Peasant Pacifist Leader and Family Killed by Army at San Jose de Apartado

by Virginia McGlone

Less than a month away from the eighth anniversary of the founding of the
Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado, in Colombia’s violence-torn
Antioquia department, a campaign of intimidation by the Colombian army in
collaboration with paramilitary forces has left several dead at the
village. The community had planned on using the occasion of the March 23
anniversary to officially declare seven more of its outlying settlements as
Peace Zones, or areas of non-cooperation in the war.

In late February, troops began mobilizing to San Jose de Apartado’s
outlying settlements, especially Mulatos; several members of these
communities have been detained and interrogated. The communities of Buena
Vista, Alto Bonito and Buenos Aires have come under indiscriminate
bombardment by helicopter, displacing some 200 peasants. Finally, one the
founders and leaders of the Peace Community has been massacred together
with his family and close friends.

Luis Eduardo Guerra, 35, was murdered on Feb. 21 by what area witness
testimony confirms to have been an operative of the 11th Brigade of the
Colombian army. Luis Eduardo’s remains were found together with those of
his son Deiner Andres Guerra Tuberquia, 11, and his companion Beyanira
Areiza Guzman, 17. The bodies were found naked and partly mutilated, with
signs of torture and beatings; Deiner’s head was found several meters from
his body. They were apparently detained while working their cocoa fields
near Mulatos, and taken to the nearby settlement of La Resbalosa, where
they were slain and left in a shallow grave.

Members of the community of Mulatos searching for Guerra also found the
bodies of Alfonso Bolivar Tuberquia, 30, close friend of Guerra and member
of the Peace Community council in Mulatos; his wife Sandra Milena Munoz
Pozo, 24; and their children Santiago Tuberquia Munoz, 2, and Natalia
Andrea Tuberquia Munoz, 6. This family was also found with signs of torture
and partly mutilated.

The process of corroborating these events was a slow one due to negligence
on the part of the national prosecutor’s office (Fiscalia) commission that
was sent to investigate the matter. After receiving the information from
the Peace Community counsel, it took until Feb. 26 for the bodies to be
officially processed, and another two days before they were returned to
their relatives.

The world peace and human rights community have hailed San Jose de Apartado
as a key player in the process towards peace in a country that has known
almost half a century of war. In recent years, rights observers stationed
at the village from Peace Brigades International and Fellowship of
Reconciliation have helped restrain armed attacks on the community. The new
killings represent a significant escalation.

The Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado is demanding that the
government punish those responsible for the massacre of Luis Eduardo
Guerra, his family and his friends, and all human rights violations that
have taken place in the area over the last eight years.

The Peace Community is also demanding that their initiative to declare
themselves conscientious objectors as a whole community-a stance they call
"active neutrality"-be respected as a constitutional right.

Luis Eduardo Guerra was a primary voice of these demands and initiatives,
having been appointed by his community as interlocutor with the state and
the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which recently issued orders to
the Colombian government to protect residents and leaders of the Peace

Guerra had taken his community’s message to NGOs and forums in countries
like Germany, Spain, Italy and the United States, but always kept the focus
on the struggle in his jungle village. As he told one international
conference at the Social Forum of the Americas, in Quito in July 2004:

"Why so many meetings and events, if we are getting murdered, gentleman?
Why expensive hotels, NGO experts and so many intellectuals-all of this for
what, if what we urgently need is that you to helps to not die."


Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado:


Special to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, March. 7, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution


Issue 107 March 2005

COLOMBIA: MASSACRE AT PEACE COMMUNITYPeasant Pacifist Leader and Family Killed by Army at San Jose de Apartadoby Virginia McGlone IS THERE A "THIRD ALTERNATIVE" IN IRAQ?by Bill Weinberg TRUTH, DEATH AND MEDIA IN IRAQWe Kill Journalists, Don’t We?by Michael I…. Read moreIssue 107 March 2005


A "Chilling Effect" for Legal Community

by Bill Weinberg

Newly appointed US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales hailed the Feb. 10 conviction of activist attorney Lynne Stewart and her co-defendants, saying the verdicts “send a clear, unmistakable message that this department will pursue both those who carry out acts of terrorism and those who assist them with their murderous goals.” The New York Times coverage of the Justice Department victory called it “one of the country’s most important terror cases since the Sept. 11 attacks.” But supporters of Lynne Stewart say the case had more to do with a dangerous erosion of attorney-client privilege than with terrorism.

After 12 days of deliberations, Stewart was convicted on all five charges she faced–including “providing material support” to terrorism, conspiracy to abet terrorism, and lying to the government about her actions. She faces up to 30 years in prison. At 65, this means she will almost certainly die in prison.

This was actually the second set of indictments brought against Stewart. The first indictments, brought in April 2002 when federal agents raided her downtown Manhattan office, were dismissed by US Judge John Koetl in July 2003 as unconstitutionally vague. But that November, the Justice Department filed fresh charges that Stewart and her co-defendants–postal worker Ahmed Sattar and translator Mohammed Yousry–had conspired to provide material support to Egypt’s Gama’a Islamiyya, or Islamic Group, which is designated a terrorist organization by the State Department. Judge Koetl let these charges stand, and the case wound up in his Manhattan courtroom.

Stewart was initially charged with passing messages between her client, Sheikh Abdel Rahman, and Egyptian supporters from his Minnesota prison cell, where he is serving a life term on charges of conspiring to blow up several New York landmarks. Abdel Rahman–the notorious “Blind Sheikh”–was said to be the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center attack (although he was never convicted of that), and was barred from communicating with the outside world by Special Administrative Measures, or SAMs, which Stewart had to sign on to in order to continue representing him.

The new indictments charged that Stewart helped disguise prison conversations in which Rahman passed messages to his translator and assistant. The indictment said Stewart “pretended to be participating in the conversation with Abdel Rahman by making extraneous comments such as ‘chocolate’ and ‘heart attack.'”

Stewart guessed that the conversations were being monitored, and the charges against her bore that out. Stewart and her defense team argued that this electronic eavesdropping, and the strictures placed on facilitating Sheikh Rahman’s communications, violated the spirit of the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees the right to legal counsel. In a Feb. 17 interview with Jose Santiago of WBAI Radio news, Stewart said the wiretapping at the prison was an unconstitutional “incursion into the attorney-client right to confidentiality by the government.”

The prosecution argued that her own words indicated she knew she was breaking the law. At one point she said, “Well, I don’t think I can hide this from Pat Fitzgerald,” the federal prosecutor who headed the 1995 case against Sheikh Rahman (today US attorney for Chicago).

Stewart was not accused of any direct links to acts of violence, nor of speaking with Islamic Group leaders in Egypt–only to the press. She acknowledged that in June 2000 she called a Reuters reporter in Cairo to read him a press release from the Sheikh. Although the press release apparently broached the Islamic Group breaking its ceasefire with the Egyptian government, there were no subsequent attacks. Stewart maintained that speaking to the press on behalf of her client was a legitimate and indispensable part of her legal representation. “I did what a good and vigorous lawyer does,” she would tell WBAI.

The prosecution worked hard to create the image of a major terrorist case. Sattar, facing a life sentence on terrorist conspiracy charges, admitted that he urged Egyptian exile Rifai Taha in a phone call to Afghanistan to write an edict which was released to the Internet under the Sheikh’s name, calling for “killing the Jews where ever they are found.” But he insisted his intention was to keep the Sheikh’s name pubic, not to advocate breaking the ceasefire. He also admitted to corresponding with and sending money to Ramzi Yousef, indicted ringleader of the 1993 World Trade Center attack. A front-page New York Times story last Oct. 2 said the tap on Sattar’s Staten Island home phone provided investigators with a virtual map to terrorist networks all over the world. But co-defendant Yousry–also convicted on terrorist conspiracy charges–was himself a government collaborator, admitting he kept FBI agents updated on the Sheikh’s communications.

Assistant US Attorney Christopher Morvillo said in his in opening statement in June 2004 that Stewart was complicit in a virtual “jail break.” Invoking the Islamic Group’s deadly 1997 attack on tourists at Luxor and the 2000 kidnapping of tourists in the Philippines–both apparently carried out on behalf of Sheikh Rahman–Morvillo said: “His words and speeches were as dangerous as weapons.”

Not surprisingly, Stewart’s own political views became a key part of the case. This line of questioning resulted in a tense back-and-forth between assistant US attorney Andrew Dember and Stewart’s own lawyer Michael Tigar. Stewart–who had previously represented David Gilbert, an ex-Weather Underground militant convicted in a 1981 armored car robbery in Rockland County, and Richard Williams, convicted in a string of bombings at military sites and corporate offices in the early ’80s–said she sought to be a “very adversarial” lawyer. Describing her politics in classically Jeffersonian terms, she said, “I believe government is best when government is little,” and called herself a “revolutionary with a small r.” While explicitly disavowing attacks on civilians, she did decry the “voracious type of capitalism” now in the world and said “I believe entrenched institutions will not be changed except by violence.” Asked by Tigar Oct. 28 if she would have done the same for her client knowing the consequences, Stewart–a wife, mother and grandmother–tearfully said, “Sitting here today, it’s a very difficult question.”

Former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, who was co-counsel with Stewart in Sheikh Rahman’s 1995 trial, was called to testify on her behalf, saying he also used the same media contacts to keep their client’s name in the press as part of their defense strategy. “The lawyers had a duty in representing him and helping to protect all his rights to remind the world of his existence,” he said.

Judge Koetl reminded the jury repeatedly that the case–being heard in a courthouse just blocks away from Ground Zero–was not related to 9-11. But in September, the jury was shown a video of a 2000 al-Jazeera TV broadcast of Osama bin Laden, his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and other al-Qaeda figures speaking on behalf of Sheikh Rahman and other imprisoned militants. In the video, which al-Jazeera captioned “Bin Laden, Others Pledge Jihad to Release Prisoners in US, Saudi Jails,” a voice identified as that of the Sheikh’s son is heard off-camera exhorting “Avenge your leader! Let’s go spill blood!”

Stewart was cynical about the judge’s instructions to ignore 9-11 while allowing the video of bin Laden to be shown in court. “You can’t throw a skunk in the jury box and ask the jurors not smell it,” she told reporters.

Sattar’s lawyer Kenneth Paul accused the prosecution of scare tactics. “This is really a case about words and nothing more,” he told Newsday. “Nothing ever happened, ever! It is all talk.” He said the use of Osama’s face in the courtroom served to distract attention from the “oppressive” human rights situation in Egypt, which is the real context for the Islamic Group’s violence. Stewart would tell WBAI News that the video was aired “to intimidate this jury, to make them feel there was us and there was them… that by reason of doing the work I do, I had somehow become the enemy.”

New York’s media had a field day with the case. When the name of Yusuf Islam–the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens who was inexplicably put on an official “terrorist watch list”–came up in the recorded prison conversations as a prospective member for a defense committee for the Sheikh, Newsday seized on this as evidence of the singer’s “possible terrorist connections.” But the tape reveals Stewart and the Sheikh had only the vaguest idea who Islam was, referring to him as “one of the Beatles.”

The media also touted a dubious Stewart case link to the January slaying of an Egyptian Coptic Christian family in their New Jersey home, with New York’s ABC News airing sketchy claims that a relative of the family had helped prosecutors in translation work for the case.

The case also raised questions about reporters’ rights as well as attorney-client privilege. In June 2004, the prosecution agreed to drop a subpoena seeking the testimony of Newsday reporter Patricia Hurtado regarding her interview with Stewart pending a judge’s decision on whether or not her testimony could be legally compelled. The Justice Department also threatened to subpoena other journalists who had interviewed Stewart–including this reporter. Despite threats, no subpoena was brought after WW4 REPORT declined to cooperate.

The jurors in the case were anonymous and sequestered, escorted by federal marshals to and from the courtroom. On Jan. 25, the defense team asked Judge Koetl to declare a mistrial when the jurors’ van driver steered through a crowd of reporters and Stewart supporters outside the courthouse and exchanged angry words. The same driver had apparently made racist remarks. Jurors were disturbed by the incident and asked to discuss it with the judge. But the mistrial request was denied.

Mistrial was also requested after the Jewish Defense Organization left a flyer at Stewart’s home calling her a “traitor to America.” The flyer had a phone number for a message giving Stewart’s home address and saying “she belongs in a cage.” The message also urged callers to “reach out” to the jurors to demand her conviction–raising questions about potential jury tampering.

Stewart is now awaiting sentencing, and pledges to appeal her case. In her post-conviction interview with WBAI, Stewart said Judge Koetl “is empowered to give me a sentence of probation, and that is the only appropriate thing he can do while we are fighting the appeal.”

Stewart said Koetl has the opportunity to make a real statement–one way or the other. “If this judge gives me a substantial sentence…that will send a further message to the bar. Lawyers right now are aware that the government has laid down a standard for lawyers to toe the line, and if they don’t toe the line they could be subject to indictment…and face imprisonment. This puts a chilling effect out in the whole legal community.”


Justice for Lynne Stewart homepage:

FindLaw’s Legal Commentary on the Lynne Stewart verdict:

WORLD WAR 4 REPORT interview with Lynne Stewart:

Justice Department threatens WORLD WAR 4 REPORT


Special to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, March. 7, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution



by Weekly News Update on the Americas


On March 3, 100 of the 128 deputies in Honduras’ National Congress voted after a long debate to ratify the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), a trade pact linking the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the US. Honduras is the second country to approve CAFTA; the Salvadoran legislature ratified the accord on Dec. 17. The Honduran legislators fled the Congress building following the vote to avoid some 1,000 government workers demonstrating against CAFTA outside. (AP, March 3; La Nacion, Costa Rica, March 4) (The agreement’s official name in English now seems to be "US-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement," according to the Office of the US Trade Representative,

The governing board of Guatemala’s Congress planned to hold a vote on CAFTA as early as March 1. Thousands of unionists, campesinos, indigenous people, teachers and supporters of the leftist Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG) responded by holding an emergency protest that day, surrounding the Congress building for hours and delivering a petition with 26,000 signatures asking for a referendum on CAFTA. The demonstrators called on the Constitutional Court to rule CAFTA unconstitutional if Congress approves it; they also expressed opposition to a proposed Law of Concessions, which would allow for partial privatization of health and educational services. The teachers raised separate demands for salary increases, more money for education and updated textbooks.

The large turnout for the demonstration came despite Interior (Governance) Minister Carlos Vielman’s instructions to police to stop buses carrying teachers from around the country to Guatemala City to see if they were running "outside their route." Teachers said police asked them for their teachers’ ID cards and intimidated the bus drivers. When teachers asked him why their IDs were being checked now, Vielman answered: "There’s always a first time."

By the end of the day Congress’s governing board had agreed to meet with the protesting organizations on March 2. After that meeting, the board postponed the debate on CAFTA at least until March 7 to allow for additional public hearings on the issues. (Prensa Libre, Guatemala, March 2; Guatemala Hoy, March 2, 3) On Mar. 3 the board agreed to remove health and educational services from the Law of Concessions. (GH, March 4)

Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco has refused to send CAFTA to the Legislative Assembly for ratification, insisting that the legislators must first vote on a fiscal reform proposal that has been tied up for two years. On March 2 the presidential candidate for the rightwing Libertarian Movement (ML), Otto Guevara, proposed a bill to establish a July 31 public referendum on CAFTA. Otton Solis, who is seeking to be the presidential candidate of the Citizen Action Party (PAC), is asking for CAFTA to be renegotiated. He sent a letter on Feb. 18 to Guatemalan human rights activist and Nobel prize winner Rigoberta Menchu Tum asking her to meet with him to join forces to push for the demand. (La Nacion, Costa Rica, March 3)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, March 6


On Dec. 31, presumed paid assassins ambushed and shot Honduran indigenous land activist Iginio Hernandez Vasquez at a health center in the community of Planes, in La Paz department. Although hit by bullets, Hernandez managed to run away, but then fell; his assailants caught up to him and slit his throat. Two witnesses identified Roberto Vasquez as one of the killers. Hernandez was the secretary of the Indigenous Communal Council of Las Olominas, a small Lenca community of some 14 families; the council has been affiliated with the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) since 1993, when COPINH was founded.

Messages protesting Hernandez’s murder and demanding a full investigation and guarantees for the safety of his family, community and witnesses can be sent to US Ambassador to Honduras Larry Palmer (phone 504-236-9320/238-5114, fax 504-236-9037); Honduran Ambassador to the US Mario Miguel Canahuati (phone 202-966-7702, 966-2604, 966-9751; fax 202-966-9751;; President Ricardo Maduro (fax: 504-221-4552); and National Human Rights Commissioner Ramon CustodioLopez (fax 504-232-6894;; with copies to COPINH (, Tel/Fax: 504-783-0817). (Rights Action, Jan. 8)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 16


One campesino was killed and 20 people were injured, including several police agents, on Jan. 11 when a force of some 1,500 Guatemalan National Civilian Police (PNC) elements backed by 300 soldiers used tear gas and bullets to end a 40-day long struggle by thousands of indigenous campesinos to keep equipment from reaching a Canadian-owned mining operation. Raul Castro Bocel was shot dead by security forces during the operation, according to residents of Los Encuentros, Solola municipality, in the western department of Solola. Early reports of the death of campesino Miguel Tzorin Tuy were not confirmed in later reports.

The protests began on Dec. 2 when a convoy with mining equipment–including a huge milling cylinder, a steel tube more than six meters in diameter and weighing 50 tons, to be used for crushing rocks–tried to pass through Los Encuentros. Solola mayor Esteban Toc Tzay said he was told the tube was for a bridge in Huehuetenango; he agreed to let the truckers temporarily remove a pedestrian walkway over the road so that the truck would have clearance to pass. But the villagers protested when they found out that the tube was actually for the Marlin gold mine in San Miguel Ixtahuacan, San Marcos department, west of Solola. Some 2,000 campesinos gathered to keep the walkway from being removed. Some protesters burned a small vehicle carrying mining tools and fuel, and the convoy retired to a nearby parking area.

The movement quickly grew to include campesinos from the neighboring departments of San Marcos, Quiche and Totonicapan, who maintained a presence to keep the convoy from proceeding. Indigenous mayor Dominga Vasquez Julajuj, the official representative of indigenous people in Solola department and a member of the leftist Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG), backed the protests.

The Guatemalan government gave the Canadian company Glamis Gold Ltd permission in 2004 to construct the Marlin gold mine through a wholly owned Guatemalan subsidiary, Montana Exploradora de Guatemala. The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) supported the project with a $45 million loan. Indigenous and environmental groups and many individuals, including San Marcos bishop Alvaro Ramazzini, oppose this and similar mining projects on the grounds that they destroy the environment and disrupt indigenous communities without adequate compensation. (Guatemala Hoy, Jan. 10, 12, 13; La Semana en Guatemala, Jan. 10; AFP, Jan. 12; Prensa Latina, Jan. 11; Rights Action, Jan 10; Cerigua, May 4, 2004)

Indigenous mayor Vasquez, municipal mayor Toc and other local politicians criticized the government’s use of excessive force against the protesters, which they compared to the violent operation against a campesino land occupation at the Nueva Linda ranch in Retalhuleu department on Aug. 31. But Governance Minister Carlos Vielman blamed Vasquez and 15 other leaders of the protest. PNC director Erwin Sperisen said the government was pressing charges for sabotage, terrorism, threats, injuries and damage to private property. As of Jan. 12 there was an arrest warrant out for Vasquez. (GH, Jan. 12)

The Permanent National Commission-Indigenous Women’s Rights (CPD-DMI) has called for the arrest warrant to be voided. The group has joined the Guatemalan news agency Cerigua in a campaign called "We demand dialogue, Dominga Vasquez is not alone." (Cerigua, Jan. 12) On Jan. 11 the US-based group Rights Action said as many as 2,000 soldiers and police agents were reportedly now accompanying the convoy as it proceeded to San Marcos. The group called on Canadian ambassador to Guatemala James Lambert (; Minneh Kane (, assistant to World Bank president James Wolfensohn; Glamis Gold (; and others to suspend the mining operations and "to avoid further bloodshed" by starting "an open and transparent negotiation process with the affected communities." (Rights Action, Jan. 11)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 16

See also WW4 REPORT #106

Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, March 7, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution



by Weekly News Update on the Americas


On Feb. 17, campesino coca growers (cocaleros) in the Peruvian district of
Tocache, in the Huallaga valley in San Martin region, began an open-ended
strike to protest the recent aerial spraying of pesticides by the Peruvian
National Police (PNP) over coca fields and other crops. Both the Interior
Ministry and the government’s anti-drug office denied they had conducted
any such spraying as part of recent anti-drug operations in the zone. The
strike was called by the Committee of Struggle in Defense of the
Environment and Ecology of Tocache, which said numerous local residents,
especially children, were suffering health effects from the spraying. Some
6,000 campesinos blockaded the Federico Basadre highway between Puerto
Pizana and Tocache, halting all cargo and passenger transport, and staged
demonstrations in the town center of Tocache. Tocache residents are
demanding that the government send a high-level commission to verify the
effects of the spraying. (La Republica, Lima, Feb. 22, 23; Prensa Latina,
Feb. 24)

Tocache mayor Pedro Bogarin told Agence France Presse that the province is
against drug trafficking and supports police anti-drug actions, but rejects
that "for a desperate action they are using internationally condemned
methods such as [aerial] fumigation." According to Bogarin, "There are at
least 30 people affected, including a little girl, with digestive poisoning
because a white milky substance was dropped over the zone, especially in
the village of Pisana." Bogarin said he has a video proving the
allegations. (AFP, Feb. 21)

On Feb. 23 and 24, the National Confederation of Agricultural Producers of
the Cocalero Basins of Peru (CONPACCP) supported Tocache residents in
protesting the spraying with a 48-hour strike in neighboring Ucayali and
Huanuco regions. Businesses and public offices were closed in Aguaytia, and
in Tingo Maria bus and truck transport was affected. Campesinos marched on
Feb. 24 in the town centers of Tingo Maria and Aguaytia to protest the
fumigation, which they said had affected other crops besides coca. (LR,
Feb. 24, 25)

On Feb. 24, agricultural and other grassroots organizations met in Tocache
and reportedly agreed to lift the strike. The decision came as the police
and Tocache mayor’s office threatened to use force to unblock the roads if
necessary. (LR, Feb. 25)

Meanwhile, one campesino died and two were injured as a result of a
confrontation with stranded passengers at a roadblock in Asillo district,
Puno region, in southern Peru. Asillo residents have been on strike since
Feb. 17, demanding the resignation of mayor Antolin Huaricacha, who they
say embezzled municipal funds. (LR, Feb. 23)


On Feb. 20, a presumed column of the Maoist rebel group known as Sendero
Luminoso (Shining Path, or SL) attacked a unit of the Peruvian highway
police just outside Tingo Maria (Huanuco region) on a stretch of the
Federico Basadre highway linking Tingo Maria to Pucallpa (Ucayali region)
in Peru’s central forest region. According to press reports, the group of
20 rebels killed three officers, took their weapons and burned their Land
Cruiser police vehicle. Before leaving the scene, the attackers reportedly
painted a hammer and sickle on the asphalt and left a red flag marked with
the initials SL. They also apparently left a sign reading "We demand a
political solution to the problems derived from the people’s war," a slogan
used by SL members in Peru’s jails. Police in Tingo Maria say the attack
was carried out by a Sendero Luminoso column made up of followers of
"Artemio," head of the SL’s Regional Committee of Huallaga, and was led by
Artemio’s lieutenant, Hector Aponte Sinarahua, alias "Clay." An SL column
under Artemio’s command was blamed for two similar attacks last June in
Aguaytia, Ucayali, in which a Navy officer and two police agents were
killed. (La Republica, Lima; AFP, Feb. 21)

Other reports suggest that traffickers of illegal lumber, contraband
gasoline or drugs might be responsible for the Feb. 20 attack. Interior
Minister Felix Murazzo told the Lima daily La Republica that he believes
the attack was carried out by the SL in response to anti-drug operations in
the Huallaga valley in recent days, in which the Peruvian National Police
(PNP) destroyed 29 coca leaf maceration pits (where the leaves are crushed
into coca paste, the main ingredient in cocaine). According to Murazzo, the
SL is linked to drug trafficking and sought to pressure area residents to
observe a strike called by cocaleros for Feb. 23 and 24. Murazzo said a
link between the SL column and gasoline trafficking gangs had not been
ruled out; he admitted that it is still not clear who carried out the
attack. Elsa Malpartida, secretary of organization for the National
Confederation of Agricultural Producers of the Cocalero Basins of Peru
(CONPACCP), denied that cocaleros had anything to do with the attack.

Initial rumors suggested that the police agents who were killed were taking
bribes from illegal gasoline traffickers, and that the attack was a
settling of accounts. Murazzo said there would be an investigation into
whether any police agents are involved in the profitable contraband
gasoline trade. Gasoline is sold tax-free in Pucallpa, making it 60%
cheaper than in the rest of the country, and its sale is officially
restricted. (LR, Feb. 22)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Feb. 27


On Feb. 1, a group of ronderos–organized campesinos–seized the San
Nicolas mine in Hualgayoc province, in the northern Peruvian department of
Cajamarca, to demand the decontamination of the Tingo-Maygasbamba river,
which supplies drinking water to some 12,000 local residents. The
occupation began after authorities from the Energy and Mines Ministry
finished an inspection of the decontamination efforts being carried out by
the owner, who is in the process of shutting down the mine. The ronderos,
who had requested the government inspection, waited until authorities left
and then took about 15 of the mining camp’s workers and security guards
hostage and blocked all entrances to the mine, allowing only water and food
to be brought in for the hostages. At a meeting with provincial and
departmental authorities on Feb. 2, the ronderos gave the government 72
hours to force the mining companies to make good on their promise to clean
up the river.

Last Oct. 11, representatives of the San Nicolas, Goldfield, Corona,
Coimolache and Colquirrumi gold mines had promised regional authorities and
the ronderos that in 30 days they would begin the cleanup of the Tingo
river and would build water purification plants. None of the mining
companies have done so to date. Local residents have been complaining about
the mining pollution for 40 years, but the problem worsened over the past
decade as the river water turned thick and yellowish from chemicals dumped
by the mining companies. Many local residents suffer from gastritis,
allergies and skin diseases. Regional mining director Genaro Carrion
admitted that the Tingo river is severely contaminated and that the San
Nicolas mine has proven the worst polluter. (LR, Feb. 2, 3) Energy and
Mines Ministry adviser Felipe Qea confirmed that San Nicolas was fined five
times since 2000 for failing to comply with the terms of a closing plan and
an environmental management program, among other issues. Qea said the
Mining Council always managed to find legal loopholes to suspend the

The ronderos ended the occupation of the San Nicolas mine on Feb. 5 after
reaching an agreement with a high-level commission of the Energy and Mines
Ministry. Under the terms of the agreement, the ronderos will have direct
control, through their representative organizations, of cleanup
enforcement, starting with a Feb. 22 meeting with the 12 mining companies
that operate in Hualgayoc province. At the meeting, the ronderos and the
mining companies will establish a timetable for the companies to clean up
the Tingo-Maygasbamba river. The ronderos will also inspect the San Nicolas
mine on Feb. 23 to challenge company claims that the mine is not polluting.
(LR, Feb. 6)


Peruvian judges have freed a number of people who have been jailed for more
than three years without a sentence, allegedly to comply with a
recommendation by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. On Jan.
25, the Lima Superior Court’s Fifth Special Criminal Chamber ordered the
release of Col. Fernando Rodriguez Zalbabescoa and noncommissioned officer
Nelson Carbajal Garcia. Rodriguez is one of the founders of the
paramilitary Colina group, responsible for torturing and murdering
government opponents; Carbajal was an operative of the group. Julio Chuqui
Aguirre has also been freed; he is accused in the Colina group’s November
1991 massacre of 15 people at a family barbecue in the Barrios Altos
neighborhood of Lima, and in its June 1992 abduction and disappearance of
La Republica journalist Pedro Yauri. The Fifth Special Criminal Chamber
also ordered the release of Cesar Hector Alvarado Salinas, charged in the
Barrios Altos massacre. Due to be released in April are two more Colina
group members: Orlando Vera, charged in the Barrios Altos case; and
Guillermo Suppo, accused in the Barrios Altos case and in the La Cantuta
case, involving the abduction and murder of nine university students and a
professor from the Enrique Guzman y Valle (La Cantuta) university. Supreme
Court of Justice president Walter Vasquez Vejarano said an investigation is
under way into the judges who allowed trials to be delayed for so long.
(LR, Jan. 31, Feb. 2, 5)

In late December eight generals linked to former security advisor Vladimiro
Montesinos Torres were freed after the 36-month rule was upheld by the
Constitutional Court. The generals were Walter Chacon Malaga, Orlando
Montesinos, Carlos Indacochea, Abraham Cano Angulo, Ricardo Sotero Navarro,
Luis Delgado de la Paz, Luis Alberto Cubas Portal and Juan Yanqui
Cervantes. Brothers Luis and Jose Aybar Cancho, linked to an arms
trafficking scandal that brought arms from Jordan to the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), have also been freed. (LR, Feb. 6)

In other news, US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) informant Jose
Maria Aguilar Ruiz, nicknamed "Shushupe," was shot dead Feb. 1 in an
apparent contract killing in Peru’s Pucallpa prison. Aguilar was a key
witness in a drug trafficking trial against Vladimiro Montesinos. (LR, Feb.

US activist Lori Berenson, serving a 20-year prison sentence in Peru on
terrorism charges for involvement in the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement
(MRTA), sent a letter to supporters in which she analyzes the Nov. 25
ruling by the Inter-American Human Rights Court (CIDH), upholding her
sentence. Berenson notes that shortly before the CIDH was to rule in her
case, the Peruvian press sparked a public outcry by implying that a CIDH
ruling in her favor could lead to the release of all Peru’s jailed rebels.

The 182 members of the nationalist "Etnocacerista" group who were arrested
for a Jan. 1-4 armed siege led by Antauro Humala Tasso in the southern
Peruvian town of Andahuaylas have been jailed and are facing trial for
rebellion, murder and illicit association to commit a crime. They will not
face terrorism charges. The siege left four police agents and two Humala
supporters dead; it also led to the Jan. 10 resignation of
Interior Minister Javier Reategui Rossello, who was replaced by national
police chief Felix Murazzo. (LR, Jan. 15; El Nuevo Herald, Jan. 11)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Feb. 6



Lori Berenson’s letter is online at:


Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, March. 7, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution



by Weekly News Update on the Americas

EDITOR’S NOTE: As we go to press March 7, Bolivia’s President Carlos Mesa has handed in his resignation to the country’s congress, citing ongoing anti-government protests. Mesa was caught between leftist protesters demanding greater state control over oil and gas companies and a free-market-oriented separatist movement in Santa Cruz department, where much of the oil and gas reserves are located. Left opposition lawmaker Evo Morales had announced a nationwide road blockade unless congress passes legislation increasing taxes on foreign oil companies from 15 to 50% of their sales. Mesa refused to support this, saying “the international community rejects such a law.” In February, he had reshuffled his cabinet and deployed the military to maintain control of oil and gas fields. But protests continued, and Mesa, submitting his resignation, said, “I can’t continue to govern under these circumstances.” Congress could vote to keep Mr. Mesa in office, but if his request to step down is accepted, the leader of the Senate, Hormando Vaca Diez, will take power. (UK Guardian, VOA, UPI, March 7)—WW4 REPORT


On Jan. 28, bowing to demands for regional autonomy from the powerful civic committee of Santa Cruz department, Bolivian president Carlos Mesa Gisbert agreed to let the country’s nine departments seek greater autonomy and elect their own governors. Mesa’s Supreme Decree 27988, signed Jan. 28, sets elections for governors in all departments for June 12 to finish out the current 2002-2007 terms. Until now, the governors have always been chosen by the president. Mesa also agreed to allow departments to hold referendums on autonomy, starting with a referendum in Santa Cruz in June.

Santa Cruz governor Carlos Hugo Molina resigned on Jan. 27, and an assembly of 200 legislators, council members and indigenous delegates gathered in the city of Santa Cruz, the departmental capital, on Jan. 28. In response to Mesa’s concessions, the assembly stopped short of defying the government with an autonomy declaration, instead approving the creation of a “provisional autonomous assembly” charged with directing the autonomy process and negotiating with the government. Mesa praised the assembly, calling it legal and consitutional. Santa Cruz residents held a victory rally on Jan. 28, and by the evening of Jan. 29, protesters had ended occupations at seven of the eight public buildings in Santa Cruz which they had taken over to demand autonomy. (A group of 53 university students were still holding the governor’s office.)

As part of the Jan. 28 agreement with the Santa Cruz Civic Committee, Mesa also ordered a tiny reduction in the price of diesel fuel, from 3.74 to 3.72 bolivianos per liter (3.72 bolivianos is about $0.46). Workers in Santa Cruz said they would stage new protests if Mesa didn’t completely scrap the fuel price hike he decreed on Dec. 30. (Los Tiempos de Cochabamba, NYT, Miami Herald, Jan. 29; La Jornada, Mexico, Jan. 30)

In the rest of Bolivia, and even among many Santa Cruz residents, feelings about the Santa Cruz “victory” were mixed. On Jan. 28, at least 100 indigenous people from the Altiplano came to Santa Cruz to block a main road there in protest against the Santa Cruz Civic Committee. The protesters said they support autonomy, but only through a constitutional assembly. Civic Committee members confronted the indigenous protesters and a clash ensued; several people were arrested. Marches were also held Jan. 28 in La Paz, Oruro and Potosi to protest the Santa Cruz Civic Committee’s autonomy pressures. (Los Tiempos, Jan. 29)

Also on Jan. 28, the Assembly of the Guarani People (APG) issued a 12-point public statement demanding the creation of a 10th department, called El Chaco. The indigenous Guaranies want to form the new autonomous department out of five provinces: Cordillera (now in Santa Cruz department), Hernando Siles and Luis Calvo (now in Chuquisaca department) and Gran Chaco and O’Connor (now in Tarija department). APG president Nelly Romero said the Guaranies can’t allow the regional oligarchy to continue speaking in their name and profiting from their oil-rich territory. (Los Tiempos, Jan. 29)

Evo Morales, cocalero leader and legislative deputy for the Movement to Socialism (MAS), criticized Mesa “for having ceded much to the Bolivian oligarchy organized in the Santa Cruz Civic Committee.” Morales said the calling of an election for departmental governors “violates the Constitution and resolves the issue of autonomy outside of what will be the Constitutional Assembly,” currently planned for the second half of 2005. Morales said campesinos and cocaleros would demonstrate against the new decree. (La Jornada, Jan. 30)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 30


On Jan. 17, at least 10,000 people demonstrated in La Paz to demand the cancellation of an electricity contract with the Spanish company Electropaz. Following up on their victory in ousting a private water company from La Paz and neighboring El Alto, the protesters were also demanding state control of hydrocarbons resources, and that ex-president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada face trial for the death of protesters in October 2003. Also on Jan. 17, campesino coca producers blocked roads in the Los Yungas region of La Paz department to protest the government’s coca eradication policies. (La Jornada, Jan. 18)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 23


On Feb. 23, some 500 former miners from around Bolivia set up a roadblock in Caracollo and began a march to La Paz to demand the return of their payments into a government housing fund and to protest the fund’s recent payout to a construction company. The liquidator of the defunct National Social Housing Fund (Fonvis), Javier Elias Ayoroa, distributed $2 million to the construction company Cascarena after President Carlos Mesa issued a decree during the week of Feb. 14 releasing nearly $4.8 million. The retired miners are demanding the immediate return of their investments in the fund, which they paid into for over 22 years without ever receiving a land plot or a home, according to miners’ leader Serafin Chambi. The ex-miners are also demanding the removal of the Fonvis liquidator, Ayoroa, whom they accuse of corruption. (El Diario, La Paz, Feb. 24)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, March 6


On Feb. 20, Bolivian police and local area residents attacked a group of 180 families, members of the Landless Movement (MST), who had established a squatter encampment in the zone of El Frutillar, near Tunari park. MST member Luis Quinaya was badly beaten in the confrontation and died on Feb. 21; his health had apparently been previously weakened by weather conditions at the encampment. Carlos Maldonado, local director of natural resources and environment, admitted there was a confrontation, but said the only two people injured in the clash were area residents, not squatters. MST leaders Johnny Tapurata and Hilda Viscarra said the residents who confronted the squatters pretend to be environmentalists interested in reforesting the area, but are actually trying to sell plots of land there. (Los Tiempos de Cochabamba, Feb. 23)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Feb. 27


On Jan. 5, some 30 people led by Arturo Vidal Tobias of the Agroforest Association of Riberalta (ASAGRI) forcibly entered the offices of the Center of Legal Studies and Social Research (CEJIS) in Riberalta, Beni department, which supports indigenous communities in the northern Amazon region of Bolivia. The assailants threatened the CEJIS staff with death, looted and destroyed office equipment and burned documents concerning land disputes. As they left, they told a CEJIS staff member that he must leave Riberalta within 48 hours, and if they saw him there after that they would set him on fire. The same day, deputy mayor Lucio Mendez Camargo of Vaca Diez province urged CEJIS to close its offices until Jan. 13, when a national government commission was to arrive to supposedly resolve a land conflict between the Miraflores indigenous community and the Yarari-Tirina brothers, who are fighting eviction from the territory owned by Miraflores. On Jan. 8, ASAGRI circulated a public statement signed by Arturo Vidal, justifying the raid against CEJIS and accusing organizations which support the Amazon indigenous communities of “pitting them against their campesino and indigenous brothers.” (Centro de Estudios Juridicos e Investigacion Social, Jan. 6, via Equipo Nizkor)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 23


On Feb. 21, the Bolivian attorney general’s office formally charged ex-president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada with genocide. Sanchez de Lozada and his cabinet are facing trial for responsibility in the October 2003 killing of at least 60 people, carried out by military and police forces seeking to crush a popular rebellion against his government in the cities of El Alto and La Paz. Prosecutor Pedro Gareca brought the formal charges against Sanchez de Lozada in the city of Sucre. Also accused of genocide are Sanchez de Lozada’s defense minister, Carlos Sanchez Berzain, and interior minister, Yerko Kukoc. Another 13 of Sanchez de Lozada’s cabinet ministers are charged with “complicity.” The rebellion forced Sanchez de Lozada to resign on Oct. 17, 2003, and flee to the US, where he remains. (AFP, Feb. 21))

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Feb. 27

See also WW4 REPORT #93


Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, March. 7, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution



by Jessica Stein

Kate Coleman’s much-awaited new biography of longtime environmental
activist Judi Bari, The Secret Wars of Judi Bari: A Car Bomb, the Fight for
the Redwoods and the End of Earth First!,
unfortunately contains far more
falsehood than fact, more slander than scholarship, and overall blatant
revisionism rather than much real research.

The book is a thinly-veiled continuation of the right wing’s campaign to
smear Bari as a violent domestic terrorist, despite her well-known
commitment to non-violent activism. In her lifetime, Bari was in fact
criticized by fellow activists for being "too" nonviolent, particularly for
her stance against "tree spiking"—the tactic of inserting metal spikes in
trees slated for cut-down, in order to blunt or misdirect the logger’s
chainsaw, which she said endangered the loggers. Under Bari’s influence,
the Northern California and Southern Oregon chapters of Earth First!
repudiated the practice. "The rest of Earth First! still endorses spiking,
and many of them reacted to our no-spiking policy by denouncing us as
traitors or dismissing us as wimps," she wrote in her 1993 book Timber Wars.

Coleman misses no possible potshot in her caustic caricature of Bari. The
book refers to her four times as "braless," depicts her as having
"fistfights" with sister Gina and ex-husband Mike Sweeney; and accuses her
of abusing alcohol and speed. The latter two claims are disputed on a
website edited by Sweeney,, which enumerates an astonishing
351 factual errors in the book.

"It would be an understatement to describe this book as a pack of lies,"
says the website. "It’s more like a truckload of lies. Coleman can’t get
even the simplest names, dates and places correct in what pretends to be a

Among the mistakes logged are invented family names (Coleman gives the last
name of Bari’s paternal grandparents as Castallaneta when in fact it was
Barisciano); and quite humorous errors of chronology. Coleman has Bari
"bragging" about "doing crank back in Baltimore," when according to
Sweeney’s website, "Bari never lived in Baltimore beyond early childhood."
Quite precocious!

A number of the errors are so easily disproven one wonders why Coleman
bothered. For example, she claims, activist Julia "Butterfly Hill now
drives a Lexus SUV…and lives in the pricey East Bay hills" (Coleman, p.
230). Yet Sweeney’s website contains a scan of Hill’s California Non-Driver
ID card; not only doesn’t the committed environmentalist drive a Lexus, she
doesn’t drive at all.

If Bari is Mother Monkeywrencher in Coleman’s script, Earth First!ers are
her willing mischievous minions. Coleman writes, "She [Bari] moved into
Earth First [sic] like a modern CEO trying to remake a nineteenth-century
family business into a modern corporation" (Coleman, p. 6). Much as
corporate raider Charles Hurwitz revamped Redwood country’s Pacific Lumber,
the chief target of Bari’s campaigns? This sentence is nothing short of

Earth First!, described by Coleman as a "People’s Army," is also tarred
with the terrorist brush (Coleman, p. 1). Coleman twice accuses Earth
First! of using or advocating explosives, though according to Sweeney’s
website, "There isn’t a single incident where Earth First! was connected to
use of explosives and all the writings by Earth First! leaders warn against

Yet for all its threat, Coleman also tries to portray the group as
powerless and unsuccessful. She describes Redwood Summer—Earth First!’s
1990 campaign to draw national activists to the redwoods—as having "sank
without making much of an impression" (p. 196), even as the actions
garnered international coverage. The book’s title itself is a misnomer,
heralding "the end of Earth First!" as the group continues to maintain a
number of tree-sits, regularly publish the Earth First! Journal, and
otherwise organize and agitate on behalf of the forests.

The book’s setting is cartoonish; Coleman describes Mendocino County in the
late 1980s as having been "colonized" by "thousands of eccentrics, hippies,
former radicals, lesbians, communards and Vietnam veterans." (Coleman, p.

Slander and libel are hardly new tactics for authors on the official right;
witness Susan Braudy’s recent hatchet job on Kathy Boudin. And the publisher of Secret
Encounter Books, is an ideological right-wing press with a history of
satirizing prominent women, particularly with their most-known previous
release, The Hillary Trap, an attack on the junior New York senator.

Encounter’s current catalog includes a book by an "embedded" American
journalist in Iraq, an uber-essentialist tome on the "biological realities"
differentiating the sexes; and an updated edition of Peter Collier and
David Horowitz’s Destructive Generation, a treatise by two former radicals
about the "destructive legacy of the New Left."

The Milwaukee -based Bradley Foundation, Encounter Books’ major funder, has
a long history of right-wing association stemming back to the John Birch
Society. At a 2002 Milwaukee speech on faith-based welfare reform,
President Bush touted the foundation as "willing to change the status quo."

Bari last entered the news in June 2002, when a federal jury in Oakland
awarded $4.4 million in damages to her estate and to her fellow Earth
First! activist Darryl Cherney. The two activists were driving in Oakland
during the 1990 Redwood Summer campaign when a bomb exploded beneath Bari’s
seat, shattering her pelvis, fracturing her tailbone and leaving her in
danger of permanent paralysis. As Bari was being rushed to the hospital,
the Oakland police and the FBI arrested her on charges of transporting the
very bomb that had ripped through her body.

Despite the evidence that quickly amassed to refute this claim—including an
anonymous letter sent to a local paper that described the bomb in
chillingly accurate detail—the FBI continued to behave as if Bari and
Cherney were the only suspects, refusing to investigate even the death
threats Bari received before the bombing, or to take into account that it
was a motion-triggered bomb (placed directly under Bari’s seat, not in the
backseat, as was initially claimed). The agent in charge of the case,
Richard W. Held, was an FBI veteran with over a quarter-century involvement
in the agency’s anti-activist COINTELPRO, going all the way back to the
dirty-tricks campaign against the Black Panthers in the ’60s. He retired
from the FBI days after Bari announced a press conference to release
pictures of the blown-up car, showing the exact location of the bomb under
the driver’s seat.

Bari died of metastatic breast cancer at her northern California home in
March 1999. It took three more years, until the June 2002 verdict, for Bari
and Cherney to be fully exonerated. In this context, the primary "secret
war" of Coleman’s book is between Bari’s supporters and her detractors, and
Coleman makes her side clear. Fortunately, feminist historian Susan Faludi
is working on a biography of the late environmentalist, due out next fall.
And in the meantime, we have Bari’s own writings and interviews,
particularly her book Timber Wars, to consult for a real picture of her
significant life and work.


The Judi Bari Website:

Friends of Judi Bari:

Encounter Books:

George Bush on the Bradley Foundation:

"COINTELPRO Against Earth First!", The Shadow, January 1995:

See also WW4 REPORT #38


Special to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, March. 7, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution



by Eric Stoner

"He may be a son of a bitch," a U.S. president is said to have commented
about one brutal dictator or another, "but he’s our son of a bitch." The
fact that on the worldwide web the line is attributed to no fewer than five
presidents, from Teddy Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan, speaks volumes about
20th-century U.S. foreign policy.

Over the last decade, a new dictator, Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, has
taken the "our son of a bitch" place. U.S. support for this Central Asian
tyrant exposes the degree of hypocrisy in a foreign policy that claims
democracy, freedom and human rights as its core values. It also invites
serious backlash against the United States in the future–and is leading to
immense suffering for the Uzbek people now.

In the heart of Central Asia, due west of the oil- and natural gas-rich
Caspian Sea and directly north of Afghanistan, the former Soviet republic
of Uzbekistan has gained significant strategic importance to the United
States in recent years. It is a land with a long and rich history, home to
several ancient cities that were once important stops on the famous Silk
Road connecting Europe and Asia. Islam has flourished there since its
introduction to the country in the seventh century. Now, nearly 90% of
Uzbekistan’s 26 million citizens are Muslim. And with such a large
population–almost 50% of Central Asia’s total–Uzbekistan has become the
region’s major power.

The new nation’s recent history has been turbulent. As in many struggling
countries, a wealth of natural resources has not translated into prosperity
for the majority of the population. In fact, Uzbekistan is one of the
poorest of the former Soviet republics, with nearly 80% of the population
living in poverty, according to Andrew Stroehlien of the International
Crisis Group. Uzbekistan can also claim to have the most repressive regime
of the former Soviet Union, with the possible exception of Turkmenistan.

President Islam Karimov, who rules with the proverbial iron fist, first
came to power as leader of the Communist Party in Uzbekistan in 1989, right
before the fall of the Soviet Union. At the time, he was adamantly opposed
to independence; CNN reported that in 1991 he said, "If we remain part of
the Soviet Union, our rivers will flow with milk. If we don’t, our rivers
will flow with the blood of our people."

Despite his efforts to keep the country tied to the collapsing Soviet
empire, Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991 and promptly held elections.
Karimov maintained power with 88% of the vote in an election that was
criticized heavily by foreign observers. He managed to extend his rule
through 2000 via an apparently fraudulent plebiscite in 1995. He won
another seven-year term in a 2000 election that, according to Human Rights
Watch, even U.S. officials admitted was "neither free nor fair and offered
Uzbekistan’s voters no true choice."

If democracy has not fared well in Uzbekistan since its independence,
neither have human rights. Throughout the 1990s, both the international
human rights community and the U.S. State Department were reporting on the
bleak situation in Uzbekistan. The annual State Department "Report on Human
Rights Practices" in 1997 found the police and security forces "used
torture, harassment, and illegal searches and arbitrarily detained or
arrested opposition activists on false charges… The Government severely
limits freedom of speech and the press, and freedom of expression is
constrained by an atmosphere of repression that makes it difficult to
criticize the Government publicly."

U.S. Rewards Abuse

So how did the United States, the self-proclaimed global protector of
democracy and human rights, react to those conditions?

By giving the heavy-handed dictator in Uzbekistan a firm pat on the back.
Detailed data compiled by the Center for Defense Information reveal that
the United States began giving the country military assistance through the
International Military Education and Training program starting in 1995, and
grants to buy U.S. equipment with Foreign Military Financing funds
beginning in 1997. The U.S also participated in the first joint training
exercise of the multinational Central Asian Battalion–called CENTRAZBAT–in
1997. According to Kenley Butler of the Center for Nonproliferation
Studies, for this operation-which was to be the first in a series of joint
exercises-500 soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division did a
parachute drop from Air Force C-17 transport aircraft to train forces from
Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and several other countries in the

Why would the United States aid such a tyrant militarily, especially on the
heels of such a damning report from the State Department? For the same
reason members of the Taliban were treated like royalty during a 1997 visit
to the United States: other interests-especially business interests-often
trump the stated ideals of U.S. foreign policy; in this case, the U.S.
desire for access to regional energy resources took precedence. As Michael
Klare pointed out in his recent book Resource Wars, surveys at the time had
just discovered "vast reserves of oil and natural gas in the Caspian Sea
region." He documents how numerous U.S. officials–up to President Bill
Clinton–began talking openly about the strategic importance of these
resources and their intimate relationship to U.S. "energy security."

"CENTRAZBAT 97," Klare notes, "must be viewed against this backdrop.
Having identified the Caspian’s energy supplies as a security interest of
the United States, the White House was now demonstrating–in the most
conspicuous manner possible–that the United States possessed both the will
and the capacity to defend that interest with military force if necessary."

Relations "Flourish"

While military ties with Uzbekistan were initiated during these years and
aid began to flow, it remained relatively limited. This was all to change
following the attacks of September 11, 2001. In the rush to war, the United
States was in need of a great deal of international cooperation, and
Karimov sat in the perfect strategic position. Uzbekistan provided critical
support for the attack on Afghanistan by allowing U.S. forces to use Uzbek
airspace and the Karshi-Khanabad base, located only about 90 miles north of
the Afghan border.

After Karimov’s cooperation with the invasion, any pretense that human
rights were a priority of U.S. policy toward Uzbekistan was quickly
abandoned, and relations "flourished" (according to the State Department’s
2004 "Background Note" on the country). U.S. aid to Uzbekistan almost
quadrupled over the next year-from $85 million in 2001 to nearly $300
million in 2002. The Uzbek dictator was even honored with an invitation to
the White House; in March 2002, during their 45-minute meeting, Karimov and
President Bush signed a declaration on the strategic partnership between
their two countries. The horrifying stories of repression and abuse that
continued to emanate from Uzbekistan apparently had no affect on this
budding friendship.

Karimov seemed to take the administration’s warmth as a sign that he could
do no wrong in its eyes, and-like many other heads of state-began using the
new "war on terror" as a cover to silence his political opponents. In the
name of fighting Islamic fundamentalism-namely the outlawed nonviolent Hizb
ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) and the militant Islamic Movement of
Uzbekistan, or IMU, which has claimed several lives in armed attacks-his
government imprisoned an estimated 7,000 people. According to a 319-page
report released last March by Human Rights Watch, independent Muslims
accused of being fundamentalists have been "arrested, tried in grossly
unfair proceedings, and receive sentences of up to twenty years in prison.
Those targeted for arrest include people whom the state deems as ‘too
pious,’ including those who pray at home or wear a beard-which is a sign of

The Economist reported in March 2004 that after a 2002 visit to Uzbekistan,
Theo van Boven, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, called torture
there "institutionalized, systematic and rampant." In one particularly
grotesque example, according to the UK Guardian of Feb. 13, 2004, a
forensic report commissioned by the British Embassy revealed that one
Muzafar Avazov died in an Uzbek prison in August 2002 after being
"immersed" in boiling water. Avazov’s mother was sentenced to six years
hard labor in a top-security prison after she complained to authorities
about her son’s death and "incriminating leaflets" were conveniently found
in her apartment.

This evidently constituted significant improvement to Washington, as the
State Department continued every six months to certify U.S. aid to
Uzbekistan, which was conditioned on "substantial and continuing progress"
in addressing human rights. The effect of this aid was predictable. As
Hakimjon Noredinov, a 68-year-old human rights activist whose son was
nearly beaten to death by the security service, told The Guardian May 26,
2003: "Because of the U.S. help, Karimov is getting richer and stronger."

In the last couple of years, U.S. aid to Karimov has slowed significantly.
This summer, for the first time, the United States decided to withhold $18
million in military and economic aid because of Uzbekistan’s lack of
progress. Interestingly though, it was not a lack of progress in human
rights that led Secretary of State Colin Powell to decertify Uzbekistan,
but rather the, "lack of progress on democratic reform and restrictions put
on U.S. assistance partners on the ground." In a press statement announcing
the secretary’s decision, the State Department was quick to emphasize that
the country remains, "an important partner in the war on terror," and that
the decision to cut aid by no means meant that "our desire for continued
cooperation with Uzbekistan has changed."

But in fact the administration is not merely unconcerned about torture and
human rights–in Uzbekistan or anywhere else for that matter. As the Sunday
Times of London revealed Nov. 14, 2004, U.S. officials have actually found
torture useful for their own purposes. The Times’ Stephen Grey obtained
evidence that agents of the U.S. Defense Department and the CIA have leased
a Gulfstream 5 jet to take suspected terrorists-reportedly bound, gagged
and sedated-to prisons in countries that are notorious for torture,
including at least seven trips to Uzbekistan.

Boiling Point

This U.S. policy and the brutality of Karimov’s regime have led to the
inevitable. As a report released last March by the International Crisis
Group stated: "Evidence suggests that Islamic radicalism is still on the
rise in Uzbekistan, and shifting from dissatisfaction with President
Karimov to wider dissatisfaction with the West’s support for his regime."
This past Nov. 1, in the town of Kokand, between 5,000 and 10,000
people took to the streets in protest against new government restrictions
on the market traders-the largest demonstration against Karimov’s
government in a decade. According to Galima Bukharbaeva of the Institute
for War and Peace Reporting, the demonstrators were actually protesting
more than just the new restrictions: they also "called on officials to rein
in the police, often criticized for excessively repressive behavior, and to
‘free Muslims from jail.’" Bukharbaeva adds: "Political analysts say public
discontent with government policies and the general economic situation in
Uzbekistan is close to boiling point, creating the potential for protests
on a wider scale, and further violence."

So the United States will have to choose. Will it side with the dictator or
the people? Will this country stick by Karimov until the bitter end, as it
did, for example, with the Shah of Iran? Or will it turn on Karimov and
invade his country once he outlives his usefulness or ceases to follow the
U.S. line, as successive U.S. administrations did with
Manuel Noriega in Panama or Saddam Hussein in Iraq?

Or will we choose yet another path? We could, for instance, live up to our
ideals and play a more constructive role, as the U.S. finally did in
Serbia. There Washington provided some $25 million for Otpor, the
nonviolent student-led movement, and other groups that ousted Slobodan
Milosevic in the fall of 2000. It was one time when the U.S. government
assisted in bringing down a dictator and giving new hope to a people who
for too long had lived under the dark cloud of repression. But given the
strategic stakes in Uzbekistan and the bellicose stance of the Bush
administration, it will probably take significant pressure from the U.S.
public to push their government to pursue such a course.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2005 issue of the Nonviolent
Activist, the magazine of the War Resisters League, New York City:


Center for Defense Information page on U.S. military aid to Uzbekistan:

U.S. State Department Background Note on Uzbekistan:

The Economist on torture in Uzbekistan:

The Guardian on torture:,3604,963497,00.html

and on forced labor:,3604,1146979,00.html

The Sunday Times on "torture flights":,,2089-1357699,00.html

See also WW4 REPORT #97


Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, March. 7, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution



Bush Charts New Generation of Warheads

by Chesley Hicks

Despite the Cold War’s conclusion 15 years ago, the United States’ being
party to several anti-nuclear proliferation treaties, and President Bush’s
strident commands for the cessation of all nuclear weapons programs in the
Middle East and Asia, the current administration is promoting domestic
nuclear programs that could initiate another arms race.

In November 2004, anti-proliferation advocates felt a jolt of optimism when
the Republican-majority congress hamstrung the Bush administration’s
proposals for the institution and expansion of four controversial nuclear
programs. However, during its recent February 2005 federal budget request,
the administration revived efforts to fund the programs.

During the 2004 session, Congress eliminated funding for two programs:
research into the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP), or "bunker
buster," a nuclear bomb that can tunnel deep beneath the earth’s surface,
and "advance concepts" research that would seek to design a new generation
of nuclear weapons. Similarly, funding was severely curtailed for the
development of a new "Modern Pit Facility." A pit facility is a factory
that produces the fissile cores–the plutonium detonators–for nuclear
weapons. Presently, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico
produces small numbers of these plutonium pits, but the National Nuclear
Security Administration (NNSA) seeks to a build a larger, advanced factory
(at a still undisclosed location) that will produce them in greater numbers
and with new designs.

With bipartisan support, Representative David L. Hobson (R-Ohio), Chairman
of the House Energy Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water
Development, spearheaded the 2004 opposition, emphasizing that the
country’s current security issues do not call for more nuclear warheads,
and that the government’s mandate should be to reduce the absurdly
redundant nuclear stockpile rather than add to it.

Congress also requested a revision of the nuclear "Stockpile Plan," which
describes the size and structure of the country’s nuclear arsenal.
Congress’ message was that new money will not be allocated to nuclear
programs that do not articulate definitive goals–which is how many of the
Bush Administration’s nuclear pursuits have been characterized.

Hobson redirected $9 million the administration had requested for the
advanced concepts research toward studies to instead improve the
reliability and lifespan of existing warheads. Calling it research for a
"reliable replacement warhead," the initiative acknowledges nuclear
advocates’ contention that the country’s aging arsenal needs fixing, but
underscores Hobson’s hope to ultimately reduce the arsenal, albeit with
fewer but better weapons.

Which is where matters get murky. In the president’s budget released the
first week in February 2005, the Energy Department sought–reportedly at
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s behest–$4 million to continue the
"bunker-buster" study. If the DOE request passes, presumably Pentagon
appropriations will follow for the second phase of the project. Ostensibly,
the project meets Hobson’s "reliable replacement" plan, as the new study
seeks to put an already existing warhead, now in the B-83 nuclear gravity
bomb, into a new delivery system-one that is capable of deeply penetrating
the earth’s surface. Critics are now asking how this plan differs in any
meaningful way from either the bunker buster or the advanced concepts
programs shot down by congress last November.

All of which further begs the question: If a new bomb is developed, won’t
it need to be tested? Though the U.S. signed the Comprehensive Nuclear
Test-Ban Treaty in 1996, replacing field explosions with computer-simulated
tests based on data collected from decades of nuclear detonations, in the
ensuing years Congress has refused to ratify the treaty, effectively
preventing it from going into force. While the U.S. hasn’t conducted a full
nuclear explosion since 1992, in recent years the NNSA has conducted a
series of "subcritical" tests at the Nevada Test Site, which stop short of
a full detonation-but which use real plutonium pits, and which critics call
a threat to the languishing Test-Ban Treaty. The White House has recently
sought approval from Congress to shorten the amount of preparation time
legally required between completion of a new nuclear weapon and the
field-testing of that weapon in an underground explosion–which, despite
official denials, seems to indicate an intention to resume full testing.

So far Congress has contained the most aggressive of these ambitions. But
while Hobson has been quoted as praising the cooperative institution of the
reliable replacement warhead plan, Donald Rumsfeld’s Defense Department
seems to have found a way to twist that plan into serving its own nuclear
goals. The often inscrutable bureaucracy that surrounds the Defense
Department and federal budget allocation in general could very well allow
it to succeed.

"The reality is that the federal budget is a huge morass," says Stephen
Young, senior analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists. "The
Congressional budget requests we’re discussing are in the millions, the
overall nuclear Stockpile Stewardship program’s budget is 6.3 billion." He
added that the outcome of this year’s budget request "depends on how
closely the issues are tracked."

Young and countless others contend that the administration would most
benefit the country’s security by heeding its own message to de-escalate
nuclear proliferation. The number of deployed and imminently deployable
nuclear weapons in the US arsenal could destroy the entire planet. Experts
maintain that any further refurbishing is unnecessary and critically
misguided. Young describes the warhead number as "preposterous," and says,
compounding the problem, "Russia currently maintains a large arsenal
because of the US’s recent unwillingness to decrease its own arsenal."

Already, Russia, China, North Korea, and India have shown that they are
closely following US nuclear developments and adjusting their postures
accordingly. Which means proliferation continues, as it seems wherever one
looks, the US still has both hands in the nuclear cookie jar.

The Natural Resources Defense Council revealed in February that the U.S.
currently has hundreds of warheads deployed across Europe. The NRDC’s
report states: "U.S. nuclear arsenal in Europe is larger than the entire
nuclear weapons stockpile of any nation except Russia. The United States is
the only country that deploys such weapons outside its own boundaries…[even
though] weapons based in the United States can cover all of the potential
targets covered by the bombs in Europe." The report, which describes the
deployment as "clinging to the Cold War," notes ironically: "Nearly all of
the countries that once were potential targets for the weapons are now
members of NATO."

Also according to the report: "All the weapons are gravity bombs of the
B61-3, -4, and -10 types. Germany remains the most heavily nuclearized
country with three nuclear bases (two of which are fully operational), and
may store as many as 150 bombs… Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath [in the
UK] stores 110 weapons, a considerable number in this region given the
demise of the Soviet Union. Italy and Turkey each host 90 bombs, while 20
bombs are stored in Belgium and in the Netherlands… The current force level
is two-three times greater than the estimates made by non-governmental
analysts during the second half of the 1990s. Those estimates were based on
private and public statements by a number of government sources and
assumptions about the weapon storage capacity at each base… The 480 bombs
deployed in Europe represent more than 80 percent of all the active B61
tactical bombs in the U.S. stockpile. No other U.S. nuclear weapons are
forward deployed (other than warheads on ballistic missile submarines)…
Approximately 300 of the 480 bombs are assigned for delivery by U.S. F-15E
and F-16C/D aircraft…deployed in Europe or rotating through the U.S.
bases. The remaining 180 bombs are earmarked for delivery by the air forces
of five NATO countries, including Belgian, Dutch, and Turkish F-16s and
German and Italian PA-200 Tornado aircraft."

The Bush administration has also expressed a disturbing interest in
weaponizing space. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967, signed by more than 90
countries including the US, bans weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from
being put into orbit and stipulates that: "The exploration and use of outer
space…shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all
countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific
development, and shall be the province of all mankind…[and] shall be guided
by the principle of co-operation and mutual assistance…"

The UN General Assembly has passed resolutions each year for the past 22
years establishing the continued peaceful use of space and the prevention
of an arms race in space. Though most of the UN resolutions have passed
unanimously, the US and Isreal have recently abstained from the vote, and
the Bush administration has revealed intentions to exploit areas not
explicitly covered in the various international space-protection
agreements. For instance, though the 1967 treaty bans putting WMD into
orbit, it does not specifically proscribe the transit of a WMD through
space. Currently, the US is developing reentry vehicles designed to deliver
a variety of weapons, including nuclear warheads, via an interceptor in
space that would in turn redirect the vehicle toward an earthbound target,
with greater precision than traditional launch and delivery systems.
Lockheed-Martin is leading this development effort. Alongside plans to put
non-nuclear defense mechanisms into orbit (despite treaty language
discouraging it), including anti-satellite weapons and the scientifically
dubious anti-ballistic missile interceptors, the Bush administration is
sending the message that it intends to dominate and control space.

Proposals are surfacing for new commercial uranium enrichment plants,
including a $1.3 billion facility in Eunice, New Mexico, be built by
Louisiana Energy Services, a partnership of several U.S. utilities and
Urenco, the UK-based global nuclear fuels corporation. Though allegedly
intended for the generation of power, the development of such facilities
could undercut an agreement made with Russia to turn tons of stockpiled
weapons-grade uranium and plutonium into power-plant fuel. As Bush
discourages the development of similar facilities in the Middle East, it’s
difficult to explain why the excess tonnage of unused plutonium and uranium
stored in thousands of US and Russian warheads would not be exhausted
before creating new reserves.

While the nuclear debate in Congress rages anew, the next review conference for the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), meets in New York in May. The events of spring 2005 could presage whether the climate for the next few years will more resemble the promise of a nuclear-free future or a return to Cold War paranoia.


NRDC report on U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe: on new space-based nuclear targeting systems:


Special to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, March. 7, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution

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