in Stories Reviewed in Prior Years
Green Fuel’s Dirty Secret
Researched by Julie Bickel
While corn based ethanol, promoted by the Bush administration as the “green fuel of the future” has been exposed as “one of the dirtiest forms of energy,” author Sasha Lilley further exposes the real drive behind corn based ethanol’s major role in Bush’s Biofuels Initiative. Archer Daniel Midland, the largest U.S. subsidized producer of corn and ethanol, and 10th worst corporate air polluter, is also a major financial contributor to both Republican and Democrat parties with an extremely successful pattern of lobbying congress. Government largesse for this inefficient and extremely environmentally destructive form of energy is thus secured as ADM writes and sets both State and Federal policy around coal, corn and ethanol.
“ Ethanol: The Dirty Truth,” Sasha Lilley, CorpWatch, 6/1/ 2006
Korean Farmers Fight US Base and FTA
Researched by Angela Purcaro
U.S. military and economic might in South Korea are being called into question as villagers launched a hunger strike to protest a U.S. military base expansion that would force them from their lands and farmers’ unions demonstrated in Seoul against a proposed free trade agreement. In Daechuri village, Pyongtaek, the land to be used for the expansion of the US base, up to 130 people were injured after 13,000 riot police and 3000 troops were deployed against 700 campaigners and farmers protesting against the eviction of their village. Meanwhile Korean and US unionists protest an FTA that would cause plummeting rice prices, resulting in massive bankruptcies and land dispossession for Koreans.
“ Korean Farmers Protest U.S. Base Expansion, Free Trade Agreement” Aaron
Glantz, OneWorld US, 5/8/2006
“ South Korea: Thousands of riot police in bloody eviction for US base” Amnesty International, 5/4/2006
Border for Sale
Researched by Mayra Madrigal
Five major military contractors are competing to privatize the U.S.-Mexican border using high technology. Boeing, Ericsson, Lockheed, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon are designing systems to tackle up to two million undocumented immigrants a year in the United States, ignoring many conditions fundamental to the immigration issue. At each checkpoint along the path to citizenship or deportation (from desert wilderness to urban labyrinth) private contractors will be hired to detect, apprehend, vet, detain, process, and potentially incarcerate or deport people seeking economic and human rights asylum in the U.S.
“ Border for Sale: Privatizing Immigration Control” Joseph Richey, Corpwatch 7/5/06
Update: “Boeing Team Awarded SBInet Contract by Department of Homeland Security,” September 21, 2006, http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2006/q3/060921a_nr.html
Lockheed’s High Altitude Spy Ships
Researched by Erik Jilburg
The U.S. government has hired private defense contractor Lockheed Martin to design and develop an enormous unmanned airship housed with high-resolution cameras to spy on Americans. The High Altitude Airship, or HAA, is designed to float 12 miles above the earth, far above planes and weather systems. The HAA will be 17 times the size of the Goodyear blimp and can watch over a circle of countryside 600 miles in diameter. That’s everything between Toledo and New York City. With 11 ordered, that could mean constant surveillance of every square inch of American soil.
“ Big Brother’s new toy: Another bloated gas bag watching you from the sky” James Renner, Cleveland Free Times 5/30/2006
No Hard Evidence Connecting Bin Laden to 9/11
Researched by Morgan Ulery
Osama bin Ladin’s role in the events of September 11, 2001 is not mentioned on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” notice. Go to: http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten/fugitives/fugitives.htm
Five years later Rex Tomb, chief of investigative publicity for the FBI explains, “The reason 9/11 is not mentioned on Osama bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11… He has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.” Among many questions, author Ed Haas starts with, “If the U.S. government does not have enough hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11, how is it possible that it had enough evidence to invade Afghanistan?”
“FBI says, ‘No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11” Paul V. Sheridan and Ed Haas, The Ithica Journal, 6/29/2006
IMF Criticizes US Health Care
Researched by Sandra Karnes
The U.S. government issued a barbed riposte after the IMF suggested that Washington institute health insurance for all Americans and balance its budget faster than planned. Speaking at the launch of the Outlook report, IMF chief economist Raghuram Rajan said that the United States was not always the poster child for the policies long advocated by the Fund.
“ In a globally competitive economy, it is very important you insure the individual, you have a safety net for the individual, because they’re at serious risk of losing their job and so on,” Mr. Rajan said, “Which means you have to have some form of universal health care. It is very, very hard, in this competitive economy, for 40-million-plus Americans to be uninsured, of which eight million are children.”
“ U.S. Tells IMF to Butt Out of Health Care Issue” Jitendra Joshi, Agence France Presse, 4/21/2006
New Jersey OKs 200 Contaminated School Sites
Reviewed by: Sandra Karnes
New Jersey government turns a blind eye to building schools on radioactive sites. A scheme to purchase land and build a high school on the highly contaminated former Manhattan Project site was not vetoed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Instead, the former uranium processing facility is one of as many as 200 contaminated sites that have been expedited for school construction under a secret “Memorandum of Understanding” between the DEP and the state’s Schools Construction Corporation (SCC). State officials have refused to disclose the list of all known contaminated school sites purchased by the SCC and reviewed by DEP under the Memorandum of Understanding agreement. The $8 billion program is one of the nations largest public works program.
“ Radioactive School Site is Tip of New Jersey Iceberg” PEER, 4/24/2006
Update: “New Jersey Leaves Door Open for More Schools on Toxic Sites,” PEER, 10/5/2006. http://www.peer.org/news/print_detail.php?row_id=762
People of Nigeria vs. Big Oil
Researched by Christy Baird
Rebelling against Western oil operations in the Niger Delta, The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) kidnapped nine employees of US oil services working for Royal Dutch Shell. Three of these hostages were held for five weeks in order to draw the attention of the United States and Britain to the demands of the impoverished inhabitants of the Niger Delta. Many Niger Delta residents, who have no electricity or running water, feel cheated out of the oil wealth by Western oil companies and the government of Nigeria, the world’s eighth largest crude producer. MEND threatens to continue attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta, where such unrest has cut Nigeria’s daily oil exports of 2.5 million barrels by more than 20 percent.
“ Nigeria: Delta militants free remaining foreign hostages, vow fresh attacks”.
UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 3/27/2006
World Wide Water Crisis
Researched by Michael B Januleski Jr
Worldwide water shortage, which leaves 1.1 billion people with no access to safe water and 2.6 billion people without basic sanitation, is steadily increasing. A newly released report from the UK relief and development agency Tearfund announces, “Governments are failing to tackle a crisis in which a child dies from dehydration from diarrhea every 14 seconds. Half the world’s hospital beds are taken up by people with water-borne diseases…6,000 children are dying every day from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water.” The $15 billion needed to meet the UN’s Millennium Development Goal to “halve by 2015 the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation” is, according to the report, “a small portion of the $100 billion that is spent each year on bottled water, mainly as a fashion accessory.” The New Yorker article sited below grapples with various controversial solutions to water distribution; from dams and desalination to agrarian reform and conservation.
“ Water crisis a main cause of mass suffering” Michael McCarthy, Independent UK, 3/22/06, Asheville Global Report, 3/26/06
“ The Last Drip” Michael Specter, The New Yorker, 10/16/06
Military Waste In Our Drinking Water
Researched by Julie Bickel
The U.S. military is poisoning the very citizens it is supposed to protect in the name of national security. Producing more hazardous waste annually than the five largest international chemical companies combined, U.S. military weaponry production generates over one-third of our nation’s toxic waste, and is one of the most widespread violators of environmental laws. In 2003 the Defense Department exempted the military from environmental laws, resulting in the pollution of our Nation’s air and water. Along with a host of toxic chemicals, metals and radioactive waste, trichloroethylene (TCE), a known carcinogen and the most widespread industrial contaminant in American drinking water, can be traced to the US Military. TCE is linked to kidney cancer, impaired neurological function, reproductive and developmental damage, and autoimmune disease. The Pentagon is responsible for the TCE contamination of over 1,400 properties.
“Military Waste In Our Drinking Water” Sunaura Taylor and Astra Taylor,
UN Ignores 500,000 Chernobyl Deaths
Reviewed by Mayra Madrigal
The United Nations has ignored evidence of deaths, cancers, and mutations after the Chernobyl accident. A series of reports suggest that at least 30,000 people are expected to die of cancers linked directly to severe radiation exposure in 1986 and up to 500,000 people may have already died as a result of the world’s worst environmental catastrophe. Yet the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency and World Heath Organization say that only 50 deaths can be directly attributed to the disaster, and that, at most, 4,000 people may eventually die from the accident on Apr. 26, 1986.
“ UN accused of Ignoring 500,000 Chernobyl deaths” John Vidal, Asheville Global Report, 3/30/2006
FCC Suppresses Locality Studies
Reviewed by Sandra Karnes
A lawyer with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reported that FCC managers ordered the destruction of the 2004 locality study. The study suggested that greater concentration of media ownership could hurt local TV news coverage. Also suppressed was a 2003 study documenting the intense concentration of ownership following the 1996 rewrite of telecommunications law that eliminated a 40-station nation-wide ownership cap. Conclusions of these reports are at odds with FCC arguments made when it voted in 2003 to increase the number of media outlets a company could own in a single market.
“ Lawyer Says FCC Ordered Study Destroyed,” John Dunbar, CommonDreams, 9/15/06 http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0915-01.htm
“ Senator Says Media Study Suppressed,” John Dunbar, CommonDreams, 9/19/06