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Justice questions should terrorists be treated differently than criminals.

The all-embracing national mood--apprehensive, concerned, aggressive but also questioning--reduce topics other than the Sept. 11 catastrophe to insignificance. All the media have performed superbly in providing nearly minute by minute updates. The implications of these events, threatening not only our safety but also constitutional safeguards, were emphasized by conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who voiced her concerns about laws "pertaining to criminal surveillance, wiretapping, immigration and so," reports the New York Times. She said,

First, can a society that prides itself on equality before the law treat terrorists differently than ordinary criminals? And where do we draw the line between them? Second, at what point does the cost to civil liberties from legislation designed to prevent terrorism outweigh the added security that the legislation provides?

Indeed, chilling incidents which infringe on the liberties we take for granted or which tend to inhibit our accustomed way to speak our minds have cropped up throughout the country. U.S. officials have criticized a network for broadcasting an interview with a Talibans official; an advertiser has withdrawn support for a program featuring a "politically incorrect" expression; a Missouri state legislator threatened KOMUTV, the University of Missouri-Columbia station, a taxpayer-supported institution, for instructing its news personnel to remain objective and banning patriotic symbols; the list could go on.

Thus, a few words on the threat to our liberties seem appropriate. But the Sunday, Sept. 30th St. Louis Post-Dispatch, its editorial page and the NewsWatch section, would make anything said here redundant. They clearly outline the flawed record of the many U.S. secret services and hearings. They are must reading.

Such concerns, however, were not of primary interest at the St. Louis Business Journal (SBJ). Its function, of course, is to serve the business community. But must it feature, just a couple of days after Sept. 11, that business and business alone is on their mind? "Defense is Back in Business" read the front-page headline, and its subheads read, "Analysts expect an increase in military spending," and "Boeing, Engineered Support likely to see orders grow for fighter jets, ground support equipment."

Who cares if the rest of the country is shook up as long as the U.S. administration is ready to spend billions on defense. All is well if we are "Back in Business."

In the June issue, SJR published 10 of the 25 most underreported stories in the U.S. Their focus is less governmental attempts to suppress news, than the failure of mass media to follow up on important events or developments which have been published in small-circulation media. Project Censored is sponsored by Sonoma (Cal.) State University under the leadership of Dr. Peter Phillips. In view of the potential stifling of dissent, it appears appropriate to offer the additional 15 items at this time.

11. Perilous partnerships: The UN's corporate outreach program

Secretary General Kofi Annan is calling for a United Nations-Corporate Partnership. UN agencies have entered into an array of partnerships with giant corporations, undermining the United Nation's ability to serve as a counterbalance to global corporate power.

There is a fundamental difference between the purpose of the United Nations, which is to serve the public interest, and the aim of corporations, which is to maximize profits. Pressure from U.S. business interests led to the closure of the United Nation's Center on Transnational Corporations (the CTC).

For companies, the partnership offer marketing opportunities and political protection. Helping the United Nations with its projects opens doors and acts as a valuable buffer between them and governments of countries in which they operate. Companies are using the United Nation's good reputation in the developing world to gain access to markets.

Source: Multinational Monitor, (March, 2000), by Kenny Bruno.

12. Cuba's organic revolution

Cuba has developed one of the most efficient organic agriculture systems in the world. The Cuban government reacted to the extensive U.S. trade embargo (Helms-Burton Act of 1996) by farming much of its land organically. The results radically dispute the "inefficiency" claims against organic farming.

Between 57 and 80 percent of Cuba's food was imported. Due to the embargo, however, Cuba was unable to import chemicals or modern farming machines to uphold a high-tech corporate farming culture. Cuba needed to find another way to feed its people. The lost buying power for agricultural imports led to a general diversification within farming on the island. Urban agriculture has become key to feeding the nation's growing urban populations.

Cuba has dismissed chemical pesticides and herbicides entirely. The most prolific gardens are some 30,000 private gardens-huertos populares-that have literally sprouted all over Havana and the rest of the country. The Ministry of Agriculture has set up hundreds of resource centers to make supplies and advice available to the people. Though the driving force was not necessarily to produce organic food but to just produce enough food for the country, Cuba has now found a way to keep healthy while becoming more independent.

Source: Third World Resurgence and Sustainable Times, (Fall 19991. by Hugh Warwick, Alison Auld.

13. The illegality at the WTO

Something not mentioned by the mainstream press before, during or after the Seattle demonstrations is that the WTO is actually an illegal institution.

The WTO was put in place following the signing, in 1994 in Morocco, of a "technical document" negotiated behind closed doors. Even the heads of the delegations involved in the agreement were not completely informed of the statutes it contained. Establishing the WTO as a world body was done without consultating the citizens (or even their representatives) of the various nations.

The 1994 agreement has been casually embodied in international law, bypassing the democratic process in all of the member countries. It blatantly overrides national laws and constitutions while providing extensive powers to global banks and multinational corporations. The totalitarian intergovernmental body has been empowered, under international law, to "police" country-level economic and social policies, suppressing the rights of national governments. Also, the WTO neutralizes the authority of UN agencies, such as the International Labor Organization.

The deregulation of the U.S. banking system was approved by the U.S. Senate barely six weeks before the WTO convention in Seattle. With the stroke of a pen, all restraints on Wall Street's powerful banking conglomerates were revoked.

Source: CAQ, (Spring-Summer 2000), by Michael Chossudovsky.

14. The big stick approach in Europe

In the near future, the European Union will hold any company that enters the European market responsible for the environmental impacts of its products. Known as Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR, the new regulations will force manufacturers to change product design, the kinds of materials used in manufacturing and how products are disposed. American corporations (who don't like government interference) had enlisted the aid of the Clinton administration to derail these proposals.

EPR regulations were hugely successful in Germany in the 1990s, requiring all manufacturers, both domestic and foreign, to take back and recycle all product materials, shifting the costs of managing packaging waste from taxpayers to the waste producers. By 2006, vehicles sold in Europe must contain no heavy metals, such as lead, mercury or cadmium, and be manufactured from recyclable materials. The E.U. plans to implement EPR regulations for all products that contain electrical circuits, phasing out the use of toxic metals in the product of consumer items like refrigerators and computers.

The office of the U.S. Trade Representative has teamed up with U.S. business interests to attack Europe's EPR regulations as unfair trade practices.

Source: In These Times, (April 17.2000), by Joel Bleifuss.

15. Milking profits in Guatemala

Gerber Baby Foods Corporation has used the World Trade Organization (WTO) to suppress a Guatemalan law that encouraged mothers to breast-feed their children. The Guatemalan Ministry of Health made numerous attempts to negotiate with Gerber, but the company continued to market its infant formulas directly to mothers.

Encouraged by the World Health Organization, Guatemala passed a law prohibiting baby food manufacturers from encouraging women to use their foods. Their goal was to encourage new mothers to breast-feed their children and to understand the threats of using infant formula as a substitute. After the WTO was formed, the Guatemala law was challenged by Gerber as illegal under international statutes because it was really an "expropriation of Gerber's trademark," the chubby, smiling baby on its product labels.

Under WTO rules, corporate intellectual property rights have higher priority than human health. Small, poor countries can be intimidated by transnational corporations into opening their markets to foreign corporations, and their governments cannot invoke their own domestic laws as a precondition of doing business.

The overturning of the Guatemalan law has set a precedent for corporations to deal with other countries.

Source: Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly, Multinational Monitor, (Nov. 18,1999. Sept.2000). by Peter Montague, PhD. Robert Weissman.

16. The Human Genome Project & eugenics

The Human Genome Project may now open the door to the development and use of genetic weapons targeted at specific ethnic groups. The Project is currently being conducted under the auspices of the Energy Department, which also oversees America's nuclear weapon arsenal.

In October 1997, Dr. Wayne Nathanson, chief of the Science and Ethics Department of the Medical Society of the United Kingdom, warned the annual meeting of the society that "gene therapy" might possibly be turned into "gene weapon" that could potentially be used to target particular gene groups possessed by certain groups of people. These weapons, Nathanson warned, could be delivered to humans not only in the forms already seen in warfare such as gas and aerosol, but they could be added to water and cause not only death but sterility and deformed births in target groups.

The current home of the Human Genome Project is the Cold Springs Harbor laboratory on Long Island, NY--the exact site of the notorious Eugenics Research Office started in 1910 by the Harriman family. The project's 1910 agenda urged the government to impose sanctions on such human rights as which ethnic groups should be excluded from immigrating to the United States. Prominent advocates of the program such as the Rockefeller family, Henry Ford and Margaret Sanger helped smooth the way for the passage of forcible sterilization in 25 U.S. states by the start of WW II.

Source: Washington Free Press, The Konformist Website, North Coast Xpress, (Jan-Feb. 2000, March 13, 2000. Fall 2000). by R. Roy Blake (GB), Greg Bishop (EWEC). Robert Lederman (HGPE).

17. Who are the G-17?

The G-17 is a Yugoslav economist group who supported presidential candidate, Vojislav Kostunica, and wrote the policy statements for the post-election economic reform of Yugoslavia.

The impression the G-17 like to give is that it is an independent and Yugoslav-oriented group. The reality is vastly different. It is actually funded through the Washington-based "Center for International Private Enterprise" (CIPE), a group set up through the National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA spinoff created in 1983.

The G-17 group calls for Yugoslavia to work more closely with the International Monetary fund (IMF) towards the development of a market economy.

One of the key participants in the G-17 group is Veselin Vukotic. It was Vukotic who in 1989-90 orchestrated the breakup of over 50 percent of Yugoslav's industry, some 1100 firms, resulting in the layoff of over 614,000 workers.

Another key participant in the G-17 is Dusan Vujovic, a senior economist at the World Bank and the key link between the G-17 and Western Institutions. From 1994-96, Vujovic played a key role in forcing structural ad justments programs in Bulgaria. Social services including price controls, subsidized food housing and medical care were stripped away. The World Bank now admits that over 90 percent of Bulgarians live below extreme poverty levels.

Source: Emperor's New Clothes. (Sept. 22, 2000). by Michel Chossudoesky.

18. Indigenous peoples' target TRIPS and the WTO

There is a portion of the WTO agreement, called the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), that will allow multinational corporations to apply for patents on living creatures and life processes. Indigenous peoples from around the world, however, believe that nobody can own what exists in nature except nature herself.

On July 25, 1999, an Indigenous People's gathering signed a document that called for an amendment to the TRIPS agreement which would be put as a priority item on the agenda at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle. The document eloquently states that all life forms and the life creating processes are sacred and should not be subject to proprietary ownership.

The TRIPS agreement as it stands substantially weakens indigenous people's access to and control over genetic and biological resources, and contributes to the deterioration of their quality of life. The people are very specific about what should be amended to article 27.3b. It should clearly prohibit the patenting of plants and animals; ensure that a system is created that will protect knowledge, innovations and practices in farming, agriculture, health and medical care; conserve the biodiversity of indigenous peoples and farmers; prevent the piracy of seeds, medicinal plants, and the knowledge about their use; and prevent the destruction and conversion of indigenous people's land.

Source: Gene Watch, Earth First!, (Oct. 1999. March-April 2000), by Indigenous Peoples Organization, NGOs and networks in more than 30 different countries.

19. U.S. prepares to spray genetically modified herbicides on Columbia

The United States is planning to deploy new biological weapons for the war on drugs that seriously threaten both people and the environment. The weapons consist of plant pathogens, Fusarium in particular, designed to attack coca, cannabis and opium poppy crops that will be deployed in producer countries in the Third World.

This work is proceeding despite evidence that the weapons, if deployed, will have profound and disastrous impacts on the humans and ecologies of the countries in which they are used.

Pathogens developed long ago at Fort Detrick, Maryland, the centers for the U.S. biowar program, were frozen but not destroyed when closed by President Nixon in 1969. Now, working on the research are veterans of the Soviet biological warfare effort, funded through an obscure UN agency employed for this purpose in order to shield the United States from charges of violating the internationally negotiated biological weapons convention.

Peru has already banned the testing and or deployment of the fungi Fusarium. Colombia, however, was forced to accept spraying if they wanted a $1.8 billion aid package that was approved in Congress in July, 2000.

Source: CounterPunch and London Observer, (June 1-15,2000 and July 2,2000), by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair & Ed Vulliamy.

20. The invisible victims

Crime rates against people with disabilities Care up to 10 times higher than those against the general public.

People with substantial disabilities represent at least 10 percent of the population of our country (including among others 1.8 percent developmental disabilities, 5 percent adult onset brain impairment, 2.8 percent severe major mental disorders).

Research estimates that around 5 million disabled people are crime victims annually in the United States. This figure is significant when compared to the 8,000 hate crimes, one million elder abuse victims, and one million spousal assault victims each year. Sexual abuse of disabled men and women is also significantly higher than that of the general population.

A more recent study of 40,000 children in Omaha schools from 1995 to 1996 found that children with disabilities suffered a rate of abuse 3.44 times greater than children without disabilities, and children with behavior disorders suffered a relative rate of physical abuse 7.3 times that of non-disabled children. The relative rates for sexual assault was 5.5 times greater, for neglect 6.7 times higher, and for emotional abuse 7 times higher.

Few of these outrages are being reported. Several studies suggest that 80-85 percent of criminal abuse of residents in institutions are never reported to the authorities.

Source: Tash Newsletter, (March 2000), by Dan Sorensen.

21. 400-700 bombs a day for 50 years on South Korean range

Every weekday for 50 years from eight o'clock in the morning to eleven o'clock at night, U.S. fighter planes drop 400-700 bombs on the Koon-ni range which is less than one mile from South Korean villages. The targets for the bombs are islands in the beautiful Aia bay from which people derive their livelihoods by fishing. The depleted uranium (DU) shells add radioactive contamination to the other toxic wastes and oil accumulating near these villages.

Throughout the years, at least 12 people have been killed and numerous others have been wounded. Many bombs are found in the villages. The number of cancer cases are disproportionately large and growing, and women are experiencing increasing miscarriages and birth defects.

Lockheed-Martin now owns the Koon -ni range. This kind of privatization of the military comes as no surprise because 50 years of dropping bombs and spraying bullets has to be incredibly lucrative for arms manufacturers. For the good part of 50 years, most Koreans knew nothing about this but protests are growing.

Source: www.freespeech.org, by Karen Talbot.

22. Pot shrinks tumors: Government knew in '74

A study conducted in Madrid in February has shown that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active chemical in marijuana, often destroys incurable tumors in lab rats. These findings, however, are not news to the U.S. government. A study in Virginia in 1974 yielded similar results but was suppressed by the DEA, and in 1983 the Reagan/Bush administration tried to persuade U.S. universities and researchers to destroy all cannabis research work done between 1966 and 1976 including compendiums in libraries.

Dr. Manuel Guzman of Complutence University conducted the research. He searched for the article written about the Virginia study, but was unsuccessful. The only news coverage of the 1974 study was in the Aug. 18, 1974, local section of the Washington Post.

Once again The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times ignored the February study, even though its newsworthiness is indisputable: a benign substance occurring in nature destroys deadly brain tumors.

Source: Alternet, (May 31,2000), by Raymond Cushing.

23. Understanding 'low level' chemical exposures

It appears that the traditional thinking about how chemicals affect the human body is too narrow and too limited. Recent studies have shown that low levels of chemicals (in drinking water, in foods) may not be as safe as the government indicates. Certain hormone disrupters, such as dioxin, PCBs and DDT, act upon the endocrine system at very low levels. This has been linked to a wide variety of health problems, such as neurological and developmental problems, immune system disruption, learning disabilities and birth defects.

Certain chemicals may launch a frontal attack on the body. Small amounts of a chemical can "hijack" a single system or function (such as neuronal development or the activity of a specific immune response) causing a cascade of damages down the road. Also, there are indications that different chemicals may act together. Though the exposure to each chemical may below, the cumulative effect is actually quite overwhelming.

Source: Everyone's Backyard, (Summer 2000), by Stephen Lester.

24. Pentagon seeks mega-mergers between arms corporations

A U.S. Government task force has released its final report to the public recommending globalization of the U.S. defense industry, even if it results in proliferation of conventional weapons.

The Defense Science Board's (DSB) Task Force on Globalization and Security is a 27-member appointed board, composed mostly of Department of Defense (DoD) and private industry representatives. The DSB encourages the Pentagon to facilitate transnational mergers of defense corporations in order to avoid eventual conflicts with European countries over global arms market shares. The DSB recommends that the Pentagon automatically allow the export of military equipment, except when the United States is the sole possessor of the technology.

The DSB does acknowledge that its steps to maximize U.S. military capability may create tensions with other U.S. foreign policy objectives, particularly those achieved by limiting foreign access to U.S. defense technology, products and services. Yet the DSB feels that "military dominance," rather than the promotion of U.S. foreign policy objectives and security, is the DoD's "core responsibility."

Despite protest by the State Department, which has the legal authority to decide arms export policy, the administration approved the Defense Trade Security Initiative (DTSI) in late May 2000.

The changes will reduce the level of scrutiny of arms export decisions in the U.S. and oversight of U.S. weapons abroad. The administration approved these major policy changes with little public debate or consultation of arms control experts. The mainstream media ignored the issue until the announcement of the completion of the reform package at the May NATO Defense ministerial meeting. At that point, the coverage was minimal.

Source: Arms Sales Monitor, (Jan. 2001)), by Federation of American Scientists.

25. Residents defeat McDonalds

Residents in Hinchley Wood, England, successfully prevented their favorite local pub from being turned into a McDonalds. They conducted a 552-day sit-in campaign on the site.

On Dec. 13, 1998, residents of Hinchley Wood moved caravans on the lot with the aim of occupying the site and preventing it from being turned into a new store. One June 16,2000, local villagers organized as the Residents against McDonalds (RAM) and moved their caravans off the site as they celebrated a historic achievement after one of the largest occupational protests of its kind.

Source: McLibel Support Campaign press release, (June 21. 2000), by McLibel Staff.
COPYRIGHT 2001 SJR St. Louis Journalism Review
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Author:Klotzer, Charles L.
Publication:St. Louis Journalism Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2001
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