By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Nonmilitary targets: To protect pilots and limit protest at home, the Clinton administration approved bombing above 15,000 feet, a high-altitude launching point that all but guaranteed bombs would be sent off course and land in civilian areas.
Lack of real humanitarian aid: NATO's backing of Kosovo guerrilla fighters fueled the battles that forced thousands of refugees from their homes and into the wintry mountains. But because the West feared losing aircrews, it abandoned any serious efforts to drop food and other supplies.
Shady Landlord Tapped as Ambassador to Spain
To be an American ambassador to a foreign country, you usually have to be some rich person who contributed millions of dollars to the new president's campaign coffers. So there was nothing surprising when President Bush nominated Orange County, California, apartment landlord George Argyros as ambassador to Spain. After all, by his own account, Argyros collected $50 million for the Bush war chest. He oughta get something. He doesn't even speak Spanish, but so what? Argyros is "a leader in his community who has been active in numerous civic, cultural, and philanthropic organizations," Bush declared.
What Dubya didn't say is that Argyros is under investigation by the California attorney general for the swindling of thousands of poor, middle- class, and immigrant tenants. According to an investigation by Anthony Pignataro of OC Weekly, a Voice sister paper, the nominee has for years systematically ripped off thousands of tenants by overcharging and shortchanging them. Argyros's lawyers and associates have strenuously denied committing any crimes.
Last December, the Orange County D.A.'s office met with Argyros reps to present him with the results of their 13-month probe into the landlord's practices, which included illegally billing tenants for repairs, cheating them out of security deposits, and charging them for fictitious expenses. "During a six-month period in 1999, [Argyros's company] illegally charged 406 former tenants $193 each for painting when the actual cost was $67," OC Weeklyreported. Meanwhile, law enforcement sources said Argyros "abused tenants regardless of age or ethnicity, but allegedly targeted Vietnamese tenants most aggressively."
Mechanic Claims He Was Fired for Alerting Authorities
Pentagon Sex Slaves?
Ben Johnston, a Texas aircraft mechanic working in Bosnia for a Pentagon contractor, is charging in Texas federal district court that he was fired because he ratted out fellow workers who were swapping underage girls as maids and sex slaves, and dealing in illegal firearms as well. The employer, DynCorp, denies the charges, which are being made under RICO, federal racketeering laws.
Johnston claims that when he alerted his DynCorp supervisor, the manager told him "to mind his own business." He says his three-year contract was abruptly cancelled and he was fired without notice after reporting these activities to the Army Criminal Investigation Command in March 2000.
The suit alleges that DynCorp employees purchased the passports of women and girls from Serbian Mafia members, who brought them into Bosnia from other Eastern European countries.
When an upstate New York resident complained last summer about a local radio station's advertising urinal splash guards with National Hockey League emblems attached in local bars and restaurants, Federal Communications Commissioner Gloria Tristani opined:
"The U.S. Supreme Court has noted urination is excretory and is not a subject for routine public viewing. . . . Proposing to routinely urinate on someone to express disagreement with that person's sports affiliations (the NHL teams) or job performance (the NHL commissioner) is the kind of degrading and pointless personal attack that possesses little political value."