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Business mobilizing to stop Kyoto

LONDON – A detailed and disturbing strategy document reveals an extraordinary corporate plan to destroy Europe‘s support for the Kyoto treaty on climate change. The ambitious scheme was passed to the UK‘s Independent just as 189 countries were trying to agree on the second stage of the Kyoto climate treaty at the UN climate conference in Montreal. It was pitched to companies such as Ford Europe, Lufthansa, and the German utility giant RWE.

Put together by Chris Horner, a senior official with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a group partly funded by Exxon Mobil, the plan seeks to draw together major international companies, academics, think tanks, commentators, journalists and lobbyists from across Europe into the a pressure group, the European Sound Climate Policy Coalition. read more

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Israel likes March for Iran strikes

TEL AVIV/WASHINGTON – March is shaping up as “go time” for Israel. With a general election looming on March 28, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is eager to look strong, and has ordered the armed forces to be ready that month for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have told the UK Times.

"Israel – and not only Israel – cannot accept a nuclear Iran," Sharon proclaimed recently. "We have the ability to deal with this and we’re making all the necessary preparations to be ready for such a situation." read more

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French warned CIA on Iraq bogus intel

PARIS – More than a year before President Bush declared in his 2003 State of the Union speech that Iraq had tried to buy nuclear weapons material in Niger, the French spy service began repeatedly warning the CIA in secret communications that there was no evidence to support the allegation. The previously undisclosed exchanges, described in a Los Angeles Times interview with Alain Chouet, the retired chief of the French counterintelligence service, happened on separate occasions in 2001 and 2002. read more

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Protesters get FBI terrorism treatment

COLORADO SPRINGS – Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) confirm what many activists and civil libertarians have been claiming for several years – that the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) collect information on nonviolent protest activities and consider them part of domestic terrorism investigations.

The documents, discovered due to a request by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado, show that the names and license plate numbers of about 30 people who protested in Colorado Springs during 2003 and 2003 were put into FBI domestic terrorism files. read more

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Torture denial conflicts with mounting evidence

WASHINGTON – Does the United States operate secret prisons where detainees suspected of involvement in terrorism are taken and tortured? U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attempted to deflect this nagging question during a Dec. 5 press conference by defending “rendition” – the practice of transporting suspects to third countries for interrogation – while stating that, "the United States does not transport, and has not transported, detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture.” read more

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Campus cool on anti-war action

STANFORD, CA - Although members of Congress from both major political parties have begun to call for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, anti-war demonstrations, which were common at Stanford University in 2003, have yet to be seen on campus this year, according to the Stanford Daily.

Senior Tanya Haj-Hassan, president of the Coalition for Justice in the Middle East, attributed the lack of demonstrations to a change in student mentality. "Three years ago, before the war started, people were very active and outspoken to prevent the war," she told the newspaper. "Once it started, many people began to change. Some people lost hope while others feared that taking an anti-war stance would be seen as an attack on, or lack of support for, the American troops fighting in Iraq.

"Many who had initially taken an anti-war stance and who are still against the war fear that withdrawing the troops at this point in time may increase the instability that the war created and only worsen the situation," she said.

At least 30 Stanford students were arrested during protests in March 2003. Less than 12 hours after President George W. Bush announced the first strikes against Iraq, Stanford students and faculty members joined a large, coordinated protest in San Francisco, blocking traffic at busy intersections by forming human chains.

Haj-Hassen argued that "people are still very interested in what is going on in the region," but are expressing their concern and discontent "through different means."

Junior Omar Shakir, president of the Muslim Student Awareness Network, agreed. "I think that student activism regarding Iraq has not really diminished but has assumed different forms over the last couple of years," he said. "I still think that Iraq is an issue of significant focus on campus, as seen by the huge turnout to events on this issue and the large e-mail lists of interested people and organizations that deal with the Middle East."

He drew a distinction between present student activity and past protests. "Our group usually does not organize rallies or protests because we have found that students on campus are generally not receptive to that kind of approach," he said. "Awareness and advocacy are critical and ultimately more effective at Stanford."