The Eco Mole
Bush's Free-Speech-Free Bubble, Nokia's Bad Santa, The Falsehood behind the Holiday Orange Terror Alert, RFJ and the 1959 Coup in Iraq, The EcoMole Hangs Out with Greg Palast, Ronald Reagan as the Anti-Christ, Ten Good Things about a Bad Year, and MORE.
January 16, 2004

George W. Bush travels inside a security perimeter designed to keep the First Amendment at a distance. Burst Bush's Bubble by printing and mailing this message to Washington. ©Gar Smith / The-Edge
Operation 'Burst Bush's Bubble'

The Justice Department wants to prosecute a South Carolinian named Brett Bursey for holding up a "No War for Oil" sign. Bursey's specific crime was trying to exercise his First Amendment rights outside a government-proscribed "Free-Speech-Zone" located half-a-mile from where Bush was scheduled to appear.

As Conservatives Against Bush (CAB) notes: "Bursey was arrested 33 years ago for the same thing, only then against Vietnam and Richard Nixon. That case was dropped when the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled anti-war demonstrators could not be charged with trespassing on public property. This time around, the government has decided to prosecute him under an obscure law that allows the Secret Service to deny access to places where the President is visiting." CAB thought it interesting that "Bush proponents were not confined to the designated 'free-speech zone'."

Mr. Bush likes to be paraded about the planet inside a "security bubble" comprised of hundreds of armed Secret Service agents. Sometime Bush's Bubble involves helicopter gunships and tank-like armed vehicles. This Bubble seems designed to keep Free Speech at an inaudible distance from Bush's ears.

When he was arrested, Bursey retorted: "I thought the whole country was a Free Speech Zone." If you agree with Brett Bursey (and the Founding Fathers), print out the nearby mini-postcard and mail it to Bush, Cheney and Ashcroft -- and encourage your friends to do the same.

At Last, A Politician Speaks the Truth

Outgoing (very outgoing) San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown will no longer be running for elected office. Why is the EcoMole willing to place bets on this prediction? Because, in his final weeks in office, Brown took time to reveal, with unvarnished candor, what a politician has to do to win at the ballot box.

Brown's blast of honesty was captured by the San Francisco Bay Guardian []: "At a farewell breakfast for supporters, Brown described his philosophy for winning elections: 'You have to lie to them, deceive them, do whatever is necessary to convince them they ought to vote for you. And where you don't know the facts, you make them up'."

Hey, Kids, Santa's on the Take

Nokia wins the EcoMole's "Bad Santa Award" for a Christmas holiday radio ad featuring a discussion between St. Nick and two pre-teen scofflaws. When Santa scolds little Timmy for "missing school, teasing his sister and money laundering," Timmy tempts Santa with a bribe: "What if this [Nokia product *] were to, say, fall into your pocket?" Laughing conspiratorially, the Jolly Old Elf replies, "Whatever 'falls off the sleigh,' eh?"

Timmy is joined by a friend whose misdeeds apparently include setting fire to a cat. This child of Satan offers Santa a [Nokia product *] with a color screen and seals the deal with the mob-tinged declaration, "Capice?"

Santa ends the conversation with a rollicking belly-laugh and the rhetorical question: "Good? Bad? Who am I to judge?"

Who are you to judge? You're frikkin' Santa Claus, that's who!

This commercial was played repeatedly throughout the holidays during prime kiddy-time hours and triggered numerous complaints -- including one complaint filed with the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa.

*You'll have to guess the product. The Eco-Mole is not giving Nokia any free publicity.

Orange Code Alert Based on False Intelligence

On December 21,2003 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) placed the US on High Terror Alert because of "credible" intelligence that terrorists were planning to hijack an Air France plane and "crash it on US soil." US counter-terrorism officials said the extreme action was taken because of the "informed belief" that six members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban were on the passenger list of Air France Flight 6.

Meanwhile, an investigation by French authorities determined that the names on the US "terrorist" list belonged six innocent travelers, including a five-year-old boy, an elderly Chinese lady and a Welsh insurance salesman.

French counter-intelligence officials discovered the error on December 23. Inexplicably, DHS Head Tom Ridge waited until January 2, 2004 to publicly admit the mistake. In the meantime, the holidays were disrupted for millions of people in the US and abroad.

Are You Ready to Re-up, Chuck?

Most US soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have expressed disinterest the Bush administration's offer to hand out $10,000 to anyone willing to re-enlist for at least three years. The lack of enthusiasm is understandable. The re-enlistment bonus for soldiers facing imminent death works out to $8 a day (less if a soldier re-enlists for more than the minimum three years).

Technically, It's Not 'America's War' on Terrorism

World War II may have marked the last time Americans were legally "fighting for America." Korea was a "police action." Congress never officially declared war on Vietnam. Panama and Grenada were attacked under the War Powers Act, which allows Presidents to wage war for up to three months without Congressional approval.

The sad fact is that Americans have not been sent off to fight and die in Afghanistan and Iraq on behalf of America (as Constitutionally manifest in a vote of the US Congress). They have been ordered to fight and die to satisfy the whims of a single individual.

On October 11, 2002, another day that shall live in infamy, Congress cast aside its Constitutional responsibility to declare war. On that dark day, it handed its sacred war powers to a man who was punished for disobeying orders and who ultimately deserted his military duties with the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.

Let's be honest: US soldiers are no longer "fighting for America:" They are fighting for George W. Bush -- a man who lied about the very reasons for going to war.

Big Apple Protesters Face Machineguns

Every weekend a band of New Yorkers has been gathering at Ground Zero to share evidence that Bush and Co. should be held accountable for the deadly 9-11 attacks.
A group of activists has begun a weekend vigil at New York's Ground Zero, the site of the destroyed World Trade Center. The protesters carry a huge banner that reads: "BUSH REGIME ENGINEERED 9/11." On January 10, Nico Haupt of GlobalFreePress reports, "We handed out 3-400 flyers and lots of deception dollars. The support was 95 percent. A few people who read the banner said, 'Yes, I know', or 'I heard about that.' This time, right at the beginning, four police trucks stopped at GZ and out of the last truck, four military guys were pointing machine guns at us. I asked them, 'You wanna shoot me?' and they responded with sarcasm."

Surprise! You're on Candid Audio

New Press has published a remarkable 8-CD set of archival recordings culled from secretly taped Oval Office conversations. The covert tapings began during the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and continued through the final days of Richard Nixon's embattled reign.

The CDs feature Richard Nixon veering between extremes -- cursing manfully one moment, wallowing in self-pity the next -- and FDR confidentially praising the Anglo-Saxon vote while disparaging the Italian-American electorate. But one of the more striking moments is an excerpt featuring Bobby Kennedy counseling against the US plan to assassinate Washington's faltering Vietnamese ally President Ngo Dien Diem. Bobby begins his criticism by forcefully proclaiming "This is not like a coup in Iraq..."

And about that Iraq Coup back in 1959...

It comes as a surprise to hear RFK citing Baghdad back in 1962. It seems to suggest that RFK was aware of secret US involvement in the failed 1959 coup attempt against Abd al-Karim Qassim, the progressive Communist-backed leader of Iraq.

According to "Iraq: 1960-January 1963," a Confidential State Department report, Qassim "implemented many reforms that favored the poor,Š permitted trade unions, improved workers' conditions, and implemented land reform." On December 11, 1961, Qassim effectively nationalized the Iraqi Petroleum Company, a move that angered US oil companies.

After the failed coup, an attempt was made to assassinate Qassim. If US intelligence forces were behind the assassination attempt, it would be ironic indeed. The man hired to assassinate Abd al-Karim Qassim was a disgruntled military officer named Saddam Hussein.

The Guardian's Palast vs. Washington's Palace Guard

Ace investigative reporter Greg Palast did a whirlwind tour of the US in December and The EcoMole had the pleasure of hanging around with the notorious muckraker one evening. Palast is a Chicago-born journalist who now plies his trade from a base in Britain. The author of "The Best Democracy Money Can By" (an expose of the rigged elections in Florida), Palast is no favorite of the White House. One Bushnik has said of Palast: "We hate that sonuvabitch."

Much to the neocon's chagrin, Palast's book has become a best seller not only in the US and Britain but also in the bookstalls of Baghdad. When Pentagon brass realized Palast's tome had become a must-read among US troops, they tried to suppress sales of the book. The soldiers simply tore the remaining books into separate chapters so they could be passed around and read peicemeal.

During his visit to San Francisco, Palast recalled a previous trip to the Bay Area: He had just arrived in Colombia where he had been covering the protests that had erupted over the presidency of Hugo Chavez. Palast picked up a copy of the San Francisco Chronicle with a huge photo from Caracas showing a large mob of protestors above the caption: "100,000 March against Chavez."

The story was correct, Palast stated, but it wasn't the whole story. Palast had been on that very street the day before. What the Chron didn't report was that "a march of half-a-million Chavez supporters was simultaneously taking place on the other side of town." With a cynical shrug, Palast sighed, "I suppose the Chronicle will get around to reporting this someday."

Reagan as the Anti-Christ: The Untold Story

The EcoMole recently ran into Earth Island Journal Editor Emeritus Gar Smith who confided that he was startled when he read the leaked script for controversial TV docudrama, "The Reagans." What caught Smith's attention was a scene in which the former president fretfully tells his wife, Nancy: "People think I'm the Antichrist!"

"This came as a shock because, during the Reagan Administration, I was behind an ad hoc prank to insert this idea of Reagan-as-Antichrist in the public mind. Call it anti-war Psy-Ops, if you will, but the idea was to piggyback on America's twin demons of paranoia and religious fundamentalism to fuel rumors that Reagan was, indeed, the Dark Beast of the Endtimes."

Smith explained: "The strategy had to be kept simple so that it would remain intact through multiple retellings. It was a two-pronged meme. Part one involved a reference to The Book of Revelations, which warns that the Antichrist will appear as a man riding a white horse out of the West. And, part two applied the art of numerology to the name 'Ronald Wilson Reagan.' Count the letters, and what do you get? 666.

"As far as I knew, the prank never went anywhere," Smith told the Mole. "Now I'm wondering if it didn't succeed far beyond expectations. Perhaps the story eventually reached all the way to the Oval Office. And, if that's the case, I feel a profound sadness. With Mr. Reagan stricken with Alzheimer's and enfeebled by age, I wish I could somehow tell him: 'I'm sorry about that Antichrist rumor'."

10 Good Things about a Bad Year

Medea Benjamin writes: "As we greet the new year, let's remember and celebrate some of our hard-fought victories in a time of adversity."

Here is her list:

  1. We organized the most massive, global protests against war the world has ever seen.
  2. Mainstream Americans have been buying progressive books by the millions.
  3. The fair trade movement had a stellar year.
  4. The poorest country in South America, Bolivia, proved that people power is alive and well.
  5. State governments are cutting prison budgets by releasing non-violent drug offenders.
  6. This year witnessed a "coming out" of all types of celebrities on all manner of progressive issues.
  7. Progressives now have a powerful new tool for organizing: the Internet.
  8. Over 200 cities, towns, counties and states across the country have passed resolutions against the Patriot Act.
  9. The corporate scandals that topped the headlines in 2002 continued in 2003.
  10. Several landmark rulings we can be proud of.

To find out what those landmark rulings were, read Medea's entire article at:

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