Click. BUSH AIDES REJECT PRICE CAPS ON POWER.  Squeezing the population into facing another war for oil?


Click. Stealth Tactics, Moonies and the art of cynicism by Carla Binion. 


Click. AMERICANS: MEET YOUR FUTURE MASTERS:  The National Homeland Security Agency (NHSA).




Click. Covert action and political clout help Enron win contracts.

Click. Enron Alternatives in Thailand.

Click. Spies help sell cars, energy, planes and save the rain forest.


PG&E Co. failed to heed months of warnings that California's electricity market was in severe trouble, and now the giant utility's cash flow is nearly exhausted and its credit ruined, a state-ordered audit disclosed Tuesday. Click.




Click. Who Are The Fringe People?



by Kathryn Joanne Dixon



How the coup d'etat was accomplished.

by Martin Cannon.

by Mae Brussell

by John DiIulio Jr. & Stephen Goldsmith © 2001 UnderNews 1/30/01

[JOHN J. DIIULIO JR. AND STEPHEN GOLDSMITH, whom George Bush is placing in charge of his cash-for-Christ program, are senior fellows of the conservative Manhattan Institute and colleagues of Charles Murray, author of the notorious "Bell Curve." As we have pointed out, the problem with Bush's plan is not that religious organizations would get public funds for public services, but that Bush is crediting to these groups virtues that have far more to do with their community base than with their "faith base." By making an invidious distinction between religious and sectarian community groups, Bush would be in clear violation of the Constitution in a way that community-based programs coincidentally including religious groups would not be.]

* NY TIMES: For years, Mr. DiIulio, who taught at Princeton before the University of Pennsylvania, was known more for his work on criminal justice issues than on his interest in faith-based programs. He was among the voices loudly advocating increased prison construction in the early 1990's . . . Mr. Goldsmith, a former prosecutor, was a two-term mayor in Indianapolis who privatized everything from golf course construction to sewage treatment and showed an interest in revitalizing long-neglected inner-city neighborhoods . . . "There's a lot of respect for Stephen Goldsmith," said Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. "Many in the Jewish community know him and respect him, but any time you have a formal government endorsement of religion that this faith-based office conveys, that takes us down a path that too often in our history has turned out to be disastrous for religious freedom and religious tolerance."

* NORMAN SOLOMON: The Manhattan Institute was founded in 1978 by William Casey, who later became President Reagan's CIA director. Since then, the Institute's track record with authors has been notable. Funneling money from very conservative foundations, the Institute has sponsored many books by writers opposed to safety-net social programs and affirmative action. During the 1980s, the Institute's authors included George Gilder (Wealth and Poverty), Linda Chavez (Out of the Barrio) and Charles Murray (Losing Ground). Murray's Losing Ground -- a denunciation of social programs for the poor -- catapulted him to media stardom in 1984 . . . Along with ongoing subsidies from a number of large conservative foundations, the Manhattan Institute has gained funding from such corporate sources as the Chase Manhattan Bank, Citicorp, Time Warner, Procter & Gamble and State Farm Insurance, as well as the Lilly Endowment and philanthropic arms of American Express, Bristol-Myers Squibb, CIGNA and Merrill Lynch.

* MANHATTAN INSTITUTE: "Education and Welfare: Meeting the Challenge: A Message from CCI [a division of Manhattan Institute]Chairman, Mayor Stephen Goldsmith : . . . The conference brought together public officials like Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson and scholars like Dr. Charles Murray to discuss how governments and private groups have reduced dependency and increased self-sufficiency . . . Fifteen years after the Manhattan Institute published Charles Murray's landmark study of American welfare policy, "Losing Ground," the presentations showed that ideas once seen as radical now form the mainstream of the welfare debate."

* MARGARET SANGER IN A LETTER TO DR. CLARENCE GAMBLE, Dec 19, 1939: We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don't want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.

* VILLAGE VOICE, Aug 8, 2000: Absent in the sticky Philadelphia heat was the drumbeat of the fire-breathing, nay-saying Christian Right. In its place, singing the praises of the Jesus-influenced candidate and following a script laid out by the Manhattan Institute . . . The social scientists from the Manhattan Institute rolled out their charts and reported that kids who go to church in poor neighborhoods do fewer drugs and thus, churches, mosques, and synagogues "should be supported as uniquely qualified agencies of social control that matter a great deal in the lives of adolescents in America's most disorganized and impoverished communities." INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC ACCURACY

* PROGRESSIVE REVIEW, August 2000: Besides helping to make "faith-based" the politicians' favorite euphemism for 'religious,' the [Manhattan Institute] has fostered the notorious Charles Murray as well as one of George Bush's favorite writers, Michael Magnet, author of the 'The Dream and the Nightmare,' the latter being all those poor folks mucking up the place. In a review in the Texas Observer, Michael King wrote:

"Poor people are poor and nasty because they choose to be so, and any attempt by the community at large to ameliorate their unhappy circumstances is by definition counterproductive. And though he tap-dances around the subject in various statistical ways, the undeserving poor (a.k.a. the underclass), whom Magnet pities and despises in almost equal measures, are most specifically the black urban poor: those foul-mouthed, crack-smoking, baby-dropping, white-folks mugging, wild-running Caliban-caricatures of the suburban imagination, who refuse to work because they have learned (apparently from reading Norman Mailer, Michael Harrington, and R.D. Laing) that they can act crazy on street corners selling dope without fear of retribution while readily pocketing twenty grand a year on welfare.

"What are the solutions to this cultural catastrophe? Do nothing - only much more nothing. Scratch these neo-cons and one inevitably turns up Charles Murray (of Losing Ground and The Bell Curve), the "brilliant" sociologist who has concluded repeatedly that all welfare programs should be abolished because they do more harm than good (especially by allowing able-bodied mothers to stay home with their kids when they should be on the job market keeping wages down). Lately Murray has taken to saying the same thing about public education, since certain children are, well, ineducable. (We all know who they are.) Magnet suspects Murray is right, although he says he wouldn't go that far - the requisite political will is unfortunately lacking, and perhaps in the short-term, "casualties would be too great." He counsels instead the usual draconian measures to force welfare mothers (only the deserving widowed or divorced, of course) into the job market, although with surprisingly liberal provisions for day care and Head Start programs." [According to the Manhattan Institute, "Referring to this book, Gov. Bush has said, other than the Bible, that it was the most important book he had read..."]

The Manhattan Institute is obsessed with such matters. Eric Alterman, in the Nation, described another of its good works: "The great book of the New Right's assault on traditional forms of knowledge was Charles Murray's anti-welfare tract Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980 (1984) The Manhattan Institute inaugurated an extraordinary campaign to sell Murray to the public. Once the book was published, [MI President William Hammett] sent 700 copies to journalists, politicians and academics and hired a PR expert to turn the unknown author into a media celebrity. He paid journalists $500 to $1,500 each to participate in a seminar on Murray and his thought. The book itself proved to be the prototype of "The Bell Curve:" Murrayite ideology mixed with pseudo-science and killer public relations . . . Welfare causes poor (read "black") people to breed like bunnies, and "we" would be doing everyone a favor if we just stopped encouraging "them." "We tried to provide more for the poor, and we created more poor instead," as Murray argued . . . A decade later, Murray would undertake an even grander mission on behalf of his sponsors. It would be to make racism scientifically respectable. Murray's research was considered so controversial that this time the Manhattan Institute refused to have anything to do with him, and he was shunted off to the American Enterprise Institute."

New York artist-activist Robert Lederman [notes that] Hitler himself, while schmoozing with the Vatican in 1933, said, "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith . . . we need believing people." MANHATTAN INSTITUTE

by Terrance Gainer © 2001 UnderNews 1/30/01

THE WASHINGTON POST reports that DC's deputy police chief, Terrance Gainer, is under consideration for a top job at the BATF or DEA. Once again, however, the Post skimmed over the curious - some might say bizarre - story of how Gainer ended up as second in command of a police department in a town of 500,000 when he had been until then head of the state police in Illinois - 25 times larger than the capital.

Two possible explanations, the first being that he was brought in help lock down Washington DC after its federal takeover. He joined a fellow Chicago cop -- Chief Charles Ramsey -- as well as Odie Washington, former head of Illinois corrections (including the notorious supermax prisons) at a time when Congress and the Clinton White House were determined to make Washington safe for lawyers, lobbyists, and campaign contributors. Part of the socio-economic cleansing of the capital city - still underway - included draconian measures to discourage the minority poor from staying in DC. Some of these were fiscal -- such as a tax break for predominately white first-time homeowners but no breaks for the lower income blacks pushed out by them. But they also included a variety of punitive measures including new restrictions on jury trials, increased lock-ups such as for trivial traffic offenses, stiffer sentencing, soaring marijuana arrests, a halving of the number of court-appointed defense attorneys, increased penalties for pot possession, and the shipping of inmates to distant prisons. Basically, if you cheated the IRS out of $45 million you were in line for a presidential pardon; if you were guilty of a minor drug offense you might be sent off to a privatized gulag in New Mexico where your relatives and friends couldn't come visit you and the phone calls were too expensive. In addition Gainer and Ramsey have recruited ill-trained out-of-city officers used to treating lower income residents as suspects rather than citizens.

The most ugly side of Ramsey and Gainer's philosophy of policing was on full display during the April 16 anti-globalization demonstrations last year. The DC cops made 150% more arrests than in Seatle, illegally shut down the demonstrators' headquarters, intimated print shops into closing, made illegal sweep arrests, broke into homes of protesters, visited demonstration leaders and threatened arrests, and attacked the media including one Washington Post photographer who arrested and held for six hours. Over 100 square blocks were closed to the public, and arrestees were handled more abusively than at any other demonstration in the city's history. It has been a firm part of DC's tradition to treat visiting demonstrators not engaged in civil disobedience or violence with civility and non-violence. The two Chicago cowboys badly sullied the city's reputation by leading their force in a violent and unprofessional manner.

But it's not just demonstrators and minorities who resent it. The local Fraternal Order of Police gave Ramsey mostly F's for his leadership of the department. The Ramsey-Gainer police style -- based on the far cruder and more abusive traditions of Chicago, where one of the leading police histories is titled "To Serve and Collect," -- was unlike anything the capital has seen. There have been a few exceptions, such as notorious police riot of 1971, when local cops arrested 12,000 peaceful protesters in the largest mass arrest in American history. But on the whole, and especially under black police chiefs, the department has been more honestly and less abusively run than, say, those of Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and LA.

Chicago, for example, was the subject of a special report by Amnesty International in 1999 which reported abuses including the following:

- "There have been disturbing cases in which children have been held in police custody in Chicago and questioned about serious crimes outside the presence of their parents, attorney or youth officer."

- "There continue to be numerous complaints of suspects being brutalized by Chicago police officers . . . around 3,000 citizen complaints annually involving allegations of excessive force . . . Cases include people being beaten with flashlights, choked or hit while handcuffed, some resulting in serious injury or death. However, criminal prosecutions of officers accused of misconduct are extremely rare, even in cases where complaints have been sustained and substantial damages awarded.

- "Amnesty International is concerned that some police officers have shot unarmed suspects fleeing minor crime scenes or during routine traffic stops."

- "As elsewhere, a disproportionate number of the victims of wrongful police shootings (and other deaths in custody) in Chicago are members of ethnic or racial minorities, highlighting concern about the racial stereotyping of black people and other minorities as potential criminals. According to an analysis conducted by a Chicago journal, Chicago police shot dead 115 civilians between 1990 and 1998 of whom 82 were black, 16 were Latino, 2 were Asian and only 12 were white. The report also revealed that the 71 officer-involved shootings (fatal and nonfatal) by the Chicago Police Department in 1998 was the highest annual total in ten years."

Another explanation for Gainer's arrival in DC, reported to our DC readers last May, involved the case of Shirley Allen. On September 22, 1997, Shirley Allen's brother, accompanied by a local sheriff, arrived at the door of her Roby, IL home to take her to a hospital for a mental evaluation. According to the brother, Byron Dugger, Allen had become depressed, paranoiac, and delusional since her husband died in 1989. Allen met the pair with a 12-guage shotgun and insisted that Dugger was not her brother.

There then began a 39-day stand-off during which, according to Lois Romano in the Washington Post, "state police officials tried to lure out Allen with tactics reminiscent of the government's botched assault in 1993 on a religious compound near Waco, Tex. -- they cut off her electricity and water, tossed in a tear-gas grenade, pelted her with bean bag bullets and blared Barry Manilow at all hours.

"Allen shot at the police twice, and her plight became a rallying point for national anti-government activists who charged that Allen's rights were being violated." The national media descended on the tiny farming village of Roby. Police estimated that the siege cost taxpayers upwards of $20,000 a day -- or about half a million dollars."

Among the techniques: police "threw canisters of pepper spray into the house and sent in a police dog carrying a listening device. Allen shot the dog through the nose."

She eventually came out on her porch, was captured and taken to a hospital. The donnybrook had cost the state police twice as much as providing protection for the Democratic National Convention the previous year.

In an earlier article, Romano had recounted some of the reaction:

"Neighbors and outside observers question whether the police actions, designed to coax Allen out in her depressed state, might instead push her over the edge. 'The tactics are awful,' said John Snyder, a psychology professor at Southern Illinois University and a crisis-intervention expert. 'If she was paranoid before, she has a real reason to be paranoid now. You think people are out to get you, then you find out they really are. Whatever may have been wrong with her before is going to be more wrong now. They need to send in a mental health care professional -- not more police.'

A month and a half later, the State Journal Register reported: "A hearing was held in the Christian County Circuit Court on December 16,1997, in the case of Shirley Allen. At that hearing, a report was received from Dr. Bruce A. Feldman, a psychiatrist associated with the Christian County Mental Health Center, stating that Ms. Allen does not present a danger to herself or anyone else at this time and, therefore should not be committed. Based upon Dr. Feldman's report and Illinois law which provides for a person to remain at his residence pending an examination and hearing, Ms. Allen's attorneys, Lindsey E. Reese and William Conroy, requested that she be released during the pendency of the case. This request was granted without objection and Ms. Allen has been released from McFarland Mental Health Center as of noon." The Washington Post told this story as well.

Almost precisely 5 months later, the Washington Post reported that DC's police chief, Charles Ramsey planned to hire the director of the Illinois State Police as his assistant police chief. There was no mention, however, of Terrance Gainer's leading role in what the Post itself had described only months earlier as "reminiscent of the government's botched assault" on Waco.

Although the Post's latest story on Gainer raises new questions about his performance in the department, it continues to conceal information in its own archives, writing misleadingly of the Shirley Allen fiasco: "Perhaps the most difficult moment of his tenure was a standoff in 1997 between state troopers and a 51-year-old former nurse who locked herself in her home and held them at bay for 39 days. Gainer said that he was criticized for not storming the home but that his approach 'saved a life.'"

The Gainer story, however, was written by three reporters, under the headline "Ramsey's No. 2 Is Ranked No. 1 In Unpopularity: Police Resent Gainer's Role," and featured on the front page -- suggestive of high level dissatisfaction at the Post. Among the points the story makes:

- "All he did after he got here was hammer the department in the media," said Sgt. G.G. Neill, head of the DC branch of the Fraternal Order of Police. "I don't think he gave the public a correct picture of how things are handled in the department. And that crushes morale."

- Before an assemblage of top officers early in his tenure, Gainer told a district commander to "shut up," an outburst for which he apologized. "It shocked everyone in the meeting," said the commander, Lloyd Coward Jr., who has since left the department.

- Through a no-confidence vote, the FOP made clear that it wants Gainer out. An association representing lieutenants, captains and other top-rank officers has also denounced him, saying members have been "subjected to abusive and profane language, being belittled in public settings, being subjected to tirades when Assistant Chief Gainer was not pleased."

- Gainer is white; Ramsey and about 65 percent of the force are black. "What we have here is a black guy gets the job of chief of police, then he gets his white friend to go tell all the police officers what to do, and most of those police officers are black," said Ronald Hampton, president of the National Black Police Association and a former DC officer.

- In 1988, [Gainer] took a leave of absence to run as a Republican for Cook County state's attorney against a member of Chicago's political dynasty, Richard M. Daley. WASHINGTON POST

Who Are The Fringe People?
By Carla Binion © 2000

In Bush's inaugural speech, which he did not write, he spoke soaringly of our nation's fate being led by angels in whirlwinds (or was it sugarplum fairies?) and of including all Americans.  However, in an MSNBC interview aired the night before the inaugural, Bush dismissed the vast number of Americans opposed to Ashcroft and other Cabinet nominations, describing his opponents as "fringe people" (his exact words).

Who are the fringe people?  The term is vaguely scary, invoking images of wild, hairy Neanderthals, peering from caves with spooky intentions of rising up and doing heaven-knows-what to the agenda of the wealthy.

Bush became teary-eyed during the inaugural, but where are his tears for the millions of folks he and his media bulldogs routinely batter and malign, the so-called fringe?  His speech writers and think tanks put shimmering words of unity and love into his mouth, but the actual unspun Bush-brain lets slip his true prejudices.

Fringe is dictionary-defined as "a marginal or minor part," and "at the outer edge."  Bush and his mainstream media mouthpieces repeatedly describe all dissenting environmentalists, African-Americans, women's rights organizations and civil liberties groups as "far leftwing fringe."

Most Americans know that groups such as the Sierra Club, the NAACP, the National Organization for Women and People for the American Way are neither far leftwing nor fringe.  Most of us also realize that not all Americans opposed to the Bush appointees and agenda (your truly included, FYI) are members of any organized political group, far leftwing or otherwise.

In fact, the people in favor of environmental protection legislation, legal justice for minorities and women, and laws protecting civil liberties are the American mainstream.  Robert W. McChesney writes about the difference between the interests of the majority of Americans and the interests of the small minority of wealthy special interests represented by the likes of the Bush team.

McChesney is a media critic and a research professor in the Institute of Communications Research and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He says:

"The needs of the minuscule investor class can never be equated with the needs of the citizenry or with the foundations of a democracy."

Bush and Company would like us to believe they represent "the American people."  In fact, they represent only about one to five percent of the people.  The remainder of us are fringe.

Robert McChesney says of the miniscule ruling class, "some go so far as to present democracy as being defined first and foremost by individual freedoms to buy and sell property and the right to invest for profit.  That there is any distinction between those liberties and the democratic right to free speech, free press, and free assembly is dismissed categorically."

The Bush team and the mainstream media folks who promote their views, equate market rights with political freedom and capitalism with democracy, a correlation McChesney rightly calls absurd.  Many nations, McChesney notes, have protected market rights while "having little respect for any other civil liberties."

How does the Republican party, which exists to protect the financial interests of a small minority of Americans, convince ordinary working people to support their policies?  In a word: advertising.  In a less charitable word: propaganda.

The Republican party spends millions on campaign ads and takes advantage of free TV time to present itself as the party of "character."  As journalist Bill Greider says ("Who Will Tell The People," 1992), the Republican party "poses as the bulwark against unsettling modernity."

Republicans, says Greider, advertise themselves as defenders against "alien forces within society that threaten to overwhelm decent folk -- libertine sexual behavior, communists, criminals, people of color demanding more than they deserve."  In doing so, the Republican leadership pretends to care more about sexual behavior than they actually do, and they play on fears and prejudices regarding race and class.

Somehow Republicans also manage to convince their working class supporters that their tax cuts and other economic plans benefit average working folks. However, those cuts demonstrably shift the tax burden from the very wealthy onto the backs of lower and middle income Americans.

Rush Limbaugh and other media voices of rightwing outrage give Republicans a virtually non-stop propaganda vehicle.  However, the Limbaugh types are not the only media promoters of the economic interests of the wealthiest Americans.

In "Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy," journalist James Fallows writes: "Until about the mid-1960s, journalism was essentially a high working-class activity.  In big cities the typical reporter would make about as much as the typical cop."

Fallows says before the mid-60s, reporters often expressed "an instinctive pro-little guy outlook."  He quotes Washington Post correspondent Richard Harwood, "In the early times, we were not only describing the life of normal people, we were participating in it....Most of the reporters came from the lower middle class, which is where the readers and most of the subjects came from too."

Starting in the mid-1960s, newspapers began to hire better-educated, higher-paid reporters, and salaries of TV journalists moved into the multi-millions.  Fallows says we can not generalize about the media, since it "contains both Diane Sawyer, who is paid $7 million per year by ABC, and the reporter in Wichita who earns $24,000 (which is less than Sawyer gets per working day.)"

However, their economic climb means that many journalists identify with, and promote the interests of, the very wealthy.  The press, says Fallows, sympathized with NAFTA and GATT, trade treaties which benefited the wealthy but caused job losses for lower-income Americans.

Fallows quotes Charles Peters, editor of the Washington Monthly:

"It is a major problem that journalists have come to identify with the rich or upper middle class rather than with the poor.  It has a tremendous effect on what they're interested in reporting.  Because they are identifying up, their first thought is how the situation would look from the top rather than how it would look from the bottom," says Peters.

Is it any wonder we fringe people -- in reality, the vast majority of Americans -- and our concerns are all but invisible on mainstream TV news programs?  In "Unreliable Sources," (Carol Publishing Group, 1992) journalists Norman Solomon and Martin A. Lee say that the liberal media watchdog group FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) once did a forty month study of Ted Koppel's Nightline program.

FAIR viewed 865 programs with 2,498 guests.  A full 80 percent of Nightline's guests were professionals, government officials or corporate representatives.  Only five percent were public interest spokespeople, meaning, for example, environmental, peace or consumer advocates.  Fewer than two percent were labor leaders or members of racial/ethnic organizations.

When programs did address economic issues, "corporate representatives outnumbered labor spokespeople seven-to-one."  The FAIR study said that based on the 2,498 guests and the subject matter of the 865 programs:

"Nightline serves as an electronic soapbox from which white, male, elite representatives of the status quo can present their case.  Minorities, women, and those with challenging views are generally excluded."  Nightline is typical of TV news talk shows, including those on Fox, MSNBC, CNBC and CNN.

Robert McChesney lists subjects TV news talk shows fail to explore:

(1)  Military spending.  The U. S. spends billions on the military "for no publicly debated or accepted reason," says McChesney.  However, military spending serves the wealthiest Americans by providing lucrative corporate welfare.

(2)  The fact that "by 1998, discounting home ownership, the top 10 percent of the population claimed 76 percent of the nation's net worth, and more than half of that is accounted for by the richest 1 percent."

(3)  The fact that the rate of incarceration in the U. S. "has more than doubled since the late 1980s, and the United States now has five times more prisoners per capita than Canada and seven times more than Western Europe....Nearly 90 percent of prisoners are jailed for nonviolent offenses, often casualties of the so-called drug war."

This third media-neglected category merits a little extra attention. Corporate-owned prisons often force prisoners to work for little or no pay thus turning prisoners into virtual slave labor.  Around 50 percent of U. S. prisoners are African-American.

McChesney refers to attorney Barry Scheck's "Actual Innocence" (Doubleday, 2000.)  According the Scheck, DNA testing has overturned scores of convictions and has proved that significant numbers of prisoners are innocent.

Amnesty International "United States of America -- Rights for All," October 1998, reports that a significant number of wrongly convicted people have been released from prison over the past thirty years. (David McGowan, "Derailing Democracy: The America The Media Don't Want You To See," Common Courage Press, 2000.)

According to Robert McChesney, the U. S. is "rapidly approaching rates of incarceration associated with the likes of Hitler and Stalin."  The fact should concern civil liberties advocates, because our justice system is demonstrably stacked against the poor and is blind to corporate crime.

In 2000, says McChesney, a man received sixteen years in prison for stealing a Snickers candy bar.  However, four executives at Hoffman-LaRoche Ltd. were found guilty of trying to suppress and eliminate business competition in "what the Justice Department called perhaps the largest criminal antitrust conspiracy in history."  They received easily affordable fines and prison terms from three to four months.

Why does it matter to average working Americans that the military squanders our national fortune only to funnel billions toward corporate welfare?  Why is it important to fringe people that the George W. Bush team wants to divert the wealthy's tax burden onto average Americans in the name of a "tax cut?"

Why should ordinary citizens care that, according to the Atlantic Monthly ("The Prison-Industrial Complex," December 1998), "The United States now imprisons more people than any other country in the world -- perhaps half a million more than Communist China," and that the U. S. incarceration rate remained stable for the first three quarters of the last century until it began "doubling in the 1980s and then again in the 1990s."

We should care because, for example, the billions of our own tax dollars wasted on questionable military spending or funneled to the rich could instead be used to cure cancer or AIDS, provide the over 44 millions of uninsured Americans with health insurance, and otherwise improve the quality of life for average folks.

We should care because, as Robert McChesney points out, the rapidly growing corporate owned prison-industrial complex indicates human and civil liberties abuses of dimensions that "should be highly disturbing and the source of public debate."

George W's dad once accused his political opponent, Michael Dukakis, of being "a card carrying member of the ACLU," implying that Bush, Sr., saw the ACLU's defense of civil liberties as a marginal "commie" threat.  Evidently, George W. sees fringe people in much the same way.

When G. W. Bush speaks of angels and unity in one breath, and dismisses the actual American mainstream as fringe people in another, we should notice the forked tongue.  We wild, hairy Neanderthals, we scary fringe folk, should leap from our caves, shake our rattles toward the skies by creating our own news media, and give the miniscule investor class something to really be afraid of -- namely the simple raw truth.


Mercury News Washington Bureau WASHINGTON 1/21/01

One of the top energy advisers to President-elect George W. Bush, who  today becomes responsible for crucial decisions in how the federal government will deal with California's energy crisis, has a vested interest in how that crisis is resolved.

Ken Lay, chairman and outgoing CEO of Enron, one of the nation's biggest power marketers, has a long and close relationship with Bush. One of his largest political contributors, he helped raise more than $100,000 for Bush's presidential campaign. Those roles raise serious conflict-of-interest questions, according to public watchdog groups.

``There's no secret he has the ear of the president,'' said Larry Makinson, a senior fellow at the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics. He described Lay as ``the ultimate insider'' on energy and in particular electricity deregulation -- the root of California's current problem.

``Energy deregulation is one of the foundations of the business plan for Enron,'' he said. ``They want it nationally, and Ken Lay has been one of the company's prime movers in this area.

''In addition to potentially boosting the fortunes of his company, Lay stands to make significant gains personally if Enron benefits from the resolution of California's energy woes. His declared holdings in the Houston-based company's stock are 2.9 million shares, valued at $205 million when the market closed Friday.

Bush already appears to have followed Lay's lead on one aspect of California's severe energy problem.

On Thursday, Bush for the first time said he opposed caps on wholesale power prices in the West, the same position that Lay has long stated. California Gov. Gray Davis has pressed federal regulators for such caps as energy prices have soared. 


The public rarely sees Marvin P. Bush, brother of President Bush II. 

Marvin P. Bush is the founder (1993) and Managing Partner of Winston Partners Group of Vienna, Virginia. It's a private investment company. He is also the Managing General Partner of Winston Growth Fund, LLP; Winston International Growth Fund, LP; Winston Small Cap Growth Fund, LP; all related companies.

Before this, he spent 12 years in the investment business with the firms of Mosley, Hallgarten, Estabrook and Weeden, Shearson Lehman Brothers, and John Stewart Darrel & Company.

In January, 1998, Marvin Bush was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Fresh Del Monte Produce company, the giant fruit company (major product bananas) that makes the canned goods we buy in our markets. Del Monte is owned by a very wealthy family from Kuwait, the Abu-Ghazaleh family. Mohammed Abu-Ghazaleh is the CEO and he has several family members on the Board alongside Marvin Bush. Another member of the Fresh Del Monte Board of Directors is Stephen Way, who is a major Bush fundraiser. Way is the head of the Houston-based HCC Insurance Holdings Company. In early 2000, Stephen Way acquired the appointment of Marvin Bush to the Board of Directors of HCC. In that transaction, Bush not only landed a very large salary, but a sweet stock option deal. He purchased about $130,000 worth of HCC stock which is now valued at close to $600,000, not even one year later.

Marvin Bush is also on the Board of Directors of something called the Kerrco Company.

Marvin also was named to the Board of Directors of the Stratesec Company, another large publicly-traded firm. This company is very secretive and you can find virtually nothing about it.  Their website does not allow entry to several links unless one has a password. Virginia-based Stratesec is a provider of high-tech security systems. Two of the major customers for which they provide security are the Dulles International Airport at Washington, D.C. and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Stratesec's revenues recently went up by 60%, due to what the company describes as "new customers" Prominent people at Stratesec also include former Reagan operatives including Barry McDaniel and Air Force General James A. Abrahamson (who was involved in the Reagan "Star Wars" project). Stratesec is a company is heavily inter-related with the Kuwam Corporation ("Kuw" = Kuwait; "am" = America). Kuwam is a major Kuwaiti Company into many, many activities including the aircraft business. Stratesec's Chief Executive is also the Managing Director of Kuwam Corporation and Kuwam's Chairman Mishal Yousef Saud Al Sabah sits on Stratesec's Board of Directors. Stratesec is providing the primary security for one of the most sensitive airports in the world. Dulles in D.C., has a heavy middle eastern airline connection.


WASHINGTON--There are some things humanity cannot get used to without jeopardizing its humanness--without becoming beastly. Creeping toward us, as on little cat feet--little monkey feet, actually--is perhaps the gravest imaginable crisis, one that could result in the end of history as a distinctively human, and humane, story. Recently a rhesus monkey named ANDi (``inserted DNA,'' backwards) became the first genetically altered primate ever created. Created, not begotten; the result of manufacture, not procreation. There is a world of difference. Humans are primates. We are next. Or at any rate, we are in line for genetic ``enhancement.''

Not until ANDi reaches sexual maturity will scientists know if the jellyfish gene inserted into his genetic makeup--a gene which seems to be in all his tissues--is in his reproductive cells and will be passed along, making possible a man-made line of primates. But such an outcome is just a matter of time. So, probably, is the maximum genetic transfer--human cloning.

Let us stipulate that genetic manipulations can yield therapeutic blessings. Genetically altered animals can illuminate causes and possible cures or ameliorations of many diseases. Genetic manipulations in humans can be therapeutic for diseases, even injuries (e.g., to spinal cords), and will make possible research clarifying the roles of nature and nurture in shaping human beings.

Enhancement is not therapy, it is eugenics. Genetic selection--the negative eugenics of preventing certain traits in children--is already common, through genetic screening and amniocentesis. However, at least negative eugenics is supposed to serve an existing norm of health. But positive eugenics, any tailoring of an individual's genetic endowment, even when less ambitious than cloning, will put us on a slippery slope to the abolition of man. Leon Kass, a biologist and ethicist with the University of Chicago, explains why in his essay ``The Wisdom of Repugnance.''

Genetic manipulation extends the belief that all children should be wanted--a principle justifying abortion--to embrace the belief that children, to be acceptable, should, in their genetic traits, satisfy our wants for their identities. Eugenics exemplifies the modern project--to control the future, including the imposition of our design on our children, while our autonomy remains uncontrolled. A casualty of this project is, Kass says, the awe and respect for life arising from ``the unique, never-to-be-repeated character of each human life.''

When parents stop saying (in Kass' words) ``yes to the emergence of new life in its novelty,'' when they stop saying yes to whatever the child turns out to be, then the meaning of having a child, and the parent-child relation, will be profoundly altered, with consequences that are unforeseeable but cannot be benign. When parents can preselect their child's genetic constitution, procreation will become manufacture, children will become artifacts, identity and individuality will become confused, and parents will become despots.

Hubris and narcissism will color even the well-intentioned transformation of a child--for its ``own good''--from an unscripted surprise into someone's artifice or project. And there is a fundamental threat to humanity in the reduction of another being to an extension of a person's will. There must be a despotism of the enhancer over the enhanced, a despotism that would not be justified even if the enhancement really were an improvement. It would condemn a child to never achieving true independence from its parents.

It is, Kass says, ``moral myopia'' to think that all values must yield to the goals of better health and desirable traits. A cost of such yielding can be the reduction of man to the status of just another man-made thing.

But such warnings may be overwhelmed by what Kass calls ``the technological imperative''--whatever science can do, will be done. That imperative seems irresistible because today's moral vocabulary is so impoverished that society can hardly even formulate good intentions. Part of that vocabulary is desiccated utilitarianism that weighs only tangible harms and benefits: If something reduces an individual's suffering or improves an individual's well-being, it should be done. Another part is simplistic libertarianism--anything consensual should be permissible and anything that expands choices is good.

But it is not good, Kass insists, if human nature becomes just the last part of nature turned into raw material for human willfulness. ANDi is an intimation that nuclear explosions are not the only way science can end the human story. Biology might do that more gradually than physics can, but no less decisively, and even more repugnantly.

Oakland Tribune 2/3/01 FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Western governors' efforts to speak with a single voice to the Bush administration about an enhanced federal role to stabilize the region's energy crisis fell flat Friday, as the new president's top energy appointees -- and some of the governors themselves -- rejected the notion of imposing temporary controls on wholesale electricity prices.

Convening a one-day summit meeting to outline a regional strategy to attack a problem that has caused consumer power rates to skyrocket in some areas of the West, the governors left town somewhat divided and with no assurance of help from Washington, D.C.

"I'm very disappointed by the secretary's statement that the administration does not support even temporary, quick price caps," said Gary Locke, the Democratic governor of Washington state. "They're really leaving all the people of the western United States out in the cold and on their own for many years.

"I think it's really saying we're all on our own and that citizens and businesses are going to have to continue living with high energy prices for the next several years," said Locke. "I believe this is going to grow and spread across America. We need action from the federal government."

Locke said the crisis is draining more than $1 billion out of the Northwest economy with "energy costs that simply cannot be justified."

"It's devastating our economy," he said.

Consumer groups said the federal government should help impose wholesale price caps.

"It is not fair to ask consumers to pay higher prices at a time when power generators and wholesalers are racking up inordinate profits," said Adam Goldberg, a policy analyst for the Consumers Union in Washington.

Gov. Gray Davis, meanwhile, announced that he has issued an executive order seizing a group of inexpensive energy contracts from the California Power Exchange.

The contracts between Southern California Edison and various power sellers provide for electricity at prices Davis, a Democrat, said were "substantially below" what the state is now paying on the spot market. The exchange had threatened to sell them because Edison failed to make payments it owed.

"I am using my emergency powers to seize options to buy very inexpensive power that would otherwise be lost forever," Davis said. "These options will provide reliable power through the end of the year. It is important to protect these contracts for the people of California."

The power exchange said it will transfer Edison's contracts to the state, but argued that the state is required to pay a "reasonable value" for them.

Thus, the exchange intends to charge the state about $229 a megawatt hour -- a price more than seven times the average cost of power in 1999. Doing so would net more than $651 million for the exchange to pay its creditors -- much more than Edison would have paid for the power.

"We're trying to get the suppliers paid that supplied Edison's energy," said power exchange spokeswoman Beth Pendexter.

Tom Williams, a spokesman for Duke Energy -- one of the companies to whom the exchange owes money, said the governor's order "clearly may be a bump in the road in our being paid what we're ultimately owed in California, but it certainly doesn't weaken our resolve to do what we need to do to be paid." He said Duke has $400 million in unpaid bills in California.

PG&E will be in a similar situation Monday, as the Power Exchange plans to ask a Superior Court judge to allow it to sell $610 million in long-term contracts. A restraining order prohibiting the exchange from doing so expires Monday.

John Tremayne, a spokesman for PG&E, said the contracts provide for power at rates that are much cheaper than market price. He said the company does not want them to be sold.

"We would like the long-term power contracts to remain a benefit to our customers," he said.

On the federal front, a majority of the Western governors, including Locke and Davis, have sought a temporary control on the prices that wholesale energy generators can charge utility companies. They say the cap, which would allow generators to recover their costs plus a reasonable profit, would stabilize the market until long-term fixes, such as increased generating capacity and conservation efforts, take hold.

Those wholesale prices have spiked tremendously in recent months, resulting in record profits for the generators and blackouts and financial peril for utility companies in California, where the rates that utilities can charge customers are capped. In other parts of the West without retail price caps, customers have seen rates balloon by up to 50 percent.

Some governors, including Oregon's John Kitzhaber and Washington's Locke, both Democrats, said a federal cap on soaring wholesale electricity rates would prevent utilities from passing on higher prices to customers.

"Many utilities have increased their rates at incomprehensible percentages which allows a transfer of wealth from the citizens of the West to energy marketers with no assurance of future supply stability," Kitzhaber said.

But Curt Hebert, the Bush-appointed chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that oversees wholesale energy producers, said temporary caps would act as a disincentive to both conservation efforts and construction of new power-generating plants.

He released a report by the commission staff that rejects the notion that power generators have manipulated the market in California by taking plants off-line. To the contrary, Hebert said, the report showed that plants have run at "historic highs" to meet demand in California and elsewhere. "There is no evidence that there were planned outages to manipulate prices," Hebert said.

The price caps the governors are seeking, Hebert said, "are completely contrary to everything the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is trying to do."

Not only would caps discourage investors from building new power plants, they would discourage power buyers from leaving the volatile spot market in favor of signing long-term contracts for power, as California is about to do, he said.

U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham repeated the Bush administration's reluctance to intervene in short-term solutions to the energy crisis, particularly price caps. He said he and Bush had "serious concerns" about the concept.

"At a time when demand is a very serious challenge for us, this summer anything that puts disincentives in place that would work against reducing demand has to be looked at very closely," he said.

Abraham said the administration had no plans to investigate possible price gouging by power generators and marketers.

Davis won praise at the summit for California's new law to allow the state to sign long-term power contracts and sell an estimated $10 billion in bonds to underwrite the purchases. But other governors and some summit participants said higher retail prices are inevitable for California ratepayers, a notion Davis rejects. The fact that rates have risen elsewhere, but not permanently in California, was a clear undercurrent at the summit.

Davis brandished the bill he signed in Sacramento on Thursday that would allow the state to buy power in long-term contracts to try to stabilize the electricity market. He vowed to his fellow governors that California would move at "warp speed" to build new power plants -- after more than a decade in which not a single major plant had been built in the state -- and he managed to defuse some of the anger directed at him and his state with his elaborate description of the major conservation measures he said California was undertaking.

"I'm doing my part," Davis, a Democrat, told fellow governors, federal officials, tribal leaders and hundreds of energy executives gathered in a ballroom at the Portland Hilton. "My office is so dark you can almost develop film in the office," he said.

"I go to bed looking like I'm going to work out," Davis said. "Heavy sweatshirt on, heavy sweat pants. We're doing our part."

The California conservation plan, intended to reduce demand by up to 20 percent, includes a mandatory provision for retail businesses to curb their outdoor lighting and take other measures to cut power consumption.

Abraham, who was sworn into office barely a week ago, praised the electricity bill passed in Sacramento and signed immediately into law by Davis, and in fact cited it and the conservation measures in explaining why he did not believe significant federal intervention in the electricity crisis, including price controls, was needed right now.

"I think Governor Davis proved that California can stand on its own with the actions they've already taken," Abraham, who was named to the Bush cabinet after he was defeated for re-election to his U.S. Senate seat from Michigan, said at a news conference just before departing for Washington, D.C. "They've made the progress they said they would make, and I commend them."

Despite his opposition to price caps, Abraham said he was open to more suggestions from the governors, and he noted that President Bush had convened a task force on the electricity problem, chaired by Vice President Dick Cheney.

The other governors came with horror stories about rate hikes their constituents have suffered. Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer, a Republican, said one woman on a $600-a-month fixed income recently got a $500 electricity bill for one month. The Bonneville Power Authority, which provides about half the power in the Pacific Northwest, has warned of 50 percent rate increases that could trickle down to consumers.

One of the 13 principles adopted by the governors urges states to adopt rates "that send more accurate price signals to consumers" to encourage conservation.

The governors did agree Friday on a number of both short- and long-term strategies to help ease the crisis, including boosting conservation rates, in part by exploring ways of billing consumers to encourage significant reductions of electricity use during peak demand hours, which is when the rolling blackouts that have hit California are most likely to be imposed. And they pledged to work on speeding the construction of new power plants. But John Kitzhaber, D-Ore., pushed for extensive expansion of conservation efforts, warning against simply trying to "dig, drill and burn" its way out of a crisis.

STAFF WRITER Alan Zibel contributed to this report.


Stealth tactics, Moonies and the art of cynicism
by Carla Binion © 2001

From Bob Dylan's "Man of Peace"

"Look out your window, baby.
There's a scene you'll like to catch. A band is playin' Dixie.
A man's got his hand outstretched. Could be the fuhrer,
Could be the local priest. Sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace." 

You do not need to subscribe to any orthodox religion or believe in "Satan" other than symbolically in order to appreciate the Dylan lyrics and see how they might apply to the political scene today.  Effective activists have always advised the American people not to settle for peace at any price if they want improved social conditions, but to instead do as African-American activist Frederick Douglass once suggested and "agitate, agitate, agitate."

Today, as George W. Bush reaches out to woo church groups and senate Democrats and put them into a virtual trance of peace and bipartisan harmony, it seems that maybe he picked up a tip from his dad's longtime supporter, Rev. Sun Myung Moon.  Moonies practice a technique they call "love bombing." One former Moonie (Barbara Underwood, "Hostage to Heaven," Clarkson N. Potter, 1979) defines love bombing as a "persistent psychological effort to disarm a skeptical recruit by showering him with excessive attention and love" in order to win him over. We have all heard the old aphorisms, "kill your opponent with kindness," and "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."  Bush now takes political schmoozing to unprecedented heights, but for what ultimate purpose?

Bush's White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is reaching out to churches to encourage church-based social service programs, a move reporter Bruce Shapiro (Salon, 2/1/01) describes as building a political "patronage machine."  G. W. is also reaching out to Democrats, and has invited members of the Kennedy family to the White House to watch a movie about the Cuban missile crisis.

Today, Friday 2/2/01, Bush visited the opening of a Senate Democratic retreat, telling the senators, "Some may think I'm naive to rid the system of rancor, but that's my intent."  Naive is not the description that leaps to mind.  The term "opportunistic stealth tactic" seems more appropriate.

What will be the next Bush co-opting gesture?   A little back rub to go with that movie popcorn? Singing inspirational agape-style love songs on the Senate floor?

The halls of government have been used for more worthwhile purposes in the past.  For example, when a scandal broke in 1976 involving Sun Myung Moon, an eventual political backer of President George H. W. Bush, then-U. S. Rep. Donald Fraser (D-MN) headed the congressional committee investigating the scandal.

Frasier noted that among Moonies any objection to Moon, who repeatedly refers to himself as "the Messiah," and his clandestine political activity in the U.S. was considered "infidelity to Master and was like being disobedient to God." (Fraser Report, p. 320.)  George H. W. Bush was Director of the CIA at the time the Koreagate scandal broke.

According to Robert Boettcher, staff director of the Fraser committee, (Boettcher, "Gifts of Deceit: Sun Myung Moon, Tongsun Park and the Korean Scandal," Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1980), Koreagate involved a congressional investigation into the following:

(1) Moonies allegedly acting as unregistered agents of a foreign intelligence service, the Korean CIA. 

(2) Moon's alleged violation of laws on taxes, banking, charity fraud, and arms export control. 

(3)  Moon's allegedly being secretly paid by the Korean CIA  to disrupt an official visit of the Prime Minister of Japan. 

(4) Moon's allegedly smuggling large amounts of money into the U. S. and allegedly smuggling in hundreds of aliens under the guise of his "students" in order to put them to work in his businesses. 

(5) Moon's allegedly negotiating, as an unregistered agent of the Korean government, for the manufacture and export of M-16 rifles.

6) Moon's allegedly infiltrating offices of Senators and Congressmen with covert agents who reported details of personal lives for Moon's card file. 

(7) Moon's allegedly at one time refusing to answer questions about the above activities before a subcommittee of Congress. 

(8)  Moon's minion, Bo Hi Pak's allegedly collecting $1 million from Americans under the guise of a "Children's Relief Fund," and then using 93 percent of the money to pay public relations people ... and a wide variety of other charges.

Robert Boettcher interviewed a number of ex-Moonies and reported to the Fraser committee.  He said in "Gifts of Deceit" that the Moon organization frequently lied to people in order to recruit them and allegedly held some people against their will.

Boettcher said, "Some former members recall Nazi films on organizing Hitler Youth were shown as examples to [church] leaders.  Nothing was more important than developing a cadre of strong leaders totally subservient to his will."

Years after the Fraser committee hearings, the Hitler Youth fan and alleged perpetrator of widespread fraud, Rev. Moon, was busy courting his willing love bomb target-of-choice, George H. W. Bush.  Moon's American Freedom Coalition held pro-Gulf-war rallies to show support for Bush's "Desert Storm," including one rally of 400 Moonies at the Statue of Liberty. ("Pro-War Rally Near Lady Liberty: 'Let Freedom Ring' 400 Activists Told," Bergen County Record, February 10, 1991.)

How bad does a bad guy have to be before a politician such as George H. W. Bush  will shun him?  Is Moon, the megalomaniacal alleged perpetrator of fraud, target of a congressional investigation, and subscriber to Hitler's coercive techniques, not sufficiently unsavory that Bush would decline his financial contributions, speaking engagement invitations, and fake-grassroots support at political rallies?

Do some of our politicians unconsciously fear that they and all of their colleagues are six degrees of Beelzebub anyway, therefore no evil is evil enough to bother shunning?

Again, you would not have to go along with orthodox religion in order to raise questions about, and differentiate between, good and evil and the shades of gray in between, when it comes to Moon's alleged crimes and Bush's embrace of Moon.  Non-religious philosophers have pondered those questions throughout the world's history, and that kind of philosophical inquiry cannot always be simplistically written off as "demonizing" a political opponent.

The criticism of Moon is not about his religious views, but is instead about his alleged criminal activity.  Are tax evasion and fraud good, evil, or somewhere in between?  Is recruiting for any organization (religious or otherwise) by using Nazi films about Hitler Youth good, evil or in between?

Is collecting $1 million from Americans under false "charitable" pretenses and then funneling the money toward advertising good, evil or in between?  Is holding people against their will good, evil or in between?  A society that can't be bothered to ask questions such as these, and think clearly enough to distinguish between simple discretion and mindless demonizing, has clearly lost its way.

Frederick Clarkson notes that in 1995, George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush spoke at a series of rallies hosted by Rev. Moon's wife's organization, Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP.)  The New York Times ran reports on the Bush speeches (Andrew Pollack, "Bush Host in Japan Tied to Rev. Moon," September 4, 1995; Pollack, "Bushes Speak at Tokyo Rally of Group Linked to Moon Church, The New York Times, September 15, 1995), as did the Washington Post.

Despite the fact that George H. W. Bush was CIA Director during the congressional investigation of Moon and during that period handled sensitive government matters related to the U. S. and Korea, Bush denied knowing there was any connection between the WFWP and Moon's Unification Church.  The Washington Post reported that Bush's fee for speaking at one Moon rally was to remain secret.  (Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan "Moon Group Paying Bush for Speeches," The Washington Post, September 6, 1995.)

The problem with these secret fees and other clandestine activities, is that when it comes to the Bush family, what you see is not always what you get. The public front is one of calm good will, but the public record reveals that what happens behind the scenes is often another matter.

For example, George W. Bush campaign adviser Ralph Reed, once defended his Christian Coalition colleagues for fronting "stealth candidates" -- meaning, politicians running on secular issues but hiding their religious-right agendas.

Reed told the Los Angeles Times (March 22, 1992,) that when it comes to stealth tactics: "It's like guerilla warfare.  If you reveal your location, all it does is allow your opponent to improve his artillery bearings.  It's better to move quietly, with stealth, under cover of night."

Reed continued, "You've got two choices:  You can wear cammies [camouflage] and shimmy along on your belly, or you can put on a red coat and stand up for everyone to see."  Reed spoke about stealth tactics in an earlier interview with the Virginian-Pilot, 9/9/91, saying, "I want to be invisible.  I paint my face and travel at night.  You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag.  You don't know until election night."

According to Frederick Clarkson, the Federal Election Commission filed a lawsuit in 1996, charging that the Christian Coalition illegally assisted the campaigns of George H. W. Bush, Jesse Helms, Newt Gingrich and Oliver North. The FEC cited a Ralph Reed speech suggesting the Montana Christian Coalition heed the advice of Sun Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher and author of the classic, "The Art of War."

Reed said, "The first strategy and in many ways the most important strategy for evangelicals is secrecy.  Sun Tzu says that's what you have to do to be effective at war and that's essentially what we're involved in, we're involved in a war.  It's not a war fought with bullets, it's a war fought with ballots."  (Clarkson's source: Joseph L. Conn, "Judgement Day," Church and State, September, 1996

Does it not concern the congress people cozying up to George W. that he chose the stealthy Ralph Reed as a campaign adviser?  Do stealth tactics and Bush's claim he is making a "naive" attempt to "rid the system of rancor" go hand-in-hand?

Is it any wonder some of these same congress folk have never opened another congressional investigation similar to that of the Fraser committee's, only this time focusing on Rev. Moon's inordinate political support of George H. W. Bush?  If members of congress are easily mesmerized into "peace" by George W's tummy rubs, free popcorn, and talk of naivete, how likely are they to shine a light on any Bush family scandal -- no matter how dark it may be, and no matter how much bringing it to light might serve the general public?

Members of congress have not always been so easy to lull into compliance. Frederick Clarkson reports that in 1983, Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA), then chair of the moderate Republican Ripon Society, spoke about the political alliance between Rev. Moon and party conservatives.  Leach said, "A political movement basing its appeal on old fashioned patriotism and family values simply cannot justify an alliance with a cult that preys on the disintegration of the American family and advocates allegiance to an international social order operating with cell-like secrecy." (Ripon Forum, January, 1983.)

However, today when faced with being love bombed into an ethical stupor, and possibly having one's political policies snuggled to death by Ralph Reed style stealth tactics, what is a congressperson to do?

Dear congressfolk and church members being schmoozed by Bush, here are some ideas worth thinking about.  There is nothing wrong with Sun Tzu's Art of War.  In fact, Democrats might benefit from studying and applying it.

It should also be noted there is a chance Bush might have good intentions. However, even a cursory examination of his outward behavior, including his choice of stealth campaign adviser Reed, and his family's history of CIA-type secrecy and general friendliness to a tyrant such as Moon would seem to belie that idea.

It might also be useful to brush up on the art of cynicism.  Cynicism has acquired a bad name among the folks who get a boost from keeping the public passive, naive and easy to manipulate; but it is not a bad quality to have when we are faced with corrupt political leaders.  Here are some closing thoughts on the subject:


(1) Comedian Lily Tomlin has said, "I worry no matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

(How do you perfect the art of cynicism? -- The same way the old adage says you get to Carnegie Hall:  Practice, practice, practice.)

(2) Social critic, author and educator Noam Chomsky has said, "It's very hard to get to the point where you can even discuss alternatives [to a corrupt political system] until you first peel away layer after layer of myth and illusion."

(3)  In the movie "Broadcast News," comedian Albert Brooks's character told Holly Hunter, tongue-in-cheek, that William Hurt's character, a glib, no-nothing newscaster, was in fact Satan.  Brooks said that if Satan came around (symbolically, of course), he would not come in an obvious way, wearing horns, a red cape and a fierce scowl, but would instead present himself as a charming guy willing to slowly lower society's standards.

Again, symbolically, here is something else Bob Dylan said about his proverbial Man of Peace:

"He's got a good gift of gab.
He's got a harmonious tongue.
He knows every song of love that ever has been sung.
But intentions can be evil./Both hands can be full of grease.
Sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace."

AMERICANS: MEET YOUR FUTURE MASTERS:  The National Homeland Security Agency (NRSA)

Excerpt from the:

"Road Map for National Security: Imperative for Change, The Phase III Report of the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, January 31, 2001":

Securing the National Homeland

The combination of unconventional weapons proliferation with the persistence of international terrorism will end the relative invulnerability of the U.S. homeland to catastrophic attack. A direct attack against American citizens on American soil is likely over the next quarter century. The risk is not only death and destruction but also a demoralization that could undermine U.S. global leadership. In the face of this threat, our nation has no coherent or integrated governmental structures.

We therefore recommend the creation of a new independent National Homeland Security Agency (NHSA) with responsibility for planning, coordinating, and integrating various U.S. government activities involved in homeland security. NHSA would be built upon the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with the three organizations currently on the front line of border security -- the Coast Guard, the Customs Service, and the Border Patrol -- transferred to it. NHSA would not only protect American lives, but also assume responsibility for overseeing the protection of the nation's critical infrastructure, including information technology.

The NHSA Director would have Cabinet status and would be a statutory advisor to the National Security Council. The legal foundation for the National Homeland Security Agency would rest firmly within the array of Constitutional guarantees for civil liberties. The observance of these guarantees in the event of a national security emergency would be safeguarded by NHSA's interagency coordinating activities-which would include the Department of Justice-as we] I as by its conduct of advance exercises.

The potentially catastrophic nature of homeland attacks necessitates our being prepared to use the tremendous resources of the Department of Defense (DoD). Therefore, the department needs to pay far more attention to this mission in the future. We recommend that a new office of Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security be created to oversee the various DoD activities and ensure that the necessary resources are made available.

New priorities also need to be set for the U.S. armed forces in light of the threat to the homeland. We urge, in particular, that the National Guard be given homeland security as a primary mission, as the U.S. Constitution itself ordains. The National Guard should be reorganized, trained, and equipped to undertake that mission.

Finally, we recommend that Congress reorganize itself to accommodate this Executive Branch realignment, and that it also form a special select committee for homeland security to provide Congressional support and oversight in this critical area.



Washington, DC (Gil Christner © February 2, 2001) -- John Ashcroft, fresh from being sworn in as Attorney General of the United States, celebrated his hard-won victory by inviting all his friends over for one of his now-famous "self-anointings," which included many bottles of Crisco Oil.

Ashcroft, who detailed in his 1998 book "Lessons From A Father To A Son" how, as a good Christian, he would "anoint" himself with Crisco Oil after winning a senatorial term or governorship, declared "Let the anointing begin!" at his luxurious Washington town home last night.

Over 15 cases of Crisco Oil were delivered to the town home early last week on orders from Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS).  "It was a done deal from the start," said Lott, drinking a stiff cocktail of Crisco and Johnny Walker Red.  "We actually put the grocery bill on Tom Daschle's tab, ha ha."

Many of Ashcroft's friends were there, including the 8 democratic senators who voted for his confirmation as Attorney General.  Russ Feingold (D-WI) said he was especially happy to be invited to the party, as he bent over, patiently waiting for a lubed-up Ashcroft to "deliver me from evil." 

"We know what John is going to do to the country," said Feingold, smiling.  "We might as well get started, one democrat at a time!" 

President George W. Bush, also in attendance, mistakenly brought a quart of Quaker State Motor Oil.  "Somebody mentioned a lube job," the President said.  "I'm still the President, right?"

  First posted by Bush Brothers Banana Republic at


In a letter, sent yesterday, to San Francisco District Attorney Terrence Hallinan, attorney Robert Noel stated that the Diane Whipple, deceased, whose neck was torn out by his attack dog, was involved with her "domestic partner" in an attempt to help his female landlord and her "domestic partner" in a legal battle with the landlord.  Who's fooling who here?  "Domestic partner" is a San Francisco slang phrase for "gay".  Mr. Noel and his wife were having a dispute with their gay neighbors -- and perhaps they just didn't like them too much.  Just days before the fatal attack, Mr. Noel adopted a 36-year-old man who is a member of Aryan Nations and resides in Pelican Bay prison, supposedly California's high-tech total security prison for the worst offenders.  This convict trained the attack dogs in a private business he was running on the side out of Pelican Bay.  It is well known that drug dealers pay high prices for attack dogs who protect them to the death.  It is also well known that Aryan Nations hates gay people. 

Those who read history remember too well, the Klansmen of the South, using dogs on leashes to look for Black people in the night, and then yelling "sic 'em" and letting the dog "accidentally" loose to maim or kill a Black person.  Mr. Noel, in his letter, showing his cold, it not hateful, ideation, blames the victim Diane Whipple, stating such absurdities, as she was provoking the dog by not running into her apartment from the hall way where she stood unlocking her door with one hand and with a bag of groceries in one hand, and that she took "steroids" and wore cologne, and that she poked his wife in the eye as his wife, also an attorney who adopted the Aryan Nations con, attempted three times to pull the leashed dog off Ms. Whipple.  Will the investigation of the case dig deep enough into Mom and Pop and their Aryan Nation middle-aged son, the lucrative Pelican Bay attack dog business, and the "hate" aspects of this case?  Stay tuned....


SLAIN COACH SAID THE DOG HAD BITTEN HER EARLIER. The St. Mary's College coach who was killed by a dog last week told her roommate she had been bitten by the same dog two weeks earlier and showed her the bite mark on her hand, officials said Wednesday. Click.

Click. Whipple's friends focus on recalling her life .  A memorial Mass for Diane Whipple, women's lacrosse coach at St. Mary's College in Moraga, will begin at 7 tonight in the campus chapel.


Janet Coumbs spoke to ABC7's Eric Thomas about violent warning signs from the dogs. (ABC7)

— "There's a woman dead, that really upsets me."

Janet Coumbs says there were signs that some of the eight canary dogs she was raising could be dangerous. She kept the dogs and some farm animals at her rural home outside the tiny Trinity County town of Hayfork.

"They killed my sheep, they killed my chickens...mostly it was Hera," says Coumbs.

Hera (seen here) — a 113-pound Presa Canario — is currently in custody of animal control while authorities try to decide whether she should be destroyed. Hera was one of two dogs that attacked and killed 33-year-old Diane Whipple (seen below) in the hallway of her Pacific Heights apartment building.

ABC7's Eric Thomas: "Did you raise them to be aggressive?"

Janet Coumbs: "No, no."

Coumbs says she was given the dogs by two men — Paul Schneider and Dale Betches — both inmates at the maximum security Pelican Bay prison and both certified members of the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist group.

"I met them through a friend who said the Christian thing to do was to visit those that are in prison and so I offered to do that."

Coumbs says she didn't know they belonged to a racist group and she says she wasn't aware of allegations that the men were using associates on the outside to raise the dogs on behalf of drug dealers who wanted some canine security.

Coumbs says the men told her she could have the dogs and sell the puppies to raise money. But, apparently they had other ideas.

Another associate filed suit to gain possession of them — represented by lawyers Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller — the people listed as the owners at the time of the deadly attack. And Coumbs says they were warned about the dangerous behavior.

"The lawyers were told that Hera...I thought...should have been put down before they left my property because they showed aggression just through the fence."

A hearing to decide the fate of the other dog Hera is set to take place in two weeks.

The district attorney's office says it could be three weeks before a decision will be made on whether charges will be filed against the owners

Click, Attorneys Adopt Felon Who Ran Dog Fighting Ring

Click. Dog Owner Unable To Explain Attack

Click. Donations for dog attack victim Diane Whipple

Covert action and political clout help Enron win contracts 
By Pratap Chatterjee © 2001

WASHINGTON, Jul 31 (IPS) - What links Enron, the largest natural gas company in the United States, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Pentagon and the fast-growing energy markets of developing countries around the world?

 If you said covert intelligence operations to support Washington's aggressive pursuit of emerging markets and a network of ''good old boys'' who have long helped each other in and out of government, you probably got it right.

 Consider the facts. Houston-based Enron was the one of the first companies to bag lucrative new deals to build private energy projects in both the Philippines and India.

One of the Filipino deals was to take over a power plant from the Pentagon, the popular name for the U.S. Defense Department. Enron also bagged two other projects to build power plants in the country.

The Indian deal was clinched with the help of the CIA which provided Enron and U.S. government officials with key data on the risks of the project and strategies of possible competitors, according to published accounts.

''A number of U.S. government agencies worked on helping Enron in the Department of Commerce's new advocacy center. Several of them told me that the CIA had helped them get information, but the Commerce people themselves would not talk about it,'' David Sanger of the New York Times told IPS.

Curiously enough, the most senior U.S. diplomat in both countries when the deals were negotiated was the same, Frank G. Wisner. He served as ambassador to the Philippines from 1991 well into 1992. He has presided over the U.S.  Embassy in New Delhi since last August.

Enron agrees that the ambassador helped it in the final stages of the Indian deal but says it had no contact with him in Manila.

''Enron officials paid a courtesy call on the embassy in Manila, but ...did not meet Wisner until his arrival in India. The U.S. government's assistance for the trip to India was to prepare for (Commerce Secretary) Ron Brown's trip. You must remember that we had been negotiating in India two years before Wisner or Brown arrived,'' says Diane Bazelides, Enron's chief spokesperson.

Enron struck a deal to manage a 28-megawatt power plant in Subic Bay, formerly the largest U.S. military base in the region, shortly after Wisner left Manila in July 1992. Enron took over the plant in January, 1993, two months after the last U.S. troops left the base.

''The U.S. embassy staff produced an excellent report on how U.S. business could win contracts in the former base. They had an edge because they knew it so well,'' recalls a senior staffer at the Filipino embassy in Washington.

Wisner spent a lot of time after arriving in New Delhi last year helping Enron win a 2.8-billion-dollar deal to build a 2,015-megawatt power plant near the southwestern coastal town of Dhabol, close to Bombay. The deal is now under heavy fire for being over-priced. Allegations of bribery are rife.

''If anybody asked the CIA to help promote U.S. business in India, it was probably Frank. That's his style - take action rather than wait for somebody else to make a decision,'' a former Wisner staffer told IPS.

In recent weeks, newspaper reports have claimed that CIA support for U.S.  business abroad is now an official priority. On Monday, for example, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Clinton administration has issued a set of rules for the CIA to engage in ''economic espionage'' in keeping with the new, geo-economic mindset of U.S. foreign policy.

''The idea is that an ambassador can call on a chief of station (the top CIA official in a foreign country) to find out who will take the key decisions on the bid, information on competitors, any possible corruption on the part of foreign companies,'' a former US ambassador told IPS.

Wisner is himself long acquainted with the CIA and its capabilities. His father was one of its architects and served as a top official there from just after its creation in 1947 until just before his suicide in 1965.

As such, he helped oversee the toppling of the Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz for United Fruit company, a family-owned U.S. business, in 1954.  He also was involved in the 1953 overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq who had threatened to nationalize U.S. and British oil interests, and in secret operations against Indonesian President Sukarno in the mid-1950s.

Wisner, Jr. has not been associated with anything quite so dramatic, but he has gone out of his way to promote both U.S. business and military policy.  Before his posting to New Delhi, Wisner held the number three position at the Pentagon. During his stint there, Washington actively courted the Indian military.

Help from such powerful sources in the elite and secret worlds of this city are commonplace for Kenneth Lay, the chief executive officer and founder of Enron, who started the company soon after quitting the Federal Power Commission, a now defunct government agency here.

Lay had worked in the Pentagon during the Vietnam war, when Richard Nixon was president. An economics PhD, his work got him noticed at the senior echelons of the administration.

''Lay understands how government works. He knows who cuts the deals and he makes sure that he knows people in the right places,'' says a Houston journalist who asked not to be named.

Lay, whose posh River Oaks home in Houston is a few kms from the Tanglewood residence of George Bush, is a close friend of the former president. Although Bush himself has never been accused of doing favors for Lay, three of his sons have allegedly used their father's name to try and win contracts for Enron.

Neil and Marvin Bush were named in an article in the New Yorker magazine by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh as having tried to influence Kuwaiti officials in favor of an Enron bid to rebuild Shuaiba North, a power plant destroyed in the Persian Gulf war. Enron abandoned the bid a year ago.

In 1988, George W. Bush, another of the Bush sons who is now governor of Texas, reportedly telephoned Rodolfo Terragno, Argentina's Public Works Minister, to ask him to award Enron a contract to build a pipeline from Chile to Argentina.

''He assumed that the fact he was the son of the president would exert influence. I felt pressured. It was not proper for him to make that kind of call,'' Terragno recently told The Nation weekly magazine. Enron ultimately won the bid under the next government, headed up by Carlos Menem, another Bush friend.

In 1987, Neil Bush, a director of the failed Silverado Banking, Savings and Loan Association, which made millions of dollars in high-risk loan, created a subsidiary of his oil company to conduct business in Argentina. The activities of the two Bush children in Argentina prompted a par-parliamentary inquiry in that country.

''None of Bush's sons have worked for Enron. I don't know why people keep bringing up these old stories,'' says Bazelides.

Two weeks ago, the head of Enron Development Corporation denied at in a press conference in Bombay an IPS report that Enron used political clout to swing deals. ''Enron's reputation is being attacked, and we do not do business under the table,'' said Rebecca Mark.

But Enron officials acknowledge that the company used James Baker, Bush's Secretary of State, and Robert Mosbacher, his Commerce Secretary as consultants. Also on the Enron payroll is Thomas Kelly, director of operations for the Pentagon during the Gulf War.

Another powerful Enron contact is Wendy Gramm, who joined Enron's board of directors in 1993 after resigning as chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) here. Previously, she was a senior staffer in the White House for former President Ronald Reagan.

In late 1992 Gramm began proceedings to remove energy futures, a highly specialized financial instrument, from government regulation, based on a petition from Enron and other energy companies. She resigned her job just before the commission agreed to the petition. Today a tenth of Enron's profits are derived from playing this financial market.

''Former associates say that Gramm would not be the first CFTC member to go through Washington's revolving door to work for a company that has issues before the agency,'' Jerry Knight, a Washington Post journalist who tracks these markets, told IPS.

India State Reviews The Fate of U.S. Power Project From Abhijit Dutta Date: 1995/07/19 
 Iowa Computer Aided Engineering Network, University of Iowa newsgroups: 

New Delhi: The fate of the biggest U-S investment in India now lies before a state government panel that could decide to scrap the deal, worth nearly three billion dollars.  The controversy surrounding the Enron power project in the western state, Maharashtra.

At issue is whether a consortium of U-S companies -- lead by Houston-based Enron development corporation -- should be allowed to continue building a two-point-eight billion dollar power plant in western India.

But also at stake is investor confidence in energy-starved India, which has only begun to open the power sector to foreign capital.

A Maharashtra state cabinet subcommittee has presented a report on the Enron project to the state's leader:  Chief minister Manohar Joshi. the report remains secret, but government sources say it recommends canceling the Enron deal.

Mr. Joshi will not speculate about what will happen.  He says the report must be reviewed by the full cabinet.  He says the cabinet could accept or reject its recommendations.  No date has been set for final action.  Meanwhile, Mr. Joshi says construction can continue at the project site on the Arabian sea south of Bombay.

Critics of the project complain Enron got a sweetheart deal (special favors) last year from the previous Maharashtra state administration, which was headed by Sharad Pawar -- a senior member of the Indian Congress party of prime minister P-V Narasimha Rao.

Critics say there was no competitive bidding and New Delhi eased the risk by guaranteeing Enron would be paid, in case Maharashtra defaulted.  Indian officials also slashed red tape (bureaucratic procedures) and put the deal on a fast-track (speeded up the deal) to showcase their commitment to economic reform.

Along the way, some critics suspect kickbacks (bribes) were paid.  But Enron officials bristle (stiffen with anger) at those suggestions and no  evidence has surfaced to substantiate them.

U-S ambassador to India Frank Wisner says the U-S government is convinced Enron violated no laws and did not engage in corrupt practices.

If Maharashtra cancels the Enron deal, ambassador Wisner says India may have trouble getting the money it needs to finance such huge infrastructure projects.  It has been estimated India needs to spend at least 43 billion dollars (140 thousand crore rupees) on new power plants.

The Indian news magazine "India Today" agrees there could be a financial squeeze, if the Enron deal is cancelled without compelling reasons.  As the magazine puts it:  "It may act as a major deterrent, just when India is desperately looking for money to fund its economic development."

The above article was provided by Alex Constantine's Political Conspiracy Research Bin:

By Praful Bidwai
© Times of India July 11, 1995

Geneva: As the world moves towards new and holistic strategies of buying power from private producers while balancing the price with criteria such as location, environmental safety and consumer interest, India remains stuck in a primitive groove where opaque, case-by-case, individually negotiated deals a la Enron prevail.

Thailand is the latest instance of the evolution of regulation in the power sector towards greater sophistication. On June 30, no fewer than 30 international and domestic groups submitted competitive bids to generate 4,400 MW of power (6 times the capacity of Enron's Dabhol project). This was way beyond official expectations, according to The Financial Times.

Egat, Thailand's electricity authority, will evaluate the bids in two phases. First, it will score each proposal not just for the price of power, but from such diverse criteria as location, financial feasibility, type of fuel, and environmental safety. Price will only account for 60% of the score.

This will greatly extend the scope of the regulation strategy for power purchase agreements (PPAs) followed worldwide. This typically uses four criteria: assured return on investment; the concept of 'delivered price'; 'avoided cost' or the marginal cost of generation in existing utilities; and finally, a fixed price at which the electricity will be purchased.

Further, in the second phase, Egat will negotiate more delicate issues with the short listed corporations: how much cost escalation is to be allowed for rising fuel prices? How certain is the fuel supply"? How flexible the fuel mix? (Thailand, like India, has limited supply of gas). Who will bear the cost of changes in environmental regulation? The successful bidders will be chosen through this procedure....

The capital cost quoted for the Egat tenders for both gas and coal-fired plants, are about $1.02 million per MW. This is 25% lower than the capital cost of the Dabhol plant. According to a Thai govt source here, the unit cost of generation works out to under 6 US cents a kw-hour, against Enron's 7.5 cents.

The Dabhol capital cost is the highest among all projects Enron negotiated worldwide in 1994: 51% higher than in China, 35 to 42% than in Indonesia, 26% than in the Dominican Republic, and 19% than in Turkey.

Costs apart, our effort is to ensure that the PPA conforms to our needs, uses domestic suppliers wherever possible, and has the maximum macro-economic spin-offs e.g. balanced regional growth, the Thai official says. "We badly need power, but we will drive the best bargain to get it. We seek a political commitment from the investor too."

Unlike India, Thailand, according to the official, has learnt from other countries like the Philippines, Malaysia (which recently signed two gas plant agreements at a 44% lower cost than Dabhol and China.

The Thai model is more sophisticated than most others, including that of the US and UK. These, in turn, are vastly superior to the Enron type..

The above article was provided by Alex Constantine's Political Conspiracy Research Bin:

Spies help sell cars, energy, planes and save the rain forest 
By Pratap Chatterjee
© 2001

WASHINGTON, Jul 31 (IPS) - Raytheon, a U.S. company based in Massachusetts, won a 1.4 billion dollar contract from Brazil last July to set up a satellite surveillance system to monitor the destruction of the rain forest.

The deal was clinched after President Bill Clinton made a  special appeal on behalf of the manufacturer to the Brazilian  government. U.S. officials also helpfully pointed out that  Thompson CSF, a French company and Raytheon's main rival in the  bid, had bribed local officials.

''Our agents were tipped off about the bribes. We don't think that bribery is a fair way to do business, especially because our laws don't allow us to do that,'' William Colby, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief, told IPS.

Earlier in the year the French were also outsmarted in their  bid to win a six-billion-dollar deal to modernize Saudia, the  Saudia Arabian airline, by the same combination -- CIA information  on French bribes followed up by a personal letter from Clinton.

In March 1994, the Saudi government awarded the contract to the U.S. consortium of McDonnell Douglas and Boeing. The French-led Airbus consortium was left out in the cold.

Last week the Los Angeles Times, quoting anonymous CIA sources, announced that CIA help for U.S. business was now official policy.

This is in keeping with the priority the administration has placed on helping U.S. business abroad. It also benefits the CIA which has been trying to justify its post-Cold War existence.

Clinton, according to the Times article, was particularly  pleased with the role of the CIA in putting together a daily tip  sheet for the U.S. National Economic Council about the Japanese negotiating position in the recent U.S.-Japan spat over cars.

Other examples have been reported although never confirmed. In September 1993, Clinton reportedly asked the CIA to spy on Japanese plans to build a zero-emission vehicle and provide its intelligence to the Big Three U.S. car manufacturers -- Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.

Unlike some of these companies, who probably welcome the CIA help, the French are unhappy. They struck back in February when five U.S. citizens were accused of trying to bribe French government and corporate officials to obtain French technology and trade secrets.

Pamela Harriman, the Washington's ambassador to France, was summoned to the office of Charles Pasqua, the French interior minister, to be reprimanded. Four of the suspects were asked to leave the country. (The fifth had left already.)

But this has not deterred the CIA. The same month the New York Times described how agency officers supplied information to the Department of Commerce to help Enron, the largest natural gas company in the United States, win a contract to build a power plant in Dhabol, India.

Enron was not happy with this publicity. ''We cringed when we  saw the article that described the CIA's role. They never gave us  any information. For the most part, we have always had more information than the U.S. government,'' says Joseph Hillings, Enron's vice president for federal government affairs.

Enron may indeed have obtained more information, but the CIA is anxious to toot its own horn.

At recent Congressional hearings, the agency claimed that it  has helped U.S. businesses win 30 billion dollars in contracts.  This figure is quoted by U.S. foreign service officers, who are enthusiastic about the program..

''The thinking now is that our ambassadors should be able to request the local station chief to get information on key contracts -- information about possible competitors, about any illegal activities such as bribery,'' a State Department source told IPS.

Old CIA hands are not quite so enthusiastic. ''I'm not sure  that it's such a good idea. What if two U.S. companies are bidding  for the same project? Whom do you favor?'' argues Colby, who now advises large multinational corporations.

McDonnell Douglas and Raytheon are very close to the U.S. government. The two companies are the second and seventh largest recipients of federal contracts. They won a total of 18.1 billion dollars worth of business from the government in 1993.

Both companies have also always had close ties to the CIA and  the U.S. military because of the very nature of their business -- more than half of their sales are for war-related activities. Many of their senior officials have worked for either the Pentagon or the CIA at some point in their careers.

But the argument that these companies are decent, law-abiding citizens that need help in competing against unfair foreign business practices is questionable.

In October 1993, Raytheon agreed to pay 3.7 million dollars to the Pentagon to settle charges that it had overcharged the government for Patriot missiles.

In August 1992, Raytheon paid out 2.75 million dollars for overcharging on test equipment for Sparrow, Seasparrow and Sidewinder missiles, and in March 1990 it paid a million dollars for illegal trading in confidential Pentagon documents.

Proponents of CIA cooperation with companies cite the use of foreign intelligence services to help their business.

For example, the French used their intelligence services in the 1970s to obtain U.S. and Soviet plans to sell fighter aircraft to India. Armed with this information, Mirage of France, won a huge contract from India.

The CIA's role in helping U.S. business is not new. In 1954 the CIA orchestrated the overthrow of the democratically elected government led by Jacobo Arbenz to help United Fruit, a family- owned U.S. business, protect its interests in the Central American nation.

In 1953, it moved successfully against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq when he threatened to nationalize British and U.S. oil investments.

It also worked unsuccessfully with telecommunications giant ITT to try to prevent the election of Chilean President Salvador Allende Gossens in 1970.

U.S. companies have also assisted the CIA in the past,  sometimes by permitting it to plant agents among its personnel  abroad and volunteering briefings to the CIA's National Collection  Division on information collected overseas.

The Paris-based Le Monde newspaper claim that the CIA has 30 of the 80 CIA agents in France operate under ''non-official cover.''

The above article was provided by Alex Constantine's Political Conspiracy Research Bin:


Mercury News Washington Bureau WASHINGTON 1/21/01

One of the top energy advisers to President-elect George W. Bush, who  today becomes responsible for crucial decisions in how the federal government will deal with California's energ