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ISSUE: #. 32. May 5, 2002



By Bill Weinberg
with David Bloom and Sarah Robbins, Special Correspondents

1. Human Rights Watch: "Strong Evidence Of War Crimes In Jenin"
2. Annan Cancels UN Jenin Probe
3. Jenin Refugees to U.S. Aid Convoy: No Thanks
4. Church Of The Nativity Negotiations Continue
5. Twenty-Six Leave Church Of The Nativity
6. Two Explosions Rock Church Compound
7. Activists Break IDF Siege Line, Enter Church
8. Palestinian Misconduct In The Church?
9. Likud May Block Palestinian State
10. Bush To Meet Sharon, Abdullah
11. Powell Prepares Way For Peace Conference
12. Al-Aksa: No More Attacks Inside Green Line
13. Hamas: We Want "Good Neighborhood With Israelis"
14. Palestinians Intercept Would-Be Child Martyrs
15. Jewish Teens Held In Plot To Attack Arabs
16. Desmond Tutu: End Apartheid In Israel
17. U.S. Rep. Dick Armey: "The Palestinians Should Leave"
18. Leaflets Diss Dahlan, Rashid, Praise Rajoub

1. Activists Deliver Food To Beit Jala Area
2. Activists Bring Aid To Jenin

1. U.S. Hunts al-Qaeda In Operation Mountain Lion
2. British Hunt al-Qaeda In Operation Snipe
3. Canadians Hunt al-Qaeda In Operation Torii
4. Pakistani Dictator Wins In A Landside
5. Massoud For Nobel Peace Prize?

1. Saddam's Bid To Replay '73 Energy Crisis.
2. How Real Are The Sanctions?
3. Global Corporations Eat Into "Oil-For-Food" Funds
4. U.S. Guzzles Iraqi Oil
5. Saddam Riding Out Embargo With Narco Profits?
6. U.S. Forces Out Head Of U.N. Chemical Weapons Body
7. Wolfowitz Sicks CIA On U.N. Arms Inspector
8. An "Afghan Model" For Iraq?
9. Iraq Invasion Set For 2003
10. Iraqi Defectors Spill The Beans
11. Bush Wants Death In Iraq Spy Case

1. Chechens Confirm Khattab's Death
2. Chechens Dispute Basayev's Death

1. Federal Judge: Material Witness "Unlawfully Detained"
2. Suspected Bin Laden Supporter Arrested In Chicago
3. Pipe Bombs In Mailboxes Terrorize Midwest
4. Palestinian Activist Incarcerated

1. Newsweek: Anthrax Terrorists Were Pros
2. FBI: No Anthrax Link To 9-11 Hijackers
3. FBI Fails To Turn Up 9/11 Paper Trail
4. Pill-Poppin' Osama
5. ADL Settles In Spying Suit


Human Rights Watch, an American rights group the New York Times described as being "generally considered fair-minded," released a report on May 3 in which they concluded there is strong evidence that the Israeli Defense Forces "committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, or war crimes" in its assault on the refugee camp of Jenin. (HRW, May 3) The group dismissed the most inflammatory of charges, saying "Human Rights Watch did not find evidence to support claims that the IDF massacred hundreds of Palestinians in the camp." Human Rights Watch said by its count, there were 52 Palestinian deaths in the camp, including at least 22 civilians. The group said that Israel committed violations of the Geneva Conventions that warranted further investigation, and prosecution. These include the use of Palestinians as human shields, summary executions, use of disproportionate and excessive force, "willful killing" of non-combatants, and failure to "ensure that the civilian population had adequate access to food and medical supplies." This included shooting at ambulances and blocking their way with tanks. The report is also critical of the Palestinian combatants for endangering "Palestinian civilians in the camp by using it as a base for planning and launching attacks, using indiscriminate tactics such as planting improvised explosive devices within the camp, and intermingling with the civilian population during armed conflict, and, in some cases, to avoid apprehension by Israeli forces." However, Human Rights Watch found no evidence that Palestinian gunmen coerced Palestinian civilians to serve as human shields during the attack. (NYT, May 3), (Human Rights Watch, May 3)(David Bloom) [top]

On April 28, the Israeli cabinet decided it would not cooperate with the UN's Jenin probe, because the UN would not agree to elevate the status of military and counter-terrorism experts traveling with the fact-finding team to be full members of the team. (Haaretz, Apr. 29)(see WW3Report #31). On May 2, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan disbanded the team AFP, May 3). On May 4, Arab states announced they would call an emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly, to back a resolution condemning Israel for war crimes. The Arab states have drafted a resolution calling on Mr. Annan to produce a report on the events in Jenin within two weeks. (BBC, May 4) (David Bloom)

The Palestinian observer to the UN Nasser al-Kidwa said "Israel's refusal to cooperate with the mission proves that its defense forces committed unspeakable atrocities against our people in the Jenin refugee camp." (BBC, May 4) But Major David Holley, an advisor to Amnesty international who visited the Jenin camp, believes the Israelis were right to challenge the make-up of the UN fact-finding mission: "I think Israel has a very valid point. The UN team was going to be made up of UN civil servants, and I think you would then get a very one-sided view of what happened in Jenin." Holley said. "I think it is important that you do have military men and anti-terrorist experts on that UN commission. I think it is unfair for a lawyer to go to Jenin to then build up a military picture of what happened. You do need a soldier's perspective to say, well, this was a close quarter battle in an urban environment, unfortunately soldiers will make mistakes and will throw a hand grenade through the wrong window, will shoot at a twitching curtain, because that is the way war is." (BBC, Apr. 29)(David Bloom) [top]

Two trucks delivering US food, toys and tents to the Jenin refugee camp were turned away by angry residents, Jenin's MP told AFP. Palestine Legislative Council (PLC) member for Jenin, Jamal al-Shaati, said that "the camp's inhabitants are refusing help provided by the US because of its foreign policy concerning the Palestinian question and because the camp was destroyed by US-made weapons." A large crowd representing a cross-section of Palestinian political factions tossed the aid back into the trucks, after it had been unloaded. The trucks were emblazoned with the American flag and the logo of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), who sent the aid shipment. The trucks then left. But a spokesperson for the US consulate in Jerusalem said that the incident was a "mini-demonstration," and that "the trucks arrived in the camp and their content was delivered to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) there." The spokesperson said US had received public thanks from Jenin's governor. Shati contradicted this account saying the aid had to be left "in an UNRWA school outside the camp," and that "The residents just don't want US help, is that clear? Tell them [the Americans] that the camp's youth will come and burn the goods if they [UNRWA on behalf of USAID] attempt to get them into the camp." (AFP, Apr. 25) (David Bloom) [top]

On May 6, Israel presented a proposal to end the siege at Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity. Under the proposal, approximately a half-dozen of the armed militants inside the church would be exiled to live in Italy, 35 would go to the Gaza Strip, and the remainder would go free (NYT, May 6). The head of the Palestinian civil liason in Bethlehem, Imad a-Natasha, handed a list of 123 names to Palestinian and Israeli negotiators late May 4, the first major breakthrough in negotiations to end the standoff at the Church of the Nativity. The Shin Bet security service and the CIA have joined the negotiations. Israel Radio has also reported the direct involvement of Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and aides to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. (Haaretz, May 5) Twenty-five of those listed are classified by Israel as "the most dangerous of terrorists." (NYT, May 3) The fifth round of negotiations broke down earlier this week. On May 3, Palestinians and Israelis agreed to allow food into the compound, but the deal fell through when Israelis added the condition of identifying those inside. (New York Times, May 4) (Sarah Robbins) [top]

On April 29, 26 Palestinians left the Church of the Nativity, the largest group to leave since the start of the standoff. (Haaretz, May 2) They refused an IDF offer of food and drink, and boarded an armored bus to be taken for further questioning. One man was carried on a stretcher. (LA Times, May 1) On May 2, IDF soldiers shot at three Palestinians killing one man and severely wounding the others. (Haaretz, May 4) The next day, four unarmed Palestinians, weakened from lack of food, walked out of the church. One, who was carried out on a stretcher, was taken to an Israeli hospital. The other three were questioned. (Newsday, May 3; Haaretz, May 4) An Israeli sniper shot and killed a Palestinian gunman who came out of the church on the morning of May 4, saying the man was a wanted terrorist and was armed. He died on the way to the hospital. (NYT, May 5) At least five people have been killed and more than nine wounded since negotiations began on April 23; one Israeli soldier has been wounded.(NYT, May 3) (Sarah Robbins) [top]

Earlier this week, two explosions rocked the area surrounding the 37,000 square foot Church of the Nativity compound. On May 1, a 45-minute gunfight caused a fire in three rooms of the church. Franciscan spokesman Reverend ArtemioVitores said the damage was to the Greek Orthodox convent on the fourth and fifth floors. The fire did not reach the basilica, built on the site where Christians say Jesus was born. (New York Times, May 3) On May 4, an explosive device detonated 550 yards from Manger Square, blowing out the windows of a nearby building. A sign outside the building identified it as a medical clinic, but IDF troops called it a "bomb-making factory," showing bags of gunpowder and Hamas paraphernalia to reporters. (CBS, May 4) (Sarah Robbins) [top]

Activists from the International Solidarity Movement picked their way through the barbed-wire barricade of the compound on the evening of May 2. Running across Manger Square, 11 activists from the US, Sweden, the UK and Ireland, including one journalist, managed to slip into the church to deliver food to the Palestinians. The other 13 were detained by IDF troops. Israeli police spokesman Rafi Yasser said May 4 that the detained were all in jail or on their way out of the country, and that those who remain inside face deportation. (New York Times, May 4) Most of the activists say they are not wearing protective gear, an act of solidarity with Palestinian civilians who have been unprotected since the Israeli offensive began in March. According to Kristen Schurr of New York City, the group plans to remain inside the compound until the Palestinians are able to leave without arrest. (Indymedia Jerusalem, May 2) Listen to Kristen Schurr from inside the Church.(Sarah Robbins) [top]

Although many of those exiting the Church of the Nativity report a feeling of solidarity in the compound, some claim otherwise. Israeli sources say the people inside are hostages, while most Palestinians maintain they're staying of their own free will. (Haaretz, May 4) "The gunmen in the church are running the show, and the people are definitely being held hostage," a reportedly neutral source told Reuters. "The people inside are getting very agitated, and it could get worse, even apocalyptic." (CBS, May 4) One teenager who was evacuated from the compound on April 29, Omar Habib, reported that Palestinian gunmen broke doors and looted church valuables. Habib also said the gunmen dissuaded people from leaving with threats and assertions that those who left were traitors to the cause. (Christian Science Monitor, May 2) Three Armenian priests left the church compound last week after one held up a sign with the words, "Please Help," written in red paint. Later, the IDF released an interview with one, Narcis Kanrasian, saying, "They opened the doors one by one and stole everything," including prayer books and crucifixes. (AP, April 24) (Sarah Robbins) [top]

The Likud party Central Committee may vote "against any Palestinian state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean," According to senior Likud ministers. While a vote in the Central Committee against the possibility for the establishment of a Palestinian state would be not be binding, it would still have serious ramifications. "The world could interpret it as an unequivocal statement by a ruling party against any chance for peace with the Palestinians in the present and future," one minister said. "Because if the proposal is accepted, none of Sharon's statement's about agreeing to the establishment of a Palestinian state or 'painful concessions' for peace, will have any meaning." (Haaretz, May 2)(David Bloom) [top]

President Bush will meet separately this week with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and with King Abdullah of Jordan. Bush plans to focus on internationally brokered peace negotiations and the rebuilding of the West Bank and Gaza. Sharon is bringing his own peace plan, which, according to recent statements, includes a system of checkpoints and buffer zones on the West Bank and an "interim agreement" to last several years, until final peace talks begin. (Washington Post, May 5) Sharon's plan includes negotiations without Yasser Arafat and a regional conference to "solve problems." (Haaretz, May 5) Israel is campaigning to dismiss Arafat as the leader of the Palestinian Authority--a stance supported by recently found evidence that alleges Arafat presides over an extensive terrorist network. (New York Times, May 5)

According to Bush aides, the U.S. president has called this assertion a "very backward-looking" view. In a statement Thursday, President Bush asserted that a Palestinian state "cannot be founded on terror or corruption." He asked Arab leaders to "put their thumbs on Arafat's forehead" to insure he complies with his recent outcry against terrorism. (Washington Post, May 5) Bush officials maintain that the recent peace proposal by Saudi Arabia (see WW3REPORT#31) offers the best possibility for peace. Sharon, however, declared that the plan, which calls for Arab peace in exchange for Israeli retreat from the pre-1967 borders, would "destroy Israel." (NYT, May 4) (Sarah Robbins) [top]

After meeting with U.N., European, and Russian officials in Washington on May 2, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell announced plans for an early summer international peace conference to include foreign ministers of Arab states as well as representatives from Europe, Russia, Israel and the U.S. (AP, May 2) According to the New York Times, Israel will request that Syria not be allowed to attend because it harbors terrorists. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Mahrer said an international conference has no point until Israel has completely withdrawn from Palestinian occupied territory. (Washington Post, May 5) Israel also expressed concern for its own role in the dialogue. "If the idea is to hold a sort of international conference, where Israel finds itself sitting on one side of the table with all the Arab governments, and Palestinians and different Europeans with specific agendas in the Middle East and the anti-Semitic atmosphere in some of those countries and the UN on the other side, this is something Israel would reject." (UK Guardian, May 4) (Sarah Robbins) [top]

A commander of the al-Aksa Martyr's Brigades interviewed in Nablus by the New York Times said his group would no longer conduct suicide bombing attacks inside the 1967 borders of Israel. But the commander, identified only by his nom de guerre Abu Mujahed, said the group would continue its attacks in the occupied territories. Abu Mujahed said that he regretted the loss of civilian life: "I am sorry for all the civilians that died in this intifada, both Israelis and Palestinians," he said."I want to fight whoever is in charge of the government of Israel, not civilians." He also said he was concerned the attacks in restaurants, on buses and in other public spaces was hurting the cause of a free Palestinian state:"What was happening is that we were delivering the wrong message to the world." Israel has dismissed Abu Mujahed's statement as merely an adjustment to a cruel and inhuman policy, and suggested that al-Aksa's infrastructure has been damaged and is looking to make an excuse for a dimished level of activity to come. The organization is known to be decentralized and to operate in cells, and it is not known if all cells will adhere to a change in policy. (NYT, Apr. 23)(David Bloom) [top]

Hamas moderate Ismail Abu Shanab told a San Francisco Chronicle interviewer that if Israel withdrew to its pre-1967 borders, Hamas would stop its attacks on Israel. Shanab, in an April 26 interview in his Gaza home, said Hamas accepted the terms of the Saudi peace proposal, and that if Israel withdrew in exchange for normal relations with Arab states, it would "cease all military activities." "That would be satisfactory for all Palestinian military groups to stop and build our state, to be busy in our own affairs, and have good neighborhood with Israelis," he said. He called the Hamas covenant calling for "every inch of Palestine" from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea "theoretical." He added: "There has been generation after generation (of war). Now there is a generation who needs to live in peace, and not worry about their safety. So it is a generation that wants to practice living in peace and postpone historical issues. We speak of historical Palestine, and practical reality."

Asked if that meant Hamas would give up its objective of destroying Israel, Shanab said "When I speak of postponement, I mean that there is a right for every generation to be satisfied with their condition. Now, when Palestinians and Israelis live among each other in peace, they may cooperate with each other in a way that everyone will be satisfied." When asked if Hamas would make the right of return of refugees an issue that needed to be solved before peace was possible, Shanab replied: "We do not have to connect the issue. If Israel returns to pre-1967 borders, we will stop the attacks and postpone the right of return until later. If we have good will, we can solve it. Gradually, patiently, openly, and in devotion to good relations." He added that, "It is a complex issue and has 50 years of complexity. So let's solve it, but not right away."

On the issue of Jerusalem, Shanab was adamant that all of East Jeruasalem seized in the 1967 war with Jordan be a part of a Palestinian state, but that the Palestinian state would respect an international law granting free access to Jewish and Christian holy sites: "Such a law could enforce access to worship for all the world," Shanab said. "We would accept this. The Jews do not need to worry about this. They will have free access and be welcomed to all religious sites. We have nothing against the Jews, nothing against the Christians."

When asked if he spoke for the entire Hamas organization, Snanab replied in the affirmative. The Chronicle was unable to confirm this with anyone in Hamas' military wing, the Izzedine Qassam Brigades. (San Francisco Chronicle, Apr. 28) (David Bloom) [top]

Amin al-Hindi, chief of Palestinian General Intelligence issued a statement that his men were on "high alert" after detaining about 20 children who wanted to become martyrs or "shaheed", according the April 28 Sun- Herald. Hindi said, "I expect that no faction will allow this to happen but we agreed that we all need to work ogether in order to end the phenomenon." (Sun-Herald, April 28)

Three Palestinian teenagers attempting to conduct a suicide bombing attack against the Netzarim settlement in Gaza were shot and killed by Israeli soldiers on April 23. Posters of Hamas were prominently displayed in one of the boys' bedrooms (see WW3REPORT#31). An early-April report from Knight Ridder Newspapers included an interview with a head of Islamic Jihad in Jenin, who said he taught boys to fire M-16s and instructed a select few to strap grenades to themselves. He stressed that Palestinian children have "no choice but to become fighters," and emphasized a difference between suicide bombings and committing suicide. In the same article was an account of a former military chief for the Fatah political party in Southern Lebanon, who organizes "shaheed" training camps, which take place during breaks from school and last several weeks. "Children train from 5 to 15 years old," he said. "But children of that age are not sent off to suicide missions. They are not aware at that age. There has to be awareness to go out on a suicide mission. They can go out when they are at least 15 years old." (Knight Ridder Newspapers, April 1)

"We are teaching the children that suicide bombing is the only thing that makes Israeli people very frightened," said Islamic Jihad member Mohammed el Hattab, a teacher in another such training camp. "Furthermore, we are teaching them that we have the right to do it. We are teaching them that after the suicide attacks, the man who makes it goes to the highest state in paradise." (BBC, July 18, 2001)

The most recent statement from Islamic Jihad, however, urges children to take their focus away from these goals, if only temporarily. "The battle with the enemy is still very long," said Abdullah al-Shami, an Islamic Jihad leader. "Children have to be patient and wait until they get older." (Sun-Herald, April 28) (Sarah Robbins) [top]

Jerusalem Police have arrested two Jewish teenagers on suspicion of plotting attacks on Arabs. A Jerusalem District Court upheld a decision by the Shin Bet security service to prevent the two from seeing their lawyer. Recently there has been increasing activity on the part of radical violent Jewish groups. Two months ago, a bomb exploded at an Arab elementary school in East Jerusalem.(see WW3REPORT#24) A variety of Jewish terrorist groups have also taken credit for the shooting deaths of seven Arab motorists in the West Bank. (Jerusalem Post, May 1) (David Bloom) [top]

In an April address to a conference called Ending the Occupation held in Boston, Massachusetts, former Capetown, South Africa archbishop Desmond Tutu appealed to the state of Israel to stop its oppression of the Palestinian people. Noting that in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa "the great supporters were Jewish people," Tutu said he was distressed by what he saw in his visit to the "Holy Land," things that reminded him of apartheid. "I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about." While acknowledging Israel's security needs, Tutu said what was not justified "is what it did to another people to guarantee its existence." Tutu said: "I have experienced Palestinians pointing to what were their homes, now occupied by Jewish Israelis. I was walking with Canon Naim Ateek [the head of the Sabeel Ecumenical Centre] in Jerusalem. He pointed and said: 'Our home was over there. We were driven out of our home; it is now occupied by Israeli Jews.'

"Israel will never get true security and safety through oppressing another people," Tutu told the conference. "A true peace can ultimately be built only on justice. We condemn the violence of suicide bombers, and we condemn the corruption of young minds taught hatred; but we also condemn the violence of military incursions in the occupied lands, and the inhumanity that won't let ambulances reach the injured. The military action of recent days, I predict with certainty, will not provide the security and peace Israelis want; it will only intensify the hatred. Israel has three options: revert to the previous stalemated situation; exterminate all Palestinians; or - I hope - to strive for peace based on justice, based on withdrawal from all the occupied territories, and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state on those territories side by side with Israel, both with secure borders."

"But you know as well as I do that, somehow, the Israeli government is placed on a pedestal [in the US], and to criticize it is to be immediately dubbed anti-semitic, as if the Palestinians were not semitic. I am not even anti-white, despite the madness of that group. And how did it come about that Israel was collaborating with the apartheid government on security measures?"

"People are scared in this country [the US], to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful - very powerful. Well, so what? For goodness sake, this is God's world! We live in a moral universe. The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust." (UKGuardian, Apr. 29)(David Bloom). See critiques of Tutu's remarks [top]

On MSNBC's "Hardball", US Republican Majority Leader in Congress, Dick Armey told host Chris Matthews that he did not look too favorably on the establishment of a Palestinian State in the West Bank:

Rep. DICK ARMEY (Republican Majority Leader): I--I'm pre--I'm content to have Israel grab the entire West Bank. I'm also content to have the Palestinians have a homeland and even for that to be somewhere near Israel. But I'm not content to see Israel give up land for the purpose of peace to the Palestinians who will not accept it and would not honor it.

MATTHEWS: Well, where are you going to put the Palestinian state? In Norway? Once the Israelis take back the West Bank permanently and annex it, there's no place else for the Palestinians to have a state.

Rep. ARMEY: No, no, that's not--that's not at all the truth. There are many Arab nations that have many hundreds of thousands of acres of land and--and soil and property and opportunity to create a Palestinian state. I happen to believe that the Palestinians should leave.

MATTHEWS: Have you talked about this with the president? Have you ever told George Bush, the president from your home state of Texas, that you think the Palestinians should get up and go and leave Palestine and that's your solution?

Rep. ARMEY: I'm probably telling him that right now.

Armey later released a statement clarifying his views: "in my exchange with Chris Matthews tonight, I left the impression that I believe peaceful Palestinian civilians should be forcibly expelled from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This does not reflect my views. I was merely trying to convey my strong belief that Israel should yield no further territory until its security is assured and that the individuals who support terrorist acts may properly be exiled from the area. Let me be clear: Israel is fighting the same war on terrorism that we're fighting. I reaffirm my support for their right to defend themselves and secure their peace and security."(CNBC, May 2)(David Bloom) [top]

Two leaflets recently distributed in the West Bank denounce Gaza Preventative Security Chief Muhamed Dahlan and Arafat economic advisor Muhamed Rashid. The leaflets say that the two conspired to have Arafat removed and the UN Jenin fact-finding mission scrapped. The leaflets called on Arafat to exert better control over his aides. One leaflet distributed in Ramallah titled "Warning to Rashid" cautioned that "we will not let Rashid enjoy the money that he has stolen from our people's bank accounts." A similar Fatah leaflet was distributed denouncing Hisham Maki, head of the Palestinian television authority, for corruption, shortly before he was murdered in early 2000. Another of the leaflets praises West Bank Preventative Security Chief Jabril Rajoub. The leaflets appear as Arafat is preparing to reconsider the hierarchy of his security apparatus. (Jerusalem Post, May 2) (David Bloom) [top]


Several hundred activists delivered four trucks of food to Arab villages in the vicinity of Bethlehem, according to Yulie Khromchenco of Indymedia Israel. The activists, from the joint Arab/Jewish non-violent direct action group Ta'ayush, delivered the food to four distribution points: the refugee camps of Deheisheh and Aeidah, the Red Crescent medical teams, and to the village of El-Khader. The Mayor of Beit Jala and the local Fatah leader thanked the activists for bringing the food: "Your being here gives us hope that inside the dark tunnel that we are situated in, is a path of light," said Abed Rabo, the Fatah leader. "We hope that a significant number of the Israeli people will call on the Israeli government to end the occupation and enable the creation of Palestinian state." On their way to the villages, the activists traveled along a bypass road built for Israeli settlers of the Gush Etzion block so that the settlers can avoid driving through Arab villages along the way from Israel to their homes. "The by-pass roads, for Jews only, are apartheid roads." said Uri Pines, one the organizers of the demonstration. "These by-pass roads prevent the Palestinians from using their right to travel on their own land." (Indymedia Israel Apr. 28) (David Bloom) [top]

On April 13, a convoy of 45 trucks brought food, water and medical supplies to the Salem military checkpoint near Jenin. The convoy and march of approximately 10,000 people was meant as a show of solidarity with the people of Jenin. The marchers chanted slogans of Arab-Jewish solidarity with the people of Jenin and called for peace and an end to Israeli- perpetrated war crimes. The organizers and participants held a non-violent march, to relay their conviction that violence-can be resisted with non-violence. Once the marchers heard that the trucks reached their destination, they disbanded and went home. It was later revealed that only five of the trucks were allowed into Jenin. (Indymedia Israel, Apr. 14)(David Bloom) [top]


Operation Snipe is part of the larger US-led Operation Mountain Lion. On April 30, US forces from the 101st airborne regiment, along with British, Australian and Afghan forces, set out to the border area of eastern Afghanistan with Pakistan, an operation which, according to an Afghan official, will expand into a major offensive to root out remaining al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. Hazrat Uddin, Afghan chief of military intelligence, also claims that Osama bin Laden, with a trimmed beard, and his top lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri are in the area. According to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, US troops are not operating in Pakistan, except for "communications experts."(Newsweek, May 13) The operation is expected to last through the summer, on both sides of the border (NYT, May 6)(David Bloom) [top]

1,000 British-led forces, backed by US air power, have launched an operation in Eastern Afghanistan near Pakistan to root out remaining pockets of al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. Operation Snipe is taking place in a mountainous area southeast of the earlier fighting in Operation Anaconda. The British are looking through previously unchecked hideouts and have found 2,000 rounds of ammunition in one cave. There have been no encounters with enemy troops as yet, but villagers have been friendly and offered the soldiers food. (AFP, May 4) (David Bloom) [top]

Several hundred Canadian soldiers are taking part in Operation Torii in an undisclosed location in eastern Afghanistan. The Operation is separate from the US-led Operation Mountain Lion and the British-led Operation Snipe. The Canadians took off in Chinook helicopters escorted by American Apaches. The operation will take place in difficult mountainous terrain, some 7,000 to 11,000 feet high. (AP, May 4) Canadian Defense Minister Art Eggleton said Canadian soldiers had no authority to cross the Pakistan border, but declined to elaborate on their mission. (National Post, May 4) (David Bloom) [top]

Pakistan's military dictator General Pervez Musharraf won a referendum allowing him to rule Pakistan for the next five years, a move he said was necessary to bring democracy to Pakistan. "We want democracy to come to Pakistan," Musharraf said. "We want sustainable democracy that takes root. I mean every word of it." The referendum contained only one name on the ballot-Musharraf's. Musharraf was widely criticized for staging the referendum, in which the government claimed more than 50% of the electorate voted, with 98% in favor. Political parties were not allowed to hold rallies against the referendum, and the government advertised extensively and bussed voters to the polls. The balloting did not add to the legitimacy of Musharraf's regime, and the only foreign country to congratulate him was China. The US avoided criticizing the referendum. (NYT, May 5) (David Bloom) [top]

A petition has been filed in Norway by a group of French nationals suggesting the Nobel Peace Prize be awarded to slain Afghan Warlord Ahmed Shah Massoud. The petition, initiated by two French parliamentarians, was distributed over the Internet and has gathered 4,000 signatures worldwide, including those of Afghan Prime Minister Hamid Karzai and Defense Minister Qasim Fahim. The prize cannot be awarded posthumously, but 40 to 50 European parliamentarians have written letters supporting the idea. (AFP, Apr. 30) In an April 28 ceremony, Massoud was made Afghanistan's "National Hero," for his resistance against the Soviet Union, the Taliban and al-Qaeda. (AFP, Apr. 28) A personality cult has risen around Massoud, whose pictures adorn walls all over Kabul and whose grave is thought to have magic powers (see WW3REPORT#28). Some question whether Massoud, who as Defense Minister participated in internecine warfare that destroyed much of the Afghan capital of Kabul, should get the prize: "Kabul was destroyed because of his selfishness; crimes which were perpetrated while he was in power were unprecendented in our history," said Bashir Shekib, an ex-communist officer now living in Germany. (AFP, Apr. 30) (David Bloom) [top]


On April 22 Iraqi President Saddam Hussein called on Arab oil exporters to halt sales to the US and Israel and generally cut exports in half. Saddam spoke in a national TV address weeks after he announced he was cutting off Iraq's oil exports for 30 days or until Israel withdraws from Palestinian territories--an announcement that triggered an immediate increase in world oil prices. He called upon Arab states to "immediately decrease the production of their oil for export by 50 percent and...deprive the US and Zionist entity of the other exported half." Many Persian Gulf states depend on oil revenues for over two-thirds of government income, and have criticized Saddam's notion of using oil as a "weapon." But Saddam challenged the Persian Gulf states: "If oil is not a weapon while we have it, what else can we use to face the ambitious powers? We should use oil as a companion weapon and not as an alternative to other weapons."

The last time Arab nations used oil as a political weapon was in 1973, when a boycott in response to that year's Arab-Israeli war caused a global energy crisis. Since then, the world's wealthiest nations have created the International Energy Agency to provide a cushion against any similar disruption. In Nov. 2000, Saudi Arabia led a policy pledge by OPEC that oil would not be used as a political weapon.

In his speech, Saddam also called on Arab workers at ports, airports and rail depots to refuse to handle tankers, vessels and planes carrying oil and goods to "hostile countries." Oil prices rose briefly with Saddam's April 8 announcement that he was cutting his oil exports in solidarity with the Palestinians, but the market calmed as it became clear the move was unilateral. (AP, April 22) [top]

In 1995, the New York Times reported that in the five years since Desert Storm, "as many as 576,000 children have died as a result of sanctions imposed against Iraq by the United Nations Security Council, according to a report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)." (NYT, Dec. 1, 1995) In response to this statistic, then-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright notoriously said: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it." (60 Minutes, May 12, 1996) Declassified US intelligence documents indicate "the US government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country's water supply" by denying access to equipment and chemicals for purification and pollution control, according to a recent report in The Progressive (see WW3 REPORT #23)

But now the UN is considering rival proposals to relax the sanctions. One, sponsored by the US and UK, would impose harsher weapons restrictions on Iraq in exchange for easing trade restrictions, and is opposed by the Saddam Hussein regime. A more lenient proposal is being pushed by France and Russia. (Global Policy Forum)

In anticipation, trade and investment is starting to flow back into Iraq--mostly from the Arab countries, and mostly via a gray market. In an April 6 BBC report, "Baghdad is thriving, but Iraqis fear a US attack," Rageh Omaar describes a surprising return to Iraq's capital after 18 months. Vehicles were still dilapidated and spewing thick diesel fumes, and imposing portraits and murals of Saddam Hussein still lined the street. The surprise came at the Shorja market in the heart of the city. Omaar was amazed to find it filled with "chocolate of every description in bulk, crate upon crate of soft drinks; Fanta, Pepsi. And what is this? Diet Coke? Grooming products--hair gel for goodness sake"--all at prices affordable to middle-class Iraqis. "It is a far cry from the Baghdad I knew at the height of international sanctions--where the government here was almost completely isolated from the rest of the world." Now there are trade fairs virtually every week at the major hotels. New agreements are struck with neighboring Arab countries who now export huge amounts of goods to Iraq.

Meanwhile, in remote rural areas, conditions remain miserable. The Iraq Water Project, a group organized by Veterans for Peace which sends volunteer technical brigades to Iraq to rebuild sewage treatment and potable water facilites, reports that even now "the majority of patients in Iraq's hospitals are stricken with amoebic dysentery, gastroenteritis and other waterborne diseases."

In an article entitled "Next Stop Iraq?", Kevin M. Pollack of the Council on Foreign Relations wrote in the March/April 2002 edition of Foreign Affairs that the sanctions have become an unenforceable farce, with black market oil exports via Jordan, Syria, Turkey and the Gulf states now double that of 1998. Pollack says that China even built a national fiber-optic network for Iraq, destroyed by US air strikes in 2001. He laments that "Ludicrous Iraqi propaganda about how the economic sanctions are responsible for the deaths of more than a million people since 1991 is now accepted at face value the world over." But Pollack sees a solution: "The United States should invade Iraq , eliminate the present regime and pave the way for a successor prepared to abide by its international commitments and live in peace with its neighbors." [top]

Journalist Suzy T. Kane breaks down the UN bureaucratic mechanisms which keep millions of Iraqis in misery in the March/April 2002 edition of the Non-Violent Activist, New York-based magazine of the War Resisters League. Kane warns that global corporations are exploiting the "war reparations" program imposed on Iraq--potentially breeding a backlash like that in Germany after WW I.

After 1991's Operation Desert Storm, the UN Security Council set up a commission to process claims against Iraq totaling more than $300 billion for damages suffered during the Persian Gulf War. The claims totaled almost five times the cost of the war. A Compensation Commission was established to oversee payments, but Kane writes that the mission was akin to getting "blood from a stone":

"Suffering under comprehensive economic sanctions dictated in August 1990 by UN Security Council Resolution 661, which exempted only food and medicine, Iraq continually refused the terms of the Security Council's offers (Resolutions 706 and 712) to sell limited amounts of oil to meet its humanitarian needs. Finally, in December 1996, Iraq agreed to the plan to do so spelled out in Resolution 986. With 30 cents of every dollar Iraq earned in oil sales for the next four years going to the Compensation Commission, however, the oil-for-food program could have been more honestly called the oil-for-food-and-reparations program."

In Dec. 2000, the percentage of IraqÍs oil sales earmarked for reparations was reduced to 25%, with the newly freed 5% going to humanitarian relief. But the repair needs of IraqÍs war-crippled oil industry must also come out of its ñhumanitarianî allowance.

5,280 companies are seeking $80 billion in reparations from Iraq--including 152 US companies claiming a total of $2.4 billion. One US corporation whose $36 million claim has been approved is the Halliburton Co. Halliburton's claim is a proverbial drop in the bucket for the $15 billion oil services company--"but to an Iraqi whose monthly earnings are the equivalent of several U.S. dollars, the figure would seem astronomical." The stock and options Halliburton gave its CEO Dick Cheney before he became Vice President totaled $35.7 million--about the amount of Halliburton's claim against Iraq. (Ironically, Halliburton subsidiaries still have lucrative contracts in Sadam's Iraq, exploiting a loophole in the sanctions. See WW3 REPORT #23)

To date, the commission has approved claims against Iraq for $36 billion, pending against a backdrop of Iraq's overwhelming infrastructure reconstruction needs. Since December 1996, Iraq has sold more than $50 billion worth of oil, or about $10 billion per year. In 1990, the year before Desert Storm, its annual oil revenues were $14.5 billion. With no ceiling currently in place on the amount of oil Iraq may now sell this figure is set to expand. But when the proceeds from Iraq's oil sales go into the UN's Iraq account, each dollar is divided as follows:

* 25 cents to the Compensation Commission for reparations
* 13 cents for the humanitarian needs of the Kurds, in their northern enclave where Baghdad does not even have control
* 2.2 cents to run the UN Office of the Iraq Programme, which administers the oil-for-food program
* 0.8 cents to run the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), charged with overseeing Iraq's compliance with UN-imposed arms limits
* 59 cents for humanitarian and oil industry needs for the central and south (actually under Saddam's control), where 87% of Iraq's population lives.

Iraq's annual $10 billion in oil sales, then, really boils down to $5.9 billion a year for Saddam's regime to meet the humanitarian needs of its people--the ostensible purpose of the "oil-for-food" program. (The full story is on-line) [top]

The Energy Department has released figures showing that the US is the world's largest consumer of Iraqi crude oil, and that it depends on Baghdad for some 9% of its oil imports. Valero Energy Corp. and ChevronTexaco Corp. are the biggest US buyers of Baghdad's oil. US oil firms purchased nearly 800,000 barrels per day of Iraqi crude oil in 2001--nearly half of Iraq's crude sales under the UN supervised oil-for-food program. US purchases of Iraqi oil in 2001 jumped almost 30% from year 2000. According to Reuters, the oil is usually sold through intermediary companies to avoid embarrassment to both Baghdad and Washington. The figures, from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), do not include oil smuggled out of Iraq, which some industry analysts say has reached 180,000 barrels per day or more. (InTech Online, Feb. 28) [top]

The hardships imposed by the embargo certainly haven't affected Saddam Hussein or his inner circle. On Feb. 8, 1998, London's Sunday Times reported that Saddam Hussein's son Uday had overseen multi-ton air shipments of cocaine from Caracas to London and other European cities for several years in the late 1980s and 1990s. The claim was based on statements by Majid al-Samarrai, former Iraqi ambassador to Venezuela, whose family is close to Saddam. Samarrai defected from the regime and started spilling the beans on his former boss's dirty deals to US and UK intelligence services. Detained at Heathrow airport with a false Venzuelan passport, he was released to seek an asylum claim after six weeks in custody, in which he presumably negotiated his freedom with the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6. His lawyers said he has documents detailing cocaine shipments and secret bank accounts where the profits were stashed, and naming Uday Hussein as the regime's pointman for the operation. Uday and his brother Qusay are believed to run numerous contraband lines to finance the regime and the Hussein family's lavish lifestyle. Turf wars over the trade have been linked to the slaying of eight Iraqis in Jordan in Jan. 1998. An anonymous "senior Iraqi opposition source" told the Times that al-Samarrai had been recruited by the CIA in the early 1990s--the same years for which he claimed to possess all the accounting for Uday's Venezuelan coke deals. The source said he had been ratted out to Saddam as a CIA asset after his wife found $40,000 and secret documents in his safe, forcing him to flee with his Venezuelan mistress. When asked if he had worked for the CIA, he said "I am an Iraqi diplomat and ex-ambassador. I came here to seek asylum." [top]

The head of the international body regulating chemical weapons inspections was forced from his post April 22 following a US-led campaign to oust him. Observers say Jose Bustani, a Brazilian, upset the White House by his efforts to encourage Iraq to join the UN's Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)--wihch would have made a US-led invasion more difficult. "I am out of a job," Bustani said, after storming from a meeting at The Hague where he lost a vote of no confidence by 48 votes to 7. The US delegation said Bustani had mismanaged and undermined the credibility of OPCW, established in 1997 to oversee the destruction of chemical weapons. It said that if Iraq joined, any new weapons inspections would be too soft. The US also accused Bustani of threatening inspections in five unspecified countries "for political ends"--an accusation he dismissed. (UK Independent, April 23) [top]

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz earlier this year asked the CIA to investigate the performance of Swedish diplomat Hans Blix, chairman of the new UN team charged carrying out inspections of Iraq's weapons programs, the Washington Post reported April 15. Blix's inspection organization--the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission--has inherited the mandate from the UN Special Commission on Iraq, or UNSCOM. The new body is attempting to secure an agreement from Saddam Hussein to allow inspectors back for the first time since 1999.

Officials gave contradictory accounts of Wolfowitz's reaction to the CIA report. The report was turned in to Wolfowitz in late January with the conclusion that Blix, former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, was competent to lead inspections of Iraq's declared nuclear power plants. One former State Department official said Wolfowitz "hit the ceiling" because it failed to provide sufficient ammunition to undermine Blix and the new UN weapons inspection program. A former member of the previous UN inspection team said the Wolfowitz group is "afraid Saddam will draw us in to a diplomatic minuet." The inspection issue has become "a surrogate for a debate about whether we go after Saddam," complained Richard N. Perle, an adviser to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and chairman of the US Defense Policy Board. [top]

Pentagon military strategists are increasingly talking of an "Afghan model" for Iraq, with the Kurdish guerilla armies that control the north--under the protection of the US-enforced "no fly zone"--playing the role of the Northern Alliance. The two rival Kurdish armies, which have engaged in much internecine warfare since Desert Storm, have recently stopped shooting at each other in a bid to convince Washington they would make worthy proxies. "America is the best friend of the Kurdish people, to help us get self-rule and a voice in Baghdad," says Sheikh Jafar Mustapha, a senior commander of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). "If America attacks Saddam...we can help the US achieve success in that battle." Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), says, "We can't photocopy the Afghan cause, but we can benefit from it." Kurdish officials claim that they can muster between 60,000 and 70,000 ready-to-fight peshmerga (guerillas) to confront Iraq's 400,000 troops. (Christian Science Monitor, March 28) US Special Forces troops are believed to be already operating in northern Iraq. (UK Guardian, March 17) [top]

A US air and ground assault on Iraq, involving as many as 250,000 troops--half the number used in the Gulf War--initially planned for the fall, has most likely been postponed until early next year, officials said. Planning for the attack includes the possible use of bases in Turkey and Kuwait. If unable to utilize locations in Saudi Arabia, Qatar might serve as a replacement. Other than British troops, no other contributions to the allied forces are anticipated. Officials also said the strategy used against the Taliban would not work in Iraq. "The president has not made any decisions," a senior Defense Department official said. "But any efforts against Iraq will not look like what we did in Afghanistan." (NYT, Apr. 28)(WW3 REPORT Special Correspondent) [top]

In an interview published in Vanity Fair, an Iraqi defector claims Iraq is developing "a new-generation long-range ballistic missile system, equipped to deliver chemical, biological, and eventually nuclear warheads." In 1998, after working on plans to acquire equipment for the project, the defector was implicated by the Mukhabarat (Iraq's intelligence agency) in a plot to topple Saddam Hussein's government, and then interrogated, tortured, and after a six-month incarceration fled Iraq. The missiles have been designed to travel up to 700 miles, "far enough to hit Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Ankara, in Turkey; Cairo and Alexandria, in Egypt; Nicosia, in Cyprus; and Tehran, capital of Iraq's historic enemy, Iran," he said. ( UK Guardian, Apr. 4) Other defectors, members of the dissident Iraqi Officers' Movement (IOM), claim weapons from Eastern Europe are being smuggled through Syria into Iraq. ( UK Guardian, Apr. 29)(WW3 REPORT Special Correspondent) [top]

The Bush administration is seeking the death penalty for a former Air Force master sergeant accused of selling secrets to Iraq and Libya. It would be the first time the US has executed anyone for spying since the 1950s. Prosecutors say Brian Regan, 39, wrote to Saddam Hussein and Mummar Qaddafi, offering to sell them US intelligence reports about their countries along with satellite photographs for $13 million. (UK Independent, Apr. 21) [top]


Kavkaz Center, a non-governmental "Chechen international Islamic Internet agency," reported that Russian claims of death of Chechen warlord and Bin Laden associate Khattab by poisoning were true.( Kavkaz-Center , Apr. 29) Russia's FSB security agency, successor to the KGB, claimed they had assassinated Khattab by means of a poison letter, delivered by someone Khattab knew (AFP, NYT, Apr. 30) The Russian network RTR on its evening news program Vesti broadcast a videotape of Khattab's body taken by Chechen rebels. (NYT, Apr. 27), Khattab, born in Saudi Arabia, fought in Afghanistan where he fought alongside Osama bin Laden (NYT,Oct. 14 99). After seeing Chechen muhajadeen on CNN chanting "God is Great!", Khattab decided to go to Chechnya in 1995 , where he rose to become second-in-command and adopted brother of Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev. In 1999 Basayev and Khattab attacked the neighboring Russian province of Dagestan in an attempt to expand the Chechen Islamic Republic, bringing the full force of the Russian military to bear once again on Chechnya. (see WW3REPORT# 31) Thomas de Wall, writing for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, says Khattab's death weakens the link between Chechnya and al-Qaeda and may open the door to negotiation between Russia and Chechnya. ( IWPR, May 2) (David Bloom) [top]

Russian Chief of Staff General Anatoly Khavshin was contradicted by Chechen sources and Russia's FSB intelligence agency over his claim that Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev had been assassinated, less than a week after his associate Khattab had been eliminated.(ITAR-TASS, May 3, Kavkaz-Center, May 1) Russia's military has made erroneous claims about Baysev's death in the past. (NYT, May 1) (David Bloom) [top]


A ruling by a federal judge has put in doubt the use of a key tool used by the government in the War on Terror. Judge Shira A. Scheindlin has ruled that the Justice Department cannot imprison as"material witnesses" people who the government believes may have information for grand juries conducting terrorism investigations. Perjury charges against Jordanian student Osama Awadallah, 21 were dismissed by Schiendlin because the information leading to the charges was obtained while he was "unlawfully detained" by the government.

"If the government has probable cause to believe a person has committed a crime, it may arrest that person," Scheindlin wrote. "But since 1789, no Congress has granted the government the authority to imprison an innocent person in order to guarantee that he will testify before a grand jury conducting a criminal investigation."

Former US attorney Neal R. Sonnett said, "clearly, in the aftermath of Sept. 11, the government was looking for ways to keep people in custody and they seized upon the material-witness statute as a vehicle for that kind of indefinite detention," and added that the ruling puts the government "on notice that they can't use the material-witness statute in that way." ( Washington Post, Apr. 30) (David Bloom) [top]

Syrian-born Enaam M. Arnaout, 39, director of the Benevolence International Foundation, an Islamic charity in Chicago, was arrested April 30 on charges of lying in court. The Justice department says there is extensive evidence Arnaout's organization has in fact funded terrorist training activity around the world, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia and Chechnya. Arnout claimed in court the foundation was a "faith-based humanitarian organization that engages in charitable work around the world" and "does not engage in or fund terrorist activity."

A government affidavit claimed a folder found in the foundation's office was a fundraising appeal in Arabic asking Muslims to "contribute with your mujahedeen brothers to repel the Crusader-Zionist attack on Muslim lands."

US attorney in Chicago Patrick J. Fitzgerald told reporters "the Benevolence International Foundation was supporting violence secretly." However, he noted "persons who gave money to the B.I.F. were victims, not criminals. Today's charges seek to vindicate, not frustrate, the noble intentions of the vast majority of donors, mostly Muslim Americans, who thought they were giving help to needy causes."

An informer told FBI Agent Robert Walker that the foundation withdrew its money in cash so that "its use by Al Qaeda would be virtually untraceable." The foundation would then "generate paperwork which indicated that all the money was being used for charitable purposes such as building mosques or schools, or providing food and clothing for the poor."

Although Arnaout denies ever having met bin Laden, a March 19 raid of the foundation's offices in Bosnia, which netted guns and military manuals, also revealed photographs of bin Laden and of Mr. Arnaout "handling rifles, a shoulder-fired rocket and an antiaircraft gun." (NYT, Apr. 30) (David Bloom) [top]

In what federal authorities are calling a case of domestic terrorism, 14 pipe bombs have been discovered in mailboxes in Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. Six people, including four postal employees and two elderly people, have been injured by the bombs. At least one of the devices was accompanied by a note which indicated the bombs were placed in the mailboxes by someone with anti-government views. The note reads in part: "Mailboxes are exploding! Why, you ask? Attention people. You do things because you can and want (desire) to. If the government controls what you want to do, they control what you can do." The note is signed by "someone who cares."(CNN, May 5) (David Bloom) The text of the note can be seen online. [top]

Faruk Abdel-Muhti, a New York-based Palestinian activist who has been in the United States for 20 years, has been in prison for eight days now, without a hearing. Under the Homeland Security Act, he can be held for 90 days without a hearing. Abdel-Muhti was arrested on April 26 by FBI agents at his home, on immigration charges (see WW3REPORT#31) According to his lawyer, Gilma Carmago, the charges stem from a 1995 deportation order which she has not yet been shown by the INS or FBI. She says Abdel-Muhti, being a stateless person, has nowhere to be deported to. She contacted the authorities after his first arrest on April 9 to say he would be available for interrogation in the presence of an attorney, a common practice in deportation cases that would have allowed the government ample opportunity to pursue the case in a non-aggressive and civil manner. Abdel-Muhti was beaten at 26 Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan, told explicitly he was being held because of his political activities, and asked to provide information on people in Palestine or in the Arab community in the US. He was told that if he refused, he would be handed over to Israeli intelligence. During Abdel-Muhti appearances on WBAI's Wake-Up Call, he would make legal and political arguments for Palestine, give his personal views on the situation there, make announcements for demonstrations in front of the Israeli consulate, and feature phone calls by members of the Palestine National Authority. Although Abdel-Muhti has high blood pressure for which he needs specific treatment, he has only been given aspirin in the prison hospital. (David Bloom)

To demand Faruk Abdel-Muhti's immediate and unconditional release:

Write/Call/Fax :
Andrea J. Quarantillo
NJ District Director
INS Newark District Office
970 Broad St. Rm. 136
Newark, NJ 07102
Phone: 973-645-4421
Fax: 973-645-2304


Newseek reported in its April 15 issue that government sources say a secret new analysis shows anthrax found in the letter addressed to Sen. Patrick Leahy last year "was ground to a microscopic fineness not achieved by US biological-weapons experts. The Leahy anthrax--mailed in an envelope that was recovered unopened from a Washington post office last November--also was coated with a chemical compound unknown to experts who have worked in the field for years; the coating matches no known anthrax samples ever recovered from biological-weapons producers anywhere in the world, including Iraq and the former Soviet Union. The combination of the intense milling of the bacteria and the unusual coating produced an anthrax powder so fine and fluffy that individually coated anthrax spores were found in the Leahy envelope, something that US bio-weapons experts had never seen." Newsweek says officials are now floating the theory that the anthrax "came from a team of scientists with access to sophisticated labs--the kind of team and labs that could be assembled only by a government." Iraq is pointed as a likely possibility. [top]

Despite initial suspicions, FBI officials now say they believe the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers never came into contact with anthrax, noting that authorities scoured their cars, apartments and personal effects for traces of the deadly bacteria. (See WW3 REPORT #24) "This was fully investigated and widely vetted among multiple agencies several months ago," FBI chief spokesman John Collingwood said in a statement. "Exhaustive testing did not support that anthrax was present anywhere the hijackers had been." (LAT, March 24) [top]

According to a May 1 BBC report, US intelligence agencies have failed to find a paper trail leading to the September 11 attacks. FBI Director Robert Mueller said agents have chased down hundreds of thousands of leads and checked every record they could find, including flight reservations, car rentals, and bank accounts. After seven months of searching from caves in Afghanistan to credit card bills in the US, they could find no hard evidence about the September 11 attacks. The attackers thwarted detection by using hundreds of cell phones, pay phones, and difficult to trace pre-paid phone cards. They did not use laptop computers or leave information on computer hard drives, and exchanged money by wiring it in small amounts. What is known is the attacks were being planned starting as long as five years ago, and that a similar attack could currently be in the works.(BBC, May 1)(David Bloom) [top]

Pete McCloskey,a former Republican US Representative from California, has been awarded $150,000 by the San Francisco Superior Court in a judgment against the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) stemming from a ten-year old domestic spying case. Two of the plaintiffs had been targeted by the ADL for having pro-Palestinian views, and a third for being an anti-apartheid activist (Arab News, Apr. 25) On February 22, according to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, the ADL settled a separate lawsuit accusing it of spying on pro-Palestinian and anti-apartheid activists. The damages of $178,000 were divided amongst the remaining three plaintiffs in a suit that was filed by nineteen people in 1993. At the time Israel was an ally of the white supremacist South African government, and the ADL's chief of intelligence in the San Francisco area, Roy Bullock, later admitted to having been paid by the South African government to spy on local anti-apartheid activists. The suit claimed the ADL was helping to suppress domestic criticism of Israel by building files it shared with law enforcement, the Israeli government and the group's own supporters. The ADL denied supplying Israel with information and claimed it was only involved in the legal monitoring of hate and extremist groups.

After police observed Bullock and San Francisco police inspector Tom Gerard speaking to South African agents in 1992, they seized more than 10,000 files from the men and ADL offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The files contained information on individuals and organizations across the political spectrum. The ADL convinced the court they had a right to protect their sources as a journalistic organization, but the FBI and SFPD found that 75 percent of the information had been obtained illegally, and that the plaintiffs had a right to learn the sources of the documentation. (SF Chronicle, Feb. 23) (David Bloom) [top]

In an interview with the London-based Arabic magazine al-Majalla, one of Osama bin Laden's four wives described him as a stressed and ailing man who used tranquilizers to help him to sleep and became enraged when she asked him who was behind the bombings of the US embassies in East Africa in 1998. The woman was interviewed on condition that her location remain a secret and that she be referred to only by the initials AS--perhaps bin Laden's fourth and youngest wife, Amal al-Sadah, said to be a 19-year-old Yemeni. She said that in the months leading up to 9-11, bin Laden used to return to their home in Kandahar late at night and lie on his bed for hours without speaking. He never mentioned specifics, but spoke of a "big plan" to confront the US. "Lately he looked continuously worried, exhausted and tired because of his long nights awake. Most days, he used to take tranquilizers and medicine to help him sleep." "AS" said that she had not heard from her husband since Sept. 11, when she was holed up in caves in southern Afghanistan. She was later moved to a secret location in Pakistan by one of bin Laden's sons. Asked if she had any regrets about marrying the accused terrorist mastermind, she said: "I don't have any regret because this is God's will, and I don't consider him to be a terrorist." (UK Independent, March 15) [top]



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