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ISSUE: #. 51. Sept. 16, 2002






By Bill Weinberg
with David Bloom and Malcolm Lucard

1. IDF Incursions, Palestinian Resistance in Gaza
2. Violence Continues in West Bank
3. Tul Karm Agricultural Lands Seized, Bulldozed
4. Israel Detains Pacifists
5. PA Minister to World: Save Nablus from IDF
6. Israel Grabs Rachel's Tomb/Bilal Ibn-Rabah Mosque
7. Israeli Security Council Calls for Unilateral Borders
8. PLO Veteran Challenges Arafat
9. Arafat Dissed by PLC; Cabinet Resigns
10. Has Israel Wiped Out Hamas' Military Wing?
11. Has Israel Wiped Out the PFLP?
12. Fatah Factions Reject Partial Cease-Fire
13. Israeli Poll: Oslo Accords "No Longer Valid"
14. Refuseniks Mount Legal Challenge to Occupation
15. IDF Officer Accused of Torture Continues to Serve
16. Interior Minister Revokes Citizenship of Arab Israeli
17. Netanyahu: Don't Ask--Just Invade!!
18. Netanyahu: US Should Attack Iran with Cultural Warfare
19. Mrs. Netanyahu: Israel Doesn't Deserve Bibi
20. Barenboim Conducts Master Class in Ramallah
21. Right-Wing Jews and Christians Protest Ashrawi Speech

1. Biggest Air-Strikes in Four Years
2. Sabre-Rattling at UN
3. Iraq Calls on Arab World to Resist
4. Bloody Blair
5. Bush Woos France, Russia, China
6. Arab League Backs Iraq
7. Kissinger Equivocal?
8. Mandela: US "Threat to World Peace"
9. Ritter Addresses Iraqi Parliament
10. Iraq: Weapons Labs are Really Mushroom Farms
11. Ex-Mistress Reveals Saddam's Twisted Secrets
12. 9-11 Survivors Sue Iraq

1. Saudis Slam Breaks on Re-Opening Oil Sector to US Firms
2. Arab League Think-Tank Hosts Holocaust-Denial Confab?

1. RAWA Issues Statement on Anniversary of 9-11
2. U.S. Airfields Pelted with Rockets?
3. Musharraf: Let the Tourists Find Osama
4. Gen. Dostum Builds a Swimming Pool

1. Putin Ultimatum to Georgia

1. "End Game" for Abu Sayyaf?

1. New Justice Department Surveillance Powers Illegal?
2. NASA Developing ESP Tech for Airport Security
3. US Defends Indefinite Detainment
4. INS Cracks Down on Pacifists
5. Palestinian Detainee Farouk Abdel-Muhti Faces Retaliation

1. 9-11 Survivors Voice Dissent
2. 9-11 Survivors Join Nationwide "Peace Events"
3. Fire-Fighters Charge Giuliani With Betrayal
4. Oops, They're Alive!
5. Supposedly Non-Existent Jewish Widows Freed to Re-Marry

1. Terror Alert Raised From "Yellow" to "Orange"
2. US Wants New Power to Police Oceans
3. Did Israel Know?
4. Oops, They're Alive?!


On Sept. 10, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) troops made two incursions in the northern Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian security sources. An armored column invaded Beit Lahia. Sources reported gunfire but no casualties. Another IDF unit entered the neighboring town of Beit Hanoun, resulting in a gunbattle between armed Palestinians and Israeli soldiers (AFP, Sept. 11). Two Israeli soldiers were wounded (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 11). AP reports 60 Israeli tanks were involved. Hamas reportedly detonated an explosive device underneath a tank; reporters saw a deep crater on the outskirts of the town. (AP, Sept. 11)

On Sept. 11, the Jerusalem Post reports Palestinian gunfire was directed at an IDF outpost in Ganei Tal at the Gush Katif settlement bloc, Gaza Strip. Bombs failed to injure IDF troops near the Gush Katif junction in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 11)

Israel demolished the home of a militant in Shiljaia east of Gaza City Sept. 12. Six other houses were damaged during the demolition and 32 people left homeless. Four tanks and a bulldozer made an incursion into the al-Mughazi refugee camp, south of Gaza City, demolishing two houses, according to Palestinian security sources. "The destruction of houses is an important part of the overall steps taken in the framework of the struggle against terror," an army statement said. (AFP, Sept.12; AP Sept. 12)

Hamas claimed responsibility for a Kassam-2 rocket that hit a house in Saad, an Israeli community two miles from Gaza, in the Negev desert. The house was damaged, with no injuries reported. (CBS, Sept. 13) The IDF believes the rockets were new Kassam-3 rockets, which can travel 10-12 km, far enough to reach Israeli cities. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 15)

On Sept. 13, 50 Israeli tanks, armored vehicles, US-made attack helicopters, and two bulldozers attacked the Rafah and the Brazil refugee camps, in the southern Gaza Strip. Sobhi Zeynou, 26, was killed by Israeli tank fire, the Palestine Chronicle reported. AP said Palestinians identified Zeynou as a member of al-Aksa Martyr's Brigades, who died in a fierce gunbattle. Six were wounded in the assault. Several homes were razed. Ali Suleiman Abu Ghali, 40, lost his home and shop. "The soldiers came and ordered us all out. They didn't give us the chance to rescue anything from the house or shop. They planted explosives and blew them up" he added. ( Palestine Chronicle, Sept. 13; AP, Sept. 13; CBS, Sept. 13)

The IDF blew up six metal workshops, and badly damaged 20 houses, according to Palestinian sources, leaving many homeless. Israeli military sources say the workshops were used to make rockets and mortars. Palestinians say troops ransacked Fatah offices. As the IDF withdrew from Rafah at daybreak, a mortar struck a nearby settlement. (AP, Sept. 13)

Three brothers were killed and eight wounded in an explosion in the house of a Fatah official in the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The official, Iyad al-Sharif, was seriously wounded. One of those killed was an activist in an Islamic resistance movement, according to AFP. Local residents told AP the Sharif brothers might have been working on a bomb that went off prematurely. (Palestine Chronicle, Sept. 13: BBC, Sept. 13)

The IDF said it detonated an 88-lb. anti-tank explosive on the road to Morag, a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip. (Reuters, Sept. 13)

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for an attempted attack on the Jewish settlement of Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip Sept. 13. The group claimed one of its members was wounded, and said Israeli troops were wounded as well in an exchange of fire. (AFP, Sept. 13)

On Sept. 15, Palestinians reported IDF troops and tanks operating in three areas under full PA control (Area A) in the Gaza Strip. Tanks operated on the outskirts of Gaza City, and troops partially destroyed the city's electricity infrastructure, cutting power to some residents. Troops also entered the area of Beit Lahiya, destroying farmland. The IDF was also said to be operating on the road between Khan Younis and Rafah. (Ha'aretz, Sept. 15)

Israeli troops shot an Egyptian man dead who refused to step out of his car and join Palestinians ordered to stand by the side of a road, between two checkpoints in the Gaza Strip. "The man was a regular passenger who was killed inside the car by Israeli troops," said Major General Abdel-Razek al-Majaydeh, the Palestinian public security chief. "We condemn this killing." The IDF says the troops fired at a man who had allegedly tossed grenades at them between the Kissufim and Gush Katif army checkpoints in the Gaza Strip, along a major north-south road.. Marwah Khateeb, 42, a Palestinian witness, said the man confronted soldiers when told to get out of the car. (Ha'aretz, Sept. 16)

The West Bank and Gaza Strip were ordered tightly closed for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Travel was forbidden between Palestinian towns, and Palestinians were barred from entering Israel for 44 hours before, during and after the fast. (AP, Sept. 15)(David Bloom) [top]

Tanzim member Mahmud Harfosh, 32, from Khirbat Motsalah, was killed, and Riad Alian, 39, Tanzim commander in the Jelazoun refugee camp, and Raji Mussa, 30, from Deir Amar, were wounded by Israeli forces Sept. 10 in Beitunya, southwest of Ramallah. All three were members of the Palestinian Authority's General Intelligence Service. The IDF says the three are responsible for numerous shooting attacks. One of the wounded died the next day. ( Jerusalem Post, Sept. 10; AFP, Sept. 11)

On Sept. 11, the Jerusalem Post reported two border policemen were lightly wounded by Palestinian gunfire in Nablus. No casualties were reported when several bullets hit a home in the Jewish settlement of Tel Rumeida in Hebron. A bomb failed to injure an IDF officer near the Gush Etzion settlement bloc on the West Bank. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 11)

Five Palestinian children were beaten by Jewish settlers on Sept. 11. The five, from the village of Huwara, south of Nablus, were taken to Nablus central hospital, sources at the hospital said. Three Palestinian civilians were wounded in Nablus' old city in clashes between armed Palestinian militants and the IDF. Three Palestinians were slightly wounded during clashes in Jenin. (AFP, Sept. 11) The Jerusalem Post says those hurt in Jenin and Nablus simply violated curfew, and does not mention any armed clashes. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 11)

An IDF officer was wounded by Palestinian gunfire in the West Bank town of Tul Karm Sept. 12, according to Israel Radio. Al-Aksa Martyr's Brigade took responsibility. An Israeli woman was wounded in a drive-by shooting near the Jewish settlement of Avnei Hefetz. ( Jerusalem Post, Sept. 12;AFP, Sept. 12)

The IDF briefly took over the village of Tubas in the West Bank, arresting sixteen. An IDF spokesman called Tubas a "center of terrorist activity."(BBC, Sept. 13)

A 17-year old boy was wounded by IDF fire directed at Palestinian youths reportedly throwing stones, according to the Jerusalem Post. Several Palestinians were wounded by IDF fire while leaving the Masjid al-Khabir mosque, sources at the Rafidia hospital reported. The Palestinian news agency (WAFA) reported the IDF wounded several in attacks on the village of Salem, near Nablus, and the Balata refugee camp. (Palestine Chronicle, Sept. 13)

AP reports a gunbattle between the IDF and Palestinians in Hebron Sept. 13 while Israeli troops were besieging an empty building. (AP, Sept. 13)

An Israeli Air Force (IAF) helicopter was hit by Palestinian gunfire in the area of Tul Karm Sept. 15. It sustained light damage. (Ha'aretz, Sept. 15) (David Bloom) [top]

The Voice of Palestine reported that in the Tul Karm area, Israeli bulldozers flattened Palestinians' land in order to build the security fence separating the West Bank from Israel. The confiscated land is south and west of the village of Fir'awn and east of Al-Kafriyat junction. Witnesses reported olive trees in the farms of the Al-Bawatil area in Fir'awn, owned by the Al-Budayr family, were destroyed by bulldozers backed by Israeli military vehicles. The villages of Khirbat Jibarah and Al-Ra's also had land bulldozed. The IDF says it intends to confiscate 95% of those villages' agricultural land. (BBC Monitoring, Sept. 14) (See WW3 REPORT #50)

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) reports Palestinian farmers from villages in the Tulkarem and Qalqilya areas of the West Bank will assemble Sept. 14 between Beit Amin and Izbet Salman and conduct prayers on their land. The IDF plans to seize 20,000 acres of farmland, and almost all of the region's 37 wells. After prayers, the farmers will march with ISM volunteers to Izbet Salman.

A week ago, handwritten notices were placed by Israeli troops notifying farmers of the seizure of their olive groves and farmlands. The notices gave the farmers one week to appeal, but military travel restrictions and Israeli administrative office closures due to the Jewish High Holy Days made such appeals impossible. Palestinian farmers are hoping for international condemnation to prevent the seizures. (ISM, Sept. 12) (David Bloom)

The ISM, a Palestinian-run organization that utilizes international volunteers to participate in non-violent solidarity activities with the Palestinian people, is calling for volunteers to help with this fall's olive harvest. The Olive Harvesting Campaign will be from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15. Orientation and training will be held in Bethlehem on Oct. 13-14. To register:

For more info, contact,, or see,

Two meetings with NYC activists who went to Palestine this past summer will be held this week:

1) Direct Action Palestine

General Meeting

Wednesday, September 18, 6:30pm
Lesbian Gay Community Center
208 West 13th Street,
Between 7th and 8th ave, Manhattan)
1,2,3 train to 14th street, L or F to 6th Ave. and 14th Street.

2) Palestine Activist Forum - NY (PAFNY)

General Meeting

Friday, Sept. 20, 7pm
CUNY Graduate Center, Room 5414
(34th street & 5th Ave, Manhattan)


A group of 19 international delegates from the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), including Christians, Muslims and Jews, landed at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport for FOR's 28th Middle East Interfaith Peacemaking conference, aimed at promoting nonviolent solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But upon arrival, the delegates were told they were "a threat to the security of the state of Israel." Two members of the delegation who were Israeli citizens were separated from the group; the rest had their passports stamped "DENIED ENTRY." Ed McKeon from the US embassy came to the airport to try to negotiate a solution, and the US citizens in the group were detained overnight in a common concrete cell with no cots available. In the morning they were put on a flight back to the US--even though some had further travel plans to elsewhere in the Middle East. The delegates regrouped in Washington for a press conference. The Israeli Interior Ministry responded to their protests with a statement to the AP saying the delegates "wanted to show solidarity with the Palestinians... The Interior Ministry does not allow and will not allow entry to those who come to support terror." FOR spokesperson Richard Deats affirmed that the group offered solidarity to the Palestinians--but dismissed the charges of supporting terrorism as absurd. "We are pro-Palestinian. And we are pro-Israeli. We are pro-people. We are for the right of all people to live in peace, free from terror." (FOR Witness, Nyack, NY, Summer 2002) [top]

Palestinian Minister of Culture and Information Yasir Abd-Rabbuh appealed Sept. 14 to the world to intervene to save Nablus from a "planned mass destruction campaign" by the IDF. "For 72 days, Israel's occupation army has persistently and collectively punished the people of Nablus by imposing a curfew, tightening the siege on the city, and preventing its people from attending their work and opening their shops and factories," the Minister wrote. Abd-Rabbuh said the city's historical casbah was threatened with "destruction and deliberate vandalism." He called on citizens of Nablus to "immediately act and organize media and solidarity campaigns to salvage the city from devastation." He pleaded with cities around the world to save Nablus and its historic treasures from destruction.

Abd-Rabbuh also noted that students were unable to go to school because of the incessant curfew. (PMC, Sept. 14) On Sept. 16, about 100 schoolgirls staged a sit-down demonstration at a local office of the Red Cross to protest the 24-hour curfew. Residents said the protest, which lasted about an hour, was organized by the students' mothers. (Ha'aretz, Sept. 16) (David Bloom) [top]

Israel's security cabinet voted Sept. 11 to approve Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to extend Jerusalem's security fence to surround Rachel's Tomb-- known as Bilal Ibn-Rabah Mosque to Muslims-- in a de facto annexation of the holy site. "It's not an annexation, it's securing a Jewish site with a secure passage to it," Sharon's spokesman Ra'anan Gissin told AP. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 11)

Part of guaranteeing access for Jews will be the construction of a road leading to the site. The road will be surrounded by walls, for which Palestinian lands will be expropriated. "This Israeli project is a dangerous escalation, because Rachel's Tomb is in an industrial zone that includes a hospital and 3,800 inhabitants, who risk being isolated from the town by this road," said Bethlehem Mayor Hanna Nasser.

"More than 95 percent of the lands that will be expropriated for the construction of this road belong to Christians. In this way, Israel is pushing Christians into exile," added Nasser, who is himself Christian. (AFP, Sept. 11)

Left-wing Knesset member Naomi Hazan (Meretz), said she was "absolutely outraged by this annexation, which has not been approved by any representative bodies in Israel." (Palestine Media Center, Sept. 13)

An editorial in Ha'aretz read: "The security cabinet's decision to add the Rachel's Tomb compound to the Jerusalem security envelope cannot be described as anything other than full annexation of the compound." (Ha'aretz, Sept. 13) (David Bloom) [top]

A new 100-page report by Israel's National Security Council urges the administration of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to establish a clearly-defined border between Israel and Palestine--unilaterally if necessary. The report was drawn up by outgoing council head Maj. Gen. Uzi Dayan, nephew of Moshe Dayan, who was minister of defense during the 1967 Six-Day War, in which Israel first occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (The Forward, Aug. 30) [top]

Nabil Amr, a PLO stalwart who has known Yasser Arafat for nearly four decades, and was until recently a cabinet minister, challenged the Palestinian president's authority in a letter to the semi-official paper of the Palestinian Authority, al-Hayat al-Jadida. "What I said was simply, 'Let us go to elections. Let us try to find a point in the middle.' And by that I mean choosing a prime minister." Amr criticized Arafat for not taking advantage of then Prime Minister Ehud Barak's offer at Camp David nearly two years ago. "Our timing is wrong," he wrote. "We reject when we should accept and we accept when we should reject. It is time to recognize that we are mistaken...." Amira Hass notes in Ha'aretz: "Amer said that two years after the outbreak of the intifada, 'we are demanding what we have already rejected.'"

Amr wants the prime minister to be answerable to the Palestine Legislative Council, as in any classic parliamentary system. Cautions Amr: "He cannot turn into another dictator." (CSMonitor, Sept. 13; Ha'aretz, Sept. 4) (David Bloom) [top]

Yasser Arafat's own Fatah movement turned on him and threatened to join a vote of no confidence in the 21-member cabinet he presented to the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC). To avoid the vote, the entire cabinet resigned. "There is a crisis of confidence," said lawmaker Salah Taameri, a veteran member of Arafat's Fatah movement. PLC members were displeased by both corruption and incompetence in the cabinet. Arafat was caught unawares by the revolt from a body he has treated as a rubber stamp for his rule, often ignoring PLC decisions in the past. (AP, Sept. 11)

According to the Lebanon Daily Star, "The pan-Arab daily Al-Quds al-Arabi sees the refusal by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) to endorse Arafat's ministerial lineup as both its 'first real revolt' against him, and a 'clear message' to the Americans that it wants the Palestinian Authority (PA) reformed to suit Palestinian, rather than Israeli, interests." The paper also said PLC members were clearly displeased by the condemnation of any kind of violent resistance by Interior Minister Abdel-Razzak al-Yahia, "even stone-throwing." (Daily Star, Sept. 13)

Fatah members who met with PA Chairman Yasser Arafat gave him a "blacklist" of eight former ministers who they do not want to see in the new cabinet. "We told the president we don't want to see the same old faces in the new cabinet because they are unacceptable," one official said. The eight are: Minister of Information Yasser Abed Rabbo, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Sha'ath, Minister of Sports and Youth Ali Qawasmeh, Minister of Social Welfare Intisar al Wazir, Minister of Communications Imad Faluji, Minister of Civil Affairs Jamil Tarifi, Minister of Supplies Abu Ali Shahin and Minister of Public Works Azzam al Ahmed. Those ministers have been linked with mismanagement, embezzlement, or misuse of public funds, and corruption in general.

The PA has also asked Interpol to help it track down bankers, officials,and businessmen who have absconded with Palestinian funds. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 15) (David Bloom) [top]

Time magazine quotes Israeli intelligence officials as claiming that since the start of Operation Defensive Shield at the end of last March, 98% of Hamas military wing (the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades) that they know of have been killed, or arrested; 70 men in total. Further hampering the remaining Izzedine al-Qassam militants is the Israeli encirclement of practically every West Bank town. The head of Izzedine al-Qassam, Sheik Salah Shehadeh, was assassinated July 23 in Gaza City. In a measure of how lacking available military leaders are, Abdel Khaleq Natshe, 48, who led the Islamic Charitable Society in Hebron, was forced to switch from being a political leader to an Izzedine al-Qassam organizer. He was arrested two weeks ago in Hebron. These events have reportedly caused turmoil within Hamas, with some members arguing for a temporary halt to attacks. Leadership cadres abroad argue it's more necessary than ever to show Israel they cannot stop Hamas. Some Hamas leaders are worried that if the health of Hamas spiritual leader Shiek Ahmed Yassin continues to decline -- he was recently hospitalized with lung and bowel infections -- power struggles between moderates and hardliners may erupt. (Time, Sept. 16)

Hamas leader Dr Abd-al-Aziz al-Rantisi, subordinate only to Sheik Yassin in the Gaza Strip, "ridiculed American and Zionist reports claiming that Palestinian resistance was wiped out" in a report carried on the pro-Hamas Palestinian Information Centre web site on Sept. 12. While he acknowledged Israeli efforts had affected Hamas' operational ability, he noted "They are speaking of persons open to the public but there are many other persons working underground and the Zionists cannot reach them." Rantisi said the Israeli and US claims were part of a disinformation campaign to coincide with Israel's current military campaign. (BBC, Sept. 12) (David Bloom) [top]

In late August, the IDF arrested another two of the leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) on the West Bank. One is Bashir Khairi, a senior member of the group's politburo, and the other is the group's official spokesman, Ali Jaradat. The Jerusalem Post says that with their arrest, "Israel has effectively succeeded in eliminating the entire political and military branches" of the group. One year ago the PFLP's secretary-general, Abu Ali Mustafa, was assassinated by an Israeli missile in his Ramallah office, in retaliation for a successful PFLP attack on a Gaza Strip IDF outpost, in which four Israeli soldiers were killed. In retaliation, the PFLP, which is the second largest faction in the PLO after Fatah, killed Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi in a Jerusalem hotel last October. After that, the PFLP was constantly targeted in IDF operations. Ahmed Sa'adat, Mustafa's successor, is in a PA jail for ordering Ze'evi's assassination. His brother Muhammad, 23, was assassinated by an IDF hit squad outside his parents' home in el Birah. Four PFLP militants who participated in Ze'evi's assassination are in jail, including the head of the group's military wing. Abdel Rahman Maluh, who took over for Sa'adat as de facto leader, was captured by Israel two months ago, and is awaiting trail. PFLP leaders and representatives in Kalkilya, Tulkarm, Nablus, and Jenin have mostly been killed or arrested. A PA official agreed on Sept. 13 that the Israeli pursuit of the PFLP been highly effectual. "Their political and military leadership has been completely wiped out," said the official. "In a way, you can say that Sharon has won the war against the PFLP." In Gaza, the PFLP's presence is negligiable. Weakening of the PFLP, a hard-line Marxist group in opposition to the Oslo Accords is seen as strengthening Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement . (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 29) (David Bloom) [top]

Fatah and the European Union have been discussing a cease-fire applying only to attacks within the Green Line, the 1967 borders of Israel, but not the occupied territories.

In a draft agreement addressed to "the Peaceful and Progressive People of Israel and the World," Fatah declared, "We reject and will prevent all attacks on Israeli civilians to preserve the higher national interest of the Palestinian people and in accordance with our moral values and tolerant religion." But the document, which was leaked to the press, was denounced by several elements of Fatah. While some within Fatah support the cease-fire, Palestinian security sources told the Jerusalem Post that a splinter group consisting of the most radical elements of the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, known as al-Jaish al- Sha'bi [The Popular Army], released its first leaflet earlier this week saying they did not consider themselves bound by any agreement between Fatah's political leadership and Israel.

Hussein al-Sheikh, a top Fatah operative in Ramallah, told the Jerusalem Post,"I believe the EU made a mistake by issuing this document too early. We had reservations about the draft document and they were hasty in publishing it before listening to us."

While al-Shiekh said Fatah was against "targeting of civilians under any circumstances," he added: "We're not gangs; we are freedom fighters. We are fighting for our freedom and independence. That's why we have a legitimate right to fight against the occupation in the 1967 borders."

"We are not Israel's policemen," stressed Hatem Abdel Kader, a Fatah legislator from Jerusalem. "This is anyway not our role. If the Israelis want the attacks to stop, they should first stop their aggression against the Palestinian people. I'm really surprised about the drama surrounding the issue."

Israelis dismissed the proposal. "There can be no such thing as half a cease-fire, a third of a cease-fire, or a fourth," said Minister-without-Portfolio Yitzhak Levy (National Religious Party) "No state and no organization can be permitted to discriminate on matters of life and death." (AFP, Sept. 11; Jerusalem Post, Sept. 11)

On Sept. 15, the Al-Aksa Martyr's Brigades told AFP: "We promise more attacks, more suicide strikes until we put an end to the occupation of our land," The group added, "Our response to the massacres by [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon will be very hard." (AFP, Sept. 15) (David Bloom) [top]

A poll released Sept. 13 in the Israeli daily Maariv by Market Watch says four out of five Israelis no longer consider the Oslo Accords, the interim peace agreements with the Palestinians, to be valid. The poll showed 79% of respondents believe the agreements to be null. Twelve percent disagree, while 9% were undecided. (AP, Sept. 13)

On Sept. 7, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon told Maariv "Oslo no longer exists, Camp David no longer exists, neither does Taba. We're not going back to those places." (Xinhua, Sept. 10)

On Sept. 10, Palestinian Minister Saeb Erekat asked Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres for clarification of Sharon's remarks. Peres reportedly replied that his government remains totally committed to the Oslo accords. (Xinhua, Sept. 11) (David Bloom) [top]

Lieutenant David Zonsheine, a refusenik recently released after two weeks of a 35-day sentence for refusing to serve in the occupied territories, served a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice Sept. 4, along with seven other refuseniks, arguing it is legal for them to refuse to serve because the occupation of the last two years is in itself illegal. The court has not yet decided if it will hear the case.

"For two years now the State of Israel has systematically violated the human rights of the Palestinian residents of the occupied territories and failed to fulfill its duties, as required by Israeli and international law," argues Michael Sfard, the soldiers' lawyer. "If the IDF wants to continue to punish soldiers who refuse to take part in the occupation and these violations it needs to prove the legality of the occupation."

The petition reads, in part:

"The Israeli occupation has over the past two years become a mechanism of collective punishment of the civilian population. The State of Israel abrogates its duties -- as demanded by international and Israeli law -- to take care of the Palestinian population living under occupation. The IDF's activities, notwithstanding the important goal of fighting terror, have a devastating impact on hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. For this reason, the occupation is illegal, and as such it is no longer possible to distinguish between legal and illegal order."

The eight refuseniks say this is the first legal challenge to Israel's 35-year old occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Zonsheine decided to become a refusenik after being forced to hold up ambulances while on duty at a checkpoint in Gaza in 2001, due to a warning of a suicide attack. Realizing that people could have died as a result of the delay, he decided, "there was no way Israel could have an enlightened occupation." (Palestine Monitor, VOA, Sept. 5) (David Bloom)

(See also: I've been to Gaza Twice, By David Zonsheine [top]

Lieutenant Colonel Geva Saguy was charged in July in a military court with "extortion, behavior unbecoming an officer and exceeding his authority to the point of endangering human life." The charges come from incidents that occurred during Operation Defensive Shield last April in the Bethlehem area. In one incident, Saguy and some troops under his command were searching for a wanted Palestinian militant. When they found he was not at home, Saguy ordered the wanted man's son to strip naked, then threatened the youth and demanded to know where his father and his father's weapons were hidden. Saguy held a flaming piece of paper near the young man's testicles. He also attempted to insert a bottle into the youth's anus, aimed his gun at him and threatened to shoot him. A sergeant under Saguy's command translated his threats into Arabic, and beat the youth. (See WW3 REPORT #45).

In the second incident, Saguy is alleged to have used a Senegalese maid working in the city as a "human shield" while conducting house-to-house searches.

Saguy's deputy battalion commander, two company commanders and the battalion's operations officer filed the complaint against him. "We heard Geva boasting about what he'd done in the officers' tent," explained one officer. "At first, we didn't believe him; but we conducted our own inquiry and the testimony of the soldiers who were there confirmed the story."

Because Saguy has not yet been tried, the IDF has not removed him from command. As a result, the four subordinate officers who complained asked to be relieved of their duties in Saguy's battalion, saying they could not serve under a commander in whom they lack confidence. But their request has not been granted, so they will continue to serve under Saguy, and he will continue in his command. (Ha'aretz, Sept 12, 13) (David Bloom) [top]

On Sept. 11, Naher Abu Kishak, who is serving a life sentence for planning and executing an attack in Israel in 2001, became the first Israeli Arab to have his citizenship revoked. In a letter to Interior Minister Eli Yishai, he wrote "I demand that Israel remove my identity number from all of the country's institutions and send me the decision as soon as possible.I would like to inform the Shin Bet security service that I am a Palestinian, a resident of Tul Karm, and possess a Palestinian identity card."

"Revoking citizenship is a harsh step," said Yishai. "But the State of Israel has never been in an existential struggle of this nature, whereby people with Israeli identity cards operate against [the state]. There is no country in the world that has to contend with this kind of threat." Arab Knesset members demanded to know why settlers from Adura who sold weapons and ammunition to Palestinians did not have their citizenship revoked (see WW 3 REPORT # 43). Yishai responded that the settlers were merely motivated by greed, but Abu Kishak's actions were directed against the state of Israel. (Ha'aretz, Sept. 12) (David Bloom) [top]

Former Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, testifying before the US House Government Reform Committee on Sept. 12, recommended the US pursue "regime change" unilaterally in Iraq. "After Saddam gets a nuclear weapon, it is only a matter of time before the terror networks get nuclear weapons," Netanyahu warned. "And they will use them if they get them." Netanyahu cited as precedent, Israel's air strike on the Iraqi nuclear plant at Osirak in 1981. "Did Israel launch this pre-emptive strike with the coordination of the international community?" Netanyahu asked. "Did we condition such a strike on the approval of the United Nations? Of course not."

Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich was not receptive to Netanyahu's suggestion. Before the Israeli politician laid out his "Iran Strategy," Kucinich asked Netanyahu,"While you're here, Mr. Prime Minister, are there any other countries besides Iraq that you would suggest that we invade?" (UPI, Sept. 12) (David Bloom) [top]

Former Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, still testifying before the US House Government Reform Committee, gave his two cents for how to effect "regime change" in Iran. Noting that Iranian citizens have hundreds of thousands of prohibited television satellite dishes, he recommended beaming in FOX network television shows like "Melrose Place" and "Beverly Hills 90210" to undermine the conservative regime. Both shows feature attractive young people occasionally scantily clad, living glamorous lives, and engaging in materialistic pursuits and loose sex.

"This is pretty subversive stuff," Netanyahu told the committee. "The kids of Iran would want the nice clothes they see on those shows. They would want the swimming pools and fancy lifestyles." (UPI, Sept. 12) (David Bloom) [top]

In a surreptitiously recorded cell phone conversation with a disaffected Likud activist, Sara Netanyahu, wife of former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, expressed dissatisfaction with the state of Israel. "Why should Bibi have to try so hard? Why bother? We'll leave the country and let it go up in flames." Mrs. Netanyahu also concluded, "Bibi is too big for Israel, but without him it won't survive." After a transcript of the conversation appeared on Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot's front page, Mrs. Netanyahu apologized for her comments. Bibi had this to say: "The remarks were inappropriate." (Translation by Lebanon's Daily Star, Sept. 9) (David Bloom) [top]

Israeli conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim defied an Israeli travel ban and traveled to Ramallah Sept. 10 under German diplomatic escort. Barenboim, world-renowned conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and artistic director of the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, conducted a master class before 100 enthusiastic students at the Friend's school. He played Beethoven's Moonlight sonata for the audience.

''What I can do is play music, play music for you, and maybe this way, in a very small way ... for these few moments, we are able to build down the hatred that is so much in the region,'' Barenboim told the students in English. In Arabic, he said: ''I am very happy to be here with you.'' Three students performed during the master class, including Zeina Amar, 14, who was a bit flustered. ''I made a lot of mistakes,'' she said. Celine Khoury, 15, played a Chopin waltz. 'I've been playing the piano for six years," she said. "I was meant to start my seventh year at the conservatory, but because of the curfew I couldn't [take] my exams and my seventh year has now been delayed.''

''It's extremely important to have him here,'' said Colin South, director of the Friends school. ''Anybody of this caliber who can come to the West Bank and play for us and be with us right now is just incredibly encouraging - and we're very grateful for him being here.'' (AP, Sept. 10)

Militants from the outlawed Kach organization were unenthused by Barenboim's peace overture. According to Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, four Kach members, including Itamar Ben-Gvir and Nathan Levy, verbally assaulted Barenboim and his wife, Russian pianist Elena Bashkirova, as they dined in a Jerusalem restaurant on Sept. 11. The four activists shouted, "You are a terrorist!" and "Go eat with the murderers in Ramallah!"

"We received information that Barenboim was eating in the restaurant with his wife," said Ben-Gvir. "I went up to him... he thought that I was a fan. But instead of shaking his hand, we shouted that he is a terrorist. There was no physical violence, but his wife threw a bowl of vegetable salad at us."

Barenboim was unperturbed by the Kach men. "There is nothing to worry about," he said. "I have a strong wife protecting me." Maariv reported a petition to have Barenboim's Israeli citizenship revoked would be presented to Israeli interior Minister Eli Yishai. (Israel Insider, Sept. 12) (David Bloom) [top]

In another sign of the growing bond between far-right Christians and conservative Jews --- who have found common ground in their support of Israel --- several hundred people from a dozen Colorado churches and synagogues protested the selection of Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, a leading Palestinian spokeswoman, as keynote speaker for a Sept. 12 symposium dealing with the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks.

Though Ashrawi is herself a Christian and a critic of both the Palestinian Authority and PLO leader Yasser Arafat, the protesters labeled Ashrawi as a "terrorist sympathizer and apologist" who should not be allowed to speak at the event, entitled "September 11, One Year Later." The symposium is a yearly tradition of Colorado College, a small liberal arts college.

"It's obscene to have her come here and lecture us about terrorism," said Ari Orlando, a Denver resident who came to the event sporting a red-white-and-blue yarmulke and holding an American flag. Others held signs that read: "Stop teaching hate" and "Never forget, Palestinians danced on 9/11."

Now a lawmaker, Ashrawi is known to much of the world as a voice of moderation and a promoter of dialogue between warring sides in the Middle East. But because Ashrawi once served as a spokesperson for the PLO (a position from which she later resigned in protest), protesters argued that she is essentially an apologist for PLO terrorism.

"It's like having an event on child abuse and inviting someone who supports the rights of pedophiles," said Claudia Porter, representing a Littleton, CO church. One leaflet likened Ashrawi's visit to choosing someone from Japan to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Pearl Harbor (an odd comparison since no Palestinians were implicated in the Sept. 11 attacks).

The rally culminated roughly a month of mudslinging against Ashrawi and the college from some of Colorado's Jewish and Christian leaders, as well as some of the state's top politicos. Two of Colorado Springs' most prominent right-wing Christians, including Dr. James Dobson, head of the anti-gay Focus on the Family, and New Life Church pastor Ted Haggert, who uses his pulpit to routinely denounce Islam, both condemned the selection of Ashrawi as a speaker.

Several state lawmakers joined the fray, and even Colorado governor Bill Owens scolded the college for what he deemed an "inappropriate" choice of keynote speaker for a Sept. 11-related event.

Though the Christian leaders promised a mass mobilization --- bombarding the college with emails and phone calls demanding the speech be cancelled --- the protest drew only several hundred supporters. But the media frenzy over the event did attract upwards of 3,000 people to an annual event that in other years has drawn only a few hundred.

The media firestorm also brought roughly 100 counter demonstrators, who rallied in support of Ashrawi's visit. They chanted "free speech" and "let her speak;" and held banners that read "Occupation is Terrorism." Some wore tape over their mouths to symbolize attempts by conservatives to get Ashrawi's talk canceled.

Far from being a terrorist thug, they said Ashrawi is a moderate who has bravely criticized terrorist tactics as well as corruption and abuse of power within the Palestinian Authority. "They fundamentally have misunderstood who she is and what she stands for," said Abbas Barzegar, with the Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace.

"There's actually a good residual effect for us because when the other side is so emotional and obnoxious, people start to wonder what they're afraid of [in having Ashrawi speak]," Barzegar said of the protesters. "We're getting a lot more attention to our point of view than we normally ever get. "

For the most part, Ashrawi's speech toed a moderate line. Using diplomatic terms, she spent much of her time arguing generally against unilateral action in the Middle East. She called for multilateral negotiations or actions only under the auspices of international law and U.N. approval, not military action. "Historically [military action] hasn't worked," she said. In the case of Iraq, she argued against unilateral action, calling instead for a return of weapons inspectors.

She drew applause when she condemned suicide bombings as "tragic and unacceptable," adding that they were ineffective as well as "morally reprehensible." But she drew her first boos when she suggested that "some countries are above the law," a reference to Israel's defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions. The loudest response -- both jeers and applause -- when she suggested that "there was ethnic cleansing" of Palestinian homelands in 1948.

Ashrawi also chastised protesters for perpetuating conflict instead of working for peace and understanding. "This is not a clash of civilizations," she said, referring to those who see Palestianian-Isreali conflict as a fight between East and West, Judaism against Islam, good versus evil. "There are those who would like to transform this into a simplistic, reductive and destructive clash of civilizations."

Protesters said the speech was classic Ashrawi, who they claim cloaks her radical agenda in a motherly, academic persona. But to many, the speech's conciliatory tone undermined the protesters' harsh rhetoric. The day after the event, even the far-right, pro-Israel opinion page of the Colorado Springs Gazette (owned by the arch-conservative Freedom Newspapers group) conceded that Ashrawi was far from the dangerous terrorist that protesters had described. (Malcom Lucard) [top]


US and British war planes attacked Iraq's major western air defense installation Sept. 5, in the biggest military operation against the country in four years. 12 fighter jets--nine US and three British--dropped precision-guided bombs on the H3 airfield, 240 miles west of Baghdad. The jets came from bases in Saudi Arabia, and were backed up by up to 100 support aircraft, including British tankers flying from Bahrain. A Pentagon statement said: "Coalition strikes in the no-fly zones are executed as a self-defense measure in response to Iraqi hostile threats and acts against coalition forces and their aircraft." (UK Telegraph, Sept. 6)

Iraq accused the US and UK of striking civilian targets in the air raid, and claimed its anti-aircraft batteries chased off the attacking jets. Iraq's government press reported that the US/UK strikes hit "civil and service installations'' in the al-Rutbah area, near the Jordan border. (AP, Sept. 6)

After the air strikes, ABC News reported that Saddam's MiG jets have been detected pursuing US unmanned Predator spy planes in the southern no-fly zone. (ABC News, Sept. 10) [top]

Speaking at the United Nations Sept. 12, Bush made the case for military action against Iraq, implicitly warning that if the UN didn't act the US will do so alone. Bush asserted, "Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence." He added that if Iraq continued to refuse weapons inspectors "action will be unavoidable," and that "Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause." UN Secretary General Kofi Annan earlier addressed the General Assembly, arguing against unilateralism and insisting that there is no substitute for the UN's "unique legitimacy."

Iraq meanwhile reiterated its defiance of US military threats. Foreign Minister Naji Sabri told Reuters that his countrymen would use all means, even "kitchen knives," to resist a US invasion.

Bush's address came as US Central Command--which oversees the war in Afghanistan and military operations in the Middle East--announced plans to send 600 of its headquarters staff to the Persian Gulf state of Qatar for a training exercise to begin in November. (BBC, Sept. 12) [top]

At a press conference in Jordan, Iraq's vice-president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, urged all Arabs to rise up and attack US citizens and property in the Middle East if Washington launches a military offensive. Said Ramadan: "We categorically believe that the aggression on Iraq is an aggression on all the Arab nation. It is the right of all the Arab people, wherever they are, to fight against the aggression through their representatives and on their all means." (UK Guardian, Sept. 11) [top]

In a July interview with BBC, Prime Minister Tony Blair was asked whether he accepted the position of former US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara--who remarked after the UK refused President Lyndon Johnson's request for British troops to go to Vietnam that Britain's special relationship with the US meant being prepared "to commit themselves, to pay the blood price." In an obvious reference to the current showdown over Iraq, Blair replied: "Yes. What's important is that at a moment of crisis they don't need to know simply that you are giving general expressions of support and sympathy--that's easy, frankly. They need to know, are you prepared to commit... when the shooting starts are you prepared to be there?" Britain is the only other world power which supports Bush's bellicose position on Iraq. (London Times, Sept. 6) [top]

President Bush used telephone diplomacy just before his Sept. 12 UN address to try to persuade skeptical France, Russia and China to support military action against Iraq. CBS reported Aug. 28: "In a round of early morning calls from the Oval Office, Mr. Bush talked with Presidents Jacques Chirac of France, Jiang Zemin of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia. Each could use their votes on the United Nations Security Council to veto resolutions aimed at Saddam." [top]

Meeting in Cairo, the foreign ministers of 20 Arab nations jointly pledged Sept. 5 to support Iraq in any military attack by the US. The ministers' resolution declared their "total rejection of the threat of aggression on Arab nations, in particular Iraq, reaffirming that these threats to the security and safety of any Arab country are considered a threat to Arab national security." While many Arab governments urge Baghdad to permit UN weapons inspectors to return in an effort to defuse the crisis, the ministers' statement made no mention of inspectors, stating only that the council of ministers "welcomes the initiatives by Iraq to forge a dialogue with the United Nations." Iraq's Foreign Minister Naji Sabri praised the resolution as a "total rejection of the aggressive intentions of the United States." (Washington Post, Sept. 6) [top]

Is former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger a supporter or critic of US military action against Iraq? Columnist Benjamin Soskis writes in New York's Jewish weekly The Forward: "Hawks have been quoting Kissinger as committed to a pre-emptive attack against Saddam Hussein. Dovish readers can interpret Kissinger's Delphic ruminations as encouraging a restraint and respect for the international community that is not often associated with the current White House." At issue is an opinion piece Kissinger wrote in the Aug. 12 Washington Post which expressed support for a pre-emptive strike against Iraq--but with numerous caveats. Four days later, a front-page story in the New York Times, "Top Republicans Break With Bush on Iraq Strategy," lumped Kissinger in with vocal critics of the White House's policy--including another former National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft, who had recently written in the Wall Street Journal that "an attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counter-terrorist campaign we have undertaken." Other critics invoked in the Times article were Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, House majority leader Dick Armey of Texas and former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger. Both Scowcroft and Eagleburger served in the administration of the first President Bush.

William Kristol wrote in the Weekly Standard that the Times article "shamelessly mischaracterized" Kissinger's position. ON ABC's This Week, conservative commentator George Will charged that "the Times has decided to be what newspapers were 220 years ago, which is a journal of a faction, and has been, I think, exaggerating the Republican differences." Even the Times itself backtracked a bit when columnist Bill Keller wrote Aug. 24 that the paper had "misidentified" Kissinger as a skeptic on the Iraq intervention.

Soskis points out that the Times story made no mention of Kissinger's assertion that a war with Iraq could have "potentially beneficent political consequences," or of Kissinger's call for "a stringent inspection system" with a strict time limit for Saddam to open his chemical, biological or nuclear weapons facilities. "The case for military intervention," Kissinger wrote, "will then have to be made in the context of seeking a common approach." John Judis, senior editor at the New Republic, told Soskis that Kissinger is deliberately equivocating in order to maintain his position as a revered elder statesman within the power elite, appeasing both unilateralists and multilateralists. "He always plays this double game," said Judis. "He's a Continental realist, yet he's also determined to stay in power among the conservative Republicans." Or, as Kissinger himself wrote in the Washington Post: "Ambiguity often can help create awareness without encumbering the discussion with the need for decision." (The Forward, Aug. 30)

See also WW3 REPORT #49 [top]

Speaking to a reporter at the Johannesburg Earth Summit, former South African president Nelson Mandela harshly criticized US unilateralism on Iraq: "If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace. Because what [the US] is saying is that if you are afraid of a veto in the Security Council, you can go outside and take action and violate the sovereignty of other countries. That is the message they are sending to the world. That must be condemned in the strongest terms." (Newsweek on line, Sept. 10) [top]

Scott Ritter, former senior UN weapons inspector in Iraq, addressed a special session of the Iraqi National Assembly's Foreign Relations Committee in Baghdad, where he criticized US threats against Iraq. Ritter, a US citizen, said: "My country seems on the verge of making an historic mistake, one that will forever change the political dynamic which has governed the world since the end of the Second World War; namely, the foundation of international law as set forth in the United Nations Charter, which calls for the peaceful resolution of problems between nations... As someone who counts himself as a fervent patriot and a good citizen of the United States of America, I feel I cannot stand by idly, while my country behaves in such a fashion." (BBC, Sept. 8) [top]

Amberin Zaman of the UK Telegraph was among a team of British journalists taken on a tour of Iraqi facilities that Prime Minister Tony Blair recently claimed were engaged in developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. "He is an absolute liar and here is the proof," said Faiz Albayrakdar, director of the Tuweitha nuclear facility, gesturing towards a concrete building in the heavily guarded compound 15 miles from Baghdad. "He said we are producing nuclear weapons here, come see for yourself." Albayrakdar said the building is one of three shown on a satellite image released by Blair's government where Iraq is accused of conducting research on production of nuclear material. Tuweitha is where Israeli jets destroyed a French-built nuclear reactor in 1988. Two smaller reactors there were disabled in 1991's Operation Desert Storm. The guided tour also visited a deteriorating building where Albayrakdar said radioactive materials had indeed been produced--but for cancer treatment, "not nuclear bombs."

The tour next visited another rotting building featured in what Albayrakdar called "Mr Blair's silly map," where scientists produce chemical agents--again, for ostensible use in cancer treatment. Albayrakdar said part of the complex is now used to cultivate mushrooms for medical research. The Telegraph's Zaman wrote that Adil Nadeer, who heads this mushroom unit, picked out a few fleshy heads, popped them in his mouth, and enthusiastically munched them down. "I used to have an American wife... now I have two Iraqi wives," he said. "These mushrooms, they give him lots of energy," added a colleague, with a wink. Zaman ended his account: "On that risque note, the show ends." (UK Telegraph, Sept. 11) [top]

In a Sept. 8 interview with ABC News, Parisoula Lampsos, who says she was Saddam Hussein's mistress, described the Iraqi dictator as a twisted sadist who has a Hitler fetish and enjoys watching video-tapes of his enemies being tortured--but cried as the allies drove his forces from Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm. "He don't believe in his mother, he don't believe in God, he didn't believe in nobody," Lampsos told ABC's Claire Shipman in an interview from a safe house in Lebanon. "He believe only for Saddam. He look at the mirror, 'I am Saddam....Heil Hitler!'" Lampsos provided an intimate look at the dictator relaxing at home. She said Saddam loves watching The Godfather, listening to "Strangers in the Night" by Frank Sinatra, and seeing videos from his regime's own torture chambers. He sometimes dons a cowboy hat, sips whiskey on the rocks and puffs a cigar as he watches the torture. "He was happy, happy, happy," she said of the torture viewing. "Happiest day."

Lampsos said Saddam has met and given money in the past to Osama bin Laden, claiming she saw bin Laden at Hussein's palace in the 1980s. She also claimed Saddam's oldest son Oday told her his father met with bin Laden again in the mid 1990s and gave him money. Lampsos believes Saddam ordered the assassination of Oday, seeing him as a potential rival. The assassination attempt failed, leaving Oday paralyzed. "I didn't want it this way," Lampsos recalled Saddam saying afterwards. "I wanted him to die. It was better for him."

Lampsos claims that she was Saddam's favorite of three wives and six mistresses over a period of 30 years, and saw him on a daily basis. But since fleeing Iraq last year, she fears Saddam will try to kill her, and disguises herself by wearing a veil in public. [top]

A lawsuit filed on the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks alleges Iraq's government knew Osama bin Laden was targeting the World Trade Center and Pentagon prior to Sept. 11, and had sponsored terrorists to avenge Saddam's defeat in the Gulf War. "Since Iraq could not defeat the U.S. military, it resorted to terror attacks on US citizens," according to the suit filed in federal court in Manhattan on behalf of 1,400 victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and their families. The suit names bin Laden, al-Qaeda and Iraq as defendants, and seeks more than $1 trillion in damages.

Brought by Kreindler & Kreindler, a Manhattan firm specializing in aviation disaster litigation, the suit relies in part on an article published in an Iraqi newspaper July 21, 2001. The suit claims a columnist writing under the byline Naeem Abd Muhalhal for a paper in the Iraqi city of Al Nasiriyah described bin Laden thinking "seriously, with the seriousness of the Bedouin of the desert, about the way he will try to bomb the Pentagon after he destroys the White House." The columnist allegedly wrote that bin Laden was "insisting very convincingly that he will strike America on the arm that is already hurting," a reference to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. The suit asserts that a former associate claimed the writer has been connected with Iraqi intelligence since the early 1980s, and was praised bySaddam Hussein in the paper's Sept. 1, 2001, issue for his "documentation of important events and heroic deeds that proud Iraqis have accomplished." (AP, Sept. 11) [top]


In a surprise move with implications both for US-Saudi relations and the profits of US oil companies, the Saudi monarchy has decided it won't open its most promising natural-gas fields to western firms, sources told the Wall Street Journal. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal reportedly outlined the kingdom's new stance in a letter to the western consortium, led by ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch/Shell. On the key issue of opening its most potentially lucrative gas fields to non-Saudi companies, the letter said "absolutely not," according to an anonymous oil-company official. The move seems to end a year-long plan by US companies to invest $25 billion in Saudi Arabia, in what was billed as an historic re-opening of the kingdom's energy sector. Saudi Arabia has produced all of its own oil and gas since the 1970s, when it bought out four major US oil companies' interests in Aramco. (Dow Jones, Sept. 9) [top]

On August 28, the Zayed Center, a think-tank sponsored by the Arab League and based in Abu Dhabi, hosted a symposium on "Semitism," which according to the Jewish Anti-Defamation League included Holocaust-denial propaganda. The official press release announcing the event said the symposium would "counter the historical and political fallacies propagated by Israel." In particular, the Center said Israel has been "spreading lies and exaggerations about holocaust [sic] in order to squeeze out huge sums of money from European countries through worst [sic] forms of blackmail." The Zayed Center's chairman is Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahayan, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. In a publication entitled Those Who Challenged Israel, the Center denies the destruction of European Jewry during World War II, lauding such Holocaust deniers as the French radical intellectual Roger Garoudy and the now-disgraced British historian David Irving. (Anti-Defamation League backgrounder, Aug. 2002) [top]


The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), the exiled pro-democracy group, issued a statement on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, extending solidarity to victims of terrorism worldwide and taking stock of what the disaster has meant for their country:

"RAWA joins with the rest of the civilized world in remembering the innocent lives lost on September 11th, as well as all those others lost to terrorism and oppression throughout the world. It is with great sadness that RAWA sees other people experiencing the pain that the women, children and men of Afghanistan have long suffered at the hands of fundamentalist terrorists.

"For ten long years the people of Afghanistan--Afghan women in particular--have been crushed and brutalized, first under the chains and atrocities of the 'Northern Alliance' fundamentalists, then under those of the Taliban. During all this period, the governments of the Western powers were bent on finding ways to 'work with' these criminals. These Western governments did not lose much sleep over the daily grind of abject misery our people were enduring under the domination of these terrorist bands... What was important was to 'work with' the religio-fascists to have Central Asian oil pipelines extended to accessible ports of shipment.

"Immediately after the Sept. 11 tragedy, American military might moved into action to punish its erstwhile hirelings. A captive, bleeding, devastated, hungry, pauperized, drought-stricken and ill-starred Afghanistan was bombed into oblivion by the most advanced and sophisticated weaponry ever created in human history. Innocent lives, many more than those who lost their lives in the September 11 atrocity, were taken. Even joyous wedding gatherings were not spared. The Taliban regime and its al-Qaeda support were toppled without any significant dent in their human combat resources. What was not done away with was the sinister shadow of terrorist threat over the whole world...

"Neither opium cultivation nor warlordism have been eradicated in Afghanistan. There is neither peace nor stability in this tormented country, nor has there been any relief from the scourges of extreme pauperization, prostitution, and wanton plunder. Women feel much more insecure than in the past. The bitter fact that even the personal security of the President of the country cannot be maintained without recourse to foreign bodyguards and the recent terrorist acts in our country speak eloquent volumes about the chaotic and terrorist-ridden situation of the country...

"For the people of Afghanistan, it is 'out of the frying pan, into the fire.' Instead of the Taliban terrorists, Jihadi terrorists of the 'Northern Alliance' have been installed in power. The Jihadi and the Taliban fundamentalists share a common ideology; their differences are the usual differences between brethren-in-creed. With their second occupation of Kabul, the 'Northern Alliance' thwarted any hopes for a radical, meaningful change. They are themselves now the source and root of...rampant terrorism, gagging of democracy, atrocious violations of human rights, mounting pauperization, prostitution and corruption...

"Those who claimed that the 'Northern Alliance' were better than, and therefore preferable to, the Taliban must wake up and apologize to our people for their noxious sermons. The establishment of democracy and social justice can be possible only with the overthrow of fundamentalist domination as a prime precondition. This cannot be achieved without an organized and irreconcilable campaign of the women masses against fundamentalism, its agents and apologists."

Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), Sept. 11, 2002 [top]

At least ten rockets hit US airfields near Khost in restive Paktia province. Asmat Gul, head of local intelligence, said the firing started 11 PM on Sept. 15 and continued intermittently till dawn. US helicopters and planes were scrambled after the attacks began. Area residents said it was the heaviest fire yet directed at the bases, which have come under occasional fire in the past. (Tehran Times, Sept. 17) Kheal Baz, military commander for Khost governor Hakim Taniwal, denied the attack report. "These are all baseless rumors." He said. (Reuters, Sept. 16)

On Sept. 16, Two US special forces soldiers were slightly hurt when explosives placed on the Jalalabad-Asadabad road were detonated under thier four-wheeler. (Reuters, Sept. 16)

On Sept. 11, attacks were reported at three US bases in Afghanistan. Rockets were fired at special forces troops near the eastern towns of Khost and Gardez. Small armsfire was directed at Bagram air base. (Reuters, Sept. 11) (David Bloom) [top]

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has a novel suggestion for how to find Osama bin Laden: "Every cave has been bombed. But so many of these caves have not been searched," he told a news conference at U.N. headquarters. "In a lighter vein, I was suggesting maybe we open it to tourists, so they can start searching those caves at Tora Bora." The Pakistani dictator was equivocal as to rumors of bin Laden's demise: "My guess is probably, more likely, he is dead. He may be alive. More likely he is dead." (Reuters, Sept. 13) (David Bloom) [top]

"Now I'll show you something that you won't see anywhere else in Afghanistan!" declared Hebadullah, Gen. Abdel Rashid Dostum's intelligence chief, before opening the doors that would reveal his boss' new swimming pool. At 2 AM on Sept. 9, a few US special forces soldiers joined the Uzbek strongman for an inaugural dip in the pool. The 50-foot indoor pool, thought to be the only one in this war-torn, aid-dependent nation, cost an estimated $50-60 thousand, said Dostum's proud architect, Kabul-trained Ghulam Sakhi. "Gen. Dostum was so happy with this place because he knew that in his future, he would meet many foreigners. He built this to entertain foreign guests," said Sakhi. AP points out that since the fall of 2001, "Dostum has become intimate with the elite American troops," although a female US soldier had to hang out in a nearby guesthouse, in deference to Islamic custom. The pool house is described as "gaudy," with a "dozen chandeliers, pillars inlaid with colored glass and a diving board complete with spiral staircase and fake ivy curling up the banister." Completing the scene: "plastic deck chairs, a hammock, plush sofas, ruby-red Afghan rugs, and a stereo surround the pool on white tiles." Much of the building materials had to be imported from Uzbekistan, Iran, and Pakistan. Because the pool lacks a filtration system, the whole pool must be flushed every few days, and AP's reporter noted a slight film was visible on the water's surface. The pillars were described as "tacky." Eventually, Dostum will have a greenhouse upstairs, and there are side rooms with two saunas, an empty whirlpool, and a massage table. Sakhi says Dostum eventually dropped plans for a sliding pool cover that would have allowed him to "walk on water."

Local Shibergan shopkeeper Abdul Wahid remembers Dostum announcing his pool plans on television years ago. "That's fine with me. He's a good man. Though, sure, it would be nice if there were a pool for the townspeople," said Wahid, who has a picture of Dostum on his shop wall. (AP, Sept. 17) (David Bloom) [top]


In his harshest warning yet to Georgia, Russia's President Vladimir Putin ordered his military to draw up plans for strikes on Georgian territory, where Moscow says Chechen guerillas are hiding. Putin cited UN Security Council Resolution 1373, passed after the 9-11 attacks, requiring states to deny safe haven to terrorists.

Putin told a meeting of defense officials in Sochi that he had instructed top military brass "to study the feasibility of striking" Chechen guerilla bases in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge in the event that rebels cross into Georgian territory while being pursued by Russian troops. "The Defense Ministry and other defense and security agencies will make proposals for planning special operations aimed at destroying rebel groups if attempts to penetrate Russia resume," Putin said in a televised address.

Georgia has refused Russia's repeated demands for introduction of Russian troops to clean out Pankisi Gorge. Last month, Georgia launched a joint police-military operation in the Gorge--but announced the sweep well in advance, leaving no element of surprise. Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said the sweep turned up only "a few dozen militants."

Putin said "If the Georgian leadership fails to create a security zone in the area of the Russian-Georgian border [and] fails to prevent outrages and incursions into Russia's neighboring areas," Russia will resort to the "inalienable right of self-defense."

Hours before Putin's statement, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov attacked Georgia for supporting Chechen "terrorists" in a speech before lawmakers. Ivanov drew a parallel to US threats against Iraq, saying that Georgia's role in supporting terrorism has been proven more conclusively than Baghdad's. (The Moscow Times, Sept. 12) [top]


Fierce fighting between government troops and Abu Sayyaf rebels in the southern Philippines left at least 22 dead last week--eight soldiers and 14 rebels. 13 other soldiers were reported wounded since the fighting broke out in Patikul village on Jolo island on Sept. 6. Some 500 families have been evacuated from Patikul and surrounding areas as the military intensified air strikes on suspected rebel strongholds. Government forces are also said to be hunting down two bandit groups who are believed to be holding hostage three Indonesians and four local women on Jolo. One group reportedly seized four Indonesian crew members of a Singaporean-owned boat in June when the vessel was passing Jolo. One of the four later managed to escape. Another group, headed by a nephew of an Abu Sayyaf leader, kidnapped eight residents in Jolo in August. Two were freed, and two others beheaded. The new military campaign in Jolo is code-named "End Game," and is seen as a bid to wipe out the rebels within six months. (Xinhua, Sept. 7) [top]


In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, legislators complained that the Justice Department is trying to assert more authority in federal wiretap cases than it was authorized under last year's PATRIOT Act. The senators pointed to a recently declassified May 17 ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, asserting the Justice Department's interpretation of its wiretap powers overreached the intent of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which established the secretive court to approve government eavesdropping in "intelligence" investigations. FISA bars the issuing of special "intelligence" warrants--which require no evidence of wrongdoing--in criminal investigations. Under the PATRIOT Act, passed in the wake of 9-11, such secret warrants can be issued if foreign security matters are a "significant" part of a criminal case. But in May, the court wrote that the new guidelines drawn up under the PATRIOT Act were "not reasonably designed" to protect citizen privacy, and allow for the misuse of information in criminal investigations.

"The glimpses offered by this unclassified opinion raise policy, process and constitutional issues about implementation of the new law," said Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT). But the Justice Department countered that new surveillance authority is needed, arguing that the existence of terror cells may first be discovered through criminal leads that are seemingly unrelated to terror plots. (Fox News, Sept. 11)

In the Sept. 4-10 Village Voice, Nat Hentoff protests what he calls "new, elastic FBI guidelines for criminal investigations." He quotes from page three of the Justice Department's new guidelines: "The nature of the conduct engaged in by a [terrorist] enterprise will justify an inference that the standard [for opening a criminal investigation] is satisfied, even if there are no known statements by participants that advocate or indicate planning for violence or other prohibited acts."

See also WW3 REPORT #48 [top]

NASA officials reported to security specialists at Northwest Airlines that the agency is developing brain-monitoring devices, in cooperation with an unidentified commercial firm. The new device would analyze brain-wave and heartbeat patterns "to detect passengers who potentially might pose a threat," according to briefing documents obtained by the Washington Times. NASA wants to use "noninvasive neuro-electric sensors," imbedded in airport boarding gates, to monitor tiny brain signals in an effort to detect potential terrorists under the Computer-Aided Passenger Pre-Screening (CAPPS) system. Mihir Kshirsagar of the Electronic Privacy Information Center says the technology would only fuel airport-security chaos. "A lot of people's fear of flying would send those meters off the chart. Are they going to pull all those people aside?" The organization obtained the documents under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration. (Washington Times, Aug. 17) [top]

The United States defended its indefinite detention of hundreds of suspected al-Qaeda prisoners at a Guantanamo Naval base in Cuba before a special Warsaw human rights conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. "We are not going to let them go back as long as the conflict continues, so that they can sign up again to al-Qaeda," William Taft, top legal advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell, told the OSCE conference by telephone link. (AFP, Sept. 11) [top]

The international pacifist group Fellowship of Reconciliation held its quadrennial meeting at New York's Manhattan College in June--but 15 delegates from seven nations were denied entry into the US and were unable to attend. The delegates from Colombia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines were either refused visas or their applications were delayed until the meeting was over. The delegates were apparently denied entry under a new INS policy of blacklisting men under 45 from a list of specified countries on suspicion of being potential terrorists. Efforts by US FOR to intervene in the process were rebuffed. (FOR Witness, Nyack, NY, Summer 2002)

On Sept. 5, the INS transferred New York-area Palestinian activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti, who has been detained since April 26, from Camden Correctional Facility near Philadelphia to Passaic County Jail in Paterson, NJ. Later that day, his deportation officer notified him that there will be an administrative review of his case on Sept. 20. Farouk was detained by the INS a month after he began working regularly at WBAI-FM, arranging interviews with Palestinian spokespeople. Farouk's supporters say the transfer to Passaic was in retaliation for Farouk's constant advocacy on behalf of detainees at the Camden facility--in particular, his efforts to secure medical care both for himself and other detainees. This was Farouk's second transfer in less than two months. The INS moved him to Camden in July from Middlesex County Jail--apparently in retaliation for a demonstration supporters held outside the Middlesex facility on July 13.

Farouk's legal team and supporters plan to use the upcoming administrative review to prove that he does not represent a danger and should be released immediately. Farouk was born in Ramallah, Palestine; as a stateless Palestinian he cannot easily be removed from the US and therefore faces potentially indefinite detainment.

Farouk's supporters are asking for polite but firm letters be sent to New Jersey INS District Director Andrea Quarantillo: urging her to ensure that all detainees under her jurisdiction receive adequate medical care, including doctor visits and any recommended medications; and to guarantee that no detainees will be transferred in retaliation for complaining about conditions or for advocating on their own behalf or on behalf of other detainees. Contact information:

Andrea Quarantillo, District Director
INS Newark District Office
970 Broad Street, Room 136
Newark, NJ 07102
Fax: 973-297-4848

Please send copies to:

Committee for the Release of Farouk Abdel-Muhti
PO Box 20587, Tompkins Square Station, New York, NY 10009

See alsoWW3 REPORT #48 [top]


In a joint statement, the families of Sept. 11 victims criticized President Bush for eroding civil rights in the War on Terrorism, and said they believed airport security was no better than a year ago. Stephen Push, head of the Sept. 11 Homeland Security Alliance, gave the administration a "C-" grade on a report card on anti-terror measures. The Homeland Security Alliance is made up of several groups representing 9-11 survivors, including Families of Sept. 11, Voices of Sept. 11 and the Skyscraper Safety Campaign. The report card was drawn up by 18 members most active in lobbying efforts. Their report criticized Bush for persistent aviation security troubles, citing press reports of guns and knives being carried onto planes. "For all the delays at airports and all the money that has been spent, aviation security is not much better than it was on Sept. 11," Push said. The group praised the US military effort in Afghanistan, but Push said he did not believe suspended judicial rights--such as denying suspects access to a lawyer--were needed or desirable. "I'm not sure it is really necessary in order to protect us," he told reporters. (Reuters, Sept. 9) [top]

Over 100 "peace events" were held nationwide to commemorate the Sept 11 disaster. International peace leaders such as Nobel Prize Winner Oscar Arias--as well as groups representing WTC survivors--joined the call for commemorations that say no to both terrorism and war. "The response to this idea has been overwhelming, in large part as a response to President Bush's call for an attack of Iraq" said Medea Benjamin, director of San Francisco's Global Exchange and a founder of United for Peace, the coalition of groups that put out the call for peace events. "In over 100 US cities, as well as nearly a dozen foreign countries, people are honoring those who died on Sept. 11 by calling for no more innocent victims."

Endorsers of United for Peace include Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatama Gandhi, and Nobel Peace Laureate Oscar Arias, who as president of Costa Rica in the 1980s led the dialogue that brought an end to the guerilla wars plaguing the region. "Many people who have lost loved ones to violence have come to the realization that only by planting the seeds of peace will their loss not have been in vain," said Arias.

United for Peace is also endorsed by September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, the National Coalition for Peace and Justice, Fellowship of Reconciliation, American Friends Service Committee, Peace Action, Veterans for Peace, and Global Exchange. (United for Peace press release, Aug. 28) [top]

At a joint press conference, the unions representing New York fire-fighters demanded immediate replacement of the radio system which they blame for the deaths of over 100 of their comrades on Sept. 11. Peter Gorman, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers' Association (UFOA), said the former mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, was ultimately responsible for failing to upgrade the system. Hardly any fire-fighters heard the radio command from a staff chief ordering everyone down almost 30 minutes before the first tower fell. An estimated 120 officers who were killed on the upper floors could have got out. The analog radios which are still in use allow only one person at a time to give commands on the network--and they are the same model which was criticized for ineffectiveness during the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. Gorman accused Giuliani of arrogance and deceit in the radio affair, and related security concerns around the disaster. "He fooled the public. The emergency operations system was not working... Giuliani spent $25 million, and didn't get a plan. The command center at 7 World Trade Center... police intelligence people urged him not to put it there - he put it there anyway, and it collapsed on 9-11." (BBC, Aug. 6)

New York fire-fighters also protested in April, when the annual report of high-tech giant Motorola prominently featured photos of their comrades. "It's an absolute disgrace for Motorola to use New York City firefighters to advertise their company," said Steve Cassidy, union delegate for Engine 236 in East New York, Brooklyn. "Motorola should not be bragging that New York City firefighters are using their product when it was proven completely inadequate." Many fire-fighters blamed Motorola technology for contributing to the FDNY's losses on 9-11, asserting that fire-fighters ascending the twin towers could not hear an emergency evacuation call from FDNY commanders. (Daily News, April 25) [top]

It turns out that not all the names of the 9-11 victims read by politicians in the official anniversary ceremony at Ground Zero were really dead. The list of 2,801 names, compiled by the city medical examiner, included 50 still under investigation, and at least three are apparently still alive. "Why did they put my name on TV? I'm alive!" said Nikola Lampley, 24, upon hearing her name, according to her mother. Lampley, of Brooklyn, worked at the World Trade Center but was not a casualty of the attack. She left town following the disaster, leading to reports that she was missing. (NYT, Sept. 12) [top]

All 15 Orthodox Jewish women whose husbands were killed last Sept. 11 have been officially declared widows, freeing them to re-marry. 11 of the women had faced the prospect of being agunah--a "chained woman" barred from re-marriage or dating--because their husbands' bodies had not been found. The women were cleared to remarry following a lengthy investigation by the Rabbinical Court of the Rabbinical Council of America, with the cooperation of the NY-NJ Port Authority, which owned the twin towers. "It was an agonizing period," said Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz, chief presiding judge. "It was heartrending what these people went through." Said Orthodox feminist activist Rivka Haut: "These rabbis are doing the right thing." (Daily News, Sept. 11)

This news item must come as a shock to those who believe that there were no Jewish victims of Sept. 11 because all Jewish employees at the World Trade Center were tipped off in advance and stayed home that day--a claim widely circulated on anti-Semitic web sites and even some mainstream media outlets in the Arab world. But then again, the story will probably be dismissed as disinformation, vindicating once again their belief that "the Jews" control the world media.

See WW3 REPORT #2 [top]


On the eve of the 9-11 anniversary, the Bush administration raised its assessment of the terrorist threat from yellow ("elevated risk") to orange ("high risk")--the first time it has reached that level since last year's devastating attacks. "Orange" alert is the second highest in the code system. Attorney General John Ashcroft said the move was based on "debriefings of a senior al-Qaeda operative" who warned that the network was planning to attack US installations overseas. He added the threat had been corroborated by "multiple intelligence sources." Embassies and consulates in Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Cambodia have been closed, and an anniversary memorial service planned for Jakarta--expected to be attended by hundreds of US nationals--was cancelled. (UK Guardian, Sept. 11)

Round-the-clock military air patrols over New York and Washington, scheduled to resume for the anniversary on Sept. 11, in fact resumed four days earlier in response to the new threats, and are now set to continue indefinitely. (CBS News, Sept. 7) Bush also ordered the Avenger surface-to-air missile system into place ringing Washington DC for the first time. (Daily News, Sept. 11) [top]

The Bush administration is negotiating agreements with dozens of nations for new powers to police the world's oceans. Under the plan--yet to be approved by the Pentagon--US forces would have the right to chase and board vessels in both international waters and any nation's sovereign waters, in instances of hot pursuit. The plan builds on a ship interdiction operation which was launched last year to intercept al-Qaeda members fleeing Afghanistan across international waters. More than 100 ships from allies including Britain, Australia, Italy, Germany and Japan, have taken part in the operation, which monitors movements in the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Persian Gulf and waters off East Africa. (AP, Aug. 11) [top]

Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper reports that former CIA counter-terrorist chief Vince Cannistraro appeared on last week's edition of the program Sirri lil-Ghaya (Top Secret) on Qatar's al-Jazeera satellite TV to make startling claims about Israeli foreknowledge of the 9-11 attacks. Cannistrano was quoted as saying: "We are sure that the Israelis knew that al-Qaeda was planning to do something big in the twin towers and they didn't inform us about it." (Daily Star, Sept. 11) [top]

Citing sources compiled from the mainstream media, the UK-based Mujahideen website claims that 7 of the 19 men identified as the 9-11 hijackers are still alive. "It was proved that five of the names included in the FBI list had nothing to do with what happened," Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told the Arabic Press after meeting with President Bush last Sept. 20, according to the website. The site also claims the Saudi embassy told the Orlando Sentinel that accused hijackers Saeed Alghamdi, Mohand Alshehri, Abdul aziz Alomari and Salem Alhazmi "are not dead and had nothing to do with the heinous terror attacks in New York and Washington."

Dates and live links are provided for other of the claims. For instance, on Sept. 23, 2001, BBC reported: "Saudi Arabian pilot Waleed Al Shehri was one of five men that the FBI said had deliberately crashed American Airlines flight 11 into the World Trade Center on 11 September. His photograph was released, and has since appeared in newspapers and on television around the world. Now he is protesting his innocence from Casablanca, Morocco... [T]here are suggestions that another suspect, Khalid Al Midhar, may also be alive."

One Saeed Alghamdi, also bearing the name of an accused 9-11 hijacker, told the UK Telegraph Sept. 23, 2001: "I was completely shocked. For the past 10 months I have been based in Tunis with 22 other pilots learning to fly an Airbus 320. The FBI provided no evidence of my presumed involvement in the attacks." The Telegraph story also stated: "Mr. Salem Al-Hamzi is 26 and had just returned to work at a petrochemical complex in the industrial eastern city of Yanbou after a holiday in Saudi Arabia when the hijackers struck. He was accused of hijacking the American Airlines Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon."

But the claims are not as alarming as they first appear. Stolen identities are likely at the root of the snafu. Ahmed Alnami told the Telegraph: "I'm still alive, as you can see. I was shocked to see my name mentioned by the American Justice Department. I had never even heard of Pennsylvania where the plane I was supposed to have hijacked." He said he had never lost his passport and found it "very worrying" that his identity appeared to have been "stolen" and published by the FBI without any checks.

The UK Independent reported Sept. 17, 2001: "Mr. [Abdul Aziz] Al-Omari, a pilot with Saudi Airlines, walked into the US embassy in Jeddah to demand why he was being reported as a dead hijacker in the American media." According to ABC News: "a Saudi man has reported to authorities that he is the real Abdulaziz Alomari, and claims his passport was stolen in 1995 while he studied electrical engineering at the University of Denver. Alomari says he informed police of the theft."

The ABCNews list of hijackers is on line [top]


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