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SARS And Bioterrorism; Green Testifies on Voting Reform

by Tompkins County Green Party Thursday, Apr. 24, 2003 at 3:03 AM

Green news and opion updated daily

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Iraqis See US Troops as Colonial Oppressors

US Greens: Overturn Sodomy Laws

Green runs for Mayor in New Paltz

Pentagon Targets Journalists For Death

Baghdad The Day After

Media Mistreats Progressive Black Leaders

SARS and the Bioweapon Menace

Kodak: NY's #1 Air Polluter

Globalizing Chinese Medicine

Testimony on Voting Reform

60's Anti-War Film Comes to Ithaca

War Tax Resister's Letter to IRS

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Iraqis See US Troops as Colonial Oppressors
Robert Fisk -- 17 April 2003

It's going wrong, faster than anyone could have imagined. The army of "liberation" has already turned into the army of occupation. The Shias are threatening to fight the Americans, to create their own war of "liberation".

At night on every one of the Shia Muslim barricades in Sadr City, there are 14 men with automatic rifles. Even the US Marines in Baghdad are talking of the insults being flung at them. "Go away! Get out of my face!" an American soldier screamed at an Iraqi trying to push towards the wire surrounding an infantry unit in the capital yesterday. I watched the man's face suffuse with rage. "God is Great! God is Great!" the Iraqi retorted.

"*censored* you!"

The Americans have now issued a "Message to the Citizens of Baghdad", a document as colonial in spirit as it is insensitive in tone. "Please avoid leaving your homes during the night hours after evening prayers and before the call to morning prayers," it tells the people of the city. "During this time, terrorist forces associated with the former regime of Saddam Hussein, as well as various criminal elements, are known to move through the area ... please do not leave your homes during this time. During all hours, please approach Coalition military positions with extreme caution ..."

So now – with neither electricity nor running water – the millions of Iraqis here are ordered to stay in their homes from dusk to dawn. Lockdown. It's a form of imprisonment. In their own country. Written by the command of the 1st US Marine Division, it's a curfew in all but name.


US Greens: Overturn Sodomy Laws
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Invoking the right to privacy and freedom from government intrusion, Greens called on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Bowers v. Hardwick, the 1987 decision that allowed states to criminalize sodomy. The Supreme Court is currently considering a challenge to the earlier decision.

"What consenting adults, regardless of sexual orientation, choose to do behind closed doors is private and does not hurt anyone," said Nathalie Paravicini, secretary of the Green Party of the United States. "The government has no right or justification to intrude into one's private life -- there is no more basic right than that of privacy. This is inherent in the Constitution's affirmation of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It's urgent now more than ever, in a time when civil liberties are under assault from all fronts by Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Bush Administration."

Starlene Rankin, the Lavender Greens Caucus' delegate to the party's national committee, noted that the Green Party platform embraces "the intimate choice of who we love."

"Greens include social justice, feminism, and respect for diversity among the party's Ten Key Values," said Rankin. "Thirteen states have refused to repeal antisodomy statutes. These laws have been used as an instrument of repression and denial of other rights and protections. They've been wielded arbitrarily against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and other Americans -- sometimes even against heterosexuals. It's time for the high court to wipe them off the books."


Green runs for Mayor in New Paltz
Our campaign for Mayor and Village Trustees is thundering through New Paltz politics. But to keep that momentum, we need money.

We've already printed and distributed over two thousand leaflets and registered over 250 new voters. We've turned out a hundred and fifty people to a benefit show (we had two stages and ten bands), and are in the process of printing six thousand more pieces of literature, getting our website up and running, and knocking on hundreds more doors in the last three weeks of the campaign.

If we can turn out five hundred voters for our slate on May 6th, the Green Party will have elected the Mayor of New Paltz and a majority of the New Paltz Village Board.


Pentagon Targets Journalists For Death
The Pentagon has held up its practice of "embedding" journalists with military units as proof of a new media-friendly policy. On April 8, however, U.S. military forces launched what appeared to be deliberate attacks on independent journalists covering the war, killing three and injuring four others.

In one incident, a U.S. tank fired an explosive shell at the Palestine Hotel, where most non-embedded international reporters in Baghdad are based. Two journalists, Taras Protsyuk of the British news agency Reuters and Jose Couso of the Spanish network Telecino, were killed; three other journalists were injured. The tank, which was parked nearby, appeared to carefully select its target, according to journalists in the hotel, raising and aiming its gun turret some two minutes before firing a single shell.

Journalists who witnessed the attack unequivocally rejected Pentagon claims that the tank had been fired on from the hotel. "I never heard a single shot coming from any of the area around here, certainly not from the hotel," David Chater of British Sky TV told Reuters (4/8/03). Footage shot by French TV recorded quiet in the area immediately before the attack (London Independent, 4/9/03).


Baghdad The Day After
Robert Fisk, 11 April 2003

It was the day of the looter. They trashed the German embassy and hurled the ambassador's desk into the yard. I rescued the European Union flag – flung into a puddle of water outside the visa section – as a mob of middle-aged men, women in chadors and screaming children rifled through the consul's office and hurled Mozart records and German history books from an upper window. The Slovakian embassy was broken into a few hours later.

At the headquarters of Unicef, which has been trying to save and improve the lives of millions of Iraqi children since the 1980s, an army of thieves stormed the building, throwing brand new photocopiers on top of each other and sending cascades of UN files on child diseases, pregnancy death rates and nutrition across the floors.

The Americans may think they have "liberated" Baghdad but the tens of thousands of thieves – they came in families and cruised the city in trucks and cars searching for booty – seem to have a different idea of what liberation means.

American control of the city is, at best, tenuous – a fact underlined after several marines were killed last night by a suicide bomber close to the square where a statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down on Wednesday, in the most staged photo-opportunity since Iwo Jima.


Media Mistreats Progressive Black Leaders
By Jacqueline Bacon

It is appropriate for reporters and pundits to challenge, criticize and disagree with public figures of all races; indeed, it is a central part of their jobs. At the same time, media commentators should avoid name-calling, stereotypes and other distractions from substantive discussion about ideas or proposals; represent people’s ideas and statements fairly; and portray their actions and beliefs accurately. Sadly, when it comes to African-American leaders who challenge the status quo, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton and professor and author Cornel West, these standards are frequently violated--including, in some cases, by African-American commentators.

Discussing these public figures on the opinion pages, critics often use demeaning terms, with some labels ridiculing these African-American spokespersons for seeking to be public figures in the first place. Jesse Jackson is a "publicity hound," declared Mickey Edwards of the Boston Herald (4/18/01) and Steve Barrett of the Chattanooga Times/Chattanooga Free Press (9/13/02). In a similar vein, the New York Observer (4/29/02) pronounced Cornel West a "publicity-loving con man." At times, more explicitly racial terms are used for ridicule, as when Rod Dreher of the National Review Online (1/4/02) pronounced West a "clownish minstrel." Such slurs do nothing to advance debate about these figures' ideas. Indeed, they serve to dismiss their message before any real consideration of the issues they raise.


SARS and the Bioweapon Menace
by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

In the weeks that the ‘allied forces’ were wreaking destruction and death in Iraq to hunt down Saddam Hussein and his elusive ‘weapons of mass destruction’, a SARS epidemic has been criss-crossing continents carried by air-passengers and spreading like molecular cluster bombs that explode to liberate further millions of infectious particles soon after a target is struck.

SARS – Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – is a completely new infectious disease spread by human contact, and kills about four percent of the victims. The epidemic originated in Guangdong Province, South China. The Chinese authority has admitted mishandling the crisis and to have been slow to inform its citizens.

The disease first struck last November. In March, Liu Jianlin, 64 year-old medical professor who was involved in treating patients, went from Guangdong to Hong Kong to attend a wedding. He was taken ill soon after arrival and admitted to hospital. He asked to be put into quarantine, but was ignored; nor did the hospital warn his contacts. As a result, nine guests in the hotel where he stayed caught the disease and carried it to Singapore, Canada, Vietnam and other hospitals in Hong Kong.

On 10 February, news of the disease was posted on ProMed, an international e-mail notification service for infectious diseases outbreaks. The next day, China informed the World Health Organisation (WHO), but refused to let the WHO team into Guangdong until early April. By 8 April, there were 2671 confirmed cases of SARS in 19 countries and 103 deaths.


Kodak: NY's #1 Air Polluter
Students and community members from across the country are gearing up to take part in the first ever National Day of Action for Clean Air at Kodak on April 23rd. We need YOUR help to make this a success by organizing an event in your local community outside of a drugstore chain that sells Kodak film.

Kodak is not only New York State's number one manufacturing polluter, but also one of the nation's top polluters of cancer-causing chemicals, including dioxin and methylene chloride. A recent report published by the US Public Interest Research Group found that Rochester, NY, home to Kodak experienced the greatest overall releases of cancer-causing chemicals between 1987-2000 due to Kodak's pollution. Kodak has a long history of environmental violations, contamination of the Rochester community, dumping of hazardous wastes in Kodak Park, and advocacy for the weakening of environmental regulations.


Globalizing Chinese Medicine
by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

The drug is China’s best-selling cancer treatment. There are perhaps a dozen others, but this is the first made from a staple.

The success of Kanglaite has spurred scientists in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to screen the 10 000 or so plants described in the Chinese herbal medicine literature for new drugs, as well as investigating the herbal remedies themselves.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has entered the political agenda. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa has laid out a ten year plan for making the city an "international centre for Chinese medicine". His government is currently funding 18 TCM research projects including clinical trials, developing quality standards and basic pharmacological studies. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust is equipping research labs and donating US million to get research started at a new Institute of Chinese Medicine.

Last year, Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian proposed spending US.5 billion over 5 years to develop the country’s Chinese medicinal herb industry, pending a detailed plan.

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has made the modernisation of TCM one of the 12 focal points in its current Five-Year Plan, and .6 million has been allocated to screening both conventional chemical compounds and medicinal herbs for potential drugs. "Screening [herbal remedies] is a way for China to try to catch up with Western countries in developing new drugs," said chemist Yang Xiuwei, director of the National Research Lab of Natural and Biomimetic Drugs at Beijing University of Medical Sciences


Testimony on Voting Reform
Testimony to State Assembly Hearing on Implementation of the "Helping America Vote Act".

My name is Mark Dunlea and I am Chairperson of the Green Party of New York State. The Green Party is the third largest party in the United States and pulled more than 240,000 votes in New York in the last Presidential election.

There are a number of issues that I would like to raise today, particularly the need to ensure that any voting machines that are purchased in New York are able to accommodate various forms of elections systems, including preferential voting. The Green Party is very concerned that the HAVA Task Force in New York is dominated by representatives of the two major parties and unlike other states, fails to include a broad representation of other political parties and community groups. Democracy in America has not been well-served by the machinations of the two party system. I would like to start by stating our support for the implementation of a statewide voting database. The Green Party was recently forced to spend months and a considerable expenditure of money and resources contacting county Board of Elections to create a statewide database of our own 30,000 plus enrolled Greens. It was an exercise in frustration. Every county maintains its own system. Trying to merge together data files with different field names, information, length, etc. was a logistical nightmare.

As someone who has helped run electoral campaigns in New York State over the last 20 years, it is clear that the dysfunctional and chaotic nature of the counties' voter enrollment databases is a conscious attempt to suppress democracy and to make it more difficult for incumbents to be challenged at the polls. What was unusual about the 2000 Presidential election in Florida was not that the system failed to work and disenfranchised so many voters, starting with people of color, but merely that the average person for once became aware of the problems.


60's Anti-War Film Comes to Ithaca
Independent Vermont filmmaker Jay Craven's new award-winning film "The Year That Trembled," (TYTT) will play at Ithaca's Fall's Creek Theater, starting Friday, April 25th. Writer-Director Jay Craven and composers Jeff Claus and Judy Hyman will attend the evening screenings on Saturday, April 26th.

Based on the novel by Scott Lax, "The Year That Trembled" is a 1970 coming-of-age story, set on the American "homefront" during the Vietnam War. Three teenagers, fresh out of high school and fearful of the impending draft lottery, experience a year that transforms their lives. They find themselves caught up in the anti-war upheaval at Kent State following a guerilla theater action. Later, they meet a young college activist who takes refuge at their summer farmhouse, hoping to sidestep an FBI investigation triggered by the Kent shootings. Next door, a young couple also struggle over war-related complications. She loses her high school teaching job. He launches a civil suit on behalf of the Kent State victims and struggles to decide about military service as he tries to follow in the footsteps of Bobby Kennedy. Confronted by the challenges of the War and the complexities of the counter-culture, no one emerges unscathed. Choices are made; emotional boundaries are transgressed; and innocence is lost.

Popular historian Howard Zinn (author of the best-selling People¹s History of the United States), adds, ""The Year That Trembled deals with matters that Hollywood won't touch, and gets people thinking about a dramatic piece of our history that has been largely forgotten. TYTT's young characters have their lives changed, and we get to know them up close -- their loves, their fears, their dreams. This is an unusual film."


War Tax Resister's Letter to IRS
I enclose this letter with my completed tax form as an explanation about why I cannot, in good conscience, pay the tax money that is demanded of me by the I.R.S. and the United States government--,494.00—for the 2002 tax year.

Approximately 14 years ago, I began—as a spiritual discipline, to monitor every penny that went in and out of my life. Out of this discipline, I have become increasingly aware that how I spend my money—as it symbolizes my life energy—is a very concrete _expression of my purpose and intent in this world.

I began to look at how some of the Federal tax dollars are used to fund projects and purposes of which I am in total disagreement with and which I don’t believe I can call my own. For instance, I believe that much of the land we Americans live on is, in fact, stolen land. I believe that some of the people living here are, in fact, descendants of stolen people who have not been adequately recompensed for their history of pain.

My principles dictate, as well, against the spending of my life energies for the express purpose of creating war. I cannot, in good faith, support the building and selling of weapons all around the world—often to dictatorial regimes—when there are so many starving children in the world. Many people in our very own country suffer for lack of adequate education, health care, housing, justice—way too much of our tax dollars, I believe, are going to uphold the interests of the wealthy.


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