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ISSUE: #. 81. April 14, 2003

BAGHDAD OCCUPIED

LOOTING AND BLACKOUTS AS HUNGER, EPIDEMICS LOOM

TURKS EYE KURDISTAN, IRAN PREPARES SHI'ITE RESISTANCE

CIA, PENTAGON BICKER OVER POST-SADDAM PROXY

LEST WE FORGET: WAR GRINDS ON IN PALESTINE, AFGHANISTAN, COLOMBIA

"Beware of those who speak of the spiral of history; they are preparing a boomerang. Keep a steel helmet handy."

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, 1952

CURRENT HOMELAND SECURITY COLOR ADVISORY CODE: ORANGE

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




THE IRAQ FRONT
1. Saddam's Regime Disappears, U.S. Takes Baghdad
2. Civilian Casualties: Massive, Invisible
3. The Statue Incident: "Staged Media Event"?
4. Rage Explodes in Streets
5. U.S. Proxy Forces Join the Rampage
6. Censorship by Bombardment
7. Mass Graves in Umm Qasr?
8. Aid Groups Demand Access
9. International Bickering, Ulterior Motives Slow Aid
10. Gulf War Syndrome: The Sequel
11. Britain Admits: Iraq May Have No WMD
12. Ahmed Chalabi: Pentagon Favorite Has Shady Past
13. CIA Grooming Accused War Criminal as New Boss?
14. Halliburton, Pals Poised to Rake In
15. Shi'ite Rebels to Boycott U.S. Talks on Iraq
16. Turkey Threatens Intervention in Iraqi Kurdistan
17. Turkish Press: Kurds Pawns of Jews?
18. Arab Nations Call for General Assembly Action
19. Bush Rattles Saber at Syria
20. BBC: It's The Oil, Stupid!

THE PALESTINE FRONT
1. Israeli Soldier Shoots British ISM Activist
2. U.S. Troops Sighted in Occupied Territories

THE AFGHANISTAN FRONT
1. Eleven Civilians Killed in "Collateral Damage"

THE ANDEAN FRONT
1. Another U.S. Pilot Goes Down in Colombia

WATCHING THE SHADOWS
1. Yemen: Cole Bombing Suspects Escape
2. Islamophobe Pipes Fingered for "Institute Of Peace"

THE WAR AT HOME
1. Rubber Bullets in Oakland
2. Pre-Emptive Arrests in New York City
3. NYPD Told to Tone Down Political Interrogations
4. Pro-War Rally at Ground Zero
5. New Mexico Dissidents Face Persecution
6. "Operation Liberty Shield" Targets Iraqi Americans
7. Palestinian-American Detained as "Material Witness"



THE IRAQ FRONT

1. SADDAM'S REGIME DISAPPEARS, U.S. TAKES BAGHDAD
The Saddam Hussein regime collapsed Monday April 7 as US forces began to move in on Baghdad, following a few tentative forays into the center of the besieged city with tank columns over the weekend. US troops were photographed lounging in Saddam's abandoned palaces, even as fighting continued in the city and suburbs. The residential neighborhood of al-Mansur was hit by missiles from a B-1 bomber Monday, on intelligence that Saddam and his sons were there. Civilian casualties were reported. Baghdad was by then without electricity and in many places without water. That same day, Gen. Tommy Franks left his headquarters at Camp Sayliya outside Doha, Qatar, to fly into US-occupied Najaf. Also that day, US President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair met in Belfast to begin to work out their differences over the UN and international role in rebuilding Iraq.

On April 8, US forces tightened their grip on Baghdad. Missiles were still falling in sections of the city, while street-to-street battles raged in others. The Planning Ministry and Information Ministry were reported in flames following air strikes. US forces also fanned out over central Iraq. At several towns, the New York Times reported April 9, Iraqi regular forces "evaporated" as the US moved in. Most of the country was taken without resistance--although clashes were reported on the Syrian border.

On April 9, Bush and Blair scored a brilliant propaganda coup as TV footage flashed around the world of a statue of Saddam Hussein in a Baghdad square toppling to the ground, symbolically sealing the fate of Saddam's regime. (See related story) But on April 10, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Marine checkpoint in eastern Baghdad, wounding four US soldiers. Looting and chaotic violence spread throughout the city.

Meanwhile, scattered resistance continued in British-occupied Basra, which was also largely without water and power. A New York Times photo April 10 showed Basra residents gathering water from the polluted Shatt al-Arab waterway (formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates). The Times also reported lawlessness and severe war damage in the city, noting that the Museum of Natural History had been reduced to wreckage, presumably by an air strike. The BBC reported April 7 that Basra hospitals did not have enough water to make plaster. BBC said British troops did not interfere as widespread looting broke out in Basra, with schools, hospitals, office buildings and hotels ransacked. Locals contracted to deliver water in tanker trucks were reported to be profiteering.

Newsday reported April 11 that local protests broke out in Basra as word spread that Gen. Muzahim Mustafa al-Kanan al-Tameemi, a senior member of Saddam's Ba'ath Party and former general in his army, had been chosen by the British to head an interim administration for the city. Hand-written banners in poor English read "We Not Want Saddam's Men, We Want Man Civil."

Under international pressure to restore order, the US set up a civil-military liaison center at Baghdad's Palestine Hotel, and broadcast an appeal to city administrators to come forward over the BBC's Arabic service. By week's end, US Marines were posted outside Baghdad's banks and hospitals to deter looters. Scattered clashes were still reported in the city.

Attention next turned to the north, as Kurdish forces took Kirkuk and US forces advanced on Mosul. Kirkuk was also reported without electricity. Looting and chaotic violence also broke out in Mosul as Iraqi forces withdrew and US forces moved in. US forces also advanced on Tikrit, Saddam's home city and political stronghold. With the city already in chaos from air strikes, US forces were said to have taken Tikrit by the night of Sunday April 13.

As of Friday April 11, 106 US troops had been killed in the war, and 31 British troops, with 14 allied troops missing or captured. Neither the US media or US military are keeping track of Iraqi casualties. (See related story)

(Combined sources: BBC, NYT, Newsday, wire services) [top]

2. CIVILIAN CASUALTIES: MASSIVE, INVISIBLE
On April 9, the cover of the UK Guardian showed mangled corpses piled high at the Baghdad morgue. The New York Times, like most US papers, avoided such photos. But it reported April 10 that while the number of Iraqi killed may never be determined, hospital workers in Basra say they have handled up to 2,000 corpses throughout the three weeks of war. Not all were necessarily civilians, and the whereabouts of bodies from the disappeared thousands-strong Republican Guard divisions remains a mystery.

The number of casualties in Baghdad is so high that hospitals have stopped counting, the International Committee of the Red Cross said April 6. "No one is able to keep accurate statistics of the admitted and transferred war wounded any longer as one emergency arrival follows the other in the hospitals of Baghdad,'' read the ICRC statement. "Ambulances are picking up the wounded and running them to the triage areas and on to hospitals. Some of the wounded try to reach the nearest hospitals by foot... "All of the hospitals are under pressure and the medical staff is working without respite.'' The statement said most hospitals were powered by back-up generators, and were running low on water.

ICRC, the main aid agency left in Iraq, gave no estimates on the number of deaths and did not confirm US Central Command estimates that between 2,000 and 3,000 Iraqi troops were killed when US armored vehicles made an early foray into Baghdad April 5. At one point during the foray, the al-Yarmouk hospital was receiving Iraqi wounded at a rate of about 100 an hour, the ICRC said. The ICRC also protested that a convoy carrying badly needed medical supplies for the Hillah hospital had to be canceled due to military operations. Said David Wimhurst of the UN office for Iraq in Amman: "The access roads are no longer open. The ICRC can't get through."

The medical stocks in Nasiriyah were destroyed during the bombardment of the city, the UN office reported. The US claimed Iraqi defenders turned a Nasiriyah hospital into a military site. The World Health Organization said it expects the Iraqi health situation to deteriorate sharply in the coming days. "The health workers are overwhelmed by injured and routine work is disrupted," said the WHO's Fadela Chaib in Amman, adding that the collapse of power and sanitation systems increases the risk of epidemics . (AP, April 6)

The BBC reported April 10 that two Iraqi children were killed and nine others injured when US Marines opened fire on a car at a checkpoint in Nasiriya. The New York Times reported that two civilian men were killed April 11 when fire from a US tank struck their Toyota sedan. The tank had "Bush and Co." written on its barrel.

In a garbage-strewn stretch of wasteland at Karbala, US Army Private Nick Boggs shot dead a boy of around 10 who had bent to pick up a grenade off the body of a killed resistance fighter. "I did what I had to do. I don't have a big problem with it but anyone who shoots a little kid has to feel something," said Boggs. (Sydney Morning Herald, April 8)

Newsday reported April 7 that US troops in combat make frequent reference to "nuking" Iraqis, who they call "ragheads" and "camel jockeys," seemingly without distinguishing between civilians and enemy forces. "I say we just--nuke this place and make it into a parking lot," seethed Lance Cpl. Ryan Eman, 22, of Michigan after his unit was woken up by a pre-dawn artillery barrage in central Iraq which sent them scrambling from their sleeping bags.

The web site Iraq Body Count continues to monitor world press reports to arrive at a daily update of the total Iraqi civilian dead. Each incident is listed separately, noting the location, number dead, weaponry used and media source. At press time, the minimum estimate stands at 1,368 and the maximum at 1,621.

See also WW3 REPORT #80 [top]

3. THE STATUE INCIDENT: "STAGED MEDIA EVENT"?
On April 9, Bush and Blair scored a brilliant propaganda coup as TV footage flashed around the world of a statue of Saddam Hussein in a Baghdad square toppling to the ground. Iraqis reportedly set upon the statue with a sledgehammer before US Marines came in with a tank recovery vehicle, pulling it from its pedestal with cables as the crowd of Iraqis cheered. CNN repeatedly broadcast the footage, interspersing it with footage of the 1945 liberation of Berlin and the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.

Adding to the symbolic significance, a US Marine covered Saddam's face with a US flag before the statue was toppled. The flag was purported to be one which was actually on the Pentagon during the 9-11 attack. Marine Lt. Tim McLaughlin of New Hampshire was apparently at the Pentagon that day, and had saved the flag to bring to Iraq for just such a moment. His colleague Corporal Edward Chin draped the flag over the statue. When this elicited a negative reaction from the crowd, the flag was replaced by a pre-1991 Iraqi flag. This was all a bit too much for Robert Fisk, who in the April 11 UK Independent called the statue incident "the most staged photo-opportunity since Iwo Jima." The media-watchers at Information Clearing House ran an (unsourced and slightly unclear) wide-angle photo of the square as the statue comes down, showing the crowd to be much smaller than it appears in the closer photos and footage shown in the world media. The web site insinuates the crowd was made up of paid agents, calling the incident a "carefully staged media event."

However, most media accounts admitted that the crowd was no more than 200. Newsday's coverage was typical. While big pictures of the falling statue and jubilant crowds were splashed prominently, with box quotes from exultant Iraqis, the more uncomfortable realities were hidden deep in the text. The paper's April 10 edition quoted one Baghdad resident, Stefan Abu George, saying: "This is my country and this is an occupation. I can't imagine what the result of this is going to be." A friend, Wathiq Abzara, answered: "Like Palestine."

Washington DC resident Andy Shallal of Iraqi-Americans for Peaceful Alternatives summed up how the incident--whether real or contrived--is being manipulated. He told New York's WBAI Radio April 10: "Security Council resolution 1441 was not about liberation. Disarming Iraq, the original mission, is being forgotten in a photo op of a statue being torn down." [top]

4. RAGE EXPLODES IN STREETS
Widespread looting broke out in Baghdad as the regime collapsed, with shops, office buildings and the city's major hospital being stripped and ransacked. The UN protested April 10 that law and order had completely broken down in the city, and the US was in danger of violating its responsibilities to the population under the Geneva Convention. (BBC, April 10)

One mob looted the National Museum of Iraq, where ancient Mesopotamian pottery artifacts and statues were seen broken or overturned, and administrative offices wrecked. Two men were seen hauling an ancient portal out of the building, and empty wooden crates were scattered over the floor. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, April 12) While museum curators had sequestered the most precious artifacts in the basement, the BBC reported April 13 that they surrendered the keys after being threatened by gunmen. The plunder of the museum was allowed despite an appeal by the Archeological Institute of America, published in Science magazine March 21, calling on all sides to uphold their responsibility to protect artifacts under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. (See WW3 REPORT #80)

In once incident, US troops apparently shot and killed a Baghdad shopkeeper who was defending his store with an AK-47 against looters. The merchant pulled his rifle on the thieves when they began sacking the shop, residents told an AFP photographer. But when US soldiers approached the area, the looters told them the shopkeeper was a member of the Fedayeen resistance. The US troops opened fire, killing the man, the neighbors said. The photographer saw the covered body of Mohammad al-Barheini, 25, lying on a shelf in his shop, his head in a bag, on Baghdad's al-Rashid commercial street. (AFP, April 11)

BBC reported that a 16-year-old boy accused of looting was beaten to death in one Baghdad neighborhood. By week's end, many neighborhood residents had erected street barricades to protect their homes from the mobs. (BBC, April 10, 13)

April 13 also saw the first anti-US protest in Baghdad, as about 100 residents gathered at the Palestine Hotel to decry the disaster in their city, with signs reading "Bush=Saddam."

( Palestine Chronicle, April 13)

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had this to say on the rioting and looting: "Stuff happens... And it's untidy. And freedom's untidy. And free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that's what going to happen here." (Newsday, April 13) One wonders if his views were as forgiving on the 1992 LA riots and the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle. [top]

5. U.S. PROXY FORCES JOIN THE RAMPAGE
The Iraqi Coalition of National Unity (ICNU), a previously little-known militia, has seized control of Hay al-Ansar and other outskirts of southern Najaf city. Local residents reports that the ICNU--apparently made up of Iraqi troops who have defected to the US side and are working with (and being equipped by) US Special Forces--is looting and terrorizing neighborhoods with impunity. "They steal and steal," said a man living near the Medresa al Tayif school, calling himself Abu Zeinab. "They threaten us, saying: 'We are with the Americans, you can do nothing to us'." (Khilafah.com, April 9) [top]

6. CENSORSHIP BY BOMBARDMENT
BBC reported April 7 that Iraqi state TV and radio were silenced in Baghdad after an air attack on their transmitters. But attacks on the press were not limited to Saddam's state media. The Baghdad headquarters of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV was also hit by US missiles, and went off the air. An Al-Jazeera cameraman was killed in the raid.

Al-Jazeera also charged that US forces fired on one of its vehicles--bearing the network insignia--near Baghdad. Said a statement from the network: "Al-Jazeera deplores this incident and reaffirms its commitment to carry out its media activities with its usual professionalism. It asks all sides to treat journalists in line with international laws and conventions ." (ArabNews.com, April 8)

On April 8, a US air-strike killed an Al-Jazeera correspondent and wounded his cameraman. That same day, US tank fire hit the Reuters television bureau in Baghdad, killing one of its cameramen and a cameraman for Spain's Tele 5 channel and wounding four other members of the Reuters staff. ( UK Independent, April 9)

An April 9 strike on Baghdad's Palestine Hotel, informal headquarters of the local press corps, killed two reporters. Footage filmed by France 3 shows a US tank targeting the hotel and waiting at least two minutes before firing. (The Courier Mail, Queensland, April 9)

Meanwhile, propaganda broadcasts from US aircraft over Baghdad filled the media vacuum, repeating the line that the US and UK forces are "liberators, not occupiers." (FSRN, April 10) [top]

7. MASS GRAVES IN UMM QASR?
Citing interviews with local residents, Islam-OnLine reports that British troops occupying the Persian Gulf port of Umm Qasr have buried some 200 bodies in mass graves hastily dug in the city to hide evidence of "massacres." The sources said British troops opened fire on civilians who were resisting their advance into the city in the early days of the war. (Islam-OnLine, April 8) [top]

8. AID GROUPS DEMAND ACCESS
Aid organizations warn that Iraq is descending into chaos and demand immediate assistance in securing access to needy civilians. "The images we see on television today are not very encouraging in terms of lawlessness in certain parts of the country," said Kathleen Hunt of Care International. "We need respect for international humanitarian law, we need the independence to move around and do our assessments and we need security." Representatives of several non-governmental organizations, including Save the Children and Amnesty International, expressed their concerns at an April 9 forum with members of the UN Security Council. US Ambassador John Negroponte told reporters that security in Iraq will improve as the remnants of Saddam's regime are put down. "As coalition presence increases in that country and as the level of resistance from Iraqi forces declines, the security situation should improve and it should be easier for these agencies to operate in various parts of Iraq," he said.

The UN says around $720 million in relief supplies is on trucks and ships bound for Iraq, but it still needs $2.2 billion in emergency funds. The Security Council has authorized UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to review nearly $16 billion in contracts approved under the oil-for-food program and give priority to those that could be used immediately for humanitarian relief. (AP, April 10) [top]

9. INTERNATIONAL BICKERING, ULTERIOR MOTIVES SLOW AID
Meanwhile, aid distribution is slowed by international bickering. French aid agencies have teams in Baghdad and convoys waiting at the borders for the go-ahead to move into Iraq, but are refusing to take orders from US and British forces. All the major French aid agencies have refused to be placed under the command of the humanitarian operations center set up by the Pentagon. "Humanitarian aid cannot be viewed as a weapon for achieving military goals," five France- based aid agencies said in a joint statement. (AFP, April 10)

Several US-based Christian aid organizations openly view their Iraq operations as part of a "spiritual warfare" campaign to convert the country's Muslims to Christianity. The Southern Baptist Convention, an ardent supporter of the war as an opportunity to bring Christianity to the Middle East, says it has 25,000 trained evangelists ready to enter Iraq. (Toronto Globe and Mail, April 9) [top]

10. GULF WAR SYNDROME: THE SEQUEL
Medical experts are preparing for a return of the mysterious "Gulf War Syndrome" which afflicted veterans of 1991's Operation Desert Storm. "People are sick over there already," said Dr. Doug Rokke, former director of the US Army's depleted uranium (DU) project. "It's not just uranium. You've got all the complex organics and inorganics [compounds] that are released in those fires and detonations. And they're sucking this in.... You've got the whole toxic wasteland."

In 1991, Desert Storm Commander Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf asked Rokke to oversee the medical care of soldiers injured in "friendly fire" incidents involving DU weapons. Rokke later wrote the DU safety rules adopted by the Army, but was relieved of his duties when he criticized commanders for not following those regulations and not treating exposed troops from NATO's war in Yugoslavia.

Rokke said today's troops have been fighting on land polluted with chemical, biological and radioactive weapon residue from the 1991 Gulf War. "That's why people started getting sick right away...with respiratory, diarrhea and rashes--horrible skin conditions," Rokke said. "That's coming back on and they have been treating them at various medical facilities. And one of the doctors at one of the major Army medical facilities--he and I talk almost every day--and he is madder than hell ." (Steven Rosenfeld for TomPaine.com, April) [top]

11. BRITAIN ADMITS: IRAQ MAY HAVE NO WMD
British Home Secretary David Blunkett told BBC April 5 he hoped no weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq but acknowledged their absence would lead to a "very interesting debate" about the official justification for the war. "I hope we don't [find any WMD]...because the danger of finding them means there is a danger of them being used, not simply against our own forces but also against the Iraqi people, even by accident," Blunkett said. "We will obviously have a a very interesting debate if there are no biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear weapons or the facilities to produce them found anywhere in Iraq once Iraq is free." He added that the war was a good idea even if its justification turns out to be an illusion: "I would rejoice in freeing people from a regime that is at this moment in my view--and there is good evidence to suggest that this is true--actually executing and torturing those who would otherwise have already made a deal and capitulated to us." ( Reuters, April 5) [top]

12. AHMED CHALABI: PENTAGON FAVORITE HAS SHADY PAST
Ahmed Chalabi, head of the London-based Iraqi National Congress (NC), was flown to the southern city of Nasiriyah by the US military shortly after US forces took the city. (Australian Broadcasting Corp., April 13) Both US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and former CIA director James Woolsey, who has been closely involved in post-war Iraq planning, are said to favor Chalabi as Iraq's new leader. (UK Guardian, April 2)

But Kareem Fahim writes in the April 9-15 Village Voice on the shady past of the MIT and University of Chicago-trained mathematician whose business experience includes starting what was at one time Jordan's biggest bank. Chalabi was indicted by Jordanian authorities in abstentia for embezzlement and fraud in 1992, three years after the Petra Bank collapsed. Chalabi claimed in his defense that he was framed for his opposition to Saddam Hussein, who was then cozy with Jordan's King Hussein.

See also WW3 REPORT #45 [top]

13. CIA GROOMING ACCUSED WAR CRIMINAL AS NEW BOSS?
Former Iraqi General Nizar al-Khazraji, touted as a possible successor to President Saddam Hussein, mysteriously disappeared from Denmark, where he was being held on suspicion of involvement in chemical attacks against the Kurds, days before military action against Iraq began. He has now resurfaced in Kuwait, having escaped from Denmark with the help of the CIA, the Danish daily Politiken reported April 6.

Citing a report by Vincent Cannistraro, former head of the CIA's counter-terrorism department, obtained by the paper, Politiken said the CIA sees Khazraji as their preferred successor for Saddam in a post-war Iraq. The Pentagon is said to oppose Khazraji, who was head of the Iraqi armed forces during the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. ( Australian Broadcasting Corporation, April 7)

See also WW3 REPORT #78 [top]

14. HALLIBURTON, PALS POISED TO RAKE IN
The Pentagon's exclusive no-bid contract with KBR, a subsidiary of Texas energy giant Halliburton, for emergency oil field services in Iraq is potentially worth up to $7 billion over the next two years, according to a leaked letter to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) from Lt. Gen. Robert B. Flowers, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers. (Newsday, April 11)

See also WW3 REPORT #80

The Virginia military services firm DynCorp has won a multi-million-dollar contract to police post-Saddam Iraq. The contract is protested by human rights groups, who accuse the company of complicity with abuses in Bosnia, Colombia and elsewhere. A British tribunal recently forced DynCorp to pay 110,000 in compensation to Kathy Bolkovac, a security officer it unfairly sacked in Bosnia for whistle-blowing on DynCorp colleagues involved in a child prostitution ring. Several DynCorp employees were also accused of videotaping the rape of one of the girls. A group of peasants in Ecuador have filed a suit against the company alleging that herbicides spread by DynCorp in Colombia were drifting across the border, destroying legal crops, causing illness, and killing children. ( UK Observer, April 13)

See also WW3 REPORT #s 52 & 42

Nearly all of the firms which have won Iraq contracts are big donors to the Republican Party. International Resources Group, which made significant donations to the Republican party, has won the $70 million contract to oversee the aid program in Iraq. Four IRG vice presidents have held senior posts with the US Agency for International Development, and 24 of the firm's 48 technical staff have worked for US AID.

John Hemingway, the president of Stevedoring Services of America, which won the contract to manage the port of Umm Qasr, has made personal donations to the Republican Party. The Bechtel Group, bidding to secure contracts worth up to $900 million, donated some $770,000 to the Republicans between 1999 and March 2003. In the 1980s, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld served as a liaison between Bechtel and the Iraqi regime in a bid to finesse the building of an oil pipeline. ( Sunday Herald, Scotland, April 13) \

See also WW3 REPORT #79

The European Commission is examining US contracts in Iraq to determine if they breach World Trade Organization rules and discriminate unfairly against European companies . (Financial Times, April 10) [top]

15. SHI'ITE REBELS TO BOYCOTT U.S. TALKS ON IRAQ
The Tehran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the main Iraqi Shi'ite opposition group, said April 9 it will boycott a political meeting the US is trying to arrange in southern Iraq. "We are not going to take part in this meeting in Nassiriya. We think this is part of General Garner's rule of Iraq and we are not going to be part of that project at all," said Hamid al-Bayati, SCIRI's London representative. The White House has appointed retired Lt. Gen Jay Garner to run civilian affairs in Iraq, and has identified some 40 Iraqi politicians it wants to take part in discussions on the political future of the country. (Reuters, April 9)

See also WW3 REPORT #80

On April 10, Iraqi SCIRI exiles in Tehran ransacked the Iraqi embassy, tearing down portraits of Saddam Hussein--but also chanting "Death to America!" (BBC, April 10) That same day in Najaf, Iraq, two Shi'ite clerics were hacked to death by an angry mob. One was Haider al-Kadar, who was accused of being a Saddam loyalist, and had held a post in Saddam's Ministry of Religion. The other was Abdul Majid al-Khoei, who had just returned to the country from exile in London, and was accused of urging collaboration with US troops. (Newsday, April 11)

On April 11, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's home in Najaf was under siege by armed Shi'ite rebels who demanded that he leave the country within two days. The siege was lifted after mediation by local Shi'ite leaders, but al-Sistani's whereabouts are unknown. (BBC, April 12) The previous week, al-Sistani was the subject of conflicting reports that he had issued a fatwa either calling on his followers to resist or collaborate with the US foces. See WW3 REPORT #80

Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim, leader of Iraq's Iran-backed Shi'ite opposition, announced from Tehran April 9 that he intends to be in Najaf within days. Al-Hakim, 63, was recently elevated to the status of Grand Ayatollah, which would enable him to become the Marj'a ala, or supreme Shi'ite spiritual leader. The position is currently held by al-Sistani. (Newsday, April 10)

See also WW3 REPORT #45 [top]

16. TURKEY THREATENS INTERVENTION IN IRAQI KURDISTAN
Kurdish peshmerga militia troops took Kirkuk April 10, as Saddam's forces retreated with little resistance. Turkey responded by issuing a formal threat of military intervention if the Kurds did not promptly withdraw from the city. The US insisted the Kurds would withdraw, and invited Turkey to send military observers to monitor the turn-over of the city from Kurdish to US forces. (BBC, April 10)

US Special Forces have now arrived in Kirkuk, and Kurdish troops are moving out. US forces brokered a meeting of the city's tribal and political factions to cooperate on restoring water, electricity and order. An 18-member council on restoring order to the city is made up of six Kurds, six Arabs and six Turkomans. ( AP, April 13)

One source of tension is the demand by many Kurds "ethnically cleansed" from Kirkuk in the 1990s that they be allowed to return to their homes. In most cases, their homes are now occupied by Arab families, who say they have place to go. Both sides have threatened to take matters into their own hands. (BBC, April 13)

Turkey has declared that it will not accept an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq, or Kurdish control of the oil-rich cities of Kirkuk and Mosul. Turkish nationalists claim this region was unfairly given to Iraq when the victorious allies carved up the Turkish Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I.

See also WW3 REPORT # 48 [top]

17. TURKISH PRESS: KURDS PAWNS OF JEWS?
Turkish nationalists and Islamists increasingly see Kurdish national aspirations as part of a Zionist conspiracy. A Feb. 17 article in the Turkish daily Hurriyet claimed that Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), one of two political factions that control Iraq's autonomous Kurdish zone, is Jewish and comes from a long line of rabbis. The article was based on information from "The Folk Literature of the Kurdistani Jews," a 1982 anthology that discusses a Kurdish rabbinic family named Barzani. Also cited was a Turkish researcher who found Ottoman documents referring to a 19th-century Kurdish rabbi named Barzani. In the article, researcher Ahmet Ucar said Barzani's "Jewish roots" shed light on the current situation, since the Hebrew Bible states that the Jewish "Promised Land" stretches from the Nile to the Euphrates. A series of later articles and columns in the Haber Turk newspaper took things further. "Brothers, we should quit the stories of Mosul and Kirkuk belonging to us," read one column. "The real owners have started to come out. I am sure you understand who they are." The column warned: "Turkey, don't be asleep!"

But Yona Sabar, a Kurdish Jewish professor of Hebrew and Aramaic at UCLA and author of "The Folk Literature of the Kurdistani Jews," said the articles have an inaccurate reading of Kurdish Jewish history. Sabar says a 16th-century Kurdish rabbi named Shamuel Adoni also was given the name Barzani to signify that he came from the town of Barzan. He was followed by a string of well-known rabbis with the Barzani name, including Asenath Barzani, a woman rabbi ordained in the 17th century. Sabar said it is unlikely that Massoud Barzani is connected to that family. "Barzan is a very well-known Kurdish tribe, and the Jews who lived in that area were very few," he said.

The Kurdish Jewish population in Iraq, Turkey and Iran probably reached 25,000 at its peak, but almost the entire community left with the establishment of Israel in 1948. Rifat Bali, a Jewish historian in Istanbul, said the Barzani story is part of an increasingly popular conspiracy theory in Turkey. "Islamists here always say that Israel has a Kurdish card it wants to play--that it has good relations with the Kurds and it wants to create a Jewish state from the Nile to the Euphrates, and that includes the Kurdish area," Bali said. "It's fueled, first of all, by the obsession that Jews are behind everything, and that they use in front of them a crypto-Jew There is also a Turkish fear that the world is looking from the outside and trying to divide Turkey up." A popular book in Turkey, "Israel's Kurdish Card," describes the supposed Zionist plot to annex Kurdistan.

(Yigal Schleifer for Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 7) [top]

18. ARAB NATIONS CALL FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION
On April 8, Arab nations requested a UN General Assembly meeting on Iraq, hoping to gain approval of a resolution calling for a cease-fire. US Ambassador John Negroponte said Washington does not think it is "either necessary or desirable" to raise Iraq in the General Assembly, because the issue was already discussed in the Security Council. But Yemen's Abdullah Alsaidi said that Arab nations want a General Assembly meeting, because "they discovered there was no possibility of a resolution" in the Security Council, where the US and UK have veto power. There are no vetoes in the 191-nation General Assembly, but the US considers its resolutions to not be legally binding. (AP, April 8)

See also WW3 REPORT #78 [top]

19. BUSH RATTLES SABER AT SYRIA
On April 13, George Bush accused Syria of providing refuge for fugitives from Saddam's regime, and harboring chemical weapons. While not explicitly threatening military action, he warned: "Syria needs to cooperate with the United States and our coalition partners." (BBC, April 13)

Others have been more blatant. The American Enterprise Institute released article by Michael Ledeen (a former liaison between Israel and the Nicaraguan Contra rebels in the 1980s): "So they are coming to kill coalition forces, which means that there is no more time for diplomatic 'solutions.' The United States will have to deal with the terror masters, here and now." Chimed in Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz: "There's got to be a change in Syria." (Newsday, April 10) [top]

20. BBC: IT'S THE OIL, STUPID!
Writes the BBC in on-line March 26 commentary: "The advocates of war insist it's not about oil. But global oil production is on the brink of terminal decline and when the West begins to run short of supplies--Iraq could be a lifeline."

The BBC recalls how oil companies carved up Iraq after World War I. Shell, BP, Standard Oil (now Exxon) all had stakes in the Iraq Petroleum Company, paying pennies for each barrel. The sweet deal ended in 1972, when Iraq nationalized the industry and threw the foreigners out. With Saddam Hussein came decades of war followed by sanctions. Iraq's massive reserves--the world's second largest--were inefficiently exploited at best. "But with Hussein's regime under threat, at last there was a chance to get back in..."

The rate of global oil discovery has been falling ever since the 1960's when 47 billion barrels a year were discovered, mostly in the Middle East. In the '70's the rate dropped to about 35 billion barrels, with exploration concentrated on the North Sea. In the '80's it was Russia's turn, and the discovery rate dropped to 24 billion. It dropped still further in the 90's as the industry's eyes turned West Africa but only found some 14 billion barrels. In the US, always the biggest consumer of oil, production has been dropping for 30 years. Americans consume 20 million barrels of oil a day, some 60% of it now imported.

Geologist Dr Colin Campbell predicted a decline in the North Sea several years ago and now claims that by 2015 the UK may have to import over half its oil needs. "In 1999 Britain went over the top and is declining quite rapidly," he told BBC. "It's now 17% down in just three years, and this pattern is set to continue. That means that Britain will soon be a net importer, imports have to rise, the costs of the imports have to rise, and even the security of supply is becoming a little uncertain."

Campbell believes the Iraq campaign may mask a wider agenda. "I think it's quite possible that the United States realizes the key importance of the Middle East generally to world supply in fact, and especially its own, and that it sees Saddam Hussein as a ready-made villain," said Campbell. "It finds this a convenient way in which to establish a military presence in the Middle East--aimed partially at Iraq by all means but with a wider significance to control the production elsewhere there."

The Iraq war drive coincided with the Venezuelan oil strike which drove global prices up to $35 a barrel. The White House went to great lengths to deny that the war drive was about oil. "We will make sure that Iraq's natural resources are used for the benefit of their owners, the Iraqi people," President Bush told the world.

But the BBC notes: "For a war supposedly not about oil, military planners made a high priority of securing the oilfields. Apart from a handful of wells torched by Iraqi troops, the huge southern oilfields were taken largely intact." Opposition leader Dr. Salah Al-Shaikhly, of the Iraqi National Accord, admits the US and UK will benefit from removing Saddam. "Well definitely those who have helped us, all along, with regime change," he said. "Obviously they should have a little edge over the rest. I think even in economics, this is quite acceptable. as well as the politics."

However, the BBC also warns that "even if Iraq does boost its oil production ironically the effect could be short lived. Its vast reserves represent just four years of world consumption and by the time Iraqi oil is flowing freely, global oil production may already be in terminal decline." Campbell thinks the decline will start by 2010. "It starts with a price shock due to control of the market by a few countries, and it is followed by the onset of physical shortage, which just gets worse and worse and worse," he said.

The BBC concludes: "So if alternatives to oil are not found soon the changes could be radical. Unlimited use of cars and cheap flights around the world may well be a thing of the past. While international trade--the very basis of the global economy--will suffer.

See also WW3 REPORT #80 [top]

THE PALESTINE FRONT

1. ISRAELI SOLDIER SHOOTS BRITISH ISM ACTIVIST
Thomas Hurndall, 21, of Manchester, UK, a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) was shot in the head at a protest in Rafah, Gaza Strip, April 11. Hurndall was standing between Israeli troops and Palestinian children when Israeli troops opened fire, according to a fellow ISM activist who witnessed the scene. Hurball remains in critical condition in an Israeli hospital. (ISM press release, April 11)

See also WW3 REPORT #80 [top]

2. U.S. TROOPS SIGHTED IN OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
Mahmoud, a teacher in Qalqilya, told WW3 REPORT that he saw about a dozen US troops with Israeli soldiers in Qalqilya about three weeks ago. The sighting occurred around 5 AM. He said the soldiers were in uniform. Mahmoud says a journalist for the Palestinian paper Al-Ayyam told him he had also heard about joint exercises between US soldiers and Israeli soldiers in Qalqilya, and reported that US troops were also seen with Israeli Defense Forces in Jenin. (David Bloom) [top]

THE AFGHANISTAN FRONT

1. ELEVEN CIVILIANS KILLED IN "COLLATERAL DAMAGE"
The US military said 11 Afghan civilians--including seven women--were killed April 9 when a missile missed its target and landed on a house in eastern Paktika province. "Eleven Afghan civilians were killed and one was wounded early this morning when a bomb dropped by coalition aircraft landed in a house on the outskirts of Shkin near the Pakistan border," said Douglas Lefforge, a US military spokesman at Bagram air base. "The tragic incident occurred when enemy forces attacked an Afghan military post checkpoint that was providing security near the Shkin firebase just before midnight last night." he said, referring to a US base near the village. "A quick reaction force from Shkin responded and pursued the attackers toward the border; close air support was requested." US Marine AV-8 Harriers aimed a 1,000-lb. laser-guided bomb at the fleeing attackers. "That bomb missed its intended target and landed on the house," Lefforge said. "The circumstances of the bombing are being investigated."

This is but the most recent incident. In February, officials in Helmand province said at least 17 civilians were killed when US aircraft bombed a mountain base believed to be sheltering Taliban fighters. The US insisted only one civilian was wounded in that incident. Lefforge said a major new operation, Resolute Strike, has been opened in Helmand, involving 500 troops backed up by assault helicopters . (Reuters, April 9)

See also WW3 REPORT #74 [top]

THE ANDEAN FRONT

1. ANOTHER U.S. PILOT GOES DOWN IN COLOMBIA
A US State Department-contracted plane used to fumigate drug crops crashed April 7 in southwest Colombia's Narino department, killing its pilot, a US citizen. It was not immediately clear if the crash was caused by an accident or if it had been shot down, the US Embassy said. The pilot, whose name was not released, was the fourth to die in three crashes of US-contracted planes in Colombia this year. The three others were killed when their Cessna crashed March 25 while searching for three other US citizens who were captured by guerillas after their plane went down on Feb. 4. ( AP, April 7)

See also WW3 REPORT #79 [top]

WATCHING THE SHADOWS

1. YEMEN: COLE BOMBING SUSPECTS ESCAPE
Authorities in Yemen are hunting for 10 of the top suspects in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole after they escaped from prison April 11. The fugitives, including chief suspect Jamal al-Badawi, were held in the top-security intelligence building in the port city of Aden since shortly after the destroyer was bombed, killing 17 US sailors. Officials close to the investigation said on condition of anonymity that prison officers gave the men permission to go to the courtyard for their daily morning break before they escaped. The houses of the escaped men's relatives have been searched, but officials believe the men might have left Aden and headed to al-Qaeda strongholds in the northern province of Shabwah. The 10 men , part of a 17-man group arrested after the Cole bombing, are not the first al-Qaeda suspects to have escaped in Yemen. Last July, Walid Abdullah Habib, an al-Qaeda suspect from Shabwah who was arrested while trying to enter the country illegally, escaped from prison. He was again arrested this year in a desert area near the Oman border. (AP, April 11) [top]

2. ISLAMOPHOBE PIPES FINGERED FOR "INSTITUTE OF PEACE"
Muslim-American organizations are protesting President Bush's appointment of outspoken Middle East pundit Daniel Pipes to the board of the US Institute of Peace. Institute spokesman John Brinkley said Bush had nominated Pipes to replace Zalmay Khalilzad, who left the institute in 2001 to work in the White House. ( See WW3 REPORT #80)

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has asked Bush to withdraw the nomination, calling Pipes a "Muslim-basher" and an "inappropriate choice." "Pipes' bigoted views have been instrumental in widening the divide between faiths and cultures," said CAIR director Nihad Awad.

The nomination needs Senate confirmation because the institute, a DC think tank established to promote peace, relies on federal funds. Pipes' office referred reporters to his web site, which counter-charges that CAIR is "a foremost sponsor of anti-Semitism."

The Washington Post quoted Pipes as saying: "For reasons of its own, CAIR has been trying for years to place me in the category of those who consider Islam the enemy, which is not where I belong. My position is that militant Islam is the problem, and moderate Islam is the solution."

Last year Pipes came under criticism when he launched Campus Watch, an organization that collects complaints against professors and academic institutions deemed to harbor a pro-Islam bias. In a March 25 New York Post commentary, Pipes wrote that a grenade attack on US troops in Kuwait that killed two soldiers--for which a US Muslim has been charged--"fits into a sustained pattern of political violence by American Muslims." Added Pipes: "There is no escaping the unfortunate fact that Muslim government employees in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps need to be watched for connections to terrorism, as do Muslim chaplains in prisons and the armed forces. Muslim visitors and immigrants must undergo additional background checks." (Reuters, April 7)

See also WW3 REPORT #37

Note: Daniel Pipes is the son of Richard Pipes, a nuclear hardliner who was the "Soviet expert" on the Reagan administration's National Security Council ( http://www.danielpipes.org/article/101). See also "With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War," by Robert Scheer, Vintage Books, 1983, p. 6. [top]

THE WAR AT HOME

1. RUBBER BULLETS IN OAKLAND
On April 7, Oakland police opened fire with wooden dowels, "sting balls," concussion grenades, tear gas and other "non-lethal weapons" when protesters at the gates of two shipping lines refused an order to disperse. At least a dozen protesters and nine longshoremen who were standing nearby were injured. "Our guys were standing in one area waiting to go to work, and then the police started firing on the longshoremen,'' said Henry Graham, the president of ILWU Local 10. "Some were hit in the chest with rubber bullets, and seven of our guys went to the hospital. I don't want to imply that the police deliberately did this, but it doesn't make sense.'' The protests targeted the terminals of Neptune Orient Lines and Stevedoring Services of America, companies that activists say are profiting from the war. The Oakland port protest was one of several throughout the Bay Area that day. Several were arrested at the Concord Naval Weapons Station, and seven were arrested when they blocked an off-ramp from Interstate 280 in San Francisco. ( San Jose Mercury News, April 7)

See also WW3 REPORT #79 [top]

2. PRE-EMPTIVE ARRESTS IN NEW YORK CITY
An April 7 protest at the Manhattan offices of the Carlyle Group, an investment fund accused of war profiteering, was shut down by the NYPD. According to an eye-witness report on NYC Indymedia: "Several protesters blocked the entrance to the building and were arrested in an organized civil disobedience. But then police surrounded the legal protesters gathered across the street and refused to let them leave. There was no order to disperse, and those who tried to leave were stopped. The police then began arresting people whose only "crime" was to hold a sign protesting the war on Iraq!" About 50 were arrested.

See also WW3 REPORT #64 [top]

3. NYPD TOLD TO TONE DOWN POLITICAL INTERROGATIONS
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced April 10 that he had ordered an end to the questioning arrested protesters about their political beliefs and affiliations, citing "concerns" about the practice. Donna Lieberman of the NY Civil Liberties Union said the information from the interrogations was filed in a form with a federal seal and entered into a database. Attorney Joel Kupferman said arrested protesters were asked "What is your view of Israel? What is your view of Palestine? What do you think of 9-11? And where were you during 9-11?" (Newsday, April 11)

See also WW3 REPORT #79 [top]

4. PRO-WAR RALLY AT GROUND ZERO
Over 15,000 union workers and relatives of military service members gathered for a "Support the Troops" rally at the World Trade Center site April 10. The rally, sponsored by the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, filled several blocks of West Street with crowds waving flags and chanting "USA! USA!" Said Gov. George Pataki from the stage: "The war started right here on Sept. 11. 2001." (Newsday, April 11) [top]

5. NEW MEXICO DISSIDENTS FACE PERSECUTION
A Santa Fe pizza delivery worker said he was nearly run over by a motorist after trying to stop him from tearing down anti-war signs. The police say Robert Guerro was returning to his store when he saw a man tearing the signs down from a shopping center wall. Guerro told police he got out of his car and told the man to stop. He said the man then drove into his car and tried to hit him. Guerro says he jumped out of the way, suffering only minor injuries. (KRQE News, April 1)

Two Albuquerque teachers were temporarily suspended for refusing to take down anti-war posters. Art teacher Heather Duffy and English teacher Carmelita Roybal were placed on paid administrative leave from Rio Grande High School for refusing to take down the anti-war poster from a classroom window. Duffy says now that the anti-war posters are gone, school administrators should also remove military recruitment posters. (KRQE News, April 1)

Two teacher's were also placed on leave in a similar incident at Albuquerque's Highland High School. Teachers Allen Cooper and Geoffrey Barrett said they were told they would be suspended if they did not remove the posters. "I think this is mostly a violation of the students' rights to have a voice and express their opinions," Barrett said. "Asking me to take down the posters was taking away the voice of the students and I was not going to do that."

Cooper said one of the signs in his classroom read "No War Mr. Cooper." Cooper said it was written by an Afghan student who had family members killed in US bombings. "I really agonized over this," said English teacher Cooper. "I don't want to be suspended. I just want to teach my classes." (AP, April 1)

Albuquerque's district attorney fired a prosecutor accused of blowing the cover of two plainclothes police officers at an anti-war rally. Assistant DA Jennifer Albright was dismissed after her boss said she betrayed the trust of local police. "We have to work so closely with law enforcement in the preparation and prosecution of cases and, if there isn't that trust or confidence, we simply can't be effective," said Bernalillo County DA Kari Brandenburg. "I just didn't see how she could remain an effective prosecutor." Albright did nothing wrong, according to her attorney, John Boyd. He maintains she is entitled to a hearing and that "just because she is an at-will employee of the district attorney's office does not mean she can be fired under these circumstances." ( AP, March 28) [top]

6. "OPERATION LIBERTY SHIELD" TARGETS IRAQI AMERICANS
FBI agents have been interrogating Iraqis all over the US at their homes and work places as part of the federal government's Operation Liberty Shield since the war on Iraq began. Being Iraq-born is reason enough for being interrogated by the FBI, and even immigration status is no longer a relevant factor. Iraqis whose families remain in Iraq are especially singled out based on the assumption that they might be sympathizers or agents of the regime. The FBI has questioned Iraqis about their immigration status, their lives in Iraq, the reason they left, if they attend a mosque, their family members' names and if they know of any terrorists in the US.

While many Iraqi-Americans say that the FBI agents have been respectful in their interviews, the Indiana Star reports the use of threats and intimidation. In some cases, Iraqis were reportedly told if they were not cooperative, the safety of their families in Iraq would be threatened. Thirty Iraqis have been detained, immigration officials told AP on condition of anonymity. None of the detained have been charged with planning terrorist acts, espionage or even immigration violations, yet their whereabouts are unknown. Intensive questioning of the 11,000 "priority" Iraqis ended April 1 and FBI is expected to follow up with "leads" procured from interviews throughout the duration of the war. Interviewees have been provided with leaflets outlining their rights and assured FBI protection against hate crimes. Interviews have lasted from less than ten minutes to over eight hours.

Guidelines for who or what is suspicious keep getting revised. March 24, the Department of Homeland Security re-issued a bulletin to alert FBI agents to possible signs of al-Qaeda activity. These signs include the use of hidden cameras; operatives disguised as the homeless, artists or tourists; anyone with heightened interest in security measures; and an increase in anonymous phone calls or e-mail threats to gauge security personnel reaction. In Arizona, Customs and FBI are looking into an unconfirmed report alleging that Iraqis in the Southwest might be planning an attack along the Mexico border.

10,000 Iraqis currently reside in Arizona, most of whom sought asylum from Hussein's regime after the 1991 Gulf War. One of the first Iraqis questioned in the state was Kadim Rahim Fatthollah, an opponent of the regime who was jailed for three years and tortured before being granted asylum in 1997. The FBI asked Fatthallah whether her knew Saddam Hussein or anyone who did. An offended Fattholah told Arizona Repiblic, "I came to United States for freedom, and the [FBI] treated me like a criminal." Jabir Algarawi of the Arizona Refugee Community Center has expressed concerns about aggressive FBI questioning. He said, "It's scaring them because of their background. They lived under a regime where the police and the secret police were there to protect the regime and torture the people."

The New York ACLU reports that the FBI is not only being aggressive in its questioning of Iraqis, but also making it difficult for them to obtain lawyers. In one case, FBI agents reportedly asked an interviewee to hang up the phone with his lawyer. The New York Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) has termed the FBI method as "intimidation." While Muslim rights groups and civil liberties organizations say they want to assist the FBI investigation, they are deeply concerned about harassment and discrimination. "We want to help the FBI and the government," said Deedra Abboud of CAIR-AZ, "but, at the same time, we want to protect our community."

However, the central Indiana-based Exodus Refugee and Immigration--an immigrant resettlement organization which assisted the relocation of 90 Iraqi nationals--says is willing to share its case files with FBI. Sylvia Robles, the organization's director told Indiana Star, "I'm expecting the FBI at my door demanding our case files. They can do that." (AP, March 24; Washington Post, Mar 27; Indiana Star, March 22; Arizona Republic, March 22) (Subuhi Jiwani)

See also WW3 REPORT #78 [top]

7. PALESTINIAN-AMERICAN DETAINED AS "MATERIAL WITNESS"
Palestinian-American Maher "Mike" Hawash--resident of Hillsboro, OR, and employee of Intel Corporation--was detained by uniformed and armed FBI agents and members of the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force on the morning of March 20 in Intel's parking lot. He has been detained under the federal material witness statute and is reportedly being held in solitary confinement at a high-security federal prison in Sheridan, OR. No charges have been filed against Hawash, and no date have been provided stating when he will appear before a federal grand jury. His lawyers cannot discuss his case because of a federal gag order. Armed agents also searched Hawash's home and presented his wife Lisa with a grand jury subpoena.

Hawash is one of over 40 Arab and Muslim men detained under "material witness" warrants by the Justice Department since the 9-11 attacks. David Fidanque, director of the Oregon ACLU, said in an April 8 press release that the Justice Department has withheld both the identities of those detained and information regarding their cases. "The use of material witness warrants and attorney gag orders has been part of the Justice Department's campaign of detention and secrecy targeting Muslim and Arab Americans during the past 18 months," Fidanque said, urging the DoJ to release the names of those detained, their whereabouts and whether they have legal representation.

Fidanque asserted that the material witness statute should be used to detain individuals only if they posed flight risk. "The material witness process was designed to be used in cases where there is a great risk that a witness may flee the jurisdiction to avoid testifying. It is designed to preserve evidence, not to indefinitely detain individuals who haven't been charged with a crime."

April 7, US District Judge Robert E. Jones denied Hawash's request to be released before his grand jury hearing. Hawash's friends and colleagues have launched a website with updated information about his case, actions taking place locally and avenues for making financial contribution to his legal fees. (ACLU press releases, April 3, 8; Desert News, April 4)(Subuhi Jiwani) [top]

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