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ISSUE: #70. Jan. 27, 2003











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

1. Demolitions at Nazlet Isa--Despite Non-Violent Resistance
2. Israeli Forces Invade Gaza City
3. Israel Seals Occupied Territories Before Vote

1. Human Shields Head for Iraq
2. U.S. Military Contractor Killed in Kuwait
3. Arms Inspectors Contradict Bush on Iraq Nuke Claim
4. Pentagon Preparing Nuclear Strikes on Iraq
5. Pentagon to Test Secret Microwave Weapons on Iraq
6. Pentagon Planning Unprecedented Aerial Bombardment
7. CIA Hit Teams on the Ground In Iraq
8. E.U.: No War Without U.N. Approval
9. Europe Supports Turkish Peace Initiative
10. Iraq and Kuwait Vie for Control of Contested Oil Field
11. U.S. Boosts Imports of Iraqi Oil
12. Oil Biz Firefighters Brace for "Environmental Nightmare"
13. Does Saddam Have "Escape Route" to Exile?

1. Update: Foreign Financial Networks of Hindu Fascism
2. Maoist Rebels Kill Nepal National Police Chief

1. Colombian Paras Attack Kuna Indians in Panama
2. Colombia's Petro-Zone Still Wild Frontier
3. Venezuela's High Court Suspends Referendum on Chavez

1. Passaic Detainees End Hunger Strike--For Now
2. Another Attempted Murder at Ft. Bragg?
3. Pentagon Refutes Rangel

1. War Propagandists Get Wise to "ANSWER" Stalinists

1. SUVs Get $75,000 Tax Break
2. Free Speech Struggle in Antarctica


On Jan. 21 in Nazlet Isa, occupied West Bank, Israeli bulldozers accompanied by some 300 occupation troops and Border Police, destroyed 62 Palestinian-owned shops and businesses housed in 28 buildings in the space of three hours. The previous day, the local Israeli military commander told the shopkeepers the buildings would be destroyed, and that he could determine when without warning. The shopkeepers were first informed eight months ago about the impending destruction, and obtained an Israeli High Court order staying the demolitions--but the commander said he didn't care, and would destroy the buildings anyway. The demolitions started around 10 AM. Seven Daewoo bulldozers, smaller and more maneuverable that the huge Catepillar-built D-9's, did the wrecking. As the destruction began, the villagers, accompanied by activists from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), formed a line and began to chant. The Israeli commander told the Palestinians and internationals they would be subject to arrest if they didn't fall back behind a line of soldiers on the main street, and most did. Chants heard in English included "We shall overcome" and "Bush, Sharon, you will see, Palestine will be free!"

A short time after the protest began, two Israeli jeeps rushed towards the crowd, and soldiers stormed towards the line to force the protesters back. Israeli forces were face-to-face with the crowd for several hours, and some were willing to converse. When asked why the destruction was occurring, soldiers replied it was for security, or because the buildings were built without a permit. (In fact, the stores had Palestinian Authority building permits, but were built in Area "C," under Israeli security and administrative control since 1993.) Most soldiers were dismissive of activists' arguments against the destruction; others appeared uncomfortable but resigned to their duty. Most soldiers were adept in avoiding eye contact. Some were obnoxious, laughing at the crowd. At one point, a Jewish-American international activist began to sing a peace song in Hebrew, and some soldiers moved away, clearly uncomfortable to hear it. The activist also reported being pushed in the breast area by a soldier.

A Jan. 21 AP report on the demolitions, widely picked up by US papers, said "dozens of protesters threw stones." But this reporter saw no rocks thrown, and few of the Palestinian and international activists consulted for this report saw or heard of rocks thrown. One American activist, Jonathan Elsberg, was in the area of greatest disturbance, where Israeli forces fired tear gas at the crowd. He was hit in the leg with a gas canister, and saw an Israeli soldier directly aim the tear gas launcher at him-- as reported by Agence-France Presse. He believes the claim of "dozens" of stone-throwers to be exaggerated. Four Palestinians were briefly hospitalized for tear gas inhalation, and one Palestinian protester was detained several hours by Israeli forces, and beaten while in custody.

The Israeli crew finished its work in three hours and pulled out, leaving a swath of destruction in its wake. The shops were housed in flimsy aluminum structures, and only a twisted, crushed mass remained. The previous afternoon, some shopkeepers managed to get their goods out, but many lost their wares in the destruction. Nissam, a pharmacist, said he was very confused and shocked by what happened, and didn't know what he would do now. Even with all that happened to him, when he found out one of the activists he was talking to was from New York City, he immediately expressed his condolences for the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and invited several activists to lunch.

Of approximately 170 shops in Nazlet Isa, 82 have now been destroyed, and more destruction is slated for Feb. 9. Representatives of the village told the ISM activists they did not expect to stop the destruction, but did not want to take it lying down, and wanted to world to know what is happening to them. The shopping center is a vital part of the Palestinian economy, and many locals believe it was destroyed because it was undercutting Israeli business just over the Green Line in Israel. Destruction of the remaining shops would have serious implications for the area's economic life. "There will be a very serious impact on the village and surrounding area," Nigel Roberts, director of the World Bank in Gaza and the West Bank, told BBC News Online. "There is also the concern that this will be a precursor to other such acts on a broader basis," he added.

Nazlet Isa residents said the destruction amounted to ethnic cleansing and "transfer." Nazlet Isa's shops are not, as some media reported, being destroyed because of the construction of Israel's "security" wall, which is to be three kilometers to the east, but is in an Israeli-declared "security zone," within 200 meters of a military outpost. The actions in Nazlet Isa follow a pattern of Israeli actions that are resulting in Palestinian emigration away from the border area, according to Palestinian activists. (BBC, Jan. 23; NYT, Jan. 21; UK Independent, Jan. 21; VOA, Jan. 21) (See also WW3 REPORT #69)

(David Bloom on the scene in Nazlet Isa) [top]

On Jan. 23, Israeli occupation forces invaded Gaza City, destroying several houses and shops with explosives over the next two days. One stray missile fired from a helicopter hit Saint Philips Church, located inside the al-Ahly Hospital, and an elderly Palestinian woman died of a heart attack when her home was hit. On the morning of Jan. 24, the Israeli military destroyed all of the bridges in and out of Beit Hanoun in the north of the Gaza Strip. Israeli tanks and helicopters then shelled the town for 18 hours. In Rafah, Israeli troops ransacked several homes, and destroyed 21 houses in the Block O section of the city. International volunteer Kristen Ess writes: "The area is already flooded with sewage and nearly unihabitable." (Eye-witness account by Kristen Ess is Gaza, via e-mail)

AP reported that Hamas militants retaliated by firing three crude Qassam rockets at the Israeli desert town of Sderot from Gaza Jan. 24. Schoolchildren were taken to underground shelters, but only one injury was reported, of a woman hanging laundry. That day on the West Bank, Israeli troops killed a Palestinian mother and her son in unclear circumstances. An Israeli military spokesman said one of them fired on an army outpost with a handgun, and both were found to be carrying grenades. Neighbors said the mother and son set out along a dirt path to avoid a military checkpoint on their way into Nablus to buy groceries. Some mentioned the woman's desire to avenge the killing of one of her other sons, a member of Islamic Jihad, by Israeli forces two months ago. (AP, Jan. 24)

The attacks on Gaza were launched hours after Palestinian gunmen killed three Israeli soldiers in an ambush near Hebron on the West Bank Jan. 23. The damage to Saint Philips Church, a 19th-century Anglican chapel, allegedly came in an attack on nearby metal workshops. The blast left holes in the roof and the stone floor near the altar, covering an icon of the Virgin Mary with debris. "This is an act of terrorism against our church," said Anglican Bishop Riah Abu Assal. "Its location next to the hospital is well known. There is no room for mistakes, and they [Israeli military officials] didn't even bother to issue a statement to express their regret." The Israeli military had no comment on the damage to the chapel, but said the workshops were targeted because they made weapons. Palestinians said six people were wounded in the attacks, though none of the 40 patients at the hospital were harmed. The violence came just five days before Israel's general election, which is expected to give hardline Prime Minister Ariel Sharon another term. (AP, Jan. 24)

On Jan. 26, Israeli forces backed by 35 tanks and several helicopters moved deep into Gaza City, killing 12 Palestinians in exchanges of fire. It was the highest toll in a single day in Gaza in five months, and the incursion was the deepest into Gaza City in more than two years of fighting. Tanks were seen a half mile from Palestine Square, which marks the center of the city of about 300,000. A missile fired by an Israeli helicopter set a large fire in the Shajaiyeh neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, witnesses said.

Sharon stands to benefit from an upsurge of violence as Jan. 28 elections approach. Traditionally, Sharon's hard-line Likud Party has benefited from violence, as Israelis seek a tough response. The Likud and its allies are ahead in the polls, and Sharon is expected to form a new government after the vote. Maj. Gen. Abdel Razek Majaidie, head of Palestinian security in Gaza, condemned Sharon's new offensive, saying "This crime against innocent civilians is another part of his continuous war against the Palestinian people and Palestinian homeland." (AP, Jan. 26) [top]

Israel locked down the West Bank and Gaza Strip Jan. 26, two days ahead of its national election, barring all Palestinians from entering Israel and confining most to their communities. Israel has enforced stringent travel bans on Palestinians since the outbreak of the Intifada, but the new restrictions, to be in effect until after the vote, impede movement still further. The blanket closure followed the unprecedented military attacks on Gaza City. "The Israelis will pay a heavy price for every drop of blood shed last night," Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi told the crowd at the funeral for the 12 Palestinians killed in the Gaza fighting. "Our battle will continue until we uproot this Zionist occupation from our holy land, no matter what the sacrifice." UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a statement deploring the "ominous" escalating violence, and condemding Israeli operations "that place Palestinian civilians in harm's way." But a poll published Sunday the 26th indicated that the new attacks are paying off, with Sharon's Likud Party comfortably ahead, winning 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset, compared to 19 for the opposition Labor party. In the final evening of campaign commercials on Israeli TV, Labor candidate Amram Mitzna appealed to disaffected one-time supporters to "Come back to the Labor Party." (AP, Jan. 26) [top]


A first wave of 50 volunteers from the US and other Western countries left London Jan. 21 on a convoy bound for Iraq to act as "human shields" at populated areas in case of a new war on Baghdad. "The potential for white Western body parts flying around with the Iraqi ones should make them think again about this imperialist oil war," said organizer Ken Nichols, a former US marine in the 1991 Gulf War. Nichols said his "We the People" organization will send off hundreds, and possibly thousands, of volunteers from the US, Britain, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark and New Zealand.

Baghdad has welcomed the plans, but volunteers reject suggestions that they are serving as propaganda pawns of Saddam Hussein--despite the fact that in the 1991 war, Saddam forcibly held thousands of Western hostages, placing many near sensitive sites in a bid to stop aerial attacks. "It's laughable to say that we are working for Saddam when it was the UK and the US who gave him his biological and other weapons in the first place," Nichols said. "The hypocrisy is mind-blowing. The biggest threat to world security at this moment is George W. Bush."

Meanwhile in Bucharest, over 100 members of the Romanian Workers Party, which took the mantle of the old Communist party in 1995, are preparing a similar trip next month to support "the cause of the people." The major rallying point for Muslims is Iraq's neighbor Jordan, where a campaign led by leftist parties and civic bodies is seeking 100,000 shield volunteers. (Reuters, Jan. 21) [top]

Michael Rene Pouliot, a civilian contractor for the US military, was killed and a second injured when their vehicle was ambushed by unknown assialants in Kuwait Jan. 21. The computer technicians were driving near Camp Doha military base when a volley was fired at their vehicle. Nobody claimed responsibility, but US Ambassador Richard Jones called it an act of terror. (Washington Post, Jan. 22) [top]

When President Bush went to the UN in September to make his case against Iraq, he brought a piece of evidence for what he called Iraq's "continued appetite" for nuclear weapons. Bush said Iraq had tried to buy thousands of high-strength aluminum tubes, to be "used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon." National SecurityAdviser Condoleezza Rice described the tubes as "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs." But the Washington Post reported Jan. 24 that "weapons inspectors in Iraq are increasingly confident that the aluminum tubes were never meant for enriching uranium, according to officials familiar with the inspection process." The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in a Jan. 8 preliminary assessment that the tubes were "not directly suitable" for uranium enrichment, but were "consistent" with making conventional artillery rockets--a finding that supports Iraq's official explanation. "It may be technically possible that the tubes could be used to enrich uranium," said one expert familiar with the investigation. "But you'd have to believe that Iraq deliberately ordered the wrong stock and intended to spend a great deal of time and money reworking each piece."

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer insisted that "the attempted acquisition of such tubes is prohibited under the United Nations resolutions in any case." But former IAEA weapons inspector David Albright suggested the Bush administration had rushed to judgement. "If the US government puts out bad information it runs a risk of undermining the good information it possesses," he said David Albright. "In this case, I fear that the information was put out there for a short-term political goal: to convince people that Saddam Hussein is close to acquiring nuclear weapons." (WP, Jan. 24) [top]

Writes defense analyst William M. Arkin in the LA Times Jan. 26: "At the US Strategic Command (SratCom) in Omaha and inside planning cells of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, target lists are being scrutinized, options are being pondered and procedures are being tested to give nuclear armaments a role in the new U.S. doctrine of 'preemption.'" Citing confidential sources, Arkin writes that nuclear strikes are being considered to attack facilities buried deep underground, or to thwart Iraq's use of weapons of mass destruction. Arkin writes that the plans represent "a significant lowering of the nuclear threshold." In May, Bush signed National Security Presidential Directive 17, officially confirming the doctrine of preemptively thwarting any potential use of weapons of mass destruction. "US military and appropriate civilian agencies must possess the full range of operational capabilities to counter the threat and use of WMD," the president reiterated last December in his National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction. Arkin writes that the current nuclear planning is being carried out at StratCom's Omaha headquarters, among small teams in Washington and at Vice President Dick Cheney's "undisclosed location" in Pennsylvania. On Dec. 11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sent Bush a memorandum asking for authority to place StratCom commander Adm. James O. Ellis Jr. in charge of the full range of "strategic" warfare options to combat terrorist states and organizations. The memo, obtained by the Times, recommended assigning all responsibilities for dealing with foreign weapons of mass destruction, including "global strike; integrated missile defense; [and] information operations" to StratCom. [top]

A Jan. 19 article on the Time magazine web site provides more details on new experimental "high-power microwave" weapons the US is preparing to use in Iraq:

"HPMs are man-made lightning bolts crammed into cruise missiles. They could be key weapons for targeting Saddam Hussein's stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons. HPMs fry the sophisticated computers and electronic gear necessary to produce, protect, store and deliver such agents. The powerful electromagnetic pulses can travel into deeply buried bunkers through ventilation shafts, plumbing and antennas... The HPM is a top-secret program, and the Pentagon wants to keep it that way... Still, information about HPMs, first successfully tested in 1999, has trickled out. 'High-power microwave technology is ready for the transition to active weapons in the US military,' Air Force Colonel Eileen Walling wrote in a rare, unclassified report on the program three years ago. 'There are signs that microwave weapons will represent a revolutionary concept for warfare, principally because microwaves are designed to incapacitate equipment rather than humans.' ... Most of this 'e-bomb' development is taking place at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, NM. The Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland has been studying how to deliver varying but predictable electrical pulses to inflict increasing levels of harm: to deny, degrade, damage or destroy, to use the Pentagon's parlance. HPM engineers call it 'dial-a-hurt.' But that hurt can cause unintended problems: beyond taking out a tyrant's silicon chips, HPMs could destroy nearby heart pacemakers and other life-critical electrical systems in hospitals or aboard aircraft... The US used a more primitive form of these weapons--known as soft bombs--against Yugoslavia and in the first Gulf War, when cruise missiles showered miles of thin carbon fibers over electrical facilities, creating massive short circuits that shut down electrical power."

See also WW3 REPORT #68 [top]

Under Pentagon war plans, the Air Force and Navy will launch between 300 and 400 cruise missiles at targets in Iraq on the first day of air strikes--more than the number launched during the entire 40 days of Operation Deseret Storm. An equal number will be launched the second day. "There will not be a safe place in Baghdad," said one Pentagon official who has been briefed on the plan. "The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before."

The battle plan, known as "Shock and Awe," is based on a concept developed at the National Defense University and focuses on the psychological destruction of the enemy's will to fight rather than the physical destruction of his military forces. "We want them to quit. We want them not to fight," says Harlan Ullman, one of the authors of the Shock and Awe concept. "So that you have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but in minutes."

In Operation Desert Storm, 10% of the weapons were precision-guided. In this new operation, planners say, 80% will be precision guided. The Air Force has stockpiled 6,000 guidance kits in the Persian Gulf to convert ordinary "dumb bombs" into satellite-guided weapons. Said Ullman: "You're sitting in Baghdad and all of a sudden you're the general and 30 of your division headquarters have been wiped out. You also take the city down. By that I mean you get rid of their power, water. In two, three, four, five days they are physically, emotionally and psychologically exhausted." (CBS, Jan. 24) [top]

USA Today reported Jan. 19 that the US "is undertaking a vigorous military and intelligence effort to track, and possibly kill, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The effort involves, among other things, small teams of US special operations forces and CIA paramilitary units inside and around Iraq, satellite imagery, radio intercepts and airborne reconnaissance, US intelligence officials say.... Nearly 100 US special operations forces and more than 60 CIA operatives have been conducting reconnaissance missions in Iraq's deserts and outside its major cities since September, senior US and Arab intelligence officials said, confirming a Boston Globe report earlier this month... Two spy satellites, code-named Micron and Trumpet, are intercepting calls and walkie-talkie transmissions from Iraqi military sites, Saddam's motorcade, his palaces and other areas." But US Central Command in Tampa, which oversees military operations in Iraq, declined to comment officially. "We don't talk about current operations," CentCom spokesman Maj. Bill Harrison said. [top]

The European Union rejected a new attack on Iraq without the backing of the UN Jan. 21, and said weapons inspectors must have time to do their job. Prime Minister Costas Simitis of Greece, EU president until the end of June, said a new war would hurt stability in the Middle East. Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, leaving on an EU mission to the Middle East this week in a bid to avert war, said there was no need for an attack if Iraq cooperated with weapons inspectors. "United Nations 1441 resolution doesn't say there should be a decision on January 27 when the report is submitted," Papandreou told reporters, referring to the resolution passed in November. "So, in theory and in practice, there could be more time. Inspectors could continue their work for some more time." (Reuters, Jan. 21) [top]

Turkey's top politician Recep Tayyip Erdogan harshly criticized the US Jan. 24, and said his government would not support military action without UN approval. Erdogan, who heads Turkey's ruling party, said eliminating nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Iraq was a worthy goal. "But let's not kid ourselves," he told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Daovs, Switzerland. "No one is interested in eliminating their own weapons of mass destruction. They're interested in strengthening their own weapons of mass destruction." Asked if he was accusing the US of hypocrisy, Erdogan said: "I meant all the countries in the world. The United States is also included."

Hoping to avert a war, Turkey hosted a gathering last week of foreign ministers from Iraq's neighbors and Egypt, who formally urged Saddam Hussein to cooperate with UN weapons inspectors. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, in Turkey as part of German efforts to prevent a war, said Berlin was also concerned by "the risks" of a US military action. Fischer praised the declaration by the foreign ministers of Iran, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt, calling it a "strong message to the Iraqi government that there must be full compliance."

Russia joined Germany and France in insisting there is currently no justification for military action against Iraq and urging Washington to wait for arms inspectors to finish their work. The split over Iraq grew uglier when US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld offended NATO allies France and Germany by calling them part of "old Europe" and "a problem" because of their opposition to military action. "Cool down, cool down," Fischer said in response to Rumsfeld's comments. "We are good friends, good allies. We have a discussion now about how to deal with Iraq. But cool down." (AP, Jan. 24) [top]

At the Ratqa oil field, a cluster of Kuwaiti wells just across an earthen embankment from Iraqi territory, a quarrel over the shared subterranean reservoir of crude helped trigger Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the ensuing Operation Desert Storm--and over a decade of US military involvement in the region. The field lies mostly inside Iraq, but its southern tip protrudes into Kuwaiti territory. Both countries continue to pump crude at Ratqa, vying to suck the oil up before the other can get it. "Whenever we move our rigs, they move their rigs," said Ali al-Muhanna, production chief in northern Kuwait for the state-run Kuwait Oil Co. "We move here, they move there. For at least three, four months, we've seen this pattern." Kuwait pumps 40,000 barrels a day from its share of the field, twice the amount of oil it produced on the eve of Desert Storm, al-Muhanna said. Iraq at that time was pumping at least 70,000 barrels a day from its much larger patch, which Iraqis call Rumaila. As Saddam Hussein struggled to rebuild his country after the 1980s Iran-Iraq War, he repeatedly accused Kuwait of drilling wells horizontally beneath the border at Ratqa-Rumaila, exploiting oil on the Iraqi side. Baghdad later used these accusations of so-called "slant" drilling to help justify its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. "Iraq still claims that Kuwait is stealing Iraqi oil," said Kuwait Oil Co. chairman Ahmed al-Arbeed. "But the facts are completely different. In the 1970s and '80s, Iraq was stealing our oil, as was proven by the UN." In 1995, the UN determined that Iraq had appropriated a strip of land 800 yards wide in the poorly-marked border zone. Al-Arbeed said the UN awarded the territory to Kuwait, along with 14 oil wells the Iraqis had drilled there. Al-Arbeed accused Iraq of stealing 100 million barrels of Kuwaiti oil--worth roughly $3 billion at current prices--over the course of several years. Al-Arbeed admitted that his company has at least two horizontal wells in or near Ratqa, but he insisted that they run parallel with the border, not across it. (AP, Jan. 24) [top]

Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell have doubled US imports of Iraqi oil from 0.5 million barrels per day in November to over 1 million barrels per day to compensate for imports lost from Venezuela due to the ongoing strike which has nearly halted production in the South American country. The trade with Iraq is legal under the terms of UN's oil-for-food program. (UK Observer, Jan. 26) [top]

Cudd Pressure Control, Boots & Coots International Well Control and Wild Well Control, the three US companies that extinguished hundreds of oil well fires in Kuwait after Operation Desert Storm, is now in touch with the Pentagon about providing a similar service in the new war. White House officials and oil industry executives are concerned that Saddam Hussein could torch Iraq's oil fields if the US attacks, just as retreating Iraqi troops blew up 700 of Kuwait's 1,000 oil wells in 1991, plunging the country into a months-long night of blackened skies. Company leaders are worried about the possibility of having to work on booby-trapped fields, or wells tainted by chemical or biological weapons--or even under fire. "It's not unimaginable that the war effort would still be going on while we're in there," said Jerry L. Winchester, president of Boots & Coots in Houston.

Kuwait was like nothing the companies had ever experienced, and Iraq could be worse, executives said. In March 1991, when the first teams of firefighters arrived, they thought they had walked into hell, Winchester said. "You're used to pulling up to a location and seeing one well on fire, not 80, and you know there's another 80 out there and a few hundred behind those." It took nine months to extinguish the flames in Kuwait, and Iraq is a much larger and more rugged country, with oil installations spread out over much more difficult terrain. So the Iraq oil fires could rage for much longer. "That's a big environmental nightmare," said Bill Mahler, marketing manager at Wild Well Control. (NYT, Jan. 24) [top]

In 1991's Operation Desert Storm, Saddam Hussein had already planned an "escape route" to exile in either Libya or Eritrea, but decided against fleeing because he felt he was not in danger, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Yediot Ahronot daily Jan. 24. This time around--with regional leaders calling on Saddam to accept exile and save his country from another disastrous US bombardment--it is unknown whether the dictator has made similar arrangements. "From an analysis of his profile, I can say that the chance that Saddam Hussein will decide to use such an escape route--if he has one--before the first shot is fired is very low," Mofaz said. "The man has survived situations of very great danger, and it strengthened his tendency toward brinkmanship." Mofaz said Israel has made it clear to the US that it would retaliate for an Iraqi attack if non-conventional weapons are used, or if damage caused is so great that "we can't keep quiet about it." (AP, Jan. 24) [top]


In December 2002, corporations such as Sun Microsystems, Cisco and Oracle placed holds on their annual philanthropic donations to the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), a Maryland-based charity, which claims to "assist in rural development, tribal welfare, and [issues concerning the] urban poor" in India. An inquiry was also filed by the UK Charity Commission, the British government's charity watchdog, into a Leichester-based charity, Sewa International, which claims to do similar work.

This freeze on charity dollars and pounds is a result of two reports by the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate and Britain's Channel 4 respectively. These reports contend that the money slated for "relief and development" projects in India--amounting to some $500,000 per year--is, in reality, being used to finance sectarian violence carried out Hindu nationalist organizations, including the Bharitya Janata Party (BJP), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sahba (RSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal, collectively known as the Sangh Parivar, or simply the Sangh.

Both reports provide detailed anaylses of IDRF and Sewa International, documenting their affiliations with the Sangh. IDRF founding members are affiliated with Hindu nationalist organizations in the US, such as Oveseas Friends of the BJP, VHP-America, Hindu Swayamsevak Sahba (an RSS counterpart in the US and UK), etc. The Channel 4 report states that Sewa International and RSS-Britain share a charity registration number.

Stop Funding Hate states that the nine organizations identified as beneficiaries of IDRF donations on IRS documents are "clearly marked Sangh operatives." An investigation into the activities of one such organization sheds light on the shadow network. Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, founded in 1952, has set up over 8,000 school projects in several Indian states, including violence-torn Gujarat, and purports to work for tribal welfare and education. Its website mentions the importance of "weaning tribals away from the evil influeces of foreign missionaries and anti-national forces." Activists charge that the curricula at these schools is "Hinduized," and perpetuates ugly stereotypes of Muslims and Christians, characterzing the latter as "anti-national" enemies. The attempt to incorporate tribals into Hindu society is a means of enrolling them for sectarian violence, activists charge.

Channel 4 sent a team of reporters to Baroda, a town in Gujarat severely affected by the VHP-led riots last year, who interviewed victims and perpetrators of the violence. Their findings reveal that Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram activists were directly involved in violence and incited crowds of tribal youth to commit atrocities against Muslim villagers, and provided them with arms to do so.

Tribals in Gujarat amount to 15% of the total population--much higher than the national figure of 8%--but they fall into the lowest economic strata. Activists working with tribals and Dalits ("untouchables") have stated that both groups were bribed to participate in the violence by militant outfits like the VHP and Bajrang Dal, which promised them money and political representation in the local branches of these organizations. Dalits, who have historically been considered outside the Hindu caste system, are being incorporated into militant Hindu nationalism in much the same way as the tribals.

Individual donors and corporations seeking to donate through IDRF can either choose to send their "donor-designated funds" to a specific organization or project, or can waive their right to do so. In the latter case, IDRF disburses funds to whichever organization it sees fit. Ten percent of all IDRF-desginated funds are directed into the accounts to Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram.

While IDRF and Sewa International have donated money for genuine relief work following emergencies such as the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, a majority of IDRF funds are directed into projects concerning tribal education and "Hinduisation." Only 15% of IDRF-designated funds go to relief work, 4% into development and 8% into welfare and health. Stop Funding Hate claims that none of IDRF's beneficiaries can be affiliated with any minority community, and that 83% of them have affiliations with the Sangh.

Stop Funding Hate contends that even the relief work done by NGOs affiliated with the Sangh is sectarian, exclusively assisting Hindu victims of natural disasters and poverty. The IDRF made no attempt to collect funds for vicitms of the Gujarat massacres of 2002, who were mostly mostly Muslim. However, it has enthusiastically collected funds to aid Bangladeshi victims of Muslim-on-Hindu violence, Hindu victims of terrorism in Kashmir and 9-11 survivors in the US.

Both the IDRF and Sewa International have denied the conclusions of the reports, with the IDRF denouncing Stop Funding Hate as a group of Communists committing "intellectual violence in the name of Mahatma Gandhi." Stop Funding Hate's website invokes the spirit of the Gandhi's vision of a secular India.

IDRF has issued its own petition, entitled "Stop Hatred and Let India Develop" to counteract the work of Stop Funding Hate. The number of signers is growing fast, as is the slandering of Stop Funding Hate members. Recently, an article appeared on, official website of the militant Bajrang Dal, which stated that Biju Mathews, a spokesperson for Stop Funding Hate, was anti-Hindu, "a sympathizer of fanatic Christian Missionaries and Islamic jihad organizations in India," and a Communist. His e-mail address was included in the article, and readers were urged to contact the US Immigration and Naturalization Service and point out that it is illegal for a foreign Communist to be living in the US.

(Subuhi Jiwani)

See also WW3 REPORT #s 65 & 63 [top]

Suspected Maoist guerillas gunned down Krishna Mohan Shrestha, chief of Nepal's Armed Police Force, along with his wife and bodyguard as they were walking near their home in the suburbs of the capital, Katmandu Jan. 25. Shrestha was appointed to head the Armed Police Force two years ago when it was formed to fight the Maoists. The force, with special training in armed combat, was dispatched to areas with a strong rebel presence. The guerillas launched a campaign in 1996 to overthrow Nepal's constitutional monarchy and establish a communist state in the Himalayan kingdom. Clashes between government forces and guerillas have intensified in recent months, with the army joining the national police in a campaign to root out rebel strongholds in remote mountains. King Gyanendra declared a state of emergency in November 2001 after the guerillas broke a cease-fire and launched new attacks on government troops. The emergency was lifted last year but the fighting continues, having now claimed over 7,000 lives. Both the government and the rebels have repeatedly said they are ready for talks to end the insurgency, but neither side has approached each other to start negotiations. (AP, Jan. 25) [top]


Colombia's brutal war is spilling across the border into Panama's remote Darien rainforest, homeland of the Kuna Indians. On Jan. 18, four Kuna leaders were tortured and assassinated by troops from the notorious Colombian Self-Defense (AUC) paramilitary network. Some 50 AUC gunmen entered Kuna territory from Colombia and occupied the Indian community of Paya. The gunmen demanded the indigenous authorities present themselves, and then took them away into the jungle, where they were tortured and their throats slashed. The AUC also planted landmines around the Paya and Pucuro communities, trapping the inhabitants. They took all of the food from the only warehouse in the community, and threatened the population for supposedly collaborating with the lColombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC). Over 700 people, mostly children, managed to flee the communities and are seeking refuge in Boca Cupe, where they wait for Panamanian authorities to secure the area. Local witness Luis Caicedo told Panama's La Prensa daily, "We found three corpses chopped up by machetes with bullets in their head in the mountains so we couldn't take the corpses back because the land was still being guarded by the paramilitaries." Gilberto Vasquez, mayor of Pucuro, was also murdered, his body found with a bullet in the back of his head inside his house in the village.

Migdonio Batista, a Paya-based correspondent for the jungle radio station Voices without Borders of the Darien, said the gunmen stripped the village radio station of all valuables. He also said that the gunmen robbed the village's chickens, ducks and pigs, and murdered the dogs.

This same paramilitary brigade had apparently hours earlier captured three US journalists, including Robert Pelton of the Discovery Channel, best known for being the first to gain access to American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh in Afghanistan, an interview that aired on CNN. The journalists were released to church officials on Jan. 23, the New York Times reported the following day.

In a statement, the Kuna communities asserted tat they had been targeted because of their opposition to the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the Puebla-Panama Plan, Plan Colombia and the Andean Initiative, which the statement called "policies to exterminate the communities... to expropriate indigenous territories...oil, water, land and our cultural and biological heritage."

Combined sources: Kuna Youth Indigenous Movement statement, Jan. 21; La Prensa, Jan. 21; CNN, Jan. 24 [top]

When Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe took office last August, he made taming the oil-rich wild jungle frontier of Arauca state a priority--declaring special security zones, beefing up the army's presence and appointing a hard-liner as governor. US special forces are now training Colombian army troops to protect the local Cano-Limon pipeline from guerilla attacks. But months into the crackdown, Arauca is as untamed as ever. On Jan. 21, guerillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) abducted photographer Scott Dalton, of Texas, and reporter Ruth Morris, a Briton, at a roadblock on an Arauca highway, 70 miles southwest of the state capital. The rebels led the journalists away with hoods covering their heads. They announced two days later that the two freelancers, on assignment for the Los Angeles Times, would only be released when "the political and military conditions permit."

Arauca's Gov. Jose Emiro Palencia, a retired army colonel, resigned because of death threats Jan. 14--hours before his top official for community relations was murdered in the state capital. A car bomb allegedly planted by the FARC guerillas exploded Jan. 26 in the Arauca village of Pueblo Nuevo, killing six government soldiers and one civilian, and wounding several more. "These criminals have turned Arauca into a laboratory to show off their ability to sow terror," said Col. Luis Alcides Morales, Arauca police commander. "Here, there is nothing romantic about the guerrillas." (AP, Jan. 26)

See also WW3 REPORT #69 [top]

As the opposition braced for more protests, Venezuela's Supreme Court on Jan. 22 suspended a referendum scheduled for Feb. 1 on President Hugo Chavez's rule. The referendum was the principal aim of the general strike which has gripped Venezuela since Dec. 2. In a victory for Chavez, the court ordered the National Election Council to immediately halt work on the referendum, finding it unconstitutional. (NYT, Jan. 23) [top]


On Jan. 21, on their eighth day of hunger strike, six detainees at New Jersey's Passaic County Jail decided to suspend their strike in order to give the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) a chance to move them to Hudson County Jail for somewhat better conditions. The move ends a staelmate in which the INS agreed in principle to comply with the strikers' demands, but only on condition that they first halt the strike. Detainees Saleh Hamzeh and Mohammed Seif cannot even hold their young babies in their arms because Passaic County Jail does not allow "contact visits." Organizations working with the strikers are urging their supporters to call INS New Jersey District Director Andrea Quarantillo at 973-645-4421 and ask that she meet with the detainees and follow through on their demands. (Stop the Disappearances Campaign press release, Jan. 22)

For more, see AP, Jan. 22. See also WW3 REPORT #69 [top]

The US Army is probing claims that yet another Fort Bragg soldier tried to kill his wife just after returning from Afghanistan. Carol Branch told reporters that on Dec. 21, her husband, Sgt. Marvin Lee Branch, tried to strangle her at their home on Fort Bragg, seven days after he returned from six months in Afghanistan. She said the attack--in front of her three young daughters and 69-year-old mother--was so violent that her 7-year-old daughter tried to defend her with a kitchen knife. "He came at me like a linebacker," Branch said in a telephone interview from Florida, where she and her three daughters are staying with a friend. The allegations come just three months after the Army released a report expressing "great concern" about a wave of domestic homicides at Fort Bragg last summer in which four soldiers--three of whom had been to Afghanistan--are believed to have killed their wives. (UPI, Jan. 22)

See also WW3 REPORT #s 48 & 44 [top]

Ironically arguing against a proposal by leading black Congressmen to reinstate the draft, the Pentagon disputed charges that blacks and minorities bear an unfair burden in fighting for the USA. "Contrary to myth, data show that the enlisted force is quite representative of the civilian population," the Defense Department said in an 11-page paper arguing the merits of the all-volunteer force that has been in place for nearly 30 years. In calling for a return of the draft, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) said last month that military service should be a "shared sacrifice'' and that minorities make up a "disproportionate number'' of troops. The Pentagon conceded that blacks make up 20% of enlistees and only 12 to 14 percent of the general recruit-age population, but asserted they make up only 15% of the combat force, accounting for 36% of support and administration and 27% of medical and dental positions. (AP, Jan. 13)

See also WW3 REPORT #67 [top]


With the Jan. 18 anti-war rally in Washington DC, the peace movement once again gave its own worst enemies a propaganda coup on a silver platter by rallying under the leadership of International ANSWER, led at its core by the International Action Center (IAC), front group for the Stalin-nostalgist, genocide-apologist Workers World Party (WWP), which supports Slobodan Milosevic and (somewhat less enthusiastically) Saddam Hussein. The cowardly and unprincipled line of those who march under the ANSWER/IAC banner is that the mainstream media won't notice who is leading the movement. Welll, guess what? They're starting to notice. The day after the big rally, the reactionary New York Post ran an opinion piece by Ronald Radosh, senior adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, entitled "Hijacked Peaceniks: Anti-war movement bows to the radicals." It read, in part:

"And once again, the sponsor of the march is Act Now to Stop War and Racism (ANSWER), a group run out of Ramsey Clark's International Action Center, a front group of the Communist Workers World Party. And once again, despite their protestations, the so-called moderates are enlisting en masse, lending their names and numbers to the extremists' scheduled action. Their lame argument is a simple one: The radicals know how to organize. Nobody listens to speeches or looks at placards; all that matters is the number of bodies opposed to the war."

The New York Times wrote of ANSWER on Jan. 24: "Some of the group's chief organizers are active in the Worker's World Party, a radical Socialist group with roots in the Stalin-era Soviet Union. The party has taken positions that include defense of the Iraqi and North Korean governments and support for Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president being tried on war crimes charges."

C-SPAN's all-day coverage of the march also briefly featured some pro-war counter-demonstrators heckling on the side chanting "Why call it ANSWER? It's Workers World Party!" Their own banners betrayed a sophisticated awareness of the left's own issues and graphics (e.g. "Fry Mumia" and a parody of an old Progressive Labor Party clenched fist logo labelled "Smash Communism").

See also WW3 REPORT #69

More on Ramsey Clark [top]


1. SUVs GET $75,000 TAX BREAK
The Jan. 20 edition of the trade journal Detroit News/Autos Insider reports: "President Bush's economic stimulus plan could triple the size of a little-known tax loophole that some small business owners are using to finance purchases of large SUVs. One of Bush's proposed tax cuts would raise from $25,000 to $75,000 the amount small business owners--including doctors, lawyers and financial advisers--can write off when buying an SUV for business purposes."

One WW3 REPORT reader had a different idea for government policy on SUVs. Steve Wishnia of New York City had the following letter in the Jan. 25 Newsday:

To the Editor: If the United States is going to attack Iraq, we should draft SUV owners to fight the war. Thirty years after the first gas crisis and the birth of environmental awareness, it is obscene for people to drive toxin-spewing, globe-warming gas hogs to traverse terrain no more challenging than the Exit 37 hill on the Long Island Expressway. If the Bush administration wants to wrest control of the world's second-largest oil reserves away from an evil dictator and claim them in the holy name of Exxon, those who waste the most should make the biggest sacrifice. (Hummer owners should go first, as they're the most egregious offenders--and already have experience driving military-style vehicles.) I would also like to suggest an alternative to war. Let both Saddam and Bush resign. The American and Iraqi peoples deserve legitimately elected presidents.

Sincerely, Steven Wishnia [top]

On Jan. 18, workers at McMurdo Station in Antarctica joined with millions of others around the world in protesting the war drive on Iraq. In red jackets, they formed a giant human peace sign on the ice against the backdrop of the towering Trans-Antarctic Range.

WW3 REPORT sources at McMurdo report that moves to censure anti-war activities at the research base have precipitated a free speech struggle. Last October, McMurdo researchers and support personnel organized a gathering of the anti-war group Not In Our Name. The gathering drew some 70 participants, 9% of the station's population. They read the Not In Our Name pledge and took photos holding a banner against the frigid Antarctic backdrop. Raytheon Polar Services Co. (RPSC), which is contracted by the National Science Foundation to operate all US Antarctic bases, cracked down afterwards. Raytheon management removed photos of the event from a common computer network folder available to all members of the McMurdo community, ordered the removal of a folder of essays from an ongoing political discussion group, and banned anything on the network with political content--including information on how to cast absentee ballots. RPSC station manager Jim Scott stated that "protest demonstrations will not be tolerated"--with the implied threat that those participating will be fired. Explicit threats were made that anyone attempting to organize a union will also be fired. McMurdo senior computer technician Robbie Liben told WW3 REPORT : "The major issue is the right to free speech for American workers at a US research station working for an American contractor to the federal government. Management has implied that we have few, if any constitutional rights and legal protections in Antarctica."

For detailed information see
User Name: IceVoice2003, Password: freespeech

Also see [top]


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