No. 497


"Colombian journalist Ignacio Gomez told a roomful of America's
most influential journalists Tuesday how Washington-supported Colombian president Alvaro Uribe is connected to drug traffickers and how U.S. military trainers helped organize a massacre in his country.

Amigos, Friends,

It is no crime or shame that one has been bamboozled for ages; one day jacta est alea, and the scales of ignorance fall from our swollen, beaten blue eyes.
It is simply incredible what  lasting, indelible, deep,  human scars our socialization and educational processes have left in our very barren neurones. We hopefully and relentlessly cling to our dearly beloved  ideological chains, to our precious morals, civilization, culture, traditions, religion, ideology and "democracy",  we are trembling, genuflecting in front of our loving, adored slave masters;  democratically, all by ourselves, we, the innocent lambs,
perennially, elect our very own "great" butchers; we are all afraid  that we may fall into the bottomless pit of atheistic, communist nothingness. What many of us do not realize, do not know, perhaps, never ever will comprehend, is that our whole life until now, with very few exceptions, has already been an existential vegetation, a fearful shudder in virtual reality,  in this obscure, obscurantist , gaping abyss of lies, ignorance, treachery, conspiracy, lust, avarice and greed.  

What do billions, millions of Americans, know about their "fatherland", about their "homeland"?

What do they know about real, true history? About the decimating, genocidal plans of the Great Powers? What do they know about MKULTRA, the Philadelphia Experiment, about Montauk, about Operation Paper-Clip, about Watergate, Angolagate, about the existence of deadly ABCDE weapons of mass destruction, that were not produced to kill Martians, but to massacre billions of obsolete manual labourers in "New Wars", to capture Black Gold in the Bolivarian Bermuda Oil Triangle, in the Midle East, in Central Asia.    

Nearly half-a-century of wars in the Middle East and Colombia, why?
To spread religion, to stop "terrorists", to save "democracy", to neutralize the "human bombs", the bloodthirsty hordes of Arab monsters, to defend the Jews against the next "holocaust"? To purify  Lady Macbeth´s little bloody hand with "all the perfumes of Arabia"? And yet, billions believe these lies, these products of body, mind and soul control.

Is Chávez a dictator, a communist monster? Is the "Coordinadora Democrática¨ a democratic saint? Well, the national and international mass media, especially CNN, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America, UPI, AP, dpa, etc., all tell us so. And, we want to lynch this scape-goat,  get rid of him forever. Others consider him to be a staunch, populist nationalist; others see him as a demon out of the Inquisitorial past, out of the 19th century. Where did we get these brilliant ideas? Did we ourselves act, think and reason all this out? Who informed us?

Well, educators and educated, sociologists and socialized, popes, bishops and laymen, you all urgently need to be re-educated, re-socialized, re-directed, re-connected, re-ligionized!!   You need to check your ideas, notions, beliefs scientifically and  philosophically, urgently you have to take the iron test of emancipatory history. 

If not, we will not have much time left to check anything anymore, we will be check-mate in the epicentre of the global Moloch.

Franz J. T. Lee.



US says Pacific arms tests use depleted uranium.
Irradiated meat due in area stores.
 Legacy of pain.

by Lucy Komisar

American Reporter Correspondent

New York, N.Y.
NEW YORK -- Colombian journalist Ignacio Gomez told a roomful of America's
most influential journalists Tuesday how Washington-supported Colombian
president Alvaro Uribe is connected to drug traffickers and how U.S.
military trainers helped organize a massacre in his country.

Among the 1,000 guests at the Committee to Protect Journalists' annual
dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria grand ballroom were NBC's Tom Brokaw, CBS's
Dan Rather, Time-Warner's Walter Isaacson, Reuters CEO Thomas Glocer and
executives and reporters from the nation's major TV networks, newspapers
and newsmagazines.

Gomez, 40, has twice gone into exile after death threats. The media "stars"
applauded him for his courage. But did they put his revelations into print
or on air? If you didn't see the stories he recounted in the American
press, don't be surprised.

As they do every year at the CPJ event, "leading" U.S. journalists lauded
the courage of people chancing death for telling the truth, but continue to
pull punches in their own news organizations for fear of endangering their
multi-million-dollar salaries.

Here's more of what Gomez unveiled for colleagues.

After he investigated a 1997 massacre in Mapiripan, in which 67 people were
decapitated, Gomez reported in 2000 that the Colombian military officer
accused of masterminding the crime had been accompanied "at all times" by a
dozen U.S. military trainers. He also linked the massacre to paramilitary
leader Carlos Castano.

Gomez has written frequently about the role of Colombian military and
paramilitary in massacres though Washington downplays their connection.
Several months after the report was published in the Bogota daily El
Espectator, Gomez was almost kidnapped while entering a taxi. He was forced
into exile.

Last year, as director of investigations for a public affairs television
show "Noticias Uno," he reported that U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) had discovered an airplane belonging to then-presidential candidate
Alvaro Uribe and his brother at a drug lab belonging to the Medellin cartel.

Uribe, eschewing peace talks in favor of a military response to Colombian
rebels - something the Bush administration wants - suffered no Washington
displeasure. But Gomez and the station news director got death threats, and
Uribe declared ominously that "a free press is one thing, and a press at
the service of ... shady deals is something else."

As he accepted the CPJ award, Gomez told the audience that "Colombian
journalists first exposed the corruption of the war on drugs, but because
of an information monopoly tied to the current government, truth is dying
in Colombia. We are no longer allowed to be heard." He said that one of the
two national papers and 23 TV news shows had been shut down.

"The picture of war," Gomez said, "is getting blurry - and Americans, whose
taxes and whose drug consumption fuel this war, should be concerned." He
said that seeing the audience, he felt Colombians were not alone, that they
could "still prevail against the powerful forces who want to keep us mute."

Brokaw, Rather, Isaacson and other media chiefs readily showed up, in black
tie, to support the CPJ fundraiser, and their conscience money is needed.
But their commitment might be taken more seriously if they stopped being
"mute" in print and on air about stories - by Gomez and others - that
challenge U.S. policy and actions in Colombia.
US says Pacific arms tests use depleted uranium

USA: January 13, 2003

SEATTLE - The U.S. Navy confirmed on Thursday it uses depleted uranium
shells in arms tests off the Washington state coast but rejected criticism
that the radioactive ammunition could harm people and the environment.

Peace activist Glen Milner said he discovered through a Freedom of
Information Act filing that the Navy, every three months, test-fires
Phalanx anti-missile guns using shells containing the armor-piercing metal
in prime Pacific Ocean fishing waters. Some scientists say depleted uranium
can cause kidney damage and leukemia.
"It's destruction of our environment," Milner said.

Navy spokeswoman Karen Sellers said the uranium was fully encased inside
the ammunition to protect military personnel who handled and stored it.

She added that the Navy was switching to tungsten rounds but did not
provide further details.

Sellers said she could not say if depleted uranium shells were used farther
north off Canada's coast during exercises in conjunction with Canadian forces.

A Canadian military spokesman said Canada's Navy had stopped using the shells.

The U.S. military used depleted uranium weapons in the 1991 Gulf War and
again during fighting in Kosovo and Bosnia.

Navy officials "have told me that DU is 40 percent less radioactive than
naturally occurring uranium found in sea water," Sellers told Reuters by

"The DU rounds dissolve so slowly that they would not contribute to
naturally occurring (radiation) levels ... and do not pose a significant risk."

But Milner and other critics call depleted uranium highly toxic. Last year
Britain's Royal Society of scientists said hundreds of soldiers in the Gulf
and the Balkans could have inhaled enough toxic dust to cause health problems.

Douglas Rokke, a former U.S. Army health physicist assigned to monitor the
effects of depleted uranium battlefield use, accused the Pentagon of not
providing adequate medical treatment and testing for soldiers exposed to
the substance, or for himself.

"These individual rounds are solid chunks of uranium. You can't hold them
in your hand. It's too dangerous," he said by telephone.

Besides the hazardous trace that uranium left behind when fired from the
Navy's guns, thousands of rounds on the ocean floor would contaminate
marine animals including the fish eaten by people, Rokke said.

Story by Chris Stetkiewicz

Irradiated meat due in area stores

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer

 From supermarket shelves to the school lunch program, irradiated food is
inching its way into the American diet.

The technology, which bombards food with ionizing radiation to kill
bacteria that can cause food-borne illness, is unfamiliar to many. That's
likely to change.

Thousands of grocery stores began selling irradiated, uncooked ground beef
last year, a year that also saw the largest and third-largest recalls in
U.S. history of meat potentially contaminated with deadly bacteria.

The first major chain in Atlanta to do so, Publix, planned to start
offering treated frozen ground beef and chicken this weekend under the New
Generation label at its 108 metro stores. Kroger is considering it.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture just began studying how to incorporate
irradiated foods into the school lunch program; they could be available as
soon as this fall. The Food and Drug Administration is considering a
proposal to use the technology on seafood and processed foods like deli
meats and hot dogs, which would greatly expand its reach; a ruling could
come this year. (Last year 32 million pounds of ready-to-eat chicken and
turkey deli meat were recalled because of potential contamination with the
bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, the largest such action ever.) And a
handful of restaurants are serving irradiated meat.

For many consumers, questions remain, starting with the most basic: What
does it do, and is it safe?

The process not only kills bacteria but also extends shelf life and kills
insects. First approved 40 years ago for insect control in wheat,
irradiation slowly has gained regulatory approval for use on other foods.
Depending on how it's applied, the process can impart an off flavor,
especially to foods high in fat.

The World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention and many other health agencies say irradiation is safe, and that
treated foods are not radioactive. They say it provides an additional
safeguard against bacteria that can cause food-borne illness, especially
among children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

A few consumer advocacy groups, including Public Citizen, urge caution,
contending the process causes chemical changes in the food that could cause
unknown long-term health problems. Other consumer groups, like Center for
Science in the Public Interest, say the process is safe but want tougher
enforcement of sanitation rules at meat plants rather than relying on
irradiation to eliminate potential problems.

Although many public health organizations endorse irradiation, the process
has been slow to gain consumer acceptance. Several events in the past 18
months have raised its profile, starting with the U.S. Postal Service's
announcement that it would irradiate mail to kill anthrax bacteria, a plan
that has since been scaled back.

A question of labels

A provision in last year's farm bill says that the USDA cannot prohibit its
use in the school lunch program. It also directs the FDA to consider
replacing "treated with radiation" or "treated by irradiation" (irradiation
means treatment with radiation) on labels with other terms.

SureBeam Corp. of San Diego, which supplies much of the irradiated ground
beef sold in supermarkets, shipped some 16 million pounds of fresh beef in
2002. For this year, the company estimates it will produce 350 million
pounds. That's still a sliver of the 9.8 billion pounds of ground beef sold

"We believe the potential is far greater than being a niche market," says
Mark Stephenson, a SureBeam vice president. "And we don't think that time
is such a long way away."

SureBeam plans to ask the FDA to let it replace "irradiation" on package
labels with another phrase, perhaps "electronically pasteurized," to
increase consumer acceptance. Food Technology Services, which irradiates
the ground beef and chicken for Publix, does not.

"I think the word 'irradiation' is a badge of honor," says company
President Richard Hunter, who acknowledges that many Americans have
different views. "Consumers would be more accepting if it said something else."

Others selling irradiated food share those concerns. Irradiated food sold
at retail must carry an identifying label and the radura symbol, except for
spices used as a small component of another food product. Restaurants and
food service operators are not required to tell diners that they're serving
irradiated food. Some don't.

School lunch programs

The USDA is starting an education program about irradiation in Minnesota
schools. Schools that do decide to serve irradiated meat -- and they will
have a choice of whether to buy it -- will be encouraged to disclose that
information to parents, says USDA spokeswoman Alisa Harrison.

Publix has briefed its employees on the irradiation process and plans signs
on freezer cases to let customers know about the ground beef patties,
boneless chicken breasts and breast tenderloins. The 741-store chain is one
of the few to offer chicken, but wanted to do so because both meats can
harbor harmful bacteria, says spokeswoman Brenda Reid.

Publix's irradiated meats are treated with cobalt 60 irradiation; most
supermarkets buy food treated with an electron beam or X-rays generated by
a linear accelerator.

Scientifically, there is no difference in the end results, says Elsa
Murano, USDA's undersecretary for food safety.

"It doesn't matter what source you use," Murano says. "Irradiation is

Heidi Harrison of Atlanta says she will probably buy treated chicken to cut
the risk of food-borne illness. The extra cost, 10 to 20 cents more per
pound, doesn't deter her.

"If it's something to make [it] healthier or better, it would be worth
paying more money," Harrison says.

Fresh irradiated ground beef, available at some supermarkets around the
country but not (until now) in Atlanta, has persuaded many consumers to
take the plunge. Wegmans Food Markets in the Northeast began selling fresh,
irradiated ground beef in May, and during barbecue season it accounted for
30 percent of all ground beef sales. At Wegmans, customers were told they
could cook burgers rare if made with irradiated meat, something the USDA
and irradiation companies advise against.

They say that although irradiation provides an additional level of safety,
treated products should still be handled like untreated ones. That means
cooking thoroughly and preventing cross-contamination with foods that will
be eaten without cooking, like salads.

"Just because it's irradiated doesn't mean all pathogens have been
eliminated," says Mike Doyle, director of the University of Georgia's
Center for Food Safety in Griffin.
Legacy of pain

An ailing former Western Electric engineer believes chemicals dumped by the
plant, which closed in 1977, cost him and the Town of Tonawanda dearly

Donald F. Metzen looks back with anger when thinking about his career,
remembering all the chemicals he says he watched his company dump into Two
Mile Creek.
For years, he suspected those chemicals caused his wife's death and his

Today, he suspects the wastes from the defunct telephone equipment
manufacturing company, Western Electric, also have something to do with the
high cancer rates and other diseases in the Town of Tonawanda area where he

As the state Health Department continues its study to learn why cancer
rates are 10 percent higher than normal in the neighborhood, much of the
public's attention has been on the Linde Air Products plant, where
radioactive materials were used in the 1940s to help produce the first
atomic bomb.

But Metzen and some of his former co-workers say they believe Western
Electric - just up the creek from the Linde site - contributed to the
community's health problems.

The Western Electric plant discharged "an awful lot" of dangerous chemicals
into the creek, according to several former workers, including some who
received settlements from the company on the condition that they remain
silent about their experiences.

For decades, from the 1940s through at least 1970, Western Electric was
dumping everything from watered-down corrosive mixes that contained
fluoboric or sulfuric acids to toxic Azo dyes - classified by scientists as
carcinogens - into company sumps that eventually discharged into Two Mile
Creek, Metzen said.

"There was three to four million gallons each day of rinse water that went
out into the creek," he said.

After 31 years of manufacturing telephone cords and switches that included
electric tin plating, wire drawing, enameling, color coding and hot dip
tinning processes, Western Electric ceased Town of Tonawanda operation Nov.
4, 1977.

John Skalko, senior public relations manager for Lucent Technologies, the
company that eventually took over Western Electric, said he is not familiar
with what chemicals were discharged or the amount discharged into Two Mile

However, he said, Lucent has not been issued any citations in connection
with the Town of Tonawanda plant. If chemicals were discharged at Western
Electric before environmental controls were in place, the company did
comply when regulations were enacted (in 1970), he said.

"I suspect, as soon as those things came under regulation, our operations
did," Skalko said. "We have a history of abiding by any regulations that
are imposed. That's just good business sense."

Nevertheless, current and former residents from the neighborhood recall
their experiences growing up along Two Mile Creek and are left wondering.

About the creek

Two Mile Creek begins its northerly flow on the Buffalo-Town of Tonawanda
border. It passes the former Western Electric site and runs under railroad
property, then north along the westernmost portion of the former Linde Air
Products property, through Sheridan Park Golf Course and out into the
Niagara River.

Don Wood is among those who remembers fishing for golf balls and wading in
the "colors" of the murky creek along with many of his friends.

Wood, who now lives in Illinois and had colon cancer three years ago,
recounts sliding into the creek as a kid and fishing for golf balls in
foamy, stinky water that often had large areas of slimy green and brown

Metzen didn't see all the colors floating down the creek into the Niagara
River, but he says he knows where they came from. When Western Electric was
operating, he said, its discharge pipes routinely dumped wastes into the

"That was a different department than mine, but they were dyes," Metzen
said of the colors Wood described. "They were Azo dyes - brown, red, green,
all different colors - which were not supposed to be dumped into the sewer."

"They were supposed to send it . . . Staten Island, but most of the time
they didn't," Metzen said. "The state I think really thought it was going
down there."

It was around 1970, Metzen said, that the state made Western Electric stop
discharging much of its industrial wastes from the three- to
four-foot-diameter sumps inside the plant out into the creek.

"The state made them block off the drains - they filled them with concrete
- so it couldn't be discharged," Metzen recalled.

The routine process

Western Electric routinely used chemicals as part of the electroplating
process to develop telephone wires.

During equipment cleaning, the residual materials were then dumped into the
sewers, according to company documents obtained by The Buffalo News.

"After a batch of cleaning solution has been in use for six months, it
should be discharged and a fresh batch made up. To do this, open the drain
pipe located in main tank and allow solution to discharge into sewer,"
according to one internal company manual from 1970.

Another reference, under the heading "Chemical Process Control," describes
disposing of a tinning bath "by slow introduction into the sewer system as
designated." In some instances, the chemicals used in the cleaning
solutions and then dumped into the sewers can be dangerous, particularly if
they are mixed with water, according to scientific journals.

Among the chemicals associated with the process:

. Fluoboric acid, which should be kept away from water and out of sewers
entirely, according to scientific journals. Long-term human exposure to the
chemical is believed to be associated with headaches, lethargy, weakness,
irritation of the central nervous system, seizures and thyroid problems.

. Stannous sulfate is also supposed to be kept away from water, as it may
decompose or become unstable on exposure to moist air or water. Ingesting
stannous sulfate is associated with gastrointestinal irritation, systemic
effects on the central nervous system, heart and liver.

. Hydroquinone, which is on the state Department of Environmental
Conservation's list of hazardous substances, decomposes into carbon
monoxide and can cause digestive tract irritation and respiratory tract

In addition, Metzen and other former Western Electric workers said that
highly toxic Azo dyes, which were used to color cloth threads that wrapped
the wire, were dumped into company sumps that eventually discharged into
Two Mile Creek.

The dyes were supposed to be landfilled but instead "were mixed to look
like muddy water and discharged," Metzen recounted.

"They were dumping dyes right in the sewers and all kinds of stuff in that
creek, who knows what," added another former Western Electric employee, who
asked not to be identified. The man recently settled a workers'
compensation case against the company.

As a condition of the settlement, he said, he was prohibited from publicly
discussing his work experience.

State environmental officials couldn't readily comment on the specifics of
Western Electric, given there is no current file on the company. But they
said New York did not start regulating waste waster discharges until 1970.

Today, all the chemicals mentioned above are state-regulated, subject to
permits limiting the amount and rate at which they can be discharged, they

But if all of this indeed occurred, it is a cause for concern, said John
Kieffer, an environmental and chemical engineer who helped oversee the
closure of Love Canal.

"If those wastes were being put into Two Mile Creek, people along that
creek and in that area would be affected by it," he said.

The plant's history

Western Electric began operations in the Town of Tonawanda in 1946,
purchasing the former Curtiss-Wright buildings on Kenmore Avenue and Vulcan
Street. The plant is just south of the Linde site, across Woodward Avenue
and a set of railroad tracks.

Over the course of 30 years, the company spent millions of dollars
upgrading the plant, including "an extensive sewer project . . . to
eliminate a source of water pollution," according to a 1969 published report.

In the early 1970s, Western Electric announced plans to move its operations
- along with its 2,000 employees - to Elma. But the company was hit with
with opposition from Erie County and the Town of Elma as well as citizen
and environmental groups concerned about company plans to discharge into
Buffalo Creek.

The state DEC eventually issued a conditional permit, but the Elma plant
never opened.

Slumping demand for Bell System products led to a series of cutbacks at
Western Electric, forcing the company to relocate its Town of Tonawanda
operations out of state. The Buffalo plant was consolidated in Omaha, Neb.,
in 1977.

Western Electric as a company was assimilated into AT&T Technologies in the
mid-1980s, and in 1996, when AT&T broke up into three separate companies,
the remnants of Western Electric effectively became the new Lucent

Today, the Town of Tonawanda site is Buffalo's division for BFI's waste
systems. The Western Electric building in Elma has been occupied by Steuben
Foods since 1985.

Metzen's career history

A 1950 graduate of Canisius College in chemistry, Metzen was a
manufacturing engineer at Western Electric from 1962 to 1977. He was in
charge of corrosion control, supervising the electroplating of hundreds of
miles of wire each week and as a result was directly exposed to a laundry
list of hazardous chemicals.

At the time, he says, he never questioned what was going on, not wanting to
jeopardize his job.

"I knew it, but there was nothing I could do about it," he said. "What
could you do about it?"

Metzen, 74 year old and now living on Grand Island, suffers from a series
of illnesses and is being treated for high metal content in his
bloodstream, fluoride sensitivity, breathing troubles, enlarged lymph
nodes, unusually dense bones, numbness, gastrointestinal difficulties and
other maladies.

If not for the chelation therapy, which Metzen still regularly undergoes to
remove the toxic metals from his body, Metzen and his doctor say he would
not be alive today.

"He was the sickest person I think I've ever seen," said Dr. Paul Cutler of
Niagara Falls. "The metal levels in his body are getting better, and
certainly some of his symptoms have gotten better."

Since retiring, Metzen and some of his former co-workers have been fighting
Western Electric, filing workers' compensation claims that blame the
company for many of their ailments, ranging from rheumatic problems to

Many have settled and in doing so signed forms saying they will not talk
publicly about their work experiences. He was offered a settlement in 1997,
in which the company conceded it was liable for his medical bills for
Cutler's chelation therapy. But despite the insistence of his attorney to
take the deal, he refused to sign.

"It wasn't much money for what I went through," Metzen said.

Metzen's fight

For years, Metzen's battle has been personal, on behalf of himself, his
co-workers and his late wife, Colette, who died Nov. 9, 1999, of lung cancer.

That changed a year ago, however. When Metzen read about higher than normal
cancer rates in the neighborhoods surrounding Linde, near Western Electric,
he began questioning whether his concern was actually much larger than he
previously suspected.

The state's December 2001 study showed cancer rates in the 14150 and 14217
Tonawanda ZIP codes are "statistically significantly" higher - overall 10
percent higher - than expected.

The study revealed colorectal cancer was 25 percent higher than normal,
bladder cancer was 26 percent higher, with thyroid cancer 81 percent higher
than that normally expected.

Health officials are now conducting a follow-up study in the industrial
neighborhoods around the Linde site. The first study covered people
diagnosed with cancer from 1994 to 1998. The new study will identify cancer
rates over as much as 10 years. State health officials said the study could
be completed in about six more months.

The Linde Division of Union Carbide Corp. was the site of a secret
government project to develop the first atomic bomb during World War II.
Radioactive remnants from the project remain on the site and have been
undergoing remediation efforts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since 1997.

Officials at Praxair, an industrial gas producer that now owns the Linde
site, claim the low-level radioactivity there is not to blame for the high
cancer rates in the surrounding neighborhood.

Residents and former Linde/Praxair employees are skeptical.

The company, nonetheless, maintains that studies have found no radioactive
material in Two Mile Creek and further insists it never made its own
manufacturing discharges there.

"We're the scapegoat," said Dennis A. Conroy, site manager for Praxair,
which has taken over the Linde site. "People don't understand radiation."

Some hope the state Health Department's newest neighborhood probe will shed
some light on why higher cancer rates seem to be afflicting the area.

State health officials have cautioned, however, that while the excess
cancer rates were "probably not due to chance," there has been no
established "cause and effect" link to environmental factors.