Do Cops Plant Bombs? You Betcha, You’ve Got Mail; They’ve Got Maladies, Mole Kiss: EPA Whistleblower Names ‘Killer Utilities’, This Film is Rated “GI” for Government Inspected, Praise the Lord and Pass the Absolution, Bush’s EPA Says Pollution ..
August 16, 2002

Do Cops Plant Bombs? You Betcha

In Genoa, the Italian police conspired to frame scores of nonviolent protestors. Credit:
ITALY — During the riots at the G8 Summit in July 2001, Italian police stormed the Armando Diaz School in Genoa and arrested 93 sleeping protestors. Some 77 officers are now being investigated for using “excessive force” in the raid. Many of the young demonstrators were clubbed unconsciousness. More than 63 victims were hospitalized with serious injuries.

At the time, Rightwing Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi insisted that the violent raid was fully justified. Berlusconi trotted out a display of pocket knifes, Molotov cocktails, two sledge-hammers, a pickaxe and a nail bomb that police claimed had been seized at the school.

But now that individual police officers are being hauled before investigators, they are telling a different story. “I brought the Molotov cocktail to the Diaz school,” one young officer confessed on July 29. “I obeyed the order of one of my superiors.” Pietro Troiani, one of the senior officers, has been accused of planting false evidence to justify the raid.

The government was caught red-handed when protestors turned over videotapes they had shot showing the police holding the Molotov cocktails in their hands before the raid.

Amnesty International has called the evidence of the police frame-up “undeniable.” The international human rights group also has condemned the police for their role at the Bolzaneto detention center where some 200 protestors were subjected to “torture and ill-treatment.”

The police-abuse victims have called for the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini but Berlusconi remains defiant. According to the London Independent, Berlusconi “has defended the police action in the face of widespread criticism” and has accused the federal investigators of being “biased” against the cops and unduly sympathetic to the protestors.

You’ve Got Mail; They’ve Got Maladies
USA — An investigation by the US Office of Compliance (USOC) has confirmed fears that the use of expensive radiation machines to “sterilize” mail in the wake of last September’s anthrax scare has exposed federal workers to irradiation poisoning. To date, the main symptoms have been headaches, nausea and burning eyes. The USOC calls the symptoms “not insignificant, both in terms of the number of complaints and in the effect on employee health and work performance.”

While the FBI still hasn’t identified the person who dropped anthrax spores into the mail, there is no question about the identity of the parties who are exposing federal workers to dangerous levels of radiation on a daily basis. A few companies have made millions off the sales of these untested mail-zappers. The risk to human health warrants the immediate suspension of this program.

Mole Kiss: EPA Whistleblower Names ‘Killer Utilities’
Former EPA Chief of Civil Enforcement Eric V. Schaeffer resigned from the agency in frustration to protest the Bush administration’s campaign to scuttle the Clean Air Act. Schaeffer immediately went to work founding the Environmental Integrity Project and releasing a disturbing study commissioned — and downplayed — by the EPA.

The report, by Abt Associates, concluded that the sulfur oxide pollution from 81 US powerplants operated by eight major utility companies were responsible for killing nearly 6,000 Americans each year — more than twice the number of innocent Americans who lost their lives to the al Qaeda terrorists on September 11. Each and of these killer utilities had been repeatedly cited by the Justice Department for violating the Clean Air Act.

The Abt investigation identified the eight law-breaking mass murdering utilities as American Electric Power, Cinergy, Duke, Dynergy, First Energy, SIGECO, Southern Company and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The dirtiest and deadliest offenders were American Electric Power (1,400 deaths) and Southern Company (1200).

“This report shows how the Bush administration’s failure to enforce the Clean Air Act is a serious threat to public health,” Schaeffer stated. “Children and families suffer the misery of asthma, bronchitis and even premature death because of the pollution coming from these eight utilities…. From my experience inside the EPA I know that these companies would be a lot closer to cleaning up their acts if the White House could find the courage to say no to the energy lobbyists and enforce the law.”

Bush has claimed that the “Clear Skies Proposal,” his alternative to the Clean Air Act, will eventually produce fresher air. Schaeffer, for one, isn’t holding his breath. “When the EPA says the Clear Skies proposal will clean the air, ask them for their numbers,” he huffs. “They have yet to release an analysis that shows Clear Skies will get anywhere near the air pollution reductions expected by enforcing current law.”

This Film is Rated “GI” for Government Inspected

In the WWII film Windtalkers, sometimes it was the Pentagon doing the talking. Credit: United Artists/MGM
Filmgoers who flocked to the summer WWII flick Windtalkers had no way of knowing that Pentagon censors had a role in writing the screenplay: Their role was uncredited.

In order to obtain the Pentagon’s assistance (and the loan of expensive military equipment), Windtalker director John Woo had to submit his screenplay to USMC Capt. Matt Morgan. (Morgan’s USMC “liaison office” in Hollywood is entrusted with the duty of inspecting Tinsletown’s war movies.) Capt. Morgan took one look at a scene depicting a Marine prying a gold filling from the mouth of a fallen enemy and went ballistic. “This has to go,” Morgan pronounced, “The activity is un-Marine.”

According to the Washington Post, screenwriters Joe Batteer and John Rice “fought to keep the scene in the film,” insisting that such atrocities had, in fact, been committed by US troops in WWII. Even Capt. Morgan conceded that “you can look at various books about Marines in WWII and this obviously happened.” Nonetheless, the scene was deleted. As Bateer explained, “we had to appease the Marine Corps and the studio… wanted the cooperation from the Marines.”

Also axed was a scene showing the lead character, Sgt. Joe Enders (played by Nicolas Cage), immolating an unarmed Japanese soldier with a flame-thrower.

Finally, the USMC insisted on rewriting a critical scene where Enders is told that he must be prepared to kill his Navajo “code-talker” to prevent his capture by the enemy.

In the original script, a Marine Corps major tells Enders: “If there’s a chance that he [the code-talker] might be captured, the code will be deemed more important than the man. If it comes to it, Enders, you’re going to have to take your guy out.” At the USMC’s command, the line was changed to: “Under no circumstances can you allow your code talker to fall into enemy hands. Your mission is to protect the code at all costs. Do you understand?”

“The whole movie was based on that assumption,” the film’s co-producer Terence Chang protested. “We did talk to code talkers and they said that was true,” he told the Post. In fact, code talkers had already gone on record in the Readers’ Digest and on the CBS Evening News stating that the standing order was to “shoot the code talkers” to prevent their capture.

Even the legislation that awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to 29 surviving Navajo soldiers in 2000 states: “Some Code Talkers were guarded by fellow Marines, whose role was to kill them in case of imminent capture by the enemy.” The Post reports that the Marines are now trying to get that line rewritten as well.

Praise the Lord and Pass the Absolution
It may come as a surprise to the millions of trusting investors who lost their life savings in a string of business bankruptcies, but many of the CEOs of these derelict companies were self-proclaimed God-fearing Christians. San Francisco Chronicle Business Columnist Alan T. Saracevic looked into this. Here is the line-up from Saracevic’s personal “perp walk.”

WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers attended a Southern Baptist college in Mississippi where he came to understand “what a personal relationship with Jesus Christ really meant and how I would try to live my life from that point of view.” At last count, Ebbers stands accused of reporting $6.3 billion in fake corporate earnings.

Adelphia Communications CEO John Rigas is a devout Christian who took pains to keep immoral content off his companies TV broadcasts. Rigas allegedly stole hundreds of millions of dollars from his company and robbed investors of more than $60 billion.

Enron CEO Ken Lay, the son of a Missouri minister, made sure to attend church the day before he appeared on Capitol Hill, where he refused to testify about his role in the collapse of his company.

And then there was Charles Keating, a professed man of faith who founded Citizens for Decency Through Law and Citizens for Decent Literature. Keating now is best remembered for amassing a billion-dollar fortune before the collapse of his Lincoln Savings and Loan empire cost investors, depositors and US taxpayers billions more.

Saracevic believes there is a moral to these misdeeds. “The religious right, which preaches personal responsibility in support of welfare cuts, should force these corporate criminals to quit hiding behind their accountants and take the heat…. Portraying yourself as a God-fearing believer while stealing money from average folks so you can buy a fifth house in Aspen is unforgivable, regardless of what the Good Book says.”

Bush’s EPA Says Pollution is Good for Fish!
As Yogi Bera might have put it, the EPA has lowered itself to new heights.

In 1989, the EPA gave the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) a permit to dump 200,000 tons of toxic wastes into the Potomac River each year. When the permit ran out in 1993, the EPA simply put a handkerchief to its nose and averted its gaze while the ACE continued to discharge its dirt into the District of Columbia’s historic waterway.

In 1999, EPA Environmental Engineer William Colley tried to revive the permitting process. Colley pointed out that “the discharges are illegal and violate the Clean Water Act and EPA regulations.” The EPA acknowledged the merit of Colley’s case by giving him the boot.

When the National Wilderness Institute came to the Potomac’s rescue and sued the EPA for violating the Endangered Species Act, the EPA’s lawyers came up with an extraordinary legal defense. They told the court that the dumping was actually a good thing because it drove the fish away from anglers. In the words of one EPA document, the dumping “actually protects the fish in that they are not inclined to bite (and get eaten by humans) but they go ahead with their upstream movement and egg laying.”

Rep. George P. Radanovich (R-CA) was not persuaded. He called the EPA’s rationale “one of the most frightening examples of bureaucratic ineptitude and backward logic I have even seen.” Radanovich suggested that the EPA’s logic was on par with “suggesting that we club baby seals to death to prevent them from being eaten by sharks.”

FudaFest Busted by Strange Guys in Painted Faces
Every July, Aaron Fuda hosts a laid-back summer celebration on his farm in Maine. The Fudafest features live music, swimming and body painting. This year it also featured an armed assault by 50 state police who surrounded several hundred startled festival-goers and began searching the premises for any signs of marijuana.

The raiding party included the State Police Tactical Team in camouflage outfits (complete with painted faces), a bunch of sheriff’s deputies and a delegation from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. Eyewitness Jim Ellsworth reported that “several of the officers who were dressed as soldiers also sported knee pads, presumably to allow them to quickly drop to their knees and take aim at the peaceful crowd, which included families with children and babies.”

With two officers brandishing automatic weapons from atop an old school bus, everyone was ordered to leave the site for two hours while the police conducted a search for contraband. The search managed to turn up a handful of suspicious plants found growing in the woods and a small pipe found lying on the ground.

Before they left, the raiding party seized $2,000 in cash from Fuda’s office. The 2002 Fudafest resumed with an impromptu fund-raiser that brought in $1,000 to help the host pay the musicians and cover the costs of the rented Porta-Potties. According to Ellsworth, “One speaker thanked the police for not hurting anybody and also thanked them for creating 500 more radicals.”

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