December 10, 2001

The Big Brother Files #18: The Dirty-Ugly Wars and Schemings of Uncle Sam

Hello everyone

Lots of very sobering stuff in this one.

I prefer to warn you...

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

P.S. Give a hard look too at my latest Media Compilation #34: "The Whistleblower Band Keeps Marching" On at

Lesley Stahl, 60 Minutes: "We have heard that a half million children have died [because of sanctions against Iraq]. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima and you know, is the price worth it?"

U.N. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it." (May 1996)


1. A chamber of horrors so close to the 'Garden of Eden'
2. The Brainwashing War on Us
3. My letter to the Canadian Senators Against Bill C-36
4. The Dogs of Democracy
5. Americans Must Speak Up: Justice Deformed: War and the Constitution


Cleaning Up at Ground Zero - A Billion-Dollar Award Looms for GOP Ally
With barely a word of explanation and brushing aside four local firms that have been doing the cleanup since immediately after the attacks, Giuliani has moved to appoint the giant San Francisco-based Bechtel Group, Inc. to take over the lucrative job of cleaning up the World Trade Center site.

QUESTION: If you knew that clean-up crews could discover evidence, as they dig deeper in the rubbles, of the deliberate bombing of the WTC towers to blow them down, what would you do to conceal this fact? Hire a company like giant Bechtel that is sure to keep this lid on this conspiracy.


Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2001
From: BILL D <>


The world needs to be reminded over and over to put on the pressure to those responsible.


A chamber of horrors so close to the 'Garden of Eden'

By Andy Kershaw in Basra, Southern Iraq

The Independent - London 12-1-01

I thought I had a strong stomach - toughened by the minefields and foul frontline hospitals of Angola, by the handiwork of the death squads in Haiti and by the wholesale butchery of Rwanda. But I nearly lost my breakfast last week at the Basrah Maternity and Children's Hospital in southern Iraq.

Dr Amer, the hospital's director, had invited me into a room in which were displayed colour photographs of what, in cold medical language, are called "congenital anomalies", but what you and I would better understand as horrific birth deformities. The images of these babies were head-spinningly grotesque - and thank God they didn't bring out the real thing, pickled in formaldehyde. At one point I had to grab hold of the back of a chair to support my legs.

I won't spare you the details. You should know because - according to the Iraqis and in all likelihood the World Health Organisation, which is soon to publish its findings on the spiralling birth defects in southern Iraq - we are responsible for these obscenities.

During the Gulf war, Britain and the United States pounded the city and its surroundings with 96,000 depleted-uranium shells. The wretched creatures in the photographs ñ for they were scarcely human ñ are the result, Dr Amer said.

He guided me past pictures of children born without eyes, without brains. Another had arrived in the world with only half a head, nothing above the eyes. Then there was a head with legs, babies without genitalia, a little girl born with her brain outside her skull and the whatever-it-was whose eyes were below the level of its nose.

Then the chair-grabbing moment - a photograph of what I can only describe (inadequately) as a pair of buttocks with a face and two amphibian arms. Mercifully, none of these babies survived for long. Depleted uranium has an incubation period in humans of five years. In the four years from 1991 (the end of the Gulf war) until 1994, the Basrah Maternity Hospital saw 11 congenital anomalies. Last year there were 221.

Then there is the alarming increase in cases of leukaemia among Basrah babies lucky enough to have been born with the full complement of limbs and features in the right place. The hospital treated 15 children with leukaemia in 1993. In 2000 it was 60. By the end of this year that figure again will be topped. And so it will go on. Forever.

(Depleted uranium has a half-life of 4.1 billion years. Total disintegration occurs after 25 billion years, the age of the earth.)

In any other country, in which the vital drugs are available, 95 per cent of these infant leukaemia cases would be treated successfully. In Basrah, the figure is 20 per cent. Most heartbreakingly, many children on the road to recovery go into relapse part way through treatment when the sporadic and meagre supply of drugs runs out. And then they die.

By the United Nations' own admission 5,000 Iraqi children die every month because of a shortage of medicines created by sanctions imposed by ... the United Nations.

Tony Blair, on numerous occasions, has misled Parliament and the country (perhaps unwittingly) by saying that Saddam Hussein is free to buy all the medicines Iraq needs under the oil-for-food programme. This is not true. Oil for food amounts to just 60 cents (40p) per Iraqi per day and everything - food, education, health care and rebuilding of infrastructure ñ has to come out of that. There simply is not enough to go around.

And has Mr Blair heard of the UN Security Council 661 Committee? If he has, then he keeps quiet about it. The committee was certainly unknown to me until I toured the shabby hospitals of Basrah.

This committee, which meets in secret in New York and does not publish minutes, supervises sanctions on Iraq. President Saddam is not free to buy Iraq's non-military needs on the world market. The country's requirements have to be submitted to 661 and, often after bureaucratic delay, a judgement is handed down on what Iraq can and cannot buy. I have obtained a copy of recent 661 rulings and some of the decisions seem daft if not peevish. "Dual use" is the most common reason to refuse a purchase, meaning the item requested could be put to military use. So how does the 661 committee expect Saddam Hussein to wage war with "beef extract powder and broth"? Does 661 expect him to turn on the Kurds again by spraying them with "malt extract"? Or to send his presidential guard back into Kuwait armed to the teeth with "pencils"? Pencils, you see, according to 661, contain graphite and therefore could be put to military use. (Tough on the eager schoolchildren of Basrah who have little with which to write).

Across town at the Basrah Teaching Hospital, the whimsical rulings of 661 are not so comical. Dr Jawad Al-Ali, the director of oncology, trained in the UK and a member of the Royal College of Physicians, talked of an "epidemic" of cancers in southern Iraq. "The number of cancer cases is doubling every year. So is the severity of the cancers, and there has been a big increase in cancer among the young," he said. Last week he was struggling to treat 20 cancer patients with "a huge shortage of chemotherapy drugs" and just two days supply of morphine. "We are crippled," he said, "by Committee 661." The doctor applied for, but was denied, life-saving machinery ñ deep X-ray equipment, blood component separators, even needles for biopsies. All, said 661, could have military use.

Tell that to Mofidah Sabah, the mother of four-year-old Yahia. The little boy has both leukaemia in relapse and neuroblastoma, a cancer behind the eye that has bulged and twisted his left eyeball in its socket. Ms Sabah travels miles every day to sit and cuddle her son on his grubby bed. If Yahia lived in Birmingham, his chances of survival would not be in much doubt. But not in Basrah. "I'm afraid he will not live very long," Dr Amer whispered.

Ms Sabah said: "I will leave everything to God, but I want God to revenge those who attacked us." Yahia's illness is not her first brush with tragedy. She lost 12 members of her family during an Allied bombing in 1991. Her husband, a soldier, fought in the Gulf war. He is still in the Iraqi army and has just been reposted, to Qurna, 50 miles north of Basra and among the contaminated former battlefields. Qurna, according to legend, was the site of the Garden of Eden.

See also:

Mandela Warns Against Iraq Strikes

Vox populi, vox belli
No regrets so far, ready to take casualties, and, Saddam, you're next


The Brainwashing War on Us
by Jim Hightower

While the air in Afghanistan is filled with a cacophony of U.S. bombs, our airways here at home are increasingly filled with a cacophony of official propaganda.

The bombs seek to destroy terrorism's threat to our freedom, but our government's propaganda is a threat to truth, which is the essential underpinning of our freedom and democracy. During the past 40 years the American people have learned, after the fact, that we were blatantly lied to by top officials who ran the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and assorted other military actions. But now, the White House and Pentagon are engaged in the most massive, ambitious, and expensive wartime propaganda effort in our nation's history.

Theirs is a double-barreled ploy: First, to suppress any independent information coming out of the war itself. The New York Times reports that Pentagon chief Don Rumsfeld has gone all-out in an unprecedented effort to lock out journalists who are on the scene of the war, biting any contact with our troops and allowing our supposedly free press to see only the officially sanitized version of what's happening. Rumsfeld and the White House have set up an around-the-clock war news bureau in Pakistan that spoon-feeds the videos, photos, and "message of the day" that ends up on the nightly news and in your morning paper.

The second ploy is even more blatantly propagandistic, with White House operatives orchestrating news feeds, staging pro-Bush extravaganzas, and organizing Hollywood executives to produce movies that will sell the war to American audiences. Top White House media manipulator Karl Rove has held two closed-door meetings with Hollywood big shots asking them to help market the war, promising film footage, use of military hardware and facilities, and other government support.

Something as big as war -- where life and death are at stake -- ought to stand scrutiny in the light of day, without the artificial push of marketing gimmicks. Democracy requires truth ... not brainwashing.

"...we need something new to replace our perpetual "war to end all war?" What leads to peace is not violence, but peaceableness, which is not passivity, but an alert, informed and practiced, and active state of being."

- Wendell Berry


Dear Canadian senators

I'm extremely concerned about the Bill C-36 already adopted by the Canadian Parliament, and by the other legislative measures currently considered under the pretense of protecting Canadians from the alleged terrorist threat arising as a result of the September 11 events. Not only do I believe those threats are non-existent in Canada but I'm convinced the real threat against our democracy and all what Canada stands for in the world public's eyes is at great risk if Bill C-36 and the other related bills become the Law of the land. One has to be utterly fool or blind to not realize that those laws, as they have been designed, are actually aimed at stiffling and stamping out any organized political dissent with regard to the participation of our country to the global take over of the world by corporate interests that are to the extreme opposite of the interests of all Canadians and of the entire population of this world.

Therefore if you rubberstamp this Bill C-36 and the other coming related bills, you will sign the death warrant of our democracy and of our right to meaningful and peaceful protests in Canada. It is not just freedom of speech by some fringe elements of our society that is at stake. It is the very heart of what democracy stands for, the right to contribute in shaping through open debate, in an open society, the policies affecting the day-to-day lives and long term expectations, dreams and hopes of all concerned and responsible citizens in Canada. You MUST take a firm stand and return Bill C-36 to the House of Commons, not for some cosmetic tinkering but for a profound revision, after a sufficient period of debate and review by all concerned Canadian citizens so that it will narrowly and successfully address the actual, alleged threats which it is supposed to address without infringing upon the legitimate rights of Canadians for peaceful public dissent without the threat of being beaten with police sticks, shot at with rubber bullets, sprayed with pepper gas, attacked by viciously trained dogs, imprisonned for no actual reason other that to terrorize you into submission and consent, possibly tortured and detained in secret for a lenghty period of time, and without being generally submitted to a treatment akin to what Communist China used to extinguish the courageous students movement for democracy in Tienanmen Square.

The corporate dictatorial rule fostered by the United States' Republican party must be stopped and our sovereignty preserved. This is what is in your hands right now. This is your responsibility. Please hear this urgent plea and do not fail us. Do not become accomplices in what history will ultimately consider the gravest slip back into quasi feodal times, under the rule of corporate entities striving to establish their complete domination over this world.

Yours sincerely,

Jean Hudon
Poste restante
Quebec, Canada


From: "Murray, Lowell: SEN" <MURRAL@SEN.PARL.GC.CA>
Subject: RE: Bill C36
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2001

I was a member of the Senate Committee that pre-studied this bill and recommended amendments. I am disappointed that the government did not see fit to accept some of our most important recommendations, notably the concept of a Parliamentary Commissioner to monitor, and blow the whistle on any abuses of, the exercise of the extraordinary powers conferred upon the government and the police and security agencies. Without such an oversight mechanism we will not know how these powers are being used. The same Senate committee that pre-studied the bill will now have responsibility to conduct clause-by-clause examination as the bill is now before the Senate. I intend to do everything possible to try to persuade colleagues of the necessity of further substantive amendments.

Thank you for writing.

Lowell Murray.


The Dogs of Democracy (November 21, 2001)

Several times at Saturday's demonstration, protesters approached the police barricades set up to protect G20, International Monetary Fund and World Bank delegates. They were greeted by rubber bullets, pepper spray and teargas. But, according to some demonstrators, they were most frightened by the police dogs. There were times of eerie silence Saturday afternoon on the part of the police and the protesters. During stalemates, the only sounds that could be heard were the barking and whining of the police dogs. Their masters struggled to hold them back. One demonstrator, named Matt, said, "We're used to horses - we can handle horses - but these dogs look vicious."

A videographer who was at Le Breton Flats earlier in the morning said that, once protesters were made to lie down and arrested, the police would put dogs on them - after they had been handcuffed. She had footage of police breaking up the crowd with dogs. Her video shows dogs rearing up on their hind legs, their teeth bared, their saliva flying. The police would periodically increase the length of a leash to scare demonstrators. A protester on the flats at the time said, "Prior to the beginning of Saturday's march, a police dog was released into the crowd ... it obviously had no direct target." Several cases of dog bites were confirmed. A medic explained that dog bites can result in puncture wounds and crush injuries.

During the actions, the police in Ottawa were both militaristic and used ritualized gestures. There was a lot of posturing with guns and rhythmic banging of sticks and shields. They stared down at the thousand-plus crowd below. At one point, some protesters from the street rushed to climb a fence, shouting slogans. One female demonstrator held up a small, pink hand mirror to police and yelled, "Look at what you have become!"

As the snake march progressed, the crowd didn't disperse. In the below-zero weather, police used a water hose. The crowd remained. Police fired teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and lead-filled packets at the protesters. Still, there was no sign of retreat.

A protester had the muzzle of a teargas gun pushed into his stomach. He was blown backward when the officer fired. Later, another demonstrator was hit with a rubber bullet to the back of the head. His face bounced off the pavement like a basketball when he fell. Other protesters rushed forward. The crowd chanted, "We're not violent, how about you?"

During the weekend protests in Ottawa, a single McDonald's window was broken. There were a few random acts of graffiti. Although protesters were disciplined, their show of restraint had little effect on the actions of the police. Dozens of people were arrested. The Ottawa legal collective indicates the total number of arrests is forty-one.

Puppets, balloons, confetti, the Living River, pagans and the Raging Grannies - in short, anyone who stood out - seemed to be worthy subjects for the video cameras used by police to record every move the demonstrators made. One protester commented, "They were expecting us and I guess we were greeted, even though we come in peace." He added that the police in Quebec last April had "warned us that next time, they'd be ready for us, they would be prepared. I guess they are."

See also:

Moving Toward A Police State (Or Have We Arrived?) (November 20, 2001)
Secret Military Tribunals, Mass Arrests and Disappearances, Wiretapping & Torture -- A lawyer details the new criminal justice system of the U.S.A.

These "terrorism" laws are about the completion of globalization (read corporatization, read fascism), not the elimination of terrorism. Excessive police powers are necessary to quell the expectation of the informed public in western democracies of the application of their constitutional rights to protest against the infringement of their rights in the process of globalization. CLIP

Bill C-35: Granting Diplomatic Immunity to State Terrorists

The Liberal government is quietly trying to pass a law that will extend diplomatic immunity to include foreign officials in Canada, even if they are known criminals or terrorists. This is being done under the cover of an innocuous-looking, so-called "housekeeping" measure called Bill C-35. (...) Bill C-35 will also serve to consolidate and extend the power of the RCMP to thwart protests against foreign government officials who will soon be given special immunity from Canadian laws.


The Pinochet's of the world will soon be more confident than ever when deciding whether to attend international events in Canada. Bill C-35 will allow them to feel secure during their visit here because they'll know that Canadian law: 1. exempts them from prosecution for their crimes and 2. mandates the RCMP to protect them from protesters.

From: "Judith Iam" <>
Subject: Americans Must Speak Up
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2001


December 2, 2001

Justice Deformed: War and the Constitution

The inconvenient thing about the American system of justice is that we are usually challenged to protect it at the most inopportune moments. Right now the country wants very much to be supportive of the war on terrorism, and is finding it hard to summon up much outrage over military tribunals, secret detentions or the possible mistreatment of immigrants from the Mideast. There is a strong temptation not to notice. That makes it even more important to speak up.

After the brutal attacks of Sept. 11, the Bush administration began building a parallel criminal justice system, decree by decree, largely removed from the ordinary oversight of Congress and the courts. In this shadow system, people can be rounded up by the government and held at undisclosed locations for indefinite periods of time. It is a system that allows the government to conduct warrantless wiretaps of conversations between prisoners and their lawyers, a system in which defendants can be tried and condemned to death by secret military tribunals run according to procedural rules that bear scant resemblance to normal military justice.

The extreme nature of these new measures and the arbitrary way in which they were adopted are stirring a growing uneasiness among both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, as well as America's overseas allies. Yet so far the voices of opposition have been timid. It is never easy to criticize a president in wartime. It is especially difficult during this war, which began with the killing of thousands of civilians here at home.

But if the antiterrorism effort is to be a genuine success, Americans must speak up. We do not want history to record this as one of those mixed moments in which the behavior of our government failed to live up to the performance of our troops in the field. We do not want to remember this as a time when the nations of the world united in a campaign against terrorists, and then backed away when America attempted to prosecute foreign nationals in secret trials conducted according to unfair rules.

The administration has awarded itself some of these powers, which go well beyond those just granted in the antiterrorism legislation Congress approved at its request only a few weeks ago. It is now reported that Attorney General John Ashcroft is considering a plan to relax rules barring the Federal Bureau of Investigation from spying on domestic religious and political groups without probable cause. The Founding Fathers, properly wary of an unrestrained executive branch, created our system of checks and balances precisely to guard against a president and his aides grabbing powers like these without Congressional approval or the potential for judicial review. Mr. Ashcroft's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week should provide an opportunity for senators from both parties to express their concerns.

Secret Detentions

One of the most troubling moves by the administration has been the secret and in some cases prolonged detention of suspects rounded up after Sept. 11. The Justice Department, which has offered a shifting series of explanations as to why this is necessary, most recently suggested that it was responding to the possibility that Osama bin Laden might have sent "sleeper" agents to the United States. The American system does not hold with the idea of incarcerating a large group of people who it seems to have no credible reason to believe are dangerous, out of vague concern that somewhere among them might be a future law-breaker.

The administration certainly has a right to arrest people who are in the country illegally, and deport them after a judicial hearing. If the federal government had consistently kept track of visitors who failed to leave at the appointed time, it would have been harder for the terrorists to carry out their attacks in New York and Washington. But there appears to be no evidence that the vast majority of those picked up on immigration charges are guilty of anything else, and the punishment must fit the crime. Now, the places they are held and in most cases their names are being kept from the public. Meanwhile there is mounting anecdotal evidence suggesting that some detainees have been held under harsh conditions with limited access to legal counsel.

Mr. Ashcroft retreated last week from some of his stonewalling and filled in certain previously missing details about 548 people in custody for immigration violations, while still refusing to reveal their names. He did release the names, along with other details, for 93 people charged with other, mostly minor crimes. But it was far short of the sort of disclosure the situation calls for.

Military Tribunals

It is by no means clear that the president has the authority to set up military tribunals without specific Congressional authorization. For the administration to act unilaterally in this sphere is no trifling matter. Beyond trespassing on the separation of powers, it could undercut the legality of any military tribunal proceedings. The precedent the administration cites - Franklin Roosevelt's use of secret military commissions to try eight German saboteurs caught on American soil during World War II - is not reassuring. That trial, which actually did have the support of a Congressional declaration, was an embarrassing skirting of the legal process that occurred mainly to cover up the F.B.I.'s failure to listen when one of the saboteurs attempted to confess and turn in his comrades.

The military tribunals authorized by President Bush have little relation to actual military justice. Under normal military law, trials are not closed to the public, defendants have a right to review all the evidence presented against them, and they cannot be sentenced to death without a unanimous decision by the officers who sit as judges. Defendants also can appeal their cases to higher military courts, and to the Supreme Court. The Bush courts are free to proceed in secret, to withhold evidence from defendants and to deliver capital sentences if two-thirds of the judges consent.

Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that under the administration's order, the president's power to insist on military justice is not limited to accused terrorists who are captured overseas. The order's breadth is astonishing, allowing for the indefinite incarceration and trial of any non-citizen the president deems to be a member of Al Qaeda, to be involved in international terrorism of any type, or to be harboring terrorists. After Sept. 11, Americans were introduced to any number of homeowners who sheltered the men who were about to become hijackers, with no realization that they were anything but students. The scope of these powers should make the potential for abuse clear. The fact that the administration drew them that way should undermine confidence in its self-restraint.

Faith in the Courts

The Bush administration appears to have no faith in the American criminal justice system's ability to try terrorists fairly and openly, despite the fact that prosecutors have successfully brought to justice the men accused of the first World Trade Center bombing and the attack on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Civilian courts are not as fragile as the administration fears. For one thing, longstanding federal laws make it possible to sanitize intelligence information so that it can be introduced as evidence in trials without compromising spying methods. Courts have also given greater latitude to prosecutors in bringing overseas defendants to trial even if they have not been accorded a traditional Miranda warning about their rights before they are questioned after their capture.

The administration has argued that even if the powers it is seizing are broad, it will not use them abusively. This has been a constant theme of Mr. Ashcroft and the administration in general - that they are people who can be trusted to use these broad, repressive rules wisely. That is not the way the American system works. This is a nation built around the rule of law, not faith in the goodness of particular officials.

At a time when the nation is reaching out to create and maintain a global coalition against terrorism, the Bush administration is taking us down a path that will surely wind up embarrassing the country and undermining our own standing as a defender of international human rights and global justice. The United States, which constantly criticizes other countries for holding secret trials, and for refusing to guarantee political prisoners due process, is breaking faith with its own standards. It is no wonder that European countries are uneasy about extraditing anyone to face such tribunals. Our country assures the world that its case against Osama bin Laden is a firm one, but if he is tried in secret, large parts of the world will never believe in his guilt.

One Rule of Law

The administration has been able to push so far down the road toward negating civil liberties without encountering much resistance because the parallel system it is creating only affects non-citizens. Mr. Ashcroft, for example, is not proposing to wiretap the conversations of American prisoners as they talk to their attorneys. These are special rules for outsiders, a fact that is supposed to make those of us on the inside feel safe.

The country does treat non-citizens differently from Americans. Most important, authorities can deport them if they fail to live up to the terms of their visas. But the right to a fair trial, to consult with a lawyer beyond the range of government microphones and protection against being held in secret for minor crimes are not for Americans alone. We believe that they are the rights of all human beings. Our history is a story of continuous struggles to keep the government from sectioning off one segment of humanity as unworthy of the same basic civil rights as everyone else. This is not the time to start infringing the rights of people whose only relationship with international terrorists may be a shared nationality, religion or ethnic background.

We will be judged not by how we hold to our values when it is easy, but when it is difficult. The world is watching.


Oppose Military Tribunals

How the Military Tribunals Will Really Work (November 28, 2001)

Going Backwards: Ashcroft Seeks Looser Limits on FBI Spying
U.S. religious, political groups may lose civil liberties safeguards

ASHCROFT Attempted to Circumvent Habeas Corpus Entirely

Bush going too far curtailing our rights
The Bush administration is using the national trauma and state of emergency resulting from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to trample the Bill of Rights.

The Grand Tyranny by Al Martin> "This law then could be interpreted, so that the prosecutorial power of the government could be extended essentially to anyone who disagreed with State policy. (...) the people of the
United States have allowed their government to be a democracy in name only."

Confounding Carnivore: How to Protect Your Online Privacy (November 29, 2001 - Excellent resource!)

"If we give up our essential rights for some security, we are in danger of losing both."

- Benjamin Franklin