COLUMN SIXTY-EIGHT, FEBRUARY 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 Al Aronowitz)
Conducting the War on Terror
One of the
world's most famous conductors was briefly detained by Swiss police on suspicion
of being linked to terrorist activities.
Pierre Boulez had his passport confiscated in the town of Basle where he had
been conducting at a music festival last month.
seen a series of anti-terrorist dawn raids since 11 September, but this must be
was sleeping in his five star Swiss hotel when police dragged him from bed and
informed him he was on their national list of terrorist suspects.
75-year-old, who once conducted the BBC symphony orchestra, had his passport
confiscated for three hours before he was free to go.
was not a case of mistaken identity.
revolutionary 1960s, it seems that Boulez said that opera houses should be blown
up, comments which the Swiss felt made him a potential security threat.
By the BBC's
G-Men on the Job
In this time
of hyper-patriotism, is a charcoal drawing of George W. Bush trapped behind a
metal trellis really enough to send out the feds? Apparently somebody thinks
so---and complained loudly enough to get two agents dispatched to sniff out
supposed anti-American activity at the tiny Art Car Museum last week.
hot-button exhibit? The museum's "Secret Wars" show, which comments on
everything from meat eating to the Persian Gulf War. While it might not be for
typical Monet-loving museum patrons, the four-year-old art car institution has
never tried to pass itself off as a typical stuffy gallery---or a lair of bin
made for the community, to provoke feeling and emotion, and that's what it's all
about," says museum docent Donna Huanca, 21. She was working alone when two
federal agents arrived about a half-hour before the museum opened on November 7.
told them they needed to wait until the doors opened at 11 a.m., they flashed
FBI and Secret Service badges. Huanca wondered if it was an art crowd prank, but
they told her they were following up on complaints they received about
anti-American activity at the museum.
'There's really nothing anti-American about self-expression, right?' and the
agents replied with a "kind of smirk,?? she says. Huanca got business
cards identifying them as Houston special agents Terrence Donahue of the FBI and
Steven Smith of the Secret Service.
she offered to give the agents a guided tour and explain all the artwork, but
both men gravitated toward a few key pieces in the "Secret Wars"
exhibit, conceived this summer by museum director James Harithas and curated by
were particularly interested in It's Easier to Get a Camel Through the Eye of a
Needle Than to Get an American into Heaven, by Houston artist Forrest Prince.
The 1991 work is a small wooden shadowbox holding a plastic army soldier pulling
a missile, with a painted backdrop of camels and fire.
the agents seemed puzzled and asked her, "What's that supposed to
mean?" Huanca says she tried to explain that the piece represents anger
over the purpose of the Persian Gulf War, but that the agents still seemed
confused. Later, agents noticed a mock surveillance camera that was part of an
installation. They asked if they were being filmed.
'Aren't we all under surveillance?'" says Huanca. "And they were like,
Letter to the L.A. Times
The JDL was
just accused of trying to blow up the mosque where my children and I go to pray.
Why doesn't your article mention the word "terrorist" in connection
with JDL leaders? Why doesn't your article raise the issue of whether the JDL
will be considered a terrorist organization and have its membership lists
reviewed by the FBI and its assets frozen? Shouldn't its Website at least be
blocked, the way the Hamas or the Hezbollah Web sites are? What about these
fellows, Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel? Will these guys be charged as terrorists?
Will they be
held indefinitely, without bail and in an undisclosed location, until tried and
convicted? Will they be tried by a military tribunal for terrorists? How do we
know there aren't "sleeper cells" of the JDL planning to kill more
innocent civilians? Let's see if American justice is all it's cracked up to be!
Let's see if a known non-Muslim terrorist, caught in the act, will be treated
better or worse than the 1,000-plus Muslim male "witnesses" and
"non-suspects" who have been detained. The world is watching.
Our Man in Peru
LIMA, Peru --
The Central Intelligence Agency paid the Peruvian intelligence organization run
by fallen spymaster Vladimiro Montesinos $11 million a year for 10 years to
fight drug trafficking, despite evidence that Montesinos was also in business
with Colombian narcotraffickers, The Herald has learned. Montesinos, 56 and in
jail near Lima on corruption charges, is now dragging the CIA into his legal
battles, asking Peruvian court officials to interrogate two CIA officers as part
of his defense against charges that he helped smuggle guns to guerrillas who
provide protection to Colombian narcotraffickers.
attempts by the U.S. government to distance itself from the powerful Peruvian
intelligence chief, years of cooperation with Montesinos dating to the mid-1970s
may be coming back to haunt the United States.
obtained by The Herald show how the CIA and State Department first cultivated
Montesinos decades ago, and how the U.S. government maintained a relationship
with him for a quarter-century despite warnings that he was working for both
sides in the drug war.
In a document
dated July 27, 1991, the U.S. Army Intelligence and Threat Policy Center
reported that Peruvian Gen. Luis Palomino Rodr?guez had showed up at a U.S.
defense attache's home wearing a bulletproof vest and warned that Montesinos was
trying to "frustrate joint U.S.-Peruvian counter-drug efforts."
Montesinos was already receiving large sums of CIA cash. Officials speaking on
condition of anonymity said that the CIA has told Peruvian investigators that
the agency gave Montesinos' National Intelligence Service $1 million annually
from 1990 to 2000. The CIA declined to comment.
Scientists Close in on World's Funniest Joke
It could be
the biggest single experiment of all time: perhaps half a million in the jury,
from all over the world, a total of 50,000 offerings and a majority verdict on
the funniest joke ever by September 2002.
But on the
evidence so far, Laughlab is not likely to match the famous Monty Python sketch
which involved a joke so lethal that specially trained British army platoons
could only be trusted with a few words each.
the brainchild of a University of Hertfordshire psychologist,
It is an
experiment in mass humour which, although it may not end with anyone dying of
laughter, could neverthless throw new light on humour, that most mysterious of
Laughlab's launch in September---it is designed to last the whole of the
government-sponsored Science Year---more than 100,000 people from 70 countries
have visited the laughlab.co.uk website, submitted a total of 10,000 jokes and
rated them on a specially designed "laughometer".
funniest joke (so far), submitted by Geoff Anandappa, from Blackpool:
Holmes and Dr Watson are going camping. They pitch their tent under the stars
and go to sleep. In the middle of the night Holmes wakes Watson up:
"Watson, look up at the stars, and tell me what you deduce."
"I see millions of stars and even if a few of those have planets, it's
quite likely there are some planets like Earth, and if there are a few planets
like Earth out there, there might also be life."
"Watson, you idiot, somebody's stolen our tent!"
because you are a "pointy-headed, leftist, elitist, etc., etc."
academic who just won't line up behind the flag and teach young minds to do
their "patriotic duty" and support the war? Cheer up! Check
out this cartoon by Tom Tomorrow.
Our Community Has Spoken
Amherst, MA -
The students, faculty, and staff of Hampshire College have voted to condemn the
"War on Terrorism" and propose alternative solutions. The vote, which
was won by a margin of 693-121 (with 11 abstaining or ambiguous votes), is
believed to the first such decision by a college community in the United States.
(A majority of the students, faculty, and staff participated in the vote.)
community has spoken," said Michael Sherrard, an organizer with Hampshire
Students for a Peaceful Response, which sponsored the vote and authored the
anti-war resolution. "We refuse to fall into silent support for an unjust
war that kills innocents overseas, and threatens our safety and civil liberties
December 6, 2001
Defending Freedom of the Press
bombed the offices of the Al-Jazeera satellite channel in the
There is no
information as to whether the attack was deliberate or not, however on April 23,
1999 US-led NATO forces deliberately bombed the offices of Radio-Television
Serbia killing 16 journalists and technical staff, a case that the European
Court of Human Rights has just agreed to review. In recent months US officials
have alternately criticized Al-Jazeera and demanded to be interviewed on it, and
the network has been subjected to a campaign of villification in the US media,
including at least in one case a demand that it be bombed. New York Daily News
columnist Zev Chafets wrote on October 14 that "Dealing with Al Jazeera is
a job for the military. Shutting it down should be an immediate priority."
BUREAU IN KABUL, ALL CONTACT LOST
Stop Hating Us Or Suffer The Consequences
DC - In a strongly worded ultimatum Tuesday, President Bush warned the Arab
world to "stop hating the United States or suffer the consequences."
"You have exactly 10 days to put aside your deep-rooted resentment and rage
toward America and learn to like us," said Bush in a message broadcast live
to 17 Arab nations via Al Jazeera. "If you fail to comply, prepare to have
the full might of the U.S. military brought down upon you." Bush also
threatened to carpet-bomb any Arab region whose populace continues to be angry
about America's longtime bombing campaign against Iraq and the decade-long U.S.
sanctions that have led to the malnutrition deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi
MORE than 100
signatories of the Geneva Convention gathered in Switzerland yesterday to
reprimand Israel for "indiscriminate and disproportionate violence"
against Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories.
states, including Britain and the rest of the European Union, issued a
declaration urging Israel to abide by international laws enshrined in the 1949
accord seeking to protect civilians in wartime or under occupation. It was the
first such declaration by signatory states since the Convention was signed in
1949, as a similar session was adjourned after 17 minutes in July 1999. Israel
and its close allies, the United States and Australia, which are also
signatories of the Convention, boycotted the session.
declaration expressed deep concern about a "deterioration of the
humanitarian situation" in Palestinian areas, condemned Jewish settlements
there as "illegal" and urged Israel to refrain from "grave
breaches" such as "unlawful deportation", "willful
killing" and "torture".
the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said the declaration was
U.S. Bombings To Have Lasting Effects
Nov 12: While Osama bin Laden claims to have nuclear and chemical weapons and
threatens their use if the United States did so, defence experts say that the
Americans are already dropping highly dangerous ordnance on Afghanistan that
could have devastating effect on people's health in that beleaguered country and
also in Pakistan.
military expert told Dawn that since Oct 7 the United States Air Force has been
raining down depleted uranium shells at targets inside Afghanistan, especially
against the Taliban front lines in the north.
is widespread radiation in many areas that could adversely affect tens and
thousands of people in the two countries for generations to come," he said.
radioactive contamination from depleted uranium, or DU, is known to cause lung
cancer, leukemia, the blood cancer, and birth defects as has been the case in
the two countries where the Americans and their allies have used this weapon in
recent years---Yugoslavia and Iraq. "DU causes slow death," said a
Anthrax: Made in the USA
fingerprinting studies indicate that the anthrax spores mailed to Capitol Hill
are identical to stocks of the deadly bacteria maintained by the U.S. Army since
1980, according to scientists familiar with the most recent tests.
laboratories possess the Ames strain of anthrax involved in this fall's
bioterrorist attacks, only five laboratories so far have been found to have
spores with perfect genetic matches to those in the Senate letters, the
scientists said. And all those labs can trace back their samples to a single
U.S. military source: the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious
Disease (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Md.
means the original source [of the terrorist material] had to have been USAMRIID,"
said one of the scientists.
Post Staff Writers
December 16, 2001
do you feel about defense attorneys?
think they should all be drowned at birth.
then, you are obviously biased for the prosecution.
not true. I think prosecutors should be drowned at birth, too.
there any reason you could not serve as a juror in this case?
don't want to be away from my job that long.
they do without you at work?
but I don't want them to know it.
Fun Facts About Poverty
Bush administration pursues policies intended to benefit the wealthy, hunger,
homelessness, unemployment, poverty and income inequality are swiftly increasing
in the United States.
million Americans received emergency hunger relief from private charities so far
this year, two million more than four years ago, because of government cutbacks
in social programs under the last several administrations.
On any given day, some 300,000 people are homeless in the U.S., and
cities such as New York are experiencing marked increases in recent months.
"Official" unemployment has shot up to 8.2 million workers, a
jump of 2.6 million in a year. Poverty
is deepening throughout the country as poor families are being thrown off
welfare upon reaching time limits
imposed by the Clinton administration. Income inequality---the difference
between the wealthy and everyone else---has reached a 50-year high.
Second Harvest---a network of over 35,000 private food banks, soup kitchens,
food pantries and homeless and emergency shelters---reported in December that 9%
of the U.S. population, 23.3 million people, turned to its private charities for
hunger-relief because government programs were inadequate to keep them fed.
It is not known how many millions received food from the 20% of charities
not members of the Second Harvest network, which itself cknowledges "we are
still not meeting the incredible demand."
exhaustive survey of 35,000 individuals called "Hunger in America
2001," the organization says its study "punctures the myth that hunger
is only a problem of the inner cities, homeless or the chronically
unemployed.... Nearly 40% of households that received assistance from us in 2001
included an adult who was working. Fully
19.7% are seniors [up 16% since 1997]. The
facts about children are equally disturbing.
More than 9 million children
received emergency food assistance this year...."
Women represent "two-thirds of adults seeking food assistance....
Nearly half of all emergency food recipients served by food banks live in rural
or suburban areas of the country."
is hunger's handmaiden. According
to the Coalition for the Homeless last month, the number of children and adults
populating New York City shelters has reached the highest ever---over 30,000 at
one time, not counting those who locate substitute shelter rather than bed down
for the night in overcrowded and sometimes dangerous city-run facilities. The
Census Bureau reported last year that 280,527 Americans needed shelter during
the three days it conducted a survey. Since
States today is increasingly transforming into a society where the bulk of the
nation's wealth is possessed by small proportion of the population.
Some 5% of the American people control over 60% of the country's
considerable assets, while the bottom 80% holds about 16% of the assets. The
upper-middle 15% take the rest. The Census Bureau reports that in 2000 half the nation's
total income went to the top fifth of the population, while 3.6% went to the
bottom fifth. In the last decade,
the top fifth of U.S. families have substantially increased their share of the
country's income and assets while the bottom four-fifths has experienced a
decline in its share.
nothing on the agenda of the two political parties which alternate in governing
the United States to indicate they have any intention of deflecting this trend
toward the concentration of ever greater wealth and privilege in the bank
accounts of an ever smaller minority of the population.
By Jack A.
More Fun Facts About Poverty
billions of people in the world, including many millions in the United States
(see accompanying article), who do not have the resources to obtain sufficient
food for themselves and their families. They are the hungry.
Around the world each day, 24,000 of them die from starvation. In a year,
almost 9 million people succumb to a slow and painful death from hunger, mainly
in the former colonized countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. According
to the United Nations, it would cost $40 billion a year to provide adequate food
for all the people on the Earth who are hungry, PLUS provide universal access to
basic education for all who need it, basic health care for all, reproductive
health care for all women, and clean water and safe sewers for all.
This amounts to about 4% of the combined wealth of the 225 richest people
in the world. The annual cost for
insuring the availability of basic food and health services only, for those
lacking adequate nutrition and minimal healthcare, is $13 billion a year. This
amounts to $4 billion less than
North Americans and Europeans spend annually on pet food.
By Jack A.
Our Free, Independent Press
the bewildering hatred of America in the Middle East and the need to solidify
support for the Crusade at home, the Wall Street Journal posed the following
question to a panel of distinguished advertising executives: "Should we try
new national advertising in a time of crisis?" Among the few who answered
in the negative was Cheryl Berman, chief creative officer for Leo Burnett USA.
"I wouldn't try it," she argued. "The news stations are already
doing that for us." (WSJ
Computing the Value on Human Life
What is the
value of any of the lives lost on September 11th? As the New York Times put it,
"In measuring the value of a lost life, lawyers often say that dollars are
inadequate..." Then they reach for their calculators. Compensation to the
families of the 5,000 victims will be based partially on estimates off pain and
suffering. But the crucial factor is loss of potential income. According to
attorneys James Kreindler and Alan Fuchsberg, the family of a married
28-year-old sales executive with one child, making $500,000 a year, could expect
about $25 million. But the family of an unmarried 42-year-old firefighter who
went to rescue such a sales executive could expect about $100,000. We might call
it "Operation Infinite Justice." (NYT 11/11/01)
Workers Really Pissed
urinate for more pay
strikers urinated on a Government building in Romania to show their anger.
the country's National Block Union are demanding more pay.
on the walls of the Ministry of Labour building in Bucharest after a march
through the city.
union members took part in the march which ended in front of the Senate.
A - I N F O S
N E W S S E R V I C E
Fun Facts About the Racist Death Penalty
ROW U.S.A., Fall 2001A quarterly report by the Criminal Justice Project of the
NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.
of inmates on death row in the United States:
2001 - 3,726
2001 - 3,709
the largest death row population:
with the highest percent of minorities on death row:
337 ( 9.09%)
American 42 ( 1.13%)
Asian 40 (
this issue 1 ( .03%)
Female 54 (
Male 82 (
victims in underlying crime for those executed since 1976:
A Victory for Mumia
(AP) - A federal judge on Tuesday threw out the death sentence imposed nearly
two decades ago on Mumia Abu-Jamal, revered by supporters worldwide as a
crusader against racial injustice but reviled by others as an unrepentant
Judge William Yohn cited problems with the jury charge and verdict form in the
trial that ended with the former journalist and Black Panther's first-degree
murder conviction in the death of a Philadelphia police officer. The judge
denied all of Abu-Jamal's other claims and refused his request for a new trial.
French Workers Honor Mumia
PARIS -- The
Paris City Council has named U.S. death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted
for the 1981 slaying of a police officer, as an honorary citizen of Paris.
The show of
solidarity with Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther and journalist, came in a vote
Tuesday in the wake of the Nov. 21 decision by a Philadelphia court, which said
it did not have jurisdiction over a request for a new trial.
Vuillermoz, leader of the Communist Party grouping on the council, said the
decision by the council follows "alarming news" about Abu-Jamal. Pablo
Picasso was the last person to receive the title, in 1971.
argued that his former lawyers did a poor job and that he has new evidence that
could clear him. The death row inmate's federal appeal is pending.
death penalty opponents and foreign politicians have rallied to Abu-Jamal's
cause, calling him a political prisoner and saying he was convicted by a biased
The Salt Lake
Cream Cake Treason
teenagers have been convicted of high treason for throwing a cream cake at the
the cake in King Carl Gustaf's face during a royal visit to Varberg, on Sweden's
The boys were
all fined after being found guilty in the first Swedish treason case in modern
They were all
aged 16 and 17 and shouted: "For King and country" as they threw the
cake at the King, reports Swedish newspaper GT.
later told reporters their attack was a protest against the Swedish monarchy.
pie-thrower was fined 100 days' wages and his accomplices were each fined 80
Police have been accused of copyright infringement by two national television
stations. The allegations arose subsequent to a documentary screened last week
on thealteration of evidence in a trial against a demonstrator who was shot and
seriously injured during the European Union Summit in Gothenburg this summer.
The 19-year-old youth, Hannes Westerburg, was prosecuted for rioting offenses
and convicted last month.
was captured by a number of video cameramen on the scene. Both prosecution and
defense received the materials on tape. As the video footage documenting the
shooting of Hannes Westerberg did not adequately support the police's version of
events, they manipulated the evidence, creating a montage which made it appear
that a sole rioter was in fact part of a mob. They also replaced the sound track
with audio recorded elsewhere to once again give the impression that Westerberg
was part of a large and threatening crowd. State justification for the shooting
rests upon the claim that it was necessary in order to protect an injured
policeman from further attack, a claim squarely refuted by the evidence.
A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V
I C E
A Little Guy Walks Into a Bar...
A little guy
walks into a bar. Unfortunately there is a pile of dog dung just inside the
door, and he slips in it and falls over. He gets up, cleans himself up and walks
to the bar and buys a drink.
A great big
guy then enters the bar. He slips in the same pile of dung, falls, gets up,
cleans up and buys a drink.
guy turns to the big guy and, trying to strike up a conversation, points to the
pile by the door and says, "I just did that."
The big guy
punches him in the mouth.
Revolutionary Graffiti Front
Who is the
Revolutionary Graffiti Front? We are engaged in form of Guerrilla Art, as a
tactic to increase the political awareness of individuals and communities about
the daily exploitation and injustice that exist within today's corporate
capitalist society. Together, we can shock those who've become oblivious, out of
their oblivion. We must awaken the minds of those who've become manipulated and
deceived by the dirty games of pop culture and corporate mainstream propaganda.
Our weapon is
a dynamic tactic, ART. Guerilla Art. Our objective is to awaken, influence,
encourage and generally gain the attention of communities. Our target is
capitalism. We seek to deface, and uncover the lies of those which represent the
unfortunate dominance of mass marketing, mass production and efficiency in
American commercial society.
We are indeed
living in a revolutionary times. The voice of the voiceless must continue to
speak the truth. We must continue to promote our message of rebellion as it is
necessary for the survival of humanity, and our planet.
A - I N F O S
N E W S S E R V I C E
"The old will die and the young will forget."
- Ben Gurion
(on getting rid of
gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the
final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold
and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is
spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of
its children... Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from
a cross of iron."
& MuRAL PRoJECT
Central Connecticut State University
1615 Stanley Street
New Britain, CT 06050
Phone: 860.832.2359 ##
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