Issue 105 – December 2004

RWANDA’S SECRET WARU.S-Backed Destabilization of Central AfricaA Special Report from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)by keith harmon snowTHE STRUGGLE FOR THE PETROLEUM COMMMONSLocal, Islamic and Global Challenges to the Cartelby George Caffentzis FREE VERMONT!?"Middlebury Declaration" Calls for Secession from Bush’s… Read moreIssue 105 – December 2004

MESSAGE TO OUR READERS

Dear WW4 REPORT Readers:

This marks a third year of bringing you cutting-edge on-the-scene stories from the Terror War fronts, as well as reviews, digests and analysis–providing news and perspectives available nowhere else.

In 2004, our contributor keith harmon snow brought you first-hand accounts from the forgotten war zones of Africa. In a major exclusive (later reprinted by Z Magazine), he uncovered the genocide being carried out against the Anuak indigenous people in Ethiopia to clear their lands and crush resistance to oil operations. In the December issue, he files a gripping report from Congo, visiting remote areas to document the still officially-denied invasion of the resource-rich African giant by US-backed Rwandan forces.

Again this year, our contributing editor David Bloom has traveled to the occupied West Bank, bringing back the most in-depth reportage anywhere on the mechanics of Israeli land theft from Palestinian farming communities under the guise of the "security fence"–or "apartheid wall." His exclusive reports from the besieged Palestinian village of Jayyous have been picked up by The Nation and Electronic Intifada.

Following my controversial essay in 2003 decrying the anti-war movement’s failure to seek leadership from progressive Iraqis who oppose both the US occupation and the jihadi armed resistance, I pledged that I would find such dissident voices. This year, I made good on that pledge, providing comprehensive interviews with Yanar Mohammed and Khayal Ibrahim of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, Issam Shukri of the Union of the Unemployed in Iraq, and Samir Noory of the Worker Communist Party of Iraq. These critical, principled voices are still heard nearly nowhere else–alas.

You’ve also received:

*Wynde Priddy’s ongoing series on the Darfur genocide and the politics of oil, terror and interventionism in Africa’s Sahel.

*Nirit Ben-Ari’s dissection of the March coup d’etat which ousted Jean Bertrand-Aristide in Haiti, picked up by Alternet.

*Raven Healing’s documentation of grave rights abuses in Russia’s counter-insurgency war in Chechnya.

*Sarah Ferguson’s analyses of the state of the anti-war movement.

*Hakim Bey on radical Sufism and the historical roots of the new Jihad.

*WBAI radio personality Robert Knight on George Bush’s politicization of NASA and announced drive to reach Mars.

*My own monthly updates on Colombia, following up on my first-hand reportage from the war-torn country last year.

*And, in the December issue, Carmelo Ruiz Marrero’s report on the biotechnology industry’s agenda for Iraqi agriculture under US occupation.

We are doing what we are doing because we fill a vital niche. We seek to expose corporate and imperialist agendas, but also to seek out local contexts–political, ethnic and ecological–for the myriad wars of the new global conflict. We endeavor to find anti-militarist, pro-autonomy voices we can loan solidarity to, especially those of land-rooted indigenous peoples. We are committed to covering the forgotten wars outside the media spotlight–whether in the Colombian Amazon or the tribal lands of northeast India. Above all, we are committed to real journalism–not the mere opinion-spewing so much in vogue in left media these days.

Recognizing that the Cold War was in fact World War 3, we are changing our name with the first edition of 2005 to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT–and hope to launch our first print edition shortly thereafter, producing it as a quarterly "best-of" with national distribution. We need to expand in 2005 to reach the point where we can pay our writers, have an ongoing visible presence in national bookstores, and become truly sustainable.

And we want to do all this on YOUR donations–not by going hat-in-hand to the foundations. Again: we aren’t grant-sucking liberals–we are proudly independent radical journalists.

If we are going to make the leap we hope to make in 2005, we need to raise a minimum of $10,000. This ambitious but necessary goal means that our EVERY reader must send SOMETHING. We would rather get 1,000 donations of ten dollars each than get on the foundation tit and compromise our intransigence and independence. Our survival and allegiance to our mission depend on YOU.

If you gave last year, please give again this year. If you’ve never given before, please give what you can. Just follow the suggested guideline below. You know who you are.

Minors, indigent and prisoners: FREE
Students, fixed-income and unemployed: $5
Working class Jane/Joe: $10
Professionals with health insurance: $25
Trust-fund rads: $50
Upwardly-mobile liberals: $75
Rich liberals: $100
Very rich liberals: $200
Confused Republicans who like us because we’re "anti-government": $500
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Send generous checks to:

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Thank you for your support. In the words of Wavy Gravy: "It’s all done with people, I said to the mirror."

Bill Weinberg

WORLD WAR 4 REPORT

http://ww4report.com

Continue ReadingMESSAGE TO OUR READERS 

CONSCIENCE UNDER OCCUPATION

by Matt Vogel

REFUSENIK!: Israel’s Soldiers of Conscience
Compiled and edited by Peretz Kidron
Zed Books, Ltd., London, 2004

 

General, your tank is a powerful vehicle
It tramples the forest, it crushes a hundred men,
But it has one flaw:
It requires a driver.

General, your bomber is strong.
It flies faster than the storm, it loads more than an elephant.
But it has one flaw:
It requires a mechanic.

General, man is very useful.
He knows how to fly, he knows how to murder.
But he has one flaw:
He knows how to think.

–Bertolt Brecht

This poem serves as something of an unofficial credo of the Refusenik movement.

Since the 1967 war, during which the Israeli government invaded Gaza and the West Bank, giving the world the phrase "the Occupied Territories," over 1,000 Israeli soldiers have refused orders that would send them there, and hundreds more have said they would, if so ordered, refuse as well. Fundamentally, these soldiers do not support the continued occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, and feel that they cannot, in good conscience, take part. In this short book are stories from many of these "refuseniks," as they have been dubbed, stretching from the early 1970s to today. There are forty-three statements, separated into three historical categories: those from the period following the 1967 war, including the invasion of Lebanon in 1982; from the first intifada, which began in 1987; and from the second intifada, which began in September 2000 and lasts to this day.

Here we read soldiers telling what happened to them, and why they chose the course of action they did, in stories, poems, letters to the editors of various newspapers, correspondence from prison, letters to parents, and public speeches. The editor, Peretz Kidron, himself a refusenik, tells the story of Yuval, an Israeli soldier who refused to serve in a prison housing Palestinian detainees, and Imad, a jailed Palestinian scholar, and how they came to be close friends. In the midst of these stories and statements is a short essay on "The Philosophy of Selective Refusal," and its place in the anti-militarist movement. There is also a short history and description of the work of Yesh Gvul (Hebrew for "There is a limit"–meaning, "there is a limit to what an army can ask of its conscripts"), an organization dedicated to the material and moral support of refuseniks and their families. Altogether, this provides a fascinating portrait of the refusenik movement.

The government of Israel mandates military service for all youth, and the vast majority of the refuseniks come from the ranks of those who are fulfilling this requirement–the reservists. Few are total pacifists–most simply refuse to engage in an assignment they find morally objectionable. This is what is meant by "selective refusal"–rather than an outright refusal of military service, soldiers selectively refuse specific orders. Yesh Gvul advises people to send advance notice of their intentions to their commanders, and to show up and receive their orders, so as to avoid a court-martial for being AWOL. It is upon receiving actual orders that people are advised to refuse.

The response of the Israel Defense Force (IDF), the Israeli government’s military, is, in most cases, not to punish the refuseniks, but to simply give them new orders that they will not refuse. Several hundred, however, have served prison terms for their refusal. Over 200 refuseniks have served prison terms just since the beginning of the second intifada. Until recently, the IDF opted not to court-martial the refuseniks, instead allowing the soldier’s immediate commander to try the soldier–usually resulting in a relatively short prison sentence of a few weeks.

However, in 2002, 62 high school students sent a letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stating that they would refuse to be inducted into the IDF for their mandatory service. Eventually, over three-hundred students signed on to the letter. When many of them kept their promise and refused induction, the government, after a series of disciplinary jailings, decided to court-martial several of them. Peretz Kidron writes that the IDF had been reluctant to court-martial earlier because of a fear of courts ruling on the legality of the IDF’s actions in the West Bank and Gaza. He suggests that the government was so threatened by this total refusal of military service that it went ahead with the court-martials despite this risk, in a bid to quash the movement.

Most powerful are the profoundly political, moral and personal statements from the soldiers. They speak plainly, forcefully and honestly about their opposition to the occupation and the military policies that lead to the deaths of both Palestinians and Israelis. The reservists are not only leftist activists, though some certainly are. Some are highly decorated combat soldiers, but many are run-of-the-mill soldiers, doing all the things soldiers must do to keep an army and an occupation going. They come from different segments of Israeli society. We read the words of artists, teachers, writers, students, a banker, small business owners, union members, and journalists, to name a few. Some are married, some are not. There is a member of a prominent right-wing family, and one from a family of one of the founders of the state of Israel. Some are children and grandchildren of survivors of the Shoah. Some are from cities, some from kibbutzes.

Take Itai Haviv, who is a captain with an artillery unit, and received a 21-day jail sentence for refusal on March 14, 2002. Clearly not a pacifist, Haviv vividly discusses the day-to-day activities of an occupation:

"As a combat officer in the IDF, I have served all over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. I am not naive… On behalf of the state of Israel, I have chased children who threw stones at me. I have patrolled the alleyways of refugee camps. I have banged on their tin doors in the small hours of the morning. I have searched among their mattresses for propaganda material. I have heard babies crying. I have hauled people out of bed to erase slogans daubed on walls. I have imposed curfews. I have dealt with Palestinian flags fluttering from power pylons. I have halted vehicles. I have confiscated identity cards. I have conveyed handcuffed prisoners in the back of my jeep. I have fired at rioters. I have halted hundreds of vehicles at roadblocks. I set up an outlook post on the roof of a cake shop in the main street of Gaza. The routine of occupation. Everyday. Every hour. Thirty-five years.

"I believed this was a war of no-choice…

"We have built over 100 settlements. We have sent 200,000 settlers to live there. We have lost soldiers, children, mothers. All for the sake of the security of the state. For the sake of peace. To stop the next suicide bomber. For 35 years, a black flag has flown over our heads, but we refused to see it.

"No more."

"A black flag" refers to the 1956 trial of some Israeli soldiers accused of killing 47 Palestinians. The court found that there are certain orders that ought not be obeyed, saying that "the black flag of illegality" flies over them.

These soldiers’ courage, clarity and willingness to sacrifice give us hope. And we can be hopeful, because, despite the Israeli government’s intransigence, the ranks of the refuseniks have grown. We, even now, see high school students refusing to serve in the army in any capacity. The occupation continues, and more and more are saying no. Here is an excerpt from a letter young David Haham-Herson wrote to his parents. He is one of the high school students refusing to enter the IDF:

"All the terrible reports appearing daily in the press, I read here in Military Jail 4. No pictures, no soundtrack. I see only barbed wire fences, but the pain from outside goes deep. Revenge in return for revenge, killing in return for killing…What is the source of the Israeli sense of pride, why is the act of killing considered so great in our eyes?

"I am a soldier in the Israeli army, imprisoned for refusal to take part in repression, arising from a sense that it is out of the question to be a Jew, the son of a people of refugees, and yet repress a people of refugees… I am a God-fearing Jew, and as such forbidden to take part in denying freedom and serving in occupied territory….

"I am concerned because I know that the terrible hatred towards me is justified. The hatred has led to horrifying and perverted manifestations, like the young suicide bombers, but we create the conditions that lead to this monstrosity. I am concerned because I know that the cries of exultation over the killings drown out the sobs of numerous victims, Jews and Arabs, of the widows and orphans, of the cripples who will suffer for the rest of their lives because of that pride and callousness.

"This is a concern unlike that of most Israeli people. For this concern demands correction [tikkun], whereas the other concern merely calls for more destruction. I am a prisoner, yet free, but the pain runs deep. I hope my imprisonment, and that of others, will lead many in our society to contemplation–contemplation of the Palestinians, and by way of them, contemplation of ourselves. I regard my imprisonment as the true way to participate in present-day Israeli society. I don’t think my imprisonment releases me from responsibility. Even if I weren’t serving in the army, I’d continue to share responsibility for these actions. I’m not the victim. On the contrary; precisely because I regard myself as sharing responsibility, I refuse to take part in the repression…."

Their words lend us strength, strength to continue our resistance to militarism and strength to ask ourselves how much we are truly willing to sacrifice to resist the works of war.

We must listen, though. These are indeed lessons for us, embroiled as we are in the War on Terror, mired as occupiers in Iraq. These are words for us and for those who are or would be in our military. Peretz Kidron states that, by the summer of 2003, over 1,000 Israelis had declared that they would refuse orders sending them to the Occupied Territories. Relative to population size, this would amount to 40,000 US soldiers, according to Peretz Kidron–a powerful thought. What would happen today if there were hundreds of soldiers refusing to go to Afghanistan or Iraq?

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This review originally appeared in the December 2004 issue of The Catholic Worker, 36 East 1st St., New York, NY 10003

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Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Dec. 10, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution

WW4Report.com

 

Continue ReadingCONSCIENCE UNDER OCCUPATION 

VENEZUELA: MURDER CASE LEADS TO MIAMI?

by Weekly News Update on the Americas

Investigators probing the Nov. 18 car bomb assassination of Venezuelan state prosecutor Danilo Anderson have found telephone records suggesting that the killing was planned at a meeting in Miami this past September. One of the participants at the meeting was Jose Augustin Guevara, a brother of ex-police agents Otoniel and Rolando Guevara, who were arrested on Nov. 26 on charges of "premeditated homicide" and conspiracy in the Anderson murder. Otoniel Guevara is accused of being an agent of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). A cousin of the three brothers, Juan Bautista Guevara, is suspected of having planted the bomb on Anderson’s car. Eyewitnesses place him at the scene shortly before Anderson’s car exploded.
 
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Jose Guevara in Miami in 2001 when he attempted to withdraw funds from a bank account belonging to Peru’s then-fugitive spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos Torres, who was wanted in Peru in connection with corruption and human rights abuses. The FBI then released Jose Guevara into its witness protection program. The Guevara brothers are said to have been paid $1 million for hiding Montesinos in Venezuela. Montesinos was arrested in Caracas on June 24, 2001. Venezuelan government spokespeople have also accused Florida-based rightwing Cuban-American Rodolfo Fromenta, head of the anti-Castro paramilitary group Comandos F-4, of links to the Anderson murder.
 
Venezuela’s Attorney General’s Office has taken over the investigation of the Anderson murder after concerns were raised about irregularities in the probe conducted by agents from the Scientific Criminal Investigations Corps (CICPC), including links between the Guevara brothers and the CICPC. (Venezuelanalysis.com, Dec. 2; El Nuevo Herald, Miami, Dec. 1; La Republica, Lima, Nov. 27) On Nov. 26, CICPC agents fatally shot lawyer Antonio Lopez, a possible suspect in the Anderson case, in an alleged gunfight. The same day, former police agent Juan Carlos Sanchez, also wanted in connection with the Anderson killing, died in a confrontation with police. Both Lopez and Sanchez were linked to the Guevara brothers. Authorities later raided Lopez’s home and said they found high-powered weapons and explosives. (AFP, Nov. 26; NYT, Nov. 24)

At the time of his death, Anderson was heading up investigations into some 400 opposition figures for possible involvement in an April 2002 coup against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez Frias or other destabilization attempts against the government. On Nov. 26, two of the men Anderson was investigating sought asylum in the Salvadoran embassy in Caracas. Lazaro Forero and Henry Vivas, former chiefs of the Caracas Metropolitan Police, were arrested by Venezuelan authorities on Dec. 3 after the Salvadoran government turned down their request for asylum. The two are accused of responsibility for violence which killed 20 people and wounded dozens more at an opposition march in Caracas on Apr. 11, 2002. Opposition forces used the violence as a pretext for their coup attempt against Chavez the next day. (BBC, Reuters, Dec. 3)

Another two opposition figures who were under investigation by Anderson, former Venezuelan national guard officers Jose Antonio Colina and German Rodolfo Varela, appeared in their final US asylum hearing on Nov. 29 at the Krome detention center in West Miami-Dade. The two sought asylum in the US on Dec. 19 of last year; they are accused in Venezuela of bombing the Colombian and Spanish diplomatic missions in Caracas on Feb. 25, 2003. At the Nov. 29 hearing, US prosecutors told Immigration Judge Neale Foster that neither Colina nor Varela deserve asylum because they fled to evade prosecution–not persecution. Attorneys for the two men blasted US prosecutors for allegedly favoring Chavez, and accused Foster of bias. Foster ordered closing arguments in writing by Jan. 14, promised to weigh the evidence fairly and said he would issue a ruling early next year. (Miami Herald, Dec. 1)
 
Venezuelan actor and anti-Chavez activist Orlando Urdaneta, interviewed in October on a Miami television station, urged that efficient commandos be hired to assassinate Chavez and his associates in Venezuela. The interviewer, Maria Elvira Salazar, suggested to Urdaneta that the commandos would ideally be Israeli; Urdaneta agreed. On Nov. 25, the Israeli embassy denied any connection with sectors trying to destabilize the Venezuelan government, and denied that any Israelis were involved with the Anderson assassination. (EFE, Nov. 29, Newsday, Nov. 20)

Newly declassified intelligence documents have confirmed that the CIA was aware that dissident military officers and opposition figures in Venezuela were planning a coup against Chavez in 2002. In a senior intelligence executive brief dated April 6 of that year, the CIA said that "disgruntled senior officers and a group of radical junior officers are stepping up efforts to organize a coup against President Chavez, possibly as early as this month." The documents were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Jeremy Bigwood, a freelance investigative reporter in Washington. In interviews with the New York Times and other news organizations in the days after the April 12 coup, administration officials vigorously denied having had advance knowledge of plans to oust Chavez, who regained power on April 14. (NYT,. Dec. 3)
 
On Nov. 22, the foreign minister of Spain’s socialist government, Miguel Angel Moratinos, criticized the rightwing government of former Spanish president Jose Maria Aznar for supporting the coup in Venezuela. On Dec. 1, Moratinos reiterated his accusations but apologized for having made them in the wrong place and at an "inappropriate" time. While Aznar didn’t instigate or help plan the coup, he also "didn’t condemn the coup d’etat, endorsed it and offered it international legitimacy," Moratinos charged. (AFP, Dec. 1)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 5

See also WW3 REPORT #103

RESOURCES:

The CIA documents are online at: http://www.venezuelafoia.info/

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Reprinted by WORLD WAR 3 REPORT, Dec. 10, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution

WW3Report.com

 

Continue ReadingVENEZUELA: MURDER CASE LEADS TO MIAMI? 

PERU: ONE KILLED IN MINE PROTEST

by Weekly News Update on the Americas

On the evening of Nov. 16, some 2,000 campesinos took over the Buenaventura mining company’s La Zanja camp in the Pulan district of Santa Cruz province, Cajamarca department, in northwestern Peru. The Front for the Defense of the Environment–a previously unknown group, according to governor Segundo Amado Linares–apparently organized the takeover of the camp in order to press a community demand for an end to mining explorations in the zone. Local campesinos fear mining will bring contamination to the area, harming their health and the agriculture they rely on for survival. The campesinos–many of them members of the organized defense groups known as rondas–burned the camp’s buildings and vehicles as the 200 workers based there fled. Police intervened with tear gas but were unable to regain control. Campesino Juan Montenegro Lingan was killed by a bullet, and several people were wounded. Police finally retook the camp on Nov. 17 and arrested 18 people, who were all released later in the day after appearing before a judge. Judge Adolfo Arribasplata also ordered the arrest of 23 other people believed to be involved in the attack on the camp, including the mayor of the village of Tongod, Roberto Becerra Mondragon. (La Republica, Lima, Nov. 19, 25; AFP Nov. 17)

On Nov. 22, residents of Santa Cruz province began a 48-hour civic strike to press their demand for an end to mining exploration. Santa Cruz mayor Cruz Anacario Diaz Mego said area mayors and other local authorities are supporting the communities’ demands, though he said they also condemn the attack on the mining camp. More than 1,000 campesinos marched in Santa Cruz on the first day of the strike, which shut down virtually all activity in the province. On the second day of the strike some 5,000 campesinos marched in Pulan, while Diaz Mego announced in Lima that the strike would be extended indefinitely because Buenaventura officials had rebuffed attempts at dialogue. Diaz Mego said he and other leaders are demanding the temporary suspension of the company’s explorations until local concerns about contamination and the reinvestment of mining profits into the community are addressed. Buenaventura finance manager Carlos Galvez was defiant, saying the company would not cede to any type of pressure and would continue its explorations. A new contingent of 200 riot police arrived from Chiclayo to defend the mining camp against any further attack. (La Republica, Lima, Nov. 22-5)

STRIKES AND PROTESTS SURGE

Some 13,000 doctors carried out a 48-hour strike at 143 state hospitals throughout Peru on Nov. 25 and 26 to demand government compliance with an accord on salary increases signed last May 1. Wearing their white coats, the doctors marched to the Congress building in Lima on Nov. 25, where they presented their list of demands. Hundreds of obstetricians marched to the Congress on Nov. 24, the first day of their own 48-hour strike against layoffs and to demand better benefits. Among other complaints, obstetricians say they are fired if they take maternity leave. Public health support staff meanwhile began their own open-ended strike. (La Republica, Nov. 25, 27; wire services, Nov. 25)

Teachers, workers and campesinos from the leftist General Confederation of Peruvian Workers (CGTP) marched in Lima on Nov. 25 to protest the government’s neoliberal economic policies and demand greater social spending. The CGTP is calling for a constituent assembly to write a new constitution with a new labor code to replace the one promulgated in 1993 by then-president Alberto Fujimori. Protesters also blocked several main avenues in Lima to reject a planned "free trade treaty" (TLC) with the US. (La Hora, Quito, Nov. 26, wire services)

Sugar producers in Chiclayo blocked the Panamerican highway on Nov. 25 to demand government help in improving production. (La Hora, Nov, 26) On Nov. 24 and 25, residents of the northern Ancash region held a civic strike to demand construction of a highway. (AFP, Reuters, Nov, 25) In Ayacucho, residents held a 24-hour strike on Nov. 24 to demand solutions to a conflict over water use. (LR, Nov. 25) In the southern department of Puno, hundreds of people blockaded a main road in Juliaca to protest electricity rate hikes, while residents of Ilave staged a 48-hour strike to protest the rate hikes and high fuel prices and to demand the resignation of Puno governor David Jimenez Sardon, who is accused of corruption. (LR, wire services, Nov. 25)

On Nov. 24, two people were killed and four others wounded during an attack on squatters in Alto Unine, 80 kilometers from the city of Satipo in Junin department. Two of the wounded have disappeared. Police arrested 13 people in connection with the attack. Survivors say the attack was led by Dionisio Maldonado, husband of the president of the Juan Santos Atahualpa Housing Association. The Association, which claims ownership of the disputed land, had recently won a court ruling against the squatters and had previously evicted the 30 families living there and destroyed their homes and property. The squatters had then returned to the land. (LR, Nov. 26, 28)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Nov. 28

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Reprinted by WORLD WAR 3 REPORT, Dec. 10, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution

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Continue ReadingPERU: ONE KILLED IN MINE PROTEST 

ECUADOR: RUMSFELD DOES QUITO

by Weekly News Update on the Americas

At a meeting of Western Hemisphere defense ministers in Quito, Ecuador, on Nov. 16, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called for increased Latin American action against terrorism, hinting that the region’s militaries should be more involved in domestic law enforcement. The US has had "to conduct an arduous yet essential re-examination of the relationship between its military and law enforcement responsibilities," he said. Many Latin American countries suffered from human rights abuses while they were under the rule of US-backed military regimes in the 1970s and 1980s. As a result some, like Argentina, have tried to bar the military from policing operations. US officials have suggested that the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda is moving into the hemisphere; the US has offered no evidence, and some experts are skeptical. (Reuter, Nov. 17)

Rumsfeld visited three Central American countries on his way to Quito. After a Nov. 11-12 stay in El Salvador, Rumsfeld stopped over in Nicaragua, where President Enrique Bolanos promised to destroy the country’s more than 1,000 surface-to-air missiles, a move opposed by the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). (Nicaragua had already destroyed about 1,000 missiles by November 2003, but resisted destroying the rest). On Nov. 13 Rumsfeld arrived in Panama for talks with President Martin Torrijos. Rumsfeld promised that the US would continue to provide technical advice to the National Police on the struggle against terrorism and on security for the Panama Canal. (La Prensa, Panama, Nov. 17)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Nov. 21

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Reprinted by WORLD WAR 3 REPORT, Dec. 10, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution

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Continue ReadingECUADOR: RUMSFELD DOES QUITO 

CHILE: MASS PROTESTS AT APEC MEET

by Weekly News Update on the Americas

Chilean police arrested some 300 people, mostly students, who were protesting in Santiago on Nov. 17 against the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, scheduled for Nov. 19-21 in Chile, and the participation of US president George W. Bush. "No Bush, no APEC," the protesters chanted. Militarized Carabinero police attacked them with water cannons and tear gas. Those arrested included journalists and Rodrigo Soto, a member of the Chilean branch of Amnesty International; he was released without charges. Protesters said many arrests were arbitrary. "They took away my friend because he said cowards wear green," student Tamara White told a reporter; the Carabineros wear green uniforms. The demonstration was called by the Anti-APEC Coordinating Committee, headed by the Chilean Communist Party and the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR). (AFP, DPA, Reuters, Nov. 18)

The Chilean Social Forum (FSCH), a coalition of some 100 groups opposed to neoliberal economic policies, held a far larger demonstration on Nov. 19. Estimates ranged from 15,000 to 70,000 for participation in the event, a march along the Alameda, Santiago’s main avenue, to the Bustamante Park, where organizers held a cultural event. The march was peaceful, although there were isolated confrontations in the park and police agents used tear gas. The FSCH had scheduled workshops and meetings on Nov. 20-21 to discuss alternatives to neoliberalism. In preparation for the FSCH, the national police distributed a leaflet to schools and government offices urging citizens to report "suspicious attitudes" and "the places of anti-APEC meetings." "Chile may be at the end of the world, but for international terrorism, nothing is far enough away," the leaflet warned. (Servicio Informativo "Alai-amlatina" Nov. 19; NYT, Nov. 20)

The center-left Chilean government suddenly dropped plans for President Ricardo Lagos to host a large formal dinner for Bush the evening of Nov. 21 at the end of the APEC meeting. Instead, the two presidents were to have a small "working dinner" together. Lagos indignantly denied reports that the formal dinner was cancelled because of excessive security demands by US officials, who reportedly wanted to have all 250 guests searched with US metal detectors. (La Tercera, Chile, Nov. 21) There was an incident between US and Chilean security agents before dinner on Nov. 20. According to the New York Times, "a scrum of shoving Chilean security officers" blocked Bush’s lead Secret Service agent. Bush "turned around and walked up to the group, reached in to pull his agent free, and walked back into the [dining] hall, shaking his head." (NYT, Nov. 21)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Nov. 21

MAPUCHE ACTIVISTS ACQUITTED

On Nov. 4, the criminal court in the Chilean city of Temuco acquitted eight members of the Arauco Malleco Collective, a Mapuche [indigenous] activist group, who had been accused of terrorist association for a series of arson attacks against the Forestal Mininco company and private estates in the Ninth Region. The three-judge panel ruled that the Public Ministry had failed to present sufficient proof of the defendants’ participation in the attacks. Mapuche activists Jorge Huaiquin, Oscar Higueras, Marcelo Quintrileo and Mauricio Contreras were freed upon acquittal; Aniceto Norin, Pascual Pichun, Jose Llanca and Patricia Troncoso–the one non-Mapuche in the group–were returned to jail, where they are serving sentences for convictions related to the Mapuche conflict.

Another eight defendants–seven Mapuche activists and one non-Mapuche supporter–have been charged in the same case but remain at large; in October they issued a communique saying they would go into hiding rather than face an unjust trial. (La Tercera, Santiago, Nov. 5)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Nov. 14

See also WW3 REPORT #95
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Reprinted by WORLD WAR 3 REPORT, Dec. 10, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution

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Continue ReadingCHILE: MASS PROTESTS AT APEC MEET 

COLOMBIA: WHO ARE THE “NARCO-TERRORISTS”?

Did Bush Pledge Support for Colombia’s Top Terrorist and Drug Dealer in his Cartagena Photo-Op with Alvaro Uribe?

by Bill Weinberg

President Bush’s brief stop in Colombia on his return from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Chile on Nov. 22 brought this forgotten front in Washington’s war on terrorism briefly into the headlines. Bush promised Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe–his closest South American ally–to boost aid for his military campaign against so-called "narco-terrorists."

"Our two nations share in the struggle against drugs," Bush said during a joint press conference with Uribe at the Caribbean port of Cartagena. "The drug traffickers who practice violence and intimidation in this country send their addictive and deadly products to the United States."

Bush expressed optimism that Colombia can win its war against drugs and terrorism. "Colombia is well on the way to that victory," he said, adding that Uribe has built "an impressive record" since he took office in August 2002.

"We will win, but we have not won yet," Uribe chimed in. He added, using his favorite metaphor: "We have made progress, but the serpent is still alive." (AFPS, Nov. 24)

Uribe made sure to wear a Red Sox cap at the photo-op, in honor of Orlando Cabrera, the Boston shortstop who pledged his support to Bush after his team won the World Series in October–who was also on hand to wow the press. (NYT N23)

The top target of Uribe’s "anti-terrorist" campaign is the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a 15,000-strong leftist guerilla force which Uribe’s army is currently battling in a major offensive in the country’s southern jungles, known as Plan Patriot. Days after Bush’s visit, Defense Minister Jorge Uribe (who was appointed by the president, but is not related to him) told reporters that informants said the FARC had instructed agents to "assassinate President Bush" in Cartagena. Bush was protected by 15,000 Colombian troops and police, US troops, and Secret Service agents during his three-hour stop in Colombia. (AP, Nov. 30)

Invisible Terror

Just two weeks before Bush’s Cartagena photo-op, 100 unarmed peasants were killed in a massacre by rightist paramilitary troops in Colombia’s southern jungle province of Putumayo. Survivors who fled across the border to Ecuador said the victims were cut to pieces with chainsaws and machetes while tied hanging from beams. Unlike the Bush visit, this failed to make headlines. (La Hora, Quito, Nov. 12, via Weekly News Update on the Americas)

Shortly after Bush’s visit, on Dec. 6, two Embera-Katio indigenous leaders were assassinated by gunmen who entered their reserve in Antioquia province. The three were Horacio Bailirin, former director of the Indigenous Organization of Antioquia (OIA); Arturo Domico, another OIA leader; and Misael Domico, former governor of the Embera-Katio reserve of Las Playas, in Apartado municipality, where the killings took place of. Witnesses said 10 heavily armed men in Colombian army uniforms carried out the killings, dumped the bodies in the nearby Rio Ibudo, and threatened to kill more if community members retrieved the bodies for a proper burial. This also failed to garner any headlines in the US. (ACIN statement, Dec. 9)

Much of the ongoing violence in the Colombian countryside does appear to be linked to drugs. The paras and guerillas appear to be at war for control over Colombia’s cocaine trade–the key to money, weapons and power in the country. Peasants who are forced to grow coca leaf for one side end up being targeted by the other. The peasants killed in the Putumayo massacre, for instance, we apparently working as hired hands to harvest coca on a jungle plantation. In June, the FARC was implicated in a similar massacre of peasant coca-growers in Norte de Santander province (see WW3 REPORT #100).

Officially, the US-backed Plan Colombia is aimed at putting an end to drug-related violence. In an August press conference in Washington, US Drug Czar John Walters claimed coca production has declined in Colombia by 30% over the past two years, and also boasted that 40% of US cocaine imports had been intercepted last year, thanks to international cooperation. (AP, Aug. 10)

But a new report critical of US policy in Colombia, "Going to Extremes," released by the DEC-based Latin America Working Group (LAWG), states that this has not resulted in a reduction in the amount of cocaine reaching the US–production in the Andean region as a whole has remained stable for 15 years, with Peru and Bolivia picking up the slack following the crackdown in Colombia. This is partially why Bush has expanded Plan Colombia into the Andean Initiative, with military aid packages for Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

And in spite of official optimism, Ricardo Vargas of Andean Action, a Colombian policy group, told the New York Times after Bush’s visit that coca production has spread from 12 of Colombia’s provinces to 23 in roughly the period that Plan Colombia–with its program of aerial herbicide-spraying of coca-growing areas–has been in effect. (NYT, Nov. 23)

The "Bogota Cartel"?

Critics also point to ongoing collaboration between the Colombian army and the ostensibly outlawed paramilitary groups. The paramilitary network known as the United Colombian Self-Defense Forces (AUC) is (like the FARC) on the US State Department terrorist list. The problem, say rights organizations, is that Uribe is not fighting the AUC–his government is negotiating with them, while refusing to do so with the guerillas. Despite official denials, rights advocates continue to cite cooperation between the AUC and Colombia’s official military.

Since July, negotiations with the AUC have been taking place in a 142-square-mile safe haven in northwestern Cordoba province, where AUC leaders are not subject to arrest, and where their demobilized fighters are supposed to gather before they disarm. But the AUC paras maintain their reign of terror throughout much of the country, threatening peasant communities and imposing "war taxes" on them, and carrying out assassinations and massacres against the uncooperative.

Especially controversial are proposals for the AUC leaders to receive an amnesty from prison time for massacres and atrocities. A group of Colombian lawmakers has come together to draft a proposal requiring paramilitary bosses convicted in such cases to serve at least eight years, and return all property acquired illegally. Under the proposal, the penalties would be a government condition for any peace agreements with the paras. Lawmakers supporting the measure include both Rep. Wilson Borja Díaz, a former trade unionist injured in a 2000 para assassination attempt, and Sen. Rafael Pardo Rueda, a former defense minister who supports President Uribe. (Colombia Week, Nov. 22; NYT, Nov. 16)

The measure would apply to guerilla organizations too. But Uribe has shown little interest in resuming peace talks with the guerillas, broken off under his predecessor Andres Pastrana. In a Dec. 2 communique, the FARC proposed that a safe haven be established for the group in Valle del Cauca province–but insisted that Plan Patriot be called off before any talks resume. (ANNCOL Dec. 3)

Controversy has long raged over whether a new crime machine has consolidated since the rival cocaine cartels of Medellin and Cali were crushed in the 1990s. There may be legitimacy to rightist claims that the FARC aspires to become the "new cartel." But Uribe’s critics claim he has long maintained ties to the paras, who now control at least as great a share of the cocaine trade–if not greater. Critics increasingly speak of a "Bogota Cartel" which is emerging–with far closer links to Colombian officialdom than either the Medellin or Cali cartels ever maintained.

Coca or Oil?

And targets of AUC’s terror have included not only guerillas, but also (as in the recent Antioquia assassinations) Indians demanding their constitutional right to local autonomy and non-involvement in the war, and (as in the recent Putumayo massacre) peasants simply caught between all sides. Another key target has been trade unionists

In 2002, 184 trade unionists were killed in Colombia–82 of them teachers, according to the teacher’s union FECODE. (ANNCOL, Nov. 30) In 2003, 94 were killed, while 58 have been slain in 2004 as of press time. Altogether, 2,100 unionists have been slain since 1991. Nearly all are believed to be victims of AUC terror. Only 19 of these killings have been successfully prosecuted. (NYT, Nov. 18)

Oil workers opposing Uribe’s plan to privatize the state company Ecopetrol have been especially targeted by the paras–and they have nothing to do with the cocaine trade. The AUC and the FARC may be struggling for control of the cocaine trade. But the fast-growing US involvement in Colombia may have to do with control over another resource–oil.

The Iraq war and Middle East chaos have made South America’s oil resources more strategic to the US. Venezuela, bordering Colombia, is the fourth US supplier after Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Canada–and it is under the populist government of Hugo Chavez, a White House target for western hemisphere "regime change" second only to Cuba. Colombia itself is among the top 15 global suppliers to the US, and Uribe hopes to privatize the country’s industry as part of his push to join Bush’s Free Trade Area of the Americas.

One beneficiary of the escalated troop presence in Colombia is Occidental Petroleum–colloquially, "Oxy". Bush’s 2003 foreign operations budget request included $98 million to train and equip a Colombian army brigade to protect Oxy’s Cano-Limon pipeline linking the oilfields of Arauca province with the Caribbean. Arauca, the heart of Oxy’s operations, hosts the greatest concentration of US military advisors and has Colombia’s worst human rights situation. (See WW3 REPORT #43)

But the oil industry is seeking to expand beyond Arauca, on the Orinoco plains bordering Venezuela. Uribe is luring investment for Putumayo, in the Amazon basin bordering Ecuador, where a new bonanza of oil is said to await. Putumayo is now the epicenter of Uribe’s Patriot Plan offensive against the guerillas–which has largely been ineffective. Guerilla fighters melt into Putumayo’s jungle as the army approaches, leaving behind snipers and land mines to pick off government troops. Under close army protection, the firm Petrotesting Colombia is exploring for oil and gas deposits in Putumayo. The army hasn’t even been effective at protecting these operations–in recent months, FARC has burned nine Petrotesting tanker trucks, and killed one driver.

Uribe’s efforts to lure more transnational investment are paying off. ExxonMobil and the Brazilian giant Petrobras have recently signed offshore drilling contracts on what the New York Times calls "beneficial terms." Harken Energy–President Bush’s former firm–recently signed exploration contract.

Beneficial terms aren’t the only lure–Uribe also has to guarantee oil companies a modicum of security against guerilla attack. Towards this aim, he has launched a Presidential Councilor for Infrastructure Protection, which serves as a direct liaison between oil companies and the military.

Of course, the hardline Uribe has militarized the entire country since taking office. The New York Times reports that there are now army or national police troops operating in all of Colombia’s 1,100 municipalities, filling in gap of some 200 since before Uribe took power. But critics note that those forces receiving the most US military aid are in Colombia’s oil zones. "Even if the Uribe government has launched offensives in other places, the US assistance has been in places that do have oil reserves," Adam Isacson of DC’s Center for International Policy told the Times. "Coincidence?" (NYT, Oct. 22)

RESOURCES:

Latin America Working Group:
http://www.lawg.org/

Center for International Policy’s Colombia Program:
http://www.ciponline.org/colombia/index.htm

——————-

Special to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Dec. 10, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution

WW4Report.com

Continue ReadingCOLOMBIA: WHO ARE THE “NARCO-TERRORISTS”? 

Update From Jayyous: ISRAELI SETTLEMENT SEIZES PALESTINIAN FARMLAND

by David Bloom

On Nov. 29, Jayyous residents awoke to find yet a new disaster befalling their already beleaguered Palestinian farming village of 3,000, in the form of a massive new land confiscation. Jayyous farmers arriving in their fields found construction crews with US-made Caterpillar D-9 bulldozers destroying village farmland just west of the north gate–the main access Jayyous has to its fields beyond Israel’s illegally constructed "separation barrier". The crew explained to the Jayyousi they had their orders from the army to confiscate 850 more dunams of land (1 acre = 4 dunams), and to build 80 housing units, to start with. The workers warned that over 2,000 dunams may be taken in the end–nearly the remainder of the village’s land, belonging to 79 Jayyous farmers.

Temporary street signs in Hebrew have been placed on these lands, including one that says, "Sharon street." The Jayyousi farmers fear the gate they use to access their fields will be blocked off, forcing them to travel an additional several kilometers to access their field from the Falamya gate to the north. This would add yet more expense to their farming, which already was failing to yield a profit. The farmers are mostly maintaining their land now to try to keep it alive, hoping to prevent Israel from confiscating it under the Ottoman Land Law of 1858–still used to seize "unused" lands.

The construction workers said the new settlement they were building was to be called "Zufim North." A warning of the planned confiscation came in mid-July, when a group of settlers and Israeli army troops drove up in busses and jeeps to the North gate, and staged what StopTheWall.org referred to as "war games"–with some of the settlers in the role of Palestinians. The Israelis filmed their strange shadow play, and left. Afterwards, Jayyous residents saw signs posted in the area with the names of famous Zionists, and saw that further properties had been marked to be confiscated. A new dirt road was built leading towards the illegal settlement of Zufim, which has already confiscated 450 acres of Jayyous’ farm land.

Jayyous proceeded with its vital fall harvest of figs, tomatoes and olives–with the now-usual difficulties of "conditional permits" for access to their own fields not being issued to all farmers, and unpredictable gate openings and closings, at the whim of local soldiers. As a result, some of the harvest is in, but much of it lies rotting on the trees with fruit falling on the ground.

Another ominous development came in November, in the form of Military Order #04/75646-2004, affecting farming villages in the agriculturally vital Tulkarm and Qalqilya districts. The order stated that "no building is to be allowed within a 300 meter wide area on the eastern side of the Wall," further hampering development of towns already hemmed in by the barrier, and possibly presaging demolition of already-built structures near the fence. (StopTheWall.org, Dec. 1)

On Dec. 9, Zufim settlers uprooted 117 olive trees at Jayyous, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported. Villagers said dozens of settlers, some of them armed, entered the olive grove owned by Jayyous resident Mohammed Salim that morning and began razing it with a bulldozer. Villagers alerted the occupation authorities, but police and troops only arrived in the afternoon–long after the trees had been destroyed. "How would you like to buy one of my trees?" a settler told an international. The uprooted trees were carted away in the direction of Israel, possibly to end up in Israeli nurseries for sale, construction workers reported. The phenomenon of Palestinian olive trees uprooted by Israel in the building of its separation barrier ending up being sold as trophy plants in Israeli nurseries was well documented in "The battle of the Olive," by Danny Adino Ababa, Meron Rapaport and Oron Meiri, Jan 22, 2003, in the Israeli paper Yediot Ahanorot .

Also on Dec. 9, farmers went to the regional military authority at the settlement of Kedumim to contest the documents possessed by the construction company, Ge’ulat Haaretz [the Redemption of the Land]. They will now begin a legal battle to prove that the proof of sale was forged. It appears that bulldozing of the land has been stopped until there is an outcome from the court. Another farmer, Sharif Omar, owns land which is designated on the new map for an expanded Israeli military training ground; yesterday the Israeli military authority denied that his land has been confiscated. His lawyer expects that the army plans to use it on a "temporary" basis, which can be months or even years. As Omar will not be allowed to enter a restricted military area, he will have no ability to farm his land, and he anticipates that his 1,300 fruit and olive trees will die. However, he cannot contest this in military court until he is served with a notice from the Israeli government.

West Bank Apartheid

In August of 2003, WW3 REPORT and an Israeli activist from Jews Against the Occupation went to the settlement of Zufim dressed as religious settlers, and visited a real estate agent there, saying we were looking to buy a house. It’s easy to get to Zufim; a wide, well-paved settler road tears through the landscape of the occupied West Bank, skirting by the walled-in prison-city of Qalqilya, without having to pass by the checkpoint that is the only way in and out of the town of 40,000 Palestinians. The road passes a billboard declaring, "Follow your dreams"–advertising the Jewish-only settlement of Zufim, sporting images of two gleaming villa-like houses. All Qalqilyians must pass by this sign every time they enter or leave the city.

Up the road to the top the hill, where Zufim is situated, we entered with a laconic wave of the hand by an armed security guard who does not bother asking us for ID. At the time, Zufim comprised about 1,600 housing units, said the real estate agent we found. He wore a knitted, colored kippa, signifying him as a member of the National Religious Party led by Effi Eitam. The agent explained that for the price of a two-bedroom apartment in Tel Aviv, we could get a multiple-bedroom house in Zufim, where the air is clean, you have space, and the children can play. Only 45 minutes’ drive to the center of Tel Aviv, he says, and with the light rail expected to be built from the nearby city of Rana’ana in Israel, it will be a ten minutes drive to the train station, and 20 minutes by train into Tel Aviv. All subsidized through housing grants from the Israeli treasury, which receives money directly from the US government without the oversight of US AID–the only country to have such an arrangement for receiving US aid.

The agent took us up to where we could have a view. The view to the west looks towards Israel and Tel Aviv; to the north, Jayyous’ farmland, with all seven of its wells, are visible. Jayyous’ irrigated land, all of it now enclosed west the barrier, can be seen, some six kilometers from the Green Line. This area, called the "Seam Zone" by the Israelis, is off-limit to Palestinians without permits, but this reporter, as someone eligible for instant citizenship under Israel’s Jews-only Law of Return, does not require a permit. We ask the agent what the land in the valley below is–is it part of Zufim? "No," he replies, "it belongs to the Arabics." What "Arabics?" we ask, what’s the name of their village? "I don’t know, " he says. But he does tell us that Zufim plans to build 1,000 new units in the valley, to be called Zufim North. Zufim, he tells us, has about 2,500 current residents, but it is planned to have enough housing for 12,500 people–all Jewish, of course–when it is finished. If the Arabs own the land, the agent is asked, how will Zufim build there? He thinks for a moment. "Maybe they will sell it." Have you ever had any problems with the local Palestinians? "No," he answers. "No problems."

But the Jayyousi have had problems with Zufim. The settlement is made up of a mixed secular-religious population, and religious settlers have attacked farmers whose land abuts Zufim with stones. They have also stolen olives from the farmers. Zufim itself was started in 1989, and is being developed by the LIDAR corporation, owned by Lev Leviev, said to be the richest man in Israel. Leviev–educated by the Lubavitch Chassidic sect which opposes giving any land to a Palestinan state, believing God meant for all the land "between the river and the sea" to be settled by Jews–also owns Africa Israel, which runs malls in Europe and urban development projects in the former Soviet Union, where Leviev, a Bukharin Jew from Tashkent, is from. It also deals in diamonds. It was in the diamond trade with apartheid-era South Africa that Leviev made his fortune.

LIDAR also owns the Zufim North quarry, which sits on land confiscated from the largest landowner in Jayyous, Sharif Omar. On Omar’s land is built a large water tower, constructed mostly with foreign aid, which provides most of the water for Jayyous’ farmers. The edge of Zufim North Quarry is now just 15 feet from the water tower, and every time they drill new blast holes and expand it, it carves further into the land under the tower, threatening its structural integrity.

"Israel confiscates land by destroying it first," Omar says. Omar has managed to obtain a temporary restraining order on further blasting. In 1988, he won a legal case against LIDAR preventing the confiscation of part of his lands, a parcel 30 meters to the east of the water tower. It is this land that Israel started to bulldoze on Nov. 29. In a Dec. 12 Ha’aretz article by Akiva Eldar, he mentions that Ge’ulat Haaretz is the "yazam," or developer, and the contractor, "kablan" in Hebrew, is LIDAR. For some reason, Ge’ulat’s relationship to LIDAR is mentioned in the Hebrew-language edition of Ha’aretz, but any mention of LIDAR has been censored from the English-language edition.

Before Zufim was built in 1989, its land was part of the at least 600-year old village of Jayyous, and was called "Zufin." The first two parcels of land were bought from Jayyousi widows, who have since moved away; the third was an elderly Jayyousi who claims he was tricked by the buyers, who he says claimed to be Palestinians who intended to build a factory there. When he found out the land was to be used for an Israeli settlement, he was horrified and tried to give the money back. He died a broken man. Another Jayyousi, whose family still owns a parcel of land just outside the entrance of Zufim, was under great pressure from Israelis to sell his land, but always refused. One night he was beaten and handcuffed, and thrown atop a donkey. Alert Bedouin in the area scared his attackers off. His son, Abu Ali Nofal, took his elderly father to three different Israeli police stations before anyone would remove his handcuffs. His son pursued the matter to the highest levels of the Israeli government to seek redress for this crime, only to be told several times that all information relating to the case had been lost. He finally dropped the matter after threats from Israeli authorities, he told WW3 REPORT. Nofal still has all the resulting documents, and press clippings, some in English, relating to the case, as well as a photograph of his father handcuffed, his hands bloodied. Nofal’s family still owns the parcel of land, situated improbably between an Israeli army and the entrance to Zufim.

From the Fields of Jayyous to the Corridors of Power

Any permanent Israeli settlement, and any transferring of its civilians into the occupied West Bank, is in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which bars the settlement of occupied territory. Israel’s government has generally referred to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as "disputed" rather than occupied. But as recently as last summer, the Israeli High Court confirmed the West Bank (except East Jerusalem, which Israel has illegally annexed) exist "under a state of belligerent occupation." This was confirmed by the July 9 decision of the International Court of Justice at the Hague, which found all Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to be illegal, and ruled that the entire barrier must be removed in areas where it is not built on the Green Line, which is most of it.

In the wake of the decision, Israel feared possible sanctions, and the Israeli attorney General Menahem Mazuz even floated the idea of belatedly applying the fourth Geneva Convention to the occupied territories. But the idea has gone by the wayside. To date, not a single country has applied punitive measures towards Israel, as mandated by the ICJ’s decision. Apparently encouraged by the total lack of international will to enforce the rule of law in the West Bank, Israel is seeking funds from international donor countries for construction of bypass roads and 16 tunnels, to connect Palestinian cities and villages, bypassing the separate roads built for Jewish settlements. The New York Times’ James Bennet aptly referred to this system as a "habitrail." Donor countries balked when the Palestinian Authority refused to accept the money, saying that the construction would ensure a permanent state of apartheid in the West Bank. (UK Guardian, Dec. 5)

President Bush, during his recent trip to Canada, declared: "Achieving peace in the Holy Land is not just a matter of pressuring one side or the other on the shape of a border or the site of a settlement. This approach has been tried before without success. As we negotiate the details of peace, we must look at the heart of the matter, which is the need for a Palestinian democracy. The Palestinian people need a peaceful government that truly serves their interests. And the Israeli people need a true partner in peace."

Bush has gradually taken on the advice of his neo-con advisors, some of whom once worked for Israeli Prime Minister Benjaymin Netanyahu. In 1996 Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, and Richard Perle, who were later all to work for the Bush administration, wrote a white paper for Netanyahu. "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" recommended, among other things, that Israel abandon the "Land for peace" formula of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the nebulous "peace-for-peace" idea, keeping whatever land Israel wants.

Bush’s Canadian trip also netted another prize: on Dec. 1, Allan Rock, the Canadian ambassador at the UN, announced that Canada will abandon its traditional "honest broker" position in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and instead of abstaining from resolutions condemning Israel’s occupation and illegal settlements, will for the first time ever vote against the resolutions, with the United States. (Ottawa Sun, Dec. 3)

In Feith’s office at the Pentagon works Larry Franklin, the bureaucrat at the center of allegations of spying for Israel–specifically passing privileged information about US policy on Iran to Israel through employees of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Four AIPAC employees have just been served grand jury subpoenas in the affair, and the FBI searched their offices for a second time. Also working under Feith is Alan Makovsky, brother of David Makovsky, former Jerusalem Post editor and Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a "public educational foundation dedicated to scholarly research and informed debate on U.S. interests in the Middle East" founded by senior administrators of AIPAC. One of David Makovsky’s tasks at WINEP has been selling the separation barrier to the US government and public, through numerous op-eds, and a monograph, "A Defensible Fence". Makovky appeared this Feb. 10 before a Congressional committee discussing the barrier as an expert witness, along with WINEP’s director and former Mideast negotiator under Clinton, Dennis Ross.

In his testimony, Makovsky that "there is hardship" for Palestinians impacted by the fence, but asserted that most "are very happy to hear the Israeli government coming out this week with a 2-billion shekel or $500 million program on the hardship. I happened to speak to the mayor of Qualqilya, and I saw the wall on the Palestinian side, and I asked him, I said, ‘if there was a compensation program to offset some of these hardships, would you be for it?’ He said absolutely. "

Having spent three months in Qalqilya district, including Jayyous, this reporter never met a Palestinian who would accept compensation for their land–regarding it as their ancestral and cultural heritage, the selling of which amounts to collaboration with the Israeli occupiers. Marouf Zahran, the mayor of Qalqiya who Makovsky reportedly spoke to, told WW3 REPORT in a Feb. 9 e-mail:

"It is with deep regret that I learn that David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy implied that I would accept ‘compensation’ for the impoverishing and destructive effects of Israel’s Wall as built around the West Bank town of Qalqilya, the town of which I am Mayor. As I made clear to Mr. Makovsky during his visit that while I would welcome any relief offered to the suffering residents of Qalqilya, such relief would not be necessary if Israel builds its Wall on the border [the Green Line] between what became Israel in 1948 and Occupied Palestinian Territory. I made it very clear to Mr. Makovsky, with the express intent that Mr. Makovsky not misconstrue my statements for his own purposes, that under no conditions would I or the residents of Qalqilya accept or otherwise acquiesce to the construction of the Wall in exchange for compensation. Our property and our human rights are not for sale."

The Industrial Agenda

What Israel and Makovsky have in mind for the people of Qalqilya district first became clear during a November 2003 visit to Washington by Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. On Nov. 14, the Israeli daily Yedioth Aharonot ran an article titled "Mofaz’s Initiative: Jobs for Palestinians," reporting that Mofaz presented the US government with an "initiative to build industrial parks that will create jobs for 120 thousand Palestinians." Yediot’s Washington correspondent, Orly Azulai, noted that Secretary of State Colin Powell had asked Mofaz to "minimize the suffering caused on Palestinians as a result of the construction of the Separation Fence."

"To implement the initiative, of course, there is a need for an end for terrorism and financial resources," Mofaz said after a meeting with Dick Cheney and Condolezza Rice. "As part of the plan, industrial parks will be built in the Palestinian side and on the seam line. The Palestinians will be able to go to these places without going through IDF checkpoints; private security companies will monitor these passages."

Possibly this will be the fate of Jayyous. The independent farmers of Jayyous who have tilled the land for at least nine generations will be a dependent Israeli-controlled industrial workforce on what used to be their land, without even entering Israel. This is already happening to the south of Jayyous, where residents of Arab Ramadin, who lived off of sheep herding, have been enclosed inside the fence with the illegal Jewish settlement of Alfe Menashe, and, thus cut off from their grazing lands, have been compelled to abandon their traditional way of life and take jobs in the settlement’s industrial zone. In a Dec. 18, 2003 press release, the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign of the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network (PENGON) concluded: "The completion of the Wall and its ghettoization of Arab Ramadin are turning a community of shepherds into exploited workers for Israeli settlement industrial zones, as they are unable to sustain their lives."

See also WW3 REPORT #95
——————-

Special to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Dec. 10, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution

WW3Report.com



Continue ReadingUpdate From Jayyous: ISRAELI SETTLEMENT SEIZES PALESTINIAN FARMLAND 

U.S. ATTACKS IRAQI AGRICULTURE

by Carmelo Ruiz Marrero

Oil is not the only interest that the US is seeking to control in Iraq. Agriculture is also emerging as a factor. Critical observers in various countries around the world contend that Washington is seeking to convert the country into a captive market for US agricultural surplus, as well as for genetically-altered foods and seeds that nobody else wants.

When L. Paul Bremer, provisional president of Iraq, stepped down from his post in the supposed transition to sovereignty at the end of June, he left in effect some 100 orders that continue have force of law today. One of these, number 81, prohibits Iraqi farmers from saving seeds. This means they cannot use the seeds from one harvest to plant the following season; they have to buy seeds each year from the agribusiness transnationals. In fact, the world commerce in seeds is actually dominated by five firms: Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow Chemical.

Order 81 caused a furor among defenders of farmers’ rights and agricultural biodiversity. The international groups GRAIN and Focus on the Global South, respectively based in Barcelona and Thailand, published a joint statement affirming that Iraq is one of various important scenarios in an effort by transnational corporations to impose global monopolies over seeds and thereby control human food and agriculture on a global level.

From time immemorial, Iraqi farmers–like those throughout the word–have saved, exchanged and shared their seeds freely, without interference from the state or powerful economic interests. But this is now changing thanks to the concept of intellectual property rights (IPR), one of the most important elements of neoliberal globalization. Intellectual properties are intangible possessions that are the product of human ingenuity, such as books, songs, movies, medicines, software programs and agricultural seeds. In the post-Cold War world, the tendency has been to extend IPRs to products of nature, allowing the patenting and privatization of medicinal plants, proteins, genes y even human cells.

The agro-industrial corporations are seeking to use IPRs to take over global seed stock so that nobody on earth can plant a seed without paying royalties to its corporate "owner." Anyone who doesn’t pay is considered a pirate who is illegally copying a patented product, and can be sanctioned under the law–just as the authorities are doing with people who copy movies on DVD, music CDs or Microsoft programs, or those who download songs from the Internet.

The traditional way, which farmers have practiced since the dawn of agriculture, is now a crime in Iraq. Ironically, Iraq is considered a cradle of agriculture, since the ancient Mesopotamian kingdom was found there. And agriculture began precisely when people began saving and selecting seeds.

While it is clear the privatization of seed is occurring all over the world, Iraq is a special case, according to GRAIN and Focus on the Global South. Order 81 was not the product of bilateral or multilateral trade negotiations, as is usually the case with IPR laws. It was not approved by the legislature of a sovereign country; much less was it the result of a democratic consultation with the affected farmers. It was imposed by a foreign government–the United States–which exercised sovereignty over Iraq following a military invasion.

Global Repudiation

Various organizations have also accused the United States and the agribusiness transnationals of using Iraq as a captive market for genetically modified foods–transgenics–which have been rejected by the European Union, and even by the poorest countries in southern Africa.

Argentina’s Rural Reflection Group (GRR) maintains that the conflict between the United States and the European Union over transgenics is part of a world struggle for access to oversea markets, and is related to the invasion of Iraq. "Biotechnology is fundamental to the interests of empire, and the transnationals of the genetic-industrial complex support the war effort in the context of the world food market," declared the GRR en a February 2003 statement.

"After the war, amidst devastation and hunger, food aid can be sent consisting of trasngenic grains, not only to subsidize North American producers but to demonstrate the public assertion, repeated in ape-like fashion by academics and journalists, that genetic engineering is the solution to global hunger."

The group UBINIG, which promotes ecological agriculture and community development in Bangladesh, also sounds an alarm about the use of Iraq as a market for transgenics. "We urge upon the World Food Programme and other UN humanitarian bodies not to use any Genetically Modified food (GM) as food aid to the war-affected people in Iraq," the group says in a recent statement.

UBINIG writes that "the beleaguered GM food industry [is] trying to move in to distribute the untested and unwanted genetically-modified food as part of the ‘humanitarian aid’" to Iraq. "America is getting ready to solve so many of its economic problems over the dead and the injured in Iraq. They have already tried to use their ‘junk’ GM food to feed the famine affected people in Africa."

Peter Rosset, co-director of the California-based Food First, also links the war against Iraq with neoliberal policies he says are disastrous for agriculture. "With the war against Iraq, and with the new military bases throughout the South, the US is seeking an opening against its competitors in the new war for colonization of the Third World," he declared in an economic analysis of the war.

Rosset wrote in 2003 that this is "a military war for free trade… ‘Free’ trade has already nearly eliminated family agriculture from the North American countryside, has generated unemployment and social desperation in the US. With cuts in social spending that will be needed to cover the immediate costs of the war against Iraq, these problems will intensify."

Rosset concludes: "Because of all this, at this historic moment it is essential to link the movements against the war in the North and the South with each other, and with the global movement against neoliberal globalization that the free trade agreements represent. ‘Free trade’ is nothing more than war by other means, war against all the peoples of both the North and the South."

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This story originally appeared in the Puerto Rican weekly Claridad, Nov. 25

Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero is director of the Proyecto de Bioseguridad Puerto Rico, a research associate at the Institute for Social Ecology and a senior fellow at the Environmental Leadership Program. His blog is on-line at: http://carmeloruiz.blogspot.com

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Reprinted and translated by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Dec. 10, 2004
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Continue ReadingU.S. ATTACKS IRAQI AGRICULTURE 

WAR CRIMES CHARGES FILED AGAINST RUMSFELD IN GERMANY

by Chesley Hicks

Donald Rumsfeld and several other high-ranking US officials could be tried in Germany for war crimes committed in Iraq.

On Nov. 30, the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and four Iraqi citizens filed a criminal complaint with the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office in Karlsruhe, Germany.

The complaint was brought under the German Code of Crimes against International Law (CCIL), enacted in 2002, which grants German courts "Universal Jurisdiction," or the right to prosecute such cases across national borders, regardless of the location of the crime or the accused. The four Iraqi plaintiffs in this case claim they were subject to sadistic physical and psychological torture at Abu Ghraib prison. None were ever charged by the US with a crime.

Names on the complaint also include former CIA director George Tenet, undersecretary of defense for intelligence Dr. Stephen Cambone, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, Brig. Gen. Janis, L. Karpinski, Lt. Col. Jerry L. Phillabaum, Col. Thomas Pappas, and Lt. Col. Stephen L. Jordan

The charges against the US officials include violations of the German criminal code addressing "War Crimes against Persons," which outlaws killing, torture, cruel and inhumane treatment, sexual coercion and forcible transfers. The Code holds criminally responsible those who commit such acts as well as those who induce, condone or order them. It also makes commanders liable who fail to prevent their subordinates from committing such acts.

Representatives from CCR are calling Karlsruhe "a court of last resort." US courts are not legally obligated to prosecute all cases, whereas German courts are required to prosecute any case provided there is enough evidence. Because the US has refused to join the International Criminal Court, no case can be made against US citizens there. In the face of the Bush administration’s persistent refusal to address the culpability of those in higher command during the Abu Ghraib scandal, and because the US has made its citizens immune from prosecution in Iraq, litigants have little recourse other than to take the case to Germany.

Berlin-based lawyer Wolfgang Kaleck is representing the CCR in Germany. Kaleck has done similar work, including filing genocide and torture charges against Jiang Zemin, the former president of China, and representing the victims of Argentina’s Dirty War. Aside from the well-documented evidence of abuse at Abhu Ghraib, including memos from high-ranking officials sanctioning torture, CCR lawyers maintain that their complaint is compelling to the German court because three of the defendants are present in the country: Lt. Gen. Sanchez and Maj. Gen. Wodjakoski are stationed in Heidelberg, Col. Pappas is in Wiesbaden, and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and others often travel to Germany. In addition, the military units that engaged in the torture are stationed in Germany–mostly in the US Army V Corps’ 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, stationed at Wiesbaden Airfield. Finally, CCR maintains that because the complainants are also victims, there is an additional duty placed on the prosecutor to investigate.

"This is a big deal," CCR president Michael Ratner says. "When you have someone in your country who’s committed these crimes you’re obliged to do something about it."

The case could prove to be a thorny issue for German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder ,whose administration is attempting to repair relations in the wake of its bitter dispute with the US over the invasion of Iraq. Others fear "another Belgium"–referring to the White House threats last year to remove NATO headquarters from Brussels if Belgium allowed war crimes charges against Gen. Tommy Franks, then-commander of coalition forces in Iraq, to be heard there. Belgium ultimately amended its law to keep the case from going to court.

In a similar move, on Dec. 7, the US Congress approved the "Nethercutt Amendment," a provisional part of a federal spending bill that mandates withholding anti-terrorism funds and other aid from countries that refuse to grant immunity for US citizens before the International Criminal Court. Human Rights Watch characterizes the bill as "intensifying the US’s assault on international justice." The organization also observes that as evidence mounts in the public eye that the US is systematically using torture at Gauntanomo Bay, the rest of the world is growing wary of the Bush administration’s attempts to silence its critics.

Anticipating intimidation tactics or not, Ratner says that following the announcement of CCR’s case, "the German media coverage was excellent and both the national and international PR conferences were well attended." He points out that Europeans have been more exposed than Americans to images of human degradation and death wrought by the Iraq war. "The US is saying that torture is humane. It means that war is peace," he says. "But the rest of the world sees that the emperor has no clothes."

RESOURCES:

German lawyers emphasize that citizen letters of support will dramatically help this case go to court. For more info or to send an email letter see the CCR’s website: http://www.ccr-ny.org/v2/home.asp

Amnesty International on the "torture memos"

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Special to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Dec. 10, 2004
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Continue ReadingWAR CRIMES CHARGES FILED AGAINST RUMSFELD IN GERMANY 

FREE VERMONT!?

"Middlebury Declaration" Calls for Secession from Bush’s America

by Peter Lamborn Wilson

Should Vermont secede from the USA and declare itself independent again (as it was from 1777 to 1791) under the name of the Second Vermont Republic? This question was posed to attendees at a conference and town meeting, both held in Middlebury, VT, on the weekend after the national election, Nov. 5-7; and in both cases the answer was a nearly-unanimous YES.

The conference—Rad.Con 2—was organized jointly by the Second Vermont Republic (SVR) and the UK-based Fourth World Organization (publishers of Fourth World Review), which sponsored the first "Radical Consultation" in Britain in September 2001. American historian Kirkpatrick Sale contributes regularly to Fourth World, and made the keynote speech at Rad.Con 2 in Middlebury.

Fourth World proclaims itself (on the cover of each issue): "For Small Nations—Small Communities—Small Farms—Small Industries—Small Banks—Small Fisheries—& the Inalienable Sovereignty of the Human Spirit."

This "platform" is largely based on the writings of two 20th century philosophers, Leopold Kohr and EF Schumacher, summed up in the phrase "Small is Beautiful" (the title of Schumacher’s 1973 book). Radical decentralists, Greens, bioregionalists, "buddhist economists", socialists, libertarian marxists, anti-Globalists, tribal rights militants, neo-luddites, true federalists, true conservatives (i.e. conservationists and isolationists), anarchists—and even a few disgusted Democrats—can all find something to admire in this philosophy.

The name Proudhon came up several times at Rad.Con 2, and I made sure to mention Lysander Spooner and the American Philosophical Anarchist view of secession: namely, that small states are less bad than big ones; that every state has a perfect right to secede, as does every town, neighborhood, family, group or individual; that every independent and autonomous individual and group has the right to federate freely with others. Administration and economic organization should be undertaken by revokable delegates to regional congresses; public defense by a people’s militia, etc. This encapsulates the politics of what Benjamin Tucker called "the unterrified Jeffersonians": anti-authoritarian, agrarian and devoted to "direct democracy."

The question posed to Rad.Con 2 delegates—"After the Fall of the American Empire, Then What?"—takes on extra urgency after the Nov. 2 elections. And it was meant to. SVR founder Prof. Thomas Naylor felt certain the Republican would "win" and that the conference would therefore be riding a wave of anger and confusion. The next four years should see the US Empire mired in Mid-Eastern war, vast debt, inflation, depression (both economic and psychic). More and more socialist-leaning governments will win elections in Europe and South America. Even now many Americans feel disgusted with Democratic Party waffling and hypocrisy and ready for something much more radical. If you don’t like the word "secession," call it "independence." Either way, it’s American as apple pie.

The most forceful and interesting talk I heard (because I missed the first day) was made by Don Livingston, a professor from Emorty University, whom Naylor called one of the philosophical gurus of the Second Vermont Republic. I heard that Kirkpatrick Sale’s keynot e address was also rousing. I was also very impressed by Prof. Naylor and his reborn Green Mountain Boys (and Girls), the core SVR membership. Particularly memorable were Jim Hogue and Gus Jaccaci, who acted the roles of Ethan Allen and Tom Jefferson at t he Town Meeting on Saturday evening–as nice a bit of political theater as I’ve ever seen. The Town Meeting voted to make Jan. 15 a State holiday commemorating Vermont’s independence and first Republic, launched on that day in 1777 when the region first seceded from New York and the British Empire in one rash and dashing gesture of defiance. Oddly enough, it succeeded.

Delegates to Rad.Con 2 came from England and other faraway places. The neighboring state of New Hampshire sent a delegate from their own Free State Project, a Libertarian-inspired political scheme aimed at greater local autonomy and perhaps secession. We heard about similar movements in other states, including Maine, Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, South Carolina and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Some of these separatist movements seem rather right-wing, others are more left-wing; all appear small, but all rather lively. We New Yorkers at the conference wished we could’ve said as much for our own home state. But at least we had the sat isfaction of learning (from Prof. Livingston) that New York, along with Virginia and Rhode Island, actually reserved the right to secede when signing the US Constitution. Our revolutionary Governor George Clinton was himself a radical democrat and Anti-Federalist who (under the pen-name Cato) attacked the Constitution as sheer counter-revolutionary reaction—which it was. (Sadly, Clinton opposed Vermont’s right to secede from New York, and he hated Ethan Allen. During the Town Meetings, Kirk Sale acted the role of a disgruntled New Yorker and got big laughs from the audience—who all seemed to remember the ancient rivalry with great vividness.)

On the last day (Sunday morning) the meeting room at the old Middlebury Inn was packed and humming. Most of the core delegates signed a resolution supporting world-wide separatist/secessionist movements (see below), drafted by Sale and others at dinner the previous night. All the delegates, attendees and guests in the room gave unanimous support to two resolutions—one supporting the formulation of a think-tank-type network to study independence movements everywhere; the second supporting the aims and goals of the Second Vermont Republic, approved to applause. The atmosphere in the room was excited and positive.

RESOURCES:

The Middlebury Declaration:
http://www.vermontrepublic.org/writings/middleburydeclaration.html

The Second Republic
Journal of Vermont Independence
POB 1516
Montpelier, VT 05601 (sub. $20)

Thomas Naylor, the Vermont Manifesto
published by Xlibris, 1-800-795-42 74

Naylor on Vermont, George Bush and Secession, from the Vermont Cynic

Vermont Independence Day Petition:
http://www.vermontindependenceday.org/pages/1/index.htm

New Hampshire Free State Project
74 Shirley Hill Rd.
Goffstown, NH 03045
1-888-532-4604

Fourth World Journal
ed. John Papworth
POB 2410
Swindon, England SN5 4XN

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Special to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Dec. 10, 2004
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