2003 Censored

Foreign Policy News Stories


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New Trade Treaty Seeks to Privatize Global Social Services

Source: THE ECOLOGIST, February 2001 Title: "The Last Frontier" Author: Maude Barlow

Faculty Evaluator: John Kramer. Student Researchers: Chris Salvano & Adria Cooper

Extensive international corporate media coverage including: TORONTO STAR, March 3, 2002; THE HERALD (Glasgow), February 27, 2002; THE HINDU, November 11, 2001; THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN, August 25, 2001; THE GAZETTE (Montreal), June 15, 2001; and THE FINANCIAL TIMES (London), October 19, 2000

A global trade agreement now being negotiated will seek to privatize nearly every government-provided public service and allow transnational corporations to run them for profit.

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is a proposed free-trade agreement that will attempt to liberalize/dismantle barriers that protect government-provided social services. These are social services bestowed by the government in the name of public welfare. The GATS was established in 1994, at the conclusion of the "Uruguay Round" of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). In 1995, the GATS agreement was adopted by the newly created World Trade Organization (WTO).

Corporations plan to use the GATS agreement to profit from the privatization of educational systems, health care systems, child care, energy and municipal water services, postal services, libraries, museums, and public transportation. If the GATS agreement is finalized, it will lock in a privatized, for-profit model for the global economy. GATS/WTO would make it illegal for a government with privatized services to ever return to a publicly owned, non-profit model. Any government that disobeys these WTO rulings will face sanctions. What used to be areas of common heritage like seed banks, air and water supplies, health care, and education will be commodified, privatized, and sold to the highest bidder on the open market. People who cannot afford these privatized services will be left out.

Services are the fastest growing sector of international trade. If GATS is implemented, corporations will reap windfall profits. Health care, education, and water services are the most potentially lucrative. Global expenditures on water services exceed $1 trillion each year, on education they exceed $2 trillion, and on health care they are over $3.5 trillion.

The WTO has hired a private company called the Global Division for Transnational Education to document policies that "discriminate against foreign education providers." The results of this 'study' will be used to pressure countries with public education systems to relinquish them to the global privatized marketplace.

The futures of accountability for public services and of sovereign law are at stake with the GATS decision. Foreign corporations will have the right to establish themselves in any GATS/WTO-controlled country and compete against non-profit or government institutions, such as schools and hospitals, for public funds.

The current round of GATS negotiations has identified three main priorities for future free-trade principles. First, GATS officials are pushing for "National Treatment" to be applied across the board. "National Treatment" would forbid governments from favoring their domestic companies over foreign-based companies. This idea already applies to certain services, but GATS will enforce it to include all services. This will create an expansion of megacorporate access to domestic markets and further diminish democratic accountability. The economically dominant Western countries would like to make it illegal for "developing" countries to reverse this exclusive access to their markets.

Second, GATS officials are seeking to place restrictions on domestic regulations. This would limit a government's ability to enact environmental, health, and other regulations and laws that hinder "free trade." The government would be required to demonstrate that its laws and regulations were necessary to achieve a WTO-sanctioned objective, and that no other commercially friendly alternative was available.

Third, negotiators are attempting to develop the expansion of "Commercial Presence" rules. These rules allow an investor in one GATS-controlled country to establish a presence in any other GATS country. The investor will not only be allowed to compete against private suppliers for business, but will also be allowed to compete against publicly funded institutions and services for public funds.

This potential expansion of GATS/WTO authority into the day-to-day business of governments will make it nearly impossible for citizens to exercise democratic control over the future of traditionally public services. One American trade official summed up the GATS/WTO process by saying, "Basically, it won't stop until foreigners finally start to think like Americans, act like Americans, and most of all shop like Americans."

UPDATE BY AUTHOR MAUDE BARLOW: The General Agreement on Trade in Services is the most far-reaching negotiation ever undertaken on the trade in services and will effect the lives of every human being on the planet. Yet very few people know that it is taking place. If the governments of the WTO are successful in coming to a substantive agreement, by 2005, services such as health care, water, culture and education, among many others, will be subject to the rules and disciplines of the WTO, and launched on an irreversible path to private control.

Since my original story was printed, negotiations in Geneva have intensified. By June 30, 2002, every country is to have submitted to every other country its wish list of services that it wants included in negotiations, and by March 31,2003, each country is to submit its responses. All of this is being done behind closed doors, so that citizens are left to guess what services their governments are trading away. However, civil society groups did secure a leaked copy of the country demands of the European Commission, and they are shocking. The EC's demands include all aspects of culture, including print and broadcasting, postal services, energy services, water, hydroelectricity, telecommunications, and pension funds, among others. In addition, at the December 2001, WTO Ministerial meeting in Doha, Qatar, a new provision was added that commits countries to take down "tariff and non-tariff barriers" to environmental services-including water.

The mainstream press has all but ignored this story. It is difficult to grasp and complicated to explain. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, and the ensuing war, it is even easier for governments, corporate lobby groups, and global institutions like the WTO to meet in total privacy, with very few enquiring journalists to deal with.

There is, however, excellent material on the GATS available. Public Citizen Alliance for Democracy, Friends of the Earth International, and Public Services International all have information available. Information can also be found at The Council of Canadians, <www.canadians.org>, Polaris Institute <www.polaris institute.org>, and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives <www.policy alternatives.ca>. <www.gatswatch.org>


United States' Policies in Colombia Support Mass Murder

Sources: COUNTERPUNCH, July 1-15, 2001 Title: "Blueprints for the Colombian War" Authors: Alexander Cockburn & Jeffrey St. Clair

ASHEVILLE GLOBAL REPORT, October 4, 2001 Title: "Colombian Army and Police Still Working With Paramilitaries" Author: Jim Lobe

STEELABOR, May/June 2001 Title: "Colombian Trade Unionists Need U.S. Help" Authors: Dan Kovalik & Gerald Dickey

RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH NEWS, December 7, 2000 Title: "Echoes of Vietnam" Author: Rachel Massey

Portions of this story were covered by the following mainstream U.S. sources: ABC's 20/20; The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report

Faculty Evaluators: Jorge Porras & Fred Fletcher. Student Researchers: Lauren Renison, Adam Cimino, Erik Wagle, & Gabrielle Mitchell.

Over the past two years, Colombia has been Washington's third largest recipient of foreign aid, behind only Israel and Egypt. In July of 2000, the U.S. Congress approved a $1.3 billion war package for Colombia to support President Pastrana's "Plan Colombia." Plan Colombia is a $7.5 billion counternarcotics initiative. In addition to this financial support, the U.S. also trains the Colombian military.

Colombia's annual murder rate is 30,000. It is reported that around 19,000 of these murders are linked to illegal right-wing paramilitary forces. Many leaders of these paramilitary groups were once officers in the Colombian military, trained at the U.S.-sponsored School of the Americas (SOA).

According to the Human Rights Watch Report, a 120-page report titled "The 'Sixth Division': Military-Paramilitary Ties and U.S. Policy in Colombia," Colombian armed forces and police continue to work closely with right-wing paramilitary groups. The government of President Pastrana and the U.S. administration have played down evidence of this cooperation. Author Jim Lobe says that Human Rights Watch holds the Pastrana Administration responsible for the current, violent situation because of its dramatic and costly failure to take prompt, effective control of security forces, break their persistent ties to paramilitary groups, and ensure respect for human rights.

Authors Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair contend that the war in Colombia isn't about drugs. It's about the annihilation of popular uprisings by Indian peasants fending off the ravages of oil companies, cattle barons, and mining firms. It is a counterinsurgency war, designed to clear the way for American corporations to set up shop in Colombia.

Cockburn and St. Clair examined two Defense Department commissioned reports, the RAND Report and a paper written by Gabriel Marcella, titled "Plan Colombia: The Strategic and Operational Imperatives." Both reports recommend that the U.S. step up its military involvement in Colombia. In addition, the reports make several admissions about the paramilitaries and their links to the drug trade, the human rights abuses by the U.S.-trained Colombian military, and the irrationality of crop fumigation.

Throughout these past two years, Colombian citizens have been the victims of human rights atrocities committed by the U.S.-trained Colombian military and linked paramilitaries. Trade unionists and human rights activists face murder, torture, and harassment. It is reported that Latin America remains the most dangerous place in the world for trade unionists. Since 1986, some 4,000 trade unionists have been murdered in Colombia. In 2000 alone, more trade unionists were killed in Colombia than in the whole world in 1999.

Another problem resulting from the Colombian "drug war" has been the health consequences of the U.S.-sponsored aerial fumigation. Since January 2001, Colombian aircraft have been spraying toxic herbicides over Colombian fields in order to kill opium poppy and coca plants. These sprayings are killing food crops that indigenous Colombians depend on for survival, as well as harming their health. The sprayings have killed fish, livestock, and have contaminated water supplies.

U.S. military aid is not improving conditions for the people of Colombia, but rather supporting a war against its citizens and those who are fighting for social justice. According to an American member of the international steelworker delegation, Jesse Isbell, who recently visited Columbia, "The U.S. says one thing to the American public when in reality it is [doing] something totally different. Our government portrays this as a drug war against cocaine, but all we are doing is keeping an ineffective government in power."


Truth is often the first casualty of war and the "war on drugs" is no exception. Clinton's endorsement of Plan Colombia and George W.'s expansion of U.S. support for the incompetent and corrupt government of Colombia has very little to do with the supply of cocaine, but has a lot to do with protecting American mining, oil, and logging interests in the region. Our support of Plan Colombia also involves us in a decades-long civil war between the haves and have-nots. Our allies include the paramilitary groups which have committed numerous atrocities. The resort to aerial spraying threatens other crops and the health of Colombian peasants and may increase the number of guerrillas. Given the nature of the conflict and the terrain, this policy risks another Vietnam.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR DAN KOVALIC: The story of trade union assassination portrayed in the article has played an important role in the attempt to expose U.S. military aid to Colombia for what it is-the support for right-wing counterinsurgents who are committing 80 percent of the human rights abuses in Colombia. These forces, the paramilitaries, are targeting mostly unarmed activists, such as trade unionists, peace activists, and human rights workers who are challenging the unjust social order in Colombia. This story of the anti-union violence in particular has helped to create unprecedented links between trade unionists and peace activists who are now working together to oppose U.S. military aid to Colombia.

Following this story, the USWA, along with the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF), brought lawsuits against both Coca-Cola and Drummond Company for their role in human rights abuses in Colombia. In particular, the USWA and ILRF brought claims against Drummond for the murder of the trade unionists, which happened while, as described in the story, the USWA delegation was in Colombia.

Sadly, however, the trade union assassinations have continued unabated, and have in fact increased in Colombia, with over 160 trade unionists being killed there last year. In addition, the U.S. military aid has continued despite these assassinations and our attempts to publicize them. Indeed, the U.S. Congress is presently debating whether to explicitly expand the role of the U.S. in Colombia by, for the first time, expressly earmarking aid for (1) counterinsurgency efforts; and (2) to protect oil pipelines in Colombia, like those of Occidental Oil, for example.

The USWA is attempting to ameliorate the effects of the military buildup and the violence through its Colombia Solidarity Fund, which has and continues to provide support for trade unionists under threat to relocate, sometimes within Colombia, sometimes out of the country, to find safe havens. Those wishing to support this effort can write to: Colombia Solidarity Fund, c/o Solidarity Center, 1925 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006-1105.

While the mainstream press did not respond to the story as such, the media has presented some coverage of the two lawsuits mentioned above. In covering these lawsuits, the media has mentioned the anti-union violence described in the story. However, the media has been reluctant to give much credence to the allegations of the Colombian plaintiffs. For its part, Time magazine did a wonderful job of reporting the Coca-Cola lawsuit, filed in the U.S. by U.S. institutions and lawyers, and about the anti-union violence in Colombia. Curiously, however, Time chose to print this story in every edition in the world except the United States. I had to obtain a copy of the article from a friend in Canada where it was published.

You can obtain more information about this story, and about what actions you can take to help, from the Steelabor Web site, as well as <www.cokewatch.org>, <www.ilrf.org> and the web sites of Witness for Peace and Human Rights Watch.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR RACHEL MASSEY: The Bush Administration's requests for renewed funds to support the war in Colombia have led to significant debate in Congress, but simple questions about the spray campaigns still have not been answered. For example, the State Department has not clarified what formulations of glyphosate herbicides have been or will be used in the spray campaigns. Toxicity characteristics vary among formulations, so this is crucial information. The State Department also continues to keep secret the ingredients of other chemicals, such as surfactants and anti-foaming agents, that are added to the mix before application in Colombia.

In the Foreign Appropriations Bill for 2002, Congress established three criteria that must be met in order for the spray campaigns to continue. The bill requires the secretary of state to consult with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to determine that spray procedures in Colombia are consistent with U.S. Iabel requirements for herbicide application, do not violate Colombian laws, and do not "pose unreasonable risks or adverse effects to humans or the environment." The State Department must also certify that procedures exist for compensating harm to human health or agricultural crops. As of mid-June 2002, the State Department's consultations with EPA are still in progress. Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Bogota has informed representatives of U.S. nongovernmental organizations that a new round of spray campaigns is expected to begin in early July.

The State Department has continued to produce and disseminate misleading information about the effects of the spray campaigns. For example, in December 2000, an investigative report published in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported an outbreak of severe skin problems among small children in the Colombian community of Aponte, Department of Narino, in the aftermath of spraying. Responding to this article, the U.S. Embassy in Bogota commissioned a report on health patterns in the Department of Narino. The report claims to find no evidence of adverse effects from the spray campaigns. The report is clearly designed to achieve the desired answers; it includes no explanation of study methodology, and considers only 23 case reports, presenting these as the totality of data available for a period of about eight months. In addition, the report suggests that the doctor who originally treated the affected children was intimidated into silence. According to the report, after an initial telephone conversation with the report's authors, the doctor left his place of work permanently, leaving no forwarding contact information. This story illustrates some of the difficulties that Colombian citizens face when they speak publicly about the health effects of the "war on drugs.'

Several U.S. and European organizations are working to stop the spray campaigns. Information and updates are available from Amazon Alliance, Tel: (202) 785-3334, <www.amazonalliance.org>; Center for International Policy. Tel: (202) 232-3317, <www.ciponline.org>; Earthjustice, Tel: (510) 550-6700, <www.earthjustice.org>; Institute for Science and Interdisciplinary Studies, Tel: (413) 5595582, <http://isis.hampshire.edu>; Latin America Working Group, Tel: (202) 546-7010, <www.lawg.org>; and Transnational Institute, <www.tni.org/drugs/>. For listings of new documents on the spray campaigns, see the U.S. Fumigation Information Web site <www.usfumigation.org>. To join a delegation to Colombia and interact with Colombian citizens who are working for peace there, contact: Witness for Peace, Tel: (202) 588-1471, <www.witnessforpeace.org>.


Bush Administration Hampered FBI Investigation into Bin Laden Family Before 9-11

Sources: PULSE OF THE TWIN CITIES, January 16, 2002 Title: "French Book Indicts Bush Administration" Author: Amanda Luker

TIMES OF INDIA, November 8, 2001

Title: "Bush Took FBI Agents Off bin Laden Family Trail" Author: Rashmee Z. Ahmed

THE GUARDIAN (London), November 7, 2001

Title: "FBI and U.S. Spy Agents Say Bush Spiked bin Laden Probes Before 11 September"

Authors: Greg Palast and David Pallister

Faculty Evaluator: Catherine Nelson Student Researchers: Donald Yoon & David Immel

Corporate media coverage: LOS ANGELES TIMES, January 13, 2002

A French book Bin Laden, la verite interdite (Bin Laden, The Forbidden Truth) claims that the Bush Administration halted investigations into terrorist activities related to the bin Laden family and began planning for a war against Afghanistan before 9-11.

The authors, Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, are French intelligence analysts. Dasquie, an investigative reporter, publishes Intelligence Online, a respected newsletter on economics and diplomacy. Brisard worked for French secret services and in 1997 wrote a report on the Al Qaeda network.

In 1996, high-placed intelligence sources in Washington told The Guardian, "There were always constraints on investigating the Saudis." The authors allege that under the influence of U.S. oil companies, George W. Bush and his administration initially halted investigations into terrorism, while bargaining with the Taliban to deliver Osama bin Laden in exchange for economic aid and political recognition. The book goes on to reveal that former FBI deputy director John O'Neill resigned in July of 2001 in protest over the obstruction of terrorist investigations. According to O'Neill, "The main obstacles to investigating Islamic terrorism were U.S. oil corporate interests and the role played by Saudi Arabia in it." The restrictions were said to have worsened after the Bush Administration took over. Intelligence agencies were told to "back off" from investigations involving other members of the bin Laden family, the Saudi royals, and possible Saudi links to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Pakistan. John O'Neill died on 9-11 in the World Trade Center.

An FBI file coded 199, which means a case involving national security, records that Abdullah bin Laden, who lived in Washington, originally had a file opened on him "because of his relationship with the Saudi-funded World Assembly of Muslim Youth-a suspected terrorist organization." The BBC reiterated a well-known claim, made by one of George W. Bush's former business partners, that Bush made his first million dollars 20 years ago from a company financed by Osama's elder brother, Salem. It has also been revealed that both the Bushs and the bin Ladens had lucrative stakes in the Carlyle Group, a private investment firm that has grown to be one of the largest investors in U.S. defense and communications contracts.

Brisard and Dasquie contend that the government's main objective in Afghanistan was to unite the Taliban regime in order to gain access to the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia. They report that the Bush Administration began negotiations with the Taliban directly after coming into power and representatives met several times in Washington, Islamabad, and Berlin.

There were also claims that the last meeting between the United States and Taliban representatives took place only five weeks before the attacks in New York and Washington.

Long before the 9-11 attacks, the United States had decided to invade Afghanistan in the interest of oil. In February of 1998, at the hearing before a subgroup of the Committee on International Relations, Congress discussed ways to deal with Afghanistan to make way for an oil pipeline. Jane's Defense Newsletter reported in March 2001 that an invasion of Afghanistan was being planned.

Times of India reported that in June of 2001, the U.S. government told India that there would be an invasion of Afghanistan in October of that year. By July of 2001, George Arney, with the BBC, also reported the planned invasion.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR AMANDA LUKER: Paula Zahnwas right. If Bin Laden: laverite interdite is correct, it is huge. But, the national media will never give it a second glance.

The release of this book not only corroborates other investigations placing U.S. big oil interests in Central Asia negotiating a pipeline in the 1990s, but also exposes oil interests in the Bush Administration, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, and Bush, both senior and junior. With this book, Guillaume Dasquie and Jean-Charles Brisard question America's wartime intentions: Is the United States protecting "enduring freedom" or are the bombings really a means of securing a pliant regime in Afghanistan so the United States can gain control over future oil veins pumping across the Middle East?

The mainstream coverage was dismissive. Dr. Daniel Goure, member of the conservative think tank The Lexington Institute, casually dismissed it on Minnesota Public Radio as a conspiracy theory, "debunked right, left, and center," even comparing it to the theory that Americans never went to the moon, that "it was all done in a studio in Hollywood." He neglects to mention the book was not written by conspiracy nuts but by two esteemed French intelligence experts. And who debunked it? He doesn't say.

At this moment [June 2002], the media is just beginning to skewer Bush for not increasing national security while knowing Taliban threats before September 11. Some are beginning to ask, "If he knew this, what else did he know?" Just a few months ago, the notion that Bush knew pre-September 11 was also dismissed as a conspiracy theory.

Americans should be given tools to questions those in power. Not every theory will be correct, but I, for one, am desperately curious what two European intelligence experts would have to say about U.S. foreign policy.

Dasquie and Brisard's book is still only available in French. On the Web site Intelligence Online (which Dasquie edits), the first chapter can be viewed in French: <www.intelligenceonline.com>, e-mail: <redaction@indigo-net.com>. For more information, the following resources may be useful: Consortium News' Bush Family "Oiligarchy" series <http://www.consortiumnews.com/2000/081400al.html>; Z Net <www.zmag.org>; Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President by J. H. Hatfield and Mark Crispin Miller; and Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism by John K. Cooley.

UPATE BY THE GUARDIAN FOR AUTHOR GREG PALAST Within two months of the attack on the World Trade Center, The Guardian investigative team and BBC Television's Newsnight obtained documents, evidence, and insider interviews exposing the Bush Administration's pre-September 11 directives to intelligence agencies blocking inquiries into the bin Laden family and Saudi Arabian financing of terror networks. Driving this policy of deliberate blindness, we have further reported, were the ill combination of petroleum politics and financial conflicts of interest: the Bush family and allies deep ties to Saudi Arabian royals, banks and arms dealers.

The story should be understood as one of our continuing series on Bush family finances by the Guardian Group (The Guardian and The Observer) and BBC Newsnight. The first of these in November 2000 exposed the purge of black voters from Florida's voter rolls that the U.S. Civil Rights Commission called "the first hard evidence of deliberate violations of civil rights."

The team's reports have been virtually blacked-out in the USA-though widely reported and lauded worldwide; in the case of the bin Laden report, from the Times of India across to Latin America's top publications. American journalist Palast had to relocate to Europe to write and broadcast this series.

Not all responses are kind. The story (and a follow-up report by BBC) drew threats of lawsuit from a Saudi "charity." This is serious stuff in a land lacking a First Amendment. A mining corporation that hired the senior Bush as a consultant did sue The Guardian over one of the reports; the successful defense bled our thin finances.

Despite the cost (admittedly with some of our network and newspaper executives biting their nails) we have soldiered on with the investigations. Our general theme-Bush family finances and oil-led us to break the story this month (again, not covered in the USA), that Hugo Chavez survived an attempted coup d'etat because of warnings to him in advance by the secretary-general of OPEC.

On the intelligence story, we are debriefing an arms dealer and other sources about a 1996 meeting between Al Qaeda's financial representative, gun merchants, and Saudi royals. Most important to us are U.S. agencies' knowledge of the meeting and their follow-up (or lack ). The print report also notes "Saudi links to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Pakistan." The creation of the "Islamic" bomb is another target of our research.

Dan Rather, a guest on our BBC program last week, admitted the U.S. press coverage of bin Laden and war has been twisted into an unquestioning outlet of official PR. As a result, American public debate has been reduced to shouting between conspiracy theorists and the willfully ignorant "patriots." Our reports, that economic interests blinded official America to security threats, is not part of the dialogue.

Recognition in the U.S. by Project Censored would encourage BBC and The Guardian's risk-taking work.

Note: These stories are the result of a large team effort. Therefore, we would appreciate your recognizing the work of BBC Newsnight producer Meirion Jones and Guardian chief of investigations, David Leigh.

In addition, it is important to include with The Guardian story, the transcripts of the companion November 7, 2001 BBC Newsnight (see information below)- especially as Newsnight put up all the cash for this particularly costly segment of the investigation.

BBC: Did Bush Turn a Blind Eye to Terrorism?: <http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=104~=1>.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR DAVID PALLISTER. I endorse Greg Palast's update response. I would add that this was a significant story in exposing the ultrasensitive relationship that exists between the U.S. and Saudi (because of oil, obviously), which tends to preclude any recognition of the fact that Saudi has provided the money, the cadres, and the ideology that had driven Al Qaeda. The Guardian has investigated in depth the connections between Saudi-sponsored charities and terrorism since 9-11, as well as exposing the appalling human rights record of the Saudi regime in terms on torturing citizens of Britain, Belgium, and Canada to make forced and false confessions of involvement in terrorist bombing.


U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water System

Source: THE PROGRESSIVE, <www.progressive.org>, September 2001 Title: "The Secret Behind the Sanctions: How the U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water Supply" Author: Thomas J. Nagy www.progressive.org

Faculty Evaluator: Rick Luttmann

Student Researchers: Adria Cooper, Erik Wagle, Adam Cimino & Chris Salvano

During the Gulf War, the United States deliberately bombed Iraq's water system. After the war, the U.S. pushed sanctions to prevent importation of necessary supplies for water purification. These actions resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians many of whom were young children. Documents have been obtained from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which prove that the Pentagon was fully aware of the mortal impacts on civilians in Iraq and was actually monitoring the degradation of Iraq's water supply. The destruction of civilian infrastructures necessary for health and welfare is a direct violation of the Geneva Convention.

After the Gulf War, the United Nations applied sanctions against Iraq, which denied the importation of specialized equipment and chemicals, such as chlorine for purification of water. There are six documents that have been partially declassified and can be found on the Pentagon's Web site at <www.gulflink.osd.mil>. These documents include information that prove that the United States was fully aware of the costs to civilians, especially children, by upholding the sanctions against purification of Iraq's water supply.

The primary document is dated January 22, 1991, and is titled, "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities." This document predicts what will take place when Iraq can no longer import the vital commodities to cleanse their water supply. It states that epidemics and disease outbreaks may occur because of pollutants and bacteria that exist in unpurified water. The document acknowledges the fact that without purified drinking water, the manufacturing of food and medicine will also be affected. The possibilities of Iraqis obtaining clean water, despite sanctions, along with a timetable describing the degradation of Iraq's water supply was also addressed.

The remaining five documents from the DIA confirm the Pentagon's monitoring of the situation in Iraq. In more than one document, discussion of the likely outbreaks of diseases and how they affect civilians, "particularly children," is discussed in great detail. The final document titled, "Iraq: Assessment of Current Health Threats and Capabilities," is dated November 15,1991, and discusses the development of a counter-propaganda strategy that would blame Saddam Hussein for the lack of safe water in Iraq.

The United States' insistence on using this type of sanction against Iraq is in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. The Geneva Convention was created in 1979 to protect the victims of international armed conflict. It states, "It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installation and supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive."

Although two Democratic Representatives, Cynthia McKinney from Georgia and Tony Hall from Ohio, have spoken out about the degradation of Iraq's water supply and its civilian targets, no acknowledgment of violations has been made. The U.S. policy of destroying the water treatment system of Iraq and preventing its reestablishment has been pursued for more than a decade. The United Nations estimates that more than 500,000 Iraqi children have died as a result of sanctions and that unclean water is a major contributor to these deaths.

UPDATE BY THOMAS NAGY: "The Secret Behind the Sanctions" gives Americans an ax to break out of the cocoon of denial enveloping the genocidal intent and effects of nearly 12 years of economic sanctions against the people of Iraq. Tragically and criminally, these CIA documents were actively hidden from the American people till 1995 by which time a compliant mainstream media had driven the fatal lies of genocide denial deep into the American psyche.

Since the publication of the story, several anti-sanctions groups have reported that The Progressive article ranks among the most powerful in persuading the public of the evil of the sanctions. The article opened a new front against sanctions with the publication of David Duncan's "A Prayer for Children and Water" and Ned Breslin's "Water as a Weapon of War." Now the environmental community and water engineering community are alerted to the updated horror of the U.S. tactic of poisoning wells. The article has now been translated into Spanish, Danish, and Swedish with summaries available in French and German and stories on the content of the article appearing in newspapers as geographically removed as Katmandu, Nepal; Cork, Ireland; and Moscow, Russia. In the U.S., the mainstream media has ducked and covered with the exception of the Orlando Sentinel, the Madison Capital Times, and the National Catholic Reporter. In contrast, U.S. alternative media has acted honorably, including Democracy Now and CounterSpin. Until recently the only venue in Washington, D.C. to discuss the content of the article was at the Department of Defense ethics conference, JSCOPE. Recently I was able to reach audiences in the belly of the beast at a teach-in at American University, then at the World Congress of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War-Physicians for Social Responsibility.

My advice to people working in this area is to look for editors, reporters, and advocates of the integrity of Matt Rothschild, Felicity Arbuthnot, and Sam Husseini and allies in the peace movement abroad (e.g., McMaster University and University College, Cork).

Tom Nagy is an ex-refugee, ex-public health postdoctoral fellow, pacifist, parent, and professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.


NAFTA Destroys Farming Communities in U.S. and Abroad

Sources: FELLOWSHIP MAGAZINE, December 2000/January 2001 Title: "NAFTA's Devastating Effects are Clear in Mexico, Haiti" Author: Anita Martin

THE HIGHTOWER LOWDOWN, September 2001 Title: "NAFTA Gives the Shaft to North America's Farmers" Author: Jim Hightower

Faculty Evaluators: Tony White & Al Wahrhaftig Student Researchers: Adam Cimino, Erik Wagle & Alessandra Diana

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are responsible for the impoverishment of and loss of many small farms in Mexico and Haiti. NAFTA is also causing the economic destruction of rural farming communities in the United States and Canada. The resulting loss of rural employment has created a landslide of socioeconomic and environmental consequences that are worsening with the continued dismantling and deregulation of trade barriers.

When NAFTA came before Congress in 1993, U.S. farmers were told that the agreement would open the borders of Mexico and Canada, enabling them to sell their superior products and achieve previously unknown prosperity. Corporations who operate throughout the Americas, such as Tyson and Cargill, have since used the farming surplus to drive down costs, pitting farmers against each other and prohibiting countries from taking protective actions. These same corporations have entered into massive farming ventures outside the U.S. and use NAFTA to import cheaper agricultural products back into this country, further undermining the small farmers in the U.S. Since the enactment of NAFTA, 80 percent of foodstuffs coming into the U.S. are products that displace crops raised here at home. NAFTA has allowed multinational megacorporations to increase production in Mexico, where they can profit from much cheaper labor, as well as freely use chemicals and pesticides banned in the U.S..

In both Mexico and Haiti, NAFTA policies have caused an exodus from rural areas forcing people to live in urban slums and accept low paid sweatshop labor. Farmers in Mexico, unable to compete with the large-scale importation and chemical-intensive mass production of U.S. agricultural corporations, are swimming in a corn surplus that has swelled approximately 450 percent since NAFTA's implementation. Haiti's deregulation of trade with the U.S. has destroyed the island's rice industry in a similar manner. Urban slums, engorged with rural economic refugees, are contributing to the breakdown of cultural traditions and public authority, making the growing masses increasingly ungovernable.

The Mexican government clashes violently with any organized protest of NAFTA. Dissent in Chiapas and in Central Mexico has lead to the reported arrests, injuries, and deaths of dozens of activists. Community leaders like Minister Lucius Walker, executive of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, state that, "The biggest challenge facing all of us in this new millennium is to build a citizens' movement to counter the corporate captivity of the Americas."

The 1993 NAFTA agreement desolated small farming communities in the U.S. and in Mexico and Haiti. With the scheduled 2009 lift on tariffs and import restrictions, as well as Bush's proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) adding 31 more countries to the NAFTA agreement, many additional farming communities are in danger.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR JIM HIGHTOWER The story created such traction among lowdown readers because of its ability to dispel many of the mistruths, half-truths, distortions, and outright lies purported by NAFTA proponents and the Bush Administration. By holding the NAFTA rhetoric up for comparison with the hard, statistical data, citizens can make objective judgments about the effectiveness (or, in this case, failure) of this policy.

Careful consideration of NAFTA's record is central to discussions of Fast Track and the FTAA legislation now awaiting a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives in June. The proposed NAFTA expansion, formally called the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), would spread NAFTA's rules to an additional 31 Latin American and Caribbean nations by 2005. The publicized goal of the FTAA proposal is to facilitate trade and deepen economic integration by expanding the NAFTA provisions that eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and investment throughout the hemisphere.

Compounding the situation, the recently passed 2002 Farm Bill expands Federal subsidies for program crops and adds new commodities, causing farmers to be more dependent on the federal government. If it were merely an act of largesse by a benevolent government, it might be looked upon more favorably. But in light of the impending Congressional elections in key farming regions where races are expected to be hotly contested, the move is merely Bush-Rove "strategy" designed to give the GOP control of both houses of Congress.

A person can get more information on this issue by contacting the public's number one trade-scheme watchdog, Global Trade Watch <www.tradewatch.org/>, 215 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003; Tel: (202) 546-4611, or Mobilization for Global Justice <www.globalizethis.org/>, Tel: (202) 265-7714.

What's next? The World Bank and IMF meet in late September and early October in Washington, DC. Come to DC this summer to participate in protest planning.


CIA Double Deals In Macedonia

Sources: <WWW.GLOBALRESEARCH.CA>, June 14, 2001 Title: "America at War in Macedonia" Author: Michel Chossudovsky

<WWW.GLOBALRESEARCH.CA>, July 26, 2001 Title: "NATO Invades Macedonia" Author: Michel Chossudovsky

Faculty Evaluators: Elizabeth Burch, Phil Beard & John Lund Student Researchers: Alessandra Diana & David V. Immel

The CIA destabilized the political balance in Macedonia to allow easier access for a U.S.-British owned oil pipeline, and to prevent Macedonia from entering the European union (EU), thereby strengthening the U.S. dollar in a German deutschmark dominated region.

Without Macedonia in the EU, British and U.S. oil companies have an advantage over European counterparts in building oil pipelines. Actions toward destabilization intend to impose economic control over national currencies, and protect British-U.S. oil companies, such as BP-Amoco-ARCO, Chevron, and Texaco against Europe's TotalFinaElf. The British-U.S. consortium controls the AMBO Trans-Balkans pipeline project linking the Bulgarian port of Burgas to Vlore on the AlbanianAdriatic coastline. The power game is designed to increase British-U.S. domination in the region by distancing Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Albania from the influence of EU countries such as Germany, Italy, France, and Belgium. It's an effort supported by Wall Street's financial establishment, to destabilize and discredit the deutschmark and the Euro, with hopes of imposing the U.S. dollar as the sole currency for the region.

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the National Liberation Army (NLA) were trained in Macedonia by British Special Forces and equipped by the CIA. British military sources confirm that Gezim Ostremi, NLA Commander, was sponsored by the U.N. and trained by British Special Forces to head the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC). When Ostremi left his job as a United Nations Officer to join the NLA, the commander remained on the U.N. payroll. Attacks within Macedonia by the NLA/KLA last year, coincided chronologically with the process of EU enlargement and the signing of the historic Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) between the EU and Macedonia. These attacks paved the way for further U.S. military and political presence in the region.

In a strange twist the CIA, NATO, and British Special Forces provided weapons and training to the NLA/KLA terrorists, while at the same time, Germany provided Macedonia's security forces with all-terrain vehicles, advanced weapons, and equipment to protect themselves from NLA/KLA attacks. U.S. military advisers, on assignment to the NLA/KLA through private mercenary companies, remained in contact with NATO and U.S. military and intelligence planners. It was Washington and London who decided on the broad direction of NLA/KLA military operations in Macedonia.

Following the August 2001 Framework Peace Agreement, 3,500 armed NATO troops entered Macedonia with the intent of disarming Albanian rebels. Washington's humanitarian efforts for the NLA/KLA suggested its intent to protect the terrorists rather then disarm them. Vice President Dick Cheney's former firm, Halliburton Energy, is directly linked to the AMBO's Trans-Balkans Oil Pipeline.

Last year's conflict in Macedonia is a small part of a growing rift between the Anglo-American and European interests in the Balkans. In the wake of the war in Yugoslavia, Britain has allied itself with the U.S. and severed many of its ties with Germany, France, and Italy. Washington's design is to ensure the dominance of the U.S. military-industrial complex, in alliance with Britain's major defense contractors, and British-U.S. oil. These developments establish significant control over strategic pipelines, transportation, and communication corridors in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: While the CIA admits that Osama bin Laden was an "intelligence asset" during the Cold War, the relationship is said to go way back.

The fact that Al Qaeda continues to support KLA terrorist operations in Macedonia, with the full support of NATO and the U.S. government, has been carefully overlooked. With the complicity of NATO and the U.S. State Department, mujahideen mercenaries from the Middle East and Central Asia were first recruited to fight in the ranks of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1998-99, largely supporting NATO's war effort.

Bin Laden had visited Albania himself. His was one of several fundamentalist groups that had sent units to fight in Kosovo. He is believed to have established an operation in Albania in 1994. Albanian sources say Sali Berisha, who was then president, had links with some groups that later proved to be extreme fundamentalists. (Sunday Times, London, November 29, 1998)

Among the foreign mercenaries now fighting in Macedonia, in the ranks of self-proclaimed National Liberation Army (NLA), are mujahideen from the Middle East and the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union. Also within the KLA's proxy force in Macedonia are senior U.S. military advisers from a private mercenary outfit on contract to the Pentagon (Scotland on Sunday, Glasgow, June 15,2001).

Extensively documented by the Macedonian press and statements of the Macedonian authorities, the U.S. government and the "Islamic Militant Network" are working hand in glove in supporting and financing the self-proclaimed National Liberation Army (NLA), involved in the terrorist attacks in Macedonia. The NLA is a proxy of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). In turn the KLA and the U.N.sponsored Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) are identical institutions with the same commanders and military personnel. KPC commanders on U.N. salaries are fighting in the NLA together with the Mujahideen. In a bitter twist, while supported and financed by Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda, the NLA/KLA is also supported by NATO and the United Nations Mission to Kosovo (UNMIK).

The NLA/KLA terrorists are funded by U.S. military aid, the United Nations peace-keeping budget, as well as by several Islamic organizations including Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda. Meanwhile, drug money is being used to finance the terrorists with the complicity of the U.S. government. U.S. military advisers mingle with mujahideen within the same paramilitary force, and western mercenaries from NATO countries fight alongside mujahideen recruited in the Middle East and Central Asia.

The Bush Administration has stated that it has proof that Osama bin Laden is behind the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. A major war, supposedly "against international terrorism," has been launched by the Bush Administration. In Macedonia, however, the evidence amply confirms that the Bush Administration (together with NATO) is directly supporting terrorist organizations that have links to A1 Qaeda. In other words, the Bush Administration is harboring international terrorism as part of its foreign policy agenda. The main justification for waging the so-called war on terrorism has been a total fabrication. The American people have been deliberately and consciously misled by their government into supporting a major military adventure that affects our collective future.


Bush Appoints Former Criminals to Key Government Roles

Sources: THE NATION, May 7, 2001 Title: "Bush's Contra Buddies" Author: Peter Kornbluh

IN THESE TIMES, August 6, 2001 Title: "Public Serpent; Iran-Contra Villain Elliott Abrams is Back in Action" Author: Terry Allen

EXTRA, September/October 2001 Title: "Scandal? What Scandal?" Author: Terry Allen

THE GUARDIAN, February 8, 2002 Title: "Friends of Terrorism" Author: Duncan Campbell

THE GUARDIAN, February 18, 2002 "No More Mr. Scrupulous Guy" Author: John Sutherland

WASHINGTONIAN, April 2002 Title: "True or False: Iran-Contra's John Poindexter is Back at the Pentagon" Author: Michael Zuckerman

Corporate media coverage: THE NEW YORK TIMES, August 1, 2001 LOS ANGELES TIMES, January 12, 2002 and September 30, 2001 and BALTIMORE SUN, September 7, 2001.

NOTE: While a number of corporate media newspapers mentioned the story in short briefs or on single individuals, a full look at the issue was ignored by most of the U.S. press.

Faculty Evaluator: Francisco Vazquez Student Researchers: David Immel, Joshua Travers & Chris Salvano

Since becoming president, George Bush has brought back into government service men who were discredited by criminal involvement in the Iran-Contra affair,

lying to Congress, and other felonies while working for his father George Bush, Senior, and Ronald Reagan.

In February 2001, John Poindexter was appointed to head the new Information Awareness Office (IAO), an offshoot of the Pentagon-based Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). After serving as Reagan's National Security Advisor, John Poindexter was charged and found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and the destruction of evidence as he played a central role in the IranContra affair. Costa Rica has officially declared Poindexter to be a drug trafficker, and has barred him from entering the country.

Poindexter's new job at IAO will supply federal agents with "instant" analysis of private e-mail and telephone conversations. As the vice president of Syntek Technologies, Poindexter helped develop the Orwellian "Project Genoa" for the IAO. Genoa will gather information about electronic conversations, financial transactions, passport tracking, airline ticket sales, phone records, and satellite surveillance into a matrix from which "useful information" will be made available to federal authorities.

Elliot Abrams was recently appointed to the National Security Council (NSC) as director of its Office for Democracy, Human Rights, and International Relations. In 1991, Abrams plead guilty to withholding evidence from Congress regarding his role in the Iran-Contra affair. As Reagan's Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, he used to oversee U.S. foreign policy in Latin America, and was active in covering up some of the worst atrocities committed by the U.S.-sponsored Contras. According to congressional records, under Abram's watch, the Contras "raped, tortured, and killed unarmed civilians, including children," and "groups of civilians, including women and children, were burned, dismembered, blinded and beheaded." George Bush, Senior, subsequently pardoned him.

John Negroponte, the new ambassador to the U.N., served under Reagan as ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985. He is known for his role in the coverup of human rights abuses by CIA trained paramilitaries throughout the region. Coincidentally, Honduran exiles associated with the paramilitary forces that had been living in the U.S., were exported to Canada prior to Negroponte's Senate confirmation hearing, thus rendering their testimony unavailable.

Otto Reich has been appointed as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs (which includes Latin America). The Bush Administration used a "recess appointment" during January 2002 to side step the Senate confirmation hearing otherwise required of the appointment. Democrat opposition to Reich's nomination had been predicted.

In the eighties, Reich was head of the office for Public Diplomacy, which was censured by Congress for "prohibited covert propaganda activities" after influencing the media to favorably cover the Reagan Administration's position. That office is now defunct. He also helped terrorist Orlando Bosch gain entry into the U.S. after being imprisoned in Venezuela for bombing a Cuban airliner, killing its 73 passengers. Bosch spent time in a U.S. prison for attacking a Polish merchant vessel bound for Cuba. Thirty countries have refused Bosch asylum because of his criminality.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR TERRY ALLEN: It seemed like a good news story to me and my editors, Joel Bleifuss and Jim Naureckas: No sooner did Bush take office than he breathed new life into the corpse of the us-versus-them, good-versus-evil world view that had thrived during the Cold War. The resurrection was embodied in three Reagan-era retreads. These veterans of the U.S. "dirty" war against Central America were complicit in crimes against humanity, democracy, or both. It also seemed like news that Congress was rolling over and bleating weak objections, while most of the media regurgitated snippets of old news.

Bush nominees Otto Reich and Elliot Abrams had been convicted by Congress for relatively trivial aspects of policies that killed thousands and devastated the civil and political life of Central America; John Negroponte had lied about U.S. knowledge and sponsorship of grave human rights abuses in Honduras, and gotten away with it. In writing the story, I relied on extensive LexisNexis research, interviews, and my experience covering the Iran-Contra scandals and reporting from Central America during the wars. I cited all my sources in the pieces.

The articles, tucked away in small-circulation, independent outlets did not a wit of good in preventing Reich's appointment as the State Department's leader on Latin America, Abrams' appointment as a National Security Council director, or Negroponte's assumption of the post of U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

Nor did the stories prevent Bush II from taking up where Bush I and Reagan left off. The coup in Venezuela against Hugo Chavez sports the sticky fingerprints of all three men and the modus operandi of a long line of U.S.-led Cold War interventions.

But if these covert ops were tragedy, the Chavez plot was farce. The rapid unraveling of the coup suggested that the Venezuelan plotters would have done better seeking advice from Supreme Court Justice Rehnquist rather than from Reich. It soon became public that Bush officials maintained a web of connections with the conspirators and appeared to have foreknowledge of the plot. using the same conduit Reagan used to fund the Contras, the National Endowment for Democracy, the administration had funneled money to Venezuelan opposition.

According to British media, Abrams gave a nod to the plotters; Otto Reich, a former ambassador to Venezuela, met repeatedly with Pedro Carmona and other coup leaders. The day Carmona seized the presidency, Reich summoned ambassadors from Latin America and the Caribbean to his office and endorsed the new government.

Meanwhile, Negroponte was hard at work at the U.N. enforcing the U.S. unilateralist ultimata. He attempted to undermine the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court to try people accused of genocide and war crimes. Given his history, it's easy to understand his squeamishness at the thought of accountability. Soon after the U.S. "unsigned" the ICC treaty, Negroponte threatened Security Council members with pulling U.S. observers and police from the U.N.'s peace-keeping operations in East Timor-unless U.N. (and therefore, U.S.) personnel were excluded from possible prosecution. The move failed.

Otto Reich is also back to his old tricks and cozying up to hard-right Latin American leaders. In an unsual move for such a high-ranking State Department official, he met with Alvaro Uribe less than a week after his election as president of Colombia. The hardliner and the U.S. are in sync in supporting a military solution to that nation's long-standing counterinsurgency.

An anti-Castro ideologue, Reich was quick to accuse Cuba of developing a biological warfare capacity. Before you could ask "Where's the evidence?" his own State Department published a sweeping 177-page report on global terrorism. The Miami Herald wrote that Reich "appeared initially confused when asked why the report made no mention of Cuba's bio-weapons research."

"Is it an oversight?" asked Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND).

"I do not know who publishes that particular document," said Reich.

"It's your department that publishes it," said Dorgan. "This is a State Department publication."

It's deja vu all over again, and while the plot and dialogue are farce, the toll in lost liberties and lives is tragic. Again.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR DUNCAN CAMPBELL There have been a number of interesting developments since this story appeared. In April, there was a military coup in Venezuela that resulted in the removal from office of President Hugo Chavez, albeit only for two days. What was interesting about the coup was that it was immediately condemned by the Organization of American States and, very forcefully, by President Fox of Mexico. In contrast, the initial U.S. response was ambiguous. There was no outright condemnation of the removal of a democratically-elected president. In fact, the impression given was that the removal of Chavez, who is a close ally of Fidel Castro, was to be welcomed. It was only after the OAS's condemnation of the coup and the return of Chavez that the U.S. stated its opposition to removing elected leaders by force. The person responsible at the State Department was Otto Reich, whose appointment as assistant secretary we had suggested sent an unfortunate and dangerous message to Latin America. We did not realize that his inability to see beyond his very narrow political agenda would have such damaging consequences so soon.


NAFTA's Chapter 11 Overrides Public Protection Laws of Countries

Sources: THE NATION, October 15, 2001 Title: "The Right and U.S. Trade Law: Invalidating the 20th Century" Author: William Greider TERRAIN, Fall 2001 Title: "Seven Years of NAFTA" Author: David Huffman

Faculty Evaluator: Elizabeth Martinez Student Researchers: Sarah Potts Chris Salvano

Mainstream coverage: Bill Moyers, PBS Documentary; Trading Democracy, February 5, 2002; and WASHINGTON TIMES, February 4, 2002.

Certain investor protections in NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) are giving business investors new power over sovereign nations and providing an expansive new definition of property rights.

Chapter 11 of NAFTA, which allows a corporation to sue a government, contains a particularly disturbing "regulatory takings" clause. under this "takings" clause, intangible property, such as a corporation's potential future profits, is considered private property. Any law or regulation that is imposed to protect the public interest is considered "taking" that company's potential to make a profit. Therefore, the government should be required to compensate the owners for lost property/profit. This expanded definition of private property goes beyond established terms in U.S. jurisprudence and supercedes domestic law. NAFTA's investor protections and the "regulatory takings" idea mimic a radical revision of constitutional law that the right wing has been pushing for years.

Richard Epstein galvanized the idea of "regulatory takings" in the 1980s with his book Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain. Regulations, Epstein argues, should be properly understood as "takings" under the Fifth Amendment. This would require governments to pay corporations whose property, tangible or intangible, is in some way diminished by public actions. Since any regulation will have some economic impact on private assets, the "takings" doctrine is therefore a vehicle for shrinking the reach of government and crippling its regulatory procedures. This has the potential to undermine long-established social welfare and environmental regulatory protections. "Takings" protections will also have a chilling effect on a government's future laws and regulatory procedures as they realize that any new legislation may leave them vulnerable to corporate lawsuits. A government may be confronted with enormous financial penalties simply for enacting or upholding regulations that protect the basic health and human rights of its citizens.

The Methanex v. United States case illustrates the type of lawsuit made possible by Chapter 11. Methanex is a Canadian company that manufactures the gasoline additive MTBE. Although MTBE was intended to mitigate the air pollution caused by gasoline use, in the mid-nineties it was identified as a hazard to California's water supplies. Even small amounts of MTBE leaking from pipelines or storage tanks caused water to become unfit to drink. After testing the chemical was also found to be carcinogenic.

In 1999, California governor Gray Davis issued an executive order to begin the phase out of MTBE. Four months later, Methanex Co. filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, asserting that California's new regulations damaged their future profits, and requested $970 million in compensation. But Methanex did not pursue its case in U.S. federal court, where the legitimacy of "potential profits" might have been publicly questioned. NAFTA provides for a three-judge arbitration tribunal, an offshore venue where suits can be resolved in secrecy. Although matters vital to public welfare are being decided in the unelected tribunals, the public is given no notice of the proceedings unless both parties agree to disclose the case.

The Methanex v. United States case is pending, but other companies have already triumphed in their quest to acquire financial compensation for the loss of potential profits. In 2000, the Metaclad Corporation won a suit against the Mexican government. The outcome of the case means that $16.7 million of Mexican taxpayers' money will go to Metaclad in compensation for profits lost because the government stopped it from building a toxic waste dump.

"Regulatory takings" laws have not yet been adopted into U.S. domestic law. The Supreme Court has so far declined to accept this redefinition of the Constitution. However, NAFTA's precedent has opened the door for the "takings" premise to become a standard facet of international law, and corporations are working to realize that goal.

In April 2001, a collection of 29 major U.S. multinational corporations and industry organizations (including GE, Ford, GM, International Paper, Motorola, Dow, DuPont, Chevron, Procter & Gamble, and 3M) wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, urging him to push for a Chapter 11-type provision in upcoming FTAA negotiations. The letter applauded NAFTA's regulatory takings clause, saying it provides "protection from regulations that diminish the value of investors' assets." Although FTAA negotiations are not yet complete, at present the draft of the agreement includes a provision nearly identical to Chapter 11 that allows for "investor-to-state" lawsuits.

If the potential profit laws succeed to the degree that some companies hope they will, such basic government regulations as minimum wage and OSHA standards may become null and void in favor of corporate profit. As Epstein writes in his Takings book, "It will be said that my position invalidates much of the twentieth-century legislation, and so it does."

COMMENTS BY R. RICHARD WILLIAM, ATTORNEY AT LAW: A relatively small cadre of people have used the recent international treaty known as NAFTA to bring into law a radical definition of "governmental taking" that will, if honored by the signatory countries, destroy governmental regulatory programs in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Totaling probably fewer then 1,000 people, this group includes international businessmen, lawyers, and government professionals, with little or no loyalty to the United States, or any other country, or to the laws of the U.S. enacted during the twentieth century as social welfare and environmental protection law.

Led by men such as Daniel Price and Richard Epstein, such law firms as Power, Gold stein, Frizzier & Murphy and Sultan & Crumble, the Federalist Society, and such large business enterprises as Methanex (Canada) and Ethyl Corporation (U.S.), the engineering of Chapter 11 of NAFTA places the fate of all laws being attacked in the hands of private arbitration/adjudication tribunals chosen by the parties and outside the reach of review or appeal by any Canadian, U.S., or Mexican courts. If allowed to prevail, Chapter 11 will revolutionize the law in such a way as to force "the international community to provide protection for property rights" (Edwin William son, Sultan & Crumble), defined as any expectation of profit, to an extent unimaginable since the 1940s. They even hope to destroy such laws as wages and hours laws.

This is really important stuff that will impact all three countries and communities all over the Western Hemisphere without any legislative input from any of us.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR WILLIAM GREIDER: The story of NAFTA's Chapter 11 and its stark implications for American democracy is finally getting a little attention in the major media (Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2002, most recently), but mainly because the critics have succeeded in rallying opposition in Congress and especially among state local officials who recognize that this irregular, private court for capital subverts their sovereign right to enact laws to protect public health and the environment. My account in The Nation may have helped in educating at least elite public. I hope so.

This issue is central to the globalization debate because, despite the usual bromides about free trade, the international agreements are now mainly about setting rules for investment in countries where capital goes. The debate and development of these rules remains a closed and undemocratic exercise and for good reason. Multinational business and finance shapes the terms, write the new rules, and seeks to throttle the ability of individual nations and governments to resist. The big media has been, on the whole, quite reluctant to look at this dimension of globalization. It is simpler and less contentious to describe the new rules as "free trade" agreements when, in fact, they are designed to encircle the public's right to set rules
for society.

The challenge to reform the global system is a long, difficult struggle and won't be won by one issue or one crisis. But I am actually fairly optimistic. The truth is getting through to people generally, despite the barriers of propaganda and the media's general inclination to play cheerleader rather than serious reporter.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR DAVID HUFFMAN: Since the writing of "Seven Years of NAFTA," Philip Morris has joined the ranks of corporations threatening to sue under the investor "protection" provisions of NAFTA's Chapter 11. Philip Morris' threat illustrates the new vulnerability of public health and environmental regulations. Philip Morris has been subject to government restrictions on cigarette advertising for years, but now NAFTA offers a way to block such restrictions. In response to a proposal by the Canadian government to ban the words "mild" and "light" from cigarette packaging, Philip Morris has warned that it may sue for damages. The Canadian and the U.S. governments have both been considering such a ban, because of evidence that mild and light cigarette brands confuse or mislead consumers into believing that these are safer than other types of cigarettes. Although Philip Morris has not yet filed a suit, the threat alone may be enough to discourage implementation of the ban.

How did democracy come to such a pass? It may seem astonishing that the NAFTA member governments so seriously compromised their ability to regulate in the public interest, on matters of vital importance like health and safety. In the case of the U.S., part of the explanation certainly lies in the process through which Congress approved NAFTA. Congress severely limited its ability to deliberate on the contents of NAFTA when it gave approval in 1993, by first agreeing to fast track legislation. Fast track is a mechanism created during the Nixon Administration that allows the executive branch to push international trade agreements through the legislature quickly, by allowing a maximum of only 20 hours of debate. In the whirlwind of fast track, Congress accepted the rationale that strong investor protections were needed to prevent expropriation of U.S. companies by the Mexican government, apparently without fully appreciating the ramifications for the U.S. In his October 15th article in The Nation, "The Right and U.S. Trade Law: Invalidating the 20th Century," William Greider explores, in depth, the story behind the adoption of NAFTA. Greider finds evidence that the corporate interests involved in the drafting of NAFTA were fully aware of the wider implications of Chapter 11, and pushed for the agreement's radical redefinition of property rights in order to force all three member governments, not just Mexico, to be more hesitant when it comes to regulations that interfere with corporate profits.

What can be done? The Canadian government has become sufficiently alarmed to propose an amendment to NAFTA that limits the extent of investor protections in Chapter 11. The U.S. federal government has yet to respond in kind, but state governments in the U.S. are mobilizing in response to the threat to state sovereignty highlighted by cases like Methanex v. U.S., in which the Canadian company Methanex is suing for $970 million over California's ban on the toxic gasoline additive MTBE.

Beyond the obvious need to fix NAFTA, there is the need to prevent the same mistake being made on a larger scale with the FTAA, which will extend NAFTA to the entire Western Hemisphere. The mainstream media should recognize this impulse in its coverage of protests against the FTAA. President George W. Bush has been pushing for fast track for the FTAA. This fall, fast track will be in the House for a second time, and there is a good chance that it can be defeated with sufficient public opposition. To find out more about NAFTA, the FTAA, and the specifics on how you can help stop fast track, check out the following sources: Public Citizen <www.publiccitizen.org>, Tel: (202) 588-1000 and Global Exchange <www.globalexchange.org>, Tel: (415) 255-7296.


Henry Kissinger and Gerald Ford Lied to the American Public about East Timor

Source: ASHEVILLE GLOBAL REPORT, December 13, 2001 Title: "Documents Show U.S. Sanctioned Invasion of East Timor" Author: Jim Lobe (IPS)

Faculty Evaluator: Phillip Beard Student Researcher: Connie Lytle

Corporate media coverage: SAN DIEGO UNION, December 12, 2001

The release of previously classified documents makes it clear that former President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, in a face-to-face meeting in Jakarta, gave then-President Suharto a green light for the 1975 invasion of East Timor.

According to documents released by the National Security Archive (NSA), in December of 2001(the twenty-sixth anniversary of Indonesia's invasion of East Timor) Suharto told Ford during their talks on December 6, 1975 that, "We want your understanding if it was deemed necessary to take rapid or drastic action [in East Timor]." In a previously secret memorandum, Ford replied, "We will understand and not press you on the issue. We understand the problem and the intentions you have." Kissinger similarly agreed, with reservations about the use of U.S.-made arms in the invasion. Kissinger went on to say regarding the use of U.S. arms, " It depends on how we construe it, whether it is self-defense or is a foreign operation," suggesting the invasion might be framed in a way acceptable to U.S. Iaw. Kissinger added, "It is important that whatever you do succeed quickly...the U.S. Administration would be able to influence the reaction in America if whatever happens after we return [to the U.S.]. If you have made plans, we will do our best to keep everyone quiet until the President returns home."

For years Henry Kissinger has denied that any discussion of East Timor took place in Jakarta. The newly released dialogue between the three adds significantly to what is known about the role the U.S. played in condoning the Indonesian invasion. The dialogue was part of a batch of documents on U.S. policy effecting East Timor obtained through the National Security Archive.

Indonesia invaded East Timor the day after Ford and Kissinger left. As many as 230,000 East Timorese died as a result of Indonesia's invasion and the 23-year occupation of the country. As much as one-third of the population died as a result of starvation, disease, caused by counterinsurgency operations carried out by the Indonesian army from 1976 to 1999. According to Amnesty International, East Timor represents one of the worst cases of genocides in the twentieth century.

Under international pressure, Indonesia allowed a plebiscite in 1999, in which East Timorese overwhelmingly voted for independence. After the vote, Jakarta-backed militias rampaged the territory, burning and looting the country. The U.N. Security Council authorized an Australian-led international force to restore order. East Timor is now an independent country.


CIA Kidnaps Suspects for Overseas Torture and Execution

Sources: WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN, February, 23, 2002 Title: "Love Letter Tracks Terrorist's Footsteps" Author: Don Greenlees

WORLD SOCIALIST Web site <www.wsws.org/articles/2002/mar2002/ cia-m20_ prn.shtml>, March 20, 2002 Title: "U.S. Oversees Abduction, Torture, Execution of Alleged Terrorists" Author: Barry Grey

WASHINGTON POST, March 11, 2002, pg. A01 Title: "U.S. Behind Secret Transfer of Terror Suspects" Authors: Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Peter Finn Faculty Evaluator: Noel Byrne Student Researcher: Sarah Potts

Corporate media coverage: PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, March 17, 2002

U.S. agents are involved in abducting people they suspect of terrorist activities and sending them to countries where torture during interrogation is legal, according to U.S. diplomatic sources. Suspects are shipped to allied countries where they are denied legal assistance and imprisoned without any specific charges made against them. The prisoners have been taken to countries such as Egypt and Jordan (whose intelligence agencies have close ties to the CIA), where they can be subjected to interrogation tactics, including torture and threats to family, which are illegal in the United States.

One of the abductees, Muhammad Saad Iqbal Madni was believed by the CIA to be an Al Qaeda member with possible links to Richard Reid, the American Airlines shoe bomber. In January 2002, the CIA provided Indonesian intelligence officials with information that lead to Iqbal's arrest. A few days later, the Egyptian government requested that Iqbal-who had carried a passport for Egypt as well as Pakistan -be extradited in connection with terrorism, although they did not specify the crime. Indonesian agents quickly took him into custody, and two days later, without legal hearing or access to a lawyer, Iqbal was put on board an unmarked, U.S.-registered Gulfstream V jet, arranged by the CIA, and flown from Jakarta to Egypt.

Indonesian government officials told local media that Iqbal had been sent to Egypt because of visa violations. However, a senior Indonesian government official told reporters that revealing the U.S. role in Iqbal's case would have prompted criticism from Muslim-oriented political parties in the region. "We can't be seen as cooperating too closely with the United States," he said. Nevertheless, the official confirmed that, "This was a U.S. deal all along. Egypt just provided the formalities."

According to one U.S. diplomat, "After September 11, these sorts of movements have been occurring. It allows us to get information from terrorists in a way we can't do on U.S. soil."

Although such "movements" have intensified since 9-11, the U.S. has long been involved in this practice of kidnapping. These abductions, known to those in the business as "rendition," violate local and international extradition laws as well as internationally recognized human rights standards. According to the Washington Post's sources, from 1993 to 1999, suspects were rendered to the U.S. from a variety of countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and the Philippines. U.S. officials have acknowledged some of these operations, but the Post's sources say that dozens of other covert renditions occurred, the details of which remain cloaked in secrecy.

Some documented cases include reports of suspects being interrogated, tortured, and even executed. In 1998, U.S. agents apprehended Talaat Fouad Qassem, the reputed leader of an Egyptian extremist organization, in Croatia. Qassem had been traveling to Denmark, where he had been promised political asylum. Egyptian lawyers say that the U.S. agents removed Qassem to a U.S. ship stationed off the Croatian coast. On board, he was questioned by the agents before being taken to Cairo, where a military tribunal had already sentenced him to death in absentia.

Also in 1998, five members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad were taken into custody by Albanian police working in tandem with CIA agents. The five suspects were interrogated for three days before being shipped to Egypt on a CIA-chartered plane. The U.S. alleged that this group of people had been planning to bomb the U.S. embassy in Albania's capital. Two of the five people were put to death.

*The details of this covert and illegal abduction campaign were brought to light in the U.S. by a Washington Post article printed on March 11, 2002, entitled, "U.S. Behind Secret Transfer of Terror Suspects." The article cites various U.S. and Indonesian officials (sources unidentified by name) recounting and commenting upon these violations. Although the article appeared on the Post's front page, the story was picked up by only one other corporate media source in the U.S., and the Post itself-as of this writing-has not followed up its own story with any new information.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR DON GREENLEES One of the unanswered questions is what happened to Muhammad Saad Iqbal Madni after he was handed over to the CIA and taken to Cairo? U.S. officials have refused to comment on the case. Indeed, there is still no official confirmation that he was ever placed in the custody of the CIA for extradition to Egypt. Was his interrogation conducted by U.S. or Egyptian personnel? Was he, in fact, ever taken to Egypt? Even alleged terrorists are presumably entitled to some protection under the law. In Iqbal's case, it has not been possible to determine his fate. Rumors circulated among non-U.S. Western intelligence agencies earlier this year that Iqbal had died in interrogation. U.S. officials in Jakarta, requesting anonymity, have denied that allegation.

Given the secrecy surrounding Iqbal's capture in Jakarta and handover to the CIA, it is reasonable to assume he is not the only alleged terrorist to have been placed in the custody of U.S. officials and taken to a third country for interrogation, where the absence of civil rights and U.S. Iegal protections could afford interrogators more freedom. Soon after the article on Iqbal appeared in the Weekend Australian, the Washington Post ran an article suggesting there were other cases of individuals being detained by the CIA and sent to countries where interrogation could be more easily carried out. The subject justifies further inquiry. Without the guilt of suspects having been legally ascertained, detentions are clearly open to abuse. How long will suspects be held and on what grounds? What restraint exists on the conduct of the interrogations? These are questions of interest to civil libertarians everywhere, particular in countries where non-democratic rulers could use the crackdown on terrorism as a means of sidelining critics.

The Weekend Australian article also sought to highlight the performance of the Indonesian authorities in dealing with the threat of terrorism. The absence of adequate law enforcement and the lack of coordination between law enforcement agencies, the weakness of immigration controls, and the reluctance of the government to take legal action against extremist elements who have broken the law continue to make Indonesia vulnerable to entry by international terrorists. Iqbal's success in entering Indonesia is seen as evidence of this weakness. But a consistent concern of pro-democracy groups in Indonesia is whether many of the hard won civil freedoms of the past four years could be eroded as Jakarta comes under pressure to improve its contribution to fighting potential terrorist threats.


Corporate Media Ignores Key Issues of the Anti-Globalization Protests

Source: COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW, September/October 2001 Title: "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: The Globalization Protests and the Befuddled Press" Author: John Giuffo

Faculty Evaluator: Suzanne Toczyski Student Researchers: Caroline Hubbard, Cathy Jensen & Derek Fieldsoe

Corporate media coverage: NEW YORK TIMES, February 5, 2002

The U.S. press failed to inform the public of the core underlying issues of the major antiglobalization protests of recent years. Dramatic images such as protesters enshrouded in tear gas, facing down a line of police officers dressed in riot gear, have come to dominate the media coverage and overshadow the actual reasons that thousands of people are taking to the streets.

In July 2001, over 100,000 people went to Genoa to protest the G-8 meetings. However, corporate television gave little recognition to the issues that were being raised by the protesters. CNN showed few protesters actually sharing their views or reasons for protesting. Instead, news correspondents briefly summed up the protest in terms of who was there. This broad summary format was significantly lacking attention to specifics of the meetings or the protests. On Fox networks, the Genoa protesters were all but ignored.

A hard look at more than 200 stories by major news outlets including: ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the Washington Post, Time, and Newsweek, shows serious weaknesses in the coverage of the four largest protests-the International Monetary Fund meeting in Prague in September 2000; the Hemispheric Free Trade talks in Quebec City in April 2001; the European union summit in Gothenburg, Sweden in June 2001; and the G-8 meeting that took place in Genoa in July of 2001. The problem is not so much the focus on the small percentage of protesters who acted violently, but that the coverage lacks context.

The message that protesters are trying to get across is that they want more democratic control (and less corporate control) over the rules that affect the environment and labor conditions around the world. This includes more democratic control over supranational organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization, whose un-elected leaders, the protesters argue, override democratically determined laws and regulations in the name of "development" and "free trade."

There are many instances of police brutality at these large protests, yet what tends to be emphasized by the mainstream news sources are the few acts of violence perpetrated by the protesters. For example, at the Genoa protest that took place last year, approximately 70 members of an Italian SWAT team barged through the doorway of a site where protesters were organizing. This led to the hospitalization of 61 demonstrators. However, few news sources reported the police violence, and most sources focused on protester violence. CBS News released a Web report that indicated that the protesters were injured during the previous day's events. European news sources and independent news organizations, such as <Indymedia.org> put out full reports of police brutality against the protesters.

An article in The New York Times, written by Andrew Jacobs, supports the notion that the media coverage of antiglobalization protests is appalling. Jacobs reports, "most press accounts focused on security concerns and the potential for violence... Ieaving little room for explanations of why people were protesting in the first place."

UPDATE BY AUTHOR JOHN GIUFFO: We've heard the phrase "September 11 changed everything" so often that it has become a cliché to call it a cliché. But in terms of the global justice movement, 9-11 changed a lot. Support of violence as a legitimate protest tactic was waning before the attacks, but it dropped off the radar afterwards. The drama of the globalization-related protests was play-acted anarchy compared to our glimpse of the real thing that fall morning, and it seems like we've lost our collective stomach for such measures.

The few protests since, such as the New York City World Economic Forum protest in late January, have been relatively violence-free, comparatively underattended affairs. Before, the violence had usually been the story, but the big story during the New York protests was that there was no story, and that the police had maintained order in a still-shaky city. None of the core issues the movement addressed have changed, but their perceived importance has waned in the swirl of global violence that has wracked the world in the past year. Quite simply, it seems like we've got bigger things to worry about. The coverage reflects that. The number of foreign correspondents at American news organizations has been shrinking for 20 years, and there are only so many left to go around. Protests in Sao Paolo, Brazil lost out to Operations Condor in the mountains of Afghanistan.

There's another complicating factor-what can best be described as a sort of "message drift." One of the movement's main strengths has been its ability to subsume a multitude of complaints under the banner of anti-corporate democratization. But since the conflicts in Afghanistan and the Middle East have drawn away the keyboards and cameras of journalists, the anti-corporate protesters have been willing to share the stage with pacifists and pro-Palestinian protesters. Even IndyMedia, the main organizing news and message site of the movement, in a post to the site on January 11 conflated the economic issues behind the protests with what it called "the violence being committed against the people of Afghanistan."

That's not to say all the media are distracted. Some news organizations have done an admirable job recognizing the need to dedicate space for explanation and detail when covering the protests. A good example is the Washington Post, which covered the mid-April World Bank/pro-Palestinian protests relatively comprehensively (arguably because it was a hometown affair), pausing to take time to explain the issues behind the economic and anti-Israel protests.

The global justice movement is very much in flux, and that has been one of the central challenges to it getting its message out. Calls for taking sides in the Middle East and against intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq threaten to drown out other voices advocating for clean air, fair trade, or reregulation in corporate ownership structures. There is a limited amount of space in newspapers, and only so much news airtime on television. The more messages that reporters have to get into their stories, the less they can explore those messages. It would seem the global justice movement has to decide what it wants to be when it grows up.


American Companies Exploit the Congo

Sources: DOLLARS AND SENSE, JulyAugust 2001 Title: "The Business of War in the Democratic Republic Of Congo: Who Benefits?" Authors: Dena Montague & Frieda Berrigan

VOICE (Pioneer Valley, MA), March/April 2001 Title: "The Matrix: Depopulation and Perception Management (Part 2: Central Africa)" Author: keith harmon snow

THE VOICE NEWS (Winstead, CT), January 4, 2002 Title: "Central Africa: Hidden Agenda and the Western Press" Author: keith harmon snow

COVERTACTION QUARTERLY, Summer 2000 Title: "U. S. Military and Corporate Recolonization of the Congo" Author: Ellen Ray (Honorable Mention: From Censored 2001)

Faculty Evaluator: Philip Beard Student Researchers: Arinze Anoruo & Chris Salvano

Western multinational corporations' attempts to cash in on the wealth of Congo's resources have resulted in what many have called "Africa's first world war," claiming the lives of over three million people. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been labeled "the richest patch of earth on the planet." The valuable abundance of minerals and resources in the DRC has made it the target of attacks from U.S.-supported neighboring African countries Uganda and Rwanda.

The DRC is mineral rich with millions of tons of diamonds, copper, cobalt, zinc, manganese, uranium, niobium, and tantalum (also known as coltan). Coltan has become an increasingly valuable resource to American corporations. Coltan is used to make mobile phones, night vision goggles, fiber optics, and capacitators used to maintain the electrical charge in computer chips. In December of 2000 the shortage of coltan was the main reason that the popular sale of the Sony Play Station 2 video game came to an abrupt halt.

The DRC holds 80 percent of the world's coltan reserves, more than 60 percent of the world's cobalt, and is the world's largest supplier of high-grade copper. With these minerals playing a major part in maintaining U.S. military dominance and economic growth, minerals in the Congo are deemed vital U.S. interests.

Historically, the U.S. government identified sources of materials in Third World countries, and then encouraged U.S. corporations to invest in and facilitate their production. Dating back to the mid-1960s, the U.S. government literally installed the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko, which gave U.S. corporations access to the Congo's minerals for more than 30 years. However, over the years Mobutu began to limit access by Western corporations, and to control the distribution of resources. In 1998, U.S. military-trained leaders of Rwanda and Uganda invaded the mineral-rich areas of the Congo. The invaders installed illegal colonial-style governments that continue to receive millions of dollars in arms and military training from the United States. Our government and a $5 million Citibank loan maintains the rebel presence in the Congo. Their control of mineral-rich areas allows Western corporations, such as American Mineral Fields (AMF), to illegally mine. Rwandan and Ugandan control over this area is beneficial for both governments and for the corporations that continue to exploit the Congo's natural wealth.

American Mineral Fields landed exclusive exploration rights to an estimated 1.4 million tons of copper and 270,000 tons of cobalt. San Francisco-based engineering firm Bechtel Inc. established strong ties in the rebel zones as well. Bechtel drew up an inventory of the Congo's mineral resources free of charge, and also paid for NASA satellite studies of the country for infrared maps of its minerals. Bechtel estimates that the DRC's mineral ores alone are worth $157 billion dollars. Through coltan production, the Rwandans and their allies are bringing in $20 million in revenue a month. Rwanda's diamond exports went from 166 carats in 1998 to 30,500 in 2000. Uganda's diamond exports jumped from approximately 1,500 carats to about 11,300. The final destination for many of these minerals is the U.S..

UPDATE BY AUTHOR DENA MONTAGUE: Nearly four million people dead in four years of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the world remains silent in the face of an abominable atrocity. The war in the DRC is not only significant because of its infamous status as the world's deadliest war, but also because of the active participation of an international contingent of multinational corporations, terrorist networks, arms brokers, and governments all clamoring for the legendary wealth of the Congo while exacerbating the war.

Ugandan- and Rwandan-backed rebels and the Congolese central government met for nine weeks beginning in March 2002 in Sun City, South Africa to negotiate aspects of the Inter-Congolese dialogue as a part of the Lusaka Peace Accords. In a significant development emerging from the dialogue-Jean Pierre Bemba, a known Mobutuist and leader of Uganda sponsored rebel party, Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), has been appointed prime minister of the DRC in a power-sharing agreement strongly encouraged by Western governments. Rather than being held accountable by the international community for war crimes committed against Congolese civilians and the massive exploitation of Congolese natural resources detailed by the U.N. during the four-year war, Bemba, a multimillionaire, will be leading the country he helped decimate.

In response to its isolation from the power-sharing agreement, Rwandan-backed RCD has formed an alliance with veteran Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi. Rwanda has not ceased discussions of an enduring armed partition of the DRC, as it remains in control of approximately one third of the country. The power sharing agreement emerging from Sun City has effectively marginalized civil society groups who have been organizing peacefully for democracy, and instead rewards armed struggle in the country. Meanwhile, Rwanda and Uganda continue to attract international investors as well as military assistance from the U.S. and others. Thousands of Rwandan troops are currently engaged fighting in the eastern region of the country at the continued expense of civilian lives.

The war in the DRC is layered in such a way that it appears as a wartime telenovella. Its complexity tends to distract the layman observer from the fundamental facts. This war is yet another stage in international efforts to control the wealth of the Congo-a story that dates back to the nineteenth century.

The only major U.S. media response to the war in the DRC has been a weeklong Nightline report, "Heart of Darkness" that was originally scheduled to air the week of September 11 and was postponed until February. Although the Nightline special was significant in drawing attention to the neglected story and the unbearable suffering of the Congolese people, it did little to explain the root causes of the war. Other than the Nightline report, only an occasional story on the fledgling peace process appears in major newspapers.

There are few outlets that give a comprehensive account of the war. International Crisis Group has published a series of in-depth reports about the conflict at <www.intl-crisis-group.org/>.

Occasionally the Washington Post covers the DRC. Reporter Karl Vick was one of the first to uncover the story of coltan mining. All Africa <www.allafrica.com/> compiles daily reports on the DRC. Other magazines that are less accessible frequently cover the war-New African Magazine and Africa Confidential.

For an historical perspective on conflict in the Congo, King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild and The Assassination of Patrice Lumumba by Ludo De Witte are good sources.

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