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web posted November 22, 1999

ESR writer on KITZ radio

ESR senior writer Steve Farrell will be on the Marcus Hoffman show, KITZ 1400 AM, in the Greater Seatle, WA area, Tuesday, November 23rd at 5:00pm P.T. for one hour. Make sure to listen to one of ESR's premier writers!

Leaders liken bull trout rebellion in Nevada to Boston Tea Party

Comparing their cause to the Boston Tea Party, leaders of a rebellion against federal protection of a threatened fish urged Congress on November 13 to recognize local control of a road they say was theirs before the government established a national forest.

"If the feds do not change their ways and begin to listen to the local people, there is going to be a lot more tea thrown overboard," said state Assemblyman John Carpenter, one of the leaders of an effort to rebuild the road along the Jarbidge River in defiance of the U.S. Forest Service.

Two Republican representatives who held the congressional field hearing said mounting tension in the fight over the bull trout and the road in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest symbolizes a larger rift between federal land managers and citizens throughout the West.

Federal wildlife biologists say reconstruction of the road _ washed out by a 1995 flood -- near the Idaho border would jeopardize survival of the southernmost population of bull trout in the nation.

The Humboldt-Toiyabe forest was established from 1906 to 1909. Elko lawyer Grant Gerber, who wants to see the road rebuilt, said cowboys and miners used it long before the forest was created.

The controversy reached a boiling point the week before when Forest Service supervisor Gloria Flora announced her resignation in protest of what she called an "anti-federal fervor" surrounding the road.

Flora, who did not attend the hearing in Elko, said in a letter to her workers that federal land managers fear for their safety in Nevada and that she anticipated the hearing would amount to an "inquisition."

Carpenter, Gerber and Chris Johnson, chairman of the Elko County Republican Party, led a group to Jarbidge last month in hope of rebuilding the road with a half-dozen teams of work horses.

But the Justice Department obtained a restraining order from a federal judge after Nevada officials expressed concern a confrontation could turn violent.

"It is hard to imagine that the attempt to reconstruct 1,700 feet of road could lead to four years of failed negotiations, endless environmental analyses, the emergency listing of the bull trout as threatened, the rantings and resignation of a forest supervisor, numerous appeals, lawsuits, polarization and distrust," said Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage, R-Idaho, who held the hearing with Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev.

Judge rules Waco probe can include simulated infrared test

An independent, scientific test designed to help determine whether federal agents shot at Branch Davidians the day the Davidian compound burned in 1993 can now go forward.

Judge Walter Smith issued his decision on November 15 in response to a request from Special Counsel John Danforth. The former U.S. senator from Missouri is heading an independent probe into the standoff and requested that the court supervise such a test.

The test is designed to simulate conditions on April 19, 1993 when an FBI infrared aerial surveillance camera taped the use of tear gas at the Branch Davidian compound, before it went up in flames. At least 80 people inside the compound were killed.

Attorneys in the wrongful death case brought by surviving Branch Davidians claim flashes seen on the infrared tape indicate guns were fired.

Federal officials say government agents did not fire a single shot throughout the 51-day siege of the compound. However authorities have been unable to explain the flashes on the tape.

After announcing his decision, Smith asked lawyers for both sides to suggest unbiased, potential experts for consultation on the infrared test.

The expert, along with representatives for the government and the Branch Davidians, will determine where and how the test will be conducted.

In a related development, federal attorneys said they have turned over to the court all materials the federal government has compiled concerning the Branch Davidian raid and siege.

November 15 was the deadline set by the court for the materials to be received.

On November 17, representatives for the federal government and the Branch Davidians looked at some of the evidence collected from the Branch Davidian compound.

Canadian police want to bug some cell phones

Canadian police chiefs are asking Ottawa for new laws that would permit them to monitor cell phones and computers when used by suspected criminals.

A committee of chiefs met November 16 with senior justice department officials.

Rusty Beauchesne, the Toronto police legal adviser who is behind the fight for legislation, said Canada's law-enforcement agencies are currently unable to keep tabs on technically sophisticated criminals.

Police need the government to force manufacturers of specialized encryption devices to provide keys that will unscramble communication over the Internet and on mobile phones, he said.

Law-enforcement agencies would be able to ask a court for permission to enter a system and bypass encryption devices - much like police now request wiretaps to monitor telephone conversations.

Police chiefs in the United States face the same problem and have recently convinced President Bill Clinton to propose legislation giving them the ability to monitor electronic communication with proper court authorization.

Agencies in the U.S. said they were unable to probe crimes being planned by organized criminals, drug traffickers and international terrorists if specialized encryption devices were used to mask electronic communication.

Beauchesne said drug traffickers and organized crime groups are using encryption products on computers, cellular phones and E-mail systems.

"The United States government has put this as a priority. Canada should do the same," he said. "It's a major law-enforcement issue."

He said Clinton recognized the difficulties faced by U.S. law enforcement and asked Congress to pass the Cyberspace Electronic Security Act.

During lobbying efforts, U.S. police chiefs said unless manufacturers of encryption equipment are forced by law to provide keys, law enforcement agencies would not be able to intercept electronically scrambled messages.

Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Gwen Boniface said law enforcement in Canada needs the tools to be able to keep up with technology.

"It's that simple," she said.

Boniface said any criminal group that decides it wants to do business across the border will use technology to do it.

"Police need to be able to move with the technology. It's a new world and law enforcement has to have the tools to compete with criminals."

Norm Gardner, chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, said it's a matter of great concern for the public as well as the police.

Gardner said he's asked for a full report on the encryption issue and once it's received, he'll ask police boards across Canada to generate public demand for such legislation.

Waterloo police Chief Larry Gravill, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, said government support is needed to combat criminals using modern communication tools.

"We've found ourselves outside the loop in terms of technology," he said.

Trump launches Web site, with Ventura's webmaster running it

New York developer Donald Trump launched a campaign Web site on November 17 run by Gov. Jesse Ventura's Web master in another sign of their allegiance and Trump's presidential intentions.

"Donald J. Trump may be the experienced, decisive can-do businessman America needs as president in the new millennium," the site reads.

At the site, www.donaldjtrump2000.com, visitors can read about Trump's plan to eliminate the national debt or his background, make a donation or volunteer.

Roger Stone, head of Trump's presidential exploratory committee, said the site "very definitely" was a sign that the developer would enter the race for the Reform Party presidential nomination.

Phil Madsen, the creative force behind Ventura's Web site, said his goal is to develop "E-team Trump," an online community. He performed a similar feat for Ventura, mobilizing 8,000 subscribers in the final days of the 1998 gubernatorial campaign.

Stone said, "The single most important thing we'd like to do with our Web site is provide information to the American people on Trump's national debt reduction plan."

Trump also will be trying to decide whether to run.

"One of the things that will help him make that decision is to see how many Americans register their support," Stone said.

If Trump runs, he will be competing against experienced and established backers of former Republican Pat Buchanan, who is now seeking the Reform Party nomination.

"Trump is not running as a Democrat or Republican so we're going to have to create an organization out of nothing," Madsen said.

If he runs, Trump will need to petition for ballot access in the 29 states and Washington, D.C., where the party isn't automatically listed on ballots.

The Web site and the hiring of Madsen are signs that Trump is putting together an organization. They also are indicators of the closeness of Trump and Ventura, and the coolness to Buchanan in the Ventura faction of the Reform Party.

"Given the choices between Pat Buchanan and Donald Trump, I'll take Trump in a heartbeat," Madsen said.

Madsen said he informed Ventura of his decision to work for Trump and got his OK. He does not, however, consult with the governor, he said.

"I am not a conduit for Governor Ventura to get to Trump," Madsen said.

Stone also is considering hiring Ventura's 1998 campaign manager, Doug Friedline, possibly as a national political director. Friedline said he's interested.

"I think Mr. Trump is starting to become a serious candidate. Thirty days ago I don't think he was a serious candidate," Friedline said.

Stone said Trump found Ventura's aides a good fit.

"In many ways Trump and Ventura are very similar," Stone said. "They are larger-than-life characters from outside of politics. They are both controversial. They are both outspoken. In taking on the established political order, they are taking on long odds."

And the Trump camp likes another thing about the nation's only Reform Party governor.

"Ventura won," Stone said. "There's a model there. There are some lessons there."

Yeltsin: West has 'no right' to criticize Chechen campaign

Russian President Boris Yeltsin defended his military's campaign against Islamic militants in Chechnya on November 18, saying Western critics have "no right" to complain about the assault.

Yeltsin later broke up a meeting with French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder after five minutes, saying he was leaving the summit and returning to Moscow "to deal with Chechnya," according to Chirac's spokeswoman.

Speaking at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe summit, which opened that day in Istanbul, Yeltsin promised Russia's military would abide by U.N. conventions during its new Chechen war. But he took a broad swipe at critics who fear Moscow's attempt to uproot Muslim guerrillas will create a humanitarian disaster in the northern Caucasus.

"You have no right to criticize Russia for Chechnya," he said. "As a result of a bloody wave of terrorist acts that have swept over Moscow and other towns, 1,580 peaceful inhabitants of our towns have suffered. The pain of this tragedy has been felt in every corner of Russia."

In rebuttal, U.S. President Bill Clinton said Russia had the right to fight terrorism on its own territory -- but said the attack undermines Russia's transition to a stable democracy. The two leaders began bilateral talks on the summit's sidelines shortly after their comments.

Russian authorities blame the guerrillas -- who attempted to set up an Islamic state in the Russian republic of Dagestan over the summer -- for a series of September bombings in Moscow and other cities. The attacks killed about 300 people and injured hundreds more.

Yeltsin also reminded Western leaders that before the Russian assault began, Chechen kidnappers had taken more than 900 people -- including numerous Westerners -- hostage. Some have been killed, and about 200 are still being held, Yeltsin said.

Moscow favors a peaceful, political solution to the conflict, he said, but first it must "completely eliminate the bandit formations." He accused the Chechens of planning to export terrorism as well.

"Thousands of mercenaries are being trained in camps in the territory of Chechnya, as well as being brought in from abroad, and are preparing to spread extremist ideas all over the world," he said.

In a jab at the NATO countries that mounted an 11-week bombardment of Yugoslavia over Serb authorities' persecution of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, he urged OSCE members to make "non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states" a pillar of 21st-century security arrangements.

"I'm thinking in particular of the appeals for humanitarian interference -- this is a new idea -- in the internal affairs of another state, even when this is done on the pretext of protecting human rights and freedoms," Yeltsin said.

"We all know already what disproportionate consequences such interference can cause. Suffice it to recall the aggression of NATO headed by the United States that was mounted against Yugoslavia," he said. "Now, on the threshold of a new era, it is more urgently necessary than ever before that our principle commandment for our joint efforts in Europe should be 'do no harm.' "

Earlier, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder criticized the Russian campaign, saying that though the world community condemns terrorism and supports a democratic Russia, "War is no way to eliminate terrorism." Russian efforts to crack down on terrorists have hurt civilians, he said.

Clinton, whose comments followed Yeltsin's, said Russia has " not only the right, but the obligation to defend its territorial integrity." But he warned that Russia's attack on Chechnya "will undermine its ends."

"If attacks on civilians continue, the extremism Russia is trying to combat will only intensify, and the sovereignty Russia rightly is defending will be more and more rejected by ordinary Chechens who are not part of the terror or the resistance."

Clinton defended the NATO attack on Yugoslavia, saying the world community a wider catastrophe, like the one that followed Bosnian independence.

"So I believe we did the right thing. And I do not believe there will ever be a time in human affairs when we will ever be able to say we simply cannot criticize this or that or the other action because it happened within the territorial borders of a single nation."

Invoking Yeltsin's defiance of the 1991 Soviet coup attempt, Clinton said calls for non-interference could have been used against reformers there.

"If they had put you in jail instead of electing you president, I would hope that every leader of every country around this table would have stood up for you and for freedom in Russia and not said, 'Well, that is an internal Russian affair that we cannot be a part of,' " he said.

Fox, Drudge part ways

Fox News dumped Matt Drudge on November 18 after extracting a statement of regret from the cyber-gossip for having riddled the network with rhetorical fire.

Fox had threatened Drudge with a breach-of-contract lawsuit after he refused to tape his program in a dispute over a picture of a fetus. Drudge and Fox News President Roger Ailes had a tense conversation to hammer out the language of their divorce.

"In the heat of the moment, in pursuit of a story, I made comments I regret about the innovative Fox News Channel and its executives," Drudge said in the agreed-upon press release. "I look forward to a continuing relationship with the Fox News Channel for years to come and may even make guest appearances on its programming from time to time."

Ailes, who was livid over Drudge's conduct, said in the statement that his former employee "is an original and did some very good television for us." Ailes also said he would "continue to read the Drudge Report." Drudge played it cute, saying from Los Angeles that "I'm thrilled I'm going to be able to kiss Fox goodbye--on good terms."

The Internet columnist abandoned his two-year-old show after Fox executives refused to allow him to brandish a National Enquirer photo of surgery being performed on a 21-week-old fetus with spina bifida. They argued that he would be misrepresenting the picture by using it to talk about abortion. Drudge denounced the network for censoring him, then returned fire on his Web site after Fox criticized him.

Fox owner Rupert Murdoch expressed concern about the flap--the network even included questions about the Drudge match in a political poll--and Ailes pushed hard for an apology. Drudge acknowledged in yesterday's statement that under his contract, Fox "has complete editorial control over all of its programming, including 'Drudge.' " Still, it took a flurry of calls to negotiate the parting words.

Fox executives were quick to note that one of their correspondents showed the fetus photo Wednesday in a report on spina bifida.

Small business forced to cancel Wal-Mart petition rally

Einstein Brothers Bagels was forced to cancel a live, remote radio broadcast by KXNT 840-AM scheduled for the morning of November 18 from 5-9 a.m. because of threats made by local unions.

KXNT talk-show hosts Jay Casey and Alan Stock have been conducting live remotes throughout Las Vegas for the past several weeks promoting a petition which seeks repeal of a recently-passed Clark County ordinance that prohibits Wal-Mart from opening their SuperCenters in the community.

Einstein Brothers informed KXNT that they decided not to allow Casey and Stock to broadcast live from their parking lot after anonymous union calls threatened to picket the business, close it down and disrupt the broadcast.

“There they go again,” said Nevada Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman Chuck Muth. “Whenever the unions don't get their way, they resort to threats, extortion, violence, vandalism and intimidation to force their views on someone who doesn't agree with them. These people aren't controlled by the mob, they've become the mob.”

Stock told radio listeners during this afternoon's broadcast that KXNT would go forward with the live remote in the morning at a location “within eyesight” of Einstein Brothers Bagels - which is located on Maryland Parkway, directly across from UNLV. The radio station is keeping the exact location secret until the 5:00 a.m. air time to prevent the unions from further intimidation tactics.

“I don't blame the folks at Einstein Brothers for being afraid of these union thugs,” said Muth. “Many of us remember that video of a union goon smashing that beer mug across the face of an unsuspecting tourist as he and his wife attempted to cross the Strip during the Frontier Hotel strike. These people are dangerous, out of control, and in some case, probably psychotic. It's a shame our community has to put up with such terrorist behavior.”

People wishing to sign the Wal-Mart petition or help distribute it can contact: Citizens for Competition at: (702) 615-4151 or at lv4competition@aol.com.

Jury convicts Teamsters executive with Clinton link

The political director for ousted Teamsters President Ron Carey was convicted of embezzlement and fraud on November 19 in a trial that included testimony that President Clinton's chief fund-raiser encouraged the scheme.

A U.S. District Court jury found William Hamilton guilty after two days of deliberations.

The jury had been told that Hamilton authorized $885,000 in contributions to political organizations in exchange for contributions to Carey's 1996 re-election campaign.

Hamilton was convicted of embezzlement, mail and wire fraud and perjury after a three-week trial that featured testimony from several people who cooperated with the government's prosecution.

He could be sentenced to 30 year in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 29.

A highlight of the testimony featured Richard Sullivan, former finance director of the Democratic National Committee.

He testified on Oct. 28 that Clinton's close friend and chief fund-raiser, Terence McAuliffe, urged him and others to get a Democratic donor to give Carey $50,000.

Sullivan testified that in exchange, McAuliffe had said the Teamsters would contribute $500,000 to a Democratic fund-raising group.

The Democrats failed to produce a donor for Carey and the Teamsters did not make a donation that Sullivan had testified he was told could reach as high as $1 million.

McAuliffe was not charged with any crime and his lawyer, Richard Ben-Veniste, said he had cooperated with prosecutors. Ben-Veniste said McAuliffe had merely raised the notion of finding a wealthy donor for Carey as a fund-raising option.

"Terry McAuliffe did not encourage anybody to pursue this possibility," Ben-Veniste said previously. "Nor did he personally attempt to raise any funds in this manner for Mr. Carey."

Robert Gage Jr., a defense lawyer for Hamilton, told the jury his client was an innocent victim of prosecutors who relied on lies by convicted felons trying to reduce potential prison sentences.

"There is no evidence nor could there be a penny in his pocket from any of this," he told the jury in closing arguments. "That's because he recommended contributions consistent with the purpose of the union."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Rice had argued that Hamilton knew what he was doing.

He said the defense wanted jurors to think that Sullivan, "this poor unsuspecting, innocent dupe just happened ... to recommend, with virtually no questions asked, $885,000 in contributions."

Carey narrowly defeated James P. Hoffa in the 1996 Teamsters election, which was overturned after investigators found that Carey's campaign had improperly benefited from donations the union made to the organizations.

Carey and Hamilton were barred for life from joining or working for the union by the Independent Review Board in Washington.

Prosecutors alleged the money was paid out to four third-party political organizations that were expected to then contribute to the effort to re-elect Carey. The union is not permitted to use its money to fund elections for union members.

Prosecutors said the contributions were staggering in size and unprecedented from a union which was nearly broke.

Two prosecution witnesses -- Carey campaign manager Jere Nash and telemarketer Michael Ansara -- pleaded guilty in 1997 in a deal with the government. Their sentencing has not been scheduled.

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