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ISSUE: #. 40. June 30, 2002

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: LYNNE STEWART

Veteran radical attorney and War on Terrorism defendant speaks about her case and the struggle for Constitutional rights after 9-11

ALSO:

*SPECIAL 4th of JULY NUCLEAR PARANOIA REPORT!
*WALL STREET SALIVATES OVER IRAQ ATTACK!
*UPDATE ON INDIA'S "PATRIOT ACT"


CURRENT HOMELAND SECURITY COLOR ADVISORY CODE:YELLOW


By Bill Weinberg
with David Bloom and Subuhi Jiwani, Special Correspondents




THE PALESTINE FRONT
1. Bush to G-8 Leaders: Ditch Arafat
2. Bush Won't "Rule Out" Military Attack on Palestinians
3. Israel Demolishes PA Building in Hebron
4. Occupation Continues, Arrests Made
5. Bereaved Israelis Oppose Occupation
6. Israeli Fire Kills Two in Territories
7. Bomb on Railroad Injures Four
8. Hamas Leader in Hebron Assassinated
9. Yassin Goes to Gaza Rally
10. Families Won't Be Exiled Overseas
11. Jane's: Militants Tried to Attack Nukes
12. Mossad Warns of Iran Nuke Threat
13. Egypt to Build Nuclear Plant
14. " Illegal" Settlements Evacuated
15. "Terror In Diapers" A Palestinian Family's Joke
16. Work Begins on West Bank "Security Fence"
17. US Criticizes the Fence
18. Sharon Tells Settlers They Will Be West Of Fence
19. Yesha Council: Build Fence Around "Area A," Not Green Line
20. Peres is for the Fence
21. Arab Israelis to Protest the Fence?
22. Militant Leaders: Fence Won't Protect Israel
23. "Jerusalem Defense Plan" Fence Goes Up
24. "Elon Peace Initiative" Calls for "Voluntary Transfer"
25. French Mandate Maps Assert Shabaa Farms Was Lebanese
26. EU To Help Replace Destroyed PA PC's
27. Israel Says No To Farrakhan
28. Arab-Americans Boycott NY Post

THE AFGHANISTAN FRONT
1. U.S. Troops Skirmish in Kunar Mountains
2. U.S. Emulating Soviet Blunders In Afghanistan
3. Brits Diss Yanks For Afghan "Blunders"
4. Rocket Attack On Ammo Dump Leaves 19 Dead
5. 10 Pakistani Troops Dead In Skirmish With Al-Qaeda?
6. Germany: Sharia Is Unacceptable
7. CentCom: No US Dead in Pakistan
8. Karzai Appoints Warlords, Pledges to Eliminate Warlordism

THE NEW GREAT GAME
1. World Bank Chief in Afghan Pipeline Talks
2. Armenians See National Threat in US War on Terrorism
3. Russia to Increases Oil Exports; Baltic Ecologists Protest

THE SUBCONTINENT
1. Kashmiri Activist Detained Under India Anti-Terror Law
2. Kashmiri Journalist Detained Under Official Secrets Act

THE IRAQ FRONT
1. National Review: Invade Iraq, Jack Up Dow Jones
2. Qatar Militarized
3. Shi'ite Rebels: Count Us Out
4. Vets Call for Depleted Uranium Probe with Iraq
5. Washington Post Rewrites History of "Desert Fox"
6. Saddam's Novels to be Taught in Iraq's Schools

WATCHING THE SHADOWS
1. Morocco "Helps" US, "Tortures" Suspects
2. Sharon's "Axis Of Evil": Iran, Iraq, Syria
3. Chomsky's "Axis Of Evil": US, Israel, Turkey
4. Bush & Cheney to Face War Crimes Charges in Egypt?

THE WAR AT HOME
1. Judge Dismisses Los Angeles Terror Case
2. Another US Citizen Deemed "Enemy Combatant"
3. Sixfold Increase in FBI Terror Probes Since 9-11
4. NJ Appeals Court Upholds Secret Detainments
5. Supreme Court Approves Secret INS Hearings
6. Face Scans Check Visitors to Statue of Liberty
7. Homeland Security Department to Be "Above the Law"?
8. Pakistani Detainees Charge INS with "Torture"
9. Mueller Schmoozes Muslims; Many Not Reassured

NUCLEAR PARANOIA
1. 4th of July Terror Alert
2. Secret Nuclear Emergency Teams Patrol Nation's Cities
3. NYPD Installs Radiation Detectors
4. NYPD Nuke-Detection Teams Patrol City
5. NYPD "Cat" and Dog Anti-Terror Teams Patrol City
6. Wolfowitz Crying Wolf? We Sure Hope So!
7. Padilla Sought H-Bomb?
8. Indian Point Update: Fear in Westchester
9. Potassium Iodine A Hot Seller
10. Remote Cyber-Attack Planned on US Nuke Plants?
11. UN Atom Agency Warns: Nuke Materials On The Loose
12. US Nuclear Materials Missing
13. UK Nuke Waste "On Verge of Exploding"

SPECIAL FEATURE: Lynne Stewart Interview




THE PALESTINE FRONT

1. BUSH TO G-8 LEADERS: DITCH ARAFAT
At a heavily-guarded and remote mountain retreat in the Canadian Rockies, global leaders challenged President Bush's call for Yasser Arafat's ouster. "With regards to the head of the Palestinian authority it is, naturally, for the Palestinian people--and them alone--to choose their representatives," French President Jacques Chirac told reporters at the G-8 summit of top industrial powers at Kananaskis, Alberta--a location chosen for its inaccessibility to anti-globalization protesters. Chretien said he backed Bush's call for Palestinian elections and other reforms, but as for Arafat's future: "It will have to be the people of Palestine that will decide who will be the leader. It is premature for me to conclude who will be the leader." (AP, June 27)

While the G-8 meeting usually deals with economic matters, this time counter-terrorism and the Middle East was near the top of the agenda. Bush told the assembled leaders that the US was prepared to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority unless Arafat is removed from power. A senior administration official who briefed reporters on the meeting said the president had received an intelligence report that Arafat had approved a $20,000 payment to members of the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, which has carried out numerous suicide attacks . (NYT, June 27) [top]

2. BUSH WON'T "RULE OUT" MILITARY ATTACK ON PALESTINIANS
Asked by reporters at the summit if Arafat was now considered a terrorist under the "Bush Doctrine" and should be dealt with accordingly, Bush replied: "I never rule out military use. All options are available. But in this case, at the path I've laid out, is the path that ought to be clear to you by now." This was an apparent reference to diplomatic pressure. The Washington Post reported June 27 that Bush clarified his remarks, saying he did not intend to imply he was planning military force against the Palestinian Authority, but "no leader ever takes options off a table." However, Bush emphasized, "the path to peace that I believe is appropriate is the one I talked about in the Rose Garden the other day--just to make sure you understand." The left-of-center Israeli paper Haaretz said this meant Bush was "referring to a diplomatic venue and not a military one." Haaretz protested that "[m]any reporters, who covered the summit in Canada, deleted this paragraph from their stories..." (Haaretz, June 27) [top]

3. ISRAEL DEMOLISHES PA BUILDING IN HEBRON
A four-day siege of a Palestinian Authority building in Hebron ended June 29 when Israel blew up the remains of the structure. Fifteen militants suspected of being inside were not found. "The [army] operated in the Palestinians' security compound and detonated in a controlled manner a part of the building where wanted Palestinians were taking refuge and refused to turn themselves in," the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement. Military engineers placed two tons of explosives in the building, and it was detonated after dark. "There was a big, big explosion that has destroyed most of the headquarters and has damaged other buildings around it," a Reuters cameraman who witnessed the blast said. The cameraman reported seeing soldiers with flashlights searching the area for four hours after the blast. "Unlike the previous cases--the siege of the Muqata [Arafat's compound] in Ramallah and of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem--the situation this time is much less complicated," a military source said June 27, "In Hebron, there are no civilians among those holed up inside and there is no international interest in what is happening," said the source.

The siege began June 25, and about 150 people in the compound had given themselves up since then. Forty of those who surrendered were on Israel's "most wanted" list. The IDF used relatives of those remaining inside to convince them to surrender, over megaphones. Helicopter gun-ships strafed the building in an attempt to further pressure those inside to give themselves up. On June 28, former PA cabinet member Talal Sidr entered the compound through a hole made by an Israeli bulldozer in an attempt to convince the 15 wanted men to surrender. Sidr said he could find no-one inside to talk to, though he said it might be possible they were in parts of the partially-destroyed building that could no longer be reached. After soldiers had searched the rubble, an army spokesman said, "There are two possibilities: No one is there and they proceeded to escape, or maybe there are some bodies under there," he said. "Right now, we don't believe there are bodies there." Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Preventive Security in the West Bank, said that "as far as we know, no one was inside" ( AP, June 30) (David Bloom) [top]

4. OCCUPATION CONTINUES, ARRESTS MADE
Much of the West Bank remains under curfew. Some 700,000 Palestinians are affected, as the IDF occupies eight cities until further notice. On June 27, IDF troops shot and killed a 17-year old Palestinian when he fired a handgun at an Israeli tank in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus. (AP, June 27). Also in Nablus, IDF troops raided Jneid prison and detained between 25 and 40 people. Several of the men were members of Yassir Arafat's elite Force 17 unit, and some were Palestinian police. Palestinian witness reported that the men were ordered to strip so they could be checked for concealed weapons before they were handcuffed and taken away.

On June 29, IDF troops arrested more than 40 Palestinians, including three with ties to the Islamic militant movement Hamas. More than 60 Israeli tanks, armored personnel carriers, and jeeps entered the village of Tammun at dawn, imposed a curfew and conducted house-to-house searches, according to the town's mayor. More than 20 Palestinians were rounded up in the village, including the imam of the town's mosque, Jawad Mattar. In a separate action in Jenin, five Palestinians, including two with ties to Hamas, were arrested. Israeli military sources said five wanted Palestinians were arrested at their homes in Azun village, east of Qalqilya. Ten wanted men were arrested in Nablus and Tulkarem. Abdul Azim Muhamad Naji, a senior Hamas official, was seized by Israeli border police in Hebron and taken to the Shin Bet security service for questioning, according to an army spokeswoman. (AFP, June 29) (David Bloom) [top]

5. BEREAVED ISRAELIS OPPOSE OCCUPATION
Nurit and Rami Elhanan, 52, who lost their daughter to a suicide bombing in 1997, blame the occupation of Palestinian lands as the reason for their loss. "Our daughter was killed because of the terror of Israeli occupation. Every innocent victim from both sides is a victim of the occupation. The occupation is the cancer feeding Palestinian terror," said Nurit, 52, a doctor of language at Hebrew Univesity. Nurit rejects the notion that ending the occupation would fail to end Islamic terrorist attacks in Israel. "Hamas takes power from anger," she said. "If you restored people's dignity, honor and prosperity by ending occupation, Hamas would lose power." Her husband Rami, 52, agrees. "Getting out of Gaza and the West Bank will serve the good of both Israelis and Palestinians," he said. The Elhanans reacted to their daughter's death by forming friendships with Palestinian parents. "We started to look for contact with people like us from the other side. We now have many Palestinian friends, parents who have lost children too." The Elhanans have been called apologists for suicide bombers because of their views. At a peace rally, an Israeli detractor called the couple "leftie traitors," and added, "Pity you weren't blown up with your daughter." Nurit, who has a big red "Free Palestine" sticker on her door, explains, "We are in a position of power. We couldn't stay silent. We have to tell the world. This power was brought to us by our disaster." On the question of vengeance, she says: "I have been asked many times if I feel any need to avenge the murder of my little girl, who was killed just because she was born Israeli, by a young man who felt hopeless to the point of murder and suicide, just because he was born Palestinian. I always quote the Hebrew poet Bialik, who said, 'Satan has not yet created a vengeance for the blood of a small child' ." (UK Mirror, June 29) (David Bloom) [top]

6. BOMB ON RAILROAD INJURES FOUR
A bomb exploded June 30 on the Beer Sheva-Tel Aviv train line as it passed over the location where it was planted, injuring four. The bombing occurred near the central Israeli town of Lod. Police believe the device was detonated by remote control, used by someone standing close to the explosion. Police had received an anonymous phone call from a woman on June 29 warning that a terror attack would take place at Lod train station. They increased security in the area, but were unable to prevent the explosion. (Haaretz, July 1) (David Bloom) [top]

7. ISRAELI FIRE KILLS TWO IN TERRITORIES
A twelve-year old Palestinian boy was killed by IDF gunfire June 29 in a refugee camp near Jenin. Children had reportedly been throwing rocks at IDF tanks and vehicles, and soldiers fired back at them. Also on June 29, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported that a Palestinian woman was killed and her husband injured in Dir al-Balah, in the Gaza Strip, by shells fired from an IDF tank. The IDF said the tank fire was in response to mortar fire. (Haaretz, June 29) (David Bloom) [top]

8. HAMAS LEADER IN HEBRON ASSASSINATED
Muhaned Taher, a.k.a "the Engineer-4", was assassinated June 30 in Nablus by IDF troops. Taher was the commander of Hamas' military wing in the Hebron area. A second Hamas member, Imad Draoza. was also killed, and a third was injured and arrested. Taher was at the top of Israel's most-wanted list. He is said to have played an important role in terror attacks in which 107 Israelis were killed, including the June suicide bombing of a bus in Jerusalem that killed 19. Hamas vowed Taher's death would be avenged. "The assassination will increase Hamas's determination to continue Jihad and resistance," Ismail Haniyah, a Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, told Reuters. "Hamas will never forget the blood of its martyrs ." (Haaretz, July 1) (David Bloom) [top]

9. YASSIN GOES TO GAZA RALLY
Hamas spiritual leader and founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin left his Gaza City home, where he had been under PA house arrest, and attended a rally with more than 1,000 Palestinians. Palestinian police monitoring the demonstration made no attempt to prevent Yassin from attending, despite a PA order confining him to his home. Yassin, who arrived by jeep ringed by bodyguards, said he was not violating orders. "I have no information about any order to put me under house arrest. No one has told me that and that's why I am here today,'' he said. Yassin had been under house arrest since June 24, in response to the June 18 bus bombing that killed 19 Israelis in Jerusalem, for which Hamas claimed responsibility . (AP, June 28) (David Bloom) [top]

10. FAMILIES WON'T BE EXILED OVERSEAS
Families of suicide bombers will not be exiled overseas, Israeli Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein decreed June 26. The motion to exile families abroad had been brought up by the cabinet the previous week. The implications of exiling the families to the Gaza Strip are still to be discussed. At a meeting of Israeli legal and security officials, it was agreed that exiling families overseas could end up with Israel being charged at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Exiling families overseas violates article 49 of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits transferring citizens from a conquered land to another country. (Haaretz, June 27) (David Bloom) [top]

11. JANE'S: MILITANTS TRIED TO ATTACK NUKES
According to Jane's Foreign Report, six Palestinians arrested June 24 near the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh were en route to carry out a suicide attack at an arms warehouse where Jericho missiles, and nuclear arms are stored. The attack was foiled by the Shin Bet security service, and a manhunt resulted in the militants' capture. Foreign news organizations have in the past reported that Jericho missiles and nuclear arms are stored in underground bunkers near Moshav Zecharia, nearby Beit Shemesh. Jerusalem District Police chief Mickey Levi reacted to news of the Palsestinians' capture as having "averted a major tragedy."( Jerusalem Post , June 26) (David Bloom) [top]

12. MOSSAD WARNS OF IRAN NUKE THREAT
The head of Israel's intelligence agency Mossad, Epraim Halevy, told a NATO meeting June 26 that Israel had to prevent countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria from obtaining weapons of mass destruction. He also warned NATO's North Atlantic Council that Islamic terrorism, in particular suicide attacks, pose a threat to NATO member states whose "Muslim communities are rapidly developing and increasing in numbers and influence." Mossad believes that Iran is developing more powerful missiles than its Shihab-3, with a range believed to be 3,000 kilometers. These will be "missiles with longer ranges, which could reach Europe and in the future, even North America," Halevy said. He also said Iran is developing "weapon-grade nuclear capabilities." (Haaretz, June 27) According to Russian government documents obtained by the UK Guardian, a 1,000-megawatt reactor at Bushehr, 500 miles south of Tehran, built with Russian help, will become operational in two years. But the Russian government has failed to secure guarantees from Iran that spent nuclear fuel-- which could be converted into weapons-grade plutonium--will be returned to Russia. The Russian government has repeatedly asserted it would receive the spent fuel, but the documents contradict this: "Negotiations are taking place on the return of the spent nuclear fuel to the Russian Federation." (UK Guardian, June 24) (David Bloom) [top]

13. EGYPT TO BUILD NUCLEAR PLANT
Electricity & Energy Minister Dr. Hassan Ahmed Yunes announced June 29 that Egypt intends to build a nuclear power plant, the first of its kind in the country. It will be built on the coast, northwest of Alexandria. The announcement came a week after a June 22 report in the German daily Die Welt which said that Egypt wants to build nuclear weapons (see WW3 REPORT # 39). Cairo has not confirmed or denied the report. Yunes' announcement came less than a year after his predecessor in the ministry, Ali el-Saiedi, said that Cairo wanted to develop nuclear power--despite admitting to sufficient gas reserves for domestic electricity. "Thank God we have large quantities of gas and so we have the option of choosing between using these gas sources or building nuclear power facilities. The decision is based on economic considerations and in this respect, gas is a better option," El-Saiedi told Al-Wafd. But he added that Egypt should still build a nuclear plant, "because we have no problem in terms of personnel and capabilities." (Haaretz, July 1) (David Bloom) [top]

14. " ILLEGAL" SETTLEMENTS EVACUATED
Eleven "illegal" settler outposts in the Gaza Strip were evacuated June 30 by the Yesha Council of Jewish settlements. Only two of the outposts were actually inhabited. Members of Yesha did all the dismantling themselves without the involvement of the IDF or civil authorities. Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said June 30 another nine outposts, some of which are inhabited, will be dismantled over the next two weeks. The council said in an official announcement June 30 that any talks on the dismantling of settlements at this time could be interpreted as a reward and encouragement for terrorism . (Haaretz, July 1) (David Bloom) [top]

15. "TERROR IN DIAPERS" A PALESTINIAN FAMILY'S JOKE
The Israeli army has distributed a photo found in a family album in a house in Hebron of a Palestinian toddler dressed to kill--literally. The baby in the picture is dressed like a suicide bomber, complete with ammo belts and explosives affixed to its body. Col. Miri Elsin of Israeli army intelligence doubts the ammo is real. He placed the child's age at 12 to 18 months. The house searched by the IDF belongs to a Hamas activist, though it is unknown if the child pictured in the album is his son or relative. The front page of the Israeli newspaper Maariv ran the picture with the caption "terror in diapers." The baby's uncle, interviewed with his face blacked out on Israeli TV, said "The picture was originally taken during a rally or a graduation party at the university. There were TV stations there, photographers, and I think the picture was circulated after it was published by these agencies or over the Internet." He said the photo was taken as "a joke," and that it was done for fun. Palestinian Labor Minister Gassan Khatib said while he does not condone suicide bombing, he was not surprised by the picture. He said the IDF decided to distribute the picture in order to "tell the world that the Palestinians are teaching their children how to hate Israel and how to act against Israel--and I just want to say this is correct." Khatib said suicide bombings are "an unfortunate but inevitable outcome of the Israeli atrocities ." (AP, June 28) The June 29 Jerusalem Post displayed a front-page picture of a Palestinian boy at his nursery school graduation with his hands covered in red paint, meant to signify blood. A Palestinian reporter in Hebron told DPA she believed the photo was authentic, and was surprised at the uproar the picture was causing. "I can find you many, many photos like this," she told DPA. "Many kids imitate adults and wear toy masks and guns, especially during marches. It's not strange at all." She said she had seen children as young as the baby in the photo wearing similar outfits. "In our society it happens a lot. It's a kind of phenomenon," she said. (Haaretz, June 28) (David Bloom) [top]

16. WORK BEGINS ON WEST BANK "SECURITY FENCE"
Constuction began June 16 on a 75-mile barrier, running largely along the Green Line, from northeast of Tel Aviv to just south of Afula in Israel's north. This is to be the first third of an eventual 223-mile fence separating the entire West Bank from Israel. The fence system is to include early warning and surveillance devices, a patrol road running along both sides, barriers, and obstacles. The fence will separate the West Bank cities of Jenin, Tul Karm, and Qalqilya from nearby Israeli cities that have been frequent targets of Palestinian suicide bombers. Nearly 70 suicide attacks have been launched from the West Bank, compared to none from the Gaza Strip, which is fenced off from Israel. About 30 square miles of West Bank land has been seized so far for the fence, which will cost $80 million. Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said Israel has to build the fence, because Operation Defensive Shield failed to stop suicide attacks. (AP, June 14; Jerusalem Post, June 17) Ben-Eliezer made assurances the fence was for security only, and not to mark a political border: "It is a security fence. It is not diplomatic. It is not political. This fence has one single goal--to defend the lives of Israeli citizens." Far-right Minister without portofolio and National Religious Party leader Effi Eitam does not believe the fence is only for security. "The meaning of the fence is a return to the 1967 borders, and the establishment of a national boundary," he told Trade and Industry Minister Dalia Itzik, one of the fence's main proponets, at a June 16 cabinet meeting. Itzik replied: "You entered politics like some sort of Messiah, but we still have not heard any suggestion from you about how to stop terrorists entering Israel. The choice is a simple one: either we build a fence, or we continue to endanger the lives of Israelis." Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat accused Israel of building the fence to divide Palestinian areas into small cantons, in order to "start a new apartheid system which is worse than what happened in South Africa." (Haaretz, June 17) (David Bloom) See a map of the proposed fence. See an interactive guide of the fence. [top]

17. U.S. CRITICIZES THE FENCE
The White House and US State Department warned June 17 that Israel should not be making a unilateral border demarcation by constructing a security fence on the West Bank. State Department spokesman Richard A. Boucher said: "To the extent that it is an attempt to establish a border, we would have to say that really has to be done through direct talks." Senior administration officials are skeptical on the practicality of a barrier dividing Israel from the Palestinian areas. White House spokesman Scott McClellan distanced the administration from Israel's decision. "Israel has a right to defend itself," he said. "But all parties have to be aware of the consequences of their actions." Laura Bush also weighed in, telling the American Urban Radio Network, "I don't know that a fence will be some long-lasting sign of peace." (NYT, June 18) (David Bloom) [top]

18. SHARON TELLS SETTLERS THEY WILL BE WEST OF FENCE
While on a visit to the West Bank settlement of Alfei Menashe, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised its residents they would be on the "Israeli" side of the proposed security fence. The residents pressed Sharon to include their settlement. "You are not beyond the fence," Sharon told Alfei Menashe resident Moshe Kissos. "The fence is located east of you." When asked if settlements not to be included within the Israeli-proper zone would be angered that Alfei Menashe had lobbied for itself and not others, Alfei Menashe council head Eliezer Hizdai said "The entire Yesha council was a partner to the pressure that we brought to bear... We have proven that the route here is a security route and not a political route." An army reporter near the site said, "As for the other settlements near the Green Line, I assume that each will now wage a private war of its own," to be placed on the west side of the fence . (Haaretz, June 19) (David Bloom) [top]

19. YESHA COUNCIL: BUILD FENCE AROUND "AREA A," NOT GREEN LINE
Concerned that the security fence along the Green Line, the pre-1967 armistice line demarcating the West Bank from Israel, will become a "political" separation, the Yesha Council of Settlements is instead lobbying for the fence to be built on the lines defining "Area A," the smaller territories ruled solely by the Palestinian Authority. The council's chairman, Benzi Lieberman, has assured there will be "a bitter struggle" against the government if the fence goes up along the Green Line, since "it has the potential to become a political line," he said. Likud MK Eli Cohen, chief lobbyist for the settlement movement in the Knesset, called on the National Religious Party to quit the governing coalition if a fence follows the route proposed by Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. (Haaretz, June 14) (David Bloom) [top]

20. PERES IS FOR THE FENCE
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres made it clear June 25 that he does not oppose the building of a security fence near the Green Line. Rather, Peres was opposed to the "security concept" that included a "security zone" in the Jordan Valley. Peres voted against the proposal because he did not approve of the security zone. "I did not oppose the establishment of the fence," Peres said while touring part of the proposed fence route near Tulkarm. Peres said since all other means of stopping terrorist infiltration had failed, the fence was necessary. "It is a military issue, is there a military need for it or not? At first the IDF and the defense establishment did not call for this, although the Shin Bet [Israel's security agency] has called for it all the time. Now they all agree that the fence is an indispensable way to fight infiltration and suicide bombers, and I see no reason to oppose it." (Jerusalem Post, June 25) (David Bloom) [top]

21. ARAB ISRAELIS TO PROTEST THE FENCE?
Arab Israeli leaders are considering launching a protest campaign against the Green Line security fence if negotiations over its planned location with the Defense Ministry break down. The Monitoring Committee of the Israeli Arab Leadership, consisting of Arab Knesset members, local officials and other notables, is opposed on principle to the fence. The committee feels real peace and security can only be arrived at through an agreement that will mark borders on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions. Said Abed Inbitawi, spokesman for the Monitoring Committee: "According to information we have received, the proposed line of the fence would leave a housing estate in Umm el-Fahm and an entire village in the Jatt [north of Tulkarm] area on the other side. This would be tantamount to the 'transfer' of Arab citizens and, as such, totally unacceptable, as would be any expropriation of Arab-owned land or infringement of municipal jurisdiction because of the positioning of this fence." Inbitawi said if the negotiations with the Defense Ministry break down, "then there is no doubt we would launch a public campaign starting with the erection of a protest tent in the area that would be affected in Umm el-Fahm, and other measures that have yet to be decided upon." (Jerusalem Post, June 21) (David Bloom) [top]

22. MILITANT LEADERS: FENCE WON'T PROTECT ISRAEL
The leaders of both Islamic Jihad and Fatah told the Jerusalem Post they don't believe the security fence will thwart attacks emanating from Jenin. Over two dozen suicide bombers have come from Jenin, resulting in over 100 deaths. They say the fence will only incite their rank-and-file to commit more violence. Kadura Musa, Fatah's secretary general in Jenin, called the fence a "plan for South Africa-style apartheid" after reviewing plans for the fence's construction site, taken by his men. Musa said Palestinians displaced from their land by the construction of the fence would have more incentive to find ways around it. Musa also said the Palestinians would be carved into "bantustans" by the fence, and cut off from their Israeli Arab spouses living in nearby villages and cities. Jenin's Islamic Jihad leader, Sheikh Bessam Saadi, said when Palestinians want to do something "they find new methods, though this may take a little time." He doubted the fence would stop his group's attacks, just as Operation Defensive Shield had failed to stop them. (Jerusalem Post, June 17) (David Bloom) [top]

23. "JERUSALEM DEFENSE PLAN" FENCE GOES UP
A composite barrier is being constructed around Jerusalem as part of the "Jerusalem Defense Plan," meant to help insulate the city from terror attacks. The plan will include electric fences, stone walls, trenches, roadblocks, and thick wire coils, three feet high in some places. Video cameras will be installed, as well as thermal observation posts, to be staffed by 500 border policemen. The barrier is going up on the edge of or beyond Jerusalem municipal boundaries, not in the city itself. Construction got underway three months ago. The plan has generated opposition from left-wing politicians, since it incorporates settlement "suburbs" built on land annexed to Jerusalem after 1967, including Gilo, and Maaleh Adumim and Givat Ze'ev, which fall beyond the city limits. It also includes the Arab villages of Abu Dis, Beit Iksa, Anata, and Hizma, currently under Palestinian civilian control in "Area B." (Jerusalem Post, June 21) (David Bloom) [top]

24. "ELON PEACE INITIATIVE" CALLS FOR "VOLUNTARY TRANSFER"
MK Benny Elon, leader of the right-wing Moledet faction, is meeting with US Jewish organizations, senators and congressman this week to lobby for his plan calling for the "voluntary transfer" of Palestinians to the east bank of the Jordan River. The "Elon Peace Initiative," a glossy, eight-page presentation, has seven points, including nullification of the Oslo Accords, permanent resettlement of Palestinian refugees in the countries where they currently reside (to be aided by an international fund), and a "Jordanian-Palestinian" state with Amman as its capital. Those who violate the terms of the agreement "will be expelled to their state on the other side of the Jordan River," according to the plan. Those who accept the plan will be able to remain in the West Bank and Gaza, with "Jordanian-Palestinian" citizenship. Elon says he has received support from several legislators, but he would not say which ones. "I can say one thing: Dick Armey is not alone," said Elon, referring to the House majority leader who said he supported transfer in a May 2 interview on MSNBC (see WW3 REPORT #32). Armey later qualified his remarks to say that only individuals supporting terrorist acts should be exiled. (Jerusalem Post, June 27; MSNBC, May 2) (David Bloom) [top]

25. FRENCH MANDATE MAPS SAY SHABAA FARMS WAS LEBANESE
An Israeli academic, researching in cartographic archives in Paris, discovered maps and documents which back Lebanon's assertion that the disputed Shabaa Farms area occupied by Israel is Lebanese--not Syrian territory, as Israel asserts. The maps and documents date from the time of the 1920-1941 French Mandate. The belief that the land is Lebanese is cited by Hezbollah as the reason they continue to fight Israel, since they say Israel continues to occupy their country. The researcher, Dr. Asher Kaufman agrees with the Israeli security establishment's assertion that even if Israel quit Shabaa Farms, Hezbollah would find another pretext to continue the conflict. Nevertheless, he says Israel is erroneous in claiming the land is Syrian. (Haaretz, June 26) (David Bloom) [top]

26. EU TO HELP REPLACE DESTROYED PA PC'S
The European Union will give $4.9 million towards replacing computers and other office equipment destroyed or damaged by the IDF during incursions into occupied Palestinian territory. The EU estimated the total cost of replacement at $15.4 million. The equipment will got to the Palestinian health, finance, and transport ministries, and other offices dealing with welfare or reconstruction. The money was released after the EU found no evidence that any of its aid to the Palestinian Authority was being used to fund terrorism. (AP, June 27) Haaretz reporter Amira Hass reported the IDF systematically destroyed computer equipment and data during Operation Defensive Shield. (Haaretz, Apr. 24) (See WW3 REPORT #31) (David Bloom) [top]

27. ISRAEL SAYS NO TO FARRAKHAN
Israel will bar Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan from entering the country, after he announced he plans to offer himself as a mediator to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel is worried Farrakhan's visit could provoke disturbances, especially if he asks to tour the mosques on the Temple Mount. Farrakhan, currently on a tour of the Middle East, denounced Bush's peace plan, saying it places too many demands on the Palestinians. He called for a condemnation of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, and the difficult living conditions in the occupied territories. (Haaretz, July 1) (David Bloom) [top]

28. ARAB-AMERICANS BOYCOTT NY POST
According to the Polish Daily News, a NY Polish-American publication, Arab-American newspaper vendors in NYC are balking at carrying the NY Post because of its rabidly pro-Israel, anti-Islamic editorial stance. The Post, which boasts that it is the nation's fastest-growing newspaper, has disappeared from many newsstands in its hometown. Sometimes the vendors are direct about it: "We stopped selling this paper two months ago because they write bad things about Arabs." Sometimes they just say the paper is sold out. Polish Daily news reports that most vendors in Brooklyn will soon no longer be distributing the paper. "Think about it," explained Abdullah, a Yemeni working at a Brooklyn newsstand, explains. "A customer reads in the paper that the vendor is a murderer and illiterate. I don't think he'll come back to me after reading something like that. If Poles had to distribute anti-Polish newspapers I'm sure they wouldn't do it." Sales of "America's fastest growing newspaper" are also down in Muslim areas of town. "We will give up the Post very soon because there is no big demand for it," said Ismael, a Brooklyn vendor. "The Post writes badly about us and our stores. They put us in the same bag with the extremists who destroyed the World Trade Center. It hurts because each nation has its black sheep and it's wrong to generalize ." (Palestine Chronicle, June 25) (David Bloom) [top]

THE AFGHANISTAN FRONT

1. U.S. TROOPS SKIRMISH IN KUNAR MOUNTAINS
Some 100 US troops, accompanied by 50 Afghan fighters, are searching rugged mountains where a former Taliban official says Osama bin Laden maintained various hide-outs. The little-publicized operation is reportedly under way in Kunar province, north of Jalalabad along the Pakistan border. First word of the operation came June 25, when US officials at Bagram air base said American troops came under mortar fire in Kunar but suffered no casualties. (AP, June 27) [top]

2. U.S. EMULATING SOVIET BLUNDERS IN AFGHANISTAN
Residents are shaken, confused and angry following a US military raid on Kourmashy village near the eastern town of Gardez one week ago, the Los Angeles Times reports. Locals say the incident is reminiscent of tactics used by the Soviet troops who occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s: forced entrance into homes, detentions and seizure of property. "It is harmful to the Americans when they do these things. People will begin to hate them the way they hated other governments that tried to dominate them," said Abdullah Mujahed, a local commander in Gardez. At least eight helicopters converged on the village, some landing and discharging troops, some hovering overhead. Planes were also circling above. US troops hammered on the doors, while some clambered into the homes by climbing over the walls. "We were so scared, the helicopter was dropping people down on our roofs, the children were crying, screaming. It was a very hard night," said villager Kompari, 35, who said none of her menfolk were home during the incident. Like many Afghans, she goes by one name. According to local authorities, the troops were searching for a man named Alijan, a longtime driver for the region's former Taliban commander, Jalaluddin Haqqani. Believed to be closely tied to al-Qaeda, Haqqani is one of the most wanted Taliban figures. In November, US forces in pursuit of him bombed a guest house where he was staying, killing some guards and others, damaging the compound and injuring Haqqani, who managed to escape. Alijan, Haqqani's driver of 23 years, was from Kourmashy, and one of the houses searched belonged to a relative. US military spokesmen would not say if the troops were in fact seeking Alijan, stating only that "we had sources of information that indicated that al Qaeda or Taliban were in that location," as Army Col. Rick Thomas, a spokesman for Central Command in Tampa said in a telephone interview. Officials also noted that a cache of weapons was found on the site. But Alijan was not in the village and it isn't clear whether those detained had anything to do with al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Locals suggested the Americans got bad intelligence from Afghans who had a grudge against the villagers. (LAT, June 28)

Associated Press reports resentment is simmering in Kandahar over a series of raids and arrests involving US troops. "The Americans are making mistakes; they should take notice," said Mohammed Naeem, 38. "They are receiving disinformation from people who have personal grudges or other reasons. They go raid and people get killed because they are pointed out as al-Qaeda or Taliban." Naeem said his brother, Haji Nangyali, 35, was arrested June 4 by US Special Forces who raided his home. Released later that day, he was arrested again the next day later by local Afghan officers, and remains in jail. Naeem said anger at US forces is growing following a May 24 raid by Special Forces in the village of Band Taimore, during which a respected tribal leader in his 80s was reportedly shot dead in a mosque and a 3-year-old girl drowned hiding in a well. US soldiers also tied the hands of female suspects, breaking a strict local taboo against touching women. "This was a turning point, especially because of what they did to the women," said Naeem. Less than a week after the Band Taimore raid, amid street protests demanding the captives' release, US officials freed 50 of the seized villagers, keeping five. US officials said at least one has been identified as a Taliban official, although at "below the senior level." Naeem, who said he was a guerrilla fighter against the Soviet occupation during the 1980s, insists he remains a fervent supporter of America because of its support for the anti-Soviet resistance. But the "Americans are following the footsteps of Russians," Naeem warned, and risked a backlash. (AP, June 24) [top]

3. BRITS DISS YANKS FOR AFGHAN "BLUNDERS"
Senior officials in the office of British Prime Minister Tony Blari launched an "astonishing attack" on America's handling of the hunt for al-Qaeda fugitives, according to the Daily Telegraph. The officials said troops carrying out house-to-house searches in remote tribal areas of Pakistan along the Afghanistan border were "blundering" with a "march-in-shooting" approach. They said the US action was "backfiring", increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda and impeding the search for bin Laden. "The Americans think they and the Pakistanis can just march in shooting", said one official closely involved in directing British forces in the campaign. "They don't understand the sensitivities. We have years of experience in the tribal areas and we know using force will just backfire and increase sympathy for al-Qa'eda." (Daily Telegraph, June 30) [top]

4. ROCKET ATTACK ON AMMO DUMP LEAVES 19 DEAD
Rockets, bullets and flaming munitions tore through the Afghan town of Spin Boldak on the Pakistani border when a large ammunition dump exploded, killing at least 19 and injuring dozens more. Fazaludin Agha, the local Afghan commander, said a rocket attack triggered the blast. (AP, June 29) [top]

5. 10 PAKISTANI TROOPS DEAD IN SKIRMISH WITH AL-QAEDA?
Suspected al-Qaeda fighters killed 10 Pakistani troops in a gun battle June 26 in a remote area near the Afghan border, the Pakistani military said. At least two attackers were also killed in the fight, which broke out before dawn and lasted for about four hours, an Interior Ministry official said. The battle reportedly began as Pakistani soldiers raided houses near the village of Wana in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province. Pakistani authorities said some of the attackers are believed to be Chechens. (AP, June 26) [top]

6. GERMANY: SHARIA IS UNACCEPTABLE
The government of Germany has re-asserted its opposition to plans by the Afghan government to reintroduce the sharia Islamic law in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, Berlin warned it would "fiercely resist" an attempt to re-introduce sharia. Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told the German Parliament, "A return to the sharia is not acceptable to us because it is not compatible with our basic human rights positions which have shaped our country." At the recent Loya Jirga grand assembly meeting, Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced that sharia laws would be re-introduced. (NNI, June 30) (David Bloom) [top]

7. CENTCOM: NO US DEAD IN PAKISTAN
On June 21, Iran Radio, monitored by the BBC, reported that four US commandos were killed while "carrying out operations against" al-Qaeda forces in Pakistan's Northern Waziristan Agency (NWA). The station said "witnesses have seen damages and casualties sustained by the American commandos and their transport vehicles." (Iran Radio, June 21) (see WW3 REPORT# 39). Cdr. Frank Merriman, spokesman for US Central Command, told WW3 REPORT that Iran Radio's story was inaccurate: "I checked with our forces in Afghanistan, and there is no validity to the report. It is completely false. We have had no fatalities since June 12 when we lost three personnel in the crash of a U.S. Air Force MC-130H in the Paktika province of Afghanistan," Merriman said. (David Bloom) [top]

8. KARZAI APPOINTS WARLORDS, PLEDGES TO ELIMINATE WARLORDISM
Hamid Karzia, newly elected president of Afghanistan, says he will resign if he does not succeed in eliminating the armed factions run by regional warlords. "There cannot be separate armed groups. That's very, very certain," Karzai told Newsweek. "If I realize I'm failing there I will quit," he added. "I don't want to go into Afghan history with a bad name." (Newsweek, July 1) Karzai's new cabinet kept many of the members of his interim administration, including warlords. The Panjshiri Tajik Gen. Mohammed Fahim kept the Defense Ministry, and was made deputy president. Pashtun warlord Haji Abdul Qadeer and Hazara Shia warlord Karim Khalili were made vice presidents. All three are members of the Northern Alliance. Ismail Khan, Farsiwan warlord from Herat has no position, but his son Mir Wais Sadeq was made Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism. Uzbek warlord Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, who was deputy defense minister in the previous administration, was not given a job in the current government.

In response to criticism that there were too many Panjshiris in the most powerful positions of the preceding interim administration--the Defense, Interior, and Foreign ministries were all held by Panjshiris--Younus Qanooni offered to vacated the post of interior minister, which was given to Taj Mohammad Khan Wardak, a Pashtun. Qanooni has become the Education Minister, and Karzai's Adviser on Internal Security. Raihalla Sarabi, a Hazara, has become Minister for Womens Affairs. (Eurasianet, June 24) Sarabi replaces Sima Samar, who has received death threats for allegedly questioning Islam in a magazine interview. (AP, June 24) But the makeup of the new cabinet has failed to ease Pashtun concerns that the government is dominated by the Northern Alliance, and Panjshiri Tajiks in particular. "Karzai has only demonstrated his weakness and his inability to take hard decisions, which will increase instability outside Kabul and infuriate the Pashtuns," a senior European diplomat in Kabul told Eurasianet. A former Pashtun minister said Pashtuns were unhappy with the makeup of the cabinet, because it shows that "Karzai is still a hostage to the Panjshiris." Despite the preponderance of Panjshiris, Pashtun technocrats still control the key ministries of finance, communications, mining and reconstruction. Aides to the Pashtun Ashraf Ghani, previously an advisor, and now Karzai's finance minister, say that controlling the purse-strings will allow Pashtuns in the cabinet to effectively control the government. (Eurasianet, June 24) (David Bloom) [top]

THE NEW GREAT GAME

1. WORLD BANK CHIEF IN AFGHAN PIPELINE TALKS
World Bank chief James Wolfensohn held talks in Kabul recently on financing a pipeline to move natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan. Wolfensohn, who was in the Afghan capital to open the World Bank's new offices there and confirm $100 million in grants to the new government, said a number of companies had already expressed an interest in the project. Turkmenistan is estimated to have 159 trillion cubic feet (4.8 trillion cubic meters) of gas reserves, the 11th largest in the world. "I have spoken to a number of people concerning a possible pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and either out through a port in Pakistan or through to India," Wolfensohn told the press. "We are not taking the entrepreneurial role but were it to come up we would certainly take a look at it. There are a number of entrepreneurs already in the exercise so we will wait and see."

Wolfensohn said the governments of Turkmenistan, Pakistan and India had already expressed an interest. Ashraf Ghani, then special advisor to Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, also confirmed Kabul's interest. Wolfensohn added: "If they get it together I will be delighted to talk to them and then we will see who it is who is the main entrepreneur in the exercise and what they have come up with."

Wolfensohn did not identify any "entrepreneurs." Unocal, the company which sought a pipeline route across Afghanistan in the 1990s, has denied interest in pursuing the project now. (See WW3 REPORT #37) (AFP, May 12) [top]

2. ARMENIANS SEE NATIONAL THREAT IN U.S. WAR ON TERRORISM
Speaking before an Armenian National Committee forum in Watertown, MA, featuring dissident intellectual Noam Chomsky (see story, this issue), Jason Sohigian of the local Armenian Weekly warned of the "threat posed to Armenia as a result of the 'war on terrorism' and the shifting balance of power" in Central Asia and the Caucasus. He cited the post-9-11 waiver of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, which had denied US aid to Azerbaijan because of its blockade of Armenia. (Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts press release, press release, June 19, www.anca.org) See also: "New Alignments in Central Asia," WW3 REPORT #37. [top]

3. RUSSIA TO INCREASE OIL EXPORTS; BALTIC ECOLOGISTS PROTEST
Moscow's Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko announced June 25 that Russian oil exports in the third quarter of this year will rise by 2 million tons per day in comparison with the previous quarter. Meanwhile, Vagit Alekperov, head of the Russian firm Lukoil predicted that world oil prices will drop by the end of the year and stabilize around $20 to $21 per barrel. Alekperov announced at a June 24 Moscow press conference that his company will begin exploitation on the Baltic Sea shelf next year despite protests by local environmentalists. Alekperov also said that Baltic oil reserves are estimated at 24 million tons and that Lukoil has already started construction of an offshore platform in the Baltic Sea. Oil exploration in the Baltic was interrupted in 1985 under pressure from Lithuanian ecologists, whose republic lies near the production area. Lithuanian environmentalists have now called on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to cut off loans to Lukoil until the company halts the project. (RFE Newsline, June 26) Analysts speculate Russia wants to keep global prices low and bring on new sources to slow the drive for a new pipeline south from the Caspian across Afghanistan. (See "Petro-Oligarchs Wage Shadow War," WW3 REPORT #13) [top]

THE SUBCONTINENT

1. KASHMIRI ACTIVIST DETAINED UNDER INDIA ANTI-TERROR LAW
Yasin Malik, leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), a pro-independence Kashmiri political party, was detained under India's new Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) on March 25 in Srinagar, capital of Jammu and Kashmir state. Indian police also arrested Kashmiri militants Shazia Begum and Mushtaq Ahmad Dar, who were in possession of $100,000 allegedly meant for Malik. Malik has denied affiliation with Dar, who was an active member of JKLF before it renounced violence. He said, "JKLF shun the gun [since] 1993, and everyone in the state is aware of the political setup of the outfit. Dar does not figure anywhere in the JKLF cadres" . (The Times of India, March 25)

Malik was arrested at a press conference at the JKLF office in Srinagar. The party claims Malik is being persecuted for advocating abstention from the state assembly elections in favor of parallel independent elections. (JKLF press release, April 2)

The JKLF claims Malik has been subject to torture in detention. Tapan Bose, general secretary of the South Asia Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR), visited Malik in a prison hospital and confirmed that he had been abused, with evidence of repeated blows to his right ear and wounds on his legs and thighs. The Jammu Director General of Police filed an inquiry into the torture allegations after Malik staged a hunger strike. (The Hindu, April 4)

POTA, which has been compared to the US PATRIOT Act, allows for a detainee to be held for up to 180 days without charges. It puts the burden of proof on the accused, allows the government to withhold the identity of witnesses, and assigns prosecutors the power to deny bail. It also grants the government wide-ranging wiretapping and surveillance powers. Affiliation with a "terrorist organization," defined tautologically as "an organization which is concerned with or involved in terrorism--in the form of financial assistance, ideological support or even setting up a meeting--can lead to detention. Individuals convicted under POTA are subject to mandatory minimum sentences of up to ten years and can also face the death penalty.

After the Feb. 27 attack on a train in Gujarat (see WW3 REPORT #24), seven young Muslim boys, all under the age of 16, were charged under the preliminary Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO), as the act was known when it had temporary force of law while pending in Parliament. The government had initially charged 62 individuals under POTO in the Gujarat attack, but these charges were revoked when newspapers accused the government of unlawfully targeting minority Muslim communities. No Hindus were charged under POTO/A in the retaliatory violence that left several hundred Muslims dead. The charges against the seven boys were dropped on the eve of the Joint Session of Parliament when POTA was officially passed. (South Asian Human Rights Documentation Center, March 18, 2002) (Subuhi Jiwani) [top]

2. KASHMIRI JOURNALIST DETAINED UNDER OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT
The New Delhi bureau chief of the Kashmir Times, Iftikar Geelani, was arrested at his residence in India's capital June 9, and is being held under the Official Secrets Act for possessing what the Indian government has termed "classified information." (Times of India, June 9). His father-in-law, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a prominent member of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a coalition of Kashmiri secessionist groups, was arrested the same day in Srinagar under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Syed Ali Geelani is charged under POTA for channeling funds into militant organizations in Kashmir.

Iftikar Geelani, an acclaimed journalist of 13 years for the Kashmir Times and other papers, is known for his impartial reporting and maintains non-involvement with any secessionist movement in Kashmir. Geelani claims he is innocent and that the charges against him are part of a political conspiracy. Geelani's house was first searched by individuals representing the Income Tax Department. When they found nothing, they were followed by the police who arrested him under the Official Secrets Act. He believes he is being framed because he is the son-in-law of a controversial Hurriyat leader. (Kashmir Times, June 10)

The Delhi police seized his laptop, which contained a 1997 human rights report published by a US-based group on abuses by Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir. Other "incriminating documents" seized from the Geelani residence included visa forms for Pakistan. On June 13, local journalists marched silently on the streets of Srinagar and presented a memorandum to the governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Girish Chander Saxena. They demanded that any information found in Geelani's possession must be viewed in light of his journalistic work, and that his trial must be both fair and open to the public.

Both the Editors Guild of India and the Delhi Union of Journalists have demanded that Geelani's case be a "fair and open trial". On June 20, the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) moved the Press Council of India to demand Geelani's release. In a statement, DUJ said, "If mere possession of such information is sufficient cause for detention under the Official Secrets Act, we are afraid it will be a gross violation of the freedom of the press, as the Act can be misused and abused to haul up any journalist." (Subuhi Jiwani) [top]

THE IRAQ FRONT

1. NATIONAL REVIEW: INVADE IRAQ, JACK UP DOW JONES
Citing a "worrisome" USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll that only one in three Americans believe the US is now winning the War on Terrorism, National Review Online economic editor Larry Kudlow writes: "Could it be that a lack of decisive follow-through in the global war on terrorism is the single biggest problem facing the stock market and the nation today? I believe it is. There has been a big drop in the American spirit. The euphoria surrounding the successful victory in Afghanistan has given way to a gnawing fear that Osama bin Laden and his evil followers have survived, regrouped, and are getting ready to hit us again. Sept. 11 may not be the seminal event. A new calamity may befall us, one that will surely close our businesses, shut our financial markets, block basic family security, and inflict unimagined pain on the nation. The down market is a manifestation of the pained expressions on our faces." His solution? "Decisive shock therapy to revive the American spirit would surely come with a US invasion of Iraq. Why not begin with a large-scale special-forces commando raid on the Iraqi oil fields? This will send a shot across Saddam's bow; an electrifying signal to all terrorist nations. The message will be that the game is up. Surrender now or you will be crushed in a short while... A couple of weeks later a final assault on Baghdad can take place... The shock therapy of decisive war will elevate the stock market by a couple-thousand points. We will know that our businesses will stay open, that our families will be safe, and that our future will be unlimited. The world will be righted in this life-and-death struggle to preserve our values and our civilization. But to do all this, we must act." (National Review, June 2) [top]

2. QATAR MILITARIZED
The government of Qatar is spending millions of dollars to expand al-Udeid Air Base, a critical hub for US military operations against Iraq. Over the past months, the Pentagon quietly has moved munitions, equipment and communications gear to the base from Saudi Arabia, the control center for US air operations in the Gulf since 1991's Operation Desert Storm. About 3,300 US troops are currently stationed in Qatar, mostly at al-Udeid, a sprawling and isolated outpost in a flat expanse of desert about 20 miles from Doha, Qatar's capital. A tent city has been erected, along with huge, air-conditioned warehouses and miles of security barriers. Freshly paved runways stretch deep into the desert. Newly built hangars for fighter jets are hardened to withstand aerial attack. Dozens of hardened bunkers have also been built, presumably for storage of munitions and supplies. "It is likely the most capable base in the Gulf region," said private military analyst William Arkin. Vice President Dick Cheney visited the base in March, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stopped to see the troops in June.

Days after the 9-11 attacks, Qatar granted the US permission to send the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, to al-Udeid. The warplanes flew attack missions over Afghanistan and were supported by KC-10 and KC-135 refueling aircraft also based at al-Udeid. The base also is host to Air Force Red Horse squadrons, rapid-response engineering teams prepared to build and repair runways, roads and other infrastructure in remote areas throughout the region.

Al-Udeid is reportedly slated as either an alternative to or replacement for the Combined Air Operations Center at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have made clear they do not support a US invasion of Iraq, and might forbid the use of the air control center at Prince Sultan. Earlier this year, Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of US forces in the Middle East, said he had no plans to move the air control center, but he added, "That does not mean that I don't have plans to replicate it." He also said early in the Afghanistan campaign that he was considering moving Central Command headquarters from Tampa, FLA, to Qatar.

Two other important US military posts in Qatar are Camp as-Sayliyah, on the outskirts of Doha, where tanks, armored vehicles, and other equipment are stored, and Camp Snoopy, adjacent to Doha's airport, which serves as a logistics hub for coordinating distribution of supplies and equipment in the region. About 900 US troops are stationed at Camp Snoopy. Additionally, some 10,000 US troops are stationed in Kuwait and 4,200 in Bahrain, headquarters for the Navy's 5th Fleet. Several thousand are in Saudi Arabia and a few thousand in Oman. (AP, June 30) [top]

3. SHI'ITE REBELS: COUNT US OUT
The leader of a major Iraqi opposition group said that Washington should seek to oust Saddam Hussein through UN resolutions rather than military force. In a June 29 interview with the London-based al-Hayat pan-Arab newspaper, Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, (SCIRI), said he was concerned a US attack on Iraq might result in a long-term military occupation. SCIRI is Iraq's largest Shi'ite opposition group and claims to have up to 8,000 fighters operating in Iraq. It has vowed to overthrow Saddam's Sunni-dominated government. "We are living a state of great worry...from the probability of an attack that would reach many of our people's sons and Iraq's basic infrastructure, as it would also lead to an invasion operation and occupation of Iraq," Hakim said. Hakim, a Shi'ite cleric, lives in Iran with many of his fighters . (Reuters, June 29) The Kurdish resistance armies in Iraq's north have also said they would refuse to cooperate with any US military effort at this time (see WW3 REPORT #39) [top]

4. VETS CALL FOR DEPLETED URANIUM PROBE WITH IRAQ
Representatives from British and French Desert Storm veterans' associations are touring Iraq, visiting old battlefields and meeting with their former foes to demand international co-operation on studying the effects of depleted uranium. "We may have been enemies in 1991, but now we're all suffering the same fate," said Bernard McPhillips, spokesman for the Scottish chapter of the British Gulf War Veterans Association. "If our governments are serious about caring for their sick soldiers, they'll follow our lead and start working with the Iraqis to find an answer to the DU problem." McPhillips was a Leading Seaman with the British Fleet Air Arm during Desert Storm, serving aboard HMS Ark Royal. By October 1991, McPhillips had lost power to his limbs, the first symptom of what he calls "Gulf War syndrome." His condition steadily deteriorated after he was discharged in 1992. The Ottawa Citizen reports: "Today he looks 20 years older than his 34 years, suffers from crippling arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, gastrointestinal disorders, and frequent blackouts." McPhillips says of the 56,000 British troops who served in Desert Storm, 600 have since died, and over 11,000 have reported disabilities.

US scientists first developed DU munitions in the 1980s, when they realized that the nuclear waste material had armor-piercing capacities. Although DU contains only "low levels" of radiation, critics point out that it is easily inhaled after exploding into tiny fragments. Once lodged in the lungs or lymph nodes, these particles continue to emit radiation, constantly attacking the body's immune system. McPhillips demands a comprehensive survey of radioactive debris at "ground zero"--the areas of Iraq where DU munitions were most used.

"This is completely new science for everyone," said Dr. Baha Marouf, a radio-ecology specialist with a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Texas who is part of the Iraqi team formed to study DU's effects on the populace. According to the Ottawa Citizen: "The Iraqi population has experienced a tremendous incidence rate increase in cancer, particularly leukemia, over the past 11 years as well as an alarming ratio of premature births and child deformities."

Some 50 members of Canada's 1st Combat Engineer Regiment are also at risk of DU exposure as a result of a blast in Doha, Kuwait, when a US munitions dump exploded next to the Canadians' barracks in July 1991. The blast detonated depleted uranium shells, and in the ensuing blaze a number of DU-coated US tanks also burned. (Ottawa Citizen, May 26) [top]

5. WASHINGTON POST REWRITES HISTORY OF "DESERT FOX"
Citing the June 16 Washington Post, WW3 REPORT wrote last week: "In 1998 Saddam shut down UN inspections of Iraqi facilities suspected of making weapons of mass destruction. President Bill Clinton in December launched Operation Desert Fox, sending 650 bomber and missile sorties against 100 Iraqi targets in a 70-hour period. Saddam still refused to let the inspectors back." WW3 REPORT reader Tim Slater responds: "This is a Big Lie worthy of the master, Goebbels! In fact, the US and UK governments had the inspectors withdrawn (over the opposition of the more independent ones) in order to have a free hand for the attack. Afterwards, the Iraqi government refused to let them back in."

Slater is correct. We were paraphrasing the Washington Post's account, and failed to call them out on their insidious historical revisionism. Those with better memories recall that it went down like this: UNSCOM, the UN agency charged with inspecting Iraq's military and industrial facilities for weapons of mass destruction, deadlocked with Saddam Hussein in 1997 over demands to inspect his own presidential palaces and properties. Saddam claimed these inspections would be an affront to Iraq's sovereignty, and that there were no weapons there. He invited journalists to tour the palaces to make his case. The next year, tensions with UNSCOM escalated as Iraq charged that inspectors were engaged in intelligence gathering for the US and Israel. UNSCOM weapons inspector and former US Marine intelligence specialist Scott Ritter was singled out. Ritter later admitted to contacts with Israeli military intelligence, defending them as essential to his work. "We developed a working relationship that you know matured in December of 1995 and was constant up until the time of my resignation in the summer of 1998," Ritter told CNN. "Without this relationship UNSCOM would not have been able to continue as an effective organization." Richard Butler, then executive director of UNSCOM, also defended the contact. "The Security Council instructed all states to give UNSCOM all possible assistance," he said. "Some 40 states did, amongst them the United States and Israel... And that's what happened and it was within the law." In December 1998, Butler pulled his inspectors out of Iraq. Less than 24 hours later, the US and UK launched Operation Desert Fox.

According to Ritter, intelligence gathered under the auspices of UNSCOM was diverted by the CIA to assist the US military in targeting--and not just to attack military and industrial facilities, but Saddam himself. "They were able to isolate that that night, the time of the strike, Saddam Hussein would be with his mistress at one of two locations," Ritter said. "So the first cruise missiles that hit Iraq impacted where Saddam was going to be... These were villas, these were residential complexes and the only reason they were struck is because there was a high degree of probability that Saddam Hussein was there." The Pentagon had no comment. (CNN's Special Report, "The Unfinished War: A Decade Since Desert Storm," January 16, 2001) [top]

6. SADDAM'S NOVELS TO BE TAUGHT IN IRAQ'S SCHOOLS
Three novels written by Saddam Hussein will be taught in Iraqi schools beginning next academic year, Iraq's weekly Tikrit newspaper reported. Tikrit said the Education Ministry had decided to include "Zabibah and the King," "The Fortified Castle" and "Men and a City" in the school curriculum. All three books are political parables heavily laden with anti-US propaganda. "Zabibah and the King" is the tale of a monarch who avenges a woman's honor after she is raped on the day the US launched Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The novel was adapted for the stage and was performed in Baghdad on April 28, Saddam's birthday. (Reuters, June 28) [top]

WATCHING THE SHADOWS

1. MOROCCO "HELPS" U.S., "TORTURES" SUSPECTS
A Reuters report cites claims that Moroccan authorities "tortured" arrested al-Qaeda suspects, while the New York Times says the Moroccans are "helping" the US at the behest of the CIA. Reuters reported in a June 23 story, "Lawyer Says Morocco Tortured al-Qaeda Suspects" that the attorney representing accused al-Qaeda militants in Morocco claimed his clients were "tortured" into giving false confessions. Reuters reports that attorney Tawfiq Msaef told the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, "All of them were subjected to various forms of physical torture, verbal abuse, including cursing and the removal of women's veils, and extortion to force them to confess." The June 24 New York Times story, "US Enlists Morocco's Help to Counter Terrorist Plots." said the accused terrorists were arrested in an international operation organized by CIA Director George Tenet when he visited Morocco in February to "secure the kingdom's help." Tenet met with King Mohammed VI and the country's intelligence chief, and "was promised full cooperation," the Times said. "The Moroccans worked hard to help nail these guys," the Times quoted an anonymous "Western diplomat." The Times only mentioned the torture allegation 30 paragraphs into the story, with no quote from the attorney, but with a caveat that there was "no evidence" of torture. Authorities say the suspects, three Saudis and four Moroccans, including three young women, were planning to attack US and British ships in the Gibraltar strait. They are now awaiting trial in Casablanca. (See WW3 REPORT #38) [top]

2. SHARON'S "AXIS OF EVIL": IRAN, IRAQ, SYRIA
Addressing an annual gathering of diaspora Jews in Jerusalem, Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon blamed Palestinian attacks in Israel on an "international terror axis--Tehran, Damascus, Baghdad and bin Laden." Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Shara strongly denied the charges, and insisted that his government has helped save American lives from terrorist attacks since Sept. 11. The US has refused to acknowledge cooperation with Syria in the War on Terrorism. Syria is on the US list of countries that sponsor terrorism. While Syria was presiding over the UN Security Council on June 20, US Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte accused Damascus of supporting terrorist groups and demanded that it condemn Palestinian suicide bombings. (AP, June 22) Human rights groups are concerned that if Syria's claims of counter-terrorism cooperation are true, this could mean that Washington is farming out torture of terror suspects to Syrian surrogates. (See WW3 REPORT #39) [top]

3. CHOMSKY'S "AXIS OF EVIL": US, ISRAEL, TURKEY
Dissident intellectual Noam Chomsky, speaking at an Armenian community center in Watertown, MA, condemned US, Turkish and Israeli policies, likening them to the thuggish tactics of gangsters using force to maintain control. Prof. Chomsky made his comments before a public forum organized by the Armenian National Committee (ANC). The event was attended by some 200 Armenian and non-Armenian supporters and activists.

Commenting on the Iran-Iraq-North Korea "axis of evil" recently described by President Bush, Chomsky noted that these countries "cannot possibly be considered an 'axis,' in that two of them were recently at war with each other and have nothing to do with the third." On the justifications cited for an invasion of Iraq--Saddam Hussein's development of weapons of mass destruction, and use of chemical weapons against his people--Chomsky stated that while the charges against Saddam are factually correct, they ignore that the dictator developed and used chemical weapons "with our support, which continued long past the worst crimes" he committed. Chomsky noted that the US and UK continued to provide Saddam with dual-use technology for development of weapons of mass destruction in the 1980s, although he was more dangerous then, before his regime was weakened by war and sanctions. Chomsky cited what he considered the real reasons for an invasion of Iraq, including the fact that it has the world's second-largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia.

Chomsky said that the US and Turkey shared a common interest in keeping Iraq's Kurds under control, and noted that US military aid to Turkey has actually increased since the end of the Cold War. This aid continued to increase in the mid-1990s, when that Turkish regime carried out "state terror" against the Kurds in the southeast, leaving an estimated 50,000 dead and driving some 3 million from their homes.

Commenting on escalating military cooperation between the US, Turkey and Israel, Chomsky stated that "Israel [while not actually hosting US troops] has virtually become a US military base, and a significant one. It is a small country, but it has a huge military. Its air force, tank force, and advanced technology are greater than any in NATO aside from the US."

Chomsky also noted that the Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram recently called the US, Israel and Turkey the true "axis of evil," and suggested that this designation is actually more accurate. "In Bush's example, there is evil, but in the other case, there is an actual axis," said Chomsky, adding that "there's plenty of evil to go around."

(Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts press release, press release, June 19, www.anca.org) [top]

4. BUSH & CHENEY TO FACE WAR CRIMES CHARGES IN EGYPT?
A group of Egyptian lawyers filed a suit against visiting US Vice President Dick Cheney in March, demanding he be tried as a war criminal. On March 13, Hussien Abdul-Ghani, Cairo correspondent of Qatar's al-Jazeera satellite TV, said the lawyers presented Attorney General Maher Abdul-Wahed with a petition to prosecute Cheney and President Bush for war crimes committed against civilians in Afghanistan. The move came as Cheney arrived in Egypt on the first leg of an 11-country Middle East tour designed to build support for the US military strikes on Iraq. Cheney met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Tens of thousands of students in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities demonstrated against Cheney's visit . (Kavkaz Center News Agency, March 13) [top]

THE WAR AT HOME

1. JUDGE DISMISSES LOS ANGELES TERROR CASE
US District Court Judge Robert Takasugi dismissed charges against seven Iranians accused of using a charity scam to solicit $1 million for a terrorist group, ruling that unconstitutional measures were taken to assemble the case. In throwing out the 59-count indictment, Takasugi wrote that the government's system for designating a group as a terrorist organization violated defendants' rights to due process, and cannot be used in criminal prosecution. The case charged that the defendants showed travelers at Los Angeles International Airport photographs of starving children while soliciting money for humanitarian aid--with the funds really going to Mujahedin-i-Khalq, an Iraq-backed group seeking to overthrow the government of Iran. "These people had nothing to do with terrorism,'' said Richard Steingard, attorney for defendant Mustafa Ahmady. Federal prosecutors are considering an appeal. (AP, June 22) Takasugi ruled that the 1996 Anti-Terrorism Act, which classifies foreign groups as terrorist organizations, is ''unconstitutional on its face.'' (NYT, June 24) [top]

2. ANOTHER U.S. CITIZEN DEEMED "ENEMY COMBATANT"
The Justice Department argued before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA, that the case of Yaser Esam Hamdi, a probable US citizen captured in Afghanistan and currently held without charge at a Navy base in Norfolk, should be turned over to the military. Read the Justice Department's motion: "A court's inquiry should come to an end once the military has shown... that it has determined that the detainee is an enemy combatant... [T]he court may not second-guess the military's enemy-combatant determination." (Washington Post, June 20) [top]

3. SIXFOLD INCREASE IN FBI TERROR PROBES SINCE 9-11
The FBI has been seeking prosecution of international terrorism cases at six times the rate it did pre-9-11, Justice Department records show. But more than half of those cases considered by federal prosecutors never made it to court. In the year before the 9-11 attacks, FBI agents sent 10 international terrorism cases a month to US attorneys for prosecution, according to the records obtained by Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). In the first six months after the attacks, they sent 59 a month. But prosecutors declined to file charges in 60 of the 98 FBI anti-terrorism cases they considered between October and March. Prosecutors did not reach a decision during that period on all of the over 350 cases referred to them. In half the cases not prosecuted, US attorneys said there was a "lack of evidence of criminal intent" or that a federal crime had been committed. In a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller, Senate Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) demanded to know why so many FBI terrorism referrals are not being prosecuted. TRAC obtained the records after winning a legal battle with the Justice Department over the Freedom of Information Act. (AP, June 16) [top]

4. NJ APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS SECRET DETAINMENTS
A three-judge panel in the Appellate Division of New Jersey's State Superior Court ruled unanimously June 12 that the state's Hudson and Passaic counties do not have to turn over the names of detainees held by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in their jails. The decision overturned a Mar. 26 ruling by Judge Arthur D'Italia in a lawsuit brought by the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU said it will appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court. While the appeal is pending, an order that prevents the INS from deporting or transferring New Jersey detainees without their consent remains in effect. (NYT, WP, June 13) [top]

5. SUPREME COURT APPROVES SECRET INS HEARINGS
On June 28, the Supreme Court granted the Bush administration's request to block a US district judge's order that the INS open deportation hearings for post-9-11 detainees to the public and the press. The high court ruling allows the INS to keep the hearings closed while the US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia reviews the issue. (Newsday, June 30) (See WW3 REPORT #39) [top]

6. FACE SCANS CHECK VISITORS TO STATUE OF LIBERTY
As visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island board the ferry in Manhattan, a new surveillance system now takes their pictures and compares them to a database of terror suspects compiled by the federal government. The system was installed just before the Memorial Day weekend, days after the FBI said it had received uncorroborated information that terrorists had threatened New York landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty. "We're going to look at the facial recognition technology to see if it can be expanded for use in other parts of the city," said Gov. George Pataki. "People are still coming to New York City, to the Statue of Liberty, from around our country and around our world because they appreciate that this is a secure, safe and free city," he added (apparently oblivious to the irony). The facial recognition technology, provided by Visionics, of Jersey City, NJ, is already used in some airports and government buildings. (AP, May 25) [top]

7. HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT TO BE "ABOVE THE LAW"?
Senate Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) charged on June 26 that the Bush administration was effectively asking Congress to put its proposed Homeland Security Department "above the law." Leahy told Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, "I am concerned that the administration's proposal would exempt the new department from many legal requirements that apply to other agencies.... The Freedom of Information Act would not apply. The conflicts of interest and accountability rules for agency advisers would not apply." Leahy also protested that "The new department would have the right to suspend the Whistle-blower Protection Act," which shields from retribution federal workers who shed public light on government wrongdoing. "In these respects, the administration is asking us to put this new department above the law and outside checks and balances these laws are put there to ensure," Leahy said. (Reuters, June 26) [top]

8. PAKISTANI DEPORTEES CHARGE INS WITH "TORTURE"
132 Pakistanis who arrived in Islamabad June 27 after being held by the US Immigration & Naturalization Service for several months offered stories of inhumane treatment in US detention centers and prisons. 35-year-old Mufeed Khan, who had lived in Los Angeles for 11 years, where he ran a small business, was detained in February. "I was treated as a terrorist," he said. "I was shackled and handcuffed--completely bound--and questioned as if I were an associate of Osama bin Laden. Carrying a Muslim name should not be a crime." Jahanzeb Zulfkar, 28, who arrived in Iowa at the age of 17 on an international student visa, was detained in April. "My rights were abused, my dignity violated and self-respect insulted and compromised in the detention center," he told the press. Arshad Mehmood, deported without his wife and children, had lived in Chicago for almost a decade. "For [the US authorities] every Pakistani is now an activist of the Taliban or a friend of Osama. They do not want us to live over there. Before 11 September we were Pakistani Americans--now we have become aliens who want to destroy America." (BBC, June 29)

The day that deportees arrived in Islamabad, June 28, the Justice Department and the FBI launched a joint investigation into 70 "illegal immigrants," all of whom are Pakistani and work in jewelry stores across the US. Several were questioned and detained for visa violations. (Dawn, June 29) Pakistan's ambassador to the US, Maleeha Lodhi, expressed concerns about the incidents to US authorities. "We raised the issue of the latest arrests with the Justice Department and told them of our concern about racial profiling. We were told these investigations are underway without targeting any one group or nationality." (Dawn, June 29: http://www.dawn.com/2002/06/30/top11.htm) (Subuhi Jiwani) [top]

9. MUELLER SCHMOOZES MUSLIMS; MANY NOT REASSURED
On June 29 FBI Director Robert Mueller spoke before a day-long conference of the American Muslim Council (AMC) in Washington DC, organized to address questions about the FBI's broadened surveillance powers over the Muslim and Arab communities. Mueller said that the new powers would not be misused, and thanked members of the AMC for the role they played after Sept. 11 as Arabic translators for the Justice Department's investigation of detainees in Guantanamo Bay and US detention centers. Mueller, however, expressed concerns about statements made by AMC members that allegedly supported terrorism. The US has also frozen financial assets of charities that the AMC encouraged its members to contribute to. Many American Muslims who attended the conference denied interviews to the media, afraid of police scrutiny. (Dawn, June 30) (Subuhi Jiwani) [top]

NUCLEAR PARANOIA

1. 4th OF JULY TERROR ALERT
Government officials will consider boosting the national color-coded terror alert from yellow to the more critical orange during the July 4th holiday weekend, law enforcement sources told ABC News June 28. The current Homeland Security Color Advisory Code of yellow indicates that federal authorities believe there is a "serious, increased and predictable threat" of terrorist activity. An upgrade to orange would mandate armed forces and law enforcement agencies to coordinate security measures at public events. Sources told ABC that officials will increase security measures around the country beginning Monday July 1, regardless of whether the color code is upgraded. Officials also said the Pentagon is preparing to dramatically increase combat air patrols over a dozen US cities during the holiday week.

ABC offers the following breakdown of the terror color-code system:

Green: Low. Signifies minimal risk of terrorist attack.

Blue: Guarded. Signifies a continuing general threat of terrorist activity.

Yellow: Elevated. Signifies an increased and predictable threat of terrorist activity.

Orange: High. Signifies that a terrorist threat may be likely.

Red: Severe. Signifies terrorist activity on a specific target may be imminent. [top]

2. SECRET NUCLEAR EMERGENCY TEAMS PATROL NATION'S CITIES
Since Sept. 11, helicopters with teams of scientists from the federal nuclear-weapons labs have been scanning the landscape over New York City with invisible beams to detect radiation from a potential terrorist nuclear device. The helicopters and scientists are part of a little-known Energy Department agency called the Nuclear Emergency Support Team. A June 9 front-page story in the Boston Globe by reporter Fred Kaplan provides a rare window into the workings of this secret agency--but leaves many questions unanswered.

NEST has a $77 million budget and a staff of some 750 scientists from the Energy Department's weapons labs, working on rotating call. NEST assists the FBI and reports to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Pentagon. President Bush's reorganization would place it in the new Department of Homeland Security. Besides the helicopter patrols, NEST teams have been driving around the nation's urban areas in vans known as ''Hot Spot Mobile Labs,'' armed with instruments that detect alpha, beta, gamma, and neutron radiation. Other teams are equipped with backpacks that hold smaller detectors. Last October, when intelligence agencies warned of a ''dirty bomb'' attack in lower Manhattan, NEST technicians backed up FBI agents and police, waving hand-held detectors across the thousands of trucks that were stopped and searched.

NEST was launched in 1974 after an extortionist threatened to detonate a nuclear bomb in Boston if he didn't receive $200,000. The threat turned out to be a hoax, but federal officials were shocked into a response. Since September, NEST's budget for radiation-detectors has doubled, and the nation's weapons labs--Lawrence Livermore in California, and Los Alamos and Sandia in New Mexico--are developing and deploying smaller and more refined models. As of the middle of last year, NEST had only four helicopters and three aircraft, based at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada (home of "Area 51") and Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, DC. One source said the fleet has been enlarged, but a NEST spokesman would not comment.

NEST and other agencies jointly conducted 20 simulated field exercises from 1986 to 2001. But the scenarios for those war games were based on a pre-9-11 premise of terrorists or domestic militia groups threatening to detonate to extort money. Nuclear-emergency teams had days to respond. In post-9-11 threat scenarios, every minute of response time could matter. The field exercises have not been reassuring to officials who have analyzed them. In March 1996, a Senate subcommittee chaired by then-Sen. Sam Nunn held hearings and reached what the panel called ''disconcerting'' conclusions about the exercises. The main problem, according to the report: ''Our agencies are still suffering from their own inability to transcend age-old turf battles... Problems with coordination and information-sharing among government agencies continue, despite recent efforts to resolve them at the highest levels of the CIA and FBI.'' Nunn's subcommittee focused mainly on ''Mirage Gold,'' a five-day October 1994 exercise involving over 1,000 officials. In the Mirage Gold scenario, a fictitious militia group, the Patriots for National Unity, threatened to blow up New Orleans. The test's organizers claimed the bomb had been found and defused. But an official report by Rear Adm. Charles J. Beers Jr., then a deputy assistant secretary of defense, found that the exercise was ''conducted in a manner to 'stack the deck' in favor of unrealistic success.'' Specifically, the game's players were ''inappropriately leaked'' information about the bomb's location and technical features. ''Basically, we lost New Orleans,'' John Sopko, the Senate panel's former chief counsel, recalled in an interview about the exercise, The Beers report prompted a review of NEST by ex-assistant secretary of energy Duane C. Sewell, who found that the agency needed more funds, more exercises, and a streamlined bureaucracy.

''Operation Topoff,'' a five-day May 2000 exercise mandated by the Senate at a cost of $3.5 million, simulated three simultaneous terrorist strikes: chemical weapons in Portsmouth, NH, biological weapons in Denver, and a "dirty bomb" in Washington, DC. Officials hailed Topoff as a success. At a July 2000 meeting of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an elite DC think-tank, Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, then a counter-terrorism specialist at the National Security Council, called Topoff ''nearly flawless.'' But a senior Senate staff member who monitored Topoff laughed when told of this remark. As with Mirage Gold, the test was set up to maximize the chances of success. ''For instance,'' the official said, ''six weeks before this supposedly 'no-notice' exercise, the FBI leased 11 T-1 phone lines and installed them in an empty warehouse that it planned on using as a command post."

Also uncertain is whether NEST scientists can neutralize a bomb after they find it. According to Jeffrey T. Richelson, a senior fellow at the DC-based National Security Archive, weapons-lab scientists have several ways to perform this delicate task. They can detonate small explosives around the bomb, blast it into small pieces with artillery, or detonate it inside a huge nylon tent pumped full of 30,000 cubic feet of thick foam to block the dispersal of radiation. NEST scientists built a nylon tent around the bomb at the end of the 1994 exercise, Mirage Gold, but were denied permission to detonate it--partly because the FBI and FEMA disagreed over which agency had the authority to grant it. The Boston Globe account did not make clear if an actual nuclear device was involved in the exercise, or what contingency is in place to mitigate radiation release from escaped nuclear fuel after the device is destroyed with conventional explosives or artillery.

(Boston Globe, June 9) [top]

3. NYPD INSTALLS RADIATION DETECTORS
Radiation detectors have been installed at police headquarters in New York City, and will soon be deployed to other city buildings, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. Kelly would not say where or when the high-tech detectors would be installed, but said City Hall would "probably" get a pair. The black, seven-foot towers--two of which now stand guard at One Police Plaza--cost just under $11,000 each, officials said. The NYPD is said to have two more such devices, and has also ordered 200 portable radiation detectors, which will be distributed to every precinct and many emergency units. (AP, June 28) [top]

4. NYPD NUKE-DETECTION TEAMS PATROL CITY
NYPD Lt. Steve Donahoo, assigned to the Department's Counter-terrorism Division, had a shock when his radiation detector went off on Manhattan's FDR Drive, prompting him to call 9-11 on his cell phone. Several minutes later, just past 7 AM June 10, Donahoo and officers from the 19th Precinct and an Emergency Services Unit stopped a car at York Avenue and 63rd Street. They determined that the car was carrying four cannisters of medical supplies. Police said the driver had all the necessary paperwork and that the materials posed no danger. The radiation detectors, roughly the size of a cigarette pack, are worn by some members of the counter-terrorism unit, formed by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in the wake of 9-11. They are also worn by some members of the NYPD-FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. (Newsday, June 11) [top]

5. NYPD "CAT" AND DOG ANTI-TERROR TEAMS PATROL CITY
Heavily armed New York Police Department "counter-assault teams" are patrolling the city in a new tactic in the war on terrorists, the New York Post reported June 10. The uniformed teams, consisting of one sergeant and four emergency service cops, are outfitted with machine pistols, helmets and heavy-duty bulletproof vests. They travel in unmarked, bulletproof vehicles known as "CAT cars," after the teams' acronym. One car at a time is sent on patrol, according to police sources. The NYPD has been sending out canine units with bomb-sniffing dogs to randomly visit high-profile locations in Manhattan, including bridges, museums, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Wall Street and Rockefeller Center. [top]

6. WOLFOWITZ CRYING WOLF? WE SURE HOPE SO!
At a regional security conference in Singapore, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said that the prospect of terrorists developing nuclear capabilities is "more frightening and dangerous" than nuclear proliferation among nation-states. Wolfowitz said the concern that "nuclear weapons or scientists with nuclear expertise [could] fall into the hands of rogue regimes or terrorist groups is a very, very real one." The discussion on nuclear proliferation was one of a several seminars at a two-day conference organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies and attended by over 150 defense officials. (AP, June 2) [top]

7. PADILLA SOUGHT H-BOMB?
Terror suspect Jose Padilla (aka Abdullah al Mujahir) brought al-Qaeda officials "laughably inaccurate" instructions to make a hydrogen bomb and was urged to instead focus on a "dirty bomb," or conventional explosive combined with radioactive material, Time magazine reported June 15. Accused "dirty bomb" plotter Padilla reportedly found the hydrogen bomb plans on the Internet and presented them earlier this year to al-Qaeda handlers, including Abu Zubaydah, Osama bin Laden's operations chief currently in US custody, the magazine said. Senior Bush administration officials reportedly told Time that Padilla expressed interest in setting off a hydrogen bomb on US soil, But al-Qaeda bosses told him to think smaller. "They sent him to the U.S. to see what he could do--plan and execute," the official was quoted as saying. Padilla, 31, was arrested in Chicago when he got off a plane from Pakistan on May 8. He was brought to New York and then moved to a South Carolina naval brig on June 9. Padilla, a US citizen and native New Yorker, has been officially declared an "enemy combatant." (See WW3 REPORT #38) [top]

8. INDIAN POINT UPDATE: FEAR IN WESTCHESTER
New York's suburban Westchester County handed out thousands of anti-radiation pills in case of disaster at the nearby Indian Point nuclear power plant. The potassium iodine tablets, known as "KI," are distributed free to anyone who lives within 10 miles of the plant, about 35 miles north of New York City. About 140,000 people live in that 10-mile radius. Residents lined up outside a Yorktown Heights school on June 8 to pick up the pills, which can prevent thyroid cancer if taken within 24-hours of a nuclear exposure. Officials said the pills would protect people long enough for them to be evacuated, but they warned they are not a panacea. Westchester County spokesperson Victoria Hochman told the Associated Press that 2,617 people had picked up 10,533 KI pills by the end of the day. "These are not protecting against everything in a nuclear accident," said Dr. Loren Wissner Greene, a thyroid specialist at New York University Medical Center. "I think that is really important to emphasize. What it does do is decrease the ability of the thyroid gland to pick up this radioactive iodine, which can cause a high instance of thyroid cancer, especially in young children." (CNN, June 8)

Since 9-11, Indian Point's owner, the Louisiana-based Entergy Corp., has officially changed its name from the "Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant" to the "Indian Point Energy Center." All area signs indicating the plant have been changed, removing the word "nuclear," and the utility has also launched a local PR blitz plugging the plant's supposed "safety." One recent newspaper ad urged readers to "Take confidence in the security of Indian Point Energy Center." Entergy bought one Indian Point reactor from the New York Power Authority in 2000, and the second one from Con Edison last September. Since 9-11, there has been a citizen outcry over the threat posed by the plant in the event of terror attack or accident. (See WW3 REPORT #14) (NYT, March 23) [top]

9. POTASSIUM IODINE A HOT SELLER
People who live near nuclear reactors have been stocking up on potassium iodine tablets ever since 9-11. One Internet site, NukePills.com, reported orders for 10,000 packs of the pills on June 10 alone. But experts warn that the tablets may not even help in the event of a "dirty bomb" attack. Potassium iodide would be helpful only if a dirty bomb used radioactive iodine instead of other radioactive substances. It also protects only the thyroid gland, and overdoses can be dangerous. "Just because you're in the same town with a dirty bomb doesn't mean you take potassium iodide," warned Dr. David Orloff of the Food and Drug Administration. "Wait till you hear instructions from public health officials." Still, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is offering states enough KI to treat every resident within 10 miles of a reactor, because radioactive iodine is likely to be released during a serious reactor accident or attack. (AP, June 11) [top]

10. REMOTE CYBER-ATTACK PLANNED ON U.S. NUKE PLANTS?
Last fall, Detective Chris Hsiung of the Mountain View, CA, police began investigating a suspicious pattern of surveillance against California municipal and utility computer systems from unknown browsers in the Middle East and South Asia. Hsiung, a high-tech crime specialist, alerted the FBI's San Francisco computer intrusion squad. Working with experts at the Energy Department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the FBI found "multiple casings of sites" nationwide. Routed through telecommunications switches in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Pakistan, the cyber-snoops studied emergency telephone, water storage and distribution, and electrical generation and transmission systems--including gas facilities and nuclear power plants. Writes the Washington Post: "Unsettling signs of al-Qaeda's aims and skills in cyberspace have led some government experts to conclude that terrorists are at the threshold of using the Internet as a direct instrument of bloodshed... US analysts believe that by disabling or taking command of the floodgates in a dam, for example, or of substations handling 300,000 volts of electric power, an intruder could use virtual tools to destroy real-world lives and property. They surmise, with limited evidence, that al Qaeda aims to employ those techniques in synchrony with 'kinetic weapons' such as explosives."

"The event I fear most is a physical attack in conjunction with a successful cyber-attack on the responders' 911 system or on the power grid," Ronald Dick, director of the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center, told a closed gathering of corporate security executives hosted by Infraguard at Niagara Falls on June 12.

Specialized digital devices called supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, systems are used nationwide to coordinate railway switches, run aqueducts and oil and gas pipelines, and regulate hydro-dams and nuclear reactors. According to government documents, "Red Teams" of mock intruders from the Energy Department's national laboratories have devised "eight scenarios for SCADA attack on an electrical power grid"--and all of them work. Eighteen such exercises have been conducted to date against large regional utilities. Richard A. Clarke, Bush's cyber-security adviser, said the intruders "have always, always succeeded." (WP, June 27) [top]

11. U.N. ATOM AGENCY WARNS: NUKE MATERIALS ON THE LOOSE
Radioactive materials that a terrorist would need to build a "dirty bomb" are available around the world, and more than 100 countries may have inadequate programs to prevent or even detect thefts, according to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency. Governments--including that of the United States--must take urgent steps to raise security levels to prevent theft and to recover missing supplies, the agency warned. "What is needed is cradle-to-grave control of powerful radioactive sources to protect them against terrorism or theft," said IAEA chief Mohamed el-Baradei.

The agency said "uncontrolled radioactive sources are a widespread phenomenon" in post-Soviet states such as Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. (See "Jihad Plundering Soviet Nuclear Debris in Central Asia?", WW3 REPORT #38) "Customs officials, border guards, and police forces have detected numerous attempts to smuggle and illegally sell stolen sources," the agency reports. And the prevalence of suicide terror attacks has grave implications for nuclear security: If the perpetrator is willing to disregard his or her own personal safety, radioactive sources could with little effort be concealed in a truck or packed in a suitcase. "The danger of handling powerful radioactive sources can no longer be seen as an effective deterrent, which dramatically changes previous assumptions," el-Baradei said.

In one instance of progress reported by the IAEA, the agency secured the cooperation of both the US Energy Department and Russia's Ministry for Atomic Energy (MINATOM) in a tripartite working group on "Securing and Managing Radioactive Sources." On June 12, officials representing the three sides agreed to develop a "coordinated and proactive strategy to locate, recover, secure and recycle orphan sources throughout the Former Soviet Union. This agreement represents the first concerted international response to the threat posed by vulnerable radioactive sources" in the post-Soviet nations.

But the problem is not confined to the post-Soviet lands. Even the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has reports over 1,500 instances of US companies losing track of radioactive materials within the country since 1996, and more than half were never recovered, the IAEA said. A European Union study estimated that every year up to 70 sources are lost from regulatory control in the EU, the IAEA said.

Among recent global incidents cited by IAEA:

*In China in 1992, a cobalt-60 source was lost and picked up by an unsuspecting individual. Three persons in the family died of resulting overexposure.

*In Georgia in 1997, a group of border frontier guards became ill and showed signs of radiation-induced skin disease. Eleven servicemen had to be transferred to specialized hospitals in France and Germany. The cause of the exposures was found to be several cesium-37 and a cobalt-60 sources abandoned in a former Soviet military barracks.

*In Istanbul in 1998, two cobalt-60 sources in their shipping containers were sold as scrap metal. Ten people were inadvertently exposed and had to be treated for acute radiation syndrome

*In Peru in 1999, a worker put iridium-192 from an industrial source in his pocket and suffered severe radiation burns

*In the Brazilian city of Goiania in September 1987 scavengers dismantled a metal canister from a radiotherapy machine at an abandoned cancer clinic and left it in a junkyard. The metal capsule storing the cesium-137 was ruptured, and over the next week several hundred people in Goiania were exposed. Some children and adults, thinking the cesium powder was "pretty," even rubbed it over their bodies. Finally, a public health worker diagnosed radiation sickness at a local clinic and alerted authorities. The Brazilian Nuclear Energy Commission sent in a team, which discovered that over 240 persons were contaminated, four of whom later died. Homes and businesses were also contaminated, requiring a major clean-up operation.

(IAEA press release, June 25) [top]

12. U.S. NUCLEAR MATERIALS MISSING
A June 11 report in the Hartford Courant, based on NRC records, detailed numerous incidents of lost nuclear materials in the US: "Two years ago, a radiography camera containing a powerful iridium source was stolen from a locked shed in Pembroke Pines, FLA. An NRC report on the incident noted that the thief also took the key that allows access to the inside of the camera. In 1996, six radiography cameras were stolen from a Houston company and never found. In 1997, someone in Colorado used a bolt-cutter to steal a soil moisture-density gauge, a radioactive tool commonly used in construction, that had been chained to the bed of a pickup truck. Industrial tools are not the only items to be reported missing. In July 2000, a chemical agent detector containing a radioactive source was stolen from a US Army training area in South Korea. It is one of dozens of such detectors reported stolen or missing from US military bases overseas during the past 15 years. NRC spokesman Victor Dricks would not talk about the agency's records of lost or missing radioactive sources. Since the terrorist attacks, the NRC has shut down its website and tightly restricted the release of nuclear-related information. 'Given the sensitivity of the issues, it's not something we want to get into,' Dricks said." Notes the Courant: "Although those sources don't contain the sort of material that would allow someone to build a nuclear bomb--at worst they could kill or sicken people who came in close contact -- officials have become increasingly concerned that they could be turned into terrorist tools. Six years ago, Chechen rebels used a canister of radioactive cesium to scare shoppers in a Moscow marketplace." [top]

13. U.K. NUKE WASTE "ON VERGE OF EXPLODING"
Almost 90% of Britain's nuclear waste stockpile is so badly stored it could explode or leak with devastating results at any time, according to a government report obtained by The Observer. The Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee found that 88% of the UK's "intermediate-level" nuclear waste had not been treated for safe storage at up to 24 locations. Experts warn the potentially volatile waste--with the equivalent mass of 725 double-decker buses--represents a 'disaster waiting to happen'. A source at Nirex, the firm charged with managing Britain's nuclear waste, admitted the situation was 'outrageous.' The report, prepared for by Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett and Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon, reveals that volatile materials that can spontaneously combust in air, explode on contact with water or leak in liquid form can be found at nuclear sites across Britain. (UK Observer, June 30) [top]


WW3 REPORT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: LYNNE STEWART

Bill Weinberg speaks with the veteran radical attorney and War on Terrorism defendant.

Lynne Stewart, 62, a veteran defense attorney of over 25 years, now faces up to 40 years in prison on charges of collaborating with terrorists. The charges are related to her representation of the notorious Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, an exiled Egyptian cleric, in his 1995 trial for conspiring to blow up New York City landmarks. Known to New Yorkers as "The Blind Sheikh,"Abdel Rahman, 63, is serving life in prison, and is considered spiritual leader of the men convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Now Stewart is charged with providing "material support" to the Sheik's Egypt-based organization, the Islamic Group--largely by facilitating communications between the Sheikh and his Egyptian followers. Currently free on a $500,000 bond, Stewart says she was only doing her job. She pledges to fight the charges, claiming that FBI eavesdropping on her conversations with the Sheikh is more egregious than anything she did. Arrested with Stewart on related charges are para-legals and translators Mohammed Yousry, Ahmed Sattar and Yassir al-Sirri. Highlights from the interview follow. Click here for the complete interview.

WW3R: You've said the government's attack on the sanctity of attorney-client privilege is at the heart of this case. You are accused of breaking SAMs or "special administrative measures," which were imposed in the Sheikh Rahman case. Do you want to talk about that?

LS: They've tried to do away with attorney-client privilege many times and many ways, but this is probably the most egregious attempt. And they are doing it on the basis that my client is probably an extremely unpopular person in the states. For most Americans, he's not someone they would really want to protect. I'm sure if I was representing Martha Stewart, they might feel differently about her. And for that reason, and because they're able to tie it to their great bete noir of terrorism, they're able, basically, to make an excuse--that this was justified, to listen in, to protect the nation. Of course, they listened in "to protect the nation"and then did nothing for two years. They did not bother to stop my visits, they did not bother to stop our telephone calls. They were content to merely keep listening in. So it sort of defeats the ultimate underpinning of the notion that this was done to prevent terrorism, and they were the only ones who stood between terrible acts and me.

The real problem, I think, is that they would like to somehow curb in what were known as the political lawyers--the Bill Kunstlers of the world. The group who think of ourselves as political lawyers--and I count myself, Liz Fink, Susan Tipograph, Ron Kuby, Stanley Cohen--do go the extra yard for our clients, do feel that each client must be protected in his own special way.

Now, certainly somebody like Sheikh Omar, who was a world figure, deserved to have a platform, deserved not to be entombed in the middle of America and not able to speak. The SAMs decreed that the Sheikh could make one phone call a week to his lawyers, and one phone call a month to his wife. So the lawyers had to sign on to agree that they would do nothing to facilitate his contact with the outside world--including the press.

So one of the ways that I'm accused of--quote--"materially aiding terrorism,"is because I made a press release on his behalf. I was in touch with Reuters, Reuters ran a story in Egypt that the Sheikh had alerted members of his party, the Gama'a Islamiyya or IG, Islamic Group, that he thought that the cease-fire was not working, that men still remained in jail, that there were new arrests, that nothing seemed to be happening, so what was the purpose of the cease-fire?

I did not hear from the federal government for about two months. Then I got a call from the chief of the terrorism section in the US Attorney's office, Pat Fitzgerald, who called to say, "You made a press release! You can't visit, you can't talk on the phone anymore, you're cut off from him!2

WW3R: This was 2000?

LS: July 2000. At that point, Stanley Cohen, who has always represented me and is my dear friend, called up Pat and said "Listen, you know, we need to get back on track here. She needs to visit him, she needs to discuss what happened, she needs to find out if she's gonna continue representing him."So Pat said, "Well, she'll have to sign on again."Then we went back and forth for six months as to the wording of the SAMs I was to sign on again. And early the next year, under this new SAM, which was provisional, I went to visit him again. This was probably in February of 2001, and he said he did want me to accept the SAM, because he did want me to continue the visits. And that, we understand, was the first visit they listened in on.

WW3R: In which prison?

LS: Rochester, Minnesota. Its a federal medical facility. He has severe diabetes, he takes insulin by needle for it, and he has a heart condition. Plus he's blind. So he was not in good shape when we saw him that February. He was in a wheelchair, and we thought he might need surgery.

When we went to see him again in July--and by "we"I mean me and Mohammed Yousry, who was teaching as an adjunct professor at York [CUNY] and a candidate for a PhD at NYU--apparently they listened in on that also. That's where they claimed there were "diversions"taking place, which, as we recall it, were simply instances where it seemed like the guards were listening to us, so we changed the tenor of the conversation. Little did we know we were being taped! Ha ha! And also video-taped, I believe at that point!

WW3R: With hidden devices?

Yes, with hidden devices. We were never informed that this was going to happen. And they claim that this was legal because these were so-called FISA wiretaps. That's this very pernicious law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Originally, it was supposed to be embassies only, and only hostile nations, so we would know if they were planning anything--and never to be used in litigation, never to be used in criminal proceedings. It basically involves one rubber-stamp judge who sits in a room in the Department of Justice, and he's never turned down an application that we know of. And these FISA warrants are very pernicious because they operate 24/7 and they follow the person around. They're not on a phone or a place, they're on a person--where-ever that person uses the phone they may listen in. So they apparently got a FISA wiretap and they wiretapped our paralegal, who was Ahmed Sattar on Staten Island, who also was arrested in connection with this case. And also the interpreter, Mohammed Yousry.

Now we understand that the latest SAMs, which have been presented to Abdeen Jabarra and Ramsey Clark, who remain as the Sheikh's lawyers, include a paragraph where they must agree to electronic surveillance in exchange for being able to speak with him. They have refused to sign that, so no one has actually spoken to the Sheikh since the time of the arrests. They were informed that he's been moved to Florence [Colorado], which is the maxi-maxi in the federal system, and does not have a medical center component that we know about.

WW3R: What is the history of SAMs? When were they first imposed?

I think there's about fifteen people in the federal system who are under special administrative measures. One of them is [Native American political prisoner] Leonard Pelteir, who is also not allowed to call certain people, relatives, et cetera. I think the head of the Latin Kings [Luis Felipe] was convicted and then attempted by telephone to put a hit on somebody. So he can only call his lawyer, he cannot have any contact with anybody else. But the Sheikh is hardly in a position where he would be able to say, "Move the tanks to the south ridge, boys, we'll give ‘em hell from there."I mean, he hasn't been in Egypt since 1989. When he was there, he was under house arrest. He's a blind, elderly, sick man. He may be a spiritual head, but he's certainly not a combatant in any sense whatsoever.

And part of being his lawyer is to maintain that integrity for him. And I believe, as most political lawyers believe, that the political message has to get out, even if it is not one that the Department of Justice wants to be heard.

WW3R: Do you feel the SAMs are unconstitutional. or are being applied in an unconstitutional way?

Both, I think. I think they are unconstitutional in that they restrict First Amendment rights. Certainly in the Sheikh's case, where there is a political message. Certainly with Leonard Peltier, where he was involved with a viable movement. They are being litigated. One of the lawyers in the Africa embassy bombings case is litigating the fact that his client has restricted access to him and to other people. We will see more on this. Of course, its not the best climate to be litigating this stuff. So when people say to me, "Why didn't you go to court and fight the SAMs?"Well, because we were not hopeful of any great relief being given by a federal judge under the current climate.

WW3R: Apart from the First Amendment angle, speaking more to your case, there are Sixth Amendment implications here--right to counsel.

LS: Yes, the SAM certainly impeded that. I think anyone who's ever had a legal problem and gone to a lawyer--whether you were being sued in civil matter, or arrested, even for DWI or something innocuous--wants to feel that they can sit with that lawyer and say, "Look, I knocked back six beers, but I wasn't drunk. I didn't tell the cops this."I don't think anyone who's ever visited a lawyer would want anyone listening in on that. This a confidential communication that the lawyer is duty-bound not to reveal!

So don't ask me what I was doing! Ask what the government was doing listening in! And of course Ashcroft has admitted that nothing I ever did led to anything. There's never been any connection between the press release or anything else and any violence, in Egypt or anywhere else in the world.

WW3R: So what is the crux of your defense strategy?

LS: The crux of my defense strategy is that I did what the kind of lawyer who vigorously defends clients always does--and that is not adhering to a narrow little stage of action. Its bigger than that, especially with a client who has had wide publicity, who the government is giving wide publicity. I think my main goal in this--apart from not wanting to go to jail!--is to enlighten my fellow lawyers and the public itself of the inroads that are made on their rights. If I am the poster-child now for the anti-Ashcroft forces, I'm happy to be that. I really think they made a mis-step in this case, and I hope we can exploit it.

WW3R: What was the mis-step?

LS: To indict me for doing nothing more than what any lawyer would ever do, and hoping to parlay it into a political victory because everyone's so afraid of terrorism, the big T-word. My own lovely grandson asked my son, who's also a lawyer who works together with me--"Did grandma really help the terrorists?"When they put that T on your forehead, it sticks. So I hope that if we really take the government on in this case instead of pussy-footing around, that perhaps we can expose them for what they really are doing, which is taking away civil rights in the name of fighting terrorism.

WW3R: Do you believe the Sheikh was innocent of plotting to blow up New York City landmarks?

LS: I actually think that as a criminal, legal matter, he was not guilty. That whatever his role, it was not a role that we punish for traditionally in this country. And I argued this to the jury. We do not punish the bishop who preaches against abortion when somebody else goes out and blows up a clinic, although we can say he was the spiritual leader of that person. I don't think the Sheikh was ever involved in any act of plotting, I don't think he ever gave his approval or even knew about any plans that were taking place. And I think the case did prove that. But the climate of the times even back in '95, post-World Trade Center one, was such that Americans were ready to take people they perceived as dangerous off the streets.

WW3R: What if the Sheikh's advice was taken, and the cease-fire was broken in Egypt? The terrorist attack at Luxor in 1997 left over 50 Egyptians and tourists dead, and the Islamic Group claimed responsibility. Do you think it would be a good thing if these sort of attacks were to resume?

LS: Americans are very two-faced about violence, aren't they? I mean, we came out of the Boston Tea Party and throwing rocks at soldiers on the Boston Commons and finally taking up arms and going against the British army. War has changed since 1776, but the basic desire of people to be free hasn't changed. And I'm not sure that I want to second-guess what methods other people use. I'm not saying that if I had been told to carry the message "There are a hundred rifles hidden at the battery and they should be taken up to the Egyptian embassy and everybody murdered up there,"that I would carry such a message. But a political message, a message which is aimed at a group which is deciding things politically, although they have a military wing--I don't think I would draw the line there.

WW3R: Do you support an Islamic revolution in Egypt? It didn't work out too well for women and progressives in Iran and Afghanistan.

LS: You know, I'm always asked this question, its very interesting. The fact of the matter is I believe in self-determination. I believe people have the right to decide for themselves how their lives should be led, under what kind of government. The American right is certainly anti-woman, anti-inclusiveness, and I certainly oppose that here in my own country for my own sake, for my children's sake, for the way I want to live. But I'm not going to second-guess people who are living in Egypt under conditions they know better about than I do. They have to decide for themselves. And my understanding is that Islamic revolution is the only hope of ever succeeding in unseating a group of what I consider to be charlatans--and I mean [Egyptian president Hosni] Mubarak, the king of Jordan, the people who run the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia. They are not there in their people's best interest, and if their people see that they want to re-instate a system of law and government that was in existence for hundreds and hundreds of years, I'm not going to judge.

WW3R: Which was what?

LS: There's a body of law, the shariah, that was in place, and can be put back in place. I do not hold myself out to be any expert in Middle Eastern history or law, but this system of shariah was certainly in place, it certainly can be re-instated. And it was certainly not what the Taliban were living under--they had their own system which was probably to the right of what most Islamists consider to be law.

WW3R: Well, I don't want to get too much into the Sheikh's personal views, but does he explicitly oppose what was the Taliban's policy on women?

LS: No, but he and I had a lot of discussions, especially about women--because here I am, I'm defending him and I'm a woman. So right away you can see that he's a not a traditionalist who thinks this is not a suitable job for a woman. He is extremely, extremely bright--I mean he's a genius in his subject, which is Islam and the Koran. And I know that he is very, very big on education; he's very, very big on women being educated, because they make better mothers, better people if they were well-educated.

You know, its an interesting thing. The left has sort of been led down this primrose path--and I have to think it's media-and-government-orchestrated--into saying, "Oh, those Islamists, they do terrible things to women! So therefore, we can't support them."But actually, we do terrible things to women here too. And actually, the left has a love affair with people like Malcolm X, who was an Islamist, if you will. And no one ever questioned his adherence to Islam. Part of the way that they are able to debunk Islam is to use over and over and over the women issue. So unless they intend to make equal pay for women and not quibble over Title Nine and all the other things they do in this country, I find that it's sort of the pot calling the kettle black.

WW3R: That's a point. On the other hand, if we don't oppose what the Islamists are doing to women in Afghanistan and Sudan and Iran, what legitimacy do we have to oppose what the Ashcrofts of this world are trying to do to women here?

LS: I think what's difficult is to make a value judgement on another culture. And I'm not willing to make that value judgement. I know many, many women who are very strict Islamists, and they do not ask to be rescued from this. On the other hand, I know Islamists who have a different interpretation of the Koran vis-a-vis women, and who express and fight for that different interpretation. And perhaps they will ultimately persevere and win out, and that will be the interpretation.

WW3R: Your co-defendants Ahmed Sattar and Yassir al-Sirri are accused of relaying an October 2000 edict from the Shiekh urging Muslims everywhere "to fight the Jews and to kill them wherever they are." [AP, Apr. 10] Do you think this would be a good thing?

LS: Obviously not. I don't know about it. We haven't seen the tapes, we haven't heard anything yet. I was certainly never a party to that. Not that I wish to distance myself from them, but I'd like to see the context in which it was said, whether it was just idle chit-chat, if this edict was ever really put out. It seems strange it never made the newspapers here if it was--its the kind of thing the Times loves to print. Its the kind of hate-mongering thing that somebody else might say and then say "they said it."I was around in the New York City school struggle when anybody who opposed Al Shanker [teacher's union boss during 1968 strike] was immediately labeled an anti-Semite...

WW3R: So you don't believe that the Sheikh said that?

LS: LS: No, I don't think he said that. I think it was a thing that was made up and put in his mouth. I don't trust the government. I want to know exactly how this came about, what it was about. If you read the indictment carefully, it says this was a fatwa or an edict that Sattar made up and passed on to al-Sirri. When the Sheikh was questioned about it--not by me but his other lawyers--he basically said, "Don't disavow it," because it was something that he might have said, or it was not a bad thing to say. I don't know what he said, but I'm sure they were recording telephone conversations, so we'll find out exactly.

WW3R: The "Justice for Lynne Stewart" web page has a picture of an Israeli flag next to a Palestinian one saying "give peace a chance." This is certainly not the politics of your clients. Is it really your politics?

LS: Actually, you know, I'll have to look at the web page again, I guess! You know, it's interesting. Those of us who do believe in struggle, and armed struggle, do want to give peace a chance! We may love peace more than these people who want to keep the peace but want to keep the injustice as well. There can never be peace without justice. So I want peace, but I want justice. Is there going to be an Israel? Of course, there will be an Israel. There will be a Palestine. But I'm not "give peace a chance."I think there has to be a resolution of deep-seated problems before peace can be given a chance. Peace is in this country equated with status quo. Give status quo a chance? Not me.

WW3R: Are you optimistic?

LS: I'm always optimistic, sometimes to my own detriment! I've been in the struggle 40 years, approximately. And I always believed the people will triumph, that people are good--they are misled many times, and they find it much easier to do nothing than to do something. But ultimately I am optimistic about the case. I think that we can win. I think that they have no case against me. I hope only that the cloud that permeates everything--the sense of despair, that we just have to do anything we can do to brick the walls and keep those people out--is not so pervasive that we can't find twelve jurors who can see beyond that and understand what the case is really about.

WW3R: Any closing words?

LS: I guess is the last word is I am a believer that there is something more important than security--and that is freedom. And hopefully we can fight for that.

###

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ongepatshket: From Russian pachkat, "to soil, to sully." 1. Slapped together or assembled without form or sense. 2. Messed-up; excessively and unesthetically decorated; overly baroque. ("She wore her new diamond earrings, a necklace, bracelet, two rings and a brooch. Oy, she was ongepatshket!") (The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten, Simon & Schuster, 1968)

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