain in permanent bondage. . . .
Binti, from West Africa, is 12 years old and is one of thousands of girls who serve as trocosi, meaning in the Ewe language “slaves of the gods.” She has been forced into a life of slavery and redemption for a crime she did not commit– the rape that led to her own birth! Presently her responsibilities are limited to household chores for a local fetish priest. Later Binti’s duties will broaden to include providing sexual services to the priest, who is her owner. . .
Traditional Chattel Slavery
Although most countries claim to have legally abolished slavery, in some areas there has been a recent resurgence of traditional chattel slavery. This usually takes place in regions torn by civil strife or armed conflict. “In the areas of conflict the rule of law has effectively been suspended,” reports Anti-Slavery International, “and soldiers or armed militia are able to force people to work for them unpaid … without fear of retribution . . .”
However, according to the same organization, “there have also been recent reports of government soldiers forcing civilians to work as slaves, outside and legal framework. Soldiers and militias have also been reported to engage in the slave trade, selling those they have captured to work for others.” . . .
Modern Slavery — Its End Is Near!
“One man’s freedom is part and parcel of universal freedom. You cannot touch one without at the same time jeopardizing the other.”
Victor Schoelcher, French Journalist and Politician, 1848.
“WHAT IS THIS DARK SIDE OF MAN that has always led him to despise, subjugate and debase his fellows?” ask the editors of The UNESCO Courier. And how is it that such a crime against humanity has remained unpunished even since the inception of Human Rights?”
The answer is complex.
Greed is the motivation for the use of cheap child labor and for the phenomenon of debt bondage.
Poverty and lack of education are blamed when girls are sold into prostitution and servile marriage.
Religious norms and cultural concepts lie behind ritual slavery.
And in the case of males who visit Bangkok or Manila to find young AIDS-free boys or girls, the motive is outright sexual perversion and immorality.
All this is part of a world where people are “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, . . . having no natural affection . . . without self-control, fierce” in the words of the apostle Paul, a first-century student of law. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) . . .
A Change of Mind
Does this mean that nothing can or will be done to put a permanent end to slavery– either in its traditional manifestations or in its more recent forms? Not at all!
The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) states that “slavery is a state of mind,” adding: “Even when abolished, slavery leaves traces. It can persist as a state of mind– among its victims and their descendants and among the inheritors of those who practised it– long after it has formally disappeared.”
So one way to abolish slavery would be to effect a change of thinking– a change of heart– on a worldwide scale. And that involves a change of education– teaching people to love one another and respect one another’s dignity. It means helping people to root greed out of their hearts and abide by high moral standards.
Who can provide such education? The OHCHR says that “everyone has a contribution to make to a world order which no longer tolerates inhumane exploitation.”
Consider an educational program that has been carried out worldwide by the Christian community of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The program has successfully taught honest-hearted individuals not to tolerate or condone inhumane exploitation. Through it, millions of people in more than 230 lands have been taught to treat all their fellow-men with dignity. . . .
A Change of Government
However, for there to be a permanent end to all forms of slavery, a drastic change in human society is required. The International Labor Organization says that to end human exploitation, there is a need “to change the environment which permits and condones” such practices. International actions, international cooperation, and a commitment of the world community are among further suggestions made by that agency.
This would logically require a power able to exercise broad control over our planet, a power able to ensure universal freedom. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former secretary-general of the UN, said that the real problems afflicting our planet must be solved “on a global level.”
But not everyone is sure that this could ever happen. Past experience shows that many people in power are too selfish and self-centered in their interests and goals to achieve such international cooperation. . . .
[But] … in the Bible you will find many promises of a new world of righteousness:
“He will deliver the poor one crying for help, also the afflicted one and whoever has no helper. He will feel sorry for the lowly one and the poor one, and the souls of the poor ones he will save. From oppression and from violence he will redeem their soul.” — Psalm 72:12-14.
Human Freedom and Dignity — From What Source?
We are all born with an inherent need and desire for dignity and freedom.
Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general, echoed feelings that are universal when he asked: “Who can deny that we all seek lives free of fear, torture and discrimination? … When have you heard a free voice demand an end to freedom? Where have you heard a slave argue for slavery?”
Such ideas are hardly new. Dismissing the notion that some are born to be slaves, first-century Roman philosopher Seneca, in his “Letters to Lucilius,” wrote:
“Please reflect that the man you call your slave was born of the same seed, has the same good sky above him, breathes as you do, lives as you do, dies as you do!”
Imam `Ali, revered as the fourth caliph after Muhammad, said that
“all men are equals in creation.”
Sa’di, a 13th-century Persian poet, declared:
“The children of Adam are limbs on one another and in their creation come from one substance. When the world gives pain to one member, the other members find no rest.”
The divinely inspired historical record found in the Bible highlights the dignity of all humans. . .
“Where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom,” said the apostle Paul.
In creating man in his image and likeness, Jehovah bestowed upon humans a measure of worthiness, self-respect, and dignity. By freeing his creation from “enslavement to corruption,” he will also ensure that people will enjoy such freedom and dignity forever. — Romans 8:21.
The Unborn Generations – From the Life Issues Institute, Inc., July 1999, (Compliments of Connector and Warroom):
Baby Parts for Sale
A Batch of Eyes by UPS – 30 Livers by FedEx
by J.C. Willke, MD
After fighting abortion for 30 years I thought I had seen and heard it all, but not so. Here is a new development, a coordinated high-tech industry functioning for the specific purpose of obtaining and selling high-quality fetal organs for research.
Partial-Birth Abortions seemed to be so horrible that most of us wondered how such procedures could be defended. Many of us chalked it up to the fact that the pro-abortion advocates and the abortion industry didn’t want to give one inch for fear that their whole house of cards will fold. I, among others, felt that their resistance to forbidding this gruesome procedure was a fear of a domino effect. . . .
But now we have evidence of a very clear additional reason why they want these late-term abortions to continue.
The reason is that this is the one method that gives them intact fetal bodies from which they can obtain organs for research.
The other method of late-term abortion, D&D (Dilatation and Evacuation), involves reaching up into the uterus and dismembering the live baby. This delivers pieces of macerated organs that are usually unsuitable for fetal research, transplantation, etc. This may be the main reason for their vehement defense of the practice of Partial-Birth abortion.
The story was broken recently by Life Dynamics under the guidance of its director Mark Crutcher. A lady came to him with a story, which he has verified. The name of the informant cannot be revealed, as she is still involved in the work that she has exposed. . . .
She worked for “an outside source, hired with a team to go in [to late term abortion clinics] to dissect and procure fetal tissue for high-quality sales.”
Read on as Kelly (not her real name) describes her macabre profession. . . .
“What we did was to have a contract with an abortion clinic that would allow us to go there on certain days. We would get a generated list each day to tell us what tissue researchers, pharmaceutical companies and universities were looking for. Then we would examine the patient charts….”
“We were looking for eyes, livers, brains, thymuses [lymphoid tissue], cardiac blood, cord blood, blood from the liver, even blood from the limbs….”
“We would sell the tissue to private contractors. They in turn would sell to other universities and researchers. There was a high demand every week to buy such fetal tissues. It was shipped by UPS, FedEx, Airborne and sometimes by special couriers….”
And then the obvious question. Kelly is still working for this company, so why did she come and tell this story to a pro-life group?
One day she when she was working, “A set of twins at 24 weeks gestation was brought to us in a pan. They were both alive. The doctor came back and said, ‘Got you some good specimens, twins.’
I looked at him and said, ‘There’s something wrong here. They are moving. I don’t do this. This is not in my contract.’ . . .”
“I told him I would not be part of taking their lives. So he took a bottle of sterile water and poured it in the pan until the fluid came up over their mouths and noses, letting them drown. I left the room because I could not watch this.”
But she did go back to dissect them after they were dead. She said, “That’s when I decided it was wrong. I did not want to be there when that happened.”
And then it happened again and again . . .”At 16 weeks, all the way up to sometimes even 30 weeks, and we had live births come back to us.”
And then? “Then the doctor would either break the neck or take a pair of tongs and beat the fetus until it was dead. . . .”
She was asked if the type of abortion procedure was intentionally altered to deliver to you an intact specimen, even if that meant giving you a live baby?
Her answer was, “Yes, that was so we could sell better tissue, so that our company would make more money. At the end of the year, they would give the clinic back more money because we got good specimens. . . .”
For more, GO TO > > > The Greatest Greed on Earth
Tibet – A nominal Chinese dependency in south central Asia.
From Reuters, 10/30/00: . . .
Dalai Lama Tries to Halt Exploitation of Tibet
Half a century after Communist Chinese troops occupied Tibet, the exiled Dalai Lama is fighting new invaders– oilmen, gold prospectors, loggers and ranchers.
Armed with drills and chainsaws, the new arrivals are turning capital Lhasa into a boomtown.
China is throwing open what it calls its “Western treasure house” of natural resources: half of the world’s lithium reserves, China’s largest chromium deposits, its third largest copper mine and untold quantities of diamonds.
In doing so, it is rapidly absorbing the Himalayan region into the mainstream Chinese economy, a strategic goal that has eluded Beijing ever since Chairman Mao’s People’s Liberation Army troops marched in 50 years ago this month.
With Tibet’s prosperity tied closely to Beijing, Communist authorities trust hearts and minds will follow.
For the Dalai Lama’s government-in-exile, forced modernization is a serious challenge.
It cannot be seen as opposing an improvement in the living standards of poor Tibetans. Yet it fears much of the investments designed to benefit a flood of Chinese immigrants and tighten China’s political control. . . .
Already, sharp-suited young businessmen can be seen on the streets of Lhasa brandishing mobile phones and wads of cash as they trawl karaoke saloons lined with prostitutes.
The Tibetan capital has a bustling stock-exchange office where investors can trade shares in listed local firms. . . .
Just this month, Tibet’s top official, Legqog, was telling investors in Hong Kong that the Himalayan region’s main goal was to “integrate into the global economy.”
“You get rich; we get developed,” he declared.
Yet with no power in Beijing, the Dalai Lama is trying to slow the economic transformation of his homeland by putting pressure on multinational corporations and lending agencies.
His supporters were encouraged by a successful campaign against a World Bank loan to resettle poor Chinese farmers in traditional Tibetan lands.
Now they have set their sights on a gas pipeline in China’s north-western province of Qinghai on the Tibetan plateau being built by Chinese company PetroChina, in which British oil giant BP Amoco has a stake. They are also up in arms over planned oil prospecting in Tibet itself.
“These projects, as they are now conceived, will cause harm to the Tibetan people,” the statement by the government-in-exile said. “Projects that adversely affect Tibetan society and environment must be immediately stopped and redesigned or canceled.”
Timor – Timor is an island a few hundred miles north of Australia’s western provinces, at the very end of the islands once
called the “Dutch East Indies” or “Spice Islands.”
The western half of Timor was colonized by the Dutch and became part of Indonesia in 1974. The eastern half of the island, then called Portuguese Timor, is about 7,332 sq. mi. and in 1974 had a population of about 660,000 people.
East Timor had been colonized by Portugal, who didn’t leave until 1975.
* * *
From www.goodthink.com, by Bob Harris:
. . . Naturally, the people of East Timor wanted independence.
Suharto wanted Timor’s plunder, so he invited President Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger over for a chat, apparently to ask permission. Within hours, the Indonesian army invaded and began slaughtering the Timorese. . . .
The genocide claimed more than a third of the population, and the brutality continues to this day. . . .
The real scandal? The U.S. provides Suharto almost all of his weapons. . . .
The GOP won’t pursue any of this because many of their leaders are also financed by the mining and timber guys’ bloodmoney; pursuing the subject will increase public pressure for legit campaign reforms (as would a sincere inquiry into the International Paper payoff at Whitewater); and most folks, Senators included, just don’t give a damn about a bunch of bleeding Asians. . . .
* * *
In the 10/14/96 edition of The New York Times, William Safire wrote a searing article about illegal foreign contributions to the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign solicited by Democratic finance vice chairman John Huang from Indonesia’s Lippo Group banking empire.
Why did an Indonesian gardener with a green card, related to a Lippo partner, pass along $425,000 and then race home, avoiding inquires? And, how about John Huang — in 1992 a Clinton Asian fund-raiser, in 1993 the recipient of a million-dollar payment from Lippo on the eve of being appointed by Clinton to a sensitive foreign economic post, and in 1996 wringing more campaign money out of Asian executives through fronts here — why is he hiding from reporters?
I think wrongdoing is why. . . .
* * *
[The Catbird seriously muses: Could the suspected “wrongdoing” have anything to do with the fact that the senior executive with the Lippo Group, billionaire Mochtar Riady, has close ties with the military junta that has killed hundreds of thousands in East Timor? … Could it have anything to do with the fact that Mochtar, his son James Riady, and John Huang were the key persons Clinton and Ron Brown met with when they visited Indonesia in November 1994? … Could it have anything to do with greed for the money to be made from the abundant natural resources in East Timor … or greed for the profits to be made from the production of goods by cheap labor working in slave-like conditions? … Or could it have anything to do with the obvious greed of the whole Clinton/Gore/Rubin/Riady administration? ]
* * *
The Nation, 7/17/95, by Allan Nairn: OUT OF EAST TIMOR
. . . In a seismic political shift that augurs trouble for General Suharto, the Commander in Chief of U.S. Pacific forces has privately told Congressional officials that the time has come for Indonesia to get out of East Timor.
For the past 20 years the United States has helped Jakaarta kill Timorese. But now, in the face of growing grass-roots resistance both in Timor and this country, Adm. Richard Macke has concluded that the Timor occupation has become more trouble than it is worth.
According to accounts from officials who have discussed the matter with him … Macke told friends on Capitol Hill this May that Indonesia’s continued presence in East Timor, long supported and armed by Washington in defiance of the U.N. Security Council resolutions calling on it to withdraw “without delay,” has now become a liability. He said that Jakarta’s generals should cut their (and Washington’s) political losses, pull their troops and allow the Timorese, with U.N. help, to hold a referendum to determine their own political future. . . .
Macke’s comments are a major breakthrough because Washington is Suharto’s main patron. Though Macke’s privately stated views are his own and are not yet official, they indicate that Washington is beginning to feel the heat for its role in Timor.
That is an impressive testament to the heroism of the Timorese, who after 20 years of genocide still resist and organize. Last November, for example, during a regional summit in Jakarta, as uprisings broke out across East Timor, 29 young Timorese stole the stage from Clinton and Suharto by peacefully occupying the U.S. Embassy grounds.
Macke’s shift also indicates the efficacy of the U.S. grass-roots movement, which has sought to make Washington pay a price for facilitating the genocide. Since the Nov. 12, 1991, Dili, East Timor, massacre, U.S. activists- with bipartisan support in Congress- have won a cutoff of Indonesia’s IMET military training aid, blocked a transfer to Indonesia of F-5 fighter planes, reversed the U.S. stand on Timor at the U.N. Human Rights Commission and secured a ban on the sale of small arms to Indonesia.
(As one who witnessed and survived the Dili massacre, I fought and lobbied for those changes …)
For more on Richard Macke, GO TO > > > The Sinking of the Ehime Maru
Tonga – Why aren’t the Tongans laughing at the Court Jester? . . .
From The Honolulu Advertiser, Oct 9, 2001 (AP):
Scandal May Cost Tonga Millions
Tonga is being rocked by a scandal involving the loss of millions of dollars of investments based partially on the advice of its 83-year-old king’s court jester – a U.S. businessman.
Millions of dollars have been wiped from a fund that the nation built up by selling passports – mainly to Chinese from Hong Kong worried about the return of the territory to Beijing.
Official sources say up to $20 million has disappeared after apparently being invested in the United States in 1999. Much of the money is believed to have been lost when the high-tech bubble burst.
The loss is staggering for a nation run on a budget of around $55 million a year and dependent mainly on revenue from exporting pumpkins and money sent home by Tongans living overseas.
The money was withdrawn from a Bank of America account by King Tupou Taufa’ahau’s official court jester, Jesse Bogdonoff, a California-based investment adviser.
The losses only came to light when the nation’s 10-year-old pro-democracy movement began asking questions about it in Parliament, which is dominated by lawmakers appointed by the royal family and Tonga’s 33 noble families.
United States Servicemen – Both the enlisted and the drafted who have been shafted.
From U.S. Veteran Dispatch, Feb/Mar 1996 issue, by Ted Sampley:
President Bill Clinton: He’s Marching the U.S. Back into Vietnam
It is not inconceivable that in the near future America will again be loading body bags filled with American servicemen out of Vietnam. This time, however, our teenage soldiers will have died defending communist Vietnam and U.S. oil interests from the communist Chinese.
The Clinton administration, convinced that a strong United States economic/political presence in Vietnam is needed as a deterrent to anticipated Chinese military action in Southeast Asia, is pushing the United States quick-step back into that war-torn country and into an unavoidable encounter with the Red Chinese.
Before Washington can check “Chinese ambitions” by establishing a U.S. “diplomatic shield” in Hanoi, it must dispose of the last obstacle preventing normalized relations with Vietnam- the issue of U.S. servicemen still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
Hidden behind a facade of so-called mutual cooperation in accounting for the U.S. missing in action, U.S. officials have already established a military post and are secretly discussing with the Vietnamese letting the U.S. Navy ships use port facilities at Cam Ranh Bay- a highly coveted deep water port in the former South Vietnam built by U.S. forces during the war.
President Bill Clinton, a war protester who left the country to avoid service in Vietnam, made a solemn campaign promise in his drive to unseat President Bush that he would not normalize diplomatic and trade relations with Vietnam until there was a full, good-faith accounting of the missing servicemen. Contrary to that promise, Clinton, citing exaggerated accounts of Vietnam’s POW/MIA cooperation, lifted the U.S.-imposed trade embargo against Vietnam of Feb 3, 1994. Almost one year later on Jan 27, ironically the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the 1973 Paris Peace Agreement, Clinton allowed Washington and Hanoi to establish diplomatic liaison offices.
The 1973 Peace Accords included a ceasefire agreement throughout North and South Vietnam, withdrawal of all U.S. troops, and a promise by communist Vietnam not to use force to reunify the country. Two years after the U.S. withdrew its troops, Hanoi violated the agreement and occupied South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. . . .
The Vietnam War was America’s longest war … The war lasted for over 16 years from 1959-1975 during which China and the Soviet Union supported Hanoi in its effort to establish communism in all of Indochina. When the shooting finally stopped after Hanoi had taken all of Indochina, nearly 58,000 American servicemen had lost their lives and over 150,000 were left wounded. Thousands more died later in the United States as a result of their wounds.
Today, Vietnam is still ruled by the same hard-line Marxist-Leninist dictatorial regime that orchestrated the war against non-communist South Vietnam. Although it has taken on some colors of capitalism, Vietnam still continues to severely limit freedom of the press, speech, assembly, association and is unrepentant about its human rights violations. . . .
Vietnam remains one of the world’s poorest countries with a per head income of $170 a year for its 72 million population.
RED CHINA/U.S. MILITARY BUILD-UP
Virtually unnoticed by the U.S. press, Vietnam’s former ally, Red China, has steadily, since the early 90s, been building-up its military forces around Vietnam and disputed territories in the South China Seas.
Clinton, in response, has lifted the trade embargo causing a stampede of U.S. business investments in Vietnam. After that, he successfully used the presence of U.S. business in Vietnam as an excuse to accelerate the pace towards full normalized relations with Hanoi. . . .
In addition, the U.S. has allocated millions of dollars to build a Star Wars Missile Defense System over Asia.
IT’S ABOUT OIL UNDER THE SPRATLYS
This subtle march to war between the super powers is over an estimated $1 trillion worth of oil and natural-gas resources buried beneath a long string of rocky outcrops- some 1,000 islets and reefs straddling strategic shipping lanes- called the Spratly Islands.
They are located about 300 miles east of Vietnam in the South China Sea.
The Chinese, who desperately need oil and gas to continue their economic growth, have declared the Spratlys to be their property. They are also claimed in whole, or part, by Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, the Philippines, and Malaysia. . . .
STAR WARS OVER SOUTHEAST ASIA
In the meantime, while the United States remains busy developing a secret Star Wars-type anti-ballistic missile shield over Southeast Asia, syndicated columnist Jack Anderson reported the Clinton administration is poised to allow the California-based Allied Signal Inc. to sell controversial dual-use technologies to China. Many believe the sale would give China the technological know-how to make engines for long range cruise missiles capable of hitting targets a thousand miles away.
The Star Wars project over Asia is part of an existing defense plan which will spend some $400 million a year to provide limited protection against China for countries such as Vietnam, Japan and South Korea. Washington, which refuses to name China as the potential threat because of the importance of the Chinese market to U.S. businesses, plans to have the anti-missile nuclear shield in place by the year 2004.
On March 7, Adm. Richard Macke, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, said in Singapore that China’s naval build-up is not an immediate threat, pointing out the United States’ sizable presence, including aircraft carriers. He said most Asian leaders whom he had met backed Washington’s continued presence in the area. In the meantime, the Chinese communists- using the same tactic as the Vietnamese communists in 1973 when they secretly planned to take all of Indochina- are talking peace while preparing to take the Spratlys by military force.
President Clinton is not telling the American people that he has made a conscious decision to prematurely write off the effort to account for America’s missing servicemen so that the U.S. can position itself as a “diplomatic shield” to protect communist Vietnam and American oil interests in Southeast Asia. . . .
And, in typical forked tongue diplomacy, he is not warning American investors in Vietnam that they are bait in a much anticipated military confrontation with China.
* * *
GREED AND GUINEA PIGS:
RISKING THE HEALTH OF THE U.S. MILITARY
by: MAJ GLENN MacDONALD, USAR (Ret)
Al Capone would have been proud.
Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. William J. Crowe Jr. was part of the crew that sold Saddam Hussein the deadly means to wage war with anthrax germs.
That’s when the United States wanted the “Butcher of Baghdad” to use anthrax on Iran.
Now the admiral, who shocked political observers by endorsing Bill “I loathe the military” Clinton in 1992 and was rewarded the following year with the post of ambassador to Great Britain, gets a “sweetheart deal” from the Pentagon to produce a questionable “vaccine” that is supposed to “protect” the nation’s military from the deadly organisms.
Not only does Crowe and his mysterious pal Faud El-Hibri get an exclusive multi-million dollar contract to produce anthrax vaccine, but the Government agrees to pay triple the original cost in the contract, from $3.50 a dose, to over ten dollars! This, after the company Crowe and El-Hibri partly own – Bioport of Lansing, Mich. – was temporarily shut down by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after it failed an inspection in November.
Nothing too good for our troops! So what if some of them may get sick and die? Remember “Agent Orange” (Dioxin) from Vietnam? We were told: “Not to worry. This stuff only kills the foliage, not people.” Of course, we know better now. Especially the families of Vietnam vets whose wives gave birth to deformed babies.
How about Gulf War Syndrome? When the first GI’s returned to the United States and came down sick, they were given the run-around by the VA. The doctors said they were “imagining” their rashes, diarrhea, coughing spells and rapid weight-loss. “It’s all in your head,” they were told as they were shuffled off to the psycho ward. Now we know better.
Once again the Government and the Pentagon are playing that old tune: “Trust Us.” Only this time, the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been before. This time, the inoculations are mandatory.
At first, the brass hats tried to intimidate the military into silence. “You will take them, on pain of court martial and dishonorable discharge.” And hundreds – if you believe the Pentagon “spinmeisters” – or several thousand officers and service members, have voted with their feet.
Many have been punished severely and seen hopes and dreams dashed because of a genuine fear that their Government once again is lying.
And at stake is the health of the entire U.S. military force. . . .
* * *
February 9, 2002
Study links illnesses of gulf veterans to all wars
By Beth Gardiner, Associated Press
LONDON – Veterans of most modern wars have suffered explained physical and psychological symptoms, researchers reported yesterday in a study suggesting that the unexplained ailments experienced by some gulf war veterans are not unique.
The study reviewed the records of British soldiers who fought in late 19th century imperial campaigns, the Boer War in South Africa, both world wars, the Korean War and the gulf war. All reported problems that varied based on their combat experiences but had much in common, said the paper published yesterday in the British Medical Journal.
“The thing we’re showing is that all major wars seem to produce post-combat syndromes,” said researcher Edgar Jones, an expert on the history of medicine and psychiatry at the University of London.
Experts have failed to agree on what causes the chronic illnesses reported by veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf war, but one study suggested a link to vaccines soldiers received to ward off potential Iraqi chemical and biological attacks. Some veterans and researchers also blame nerve gas, pesticides or depleted uranium used in ammunition.
Shaun Rusling, chairman of the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association, a British group, accused Jones and his colleagues – whose work was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense – of minimizing veterans’ suffering and trying to cover up the problem’s true causes.
“To compare our illness with that of the Boer War, that’s just farcical,” he said.
Tens of thousands of gulf war veterans have complained of memory loss, anxiety, fatigue, nausea and chronic muscle and joint pain. . . .
Dr. Robert Haley, chief of epidemiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said researchers chose non-representative cases and failed to explain the statistical techniques they used.
“This article is entirely without scientific merit,” he said.
* * *
For more about the Military-Industrial Complex, GO TO > > > Nests in the Pentagon
For more about Richard Macke, GO TO > > > The Sinking of the Ehime Maru
For more testing of Weapons of Mass Destruction on U.S. soldiers (and civilians), GO TO >>> Uncle Sam’s Guinea Pigs
Workers of the World – Thousands of stories could be told about the struggle of laborers around the world to obtain
decent wages and safe working conditions. This is just one.
From The Drug Story by Hans Ruesch (Courtesy British Anti-Vivisection League):
The Ludlow Massacre
The United Mine Workers had asked for higher wages and better living conditions for the miners of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, one of the many Rockefeller-owned companies.
The miners– mostly immigrants from Europe’s poorest countries– lived in shacks provided by the company at exorbitant rent. Their low wages ($1.68 a day) were paid in script redeemable only at company stores charging high prices.
The churches they attended were the pastorates of company-hired ministers; their children were taught in company-controlled schools … The company maintained a force of detectives, mine guards, and spies whose job it was to keep the camp quarantined from the danger of unionization.
When the miners struck, JDR, Jr., then officially in command of the company, and his father’s hatchet man, the Baptist Reverend Frederick T. Gates, who was a director of the Rockefeller Foundation, refused even to negotiate.
They evicted the strikers from the company-owned shacks, hired a thousand strike-breakers from the Baldwin-Felts detective agency, and persuaded Governor Ammons to call out the National Guard to help break the strike.
Open warfare resulted. Guardsmen, miners, their women and children, who since their eviction were camping in tents, were ruthlessly killed, until the frightened Governor wired President Wilson for Federal Troops, who eventually crushed the strike.
The New York Times, which then already could never be accused of being unfriendly to the Rockefeller interests, reported on April 21, 1914:
“A 14-hour battle between striking coal miners and members of the Colorado National Guard in the Ludlow district today culminated in the killing of Louis Tikas, leader of the Greek strikers, and the destruction of the Ludlow tent colony by fire.”
And the following day:
“Forty-five dead (32 of them women and children), a score missing and more than a score wounded is the known result of the 14-hour battle which raged between state troops and coal miners in the Ludlow district, on the property of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Co., the Rockefeller holding. The Ludlow is a mass of charred debris, and buried beneath it is a story of horror unparalleled in the history of industrial warfare.”
“In the holes that had been dug for their protection against rifle fire, the women and children died like trapped rats as the flames swept over them. One pit uncovered this afternoon disclosed the bodies of ten children and two women.”…
* * *
I told you it was an old, old story.
# # #
FAIR USE NOTICE. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
# # #
PART I – THE BIRDS
~ ~ ~
PART II – THE NESTS
MORE OF THE CATBIRD’S FAVORITE LINKS
THE CATBIRD SEAT FORUM
THE CATBIRD SEAT
AND BEFORE LEAVING, WON’T YOU PLEASE SIGN THE GUEST REGISTER ON OUR
Last Update March 30, 2003 by The Catbird