Bill Weinberg

US to resume Indonesia military ties

What an irony: Just after the tsunami's horrific toll has (briefly) focused world attention on Indonesia's grisly counter-insurgency war in Aceh, the US State Department is moving to approve restoration of official Pentagon ties to Indonesia's military. Indonesia's participation in the Pentagon's International Military Education and Training (IMET) program was suspended following atrocities in East Timor in 1999. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is now advocating restoring it, telling key members of Congress "IMET for Indonesia is in the US interest."

Churchill cancelled at four more colleges

For the fourth time in a week, a public speech by Ward Churchill was cancelled for "security reasons"--this time at his own University of Colorado. Each school he was scheduled to appear at reported an avalanche of calls and e-mails in protest. (Denver Post, Feb. 7; Rocky Mountain News, Feb. 5)

Is Ward Churchill really an Indian?

Indian Country Today, the national weekly run by the Oneida Nation in upstate New York, ran a story Feb. 3 casting doubt on Ward Churchill's claims to be a Native American. The account by Indian Country Today staff writer Jim Adams again aired accusations by national Indian leaders that Churchill has no real Indian ancestry. The report found:

New escalations in Churchill imbroglio

Passions are rapidly escalating in the Ward Churchill controversy, with the professor reporting vandals spray-painting swastikas on his truck as it was parked in his driveway overnight. The Colorado House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution Feb. 2 condemning him, calling his remarks an "evil and infalmmatory blow to the healing process." The state senate voted up the statement the following day. The U. of Colorado regents met later that day to issue a formal apology to "all Americans", but the session was disrupted by several student activists with signs reading "WITCH HUNT" and "Protect Freedom of Expression." (The usual public commentary period at the session was barred.) (Rocky Mountain News, Newsday, Feb. 3)

Ward Churchill Strikes Back

Ward Churchill has released a statement on the controversy concerning his 9-11 statements, grandiosely entitled "On the Injustice of Getting Smeared: A Campaign of Fabrications and Gross Distortions." (Online at Counterpunch) He now claims to never have defended the 9-11 attacks, and actually has the chutzpah to invoke Martin Luther King and the admonition that "Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable" (which he cites to RFK, even though it was JFK who actually said it).

Ward Churchill's 9-11 snafu in the news

Upstate New York's Hamilton College cancelled an appearance by University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill following over 6,000 protest e-mails and even death threats in reaction to an essay he wrote defending the 9-11 attacks. Churchill's essay called the WTC victims "little Eichmanns" (a reference to Nazi Holocaust mastermind Adolph Eichmann) and hailed the "gallant sacrifices" of the "combat teams" that carried out the 9-11 attacks. In the wake of the controversy, Colorado's Gov. Bill Owens called on Churchill to step down from his faculty position. Churchill has stepped down as head of the ethnic studies program, but remains on staff, the Denver Post reports.

Gas operations at root of Baluch insurgency

The separatist insurgency that has been shaking Paksitan's Baluchistan province--strategically bordering Afghanistan--since the beginning of the year seemed to have come out of nowhere. Finally, a Jan. 29 account in the BBC sheds some light. It seems the natural gas field at Sui lies at the heart of the unrest. Typically, it is a source of much of Pakistan's national wealth, yet little of it returns to the local peoples.

Ritter on the "Salvador Option": already in place?

Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter argues in a Jan. 25 piece for al-Jazeera that the so-called "Salvador Option" for Iraq has already been used. He writes that in the months after Paul Bremer took over the Coalition Provisional Authority in June 2003, "the streets of Baghdad crawled with scores of assassination squads." Dozens of Baathist leaders were rubbed out by the Iran-backed Badr militia, with the collaboration of the CIA and Pentagon Special Operations. The Badr militia was later reined in by Bremer as an unreliable proxy, but this unlikely alliance between radical Shi'ites and US military forces could be rebuilt.

Syndicate content