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News ::
Troops Fire on Unarmed Iraqis; Water Privatization is Theft (english)
06 May 2003
Greens: Protect US Troops, Iraqis From Depleted Uranium
Mayday! Mayday!
Tim Robbins: A Chill Wind is Blowing
SARS and Genetic Engineering
Hall of Fame pitches a foul ball
Greens: Water Privatization is Theft
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US Troops Fire on Unarmed Iraqis

Greens: Protect US Troops, Iraqis From Depleted Uranium

Does Anyone Care About Passengers?

Mayday! Mayday!

Tim Robbins: A Chill Wind is Blowing

SARS and Genetic Engineering

PG-rated democracy in Iraq

Hall of Fame pitches a foul ball

Greens debate if -- and who -- they should run for president

Greens: Water Privatization is Theft

Media Snubs Blix, Kuchinch and Dixie Chicks

US Greens to Santorum: Resign!
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US Troops Fire on Unarmed Iraqis
Chris Hughes; London Daily Mirror

Al-Tallulah -- It started when a young boy hurled a sandal at a US jeep - it ended with two Iraqis dead and 16 seriously injured. I watched in horror as American troops opened fire on a crowd of 1,000 unarmed people here yesterday. Many, including children, were cut down by a 20-second burst of automatic gunfire during a demonstration against the killing of 13 protesters at the Al-Kaahd school on Monday.

They had been whipped into a frenzy by religious leaders. The crowd were facing down a military compound of tanks and machine-gun posts.
The youngster had apparently lobbed his shoe at the jeep - with a M2 heavy machine gun post on the back - as it drove past in a convoy of other vehicles. A soldier operating the weapon suddenly ducked, raised it on its pivot then pressed his thumb on the trigger.

Mirror photographer Julian Andrews and I were standing about six feet from the vehicle when the first shots rang out, without warning.
We dived for cover under the compound wall as troops within the crowd opened fire. The convoy accelerated away from the scene. Iraqis in the line of fire dived for cover, hugging the dust to escape being hit.
We could hear the bullets screaming over our heads. Explosions of sand erupted from the ground - if the rounds failed to hit a demonstrator first. Seconds later the shooting stopped and the screaming and wailing began.
Greens: Protect US Troops, Iraqis From Depleted Uranium
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party members are calling for the Bush Administration to take immediate steps to prevent radioactive depleted uranium used in U.S. weapons from harming U.S. troops and the people of Iraq.

Despite its known toxicity, the Pentagon uses depleted uranium widely, in projectiles on ammunition, casings for bombs, shielding on tanks, counterweights for nose cones and ground-penetrating missiles, fragments in cluster bombs and in anti-personnel mines, and in airplane wings and for ballast in ships. With depleted uranium's half-life of 4.5 billion years, the effects of its military use will last for the rest of time.

"If White House officials and the Pentagon really believe in supporting our troops or the welfare of the Iraqi people, they'll make every effort to clean up battlefields and test those who've been exposed to depleted uranium," said Carol Miller, public health activist and New Mexico Green delegate to the national party's central committee. "Medical testing of deployed troops is required under a law that went into effect in 1998, a law that the Department of Defense announced it would obey just this past week, under pressure from the National Gulf War Resource Center and"
Does Anyone Care About Passengers?
ESPA does. ESPA, the Empire State Passenger Association, is a volunteer network of people working to improve AMTAK, mass transit and bus service in New York State. ESPA gives the passenger a voice in transportation planning.

ESPA was founded in 1980 after budger cutbacks severely curtailed AMTRAK service. Later, further budget cuts threatened AMTRAK with total elimination. ESPA members responded by mobilizing a letterwriting campaign among railroad passenger and other concerned citizens to reach New York state representatives in Congress.

ESPA's efforts in New York state have already resulted in additional train service between new York, Albnay and Buffalo/Niagra Falls, plus bus service connecting Jamestown and Fredonia with AMTRAK trains and reinstatement of a rail-ferry connection to Burlington, Vermont via Port Kent, New York.
Mayday! Mayday!
This year May Day has even more significance. Seemingly unrelated to the occasion, the nautical distress call "Mayday!" comes from the French word m'aidez - meaning "help me" - and is pronounced "mayday."
But the people and the planet itself ARE in distress and in need of help. France and other nations tried to work within the framework of the United Nations to resolve the Iraqi crisis, but U.S. and British belligerence could not be overcome. Now Iraq is in chaos and the UN is in shambles.

The origins of May Day go back to ancient times when the bond between people and the Earth was stronger, long before humans began trashing the environment on the scale we witness today. Capitalism and corporate globalization have everything to do with environmental degradation, as well as oppression. May Day is also the Real Labor Day, and the labor movement has been the major force in confronting the ruling class and its operatives. The Haymarket massacre in Chicago was but one example of that confrontation. Anti-labor hysteria in 19th century Chicago reminds one of the present patriotic hysteria all over the U.S. The invasion of Iraq, like capitalism in general, encourages religious, nationalist and patriotic illusions and obscures other critical problems like poverty, ignorance and ecological destruction.

However, the spirit of May Day lives on. This year events are planned in Barcelona, Bolivia, Chicago, Italy, LA, New Jersey, San Francisco & Berkeley, the UK, Uruguay, and elsewhere. There's even Mayweek events scheduled.
Tim Robbins: A Chill Wind is Blowing
Transcript of the speech given by actor Tim Robbins to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 15, 2003

hank you. And thanks for the invitation. I had originally been asked here to talk about the war and our current political situation, but I have instead chosen to hijack this opportunity and talk about baseball and show business. (Laughter.) Just kidding. Sort of.

I can't tell you how moved I have been at the overwhelming support I have received from newspapers throughout the country in these past few days. I hold no illusions that all of these journalists agree with me on my views against the war. While the journalists' outrage at the cancellation of our appearance in Cooperstown is not about my views, it is about my right to express these views. I am extremely grateful that there are those of you out there still with a fierce belief in constitutionally guaranteed rights. We need you, the press, now more than ever. This is a crucial moment for all of us.

For all of the ugliness and tragedy of 9-11, there was a brief period afterward where I held a great hope, in the midst of the tears and shocked faces of New Yorkers, in the midst of the lethal air we breathed as we worked at Ground Zero, in the midst of my children's terror at being so close to this crime against humanity, in the midst of all this, I held on to a glimmer of hope in the naive assumption that something good could come out of it.
SARS and Genetic Engineering
by Mae-Wan Ho

The World Health Organisation, which played the key role in coordinating the research, formally announced on 16 April that a new pathogen, a member of the coronavirus family never before seen in humans, is the cause of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

"The pace of SARS research has been astounding," said Dr. David Heymann, Executive Director, WHO Communicable Diseases programmes. "Because of an extraordinary collaboration among laboratories from countries around the world, we now know with certainty what causes SARS."

But there is no sign that the epidemic has run its course. By 21 April, at least 3 800 have been infected in 25 countries with more than 200 dead. The worst hit are China, with 1 814 infected and 79 dead, Hong Kong, 1 380 infected and 94 dead, and Toronto, 306 infected, 14 dead.

A cluster of SARS patients in Hong Kong with unusual symptoms has raised fears that the virus may be mutating, making the disease more severe. According to microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung, at the University of Hong Kong, the 300 patients from a SARS hot spot, the Amoy Gardens apartment complex, were more seriously ill than other patients: three times as likely to suffer early diarrhoea, twice as likely to need intensive care and less likely to respond to a cocktail of anti-viral drugs and steroids. Even the medical staff infected by the Amoy Gardens patients were more seriously ill.
PG-rated democracy in Iraq
Hasan Abu Nimah, Electronic Iraq

The fears that prevailed during the prewar period, that the Americans and the British were rushing to war without planning what to do next, have been realised in their worst forms. Every day there are conflicting messages from Washington on what the intentions, let alone the plans, for Iraq may be; and they range from one extreme, of building major military bases all over Iraq for what clearly means a permanent neo-colonial American occupation, to another, of only staying until the Iraqis are able to choose their government, now that they are liberated from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. While the former scenario was denied, the latter could not be easily taken at face value amidst the ongoing mess.

Obviously, the confusion in Baghdad is a direct reflection of the continuing chaos in Washington, with two major government departments, the Pentagon and the State Department, presenting conflicting views on the handling and the future of "liberated" Iraq. Add to that the unravelling situation on the ground and revelations in Iraq about how the Iraqi people themselves view the American presence. They want to determine their own future free from tyranny but also free from foreign occupation.

The Americans seem to be falling in their own trap. Having loudly crowed about their noble intention of introducing democracy, not only in Iraq, but using an Iraqi model of democracy for the whole region, they find themselves right in front of a potentially dangerous form of democracy whose hidden power will first turn against them; not only against their delayed stay in Iraq, but against their sinister plans for the region as well.
Hall of Fame pitches a foul ball
By Monica Moorehead

"Everything is political," goes the popular saying. The brutal U.S. war followed by the occupation of Iraq has proven it again--this time in the area of baseball.

The president of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Dale Petrosky, canceled an April 26-27 showing of the 1988 movie "Bull Durham" at the organization's museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. The showing was to have marked the 15th anniversary of the critically acclaimed film.

Why was the film showing cancelled? Petrosky, a former assistant press secretary for President Ronald Reagan, could not tolerate the anti-war views of Tim Robbins. Robbins was scheduled to attend the showing with his companion and fellow actor, Susan Sarandon. Both had starring roles in the film and both are long-time progressive activists.

Petrosky was quoted as saying that Robbins's views "could put our troops in even more danger." Robbins stated that he was "dismayed" by the cancellation and added, "I had been unaware that baseball was a Republican sport." (New York Times, April 11)
Greens debate if -- and who -- they should run for president
by Dean Myerson, Political Coordinator

More often than they wish, Green organizers get asked who the party will
run in the 2004 presidential campaign or whether it will run a candidate
at all. While the midterm elections were still approaching, the answer
was usually: "ask me later."

But those elections have now passed, and Greens must start confronting
the daunting task of another national campaign: whether or not, and if
so, who?

There has recently been debate in the progressive press as to whether
the Green Party should run a candidate with the Republicans now in
control of Congress and the presidency. The 2000 convention had a
none-of-the-above option on the ballot, which could have been used if
Greens chose not to run. While the rules for the 2004 convention have
not been chosen yet, the same rule could be used.
Greens: Water Privatization is Theft
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "The world's water supply is being stolen," said Ben Manski, Wisconsin Green and co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. "While attention has focused on the invasion of Iraq and the economy, officials at local, national, and international levels are quietly transferring public ownership and control of fresh water over to powerful corporations."

Greens point to evidence of the devastating economic and ecological effects of water privatization: higher prices and more frequent billing; neglected infrastructure; increased use of concrete and steel in environmentally harmful dams and pipes instead of measures to conserve water; bribery of public officials and cronyism in the awarding of contracts; wasteful salaries and bonuses for water company execs.

"Public officials are handing control over fresh water to corporations with little public knowledge or comment," said Badili Jones, Georgia Green and also a national party co-chair. "This is a matter of theft, after generations of Americans and people in other countries worked hard to build public water services."
Media Snubs Blix, Kuchinch and Dixie Chicks
by Norman Solomon

Hans Blix, Dennis Kucinich and the Dixie Chicks are in very different lines of work -- but they're in the same line of fire from big media for the sin of strongly challenging the president's war agenda.

Let's start with Blix, who can get respectful coverage in American media -- unless he's criticizing the U.S. government. Belatedly, in mid-April, he went public with accusations that the Bush administration faked evidence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. And Blix declared that the United Nations -- not the U.S. government -- should deploy arms inspectors in Iraq now.

But presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer retorted: "I think it's unfortunate if Hans Blix would in any way criticize the United States at this juncture." The White House message was clear -- and it reached the media echo chamber.

So, on the April 22 edition of CNN's "Moneyline" program, host Lou Dobbs (with an American flag pin in his lapel) summed up a news report this way: "Blix appearing for all the world to look like a petulant U.N. bureaucrat about a month to go before his retirement."
US Greens to Santorum: Resign!
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Lavender Green Caucus of
the Green Party of the United States has called
for the removal of Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.)
from his leadership position in the Senate after
his recent remarks regarding the pending Supreme
Court decision on the Texas antisodomy law.

Sen. Santorum serves at chairman of the Senate
Republican Conference. Santorum in his remarks
equated homosexuality with incest, adultery, and
bestiality. The Lavender Green Caucus called on
the Republican Leadership to reject intolerance
and hate speech.

"We condemn not only the Senator's bigoted and
hateful equation of homosexuality with crimes
like incest, but also the heterosexist and narrow
definition of family that precipitated them,"
said W. Brandon Lacy Campos, chair of the
Lavender Green Caucus. "It is time that Rick
Santorum go the way of Trent Lott."
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