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ISSUE: #. 52. Sept. 23, 2002








By Bill Weinberg
with David Bloom and Subuhi Jiwani, Special Correspondents

1. Humanity and Hypocrisy Follow Tel Aviv Suicide Attack
2. IDF Shells Arafat's HQ (or What's Left of It); Protests Spread
3. IDF Repression in Gaza: Worse to Come?
4. IDF Takes Pot Shots at UN
5. Repression, Resistance Continue on West Bank
6. Deadly Week for Palestinian Children
7. Israeli Rent-A-Cops Indicted for Shooting Palestinian
8. IDF Officer Accused of Torture Wins Support
9. Eitam Gets Settlement Portfolio
10. Jordan Protests Deportation of "Illegal" Workers
11. "Illegal" Settlement Outposts Mushroom in West Bank
12. Bulldozer Justice Continues
13. PLC Deputy Takes Militants to Task for "Reoccupation"

1. Bush-Baghdad Brinkmanship Boringly Bellicose
2. Arabs Expect "Catastrophe"
3. Bush Report on Saddam Bio-Chem-Nuke Threat:
If He Had Ham, He Could Have Ham and Eggs, If He Had Eggs...

4. Iraqi Defector: Saddam Hoodwinked Inspectors
5. NBC Calls Bush Bluff on Iraq Nuke Threat
6. Saddam Aids Kurdish Rebels to Fight al-Qaeda?
7. Iraq Shiites to Resist US Invasion?
8. IMF: War Good for Global Economy
9. German Justice Minister: Bush Emulates Hitler
10. 55,000 US Troops Encircle Iraq

1. Yemen Next? You Bet Djibouti!

1. US to Intervene Against Pacifists in Somalia?

1. Bush's Attention Span Worries Afghans
2. US Forces Attacked by Rockets in Paktia
3. DynCorp to Win Karzai Security Contract?
4. Bloomberg Does Bagram
5. Al-Qaeda Busts Announced in Pakistan

1. Moscow, Beijing to Cave In on Iraq Attack?
2. US Plays Up Chechen "Terrorist" Threat; Moscow Pleased
3. Putin's Logic on Georgia Reflects Bush's on Iraq
4. Ivanov Schmoozes Rumsfeld on Georgia Attack
5. Oil Up for Grabs in Post-Saddam Carve-Up
6. US Already Auctioning Off Iraq's Oil?
7. Uighurs Charge US With Betrayal
8. ...And Turkey to Get Iraqi Kurdistan?

1. Democracy or "Trifurcation" for Kashmir?

1. More Arrests in Singapore

1. "Hip-Hop Terrorists" Busted in Buffalo--But Where's the Beef?
2. Everglades Parkway Paranoia: Sarcasm Verboten in New America?
3. Deportee Disappeared in Pakistan?
4. Ex-Detainee Sues
5. INS Commissioner Quits
6. INS Beats Congress to Punch, Deports Palestinian Family
7. FBI: Slim Terror Threat for World Bank Meet--But Rat Out Those Protesters!
8. Hate Groups Exploit 9-11 Anniversary
9. NYC Sees Re-Emergence of Post -9-11 Hate Crime
10. Verdict in Katie Sierra Case

1. 9-11 Survivors Sue Port Authority
2. More Controversy Around Compensation Fund
3. Lower Manhattan's Forgotten Disasters
4. Indian Point Snafu on 9-11 Anniversary Spooks Residents

1. Special Ops Command to Take Lead in Terror War
2. New White House "National Security Strategy":
Unilateralism, Pre-Emptive Strikes, Global Supremacy

3. Kissinger: Hidden Architect of New Doctrine?
4. Chicken Hawks Rule!
5. Airlines Want War Subsidy
6. Mohammed Atta's Dad: He's Alive!


Six were killed and 71 injured in a suicide bombing attack on a bus in Tel Aviv Sept. 19. The bomber boarded the bus, and before buying his ticket set off the explosives in his backpack. The explosion drove nails and screws into passers-by and passengers. (Ha'aretz, Sept. 20) Among the killed was Jonathan Jesner, 19, a yeshiva student from Scotland. His kidney was donated to a Yasmin Abu Ramila, 7, a Palestinian girl from east Jerusalem who had been undergoing dialysis for nearly two years, and was on a transplant waiting list. "I don't know what to say to thank the family of the man killed in the attack," her mother Rina told the Israeli daily Maariv. "I grieve for their loss and thank them for their donation which saved the life of my daughter." Jesner had intended to start medical school the following year. "If he could have helped people during his life he would have, but now that he can't, at least he can help people in death," said Ari Jesner, the victim's brother, according to Maariv. (AP, Sept. 22)

On Sept. 19, a suicide bomber, apparently on his way to his target, killed an Israeli police officer when his van was stopped in the northern Israeli town of Umm al Fahm. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility, saying it was sending a message to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on the 20th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacres. (BBC, Sept. 19) The two bombings ended six weeks in which no attacks occurred inside of Israel. The New York Times titled its article on the attack, "Suicide Bomber Kills Israeli Soldier, Ending 6 Weeks of Quiet." (NYT, Sept. 19) WW3 REPORT notes those six weeks were not so quiet in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, the scene of Israeli curfews, closures, attacks, demolitions, confiscations, detentions, and deportations. See the last six WW3 REPORTs. (David Bloom) [top]

In response to the Sept. 19 Tel Aviv bus bombing, Israel's cabinet voted unanimously to besiege the Muqata'a, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah, and demand the surrender of 19 wanted men believed to be inside. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) troops surrounded the Muqata'a as it had in April's Operation Defensive Shield--only this time, it demolished all but one building in the compound, that containing Arafat's office. (Ha'aretz, Sept. 20)

The Israeli government was hopeful the siege and destruction of the Muqata'a might convince Arafat to leave occupied Palestine, rather than formally exiling him. An Israeli security official told the New York Post, "The idea is to leave him with maybe two rooms and a toilet--if he's lucky." (NYP, Sept. 20) Several tank shells were reported to have hit the last building remaining, and the staircase leading to the ground floor was destroyed. (CBS, Sept. 21)

A Palestinian police officer was killed by an Israeli sniper while standing in one of the buildings. (AFP, Sept. 20) Palestinians inside the compound also said two men were injured in an exchange of fire with the IDF, and accused Israeli troops of blocking their evacuation to a Ramallah hospital. (Ha'aretz, Sept. 19)

The Palestinian news agency WAFA said on Sept. 21: "The occupation forces bulldozed the warehouses at the besieged presidential compound in Ramallah, an action that might cause a shortage in food supplies. Reports from the Presidential Compound said that the Israeli bulldozers swept away the warehouses and set the food supplies in them on fire. The Israeli forces also destroyed the water network and banned fire engines from entering into the area to extinguish the fire that broke out in the warehouses." (WAFA, Sept. 21)

In all, some 20 buildings and homes were destroyed, according to the IDF. Huge plumes of smoke filled the air, and the Israelis strung coils of concertina wire around the compound. (NYT, Sept. 21) The resulting destruction can be seen on line.

On Sept. 20, 20 Palestinians, but apparently none wanted by Israel, surrendered to Israeli troops. (Ha'aretz, Sept. 20) The IDF used megaphones to demand the surrender of the wanted men, including Tawfik Tirawi, West Bank chief of the PA's General Intelligence Service; and Mahmoud Damara, Ramallah commander of Force 17, an armed group linked to Arafat's Fatah political party. The PA says it received no formal request for the men's surrender. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 19) But Palestinian sources say the US urged Arafat to hand the men over to Israel. (Ha'aretz, Sept. 20)

The IDF announced over loudspeakers on the evening of Sept. 21 that those remaining inside the compound had to evacuate, because they were about to blow it up. Israeli forces also told area residents to evacuate because the blast would be extremely powerful. News reports said the decision was made because IDF bulldozers had failed to knock the building down. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 21) In response, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets protesting in several West Bank cities, and the Gaza Strip. All West Bank cities but Jericho were placed under curfew Sept. 19. Israeli troops used live ammunition and tear gas to combat against the protestors, killing at least 5. (BBC, Sept. 22)

Demands by the Arab League and European Union for the IDF to cease demolition of the compound were joined by the US Sept. 22. "Israeli actions in and around the Muqata'a are not helpful in reducing terrorist violence or promoting Palestinian reforms," White House spokeswoman Jeanie Mamo said. After the US critique, Israel decided to stop wrecking what was left of the Muqata'a, and IDF bulldozers left the compound. Israel also acceded to a Palestinian request for provisions. The list submitted to the IDF: "1,000 pittas, 100 bottles of water, 15 gallons of yogurt, 30 cartons of humus, five gallons of shampoo, three cartons of underwear (all sizes), 20 brooms and dust pans--and one carton of cigarettes for the 200 men in the office building." (Ha'aretz, Sept. 22)

A Sept. 22 editorial in Ha'aretz read, "The response of the political leadership to the recent series of terror attacks is an uninspired and even harmful attempt to take the easy way out. The hollow nature of this move raises the suspicion that behind it lies nothing more than a bid to appease public opinion and the ministers on the extreme right, who miss no opportunity to demand that Arafat be expelled and the Palestinian Authority obliterated. The decision to concentrate Israel's response to the attack in Tel Aviv on the leadership of the Palestinian Authority was preceded by an announcement from the military wing of Hamas. The organization made clear the bombing was another act of revenge for the assassination of two of its leaders, Salah Shehadeh and Nasser Jerar." The editorial concludes, "The siege on Arafat appears to be the government's attempt to divert attention away from its inability to prevent terrorism and its unwillingness to propose a political channel that would bring hope to Israelis and Palestinians alike." (Ha'aretz, Sept. 22) (David Bloom) [top]

On Sept. 17, the IDF moved into the al-Salam neighborhood, near Rafah in the Gaza Strip. Troops demolished one house, damaging several others and nearby farms. (WAFA, Sept. 17) That same day, Israeli forces arrested 23 in a raid on the Khan Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, destroying nine metal workshops. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 18) The army claims the shops were used in the manufacture of munitions. Mahmoud al-Astal told Reuters his foundry "had nothing to do with acts of violence". (Reuters, Sept. 17) WAFA says Israeli planes directed heavy gunfire at houses. (WAFA, Sept. 17)

Israeli tanks and helicopter gunships attacked the Shijaia district of Gaza City Sept. 19. Crowds of people, some armed, flooded the streets, but no casualties were reported. Two armored columns were reported headed towards the coastal area, one toward Beit Hanoun, consisting of six tanks, and two bulldozers. (Reuters, Sept. 19) Also that day, three IDF soldiers were slightly wounded by shrapnel from an explosive device planted under the tank they were driving. The incident occurred near Beit Hanoun. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 20) The IDF's Tarmit outpost in the southern Gaza Strip was came under attack by anti-tank rockets . (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 19)

Two Palestinians were killed and ten wounded by IDF gunfire in the Al-Tuffah neighborhood, north of Gaza City--including a woman was killed in her home. (WAFA, Sept. 20) The IDF destroyed eight metal workshops and foundries. According to local residents, an Israeli column of 15 tanks and armored vehicles drove into town, spraying indiscriminate machine-gun fire from atop the tanks. Palestinian resistance fighters engaged the IDF. IDF bulldozers destroyed eight metal workshops, foundries, and garages. (Xinhua, Sept. 20)

Two Palestinian were killed and 23 injured in fighting with Israeli forces in the town and refugee camp of Rafah Sept. 20. The battle continued all day. Israeli ground forces were supported by Apache helicopters, which fired heavy machine guns. The attack came after an armored vehicle overturned when it detonated a roadside bomb, injuring two Israeli soldiers. When troops tried to salvage the vehicle, they were attacked by Palestinian stone-throwers. The IDF responded with gunfire, killing a fifteen-year old and wounding seven . (, Sept. 20) Dozens of tanks and armored vehicles are stationed at entrances to Rafah. Palestinians are concerned the Israelis are preparing to build a concrete wall separating Rafah from Egypt. The Israelis want the wall to combat arms smuggling. (Xinhua, Sept. 20) WAFA reports helicopters are firing into residential areas and tank fire is intense in southwestern Rafah, causing widespread property damage. (WAFA, Sept. 20)

A pro-Hamas website, the Palestinian Information Center, reported Sept. 20 that Palestian militants fired mortars at the Gush Katif settlement bloc near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. (BBC, Sept. 20)

WAFA reports Sept 21 Israeli forces backed by tanks made an incursion in the northern part of Dayr al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. In the al-Bashayirah area to the east of Dayr al-Balah, an Israeli bulldozer and tanks destroyed a large number of citrus and olive trees on Palestinian agricultural land. (WAFA, Sept. 21)

Gaza may be experiencing a more full-scale Israeli offensive soon. "Gaza serves as a center for Hamas," Sharon said Sept. 23. "The day will come, as soon as we get the necessary troops together, that we will have to do this to strike against Hamas and prevent its ability to act." (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 23) (David Bloom) [top]

The IDF denied firing at a UN delegation visiting the Tel Sultan area south of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. UNWRA says the IDF fired warning shots at the delegation. UNWRA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen was leading the group on a tour through a battle-damaged Rafah neighborhood when they heard the shots. UN spokesman Sami Mishasha told reporters that "whether they were warning shots or shots fired directly at the delegation is unclear. It was serious enough for them not to continue with the tour." Mishasha said Hansen would file a complaint with Israeli authorities. The IDF said there was no firing by Israelis in the area, claiming the delegation mistook Palestinian mortar fire for Israeli gunfire. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 19)

UN Spokesman Fred Ekhard said the people in the delegation had to run for cover. "Earlier today in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli defense force soldiers fired warning shots in the direction of a delegation of officials from UNRWA which was led by commissioner general of UNRWA Peter Hansen," Eckhard said in New York. "The delegation which also included representatives of several donor countries and Palestinian Authority officials was visiting an area of the camps where refugees homes had previously been destroyed by the Israeli army, when the Israeli soldiers fired warning shots from a nearby outpost." (AFP, Sept. 19) (David Bloom) [top]

On Sept. 17, the Egyptian news agency MENA reported two Israeli settlers were killed when Palestinian resistance fighters fired on their car travelling on the ring road linking Ramallah to Nablus. Afterwards, IDF troops stormed the area. (BBC, Sept. 17) WAFA reported three Palestinians were wounded when Israeli military vehicles took up position at the entrance to the Al-Am'ari refugee camp near Al-Birah city, and "opened heavy and indiscriminate machine-gun fire on citizens' houses." (WAFA, Sept. 17) Six Palestinian youths were wounded by IDF gunfire in clashes in the Aksar refugee camp Sept. 17, according to Israeli radio. (Israel Radio, Sept. 17)

Palestinian teens hurled rocks and molotov cocktails at Israeli troops in Ramallah Sept 17. Israel re-imposed curfew, and sent troops, tanks, and APC's on house-to-house searches. (Xinhua, Sept. 17)

IDF troops shot a Palestinian taxi-driver at a checkpoint near Jenin, according to Palestinian medical sources. He was wounded in the head, and is in critical condition. The shooting occurred at the entrance of the village of Yabad, six miles west of Jenin. (AFP, Sept. 19) WAFA said the driver, Hilmi Abadi, was kidnapped by Israeli forces, and taken to an unknown destination, and that an Israeli armored vehicle purposely ran into the taxi, injuring nine passengers. The IDF then imposed a curfew on the town. (Palestine Chronicle, Sept. 18)

A Palestinian man was found dead near the road in the village of Aqqaba, six miles north of Tammoun. Villagers had seen Israeli military jeeps nearby. The IDF had no comment. (Reuters, Sept. 18)

The charred corpse of an Israeli man from the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumin was found in a garbage dump on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem. No one has taken responsibility. (AFX, Sept. 18)

On Sept. 18, the IDF said two Palestinians were driving near Tamoun and were told to pull over for inspection. The driver ignored the order and tried to run the soldiers over. The troops opened fire, killing the driver and wounding a passenger. Palestinian sources say the men were members of the al-Aksa Martyr's Bridages, who also belonged to Arafat's Force 17. The Mayor of Tul Karm said the IDF blew up the car after they attacked it. The IDF say they found a gun in the car and had prevented an attack. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 19; Reuters, Sept. 18) This version is disputed by WAFA: "The occupation forces fired on a civilian car without any justification, killing 22-year old Mustafa Sa'id Bisharat, whose body was riddled with seven bullets while he was driving the car and wounding 30-year old Muhammad Majid Bani-Awdah in the shoulder who was arrested and taken to an unknown destination." (WAFA, Sept. 18) The Palestine Monitor reports Tammoun mayor Bashar Vaniode said Bisharat was "wanted by Israel," and had been the victim of an Israeli ambush. (Palestine Chronicle, Sept. 18) Hours later, Palestinian gunmen shot an Israeli dead at an army roadblock near the Jewish settlement of Shaked. (Reuters, Sept. 18)

IDF troops occupying Nablus came under fire from Palestinian gunmen in the Casbah area Sept. 18. No one was hurt. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 19) That same day, an Israeli man from Jerusalem was killed and a Romanian guest worker injured in an attack on their car by Palestinian militants possibly dressed in IDF uniforms. The attack occured on the Mevo Dotan-Hermesh road near Yabad in the northern West Bank. Al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades took responsibility. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 19)

A Palestinian man from Al-Nazlah near Tul Karm was shot in the head and critically wounded by settlers in a driveby shooting, according to the Palestinian news agency, WAFA. The incident occured near the Jenin township of Ya'bad Sept. 19. South of Ya'bad, Israeli troops uprooted 200 olives trees near the main road linking Ya'bad and Jenin. Palestinian were told by the IDF they would be shot if they used that road. (WAFA, Sept. 19) The IDF has been seizing and destroying Palestinian agricultural land near Tul Karm to build a security fence separating the West Bank from Israel. (see WW3 REPORT #51) Four Palestinians were wounded Sept. 20 in an Israeli incursion into the village of Qassin, north of Tul Karm along the Green Line separating the West Bank from Israel. Troops backed by armor stormed the village, and clashes were reported. Some of Qassin's land is being confiscated for the security fence. (AFP, Sept. 20) (David Bloom) [top]

An explosion at the Ziff junction primary school in the West Bank village of Yatta, near Hebron, injured five 8-year-old Palestinian children on Sept. 17. The large bomb exploded by a water cooler. Police sappers disarmed a second bomb. No one claimed responsibility, but the Shin Bet security service and police suspect Jewish extremists. A police investigation found Jewish extremists to be involved in a similar attack at an Arab school in east Jerusalem in March and a foiled attempt April 29. (Reuters, Sept. 18; Ha'aretz, Sept. 18) (See WW3 REPORTS #s 28, 33) An editorial in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz said of the perpetrators: "So blindly evil is the fire of vengeance that burns in these Jews that they seek the lives of children where they can be found in the greatest quantity--while they are studying." Ha'aretz further states: "In light of the impressive successes of the security services in foiling Palestinian terror attacks over the last two years, the failure of the Shin Bet's Jewish department demands a more convincing explanation than those that have so far been offered." (Ha'aretz, Sept. 19)

Several Palestinian youngsters were killed last week. 15-year old Mohammed Abed-Razzaq used to salvage pieces of aluminum to sell to metal workshops, a common activity for children in the Tulkarem refugee camp. According to his family, he found a large metallic object on his way back from school Sept. 17, and brought it home with him. His mother said he was happy because it was a large piece, which would fetch a good price when he took it apart and removed its aluminum parts. While disassembling the object on the family's roof, it exploded, killing him. The object is believed to have been a mine left behind by the IDF. (Palestine Monitor, Sept. 18)

Three Palestinian children were wounded by fire from Israeli forces at the refugee camp of Askar near Nablus Sept. 17. Palestinian medical sources said they were targeted for throwing stones at the IDF. Local residents said Israeli tanks opened fire on a group of children playing in one of the streets of the camp. (Xinhua, Sept. 18)

Abdel Salam Samreen, a 12-year old boy from Ramallah, was sent to a shop by his father to buy cigarettes on Sept. 19, breaking an Israeli-imposed curfew. A witness reports boys had been throwing stones at an Israeli tank driving up the road. Abdel Salam left his house without noticing the other boys or the stone throwing. When he saw the tank, "He ran and tried to hide behind a wall, and they [the soldiers] started shooting at him," said the witness, Amar Samir. Samreen was shot six times in the chest, and died. The army said they'd look into it. Palestine Monitor says his death brings to 342 the number of children killed in the last two years, 11 of them in the past two weeks. ( Palestine Monitor, Sept. 19; The Scotsman, Sept. 20)

Four children, aged 10 to 12, were injured by IDF gunfire near their clandestine school in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus on Sept. 19. The alternative education system, called the "Popular Education Program," was created by local Palestinian authorities and factions so children could go to school despite the curfew imposed since June 20. There are 38,000 pupils in the Nablus area. The local Palestinians say the shooting was aimed at preventing even these underground classes. (AFP, Sept. 19)

Nine-year-old Abdel Salam Sumerin was among a crowd of school children who defied curfew at El Amari refugee camp in El Bireh Sept. 19. The army used live fire to disperse the children, killing Sumerin. On Sept. 22, a Palestinian girl was wounded in Kafr Usserin near Nablus when residents defied a nearly two-month curfew and confronted Israeli troops. Xinhua wrote the IDF was "tightening its security curfew on the towns of Ramallah and Al Beereh and the troops are raiding houses there and opening fire at anything moving." (Xinhua, Sept. 19; Ha'aretz, Sept. 23)

On Sept. 23, Ewa Jasiewics, 24, of London, a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), was observing IDF behavior as children in Nablus broke curfew to go to school. "An armored personnel car came and stopped on the left of the street," Jasiewics said. "A soldier popped up from inside. I saw him with his rifle and he aimed at some kids on the street. There was no stone-throwing or shooting going on at the time." In the last month, Jasiewics has witnessed soldiers train their guns on Palestinians without firing, but this time was different. "This soldier fired," she said. "I saw [13-year-old] Baha [Albahsh] lying on the ground, with blood coming out of his chest... I saw blood oozing from his mouth. We called an ambulance and the ambulance came and took him." Jasiewics said, "It wasn't accidental. The soldiers decided to kill him." There has been no official army comment on the incident, but Israeli sources, speaking anonymously, told AP an army patrol witnessed a child lighting a firebomb which set him on fire. The sources said there was no gunfire, and that soldiers saw the burned teen being taken away by ambulance. According to a doctor at Rafidia hospital in Nablus, Alhbahsh was killed by a bullet which entered his shoulder and lodged in his chest. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 23)

Baha was the ISM's guide in Nablus. "I do not think it was a random shot or a ricochet. The soldiers knew who he was. He had been with the volunteers since April," Jaseiwicz said. "I think it was from an M-16, not the heavy machinegun mounted on top. I felt the bullet near me. I looked around and saw Baha bleeding from the chest. Soon blood was bubbling from his mouth and he was dead within minutes." (UK Telegraph, Sept. 23) Listen to a BBC interview with Ewa Jasiewics.

Two volunteers with International Women's Peace Service (IWPS), Mariam Bhaba, a Canadian citizen, and Claire Peak, a British national living permanently in the US, as well as Joan Phelan, an Irish volunteer, quoted IDF troops in the West bank town of Hares who claimed they fired on children Sept. 19:

"When we reached the scene we saw one Israeli Army jeep and an Israeli police jeep stopped on the side of the road. We approached the soldiers and asked them why they were shooting live ammunition into a residential area. They replied that 'some children had thrown stones.' We asked them if they had felt that the 'alleged' throwing of stones had warranted their responding with live fire [only permissible under the Geneva Conventions as self defense against clear and immediate threat to life]. The soldiers now refused to say anything. It is worth pointing out that there was no sign of any stones in the area around them, nor was there any indication of any damage to their vehicle or themselves. There were however over 20 spent bullet casings lying on the road around their feet. We also asked the soldiers if they thought that they had hit anyone, and if anyone had gone out to check the area they had been firing into to see if there were any injured people. Again, they ignored us. We approached the policemen in the second vehicle, and asked one of them about the shooting. Shimon Dahan (this was the name later given to me) got out of the jeep denying that there had been any firing. When we showed him the spent casings at the feet of the soldiers he proceeded to collect up the casings and throw them away into the field by the side of the road. Mariam told him that he was destroying evidence. He became very angry and screamed, 'Yes, I'm destroying evidence, so what' in her face."

The volunteers' film of the incident was seized, they were arrested, strip searched, and coerced to agree to leave the West Bank and not return to Hares, under threat of imprisonment. (, Sept. 21)(David Bloom) [top]

An indictment in Jerusalem District Court Sept. 18 says three Israeli security guards, Amal Tarif, 21, Ha'il Fadel, 46, and Mahdhi Abdullah, 21, shot a Palestinian passerby, Samer Dar Nahla, with no reason while they were working at the West Bank Jewish settlement of Beit El. The indictment claims the three men shot Nahla in the back. Right after shooting him, the guards told their employers (settlement residents) and the IDF that they were attacked by gunmen on horseback, and returned fire. The settlers then attacked the nearby Palestinian refugee camp of Jelazon. (Xinhua, Sept. 18) (David Bloom) [top]

Lt.-Col. (res.) Geva Saguy, currently under investigation for torturing a Palestinian youth and using a Senegalese housekeeper as a human shield, is still commanding his company. His four immediate subordinate officers, who wish to leave his company, charge that Saguy held a flaming piece of paper next to a Palestinian youth's genitals and tried to insert a bottle into his rectum during an interrogation last April in Bethlehem. They also say he bravely hid behind the skirts of a Senegalese housekeeper he forced to perform "neighbor practice," entering the house of an armed Palestinian militant before Saguy and his soldiers did.

However, two officers who also serve with Saguy said they are willing to replace the four malcontents. One battalion commander, Lt.-Col. (res.) Benny Gan-Or, who was with Saguy during the offensive, said "When the operation was over I felt completely at ease with the way it ran. In fact, Geva offered the people a sum of money from his own pocket to pay for damage caused to the home during the search."

Lt.-Col. (res.) Eran was with Saguy the day he reportedly used the housekeeper as a human shield. "I myself did not witness any verbal or physical abuse towards those taken into custody. Suspects were led out of the buildings and grouped outside and handcuffed," he said.

Gan-Or says after he and Eran returned with Saguy to the company command headquarters, they received reports that border police were hitting suspects detained earlier. He claims Saguy sprang into action, asking the two to accompany him in his jeep. The three raced to the site, and according to the Jerusalem Post, Saguy "admonished the border policemen for their behavior."

One of the officers who filed the charges against Saguy had a different recollection of Saguy's return to company command headquarters. "We heard Geva boasting about what he'd done in the officers' tent," explained one officer. "At first, we didn't believe him; but we conducted our own inquiry and the testimony of the soldiers who were there confirmed the story." (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 23; Ha'aretz, Sept 12, 13) (see WW3 REPORT #51) (David Bloom) [top]

Effie Eitam, head of the National Religious Party, currently minister-without-portfolio, has been given the National Infrastructure Ministry. The new post allows him to oversee Jewish settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories. According to Yariv Openheimer of Peace Now, settlement activity is already proceeding so quickly it is hard to see how Eitam's appointment will make much difference. Eitam is an advocate of a "transfer" plan in which Palestinians who do not agree to live under Israel occupation must remove to Jordan. (AP, Sept. 18) (David Bloom) [top]

A Sept. 20 report in the Jordanian newspaper al-Ra'y says Jordan is refusing to let Israel deport up to 40 Palestinian workers to Amman. The men carry temporary Jordanian passports, but not permanent ones or national numbers. Israel claims they are Jordanians working in Israel illegally. Jordan's acting Foreign Minister Shahir Bak, said Jordan rejects on principle "deporting Palestinians from their territories and homeland," according to Al-Ra'y. Bak asked Israel to return the men to their families in the West Bank. (BBC, Sept. 21) (David Bloom) [top]

An IDF document exposed by Israeli opposition leader MK Yossi Sarid (Meretz) says there are 109 "illegal" settlement outposts spread throughout the West Bank. The is a recent figure compiled by the IDF, Sarid said while touring outposts. He visited the outpost of Givat Asaf, which he was promised a year ago would be dismantled in days. Instead, it has expanded and thrived. Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer claims there are only 69 "illegal" outposts. Sarid told Israel TV Channel 1, "The IDF document talks of 109 illegal outposts, and I ask: If 109 illegal outposts have been established within a relatively short of period, isn't this a putsch by the settlers?" (BBC Monitoring: Israel TV Channel 1, Sept. 19) (David Bloom) [top]

Two homes in Abu Dis, a Palestinian village near east Jerusalem, were destroyed by the IDF Sept. 18. The homes belonged to the families of militants who attacked Jerusalem's Ben Yahuda mall ten months ago. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 19)

On Sept. 17, Israel demolished part of a low-cost housing project consisting of 250 houses under construction near Ramallah. Israeli officials said the homes, being built in the village of Ein Sinia, under full Israeli control, lacked the proper permits. "They were building the structures in Area C. The demolition took place after the completion of all the legal processes," said Peter Lerner, spokesman for the Israeli civil administration. Mahmud Ziadeh, chief coordinator of the Palestinian Workers' Federation called the Israeli pretext for destruction "lies" and said the area was under Palestinian control. He said 34 of the houses, slated for poor workers, were fully destroyed, not "15 half- built structures" as Lerner said. The IDF regularly demolishes houses built without Israeli permits in occupied Palestinian territory. Palestinians say such permits are rarely granted. (AFP, Sept. 17)

The UN has built houses for about 100 families left homeless in battle-scarred Rafah, in the Gaza strip. 300 of 530 houses destroyed in Gaza have been in Rafah. "I'm afraid that this will not be the last house that I will live in," said Rasmi Awida of his new home. "God save us and save this new dream." (AP, Sept. 19)

On Sept. 19, the IDF demolished two homes in Abu Dis, on the edge of East Jerusalem. The homes belonged to families two Palestinian youths who blew themselves and 11 others up in Jerusalem last December. (Reuters, Sept. 19)

On Sept. 21, the IDF demolished three homes in the West Bank belonging to the families of Palestinian militants who carried out attacks inside Israel. The army destroyed two homes in Qalqilyah, belonging to the families of the perpetrators of the Dolphinarium disco attack in Tel Aviv last year. Israel also demolished the home of an Islamic Jihad leader in Qabatya in the West Bank. (Xinhua, Sept. 21) (David Bloom) [top]

The London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Sept. 20 that Dr Ziyad Abu-Amr, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and head of its political department, had publicly called for Palestinian militants to account for themselves. "How can the fact that the Intifadah has ended up in the reoccupation of the West Bank be explained, when we had said that it would lead to liberation?" Abu-Amr told a seminar at the Palestinian Council for Foreign Relations in Gaza. (BBC, Sept. 20) (David Bloom) [top]


George Bush and Saddam Hussein played a game of brinkmanship last week which was, alas, no less dangerous for being boringly predictable. First, on Sept. 16, Baghdad seemed to blink, agreeing to allow UN weapons inspectors back in "without conditions." But Bush said this not good enough: "This is not a matter of inspectors. This is about the disarmament of Iraq's weapons on mass destruction and compliance with all relevant UN resolutions." Bush called Saddam's move "a tactical step to avoid strong United Nations Security Council action. It will fail. The UN Security Council needs to act." (Newsday, Sept. 17)

On Sept. 18, Bush asked Congress for unlimited authority to take whatever action he sees fit against Iraq, including military force, without further congressional consultation or approval. In a White House-drafted resolution, Bush cited "the high risk that the current Iraqi regime" would use weapons of mass destruction to "launch a surprise attack against the United States or its armed forces," as well as the possibility it would turn such weapons over to international terrorists. (Washington Post, Sept. 19)

On Sept. 19, Bush warned the world that he is prepared to act unilaterally: "If the United Nations Security Council won't deal with the problem, the United States and some of our friends will." (International Herald Tribune, Sept. 20)

By then, Saddam was already re-imposing conditions on the supposedly "conditionless" return of inspectors. Reading a letter from Saddam, Iraq's Foreign Minister Naji Sabri told the UN that inspectors should return as part of a comprehensive solution to the crisis, including the lifting of UN sanctions. More importantly, he said inspectors should "respect arrangements" on Iraq's sovereignty and security--an implicit warning that some of Saddam's palaces and other presidential sites could be off limits. Saddam's statement said that Iraq "is clear of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons," and accused the Bush administration of "lies, distortions, and falsehoods." He said that the US was "acting on behalf of Zionism which has been killing the heroic people of Palestine, destroying their property, murdering their children". (UK Independent, Sept. 20)

Ironically, both Bush and Saddam had reached one point of consensus by week's end--both now oppose a new Security Council resolution to de-escalate the crisis. On Sept. 21, Baghdad said it opposed any new "bad resolutions" that would allow access to Saddam's presidential palaces. (LAT, Sept. 22) A new resolution would also displease the White House because it would be likely to have a one-year deadline. The White House is holding out for a resolution which will set a short deadline for military action. (UK Independent, Sept. 19)

The US will also find it hard to control the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq as it once did because of changes made after the spying scandal. The last inspection program, known as UNSCOM, was closed down in 1999 after it was revealed that Washington had used US members of the inspection teams to spy on Iraq. The new inspection program, known as UNMOVIC, was specifically designed to reduce Washington's influence. (London Times, Sept. 18) [top]

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal joined the chorus of skeptics who argue that Iraq's green light to UN weapons inspectors would not spare the Gulf a new war. "I hope the United States will drop plans to launch a military offensive against Iraq after Baghdad offered to readmit inspectors," Prince Saud was quoted by the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai Al-Aam. But he said, "I do not expect the nightmare of war to go away or the region to be spared catastrophes."

Kuwait's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed al-Sabah told the paper he did not believe "the crisis between Iraq and the international community" had been defused. "The world is used to the Iraqi regime's refusal to comply with UN resolutions until the last minute," said Sheikh Mohammed, adding he hoped Baghdad was "serious" this time.

Gulf newspapers also warned that the US will likely go ahead with plans to attack Iraq. "The Iraq issue will not be resolved by Iraq's acceptance of the return of inspectors. America will seek excuses to apply its hostile plans," wrote Dubai-based Al-Bayan. Al-Khaleej, a daily in the United Arab Emirates, echoed Saddam's own line: "Israel, where the real reason for the US campaign against Iraq lies, considers that Iraq's destruction is vital to bring about its total superiority in the region. By controlling Iraq, the Israelis hope to settle a large number of Palestinians there and impose normalization on all Arabs." The paper added that "all America is at the service of Israel."

In Iraq itself, the government daily Al-Jumhuriya wrote, "The aggressive intentions of the United States will not stop with the return of the inspectors to Iraq," and urged Arabs to "mobilize their capacities to defend national security." (Daily Star, Lebanon, Sept. 19)

A Sept. 14 editorial in Lebanon's Daily Star expressed disgust at the cynicism on both sides: "Once again, the Iraqi people stand on the precipice of catastrophe because their leaders consistently misinterpret, miscalculate, and misunderstand what goes on in the outside world. US President George W. Bush has issued what might be described as a post-dated declaration of war: All he was waiting for was for Baghdad to reject his terms, and having been granted his wish, all that remains to be seen is when and how the instrument will be cashed in... The fear that Bush might still find a pretext to attack Iraq even if the inspectors do return is a legitimate one, but it is also irrelevant: The Iraqi government's responsibility right now is to do anything it can to spare its people more heartache. Future problems can be dealt with as they come up, but today the priority must be to prevent further loss of life. Saddam has almost no support outside Iraq and deserves none inside it. If he truly believes in suicide as a national duty, let him fly a warplane into one of the so-called 'no-fly zones' above the northern and southern portions of his county. If not, he should stop asking his long-suffering people to make endless sacrifices so that he can thumb his nose at the entire world." [top]


The 20-page White House document released to make the case for immediate action against Saddam Hussein is ominously entitled, "A Decade of Deception and Defiance." It concludes Iraq harbors stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, including VX nerve gas and anthrax. Most of the assertions are attributed to reports by UN inspectors, who were unable to account for all the bio-chem warheads Iraq had admitted making and disputed Iraq's claims that the weapons had been destroyed. Other claims are attributed to Iraqi defectors or surveillance images indicating new construction in places where Iraq once built weapons. It noted a few previously undisclosed details--such as a new missile test platform reportedly built at Iraq's al-Rafah-North facility. "Given the high priority for knowing what is going on in Iraq, I'm stunned by the lack of evidence of fresh intelligence," said Gary Milhollin, executive editor of the DC-based Iraq Watch. "You'd expect that, for the many billions we are spending on intelligence, they would be able to make factual assertions that would not have to be footnoted to an open source."

The report also repeats a recent finding by British researchers that Iraq could likely build a nuclear weapon within a few months--but only if it managed to acquire enriched uranium from an outside source.

The document's evidence of Iraq's "support for international terrorism" is a whopping one page--and lacks any reference to al-Qaeda or to the alleged meeting in Prague between Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence agent (which the CIA has failed to corroborate). The document says the last terrorist operation by Saddam's regime was the 1993 attempt to assassinate then-President George H.W. Bush during his visit to Kuwait. It cites Iraq's shelter of various terrorist groups and says Saddam has boosted his compensation to families of Palestinian suicide bombers from $10,000 to $25,000. . "This is a glorified press release that doesn't come close to the information the US government made available on Soviet military power when we were trying to explain the Cold War," said Anthony Cordesman, a Middle East expert who has participated in several top studies of Saddam's capabilities. "It's clumsy and shallow when what we need is sophisticated and an overall grade, I'd give it a D-minus." (Washington Post, Sept. 13) [top]

Dr. Khidir Hamza, top nuclear researcher at Saddam's Atomic Energy Establishment until fleeing to the US in 1994, said UN inspectors must have missed the enriched unranium his program had sequestered. "Inspectors since 1991 have gone to the site to check things out and have walked right past our locked room where we were working on enrichment," he told the press, insisting that the program has continued since his defection. Dr Hamza said a recent report by the International Institute of Strategic Studies had "missed a few tricks." The report stated: "If, somehow, Iraq were able to acquire sufficient nuclear material from foreign sources, it could probably produce nuclear weapons, perhaps in a matter of months." Dr. Hamza now claims Iraq already has the nuclear materials.

Hamza's claims are vociferously denied by Saddam's officials, including Foreign Minister Naji Sabri, who told CNN that efforts to acquire nuclear materials ended over a decade ago. "From the beginning of 1991 the government had a decision to leave the weapons of mass destruction club," he said. "So we presented all we had to UNSCOM [the UN weapons inspectors]. There is nothing. Let them ask the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]." (London Times, Sept. 16) [top]

On Sept. 7, President Bush cited a satellite photograph and 1998 report by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as evidence of Iraq's nuclear program. "I don't know what more evidence we need," Bush said just before meeting with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair for talks on ousting Saddam. "We owe it to future generations to deal with this problem." However, contrary to Bush's claim, the IAEA report did not say that Iraq was six months away from developing nuclear capability--only that Iraq had been six to 24 months away from such capability before 1991's Operation Desert Storm and the subsequent UN weapons inspections. Questioned by NBC, a White House official acknowledged that the 1998 report did not say what Bush claimed. "What happened was, we formed our own conclusions based on the report," the official said. Meanwhile, IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky disputed Bush's assessment of the satellite photograph. Contrary to news service reports, there was no specific photo or building that aroused suspicions, he told NBC--and the photo was from a commercial satellite imaging company, not the UN. Gwozdecky said the new construction indicated in the photograph was no surprise and that no conclusions were drawn from it. (NBC, Sept. 7) [top]

Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz asserted that Baghdad, far from "supporting terrorism" as President Bush claims, is arming Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani to fight militants linked to the al-Qaeda terror network in northern Iraq. Any al-Qaeda "remnants" in Iraq are in the province of Suleimaniya, which is held by Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and outside Baghdad's control, Aziz told a Dubai-based TV network. The PUK leader, whose faction shares control of the US-protected Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq with the rival Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), sought Baghdad's aid to fight al-Qaeda-linked armed groups and "we gave him weapons and equipment," Aziz said.

A PUK spokesman told AFP in May that the extremists are organized under the umbrella of Ansar al-Islam (Supporters of Islam), which comprises a number of groupings, such as Jund al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam). They are suspected of being behind a series of recent attacks in Iraq's Kurdish-controlled northern enclave. (See WW3 REPORT # 25)

Aziz rejected charges that Iraq supports terror because it supplies financial aid to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, saying the Palestinians were not terrorists but freedom fighters, and Baghdad was "proud" to help them. (AFP, Sept. 13)

Meanwhile, Talabani denies receiving aid from Saddam, and some Kurdish authorities say Saddam is secretly aiding Ansar al-Islam to weaken the PUK. See WW3 REPORT #47 [top]

Sayyid Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, a Shiite Muslim leader in Iraq reportedly issued a religious edict urging Muslims to resist any US attack and calling any collaboration with US forces a sin. In the fatwa, the cleric is quoted as saying "it is the Muslims' duty, under this critical situation, to be united and do their best to defend Iraq and protect it from the plots of the aggressors." Al-Sistani, who has made no public appearances since he was chosen by his followers in 1996 as spiritual leader, could not be reached for comment. Iraqi Shiites in exile questioned whether the fatwa was indeed al-Sistani's or had been issued in his name by the Iraqi government. A spokesman for the main Shiite opposition group in exile, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, was skeptical al-Sistani, who is virtually banned from public appearances by Iraq's government, had issued the fatwa. "We are not really sure that this fatwa was made by his eminence because his office has not issued it," said council spokesman Hamid al-Bayati in Cairo. Representatives of the council, which is based in Iran, took part in meetings with US officials in Washington last month on a post-Saddam Iraq. (AP, Aug. 23) [top]

IMF director Horst Koehler, asked what effect war in Iraq could have on the world economy, said: "It depends. If it is a rather short-term action, and if it is contained to Iraq, I think the effect will be minor on the economics, and there may even be some positive effect because it would be a clarification of the situation." But he warned that a protracted conflict with Saddam Hussein would create "unpredictability, and that is the downside risk." (International Herald Tribune, Sept. 20) [top]

Sparking a row on the eve of national elections, Germany's Justice Minister Herta Daubler-Gmelin told a newspaper: "Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems. Its a classic tactic. It's one that Hitler also used." Asked to clarify her comments a few days later, she told the paper: "I didn't compare the persons Bush and Hitler, but their methods." German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder is a strong critic of Bush's war plans in Iraq. (NYT, Sept. 20) However, upon Schroder's narrow re-election, Daubler-Gmelin was pressured not to rejoin the cabinet, and announced she was stepping down. (AP, Sept. 23) [top]

A map in the Sept. 23 New York Times shows the position and numbers of US troops which encircle Iraq, waiting for the word to launch aggressive action. 25,000 mostly Navy troops are on board two battle groups of some nine ships and 70 aircraft each--one led by the carrier Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf, the other led by the carrier George Washington in the Mediterranean. 9,000 Army and Air Force troops and 2,200 Marines are headed to Kuwait for a "training exercise," with over 100 tanks, 100 armored personnel carriers and 80 aircraft arriving ahead of them. 6,600 mostly Air Force troops with Patriot anti-missile batteries are at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. 4,200 Navy troops are at Bahrain, now headquarters of the Fifth Fleet. 3,300 mostly Army troops and 600 military planners are being sent from Central Command headquarters in Tampa, FL, to Qatar's al-Udeid Air Base, where armored brigade equipment is already pre-positioned. 2,400 mostly Air Force troops and some 24 aircraft are in place in Oman, and another 500 in the United Arab Emirates. About 1,700 Air Force troops and 60 aircraft are at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, from where they enforce the no-fly zone over northern Iraq. 1,900 Air Force troops and eight B-52 bombers are on the British-controlled island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, with B-2 Stealth bombers reportedly on the way.

Confidential WW3 REPORT sources in the military indicate US troops have already got the word they will be going into Iraq in October or November. [top]


Some 800 US troops--including Special Forces and CIA operatives--have been stationed in Djibouti, reportedly preparing to intervene against al-Qaeda elements in nearby Yemen, BBC reports. A large amphibious assault ship, equipped with helicopters, is also reported to be off Yemen's coast. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Achmar, speaker of Yemen's parliament, said Yemen does not oppose US military advisors but will not accept US troops on the ground.

The government of Oman recently handed over 12 al-Qaeda suspects to Yemeni authorities. The suspects were reportedly Yemeni citizens trying to return home after fighting in Afghanistan. Yemen is currently holding some 200 suspected al-Qaeda militants. Some of their families have petitioned Yemen's parliament to have them set free, arguing they are being held without due cause. (BBC, Sept. 19)

On Sept. 20, two suspected al-Qaeda militants were killed in a gun-battle and three others were detained when Yemeni security forces raided several homes in Sanna. Two members of the security forces were injured in the firefight in the northern suburbs of the capital city, officials said. A cache of weapons was reportedly confiscated in the raid. (AP, Sept. 21) [top]


USA Today reported Sept. 19 that the over 800 U.S. troops now massing in Djibouti are poised for action not only across the straits in Yemen--but also across the border in Somalia. The troops--including Army Green Berets and a Delta Force "snatch team"--are reportedly preparing to capture or kill suspected al-Qaeda fugitives in operations coordinated with CIA paramilitaries. Military action is also being considered in Sudan, US intelligence officials told the paper.

The CIA and Pentagon have fingered Somalia as an al-Qaeda stronghold since the Afghanistan campaign began last fall, and the State Department added a Somalia-based group, al-Itihad al-Islamiya, to its official list of terrorist organizations in the aftermath of 9-11. But Somalia, which has been without a functioning central government for over a decade, is actually home to a profusion of loosely-organized Islamist groups, and operations against them could prove chaotic. See WW3 REPORT #s 11 and 16

Janes Defense Weekly provided an overview of Somali-based factions Jan. 9, noting that one "leading Islamic group in the country is the Pakistan-based Tabliq. This group recruits missionaries willing to espouse strict adherence to the Islam of the Koran. In Somalia, these wandering preachers have not engaged in any militant activities, and are widely perceived as something akin to pacifists. In recent weeks, however, they are believed to have assisted in the recruitment and transportation of volunteers to Pakistan to help the Taliban." [top]


Hamid Karzai's struggling interim Afghan administration is worried the US government will be distracted by impending war with Iraq, and pay less attention to security and economic stabilization in Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Abdullah, visiting Washington in mid-September, said President Bush "assured us and reassured us" that Afghanistan will remain on the front burner. "While there are other major concerns for the United States like the Middle East, like Iraq, the focus from the campaign against terror shouldn't be shifted, because that campaign is far from being over," Abdullah said. "Our point, at this stage, is that Afghanistan is a test for the international community, for the United States. Success or failure will be judged by the whole world and will have its implications." When quizzed about Iraq, Abdullah, a member of the Tajik-dominated Northern Alliance and long viewed as being close to Russia, said he thought Saddam Hussein's surprising offer to allow weapons inspections was just another stalling tactic which does not take into account the need for full compliance with UN resolutions. (AP, Sept. 18) (David Bloom) [top]

Special Forces troops at the US military outpost in Lwara, in Paktia province, were targeted by six rockets and small arms fire Sept. 20. US forces responded with mortars, and an A-10 Thunderbolt fighter plane dropped four 250-lb bombs. No US casualties were reported. Such attacks have become almost daily occurrences in eastern and southern Afghanistan. What was unusual about this attack is that the attackers stayed around to fight; usually, they just hit and run. But the US military played down this fact. "We have had continued contact with people that we believe to be either members of al-Qaeda or people who still support al Qaeda," said US military spokesman, Col. Roger King. "They are relatively uncoordinated and ineffective." (CBS, Sept. 20) (David Bloom) [top]

The State Department plans to hire a private contractor to help protect Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, phasing out Pentagon Special Operations troops now assigned to the mission. The plan has come under fire from some Congressmen who argue that protecting Karzai is too important to be entrusted to a private contractor. Two members of Karzai's cabinet have been murdered this year and the president himself was the target of an assassination attempt earlier this month.

In a letter to the State Department and the Pentagon, Reps. Henry Hyde (R-IL), and Tom Lantos (D-CA), urged the two departments to combine forces to protect Karzai rather than hire a private company. But State Department spokesman Richard A. Boucher said: "Diplomatic Security Service is a civilian law enforcement and security service. It operates in an environment where the rule of law governs; that is not necessarily the situation in Afghanistan."

One firm the State Department is considering contracting is DynCorp of Reston, VA, which already has numerous government contracts--including ones for recruitment of retired police officers for UN peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and supplying pilots for US-financed aerial herbicide spraying in Colombia.

A former employee of a DynCorp unit sued the company last year, claiming she had been unfairly fired after complaining that UN police officers and DynCorp employees frequented brothels in Bosnia at a time when the UN was officially attempting to eliminate prostitution rings. A court in the UK ruled in her favor last month. DynCorp has said it fired her for misconduct. (NYT, Sept. 9) [top]

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on a tour of the Middle East following a mayors' conference in Greece, stopped in for a two-hour visit at Afghanistan's Bagram Air Base Sept. 21, where he handed out NYPD caps to the GIs and engaged in other such photo stunts. Over dinner, he gave Lt. Gen. Dan McNeill, top US commander in Afghanistan, a symbolic set of keys to New York City. Bloomberg and his daughter Emma were both asked to wear camouflage flak jackets before they got off the plane. Said Bloomberg: "Hopefully nobody will shoot at me so I do not need it, but it makes good TV if nothing else." In a gesture of touching sensitivity to the country's Muslim inhabitants, the dinner menu featured pork strips and ham. (Newsday, Sept. 23) [top]

Pakistani police arrested seven suspected Islamic militants in Karachi, one of whom is said to have masterminded two deadly suicide attacks in the city. Police say Sharib Zubair is wanted in connection with a bomb attack on Karachi's Sheraton Hotel in May, which killed 11 French nationals and three Pakistanis, and a blast outside the US consulate in June, which took 12 lives. Zubair is said to belong to Harkat-ul Mujahideen al-Alaami, an offshoot of Harkat-ul Mujahideen, one of the main guerrilla groups fighting Indian rule in the disputed region of Kashmir. Three Harkat-ul Mujahideen al-Alaami members are already on trial over the US consulate attack. Authorities said Sharib Zubair and another of the arrested men, Mufti Zubair, had installed a rocket launcher on the rooftop of their apartment block.

A top police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said security forces also arrested two militants suspected of planning to assassinate Pakistan's ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. The two men are also believed to be members of Harkat-ul Mujahideen al-Alaami.

The arrests come just a week after about a dozen foreigners, including 9-11 suspect Ramzi Binalshibh, were also detained in Karachi. Last week intelligence officials from the US and Pakistan began their interrogation of Binalshibh, who is accused of being a key planner of the 9-11 attacks. The suspected leading al-Qaeda militant was caught after a shootout in Karachi. (BBC, Sept. 18) [top]


Press accounts this week indicate that four of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are now expected to support a resolution that would give Saddam Hussein just weeks to open Iraq to weapons inspectors or face military action. France and Russia, in separate statements to the UN last weekend, signaled their willingness to side with the US and UK on the Iraq resolution. The other permanent member, China, is unlikely to support the resolution--but is also now considered unlikely to veto it. (The Age, Melbourne, Australia, Sept. 16)

The turn-around by previously intransigent Russia and China follows intensive telephone diplomacy between Bush and his counter-parts in Moscow and Beijing. (See WW3 REPORT # 51)

Officially unrelated but simultaneous developments point to the likely substance of those phone calls: a quid-pro-quo in which Moscow and Beijing agree to give the US a free hand against Iraq in return for being granted a free hand against nations within their own influence spheres--specifically Georgia in the post-Soviet Caucasus and Uighurstan in China's far west. [top]

FBI officials issued a bulletin Sept. 18 warning of an al-Qaeda plot to hijack an airliner in the US using Muslim extremists of non-Arabic appearance--specifically Chechens. "Purportedly, al-Qaeda members have discussed using Chechen Muslims affiliated with al-Qaeda but already present in the US for such operations in order to avoid security scrutiny at airports," the bulletin said. "Once aboard the aircraft as many as 10 or 20 hijackers seated in first class would overwhelm the crew and seize control." (LAT, Sept. 19)

The following day, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz warned that Chechen terrorists linked to al-Qaeda are training in Georgia. "There are countries like Yemen and Georgia, where we know there are active terrorists, not just training camps," Wolfowitz told a joint hearing of the House and Senate intelligence committees investigating the 9-11 attacks. "Training camps, yes, but also people plotting and doing plots. And we are working actively in different ways with both of those governments to get actionable intelligence," he said.

Wolfowitz was responding to a question from Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Bob Graham about why training camps outside Afghanistan, which might be producing the "next generation of terrorists," have not been targeted in Washington's "war on terrorism." Moscow is threatening military intervention against Chechen guerillas who have reportedly taken refuge in Georgia. (Reuters, Sept. 19) [top]

On Sept. 12, the same day President Bush made his appeal at the UN for military action against Iraq, Russia's President Vladimir Putin made his own appeal for the UN to support Moscow's threats of military action against Georgia--"In words echoing the language of the Bush anti-terrorist campaign," the New York Times wrote.

In a letter to the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, and the four other permanent Security Council members, Putin accused Georgia of a "grievous failure" to comply with a UN resolution to combat international terrorism. He repeated his warning that Russia will attack unless Georgia cracks down on Chechen guerillas operating from its territory. Putin said that Georgia's harboring of Chechen rebels gives Russia the right to act in self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter as well as the antiterrorism resolution passed last year after 9-11. "If the Georgian leadership does not take concrete actions to destroy the terrorists, and bandit sorties continue from its territory," Putin wrote, "Russia, acting strictly under international law, will take adequate measures to oppose the terrorist threat."

The US issued requisite condemnations of Putin's claims, but neither of the two State Department functionaries quoted by the Times were even of sufficient weight to be mentioned by name. "We take strong exception to statements yesterday by President Putin threatening unilateral action against Chechen targets on Georgian territory," one anonymous State Department spokesman said. Another, reportedly part of Secretary Colin Powell's delegation in New York, echoed that response. "The Pankisi Gorge is in Georgia, and thus is a Georgian issue," he said, referring to the canyon where the Chechens are said to have taken refuge. (NYT, Sept. 13)

See also "Putin Ultimatum to Georgia," WW3 REPORT #51 [top]

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, on a trip to Washington, told TV reporters that Moscow is prepared to launch preventive strikes on militants in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge--and that he will present US officials with evidence of a terrorist presence on Russia's southern border. "If we see that bandits are headed in our direction and only 10 to 15 kilometers are left before the border, should we wait for them to cross the border, kill someone and disperse?" said Ivanov. "Naturally, in this situation we will take a preventive action to protect our security and lives of our citizens." Ivanov, in Washington with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, said he would use meetings with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell to provide "tons of proof" of terrorist activity in Georgia.

Ivanov's statement drew an immediate angry response from Georgia. Dzhemal Gakhokidze, deputy chief of President Eduard Shevardnadze's Security Council, warned that a Russian operation in Georgia would amount to an "aggression and an international crime." ( The Moscow Times, Sept. 20) [top]

Iraq's proven reserves of crude oil total 112 billion barrels--the largest in the world outside Saudi Arabia. US war planners are making little effort to disguise their use of this oil as a bargaining chip to build their coalition against Sadam Hussein. "It's pretty straightforward," said ex-CIA director James Woolsey, a leading advocate of forcing Saddam from power. "France and Russia have oil companies and interests in Iraq. They should be told that if they are of assistance in moving Iraq toward decent government, we'll do the best we can to ensure that the new government and American companies work closely with them."

The Iraqi National Congress, the opposition umbrella organization which has won sponsorship from the White House, seems at least partially sold on this agenda. "We will review all these agreements, definitely," said Faisal Qaragholi, a petroleum engineer who directs the INC's London office. "Our oil policies should be decided by a government in Iraq elected by the people." INC leader Ahmed Chalabi went further, saying he favored creation of a US-led consortium to develop Iraq's oil fields, which have deteriorated under more than a decade of sanctions. "American companies will have a big shot at Iraqi oil," Chalabi said. (International Herald Tribune, Sept. 16)

Russia has substantial interests in Iraq, and stands to lose a great deal if the post-Saddam order is not favorable to Moscow. Iraqi oil traded in a UN oil-for-food program brings Russian companies a $4 billion annual windfall. Iraq owes Russia up to $9 billion in Soviet-era debt, which Moscow hopes to one day collect. And Russia and Iraq have been discussing a new five-year economic cooperation program worth $40 billion . (Moscow Times, Sept. 13) [top]

The Los Angeles Times reported blatantly on the horse-trading behind the US coalition-building for the pending military campaign against Iraq: "US officials expect the Turks to ask for weapons and debt relief, the Russians and French for access to Iraqi oilfield business, the Qataris for cash to build an air base, and the Jordanians for guarantees of oil and trade. Officials expect many other countries to join the horse trading, and predict that they won't be shy."

"Countries in the Middle East take the bazaari approach," said Danielle Pletka, a former Senate aide now with the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. "Once they know we want to buy... the sky's the limit." ( LAT, Sept. 13)

The Iraq strategy reportedly favored by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz calls for the US to seize Iraqi oilfields and sell the oil to fund the war effort. (See "Is Baghdad Next?", WW3 REPORT #4) [top]

The August addition of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) to the State Department terrorist list is hailed as a victory by Beijing but protested as a betrayal by Uighur exiles and dissidents from China's remote Xinjiang province. ETIM is one of several small, militant groups seeking independence for the region of East Turkestan or Uighurstan, as the Muslim and Turkic native Uighur people call it. "This listing was a sop to the Chinese, giving them a lot of face," said Dru Gladney, an expert on China's Muslims at the University of Hawaii, asserting that there is no reason to single out ETIM, and that violence in the region is rooted in Chinese tyranny and colonization of Uighur lands. "Is it worth alienating an entire people in order to achieve short-term gains?" he asked. Erkin Dolat, editor for the Uighur Information Agency, a DC-based exile group, said the State Department move "is disastrous to the Uighur freedom movement" and had "opened the floodgates of Chinese persecution."

Last week the US also joined China in persuading the UN to add ETIM to its global terror watch list. Announcing the UN designation in Washington, State Department spokesman Philip T. Reeker said: "The East Turkestan Islamic Movement is a violent group believed responsible for committing numerous acts of terrorism in China, including bombings of buses, movie theaters, department stores, markets and hotels; assassination; and arson." (NYT, Sept. 13)

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan hailed the listing of ETIM at the UN. "This is an encouraging result from China's cooperation with the United States and other countries in fighting terrorism," he was quoted by China's official Xinhua news agency. ( Jang, Pakistan, Sept. 13)

See also "Uighur Separatists Make Terror List," WW3 REPORT #49

According to some reports, al-Qaeda itself was among the cards Beijing played to win US support for repression in Xinjiang/Uighurstan. A spate of recent reports of China arming al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan pointed to a division within Beijing's policy. On one hand, a close alliance with Pakistani intelligence meant embracing Islamabad's policy of grooming militant Muslim groups as proxies against their mutual enemy India. On the other hand, Beijing feared the contagion spreading into Chinese territory--and claimed that Uighur militants had been trained by the Taliban/al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Was Beijing allowing Uighur militants to filter into Afghanistan--and even arming them--to spook the US into giving a green light for repression?

See also: "Osama Alive, in Afghanistan?", WW3 REPORT # 49 ,"Al-Qaeda Regrouping in Pakistan for Afghan Attack," WW3 REPORT #46 [top]

The Saudi-run pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat reports that the US is offering Turkey billions of dollars in aid if it agrees to support military action against Iraq, and open its territory as a staging ground. The paper quotes Turkish Foreign Ministry sources as saying the offer was discussed during recent talks in Washington and New York on the future of northern Iraq. The US reportedly proposed "compensating" the Turks to the tune of $10 billion, plus new weapons sales. In return, the US would be allowed to set up an "air bridge" between Incirlik Air Base in southeastern Turkey and Kurdish northern Iraq, where large numbers of US troops would be landed. Al-Hayat notes reports in the Turkish press that Washington has suggested that US forces occupy the northern Iraqi cities of Mosul and Kirkuk to allay Turkish fears that the Iraqi Kurds might take control of them in the event of war. Turkey also reportedly asked the US for support on the Cyprus question as part of the quid pro quo. Al-Hayat also says Turkey is positioning itself to play a greater role in post-Saddam Iraq by hosting its first-ever meeting of Iraqi opposition parties for a seminar on the future of northern Iraq Sept. 26. (Daily Star, Lebanon, Sept. 21)

See also: "Kurds Pledge to Resist Turkish Designs on Their Homeland," WW3 REPORT #48 [top]


State assembly elections in the contested Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir began on Sept. 12 and are expected to continue through mid-October, divided into four phases due to the threat of violence. The elections are seen as conferring legitimacy on Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir--but are contested as an illegitimate imposition by both the armed resistance movements and much of the civil opposition.

On Sept. 21, the eve of the second round, violence erupted in Srinagar where militants attacked the houses of two candidates, a polling station and security personnel, leaving two dead and some 25 injured. The Indian Army responded with a massive operation to end attempts by militant groups to disrupt the elections. Nine militants and three children were killed in Army operations over the following two days. (Times of India, Sept, 23)

Rights organizations also claimed force was used to undermine a boycott of the elections. The Coalition of Civil Society, in its report on the fairness of the first round, stated that widespread coercion was used by security forces to make people cast votes. The Coalition sent out four teams who covered about 100 polling stations, reporting several eye-witness accounts of security forces pressuring village mosques to make announcements urging villagers to vote. Threats of violence were also reportedly used to order villagers to the polls. (Kashmir Times, Sept. 23)

Ahmad Mir, acting chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front--part of the 23-member separatist coalition, All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC)--stated that in the face of harassment and intimidation at the hands of armed Indian forces, the international community's appeal to Kashmiris to exercise their franchise was an insult. Had the world taken action in 1947, he stated, the Kashmir problem would never have arisen. "But the international community and United Nations are mute spectators. And this has caused a real problem. If we would have rich oil resources, all the global powers would have stepped in to solve this tangle for their vested interests." (Kashmir Times, Sept. 22)

APHC leader Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, speaking to US State Department representatives, said his movement would consider an alternative to Kashmiri independence in the form of greater autonomy from both India and Pakistan (which controls the northern half of the divided region). However, this "alternative negotiated settlement" would be possible only if both nations opened dialogue with local parties about the "fundamental issues" concerning Kashmir. (Times of India, Sept. 23)

While the APHC consists of both organizations which support independence for Kashmir as well as those which advocate union with Pakistan, the rival Jammu State Morcha party (linked to India's ruling Hindu nationalist BJP) supports a third option--"trifurcation," or division of the state into Jammu, Kashmir and Laddakh based on religion. Jammu's Hindu pandits or holy men are the BJP's largest constituency of voters in Kashmir. They were historically subject to religious discrimination, and are now advocating for a Hindu-majority Indian state of Jammu. Kashmir valley, with a predominant Muslim population, and Laddakh with its large Buddhist population, would form their own states. While the BJP has denied J&K's autonomy--let alone independence--the local Hindu right's support for "trifucation" has created a dilemma for New Delhi. (Times of India, Sept. 22)

The Jammu-Kashmir People's Movement, an APHC member, issued a statement Sept. 22 demanding the release of all detained APHC activists and calling upon India, Pakistan and Kashmiri political parties to engage in a tripartite dialogue on the future of Kashmir. The aspirations of the Kashmiri people, it stated, could not be dulled by the human rights violations they have been subject to at the hands of both Indian security forces and militants backed by Pakistan.

Similar statements were made by Kashmir Peace Network, a group of Indian and Pakistani activists in New York City who protested BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit Sept. 13. Shubh Mathur, an anthropologist from India said, "Since 1989, Kashmir has been occupied by more than 700,000 troops from various Indian forces, stifling freedom of expression, assembly, press, and religious freedom. So long as this occupation continues, there will be no free elections in Kashmir."

(Subuhi Jiwani) [top]


21 have been arrested in Singapore on suspicion of links to international terrorism, authorities announced Sept. 16, claiming some had received military training at al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. The arrests, made in August, but only announced now, mark Singapore's second major sweep against al-Qaeda suspects. In January, over a dozen suspected al-Qaeda operatives were detained. Both times those arrested were said to belong to the group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). "These latest arrests have seriously disrupted the JI network in Singapore," the government statement said, claiming the group was planning attacks against US interests in Singapore. One plan reportedly involved blowing up a bus carrying US personnel between a naval base and a local underground station. US naval vessels off Singapore were also being targeted for bombing, the statement said. The suspects, all said to be citizens of Singapore, can be held indefinitely under the terms of Singapore's Internal Security Act. ( BBC, Sept. 16)



The Sept. 13 arrest of five men in Lackawanna, NY, a working-class suburb of Buffalo, was billed as the first-ever bust of al-Qaeda terrorists on US soil. The day after the arrests, the FBI held a highly-choreographed press conference in Buffalo, with maps of both Afghanistan and the Lackawanna neighborhood where the five suspects lived posted near the podium. New York Gov. George Pataki, now running for re-election, was the first at the microphone, asserting that the five suspects "trained at al-Qaeda camps" and heard Osama bin Laden speak. Next up was FBI Special Agent Peter Ahearn, who reported that no weapons were found and there was no evidence linking the suspects to any specific plans or actions. The entire case against the five men--all US citizens--consists of the fact that they allegedly, while on a pilgrimage to study Islam in Pakistan, took a side trip to Afghanistan and visited what the US media later dubbed the "al-Farooq terrorist training camp." The trip took place before the 9-11 attacks, when it was legal to travel to Afghanistan (and when US oil companies were still schmoozing the Taliban for pipeline rights). While the five are charged with "providing material support or resources to designated terrorist organizations," Ahearn could not be specific as to what resources the men provided or if there was any further evidence that would be forthcoming. He did, however, leave the door open to more charges, saying the investigation was still in progress.

Buffalo writer Michael I. Niman points out that there is little substance behind the FBI hype and media feeding frenzy: "On the surface, the five Lackawanna men don't fit any existing profile of a terrorist. Four are native-born Americans and graduates of Lackawanna High School, where one of them, according to The Buffalo News, was voted by his graduating class as the 'friendliest' senior. The fifth is a naturalized American citizen. Four have wives; three of them are fathers. One is the son of a former autoworker and UAW member. One is a student at a local community college. They are all registered voters enrolled in the Democratic Party. At least one, according to the News, is an avid Bills football fan. They come from a small, depressed, post-industrial city whose economy and geography [were] dominated by the now bankrupt Bethlehem Steel Corporation. They hung with a crew of hip young Yemeni-Americans whose hip-hop style of dress was clearly more influenced by MTV than by Islamic law... The FBI has not yet presented any evidence, argument or charges that would indicate the Lackawanna men constituted a 'terrorist cell' as alleged by the Justice Department and countless newspaper headlines. The FBI's press release, while crediting the 17 law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation and giving the names and addresses of the suspects and a list of the properties that they searched, offers no incriminating information other than alleging the men visited the al-Farooq camp, and, 'While present, Usama [sic] bin Laden spoke to all camp participants including the five for whom arrest warrants have been issued.' This, it appears, was their crime--hearing Osama bin Laden speak. This earned a Sunday headline in the Buffalo News proclaiming, 'Lackawanna Men Present as Bin Laden Urged Terror.' The same paper previously reported that, 'The suspects are believed to have had contact with those involved in the September 11 attacks on the United States.' This presumably refers to their alleged presence at al-Farooq when bin Laden spoke, but implies a much more sinister connection than the current charges indicate."

While conceding that "it's premature to dismiss these arrests as being politically motivated," Niman notes: "The FBI's Buffalo press conference itself seemed more like a Republican Party function than a federal law enforcement event, as a host of elected Republican officials, such as Congressman Tom Reynolds, who represents a district to the north of Buffalo, jockeyed for photo-ops. The Buffalo area is overwhelmingly Democratic, with not a single Republican elected to office in Buffalo's city government, yet no prominent local elected Democrats appeared at the press conference."

Niman also writes that local politicians have been quick to exploit the xenophobic backlash to the arrests, "with Buffalo City Council member Charley Fisher III having told supporters that a new mosque is actually a Buffalo-based paramilitary terrorist training camp. Followers of Fisher have urged a boycott of Arab-American owned businesses, which they claim are funding al-Qaeda. Fisher, formerly dismissed as a crank by his council peers after alleging al-Qaeda ties to local Arab-American run businesses, has suddenly, in the eyes of many of his constituents, been vindicated."

( Michael I. Niman for AlterNet, Sept. 16) [top]

Authorities in Florida admitted they got it wrong when they detained three Muslim men for 17 hours on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks. Police originally said the three medical students--all US citizens of Middle Eastern background--had been overheard in a diner plotting an attack, before driving off at high speed through toll booths without paying. Now authorities admit their alleged conversation was a false alarm and that video footage shows they did in fact stop and pay the toll. Meanwhile, some 600 police were mobilized to the area, shutting down Interstate 75, also known as the Everglades Parkway or "Alligator Alley." National TV broadcast live footage of the suspects' two cars being searched by bomb-sniffing dogs and a remote-controlled robot. A bag was removed from one of the vehicles and blown up, but nothing was found and the men were released without charge. (NBC, Sept. 13)

The incident began when police received a call Sept. 12 from a woman who had overheard the men talking at a Shoney's Restaurant in Calhoun, GA. The woman, Eunice Stone, said she heard the men say they would "make America cry on Sept. 13," and "If we don't have enough to bring it down, I have contacts." A BOLO alert (be-on-the-lookout) went out to police in Georgia and neighboring states, and the men were stopped on I-75 the following morning. A report in the Sept. 13 Miami Herald indicated the three men--of Lebanese, Jordanian and an Iranian descent--were playing a sarcastic trick on a patron at the restaurant who they believed was eyeing them suspiciously because of their ethnicity.

The family of one of the men, Ayman Gheith, 27, condemned the stop as racial profiling at a televised press conference in suburban Palos Hills, IL. Ayman's sister Hana Gheith said he wouldn't have joked about terrorism. ''I know for a fact that he would not do anything like that,'' she said. "He's a good man.'' But Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said "If this was a hoax, my hope is these people would be prosecuted.''

Ayman Gheith said Stone was "flat out lying" and said they had only been discussing their trip to Miami. But Florida's Larkin Community Hospital, where the three men were headed to begin an internship, reports that since the incident it has received an overwhelming amount of "threatening, ethnic, racial e-mails [and phone calls] directed at Muslim-Americans." The hospital has cancelled their internship. (CNN, Sept. 15) [top]

Nasir Ali Mubarak, a California resident who was deported to Pakistan in August, was detained upon arrival in Islamabad and is now missing, according to his attorney in San Francisco. Attorney Mark Van Der Hout says the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) told him that Mubarak and two INS agents accompanying him were met at Islamabad's airport by men in plain clothes who said they were Pakistani officials. Mubarak was driven away; the INS agents were told he was being taken to a detention center. Mubarak's family fears he is being tortured, and has contacted Amnesty International. No evidence linked Mubarak to terrorism, and he was ordered deported only for overstaying his 1991 student visa. After being held in federal custody for 10 weeks without bail, Mubarak accepted deportation on Aug. 20. He planned to travel from Pakistan to the United Arab Emirates. (San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 12)

(from Immigration News Briefs, Sept. 13) [top]

Egyptian immigrant Hady Hassan Omar filed a $1 million suit in federal court in Alexandria, LA, claiming he was mistreated while in US custody. Omar was detained by the FBI at his mother-in-law's Arkansas home Sept. 12, 2001, because he had purchased an airline ticket with the same Kinko's computer as one of the 9-11 hijackers. He was not charged with a crime, but the INS held him on an alleged immigration violation. Omar's wife--a US citizen--and the attorney she hired were not told of his whereabouts for two weeks after his arrest. Omar was released on bond in November after 73 days in custody, mostly at a Louisiana detainment center. He claims he was subjected to body-cavity searches and round-the-clock video surveillance, was ridiculed by guards and not allowed to pray or eat according to Islamic traditions. He reports that at one point he was forced to urinate on himself because he was denied access to a bathroom. (San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Sept. 10)

(from Immigration News Briefs) [top]

On Aug. 16, INS Commissioner James W. Ziglar announced his resignation. He is expected to stay on through the fall to help the INS merge into a new "Homeland Security" agency to be created by Congress. Angela Kelley of the National Immigration Forum, a rights advocacy group, called Ziglar a "calm and sensible voice within the Department of Justice, pushing back when certain others wanted to put unreasonable and uncalled for pressure on immigrant communities across the country in the name of counter-terrorism." Administration sources denied Ziglar was being pushed out. He plans to take a job in the private sector. (Washington Post, Aug. 17)

(from Immigration News Briefs, Sept. 20) [top]

The Kesbehs, a Palestinian family of nine, pleaded with the government, took their case to the public and even asked Congress to pass a special law allowing them to stay. But on Sept. 13, the Kesbehs were ordered pack their belongings--a maximum 40 pounds per person--and prepare for deportation to Jordan. The Kesbehs came to the US in 1991, and later applied for asylum. The application was denied, and the family was ordered deported. The Kesbehs decided to stay anyway, and the father, Sharif, established a flag distribution business in Houston while the seven children excelled in school. They came to the attention of the authorities in the post-9-11 sweeps. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) introduced a special bill that would have allowed the Kesbehs to stay in the US legally, but it had not been approved by the time the deportation orders arrived. The government said last December that at least 314,000 people have received deportation orders and decided to stay as fugitives. Officials vow to search them down. (Houston Chronicle, Sept. 14) [top]


A Sept. 5 Information Bulletin from the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center noted that "no specific and credible information" indicated plans for a terrorist attack on the 9-11 commemoration in New York or the simultaneous UN General Assembly meeting. But it did encourage citizens to rat out anti-globalization activists who will be converging on Washington DC for protests against the World Bank and IMF at the end of the month:

"With respect to the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) annual meeting in Washington, DC during the period September 25-29th, protest organizers have said that they expect thousands to turn out near the Washington headquarters of these global financial institutions. A loose alliance of left-wing groups--environmental, human rights and debt-relief, etc.--are organizing the protest. It is expected that some individuals plan to engage in criminal activity aimed at disrupting the meeting and drawing attention to their cause. Prior protests against the IMF and WB in Washington, DC were disruptive and resulted in limited clashes with police, and property damage to businesses. Historically, tiny contingents of individuals associated with the protests belonged to violent groups. Those groups have a history of causing property damage to entities perceived to represent capitalism such as banks, fast food restaurants, and multinational corporations.

"The NIPC encourages individuals to report information concerning suspicious activity to their local FBI office, the NIPC, or to other appropriate authorities. Individuals may report incidents online, and can reach the NIPC Watch and Warning Unit at (202) 323-3205, 1-888-585-9078, or" [top]

The white separatist National Alliance distributed thousands of leaflets across the country blaming the 9-11 attacks on US support of Israel. More than 130,000 fliers were distributed during the weeklong campaign which ended Sept. 11, the one-year anniversary of the attacks and the birthday of the late National Alliance founder William Pierce, said Billy Roper, "deputy membership coordinator" for the West Virginia-based organization. Roper said fliers were distributed in at least 23 states and Canada. Targeted cities included Denver, Houston, Chicago, Boston and Detroit. While authorities said the leafleting couldn't be classified as "hate crimes" because the flyers contained no overt anti-Semitism, Jewish leaders noted that the leafleting campaign coincided with the High Holy Days. (AP, Sept. 12)

Meanwhile, communities in Boston reported leaflet drops by the Illinois-based World Church of the Creator, run by Matt Hale--which won headlines two years ago when a self-proclaimed follower, Benjamin Smith, went on a racially-motivated shooting spree across the Midwest, killing two and wounding nine. The leaflets, left in the West Roxbury neighborhood, showed a picture of Osama bin Laden in the cross-hairs of a rifle and read: ''Don't let this happen again! Stop Non-White Immigration!'' (Boston Globe, Sept. 28) [top]

Although it received little coverage in New York's mainstream press, the city's Pakistani immigrant press reported on a resurgence of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the metro area around the anniversary of the 9-11 disaster. The weekend before Sept. 11, Mahmooda Malik, a Pakistani woman, and her 15-year-old son Gibran were attacked by three white men as they were walking home after closing their Long Island restaurant at 11:45 PM. Police, who arrested two of the men, said they told Malik and her son they were terrorists, partners of Osama bin Laden and responsible for the WTC collapse. Police also said a group on onlookers cheered on the attackers. Hearing Mahmooda's cries for help, her husband, who was closing up their restaurant called the police, who made arrests when two of the three fleeing men returned to collect a pair of glasses they had accidentally dropped at the scene. The two were released the next day on $100 bail.

That same weekend, Maulana Shah Wazir Khan, a Muslim cleric and yellow cabbie, was driving towards the Queensboro Bridge when he was surrounded by motorcyclists. Forced to stop, Khan was pulled out of his cab by two men and a woman, who began beating him. A passing police patrol saw the incident, intervened and arrested the attackers. Khan was taken to Bellevue Hospital and discharged the next morning. Khan also reported that two weeks earlier, Khan had experienced racially motivated violence when three white men entered his cab as passengers and attacked him. The attack began as Khan approached a gas station; the passengers fled just as he pulled into it. (Sada-e-Pakistan NY, Sept. 12, trans. from Urdu by Rehan Ansari for Voices that Must be Heard: The Best of New York's Ethnic and Immigrant Press, Independent Press Association)

In a nationwide survey of hate-based violence against South Asians, Arabs and Muslims conducted after 9-11, the Council on American Islamic Relations reported a total of 1,452 such incidents from Sept. 11 to Dec. 6, 2001. Three people were killed, including one Sikh man. Attacks on Sikhs (apparently believed to be Muslims) were reported in New York, Texas and Arizona. Twelve arson attacks against mosques were reported to police, including three in the New York area. While bias-related attacks and crimes were committed mostly in the first months after 9-11, and their number fell through December 2001, the incidents of last weekend continue to display what Barbara A. Sycili, head of the NYPD Hate Crimes Division, called a continuing malicious attitude towards Muslims in the US. (Weekly Thikana, 28 December 2001, translated from Bangla by Moinuddin Naser, for Voices that Must be Heard: The Best of New York's Ethnic and Immigrant Press, Independent Press Association)

(Subuhi Jiwani) [top]

15-year-old Katie Sierra was suspended from Sissonville High School in West Virginia after 9-11 when she repeatedly came to class wearing radical and anti-war t-shirts--such as one reading: "I pledge the grievance to the flag of the United State of America, and to the Republicans whom I can't stand, one nation under smog, in-despicable, with liberty and justice for some, not all." Some students allegedly threatened to give Katie a taste of "West Virginia justice." Principal Forrest Mann suspended Katie for three days and forbade her to wear the controversial shirts. Mann also denied Katie's request to start an "Anarchy Club." Katie contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which took up her cause. She filed a suit against the school district and Mann, asserting it was her First Amendment right to dress as she liked, express her political views and start the club. The suit asked that the school erase the suspension from her record, but demanded only a symbolic $1 in damages.

Katie wrote a Constitution and Manifesto for the Anarchy Club. "This anarchist club will not tolerate hate or violence," says her Manifesto. "It is our final goal to dispel myths about anarchism, especially the belief that anarchy is chaos and destruction." Forrest Mann apparently did not look at her literature before issuing his decision not to permit the club. Katie asked him to read the documents, and while he agreed to read them later he insisted he wouldn't change his mind. According to Katie, she demanded he tell her why, but Mann just repeatedly asked her to return to class.

The defense team contended that Forrest Mann had the law on his side. The school's student handbook states: "The United States constitution, the West Virginia constitution, and state and federal laws guarantee certain rights to individual citizens. Students possess many of these same rights. However, certain rights possessed by adult citizens do not extend to students." This limitation means students "have the right to display and wear buttons, armbands, flags, decals, or other badges of symbolic speech or expression, provided this activity does not interfere with the orderly process of the school or with the rights of others." Mann said the Anarchy Club would do so.

On July 12, a Kanawha County jury found that Katie Sierra was improperly denied the right to start a club, but was properly suspended and properly denied the right to wear her t-shirts. The jury awarded the nominal damages of $1, as well as allowing Katie's legal team to petition for their fees and expenses.

Katie proudly admits she is an anarchist, but says she is a pacifist and advocates "a peaceful revolution." She says that anarchism is about freedom, and violence violates the freedom of others . (Court TV, Sept. 17)

See also: WW3 REPORT #6 [top]


Just ahead of a one-year deadline of Sept. 11, some 950 relatives of 9-11 victims filed lawsuits against the NY-NJ Port Authority, owner of the World Trade Center. The suits charge the Port Authority with numerous safety lapses, including use of gypsum instead of masonry in the twin towers' stairwells, having clustered stairwells instead of ones spread apart to avoid bottlenecks, and the public announcement in the south tower urging employees to return to their desks after the north tower was hit. Most of those who listened did not survive. While the federal Victim Compensation Fund offers families an average of $1.5 million on condition they waive their right to sue anyone other than the terrorists, the lawsuits are going ahead under a special deal with a federal judge as families determine if they want to pursue litigation or opt into the compensation fund. (NYT, Sept. 14) [top]

Bond dealership Cantor Fitzgerald, the company which lost the most employees in the World Trade Center attack, says the US government's compensation fund may be short-changing vicitms' families. The company, which lost 658 of its employees, says the fund set a cap on the amount of money family members can receive, in violation of the law establishing the fund as part of the post-9-11 federal disaster relief package. To get automatic compensation from the government, survivors must relinquish their right to sue the airlines. But Cantor Fitzgerald says the families will also be penalized by awards based on after-tax projections of lost income. Instead, Cantor Fitzgerald calculates payments for its staff using gross income and higher estimates of future earnings than the government. The firm said it will formally submit its complaints to the government this week. (BBC, Sept. 17) [top]

On April 25, New Yorkers still shaken from the 9-11 attacks again faced grisly TV images of bloodied workers being evacuated from a disaster scene as an explosion at a commercial building in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea left 42 injured. Now New York state investigators at the explosion site have found chemicals so toxic that firefighters and other rescue workers could have been killed if the containers had opened. The cache of 1,100 gallons of chemicals included 13 gallons of hydrofluoric acid, which can kill with minimum skin contact or inhalation. A city sanitation worker was killed and his partner seriously injured in Brooklyn in 1996 by the fumes from a small container of the acid, which burst under his truck's compacting blade. "It's very toxic and flammable. It's deadly," said Thomas Manley, health and safety coordinator for the Uniformed Firefighters Association. "We were surprised when we heard it was in there." Casualties in the Chelsea blast included several workers who were apparently using an electric pump to transfer leaking chemicals from one drum to another. Officials believe a spark triggered the explosion. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has declared the basement of 121 W. 19th St. a toxic waste site and blocked all except investigators from entering the building. The company that used the basement and first floor of the building, Kaltech Architectural Signage, faces four summonses for failing to have proper permits for storing the materials. Manhattan prosecutors are working with fire marshals and state investigators to determine whether criminal charges should be brought. All firefighters who were at the scene have been instructed by their union to file a report of exposure to potentially hazardous substances. (Newsday, Sept. 22)

The revelation highlights the ongoing risk of industrial disaster daily faced by New Yorkers--especially rescue workers, employees of industrial firms and low-income residents. Another jolt came to the city on July 20, when a transformer exploded at Con Edison's Lower East Side power plant at 14th St. on the East River, spewing thick black smoke across wide swaths of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Hardest hit by the toxic plume were local residents of low-income housing projects along Ave. D--power plants and toxic facilities are routinely slated for the city's poorer neighborhoods. The Con Ed explosion knocked out power to 65,000 residents in Lower Manhattan. Police said 1,300 gallons of oil used as coolant for the transformer caught fire, sparking the explosion. ( New York Post, July 21) [top]

The turbine generator system at the Indian Point 2 nuclear power plant was shut down on Sept. 11, and power in the reactor reduced to 10% to prevent a growing hydrogen gas leak from reaching potentially explosive levels. The leak was coming from at least one cracked or broken tube in one of the four heat exchangers under the 200-ton turbine. It was first detected about two weeks earlier at a level of about 600 cubic feet per day, and had grown to over 10,000 cubic feet daily. It was leaking into Hudson River water that is pumped into the plant to cool the hydrogen gas, then released back into the river. The gas bubbles that flowed into the river rose to the surface and spread into the air. Tests outside the plant found hydrogen concentrations ranging from 0.01 percent to 0.2 percent--approaching the 4% which is considered potentially explosive. (The Journal News, Westchester/Rockland counties, Sept. 12)

The turbine shut-down came a day after Westchester County legislators, citing an unacceptable risk of catastrophe from a terrorist attack on Indian Point, voted unanimously for the shutdown and decommissioning of the plant's two reactors. (The Journal News, Sept. 12)

This week, Indian Point's owners, Entergy Corp., are planning a routine bi-annual drill on responding to a nuclear emergency at the plant, to be reviewed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). "I think we're very prepared," assured Indian Point 2 program manager Michael Miele. But local residents, activists and politicians were not reassured. Said Alex Matthiessen, director of Riverkeeper, an environmental group active in the campaign to shut Indian Point: "Nuclear plants are clearly potential terrorist targets. They're looking at a pre-9-11 world, and in my mind these agencies have their heads in the sand and are failing the public." Concurred state Assemblyman Richard Brodsky: "It's an elaborate charade, and it will tell us nothing--good or bad--about whether this evacuation plan will actually save anyone. They are going to og in there, call each other on the phone, and announce it was a success. There's an Alice-in-Wonderland quality to all of tihs." (NYT, Sept. 23)

Articles compiled by Close Indian Point Now [top]


The Pentagon is preparing to consolidate most of the global War on Terrorism under the US Special Operations Command, government sources told the Washington Post--pointing to an escalated but more covert new phase of the struggle against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which like Central Command is headquartered in Tampa, FL, has been ordered to draw up detailed plans in the following weeks for how it will manage its expanded responsibilities, sources indicated. Traditionally, SOCOM trains and equips troops for other Pentagon commands with responsibility for strategic planning. Under the new plan, SOCOM will directly oversee operations around the world.

Pentagon spokesperson Victoria Clarke downplayed the reorganization, saying, "It would be incorrect to say that henceforth that SOCOM would be the supported command." But the command transfer was discussed last week at a meeting at Bolling Air Force Base attended by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and regional command chiefs. SOCOM officers said the planned move would make Special Operations, headed by Air Force Gen. Charles R. Holland, the lead command for most anti-terrorist actions around the world. Until now, the regional command chiefs had overseen all activities in their areas, whether conducted by conventional forces or Special Operations troops. Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, chief of Central Command, would continue to oversee military operations in Afghanistan under the restructuring, though control of Special Operations units in neighboring Pakistan would be turned over to Holland. Franks would also oversee any war against Iraq.

SOCOM forces include Navy SEALs, the Army's Special Forces (Green Berets) and the Army's super-secret Delta Force. CIA paramilitary units, which have worked closely with SOCOM forces in Afghanistan, are expected to operate jointly with SOCOM in expanded global operations. (Washington Post, Sept. 18) [top]


The Bush administration released a new policy document calling for a shift of military strategy toward pre-emptive action and unilateralism, and explicitly stating that the US will never allow its military supremacy to be challenged as it was in the Cold War. Entitled "The National Security Strategy of the United States," the document discounts nuclear non-proliferation treaties in favor of a "counter-proliferation" doctrine--which includes everything from missile defense systems to military force against hostile nations which seek weapons of mass destruction. It declares that the strategies of containment and deterrence--staples of US policy since the end of World War II--are outmoded and obsolete. The document states that it is no longer possible to deter those who "hate the United States and everything for which it stands."

In contrast to the Cold War, "America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing ones," the document states, raising the specter of rogue states and terrorist groups rather than rival great powers as the new menace. "The gravest danger our nation faces lies at the crossroads of radicalism and technology." But there is no Cold War nostalgia here--the document states that "that the president has no intention of allowing any foreign power to catch up with the huge lead the United States has opened since the fall of the Soviet Union more than a decade ago." The document states that while the US will seek allies in the War on Terrorism, "we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting pre-emptively." But the document assures that the US will exploit its military and economic power to encourage "free and open societies, " rather than seek "unilateral advantage." The document calls this "a distinctly American internationalism."

The document singles out Russia, China and India as significant powers in the new order which could either bolster or threaten US interests. It praises Russian "top leaders" for abandoning Cold War approaches, but notes "lingering distrust of our motives and policies by key Russian elites." The document also focuses on the use of foreign aid and World Bank/IMF programs to win a global struggle of competing values and ideas--including "a battle for the future of the Muslim world."

The new strategy departs significantly from the last one, published by President Bill Clinton at the end of 1999. Clinton's strategy was multilateralist, focussing on improved enforcement of the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty and the pending Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and Kyoto Protocol on global warming. The new Bush strategy dismisses those efforts, saying that non-proliferation agreements have failed to prevent Iran, Iraq, North Korea and other rogue states from obtaining weapons of mass destruction. It also states says that the US will never subject its citizens to the new UN International Criminal Court, "whose jurisdiction does not extend to Americans." (NYT, Sept. 20; Financial Times, Sept. 21-2) [top]

The essence of the new White House policy document, "The National Security Strategy of the United States," is closely mirrored in an essay published earlier this month by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, arguing for a doctrine of pre-emptive strikes. The elder statesman and accused war criminal had previously appeared equivocal on the question. (See WW3 REPORT #51)

While guardedly warning against unilateralism--saying it should be a "last resort" rather than a "strategic preference"--the essay, published in the San Diego Union Tribune Sept. 8, presages many of the concepts now enshrined in the new White House document. Writes Kissinger:

"The attacks on America of September 11, 2001, marked a seismic challenge to the concept of sovereignty that has been the legal foundation of the international system since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648... The present controversy about pre-emption is a symptom of the impact of this transformation. At bottom it is a debate between the traditional notion of sovereignty and the adaptation required by modern technology and the nature of the terrorist threat. In my view, pre-emption is inseparable from the war against terrorism."

Like the White House document, Kissinger's essay makes the case for an American exceptionalism. "America has never thought itself as simply one nation among others. Its national ethos has been expressed as a universal cause identifying the spread of democracy as the key to peace."

Kissinger condescends to US allies that might object to this exceptionalism; "European critics holding more traditional concepts have accused America of overreacting because terrorism is a phenomenon new primarily to Americans and that Europeans overcame terrorism in the 1970s and '80s without undertaking global crusades." Kissinger believes this was only because old-style European terrorist groups like the IRA had specific grievances and limited targets. "By contrast, the September 11 terrorists operate on a global basis, are motivated less by a specific grievance than a generalized hatred, and they have access to weapons by which they can give effort to this strategy of killing thousands and ultimately more."

Kissinger also makes clear he sees the struggle against Saddam Hussein as the first test of the pre-emption doctrine, writing that "the accumulation of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq cannot be separated from the post-Afghanistan phase of the war against terrorism." [top]

Writes Christine Pelisek in the Sept. 20-6 LA Weekly: "War, it seems, is one of those things that the more you know about it, the less you want any part of it. With Iraq in the crosshairs, the leading voices to go to war belong to those who have no military experience. More often than not, those against a war with Iraq have served in the military." With an assist from the New Hampshire Gazette's Chickenhawks database, Pelisek provides the following dossier on the military history of those now pushing for war against Iraq:

Title: President
Stance on Iraq: Pro-war
Military history: Bush signed up for the Texas Air National Guard for six years in May 1969, which allowed him to avoid the Vietnam draft. He became an F-102 pilot in 1970, making his last flight in 1972 when he moved to Alabama to work on a GOP Senate campaign. After returning to Texas the following year, Bush says he performed non-flying duty for the Guard, but during his presidential campaign there were repeated charges that he skipped the last year and a half of his Guard obligation.

Title: Vice President
Stance on Iraq: Pro-war
Military history: Once mumbled to a reporter that he "had other priorities in the '60s than military service." Cheney received a couple of deferments to avoid service, first because he was a student, then because he was married.

Title: Secretary of Defense
Stance on Iraq: Pro-war
Military history: Flew jets for the Navy between the Korean and Vietnam
Wars but never saw combat.

Title: Deputy Secretary of Defense
Stance on Iraq: Pro-war
Military history: None. Went to Cornell University and University of Chicago instead.

Title: Chairman, US Defense Policy Board
Stance on Iraq: Pro-war
Military history: Sat out the Vietnam War at the University of Chicago.

Title: White House Press Secretary
Stance on Iraq: Pro-war
Military history: None

Title: Senior Director, National Security Council
Stance on Iraq: Pro-war
Military history: None

Title: Senior White House Adviser
Stance on Iraq: Pro-war
Military history: None

Title: Attorney General
Stance on Iraq: Pro-war
Military history: He received a deferment during the Vietnam War and taught business education at a Missouri college.

Title: Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration
Stance on Iraq: Pro-war
Military history: None

Scoring somewhat higher points for moral consistency are:

Title: Director of the Homeland Security Office
Stance on Iraq: Pro-war
Military history: In his first year at the Dickinson School of Law, he was drafted into the US Army and served as an infantry staff sergeant in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star for Valor.

Title: Secretary of State
Stance on Iraq: Pro-war
Military history: Powell served two tours in Vietnam. During the second, he survived a helicopter crash landing, then went back into the smoking wreckage and saved his commanding general and two other soldiers. Powell received two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, a Soldier's Medal and the Legion of Merit. In 1973, he took command of a battalion in South Korea. Later that year, he returned to Washington as a staff officer at the Pentagon. His career has encompassed the invasions of Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989), 1991 Gulf War, the 1992-93 engagement in Somalia and the crisis in Bosnia.

Title: Deputy Secretary of State
Stance on Iraq: Pro-war
Military history: U.S. Naval Academy grad and Vietnam veteran.

On the anti-war scorecard:

Title: Ret. General and former National Security Adviser
Stance on Iraq: Anti-war
Military history: 29-year military career.

Title: Ret. General
Stance on Iraq: Anti-war
Military history: Schwarzkopf served two combat tours in Vietnam and later was designated the Deputy Commander of the Joint Task Force in charge of US Forces participating in the Grenada student rescue operation. He is most notable as Commander in Chief, US Central Command, and Commander of Operations of Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Title: Retired General
Stance on Iraq: Anti-war
Military history: Gulf War logistics chief; later Schwarzkopf's successor at Central Command.

Title: Former Navy Secretary
Stance on Iraq: Anti-war
Military history: Vietnam vet.

Title: Ret. Marines major; former chief of the weapons inspection teams in Iraq
Stance on Iraq: Anti-war
Military history: Saw combat in Iraq during the Gulf War.


Airline executives are seeking assurances of tax breaks and financial support from Congress to protect them from the financial fallout of a new war with Iraq. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) mentioned the airlines' concerns during a congressional debate on Iraq this week. Executives from United, American, Delta and other airlines met with Reid as well as Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt and others. The House Transportation subcommittee on aviation has scheduled a hearing on the airlines' concerns. (Washington Times, Sept. 19) [top]

The father of accused 9-11 ringleader Mohammed Atta said in an interview with the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag Sept. 1 that his son is still alive. "He is hiding in a secret place so as not to be murdered by the US secret services," Mohammed el-Amir Atta, 66, told the paper. He also strenuously denied that his son--believed to have flown the first plane into the World Trade Center--was involved in the attacks, blaming them instead on "American Christians." Speaking from his Cairo home, the elder Atta described hearing about the attacks after returning from a vacation on the Red Sea on the evening of Sept. 12. "My daughter called and said she was going to drop in. She stood at the door and said 'turn on the TV'," he said. Between images of the jets crashing into the towers, he saw his son's passport photograph. "As I saw the picture of my son," he said, "I knew that he hadn't done it. My son called me the day after the attacks on Sept. 12 at around midday. We spoke for two minutes about this and that. He didn't tell me where he was calling from. At that time neither of us knew anything about the attacks." Atta said he did not condone the attacks, but could understand the motivation behind them. "Every day our Palestinian brothers are being murdered, their houses destroyed. If their relatives were to fly a plane into the Empire State Building I couldn't hold it against them." He called his son a "gentle and tender boy", who was nicknamed "Bolbol", or nightingale, by his parents. (UK Guardian, Sept. 2) [top]


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