Issue 91, August 2003


CENTRAL AMERICA: INDIGENOUS OPPOSITION TO PUEBLA-PANAMA PLAN FACES REPRESSION

COLOMBIA: URIBE GOES GLYPHOSATE-HAPPY, BUCKS HIS OWN JUDICIARY

ALSO: BILL WEINBERG’S ON-THE-SCENE COLOMBIA REPORTS

PALESTINE: JAYYOUS UNDER SIEGE AS "APARTHEID WALL" CARVES UP TRADITIONAL LANDS

BOOK REVIEW: YES, ORWELL MATTERS — BUT DOES CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS?

By Bill Weinberg
with Special Correspondents David Bloom, Andrew Epstein, Subuhi Jiwani,
Wynde Priddy

 


THE IRAQ FRONT
1. Centcom Admits: It’s "Guerilla War"
2. De-Baathification: Meet the New Boss
3. Vinnell Gets Iraq Army Contract
4. Iraqi Oil Returns to Market–Despite Pipeline Attacks
5. Where is Saddam Hussein?
6. Amnesty International Probes U.S. Torture in Iraq
7. France to be Scapegoated in Uranium Scam?
8. U.N. Weapons Inspector Dead in Convenient "Suicide"

THE PALESTINE FRONT
1. Border Cops Go Wilding in Jayyous
2. Ww3 Report Eats Soggy Pizza at Israeli Settlement
3. Nablus to Jayyous: Obstacle Course of Army Roadblocks
4. More Damage at Adwan’s Farm
5. "A Call from the State of Walls"
6. Israeli Moms Protest Economic Squeeze

THE AFGHANISTAN FRONT
1. Afghan-Pakistan Border Skirmishes Growing
2. Pakistan’s Neo-Taliban Silence Musicians

THE SUBCONTINENT
1. Maoists Accused in India Train Attacks
2. Maoists Ponder Peace Talks in Nepal

SOUTHEAST ASIA
1. Reporter Billy Nessen Arrested in Aceh Sweeps

THE AFRICA FRONT
1. French Fight Hema Militia in Congo
2. More U.S. Troops to the Horn
3. Ousted Sao Tome Leader: Oil Behind Coup
4. U.S. Moves Towards Liberia Intervention
5. Kenya, Nigeria Dance to World Bank Tune

THE ANDEAN FRONT
1. Uribe: "Fumigations Will Continue"
Despite Court Ruling and Peasant Protest

2. Uribe Governs from War-Torn Arauca
3. Colombian Military Seizes Oil Refinery
4. Uribe Bucks U.S. Backers on War Crimes Court Exemption
5. U.K. Provides "Secret Aid" to Uribe Regime
6. Peru: Shining Path Guerrillas Stage Comeback
7. Colombian Guerillas in Bolivia’s Coca Zone?

THE WAR AT HOME
1. Congressional Xenophobes Target Specialized Foreign Workers
2. NJ Detainees On Hunger Strike
3. ACLU Challenges Patriot Act–Again

NEW YORK CITY
1. Worker Killed at Ground Zero
2. Peacemaker Killed at City Hall
3. Hideous Irony: Giuliani Lectures Europe on Jew-Hatred

WATCHING THE SHADOWS
1. Schumer Blasts Bush for "Stalinist" Tactics in 9-11 Inquiry


THE IRAQ FRONT

1. CENTCOM ADMITS: IT’S "GUERILLA WAR"
With violence growing, Gen. John Abizaid, the new chief of the Pentagon’s
Central Command and commander of US forces in Iraq, admitted that US and
allied forces face a "classical guerilla-type campaign." (Newsday, July
17) The death of a US solider July 18 brought the total US death toll in
the Iraq campaign to 148–topping Desert Storm’s 147. (Newsday, July 19)By
July 25, the number was up to 158. (AP, July 25) There are currently
145,000 US troops in Iraq, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld now says
this troop level will be maintained for the "foreseeable future." (NYT,
July 10)

Amid guerilla-style attacks on US troops, mysterious explosions are also
terrorizing Iraq. Locals blamed the US in a June 30 blast at a mosque in
Falluja, a stronghold of anti-US resistance in central Iraq, which left
five dead, including an imam. The US denied local claims that the mosque
was hit in an air attack, insisting the blast came from within the
building. (NYT, July 2) In Baqubah July 3, an explosion killed one man and
wounded five in a crowd of several hundred Iraqis demonstrating peacefully
against the US Army’s detention of the city’s top Shiite cleric, Ali Abdul
Kareem Madani. (WP, July 4)

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2. DE-BAATHIFICATION: MEET THE NEW BOSS
An interim Governing Council was inaugurated in Iraq just in time to
abolish the two major national holidays of the Saddam era: July 14,
commemorating the 1958 revolution that ousted th British-backed monarchy,
and July 17, commemorating the 1968 coup that brought Saddam’s Baath Party
to power. The two holidays were officially replaced by April 9,
commemorating the 2003 fall of Saddam to a US-led military invasion. (NYT,
July 14) Selected by top Iraqi opposition groups in close consultation
with US occupation authorities, the council includes 13 Shiites, five
Sunni Arabs, five Kurds, one Turkoman and one Christian. It includes three
women. Some half of the council members lived either in exile or in the
Kurdish autonomous zone until Saddam’s ouster. (Newsday, July 14)

On July 5, gunmen assassinated Abdullah Mahmoud al-Khattab, chief of Saddam
Hussein’s Bani al-Nasiri tribe in the ousted dictator’s hometown of
Tikrit, just a few weeks after he publicly disavowed Saddam. Regional
governor Hussein al-Jubouri said al-Khattab’s son, Odai, also was wounded
when assailants fired from a pickup truck and fled the scene. Al-Khattab
"had many enemies and he had confiscated a lot of properties and killed
many people," the governor said. "The person who killed him could have
taken revenge." Saddam still enjoys some popularity in Tikrit, where he
built roads, schools and soccer fields. Local wall graffiti reads, "Pray
for Saddam’s victory because he’s agenuine Iraqi" and "May the occupation
fall and may Saddam return." (ABC, July 5)

In an ominous signal that the new boss is starting to look like the old
boss, US occupation authorities have re-opened Saddam’s feared Abu Ghraib
prison to once again hold Iraqi prisoners. Abu Ghraib had a harsh
reputation for torture and "disappearance" of prisoners during the Saddam
era. (Newsday, July 3)

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3. VINNELL GETS IRAQ ARMY CONTRACT
The Pentagon has awarded a 48-million-dollar contract to train the nucleus
of a new Iraqi army to Vinnell Corporation, a US firm which also trains
the Saudi National Guard — and was a target of the May terror attacks in
Saudi Arabia. The Fairfax, VA-based company, a subsidiary of the US
aerospace firm Northrup Grumman, said on its website it was hiring former
US army and marine officers to train infantry battalions and combat
support units for the new Iraqi army. The new army is expected to reach
12,000 troops within a year and 40,000 within two years. Iraq’s former
standing army of some 400,000 was disbanded after US-led forces ousted the
Saddam Hussein regime in April. Ten Vinnell employees–two Filipinos and
eight US nationals–were killed in the May 12 suicide attacks on
compounds for foreign workers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AFP, June 26)

See also WW3 REPORT 86

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4. IRAQI OIL RETURNS TO MARKET–DESPITE PIPELINE ATTACKS
On June 22, US, Turkish and Iraqi interim officials presided over a
ceremony at the Turkish port of Ceyhan as 1 million barrels of Iraqi crude
were loaded onto a Turkish tanker–the first shipment of oil from Iraq to
international markets since the fall of Saddam. But the oil had actually
been sitting in Ceyhan since exports were halted with the US military
attack on Iraq March 20. Officials are still unsure if the 600-mile
pipeline from Kirkuk to Ceyhan can be used, as Iraqi guerillas target the
country’s oil infrastructure. Even as the oil was loaded at Ceyhan, a huge
fire burned on a fuel pipeline west of Baghdad following a sabotage attack
the day before. Also uncertain is how the profits from the exports will be
accounted for, although US occupation administrator Paul Bremer suggested
they could be held in a national trust for the reconstruction of Iraq.
(AP, June 23)

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5. WHERE IS SADDAM HUSSEIN?
The US government has offered a $25 million reward for information leading
to Saddam’s capture or confirming his death. The reward matches the
still-outstanding offer for information leading to the capture of Osama
bin Laden. (WP, July 4) A similar offer of $15 million for each of Saddam’s
two sons, Uday and Qusay, paid off July 23 when US forcs reported that the
unsavory duo were killed in a combined air and ground attack on a Mosul
building where they were hiding following an informant’s tip. (AP, July
23)

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6. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PROBES U.S. TORTURE IN IRAQ
Khraisan al-Abally, an Iraqi businessman detained during a raid on his
home, says US interrogators deprived him of sleep, forced him to kneel
naked and kept him bound hand and foot with a bag over his head for eight
days. His story, told to an Associated Press correspondent, comes as an
Amnesty International report released June 30 harshly criticizes US
interrogation methods.

Seeking to put down a growing resistance movement, US troops have detained
hundreds of Iraqis–some of whom have been subjected to days of harsh
interrogations, rights groups charge. AP journalists have observed
prisoners wearing only underwear and blindfolds, handcuffed and lying in
the dirt 24 hours after their capture.

Al-Abally told the AP that US troops stormed his home April 30, shooting
his brother. Al-Abally and his 80-year-old father were arrested,
apparently under suspicion that they had information on the whereabouts of
a top official in Saddam Hussein’s regime, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri. The
three men were all low-level members of Saddam’s Baath Party, but al-Douri
was not a family acquaintance, al-Abally told AP. The brother, Dureid,
shot at the troops breaking in, apparently mistaking them for looters, the
family said. Al-Abally said he was told during his interrogation at
Baghdad International Airport that his brother had died.

Al-Abally, 39, said that while bound and blindfolded, he was kicked, forced
to stare at a strobe light and blasted with "very loud rubbish music." "I
thought I was going to lose my mind," said al-Abally, his wrists still
scarred from plastic cuffs more than a month after his release. "They
said, ‘I want you on your knees.’ After three or four days it’s very
painful. My knees were bleeding and swollen."

Al-Abally’s interrogation came before a June 26 pledge by the Bush
administration that US officials would not use cruel treatment to gain
information from detainees. Human rights now charge that current US
interrogation methods violate the pledge.

"When you talk of up to eight days’ sleep deprivation, especially with
hands and feet bound, that’s already entering the realm of ill
treatment," said Johanna Bjorken, a Human Rights Watch researcher in Iraq.
"When you combine it with loud music, strobe lights and hooding, it’s very
possible you’ve inflicted cruel treatment, which is a violation of the
Geneva Conventions." She said HRW is working on corroborating al-Abally’s
claims. A US Army officer, speaking to AP on condition of anonymity, said
US interrogators routinely used strobe lights. Bjorken said a US military
criminal investigator in Baghdad also told her that loud music and sleep
deprivation were acceptable interrogation techniques.

Amnesty International’s report found the US military appeared to be
subjecting Iraqi detainees to treatment that violates international law. A
British spokesman for the US-led coalition, Lt. Col. Peregrine Lewis,
denied the coalition violates human rights. "Coalition soldiers are
expected to scrupulously adhere to the rule of law in the conduct of
military operations," Lewis wrote in e-mail response to AP questions.
"Anything which suggests otherwise is inaccurate."

US Army Maj. Toney Coleman of the 422nd Civil Affairs Battalion said he
took a written complaint in May from al-Abally about his treatment and his
brother’s disappearance. Coleman said he searched military computers for
the whereabouts of al-Abally’s missing brother, Dureid, a 48-year-old
retired diplomat. "There’s no record at all of that individual," Coleman
said.

Amnesty International researchers in Baghdad said the techniques cited by
al-Abally were similar to those described by Palestinian detainees
interrogated by the Israeli military and Irish Republican prisoners
detained by British forces. "These are known techniques that there have
been a lot of debate on for the past 20 years, as to whether they
constitute torture," said Elizabeth Hodgkin, Amnesty’s Baghdad-based
research director. Amnesty’s report accuses US forces in Afghanistan of
performing similar "stress and duress" interrogations on detainees, a pair
of whom died in US custody. The deaths are being investigated as
homicides. (AP, June 30)

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7. FRANCE TO BE SCAPE-GOATED IN URANIUM SCAM?
The Scotsman reported July 15 that UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is
preparing a face-saving compromise with the US in an attempt to heal the
rift over whether Saddam Hussein attempted to buy uranium from Niger.
France is expected to be blamed for the split between the CIA and its
British counterpart MI6–on the grounds that Paris shared intelligence
with London, but kept Washington in the dark. The Bush administration is under
fire by the CIA’s own admission that it was unable to substantiate Bush’s
claim about the Niger connection in his January State of the Union
address. "The president said that Iraq was seeking uranium in Africa. That still may
be absolute fact," said Ari Fleischer in his last day as White House
spokesman, adding. "This revisionist notion that somehow this is now the
core of why we went to war or a fundamental underpinning of the
president’s decisions is a bunch of bull."

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw admitted that the UK’s intelligence
agencies had not independently corroborated the claim. "This information
on which we relied…came from foreign intelligence sources," he told BBC
Radio. "We believe in the veracity of the intelligence … it just happens
to be one of the rules of liaison with foreign intelligence services that
they own the intelligence."

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8. U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR DEAD IN CONVENIENT "SUICIDE"
British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government is still reeling over the
death of former UN weapons inspector David Kelly. "The post-mortem has
revealed that the cause of death was hemorrhaging from a wound to his left
wrist," a police spokesman told a televised briefing. The 59-year-old
microbiologist, who worked for the Ministry of Defense, disappeared on
July 18. Two days before, Kelly had faced an aggressive grilling in
parliament over his possible identity as the "mole" who gave the BBC a highly
disputed story that Blair’s communications chief Alastair Campbell "sexed
up" a dossier on Saddam Hussein’s arms. The charge that Campbell played up
intelligence suggesting indicating Saddam could mobilize weapons of mass
destruction in 45 minutes is at the center of claims Blair misled the
British public and parliament over the case for war. The BBC has refused
to confirm whether Kelly was the "mole" for the 45-minute allegation.
(Reuters, July 19)

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THE PALESTINE FRONT

1. BORDER COPS GO WILDING IN JAYYOUS
On July 20, at 1:45 AM, an Israeli border police jeep entered the West
Bank village of Jayyous, and sped around town. This reporter was sleeping
on the roof of a house near the town’s mosque when rudely awakened by the
sound of gunfire. Villagers came to their roofs to see what was happening.
The jeep stopped next to the mosque, and two Border Police dismounted and
began firing. They fired at least one shot in every direction–a tire on a
tractor was shot out, and the windshield of a small truck was peppered
with bullet holes. A single M-16 bullet penetrated a store-front across
from the mosque, went through a display case in the back of the store, and
made a hole in the wall. The shopkeeper showed WW3 REPORT a bullet casing
he recovered from the street the next morning. A bullet also embedded in
the local Khalid residence, narrowly missing the family car. Finally, the
paramilitary policemen aimed their guns at the minaret of the mosque, and
opened fire, apparently trying to shoot out the lights. This reporter
climbed up the minaret the next morning, saw two bullet holes, and
recovered a slug.

When WW3 REPORT visited Jayyous in January, such incursions were almost a
nightly occurrence, terrorizing the residents. One Jayyous denizen
speculated this particular incursion was attributable to alcohol
consumption, or perhaps there was a new female member of the border police
unit and her male colleagues wanted to impress her. Jayyous Mayor Faiz
Selim thinks the incident was retaliation for the presence of
international activists in Jayyous. The internationals accompany Jayyous’
farmers as they attempt to enter their fields on the western, or "Israeli"
side of the security wall currently under construction, and participate in
non-violent demonstrations.

Angry town residents called the District Co-ordinating Office, or DCO, to
complain about the shooting. The next night, July 21, Israel’s Channel One
TV aired an investigation of the incident in which they revealed that the
Border Police unit involved claimed they were battling armed men in the
village, in order to justify combat pay. (David Bloom)

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2. WW3 REPORT EATS SOGGY PIZZA AT ISRAELI SETTLEMENT
On July 18, WW3 REPORT visited Ariel, the second largest Jewish settlement
in the West Bank, just a 30-minute drive from Tel Aviv. It is a bedroom
community of 19,000, with a large contingent of recent immigrants from
Russia.

Entering Ariel entails going down a long access road. The road is lined
with ornamental trees, with an elaborate irrigation system. It is a quite
a contrast to the water-deprived and parched Palestinian towns and
villages of the West Bank. Before entering Ariel proper, one encounters
surprised security forces who are unused to tourists coming to visit the
settlement. A nearby set-back sign reads "ARIEL" in Hebrew, with a dense,
irrigated lawn stretching out in front of it.

By the pedestrian mall is a large and very full swimming pool. Israeli
flags and blue-and-white beach umbrellas adorn the sides of the pool, with
the parched Samarian hills stretching out in the background. Walking in
the mall, this reporter saw a young couple with his-and-hers M-16
automatic rifles, and numerous residents had side-arms. One young man
walks by wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt. WW3 REPORT was upset later when
it turned out ISM activists awaiting deportation in Ariel Prison were on
hunger strike "in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners", while this
reporter consumed soggy pizza and Coke on the Ariel mall.

Ariel brings to mind the Monkees hit "Pleasant Valley Sunday." The
sameness is numbing, and the inhabitants are expressionless. At Ariel
University, WW3 REPORT encountered Uri, a young Israeli settler who said
with a wry smile, "My girlfriend and I are what you call Zionists" While
taking WW3 REPORT to a see a panoramic view of Ariel, Uri referred to the
"so-called Occupied Territories," and wondered how this reporter, an
American Jew, can possibly feel at home unless he is living in said
territories. When asked to identify Palestinian villages in view next to
Ariel, Uri drew a blank. He said there are a few Arabs at Ariel
University, and that they play football with the Jews and there is no
problem. But he added that they are mostly shy, and keep to themselves.
(David Bloom)

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3. NABLUS TO JAYYOUS: OBSTACLE COURSE OF ARMY ROADBLOCKS
The trip to Nablus from the village of Jayyous used to take just 25
minutes each way. In the last three years, Israeli roadblocks have changed
that. WW3 REPORT set out to Nablus from Jayyous with two Palestinian
traveling companions, Mahmoud, 28, and Sami, 18, on July 26. It took five
hours round trip. Sometime earlier in the week, a Jayyous resident who was
asked how the way to Nablus was, replied to knowing laughter, "I would
rather talk about death, than talk about about the way to Nablus."

We set out at 8 AM. First we wait for a servis, a Palestinian shared taxi,
to the village of Azzoun. At Azzoun, a roadblock keeps Palestinian cars
from exiting the village onto the settler highway, which requires a yellow
Israeli license plate. Another servis with a yellow plate takes us to
Al-Fundak. Another roadblock, and here we have to walk to Jeet. At Jeet,
we encounter an Israeli checkpoint, consisting of two Israeli soldiers in
the road, stopping Palestinians in their tracks, and one sitting under a
tree and smoking. These young conscripts are clearly enjoying themselves.
Palestinians are made to stand in the sun and wait, until a soldier
beckoned them forward. They are quizzed and usually sent back. A married
couple approaches the soldiers. The man shows a piece of paper which says
in Hebrew the wife needs medical attention and has permission to travel to
Nablus. But a soldier tells him they must come in an ambulance to get
through the checkpoint, not on foot.

After watching this abuse for about twenty minutes, this reporter
approaches the two soldiers, who appear momentarily confused. One soldier,
Tomer Cohen (his name was written on his helmet), blurts out "James
Bond!", apparently implying that I am some kind of adventurer. I ask Tomer
where he is from, and names a nearby settlement. "It’s nice here," Tomer
says with a questioning intonation. I agree. His companion tells me he is
an admirer of George Bush. They tell me things are pretty bad in Israel,
and I readily agree. I ask if my friends can come through the checkpoint,
and the soldiers agree.

We hike up a steep hill in the blazing sun. A single house, with a
military encampment on the roof, along with Israeli flags, shadows the top
of the hill, at the village of Sara. The house belongs to the family of a
friend of Mahmoud, and the upper floors were built by a friend in Nablus
expectation of getting married. Instead, two months later, it was occupied
by the Israeli army. On top of the hill, another waiting game. Here we are
told by Palestinians prevented from going further that only people from
two villages are allowed through the checkpoint at Beit Wazzan. No taxi is
willing to take us. We wait in the sun and a boy came to peddle coffee.
Minor cottage industry sprouts around checkpoints, because Palestinians
are so often compelled to wait there by arbitrary Israeli army rules that
seem to change with each shift of soldiers.

We manage to convince a taxi to drive us near Beit Wazzan. The driver is
very hesitant. If he is caught on the road by the army, he will be made to
stand and wait in the sun with everyone else, and his car will be
confiscated. He asks taxis coming from Beit Wazzan if the road is clear,
and calls ahead to other drivers on the road. On the way there, each car
we passes stops, and the drivers tell each other what lies ahead.

We walk the last few hundred meters to Beit Wazzan. We have been warned
the soldiers at Beit Wazzan are particularly unfriendly that afternoon.
But it turns out they are sitting in the shade on top of a hill over the
checkpoint. A crowd of Palestinians waits their turn to yell up to the
soldiers the reasons why they should pass. My passport earns a wave-by
from the soldiers, and we continue on foot to Rafidia, to find another
servis. Inside the servis, we pass around a water bottle. Finally, we
arrive at Nablus, 2.5 hours after our departure.

Our destination is An-Najah University of Nablus. Before the second
Intifada, the school attracted 18,000 students, including from Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait. Now enrollment is down to about 12,000. One of my
traveling companions has come to register. Israeli border police used to
sit outside the school on one side and shoot at anyone who came into the
nearby courtyard. But now it was quiet. Students have set up two protest
tents, to show their solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli
jails. A poster of Yasser Arafat with his eyes magic-markered with
sunglasses has been pretty scratched up. Surrounding it are pristine
pictures of imprisoned Fatah militant Marwan Barghouti. A student wears a
t-shirt emblazoned with the words "control the system." Also popular in
Nablus is a girls’ t-shirt that declares, "I’m from you." An-Najah is
like a university anywhere, with an enormous amount of bureaucracy; the
registration lines are long. A sign over the entrance read in English,
"We challenge the present to shape the future" The university was invaded
three times during the Intifada, and a student was killed while just
standing in the courtyard.

Near the university live members of the small and ancient Samaritan
community, who practice an archaic form of Judaism. A neighbor explains it
was impossible to visit them that day (it is Saturday, the Samaritan
Sabbath). She asks if we have come for "witchcraft." Apparently, many
people come to visit the Samaritans for a form of faith healing. (See
also: WW3 REPORT # 72)

After a walking tour of the well-preserved Nablus souk and some lunch, it
is time to go back to Jayyous. I am apprehensive as we wait inside a very
beat-up servis minivan for enough passengers to leave. But instead of
heading the short way on the paved road to Beit Wazzan, the driver, after
conferring with colleagues, decides we will take a dirt road that winds up
the mountains ringing Nablus, bypassing the Beit Wazzan checkpoint. It is
difficult to see out the front window, because an Israeli soldier
attempted to smash it, leaving a radiating crack like a spider web. The
road is treacherous, full of switchbacks, steep and dusty. The driver’s
skill navigating this obstacle course is impressive–especially where the
army had recently taken chunks out of the road with a bulldozer, forcing
new tire tracks around olive trees. At forks in the road, the van pauses
while the occupants debate which way will be less likely to produce an
encounter with soldiers. We disembark several hundred meters before Sara.

As we pass the occupied house that Mahmoud’s friend’s family lives in, a
soldier on the roof calls us into the courtyard. He lowers a can tied on a
string, directs me to put my passport in, and pulls it up for inspection.
It is difficult to see the soldier’s face, as the midday suns beats down
from behind him. I shout up to him that I am an English teacher working in
Jayyous. The soldier is doubtful, saying there are more beautiful places
for me to be, and why don’t I teach in Israel. He expresses surprise I
came from Nablus and was unhurt by the people there. I tell him it was
entirely to the contrary, and that the souk in Nablus was fascinating,
better preserved than Jerusalem’s. Now he seems interested. Mahmoud
tells the soldier we will take him to Nablus and show it to him.

The owner of the house, Yahir Saleh Muhamed Turabi, 55, comes out to offer
these weary travelers a glass of water. We are invited in, and enter after
getting my passport back. Yahir lives on the ground floor of the building
with his wife, Hanna Ahmad Kaid, 52. The second story of their house, and
their roof, have been occupied for six months by 30 soldiers who are
shifted every two days. Saleh, Mahmoud’s university friend who built the
upper floor in anticipation of being married, refuses to come back to the
house, and has gone to the United States, as has another brother. Three
brothers are renting an apartment in Nablus. Nearly every night, the
couple says, the soldiers fire on anything that moves, so as to inhibit
travel. They report that many people are injured by the random firing.
Their one daughter who remains in the household, an 18-year-old, suffers
from immense psychological problems, they say, and they worry about her
ability to study for school. Yahir worked as a taxi driver before the
occupation of his house. But now he is not allowed to leave, so he sells
cold drinks to people who pass through the checkpoint. This work is
scarcely enough to supply the family. He says that because he is older,
he doesn’t get harassed so much by the soldiers. He complains, though,
that the soldiers take water and electricity without paying for it, and
says they busted up some furniture. Hanna is particularly indignant over
this. Yahir says he prefers to die here in his house than move out. He
spent all his money on the house, and he has lived here since he was
young. Hanna says, "Even if we had another house, we would stay here."

As we leave the house, a man with a broken leg stoically waits to be
grilled by a soldier on the roof. It is a different soldier now. We call
up to the roof and ask that the man be left to go on his way–that his leg
is broken and that he has a letter in Hebrew from a doctor supporting
this. The soldier says he will be let go soon, and we depart. Down the
hill to the checkpoint at Jeet.

The soldiers at Jeet have been rotated since the morning. This brigade is
less polite than Tomer Cohen and his companion. They refuse to let us
through, saying it is forbidden, that we must go back to Nablus and go
through the dreaded Huwwara checkpoint instead. We protest that we were
let through that morning, and my white-skin Jewish privilege was invoked.
This draws the epithet "mother fucking asshole" from one of the soldiers.
Another says he doesn’t care what Americans think of them. Gradually they
relent, but Sami is sent back to Nablus. "He’s a troublemaker," says one
soldier. "He comes every day and makes trouble." Mahmoud protests that
that’s impossible, as Sami has never even been to Nablus before in his
life. But there is no persuading the soldiers. Mahmoud tells Sami to go
stay in Nablus with some students from Jayyous who rent apartments there
so as not to face the checkpoints every day. We pass through the
checkpoint, and a soldier sitting under a tree calls out, "Have a nice day!"

We hike to a settler road and cross it. As we climb up the path on the
other side, a Border Police jeep passes. We continue walking with our eyes
fixed in front, hoping not to be noticed, and the jeep continues on its
way. Over another hill, and then appears a house with a servis waiting in
front. This we take to al-Fundak, where we encounter an older gentleman in
elaborate Islamic dress, a sheik from Jayyous. When Mahmoud tells him the
story of how Sami was sent back to Nablus his first time there, the sheik
looks weary and pained.

A servis from al Fundak takes us back to the roadblock at Azzoun. At the
other side of the roadblock, we wait for a taxi to Jayyous. As we arrive
back in Jayyous, Mahmoud tells me it was the easiest trip he has taken to
Nablus in three years. (David Bloom)

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4. MORE DAMAGE AT ADWAN’S FARM
In January, when WW3 REPORT first visited Adwan’s farm on the southern
edge of Jayyous, all his fruit trees had already been wiped clear by the
Israeli construction company building the "Apartheid Wall." What remained
is his working farm, where he and some cousins keep animals. Six months
later, in July, the fence has advanced from a dirt track. Now the wall
consists of a 30-meter wide set of roads, with an electric chain link
fence in the middle. On the morning of July 17, this reporter and an
international observer from Boston went to Adwan’s farm, to reassure his
father. The previous evening, Israeli security forces had come to the farm
and claimed that armed men were there. After a half hour of arguing, the
Israelis fired at Adwan and his father, and they hit the ground.

The next morning the farm is quiet, except for the sounds of construction
on the fence just beyond. On this day, the Israelis have strung three
coils of razor wire right next to the farm. Members of Adwan’s extended
family wander up to watch themselves be fenced in. Border Police drive by
on the other side of the wall in their Humvees. Occasionally Merkava tanks
also roll by the farm.

Adwan comes back from selling yogurt in a nearby town, Falamia. He looks
at the razor wire and clucks his tongue. "Can you see the land on the
other side of the wall–it is unplowed," he says. Eventually, the
Israelis will claim it is unused land, and it will become "state land,"
on its way to being turned over to an Israeli settlement.

Three days earlier, on July 14, Israeli forces came to the farm, claiming
young children had been throwing stones at Caterpillar bulldozers working
on the wall. The Israelis tear-gassed the farm, and broke into a
neighboring house. Adwan fears that Israel may someday expand the
"security wall" to include the rest of his farm. For now, Israel has
created a de facto new political border five kilometers to the east of the
1967 border, or "Green Line." Jayyous, like Palestine generally, is
steadily shrinking under the creeping expansionism.

Adwan relates the following story. One day while touring his land, and he
met a Arab Israeli security guard . The man was sitting alone and looking
sad. Adwan asked why he was sad, and the guard replied, "Do you expect me
to be happy in the face of all these cut down trees? I have
human feelings. I am an Arab." (David Bloom)

See also: WW3 REPORT #75

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5. "A CALL FROM THE STATE OF WALLS"
Mahmoud Kareem, an English teacher in Jayyous, says he is now a resident
of the "State of Walls." He has put out the following call:

On behalf of all harmed farmers and on behalf of all nations who support
peace and justice, we declare our complete rejection to the
Apartheid wall on our holy land. That Aparthied wall that embodies
occupation in all its ugly shapes. Occupation that helps to create hatred
among different nations of different cultures. Occupation that confiscates
land, water and trees and tries to alter geography, history, and
demography. Occupation that cuts down trees and damages our beautiful
nature. Aggressive occupation that contradicts all laws of civilization
and violates all human rights.

I can’t describe the sufferings of our simple farmers also I can’t
describe the awful future that they will face, because these farmers
consider this confiscated land their main source of culture, heritage,
love, dream, and life. It is shameful all aggressive and oppressive
measures that are being practiced against our innocent farmers in Jayyous
by the Israeli occupation that always claims it is doing this for the sake
of "security and fighting against terror."

On behalf of all children in Palestine we call on the world to prevent
this horrible crime from continuing. And on behalf of all in Palestine, we
would like to inform our friends all over the world in advance that this
inhumane occupation will export from our confiscated land beautiful
flowers written on them, "from Israel," but we would like you, the friends
of humanity, to know that these flowers are from Palestine, irrigated by
our blood and tears…

[top]

6. ISRAELI MOMS PROTEST ECONOMIC SQUEEZE
The newspaper Yediot Ahronot [Hebrew for the "Latest News"] reported July
18 that single mothers in Israel staged a cross-country march on Jerusalem
against the economic reforms that include downsizing their welfare
benefits. They march by foot from all over the country.

The Finance Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, attacked the welfare program in
an interview with Yediot Ahronot: "When you live on donations, you live in
misery. The children of women who live on welfare learn from them how to
beg. Women on welfare become accustomed to not working, and their children
become accustomed to their mothers not working. It is a dependency trap,
like a thick jam, that is hard to escape. In such an environment the
children learn from the adults to beg and to ask for help. I look at them
and I think, God Almighty, a new generation of welfare recipients is
growing up here. I have to free these children from welfare culture. So
they wouldn’t become part of the chain. A woman can operate a crane in a
construction site. A woman can work in packaging. A woman that can march
200 kilometers to Jerusalem can do that."

In the same newspaper, Meir Shalev suggested the mothers should have
marched through the West Bank, because that route would be "more relevant
and educational" [T]hey would see places and territories that are the most
important to the understanding of their situation. I don’t mean only the
roads and the military bases and the fences and the check-points and the
outposts that absorbed the monies that are missing elsewhere. I mean that
they could have seen the places that have transformed the values of the
society in which they live, that ossified the hearts that have turned
priorities upside down"

One page later, B. Michael writes on the same subject:
"The rebellious women; they must be bombed. From the air. Maybe also from
the sea and the land… I assume there will not be a shortage of
helicopter and F-16 pilots who will agree to follow such an order" Indeed,
it is likely to assume that among the dead there will be children who are
allegedly innocent. But you should not forget that they were also part of
the subversive struggle, and therefore there is no room to be righteous
about them." He claimed that the "greedy hand" of the protesting mothers
could send Israel down an economic "abyss." It was uncertain if his
remarks were intended as sarcastic.

(Trans. by Nirit Ben-Ari)

[top]

THE AFGHANISTAN FRONT

1. AFGHAN-PAKISTAN BORDER SKIRMISHES GROWING
Afghan and Pakistani troops exchanged fire across their border July 12,
with an Afghan commander claiming that encroaching Pakistani forces had
been driven back. Border clashes have been erupting intermittently for
several weeks, with Islamabad denying Kabul’s accusations that Pakistani
forces are intruding into Afghan territory. "There was an exchange of
heavy fire for 45 minutes, both sides used artillery," said the commander
of Afghan border forces, Haji Abdul Zahir Qadir. He said the clash took
place in Yaqoobi Kandaw village of Lalapur district as his men forced
Pakistani troops to pull out of an area they seized three weeks ago. He
asserted that Pakistani forces still occupied some Afghan territory to the
east of Jalalabad, and his men are poised to recapture the area should
President Hamid Karzai give the order.

Rising tension on the border coincides with a coordinated operation by
Pakistani troops and US-led forces in eastern Afghanistan to halt
Taliban/al-Qaeda inflitration across the frontier. On July 8, an angry mob
in Kabul forced its way into the Pakistani embassy. No one was hurt in the
attack but windows and office equipment were smashed, vehicles were
damaged and property looted. President Karzai condemned the action and
apologized to Pakistan’s ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Pakistan accused
Afghan security forces of not interfering. Three men have reportedly since
been arrested in the looting. (Reuters, July 12)

The US military announced July 20 that its forces had killed up to 24
presumed Taliban fighters in ground and air attacks near Spin Boldak. The
skirmish reportedly began when the guerillas attacked a coalition convoy.
(Reuters, July 20)

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2. PAKISTAN’S NEO-TALIBAN SILENCE MUSICIANS
The Muttahida Majlis-e-Ammal, an ultra-fundamentalist religious alliance
that took power in landslide October elections in Pakistan semi-autonomous
Northwest Frontier Province near the Afghan border, is banning musicians
from bazaars, cafes and other public places, asserting that music and
dancing are un-Islamic and affront to God. Musicians and shop owners who
host them have been threatened and beatened in the new crackdown. "It is
more or less like th Taliban," protested Salma Anwar, chairwoman of the
International Women’s Organization in Peshawar. "They want to separate the
sexes. How is that going to bring jobs and clean drinking water?" Local
musician Khayal Gul, playing self-penned songs on his harmonium at
Peshawar’s bazaar in defiance of the harsh crackdown, had his own lyrical
reply to the region’s ruling mullahs:

"Oh sheik, oh bearded man,
You are a fool.
My lord is God.
I will ask of him and not of you."

(Newsday, July 1)

[top]

THE SUBCONTINENT

1. MAOISTS ACCUSED IN INDIA TRAIN ATTACKS
Suspected Maoist guerillas of the set off multiple near-simultaneous
explosions in eastern India’s Samastipur region July 15, blowing up tracks
and derailing three trains, police and railroad officials said. Rebels of
the Maoist Communist Center reportedly left notes at the scenes of the
derailments, claiming responsibility. The outlawed group, which often
targets wealthy landlords and police, did not make any immediate
independent claim of responsibility. There was no immediate report of
casualties. (AP, July 15)

See also WW3 REPORTs 63 & 49

[top]

2. MAOISTS PONDER PEACE TALKS IN NEPAL
Nepal’s Maoist guerillas have agreed to resume stalled peace talks with
the government, raising hopes of an end to the seven-year insurgency that
has claimed over 7,200 lives. Maoist chief Prachanda’s announcement came
three days after the government freed three rebel leaders and provided
information on missing guerrilla, meeting some of the key demands to
re-start the talks. The rebels control large areas of the Himalayan
nation’s countryside, but have suffered most of the 5,500 deaths in the
last 20 months. The rebels are also demanding the government halt army
operations and get a commitment from King Gyanendra to authorize
negotiations. Among Maoist demands to be brought to the talks are
elections for an assembly to prepare a new constitution and abolition of
the monarchy. The rebels have held two rounds of talks with the
government, but the negotiations were stalled in May over rebel demand to
halt military operations. There have been no major battles or attacks
since a January cease-fire, but some dozen people have been killed in
sporadic clashes. The guerillas launched a series of attacks across the
country in November 2001 after walking out of talks for the first time.
The attacks came just months after a massacre in which most of the royal
family were shot dead by a drunken crown prince. The insurgency has
wrecked Nepal’s economy and scared tourists away from the scenic country
that is also among the world’s poorest. (Reuters, July 31)

See also WW3 REPORTs 70& 39

[top]

SOUTHEAST ASIA

1. REPORTER BILLY NESSEN ARRESTED IN ACEH SWEEPS
US freelance journalist Billy Nessen is sitting in an Indonesian jail in
Aceh, facing charges that could leave him behind bars for the rest of his
life. Having spent time with the separatist guerillas of the Free Aceh
Movement (GAM), Nessen was caught in Aceh when the Indonesian government
launched a counter-insurgency offensive in the region in May. He was
arrested when he turned himself over to the Indonesian military on June
24. Military authorities had announced that they could not be held
responsible for Nessen’s safety if he remained with the guerillas.
According to the Jakarta Post, national police chief Gen. Daii Bachtiar
said Billy would be charged with visa violations for being in Aceh
"without securing permission from the martial law administration,"
carrying a maximum sentence of five years and a maximum fine of almost
$3000. Daii also said the police would continue to investigate Nessen’s
connection to the GAM, which is consistent with statements by Indonesian
military officers threatening to bring espionage charges against Nessen.
With travel banned to the area, Nessen’s mother has not been allowed to
enter Aceh to visit her son. Some 70 local civilians have been arrested in
Aceh on suspicion of supporting the GAM, including a number of civil
servants and town councilors.

(IslamOnLine.net, July 1; ZNet Commentary by Peter Bohmer, July 15; BBC,
June 24)

( http://www.sfbg.com/37/41/news_ed_freenessen.html)

See also WW3 REPORT 90

[top]

THE AFRICA FRONT

1. FRENCH FIGHT HEMA MILITIA IN CONGO
On July 11, the French-led UN force in Congo’s eastern Ituri region
attacked a camp belonging to the UPC, the main ethnic Hema militia,
killing at least three. The following day, presumed UPC gunmen opened fire
near Bunia, where the French force is deployed. French military sources
say that at least one UPC fighter was killed in return fire. The UPC had
controlled Bunia after chasing their Lendu rivals out in May. But the
multinational force is attempting to impose a weapons ban in the town.
France is supposedly pulling out of Congo in September, to be replaced by
a Bangladeshi force. (Reuters, July 12) A transition government took power
in Congo July 18, with guerilla leaders Jean-Pierre Bemba of the
Uganda-backed Congolse Liberation Movement and Azarias Ruberwa of the
Rwanda-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy joining President Joseph
Kabila’s government as vice presidents. But the transition has failed to
stop the violence in Ituri. (AP, July 18)

[top]

2. MORE U.S. TROOPS TO THE HORN
The Pentagon is sending new troops to the Horn of Africa to pursue
international terrorists more aggressively, according to the senior US
commander in the region. "We’ve been in a more aggressive posture for over
a month," Marine Brig. Gen. Mastin Robeson, commander of Combined Joint
Task Force Horn of Africa
, told AP in a telephone interview from his base
in Djibouti. "We’re talking about the opportunity for the first time to be
able to push down, for selected time periods, small numbers of aircraft to
work operational missions here," he said. He referred to taking "selective
actions" against al-Qaeda and related terrorist networks in the Horn of
Africa, citing "a pretty active flow" of terrorist operatives through the
region in recent months. "We’ve definitely seen an increase not just in
presence but in active transnational terrorist planning," he said. The
Horn of Africa task force has been operating from Djibouti since December.
Some 1,600 US troops are at Djibouti’s Camp Lemonier, also France’s
largest base in Africa. The troops include infantry and special operations forces from
all the services. Helicopters and refueling aircraft are also based there.
A team of Air Force personnel recently visited Camp Lemonier to assess the
availability of ramp space, fuel and ordnance storage for fighter jets and
bombers. "Pushing fighters down here from time to time certainly adds to
my ability to give a more aggressive air defense posture against a
jetliner that might try to come in here and crash into the camp," Robeson
said. (AP, July 11)

See also WW3 REPORT 86

[top]

3. OUSTED SAO TOME LEADER: OIL BEHIND COUP
The ousted president of Sao Tome and Principe claims the coup plotters who
overthrew him on Wednesday TK have designs on the island’s oil, and called
on the international community to restore democracy to the potentially
oil-rich island state south of Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea.

"I want the international community to put democratic order back in the
country without bloodshed and to make the military understand that they
are there to defend the institution of democratically elected government,"
Fradique de Menezes told Reuters Television. "It’s because of oil that
they want to take over power," said de Menezes, describing the coup
leaders as "small groups of oil-smelling people."

De Menezes appealed for help before Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano,
chairman of the 53-member African Union, flew to Nigeria for talks with
President Olusegun Obasanjo on possible military action to restore the
elected president to power. The US has condemned the coup. (Reuters, July
17)

[top]

4. U.S. MOVES TOWARDS LIBERIA INTERVENTION
The Bush administration has thus far resisted entreaties from UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan to deploy US peacekeeping forces in Liberia. But as
rebel factions attacking the capital Monrovia announced a temporary
cease-fire, Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters that Bush had
promised to support peacekeepers from the member nations from the
Nigeria-led Economic Community of West African States. Defense Secretary
Donald H. Rumsfeld also signed an order July 19 moving an amphibious group
led by the USS Iwo Jima with 2,200 Marines from the Red Sea to the
Mediterranean so it can continue to Liberia if Bush decides to send troops
ashore. (Washington Post, July 23)

(Wynde Priddy)

[top]

5. KENYA, NIGERIA DANCE TO WORLD BANK TUNE
The World Bank announced recently that it will resume lending to Kenya
after a four-year aid embargo. The decision was made due to the Kenyan
government’s commitment to implement what the bank considers sound
economic policies. World Bank President James Wolfensohn said the bank is
currently preparing a full country assistance strategy paper for Kenya in
conjunction with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and explained
that the strategy paper would detail the Bank√Ęs agendas on various sectors
including judicial and financial reform, HIV/AIDS and the privatization
program.

Addressing a joint news conference with President Emilio Mwai Kibaki,
Wolfensohn said the reason for stopping the lending programs four years
ago was Kenya√Ęs failure to meet the World Bank demands. He said the bank
has beenencouraged by the commitment of the new administration to fulfill
campaign pledges of compliance. Wolfensohn announced that he held a
meeting with members of Kenya’s private sector, and that they were
optimistic on the government’s commitment to change. (The East African
Standard, July 24)

In Nigera, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, current vice president and corporate
secretary of the World Bank Group has recently been appointed as the new
Minister of Finance and Economy. World Bank President Wolfensohn referred
to her 20-year career at the Bank as "highly successful" and said that
Okonjo-Iweala has made an impact in "many areas." In 2000, during a leave
of absence from the bank, Okonjo-Iweala served as adviser on economic
issues to the President of Nigeria, where she dealt mostly with management
of the country’s debt. An avid supporter of the World Bank, Okonjo-Iweala
said that she valued the opportunity to return home and make a
contribution. (Expotimes.net, June 29)

(Wynde Priddy)

[top]

THE ANDEAN FRONT

1. URIBE: "FUMIGATIONS WILL CONTINUE"
Despite Court Ruling and Peasant Protest

by Andrew Epstein, WW3 REPORT Special Correspondent in Colombia

According to the United Nations report, Global Illicit Drug Trends 2003,
coca production in Colombia has been reduced by an impressive 37%.
However, the US fumigation program, supposedly responsible for this
dramatic decrease, has also ironically been destroying US-funded
alternative development projects. Meanwhile, the Colombian drug economy has
diversified, with the expansion from coca leaf to opium poppy gaining pace.

The Putumayo region of Colombia is where the fumigation program has
claimed its greatest success, eliminating 33,000 hectares between 2000 and
2002. Don Ismael Cuaran of Putumayo is a former coca grower who was one of
the first farmers to pull up his own crop and try the alternatives. He has
tried corn, pepper, heart-of-palm and even raising a few cattle–alternative
development projects funded through Plan Colombia and
administered by local non-governmental organizations. Despite the fact
that Don Ismael has no coca growing on his land, he says has been
fumigated five separate times by a program the US Embassy in Bogota calls
"extremely accurate."

The Embassy has set up a program for farmers, such as Don Ismael, to lodge
complaints about licit crops that are sprayed by fumigation planes. Over
the past three years 8,000 such complaints have been filed. To this day
only two people have been compensated for a total of $5,000, an Embassy
official said on condition of anonymity. According to an Embassy official
in charge of compensation, Dyncorp, the US company that carries out the
fumigation, is supposed to report to the Embassy when they fumigate licit
crops. The motivation for reporting such mistakes is small since the error
is then deducted from Dyncorp’s contract-the company fined and the pilots
docked pay. The Embassy says that acceptable drift from the spray lane is
approximately 7 meters. However, they admit that the crop-dusters used in
the fumigation will only fly as low as the highest "obstacle" — referring
to native trees which can measure up to 80 feet. The Embassy maintains
that the program is accurate, and even claims that farmers are altering
the appearance of their land after their coca has been sprayed to make it
seem like they were growing licit crops.

While the fumigation has appeared to decrease coca production within
Colombia, it has also diversified it. In 2000, there were 12 coca-growing
regions within Colombia; that number has grown to 21 by the end of 2002.
Colombia is also becoming one of the leading poppy-producing countries in
the world (Latin American Poppy Fields Undermine U.S. Drug Battle, NYT,
June 8). Unlike coca, which needs plenty of light to grow, poppy is almost
impossible to fumigate. It can be grown in small patches, under the cover
of trees, and on steep mountainsides.

Despite a recent court order to suspend the fumigations, Colombian
President Alvaro Uribe had only a few words to say on the subject during a
recent trip to the Putumayo region: "I am very sorry, but while I am
President, the fumigations will not be suspended." (El Tiempo, Bogota.
June 29)

See recent photos of fumigated land where licit crops were being grown.

[top]

2. URIBE GOVERNS FROM WAR-TORN ARAUCA
President Alvaro Uribe, seeking to demonstrate that he is in control of
the national territory, announced in mid-July that he will govern Colombia
for a week from an army base in Arauca, a war-torn province near the
Venezuelan border. When Uribe last visited Arauca in October, guerillas
exploded a car bomb outside a school hours before the president’s plane
landed, killing two police officers and wounding 11 others. (Reuters, July
15)

See also WW3 REPORT 70

[top]

3. COLOMBIAN MILITARY SEIZES OIL REFINERY
On June 20, the Colombian government locked out unionized workers and
imposed military control at the state oil company Ecopetrol refinery in
Barrancabermeja, Santander department. Non-union employees were allowed to
continue working. The move came a day after Colombia state workers held a
24-hour national general strike to protest the govrnment’s June
semi-privatization of the state telecommunications company, Telecom, which
resulted in massive lay-offs, as well the pending dismantling of other
state enterprises. When some 2,000 oil workrs and their families gathered
outside the refinery gates to protst the seizure of the plant, security
forces used tear gas and water cannons in an unsucessful attempt to
disperse them. They were finally dispersed the following day, following
violent contrfontations with security forces. (Colombia Indymedia; AP,
June 24)

Since early June, the United Workers Union (USO), which represents around
half of Ecopetrol’s some 7,000 employees, had been warning that the
government was planning to dismantle the company. On June 25, over 8,000
people marched in Barrancabermeja to protest th militarization and
privatization plan. (Vanguardia Liberal, Bucaramanga, June 26)

( Weekly News Update on the Americas, June 29)

[top]

4. URIBE BUCKS U.S. BACKERS ON WAR CRIMES COURT EXEMPTION
While Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador have joined 30 countries around
the world which have entered into agreements with the US not to send any
US citizens from its territory to face charges at the newly-created
International Criminal Court, the White House announced July 1 that it is
cutting off aid to 35 countries which have failed to sign the accord,
including Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, Costa Rica–and
Colombia, which stands to lose $5 million in military aid this fiscal year
for training an elite unit to guard oil installations in war-torn Arauca
province. (Combined sources, via Weekly News Update on the Americas, July
6)

[top]

5. U.K. PROVIDES "SECRET AID" TO URIBE REGIME
The UK is "secretly" stepping up military aid to Colombia, the Guardian
reported July 9, with Prime Minister Tony Blair encouraging the Foreign
Office to hold an international conference on support for the war-torn
South American nation. Whitehall refused to disclose the extent of British
military involvement on the grounds of national security. "We provide some
military aid but we don’t talk about the details," a Foreign Office
spokeswoman said. But the Guardian claims to have identified a number of
key areas of UK support, including:

√° SAS training of the elite narcotics police, the Fuerza Jungla.

√° Military advice to the army’s new counter-guerrilla mountain units.

√° A surge in the supply of military hardware and intelligence equipment.

√° Assistance in setting up an intelligence center and a joint intelligence
committee.

The Foreign Office did confirm four years ago that the UK had given
training and advice on urban warfare techniques, counter-guerrilla
strategy and "psychiatry." But the activities of Britain’s elite SAS units
are never never formally acknowledged. Sent by Margaret Thatcher in 1989
to fight the drug cartels, they are now believed to have extended their
role to counter-insurgency training. The new intelligence assistance
builds on work begun in the early 1990s when an M16 station head was sent
to Bogota to start an anti-narcotic operation. After Labour came to power
it was apparently considerably expanded.

Before Blair hosted the mid-July conference on boosting international aid
to Colombia, Amnesty International called on western governments to stop
giving military aid, because of the increasing human rights abuses by the
security forces. It said: "The Colombian government has not implemented
the UN human rights recommendations and military assistance only gives a
green light to the army to carry on as before." But Blair has stepped up
aid in the form of military equipment and advisors. Sir John Steele, head
of security at the Northern Ireland Office, Gen. Sir Michael Rose, a
former SAS commander, and Gen. Sir Roger Wheeler, former chief of the army
general staff, were all sent to Bogota to give advice during failed peace
negotiations with the FARC guerillas. At least one Colombian general has
been received in Belfast. The official intention of the exchanges was
partially to improve the Colombian security forces’ respect for democratic
government and human rights. Britain also allows US technicians and pilots
involved in aerial spraying in Colombia to be employed through a
British-registered company, DynCorp Aerospace Operations (UK) Ltd, a
subsidiary of DynCorp International, one of the US government’s biggest
military contractors. It has a two-story office building in Aldershot, the
home of the British army.

President Uribe’s election seems to have strengthened relations with
Britain. The son of a wealthy Colombian landowner who was killed by
guerillas in the early 1980s, he recently spent a year lecturing in Latin
American studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford. Blair’s July conference
brought together representatives from the EU, US, Latin American countries
and the IMF . (UK Guardian, July 9)

[top]

6. PERU: SHINING PATH GUERRILLAS STAGE COMEBACK
On July 10, Maoist Shining Path guerrillas ambushed a 30-man marine patrol
in a mountainous jungle area of Peru, killing seven and wounding 10,
military officials announced. It was the Peruvian military’s worst loss to
rebels in at least four years. A marine captain, four other marines and
two civilian guides were killed in the attack in the Ayacucho region.
Guerillas reportedly opened fire after the patrol stopped to take a break
in a clearing. The attack was the latest sign of a resurgence in Shining
Path activity. In June, 71 pipeline workers were kidnapped by guerrillas
at a remote construction site in Ayacucho. They were released a day later.
Since then, military patrols have been combing the jungle-covered gorges
in search of the kidnappers. One soldier has been killed and at least two
wounded on patrols.

The patrol had been dropped by helicopter after reports indicated rebels
were spotted buying supplies across the river in the village of Matucana,
one officer said. "Bullets were coming in from every direction," the
officer told AP outside the Pichari counterinsurgency base on the Apurimac
River, about 220 miles southeast of Lima. The marines were unable to see
the rebels, who were hidden in thick underbrush, the officer said. Local
community self-defense leaders– "ronderos" — report that the guerillas are
now using new, modern weapons. During the height of their campaign in the
late 1980s and early 1990s, the guerrillas relied on weapons stolen from
police and soldiers.

In October 1999, three army officers and a military pilot were killed when
guerillas opened fire on their helicopter as it landed in a clearing in
the same general region. Fighting in Peru, although abated since The
violence dropped significantly with the capture of Shining Path leader
Abimael Guzman in 1992, has left about 30,000 dead since 1980, including
soldiers, guerillas and civilians. (AP, July 11)

The attack came five days after Peru’s anti-trrorism police arrested
Florentino Cerron Cardozo, AKA "Comrade Marcelo" of the Shining Path, in a
raid on a house in Huancayo. A seven-yar-old child was also taken by the
government in the raid, belivd to be the daughter of Cardozo and another
high-ranking Shining Path militant, "Rosa." Cerron, charged with 122
killings, 92 "subversive attacks" and 91 othr armed incidents, is actually
from a wing of the fragmented movement which suspended armed actions in
1997 undr the "peace accord" that Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman
("Presidente Gonzalo") proposed following his 1992 arrest. Rival leader
Oscar Ramirez Durand ("Feliciano") continued to carry out attacks until
hiw own arrest in 1999, when he was turned in by yet another rival, Jorge
Quispe Palomino ("Raul") who was arrested in 1997 and started cooperating
with the authorities. He has since returned to the active armed faction of
Shining Path and reportedly helped set up the October 1999 ambush of an
army helicopter in Satipo province, Junin department. He may also be
behind the recent attacks. The army claims to have killed his brothr
Victor Quispe Palomino ("Martin" or "Jose") in combat July 4, again in
Satipo. "Martin" is identified as leader of the Shining Path column that
that kidnapped 71 people June 9 from a natural gas pipeline camp operated
by the Argentine company Techint in Toccate, Ayacucho department. (La
Republica, Lima, July 5-13, via Weekly News Update on the Americas, July
6, 13)

On July 3, Spanish police arrested Peruvian exile Adolfo Hector Olaechea
Cahuas at the hotel where he was vacationing in Almeria, for extradition
to Peru on charges of carrying out propaganda and fundraising for th
Shining Path in Europe. Olaechea lives in London, where he runs the
organization Justice Intrnational. In October 1992, Peru’s Supreme Council
of Military Justice sentenced him for treason, but a 1994 extradition
request was denied by th UK for lack of evidence. Two weeks before
Olaechea’s arrest, another Peruvian exile, Pablo Francisco La Torr
Carrasco, was arrested by Italian police at his home in the northern town
of Porcia, also for extradition to Peru, where he is wanted on murdr
charges rlated to Shining Path activity. (La Republica, July 5, 6, June
22, via Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 6)

[top]

7. COLOMBIAN GUERILLAS IN BOLIVIA’S COCA ZONE?
On June 14, unidentifid assailants threw an explosive device at a military
vehicle in the Bolivian coca-growing region of Chapare, killing two army
conscripts and wounding three other soldiers and four police agents. The
vehicle was part of a convoy of some 240 combined police and army troops
from the elite Joint Task Force, on a coca-eradication mission in San Jose
Union, a peasant community in the Chipiriri area. Government Minister
Yerko Kukoc said the attackers were cocaleros who threw dynamite at the
vehicle. Kukoc specifically blamed cocalero leader Evo Morales for the
attack. "These acts of violence are instructed by him," said Kukoc, noting
that the attack coincided with the 7th congress of the Six Federations of
the Cochabamba Tropics, attended by some 600 cocalero representatives in
Cochabamba, the department capital. (EFE, June 15, Los Tiempos,
Cochabamba, June 16, 17)

Kukoc also suggested the atackers had been trained by Jose Francisco
Cortes Aguilar, a representative of the Colombian peasant organization
National Campesino Association-Unity and Reconstruction (ANUC-UR)who was
arrested April 10 with two cocalero activists in El Alto, near La Paz. The
Bolivian government claims Cortes is a member of the National Liberation
Army (ELN), Colombia’s second largst guerilla group. (El Diario, La Paz,
June 17)ANCUR-UR and Via Campesina, an international network of pesant
organizations, are campaigning in defense of Cortes. Demonstrations
protesting his arrest were held June 19 at the Bolivian consulate in
Barcelona, Spain, an at the Bolivian consulate to the European Union in
Brussels, Belgium. (Colombia Indymedia, June 19)

On June 16, Evo Morales was re-elected president of the coordinating
committe of the Six Federations of the Cochabamba Tropics. Morales said
the Six Federations are demanding a government investigation to determine
who really carried out the attack. "Otherwise, I am going to sue the
ministers of defnse and government for slandr, injury and defamation,"
warned Morales, who is also a national legislative deputy representing the
Movement to Socialism (MAS). (Los Tiempos, Cochabamba, June 17)

(From Weekly News Update on the Americas, June 22)

[top]

THE WAR AT HOME

1. CONGRESSIONAL XENOPHOBES TARGET SPECIALIZED FOREIGN WORKERS

by Subuhi Jiwani

On a long line outside the entrance to the US Consulate General in Mumbai,
India, I waited — -a potential H-1B candidate — -with prospective tourists,
sari-clad old women awaiting reunions with their "techie" sons in USA, and
bespectacled dads eager to pamper their Columbia-admitted kids, now
applying for the F-1 student visa. It is monsoon season, and intermittent
rain falls as we wait on line. We’re directed by the Indian security
guards not to use our cell phones in front of the building. No loud
talking, no haphazard line formation, no argument with the security
guards. I blurt the question, "Why such brash behavior with us, Indians,
when the white Americans interviewing us are civil?" (A civility related,
of course, by my acquired Americanisms which loosened up the
Louisiana-raised Foreign Service officer doing his mandatory year at the
consulate.) "We will lose our jobs," he says, unwilling to disclose his
name for "security reasons." "We√Ęre paid to treat you badly. The goras
[whites] get to do the cushy job of interviewing and we have to do the
dirty work." Dirty work includes crowd control of the hundreds of
applicants who wait anxiously for hours outside the US Consulate to simply
drop off a visa application. The application process introduced recently
necessitates that all applicants schedule an in-person interview with a
Consular officer at least a few days in advance.

Since 9-11, all male foreign nationals have been required to complete Form
DS-157, entitled "Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application." This form
provides information about their travel itineraries, previous educational
history, participation in violent acts (either as an actor or a victim),
and (not surprisingly) knowledge of or experience with nuclear, chemical
or biological weapons. Before issuing an F-1 Student visa, consular
officers are required to double-check the applicant√Ęs information with the
Student and Exchange Visitor Information Service (SEVIS)- — an on-line
database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and
universities in the US with updates on a foreign student√Ęs whereabouts and
academic progress. Finally, the Homeland Security Department’s Bureau of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE) has instituted its infamous
Registration Process, requiring men 16 years and over from 26 Islamic
nations to "voluntarily" congregate in long lines in front of its offices
and record their "biometric identifiers" (fingerpritns, etc.). The rest of
us "non-resident alines" will also eventually be invited to this pary. By
the year 2005, the Department of Homeland Security aims at extending the
registration process to include all of the estimated 35 million foreign
visitors who enter or exit the USA’s borders every year.

H1-B — the title for a specialized foreign worker in the US — is a
non-immigrant visa issued by a company to an individual who qualifies for
it only if the company can prove a shortage of applicants for that
position. It has caused much uproar in the office of anti-immigrant
right-winger Tom Tancredo, a Republican from Colorado; in US trade union
lobbies; and in conference rooms of multinational corporations.

Tancredo and his team presented a 15-line bill July 9 to the House of
Representatives calling for elimination of the H-1B. A mere 24 hours
later, Connecticut’s Rep. Rosa DeLauro introduced the L-1 Non-Immigration
Reform Act which would increase the restrictions on the L-1 business visa
issued to foreign companies and firms looking to do business in the US.
Another ban-the-L-1 bill was introduced by Rep. John Mica of Florida. All
three bills await consideration by the House Judiciary Committee with
public hearings scheduled in September.

During the digital tech boom of the 1990s, corporations lobbied Congress
to increase the annual quota of H-1B candidates from 69,000 to 1,95,000.
This October, the quota will be reduced to its original number. Indians
have occupied a majority of H-1B visas issued over the years — nearly 50
percent. But with US hi-tech corporations outsourcing their branches to
countries like India, the push from US labor unions and anti-immigrants
groups touting the line "Be American; Hire American" is strong.

Said Gopal Raju, chairman of the Indian-American Center for Political
Awareness, in a press release: "Congressman Tancredo has argued that
current unemployment levels in the United States warrant an outright
cancellation of the H1B program in order to save those jobs for American
engineers and programmers. This move is patently unfair and will not help
unemployment. Rather, it will cripple the hi-tech and other technical
industries and undercut the American hi-tech industry√Ęs ability to be a
competitive global leader. There is little evidence that these jobs could
be filled immediately by permanent residents and citizens. These jobs
would most likely be outsourced, further hurting the economy by removing a
substantial tax base. This bill is an anti-immigration, anti-tech move
disguised as an economic stimulus."

In the months to come, we will see whether corporate interests will
overcome rising xenophobia. Meanwhile, H-1B candidates at US Consulates
around the world continue to face humiliations.

[top]

2. NJ DETAINEES ON HUNGER STRIKE
As of July 3, Nigel Maccado was in his 15th day without food at Passaic
County Jail in Paterson, NJ. Maccado, 54 and originally from India, has
been in the US for over 16 years–and in immigration detention since
November 2001. He is demanding transfer to Hudson County Jail in Kearny,
NJ, where conditions are said to be better and contact visits are allowed.
Maccado is also seeking proper medical care for conditions affecting his
heart, back and prostate; and is protesting the fees that detainees are
charged to photocopy legal paperwork.

In a phone interview with the Paterson Herald News, Maccado said he had
lost nearly 17 pounds since he began refusing meals June 19. He continues
to take only water and juice. Bill Maer, spokesperson for the Passaic
County Sheriff’s Department, said that if Maccado’s condition becomes
life-threatening, doctors will consult with the immigration service about
whether to force-feed him.

Hemnauth Mohabir, a Guyanese national also detained by federal immigration
authorities at Passaic County Jail, told the Herald News he has been on
hunger strike since the night of June 29. (HN, July 4) According to the
New York-based Campaign to Stop the Disappearances, Mohabir previously
went on hunger strike April 28 to protest a lack of adequate protein in
vegetarian meals, and to demand an end to beatings and abuse at Passaic.
(Immigrant Detention: Action Alert April 29)

In January, six detainees at Passaic County Jail went on hunger strike for
eight days to protest conditions and demand release or transfer to Hudson.
Five of the strikers were subsequently moved to Hudson. The sixth, Farouk
Abdel-Muhti, was transferred to the harsher conditions of York County Jail
in York, Pennsylvania, where he has been held in a maximum-security
isolation unit since February. In March, eight men at Passaic County Jail
refused meals for one day to protest conditions

(From Immigration News Briefs, July 5)

See also WW3 REPORT 83

[top]

3. ACLU CHALLENGES PATRIOT ACT–AGAIN
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit in federal court July
30 against parts of the USA PATRIOT Act that allow authorities to carry
out secret searches and monitor books people read. "Ordinary Americans
should not have to worry that the FBI is rifling through their medical
records, seizing their personal papers, or forcing charities and advocacy
groups to divulge membership lists," said ACLU attorney Ann Beeson. In
March, the US Supreme Court declined without comment to consider an
earlier ACLU challenge to the government’s expanded surveillance powers
under the PATRIOT Act. The new challenge was jointly announced by the ACLU
in Michigan and Portland, OR. The Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force
arrested the imam of a local mosque, Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye, on Sept.
8, 2002, sparking demonstrations on the steps of the federal courthouse in
Portland. The US attorney’s office accused Kariye of Social Security fraud
and he was sentenced to five years probation. (AP, July 30)

Justice Department

[top]

NEW YORK CITY

1. WORKER KILLED AT GROUND ZERO
As Ground Zero redevelopment architecht Daniel Libeskind and the site’s
leaseholder Larry Silverstein engage in an unseemly public squabble over
control of the redevlopment plan, a worker was killed at the site June 25
for the first time since 9-11. Hugo Martinez, an immigrant from Paraguay,
was apparently crushed by a construction lift while working on the new
transportation hub being built at the site. OSHA is investigating the
incident. (Newsday, June 26)

[top]

2. PEACEMAKER KILLED AT CITY HALL
Brooklyn City Councilman James E. Davis, gunned down at City Hall by an
irate constituent July 23, had ironically been a life-long crusader
against urban violence, and especially gun violence. An early victim of
police brutality, he later himself joined the NYPD–only to be let go
after his 1998 run for the state assembly under an obscure provision
limiting officers from running for public office. He challenged his
termination in the New York state courts and won. In 1990, he founded the
non-profit Love Yourself-Stop the Violence, and successfully campaigned to
get toy store chains to stop selling "look-alike" toy guns. He was elected
to the City Council in 2001. (City Council press release, July 23)

[top]

3. HIDEOUS IRONY: GIULIANI LECTURES EUROPE ON JEW-HATRED
Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who recently did a stint as
anti-crime czar in Mexico City, was appointed by President Bush to head
the US delegation to a Vienna conference on combating anti-Semitism, held
in June by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Giuliani inaugurated his mission with a big New York Times op-ed piece
June 18 outlining his personal prescriptions for countering anti-Semitism.
A national hero following his leadership during the 9-11 disaster,
Giulaini is now immune to criticism, and the series of police atrocities
and human rights abuses under his watch as both mayor and US Attorney in
New York City have been conveniently forgotten. Going out of his way as
mayor to snub Yasser Arafat on his diplomatic visits to th UN, Giuliani
especially won a reputation as a defender of Jewish interests.

But among the forgotten ugly incidents in Giulaini’s past was the 1986
arrest of Simon Berger, a Jewish Long Island lock manufacturer and Nazi
concentration camp survivor, by Rudy’s staff as US Attorney for Manhattan.
As Berger, a mail fraud suspect, was being held at Giulaini’s offices at
the New York City federal building, some of Rudy’s agents seated him
facing a blackboard, Berger later told investigators. Written on the
blackboard, Berger said, were the German words "ARBEIT MACHT FREI," the
slogan which adorned the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp. Berger was
acquitted of all charges.

Also conveniently forgotten are the charges of anti-Semitism that were
leveled against Giuliani in his high-profile crackdown on Wall Street
insider trading as US Attorney in the 1980s–in which every one of the
brokers he ordered arrested and marched out of their offices in handcuffs
happened to be Jewish.

Finally, it is also apparently forgotten that Giuliani at one time ran his
own concentration camp. In 1981, as number-three man in the Reagan Justice
Department, Giuliani headed the program of forcibly detaining thousands of
Haitian refugees behind barbed wire at Camp Krome, a Florida military
base, where overcrowding and appalling conditions quickly drew protest
from human rights organizations. When the refugees launched suit in
federal court to overturn the internment policy, Giuliani became the
policy’s top legal defender, asking the US Court of Appeals to strike down
a lower court order that 1,800 refugees be released. 33 Haitian women at
the camp went on hunger strike to demand their freedom during the case,
and had to be fed intravenously. But Giuliani insisted the refugees were
economic migrants and were not fleeing persecution in Haiti, even making a
junket to Haiti to be personally assured by dictator "Baby Doc" Duvalier
that there was no human rights crisis on the island.

(See "Rudolph Giuliani and the Fascist Connection," The Shadow,
Jan.-March, 1994)

[top]

WATCHING THE SHADOWS

1. SCHUMER BLASTS BUSH FOR "STALINIST" TACTICS IN 9-11 INQUIRY
New York Sen. Charles Schumer accused the Bush administration of using
"Stalinist" tactics by requiring ovrseers to be present when federal
employees are interviewed by the independent commission investigating the
9-11 attacks. "Gatekeepers usually occur in places with totalitarian
regimes, Schumer told a news conference July 9. "Stalinist Russia was
known for that." Schumer spoke out a day after the commission’s leaders
charged that the overseers were intimidating witnesses and that federal
agencies were impeding the inquiry by responding slowly to information
requests. The 10-member commission was appointed last year by the White
House and Congress, and is to issue a report next May. (Newsday, July 10)

[top]

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