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<nettime> ivogram: mediwatch VIII + WWIII report V
Ivo Skoric on Mon, 29 Oct 2001 23:17:55 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> ivogram: mediwatch VIII + WWIII report V

"Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
     Media Watch 8
     (Fwd) WW3 Report/5

          [digested  {AT}  nettime]

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Sun Oct 28, 2001  01:43:47  PM US/Eastern
Subject: Media Watch 8

My original complaint that the US media served to manufacture  consent for
war is now outdated. As the war took its course, the  media became less
interested in advocating it - which happens  with all wars - and that is
precisely why Pentagon knows that it  has to keep its wars SHORT.

Now, there are not only anti-war protests around the world, there  are
protests around the US as well, and those protests are  televised. It is
not that US citizens are against US fighting  terrorism. On the contrary -
just about everybody here wants to see  those responsible for the 9-11
attacks brought to justice.

It is that the method seems questionable. Every day the Pentagon  announces
the heaviest bombing of targets in Afghanistan so far.  And nobody knows
just what targets there may be left any more.  And than the reports come of
Red Cross warehouses being hit  accidentally TWICE. And of civilian
casualties in other places.

But when Special Forces reached Kandahar, they were still met  with heavy
Taliban resistance - so where did all those bombs fell,  one would
prudently have to ask?

In yesterday's anti-war protests in New York city there was  reportedly a
group carrying a banner - 'Yugoslavs against US  bombing' - this met a
curious negative response from Belgrade,  where people privately in general
approve of the US bombing of the  former KLA and Bosnian Army ally Osama
Bin Laden.

While refugees are comming in droves from Afghanistan to  Pakistan, young
Pakistanis are fleeing in opposite direction - to  help Taliban fight
Americans: By Riaz Khan, Associated Press Writer, 27 October 2001

"More than 5,000 people rolled out of a north-eastern Pakistan  village
today in buses and trucks, pickups and vans, bound for the  Afghan frontier
and vowing to fight a holy war against the United  States."

In the new media atmosphere, where quietly the restrictions  discussed in
the beginning of the war were dropped, the K-Rock  radio in New York (which
increasingly sounds like Radio 101 in  Zagreb did during the war in Croatia
- in respect of the vocabulary  used to describe the perceived enemy)
commented this particular  piece of news with: "great, there will be more
of them for us to kill."

K-Rock, mindful of the Muslim diet restrictions, also suggested  dropping
pork meat in lieu of the food drops. In the matter of fact,  maybe they
should contact Heifer International - the organizations  that specializes
in donating livestock to the poor third world village  families - to drop
some piglets over to the Taliban.

During the recent attack on Duke Energy's Catawba Nuclear  Power Plant at
York, SC, local population could think that the  war really came to the US.
But it was just a training operation of  the US special forces -
regrettably unanounced to the local  authorities. Luckily, local Sheriff
did not open fire on spec-op  troops.

The US government got Bayer to halve its price of anthrax  treating Cipro
medicine by threatening foreign imports of  emergency supply (foreign
producers of generic Cipro sell it for  1/30 of Bayer's price). I didn't
hear anybody opposing this  unique evidence of how corporate greed became
itself a victim  of this recent war.

Meanwhile, former president Clinton got salmonella in the mail,  instead of
anthrax. What an embarassment. He isn't worthy of  anthrax any more, I
guess, now that he is out of power.

And the most disturbing recent news are that the anthrax might  have come
from the domestic right-wing sources - remember Larry  Wayne Harris case? -
so what's next? bombing Idaho? 

Yet, the present US response is still mainly two prong:  overwhelming
military force threat against Arab states and the  police threat mainly
aimed on Arab immigrants within the US  borders:


The Washington Post reported Oct. 22 that FBI officials are  "beginning to
say that traditional civil liberties may have to be  cast aside" in the
case of suspects held at New York's  Metropolitan Correctional Center in
connection with the 9-11  attacks. The four suspects are Zacarias
Moussaoui, a French  Moroccan "detained in August in Minnesota after he
sought  lessons on how to fly commercial jetliners but not how to take  off
or land them"; Mohammed Jaweed Azmath and Ayub Ali  Khan, "Indians
traveling with false passports who were detained  the day after the [9-11]
attacks with box cutters, hair dye and  $5,000 in cash"; and Nabil
Almarabh, "a former Boston  cabdriver with alleged links to al-Qaeda." The
four have all  rejected offers of lighter sentences, money, jobs and new
identities in exchange for testimony. Noting US legal strictures  against
torture, authorities are considering extraditing the  suspects to "allied
countries where security services employ  threats to family members or

The Sad State of American Jurisprudence  
           Oct 27, 07:45 

When they took the 4th Amendment away
I was quiet because I didn't deal in drugs...
When they took the 6th Amendment away
I was quiet because I had never been arrested...
When they took the 2nd Amendment away
I was quiet because I didn't own a gun...
Now they have taken the 1st Amendment away
and all I can do is be quiet...


------- Forwarded Message Follows -------

War on Terrorism: Observer special

Ed Vulliamy in New York
Sunday October 28, 2001
The Observer

Neo-Nazi extremists within the US are behind the deadly wave of anthrax
attacks against America, according to latest briefings from the security
services and Justice Department.

Experts on 'survivalist' groups and extreme-right 'Aryan' militants have
been drafted into the investigation as the focus shifts away from possible
links with the 11 September terrorists or even possible state backers such
as Iraq.

'We've been zeroing in on a number of hate groups, especially one on the
West Coast,' a source at the Justice Department told The Observer yesterday.
'We've certainly not discounted the possibility that they may be involved.'

The anthrax crisis, which grew last week, had by Friday night spread to
mailrooms at CIA headquarters, the Supreme Court and a hospital, and
yesterday three traces were found in an office building serving the US

'There are a number of strong leads, and some people we know well that we
are looking at,' the Justice Department said. 'These are groups organised
into militia and "survivalist" movements - which pull out of society and
take to the hills to make war on the government, and who will support anyone
else making war on the government.'

Investigators are examining threatening letters sent to media
organisations - some dated before the 11 September attacks - which did not
contain anthrax but contained similar messages and handwriting style as
those which later did. The theory is that the anthrax attacks were planned -
and the killer germ was obtained and treated - long before the carnage of 11

Speaking to The Observer yesterday, the Justice Department official said:
'We have to see the right wing as much better coordinated than its apparent
disorganisation suggests. And we have to presume that their opposition to
government is just as virulent as that of the Islamic terrorists, if not as

'But that is, in its way, one of the most compelling possible leads in the
anthrax trail - that it is not really al-Qaeda's style, but rather that of
others who sympathise with its war against the American government and

The official said the investigation had, in the past week, drafted in
special teams from the Civil Rights division of the department to reinforce
the international terrorism teams. The American neo-Nazi Right is motivated
above all by its loathing of the federal government, which it believes is
selling out the homeland to a 'New World Order' run by masons and Jews.

Its insane politics have propelled numerous attacks and armed stand-offs
over the past eight years, culminating in the carnage at Oklahoma. Now the
anthrax investigation is zooming in on possible connections between these
neo-Nazis and Arab extremists, united by their mutual anti-Semitism and
hatred of Israel. Such alliances have been common among neo-Nazis in Europe,
but have played a lesser role in the US. However, monitoring of the hate
groups shows they are now embracing al-Qaeda's terrorism as commendable
attacks on the federal government.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal centre in Los Angeles said that
at a meeting in Lebanon this year, US neo-Nazis were represented alongside
Islamic militants. 'There's a great solidarity with the point of view of the
bin Ladens of the world,' said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law
Centre, which monitors the far right. 'These people wouldn't let their
daughters near an Arab, but they are certainly making common cause on an
ideological level. They see the same enemy: American culture and

Neo-Nazi websites, including the largest umbrella organisation, the National
Alliance, show support for al-Qaeda. Billy Roper, the alliance's membership
coordinator posted a message within hours of the 11 September attacks,
reading: 'Anyone who is willing to drive a plane into a building to kill
Jews is all right by me. I wish our members had half as much testicular
fortitude.' Another group, Aryan Action, praised the attacks of 11
September, saying: 'Either you're fighting with the Jews against al-Qaeda or
you support al-Qaeda fighting against the Jews.' Others outwardly support
the anthrax mailing.

One message, entitled 'No Sympathy for the Devil', was posted in several
chat rooms by right-winger Grant Bruer, whose racist writings are circulated
among supremacist groups. It reads: 'Is there not a single person who has
received these anthrax letters that isn't an avowed enemy of the white race?
Tom Brokaw, Tom Daschle and the gossip rag offices have all been 100 per
cent legitimate targets. Who among us has the slightest bit of sympathy for
these pukes?'

Right-wing groups have had an interest in anthrax and other biological
agents. A member of the Aryan Nation group once bragged he had a stash of
anthrax from digging up a field where cows had died of the disease in the
1950s. Larry Wayne Harris was arrested after trying to obtain three vials of
bubonic plague from a mail-order science company.

The trail leading investigators to groups from the domestic ultra-right -
rather than the al-Qaeda terror network - comes as a dramatic twist in the
confused crisis. Last week, parallel evidence appeared to be linking the now
rampant anthrax attacks to another trail: leading from Iraq and through the
Czech Republic, with al-Qaeda militants as the likely couriers.

The shift in the investigation echoes that which followed America's other
infamous terrorist attack: the destruction of the federal government
building in Oklahoma City in 1995. The bombing was initially thought to be
the work of Arab extremists, but turned out to be the work of the Aryan

unofficial AIT-IWA-talk mailing list
AIT-IWA-talk {AT} list.uncanny.net

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Sun Oct 28, 2001  01:43:03  PM US/Eastern
Subject: (Fwd) WW3 Report/5

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
date sent:      	Sun, 28 Oct 2001 04:37:00 -0500
to:             	billw {AT} echonyc.com
from:           	Bill Weinberg <billw {AT} echonyc.com>
subject:        	WW3 Report/5

#. 5. Oct. 27, 2001 

by Bill Weinberg 



On Oct. 27, the New York Times reported that the Pentagon  "sincerely
regrets" the previous day's airstrikes on a Red Cross  complex in Kabul--in
an area which had ostensibly been put "off  limits" after the bombing of
the same complex Oct. 16. Claiming  military planners didn't know it was a
Red Cross building, the  Pentagon nonetheless sent a representative to the
organization's  Geneva headquarters to ensure it wouldn't happen again.
Tons  of food aid and blankets were destroyed in the raid, and a photo
showed an Afghan man standing with sacks of wheat amidst the  rubble. 

CNN.com reported Oct. 24 that residents of Chowker Korez  village in
northwest Afghanistan claimed dozens killed and over  20 wounded in a US
aerial raid Oct. 22. While Navy Rear  Adm. John Stufflebeem said the
Pentagon "can't confirm" the  strikes on the village, CNN staff who went to
a Kandahar  hospital said they saw several dismembered bodies wrapped in
white bags, as well as a number of wounded being treated. Most  were Kuchi
nomads who have returned to their traditional way  of life to avoid bombing
raids on the cities, and said they were in  the village when it was
attacked by US aircraft. 

Newsday reported Oct 24 the Pentagon admitted an "errant  bomb" damaged a
home for the elderly in Herat, but denied  Taliban claims of over 100 dead.
The strike was allegedly aimed  at a military vehicle storage building. US
bombs also "went  astray," striking a residential area northwest of Kabul.
Newsday  also cited reports by Qatar's al-Jazira TV of nearly 100 dead in
air raids on two villages near Kandahar. Stufflebeem "suggested  that
differing between civilian and Taliban targets will grow more  difficult
amid reports that the Taliban are beginning to hide  personnel and
equipment in residential neighborhoods or near  mosques  to protect them
from airstrikes." 

A New York Times headline that day highlighted Taliban rocket  attacks on
Charikar village, controlled by the US-backed  Northern Alliance, leaving
two dead. Also on Oct. 24, the New  York Times website ran a photo caption
saying 70% of  residents of Afghanistan's three biggest cities had fled the
bombing--but, one Internet watcher reports, "an hour later the  caption
just said above is a photo of a refugee!" 

On Oct. 23, Newsday reported Taliban claims that the Herat  raid hit a
hospital, killing over 100. The Pentagon "said there  was no evidence of
the attack but it was investigating the claim."  On Oct 21, al-Jazira
showed widespread destruction in Kabul's  Khair Khana neighborhood, citing
18 killed (summary at  www.abunimah.org). Oct. 19, a New York Times photo
showed a 50-foot crater filled with muddy water on a road near  Kabul
"where witnesses said a pedestrian was killed." The  caption cited
residents saying "at least five civilians were killed  when an airstrike
hit houses near a Taliban tank unit." On Oct  16, Newsday quoted Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld  dismissing claims of hundreds of civilian
casualties as  "ridiculous," calling the Taliban and al-Qaeda "accomplished
liars." Rumsfeld acknowledged a Navy jet mistakenly bombed a  residential
area near the Kabul airport, killing four civilians. 


The Oct. 20 Economist quoted Pentagon spokesperson Victoria  Clarke saying
US war aims are "creating the conditions  necessary for sustained
anti-terrorist operations, and for the  delivery of humanitarian aid." But
a story on the next page said  "a group of aid agencies, including Oxfam
and Christian Aid,  appealed to America to stop the bombing to allow food
through." UN aid caravans from Pakistan have been halted due  to the
bombing, and with winter approaching Afghanistan faces  mass starvation.
Read an Oxfam press release (quoted in  Newsday Oct. 25): "We've reached a
point where it is simply  unrealistic for us to do our job in Afghanistan.
We've run out of  food, the borders have closed, we can't reach our staff
and  time's running out." In response to the pressure, Uzbekistan  finally
opened its border to allow a UN caravan through, as aid  workers think this
northern route may be safer (Newsday, Oct.  25). Worsening the situation,
the Taliban took over UN World  Food Progam warehouses in Kabul,
confiscating the stores there  (Newsday Oct 18). Oxfam also reported that
US bombs had hit  near UN food storehouses in Kabul (Oct. 17 press

The International Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders  joined Oxfam in
protesting US air-drops of food aid into  Afghanistan, saying it actually
worsens the situation. "Our staff  are in danger," Oxfam's Mark Fried told
the Ottawa Citizen  Oct. 26. "If one side of the conflict perceives that
the other is  using humanitarian aid as a weapon of war, we could be
perceived as the enemy and therefore our staff could be  targeted. We're
quite concerned that this blurring of the line  between humanitarian and
military is...ultimately dangerous to the  whole effort of providing
humanitarian relief." Fried said the  rations are reaching only one per
cent of those in need, and  called the price of the air-drops "obscene." He
said it cost $27  million to air-drop 130,000 meals--about $207 per
meal--while  Oxfam could distribute this amount for under 3.5 cents a meal. 

On Oct. 14, the UK Observer's Mary Riddell wrote: "Scattering  food
parcels, whose rations are unsuitable for starving children,  has been
insultingly useless. Even if all the airdrops missed  minefields and
reached the neediest, the $320 million earmarked  by the US would feed only
a quarter of the hungry for one day."  In a boon to the Kellogg's company,
The Economist reports  Pop Tart Toaster-Pastries are included in the drops.
Meanwhile,  in the Pakistan refugee camps now swelling in response to the
bombing, aid workers warn of a deadly tuberculosis epidemic if  measures
are not taken to arrest an outbreak before winter  (New York Times, Oct.


The US Rangers and Delta Force troops in the Oct. 19 raid on  Taliban
headquarters in Kandahar "encountered far heavier  opposition than they
expected," according to an Oct. 26 account  in the London Daily Telegraph.
"The raid was a success from the  intelligence point of view," said one
Pentagon source. "But our  men were surprised by the amount of resistance
they ran into.  The speed with which the Taliban launched a counter-attack
came as a bit of a shock. They fought like maniacs, we didn't  expect that.
Intelligence got it wrong." Defense Secretary  Donald Rumsfeld admitted the
Taliban was more formidable  than expected. "These are very tough people,"
he told US News  & World Report. "They've made careers out of fighting, and
they're not going to roll over." UK Chief of Defence Staff Adml.  Sir
Michael Boyce warned in a New York Times interview,  "quick pinprick"
strikes would not be enough. 


On Oct. 22, All Things Considered reported Taliban claims to  have shot
down a US helicopter during the Oct. 19 Special  Forces raids on Taliban
headquarters in Kandahar. Taliban  representatives displayed the wheels as
evidence for the news  media, but the Pentagon says the chopper just lost
its wheels. 


The deal between Washington and Afghanistan's rebel Northern  Alliance appears to be cemented. This week, US forces began  bombing Taliban frontlines in the north outside Mazar-i-Sharif,  as well as continuing attacks on Kabul (BBC, Oct. 21). The  Northern Alliance, which is attempting to take Mazar-i-Sharif,  had previously criticized the US for not attacking frontline  Taliban troops, and some still protest that the air raids on  frontline positions are insufficient (New York Times, Oct. 26).  On Oct. 25, the New York Times reported that the Northern  Alliance is sending into battle a new "elite unit," called Zarbati  (rapid), numbering some 10,000. The Times said the new unit is  "intended to be more regular army than guerillas--perhaps joined  by Taliban defectors." It did not say "intended" by whom.  However, an article on the same page reported that US Green  Berets have been training in Uzbekistan since 1995. The Times  only said the Green Berets were holding military e!
xercises with  Uzbekistan forces, but Uzbekistan serves as staging ground for  the Northern Alliance and the side-by-side stories imply a Green  Beret role in shaping the Zarbati. On Oct 21 the Times quoted  Gen. Atta Mohammad, Northern Alliance commander outside  Mazar-i-Sharif, admitting (or boasting) that a US military team is  operating in territory held by his fighters, but insisted they are  just engaged in intelligence gathering. "There is a small group of  Americans," he said. "They are just here for reconnaissance."  The new US role may mean tension with Washington's tentative  Russian allies, who were backing the Northern Alliance when  the US was tilting to the Taliban. The BBC reported Oct. 21  that Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Northern Alliance  President Burhanuddin Rabbani in Tajikistan to offer military aid,  but insisted there was no place for Taliban veterans in  Afghanistan's post-war government. 


A New York Times headline Oct. 22 warned: "Afghan Ban On  Growing of Opium
is Unraveling." While noting that the Taliban's  War on Drugs has been
successful, resulting in a 95% drop in  this year's opium harvest, the
article cited US "intelligence  reports" that widespread opium planting is
now underway. State  Department counter-narcotics official R. Rand Beers
told the  Times: "We had a situation that showed promise that is now
headed in absolutely the wrong direction." The Economist went  even
further, noting in its Oct. 20 edition that the local  Afghanistan price of
$700 kilos of raw opium dropped to $100  within two weeks of Sept. 11, and
speculated that the  Taliban is releasing "stockpiled" opium on to the
international  market. Read the article: "UN officials believe that 2,800
tonnes  of opium, convertible into 280 tonnes of heroin, is in the hands
of the Taliban, the al-Qaeda bnetwork... and other Afghan and  Pakistani
drug lords." Conveniently, "other Afghan drug lords"  would include
commanders of the US-backed Northern  Alliance. Neither the Economist nor
the Times reports  mentioned the Oct. 5 citation by the Times of UN data
indicating  most opium in Afghanistan is now grown in territory controlled
by the Northern Alliance. 


The Pentagon has hired a top DC public-relations firm, the  Rendon Group,
to help "explain US military strikes in  Afghanistan to global audiences,"
the San Jose Mercury News  reported Oct. 19. Rendon has previously worked
for the CIA,  which paid it to boost the image of the Iraqi National
Congress,  a US-backed group opposed to Saddam Hussein. The  Pentagon is
now paying Rendon to "monitor news media in 79  countries; conduct focus
groups; create a counterterrorism Web  site that will provide information
on terrorist groups and the US  campaign against terrorism; and recommend
ways the US  military can counter disinformation and improve its own public
communications." The contract, awarded without bidding, is for  $397,000
and lasts 120 days, with an option to extend for up to  one year.  


The New York Times reported Oct 21 that when President  Bush and China's
President Jiang Zemin met at the Asian summit  in Shanghai, they put aside
long-standing differences on human  rights issues, instead "emphasizing
their new cooperation." At  US-Chinese meetings earlier that month in DC, a
"strikingly  friendly and cooperative" optimism reigned that progress would
be made on the cases of several Chinese political prisoners  being
monitored by the US State Department. "Instead, as Mr.  Bush prepared to
come to in Shanghai this week to rally support  for his war on terrorism,
human rights issues faded into the  background and the high-profile cases
seemed once again  stalled, family members and their lawyers said." Among
the  stalled cases is that of Yang Zili, 29, awaiting sentencing on
charges of "subverting state power" for hosting an Internet  political
discussion group advocating peaceful reform. A  sentence was expected just
before Bush's visit, but has now  been delayed as Zili languishes behind
bars. More information is  available on his case from the Digital Freedom
Network  (www.dfn.org). China has been drawn into the US-led alliance  by
the threat of unrest in its far western Xinjiang Autonomous  Region, which
the local indigenous Uighurs, a Turkic and  predominantly Muslim people,
traditionally call Uighurstan.  Several accused Uighur separatists have
been imprisoned in  connection with bus bombings and other armed actions in
China  in recent years (RFE Newsline, June 1, 1997).  Xinjiang/Uighurstan
shares a border with Afghanistan, and in  Oct. 12's New York Times, China
Foreign Ministry  spokesperson Sun Yuxi called the separatists
"terrorists,"  claiming some have received training from the Taliban. 



Newsday reported Oct 25 that Pakistani immigrant Rafiq Butt,  55, detained
by the INS Sept. 20 in the post-9-11 sweeps, died  in New Jersey's Hudson
County Jail. Butt was not linked by  authorities to the terror attacks, but
had overstayed his visa  while working as a waiter in Queens and supporting
a wife and  five children in Pakistan. Authorities blamed a pre-existing
heart  condition for his death, but it may have been exacerbated by  blood
tests he was subjected to, allegedly "because of concerns  about
bio-terrorism." People with heart conditions are more  vulnerable to
certain pathogens which can enter the bloodstream  during such tests.  


The Washington Post reported Oct. 22 that FBI officials are  "beginning to
say that traditional civil liberties may have to be  cast aside" in the
case of suspects held at New York's  Metropolitan Correctional Center in
connection with the 9-11  attacks. The four suspects are Zacarias
Moussaoui, a French  Moroccan "detained in August in Minnesota after he
sought  lessons on how to fly commercial jetliners but not how to take  off
or land them"; Mohammed Jaweed Azmath and Ayub Ali  Khan, "Indians
traveling with false passports who were detained  the day after the [9-11]
attacks with box cutters, hair dye and  $5,000 in cash"; and Nabil
Almarabh, "a former Boston  cabdriver with alleged links to al-Qaeda." The
four have all  rejected offers of lighter sentences, money, jobs and new
identities in exchange for testimony. Noting US legal strictures  against
torture, authorities are considering extraditing the  suspects to "allied
countries where security services employ  threats to family members or


Facilities used to irradiate produce and poultry are now being  proposed
for use by postal authorities to decontaminate anthrax- infected mail,
Newsday reported Oct. 24. But critics say up to  2.5 times the standard
radiation dose would be needed to  destroy anthrax spores. Staples and
paper clips could become  "unacceptably" radioactive, and the process may
not even be  effective at all. Food sent in the mail, especially meat,
cheese or  fruit, could turn into mush. And workers would have to be
protected from lung-damaging ozone, which is released in the  radiation
process. "Some are embracing this as the silver bullet  to deal with the
anthrax problem, when it may be very harmful,"  said Tony Corvo of Public
Citizen, which has long opposed  food irradiation. Predictably, the
irradiation industry says its  ready to go. "We could do a million letters
a day," at a cost of  about 50 cents per pound, said Jim Jones, sales &
marketing  president for Food Technology Service Inc., of Mulberry, FLA.
"Our business is killing bacteria." The plant uses Cobalt 60 to  emit
bacteria-killing gamma rays that can penetrate cardboard,  aluminum or
plastic.  The process, which could require 25  kilogrades of radiation
rather than the 10 kilogrades used for  food, would not make the mail
radioactive, Jones said. Although  the Cobalt 60 and Cesium 137 used in
irradiation plants are not  currently recovered from nuclear waste, the
industry has long  plugged food irradiation as a profitable solution to the
waste  dilemma and a boon to continued nuclear development. 


The Bayer Corporation--which holds the patent on Cipro, the  only
anti-biotic effective against anthrax--resolved an unseemly  squabble with
the US government over the price it will charge  for emergency stockpiles,
but still faces price-fixing litigation  from consumer groups. Bayer
insists no other company be  allowed to manufacture Cipro, and that no
foreign countries be  allowed to export it--despite the fact that nations
with less  stringent patent laws sell Cipro for one-thirtieth the US price,
and have offered to ship the US large quantities (New York  Times, Oct.
21). Bayer finally agreed to drop costs from $1.83  to $1 per tablet after
the government threatened to import  generic alternatives (New York Times,
Oct. 24). But consumer  groups protest the deal as inadequate. On Oct. 24,
the  Prescription Access Litigation (PAL) project announced it has  gone to
court to overturn an agreement between Bayer, Barr  Laboratories, and two
other generic drug companies that it says  blocks access to adequate
supplies and cheaper versions of  Cipro. Groups in eleven
states--representing over one million  consumers--have signed onto the
suit. The plaintiffs charge  Bayer unlawfully paid three of its competitors
a total of $200  million to date to abandon efforts to market generic
Cipro,  thereby manipulating the price and supply. Because of these
payments, the generic companies abandoned their argument that  Bayer's
patent was invalid. Under WTO regs written by the  pharmaceutical industry,
production of generic drugs without  royalty payments to the patent-holder
is to be phased out  completely by 2005 (see Whose Trade Organization?
Corporate Globalization and the Erosion of Democracy by Lori  Wallach and
Michelle Sforza, Public Citizen, 1999, p. 112- 124). 


A mock attack on a nuclear power plant by US military forces  four days
after the 9-11 attacks alarmed officials in two states.  The unannounced
exercise included soldiers rappelling from  helicopters and small arms fire
around Duke Energy's Catawba  Nuclear Power Plant at York, SC. A Duke
Energy  spokesperson told the AP Oct. 23 the company still doesn't  know
what was going on: "We were not part of an exercise and  there was no
contact made with the station." Fighter jets from  South Carolina's Shaw
Air Force Base were scrambled to  check out reports of an assault on the
state's northern line, the  Raleigh News & Observer first reported. Later,
the North  Carolina Emergency Management Division's Raleigh command  center
received unconfirmed reports that it was a military  "special forces"
operation, the paper reported on the 23rd. The  Defense Department
"apparently forgot to advise regional  authorities of the exercise," North
Carolina emergency officials  said. Word of the exercise began about 8 PM
Sept. 15, when  residents called local police to report four or five
helicopters  flying low near Interstate 77, following the Catawba River
north  toward the nuclear plant. York County's emergency operations  center
couldn't reach the helicopters on any radio channel;  neither could air
traffic controllers at Charlotte-Douglas Airport.  By midnight, eight state
and federal agencies, including the FBI,  had been notified and were
looking into the scare. Some law  enforcement and emergency officials are
concerned about not  being notified, especially on the heels of the terror
attacks. "It  wasn't a good time for the military to do whatever they were
doing," said York County emergency management director  Cotton Howell.
"Their timing was real bad." 



The assumption that the anthrax attacks are the work of Osama  bin Laden is
echoed in many--but mostly vague--headlines. On  Oct. 23 AFP cited reports
in "the British press" quoting an  anonymous "chief lieutenant" of bin
Laden saying the accused  terror mastermind bought mail-order anthrax
spores as well as e- coli and salmonella from unspecified labs in "eastern
Europe,"  laundering the purchase through "an Islamic separatist group in
Indonesia." On Oct. 23, the New York Times reported the US  had signed a
pact with Uzbekistan to clean up an old Soviet bio- war lab on the Aral
Sea's Vozrozhdeniye Island to the tune of  $6 million in US taxdollars--due
to fears that bio-hazardous  material could fall into the hands of Islamic
extremists. On Oct.  26, the New York Times quoted new US Homelands
Security  Director Tom Ridge on the front-page, above-the-fold: "It is
clear that the terrorists responsible for these attacks intended to  use
this anthrax as a weapon. Clearly we are up against a  shadow enemy, shadow
soldiers, people who have no regard  for human life." 

But on Oct. 25, Newsday quoted FBI Director Robert Mueller  saying "there
is no evidence to support the presumption at this  point that the anthrax
attacks were a result of organized  terrorism." Former State Department
counter-terrorism official  Larry Johnson called the letters accompanying
"a little to trite, too banal," as if lifted from  a "bad Hollywood
script." On Oct. 27, Bob Woodward wrote  in the Washington Post that "top
FBI and CIA officials believe  that the anthrax attacks...are likely the
work of one or more  extremists in the United States who are probably not
connected  to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist organization." 

The newsmedia have overlooked evidence that the anthrax may  be coming from
the USA's domestic radical right. Since the  anthrax attacks, the New York
Times has not referenced a front- page story it ran Feb. 20, 1998 about the
FBI's arrest of white  separatist Larry Wayne Harris and an accomplice in
Las Vegas  on charges of possessing deadly biological agents. Harris, a
former Aryan Nations member from Lancaster, OH, worked at  a medical
laboratory and was able to pilfer official certificates  with which to
order samples of bubonic plague through the mail.  The story said the FBI
believed Harris intended to release the  plague on the New York subways,
"causing hundreds of  thousands of deaths that would be attributed to the
Iraqi  government." The men were also said to be seeking other  pathogens.
Bobby Siller, the FBI agent on the case, said: "It was  suspected that
these individuals were in possession of a  dangerous biological chemical


The New York Times reported Oct 23 the US Defense  Intelligence Agency
(DIA) is developing a more potent form of  anthrax to test a new vaccine
the Pentagon intends to use on all  service members. The project was
delayed "for weeks" as  Pentagon lawyers considered whether it violated the
1972  Biological Weapons Convention, but now appears to be moving  ahead.
Testing "defense measures" against bio-warfare is the  bureaucratic
subterfuge which has allowed the US to exploit a  loophole in the treaty
and keep bio-warfare research alive-- which is why maps in the media
purporting to indicate global bio- war labs don't show Ft. Detrick, MD, or
any other US facility.  (See No Fire, No Thunder: The Threat of Chemical
and  Biological Weapons by Sean Murphy, et al, Monthly Review,  1984, p.

But public panic may beat the Pentagon to the punch. On Oct.  22, Stanford
University microbiologist Lucy Shapiro warned in  the New York Times that
media-induced paranoia could be  more deadly than the anthrax itself,
leading to widespread anti- biotic abuse which will only breed resistant
strains. "Our big  problem is not bioterrorism. It's our response that's
going to lead  to a big jump in antibiotic resistance. That's the terror." 


In another embarrassing instance of Osama bin Laden making  himself useful
to US imperialism, the London Independent  reported Oct. 21 that Interpol
senior investigator Gwen  McClure claimed in a briefing before a panel of
NATO  parliamentary representatives that the accused terrorist  mastermind
had been a key player in the Kosovo Liberation  Army (KLA), the Albanian
guerillas which battled Serbian  forces on the ground during the 1999 NATO
bombardment of  Yugoslavia. Osama was said to be present at a series of
meetings in Albania where international Islamic extremists and  local mafia
bosses brokered a deal to arm the KLA with heroin  profits. Within months
of the meeting, Albanian mafias  established control of 70% of Europe's
heroin market, McClure  asserted. She also claimed Osama supplied one of
his "top  military commanders for an elite KLA unit during the Kosovo


The Chicago Tribune reported Oct. 21 on a program at the  University of
Nebraska's Omaha campus, the Center for  Afghanistan Studies, which served
"a back door" to the Taliban  for US policy and intelligence intrigues.
While ostensibly aiming  to "expose Afghan leaders to American ideas and
democracy," it  continued to host high-ranking Taliban representatives even
as  anti-Taliban rhetoric in Washington grew harsher and sanctions  were
instated. In November 1997, then-Secretary of State  Madeleine Albright
blasted Taliban leaders as sadistic killers  who nail enemies to village
walls and stone uncovered women.  A month later, eight top Taliban chiefs
toured the US at Center's  invitation. The university's Education Sector
Support Project  even distributed thousands of textbooks to Afghan children
reflecting a Taliban-approved version of history depicting  women as
second-class citizens. The pro-democracy content of  the textbooks was
edited out at the insistence of the university's  Taliban partners, and
university plans to educate female students  and train female teachers in
Afghanistan were "sharply limited." 

Since 1986, the Center has received over $60 million in US  AID grants for
programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to  host visits by regional
leaders. AID cancelled the grant in 1994,  but the State Department
continued to authorize the visits, and a  private interest stepped in to
pick up the bill--the Unocal Corp.  The sanctions do not apply to private
companies funding  "education or humanitarian relief efforts." Unocal, then
seeking a  pipeline route linking the Caspian Basin oilfields to global
markets through Afghanistan, exploited this loophole to bring 8  Taliban
reps (and a Pakistani intelligence officer) stateside to talk  turkey in
Dec. 1997. 

"The US government was encouraging our engagement there to  bring stability
to the country," Unocal spokesman Barry Lane  said. The Taliban visitors
included Mullah Mohammad Ghaus,  Afghanistan's foreign minister; Ahmed Jan,
minister for mines  and industry; Amir Muttaqi, education minister; and Din
Muhammad, minister of planning. The Taliban ministers were  flown to
Unocal's Houston offices for four days of meetings.  They also toured NASA
headquarters, spent several hours at a  shopping mall and attended a party
at the mansion of an oil  company VP. The group also spent two days at the
Omaha  campus. Back in Afghanistan, the university was building its
training program on a 56-acre plot in Kandahar that had once  been a US AID
compound--now with Unocal picking up the tab  to tune of $1 million. 

Criticism of the program was voiced at Unocal's 1999  stockholder meeting
in Los Angeles, where women's rights  groups staged protests accusing
Unocal of cutting secret deals  with the Taliban. "We were suspicious that
women's rights  would be sold out for oil," said Feminist Majority
spokeswoman  Beth Raboin. 

Unocal dropped the pipeline plan when the Taliban was linked  to the Africa
embassy bombings in 1998. No longer receiving  money from AID or Unocal,
the Omaha center closed its  Afghanistan program. The center still has an
office in Peshawar,  Pakistan, and employs three guards to patrol the
Kandahar  compound. 


The AP reported Oct. 25 that Pakistani authorities had detained  two top
nuclear scientists about suspected contacts with leaders  of Afghanistan's
Taliban regime. Sultan Bashiru-Din Mehmood,  a founder of Pakistan's
nuclear program, was picked up by  intelligence agents in Lahore. Abdul
Majid, who worked for  years with Mehmood at Pakistan's Atomic Energy
Commission,  was also held, "officials in the Interior Ministry said on
condition  of anonymity." Sources said the men were interrogated about
possible links to Taliban chief Mullah Mohammed Omar and  other figures in
the regime. Neither has been charged with any  crime. Mehmood and a "group
of friends" work on  "rehabilitation projects" in war-ravaged Afghanistan. 


Experts on Islamic fundamentalism warn that the US bombing  campaign is
only playing into the movement's hands by fueling a  backlash. Anti-US
protests in Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria,  Egypt, Yemen and other countries
are only the most visible sign.  "What I worry about is based on what we're
already seeing, and  that is our striking in Afghanistan is a coup for
Islamic extremists  in Pakistan and around the world," Harvard terrorism
expert  Jessica Stern told the New York Times Oct. 21. 

Saad Hassaballah, an attorney for Islamic militants in Egypt,  drew an
analogy between Osama bin Laden and Sayed Qutb, a  founder of contemporary
Islamic fundamentalism who was  executed on charges of attempting to
overthrow Egypt's  government in 1966. More powerful in death than in life,
his  writings became essential texts for the movement which  exploded
throughout the Islamic world in the 1990s. "Sayed  Qutb was hanged, but his
ideas are still with us," Hassaballah  told Newsday  Oct. 16. "Bin Laden is
now a symbol for some  Muslims, and if he is killed or imprisoned, he too
will become a  martyr." 


billw {AT} echonyc.com

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