WASHINGTON, April 24 (UPI) -- The UPI think tank wrap-up is a daily digest covering brief opinion pieces, reactions to recent news events and position statements released by various think tanks.
Reason Public Policy institute
By Sara Rimensnyder
Are militant anti-abortion activists racketeering gangsters?
This fall the U.S. Supreme Court will hear two cases addressing that question. The cases--Scheidler v. NOW and Operation Rescue v. NOW--have been kicking around the court system since the 1980s. That's when the National Organization for Women first decided to find out whether the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO and passed in 1970 to bust mobsters, might be applied to Operation Rescue's sometimes violent protest activity at abortion clinics.
With a few exceptions, the courts have ruled in NOW's favor, in decisions that many feel are dangerously close to trampling free speech rights. But yesterday's announcement that the Supreme Court will hear appeals suggests that some on the bench are dissatisfied with RICO's currently broad interpretation.
If NOW loses in the fall, it will suffer more than a strictly legal defeat; it will also surrender a potent symbolic device in defense of abortion rights. (Anti-abortion activists know more than a little about symbolism, too, often using highly visceral iconography in their protests.) The application of RICO-and more than a decade of judicial approval-rhetorically connects militant anti-abortion activists to the systematic violence of the Mafia, a group not exactly well known for its deep respect for life.
(Sara Rimensnyder is the assistant editor of Reason magazine.)
Institute for Public Accuracy
(The IPA is a nationwide consortium of policy researchers that seeks to broaden public discourse by gaining media access for experts whose perspectives are often overshadowed by major think tanks and other influential institutions.)
WASHINGTON--Chemical Weapons Agency "Coup"?
On Monday evening, the U.S. government succeeded in ousting Jose Bustani, the director-general of the international Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
*Ian Williams, author of "UN for Beginners."
"The [Bush] administration accused Bustani of 'ongoing financial mismanagement, demoralization of the Technical Secretariat staff, and ill-considered initiatives.' The main accuser is John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Bolton used to be the in-house UN-basher for the right-wing Heritage Foundation.... Ironically for someone who spent years saying that the U.S. should get out of the United Nations, Bolton was recently revealed as taking money from Taiwan to advise them on how to get into the organization.... Bustani's biggest 'crime' was trying to persuade Iraq to sign the [chemical arms] convention, which could mean that OPCW
inspectors would inspect Iraqi facilities."
*Nicole Deller, principal editor of the recent report "Rule of Power or Rule of Law? An Assessment of U.S. Policies and Actions Regarding Security-Related Treaties."
"The U.S. has undermined the chemical weapons treaty by passing legislation that conflicts with the terms of the inspection provisions of the treaty.... This is part of a pattern, as our report found that the U.S. has violated, compromised, or acted to undermine in some crucial way every treaty that we have studied in detail."