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ISSUE: #. 59. Nov. 11, 2002







By Bill Weinberg

1. UN Approves Iraq Resolution
2. Syria Capitulates
3. 3 Arrested At UN as Iraq Resolution Passes
4. 25,000 March Against War In Boston
5. 500,000 Europeans March Against War
6. White House Prepared to Go Unilateral
7. Saddam Prepared to Reject Resolution
8. "21st Century Blitzkrieg" Planned
9. War Plans Revealed
10. Air Raids Escalate
11. War Material in Transit
12. World Braces for "Triumphalist" Bush
13. Think Tanks: It's the Oil, Stupid!
14. Secret US-Israel War Cooperation
15. Kurds Warn of Iran Intervention
16. Israel: Attack Iran Next
17. Iraq-Libya-Serbia Missile Tech Cooperation?
18. Kuwait Opposition Resists War Drive
19. Pentagon Intelligence "Cooking The Books"?
20. White House Launches Pro-War P.R. Group

1. U.S. Citizen Dead in CIA Hit on Al-Qaeda in Yemen?
2. Terror Sweep Sparks Clashes in Jordan
3. France Makes Arrests in Tunisia Synagogue Bombing

1. "Partying While Afghanistan Burns"
2. Gen. Myers: US Losing "Momentum" in Afghan War
3. Human Rights Watch: Torture in Herat
4. 3 Freed From Gitmo
5. Kuchi Nomads at Risk

1. Green Berets to Colombia's Petro-Zone
2. US Marines into Battle Against FARC?
3. Uribe Under Fire for Paras, Cartels
4. Henry Hyde: Latin American "Axis of Evil"
5. Ecuador to Join "Axis of Evil"?
6. Anti-FTAA Protests Rock Quito
7. Islamic Terrorists Target Southern Cone?
8. Anti-Semitic Attack Foiled in Argentina

1. Mexico Capitulates on Iraq
2. Acteal Case to Inter-American Human Rights Commission
3. Mexican Generals Face Drug, Mass Murder Charges
4. Human Rights Advance...on Paper
5. More Religious Violence in Chiapas
6. Torture in Queretaro
7. Sinaloa Rights Crusader Murdered

1. Diplomats Expelled in Cuba Spy Spat

1. Retaliation at Passaic County Jail--Again
2. Habeas Corpus Plea Filed for Farouk Abel-Muhti
3. Pentagon Recuiters Get Access to High School Records
4. Pentagon Seeks Sweeping Domestic Cyber-Surveillance
5. Police Surveillance Unshackled in Chicago
6. Vigilante Terror in Arizona
7. Border Patrol vs. Humanitarians
8. JDL Militant Brain-Dead in Apparent Suicide Attempt

1. Demographic Paranoia at CIA
2. Interpol Chief: Bin Laden Alive
3. WTC Collapse Data to be Released...
4. ...But Pentagon Disaster Report suppressed


On Nov. 8, the UN Security Council voted 15-0 to approve a resolution threatening "serious consequences"--almost certainly meaning war--if Baghdad fails to fully comply with inspections. The resolution gives the UN inspection teams power to carry out surprise searches anywhere in Iraq, including Saddam's presidential sites, conduct private interviews with any Iraqi citizen, and seal off areas of Iraqi territory during inspections. Chief nuclear inspector Jacques Baute praised the new resolution for closing loopholes. "It includes a very important aspect: all sites including those that were under some restrictions in the past," he said. Inspectors would report infractions to the Security Council, which must then decide on the consequences. "A negative factual report can come at any time," said Baute of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency. He said a first report will be ready 60 days after the teams go into action. The teams have until Dec. 23 to begin work, although Baute's counterpart, Hans Blix, said inspectors would try to start earlier. Blix, who heads the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), said the resolution "strengthens our mandate very much." Baute's teams will search for evidence of a clandestine nuclear weapons program, while Blix's will look for prohibited chemical and biological weapons. Experts from both missions will be in Baghdad within 10 days, UN officials said. The team will use new radiation-detection gadgets to transmit data and images to Vienna for analysis via a secure digital link. (AP, Nov. 8) [top]

Syria's state-run radio broadcast a commentary Nov. 8 depicting the pending UN vote on Iraq as part of a longterm US campaign to attack Saddam Hussein. Hours later, Syria voted "yes" along with the 14 other Security Council members. Syria's vote surprised council members--as well as Iraq, and even Syrians at home. In the end, Syria chose to pursue its own interests rather than support Iraq, a traditional rival. Syria has depended on UN Security Council resolutions in its diplomatic campaign to force Israel to return the Golan Heights and other land seized in the 1967 Six-Day War. Syria's deputy UN ambassador Fayssal Mekdad said Syria was committed to upholding council resolutions "be they regarding Iraq, the Palestinian cause, or the Arab-Israeli conflict." (AP, Nov. 8) [top]

Three activists with the group No Blood For Oil were arrested outside the UN the morning of Nov. 8 shortly after the Security Council passed the resolution imposing new terms on Iraq. One activist was arrested while trying to walk into the main UN building to denounce the resolution. The other two were arrested while trying to march from the Isaiah Wall at 43rd Street and First Ave., where activists were gathered, to 45th Street. Activists who arrived at the Isaiah Wall at 9 AM faced hundreds of police and several police vans--the first occasion after nearly two months of daily rallies when the police made a show of force at the UN. (No Blood For Oil press release, Nov. 8) [top]

Some 25,000 anti-war protesters filled the Boston Common Nov. 3. Organized by United for Justice with Peace, a local anti-war coalition, the event was large enough to close down adjacent Tremont Street. Enduring frigid weather, protesters heard from Massachusetts Green Party gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein, actor Tim Robbins and author and Boston University Professor Howard Zinn. (Harvard Crimson, Nov. 4) [top]

Nearly half a million marched through Florence Nov. 9 in the first Europe-wide anti-war rally. Organizers estimated the crowd at 400,000, while a police source speaking unofficially told CNN the number "could be close to 500,000." The rally went peacefully with a carnival atmosphere. Some banners read: "Take your war and go to hell." Shops were closed in the northern Italian city, and the Renaissance-era historic center sealed off, but police were on duty in normal uniforms rather than riot gear. The protest was part of the European Social Forum, a summit of anti-globalization groups. The European Union's Schengen Treaty, which ends border controls among member nations, was suspended ahead of the demonstration. The decision to allow the forum to be held in Florence sparked weeks of debate in Italy. Premier Silvio Berlusconi called the choice "risky," but the government eventually approved the event, while stepping up security. (CNN, Nov. 9) [top]

White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card said Nov. 10 that the US can act unilaterally if Iraq is found to have violated the new Security Council resolution. "The UN can meet and discuss, but we don't need their permission" to take military action, Card told NBC's "Meet the Press." The burden is on Saddam to comply with the inspectors or face "serious consequences," Card said. "He is in the position now where he has to say, 'Yes, yes, yes, yes' -- no no's." Should he fail to comply, "the US and our allies are prepared to act," Card said. That same day, Secretary of State Colin Powell told CNN's "Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer": "I can assure you that, if he doesn't comply this time, we'll ask the UN to give authorization for all necessary means, and if the UN is not willing to do that, the United States, with like-minded nations, will go and disarm him forcefully." (CNN, Nov. 10) [top]

Iraq's parliament issued a condemnation of the new UN resolution, and a leading member of the body urged its rejection. Salim al-Koubaisi, head of the foreign relations committee, advised MPs to follow the "wise Iraqi leadership" but recommended the legislators reject the US-drafted document. "The committee advises the rejection of security council resolution 1441, and to not agree to it in response to the opinions of our people, who put their trust in us," he said. Saddam Hussein urged his parliament to recommend a formal response. US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice dismissed the move as "ludicrous." "I'm surprised he's even bothering to go through this ploy," she said. (UK Guardian, Nov. 11) [top]

CNN reports that one war plan against Iraq involves what Pentagon officials and military analysts call a "21st-century blitzkrieg"--referring to the surprise attacks by aircraft and fast-moving armor that Germany used at the beginning of World War II. "Under that strategy, sources said, the United States and its allies would launch a ferocious opening air assault involving hundreds, or possibly thousands, of all-weather, satellite-guided bombs and cruise missiles combined with covert missions and psychological operations. The goal, the sources said, would be to demoralize Saddam's generals and discourage them from following orders to unleash chemical or biological weapons." (CNN, Nov. 10) [top]

The Washinton Post writes: "The Bush administration has settled on a plan for a possible invasion of Iraq that envisions seizing most of the country quickly and encircling Baghdad, but assumes that Saddam Hussein probably will fall from power before US forces enter the capital, senior US military officials said. Hedging its bets, the Pentagon is also preparing for the possibility of prolonged fighting in and around Baghdad. Administration war planners expect that, even if the Iraqi leader is deposed from power, there could be messy skirmishes there and in Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, the military officials said." The paper says the plan calls for minimizing Iraqi casualties "by attacking quickly but with a relatively small force conducting focused attacks. But it also hedges by putting enough combat force in the area--including around 150,000 US and allied ground troops--to engage in close combat if Iraqi resistance is stiffer than expected.... The dual nature of the US war plan is designed to encourage Iraqis to revolt against Hussein. To do so, the invasion would begin with a series of simultaneous air and ground actions and psychological warfare operations, all aimed at destroying the security police and other institutions that help Hussein hold on to power." Under the plan, "rather than begin with a lengthy air campaign, as in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, an invasion would begin with the US military swiftly seizing the northern, western and southern sectors of Iraq while launching air strikes and other attacks on 'regime targets'-- mainly security forces and suspected repositories of chemical and biological weapons -- around Baghdad in the eastern part of the country, military officials said." The paper claims President Bush has been briefed on the plan.

Speaking on the record was retired Air Force Col. Richard Atchison, an intelligence officer who specialized in choosing targets during the 1990 Gulf War. "In the north, you separate Saddam from his tribal support base; in the south you hold the area most seditious to the Saddam regime," he said. "Then you can form an Iraqi government-in-waiting with your coalition allies." But Marine commandant Gen. James L. Jones admitted that the aftermath, in particular, "is one of the great unresolved questions." (WP, Nov. 11) [top]

Allied planes bombed two military sites in the southern "no-fly zone" over Iraq Nov. 6, bringing to 54 the number of days this year that such strikes were reported by the US and the United Kingdom. Coalition aircraft targeted two surface-to-air missile systems near al-Kut, about 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, and a command-and-control facility near Tallil, about 160 miles southeast of the capital, said a statement from the US Central Command in Florida. CentCom said Tallil airfield would be central to Saddam Hussein's defense against a US invasion. (AP, Nov. 6) [top]

Three huge US military cargo ships capable of carrying tanks, helicopters and heavy armor have embarked in recent days amid mounting evidence that Washington is building up war material to attack Iraq. The latest deployment comes as a battle group led by the aircraft carrier USS Constellation set sail for the Persian Gulf from San Diego. The cargo vessels--USNS Bellatrix, the USNS Bob Hope and the USNS Fisher-- are among the largest transport ships in the Pentagon's inventory. Marge Holtz, director of the US Navy's Military Sealift Command, declined to comment on the exact destination of the vessels. "It is part of the repositioning of forces and equipment in support of the war on terror. They are on route," she told Reuters. The USNS Bellatrix, loaded equipment for the Marine Corps, set sail last week from the West Coast. The two others, both Large Medium Speed Roll-on Roll-off (LMSR) ships, loaded with equipment for mechanized Army units, set sail a week earlier from the East Coast. (Reuters, Nov. 4) [top]

In Europe, the Middle East and around the world, media comment anticipated a tougher White House line on Iraq, with the UN Security Council resolution closely following midterm elections in which both houses of Congress returned to Republican control. Said Qatar-based al-Jazeera TV: "The prospect of waging war on Iraq looks to be increased." Wrote France's leading daily, Le Monde: "Not quite elected in 2000, Monsieur Bush sees his political base reinforced by a remarkable electoral success that offers him an even greater freedom of maneuver in his strategy towards Iraq." Commented the left-wing French daily Liberation: "The big loser of these elections, apart from the democrats, is none other than Saddam Hussein. An election setback for Bush would have been inevitably interpreted as a rejection by the American people of his threatening rhetoric against 'the axis of evil' whose pivot lies in Baghdad. Bush can thus henceforth claim a strong mandate of popular support for his politics of enforced disarmament of Iraq, and also in his dealing with the UN." Opined the Times of India: "The results staggered many pundits who saw Bush as a dimwit who had become president through good fortune and a court-managed technicality. The president appeared to have erased that stigma. Pundits and pollsters saw the results as an affirmation of the American people's faith in George Bush in the face of the challenges he is facing. They also surmised that the events of 9-11 had a profound effect on America despite previews suggesting the elections would be based on local issues." (UPI, Nov. 6) [top]

While Iraqi President Saddam Hussein says the US "wants to destroy Iraq in order to control the Middle East oil," White House officials say little about Iraq's oil, other than to dismiss what others say as "uninformed speculation." When asked about the oil issue Nov. 7, President Bush declined to answer. "The fact of the matter is that the oil fields of Iraq are a national asset of the Iraqi people. And that's really it. That's the bottom line," said National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack.

But throughout the two months of negotiations at the UN Security Council, Russia and France sought US assurances that their companies' oil concessions would not be terminated by a new Iraqi regime. Russia also sought a promise that the Bush administration would not increase production of Iraqi oil to drive down world prices, which could hit Russia's economy hard. Said Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN), who has talked repeatedly with Secretary of State Colin Powell about the negotiations: "It's not all about oil, but I think this is where the conversation has gone."

R. Dobie Langenkamp, director of the National Energy-Environment Law & Policy Institute at the University of Tulsa, warns that the high oil stakes could prompt a new round of economic imperialism, with Iraq divided by the major powers into spheres of influence. "Let's say we went in there in a few weeks," he said. "I don't think it's beyond the Russians to land a couple of divisions to provide alleged support for the occupation. Then all of a sudden the French and the Chinese decide they must help. They can't afford to let us go in alone. There's too much at stake here."

Said John Lichtblau, chief executive of the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation in New York: "If the US in some way controls Iraq, there's no question American companies would be allowed to go in there. Not to drive out the others, because there's room for all of them--the U.S., the Russians, the French--to develop the production that should have been developed over these last 20 years."

The State Department is planning a meeting with Iraqi opposition leaders and economists next month to discuss a post-Saddam oil policy for Iraq. The session is part of a series dubbed the "Future of Iraq Project" that began in April. Iraq has 112 billion barrels of proven reserves, more oil than any nation except Saudi Arabia. Most of its fields are untapped, and older fields are overworked with inefficient technology that leaves more than 80% of the oil behind. (Dallas Morning News, Nov. 8) [top]

Israel is secretly playing a key role in US preparations for war with Iraq, helping to train Marines for urban warfare, conducting clandestine surveillance missions in the western Iraqi desert, and allowing the Pentagon to place combat supplies in Israel, anonymous US officials told USA Today. Predictably, Israel's role is classified. "The Americans have asked us to keep a low profile, and we accept that," an Israeli official said. But anonymous US intelligence officials said Israeli commandos are conducting clandestine surveillance missions of Scud missile sites in western Iraq. Israeli infantry units with experience in urban warfare on the West Bank are training US Army and Marine troops for possible urban combat in Iraq, according to "a foreign defense official." The Israelis have reportedly built two mock cities for the training ops, complete with mosques, hanging laundry and even the odd donkey meandering down dusty streets. The Pentagon has beefed up stocks of ammunition, fuel and other military staples at six storage depots in Israel over the past year, US intelligence officials said. The material is not part of normal US military aid to Israel, but held in reserve for possible use by US forces in combat contingencies. The location of the depots is classified. (USA Today, Nov. 3) [top]

Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), says that Iran is planning an operation to drive alleged al-Qaeda militants out of northern Iraq. Talabani claimed that there are about 150 fighters from Afghanistan operating in northern Iraq, close to the Iranian border. He claimed hundreds of Kurdish fighters have joined them. "They are America's enemies and the Kurdish people's enemies and the enemies of the people of the Middle East," Talabani said on a visit to Syria. He is reportedly touring Middle East nations to assure leaders that the PUK is not interested in establishing an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq. Talabani seemed unsure about the real identities of the al-Qaeda fighters. "I cannot say if they are Taliban or al-Qaeda, but they are people from Afghanistan, and they are well trained there," he claimed. Talabani said he has turned to the PUK's longtime sponsor Iran for help. "We are planning to do it with the support of our brothers in Iran to clear the area of the terrorist group," he said, adding, the Iranians "promised to help us in this plan." (Palestine Chronicle via PINA, Nov. 7) [top]

In an interview with the London Times, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon insisted that Iran should be put under pressure "the day after" action against Iraq ends. He also issued his clearest warning yet that Israel would strike back if attacked by Iraqi chemical or biological weapons. He asserted that while the White House is focusing on Saddam Hussein--whom he called "insane"--Washington shares his concerns about Iran: "I talked about these things with Vladimir Putin a few days ago and I have been to Washington and one of the things I talked about was what will be later, if Iraq is going to be disarmed." He accused Tehran of sponsoring the Hezbollah militia, which he claimed had up to 10,000 short-range missiles stationed in Lebanon ready to strike Israeli towns. "Iran is a center of world terror and Iran makes every effort to possess weapons of mass destruction on the one hand and ballistic missiles," he said. "That is a danger to the Middle East, to Israel and a danger to Europe."

He also posed yet more targets after Iran: "One of the things I mentioned is that the free world should take all the necessary steps to prevent irresponsible countries from having weapons of mass destruction: Iran, Iraq of course, and Libya is working on a nuclear weapon." (London Times, Nov. 5) [top]

Jane`s Defense& Aerospace reports that Iraqi missile experts are in Libya examining long-range ballistic missiles provided to them by Yugoslav (Serbian) experts. "It is not known which type of missile is involved and what kind of improvements the experts are seeking. However, the sources believe the idea is to have a range of 1,450 km (900 miles). The current 'Al Hussein', an Iraqi development of the Russian Scud missile can travel about half this distance. If its range can be expanded, what would be the strategic impact? The sources have indicated that if the Iraqis, helped by experts from Libya and North Korea, achieve the extended range, with a carrying capacity of roughly half a ton, this could vastly improve Iraq's ability to strike at US foreign bases and those of allies such as Israel and Turkey."

Yugoslavia's role is said to have emerged in oil-for-technology deals with Baghdad when the country was under economic embargo. In October, a freighter from a military port in Montenegro, Yugoslavia, was intercepted by the US in the Adriatic Sea carrying missile fuel for Iraq. Yugoslav technicians have also overhauled a number of MiG-23 engines for the Iraqi air force. Yugoslav experts are now reportedly assisting both Libya and Iraq with a "terminal guided-system" for their missiles, enabling in-flight tracking of targets. (JDA, Nov. 7) [top]

Anti-Iraq propaganda is at fever pitch in Kuwait. An entire new museum is devoted to Sadam Hussein's atrocities, called ''In Order Not to Forget,'' with exhibitions ranging from Saddam's lethal gassing of Kurds in 1988 to the murder of Kuwaitis and looting of their country in the 1990 invasion. But there is a generation too young to remember much of the 1990 crisis. Raised in an era of Islamic militancy, these youth are part of a growing opposition to US plans to unseat Saddam. "Islamic groups here have become very strong, very effective and very organized,'' says Ahmad al-Baghdadi, a professor at Kuwait University.

It is still a small movement, but has already made itself felt. Last month, two young Kuwaitis killed a US Marine and injured another during a training exercise on Failaka Island, near Kuwait City. ''So many of my students support the attacks, I would not be surprised to see more of them--not just on Marines but on Americans who live here,'' al-Baghdadi said. Kuwait hosts some 10,000 US troops and is likely to play a key role in any US attack on Iraq.

Kuwait's regime has had an incestuous relationship with the fundamentalists. The ruling al-Sabah family started supporting fundamentalists years ago to deflect rising criticism of the monarchy by liberals. The government still provides Islamists with facilities and funding for ''social committees''--like the Social Reform Society, which moderates accuse ''brainwash'' their young. Criticizing Islam (or the emir) means a fine of 10,000 dinars ($33,000) or jail. Islamists have gained one-third of the seats in the 50-seat parliament, and recently prevented a proposal to give women the vote. ''Only the Islamists have comprehensive programs to engage the young here -- and not only in the mosques,'' said Ali Mousa al-Mousa, a former minister of planning. ''Sports activities, education, philanthropy. They'll even send to you to Afghanistan. They get them at young age, and indoctrinate them.''

Al-Baghdadi--who served two weeks in jail for making a critical comment about the prophet Mohammed in an academic presentation--says humiliation plays a big role in fundamentalism's attraction in a prosperous country. ''Everything useful in our lives-- mobile phones, cars--comes from the West. The fuqaha [Islamic law experts], religious leaders, say we are weak because we follow the West. So, the alternative? Islam.'' (USA Today, Nov. 7) [top]

Experts fear the analyses of the CIA and other intelligence agencies are being distorted in the campaign to portray Iraq as a dangerous enemy. "Basically, cooked information is working its way into high-level pronouncements, and there's a lot of unhappiness about it in intelligence, especially among analysts at the CIA," Vince Cannistraro, the agency's former head of counterterrorism, told the UK Guardian. Knight-Ridder newspapers reported: "A growing number of military officers, intelligence professionals and diplomats privately have deep misgivings about the administration's double-time march toward war. They charge that the administration squelches dissenting views and that intelligence analysts are under intense pressure to produce reports supporting the White House's argument that Saddam poses such an immediate threat to the United States that pre-emptive military action is necessary."

But James Bamford writes for USA Today that CIA Director George Tenet "has apparently managed to keep the CIA on the straight and narrow during the debate over Iraq." When asked earlier by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) what intelligence he had necessitating a quick vote on whether to go to war, Tenet answered honestly. "He didn't have anything new," Byrd said later. Bamford warns of a "schizophrenic view" that Congress is given of Iraq. "On the one hand, there are the breathless public pronouncements by the White House that Iraq appears on the verge of attacking the United States with horrendous weapons of mass destruction. But in secret sessions, the CIA apparently expresses the opposite view--that Iraq, while worrisome, is largely contained and poses no direct or immediate threat to the country." Said Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL): "It's troubling to have classified information that contradicts statements made by the administration. There's more they should share with the public."

Bamfor provides a litany of the administration's "less-than-forthright" pronouncements on Iraq:

In his Oct. 7 address to the nation, Bush warned of Iraq's attempts to import hardened aluminum tubes "for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons." But former UN weapons inspector David Albright told The Guardian it was far from clear that's what the tubes were intended for. He also claimed skeptics at the Energy Department's Livermore National Laboratory in California had been ordered to keep their doubts to themselves.

Bush also charged that "Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases." Former CIA officer Robert Baer, who spent years following al-Qaeda, told The Guardian that there were contacts between Osama bin Laden and the Iraqi government in Sudan in the 1990s. "But," he added, "there is no evidence that a strategic partnership came out of it. I'm unaware of any evidence of Saddam pursuing terrorism against the United States."

Bush warned that Iraq was developing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or "drones" that "could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas... We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States." But UAVs have a maximum range of only a few hundred miles and in no way could be flown halfway around the world.

Bamford warns that "the ability of Congress to receive independent, unbiased intelligence" may be "put in jeopardy" by an administration plan to shift control of the intelligence community from the director of Central Intelligence to a new Pentagon "intelligence czar." While some 85% of the intelligence community already comes under the Pentagon's umbrella, the CIA director still largely maintains control of the final analysis. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's scheme could shift the balance away from the more cautious Tenet and increase the chances that analysis will be "cooked" in favor of the Pentagon. Bamford warns "if the Pentagon runs the spy world, the public and Congress will be reduced to a modern-day Diogenes, forever searching for that one honest report." (USA Today, Oct. 24)

James Bamford is author of Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency. [top]

A small group of influential right-wingers with close links to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney are launching a new political campaign to rally support for the invasion of Iraq. The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq is currently setting up office on Capitol Hill, according to its president, Randy Scheunemann, a veteran Republican Senate foreign policy staffer who until recently worked as a consultant to Rumsfeld on Iraq policy. The committee is apparently a spin-off of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), consisting mainly of Jewish neo-conservatives and fundamentalist Christians. PNAC's recommendations on support for Israel and the War on Terrorism have anticipated the administration's own policies. Scheunemann is best known for drafting the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act that authorized $98 million for the Iraqi National Congress (INC) exile opposition group.

Former US Army intelligence officer Bruce P Jackson, a vice president at defense giant Lockheed Martin, who chaired the Republican Party's subcommittee for national security and foreign policy in George Bush's 2000 campaign, has signed on as chairman of the new PR group. Other officers include Gary Schmitt, PNAC's executive director, and Julie Finley, a prominent Republican fundraiser who worked with Jackson when he served as president of the US Committee to Expand NATO. The most prominent member is former secretary of state George Shultz. Former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey and retired Gen. Wayne Downing, a former INC lobbyist who was a top counter-terrorism official on Bush's National Security Council before resigning last summer, have also agreed to serve as advisers.

The new committee seems to be based on a model from the previous Gulf War in 1991. The Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf (CPSG), similarly drawn from elite hawkish circles, worked closely with Bush senior's administration and a group financed by the Kuwaiti monarchy, Citizens for a Free Kuwait. CPSG received a large grant from the Wisconsin-based Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation, a top funder of both the PNAC and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

As late as 1998, the CPSG demanded in an open letter to then-president Bill Clinton that Washington adopt a "comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime"--centered on support for the INC and US air power. The letter was signed by many PNAC charter members--including Rumsfeld, and four of his top deputies at the Pentagon: Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Dov Zakheim and Peter Rodman. Other signatories included Schmitt as well as current undersecretary of state for arms control and international strategy John Bolton and current chairman of the Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle. PNAC co-founders William Kristol, editor of Rupert Murdoch's The Weekly Standard, and neo-conservative commentator Robert Kagan, also signed the letter.

In 1999, many of the same figures also created the Balkan Action Committee (BAC) in support of NATO's campaign against Serbia. Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Perle all served on BAC's executive committee. Like the CPSG, the BAC published open letters to the president and took out ads in major newspapers, like the New York Times and the Washington Post.

According to its mission statement, the new committee "was formed to promote regional peace, political freedom and international security by replacing the Saddam Hussein regime with a democratic government that respects the rights of the Iraqi people and ceases to threaten the community of nations". It "will engage in educational advocacy efforts to mobilize US and international support for policies aimed at ending the aggression of Saddam Hussein and freeing the Iraqi people from tyranny". Scheunemann told Inter Press Service the group will concentrate its efforts on the media "both in the US and in Europe." (IPS, Nov. 5) [top]


One of the six al Qaeda suspects killed in a car blast in Yemen Nov. 3 was a US citizen and all were "dangerous" operatives, a Yemeni official said. The six were killed when their car exploded in the eastern Marib province, with US officials claiming it was hit by a Hellfire rocket from an unmanned CIA drone. Yemeni authorities had no comment on the cause of the blast. One of the dead, Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, also known as Abu Ali, was a key suspect in the 2000 suicide-bombing of the US warship Cole in a Yemeni port that killed 17 servicemen. "Investigations by Yemeni authorities found that Harthi was accompanied by five dangerous members of the al Qaeda network who were not ordinary passengers," the official told Reuters. One of the six, identified by a government newspaper as Ahmed Hijazi, was said to have had US citizenship, and it was unclear if he was of Yemeni origin. (ABC News, Nov. 7)

New York Newsday later identifed the US citizen killed in the attack as Kamal Derwish, an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the case of the supposed al-Qaeda "sleeper cell" recently busted by federal authorities in Lackawanna, NY. (Newsday, Nov. 9) (See WW3 REPORT #52)

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark turned down a call by Green Party MP Keith Locke for the CIA to be classified a terrorist group after the incident. Locke protested that the suspects were given no chance to surrender. (NZCity, Nov. 7)

Jane's Defence Weekly concurred: "It doesn't seem the suspects were given the opportunity to surrender. They were taken out Israeli-style." Opined The Star newspaper of Johannesburg: "What is the difference between 'terrorists' and those fighting them? If it is merely the sophistication of the weaponry, then the world is in real trouble." (The Star, Nov. 9)

President Bush defended the strike as legal, but would not say who had authorized it. Emergency powers signed by Bush since 9-11 give the CIA wide discretion to carry out strikes on al-Qaeda around the world. The Yemen attack was the first known use of lethal force against al-Qaeda outside Afghanistan. The New York Times rendered the name of the target as Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, and also identified him as a suspect in the Cole attack. (NYT, Nov. 6) [top]

Three were killed and scores injured in clashes in the souhtern Jordanian city of Maan following a police sweep to round up Islamic militants ahead of any military action against Iraq. Witnesses said heavy gunfire broke out at dawn between hundreds of masked armed youths and police after security forces stormed the city to search for militants linked to the assassination of senior US diplomat Laurence Foley two weeks earlier. Authorities said two militants and a police officer were killed. Interior Minister Qaftan al-Majali accused "armed outlaw groups" of being behind the clashes. The Islamic Action Front (IAF), Jordan's largest political party, issued a statement warning the government not to risk "an escalation in the situation and widening of its repercussions" that could endanger national security at a time of looming war. (Reuters, Nov. 10) [top]

French authorities announce Nov. 5 the arrest of eight people in connection to April's attack that killed 19 at a synagogue in Tunisia. Agents from France's DST intelligence agency were questioning the suspects, who were arrested in Lyon under orders of the country's top anti-terrorism judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere. Of 19 killed in the blast at the ancient Ghriba synagogue, 14 were German tourists. Authorities in Germany say they have evidence linking al-Qaeda to the bombing. Osama bin Laden's terror network actually claimed responsibility in a videotape broadcast by the Qatar-based al-Jazeera TV. French authorities say a Tunisian named Niza Naouar drove a truck full of natural gas into the wall of the synagogue, killing himself in the blast. French authorities also say he had an accomplice, but haven't identified him. Among those arrested was Naouar's immediate family--his brother Walid and their parents. The others are close associates of the family. France has enacted tough new anti-terrorism laws that will allow police to hold people for up to four days without charge. The 2,000-year-old synagogue located on the island of Djerba was full of tourists at the time of the attack. The Tunisian government first called the blast an accident but later called it a "premeditated criminal act." (CBC, Nov. 5)

See also WW3 REPORT #29 [top]


Post-Taiban Kabul is pretty loose and funky--at least for foreigners. Phillip Robertson reports for of "wild parties" in the Afghan capital, with journalists, aid workers, diplomats and soldiers dancing an drinking at "raves"--then racing home to beat the midnight curfew and aviod being stopped by "illiterate, stoned" Afghan soldiers. Meanwhile, the political situation in the country is rapily deteriorating, and could spin out of control--especially if the US invades Iraq.

"The central problem is the enmity between the Tajiks and the majority Pashtuns. Once the largely Tajik Northern Alliance took Kabul, Pashtuns who had backed the Taliban did their best to get out of the way, many fleeing to the crowded refugee camps in Pakistan. The Pashtuns who weren't political, who just wanted a better life like the rest of the city's residents, now find themselves discriminated against, the objects of scorn heaped on them by a victorious and sometimes brutal minority. Since Afghanistan is roughly 60 percent Pashtun, with many Pashtun living near border regions close to Pakistan, a larger conflict is virtually inevitable.

"Pashtun warlords like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar harness Pashtun disaffection with the new Afghan regime, and by extension the West and the United States. They will have a ready supply of recruits if Pashtuns give up on politics and turn to violence. Just a few days before the Sept. 5 bombing in Kabul and the assassination attempt on President Hamid Karzai, Hekmatyar -- a famous anti-Soviet fighter with strict views on Islam and a hatred for the West -- issued a call for Pashtuns to rise up against the infidels and the new government. Hekmatyar's aim is to set up a harsh Islamic state in Afghanistan after driving out the non-Muslims. Hekmatyar has supporters in the Pashtun provinces and has been rumored to be moving around the lawless region that lies along the Pakistani frontier.

"If the US invades Iraq, and continues its near-abandonment of Afghanistan, support for a larger anti-Western jihad could come not just from Afghanistan but from anywhere in the Islamic world -- Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt or Pakistan, the nation that spawned the Taliban and at least one of whose intelligence agencies has a long history of radical Islamist leanings."

Robertson sees a rift in the Kabul regime between Mohammed Fahim, the Tajik defense minister, and President Hamid Karzai, himself is a Pashtun--a power game possibly connected to the assassination of a key Pashtun government minister and Karzai ally, Hajji Qadir. "The two men have been rivals for at least a decade. Mohammed Fahim was the intelligence chief of the Northern Alliance and has acquired enormous power as the Afghan defense minister. Fahim has also refused to disarm, keeping large weapons caches in the Panjshir Valley. Karzai, in contrast, has few soldiers under his direct control and has been closely guarded by US personnel since the Sept. 5 attempt on his life. Many Pashtuns feel that Fahim is trying to consolidate his control over the capital, and that some of the violence can be attributed to his political ambitions.... Anyone in Kabul will tell you that Mohammed Fahim, the man at the top of the Northern Alliance pyramid, is the real power in the Afghan government."

Robertson was in Kabul for a Sept. 28 bomb blast at a Kabul apartment complex, which killed nobody but blasted out the windows of the tower block and left a giant crater in a vacant lot. Robertson believes it was intended as warning by one rival faction or another.

Meanwhile, despite promised aid, Kabul's electricity supply is worse than it was in January, and Jalalabad was also without a steady supply of power as recently as September. "A drive from Jalalabad to Kabul on Sept. 12 revealed no construction crews visible, no one seriously taking up the cause of public works. The roads had the same number of beggar children as they did in November." Robertson describes the aid bottleneck: "International aid money flows into the capital, but most of it never makes it out. Fought over by warlords, taxed, delayed, squandered and mismanaged, funneled into the long winding guts of bureaucracies, only a fraction of it ends up where it is intended to. In Kabul, aid agency employees drive sparkling Land Rovers and defense ministry officials cruise in new Toyotas with tinted windows. Back in Kunar province, I'd spoken to three tribal soldiers at the Nawa pass border crossing who said they hadn't been paid in more than six months."

On Sept. 26 near northern Mazar-i-Sharif, fierce fighting broke out between rival warlords who are both nominally part of the Karzai government. Commented Robertson: "A recent Reuters article described the breakdown between the men as a disagreement over the demilitarization of the city: Because it was a wire story, the writer could not take note of the irony." [top]

The US military is losing momentum in the Afghanistan campaign because the Taliban/al-Qaeda forces have proven more successful in adapting to US tactics than the US has to theirs, said Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Richard B. Myers. "I think in a sense we've lost a little momentum there, to be frank," Myers said in after-dinner comments Nov. 4 at the Brookings Institution. "They've made lots of adaptations to our tactics, and we've got to continue to think and try to out-think them and to be faster at it." Myers, the nation's top military officer, suggested it may be time to "flip" US priorities from combat operations to "reconstruction."

A detailed analysis just released by the US Army War College reported that al-Qaeda fighters have been quick to outwit US high-tech weaponry. Stephen Biddle, the report's author, wrote that by March, during the last major offensive in southeastern Afghanistan, "Al-Qaeda forces were practicing systematic communications security, dispersal, camouflage discipline, use of cover and concealment, and exploitation of dummy fighting positions to draw fire and attention from their real positions."

The CIA, in a recently-released assessment, called security "most precarious in smaller cities and some rural locations" in Afghanistan. The report found: "Reconstruction may be the single most important factor in increasing security throughout Afghanistan and preventing it from again becoming a haven for terrorists."

Ivo H. Daalder, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, called Myser' suggested strategy shift "noteworthy and extremely important," but said he doubted whether Myers or Defense Secretary Rumsfeld would commit US forces to "tackling the fundamental security problem in Afghanistan, which is not al Qaeda, but a byproduct of the way we fought--arming the warlords." Concluded Daalder: "What needs to be done is to take away the power of the warlords and give it to the central government, and that requires real military force. Are we prepared to take on the very guys we empowered? I don't see any evidence that is the case." (WP, Nov. 8) [top]

A new report by Human Rights Watch accuses Tajik warlord Ismail Khan, governor of Herat province, of politically motivated arrests and torture. "The international community says it wants to reduce the power of the warlords and bring law and order back to Afghanistan," said John Sifton, the report's co-author. "But in Herat, it has done exactly the opposite. The friend of the international community in western Afghanistan is an enemy of human rights." The group cited hanging detainees upside down, whipping them and using electric shocks. Ethnic Pashtuns have been especially targeted for abuse. Said one Herat resident quoted in the report: "Ismail Khan and his followers--their hands are bloody. For them, killing a bird is the same as killing a man." The State Department had no immediate response, saying it wants to "digest" the report before commenting. Both the US and Iranian militaries have a presence in Herat, and regularly meet with Ismail Khan and members of his government. "The United States and Iran have a great deal of influence over Ismail Khan," said Sifton. "They put him where he is today. They now have a responsibility to make him clean up his act." (Reuters, Nov. 5)

Reporting on the story Nov. 5, the New York Times ran a photo of Ismail Khan shaking hands with Lt. Gen. Dan K. McNeill, commander of US forces in Afghanistan. [top]

Three of a small group of detainees released from US military custody at Guantanamo Naval base in Cuba for lack of evidence arrived back in Kabul, Afghanistan. Two were in their 70s, and all complained of having been locked for days on end in sweltering eight-by-eight foot cells and denied all contact with their families. (NYT, Oct. 29) [top]

The Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development says an aid program is urgently needed to help the country's Kuchi nomads survive the winter, and prevent their ancient way of life from disappearing completely. Frauke de Weijer, a World Food Program consultant in Afghanistan, says the Kuchi population is now under 1.5 million, down from 2.5 million in the 1970s, victims of drought and war which have decimated their flocks. "Of those who have recently fallen destitute, 50% have no livestock left," she said. "People who had, say, 500 sheep, now have only 100, and they are the richest ones. In the souht, 75% have no livestock at all." The Komari Khel tribe, which traditionally migrates in the summer from Laghman province in the east to the central highlands of the Hindu Kush, have largely abandoned the annual trek and are increasingly at the mercy of overstretched aid programs. This summer they camped on hot and dusty plains near Kabul.. (NYT, Nov. 6)

See also WW3 REPORT #s 49, 20 [top]


The Pentagon has deployed Green Berets to train government troops in war-torn and oil-rich Arauca province in Colombia's Orinoco rainforest. Their mission is to train the Colombian army's 18th Brigade in helicopter-borne operations, night fighting, and intelligence-gathering. 11 Huey helicopters have also been promised to the 18th Brigade. The Green Berets join some 400 troops in Colombia. The province has been nicknamed "Saudi Arauca" since oil was discovered there in 1980. Both the leftist guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and their right-wing paramilitary foes profit from extorting protection money from operators of the 485-mile pipeline which runs through the region to the Caribbean coast, or stealing the oil for resale. In the past 15 years, 2.5 million barrels of crude have been spilled from the pipeline by ELN sabotage, more that 10 times the volume of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. The ultra-right paramilitary army, United Colombian Self Defense (AUC), controls a "gasoline cartel" that punctures the pipeline and siphons off petrol, which it sells at bargain prices. (UK Telegraph, Oct. 12) [top]

Citing "reliable" but anonymous sources, Peter Gorman writes for the Narco News website that two battalions of US Marine Jungle Expeditionary Forces have received deployment orders for insertion into Colombia this coming February, 2003. Gorman says the battalions--with support totalling some 1,100 men--have orders to eliminate all high officers of the Revolutionary Colombian Armed Forces (FARC). Writes Gorman: "The FARC hierarchy has been the subject of intensive US intelligence scrutiny for several years... While this reporter did not see a battle plan, according to our sources the offensive will be led by the Colombian military, which will push the FARC south toward the waiting Marines." Gorman says his cources told him civilian casualties in the operation "could reach the thousands." Gorman's sources maintain the administration will keep the presence of the Marines in Colombia secret for as long as possible, claiming casualties the result of training exercises. US troops in battle in Colombia is in direct contravention of the Congressional parameters of both Clinton's Plan Colombia and Bush's expanded Andean Initiative.

Gorman claims the plan was sealed at a late September lunch between Colombia's new President Alvaro Uribe and Bush in Washington. He notes that the luncheon took place at the tail end of a "UNITAS" exercise involving US Marine Expeditionary Forces and the Peruvian military, in which, for the first time, 600 Marines aboard the USS Portland made their way up the international waters of the Amazon to Peruvian territory on the Rio Nanay. Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo denied that the US presence indicated any plans for a US base in Peru. But Gorman writes that insiders saw the arrival of the Portland as a dry run for an encirclement of southern Colombia's jungles to cut off FARC escape routes to Peru, Ecuador and Brazil. [top]

A new report by Human Rights Watch charges that Colombian Attorney General Luis Camilo Osorio has bottlenecked investigations into atrocities by right-wing paramilitary groups since his appointment in July. The report--an embarassment to Colombia's new hardline president Alvaro Uribe, who ran this summer on a law-and-order platform--charges that over the past 15 months, nine prosecutors or investigators working on paramilitary cases have been fired, and another 15 forced to resign. Meanwhile, many high-profile cases have stalled, including a January 2001 massacre of 26 peasants allegedly carried out by paramilitary forces working with Colombian naval officers. Another stalled investigation concerns the ties of a top military officer, Gen. Rito Alejo del Rio, to paramilitaries in northwest Colombia. (NYT, Nov. 9)

Uribe was further embarrassed by a judge's decision to release one-time Cali Cartel kingpin Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela--accused of having once smuggled 80% of the world's cocaine--after serving just seven years of a 15-year term. His brother Miguel will remain in prison to serve a four-year term for bribing a judge. The attorney general has ordered an investigation into the judge who ordered the one-time kingpin freed, but the Colombian Supreme Court accuses Uribe of interfering with the judiciary. (NYT, Nov. 9) [top]

Warning of a potential "Axis of Evil" in the Americas, House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde (R-IL) called on President Bush to support the ouster of Venezuela's populist President Hugo Chavez. Just days before Brazilians elected populist Lula da Silva as president on Oct. 27, Hyde sent Bush a strongly-worded letter warning that Venezuela, Brazil and Cuba constitute an emerging "Axis of Evil" in Latin America. Insight magazine obtained a copy of the letter, which calls the Chavez regime "illegitimate" and "based on the systematic violation of the Venezuelan constitution." The letter called on the Bush aministration to support the "pro-democratic civil-military coalition" that opposes Chavez in Venezuela. It also warned that Chavez and Cuban leader Fidel Castro are cooperating to aid Colombia's FARC guerillas. (Insight, Oct. 29) [top]

Populist former army colonel Lucio Gutierrez appears to have won the first round in Ecuador's presidential race, held Oct. 20. Gutierrez is on the ticket of the January 21 Patriotic Society (SP21)--named for a Jan. 21, 2000 indigenous and civic uprising which ousted President Jamil Mahuad--and the Pachakutic Plurinational Unity Movement-New Country (MUPP-NP), an indigenous grassroots electoral alliance. The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAI), which declined to support a candidate in the first round, has announced its support of Gutierrez in the run-off. Both CONAI president Leonidas Iza and Pachakutic spokesperson Ricaro Ulcuango emphasized that their organizatoins oppse Ecuador's entry into the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Gutierrez said he is open to dialogue with all sectors of society because he believes "that the country needs consensus," but warned he will "never give in to pressure from the groups of power." As of Oct. 23, Gutierrez had exchanged the military fatigues he wore through most of the campaign for civilian clothes. In the Nov. 24 run-off he will face banana tycoon Alvaro Noboa, who has pledged to turn Ecuador into "a huge tax-free zone" and attract "foreign banks, industry and international trade."

( Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct. 27)

See also Latinamerica Press, Nov. 11 [top]

Indians, campesinos, unionists, students and environmentalists from throughout Ecuador and South America converged in Quito for the "Days of Continental Resistance" against the FTAA Seventh Ministerial Summit, held Nov. 1-3. Numerous decentralized protest actions at McDonalds and other such targets throughout the city ended in clashes with police, culminating in a march attended by some 15,000 Oct. 31. The protesters converged on the Marriott hotel, where the preparatory meeting for the ministerial summit was taking place, and Swiss Hotel, where business leaders from around the hemisphere were holding a summit on the FTAA.

Indigenous marchers from rural Ecuador carried a 50-meter long letter expressing opposition to the FTAA and putting forth alternative proposals. On the evening of Oct. 31 a delegation of some 45 activists from the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and allied groups was allowed into the Swiss Hotel to address the trade ministers, while a crowd of several thousand gathered outside. Emphasizing their total rejection of the FTAA, and clarifying that they were not there to discuss or negotiate, the activists handed over the giant letter to the ministers. US activists present--including Peter Rossett of Food First--stood up and yelled at US trade representative Robert Zoellick, calling him a criminal for trying to impose the FTAA on the Latin American people.

On the eve of the march, activists held a forum entitled "Another America is Possible" at a packed Quito auditorium. Among those attending were Bolivian campesino leader and legislator Evo Morales and Argentine human rights leader and Nobel peace laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.

Some 10,000 people also demonstrated against the FTAA in the Canadian city of Montreal Oct. 31. The march, organized by the Association for Worker-Student Solidarity (ASSE) and the Quebec section of the Canadian Federation of Students, ended in an open-air party in a major downtown park. No arrests were reported.

( Weekly News Update on the Americas, Nov. 1)

An Oct. 31 anti-FTAA march of 5,000 was also reported from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Marchers converged on Brazil's Central Bank, and a "Critical Mass" anti-FTAA bike ride was held in downtown Sao Paulo. (Brazil IMC) [top]

South Americ's "tri-border region," where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet, has again become a point of concern for hemispheric intelligence agencies. A Nov. 8 CNN report cited unnamed "intelligence sources" that several top terrorist operatives recently met in the area to plan attacks against US and Israeli targets in the Western Hemisphere. Sources said the meetings, which took place in and around Ciudad del Este, were attended by representatives of Hezbollah and groups sympathetic to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

Two weeks earlier, Argentina's security agencies issued a strong terrorist warning. "We had intelligence that pointed to increased terrorist activity," said Miguel Toma, chief of the State Intelligence Secretariat (SIDE). "It is not unrealistic that there could be some action to prevent or to react to an attack on Iraq. So we need to react because of the global conflict."

Other unnamed "intelligence sources in the Middle East" told CNN of a new terrorist network coordinated by a man named Imad Mugniyeh. The sources say Mugniyeh-- working from his bases in Iran and Lebanon--directs a South American network ready to hit US and Israeli targets if the US attacks Iraq. Mugniyeh is reportedly implicated in the 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut, and the 1992 car bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. Argentine authorities have reportedly connected Mugniyeh to Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Egypt's Gamaa al-Islamiya--all on the US State Department list of terrorist organizations. "Argentine intelligence documents obtained by CNN last year" purportedly detail links between those groups and mosques and businesses in the tri-border area.

The region, known for its thriving black markets, came under an anti-terrorism dragnet following 9-11, with Paraguayan police raiding several businesses and rounding up 20 suspects--14 of whom were later released. Argentine officials point to such evidence found in the region as thousands of US dollars bearing stamps from Lebanese currency exchange banks, tens of thousands of counterfeit dollars, and receipts from wire transfers between the tri-border area and the Middle East. Argentine counter-terrorist officers claim that since 9-11 many terrorist operatives have dispersed east to the Brazilian rainforest and to the free trade zone of Iquique in Chile's northern desert. Police in Iquique recently seized 48 fake Pakistani passports, which they believe were destined for use by terrorists. (CNN, Nov. 8) [top]

Argentine police reported that an anti-tank grenade--primed to explode but defused just in time--was found with an anti-Semitic note at the site of a Jewish community center in the city of La Plata Nov. 8. Claudio Marino of the Aeronautical Fire Brigade Corps said the grenade "was Spanish in origin, difficult to obtain in this region, with a high explosive power." In the cardboard box containing the explosive device was a piece of paper with the words "Jews out of the neighborhood". The discovery was made by a neighbor, who noticed the box at outside the Max Nordeau Cultural Center, site of a Jewish summer camp. (BBC, Nov. 9) [top]


"The resolution strengthens the United Nations, multilateralism and Mexico," President Vicente Fox told reporters in Aguascalientes after his government cast a "yes" vote on the Iraq resolution. "I believe Mexico had a lot to do with this result." Fox claimed Mexico played a crucial role in brokering the agreement. "The United States adjusted its position to be closer to what Mexico demanded, and to be closer to the position of France and Russia," he said. Before casting the vote, Mexico's UN Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser said: "We reiterate the conviction of Mexico, reflected in the accord, that the possible use of force is only valid as a last resort, with the explicit authorization of the Security Council." (The News, Mexico City, Nov. 9)

New York Times analyst Tim Weiner wrote: "By refusing to support the tougher resolution first proposed by the United States, Mr. Fox has won applause at home for appearing to take a stance against Washington and against a war. And by supporting the final draft of the resolution, he may be able to finally revive his relationship with the United States, which has essentially been frozen since last year's attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon." (NYT, Nov. 9) [top]

A Jesuit priest in conflicted Chiapas state announced that the case of 45 Maya Indians massacred in the village of Acteal will be presented before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHCR) "in the next few days." In a Nov. 3 press conference at the Chenalho parish, Pedro Arriaga said the Chiapas-based Fray Bartolome Human Rights Center would take the case to the IAHCR because of irregularities in the Acteal investigation and subsequent court rulings. In December 1997, paramilitaries stormed into the rural highland hamlet of Acteal and opened fire, killing 45 people, mostly women and children. Arraiga said the complaint includes requests that victims' families be adequately compensated by the Mexican government. It also questions court rulings that freed members of the Paz y Justicia paramilitary group, part of the same network which carried out the Acteal massacre. (AFP, Nov. 5) [top]

A military court Nov. 1 convicted two generals of aiding drug smugglers in one of the most high-profile cases in recent Mexican history. The five-general Council of War found Division Gen. Francisco Quiros and Brig. Gen. Arturo Acosta protected the operations of Juarez Cartel kingpin Amado Carrillo Fuentes, who died in 1997 after plastic surgery to change his appearance. Quiros was sentenced to 16 years in prison and Acosta to 15. Prosecutors accused the generals of using military planes to transport shipments of cocaine and marijuana. The officers also face separate charges in the deaths of 130 leftist activists and revolutionaries in the 1970s. That case would open the first prosecution of soldiers for crimes committed during Mexico's so-called "dirty war." Both men maintain their innocence. (AP, Nov. 2) In October, Gen. Acosta admitted that he had received counter-insurgency training by the US Army at Ft. Benning, GA, between 1969 and 1971. (FZLN press release, Oct. 31) [top]

Mexico's Interior Secretary Santiago Creel announced Nov. 4 that party leaders had agreed to enshrine the protection of human rights in the first article of the constitution. The joint agreement is the fruit of five months of negotiations between Creel and leaders from the Mexico's major political parties. (The News, Mexico City, Nov. 5)

Meanwhile, a special UN work group on arbitrary detentions toured the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca--and received nearly 300 reports of illegal arrests and "disappearances" from local rights groups, such as the League for the Defense of Human Rights in Oaxaca and the Fray Bartoleme Human Rights Center in Chiapas. Members of the working group toured the prison at Tlaxiaco, a small city in a conflicted region of Oaxaca. (La Jornada, Nov. 6)

A new report by the Mexico City-based Miguel Agustin Human Right Center finds that Mexican police and military personnel systematically use arbitrary arrests to intimidate protesters an activists. The report cites 830 people who suffered abuses of authority by the police, justice officials and military personnel over the past three and a half years. "Arbitrary arrests in our country are a continuous practice by civilian and military authorities," said the report. Most of the victims are leaders of indigenous and peasant organizations, journalists and human rights advocates. Release of the report coincides with the visit to Mexico by UN human rights official Louis Joinet who is to present a report on arbitrary detentions at the next meeting of the UN Commission for Human Rights. (EFE, Nov. 10) [top]

Seven people were injured Nov. 6 in San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, in the latest outbreak of violance between Catholic and Protestant residents in the bitterly divided Maya Indian village. Each side accused the other of instigating the violence, AFP reported. In recent years, thousands of Protestants have been displaced from their homes in Chamula and other Chiapas highland villages, and dozens from both sides have been killed in clashes. (The News, Mexico City, Nov. 7)

See also WW3 REPORT #s 49, 42 [top]

The Mexican representative for Amnesty International, Robert Knorxre, accused the administration of Queretaro Gov. Ignacio Loyola Vera of promoting impunity, and cited reports of torture at the hands of his police--including that of Ignacio Guerra, arrested in a public plaza for protesting an illegal water cut-off to his home. (Milenio, Nov. 9)

Queretaro is one of two remaining Mexican states still refusing to release political prisoners held on charges of collaborating with the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN)--a key issue stalling a peace deal with the Chiapas-based rebel group.

See WW32 REPORT #s 42, 27 [top]

A former special prosecutor and human rights activist in northern Mexico kidnapped in late October was found murdered, authorities reported Nov. 1. Gilberto Moran, a former Sinaloa state special prosecutor and founder of the Human Rights Defense Commission, was shot to death by unknown abductors, officials said. The Sinaloa prosecutor's office said Moran's body was discovered outside the small town of La Pipima, near Navolato. The body reportedly bore five bullet wounds and two skull fractures produced by "a blunt object." Moran was abducted Oct. 30 as he was leaving the fishing business that he headed in Navolato. Moran joined the Sinaloa prosecutor's office in 1994 and was later appointed special prosecutor to investigate the disappearance of three youths, a case that has not been solved. He resigned from the office in 2001, to devote himself to business. In the 1980s, he founded the Human Rights Defense Commission together with Norma Corona and Jesus Michel Jacobo, who were also murdered in recent years. (EFE, Nov. 2) [top]


Cuba accused the US mission in Havana of spying and meddling in Cuba's internal affairs, in a round of counter-charges following a spy scandal. "The government of the United States knows that we can present ample evidence of their activities of espionage and constant subversion against Cuba," said a statement from the Foreign Ministry. The accusation follows the Nov. 1 expulsion of two diplomats at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington by the US State Department. The two were declared "persona non grata" and given ten days to leave the country. Two Cuban diplomats at the UN were also asked to leave "for engaging in activities deemed to be harmful to the United States outside their official capacity." The expulsions were apparently a response to the activities of Ana Belen Montes, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in October after admitting she spied for Cuba for 17 years. (NYT, Nov. 9) [top]


Following an October 12 protest at the Passaic County Jail by NJ Action Network, three INS detainees were beaten in the jail, the organizers report. On Oct. 16, a dozen guards and a dog attacked and beat a Jamaican detainee, Sebastian Allen, and a second Jamaican detainee, who declined to give his name. The following day, guards beat a third detainee, Tony Bonne, from the Ivory Coast. "This is the second case of retaliation after protests at the New Jersey county jails demanding the release of the detainees," said Jeannette Gabriel of Workers Democracy Network, one of the groups in NJ Action Network. (NJ Action Network press release, Nov. 5)

See also WW3 REPORT #55 [top]

The legal team for Palestinian-born New York activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti filed a complaint and a habeas corpus petition in US District Court in Newark, NJ, Nov. 6 to seek his immediate release. Abdel-Muhti has been held by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for over six months in what the complaint describes as "unlawful detention." The complaint names US Attorney General John Ashcroft, INS Commissioner James W. Ziglar, New Jersey INS district director Andrea Quarantillo and others.

New York City police and INS agents arrested Abdel-Muhti in a warrantless early-morning raid April 26 at the apartment where he and his son were staying in Corona, Queens. The INS has held Abdel-Muhti since then in a series of New Jersey jails on the basis of a 1995 deportation order which his supporters say is unenforceable. As a stateless Palestinian, Abdel-Muhti is unlikely to be accepted by any country, according to his legal team, which notes that the INS has had six months to try to deport him. The Supreme Court ruled last year in Zadvydas v. Davis that six months is a reasonable period for the INS to carry out a deportation and that further detention is usually not justified.

The complaint also charges Abdel-Muhti may have been arrested because of his activism, in violation of his First Amendment rights. Abdel-Muhti is a visible spokesperson for Palestinian causes who used his fluency in Spanish for frequent interviews with New York's Spanish-language media. In the month before his arrest, Abdel-Muhti worked with producers at listener-sponsored WBAI-FM to arrange interviews with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

"This case is indicative of how the US government is treating the Arab-American community--and in fact, the entire immigrant community," said National Lawyers Guild membership coordinator Macdonald Scott, who is assisting Abdel-Muhti's attorney Joel Kupferman of the Environmental Justice Project. (Committee for the Defense of Farouk Abdel-Muhti press release, Nov. 5)

See also WW3 REPORT #s 58 and 56 [top]

High school principals across the country are receiving letters from military recruiters demanding a list of all students--including names, addresses, and phone numbers. The recruiters cite the "No Child Left Behind Act,' President Bush's education law passed earlier this year. Buried deep in the law's 670 pages is a provision requiring public high schools to provide military recruiters with access to facilities and contact information for every student--or face a federal aid cut-off. The Pentagon complained this year that up to 15% of the nation's high schools are "problem schools" for recruiters. In 1999, the Pentagon says, recruiters were denied access to 19,228 schools. Rep. David Vitter (R-LA), who sponsored the amendment, says such schools "demonstrated an anti-military attitude that I thought was offensive."

The new law officially gives students the right to withhold their records. But many school officials are simply handing over student directories to recruiters without informing anyone--leaving students no say in the matter. "I think the privacy implications of this law are profound," says Jill Wynns, president of the San Francisco Board of Education. "For the federal government to ignore or discount the concerns of the privacy rights of millions of high school students is not a good thing, and it's something we should be concerned about."

Educators also point out that the armed services exceeded their recruitment goals for the past two years in a row, even without access to every school. They also charge the new law undercuts the authority of local school districts, including San Francisco and Portland, OR, that have barred recruiters from schools on the grounds that the military discriminates against gays and lesbians. Officials in both cities now say they will grant recruiters access--but will inform students of their right to withhold their records. (David Goodman for Mother Jones, Nov./Dec. 2002) [top]

The Pentagon is building a computer system capable of a vast electronic dragnet, searching for personal information as part of the global hunt for terrorists--including in the United States. As described by the director of the effort, former National Security Advisor John M. Poindexter, the network will provide intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials with instant access to information from e-mail and calling records to credit card and banking transactions and travel documents--without a search warrant. Admiral Poindexter, who has described the plan in public documents and speeches but declined to be interviewed by the New York Times on project, has said that the government needs to "break down the stovepipes" that separate commercial and government databases. "We must become much more efficient and more clever in the ways we find new sources of data, mine information from the new and old, generate information, make it available for analysis, convert it to knowledge, and create actionable options," he said in a speech in California earlier this year.

Admiral Poindexter returned to the government in January to take charge of the new Office of Information Awareness at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The office is responsible for developing new surveillance technologies in the wake of the 9-11 attacks. In order to deploy the system, known as Total Information Awareness, new legislation would be needed--some of which is included in the Homeland Security Act now before Congress. That legislation would amend the 1974 Privacy Act. (NYT, Nov. 9)

See also WW3 REPORT #22 [top]

Chicago police said they will videotape anti-globalization demonstrators Nov. 7 under intelligence-gathering powers they have regained from the courts after a two-decade ban. Department rules that took effect Oct. 25 also permit officers to pose as members of groups and surf the Internet to scan groups' web sites. "In the past, you could only turn on the camera after a crime was committed, and you could only film the commission of a crime," said Larry Rosenthal, a deputy corporation counsel for the city. "Now, we will have cameras out there to document demonstrators' misconduct, as well as police misconduct if it occurs. The expanded police powers stem from the easing of the so-called "Red Squad" consent decree in January 2001. The 1982 federal decree had barred the city from gathering information on political groups. The 7th Circuit US Court of Appeals modified the decree, giving the city more freedom to collect intelligence. Chief Judge Richard A. Posner wrote that the decree "rendered the police helpless to do anything to protect the public."

The Red Squad was a secret police unit launched in the 1920s and notorious for spying on anti-war activists in the 1960s, when it even infiltrated church groups. "Somebody in the Police Department can't remember 1968," said Harvey Grossman, of the Illinois American Civil Libertieis Union. Mayor Richard Daley--whose father was mayor during the violent anti-war protests in 1968--has argued for years that the decree needed to be lifted. (Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 7)

See also WW3 REPORT #s 53 , 20 [top]

At an Oct. 21 press conference in Tucson, AZ, human rights advocates demanded a federal investigation into a series of killings of Mexican migrants which they blamed on right-wing vigilante groups. A migrant who escaped an Oct. 16 attack near Red Rock, AZ, said he and 11 others were waiting to be picked up by smugglers when two men wearing camouflage fatigues appeared, firing an automatic rifle and a pistol. Two migrants were killed; the other nine remain missing. Mike Minter, a spokesperson for the Pinal County Sheriff's Department, said detectives were looking into several possibilities, and the possibility of a vigilantes connection "hasn't been ruled out."

In neighboring Maricopa County, the sheriff's department is investigating the killing of eight men whose bodies were found in the desert west of Phoenix from June to September. The victims' hands were bound by tape, telephone wire or handcuffs. Seven were killed by shots to the head or body and one was beaten to death or stabbed. At least six of the victims were Mexican citizens; one was Ecuadoran. At an Oct. 18 press conference in Phoenix, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said some 300 to 400 agents, backed with air support, will launch an investigation to solve the killings.

Members of the anti-immigrant vigilante organization Ranch Rescue deny involvement in the killings, but admit they have mobilized some 50 men--dressed in military-style camouflage gear and armed with semiautomatic rifles and pistols--to hunt for undocumented migrants in southern Arizona. (NYT, Oct. 23; La Jornada, Oct. 20; Arizona Daily Star, Oct. 22; El Diario [Juarez], Oct. 19)

( Immigration News Briefs, Oct. 25)

On Nov. 1, three masked men ambushed 14 migrants in the desert near Three Points, AZ, west of Tucson. One assailant fired a shot at the migrants. No one was injured. Nine of the migrants were subsequently picked up by the Border Patrol; five remain missing. The assailants remain at large. (Tucson Citizen, Nov. 4). On Nov. 2, Day of the Dead, more than 150 people from across Arizona carried crosses, banners and flags on an eight-mile procession through Tucson to remember the 163 migrants known to have died in the US Border Patrol's Tucson sector during FY 2002. (Arizona Daily Star, Nov. 3)

( Immigration News Briefs, Nov. 8) [top]

New US Border Patrol guidelines state that driving undocumented migrants to a hospital can be considered "illegal and can result in prosecution"--even if the migrant is in medical distress. The guidelines are apparently aimed at the Tucson-based Samaritan Patrol and other groups which provide humanitarian assistance to migrants stranded in the desert. Rev. John Fife, a leader of Samaritan Patrol and pastor of Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, said his group will continue its work. "The law clearly provides for humanitarian assistance and transportation to appropriate medical facilities, and that's the understanding we have had with the Border Patrol," said Fife. Border Patrol spokesperson Rob Daniels said the agency had no such understanding, and that decisions to prosecute those caught transporting immigrants to hospitals will be made on a case-by-case basis. (Tucson Citizen, Oct. 24) At least 134 migrants died in the Arizona desert in FY 2002--mostly from dehydration and exposure. (NYT, Oct. 23)

( Immigration News Briefs, Oct. 25) [top]

Jewish Defense League leader Irv Rubin, jailed on charges of plotting to bomb a mosque and the offices of a Arab-American congressman, was left brain dead and on life support Nov. 4 after a suicide attempt, authorities said. Rubin, 57, was rushed to the hospital from his cell at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles after apparently slashing his throat with a razor blade and then jumping or falling over a railing. While his attorney Mark Werksman said Rubin had been a "mental wreck" since his arrest, his family refused to believe the official story. "My husband would never kill himself. This was a hit, this was a hit," said his wife, Shelley Rubin. "I saw my husband yesterday. He was just the same as before. He didn't say goodbye. He said I will see you in court tomorrow. He was fine."

Rubin and associate Earl Krugel were arrested Dec. 11 on charges of plotting to bomb the King Fahd mosque in suburban Culver City and an office of Rep. Darrell E Issa (R-CA), the grandson of Lebanese immigrants. Rubin and Krugel were arrested after an FBI informant delivered an explosive powder that authorities said was the last component in making pipe bombs. The charges carry up to 40 years in prison. Rubin, who by his own account has been arrested more than 40 times, joined the JDL in the early 1970s and became its chairman in 1985. In 1989, Mordechai Levy, leader of the rival Jewish Defense Organization was charged with firing shots at Rubin and wounding three others in New York. Levy was convicted of assault. (AP, Nov. 5) [top]


In a series of written answers to questions posed by members of the US Congress last April that were released to the general public Oct. 28, the CIA admitted that the War on Terrorism was not addressing root causes: "While we are striking major blows against al-Qaeda--the preeminent global terrorist threat, the underlying causes that drive terrorists will persist... Several troublesome global trends--especially the growing demographic youth bulge in developing nations whose economic systems and political ideologies are under enormous stress--will fuel the rise of more disaffected groups willing to use violence to address their perceived grievances." [top]

Interpol chief Ronald Noble told the French newspaper Le Figaro: ''Osama bin Laden is alive, and on the ground the hunt for him goes on as it did on the very first day. As long as I have no proof to the contrary, I will consider bin Laden a fugitive well and truly alive.'' Noble, an American who became secretary-general of the Lyon-based international police organization two years ago, added: ''Intelligence experts all agree that right now al-Qaeda is preparing a high-profile terrorist operation, with attacks targeting not just the US but several countries at the same time.'' Noble said that al-Qaeda leaders are lying low, while "middle-ranking" terrorist groups carry out attacks, such as the Bali bombing and the Moscow theater siege. ''The battlefield now spreads across every country and mobilizes several terrorist groups. This message is not at all reassuring. It suggests a kind of co-ordination of terror.'' (BBC, Nov. 8) [top]

A trove of videotape, computer analyses, witness accounts and other material on the mechanics of the World Trade Center collapse which was presented as evidence in the $3.5 billion lawsuit between WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein and his insurers is to be released to the public after the federal judge in the case said that he had no objection. (NYT, Oct. 29)

See also WW3 REPORT #54 [top]

Meanwhile a study led by the US Army Corps of Engineers on the mechanics of the 9-11 attack on the Pentagon, completed in July, remains under a classification review, and may never be released to the public. John Jester, director of the newly-created Pentagon Force Protection Agency, cited security concerns: "We've obviously been the site of a terrorist attack, so we don't want to disclose anything that would assist someone who would want to attack us again." (NYT, Nov. 5) [top]


MEGALOPIG OF THE WEEK(Please choose one):

1. Randy Scheunemann
2. Ismail Khan
3. Luis Camilo Osorio
4. Henry Hyde
5. Brig. Gen. Arturo Acosta
6. Ignacio Loyola Vera
7. David Vitter
8. John M. Poindexter

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