The Top 25 Censored Stories
Future of Internet Debate Ignored by Media
Buzzflash.com, July 18, 2005_Title: "Web
of Deceit: How Internet Freedom Got the Federal Ax, and Why Corporate
News Censored the Story"_Author: Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Lauren Powell, Brett
Forest, and Zoe Huffman_Faculty Evaluator: Andrew Roth, Ph.D.
Throughout 2005 and 2006, a large underground
debate raged regarding the future of the Internet. More recently
referred to as "network neutrality," the issue has become
a tug of war with cable companies on the one hand and consumers
and Internet service providers on the other. Yet despite important
legislative proposals and Supreme Court decisions throughout 2005,
the issue was almost completely ignored in the headlines until
2006.1 And, except for occasional coverage on CNBC's Kudlow &
Kramer, mainstream television remains hands-off to this day (June
2006).2_Most coverage of the issue framed it as an argument over
regulation-but the term "regulation" in this case is
somewhat misleading. Groups advocating for "net neutrality"
are not promoting regulation of internet content. What they want
is a legal mandate forcing cable companies to allow internet service
providers (ISPs) free access to their cable lines (called a "common
carriage" agreement). This was the model used for dial-up
internet, and it is the way content providers want to keep it.
They also want to make sure that cable companies cannot screen
or interrupt internet content without a court order.
Those in favor of net neutrality say that
lack of government regulation simply means that cable lines will
be regulated by the cable companies themselves. ISPs will have
to pay a hefty service fee for the right to use cable lines (making
internet services more expensive). Those who could pay more would
get better access; those who could not pay would be left behind.
Cable companies could also decide to filter Internet content at
On the other side, cable company supporters
say that a great deal of time and money was spent laying cable
lines and expanding their speed and quality.3 They claim that
allowing ISPs free access would deny cable companies the ability
to recoup their investments, and maintain that cable providers
should be allowed to charge. Not doing so, they predict, would
discourage competition and innovation within the cable industry.
Cable supporters like the AT&T-sponsored
Hands Off the Internet website assert that common carriage legislation
would lead to higher prices and months of legal wrangling. They
maintain that such legislation fixes a problem that doesn't exist
and scoff at concerns that phone and cable companies will use
their position to limit access based on fees as groundless. Though
cable companies deny plans to block content providers without
cause, there are a number of examples of cable-initiated discrimination.
In March 2005, the FCC settled a case
against a North Carolina-based telephone company that was blocking
the ability of its customers to use voice-over-Internet calling
services instead of (the more expensive) phone lines.4 In August
2005, a Canadian cable company blocked access to a site that supported
the cable union in a labor dispute.5 In February 2006, Cox Communications
denied customers access to the Craig's List website. Though Cox
claims that it was simply a security error, it was discovered
that Cox ran a classified service that competes with Craig's List.6_court
In June of 1999, the Ninth District Court
ruled that AT&T would have to open its cable network to ISPs
(AT&T v. City of Portland). The court said that Internet transmissions,
interactive, two-way exchanges, were telecommunication offerings,
not a cable information service (like CNN) that sends data one
way. This decision was overturned on appeal a year later.
Recent court decisions have extended the
cable company agenda further. On June 27, 2005, The United States
Supreme Court ruled that cable corporations like Comcast and Verizon
were not required to share their lines with rival ISPs (National
Cable & Telecommunications Association vs. Brand X Internet
Services).7 Cable companies would not have to offer common carriage
agreements for cable lines the way that telephone companies have
for phone lines._According to Dr. Elliot Cohen, the decision accepted
the FCC assertion that cable modem service is not a two-way telecommunications
offering, but a one-way information service, completely overturning
the 1999 ruling. Meanwhile, telephone companies charge that such
a decision gives an unfair advantage to cable companies and are
requesting that they be released from their common carriage requirement
Legislation_On June 8, the House rejected
legislation (HR 5273) that would have prevented phone and cable
companies from selling preferential treatment on their networks
for delivery of video and other data-heavy applications. It also
passed the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement
(COPE) Act (HR 5252), which supporters said would encourage innovation
and the construction of more high-speed Internet lines. Internet
neutrality advocates say it will allow phone and cable companies
to cherry-pick customers in wealthy neighborhoods while eliminating
the current requirement demanded by most local governments that
cable TV companies serve low-income and minority areas as well.
Comment: As of June 2006, the COPE Act
is in the Senate. Supporters say the bill supports innovation
and freedom of choice. Interet neutrality advocates say that its
passage would forever compromise the Internet. Giant cable companies
would attain a monopoly on high-speed, cable Internet. They would
prevent poorer citizens from broadband access, while monitoring
and controlling the content of information that can be accessed.
UPDATE BY ELLIOT D. COHEN, PH.D._Despite
the fact that the Court's decision in Brand X marks the beginning
of the end for a robust, democratic Internet, there has been a
virtual MSM blackout in covering it. As a result of this decision,
the legal stage has been set for further corporate control. Currently
pending in Congress is the "Communications Opportunity, Promotion,
and Enhancement Act of 2006"(HR 5252), fueled by strong telecom
corporative lobbies and introduced by Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX).
This Act, which fails to adequately protect an open and neutral
Internet, includes a "Title II-Enforcement of Broadband Policy
Statement" that gives the FCC "exclusive authority to
adjudicate any complaint alleging a violation of the broadband
policy statement or the principles incorporated therein."
With the passage of this provision, courts will have scant authority
to challenge and overturn FCC decisions regarding broadband. Since
under current FCC Chair Kevin Martin, the FCC is moving toward
still further deregulation of telecom and media companies, the
likely consequence is the thickening of the plot to increase corporate
control of the Internet. In particular, behemoth telecom corporations
like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T want to set up toll booths
on the Internet. If these companies get their way, content providers
with deep pockets will be afforded optimum bandwidth while the
rest of us will be left spinning in cyberspace. No longer will
everyone enjoy an equal voice in the freest and most comprehensive
democratic forum ever devised by humankind.
As might be expected, none of these new
developments are being addressed by the MSM. Among media activist
organizations attempting to stop the gutting of the free Internet
is The Free Press (http://www.freepress.net/), which now has an
aggressive "Save the Internet" campaign.
High-Tech Genocide in Congo
The Taylor Report, March 28, 2005_Title:
"The World's Most Neglected Emergency: Phil Taylor talks
to Keith Harmon Snow"
Earth First! Journal, August 2005_Title:
"High-Tech Genocide" _Author: Sprocket
Z Magazine, March 1, 2006_Title: "Behind
the Numbers: Untold Suffering in the Congo" _Authors: Keith
Harmon Snow and David Barouski
Faculty Evaluator: Thom Lough_Student
Researchers: Deyango Harris and Daniel Turner
The world's most neglected emergency,
according to the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, is the ongoing
tragedy of the Congo, where six to seven million have died since
1996 as a consequence of invasions and wars sponsored by western
powers trying to gain control of the region's mineral wealth.
At stake is control of natural resources that are sought by U.S.
corporations-diamonds, tin, copper, gold, and more significantly,
coltan and niobium, two minerals necessary for production of cell
phones and other high-tech electronics; and cobalt, an element
essential to nuclear, chemical, aerospace, and defense industries.
Columbo-tantalite, i.e. coltan, is found
in three-billion-year-old soils like those in the Rift Valley
region of Africa. The tantalum extracted from the coltan ore is
used to make tantalum capacitors, tiny components that are essential
in managing the flow of current in electronic devices. Eighty
percent of the world's coltan reserves are found in the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC). Niobium is another high-tech mineral
with a similar story.
Sprocket reports that the high-tech boom
of the 1990s caused the price of coltan to skyrocket to nearly
$300 per pound. In 1996 U.S.-sponsored Rwandan and Ugandan forces
entered eastern DRC. By 1998 they seized control and moved into
strategic mining areas. The Rwandan Army was soon making $20 million
or more a month from coltan mining. Though the price of coltan
has fallen, Rwanda maintains its monopoly on coltan and the coltan
trade in DRC. Reports of rampant human rights abuses pour out
of this mining region.
Coltan makes its way out of the mines
to trading posts where foreign traders buy the mineral and ship
it abroad, mostly through Rwanda. Firms with the capability turn
coltan into the coveted tantalum powder, and then sell the magic
powder to Nokia, Motorola, Compaq, Sony, and other manufacturers
for use in cell phones and other products. _Keith Harmon Snow
emphasizes that any analysis of the geopolitics in the Congo,
and the reasons for why the Congolese people have suffered a virtually
unending war since 1996, requires an understanding of the organized
crime perpetrated through multinational businesses. The tragedy
of the Congo conflict has been instituted by invested corporations,
their proxy armies, and the supra-governmental bodies that support
The process is tied to major multinational
corporations at all levels. These include U.S.-based Cabot Corp.
and OM Group; HC Starck of Germany; and Nigncxia of China-corporations
that have been linked by a United Nations Panel of Experts to
the atrocities in DRC. Extortion, rape, massacres, and bribery
are all part of the criminal networks set up and maintained by
huge multinational companies. Yet as mining in the Congo by western
companies proceeds at an unprecedented rate-some $6 million in
raw cobalt alone exiting DRC daily-multinational mining companies
rarely get mentioned in human rights reports. _Sprocket notes
that Sam Bodman, CEO of Cabot during the coltan boom, was appointed
in December 2004 to serve as President Bush's Secretary of Energy.
Under Bodman's leadership from 1987 to 2000, Cabot was one of
the U.S.'s largest polluters, accounting for 60,000 tons of airborne
toxic emissions annually. Snow adds that Sony's current Executive
Vice President and General Counsel Nicole Seligman was a former
legal adviser for Bill Clinton. Many who held positions of power
in the Clinton administration moved into high positions with Sony.
The article "Behind the Numbers,"
coauthored by Snow and David Barouski, details a web of U.S. corruption
and conflicts of interest between mining corporations such as
Barrick Gold (see Story #21) and the U.S. government under George
H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, as well as U.S.
arms dealers such as Simax; U.S. defense companies such as Lockheed
Martin, Halliburton, Northrop Grumman, GE, Boeing, Raytheon, and
Bechtel; "humanitarian" organizations such as CARE,
funded by Lockheed Martin, and International Rescue Committee,
whose Board of Overseers includes Henry Kissinger; "Conservation"
interests that provide the vanguard for western penetration into
Central Africa; and of course, PR firms and news outlets such
as the New York Times.
Sprocket closes his article by noting
that it's not surprising this information isn't included in the
literature and manuals that come with your cell phones, pagers,
computers, or diamond jewelry. Perhaps, he suggests, mobile phones
should be outfitted with stickers that read: "Warning! This
device was created with raw materials from central Africa. These
materials are rare, nonrenewable, were sold to fund a bloody war
of occupation, and have caused the virtual elimination of endangered
species. Have a nice day." People need to realize, he says,
that there is a direct link between the gadgets that make our
lives more convenient and sophisticated-and the reality of the
violence, turmoil, and destruction that plague our world.
UPDATE BY SPROCKET_There are large fortunes
to be made in the manufacturing of high-tech electronics and in
selling convenience and entertainment to American consumers, but
at what cost?
Conflicts in Africa are often shrouded
with misinformation, while U.S. and other western interests are
routinely downplayed or omitted by the corporate media. The June
5, 2006, cover story of Time, entitled "Congo: The Hidden
Toll of the World's Deadliest War," was no exception. Although
the article briefly mentioned coltan and its use in cell phones
and other electronic devices, no mention was made of the pivotal
role this and other raw materials found in the region play in
the conflict. The story painted the ongoing war as a pitiable
and horrible tragedy, avoiding the corporations and foreign governments
that have created the framework for the violence and those which
have strong financial and political interests in the conflict's
In an article written by Johann Hari and
published by The Hamilton Spectator on May 13, 2006, the corporate
media took a step toward addressing the true reason for the tremendous
body count that continues to pile up in the Democratic Republic
of Congo: "The only change over the decades has been the
resources snatched for Western consumption-rubber under the Belgians,
diamonds under Mobutu, coltan and casterite today."
Most disturbing is that in the corporate
media, the effect of this conflict on nonhuman life is totally
overlooked. Even with a high-profile endangered species like the
Eastern lowland gorilla hanging in the balance, almost driven
to extinction through poaching and habitat loss by displaced villagers
and warring factions, the environmental angle of the story is
The next step in understanding the exploitation
and violence wrought upon the inhabitants of central Africa, fueled
by the hunger for high-tech toys in the U.S., is to expose corporations
like Sony and Motorola. These corporations don't want protest
movements tarnishing their reputations. Nor do they want to call
attention to all of the gorillas coltan kills, and the guerrillas
It is time for our culture to start seeing
more value in living beings, whether gorillas or humans, than
in our disposable high-tech gadgets such as cell phones. It is
time to steal back a more compassionate existence from the corporate
plutocracy that creates destructive markets and from the media
system that has manufactured our consent.
It is not just a question of giving up
cell phones (though that would be a great start). We must question
the appropriation of our planet in the form of a resource to be
consumed, rather than as a home and community to be lived in.
"High-Tech Genocide" and other
articles about cell phone technology are available by contacting
the author: email@example.com.
UPDATE BY KEITH HARMON SNOW_War for the
control of the Democratic Republic of Congo-what should be the
richest country in the world-began in Uganda in the 1980s, when
now Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni shot his way to power with
the backing of Buckingham Palace, the White House, and Tel Aviv
Paul Kagame, now president of Rwanda,
served as Museveni's Director of Military Intelligence. Kagame
later trained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, before the Rwandan
Patriotic Front (RPF)-backed by Roger Winter, the U.S. Committee
on Refugees, and the others above-invaded Rwanda. The RPF destabilized
and then secured Rwanda. This coup d'etat is today misunderstood
as the "Rwanda Genocide." What played out in Rwanda
in 1994 is now playing out in Darfur, Sudan; regime change is
the goal, "genocide" is the tool of propaganda used
to manipulate and disinform.
In 1996, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni,
with the Pentagon behind them, launched their covert war against
Zaire's Mobutu Sese Seko and his western backers. A decade later,
there are 6 or 7 million dead, at the very least, and the war
in Congo (Zaire) continues.
If you are reading the mainstream newspapers
or listening to National Public Radio, you are contributing to
your own mental illness, no matter how astute you believe yourself
to be at "balancing" or "deciphering" the
code. _News reports in Time Magazine ("The Deadliest War
In The World," June 6, 2006) and on CNN ("Rape, Brutality
Ignored to Aid Congo Peace," May 26, 2006) that appeared
at the time of this writing are being interpreted by conscious
people to be truth-telling at last. However, these are perfect
examples filled with hidden deceptions and manipulations._For
accuracy and truth on Central Africa, look to people like Robin
Philpot (Imperialism Dies Hard), Wayne Madsen (Genocide and Covert
Operations in Africa, 1993-1999), Amos Wilson (The Falsification
of Consciousness), Charles Onana (The Secrets of the Rwanda Genocide-Investigation
on the Mysteries of a President), Antoine Lokongo (www.congopanorama.info),
Phil Taylor (www.taylor-report.com), Christopher Black ("Racism,
Murder and Lies in Rwanda"). World War 4 Report has published
my reports, but they are inconsistent in their attention to accuracy,
and would as quickly adopt the propaganda, and have done so at
It is possible to collect little fragments
of truth here and there-never counting on the mainstream system
for this-but one must beware the deceptions and bias. In this
vein, the elite business journal Africa Confidential is often
very revealing. Some facts can be gleaned from www.DigitalCongo.net
and Africa Research Bulletin.
Professor David Gibb's book The Political
Economy of Third World Intervention: Case of the Congo Crises
is an excellent backgrounder that identifies players still active
today (especially Maurice Tempelsman and his diamonds interests
connected to the Democratic Party). Ditto King Leopold's Ghost
by Adam Hocshchild, but-exemplifying the expedience of "interests"-remember
that Hocshchild never tells you, the reader, that his father ran
a mining company in Congo. Almost ALL reportage is expedient;
one needs take care their propensity to be deceived.
Professor Ruth Mayer's book Artificial
Africas: Colonial Images in the Times of Globalization is a particularly
poignant articulation of the means by which the "media"
system distorts and manipulates all things African. And, never
Also hoping to correct the record and
reveal the truth, the International Forum for Truth and Justice
in the Great Lakes of Africa (www.veritasrwandaforum.org), based
in Spain, and co-founded by Nobel Prize nominee Juan Carrero Seraleegui,
is involved in a groundbreaking lawsuit charging massive crimes
against humanity and acts of genocide were committed by the now
government of Rwanda.
US Operatives Torture Detainees to Death
in Afghanistan and Iraq
American Civil Liberties Website, October
24, 2005_Title: "US Operatives Killed Detainees During Interrogations
in Afghanistan and Iraq"
Tom Dispatch.com, March 5, 2006_Title:
"Tracing the Trail of Torture: Embedding Torture as Policy
from Guantanamo to Iraq"_Author: Dahr Jamail
Faculty Evaluator: Rabi Michael Robinson_Student
Researchers: Michael B Januleski Jr. and Jessica Rodas
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
released documents of forty-four autopsies held in Afghanistan
and Iraq October 25, 2005. Twenty-one of those deaths were listed
as homicides. The documents show that detainees died during and
after interrogations by Navy SEALs, Military Intelligence, and
Other Government Agency (OGA). _"These documents present
irrefutable evidence that U.S. operatives tortured detainees to
death during interrogation," said Amrit Singh, an attorney
with the ACLU. "The public has a right to know who authorized
the use of torture techniques and why these deaths have been covered
The Department of Defense released the
autopsy reports in response to a Freedom of Information Act request
filed by the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Physicians
for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense, and Veterans for
One of forty-four U.S. military autopsy
reports reads as follows: "Final Autopsy Report: DOD 003164,
(Detainee) Died as a result of asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the
brain) due to strangulation as evidenced by the recently fractured
hyoid bone in the neck and soft tissue hemorrhage extending downward
to the level of the right thyroid cartilage. Autopsy revealed
bone fracture, rib fractures, contusions in mid abdomen, back
and buttocks extending to the left flank, abrasions, lateral buttocks.
Contusions, back of legs and knees; abrasions on knees, left fingers
and encircling to left wrist. Lacerations and superficial cuts,
right 4th and 5th fingers. Also, blunt force injuries, predominately
recent contusions (bruises) on the torso and lower extremities.
Abrasions on left wrist are consistent with use of restraints.
No evidence of defense injuries or natural disease. Manner of
death is homicide. Whitehorse Detainment Facility, Nasiriyah,
Iraq." _Another report from the ACLU indicates: "a 27-year-old
Iraqi male died while being interrogated by Navy Seals on April
5, 2004, in Mosul, Iraq. During his confinement he was hooded,
flex-cuffed, sleep deprived and subjected to hot and cold environmental
conditions, including the use of cold water on his body and head.
The exact cause of death was 'undetermined' although the autopsy
stated that hypothermia may have contributed to his death."
_An overwhelming majority of the so-called "natural deaths"
covered in the autopsies were attributed to "arteriosclerotic
cardiovascular disease" (heart attack). Persons under extreme
stress and pain may have heart attacks as a result of the circumstances
of their detainments.
The Associated Press carried the story
of the ACLU charges on their wire service. However, a thorough
check of LexisNexis and ProQuest electronic data bases, using
the keywords ACLU and autopsy, showed that at least 95 percent
of the daily papers in the U.S. did not bother to pick up the
story. The Los Angeles Times covered the story on page A4 with
a 635-word report headlined "Autopsies Support Abuse Allegations."
Fewer than a dozen other daily newspapers including: Bangor Daily
News, Maine, page 8; Telegraph-Herald, Dubuque, Iowa, page 6;
Charleston Gazette, page 5; Advocate, Baton Rouge, page 11; and
a half dozen others actually covered the story. The Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette and the Seattle Times buried the story inside general
Iraq news articles. USA Today posted the story on their website.
MSNBC posted the story to their website, but apparently did not
consider it newsworthy enough to air on television. _Janis Karpinski,
U.S. Brigadier General Commander of the 800th Military Police
Brigade, was in charge of seventeen prison facilities in Iraq
during the Abu Ghraib scandal in 2003. Karpinski testified January
21, 2006 in New York City at the International Commission of Inquiry
on Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush administration.
Karpinski stated: "General [Ricardo] Sanchez [commander of
coalition ground forces in Iraq] signed the eight-page memorandum
authorizing a laundry list of harsh techniques in interrogations
to include specific use of dogs and muzzled dogs with his specific
permission." Karpinski went on to claim that Major General
Geoffrey Miller, who had been "specifically selected by the
Secretary of Defense to go to Guantanamo Bay and run the interrogations
operations," was dispatched to Iraq by the Bush administration
to "work with the military intelligence personnel to teach
them new and improved interrogation techniques." When asked
how far up the chain of command responsibility for the torture
orders for Abu Ghraib went, Karpinski said, "The Secretary
of Defense would not have authorized without the approval of the
UPDATE BY DAHR JAMAIL_This story, published
in March 2006, was merely a snapshot of the ongoing and worsening
policy of the Bush administration regarding torture. And not just
time, but places show snapshots of the criminal policy of the
current administration-Iraq, like Guantánamo Bay, Cuba,
Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, and other "secret"
U.S. military detention centers in Eastern European countries
are physical examples of an ongoing policy which breaches both
international law and our very constitution.
But breaking international and domestic
law has not been a concern of an administration led by a "president"
who has claimed "authority" to disobey over 750 laws
passed by Congress. In fact, when this same individual does things
like signing a secret order in 2002 which authorized the National
Security Agency to violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Act by wiretapping the phones of U.S. citizens, and then goes
on to allow the secret collection of the telephone records of
tens of millions of Americans, torture is but one portion of this
corrupted picture. This is a critical ongoing story, not just
because it violates international and domestic law, but this state-sanctioned
brutality, bankrupt of any morality and decency, is already coming
back home to haunt Americans. When U.S. soldiers are captured
in Iraq or another foreign country, what basis does the U.S. have
now to ask for their fair and humane treatment? And with police
brutality and draconian "security" measures becoming
more real within the U.S. with each passing day, why wouldn't
these policies be visited upon U.S. citizens?
While torture is occasionally glimpsed
by mainstream media outlets such as the Washington Post and Time
Magazine, we must continue to rely on groups like the Center for
Constitutional Rights in New York City, Human Rights Watch, and
Amnesty International who cover the subject thoroughly, persistently,
and unlike (of course) any corporate media outlets._Since I wrote
this story, there continues to be a deluge of information and
proof of the Bush administration continuing and even widening
their policy of torture, as well as their rendering prisoners
to countries which have torturing human beings down to a science.
All of this, despite the fact that U.S.
laws prohibit torture absolutely, clearly stating that torture
is never, ever permitted, even in a time of war.
To stay current on this critical topic,
please visit the following websites regularly:_http://www.amnesty.org/_http://www.hrw.org/_http://www.ccr-ny.org/v2/home.asp
The World Bank Funds Israel-Palestine
Left Turn Issue #18_Title: "Cementing
Israeli Apartheid: The Role of World Bank"_Author: Jamal
Al-Jazeerah, March 9, 2005_Title: "US
Free Trade Agreements Split Arab Opinion"_Author: Linda Heard
Community Evaluator: April Hurley, MD_Student
Researchers: Bailey Malone and Lisa Dobias
Despite the 2004 International Court of
Justice (ICJ) decision that called for tearing down the Wall and
compensating affected communities, construction of the Wall has
accelerated. The route of the barrier runs deep into Palestinian
territory, aiding the annexation of Israeli settlements and the
breaking of Palestinian territorial continuity. The World Bank's
vision of "economic development," however, evades any
discussion of the Wall's illegality._The World Bank has meanwhile
outlined the framework for a Palestinian Middle East Free Trade
Area (MEFTA) policy in their most recent report on Palestine published
in December of 2004, "Stagnation or Revival: Israeli Disengagement
and Palestinian Economic Prospects."_Central to World Bank
proposals are the construction of massive industrial zones to
be financed by the World Bank and other donors and controlled
by the Israeli Occupation. Built on Palestinian land around the
Wall, these industrial zones are envisaged as forming the basis
of export-orientated economic development. Palestinians imprisoned
by the Wall and dispossessed of land can be put to work for low
wages._The post-Wall MEFTA vision includes complete control over
Palestinian movement. The report proposes high-tech military gates
and checkpoints along the Wall, through which Palestinians and
exports can be conveniently transported and controlled. A supplemental
"transfer system" of walled roads and tunnels will allow
Palestinian workers to be funneled to their jobs, while being
simultaneously denied access to their land. Sweatshops will be
one of very few possibilities of earning a living for Palestinians
confined to disparate ghettos throughout the West Bank. The World
"In an improved operating environment,
Palestinian entrepreneurs and foreign investors will look for
well-serviced industrial land and supporting infrastructure. They
will also seek a regulatory regime with a minimum of 'red tape'
and with clear procedures for conducting business. Industrial
Estates (IEs), particularly those on the border between Palestinian
and Israeli territory, can fulfill this need and thereby play
an important role in supporting export based growth."
Jamal Juma' notes that the "red tape"
which the World Bank refers to can be presumed to mean trade unions,
a minimum wage, good working conditions, environmental protection,
and other workers' rights that will be more flexible than the
ones in the "developed" world. The World Bank explicitly
states that current wages of Palestinians are too high for the
region and "compromise the international competitiveness"
even though wages are only a quarter of the average in Israel.
Juma' warns that on top of a military occupation and forced expulsion,
Palestinians are to be subjects of an economic colonialism. _These
industrial zones will clearly benefit Israel abroad where goods
"Made in Palestine" have more favorable trade conditions
in international markets. IPS reporter Emad Mekay, in February
2005, revealed the World Bank's plan to partially fund Palestinian
MEFTA infrastructure with loans to Palestine. Israel is not eligible
for World Bank lending because of its high per capita income,
but Palestine is. Mekay quotes Terry Walz of the Washington-based
Council for the National Interest, a group that monitors U.S.
and international policy towards Israel and the Palestinians:
"I must admit that making the Palestinians pay for the modernization
of these checkpoints is an embarrassment, since they had nothing
to do with the erection of the separation wall to begin with and
in fact have protested it. I think the whole issue is extremely
murky."1 _Mekay goes on to note that this is the first time
the World Bank appears ready to get actively involved in the Israeli
occupation of Palestinian land. Former World Bank president James
Wolfensohn rejected this possibility last year. Neo-conservative
Paul Wolfowitz was, however, confirmed as president of the World
Bank on June 1, 2005. _In breach of the ICJ ruling, the U.S. has
already contributed $50 million to construct gates along the Wall
to "help serve the needs of Palestinians."_Linda Heard
reports for Al-Jazeerah that the U.S. is currently pushing for
bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with various Arab states,
including members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as part
of a vision for a larger Middle East Free Trade Agreement. President
Bush hopes the MEFTA will encompass some twenty regional countries,
including Israel, and be fully consolidated by 2013._Many in the
region are suspicious of the divisive trend of bilateral agreements
with the U.S. and worry that the GCC will end up with small, fragmented
satellite economies without any leverage against world giants.
Prince Saud Al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, stated, "It
is alarming to see some members of the GCC enter into separate
agreements with international powers . . . They diminish the collective
bargaining power and weaken not only the solidarity of the GCC
as a whole, but also each of its members."
Note _1. Emad Mekay, "World Bank
and U.S.: Palestinians Should Pay for Israeli Checkpoints,"
IPS, February 25, 2005.
UPDATE BY JAMAL JUMA'_" Cementing
Israeli Apartheid: The Role of the World Bank" was written
last summer as part of Stop the Wall's campaign efforts to widen
attention of those horrified by the construction of the 700 km
long wall around Palestinian cities and villages. It aimed to
expose the vicious mechanism of control, exploitation, and dispossession
devised by the Occupation, but moreover the activities of the
international community in safeguarding the Wall and making Palestinian
ghettos sustainable. _It opens a chapter in a story that no one
wants to hear: the globalization of apartheid in the Occupation
of Palestine. Zionism has its own racist interest in ghettoizing
4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and securing
the judaization of Jerusalem. It ensures a Jewish demographic
majority and ethnic supremacy over as much of Palestine as possible,
working against all UN resolutions and the recent ICJ ruling on
the Wall. _Within this project it finds allies in the international
community keen to exploit cheap Palestinian labor locked behind
Walls and gates. The degree to which Zionism and the international
community-headed by the World Bank-work together with the aim
of controlling every aspect of Palestinian life has become increasingly
evident since the Left Turn article. _The Palestinian Authority's
(PA) role is reduced to the administrators of the Bantustans.
The Palestinian people resoundingly said no to Bantustans at the
ballot boxes last January._While the Bank's initial responsibility
was to devise economic policies for the sustainability of a Palestinian
Bantu-State, the institution is now facilitating efforts to ensure
that Palestinians cannot interfere in the plans of the Occupation
and the international community. The World Bank is gearing up
to take over the payrolls of various Palestinian institutions,
should the PA not comply with Zionist and global interests. _While
global IFIs meticulously plan the financial and material survival
and political control of the ghettos, Ehud Olmert offers the slogan
of "Final Borders" to describe the project. In legitimizing
the Wall, annexing Jerusalem, increasing the number of settlers,
and denying the mere existence of the refugees, Olmert finds a
willing accomplice in the Bank and its policy makers in Washington,
who look to cash in on the Bantu-State._The Palestinian people
will never accept the plan, so it is hoped that they will be starved
into it. But we will not kneel down. After dozens of massacres,
killings, arrests, and almost sixty years of life in the Diaspora,
surrender is too high a price to pay. We are not asking for outside
institutions to provide us with bread, but to comply with their
duties under international law and support our struggle for justice
and liberation._None of the horrific realities of life in Palestine
are apparent in the headlines and doublespeak of mass media and
international diplomacy, where our ghettoization is called "state-building."
International complicity with Israeli apartheid is dressed up
as "humanitarian aid." Palestinians are supposed to
be grateful for gates in the Wall so they can be funneled between
ghettos. _Just like Olmert's schemes with the White House, the
media shuns and neglects the rights and voices of Palestinians.
Neither the daily killing of our people, nor the destruction of
our homes, the dispossession of our farmers, or the sufferings
of 6 million refugees make headlines. The consumers of mainstream
media outlets are left to discuss the diatribe of "peace"
and "borders," disputed between the protagonists of
our oppression, while the racism, ethnic cleansing, and ghettoization
More information on the issue is to be
found at our website: http://www.stopthewall.org
Expanded Air War in Iraq Kills More Civilians
The New Yorker, December 2005_Title: "Up
in the Air"_Author: Seymour M. Hersh
Tomdispatch, December 2005_Title: "An
Increasingly Aerial Occupation"_Author: Dahr Jamail
Community Evaluator: Robert Manning_Student
Researcher: Brian Fuchs
There is widespread speculation that President
Bush, confronted by diminishing approval ratings and dissent within
his own party as well as within the military itself, will begin
pulling American troops out of Iraq in 2006. A key element of
the drawdown plans not mentioned in the President's public statements,
or in mainstream media for that matter, is that the departing
American troops will be replaced by American airpower.
"We're not planning to diminish the
war," Seymour Hersh quotes Patrick Clawson, the deputy director
of the Washington Institute, whose views often mirror those of
Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. "We just want to change
the mix of the forces doing the fighting-Iraqi infantry with American
support and greater use of airpower."
While battle fatigue increases among U.S.
troops, the prospect of using airpower as a substitute for American
troops on the ground has caused great unease within the military.
Air Force commanders, in particular, have deep-seated objections
to the possibility that Iraqis will eventually be responsible
for target selection. Hersh quotes a senior military planner now
on assignment in the Pentagon, "Will the Iraqis call in air
strikes in order to snuff rivals, or other warlords, or to snuff
members of their own sect and blame someone else? Will some Iraqis
be targeting on behalf of al-Qaeda, or the insurgency, or the
Dahr Jamail reports that the statistics
gleaned from U.S. Central Command Air Forces (CENTAF) indicate
a massive rise in the number of U.S. air missions-996 sorties-in
Iraq in the month of November 2005. _The size of this figure naturally
begs the question, where are such missions being flown and what
is their size and nature? It's important to note as well that
"air war" does not simply mean U.S. Air Force. Carrier-based
Navy and Marine aircraft flew over 21,000 hours of missions and
dropped over twenty-six tons of ordnance in Fallujah alone during
the November 2004 siege of that city.
Visions of a frightful future in Iraq
should not overshadow the devastation already caused by present
levels of American air power loosed, in particular, on heavily
populated urban areas of that country. The tactic of using massively
powerful 500 and 1,000 pound bombs in urban areas to target small
pockets of resistance fighters has, in fact, long been employed
in Iraq. No intensification of the air war is necessary to make
it commonplace. Jamail's article provides a broad overview of
the air power arsenals being used against the people of Iraq.
A serious study of violence to civilians
in Iraq by a British medical journal, The Lancet, released in
October 2004, estimated that 85 percent of all violent deaths
in Iraq are generated by coalition forces (see Censored 2006,
Story #2). 95 percent of reported killings (all attributed to
U.S. forces by interviewees) were caused by helicopter gunships,
rockets, or other forms of aerial weaponry.1 While no significant
scientific inquiry has been carried out in Iraq recently, Iraqi
medical personnel, working in areas where U.S. military operations
continue, report that they feel the "vast majority"
of civilian deaths are the result of actions by the occupation
Given the U.S. air power already being
applied largely in Iraq's cities and towns, the prospect of increasing
it is chilling indeed. As to how this might benefit the embattled
Bush administration, Jamail quotes U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel
"Shifting the mechanism of the destruction
of Iraq from soldiers and Marines to distant and safer air power
would be successful in several ways. It would reduce the negative
publicity value of maimed American soldiers and Marines, would
bring a portion of our troops home and give the Army a necessary
operational break. It would increase Air Force and Naval budgets,
and line defense contractor pockets. By the time we figure out
that it isn't working to make oil more secure or to allow Iraqis
to rebuild a stable country, the Army will have recovered and
can be redeployed in force."
Note_1. Les Roberts, et al., "Mortality
Before and After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq," The Lancet,
October 29, 2004.
UPDATE BY DAHR JAMAIL_Eleven days after
this story about the lack of reportage in the corporate media
about the U.S. military's increasing use of air power in Iraq,
the Washington Post ran a story about how U.S. air strikes were
taking an increasing toll on civilians. Aside from that story,
the Washington Post, along with the New York Times, remain largely
mute on the issue, despite the fact that the U.S. use of air strikes
in Iraq has now become the norm rather than being used in contingencies,
as they were in the first year of the occupation. Needless to
say, corporate media television coverage has remained the same
as it did prior to the publishing of this story-they prefer to
portray a U.S. occupation of Iraq sans warplanes dropping bombs
in civilian neighborhoods.
This story remains a critical issue when
one evaluates the occupation of Iraq, for the number of civilians
dying, now possibly as high as 300,000 according to Les Roberts,
one of the authors of the famous Lancet Report, only continues
to escalate. This is, of course, due in large part to U.S. war
planes and helicopters dropping bombs and missiles into urban
areas in various Iraqi cities.
It is also important when one looks at
the fact that more than 82 percent of Iraqis now vehemently oppose
the occupation, because one of the biggest recruiting tools for
the Iraqi resistance is U.S. bombs and missiles killing the innocent.
Years from now when a corporate media outlet decides to break
down and acknowledge that the level of anti-American sentiment
in Iraq is as high (or higher) than it is anywhere in the world,
and asks the mindless question, "Why do they hate us?"
one will only need to look towards the indiscriminate use of air
power on the Iraqi population._This story was not difficult to
write for two reasons: the first was that any reporter in Iraq
with eyes and ears knows there is a vast amount of air power being
projected by the U.S. military. Secondly, thanks to the Internet,
statistics on sorties are readily available to anyone willing
to look. Googling "CENTAF" brings up several "Air
Power Summary" reports, where one is able to find how many
missions, and what type, are being flown each month in Iraq, as
well as other countries.
To monitor the number of Iraqi civilians
being killed by these missions, along with other deaths caused
by the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the Iraqi Mortality Survey published
in the prestigious British Lancet medical journal, albeit eighteen
months out of date and a highly conservative estimate by the authors
admission, remains by far and away the most accurate to date.
One thing is for certain, and that is
the longer the failed U.S. occupation of Iraq persists, the more
U.S. air power will be used-a scenario that closely resembles
that of the shameful Vietnam War.
Pentagon Plans to Build New Landmines
Inter Press Service, August 3, 2005_Title:
"After 10-Year Hiatus, Pentagon Eyes New Landmine"_Author:
Human Rights Watch website, August 2005_Title:
"Development and Production of Landmines"
Faculty Evaluator: Scott Suneson_Student
Researchers: Rachel Barry and Matt Frick
The Bush administration plans to resume
production of antipersonnel landmine systems in a move that is
at odds with both the international community and previous U.S.
policy, according to the leading human rights organization, Human
Rights Watch (HRW).
Nearly every nation has endorsed the goal
of a global ban on antipersonnel mines. In 1994 the U.S. called
for the "eventual elimination" of all such mines, and
in 1996 President Bill Clinton said the U.S. would "seek
a worldwide agreement as soon as possible to end the use of all
antipersonnel mines." The U.S. produced its last antipersonnel
landmine in 1997. It had been the stated objective of the U.S.
government to eventually join the 145 countries signatory to the
1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which bans the use, production, exporting,
and stockpiling of antipersonnel landmines. _The Bush administration,
however, made an about-face in U.S. antipersonnel landmine policy
in February 2004, when it abandoned any plan to join the Mine
Ban Treaty, also known as the Ottawa Convention. "The United
States will not join the Ottawa Convention because its terms would
have required us to give up a needed military capability,"
the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military announced,
summing up the administration's new policy, "The United States
will continue to develop non-persistent anti-personnel and anti-tank
HRW reports that, "New U.S. landmines
will have a variety of ways of being initiated, both command-detonation
(that is, when a soldier decides when to explode the mine, sometimes
called 'man-in-the-loop') and traditional victim-activation. A
mine that is designed to be exploded by the presence, proximity,
or contact of a person (i.e., victim-activation) is prohibited
under the International Mine Ban Treaty."
To sidestep international opposition,
the Pentagon proposes development of the "Spider" system,
which consists of a control unit capable of monitoring up to eighty-four
hand-placed, unattended munitions that deploy a web of tripwires
across an area. Once a wire is touched, a man-in-the-loop control
system allows the operator to activate the devices. _The Spider,
however, contains a "battlefield override" feature that
allows for circumvention of the man-in-the-loop, and activation
by the target (victim).
A Pentagon report to Congress stated,
"Target Activation is a software feature that allows the
man-in-the-loop to change the capability of a munition from requiring
action by an operator prior to being detonated, to a munition
that will be detonated by a target. The Chairman, Joint Chiefs
of Staff, and the Service Chiefs, using best military judgment,
feel that the man-in-the-loop system without this feature would
be insufficient to meet tactical operational conditions and electronic
The U.S. Army spent $135 million between
fiscal years 1999 and 2004 to develop Spider and another $11 million
has been requested to complete research and development. A total
of $390 million is budgeted to produce 1,620 Spider systems and
186,300 munitions. According to budget documents released in February
2005, the Pentagon requested $688 million for research on and
$1.08 billion for the production of new landmine systems between
fiscal years 2006 and 2011.
Steven Goose, Director of HRW Arms Division,
told Project Censored that Congress has required a report from
the Pentagon on the humanitarian consequences of the "battlefield
override" or victim-activated feature of these munitions
for review before approving funds. Though production was set for
December of 2005, Congress has not, as of June 2006, received
this preliminary Pentagon report.
If the Spider or similar mine munitions
systems move forward, a frightening precedence will be set. At
best the 145 signatories to the Ottawa Convention will be beholden
to the treaty, which forbids assistance in joint military operations
where landmines are being used. At worst, U.S. production will
legitimize international resumption of landmine proliferation.
Steven Goose warns, "If one doesn't
insist on a comprehensive ban on all types and uses of antipersonnel
mines, each nation will be able to claim unique requirements and
UPDATE BY ISAAC BAKER_Landmines are horrific
weapons. And, naturally, news stories about the terror they inflict
upon human beings-mainly civilians-are gritty and disturbing if
they are truthful. Especially when it's your own government that's
responsible._And given the mainstream media's typical service
to power, this story didn't make many headlines.
But the potential ramifications of the
U.S. government resuming production of landmines are overwhelming.
And since the average American can't depend on many media to inform
them of the horrific things their government is doing, concerned
people must take it upon themselves to put their government in
We all must ask ourselves: Do we want
our government-the body that theoretically represents we, the
people-spending millions upon millions of dollars on these destructive
weapons? Are we comfortable with sitting back and letting our
government produce weapons that kill and maim civilians?
Or will we coalesce and let the powerful
know that we will not stand for this gross disregard for human
life and international opinion?
It's our responsibility to stop the abuses
of power in our country. And if we do not confront our government
on this issue, I believe, the blood of the innocents will be on
all of our hands.
For more information on how to get involved
please visit: http://www.hrw.org and http://www.banminesusa.org
Ecuador and Mexico Defy US on International
Sources:_Agence France Press News (School
of the Americas Watch), June 22, 2005_Title: "Ecuador Refuses
to Sign ICC Immunity Deal for US Citizens"_Author: Alexander
Inter Press Service, November 2, 2005_Title:
"Mexico Defies Washington on the International Criminal Court"
_Author: Katherine Stapp
Faculty Evaluator: Elizabeth Martinez_Student
Researchers: Jessica Rodas, David Abbott, and Charlene Jones__Ecuador
and Mexico have refused to sign bilateral immunity agreements
(BIA) with the U.S., in ratification of the International Criminal
Court (ICC) treaty. Despite the Bush administration's threat to
withhold economic aid, both countries confirmed allegiance to
the ICC, the international body established to try individuals
accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
On June 22, 2005 Ecuador's president,
Alfredo Palacios, vocalized emphatic refusal to sign a BIA (also
known as an Article 98 agreement to the Rome Statute of the ICC)
in spite of Washington's threat to withhold $70 million a year
in military aid.
Mexico, having signed the Rome Statute,
which established the ICC in 2000, formally ratified the treaty
on October 28, 2005, making it the 100th nation to join the ICC.
As a consequence of ratifying the ICC without a U.S. immunity
agreement, Mexico stands to lose millions of dollars in U.S. aid-including
$11.5 million to fight drug trafficking._On September 29, 2005
the U.S. State Department reported that it had secured 100 "immunity
agreements," although less than a third have been ratified.
"Our ultimate goal is to conclude
Article 98 agreements with every country in the world, regardless
of whether they have signed or ratified the ICC, regardless of
whether they intend to in the future," said John Bolton,
former U.S. Undersecretary for Arms Control and current U.S. ambassador
to the United Nations-and one of the ICC's staunchest opponents.
The U.S. effort to undermine the ICC was
given teeth in 2002, when the U.S. Congress adopted the American
Servicemembers' Protection Act (ASPA), which contains provisions
restricting U.S. cooperation with the ICC by making U.S. support
of UN peacekeeping missions largely contingent on achieving impunity
for all U.S. personnel._The ASPA prohibits U.S. military assistance
to ICC member states that have not signed a BIA.
Legislation far more wide-reaching, however,
was signed into law by President Bush on December 2004. The Nethercutt
Amendment authorizes the loss of Economic Support Funds (ESF)
to countries, including many key U.S. allies, that have not signed
a BIA. Threatened under the Nethercutt Amendment are: funds for
international security and counterterrorism efforts, peace process
programs, antidrug-trafficking initiatives, truth and reconciliation
commissions, wheelchair distribution, human rights programs, economic
and democratic development, and HIV/Aids education, among others.
The Nethercutt Amendment was readopted by the U.S. Congress in
In spite of severe U.S. pressure, fifty-three
members of the ICC have refused to sign BIAs.
Katherine Stapp asserts that if Washington
follows through on threats to slash aid to ICC member states,
it risks further alienating key U.S. allies and drawing attention
to its own increasingly shaky human rights record. "There
will be a price to be paid by the U.S. government in terms of
its credibility," Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights
Watch's International Justice Program, told IPS.\But criticism
of the administration's hard line has also come from unlikely
Testifying before Congress in March, Gen.
Bantz J. Craddock, the commander of U.S. military forces in Latin
America, complained that the sanctions had excluded Latin American
officers from U.S. training programs and could allow China, which
has been seeking military ties with Latin America, to fill the
"We now risk losing contact and interoperability
with a generation of military classmates in many nations of the
region, including several leading countries," Craddock told
the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Experts say it is particularly notable
that Mexico, which sells 88 percent of its exports in the U.S.
market, is defying pressure from Washington.
"It's exactly because of the geographic
and trade proximity between Mexico and the United States that
Mexico's ratification takes on greater significance in terms of
how isolated the U.S. government is in its attitude toward the
ICC," Dicker told IPS.
Notes_1. "Overview of the United
States' Opposition to the International Criminal Court,"
UPDATE BY KATHERINE STAPP_As noted by
Amnesty International, the United States is the only nation in
the world that is actively opposed to the International Criminal
Court (ICC). However, more and more countries appear to be resisting
pressure to exempt U.S. nationals from the court's jurisdiction.
Since the time of my writing, the number of "bilateral immunity
agreements," or BIAs, garnered by Washington has remained
the same: 100, of which only twenty-one have been ratified by
parliaments, while another eighteen are considered "executive
agreements" that purportedly do not require ratification.
Only thirteen states parties to the ICC (out of 100) have ratified
BIAs with the United States, while eight others have reportedly
entered into executive agreements. In the past two years, only
four countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have signed
BIAs, also known as Article 98 agreements.
Some key figures in the Bush administration
have recently expressed doubts about the wisdom of withholding
aid from friendly countries that refuse to sign. At a March 10
briefing, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice likened the BIAs
to "sort of the same as shooting ourselves in the foot .
. . by having to put off aid to countries with which we have important
counter-terrorism or counter-drug or in some cases, in some of
our allies, it's even been cooperation in places like Afghanistan
Bantz Craddock, head of the U.S. Southern
Command, remains a vocal critic of the American Servicemembers'
Protection Act (ASPA) sanctions, noting in testimony before the
House Armed Services Committee on March 16 that eleven Latin American
nations have now been barred under ASPA from receiving International
Military Education and Training funds. These include Brazil, Bolivia,
Ecuador, and Mexico.
"Decreasing engagement opens the
door for competing nations and outside political actors who may
not share our democratic principles to increase interaction and
influence within the region," he noted.
And in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review
Report published on February 6, the Defense Department said it
will consider whether ASPA restrictions on "foreign assistance
programs pertaining to security and the war on terror necessitate
adjustment as we continue to advance the aims of the ASPA."
Meanwhile, a May 11 poll by the University
of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes found
that a bipartisan majority of the U.S. public (69 percent) believes
that the U.S. should not be given special exceptions when it becomes
a party to human rights treaties. 60 percent explicitly support
U.S. participation in the ICC.
Mexico has stood firm in its refusal to
sign a BIA, with the Mexican Parliament's Lower Chamber stating
that immunity is not allowed under the Rome Statute that establishes
the ICC. As a result, $3.6 million in military aid has been frozen,
and further International Military Exchange Training aid cut to
zero in the administration's proposed 2007 budget request. The
country also stands to lose more than $11 million from the Economic
Support Fund (ESF).
Other countries currently threatened with
aid cuts include Bolivia, which could lose 96 percent of its U.S.
military aid, and Kenya, which could lose $8 million in ESF aid.
More information can be found at:_Citizens
for Global Solutions (http://www.globalsolutions.org/programs/law_justice/icc/icc_home.html);
Coalition for the International Criminal Court (http://www.iccnow.org/?mod=bia);
The American Non-Governmental Organisations Coalition for the
International Criminal Court (http://www.amicc.org/); Washington
Working Group on the International Criminal Court (http://www.usaforicc.org/wicc/)
Physicist Challenges Official 9-11 Story
Sources:_Deseret Morning News, November
10, 2005_Title: "Y. Professor Thinks Bombs, Not Planes, Toppled
WTC" _Author: Elaine Jarvik
Brigham Young University website, Winter
2005_Title: "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?"
_Author: Steven E. Jones
Deseret Morning News, January 26, 2006_Title:
"BYU professor's group accuses U.S. officials of lying about
9/11" _Author: Elaine Jarvik
Faculty Evaluator: John Kramer_Student
Researchers: David Abbott and Courtney Wilcox
Research into the events of September
11 by Brigham Young University physics professor, Steven E. Jones,
concludes that the official explanation for the collapse of the
World Trade Center (WTC) buildings is implausible according to
laws of physics. Jones is calling for an independent, international
scientific investigation "guided not by politicized notions
and constraints but rather by observations and calculations."
In debunking the official explanation
of the collapse of the three WTC buildings, Jones cites the complete,
rapid, and symmetrical collapse of the buildings; the horizontal
explosions (squibs) evidenced in films of the collapses; the fact
that the antenna dropped first in the North Tower, suggesting
the use of explosives in the core columns; and the large pools
of molten metal observed in the basement areas of both towers.
Jones also investigated the collapse of
WTC 7, a forty-seven-story building that was not hit by planes,
yet dropped in its own "footprint," in the same manner
as a controlled demolition. WTC 7 housed the U.S. Secret Service,
the Department of Defense, the Immigration and Naturalization
Service, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Mayor's
Office of Emergency Management, the Internal Revenue Service Regional
Council, and the Central Intelligence Agency. Many of the records
from the Enron accounting scandal were destroyed when the building
Jones claims that the National Institutes
of Standards and Technology (NIST) ignored the physics and chemistry
of what happened on September 11 and even manipulated its testing
in order to get a computer-generated hypothesis that fit the end
result of collapse, and did not even attempt to investigate the
possibility of controlled demolition. He also questions the investigations
conducted by FEMA and the 9/11 Commission.
Among the report's other findings:
0. No steel-frame building, before or
after the WTC buildings, has ever collapsed due to fire. But explosives
can effectively sever steel columns.
0. WTC 7, which was not hit by hijacked planes, collapsed in 6.6
seconds, just .6 of a second longer than it would take an object
dropped from the roof to hit the ground. "Where is the delay
that must be expected due to conservation of momentum, one of
the foundational laws of physics?" Jones asks. "That
is, as upper-falling floors strike lower floors-and intact steel
support columns-the fall must be significantly impeded by the
0. How do the upper floors fall so quickly, then, and still conserve
momentum in the collapsing buildings?" The paradox, he says,
"is easily resolved by the explosive demolition hypothesis,
whereby explosives quickly removed lower-floor material, including
steel support columns, and allow near free-fall-speed collapses."
These observations were not analyzed by FEMA, NIST, or the 9/11
0. With non-explosive-caused collapse there would typically be
a piling up of shattered concrete. But most of the material in
the towers was converted to flour-like powder while the buildings
were falling. "How can we understand this strange behavior,
without explosives? Remarkable, amazing-and demanding scrutiny
since the U.S. government-funded reports failed to analyze this
0. Steel supports were "partly evaporated," but it would
require temperatures near 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit to evaporate
steel-and neither office materials nor diesel fuel can generate
temperatures that hot. Fires caused by jet fuel from the hijacked
planes lasted at most a few minutes, and office material fires
would burn out within about twenty minutes in any given location.
0. Molten metal found in the debris of the WTC may have been the
result of a high-temperature reaction of a commonly used explosive
such as thermite. Buildings not felled by explosives "have
insufficient directed energy to result in melting of large quantities
of metal," Jones says.
0. Multiple loud explosions in rapid sequence were reported by
numerous observers in and near the towers, and these explosions
occurred far below the region where the planes struck.
In January 2006 Jones, along with a group calling themselves "Scholars
for 9/11 Truth," called for an international investigation
into the attacks and are going so far as to accuse the U.S. government
of a massive cover-up._"We believe that senior government
officials have covered up crucial facts about what really happened
on September 11," the group said in a statement. "We
believe these events may have been orchestrated by the administration
in order to manipulate the American people into supporting policies
at home and abroad."
The group is headed by Jones and Jim Fetzer,
University of Minnesota Duluth distinguished McKnight professor
of philosophy, and is made up of fifty academicians and experts
including Robert M. Bowman, former director of the U.S. "Star
Wars" space defense program, and Morgan Reynolds, former
chief economist for the Department of Labor in President George
W. Bush's first term.
US Military in Paraguay Threatens Region
Sources:_Upside Down World, October 5,
2005_Title: "Fears mount as US opens new military installation
in Paraguay" _Author: Benjamin Dangl
Foreign Policy in Focus, November 21,
2005_Title: "Dark Armies, Secret Bases, and Rummy, Oh My!"_By
International Relations Center, December
14, 2005_Title: US Military Moves in Paraguay Rattle Regional
Relations"_Sam Logan and Matthew Flynn
Faculty Evaluator: Patricia Kim-Ragal_Student
Researchers: Nick Ramirez and Deyango Harris
Five hundred U.S. troops arrived in Paraguay
with planes, weapons, and ammunition in July 2005, shortly after
the Paraguayan Senate granted U.S. troops immunity from national
and International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction. Neighboring
countries and human rights organizations are concerned that the
massive air base at Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay is potential
real estate for the U.S. military.
While U.S. and Paraguayan officials vehemently
deny ambitions to establish a U.S. military base at Mariscal Estigarribia,
the ICC immunity agreement and U.S. counterterrorism training
exercises have increased suspicions that the U.S. is building
a stronghold in a region that is strategic to resource and military
The Mariscal Estigarribia air base is
within 124 miles of Bolivia and Argentina, and 200 miles from
Brazil, near the Triple Frontier where Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina
meet. Bolivia's natural gas reserves are the second largest in
South America, while the Triple Frontier region is home to the
Guarani Aquifer, one of the world's largest fresh water sources.
(See Story #20.)
Not surprisingly, U.S. rhetoric is building
about terrorist threats in the triborder region. Dangl reports
claims by Defense officials that Hezbollah and Hamas, radical
Islamic groups from the Middle East, receive significant funding
from the Triple Frontier, and that growing unrest in this region
could leave a political "black hole" that would erode
other democratic efforts. Dangl notes that in spite of frequent
attempts to link terror networks to the triborder area, there
is little evidence of a connection.
The base's proximity to Bolivia may cause
even more concern. Bolivia has a long history of popular protest
against U.S. exploitation of its vast natural gas reserves. But
the resulting election of leftist President Evo Morales, who on
May 1, 2006 signed a decree nationalizing all of Bolivia's gas
reserves, has certainly intensified hostilities with the U.S.1_When
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Paraguay in August
of 2005, he told reporters that, "there certainly is evidence
that both Cuba and Venezuela have been involved in the situation
in Bolivia in unhelpful ways." _Military analysts from Uruguay
and Bolivia maintain that the threat of terrorism is often used
by the U.S. as an excuse for military intervention and the monopolization
of natural resources.
A journalist writing for the Argentinian
newspaper, Clarin, visited the base at Mariscal Estigarribia and
reported it to be in perfect condition. Capable of handling large
military planes, it is oversized for the Paraguayan air force,
which only has a handful of small aircraft. The base is capable
of housing 16,000 troops, has an enormous radar system, huge hangars,
and an air traffic control tower. The airstrip itself is larger
than the one at the international airport in Asuncion, Paraguay's
capital. Near the base is a military camp that has recently grown
Hallinan notes that Paraguay's neighbors
are very skeptical of the situation, as there is a disturbing
resemblance between U.S. denials about Mariscal Estigarribia and
the disclaimers made by the Pentagon about Eloy Alfaro airbase
in Manta, Ecuador. The U.S. claimed the Manta base was a "dirt
strip" used for weather surveillance. When local journalists
revealed its size, however, the U.S. admitted the base harbored
thousands of mercenaries and hundreds of U.S. troops, and Washington
had signed a ten-year basing agreement with Ecuador. (See Chapter
2, Story #17, for similarities between the Manta air base in Ecuador,
and the current situation unfolding in Paraguay.)
As Paraguay breaks ranks with her neighbors
by allowing the U.S. to carry out military operations in the heart
of South America, Logan and Flynn report that nongovernmental
organizations in Paraguay are protesting the new U.S. military
presence in their country, warning that recent moves could be
laying the foundation for increasing U.S. presence and influence
over the entire region. Perhaps the strongest words come from
the director of the Paraguayan human rights organization Peace
and Justice Service, Orlando Castillo, who claims that the U.S.
aspires to turn Paraguay into a "second Panama for its troops,
and it is not far from achieving its objective to control the
Southern Cone and extend the Colombian War."
Note_1. "Bolivian Gas War,"
http://www.Wikipedia.org, May 2006.
UPDATE BY BENJAMIN DANGL_The election
of Evo Morales in Bolivia in December of 2005 brought more attention
to the U.S. military presence in neighboring Paraguay. Since his
election, Morales has nationalized the country's gas reserves
and strengthened ties with Cuba and Venezuela to build a more
sustainable economy. Such policies have not been warmly received
in Washington. Responding to this progressive trend, on May 22,
2006 George Bush said he was "concerned about the erosion
of democracy" in Venezuela and Bolivia.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, himself
a victim of a U.S.-backed coup, said Bush's comments mean, "He's
already given the green light to start conspiring against the
democratic government of Bolivia." U.S. troops stationed
in Paraguay may be poised for such an intervention. However, human
rights reports suggest the U.S. military presence has already
resulted in bloodshed.
Paraguay is the fourth largest producer
of soy in the world. As this industry expands, poor farmers are
being forced off their lands. These farmers have organized protests,
road blockades and land occupations against this displacement
and have faced subsequent repression from military, police, and
Investigations by Servicio Paz y Justicia
(Serpaj), a human rights group in Paraguay, report that the worst
cases of repression against farmers took place in areas with the
highest concentration of U.S. troops. This violence resulted in
the deaths of forty-one farmers in three separate areas.
"The U.S. military is advising the
Paraguayan police and military about how to deal with these farmer
groups," Orlando Castillo of Serpaj told me over the phone.
He explained that U.S. troops monitor farmers to find information
about union organizations and leaders, then tell Paraguayan officials
how to proceed. "The numbers from our study show what this
U.S. presence is doing," Castillo said.
The U.S. government maintains the military
exercises in Paraguay are humanitarian efforts. However, the deputy
speaker of the Paraguayan parliament, Alejandro Velazquez Ugarte,
said that of the thirteen exercises going on in the country, only
two are of a civilian nature.
This presence is an example of the U.S.
government's "counter-insurgency" effort in Latin America.
Such meddling has a long, bloody history in the region. Currently,
the justification is the threat of terrorism instead of communism.
As Latin America shifts further away from Washington's interests,
such militarization is only likely to increase.
Throughout these recent military operations,
the U.S. corporate media, as well as Paraguayan media, have ignored
the story. Soccer, not dead farmers or plans for a coup, has been
the focus of most headlines.
For ongoing reports on the U.S. militarization
of Paraguay and elsewhere visit www.UpsideDownWorld.org, a website
on activism and politics in Latin America, and www.TowardFreedom.com.
Benjamin Dangl's book, The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social
Movements in Bolivia (forthcoming from AK Press, January 2007),
includes further investigations into the U.S. military operations
in Paraguay._Ideas for action include organizing protests and
writing letters to the U.S. embassy in Paraguay (www.asuncion.usembassy.gov).
For more information on international solidarity, email Orlando
Castillo at Serpaj in Paraguay: firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE BY CONN HALLINAN _My article was
written in late November 2005 during the run-up to the Bolivian
elections. That campaign featured indigenous leader Evo Morales,
a fierce critic of Washington's neoliberal, free trade policies
that have impoverished tens of millions throughout Latin America.
The Bush administration not only openly opposed Morales, it charged
there was a growing "terrorism" problem in the region
and began building up military forces in nearby Paraguay.
There have been a number of important
developments since last fall. Morales won the election and nationalized
Bolivia's petrochemical industry. In the past, such an action
might have triggered a U.S.-sponsored coup, or at least a crippling
economic embargo. Foreign oil and gas companies immediately tried
to drive a wedge between Bolivia and other nations in the region
by threatening to halt investments or pull out entirely. This
included companies partially owned by Brazil and Argentina.
But Latin America is a very different
place these days. Three days after the May 1, 2005 nationalization,
Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, Brazilian President Lula
De Silva, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and Morales met in
Puerto Iguazu and worked out an agreement to help Bolivia develop
its resources while preserving regional harmony. As a result,
it is now likely that foreign petrochemical companies will remain
in Bolivia, although they will pay up to four times as much as
they did under the old agreements. And if they leave, the Chinese
and Russians are waiting in the wings.
The situation is still delicate. U.S.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently compared Chavez to
Adolph Hitler and linked him to Cuba's Fidel Castro and Morales.
Aid is flowing to militaries in Colombia and Paraguay, and the
White House continues to use private proxies to intervene in the
Colombian civil war. While there is a growing solidarity among
nations in the southern cone, some of their economies are delicate.
Ecuador is presently wracked by demonstrations
demanding the expulsion of foreign oil companies and an end to
free trade talks with the U.S. This is an ongoing story. While
the alternative media continues to cover these developments, the
mainstream media has largely ignored them.
A note on reading the mainstream: the
Financial Times recently highlighted a Latinobarometro poll indicating
that most countries in South America were rejecting "democracy"
as a form of government. But since free markets and neoliberalism
were sold as "democracy"-economic policies that most
South Americans have overwhelmingly rejected-did the poll measure
an embrace of authoritarianism or a rejection of failed economic
policies? Tread carefully.
To stay informed of developments in this
area visit websites of School of the Americas Watch: http://www.soaw.org/new/
and Global Exchange: http://www.globalexchange.org/ or contact
Conn Hallinan at email@example.com