(Copyright 2002 Al Aronowitz)

1.  Conducting the War on Terror

One of the world's most famous conductors was briefly detained by Swiss police on suspicion of being linked to terrorist activities.

Frenchman Pierre Boulez had his passport confiscated in the town of Basle where he had been conducting at a music festival last month.

Europe has seen a series of anti-terrorist dawn raids since 11 September, but this must be the strangest.

Pierre Boulez was sleeping in his five star Swiss hotel when police dragged him from bed and informed him he was on their national list of terrorist suspects.

The 75-year-old, who once conducted the BBC symphony orchestra, had his passport confiscated for three hours before he was free to go.

Strangely, it was not a case of mistaken identity.

In the revolutionary 1960s, it seems that Boulez said that opera houses should be blown up, comments which the Swiss felt made him a potential security threat.

By the BBC's James Coomarasamy

From: MichaelP <>


2. G-Men on the Job

In this time of hyper-patriotism, is a charcoal drawing of George W. Bush trapped behind a metal trellis really enough to send out the feds? Apparently somebody thinks so---and complained loudly enough to get two agents dispatched to sniff out supposed anti-American activity at the tiny Art Car Museum last week.

The hot-button exhibit? The museum's "Secret Wars" show, which comments on everything from meat eating to the Persian Gulf War. While it might not be for typical Monet-loving museum patrons, the four-year-old art car institution has never tried to pass itself off as a typical stuffy gallery---or a lair of bin Laden, either.

"It's made for the community, to provoke feeling and emotion, and that's what it's all about," says museum docent Donna Huanca, 21. She was working alone when two federal agents arrived about a half-hour before the museum opened on November 7.

When Huanca told them they needed to wait until the doors opened at 11 a.m., they flashed FBI and Secret Service badges. Huanca wondered if it was an art crowd prank, but they told her they were following up on complaints they received about anti-American activity at the museum.

"I said, 'There's really nothing anti-American about self-expression, right?' and the agents replied with a "kind of smirk,?? she says. Huanca got business cards identifying them as Houston special agents Terrence Donahue of the FBI and Steven Smith of the Secret Service.

Huanca says she offered to give the agents a guided tour and explain all the artwork, but both men gravitated toward a few key pieces in the "Secret Wars" exhibit, conceived this summer by museum director James Harithas and curated by Tex Kerschen.

The G-men were particularly interested in It's Easier to Get a Camel Through the Eye of a Needle Than to Get an American into Heaven, by Houston artist Forrest Prince. The 1991 work is a small wooden shadowbox holding a plastic army soldier pulling a missile, with a painted backdrop of camels and fire.

Huanca says the agents seemed puzzled and asked her, "What's that supposed to mean?" Huanca says she tried to explain that the piece represents anger over the purpose of the Persian Gulf War, but that the agents still seemed confused. Later, agents noticed a mock surveillance camera that was part of an installation. They asked if they were being filmed.

"I said, 'Aren't we all under surveillance?'" says Huanca. "And they were like, 'What?'?


From: MichaelP <>


3.  Letter to the L.A. Times

The JDL was just accused of trying to blow up the mosque where my children and I go to pray. Why doesn't your article mention the word "terrorist" in connection with JDL leaders? Why doesn't your article raise the issue of whether the JDL will be considered a terrorist organization and have its membership lists reviewed by the FBI and its assets frozen? Shouldn't its Website at least be blocked, the way the Hamas or the Hezbollah Web sites are? What about these fellows, Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel? Will these guys be charged as terrorists?

Will they be held indefinitely, without bail and in an undisclosed location, until tried and convicted? Will they be tried by a military tribunal for terrorists? How do we know there aren't "sleeper cells" of the JDL planning to kill more innocent civilians? Let's see if American justice is all it's cracked up to be! Let's see if a known non-Muslim terrorist, caught in the act, will be treated better or worse than the 1,000-plus Muslim male "witnesses" and "non-suspects" who have been detained. The world is watching.

Amman Khan

Los Angeles

From: <>


4.  Our Man in Peru

LIMA, Peru -- The Central Intelligence Agency paid the Peruvian intelligence organization run by fallen spymaster Vladimiro Montesinos $11 million a year for 10 years to fight drug trafficking, despite evidence that Montesinos was also in business with Colombian narcotraffickers, The Herald has learned. Montesinos, 56 and in jail near Lima on corruption charges, is now dragging the CIA into his legal battles, asking Peruvian court officials to interrogate two CIA officers as part of his defense against charges that he helped smuggle guns to guerrillas who provide protection to Colombian narcotraffickers.

Despite attempts by the U.S. government to distance itself from the powerful Peruvian intelligence chief, years of cooperation with Montesinos dating to the mid-1970s may be coming back to haunt the United States.

New documents obtained by The Herald show how the CIA and State Department first cultivated Montesinos decades ago, and how the U.S. government maintained a relationship with him for a quarter-century despite warnings that he was working for both sides in the drug war.

In a document dated July 27, 1991, the U.S. Army Intelligence and Threat Policy Center reported that Peruvian Gen. Luis Palomino Rodr?guez had showed up at a U.S. defense attache's home wearing a bulletproof vest and warned that Montesinos was trying to "frustrate joint U.S.-Peruvian counter-drug efforts."

By then Montesinos was already receiving large sums of CIA cash. Officials speaking on condition of anonymity said that the CIA has told Peruvian investigators that the agency gave Montesinos' National Intelligence Service $1 million annually from 1990 to 2000. The CIA declined to comment.

Miami Herald


5.  Scientists Close in on World's Funniest Joke

It could be the biggest single experiment of all time: perhaps half a million in the jury, from all over the world, a total of 50,000 offerings and a majority verdict on the funniest joke ever by September 2002.

But on the evidence so far, Laughlab is not likely to match the famous Monty Python sketch which involved a joke so lethal that specially trained British army platoons could only be trusted with a few words each.

Laughlab is the brainchild of a University of Hertfordshire psychologist, Richard Wiseman.

It is an experiment in mass humour which, although it may not end with anyone dying of laughter, could neverthless throw new light on humour, that most mysterious of cultural entities.

Since Laughlab's launch in September---it is designed to last the whole of the government-sponsored Science Year---more than 100,000 people from 70 countries have visited the website, submitted a total of 10,000 jokes and rated them on a specially designed "laughometer".

World's funniest joke (so far), submitted by Geoff Anandappa, from Blackpool:

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are going camping. They pitch their tent under the stars and go to sleep. In the middle of the night Holmes wakes Watson up: "Watson, look up at the stars, and tell me what you deduce."

Watson: "I see millions of stars and even if a few of those have planets, it's quite likely there are some planets like Earth, and if there are a few planets like Earth out there, there might also be life."

Holmes: "Watson, you idiot, somebody's stolen our tent!"

The Guardian


6.  Pointy Heads

Feeling sad because you are a "pointy-headed, leftist, elitist, etc., etc." academic who just won't line up behind the flag and teach young minds to do their "patriotic duty" and support the war?  Cheer up!  Check out this cartoon by Tom Tomorrow.


7.  Our Community Has Spoken

Amherst, MA - The students, faculty, and staff of Hampshire College have voted to condemn the "War on Terrorism" and propose alternative solutions. The vote, which was won by a margin of 693-121 (with 11 abstaining or ambiguous votes), is believed to the first such decision by a college community in the United States. (A majority of the students, faculty, and staff participated in the vote.)

"Our community has spoken," said Michael Sherrard, an organizer with Hampshire Students for a Peaceful Response, which sponsored the vote and authored the anti-war resolution. "We refuse to fall into silent support for an unjust war that kills innocents overseas, and threatens our safety and civil liberties at home."

CounterPunch December 6, 2001


8.  Defending Freedom of the Press

US warplanes bombed the offices of the Al-Jazeera satellite channel in the Afghan capital Kabul early on Tuesday morning as the city fell to Northern Alliance forces Al-Jazeera reported today. The channel has lost contact with its correspondent in the city Taysir Allouni and has been unable to determine the extent of the injuries or damage to its staff and offices. 

There is no information as to whether the attack was deliberate or not, however on April 23, 1999 US-led NATO forces deliberately bombed the offices of Radio-Television Serbia killing 16 journalists and technical staff, a case that the European Court of Human Rights has just agreed to review. In recent months US officials have alternately criticized Al-Jazeera and demanded to be interviewed on it, and the network has been subjected to a campaign of villification in the US media, including at least in one case a demand that it be bombed. New York Daily News columnist Zev Chafets wrote on October 14 that "Dealing with Al Jazeera is a job for the military. Shutting it down should be an immediate priority."



9.  Stop Hating Us Or Suffer The Consequences

WASHINGTON, DC - In a strongly worded ultimatum Tuesday, President Bush warned the Arab world to "stop hating the United States or suffer the consequences." "You have exactly 10 days to put aside your deep-rooted resentment and rage toward America and learn to like us," said Bush in a message broadcast live to 17 Arab nations via Al Jazeera. "If you fail to comply, prepare to have the full might of the U.S. military brought down upon you." Bush also threatened to carpet-bomb any Arab region whose populace continues to be angry about America's longtime bombing campaign against Iraq and the decade-long U.S. sanctions that have led to the malnutrition deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi children


10.  One-Sided Torture


MORE than 100 signatories of the Geneva Convention gathered in Switzerland yesterday to reprimand Israel for "indiscriminate and disproportionate violence" against Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories.

The 114 states, including Britain and the rest of the European Union, issued a declaration urging Israel to abide by international laws enshrined in the 1949 accord seeking to protect civilians in wartime or under occupation. It was the first such declaration by signatory states since the Convention was signed in 1949, as a similar session was adjourned after 17 minutes in July 1999. Israel and its close allies, the United States and Australia, which are also signatories of the Convention, boycotted the session.

The declaration expressed deep concern about a "deterioration of the humanitarian situation" in Palestinian areas, condemned Jewish settlements there as "illegal" and urged Israel to refrain from "grave breaches" such as "unlawful deportation", "willful killing" and "torture".

Yaakov Levy, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said the declaration was "one-sided".


11.  U.S. Bombings To Have Lasting Effects

ISLAMABAD, Nov 12: While Osama bin Laden claims to have nuclear and chemical weapons and threatens their use if the United States did so, defence experts say that the Americans are already dropping highly dangerous ordnance on Afghanistan that could have devastating effect on people's health in that beleaguered country and also in Pakistan.

A leading military expert told Dawn that since Oct 7 the United States Air Force has been raining down depleted uranium shells at targets inside Afghanistan, especially against the Taliban front lines in the north.

"There is widespread radiation in many areas that could adversely affect tens and thousands of people in the two countries for generations to come," he said.

Exposure to radioactive contamination from depleted uranium, or DU, is known to cause lung cancer, leukemia, the blood cancer, and birth defects as has been the case in the two countries where the Americans and their allies have used this weapon in recent years---Yugoslavia and Iraq. "DU causes slow death," said a medical doctor.

DAWN (Pakistan)

November 13, 2001

From: "robert rodvik" <>


12.  Anthrax: Made in the USA

Genetic fingerprinting studies indicate that the anthrax spores mailed to Capitol Hill are identical to stocks of the deadly bacteria maintained by the U.S. Army since 1980, according to scientists familiar with the most recent tests.

Although many laboratories possess the Ames strain of anthrax involved in this fall's bioterrorist attacks, only five laboratories so far have been found to have spores with perfect genetic matches to those in the Senate letters, the scientists said. And all those labs can trace back their samples to a single U.S. military source: the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Md.

"That means the original source [of the terrorist material] had to have been USAMRIID," said one of the scientists.

Washington Post Staff Writers

Sunday, December 16, 2001

From: MichaelP <>


13.  Lawyers

Lawyer: How do you feel about defense attorneys?

Juror: I think they should all be drowned at birth.

Lawyer: Well, then, you are obviously biased for the prosecution.

Juror: That's not true. I think prosecutors should be drowned at birth, too.

Judge: Is there any reason you could not serve as a juror in this case?

Juror: I don't want to be away from my job that long.

Judge: Can't they do without you at work?

Juror: Yes, but I don't want them to know it.


14.  Fun Facts About Poverty

While the Bush administration pursues policies intended to benefit the wealthy, hunger, homelessness, unemployment, poverty and income inequality are swiftly increasing in the United States.

Over 23 million Americans received emergency hunger relief from private charities so far this year, two million more than four years ago, because of government cutbacks in social programs under the last several administrations.  On any given day, some 300,000 people are homeless in the U.S., and cities such as New York are experiencing marked increases in recent months.  "Official" unemployment has shot up to 8.2 million workers, a jump of 2.6 million in a year.  Poverty is deepening throughout the country as poor families are being thrown off welfare upon reaching  time limits imposed by the Clinton administration. Income inequality---the difference between the wealthy and everyone else---has reached a 50-year high.

America's Second Harvest---a network of over 35,000 private food banks, soup kitchens, food pantries and homeless and emergency shelters---reported in December that 9% of the U.S. population, 23.3 million people, turned to its private charities for hunger-relief because government programs were inadequate to keep them fed.  It is not known how many millions received food from the 20% of charities not members of the Second Harvest network, which itself cknowledges "we are still not meeting the incredible demand."

In an exhaustive survey of 35,000 individuals called "Hunger in America 2001," the organization says its study "punctures the myth that hunger is only a problem of the inner cities, homeless or the chronically unemployed.... Nearly 40% of households that received assistance from us in 2001 included an adult who was working.  Fully 19.7% are seniors [up 16% since 1997].  The facts about children are equally disturbing.  More than 9 million  children received emergency food assistance this year...."  Women represent "two-thirds of adults seeking food assistance.... Nearly half of all emergency food recipients served by food banks live in rural or suburban areas of the country."

Homelessness is hunger's handmaiden.  According to the Coalition for the Homeless last month, the number of children and adults populating New York City shelters has reached the highest ever---over 30,000 at one time, not counting those who locate substitute shelter rather than bed down for the night in overcrowded and sometimes dangerous  city-run facilities.  The Census Bureau reported last year that 280,527 Americans needed shelter during the three days it conducted a survey.  Since most homeless people suffer this condition for weeks or months, several times that number were without an abode of their own at one point during the year.  The figure clearly has increased this year due to the recession, greater unemployment, and the government's continuing reduction in welfare support, especially for women and children.  Locally in the Mid-Hudson region, housing advocates reported recently that 2,000 people are now homeless in Dutchess County.

The United States today is increasingly transforming into a society where the bulk of the nation's wealth is possessed by small proportion of the population.  Some 5% of the American people control over 60% of the country's considerable assets, while the bottom 80% holds about 16% of the assets. The upper-middle 15% take the rest.  The Census Bureau reports that in 2000 half the nation's total income went to the top fifth of the population, while 3.6% went to the bottom fifth.  In the last decade, the top fifth of U.S. families have substantially increased their share of the country's income and assets while the bottom four-fifths has experienced a decline in its share.

There is nothing on the agenda of the two political parties which alternate in governing the United States to indicate they have any intention of deflecting this trend toward the concentration of ever greater wealth and privilege in the bank accounts of an ever smaller minority of the population.

By Jack A. Smith


15.  More Fun Facts About Poverty

There are billions of people in the world, including many millions in the United States (see accompanying article), who do not have the resources to obtain sufficient food for themselves and their families. They are the hungry.  Around the world each day, 24,000 of them die from starvation. In a year, almost 9 million people succumb to a slow and painful death from hunger, mainly in the former colonized countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. According to the United Nations, it would cost $40 billion a year to provide adequate food for all the people on the Earth who are hungry, PLUS provide universal access to basic education for all who need it, basic health care for all, reproductive health care for all women, and clean water and safe sewers for all.   This amounts to about 4% of the combined wealth of the 225 richest people in the world.  The annual cost for insuring the availability of basic food and health services only, for those lacking adequate nutrition and minimal healthcare, is $13 billion a year. This amounts to  $4 billion less than North Americans and Europeans spend annually on pet food.

By Jack A. Smith


16.  Our Free, Independent Press

Faced with the bewildering hatred of America in the Middle East and the need to solidify support for the Crusade at home, the Wall Street Journal posed the following question to a panel of distinguished advertising executives: "Should we try new national advertising in a time of crisis?" Among the few who answered in the negative was Cheryl Berman, chief creative officer for Leo Burnett USA. "I wouldn't try it," she argued. "The news stations are already doing that for us."  (WSJ 9/21/01)



17.  Computing the Value on Human Life

What is the value of any of the lives lost on September 11th? As the New York Times put it, "In measuring the value of a lost life, lawyers often say that dollars are inadequate..." Then they reach for their calculators. Compensation to the families of the 5,000 victims will be based partially on estimates off pain and suffering. But the crucial factor is loss of potential income. According to attorneys James Kreindler and Alan Fuchsberg, the family of a married 28-year-old sales executive with one child, making $500,000 a year, could expect about $25 million. But the family of an unmarried 42-year-old firefighter who went to rescue such a sales executive could expect about $100,000. We might call it "Operation Infinite Justice." (NYT 11/11/01)

American Newspeak


18.  Workers Really Pissed

Strikers urinate for more pay

Hundreds of strikers urinated on a Government building in Romania to show their anger.

Members of the country's National Block Union are demanding more pay.

They urinated on the walls of the Ministry of Labour building in Bucharest after a march through the city.

About 15,000 union members took part in the march which ended in front of the Senate.

A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E


19.  Fun Facts About the Racist Death Penalty

from DEATH ROW U.S.A., Fall 2001A quarterly report by the Criminal Justice Project of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.

 # of inmates on death row in the United States:

January 1, 2001 - 3,726

October 1, 2001 - 3,709

States with the largest death row population:

California (602)

Texas  (454)

Florida  (385)

Pennsylvania  (244)

North Carolina (235)

Jurisdictions with the highest percent of minorities on death row:

U.S. Government (87%)

U.S. Military (86%)

Colorado (83%)

Pennsylvania (70%)

Florida (69%)

Louisiana (69%)

Race of Defendant:

White 1,691 (45.59%)

Black 1,598 (43.08%)

Latino/Latina 337 ( 9.09%)

Native American 42 ( 1.13%)

Asian 40 ( 1.08%)

Unknown at this issue 1 ( .03%)


Male 3,655 (98.54%)

Female 54 ( 1.46%)


Male 82 ( 2.21%)

Race of victims in underlying crime for those executed since 1976:

White -             80.79%

Black -             13.66

Latino/a-            3.44

Asian-                1.85

Native American-  .26

From: <>


20.  A Victory for Mumia

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A federal judge on Tuesday threw out the death sentence imposed nearly two decades ago on Mumia Abu-Jamal, revered by supporters worldwide as a crusader against racial injustice but reviled by others as an unrepentant cop-killer.

U.S. District Judge William Yohn cited problems with the jury charge and verdict form in the trial that ended with the former journalist and Black Panther's first-degree murder conviction in the death of a Philadelphia police officer. The judge denied all of Abu-Jamal's other claims and refused his request for a new trial.


21.  French Workers Honor Mumia

PARIS -- The Paris City Council has named U.S. death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted for the 1981 slaying of a police officer, as an honorary citizen of Paris.

The show of solidarity with Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther and journalist, came in a vote Tuesday in the wake of the Nov. 21 decision by a Philadelphia court, which said it did not have jurisdiction over a request for a new trial.

Jean Vuillermoz, leader of the Communist Party grouping on the council, said the decision by the council follows "alarming news" about Abu-Jamal. Pablo Picasso was the last person to receive the title, in 1971.

Abu-Jamal argued that his former lawyers did a poor job and that he has new evidence that could clear him. The death row inmate's federal appeal is pending.

Celebrities, death penalty opponents and foreign politicians have rallied to Abu-Jamal's cause, calling him a political prisoner and saying he was convicted by a biased justice system.

The Salt Lake Tribune


22.  Cream Cake Treason

Four Swedish teenagers have been convicted of high treason for throwing a cream cake at the King.

They threw the cake in King Carl Gustaf's face during a royal visit to Varberg, on Sweden's west coast.

The boys were all fined after being found guilty in the first Swedish treason case in modern times.

They were all aged 16 and 17 and shouted: "For King and country" as they threw the cake at the King, reports Swedish newspaper GT.

The teenagers later told reporters their attack was a protest against the Swedish monarchy.

The pie-thrower was fined 100 days' wages and his accomplices were each fined 80 days' wages.



23.  Artistic License

Swedish Police have been accused of copyright infringement by two national television stations. The allegations arose subsequent to a documentary screened last week on thealteration of evidence in a trial against a demonstrator who was shot and seriously injured during the European Union Summit in Gothenburg this summer. The 19-year-old youth, Hannes Westerburg, was prosecuted for rioting offenses and convicted last month.

The incident was captured by a number of video cameramen on the scene. Both prosecution and defense received the materials on tape. As the video footage documenting the shooting of Hannes Westerberg did not adequately support the police's version of events, they manipulated the evidence, creating a montage which made it appear that a sole rioter was in fact part of a mob. They also replaced the sound track with audio recorded elsewhere to once again give the impression that Westerberg was part of a large and threatening crowd. State justification for the shooting rests upon the claim that it was necessary in order to protect an injured policeman from further attack, a claim squarely refuted by the evidence.

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E


24.  A Little Guy Walks Into a Bar...

A little guy walks into a bar. Unfortunately there is a pile of dog dung just inside the door, and he slips in it and falls over. He gets up, cleans himself up and walks to the bar and buys a drink.

A great big guy then enters the bar. He slips in the same pile of dung, falls, gets up, cleans up and buys a drink.

The little guy turns to the big guy and, trying to strike up a conversation, points to the pile by the door and says, "I just did that."

The big guy punches him in the mouth.


25.  Revolutionary Graffiti Front

Who is the Revolutionary Graffiti Front? We are engaged in form of Guerrilla Art, as a tactic to increase the political awareness of individuals and communities about the daily exploitation and injustice that exist within today's corporate capitalist society. Together, we can shock those who've become oblivious, out of their oblivion. We must awaken the minds of those who've become manipulated and deceived by the dirty games of pop culture and corporate mainstream propaganda.

Our weapon is a dynamic tactic, ART. Guerilla Art. Our objective is to awaken, influence, encourage and generally gain the attention of communities. Our target is capitalism. We seek to deface, and uncover the lies of those which represent the unfortunate dominance of mass marketing, mass production and efficiency in American commercial society.

We are indeed living in a revolutionary times. The voice of the voiceless must continue to speak the truth. We must continue to promote our message of rebellion as it is necessary for the survival of humanity, and our planet.

A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E


26.  Quote

"The old will die and the young will forget."

- Ben Gurion (on getting rid of Palestinians). 

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children... Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

- President Eisenhower 




Department of Art
Central Connecticut State University
1615 Stanley Street
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Phone: 860.832.2359  ##



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