Saturday, February 19, 2005

December 1989


W Ger proposes confed w/E Ger. DDR is less than thrilled. Doesn’t want to be a bantustan, getting all W Ger’s pensioners.

Slovenia, for obvious reasons, has supported Albanians in Kosovo, as has Croatia. Serbia has been trying to get Serbian demonstrations in Ljubliana, which Slovenia just banned as “fascist aggression.” Serbia has virtually said Slovenia should be thrown out of Yugoslavia. Slovenian premier now wondering what the pt of Yugo. is

Herbert Gold on US ambassador to Haiti’s excuse for not protesting human rights violations as “part of the culture...their tradition,” he said, [Gold]: “as if torture is a sort of folkloric exercise.”

The Bush admin agrees to conduct environmental study of cut-rate water for CA. central valley farmers--after renewing it for 40 yrs.

The Marshall Islands, whose pop have unrestricted access to US, to sell citizenship (to Hong Kongese), but US says they have to prove residence in Marshalls. Nice try.

Bush vetoes the unanimous bill that would allow Ch. students to stay indefinitely

Nicaragua responding to US congress approval of cont. Contra aid, will not issue visas to 20-member Congressional delegation to observe elections (Carter can still go).

Czech. dismantling fences w/Austria

Gorbachev, before meeting the pope, says USSR needs religion

Bush signed a law making the CIA inspector-gen. appointive, by president & subject to Sen. approval. DCI has right to cancel any I-G’s investigation on nat sec grounds


The I-C prosecutor says secrecy creates a category of people beyond the law

Thornburgh wants to impose civil penalties up to $10,000 for possessing small amounts of drugs inc marijuana. Probable cause standard would not apply.

Czech Politburo dec 1968 invasion wrong, as have CPs of E Ger & Hungary, Pol., Bulg.

An E Ger Politburo member quit, saying party not capable of leading reform


Czech. CP paramilitary army being dissolved

Egon Krenz resigned as did Politburo & gov. Resigned as party chief, not head of state


Some of Honecker’s friends being arrested. Honecker expelled from party. The media’s been wandering around party leader districts like Imelda’s shoe closet

Czech names a cabinet, coalition but w/CP in all key ministries. Civic Forum threatening a strike

Something to keep an eye on: sex-selection abortions in Asia. Very big in India, also Ch., SK

USSR & Warsaw Pact condemns invasion of Czech. That makes it unanimous

India to have a non-Congress cabinet under VP Singh, a minority gov.

NBC’s Today Show’s report on inferior bolts used in jets & missile silos censored reference to the makers---their owner, GE


Honecker under house arrest, investigated for corruption

E Ger to allow W Gers in w/out visas

Kenneth Adelman, in an otherwise stupid op-ed piece on the summit, suggests a conventional arms accord is a bad idea, legitimating Warsaw Pact forces in E Eur that those countries don’t want

US Navy rams a Greenpeace boat during a missile test in internat waters

Though Catastrophic Coverage repealed, gov will cont. collect the premiums up to 6 mos. Eventually will refund it, w/no interest

The US went to the summit w/a short list of people who can’t leave the USSR, the USSR w/a list of Soviet who can’t get visas into US


Quayle still calls USSR a totalitarian gov that wants to create instability in Cent. Am.

At summit, Gorbachev proposed eliminating tactical naval nukes, which would be a favorable move for US

The money Medicare people paid for Catastrophic Coverage 1989 will only be refunded to the rich who paid a surtax. The gov will keep the flat premium.


Egon Krenz is out, replaced as head of state by Manfred Gerlach of the Lib Demo Party. Control over gov still held by PM. Gov is in control, Party & I suspect the presidency, eclipsed.

Czech failed to form a gov & someone else will form one in which CP in minority

Lithuania est multi-party systems. 1st vote was 219-1-30, had to dredge up more for 2/3. 2nd vote 243-1

NBC to put back in the info critical of GE


Honecker to be prosecuted

SA to cut draft from 2 yrs to 1

W Ger will cut military 20% in numbers


Hungarian joke: if you get one person to join the Party, you don’t have to pay dues. If you get 2 people to join, you can quit. If you get 3 people to join, you get a certificate saying you were never a member


Aquino survives another coup attempt, number 6 I believe. To be followed by another bribe to soldiers & no punishment. Named “suspects”: VP Laurel, who was out of her country & called for her to resign, Juan Ponce Enrile & her cousin

A film banned in Br under blasphemy laws, 1st film ever banned

Shamir Mar88 said US Jews “expressed total solidarity with everything I say and do.”


Jesse Helms has been examining many NEA requests lately, evidently in preparation for another attack

Br forcibly repatriated 51 VN from HK, then suspended program. People are dec econ refugees w/out right to be present or know why. No one will monitor results in VN

Congressional panel says Fed Centers for Disease Control censored abortion research & gov, inc ex-Surgeon Gen Koop, failed to report data on abortion safety

Bush already working on Ch. relations, sent NS adviser Scowcroft to Deng who said, “I’m so glad Pres. Carter sent you.”

In local elections Latvia, 24,500 candidates for 14,500 posts. Estonia same proportion. In Latvia, 41% candidates were CP, 31% Pop Front

Czech. secret police removed from control of Interior Min & under gov cmte, thus no longer under CP control


Evidently pollution in Albania is prohibited by the Const

Baker says Ger re-unification can’t be decided by Ger alone. Also says one of our conditions is Ger remain in NATO

W Ger’s right-wing Republican party intends to contest E Ger elections May90. I suppose it’s unlikely Greens will follow, not being enamored of reunification

Sup Court 6-3 narrows FOIA, allowing routine info that later becomes part of criminal investigation, to be kept back

The Cath Church is expanding its exorcist corps


Phrase the world would be better w/out: can I help who’s next.

Almost all of Honecker’s Politburo had pistol permits--they have been disarmed

E Ger’s New Forum filing charges against Egon Krenz for destruction of security police papers

Gorbachev blocks attempts to debate on CP monopoly. Gorby’s behaviour is less than parliamentary

Baker wants to make NATO a pol group

Ollie North as witness against Poindexter, is trying to get his own testimony thrown out, claiming he doesn’t remember anything--it may be what he read.

Scowcroft’s Ch. trip opened the way to launch 2 US satellites in China, from which deal Prescott Bush will profit

This is getting bizarre. Thatcher is more attached to the idea of the Warsaw Pact than are most of its members, and the new E Ger CP head, 41-yr old Gregor Gysi, says America should stay in Eur. One of US’s roles, evidently, is to keep E Ger being absorbed into FRG. Gysi sounds a great deal like Herbert Hoover, but at least he knows he’s out of his depth. Incidentally, he has Jewish ancestry. Doesn’t want to be “the poorhouse of the Federal Republic.” Suggests if that border goes, they’re all up for grabs inc that w/Poland... brings up Munich. Think of this: he was 20 in 1968.

The most stable Communist leaders are probably those in Afghanistan


Andrei Sakharov d.

Noriega now officially head of Panama gov.

Croatia to allow multi-party elections, as will Slovenia in April.


Panama dec that there is a state of war w/US

Israel will have dir flights from Moscow next yr, meaning you know what for Soviet Jews.


Brent Scowcroft & Dep Secy State Eagleburger went to China last July secretly (CNN found out). Bush banned high-level contacts June 20.
-Fang Lizhi is still in the US Embassy

CNN is to be provided on Amer. Airlines, but must censor stories of crashes, terrorism involving planes, etc. CBS lost the contract because it refused.

Czech foreign min says the agreement under which USSR troops in Czech is invalid because concluded under duress (1968).

Cath Church says yoga & TM violate doctrine.

New INS head McNary studying plan to bar aliens seeking asylum, in their work permits, from going to overloaded labor mkts (Miami, San Diego).

Pentagon has authorized military units to seize drug suspects, inc Delta Force.

The VN sent by Br back from HK say they were threatened.

Farce election, I guess, in Chile, brings in Christ. Dem Patricio Aylwin, who supported the coup. Pinochet still head of military, says nat sec more important than govs

USSR will cut military spending 8% 1990. Says will bring troops home by 2000, those are 627,000 troops

Soc Sec has yet to spend money in a 2-yr old program to reach out to homeless people entitled to disability payments


USSR says it was indeed racing for the moon in 1960s

In 1st 9 mos, Bush has had 1/3 tv exposure as RR 1981

A major NYT report 12/19 on the RR legacy: “Regulators says 80s Budget Cuts May Cost US Billions in 1990s.”
-Use of consultants, numbers unknown, as much as $26b 1987. EPA uses them for everything, inc drafting Congressional testimony, helping interpret & write legislation. Info on their names, salaries, job descriptions & potential conflicts of interest are treated as business secrets. Nor are they subject to salary limitations. Consultants at D of Energy get 15 to 50% more than senior managers for comparable work. Paid twice as much to operate weapons labs. Little incentive for efficiency as Energy Dept reimburses for fines or penalties for violating Fed safety procedures.
-W/shift to loans, annual losses for defaults & uncollected debts bigger than Fed budget deficit. Losses were $40b/yr early 1980s, $115b 1988. Actually higher.
-Pol appointees in higher ranks of 5 Cabinet agencies increased 50% RR years
-The now gone Fed Home Loan Bank Board was unable to hire additional examiners 1984-5. Ex-head says if had, could have stopped current crisis. FHA’s losses, previously stated as $850m 1988, really $4.2b. Mostly from lax supervision of priv partners

US district judge puts Imelda Marcos on a budget, needing permission for any spending above $10,000

Protests began in Romania over weekend over attempt to deport a priest. Troops killed 100s or 1,000s. Borders w/Yugo, Hung closed. These are ethnic Hungarians

CA Sup Court 5-2 to allow personality tests on whether people have criminal personalities

Israel bought $36m in oil from Iran, evidently to get 3 Israeli soldiers freed.


A former Justice Dept investigator says Bush’s nominee to head nuclear weapons industry lied in investigation of 3 Mi. Island that the owner not required to keep records fo tests on cooling pipes (Stello had been head of NRC. Stello had also changed regulation at request of utilities [later: withdraws]

Last week, critics of Bush-on-China wondered about repercussions for US credibility on human rights in E Eur. This week, a reporter asked the State Dept spokesperson whether we would cut off high-level contacts w/Romania, and reporters laughed

Bush ends ban on loans to comps doing business w/China, allowing 3 US satellites to be launched there.

Several states require lessons in anti-Communism. Fla. requires sophomore HS world hist. courses to inc 30 hrs of “Americanism vs. Communism.”

E Ger border guards form a union

Some Romanian troops refuse to shoot to kill the “fascists” (Ceausescu) & were in turn executed.
-Ceausescu was roundly booed today. TV edited it out.
-50,000 Transylvanians demonstrated yesterday: “Give us our dead.” Or undead.
-Ceausescu named Hungary as an instigator.
-Today protests & murder reached Bucharest 1st time
-E Ger & Czech. have recalled ambassadors. Czech CP breaking w/Romanian, Hungary reconsidering its friendship treaty

H of C voted 309-219 to cont. deporting Vietnamese

Br will give full Br citizenship to max. 50,000 households from HK

Energy Dept has given the operator of Savannah River nuke weapons plant $3.9m in bonuses despite such safety lapses as workers sleeping

Lithuanian CP votes to break from USSR CP, dec ind

On Tuesday, US invaded Panama. The immediate background: beyond dec that state of war exists over weekend, there were 2 incidents. Amer. soldiers took a “wrong turn” & wound up in front of Panamanian Defense Forces, where fired on, 1 killed. Next dy, a US soldier who should have been unarmed shot a traffic cop. A soldier & his wife were violently questioned & Bush sent troops in. Swore in a new gov., allegedly the one elected in the elections last May, which Bush now calls completely free & democratic.
-Since the Panamanian Defence Forces (PDF) were also the police, there is no authority & the country has been looted.
-Noriega still not found & US putting out a $1m reward. Also $150 for each gun.
-Many US citizens were taken hostage at the outset. None killed, I think.
-Baker claims Noriega was considering a plan to attack US civilians in Panama. Little has been said about this.
-The alleged new gov of Panama was informed 1 day after the decision taken. The oath was given on a US base w/no Panamanian gov officials willing to participate.
-13,000 troops normally there. Now up to 24,000
-Legal justifications: self-defense under UN, ditto under OAS, Panama Canal Treaty about neutrality of the Canal. US & Panama had agreed on an interpretation of the latter that excluded intervention.
-When US recognized a gov, it dropped sanctions. Meaning what? My guess, still unconfirmed on day 3, is that a lot of frozen assets & canal dues have been released.
-The whole thing was too noisy to catch Noriega & lousy intel on where he was.
-Under internat law, self-defense usually requires a proportionate response.
-Saul Landau (NYT, 12/22) (clip in notebook): “the invasion of Panama seems to relate more to image than national interests, to public relations rather than political concerns.”
-One plan, cited by Justice, is to round up & bring to US people wanted here


Now claims Noriega was a drug user, w/drugs found, also picture of Hitler and, gasp, pornography.
-White House claims to be shocked that networks split-screened Bush’s press conf & arrival of 1st corpses. Of course, it was they who determined that both events occurred at same time, no bout to pre-empt pictures of the latter.
-State Dept complaining about the OAS’s “traditional narrow concern with non-intervention.”

In immigration cases, silence has been taken as proof of guilt, w/no other evidence.

Israeli Army will impound prop. or seal houses of parents whose children throw rocks at soldiers

Ceausescu is out!!! No one knows where, but it seems fine. They have captured his son & heir, an incredible shit & woman-killer.
-The king says he wants to return & head a const monarchy


Ceausescu & family caught, fighting continues
-Mass graves have been found, inc children
-USSR supportive & Tass has been used as a credible source.
-Romania now under Cornelio Manescu, ex-foreign min (1961-72), recently under house arrest for signing critical petition. Also v. sick
-The defense minister sort of committed suicide

OAS criticizes invasion, 20-1 (I think)
-US seized many of Noriega’s records while bombing his hq. Thinks these can be used against him in court. If they ever get him. 9th Amend stops at water’s edge.
-Democracy in Panama: the gen. in charge, Thomas Kelly, talked of having ministries cleared & ministers appointed. But “When I say we, I mean the Endara gov.”
-That gov distancing itself from the invasion, saying it didn’t ask for it

Total loans disbursed to developing countries 1988: $92b, debt service $142b.


Examiner comments that Endara was a compromise candidate who only got votes from belief would end US sanctions

Desmond Tutu supports a Palestinian state.

Noriega gave himself up to the Vatican, embassy. Endara had said before that Noriega would be tried there, not sent to US

Israeli Sup Court orders the military court-martial a col. who instructed soldiers to break limbs of Palestinian prisoners (20 of them). Military’s judge advocate gen. had said his orders were unclear & that this followed Rabin’s “force, might & beatings”.

Safire says Bush admin tolerates lying. Says silence justified for nat sec, not lying, cites Bush on whether relations w/Ch. are exchanges or contacts, & State Dept saying Bush sent no one to Sakharov’s funeral at his wife’s request.

Soviet Congress condemns the secret protocols of Soviet-Ger Pact on Baltics. And the invasion fo Aghanistan. 1st was 142-252-264.

Fr & US support Warsaw Pact invasion of Romania. Fr offered to organize a brigade of volunteers. Soviets say an invasion would be wrong & hasn’t got a request. Vietnam syndrome!

Soviet tv has been describing Ceausescu as Stalin & Brezhnev.


Ceausescu has been “tried” & executed. The US has recognized the new gov. So has USSR.

On secret missions to China, Baker says, “I only misled them for 7 days.” (through no fault of his own).

Willy Brandt to de-retire & run for Parl.

White House rejecting talk of a peace dividend, says cuts in defense budget must go entirely to deficit reduction. Plans to cut health spending by $5.5b below inflation, cutting Medicare reimbursement & capital improvements for urban hospitals. Will require state & local gov employees pay $2.5b in Medicare tax

Stealth bombers were used in Panama. Cute attempt to justify their existence.
-Bush says it would be “totally inappropriate” for Vatican to grant Noriega refuge, as he is not a pol refugee.
-The Church has a noble history in Panama of helping get pol refugees out of country
-The 1st person is sent to US to face charges (Doesn’t this violate Geneva Convs if they were military?)

Something like 70,000 people may have died in Romania. Or not.
-Ceausescu executed for 1) genocide, 2) undermining state, 3) destruction pub prop, 4) undermining economy, 5) bringing $1b out of country
-His daughter had $100,000 in her house

The NYT tv columnist comments that reporting from Panama never as close up as that from Romania, perhaps because revolutionaries welcomed tv more than did US commanders

US friendliness to Ch. will be reflected by World Bank as early as next mo.


Ceausescu was Br knight until the day he was deposed. US most favored status only w/drawn last week.

It is said FEMA was so unprepared for hurricane Hugo & the earthquake because of obsession w/nuclear war. It forces localities to plan for nuke war or lose other monies.

Israel says Jews for Jesus aren’t.

The end of the Cold War hasn’t made it to this hemisphere yet but Africa is likely to lose much of its foreign aid. Ethiopia’s lost much
Romania has stopped destruction of villages & the ban on abortion.
-The “trial” of Ceausescu involved no defense, essentially a harangue

Dead in Panama: 23 US, 330 wounded, 297 Panamanian military. Still waiting for civilian count...


Chronicle headline: “US Says Noriega Wore Red Underwear”

Ceausescu sentenced under an anti-dissent law of 1968 which allows such trials to be tried in military court w/out appeal
-New leader says Communism is over


Typewriters no longer have to be registered in Romania. “Comrade” not obligatory.

Energy Dept will stop paying the fines of comps running nuke plants

Panama was a major intermediary for sanctions-running for Cuba & Nicaragua


US troops have been blasting the Vatican embassy w/loud rock, which Noriega hates. He’s still in there, but 3 priests have surrendered.
-Endara was proclaimed prez by the same tame election tribunal that announced the election in Mary.
-Panama claims $600m in damage

Among Romanian laws eliminated: the 6 days of compulsory labor & required diet w/calories commensurate w/jobs.

Latvia abolishes CP const supremacy 220-50

UN Gen Ass. condemns invasion of Panama

Poland has restored the crown to its flag, become the [No longer “People’s”] Republic of Poland, abolished CP leading role. Also to privatize industry, and subsidies.

US troops invaded the Nicaraguan ambassador’s home in Panama. Nicaragua expels 20 US diplomats.

Czech ex-dissident Havel the president. Czech Parl unan. picked Dubček as prez of Parl

Harvard U. to try to make its name a trademark

Japan abolishing 1,000 tariffs, est overseas buying missions


Bulgarian Turks to get their Muslim names back & relig freedom to be allowed

New Indian gov has ended law allowing suspension of civil rights in Punjab.
-Will also remove radio & tv from gov control

Japan agrees not to ask US about a hydrogen bomb lost off Okinawa 1965

In Panama in 2 ports & a free-trade zone, $10m was lost in looting
-Endara gov estimates 400 civilians killed, 2000 wounded

Nicaraguan gov says if US invaded, local security forces would execute Nicaraguans who backed it.

Bush sort of apologizes for invading Nicaraguan ambassador’s house as “screw up”

DEA, which shouldn’t have anything to do with it, refuses to allow marijuana as prescription medicine for glaucoma, cancer.

Israeli police fired on a 15,000+ peace march

Romania abolishes the death penalty
-Amnesty Int. & Lech Walesa objected to the execution of the Ceausescus

Shamir fired Ezer Weizman from the cabinet for meeting PLO. Actually, he can’t do that w/out Peres’ consent, which he doesn’t have.

Bush opposed the May88 plan for negotiated ouster of Noriega. Had also opposed covert action under RR. Opposed using US bases in Panama for radio broadcasts but this yr used it for invasion

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