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ISSUE: #. 56. Oct. 21, 2002






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

1. Suicide Bombing in Hadera, 14 Dead
2. West Bank: Jenin Re-occupied, Civilians Under Fire in Balata
3. Gaza Strip: "Indiscriminate" IDF Fire
4. Reservists: Evacuate "Illegal" Outposts
5. Shadow Play: "Illegal" Outpost Evacuated
6. Jordan Fears "Transfer" During Iraq War
7. Evangelical Christians for "Transfer"
8. West Bank Village Ethnically Cleansed
9. Private Spook Firm Pulls Out of West Bank

1. Congress Does a Jar-Jar; UN a Harder Sell
2. Air Strikes Target Southern Military Base
3. Another Carrier to Gulf
4. US Grooms Proxy Forces
5. It's the Oil, Stupid!
6. Kurds Poised to Seize Oil; Turks Poised to Attack Kurds?
7. Israeli Troops in Iraq?
8. Ben-Eliezer: Invasion Set for November
9. Germans Aided Saddam's "Supergun"?
10. Oops, Not Uranium After All!
11. Havel: Saddam-9-11 Link Doesn't Czech Out
12. World Council of Churches Speaks Out Against War
13. AFL-CIO Speaks Out Against War
14. Aid Groups Speak Out Against War
15. Desert Storm Vets Demand Rumsfeld Resignation
16. FAIR Documents Media Revisionism
17. Kristof Discovers the Obvious
18. Big Surprise: Saddam Wins "Elections"!

1. Yemen Tanker Bombers Wanted to Hit US Frigate
2. CFR Bashes Saudis for Coddling Terrorists

1. Falwell Sparks India Violence
2. Indo-Pak De-Escalation at Last?

1. Controversy Around Bali Explosives
2. Bin Laden Link to Bali Blast?
3. Indonesian Cleric Sues Time Magazine
4. Hunt for "Secret Mastermind" of Bali Terror
5. US on Bali Blast: Told Ya So
6. Mosque Attacked in Australia Backlash

1. Terror in Manila
2. More Terror in Zamboanga
3. Hamas Link to Zamboanga Blast?
4. Moro Rebels Get Amnesty

1. North Korea Admits to Secret Nuke Program

1. Military Surveillance in Sniper Hunt
2. CIA Chief: Terror Risk at 9-11 Level
3. Al-Qadea Targets Golf?
4. More Domestic "Terrorists" Busted
5. Cold War Logic Revived in "Terrorism" Cases
6. "Terrorism" or Vandalism in San Jose?
7. Pentagon Propaganda Trailer Hits the Theaters
8. Farouk Abdel-Muhti in Kafkaesque Nightmare
9. 3rd Circuit OK's Secret Hearings
10. New Jersey Detainees "Disappeared"

1. White House Derailing 9-11 Inquiry?
2. Brit Press Gagged on MI6 al-Qaeda Pay-Off?
3. Jihad, Lies and Audiotape
4. Hawks Chart Global Domination
5. Fuck the Whales Redux


At least 14 were killed, and over 40 injured Oct. 21 in a suicide bombing near the Israeli coastal city of Hadera. "As far as we know at this time, a car moved alongside the bus and exploded," an Israeli police spokesman said. Two bombers were in a jeep, carrying more than 100 kilograms of explosives. Islamic Jihad took responsibility. (Ha'aretz, Oct. 21) (David Bloom) [top]

On Oct. 16, gunfire from an Israeli tank shot dead Mahmoud Tamouni, 18, as he held a Molotov cocktail and prepared to throw it at the tank. Israel radio said a soldier also killed Islamic Jihad militant Wasim Sabaneh of Qabatya, who engineered a bombing in Umm al Fahm last month. (Xinhua, Oct. 16)

After pulling out of Jenin and encircling the city with a six-foot-wide trench (to prevent suicide bombers from driving out in cars, the IDF says), Israeli forces re-entered the city on Oct. 17, imposing a curfew. Israeli armored vehicles in the streets "opened random and heavy machine-gun fire." (BBC Monitoring: Wafa, Oct. 17; AP, Oct. 19) On Oct. 20, the Palestine Chronicle reports the IDF entered Jenin again, this time meeting heavy resistance from Palestinian fighters . (Palestine Chronicle, Oct. 20)

The Voice of Palestine radio reported two Palestinians were wounded when IDF forces "opened intensive fire on citizen's houses in Balata camp and other residential areas." (BBC Monitoring: Voice of Palestine, Oct. 20)

Four Israeli solidiers were wounded when they blew the door off a wanted man's house in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus. (NYT, Oct. 20)

On Oct. 20, the Palestine Chronicle reported Israeli forces raided the Balata refugee camp, shooting randomly. Four Palestinians were wounded, two were children. (Palestine Chronicle, Oct. 20)(David Bloom) [top]

The Palestinian news agency Wafa reported Oct. 15 that Israeli troops stationed in observation towers in the settlement of Ganey Tal opened fire at the al-Dalta area in western Khan Younis with heavy machine guns. Eyewitnesses reported the random fire frightened schoolchildren who were returning home from school at the time. (BBC Monitoring: Wafa, Oct. 15)

On Oct. 16, two Israeli tanks guarding the construction of a new guard tower opened fire on Palestinians in Rafah. AFP said the Israeli firing started without provocation; Amira Hass of Ha'aretz said it came in response to Palestinian fire. Six Palestinian civilians were killed, including a 12-year-old boy. Israeli fire hit several houses and an UNRWA school. The gunfire triggered a confrontation between stone-throwers and soldiers, injuring another six, including a three-year old. Fifty Palestinians were wounded. (Ha'aretz, Oct. 20; AFP, Oct. 16) Witnesses reported the IDF directed heavy machine-gun fire at ambulances, forcing them to turn back. (BBC Monitoring: Wafa, Oct. 17) Israeli opposition leader Yossi Sarid (Meretz) declared Israeli must "stop its cruel war machine" in response to the incident. "It is no longer possible to explain or justify how so many innocent men, women and children" are killed by the IDF, Sarid said. (AFP, Oct. 18)

On Oct. 16, an Israeli tank opened fire without provocation on the the village of Umm al-Nasr accoring to Wafa. The news agency claims the IDF "directed their gunfire indiscriminately at the village." (BBC Monitoring: Wafa, Oct. 16)

Wafa reports Israeli troops occupying Khan Younis opened fire indiscriminately Oct. 16 at the Al-Farrahin area, east of Khan Younis, causing panic and property damage. (BBC Monitoring: Wafa, Oct. 16)

Wafa reported Oct. 16 an Israeli tank opened fire indiscriminately at orchards and area adjacent to the Israeli settlement of Netzarim, south of Gaza City. (BBC Monitoring: Wafa, Oct. 16)

A Palestinian militant was killed and two IDF troops wounded Oct. 18 in a gunfight near the Jewish settlement of Dugit in the northern Gaza Strip. Hamas took responsibility for the attack. (Xinhua, Oct. 18)

The Palestinian radio station Voice of Palestine reported Karam Muhammad Abu-Ubayd, an 18-year-old resident of Jabaliya Camp, was killed after being "brutally tortured" following his arrest for wounding two guards at the Israeli settlement of Dugit, in the northern Gaza Strip Oct. 19. The station also reported Israeli tanks located in the Israeli settlement of Netzarim shelled housing compounds south of al-Zahra city "without justification." (BBC Monitoring: Voice of Palestine, Oct. 19)

An Israeli soldier was injured Oct. 20 when Palestinian militants belonging to the Fatah faction fired at an Israeli military convoy near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Following the attack, Israeli tanks opened fire on Palestinian houses in Khan Younis's west camp, wounding five residents. (BBC Monitoring: MENA news agency (Cairo), Oct. 20)

In the central Gaza Strip next to the Netzarim settlement, a clearly marked car from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) was hit by bullets. Israeli bulldozers flattened Palestinian land next to the settlement and opened machine gun fire, striking a 16-year-old boy in his home. The boy sustained a light injury, and several houses were shelled by tanks. (AFP, Oct. 20)

After an extensive gunfight Oct. 21, IDF troops shot dead two Palestinians said to be trying to infiltrate the Israeli settlement of Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip. (Ha'aretz, Oct. 21)(David Bloom) [top]

The leaders of the reservist movement Ha'ot (an acronym for Separation, Unity, and Hope), called Oct. 19 for Israel to evacuate all "illegal" outposts. Dozens of reserve soldiers and civilians signed the petition. They are not refusing to serve, but want their country's leaders to show Israel is a "law-abiding state" by evacuating the outposts. "We are tired of babysitting extremist thugs instead of fulfilling our true mission in the reserves," said Ronen Wolfson, an officer in a special forces unit, who also heads Ha'ot. (Itim, Oct. 20) Deputy Foreign Minister Rabbi Michael Melchior, who backs the petition, decried the "anarchy of the situation in the wildcat settlements which are set up by a group including extremists who behave like gangsters, with the support of totalitarian and autistic rabbis." (Dawn, Oct. 19)(David Bloom) [top]

The Havat Gilad "illegal" settlement outpost, near the city of Nablus in the West Bank, was destroyed by Israeli authorities Oct. 20, after considerable resistance. The outpost was built by the family of Gilad Zar near the spot where he was killed by Palestinian militants in May 2001. Havat Gilad, or "Gilad's farm," consisted of three mobile homes, camping tents, and a synagogue with no roof. Of twenty-four "illegal" outposts slated for demolition by Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, it is the only one that was populated. Twenty-two have already been removed.

Two thousand settlers arrived Oct. 16 to protest the outpost's impending evacuation, and to resist Israeli security forces. At the request of the Zar family, most left, but 200 remained, only to be removed by Israeli soldiers that night. (AP, Oct. 17)

Violence over two days of evacuation attempts by Israeli police resulted in 43 policemen sustaining light injuries, twelve of them requiring medical attention. Police and soldiers were under orders to use great restraint, avoid confrontation, and not to use weapons. So hundreds of police and soldiers used only their hands to remove the settlers. Dozens of settlers attacked the police officers and soldiers, beat them, threw stones at them, and cursed them. But the Yesha (Hebrew acronym for Judea, Samaria, and Gaza) Council of Jewish settlements joined the "hill youth" and the Zar family in an Oct. 20 demonstration, vowing to rebuild the outpost again and again, and never abandon it. (Ha'aretz, Oct. 21)

The National Religious Party (NRP) and its chairman, Infrastructures Minister Effi Eitam, were incensed the police and IDF were ordered into action on the Sabbath, for which Prime Minister Sharon apologized. "I want to express great sorrow in my name and the entire cabinet for the unnecessary, mass violation of the Sabbath that was imposed on hundreds of soldiers when they evacuated Havat Gilad," Sharon told his cabinet. But Ben-Eliezer called Eitam a hypocrite, noting police and soldiers had to spend their Sabbaths and holidays guarding the settlements. (Ha'aretz, Oct. 20)

The evacuation of Havat Gilad and other "illegal" outposts was greeted with skepticism by the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, which wrote an Oct. 17 editorial entitled "The charade of dismantling deserted settlements":

"It is noticeable these days that parties in the Israeli government, especially the Labour Party represented by Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer, are putting on a charade in the media around the so-called evacuation of illegal settlements. Moreover, the Israeli media are taking part in this farce intentionally, reporting daily about the evacuation of a settlement here and another there, or even about settlers voluntarily dismantling this or that settlement.

"In fact, the settlements being talked about are no more than places that are empty of settlers, with nothing but mobile homes, water tanks and electric generators put up by settlers on hilltops. Most of them are not even situated in the vital area outlined by the settlers for major settlement positions. They constitute the 'fringe' dimension of the settlement movement, and the settlers might have wanted them in the first place to serve as 'a very advanced confrontation line' to stave off a move against the major populated settlement blocs. Even the mere approach towards that expansive vital area constitutes a red line that no Israeli government has dared cross to this day.

"Hence, the barefaced act being put on in the West Bank is no more than an attempt to mislead world public opinion and make it believe that the Israeli government's peace intentions are serious. This attempt will not succeed, however, because the Israeli government is dismantling vacant settlements with one hand while the other is busy widening the populated settlements and expropriating more Palestinian land for this purpose. The settlements in Abu Ghunaym, Ma'ale Adumim, Givat Ze'ev and other settlements surrounding Jerusalem, which are being expanded, are categorical proof of the duplicity of the Israeli policy. One face is meant to deceive and throw sand in one's eyes, while the other, the real one, makes intensified settlement activity its top priority.

"If the Israeli government considers settlement an obstacle to peace, as the whole world sees it, it must cross the red lines it drew for itself and start to curb the expansion of populated settlement blocs as a step towards dismantling them. This is the only way to prove its credibility and seriousness in pursuing peace." (BBC Monitoring: Al-Quds, Oct. 17)(David Bloom) [top]

Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Moasher told an Oct. 10 meeting of foreign correspondents in Amman, "We do not want to see a situation where the Israeli government might make use of a war on Iraq in order to transfer Palestinians to Jordan." Moasher added: "While the Israelis have privately assured us this is contrary to their policies, we have not yet seen one public statement by any Israeli official stating that the transfer policy is contrary to Israeli policies. We are not reassured by that at all.". (AFP, Oct. 10)(David Bloom) [top]

At the recent annual convention of the Christian Coalition in Washington DC, thousands of Evangelical Christians cheered for right-wing Israeli Knesset member Benny Elon when he called for the "relocation" of Palestinians from the West Bank into Jordan. Elon's Molodet party advocates " transfer" of Palestinians to Arab countries, and he told the crowd the bible prescribes "resettlement" of the Palestinians.

Also receiving cheers that evening: House Majority Whip Tom Delay, who encouraged coalition activists to support pro-Israel candidates who "stand unashamedly for Jesus Christ." (Forward, Oct. 18)(David Bloom) [top]

Yanoun, a small Palestinian village located near the Jewish settlement of Itamar, has been abandoned by all but two of its residents, the result of continuous harassment. It began five years ago, when settlers beat a 90-year old man with his walking stick, causing him to lose one eye. The settlers then bathed and relieved themselves in Yanoun's main water source. (NPR, Oct. 19) The village was home to 25 families, but after five years of harassment, they had enough.

"Our life here is more bitter than hell," said Kamal Sobih, 40. "Death would be easier than leaving. But there is no choice." The settlers would attack at night on horseback, with dogs. They stole sheep, threw stones through windows, and beat men with rifle butts. The town's electrical generator was destroyed, and three large water tanks were tipped over.

The attacks became more frequent in the last four months, but complaints to the Israeli police and civil administration proved useless. (Washington Post, Oct. 19) 65-year-old Khaleb Mahmoud Sbay and his 70-year-old brother Fyak say they will stay, no matter what. "I am owner of this land for more than 700 years from our grandfathers, and our grandfathers, we are here," Sbay said. "We have determination to stay in our houses and the village, and we are not going to leave our houses forever, even if they slay us." (NPR, Oct. 19)(David Bloom) [top]

The international security conglomerate Group 4 Falck withdrew private guards employed by its subsidiary at Israeli settlements in the West Bank after an expose by the UK Guardian. The company gained a controlling share earlier this year in the Israeli company Hashmira, which employs some 100 armed guards at settlements. A Guardian investigation at the settlement of Kedumim showed that Hashmira's guards work closely with Israeli military and security forces, often preventing Palestinian villagers from cultivating their own fields, travelling to schools, hospitals and shops in nearby towns, and receiving emergency medical assistance. Kafr Qaddum residents harbor a special fear for a Hashmira guard called Danny, from Kedumim. "He's Russian but wears a hat like a cowboy. He is full of hatred," Majed said. "He stopped ambulances from entering the village. He shot in the air above my brother."

With 230,000 employees in more than 80 countries, Group 4 Falck, based in Denmark, paid $30 million in March for a 50% stake in Hashmira, Israel's largest private security firm. Along with some 20 similar firms on the West Bank, Hashmira benefits from extensive subsidies which Israel gives settlements for security costs. Group 4 Falck, which operates prisons in the US, UK, Australia and South Africa, asserts that it works ethically, "both nationally and internationally on the basis of principles regarding such issues as human rights, racism and child labor".

But reports last month in the Danish newspaper Politiken that Hashmira was operating in the West Bank sparked outrage in Denmark. "They are making money off people's misery and are complicit in the maintenance of settlements which the UN has with absolute clarity deemed illegal," said the Danish Socialist MP Soren Sondergaard. UN security council resolution 446, passed in 1979, affirms that the Israeli settlements are illegal under article 49 of the fourth Geneva convention, which prohibits the transfer of a civilian population to occupied territory. That is also the position of the EU, whose rotating presidency Denmark holds. (UK Guardian, Oct. 9) [top]


In a victory for the Bush administration, on Oct. 11 the Senate voted 77-23 to authorize military action against Iraq if Saddam Hussein refuses to give up weapons of mass destruction as required by UN resolutions. Hours earlier, the House approved an identical resolution, 296-133. President Bush praised the vote, declaring "America speaks with one voice." The resolution requires Bush to notify Congress before or within 48 hours after launching military action that diplomatic efforts to enforce the UN resolutions have failed.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), attempted to block the resolution with a filibuster, but was cut off on a 75 to 25 vote. Byrd called the resolution a "blank check" for the White House. "This is the Tonkin Gulf resolution all over again," Byrd said. "Let us stop, look and listen. Let us not give this president or any president unchecked power. Remember the Constitution." (CNN, Oct. 11)

Meanwhile at the UN, in a bid to get intransigent France and Russia on board, the US has reportedly softened a proposed Security Council resolution for force against Iraq, agreeing to return to the Security Council again to approve use of military force if the Saddam Hussein regime fails to cooperate on new inspections within a deadline. The new US proposal also reportedly drops demands for armed escorts for weapons inspectors. (Newsday, Oct. 18) [top]

Since mid-September, Tallil Air Base south of Baghdad has become a key target of US/UK bombing in Iraq in recent weeks. it has been struck seven times, more than any other target in that period, according to Pentagon Central Command. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld calls the attacks a response to Iraq's efforts to shoot down the US and British pilots patrolling the country's northern and southern "no fly" zones. Iraq calls the "no-fly" zones a violation of its sovereignty. (AP, Oct. 16) [top]

The San Diego-based Constellation will be the third US carrier in the region. Two other US carrier battle groups--the Abraham Lincoln and the George Washington--are already in striking distance of Iraq. A fourth carrier, the Harry S. Truman, is to head out in early December from its homeport at Norfolk, VA. A fifth, the San Diego-based Nimitz, could be deployed as early as late December. A sixth, the Kitty Hawk, based in Yokosuka, Japan, could also be mobilized, according to Patrick Garrett of, an Alexandria, Virginia-based research group. Citing security concerns, a spokeswoman for the Navy's San Diego-based 3rd Fleet, Commander Jacqueline Yost, confirmed only that the Constellation battle group had begun final pre-deployment war games off the US West Coast, and would be sent to the Persian Gulf by year's end. The Constellation is due to relieve the Lincoln, and the Truman to replace the Washington. But the carriers' six-month deployments could be extended to boost US forces off Iraq, Navy officials said.

"We no longer want to use the Gulf War method of buildup," Navy Rear Adm. Stanley Szemborski, deputy director of the Pentagon office overseeing military modernization, told a conference on national security Oct. 17. The Pentagon took over six months to assemble its forces before Operation Desert Storm in 1991. "We want our forces and our capabilities to be forward," Szemborski said at the conference sponsored by Tufts' University and the US Marine Corps. "From this forward posture, we want our forces to be able to transition rapidly to an effects-based campaign in order to either swiftly defeat or decisively defeat." In the new military jargon, "decisively defeat" means to bring about a regime change. "Swiftly defeat" stops short of occupying territory or doing away with an enemy government. (Reuters, Oct. 19) [top]

President Bush has authorized US military training for Iraqi opposition groups, and the Pentagon has identified up to 5,000 recruits for an initial training phase to begin next month, administration and Pentagon officials said. Others in a foreseen 10,000-force will be trained as forward spotters for laser-guided bombs and as military police to run prisoner of war camps in Iraq. Officials said the recruits, drawn largely from lists Iraqi exiles provided by the London-based Iraqi National Congress (INC), would be trained together outside the US. Pentagon officials would not say where the instruction would take place, but said it would not be in the Middle East.

Bush authorized the training in an Oct. 3 National Security Presidential Directive that also approved the expenditure of $92 million in Defense Department funds. While $97 million for opposition training was authorized in 1998 under the Iraq Liberation Act, a directive signed that year by President Bill Clinton restricted expenditures to non-lethal instruction. Only $5 million of the original funds were spent, largely on communications and management training for a handful of exiles. Congress was notified of Bush's determination to draw down all of the remaining money on Oct. 11, as required under the act, but not of the new directive authorizing lethal training.

Opponents of the plan call it is an effort to build a power base for Iraqi National Congress head Ahmed Chalabi. The INC is one of six groups officially designated as eligible for funds, although the notice to Congress on the $92 million funding said "other Iraqi opposition groups" may be named. "The INC is toying with making a Praetorian Guard for Chalabi, because he has no following inside Iraq. I don't think this kind of thing should be imposed," said Salah Shaikhly of the Iraqi National Accord, another of the six designated organizations. (Washington Post, Oct. 19) [top]

In what The Economist calls a "charm offensive," Saddam Hussein has made terms for sale of Iraqi oil more desirable in recent weeks, lining up new deals to market his petroleum with several top international firms, including TotalFinElf of France, Eni of Italy and Respol YPF of Spain. He has also secured drilling and service contracts from numerous Turkish and Russian firms. But the big prize is actual control of Iraq's oil reserves. Foreign investment in Iraq's oil fields is forbidden by the UN sanctions, but over 30 firms have signed contracts with Baghdad to exploit oil after the sanctions are lifted. France's Total holds rights to potentially huge reserves in Iraq. The national oil companies of China and India and even Royal Dutch Shell have also signed deals for a slice of Iraq's petrol pie. Russia and Iraq also signed an accord a few weeks ago on "economic cooperation" in the energy sector, rumored to be worth $40 billion. But The Economist writes: "American oilmen insist that any new regime would tear up existing contracts." Indeed, Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), an opposition group now being aided by Washington, recently declared that "American companies will have a big shot at Iraqi oil"--if he gets to run the show. (The Economist, Oct. 12)

Up to 300 Russian companies have contracts to sell Iraqi oil, and some ten have agreements to help develop Iraq's oil fields--including the piublicly-traded giants Lukoil and Tatneft, as well as the state companies Zarubezhneft, Slavneft, Rosneft and the natural gas giant Gazprom. Zarubezhneft director Nikolai Tokarev boasted "It's a huge, colossal amount" of Iraqi oil that Russian firms have interest in--up to 70 bilion barrels. But he warns: "If there is military action, the prospects for us in Iraq will be zero. Do Americans need us in Iraq? Of course not. Russian companies wil lose the oil forever if the Americans come." (NYT, Oct. 17)

Meanwhile, jitters over a new US attack on Iraq have driven global oil prices up nearly 50% this year, to just short of $30 a barrel. "No one really knows what would happen" if a pro-US government was installed in Baghdad, said Vladimir Averchev, a top official the Russian oil company Sidanco and a former lawmaker. "But a friendly Iraq could supply a counterweight to Saudi oil. The influence of OPEC could diminish. There's a possibility of a new and more stable market of oil priced at $18 or $22 per barrel." (International Herald-Tribune, Oct. 14) [top]

Cmdr. Hamid Efendi, the top Iraqi Kurdish military commander, told the Washington Post his forces would try to capture nearby oil-rich areas if the US strikes at Saddam Hussein's regime. But Pentagon planners fear the Kurdish goal of extending their authority to the oil fields around Kirkuk and Mosul--now outside the Western-protected Kurdish enclave--could provoke a response from Turkey, which controls crucial trade routes for the landlocked Iraqi Kurds. "Kirkuk is Kurdish. So are parts of Mosul," said Efendi, head of the 50,000-strong Iraqi Kurdish armed forces. "We would want to take these areas if the Americans attack." Meanwhile, Turkey's military denied local newspaper reports that up to 12,000 troops had crossed into northern Iraq. "These reports are totally false and do not reflect the truth," a brief military statement said. (AP, Oct. 19) [top]

Haaretz reported Sept. 28 that Israeli special forces are operating inside western Iraq, seeking locations where missile launchers might be positioned. The paper cited a report in the military affairs newsletter Jane's Foreign Report. claiming the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit was ordered into Iraq "to find and identify places used by, or likely to be used by, Iraqi Scud missile launchers." The report stated: "Our information is that neither Israel nor the United States have a clue about what, if anything, Saddam Hussein is hiding. It was this ignorance that persuaded the (Israeli) prime minister, Ariel Sharon, to assign the Sayeret Matkal to a job that is sensitive and dangerous." The report said there were only limited locations from which Iraq's remaining Scud missiles could be launched at Israel, given their limited range. "Matkal's mission is to detect early preparations," it said. "The Israelis believe the Iraqis have hidden their Scud launchers with great care."

During the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq fired a total of 39 Scud missiles into Israel. A decade earlier Israeli warplanes destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor near Baghdad. [top]

Speaking at a meeting of Labor Party ministers Oct. 3, Israeli Defense Minister and party chairman Benjamin Ben-Eliezer estimated that a US military attack against Iraq would begin at the end of November. That same day, an Israeli security delegation arrived in Washington to consult with US officials ahead of a possible war in Iraq. The Israeli team--comprised of Defense Ministry Director General Amos Yaron, his deputy Kuti Mor, and IDF Plans and Policy Directorate head Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland--met with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, and other top US officials. (Haaretz, Oct. 5) [top]

German companies have helped Iraq build a new 33-foot-long "supergun" capable of firing biological or chemical shells, prosecutors in Germany said yesterday. Prosecutors in Mannheim said two businessmen from the small town of Pforzheim will go on trial in January on charges of being the middlemen in an Iraqi operation to procure machine tools to drill the gun's barrel. "Guns of this caliber are capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction," the German prosecutors said. CIA Director George Tenet warned this week that a military attack on Iraq could prompt Saddam to use chemical or biological weapons.

The huge gun is much less powerful than the biggest of the so-called superguns designed for Iraq by Canadian weapons expert Gerald Bull in the 1980s, which had 170-foot barrels and a range of up to 35 miles, twice that of the largest British artillery piece, the AS90. Bull was fatally shot outside his Brussels apartment in April 1990. Many suspected that his slaying was the work of Israeli agents, and it came just two weeks before British officials halted a shipment of steel tubes, preventing the supergun from being completed before Desert Storm. Two of the superguns were destroyed by UN weapons inspectors after Desert Storm. Despite Bull's death and the dismantling of his superguns, designs for the weapons are said to have survived, making it possible for Saddam to try to build more. (London Daily Telegraph, Oct. 10) [top]

Atomic energy officials now say that a substance seized by Turkish authorities near the Iraqi border was not weapons-grade uranium as first reported. Atomic Energy Institute chief Guler Koksal said the material was harmless, containing zinc, iron, zirconium and manganese. The announcement ended days of speculation that the substance might have been destined for secret weapons programs in Iraq. Police, acting on a tip, discovered the material in a taxi in Sanliurfa province. Two Turks who were trying to sell the material as uranium were released from custody. The seizure alarmed intelligence agencies around the world when Turkish authorities said it weighed 35 pounds. They now maintain it weighed only 5 ounces. The disparity apparently occurred because authorities initially included the weight of the lead container in which the material was placed. (AP, Oct. 1) [top]

Czech President Vaclav Havel made a phone call to senior White House officials to tell them there is no evidence to support earlier reports by Czech intelligence officials that 9-11 ringleader Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi agent in Prague months before the attacks. Havel said that Atta had been in Prague in June 2001, but reports that he had met with Iraqi intelligence officer Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani were based on the claims of a single informant in the local Arab community after the 9-11 attacks. Havel claimed the report was met with skepticism by most Czech officials. The New York Times claimed Czech intelligence officials were "furious" that then-Prime Minister Milos Zeman took the claim directly to US Secretary of State Colin Powell before they had a chance to investigate it further. (NYT, Oct. 21) [top]

The general secretary of the World Council of Churches informed the UN Security Council that many Christians "strongly believe that pre-emptive war against Iraq is illegal, immoral and unwise." The Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser sent the message in response to the Oct. 10 Congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to use force against Iraq. Raiser said "the WCC has always advocated for every member state to comply with binding UN resolutions and to resolve conflicts by peaceful means" and that "Iraq can be no exception." (WCC press release, Oct. 12)

President Bush's own United Methodist church offered an even stronger protest of his preparations for war. Jim Winkler, responsible for the application of the church's teachings to social policy, said war against Iraq was "without any justification according to the teachings of Christ." After careful study of Christian doctrinal writings on Just War, Winkler said he was "told flatly" by the church's scholars "that they simply did not apply to this situation." Winkler said "we keep the lines of communication open" to the White House, but added: "I regret that the lines have been one way. I hope and pray that the President has considered the church's teachings." (UK Observer, Oct. 20) [top]

In a statement addressed to members of Congress, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said that it is "vital that the Administration present Americans with the evidence and considerations and make a sober judgment before our forces are sent to war. It is, after all, the sons and daughters of America's working families who will be asked to carry out this mission. We must assure them that war is the last option, not the first, used to resolve this conflict before we ask them to put themselves in harm's way to protect the rest of us". The Sweeney statement, his first on the issue, was released Oct. 7, as Congress was debating whether to give President Bush broad authority to wage war against Iraq.

Sweeney said he opposes a unilateral, pre-emptive war. "We must deal with Hussein's lawlessness in a manner that enforces international law. We must treat his defiance of the United Nations in a manner that respects that crucial institution and all it stands for. We must counter the global threat that he poses in a manner that advances our efforts to eliminate those who launched last year's attacks, and that cements our alliances with those throughout the world community who are threatened." (AFL-CIO press release, Oct. 7) [top]

A joint statement by eight NGOs active in humanitarian work in Iraq--Save the Children UK, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, CAFOD, Tearfund, Help Age International, Islamic Relief and 4Rs--issued a joint statement Oct. 18 opposing Bush's moves towards war. The statement read: "Based on the experience of our agencies and their partner organizations on the ground in Iraq we, the undersigned organizations, fear that a new war on Iraq risks deepening and extending the current humanitarian crisis: creating large numbers of civilian casualties and extending human suffering."

The following concerns were especially delineated in the statement:

* The high possibility of large numbers of civilian casualties.

* Years of war and sanctions have already created an extremely vulnerable population whose ability to cope with any additional hardship is very limited. Child mortality rates have risen by 160% under sanctions. According to UNICEF: "If the substantial reduction in child mortality throughout Iraq during the 1980s had continued through the 1990s, there would have been 500,000 fewer deaths of children under five in the country as a whole during 1991-1998." (UNICEF, 1999)

* Extensive and prolonged conflict risks undermining the essential supply of food and medicine to Iraqi civilians. Imported food rations under the Oil for Food Program generally last only three weeks. If the ration is cut in an emergency, monthly average salaries of $3-$6 would be insufficient to purchase food from local markets. 30% of Iraq's children are already chronically malnourished (UNICEF, 2002).

* Extensive and prolonged conflict would threaten key infrastructure. Water quality is already very poor for many Iraqis, constituting the prime contributory factor of death for children. Health risks related to disruptions in water supplies and erosion of water quality would increase significantly if pumping stations and sewage treatment plants ceased functioning. Electricity infrastructure is vital for these installations, as well as for hospitals, and could become a military target in any new conflict--as in Operation Desert Storm.

* Iraq already has approximately 700,000 internally displaced people. Increased conflict could lead to massive population displacement with catastrophic consequences.

* The risk of regional destabilization creating new humanitarian crises elsewhere in the Middle East.

The statement concluded: "The current focus on the [British] government's 'dossier of evidence', weapons inspectors and Iraqi disarmament should not detract from the urgent need to address the humanitarian crisis that has been unfolding in Iraq for the past 12 years." (Press release, Oct. 18) [top]

The American Gulf War Veterans Association (AGWVA) is calling for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Under questioning by Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), Rumsfeld denied any knowledge that the USs had shipped biological weapons to Iraq during the 1980's. Rumsfeld told Armed Services Committee he "had no knowledge of any such shipments and doubted that they ever occurred."

But AGWVA cites Senate Report 103-900, "United States Dual-Use Exports To Iraq And Their Impact On the Health of The Persian Gulf War Veterans," dated May 25,1994, chaired by Sen. Donald Riegle (D-MI) of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. The report documented that Bacillus Anthracis, (anthrax), Clostridium botulinum, and West Nile Fever Virus were shipped to Iraq in the 1980‚s with the full knowledge of the Department of Commerce and the Centers for Disease Control. (AGWVA press release, Oct. 2) [top]

The media watchdog group Fairnes and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) compiles a sample of contrasting quotes from the nation's press on why UN weapons inspectors had to leave Iraq. Under the heading "What a Difference Four Years Make," FAIR demonstrates how history has been rewritten:

The UN orders its weapons inspectors to leave Iraq after the chief inspector reports Baghdad is not fully cooperating with them. -- Sheila MacVicar, ABC World News This Morning, Dec. 16, 1998

To bolster its claim, Iraq let reporters see one laboratory UN inspectors once visited before they were kicked out four years ago. --John McWethy, ABC World News Tonight, Aug. 12, 2002

The Iraq story boiled over last night when the chief UN weapons inspector, Richard Butler, said that Iraq had not fully cooperated with inspectors and--as they had promised to do. As a result, the UN ordered its inspectors to leave Iraq this morning --Katie Couric, NBC's Today, Dec. 16, 1998

As Washington debates when and how to attack Iraq, a surprise offer from Baghdad. It is ready to talk about re-admitting UN weapons inspectors after kicking them out four years ago. --Maurice DuBois, NBC's Saturday Today, Aug. 3, 2002

The chief U.N. weapons inspector ordered his monitors to leave Baghdad today after saying that Iraq had once again reneged on its promise to cooperate--a report that renewed the threat of U.S. and British airstrikes. --AP, Dec. 16, 1998

Information on Iraq's programs has been spotty since Saddam expelled UN weapons inspectors in 1998. --AP, Sept. 9, 2002

Immediately after submitting his report on Baghdad's noncompliance, Butler ordered his inspectors to leave Iraq. --Los Angeles Times, Dec. 17, 1998

It is not known whether Iraq has rebuilt clandestine nuclear facilities since UN inspectors were forced out in 1998, but the report said the regime lacks nuclear material for a bomb and the capability to make weapons. --Los Angeles Times, Sept. 10, 2002

The United Nations once again has ordered its weapons inspectors out of Iraq. Today's evacuation follows a new warning from chief weapons inspector Richard Butler accusing Iraq of once again failing to cooperate with the inspectors. The United States and Britain repeatedly have warned that Iraq's failure to cooperate with the inspectors could lead to air strikes. --Bob Edwards, NPR, Dec. 16, 1998

If he has secret weapons, he's had four years since he kicked out the inspectors to hide all of them. --Daniel Schorr, NPR, Aug. 3, 2002

This is the second time in a month that UNSCOM has pulled out in the face of a possible U.S.-led attack. But this time there may be no turning back. Weapons inspectors packed up their personal belongings and loaded up equipment at UN headquarters after a predawn evacuation order. In a matter of hours, they were gone, more than 120 of them headed for a flight to Bahrain. --Jane Arraf, CNN, Dec. 16, 1998

What Mr. Bush is being urged to do by many advisers is focus on the simple fact that Saddam Hussein signed a piece of paper at the end of the Persian Gulf War, promising that the United Nations could have unfettered weapons inspections in Iraq. It has now been several years since those inspectors were kicked out. --John King, CNN, Aug. 18, 2002

Russian Ambassador Sergei Lavrov criticized Butler for evacuating inspectors from Iraq Wednesday morning without seeking permission from the Security Council. --USA Today, Dec. 17, 1998

Saddam expelled UN weapons inspectors in 1998, accusing some of being US spies. --USA Today, Sept. 4, 2002

But the most recent irritant was Mr. Butler's quick withdrawal from Iraq on Wednesday of all his inspectors and those of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Iraqi nuclear programs, without Security Council permission. Mr. Butler acted after a telephone call from Peter Burleigh, the American representative to the United Nations, and a discussion with Secretary General Kofi Annan, who had also spoken to Mr. Burleigh. --New York Times,Dec. 18, 1998

America's goal should be to ensure that Iraq is disarmed of all unconventional weapons.... To thwart this goal, Baghdad expelled United Nations arms inspectors four years ago. --New York Times editorial, Aug. 3, 2002

Butler ordered his inspectors to evacuate Baghdad, in anticipation of a military attack, on Tuesday night--at a time when most members of the Security Council had yet to receive his report. --Washington Post, Dec. 18, 1998

Since 1998, when U.N. inspectors were expelled, Iraq has almost certainly been working to build more chemical and biological weapons, --Washington Post editorial, Aug. 4, 2002

Butler abruptly pulled all of his inspectors out of Iraq shortly after handing Annan a report yesterday afternoon on Baghdad's continued failure to cooperate with UNSCOM, the agency that searches for Iraq's prohibited weapons of mass destruction. -- Newsday, Dec. 17, 1998

The reason Hussein gave was that the U.N. inspectors' work was completed years ago, before he kicked them out in 1998, and they dismantled whatever weapons they found. That's disingenuous. --Newsday editorial, Aug. 14, 2002

(FAIR press release, Oct. 20)

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New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof wrote from Baghdad Oct. 4: "From their perch in Washington, President Bush and his advisers seem to have convinced themselves that an invasion will proceed easily because many Iraqis will dance in the streets to welcome American troops. That looks like a potentially catastrophic misreading of Iraq." Instead, one young woman cheerily told him, "I will throw stones" at the US troops. "Maybe I will throw knives," chimed in her friend. Saying these opinions were "broadly representative of Iraqis I spoke to," Kristof determines:

"1. Iraqis dislike and distrust Saddam Hussein, particularly outside the Sunni heartland, and many Iraqis will be delighted to see him gone.

"2. Iraqis hate the United States government even more than they hate Saddam, and they are even more distrustful of America's intentions than Saddam's."

Given that both Saddam and the US have destroyed their country, it shouldn't come as a big surprise that Iraqis view both with hostility and suspicion. WW3 REPORT pledges that if someone gives us a budget to go to Iraq we will come back with considerably more substantial findings. [top]

When the results came in Oct. 16 on Iraq's referendum on continuing Saddam Hussein's rule for another seven years, they were astonishingly unanimous. Every one of Iraq's 11,445,638 eligible voters turned out, and every one voted "yes" to seven more years. "Someone who does not know the Iraqi people, he will not believe this percentage, but it is real," said Izzat Ibrahim, Saddam's top aide. "Whether it looks that way to someone or not. We don't have opposition in Iraq." (Newsday, Oct. 17)

Following the elections, Iraqi TV broadcast images of joyful prisoners streaming form the country's jails after Saddam announced a "full and complete and final amnesty" for "any Iraqi imprisoned or arrested for political or any other reason". The only exception under the decree is for convicted murderers, who can also be released with the consent of the victim's family. There is no way of verifying how many prisoners have been released.. Human rights groups accuse Iraq of detaining tens of thousands as political prisoners over the years, although many are thought to have been executed. In April, the UN Human Rights Commission condemned Iraq for conducting a campaign of "all pervasive repression and widespread terror." ( BBC, Oct. 20) [top]


Islamic terrorists blamed for blowing up a French oil tanker off Yemen's coast now claim that their intended target was a US warship. As French and US investigators announced that they had found traces of TNT on the shattered hull of the Limburg, a militant group with purported links to al-Qaeda boasted that it had carried out the suicide attack. The Islamic Army of Aden claimed, however, that it had been aiming for a US Navy frigate off the port of Mina al-Dabah. Unable to reach the frigate, they settled on the tanker instead at the last minute. A spokesman for the Islamic Army of Aden told the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper: "We would have preferred to hit a US frigate, but no problem because they are all infidels." (London Times, Oct. 12) [top]

A new report by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations calls on the Bush administration to put more pressure on Saudi Arabia for failing to crack down on al-Qaeda funding networks in the country. The Council on Foreign Relations' task force set out to evaluate the effectiveness of US efforts to disrupt terrorist financing after the 9-11 attacks. The findings call the administration's current efforts "strategically inadequate" to protect US security. The al-Qaeda network has been "disrupted but it has certainly not been destroyed," the report said. "And as long as al-Qaeda retains access to a viable financial network, it remains a lethal threat to the US." The report said US efforts to curb terrorism financing are impeded "not only by a lack of institutional capacity abroad but by a lack of political will among our allies." (BBC, Oct. 17) [top]


Five people were killed and nearly 50 injured Oct. 11 in Hindu-Muslim violence and police gunfire in Bombay when riots broke out during a general strike to protest the Rev. Jerry Falwell calling the prophet Mohammed a terrorist. Forty-seven others were injured. Falwell told CBS network Islam's prophet "a violent man, a man of war." He added: "Jesus set the example for love, as did Moses," Falwell said. "I think Muhammad set an opposite example." (AP, Oct. 11) [top]

On Oct. 16, India began withdrawing troops from the tense border region with Pakistan, and Pakistani authorities pledged to follow suit. US officials hailed the move, but a real resolution to the crisis still seems far off. India cut off diplomatic ties with Pakistan and mobilized 700,000 troops to the border following a terror attack on the New Delhi parliament building last Dec. 13. Indian officials insist no direct peace talks will be held until Pakistan stops all infiltration of Islamic militants into Indian territory. Pakistan claims the infiltration has stopped, but Indian and US officials say it has only been reduced. (NYT, Oct. 18) [top]


The UK Telegraph headline Oct. 17 alleged that the explosives used in the Bali terror attacks may be "linked to CIA"--via supplies handed over to the Mujahedeen during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. The same plastic explosive, C4, was used in the attack on the USS Cole off Yemen in October 2000 in which 17 were killed, suggesting a possible link to al-Qaeda. C4, short for Composition 4, has been used previously in terror attacks in Indonesia, and in those cases was traced back to the military, which had obtained it legally from the US.

The paper also reported that Omar al-Faruq, a Kuwaiti-born senior al-Qaeda militant, reportedly told US interrogators in Afghanistan that the organization sent Abu Bakr Baasyir, spiritual leader of the Indonesian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, a large sum of money to purchase explosives. [top]

A US intelligence document is said to include details of a confession by senior al-Qaeda militant Omar al-Faruk, who was Osama bin Laden's envoy in Southeast Asia until he was arrested in Indonesia last June and handed over to the CIA in Afghanistan. Faruk allegedly said the funds for the Bali bombing were transferred from an account in the name of Sheikh Abu Abdullah Emirati, a pseudonym used by bin Ladin. The money was reportedly mreceived by Abu Bakr Ba'asyir, leader of Jemaah Islamiya, the group which is suspected of having executed the attack. (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 20) [top]

The Indonesian Muslim cleric accused of involvement in the Bali attack has filed a lawsuit claiming millions of dollars in damages from Time magazine, which had linked him to al-Qaeda. Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, the leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, is claiming a trillion Indonesian rupia ($108 million) from Time for a September 15 article linking him with Omar al-Faruq, a suspected al-Qaeda militant arrested earlier this year in rural Java and handed over to the US.

The US, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore have repeatedly called on Indonesia to ban the group and arrest Ba'asyir, who denies any links with terrorism. Earlier this year the elderly cleric, who runs a religious school in Java, was questioned by police but released. President Megawati Sukarnoputri's administration has resisted such action, saying there is insufficient evidence. Security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono asserted Oct. 16 that "as an organisation, Jemaah Islamiyah doesn't exist in Indonesia." Ba'aysir himself described the Bali attack as "brutal," claiming, "The bombings were engineered by infidels in order to launch war against Islam." He added: "I filed this lawsuit because Time magazine has ruined my good name and has defamed me, Muslims and Indonesians," he said.

The Time article cited al-Faruq's alleged statements to CIA interrogators that Ba'asyir had tried to procure arms and explosives from al-Qaeda. Time stands by the allegations. (UK Guardian, Oct. 17) [top]

Intelligence agencies in Indonesia are attempting to hunt down a man called 'Hambali', the nom de guerre of Riduan Isamuddin, an Indonesian cleric believed to be al-Qaeda's top operative in the region. President Megawati Sukarnoputri has announced a joint Indonesian-Australian investigative team, aided by officers from seven countries, including the UK. As a youth, Hambali became involved with a network of local groups known broadly as the Jemaa Islamiya, wihch was led by older activists including Abu Bakr Bashir, the cleric detained for questioning by the Indonesian government Oct. 19 after huge international pressure in the wake of the Bali attack. (UK Observer, Oct. 20) Immediately after announcing at a press conference Oct. 18 that he would turn himself in for questioning to authorities in Jakarta, Bashir collapsed and was hospitalized. (NYT, Oct. 19) [top]

The New York Times reported Oct. 16 that the US had repeatedly warned the Indonesian government of an impending terrorist attack in the weeks before the Bali blast--most recently, in a message from US Ambassador Ralph C. Boyce to President Megawati Sukarnoputri just one day before the attack, setting a deadline of Oct. 24 for Indonesia to act against Islamic militants before the US would humiliate her regime by calling home most diplomats. Newsday reported Oct. 17 that the Indonesian government is drafting new emergency laws giving the president "sweeping powers to fight terrorism." [top]

In a second attack on Muslim religious sites in Australia since the Bali bombing last weekend, a Melbourne mosque had its windows smashed and its carpets lit by firebombs Oct. 17. Melbourne's Deputy Police Commissioner Bill Kelly hedged on whether the attack was retaliation for the Bali blast: "It's not being looked at as a retaliation attack, it's just being looked at as an arson attack on a building. But obviously given what has happened last Saturday that puts another dimension into the investigation to follow up on, to make sure it either is or isn't politically or religiously motivated." In Sydney, vandals hurled rocks at the windows of a school and the home of a Muslim cleric Oct 15. The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC), which condemned the bombing in Bali, described the arson attack as a act of retribution for the scores of Australians lost in the Bali attack. (AFP, Oct. 17)

AFIC spokesperson Kuranda Seyit told WW3 REPORT that the Bali bombing could be used by conservative politicians as "a pretext to continue to strengthen anti-terrorism laws which would target, primarily, people of Middle Eastern descent and Muslims." Seyit said that 2,000 inquiries had been filed by the Australian government into Muslim organizations since Sept. 11. "However," Seyit stated, "no funds had been frozen like in the US." Seyit clearly distinguished Australia's treatment of its Muslims from that of the US, stating that no detentions of Muslims had taken place since Sept 11. While Islamic groups are being questioned by the Australian authorities, no raids on Muslim neighborhoods comparable to those in the US since 9-11 have been reported. (Subuhi Jiwani) [top]


Three people were killed and at least 30 injured when a bomb exploded on a bus in the Philippine capital, Manila, Oct. 18. The blast occurred one day after suspected Islamic militants bombed a bazaar in the southern city of Zamboanga, killing seven and injuring scores. (UK Independent, Oct. 19) [top]

A guard was killed and at least 12 injured at a Catholic church in the southern city of Zamboanga when bombs exploded nearby. Police said one bomb was hidden in a bag left at a candle store at a shrine outside the church. It was the second fatal bombing in the city in four days. On Oct. 17, seven were killed and over 100 were injured in two bomb attacks at a market. Police attributed both attacks to Islamic militants. The church blast also came a day after police said they captured Mark Bolkerin Gumbahale, a senior member of the Abu Sayyaf Islamic rebel group. Gumbahale is accused of involvement in a wave of bombings and kidnappings, and police said he admitted participating in the beheadings of at least two hostages and nine captured soldiers. (BBC, Oct. 20) [top]

Investigators probing a bomb blast that killed a US troop and three other people in the Philippines want to question a Jordanian detained for immigration irregularities. Military chief General Benjamin Defensor told reporters that authorities were looking at whether the 36-year-old man was involved in the bomb attack in the southern city of Zamboanga. "There were reports of possible links," Defensor said. "We have to investigate this." The immigration statement identified the man as Mohammad Amin S. Al-Ghaffari, and military sources said a link to Hamas was suspected. US Army Sergeant Mark Wayne Jackson and two Filipinos were killed and 23 more wounded in the attack in a market outside a military camp near Zamboanga. (Reuters, Oct. 8) [top]

A total of 308 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Philippines' largest Muslim separatist group have surrendered over the past few weeks under a government amnesty, turning in their weapons in exchange for an official pardon. "We will teach the rebels to be responsible citizens. They are tired of war and they want to help the government to bring about peace in the South," Major Johnny Macanas told reporters.

The MILF, with an estimated 12,000 fighters, has been waging a guerrilla war for an Islamic state in the southern island of Mindanao since 1978. The group was left out of a peace accord in 1996 between Manila and the larger Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), from which the MILF splintered in the 1970s. President Gloria Arroyo launched peace talks with the MILF when she assumed office in 2001. Both sides signed a cease-fire last year, but sporadic clashes continue. (AFP, Oct. 10) [top]


The New York Times reported Oct. 17 that North Korea has admitted it has been conducting a major clandestine nuclear weapons program for the past several years, in violation of a 1994 agreement with the US to suspend all such programs. The Times reports that the revelation first came 12 days earlier, when US envoy James Kelley in Pyongyang confronted North Korean diplomats with intelligence data suggesting the existence of the nuclear program. The diplomats at first angrily denied the charge, but a day later acknowledged the program. US officials refused to say if they believed North Korea had already developed a nuclear weapon. Under the 1994 deal, signed just three months after the death of long-ruling dictator Kim Il Sung, North Korea agreed to dismantle its nuclear program and shut down its reactor at Yongbyon in return for massive aid, including both oil and "proliferation-resistant" reactors for electrical generation, to be supplied by the US and Japan. The reactors have yet to be delivered. According to the new revelations, North Korea continued to pursue a parallel program to produce weapons-grade material from highly enriched uranium, a process which does not require a reactor. The revelations complicate the US drive for military action against Iraq, and Newsday reported Oct. 18 that the US will seek a diplomatic rather than military solution to the new crisis. Cynics might note that North Korea doesn't have any oil. [top]


Military aircraft equipped with sophisticated sensors far more sensitive than those used by police will join in the hunt for the sniper terrorizing the Washington area, Pentagon officials told the Washington Post Oct. 16. Concerns were raised is whether such assistance would violate the Posse Comitatus Act, the 1878 law that bars the military from performing civilian law enforcement. The authorization, signed Oct. 15 by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is within the law, Pentagon officials said. Military pilots would be accompanied by federal agents during surveillance flights, officials said.

In a press release, the American Civil Liberties Union said it is examining legal questions raised by the move to allow Army RC7 and U21 surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to be used in the sniper hunt. "We are monitoring what the Defense Department may do in terms of providing surveillance information to domestic law enforcement," said Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington office. In recent years Congress has passed several laws relaxing the strictures of the Posse Comitatus Act in order to deal with domestic terrorist threats. In 1997,Congress gave the Pentagon authority to cooperate with the Justice Department in responding to biological or chemical attacks. Another law allows military personnel to assist the Justice Department in collecting intelligence or conducting searches and seizures if authorities judge the measures necessary to protect human life. Section 104 of the USA Patriot Act, passed last year in the wake of the 9-11 attacks, further allows the emergency use of the military in "case of attack with a weapon of mass destruction."

The mysterious sniper has shot 12 and killed nine at gas stations and shopping centers in the DC suburbs of Maryland and Virginia, and local communities are on virtual "lockdown." (NYT, Newsday, Oct. 21) [top]

CIA Director George Tenet told the joint intelligence committees on Capitol Hill investigating the 9-11 attacks: "The threat environment we find ourselves in today is as bad as it was last summer, the summer before Sept. 11. It is serious, they've reconstituted, they are coming after us, they want to execute attacks... You see it in Bali, you see it in Kuwait... They plan in multiple theaters of operation. They intend to strike again." (NYT, Oct. 18) [top]

US senators were warned earlier this week that golfers may be targets of al-Qaeda snipers on golf courses, said US Capitol Police spokesman Marcia Krug. Meanwhile, FBI agents have been questioning Nizar Trabelsi, an al-Qaeda suspect being held in Belgium who bragged to his interrogators that he had witnessed al Qaeda training for snipers. Trabelsi, arrested two days after the 9-11 attacks, is accused of plotting a suicide bombing of the US Embassy in Paris. (CNN, Oct. 18) [top]

One of six indicted on terrorism charges this month considered attacking synagogues or schools on US soil, according to federal prosecutors. Jeffrey Leon Battle "indicates that he considered engaging in some kind of violent episode - perhaps against a synagogue or a school--in which he contemplates injuring numerous people," said prosecutor David Atkinson. Assistant US Attorney Charles Gorder said a witness wore a wire during conversations with Battle last spring and recorded Battle saying he wasn't interested in a suicide attack because he wanted to be around to see the damage. Court documents say Battle told the informant he "planned to get away so we can survive and do it another time" but would be "willing to get caught or die if we could do at least 100 or 1,000, big numbers."

Also charged was October Lewis, Battle's ex-wife, who prosecutors say wired money to her husband and four other men while they were trying to enter Afghanistan through China. Prosecutors revealed several e-mails exchanged between Battle and Lewis, including one that said: "Don't tell anybody else of our plans, we should have learned our lessons about the evil eye by now."

Lewis' court-appointed attorney Jack Ransom said the government has a weak case. "In none of the e-mails is there any mention of anybody going to Afghanistan to fight against any government," Ransom said. Others charged with "conspiracy to levy war" were Habis Abdulla al Saoub, 36, who remains at large; Patrice Lumumba Ford, 31, who was arrested in Portland and has pleaded innocent; Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal, 24, who turned himself in to US authorities in Malaysia; and Bilal's brother, Muhammad Bilal, 22, who was arrested in Dearborn, MI, and has pleaded innocent. The group apparently never made it to Afghanistan. (AP, Oct. 12) [top]

David Cole, Georgetown law professor and author of "Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security," writes in an Oct. 19 New York Times op-ed that the Lackawana defendants, radical lawyer Lynne Stewart, American Taliban John Walker Lindh and accused Northwest al-Qaeda agent James Ujaama have all been charged under the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which makes it a crime to provide "material support" to any government-designated terrorist group. The problem is that "material support" can be mere attendance at a training camp (as in the Lackawana case). Warns Cole: "The law is written so broadly that it would make it a crime to write a column or to file a lawsuit on behalf of a proscribed organization, or even to send a book on Gandhi's theory of nonviolence to the leader of a terrorist group in an attempt to pursuade him to forgo violence." Cole says the law is akin to Cold War-era statutes that made it a crime to join the Communist Party--which were invariably struck down by the Supreme Court. The new law gets around this with a narrow technicality, penalizing "support" rather than membership. Cole quotes a Supreme Court opinion in a decision striking down a 1967 anti-Communist law: "It would be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of those liberties--the freedom of association--which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile." [top]

The FBI has opened a domestic terrorism investigation into an arson and vandalism attack at a military recruiting center in San Jose, CA, which destroyed two Army-owned vehicles. FBI spokesman Andrew Black said the words "pre-emptive attack" were left spray-painted on the side of the recruiting office building. "We may be seeing another incident like this," Black said. (San Jose Mercury News, Oct. 16) [top]

The Marines and Navy have joined forces to produce "Enduring Freedom: The Opening Chapter," a four-minute-48-second movie trailer to promote the War on Terrorism. Debuting at theaters in Southern California, New York and Denver, the trailer marks the first military booster short since World War II. At a cost of $1.2 million, the high-quality short, produced with American Rogue Film in Santa Monica, is designed to bolster civilian support for the armed forces. (, Oct. 15) [top]

55-year-old Palestinian activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti, detained for six months on an immigration violation, is apparently still being held at New Jersey's Passaic County Jail--but when the Herald News tried to set up an interview with him it was faced with confusion about his whereabouts. Since his arrest on April 26, Abdel-Muhti has been moved three times, between Camden, Middlesex and Passaic jails. Jeannett Gabriel, a friend and organizer of a recent protest at the Passaic jail fears that if he continues his criticism of INS policy, Farouk will continue to be moved around--perhaps to Louisiana, away from his family and his network of supporters.

The Herald News requested an interview with the detainee after he contacted the newspaper from a jail phone. While the INS did not deny the request, the agency repeatedly told the newspaper that Abdel-Muhti was being held in the Camden County Jail. In phone conversations, Abdel-Muhti insisted he was in the Passaic County Jail. Even after the newspaper pointed out the discrepancy, INS officials refused to concede. On Sept. 17, Andrea Quarantillo, INS district director in Newark, wrote: "Mr. Abdel-Muhti is detained, and has been for some time, in the Camden County Jail." Only after a letter from Abdel-Muhti's attorney, Joel Kupferman, did the agency finally agree that he was being held in Passaic and rescheduled the interview, which took place in Passaic County Jail's glass-enclosed visitors' room on the morning of Sept. 20. In correspondence both before and since the interview, the INS has refused to explain their insistence that Abdel-Muhti was in Camden.

A member of the Palestine Aid Society, Palestine National Alliance and the Palestine Education Committee, Abdel-Muhti has organized and participated in several protests around the NYC area. He lived for several years in Central America and speaks fluent Spanish. Gabriel credits Abdel-Muhti with helping to bridge the Latino and Middle Eastern communities in New York City, and suggested that work might be the reason he was targeted for arrest.

He was also a key Palestinian contact for New York's non-commercial WBAI Radio. "He knows people all over the place. If you wanted to talk to the mayor of Nablus or the mayor of Jericho, Farouk was the one to call," said Bernie McFall, a friend shared his apartment in Queens with Abdel-Muhti and his son. Abdel-Muhti was appearing live on WBAI's Wake Up Call morning news show the first time the INS came knocking at his home in Queens April 9th. McFall said that after he told them Abdel-Muhti was out, they became abusive and threatening. He said the agents "said that I was a disgrace to the American people, that he wanted to throw me out the window.

After that first visit, Abdel-Muhti consulted with his attorney and decided it would be better to offer to sit down with the agents in their office, with his lawyer present. But the offer was ignored, say both Abdel-Muhti and McFall. At 5 AM on April 26, the agents came knocking again. This time, Abdel-Muhti was home and they were insistent on speaking with him, according to McFall. After a brief standoff with authorities--who according to McFall never provided a search warrant--Abdel-Muhti was taken to New York City's federal building, where authorities made him an offer. "They told me, 'If you cooperate with us, we will help you - get you out,'" Abdel-Muhti said. What they wanted in exchange was a list of Palestinian aid organizations and the people who supported them, Farouk said. "You are playing with my dignity, you are playing with my principles," he said he told them. After his refusal, the agents became angry and beat him, Farouk said.

He was then taken to the Middlesex County Correctional Facility, only to be moved to the Camden and Passaic facilities after he began agitating for the rights of the detainees. "It appears that the transfer to Passaic was in retaliation for Farouk's constant advocacy on behalf of himself and other detainees," said friend and supporter David Wilson.

Farouk told the Herald News, "[The INS] wants me to shut my mouth, they want to keep any Palestinian from talking about his rights. They told me, 'If you don't cooperate, we're going to send you to Israel, to the Mossad.'"

Abdel-Muhti said that on Oct. 2, he was taken to the Honduran Consulate, to see if he could be deported to that country. Because he is not Honduran, the consulate refused to accept him and he was taken back to the jail. But this time he was admitted as "Farouk Mahmoud," he said. Although he protested that this was not his name, he says the jail has yet to change it. (NJ Herald News, Oct. 8)

Farouk's supporters are asking people to call or fax INS New Jersey District Director Andrea Quarantillo (phone 973-645-4421, fax 973-297-4848) to ensure that Farouk is not moved or harassed.

Demands for Ms. Quarantillo:

1) Release Farouk Abdel-Muhti immediately. He is a stateless Palestinian who is not deportable, and he has been in jail almost six months. Like the majority of the INS detainees, he is neither a threat to society nor a flight risk. Arbitrary administrative detention makes a mockery of our justice system. The INS should free all the detainees.

2) Stop the arbitrary transfers of detainees. If the INS wants to move a detainee, it should first inform the detainee and his or her legal counsel, and provide justification for the move.

3) Stop overcrowding the county jails, and take responsibility for improving conditions. The INS seems to be deliberately overcrowding Passaic in an effort to make conditions there so miserable that detainees would be forced to accept deportation, even to a country where their lives may be at risk. When detainees complain about conditions, don't just move them to another jail--fix the problems!

4) Let INS detainees use public phones which allow them to access toll-free numbers, outside of the costly "prison collect" phone system. Why should MCI-Worldcom get $25 every time a detainee needs to talk to family members or report a new injustice?

See also WW3 REPORT #51 [top]

A three-judge panel of the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Oct. 8 that the Justice Department can order the closure of immigration hearings for reasons of national security. The decision reversed a May 29 ruling by US District Judge John Bissell of New Jersey. The 3rd Circuit decision, which applies to immigration hearings in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the Virgin Islands, conflicts with an Aug. 26 ruling on a similar case by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, making it highly likely that the matter will go to the Supreme Court. (AP, Oct. 8; Washington Post, Oct. 9)

In a July 3 letter to Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the Justice Department revealed that over 600 detainees had been fingered for closed hearings. Most have been deported, but the government has not said whether it has since detained more people. An unknown number of people are detained as material witnesses, with hundreds more held on immigration charges. (Washington Post. Oct. 9)

(from Immigration News Briefs, Oct 11) [top]

A coalition of civil rights groups led by the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Circle of North America issued a press release on Oct. 13 expressing concern for the safety of Egyptian national Mohammed Elzaher following his deportation from Passaic County Jail in Paterson, NJ, where he was detained for 11 months. The INS arrested Elzaher as he left immigration court last Oct. 25, just after a judge granted him a new hearing for January 2002. Elzaher was seeking to drop an asylum plea and pursue legal status based on marriage to a US citizen. The INS deported Elzaher without informing his lawyers. Elzaher was able to call his family upon arrival at the Cairo airport on Sept. 25, but has not been heard from since. In the press release, the organizations say they fear Elzaher may be detained and facing torture in Egypt. (Press release, Oct. 13)

Ethiopian detainee Nesiredin Ali Ebrahim has not been heard from since he was removed from Passaic County Jail on Oct. 7. Ebrahim had been held by the INS at the Krome detention center near Miami since May 8, 2000; he was transferred to New Jersey's Middlesex County jail in May 2002 and then to Passaic after the INS tried unsuccessfully to deport him on Sept. 11, 2002. Supporters and family members fear Ebrahim may now have been deported and are concerned for his safety. The US rejected Ebrahim's asylum plea, but Canadian officials are considering a sponsorship petition that would allow him to emigrate there. (Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants alert, Oct. 16) Activists in Canada are campaigning on Ebrahim's behalf. 10 members of the Montreal-based "No One is Illegal" group visited the office of Canadian immigration minister Denis Coderre on Oct. 4 to press him to facilitate Ebrahim's release and approval of his Canadian sponsorship. (No One Is Illegal! press statement, Oct. 5) Meanwhile, some 70 people marched in front of Passaic County Jail on Oct. 12 to protest INS detention. (North Jersey Herald News Oct. 13)

(from Immigration News Briefs, Oct 18)

See also WW3 REPORT #55 [top]


Capitol Hill lawmakers accused the White House Oct. 11 of secretly trying to derail formation of an independent commission to investigate the 9-11 terrorist attacks while professing to support the move, the Washington Post reported Oct. 12. The proposal would create a 10-member commission of private citizens to study concerns about the nation's readiness to deal with terrorism, as well as intelligence capabilities now under investigation by the House and Senate intelligence committees. Its membership would be evenly divided between appointees of Republican and Democratic officials. Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ) and House Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) held a news conference to blame what Pelosi called the "invisible hand" of the White House for torpedoing an all-but-final accord on the issue. "The White House is professing openly to support an independent commission [while] privately they're moving to thwart the commission," Pelosi said.

McCain said senior members of the House and Senate intelligence committees had a written agreement approving the proposal for inclusion in this year's intelligence authorization bill. But the House Republican leadership weighed in against it and the deal collapsed, McCain charged, claiming that "the White House works through the House Republican leadership." Lieberman asked the White House: "Do you really want to allow this commission to be created? And if you don't, why not?"

The lawmakers were joined by Stephen Push, spokesman for a group representing some 1,300 survivors of 9-11 attacks. Push said the White House does not want a commission because it fears what it might find.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer denied that President Bush is trying to sabotage the proposal. "We are very close to getting an agreement on the 9-11 commission, and the president thinks it can and should be done," Fleischer said. He cited two points of disagreement--subpoenas and the chairmanship. But he said Bush "would be very disappointed if the Congress allowed these issues to keep the agreement from happening." McCain called the administration's objections "minutia." Even if the details can't be worked out this year, McCain and Lieberman vowed to keep pushing for the commission next year. "It's going to happen," McCain said.

Newsweek reported Oct. 21 that Dick Cheney "played a behind-the-scenes role last week in derailing an agreement to create an independent commission to investigate the 9-11 attacks." Last month the White House endorsed the formation of the panel. But on Oct. 17, hours after congressional negotiators arrived at a final deal on the scope and powers of a 9-11 panel, Cheney called House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Porter Goss, sources told Newsweek. Later that day Goss told a closed-door conference committee he couldn't accept the deal, citing instructions from "above my pay grade,'' sources said. Goss later said he was referring to other House leaders, not Cheney. Goss wouldn't discuss his call from the VP but said it wasn't the "determining factor'' in his stand. Cheney's office told Newsweek the VP's only instruction to Goss was to "keep negotiating.'' The proposed deal would allow any five members of the 10-member panel to subpoena documents, including internal White House intelligence briefs. But White House officials say this would allow congressional Democrats--who will control half the appointees--to "politicize'' the commission. Cheney has repeatedly objected to efforts by a separate joint-intelligence-committee inquiry to obtain documents and interview key witnesses, including an FBI informant who lived with two of the 9-11 hijackers. Bush officials insist the VP's stand is based on "principle,'' not fear of embarrassments. [top]

The web site claims that Tony Blair has ordered a "D-Notice" on all British media reporting government officials signing court gag orders. The order was sparked by the case of former MI5 officer David Shayler (now facing treason charges under the Official Secrets act for disclosing information of the UK's top spy agencies), who claims he has evidence proving that MI6 gave £100,000 to bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and arms to Iraq. He also claims MI6 had prior knowledge of numerous terrorist attacks in London in the 1990's. Newspapers across Britain, including the Guardian, the London Evening Standard and the Scotsman have either completely removed or amended their articles pursuant to the "D-Notice," ordering all reporting on the case shut down, according to the web site. Similar allegations are made on the websites True Facts and Propaganda Matrix. [top]

On Oct. 7, Qatar's al-Jazeera cable TV broadcast an audiotape in which a voice alleged to be Osama bin Laden promises to repay the US "twofold" for any attacks on Islamic nations. A week later, al-Jazeera received a fax apparently signed by Osama which praised the recent attacks in Yemen and Juwait as strikes at "the umbilical chord of the Christians. Another audiotape was aired Oct. 8 from top bin Laden aide Ayman Zawahiri also praised the attack on the French tanker in Yemen, advising these "deputies of America" to retreat from the region "before they lose everything." The voice of Zawahiri, thought to have been wounded in the US bombardment of Afghanistan, seems genuine. Intelligence officials are more skeptical of the alleged bin laden tape, which does not specifically mention any recent events. While senior al-Qaeda militant Khalid Sheik Mohammed is said to be directing worldwide operations from Karachi, Pakistan, Western intelligence officials increasingly believe the nature of al-Qaeda has changed since the 9-11 attacks to what The Economist describes as "a loose and ever-shifting alliance of like-minded groups." President Bush was quick to exploit this murkiness to help build his case for a renewed war effort against Iraq. "We need to think," he said Oct. 14, "about Saddam Hussein using al-Qaeda to do his dirty work, to not leave fingerprints behind." (The Economist, Oct. 19) [top]

"Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century," a blueprint for the creation of a "global Pax Americana," was drawn up in September 2000 think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC) for Dick Cheney (now vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld (now defense secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), George W Bush's younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document shows Bush's cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It reads: "The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

The PNAC document supports a "blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests." This "American grand strategy" must be advanced for "as far into the future as possible," the report states, calling for the US to "fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars" as a "core mission." The report describes US armed forces abroad as "the cavalry on the new American frontier." The PNAC blueprint echoes an earlier document written by Wolfowitz and Libby that said the US must "discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role." (Glasgow Sunday Herald, Oct. 13) [top]

Nine beaked whales died after washing up on the Canary Islands Sept. 24 and 25 during NATO naval exercises. Vidal Martin of the Society for the Study of the Cetaceans in the Canary Archipelago says volunteers from his group succeeded in saving six others. The whales were found on the beaches of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote islands. All the whale strandings occurred during NATO maneuvers called "Neo Tapon 2002," in which at least 58 vessels, six submarines, and 30 planes participated. Martin blames sonar used in the exercises for disorienting the whales. The exercises were suspended at the request of the Canary Islands government, but military authorities say they have found no relationship between their maneuvers and the strandings. The heads of the six whales beached in Fuerteventura have been sent to the Veterinary Department of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for analysis. Similar strandings have occurred in the Canary Islands in 1991, and in every year from 1985 through 1989. In all instances except 1986 and 1987, Martin has documented that naval exercises were taking place at the same time as the strandings. After the incident, members of WWF-Spain protested in front of the Spanish Ministry of Defense to demand that the military halt new exercises in the region. (Environmental News Service, Sept. 27)

See also WW3 REPORT #45 [top]


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