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ISSUE: #. 73. Feb. 17, 2003






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

1. Hundreds of Thousands Bear Bitter Cold in New York City;
Mobilization Becomes Free Speech Showdown

2. Elsewhere Around the U.S.--Tear Gas in Colorado Springs
3. International Mobilizations: Millions March Worldwide
4. Frontline Organizers Speak on State of the Movement

1. France: Give Weapons Inspectors More Time!
2. NATO Agrees on Defense of Turkey
3. Rummy to Punish Germany for "Treachery"
4. U.S. Expels Iraqi Journalist
5. U.S. Planes Hit Iraqi Missile Site; 20,000 More Troops to Gulf
6. U.S. Plans Chemical Warfare in Iraq
7. Osama Disses Saddam
8. Kurdish Authorities Arrest Turkoman "Terrorists"

1. Hamas Blows Up IDF Tank; Israel Hits Back, Killing 6
2. Eight-Year-Old Boy Murdered By Occupation Forces
3. Israeli Death Squad Wreaks Havoc in Tul Karm
4. Random Death From an APC in Tul Karm
5. Assymetric Warfare in Tul Karm: APCs vs. Stone-Throwers

1. India-Iran Military Pact Signed
2. Israel to Train Indian Special Forces for Kashmir Duty
3. India, U.S. Seek Military Cooperation
4. Deportations Spark India-Bangladesh Border Violence

1. Court Lifts Limits on NYPD Political Snooping
2. Brooklyn Stands Up to Jew-Hatred


In the Saturday Feb. 15 international anti-war mobilization, the largest protest in the US--and one of the largest on the planet--was held in New York City, despite both bitter cold and unprecedented moves by city authorities to obstruct the march. Organizers put the number of protesters at 500,000, while the media estimated 100,000. But it was nearly impossible to arrive at an accurate figure, as marchers were widely dispersed over midtown Manhattan's East Side, with many unable to converge on the official gathering point on First Ave. due to stringent police crowd-control measures.

In the weeks leading up to the event, the anti-war mobilization became a free speech struggle as Mayor Michael Bloomberg refused to grant the local anti-war coalition, United for Peace and Justice (UPJ), a permit to march on the United Nations. UPJ took the city to federal court, demanding the right to march under the First Amendment. But city attorneys argued that the "code orange" terrorist alert made the march a threat to public safety. The city refused a permit to march anywhere in Manhattan, offering instead a legal "stationary rally" at First Ave. and 49th St.--two blocks north of the UN. Chris Dunn, a staff attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union, representing UPJ, said the city was using "a theoretical possibility something terrible is going to happen to cancel the right of people to participate in peaceful protest." (AP, Feb. 7) On Feb. 10, US District Judge Barbara Jones, citing "heightened security concerns," ruled for the city.

UPJ appealed, and on Feb. 12 the US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals again ruled for the city. The hand of federal pressure could be seen behind the city's intransigence, with assistant US attorneys in the courtroom to back up Bloomberg's legal team. The Syracuse Post-Standard reported Feb. 15 that the Bush administration even filed a brief urging the judges to uphold denial of the permit. UPJ's top organizer Leslie Cagan told WW3 REPORT on the eve of the protest: "Its an outrageous shredding of the constitution, but it will not deter our massive mobilization for the legal and permitted rally at First Ave. and 49th Street."

But with hundreds of busloads set to converge on the city from throughout the Northeast, it proved too late to deter even a march--despite the official ban. Protesters planned to form "feeder marches" from assembly points around the city and converge from there on the "official" rally at 49th and First. A key gathering point was the Public Library at 42nd and Fifth Ave., where a diverse array of groups came together, including a contingent of military veterans, the venerable pacifist group War Resisters League, the Palestinian contingent, a gay contingent, a marching samba band and a traditional Korean drum troupe. New York City Labor Against War (NYCLAW), representing several union locals, met at Grand Army Plaza (59th & Fifth), along with a contingent of anarchist labor dissidents. A Jewish contingent met at Workmens Circle (33rd & Park). A contingent from New York's progressive WBAI Radio met at 52nd and Second, as did a Quaker contingent. The Colombian and Buddhist contingents met at 47th and Second. A Youth Bloc organized by the NYU Peace Coalition marched up from Union Square (14th & Broadway).

Neighborhoods also launched their own feeder marches. Bronx Action for Justice & Peace (BAJAP) gathered in front of Hostos Community College on Grand Concourse Ave., marched across the 145th Street Bridge into Manhattan, and then caught the Lexington Ave. subway downtown. Upper West Side anti-war groups also launched their own contingent that met up with NYCLAW's feeder march. The Lower East Side contingent joined the Youth Bloc at Union Square. Many thousands of out-of-towners also formed their own contingents, of course. Vermont's Bread and Puppet Theater met at Columbus Circle (59th & Broadway).

In what Newsday described as "a strategy of the stockyards applied to people," police erected a bewildering maze of interlocking metal barricades throughout the streets of Midtown, forcing marchers through bottlenecks and into "pens," where they were held until police allowed them to proceed. Police blocked egress and well as access through the pens, keeping the marchers temporarily captive. With most streets leading to First Ave. completely closed by police, marchers were forced onto a convoluted route, taking them up Third Ave. as far north as 71st St. It was almost certainly a small minority of the marchers who ever made it to the "official" rally.

Police also sought to keep the feeder marches confined to the sidewalks. Courts have ruled that protesters have the right to march on the sidewalks as long as they keep moving--but there were far too many to be contained, and at many points they overwhelmed the police through sheer numbers. At several points, the metal barricades were pushed aside to chants of "Whose streets? Our streets!" Third Ave. was taken lane by lane, until it was thick with protesters from sidewalk to sidewalk. When mounted police charged in to clear the avenue, brief scuffles ensued, resulting in several arrests and--according to police--several cops hurt. The National Lawyers Guild estimates that 350 were arrested throughout the day. At press time, 70 people are still being held for arraignment on a range of charges.

On First Ave . the crowd--penned in by police block by block--extended from the stage two blocks above 49th St. to north of 72nd, with two large video screens set up along the way to broadcast the proceedings. Legendary folk singer Richie Havens started off with a rendition of "Freedom," the song he performed 34 years ago at the Woodstock Festival. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa officiated over an ecumenical service, calling for "Peace! Peace! Peace! Let America listen to the rest of the world-- and the rest of the world is saying, 'Give the inspectors time.'" Other speakers and performers included Harry Belafonte, Pete Seeger, Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon, Martin Luther King III and Angela Davis. They were joined by representatives from numerous activist groups, including Military Families Speak Out and Sept. 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, who decried what Bush seeks to commit in their name.

In a disturbing coda to the event, just before the rally was about to begin, the phones at the UPJ office, in the 42nd St. headquarters of SEIU Local 1199, mysteriously went dead. They came back up after WBAI announced the problem on the air, and then went down again shortly afterwards. The phone company told UPJ their lines might not be working until Tuesday--by which point they will have moved out of the office. UPJ reports in an e-mail alert that the phone company technician called the phones going down "odd" and said he had never seen another breakdown like it.

(Bill Weinberg on the scene, supplemented by combined sources. For overview, see NYT, Feb. 16; on court case, see AP, Feb. 7, 12)

See video and interviews with the Palestine contingent

See also "When Peace is a Threat" by Sarah Ferguson, Village Voice, Feb. 11


Several marches were held elsewhere around the US on Feb. 15, coordinated by UPJ and a loose network of local coalitions. The Chicago Tribune reported 3,000 marched on Devon Ave. through the city's immigrant neighborhood of Rogers Park, north of the Loop. One WW3 REPORT reader in the Windy City reports that residents watched intently from windows and expressed support as marchers, organized by the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism, passed through the neighborhood. Marchers chanted "Stop the hate, stop the fear, immigrants are welcome here!"

In Colorado Springs, police fired tear gas at anti-war demonstrators and hit at least one with a rubber bullet when the rally spilled out of Palmer Park, where police were attempting to contain it. Thirteen were arrested as police re-took Academy Boulevard from the protesters. A second rally at nearby Peterson Air Force Base ended with 21 arrests. The Colorado Coalition Against War in Iraq chose Colorado Springs for the statewide mobilization due to the proximity of numerous high-level military bases. (AP, Feb. 15)

Protests of several thousand each were also held in Philadelphia, St. Louis, Santa Fe and Missoula. In California, thousands demonstrated in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and Sacramento. San Francisco's march was postponed until the 16th, so as not to interfere with the traditional Chinese New Year celebration. It brought out some 200,000, filling 12 blocks from City Hall to the waterfront and rivaling the numbers in New York. One group of San Francisco protesters sang John Lennon's "Imagine" in Arabic. (CBS, Feb. 17)

Significantly, the mobilization coincided with a public terrorism hysteria sparked by the "orange alert." Duct tape and plastic sheeting were moving quickly from shelves coast-to-coast following Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge warning that citizens should stock up to seal their homes in the event of biological attack. (AP, 15) [top]

Anti-war protests were held in some 600 cities around the world on Feb. 15, with every continent and nearly every nation reporting mobilizations of varying size. It was the largest internationally co-ordinated day of protest the world has ever seen, with the biggest mobilizations by far in the US's European allies.

In London, at least 700,000 gathered in Hyde Park in what authorities called the city's biggest demonstration ever, with march organizers putting the total at over a million. Rev. Jesse Jackson was among the speakers who urged Britons to turn up the "street heat" on pro-war Prime Minister Tony Blair. Large protests were also reported from several other British cities, with some 30,000 taking to the streets in Glasgow.

In Paris, where President Jacques Chirac is leading a diplomatic initiative to avert war, an estimated 100,000 filled Place Denfert-Rochereau, where a huge American flag bore the black inscription "Leave us alone." Large protests were also held elsewhere in France, with 10,000 reported in Toulouse and similar numbers in Lyon and Marseille.

At least half a million gathered in Berlin, turning the boulevard between the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column into a sea of banners and balloons emblazoned with "No war in Iraq." Speakers praised German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's anti-war stance, and three of his cabinet ministers were among those in attendance, despite Schroeder's own request that they stay away. Authorities called it the biggest anti-war march in the history of post-war Germany.

An estimated million people marched in Rome, filling the streets of the ancient city with rainbow-striped peace flags. Over half a million protested in Madrid, the Spanish capital, and an estimated million marched in the port city of Barcelona. Protests were also held in other Spanish cities, with 60,000 reported in Seville and similar numbers in Valencia and Bilbao. Italy's Silvio Berlusconi and Spain's Jose Maria Aznar are among the few western European leaders lining up with the Bush/Blair war drive.

Protests were reported from nearly every European capital--often in spite of bitter cold: 80,000 in Dublin, 70,000 in Amsterdam, 60,000 in Oslo, 50,000 in Brussels, 40,000 in Bern, 35,000 in Stockholm, 25,000 in Copenhagen, and 15,000 in Vienna. Wire services also reported large mobilizations in Lisbon, Ljubljana and Reykjavic. In Prague, where the Czech government is taking a vocal pro-war stance, philosopher Erazim Kohak told about 500 protesters, "War is not a solution, war is a problem." Protests were also reported from Warsaw and Budapest, where the Polish and Hungarian governments are similarly supporting the war drive. Some 2,000 protesters were reported in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. 2,000 also gathered in Kiev's central square despite snow. 1,000 marched on the US Embassy in even colder Moscow, urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to be firmer in his anti-war position.

Athens was one of the few cities where things turned violent. Police fired tear gas in clashes with several hundred hooded and helmeted anarchists, who smashed store windows and threw a petrol bomb at a newspaper office. But the skirmish was a sideshow to the massive gathering. A giant banner reading "NATO, US and EU equals war" was unfurled across the wall of the Acropolis before the march of some 200,000 headed to the US Embassy. Tear gas was also fired in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, where protesters hurled rocks at the US consulate. Meanwhile, in divided Cyprus, about 500 Greeks and Turks came together to briefly block a British air base runway, braving heavy rain.

In the Bosnian city of Mostar, about 100 Muslims and Croats came together for an anti-war protest--the first cross-community public gathering since the 1995 peace agreement in a town torn by years of brutal ethnic warfare. 500 also marched in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. In the Serbian capital of Belgrade, the anti-war group Women in Black led a protest in Republic Square.

Elsewhere around the world: over 20,000 protesters were reported each in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver; some 5,000 each in Cape Town and Johannesburg; 10,000 in Bangkok; 6,000 in Tokyo; 5,000 in Manila; 2,000 in Seoul and 2,000 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Hundreds gathered outside the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and several hundred marched on the US consulate in Hong Kong. A peace march led by schoolchildren was reported from New Delhi, while 10,000 marched in Calcutta. Protests struck a strident anti-US theme in Pakistan, as American flags were burned in Islamabad and nearly every other city. In Jakarta, Indonesia, 100,000 marched against the war drive the previous weekend, Feb. 9, at a rally organized by the opposition Justice Party, the IslamOnLine news service reported.

In Australia's largest anti-war rally since the Vietnam era, 150,000 marched in Melbourne, with another 20,000 in Sydney and 3,000 in Canberra. Protests were reported from 18 cities around New Zealand, with 14,000 each in Wellington and Aukland. Further south still, technicians and workers at McMurdo research station in Antarctica briefly walked out to form a human peace sign in the snow, and distributed photos of it around the world on the Internet.

Brazil held the largest marches in South America, with 30,000 taking to the streets in both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, supporting President Luiz Inacio ("Lula") da Silva's efforts to unite the continent's nations against a US-led attack on Iraq. Protests were also reported in Brasilia and Porto Alegre. In Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, thousands came out despite a summer downpour to hear speakers including human rights advocate and Nobel Peace Laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel. Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital, got a jump on the continent, holding its 20,000-strong march on Friday the 14th. Protests were also reported in the Chilean cities of Santiago and Valparaiso, and the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.

At least 15,000 marched in Mexico City to hear speakers including Guatemalan human rights crusader and Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchu. 5,000 turned out for a government-supported rally in Havana, Cuba. In San Juan, Puerto Rico, some 1,000 gathered, urging Gov. Sila Calderon to take a public stance against the war drive.

In Istanbul, 5,000 marched as the government debated allowing the US to use Turkish territory as a staging ground for an Iraq invasion. Protests within the Middle East were especially passionate. In Damascus, some 200,000 marched on the People's Assembly, chanting anti-US and anti-Israeli slogans. While government officials remained silent, Najjah Attar, a former Syrian cabinet minister, joined the protest, accusing Washington of plotting to redraw the region's map and divide the nations of the Arab world. "The US wants to encroach upon our own norms, concepts and principles," she said. "They are reminding us of the Nazi and fascist times." In Cairo, where Arab leaders are to meet to discuss the crisis this week, a massive police presence kept the crowd down to under 1,000.

Some 10,000 marched under pouring rain in the Jordanian capital, Amman, many carrying Palestinian flags and portraits of Saddam Hussein. Hundreds of riot police barred their way when they attempted to march on the US Embassy in defiance of a ban on protests at the fortress-like complex. In a silent protest, thousands of homes in Jordan turned off their lights and electric appliances and lit candles for one hour on Friday night. Meanwhile in Beirut, an estimated 15,000 marched on the UN headquarters to demand action to stop the war. In Tel Aviv, a mixed crowd of some 2,000 Jews and Palestinians marched together to protest the war drive.

In Baghdad itself, the regime exploited the international mobilization. Tens of thousands, many carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles, demonstrated at a government-called rally to support Saddam Hussein and denounce the US, with the sound of drums filling the streets. "Our swords are out of their sheaths, ready for battle," read one of hundreds of banners carried by marchers along Palestine Street, a central Baghdad avenue.

(From combined sources. For an overview, see AP, Feb. 15. For Latin America coverage, see IPS, Feb. 15. For Middle East, see, Feb. 16)

See Worldwide protest pictures.


Jason Kafouri, media coordinator for United for Peace & Justice, explained the group's origin, and its role in the international mobilization. Originally called simply United for Peace, it began as a project launched by the San Francisco organization Global Exchange after the Sept. 11 attacks. At an Oct. 25, 2002 meeting in Washington DC, the name was adopted by a new national coalition to stop the war. Says Kafouri: "We have grown exponentially and now represent some 200 organizations nationwide."

In November, UPJ joined the UK's Stop the War coalition and other international groups at the European Social Forum in Florence, and chose Feb. 15 as the international day of action against the war. Kafouri calls the fruit of that meeting "the largest worldwide anti-war mobilization in the history of civilization."

UPJ--"the largest grassroots peace mobilization in US" in Kafouri's term--brings together a wide spectrum of groups, ranging from traditional peace organizations, labor and clergy groups, to new and culturally insurgent conglomerations.

Labor, Clergy Pledge Resistance

Anti-war voices in organized labor report a sudden resurgence. Says Michael Letwin of NYC Labor Against War (NYCLAW): "I was in the anti-war movement in the Vietnam era, when I was a kid. We never got as far as we have already this time. Unions representing 5 million workers out of a total organized labor workforce of 15 million workers have taken an explicit anti-war stance. The last time we had this level of anti-war opposition in organized labor in this country, even on paper, must have been in World War I. UAW and AFSCME took anti-war positions in the '60s, but the AFL-CIO was hawkish. This time around its an avalanche, comparatively. Even [AFL-CIO president John] Sweeney has written two letters now which expressed concern about the war--with some ambiguity, but on an anti-war theme."

Letwin, a member and former president of New York's Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, was a key organizer of the labor contingent at the Feb. 15 march, which brought together representatives from TWU Local 100 transit workers, SEIU 1199 hospital workers, and AFSCME DC 37 city employees--which all endorsed the march.

Ibrahim Ramey, national disarmament coordinator for the faith-based pacifist organization Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), reports a mainstreaming of activism in the religious community. Ramsey says that FOR--which arranged for Archbishop Tutu to speak in New York on the 15th--is now part of "a broad interfaith coalition against the war. The National Council of Churches and the Catholic Bishops Conference have spoken out against war. National Episcopal, Methodist and Presbyterian leaders have clearly articulated a position challenging the war. The significant Muslim community in the US is also solidly against the war, and the Islamic community internationally is a very strong and principled force against the war."

Since 1994, one of FOR's member organizations has been the Muslim Peace Fellowship--like FOR itself, based in Nyack, NY. FOR has also worked with Pax Christi and the Quaker aid organization American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in what Ramey calls a "faith witness" against the Iraq sanctions, sending water purification units to Baghdad in violation of US law. FOR also coordinates the Iraq Peace Pledge, in which 35,000 have now signed up to work against the war.

FOR has also signed on to Iraq Pledge of Resistance, which national coordinator Gordon Clark (formerly director of Peace Action) describes as an effort to "provide a greater resistance than simply going to rallies or writing a member of congress." Pledge of Resistance, based in Silver Spring, MD, was launched last October as a "nationally-coordinated but locally organized nonviolent civil disobedience organization." Since then, it has held some 20 CD actions, resulting in 400 arrests--including 100 at the US Mission to the UN on Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day. On MLK Day, four were arrested at New Hampshire's New Boston Air Station, baring sub-zero temperatures. The day after the big Jan. 18 anti-war march in Washington DC, Pledge of Resistance held a smaller march in front of the White House, which is now a restricted area, resulting in 16 arrests. Clark says two protesters were hospitalized after being roughed up by police--including an 83 year old woman.

Rural Grassroots Organizes

Regional activists report a high level of loosely-coordinated grassroots anti-war activity across the country. Joanne Sheehan, who chairs the New England office of the pacifist War Resisters League (WRL) in Norwich, CT, says: "There are weekly vigils all over eastern Connecticut. They are happening twice a week in New London; high school students are holding vigils in Norwich; 350 marched in Willimantic on MLK Day. And that's just in a small corner of the most sparsely populated area of the state. I hear from other folks around that this kind of thing is happening in other states. And as a non-violence trainer, I'm getting a lot of calls to help prepare for an action that would. happen when Bush calls for war."

Sheehan reports that buses came down to the New York rally from throughout New England, and activists in New Haven even chartered a "peace train" from the Metro North commuter line. But Sheehan questions whether traditional protest will ultimately be enough. "We need to be looking at how can we stop the machine from continuing," she says. "When we talk about the power of non-violence, we need to ask where is the power?"

Bill Sulzman in Colorado Springs works with Citizens for Peace in Space, which focuses on the high-level military bases in the area. He also reports escalating anti-war activity, even in remote and rural parts of Colorado. "Any city of any size has got people publicly involved in anti-war expression. Compared to six months ago it's night and day. The notion of pre-emptive war is over the top. Even people who tend to support war see it in terms of defending the homeland, and common sense says that's not what this is about. The economy in this state is really in the dumper, and people wonder why attention isn't being paid to issues closer to home."

On Jan. 27 in Denver, several protesters were arrested blockading the entrance to the local Halliburton headquarters, "tying together the oil issue and a prominent member of the administration," Sulzman says. 20 were charged with trespass, including three high school students.

Citizens for Peace in Space also works with the local Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission, which hosted the statewide mobilization on Feb. 15. Sulzman says Colorado Springs was chosen for the statewide rally instead of the more liberal Denver to highlight the critical role of three local military bases--North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) headquarters at Cheyenne Mountain, the space warfare center at Schriever Air Force Base, and the Space Command headquarters at Peterson AFB, which controls the ICBMs.

Re-orienting to Permanent War

The 9-11 disaster has proved a demarcation line for activist groups, with many having to re-orient. Some groups which originally came together to protest globalization are now making the transition to an anti-war footing. The Berkeley-based Ruckus Society, born of the 1999 Seattle anti-WTO mobilization, is now providing activist training and logistical support in the anti-war effort. Last Sept. 12, when Bush spoke for war at the UN, a Ruckus-chartered yacht sailed by on the East River, waving a 1500-square-foot banner reading "EARTH TO BUSH: NO IRAQ WAR." Says Ruckus Society executive director John Sellers: "The preferred name of the anti-globalization movement is the global justice movement. So its a natural leap to opposition to an imperial war for fossil resources. There are lots of corporate angles to this war."

Groups such as Sept. 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows --made up of some 60 family members of victims of the attacks--have been critical in challenging the illusion of a pro-war consensus. The group was chosen to lead the Feb. 15 march in New York, before the march was banned by city authorities. The group's co-founder David Potorti, whose oldest brother Jim was in the north tower of the World Trade Center, is especially incensed at the ban. "To be told we cannot protest actions being done in our families' name because of a supposed terrorist threat is just absurd," he says. "It is offensive to us as September 11 family members. It's insulting. This issue really cuts to the core of our freedom." The group shared the stage Feb. 15 with Military Families Speak Out, made up of families whose kin in the service face imminent deployment to the Persian Gulf.

Managing Factionalism

One of the challenges of coalition building is how to deal with organizations called--and, many suspect, controlled--by Marxist-Leninist sects whose ultimate ambition is party-building. Not in Our Name, which held a successful anti-war rally in New York's Central Park in October, was originally called by members of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), a Maoist group. International ANSWER (for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), which organized the Jan. 18 mobilization in Washington, formed around the core of the Ramsey Clark-led International Action Center (IAC), widely perceived as a front group for the Workers World Party (WWP). Workers World is so orthodox that it supported the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary, the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and--more recently--former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic in his battle against war crimes charges at The Hague.

Jason Kafouri of UPJ describes how the coalition walked a fine line in its handling of International ANSWER, which endorsed the Feb. 15 rally in New York without actually becoming a UPJ member.

Jim Haber of WRL West in San Francisco says things played out differently in the Bay Area, where the big march was organized by a "coalition of coalitions" consisting of four major groups: Bay Area UPJ, Not in Our Name, ANSWER, and Bay Area United Against War. The four groups coordinated through a joint steering committee. Haber hailed the solution as a victory over destructive factionalism. "There is a more honest and upfront acknowledgement of philosophical differences than before, but also greater unity," he says. "ANSWER is acknowledging that they are not the only game in town, and a consensus is emerging that we have to have some kind of united peace movement and not just a bunch of separate groups."

But the effort was not without friction. One of the ground rules in the San Francisco mobilization was that any suggested speaker could be blocked on the grounds that s/he had attacked any of the four member coalitions. ANSWER blocked Michael Lerner, publisher of the Jewish progressive Tikkun magazine, from speaking at the rally because he had accused ANSWER of anti-Semitism. Lerner refused to accept the coalition's ruling, and accused it of censoring him. The controversy was picked up by the local press

For some, it brought back bad memories of the movement to oppose the first attack on Iraq in 1991, when WWP provoked a split by refusing to condemn Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. This resulted in two separate national marches on Washington, just days apart--one by a WWP-led coalition, the other by a coalition consisting of WRL, FOR and other traditional peace groups.

Gordon Clark of Iraq Pledge of Resistance sees the question in terms of "peace organizations versus anti-imperialist groups. We are a peace organization; we want to bring about peace and justice on the planet, not defeat any particular empire, even the American. And we believe that you have to use peaceful means to achieve peaceful ends--there has to be a conguency." But he emphasizes that movement factionalism "is a very, very small issue in the larger scheme."

WRL's Joanne Sheehan sees this very reality as part of the dilemma. "IAC has created a coalition and doesn't even let the discussion take place," she says. "The people in the room aren't going to challenge them on Milosevic. And the people on the outside feel that to do so would detract from the ant-war issue. So its a difficult question.

Greg Payton, a black Vietnam vet and former WRL board member, remains active in local anti-war activities in Newark, NJ. He warns that the traditional peace groups risk isolating themselves through their own elitism. "These groups are not racist by design, but its hard to think outside the box when you have no stimulus other than what you see. The movement has gravitated away from the grassroots initiatives it should be committed to. WRL is a hell of an organization, but it is not involved in community organizations that are confronting violence at the local level. When you organize the protest, none of the groups representing communities of color are involved--but then you expect them to march when the demonstration comes. That's got to change."

Racial Justice 9-11

And there are signs that it is beginning to. The Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM!), formed in 1995 to oppose budget cuts at the City University of New York (CUNY) and Hunter College, is one grassroots initiative making its voice heard in the new anti-war effort. SLAM!'s Suzan Hammad says the group is led by women and people of color. "These are the groups who are disproportionately affected by these policies that attack the poor, so they need to take a leadership position." Hammad sees the group's anti-war stance as inevitable. "The US is expected to pay 50 to 200 billion dollars for first six months of the war alone. This money could be used to close the budget gaps which are causing tuition hikes. We want money for tuition not ammunition; for books, not for bombs. Bush and his oil clan are gonna go out and get more oil, and use our money to do it. So our lives are impacted by the imperial policies of the United States."

On the night of Feb. 10, several SLAM! activists held an overnight sit-in at the office of Hunter College president Jennifer Raab, demanding she take a stand against both war and tuition hikes. And SLAM! was among the groups that forced the Feb. 15 mobilization in New York to confront issues of racial justice.

Reem Abu-Sbaih, co-chair of the New York-New Jersey chapter of Al-Awda, the Palestine Right of Return Coalition, was at the forefront of that effort--including getting the Palestinian struggle on the Feb. 15 agenda in New York. "This war is about Iraq, but its also very connected to what's going on Palestine," says Abu-Sbaih. "There is more talk that Israel is planning to carry out 'transfer' in the fog of war, resulting in another Naqba ["disaster," Palestinian term for the mass expulsions of 1948]. And Iraq may have violated UN resolutions, but what is the country in the Middle East which is also out of compliance with UN resolutions, and definitely has the most weapons of mass destruction?" The obvious answer is Israel, and it is becoming less controversial to say so.

NY-NJ Al-Awda is one of the member organizations of Racial Justice 911, which led the people of color contingent at the Feb. 15 march and also includes Rock New York, Third World Within, Philippine Forum, Congress for Korean Unification, Sista II Sistsa, Black Against the War and the American Muslim Alliance. Abu-Sbaih says Racial Justice 911 approached UPJ as a united front and demanded that speakers at the rally be 50% women and 75% people of color. "UPJ agreed," she says. "But they hedged on the question of Palestine. We went back and lobbied for a Palestinian speaker and an Arabic cultural show at the rally. This time UPJ agreed, and Al-Awda endorsed the demo." [top]


Weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed El-Baradei reported back to the UN for a second time Feb. 14--this time asserting that Iraq is showing increasing signs of cooperation, decreeing a ban on weapons of mass destruction, allowing surveillance over-flights, and turning over secret documents. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin declared to a hushed Security Council: "We have not reached the point of war." At the end of his speech demanding more time for the inspections, he was greeted with rousing applause--a rarity in the UN's staid decorum. But US Secretary of State Colin Powell was intransigent in his demands for fast action against Iraq, warning that the world should not be taken in by "tricks that are being played on us." (Newsday, Feb. 15) [top]

Ending a month-long impasse that threatened to severely damage the alliance, NATO has agreed to start preparations to defend Turkey in case of Iraqi reprisals. Belgium and Germany, which had been blocking military aid to Turkey, dropped their objections after long hours of talks at NATO's Defense Planning Committee. France, not part of the defense committee, still vehemently opposes a defense plan for Turkey, saying it puts NATO on a war footing. But NATO Secretary General George Robertson said that alliance solidarity has prevailed. US ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns called the decision a "very big step forward." The decision means defense officials will immediately launch plans to deploy surveillance planes, air defense missiles, and anti-chemical and biological warfare units to Turkey, the only NATO member that borders Iraq. NATO's charter says an attack on one member is an attack against the entire alliance, and the US argued that denying support for Turkey would damage NATO's credibility. (VOA, Feb. 17) [top]

An article in the Feb. 17 UK Observer, "US to punish German 'treachery'," details plans by US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to retaliate against the Federal Republic for its opposition to a US-led war on Iraq by withdrawing US troops. This follows weeks of rising anger between Washington and Berlin, with Rumsfeld calling Germany part of the "old Europe." On Feb. 5, Rumsfeld testified to Congress: "There are three or four countries that have said they won't do anything. I believe Libya, Cuba and Germany are the ones that I have indicated won't help in any respect." Now Rumsfeld plans to enact unilateral sanctions on Germany--to the consternation of the State Department. "We are doing this for one reason only: to harm the German economy," one source told The Observer last week. "Our troops contribute many millions of dollars. Why should we continue to support a country which has treated NATO and the protection we provided for decades with such incredible contempt?"

Another Pentagon source said: "The aim is to hit German trade and commerce. It is not just about taking out the troops and equipment; it is also about canceling commercial contracts and defense-related arrangements." German industry is heavily invested in the US military presence. One diplomatic source said Rumsfeld was "furious at Germany. He is a bruiser and it looks as though he means to do it." Rumsfeld plans to shift US forces in Germany to Eastern European NATO countries "which have shown their loyalty to the US throughout the Iraq crisis." (UK Observer, Feb. 16; BBC, Feb. 7)

Rumsfeld played down the notion of punishing Germany in remarks on Feb. 13. "It would be a mistake to suggest that if we do end up reducing some of those forces by moving them to other countries that it had anything to do with our relationships with those countries. Because it simply doesn't," he said. (Reuters, Feb. 13)

Australia's Green Left Weekly reports that on Feb. 8, Rumsfeld was met with 30,000 anti-war protestors in downtown Munich. Protestors held up signs reading "Rummy, go home" and "Welcome to Cuba." (AU Green Left Weekly, Feb. 8)

Rumsfeld caused more controversy on Feb. 13 when he expressed his dissatisfaction at neutral Austria's delay in approving passage of US troops through that country. "Right now, for example, we're trying to move some forces from Germany down to Italy, and Austria is causing a difficulty with respect to moving the forces through Austria by rail," Rumsfeld said. "Which means we may have to go up to Rotterdam [in the Netherlands] or possibly by train through two, or three, or four countries. It's better [to move] directly," he said. (Reuters, Feb. 13)

Rumsfeld's bellicose attitude towards the country of his ancestors has caused a rift between him and his German relatives. "He used to be much nicer," said 85-year-old Margarete Rumsfeld, who met the Defense Secretary in Weyde-Sudweyhe, a village near Breman. "He turned up here in 1972 looking like a typical American with checked trousers and open-necked shirt," she said. Margarete Rumsfeld said if her American relative came again, "I will give him a telling off." She added she was unhappy the Defense Secretary had lumped Germany in with Cuba and Libya. "You don't do things like that, it verges on an insult." (DPA, Feb. 10) (David Bloom) [top]

The Bush administration expelled Mohammed Allawi, a journalist for the official Iraqi News Agency who covers the UN, saying he was engaged in activities "harmful" to US national security. In apparent retaliation, the Iraqi government told Fox News that its four staffers in Baghdad would have to leave the country. (Newsday, Feb. 15) [top]

In the fifth air-strike in a week, US and British planes attacked Iraqi missile defense systems outside Basra Feb. 14. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that 20,000 more troops, including the Third Armored Regiment from Ft. Carson, CO, are being deployed to Kuwait. (NYT, Feb. 15) [top]

The Sunshine Project, a group that monitors biological and chemical weapons, reports that top US military planners are preparing to use incapacitating chemical agents in an invasion of Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, revealed the plans in Feb. 5 testimony before the US House Armed Services Committee.

Rumsfeld stated that plans are being made for multiple applications, including use of gas or aerosols on Iraqi civilians, in caves, and on prisoners. Rumsfeld reiterated confusing US official language about "non-lethal" bio-chemical weapons, describing applications of a "riot agent" that clearly implied the complete incapacitation of victims --which the Sunshine Project says would violate the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Rumsfeld acknowledged US ratification of the CWC but expressed "regret" about its restrictions, stating that the US has "tangled ourselves up so badly" on use of bio-chemical weapons. Rumsfeld indicated he believes that if President Bush signs a waiver of long-standing restrictions on US use of incapacitating chemicals, the US will be able to legally field them in Iraq. Notes the Sunshine Project with irony: "This is the first official US acknowledgement that it may use (bio)chemical weapons in its crusade to rid other countries of such weapons."

Many of the Pentagon's so-called "nonlethal" chemical weapons are pharmaceuticals, known variously as "calmatives," "disabling chemicals," "nonlethal chemicals." etc. They belong to the same broad category of agents as the incapacitating chemical that killed over 100 hostages in a Moscow theater last fall (see WW3 REPORT #37) . That agent was reported to be based on fentanyl, an opiate also among the weapons being assessed by the Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD). In the US, pharmaceutical fentanyl is sold by Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutica. Remifentanil, a closely related drug, is a GlaxoSmithKline product.

The Sunshine Project also notes that Rumsfeld himself is a scion of the pharmaceutical industry: "From 1977 to 1985, Rumsfeld was the President and CEO of Searle Pharmaceuticals. After Rumsfeld's tenure, Searle was bought by Monsanto, which itself was subsequently taken over by Pharmacia. Pharmacia kept Searle when it spun-off Monsanto's agricultural division as 'new' public company."

( The Sunshine Project press release, Feb. 7) [top]

Osama bin Laden resurfaced Feb. 14 as al-Jazeera TV broadcast an alleged audio-taped message from the fugitive terrorist mastermind. The "massage to our Muslim brothers in Iraq" urged Iraqis to carry out "martyrdom attacks" against the US and Israel in the event of war. But in a snub to George Bush's efforts to link him to Saddam Hussein, the message began with a direct dis of the Iraqi tyrant: "Firstly, we stress the loyal intentions that the fighting should be in the name of God only, not in the name of national ideologies nor to seek victory for the ignorant governments that rule all Arab states, including Iraq." (NYT, Feb. 15) [top]

Authorities of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), one of the two political-military factions that controls northern Iraq's Kurdish autonomous zone, announced Feb. 12 that a "large terrorist group" was arrested in Irbil, and claimed that "its leading members were...led by the head of the guards command of the Turkoman Front, Abd-al-Amir Izzat." KDP authorities said the group was "planning to carry out a number of major terror operations," but declined to specify what they were. The statement concluded: "Investigations are continuing with those arrested and the results of these investigations will be announced at a later date to beloved citizens." (Kurdistan Satellite TV, Salah-al-Din, via BBC Monitoring, Feb. 12)

See also WW3 REPORT #72 [top]


An Israeli tank blew up in the northern Gaza Strip Feb. 15, near the settlement of Dugit, after driving over a 55-lb. explosive charge. The four soldiers inside the tank were killed, and the Islamic militant group Hamas claimed responsibility. On Feb. 16, an explosion in Gaza City took the lives of six members of Hamas. The Israeli government did not deny responsibility for the blast, yet James Bennet of the New York Times found it necessary to mention, "many have also died by accidentally triggering bombs they were assembling." The Israeli paper Ha'aretz was less equivocal, stating "six Hamas operatives were killed by an explosion in Gaza City that was apparently an Israeli assassination." Ha'aretz also says the six had actually purchased a pilotless drone, which they were testing when it exploded, a bomb hidden inside. Hamas has been interested in pilotless drones for a year, for attacks or intelligence gathering. Israeli authorities are now investigating where the men bought the drone from.

Ha'aretz reports Israel's defense establishment decided Feb. 15 to go after Hamas' military infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. The paper says: "The planned operation, which is slated to last for a relatively long time, is expected to include assassinations of wanted terrorists along with a deep penetration into the Strip by Israeli ground forces." However, Israel says it does not intend to re-occupy the Gaza Strip. (Ha'aretz, Feb. 16; NYT, Feb. 16)

On Feb. 17, Israeli forces including 35 tanks backed by helicopter gunships, entered Gaza City and blew up the house of Hamas militant Ahmed Ghandour, who is alleged to be top aide to Hamas bombmaker Adnan al-Roul--held responsible in the Feb. 15 tank attack. Two people were killed and four civilians, including a doctor, were injured in the attack. (Ha'aretz, Feb. 17) (David Bloom) [top]

Writing in the New York Times on Feb. 13, James Bennet told the story of how an 8 year-old Hassan Majdee Alkhool was killed that day, part of the four-day Muslim holiday, Eid-ul-Adha: "In Qalqilya, forces of the Israeli border police on a raid into the city encountered what the army described as a mob. It said police opened fire after being attacked with stones, bricks and Molotov cocktails. A spokesman said the army did not know if anyone was hurt. Palestinians said the border police surrounded two houses in apparent pursuit of wanted men, when youths began throwing stones at them. They said that in addition to the boy who was killed, nine other Palestinians were injured by what they described as random Israeli fire." (NYT, Feb. 12)

Palestinian sources in Qalqilya described a different version of events to WW3 REPORT. At 3 PM, plainclothes commandos arrived in Qalqilya in a white Mercedes 709 truck. Hassan Majdee Alkhool, 8 years old, was shopping for the feast to mark the end of Eid when the commandos opened fire on him and other shoppers. Mohamed Hassaeen, 38, was shot while riding in his car; Mohamed Tirbeen 23 & Moosa Abu Shaar, 24, were riding in another car when they were shot. Fahti Jbarah, 55, was shot while walking. The other three wounded Palestinians were also shopping; brothers Ayad Mohamed Taha, 23, and Ayman Mohamed Taha, 19; and Aurwa Saman, 19. At 4:30, more than 400 soldiers arrived, in 15 jeeps, 3 buses and 3 tanks. At 6:30, stones were thrown at the Israeli soldiers in the main street, but no Molotov cocktails. Ambulances were not allowed to evacuate the wounded until 7:30 PM, and young Alkhool died. One of WW3 REPORT's sources concluded: "Under the cover of Israeli security, the day of Eid become the black day" (David Bloom)

For pictures, see: & [top]

On Jan. 31, the New York Times reported the following account of a messy Israeli hit by a Border Police death squad dressed in mufti ("civvies") in the West Bank town of Tul Karm:

"The Israeli Army said the raid in Tulkarm, conducted by the border police, was a mission to arrest two members of a militant group, al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, which is affiliated with Mr. Arafat's Fatah party and has claimed responsibility for many attacks on Israelis. The army said that as the police entered the city, Palestinians threw stones and gasoline bombs at them. The police dispersed the crowds with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Palestinian officials said seven people had been wounded. The army said that after the police spotted the two wanted men and closed in on them, officers came under fire from gunmen nearby. The police returned fire and ordered the two men, who tried to escape, to halt, then fired warning shots, the army said. When the men did not stop, the army said, the police shot and killed both of them. Palestinian witnesses said that only one of the dead men belonged to the militant group and that the other was a bystander taking refuge in a candy shop." (NYT, Jan. 31)

An International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist working in Tul Karm had the following observations on the incident:

"You may have heard about the 'successful' Israeli operation that killed the head of the local branch of al-Aksa two weeks back. Israeli soldiers have since voiced their glee at killing 'the fucker' at checkpoints where ISMers have been. Several local witnesses told me that Special Forces simply sprayed the area with machine gun fire. According to hospital records, 18 bystanders sustained injuries from the shooting which makes me think they are probably right. In this 'successful' operation they also mistook a sweet seller they had shot in the stomach who was in full store uniform for a shot militant and chased him into his store and shot him twice in the head with dum-dums. They then proceeded to unload an additional clip into him just for good measure and then dragged the body into the street. He was known as a poor man of great integrity and the only one with an income in his family. He had been building a home with his meager savings for 5 years and was hoping to complete it shortly and get married. Perhaps this was all just a mistake on the Israeli soldiers parts. I would like the Israelis to tell that to the devastated family. Tell it to his brother who is 12 and now will be forced to seek employment and probably stop going to school." (ISM, Feb. 10) (David Bloom) [top]

An ISM activist in Tul Karm describes the death of Muhamed, 21, a worker in a clothing store, on Feb. 8. The activist was watching as Israeli armored personnel carriers (APC) were returning to their base in Tul Karm after driving around to enforce curfew:

"Just past us...I shuddered at three bursts of machine gun fire that came from the APC. I ran in the direction of the shooting and witnessed the vehicles rush off. Within seconds a man exited a shop and called in a shrill voice for an ambulance. I was one of the first to the scene and rushed into the clothing store. A young man lay on the floor of the shop. He looked like a ghoulish yellow puppet with an extra joint in his legs. Both his femur bones in his legs were snapped by two bullets and blood was visibly spurting from one of his legs into a growing pool that surrounded him on the shop floor. He was reaching with his hands into the air and in severe shock and excruciating pain, but conscious. All I could do was hold his hand...

"The evidence at the scene is quite damning. The store had been closed with steel doors at the time of the incident. The heavy gun just shot right through the cement wall and the steel doors into the back of the store and the man. When contacted, the Israeli occupation forces spokesperson explained that shooting at random was illegal and therefore not done..." Muhamed died the next day, in a ambulance on the way to Nablus. The ambulance was delayed on its way three times by Israeli soldiers. (ISM, Feb. 10) (David Bloom) [top]

The District Co-ordinating Offices (DCO), originally places where Israeli and Palestinian security forces coordinated under the Oslo accords, are now the bases of the Israeli army occupying Palestinian territory. In Tul Karm, the DCO is down the road from a cluster of schools, and Israeli armored vehicles often pass through. This area is often the scene of uneven battles between stone-throwing Palestinian youth and Israeli armored vehicles. Activists report hearing troops in Israeli vehicles exhorting the youth to come out over loudspeakers, in Arabic. One ISM activist in Tul Karm reports that on several occasions he heard Israeli troops in APCs broadcasting taunts at Palestinian boys, such as "Ta'al Sharmuta" ("come out, whores").

WW3 REPORT witnessed a Jan. 28 battle in which an Israeli soldier, sounding quite drunk, sang "Hatikva," the Israeli national anthem, over an APC's loudspeakers before firing rubber bullets at local youth.

On Feb. 10, one ISM activist in Tul Karm described the death of a youth in the town at the hands of Israeli troops: "This was after a tear gas bout that literally covered the whole downtown core in a 30 foot high column of gas. It was the worst gassing I had ever underwent and I was 2 blocks away. I hate to think how children the elderly and the sick handled it in the actual area affected, the center of town and a highly populated area. The same morning R****** and I witnessed a 17-year-old boy who was pathetically throwing stones at an armored vehicle being shot between the eyes by border police with a kind of gold bullet that fragments upon impact. I could see the Israeli soldiers aiming from the vehicle next to us and actually said 'oh no, they are going to shoot one of these boys' to R****** right before they shot. The boys nose was destroyed and fragments entered his skull. We saw him at the al-Zakat Hospital in Tul Karm and apparently he is now in a hospital in Israel and will undergo neuro-surgery to try to remove the fragments from inside his skull. Another boy, 13, lost an eye and part of his face with a similar bullet... We were not far away when it happened; the two Israeli military vehicles had just passed us on the road before carrying out another tragic act." (ISM, Feb. 10) (David Bloom) [top]


In mid-January, India signed a military agreement with Iran--a nation that constitutes one of Bush's "axis of evil." The agreement, signed in Tehran by the Indian naval chief and the Iranian defense minister, opens up Iranian military bases to India in case of a military stand-off with Pakistan. In exchange, India is to provide military training of Iranian forces, and help upgrade Iran's jet fighters, tanks and artillery.

Jane's Defense Weekly predicts that the pact will affect India's relationship with the US, which has been growing more cordial since the 9-11 attacks. Through the new alliance with Iran, India has accomplished "an encirclement of Pakistan," Jane's says. Meanwhile, Pakistan is eager to sign a similar defense agreement with another power in the region--but can find no suitable candidate. China would have nothing to benefit from any such deal but could end up antagonizing India. Pakistan could approach Iran's traditional enemy Iraq--but this would clearly incense Bush. The US has been viewed by both India and Pakistan as the only third party that can legitimately intervene in the dispute over Kashmir. However, the India-Iran treaty is likely to foster closer ties between Pakistan and the US, since it sends a clear signal to both Washington and Islamabad that they cannot have their way in the region. (Jane's Defense Weekly, Jan 30) (Subuhi Jiwani)[top]

According to the Feb. 12 edition of Jane's Defense Weekly, Israel will provide the training for four new Indian Special Forces battalions to help combat the Jammu and Kasmir insurgency. Jane's quotes Indian defense sources as saying the Israeli-trained units will be engaging in "irregular warfare," and will be equipped with Israel Military Industries' 5.56mm Tavor 21 and 7.62mm Galil assault rifles acquired by India in December 2002. The units will be charged with stopping the infiltration of Pakistan-based insurgents across the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Israel has trained Indian forces in the past, including the Special Protection Group, part of India's civlian security infrastructure. For its part, the Israeli Ministry of Defense told Jane's:"There is no planned anti- terror training or any sort of training activity we know of for Indian troops." (JDW, Jan. 8; JDW, Feb. 12) (David Bloom)

See Also: Tel Aviv-Dehli Anti-Terror Alignment [top]

Indian National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra met with US Assistant Secretary of Defense J.D. Crouch last week in Washington in a an effort to strengthen military cooperation. Issues touched on included Afghanistan, Iraq and the Subcontinent; however, no details about these discussions have been released. Crouch said, "India is a very important country in the world. And it is a democratic country... with which the United States has a lot in common. It is very important from our perspective and it will play a key role in maintaining peace and stability in the subcontinent and in the region." (BBC, Feb 13) (Subuhi Jiwani)[top]

30 people have been killed in border violence since India tried to forcibly deport 1,000 Bengali-speaking residents across the border to Bangladesh two weeks ago. Security forces have exchanged fire ever since the deportations began, and civilian residents on both sides have become embroiled in the fighting. The crisis began on Feb. 4, when the Indian government ordered officials in West Bengal state to evacuate and deport "illegal" Bangladeshi immigrants living in border villages, citing supposed security risks. The Indian government claims the migrant laborers--primarily construction workers and domestic helpers--had illegally crossed the border in search of work. Bangladesh maintains that the laborers are actually Indian Muslims who bear similar physical characteristics to Bangladeshis and speak the same language. India claims not to use force in the deportations, and blames Bangladesh for its refusal to accept the deportees. Bangladesh's Foreign Ministry maintains that India is attempting to deport its own Bengali-speaking Muslims. (Times of India, Feb.4)

Last week, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Morshed Khan took a three-day trip to meet his Indian counterpart, Yashwant Sinha, in an effort to quell the tensions. Khan said India should adopt legal and diplomatic proceedings if it found illegal immigrants living within its borders. (BBC, Feb. 16) (Subuhi Jiwani) [top]


On Feb. 11, Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. of federal District Court in Manhattan ruled to gut the Handschu Agreement, a 17-year-old court order that restricted the New York Police Department's ability to carry out surveillance of political activists. He cited what he called "fundamental changes in the threats to public security."

City officials argued the restrictions must be lifted to aid the War against Terrorism. The city government's legal arm, the Corporation Counsel, brought suit last year to weaken the Handschu Agreement, which required police surveillance of political groups to be monitored by a three-member authority. Under the city proposal, the Handschu Authority continues to exist and field complaints about police political investigations--but no longer has the power to regulate or veto such probes. The city's papers argued that the NYPD "had no conception of the challenge it would face in protecting the city and its people from international terrorism."

"The Constitution's protections are unchanging," Judge Haight wrote in his decision, "but the nature of public peril can change with dramatic speed, as recent events show." The Handschu guidelines, he said, "addressed different perils in a different time." Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly agreed, telling the press: "We live in a different, more dangerous time than when the consent decree was approved in 1985. This ruling removes restrictions from a bygone era, and will allow us to more effectively carry out counter-terrorism investigations." (NYT, Newsday, Feb. 12)

The Handschu Agreement came out of a 1971 lawsuit over police surveillance of the Black Panther Party and other activists. The suit targetted the intelligence-gathering activities of the NYPD's notorious "Red Squad"--known in the 1960s as the Bureau of Special Services (BOSS), and today officially designated the Public Security Section of the Department's Intelligence Division. The agreement establishes a three-person Handschu Authority made up of the NYPD's First Deputy Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters and a civilian appointed by the mayor. Under the now-gutted agreement, public protests could be videotaped only if there was a likelihood of criminal activity. The use of video tapes had to be reported to the Handschu Authority within 48 hours.

The city's court papers said the New York police are the only ones in the country operating under anything like the Handschu Agreement--which also limits intelligence sharing with other law-enforcement agencies. Similar restrictions on Chicago police were lifted in January 2001.

The moves to unleash the "Red Squad" come with a major overhaul of the NYPD spying apparatus. Overseeing the changes is David Cohen, a 35-year CIA veteran appointed to the newly-created NYPD counter-terrorism post last January by Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Cohen, who was CIA deputy director for operations from 1995 to 1997 and deputy director for intelligence from 1991 to 1995, is now the New York Police Department's deputy commissioner for intelligence.

See also WW3 REPORT # 67 [top]

In late January, 11 cars on the streets of Brooklyn's heavily-Jewish Midwood neighborhood were painted with swastikas, the latest in a series of hate crimes in southern Brooklyn that has detectives busy and community leaders concerned. But, as Adam Dickter reports for New York's Jewish Week, "the spree has also produced a united front against bigotry from ethnic communities that peacefully coexist in the area." Ironically, the swastikas appeared a day after hundreds of people crowded into an auditorium at Brooklyn's Kings Bay Y for a forum on combating ethnic hatred in the culturally diverse borough. The forum was called in response to a similar incident several days earlier, in which 26 cars in the Marine Park neighborhood were spray-painted with swastikas. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who organized the forum, noted that the packed audience included Jews, Christians, Asian Americans and African Americans. "It was a great crowd, very diverse," said Weiner, whose district straddles the Brooklyn-Queens border and includes parts of Midwood. "They expressed their solidarity with one another and didn't seem intimidated or scared but determined. They want this person caught and the book thrown at him." The Marine Park and Midwood incidents are believed to have been carried out by different perpetrators, Weiner said, citing discussions with police. "We think it's a copycat crime," said Chaim Deutsch, who runs a volunteer community patrol, Shomrim, in cooperation with Midwood's 63rd and 70th police precincts. "We believe it's a bunch of kids."

The Midwood vandalism also comes on the heels of the attempted arson of a Sheepshead Bay synagogue the previous week, and two other vandalism complaints by Jews in East Flatbush and Kensington. In the summer of 2001, a teenager was charged with defacing several houses and a synagogue with swastikas and other hateful graffiti in Midwood. But local Jewish leaders say they see no sign of growing intolerance in south Brooklyn. "This is a wonderful community and we will not allow individuals who are demented to destroy it," said Rabbi Melvin Burg of the Ocean Avenue Jewish Center in Sheepshead Bay and executive director of the Rabbinical Board of Flatbush. "Every ethnic group was represented at the town hall meeting. Everyone has traditionally gotten along." (Jewish Week [NYC], Jan. 1) [top]



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