Immigrant girls released

Positive developments are reported in the case of two Muslim immigrant girls in New York City detained following spurious suspicion of plotting suicide attacks. Reports the NY Times May 7: One girl, an immigrant from Guinea, was back in her… Read moreImmigrant girls released

Issue #. 109. May 2005

DARFUR: NATO PREPARES INTERVENTION Moral Imperative or “Regime Change” Strategy? by Wynde Priddy BOMBS AWAY Global Activists Gather in New York to Revive Nuclear Disarmament Call by Sarah Ferguson THE PROVOCATEUR STATE Is the CIA Behind the Iraqi “Insurgents”? by… Read moreIssue #. 109. May 2005

Issue #. 109. May 2005

DARFUR: NATO PREPARES INTERVENTION Moral Imperative or “Regime Change” Strategy? by Wynde Priddy BOMBS AWAY Global Activists Gather in New York to Revive Nuclear Disarmament Call by Sarah Ferguson THE PROVOCATEUR STATE Is the CIA Behind the Iraqi “Insurgents”? by… Read moreIssue #. 109. May 2005

DARFUR: NATO PREPARES INTERVENTION

Moral Imperative or “Regime Change” Strategy?

by Wynde Priddy

After two years of violence in western Sudan, in late April the African Union (AU) moved to triple its peacekeeping troops in Darfur to 7,700–and asked NATO for logistical support. NATO agreed within hours of the request and discussions have already started. The United States encouraged NATO’s involvement against French resistance. James Appathurai, NATO’s chief spokesperson, told reporters the intervention would mark “the first time NATO would be engaged in any significant way in sub-Saharan Africa.” If NATO goes in, it will be in defiance of the Sudanese government; leaders in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, insist that only African troops can be involved in the Darfur mission. But Appathurai told the press NATO and European Union (EU) diplomats are frustrated by the limited progress made by the AU.

With the UN now claiming 180,000 dead from hunger, disease and violence, the situation has certainly not improved on the ground. Motasim Adam is president of Darfur Peoples Association of New York, made up of exiles and immigrants from the war-torn region who support some kind of international intervention there. He speaks with gravity of his home village near the town of Al Fasher in North Darfur, which is now swollen with thousands of refugees from villages destroyed by the government-backed militias known as the Janjaweed. “Our town, called Tawilla, 50 kilometers west of Al Fasher, has been attacked by Janjaweed and Sudanese government warplanes,” he says. “My brother is in Darfur right now and some of my family members are still there.”

There are now some 100,000 people at Al Fasher, surviving only on international aid, and still vulnerable to militia attack. “The situation is very bad,” Adam says. “Janjaweed are still raping the girls and women.” He claims that up to 200 rape victims at Al Fasher have given birth in recent weeks.

Mark Crane with World People for Peace, which coordinates groups active around Darfur in the New York area, blames the lack of international action. “The problem is that nobody is dealing with the crisis like you deal with a crisis–which is to bring relief immediately.” When asked for a plausible solution, he says he puts his faith in the International Criminal Court (ICC)–a body that the United States refuses to recognize. “If the ICC could actually get some prosecutions going, that might have a chilling effect on these people in power” in Sudan, Crane says.

But others, in contrast, see an eagerness for intervention–and suspect motives other than the humanitarian. The new zeal of the AU and the entrance of NATO comes on the heels of a Feb. 17 meeting in Washington between George Bush, Don Cheadle, and Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager portrayed by Cheadle in the recent movie “Hotel Rwanda.” Rusesabagina, who is credited with saving hundreds of lives during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, told the press, “What is going on in Darfur is exactly what was going on in Rwanda.” This echoes the finding by Congress last July that the violence in Darfur constitutes “genocide.” Rusesabagina (who now runs a transport company in Zambia) and Cheadle had recently visited Darfur with a delegation of five U.S. Congress members.

But Phil Taylor, who worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in defense of accused war criminals with former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark, sees more propaganda than genocide at work in Darfur. “The Americans are obviously driving this process,” he says. “They’re recruiting Hollywood to get people who aren’t giving this very much thought to endorse a policy which is going to involve regime change. Everybody has to be very careful about these things.”

Though some might call his recent article, “Carving Sudan” (on his website, Taylor Report), apologetic towards the Khartoum regime, Taylor says: “What I see here is a game, which is Washington’s favorite game, of demonizing. It’s a form of political and psychological warfare that I’m very much against. I’m not making apologetics for Khartoum, but I’m not going to condemn them either.”

Taylor alludes to probable U.S. covert actions behind the emergence of two guerilla groups in Darfur (the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement), which sparked the crisis early last year. “I know that by all reports a war broke out there initiated by two groups that suddenly just appeared, and they seem to be rather well armed,” he says. “Their leaders say they don’t want the African Union to be the intermediary, they say they want the United States. That’s not good.”

Dr. Ibrahim Imam Mahmoud, Philadelphia-based president of Sudan Liberation Movement, political arm of the Sudan Liberation Army, agrees that the Darfur rebels are suspicious of the AU. “I support a peacekeeping force from outside of Africa,” he says. “Even if African troops are equipped enough, they still need peacekeepers from outside to watch them. We believe African Union troops are helping, but for one thing, they are weak; for another, they are not enough; and for a third, some of them have been corrupted by the Sudanese government.”

Motasim Adam is even more explicit about corruption among AU troops. “We don’t want the African Union because they don’t report the truth. All the African Union troops come from very poor countries like Rwanda, and the Sudanese government can easily change their minds by paying them money. In countries like Rwanda, the army salary is only $40 a month. So the Sudanese government pays them $100 or $200 a month right now… They act like they are a part of the Sudanese military, not as an African Union force to keep peace.”

He also protests that the AU mandate is too limited. “They don’t have authorization to do anything even if there is an incident,” he says.

Adam also emphasizes that Sudanese government forces offer no protection from the militias–and that the two have become almost indistinguishable. “The Janjaweed come wearing the uniform of the policemen, and they attack the people. If you go complain to the police they just tell you that you are a liar and you are working for the Americans, you are an agent.”

Adam says Khartoum uses anti-U.S. and anti-UN sentiment to justify attacks against civilians. “The Sudanese government has announced a holy war against the United Nations; they say that the United Nations is just an umbrella for imperialism‚Ķ”

Phil Taylor, on the other hand, is convinced that imperialist designs on Sudan are real. He says he titled his piece “Carving Sudan” because he believes the US wants “to encourage the breakup of Sudan. The US does not want to see large African states capable of fending for themselves because that makes them less dependent on London and Washington. They play the game of divide and rule.”

He challenges the Darfur rebel groups’ quest for autonomy or independence. “If someone says ‘Darfur needs to be independent,’ you’d want to look closely and see what Darfurians are they talking about. I’d like to know the demographics. Are we saying the majority would like to break away from Sudan?” He charges that “the State Department wants to encourage–and has across Africa encouraged–minority movements so as to give themselves an excuse to intervene‚Ķ to make these groups their allies and put themselves in the position to exploit the resources of these countries.”

Recently, major media in the U.S. have been implying that the rebel groups in Darfur are not disciplined enough to enforce a cease-fire within their own ranks–an idea that Dr. Mahmoud of the SLM denies. “They are organized. The problem is that every day, the Sudan government is bombing them, fighting them.” He also argues that repression has given the people of Darfur no choice but to take up arms. “Politically active in people in Darfur are being killed,” he says.

The genocide argument has been raging in the UN alongside the touchy question of intervention. In January, a UN report officially found that the violence in Darfur does not constitute “genocide” (which means that signatories to the Genocide Convention are not obliged to act), even while noting 70,000 killed and two million forced to flee. “The UN talks too much,” Adam says. “There is no action. Now they have adopted three or four resolutions regarding the Darfur conflict. But there is no compliance by the Sudanese government regarding all these resolutions.”

“What we want now is more pressure on the Sudanese government, whether politically or militarily, in order to comply,” Adam says. He warns that if refugees cannot safely repatriate in the following weeks, the humanitarian crisis will greatly deepen. “There is no security in that area, so the people cannot come back to their villages or homes. Most of them are now in Chad, in the camps. The rainy season will come in three months and the situation is really very hard. The people have no good tents or places to sleep.”

And he says that the refugees who have made it across the border to the camps in Chad face a better situation than those still in camps within Darfur. “The people who were displaced to Chad are lucky because there, there is some kind of respect for human beings. But in Darfur, the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed are coming into the camps, attacking the people and raping the women. If you open your mouth they will shoot you down and kill you immediately‚Ķ There is no person to complain to; you either have to shut your mouth or be killed yourself. That the situation inside the camps.”

U.S. deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick’s brief mid-April visit to Al Fasher refugee camp speaks to the possibility Washington is seeking to exploit Darfur’s suffering for political ends. But Zoellick’s photo-op also coincided with a visit by Sudan’s intelligence chief, Salah Abdallah Gosh, to Washington, where he reportedly met with CIA and FBI personnel on increased cooperation against Islamic militants in Africa, hailed as a milestone in thawing relations between the U.S. and Khartoum. Whether NATO really intervenes in Darfur may ultimately depend less on the actual conditions there than on whether Sudan’s regime can recast itself as a U.S. ally in the eyes of the Bush administration.

RESOURCES:

“Sudan Becomes US Ally in ‘War on Terror’,”
UK Guardian, April 30

“Nato poised for first African engagement in Darfur,”
UK Independent, April 28, 2005

“A Sudanese city of refugees with no plans to go home,” NY Times, April 17, 2005

“Sudan death toll: 180,000 die from hunger in Darfur,” UK Guardian, March 26, 2005

“Carving Sudan: Hollywood’s helping hand,”
The Taylor Report, Feb. 17, 2005

“UN ‘rules out’ genocide in Darfur,”
BBC News, Jan. 31, 2005

“U.S. lobbies Security Council on Darfur prosecution,”
NY Times, Jan. 29, 2005

Sudan Liberation Movement/Sudan Liberation Army

World People for Peace

See also:

Wynde Priddy, “Darfur: Power Politics Trump Genocide Convention,”
WW4 REPORT #104

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Special to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, May 10, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution

http://WW4Report.com

Continue ReadingDARFUR: NATO PREPARES INTERVENTION 

BOMBS AWAY

Global Activists Gather in New York to Revive Nuclear Disarmament Call

by Sarah Ferguson

Sometimes peace needs a good enemy.

It was President Reagan who really jump-started the nuclear freeze movement in the early 1980s with his roughhouse talk about actually using nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union. “We start bombing in five minutes,” was the Gipper’s famous quip.

Now with the Bush administration threatening Iran and North Korea as it schemes about funding a whole new generation of smaller, “more usable” nukes, activists say the movement for a global moratorium on nuclear weapons is ripe for a revival.

The May 1 march in New York City from the United Nations to Central Park was a start. The protest was called by the anti-war group United for Peace and Justice and the international anti-nuke coalition Abolition Now! to highlight the Bush administration’s hypocrisy on the eve of a month-long conference at the UN to review the imperiled Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which began on May 2.

“One of the lies the Bush administration used to go to war was that Iraq was seeking nuclear weapons,” says UFPJ national coordinator Leslie Cagan. “Now they’re using the same rationale to go after Iran and North Korea, so as a movement, we really need to take up this cause.”

“We’re saying that no nations should have nuclear weapons, including the US, which continues to violate this treaty by pouring billions of dollars into the arms race, at the same time that they threaten other nations for not meeting their obligations.”

First introduced in 1970, the NPT calls for the five major nuclear powers–the US, Russia, China, France and Britain–to work toward eliminating their nuclear weapons and other countries to pledge not to obtain them. But since 9-11, the Bush administration has been openly disdainful of the treaty, arguing that it is antiquated to deal with the modern threat of terrorism, and that Iran and North Korea are exploiting loopholes to obtain nuclear weapons anyway.

As if to underscore that point, on May 1 North Korea lobbed a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan, and Pentagon officials now say satellite images appear to show North Korea on the verge of conducting its first nuclear weapons test. Meanwhile, Iran has openly threatened to end a moratorium on the production of enriched uranium fuel (ostensibly for power generation).

Yet as former military analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, noted backstage during the rally, Bush’s “preemptive strike doctrine” and his insistence on building tactical battlefield nukes are actually pushing countries like Iran and North Korea to get nukes of their own as a deterrent to US aggression.

“Bush’s policies are certain to increase nuclear proliferation,” says Ellsberg. “We’re promoting it. The idea that somebody like Iran doesn’t have a need for nuclear weapons at this point is ridiculous.”

The president claims the US is reducing America’s arsenal of more than 10,000 warheads. But at the same time, Ellsberg notes, the Pentagon is actively seeking to build new ones and “modernize” the ones it’s keeping. Just last month, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld pressed Congress to fund research into earth-penetrating “bunker busters.” According to Physicians for Social Responsibility, these “busters” would be 80 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

“That’s why we need a global moratorium on all these weapons,” says Ellsberg. “Not just Iran and North Korea, but the US and Israel and everyone else, too.”

Admittedly, calling for global disarmament these days sounds like pie-in-the-sky idealism. But activists say their stance is actually quite mainstream. A recent ABC news poll showed two thirds of Americans believe no nations should have nukes, including the US, while 52 percent believe that a nuclear attack by one country against another is likely by 2010. In Europe and Asia, public support for disarmament is even greater.

Still, a movement has to be more than just a mechanism for marching. With the Bush administration playing the terrorism and “Axis of Evil” cards to justify its abuses of the NPT, activists will have to find new ways to unravel the spiraling militarism that keeps generating more nukes as world leaders give lip service to renouncing them.

For decades, anti-nukes has been a feel-good cause. But can activists find a way to put some teeth in it?

Chris Connor of Abolition Now! concedes public apathy is a problem. “Sometimes I think the only thing that will spark a renewed movement is if some loose nuke goes off somewhere and makes people feel really threatened by nuclear proliferation.”

Indeed, as UFPJ was marching uptown in New York City on May 1, the more hard-left Troops Out Now! coalition was rallying in Union Square to demand more jobs and to bring the troops home from Iraq. Working-class soldiers dying abroad for lack of opportunities at home, they argued, was a more appropriate May Day cause than the stereotypically lily-white anti-nuke movement. Some of the left argue it’s hypocritical for American peaceniks to call on countries like North Korea to disarm when the Bush administration has such overwhelming power to invade them.

“Personally I think to talk about global disarmament misses the point of who has weapons and who they are being used against,” says Dustin Langley, a spokesperson for Troops Out Now! and member of the International Action Center, the anti-imperialist group founded by Ramsey Clark. (IAC helped spawn the anti-war ANSWER coalition, from which they recently splintered, and has long been sympathetic to North Korea’s Kim Jong Il regime.) “We say Iran and North Korea have a right to get any kind of weapon they need to defend themselves against the largest military machine on the planet. Considering that Bush has listed them as two potential targets, they have as much right to nuclear weapons as any other country,” Langley maintains.

Though the ongoing splits in the anti-war movement may have lessened the turnout, the disarmament march was larger than many expected, especially considering that it was not all that actively promoted in NYC (perhaps, ironically, because this time the Parks Department did not contest the permit for the rally site at Central Park’s Heckscher Ballfields, which are “under renovation” and hence less precious than the Great Lawn’s grass). Organizers claimed 40,000 people turned out, noting at one point the march spanned 15 blocks. Unofficial police estimates put the crowd at 8,000 to 10,000.

Still, it was probably the largest anti-nuke demo in the U.S. since the massive march to Central Park in 1982, which drew more than 1 million. (Hundreds of thousands more marched in cities across Japan on May Day to call for a nuclear moratorium and oppose revisions in the Japanese constitution that would loosen the ban on the use of military force.)

What struck out most was how international the New York demonstration was. In addition to more than 1,000 demonstrators from Japan, there was a delegation of mayors from 35 countries and large contingents from France, Germany and New Zealand. There were also Korean drummers clanging gongs, Vietnam Vets sounding off anti-war calls, Portuguese and Finnish peaceniks, and members of the International Peace Walk, led by Japanese monks, who trekked all the way from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Oak Ridge is home to the Y-12 National Security Complex, which built some of the components of the Hiroshima bomb and is now hard at work refurbishing existing nukes to extend their shelf life.

“One of the reasons I’m marching is my father was an occupying soldier in Nagasaki with the Australian forces there,” said Bilbo Taylor, 36, of Melbourne, who made the pilgrimage from Tennessee. “When he came back from war, he got iller and iller and died when I was 15 years old. I spent the first 12 years of my life in and out of hospitals dealing with that, and now there are thousands of soldiers from this war in Iraq who will suffer for a long time because of depleted uranium.”

Photo exhibits set up in the rear of the rally showed gruesome pictures of Iraqi women and children suffering from leukemia, believed to have been caused by depleted uranium shells exploded during the 1991 Gulf War.

Others sought to bring the threat even closer to home. Longtime nuclear opponent Dr. Helen Caldicott painted a vivid picture of what would happen if one of the 40 nuclear bombs Russia still has trained on New York City were to hit town. She described an 800-foot deep crater in the center of Central Park and nuclear winds extending 20 miles out.

Luis Acosta, founder of El Puente community center in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, urged the crowd to ban “New York’s secret dirty bomb”–the Radiac Research Corporation, which stores radioactive and hazardous waste in that residential neighborhood, and which they fear is a sitting duck target for a terrorist attack. “All it could take is one small spill and one spark,” for a nuclear disaster in Williamsburg, he said.

But the most chilling testimony of the day came from survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts, who came to offer a living record or the horrors of nuclear war.

Keiko Inagaki was 14 years old when the US atomic bomb struck her hometown of Nagasaki in 1945. “It was a hot wind, and a rainbow of different colors flashed in the sky. I got blown away,” said the 74-year-old, dressed in an elegant flowered kimono and holding up one-end of a 20-foot anti-nuke banner. When the bomb hit, she and her fellow classmates were working in a munitions factory, having been requisitioned for Japan’s war effort. “All the windows blew out, and I was burned on my face, chest and arms,” she recalled, speaking through a translator. Still, Inagaki counts herself as lucky. “There were two people outside the factory, and their whole skin just immediately rotted off in seconds.”

For many years, Inagaki hid the fact that she was a survivor–or “hibakusha,” as they are called in Japan–fearing that concerns about radiation poisoning would hinder her chances of marrying or getting a job. But 9-11, the US invasion of Iraq, and the growing threat of terrorism worldwide convinced her to come forward to tell her harrowing story.

“I don’t know when I’m going to die. It’s time to speak out in order to save the younger generation.” she said.

RESOURCES:

Abolition Now!

United for Peace & Justice

Troops Out Now!

Federation of American Scientists page on the NPT

RELATED STORIES:

“Two Years Later: NYC Anti-War Protests Smaller–and Tilting to the Hard Left,” by Sarah Ferguson, April 2005

“Nuclear Agenda 2005,” by Chesley Hicks, March 2005

——————-

Special to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, May 10, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution

http://WW4Report.com

Continue ReadingBOMBS AWAY 

THE PROVOCATEUR STATE

Is the CIA Behind the Iraqi “Insurgents”‚ÄĒand Global Terrorism?

by Frank Morales

The requirement of an ever-escalating level of social violence to meet the political and economic needs of the insatiable “anti-terrorist complex” is the essence of the new US militarism. What is now openly billed as “permanent war” ultimately serves the geo-political ends of social control in the interests of US corporate domination, much as the anti-communist crusade of the now-exhasuted Cold War did.

Back in 2002, following the trauma of 9-11, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld predicted there would be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large. How could he be so sure of that? Perhaps because these attacks would be instigated on the order of the Honorable Mr. Rumsfeld. According to Los Angeles Times military analyst William Arkin, writing Oct. 27, 2002, Rumsfeld set out to create a secret army, “a super-Intelligence Support Activity” network that would “bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception,” to stir the pot of spiraling global violence.

According to a classified document prepared for Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board, the new organization–the “Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)”–would actually carry out secret missions designed to provoke terrorist groups into committing violent acts. The P2OG, a 100-member, so-called “counter-terrorist” organization with a $100-million-a-year budget, would ostensibly target “terrorist leaders,” but according to P2OG documents procured by Arkin, would in fact carry out missions designed to “stimulate reactions” among “terrorist groups”–which, according to the Defense Secretary’s logic, would subsequently expose them to “counter-attack” by the good guys. In other words, the plan is to execute secret military operations (assassinations, sabotage, “deception”) which would intentionally result in terrorist attacks on innocent people, including Americans–essentially, to “combat terrorism” by causing it!

This notion is currently being applied to the problem of the Iraqi “insurgency,” it seems. According to a May 1, 2005 report by Peter Maass in the New York Times Magazine, two of the top US advisers to Iraqi paramilitary commandos fighting the insurgents are veterans of US counterinsurgency operations in Latin America. Loaning credence to recent media speculation about the “Salvadorization” of Iraq, the report notes that one adviser currently in Iraq is James Steele, who led a team of 55 US Army Special Forces advisers in El Salvador in the 1980s. Maass writes that these advisors “trained front-line battalions that were accused of significant human rights abuses.”

The current senior US adviser at the Iraqi Interior Ministry, which Maass writes “has operational control over the commandos,” is former top US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) official Steve Casteel, who worked “alongside local forces” in the US-sponsored “Drug War” in Bolivia, Peru and Colombia, “where he was involved in the hunt for Pablo Escobar, the head of the Medellin cocaine cartel.”

The US “drug war” in Latin America also serves as a cover for ongoing counterinsurgency, employing terrorist methods to achieve two aims: one, actually combating genuine insurgency; two, the ratcheting up of a “strategy of tension,” heightened social violence designed to induce fear among the citizenry and the subsequent call for greater “security.”

This was the essence, for example, of Operation Gladio, a decades-long covert campaign of provocateur-style terrorism and deceit. The ostensible purpose of Gladio, officially launched as a covert NATO program in 1952, was to establish a clandestine network of “stay-behind” teams which would organize armed resistance and sabotage in the event of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. But the network actually took a far more proactive role. Directed by US/NATO intelligence services of the West against their own populations, Operation Gladio led to possibly hundreds of innocent people being killed or maimed in “terrorist” attacks which were then blamed on “leftist subversives” or other political opponents. The most notorious such attack was the 1980 bombing of the train station at Bologna, which left 85 dead. Initially blamed on left-wing radicals, the blast was revealed upon investigation to be the work of an ultra-right network linked to the Italy’s Gladio team; four Italian neo-fascists were eventually convicted of the crime.

The purpose was again twofold: to demonize designated enemies (the “communists”) and to frighten the public into supporting ever-increasing powers for the national security state. It appears the Pentagon has been implementing Gladio-style operations for quite some time–possibly including 9-11. A stretch? Maybe not.

Witness the US Joint Chiefs discussion of “Operation Northwoods” back in 1962, a plan to blow up U.S. “assets”–including U.S. citizens–in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. Later, US Army Field Manual 30-31B, entitled “Stability Operations Intelligence – Special Fields,” dated March 18, 1970 and signed by Gen. William C Westmoreland, promoted terrorist attacks (and the planting of false evidence) in public places which were then to be blamed on “communists” and “socialists.” It called for the execution of terrorist attacks throughout Western Europe, carried out through a network of covert US/NATO armies, in order to convince European governments of “the communist threat.”

What’s striking is that during this period the primary source for US government info on the Russian “threat” was coming from the Gehlen Organiation, Hitlers eastern front intelligence apparatus, which in the aftermath of World War II had cut a deal with the CIA’s Allen Dulles and worked out of Fort Hunt, just outside Washington DC, before being relocated back to Munich. Headed up by super-spy Nazi General Reinhard Gehlen, the Org’s “special operations” expertise was heeded, financed and well-protected by U.S. tax dollars well into the 1970’s. Could the Gehlen Org have had an influence in the production of FM 30-31B?

According to FM 30-31B, “there may be times when Host Country Governments show passivity or indecision in the face of communist subversion and according to the interpretation of the US secret services do not react with sufficient effectiveness. Most often such situations come about when the revolutionaries temporarily renounce the use of force and thus hope to gain an advantage, as the leaders of the host country wrongly consider the situation to be secure. US army intelligence must have the means of launching special operations which will convince Host Country Governments and public opinion of the reality of the insurgent danger.”

The U.S. Army now claims the document was a Russian forgery. Journalist Allan Francovich in his BBC documentation on Gladio and US/NATO “special operations” terrorism, asked Ray Cline, CIA deputy director from 1962 to 1966, if he believed FM 30-31B was for real and he replied: “Well, I suspect it is an authentic document. I don’t doubt it. I never saw it but it’s the kind of special forces military operations that are described,” to be implemented at the discretion of the president and Defense Department on the “appropriate occasion.”

It could be that in Iraq–and elsewhere around the world–the “appropriate occasion” has arrived. Bush’s war on terrorism could be the ultimate manifestation of the provocateur state; carrying out of clandestine “executive actions” and “special operations” directed against populations, including our own, who are truly ignorant of the real “enemy” in the face of the ever-present manufactured one, traumatized by strategic terror designed to engender fear and acquiescence to further “security measures”–thereby enriching the military, police agencies, and munitions and nuclear business enterprises.

RESOURCES:

Peter Maass, “The Salvadorization of Iraq?,” New York Times Magazine, May 1, 2005.

A.K. Gupta, “Unraveling Iraq’s Secret Militias,” Z Magazine, May 2005

Lila Rajiva, “The Pentagon’s ‘NATO Option’,” CommonDreams, Feb. 10, 2005.

Statewatch Briefing on Operation Gladio

US Joint Chiefs of Staff, “Operation Northwoods”, 1962

National Security Archives on Operation Northwoods


US Army, Field Manual 30-31B, 1970


FM 30-31B excerpts from Cryptome.org

WW4 REPORT #58 on P2OG

Frank Morales, “John Negroponte and the Death Squad Connection,” WW4 REPORT #108

——————

Special to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, May 10, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution

http://WW4Report.com

Continue ReadingTHE PROVOCATEUR STATE 

CAN IRAQ AVOID CIVIL WAR?

(And Can the U.S. Anti-War Movement Help?)

by Bill Weinberg

The anti-war movement in the U.S. is at its lowest ebb since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. Two broad, mutually hostile tendencies have emerged: one increasingly supportive of the armed resistance, the other increasingly equivocal about supporting an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces. They hold separate marches (as they did in New York City on May 1) for which they marshal radically diminishing numbers. They seem equally oblivious to their manifest inability to meaningfully communicate with the general populace, and equally uninterested in meaningfully engaging the Iraqi people they claim to support.

This inability and this disinterest appear to indicate that they are no more serious about really looking squarely at the situation in Iraq than the Bush administration they love to hate. Iraq has been drifting towards civil war virtually since the day Saddam fell two years ago. Like the White House, the remnants of the anti-war movement seem to have everything invested in ignoring this reality and holding out for a deus ex machina–whether it is to be delivered (against all evidence) by the occupation or resistance. There is virtually no interest in the hard, realistic work of offering solidarity and a stateside voice to Iraqis who will have to seek a semblance of freedom and control over their own lives no matter what kind of regime or situation obtains in their country. Yet this is precisely the kind of work which can give us the moral legitimacy we need to rebuild a disintegrating movement.

THE NEW REGIME: IMBALANCE OF POWER

For a third time now, Iraq has undergone a transition towards supposed self-govenment and stabilty. The first was the transfer of official “sovereignty” to the interim regime in June 2004. Then came the elections of January 2005. Now, after months of tense haggling, a government coalition has congealed and taken power. But it represents largely a coalition of the two demographic sectors which had been marginalized under the Saddam Hussein dictatorship: the Kurdish north and the Shi’ite south. The Sunni center, where Saddam had his primary base of support, is nearly excluded from the new order, and arguably has greater support for the insurgents than for the new regime. And the new ruling coalition itself appears precariously fragile.

On April 7, interim prime minister Iyad Allawi submitted his resignation. The new government is to be led by President Jalal Talabani, leader of the Kurdistan Alliance, itself made up of two rival Kurdish nationalist parties, including Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

Talabani is to share power with Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari of the Dawa Party, one of the prominent Shi’ite opposition groups under Saddam, founded by Muhammed Baqir al-Sadr, a dissident executed by the regime in 1980. It is today one of several Shi’ite religious factions, all fiercely conservative but, to varying degrees, mutually suspicious, and each with an armed militia yet to be brought under any real centralized control.

The new interior minister is Bayan Jabr of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Shi’ite faction traditionally backed by Iran.

Ahmad Chalabi–a secular Shi’ite and the one-time Pentagon favorite to rule a post-Saddam Iraq, who had been arrested on charges of spying for Iran just a year ago–is now acting oil minister. His relative Ali Allawi is finance minister.

There are two vice presidents, largely ceremonial posts. One is Adel Abdul Mahdi of a Shiite Islamist bloc inappropriately named the United Iraqi Alliance. The other is Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar, a Sunni leader of Iraqis Party, who is the most hostile to the U.S. occupation of the new regime figures, and the only Sunni in a position of power–although not much power. The Defense Ministry post is also said to be reserved for a Sunni, but a suitable one has apparently not been found yet. The speaker of the transitional national assembly is Hajim al-Hassani of the United Iraqi Alliance, which holds the large majority of seats.

In short, the new governing coalition is both dominated by clerical or ethno-nationalist authoritarians, and a seeming recipe for further instability.

WOMEN UNDER ATTACK

A New York Times story of April 13 highlighted the emerging role of women in the new Iraq, painting a picture of general progress while acknowledging harsh obstacles. It noted that Nasreen Barwari, the Harvard-educated public works minister in the interim government who is said to represent secular women, will be retaining her post, the only woman in the cabinet. The article also noted that she is the “third wife” of Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar–a polygamous rather than serial affair. It failed to note that Barwari is a Kurd, and has been subject to much abuse in the Kurdish nationalist press for betraying her people by marrying an Arab. The Kurdistan Observer ran a letter last Oct. 12 stating that it is “strange and insipid” that “a reasonably attractive and well-educated Kurdish girl” is so “naive” as to become “emotionally involved with a polygamist tribal sex maniac.”

Also quoted in the Times was Songul Chapuk Omer, a Turkmen women’s leader from Kirkuk, who voiced suspicion of the Shiite women in the new government, saying they “want to hinder woman, put shackles on her. They despise secular women. They consider that she has committed crimes.”

The Times has failed to report on the ongoing wave of assassinations of outspoken women across Iraq. On March 21, the UN news agency IRIN ran a little-noticed story on the chilling string of misogynist murders. It led with the case of Baghdad pharmacist Zeena Qushtiny, who was seized at gunpoint from her pharmacy–“by insurgents,” the account said. Her body was found 10 days later with two bullet holes in the head, covered in a traditional abaya veil with a message pinned to it: “She was a collaborator against Islam.” Qushtiny, the divorced mother of two young girls, had been working for women’s rights and greater democracy in Iraq, according to her friends and colleagues. The report also said “her dress was seen as being too extravagant for Iraq.”

A Baghdad police commander, Col. Subhi al-Abdullilah, told IRIN that decapitated female corpses have been turning up around the city in recent weeks with notes bearing the word “collaborator” pinned to their chests. Authorities in Mosul were cited reporting 20 women killed by Islamic militants so far this year, including three gynecologists, two pharmacists and several students. In Latifiyah, south of Baghdad, where 11 women have been killed so far this year, Sunni militants have pasted leaflets on the walls prohibiting women from leaving their homes without the traditional abaya under penalty of death.

Last November, Amal al-Mamalachy, a well-known women’s rights activist and government adviser, was killed in a hail of 10 bullets on her way to work. Her car was hit by a total of 160 bullets, and many of her security guards were also killed. Akilla al-Hashimia, a member of the interim government, was killed in October 2003.

The IRIN story also quoted the Turkmen women’s leader Songul Chapuk saying she has received numerous death threats, and that several women have been attacked with a spray containing acid in Kirkuk because they weren’t wearing the veil. The story also noted that public works minister Nasreen Barwari survived an attack last year in which two of her bodyguards were killed. The New York Times coverage which cited both these women deemed fit to overlook these rather salient details.

IRIN quoted Houzan Mahmoud, UK representative for the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) warning that the new government seems little better than the insurgents as far as the status of women is concerned: “With the win of the United Alliance in the election, the Islamization can grow fast and the women in Iraq could lose more… I just ask for everyone to open their eyes to this issue and help the true entities that are looking for their rights as women.”

THE INSURGENTS: “RESISTANCE” OR ETHNIC CLEANSING?

The insurgents that many stateside activists glorify as the Iraqi “resistance” have been very busy lately, with deadly explosions becoming a nearly daily affair. On May 6, at least 26 were killed and twice as many wounded when a suicide bomber struck a marketplace in Suwaira and another bomb blew up a bus carrying Iraqi police in Tikrit. On May 4, a suicide bomber infiltrated a line of police recruits in Irbil, killing 46 and injuring nearly 100–a rare but exceptionally deadly attack in the Kurdish north. On May 2, at least 24 were killed in a string of car bomb attacks, including six residents at a Baghdad apartment complex and a child in Mosul. On April 29, an impressive 17 car bombs exploded, killing 50, mostly in Baghdad. On April 14, twin car bombs detonated as a police convoy was passing the Interior Ministry, killing 14 and wounding 50. While many of these attacks were ostensibly aimed at government targets, the victims were typically civilians; all but one of the dead at the Interior Ministry were civilians.

And the same forces which have taken up arms against the occupation also seem bent on war against perceived ethnic and sectarian enemies within Iraq. On April 9, thousands of followers of militant Shi’ite cleric Moktada al-Sadr marked the two-year anniversary of the invasion by marching on Baghdad’s Firdous Square, where the statue of Saddam Hussein had been toppled on that day in 2003. They chanted “No to America!” and called for U.S. troops to leave Iraq. But this apparently won them little solidarity from Sunni insurgents who share this demand. Unknown gunmen–said to be Sunni militants–opened fire on the protesters as they gathered, injuring two. Protesters also carried the coffin of an al-Sadr movement leader who had been gunned down the previous night.

On March 31, Shi’ites across Iraq celebrated Arabaein (also rendered: Arbayeen), the festival marking the end of Ashura, the 40-day mourning period for Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed killed in the 680 CE Battle of Karbala. This is the most sacred day in Shia Islam. It was marked–for a second consecutive year–by bloody attacks on Shi’ite worshippers throughout the country. This year the death toll fell far short of 2004’s 143, but was still grisly enough. A suicide bomber drove a van full of explosives into a crowd of worshippers in the northern city of Tuz Khurmato, killing four, including a child. A similar attack in the Shi’ite holy city of Samarra–although ostensibly aimed at a U.S. military vehicle–left one civilian dead and several injured.

Samarra holds the tombs of two of Shia’s revered twelve imams–the tenth, Ali il-Hadi and the eleventh, Hadi al-Askari–and is said to be where the twelfth imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, went into “occultation” to await judgement day hidden from the eyes of mortals. It is the third holiest site in Shia after Karbala and Najaf, which holds the remains of Imam Ali, the first imam and the Prophet’s son-on-law, killed in 661.

All three of these cities saw violence around the Ashura period. Pilgrims in Karbala slept on the city’s streets for nights following the celebrations because they feared travelling by night following threats and attacks. On April 8, four civilians were injured as a bomb exploded at the Najaf bus station.

On March 10, a suicide bombing at a funeral at a Shiite mosque in Mosul left 40 dead, mostly Shiite Kurds and Turkmen.

New mass garves are also being unearthed–most recently in northeast Baghdad, where a worker using earth-moving equipment discovered 12 bodies approximately a week old May 6, shot in the head and showing signs of torture and beatings. It is uncertain if this is the work of “insurgents” or the new paramilitary groups said to be overseen by the regime and U.S. forces to fight the insurgents.

OIL: BROKEN PIPELINES, BROKEN DREAMS

Iraq has the second greatest oil reserves on Earth after Saudi Arabia, but it has never been efficiently exploited–and now the situation is worse than ever. A March 2 New York Times story, “A Promise Unfulfilled: Iraq’s Oil Output is Lagging,” noted:

“As recently as this April, a senior Iraqi leader evoked the eternal dream that Iraq could produce 10 million barrels a day–close to the Saudi levels–within 10 to 15 years. Far less than that could alter the global oil market and aid consumers everywhere. But two years after Saddam Hussein was toppled production is limping along at about two million barrels a day, less than before the war, and even at that rate it may be causing long-term damage to poorly maintained fields. Americans had hoped that output at this stage would be at three million barrels a day, generating badly needed funds for reconstruction. That level of production could also reduce oil prices, which are now around $50 a barrel and a global source of inflationary pressure. But close to $2 billion worth of American technical aid to the oil sector has brought only limited gains. Sabotage of a pipeline to Turkey has choked off exports from Iraq’s northern fields, around Kirkuk, and violence has slowed efforts to renovate the larger southern fields.”

While Iraq’s oil remains officially in the hands of state-owned companies, the new government is awaiting the results of a technical study by BP and Royal Dutch Shell on how to best revive the faltering industry, the Times informs us. There are apparently only 2,300 wells in all Iraq–compared to over a million in Texas, with far less (and less geologically accessible) oil. And Iraq’s existing infrastructure eroded dramatically under the economic sanctions in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, as U.S. aid pours into patching up oil infrastructure that the insurgents quickly blow up in a vicious cycle, social development projects that were supposed to be funded by oil revenues are dying on the vine. The Times reported April 16 that a $10 million potable water project for Halabja–the same Kurdish city that was gassed by Saddam in 1988, leaving 5,000 dead–was cancelled for lack of funds.

SOCIAL COLLAPSE: BITTER FRUIT OF “LIBERATION”

A March 30 BBC report, “Children ‘starving’ in new Iraq,” notes a bitterly paradoxical result of the country’s supposed “liberation.” According to a new report prepared for the annual meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, malnutrition rates in children under five have almost doubled since the US-led intervention–to nearly 8% by the end of last year. Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, who prepared the report, blamed the worsening situation in Iraq on the war which has ensued since the 2003 invasion.

U.S. and U.K. officials wasted little time in challenging Ziegler’s findings. “He is wrong,” charged U.S. envoy to the UN, Kevin Moley, saying American and British studies indicated the rise in child malnutrition actually began under Saddam. But Ziegler is not alone in offering such grim news. An April 21 USA Today report on languishing water projects in Iraq noted a hepatitis outbreak in Baghdad’s impoverished Shi’ite neighborhood, Sadr City, and the emergence of typhoid in another Baghdad neighborhood. The LA Times reported May 2 that the daily output of Iraq’s electrical grid is 4,000 megawatts–400 megawatts below the pre-war average. Last Dec. 4, UPI, citing Iraqi government figures, noted that unemployment had dropped in 2004 from from 28% at the start of the year to a still-ghastly 26.8%. But an Al-Jazeera report from Aug. 1, 2004, citing a study by Baghdad University, contested the government figures, putting unemployment at a disastrous 70%.

SECULAR LEFT REPUDIATES “TWO POLES OF TERRORISM”

Despite the growing violence and polarization, a secular left continues to exist in Iraq, caught between the occupation and collaborationist forces on one side, and the Islamist insurgents on the other. This besieged, principled opposition remains universally overlooked by both the world’s mainstream and–shamefully–left media.

On the occasion of the two-year anniversary of the invasion, the Left Worker-Communist Party of Iraq issued a statement addressed “To All Civilized Humanity,” calling on progressives around the world to “support our struggle for the immediate expulsion of the US/UK troops from Iraq, and the disarm[ament] of all reactionary Islamic/nationalist groups.” The somewhat awkward English translation read, in part:

“The world is witnessing the 2nd anniversary of the US war on the people of Iraq. This war has been causing the killing of thousands of innocent people…the ruining of the foundation of Iraqi civil society, and the subjugating of its fate to the will of a handful reactionary powers… The domination of these forces will further drag society [in]to the worst division based on religious, ethnic, and sectarian conflicting cantons… the trans[formation] of Iraq into an open confrontation grounds between the forces of international terrorism: the terrorism of the US state from one side and the terrorism of international Political Islam and Saddam Hussein’s supporters on the other. The victims of this reactionary war are the innocent citizens of Iraq. This war has turned people’s lives in Iraq into a living hell.”

The statement called for:

“The immediate expulsion of the occupying forces provided they are replaced by international peacekeeping forces of the United Nations, with the exclusion of the current occupying countries of Iraq and the regional countries that support Islamic groups…

“The disarmament of all Islamic and nationalist forces that arose after the fall of the Baathist regime and which have their hands stained with people’s blood.

“Putting military…officials and personnel of both the occupying forces and the nationalist and religious groups [on] trial as war criminals.

“Securing [a] social and political environment which would guarantee all political groups in Iraq…free political activity, in a secure environment, and thus the possibility of people’s conscious participation in the formation of a state that suits them in Iraq.

“To this end, we call on all humanitarian, egalitarian, and progressive people all over the world to support our demands to rescue the people of Iraq from the destructive …war between the two poles of terrorism…in order to create the suitable circumstances for the people to achieve their freedom and political choices.”

It ends with the slogans: “Immediate Expulsion of the US-UK forces from Iraq! Disarmament of All Islamic and Reactionary Nationalists! Long Live Freedom [for] the people of Iraq, Away [with] Terrorism and Intimidation!”

We can take issue with this program, and certainly the question of who is to disarm the Islamist insurgents, and how it is to be done without escalating the war, has no easy answer. But the Left Worker-Communist Party of Iraq has at least raised a call for solidarity around principles of secularism, pluralism, socialism and basic respect for the rights of civil society.

The anti-war movement in the U.S. and Britain exhibits little interest in answering this call or even engaging in dialogue with what should be its own natural allies in Iraq. Instead, it either allows its fetishization of armed resistance to betray its own supposed values of elementary freedom and equality, or else looks to the day the U.S. can honorably leave a stable and democratic Iraq–a day which inevitably recedes further and further beyond the horizon.

The two tendencies appear too busy demonizing each other to meaningfully engage either the American public or Iraqi progressives–much less offer desperately needed solidarity. The anti-war movement’s current isolation is, alas, well-earned.

———–

RESOURCES:

“Iraq: Focus on threats against progressive women”, IRIN, March 21, 2005

“Children ‘starving’ in new Iraq”, BBC, March 30, 2005

“Security costs drain funds for water projects in Iraq,” USA Today, April 21

“To All Civilized Humanity”
, Left Worker-Communist Party of Iraq, March 15, 2005

Previous WW4 REPORT Iraq updates:

“Is There a ‘Third Alternative’ in Iraq?”
, March 2005

“Iraq & Afghanistan: Is Bush Hallucinating?”, October 2004

“Iraq Meets the New Boss”, July 2004

“Iraq: Bloody Countdown to Bogus Sovereignty”
, June 2004

“Iraq: Civil War Inevitable?”, March 2004

“How the Anti-War Movement is Blowing It,” September 2003

“Beware Bush’s Boomerang,” April 2003

——————-

Special to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, May 10, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution

http://WW4Report.com

Continue ReadingCAN IRAQ AVOID CIVIL WAR? 

COLOMBIA: INDIGENOUS TOWNS BESIEGED; DAM REPARATIONS WON

from Weekly News Update on the Americas

CAUCA: FARC SEIZE INDIGENOUS TOWNS

Around 5 AM on April 14, hundreds of rebels from the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) simultaneously attacked the neighboring municipalities of Jambalo and Toribio in southern Cauca department and fired homemade rockets and other weapons at police. About 98% of the residents of the two municipalities are Nasa indigenous people; their communities have always been clear in rejecting the presence of armed groups in their territory. Toribio is an important town for the Nasa: the Nasa Project, an autonomous indigenous development program, is based there, and Toribio mayor Arquimedes Vitonas is a respected Nasa leader. Vitonas headed a delegation that was held captive for two weeks by the FARC last year.

The government responded to the FARC attack by sending a bomber and helicopters to the area until ground troops could arrive. The assault on Toribio, carried out by the Jacobo Arenas column of the FARC, left a nine-year old child dead, 20 people wounded and 22 homes destroyed. Two police agents–three according to some sources–were also apparently killed, and as many as eight of those wounded may have been police agents.

Hundreds of residents fled for the nearby village of San Francisco, while those unable to leave set up a “permanent assembly” in the local hospital and the offices of the Nasa-run Center of Education, Training and Research for Integral Community Development (CECIDIC). By April 15, members of the Indigenous Guard, an autonomous body which operates under the command of indigenous councils, were handling cleanup and aid duties in the two towns, with support coordinated jointly by the Traditional Authorities of Cauca Department, the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) and the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (ACIN). (ONIC Communiques, April 14, 15; La Republica, Lima, April 15 from EFE; News 24, South Africa, April 15) Combat broke out again in Toribio on April 16. (El Tiempo, Bogota, website, April 17; El Diario-La Prensa, NY, April 17)

On April 15, two unidentified individuals murdered Zenu indigenous leader Hernando Vergara, who served on the leadership council in 2004 of the community of Achiote, in Sampues municipality, in the northern department of Sucre. (ONIC Communique, April 16)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, April 17

See also WW4 REPORT #103

CORDOBA: INDIGENOUS WIN DAM REPARATIONS

On April 9, a group of 320 Embera Katio protesters–including 60 children–left Bogota and returned to their communities in the Upper Sinu river valley of the northeastern Colombian department of Cordoba, a day after signing an agreement with the government and the company which operates the Urra hydroelectric dam in their territory. The Embera Katio communities declared themselves in permanent assembly on Oct. 31 and seized the Urra company’s offices in Monteria, the departmental capital, to demand that the company repair the damage done to their land and livelihood since the dam flooded the area in 1994. After failing to reach an agreement, they took their fight to Bogota, where they arrived on Dec. 22. Early on Dec. 23 government security forces ejected them from the Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development, and they spent the next 108 days camped out at the offices of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC). Negotiations between the sides finally resumed on March 14.

Under the terms of the new agreement, the Urra company will provide 6.8 billion pesos (about $3 million) for a series of measures to be designed and implemented by the communities with the goal of restoring their self-sufficiency and way of life. The first payment of 4.5 billion pesos was to be paid on April 15, with the installment of 2.3 billion pesos due on April 30. In addition, the company will provide logistical resources for the cleanup and repair effort, and will finance a study to be carried out between May and December of this year to allow the communities to develop a sustainable longterm livelihood strategy. The government committed itself to providing adequate health and education resources for the Embera Katio communities, and also paid for seven buses to take the protesters home and provided food for their trip. An ONIC commission accompanied the Embera on their return. (La Hora, Quito. April 12 from AFP; El Tiempo, Bogota, April 11; El Diario-La Prensa, April 11; Accord, April 18 from ONIC website)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, April 17 Weekly News Update on the Americas

See also WW4 REPORT #108

——————-

Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, May 10, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution

http://WW4Report.com

Continue ReadingCOLOMBIA: INDIGENOUS TOWNS BESIEGED; DAM REPARATIONS WON 

ECUADOR: PROTESTS OUST PRESIDENT; CONGRESS, JUDICIARY PURGED

from Weekly News Update on the Americas

PUBLIC OUSTS PRESIDENT GUTIERREZ

On April 19, some 50,000 Ecuadorans–including entire families with children–marched peacefully through the capital, Quito, from La Carolina park to Carondelet, the government palace. They carried Ecuadoran flags, sang the national anthem and chanted “Everyone out”–a demand for the removal of all the politicians and government officials, including President Lucio Gutierrez Borbua. (Servicio Informativo “Alai-amlatina,” April 20; ALTERCOM, April 20)

Gutierrez had fired the entire Supreme Court on April 15; on April 18, the 100-member Congress voted 89-0 to ratify the court’s dismissal and declare a “judicial vacancy” until agreement can be reached on a non-partisan mechanism for electing judges. Congress declined to invalidate the Supreme Court’s April 1 decision to annul corruption trials against ex-presidents Abdala Bucaram (1996-1997) and Gustavo Noboa (2000-2003), and ex-vice president Alberto Dahik (1992-1995). The annulling of the trials, and the three fugitives’ subsequent return to Ecuador, were the sparks that set off the current round of protests in Quito. (Prensa Ecumenica/Inter Press Service, April 19)

The government responded to the April 19 march, the largest so far, by ordering repression, sending 4,000 police agents into the streets with armored cars, rotweiler dogs, horses, high-pressure water hoses and hundreds of canisters of toxic gases. Pro-government snipers also fired at the crowd from the Ministry of Social Welfare building. The protests, and the repression, lasted through the night; at least 130 people were treated for asphyxiation from the gases, another 44 suffered other injuries, and dozens of people were arrested.

Photographer Julio Augusto Garcia Romero suffered respiratory failure from tear gas inhalation during the April 19 march; television cameras showed him yelling at police to stop the repression before he collapsed. He died later at the hospital. Garcia was originally from Chile, and had fled to Ecuador during Chile’s dictatorship; he had worked for 30 years as a progressive journalist in Ecuador on popular education and communication projects. Another protester, a woman who was not identified in news reports, died after being run over by a military vehicle.

The police repression–in which the armed forces apparently did not participate–only caused the protests to radicalize. An April 20 day of protest for high school and university students was joined by thousands of others angered by the repression. After Gutierrez dismissed the protesters as “outlaws” (forajidos), the movement took up the label, calling itself the “revolution of the outlaws.” (Asamblea Permanente de Derechos Humanos–APDH, Ecuador, April 19, 20; Alai-amlatina, April 20; ALTERCOM, April 20/05; Servicio Paz y Justicia del Ecuador, April 21; El Telegrafo, Guayaquil, April 20; Washington Post, April 20; Prensa Ecumenica/IPS, April 19; La Republica, Uruguay, April 21 from AFP)

Early on April 20, someone fired shots at Radio La Luna, the radio station which served as a media center for the protests. On April 19, the station received telephoned threats. (Organizacion Mundial Contra la Tortura–OMCT, April 20) On April 18, the station’s signal was cut for several hours in the evening. The station’s director, Paco Velasco, said he had to move his family out of Quito after they received death threats. Radio La Luna is part of a nongovernmental organization called the Popular Education Center, which maintains offices above the studio. (WP, April 20)

Progressive sources blame some of the violence on gangs of hired thugs organized by ex-social welfare minister Antonio Vargas–a former secretary general of Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) who was expelled by that organization as a traitor–and his deputy, Bolivar Gonzalez. An arrest order has been issued for Gonzalez for allegedly ordering snipers to shoot at protesters from the social welfare building. (ALTERCOM, April 24)

CONAIE, which backed Gutierrez for the 2002 elections but broke with his government in May 2003, joined the Quito-based movement demanding his ouster and also organized protests in several provinces. CONAIE president Luis Macas said his organization would not negotiate compromises, and if Gutierrez is replaced, would continue to press its demands: for withdrawal from talks over a free trade treaty with the US; closure of the US military base in Manta; and rejection of “Plan Colombia,” the US-backed military project in that neighboring country. (Prensa Ecumenica/IPS, April 19)

Nearly 1,500 indigenous people, members of the Federation of Evangelical Indigenous People of Ecuador (FEINE), arrived in Quito on April19 from various provinces of the country and gathered near the National Congress in support of Gutierrez, and to demand that the legislature come up with a solution to the crisis. (ET, April 20) Renan Borbua Espinel, a cousin of the president and head of the ruling Patriotic Society party in the important coastal city of Guayaquil, said he was sending thousands of pro-Gutierrez supporters by bus to the capital to “defend democracy and the Constitution.” Quito Mayor Paco Moncayo, who backed the protests and called for Gutierrez to resign, sent city buses and dump trucks with sand to block entrances to the capital to keep out the Gutierrez supporters. (AP, April 20)

Around 10:30 AM on April 20, national police commander Jorge Poveda resigned. “I regret what happened yesterday,” said Poveda, referring to the April 19 repression of demonstrators. “I cannot continue to be a witness to the confrontation with the Ecuadoran people. I am not a violent man,” he said. (AP, April 20; Alai-amlatina, April 20)

Around 1 PM on April 20, Ecuador’s Congress held a special session in the auditorium of the International Center for Higher Studies in Communication for Latin America (CIESPAL). The legislators voted to remove Congress president Omar Quintana, a member of the Ecuadoran Roldosista Party and ally of ex-president Bucaram. Then 60 of the 62 legislators present voted to remove Gutierrez from office–based on a constitutional clause that allows removal of the president for “abandonment of the position.” Around 2PM, new Congress president Cynthia Viteri swore in Vice President Alfredo Palacio Gonzalez as Ecuador’s new president. Palacio had broken ranks with Gutierrez shortly after the two were elected in November 2002. (AP, April 20; Alai-amlatina, April 20; ET, April 21)

Crowds of protesters quickly surrounded the CIESPAL building pressing demands that Palacio resign, Congress be dissolved, a Constitutional Assembly be convened; that there be no free trade treaty and no dollarization; and a new political model be created. Palacio told the crowd the political situation must be resolved via the existing electoral laws; he also promised that all the corrupt politicians would be jailed. (ET, April 21)

Right after the vote, soldiers abandoned the protective perimeter they had set up around Carondelet, while Adm. Victor Hugo Rosero, head of the armed forces joint chiefs of staff, announced at a news conference that the military had withdrawn its support for Gutierrez. “We cannot remain indifferent before the pronouncements of the Ecuadoran people,” said Rosero. (AP, April 20; Alai-amlatina, April 20)

Around 2:30 PM, Gutierrez fled Carondelet palace in an army helicopter for the Quito international airport, which was closed. Demonstrators at the airport prevented him from boarding a small plane there, and forced him to flee again in the helicopter, this time for the La Balbina military base outside Quito. Interim attorney general Cecilia de Armas said an arrest order had been issued against Gutierrez for ordering repression against protesters. (AFP, April 20) Gutierrez finally took refuge in the Brazilian ambassador’s residence, where he asked for political asylum. On the morning of April 21, the Brazilian government agreed to grant Gutierrez asylum, and began negotiating with Palacio to allow safe passage for Gutierrez to be flown to Brasilia. (WP , April 22)

Palacio agreed on April 22 to allow Gutierrez to leave for Brazil. Around 4:15 AM on April 24, when a crowd of protesters surrounding the ambassador’s residence had finally thinned, Gutierrez managed to slip out through a back entrance of the residence. He and his family left the country on a Brazilian air force Boeing 737 and arrived in Brasilia seven hours later. (AP, April 24)

On April 21, Palacio swore in new cabinet ministers for the ministries of government, foreign relations, economy, foreign trade and defense. (ET, April 22) The new economy and finance minister, Rafael Correa, is reportedly a critic of dollarization, “free trade” pacts and International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies. (NYT, April 22) Apparently on the morning of April 22, new commanders were sworn in to head the armed forces and national police. (ALTERCOM, April 24)

The Organization of American States (OAS) held a special session of its permanent council on April 22 to address the crisis. In a resolution, the 34-member organization agreed to send a high-level diplomatic delegation to investigate whether Gutierrez’ removal was constitutional. The resolution avoided any explicit recognition of Palacio’s government. (AP, April 24; Miami Herald, April 24)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, April 24

ROOTS OF THE CRISIS

After three consecutive days of creative protests by thousands of Ecuadorans in the capital, on April 15 Gutierrez had declared a state of emergency in the Quito metropolitan area and dissolved the Supreme Court of Justice. The move sparked more and larger protests, with demonstrators calling Gutierrez a dictator and demanding the immediate departure of the government and the entire political class. The next day, April 16, Gutierrez backed down and revoked the state of emergency.

The current crisis erupted on Dec. 8, when a majority in Congress voted for a measure backed by Gutierrez which removed all the Supreme Court’s judges and named new ones. The new court was supposed to be temporary; Gutierrez said he was forced to dissolve it again because Congress had failed to take the necessary measures to resolve the issue. But Gutierrez’ communication secretary, Ivan Ona, said the Court was planning to issue some resolutions which would have “disturbed the country.” Several opposition politicians said that Supreme Court president Guillermo Castro Dager was preparing to release some rulings favoring former bankers Roberto and William Isaias, who were charged with corruption.

The latest round of protests followed the April 4 decision of the interim Supreme Court to invoke a technicality in annulling corruption trials against ex-presidents Abdala Bucaram and Gustavo Noboa and ex-vice president Alberto Dahik, all three of whom had fled the country after being charged. Within days, all three had returned to Ecuador.

The mobilizations in Quito picked up steam on April 13 with a “cacerolazo,” in which demonstrators banged on pots and pans, followed by a “reventon”–bursting of balloons–on April 14 and a “tablazo” on April 15, in which protesters made noise with pieces of wood. On April 16, protesters hurled streams of toilet paper at the main government building in a “rollazo,” suggesting the need to wipe clean the excrement of corruption. Scheduled for April 17 was a “basurazo,” in which demonstrators planned to dump garbage at the Congress building. Meanwhile, the city council of Cuenca announced an “escobazo” (loosely translated, a broom attack) for April 17 to “clean up the country.” A local radio station in Quito, Radio La Luna, played a key role by spreading word of the mobilizations and opening up the airwaves to citizens who want to express their anger at the government.

CONAIE held campesino protests throughout the country; CONAIE leader Humberto Cholango said the protests could lead to a nationwide indigenous uprising. (El Mundo, Spain, April 16, 17; EFE, April 16; Ecuador Indymedia, April 16; Servicio Informativo “Alai-amlatina.” April 5, 16)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, April 17

CONGRESS EXPELS 11 MEMBERS

On April 26, Ecuador’s Congress expelled 11 of its 100 deputies for having betrayed their parties by backing ousted president Gutierrez Borbua’s April 15 move to dismantle the Supreme Court. The expulsion was the result of a shifting of forces in the Congress and the formation of a new majority, an alliance of the Social Christian Party, the Democratic Left (ID) party, the indigenous Pachakutik party and others. The primary beneficiary of the expulsion is Pachakutik, which regains five deputy seats it had lost to “sellouts” who broke party ranks to back Gutierrez. The Social Christian Party regains two seats, and the ID gets one; the rest of the expelled deputies–plus several who resigned before they could be expelled–were from minor parties. The new majority then voted in ID deputy William Lucero as the new president of Congress.

The same day, April 26, it was reported that ousted ex-president Abdala Bucaram was back in Panama, where he lived for eight years before returning to Ecuador in April, after Ecuador’s Congress declined to interfere with an April 1 Supreme Court ruling throwing out the corruption case against him.

Meanwhile, new president Alfredo Palacio had breakfast with the US ambassador on April 25 and told her that Ecuador will respect the agreement that allows the US to use the Manta air base for drug trafficking operations. The US will be able to keep its 400 troops at the base until 2009, said Palacio. An end to the US presence at the Manta base was one of the demands made by the protesters against Gutierrez. (La Jornada, Mexico, April 27)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, May 1

Weekly News Update on the Americas

See also WW4 REPORT #99

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Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, May 10, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution

http://WW4Report.com

Continue ReadingECUADOR: PROTESTS OUST PRESIDENT; CONGRESS, JUDICIARY PURGED 

VENEZUELA: CHAVEZ OUSTS PENTAGON, OUTMANEUVERS RICE

from Weekly News Update on the Americas

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s brief Latin American visit covered five countries: Brazil on April 26, Colombia on April 27, Chile April 28-29 and El Salvador in the evening of April 29; she returned to Washington on April 30. According to unnamed “U.S. officials,” the trip was intended to forge a new alliance with the growing number of left-leaning Latin American governments. (New York Times, April 27; BBC News, April 30; Miami Herald, April 28, 29, May 1)

Rice was also trying to isolate Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who had confirmed on April 24 that Venezuela was ending a longstanding military exchange program with the U.S. “Any exchange of officers…is suspended until who knows when,” he said on his weekly television program. “There will be no more joint operations or anything like that.” Chavez said some US exchange officers, if not all, had been “carrying on a little campaign” against him “within the Venezuelan military institution.” He also revealed that several months earlier a US woman had been arrested and then released when she was spotted secretly photographing a Venezuelan military base; her documents showed she was a US naval officer. (La Jornada, April 25 from AFP, DPA, Reuters]

Rice seemed to have no luck in isolating Chavez. At a joint press conference with Rice on April 26 in Brasilia, Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim said the government of President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva was trying to cooperate in a “positive” way with Venezuela. (La Republica, Peru, April 27 from EFE) But according to Folha de Sao Paulo, Lula felt Chavez was “going out of bounds” by cutting off military cooperation, and on April 25 he sent his adviser Jose Dirceu to Caracas for discussions with Chavez on the subject. (LJ, April 29 from AFP, DPA)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, May 1

Weekly News Update on the Americas

See also WW4 REPORT #108

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Special to WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, May 10, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution

http://WW4Report.com

Continue ReadingVENEZUELA: CHAVEZ OUSTS PENTAGON, OUTMANEUVERS RICE