Flyby News Home - Flyby News Archives - Casinni NoFlyby - Flyby Links

Flyby  News

"News Fit to Transmit in the Post Cassini Flyby Era"

Clemency * Space Commission * DU * Ashcroft and Norton * Global Warming

9 January 2001

Flyby News combines the reporting of usually separated issues, Missile Defense and Indigenous (Human) Rights. Of course the connection is with the well being of Earth. The President's Executive Clemency decision to free Leonard Peltier and the push for missile defense is occurring at the same time. Both have major potential consequences. Another related issue with the well being of our planet is Energy. If President-Elect Bush gets his way, the U.S. would strike at the Earth by exploiting one of the last remaining wilderness areas, increase offshore oil drilling, and build an entire new generation of nuclear energy power plants. It seems that the new administration could ramp up the timetable for destruction; the seeds were planted in prior administrations. The DoE has completed biased environmental impact studies on how to expand Plutonium-238 production. Facing the vast array of problems, however, is critical. The only way we can find out if our actions have any impact is to try. Working together and strategically improves our chances. If humans can survive the 21st millennium that would be a miracle.

Please support the following items and call U.S. Senators and elected officials to encourage them to support reconciliation and truth with indigenous peoples, and, during the same call encourage them to make a stand against an expensive and "cannot work" missile defense. For these issues support the blocking of the Bush (or whoever is really in control) nominations.

"In the past we honored our grandparents
In the present we threaten our grandchildren"
Bart Jordan

1) Countdown to Peltier Clemency Update

2) Space Commission Set to Report to Congress
Paving the Way for Rumsfield and Star Wars

3) Depleted Uranium Follow-Up
"Maybe Iraq Is Right Re Depleted Uranium"

4) Block Ashcroft and Norton Nominations

5) Global Warming Opportunity


1) Countdown to Peltier Clemency Update

Below is an editorial published in the LA Times, written by journalist Kevin McKiernan, who witnessed several aspects of the Pine Ridge Reign of Terror. The White House recently indicated that the next round of clemency decisions will not likely occur until the last minute (just before January 20).

If true, this leaves us with about ten more days to continue the campaign.

# # # #

LA Times
Sunday, January 7, 2001
Put a Close to This Sad Chapter


SANTA BARBARA--I don't know which American Indian killed FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams in a notorious South Dakota shoot-out 25 years ago. Nor do I know the identity of the federal lawman who shot and killed Joe Stuntz, the American Indian Movement (AIM) member, whose body I photographed afterward. But I was there on June 25, 1975, outside the Jumping Bull ranch on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, when some of the bullets were flying. A stray round hit my pickup, and my memory is still fresh of crouching low behind the truck with my portable tape deck, recording the exchange of gunfire for a National Public Radio broadcast.

The government has never produced an eyewitness in the deaths of the agents, and prosecutors admit they still don't know who actually killed Coler and Williams. But AIM leader Leonard Peltier, one of the estimated two dozen Indians present on the 40-acre reservation that day, has admitted that he participated in the firefight. A U.S. appellate court upheld his murder conviction as an aider and abettor, but the court chastised the FBI for its use of "fabricated" evidence in securing Peltier's extradition from Canada and for withholding from the jury an exculpatory ballistics test conducted on a rifle attributed to Peltier.

Amnesty International maintains that Peltier, who is 56 and has been in jail for the last 25 years, did not get a fair trial. Now, in the waning days of the Clinton administration, the organization is one of several groups petitioning the president to commute Peltier's sentence.

Two other AIM members were acquitted in the case, on grounds of self-defense, despite testimony that they had fired in the direction of the agents. The jury also heard evidence about COINTELPRO, the FBI's
counterinsurgency program used against AIM, and a representative of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission testified to the "climate of fear" on the reservation before the 1975 shootings. Other testimony challenged FBI assertions of neutrality in the tribal civil war that followed AIM's takeover of the historic reservation village of Wounded Knee two years earlier. Two Indians were shot to death at Wounded Knee; a dozen Indians and two lawmen also received gunshot injuries during the 10-week takeover.

There have long been allegations that the FBI chose sides in the internecineconflict that took place from 1973-75 between AIM-led traditionalists and a vigilante group of mostly mixed bloods who called themselves the GOONs (Guardians of the Oglala Nation). But testimony concerning FBI activities on the reservation before the 1975 killings was excluded by the judge in the case of Peltier, who was tried separately from the other two defendants.

In fact, the climate of fear back then was all too real, and it matched anything I have experienced reporting from war zones like El Salvador and the Middle East. In those days, the reservation seemed like the Wild West, and almost everyone was armed. I once was threatened with guns in my face when I tried to film a GOON squad roadblock; another time I was slammed up against a wall by GOONs, who tended to perceive the entire press corps as AIM sympathizers. The brakes on my car were cut, and, on one occasion, a high-powered rifle blew a hole in an automobile in which I was riding. My experiences pale by comparison to the beatings, fire-bombings and drive-by shootings were common during the period; at least 25 murders of Indians still remain unsolved. Former South Dakota state Sen. James Abourzek said that the near-lawless atmosphere on the reservation approached "total anarchy."

District U.S. Judge Fred Nichol, who tried many of the Wounded Knee cases, once told me in a filmed interview that "The FBI and the GOON squad worked pretty much together . . . because they were against AIM." In a 1984 televised interview, which I conducted for PBS's "Frontline," a leader of the GOON squad claimed that FBI agents provided his group with intelligence on AIM and, in one instance, "armor piercing" bullets for use against AIM members who, like the GOONs, were heavily armed at the time.

A few years ago, Gerald W. Heaney, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals that upheld Peltier's conviction, petitioned the White House to commute Peltier's sentence. Heaney stated in a letter that the FBI shared the blame for the two agents and one Indian killed in the South Dakota shoot-out. He said that the government "overreacted" to the 1973 occupation at Wounded Knee. Instead of "carefully considering the legitimate grievances of Native Americans," he said, "the response was essentially a military one that
culminated in a deadly firefight on June 26, 1975.

Before he leaves office, President Bill Clinton can provide closure to a difficult and divisive period in Indian history. As Heaney wrote in his clemency plea, "At some time, the healing process must begin. We as a nation must recognize their unique culture and their great contribution to our nation."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Kevin Mckiernan Covered the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for National Public Radio From 1973-1976. He was the Co-producer of the PBS "Frontline" Program "The Spirit of Crazy Horse."

For more information contact the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) (785)842-5774. . Leonard Peltier's book, Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance, is available from bookstores, libraries and the LPDC. Also, a video tape of a Congressional Briefing last May is available from the LPDC for a $15 donation. It includes testimonies by Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Jennifer Harbury, Debbie White Plume, Nilak Butler, Jean Day, Bruce Ellison and others. Please consider reviewing this (45-minutes) video and distributing it to your local community television stations for broadcasting.

Support Clemency for Peltier

WHITE HOUSE comment line: 202-456-1111
(press 0 to bypass recorded message)

Send a FAX:

Online Petition:

Call the Congressional switchboard 202 224 3121.
This number can connect you to your Senator or Congressman from any state

Check out the donated artwork of Lahri Bond, lithographic prints available
"In the Spirit of Crazy Horse - Free Leonard Peltier"


2) Space Commission Set to Report to Congress
Paving the Way for Rumsfield and Star Wars
by Bruce Gagnon

On January 11, the same day that the Senate Armed Services Committee begins public hearings on the Rumsfeld nomination for Secretary of Defense, the Commission to Assess U.S. National Security Space Management and
Organization is to release its findings after more than a year of study. Established by members of Congress who
claim that preparations to protect U.S. "Space Assets" are inadequate, the commission's report will likely pave the way for Star Wars.

The commission was led by Donald Rumsfeld, President-select George W. Bush's nominee for Secretary of Defense, who has pledged to make the missile "defense", and the space-based laser, a top priority.

Three former leaders of the U.S. Space Command are commission members and there is no doubt that the timing of the "Commission's report", on the same day that Rumsfeld's confirmation hearings begin, are intended to create
the momentum to sweep Rumsfeld into his new cabinet seat without a word of controversy.

While the media and some in Congress question the appointments of Ashcroft, Chavez, and Norton, the move toward Star Wars and the expenditure of over $100 billion to get there is not open for public discussion. The creation
of a new arms race in space and the U.S. violation of the ABM and Outer Space Treaties seems to be an insignificant issue to the corporate controlled media.

The aerospace industry has the media in the bag. Now they are lining up Congress to ease through the Rumsfeld nomination. Once done they figure not a wimper will be heard from the American people. The new space "control and domination" regime will be underway and massive corporate welfare for the industry will be in place. Further cuts in social spending will have to come next to pay for the enormous costs in Star Wars.

We urge all who are concerned to immediately contact your two U.S. Senators to urge them to fight Star Wars. The real fight to stop Star Wars begins with the issue of Senate approval of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of

CALL YOUR SENATORS ASAP via the Congressional Switchboard at:
(202) 224-3121.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 90083
Gainesville, Fl. 32607
(352) 337-9274


3) Depleted Uranium Follow-Up
"Maybe Iraq Is Right Re Depleted Uranium"


* Weapons Of War Are Supposed To Kill -- But Not This Way

* Questions Arise About Shells That Use Uranium As Ballast

* By CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier

(CBS) A few years back, Iraq complained of a rise in childhood leukemia and other cancers, in the south of the country -- byproducts, it said, of the allied bombing there, and the use of depleted uranium ore in allied munitions.

The Pentagon dismissed such reports, and told inquiring reporters they'd been taken in by Iraqi

Fast-forward to Kosovo, and the former Yugoslavia in general, and the funerals of six Italian peacekeepers. They all served in one of the most heavily bombarded areas of Kosovo, Pec, where NATO fired the bulk of its 31,000 tank rounds, all of them filled with depleted uranium ore.

Also dead were five Belgians and one Portuguese soldier.

Italian politicians say uranium ore dust is to blame, and they and other NATO member nations have demanded an explanation.

NATO says there's no connection and no danger, insisting that this is not a radioactive weapon, or a nuclear weapon in any sense. The dense, spent ore is simply used to make the munitions heavier.

The problem is, soldiers on short tours of duty in the Balkans are dying. And, like the people of southern Iraq, who knows what's happening to the people who live there?,1597,261415-412,00.shtml
(c) 2001, CBS News


From "The Independent" of January 9, 2001

Schroeder tells Nato to ban use of toxic shells

By Imre Karacsin in Berlin, Stephen Castle in Stockholm and
Elizabeth Nash in Madrid

9 January 2001

Germany called for the banning of uranium shells yesterday as several European countries ordered health checks for soldiers who served in the Balkans, while Nato and the EU scheduled urgent meetings to discuss the risks. [for full story visit]


4) Block Ashcroft and Norton Nominations

From: ActForChange

Happy New Year from ActForChange!

..Your continued engagement is needed to challenge two particularly controversial nominations to President-Elect Bush's cabinet, the nominations of Senator John Ashcroft to serve as Attorney General and Gale Norton to serve as Secretary of the Interior.

Throughout the 2000 election, candidate Bush promised to be a "uniter" for our country, not a "divider." When a partisan Supreme Court narrowly awarded the election to George W. Bush by a slim 5-4 decision, President-elect Bush pledged to bring the country together.

His nomination of Senator Ashcroft -- one of the right wing's leading lights -- to serve as Attorney General exposes Bush's obligation to the fundamentalist activists who propelled him to the Republican nomination.

His nomination of Gale Norton -- who the League of Conservation Voters calls a "throwback to the James Watt era -- one of the darkest periods of natural resource exploitation" -- exposes Bush's obligations to the mining, grazing, tree-cutting and drilling industries who seek unfettered access to public lands.

Please add your voice to this effort by joining us in our campaign to reject the Ashcroft and Norton nominations -- this year's first critical fights for justice and the environment.

Click here to urge your Senators to join the Block Ashcroft Campaign.

Click here to urge your Senators to join the Block Norton Campaign.

There is strength in numbers! So once you take action, please forward this e-mail to friends and associates so they can speak out too. Confirmation hearings are expected to be completed soon after the Inauguration on
January 20, so time is of the essence.

The next few weeks are also our last opportunity to urge President Clinton to enact some critical new policies. Here are just a few of the Activism Alerts currently posted on ActForChange that we want President Clinton to complete in the weeks before he leaves office. He does respond to public pressure, and the thousands of messages sent to him via ActForChange already helped convince him to protect the Steller Sea Lion, clean up dirty diesel engines, and enact the roadless area protection plan.

Click on these links to make your voice heard on these remaining issues:

Support International Treaty to Ban Land Mines

Protect Arctic Wildlife Refuge From Oil Drilling

Release Leonard Peltier

Help Rape Survivors Get Needed Treatment

With appreciation,

Michael Kieschnick
President, Working Assets
Reply to:


5) Global Warming Opportunity

by Rachel Massey*

During November, while Americans were preoccupied by questions of rigged elections, representatives of 170 countries met in The Hague, Netherlands, to tackle what is arguably the biggest environmental problem we face -- global warming. The meeting at The Hague was supposed to fill in the blanks of the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 international treaty intended to combat global warming by ensuring that countries limit their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, chiefly by reducing the combustion of coal, oil and gasoline (so-called "fossil fuels"). Many scientists consider global warming the biggest environmental problem of the 21st century because they expect it to change weather patterns, spread serious diseases like malaria and dengue fever, and cause droughts, floods, large storms, and major shifts in water supplies.

The goal at The Hague was to spell out how each country would curb greenhouse gas emissions to comply with limits established at Kyoto in 1997. Instead, negotiators left The Hague after two weeks with no agreement. The negotiations collapsed largely because of efforts by the U.S. negotiators to get emission reduction "credits" for existing vegetation, such as trees or crops growing within U.S. borders.[1]

Trees and other plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and store it in their tissues. Negotiators refer to them as "carbon sinks" -- places where carbon is stored in solid form after it is pulled from the atmosphere. The U.S. negotiators wanted credit for vegetation "sinks," as a way of minimizing the need to change how we use energy in the U.S. The U.S. is the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels. And our energy use is notably inefficient; for example, we emit about twice as much carbon dioxide per person as Germany does.[2]

U.S. negotiators insist that curbing the use of fossil fuels will hurt the U.S. economy. But a new study challenges that premise, showing in detail how we could reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by increasing the efficiency of our economy.

Fossil fuel companies have worked relentlessly to convince the American public that global warming is a Chicken Little fantasy. The insurance industry, on the other hand, knows that global warming is real because hurricanes, cyclones, and floods between 1990 and 1995 cost the industry about fifteen times as much as such events had cost in the 1980s.[3, pg. 10] Recently even a few oil companies have decided to come clean. British Petroleum and Shell Oil, for example, have now withdrawn from the Global Climate Coalition, an industry group that tries to dismiss the science on global warming.[4]

As opportunities to misrepresent the science diminish, opponents of precautionary action have stirred economic fears, arguing that curbing greenhouse gases will create economic disaster. But according to a new study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and carried out by five U.S. national laboratories, the opposite is true. The study, SCENARIOS FOR A CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE (CEF), shows how energy use could be reduced in each of four broad economic sectors -- buildings, industry, transportation, and electricity -- and concludes that it would help, not hurt, our economy to make the needed changes.[5]

For each sector, the CEF study examines "market barriers" that limit our incentives, or our ability, to use energy efficiently. For example, in the "buildings" sector, which includes household appliances, they note that:

** Electricity bills do not give any details: we cannot see how much we are paying to run a refrigerator or a TV set. The authors liken this to a grocery store where customers receive a total bill at the checkout counter, but never see the prices of individual foods.[5, pg. 2.13]

** Switching to an energy-efficient appliance will produce only small savings for an individual family. For example, reducing the standby power of a TV set from 7 watts to less than one watt would save about $5 per year per TV. As a result, most people won't put much effort into finding an energy-efficient TV. But if all TVs in the country used less than one watt of standby power, "the total savings would be hundreds of millions of dollars per year."[5, pg. 4.4]

** Another market barrier is called "split incentives": the person buying the equipment is not the person who will pay to run it. For example, a landlord might buy an inefficient furnace, letting the tenants pay the high heating bills that result.[5, pg. 4.5]

One of the important functions of government is to compensate for market barriers. For example, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) jointly run the Energy Star program, which labels appliances according to their energy efficiency. This system helps consumers see at a glance how much money an energy-efficient refrigerator or furnace will save them during a year. And the government can help overcome the "split incentives" problem by setting minimum standards for efficiency in equipment such as water heaters.[5, pg. 4.7] According to the CEF study, there is enormous opportunity to achieve efficiencies by such means.

In the transportation sector, the government could promote investment in alternative fuels; improve air traffic control to reduce the time airplanes spend circling airports; and create "pay-at-the-pump" automobile insurance, giving car owners the opportunity to save on insurance by driving less.[5, pg. 1.10]

Some economists say opportunities to save both energy and money must be fiction: if they were real, people would already be doing them. Pointing out such opportunities, they say, is like claiming there is a $20 bill lying on the sidewalk. If it were there, someone would have picked it up long ago. But as one commentator points out, the appropriate metaphor is not a $20 bill lying on the sidewalk but $20 worth of pennies hidden in the sand. Nobody wants to sift through sand for a few pennies. But if you make it easy by giving people a metal detector, they will happily gather up the pennies. The "metal detector" represents the reforms we can make in energy markets to help people save both energy and money.[6]

The CEF study considers three main categories of economic reforms:

1. Increasing government research and development (R&D) for technologies to reduce energy consumption.

2. Government projects to correct economic barriers to efficient energy use -- like the Energy Star program to help consumers choose more cost-effective home appliances.

3. Taxing carbon dioxide emissions to motivate people to save energy. The authors propose such a tax in the form of emissions permits the government would sell at auction each year.

Using varying combinations of these policies, the authors explore 3 possible scenarios for future energy use: Business as Usual, Moderate, and Advanced. Under Business as Usual, current energy policies continue more or less unchanged, with a "modest pace of technological progress." In the Moderate scenario, some reforms occur; and in the Advanced scenario "a nationwide sense of urgency" motivates deeper reforms.[5, pg. 3.3]

By the year 2020, the Moderate scenario sees emissions reduced by 9% to 10% compared with Business as Usual, and the country's energy bill is 14% lower. The Advanced scenario sees emissions 23% to 32% lower and the energy bill 18% to 22% lower than the Business as Usual forecast. In other words, even taking into account the administrative costs of programs like Energy Star, plus increased costs for research and development, the country still saves money. And the gains calculated in the CEF study are ONLY energy cost savings. They do not include other advantages of more rational energy use, such as improved health from cleaner air and reduced dependence on foreign oil.[5, pg. ES8]

To be cautious, the authors say some of the gains they describe might be offset by "indirect" losses in other parts of the economy, which they do not model in detail. Indirect losses could conceivably equal direct gains, so instead of making a profit, we might simply come out even.[5, pgs. 1.40-1.41] On the other hand, a recent analysis of the CEF scenarios by the International Project for Sustainable Energy Paths (IPSEP) concludes that when we factor in broader economic patterns, the potential gains look substantially larger, not smaller.[6]

The CEF scenarios are not designed to get the U.S. all the way to its Kyoto target of reducing emissions to 7% below 1990 levels by the period 2008 to 2012. But they make it clear that for every day we delay taking steps toward that target, we are losing money.

One way to save a bundle would be to stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. A report by Friends of the Earth (FoE) points out that taxpayers currently provide billions of dollars worth of unnecessary support to polluting industries each year.[7] This money could be given back to taxpayers, or redirected to support clean energy projects and job training for workers leaving the coal industry.[8]

When U.S. negotiators try to delay U.S. actions to reduce emissions, they are not protecting the U.S. economy as a whole; they are protecting a small group of our dirtiest industries. Given the strong personal ties of both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to the oil industry, the U.S. role in follow-up meetings, expected in May or June, could be even more obstructionist. We shouldn't let our representatives get away with protecting oil and coal companies at the expense of the rest of the economy, not to mention the planet.

* Rachel Massey is a consultant to Environmental Research

Thanks to Barbara Haya of the Energy and Resources Group,
University of California at Berkeley, for help developing several
ideas presented in this issue.

For online links to references and more information visit

Flyby News is a free electronic news service regarding peace in space, human rights, indigenous, and environmental issues.

Email address: