CONTENTS / BLOG (12), Just World Campaign

• Privatising Central American health etc, etc -- but without Costa Rica? United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Costa Rica flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
   The Business Journal, Tampa Bay, "U.S. works on CAFTA, without Costa Rica," http://tampabay.bizjournals.com/tampabay/stories/2003/12/15/daily24.html?jst=b_ln_hl , Date on webpage is incomplete, being "LATEST NEWS, 5:26 PM EST Wednesday". Date in URL seems to be Dec 15, 2003, a Monday.
   UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: U.S. negotiators said they completed Central America Free Trade Agreement talks Wednesday but with only four nations after Costa Rica refused to open its telecommunications and insurance industries to privatization. Groups said disconnect in meetings mirrored problems with the Free Trade of the Americas meetings in Miami a few weeks ago.
   CAFTA, if passed by Congress, would, in effect, create a NAFTA-style relationship between the United States and the Central American countries of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. The Dominican Republic could also be annexed to the agreement, as well as Costa Rica, potentially, if the country re-enters negotiations.
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This series begins at: http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/cont.htm 
   CAFTA would have to be approved by the U.S. Congress and by the governments of the Central American nations next year before it could take effect. However, because of concerns over workers' rights, investment, access to medicines and other concerns, groups supporting CAFTA said they expect strong Congressional opposition to the agreement. A recent U.S. Zogby poll found a majority of respondents opposed extending NAFTA to other Latin American countries and at a news conference earlier this month, Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., suggested CAFTA would fail in Congress due to contentious issues.
   "You have Costa Rica walking out of CAFTA talks because it refuses to adopt the Worldcom-Arthur Anderson model of telecom and financial services deregulation, the FTAA nearly imploding in Miami over U.S. demands for expansive investor and intellectual property protections, and the [World Trade Organization] melting down in Cancun," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. "What will it take before the Bush administration stops desperately pushing the same old NAFTA model that has so clearly failed?" © 2003 American City Business Journals Inc.
By courtesy of Michael P.
• "Free-Speech Zone"; Bush's government keeps dissent out of his sight. By James Bovard, December 15, 2003.
   UNITED STATES: On Dec. 6, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft informed the Senate Judiciary Committee, "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty -- your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and -- give ammunition to America's enemies." Some commentators feared that Ashcroft's statement, which was vetted beforehand by top lawyers at the Justice Department, signaled that this White House would take a far more hostile view towards opponents than did recent presidents. And indeed, some Bush administration policies indicate that Ashcroft's comment was not a mere throwaway line.
   When Bush travels around the United States, the Secret Service visits the location ahead of time and orders local police to set up "free speech zones" or "protest zones" where people opposed to Bush policies (and sometimes sign-carrying supporters) are quarantined. These zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event.
   When Bush came to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign proclaiming, "The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us." The local police, at the Secret Service's behest, set up a "designated free-speech zone" on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence a third of a mile from the location of Bush's speech. The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, though folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president's path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct; the police also confiscated his sign. Neel later commented, "As far as I'm concerned, the whole country is a free speech zone. If the Bush administration has its way, anyone who criticizes them will be out of sight and out of mind."
   At Neel's trial, police detective John Ianachione testified that the Secret Service told local police to confine "people that were there making a statement pretty much against the president and his views" in a so-called free speech area. Paul Wolf, one of the top officials in the Allegheny County Police Department, told Salon that the Secret Service "come in and do a site survey, and say, 'Here's a place where the people can be, and we'd like to have any protesters put in a place that is able to be secured.'" Pennsylvania district judge Shirley Rowe Trkula threw out the disorderly conduct charge against Neel, declaring, "I believe this is America. Whatever happened to 'I don't agree with you, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it'?"
   Similar suppressions have occurred during Bush visits to Florida. A recent St. Petersburg Times editorial noted, "At a Bush rally at Legends Field in 2001, three demonstrators--two of whom were grandmothers--were arrested for holding up small handwritten protest signs outside the designated zone. And last year, seven protesters were arrested when Bush came to a rally at the USF Sun Dome. They had refused to be cordoned off into a protest zone hundreds of yards from the entrance to the Dome." One of the arrested protesters was a 62-year-old man holding up a sign, "War is good business. Invest your sons." The seven were charged with trespassing, "obstructing without violence and disorderly conduct."
   Police have repressed protesters during several Bush visits to the St. Louis area as well. When Bush visited on Jan. 22, 2003, 150 people carrying signs were shunted far away from the main action and effectively quarantined. Denise Lieberman of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri commented, "No one could see them from the street. In addition, the media were not allowed to talk to them. The police would not allow any media inside the protest area and wouldn't allow any of the protesters out of the protest zone to talk to the media." When Bush stopped by a Boeing plant to talk to workers, Christine Mains and her five-year-old daughter disobeyed orders to move to a small protest area far from the action. Police arrested Mains and took her and her crying daughter away in separate squad cars.
   The Justice Department is now prosecuting Brett Bursey, who was arrested for holding a "No War for Oil" sign at a Bush visit to Columbia, S.C. Local police, acting under Secret Service orders, established a "free speech zone" half a mile from where Bush would speak. Bursey was standing amid hundreds of people carrying signs praising the president. Police told Bursey to remove himself to the "free speech zone."
   Bursey refused and was arrested. Bursey said that he asked the policeman if "it was the content of my sign, and he said, 'Yes, sir, it's the content of your sign that's the problem.'" Bursey stated that he had already moved 200 yards from where Bush was supposed to speak. Bursey later complained, "The problem was, the restricted area kept moving. It was wherever I happened to be standing."
   Bursey was charged with trespassing. Five months later, the charge was dropped because South Carolina law prohibits arresting people for trespassing on public property. But the Justice Department--in the person of U.S. Attorney Strom Thurmond Jr.--quickly jumped in, charging Bursey with violating a rarely enforced federal law regarding "entering a restricted area around the President of the United States." If convicted, Bursey faces a six-month trip up the river and a $5000 fine. Federal magistrate Bristow Marchant denied Bursey's request for a jury trial because his violation is categorized as a "petty offense." Some observers believe that the feds are seeking to set a precedent in a conservative state such as South Carolina that could then be used against protesters nationwide.
   Bursey's trial took place on Nov. 12 and 13. His lawyers sought the Secret Service documents they believed would lay out the official policies on restricting critical speech at presidential visits. The Bush administration sought to block all access to the documents, but Marchant ruled that the lawyers could have limited access. Bursey sought to subpoena John Ashcroft and Karl Rove to testify. Bursey lawyer Lewis Pitts declared, "We intend to find out from Mr. Ashcroft why and how the decision to prosecute Mr. Bursey was reached." The magistrate refused, however, to enforce the subpoenas. Secret Service agent Holly Abel testified at the trial that Bursey was told to move to the "free speech zone" but refused to co-operate. Magistrate Marchant is expected to issue his decision in December.
   The feds have offered some bizarre rationales for hog-tying protesters. Secret Service agent Brian Marr explained to National Public Radio, "These individuals may be so involved with trying to shout their support or non-support that inadvertently they may walk out into the motorcade route and be injured. And that is really the reason why we set these places up, so we can make sure that they have the right of free speech, but, two, we want to be sure that they are able to go home at the end of the evening and not be injured in any way." Except for having their constitutional rights shredded.
   -- © The American Conservative online, "Free-Speech Zone; The administration quarantines dissent," http://www.amconmag.com/12_15_03/feature.html , By James Bovard, December 15, 2003
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• Bush officials punished truthteller by illegally revealing his wife was a secret agent, thus endangering lives of overseas helpers.
   The Crisis Papers article "Time for Plame-Case Reporters to Out the Leakers," www.crisispapers.org/Editorials/plame.htm , by Bernard Weiner, December 16, 2003.
   UNITED STATES: Journalists do not reveal sources. It's what gives the Fourth Estate some of its clout: Officials, and lower-level whistleblowers, trust us to receive sensitive information and not get them in trouble by ratting on them. In Washington and in state capitols, officials leak information all the time, provide off-the-record statements to reporters, engage in "background" interviews without permitting themselves to be quoted by name or title.
   We do not say who told us those things. We journalists might get thrown in the clink for not revealing who provided us the information, but the sources have no need to worry about their futures. We will keep our mouths shut. It's not just a journalistic tradition, it's also a practical matter: If we revealed our source in one instance, we might never get anybody to tell us anything significant in private again.
   So here I am urging my journalistic colleagues -- at least six of them -- to break the tradition and reveal their sources, in the interest of national security.
   You know what I'm referring to. After Ambassador Joseph Wilson wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times that contradicted Bush's false State of the Union claims about Iraq seeking to buy Niger uranium, two "senior administration officials" told at least six journalists in July that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a covert CIA agent. Karl Rove, Bush's closest political advisor, reportedly told Hardball's Chris Matthews that after Wilson's op-ed piece, Mrs. Wilson was "fair game."
   This revelation of her undercover role at the CIA is against the law, a law signed by the first Bush president, George H.W. Bush. In 1999, he told assembled CIA employees that those who would reveal the identity of undercover intelligence officers are the "most insidious of traitors." FIVE DIDN'T, ONE DID Five of the six journalists who were provided Plame's name and job-history chose, for whatever reason, not to run the story.
   Perhaps it didn't pass the smell test: clearly, the administration officials wished to manipulate the news outlets from private agendas that could only be guessed at. One right-wing columnist, Robert Novak -- often a source of Bush administration leaks -- had no such qualms; even though the CIA had asked him not to use Plame's name, he did so anyway.
   It seems clear that the outing of Wilson's wife was not carried out merely to ruin her career and to punish him, but to warn other government employees who might want to oppose key Bush policy to think twice before going public, lest something similar happen to them.
   Many agents in the CIA, appalled at what was being done to one of their colleagues by high-ranking Bush officials, chose to see the outing of Plame as a direct slap at their agency, which had been in conflict with the White House over intelligence matters meant to justify the invasion of Iraq. Specifically, the CIA's intelligence analysts, try as they might, were unable to come up with the evidence on WMDs, nuclear weapons and a Sadaam-al Qaeda link that Rumseld and Cheney and Wolfowitz and Bush wanted; so, because the decision already had been made to invade, Rumsfeld quickly had to set up his private rump "intelligence" unit, staffed not by intelligence agents but by political appointees who would do his bidding.
   That unit, the Office of Special Plans, provided the phony "evidence" that convinced the American people and Congress that the invasion was justifiable. The CIA was furious, and agents then began leaking damaging anti-Administration information to reporters.
   Whatever the reasons that led the two "senior administration officials" to tell the six reporters and thus to violate the law by revealing the identity of a secret CIA officer, Plame was out in the cold. Not only was she compromised and potentially put in danger, but so were those abroad with whom she had worked over many years in building up intelligence on -- irony of ironies -- weapons of mass destruction. None of this mattered. The two "senior administration officials" put scores of lives at risk while doing damage to the one area of inquiry that was of most importance to their overall policy in Iraq and to the war on terrorism in general.
   This felonious behavior reminds one of the demented logic found behind the government's firing of Arab-speaking gays who were doing intelligence and translation work, even though the agencies are woefully short on Arab-speaking agents. This is a gang that not only can't shoot straight, it can't even think straight.
   COVERING UP THE PLAYERS. We don't know all the players in the Plame-Wilson scenario. Karl Rove, Bush's chief political advisor, and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, are the main suspects behind the outing, either doing it themselves or having lower-level aides in their offices speak to the reporters; but, since Novak and the five others are not talking, the Administration figures it will get away with the felony and cover-up, since the journalistic tradition of silence will continue to protect their dirty secret.
   Bush has never showed any genuine curiosity in finding out who broke the law in this case. He chose not to have an Independent Counsel ("Special Prosecutor") appointed -- something the GOP would have demanded in an instant if this had happened under a Democrat president. Instead, he permitted Ashcroft's Justice Department to handle the investigation in-house, despite the obvious conflict-of-interest.
   As Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has written, this Ashcroft "investigation" was suspicious from the outset: "The Justice Department launched its allegedly official probe on September 26th, but neglected to direct the White House to preserve critical evidence until the evening of September 29th. Then, when the White House Counsel asked if he could wait until the next day to inform the staff of the need to preserve documents, the Justice Department allowed it. Simply, if the leaker(s) had not been smart enough to get rid of the evidence between July 6th and September 29th, the White House Counsel's office wanted to be sure that there was at least one last chance to do so before destroying evidence would constitute criminal obstruction of justice."
   The investigatory action in this case has been absolutely underwhelming, and, for all intents and purposes, nothing is expected to come out of the FBI's probe -- at least not before the November 2004 balloting. "We have let the earth-movers roll in over this one (i.e. the Plame investigation)," a "senior White House official" was quoted by the Financial Times two weeks ago. If the heat ever does get too intense -- if, for example, the Congress were to initiate its own hearings and get officials under oath -- a lower-level fall-guy no doubt could be fingered.
   AN "EXTRAORDINARY" REQUIREMENT. So, it appears that the only way justice will be served here is if one or more of the six journalists decides that there are overriding considerations that enable a reporter, in good conscience, to reveal the sources.
   Not even Novak believes the long-honored journalistic tradition is absolute. In 2001, he himself named a source that he'd kept secret for years (the double-agent FBI spy Robert Hanssen), once he became convinced that national security was at stake; he did it, he said, because the situation, was "extraordinary."
   Clearly, if an administration source told a reporter that he was involved in an assassination plot against, say, a United States senator, that reporter would be able to tell the difference between the need to maintain silence as a journalist and the fact that a crime was in the making and someone's life was endangered. If an administration source told a journalist some career-threatening dirt on a political opponent and bragged to the reporter that the story, whether true or not, could never be traced back to the Administration official, wouldn't that journalist begin to at least question the tradition of always maintaining the confidentiality of sources? So there are no absolutes here.
   As Novak noted, the journalistic rule can be bent when an "extraordinary" occasion calls for it -- and certainly this is true when national security is involved. It certainly was during the Vietnam war, when the New York Times and Washington Post saw that the Nixon Administration was hiding behind the term "national security," and published the Pentagon Papers anyway, because they understood the true nature of that term and the need for the American people to know the truth of how we got into that quagmire. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed.
   As President Bush#1 was well aware, harming the CIA by revealing its agents is a clear danger to national security -- a "traitorous" act. If Bush#2 is elected in 2004, it is entirely possible -- indeed, likely -- that the U.S. will be threatening and perhaps invading another country or two, probably in the Middle East, and, more than likely, treating the CIA with contempt again while it cobbles together raw, untested "intelligence" from suspect sources.
   I'm not making up this invasion scenario; the ideologues behind U.S foreign/military policy have been quite open about their intentions of remaking, by force if necessary, the geopolitical map of much of the rest of the world. All of this is codified as official U.S. policy in the National Security Strategy promulgated by the Bush Administration in 2002.
   DOING THE RIGHT THING. I don't expect that Novak will break his silence (even if he did it once before), as he's tied ideologically to the political agenda of Bush & Co. But surely the other five, presumably with more integrity, would come to understand the political, legal and international ramifications if they continue to maintain their silence. Reportedly, the five verified with the Washington Post the story of their contact with the two "senior Administration officials," and those Post reporters who did that verifying likewise know something that could be useful.
   The reason Bush & Co. can swagger and bully people in Congress and the Press and internationally is because hardly anybody that matters ever stands up to them. Why are there not ongoing investigations of this major Plame scandal by the Congress? If the relevant Republican-controlled committees of the House and Senate refuse to ask the questions that need to be asked, why can't Democrats on their own hold the appropriate investigatory hearings? Those probes might not be "official," but, if nothing else, they would focus renewed attention on the "traitorous" act, keeping the issue alive -- and such hearings might actually provide a well-publicized forum where journalists might feel a bit more protected when answering the key questions truthfully.
   If journalists, supposedly the guardians and watchdogs of the government, let the perpetrators get away with this cover-up of a crime, a possible second-term Bush Administration would be unconstrained domestically and internationally, doing untold damage to our national security abroad and to our Constitutional protections and economy at home. In addition, the press would be relegated to the status of lapdogs, thus abandoning the watchdog function that Jefferson and others envisioned and which it has carried out so ably over several hundred years. Reporters would become mere functionaries, little more than conduits for government propaganda, similar to journalists in Nazi Germany and in the Soviet Union.
   I am certain that serving as little more than propagandists is NOT what motivated those five professional reporters to get into the journalism business. That's certainly not why I joined the fraternity. On some level, we journalists want to discover the truth, know the truth, pass it on to our fellow citizens -- so that our democratic institutions can work properly, out of factual knowledge -- and to demonstrate that nobody, not even a governor or senator or president, is beyond the law. In short, we are motivated by the desire to do the right thing, by being true to ourselves and to the best interests of the nation.
   That credo underlying our craft is, at its most basic, a sacred trust. Acting on behalf of one's country likewise is a sacred trust. May the twain meet here. The situation is so dire, so extraordinary, that it is quite proper -- indeed morally, legally and politically necessary -- to out the rats who have endangered American national security.
   -- The Crisis Papers, "Time for Plame-Case Reporters to Out the Leakers," www.crisispapers.org/Editorials/plame.htm , By Bernard Weiner, Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers. (Bernard Weiner has worked as a journalist for, among others, The Miami Herald, Miami News, Claremont Courier, San Diego Magazine, Northwest Passage, and, for nearly 20 years, the San Francisco Chronicle.) (by courtesy of "MichaelP" papadop@peak.org ) December 16, 2003
• US attorney general fined for breaking law.
   The Telegraph, Britain, US attorney general fined for breaking law, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2F2003%2F12%2F18%2Fwash18.xml , By Marcus Warren, Dec 18, 2003
   UNITED STATES: John Ashcroft, the US attorney general, has been fined £21,000 for breaking election laws during his defeat by a dead rival for a seat in the Senate.
   During his unsuccessful campaign in 2000, America's top lawman illegally accepted £62,700 from a body set up to support a run for the presidency, the Federal Election Commission found.
   A controversial, deeply religious figure, Mr Ashcroft was standing for re-election as a senator from Missouri. Humiliatingly, he was beaten by an opponent who died in a plane crash before polling day.
   His rival's widow, Jean Carnahan, was later awarded the seat. One dissenting Democrat member of the FEC protested against the size of the fine, calling it "so low that I do not believe it adequately reflects the severity of the conduct at issue".
   However, two Republicans on the commission described the offence as "a garden-variety complaint . . . blown far out of proportion".
   Mr Ashcroft's Senate campaign fell foul of the law by using a mailing list compiled by a committee to explore a bid for the White House. The resulting contributions exceeded the legal limit and, to make matters worse, his campaign failed to disclose them.
Links: 24 September 2003: Ashcroft tells prosecutors to be even tougher on criminals: /news/main.jhtml;$sessionid$NGBVKZ4LYKCV1QFIQMGSFGGAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2003/09/24/wash24.xml
8 August 2003: Ashcroft cracks down on liberal judges: /news/main.jhtml;$sessionid$NGBVKZ4LYKCV1QFIQMGSFGGAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2003/08/08/wash08.xml External links:
Federal Election Commission: /news/exit.jhtml?exit=http://www.fec.gov/
Office of the Attorney General - US Department of Justice: /news/exit.jhtml?exit=http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/

• Corporate Reimbursement Scheme Results In $168,000 Civil Penalty. WASHINGTON -- The FEC [Federal Electoral Commission] has entered into a conciliation agreement with Centex Construction Group, Inc. (CCG), Centex-Rooney Construction Co., Inc. (Rooney), headquartered near Ft. Lauderdale, FL, former CCG and Rooney CEO Bob Moss, and various current and former CCG and Rooney officers. The conciliation agreement settles violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) stemming from the reimbursement of $56,125 in contributions with corporate funds made by the company officers. The reimbursed contributions went to seven federal candidates, two political party committees and one political action committee between 1998 and 2002. The investigation stemmed from a sua sponte submission and complaint filed with the FEC by Centex Corporation, headquartered in Dallas, TX. The conciliation resulted in total civil penalties of $168,000. Centex Construction Group, Inc., Centex-Rooney Construction Co., Inc., and the following corporate officers approved the reimbursement plan: Bob Moss, Gary Esporrin, Brice Hill, Ken Bailey, Chris Genry, and Mark Layman. They are responsible for $112,000 of the penalty. The officers and employees who served as conduits for the contributions were Bob Moss, Gary Esporrin, Bruce Moldow, Gary Glenewinkel, D.J. McGlothern, Albert Petrangeli, Ted Adams, J. Michael Wood, Raymond Southern, Larry Casey, and David Hamlin. They are responsible for $56,000 of the penalty. According to the conciliation agreement, former Rooney CEO Robert Moss encouraged employees to make political contributions and to send copies of contribution checks to him or the company's CFO. Employees understood that each of their political contributions for which they submitted a check to the company would be considered in determining their year-end bonus. At bonus time, the contribution amounts were increased to offset tax liability and added to the bonus amounts each employee would have otherwise received from any incentive plan.  . . . -- Federal Electoral Commission, United States of America, news release, "Corporate Reimbursement Scheme Results In $168,000 Civil Penalty," www.fec.gov/press/20031218murs.html , Contact: George Smaragdis, Ron Harris, Bob Biersack, Ian Stirton; December 18, 2003
• Publishers didn't publish newsitems deviating from the official line in Afghanistan -- but reporter Sarah Chayes broke free, now helps there. UNITED STATES, Dec 18: * * * And yet it proved a difficult juncture to be an American journalist. "The worst period in my entire career," a dear friend confided as we were comparing notes afterwards. He sent me a list of story ideas his editors had turned down. "They simply didn't want any reporting," he explained. "They told us the story lines, and asked us to substantiate them." CNN correspondents received written instructions on how to frame stories of Afghan suffering. A BBC reporter told me in our Quetta hotel the weekend before Kabul fell how he had had to browbeat his desk editors to persuade them that Kandahar was still standing. * * *
   What I have found is that the two elements of our work -- development and advocacy -- complement each other indispensably. Without building that village, I would never have known what warlord government means. Our analyses are grounded in intimate hands-on experience. But had we not strived to change the situation of women, the income we provide for 200 of them -- by commissioning and buying the intricate embroidery that is local tradition -- would be next to meaningless. On the day that things blow here --and they could erupt if poor policies are not reversed -- it will be as if we had never come in the first place. * * *
   -- Columbia Journalism Review, at Columbia University's http://www.columbia.edu Graduate School of Journalism http://www.jrn.columbia.edu , "VOICES, Breaking Ranks; A reporter dons the wings of advocacy," www.cjr.org/issues/2003/6/voice-chayes.asp , by Sarah Chayes, Issue 6, Nov-Dec 2003; e-mail dated Dec 18 03
• Civilian death toll suppressed in Iraq. IRAQ, Dec 19: Despite the capture of Saddam Hussein, civilian deaths in Iraq may prove to be the true Achilles heel of the US and Britain's intervention. The bodies pile up in morgues around the country, and reliable press and media reports put the total civilian death toll since March 19 as approaching 10,000. More than 2,000 occupation-related deaths have occurred in Baghdad since President Bush announced the "end of major combat" on May 1. This bloodshed is inflaming anti-coalition passions in Iraq and beyond it, encouraging paramilitary organisations and provoking acts of revenge from ordinary Iraqis driven beyond moderation by the deaths of friends and family under the Coalition Provisional Authority's military rule. * * *
   Since the start of hostilities, Iraq Body Count has been tracking civilian deaths through worldwide media reports. We will continue this work until some official agency fulfils its responsibilities to the memory of those who have died since March 19 2003. The innocent victims of the Iraq conflict must be recorded and honoured - and their relatives compensated - for it is they who have paid most dearly for the decisions of our politicians. 
Special report: Iraq
Chronology: Iraq timeline
Interactive guides: Click-through graphics on Iraq
Key documents: Full text of speeches and documents
Audio reports: Audio reports on Iraq
More special reports: Politics and the war; Aid for Iraq; Iraq - the media war; The anti-war movement; 28.01.2003; Guide to anti-war websites
Useful links: Provisional authority: rebuilding Iraq; Iraqi-American chamber of commerce

-- The Guardian, Britain, "We must honour the dead; Thousands of Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the occupation. So why is there no official death toll?" www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1110060,00.html , by John Sloboda, Friday December 19, 2003.
• John Sloboda is co-founder of Iraq Body Count www.iraqbodycount.net and incoming executive director of the Oxford Research Group. Dec 19 03
• US Attorney-General 1. Fined for election fund abuse, 2. Admonished for compromising terror trial defendants' rights. WASHINGTON, Dec 19:
   [1] United States Attorney-General John Ashcroft has been fined about $50,000 for breaking election laws and admonished by a Federal judge for violating a court order.
   In 2000, America's top lawman illegally accepted about $150,000 from a presidential election fund for his own campaign for re-election as a Missouri senator, the Federal Election Commission found. He was beaten by an opponent [Mel Carnahan] who died in a plane crash before polling day. His rival's widow was later awarded the seat.
   Mr Ashcroft's Senate campaign fell foul of the law by using a mailing list compiled by a committee to explore a bid for the White House. The resulting contributions exceeded the legal limit and, to make matters worse, his campaign failed to disclose them.
   [2] In Detroit, US District Judge Gerald Rosen said statements made by Mr Ashcroft could have compromised the defendants' rights in the first big terror trial after September 11, 2001. The judge said the violations did not warrant contempt charges or require Mr Ashcroft to appear to explain himself. "The Attorney-General's office exhibited a distressing lack of care in issuing potentially prejudicial statements about this case," Judge Rosen wrote in an opinion released this week.   . . . -- The West Australian, "Law catches up with US Attorney-General," Associated Press and The Telegraph Group, London, p 34, Fri Dec 19, 2003
[COMMENT: Yes, this is the same Mr Ashcroft who, as A-G, has been "flying the religion flag" in the "war on terror." AND he has supported the pro-slavery rebel states in the American Civil War.
   Personal quotes:
   "Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you." www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/JohnJudge/linkscopy/MenOfFaith.html .
   "We need the law to make it clear that it's as much a conspiracy to aid and assist the terrorists, to join them for fighting purposes as it is to carry them a lunch or to provide them with a weapon" http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2003/06/05/ashcroft_terror030605 .
   "[Southern Partisan] helps set the record straight. [It's] got a heritage of doing that, of defending Southern patriots like Lee, Jackson and Davis ...We've all got to stand up and speak in this respect, or else we'll be taught that these people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda." www.fair.org/press-releases/southern-partisan.html
• Quotes from webpage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ashcroft (which also has picture), last modified 22:30, 17 Dec 2003.
   For more on Mr Ashcroft's comments on the terrorist trial/s, try Detroit Free Press, "Judge wants Ashcroft out of terror trial," www.freep.com/news/locway/tri19_20030419.htm , BY DAVID ASHENFELTER, April 19, 2003; and Capitol Hill Blue, "Ashcroft mouths off, ignores gag order," www.capitolhillblue.com/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi?archive=16&num=2112 , By DAVID RUNK, 06:14, Apr 19, 2003. -- Just World Campaign 20 Dec 03. COMMENT ENDS.] [Article.Dec 19, 2003]

• Pentagon fired the military lawyers assigned to defend illegally-detained Guantanamo prisoners.
   UNITED STATES, Dec 19, 2003: Pentagon officials have reportedly dismissed the first crew of military lawyers recruited last spring to defend prisoners being held incommunicado in the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Last July, President George W. Bush designated six of the 660 prisoners being held there as eligible for trial by "military commissions". As yet, no formal charges have been brought. An article in the January 2004 issue of the American magazine Vanity Fair entitled "Operation Take Away My Freedom: Inside Guantanamo Bay" said that the selected "judge advocates", as the military defense attorneys are known, were reassigned after protesting that the terms of the proceedings would make it impossible for them to assure the defendants a fair trial.
   The prospective defense counsel objected in particular to rules allowing prosecutors to monitor attorney-client conversations. Ordinary rules of evidence are to be waived, allowing the admittance of hearsay, confessions obtained under duress, and secret evidence that would be kept from the defendant. In addition, the tribunals are to allow unsworn written and telephone testimony by prosecution witnesses, making a mockery of the principle of facing and cross-examining one's accusers. Unlike regular military courts-martial, there is no possibility of appeal to civilian authority. The only appeal allowed is to a panel of three military judges appointed by the same secretary of defense who brings the charges in the first place. If, by some miracle, a defendant is found not guilty, President Bush has the authority to reverse the verdict, imposing the death penalty, or simply remanding the defendant back to the limbo of indefinite detention without charges from which he came before trial. Pentagon officials denied that the attorney firings ever took place, while offering no explanation for the reports.
   The Vanity Fair article went on to state that the attorneys brought in to replace those who were dismissed are equally troubled by the unfair procedures. They were reportedly planning to submit the commission's rules to the ethics committees of the state bar associations to which they belong, with a lawsuit to be filed alleging improper orders, if, as they expect, the ethics panels find that the rules violate due process. On December 3, the British Guardian newspaper released a report on its own month-long investigation into Guantanamo Bay, making substantially the same allegations. The Guardian quoted an ex-military lawyer familiar with the incident: "There was a circular that went out to military lawyers in the early spring of 2003 which said "we are looking for volunteers' for defense counsel. There was a selection process, and the people they selected were the right people, they had the right credentials, they were good lawyers.
   "The first day, when they were being briefed on the dos and don'ts, at least a couple said, "You can't impose these restrictions on us because we can't properly represent our clients. "When the group decided they weren't going to go along, they were relieved. They reported in the morning and got fired that afternoon". The British newspaper went on to cite a "uniformed source with intimate knowledge" of the current situation in Guantanamo, who said that the mood among a new team of six military defense lawyers was one of "deep unhappiness".
   "It's like you took military justice, gave it to a prosecutor and said, "modify it any way you want,'" the source said. The fact that the US military's own handpicked lawyers are unable to stomach the rules governing the planned military tribunals is the clearest indication that the Guantanamo detainees will receive nothing but drumhead justice. Apparently taking the Pentagon's denials as good coin, the US television networks and leading newspapers have virtually all failed to report on the controversy.
   The firing of the military lawyers is only one of the indications that the Bush administration is facing a growing crisis over its illegal detentions in Guantanamo. The December 6 Washington Post cited reports of plea agreements prosecutors were negotiating with the first two defendants who were among those expected to be tried, the Australian David Hicks and Moazzam Begg, a British citizen. Sources said that, after two years of detention, much of it in solitary confinement, the two were prepared to plead guilty to associating with Al-Qaeda and/or the Taliban, making a confession in open court and expressing regret for their actions. Armed with the threat of the death penalty, as well as the incentive of improved conditions of confinement for those who "cooperate", interrogators have apparently been softening up their captives for the plea bargains without their having benefit of legal representation. Since formal plea bargains can only be accepted after defendants have consulted counsel, these reports would also explain the timing of the Pentagon's decision to allow David Hicks to meet with his military-appointed lawyer Major Michael Mori. On December 11, Mori became the first lawyer to see a Guantanamo detainee, along with Stephen Kenny, the Australian civilian attorney retained by the Hicks family.
   Kenny was not allowed to meet with his client without Major Mori present, and he was banned from talking to the media about his visit. British attorney Clive Stafford Smith, hired to represent Moazzam Begg, responded to the reports of his client pleading guilty by saying, "This is all part of a Stalinist show trial, in which you're tried in public only if you agree to plead guilty". Smith has not been allowed to meet with Begg. For over two years, the Bush administration has maintained that the Guantanamo detainees have no right to an attorney or for that matter any rights whatsoever under US or international law. That they have now granted one detainee access to an attorney -- albeit under strictly controlled conditions in which a free client-attorney exchange is precluded -- suggests a tactical concession aimed at salvaging its brutal and unconstitutional policy of holding anyone it likes indefinitely without charges by simply declaring them "unlawful combatants", a term that has no meaning in either US or international law. -- World Socialist Web Site, Pentagon fired the military lawyers assigned to defend Guantanamo prisoners, www.wsws.org/articles/2003/dec2003/guan-d19.shtmlBy Jamie Chapman, 19 December 2003
• Iraqis ripped off in post-war chaos. PERTH, W. Australia, Dec 21: Iraqis are enduring delayed pay at $US60 a month, overcharging and chaos. ABC News Radio had a report on Sunday [Dec 14] about 400 Iraqi officers demonstrating against their pay cheques being three months overdue. The same reporter had been told that half the army of Iraqis that the US had recruited had resigned. A US officer told the world that it was only the recruits with families who were leaving. The army had retained the single men, and they were paid $60 dollars a month. For $US60 they expect Iraqis to risk being murdered by crazy people who even blow up the Red Cross.
   Reports about the purges of teachers and public servants by the hundreds of thousands have been coming in for months. And US oil services giant Halliburton has been credibly accused of overcharging for fuel -- in an oil-rich region of the world!
   Yes, the US and Britain obviously don't have a clue how to administer their new overseas conquest. The Rev Neville Watson of Perth said something like that after returning from Iraq a few months ago.
   Chaos is the main game.
   A positive suggestion would be to remove all foreigners from the country and withdraw armed units to the borders. Then patrol the skies to prevent further fanatics from entering. Then pray. -- The Sunday Times, letter from John Massam, Greenwood (Perth), p 61, December 21, 2003
   [CONFIRMATION, AND DUBIOUS FIGURE: Time magazine, page 16, Dec 22, 2003: "53% estimated percentage of recruits who have quit the U.S.-trained Iraqi army, mostly over complaints about low salaries. $60 Monthly salary for privates in the new Iraqi army. $2 Monthly salary Iraqi recruits made under Saddam Hussein. CONFIRMATION AND DUBIOUS FIGURE ENDS.] [EXPLANATION: "Ripped off" in the heading is slang for being defrauded. EXPLANATION ENDS.] [Letter: Dec 21 03]
• Why the US wants Iraq's debts cancelled - and Argentina's paid in full.
   BRITAIN: Comment: Contrary to predictions, the doors of Old Europe weren't slammed in James Baker's face as he asked forgiveness for Iraq's foreign debt last week. Germany and France appear to have signed on, and Russia is softening.
   In the days leading up to Baker's drop-the-debt tour, there was virtual consensus that the former US secretary of state had been sabotaged by deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz, whose move to shut out "non-coalition" partners from reconstruction contracts in Iraq of $18.6bn seemed designed to make Baker look a hypocrite.
   Only now it turns out that Wolfowitz may not have been undermining Baker, but rather acting as his enforcer. He showed up with a big stick to point out "the threat of economic exclusion from Iraq's potential $500bn reconstruction" just as Baker was about to speak softly.
   The Iraqi people "should not be saddled with the debt of a brutal regime", said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. No argument here. But when I heard about Baker's "noble mission", as George Bush described it, I couldn't help thinking about an under-reported story earlier this month. On December 4, the Miami Herald published excerpts from a state department transcript of a meeting on October 7 1976 between Henry Kissinger, then secretary of state under Gerald Ford, and Admiral César Augusto Guzzetti, Argentina's then foreign minister under the military dictatorship.
   It was the height of Argentina's dirty war to destroy the "Marxist threat" by systematically torturing and killing not only armed guerrillas, but also peaceful union organisers, student activists and their friends, families and sympathisers. By the end of the dictatorship, approximately 30,000 people had been "disappeared".
   At the time of the meeting, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, much of Argentina's left had already been erased, and news of bodies washing up on the banks of the Rio de la Plata was drawing increasingly urgent calls for sanctions. Yet the transcript of the meeting reveals that the US government not only knew about the disappearances, it openly approved of them.
   Guzzetti reports to Kissinger on "good results in the last four months. The terrorist organisations have been dismantled". Kissinger states: "Our basic attitude is that we would like you to succeed... What is not understood in the US is that you have a civil war. We read about human rights problems but not the context. The quicker you succeed, the better."
   And here is where Mr Baker's present-day mission becomes relevant. Kissinger moves on to the topic of loans, encouraging Guzzetti to apply for as much foreign assistance as possible before Argentina's "human rights problem" ties US hands. "There are two loans in the bank," Kissinger says, referring to the Inter-American Development Bank. "We have no intention of voting against them ... We would like your economic programme to succeed and will do our best to help you."
   The World Bank estimates that roughly $10bn of the money borrowed by the generals went on military purchases, including the concentration camps from which thousands never emerged, and hardware for the Falklands war. It also went into numbered Swiss accounts, a sum impossible to track because the generals destroyed all records.
   We do know this: under the dictatorship, Argentina's external debt ballooned from $7.7bn in 1975 to $46bn in 1982. Ever since, the country has been caught in an escalating crisis, borrowing billions to pay interest on that original, illegitimate debt, which today, at $141bn, is only slightly higher than that held by Iraq's creditors.   . . .
   -- The Guardian, Britain, Comment, "It's greed, not ideology, that rules the White House. Why the US wants Iraq's debts cancelled - and Argentina's paid in full," www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4824800-103677,00.html , by Naomi Klein, Tuesday December 23, 2003 
2004
• Hawks Demand An End To All Evil, And Maybe France, Too. Sydney Morning Herald, January 1, 2004, By David Rennie in Washington.
   WASHINGTON: Washington's hawks have sent a public manifesto to President George Bush demanding regime change in Syria and Iran and a Cuba-style military blockade of North Korea backed by planning for a pre-emptive strike on its nuclear sites. The manifesto, which was sent on Tuesday, is presented as a "manual for victory" in the war on terrorism. It also calls for Saudi Arabia and France to be treated not as allies but as rivals and possibly enemies. The manifesto is contained in a new book by Richard Perle , a Pentagon adviser and "intellectual guru" of the hardline neo-conservative movement, and David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter. They warn of a faltering of the "will to win" in Washington.
   In the battle for the President's ear, the manifesto represents an attempt by hawks to break out of the post-Iraq doldrums and strike back at what they see as a campaign of hostile leaking by their foes in such centres of caution as the State Department or in the military top brass. Their publication, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror, coincided with the latest broadside from the hawks' main enemy, the Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Though recovering from prostate cancer, Mr Powell summoned reporters to his bedside to hail "encouraging" signs of a "new attitude" in Iran and call for the US to keep open the prospect of dialogue with Tehran.
   Such talk is anathema to hawks like Mr Perle and Mr Frum, who urge Washington to shun the mullahs and work for their overthrow in concert with Iranian dissidents. The book demands that any talks with North Korea require the complete and immediate abandonment of its nuclear program. As North Korea will probably refuse such terms, the book urges a Cuba-style military blockade and overt preparations for war, including the rapid withdrawal of US forces from the South Korean border so that they move out of range of North Korean artillery.
   Such steps, with luck, will prompt China to oust its nominal ally, Kim Jong-il, and install a saner regime in North Korea, the authors write. The authoritarian rule of Syria's leader, Bashar Assad, should also be ended, encouraged by shutting oil supplies from Iraq, seizing arms he buys from Iran, and raids into Syria to hunt terrorists. The book calls for tough action against France and its dreams of offsetting US power. "We should force European governments to choose between Paris and Washington," it says. January 1, 2004
• US: land of the unfree.
   Le Monde diplomatique, http://mondediplo.com/2004/01/03landofunfree , January 2004
   After the events of 11 September 2001 Muslims from Arab countries and Southeast Asia were the first victims of the freedom-stifling measures taken by the administration of President George Bush. More than 1,000 were arrested because of their religion or ethnic origins. After weeks or months in detention, not one was charged with terrorist crimes.
   In the name of the "war on terrorism", the administration can now conduct secret operations, crack down on expressions of opinion (as an offence), put citizens under surveillance, even when there are no grounds for suspecting them of criminal activity and, with a view to carrying out investigations, gather sensitive information on the private life of US nationals and foreign residents.
   The best-known laws that allow this, the USA Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act, were adopted on 26 October 2001. They are backed by other anti-terrorist measures and decrees decided by the administration, which has granted itself the powers that Congress refused it.
   The Bill of Rights has become the latest victim of the war against terrorism (1). Vice-president Dick Cheney set the tone shortly after 11 September 2001, saying: "Many steps that we have now been forced to take will become permanent in American life, and will be part of a new normalcy." A frightening prospect, according to lawyer Deborah Pearlstein, for whom this normalcy equates to "a detachment from the rule of law as a whole. The US has become unbound from the principles that have long held it to the mast" (2).
   "Six months ago," notes David Cole, "the percentage of Americans concerned about the restriction of individual freedoms was 7%. Today, according to CBS, the figure is 52%." All the Democratic presidential candidates have called into question the USA Patriot Act, asking for it to be annulled or amended. "There has been much talk about the need to sacrifice liberty for security. In practice, however, the government has most often at least sacrificed non-citizens' liberties. But as the cases of Hamdi and Padilla illustrate [see opposite], what we do to foreign nationals today often paves the way for what will be done to American citizens tomorrow."
   The distortion of constitutional rights predates Bush. After the first attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993 and the bombing of the Oklahoma federal office in 1995, Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism Act, "one of the worst assaults on the Constitution for decades" (3).
   This law revived the crime of association, and created a special court with access to classified information to deport foreign nationals suspected of terrorism. Most of all, the act abolished the recent law that banned the FBI from probing activities relative to the first amendment (freedom of expression and political, religious and press association).
   The US justice ministry has more such legislation in the pipeline. It is reportedly working on a domestic security enhancement act, which, according to the Yale law professor Jack Balkin, gives the state "the authority to rescind citizenship on the charge of providing material support to an organisation on the attorney-general's blacklist even if the accused has no idea that the organisation has been blacklisted."
   To put it bluntly, writes Noam Chomsky, "give a few dollars to a Muslim charity that Ashcroft thinks is a terrorist organisation and you could be on the next plane out of this country. With no right of appeal" (4).
   ____________________
(1) Nancy Chang, a member of the Centre for Constitutional Rights, in Lost Liberties, The New Press, New York, 2003.
(2) "Assessing the New Normal", 2003, www.lchr.org .
(3) Terrorism and Constitution, The New Press, New York, 2002.
(4) Hegemony of Survival, America's Quest for Global Dominance, Editions American Empire Project, 2003.

[Article: Jan 2004]
Plan by global firm to "own" word Koola and selling cordials in a handled bottle called a jug!
   The West Australian, "Anchor has Koola win over Schweppes," by Sue Peacock, p 47, Wednesday, January 14, 2004
   PERTH, Western Australia (Jan 14): The David and Goliath battle for WA's cordial heartland is over.
   A confidential settlement reached on Christmas Eve means lovers of the fruity beverage can still enjoy Anchor Koola Lime cordial, despite legal attempts to have it taken off supermarket shelves in WA
   Global beverage and confectionary giant Cadbury Schweppes took Federal Court action against the O'Connor-based minnow Anchor Foods in September, alleging design and trademark infringements had damaged its own Coola lime cordial brand name.
   The dispute centred on the use by Anchor of the word Koola on its lime cordial sold in WA in Woolworths and independent supermarkets.
   Also in the spotlight was Anchor's revamped "jug" cordial bottle design, which Cadbury Schweppes -- owner of the Cottees brand in Australia -- claimed was a copy of its own bottle.
   Anchor Foods managing director David Clapin said yesterday a confidential settlement had been reached before Christmas with all court action to be discontinued.
   "We are bound by the agreement not to disclose terms," he said.
   The settlement leaves the 150-year-old Anchor free to use its jug design and sell the Koola product in the market as was the case before the action was launched.
   Cadbury Schweppes was seeking damages and the removal from the market of Anchor's Koola cordial and its jug bottles.
   In documents tendered in the Federal Court in Melbourne, the cordial multinational claimed to have spent more than $1.17 million promoting and advertising goods bearing the Coola name since 1994.
   It said sales of Coola products totalled $76 million in the past decade.
   Anchor -- a 150-year-old food and beverage company previously owned by Goodman Fielder -- claimed to have continuously used the term Koola for almost 20 years, well before Cadbury Schweppes registered the Coola trademark.
   In September, Mr Clapin said the litigation was a positive sign Anchor's attempts to win back market share, via a major overhaul of the company and its products, were working.
   Anchor has annual sales of about $25 million, 80 per cent of which is in WA.
   It makes Anchor cordial and vinegar, dried fruit, Spencers Spices, Lion and Robur cake and bread mixes, bread crumbs, Snowflake flour and sugar and coconut.
   The WA business was bought by Mr Clapin, a former head of Kailis & France Foods and finance director for Janet Holmes à Court's Heytesbury group in 2002 for about $7 million.
   A Cadbury Schweppes spokeswoman declined to comment on the settlement. [Jan 14, 04]
   Suing "Koola" drinks was like suing the Bear Kids Workshop
   PERTH, Western Australia (Jan 15): Well, the gigantic Cadbury Schweppes thought they owned the rights to the idea of a "cooler" drink, and of cordials in a "jug." (See The West Australian, "Anchor has Koola win over Schweppes," by Sue Peacock, p 47, Wednesday, January 14, 2004)
   The multinational corporation lodged their case in MELBOURNE, the other side of the continent from where Anchor operates. Which firm, Anchor Foods of Perth, or CS, could least afford to take the court case at a distance from home base?
   The huge multinational evidently couldn't make enquiries and discover that the Anchor "Koola" had been used for 20 years, which was before CS's "Coola". Perhaps CS couldn't afford the cost of a search!
   Do you understand that the launching of these hopeless court cases is designed to keep the executives' minds worrying about legal matters, attending at lawyer's offices, and paying extortionate legal expenses? What should Australian company leaders be thinking about? Their businesses, right! These court games are all part of "globalism," that is, the global control by less and less people over more and more businesses.
   It's part of a pattern. Harry Potter fashion clothes had been operating for some years in Australia. The publishing phenomenon of the Harry Potter books by J.K.Rowling went around the world.
   But, adabracadra, the boy wizard's "intellectual property rights" had been sold, and around December 18 2003 it was reported http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/12/17/1071337025918.html that the company was determined to extract even more gold than the boy wizard himself could have conjured up. Alas and alack, the courts didn't see it that way, and although the firm had given the fashion lady a great number of worrying days, she was left in peace. (Anyone who knows how much it cost her, nett, could e-mail the details.)
   To see how correct, and sleepy, Australian authorities are, read this: "Wombat co-owner Clair Jennifer, said she came up with the harry potter name in 1994 (three years before the first Harry Potter book was published), thinking it was a good label for women's wear. When she tried to register the trademark, she was told that, as it was also possible it could be a real person's name, she would have to get it known before it could be registered." (The Age, "Harry Potter fails test of legal wizardry," Melbourne, http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/12/17/1071337025918.html , By Leonie Lamont December 18, 2003) Well, there is a person named Harry Potter, and he has been seen on television
   In March 2003 it had been reported that Build-a-Bear Workshop www.buildabear.com of St Louis, Missouri, had accused Richard and Roseleigh White, who run the Bear Kids Workshop shop at Carousel shopping centre in Cannington (a Perth suburb), of imitating its product designs and passing them off as their own. The "teddy bear" idea is about a century old, and by now many possible variations of the design have, presumably, been made on every continent, and even by your old Granny! Such a "fantastical whim" case (started in SYDNEY, also on the other side of the continent, as you might have guessed) ended, like the "Koola" one, in an out-of-court "settlement," and neither side was talking. (The West Australian, "WA teddy designers grin and bear it," by Anne Calverley, p 3, Sat. March 15 2003)
   Previously, a woman who sold fish shop "batter" was sued by an American giant, who objected to her using a name on her packaging. It was her own surname -- but they stoutly insisted they owned the rights to it, even though she had never heard of them and their batter!
   Will multinational firms stop doing this? No, because they are working out how to control the appointment of judges, just like in the USA. Don't believe me? Watch how each Australian State will gradually, bit by bit, and with each step looking so reasonable, change the way judges are appointed, and even how they think of themselves. "The Queen, wigs set to go" was a recent heading in Western Australia. Queensland is a fair way along that path, and they have prosecutors and judges now who don't understand Common Law and Equity Law, as was shown in the Pauline Hanson gaoling, the decision being thrown out, with criticism of the prosecutor's staffing.
   And, the transnational corporations know that if they keep making business difficult enough, worrying enough, people like the Ahern family or even the Holmes à Court family will eventually say "Why should we worry? Why not sell out, and we can play golf, or sail, or take on charity work, and live on our millions." That's what the globalists want.
   Go back in history. An American lawyer in 1903 sued Henry Ford's Ford Motor Company, saying they he owned the very idea of a "motor car," even though the first known automobile dates back to 1770! (see Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia). The law case lasted from 1903 to 1911, being lost by George B. Selden. -- Just World Campaign, http://www. multiline. com.au/~johnm/ cont12.htm# suekoola , Jan 15, 2004.

• Students from Palestine snatched from dormitories, left to rot in desert concentration camp.
   Christian Peacemaker Team and Voices in the Wilderness, "A Batch of TCNs," http://antiwar.com/article.php?articleid=1707 , by Kathy Kelly, January 16, 2004
   IRAQ: "We've given up hope," said 20 year old Mohammed Al Katib, a Palestinian student imprisoned in the Umm Qasr prison camp in southern Iraq. "We don't think we'll ever get out of here."
   On January 3, 2004, I traveled with Rev. Jerry Zawada, OFM, and several of our Iraqi friends to Umm Qasr, located on the Iraq-Kuwait border. There, in a remote and desolate area where US Coalition authorities have constructed a network of tent prisons, we visited four Palestinian students who've been held for many months by US coalition authorities. In the "Bucca Camp," (named after a firefighter who died in the World Trade Center) prisoners and guards alike battle against monotony, anxiety, and isolation. The prisoners we met listed one more emotional pitfall: despair.
   We left Baghdad just after sunrise that Saturday morning and drove six hours to Basra, without stopping, hoping that we might reach Umm Qasr before visiting hours ended. At the outskirts of the prison, a US soldier whose badge read MP (Military Police) politely told us that we were too late. Visiting hours lasted from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Thursday - Saturday. The next opportunity to visit would be five days later. Reluctant to leave, we asked if an exception could be made, explaining that we'd come a long way on a difficult stretch of road and that some of us would leave Iraq within the next several days.
   The MP, a young dental hygienist from Tennessee, agreed to contact Major Garrity, a woman whom our Christian Peacemaker Team friends in Baghdad assured us would do her best to help. She initially said, "No way, today we already processed a batch of 500 new prisoners." After some further conversation, she hesitated and then said, "Hang on. Maybe we can do something." I think she knew how beleaguered the young men we hoped to see were feeling and wanted to give them some small measure of hope. An hour later, jostling on the benches of an army jeep, we were transported over bumpy desert terrain to the prison visitor's tent at Compound 11, Tampa 11, where Officer Lou, formerly a Miami police officer, had delivered four men in their early twenties, each of them former students in Baghdad.
   Prison authorities refer to the young men as "TCNs," Third Country Nationals. Four of them were arrested in their dorm rooms on April 10, the day after US Marines arrived in Baghdad. When they asked the Marines what crime they had committed, they were told they were guilty of being Palestinians. The students presume that the Marines wanted to occupy their building because it was one of the tallest in the area and offered a good view. A fifth youngster, Ameer Abbas, a Palestinian who has Iraqi citizenship, was on his way home from his university on June 23, 2003, when a shootout erupted at the local mosque. Clutching his textbooks, he ran in the opposite direction. US soldiers spotted him running and arrested him. His brother, a dentist in Baghdad, has tried repeatedly to secure his release. Dr. Amer Abbas accompanied us to the prison, hoping for a second visit with his brother.
   Two other students who were arrested at the same time as Jayyab, Mohammed, Basel, and Ahmed were released in June of 2003, perhaps because they spoke English and were better able to plead their case. Since then, they have tirelessly explored every possible means of helping their companions who remain in prison. Upon hearing that a handful of westerners with Christian Peacemaker Team and Voices in the Wilderness might be able to help, they contacted our small delegation as soon as we arrived in Amman, in late December of 2003. We promised to do our best. In Baghdad, Christian Peacemaker Team members scoured their list of 6,000 prisoners and found the Capture Tag numbers for two of the prisoners. Available details for all five prisoners filled only one sheet of paper.
   Guards assured us that prisoners in the Bucca Compound are better off than those who are held in Baghdad prisons. "We give them clothes, they each get a blanket, and we feed them," said a guard. "We try to do everything we can for them." I think the guards feel genuine compassion, but there's little they can do to help these young men. Certainly no one can do anything about the fact that the students have already lost two years of studies because of missed exams.
   Officers in the Bucca camp have recommended release for these prisoners, but the only people with authority to issue releases are the Baghdad based members of the "Sec-Det," the Security Detainees Review Board. A prisoner's best hope for release rests on their paperwork arriving at the desk of the Sec-Det group as part of a "boarding" process. As our hour long visit came to a close, we promised the five students that we would try our best to bring more attention to their cases by contacting elected representatives in the US, foreign embassies, and the International Commission of the Red Cross.
   "Can you think of anything else we can do?" I asked, as we bade the youngsters farewell. "Please," Jayyad Ehmedat said firmly, "there are many here. Help us all."
   Please contact Voices in the Wilderness or visit www.vitw.org for more information about ways to assist Jayyab Ehmedat, Mohammed Al-Katib, Basel Ali, Ahmed Badran and Ameer Abbas. For more information about the Campaign to Assure Justice for Iraqi Detainees, please visit www.cpt.org
   Kathy Kelly is a co-coordinator of the Voices in the Wilderness campaign. She can be reached at kathy@vitw.org
[Jan 16, 04]
• Katharine Gun faces gaol for telling truth about twisting arms to back war
   This is about the leak - last year [2003] - of a memo - dated 31 January 2003 - in which Frank Koza, chief of staff of the NSA's Regional Targets section, requested British intelligence help to discover the voting intentions of the key 'swing six' nations at the UN. Angola, Cameroon, Guinea, Chile, Mexico and Pakistan were under intense pressure to vote for a second resolution authorising war in Iraq.
   GCHQ worker Katharine Gun faces jail for exposing American corruption in the run-up to war on Saddam. Now her celebrity supporters insist it is Bush and Blair who should be in the dock.
   The Observer (London), http://observer.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,1125812,00.html , by Martin Bright, Sunday January 18, 2004
   BRITAIN: She was an anonymous junior official toiling away with 4,500 other mathematicians, code-breakers and linguists at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham.
   But now Katharine Gun, an unassuming 29-year-old translator, is set to become a transatlantic cause celebre as the focus of a star-studded solidarity drive that brings together Hollywood actor-director Sean Penn and senior figures from the US media and civil rights movement, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
   Gun appears in court tomorrow accused of breaching the Official Secrets Act by allegedly leaking details of a secret US 'dirty tricks' operation to spy on UN Security Council members in the run-up to war in Iraq last year. If found guilty, she faces two years in prison. She is an unlikely heroine and those who have met her say she would have been happy to remain in the shadows, had she not seen evidence in black and white that her Government was being asked to co-operate in an illegal operation.
   The leak has been described as 'more timely and potentially more important than The Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg, the celebrated whistleblower who leaked papers containing devastating details of the US involvement in Vietnam, in 1971. Ellsberg has been vocal in support of Gun. She was arrested last March, days after The Observer first published evidence of an intelligence 'surge' on UN delegations, ordered by the GCHQ's partner organisation, the National Security Agency.
   Legal experts believe that her case is potentially more explosive for the Government than the Hutton inquiry because it could allow her defence team to raise questions about the legality of military intervention in Iraq. The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, is likely to come under pressure to disclose the legal advice he gave on military intervention - something he has so far refused to do.
   At a hearing last November, Gun's legal team indicated that she would use a defence of 'necessity' to argue that she acted to save the lives of British soldiers and Iraqi civilians.
   At the time Gun, who was sacked after her arrest and whose case is funded by legal aid, said in a statement: 'Any disclosures that may have been made were justified on the following grounds: because they exposed serious illegality and wrongdoing on the part of the US government who attempted to subvert our own security services; and to prevent wide-scale death and casualties among ordinary Iraqi people and UK forces in the course of an illegal war.'
   She added: 'I have only ever followed my conscience.'
   Sean Penn and Jesse Jackson have already signed a statement of support for Gun and a broader campaign will be launched later this year. They are joined by Ellsberg, who is keen to travel to Britain soon to meet Gun.
   Other signatories of the statement, to be released in the coming weeks, include Linda Foley, president of the Newspaper Guild, and Ramona Ripston of the American Civil Liberties Union, both in their personal capacities.
   The statement is a glowing tribute to the publicity-shy GCHQ mole who has avoided all media attention since her arrest: 'We honour Katharine Gun as a whistleblower who bravely risked her career and her very liberty to inform the public about illegal spying in support of a war based on deception. In a democracy, she should not be made a scapegoat for exposing the transgressions of others.'
   The statement also pays tribute to the transatlantic opposition to the war in Iraq, which it links to historical campaigns against oppression. 'There has been much talk in recent months about the "special relationship" between the US and British governments, which led the world to war, but history tells us of another "special relationship" - between people of good will in the United States and Britain who worked together in opposition to slavery and colonialism, and most recently against the push for war on Iraq. It is in the spirit of friendship between our peoples in defence of democracy that we sign this statement.'
   The leaked memorandum - dated 31 January 2003 - from Frank Koza, chief of staff of the NSA's Regional Targets section, requested British intelligence help to discover the voting intentions of the key 'swing six' nations at the UN. Angola, Cameroon, Guinea, Chile, Mexico and Pakistan were under intense pressure to vote for a second resolution authorising war in Iraq.
   The disclosure of the 'dirty tricks' memo caused serious diplomatic difficulties for the countries involved and in particular the socialist government in Chile, which demanded an immediate explanation from Britain and America. The Chilean public is deeply sensitive to dirty tricks by the American intelligence services, which are still held responsible for the 1973 overthrow of the socialist government of Salvador Allende. In the days that followed the disclosure, the Chilean delegation in New York distanced itself from the draft second resolution, scuppering plans to go down the UN route.
   Opposition politicians are already increasing pressure on Tony Blair to release Goldsmith's legal advice. Parliamentary answers last week to Lord Alexander of Weedon QC, the Tory head of the all-party legal reform group Justice, show that the Government recognises there are precedents for disclosure.
   In 1993, government legal advice in the arms-to-Iraq affair was disclosed to the Scott inquiry and advice concerning the 1988 Merchant Shipping Act was disclosed when Spanish fishermen argued that it breached EU law. The government response of Baroness Amos would appear to be an open invitation to Gun's defence team: 'In both cases, disclosure was made for the purposes of judicial proceedings.'
   But she continued: 'It has been made clear in a number of parliamentary questions that the Attorney General's detailed advice would not be disclosed in view of a long-standing convention, adhered to by successive governments, that advice of law officers is not publicly disclosed. The purpose of the convention is to enable the Government, like everyone else, to receive full and frank legal advice in confidence.'
   A summary of the legal advice published on 17 March last year showed that Goldsmith believed that UN Resolution 678, which authorised force against Iraq to eject it from Kuwait in 1990, could be used to justify the conflict. This position has been fiercely criticised by most experts in international law, who argue that 678 applied specifically to the threat posed to the region by Saddam in 1990. Alexander has accused Goldsmith of 'scraping the bottom of the legal barrel' and described the use of 678 as 'risible'.
   When the details of the GCHQ disclosure were published in The Observer on 2 March last year, there was considerable media speculation that Goldsmith was set to resign over the issue of his legal advice over the war. Foreign Office legal experts were known to be split on the issue.
   A key figure could prove to be 54-year-old Elizabeth Wilmshurst, deputy legal adviser to the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, who stepped down on 21 March. Wilmshurst is said to have left her post because she would not agree to Goldmith's legal advice.
   Since leaving her post she has not spoken about the crucial discussions in the Foreign Office last March. Many believe that a second whistleblower could prove fatal to the Government.
   For full details, go to accuracy.org at: http://www.accuracy.org/ ; (e-mail from Michael P 20 Jan 04) [Jan 18, 04]
• 100,000 demand Iraqi elections
   The Guardian, Britain; www.guardian. co.uk/Iraq/ Story/0,2763, 1126468,00.html , Associated Press, Monday January 19, 2004
   BAGHDAD, IRAQ: Tens of thousands of Shia Muslims demonstrated in Baghdad today to demand prompt elections, the protest coming hours before US and Iraqi officials prepared to seek UN approval for their plans to transfer power in Iraq. (By courtesy Information Clearing House) [Jan 19, 04]
• Genetically modified food polls, now 82% against.
   BJ, 20 Jan 04
   AUSTRALIA: In the SMH's list of past polls, I see this:
"Genetically modified food : Do you support GM crops?
Yes - 22%
No - 73%
Undecided - 5%
Total Votes: 3713 Poll date: 21/10/03 "
   Well, a few months later, and it's
For - 13%
Against - 82%
Undecided - 4%
Total Votes: 4340
   Please also visit the Gene Ethics Network site to have your say: www.geneethics.org/
• Senator John Kerry Speaks Out - He was ' Misled'
   Information Clearing House, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5559.htm , by Charles Jenks (at foot it says Charles Jenks : Deerfield, MA) , June 20, 2003
   UNITED STATES: Senator John Kerry says he - in fact "every one of us" - was misled by President Bush concerning Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. And he says the deception is one reason he is running for President
   The BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3002820.stm reports on Kerry's realization that he had been lied to and his determination that he will not let President Bush "off the hook."
   If John Kerry had been interested in the truth, why did he refuse to meet with his Western Mass constituents before voting for the war resolution? Why did he close his Springfield office on October 11 - shutting out his constituents - in the aftermath of his vote in favor of war? Link http://traprockpeace.org/KerryOffice101102/
   Before his vote, on September 30, a group of his constituents, including this writer, met with his foreign policy aide, as part of a national effort organized by the Education for Peace in Iraq Center with Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Peace Action, Sisters of St. Joseph, and others. This joint effort worked to bring important resources and constituent concerns about the war directly to their Members of Congress. 140 citizens from 23 states fanned out and had meetings in 102 Congressional Offices, primarily meetings with Senate foreign policy aides.
   The intellectual core of the resources presented were from the UK. 1) The 'Counter-Dossier' - written by Glen Rangwala, Lecturer in Politics at the University of Cambridge and Alan Simpson, Labour MP) was written to counter the notorious Blair dossier released on September 24, 2002 to Parliament and
   2) 'Counter-Dossier II' - a more technical treatment of the weapons of mass destruction claims.(Traprock had published these papers in the US on the internet and in booklet form with the cooperation of Glen Rangwala. Mr. Rangwala updated and replaced Counter-Dossier II as the lead-up to war progressed - see Link.)
   (As a prelude to the citizens' lobbying, Traprock Peace Center visited 31 Senate offices on September 24, distributing the Counter-Dossier and meeting with some Senate aides, and WILPF followed up by bringing it to House members the next day.
   In October, 2002, 23 Senators and 133 Representatives voted against the Bush Administration's war resolution. John Kerry voted for it. What did 156 Members of Congress know that Kerry did not know? Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of his constituents had called him, urging him to vote against war. After he voted for war, over 20,000 constituents wrote in the name of Randall Forsberg, who ran against him in a last minute write-in anti-war campaign in November.
   During the lead up to war, much came to light in terms of US and UK deceptions concerning the weapons of mass destruction allegations. Surely, Senator Kerry took note of these developments.
   A few examples:
   1) Colin Powell made a case for war to the UN Security Council on February 5th. (See Glen Rangwala's analysis at the time.) Powell referred to a British intelligence report, at the UN and as a follow-up before Congress. Glen Rangwala broke the story to the British press that the British 'Intelligence' report was largely a plagiarized and out-dated paper by a postgraduate student.
   Per The Observer (UK) "the finished document appeared to have been cobbled together not by Middle East experts, but by the secretary of Alastair Campbell, the Government's chief spin doctor, and some gofers."
   2) Newsweek reported that the UN Inspectors had hidden the full interview Gen. Hussein Kamel, who had been in charge of Iraq's weapons programme before Gulf War I. He defected in 1995 and provided details of Iraq's programme, but said Iraq destroyed its WMD's. The US Administration heavily replied in its public statements on the parts of the Kamel interview that it liked, while neglecting the sticky parts - such as his assertions that the WMD's had been destroyed. Conveniently, the UNSCOM kept the interview under wraps. The CIA re-buffed Newsweek's story, saying "It is incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue." Then, Glen Rangwala showed the CIA was 'misinformed' when he published the original transcript of the interview. See his briefing (with a link to the full transcript) here.
   3) The so-called evidence that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger - a major reason that Kerry says he supported the war - were widely reported by March 8 to be fraudulent (Chicago Tribune - "Knowledgeable sources familiar with the forgery investigation described the faked evidence as a series of letters between Iraqi agents and officials in the central African nation of Niger. The documents had been given to the UN inspectors by Britain and reviewed extensively by U.S. intelligence." Link.
   Further, on March 16 the Tribune reported that the US had relied on the faked evidence. "At one point, the Niger letters were seen as key evidence in the U.S. case against Iraq. In December, the State Department said Iraq's declaration to the United Nations regarding its weapons program omitted numerous items. Among them, the State Department said, were "efforts to procure uranium from Niger.'" Link.
   See also "The Status of Nuclear Inspections in Iraq: An Update" by IAEA Director General Dr. Monhamed ElBaradei, March 7, 2003.
   The report states: "Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents - which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger - are in fact not authentic. We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded. However, we will continue to follow up any additional evidence, if it emerges, relevant to efforts by Iraq to illicitly import nuclear materials."
   John Kerry had ample opportunities to discern the truth, before he voted for the war resolution in October, 2002 and during the build up to the invasion. He says that the Bush administration misled everyone. 156 of his colleagues in Congress would disagree; they voted against war. And, thousands of his constituents would disagree - they called his office or voted for his write-in opponent in November. After the deaths of between 5567 and 7240 civilians in Iraq as of this date (per the Iraq Body Count Project) with almost daily shooting deaths of both US soldiers and Iraqi during the occupation (not to mention the thousands of Iraqis who will die due to destructions of infrastructure and health care systems, continuing violence and exposure to the hundreds of tons of depleted uranium residue left in Iraq from US and UK munitions), Senator Kerry speaks out.
   He says was misled. Perhaps he was not as sharp as his 156 colleagues and thousands of constituents. Could there be a darker possibility? Could he have realized the truth and for political reasons went along, knowing that he could claim later - after things had started to go badly - that he had been misled, along with "every one of us."
   Charles Jenks : Deerfield, MA
June 20, 2003: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5559.htm
• Planning for Baghdad occupation all put aside, troops go in without a coherent plan
   The Atlantic Monthly, United States, "BLIND INTO BAGHDAD," http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2004/01/media-preview/fallows.htm , by James Fallows, January/February 2004
   [The U.S. occupation of Iraq is a debacle not because the government did no planning but because a vast amount of expert planning was willfully ignored by the people in charge. The inside story of a historic failure
   [Here's the link to a huge (130K) piece from the current "Atlantic Monthly". I think it's a "keeper" - anyone not able to make the link work should feel free to ask for an email text copy.] (By courtesy of Michael)
   AFTER 9/11, ARMY WAR GAMES INVOLVING IRAQ BEGAN IN EARNEST.
   In his first State of the Union address, on January 29, 2002, President Bush said that Iraq, Iran, and North Korea were an "axis of evil" that threatened world peace. "By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States." By the time of this speech efforts were afoot not simply to remove Saddam Hussein but also to imagine what Iraq would be like when he was gone. In late October of 2001, while the U.S. military was conducting its rout of the Taliban from Afghanistan, the State Department had quietly begun its planning for the aftermath of a "transition" in Iraq. At about the time of the "axis of evil" speech, working groups within the department were putting together a list of postwar jobs and topics to be considered, and possible groups of experts to work on them.
   ONE YEAR BEFORE THE WAR: THE "FUTURE OF IRAQ"
   Thus was born the Future of Iraq project, whose existence is by now well known, but whose findings and potential impact have rarely been reported and examined. The State Department first publicly mentioned the project in March of 2002, when it quietly announced the lineup of the working groups. At the time, media attention was overwhelmingly directed toward Afghanistan, where Operation Anaconda, the half-successful effort to kill or capture al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters, was under way .
[snip] January/February 2004
• No-citizenship Britons will be shown the door
   The Sunday Times, Perth, Western Australia; by Estelle Blackburn, pp 52, 54, 56, Jan. 11, 2004
   PERTH: A recent judgment in the High Court of Australia could result in any number of Britons being rounded up in Australia and deported to the UK.
   The court decided that Britons are classified as aliens, just like non-citizens from other countries, if they arrived in Australia later than January 26, 1949, and did not take out Australian citizenship.
   The definition of alien includes many of the huge numbers of Britons who immigrated during the 1960s and '70s because this country wanted them and gave them assisted passage and permanent residency. [. . .]
   If they have been sentenced to a prison term of 12 months or more at any time, they are deemed to be of bad character and can be deported, like any other non-citizens, under Section 501 of the Migration Act.
   The December 9 High Court decision means a 36-year-old Perth mother of two young children will be torn from her family and returned to England, which she left when she was nine. [. . .] naltrexone implant success story . . . Last February ... deportation order ... detention centre at Perth Airport ... lawyer Henry Christie ... taking her case to the Federal Court in the next month or so [. . .]
   [pp 54-6] Neville Taylor ... 1982 ... 12 years imprisonment for violent offences ... wife and family accepted him back ... Donnybrook ... conviction for another crime ... deportation orders [. . .] in our mid-50s, little prospect of jobs. [. . .]
   [p 56] Federal Court Judge Malcolm Lee found that the Immigration Minister acted illegally two years ago by deporting Richard Hollis, who came to Australia with his family at the age of 13  ... on November 11, 2001 ... Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone has refused to act on the decision and bring Mr Hollis back home.  Hollis ... been fighting his case from London, and his 39-year-old girlfriend Denise Borg ... Hollis arrived in Perth ... 1971 ... age of 13 ... served in the Australian Army ... his lawyer suspended from practice ...
Jan. 11, 2004
• US lawyers sink the boot in, claiming to own the words 'ugg boots'.
   The West Australian, "US lawyers sink the boot in," p 17, Saturday, January 24, 2004
   A move by a United States company to register the name ugg boots was an affront to Australians who had worn the sheepskin footwear for decades, the NSW Nationals said yesterday.
   US manufacturer Deckers has reportedly forced an Australian company off the internet auction site eBay and has also threatened to sue other local companies using the name ugg boots in Australia and overseas.
   NSW Nationals leader Andrew Stoner said ugg boots were an Australian icon and the threat by the American firm was insulting to local makers.
   "Ugg boots are as Australian as the kangaroo, yet we now have this bunch of corporate lawyers throwing their weight around with small manufacturers across NSW," Mr Stoner said.
   "Threatening to sue people who have manufactured footwear under the generic label of ugg boots for decades is a joke."
   [COMMENT: Joke? Its serious business really, as newsitems about the attacks on the Western Australian Bear Kids Workshop (reported March 15 2003) , to stop a lady running an Australian "Harry Potter" fashion business, and to monopolise the idea of a "cooler" cordial in a "jug" dispenser at the expense of Anchor Foods (reported January 14, 2004) of Fremantle bear witness (pardon the pun!). What was that I heard about the National Party and the Liberals protecting Australia's interests? Why then are they trying to bend the truth about the proposed Australian-US Free Trade Agreement, designed so that the USA can "dump" their huge surpluses in Australia?
   The Macquarie Dictionary first edition 1981 gives an entry: ug boot, n. a fleecy-lined boot with an untanned upper. (page 1871)
   One supposes that somehow the spelling with "gg" is recorded somewhere in dictionaries, whether printed or online. But, doing any kind of meaningful research is NOT what the multinationals want. The reason for their "copyright" and "patent" lawsuits is suggested near the foot of the article on the attack on Koola Cordials. Both the Western Australian firms were sued in eastern states courts in the first instance. (Want to study this again? Click http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/cont12.htm#ugg ) -- JWC 24 Jan 04 COMMENT ENDS.]
(Also see Ugg 2 of Feb 4 2004 below.)

• Deckers Outdoor Corporation.
   UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: www.fibre2fashion.com/ugg/
• Deckers Outdoor Corporation
Company Profile :
The earth rotates left to right - the natural flow of things is top to bottom - but in 1978 Brian Smith, a young Australian surfer, brought a core piece of "Down Under" to the United States. Armed with two dozen pairs of UGG sheepskin boots, he hit the streets of NYC ready to make his "sheepskin to riches" story to come true. Three days later he was "down under" by $950. He still had two dozen UGG boots and was feeling lonely in the Big Apple.

Sales Turnover: Not to be disclosed
Year Estd : N.A.
Products : Footwears , Footwears
Other area of Business: Manufacturer of Accessory
Contact Us 495-A South Fairview Ave., Goleta - 93117 CA United States Of America
Phone: +1-805-967 7611
Fax: +1-805-967 9551

(Found on "Ask Jeeves" http://web.ask.com/ on Saturday, January 24, 2004)
• Mates can't save deal, says PM
   The Daily Telegraph, "Mates can't save deal, says PM," http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,8503309%255E421,00.html , January 27, 2004
   AUSTRALIA: THE bid for a free trade deal [FTA] with the US is struggling, and John Howard yesterday warned his friendship with George Bush wouldn't save it.
   "Because in trade, friendships don't amount to a lot," the Prime Minister said in Canberra. [...] Trade Minister Mark Vaile is in Washington attempting to negotiate a last-minute breakthrough in the deadlock over Australia's agricultural exports, particularly sugar.
   The negotiations are at what the Government yesterday called a "critical point". [...]
   Mr Howard said a free trade deal remained "a difficult proposition" and repeated his pledge: "We are not going to sign a free trade agreement which does not advantage Australia."
   He said the US Government was being extensively lobbied by US farm groups, as he had been by local organisations. [...]
   With more than 70 per cent of the work on the FTA complete, Mr Vaile said he was hopeful the remaining issues could be dealt with this week. [...]
   "If both sides are willing and committed to a decent outcome then I think that we can achieve that this week. That remains to be seen."
   Last week, US negotiator Bob Zoellick told a US radio station he was opposed to better access for Australian sugar growers.
   Sugar, along with dairy, beef, horticulture and peanuts, are key markets for Australia.
• From Iraq to Libya, US knew little on weapons
   The Christian Science Monitor, USA, "From Iraq to Libya, US knew little on weapons; Doubts that Hussein had WMD raise questions about war's rationale and intelligence reliability.," www.csmonitor.com/2004/0127/p01s01-usfp.html , By Peter Grier, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor, January 27, 2004
   WASHINGTON - When it comes to unconventional weapons, Iraq may have been far from the most dangerous country in the world after all. In recent days a string of surprising revelations has scrambled the world's proliferation threat assessments.
   Iraq's weapons programs were apparently in shambles, for instance, while Libya's were surprisingly advanced. Pakistan's nuclear scientists might have been rogue agents, proffering secrets for cash. And it appears that North Korea may be the most advanced rogue nuclear nation of all, with an advanced capacity to produce fissile material.
   The bottom line: In the shadowy world of intelligence, judging capacities to produce biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons is among the most difficult estimating jobs of all.
   "These intelligence estimates are not good enough to support a policy of preemptive war," says Joseph Cirincione, of the nonproliferation project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington D.C.
   It is still possible that traces of weapons of mass destruction will be found in Iraq. The capture of Saddam Hussein might convince cowed scientists that the old regime is never coming back, leading to new tips, documents,  or even buried equipment.
   But after months of weapons hunting, the US right now is coming up with little. This was underscored over the weekend by forceful comments from the CIA's former chief weapons inspector, David Kay, who characterized Iraq's unconventional weapons programs as being in "disarray" under a leadership that was increasingly out of touch with reality.
   Mr. Kay said that almost certainly Iraq had no stockpiles of such weapons, as the [US] administration said it likely did prior to its invasion of the country last year. Iraq did maintain some test capability in regards to chemical weapons, said Kay, and may have been continuing research and development on biological weapons prior to its downfall.
   The Hussein regime had made some effort to restart a nuclear program dismantled in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War, but it had made little progress, according to Kay. And he said one dominant feature of all Iraq's unconventional weapons programs was corruption, in the sense that scientists and lower-level officials fooled higher-ups about the real lack of progress, solely to reap money and other benefits.
   "The regime was no longer in control. It was like a death spiral," Kay told The New York Times.
   Critics of the administration's use of weapons intelligence prior to the Iraq war said Kay's findings should have come as no surprise to anyone. "My reaction? I told you so," says Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.
   IN the run-up to war, the administration clearly took the worst-case scenario for almost all aspects of unconventional weaponry when building its case for invasion, according to Mr. Kimball. It ignored other evidence, including fresh intelligence produced by UN inspectors.
   "The [unconventional weapons] programs were essentially in a state of suspension," says Kimball.
   It shouldn't be surprising that Iraq's leaders were themselves in the dark about the program, says Kimball. That same dynamic may have been at work in Pakistan, where nuclear scientists apparently sold weapons technology without the central government's knowledge.
   Pakistani officials indicated over the weekend that several scientists - who they declined to name - had large bank accounts tied to technology sales.
   Thus the most dangerous weapons proliferator in Iraq's region might not have been Iraq itself, but an ally of the United States. Libya's uranium enrichment technology, for instance, is very similar to that used by Pakistan. Now that Libya has pledged to give up its unconventional weapons programs, it turns out its equipment was much better than believed, according to international inspectors who have visited the country.
   And North Korea may have the most dangerous programs of all. A group of private experts that recently toured North Korea's nuclear sites said last week that they were shown evidence that Pyongyang is at least producing plutonium metal.
   Siegfried Hecker, a senior fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, told Congress that he handled a small sample of what was alleged to be plutonium during the trip, and that its color and weight seemed about right.
   In addition, the 8,000 spent fuel rods stored in the Yongbyon nuclear facility appear to have been withdrawn, perhaps in preparation for reprocessing for plutonium extraction.
   "For all intents and purposes ... those fuel rods are gone," Dr. Hecker told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
January 27, 2004
• Former U.S. Judges Enter Fray Over Guantanamo Detentions; Gibbons, Orlofsky and Sarokin argue for right of habeas review
   American Lawyer Media's LAW.COM. "Former U.S. Judges Enter Fray Over Guantanamo Detentions Gibbons, Orlofsky and Sarokin argue for right of habeas review," http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1074819338330 , by Jim Edwards, mailto:jedwards@amlaw.com , New Jersey Law Journal, http://www.law.com/nj , January 27, 2004, UNITED STATES:
   Three former federal judges from New Jersey have filed U.S. Supreme Court briefs opposing the detention, without judicial review, of 660 men at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.
   One of the trio, John Gibbons, former chief judge of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, will argue for the petitioners on the merits. The other two, Stephen Orlofsky and H. Lee Sarokin, put their names on an amicus brief by former judges who believe the federal judiciary needs the power of habeas review over people held by the U.S. government.
   The consolidated cases Gibbons will argue -- Rasul v. Bush, 03-334, and Odah v. U.S., 03-343 -- will force a final answer to a hard question: whether U.S. courts have the jurisdiction to consider habeas corpus challenges to the detention of foreign nationals captured in the post-Sept. 11 fighting in Afghanistan.
   Gibbons' firm, Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione in Newark, has been at the forefront of several challenges to executive power exercised in the name of national security. The firm has litigated challenges to secrecy in the U.S. immigration courts and the use of New Jersey jails to hold Muslim detainees. It also has handled a habeas case for "enemy combatant" Ali Al-Marri and provided criminal defense to Saudi students arrested for allegedly cheating on English tests to stay in the United States.
   All of the other post-Sept. 11 cases making their way through the courts have implicated the rights of those accused by the government or the rights of U.S. citizens to observe or scrutinize the government's national security activities.
   In Rasul, by contrast, the main issue is about the right of judges even to hear the cases. A ruling favoring the Bush administration's detention efforts at Guantanamo Bay would carve out a new area of law into which judges would be forbidden to tread -- something the Supreme Court does not often contemplate.
   Gibbons was reticent last week when asked about his case. "The lawyers who've been handling the cases in the D.C. Circuit approached me and asked me to get involved, probably because I was one of the retired judges who filed an amicus brief in support of the petition for cert," he says.
   Those lawyers include Thomas Wilner, a partner at Shearman & Sterling in Washington, D.C., and professor Anthony Amsterdam, who runs the Capital Defender Clinic at New York University School of Law. Gibbons declines to discuss the case further, citing deference to the Court. He was assisted on the brief by Gibbons Del Deo associate Gitanjali Gutierrez.
   Gibbons will represent British citizens Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal and Australians Mamdouh Habib and David Hicks. Rasul, Iqbal and Habib were arrested in Pakistan after Sept. 11, 2001; Hicks was arrested fighting in Afghanistan.
   Hicks, a Caucasian Muslim convert, has become a cause celebre in Australia, where his father Terry leads a campaign called "Fair Go For David". http://www.fairgofordavid.org/ . The father has delivered chocolate and Vegemite -- a salty yeast extract that Australians put on their sandwiches -- to his son in Guantanamo, and has locked himself in a cage on Broadway in Manhattan to draw attention to his son's plight.
   Interestingly, Terry Hicks admits his son trained with the Taliban military in Afghanistan, and is merely asking for a visible, meaningful trial.
   Orlofsky, who retired in 2003, says he's not as interested in the merits of the detentions as he is in the issue of judicial review. When the government began detaining fighters and suspects after Sept. 11, he realized that habeas was bound to be a key issue.
   "Although I didn't have any [Sept. 11] cases, that issue was going to come up because of where the government decided to detain these people, clearly a location selected to avoid judicial review," says Orlofsky, a partner with Blank Rome in Cherry Hill, N.J.
   Guantanamo Bay belongs to Cuba, but is used by the United States under an unusual permanent loan arrangement.
   Orlofsky had become interested in habeas questions when, in 2002, he was asked to decide the case of a Cuban criminal suspect whom the government was attempting to deport.
   The government moved the man from New Jersey to Louisiana and argued that the New Jersey court therefore lacked jurisdiction. Orlofsky disagreed and ruled in April 2002 in Chavez-Rivas v. Olsen, 194 F.Supp.2d 368, that his court retained the power of habeas corpus review. His ruling was not appealed.
   Orlofsky was roped into the effort before the Supreme Court by former American Bar Association President Jerome Shestack, now chair of the Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen litigation department in Philadelphia.
   The other former judges on the amicus brief with Orlofsky and Sarokin are Nathaniel Jones of the 6th Circuit, Abner Mikva of the D.C. Circuit, William Norris of the 9th Circuit and Harold Tyler of the Southern District of New York. The brief also includes three lawyers in private practice -- including Shestack -- who held a variety of government positions.
   Sarokin, now of counsel to Lasser Hochman in Roseland, N.J., did not return a call seeking comment.
   If the former judges are to win their case, they must get past the government's main argument, which leans heavily on Johnson v. Eisentrager, 339 U.S. 763 (1950). That precedent states that U.S. courts lack jurisdiction over aliens detained outside of American sovereign territory.
   In Eisentrager, a group of German soldiers were caught spying for the Japanese in China after the Nazis surrendered at the end of World War II. They were tried in China by a U.S. military tribunal and convicted of breaking the laws of war, then transported to Germany to serve their sentences in an American prison.
   The court rejected their habeas petition, which argued that they should be allowed to seek review and appeal of their cases in federal court in the District of Columbia.
   "These prisoners at no relevant time were within any territory over which the United States is sovereign, and the scenes of their offense, their capture, their trial and their punishment were all beyond the territorial jurisdiction of any court of the United States," Associate Justice Robert Jackson wrote. "The Constitution does not confer a right of personal security or an immunity from military trial and punishment upon an alien enemy engaged in the hostile service of a government at war with the United States."
   The government's case against judicial review has so far been argued successfully in the D.C. and 9th circuits by Deputy Solicitor General Paul Clement. Guantanamo -- like China -- is geographically beyond federal jurisdiction, Clement has shown. He did not return a call for comment, and nor would he be likely to, says Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller.
   The solicitor general's brief in opposition is due Feb. 17, Gibbons says. [Jan 27, 04]
   [COMMENT: The "Fair Go For David" Petition forms for easy print-out are at http://www.fairgofordavid.org/pubdocs/petition.doc COMMENT ENDS.]
• Judges Speak Out About Keeping the Law at Bay in Guantanamo
   Civil Liberties Watch, "Judges Speak Out About Keeping the Law at Bay in Guantanamo; Elaine Cassel: The War at Home"; http://babelogue.citypages.com:8080/ecassel/2004/01/27 , by Elaine Cassel, ecassel1@cox.net , Tuesday, January 27, 2004
   UNITED STATES:
   President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's detention in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba of 660 boys and men captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan continue to trouble many in the legal profession. Last week, military defense attorneys appointed to represent some of the prisoners scheduled to be tried (by military tribunals) complained that the rules of engagement in the courtroom could render them at risk of violating their state bar organizations' professional rules of conduct. For instance, the rules of the proceedings allow the government to listen in on attorney-client conversations and allow the military to keep some evidence secret from the men on trials.
   Though military attorneys assure me that there is no conflict of interest, it is hard to imagine how being represented by a military attorney when being tried as an enemy combatant by the military can be anything akin to "effective" assistance of counsel. This is not the same as a military person being court-martialed for some on-base crime--these men are being charged with fighting against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
   This week, three former federal judges www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1074819338330 filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court, who has agreed to here whether or not the prisoners can even access federal courts. The judges are not arguing against the imprisonment, but in favor of judicial review of their detention. This is precisely the limit the Supreme Court has placed on its review. The federal courts in the District of Columbia ruled that because the men are in Cuba they are beyond the reach of the U.S. courts. Not so, say their lawyers, who point out that the lease between Cuba and the U.S. give the U.S. sovereignty over the base.
   In addition to being exempt from federal court review, the Bush Administration claims that international law, rules of war, and the Geneva Conventions do not apply to these prisoners. They insist that the fence around Guantanamo does more than keep the prisoners in. It keeps the law out. That's a conclusions that the federal judges--and apparently some members of the Supreme Court--find unacceptable. The government's briefs are due in February and the Court will hear argument in the case in late spring. [Jan 27, 04]
• We can't cope with huge Gipsy invasion; Secret plans to halt invasion of Gipsies
   International Express Australian edition, Sydney, NSW, Australia; page 1: "We can't cope with huge Gipsy invasion;" page 3: "Secret plans to halt invasion of gipsies; Economic disaster looms as 40,000 head for Britain;" by Rachel Baird, Home Affairs Correspondent, January 27 - February 2, 2004, pages 1 and 3,
   BRITAIN: A massive invasion of poverty-stricken gipsies from eastern Europe could lead to economic disaster, ministers fear.
   After publicly denying that there is a looming crisis, the Government has privately admitted Britain cannot cope with the influx and has drawn up secret plans to deal with it. It fears our open-door policy to 10 new EU [European Union] countries will make Britain a magnet for low-paid workers wanting to cash in on our generous benefits and free health care.
Page 3:
   Secret plans to deal with a massive influx of gipsies from eastern Europe have been drawn up by ministers amid warnings that Britain could be over-whelmed. [...] James Paice, Tory MP for South East Cambridgeshire, warned: "From May 1, members of the huge eastern European Roma community will be entitled to enter the UK freely and claim the same health, education and pension benefits as the rest of us.
   It has been predicted that hundreds of thousands of gipsies will descend on the UK once border restrictions are relaxed and my fear is that, of this figure, a large proportion will head for south-east Cambridgeshire."
   Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has claimed there will be "more jobs for British workers" when the 10 countries join the EU. He has even insisted that giving tens of millions of East Europeans the right to work here is "in the national interest."
   [...] ... Irish travellers ... major unrest ... The Home Office also came under fire after it admitted it is still flying failed asylum seekers back to the 10 states at huge public expense, even though the people it removes will have the right to return here in May. [List as: Jan 27, 04]
   [COMMENT: But, how come the "huge benefits" promised from West Indian and Pakistani immigration after World War II haven't yet resulted in full employment, and the similar influxes to Germany, France, etc, have accompanied high unemployment too? Could the politicians be telling "porky pies" again?
   And, why ARE the Gipsies poor? Could it be that the new "fellow-citizens" in Euroland have been discriminating against them? Persecution? What would happen if the Brits were to be persecuted by their new "Eurocitizens" from the 10 new entrants? Has no-one in Briton heard of the anti-Jewish pogroms?
   And, could anyone tell me how the British elite have been unable to stop visitors and others from obtaining the "same health, education and pension benefits as the rest of us." People from around the world have been going to Britain to get free dental work, spectacles, medical operations, etc. Does the British public deserve to be fleeced, because they let the political circus trick them again and again? COMMENT ENDS.]

Article: Jan 27, 2004
• Military Frees 3 Teens From Guantanamo Bay
   St. Petersburg Times, St Petersburg, Florida, USA, "Military Frees 3 Teens From Guantanamo Bay," http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/G/GUANTANAMO_YOUNG_PRISONERS?SITE=FLPET&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT , By JOHN J. LUMPKIN, Associated Press Writer, Jan 29, 2004, 8:04 PM EST
   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. military on Thursday released its three youngest prisoners, boys thought to be between 13 and 15 years old, from Guantamamo Bay, Cuba.
   They were returned to their home country, which the Pentagon did not identify. All three were captured in Afghanistan and brought to the military's prison for terrorist suspects in February 2003, said Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, a military spokeswoman at Guantanamo.
   Military officials said they decided the boys no longer posed a threat to the United States. Nor did they have further value as interrogation subjects, and they are not going to be tried by the U.S. government for any crimes, the military said.
   The boys were the youngest prisoners at the Guantanamo base, which has held hundreds of suspected al-Qaida and Taliban fighters since the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
   Human rights groups have long criticized their detention, saying the long separation from their families would hurt the boys.
   "The detention of children as 'enemy combatants' and their interrogation without even the basic safeguards to which they were entitled was a significant violation of human rights," William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said in a statement. "The release of these children is long overdue, but does not let the U.S. off the hook for continued violations of the rights of hundreds of other detainees."
   Vienna Colucci, an international justice specialist with the group, said the boys had rights to see their parents and attorneys.
   In August, the general running Guantanamo agreed they should be sent home but said he was awaiting orders from the Pentagon and other U.S. government agencies.  . . . [Jan 29, 04]
• In war, some facts less factual; Some US assertions from the last war on Iraq still appear dubious
   The Christian Science Monitor, USA, "In war, some facts less factual; Some US assertions from the last war on Iraq still appear dubious," http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0906/p01s02-wosc.html , By Scott Peterson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor, (from the issue of September 06, 2002 (yes)); Webpage sighted January 30, 2004
   UNITED STATES:
   Picture caption: 12 YEARS AGO: US troops deploy in the Saudi desert Nov. 4, 1990, before the Gulf War. As the US mulls an attack on Iraq, wary experts recall faulty information used to justify past campaigns. GREG ENGLISH/AP/FILE
   MOSCOW: When George H. W. Bush ordered American forces to the Persian Gulf -- to reverse Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait - part of the administration case was that an Iraqi juggernaut was also threatening to roll into Saudi Arabia.
   Citing top-secret satellite images, Pentagon officials estimated in mid-September that up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on the border, threatening the key US oil supplier.
   But when the St. Petersburg Times in Florida acquired two commercial Soviet satellite images of the same area, taken at the same time, no Iraqi troops were visible near the Saudi border -- just empty desert.
   "It was a pretty serious fib," says Jean Heller, the Times journalist who broke the story.
   The White House is now making its case to Congress and the public for another invasion of Iraq; President George W. Bush is expected to present specific evidence of the threat posed by Iraq during a speech to the United Nations next week.
   But past cases of bad intelligence or outright disinformation used to justify war are making experts wary. The questions they are raising, some based on examples from the 1991 Persian Gulf War, highlight the importance of accurate information when a democracy considers military action.
   "My concern in these situations, always, is that the intelligence that you get is driven by the policy, rather than the policy being driven by the intelligence," says former US Rep. Lee Hamilton (D) of Indiana, a 34-year veteran lawmaker until 1999, who served on numerous foreign affairs and intelligence committees, and is now director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. The Bush team "understands it has not yet carried the burden of persuasion [about an imminent Iraqi threat], so they will look for any kind of evidence to support their premise," Mr. Hamilton says. "I think we have to be skeptical about it."
   Examining the evidence
   Shortly before US strikes began in the Gulf War, for example, the St. Petersburg Times asked two experts to examine the satellite images of the Kuwait and Saudi Arabia border area taken in mid-September 1990, a month and a half after the Iraqi invasion. The experts, including a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who specialized in desert warfare, pointed out the US build-up -- jet fighters standing wing-tip to wing-tip at Saudi bases -- but were surprised to see almost no sign of the Iraqis.
   "That [Iraqi buildup] was the whole justification for Bush sending troops in there, and it just didn't exist," Ms. Heller says. Three times Heller contacted the office of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney (now vice president) for evidence refuting the Times photos or analysis -- offering to hold the story if proven wrong.
   The official response: "Trust us." To this day, the Pentagon's photographs of the Iraqi troop buildup remain classified.
   After the war, the House Armed Services Committee issued a report on lessons learned from the Persian Gulf War. It did not specifically look at the early stages of the Iraqi troop buildup in the fall, when the Bush administration was making its case to send American forces. But it did conclude that at the start of the ground war in February, the US faced only 183,000 Iraqi troops, less than half the Pentagon estimate. In 1996, Gen. Colin Powell, who is secretary of state today, told the PBS documentary program Frontline: "The Iraqis may not have been as strong as we thought they were...but that doesn't make a whole lot of difference to me. We put in place a force that would deal with it -- whether they were 300,000, or 500,000."
   John MacArthur, publisher of Harper's Magazine and author of Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War, says that considering the number of senior officials shared by both Bush administrations, the American public should bear in mind the lessons of Gulf War propaganda.
   "These are all the same people who were running it more than 10 years ago," Mr. MacArthur says. "They'll make up just about anything ... to get their way."
   On Iraq, analysts note that little evidence so far of an imminent threat from Mr. Hussein's weapons of mass destruction has been made public.
   Critics, including some former United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq, say no such evidence exists. Mr. Bush says he will make his decision to go to war based on the "best" intelligence.
   "You have to wonder about the quality of that intelligence," says Mr. Hamilton at Woodrow Wilson.
   "This administration is capable of any lie ... in order to advance its war goal in Iraq," says a US government source in Washington with some two decades of experience in intelligence, who would not be further identified. "It is one of the reasons it doesn't want to have UN weapons inspectors go back in, because they might actually show that the probability of Iraq having [threatening illicit weapons] is much lower than they want us to believe."
[And the rest goes on with the disinformation about World War I and so on.]
   For further information: • The disinformation campaign Guardian (Oct 2001) • Some question motives behind leaks about Iraq Yahoo • Gulf War Stories the Media Loved -- Except They Aren't True Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting • Operation Desert Storm FAS • U.S. Department of State - Iraq UpdateIraqi News AgencyIraq DailyGunning for Saddam Frontline (Nov 2001). Please Note: The Monitor does not endorse the sites behind these links. We offer them for your additional research. Following these links will open a new browser window.
Sighted: January 30, 2004
• John Ralston Saul
   Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Books and Writing, www.abc.net.au/rn/arts/bwriting/audio/bwriting_11012004_2856.ram, HEAR John Ralston Saul interviewed by Romona Caval, Jan 11, 2004
   AUSTRALIA: Romona Caval's interview with John Ralston Saul in Books and Writing can be listened to at the URL given (About 55 minutes; continuous stream in reasonable equipment.)
Information received: Jan 30 2004
• Queensland Independent Senate Team http://www.johnston-independent.com/ Entered 28 Jan 04
• No End To Denial Of Justice For Detainees; United States: the black hole of Guantanamo
   Le Monde diplomatique, http://MondeDiplo.com/2004/01/02guantanamo , By Augusta Conchiglia, February 1, 2004
   The arrest of Saddam Hussein has not solved the Iraq problem since Iraqis remain hostile to their foreign occupiers and resistance continues. Peace remains just as precarious in Afghanistan, where the Taliban are making a comeback. And no one has yet thought out what will happen to those captured in the Afghan war of 2001 and dumped since in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without any regard for human rights or for the law of the United States.
   By Augusta Conchiglia, a journalist
   FOR almost two years now 660 "enemy combatants" captured in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or handed over by other countries, have been held in secrecy at the United States base of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in breach of every international law. Their detention has been justified solely by US presidential decrees in the name of the war on terror. To date no prisoner has been charged officially and the ad hoc military commissions announced in 2001 have yet to be convened.
   We spent several days at the base but could not make contact with any prisoner. This isolation was enforced by the personnel under General Geoffrey Miller, camp commander and chief of the Joint Task Force (JTF), who receives his orders directly from the Pentagon. Visiting journalists are kept away from the high security blocks and can only glimpse prisoners in Camp 4, the residence of those who cooperate. Journalists are not allowed to talk to them or reply to their shouts.
   Before 11 September 2001 and the war in Afghanistan, the base was in serious decline; since then it has constantly expanded. Its military and civilian population has tripled and is now more than 6,000. The JTF units and prison are set up in wasteland. On maps of the base, there is no indi cation of either the detention centre or the many service buildings around it. At the approach to the high-security area, orange barriers force cars to zigzag, easing the task of the sentries who check each vehicle. Security has been stepped up since the arrest of the camp's Muslim chaplain and two translators (wrongly) accused of spying (1).
   Camp Delta, which is split into four quarters, can house 1,000 people; when we visited, there were 660 prisoners of 42 nationalities. It is surrounded by several metal fences covered by green nylon and topped with electrified barbed wire. The prisoners, whose cells remain lit all night long, are under constant surveillance by guards who patrol or are posted in watchtowers.
   Camp conditions are such that 32 suicide attempts by 21 prisoners have been logged. According to Captain John Edmondson, the surgeon who runs the camp hospital, 110 detainees (one in six) are under observation for psychological disorders; 25 are receiving psychiatric treatment. When we visited, another prisoner, who has been on hunger-strike on and off for a year, had been committed and was being fed intravenously.
   In at least three of the four camps, the conditions of detention are distressing. There are two blocks of 48 cells in two rows of 24, each cell barely 2 by 2.5 metres. The metal mesh walls and doors prevent privacy. The routine is only broken by a solitary 20-minute walk in a large cage on a cement floor; and, three times a week, by a five-minute shower. Before each transfer, prisoners are handcuffed and also fitted with foot restraints linked by chains.
   In Camp 4, the group we glanced at had bushy beards and all seemed to be under 30. The 129 prisoners here live in small groups, in less cramped cells with up to 10 beds. The prisoners eat together and can go out several times a day into the areas next to their jail, where a few posters about the reconstruction of Afghanistan are displayed. Unlike the prisoners in the other three camps, who wear US standard jail high-visibility orange outfits, those in Camp 4 are dressed in white - "the colour of purity in Islam", explains one guard proudly. He points out that these prisoners have been given proper prayer mats as well as the copies of the Koran handed out to all detainees following the hunger strike in the weeks after their arrival (2).
   In agreeing to press visits, the Pentagon clearly wanted to rectify the negative image that Guantanamo Bay had acquired in its first few months. So we were shown Camp Iguana, a bungalow on a cliff overlooking the sea and surrounded by a metal security fence. For more than a year, this is where three 13- to 15-year old "enemy juvenile combatants" have been locked up. We were told they take English classes, play soccer and are allowed a few videos. But it's impossible to see them or even to find out their nationalities.
   The tour includes a trip to Camp X-Ray. The prisoners passed through it on arrival and the world saw unbearable images of deportees in their orange suits on their knees, threatened by their jailors' weapons, restrained, forced to wear face masks and ear muffs, and kept in total isolation.
   Camp X-Ray was originally built to enclose the most turbulent Haitian boat people, and even people with Aids; now overgrown by thick vegetation, it has been abandoned. Camp Delta will soon follow it into ruin: a Camp 5 is being constructed, with the first phase due by July 2004. It will be a solid-walled prison to take about 100, is meant for detainees finally convicted by the military commissions and will include an execution chamber.
   On 13 November 2001, the day the Northern Alliance took control of Kabul, a US presidential decree was issued that led to the creation of the detention centre. A way had to be found to host what President George Bush later described as "enemy combatants", thus introducing a new concept foreign to US and international law (3).
   "The Bush administration refuses to consider enemy combatants as prisoners of war, and is denying them the right of referral to a competent tribunal to determine their status, which is required by the third Geneva Convention as ratified by the United States," says Wendy Patten, US advocacy director for Human Rights Watch (4). "The military commissions, which do not allow for an appeal to an independent tribunal, will not guarantee them a fair trial." The US administration maintains that the commissions are designed to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information.
   There are, however, precedents for at least two options: criminal courts, which in the past have tried terrorism cases such as the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing, and court martials, such as the one that tried the president of Panama, Manuel Noriega (5).
   The architect-in-chief of the commissions is the US deputy secretary of defence, Paul Wolfowitz. He will choose the judges and the prosecutor, and draw up the charge sheet. He will also appoint the three-person panel to which convicted parties may appeal. Finally, he will examine their recommendations and take the final decision. "The military will act as interrogators, prosecutors, defence counsel, judges and, when death sentences are imposed, as executioners. They are answerable to President Bush alone," said a British judge, Lord Steyn, in a vigorous indictment of what he called the legal black hole of Guantanamo Bay (6).
   Twenty months after the penal colony was created, with the US administration turning a deaf ear to the appeals of lawyers and Western governments who have nationals detained there, there have been new developments. First came the Supreme Court's surprise decision to examine the brief filed with it by the families of 16 prisoners - 12 Kuwaitis, two Britons and two Australians. On 10 November 2003, the highest jurisdiction of the US agreed to determine whether the US justice system was competent "to consider challenges to the legality of the detention of foreign nationals captured abroad in connection with hostilities and incarcerated at the Guantanamo Bay naval base".
   Several days before, David Cole, professor of law at Georgetown University in Washington, who has written books on the US drift towards authoritarianism since 11 September (7), voiced his scepticism: "Only 2% of appeals presented to the Supreme Court are upheld and the court generally only examines cases where the rulings of lower courts that have ruled on the issue diverge." The two lower courts had consolidated the government's position: "The Guantanamo Bay base is on Cuban sovereign territory and the American justice system cannot intervene there."
   On 9 November Al Gore broke the silence of senior Democratic figures in a lecture at the Centre for Constitutional Rights in Washington: "The handling of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has been particularly harmful to America's image. Even England and America [?? He IS a US politician.] have criticised our departure from international law and the Geneva Convention. Foreign nationals held in Guantanamo should be given hearings to determine their status as provided for by the Geneva Convention. Secretary Rumsfeld's handling of the captives has been about as thoughtful as his postwar plan for Iraq."
   Before Gore's remarks, Democratic senators such as Patrick Leahy (8) had quizzed the executive repeatedly about allegations of prisoner torture, including the extradition without due process of prisoners to Middle Eastern countries where torture is common; on the suspect death of two Afghans held at Baghram air base in Afghanistan; and on the use of interrogation techniques known in military parlance as stress and duress (9). Leahy said plainly that the detainees should be treated "as prisoners of war and humanely, in accordance with the convention's human rights guidelines". With that determination, he became a lonely figure in US politics.
   The lawyers of the detainees' families were busy. Tom Wilner, of the prestigious Washington law firm Shearman & Sterling, who is representing the Kuwaitis' families, kept the media informed and sought backing from as many political personalities as possible. William Rogers, one of two former deputy secretaries of state to lodge a "friendly" brief with the Supreme Court (10), expressed regret in November about "the lack of awareness in American society of the seriousness of this situation. Constitutional law must not be violated under the pretext that we are waging war on terror. On the contrary, we must defend our principles and embody international law in the face of this negative tendency."
   Rogers, who last served in government under President Ford, was scathing about the methods of the current administration: "This is one of the blackest periods in our history after McCarthyism. The same arbitrary and repressive methods are being used."
   A co-signatory of his brief was Rear-Admiral Donald Guter, who retired in 2002 as the navy's chief of military justice. In this role he helped make the decisions to use the base to interrogate detainees. "Taking captives to Guantanamo made sense for security but now we're looking at a life sentence for some of these people with no due process or judicial review," said Guter on 9 October 2003 (11).
   Former judges and prosecutors have also reminded the Supreme Court that US army regulations incorporate the terms of the Geneva Convention and that to ignore them is illegal. We should also mention the initiative of an American of Japanese origin, Fred Korematsu, who contested the constitutionality of the decree in 1942 authorising the internment of 120,000 US citizens of Japanese origin. Korematsu explained that he has lodged a brief because he does not want the US to forget a murky period of its history.
   Theodore Olson, the US solicitor-general, presented the government's arguments to the Supreme Court, requesting clumsily that the court refuse to examine the brief because "in wartime, the judiciary does not habitually interfere in the executive's decisions". Without prejudging its final ruling, to be handed down in June 2004, the court pronounced that it alone, and not the administration, could lay down the law.
   Much more has been heard about the camp at Guantanamo. The International Red Cross (ICRC) surprised US public opinion, emerging from its usual duty of impartiality, to condemn the despair fostered in the detainees by their total lack of prospects.
   The US administration had to respond to this criticism. In November the Pentagon announced the forthcoming release of 100-140 detainees - it has yet to happen - and appointed a military lawyer to defend the Australian prisoner David Hicks, who had been maltreated and begun a widely reported hunger strike. Contrary to the provisions initially drawn up for the military commissions, the Pentagon allowed Hicks to be assisted by a civilian lawyer of his choice and guaranteed the confidentiality of their conversations. This followed an agreement struck between the US and Australia, similar to one signed with the UK some months previously; these prohibited the execution of any of the two countries' nationals.
   Lawyers (including the Paris Bar president Paul-Albert Iweins) for four of the six French detainees, hoped that France would at least get similar guarantees. Despite representations by the French foreign ministry, these have not yet materialised. After Hicks, a US citizen, Yasser Hamdi, was allowed to contact a lawyer. He was arrested in Afghanistan and initially transferred to Guantanamo Bay, until the military found out he was American. In April 2002 he was transferred to the prison at Norfolk naval base in Virginia, where he has since been held in secrecy. The US government, which had decreed that the military commissions were exclusively for trying foreign nationals, immediately "extended the concept of military justice to American citizens which it has unilaterally designated as enemy combatants" (13); the government granted itself the right to hold them indefinitely in military prisons, cut off from the outside world.
   Yet John Walker Lindh, the "American Taliban" captured in Afghanistan at the same time as Hamdi, was judged by a criminal court in Alexandria, Virginia, and enjoyed all the prerogatives to which defendants are entitled under the US constitution (13). Hamdi finally won the right to legal counsel, one day before the deadline for the final appeal to the Supreme Court regarding his rights.
   The secret detention of Hamdi and another US national, Jose Padilla (14), is an embarrassment for the US attorney-general, John Ashcroft. A former aide, Professor Viet Dinh, who was instrumental in drafting the anti-terrorist legislation and then voiced disapproval at the treatment of US citizens, welcomed the turnaround. But Dennis Archer, the president of the American Bar Association, regretted that the Pentagon did not wish to make it a general principle.
   "In this case the administration has exercised discretionary power," explains Wendy Patten. "The administration is saying that enemy combatants held inside the US have no legal right under any applicable law to an attorney. This concession was only possible because interrogation of the prisoner was over. In fact, there is still a refusal to acknowledge that the right to an attorney is a matter of right, not grace."
   The White House can count on only a few unconditional supporters in the media, such as The Wall Street Journal. Responding to the ICRC criticisms, the paper blamed the ICRC for abandoning its duty of reserve: it had "deliberately waded into the political fray" (15).
   The paper believed that enemy combatants must be detained until the war against terrorism is over: "The war on terror is not some perpetual struggle against international evil, comparable to the endless wars against crime and poverty. It is a conflict between the US and al-Qaida, its associated groups and those states which choose to give it assistance. The war will end when al-Qaida is smashed and no longer capable of launching attacks against American targets."
   The ICRC delegate-general, Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, has a different view. She believes that in the war between the US and al-Qaida, only the conflict in Afghanistan is truly an international armed conflict: "This conflict, which is governed by the third Geneva Convention, ended on 19 June 2002 with the loya jirga assembly which endorsed President Karzai's government. International humanitarian law (16) does allow for the continued detention of prisoners, providing that precise accusations are made against them and that they are subject to legal proceedings, which offers minimum guarantees as stipulated in the third convention.
   "For all those arrested after 19 June 2002 in the domestic conflict that continues to rage in Afghanistan, there are also provisions in international humanitarian law and fundamental guarantees that fully apply to the case of the Guantanamo Bay detainees. There is no obligation to release the Guantanamo detainees, but there is a very clear obligation to submit them to legal proceedings governed by national or international law. These persons have now been held for months, even years, in a complete legal vacuum: that is what we in the ICRC consider unacceptable. To say so is not in the least political, it is fully part of our humanitarian role."
   As US opposition to selective laws begins to build, albeit timidly, the Bush administration is under attack by a growing number of the legal establishment, humanitarian organisations and the media, all condemning the denial of justice to the detainees.
   With the elections a year away, should it not pull them out of the black hole it dug for them and restore the rule of international law?
(1) The allegations were redefined and the spying charge was dropped. Meanwhile the chaplain has been released pending trial.
(2) Some have declared themselves atheists; one says he is a Catholic.
(3) See the study by the American Bar Association on the treatment of "enemy combatants".
(4) This US humanitarian organisation analyses the laws passed since 11 September and the Guantanamo Bay detainees' rights. www.hrw.org
(5) "People the law forgot", The Guardian, London, 3 December 2003.
(6) Lord Steyn played a leading role in lifting the immunity of General Pinochet. See his "Guantanamo: a monstrous failure of justice", International Herald Tribune, 26 November 2003.
(7) See David Cole, Enemy Aliens, The New Press, New York, 2003, and, with James Dempsey, Terrorism and Constitution, The New Press, 2002.
(8) Senator Leahy (Vermont), chairman of the Senate budget committee, was one of 12 senators to vote against the October 2003 act that allocated $87bn to the reconstruction of Iraq.
(9) See HRW reports and "US decries abuse but defends interrogations", Washington Post, 26 December 2002.
(10) Alexander Watson was the other. Six briefs were filed besides those of the prisoners' families.
(11) Knight Ridder Newspapers, 9 October 2003.
(12) David Cole, Enemy Aliens, op cit.
(13) Lindh was at first accused of conspiring with and aiding al-Qaida, but was tried for violating the embargo against the Taliban and for carrying a weapon. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
(14) Jose Padilla was arrested at Chicago airport in May 2002 and accused of collecting information on making a radioactive bomb on behalf of al-Qaida. A court signalled to the justice ministry to lift the ban on him contacting a lawyer, but the order has still not been given, despite the appeals lodged by the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.
(15) "Guantanamo on trial", The Wall Street Journal, New York, 19 November 2003.
(16) An emanation of the Geneva Convention of 2 August 1949, ratified by 191 states.

• Racists blamed in restaurant attacks
   The West Australian, "Racists blamed in restaurant attacks," http://www.thewest.com.au/20040202/news/general/tw-news-general-home-sto119296.html , By Danielle Le Grand and Sean Cowan, page 5, February 2, 2004
   PERTH: THE owners of three Chinese restaurants set alight and painted with swastikas are terrified by the racist attacks.
   Yesterday's early morning attacks on shops in the southern suburbs of Yangebup, Willetton and Spearwood caused damage estimated at more than $100,000.
   They were reminiscent of a string of Asian hate crimes carried out by convicted neo-nazi Jack van Tongeren in the 1980s.
   The first attack was on the Lakelands Chinese Restaurant in Yangebup about 3.30am. Owner Lyn Luong said the restaurant had been badly damaged. It could cost as much as $100,000 and take weeks to clean up.
   Mrs Luong, who has run the restaurant for about nine years with her husband and family, said they had never before been the victim of racist attacks. This incident could be enough to drive them out of business.
   "It is very scary," she said. "We are in business to try to make a living, that's all we are trying to do.
   "We've done nothing wrong - we all have families to look after. It's terrible."
   Mrs Luong and the other restaurant owners have lived in Perth for more than 20 years and remember the Australian Nationalists Movement attacks led by Mr van Tongeren.
   The second attack was on the Foo Win restaurant in Willetton.
   Owner Robert Foo said it was not the first time his restaurant had been the target of racism.
   Vandals daubed "Asians out" and "bomb" on his front window last year, but Mr Foo said police did not follow it up. Police said an investigation of the incident by Cannington officers had been fruitless.
   Shortly after 4am yesterday, intruders smashed a window of the Spearwood Chinese restaurant and set alight a curtain.
   Police are trying to determine whether the same offenders smashed the window of a neighbouring Thai takeaway shop.
   Police Commissioner Barry Matthews said the attacks were clearly racially motivated.
   He declined to detail any investigations into neo-nazi organisations, but said police had been keeping a watch on certain people for many years. Mr Matthews said there was no doubt the three attacks were carried out by the same offenders.
   Prime Minister John Howard, who arrived in Perth last night, condemned the attacks as disgraceful and supporters of nazism as racist fanatics.
   "I condemn it," he said. "It's appalling. Absolutely." He said he would seek a briefing from law enforcement and security agencies.
   Attorney-General Jim McGinty said racially based harassment, violence and property damage had no place in Australia.
   "Courts have in the past shown a preparedness to treat these sorts of criminal behaviours very seriously," he said. "Mr van Tongeren spent 12 years in jail for this sort of criminal act."
   But Mr van Tongeren, who was released from jail 18 months ago, denied any part in the arson attacks.
   He said swastikas left at the scene indicated it was another group.
   "The Australian Nationalists Workers Union does not firebomb Chinese restaurants," he said. "None of our people did this.
   "We are a legitimate trade union running an election campaign for the Senate. This action sounds like the frustrated, angry actions of Aussies who feel abandoned by the existing political system."
   [PICTURE CAPTIONS:
Smashed: Owner Thomas Wai points out a smashed window at his Spearwood Chinese restaurant. PICTURES: JOHN MOKRZYCKI
Damage check: Police check the scene at the fire damaged Foo Win restaurant at Willeton.
Arson: The Lakelands Chinese restaurant at Yangebup after its firebombing early yesterday. PICTURE CAPTIONS END.]

   [Also see Page 1.]
   Heading: Racist attacks spread terror in the suburbs.
[PICTURE CAPTION: Police Commissioner Barry Matthews walks past a swastika near the Lakelands Chinese restaurant in Yangebup. The restaurant was one of three set on fire early yesterday. Racists have been blamed. REPORT, PAGE 5 PICTURE CAPTION ENDS.]
• Guerilla war had Asians in fear
   The West Australian, "Guerilla war had Asians in fear," http://www.thewest.com.au/20040202/news/general/tw-news-general-home-sto119296.html , by Sean Cowan, p 5, February 2, 2004
   PERTH: Perth's southern suburbs were the setting for a guerilla war during the 1980s, the likes of which Australia had never seen.
   Operating out of his Gosnells home, Peter Joseph "Jack" van Tongeren brought fear to multicultural Australia when he and other members of the Australian Nationalists Movement plastered racist posters around the city.
   That was just the beginning. As the group's numbers grew, so too did its criminal activities.
   Soon, the ANM's army started fire-bombing Chinese restaurants and stealing merchandise from multinational companies.
   Their actions were designed to bankrupt Asian Australians so they would leave the country.
   In a video-taped police interview played at his trial in 1990, deputy ANM leader John van Blitterswyk admitted taking part in the petrol-bombing of Chinese restaurants in Como, Karawara, Bellevue and Mirrabooka.
   Asked the reason for the attacks, Mr Van Blitterswyk said it was to burn down the restaurant and to drive the Asians broke so they would leave.
   But police eventually closed in on the gang, turning trusted treasurer and third-in-command Russell Willey into a valuable rollover witness.
   During the trial, Mr Willey described the ANM as a neo-nazi organisation and told how members received paramilitary training at the Bindoon farm of an ANM member. There was an underground bunker, a lookout tower and a firing range.
   Mr Willey, who wore a bulky bullet-proof jacket while giving evidence, now lives overseas under an assumed name.
   Mr van Tongeren was jailed for 18 years. He was released in September 2002 after an automatic one-third remission. Others jailed over their involvement with the ANM included Mr van Blitterswyk, his brother Wayne van Blitterswyk, ANM communications expert Chris Bartle and then supporter Mark Ferguson.
• Police probe neo-nazi ties in arson blitz
   The West Australian, Perth, "Police probe neo-nazi ties in arson blitz," http://www.thewest.com.au/20040203/news/general/tw-news-general-home-sto119358.html , By Luke Eliot, p 13, Tuesday, February 3, 2004
   PERTH: ARSONISTS who firebombed three Chinese restaurants in a 1½-hour blitz were well organised and may be linked to known race-hate groups, detectives said yesterday.
   Arson squad investigators believe the gang of arsonists may have surveyed their targets before striking from 3am to 4.30am on Sunday.
   They said yesterday they had not ruled out anyone, including convicted neo-nazi Jack van Tongeren, from the investigation.
   On Sunday, Mr van Tongeren denied any involvement in the attacks, saying swastikas left at the scene indicated another group was involved.
   The arsonists smashed into the Foo Win restaurant, Willetton, the Lakelands Chinese restaurant, Yangebup, and the Spearwood Chinese restaurant before spreading a fire accelerant and igniting the blazes.
   Total damage to the three properties was about $100,000.
   The attacks - reminiscent of Asian race-hate crimes carried out against Chinese restaurants in the 1980s - drew widespread condemnation yesterday from local and national leaders.
   Federal Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Gary Hardgrave said it was sad the attacks occurred while hundreds of thousands of Australians were enjoying Chinese New Year celebrations.
   Office of Multicultural Interests executive director Leela de Mel condemned the attacks and called for a renewed commitment against racism by all West Australians.
   "The WA community comprises people from a rich heritage of cultural traditions and histories who have the right to enjoy individual freedom, mutual respect, and equality of opportunity in all spheres of life," Dr de Mel said.
   Police Minister Michelle Roberts and Police Commissioner Barry Matthews urged people of minority ethnic groups to be vigilant, especially if they were restaurateurs.
   Mr Matthews said detectives were following several strong leads and he hoped for an early arrest.
   Police had not ruled out the involvement of neo-nazi groups but were also pursuing other individuals.
   "One of the difficulties with these race hate-type crimes, it does attract what I call the nutter element," Mr Matthews said.
   "I think some people in the community have expressed various views. If that goes further than just statements to something more material, we need to know that so it's not just something written off."
   Mr Matthews said it was difficult to assess whether racist sentiment in WA had grown.
   Racist posters have appeared in southern Perth suburbs including Canning Vale in recent months.
   "It (racist sentiment) seems to rise and fall often on international events that we have no control over," Mr Matthews said.
   Detectives were reviewing video surveillance from one of the crime scenes and urged anyone who saw anything suspicious to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
• Ugg Boot name grab continues
   A Current Affair, TV Channel 9, with Ray Martin, February 4, 2004
   AUSTRALIA: A Current Affair explained that they had previously raised the question of the US firm trying to prevent Australian ugg boot manufacturers from doing so.
   The lawyer (Australian) representing the US firm said that the Australian who had gone to the USA had registered the trade mark in 1971.
   Australian firms were now selling ugg boots on the internet, and some were getting into markets the Americans were in. The firm had spent $7 million promoting and building the trademark.
   An Australian manufacturer and others interviewed said that ugg boots had been a part of Australian culture for many many years, and it is a generic name.
   A manufacturer disputed the lawyer's description of the ugg boot as a sheepskin boot. [Also see Ugg above, and Uggly below.]
• British officers knew on eve of war that Iraq had no WMDs
   The Scotsman, Scotland, "British officers knew on eve of war that Iraq had no WMDs," http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=136082004 , by FRASER NELSON and JASON BEATTIE, Friday February 6, 2004
   SCOTLAND:
Key points
• UK intelligence learned just before war that Iraq had not assembled chemical weapons
• Mossad "knew 45-minute claim was an old wives' tale" - but did not tell UK or US
• US Secretary of State "does not know" if he would have recommended invasion if he had been told Iraq had no WMDs
• Former civil service chief to lead investigation into whether British intelligence on Iraq was accurate
• Lib Dems boycott inquiry because of tight terms of reference
Key quote "Intelligence indicating that chemical weapons remained disassembled and that Saddam had not yet ordered their assembly was highlighted."
Story in full BRITISH intelligence officers learned on the eve of the Iraq war that Saddam Hussein had not assembled his chemical weapons and it was highly doubtful if he could deploy any within 45 minutes.
   The Foreign Office yesterday admitted that the joint intelligence committee (JIC) warned in March last year that "the intelligence on the timing of when Iraq might use chemical and biological weapons was sparse".
   This disclosure came as a senior Israeli politician claimed that Mossad, its intelligence agency, knew before the war that the 45-minute claim was "an old wives' tale" - but decided against telling Britain or the United States.
   In a further blow to the British government, Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, has said he does not know whether he would have recommended an invasion of Iraq if he had been told it had no stockpiles of banned weapons.
   The events unfolded as Lord Butler of Brockwell, a former head of the civil service, was asked by Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, to lead a six-month investigation into whether British intelligence was accurate in the run up to the war.
   The Foreign Office yesterday released its official response to the Commons intelligence and security committee - admitting that the confidence behind No 10's dossier in September 2002 had fast eroded. [...]
   The tight terms of reference outlined by the government yesterday for an inquiry into British intelligence dismayed the Liberal Democrats, who refused to take up the place they were offered on the committee in protest. . . .
February 6, 2004
• Latham involved in branch-stacking, betrayal of mentor; Frank Heyhoe resigns from ALP
   The Sunday Mail, , Brisbane, Qld, "Latham's mentor 'betrayed'," www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,8619680%255E2,00.html , By Lincoln Wright, February 8, 2004
   BRISBANE, Queensland, AUSTRALIA: The man who launched Federal Opposition Leader Mark Latham's political career has quit the Australian Labor Party, accusing his former protege of personal and political betrayal.
   "I wouldn't vote for Latham in a fit," Frank Heyhoe said in an exclusive interview.
   "Latham is supposed to be a Labor man. But he's more of an elitist. He's just plain ruthless."
   Mr Heyhoe counted the Labor leader as a friend, until 1991, when he became the victim of Mr Latham's plot to become mayor of Liverpool, NSW.
   The former Labor branch secretary organised a support network to keep Mr Latham in university after his father died. He even helped him get a job with former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
   Mr Heyhoe claims he was repaid by treachery, in which Mr Latham usurped his bid to become mayor.
   Mr Heyhoe has gone public over the betrayal as leaked documents reveal that Mr Latham was accused by senior Labor heavyweights John Faulkner and Martin Ferguson of branch-stacking and electoral rorting in 1989.
   Senator Faulkner is Opposition Leader in the Senate and Mr Ferguson is Opposition spokesman on transport and regional development.
   An internal party report – signed by Senator Faulkner and Mr Ferguson – found that Mr Latham used a false map of the Liverpool state electorate and illicitly obtained documents to discredit opponents who voted against him in state pre-selection.
   Senator Faulkner, who backed Mr Latham for Labor's top job, has confirmed his signature on the document, but insists he never said Mr Latham was doing the branch stacking.
   Now a retiree on the NSW coast, Mr Heyhoe has bitter memories about Mr Latham – a young man he helped on the road to national political success.
   Mr Heyhoe, 68, got to know the young Mr Latham in the 1970s. But now he accuses Mr Latham of having betrayed his core Labor party values.
   "Plenty of people in Canberra will defend the elite but it's the small people you have to continually defend as a Labor person."
   Mr Heyhoe said he agreed with the internal party report which said Mr Latham was involved in branch-stacking the 1989 pre-selection against Paul Lynch, now the sitting Member for Liverpool.
   [COMMENT: Electoral Fraud series starts at "electoral-1989.htm". COMMENT ENDS.]
Article: February 8, 2004
• Racist poster man 'sorry'
   The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia), www.sunday times.news. com.au/common/ story_page/ 0,7034,8612745% 255E2761, 00.html , "Racist poster man 'sorry'," Feb 08, 2004
   PERTH, Western Australia:
   A Dianella man yesterday apologised in court for distributing racist material after last weekend's restaurant fire bombings.
   Glen Jason Bailey, 38, also known as Patrick Noel Mitchell, appeared in the East Perth Magistrate's Court after being arrested by police investigating the distribution of posters purporting to be from the White Aryan Resistance.
   "I apologise to everyone," a smiling Bailey said. He was charged with possessing cannabis and breaching bail after police investigating racist posters sent to a television station and Police Commissioner Barry Matthews searched his home.
   ...  Bailey's charges are unrelated to last weekend's fire-bomb attacks. [Feb 08, 04]
• Three charged with arson  Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/ 

Three charged with arson

 
   The West Australian, by Luke Eliot, p 3, Monday, February 9, 2004
PERTH (Western Australia: TWO men allegedly involved in arson attacks at three Chinese restaurants in southern Perth suburbs were remanded in custody at the weekend.
   Joshua Benjamin McDonald, 19, of Atwell, and Brian Geoffrey Tindley, 21, of Beliar, appeared in the East Perth Court of Petty Sessions on Saturday morning charged with three counts each of criminal damage by fire and aggravated burglary.
   Mr McDonald was also charged with two counts each of assault occasioning bodily harm, which is not related to the alleged arson attacks.
   Mr Tindley was charged with one count of assault occasioning bodily harm, which is also not related to the alleged arson attacks.
   A 17-year-old male who was also charged with three counts each of criminal damage by fire and aggravated burglary in relation to the alleged attacks was granted bail and is due to reappear in the Perth Children's Court today.
   Officers from Operation Fita charged the men and the youth late on Friday night.
   The high-profile investigation was launched after the Foo Win restaurant, Willetton, the Lakelands Chinese restaurant, Yangebup, and the Spearwood Chinese restaurant were attacked in a 1½-hour blitz starting about 3am on February 1.
   The total damage bill was about $100,000.
   The fires were reminiscent of racially motivated firebombings of Chinese restaurants in the late 1980s. Racist graffiti including swastikas was found at the crime scenes.
   Several days after the arson attacks, racist propaganda ostensibly from the "White Aryan Resistance" was sent to Channel 9.
   Patrick Noel Mitchell, also known as Glen Jason Bailey, 38, of Dianella, was charged after police raided his home in relation to the propaganda.
   Mr Mitchell appeared in the East Perth Court of Petty Sessions on Saturday charged with one count each of possessing cannabis and breach of bail.
   It is not alleged Mr Mitchell had any involvement in the February 1 arson attacks. #
[Feb 09, 06]
• Doubtful profit in being tied to a lame economy
   The West Australian, by Professor Tony Cooke, p 17, Wednesday February 11 2004
   PERTH: The ink wasn't dry on the free trade agreement when the interpretation game began. [...]
   ... despite its rhetoric the US has never been a free-trader. [...]
   ... It is also clear that its economy is generally a cot case. Its deficit and terms of trade are an economic rationalist's nightmare. [...]
   Most importantly, it is not a centre of growth. ... the US knows all this and is very, very afraid. [...]
   Jus as the US had spurned the United Nations in its global peacekeeping role, it has turned it back on multinational economic forums. [...]
   The best case for the FTA put the economic gains to Australia from increased trade with the US at $4 billion per year.  ...
• Uncompetitive US sugar, dairy and beef farmers, and the drive to force the US ideas of trade.
   The West Australian, "World Opinion" column, from Christian Science Monitor, p 17, Wednesday February 11 2004
   UNITED STATES: The United States hasn't signed a free-trade pact with another developed country in 16 years. And that one (with neighbour Canada, in 1988) was relatively easy. Now it has inked a pact with Australia, sending all sorts of thundering signals to Asia and the world about how the US helps its friends during the war on terror. And the pact is a warning about the stalemate in negotiations over a new global trade pact.
   Australia hardly got everything it wanted in the trade agreement. Uncompetitive American sugar, dairy and beef farmers saw to that. The US, too, was blocked by a few powerful Australian lobbies. [...]
   The pact is the strongest signal yet that the US, as the world's biggest economy, will pursue bilateral trade pacts as a way to press other nations into making concessions for a new global trade agreement. #
• Dominance in enforceable FTA contract
   The West Australian, "A sweetener?" letter from Brian Jenkins, Safety Bay, p 19, Wednesday February 11 2004
   PERTH:
   The "un-Australian" US free-trade agreement is not all bad news for our sugar industry. After all, farmers and millers with businesses worth up to $800 million can now negotiate a quick sale to American investors with minimal scrutiny.
   Maybe the Yanks can do an Arnotts on the whole lot, then give us the opportunity to buy Florida sugar at only slightly higher prices.
   Meanwhile, as our beef industry sits out its 18-year export "manana", we taxpayers will be handing over billions of dollars for military toys not mentioned in the Bush-Howard FTA.
   We always knew the US would be the big winner from loosened trade rules, but won't it be great to have its "kick-ass" dominance permanently enshrined in an enforceable contract?
   I just hope that Mark Latham's advisers (including Paul Keating) will remind him that conclusion of the FTA is an executive government prerogative --and definitely not reversible by the Parliament.
February 11 2004
• War on Terrorism; Driver for bin Laden in a Guantánamo cell; Osama bin Laden's driver is among the prisoners being held at the Guantánamo terrorism prison, his Pentagon-appointed defense lawyer discloses.
   The Miami Herald, http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/20040125/7925389.htm , BY CAROL ROSENBERG, crosenberg@herald.com , Wed, Feb. 11, 2004
   UNITED STATES:
   A Yemeni captive at the Guantánamo Bay prison admits he was Osama bin Laden's $200-a-month driver in Afghanistan but says he was neither a member of al Qaeda nor a terrorist, his Pentagon-appointed lawyer said for the first time Tuesday.
   Salim Ahmed Salim Hamdan, 34, is now held in isolation at the terrorism prison in Cuba in segregated accommodations for prisoners facing possible military tribunals, said his lawyer, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift.
   "He fully admits that he was an employee of Osama bin Laden" from 1997 until the U.S. attack on Afghanistan in 2001. "But he adamantly denies that he was ever a member of al Qaeda or engaged in any terrorist attack. He worked for Osama bin Laden solely for the purpose of supporting himself and his family."
SPECIAL CLEARANCE
   Swift spoke about Hamdan for the first time in an exclusive interview with The Herald. Pentagon policy has prohibited troops and civilians at the Guantánamo prison from disclosing specifics about prisoners.
   He obtained special Pentagon clearances to discuss his client, whom he has met for about 25 hours using an Arabic translator -- making him the first detainee at the terrorism prison publicly identified as having a link to bin Laden.
Feb. 11, 2004
• A Voice Of Trade Rebellion
   The Washington Post, Washington DC, "A Voice Of Trade Rebellion," http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A38175-2004Feb12?language=printer ,By E. J. Dionne Jr., Page A27, Friday, February 13, 2004
   WASHINGTON:
   Sen. John Edwards, who has had perfect rhetorical pitch in this year's presidential campaign, altered the opening of his stump speech this week. The change is a warning to free-traders: Guys, you'd better wake up. There's rebellion in the country, a justified revolt by workers who cannot understand why the economic recovery has produced so few new jobs.
   Edwards told the tale of a father coming home from his factory job to put his daughter to bed. "He knows his night is over when he gives her a hug," Edwards said, speaking in Milwaukee Tuesday. "But tonight . . . he'll be coming home to tell her that his factory is closing, that he's about to lose his job."
   It's worth hearing Edwards to understand the power of this issue. He's not telling an economic story. He's offering a morality tale about a decent American hammered by the system. "It's not because he's done anything wrong," Edwards said. "He's done what he's supposed to do, he's been responsible, he's worked hard, he's raised his family."
   Why? "They only care about profits, they have lobbyists everywhere and they own this White House." The people in charge, he says, "don't hear the other America. They don't see the face of this father who had to come home and tell his little girl that he no longer had a job."
   Now, contrast Edwards's evocative language with the cold words of the new Economic Report of the President and you'll understand why even Republicans such as House Speaker Dennis Hastert are furious at President Bush's economists.
   "One facet of increased services trade is the increased use of offshore outsourcing in which a company relocates labor-intensive service industry functions to another country," the report says dryly, italicizing the key phrase. But not to worry. "When a good or service is produced more cheaply abroad," the president's report lectures, "it makes more sense to import it than to make or provide it domestically." Makes sense to whom? On Tuesday a group of 19 Democratic senators, led by New York's Charles E. Schumer and including Edwards, called on Bush to repudiate the report.
   I can already hear free-traders sigh. In the long run, they will say, free trade benefits everyone. But in the long run, as John Maynard Keynes once said, we are all dead. In the short run, the growing prosperity gap between investors and employees is altering the American landscape on trade questions. Democratic front-runner John Kerry knows this as well as Edwards does, which is why Kerry keeps attacking "Benedict Arnold" companies that move jobs overseas.
   The outsourcing of service and white-collar jobs, says Robert Borosage, co-director of the pro-labor Campaign for America's Future, "has outraged not only the well-educated middle class but also working-class parents. They were sending their kids to college so they could get good jobs that are now being shipped abroad."
   Consider the exit polls in Tuesday's primaries. In Tennessee, 71 percent of the voters said that "U.S. trade with other countries" took more jobs from the state; only 12 percent said trade created more jobs. In Virginia the comparable figures were 55 percent and 19 percent.
   Part of the problem is with the contradictions free-traders refuse to confront. Why, for example, should there be free trade in jobs and manufacturing but an absolute ban on importing prescription drugs from Canada or Australia? But at least some free-traders acknowledge the larger problem: that displaced workers need more than "palliatives," as Bruce Reed, president of the strongly free-trade Democratic Leadership Council, put it. "We need to offer an expansive enough opportunity agenda to make the trade bargain worthwhile," he said. "Workers who fear for their current jobs want to hear where they can find their next one."
   Indeed. But for the moment, they are hearing only bromides. The community of dads Edwards invokes deserves better answers -- from both parties. They have a right to be angry.
postchat@aol.com
February 13, 2004
• Liberal drug link, tobacco links
   The West Australian, letter from Stephen Hall, executive director, Australian Council on Smoking and Health, West Perth, p 19, Tuesday February 17 2004
   PERTH:
   So what if WA Liberal party officials knew about Mr Afkos' relationship with an accused drug dealer? Why would John Howard's Liberal Party worry about loans to candidates from drug pushers when they continue to accept donations from tobacco companies?
   [COMMENT: Mr Afkos, businessman, was the endorsed Liberal candidate for Stirling, and Prime Minister John Howard on his recent trip to Perth officially opened Mr Afkos' campaign office. The Liberal Party head office in West Perth had known about the $300,000 loan for some time, and said nothing. (Previous publicity about the h.o. permitting branch stacking and unethical membership-form practices has failed, evidently, to improve the tone at Menzies House.) Journalists uncovered the loan, publicised it, and Mr Afkos withdrew his nomination for the seat. COMMENT ENDS.]
• Israel just snaps fingers at International Court
   The West Australian, letter from John Falconer, Mt Claremont p 19, Tuesday February 17 2004
   PERTH:
   What good is the International Court of Justice if a nation like Israel can say it does not recognise its jurisdiction (Israel defiant on wall court case, 14/2)? It's rather like a burglar telling the District Court he doesn't recognise it.
• Off to Canada for cheaper medicine
   The West Australian, letter from Mary Jenkins, Spearwood, p 19, Tuesday February 17 2004
   PERTH:
   How will prescription drugs become cheaper when the people in the US are forced over the border to Canada to get their prescription drugs?
   Even the people of the US suffer from increasing costs. The drug corporations are ripping everyone off. It's not free trade, it's corporate robbery.
• Iraq oil cash funded MPs' campaigns
   The Guardian Britain, "Iraq oil cash funded MPs' campaigns; Businessmen handed on money illicitly siphoned from UN deals to pressure groups run by George Galloway and Tam Dalyell," http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,1149796,00.html , by David Leigh and David Pallister, Tuesday February 17, 2004
   BRITAIN:
   Money illicitly siphoned from the UN oil-for-food programme by Saddam Hussein was used to finance anti-sanctions campaigns run by British politicians, according to documents that have surfaced in Baghdad.
   Undercover cash from oil deals went to three businessmen who in turn supported pressure groups involving the ex-Labour MP George Galloway, Labour MP Tam Dalyell, and the former Irish premier Albert Reynolds, it is alleged in documents compiled by the oil ministry, which is now under the control of the US occupation regime.
   Separately, a dossier from the oil ministry in Baghdad has been handed by the British Foreign Office to Customs and Excise, which has been asked to investigate. They were also referred to the Cabinet Office because of their political sensitivity.
   "The government has been given copies of certain documents [from Iraq]," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said yesterday. "They are being passed to the appropriate authorities for consideration."
   Two of the three businessmen involved in UK campaigns, Burhan al-Chalabi and Riad al-Tajir, were based in Surrey; the other, Fawwaz Zureikat, a Jordanian entrepreneur, had offices in London.
   Mr Chalabi and Mr Zureikat gave money to the Mariam Appeal, run by Mr Galloway, the MP confirmed. Mr Tahir said he ran another anti-sanctions campaign called Friendship Across Borders, which had Mr Dalyell as its official patron and organised visits to Baghdad by supportive politicians.
   The three businessmen are alleged to have received money from Saddam via oil allocations. They sold the oil rights on at a profit of more than $1m (about £530,000), in an exploitation by Saddam of loopholes in the UN's then oil-for-food programme.
   Mr Tahir agrees he profited from the oil deals. Mr Chalabi refuses to comment. Mr Zureikat confirmed to Agence France Presse in Jordan last week that he had made the oil deals.
   The oil-for-food programme was set up in 1995 amid fears of a humanitarian disaster after the first Gulf war. Under the scheme, Saddam was allowed to sell limited quantities of oil to pay for food and medicine for the Iraqi people.
   The contents of the new documents shed light on Mr Galloway's libel battle with the Daily Telegraph. Last year newspaper reports based on purported Iraqi intelligence files led to him being accused of receiving an annual £375,000 in secret personal payments from Saddam.
   Our investigations in Iraq, New York, Paris, Moscow and London indicate the new British-related documents are authentic, although their meaning is not always clear.
   These files do not implicate Mr Galloway in personal corruption. Nor do they suggest that Mr Dalyell and Mr Reynolds, who always paid their own way, had any knowledge of what was going on.
   Mr Galloway said he was unaware that his financial sponsors were getting oil cash from the UN programme. But he accepts that he knew his supporters had links with Saddam's regime, and regarded that as an inevitable price to pay.
   Despite their importance in the bitter Galloway controversy, the contract documents seem unlikely to surface in the pending libel trial.
   The so-called oil list has already caused worldwide embarrassment, with allegations made against prominent people and companies in France, Russia, Switzerland and South Africa, as well as employees at the UN.
   Across the world, some of those named agree the lists seem authentic. Others deny it, or say details are exaggerated.
   [COMMENT: There was also money etc being earned by road tankers going north with contraband oil through the Kurdish lands in Iraq, and after the invasion it was revealed that a pipeline was taking oil illegally across another international border. COMMENT ENDS.] [Feb 17, 04]
• "The government must be crazy to agree to this 'free trade' agreement." On Line Opinion, http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=1034 , By Elizabeth Thurbon and Linda Weiss, Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2004
   AUSTRALIA: The proposed Free Trade deal with the US tabled last week is cause for great alarm for many parts of the Australian community. Keep in mind that despite the government's rhetoric, our current trade relationship with the US is not profitable for this country. We've long run a massive trade deficit with the US, now standing at around $9 billion. This is the second-largest trade deficit with the US in the world.
   While some individual Australian exporters certainly profit from their sales to the US, as a country we don't, because we buy so much more than we sell. To benefit the Australian community then, any trade agreement we sign with the US will have to reduce -- not add to -- this current burden on our economy. But sadly the deal on the table has little chance of doing this.
   Why? Because the industries in which Australian producers are most competitive - and thus most likely to survive in the US market - will continue to face significant barriers under the proposed deal. In beef - one of our most competitive industries - Australian farmers will have to wait 18 years for unfettered market access to the US. It's worth noting that the 18 years that the US is giving itself to prepare for Australian competition is more time than any of the poorest developing countries have ever been granted by the WTO to effect structural adjustment.
   Our sugar industry will have to wait for even longer for greater US market access. But while the US has managed to keep its weakest industries effectively shielded from Australian competition, we have agreed to open our weakest industries to an onslaught of highly competitive US imports. Our IT, financial services, telecommunications, media, and pharmaceutical industries (just to name a few) will face intense competition from their more mature and cashed-up American counterparts.
   The most likely outcome of this crazy arrangement is a modest increase in our exports to the US but a massive increase in US exports to Australia What this means for our already huge trade deficit with the US is obvious. So much for the National Interest.
   Equally concerning is that under the proposed deal, the government will effectively be signing away our sovereignty -- our right to make decisions independent of outside influences -- in two of the most important areas: quarantine laws and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Under the deal, the US has won the right for American representatives to sit on the Australian bodies that determine our quarantine laws. Similarly, the US has won the right to have American representatives sit on the Australian board that decide which medicines will be subsidized by Australian taxpayers' money. It takes little to appreciate the army of savvy US legal experts that will be aggressively advocating Australia's subsidisation of American pharmaceuticals. And US Pharmaceutical companies already receive enormous assistance from their own government through a sophisticated range of publicly funded intellectual property supports.
   But our national selflessness does not end there. Under the proposed agreement, we will sign away our right to screen most US investments in Australia. The neutering of our Foreign Investment Review Board will mean open slather for US takeovers of Australian firms and assets. Ironically, in announcing this bonza deal www.ustr.gov/releases/2004/02/04-08.pdf (pdf, 22Kb) on their website, the US Trade Representative Office erroneously referred to our Foreign Investment Review Board as our Foreign Investment Promotion Board. This Freudian slip clearly reflects the role that the US expects the Board to play for America in the future. Of course -- the US will retain substantial screening powers over foreign investment under its anti-terrorism laws.
   But the list of lopsided deals goes on. Under the deal, Australia will throw open its government procurement markets to US bidders -- a concession we have thus far avoided by steering clear of the WTO's Government Procurement Agreement. We have stayed out of this agreement because we understand the important role that government procurement has played in industry development in Australia -- the government supports fledgling domestic companies by granting them procurement contracts.
   Under the proposed agreement however, not only will American firms be able to win these contracts, but Australia will be prohibited from linking any industry development initiatives to procurement at the central level. For example, we will be unable to require US companies involved in procurement to use Australian suppliers, or to employ a certain number of Australians on their projects. But this is not to say that Australia should shy away from freer trade in the future. There is nothing wrong with freer trade -- in fact freer trade (implemented mutually and sequenced correctly) can deliver massive opportunities for countries at all levels of development. But this is not a free trade agreement. This is a lopsided trade and investment deal that will deliver few benefits to Australia and massive benefits to the US. So the question must be asked -- exactly whose national interest is our government advancing?
   Like this article? Sign up here to get OLO by e-mail! http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/Sections/subscribe.asp
   Dr Elizabeth Thurbon is a Lecturer in international political economy in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of New South Wales. Professor Linda Weiss is PhD Coordinator at the department of Government and International Relations in the School of Economics and Political Science, University of Sydney. [Feb 17, 04]
• Whistleblower walks free after charge is dropped
   The Independent, London "Whistleblower walks free after charge is dropped," http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/crime/story.jsp?story=494915 , By Shenai Raif and Pat Clarke, 25 February 2004
   LONDON: A former intelligence officer walked free from the Old Bailey today after an accusation of disclosing information in the run-up to the Iraq war was dramatically dropped. The Crown Prosecution Service refused to go into the reasons why, after nearly a year, it had decided to offer no evidence against Katharine Gun. But both Ms Gun, 29, and her legal representatives demanded explanations of the circumstances leading up to today's about-turn.
   Her counsel, Ben Emmerson QC, said: "Katharine Gun is entitled to know - and, perhaps more importantly, the public is entitled to know." Ms Gun, 29, of Moor End Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, had been accused of leaking a memo on an alleged American "dirty tricks" campaign. She was arrested in March last year and in June she was sacked from her job as a translator at the Government Communications Headquarters, the security service's main monitoring centre.
   In November she was charged under the Official Secrets Act, accused of disclosing security and intelligence information. But another three months passed before the CPS finally informed her lawyers yesterday that the case was to be dropped. She had been accused of disclosing a request allegedly from a US National Security Agency official requesting help from British intelligence to tap the telephones of UN Security Council delegates in the run-up to the war in Iraq.
   Ms Gun said at the time: "Any disclosures were justified because they exposed illegality by the US, who tried to subvert our security services." She left court today saying "I have no regrets and I would do it again." She had no idea why the charge had been dropped. "But I would like to know why," she added.
   Ms Gun's solicitor John Welch added: "It is quite appalling that a whistleblower who had acted in good conscience should have been threatened with two years' imprisonment for exposing that the American Government had asked our Government to do something which was illegal and would have undermined the deliberations of the United Nations." But the Crown refused to give a fuller explanation of why it had changed its mind -- in spite of being continually pressed to do so in court by Ms Gun's barrister. After the judge formally entered a not guilty verdict, Mr Emmerson said he was "bound to raise issues about the way this case has been conducted by the Crown Prosecution Service.
   He said: "Katharine Gun was arrested on March 5 last year following the publication in The Observer newspaper of the contents of an e-mail which she admits having disclosed, having received it through her employment at GCHQ. "After that, eight months passed during which consideration was given by the Attorney General whether she should be prosecuted." He went on: "On November 13 she was charged. Her first appearance was in magistrates' court on November 27. It is her first appearance here today.
   Last Friday, an article appeared in The Guardian newspaper indicating that the case was to be dropped today. "Apparently, it was sourced to sources close to the prosecution. Those who instruct me rang the CPS and were told it was not possible to confirm that was the Crown's intention. "Yesterday, on February 24, the defence served on the prosecution a document setting out her defence and making requests for disclosure of certain diplomatic communications and certain items of Government legal advice.
   "A call was received yesterday afternoon from the CPS indicating a decision had been taken to drop the case. There are two issues requiring serious examination." Mr Emmerson told the judge the first issue requiring examination was "whether, by whom and why the decision was leaked to The Guardian six days before it was communicated to the defence. "If a decision was made last Friday, why was it not communicated to the defence and if it had not been taken last Friday, what has happened in between?"
   He pointed out that eight months had elapsed between Ms Gun's arrest and the decision to charge her, and another three months since she was actually charged. Mr Ellison refused to be drawn, apart from saying: "You will understand that consideration had been given to what is appropriate for the Crown to say. It is not appropriate to give further reasons. "I am reluctant to go further than that unless the court requires I do."
   The Recorder of London, Judge Michael Hyam, asked whether there was "any form of inquiry which I would be entitled to make?" He was told by Mr Ellison that apart from making an order for the defence costs, there was not - as the Crown had offered no evidence.  The judge freed Ms Gun from the dock where she had spent less than 30 minutes after months of waiting.
   As she left court, wearing a grey trouser suit and pink top, she said: "I am absolutely delighted and extremely relieved." [Feb 25, 04]
• Priest enters fifth week of fast in jail
   SOA Watch, United States of America, February 25, 2004
   UNITED STATES: Today, on February 25, Father Joe Mulligan, a Catholic priest, begins the fifth week of his indefinite liquids-only fast. Joe Mulligan is incarcerated in Harris County Jail in Georgia. In late January, 2004, he and 26 other human rights defenders were sentenced by a federal judge for their nonviolent actions to close the SOA during the November 2003 vigil in Fort Benning, GA. Their sentences range from probation to six months in prison plus a fine. The defendants used their trials to put the SOA itself on trial.
   As he approached the start of his fifth week on the fast, Mulligan reported: "I have probably lost about ten pounds but am feeling OK. For those who want to express their solidarity, I would suggest that they urge their Members of Congress to vote for the closing of SOA/WHINSEC and to demand an end to the occupation of Iraq."
   Specifically he asks people to participate massively in the March 20, 2004 demonstrations against the war and occupation of Iraq, and in the March 27-30, 2004 "Spring Mobilization and Lobby Day to Close the SOA" in Washington, DC.
   Statement by Father Joe Mulligan, about his fast: www.soaw.org/new/article.php?id=727
   Please also read the article "SERIAL PEACEMAKER JAILED; BUSH AND BLAIR NOBEL NOMINATED, MACHIAVELLI LIVES," www.soaw.org/new/newswire_detail.php?id=413
   SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington DC 20017, (202)234-3440, www.soaw.org . February 25, 2004
• We can't afford war and social security; The US leaders' downward spiral of debt, unending war, and removal of income to increase the number of empoverished
   Information Clearing House, United States, "Regarding: The Coming Implosion of the American Empire," Feb 26, 2004
   Note: A reader forwarded the following comments in relation to an article "The Coming Implosion of the American Empire" posted on site 02/24/04. I thought it worthwhile to bring it to your attention. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5765.htm . Thanks to Mark for providing the info.
   WEB SITE: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/ MIRROR HERE: http://informationclearinghouse.literati.org/ ARCHIVE: http://www.ymlp.com/pubarchive.php?feminine
   PLEASE FORWARD SUMMARY OR ARTICLES TO THOSE INTERESTED & ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO SUBSCRIBE This is a free service and an unpaid volunteer effort to allow alternative viewpoints to reach the public. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/emaildigest.htm
   297 DAYS ... AND STILL NO WMD FOUND IN IRAQ.
   You can't afford war and Social Security, So!: Greenspan Urges Social Security Cuts: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan urged Congress on Wednesday to deal with the country's escalating budget deficit by cutting benefits for future Social Security retirees. Without action, he warned, long-term interest rates would rise, seriously harming the economy. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5764.htm
   In case you missed it: Greenspan supports permanent tax cuts: Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said - that Congress should make President Bush's tax cuts permanent and cover the $1 trillion price by trimming future benefits in Social Security and other entitlement programs. http://www.boston.com/business/taxes/articles/2004/02/13/greenspan_supports_permanent_tax_cuts/
   CIA chief predicts war with no end: He offered the Senate intelligence committee a bleak vision of a war on terrorism without end, in which even the destruction of al-Qa'eda would not make America safe. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5761.htm
   Text: CIA's Tenet Remarks On Qaeda: The Worldwide Threat 2004: Challenges in a Changing Global Context Testimony of Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5762.htm
   US helicopter 'downed by missile': A US military helicopter crashed today into a river west of Baghdad, police said, and a witness reported seeing a missile hit the aircraft. http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/story.asp?j=95890332&p=9589yx38
   U.S. helicopter crashes in western Iraq, two killed http://www.reuters.com/locales/newsArticle.jsp;:403cb43a:9e2c3b6971b8bd2c?type=worldNews&locale=en_IN&storyID=4434963 , and http://tinyurl.com/3awfw
   Deputy police chief assassinated in Iraq : Gunmen assassinated the deputy police chief in the northern city of Mosul on Wednesday, and militants warned of further attacks on Iraqi security forces and Kurdish militiamen, accusing them of protecting "infidel" Americans. http://pennlive.com/newsflash/lateststories/index.ssf?/base/international-11/1077719353222930.xml
   Kurds demand vote on independence: Kurdish activists have collected 1.7 million signatures on a petition demanding a referendum on the future of northern Iraq's Kurdish region. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3486504.stm
   Insurgent and soldier: two views on Iraq fight: Ahmad says the motivation underpinning his cell of insurgents is a blend of devout religious belief coupled with a strong sense of patriotism. http://csmonitor.com/2004/0225/p01s04-woiq.htm
   Insurgency Growing? Soldier injured in Kuwait: A South Dakota National Guard soldier was injured Friday when the truck in which he was riding hit an explosive device in Kuwait, the state Guard said Monday. http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2004/02/25/news/state/state04.txt
   Dangerous illusions of a democratic Shi'ite Iraq: Only a constituent assembly selected separately by the ethnically/religiously separate components of the Iraqi population jointly working out a federalist constitution with far-reaching autonomy provisions has any chance of maintaining a unified Iraq. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/FB26Ak01.html
   The missing people-shredder : The horror of one of Saddam's execution methods made a powerful pro-war rallying cry - but the evidence suggests it never existed http://www.guardian.co.uk/analysis/story/0,3604,1155399,00.html
   Controlling Iraq's Skies: The Secret Sell-Off of Iraq's Air Industry: Despite CPA claims that it intends to return control of the country's air industry to the Iraqi people, a document obtained by OSI shows that a backroom deal has already sold off 75 percent of the country's air sector to a single family. http://www.soros.org/initiatives/cep/articles_publications/publications/iraq_airlines_20040409
   Iraq to get only 500 million dollars before power handover: World Bank: Iraq will only receive some 500 million dollars out of the 33 billion pledged by donors up to the June 30 deadline for the handover of power, a senior World Bank official said. http://servihoo.com/channels/kinews/v3news_details.php?id=33802&CategoryID=47
   R.P. team for Iraq stranded; U.S. funds withheld`: The deployment of 43 Filipino replacement personnel for the humanitarian mission in Iraq was deferred after US officials failed to release funds for the augmentation force. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/FlashNewsStory.aspx?FlashOID=15292
   Aristide backers build fiery barricades as Port-au-Prince braces for rebel attack: Opposition leaders rejected a U.S.-backed peace plan for Haiti, offering a counterproposal to install a Supreme Court justice as an interim president and appoint a new prime minister along with the "orderly departure" of Aristide. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-225haitiuprising,0,7187617.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines , and http://tinyurl.com/2k94p
   Aristide's Lawyer: U.S. Arming Anti-Aristide Paramilitaries in Haiti: There are very real fears that the democratically-elected Aristide could be overthrown in a violent coup d'etat. Many of the leaders of these paramilitary gangs have had direct ties to the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other US government agencies. http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/02/25/1613200
   Media Coverage of Haiti Flawed: Analysts: Almost universally missing from media coverage of Haiti, some critics say, is information about US Government support for the "opposition", a collection of political parties extremely hostile to the government of Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide. http://dominionpaper.ca/international_news/2004/02/25/media_cove.html
   Haiti - Insurrection in the Making: What is the Political Backdrop to the Conflict? Haiti's opposition represents only a small minority (8 percent of the population according to a 2000 poll). With no chance of winning through democratic elections, they rely instead on armed violence to foment a political crisis that will lead to the fall of the government. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5763.htm
   This web site represents the effort of one person. I need your help to offset the costs associated with site hosting and bandwidth usage. If you find this site informative please help by clicking here www.informationclearinghouse.info/support.htm
   Taliban attacks at their highest since collapse of regime: Attacks by a resurgent Taliban and fighters loyal to one of Afghanistan's most powerful warlords have reached "their highest levels since the collapse of the Taliban government," the head of the Pentagon's intelligence agency said Tuesday. http://www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/news/politics/8032284.htm
   Osama bin Laden 'surrounded?': Reports say bin Laden cornered in northwest Pakistan, but US denies it. http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0224/dailyUpdate.html?s=mits
   U.S. says time running out for Osama: Time is running out for Osama bin Laden, the U.S. military says, as American and Pakistani forces ratchet up operations against al Qaeda and Taliban militants along the Afghan-Pakistan frontier. http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=464012§ion=news
   Bring me the head of Osama bin Laden : The war in eastern Afghanistan and the tribal areas in Pakistan is barely on, but the Pentagon's spinning machine is in high gear. Who will prevail: al-Qaeda's number two, Ayman "The Surgeon" al-Zawahiri, or Commando 121? http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/FB26Ag02.html
   Faithful spurn US-built mosque: On November 16, 2001, during the heat of the US-led war against the Taliban regime, at least 34 people lost their lives here. : The building has since been reconstructed almost identically with the financial support of the United States army. http://www.news24.com/News24/World/News/0,,2-10-1462_1488957,00.html
   Sampson joins lawsuit against Saudis: After failing to get the Saudi government to admit he was tortured, Canadian William Sampson has joined six Britons in a lawsuit aimed at proving they were repeatedly beaten during two and a half years in a Saudi jail. http://www.thestar.ca/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1077664212911&call_page=TS_World&call_pageid=968332188854&call_pagepath=News/World&pubid=968163964505&StarSource=email , http://tinyurl.com/2dtgw
   U.S. High-Tech Spy Agency Has Low Profile: The Advanced Research and Development Activity is not a secret federal office, but it might as well be. It isn't listed in the U.S. Government Manual, the 684-page official compilation of federal departments, agencies and offices. It isn't listed in major commercial directories of government agencies. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=513&ncid=703&e=9&u=/ap/20040222/ap_on_go_ot/terror_obscure_office , http://tinyurl.com/2l67o
   Whistleblower cleared : GCHQ whistleblower Katharine Gun demanded an explanation today after the case against her of disclosing information and breaking the Official Secrets Act collapsed after the prosecution offered no evidence. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1155681,00.html
   Coroner to Hold New Hearing on Kelly Death Inquest : A coroner is to hold a preliminary hearing to establish whether the inquest into the death of Government weapons expert Dr David Kelly should be resumed. http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2576033
   Soldiers 'given 5 bullets for Iraq war': A serving solider has risked his career by speaking out over equipment shortages in the Gulf conflict. Just five bullets each were issued to him and his men, who were serving along frontlines in southern Iraq. http://ickent.icnetwork.co.uk/news/content_objectid=13985295_method=full_siteid=53340_headline=-Soldiers--given-5-bullets-for-Iraq-war--name_page.html , http://tinyurl.com/2t5h7
   Could You Be MI5 Spy? : IN their bid to find 1,000 new spies, MI5 have set a bizarre internet quiz. Called Should You Apply To Be A Surveillance Officer?, there are seven questions to answer: http://tinyurl.com/ytb9a
   Is Britain Under Blair Suffering From Paranoia? : While M15 is scouring the land searching for up to 1,000 Arabic speakers to spy on their compatriots in mosques - or rather "infiltrate overseas-sponsored terror networks" - Blunkett does his bit by drafting new government powers between fending off criticisms of Belmarsh, his very own version of Guantanamo. http://www6.arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=40028&d=24&m=2&y=2004
   UK: Blunkett gets tough over terror: The home secretary is preparing to unveil new anti-terror measures, thought to include the use of secretly-taped phone calls as evidence. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3518763.stm
   Oxfam accuses UK of hidden arms trade : They accuse the government of double standards by exploiting loopholes enabling it to get round international embargoes and its own human rights guidelines. http://www.guardian.co.uk/armstrade/story/0,10674,1155244,00.html
   Israel: Court releases settlers who shot Palestinian shepherds: The three Israeli settlers admitted during a police interrogation on Tuesday to shooting five Palestinian shepherds last week near the Palestinian village of Tekoa. http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/397865.html
   Charley Reese: A Cynical Manipulation: U.S. policy toward the most destabilizing factor in the Middle East - the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - is to support Israel and to never offend the Israeli lobby. U.S. politicians use a number of rhetorical devices to disguise this policy http://reese.king-online.com/Reese_20040225/index.php
   Israeli Troops Stage Palestinian Bank Raids : During the raids, dozens of Palestinians threw stones at soldiers who clamped a curfew on Ramallah during the raids. Seventeen Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets and live rounds, three of them in critical condition, doctors said. http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2575143
   Freed Vanunu will be under supervision : Security sources said Israel would ban the former atomic reactor technician from travelling abroad, tap his telephone and monitor his movements. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/02/25/1077676830178.html
   U.S. Military Shows Interest in Africa: Top U.S. generals are touching down across Africa in unusual back-to-back trips, U.S. European Command confirmed Tuesday, part of a change in military planning as U.S. interest grows in African terror links and African oil. http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/world/8028821.htm
   Report: Slavery Alive and Well in Florida: Modern-day slavery is alive and well in Florida, the head of a human rights center said Tuesday as it released a report on people forced to work as prostitutes, farmworkers and maids across the state. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=519&ncid=718&e=2&u=/ap/20040225/ap_on_re_us/human_trafficking , http://tinyurl.com/2cotp
   Can a City Require Surveillance Cameras in Cybercafes Without Violating the First Amendment?: A California Court Rules on the Issue http://writ.news.findlaw.com/ramasastry/20040219.html
   Publishers Face Prison For Editing Articles from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya or Cuba: The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control recently declared that American publishers cannot edit works authored in nations under trade embargoes which include Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Cuba. http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/02/24/1557214
   Poll: Free trade loses backers: High-income Americans have lost much of their enthusiasm for free trade as they perceive their own jobs threatened by white-collar workers in China, India and other countries, according to data from a survey of views on trade. http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-02-23-free-trade_x.htm
   If Pharmaceuticals Produced Outside the U.S. are Unsafe, Why Isn't The Rest of The World Dead?: The pharmaceutical industry manages to produce much of the world's supply of prescription and over the counter drugs in many countries and sell them to people the world over, including U.S. http://www.uspoliticstoday.com/news.php?nid=6255
   FDA Blasted On Drug Discounts: U.S. regulators should support imports of cheaper prescription medicines from Canada and investigate attempts by the drug industry to limit supplies north of the border, a Capitol Hill summit on the issue was told Tuesday. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/02/23/health/main601731.shtml
   Senators' Stocks Beat the Market by 12 Percent: "The results suggest that senators knew when to buy their common stocks and when to sell." http://www.nytimes.com/financialtimes/business/FT1075982783472.html
   Putin's 'Act of Generosity,' The Russian Army's Sorry State, And Finding the Answer in Riga: "Another sign of the Kremlin playing fast and loose with the niceties of electoral democracy." http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2004/2/F66381ED-B25E-48F3-B2AA-BB92C75D737E.html
   A Trick to Avoid News Website Registration: People who vehemently object to providing registration information to gain access to otherwise-free websites have alternatives http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=31&aid=61205
   Amy Gahran points out one http://blog.contentious.com/archives/000112.html in her Contentious weblog: use the log-in "freethepresses" and password "freethepresses" on many news sites that require registration. (For those sites that require an e-mail address instead of just a user name, use "freethepresses@example.com".) This works, among other sites, at LATimes.com, NYTimes.com, ChicagoTribune.com, and WashingtonPost.com. It's not clear who's taken the time to create all these bogus registration accounts.
   Liberty can not be preserved without general knowledge among people." (August 1765) John Adams. [Feb 26, 04]
• How a US bugging operation was exposed by one lone whistleblower
   The Guardian, Britain, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1156363,00.html , By Ewen MacAskill, Richard Norton-Taylor and Julian Borger in Washington, Thursday February 26, 2004
   WASHINGTON: Katharine Gun, the former British intelligence officer, walked free from the Old Bailey yesterday and rekindled the debate over the war in Iraq. Her arrest for disclosing an unethical - and potentially illegal - US-British bugging operation against friendly countries raises new questions about the events running up to the Iraq war, the behaviour of the intelligence services, and the validity of the legal advice given by the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, to the government. [...] Clare Short, who was in the cabinet at the time, yesterday praised Ms Gun for her bravery. Ms Short, then the international development secretary, said there had been "something smelly, fishy" about the legal advice from the attorney general. She said she suspected the case against Ms Gun had been dropped "because they do not want the light shone on the attorney general's advice". At the time, Ms Short said, cabinet members had been given only two A4 pages of advice, and no discussion was allowed in cabinet. Those pages have been made public but, she said, lots of crucial information related to the advice remained confidential. [Feb 26, 04]
• Lap up the leisurely life.
   Western Suburbs Weekly, Perth, Western Australia, "Lap up the leisurely life," letter from Phil Burrows, Peppermint Grove, page 8, Tuesday, March 2, 2004
   PERTH: A recent TV segment on car production was a stunning illustration of the way in which the employment landscape has changed.
   From raw materials to finished product there was only one human worker evident. Everything else was done by robots.
   This trend towards mechanical labour, rather than human, is increasing exponentially and can only guarantee diminishing employment opportunity for human beings.
   Despite the rhetoric of politicians, the reality is that high unemployment figures are here to stay.
   With the impact of technology not yet dreamed about by most people, to talk in terms of reversing the employment trends of the day is a little like King Canute attempting to turn back the waters of the incoming tide.
   The real task of the First World nations is to learn to not only live with the inevitable prospects of diminishing employment but to welcome it.
   For the latter to occur, this requires that the question "Why should people work?" needs to be asked, for the answer has been lost.
   In pre-Christian times the questions would have seemed absurd because work was a despised notion, only for the lowest strata of society.
   Today we are still burdened with an obsolete value system that refers to work in terms of "working for a living", "work equals self-esteem" and denotes that indolence is sinful.
   These are the sorts of Protestant and industrial dogma that were useful in their time but which now only serve as barriers to adjusting to the nature of the new age.
   Yearning for higher rates of employment is not only decadent but, more importantly, dangerous to the continuation of the human species.
   Putting a higher priority on jobs rather than the environment, has accounted for massive damage to the planet and its weather patterns.
   The paranoid fear of boredom when faced with the prospect of increased leisure, in conjunction with a rising juvenile crime and drug abuse rate, clearly show that we are not adapting well to the notion of leisure being the norm.
   For most, salvation only comes in the shape of paid employment.
   For an increasing number, for whom paid employment is an elusive dream, this spells disaster.
   Quite simply unless we are able to adapt, ideologically rather than technologically, it may be that, like the dinosaurs which died out 65 million years ago, we will not survive. [Mar 2, 04]
• Why the United States is losing the battle against financiers of international terrorism.
   Newsweek, " 'Nobody's Nagging' ; Why the United States is losing the battle against financiers of international terrorism," http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4441187/ , by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, Web Exclusive, March 3, 2004
   EUROPE: An Egyptian-born businessman -- accused more than two years ago by U.S. authorities of financing international terrorism from the heart of Europe -- has evaded efforts to shut down his operations and is continuing to conduct business under new corporate identities, according to European and United Nations officials.
   The faltering investigation of Youssef M. Nada, the notorious former head of a Swiss- and Bahamas-based Islamic financial network called Al-Taqwa, is the latest example of how the Bush administration's much-publicized campaign to dismantle the financiers of international terrorism appears to be losing steam amid waning support from some foreign governments, the officials say.
   Nada and several other directors of Al-Taqwa and related companies, including a mysterious Eritrean-born associate named Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, were formally designated terrorist financiers and, in November 2001, were placed on sanctions lists started by the U.S. Treasury Department after the September 11 terror attacks.
   Although they have never publicly disclosed much of their evidence against Nada, U.S. officials have said they acted on the basis of intelligence reports indicating that he served as the central banker for the Muslim Brotherhood, a secretive network of Islamic radicals that helped spawn Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda movement and other violent Islamic jihadi networks. Nada and his associates were also placed on similar lists maintained by the United Nations, signaling what was supposed to be a coordinated international effort to freeze his assets and close down his businesses.
   But today, officials tell NEWSWEEK, some of Nada's various business operations appear to be very much alive. Swiss authorities, who had raided Nada's offices and opened up a major criminal investigation, are on the verge of closing down the case -- apparently unable to develop enough evidence to bring Nada to court, European law-enforcement officials say.
   In the meantime, Nada has maintained business interests in Italy, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. Nasreddin, his business partner, is believed to maintain his interests in luxury hotels in Milan, Italy. One way the two men have been able to continue operating is by exploiting loopholes in the international sanctions regime. Nada, for example, was supposed to have been barred from traveling outside his city of residence, a tiny enclave of Italian territory called Campione d'Italia that is surrounded on three sides by Switzerland and by a lake on the fourth. But the U.N. reported last year that Nada had traveled to Liechtenstein -- a journey that he could only have made by transiting through Swiss territory, from which he had been banned. Nada's trip was focused on starting proceedings to change the names of two of the companies designated by the U.N. and the United States as terrorist-financing entities.
   U.N. and European law-enforcement sources said they could see no reason for Nada to seek to change the names of his companies unless they were still actively engaged in business or controlled some valuable assets and property. To try to find out what Nada was up to, authorities in Liechtenstein attempted to wrest control of one of the companies from Nada by forcibly appointing a former Liechtenstein government official as liquidator of the corporation. But law-enforcement sources tell NEWSWEEK that Liechtenstein's plan to take over the company failed, and Nada remains in charge of the operation. [...] [Mar 3, 04]
• Labor's Anti-Terror Back-flip Not Helpful. By Senator Brian Greig, Democrats Senator for Western Australia, Australian Democrats spokesperson for Attorney General & Justice, e-mail of March 4, 2004
   AUSTRALIA: The Australian Democrats today slammed the Labor Party for its backroom deal to support the Government's latest anti-terrorism legislation, the likes of which it has previously strongly opposed.
   The Criminal Code Amendment (Terrorist Organisations) Bill 2003, will allow the government to proscribe, under certain conditions, any organisation to be "terrorist", and to have the organisation's existence and any involvement with it deemed to be criminal.
   Australian Democrats' Attorney General and Justice spokesperson, Senator Brian Greig, says the Opposition's back-flip over the latest anti-terrorist Bill leaves the resulting law open to abuse and lacking proper accountability.
   "Previously Labor has refused to allow any proscription regime that does not have the involvement of the UN Security Council and moved amendments to the original Bill to ensure this outcome. Yet now, Labor says it can support such a proscription regime without UN imprimatur and oversight, as long as the Opposition Leader is briefed by the Attorney General on any future proscription determination," Senator Greig said.
   "Astonishingly, the result is that the ALP's initial rejection of proscription regimes has been replaced with support, provided it is involved in the process.
   "The Democrats are opposed to the very concept of proscription. It does not enhance Australia's security but deviates seriously from the way in which our community has traditionally defined criminal behaviour," Senator Greig said.
   "We do not need proscription laws, given that there are already mechanisms within criminal law to prevent and punish terrorist activities.
   "As a community we should seek to punish criminal behaviour, not thought or association. Obviously, we want those who plan terrorist attacks and those who commit them to face the full force of the criminal law," Senator Greig said.
   A new aspect of the Bill, which involves the Parliamentary Committee on ASIO, ASIS and DSD having some purview over the planned proscription regime, is inadequate by not being fully accountable.
   "This Committee only comprises members of the Coalition and Labor Party, and is structured to always ensure that the Government of the day has a majority of members on the Committee," Senator Greig said.
   The Democrats' amendment, by Senator Greig, to expand the membership of the Committee to ensure all parliamentary parties including the Democrats are included, was rejected by the Government and Labor.
   "Given the electorate's understandable concern with intelligence information and its accuracy, it is not helpful that this Committee is kept in the hands of the major parties, and should more broadly reflect the make up of our parliament," Senator Greig said. [Mar 4, 04]
• Not much that's free in this trade pact with US.
   The West Australian by Brian Toohey, p 17, Monday March 8 2004
   AUSTRALIA: Australian farmers have every right to be astonished by the deal American drug companies have wrung from the Free Trade Agreement. So do Australian taxpayers.
   Despite the words "free trade" in the title, Australian farm exports to the United States still face severe restrictions. Although some Australian farmers thought they had won additional market access when the FTA was announced in February, they now find the fine print means even those limited gains can be whipped away. [...]
   ... our farmers can be punished for being too competitive. If prices for American consumers for 35 agricultural produces are deemed too low, they will face renewed trade barriers to protect inefficient US farmers.
   On the other hand, unless US drug companies are given a higher price for drugs listed for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Australian governments can be penalised under the FTA's enforcement provisions.  . . . [well worth reading it all] [Mar 8, 04]
• Lockerbie: CIA Witness Gagged By US Government.
   Sunday Herald (Glasgow), "Lockerbie: CIA Witness Gagged By US Government," www.sundayherald.com/8759 , March 8, 2004
   SCOTLAND: A former CIA agent who claims Libya is not responsible for the Lockerbie bombing is being gagged by the US government under state secrecy laws and faces 10 years in prison if he reveals any information about the terrorist attack.
   United Nations diplomats are outraged that the US government is apparently suppressing a potential key trial witness. Diplomats are now demanding that the CIA agent, Dr Richard Fuisz, be released from the gagging order. Fuisz, a multi-millionaire businessman and pharmaceutical researcher, was, according to US intelligence sources, the CIA's key operative in the Syrian capital Damascus during the 1980s where he also had business interests.
   One month before a court order was served on him by the US government gagging him from speaking on the grounds of national security, he spoke to US congressional aide Susan Lindauer, telling her he knew the identities of the Lockerbie bombers and claiming they were not Libyan.
   Lindauer, shocked by Fuisz's claims, immediately compiled notes on the meeting which formed the basis of a later sworn affidavit detailing Fuisz's claims. One month after their conversation, in October 1994, a court in Washington DC issued an order barring him from revealing any information on the grounds of "military and state secrets privilege".
   When contacted by the Sunday Herald last night, Fuisz said when asked if he was a CIA agent in Syria in the 1980s: "That is not an issue I can confirm or deny. I am not allowed to speak about these issues. In fact, I can't even explain to you why I can't speak about these issues." Fuisz did, however, say that he would not take any action againstanewspaperwhich named him as a CIA agent.
   Congressional aide Lindauer, who was involved in early negotiations over the Lockerbie trial, claims Fuisz made "unequivocal statements to me that he has first-hand knowledge about the Lockerbie case". In her affidavit, she goes on: "Dr Fuisz has told me that he can identify who orchestrated and executed the bombing. Dr Fuisz has said that he can confirm absolutely that no Libyan national was involved in planning or executing the bombing of PanAm 103, either in any technical or advisory capacity whatsoever."
   Fuisz's statements to Lindauer support the claims of the two Libyan accused who are to incriminate a number of terrorist organisations, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, which had strong links to Syria and Iran.
   Lindauer said Fuisz told her he could provide information on Middle Eastern terrorists, and referred to Lockerbie as an "example of an unsolved bombing case that he said he has the immediate capability to resolve".
   Lindauer says Fuisz told her CIA staff had destroyed reports he sent them on Lockerbie. Lindauer also refers in her affidavit to speculation that the USA shifted any connection to Lockerbie away from Syria to Libya in return for its support during the Gulf war.
   She added that Fuisz told her: "If the [US] government would let me, I could identify the men behind this attack today. I could do the right thing. I could go into any crowded restaurant and pick out these men. I can tell you their home addresses. You won't find [them] anywhere in Libya. You will only find [them] in Damascus. I was investigating on the ground and I know."
   The 1994 gagging order was issued following disclosures by Fuisz during other legal proceedings about alleged illegal exports of military equipment to Iraq. The order claims that the information held by Fuisz is vital to the "nation's security or diplomatic relations" and can not be revealed "no matter how compelling the need for, and relevance of, the information". The submission also makes clear that the government is empowered to "protect its interests in this case in the future", thereby gagging Fuisz permanently.
   Details of Fuisz's gagging have been passed to the United Nations, including UN secretary general Kofi Annan, Russia's UN ambassador Sergey Lavrov and the Libyan UN ambassador, as well as representatives of France and China. The report on the Fuisz gagging, containing Lindauer's affidavit, refers to "the history of US interference ... [and] sabotage by the United States".
   One senior UN diplomat said: "In the interests of natural justice, Dr Fuisz should be released from any order which prevents him telling what he knows of the PanAm bombing." With Fuisz prohibited from speaking, neither the defence nor prosecution can call him as a witness.
   A legal source close to Fuisz said: "We want the truth out. The naming of knowledgeable witnesses who can't be called would utterly change the face of this trial. Dr Fuisz obviously cannot claim he has any knowledge because of national security issues and he could face 10 years in jail. However, if he is not allowed to talk the entire case should be dropped.
   "Apart from the US government freeing him from the gag, the only way to allow him to speak would be to subpoena him to the Scottish Court, but the court has no power of subpoena in America."
   The Sunday Herald will make the Lindauer affadvit and Fuisz gagging order available to both the Crown and defence if they require the documents. [Mar 8, 04]
• Blind theory leading us downhill.
   Radio 2GB, http://2gb.com/ , and Television Channel 9, Alan Jones Audio Editorials, Alan Jones Today Show Editorial "Sugar," by Alan Jones, March 9, 2004
   AUSTRALIA: Well, Prime Minister Howard at the weekend met 700 sugar growers in a machinery shed in Mackay. You can imagine what they were talking about. Put simply, the hypocrisy of a so-called Free Trade Agreement which continues to allow massive subsidies for sugar growers in America. The sugar cane industry is in the eye of the storm now.
   The argument seems to be well, if you can't compete even with the massive subsidies overseas, fold up and we will pay you to fold up. The minimum tariff that should be paid by anyone importing stuff to this country ought to be the difference between what we pay our workers in wages and what our competitors are paying.
   We had the deregulation of the dairy industry. What do we find? The farmer is getting less than he ever got for his milk and the consumer is paying more than he has ever paid. Who is ripping us off in the middle under national competition policy?
   And, at the end of the day, the reality is this - according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, the average Australian farm lost $46,300 last year. Obviously in the face of one of the worst droughts in living memory.
   But government policy is making life unbearable for farmers. Dairy farms lost, on average, $76,600. These are figures from the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resources Economics. Obviously government takes no notice of them.
   Farm cash income from dairy properties was $21,100. Try living on that. Beef farmers lost an average of $68,500.
   But the picture is even worse. 40 years ago there were 50,000 pork farmers in this country, now there are barely 3,000, a drop of 94%. 40 years ago, there were 75,000 dairy farmers. Now just 11,000, a drop of 85%. 40 years ago, 52,000 sheep farmers. Now barely 14,000, a drop of 73%.
   So what is next? The sugar cane farmer.
   And are we saying that Nelson Rockefeller, or some such international wealth baron will be able to own all our pharmacies, our newsagents, our dental surgeries, our optometry businesses and, indeed, swallow hard on this one, all our water! And as well, knock off our dairy industry, sugar industry, tobacco industry, citrus industry, pork industry because free trade says open our doors to imports.
   Is this the kind of Australia we want? Yet, this is where blind ideology and theory is taking us. All I can say is thank God it's an election year. And if these things aren't going to be debated, what is? [9 Mar, 04]
• Bond builds new home and fortune.
   The West Australian, Perth, WA, by Mark Drummond, Chief Reporter, page 1, Tuesday March 9 2004
   Former bankrupt Alan Bond is planning to settle in Perth in a new $4 million mansion in Cottesloe as his family prepare to pocket a fortune from an African mining venture.
   Demolition workers were yesterday levelling the single-storey house at 4 Hawkstone Street, Cottesloe, to make way for the two-storey mansion.
   The 726sq m block, which was bought by Bond family trust Fairoak for $425,000 in late 1992, is now worth about $2.6 million. [...]
   Australian Securities and Investments Commission records list Mr Bond's son, John, and daughter, Jody Fewster, as directors of Fairoak. Mr Bond's wife, Diana Bliss, is due back from London soon to oversee building work. [...]
   Mr Bond ... has lived in London since being released from jail in March 2000 ... gold ... Tanzania ... oil ... Madagascar.
   Mr Bond was released from prison after a High Court appeal succeeded in overturning a three-year extension to his original four-year sentence on corporate charges relating to the stripping by Bond Corporation or more than $1 billion from Bell Resources.
   He still has about a year to serve on his five-year ban from acting as a company director or managing companies in Australia.
   [COMMENT: There has been no news of refunding the Bell Resources shareholders their share money plus interest, nor repaying other creditors, although Mr Bond lives on money provided by what he terms "a good friend" in Switzerland, previous news reports have informed the public. COMMENT ENDS.] [Article: 9 Mar, 04]
• Canberra not defending us from economic conquest.
   Letter to the Hon.Warren Entsch, MHR, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, "UGG BOOTS, UGG,
UGG AUSTRALIA, UGH-BOOTS, UGH," from John Massam, Greenwood (Perth), March 10, 2004
   AUSTRALIA: Your reply of 27 February about my e-mail of 24 January to the Minister for Trade really only shows how helpless your Ministry and the Public Service are in opposing the economic conquest of Australia.
   If the Canberra "team" did not stop someone registering "UGH" as a trade mark, when it has been an ordinary word in dictionaries for many years (back to 1951 on my bookshelves), it is time you took steps to UN-REGISTER it. I have already given one snippet of information as to how "Ug boot" was known as an ordinary word by a dictionary publisher in 1981.
   Words in use ought not to be able to be expropriated by high finance, any more than other items in "the commons" such as beaches, water, and so on. Or don't you believe that?
   The very idea of overseas or Australian corporations using the facilities that we Australians have set up, and paid for, to paralyse the people who have been making ugg boots for years, and involve them in litigation that is often doomed to fail, ought to make the major political parties, and you personally, take a good hard look at where you are leading this island-nation-continent.
   This is not the only supposedly "liberal" policy which leads to loss of economic and political independence, and adds to the easy earnings of non-producers. Yours etc. [Mar 10, 04]
• The new Pentagon papers.
   Salon.com, San Francisco, California, USA, "The new Pentagon papers," http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2004/03/10/osp_moveon/ , By Karen Kwiatkowski, March 10, 2004
   UNITED STATES: In July of last year, after just over 20 years of service, I retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. I had served as a communications officer in the field and in acquisition programs, as a speechwriter for the National Security Agency director, and on the Headquarters Air Force and the office of the secretary of defense staffs covering African affairs. I had completed Air Command and Staff College and Navy War College seminar programs, two master's degrees, and everything but my Ph.D. dissertation in world politics at Catholic University. I regarded my military vocation as interesting, rewarding and apolitical. My career started in 1978 with the smooth seduction of a full four-year ROTC scholarship. It ended with 10 months of duty in a strange new country, observing up close and personal a process of decision making for war not sanctioned by the Constitution we had all sworn to uphold. Ben Franklin's comment that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia had delivered "a republic, madam, if you can keep it" would come to have special meaning.
   In the spring of 2002, I was a cynical but willing staff officer, almost two years into my three-year tour at the office of the secretary of defense, undersecretary for policy, sub-Saharan Africa. In April, a call for volunteers went out for the Near East South Asia directorate (NESA). None materialized. By May, the call transmogrified into a posthaste demand for any staff officer, and I was "volunteered" to enter what would be a well-appointed den of iniquity.
   The education I would receive there was like an M. Night Shyamalan www.hollywood.com/celebs/detail/celeb/187146 movie -- intense, fascinating and frightening. While the people were very much alive, I saw a dead philosophy -- Cold War anti-communism and neo-imperialism -- walking the corridors of the Pentagon. It wore the clothing of counterterrorism and spoke the language of a holy war between good and evil. The evil was recognized by the leadership to be resident mainly in the Middle East and articulated by Islamic clerics and radicals. But there were other enemies within, anyone who dared voice any skepticism about their grand plans, including Secretary of State Colin Powell and Gen. Anthony Zinni.
   From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the formation of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans and watched the latter stages of the neoconservative capture of the policy-intelligence nexus in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. This seizure of the reins of U.S. Middle East policy was directly visible to many of us working in the Near East South Asia policy office, and yet there seemed to be little any of us could do about it.
   I saw a narrow and deeply flawed policy favored by some executive appointees in the Pentagon used to manipulate and pressurize the traditional relationship between policymakers in the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies.
   I witnessed neoconservative agenda bearers within OSP usurp measured and carefully considered assessments, and through suppression and distortion of intelligence analysis promulgate what were in fact falsehoods to both Congress and the executive office of the president.
   While this commandeering of a narrow segment of both intelligence production and American foreign policy matched closely with the well-published desires of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, many of us in the Pentagon, conservatives and liberals alike, felt that this agenda, whatever its flaws or merits, had never been openly presented to the American people. Instead, the public story line was a fear-peddling and confusing set of messages, designed to take Congress and the country into a war of executive choice, a war based on false pretenses, and a war one year later Americans do not really understand. That is why I have gone public with my account.
   To begin with, I was introduced to Bill Luti, assistant secretary of defense for NESA. A tall, thin, nervously intelligent man, he welcomed me into the fold. I knew little about him. Because he was a recently retired naval captain and now high-level Bush appointee, the common assumption was that he had connections, if not capability. I would later find out that when Dick Cheney was secretary of defense over a decade earlier, Luti was his aide. He had also been a military aide to Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich during the Clinton years and had completed his Ph.D. at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. While his Navy career had not granted him flag rank, he had it now and was not shy about comparing his place in the pecking order with various three- and four-star generals and admirals in and out of the Pentagon. Name dropping included references to getting this or that document over to Scooter, or responding to one of Scooter's requests right away. Scooter, I would find out later, was I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's chief of staff.
   Co-workers who had watched the transition from Clintonista to Bushite shared conversations and stories indicating that something deliberate and manipulative was happening to NESA. Key professional personnel, longtime civilian professionals holding the important billets in NESA, were replaced early on during the transition. Longtime officer director Joe McMillan was reassigned to the National Defense University. The director's job in the time of transition was to help bring the newly appointed deputy assistant secretary up to speed, ensure office continuity, act as a resource relating to regional histories and policies, and help identify the best ways to maintain course or to implement change. Removing such a critical continuity factor was not only unusual but also seemed like willful handicapping. It was the first signal of radical change.
   At the time, I didn't realize that the expertise on Middle East policy was not only being removed, but was also being exchanged for that from various agenda-bearing think tanks, including the Middle East Media Research Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Interestingly, the office director billet stayed vacant the whole time I was there. That vacancy and the long-term absence of real regional understanding to inform defense policymakers in the Pentagon explains a great deal about the neoconservative approach on the Middle East and the disastrous mistakes made in Washington and in Iraq in the past two years.
Next page | Doug Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, was a case study in how not to run a large organization
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   Reproduction of material from any Salon pages without written permission is strictly prohibited. Copyright 2004 Salon.com ; Salon, 22 4th Street, 16th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103 Telephone 415 645-9200 | Fax 415 645-9204 [Mar 10, 04]

• US trade deficit $US 489.9 bn, rising about $US 43.1 bn a month; jobs going overseas.
   The Weekend Australian, "US trade deficit rises," p 26, March 13-14, 2004
   UNITED STATES: A snapshot of American trade released midweek underscored tensions in the US over global trade and the migration of jobs to other countries.
   AP reported the US trade deficit rose to a record monthly high in January, up 9.9 per cent to $US 43.1 billion, while revised figures showed the 2003 trade deficit reached an annual all-time high of $US 489.9 billion.
   US President George W. Bush defended his economic policies in the wake of the news, AP said. [AP means Associated Press.] [Mar 13-14, 04]
• Boomer's idea of retiring debt.
   The Weekend Australian, p 26, March 13-14, 2004
   UNITED STATES: Determined to brief US readers about the federal trade deficit, ... Dave Barry, writing in The Miami Herald resorted to a question and answer format ... the deficit was ... like 300 skillion drillion ...
   Was it legal? "It is if you have nuclear weapons." ... it's going to get much worse when the baby boomers retire and start collecting Social Security. [and so on, in a humorous vein.] [Mar 13-14, 04]
• Oh, what an uggly war. "Uggs" = "Woolly Hoppers" = "Sheepskin Footwear".
   The Weekend Australian Magazine, "Oh, what an uggly war," by Kathy Marks, pp 34-36, March 13-14, 2004
   AUSTRALIA: Tony Mortel's hair is standing on end ... "Who do they think they are," he fumes. "Telling us what we can and can't call our product, trying to stop us from making a living. Well, they can stick their demands where the sun doesn't shine."
   Mortel ... seven generations of bootmakers ... 45 years ... making uggs ... factory at Rutherford, in the NSW Hunter Valley ... 16,000 pairs a year ...
   ... Deckers Outdoor Corporation ... [Santa Barbara] California ... letter ... 19 other Australian firms ... Deckers owned all rights to the name ugg ... stop using it ... or face litigation.
   ... Mortels was ejected from eBay, the Internet auction site where it had been selling uggs to American consumers ... ordered to stop using "ugg" in its domain name. [...]
   ... originally an abbreviation of ugly ... Brian Iverson, owner of Blue Mountains Ugg Boots, says of Deckers' demands: "It's like saying you can't call a car a car."
   ... In 1971 ... Sydney surf champion, Shane Steadman, ... began selling uggs and registered the name. ... In 1979, so the story goes, ... Brian Smith arrived in New York ... Ugg Holdings Inc, registered the Ugg trademark in 25 countries and in 1995 sold out to Deckers.  ... flurry of letters five years ago ... Middletons, its Melbourne lawyers, it was only when Australian manufacturers began selling uggs on the Internet ... that Deckers felt obliged to crack down. [...]
   The traders have united ... Australian Sheepskin Association ... in limbo include Westhaven Industries, a disabled services charity that employs 65 ... Dubbo ... General manager Gordon Tindall ... ugg is "as generic as meat pie or tomato sauce", [...]
   ... Mortels ... shop ... "Ugg Boots and Slippers" in huge lettering ... been told to remove ... not complied [...]
   ... Mortel's father, Frank -- now 71 ... emigrated from Holland in 1958, ... set up a tiny sheepskin factory.  ... I recall other names such as 'woolly hoppers.'  ...
   ... Some manufacturers have excised the offending word from their trading names or Web sites. Westhaven no longer has the word ugg ... catalogues ... price lists. ... Uggs-N-Rugs in Kenwick, Perth, are standing firm, ... Brian Iverson ...
   Tony Watson, a partner with Middletons, says the portrayal of Deckers as "some big, bad, aggressive American company that likes squashing small businesses" is unfounded. ... It was Deckers... who transformed uggs into a high-fashion item, spending $7 million on marketing over the past decade ... Now others are reaping the benefits. [...]
   The irony is that while Deckers is trying to prevent Australian traders from calling an Australian product a name by which it has always been known in Australia, it brazenly exploits ugg's local origins through its choice of brand name. [...]
   Mortel refuses to acknowledge the possibility of defeat.  ... [Illustrated]
   [COMMENT: Well, someone tried to stop Ford from using the very idea of an automobile, early in the 1900s! See previous items on the predatory lawsuits by globalised corporations against Australian makers of uggs, Koola lime juice, Harry Potter fashions, fish-shop batter, and teddy bears. Like conmen, the heartless business operators are always with us. And, they usually find some lawyers to help them. And, their legal expenses are a tax deduction, if they pay US income tax at all. COMMENT ENDS.] [Article: Mar 13-14, 04]
For previous newsitems, start at Ugg.
• US deficit at record $US 127.5 bN.
   The Australian Financial Review, "US deficit at record despite better fourth quarter," by Sean Aylmer, in New York, p 11, Monday 15 March 2004
   UNITED STATES: The US current-account deficit narrowed during the final quarter of 2003, surprising market watchers, as President George Bush and his opponent, Senator John Kerry, continued to take swipes at each other over trade policy.
   The deficit dropped to $US 127.5 billion ($174 billion), from $US 135.3 billion and was narrower than forecast, but still pushed the full-year deficit to a record $US 541.8 billion.
   The current account measures both traded goods and financial transactions, and is a broad gauge of global trade. The balance of trade -- a $US 122.9 billion deficit in the three months to the end of December -- makes up the bulk of the current-account deficit.
   Huge deficits put the spotlight on America's trade policy. Critics have blamed Mr Bush's free-trade agenda for job losses and a lower US dollar. But the Bush administration has held to its line, saying greater trade will provide long-term benefits for the country.  . . . [Mar 15, 04]
• Wider equitable efficient land tax could puncture housing boom.
   The Australian Financial Review, "Wider land tax could puncture housing boom; An equitable and efficient way of generating state income could be even more effective, writes economics editor Alan Mitchell;" p 46, Monday 15 March 2004
   AUSTRALIA: The UK's housing price boom has sparked new interest in an old idea: land tax. Hopefully, the experience of Australia's housing price bubble will do the same. Land tax has acquired a bad name because of the loopy disciples of Henry George, the 19th century American economist who believed taxes should only be levied on the value of land.
   But its wider use is advocated by serious economists. In Australia land tax survives as one of the more efficient and equitable taxes available to the states. It raises about $2 billion a year for the states, or a bit under 5 per cent of the revenue raised by all state and local taxes.
   The Productivity Commission's recent draft report on first-home ownership urges state governments to consider using a comprehensive land tax to replace state stamp duties. However, the potential role of land tax in improving the efficiency and equity of the taxation system is greater than that.
   As the British are beginning to realise, a comprehensive land tax could discourage property price bubbles. And it could do it more efficiently than some of the alternative measures suggested, such as restrictions on the negative gearing of residential property investment.
   A comprehensive land tax could help close the gap in the tax base created by the Howard government's concessional taxation of capital gains.
   Land tax in Australia is far from comprehensive. It is generally levied only on commercial, industrial and non-owner-occupied residential land. Most owner-occupied housing is excluded, either because it is exempt or because the tax-free thresholds are set above most residential land values. [...]
   [COMMENT: The first paragraph was error-speckled. "Hopefully" is a modern but badly incorrect short-cut way of saying "It is hoped" or similar. Henry George might be called an "economist," but he had no degree. He was really a reformer. COMMENT ENDS.] [Article: Mar 15, 04]
• Defeat East Timor Greater Sunrise bill -- unjust.
   E-mail to Australian Federal Senators for WA and one MHR, from John Massam, Perth, WA, March 24 2004
   AUSTRALIA: Please defeat the unjust Greater Sunrise bill, because an undersea asset 40 km off East Timor and 450km off Australia is OBVIOUSLY in what ought to be the territorial seas of East Timor.
   Don't bully them -- they had hundreds of years of that from foreigners!
   [COMMENT: Under the sea are great reserves of petroleum oil. The Australian politicians claim that much of the oil area belongs to Australia, in spite of it being close to East Timor. COMMENT ENDS.] [Mar 24, 04]
• Dubious doings come under official scrutiny.
   The West Australian, "Inside Cover" page with Gary Adshead, inside.cover@wanews.com.au , p 2, Friday March 26 2004
   PERTH: Exposed city councillor Vincent Tan will be interviewed today as part of an official investigation into the bogus Northbridge Business and Community Association. [...]
   Cr Tan ... for years has referred to himself as the association's president [...]
   The Business Improvement Group for Northbridge ... Vivienne George ...
   ... Cr Tan ... director of Project Planning, Management and Development (International) in December last year under his Chinese name Wai Seng Tan.  ...
   [COMMENT: And the government rule, by which Cr Tan ought to have been prosecuted? Alas, politicians had inserted a handy statute of limitations, to tie the hands of the civil servants, it was revealed some days later. But if the Police Fraud Squad (understaffed) have time, they might prosecute him for allegedly issuing a receipt for membership fees for an inoperative organisation. COMMENT ENDS.] [Mar 26, 04]
CAFOD condemns Bush's attempts to bar access to cheap AIDS drugs.
   Independent Catholic News, Britain, "CAFOD condemns US attempts to bar access to cheap AIDS drugs," http://www.indcatholicnews.com/usbraid.html , 30 March 2004
   CAFOD says attempts by the United States government to force developing countries to use more expensive US approved AIDS drugs in return for aid are totally unacceptable.
   The agency claims that at a conference in Southern Africa this week, the US are trying to discredit cheaper generic drugs and block their use while promoting US approved drugs, which cost over four times the price.
   Head of CAFOD's HIV Support Section Monica Dolan said: "The Bush administration is deliberately putting up barriers to developing countries access to AIDS treatment. It's vital that countries have access to the most affordable and effective medicines available to fight the growing pandemic, however, the only ones to benefit from this move will be the US drug companies."
   CAFOD, together with 200 other organisations from around the world, have denounced the move in a letter to US Global AIDS coordinator Ambassador Randall Tobias.
   It condemns the US for trying to discredit the single pill AIDS treatment, know as Fixed-Dose Combination, (FDC) - which is available from as little as £78 per person per year. This form of treatment is recommended in World Heath Organisation (WHO) guidelines and several generic FDCs have met the Organisation's stringent international standards for drug quality, safety and efficacy. The same treatment from brand-name companies costs a minimum of £310 per person per year and must be taken in the less convenient form of six pills a day.
   Monica Dolan said: "This puts extra burden on those taking the pills and more importantly, money used to treat one person using brand named drugs could have treated four. Despite the ambitious goals of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS relief and promises of $15 billion for AIDS treatment only 300,000 of the 6 million people in the world's poorest nations are getting the drugs. This latest move by the US will only add to the crisis.
   "We want the US government to accept the WHO's internationally recognised drug quality standards and promote access to affordable medications."
© Independent Catholic News; tel/fax: +44 (0)20 7267 3616 or info@indcatholicnews.com . [30 Mar, 04]
• From Ugg to uglier.
   The West Australian, by Julia Llewellyn, The Telegraph Group, "U!" section p 3, Wednesday March 31 2004
   AUSTRALIA: The Australian ugg boot has become a global fashion phenomenon, but an ugly battle is looming.
   They seem the epitome of elegance: prancing down Bond Street in London in Prada coats and mohair Missoni scarves. But look at their feet and the illusion is shattered. For while last winter the fashion pack shod themselves in knee-high Jimmy Choos, this year's must-have footwear is a sheepskin wellie that makes the slimmest look like a Samoan dwarf and the most glamorous like a bag lady. [...]
   According to Kirsty Cameron, the editor of In Style Australia magazine, ... "As far as we're concerned, uggs are Australia's joke on the rest of the world."
   ... the only Australians not laughing are the Ugg makers, who ... find themselves facing potential bankruptcy. For the Ugg Australia boots ... are ... a subsidiary of an American company, Deckers, and manufactured in China.
   ... just before Christmas, Deckers sent a letter to 20-odd Australian competitors ... trademarked "Ugg", "Ugh" and "Ug" ... remove from ... business cards, shop fronts and internet businesses. [...]
   In Faulconbridge, ... NSW, Brian Iversen, whose family have run Blue Mountain Ugg Boots since 1933, ...
   ... they're cheaper than the American ones ...
   ... the newly-formed Save-Our-Aussie-Icon campaign ... Australian ... out of pocket ... around $16 million.
   ... Tony Mortel ... family ... Hunter Valley ... making the boots ... since 1958 ... "ugg" is listed in the Macquarie Dictionary as "a fleecy-lined boot with an untanned upper". [Mar 31, 04]
ANCHOR LIST (After reading an article, use Browser's "Back" button to return to Anchor List)
* Black Hole = Black hole of Guantanamo Bay. Le Monde diplomatique, "No End To Denial Of Justice For Detainees; United States: the black hole of Guantanamo," By Augusta Conchiglia, Feb 1, 2004
* Branch stack = Latham involved in branch-stacking, betrayal of mentor; Frank Heyhoe resigns from ALP, The Sunday Mail, Brisbane, Qld, "Latham's mentor 'betrayed'," By Lincoln Wright, February 8, 2004
* Citizen = No-citizenship Britons will be shown the door -- High Court ruling, recovered addict mother of two, ex-prisoner Neville Taylor, child migrant Richard Hollis (illegally deported). The Sunday Times, Western Australia; by Estelle Blackburn, Jan. 11, 2004
* Dominance = Dominance in enforceable FTA contract, The West Australian, "A sweetener?" letter from Brian Jenkins, Safety Bay, Feb 11 2004 PERTH: The "un-Australian" US free-trade agreement ... dominance permanently enshrined in an enforceable contract ... hope that Mark Latham's advisers will remind him that conclusion of the FTA is an executive government prerogative --and definitely not reversible by the Parliament.
* Koola = Plan by global firm to "own" word Koola and the selling of cordials in a jug! The West Australian , "Anchor has Koola win over Schweppes," by Sue Peacock, Jan 14, 2004
* Land Tax = "Wider land tax could puncture housing boom", The Australian Financial Review, http://www.afr.com , by economics editor Alan Mitchell, 15 March 2004
* Medicine = Off to Canada for cheaper medicine, The West Australian, letter from Mary Jenkins, Spearwood, Feb 17 2004 PERTH: How will prescription drugs become cheaper when the people in the US are forced over the border to Canada to get their prescription drugs? ... It's not free trade, it's corporate robbery.
* Rebellion = FreeTrade Rebellion, US jobs going offshore; The Washington Post, "A Voice Of Trade Rebellion," By E. J. Dionne Jr., Feb 13, 2004. WASHINGTON: Sen. John Edwards, told the tale of a father ... "... tonight . . . he'll be coming home to tell her that his factory is closing, that he's about to lose his job." Now, contrast Edwards's evocative language with the cold words of the new Economic Report of the President and you'll understand why even Republicans such as House Speaker Dennis Hastert are furious at President Bush's economists.
* Sue Koola = Suing "Koola" drinks of Perth's Anchor Foods was like suing the Bear Kids Workshop of Cannington. Just World Campaign, http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/cont12.htm#suekoola , Jan 15, 2004.
* Saul = John Ralston Saul , Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Books and Writing, www.abc.net.au/rn/arts/bwriting/audio/bwriting_11012004_2856.ram , HEAR John Ralston Saul interviewed by Ramona Caval, Jan 11, 2004
* Ugg = US lawyers sink the boot in, claiming to own the words "ugg boot/s". The West Australian, January 24, 2004; plus comment.
* Ugg 2 = Ugg Boot name grab continues, A Current Affair, TV Channel 9, with Ray Martin, February 4, 2004
* Uggly = The Weekend Australian Magazine, "Oh, what an uggly war," by Kathy Marks, March 13-14, 2004. Traditional ugg boot maker, handicapped people's workplace, and migrant's son's business are among those threatened by overseas Big Business, even trademarking the word "ugg" tied to "Australian".
* Uglier = "From Ugg to uglier". The West Australian, March 31 2004. ... the only Australians not laughing are the Ugg makers, who ... find themselves facing potential bankruptcy. For the Ugg Australia boots ... are ... a subsidiary of an American company, Deckers, and manufactured in China.
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