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March 29, 2003
From Daniel McGrory in Umm Qasr
THE US Marines have suffered an embarrassment with reports last night that one of their most prized investigators may have defected.
Takoma, the Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphin, had been in Iraq for 48 hours when he went missing on his first operation to snoop out mines.
His handler, Petty Officer Taylor Whitaker, had proudly showed off Takoma's skills and told how the 22-year-old dolphin was among the most pampered creatures in the American military.
Takoma and his fellow mine hunters have a special diet, regular medical checks and their own sleeping quarters, which is more than can be said for the vast majority of the military whose domestic arrangements are basic, to say the least.
The wayward Takoma set out on the first mission with his comrade, Makai, watched by the cameras as the pair of dolphins somersaulted over the inflatable dinghy carrying their handlers.
Takoma's role was to sweep the way clear for the arrival of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Sir Galahad. US officials had said that dolphins, first used in Vietnam, were a far better bet than all the technology on board the flotilla of ships.
Petty Officer Whitaker had tempted fate by saying: "Why would they go missing when they have the best food and daily spruce-ups and health checks?" Two hours later Takoma had gone Awol. "Twenty-four hours is not unusual," a nervous Petty Officer Whitaker said. "After all, he may meet some local company."
Takoma has now been missing for 48 hours and the solitary figure of Petty Officer Whitaker could be seen yesterday patting the water, calling his name and offering his favourite fish, but there was no response.
03/31/03: Court: Man Can Bark at Police Dog
AP - Feature Stories
Mon Mar 31, 6:22 AM ET
ATHENS, Ohio - A man was using his free speech rights when he barked back at a police dog, a state appeals court has ruled.
The 4th Ohio District Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of charges against a man who answered the barks of Pepsie in this southeast Ohio city in September 2001.
Jeremy Gilchrist, then 21, encountered the dog, which was in a police cruiser, as he walked along a street with friends.
His attorney said he was trying to be funny when he barked back.
"The mere fact that the police dog had commenced the barking did not entitle it to a solo performance," attorney Patrick McGee wrote in the appeal.
State law makes it illegal to taunt, torment or hit a police dog or horse. Officer Krishea Osborne testified that Gilchrist's barking made the dog "work himself up into a frenzy."
However, Athens County Municipal Judge Douglas Bennett threw out the charges last June, saying the law violated the right to free speech. The appeals court agreed Wednesday.
Bennett also said Gilchrist wasn't a threat to the animal or public safety because he was 30 feet away from the cruiser.
City Prosecutor Lisa Eliason argued in the appeal that taunting can occur from any distance.
No decision has been made whether to file another appeal, Eliason said Friday.
Athens is about 65 miles southeast of Columbus.
03/28/03: Let's Help Michael Moore
Thel local FM talk radio station is doing everyyhing in their power to bad mouth Michael Moore for his statements on Sunday night. The mid day show has been giving out the phone number to a local venue that is showingBowling for Columbine.
They are urging listeners to call the theatre (The Magic Bag in Ferndale, MI) and tell them how "Un-American" they are for playing the movie. I would like to get the info out there to everyone that the real Un-American ones are the radio stations that find it fit to ridicule someone that has the courage to stand up and say what many of us are thinking, and secondly how Un-American it is to keep an independant theatre from making money and going about their daily business with their phone lines being fucked up all day.
Here is there info:
First, don't let "those who have power" intimidate you. No matter how much power they have they cannot prevent you from living your life, speaking your mind, thinking independently, having relationships with people as you like. (Read Emma Goldman's autobiography LIVING MY LIFE. Harassed, even imprisoned by authority, she insisted on living her life, speaking out, however she felt like.)
Second, find people to be with who have your values, your commitments, but who also have a sense of humor. That combination is a necessity!
Third (notice how precise is my advice that I can confidently number it, the way scientist number things), understand that the major media will not tell you of all the acts of resistance taking place every day in the society, the strikes, the protests, the individual acts of courage in the face of authority. Look around (and you will certainly find it) for the evidence of these unreported acts. And for the little you find, extrapolate from that and assume there must be a thousand times as much as what you've found.
Fourth: Note that throughout history people have felt powerless before authority, but that at certain times these powerless people, by organizing, acting, risking, persisting, have created enough power to change the world around them, even if a little. That is the history of the labor movement, of the women's movement, of the anti-Vietnam war movement, the disable persons' movement, the gay and lesbian movement, the movement of Black people in the South.
Fifth: Remember, that those who have power, and who seem invulnerable are in fact quite vulnerable, that their power depends on the obedience of others, and when those others begin withholding that obedience, begin defying authority, that power at the top turns out to be very fragile. Generals become powerless when their soldiers refuse to fight, industrialists become powerless when their workers leave their jobs or occupy the factories.
Sixth: When we forget the fragility of that power in the top we become astounded when it crumbles in the face of rebellion. We have had many such surprises in our time, both in the United States and in other countries.
Seventh: Don't look for a moment of total triumph. See it as an ongoing struggle, with victories and defeats, but in the long run the consciousness of people growing. So you need patience, persistence, and need to understand that even when you don't "win," there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that you have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. Okay, seven pieces of profound advice should be enough.
03/26/03: Fire At The White House
WASHINGTON, March 24 (Reuters) -
03/21/03: Nouveau Cuisine "Fries" In Santa Cruz
The Saturn Cafe in Santa Cruz is temporarily changing the name of their fries to "Fuck George Bush Fries" and 5 % of the profits going to the Impeachment Fund.
Contact Senator Byrd (http://byrd.senate.gov/) and Congressman John Conyers from Michigan (firstname.lastname@example.org) to show your support for their speeches against the Bush Regime.
Congressman John Conyers from Michigan is taking a head count to determine support for impeachment proceedings for this bogus Bush administration.
Senator Robert Byrd's speeches on the Senate floor are enumerating the missteps and gross acts committed by the present leadership.
03/18/03: Howard Zinn - A Chorus Against War
Lifted From The Prgessive
AS I WRITE THIS, it looks like war. This, in spite of the obvious lack of enthusiasm in the country for war. The polls that register "approve" or "disapprove" can only count numbers; they cannot test the depth of feeling. And there are many signs that the support for war is shallow and shaky and ambivalent.
This Administration will not likely be stopped, though it knows its support is thin. In fact, that is undoubtedly why it is in such a hurry; it wants to go to war before the support gets any thinner.
The assumption is that once the soldiers are in combat, the American people will unite behind the war. The television screens will show "smart bombs" exploding, and the Secretary of Defense will assure the American people that civilian casualties are being kept to a minimum. (We're in the age of megadeaths, and any number of casualties less than a million is no cause for concern.)
This is the way it has been. Unity behind the President in time of war. But it may not be that way again.
The anti-war movement will not likely surrender to the martial atmosphere. The hundreds of thousands who marched in Washington and San Francisco and New York and Boston--and in villages, towns, and cities all over the country from Georgia to Montana--will not meekly withdraw. Unlike the shallow support for the war, the opposition to the war is deep and cannot be easily dislodged or frightened into silence.
Indeed, the anti-war feelings are bound to become more intense.
To the demand "Support Our GIs," the movement will be able to reply: "Yes, we support our GIs, we want them to live, we want them to be brought home. The government is not supporting them. It is sending them to die, or to be wounded, or to be poisoned by our own depleted uranium shells."
No, our casualties may not be numerous, but every single one will be a waste of an important human life. We will insist that this government be held responsible for every death, every dismemberment, every case of sickness, every case of psychic trauma caused by the shock of war.
And though the media will be blocked from access to the dead and wounded of Iraq, though the human tragedy unfolding in Iraq will be told in numbers, in abstractions, and not in the stories of real human beings, real children, real mothers and fathers, the movement will find a way to tell that story. And when it does, the American people--who can be cold to death on "the other side," but who also wake up when "the other side" is suddenly seen as a man, a woman, a child, just like us--will respond.
For the rest of the article see :
03/18/03: A Letter from Michael Moore
A Letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush on the Eve of War
George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Dear Governor Bush:
So today is what you call "the moment of truth," the day that "France and the rest of world have to show their cards on the table." I'm glad to hear that this day has finally arrived. Because, I gotta tell ya, having survived 440 days of your lying and conniving, I wasn't sure if I could take much more. So I'm glad to hear that today is Truth Day, 'cause I got a few truths I would like to share with you:
1. There is virtually NO ONE in America (talk radio nutters and Fox News aside) who is gung-ho to go to war. Trust me on this one. Walk out of the White House and on to any street in America and try to find five people who are PASSIONATE about wanting to kill Iraqis. YOU WON'T FIND THEM! Why? 'Cause NO Iraqis have ever come here and killed any of us! No Iraqi has even threatened to do that. You see, this is how we average Americans think: If a certain so-and-so is not perceived as a threat to our lives, then, believe it or not, we don't want to kill him! Funny how that works!
2. The majority of Americans -- the ones who never elected you -- are not fooled by your weapons of mass distraction. We know what the real issues are that affect our daily lives -- and none of them begin with I or end in Q. Here's what threatens us: two and a half million jobs lost since you took office, the stock market having become a cruel joke, no one knowing if their retirement funds are going to be there, gas now costs almost two dollars -- the list goes on and on. Bombing Iraq will not make any of this go away. Only you need to go away for things to improve.
For the rest of the story:
03/18/03: PENTAGON THREATENS TO KILL INDEPENDENT
10th March, 2003
The Pentagon has threatened to fire on the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists in Iraq, according to veteran BBC war correspondent, Kate Adie. In an interview with Irish radio, Ms. Adie said that questioned about the consequences of such potentially fatal actions, a senior Pentagon officer had said: "Who cares.. ..They've been warned."
According to Ms. Adie, who twelve years ago covered the last Gulf War, the Pentagon attitude is: "entirely hostile to the the free spread of information."
"I am enormously pessimistic of the chance of decent on-the-spot reporting, as the war occurs," she told Irish national broadcaster, Tom McGurk on the RTE1 Radio "Sunday Show."
Ms. Adie made the startling revelations during a discussion of media freedom issues in the likely upcoming war in Iraq. She also warned that the Pentagon is vetting journalists according to their stance on the war, and intends to take control of US journalists' satellite equipment --in order to control access to the airwaves.
Another guest on the show, war author Phillip Knightley, reported that the Pentagon has also threatened they: "may find it necessary to bomb areas in which war correspondents are attempting to report from the Iraqi side."
More at :
03/17/03: Dixie Chicks Embarrassed By Bush
Mar 14, 9:58 AM (ET)
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -
Maines told the audience earlier this week, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." Angry phone calls flooded Nashville radio station WKDF-FM on Thursday, some calling for a boycott of the Texas trio's music.
The group released a statement Thursday saying they have been overseas for several weeks and "the anti-American sentiment that has unfolded here is astounding. While we support our troops, there is nothing more frightening than the notion of going to war with Iraq and the prospect of all the innocent lives that will be lost."
In a separate statement Thursday, Maines said, "I feel the president is ignoring the opinion of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world. My comments were made in frustration, and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view."
The Dixie Chicks will kick off a U.S. tour in support of their multi-platinum album "Home" on May 1 in Greenville, South Carolina. The group's hits include "Wide Open Spaces,""Ready to Run" and "Landslide."
03/17/03: Wasted Pints in The U.K.
Short Measures Leave Bitter Taste - Report
Mon Mar 17, 7:42 AM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - British consumers are losing millions of pounds a year because landlords are failing to pour full pints of beer, the government's spending watchdog said on Friday.
A National Audit Office report found pubs were saving the equivalent of 200 million pints of beer worth 130 million pounds at wholesale prices each year.
"Accuracy...is key to ensuring that the products we buy every day are not being sold in short weight or short measure," NAO chief Sir John Bourne said in a statement.
Bourne called for laws to be modernized to tackle inaccurate measures. His office estimates there are problems with five percent of equipment used to sell goods such as food, drink and petrol.
British pressure group The Campaign for Real Ale backed the call for tighter regulation.
"Consumers are paying through the nose for beer they are not receiving," said CAMRA's Mike Benner.
The debate over froth on a pint of beer has been raging for generations. Brewers say it stops pints from being overfilled and that landlords are happy to top up glasses.
More than 18 million pints of beer are sold daily in Britain's 65,000 pubs, trade associations say.
03/17/03: Oscars Blacklist Stars
Oscars blacklist stars in bid to prevent peace protest speeches
ANNETTE WITHERIDGE IN NEW YORK
Meryl Streep, Sean Penn, Vanessa Redgrave, George Clooney, Dustin Hoffman and Spike Lee are among those who will not be speaking, amid fears they could turn the ceremony into an anti-war rally.
In a move denounced by some as a return to McCarthyism, star presenters have been ordered to stick to scripts, while winners, who the producers have no control over, could find their acceptance speeches cut if they say anything much more than a brief thank you.
Officially, executives say that politics is a turn-off for the show's television audience. But in the wake of a public backlash against actors such as Martin Sheen, from the West Wing, who have voiced opposition to war, producers do not want to upset advertisers who have paid more than £50 million for adverts. In previous years, high-profile presenters have grabbed the spotlight to promote their political causes. Richard Gere urged China to end its occupation of Tibet and Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins appealed for HIV-positive Haitians to be allowed into the United States.
Sarandon and Robbins are also among those on this year's unofficial blacklist, along with Ed Norton and Dennis Hopper. The only anti-war campaigner on the presenters' list so far is Salma Hayek, the star of Frida and a best actress nominee.
Gil Cates, one of the ceremony's producers, wants the ceremony, which takes place on 23 March, to celebrate the Oscars' 75th anniversary rather than the anti-Bush/Blair movement. And he admitted he thought it "inappropriate" for stars to use their slots to spotlight world problems.
But Tom O'Neil, an Oscar historian, said: "Political tantrums are inevitable. You're dealing with a class of people who have unchecked egos and who are invited on talk shows to be experts on everything from high art to pop culture."
Top of the loose-cannon list this year is the Bowling for Columbine director, Michael Moore, a favourite to win the documentary feature award.
Last month, Moore thanked the French for not supporting the proposed Iraqi invasion while accepting an award in Paris. And on Saturday, he used the Writers Guild of America awards in Los Angeles to voice his opinions of George Bush, the US president.
Worryingly, for the Oscar producers, Moore won loud applause after telling the audience: "What I see is a country that does not like what's going on. Let's all commit ourselves to Bush removal in 2004."
If Moore does not win an Oscar, insiders claim Hollywood will be reverting back to the witch-hunting 1950s, when Senator Joseph McCarthy and his cohorts destroyed the careers of supposed Communist sympathies. The "Red scare" stories saw off Charlie Chaplin, who left Hollywood for Switzerland, and a host of other high-profile celebrities.
McCarthy-supporting actors included the former US president, Ronald Reagan, and the director Elia Kazan.
03/10/03: Sheep Head Breaks Music Fan's Skull
OSLO, Norway - A flying sheep's head hit a concertgoer and fractured his skull at a concert of metal band Mayhem.
The band, part of Norway's death metal music scene, was carving up a dead sheep as part of its stage act when the animal's head flew off lead singer Maniac's knife and struck Per Kristian Hagen, 25.
The show was Thursday in Bergen, 487 kilometers (302 miles) west of the capital, Oslo.
"My relationship to sheep is a bit ambivalent now. I like them, but not when they come flying through the air," Hagen told The Associated Press Monday from his hospital room. "I have a headache now." He is expected to recover.
Hagen, a Mayhem fan, filed involuntary assault and battery charges against the band. The charges carry a maximum sentence of six months in prison.
Mayhem member Rune Eriksen, whose stage name is Blasphemer, said the incident was unfortunate.
"The whole thing was an accident, but maybe it would be an idea for another show," he said.
Eriksen promised Hagen a free ticket to the group's next performance.
Police detective Carl-Petter Leganger told the AP an investigation has started, but "nothing suggests this was a conscious act."
03/07/03: Area Man Arrested For "Peace on Earth" Shirt
Associated Press story:
ALBANY, N.Y. - A man was charged with trespassing in a mall after he refused to take off a T-shirt that said "Peace on Earth" and "Give peace a chance."
Mall security approached Stephen Downs, 61, and his 31-year-old son, Roger, on Monday night after they were spotted wearing the T-shirts at Crossgates Mall in a suburb of Albany, the men said.
The two said they were asked to remove the shirts made at a store there, or leave the mall. They refused.
The guards returned with a police officer who repeated the ultimatum. The son took his T-shirt off, but the father refused.
"'I said, `All right then, arrest me if you have to,'" Downs said. "So that's what they did. They put the handcuffs on and took me away."
Downs pleaded innocent to the charges Monday night. The New York Civil Liberties Union said it would help with his case if asked.
Police Chief James Murley said his officers were just responding to a complaint by mall security.
"We don't care what they have on their shirts, but they were asked to leave the property, and it's private property," Murley said.
A mall spokeswoman did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment.
Monday's arrest came less than three months after about 20 peace activists wearing similar T-shirts were told to leave by mall security and police. There were no arrests.
03/07/03: Man Walks Into A Bar, Kills Computer
LAFAYETTE, Colo. ( Court TV ) — George Doughty won't have any more problems with his computer. But the computer will never work again either.
Doughty was accused Sunday of shooting his Dell laptop four times with a Smith & Wesson revolver in the middle of his Sportsman's Inn Bar and Restaurant.
He then allegedly hung the destroyed laptop on the wall "like a hunting trophy," said Lt. Rick Bashor of the Lafayette Police Department.
Doughty, 48, who owns the establishment, entered the bar from his office on Sunday morning. He told the two patrons and bartender that he was going to shoot his computer before returning to his office. Some 30 minutes later, police said, Doughty set his laptop on the floor, warned the customers to cover their ears and fired away. No one was injured.
Police learned of the shooting when an employee of the bar called the bartender to ask if there was anything going on. The bartender then told her about the incident and she notified authorities, Bashor said.
Doughty never explained what prompted his actions, but told police that it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
Because Doughty is accused of putting the customers and bartender in danger, he was arrested on suspicion of felony menacing, reckless endangerment and the prohibited use of weapons.